The Story 2012: The Real William Carlos Williams

The Story 2012: The Real William Carlos Williams Comment Count

Brian August 27th, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Previously: The Story 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. Preview 2011.

Sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero? But sometimes there's a man … and I'm talkin' about the Dude here… sometimes there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.

-The Stranger, The Big Lebowksi

I construct the preview every year from the bones of the previous one, and when I took my first stabs at organizing what I was going to say about the secondary I ran across this, because obviously:


How long ago was that? A hundred years.

Joe Paterno was still Penn State's coach, and wonderful. JT Floyd was unable to stay within ten yards of a receiver. Michigan's football program was riven with factionalism. Craig Roh was some sort of linebacker and Kenny Demens was lining up an inch from the nose tackle. Rich Rodriguez had hired Greg Robinson, and this was Greg Robinson burning the world in response.

How long ago was this?


Bathrooms had not yet been invented. Top hats were all the rage. Punting was a good idea. Pterodactyls were the hot new species. It was a long, long time ago, October of 2010. A long time ago.


It was college, so we did ridiculous things. In my sophomore year one of those was having a fight about who the "real William Carlos Williams" was. William Carlos Williams was obviously the real William Carlos Williams but somehow Kit and Sunil contrived to have a dispute about which one of them really was the real William Carlos Williams anyway. This was settled the way these things always are: with a poetry-off.

We met with great solemnity in Ryan's dorm room. One of us had found a recipe for a drink that supposedly tasted like apple pie. I was still in the phase where changing my state of mind with alcohol was something beneath me and did not partake. I do remember there being whipped cream from a can. It was drinking in a dorm room. Of course there was whipped cream.

Embarrassingly sweet drinks were consumed as the festivities progressed until the poetry-off. Kit and Sunil would be given a topic and asked to compose a poem on that theme in the style of William Carlos Williams. The topic—revealed with the allez cuisine flourish of an Iron Chef ingredient—was red-haired women.

When the allotted minutes had passed and time was called, Kit went first. Kit had prepared. His poem was a mélange of repurposed WCW lines that he'd memorized and crammed together into a surprisingly coherent Frankenstein of a poem.

Sunil was next. He'd had far too much to drink and was showing it. Sitting on Ryan's bed slumped over, he roused himself. He looked down at what he'd written, and started.

"I love red haired bitches
they say 'whatever' and 'like'
how easily we imbibe their terminology

At this juncture Sunil toppled over backward on the bed and said no more. The panel of judges unanimously declared him the Real William Carlos Williams. Sunil celebrated by throwing up into the trash.


I think about Sunil's poem whenever someone other than Brady Hoke calls the Great Eye of Columbus "Ohio." This is all the time. Kit assembled a frankenpoem from someone's else's mouth; Sunil just said stuff. One of these things stuck. There's an "imbibe this terminology" tag on this blog.

hokesmugBrady Hoke dropped the "State" from Ohio and drove the Buckeyes to distraction to the point where the program—not just the fans—celebrated the return of "that school up north" like Terrelle Pryor welcoming an auto dealer into his tattoo-artist-sponsored apartment. Hoke dropped "This is Michigan" in his introductory press conference and tacked on the "fergodsakes" that made it immortal. He called last year's outfit Team 132, and now this year's outfit is team 133 and the ridiculous recruiting class that will enroll next year is shooting #team134 hashtags back and forth across twitter.

Hoke didn't seem to mean anything by any of it. He just talked, and though he tried to press-conference it things slipped out sideways. We imbibed them.

That's marketing. The rest is just repetition.

A year ago—or a hundred, whatever, I can't tell anymore—I wrote a story about the 2011 season that focused on how it was a damn good thing that Denard and Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen and Kevin Koger were around because I'd been in the stands when they were losing to Purdue and some guy kept screaming "they don't have any HEART" and heard tale after tale of shameful behavior directed at Rich Rodriguez—if you can't recall, he was the head coach at the time—by program alums.

A year later, Brady Hoke has every last Michigan fan marching behind him, not to mention Greg Mattison and a heaping handful of the country's best high school football players. This has just happened, you know? It is of course planned and difficult and meticulousness is required, but on one level Hoke just vacuumed everyone up because he is who he is.

Last February I was in a hotel in Grand Rapids where people had gathered to talk about football. I'm in the very corner of this room and I've got longer hair than any five other people in it put together and a goatee and I look like I do, you know. Like a guy who has trouble crossing borders sometimes. I could have been wearing a sequined dress and heels and not have looked less like a football coach than I did.

Hoke is standing two feet in front of me.

I have this completely insane fear that somehow Hoke will recognize me even though he knows nothing about me. He may not even know what the internet is. But this is an insane fear, remember. I don't want to make eye contact in case he says "you're the one who wrote a post called 'Profiles In Cronyism' about me, and several other uncomplimentary things besides" and this will spur the rest of the room to toss me bodily out of this hotel. But I'm staring at him all the same.

Borges is there, too. He's talking a couple rooms down but has stopped in for a visit. In an hour I'll sneak over to his talk and listen, enraptured, for an hour as he describes Michigan's passing concepts, and feel embittered when he has to stop instead of continuing on for another four. Before he gets into it he'll tell the room that it is great working for "Brady" because he trusts you to do your job, unlike some coaches he's worked under. When he says it, it sounds like he's saying no one will ever leave him, because why would you?

Right now Borges is surveying a room packed from stem to stern for Hoke and making a self-depreciating comment about the lack of people in his much smaller room. Brady grins, and says "Nobody cares about offense, Al. Who cares about offense?" He says it again. He laughs, and is completely at ease as myself and a half-dozen other star-struck folk file this interaction away in our brains. He walks away and we fall into line behind him, like so many others.


Unverified Voracity Comes Up Milhouse

Unverified Voracity Comes Up Milhouse Comment Count

Brian March 1st, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Everywhere you go. A reader sends along this BBC news piece on goings-on in Libya featuring this guy at prayer:


CCHA champs and rid of Qaddafi in the same week*—everything's coming up Milhouse!

BONUS: random Mississippi State sweatshirt in different protest. The 2011 Gator Bowl is coming for you, Qadddafi.

*[Michigan hockey guy lives in the liberated east; Qaddafi's still hanging on in the west.]

Vada latest. Vada Murray is home after radiation treatments:

We have never, ever, in our lives felt so scared.  We also have never felt so loved.  Thank you for the cards, emails, text messages, phone calls & messages on this website; thank you for your continued expressions of love & support.  Thank you to the Ann Arbor Police Department for their unwavering love.  They give true meaning to the phrase, "Whatever you need, whenever you need it." Thank you for understanding if we don't personally return your message.  We both want you to know, we love you back.

Moves. Touch The Banner relates that Rivals relates a couple of position switches: Steve Watson has moved back to tight end and Will Campbell to the defensive line. You're probably thinking "meh" and "duh," but there's an interesting wrinkle:

But unlike Rodriguez and his clunky defensive staff, Campbell will actually be playing the 3-tech defensive tackle position.  I can't imagine the conversations in the former defensive staff's meeting rooms.  "Well, we've got this 6'5" behemoth with loads of talent, but his one problem is that he can't stay low and get leverage.  We just can't figure out what to do with him."

There wasn't a three-tech DT in the 3-3-5 and Campbell wasn't going to play DE, so since he's not so good at NT it's off to offense. I'm not entirely sure this is as much of a slam dunk as TTB does—Campbell has fallen prey to single blocks plenty—but it's at least worth a shot. I'd rather he became an awesome NT but I think it's far more likely he becomes an acceptable three-tech, and either one of those allows Ryan Van Bergen to be the SDE I think Michigan needs him to be if their defensive line is going to be good against the run.

FWIW, Campbell was pretty effective in the goal line set when he could just plow into the backfield. He'll have to do a bit more than get under a guy and drive him back as he falls down if he's going to be an effective player in the other 98 yards of field, though.

Well, yes. It's natural for people to explode when your floppy-haired gritmonster makes two enormous plays that turn a probable loss into a certain win. As the morning's post indicated in the "elsewhere" section, if you don't have a post extolling Zack Novak today you probably don't have a Michigan blog. The Wolverine Blog says "what about the awesome guys?"

Tim Hardaway, Jr. locked up his third straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor — no small feat in a conference featuring Jared Sullinger — with a first-half outburst of “en fuego” proportions: four three-pointers in the first five minutes gave Michigan an early cushion that would allow them to weather a big Minnesota run and still enter halftime with a 35-33 lead. Hardaway finished the game leading all scorers with 22 points on 7-11 shooting (5-8 from three) …

It was Michigan’s other difference-maker, Darius Morris, who came through with 11 second-half points — continually finding his way into the paint among Minnesota’s massive front line and finding a way to create baskets — en route to a 17-point, 8-15 shooting, 7-assist performance while committing just one lone turnover.

That's ridiculously efficient and very efficient with ridiculous assist-to-turnover; Morris is also ~60% responsible for Jordan Morgan leading all D-I players in FG% in the last five games. I hesitate when TWB calls Novak a "role player"—Vogrich is a role player—but he's not one of the two lights-out stars that keep Michigan around so Novak can declare winnin' time.

Hardaway's stats are now gross. In his last five games he's made 60% of his threes. Okay, that's a hot streak. It's more than that: since January 9th he's pulled his eFG% up from 42% to 52%. In that stretch of 14 games he's made 48% of his threes. Even if you chuck out the last five games in the other nine he's hit 42%. Over essentially half of Michigan's season—the tough half—Hardaway is hitting half his threes.


30 for 30 on black socks. Jalen Rose tweets this:


That is an ESPN documentary on the Fab Five smack dab in he middle of March. Prepare to be massively conflicted.

God, the Penn State game. That's when it all came crashing down. After a somewhat encouraging performance against Iowa—at least it was encouraging on the ground—Michigan hits the bye week, dumps the mostly 4-3/3-4 sets they'd been using, and comes out in a 3-3-5 that Penn State gashes all day. Before that game PSU couldn't run if you spotted them two guys and three yards, and in the aftermath I blew up. UFR tags included "fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu," "fire coach x," "greg robinson," "i want a staple gun," "i've got a feeling i'm going to punch the black eyed peas," and "idiocracy."

This bit was particularly painful:

Line Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M1 1 G Goal line 3-3-5 stack Run Dive ? 1
Whatever. This isn't even M's to-date successful goal line package. RPS -1.

That's right: Michigan ran a stack on first and goal from the one. I bring it up because a reader hit up a coaching clinic featuring PSU's Mike McQueary and reports back:

He used Michigan as an example of the importance of finding a few things as a coach that you can connect with your players on re: scheme, rather than trying to run every kind of scheme with minimal understanding (Less is better).

The hardest thing to watch was a near-goal line stand where PSU ran a Fullback draw into a 3-man front and barely needed any blocking to get the TD. He referred to that as "some knuckleheaded goal-line defense".

I still can't believe RR screwed up his defense enough to get fired. I mean, of all the epic fails in the history of epic fails. All they had to be was mediocre in year three. This is painful:

"This clip makes me feel a little sad for Coach Rodriguez. His offense is nearly impossible to gameplan for, but the defense couldn't get it done"


Etc.: The Wolverine Blog rebuts the Rodriguez-attrition meme. I think the truth lies somewhere in between it and the MNB piece. The problem was that Michigan needed to have a run of below-average attrition after late Carr-era departures and didn't get it. Robocop speaks to the city of Detroit: statue yes. Denard Robinson was a clue on Jeopardy.


Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Formation notes: Reduced use of the I this week, which evaporated after Magee felt a disturbance in the force when Vincent Smith ran for nothing on third and short on Michigan's first drive.

Substitution notes: Huyge played the entire game for an injured Dorrestein at right tackle. Smith still got the bulk of the snaps at tailback with Hopkins getting a decent chunk; Shaw was around but not for much.

