This Week's Obsession: Good Times With "Phew!"

This Week's Obsession: Good Times With "Phew!" Comment Count

Seth June 10th, 2016 at 2:45 PM

The Question:

via Jane:

The Responses:

Adam: Michigan started the 1997 game against Ohio State—you know, the one with a shot at the Rose Bowl and national championship game on the line--with three three-and-outs; a five-play, zero-yard drive; and an eight-play drive that ended in yet another punt. Deep in the second quarter, Michigan was facing 3rd and 12 from their own 47 when Brian Griese hit Charles Woodson on a square-in for 37 yards.

Chris Floyd picked up 15 on the next play to put Michigan at the one-yard line, and Anthony Thomas punched it in one play later for Michigan's only offensive touchdown of The Game. That third-down conversion was one of two Michigan had in a game that came down to the last three minutes; I shudder to think what would happen if Woodson doesn't catch that ball.

[After the JUMP: more things that didn't go bad]


This Week's Obsession: The Best Game

This Week's Obsession: The Best Game Comment Count

Ace July 11th, 2014 at 2:14 PM

The question this week is a simple one. Of the Michigan games you've attended, which one is your favorite, and what makes it stand out so much?


Seth: I've got so many Michigan memories with my dad that I can't separate (or I'm just not ready to think about) them, but even if I could it would still be the one when I started going without him that sticks out: The '98 Penn State game.

It was a chilly, kind of overcast, sweatshirty Michigan fall afternoon and I was a first-year flying solo. My freshman year came right after the national championship and the "Halo" stadium expansion, and that meant fewer student seats available with way too much demand. The freshmen were at the bottom of that list, thus I wound up with the option of getting only a "half-pack" or no tickets. Since I went to all the games with my dad and his friends anyway, what did it matter? So it wasn't until the PSU game, when my dad wasn't going, and Steve Kyritz offered me his ticket, that I got to see my first game from the student section. Since I'd been informed not sitting in your seat was SOP in that mass of human bodies, I wound up squeezed and standing sideways on a bench in the 30-somethings.

And it was a hell of a game to do that. That PSU team was very good (they came in ranked #9) and the last time we'd faced them was Judgment Day/Party at Bollinger's House. Michigan was still floundering in the #20s because of the two losses to open the season.

What made the day was each time Penn State got near us they'd get blown back by three sections of 18- to 21-year old raging psychotics possessed of toilet paper rolls and marshmallows. The Nits didn't arrive until later in the 1st quarter, and Michigan blocked a FG. They came down again and Michigan stood them up on the goal line three times before PSU let time expire in the quarter to get the hell away from us (they didn't get in on 4th down either). In the 4th quarter Penn State kept getting pinned deep against us, and the linemen couldn't hear the calls, meaning we were treated to a TFL fest. Michigan won 27-0 and by Mondaywas back in the top 15.

Michigan with my dad was this paced thing we enjoyed like a baseball game while he and his best friend worked through their complicated lives. His standard cheer was a clap-clap-fistpump. PSU '98 was the first time I experienced the Big House as a visceral thing I did with my whole body. I still sat with my dad at least a game a year, but when it came time to sign up for '99 student tickets I was one of the first in line.

The Mathlete: I don't think that was the real ticket, I didn't see the official game sponsor noted anywhere.

[Hit THE JUMP for the obvious answer, a far less obvious answer, and one that falls somewhere in the middle.]


One Frame At A Time: Notre Dame Past

One Frame At A Time: Notre Dame Past Comment Count

Ace September 7th, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Hey, Butch Woolfolk, are you excited for the game tonight?

Agreed, Butch. How do you feel about it being the last Michigan-Notre Dame home game for the foreseeable future?

We're on the same wavelength, Butch.

[If you're wondering "why?" those are from the intros to the '81 ND game. For many more GIFs from Notre Dame games of the past, hit THE JUMP.]


The Story 2011: Mitigating William Caines

The Story 2011: Mitigating William Caines Comment Count

Brian August 29th, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Previously: The Story 2010, 2009, 2008. Preview 2010.

Chili's restaurantdenard-gamewinner-nd

It was the best time I'd ever had at a Chili's. Nothing whatsoever distinguished it from an average visit to Chili's. The beer was light American lager. The chicken was a bit dry, the cheese the usual half-step up from stuff you'd get in a great red-labeled cube. The waitress was a cheerful slab of the Midwest, and the bill was perfectly reasonable. I grinned and laughed and fought off bouts of body-encompassing tiredness.

An hour or so before I'd sat in Notre Dame Stadium as everyone else filed out. Once they were gone the next twenty minutes were filled with intermittent bursts of laughter. Those weren't enough, so I punched my friend in the arm. The punching and the laughing were good, as they forestalled a short circuit.

When the band marched out, we thought that was our cue. I grabbed one of the souvenir mugs as we exited. When I got home I crudely carved "28-24" on it with a steak knife. It's in the closet. Our walk back was half-accompanied by the band. We met a goodly chunk of my family walking the other way, exchanged excited greetings, and then went about the business of getting out of town. We got to the Chili's just as the adrenaline wore off and the stomach reasserted itself.

A few minutes before everyone filed out Denard Robinson zinged a skinny post to Roy Roundtree on third down and finished the job himself. In the first half Robinson had snuck through a crease in the line, found Patrick Omameh turning Manti Te'o into a safety-destroying weapon, and ran directly at me until he ran out of yards.

He knelt down to give thanks, and that felt inverted.


The next morning sun poured through huge windows in Goshen, Indiana, as I collected items for that week's Video of All Varieties. I'll usually watch some but rarely all unless I'm trying to suck the marrow out of a particularly savory victory. Notre Dame 2010 was one of those. I watched Martin and Van Bergen and others talk in the tunnel afterwards. I watched the highlights, watched the presser, got to Denard, and

So this thing you dared not hope for starts to coalesce just from the things that happen on the field, and then yesterday morning I was struck by a sense of profound gratefulness when I watched the MGoBlue video of Denard's postgame presser:

I love how he smiles all the time and wears his heart on his sleeve and goes "AHHHH" when someone mentions Roundtree blocking for him and seems about as amazed as everyone else as what he's doing. I love how he drops to one knee after he scores in a way that seems genuine in a way I couldn't comprehend until I saw it. I love that if you ask him he'll sign your forehead. I was going to let my skepticism overwhelm, to wait until it was obvious that 2010 was not going to be 2009, but I lasted two games. I'm in the tank again.

Though Denard turned out to be human (somewhat, anyway) I am still in the tank for him. This offseason a small child in New York City wrote Denard about what it means to be a leader and Denard sent a letter back with a picture:


I need this person to be successful. This is such a relief.

It's no secret I've been one discontent blogger ever since the Mississippi State game transpired. In retrospect a lot of my criticisms don't make sense. I thought Michigan should keep Rodriguez after the Ohio State game and fire him after the bowl; I ripped David Brandon for not firing Rodriguez before the bowl if he was going to do the deed. I knew Denard Robinson was the most awesome dude ever and I still assumed he'd transfer. When I interviewed people for the Tim/Tom opening I asked each of them if they disagreed with something I'd written in the past year or so and asked them to argue about it with me; seven of the ten sought tactful ways to remind me that I'd posted "We Are ND*" above the press release announcing Hoke's hire. One just said I'd embarrassed myself with my pettiness. This turned out to be less useful of a question than I'd hoped since by that point I agreed.

That discontent is an overreaction to a real thing. We're going to get the last great Rodriguez blowup in about a month when John U Bacon's Three And Out hits shelves. It's going to put an inbred culture on display. If Michigan doesn't learn from these three years they'll eventually find themselves right back where they were in 2008, obviously behind their greatest rival with nowhere to turn.

Meanwhile, the athletic department has done an about face from the open Rodriguez days back to a culture of paranoia. I kind of liked it when Rodriguez reached out in a futile attempt to win hearts and minds; now it seems we've returned to the days when the fans were tolerated at best.

In place of openness we get marketing. I am increasingly worried that Michigan is drifting towards the bread-and-circus model you see not just in pro sports but at Michigan State, Ohio State, and especially Penn State where the allegiance of the diehards is taken for granted and the fringes are courted with fireworks and rawk music. I fear the day that Brandon unleashes the fandom bread bowl upon us.


I hate that I hate parts of the stadium experience now and fear those moments will expand rapidly. Never has Notre Dame fandom looked so rational. In this environment there's a risk you disconnect from the program in small or large ways. I've talked to a lot of people for whom that's the case. I don't know—maybe it's just getting older.


Denard overwhelms all reservations. He is pure. He grew up poor in a place infinitely far away from the manicured lawns and Whole Foods of Ann Arbor but came to Michigan because they said he could play quarterback. He says he never thought about leaving when Rodriguez was fired. Michigan is never going to recruit anyone like him ever again.

And there are so many guys like him on the team: Vincent Smith, who is 5'6" and is featured in every insider email I get as the scrappiest grittiest toughest guy the coaches love. He's from Pahokee, which may not exist in five years and will never, ever have another kid commit to Michigan. Roy Roundtree and his Donald Duck impression. Ricky Barnum, whose mom was really sick when he was a freshman and who thought about transferring but stayed. Ryan Van Bergen, who committed to Carr and stayed through Rodriguez and wondered where the alumni had been the last three years. Craig Roh, who runs up and down the stairs in Haven Hall if he gets to class early. David Molk, who drops f-bombs in press conferences that no one minds. Taylor Lewan, who has a mustache tattooed on his finger to impress the ladies. Troy Woolfolk and his werewolf alter-ego. Jordan Kovacs, student-body walk-on. Kevin Koger, twitter handle "KogerNotKroger."


Lewan, Van Bergen

There are no Pryors here. Each of these guys has endured the last three years of crap more gracefully than the university or I have and is still here, trying to set right what started going wrong a long time ago. Whatever reservations I have about the program and its direction are overwhelmed by a fierce desire to see these kids win. Rodriguez may not have been able to keep half the kids he recruited, but the ones who stuck around… man. Denard is their king.

In the course of doing this every year I look at the previous year's preview; last time around I linked to a couple of fantastic pieces. You should read Orson's again just because you should. The piece by Brian Phillips on Pele and David Foster Wallace's Federer essay, though, is relevant to our interests.

In the midst of describing one of these Federer Moments where sport allows us to transcend the limitations of our own bodies, if only vicariously, DFW circles round to the cancer-stricken nine-year-old ceremonial coin-tosser at Wimbledon, William Caines. This is going to be one long blockquote without a paragraph break. I think it's important, though:

I’ve always wondered what Wallace meant by circling back around to talk about William in the middle of what is for the most part a genuinely happy-seeming celebration of Federer. The image of the cancer-stricken child seems to have no part, that is, in the enthusiasm that motivates the essay, and yet the edge of unease it introduces brings a powerful and not unreligious strain of skepticism into the pseudo-theology of Federer. Clearly no athlete and no delight in sport can answer the “big, obvious” question about what could possibly justify a tiny child suffering a devastating physical illness. If Federer is there to reconcile us to the fact of having bodies, Wallace hints, then the reconciliation he offers has limits and outside those limits is a large and unanswerable despair. I called the awareness of this despair “not unreligious” because while it may seem like a mere challenge to belief, a sort of renegade anti-Federer atheism, the feeling that seems to follow it into the essay seems to me to have more in common with the longing for bodily mortification that is often a weird corollary of profound religious experience. That is, if we begin with a sense that something is intolerably wrong, and the power of Federer or Pelé is to make us feel that that thing is actually right (or at least tolerable), then William introduces a larger sphere of consciousness in which we realize that the reconciliation was flawed and the thing is actually wrong and intolerable after all. But that second, larger wrongness, as I read it in Wallace’s essay, and this may be unfair, because again, William is only a tiny grain of doubt within what is generally a really positive piece of writing—that second, larger wrongness doesn’t stem from an apprehension that the reconciliation Federer offers is false, it stems from an apprehension that the reconciliation Federer offers is incomplete, that it doesn’t go far enough, it doesn’t stick. It only lasts a moment, and then you’re left not knowing when God will take you up again, which is an anxiety that actually bubbles up at times in the writings of the saints. And that seems to be a condition in which a heightened consciousness of mortality, one that may well express itself as a yearning toward suffering and breakdown, is hard to escape.

If we are being very generous and very convincing, DFW-level, Brian-Phillips-level convincing, this is Denard Robinson in the Michigan zeitgeist. Something is intolerably wrong and the Denard reconciliation is incomplete and we are going to have to accept that, like the Hart reconciliation was incomplete, and just take the Denard Moments as they are—as parts of an imperfect whole. Our compensation for the things that have happened is just this, the last few words of the thesis statement of the Federer article:

…just look at him down there. Look at that.





