Unverified Voracity Is Secretly Switzer

Unverified Voracity Is Secretly Switzer

Submitted by Brian on August 12th, 2011 at 11:40 AM

22!

KevinNealon88

An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
Friedrich Nietzsche

EPIC. Thujone's latest paint opus has panels for Tate Forcier, Big Ten expansion, and Les Miles, but this is where it's at:

tressel-1

tressel-2

As always, Thujone comes with a CARTOON PENIS warning. Do not click if you are in a situation where being caught looking at a cartoon penis would be compromising.

Epic in the other direction. Chris Brown's latest at Smart Football is one of those posts that instantly illuminates a part of football that was murky before, and this one even comes with locally-relevant content. He describes the "snag" and "y-stick" plays you may have seen in your copy of NCAA 12 (or any year since '08 since they haven't changed it since). They incorporate stretches both vertical (i.e., making a cover two cornerback pick between a high guy and a low guy) and horizontal (i.e., making a flat defender pick between an outside guy and an inside guy) with routes that do well against man coverage.

Presenting that concept taking candy from a baby:

The snag is so synonymous with the triangle concept that some teams simply call it “triangle.” The basic concept involves one receiver in the deep third on a corner route (good by itself against man-to-man), one receiver in the flat, often a runningback or inside receiver (which can also be good against man from a bunch-set), and a third receiver on the “snag” route, sometimes also known as a “slant-settle” or a “mini-curl.”

snag

As a general matter, against a Cover Two defense the quarterback will have a high/low read of the cornerback; if he sinks back he can throw it to the inside receiver in the flat; if the cornerback drops he will throw it to the corner route behind the cornerback, as shown in the clip below.

Against a Cover Three defense, the cornerback should take away the corner route by dropping into the deep third, but the snag/mini-curl and the flat should put a horizontal stretch on the flat defender and one of the two should be open.

At times like this I think to myself "boy, I hope I got that right." Drumroll…

NFW Michigan can defend this as aligned, as Rogers(-1) has a nasty choice between giving up the corner or the flat and chooses poorly by not sinking into the corner. (Cover -2, RPS -2); Gordon has no prayer of getting over in time and can only hope to tackle. Also, Avery(-1) appears to be abandoning his zone to ride the WR on a little hitch farther, which means the flat is wide open; Michigan is putting lots of guys in the same areas on their zone drops

Not bad. Michigan didn't even make that snag hard; by the time the ball is gone Mouton and Ezeh are within a yard of each other and Avery isn't much farther away. I still don't think there was any way for Michigan to defend this staple play as aligned, which points to the incoherence of the defense. Everything from last year points to the incoherence of the defense, sure.

Outdoor hockey is go. The on-again-off-again outdoor game in Cleveland is on again, this time officially. It's January 15th.

I wonder what the fan breakdown will be. This one's a bit farther than the Big House but still an easy drive and Ohio State fans don't usually turn out for hockey. They do make an exception for Michigan, though, and they'll probably make a larger one for the outdoor game PR stunt. 50-50?

Let's be friends. Dimitri Martin has a one-liner about bumper stickers: "to me, all bumper stickers say the same thing: 'let's not be friends.' This is one of two exceptions:

middle-finger-bumper

You know what happened in 1973, I'm sure. If not MVictors has you covered.

The other exception: once I saw a guy with a black bumper sticker that read CASH, as in Johnny.

I'm surprised it took this long. Greg Mattison has declared his team a "blitzing" team:

Very aggressive. I'll take anything more than three guys this year. Also, feel the soothing reassurance of Greg Mattison talking vis a vis Greg Robinson.

Euroleague says thanks. Someone credible enough to get retweeted by Pete Thamel says he "keeps hearing" NBA owners are pushing for an eligibility structure similar to the NFL. I.E.: you can't enter the draft until you're three years out of high school.

At that point wouldn't a lot of kids scheduled to be one-and-done GTFO? It's one thing when you've got to cool your heels for a year nailing cheerleaders and maybe taking a few classes. Three years is a totally different matter. The money will be bigger overseas since they can expect some high-level performances when the #1 pick in the NBA draft is 21.

Football can get away with their structure because there's nowhere else to play and they're almost always right: you should not be playing in the NFL less than three years after prom because you will die. The Adrian Petersons of the world are exceedingly rare. In basketball there are a dozen guys coming out of high school every year who can be all right NBA players right away.

Etc.: NCAA may or may not have sent a second "we're investigating you, buddy" letter to OSU. Wholly unreliable local radio host "The Torg" says "Ellis" from the SI story has talked to the NCAA, so take that for what it's worth.

Martavious Odoms's alarming cast should be off in two weeks so no big deal. Nobody knows who the starting running back is.

UFR Errata: Indiana 2010

UFR Errata: Indiana 2010

Submitted by Brian on October 8th, 2010 at 2:40 PM

It's back. Sorry for the two-week interruption, but Forces Beyond My Control intervened.

Offense

Dorrestein love. GS put up run charts for UMass, Bowling Green, and Indiana. In sum:

  • UMass: Molk excellent, everyone else solidly positive, Lewan goes donkey, Dorrestein majorly positive.
  • Bowling Green: candy for everyone. Omameh gets the gold star.
  • Indiana: everyone positive, numbers depressed because they scored too fast, WOO DENARD, Lewan gets the gold star.

The major difference between my charting and The Other Brian's is a difference of opinion on Dorrestein. I evidently think he's treading water and just okay; TOB has him approximately equal with the other four guys on the line. Also he was quicker to catch the effectiveness of Michigan's TEs.

Devin zone read issues. After the BGSU game, BWS put up a post about Devin Gardner's zone reads and how they are "rough" if you're being nice and "sucky" if you're not; this was in agreement with the UFR's assessment. Michigan's coaches probably saw too; it appears Tate has reclaimed the backup job. Or maybe Gardner has tendinitis.

I don't hate Vincent Smith. Most of the offensive UFR comments were taken over by the comment war about Vincent Smith. To clarify:

  • Smith is a good pass protector and reliable run blocker, though his size makes his run blocking a little sub-optimal.
  • He's a good option out of the backfield but the way Michigan's offense is going this year throwing to the tailback is almost pointless.
  • He seems to have lost a significant amount of shake-and-bake because of the ACL injury.
  • He does not make a lot of yards himself, but he doesn't miss reads often either.

This adds up to an average back.

Finally. BWS has an excellent breakdown of the final drive and the importance of this moment:

sideline-check

This offense is not only explosive but S-M-R-T, kids.

And now on to the WARZONE:

Defense

Rollout mitigation strategies. Our Helmets Have Wings has a post based on this previously-linked BWS piece about defending the copious rollouts Michigan has endured. It evades easy summary but the idea is to take someone out of a deeper zone and have him play a flat zone close to the area the rollout is intended to go so he can pressure the QB.

Crab man. The Indiana UFR did not pick up a whole lot in the way of disagreements that are supposed to be the reason for this series, but this is an informative comment for doubters about Roh's DE potential from ironman4579:

While Roh has good athleticism for his size, the key term is "for his size."  His hips are fairly stiff in coverage.  He has great speed for a DE, probably average at best for a LB. He's not great in space. He has elite athleticism for a DE. He has below average athleticism for a LB. He's just too stiff.

I'd also disagree that he's undersized. Yes, he's a little light (I'd agree that he's definitely lighter than I'd like to see my DE's, but there's enough successful, disruptive light DE's out there in a 4 man line that I think he'd be fine. He might struggle a bit against the run, but I'd give up some in the run game to get an, IMO, vastly improved pass rush), but a guy like Aaron Maybin of Penn State had 12 sacks and 20 TFL's at 235 pounds. O'Brien Schofield was 248 pounds when he went ahead and got 12 sacks and 24.5 TFL's. That's just two recent examples. There are many, many others. Leverage plays a huge part, which actually leads to my next point.

craigrohcrazyninjastance_thumb5 I want people to watch Roh this week when he's at DE and when he's at LB. When he's at DE, he's what scout's call a "flatback." He's incredibly low in his stance. When he comes out he stays basically in the same stance, getting very low with great leverage.  He gets his hands out and keeps guys away from his body, and has a great initial punch. He shows a variety of pass rush moves.

When he's at LB, he gets very high.  He goes into blockers almost straight up. He lets guys into his body and almost seems to forget his hands until he's already engaged and the blocker is into his body (this is especially evident last year against ND on the Armando Allen hold run at the end of the game, but throughout the season this was a problem). He loses leverage regularly. When he rushes, it's almost always a straight speed rush. He gets lost in space.

The difference between Roh as a DE and Roh as a LB are night and day.  He has flashed the potential to be a fantastic DE. As a LB, I don't think he's going to be much more than an average to slightly above average player

I added the picture demonstrating Roh's crazy leverage stance before the snap. I'd like to see a lot more four-man lines this week.

An aside: the debate that's raged between what people are calling a 4-2-5 but is really just last year's defense and the 3-3-5 that's Michigan's run most of this year is really just debating what Craig Roh should do.

Cam Gordon confusion. I solicited opinions on whether or not Cam Gordon should have been able to do anything more than tackle on that corner route

 

corner-7

…picture-paged yesterday. Many people said yes. Many others said no. Upon review I do think that Cam should have been a lot closer since there was no vertical threat from the inside. That probably wouldn't have let him make a play on the ball but he might have been able to tackle at the 25 instead of the 15. The counterargument:

The problem is, jumping the route too quickly can lead to long touchdowns.  Gordon does in fact make the right play here. If he jumps up, the experienced receiver will skinny his route and the 5th year QB will loft it over the crashing safety.  In a cover 2, the corner route will almost always beat the safety to the soft part of the zone; it's only when the corner drops back enough to disrupt this spot that this pass fails (and then the QB checks down to the out).  In a 3rd and long situation, the CB should focus on the deeper part of his zone, as it's always easier to stop a first down if the catch is made in front of the sticks.  A more experienced corner, or one that is just less hesitant to react, makes this a much more difficult play to complete.

As always, pass defense and linebacker play are mysterious since who's at fault can vary wildly based on assignments you're not privy to.

The larger point stands. Michigan's inexperienced secondary is not reading the opponent's routes at all (underneath) or quick enough (deep). Hopefully they develop this with time. Also, Chris Brown pointed out this is another variation on the snag concept that Michigan was running elements of earlier this season.

BONUS: Misopogon suggested that the issue was with JT Floyd not getting depth and letting Gordon out to the sideline, but I disagree. Sometimes I fail to explain things I picked up over the course of the game and people disagree based on the individual play, and that's the case here. Most of the time when Michigan went to this coverage, JT Floyd was acting as a Tampa 2 middle linebacker with responsibility in the deep seam. That's why he was at fault when IU hit a deep seam to the TE in the first half

Does the "J" in J.T. stand for Journeyman?

Floyd spent his second week in a row being moved all over the place.  I can understand why they're doing this (he's probably our best DB and we need to get our best athletes on the field.) But with all this moving around, you expect him to get confused occassionally.

floydLBzone

On this play he gets caught looking at the underneath crossing route when what he needs to be doing is getting depth in his zone to squeeze off the seam route.  The cross will be picked up by the other linebacker, so his false step here was not going to help anyone.

… later in the game when Michigan had covered this bunch snag route a few times they went to a different variation where the vertical receiver ran a post and Floyd dropped right into it. He is not playing a deep half; he's playing a robber. On this pattern he will be of use when the receiver running a dig to the top of the screen clears the CB.

Zone! Man! Fight. BWS's thing this week is advocating more man coverage, complete with a chart of the results when Michigan ran man:

So in 12 attempts, Indiana had six incompletions, one sack, and five completions for approximately 69 yards. Is this statistically significant or proof that Michigan should use more man coverage? Probably not and no.

I'm not sure all of those were man, as BlueSeoul's continuing epic game breakdown series touches upon: 

Combo Coverage

When you're facing 4 or 5 WR, a 3 man rush is not a bad idea because it allows you to run combo coverage behind it.

combocov

2 Deep, looks like man coverage underneath, but really it's zone.  The man on the slot has good position for run support. The near cornerback is in bump n run with the tall and dangerous, but not necessarily quick, Belcher.

combocov2

Everyone is covered, Rodgers even manages to stay close enough to his man to dissuade a throw against the confusing look, the 3 man rush gets pressure because Martin beats a double team. Plus we've got 4 extra men in coverage that are just waiting for Chappell to misread it as man coverage and try to force a ball in, so they can get an interception.

combocov3

Chappell coolly throws it away.

So those numbers may not be right. It seems clear that whatever Michigan is doing in the dime they need to keep doing until they can do it right, at which point they can mix some stuff up. Man coverage is playing with fire every time because of…

James Rogers finally getting exposed. One of the main takeaways from BlueSeoul's post is something that was obvious in the Indiana game after Michigan managed to get away with it through the nonconference:

I've probably covered this enough already, but just to summarize, he is the weakest link.  No, that's not surprising given what's happened to the depth chart at corner.

It's so bad that it's hard to  tell who he's covering and whether he's supposed to be in zone or man.  He's just kind of over there on one side.  By the 2nd half, Indiana was actively targeting him on a large percentage of plays.  He's giving up the 7 yard out

rodgersugh

ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

I don't mean to beat up on him but I agree; he's Nick Sheridan out there. I'm half-expecting he gets replaced this weekend, probably by Avery, though I imagine he'll still have a job in the dime package. Whither Cullen Christian? (Blowing coverages against BGSU, is where.)

Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana 2010

Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana 2010

Submitted by Brian on October 7th, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Substitution notes: The base secondary was the same and played every snap IIRC. At linebacker Mouton played every down and Ezeh was the MLB but pulled regularly for the dime package; Carvin Johnson started the game but was pulled in the first half and replaced by Thomas Gordon. The line did its usual amount of rotation (mostly Martin, Banks, always RVB, a little Patterson and Sagesse) with one exception: Jibreel Black got a significant amount of time in passing situation, replacing Banks.

Formation notes: A heavy dose of the dime package that pulls Banks/Ezeh off the field for Avery and Talbott. Meanwhile, Indiana had all manner of weird stuff. I called this "Empty bunch quad":

empty-bunch-quad

This was "Pistol FB twins"; note that the TE is covered up on this play:

 pistol-twins-unbalanced

The FB is more of an H-back on this play; he was lined up next to the QB on most other plays of this variety. The rest of it was fairly straightforward.