At receiver Stokes didn't see any time after an initial catchable ball was dropped; Roundtree and Grady saw all or almost all of the snaps in the slot. TE rotation was as per usual, and Forcier got his weekly snap after Robinson got dinged.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Yakety sax Robinson 1
You'll have to forgive any misidentifications; this is an SD torrent and it's fuzzy. Michigan's going to run a power off tackle, pulling Omameh around into what looks like it will be a cavernous gap, but Robinson fumbles the snap, misses the handoff, and takes off to the other side of the field, picking up a yard.
RUN+: RUN-: Robinson(2)
M29 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Midline option Robinson 7
Hey: midline. Still sets up, then bites on Smith, so Denard pulls(ZR+1). Colasanti bites on the handoff, too, splitting the two OL who get downfield. This draws attention from both, leaving the slot LB unblocked. He's well outside and can only make a diving ankle tackle from behind; I think Lewan made the right choice by blocking Colasanti because he was in position to do better than this and Schilling had no shot at him.
RUN+: Robinson, Lewan RUN-:
M36 3 2 I-form 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Iso Smith 0
Aaaaaargh Vincent Smith short yardage iso. This is inexplicable. They have three wide versus seven in the box so there's an extra defender they can't block. Schilling(-1) loses Still to the inside and though the playside double crumples Ogbu, Colasanti's just shooting into the play untouched because Koger(-1) ran right by him to block the SLB. Smith runs into both and goes nowhere. (RPS -1) A terrible, terrible play call. Michigan should never run from a three-wide in the I on third and short.
RUN+: RUN-: Schilling, Koger
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
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 Zone read keeper Robinson 4
I'm not sure if this is actually a read because the blocking scheme here is different: Huyge kicks out the backside DE and the TE heads up in the hole between the T and G to act as a lead blocker; Smith is running into a hole where there is no lead block and never will be one. Robinson keeps, then. Huyge(+1) got a great kick. Omameh(+1) got his DT a yard downfield, there's a gap; Webb(-1) did not get playside of the linebacker. He comes off to tackle at the LOS, with momentum pitching the crew forward.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge RUN-: Webb
M24 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE Seam Webb 15
Linebackers suck up on no playfake at all and Webb runs into the vacated space behind them; Robinson nails him for a chunk of yards. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Midline stretch Smith 2
Midline; handoff this time. Playside DT is playside of Molk and Smith has to cut back, where Still runs him down from behind to hold the gain down. Still did a good job of forcing the handoff and recovering. Not sure if Denard should have kept it or not but I kind of lean towards yes? I think i have to (ZR -1) a play where the guy optioned off made a tackle for three yards.
RUN+: RUN-: Robinson
M41 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 9
Molk(+2) gets a tough reach block on Ogbu by himself. Nice. Molk cuts the guy and gives Denard a crease; Omameh(+1) was getting out to kick out the playside LB, who fell… very likely he's done anyway. Schilling(+1) got a cut on the MLB and Robinson has room to slash, which he does very quickly.
RUN+: Molk(2), Omameh, Schilling, Robinson RUN-:
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Power veer Smith 9
Never seen this before. Michigan runs a zone read. It's a veer, which mean chunks of the line block down, but it's power, meaning the backside G pulls around and the intended gap is between the playside G and T. WLB shoots up in the backside uselessly. Playside DT is obliterated by Lewan(+0.5) and Schilling(+0.5). Omameh(+1) blows up the LB at the LOS and Smith(+1) hits the gap between him and Webb(+1) quickly, cutting behind a Roundtree block and getting tackled by the safety Willis, who made a good fill.
RUN+: Lewan(0.5), Schilling(0.5), Omameh, Smith, Webb RUN-:
O41 2 1 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
Would rather see someone else take the hit on a down like this, or throw the seemingly open bubble in this offset formation. Playside double on Ogbu gets him back a yard but he comes through it and threatens to close off the hole; Omameh(-0.5) and Molk(-0.5) share culpability. Huyge(+1) got a good kick on the DE, though, and when he tries to come inside to close the hole off Huyge drives and pancakes him, giving Robinson the lane outside he takes for the first. These DTs can play, man.
RUN+: Huyge RUN-: Omameh(0.5), Molk(0.5)
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 1
Confused as to why Michigan is blocking the ponderous backside DE here instead of optioning him; but they are. Omameh(-1) blown back by the DT, forcing a cutback by Smith into an unblocked fellow at the LOS. Think they need to hit the bubble here with the slot S thinking contain instead. Smith(-0.5) got no YAC against a single tackle; Hopkins probably makes this decent yardage.
RUN+: RUN-: Omameh, Smith
O38 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Roundtree 6
Excellent timing in a tight window, but I question the decision to go to the slot when PSU's been playing off the outside guys all night. Stonum is open for an easier throw and much more YAC potential. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O33 3 3 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run PA QB draw Robinson 33
Fake the bubble and Robinson jets. Bubble fake erases the two outside guys in man on the receivers, but there's still a lot of work to do. PSU blitzes one linebacker to the outside, which deletes him. Molk(+1) gets Ogbu inside; Omameh(+2) gets another one of those driving blocks that take out a second player trying to get an angle. Robinson's through; Hemingway(+1) shoves a corner to the ground and Roundtree picks off the last man; touchdown. (RPS +1)
RUN+: Molk, Omameh(2), Hemingway, Rountree, Robinson(2) RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 4 min 1st Q. New stuff.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA short seam Grady 18
The lead-draw-to-anything fake. This one is impressive from Denard because the DE has slanted inside Lewan(-1) and is in Robinson's face as he pulls up to throw; the resulting ball is a bit behind Grady but he spins to catch it, stays on his feet, and picks up some YAC. Heavy pressure on the safety here to make a tackle; he does. (DO, 2, protection 0/1, Lewan -1)
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Hopkins 4
Seems like the bubble is pretty open in this setup with PSU clearly in three-deep, but they don't go to it. With the backside DE getting blocked not sure what he should do here but there is a WLB keeping contain so okay(ZR+1). On the stretch Lewan(-1) gets slanted under and Still fights Molk into the backfield but Omameh(+1) has taken care of Ogbu so there's a cutback lane; Molk(+1) got a good second-level block on Colasanti. Hopkins(-1) has some room and could cut for good yardage or just bowl over a linebacker for some YAC; instead he crumples to the ground as soon as he's hit.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh RUN-: Hopkins, Lewan
M49 2 6 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 11
Odd looking play where Robinson seems to take off too fast for Hopkins to get in front of him. He repairs that after a couple steps, allowing Hop(+1) to club the playside LB with an excellent block that springs Robinson into the secondary. Lewan(+1) got a good kick and Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) pancaked the playside DT. No one else in the picture with PSU shaded towards the other side of the field because of the trips; Robinson hits the secondary and is contained there.
RUN+: Lewan, Hopkins, Schilling, Molk RUN-:
O40 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Stokes Inc
Snag concept with Smith running a flare under this route. Linebacker vacates so Robinson goes to the slant. I'd love a replay here because the original shot is pretty fuzzy and this could be more on Robinson or Stokes than it seems. I don't have one, though, so: this seems a little in front of Stokes and is coming in hot but this is still catchable, hitting the receiver in the hands. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O40 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run PA QB draw Robinson 5
Hole opens up momentarily but Still shucks Schilling(-1) to the playside after taking a momentary double and he's able to force it outside. Smith is unable to do more than harry the playside LB as he breaks outside. Robinson(+1) takes a hard fall as he heads OOB and misses a couple plays.
O35 3 5 ? ? ? ? ? Penalty False start Stonum -5
Frustrating: Stonum moves because a PSU DE moves into the neutral zone. This should be a Michigan first down, or is that only for linemen?
O40 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Stonum Inc
Hard to tell but this looks like a four verts concept. DL rush hard up the edge but Michigan's got it contained; Forcier steps up into a nice pocket and then gets happy feet, scrambling out. As he nears the sideline he tosses a soft pass to Stonum for the first down but it appears that the PSU safety Willis knocks it down or out of his hands--again, hard to tell. Forcier should have hung in and found someone, maybe his checkdown Smith. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Hopkins 5
Probably not a read. Backside DE kicked out by Huyge. Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) double the backside DT and blow him yards off the line, with Omameh popping off on the linebacker. Hopkins his the hole and cuts behind Omameh, which has the potential to break big but for that DT fighting through the Molk block to tackle. Not even a starter—83 if you're interested.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh RUN-:
M30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 4
Belly fake to a hitch that looks like it should be open—Stonum is wide open on the other side of the field and this should be obvious from before the snap. This is a run call so whateva. You can tell because the OL are releasing downfield. Omameh(+1) and Molk (+1) batter that backup DT pretty good and there should be a hole but Huyge(-1) got shoved inside by DE-type-object Jordan Hill and he's right in the intended path. Because of the crushing double on the playside DT Robinson can just run straight upfield for four.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh RUN-: Huyge
M34 3 1 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB iso Robinson 3
Not a read, this is not a mesh. Just a PA fake to Hopkins basically and then Robinson runs an iso with Koger as a lead blocker. Schilling(+1) stalemates and kicks Still out, which combined with Molk just managing to get enough of Ogbu (and Koger getting a piece) gives Denard the first.
RUN+: Schilling RUN-: Molk(-0.5)
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Hemingway Inc
Michigan going to the wide open hitch they saw on the lead draw play; it is indeed wide open, with Hemingway five yards downfield and likely to pick up another 6-8 YAC. Throw is a bit low but eminently catchable. Dropped. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M37 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 18
Down G scheme with Huyge(+1) blocking down on Still and taking him out of the play as Omameh pulls around him. Koger(+1) blows the playside DE upfield, providing a big hole. Omameh gets a second level block on Colasanti; Hopkins kind of whiffs but that was because the OLB hopped inside of him and opened up the corner, which Robinson(+1) smartly takes. Stonum(+1) gets a cut to erase the playside corner and Robinson is barely run OOB by the last safety.
RUN+: Robinson(2), Huyge, Omameh, Stonum RUN-:
O45 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly Hopkins 2
With Koger coming around to block the backside DE and no real contain this is a missed keeper opportunity (ZR -1). Because of this, there is a WLB in the area to engage Lewan after he and Schilling double the playside DE. RPS -1. It's frustrating to see Michigan not exploit this... Denard on the edge here could be deadly.
RUN+: RUN-: Robinson
O43 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA short seam Hemingway 21
This again. Linebackers suck up and Robinson fires a dart to Hemingway for a goodly chunk of yards. (DO, 3, protection N/A)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 2
Inverted veer! I've undoubtedly ranted about this before you got here. Here Robinson makes the right upfield read as the DE is way in the backfield and hopping outside (ZR+1) but Molk(-2) has gotten so crushed by Ogbu; Ogbu comes around the outside and grabs at Denard as he heads upfield. Denard steps through the tackle but his momentum--his moment--is gone and he has to dance back to the LOS without getting killed. On replay... wow. This opens up like whoah.
RUN+: RUN-: Molk(2)
O20 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA slant Hemingway Inc
PA fake, bubble fake, slant. Excellent play by the PSU corner (who I believe is the converted WR) to hit right on the throw and make this more difficult. May have been a tiny bit early, which makes Hemingway demand a flag, but you're never going to get this call. Hemingway still has an opportunity to make this catch; he does not. This is an example of what good Ds do that ours doesn't. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
O20 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Cross Stonum 8
One deep read he doesn't like and the checkdown, which he throws on time and accurately, allowing Stonum to cut the four yards up for three more and make this an obvious opportunity to go for it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O12 4 In Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Power zone read Hopkins 2
Doubles on both DTs and Hopkins just roaring downhill; Omameh(+1) and Huyge(+0.5) drive their guy back and Hopkins runs up their backs.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge(+0.5) RUN-:
O10 1 G Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Hopkins 0
Hopkins fumbles. Not his fault as Denard put it in his shoulder pads. Not sure it made much of a difference since Colasanti was totally unblocked. Maybe a yard or three. Bubble getting breathtakingly open.
O10 2 G Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Midline inside zone Smith 2 (Pen -10)
Molk(-2) gets shoved upfield into the crease between himself and the tackle, then draws a holding call that seems legit as the player fights inside of him. Denard(ZR -1) hands off again and the tackle reads and reacts to grab Smith at the LOS and hold down the gain anyway. Not a very good play. Denard has acres of space and one guy in it--beat him, yo.
RUN+: RUN-: Molk(2), Robinson
O20 2 G Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Deep slant Stonum Inc
Robinson looks to the trips side of the field, drawing the MLB out of his zone, and immediately comes back to rifle a slant to Stonum that will pick up about half of the distance. Ball is a little high but still very catchable; it goes right through Stonum's hands. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
O20 3 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant and go Hemingway Inc
Route not that successful, as you might figure on third and goal from the twenty, but if he gives it up to Hemingway in the right spot he might have a shot. His throw is well long and a safety nearly intercepts. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(38), 10-14, 8 min 2nd Q
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 Pass PA rollout hitch Stonum Inc
Play action rollout picks up a good cut from Smith on the edge and Robinson finds Stonum open for a would-be first down. It's not well thrown and incomplete. Without a replay it's tough to assess whether this is MA or IN and whether the catch is a 1 or 2. My guess is the harsher one towards Robinson. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M2 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
Double the playside DT and pull Schilling around. Huyge(-1) and Omameh get a good push on Still and if they keep driving they can probably open up a crease with the two lead blockers taking on the playside LBs but Huyge peels off the block to take on the MLB, who Schilling's already moving out towards, and Still comes through to tackle as Denard cuts back. PSU jumping this and with all the LBs on the field this had little chance of success. Tough situation, but (RPS -1).
RUN+: RUN-: Huyge
M4 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Roundtree Inc
Linebacker running right underneath the route. He tips it skyward; Robinson lucky this wasn't a pick six. (BR, 0, protection 1/2, Smith -1 for having his cut block leapt over.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-21, 2 min 2nd Q. The Gallon error and the poor throw on first down here are killers.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun empty 0 1 4 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Roundtree 4
Again with the hitches and again Robinson throws the covered slot one instead of an easy first down on the outside. I don't BR completions but this is the second time this has happened. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M33 2 6 Shotgun empty 0 1 4 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Stonum Inc
Hitches on the other side of the field; this time PSU jumps the outside one and leaves Roundtree open; Robinson throws to that guy and is fortunate his throw is inaccurate or this is another possible pick six. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
M33 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run PA QB draw Robinson 5
Bubble screen fake to a draw that opens up with a DT running upfield fast. Robinson avoids him and heads into open space. He should have the first down but for FR Hill, the other DT on this snap, tackling him from behind. Mansome for a FR DT. Michigan lets the clock run out.
Drive Notes: EOH, 10-28. Forcier Hail Mary not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 10 (Pen -7)
In this four wide package one of the LBs flexes out on the boundary slot receiver, so this is sort of a nickel look. Michigan is trying to block the playside LB with Smith and that playside LB is reacting *very* quickly so there's no hole to the inside. Lewan(+1) gets a great kick on Hill, then drives him downfield as he tries to get inside, giving Robinson(+1) the corner. Robinson's heading for near first down yardage when Stonum(-2) stupidly clips a PSU player that he could have just walled off with the same result, turning a near first down into long yardage.
RUN+: Lewan, Robinson RUN-: Stonum(2)
M13 1 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Power veer Smith 4
Playside DE slants inside Webb(-1) and draws attention from the pulling lineman Schilling as result. Playside DT is doubled by Omameh(+1) and Huyge(+1) to drive him back two yards; Omameh pops out on the MLB. Unblocked SLB has a clear path to Smith, who runs up the backside of the DT double for a few. Still think Robinson needs to keep here periodically to put the fear of God in folk but I don't know if this is actually a wrong read. Hard to tell. No ZR.
M17 2 13 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Slot 4-3 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 18
BWS already picture-paged this, which is a shame because I totally would have if he hadn't. This is the it play in college football right now, a staple of Oregon's offense and Auburn's, and I'll talk about it more later. Anyway: Schilling pulls around. Molk(+1) shoves Still way out of the play as he's expecting something different so when Ogbu pwns Omameh(-1) it doesn't matter because Robinson's optioned off the playside DE (ZR+1) and has so much space that he just runs right past Ogbu. Huyge has released straight downfield into Colasanti but because of the Omameh screwup he's blocking the wrong side; no matter, as CC fights through the block only to find the QB is headed the other way. Koger(+1) walls off the linebacker to the backside of the play and fights with him as he starts to cut back outside once Robinson heads out there. Stonum(+1) gets a good downfield block on the corner and forces him to release real late; that guy makes a saving tackle after the first down. (RPS +1)
RUN+: Molk, Robinson, Huyge, Stonum, Koger RUN-: Omameh
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Shaw 4
Missed read of some variety because Robinson has plenty of room and should keep; the slot safety is crashing down but that should allow him to throw the bubble if he has no room. Instead he hands off. Huyge(+1) does a great job of driving the backside DE well off the LOS; Shaw runs right into the LB not really keeping contain on Robinson. (ZR -1)
RUN+: Huyge RUN-: Robinson
M40 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv TE seam Koger 60
Robinson's first read is a couple of hitches PSU is running under. He starts to throw but manages to prevent himself from making another INT-possible throw. Next he's got to dart through a bad block from Lewan(-1), who let his guy inside of him, and a bad cut from Shaw(-1). He smoothly steps up and as he does so finds Koger wiiide open about 25 yards downfield. Playside safety is gone because of the pump. Denard's throw is short and soft but in this situation that's the right idea; Koger brings it in and can set sail for the endzone with Roundtree running some slight interference on the safety. The  WR/CB guy gives Koger a frustration facemask for PSU's only penalty of the day. (CA+, 3, protection 1/2, Lewan –1, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-31, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA seam Grady 19
Robinson pumps a fake to the left side of the field and then comes off to Grady, who is running into a gap between levels in the zone; Robinson nails him in the numbers right on time. Nice gainer. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Stonum Inc
Corner in excellent coverage. Probably gets there early but it doesn't matter since the ball appears to be one-hopped. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
O36 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 1
Ogbu makes a terrific play by getting into Omameh at the LOS, seeing where the play is going because he's set up inside, and spinning off as Robinson nears the LOS to make a tackle for nothing by himself. All Conference player, Ogbu. Awesome individual play. Also -2 Omameh.
RUN+: RUN-: Omameh(2)
O35 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flare screen Smith 19
Here's the effect of all those PA draws: neither linebacker gets out on this, or even attempts to. Roundtree(+1) gets a downfield block on the playside guy; Hemingway(+1) stalks the corner like whoah, and Lewan(+1) has the mobility to get out in front of the safety and force him to play it very conservatively. Smith just has to head outside and he's got the first down and more. (RPS +1)
O16 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 8
PSU sends a blitzer off the edge and Robinson seems to perceive this, because he's looking at the backside of the play from the start. Once Webb(+1) locks on to the blitzing LB and starts shoving him back Robinson slashes outside, where the blitz came from and there's no one left to deal with him. On the corner there's room for a good gain.
RUN+: Webb, Robinson RUN-:
O8 2 2 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 4
Terrific single block by Molk(+1) on Ogbu controls him and shoves him a yard downfield. Omameh and Huyge can't do much with Still, however (-1 Omameh, –1 Huyge), and Smith(+1) does well to see the LB crashing in on him from the outside and hit it up in the crease Molk's block provided. Schilling(+1) released into the MLB and got an effective block.
RUN+: Molk, Schilling, Smith RUN-: Omameh, Huyge
O4 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 3
Molk(+1) and Schilling(+1) scoop Ogbu and Molk gets out on the MLB. Omameh(+1) gets a good block on Still and all Smith has to do is run right behind the scoop to get near the goal line.
RUN+: Molk, Schilling, Omameh RUN-:
O1 2 G ? ? ? ? ? Run QB sneak Robinson 1
We don't get to watch this, but we do get a replay.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-38, 1 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Slot 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 6
Penn State way off with the LBs and with a guy over the trips side for bubble protection. Ogbu splits Omameh(-0.5) and Molk (-0.5), coming right up the center as Denard tries to get loose; Huyge(+1) walls off then pushes back the DE, giving Robinson(+1) the corner.
RUN+: Robinson, Huyge RUN-: Molk(-0.5), Omameh(-0.5)
M34 2 4 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 4
Omameh pulls around. PSU looking for it, though. The MLB is right in the hole, getting outside of Omameh and forcing Robinson back into the middle. Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1) have pancaked the playside DT, giving Michigan all but a first down. (RPS -1)
RUN+: Lewan, Schilling RUN-:
M38 3 In Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 8
Same play except Smith is in the backfield as a lead blocker. Omameh pulls and the MLB gets a double this time, with Smith(+1) leading the charge, and Robinson squeezes past the DT Lewan(+1) followed to the ground when he fell, getting the first down and a considerable chunk more.
RUN+: Smith, Robinson, Lewan RUN-:
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 12
Pump fake to a draw. One DT rushes upfield and takes himself out with help from Schilling; other is doubled and pushed away by Molk(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5). Big lane for Robinson. He takes it, getting a good downfield block from Webb(+1) to open up the first down.
RUN+: Molk (0.5), Omameh(0.5), Webb, Robinson RUN-:
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 3
Correct handoff with a LB running up the lane Robinson is looking at (ZR +1). Huyge(-1) gets slanted inside by Still, forcing Smith behind him and into the guy checking Denard. Other DT is doubled and Omameh(+1) gets a nice downfield block on the MLB to give Smith a little crack of daylight before he's tracked down.
RUN+: Omameh RUN-: Huyge
O39 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 0
Essentially what happened on the last play, with Omameh(-2) getting blown up by Ogbu. Ogbu funnels Smith into the unblocked LB checking Robinson.
RUN+: RUN-: Omameh(2)
O39 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Slot 4-3 Pass Flare screen Smith 17
PSU overloaded to the short side of the field with four guys near the hashmarks or outside of it. To the field there's just two guys. Michigan throws the flare screen to the field and since the one linebacker inside the hashmarks takes his initial steps away from it there's acres of space for Smith (CA, 3, screen) after the catch. Hardly anyone to block; Omameh(+1) peels off to set up that linebacker; Huyge(+1) gets a cut block on the free safety(!), and Roundtree and Stonum do adequate jobs on the outside guys. Smith runs straight upfield, getting tackled by backside pursuit after a big gain. (RPS +2, but mostly because PSU screwed up.)
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge RUN-:
O22 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 4
MLB pops Smith at the line and erases the intended crease. Robinson has to cut back, slithering in between the DTs since Omameh got a decent block before literally being chucked to the ground by Still. That is a strong dude. Doubles everywhere, guys everywhere, Robinson manages to minimax himself some yards. RPS -1.
RUN+: Robinson RUN-:
O18 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 5
Finally throw the bubble and it works, but Roundtree has to cut it upfield because Hemingway(-1) could not seal the safety, who bounces of his block and tackles Roundtree. He gets bowled over doing it but still a good play. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: RUN-: Hemingway
O13 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 9
Molk(+2)makes this. He gets a great reach block on Ogbu, first getting his helmet across and then getting under Ogbu as he tries to shuck and come back around. Molk then drives Ogbu four yards downfield. This allows Robinson to cut behind Schilling and Colasanti, who are moving rapidly playside since Colasanti read and attacked the play; Schilling(+1) did a good job to push him but that should be a win for the defense if the DT is anywhere near the LOS. Lewan(+1) got a cut block on Still, so he's done, and that cut takes out the backside DE, too. The WLB can't flow because of the awesome Molk block. The other members of the front seven are flowing to the frontside, so it's into the secondary and first and goal.
RUN+: Molk(2), Schilling, Lewan, Robinson RUN-:
O4 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 4
Finally, man. Backside DE is let free and crashes; not used to standing up at this point. Robinson pulls (ZR+1) and there's no one to contain him. Koger(+1) gets a block on the playside LB; Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1) crush the playside DT, and it's a walk-in for Robinson.
RUN+: Lewan, Schilling, Koger RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-38, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Stonum Inc
Still drives upfield of Omameh and gets his hand on the ball. (BA, 0, protection 0/1, Omameh)
M26 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Slot 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
No hole as the Molk(-1) and Schilling(-1) double fails to contain Ogbu, who forces Robinson outside where a linebacker has had time to come down and tackle.
RUN+: RUN-: Molk, Schilling
M28 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Slot 4-3 Pass Comeback Stonum Inc
Play action; Robinson has to step up to get past a charging DE that Schilling picks off. Once he's done that he's got some space and time; he finds Stonum open for the first down and throws it well short. Stonum cannot dig it out. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M28 4 8 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Slot 4-3 Pass Hitch Smith Inc
This isn't actually terrible. It's well overthrown but it has to be since PSU has everything blanketed and there's a LB right in front of Smith. Robinson gets it over him but Smith mistimes his jump and the ball goes over him by a few inches. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 31-41, 4 min 4th Q. EOG.