Unverified Voracity Asks Rhetorical Qs

Unverified Voracity Asks Rhetorical Qs Comment Count

Brian June 20th, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Site business. Two things:

  1. I am getting married this Saturday in a top-secret location far away from any images of Fielding Yost. I am taking Friday and Monday off; Tom and Tim will produce content as per usual. If you've got a diary you want front-paged this would be an opportune time to post it. Content from me will be light this week because a bunch of friends I don't get to see will be in town, etc.
  2. I'm warning you about this a month ahead of time: honeymoon is in late July for about ten days and I am probably not even going to take my computer.

Your understanding is appreciated.

Wolverine 503wolverine mascotrallypickle4

I'm partial to the rally pickle myself.

Mascot business. I took a rage day so that I wouldn't say anything regrettable in the aftermath of the mascot trial balloon, leaving the rest of the world to offer Dave Brandon a raspberry and Brandon to quickly clarify that while he is all seeing and all knowing he is very very wily and no mascot is pending. Even while doing so he leaves himself an out, saying it "may never happen."

Q: In retrospect do you believe that Brandon announcing the OSU game would be moving to midseason was really a super-clever way to get everyone outraged about it and therefore ensure it doesn't happen?

The M-Zone makes a compelling case that we should not. After that fan explosion we've had the uniform business and the mascot business and at about the same time we've had the night game business. (While I don't care that much about having a night game, it is a departure from tradition.) The evidence points towards Dave Brandon being so intent on "creating the future" that he has absolutely no grasp on what's important to the fanbase until everyone's freaking out about it.

Worse, he spends time belittling the kind of people who do really care. From the inbox:

Below response to my (very short and very respectful) email to Dave Brandon today asking him to reconsider a Michigan mascot.  I actually responded to this, against my better judgment, and said that if there's a man in a furry wolverine costume on the sideline than it'll wind up being more life-changing for him than for me.


Please don’t be too concerned over this life-changing topic!

All will be OK…

Have a great weekend!


I'm not sure how this happened since Dave Brandon was actually on the team under Bo, but the current athletic director appears to have no more connection to Michigan's traditions than—wait for it—Rich Rodriguez.

I really care about what goes on inside Michigan Stadium; Brandon thinks this makes me a sap.

At least he's not alone.

Convenient timing. Meanwhile, one of the main counter-arguments against Old Testament kind of guys who like their coffee black, parole denied, and Michigan Stadium old-timey is that if we don't get that cheddar Michigan will be left in the dust by its rivals.

Presenting Michigan's 2012 budget:

For the proposed FY 2012 Operating Budget (described in detail on the following pages), we project an operating surplus of $11.4 million based on operating revenues of $121.2 million and operating expenses of $109.8 million. The budgeted operating surplus will be will be used to fund our ongoing capital needs and facility renewal projects.

Bill Martin's great accomplishment was killing the immediate cheddar issue dead without compromising the brand that packs the largest stadium in the country. Further squeezing starts to impact the uniqueness of the Michigan experience and erodes the reasons people shell out as much as they do.

Unfair and true and BERGKAMP. Here is Denard Robinson's 87-yard touchdown against Notre Dame last year, first narrated by Tom Hammond, then your inner monologue:

It's not fair comparing Tom Hammond to whoever the BERGKAMP guy is, but he does have a point. Maybe Americans get more confused about whether sports is serious business worthy of objectivity or not.

For a counterpoint EDSBS immediately goes to Sean McDonough, who's the first guy I thought of, too:

Q: Franklin is retired and Nessler is now on the NFL network, so is McDonough now the undisputed #1 college football announcer? I can't think of anyone I'd rather have doing a Michigan game.

Welcome to the field. The O-Zone reports on the latest edition of the Big 33 PA-OH All-Star game, in which Ohio annihilated Pennsylvania. Featured amongst the players of interest is WLB signee Antonio Poole:

Antonio Poole, LB Cincinnati Winton Woods 6'0” 195 (Michigan)

I think Poole may have been the most impressive defensive player on the field. He's only listed at 6'0” 195 pounds, but he sticks ball-carriers right between the numbers and they stay stuck. When he's in pursuit, he looks much bigger than he is. He certainly hits much bigger than he is. He may not be big enough to play linebacker in the Big Ten right now, but the Wolverines may not be able to wait.

That's true—WLB is currently Mike Jones and maybe Brandin Hawthorne.

Goalie zen part XVI. Red Line Report is down on this year's crop of goalies but they do have a solid #1. Prepare for the same scouting report you've heard several times before:

The clear-cut No. 1 guy is John Gibson, who combines excellent size and a calm demeanor in the most important games. He plays economically and is strong in the butterfly, using his long legs to take away the bottom half of the net. Gibson is a big netminder who plays big, challenging well and not leaving much space for shooters to look at. He's also calm and patient and allows the play to come to him. We like his mental strength and focus in clutch situations.

They don't like the other Gibson, so John is the only goalie they give a first round grade.

Etc.: Penn State blog Linebacker U interviews Tom for his perspective on Michigan and Penn State recruiting.


Unverified Voracity KILL IT WITH FIRE

Unverified Voracity KILL IT WITH FIRE Comment Count

Brian September 23rd, 2010 at 12:24 PM

OR ACID OR COLD OR SOMETHING. So… uh… there was some mascot segment on Real Sports that featured this decidedly un-real Michigan mascot:


If you ever wondered why Michigan didn't have an anthropomorphic wolverine, wonder no longer. What is that thing? Who made it? And why hasn't it been drowned in acid? Answers: my idea of hell, Special K, and because society is falling apart.

Man up. This Notre Dame guy lost a bet, but owns it:

Your pathos is delicious, but respect for putting it on the internets.

Double pass in the sky what does it mean it means touchdown. A Wolverine Historian tribute to the transcontinental:

I don't think we'll see that at Michigan for a while since the play keys on people forgetting about the quarterback and what are the chances of that with Denard running around? Not so good.

Stapled together. A couple of commenters objected to the idea that "upcoming" Big Ten opponents feature freshman quarterbacks and stapled-together run games, and insofar as we know anything about Indiana after a I-AA game, bye, and the closest thing they could find to a I-AA game (WKU just transitioned to I-A last year) they are right that the first two offenses Michigan faces in the Big Ten look at least competent.

These are the stapled together folks:

Only 16 of those [203] rushing yards [against Ball State] came from a guy (Dan Dierking) who actually plays running back, although he's listed as a fullback on the team roster. The others came from two quarterbacks (Rob Henry and Robert Marve), a fullback (Jared Crank) and three receivers -- Antavian Edison, O.J. Ross and Justin Siller -- one of whom, Siller, used to play both quarterback and running back.

That's Purdue. Meanwhile, Iowa's down to Adam Robinson and whoever and Penn State's Evan Royster has 31 carries for 110 yards through three games, averaging just 3.5 YPC on 22 carries against Akron and Youngstown State. As a team, PSU is averaging just over 4 YPC despite playing two tomato cans to start. I'm sure they'll all exceed season averages against Michigan but that might not mean a ton.

Go wherever you want, cheer for whoever you want. In Rod We Trust makes the terrible confession that the author did not attend Michigan. Who cares? Michigan fans who didn't attend the university are paranoid about the depth of their fandom because they're in a situation faced by many schools in a Big Brother/Little Brother situation where there's a less prestigious school in state fewer care about because they're historically crap. The historically crap school gets all mad that people like to watch the football team that usually does something other than go .500 and asks everyone if they went to the school they root for. This has happened to me multiple times as I leave Michigan State, and the crestfallen look on the brah's face when I say "yes, I went to Michigan" never fails.

Fans who buy stuff and indoctrinate their kids who might turn out to be 6'8" maulers and fill up the largest stadium in the country are all assets to the program no matter where they went to school or if they, say, have multiple crayon-like tattoos akin to the ones all around me at the UMass game. The more the merrier.

The reason there are people unaffiliated with Michigan who root for it is because the football program has offered something other than pain and fleabag bowl games against Fresno State over the years.

Kicking in a sentence. Rodriguez:

"The guy from the parking lot has not been cleared yet so I don't know if he hasn't gotten his physical yet or if there's an issue with his eligibility."

HA HA HA I FEEL GREAT. Go for it, Rodriguez, go for it so hard. Third and six is a running down now.

Interesting bits. MGoUser sits next to Chargers scout and gets a largely positive take on the team, plus something we're seeing play out right now:

Robinson's defenses have always been a "bend don't break" style that simply count on the opposing offense to make enough mistakes for your offense to outscore them. He felt Robinson was very gifted at player development, even though his schemes are often too passive.

FWIW, before the season I got second-hand report from another NFL scout that was basically the polar opposite of the take linked above, stating that Michigan had nothing but Martin on defense and the immediate future is grim, but this was before the Denardening.

Etc.: Following up on the curl-flat discussion last week is a Football Defense post on defending it when you're in quarters. The answer is "you can't defend the flat." Pedobear invades Neyland. Soccer wins 3-2 in OT over Kentucky; should have gone last night, eh? Double rainbow Denard. MVictors interviews author of book on Michigan Stadium about… Michigan Stadium.


UFR Errata: Notre Dame 2010

UFR Errata: Notre Dame 2010 Comment Count

Brian September 17th, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Didn't get any awesome emails this week but there are a few bits from the comments and other blogs. Anyway:


GS's run chart comes to a lot of reassuringly similar conclusions as the UFR did: the left side of Michigan's line struggled against Kapron Lewis-Moore but the right side and Molk got their pwn on; he was way more impressed with the tight ends (8-0=8 combined!) than I was and similarly down on Shaw. More Omameh hype:

Much better from Omameh. The 2* who was a 250 pound DE in high school crushed the 5* all-world linebacker multiple times, with brutal efficiency.

I meant to mention this in the UFR, but BWS also picture-paged some running back inefficiency. This is a key point:


As you can see here, the defensive end is staying high, forcing Denard to hand the ball off. But the Notre Dame linebackers have engaged with the offensive line before they were able to get upfield. If Michigan's linemen were given a free release to the second level, they're fast and smart enough to make the block. But instead, Notre Dame's linebackers were told to plug the holes at the point of attack and make Shaw slow down at the line and pick a hole. In doing so, it gives the weakside defensive end enough time to crash down for the tackle.

Last week against UConn we saw a lot of holes open up; this week ND linebackers were clogging the LOS. I made my position on this clear: Michigan really needed to exploit this tendency more. The other play he cites is the frustrating Shaw dance where this…


…turned into no yards because Shaw cut behind Schilling and then tried to spin to the backside of the play.

Magnus also criticizes the play design of the Te'o sideline to sideline play. Might and Main points out that Stonum got chewed out after the Vincent Smith swing pass that Calabrese killed for a minimal gain on third and seven. This is what I said:

Last week this was paired with a slant and I'm confused why it's not this week. ND is in man-to-man for once and the deeper hitch is covered by the CB, leaving the flare open; accurate, but Calabrese is all over it for minimal gain. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)

Given the reaction of RR, it's likely this was supposed to be a slant after all.


Didn't get much feedback this week, but here's Magnus making a valid criticism of the 53-yard touchdown breakdown:

Rogers shouldn't get a -1 for the 53-yard TD pass to TJ Jones.  Here's why:

In a Cover 2 defense, the flat defender (Rogers) is supposed to play any receiver in his zone.  If no receiver enters his area, he's supposed to gain depth.  On that play, an underneath receiver entered the flat zone; furthermore, the QB was rolling to his side.  When a QB rolls to the flat defender's side, there will always be a receiver in the flat - that's just how plays are drawn up.  So when that receiver enters his zone, Rogers had to suck up closer to the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, Cam Gordon's job is to play the deepest man on his half of the field.  Whether one, two, or three receivers enter his zone, he has to play the one who runs farthest down the field.  It was a well designed play to pick on an inexperienced safety.  Gordon got caught looking in the backfield and didn't see TJ Jones streaking up the sideline.  By the time Jones came open, he was no longer the responsibility of James Rogers - that was all Cam Gordon.

This is the exact reason that Michigan wants to run a lot of Cover 3.  Gordon doesn't have the speed/experience to cover a deep half, and Kovacs doesn't have the athleticism to make a play on the ball, either.

On the other hand, this seems reasonable to me too:

Magnus, I think you should look at the video again......Rogers doesn't even react to the fact that both receivers are going vertical.  He almost immediately looks up #3 and starts to jump the route (completely disregarding his coverage duties).

Rogers was the one caught looking in the backfield. He should be reading 2 to 1.  When 2 gets vertical, he should immediately get into phase on #1.  He jumped the flat route and disregarded the fact that 2 receivers had gone vert, putting Cam on an island.

Who is right? Video:

I can see it either way. It's tough to zone up when you've only got six guys in the coverage, and Rogers was faced with a choice of sinking back on the vertical routes, leaving Rudolph wide open, or leaving Gordon one-on-one with two guys. From his play it looks like he's not even considering dropping back into coverage, which is either a major bust on his part or just the way the D is drawn up. Either way I should have RPS –2ed the play.