Insanely long show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout throwaway Banks Inc
Roh lines up over the center. Martin and RVB flip positions. Indiana rolls the pocket away from Martin but lets him in free anyway; Banks(+0.5) drives through the tackle to force Chappell to pull up. He has to throw before his receivers can force Floyd(+1, cover +1) into a choice, so he chucks it OOB. (pressure +1)
M23 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Power off tackle Ezeh 6
Not to be that guy who hates Ezeh but this is pretty much Ezeh. IU brings Doss in motion and fakes an end around, then runs power at Banks. Banks(+0.5) fights inside and Mouton(+0.5) takes on the FB at the LOS, cutting off the frontside. Roh recognizes and attacks through a gap in the backside of the play and could get this at the LOS or in the backfield but slips, so no plus or minus. He does force the RB to head outside of Banks, where he finds room because Ezeh(-1) stepped towards the end-around and did not get back; Martin actually peels off a blocker and heads downfield to tackle.
M29 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Slant C. Gordon 14
Michigan threatens blitz and does come, dropping Banks and Roh off into short zones; Indiana picks it up (pressure -1) and a slant comes wide open (cover -2) with Cam Gordon(-1) sinking on a route Rogers should have covered. Good tackle by Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1).
M43 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA WR flare Johnson 15
Fake end around, fake handoff, throwback to Doss after everyone chases after the fake. IU has acres of space since Roh(-1) chased after the fake even though he's the linebacker to this side and abandoning the WR means there's no one out there; Johnson(-1) gets sealed, Rogers(-1) never does get off his blocker, and it's an easy first down (cover -1, RPS -1).
O42 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Inside zone Mouton 2
Willis decides to cut this back despite no penetration; it looks like they were trying to scoop Martin(+0.5) but he knocked the C back and ended up occupying two blockers; still, Willis might have a crease on the frontside. Instead he cuts it back into a huge space because Banks(-0.5) was kicked out easily; Mouton(+1, tackling +1) reads and reacts to tackle.
O40 2 8 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Power off tackle Martin 24
Man, this should be easy to read: the pulling G starts pulling out before the snap, a dead giveaway. It doesn't turn out that way. Martin(-2) completely misses the pull, fighting into the space the G has just vacated. This opens a huge gap and allows the guy doubling him to get a release on Ezeh; pulling G hits Mouton and the two LBs just have too much space to shut down. Willis is through the crease between them as their waving arm tackles are unsuccessful. Floyd(-1.5) is playing deep safety here and comes up to make a tackle(-1) attempt after ten yards but almost misses it and allows Willis to drag him another 15 yards. This is an example of how useful Cam Gordon is as a run defender; this has happened zero times to him.
O16 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Martin -1
Some redemption as Martin(+1) drives the C backwards and causes the back to hesitate, allowing Renaldo Sagesse(+0.5), unblocked on the backside, to close and tackle with help from Kovacs(+1), who read the play and shot the gap at the right instant, beating a block and getting in on the TFL.
O17 2 11 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Slant Floyd 12
Terrible terrible coverage by Floyd(-2), who has one receiver to his side of the field and is in the redzone and lays off this slant to the point where it's unbelievably wide open on the world's easiest read (cover -2). Michigan had gotten a free rusher and if Floyd is up on this Chappell is running for his life. Terrible pairing of pressure, coverage, and game situation. I really hope this isn't how the play was drawn up. Floyd then compounds things by getting dragged past the sticks by Belcher(tackling –1).
O5 1 G Pistol twins unbalanced Base 4-4 Run N/A End around Kovacs 2
Kovacs(+0.5) is out providing contain and forces the play into Mouton, who helps tackle.
O3 2 G Pistol twins unbalanced Base 4-4- Run N/A Power off tackle Van Bergen -2
Fake end around, hand it off. RVB(+3) comes underneath a guy trying to downblock him, reads the handoff, and meets the tailback two yards in the backfield. He holds him up and help arrives.
O5 3 G Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv ? 5
Absolutely forevvvver on a three man rush that gets nowhere and doesn't even have Roh in it (RPS -1, pressure -2). Martin eventually comes through blockers to hit but it's too late as one of IU's receivers has separated from the coverage of Mouton and found an open spot in the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc
IU runs a series of hitches that are all covered by Michigan's eight-man drop (cover +1), at which point Martin(+0.5) flushes Chappell and forces the throwaway.
O39 2 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Penalty ? Delay ? -5
Oops.
O34 2 15 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Out Rogers Inc
Rogers in a three-deep zone and beaten badly for at a ten-yard completion but Chappell chucks it well OOB, then starts grabbing his hand. (Cover -1) Actually, I think the player most at fault here is Avery(-1) who sucked in on routes others were covering instead of sinking back into this one.
O34 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Scramble Roh 10
Floyd lines up as a deep safety, then runs to the LOS to threaten a blitz. Roh rushes! Chappell sets up but can't find an open guy(cover +1) at first, then moves up in the pocket thanks to Roh(+0.5) and Black (+0.5) coming around the end. He takes off to run, which works about as well as you might expect. Roh runs him down from behind. (Pressure +1.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run N/A Power dive Ezeh 3
Martin again seems like he's about to get sealed and let his blocker out on a linebacker, and does cede a big hole here. He jumps back and flows down the line when he reads the play, though, so no minus. Ezeh(+1) reads the play and blasts into the pulling G, forcing the play back inside, where Martin and Mouton come off blocks to tackle after a moderate gain.
O29 2 7 Wildcat 4-wide bunch Base 4-3 Run Banks QB stretch Banks 0
They start out in one formation then motion all around and end up in the wildcat. Why? Who knows. They then run a stretch that Banks(+1) strings out, occupying two blockers and giving no ground. This allows Mouton(+1) to attack the edge when Doss commits to it, tackling for no gain. Roh flowed down the backside to help tackle.
O29 3 7 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Slant Roh 14
Two blitzers up the middle (Black one of them) with Mouton and Roh dropping into short zones. Michigan again pairs a blitz like this on third and medium with a soft zone that sees a slant route open up as Roh(-2) sucks up on a two-yard drag that had no chance at first down. (cover -2) Chappell got wasted by Martin as he threw; just a second more in coverage and this is a stop, but I say that all the time.
O43 1 10 Pistol FB Base 4-3 Pass NA PA TE corner Kovacs Inc
Kovacs initially beaten on this but tracks the TE down by the time this ball gets there and has a chance to maybe make a play on the ball if it's in a certain spot. It's long. Floyd, playing FS here, had been sucked to the other side of the field by a roll away from the route—this is a tough throw. No coverage +/- since this is mediocre.
O43 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out Rogers Inc
They're going high-low on Rogers and he sinks back so the out is open; Chappell misthrows it. (Cover -1)
O43 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Drag Roh 6
Roh(+1) rushes. He sets the OT up outside, then dives inside of him to get pressure(+1) on Chappell, hitting him as he throws short (cover +1) to the drag route; Floyd and Mouton tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O1 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run N/A QB sneak -- 1
They get a yard.
O2 2 9 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4? Rollout hitch Rogers 9
Okay, so this is going to happen sometimes but the thing that grinds my gears is that this is a five yard route that a good defense would tackle immediately and ours would give up a first down on, which they do. Rogers -1; his ability to change direction is not so good, and it results in stuff like this here. (Tackling –1)
O11 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass   Bubble screen Johnson 7
Johnson(-0.5) and Rogers(-0.5) both get blocked, opening up the corner.
O18 2 3 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB End around Roh 7
Roh(-1) sucks in on the playfake and even though Johnson(+0.5) does a good job of funneling it back inside Roh's slow reaction opens up a crease for the first. This was the kind of stuff he was always going to be vulnerable to as a linebacker. C. Gordon comes up for a killshot that lands a glancing blow; Roh wraps up from behind.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Hitch Johnson 5
Roh rushes; neutralized. Martin is coming in on Chappell eventually, forcing a throw. Chappell finds a guy open but could have had a better option to the outside; as it is Ezeh and Johnson(+0.5, cover +1) tackle immediately.
O30 2 5 Pistol FB twins Base 4-4 Pass N/A Waggle corner Floyd Inc (Pen +10)
Floyd does grab his jersey in a flamboyant fashion as the guy cuts outside and uses that to stay in contact and make a good PBU(-1, cover -1). I'd rather see this than Rogers not being within three yards of a guy.
O40 1 10 Shotgun H-back bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass   Long handoff Rogers 1 (Pen +15)
Rogers(+1) does react to this quickly, forcing the WR inside of him at the LOS and allowing Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) to plant the guy; Rogers gets flagged for a face mask. I don't minus stuff like this that's accidental instead of dumb.
M44 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Dumpoff Ezeh Inc
Good coverage downfield(+2, Ezeh +1 for a good drop in space that took away the primary read) induces Chappell to chuck a three-yard checkdown that he overthrows and nearly sees intercepted.
M44 2 10 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Out Johnson 7
Another frustrating dink of a pass that should be shut down for little but ends up giving IU third and short. Johnson(-0.5) was too far to tackle right away and Roh(-0.5) was awkward in space instead of aggressive. (Tackling –1)
M37 3 3 Shotgun trips bunch TE 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Flare ? 5
With Mouton chucking the TE Chappell reads his flare is open and throws it on the money, giving the RB the opportunity to get the first despite Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) coming downhill and making a solid tackle almost on the completion. Excellent execution from IU and a conversion that would not have happened with better tackling on the previous play.
M32 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen C. Gordon 9
This is a bubble fake that counters into a tunnel screen and gets Cam Gordon(-1) shooting up to the outside of the play; Roh(-1) also headed outside despite watching the OL release downfield; there is much space. Gordon does recover to tackle solidly(+0.5). This is a clever play we should consider adopting.
M23 2 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Floyd Inc
Open in front of Floyd for four yards; in this down and distance whatever, it's probably right to play it safe. Pass is a bit short and dropped.
M23 3 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Run N/A QB sneak ? 1
Chappell runs up under center and takes a snap; they get it. Very tough to stop this with how they've spread the field.
M22 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Inside zone Johnson 22
So they've been putting Johnson(-2) on the interior on these plays right over the tackle. IU runs right at him and he makes a critical mistake by doing… something, I don't know what. He steps to the right for some reason, maybe because IU has an end-around fake; this allows an IU guard to seal him easily. Ezeh(-1) also stepped right, getting blocked out of the play, and Gordon(-1) moved over too with the WR motion. As a result there's a big hole right where the RB is hitting it up and three players who should be in the area are all gone because they moved to combat a playfake that was not their responsibility and they could do nothing about.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Pistol trips bunch TE Base 4-3 Pass 4 Flare Roh Inc
Roh rushes. He draws attention from both the LT and the LG, giving RVB a free run at the QB despite no blitz. Chappell is forced into a quick swing that he throws wide of the tailback. This is pure bust by IU but Roh did run right by the tackle to pressure, as well (+1 Roh, pressure +1)
O31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Flat Floyd 9
Roh rushes; LT fends him off. RVB(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) are crushing the pocket so Chappell has to get rid of the ball (pressure +1); Floyd(-2, cover -2) is jumping a slant route that is not open because Mouton is dropping into it(+1). This opens up a nothing pass in the flat for major yards.
O40 3 1 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run N/A QB sneak ? 1
They get it.
O41 1 10 Pistol Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass   Bubble screen Roh 8
Rogers(+0.5) and T. Gordon(+0.5), in for Johnson, recognize this, attack it, and cut off the outside, where Roh(-2) awkwardly overruns the receiver and turns 0 yards into eight. (Tackling -2, Cover +1)
O49 2 2 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Mouton 3
Linebackers on their heels here. Martin(+0.5) absorbs a double without giving ground or allowing a guy off on a downfield player but Mouton(-0.5) took his first steps into a zone drop and can't hit the hole before Willis is through for the first; he does come up to tackle after the short gain.
M48 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Inside zone Martin -1
Martin(+1.5) takes a double and drives it playside by himself, cutting off any hole. Willis has to cut to the backside, where Sagesse is unblocked. He misses but delays the guy, allowing four Michigan players to come through the line and surround Willis; Mouton(+0.5) tackles for a loss; Ezeh(+0.5) had dipped past a blocker to cut off another lane; everyone else just had to run to the ball.
M49 2 11 Pistol 3-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 TE Seam Floyd 27
Roh rushes, Stoned. Chappell is looking right down the center of the field where Mouton and Floyd are; both suck up on a little drag route and subsequently leave a TE seam wide open (cover -3); Cam Gordon comes over to bash the guy to the ground. I am not entirely sure what is desired here but I find it hard to believe that Floyd(-2) isn't supposed to carry the receiver deeper; Gordon may have been late as well.
M22 1 10 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Slant Floyd 6
Fake blitz gets Banks in free (pressure +1, RPS +1), but there's no zone under the slant to the short side and it's an easy pitch and catch. Immediate tackle from Floyd(+0.5, cover –1).
M15 2 4 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Pass 4 Rollout corner Gordon Int
They roll away from the pocket to the wide side of the field and leave everyone in to block; Chappell makes a horrible decision to throw to a guy on a corner route that Gordon(+2, cover +2) has blanketed; he intercepts and manages to not fumble it back.
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-14, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run ? Draw Martin -3
Martin(+3) zips between the C and G with evil intent on the QB but has the agility to change direction and swallow the draw well in the backfield.
O25 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Flare screen Kovacs 12
Guh. Okay, Black(-1) does not recognize this and just runs at the QB. Talbott(-1) eats an OL and doesn't seem to even think about getting off his block. And Kovacs(-1) came up slow, didn't recognize where Mouton was coming from, and ends up making a weak ankle tackle that turns this from third and medium into third and two. (Tackling -1)
O37 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Floyd 7
DL tight in case of a sneak so not likely they'll get pressure; IU does not sneak, instead hitting a receiver in front of Floyd's soft zone (cover -1).
O44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Hitch C. Gordon 17
Zone blitz sees Banks and Martin drop out as two guys come from the linebacker level, getting a free run on Chappell, but since it's backed with a three deep zone he has a wide, wide open guy on a hitch that he hits (cover -2, presure +1). C. Gordon(-1) was not in the deep zone and needs to react more quickly to this; another example of M giving up a ton of YAC. This could have been eight; it's seventeen.
M39 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc
No pressure(-1) but the coverage(+2) is very good and Chappell has nowhere to go when Patterson eventually gets through and flushes him.
M39 2 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Corner Rogers? 24