Sigh. My ennui.

It grows large.

There was this episode of House where an amply proportioned lady who came to the clinic was told she had a 25-pound cyst in her stomach that had to be removed and she was livid because her husband likes amply proportioned ladies.

Is there a question coming?

If Michigan football is good again what are the chances that my entire body consists of ennui and I'll evaporate into a fine mist when Michigan looks like a national championship contender in October?




2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? - 44%
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2 - 68%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - - 71%
UMass 4 10(3) - 1 1 - 1 1 - - 73%
BGSU 1 4(1) - - - - - - - 1/1 N/A
Indiana 2 8(2) 1(1) 5(1) - - - - - 9/11 66%
Michigan State 4 14(3) 1 7(1) 1 - - 2 2 N/A 68%
Iowa 1 11(3) 2 3(1) 2 - 1 - - 3/4 64%
Penn State 3 12(3) 1 4 2 - 1 - - 6/10 63%


Iowa 3 14 1 2 4 - - 1 1 N/A 74%

Michigan averaged 5.6 YPC against Penn State, which is second only to Alabama's 5.9, and yet the offense seemed sluggish at times. That's mostly the above chart, especially when you consider that a couple of Robinson's CAs were throws that should have gone farther outside where first downs were to be had. As the season goes along it's becoming clear that Robinson's accuracy is something of an issue. He's still light years from where he was last year but the last few weeks he's thrown some errant balls, made some bad decisions, and generally looked like something other than a golden God.

The zone read metric above is also less than great, though since most of those minuses were plays on which Denard should have kept the ball the low score may be part of an attempt to keep him from carrying on every snap. I do think part of the tailback's lack of effectiveness is in the rarity of zone read keepers. Many times this year it's seemed like a small alteration to Michigan's blocking scheme could punish teams that get too predictable with what they do on the backside.

The other part of the offensive sluggishness is here:

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum 3 0/3 0/1 1/1 9 1/6 6/10 16/16
Odoms : ( - - - 1 1/1 3/4 11/11
Hemingway 1 - 0/1 1/2 4 2/2 3/4 14/18
Stokes - - 0/1 - - - 1/2 -
Roundtree 1 - - 3/3 8 2/3 3/5 29/30
Grady - - 1/1 1/1 4 1/1 3/3 8/9
T. Robinson - - - - - 0/1 - 2/3
Gallon - - - 2/2 1 - - 3/3
Koger - - - 1/1 - - 2/3 7/7
Webb - - - 1/1 - - - 3/3
Smith - - 0/1 2/2 1 - 0/2 10/10
Shaw - - - - 1 0/1 0/1 4/4
McColgan - - - - - - - 1/1
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

Michigan had five reasonable opportunities to help Robinson out and only took one of them. Add in a flat drop from Hemingway and an o-fer for Stonum on three catches labeled 1—a couple of which were borderline—and it was easily the worst day of the year for Michigan receivers. They didn't do anything egregious but they didn't help out much either.

Hemingway's hands are verging on officially iffy—he's got four of Michigan's seven drops in just 18 opportunities.

And while we're talking about the passing game,

PROTECTION METRIC: 30/34, Lewan –2, Omameh –1, Smith -1

Excellent day from the line in pass protection but with Penn State scrambling at DE and content to sit back that's not a big surprise.

Run chart:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 7.5 4 3.5 Not much, if any, dropoff from Dorrestein
Lewan 8.5 1 7.5 Much easier task this week, same results.
Schilling 8.5 3 5.5 Did not suffer some of the big failures his interior linemates did.
Molk 12.5 6 6.5 A winning effort against a great pair of DTs. Two outstanding solo blocks.
Omameh 14.5 8 6.5 A little more eventful, which is overall worse than Molk, but still a nice day.
Khoury - - - DNP
Dorrestein - - - DNP
Webb 3 2 1 Michigan didn't use H-backs much.
Koger 3 1 2 Also some of these points should  belong on the other play, but can't be sure.
TOTAL 53.5 25 28.5 Solid performance from the interior line.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 13 6 7 That six is a big negative. Some errors, some zone read misses.
Gardner - - - DNP
Forcier - - - Two plays.
Shaw - - - Bit player.
Smith 3 0.5 2.5 Par for the course.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins 1 1 0 Did not get many opportunities.
McColgan - - - DNP.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 17 7.5 9.5 Meh day.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum 2 2 0 Clip was pretty dumb.
Odoms - - - --
TRobinson - - - --
Roundtree 1 - -  
Grady - - - --
Gallon - - - --
Hemingway 2 1 1 --
TOTAL 5 3 2 Eh.

By now this is the usual, right? The four guys who aren't the right tackle do okay to very well and the right tackle does okay. The lone exception was some tough swimming against Iowa; here Michigan ends up solidly positive across the board, though it's a step down from some of their earlier performances. Averaging 5.6 YPC when you're running two-thirds of the time against Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still is pretty impressive.

Ogbu, by the way, is a beast. I'm probably going to put together an All Big Ten team this year since I've been watching a ton of games and he's a lock. So Molk doing this…

And this…

…speaks pretty well to his ability.

You said some stuff about new stuff?

Yes. Michigan's added some tweaks to the run game. They ran the midline a couple times, but went away from it after Ogbu or Still (forget which exactly) formed up, forced a handoff, and then tackled that handoff twice. Penn State probably saw a ton of midline against Illinois, so they were ready.

Then there's this. I called it "power veer" but I'm not sure what it is, really:

So okay: this is similar to the veer play Oregon runs and a Illinois used to run and probably still does except the frontside end that you usually option off of is being blocked and instead of the line blocking down and the tackle rushing out to meet the playside LB, you pull a guard around. I'm not sure if this is a read at all since it's not apparent what Robinson would be reading or where he would go if he kept the ball. Maybe he pulls if the DE slants inside hard?

And then there's the inverted veer, AKA "That Thing Cam Newton Runs A Billion Times A Game." The first one didn't work so well but if you wait for the replay here you'll see that the only thing preventing this from being a Denard waltz into the endzone is Ogbu crushing Molk and coming around a block to make a great play:

The other time they ran it they grabbed 18 yards on second and thirteen. BWS broke that down; that play worked so well that Omameh got totally killed by Ogbu (surprise) and Denard still had vast amounts of room to cut past him.

You must have offensive annoyances, too, right?

Given the way opposing LBs continue to freak out about Denard's running they should spam the run-to-the-line play action far more heavily than they do. You'll have to vary the routes but some way to get opponents to loosen up against Michigan's isos and draws and whatnot would be helpful; a lot of times these days the problem with a particular run play isn't awful blocking but ravenous linebackers nailing guys at the LOS.