Magnus also disagrees with my minusing the linebackers on Armando Allen's nine-yard run off tackle late (the play before the epic Mouton hold:

By alignment, it looks like Kovacs has outside contain to the bottom of the screen.  He steps down to get a jam on the TE and replace his feet, but he then gets caught inside.  If Kovacs can keep contain here (like he did earlier in the game when he fought off a block from the pulling OT), he's funneling the running back to the inside.

If Kovacs holds the edge, Mouton is stepping up to take on the pulling OL.  Ideally, Mouton would stuff up the OL, cut his legs, or take him on with the inside shoulder and force the RB further inside.  But Mouton gets caught up in the wash of Kovacs getting blown down the line.

Meanwhile, Ezeh is scraping unblocked and would presumably make the tackle after a minimal gain.

This is plausible, but it's hard to see how Kovacs can possibly maintain contain when he's one guy lined up opposite two ND tight ends and the fullback. This is bad defense design and should have been RPS-1ed.


Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 16th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Formation notes: Michigan did all its usual stuff. Notre Dame was interesting: they started the game in a 4-3 instead of the 3-4 they are purported to run. Then they switched around a bit. ND 3-4:


ND 4-3, although it's partially obscured:


Then after halftime they started moving from one to the other when Robinson lifted his leg to signal for the snap. This caused a lot of issues; I'm concerned that Michigan will still be stuck tipping their snap count when a Michigan State team that jumped a ton of snaps last year comes to town. I don't recall them doing that against UConn, so maybe that's just a road thing.