NFW Michigan can defend this as aligned, as Rogers has a nasty choice between giving up the corner or the flat and chooses poorly by not sinking into the corner. (Cover -2, RPS -2); Gordon has no prayer of getting over in time and can only hope to tackle. Also, Avery(-1) appears to be abandoning his zone to ride the WR on a little hitch farther, which means the flat is wide open; Michigan is putting lots of guys in the same areas on their zone drops.
M15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Slant Roh 13
Roh(-1) fakes a rush and then drops into a zone; his drop is not good and Chappell can just wait for the receiver to clear him on the slant; C. Gordon(+1) does read this and delivers a hellacious hit just as the ball arrives; receiver hangs on but that was a monster hit that could force an incompletion or fumble. (Cover... 0). Also this is an example of Indiana's pass offense being flat good.
M2 1 G Pistol FB twins Goal line Run RVB Inside zone Van Bergen 1
Van Bergen(+1) surges into the backfield, cutting off the RB's intended path and forcing a cutback. Martin(-0.5) has been shoved down the line and eventually collapses in a heap of bodies; Campbell(-0.5) is also on the ground, so no loss here; Mouton(+0.5) and others converge to tackle short of the goal line.
M1 2 G Pistol FB twins Goal line Run RVB Power off tackle Van Bergen -1
Van Bergen(+2) slants past the tackle into the play, absorbing the pulling guard and forcing the RB up the middle of the field, where Demens(+1) forms up and tackles, driving the tailback backwards with help from Mouton, who basically tackled Demens from behind to provide extra momentum.
M1 3 G Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Circle Talbott 1
Rush gets unblocked guys in (pressure +1) and Chappell has to get rid of it, which he does by throwing a circle route in front of Talbott, who is right there but can't do anything about a perfectly placed pass that required the 6-5 Belcher to lay out. Again: Indiana's passing offense is legitimately good.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-21, EOH. Indiana had 45 seconds and three timeouts when they got to first and goal and still would not have had a fourth down play here.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA WR flare T. Gordon 15
A repeat of a play from the first drive. Roh(-1) hauls ass after the handoff fake despite RVB sitting there unblocked to handle any cutbacks, opening up space for Doss; T. Gordon(-1) also bit inside pointlessly and gave the IU WR a great angle to block him despite having no earthly way to do anything about a hypothetical run from this far outside. C. Gordon makes a solid tackle(+0.5, tackling +1) but not before the first down.
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Hitch ? 11
Easy since M is playing the same soft zone behind their blitzes, giving Chappell plenty of opportunities to hit guys. Man coverage does not exist. (Cover -2, RPS -1). T. Gordon and Rogers tackle after the first.
50 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Bubble screen Rogers 3
Blitz caught(RPS -1) and leaves a ton of space since Michigan has sent it from the receiver-heavy side of the field.
M43 2 3 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Banks 1
Martin(+1) and Banks(+0.5) shoot through the line immediately, crushing the play's blocking and forcing the RB outside, where Floyd(+0.5) comes up to tackle. Banks let the RB outside, so no +1.
M42 3 2 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB End around T. Gordon 0
Van Bergen(+1) sets up outside and maintains contain responsibly, stringing the play out. This allows T. Gordon(+1) to get outside his blocker and string it all the way to the sideline, with Rogers adding the final dainty shove OOB.
Drive Notes: Insane punt, 28-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Fly Rogers 46
This is a cover two that Rogers(-2) immediately gets burned on, a step behind the receiver and unable to do anything about a good pass; Gordon(-1) was also late after not reacting to where the vertical routes were coming from. (Cover -2.)
M15 1 10 Wildcat 4-wide bunch Base 4-3 Run N/A Zone stretch Van Bergen -1
Indiana throws away a down so okay. RVB(+1.5) drives into the backfield, forcing a cutback into Banks(+1), who came under a blocker, and Kovacs(+0.5), who was free on the backside.
M16 2 11 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flanker screen Mouton 5
So this is what I would like to see on this: okay, you gave up some yards but not that many. Floyd(+0.5) took on his blocker quickly and Mouton(+0.5, tackling +1) thumped the ballcarrier after a modest gain. Not third and one coming up.
M11 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 6 Out Talbott 8
Blitz does not get there in time (pressure -1) and Talbott(-1, cover -1) is smoked in man coverage.
M3 1 G Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Banks Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) tries to slant inside and gets shoved out of the play without taking out another blocker, leaving a lot of space and a lead guy. RVB has come all the way from the backside of the play and Martin is also there; they connect at the LOS but get dragged into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-28, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Waggle deep cross Floyd 19 + 15 pen
Linebackers suck up to the playfake but recover decently; Ezeh(+0.5) is just a step behind the receiver and Chappell has to fit it in a tight window (cover +1) since Floyd is on the edge; Floyd(-1) then misses a tackle(-1) and turns this first down into a first down plus like ten more yards. Black(-0.5) shot into the supposed run play and gave up the corner, giving Chappell some time. He then gets a roughing the passer call(-1.5).
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run N/A Draw Martin -1
Another stupid wasted down. Martin(+1) pushes through the IU blockers; no one bothers to stay with him, and since he's so agile he can shut down even mondo space like this. RB does run past him but the blocking angles are screwed up and Ezeh(+1) can read it and move up to make a solid TFL(tackling +1).
M28 2 11 Shotgun trips bunch TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Angle Ezeh Inc
Mouton(+0.5) gets a free run but no RPS plus on this because Indiana has a hot route that looks like it will work since Ezeh(-1) is in man on the RB and flies out expecting a flat route only for the RB to dive back inside. Pass is too hot and dropped. First IU drop of the day. (Cover -1)
M28 3 11 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Throwaway Black Inc
No one open immediately (cover +1) and then Black comes around the corner with enough of an angle to force Chappell to start moving his feet. Black then comes around like he's taking another pass in a bomber, forcing Chappell to the sidelines, where RVB can help chase; they force him to chuck it OOB. +1 Black, I think, and pressure +1.
M28 4 11 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Cross Black Inc
Black(+2) shoots inside the tackle and is tripped by the guard, drawing a holding flag and forcing Chappell to start moving his feet; RVB(+0.5) takes advantage of this to start chasing from the outside. Chappell throws to a guy well-covered by Floyd(+2, cover +1) and the pass is broken up.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs,35-28, 4 min 3rd Q. Couple of nice plays by Black there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Sack Banks -11
So this is pretty weird from IU, with the RT just sort of holding off Banks and expecting inside help that the G is not providing. This allows Banks to head upfield pretty much unmolested and sack. +2 for him, though that may be generous given the bust, and +1 for good coverage downfield.
O9 2 21 Shotgun trips 4-1-6 dime Pass 3 Dumpoff Mouton 5
Martin playing DE here and though there's not much pressure Chappell gets spooked and tosses a dumpoff (cover +1) that Mouton(+1, tackling +1) closes down.
O14 3 16 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Deep hitch Avery 17
BWS picture-paged this and I agree: Avery(-2) abandons his zone responsibility to essentially play man on the slot receiver and opens up a 20-yard completion. (Cover -3) Rogers(-1) was also passive here; he's never close to receivers.
O33 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Long handoff Floyd 12
Floyd(-1.5) sucks in on play action and gives up an easy first down. (Cover -1)
O45 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Dive Mouton 3
Martin(-0.5) controlled and sealed though he doesn't give up too much room; Mouton(+1) slams into the lead blocker at the LOS and Black(+1) chucks his blocker away, forcing a cutback from the RB that Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) tackles on.
O48 2 7 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 7(!) Out ? Inc
Inevitable someone gets a free run here and it comes right up the middle; quick throw is wide of the WR. Rogers did not have very good coverage. (Pressure +1)
O48 3 7 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Hitch Avery 10
Roh(+1) spins inside the RT and nails Chappell as he throws (pressure +2) and Banks(+1) is coming around the edge; any hesitation and this is a sack. There isn't any because Avery(-2) has again totally vacated his zone in favor of chasing a guy across the field, providing a huge window in which to throw (cover -2). I can't believe they haven't ditched this package yet; Avery has no idea what he's doing.
M42 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out T. Gordon 12
Plenty of time (pressure -2) but good downfield coverage(+1) leaves nothing but a short out; T. Gordon(-2, tackling -1) is there and whiffs, turning four into a first down.
M30 1 10 Shotgun trips Base 4-3 Pass 3 Flare screen Floyd -1
No one out on Floyd(+1) so he rolls up on the RB and makes a solid open field tackle(+1) for loss. I assume the WR busted here?
M31 2 11 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Sack Martin -15
Eight man drop sees no one open immediately (cover +1) and Martin(+3) shoves the center backwards, forcing him to trip over one of his linemates. Free, Martin consumes Chappell's soul.
M46 3 26 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Dig ? 10
No one gets near Chappell this time (pressure -1) and he has plenty of time to find a WR for about half of it; Roh(-0.5) overruns a tackle but Mouton(+0.5) makes up for it and they get him down about where he catches it. In this situation, fine.
M36 4 16 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Scramble Van Bergen 7
Coverage(+1) at first, then RVB(+1.5) chucks away a guard and threatens to come up the middle, flushing Chappell; Black(+0.5) comes from behind to chase and Chappell has to scramble fruitlessly. (pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 35-28, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Dive Ezeh 2
RVB(+0.5) heads upfield and past his blocker and Ezeh(+1) thumps into the pulling guard at the line, causing the RB to head to the backside where Mouton(+0.5) is unblocked and makes the easy play.
O20 2 8 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc (Pen +15)
Michigan blankets all three of the bunch receivers(cover +2) and then Martin(+0.5) fights through blockers to force the dumpoff. Michigan is hit with a borderline roughing the passer call as Martin bangs into Chappell after the throw (-2).
O35 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Zone stretch Banks 0
Banks(+1) takes the double but doesn't get sealed, leaving Mouton(+0.5) to slam up into the frontside gap before the OL can get out on him. This forces a cutback into Ezeh(+0.5), who is unblocked but in good position and tackles(+1) for no gain.
O35 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Ezeh Inc
Michigan has this bunch set down and has again covered(+1) the options. Ezeh(+0.5) drops right into the TEs route, and Chappell has to scramble as RVB(+0.5) comes free. He chucks it at one of the covered receivers; pass goes wide. (Cover +1, again.)
O35 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Post Floyd Inc
This same route package with one exception: deep receiver to the bunch side runs a post. Short guys covered, deep guys covered, and Floyd(+2) drops right into the targeted area. Chappell throws it well long, which is fortunate for IU (cover +2).
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-28, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol FB twins 3-3-5 stack Run Banks End around Kovacs 13
Kovacs(-1.5) is too focused on the dive playfake and gets thunderously cut to the ground; Banks(-0.5) also sucks inside, leaving Doss wide open on the corner; Floyd(-0.5) comes up and gets run over without so much as an attempt to wrap up; he doesn't force the ballcarrier back into help, either.
O33 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA WR flare Rogers 8
Third time for this play; this time T. Gordon(+0.5) gets into his blocker and forces a choice, which is outside; Rogers(-1) beats his blocker but overruns the play to the point where he runs up between Rogers and the guy trying to block him. Cam Gordon makes a solid tackle after all that.
O41 2 2 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Martin 2
Martin(+1) jams up the frontside, forcing a cutback with help from Banks(+0.5); IU G attempting to block Martin successfully diagnoses that he's screwed and makes a really smart play to peel off and hit Ezeh just as he's about to hit the RB at the LOS, allowing him a tiny crease for the first.
O43 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Bubble screen Roh 9
T. Gordon(+0.5) does zip past his blocker and get into the WR at the LOS. He could/should have this for nothing but the throw is a ltitle bad—inside and upfield—which gives the WR some momentum away from where Gordon expects him to be and he ends up missing the tackle. He's still disrupted the play, but Roh(-1) bit on the run fake and is late, and Rogers(-0.5) makes a really weak tackle(-1) that sees the guy pick up 4-5 YAC. Our corners don't tackle well.
M48 2 1 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Inside zone Patterson 8
Patterson(-1) sealed easily enough for the C to pop out on Mouton(-0.5) who had a tough job but had help in the box from Kovacs and should have attacked the hole here more aggressively. Ezeh had another gap that was open to sit in.
M40 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Penalty   False start ? -5
Oops.
M45 1 15 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch ? 5
Open. T. Gordon and Rogers are running out on it but it's upfield and the WR can't catch it and stay on his feet. M has pulled Roh for Fitzgerald on this play.
M40 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Dumpoff Roh 5
Roh's absence was very temporary; he's back. Good coverage(+1), no pressure(-1); Chappell dumps it off, where Roh(+0.5) does make a good tackle(+1) after little gain.
M35 3 5 Shotgun trips bunch 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Hitch Roh Inc
Chappell misses an open out in favor of throwing a deep hitch that Roh(+1, cover +1) is right in front of. Chappell throws it really high and uncatchable; if not this high could have been deflected/picked.
M35 4 5 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 In Roh 11
Man. Black(+2) smokes the LT and gets inside of him, nailing Chappell as he throws (pressure +2) and forcing a throw short of the sticks. This is a little in that Roh(-1, cover -1) is just a yard or two too deep on but there was a route behind him. This is just outstanding from Chappell to get this pass off and get it to the right place. I do think Roh took his eyes off the QB for a moment for whatever reason and that's why this ends up in a first down.
M24 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Dive T. Gordon 0
Mass of bodies, no creases in the line, and T. Gordon(+1) moves up into the gap, hitting the lead blocker in the backfield and forcing a cutback. Kovacs peels back and Mouton(+0.5) stands up the RB at the line.
M24 2 10 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Dumpoff Patterson Inc
Time(pressure -2) but good coverage(+2) and Patterson(+0.5) bides his time, coming through blockers as Chappell starts moving around the pocket to force an inaccurate throw on a dumpoff.
M24 3 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Middle screen Martin 5
Just one LB in the middle of the field and Indiana runs an RPS+2 play against it that could/should obliterate this D except for Martin(+2) peeling back and tackling the RB from behind. How many DTs can do this? That saves Michigan's bacon temporarily.
M19 4 5 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 RB flat Talbott 19
This is another clueless freshman essentially playing man in zone; do not listen to the man with the telestrator blaming Mouton. Talbott(-2, cover -3) runs with the slant way too far, opening the RB flat wide open and giving up the first down. Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) makes a heady, gritty play by missing the tackle and giving Denard time to work with. That's the ticket!
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-35, 1 min 4th Q. Last drive happens with 12 seconds and is not charted, but Talbott does make a good play on the slant that was play 1, FWIW.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing it was the 2010 Indiana game / and they'll keep on charting it forever just because…