But other than that most of the stuff with the offense seems like execution. Michigan had the ball first and ten on their own two and called a rollout pass that had a critical first down but Robinson's throw was meh and Stonum couldn't help him out. You have to build your players' abilities into your playcalling model and it's hard to argue with the balance they've pitched right now. Also I'd like to see a few more bubbles. Michigan only ran one in this game and it certainly appeared like PSU was vulnerable. It took a great play for the Nittany Lions to hold down the one bubble they ran to five yards.

But mostly I like that in this game they could hypothetically only run one bubble without the world imploding. The last time we saw the flare screen actually run was, what, against Notre Dame? Michigan went back to it late in the Penn State game for two important twenty-yard gains on third and medium-to-long.


The offensive line as a whole.


The receiving corps and a little bit of Denard.

What does it mean for Illinois and beyond?

Michigan will be able to score on anyone to some extent but three of the next four weeks feature challenging defenses. To score as consistently as they have been Michigan has to eliminate a good chunk of the execution errors in the passing game.

As for the offense itself, they're adding new wrinkles to the run game that should make it harder for opponents to key in on any one thing. It's night and day from the DeBord stretch left, stretch right offense. Michigan runs power, iso, inside zone, stretches, veers, damn near everything, and runs all of it at least decently.


Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Formation notes: After two games in which Michigan deployed a lot of 4 man fronts and mixed in some 3-4 and 3-3-5 looks Michigan was almost exclusively stack against Penn State. They did move Demens (and Roh/Fitzgerald) back at halftime. First half:


Second half:


Substitution notes: Martin played maybe the first two series before coming out, and didn't do anything in that time. He was replaced by a combination of Sagesse and Patterson. Black and Banks are now platooning regularly, with Banks still getting most of the snaps. RVB is the line's ironman. He never comes out.

At linebacker it was Demens and Mouton the whole way with Fitzerald getting a drive or three when Michigan thought Roh wasn't playing well. Cam Gordon and Thomas Gordon split time at spur. Rogers was replaced by Talbott for much of the game. Vinopal went the distance at FS.

On with it:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA Fly Floyd Inc
Play action bomb against three deep; McGloin sets up and throws deep to his tiny guy Smith. Ball is underthrown and Floyd is in decent position, though a long enough throw beats him. Floyd has a chance to intercept but doesn't look for the ball quickly enough and a throw that looks like it was to him hits the turf. Um. I have to: Floyd +1, cover +1, pressure -1.
O29 2 10 I-form twins Base 4-3 Run   Off tackle Banks 0
Banks(+2) gets immediately playside of the PSU RT and drives him into the backfield. Michigan's running some sort of stunt on the backside that looks pretty unsound and as a result Demens was swallowed by two OL; Mouton is walled off by another—none of this matters because Banks has driven into the path of the RB and tackled him at the LOS by himself. Bad omen for the future.
O29 3 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Scramble Demens 11
One DT drops off to chuck the RB, looking for a screen. Martin(-1) comes through to flush McGloin, but with only three guys rushing there's a gap to the other side of him and McGloin steps up, sees no one, and runs. Demens(-1) is the guy nearest to him and gave up the corner because he drifted too far inside on a TE crossing route. This is definitely his fault: C. Gordon is going with his guy all the way downfield. Martin gets the -1 for coming up the wrong side and giving up the lane.
O40 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA Throwaway Van Bergen Inc
RVB(+1, pressure +1) gets upfield of his blocker and immediately releases into McGloin, forcing him to toss it away.
O40 2 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Slant Floyd 16
Michigan shifts late to man coverage and Floyd(-2, cover -2) isn't even in the same zip code as Smith on a simple slant. He can't even make a tackle, giving up another eight yards after the catch.
M44 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Kovacs 4
Michigan moves late to a one-high by, sending Kovacs into the box, and the shift gets PSU in a bad playcall. Seems like a designed cutback and a really bizarre scheme: Demens is like a yard from Martin and gets hit by a tackle; Mouton is way back and is scraping to the nominal frontside of the play only to get blown up by the FB as he drags himself out of position. Kovacs(+0.5) is there in the hole as a result of the late move to tackle near the LOS but he grabs ankles and allows Royster to spin forward for a decent gain. I'm guessing I'm going to neg a lot of guys because of this weird setup but not yet. This was the "This Is Not A Stack" play.
M40 2 6 Shotgun 2-back TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Pin and pull zone C. Gordon 3
Completely bizarre play from C. Gordon(-0.5) here, who is the contain guy to this side. Instead of flowing down the line and keeping outside leverage somewhere near the LOS he takes a weird looping downfield angle that sees him five yards downfield by the time the RB gets outside; he also impeded Roh with his weird delayed move outside. RVB(+1) had driven his guy well upfield and forced an outside angle by the RB, which allowed Gordon time to recover and hold the gain down.
M37 3 3 I-form Stack two deep Pass 3 FB screen Mouton 8
Three guys and still no one to sniff out the screen. Mouton(-1, cover -1) failed to read it and dropped very deep when he should have been staring right at it. Demens had a guy coming across his zone to drop into and then flows to tackle—without that this will go for a lot more. (RPS -1)
M29 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Power off tackle Banks 5
Banks(-1) crushed two yards downfield by a double. Mouton comes up to hit a pulling guard and restricts the hole but there's nothing anyone can do to prevent Royster from burrowing behind his linemen for a decent gain.
M24 2 5 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Quick out Banks Inc
Banks(+1, pressure +1) knocks down the quick out at the LOS. Probably open for the first if not batted.
M24 3 5 Ace trips Stack two deep Pass 5 Flare Roh? 7
Michigan sends five and RVB(+0.5) swims through an OG to get to McGloin, forcing a dumpoff that is so open I have no idea who I should even blame. Roh(-1) is the most likely suspect (cover -2, RPS -1)
M17 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway Black Inc
Michigan covers(+1) McGloin's first read and then Black(+1) is one-on-one with the RB as PSU slides their protection. He gets cut but manages to stay up and threatening, forcing a rollout and a throwaway (pressure +1)
M17 2 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Mouton 14
Double shoves Martin out of the hole; he shoots up under it but to no avail. Demens takes a step to the playside and is then engulfed by two OL because he's too damn close to the LOS to do anything about it. There's a hole and one blocker for Mouton to deal with; he shoots past the guy and is on the verge of a +3 for a monster play when he lets Royster through his tackle(-1 Mouton, -1) and pick up a huge gain thanks to a missed tackle(-1) from Vinopal(-2). RPS -1.
M3 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) destroyed by a single block and pancaked, giving the edge. Kovacs(-1) blocked and does not keep contain, giving up the edge for Royster as well.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone C. Gordon 20
Another huge cutback lane. I'm not entirely sure who this is on because depending on assignment it could be any of Roh, Cam Gordon, and Van Bergen. Van Bergen is upfield as the unblocked backside guy and is cut by a TE pulling to the backside. Roh is flowing to the frontside and seems too close to Demens for that to be a good idea; Cam Gordon is either way too far outside or properly setting up to catch any bounces outside. -2 Roh for filling the same hole as Demens and -1 Gordon for being the guy shot past. Mouton actually made a nice read and flowed from the frontside of the play but for naught; Vinopal comes up and forces Royster to cut outside, where Rogers tackles. (RPS –1)
M36 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Sack Mouton -11
An end around pass ends badly as Michigan covers(+2) both available receivers well and Mouton(+2) reads the end-around, gets out on the edge, and attacks. He'd sack but the guy's falling to the ground as he gets there anyway. Pressure +1.
M47 2 21 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Corner Floyd 27
The underneath coverage on this is indeed a debacle but the super debacle is JT Floyd(-4, cover -4) getting so completely lost in three deep coverage on a guy in his zone that he's not even the tackler on an underthrown, softly-tossed lob thirty yards downfield. What the hell is Floyd doing on a hashmark, facing inside, in a three deep, on second and twenty one? YOU HAVE HELP INSIDE. BWS picture-paged this if you hate yourself.
M20 1 10 Ace twin TE Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Demens 19
Michigan horrendously misaligned as Penn State motions a TE over to give them two to the short side of the field. Michigan hardly reacts at all. So there's five PSU blockers to the short side and three Michigan defenders. Compounding this, Michigan just screws up. Demens(-2) runs to the backside when he's got Vinopal walking down and Mouton filling a backside lane, leaving no one to fill the frontside gap that he should have; there's not even a counter here, he just runs to the wrong side of the line. Banks kicked out and Roh(-1) blown up by the inline TE, Roytser into the secondary like that. (RPS -1)
M1 1 G Goal line 3-3-5 stack Run   Dive ? 1
Whatever. This isn't even M's to-date successful goal line package. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-14, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter T. Gordon 3
Cam pulled for Thomas as SURPRISE, moving a deep safety to linebacker makes him confused. M adjusts to the motion this time, and Penn State runs a counter at it expecting an overreaction. Demens, who's still a yard behind his NT, gets caught with a step and sealed as the NT is Patterson and he does the usual.. Michigan does have two guys in the hole versus one blocker thanks to good reads by the backside folk. Blocker runs by Gordon to get Roh(+0.5) so T. Gordon(+0.5) hits at the LOS; they fall forward because there's no help.
O23 2 7 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass   Out T. Gordon Inc
McGloin throws a decently open out well wide of his receiver. Third and short in all likelihood if accurate.
O23 3 7 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Middle screen Demens 5
They throw another screen; this time Demens(+0.5) is tasked with the tailback. He doesn't tackle but he does get into the play enough to delay the guy as he has to cut back behind Demens and the guy blocking him. RVB(+0.5) takes this opportunity to peel back and make a diving tackle attempt that's spun through but does slow Redd; Mouton(+0.5) and Demens converge to tackle short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA TE flat C. Gordon 20
Cam Gordon(-2, cover -2) sucks in way too far, not only giving up the pass on the corner but not being anywhere near enough to tackle after the catch. Why on earth did they pull Thomas off for this?
O46 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Kovacs 9
Michigan again hugely, vastly misaligned as PSU brings in their WR/TE guy to be a second TE to the short side of the field, where be Kovacs; said Kovacs(-1) is blasted five yards downfield and JT Floyd(-1), the overhang guy, is met and blocked seven yards downfield. When Royster has to bounce because Mouton and Demens have cut off the inside there's no one out there. Banks(-1) was also single blocked and couldn't even slow Royster as he broke outside. (RPS -1)
M45 2 1 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Banks 7
Another cutback opened up by Banks(-1) getting washed down the line. I think. We come to this play late and I'm not entirely sure what's going on.
M38 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA TE flat Mouton 10
Another play where I can't tell who's screwing up on a wide open pass in the flat. It's either Mouton or Kovacs. Minuses for both. Cover -2.
M28 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 3
Roh has been pulled for Fitzgerald. Woo 3-3-5. Here RVB(+0.5) beats a guy, forcing another cutback; Black(+0.5) has slanted under his guy to the point where it has to go behind him, giving Kovacs(+0.5) the ability to read the cutback and make a weak ankle tackle at the LOS that could be run through but for Sagesse(+0.5) fighting to the ball and finishing it.
M25 2 7 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA throwaway Kovacs Inc
No one open (cover +1) as I think they were looking to go to the FB on the throwback but Kovacs(+1) reads the play and sits back on it, causing McGloin to chuck it OOB. Decent but not immense time.
M25 3 7 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass   Cross Demens 6
Completely mistimed blitz from Floyd(-1) on the overhang sees him both tip it and leave late, so it's easily picked up. No one anywhere near McGloin (pressure -2) and he has plenty of time to find a crossing route as it nears the sticks. Demens is in the area in pursuit and tackles short of the first down, but only a yard short.
M19 4 1 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle C. Gordon 2
Demens(+3) shoots the gap between the NT and DE at the snap, blasting into the guard pulling around to provide a lead block, shucking him, and meeting Royster a yard in the backfield. Monster play, and a dead drive if he can get some help. Marvin Robinson(-1) comes up and wraps up Royster's shoulders; Cam Gordon(-2) takes an angle upfield and comes too far inside, running himself out of the play when Royster spins free. This is an amazing play by Royster, but Michigan should never have let this happen.
M17 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Sagesse 13
Sagesse(-2) crumbles to the ground against single blocking before the handoff. Doom. Demens is again too close to the LOS to have any hope of scraping past releasing OL (RPS -2) and Roh can take the outside shoulder of the leading guard all he wants but that doesn't mean there's anyone coming to help.
M4 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) easily sealed by a single block, which allows another OL to pop out on Mouton without delay; everyone plays this right but this is an I form big against something other than a goal line package from the 3 (RPS -1).
M1 2 G Goal line Goal line Run   QB sneak ? 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-21, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA FB screen Mouton 17
PSU just killing this coverage where Kovacs runs his ass off into a hole at the sideline 10-15 yards downfield. Michigan again rushes three and no one reads the screen, with Mouton(-1) the guy who's zone is closest; he compounds a deep drop by getting cut to the ground. Demens(-1) didn't read the direction of the releasing linemen and steps towards Royster, making certain he won't be able to track this down. Fitzgerald(-0.5, tackling -1) whiffs a tackle just past the sticks and gives up another six. (Cover -2, RPS -1)
M20 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Power off tackle Banks 0
Banks(+1) takes on a double and holds at the LOS, eventually driving the OT over him back a bit and causing Royster to trip. Fitzgerald(+0.5) came down at a good angle to squeeze the hole tight. Royster seems to trip over legs that are there because Banks made a good play and Demens(+0.5) flows to the hole to finish the play at the LOS.
M20 2 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Post C. Gordon Inc
Talbott now in at field corner, PSU goes after him and it does seem like he's got position—Talbott's at least on his back unlike certain other corners. Cam Gordon(+1, cover +1) gets a good drop and tips the pass, causing an incompletion.
M20 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 5 Corner Vinopal 20
Guh. Michigan blitzes and C. Gordon(+1) sets up a blocker on the edge to the inside, juking by him to get a free run at McGloin, who tosses up a punt off his back foot. This punt is a slightly underthrown corner route. Ray Vinopal(-2, cover -2) is too far away from the receiver to make the slightly underthrown bit matter and waves helplessly at the ball as the receiver brings it in; they fall into the endzone. While McGloin's basically been handed scads of yardage by Michigan, he deserves some props here: his ridiculous back foot just having fun Wrangler Favre throw that should be easily intercepted is a fairly well thrown touchdown. FML.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-28, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA Deep Hitch Van Bergen Inc
Roh blitzes into the interior and doesn't really get anywhere. Talbott(-2, cover -2) is beyond way off on this 15-yard deep hitch and this will be complete but RVB(+1, pressure +1) reads the play and closes in on McGloin, deflecting the ball and causing it to come up well short. Fortunate.
O24 2 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 1
Same play from PSU that was picture paged; here Michigan is again using Roh as an interior blitzer; his attack draws two blockers and allows Patterson(+0.5) the luxury of just one; he slants past that guy and forces a cutback from Royster. Mouton(+0.5) is now playing a regular linebacker thing, not whatever he was doing in the first half, and reads, meeting the FB at the LOS. He's cut to the ground but his body is in the right spot and Royster slows, at which point Kovacs(+0.5) grabs him and gang tackling happens.
O25 3 9 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Deep hitch Talbott 40
Michigan drops back into a zone coverage with C. Gordon escorting the slot guy deep. (I now agree with BWS totally: it was Demens responsible for the Iowa TD). Talbott's on Moye on the outside and is in great position to break up the pass or even intercept but he screws it all up, letting the ball through for the completion and missing a tackle, turning a three and out into many yards. Talbott -3, cover +1, pressure -2. Srs.
M35 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Stop and go Floyd Inc
Roh out, Fitz in and they do the same thing again; this version of the 3-3-5 is mostly a 4-3 with one tiny DT. PSU runs a slant and go and Michigan is in three deep with Floyd(-3, cover +1) in what should be great position to make a play on the ball, but he again gets totally lost. He's running a yard away from the sideline, facing it, in a spot that no one would ever think useful. So instead of being in a spot to intercept on a bad decision he can only watch a receiver almost catch a poorly thrown ball he should be all over.
M35 2 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Power off tackle Patterson 5
Patterson(-1) is doubled and gives a lot of ground quickly, eventually getting pancaked five yards downfield. However, the playside is jammed up because RVB(+1) drove his guy back and fought inside, closing off the running lane and forcing a cutback. Mouton responds as quickly as possible but with Patterson getting hammered like he does all he can do is hold the gain down.
M30 3 5 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 4 Rollout out C. Gordon 7
Vastly too easy as C. Gordon(-1) does not react to the out fast enough and this is an easy pitch and catch (cover -1)
M23 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Down G Floyd 4
Headed outside with the playside TE blocking down and the two guys inside of him pulling around. There's a WR/TE to that side, too. Kovacs(+0.5) is momentarily doubled and gets shoved out of the play, but does at least close off an interior cutback. Mouton charges up and gets cut but creates a pile; Floyd(+0.5) comes up hard to make a tackle. Royster tries to leap through it but doesn't make it.
M19 2 6 Ace 4-wide Stack two deep Pass 5 Out Floyd 5
Floyd beaten on a quick out (cover -1) but is at least there to tackle.
M14 3 1 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle   0
Michigan slants the line right and sends two linebackers into the gap right, which is exactly where PSU is going with the ball. DL get crushed out of the hole but that's what you expect; Mouton(+1) roars up into the hole to take on the outside shoulder of the pulling guard, which funnels the tailback to Demens(+0.5). Demens engages to tackle but it's 50-50 whether it's a first down or not until RVB(+1) comes in. RVB was well to the backside, shoved his blocker back, and shot through the same hole the linebackers hit to help. Nice job. (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: FG(31), 10-31, 10 min 3rd Q. This drive is basically good play and one 40-yard mistake by a freshman. If this is what was going on consistently I could live with it.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Van Bergen 3
Trying to go outside it seems. Line blocks down on the two DL, leaving RVB(+1) alone. He reads the play and heads upfield at the back, absorbing the pulling G and lead FB, and forcing the RB inside. There the RB meets a heap of bodies; Demens(+0.5) was responsible for creating the lack of gaps in the line. The delay allows a bunch of players to tackle.
O23 2 7 I-form 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass N/A PA FB screen Demens 7
This again. Another very slow read by the LBs; this time Mouton is up to take a cut near the LOS and forces the ball inside but Demens(-1, cover -1) is nowhere to be found and there's a lane the FB hits for first down yardage.
O30 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-3 Run   Down G Black 12
It looks like M is trying a similar slant to the one that got them the third and one stop on the previous drive but then Demens runs right into the middle of the line and Black runs upfield so I guess it can't be. It's pretty weird, though. Black(-1) heads upfield and is not blocked but does not sit down in an effort to combat the run, he just runs upfield, takes a shove from some OL, and is gone. Big gap. Mouton(-1) needs to get outside the pulling tackle but does not. Kovacs does what he can to funnel it inside against a blocker, and then RVB(-1), who stunted and flowed down the line the whole way, overruns Royster and turns this from like six into 11.
O42 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Floyd 6 (Pen +10)
So Floyd is rolled up to the LOS and Kovacs is overhang. Banks and Floyd to one side of the field? Let's run right at it. Floyd(-1) starts executing a pass drop before the handoff and gives up the corner on a play that otherwise could have been stopped near the LOS. Umpire calls Sagesse(-1) for grabbing the C and preventing him from getting out on a linebacker. Need to be more subtle about it, eh?
M48 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA rollout wheel Christian? 34
PA gets McGloin a billion years as RVB(-2, pressure -3) sucks into the playfake and removes any and all pressure. McGloin has forever. PSU runs a post-wheel combo against Christian, Gordon, and Johnson, IE three freshman, two of whom are playing their positions for the first time ever. Gordon gets beat but I don't really blame him; Christian(-1, cover -3) was late getting over. (RPS -2)
M14 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Sagesse 4
RVB(+0.5) squeezes down on the pulling TE and there should not be much in the way of holes, but Sagesse(-0.5) gets booted out of the center, opening up a small crease that creates a decent positive gain.
M10 2 6 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Off tackle Roh 5
Roh(-2) gets hooked and gives up the corner easily. Michigan seems misaligned, too, as PSU OL have incredibly easy angles to block Michigan LBs. (RPS -1) Floyd comes off a guy to tackle at the sticks.
M5 3 1 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   FB dive Sagesse 5
Sagesee(-2) is crushed, erasing the MLB; Banks(-1) slants inside a TE but takes a way upfield angle and can't close down the resulting hole. Kovacs is pulled outside by a pitch fake and Mouton eats a free release from a tackle.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-38, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Down G Roh 5
Black(+0.5) does get sealed off but gives no ground and absorbs two blockers, leaving two on the edge against just one PSU guy. Roh(-1) is the outside guy and goes a little too far upfield, then gets chopped to the ground by the pulling guard. Demens is flowing from the inside and can't quite run Redd down as he breaks outside. Redd runs OOB after about five.
O30 2 5 I-form 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Black 1
Black(+2) comes underneath the RT and into the running lane. He forces the RB away from the gaping lane behind him caused by Patterson(-1) getting blown back three yards and forces Redd to leap into a cluster of bodies in an attempt to avoid Black's tackle. RVB(+0.5), who's shooting inside when unblocked now, helped knock him off balance.
O31 3 4 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Rollout out Talbott 5
Way too easy. No one within miles of McGloin (pressure -2) and the little out is open in front of Talbott(-1, cover -1)
O36 1 10 Ace twin TE Base 3-4 Pass   PA sack T. Gordon -10
Michigan PA blitzing all the way with Thomas Gordon(+2, RPS +2) sent off the corner on a McGloin search and destroy mission. He gets upfield too quickly for McGloin to adjust and tackles solidly for a huge sack. (Pressure +3)
O26 2 20 I-form twins Stack two deep Run   Down G Sagesse 6
Banks slants under his blocker and it takes a good adjustment from the pulling guard to wall him off. Sagesse(-1) is blown downfield immediately by the backside guard after getting scooped and the linebackers have to deal with a ton of blockers. Demens actually gets doubled, so he's doing well just to stand his ground. Fitzgerald(-0.5) overruns it, leaving Sagessse to come off his block seven yards downfield and tackle, which good for you but really the whole issue is that you're seven yards downfield.
O32 3 14 Ace 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass 5 Corner Floyd Inc
Michigan sends blitzers and then sends a delayed LB once it's clear the TE is staying in. No one gets there (pressure -2). McGloin can throw a corner route; this one is well covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the resulting throw is well high. Floyd was grabbing, but these days PI isn't PI unless it's called, same for holding. Rubbin's racin'.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-38, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone stretch Van Bergen 2
They run at RVB for the first time in what seems like forever; he gets a push on the two OL over him(+0.5) that allows Fitzgerald(+0.5) to flow hard to the outside, absorbing the playside tackle and leading FB, and cutting off the outside. Cutback forced. This time Banks(+0.5) is flowing properly and is there to tackle with help from Mouton(+0.5)
M47 2 8 I-form 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Counter Fitzgerald 3
Michigan blitzing here; Fitz and C. Gordon come from the outside. RVB(+1) gets inside a tackle and takes out the pulling guard as this is supposed to go right up the middle of the field. Royster takes it a gap outside into the B where Fitzgerald(-1) is supposed to be; he runs too far upfield and gives up a gap between himself and the RVB mess. Demens(+1) was dropping into a zone to prevent any quick slants behind the blitz. When he reads run he comes up quickly and makes a solid tackle(+1) two yards downfield; Royster falls forward for two more. Plus for the Demens drop because I believe his pass pro responsibilities came first because of the Gordon blitz and he did react quickly enough to hold this down to 3.
M44 3 5 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 4 Rollout hitch Kovacs 14
Michigan finally covers the out but in doing so they open up the hitch inside of it. Kovacs(-1) is nowhere to be seen on a play with no deep routes and a rollout in a situation where a first down is a serious threat of game over (cover -2). I'm not sure if Demens is doing the right thing here since he seems to have the tailback and moves up towards the LOS. If he stayed back that's where he'd be. Also this could be Floyd or Mouton since they both end up covering the out. Any of these folks could be at fault. Just don't know. Do know that this is a pretty insane call for the situation. Let's have two deep safeties twenty yards downfield.
M30 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Mouton 0
Mouton(+1) flows, hits the pulling G at the LOS, gets outside of him, and stands there, eventually drawing the affections of the FB. Floyd(+0.5) comes up to hit the FB, too, cutting off all holes; Demens(+0.5) has scraped from the inside and delivers the tackle, though there's a bunch of bodies and a lot of falling so it wasn't a difficult one.
M30 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Stack two deep Pass 4 Scramble Black 4
PSU slides its protection and lets Black(+0.5) in on a tailback; he gets cut but does convince McGloin to start scrambling around; no one open (cover +1), McGloin decides to take off. Four Wolverines converge after a few yards.
M26 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Flare ? Inc
No one open (cover +1) and McGloin does something I don't think we've seen all day: checks down. Sad face. This is dead meat if caught and is poorly thrown anyway.
Drive Notes: FG(42), 31-41, 5 min 4th Q. PSU's last drive is academic and not charted.