Substitution notes: Nothing too shocking. Grady, Robinson, Koger, and Webb fought over snaps with Odoms, Roundtree, and Stonum taking most of the 3WR snaps. Stokes got some time but was not targeted. Smith and Shaw were the only running backs except in the BEEF MACHINE package, in which Lewan, Washington, and Campbell come in with Hopkins to make sure the Illinois thing Never Happens Again.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 4
Koger lined up to the same side as the RB; RB kicks back to pick up backside blocks and Koger acts as a lead blocker. Dorrestein(+1) cuts the backside DT out of the play, giving Robinson(-1) a major cutback crease he could hit for big yardage, but he doesn't see it and continues outside, where Schilling(-1) fails to seal Williams, instead moving out on Te'o and allowing the DT to grab Robinson at the LOS. A bunch of shoving ensues, ending up with four yards.
RUN++ Dorrestein RUN- Robinson, Schilling
M24 2 6 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA rollout hitch Odoms 7
Zone read fake with Shaw a lead blocker on the edge. Odoms just runs a little stop route at the sticks and Robinson hits him for the first down. This one is a bit high but not too bad. Immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 2
A slight variant on the lead draw from last week sees Michigan go off tackle to the trips side, hooking the playside DE with the idea being to hit it up just outside of him. Huyge(+1) does seal off the guy, but Calabrese is moving way too fast for Schilling to get out on him and he fills the hole to tackle after a minimal gain. Good play, but you can see the Irish LBs creeping forward at the snap, which Michigan will use later. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Huyge RUN- Schilling, I guess.
M33 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 3
Same thing, but this time Huyge's(-1) guy pushes him into the backfield and disengages to tackle. And you know what? The receivers are not blocking on this. They're looking back at Robinson for a pass, and they are wiiiiiide open. I'm ZR-1ing this. BWS picture paged this along with the Roundtree TD coming up.
RUN++ RUN- Huyge
M36 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE flat Koger Inc
Robinson first looks to a hitch on the far side of the field; covered. M has slid the protection and then leaked Koger out into the flat, so Robinson starts a roll that way and tossed it out to Koger. It's a bit in front of him, sort of tough but catchable, and dropped. 50-50 this is a first down if caught; Robinson probably should have just taken off. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q. Little bit disappointed there's no PA early here with the ND linebackers clearly hyped up to stop everything, but I guess there might have been on that odd play where the receivers weren't blocking.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA seam Roundtree 31
Go back to the last clip: this is the exact same thing except Robinson throws it to the blindingly wide open Roundtree for a touchdown. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +3) Picture paged as well.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 4
DE maintaining contain; correct read (ZR+1) Again the ND linebackers are just crashing down on this stuff; I'm not sure if this is good recognition or plain irresponsible. Here it's good. Schilling only does okay with the DT, can't seal him but also doesn't lose him. Molk can't do much with Calabrese since he's flowing downhill so fast. With frontside blocked off Shaw cuts it behind Schilling, where the backside DE and the DT combine to tackle. This is a play on which everyone was.
M48 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 1
This one is all on Shaw(-2) because the OL has this creased with an excellent block from Omameh(+1) driving the DT back and preventing Calabrese from shucking off Molk(+1); he would have a crease and likely a first down if he just hits it up in the hole. Instead he starts dancing, trying to cut behind Schilling and getting nothing. Bubble looks open if Denard keeps, FWIW.
RUN++ Omameh, Molk RUN- Shaw(2)
M49 3 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Stonum -2
Robinson throws this well to far outside and high, giving Webb no angle to block Walls, who makes a TFL. I can't tell but it looks like the playside DE may have gotten a finger on the ball. The wobble in the throw makes me think it was deflected. (BA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Odoms 9
Just a straight dropback pass; Robinson zips one on the money to Odoms, who ran off the corner and came back to the ball; good route. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M44 2 1 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 13
This time Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) execute the scoop perfectly, walling off Calabrese; Denard(+1) sets up his blocks to force the DE inside and Te'o outside and then zips up in the hole provided by the scoop. He then jukes Motta out of his jock and gets the ball punched out by Te'o from behind; Smith hops on it. Uh... I'm not going to deal with fumbles as part of the run charting for simplicity's sake.
RUN++ Schilling, Molk, Robinson RUN-
O43 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Odoms 10
Virtual replay of first play on drive, with Michigan going max pro and Odoms coming back to the ball smartly. Robinson hits him in the numbers. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O33 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass PA seam Odoms 32
ND seems dead on this at the snap as they have one hard corner on Stonum, a safety splitting Odoms and Roundtree, one deep safety too far inside, and everyone else basically in the box. Safety hesitates on the play action fake and Odoms is running wide open downfield; Denard hits him. A little behind Odoms, so he has to spin to grab it. This may prevent the TD. (CA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS+3)
O1 1 G BEEF MACHINE 3 2 0 Goal line Run Iso Hopkins 1
Yeah, let's massively overreact to last year's Illinois debacle. No, seriously. I totally endorse this course of action. Lewan, Washington, and Campbell come in, as does Hopkins, and they bellow in rage as the ball is snapped. The stampede ends a half foot into the endzone. Excelsior!
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 36
Excellent read as Te'o is either blitzing or just super irresponsible and with the backside end getting blocked there is no one covering on the backside except the LB lined up over the slot. Robinson cuts upfield and then smoothly jukes past him, picking up a downfield block from TRob(+1); Motta just barely has an angle on him. (ZR+1, RPS+3)
RUN++ Robinson(2), Dorrestein, TRob RUN-
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA quick seam Grady Inc
Play action fake to a quick seam to Grady; Motta is charging this down but this looks like it will be complete except for the DL who bats the ball down at the line. (BA, 0, protection NA)
M44 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 6
Opens up as ND is rushing just three but that extra guy in coverage makes the space after he clears the line minimal. This time Robinson doesn't do a great job of setting up his blocks and ends up making Schilling useless and having Grady lose his guy; still six.
RUN++ Molk RUN-
50 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run TGDCD Shaw 1
ND blitzes the slot LB and he forms up and is able to slide down on Shaw after the handoff, causing a slight delay as he dives to grab Shaw's legs. Schilling(-1) does not handle Williams, who comes off of him to tackle. Possible that without the blitzing LB Shaw squeezes through this hole and bursts into the secondary. Good play by ND.
RUN++ RUN- Schilling
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 12 min 2nd Q. I would think about going for this but it's tough when you haven't been able to get much consistently.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Deep curl Odoms 21
This is a curl-flat combo that we'll see a lot where the slot guy runs a little out route and the outside guy runs a deeper curl, forcing the corner to pick between the high and low receivers. This is the play on which Roundtree got killed against UConn. Here it's Roundtree in the same spot but Odoms fights past the jam from the corner and settles down in the spot that exists in cover two; Denard rolls and hits him. A bit high but perhaps necessary to get it over guys. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) This was picture paged earlier this week.
M35 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Smith 2
Late move from two-high, which ND has spent the entire game in to date (which says a lot about their faith in their LBs, faith that's been largely repaid), to one-high. Motta comes down on the slot guy. Here Michigan has a major opportunity to hit something with Calabrese flowing to the front side of the play, Molk(+1) blasting Williams downfield, Omameh(+1) sealing the other DT, and Te'o scraping out to contain Robinson. There's a big cutback lane for Smith except for Huyge(-2) temporarily walling off the backside DE but then uselessly crashing into the frontside of the play, allowing his guy to tackle Smith for little gain.
RUN++ Molk, Omameh RUN- Huyge(-2)
M37 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 13
Another late move sends the slot LB on a blitz, which should kill this play since it's another lead draw where Robinson running right into it, but Robinson reads it and smoothly cuts to the backside. This happens quickly enough that he darts through the gap between good blocks from Omameh(+1) and Dorrestein(+1) to burst into the secondary, where Huyge(+1) gets a downfield block and Robinson picks up the first. RPS-1. Robinson gets dinged on the play, Gardner comes in.
RUN++ Omameh, Huyge, Dorrestein, Robinson(2) RUN-
50 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 4
Suddenly rare stretch; Michigan cannot seal either DT and there's no frontside holes; +1 to Shaw for realizing this and hitting it up as a lead blocker. There could be a big cutback lane but for Huyge(-1) not getting a cut, instead trying to wall the guy off and getting squeezed down; Smith has nowhere to go. Correct handoff with the slot LB lying in wait. (ZR+1)
RUN++ Shaw RUN- Huyge
O46 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Koger Inc
Robinson looks to a hitch on the short side he decides against, then has to deal with an unblocked delayed blitz from Calabrese, which he dodges. He thinks about running for a second then attempts to go to the Koger out that was his second read before Calabrese got involved, chucking an off-balance duck that Motta nearly intercepts. Robinson made the right read on the hitch and would have had a right read on the Koger out but for the delay. After the delay, though, it's time to put it in the stands. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, team -1, Smith -1)
O46 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Throwaway Roundtree Inc
Late move to one high; ND sends five, Schilling fails to pick up on the blitz coming inside of Smith. Blitzer gets a free run on Denard, who chucks it away. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 7 (pen -15)
A pull! Schilling and Webb block down as Huyge pulls around and Shaw acts as a lead blocker. This catches ND off guard. Webb(+1) seals the DE; Shaw and Huyge(+1 each) get downfield blocks and it's only Calabrese avoiding a block from Molk(-1) and making a good play in space that holds this down. Dorrestein is called for clipping for executing what looks exactly like every other cut block on the backside of a running play. WTF.
RUN++ Webb, Huyge, Shaw RUN- Molk
M22 1 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Deep hitch Stonum Inc
We come back to this late as Michigan goes max pro again and Robinson finds a hole in the zone for Stonum. This isn't the greatest throw in the world but you can make an argument it's an attempt to keep it away from the linebacker underneath. It's definitely catchable, if a bit low, and Stonum dives for it. He can't bring it in. I have to give this a 2 but I kind of want to give it a 3; this a spot where you have to help your QB out. If he'd thrown it further inside chances are the LB gets a hand on it. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
M22 2 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Flare screen Shaw Inc
Te'o has this dead to rights (srsly, dead to rights) even if caught, but Robinson doesn't do Shaw any favors by throwing it in front of him (MA, 1, screen, RPS-1)
M22 3 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Fly Stonum Inc
It's either this or a give up and punt; Stonum does have a step on his guy but Robinson throws it well long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 6 min 2nd Q. Verrry questionable call kills this drive dead.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M2 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 2
ND jumping this and prevents anyone from getting sealed on the frontside, so Robinson cuts behind the Molk/Omameh double and gets tackled by the guy Schilling couldn't seal. Omameh(+1) had driven his guy back and if Dorrestein(-1) had gotten a good kickout there was room. Also Robinson could have cut back behind Schilling for a better gain.
RUN++ Omameh, Koger RUN- Schilling, Dorrestein
M4 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 7
Late shift to one high. Michigan tries to pull guys around but charging ND defenders take them out; Smith(+1) does a great job to cut the charging slot LB and Schilling(+1) improvises to cut off a penetrating DT. Koger(+1) gets an extended block on Te'o that Robinson can cut behind and near the first down.
RUN++ Smith, Schilling, Koger RUN-
M11 3 1 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith 2
Williams crushes Molk(-1) back but Schilling and Huyge(+1 each) handle the playside DE and McColgan gets Calabrese, giving Smith the room to get the first.
RUN++ Schilling, Huyge, McColgan RUN- Molk
M13 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass Waggle FB flat McColgan Inc
Batted as Robinson turns his head around and throws. (BA, 0, protection NA) ND had a blitz on that was perfectly suited for this play (RPS -1).
M13 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 87
Molk(+1) finally gets a good reach on Williams, sealing him off though he does get driven back some. Schilling seals Calabrese away. As Robinson approaches the line it doesn't look like he has anything, so he slows up enough for a crease to appear between Dorrestein and Koger as Dorrestein's guy attempts to hop inside, thinking he will cut it up. Robinson then accelerates outside. Downfield Omameh(+3) has obliterated Te'o, pancaking him and wiping out an attacking safety for good measure. Roundtree(+1) cuts his guy to the ground; Odoms just headbutts his all the way to the sideline, and Denard is set free. Engage turbo.
RUN++ Omameh(3), Molk, Odoms, Roundtree, Robinson(3), Schilling RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 2 min 2nd Q.
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 shift Penalty False start Omameh -5
Okay, so Notre Dame comes out of the locker room in the second half and starts shifting its line when Denard raises his foot for the snap. Here they show a 3-4 and shift to a 4-3. Omameh gets flagged for a false start.
M25 1 15 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Short bubble Roundtree 9
This is the evolution of the bubble screen: no route, slot receiver hangs out, slot LB takes one step towards the zone fake, and Robinson hits Roundtree, who runs straight upfield into the open space. (CA, 3, screen)
M34 2 6 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Run QB lead outside Robinson 1
Smith moves down from the slot into the box when they execute the shift, then attacks Shaw(-1, though a harsh one) right at the LOS, cutting off any possible holes for Robinson. He starts improvising and gets taken down when he tries to cut back. (RPS -1)
RUN++ RUN- Shaw
M35 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Roundtree -3
Te'o tears ass after this and blows it up right in the backfield; not sure how you're supposed to block this or if this is actually a read; if it is the other side is way more likely to result in a first down. (CA, 3, screen, RPS-1) Michigan will start using this, too.
Drive Notes: Punt, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Smith 0
My frustration from this game is that Michigan is not exploiting these run-nuts LBs. Every play they are selling out to kill runs and Michigan has gashed them with play action but not enough. Anyway: ND shifts right before the play and their solution to the inside zone is to slant the DE underneath the backside T, which the ND guy does, beating Huyge(-1) badly. Meanwhile, two separate ND LBs have Robinson contain and Calabrese hits the LOS immediately. They are absolutely ripe for PA. (RPS-1)
RUN++ RUN- Huyge
M17 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Pass Hitch Odoms Inc
Good protection; Robinson has time to throw, but double-clutches the ball and looks decidedly uncomfortable as a he turfs a ball in the direction of an open Odoms. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M17 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 2
I think ND is stunting here so the NT is just about to disengage and run away to the other side of the play when he reads draw, which means he's in a very tough position for Molk to do anything about and can force Robinson upfield where other DL can take him down from behind. (RPS-1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 shift Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
Late shift brings a safety down and the slot LB in, which forces Shaw to block that LB, which leaves Te'o totally unblocked to tackle. Robinson takes a shot on this play. (RPS-1)
M30 2 7 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 10
