Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
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|16 hours 37 min ago||Dammit||
I got beaten to the punch by a koala. With sunglasses! A koala with sunglasses is faster than me! I feel like I just lost a foot race to Charlie Weis.
|16 hours 40 min ago||Agree mostly BUT||
I think both teams have shaky passing games so it'll be middling run offense vs. stingy run defense for both sides with special teams deciding the difference. Logically, they might finish regulation scoreless, with an edge to Michigan.
But. . .
This is Michigan-Northwestern. This is chaos. So in a year they are two of the five best FBS defenses in the nation, the only logical conclusion is that the two teams will combine for over 100 points. The defense will get torched for 600+ yards and finish without a sack; Rudock will throw 50 passes including the game-winning TD as time expires for a 61-57 victory. Because these games never make a lick of sense.
|21 hours 3 min ago||?||
How does one get a non-zero success rate after having literally zero success?
|1 day 12 hours ago||Disagree||
I grok your logic but both defenses have good CBs and bad passing games, so I see both coaches trying to take their own QBs out of the game as much as possible. Neither side can afford the mistakes; I mean, a pick-six probably wins the game. So both defenses will put their CBs in man coverage, shut down the run and dare the QBs to throw, and neither HC will take that blatantly obvious bait. It won't be #M00N in terms of ineptitude, but this might be the manballiest of manball games played all year.
Special teams will take on a prominent role as we may go four quarters without either side scoring a TD. Edge to us; we have O'Neill, Peppers and Baxter. (Just don't run on 4th and 16. . .)
Thinking through rationally anyway. This is a matchup of two of the top defenses in the country so of course it'll be something like 42-38 because football is weird, and UM-NU games are ESPECIALLY weird.
|1 day 12 hours ago||Thank you||
It might not matter; for some reason all the clocks in my house are flashing 00:00
|1 day 13 hours ago||So when is this game||
Is it a #N00M game or 3-30? I'm hoping for the latter. . .
|2 days 23 hours ago||Honestly||
That shit wasn't too bad. Very 90s garage band (more Offspring with a dash of TMBG than Nirvana) but at least the instruments were doing something. There are even a few changeups. This was way better than 90% of the crap on radio where a computer's cycling a riff that makes the Mega Man 2 stage select loop blush.
|3 days 10 hours ago||Hey now||
Being denied bacon jalapeno mac and cheese is enough to drive a man crazy.
. . . evidently.
|3 days 17 hours ago||Ace||
As far as what people did when they were 10-15 years younger being dug from the dark corners of the Internet, Ace ain't no Joker.
|3 days 18 hours ago||To be clear||
Harbaugh isn't running the ball late for any reason other than he's had insurmountable leads the past few games (hell, 15 points might as well be 50 with this D & ST) and doesn't want to play all his trump cards. It's clear he's got a bag of RPS+3 wacky stuff to roll out when he needs points and honestly against Maryland I think he used a few more tricks than he would've liked to. Post-game he's going to wax about being happy (but NOT satisfied) with the win, but when the camera was on him during the game he seemed irritated and it's plain to see why.
But to agree with your main point, yeah, the plays are built around the players, which is a nice change from before. It's kind of frustrating at times but even the "bad" plays fit within a scheme of keeping the defense off-balance. OK Rudock and Chesson have yet to complete a deep ball but they're going to keep throwing it because they get close enough that eventually they'll complete it and that forces safeties to respect Chesson's speed. That keeps things open underneath.
I think as the season goes on, if Smith doesn't have an epiphany the runs will be increasingly designed to get him running straight to a safety in a gap for some YAC because we all know he can do that. Better that than RPS the defense only to have Smith run into a pile of bodies at the LoS.
|3 days 18 hours ago||Funny||
He was told the same thing by the owner when he asked if he could do a book signing at the local pub.
|3 days 18 hours ago||Ooh, I'll try||
Q. What was the publisher's initial reaction when Bacon first made a push for Endzone?
A. He was short.
|3 days 18 hours ago||Assume the position||
Man, that Yost fellow was a kinky guy.
|3 days 19 hours ago||What if my what-if is better than your what-if||
At this point we can have infinite fun with what-ifs, but here's what I was thinking: If Smith goes for the cavern either takes a straight line there, in which case the second-level defenders (in which I'll include the mike) will easily read and flow to the play, or he feints like he did and you say. If he DOES take a step, let's compare what he did vs. what if:
What he did: He made a feint as if to bounce outside to the left. This single false step causes three defenders to shuffle around to that side. It was an overreaction by BYU, but the point is, he got a lot of bang for his buck.
