could be a repeat [Bryan Fuller]


WHAT Michigan vs Indiana indiana
WHERE Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN 4 Eastern
THE LINE Michigan –28.5
WEATHER cloudy, mid to low 30s,
immediate aftermath
of a fair amount of snow


This is year two post-Kevin Wilson, and the Wile E Coyote year has passed into the plummet stage. The Hoosiers are in the same range they usually are, battling for a bowl bid after surprisingly competitive games against Penn State and Ohio State that turned into inevitable Ls.

But also they've escaped Rutgers by a touchdown, gotten blasted by Iowa, and currently sit 82nd on offense in S&P+. They're 81st overall. The record doesn't show the step back from the old #chaosteam ways, but this is not the super-feisty Indiana of years past. They're almost dead average in tempo now. Which, like, what? How you gonna roll up on a big boy with a non-incoherent defense and win? Not that they won those games before. But they were more interesting about it!


[Hit THE JUMP for Just Some Guys]

Grayson (GA) offensive lineman and Michigan commit Trente Jones
Ol' Torso Arms [Keith Niebuhr/247]

This week saw the release of a new Top247 in which most of Michigan’s commits stayed near their prior ranking. There were two moves worth discussing, though, as GA OL Trente Jones (pictured above) shot up and CA RB Zach Charbonnet entered rarified, dangerous territory. Charbonnet moved up from #41 to #26 in 247’s rankings, which puts him six spots over the five-star threshold. Michigan’s recent history with five-star running backs is woeful enough that an Angry Michigan Five-Star Running Back-Hating God may have been invoked at some point, but how can you watch Charbonnet’s highlights and not give him a fifth star?


I also recommend watching this video for the runs at 3:05 and 3:27. There’s a very useful every-touch/block video that someone cut up from the second half of Charbonnet’s playoff game two weeks ago, and that shows that he’s a pretty good blocker as well.

247’s Greg Biggins wrote about Charbonnet in the aftermath of Oaks Christian’s playoff victory last weekend and there are so many pull quotes you should just read the whole article.

His ability to make something out of nothing, take a pounding but not flinch and look even stronger in the 4th quarter than he did in the 1st really makes him special. His game translates really well to the college level and there is no question he has the ability to see the field as soon as next year at Michigan.

Biggins goes on to say that Charbonnet should be considered one of the best backs to come out of Southern California in the last decade and will eventually play in the NFL barring injury, so that seems good. Whereas TN RB Eric Gray’s visit this weekend was probably necessary for Michigan to keep him in the class (more on that after the jump), Charbonnet’s visit be this Saturday is the opposite. Steve Lorenz notes that Charbonnet spoke with 247 a few weeks ago and said he wasn’t sure whether other schools were pursuing him because he doesn’t respond to his texts and doesn’t check his phone much these days.

Jones may not have ended up as high in the rankings as Charbonnet but he did jet up 266 spots (!), earning a fourth star in the process. He also is reportedly his high school’s highest-graded lineman this season, which is very much worth noting as he is teammates with #9 overall prospect Wanya Morris. You may remember Morris from last week’s roundup; he’s the player who was taken first overall in the UA All-America Game draft, one spot ahead of Charbonnet.

[Hit THE JUMP for the longest 2019 update in a while]

Indiana defense
Riggins is back. But why? [Eric Upchurch]

Previously: The Offense

Resources: My charting, IU game notes, IU roster, Bill C profile, CFBstats Also a huge thank you to MGoArchive for providing the footage.

Tom Allen's single-year turnaround of #CHAOSTEAM can't be understated. It earned him the head coaching job when Kevin Wilson was let go. Last year proved it was no fluke; Allen's defense finished just outside the Top 25 in most fancystats, and littered my diagram with stars.

This year was expected to be the rebuild, Discount 2017 Michigan, if you will, when the Indiana Hills and Longs and Bushes and Winovichia replace the inherited Lewises, Striblings, Gedeons and Tacos, take a step back because they're all sophomores, but portend great things once Allen's guys in Allen's system are all shaving. So far, those guys are all no-shows. Other than some part-time starters in a shaky secondary everyone on the field either was in Bloomington or committed to be before Allen was.

The film: What if Michigan was an up-tempo spread team with a stand-and-deliver quarterback who got the ball out quickly to his slot receivers all the time? And then imagine if it went against Indiana's defense? What would that even be like? I was wondering the same thing so I found…okay you got me. Also I've been using Tom Allen's defense as a stand-in for Michigan's all year so I didn't bother wasting precious The Game scouting time for another game.

The diagram:


PDF Version, full-size version (or click on the image)

Whereas last year Indiana had a star on every level this year each position group has a problem. The official depth chart has NT Mike Barwick starting over NT Ja'Merez Bowen but both rotate equally, with Syracuse transfer NT Kayton Samuels occasionally spelling them. DT Jerome Johnson split time last year with DT Jacob Robinson who is expected back for this game. None of these guys is liable to do more than push back and maybe knock a lineman upfield. Ditto SDE Gavin Everett, but his pass-rushing freshman backups are a huge liability on standard downs. WDE Allen Stallings and backup WDE Nile Sykes have just 4 sacks and 8.5 TFLs between them.

Linebacker issues were expected, and are extant. MLB Dameon Willis is that undersized guy we played last year and gets positive press for being second on the team in tackles, but PFF (54 grade on the year) hates him, and my charting (+6/-10) was hit-and-miss, with lots of missed tackles and coverage issues. Both of his ILB mates might be out. WLB Reakwon Jones (+10/-13 in this game) is volatile: a knife when he knows where to go and hesitant when he's got to read something. He is listed as questionable and the less likely to be available. Backup WLB T.D. Roof, a Georgia Tech transfer, returned from his own ding against Maryland but is back to questionable this week. He's also hesitant and tends to wander out of his lanes. The next guy on the depth chart, LB Thomas Allen, is a redshirt freshman and played some in this game but I couldn't get much of a read on him. LB Micah McFadden is a true freshman and  "Husky" #HybridSpacePlayerTerms Marcelino Ball is a serious athlete but much less of a threat now as a cover 2 slot defender, which exposes his tendency to bust assignments. Backup HSP Cam Jones is another in Ball's mold.

The corners are all guys who've started opposite Rashard Fant, and none are Rashard Fant. CB Andre Brown is better at Fant's boundary role than he was playing in all that space. The two guys who used to start ahead of him, CB A'Shon Riggins and CB Raheem Layne have to be driving Allen mad: Riggins gives up a ton of cushion while Layne tries to pick off everything. Both strategies are justifiable in this defense because they're often covering for SS Khalil Bryant, a lost puppy who was finally replaced last week with redshirt freshman SS Bryant Fitzgerald, who is a younger lost puppy. Classmate Juwan Burgess was supposed to win that job, but has been grooming instead to replace FS Jonathan Crawford, who has been starting so long he features on Jehu Chesson's highlight reel, and is back to his photobombing pictures of other peoples' touchdowns ways. If CB Jaylin Williams (#23) steps on the field throw at him immediately.

[after THE JUMP: meh]

When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.

Shea Patterson as the Cat in the Hat 

it's not really a knife fight if you're the only one with a knife 

Wait... are we thinking of the same Northwestern? Cause that doesn't sound right.