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 10 3 7 The solitary player to have a good day.
Martin - 1 -1 I'm going to throw myself off a bridge.
Banks 5 6 -1 I'm picking it out right now.
Sagesse 0.5 6.5 -6 Not high enough.
Patterson 0.5 2 -1.5 Too high.
Black 6.5 1 5.5 Hey… wait, what? I guess so.
Washington - - - DNP
TOTAL 22.5 19.5 3 Lost out to a terrible OL.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh - - - DNP
Mouton 6 5 1 Very difficult day; made that one awful missed tackle on Royster.
Roh 0.5 7 -6.5 Is not a linebacker. Is not a linebacker. Is not a linebacker.
C. Gordon 2 6.5 -4.5 Doesn't know WTF he's doing. Clearly inferior to…
T. Gordon 2.5 - 2.5 …but Cam played more than a guy who'd established himself as decent.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 6.5 5 1.5 Still picking guard out from his teeth.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald 1 2 -1 More PT because Roh is not a linebacker.
TOTAL 18.5 25.5 -7 Position moves a disaster.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 3 12 -9 Awful, awful, awful.
Rogers - - - Did he play at all?
Kovacs 3 4 -1 At least he's around zero.
Johnson - - - Did play a little but did not make an impact.
Talbott - 6 -6 Played in place of Rogers.
Christian - 1 -1 One exploitable play.
Avery - - - DNP, I think.
Ray Vinopal - 4 -4 Obviously tiny.
TOTAL 6 27 -21 Worst ever.
Pressure 7 11 -4 No pressure on PA.
Coverage 11 27 -16 An utter debacle.
Tackling 1 3 -2 This counts as good.
RPS 3 13 -10 Let's align our MLB two inches from the nose tackle.

[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.]

I'm going to dispense with the cute. This was a debacle. Michigan abandoned a defensive philosophy that hadn't exactly shone against Iowa but did put Michigan in a position where better play here or there from one player would have gotten redzone stops. They forced five three-and-outs and endured an avalanche of short fields and turnovers, looking sort of respectable against a veteran offense with solidly above average numbers. The Mathlete had their performance about three points worse than an average defense. They did this without Mike Martin.

Michigan gets a bye week. They play a team without a mobile quarterback running the same assortment of conventional power and inside zone plays they've faced. They:

  1. Install Ray Vinopal at FS.
  2. Move Cam Gordon to spur and displace the Johnson/Gordon combo.
  3. Install a bizarre three-man line package that's somewhat like a stack but not really a stack.

All of these moves fail. Cam is the worst spur we've had all year because he's been playing it for a week and a half. Vinopal is clearly overmatched whenever called upon. And the 3-3-5 sees Michigan give up 41 points to a team that was 82nd in yardage, 99th in scoring, and starting a backup walk-on quarterback. Penn State scores on all but two of nine real drives. 41 points on nine real drives. Without a single turnover.

Every single move made in the bye week is a detriment, and two people have now told me that at half time the adjustment made to Kenny Demens's alignment was a result of Demens himself asking for it. Michigan badly regressed after a panicked bye week adjustment that saw them slide to the 3-3-5 and fail at it, which is exactly what happened in 2008. This doesn't even cover it


…because the chart doesn't know Robert Bolden was out.

Michigan needs to pick one thing and do it. Right now what are they? Are they a stack? Are they a 4-3? Are they a 3-4? The answer to all of these questions is "no."

You know who did this? You know what is going on here? Do you know the thing that is happening to Michigan's defense?

"They're going to have to learn about us, OK? Let them try to stop a pro-style [defense], which has multiple personnel groups and multiple formations. Let's see how they are going to do. They've had their advantage because I've come into recruiting late. Well, now it's Xs and Os time. Let's see who has the advantage now."