Michigan gave up a lot of first downs, yes, and many of them were on stuff like this:

That should be two yards, and then it should be four yards, and then it is six. The next play is a little flare that Kovacs tackles on immediately:

That's about as well as you can play that and if Michigan had held two yards to four it would have been fourth down (and Indiana would have gone for it). This happened a lot. When you're playing against Indiana a lot of defensive execution is keeping dink passes dinky, and Michigan did not do this well at all. This is because of crappy tackling, the lack of defensive backs athletic enough to tackle on the catch, and…

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

I mentioned this in the game column and saw it when I reviewed the game: Craig Roh is oh exploitable in space.

As we'll see in a bit, this was not a good day from him and it was mostly stuff like that; you'll note that the clip in the first section above also features Roh being uncertain about attacking the guy with the ball.

I'm confused by the decision to play him at LB in this game after we saw him be effective against a passing spread at DE in the Notre Dame game. Okay, Brandon Herron is out, but how much worse than Herron can JB Fitzgerald be? And isn't the passing-down upgrade from Banks to Roh worth it?

The only thing I can think of is that Roh is not a guy who is going to beat two blockers and Michigan was addicted to the three-man rush, but even that's weak.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

The natural effect of the three-man rush is to not give up anything long—Indiana's long reception on the day was a 46-yarder to Doss on one of the few instances where they tried to play man and Rogers got burnt. The next longest was a 24-yarder, again to Doss. It also does a crappy job of getting negative plays and booting people off the field, yielding lots and lots of long drives.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

Denard.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

This is going to sound like the self-serving thing fans do where the opponent is total crap that will fall weakly until they actually do, at which point they were a colossus overcome by derring-do and iron, but you can check the game preview to confirm this is what I thought after taking in the Western Kentucky-IU game: Indiana has a legitimately very good pass offense. They had 41 opportunities to make catches and made 40. Chappell almost never went to the wrong guy and missed on maybe five of his 65 attempts. Their receivers are tall and fast and shifty. One dollar they're the most productive pass offense in the conference at the end of the year.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

Chart. Keep in mind that the numbers for DL will be inflated to the positive simply because of how many plays they got; similarly, the defensive back minuses will be larger than usual.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 12 - 12 Excellent against the run, got some pass rush, mentally round this down to a +8.
Martin 16 5 11 Actually got beat out by someone, also round this down to +7 or so.
Banks 8 2.5 5.5 Still adequate, though his sack was a gift.
Sagesse 0.5 - 0.5 Hardly used.
Patterson 0.5 1 -0.5 Also infrequent.
Black 7 3 4 Nice performance for a freshman.
Campbell - 0.5 -0.5 One short yardage play.
TOTAL 44 12 32 Or around +20 for three DL, which is a decent, not great day.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 6 3 3 STILL VERY HOPELESS I HATE HIM THIS IS NOT AN ANTIJINX
Mouton 9.5 1 8.5 Er?
Roh 5 12 -7 I totally took clips off all his bad stuff so people wouldn't yell at me. Not deployed properly; this is hardly his fault.
Johnson 1 4 -3 IME the primary guy on the long Willis TD..
T. Gordon 3.5 3 0.5 I think he's the starter here for a bit.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 1 - 1 Goal line only.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - - - One play IIRC.
TOTAL 26 23 3 Players other than Mouton struggled tackling in space.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 7.5 11.5 -4 Busy day came out to the negative mostly because of bad tackling.
Rogers 1.5 7 -5.5 Beat up pretty good for the first time.
Kovacs 3.5 3.5 0 The king of moderate-moderate-0.
C. Gordon 4 5 -1 More on him later.
Talbott - 4 -4 Zone vacancy.
Christian - - - DNP
Avery - 6 -6 Zone vacancy II.
Ray Vinopal - - - DNP
TOTAL 16.5 37 -20.5 Chappellbombed
Metrics
Pressure 14 11 3 I'm still having a hard time judging what is reasonable in the three man rush.
Coverage 28 34 -6 Possibly too kind.
Tackling 11 11 0 I should change this to a percentage: 50% on this sample size is not good.
RPS 1 8 -7 Chappell found holes in the zone all day.

[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

Again, there are a lot of factors throwing off the numbers: a vast number of plays. The reliance on the three-man rush. The 3-3-5. I'm still searching for my footing in a new environment. These things are just supposed to be guides surrounded by plenty of context, though, not gospel.

As for the guides: I thought Mouton was good, Kovacs and Gordon okay and reliable, and all cornerbacks not good. Floyd is the best of the bunch right now and he has major issues tackling; his coverage is much better than last year but still only brushes up against adequate. Rogers plays it safe because whenever he doesn't he gets burned. Roh was covered above: he's not being done a favor by this D.

Any bright spots?

I like Cam Gordon. He imploded magnificently against Notre Dame but this week very little of what went wrong can be put on his head. There was the interception, of course. And he did this:

I know he didn't get a PBU or wrap up but that's a hit with the potential to jar a ball free. When was the last time a Michigan safety did that? In contrast, this is JT Floyd moonlighting at safety:

That stuff happens all the time with defensive backs trying to tackle, but so far Gordon has not fallen victim. Through five games the longest run an opponent has had on Michigan was the 29 yards Armando Allen picked up on an edge pitch that Michigan was doomed on because they were blitzing Kovacs right past it. While he took a dodgy angle on that one it's hard to remember another run on which I thought "argh Cam Gordon." The run minuses have been few and far between for him.

He's off to a good start for a redshirt freshman who just flipped to defense. As he gets more comfortable the wood will be brought with more regularity.

Elsewhere, the linebackers who are actual linebackers did little that was objectionable, though the big tests for them come the next two weeks. And Jibreel Black got a +4 in limited time, showing good pass rush ability against an Indiana line that is at least competent at protecting the passer. That seems like the first step on the way to a productive career; if he can push through a competent Banks into the starting lineup that will be encouraging int the same way Lewan's emergence has been. Even if he just ends up in heavy rotation and does fairly well with it that will probably plug one of the three holes in next year's starting line up with an upgrade.

Heroes?

Martin, Van Bergen, Mouton. I thought Kovacs and Gordon had a lot of opportunities to make big errors and did not, as well.

Goats?

Any of the four cornerbacks, and the linebacker version of Roh. I think all save Rogers (who is what he is as a fifth year senior) can and will get better, but in this game they were the guys most responsible for giving up 35.

What does it mean for Michigan State and beyond?

Maybe not that much since Michigan is done playing passing spreads until they meet Purdue; I'm actually more worried about what happened in the UMass game re: MSU, Iowa, PSU than anything that happened against Indiana. Okay, a veteran, accurate quarterback and his band of tall, excellent receivers burned Michigan's secondary. This is not shocking. Michigan State is not likely to come out throwing on 80% of first downs anyway.

I think this dime package can work once the freshmen get some more experience; many of the errors were correctable. If guys start dropping into the right zones Michigan's front three has shown enough pass rush to get opponent offenses off the field somewhat regularly, and "somewhat" should be enough.

Roh should and probably will play way more defensive end against the rest of the schedule; at the very least when he's a linebacker Michigan should be sending him on blitzes at least 70% of the time. The extra guy in coverage just isn't that useful compared to the extra pressure he can bring. 

Some issues are fixable, but the lack of raw talent in the secondary isn't. Roh's inability to move like a linebacker and the lack of pass rush from the starting DEs are also issues that will persist throughout the year. The best I can offer is that I'm not 100% sure that State will shred Michigan's D for 500 yards because the linebackers have picked up their play and this could turn out to be an all right run defense and Indiana could turn out to be the best passing offense in the league by some distance. I don't think it's quite as bad as it looks right this instant.

I will reserve GERG bashing until I see what happens the next two games. There are clear problems that can be addressed by player development or scheme adjustments; hopefully Michigan can get the ship somewhat righted.

Picture Pages: Cover Two Corner Route Doom

Picture Pages: Cover Two Corner Route Doom

Submitted by Brian on October 7th, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Why so the suck against Indiana? A few things leapt out on the tape. One was YAC given up by a physical inability to be close enough to the receiver to tackle on the catch. This is the James Rogers problem, and it isn't going away. Another problem might: freshman defensive backs think "zone" means "man." BWS caught an instance of this and picture-paged Courtney Avery giving up a big gainer on third and sixteen because he dragged out of his zone.

That was an excellent example of cover three. Here Michigan will run cover two and get nailed on it. However, it's not Avery's aggressive coverage that's the problem here, it's the Michigan zone's obviousness and inflexibility.

The setup: Michigan is trying to keep Indiana out of the endzone on the final drive of the first half. IU's driven it just inside the Michigan 40 and has a second and ten. They come out in their bunch shotgun set. Michigan shows two high safeties:

corner-1

At the snap four guys rush and Michigan is obviously in zone. They have JT Floyd and Mouton in the middle of the field, Courtney Avery playing in the slot, Terrence Talbott and James Rogers on the outside, and Kovacs and Gordon as deep safeties. Mouton drops into a zone to cover a potential slant and Floyd is sitting in the middle of the field about ten yards deep:

corner-2 

A split second later we see what's going on with this bunch at the bottom of the screen: two short routes breaking inside and out with one guy headed deeper. Rogers is essentially motionless as Avery starts moving with the interior WR: corner-4

Avery follows… Rogers is motionless…

corner-5

Avery follows… Rogers still not going anywhere… IU receiver still running to the sticks… Chappell throwing…

corner-6

Alert: someone done failed.

corner-7

Gordon comes over to clean up:

corner-8

Indiana gets a first down inside the 20.

UPDATE: duh forgot the clip.

Who's at fault here? I don't know. I don't think anyone, really. Some guesses at object lessons:

  • This, like Odoms sitting way down in the hole, is a pass that takes advantage of cover two. The sideline 15-20 yards downfield is always a weak spot. Not a lot of quarterbacks can exploit that as ruthlessly as Chappell can, though in this instance it's so open a lot of QBs could make the play.
  • Michigan made this read easy by showing cover two and running it. Chappell knew it was zone because Michigan just about always plays zone and did not put another guy over the bunch, and as soon as Rogers sat down on the out he knew the corner was going to be open.
  • Advanced zone defenses that use pattern reading can adapt to these routes better. I'm not sure about this, but the key is that someone has to be responsible for #2 going vertical and go with him. That would be either Avery or Rogers. The other would come up on the out, leaving the drag to Floyd. Michigan doesn't do this here and probably doesn't ever do it because they've got a secondary with three sophomores, two freshmen, and positional vagabond James Rogers. Also some defensive coaches think pattern reading is suboptimal for reasons I'm not 100% clear on yet.
  • Avery seems like he's in great position if this was man coverage. He also broke up a slant against BG impressively. If Michigan ever ran man I bet he'd be pretty good at it. Can they do that? Eh… maybe against teams that don't spread the field. Here I think his coverage is good given the situation and the assumption Michigan is not pattern reading.
  • But it's not man and the freshman corners do this all the time. There's the BWS post with an example, and Indiana's last touchdown was Terrence Talbott in great man coverage on a slant… when he had a zone to the short side of the field that held Darius Willis and no one else once he covered the slant.
  • Can Gordon do anything more here? I don't think so, but I'm asking anyone with the knowledge. Is the safety's role here tackle and live to fight another day? What if this was Reggie Nelson?

There is some good news: Michigan did adapt to this route pattern, stoning it several times late. Indiana adjusted by sending the deep WR on a post and Floyd dropped back into it, forcing Chappell to chuck it high.

Upon Further Review: Offense vs Indiana 2010

Upon Further Review: Offense vs Indiana 2010

Submitted by Brian on October 6th, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Substitution notes: Nothing unusual little. It appears the top three outside receivers are all getting approximately equal snaps. Smith played the whole game, I think, with Hopkins the other guy in the lineup on the rare occasions Michigan used a two back set. He never carried the ball. The second slot receiver is being de-emphasized in favor of more lineups featuring tight ends.

Formation notes: nothing new.