A classic; with the slot LB backing out Grady can go dive at his feet at the first down marker and though he doesn't get him down the delay is more than enough with Odoms(+1) mountain-goating Walls on the outside. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Odoms RUN-
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Shaw 5
No frontside to this play because Dorrestein cannot deal with the backside DT, probably because of the late move; Omameh(+1) does smack Calabrese downfield, and the DE was held outside by the fake (ZR+1) long enough for Shaw to hit it up behind Dorrestein, who did maintain his position and block long enough so that this wasn't a total loss. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Omameh RUN-
M45 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA flare draw Robinson 14
Pump fake to the flare screen sends Te'o screaming after Shaw; Molk(+1) crushes the backup NT out of the hole as Huyge(+1) kicks out the DT and Omameh(+1) shoves the other one upfield. There's a crease and Robinson's zipping through it, finally getting tackled when a corner comes from the backside after he cuts it outside, away from the safeties. RPS+1.
RUN++ Robinson, Omameh, Molk, Huyge RUN-
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 1
Robinson thinks the backside DE is too far inside and pulls it out, and he's right but the safety coming down provides contain (ZR-1), allowing Calabrese, who Omameh didn't have an angle on if it wasn't the handoff, to join and tackle. Fortunately this is actually a short gain. (Run minus: Robinson.)
O40 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Pass PA short seam Roundtree 15
Outside lead fake that's the same play Roundtree scored on earlier. LBs freak out again; this time the other deep safety is heading right for Roundtree from the snap. Since the throw is a bit high and Roundtree has to leap to get it he gets crushed, but hangs on. Throw was decent enough, just a good play from the ND safety. (CA, 1, protection NA)
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 0 (Pen -10)
Guh. Schilling(-1) and Molk(-1) get driven back by the NT, which erases any space for a cut; Molk(another -1) compounds things by holding the guy. Shaw(-1) whiffs on a block of Calabrese and Smith is tackled for nothing. Omameh(+1) did get a good block, FWIW.
RUN++ Omameh RUN- Schilling, Shaw, Molk(2)
O35 1 20 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 5
This time Odoms(-1) gets bowled over, and so does Grady, so Roundtree gets tripped after an okay gain. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ RUN- Odoms
O30 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run PA flare draw Robinson 8
Omameh(+1) again handles a charging DE/DT type and the fake pulls the NT and Te'o well outside, but not as far as last time. This allows Te'o to recover and tackle downfield. Molk(+1) got a good block downfield and special commendation to Roundtree(+1) for plastering the slot LB despite its lack of relevance. The flare screen was totally open. Not that this was a bad idea. (RPS+1)
RUN++ Omameh, Molk, Roundtree RUN-
O22 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Roundtree Inc
ND blitzes right into this and Smith(-2) whiffs on the lead block, forcing Robinson to pull up and throw it before he gets sacked. He's hit as he throws and the pass is long. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -2, RPS-1)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(39), 21-17, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Run Zone read keeper Robinson 0
Late shift with the slot LB charging of the edge. Koger(+1) does a great job to neutralize him and Robinson pulls it, which is a decision I'm indifferent about on the backside but a super-aggressive Calabrese would have killed this if not pulled so whatever. PLAY ACTION, come on. Robinson(-1) has the edge and will pick up probably five yards if he just plows upfield but he decides to try and cut outside the safety, which does not work and results in no gain.
RUN++ Koger RUN- Robinson
O25 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Shaw 6 (pen -8)
Come on. ND linemen have been doing this all day and not getting called for it but Omameh(-2) reaches outside the pads of a DT and does the only thing that's keeping Mike Martin from eating Crist's face and gets a weak holding call. Way to be consistent. The rest of the play is a correct handoff (ZR+1) with the DE containing and Koger heading outside to pop the slot LB, a good block on Te'o by Dorrestein(+1), and Calabrese again blasting into the play , jamming up any potential frontside creases and forcing a cutback from Shaw that he takes and does as well as he can with. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Dorrestein RUN- Omameh(2)
O33 2 18 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Roundtree Inc
Roundtree is hand-wavingly wide open as he breaks through the linebacker level, which Robinson realizes. He throws the ball on a line, unfortunately, allowing Te'o to knock it down and almost intercept. Loft that, man. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O33 3 18 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Shaw Inc
This is probably his best option as Shaw does have a small window in which he can catch the ball for a first down; Robinson throws it well long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Pooch punt, 21-17, 3 min 3rd Q. Given the down and distance I would have preferred a draw or something on second or third down to give M a chance on fourth.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Zone read stretch Smith 2
Similar thing to many other plays where the ND D's total sellout on the run makes it very difficult to gain anything. Huyge(-1) gets blasted back by his guy and beaten to the inside, which is very bad for a tackle; Dorrestein(-1) can't cut his guy, and the late shift means Molk can't seal the NT, leaving Smith able to do nothing but cut back into a lot of bodies. (RPS -1) Both Gs do get good second level blocks; Omameh is so much better in space than battling Reyes.
RUN++ Omameh, Schilling RUN- Huyge, Dorrestein, Molk
M43 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB off tackle Robinson 5
Webb(+1) blocks down and Dorrestein(+1) pulls around, which gets both guys on the end sealed away. So it's Smith(+1) getting enough of Calabrese to get Robinson outside and he's cruising in the open field until Te'o, who is the backside MLB(!) on this play runs him down. This is what they mean by sideline to sideline. I talked crap about Te'o in the preview but I take it all back. I'd be surprised if M plays a better linebacker all year. Michigan got ND on this play and Te'o kept it down to five instead of like 15.
RUN++ Webb, Dorrestein, Smith RUN-
M48 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Basically Forcier Stonum 12
Michigan runs the PA QB outside again and this time ND drops back into it. Robinson sees this, does not throw the ball, and ends up halted in the backfield with mofos coming after him. He thinks about running and is cut off by Smith. He reverses field and evades two more ND players, pulls the ball out from his elbow, and pulls up to heave a ball to an open Stonum for the first down and more. The pass was wobbly, but the situation was desperate, and so... (DO, 2, protection NA). Tate's on the sideline saying
"I taught him that."
O40 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run QB stretch Robinson 5
This time Molk(+1) does get a seal on Williams, allowing Robinson a seam between the C and T that has Schilling and Smith. Huyge does okay but does not fully kick out the DE, who comes from behind to grab Robinson's jersey and slow him down. Schilling whiffs on Te'o but it shouldn't matter since it's far enough outside that he won't be able to recover; this does cause him to peel off. Smith(-1) does the same thing instead of take on the safety, who finishes the tackle.
RUN++ Molk RUN- Smith
O35 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Odoms 6
Zinged in with good timing, slightly low. Odoms brings it in for the first and his knees are on the ground. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Belly handoff Smith 6
Not 100% clear on why this one works. ND shifts and M runs the belly at them. The difference here is that the primary hole is on the backside of the play instead of right behind the C. Omameh(+1) seals and pancakes the DT. Impressive even if it's the backup. Webb(+1) kicks out the DE and Dorrestein(+1) pancakes Te'o. Safety fills quickly to hold it down.
RUN++ Omameh, Webb, Dorrestein RUN-
O23 2 4 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Smith 0
Corner(!) comes down to blitz late, creating an eight-man front. Schilling(-2) starts moving to the second level immediately but knows he's screwed up as the slanting backside DE is way inside of Huyge, who has no help; he peels back uselessly as Huyge gets driven backwards. Blitzing CB pulls Koger and Smith has a guy in the backfield being blocked and another one behind him unblocked; he manages to slide under that tackle and turn -2 into 0. (RPS-1)
RUN++ RUN- Schilling(2)
O23 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Rollout corner Roundtree Inc
Roll away from some pressure as ND brings five; M picks it up. Robinson stops and forms up. Roundtree's running to the front corner of the endzone with a safety right on his hip. Robinson lofts a perfect pass that's in the only spot Roundtree has a shot at making this catch. Because of the excellent D, it's still a difficult over-the-shoulder catch. He doesn't make it. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(40), 21-17, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout hitch Odoms 7
This is the other thing you can do to screw with cover-two corners: run a hitch with a corner route behind it. On this play M hits the hitch as Walls turns his hips; he still recovers to hit immediately. Odoms hangs on. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M22 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout flat Roundtree 7
This wasn't picture paged but the route concept was. Here Robinson hits the quick flat right as the CB chucks the deeper WR, finding the man open for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 shift Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 5
Late move to one-high with the safety coming down. Grady(-1) does not get an effective block on the safety but Roundtree(+1) manages to sort of run through the tackle, getting forward for good yardage. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Roundtree RUN- Grady
M34 2 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB stretch Robinson 11
So: here ND does not move late and the OL does much better. Molk(+1) seals the backup NT no problem; he comes underneath but can't really do anything about anything. Omameh(+2) completely plows Te'o: he is really great in space. This is just as good a block as he got on the 87-yarder. Koger and Dorrestein kick guys to the outside but with Molk coming back to cut the NT their jobs are super easy. Backside LB/DE is the guy who just barely manages to trip Robinson up as it looks like he might be jetting for the endzone. Srsly: Omameh's block. Lethal.
RUN++ Omameh(2), Molk, Roundtree RUN-
M45 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen TRob 10 (Pen -15)
Not blocked well. Grady does just enough to sort of cut the slot LB and Odoms lets the CB inside of him a bit, though not enough to blow up the play. This gives TRob the opportunity to dart around for near first down yardage. Grady gets a completely ludicrous penalty for a standard cut block… one he missed. (CA, 3, screen)
M31 1 24 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run PA flare draw Robinson 11
Opens up as Omameh(+1) seals out the DT and not just because of his momentum. Te'o is watching for this now and not as wildly out of position but he's still not there to stop it immediately; Robinson(+1) WOOPS past Calabrese; the two MLBs whack into each other and yakety-sax themselves to the ground. Really wish Robinson had made a hard cut back upfield for more yardage; instead he lowers his shoulder into a CB. (RPS +1)
RUN++ Omameh, Robinson RUN-
M42 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Flare screen Shaw 11
Robinson fumbles the snap but picks it up and throws it to Shaw pretty much on time. Te'o's now hesitant and stays in the middle of the field, where Omameh(+1) is agile enough to get a piece even after forcing him up the field and mostly out of the play. Dorrestein gets a good downfield block, giving Shaw a lane to near the first down. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
O47 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass FB flat McColgan Inc
Iso fake draws a crowd and Robinson rolls out but into blitzers; one of them leaps to bat down a pass to an open McColgan. (BA, 0, protection NA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 6 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 shift Run QB stretch Robinson 1
Omameh(+1) gets a great push on the playside DT, driving him off the LOS; Calabrese crashes; Smith picks him off. This leaves Webb and Dorrestein doubling the playside DE, who is AFAIK a LB; they do not drive him off the line sufficiently, leaving Robinson to cut back behind things. He slips on the turf and falls for little gain.
RUN++ Omameh, Smith RUN- Webb, Dorrestein
O47 2 9 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Odoms Inc
Robinson zings it wide of an open receiver. Odoms has a shot at it but it's tough. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O47 3 9 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Flare Smith 3
Last week this was paired with a slant and I'm confused why it's not this week. ND is in man-to-man for once and the deeper hitch is covered by the CB, leaving the flare open; accurate, but Calabrese is all over it for minimal gain. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 4 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Shaw Inc
Everyone runs hitches woo. Robinson doesn't throw it at first, thinking it covered, then starts rolling a little bit before throwing a dart to Shaw he should catch but does not as a safety hits him. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M28 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 12
Molk(+1) latches onto the NT and drives him well back; DEs fly upfield, leaving a big gap for Robinson. Grady(+1) and Omameh(+1) get downfield to seal off Calabrese and force Te'o around the mess, allowing Robinson first down yardage.
RUN++ Robinson, Molk, Omameh, Grady RUN-
M40 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 7 (pen offset)
Grady(-1) completely trucked by Smith, but Odoms(+1) gets a great block on the edge, opening up a good gain on first down. Offsetting penalties bring it back. Michigan's is somehow a hold on Grady when all he did is get run over. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON OUR SIDE ASSHATS (CA, 3, screen)
M40 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Curl Stonum 17
Another perfect example of curl flat akin to the picture pages; this time Robinson just sits in the pocket and zips it in to Stonum, picking up the first. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) ND's coverage was altered to combat curl-flat but the CB dropping deeper slipped on the turf.
O44 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Stonum 7
M rushes to the line and figures they will get the corner playing off after the last play hit them deep; they are right , as a perfectly timed hitch from Robinson hits Stonum for seven (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O37 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB stretch Robinson 2
Te'o blitzes but M runs away from it; still the blitz takes away any cutback lane. Molk gets a seal on the NT but Schilling is out of the play, Omameh(+1) is dealing with a DE, and Dorrestein has to kick out a LB. This leaves Calabrese unblocked since Shaw heads outside the C-T gap; he tackles. Robinson spins inside of him but still falls.
RUN++ Omameh, Molk RUN- Dorrestein
O35 3 1 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sneak Robinson 0
They rush to the line but still manage to come up short. Bloody fate.
O35 4 In Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB lead outside Robinson 1
This is a wad of bodies that Robinson runs up into, with Omameh getting just enough push and everyone falling forward to get just the inches they need.
O34 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Flat Shaw 12
Curl-flat again and again the defender closest to the pass just falls down on his cut. Hoist upon your own petard, turf-bastards! This allows Shaw to zip up the sideline for decent yardage. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Flat Shaw 5
Blitz and man behind it, unusual. Robinson takes the quick dumpoff; Shaw breaks a tackle at the 17 and runs down to first and goal but after a lengthy review is ruled OOB. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O17 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB off tackle Robinson 0
Blitz off the edge draws both Huyge(-1) and Shaw when it should only draw one. As a result Te'o is totally unblocked and makes a tackle despite Webb(+1) burying the playside DE. One downfield block and Denard could break this a long way. (Run plus: Webb, run minus: Huyge.)
O17 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Post Roundtree 15
Blitz and man to man behind it; Robinson stands in the pocket and delivers a deadly accurate dart to Roundtree, who catches it despite the safety interfering like a mofo before the ball gets there. (DO!, 1, protection 2/2)
O2 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Goal line Run QB stretch Robinson 2
Over as soon as Dorrestein(+1) cuts the backside DT, which takes out another LB and gives Robinson a massive cutback lane he takes; Omameh(+1) got out to plow Te'o a final, definitive time.
RUN++ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-24, 27 seconds 4th Q.