We've been Weis-ed. This is the equivalent of running a spread option against Georgia Tech and then abandoning it a quarter into the season. Michigan is running around with ten freshmen playing meaningful time and not one of them has any idea what they're supposed to be doing down to down. Greg Robinson has never had a successful college defense except for his one year at Texas where he just went with the flow before moving on, and his pedigree comes from the NFL. GERG E. Coyote, man.

So… your firing stance after the review of the game?

Even stronger. Michigan needs to get a proven collegiate defensive coordinator by paying ridiculous money and boot at least two and probably all of the other defensive assistants so he can bring in whoever he wants, and he needs an iron fist. There are two possibilities here: either GERG thought this stack was a good idea and needs to be fired, or GERG cannot maintain control over the gameplanning despite what happened in 2008 and needs to be fired along with everyone else.


Got a better example of the stack incoherence that got Kenny Demens eaten?


One step, he reads it, he tries to get back, he's way too close to the LOS and any release from an OL eats him.

How much brunt do the players bear?

Quite a bit, obviously. I mean:


JT Floyd had three instances of the worst coverage I've seen in my life. The one where he correctly read a stop-and-go only to run himself to the sideline five yards in front of the WR is even worse than this one, which is heroagagdddgsagasfying as is. In its glory:

McGloin threw about four terrible passes that a secondary with "players" "somewhat near" the "opponent" coulda/shoulda intercepted. On zero of them was the coverage within yards. Floyd's regressed badly and while Michigan's secondary was horrible with him they're not going to be much more horrible without him.

I won't get on anyone else too badly since we all knew the NT was death minus Martin and the other guys with big shiny negatives are freshmen who shouldn't see the field until they're redshirt juniors (Vinopal, Talbott) or second year players who've been jerked around into positions they aren't suited to and don't know very well (Roh, Cam Gordon). It's obvious why they're bad. This is Floyd's third year and he's not good.

It's symbolic that this is the play where it all went to hell:

Demens has that dead to rights if he can just get some gang tackling help. Marvin Robinson whiffs, Cam Gordon vacates the only area Royster can go, and Royster makes a terrific play to spin outside for the first down. Great play, but you can't spin past three guys without something having gone horribly wrong. That's a true freshman and a redshirt freshman who was a wide receiver last year and a safety last week. FFFUUUUUUUU.


Ryan Van Bergen.


Greg Robinson, everyone in the secondary, Not Mike Martin, and whoever decided Craig Roh should play linebacker.

What does it mean for blah blah blah?

Everyone will score every time they touch the ball this year and when Greg Robinson is fired after the season Michigan will hire a Tecmo Super Bowl cartridge to run their defense.


Picture Pages: This Is Not A Stack

Picture Pages: This Is Not A Stack Comment Count

Brian November 3rd, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Note: no UFR today, as the torrent got down late Monday and I couldn't do the first half then. Hopefully both halves tomorrow.

You'll have to forgive the picture quality on this one—both of these are low-quality torrents. Just like Michigan's defense. AMIRITE!

So in the game column this week I complained about the alignment of the middle linebacker in this bastardized version of the 3-3-5. Michigan has him maybe a yard behind the nose tackle, like so:


This creates a major vulnerability against misdirection, as we'll see. This play is a first and ten on Penn State's first drive. They've driven it into the Michigan half of the field because of depressing things, and more depressing things will happen. This isn't one of them. Michigan shows a two-deep with six in the box, but moves Kovacs down late to add a seventh guy, which gives Michigan the formation above versus Penn State's ace 3-wide.

At the snap the offset fullback heads inside the tackle to his side. You can see the handoff is going to be made to the right side of McGloin. Linebackers start scraping as each and every DE attempts to take on two blockers:


Here's the handoff point. The fullback is hitting the backside B gap, which makes me think this is a called counter play. Where's Demens?


Demens has taken a step towards the line of scrimmage and has hit a guard. Now… he hit the backside guard, the one that PSU is cutting towards. He read the play, but he's a linebacker two yards from the LOS meeting a guard with a free release who's much bigger than him. Momentum means that the best he can do is bounce off it and attempt to flow down the line. (This is much more apparent in the video below.)


The play cuts back as designed. Roh has attacked a frontside gap. Martin and Demens are caught up in the wash on the interior, and Mouton, who was scraping along well back of everyone else, is going to eat the fullback four yards downfield:


The saving grace here is Kovacs, who sifts through the blockers and makes a mediocre ankle tackle that the RB (Royster, I think) steps through:


Demens and others finish it off but after four yards:


Michigan got away with this by putting an extra player in the box late. When Penn State was not caught in a bad playcall, counters like this gashed Michigan all night.

Here's the video:

I don't have an exact replica of this from Rodriguez's WVU days but here's an inside zone Rutgers ran in their 2007 game. Rutgers was no joke on the ground in '07. Ray Rice was around and the Scarlet Knights finished 26th nationally.

The first thing that's obvious is that the MLB is six yards off the line of scrimmage, not two. Also despite playing against a bigger set—Rutgers has a tight end on the field instead of a third wide receiver—West Virginia maintains two deep safeties:


At the snap WVU has shifted to an aggressive look with the OLBs and the spur at the LOS; the MLB has moved up a yard:


At the snap six players attack the line, giving all but one WVU DL a one-on-one matchup:


This is a similar setup, really: inside zone. Main difference is that there is an inline TE instead of a fullback on the backside, but they block the backside end above. The playside end is about to beat a Rutgers tackle to the inside. Note the MLB two yards away from the LOS now—where Demens started the play—after the handoff. He's scraping to the hole. A Rice cutback would be somewhat problematic for him but he's not likely to get a lineman in his face:


MLB has now engaged an OL at the LOS. Rutgers tackle is totally beaten and forces Rice to start cutting:


There are four WVU guys in the area:


And Rice goes down shortly after he crosses the LOS:


On the day Rutgers would get 183 rushing yards, but Mike Teel completed under 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions on a 128 yard passing day because WVU left the safeties back the whole time. West Virginia won 31-3. Their rushing defense was 18th nationally.

So, things:

  • It seemed like Michigan was using Jonas Mouton like WVU used their MLB in the 3-3-5. Except Mouton was four yards off the LOS, not six, and not aligned in the middle of the field. So if he's going to get to anything on the frontside he has to run hard, which means he is susceptible to cutbacks.
  • I don't think Demens ever had a prayer of dealing with a cutback or counter because of his alignment. One step to the playside and he's a yard away from the LOS about to get swallowed by a guard.
  • Michigan plays Demens at the same depth in their other line alignments. 3-4:
    Paired with the disconnect in WVU's 3-3-5 this signals shoehorning to me. Demens should be at a certain depth in more conventional sets and putting him six yards back would confuse him in pass drops, run fills, etc, but in the 3-3-5 he takes one step and there's a lineman releasing free into him. In these sets he's got a chance to scrape without dealing with an unblocked OL all the time. So…
  • Michigan's deployment of the 3-3-5 isn't really a 3-3-5. I don't know what it is, but that whole attacking from everywhere, making different fronts, blitzing, getting guys through the line unblocked thing is something you can see on a fairly typical WVU play above. There are six guys on the LOS threatening and a dedicated cleanup guy behind them with the space and time to get anywhere along the line. Michigan is a passive three man line with guys you can easily single block (but get to double if you want) and linebackers who are living a nightmare. It's incoherent, and Michigan going back to it after having a fairly solid day against Iowa basing almost exclusively from traditional fronts is a miniature version of what happened against Purdue in 2008. Michigan's 3-3-5 is a 3-4 with linebackers in places that don't make sense.
  • Michigan only escapes the above play by outnumbering the offense. No one on the defense beat their counterpart. Everyone was blocked out of the play, which means you can't win unless you've got an extra guy, which means you can't play two deep without getting smashed.
  • I have no idea what Greg Robinson is trying to accomplish. This puts me in the same situation as Greg Robinson.


Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10 Comment Count

Tim November 1st, 2010 at 3:31 PM

[Ed-M: Added the video provided by Boyz n da Pahokee]

David Molk

"It's an attitude adjustment... it can't just be some half-assed work ethic." Guys need to fight every game, every down. "We're gonna realize that shortly, and we'll get it done."

"Losing isn't good. Losing looks bad, and we don't deserve it. We've worked too hard, gone too far, and done too much, and this shouldn't be the outcome. It's going to change. I'm going to do whatever I can do, as much as I can do."

Every young football player coming in needs to make an adjustment to the next level. It comes with the experience of playing in college. "It's coming. It just needs to show."

The team has ability, and is showing effort. "It's just the mental apect, we need to improve our technique, we need to improve our reading skills. It's something that will come and I'm hoping it comes fast." The mental game is an acquired talent, you don't just wake up one day and know how to play football. Guys need to work at it, and they are learning it. "We're moving towards the place we need to be. We're just not there yet."

How to avoid pointing fingers at D? "We're a team for a reason. We're not an offense and a defense. We're a team. And when you point things at one side, it just kills it. There's a chemistry that we have as a team, and will build on for years to come."

Illinois is a good defense with a strong defensive line, and a good linebacker in Martez Wilson. "They're a solid defense, a very solid defense, but I think we should do well against them."

What was it like to miss last year's game? "I mean I've answered this question probably 300,000 times at every media event I've ever been to. Obviously it's not good. I don't like sitting at home watching it with my leg up."

Mike Martin's ankle injury - the only thing that hurts him is the physical injury. It's hard to come off that, but you adapt to the pain. No football player has ever been 100% healthy the entire season.

Rich Rod doesn't need his players to play psychiatrist with him. "He's his own man and he can handle himself. He doesn't need one of his players to mediate him and make sure he's calm."

What does the team think about media criticism of Rodriguez? "I could care less. I don't think I've ever read or listened to a single media thing that you guys have ever put out. So, I mean I could care less."

Greg Banks

"We haven't had a team meeting yet, but from what I've seen from lifting today, our spirits are still pretty high."

The expectations on DL aren't on the player, but the position. Adam Patterson and Renaldo Sagesse have to step in for MIke Martin's production if he goes down.

The defense: "We spoke to each other after the game. We're all on the same bus... we told the young guys 'you're not a freshman no more. You're all a year into what, your sixth or seventh game.'"

RR's fourth quarter speech was about reminding players that the big stage is why they came to Michigan. They need to play together as a unit and step up, making the plays when available.

Scheelhasse can run and pass, and his teammates have been supporting his production very well. "He did it both with his arm and his legs." Have to prepare for dual-threat QBs every week practicing against Denard. A few of the guys Michigan has faced prefer to stay in the pocket, but seize the opportunity to run if they get it.

"Where we need to improve is our tackling and our third-down efficiency. We all take the responsibility for that. Me as a defensive lineman, I take a heavy burden on third down, because we need to get more pressure on the quarterback."

"The onus is on us. I mean the coaches, they can only do so much. The rest of it falls into the players' hands." Greg Robinson is a great coach, the players' execution in tackling, etc. is letting them down. "He's putting us in the positions, we're just not executing."

Nobody's gotten the Michigan defense's best shot this year. They haven't had 100% effort, execution, and responsibility in any game yet.

Jordan Kovacs

The team is excited every Monday to get back to work. They're disappointed with Saturday's performance, but can't dwell on it, need to try improving.

Not sure how the defense can force more turnovers: "If I had that answer, I'd be a coach right now." There's a necessary mentality that the team needs to improve. Same story on 3rd and long: "Those are key parts of the game that we definitely need to improve on. I don't know what it is, why we've struggled with it, but I'm sure the coaches know and we'll get into that this week."

Hasn't heard the rumors about Greg Robinson being demoted.

Players beat themselves up after the game about individual mistakes, not the play of the other guys on the defense. "What could I have done to help the defense play a better football game, and stuff like that sticks with you a little bit."

Ray Vinopal had a great week of practice, with a few picks. "He came in a little wide-eyed... for the most part, I definitely thought he played very well." He made some plays, didn't allow anything big.

They work on 3rd and long defense every day. "I guess that's not something you can improve on just in practice. It comes with game reps." They'll continue to improve with experience.

"Guys are still hungry. It's not gonna be like last year; We're gonna turn it around. We're just gonna continue to fight, and that's what this team's about... This group fights, they're hungry, these guys want to win. I guess that's just different than last year." They are different years, and there's no purpose i dwelling on similarities.

"We've been playing a lot of freshmen." Jibreel Black, Ray Vinopal, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery have improved over 8 games, and will continue to do so.

Illinois has a versatile offense with a good running back, multiple offensive formations.


Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 11-1-10

Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 11-1-10 Comment Count

Tim November 1st, 2010 at 2:24 PM

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


Actual News

Mike Martin is going to be OK this week. "He's our best defensive... one of our best defensive players period. One of the best in the league when he's healthy." Other people need to be able to step in.

Perry Dorrestein should be able to practice by tomorrow. "Michael Shaw and maybe even Fitz Toussaint, we'll see if he can get back in the mix there." Will Heininger will be more in the rotation this week. "You'll probably see him more likely playing going forward."

Cam Gordon is now the starting Hybrid [Ed-M: Spur], backed by Thomas Gordon. Ray Vinopal is the starting Free Safety, backed by Carvin Johnson. "I thought the personnel moves defensively, I think were good for us in the short term and the long term." Cam Gordon more comfortable closer to the ball. Vinopal did "ok" for his first time out there. Staff is trying to figure out a unit that can get some stops, part of it is just getting them to play better.

There haven't been changes to the defensive coaching staff. "No. I've just met with the defensive staff the last couple hours, and we talked about some of our issues and talked about what to do to get ready for Illinois." "Y'all don't deal with rumors do you?" Everyone is frustrated, but it's always a collective effort, win or lose.

He'll be spending more time on defense this week, because the more inexperienced players over there might need more coaching. Injuries will affect lineups, different packages. "We have what we have." If there was somebody else there who could help, he'd be contributing by now. "I have a critical view of everything, every coach, every player, everything in our program every day... That's what head coaches do, you evaluate everything with everybody every day."

"Schemes are way, way overrated as far at 4-3, 3-3-5." There's no front that does or doesn't work in a particular league. "It's the execution of the schemes. We've gotta coach the schemes the right way, we've gotta execute the right way." They'll try moving Craig Roh around a bit. Laughed when he heard rumors of defensive staff changes.

