Man is a rope over an abyss, and Michigan should cut the damn rope
I know this game left a lot to be desired but there was one play in the IU game that went entirely to script, and also demonstrated a few things about Michigan's offense as it spurts and blorps its way toward being really good.
After all the field goals early in this game, it felt great to get an easy touchdown. It was also a route combination I've been hoping to see a lot more of from Michigan this year from their multi-TE sets. It's been a staple of Harbaugh's passing games going back at least to Stanford. And the guy who designs the playbooks for Madden noticed it immediately:
Here's a diagram of the play from a traditional I formation look. pic.twitter.com/31eKHMNHol
— Anthony White (@AWhite_73) November 17, 2018
The primary concept of Harbaugh's offense is creating more gaps. Often this means bringing somebody from the backfield to insert somewhere, whether that be a fullback, a tight end from the other side, or a lineman who pulls. The other way to do that is extend the line of scrimmage:
Against Indiana, Michigan was running a lot of early pin and pull-type plays where they loaded up with tight ends and used a pulling guard as the kickout, starting with the first play of the game, a "counter" from their trips-TE look:
And then this almost touchdown a few plays later:
This is mansome stuff. Michigan is cracking the MLB with their best blocking tight end, blocking down on IU's weaker (normally backside) linemen with both offensive tackles, kicking out a safety on the edge with whatever Onwenu weighs times however much Onwenu is accelerating, and pulling an uncovered lineman (Ruiz) from the backside to boot.
[After the JUMP: Paper first]