Do you know that from time to time I wake up sweating because in my dreams I forget Denard Robinson is on our team?

Like, you just expect him to have ripped Michigan's heart out with a third-and-twelve run. Yes.

Like he's McNabb back from the grave.

Yes. If the Iranian government ever gets a nuclear weapon this is exactly how they'll feel.


COMMENCE THE CHARTENING! Hennechart, with a reminder that numbers in parens are screens.


2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ?
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 -

Robinson made some errors and had a number of balls batted down on rollouts ND blitzed into but even so that performance is possibly even more remarkable than the UConn one since it came on the road against solid senior corners and guru-approved defenders, not the rag-tag UConn secondary. Robinson's downfield success rate (DO + CA / All Throws Not Marked MA, PR, or SCR, screens excluded) is 71%, even better than the 68% he put up against UConn and up there with a solid game from Chad Henne.

Robinson did reveal some flaws against Notre Dame, most prominently a two-play sequence during which he threw what should have been another Roundtree touchdown on a line, allowing Manti Te'o to break it up, and followed that with a badly overthrown seam to Shaw. When a downfield pass requires some air under it, Robinson is shaky. It wasn't all bad, though. He did lay in a beautiful corner route to Roundtree, though that wasn't caught.

Most impressive to me is the 1 in the BR category on 40 throws in his first road start, and that was actually Robinson going through his progression to his second receiver, finding him open, and then throwing it late because he WOOPed a blitzing Calabrese. We'll see how for real ND's defense is this year, but I'm betting it's actually good. They have a lot of talent and I was impressed with their DC's creativity, but more on that later.

The final word on Robinson's day: I would be praising it if he had zero rushing yards. I mean, look at this:

That guy ran for 258 yards! That guy!


This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum 1 - 1/2 3/3 1 - 1/2 8/8
Odoms 1 - 2/3 5/5 - - 2/3 7/7
Hemingway - - - - - - - -
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree 1 2/2 0/1 7/7 2 2/3 0/1 7/7
Grady 1 - - - 2 - - 3/3
Robinson - - - 1/1 - - - 2/2
Stokes - - - - - - - -
Koger - - 0/1 - - - 1/2 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
Smith - - 0/1 1/1 - - 0/1 4/4
Shaw 1 0/1 0/1 3/3 1 0/1 0/1 1/1
Cox - - - - - - - -
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

Receptions got a bit tougher against a better defense and results were mixed trending towards good. Roundtree brought in two 1s (the one where he got clocked by the safety on a seam and the final one where he was getting interfered with), 2s were about 50-50, and Michigan hasn't had a flat drop in two games. They may not be explosive but the receivers are proving reliable.

Note that Roundtree had a huge game after being mostly ignored against UConn. Also, tight ends evaporated. Odd given the play action opportunities ND seemed to be conceding.

And finally, PROTECTION METRIC: 34/40, Smith –3, Schilling –2, Team –1.

That's night and day from last year. No doubt Robinson has a fair bit to do with that since getting out of your lane against him is doom; even so, Michigan got through a game against Notre Dame with 40 throws without either tackle picking up a protection minus. Someone buy Greg Frey an ice cream cone.

Can this last? I don't know. Michigan hasn't faced an intimidating 4-3 defensive end yet, and might not until Adrian Clayborn comes to town for homecoming. But the initial results are almost as remarkable as Robinson's numbers above.

And, finally, a bighuge run chart that has a shocking performance even to me, the guy who put it together:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 5 7 -2 Kapron Lewis-Moore gave him trouble.
Schilling 5 7 -2 Ditto.
Molk 11 6 5 Solid win on the day, but was less dominant against Williams; did most of his damage on backup Cwynar.
Omameh 21 2 19 Discussion below.
Dorrestein 8 4 4 Did better against Johnson than his compatriot.
Webb 3 1 2 Okay.
Koger 3 - 3 Also okay.
TOTAL 56 27 29 Up two from UConn.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 11 3 8 Surprisingly stingy.
Gardner - - -
Shaw 2 4 -2 Blew one good gain by not having faith in Omameh.
Smith 2 1 1 Meh.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - BEEF MACHINE
McColgan 1 - 1 Eh.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 16 8 8 Time to see what everyone can do.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum - - - --
Odoms 3 1 2 Goat. Mountain goat.
TRobinson 1 - 1 --
Roundtree 3 - 3 Bubble's back.
Grady 1 2 -1 Way worse than the other slots blocking.
TOTAL 8 3 5 !?!?!?
Zone Read 5 2 3 Not much of it, really.

So… yeah. The number above that leaps out is Omameh. The lone lineman to exit the UConn game with a minus (it was minus one) put up a 21-2-19, which I have no context on because I just started doing this but if that doesn't stand for a long, long time I'll be surprised.

What happened? The theory of Omameh since he started against Purdue last year has been that the coaches moved him from tackle, where there was an obvious need, to guard because his incredible mobility would be better used there. Against UConn he was tasked with fighting off a beefy, veteran Kendall Reyes. He was kind of bleah doing this. Against Notre Dame he was frequently permitted the opportunity to operate in space when ND went to three man lines, whereupon he did this:

And this:

This isn't some gimpy UConn linebacker. Te'o is a beast. Omameh is great in space. Anyone who doesn't put a first-level guy on him the rest of the year is asking for it. It was only right that Michigan's winning touchdown saw Omameh shove Te'o into the endzone. It was the coda to a ridiculous day.

As for the rest of the numbers: I went into the UFR thinking the offensive line had struggled and that the tailbacks were getting an unfair rap on limited opportunities; I came out of it with… well… that. Michigan averaged 7 YPC on 41 carries, so I think the huge positives are justified. They averaged 5 YPC even if you take out the +10 that was an 87 yard touchdown run. Despite the struggles it was a monster day.

Grimble grumble tailback gaaah?

I was going to be contrarian here, but… yeah. In this grading system tailback is like defensive end on defense: if you end the day with zero you're wasting playing time that a playmaker who makes plays (MAKE PLAYS!) can play in.

It was revealing watching Michigan tailbacks opposite Armando Allen. A large chunk of Notre Dame's production on the ground was created solely by Allen. Michigan did a great job of disrupting run plays; Allen MADE PLAYS that turned nothing, or losses, into big gains. So far this year the only thing a tailback's done that's comparable is Smith's nimble touchdown to open the scoring against UConn. Mike Cox might be a nut who runs backwards to see what it's like but it's probably time to give him a shot; Fitzgerald Toussaint is Chris Perry and Mike Hart but fast and is now healthy. Rotation beckons; hopefully by Michigan State they'll have found a back or two that can do more than take up space.

Do you believe Notre Dame's turf monster conspiracy theories?

Yeah, I do. It rained a lot but that turf was turrible beyond even expectations. They have tarps, you know. Michigan plays on turf and is used to solid footing; ND is used to the crapshow that is their grass. But lo! The results were deadly to ND on the final drive, when cornerbacks slipped twice, opening up simple curl-flat routes that ND was theoretically covering with their defense. Serves 'em right.

Asshat linejudge?



Surely you must be grumpy about something, you crab.

Fine: it was frustrating to see Notre Dame crash down against the run so violently without it getting thrust in their face sufficiently. Mets Maize on first down passing:

The thing that surprised me was Michigan's success with first down passes. A quick look at the stats revealed that they were 13 of 17 for 168 yards on first down.

Ah wait, here.  ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: +12, –13 = –1. I had Michigan down for a negative RPS despite handing out two separate +3s on the Roundtree and Odoms seams. I think this is understandable to some extent since you're taking your running quarterback on the road for the first time ever, but by some point in the third quarter they should have had the confidence in Robinson to start running more play action. Then again, they did manage 7 YPC. I don't know.

I will say this: late Michigan shifted to a few plays that notched up RPS+1s: the fake screen draws. Those worked, and then later opened up the flares that Te'o was crushing earlier in the game. Michigan was caught off guard when ND came out of the locker room and kept shifting between 3- and 4-man lines, did okay anyway until penalties killed their drives, and adjusted to what they saw on the field to pick up yards late, including a final touchdown drive. The adaptability I saw from Magee was encouraging.


Robinson, obviously. Odoms. Roundtree. And Patrick "Die, Te'o" Omameh.