Penn State

"They're a big screen-draw team." They hadn't done much of it with their fullback yet. Defensive recognition wasn't great on that, partially experience. "When an experienced player gets hurt [Mike Martin] - I'm not making excuses - whether you put a senior, junior, or freshman in there, when a guy hasn't played a lot of football, it's different."

"That was one of the positives of the game, is I thought Denard played pretty well." They were close to breaking a couple big ones. He landed on his hip the one time, but was able to come back from it. "His shoulder was better. It's good, but it's not 100%."

Speech to defense at the start of fourth quarter was just a pump-up one, nothing particular schematically.

Personal foul call? "Well, I don't want to get in trouble here. There's some plays I'll send in and get clarification on the rule." Turn in a few plays every week "there's a few more this week."


Illinois - Not a rebuilding year, because they returned plenty of good athletes this season. "They're playing at a very high level right now - probably playing their best football." One of the more athletic teams in the league and that Michigan has played in the last two years. Illinois is playing with confidence.

Illinois has a bit of a rhythm, their young quarterback is playing well for them. They have really athletic guys.

Illinois has a similar offensive scheme to Michigan, it may help the defense be prepared for it. It'll be different to do it live, because they don't tackle Denard in practice.

Goods drive at the game (Gates 2 and 8) to send to troops and families in Afghanistan. Tim Horton's is donating 720 pounds of coffee to send as part of it. Team will be wearing a flag on the back of the helmets. The American flag will be embroidered on the coaches' hats (not the Adidas ones from the Sep. 11 game).


Some of the D problems aren't going to get fixed overnight, etc. "Not just the freshmen, we've got a lot of inexperienced players playing defensively." There is a bit of improvement at this point, but not to the amount that they need.

"We've gotta get faster and more athletic defensively." That was painfully obvious from the film.

"I don't have any grand magic wands to wave [at the defense] and all of a sudden they're going to be playing better." Spending more time with the D is something he's done a few years in the past. If it was an easy fix, he'd have already done it.

Talking about defensive turnovers gained "We're almost like next to last in the country." They're trying to improve that by making sure they get guys in the right positions, working on recognition, aggressiveness. "If it doesn't work out, don't go in the tank the rest of the game."

3rd and long conversions: "If it was jut one particular thing, it would be easier to solve... or one particular guy." It's always something different. They need to look at doing enough third-down work in practice, already doing more than they've ever done.

"We're playing OK offensively, but I think we can play even better when we have more of a rhythm." Defense getting opponents off the field will help establish that rhythm.

"When you play a whole bunch of freshmen in the secondary, do you want to play a lot of man coverage or cover-0?" Need to find a balance with inexperience. Took a couple chances against PSU, and got beat.

Stop a slide like last year? "I don't have to think about it. Everybody else writes about it." People want to focus on the negative, because it sells papers. Team is better offensively, team is closer as a group, making strides in classroom and weight room. Young men are growing up. The wins and losses are bad, but there's more to it than that.

"These guys that are playing young and inexperienced from now, they're going to be experienced a year or two from now. I'm not happy, but I'm optimistic."

"Nobody's happy we've lost the last three games. We're still five in the good and three in the bad." People can't walk around moping, just need to learn from the mistakes, be mad for 24 hours, and start working on the next game.

Turnovers "I thought we were really pretty good at it most of the year." Denard used the bye week to go back and remember to have his eyes in the right spot. "Denard threw one ball he'd like to have back that could have been intercepted," and Hopkins had the fumble, but it was good other than that.

Defensive scheme change help? "we're gonna try." Trying to simplify some, but still give them the opportunity to be aggressive without exposing the secondary.

"I'm not sticking my head in the sand... we know what we have, we know what we've gotta have, and we'll try to fix that going forward."


Lehman Brothers

Lehman Brothers Comment Count

Brian November 1st, 2010 at 12:52 PM

10/30/2010 – Michigan 31, Penn State 41 – 5-3, 1-3 Big Ten

these were the same pictures used in the very first Greg Robinson post and were named –fail1, –fail2, –fail3.

A few years back my fiancée (then girlfriend) and I had one of those conversations that draw out over two weeks. You have them when the other person's position is so bizarre and unbelievable that unlocking the reasoning behind it is important if you're going to hang around this person for a long time—because it's possible the reasoning goes something like "I'm a stabby person who stabs you in the stab places."

The argument was about the narrative of overarching, capital-P Progress that the world is or is not making. I, the engineer, pointed to various statistics that all point in the right direction. She regarded all of it as different paths to the same thing: misery for all but a few. A Foxconn factory is just a handy place to jump off, and they take even that away from you.

I don't think we ever came to a satisfactory conclusion despite the lingering threat of stabbing, but I don't think we have to anymore. Since that conversation the world's financial system exploded, the economy fell into a deep and lingering malaise that figures to last most of a decade, and Greg Robinson was hired to coordinate Michigan's defense.


The worst part has been the illusion. Actually, the worst part has been the actual progress. The worst part has been a combination of the illusion and the progress. The worst part has been a combination of the illusion and the progress and the relentless losing.

The illusion: two straight years Michigan has leapt out to a hot start only to see all the supposedly quality wins evaporate. A thrilling win over Notre Dame devalued as the Irish collapse into a heap of laughable crap. UConn goes from team on the verge of a Big East championship to a team that can't even keep its head above water in a horrible conference. Indiana is still not a surprisingly good, competitive version of Indiana. It's just Indiana. Then there is losing, and not competitively.

The actual progress: Michigan has the #1 yardage offense in the Big Ten by a huge margin. The gap between Michigan and #2 Ohio State is considerably bigger than the gap between Ohio State and #7 Iowa. The prophesied Rodriguez Leap, which did happen last year, happened again this year. Rodriguez is what he was sold as.

That progress looked like enough to get Rodriguez through 2010 into a prove-it 2011 until some walk-on shredded Michigan for 28 first-half points. If Progress means not being Minnesota, Michigan is failing. At some point last night the extremely depressing score was 31-10 and the ticker scrolled to the OSU-Minnesota game, which was also 31-10. The Gophers managed to hold Penn State to a mere 33 points and caused them to punt an astounding six times. Michigan did it twice. A comprehensive description of the ways in which Michigan's defense failed last night is impossible, but here's an attempt: Penn State scored 24 points against Kent State, 22 against Temple, 13 against Illinois, and 44 against Youngstown State… with their starting quarterback.

Youngstown State is a 3-6 I-AA team ranked 94th in total defense. They are the closest comparison to Michigan's D amongst Penn State's opponents to date.


Greg Robinson should be fired. Tomorrow, yesterday, bring in Gary Moeller, bring in anyone, don't care. He should never have been hired, just like Jay Hopson and apparently Scott Shafer. At the time of his hiring he was a decade removed from his last sustained success, fresh off driving a respectable Syracuse program into Washington State territory. As a head coach, he sounded like an idiot. His team played like he was an idiot. Michigan hired him and has gotten exactly what they deserved.

The worst part other than the illusion and the actual progress and the relentless losing is that this was obvious at the time:

Anyway: being a stunningly incompetent head coach does not necessarily mean one is a stunningly incompetent coordinator. Numbers will have to make that case. Go, numbers, go!

Year Team PassEff Rush Scoring Total
2008 Syracuse 101 101 101 101
2007 Syracuse 109 108 104 111
2006 Syracuse 81 110 72 107
2005 Syracuse 37 97 67 57
2004 Texas 31 16 18 23



I'm a little stressed out by that. Robinson walked into a good situation at Texas* and managed not to screw that up, then went to Syracuse, where he had an average defense on a horrid team (1-10), which he then proceeded to crater for the next three years. Before his brief, star-making turn at Texas—again, for doing nothing more than treading water—he presided over one of the worst defenses in the NFL, getting fired after three years. The last actual success you can plausibly attribute to Greg Robinson came during his tenure as the Denver Broncos' DC, when his defenses were top ten in the NFL and a significant aid in Denver's back-to-back championships. Since then it's been abject failure save the one year in Texas.

Now it's even more blitheringly obvious. Syracuse is 6-2 despite Doug Marrone having R-U-N-N-O-F-T huge swathes of Robinson's leftover pack of unmotivated jackaninnies and while Scott Shafer's defense has gotten bombed in a couple games and is severely overrated because of games against two terrible I-AA schools and the worst I-A school (0-9 Akron, 56-10 losers to WMU and everyone else), the last two weeks they've allowed 7 and 14 points in road games against West Virginia and Cincinnati. Neither of those teams is good at offense, but neither is Penn State.

Greg Robinson is a terrible football coach. Hiring him was literally the dumbest thing Rich Rodriguez could have done, and he did it. Hiring Jay Hopson to see him leave two years later was a terrible decision, as was whatever the fiasco was with Shafer. The rot on defense goes deeper than Robinson, though—Michigan has insisted on being "multiple" this year, to what purpose is unknown. Week after week Michigan plays teams that sit in a 4-3 with a two-deep shell and play defense adequately enough for this Michigan team to be headed for a New Year's Day Bowl; Michigan has not maintained the same system year-to-year during the Rodriguez era, largely because the leftover guys on the staff are all 3-3-5 guys and they keep insisting that these DCs who have never run the system become One of Us. Braves and Birds nailed this problem when he compared it to Tommy Tuberville's zombie offensive assistants submarining Tony Franklin and eventually Tuberville himself.

Michigan's addiction to the 3-3-5 is causing them to do the exact same thing Rodriguez rejected as dumb his first year when he installed the spread because that's what he knew how to coach—they're shoehorning a coach into a system when that coach doesn't even know how to properly align his middle linebacker. At left, Michigan's horrible defense. At right, West Virginia's excellent 2007 D:


Kenny Demens finally moved further from the LOS in the second half of the Penn State game. The supposedly attacking, slanting, different-front-making defense has been a passive heap of quivering goo coached by someone who clearly doesn't understand what the system he is running is supposed to accomplish. Robinson's been put in a terrible position, but he has no track record save blithering idiocy and there is no reason to retain him.

As for Rodriguez, well, hell. The are four games left, for one. Michigan is #4 in total yardage nationally and isn't scoring at an insane pace only because the special teams and defense have been beyond terrible. The special teams were not a problem before this year and really the only problem this year has been the kicker*, which is a thing that just happens sometimes in college. If they overhaul the defensive coaching by either bringing in an actual 3-3-5 guy like Jeff Casteel—who may be in need of a job after the season—or toss the Tuberville saboteurs overboard and bring in a Serious Man, I'd be willing to see where the Denard Robinson era ends up.

*(Willing to bet that by year's end Michigan isn't giving up any yards on an average exchange of punts; kickoff returns have been bad but that's an incredibly minor facet of the game—an average team is gaining one more yard per attempt than M.)


Change please. How many terrible decisions does Jeremy Gallon have to make before he loses his job at returning things?

Also: gararagagagargh Vincent Smith third and two. Hopkins's fumble was not his fault; Robinson put the ball in his shoulder. (I'm surprised he handed the ball off high—if Smith was in the game Robinson's handoff would have been in Smith's facemask.) Shaw can't be healthy, Cox is not healthy, Toussaint is not healthy… it's actually possible that Angry Michigan Running Back Hating God has been more wroth than Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God this year. The tailback situation is so bad that even Fred Jackson has gone no sugarcoat:

“We have to play better,” Jackson said. “Let’s call a spade a spade. We’ve got to play better. We’ve got plays there to be made and we’re not making them, I’m talking from the running back position.

“We have to play better.”

This is different from Jackson's usual approach of calling a spade a fantastical thousand-story casino in the clouds.

DerpBord. The circumstances behind hiring Greg Robinson are eerily similar to those behind the re-hire of Mike DeBord after his "no mas" faceplant at Central Michigan, down to the seemingly more competent guy being pushed out due to unconfirmed but widely speculated conflict. One dollar Robinson is assistant (to the) linebackers coach in the NFL next year.

The Ron English Effect. The next defensive coordinator (or next head coach, depending) is in line for a mega Ron English Effect, wherein some guy takes over a crew of players returning a ton of starters and looks like a genius for improving them when all he really did is not prevent his players from aging normally. In 2006, Ron English inherited Alan Branch, Lamarr Woodley, David Harris, Prescott Burgess, Shawn Crable, and Leon Hall and looked like a genius. The next year absent all those guys save Crable he was bombed into oblivion during The Horror and Post-Apocalyptic Oregon Game.

Anyway, next year's DC gets every starter back save Mouton, Rogers, and Banks, adds Troy Woolfolk, and should have a healthy Mike Martin. He could pick his teeth and look SMRT.

Martin doom. It's clear by now that Martin's injury is the dreaded high ankle sprain and we probably won't see him play effectively the rest of the season. Hurray.


Aw, hell, it's just variations of this with either equal or slightly less tolerance for Rodriguez's terrible choices on the defensive side of the ball. I do like the Hoover Street Rag saying the "shields are down." That's about right. Zook is loading his photon torpedoes.


Dear Diary is Seeing What Sticks

Dear Diary is Seeing What Sticks Comment Count

Seth October 31st, 2010 at 7:18 PM

[Update: I didn't realize commenting was off. Sorry for those who wanted to reply. You can now.]

Dear Diary,

Every man has his breaking point, when desperation overrides rationality and he's ready to start flinging excrement at the wall in the hope that it magically becomes a castle.

Mine came at 10:23 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.

Michigan at this point is down 31-17, Penn State is driving, and Renaldo Sagesse just picked up a ludicrous (re-watched it 5 times on slow-mo) defensive holding for being double-teamed on the backside of a running play that went to the opposite sideline. Nothing Sagesse did helps the result of the play, which sees Black slant into the backfield and get pushed passed the running back, Kovacs, the deep (!) safety because true freshman Kovacsgrit clone Ray Vinopal didn't stick to the wall, getting blasted by a lineman twice his size, and a bevy of other would-be tacklers overrunning the play or sealed.

Rich Rodriguez at this point is on a sideline in Beaver Stadium, nestled between State College, Pa., and University Park, Pa. in a middle-of-nowhere geographical formation named, presumably without foreknowledge of its tremendous future irony, "Happy" Valley. He is dressed like a Michigan football coach, with parka, M hat, and headset, and is screaming at whichever referee could let such a travesty stand. Starting defensive tackles Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen are standing beside him, the former trying to bounce up and down because he has two ankles that can't take lateral movement, the latter just sucking air from being the fulcrum point of PSU's slow onslaught for three periods.