Gratuitous video:

Show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 3
Playside DT slants and does not get sealed but also runs himself out of the play so there's a hole-ish; Schilling trips over the legs of that guy and falls, removing a blocker. Whether it's because of this or Dorrestein(-1) not being able to do anything with the backside guy, Smith decides on the full cutback, which is open because the backside DE maintained contain. DE runs him down, etc. This play is a good example of what Smith gives you: he's okay. He doesn't break tackles and isn't fast enough right now to juke opponents. (ZR +1)
RUN+: RUN-: Dorrestein
M27 2 7 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 73
Omameh(+1) blocks down on the playside DT and blasts him out of the hole. Molk(+1) gets out on and seals one MLB; Webb(+1) plugs the other in the hole and Robinson has a lane right up the middle. FS comes up to fill, Robinson goes WOOP, and then he's gone. Stonum(+1) picked up a good downfield block to remove the last guy who might have had an angle. Replay.
RUN+: Omameh, Webb, Molk, Stonum, Robinson(3) RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside Zone Smith 4
Schilling(-1) is beaten and falls to the ground, forcing Smith behind him. There's a lane because of an excellent block from Webb(+1) on the backside but it's not open for much as Lewan(-1) was blasted backwards by the LB and falls over. That guy should put this on his NFL highlight tape. Smith has nowhere to go because of the minuses here and gets what he can. Molk(+1) did get a good downfield block on the MLB, which helped create a pocket for these yards. (ZR+1, btw)
RUN+: Webb, Molk RUN-: Lewan, Schilling
M19 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 5
This is not the right read with the backside DE setting up outside and another linebacker coming up, plus Stonum getting attacked like whoah by the corner. Anyway, Robinson's on the edge with two Hoosiers but manages to dance past them and pick up some yards; Omameh(+1) had gotten an excellent driving block on the backside DT and his push opened this up for a few more yards that you might expect. (ZR –1, Robinson gets off without a minus because his agility made up for the poor decision.)
RUN+: Omameh RUN-:
M24 3 1 Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 5-2 Run QB lead draw Robinson 27
Smith motions out before the snap; he'll do this before most snaps out of this formation in this game. Molk(+1) and Schilling(+1) momentarily double the playside DT, who hops inside as Denard hits it upfield immediately; Schilling pops out to seal a linebacker. Lewan(+1) has obliterated the playside DE and ends up pancaking him; Webb(+1) runs over a defensive back and Robinson gets into wide open spaces. It looks like he might be en route to a touchdown but a safety just manages to grab him from behind and take him down. I'm not sure if this was ruled a fumble or not but on replay it's clear he was down before the ball is out.
RUN+: Molk, Schilling, Lewan(2), Webb, Robinson RUN-:
O49 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA rollout hitch Hemingway 17
Webb acts as the lead blocker here and Indiana bites hard, leaving Robinson a ton of space to operate in. He hits an open Hemingway in time for Hemingway to turn upfield and get some YAC. Pass was a little high but not too bad. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 32
Indiana is running the same response to this bubble that they did last year: crash the safety at it. Michigan is responding to the response by having the outside WR block the safety—they did this against UW and OSU late last year. Hemingway(+1) picks the safety off and Roundtree(+1) shakes the hesitant, evidently not good corner for a touchdown. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
RUN+: Hemingway, Roundtree RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flanker screen Odoms 5
Grady(-1) whiffs on a safety, which forces Odoms outside if he's going to get anything and robs Roundtree of his blocking angle. Still a decent gain thanks to a quick reaction and stiffarm from Odoms(+1). (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: Odoms RUN-: Grady
M24 2 5 Shotgn trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA doom seam Roundtree 74
QB lead draw fake sucks the linebackers and the single deep safety up, providing Denard an easy throw to a wide open Roundtree that he hits. Roundtree starts rambling downfield, getting some vague help from Grady but mostly doing it himself, cutting back and then cutting out to get down to the three. (CA+, 3, protection N/A, RPS+3)
O2 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Dive Smith 1 (pen +1)
Come to the play late so not really sure what happens, but Indiana has twelve guys anyway.
O1 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Yakety Sax Robinson 0
Fumbled snap.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 14-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
Schilling(-1) beaten to the playside by a guy he has position on, which forces Smith to ineffectually block that guy too and sends Robinson to the backside of the play, where multiple unblocked IU players meet him.
RUN+: RUN-: Schilling
M24 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA circle Grady Inc
Poor read by Robinson with the safety tearing after this and Gallon breaking open over the middle on the same route Forcier tossed to Roundtree last week; the deep hitch may also have been available. As it is he throws the circle and Grady drops it, though he was going to get blown up for three yards anyway. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M24 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Smith Inc
Robinson throws it high; this was getting blown up anyway with at DT running right into Smith as the ball passed overhead. (IN, 0, screen, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-14, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 4
Contain; good handoff (ZR+1). Michigan does block the backside end but the DTs slant past Omameh(-1) and Schilling(-1) to blow up the play and the downfield blocking. Smith(+1) does a good job to cut it back behind Schilling, who just got enough of the DT to give the backside crease; he gets his point back. He hits it upfield until the contain guy comes down on him. This play was blown up and still got some yards.
RUN+: Smith RUN-: Omameh
M23 2 6 ? ? ? ? ? Pass PA rollout hitch Odoms 14
Watching highlights because you suck ESPNU; as we come back Odoms is sitting down in a hole in the zone and Robinson is nailing him for a first down. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 13
Schilling and Molk pull around as Koger and Lewan block down. Koger(+1) locks down the DE; Schilling(+2) pulls up to absorb a blow from a charging linebacker; very nice play. Robinson heads outside of that block, then cuts up inside of the corner that Roundtree got a piece of. Molk(+1) gets a downfield block on the last remaining LB; Smith(-1) is surprised by the direction of the guy he's attempting to block and lets him through; his diving arm tackle is just enough.
RUN+: Koger, Schilling(2), Molk, Robinson RUN-: Smith
50 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 7
This one barely gets out there, forcing Roundtree to dig it out. He does and manages to dodge the charging safety (who is now chagrined after terrible things happened to him), picking up decent yardage thanks to a good block from Odoms(+1). (MA, 2, screen)
RUN+: Odoms RUN-:
O43 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 6
Correct read (ZR +1); we come to this late because of cool graphics but as we do Omameh(+1) has control of Larry Black and is driving him down the line; Webb(+1) pops out on the linebacker that shows up in the B gap and Molk(+1) has both the agility and intelligence to decide he's going to pull around Omameh since this scoop isn't happening, allowing him to plow a safety. Smith runs up his back for a decent gain.
RUN+: Omameh, Webb, Molk RUN-:
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB down G Robinson 28
Just Schilling pulling this time as Molk shoots downfield for a block without coming around. Lewan(+1) and Koger(+1) blast their dudes inside; Schilling(+1) gets that same linebacker, and Smith gets a slight shove on a charging safety that Robinson(+2) just runs outside of. He then picks up an awesome block from Roundtree(+2) that allows him to cut inside and set sail for the endzone, whereupon the guy Schilling blocked(!) runs his ass off to make a shoestring tackle at the ten.
RUN+: Roundtree(2), Robinson(2), Lewan, Koger, Schilling RUN-:
O9 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 5-2 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 5
So this is kind of interesting here since because of the 2TE set and Indiana's response to this, this looks like midline. Koger kicks out the OLB on the line, leaving the backside DE unblocked; he chases after Smith and Robinson pulls (ZR+1). Lewan(+1) gets a clubbing downfield block but it's for Smith and he guy is able to spin off of it. He's there to tackle once Robinson dances inside the safety who comes up to deal with him.
RUN+: Robinson, Lewan RUN-:
O4 2 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 1
Backside DT times the snap and beats Schilling(RPS-1) thanks to it; there is a big crease to the right side of Omameh since the playside DE is actually running away from Dorrestein into Webb; Koger heads into it but Robinson can't follow since Omameh(-1) loses his guy; cutback and tackle.
RUN+: RUN-: Omameh
O3 3 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 5-2 Pass PA TE flat Koger 3
Zone stretch fake gets Denard on the edge; three Hoosiers attack him, opening up Koger for six; he flicks it in calmly. (CA+, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-14, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Inside Zone Smith 2
IU playing man with cover zero behind it so Robinson can't keep it (ZR +1) but the safeties in the box let everyone scream towards the playside and forces a Smith cutback into nothing. (RPS -1)
RUN+: N/A RUN-:
M30 2 8 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Hemingway 70
This is what happens when you play cover zero, Larry. Michigan fakes the same play, runs the bubble route, has Robinson pump, then throws a deep slant to a wide open Hemingway, who breaks the tackle of Indiana's terrible corner—same guy who got smoked by Roundtree on the bubble TD—and sets off for the endzone. +1 for employing the Tecmo Bowl zig-zag along the way. (DO, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +4)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-21, 14 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M13 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 8
Two MLBs blitz so they're out of the play since M is running to a gap they're not attacking. Smith kind of holds one of them to prevent at TFL but does not get called because it's all subtle-like. I guess he gets a plus? Omameh(+1) gets his guy a yard back and when he tries to reach out for Denard Omameh shoves him so he falls; DE comes off a block to tackle from behind but not before major yards.
RUN+: Smith, Omameh, Robinson RUN-:
M21 2 2 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside Zone Smith 1
Tate comes in as Robinson has dinged himself, and IU sells out to stop what the believe is coming, which comes. No chance for anyone to get out on the second level, guys slanting, no holes for Smith, and since Smith is totally average he can't do anything but get tackled. (RPS -1.)
M22 3 1 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 0
Safety comes up on this and kills it when a simple slant would have been wide open; IU again sells out against this package of plays. Two straight. (RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-21, 9 min 3rd Q. This is Forcier's pooch punt. Michigan seems hesitant to let Forcier throw downfield when he comes in like this.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant and go Hemingway Inc
Gaaaah. Denard pumps the bubble and sucks up the safeties, then Hemingway burns the corner. Denard throws a 69-yard touchdown on a platter well long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +3)
M31 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Roundtree 13
Safety runs up late and Michigan just goes drop-back pass against man, with Roundtree running an excellent slant and Robinson fitting it in a tight window for the first down. Roundtree makes a good catch. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)
M44 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 56
Another textbook scoop by Omameh(+1) and Molk(+2) seals the playside guy and gets Omameh(+1 again) out on the second level. Schilling(+1) cuts the hell out of the MLB and Stonum seals off the safety, sending Smith into the open field; he runs through a shoestring tackle attempt at the ten and scores.
RUN+: Omameh(2), Molk(2), Schilling, Stonum, Smith RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-28, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 1
ZR+1 as there is contain. Schilling(-1) and Molk(-1) cannot scoop the playside DT here and the linebackers are flowing downhill super fast, leaving Smith nowhere to go on any part of the play. Still, this is a play someone else might have been able to run through an arm tackle on and get three or four, not one. (RPS -1)
RUN+: RUN-: Schilling, Molk
M29 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant and go Stonum Inc
Blockers left in and three deep routes. Denard overthrows Stonum, who is doubled but has a step on both guys; probably should have come off him and looked to Roundtree on the deep post. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M29 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 8
Five sent and live I thought Robinson spooked but on replay it's obvious the receivers are blocking. Blitz forces Robinson to take a circuitous route out of the backfield and Roundtree(-1) whiffs his block, leaving two guys able to contain Robinson; he shoots up between them but comes up a yard short.
RUN+: RUN-: Roundtree
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-28, 3 min 3rd Q. This is where you go for it, no?
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 11
Another midline-ish look with the H-back lined up to the same side the tailback is and Michigan blocking an edge player with him; unblocked backside DE crashes down on the tailback and Robinson pulls (ZR+1, RPS +1), finding open space.
RUN+: Webb, Robinson RUN-:
M41 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside Zone Smith 1
M blocks the backside end so the read here is the backside LB, who is crashing down on the play. Robinson should pull, but does not (ZR -1), and that LB is right in the play, tackling at the LOS since the slanting DL took away the gap he's not in.
RUN+: RUN-: Robinson
M42 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 4
Omameh(+1) pulls around to lead block; he picks off the MLB but Indiana is reacting to this better and he's able to force Robinson inside where Webb(-1) has lost control off the DE after starting to drive him downfield; that guy tackles.
RUN+: Omameh RUN-: Webb
M46 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Stonum Inc
Indiana goes M2M, it appears, with a robber in the middle of the field; Robinson pumps the RB in the flat but wisely does not throw, then comes off on Stonum. He is well covered but breaking just open about ten yards downfield. The throw is one-hopped. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-28, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 3
I think this is Robinson screwing it up. He again pulls it on the midline read (ZR +1) as the DE crashes down on Smith, and should blast it upfield in the gap where there isn't a linebacker for days. Instead he takes an angle way too far upfield and then cuts outside Koger's block, only to cut back up, allowing the DE to recover and tackle. This is a big error, as Michigan had IU dead to rights. (RPS +2)
RUN+: Koger RUN-: Robinson(2)
M42 2 7 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson -1
Reverse fake to Roundtree, FWIW. Playside DE does a good job not to get sealed by Dorrestein(-1) and then Omameh(-1) gets blasted back and actually pancaked by the IU MLB; Robinson has to cut way outside, where Koger(-1) loses his guy. That guy tackles Robinson in the backfield.
RUN+: RUN-: Dorrestein, Omameh, Koger
M41 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Fly T. Robinson Inc
IU sends six guys but has a couple of them in definite don't-let-DR-escape mode. Dorrestein(-2) gets confused and lets a guy in free; Denard lets it go long to a single-covered Grady but the pass is well long. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, Dorrestein -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-28, 7 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 8
Not quite a scoop on the playside DT but Molk(+1) does well enough, giving Denard a crease since Lewan(+1) blew out the DE. Schilling(+1) buries a linebacker; Omameh(+1) got downfield to bash someone, too.
RUN+: Molk, Lewan, Schilling, Omameh RUN-:
M35 2 2 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 17
Is this a planned counter? I don't know. Robinson takes a couple steps to the TE side of the line, then cuts back. Schilling's guy gets playside of him but then gets shoved past the play; Lewan(+1) buries the DE and then gets a little tug as Robinson passes. He evades the holding call and Robinson is into the secondary, picking up good blocks from Stonum(+1) and Roundtree(+1)
RUN+: Lewan, Schilling, Robinson, Stonum, Roundtree RUN-:
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 2
Decent job on the playside by the left side of the line but IU is slanting harrrrd and Dorrestein has no chance to do anything to the backside DT so he's down the line and a cutback is out of the question. Robinson runs OOB after a few; Lewan did a good job to get the corner for him. This probably should have been PA. (RPS –1)
RUN+: Lewan RUN-:
O46 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Fly Hemingway 42
Five men rush with two more in short Denard Zones; Omameh(-2) stumbles out of his stance as Michigan slides the protection and allows Black under him. Not really his fault but he did stumble. Black comes right up the middle to nail Robinson. He throws just before the impact and the ball is a lofted ball in man coverage that's to the receiver's back shoulder; Hemingway adjusts and leaps to catch the ball, stumbling to the ground at the four. THEY TRIED TO MAN UP CRAB. Seriously: if Texas Tech did this you'd be all like "they drill the back shoulder of the WR all the time." Do I think Robinson meant to place this perfectly as he was getting lit up by a DT? No. Can I say for sure? No. Was it the best possible pass in this situation? Yes. (DO+, 2, protection 0/2, Omameh -2)
O4 1 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 4
Dude shoots right into the play; Smith(+1) submarines him and takes him out but that's erased Koger, too, so Robinson has to run away from the other guy shooting up the middle. Webb(+1) walls off the contain, Lewan(+1) rides the DE down the line and again doesn't get that holding call, and Robinson slams it up for the points that win the game.
RUN+: Smith, Lewan, Webb, Robinson RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-35, EOG, basically. Woo!

Oh my gaaawd we scored so faaaaast.

Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's mostly Indiana's doing. Their defensive philosophy was totally different from Michigan's, especially in the second half. IU came out and shut down a run for nothing by sending both safeties on a kamikaze mission, so on the next play Magee calls this:

One clunky-lookin' white dude who's already given up a touchdown on a bubble screen versus Hemingway on a deep slant with no one else within ten yards == RPS +4. That's the main takeaway from this game, IME.