What if: Again, I'm creating my own reality here, but if he's following Glasgow's pull, then his false step would be for that crease he actually went through -- I doubt a feint all the way to the outside is effective on this track. In which case the mike's already in the gap he's feinting for, and in reality vacated it pretty easily, so I'm guessing all he gets for a false step is the mike stays in the gap a split second longer and then beats him to the spot anyway. Maybe not, but even tackled from behind he might only get 5-6 yards instead of 11. Which, still, not bad.
In reality, he got BYU's second-level defenders to put a mass of bodies between them and him. If he goes for the super-gap then I don't think a feint is any more effective than just booking for it and either way I doubt he'd beat the mike and safety because there isn't as much traffic preventing them from getting there. I think Smith's feint was far more effective in getting yards out of what he did than if he took a different path.
All that said, it sure is nice to have multiple good options for a play, instead of none.
|3 days 20 hours ago||Trap vs. wham||
Yeah, besides, the two look nothing alike.
|3 days 20 hours ago||I'm not sure Smith is wrong here||
He played to his limitation (read: he's slow) and gap concept and took the nearest gap that was open. If he follows Glasgow's pull then yes there's a huge gap but to get there he has to shuffle around a pile of bodies and with Smith that'll take about thirty-eight minutes. The mike and safety can flow there and beat him to it. The cavernous gap is asking for a nuclear-powered icebreaker to make a Drake-esque cut outside. I don't know what he was coached but Smith isn't Drake Johnson and shouldn't try to be like him, so that was probably the best result. It'll be interesting to see if they run this again straight-up with either Isaac or Johnson.
|3 days 21 hours ago||Ugh||
"14 of 16" is not a streak. It is a great trend, but a streak it is not.
|6 days 19 hours ago||By jove||
I think somebody's finally getting it!
I mean, MGoBlog only publishes THREE predictions per game, none of them realistic scores and two deliberately intended to disagree, so yes let's totally hold them accountable.
I'm not a fan of P/CP, or PCP for that matter, but I'll come out in the former's defense -- this features is getting attacked for all the wrong reasons.
|1 week 17 hours ago||Come to think of it||
Isn't football the only free-ranging sport where it's impossible to score exactly one point? With this rule it's possible if you combine a FG and a safety (3 - 2 = 1).
Edit: n/m, looks like the rugby minimum is 3
|1 week 17 hours ago||Or||
11 safeties and a TD(+PAT).
|1 week 21 hours ago||Partly||
I'm thinking the same thing (I just posted below), but the thing about big leads is, if that was all there was to it, then Michigan would be routinely seeing passing downs in the "scrimmage" part of the game as the defense sold out on power. The stats don't reflect that. They definitely seem to punt more in the second half, but they haven't exactly been going backwards.
The playcalling definitely eases up when we're up 3-4 TDs in that they're not calling double fake screens or WR reverses or other crazy stuff. But they're still throwing to the outside and sending blocky-catchy guys downfield to move the chains. So instead of a 1st and 10 becoming a Hoke-esque 3rd and 9, they might get occasionally stuffed but they'll throw a few wrinkles to keep the run D on edge and create as many 3rd and short situations as possible. The main difference is, to convert those 3rd and 2s in the second half they'll use more conventional stuff instead of reaching into the bag of tricks, which results in more punts and worse standard downs stats.
|1 week 21 hours ago||Explosive passing downs||
That's reflective of the playcalling, which has been both high-volume and brilliant. I've noticed they'll play to their identity on standard downs (and late with a big lead) but when they're in a passing down they'll start playing cards the opponent isn't ready for. They'll also try out the long ball on early downs with little success. In terms of results, when they're in standard downs they often try for and are happy to get 2-4 yards and occasionally run high-risk plays that should pick up chunks but -- unfortunately with Rudock's poor play -- often result in zero yards. Also, they're still working on consistency so they've messed up some perfect playcalls with botched execution. So at a glance their standard downs play -- especially compared to spread teams -- looks pretty awful.
However, they never bail on a drive. When they need 8+ yards on 3rd down they have the plays and go get it. In a sense, in passing downs they're much more "serious" about getting yards. Well, that's not quite right. They're always serious, but they want to be high-volume; they relish third-and-short and efficiently manage the routine yardage situations. But they also understand the importance of each drive and getting first downs and they've been very, very good at getting x+1 yards when they need x. Subconsciously I'm starting to build excitement on 3rd downs because regardless of the distance, that's when Harbaugh's most likely to call something wicked.