I'm standing on a couch at a mostly evacuated Halloween party in Commerce, Mich., dressed in a t-shirt with a nametag that says "PETER" in large letters, and orange makeup and silly string bits smeared around my mouth, coller, and chest. Unlike my school's head coach, I still have two entire lung-fulls of air, but that air is building, compressing, to the point that its release could have dire repurcussions.

Misopogal, dressed as a pumpkin, has stayed by my side, and is watching me warily, at once ready to disapprove of whatever comes out on all of that air, and privately scared to death of it. I look at her, and the release comes:

"Fuck it."

I'm ready to throw shit at the wall and see what sticks, and apparently Rodriguez is right there with me. On the ensuing play, Michigan lines up with true freshman Cullen Christian (!) at deep safety, true freshman Terrence Talbott as the wide corner, and redshirt freshman and erstwhile receiver Cam Gordon as Bandit/nickelback. Fuck it. PSU's mite receiver immediately gets three steps on Gordon, and the mite's walk-on quarterback lays a nice one on the numbers during the enternity it takes for Christian to arrive. Fuck it. Penn State first down at the 10. Fuck it Fuck it Fuck it.

Tim grabbed the following nugget from RR's press conference after the game:

Terrence Talbott got some play at corner because the coaches were trying to see if they could find something to work.

It took three years, but we are there.

Where's the 'Paint'?

You were so loved, Don Schembechler. Why were you so loved, and I so feared?

At the beginning of this season I revisited the Decimated Defense thing again in hopes of finding hope. At the time I found small hope for the future, but not at all for this year. It included some breakdowns of our roster by position, recruiting profile, and time in the system, like so:

This year:

01 - Mich10 02 - Mich10

Last year:

03 - Mich09 04 - Mich09

I was thinking about these charts last night when J.T. Floyd  was on the ground, and I caught myself trying to explain to Misopogal that (after a night so terrible even she noticed) losing him would mean a huge dropoff to the next guy. The series discussed the attrition from transfers and graduation, but not injuries and busts, i.e. guys who just don't have what it takes to play Big Ten football. So I reworked them a bit, including positional transfers from Watson and Rogers, but then taking out the guys who either left the program, got injured, or were revealed to be upperclassmen for whom playing time would be a major liability.

Things that matter:

  • Guys counted in charts above (c. 5/10/2010) no longer on roster: Justin Turner, Anthony LaLota, Vladimir Emilien, Demar Dorsey, Davion Rogers, Antonio Kinard
  • Injuries: Mike Martin, Troy Woolfolk, Brandon Herron, Mike Williams (would probably have been a liability though)
  • Upperclassman Liabilities: James Rogers, Adam Patterson, Renaldo Sagesse, Greg Banks, Steve Watson, Obi Ezeh, J.B. Fitzgerald?

Things that don't matter so much:

  • Moved to Offense: William Campbell, Teric Jones
  • Moved in from Offense: Quinton Washington (except remember this was like three days ago)
  • Other moves since May: Carvin Johnson and Thomas Gordon to LB (Spur). Craig Roh to LB (SAM). Jake Ryan to DL (DE).

Click to enlarge.



As you can see, the troupe available for Penn State was ridiculously young.

This is a bit unfair to the senior D-Linemen, who on a better team probably wouldn't look as bad (I'm not at all sold on Greg Banks = Rondell Biggs). Rich Rod did what he could to limit the time of the senior defensive linemen, giving Black a lot of snaps at DE in place of Banks and platooning Patterson and Sagesse. But I saw these guys getting run over enough to start wondering if burning a redshirt for Talbott or Ash is a good idea; considering they're both project recruits, it's probably not.

Defensive back Sagesse/Banks/Patterson is James Rogers and...uh...yeah. Playing Cullen Christian at deep safety on a critical 1st and 10 is throwing crap against the wall, but look at the barrel: it's not like there's a lot else to throw out there:

When a true freshman whiffed on a PBU/possible pick-six on 3rd and 14, and the drive continued another 10 plays so that half the starters must rotate out, well, we're dipping into a lot of blue.

This is a really really bad defense that relies on a lot of 3-star freshmen and probably some guys who should have been 2-stars. UMass could tear us apart; why not Penn State with a walk-on quarterback?

The point is this: we already thought the defense would be bad in May. Since then, almost half of the possible defensive contributors either transferred, got injured, or proved themselves mostly useless. We aren't just the bottom of the Big Ten; without Martin, we're probably in the middle of the MAC.

How did this defense get so bad? Brian took a look at the upperclassmen this week, noting blame based off of who recruited whom. Next week, I'll try to do something similar, but more like a shoulda-woulda-coulda depth chart that puts a bit more on RR for some of the fellas who left and didn't pan out. At the moment, I'm inclined to say he shoulders a lot of the blame, but not all.

Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork

What's wrong, guy?

This morning I woke up to a bevy of new diaries, most of which were basically two paragraphs of telling everyone how done the diarists were with our current coaching staff. One guy wrote "Fire Richard Rodriguez" and then seemingly slammed his head against his keyboard for several minutes. This, I guess, could be construed as high art. If so, it's now high art on the board, along with some other emo pieces that didn't really say much more than "Hi, I'm a Michigan fan, last night sucked, when can we fire this guy?"

Unfortunately, nobody thought to write an actually useful case for firing our head coach. However, if you're way off the bandwagon, either recently or from long before, you can take solace from a number of Rich Rod supporters who now admit they (we) got little argument left. For example, in his diary I've got nothing left,"  fredsaysbtdabks admits that he's got nothing left to say to irksome bandwagonners; he's just hoping we see a postseason. Meanwhile, in his diary Searching for something to hold onto, Drakeep is searching for something to hold onto:

I've always been in the "youthy defense" and not the "coaches blow" camp. But after last night I finally had a few moments where I just went, "well maybe coaching..."

A Plea for Patience from cbuswolverine compares the experience of starting secondaries among the best and worst defenses and -- surprise! -- finds that having mostly freshmen is not a good thing. We also got some Rational Venting from jsquigg, who awoke the spirit of the Great Otter of Soul-Crushing Ennui:

As the game ended against Penn State and I drov e home from BW3 where I was watching the game, I felt surprisingly unemotional. Usually I feel strongly one way or the other, but tonight it was like I knew what was going to happen even though it seems like Michigan should have an advantage on the field given the circumstances going into the game (Penn State injuries, walk on QB, etc.). I feel like I've seen this movie played out for the last 2.5 years.

If you're waiting for the standard Henri pic, dollars to donuts he'll be there for you tomorrow. As for an official MGoTake on Michigan's coaching staff, you'll have to wait for Brian; my advice is to think long and hard about what would make us the best possible team in 2012-2022. Nobody's getting fired this week.

Can We Talk About Something Else?

Okay. Here's a quandary. Say you are tasked with shipping a football to the opposite endzone across 100 yards of dangerous late-'90s Big Ten defense. You have a bunch of big uglies up front who can get your vehicle to the 2nd level, but from there, your choice of transportation is going to have to do the rest of the carrying on his own. Do you want:

a.) a Train, or b.) a Truck?

That's the question posed by Maceo24 in his epic Who Ya Got? diary. I went with A-Train, since for three of my university year falls he was my favorite player. I don't remember Ron Dayne being all that great, but I guess that's cause I only saw him play against Michigan in 1998:

Michigan had two tailbacks, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Thomas, each rush for more than 100 yards against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Playing its first game against a ranked opponent, UW couldn't clinch a Rose Bowl trip as its offense featured season lows in points, first downs, rushing yards, third-down conversions and time of possession. Dayne went the wrong way on three audible calls, saying he was bothered by an ear infection and crowd noise, and was held to a season-low average of 3.3 yards a carry.

And '99:

After scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run, Dayne finished the first half with 88 yards on 14 carries. But eight more carries in the second half produced no net yards as Michigan's defense swarmed against the run and quarterback Scott Kavanagh was unable to make enough plays in the passing game.

The '99 recap also mentions Brooks Bollinger. Seriously, that guy was already around back then. Also: it's funny because Ron Dayne never beat Michigan.

This week witnessed the birth of a new MGoFeature, a video-ized version of Brian's picture pages, and the best thing in moving pictures since they told the drunk with the piano to take it to the parlor. Chris of Danger simply put the moment-by-moment analysis of these two plays right into the video. So far he's done Losing Contain, Again Again (above) and (More) Freshman DB Doom.

For facing down the horrors of videography and Youtube, and because we should all encourage him to keep it up, Chris (of Danger) is your Diarist of the Week.

We also had a great diary from Enjoy Life which took another look at The Mathlete's Master's Thesis on going for it on 4th down, but tried to apply a more practical cut-off for when to go:

This is probably better taken as "a conservative coach who doesn't want to lose his job should be calling it like this." I took his data, punched in some of my own numbers, and came up with a more specific chart, using Michigan's offensive and defensive statistics from Penn State, that we should use for the rest of the 2010 season:

Grid of Expectation

We had the usual bout of prognosticators again this week, although I fear this is the last we will see this season of one of them:

Diary Author Method Prediction
Our Defense, Their Offense - Judgment Call mistersuits Normalized PPG and YPG M, 28-24
Penn St Preview The Mathlete PAN M, 35-24
A Halloween Statistical Look at Saturday's Game Mr. McBlue and RR Too RR's history on Halloween M, 31-26
Post Week 8: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor tpilews Yardage-Score M, 35-24
Things to think about this week+small PSU preview tasnyder01 Bored PSU < 350yds
Gray's Sports Almanac Volume II (2001-2050) Metro Publishing Dust-repellant paper Cubs win 2015 World Series
Farewell to the season THE_KNOWLEDGE Is from Future Went Back to the Future


MonuMental of The Art. The Art. The Art! made two JoePas* for last week, one with nose and one without. Compare:

* Would the plural of "JoePa" be "JoePae" under the original Latin declension?

Fantasy football fan myrtlebeachmaizenblue put together an All-Michigan fantasy football team, and a bunch of responders came back with fantasy teams from other schools. The NFL Wolverines have a vicious passing offense behind Tom Brady behind Jake Long, David Baas, and the 2000 boys, and passing to Navarre's receiver trio (plus Super Mario). We have like no safeties unless you want to count Marlin (but you knew that). RB is Hart.


The Ugly Game of the Week by stubob went with mascots this time. Lesson: don't be a rebel.

On MSU, I figured I'd put this here, though it aint a diary: if you're wondering why Rucker's suspension is not like other 2nd time offenders' DUIs, here's a nifty chart of recent DUIs and the punishments faced. Findings: don't drink and drive, but if you're going to, it's best you have a scholarship to Ohio State.

Yooper tracked Big Ten blogs, a chance for MGoBlog, captain of M-Lore, to show its quality (the very highest). The Quantcast stats are a bit wacky, else RCMB would beat us, but they're not really a blog, so I'm cueing the Yay! girl and calling it a night.



Postgame Presser Notes: Penn State

Postgame Presser Notes: Penn State Comment Count

Tim October 31st, 2010 at 4:51 AM

[Ed-M: Big kudos to Tim, who got this up at 5 in the morning. Note: images are not from last night. Also note: the last interview was mine].

Rich Rodriguez

On that thing that was on the field when the offense or special teams wasn't:

Can't say too much about what the breakdowns were until after seeing the film. It didn't seem like the team did a good job getting off blocks and making tackles. Some cutback lanes were open for Penn State. "I'll have to check our backside pursuit."

"We didn't execute well offensively either, in the first half. I thought there were enough plays out there offensively, if we could have got a few stops here and there, got a little momentum, that's what you've gotta do when you play in this kind of environment."

Rodriguez was disappointed with the team's trouble executing the no-huddle. "Our guys know that, and they'll try to be a fix for this week."

"The frustrating part is it's not just one person, it's usually a different thing. The inconsistency I think is a little bit frustrating for everybody, including our guys on defense." The guys didn't quit in the second half, but you have to make the plays when they're available.

"We've gotta put them in a position to make the plays. Gosh it seems like forever since we've gotten a turnover." The defense or special teams just needs one or two of those to spark them.

It's most frustrating to get the opponent in 3rd-and-long, and then still allow the conversion. "We've gotta play better, certainly. I didn't think we were real good on third down on offense today either."


On Mike Martin: "It was a different ankle. That's a blow, because there's no question that Mike makes a difference when he's in there."

Perry Dorrestein didn't play because of a knee sprain. "Denard got banged up but he felt good after." Jibreel Black and JT Floyd both went back into the game after minor injuries, and should be fine.

Denard had an OK game, but he'd definitely like to have a few of his throws back. His shoulder isn't quite 100%. "He's a great competitor, and I thought he competed all the way to the last snap." He landed on his hip funny when he briefly had to come out of the game.

Special Teams:

Hagerup practiced kickoffs this week, because Seth had been struggling with them. He did a pretty good job.

Should he have used the onside kick earlier? "No, because there's plenty of time, we had a couple timeouts left. Again, you let them start about midfield..."

"Gallon did a good job returning kickoffs, except the one mistake when he was losing his balance. The blocking wasn't great.

It's Not an Excuse, but, uh, Freshmen:

"We've got a few upperclassmen that are really trying as hard as they can defensively. Sometimes our youth gets picked on somewhat." They're trying to help the young guys grow up, but there's only so much they can do.

Rodriguez doesn't want it to sound like an excuse when he refers to the youth on defense, but the facts are what they are. "You look out there and there's a true freshman, and another true freshman, and a redshirt freshman... Ray Vinopal got his first start as a true freshman, I thought he did OK, but there's probably some mistakes made too."

"We know where we're at right now, and we've gotta do what we can defensively so we can play at a higher level."

Terrence Talbott got some play at corner because the coaches were trying to see if they could find something to work.

Roy Roundtree

"All throughout the game I think Denard played well."

The defense was blitzing a lot to force Michigan's offense into doing some things they didn't want to.

Perry Dorrestein

"We've got a couple of big-time losses and sometimes people start to think it looks kinda glum, kinda gloomy. We've just gotta persevere through it, win some football games, get bowl-eligible."

"We had some good protections. There's just a couple instances where a guy let in some penetration. It was really loud out there, so some of the snap miscues, but I think all-in-all we had a pretty solid day."

Injury? "Just a little swollen, couldn't play to 100%." Will you be back next week? Yes, yes."

Kevin Koger

The offense had a couple good plays, but they just stalled in execution a few times.

Jonas Mouton

"We'll just get back to Ann Arbor, watch the film, correct our mistakes, and go from there."

Soul Dong