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS: 14 – 7 = +7

Plus seven is a big number. Michigan had a lot of plays on which gaining 70 yards was as easy as slipping a tackle, and since IU decided they couldn't sit back they opened themselves up to a lot of big plays when they guessed wrong. They could have bled Michigan down the field if they wanted to.

So all your complaining about Michigan's passivity in the defensive UFR should keep this in mind. I mean, the numbers for Denard were ridiculous and his—

Chart.

—chart was actually a tiny bit lame this game:

DENARD ROBINSON

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR ZR DSR
2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? - 44%
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2 - 68%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - - 71%
UMass 4 10(3) - 1 1 - 1 1 - - 73%
BGSU 1 4(1) - - - - - - - 1/1 N/A
Indiana 2 8(2) 1(1) 5(1) - - - - - 9/11 66%

(Tate threw one screen that I didn't bother charting since we already know he can throw screens.)

Two of his misses were out-and-out bombs UFR is generally forgiving about, but on one Stonum was magnificently wide open and Robinson could have put it in a five-yard radius for a completion but overthrew it badly. His strike rate on those is still pretty good: with the two from BG and the one completed one to Hemingway, he's at 60% on the year.

His reads on the zone were strong and his failures are a small portion of his overall resume at this point; I'm not worried he's going to go backwards. I think we all knew his miraculous lack of inaccurate passes from the UConn game was not sustainable long-term.

A note: I could have handed out a BR on another circle where he got his slot receiver lit up (see: you're killing Roy Roundtree) but gave him a CA since it should have been a short completion.

Receivers:

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum 2 - - - 3 - 3/4 11/11
Odoms - - - 2/2 - - 3/4 11/11
Hemingway 1 - 1/1 2/2 2 - 2/2 4/5
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree - - 2/2 1/1 5 2/3 3/4 20/20
Grady 1 - - 0/1 3 - 1/1 6/7
T. Robinson - - - - - 0/1 - 2/3
Gallon - - - - 1 - - 1/1
                 
Koger - - - 1/1 - - 1/2 3/3
Webb - - - - - - - -
                 
Smith 1 - - - 1 - 0/1 4/4
Shaw - - - - 1 0/1 0/1 3/3
McColgan - - - - - - - 1/1
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

Not much action because everyone scored so quickly; highlights were Hemingway plucking that 42-yarder out of the air just like his recruiting profile said he would and Roundtree grabbing a slant nicely. The one drop was the aforementioned three-yarder so no big deal.

Protection actually has a ding for a tackle. PROTECTION METRIC: 10/14, Omameh –2, Dorrestein –2.

10/14 isn't a great number but the sample size is so low it's not a big deal.

And, finally, a run chart:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge - - - DNP
Lewan 8 1 7 Not getting called for holding, so those are on the plus side.
Schilling 7 3 4 More slant trouble.
Molk 8 1 7 Had a clever play to impromptu pull on a zone.
Omameh 8 3 5 This qualifies as an off day.
Barnum - - - DNP
Dorrestein - 2 -2 Big difference in impact between him and Lewan
Webb 6 1 5 H-back club is clubby.
Koger 3 1 2 They're playing more than the slots lately and for good reason.
TOTAL 40 12 28 On a per-play basis, ridiculous.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 12 3 9 Still Denard.
Gardner - - - DNP
Forcier - - - Wasn't involved in his two plays.
Shaw - - - DNP
Smith 4 1 3 Long run was pretty easy.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - Did a little blocking.
McColgan - - - Didn't get to see the one play he was relevant on.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 16 4 12 Maybe I should plus Denard more, but I don't know.
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Stonum 3 - 3 Great block on Denard's long touchdown.
Odoms 2 - 2 --
TRobinson - - - --
Roundtree 4 1 3 Showed zip on his TD.
Grady - 1 -1 --
Gallon - - - --
Hemingway 1 - 1 --
TOTAL 10 2 8 Consistent quality.
Metrics

The charting did not keep up with the long runs. A 70-yarder is going to be +10 or something but 7 ten yard runs are going to rack up a lot more than that. Maybe I should had out a FLAWLESS VICTORY award for everyone when the play is successfully executed by everyone and Denard bursts downfield for six.

Anyway, the chart above seems to be the developing story of the season: Michigan has four very good offensive linemen and a serviceable right tackle. The tight ends are effective and versatile. Denard is a ninja. Vincent Smith is a reliable blocker and receiver without much wow to him even when he hits a 50-yard touchdown. And the receivers will block your ass. Together they result in Denard having more rushing yards than most D-I teams and some leftovers.

Oh no Denard's effectiveness waned after the usual injury?

Well, yes it did but I don't think that had anything to do with reduced physical ability. Michigan's first three plays of their game-winning drive were Denard runs on which he looked spry as ever. Drives after he came back:

  1. Misses Hemingway for sure TD, nails Roundtree on slant, watches Vincent Smith score a long TD.
  2. Indiana sells out to stuff first down run. Denard overthrows doubled Stonum when he should have come off on Roundtree. Denard's QB sneak comes up a yard short when Roundtree whiffs block.
  3. Keeper for 11, blown up handoff because Robinson did not pull when he should have, four yard Robinson run, Indiana goes man to man and Robinson misses Stonum.
  4. Robinson keeper should go for many yards but Robinson does not have faith in his read; stretch blown up; free rusher forces inaccurate bomb to Grady.
  5. Gamewinning TD drive on which he carries four times and bombs it to Hemingway.

Robinson was still running a ton, but he made some mental mistakes and poor throws. If he was damaged it didn't change Michigan's playcalling; more likely we're just talking about a true sophomore who is going to have some moments when he doesn't do the right thing.

Any hints of new stuff we might see against Michigan State?

I mentioned this after the Bowling Green game but Michigan has gone away from its all-zone-almost-all-the-time run game and has started putting in a number of power plays. Here's something straight out of the Michigan State playbook:

State features a jumpy, slanty defensive line and mixing plays up will either keep them from swarming the zone stuff or burn them badly when they get something other than what they expected. For all the Greg Jones talk, Michigan State gave up 5.5 YPC to Armando Allen and 6.6 to Wisconsin's Clay/White combo, and it was clear that Clay was laboring for much of that game. I'm not sure how much better their run defense is than, say, Notre Dame, and Notre Dame got gashed.

Also, Steve Sharik brought up the midline option in a diary and that's something I've been crying for for ages. By now defensive ends are pretty good about containing; tackles are not and tend to tear after the tailback. ND got us on the midline a few times, and no one is going to confuse their quarterbacks with Denard Robinson. Michigan showed something like it a couple times:

Okay, this is still the DE Michigan is optioning off of but Magee noticed that IU was using the WLB as a contain guy, so you block the contain guy and option of a guy who is not expecting to contain. That's similar in principle: do not allow the defense to know which guy is going to have to contain the QB before the snap. With Worthy a guy who absolutely loves to penetrate, running the midline at him seems like it could bust big.

Heroes?

Denard, most of the OL including the TEs, and Junior Hemingway's ability to high-point the ball.

Goats?

Again, when you put up 42 points and almost 600 yards there really aren't any but I am still hoping someone pushes Smith to third string. Dorrestein is clearly a step behind the other guys on the OL.

What does it mean for Michigan State and beyond?

It's further confirmation that this offense is for real, though not a lot. Indiana's defense was as preposterously bad as expected. We didn't learn much we didn't already know except that maybe Junior Hemingway is a downfield weapon on jump balls, Marquise Walker-style. We always suspected it but he could never stay on the field long enough for anyone to confirm.

Everything else is par for the course.

The Chappellbombing: Will It Happen Again?

The Chappellbombing: Will It Happen Again?

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2010 at 1:08 PM

mike-martin-ben-chappell So the Indiana game was water torture interspersed with electric Japanese schoolgirl sex. The latter was great but the former was almost 75% of the game, and against teams with non-theoretical defenses a repeat will mean sad faces and rage. How likely is this? Eh… pretty likely at some point. But maybe not consistently.

Indiana is probably the most competent—and is definitely by far the most deployed—passing offense in the Big Ten. Last year Indiana was the only team other than Purdue to pass more than half the time. They did so at a 54% clip. This year they're up to 58% with the return of their entire passing offense, and that's despite a big chunk of the schedule being against tomato cans in which clock-killing runs are plentiful.

A look at Michigan's opponent and what they're likely to do to Michigan's secondary:

Michigan State

Pass Percentages: 50% in 2009, 40% in 2010.
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, a senior redshirt junior returning starter.
Last year's performance: Cousins split time with Keith Nichol, with the two combining to go 20/29 for 220 yards and two interceptions.
Last year's run/pass split: 49 rushes and 29 passes, though a number of the MSU rushes were QB scrambles.

Cousins had a strong junior year, finishing 25th nationally in pass efficiency. He seems to have made the incremental improvement you'd expect him to; this year he's 13th and in two games against actual opponents he completed about two thirds of his passes for about 250 yards with a solid or better YPA. He also threw three interceptions.

However, State is an old-school I-form heavy conventional offense that looks almost identical to Lloyd Carr's and they set up a lot of their passing yards by running play action. Cousins isn't going to come anywhere near 64 attempts and MSU isn't going to pass 75% of the time. How the run defense holds up against this is an open question, but that's not what this post is about.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: bunny : somewhat unreliable wood chipper
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 4 of 5. Michigan State was balanced last year, and that was with a terrible running game. This year they've got a stable of impressive backs and somewhat iffy hands in the receiving corps, so the bigger threat is probably getting gashed all day on the ground. Hurrah?

Iowa

Pass Percentages: 46% in 2009, 40% in 2010.
Quarterback: Ricky Stanzi, a senior returning starter.
Last year's performance: Found breathtakingly open tight ends but was erratic, going 20 of 38 for 284 yards and two TDs. Did deliver a Rick Six directly unto Donovan Warren.
Last year's run/pass split: 34 rushes, 38 passes. It should be noted that due to a Jewel Hampton ACL injury Iowa was thin at tailback oh wait that happened again this year except worse nevermind.

Stanzi's primary game of note this year was a 18/33, 278 yard 3TD-1INT game at Arizona where he was almost literally the Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes ran for 29 yards on 26 carries, and though plenty of sacks distort that the two tailbacks combined to average under 2 YPC. He was also efficient against PSU (16/22, 227 yards, 1TD-1INT) on a day when after a couple of quick touchdowns Iowa put it in neutral since they correctly believed Penn State could not score.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: raccoon : sports car with gore-smeared grill that spends a lot of time in the garage
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 4 of 5. Stanzi may not be headed for NFL riches but he's been around the block and seems to have shaken his touchdown entitlement program. He's top ten in pass efficiency against a pretty decent schedule featuring Penn State, Arizona, and an Iowa State team that just won a Big 12 game (yay!!!). Here, it's the same story as Michigan State: they might be able to replicate it but the old-school coach is likely to split run and pass down the middle instead of letting fly most of the time.

And Now A Picture Of Denard For No Reason

denard-robinson-indiana

Penn State

Pass Percentages: 46% in 2009, 49% in 2010.
Quarterback: True freshman Robert Bolden.
Last year's performance: N/A
Last year's run/pass split: 40 runs, 27 passes as Darryl Clark had four touchdowns in just 27 attempts.

Surprise! Penn State's quarterback situation is terrible. The Nittany Lions are 103rd in passer efficiency. To be fair they've gone up against the brutal defenses of Iowa and Alabama, but Bolden threw two interceptions against Kent State and a pick-six against Iowa on a day when people say he could have thrown four or five.

Their offensive line is really hurting, the tight ends are all injured, and Penn State will probably avoid passing too much as long as it remains relatively close.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: eucalyptus tree : koala bear
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 1 of 5. Penn State's offensive line gets more hypothetical by the day and now they're down to freshmen or wide receivers at tight end. Meanwhile, Bolden is talented but error-prone, the perfect thing against a Michigan defense that is pretty good at watching others succeed or fail without having much impact either way. Expect gentle chewing.

Illinois

Pass Percentages: 40% in 2009, 33% in 2010.
Quarterback: Redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase.
Last year's performance: N/A
Last year's run/pass split: 11 passes, 56 runs, dead kittens all over the state.

Illinois was already wildly run-biased but they've managed to slide further away from the mean despite graduating half-Desmond, half-duck quarterback Juice Williams. A man named Scheelhaase might sound like a 6'5" pocket passer with a background in soccer and the mobility of John Navarre, but he's actually a highly-rated dual-threat quarterback with FAKE 40 times in the 4.5 range. The play distribution makes some sense.

It also makes sense because in three games against I-A competition Scheelhaase's best outing is 8 of 16 for 70 yards against Northern Illinois. In his first start against Missouri he put up an amazing, amazing stat line: 9 of 23 for 81 yards, a TD, and three INTs. If Michigan gets shredded by Illinois it won't be in the air.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: confused goat : equally confused goat.
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 0 of 5. If Michigan can contain one passing offense this year, it will be this one.

Purdue

Pass Percentages: 54% in 2009, 47% in 2010.
Quarterback: Redshirt freshman Robert "Rob" Henry, at least until such time as Angry Purdue ACL-Hating God gets bored.
Last year's performance: N/A
Last year's run/pass split: 39 passes, 29 runs as Joey Elliot went for almost 400 yards.

Henry is Purdue's second-stringer, and to add injury to injury (to injury) he'll be operating without his top receiver, top tailback, and possibly his third option at WR if Justin Siller can't make it back from a badly sprained ankle. Information on him is limited. In most of a game against Toledo he was 17 of 31 for 140 yards, a TD, and an INT. He's probably not that good if he was behind Robert Marve to start the year, especially since he's apparently a much better runner.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: chicken : fox with three peg-legs and eyepatches over both eyes hyyyarrr.
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 2 of 5. Purdue is still a passing spread but their offensive line is in shambles and by the time the Michigan game rolls around they might be starting Random Student somewhere.

Wisconsin

SCOTT-TOLZIEN1-thumb-537x409-16132

AnnArbor.com

Pass Percentages: 37% in 2009, 35% in 2010.
Quarterback: Senior returning starter Scott Tolzien.
Last year's performance: Fire and brimstone falling from the sky as Tolzien averaged 10 YPA on 24 attempts, throwing 4 touchdowns to one INT and causing me to swear bloody revenge on Jay Hopson. Yes, again.
Last year's run/pass split: 52 rushes, 24 passes.