The left side of the OL had troubles most of the day; the tailbacks did not MAKE PLAYS

What does it mean for UMass and beyond?

I don't know how you stop this offense consistently if Denard is going to throw like he's throwing, especially if he develops as quickly as a true sophomore starting for the first time can be expected to. His package of skills is great right now; if he develops that extra bit as a passer like he should, it's lights out. Your best chance is to have referees call a thousand ridiculous penalties.

Other developments: Omameh downfield is lethal, the receivers are very sure-handed, Roundtree is still the go-to guy, and Michigan needs to embark on a three-week war to find a Steve Slaton-type object. But the vectors are oh so very good.

Over the next couple weeks I want to see:

  • Denard develop some additional diversity in the routes he can throw.
  • Cox and Toussaint and possibly Hopkins.
  • Junior Hemingway's healthy return.
  • Increased involvement of the tight ends in the passing game.

I expect they'll be working on some new run packages but will keep those in the garage until Michigan State.


Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 15th, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Formation notes: there are none. The "formation" column in this week's UFR has set a record for boringness that will never be topped: every single row says "3-3-5 stack." So, yeah… it's a stack.

Substitution notes: Michigan started the game with Craig Roh at defensive end with the Sagesse/Banks platoon on the bench. They brought in Herron to be the SLB. When Herron got hurt they moved Roh back to LB and brought in Bangesse. Kevin Leach got a few drives at spur, and Adam Patterson came in for Martin occasionally. That's it as far as substitutions.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run Jet sweep Roh 3 + 15 pen
Michigan shifts the LBs away from the direction of the sweep because of the trips alignment and does not react quickly enough to the motion to adjust, so it's basically Roh on the edge 2-on-1 vs the left tackle and RB Allen. Roh gets outside the tackle, gives ground when Allen comes to hit him, and fights through the block to get a diving tackle attempt at the sideline that forces Allen out after about four(+1 Roh). Kovacs(-2) comes up well late and picks up a dumb personal foul.
O47 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Hitch Van Bergen Inc
This looks like four verticals to me, with the outside receiver on the trips side sitting down at about the first down marker since he's super open; T. Gordon ran into the #2 WR on his zone drop; can't tell if he got rubbed or if he was just bashing the guy intentionally. Crist fires but RVB(+1) bats it down (pressure +1, cover -1). Martin was coming through the line and threatened to sack; kind of looks like Stewart's got his hand around him but not flagworthy.
O47 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Zone stretch Martin -1
WR motions in to act as an H-back and ND runs what seems like a zone without doubling either Martin or Roh. Both of them(+1 each) tear through their blockers, forcing Allen to cut back, where Mouton(+1) has read the disruption in the play and shoots past blockers with no angle on him to tackle for loss.
O46 3 11 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Skinny post Floyd 15
Michigan sends five; ND has three guys on deeper routes and one guy curling underneath the coverage. Roh(+0.5) is spinning into Crist's face as he throws and the pass is bullet to Rudolph at the sticks; Floyd(-0.5) is right there but Rudolph has his body between him and the ball and all he can do is tackle. I really question what Mouton's doing here, as he's in a very short zone and starts a delayed contain blitz late; if he drops to around the first down marker this throw isn't open and ND probably has to exit the field. (RPS-1.) I think it's the call, not the player.
M39 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Tunnel screen Van Bergen 2
Zone blitz sends all three LBs and drops off the DEs, which puts Van Bergen right in the path of this play; T. Gordon(+1) has also zipped by Rudolph before he can get a block and C. Gordon is coming down to fill the outside lane. Screen has nowhere to go. (RPS+1)
M37 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Zone read keeper Van Bergen 19
This is more of the midline stuff Oregon runs where they read an DT or DT-like substance and block the outside guy; RVB(-2) tears off after a zone play that Martin(+1) is going to crush at the line for nothing, opening up a huge hole for Crist. Mouton is doubled and has no chance, and Ezeh(-1) doesn't ever realize Crist has the ball, chasing Allen until it's way too late. This means there's so much room that all CGordon can do is funnel Crist to Kovacs, the last guy.
M18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Corner Martin/Rogers Inc
Martin(+2) tears through a double, even sort of a triple, team and is in the backfield, forcing Crist to throw as he slips at his feet. Crist's ball is a pop-up that James Rogers(+1) reads and attacks for the PBU (Pressure +2, cover +1)
M18 2 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen Mouton 6
Martin drops off to spy as they bring Gordon around the edge; it's a screen. Mouton's the primary linebacker out there; he slips to the ground and then is tackled by an OL; no call. Blatant hold. Martin's leapt over a cut block and Allen decides to head outside, where C. Gordon(+1) fills capably, tackling with help from Rogers. Unfortunate slip and the holding give ND the yards.
M12 3 4 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Scramble Mouton 12 (pen - 0)
Zone blitz sends the OLBs and drops Martin and Ezeh, getting Mouton(-1) a free run at Crist (RPS+1), which he whiffs. Roh then comes off his blocker and forces a scrambling Crist back inside, where Mouton can't run him down from behind; neither can NT Martin, understandably. Crist scores but Allen is called for a block in the back for shoving Rogers, though he totally does the "I didn't do it" hand signal afterwards.
M12 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flat Kovacs 5
Guh: drop eight guys into coverage and don't have anyone in the flat; Kovacs has to run out from his spot just outside of Roh, where he manages to tackle Rudolph but not in time. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M7 1 G Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Down G Kovacs 1
Banks is blocked down and out of the play as the left side of the line pulls around against Kovacs and Mouton. Kovacs(+2) fends off a block from the RT, sheds to the outside, and tackles. Stewart is literally grabbing Martin's(+0.5) legs as he tries to pursue here, but his nimbleness on what looked like a stunt cut off any backside cut.
M5 2 G Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 TE Out Rogers 6
This is probably where Crist got concussed, as T. Gordon(+1) tears off the corner on this half roll and bashes him just as he throws (pressure +1); Rudolph catches it at around the five and should be stopped there except for Rogers(-1, tackling -1) completely whiffing on the tackle. After a lengthy review it's put at the four inch line.
M1 3 G Goal line Goal line Run QB sneak ? 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q. This wasn't actually as bad as I remembered. Penalty hurt, the coverage was pretty decent, the main issue was the weird zone from Mouton on third and long and RVB crashing down on the keeper.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Zone stretch Martin 1
Rees in. Replica of the stretch from the previous drive; Martin(+1) gets playside of the guard and cuts off the B gap, forcing Wood outside. Roh set up outside well but then tried to dive back inside and got plowed back for his trouble; no minus because he did hold the edge long enough for Kovacs(+1, tackling +1) to charge downhill and meet Wood at the LOS. Also the Irish LT has his hands outside Roh's shoulder pads but whateva.
O25 2 9 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flea flicker Mouton Int
Linebackers do bite, but then get back in their drops. Mouton(+3) does an impressive job to get 15 yards deep, get into the passing lane, and intercept. Martin(+0.5) was flying in, forcing the bad decision. (Cover +2, pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch ? Inc
Leach in at spur. Drop eight and just wait for Martin to get there, which he does, eventually. Rees can't find anything serious (cover +1) beforehand and fires it to a four-yard outlet. The pass is crappy and dropped.
O19 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run Zone stretch Roh -6
Roh(+3) splits a double team, shooting into the backfield and making a TFL all on his own. Best play of his career to date. Brandon Graham-worthy. Martin(+1) had also torn through the line and was there to help if necessary.
O13 3 16 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run TGDCD Mouton 10
[That God Damned Counter Draw.] Pretty much a give-up-and-punt. Michigan is rushing three and drops the linebackers off, which makes for a dodgy moment before Mouton(+0.5) comes up and cracks the OL leading the play, causing Wood to slow and allowing several Wolverines to converge on him short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Down G Ezeh 0
Montana in. Martin(+1) blows the C back, preventing him from releasing and forcing the backside G to run into him, taking out two blockers. This allows an unblocked Ezeh(+1) to read, scrape, and tackle with help from Kovacs and Mouton(+1), who powered through a block to finish the play with Ezeh.
O21 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE Out Roh Inc
ND using a slide protection so Roh(+1) comes around the backside right in the throwing lane and leaps to bat down Montana's pass. (Pressure +1.) Likely catch and immediate tackle after six otherwise.
O21 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Zone read keeper Gordon 7
Van Bergen(-1) is more disciplined this time but still bites on the handoff after forming up on the QB, paving the way for this gain. CGordon(+1) comes up with an authoritative fill and tackle(+1) to bring this up short.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen Herron Inc
Zone blitz gets Herron(+1) in unblocked (RPS+1, pressure +1) as Martin drops off into a zone. Play is a tunnel screen so having Martin there will be useful, but it doesn't matter since Herron bats it down.
O26 2 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Run QB draw ? 10
Exact same blitz, so Martin is running away from the big damn hole in the line and Herron is running right past Montana through no fault of his own. Floyd gets away with a quasi block in the back but it's the difference between seven and ten. RPS-1.
O36 1 10 I-Form Big 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Ezeh 3
Ezeh(+1) is probably blitzing but even so he darts into the gap that opens up as the OL down blocks Martin and Roh, picking off the pulling guard and bashing him into Allen, slowing everything down and filling the hole. Allen cuts behind; Mouton(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) rally to tackle, with Mouton getting held or he might have been able to tackle for no gain.
O39 2 7 I-Form Big 3-3-5 stack Run Off tackle Roh 0
No pulling, just blocking down the line and using Hughes as a FB to get the edge. Roh(+1) slashes past a blocker and threatens to tackle, forcing Allen further outside than he wants to go, which gives Mouton(+1), who read and scraped(!) immediately, the opportunity to beat his block and keep Allen contained for no gain. ND will do this again later and Mouton will have the hell held out of him.
O39 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Drag ? 5
No pressure but Montana doesn't want wait and dumps it short (cover +1). Ezeh(-0.5) runs it down but ends up overrunning the tackle(-1), but Mouton(+0.5) is there with a correct angle and he and Martin finish it short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run Inside zone Martin 0
Martin(+1) momentarily doubled and pushed back but comes through the double as the G pops out on Ezeh, finding himself in the hole. Herron(+1) fills the cutback lane and an unblocked Mouton(+0.5) can track and tackle.
O20 2 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass ? Waggle TE cross Gordon 17
Play action fake does suck Mouton(-1) in, opening up this window but CGordon(+1) reads it and comes up to pound Eifert as he catches the ball (cover +1); kid still manages to haul in a great catch. Credit where due there.
O37 1 10 Ace Twins 3-3-5 stack Run Inside zone Herron 8
I think. Michigan's line again blows this up with Roh(+0.5) absorbing a double and Mouton(+1) immediately scraping through the mess to pop up unblocked in the hole, forcing Wood to improvise. Ezeh comes through a block but can't make a tackle; he does delay but Herron(-1) has been passive and ate a lineman and is blasted out of the play. CGordon(-1) should be able to fill quickly here given all the traffic but is seriously late.
O45 2 2 Ace Twins 3-3-5 stack Run Pin and pull zone Ezeh -3
Ezeh(+2) zips right into the slot vacated by the lineman pulling around RVB's guy and makes an excellent tackle(+1) in the backfield.
O42 3 5 Shotgun 2TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv Roh Inc
Roh(+1) disrupts Montana by spinning past the OT and forcing the RB to cut him but not before there's a bunch of players in Montana's feet. I also think Floyd(+1) had the short out covered to that side. Montana scrambles and attempts to find a receiver at the sidelines but CGordon(+1) is there to break it up; pass was OOB anyway. (Cover +2, pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Dive Patterson 12
Patterson in for Martin for the first time and ND goes right at him, blocking down on him and pulling a G around to hit it up in the crease between RVB and Patterson. Ezeh meets the G at the LOS, funneling the RB back to his help but Mouton(-1) is late arriving and whiffs a diving tackle(-1). Patterson gets a -1 as well for making this hole big enough for Allen to have room behind Ezeh and his blocker.
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Inside zone Mouton 11
This time Patterson(+1) slants into the intended rushing lane, forcing a cutback. Banks is on the backside and forces Allen upfield, as does Floyd, allowing Mouton(-2) to attack the guy behind the LOS; he whiffs the tackle(-1) and Banks stumbles in an attempt to clean up, turning -2 yards into 10. Kind of play we haven't seen from M backs this year.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Deep hitch Floyd Int
Pressure is not immediate but not terrible either, as Roh comes free and Montana has to wing it, which he does to Floyd just as the other Floyd(+3) is sinking back from his cover two into Floyd's route, picking off the pass. (Cover +2) Replay.
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-7, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout TE out ? 9
Outside receivers clear the zone guys out and Montana throws underneath to Rudolph; would like T Gordon to react a little quicker but this is taking advantage of the coverage call (cover -1).
O38 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Stretch counter Mouton 8
Little chance they'll stop this second and two play so okay, but as M slants to the opposite side of the play ND pulls around a G; I don't think Mouton(-1) reads this quickly enough. He steps up, giving Stewart an angle to block him. This makes Ezeh popping the pulling guard to force the RB back inside help fruitless because Mouton's gone. Kovacs flows from the weakside to tackle. This looks like a stretch from the action if you're reading the RB, but the pulling G should be an easy key for the direction of the play.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 TE Out T. Gordon 6
The quick out again; with no hard corner or cover two this is pretty easy (cover -1).
M48 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Inside zone counter Mouton 1
Huh. I think Chris Stewart might tip his pulls. He's rocked really far back here. This is similar to the stretch counter except it looks like an inside zone and then Stewart pulls around as they try to hit it into the backside A gap. This time both linebackers are there to fill, with Ezeh(+1) taking on Stewart and funneling to Mouton(+1), who delivers a thumping tackle(+1).
M47 3 3 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout TE out T. Gordon Inc
Same thing as the first play on the drive; this time TGordon(+1) is coming up hard and will tackle short of the sticks even if complete; this throw is behind Rudolph and dropped. (Cover +1.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch T. Gordon 7
Michigan in three deep, bailing out on the corners. TGordon(-0.5) has this area of the field but chooses to chuck the inside receiver, which delays him in his effort to get outside. (Cover –1.)
O27 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Deep out Rogers 13
Way too easy on the outside as Rogers(-1) bails out into a deep third and turns his hips all the way to run downfield, opening this out up. T. Gordon also did not get enough depth on his drop, IMO. (Cover -1, pressure –1.)
O40 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen Roh Inc
Martin backing out after an initial rush as Roh comes on a delayed blitz outside; this is a tunnel screen that would be completely dead if caught. Fortunately for ND it's not. (RPS+1)
O40 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv Rogers Inc
Montana can't find anyone for a long time (cover +1) and Martin(+0.5) eventually comes through the Irish OL, forcing a scramble. Montana throws high to a WR near the sticks; Rogers(+0.5) is close enough to disrupt the pass and cause to to fall incomplete.
O40 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run QB draw Mouton 10 (pen -7)
Most of these yards are whatever because it's third and ten but Mouton(-1) got cut to the ground and opened up first down yardage; it comes back because Floyd was holding the hell out of Floyd.
O33 3 17 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run NA Shovel pass Mouton 9 + 15 pen
A give up and punt that turns into a first down because Mouton(-2) gets flagged for a horsecollar tackle. I'm not sure what he's supposed to do there when he can reach out and grab the guy, but it was dumb since Allen was heading to the sidelines and Kovacs was filling.
M43 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Rollout deep hitch T. Gordon Inc
Montana goes back and can't find anyone, rolling out with a small case of happy feet. He fires one to Floyd; T. Gordon(+0.5) is there and hassles him so that the overthrown ball can't be brought in. Could have done better but was not useless. (Cover +1)
M43 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Scramble Martin 3
ND holding the hell out of everyone, but Michigan guys are fighting through it so the flags stay in the pockets. Very frustrating. Martin(+1) fights through, flushing Montana up in the pocket; Roh should have him for a sack but Montana manages to run through it(tackling -1) and rolls out. No one open(cover +1), he scrambles for a few. (Pressure +1)
M40 3 7 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Fly C. Gordon 37
Sagesse, Patterson, and RVB are rushing? come on (pressure -1). Montana chucks up a punt that somehow finds an open receiver at the three. This is on Rogers(-1) who has no one at all in front of him and does not keep dropping with the wide receiver, and Cam Gordon(-3), who abandons his responsibility to split the two receivers. Instead he starts running after Floyd (cover –3).
M3 1 G Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Tacopants! Roh Inc
Zone blitz, NT drops off. Mouton gets a free run as a result, with Roh(+0.5) fighting through a cut and staying on his feet so Montana feels he has two guys coming and must chuck it, which he does? out of the end zone. (RPS +1, pressure +1) Receivers did seem covered.
Drive Notes: EOH, 21-7. This really was a gift drive with the horsecollar and Gordon Screwup #1.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Deep hitch Kovacs Inc
Looks like four verticals to me. Four man rush gets nowhere (pressure -1) and Kovacs(-1) does not get over to cover the hitch on the outside, leaving a window for Crist, albeit a small one. He puts it a little in front of Floyd, making it a tough catch, and it's dropped. (Cover -1, but not that bad.)
O47 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Fly C. Gordon 53
Michigan in a two deep so Gordon has half the field on deep passes. 1) I think Rogers(-1) attacks Rudolph's little dink route, opening up a ton of space with just Gordon in it, and 2) Gordon(-5) takes a horrible angle on the pass, possibly misjudging it and thinking it's going to a route in front of him. A proper angle would have seen Gordon crush the receiver on an underthrown pass. (Cover -4)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-14, 12 min 3rd Q. I swear I'm writing these descriptions before Maycock does his analysis.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Edge pitch Floyd 29
This is doomed from the start since Kovacs(RPS -2) is blitzing right from the spot on the field where some contain might be. Mouton(-0.5) gets bashed inside but keeps his feet and moves to recover; as Allen nears the first down marker Ezeh(-1) and Floyd(-1) somehow conspire to miss tackles(-1) on him, then a crappy angle from Gordon(-1) and a missed tackle(-1) looks like it spring Allen to the endzone but Gordon did just barely manage to get him to step out of bounds.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv hitch Floyd 17
Time to survey but no one open (cover +1) and Martin(+0.5) fights through blocks and another seeming hold to flush Crist; could have had a sack maybe without the hold. Crist finds Floyd in front of Floyd(-1, cover -1), who's too far away to even tackle afterwards, and Floyd starts cutting back across the field, breaking a tackle from T. Gordon(-1, tackling -1) and getting inside the 30.
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run TGDCD Mouton 10
Come back late but Mouton(-1) looks like he's sucked out of position, Ezeh(-1) too; Kovacs(+0.5) fills quickly and funnels Gray to help.
M17 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Slant ? 11
Again with the short drop and the blitzing, but pulling that guy out of the center of the field has opened up a huge, obvious space for Crist to hit Floyd in. (RPS-1, cover -1)
M6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Dive Roh -1
Pulling around the C and trying to go straight up the middle; M sends the house, with Roh(+0.5) blitzing right into the gap, allowing T. Gordon(+1) to come from the backside and tackle. (RPS+1)
M7 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE cross ? Inc
Forever to pass as Michigan rushes three and it takes a while for RVB to work free. (Pressure -1). Nowhere to throw, though, and Crist ends up trying a super tough pass at the back of the endzone to Rudolph, extremely well covered by Ezeh(+1) and hit out by Gordon(+0.5, cover +2).
M7 3 G Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 TE out Mouton Inc
Zone blitz sees Martin and Ezeh drop out of the middle and gives Mouton(+0.5) a free run (pressure +1, RPS+1), which forces Crist to throw early and high in an attempt to get Rudolph one on one with Kovacs(+1), who was in good enough position to stab over the top in case the ball was more accurate (cover +1)
Drive Notes: FG(24), 21-17, 8 min 3rd Q. Biiiiiig stand there after getting gashed all the way down the field, and one on which GERG RPSed ND two or three times.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE deep cross Mouton Int
Three man rush yields a ton of time but nothing downfield (cover +1) and eventually RVB comes free, chasing Crist from the pocket. He rolls and tries to chuck it very deep to Rudolph, but it's on a line and Mouton(+2, cover +1) bats it into the air, where Kovacs(+1) picks it off and returns it. The three man line may be frustrating but it seems to work. Would work better if Roh could play DE.
Drive Notes: Interception, 21-17, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O4 1 10 I-Form Big 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Mouton 9
Both linebackers are to blame here, IMO, as they have to realize that the down blocks and the pull indicate a power off tackle is coming, but both of them shoot up into the play, with Mouton taking out a lead blocker and Ezeh unable to scrape outside in time because: there's no leverage on the ball. Floyd is in a ton of space and forces the RB inside, where he makes a good open field tackle(+1) with help from a recovering Ezeh. -1 Ezeh, -1 Mouton. Also, Kovacs gets a -1 for getting blasted all the way across the formation.
O13 2 1 I-Form Big 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Asshat linejudge 12
This time Mouton does scrape to the outside, where he gets held like a mofo without a call. I mean, the guy's hands are literally on his back: both of them. I hate these refs. You're supposed to be on our side, idiots. As a result he can't contain and Allen has a big gainer. I'm not minusing anyone here except asshat linejudge(-2).
O25 1 10 Ace Twins 3-3-5 stack Run Inside zone Mouton 3
Martin(+0.5) slashes through the line and Ezeh(+0.5) quickly darts into the gap behind the Martin mess and the LB getting out to the second level; unfortunately Allen splits the tackle(-1) from both. Mouton(+1) sheds a block to pound the guy after three yards, though.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Sack T. Gordon -11
Sending five gets T. Gordon(+2) a free run (pressure +1, RPS+1) because of what looks like a blown pickup by Allen; Gordon does a great job of not letting Crist dodge him, tossing him to the ground for M's only sack of the year.
O17 3 18 Shtogun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Dumpoff ? 13
No pressure (-1) on a three man rush, with Roh getting pancaked on an unsuccessful spin, though ND does have two guys for every rusher. Coverage(+1) is good enough to force the dump, and Gray is gang-tackled well short. The thing about Roh's spin is it could totally work if someone was occupying the guard.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 1 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Edge pitch Banks 5
Allen fumbles the pitch and should be nailed for a loss but Banks(-1) overruns the play and lets Allen inside, where Gordon(+0.5) forms up and tackles by getting run over.
O29 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Seam Kovacs 20
Kovacs(-2) sucks up for no apparent reason, opening up tons of room for Rudolph; Mouton(-1) also drops too far inside, closer to Ezeh's zone than he needs be. Rudolph is wide open, picking up big yards despite falling down without being touched. (Cover -3)
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Jet sweep Banks 0
Watch Roh get cut: that's worse than the clip they threw on Dorrestein. No call. Meanwhile, Martin(+1) is again through the line and gets yanked backwards; no call. It doesn't end up mattering because Banks(+1) first holds up to a double and then comes through it, allowing Ezeh(+1) to flow to the ball unimpeded; combined the pair tackles.
O49 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Skinny post ? Inc
This is open(cover -1) but Crist throws it well behind Rudolph, apparently expecting him to sit down on a hitch.
O49 3 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Dig Kovacs Inc
Blitz picked up as DEs drop into short zones, for what good that does on third and ten. (Pressure -1.) RVB actually gets pretty good depth and might be useful as Crist fires in between three defenders on a dig that will probably get the first; Floyd drops it. Kovacs was pretty close, FWIW. Great throw by Crist on replay with RVB in postion to bat/intercept anything a fraction late.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 9 min 4th Q. This one is more on ND than M.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Corner Van Bergen Inc
This is overthrown by about ten yards despite being somewhat open because RVB(+1.5) plowed through the RT and hit Crist as he threw, aborting his follow-through. (Pressure +1) It is really hard to hand out appropriate numbers with this quantity of three-man rushes.
O14 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 ? ? Inc
Blitz is picked up but Crist still has to get rid of it; ends up throwing it to no one. I think he's trying to hit Rudolph on a short crossing route or something but Rudolph fell down trying to cut. RVB(+0.5) drove into the pocket and appeared to get a finger on it, too.
O14 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE seam Inc
Three man rush but RVB(+0.5) is driving into the backfield well enough that Crist feels he should throw it; he chucks it to a well covered Rudolph (Mouton +1, cover +1) and overthrows it badly.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 5 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Scramble Van Bergen 5 (pen -4)
RVB(+1) gets upfield and bats at the ball, causing Crist to bring it down; Roh(+1) spins into the middle of everything and could have sack but is held—which they call! Omg. The five yard scramble afterwards is academic (pressure +1)
O5 1 15 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Ooops C. Gordon 95
No pressure(-2) and Cam Gordon takes the world's worst angle (-6, cover -5), turning a knockdown into temporary doom.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-24, 3 min 4th Q. Last drive not charted since it is under extreme conditions. Last play clipped, though.

So was that good or not?

I really don't know. Breaking down Notre Dame's 17 drives:

  • 1 uncharted desperation drive on which they got 32 yards of offense and 15 penalty yards.
  • 1 depressingly slick Crist-led TD drive
  • 1 depressingly slick Crist-led FG drive
  • 2 enormous Cam Gordon bust TDs, 1 enormous Cam Gordon bust we got away with
  • 7 drives led by incompetent backup QBs that max out around 20 yards and feature two INTs.
  • 5 stops of the Crist-led O in the second half when the game was in the balance, including another INT

Breaking down ND's 535 yards:

  • 50-ish: given away on end of half drives.
  • 200-ish: Cam Gordon
  • 280-ish: the sum total of the other 14 possessions.