The playcalling is very, very good. It's downright masterful. I mean it should be obvious from his 49ers tenure but I'm really starting to see why Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the country. Borges for all his faults could be a pretty good schemer on a good day but he looks like a child compared to this.
|1 week 1 day ago||You||
did not see what I did there.
|1 week 1 day ago||Not quite||
Both gap and zone are run perfectly on paper, but that's exactly what defensive fronts try to prevent. They'll twist, stunt, switch, shift, blitz, do whatever to confuse the blockers. So the gap won't always show where it's drawn up, and it'll never look the exact same way twice. The play may say "A gap" but the fullback could bounce all the way outside if that's proper response to the blocking. In some cases, such as Smith's 11-yard cut, TWO gaps might appear. So "go where the play's designed" isn't so crystal-clear. The back needs a green light to make a decision where to cut.
So you very much need vision in a gap-blocking scheme. Thing is, even if your vision isn't great it's better to wait and see if your hunch is correct than plow into a bunch of defenders. Smith showed that patience against Oregon State but he seemed to have regressed a bit.
|1 week 1 day ago||And waste Baxter?||
If you want to see exciting football, we'll want to punt too. Will likely result in pinning Maryland inside their 5.
|1 week 1 day ago||Well||
If Blake goes rogue again, given the jawing he got from Harbaugh it probably won't be on punt one. But punt two will likely be more unpredictable.
|1 week 1 day ago||FB dive||
The dime defense was a gamble on our D-line and they came through; that was impressive. But the FB dives weren't a dare. They attacked BYU's backup nose tackle.
Harbaugh is so my kind of coach it's getting creepy. I've honestly wondered for years why FB dives aren't run more. It doesn't have to be a base play, just test their front FFS! Defenses typically key on the FB as a blocker while the tailback takes a second to build up some momentum. For run D, that second matters, and they expect to have it. The FB is often closer to the LoS so while he can't get a head of steam, neither can the D. It's hike, handoff, bam! It's like a boxer's jab; it's almost never a KO punch but it's so quick it's like a free slap to the face. The downsides are that lumbering FBs can give back that extra second and the RB is useless, but against a 3-4 you still have the numbers advantage where you need it; it's not like the OLBs are gonna matter either. Unless the defense is sitting on it (which defenses REALLY hate to do because it's FB dive FFS) or has a solid NT, it's hard to prevent that play from gaining 3-4 yards. Against BYU's backup nose it often went for 5 or more.
I like the FB dive more than I probably should, but I don't expect Harbaugh to run it nearly as often against beefier lines. BYU's an undersized 3-8 so I was screaming "FB dive!!" in my head and lo, they ran it right at 'em to good effect.
|1 week 1 day ago||No||
It was his minimum! He had exactly zero carries against MSU that went for <5 yards!
|1 week 1 day ago||Kind of||
I don't know that people are exaggerating so much as not quite ready to let go of the what-ifs.
To your point, unless the Gods of Weird Football take over (a.k.a. Northwestern's annual blood sacrifice to Loki), this team cannot be beaten with average talent, anyhow. Teams have targeted perceived weaknesses and nothing's been easy. It's a testament to how well they're coached.
That said, maybe it's the trauma talking but I can still envision this team getting beaten soundly, though that image is getting iffier by the day. (This is a Good Thing -- it was absurdly easy to do this the past 7 years.) So far, the only player I'm confident can go toe-to-toe with any playmaker in the FBS is Jourdan Lewis. The D-line is playing lights-out but they haven't played any truly mean O-lines. The offense is improving by the week but hasn't shown enough consistency at any position to make me feel they can't be stopped. If we face a tough defense with a solid O-line and an NFL first-rounder to make plays. . . thing is, that's almost by definition an elite FBS team. That's a pretty darn good position to be in.
|1 week 1 day ago||Michigan's strength?||
An offense playing to Michigan's strengths doesn't mean much at this point. It'd be quicker to discuss Michigan's weaknesses. The only things I see are:
1) Peppers' man coverage is a work in progress
So outside runs attacking the linebackers with combo/TE blocks and the slot receiver running vertical (with some play action) to draw away the secondary might work if the ball carrier can get to whatever edge Peppers isn't before someone on the D-line slashes through for a murderdeathkill. . . assuming your WRs can block. Even if everything goes right it's far from a gimme; it's not like any of the guys listed above are liabilities.
Beyond that, it remains to be seen if a particular position can be overwhelmed by a bona fide playmaker, but if you have average talent you're not going to scheme your way through this defense. Maryland's in for a very tough day.