This was a complete debacle last year, causing me to fear Wisconsin even after they almost blew it against Arizona State; I'm still swallowing hard at the idea of going up against them again. Tolzien was awful against MSU but very good against ASU. In the games against patsies he's been efficient… and seldom used… kind of like he was last year against Michigan.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: abdomen : scalpel
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 4 of 5. Yes, this again: efficient senior game manager who carved up Michigan's crap defense a year ago and has a good shot at doing it again.

Ohio State

Pass Percentages: 36% in 2009, 40% in 2010.
Quarterback: Terrelle Pryor, junior returning starter.
Last year's performance: Did virtually nothing: 9/17, 67 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
Last year's run/pass split: 53 runs, 17 passes.

That line from last year might have been more interesting if Tate Forcier wasn't busy throwing the game ball at various members of the Ohio State pass defense. As it was OSU had the Tresselball on full throttle. This year Pryor's nuked the patsies (though he did throw a couple interceptions against Ohio) and been somewhat limited against real opposition. Take out a shovel pass to Dan Herron that went for 47 yards and Pryor was 11 of 26 for 186 yards against Miami, with 62 of those on a single bomb to DeVier Posey. Last week against Illinois Pryor had another epic Tresselball stat line: 9/16, 76 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. Apparently it was windy or something.

While I can totally see that Posey bomb happening against Michigan, I'd rather this defense give up a big touchdown and then a bunch of nothing than get Chappelbombed.

MICHIGAN SECONDARY : OPPONENT PASS OFFENSE :: London : V1 rocket
CHAPPELBOMB RATING: 2 of 5. Tressel will probably Tressel it, leaving Pryor a spectator and runner most of the day. Also… wind or not, his stats are not indicative of a guy who anyone is going to put a game on in a Chappell sort of way. Doubt he even gets to 25 attempts against M.

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-4-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-4-10

Submitted by Tim on October 4th, 2010 at 4:02 PM

IMG_20101004_134747.jpg

Denard Robinson

"I'm feeling good. Feeling alright. Just got done lifting." He felt pretty good yesterday after the Indiana game. Staying healthy - "I guess every Big Ten game's going to be a big game. I've been working out, I've gotten treatment, doing everything I can to take care of my body."

"I love people, so it's not that bad" getting recognized around campus.

"I've made some bad reads, and I kind of overthrew a couple guys. There's always time for improvement." Doesn't worry about his stats, so he doesn't care what people are saying about him. "Just don't watch it, don't read it, stay away from it."

Teammates can make plays "don't try to make too many plays."

On Roundtree: "Roy, just give him the ball and he's going to make something happen." He just makes plays. "We could do that with all our receivers, but he's standing out right now."

OL has been performing every week. "That's who I've gotta give thanks to all the time. Them and God."

Doesn't get any bigger than M-MSU [Ed: just wait a few weeks, son], it's going to be a hard-fought game. "They're a great team, they're a physical team, and they come to play. It's going to be a hard game." Everybody gets pumped up for this game, especially in-state guys.

"I was playing with him. I felt like I was in the game and just playing with him." During Tate's comeback at MSU last year.

Greg Jones is a fast, physical player who can hit. "As a quarterback, you've gotta read everybody else, not just one player." Nobody's tried to spy Denard with one player yet, we'll see what MSU does.

Roy Roundtree

"Mike Shaw is doing good." He told Roundtree he's ready for Saturday. Just needs to go in, watch film, and get ready.

Denard is always worried about getting better, and that's what he's doing. "Man, Shoelace just too fast... Coach Rod just tells him 'run straight,' and once he runs, he runs." Depth at QB means that the offense doesn't struggle too much when Denard goes out. Denard is humble, and doesn't worry about the Heisman hype he's getting. "This week, he's gotta get better, and get us right." The skill players like to have the quarterback motivate them.

Roy works hard and listens to the coaches to get better. "It's showing Saturdays, but I know I've got a lot to improve."

"When we're out there, we don't really know the stats and whatnot. We just go out there and play Michigan football." Not worried about how many yards they got. Happy for Junior's big game against IU after the fact.

Everybody knows their offensive assignments now, the team is prepared well.

Intense this week? "Come on man, it's Michigan State, it's rivalry week." This will be the biggest game Roy's played at Michigan Stadium outside of Ohio State last year. Need to have a great attitude this week to get the win. "This week is like a different intensity level."

"You just gotta be ready, man. It's all preparation." Can stay undefeated and clinch bowl eligibility this game. "What happened last year was last year. You know, it hurt all of us. But we've gotta do what we've gotta do today to get ready for Michigan State."

"I still get nervous each game, so it don't really bother me." Prepares hard, which makes him confident for each play he's out there.

They've played tough defenses, not worried about putting up stats, just getting ready for the next D they'll face.

Steve Schilling

On Denard- "Any time he breaks through there, we know he's gone, which is a great feeling to have." The more yards Denard gains, the better it is for the offense.

Confident in the offense even if Denard goes out. Tate and Devin getting snaps, and they can spread the ball around. "I'm pretty confident in our offense no matter who's out there. Obviously 16's a special player."

You're getting the job done if you score quickly on offense.

Patrick's been playing really well, Taylor's been showing what the players knew he could do.

The OL is confident in the running game, hopefully they can run for more yards and get the win (as the team who has rushed for more yards has won 30 of the past 33 matchups between these teams).

Was never into the Washington-Washington State rivalry. Michigan-MSU is a much bigger rivalry. "Even if you win the Big Ten, you didn't win the state championship" if you lose to MSU.

Seniors will explain the importance of this game to some of the younger guys. "If you come to Michigan and you don't understand the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State... it's almost set in stone." They'll also hear from some former players about the rivalry.

Doesn't hear from students about losing to MSU twice in a row. "I know the fanbase obviously wants to get a win." Lots of people want to beat State. Winning as a senior is the most important, because it's the one you remember. "To be able to go out with a win, and to be able to say you beat Michigan State in your senior year is huge."

"Michigan State's always a physical game." Not particularly concerned for Denard, because he's a tough guy. He understands the importance of the rivalry. Maybe a little more banged up than he lets on with his toughness, good leadership.

Schilling hopes Michigan's speed can trump State's size. Endurance will be a big factor as well. "Some of the non-conference teams were smaller" up front. Michigan State has more size. Big Ten teams in general are a bit bigger.

Greg Jones is almost always leading the nation in tackles. He powers through blocks and makes a lot of plays.

"It's a big test for us. Coming in undefeated, there's a lot of angles to kind of approach it." Lots of storylines, looking to come out of the game undefeated.

Mike Martin

Big sack against Indiana - "It was an exciting play, a big play for our defense."

"I've seen still pictures of myself before I snap the ball, and it kind of scares myself" the faces he makes.

Creating turnovers is a big emphasis. Coach Robinson talks about it, because you have the opportunity to get the offense the ball more than the other team.

He was used some at DE against the Hoosiers. "It's a different look. Whenever you can give a different look to an opposing team, I think it confuses them." They'll practice it again this week.

Patterson is a good sub when Martin needs a rest.

It's nice seeing other defenses chasing Denard around, because Martin, Van Bergen, and Banks have to do it in practice all the time. "He's always been a hard worker."

Michigan State is a big game for both teams. Excited to prepare this week. "I always grew up watching Michigan, so I loved Michigan through thick and thin... I never really liked the color green."

Tough to lose the last two years, but it will help be motivated to get the win. "We do remember what happened in the past, and the past two years have been hard." It's made the team better overall and closer as a unit.

Making a bowl is a team goal, along with winning the Big Ten. "If we can just control what we can control" that's all you can ask for. "We always remind ourselves of our goals." Keeping it in sight reminds you of what you can do.

MSU's offense is good, Martin has already watched a bit of film. "We're just gonna prepare as best as we can. Guys are getting in the film room on their own."

"I love the fact that they're undefeated. That just makes this game even bigger. I think that ensures they give their best on Saturday, and I wouldn't want it any other way."

There's a bit more talking between teams in a heated, in-state rivalry game like this one.

MSU's line looks athletic, and they play hard. Both teams play a little harder in this game, because it's a big deal.

Obi Ezeh

IMG_20101004_132442.jpg

Doesn't worry about what outside people are saying about the defense. He knows the defense has its issues (as does the offense). "They're all correctable. Every team's going to have issues, and every unit's going to have issues. We have five new starters so we're kind of learning as we go here... We're undefeated and we haven't played our best football yet."

"It works in practice, so it should work in games." Some issues are people trying to do a bit too much. Defense is improving this year, taking strides inthe right direction.

It's good to win the games, but you know where to draw the line with letting it get to your head. "As soon as I leave here and go down to the biulding, I put on my business face and go to work."

Not worried about bowl eligibility right now. Try to win the game, and that will happen on its own. "Those rivalry games are always big for us... it doesn't matter if we haven't won a game going into those, it's always going to be a big game."

Want to stop the run against MSU - "that's usually the key to victory in most games." Get after the QB and punish their skill players. "I feel more needed" when the opponent will try to run the ball.

Was always interested in Michigan running backs growing up, so he was on the Michigan side. Was a RB in high school.

"Year-round I hear from all of my ex-classmates who have gone to Michigan State. A lot of the families back home are either Michigan or Michigan State." The in-state rivalry is an all-year thing.

"It's not easy, it's not fun" to lose two in a row and not have bragging rights. "That's part of our motivation is to go out and get those bragging rights back."

Do you root for MSU in other games? "I don't. I would like them to have as much success as possible before they play us." It doesn't rise to the level of rooting, though.

"I hope the crowd's really rocking on Saturday."

Jordan Kovacs

"I think every defensive player takes that personal, and it makes us even hungrier for the win" when people talk down on the M defense.

Improvements are happening week-to-week, particularly the young guys. "I know it something that's surely going to show up in games."

Mike Martin played well against Indiana. "It worked out pretty well, he was definitely getting after the quarterback." Defense hurt themselves with some penalties, and that stuff is correctable.

The players may be fueled by losing the last two to Michigan State, but the past is in the past. "It doesn't matter if it's my first win or my fourth win against them, any time you can play Michigan State, you'd better be motivated."

Keys to the game: "It doesn't matter who your opponent is, any time you can make a team one-dimensional... you've got a chance of winning the game."

Cousins is a great QB, and they have a great offense. This should be the biggest challenge so far for the defense this year.

RBs are big guys that can move. Probably the best Michigan has seen this year.

Denard: "He's something else (laughs)." Other teams can try to contain him, but Kovacs doesn't know how they'll do it. "You've gotta have some speed, that's for sure."

Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 10-4-10

Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 10-4-10

Submitted by Tim on October 4th, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.

IMG_7907.JPG

Personnel

Injuries

  • Shaw "should be OK to do everything."
  • Toussaint day-to-day with shoulder.
  • Banks: "Little calf issue." Defense played a lot of plays, so he'll need rest. Should be fine.
  • Brandon Herron is OK.

Downfield throws for Denard? "He's missing three out of every ten. That's not bad." The couple deep misses Saturday were maybe rushed a bit, but he's been doing well.

"No matter who your quarterback is, you worry about him staying healthy" regardless of what type of offense you run. "I have the same concern every week as far as hoping the guys stay healthy. But you've gotta play the game." "He'll be a little limited [in Monday practice]. Just because he's been running so much. You want him 100% on Saturday."

Denard comeback - "There's no panic." Going to a no-huddle for the 2-minute drill isn't a change from regular offensive pace. Denard made a nice throw to Junior, Hemingway made a nice play on it. Offense is executing with a lot of confidence. They practice the 2-minute drill a couple times a week.

Denard has learned a lot since last year. He's just running the offense (he couldn't do all that last year). He has the capability to bust 10-yard runs for 50 or 60.

Offensive line - "As a group, whoever the five is out there, there's another level we can get to."

Dorrestein - "Perry has been really solid. He's a veteran guy, he knows the offense."

Taylor Lewan penalty: "From what I see... his left foot got tangled up as he was stepping over a pile... I didn't see it on film, maybe they saw something I didn't see." The scrum afterward was no big deal, the officials broke it up.

Field goals: "We were close to it in the last game. We were gonna center the ball for a game-winning field goal" [Ed: ...but you try keeping Denard from an end-zone he can see]. RR would rather score TDs, and fortunately the offense has been good at doing so. "There's gonna come a point in time where we've gotta make field goals" to win the game. They have guys who will be able to do it.

Hagerup has played a bit better. "He had a couple good punts, and he seemed composed, so hopefully the little nervousness is out of the way."

Woolfolk - "I saw him last week, he's still got a big old cast." He's doing upper-body work. Hard for him and Mike Jones to not be able to play because they're competitive guys. Woolfolk should be 100% next year after rehab.

Stonum KO returns. "It's been a little bit frustrating." Haven't come close to breaking one. The blocking isn't quite there at times, but Darryl has the ability to do that. "Boy would it be a good time to do that."

"We have not had an opportunity to return a lot of punts."

Team

"I don't think you have to blitz all the time to have an aggressive mentality defensively." You get on your heels a bit when you've been giving up a lot of first downs. "We didn't make some key stops. Some of it was mental, and some of it was physical." The D is a little limited because they don't want to confuse younger guys.

Offensively, can make more in-game adjustments because of experience. On Defense, more limited in that regard. Can make some adjustments, but not as many. The D has improved in some respects. "There's some moments on defense where we've gotten a little better, but there's also some things we've not gotten better yet, and it's going to take some time." In a tough situation with a lack of experienced depth. Need to force more 3-and-outs and turnovers.

"You always want to play a little bit better. We've battled; it's not like the guys aren't trying." Injuries and other issues are mitigating factors. "We're 5-0, and as much troubles as we've had, I don't want to belabor the fact." When they've gotten sacks from Martin or others, the opposing offense has been able to convert on long-yardage, which is frustrating.

Michigan D stats? "You can learn some stuff from statistics. I don't have to look at them to know where our problems are." Some of the problems can't be solved overnight.

Worried about defense wearing down? "Our defense was playing too much and our offense wasn't on the field at all." Doesn't alter the offensive approach, but wants the defense to play as fast as they can. "We've just got to try to play better, and get a few stops."