Before the Rudolph bomb, Crist's second half stats were 5/14 for 121 yards, a TD, and an INT. To me that looks like ten guys doing a really good job and a freshman position switch safety "learning on the job" or "making me think about every safety except Jamar Adams in the last decade of Michigan football." I don't know, let's look at the—



So this one is really weird. Keep in mind that 1) Cam Gordon wsg James Rogers got a total of –16 personally and –12 to cover on the three comically open bombs, 2) Notre Dame had sixteen(!) drives charted, fully double the UConn game, and 3) Michigan picked off three balls.


Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 4.5 3 1.5 Unproductive until late; irresponsible on midline zone read.
Martin 12 0.5 11.5 Beast mode. Best game of career.
Banks 1 1 1 Getting zero production out of this spot.
Sagesse - - 0 Srsly.
Patterson 1 1 0 Eh.
Black - - - DNP
TOTAL 18.5 5.5 13 Should count about half of Roh's production here.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 7.5 4.5 3 Positive!
Mouton 14.5 12.5 2 Some of the negatives are a little harsh, like the horsecollar. Vastly improved.
Roh 11 - 11 Beast mode part II. By far best game of his career.
Johnson - - - DNP.
T. Gordon 6.5 1.5 5 Great job on the sack; solid elsewhere.
Leach - - 0 Some time at spur.
Moundros - - - DNP
Herron 2 1 1 Allowed Roh to play DE until injury, did okay.
TOTAL 40.5 19.5 21 Even throwing most of Roh's points to DE this is a very encouraging number.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 5 2.5 2.5 INT and little he could be blamed for.
Rogers 1.5 4 -2.5 Missed tackles and somewhat responsible for two of the Gordon bombs.
Kovacs 6 6 0 Certainly not a liability.
C. Gordon 5 16 -11 You know the story.
Talbott - - - Garbage time.
Christian - - - Garbage time.
M. Robinson - - - DNP on D.
Ray Vinopal - - - Got in a play.
TOTAL 17.5 28.5 -11 Even and then Gordon.
Pressure 14 9 5 More on this in the three man rush section.
Coverage 22 24 -2 Also three man rush.
Tackling 5 7 -2

First negative day ever, though this hasn't been around that long.

RPS 7 5 2 GERG win.

[A reminder: 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.]

There's a lot to like above: Roh and Martin both turned in the best days of their careers, and Martin's performance is even more impressive since he spent all day as  a nose against two or three blockers. This is what happened every time ND tried to single up either guy:

NFW, man. I mean, watch Martin just tear through guys:

He's made a personal leap from good to great. Roh, meanwhile, is a different player:

Meanwhile, Ezeh and Mouton both climbed above zero; I can't recall the last time that happened. The coverage has not been terrible except when it's really terrible; ND QBs were checking down all day. Eight man coverages, sure, but even with time ND was not picking it apart except when Gordon was letting them.

I hate three-man rushes. They make me want to die. GERG loves them. WTF?

I tried to parse this out but my numbers don't make sense after I did this so a rougher breakdown below.

Six man rush:

  • Two snaps, no completions.

Five man rush:

  • Four snaps.
  • Thomas Gordon sack.
  • 53-yard Cam Gordon screwup bomb.

Four man rush:

  • 13 snaps.
  • One INT, two scrambles.
  • Nothing deep.

Three man rush:

  • 23 snaps.
  • Two INT, one scramble
  • 95-yard Cam Gordon screwup
  • 37-yard Cam Gordon screwup
  • 68 other yards on 21 snaps.

I think that's off a bit but it is close. So… Michigan didn't exactly crumble in the three-man rush. They got two interceptions out of it, one of them the Crist one, and I only have them down for eight non-screen completions.

The theory behind this appears to be the same theory that saw a lot of three-man rushes last year: our defense is pretty crappy but we have this beast on the DL so he can probably get through anyway and then the QB has nowhere to go. Last year that was Brandon Graham; this year it was going to be a combo of Martin and Roh until Herron got hurt and Roh had to move back to LB. And as you can see by the numbers above, it pretty much worked. Do you put the blame for the bombs on the rush or Cam Gordon? Probably some of both.

GERG Robinson linebacker fairy dust update?

Looking even better after a fairly strong week one. The linebackers still got lost some but not egregiously so and usually bounced back the next time Kelly tried the same play. Ezeh had a relatively quiet day for a middle linebacker and finished slightly positive; Mouton had an uber-Mouton day with a ton of positives and a ton of negatives that also finished slightly positive. This is massive progress from last year even if you don't count Thomas Gordon putting in a Brown-like number, the most active day Brandon Herron's had, and Craig Roh blowing up.

The linebackers have come farther in two weeks under GERG than they did in two years under Hopson. I mean… you're kind of worried about losing Mouton next year, right? Exactly. NFL guys are noticing, too:

Jonas Mouton/LB/Michigan: The Wolverines are off to a fast start at 2-0 and Mouton has been the teams's top defender in both games. He led the unit with 13 tackles in the exciting win over Notre Dame besides intercepting a pass early in the game, which Michigan converted into a touchdown. Mouton is an explosive linebacker who effortlessly moves sideline-to-sideline. He added 15 pounds of muscle this season yet did not lose a step of speed.

The GERG Fairy Dust Theory looks like a winner so far.

So… free safety is doom again?

I don't know. By this time last year I was ready to see Boubacar Cissoko exiled to the punt team permanently, but Gordon at least brings something to the table. He's filled run lanes well for the most part and brings the wood when he tackles; he seem athletic enough to cope at free safety. But four major gaffes in two weeks is concerning.

There is reason he will improve, and quickly. He's just a redshirt freshman and spent his first semester at WR. Michigan's offense is almost allergic to deep balls, so he may not have much experience with balls going over his head. His learning curve can be quick and meaningful. On the other hand, he's actually got to make that improvement, something we've seen every Michigan safety since Marcus Ray emphatically not do. With the second and third string options gone the last remaining backup safety is two-star true freshman Ray Vinopal: we are likely stuck with Gordon. I have no idea whether he'll improve enough to be un-noticeable.

Asshat linejudge?


Michigan got called for clips on plays that Notre Dame did not get called for clips. They bear-hugged Martin and RVB all day. Kelvin Grady got a call for missing a cut block. The officiating was so slanted that Notre Dame fans aren't even complaining. Attention Big Ten refs: we're Michigan. You're supposed to be on our side.


Mike Martin and Craig Roh, with a high five to JT Floyd and Thomas Gordon.


Cam Gordon is the blazingly obvious one, but once Michigan had to pull Roh off the line they got nothing out of that DE spot except a decent play on a run by Banks. Getting a 1-1-0 out of a DE spot in a half of play is very subpar. Those guys cannot get to the QB at all. RVB also had a mediocre day, but did come on late.

What does it mean for UMass and beyond?

Overall, I'm actually encouraged. Michigan basically shut down an incompetent quarterback with a lot of skill position talent in the first half; this should be good enough in a lot of games this year. The QB might not be as terrible but the skill players won't be as good. When Crist was in, the defense was a solid B+ except for the Cam Gordon errors. When he was not handing ND points they scored ten points on seven drives and picked up an interception.

They seem better than last year. More than that, they seem better than we thought they'd be going into the season. Mouton is outperforming expectations. Ezeh is. Roh is. JT Floyd is. Kovacs is fine. Martin is living up to BEAST MODE expectations. The only disappointments are the DEs and Cam Gordon. I'll take that.

If they stay healthy—they are beyond paper thin—and Gordon can reduce his gaffe rate to an acceptable level they can be totally mediocre. Look for a permanent move to DE for Roh against spread teams if Herron comes back, which will make that line hard to block.


Unverified Voracity Unveils App

Unverified Voracity Unveils App Comment Count

Brian September 14th, 2010 at 6:41 PM

App: extant. The MGoBlog iPhone app is live in the Apple App Appstore:


It's free, and will still be inaccessible on Gameday when 100,000 people try to text their buddy "DENENENENENAAAARD." But if you're on an iPhone it's better than webbin' it. Guilt at lack of Android app: severe. If there are any Android developers out there interested in a revshare deal to create one, email me.

Send us your sons. Since it's football season we'll forgo the full breakdown of Glenn Robinson III, Michigan's freshest basketball recruit and the son of Glenn Robinson (II, I guess), that guy who played for Purdue and was in the NBA forever. Robinson is a 6'6" wing who will arrive in 2012 (ie, the year after Carlton Brundidge and Trey Burke). Robinson's a three star rated #118 by Rivals who picked up an offer in August. UMHoops doesn't have a google-stalk yet but it's just a matter of time.

Crist concussion certain. Dude, Dayne Crist was concussed. This is from Brian Kelly:

"We had just got clearance from the TV tout to take the field. We were under a minute. That's when he said, 'Coach, I just don't remember this play.' You could look at him and you could tell that he wasn't fully in charge. So that's when we made the decision to make the change."

I'm not saying Kelly's a bad guy (though I'd be disappointed in RR if he'd done something similar) or that making a decision like that is easy, but at some point there should probably be a guy unaffiliated with either school who makes a decision about whether a player who's "dazed" can return at all. If you're out most of a half, have trouble seeing out of one eye, and are having memory issues, that's a "maybe next week" sort of injury.

TWIS for you. Some miscommunication led This Week In Schadenfreude to get posted late but you'll want to head over there for the awesome animated GIF created from the Terpstra on-field video and the Nation's reaction:

ya know what?
by jddomer (2010-09-11 19:34:34)

f--- you, and anyone who thinks this game was OK. F--- YOU!!!!!! I hate michigan with the white hot heat of 1000 suns. We should NEVER lose to thses f---ers. EAD. These fuckers should never beat us, especially like this. And, being unfortunate enouogh to be born in that godforsaken f---ing state, I will ahev to listen to the "we are better than you" shit for yet another year. F--- you.,
Where is my Jack? seriously. I need a bottle, and I need it now. Until we are 10-1.

Most of you just laughed like mad scientists, and that's okay.

This looks familiar. Via a reader comes this report of a new tradition at Marshall that seems slightly ripped off from your favorite team:

Marshall Tradition

They're still getting the hang of it:

They started a “new” tradition where the players hit the M[arshall] Club banner on their way out onto the field.  Its quite a circuitous  route as the come out of their locker room which is in the North end zone, run up the hashes to the 50, make a right hand turn, and boom! hit the banner. Best part was they didn’t set the banner at an appropriate height (probably 10’) and only a handful of the players were able to hit it.  Lots of missing going on. 

You're welcome, WVU readers. We try to give something back.

More walk-ons necessary. So the annual walk-on tryouts went down:

More than 30 students participated in tryouts for the Michigan football team Monday afternoon. Rodriguez said six or seven will receive an extended look during a two-week trial period.

“A couple really caught our attention,” he said. “They might have a spot on the team.”

Keecker? plz?

Major injuries. Michigan isn't the only team getting it in the nads from Angry Blank-Hating Gods. Purdue's #1 receiver and only remaining scary offensive threat in the aftermath of Ralph Bolden's injury is out for the year, which is especially painful because Smith is a senior who has taken a redshirt and will have to apply for a sixth year he may or may not get.

Also gone is Ohio State starting strong safety CJ Barnett, though Ohio State has the depth to find a suitable replacement. Not so much Purdue. Penn State's Gerald Hodges, their version of Mike Jones, will miss 4 to 8 weeks as well. MSU lost its third-string TE, so they're totally screwed.

Steal my thunder. I was totally going to do this but BWS beat me to it:


This is not the 31-yard Roy Roundtree touchdown that kicked off Michigan's scoring. It's a play on the previous drive that ended with Robinson gaining a few yards on that QB off tackle or whatever you want to call it. Look at the WRs: they're running routes. I'm not sure if this is an option for Robinson he misread, a mistake, or a proof of concept for the 'Tree TD, but Michigan saw the results and got seven points out of it. More details at the link above.

RBUAS alert. Johnny talks about the wonder that is Stephen Hopkins. No, not really:

The Saturday morning before last I woke up on an inflatable mattress on the floor of a friend’s apartment in Ann Arbor. You know how the rest goes.
If you type in Denard Robinson on Google the first suggestion is "Denard Robinson Heisman." He doesn't know what they say about him on television because he doesn’t have cable. Notre Dame let him in the interview room, the first time an opposing player has been allowed in there since 1997. Dick Vitale spent Saturday afternoon telling Jalen Rose over Twitter that Denard Robinson was awesome, baby. Lebron James said he was “a monster out there right now.” Denard Robinson is operating from a different dimension. We can all only swarm to the crater where he crash landed and pick through the debris for souvenirs.

Etc.: Get your Denard wallpaper. Backstreet's back after the Ohio State win. Big Ten Hockey from the BC perspective. Personally I doubt it has any impact on further Big Ten Expansion. Brabbs dominates some more cancer. Blue Seoul picture pages the crap out of everything, including the Tate-RR hugz. Tom Brady on the cover of SI. LOL wrong Michigan QB guyz.