"Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at them." –Horatio Nelson, maybe

This game was spectacularly unexciting from just about any standpoint, though my spot in the corner opposite the action and directly in the sunlight might be in the running for least spectacular fan experience.

On replay I thought most of Michigan's struggles running the ball were they were trying to practice running power into stacked boxes when the linebackers were firing aggressively at power and the safeties were starting at eight yards and stepping forward at the snap, not so different from what Michigan State does. So rather than show some amazing adjustment to the very unsound thing SMU was doing, I thought it might be interesting to pick apart one Power run where Michigan needed to get two yards and failed to do so.

1. The Primary Gap

The setup: It's 3rd and 2 later in the 1st quarter, about the point where Michigan needs to make it 7-0 to prevent what was supposed to be a laugher from turning into a grumbler. Michigan comes out their Heavy (fullback + two tight ends) formation, with both tight ends on the front side.

What happened? Michigan ran power, SMU slanted into it, Evans tried to cut back, and there were two unblocked guys waiting for him there.

What's Power? Power, or Power-O (for off-tackle) is God's play. It's a gap play where you try to pry open the frontside of the defense and then send all a bunch of material into it before the defense can close it down.


You block down on the linemen to the backside of the play, kick out the edge, and—this is the key—pull a blocker from the backside of the formation to thwack whoever appears in the gap. Send any unused frontside blockers into the linebacker level, add fullbackery and other frippery as necessary, and serve. Mostly that's changing up who gets the kickout block versus the playside linebacker (e.g. have the fullback kick and the tight end release on that SLB).

Power is one of the few plays that deserves a spot in the pantheon of base plays that can work against virtually any defense if you're good at it. My main takeaway from this game is Michigan wants to learn power until the offense can punch its way out of a coffin with it, and the coaches' opinion of SMU's defense was they might make a solid practice plank:

[After the JUMP: Michigan breaks its hand]


Things discussed:

  • Harbaugh has thoughts on the penalties. Especially the targeting. Don't get him started on the targeting.
  • Shea Patterson continues to be good
  • Hassan Haskins is working with the LBs
  • Injury updates on Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, Aubrey Solomon and Jacob West

[After THE JUMP: Harbaugh was kinda personable!]

[Patrick Barron]

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Nick's question:

So it's Big Ten Season, for a definition of that which includes annual games against Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers. Stock Up/Stock Down?

Our responses:

Seth: I'll start: Chase Winovich. Killin it AND has his own même.

BiSB: It's hard to be Stock Up from where Winovich started, but... I kinda agree.

Seth: It seems harder to run off his edge this year and they give him no edge help.

Brian: You're starting with a projected AA and saying he's stock up?

/giphy penalty flag

Well done giphy.

Seth: But... You agree.

Brian: I don't, this is what I expected from Chase Winovich. Including the meme. Dude is a meme machine. WILL HART is on this team people

Seth: Ol' Fifty.

David: Yes! YES! I was going to say Will Hart!

BiSB: Oh yeah, go ahead and put the jinx before the jump. Thanks, man. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

[After THE JUMP: no, we can't.]

i spent so long in the sun waiting for commercial breaks that i'm a joshua tree now

You have these referees who can't tell their ass from their other ass

Shea Patterson isn't the only reason to be optimistic about Michigan's passing game.

Jim Harbaugh's postgame press conference after Michigan's win over SMU.