Were there defensive changes with Martin at DE and Floyd at S? "It was more of a defensive package thing we're trying to do." Put guys in different positions to have some success. Martin and Floyd are experienced players, put them where they can make plays.

"Our numbers defensively were way down." That's trending toward the positive, but they need to help the young guys out with their schemes.

The team learns from winning close games. "You can develop a habit of expecting to experience that same thing again." Blowing the lead in the ND game, the guys never panicked to come back. Same thing with the win on Saturday.

Special teams have been average, need to improve there as well.

Better TO margin this season is offensive experience, guys maturing, and knowing how to take care of the ball. It's been a big point of emphasis for the team.

Tackled pretty well, defended IU's wildcat pretty well. "We don't want to give up 35 points to anybody, but they have some talented players, and they did a nice job pitching and catching."

MSU

"They're all big, but this one's bigger. I mean, the rivalry games are always bigger." The more you win, the more is at stake. Both teams undefeated. "A rivalry has enough significance." Not thinking about revenge, what matters is what's happening right now.

Doesn't worry about point spreads "Usually the home team gets a few points anyway."

In-state rivalry is a bigger deal "We recruit against each other, and a lot of our players know their players." "I know they talk about it quite a bit, but so do we." "I don't blame the fans for thinking that, because they're not coaching. They've got more time to think about it."

"It's just as important to me and I think all my players as it is to them. They've just won the last two games." Anything to the contrary is just talk. No countdown clock to a given game, just to the next game. "Trust me, we talk about it quite a bit. It's very very very important to us." For the rivalry, "Anything that we do, I would keep internally.. there's always things you do for rivalry games that make it a little bit unique."

Different parts of the fanbase emphasize different rivalries. In-state might be more intense, but you're not going to try harder just because it's a rivalry; you're always trying your hardest. "It's one of the biggest games we play every year."

"I'm sure Mark [Dantonio], his health is the most important thing." He'll do everything that the doctors allow him to do. RR would do the same "Most of the time, you're going to listen to the doctor." As much as you like to compete, have to worry about yourself. "Having a health issue at any time, whether you're a coach or not, is a tough thing to go through." Tough in-season too, because you want to be out there and compete every day. Nobody talks about the health of assistants "You've gotta remind your staff to do that" - watch their health.

MSU's defense is "the most experienced for sure. Presents some challenges. They've got a very good defense." Michigan has to execute well.

"I think Cousins is an outstanding player." Cousins was a great QB last year, and "he's even playing better this year." Can run, throw, is a great leader. "Defensively, we've got some things we've got to fix."

MSU runs the same schemes with all their backs; they're interchangeable parts. "You've still gotta have guys get off blocks and make tackles... If you do that, you'll have a better defense."

MSU's offense has "Great balance, no question. They have the ability to come downhill at you and pound away. And they're very good at play-action."

Might try to keep the ball away from KeShawn Martin. MSU will try to be confusing on kickoffs. "He wants to take every ball back."

"I don't have any expectations" of a shootout. The intensity will be there. "If we can squeeze more people in there, this would probably be the week that it would happen."

MSU Defense - "They got good players, they've got a good team." They'll tackle well and take away parts of the offense. "We're gonna have to execute. That's a key, no matter what." MSU has good team speed, MICH can't do too much dancing around. "I think you've gotta stay within your scheme." MSU can't just use Greg Jones to shadow Denard, because it's not within their usual scheme. "If you don't block him or attempt to block him, he's gonna make a lot of tackles."

M and MSU undefeated adds national interest. "The more you win, the more is at stake."

This game and recruiting - "It may make an impact on one or two guys." Most recruits don't look at one game, or even the season, they look at the whole package.

Papercuts And Paddles

Papercuts And Paddles

Submitted by Brian on October 4th, 2010 at 1:08 PM

10/2/2010 – Michigan 42, Indiana 35 – 5-0, 1-0

 roy-roundtree-indiana-2010 image terrence-talbott-indiana-2010

AP, Lon Horwedel/AnnArbor.com (slideshow), MGoBlue.com

When you want to watch ESPNU in Sedona, Arizona, you go to this place called "Sticks and Steaks." To get there you drive past a massive tourist art complex with a faux-native name, a sign exhorting you take advantage of Angel Lightfoot's magic healing crystal expertise, and an enormous, profligate fountain in the middle of the damn desert. Whatever Sedona's purpose was when someone said "screw it" and set up camp in 1902 is gone, replaced by a talent for taking money that was jammed into old ladies' bank accounts and circulating it through the economy again.

Inside this place you'll find TVs, horse betting, and a motley collection of people who would rather be home for three and a half hours on Saturday. In front of me there were a couple peeved Texas fans watching their team get punked by Oklahoma. Behind me there was a Wisconsin guy who asked if I was wearing my lucky Michigan tie. (I wasn't: I'd neglected to bring one and had to drive back to the next town over and stop at their outlet strip mall to get one.) A couple of old women who didn't care about football ate there; as they left one of them said they'd gone to Indiana and was surprised the game was even that close.

I think it was an attempt to comfort me, as I'd spent the hour they were there pulling my hair back over my skull and swearing under my breath. Sometimes not so under my breath, too. I said something about how IU's quarterback was outlandishly good and hoped it was true.

------------------------

I do not have to tell you this but I will anyway: that game was bizarre.

In the aftermath it stands as a tribute to how useless time of possession is. Michigan's put-upon defense actually got better in the second half of their 98-play version of Ishtar, and it turns out that a touchdown scored in three plays is worth just as much as a touchdown scored in 14. We have sufficient evidence now to declare this finding statistically significant. So that's nice.

In progress it felt like dying from a thousand paper cuts only to be brought back with the crashing thunder of paddles, conscious and fully aware you were about to do it all over again. The opponent holding the ball for 42 minutes might not mean much statistically, but it does make most of the game an agonizing slog.

As a result, records were set across the Michigan fanbase for "most muted response to a 70-yard touchdown." Such a thing wouldn't have been possible even four years ago. I remember thinking to myself "that's 25% of the points we need to win" after the first drive of the '06 Ohio State game, and I was delighted through a whole commercial break. I grew up with angry cold Midwestern football where touchdowns were hard-earned things only somewhat less rare than goals in soccer. Each one was a major step towards your goal, and punting a guy down inside their ten was tantamount to getting the ball back on the fifty.

Now a touchdown is just holding serve. When Denard fumbled the snap on the one I thought "this is going to be a 99-yard touchdown drive," and then it was a 99-yard touchdown drive. It's disorienting, and as Indiana is driving down the field again you can't even figure out who to scream at because no one's in the same zip code as the receiver, and you hate everything about everything because this is MICHIGAN we don't do things like this.

On the other hand, "this is MICHIGAN" also applies to an offense that could end up loaded with NFL talent and still come nowhere near this one. Michigan still has Denard and its blitzkrieg of an offensive line and a bunch of wide-receivers who draw straws to determine who gets this week's monster day. One day when the defense is capable of covering guys here and there, Michigan will club people. At the moment it's about having the ball last.

----------------------

I got somewhat demonstrative during all of this, which is why the Wisconsin guy asked me about my tie and the Indiana woman offered a ham-fisted attempt at comfort. People found me entertaining as I alternated between brief flashes of happiness and long stretches of sports Tourette's, I guess. I probably would have too.

As I was leaving this other guy who I hadn't even noticed added his bit, jovially saying "Hey, you survived." I had. They had, unlike Texas or Wisconsin or Indiana. The Texas folk hadn't even made it past halftime. The fiancée, still able to engage in small talk beyond grunts and squeaks, asked who he was rooting for. He said "USC, but they don't play yet." When they did, they lost to Washington for the second straight year. There are worse things than getting bombed for 480 yards by Ben Chappell even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

NON-BULLETS. CLEAR!

Stop it. I've defended the three man rush but good lord you have got to be kidding me. I defended the 3-3-5 but that's when I thought it would be used to create a wide variety of four-and-five man fronts with unpredictable blitzing. Michigan probably rushed more than three guys 10% of the time in the second half, and when they did that it was four. I can't support having Craig Roh and using him in zone coverage on every snap.

What's worse was the inane substitution pattern. Every Indiana run in the second half was a wasted down, and probably would have been a wasted down even if you replaced Banks with Roh and brought in a cornerback. One of this defense's few assets is the pass rushing ability of the outside linebackers, but Michigan is going out of its way to avoid using it.

Stop it, but the clock. I would have thrown a shoe at the TV if Michigan had botched time management at the end of the half like Indiana did. How do you get inside the 20 on that drive with a minute or so on the clock and end up with four seconds on third and goal? Indiana let the clock run from 13 seconds to 9 after a first and goal play before calling timeout, which meant they'd just blown an opportunity to run a fourth down. They got the TD anyway, but that was a sequence worthy of Les Miles.

Speaking of decisions like going for it on third there…

How Denard Robinson is like multi-way callers in a limit hold-em game. There is a phenomenon in limit hold-em called "schooling" where a bunch of weak players who call a lot of hands they should ditch accidentally make their play close to right, frustrating more experienced players with a strong hand they'd like to get heads up with.

I think about this every time an opposing coach defies his inner Lovie Smith and goes for it on a fourth-and-Romer down against Michigan or eschews a half-ending field goal attempt in an effort to score the seven it's obvious they'll need to keep up with Denard. Michigan has now faced 15 fourth down attempts on the season, which is double the next-highest total in the Big Ten and triple the average*. They've converted nine of these, turning a bunch of drives that would have been punts or field goal attempts against a less terrifying offense into touchdowns.

The difference is that the coaches' decisions are statistically correct, not just less wrong. Which is not so good for Michigan. Bill Lynch did manage to punt from the Michigan 42 on fourth and short, which just goes to show that it is the nature of all coaches to play it safe. I'm hoping as we get into the stodgy section of the schedule we'll see more insane decisions to punt when Michigan scrapes together a stop. Someone can tell Mark Dantonio and Kirk Ferentz and Joe Paterno that they should go for it, but what are the chances they listen? Maybe 40%?

*(FWIW, I disagree with the author's assertion that the reason Michigan's opponents are exceeding their yardage season averages when they play M is because Michigan is the "red-letter" game on the schedule. It's just because Michigan's defense sucks.)

Same thing on our side of the ball. Michigan should have gone for it on fourth and one in the second half; instead they sent Forcier out to pooch it. I'm fine with the pooch punting in general, as it's impossible to return or even catch one. Michigan netted 39 yards on Forcier's attempt, which would be good for 23rd nationally as a season-long average.

But punting in that situation? No thanks. When your offense is tearing through the opposition like M's offense was that Mathlete chart about correct decisions swings way towards going for it there.

Part of the problem may be the apparent lack of faith in Michigan's bigger backs. Cox didn't appear at all and Hopkins was just used as a blocker; when Vincent Smith is your best TB option (blocking or running) short yardage is less of a certainty. I'm still not a fan of Smith this year despite the long run against IU. He didn't have to do anything except run through a gaping void and run through an attempt to tackle him from behind. He's reliable, but having him at tailback is like having Greg Mathews on punt returns.

False. I knew this would happen in the aftermath; I could even feel Pam Ward complain about it despite not having any sound for the game: time of possession is a Problem That Must Be Solved:

It could not be clearer that Michigan doesn't need much time to score.

But what the Wolverines do need is the ability to keep their defense off the field. This defense is young, and it's still learning, and without the Michigan offense, its flaws would be that much more evident.

The Daily's Joe Stapleton also offered something along those lines.

Anyone who's read this blog for longer than a couple weeks knows the general outline of what's to come but whatever here goes: a touchdown is worth seven points no matter how long it takes to score, and having an offense that rips down the field in three or four plays against Indiana is not a bad thing. Against better defenses those opportunities will be much rarer. And what is Denard supposed to do, anyway? Kneel down at the 20?

It's the defense's job to get off the field. The offense is a thing to score points with. Was it good that Roy Roundtree got caught at the three? Not so much. If Michigan wants to bring TOP closer to even they'll have to get much better or blitz like madmen, but since that's a stupid goal to have they should only do the latter if it also makes it more likely they'll get stops.

Slight mitigation. One effect of Michigan's rapid-fire touchdown drives was to inflate Indiana's opportunities. Both teams had twelve bonafide drives in the game. That's 50% more than the opener against UConn; Michigan would have expected to give up 23 points if they'd faced eight IU drives. Which is still terrible, but maybe slightly less so than it seemed.

ELSEWHERE

I was in transit yesterday so no VOAV; apologies. Here's the Michigan defense highlight reel:

Something slightly longer from WH:

There are also BTN and MGoBlue highlight packages.

In non-video items: a serendipitous sideline photo gallery. Michigan's ridiculous "on pace for" numbers. Mike DeSimone has resumed his incredibly useful photo collecting. Wow, Les Miles. Wow Denard from the Indy Star:

There are certain moments that reveal a potential Heisman Trophy winner's essence, and that came on that final five-play, 73-yard game-winning drive that sealed the 42-35 victory.

"Shoelace'' has got my Heisman vote, and it would take an act of God to make me change my mind.

ESPN's Heisman watch says it's "Robinson and everyone else":

Now it's just getting ridiculous. I mean, at some point shouldn't we stop being amazed? We've seen it for five weeks now. Shouldn't we be used to it? I'm talking, of course, about Michigan QB Denard Robinson, and the answer is no. We haven't seen this type of college football playmaker since … Barry Sanders?

Postgame GERG-RR stills from MVictors are… not so happy. Ace asks if we're jaded already. I'll talk about this more in a bit but despite the stuff about the three-man rush above, complaints like those of BWS

The real story is that Greg Robinson's defensive schemes do not work. No longer is this a question of defensive talent or improper personnel. No, sadly, this is far more systematic: Greg Robinson's schemes Do Not Work.

I've been advocating a man coverage package for the last three weeks. Robinson has shown it sparingly. Not that I'm more qualified to run this defense, but Robinson's inability--or maybe stubbornness--to show new looks is far and away the most disappointing aspect of this season. Play after play (and now game after game), teams are running quick slants and seven-yard hitch routes and absolutely shredding Michigan's defense. And it's not that the defense looks athletically overmatched. They look unprepared and poorly coached.

…are kind of ridiculous. James Rogers cannot change direction. Jordan Kovacs cannot cover people man to man. There are massive personnel deficiencies that need covering up.