This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis Comment Count

Seth November 12th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

A man in my position cannot afford to be made to look ridikuhlis.

Ace: Brian and I did a segment on this week's podcast in which we each listed our top five most ridiculous games of the Hoke era. Not only were our bottom three picks entirely different, but between Twitter and the comments at least a dozen games that didn't make the cut were suggested as meriting inclusion, and... it was really hard to argue with a lot of them.

So let's try this again. List and explain your top five, perhaps mention a few dishonorable mentions, and feel free to explain your methodology—I'm intentionally leaving "ridiculous" open to interpretation.

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

BiSB: I just drew up a quick list of candidates. There are 16 games on that list. I HATE ALL THE THINGS.

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Ace: Now remember that the very first game Hoke coached featured two Brandon Herron touchdowns and was called due to a biblical storm before the third quarter ended...

Even the wins, man. Even the wins.

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[After the jump: we discuss 60% of the games under Hoke]

Comments

Opponent Recap: Eastern Michigan

Opponent Recap: Eastern Michigan Comment Count

Heiko January 13th, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Two fortnights ago I put it upon myself to review each of Michigan’s 2011 foes and their respective seasons. I reached Eastern Michigan and was administering the finishing touches on the post when suddenly the editor window closed without saving. Alas. Being of frail mental constitution, I was inconsolably disheartened. Days lengthened into weeks ere I dared to reassemble my thoughts, but the attempts were in vain. I could not write for the numbers and records dulled my eyes and numbed my mind. What evil times we live in that a blogger finds himself lacking the motivation to blog! Desperate and without recourse I sought council of Brian the Wise. I begged of him guidance for whether I should resume the ill-fated task that I set out to do so long ago. He spoke to me thus, and his word fell upon me like a spark upon a bed of straw damp with snake oil.

“Yes.”

So here it is.

Eastern Michigan

vs. Ball State / via Michigan Exposures

Schedule:

  • Howard, 41-9 (W)
  • Alabama State, 14-7 (W)
  • @ Michigan, 3-31 (L)
  • @ Penn State, 6-34 (L)
  • Akron, 31-23 (W)
  • @ Toledo, 16-54 (L)
  • @ Central Michigan, 35-28 (W)
  • Western Michigan, 14-10 (W)
  • Ball State, 31-33 (L)
  • Buffalo, 30-17 (W)
  • @ Kent State, 22-28 (L)
  • @ Northern Illinois, 12-18

Record: 6-6 overall, 4-4 MAC

Standings/Rankings: Tied 5th MAC-West

Statistics:

  Offense Defense
Rushing: 218.3 ypg, 14th 140.5 ypg, 50th
Passing: 126.7 ypg, 117th 209.8, 42nd
Total: 345.0 ypg, 93rd 350.3 ypg, 34th
Scoring: 21.3 ppg, 103rd 24.3 ppg, 50th
T/O Margin: -5, 91st

Recap: In his third year as head coach of Eastern Michigan, Ron English led the program to their first non-losing season in about two decades or so.* They played most of their opponents close, getting blown out only by BCS schools and Toledo, which ended up one of the best teams in the MAC. If you have any ties or allegiances to Eagles football, you’d be saying something like, “Ron English has the program headed in the right direction,” while your buddy twirls his mustache and says, “Yes. Quite.” This of course presumes that there are at least two Eastern Michigan fans out there, which is a dangerous assumption.

Eastern Michigan benefitted from a significantly improved defense and a Mike Hart-inspired ground game that averaged 4.6 ypc, which is in the upper quartile of FBS rankings.** They were also second in the country in kick return coverage, so their special teams were pretty competent, too.

Michigan won’t play them again for at least another couple of years so I have nothing to say about what this means for their future. 

See ya.

* Wikipedia doesn’t go earlier than that.

** From what we saw when they played Michigan, they were more of an option/outside running team rather than HARTball, so saying that it was Mike Hart-inspired may not be entirely true.

Best win: Western Michigan. This was their only win over an opponent with a winning record. The Broncos also finished higher in the MAC standings so this was somewhat of an upset.

Worst loss: Ball State. Lost on a last-second field goal.

At the time, we thought they were as frightening as: A canker sore. Fear level = 1.

But now we know they are as frightening as: A hot slice of pizza. If you burn the roof of your mouth it's your own fault. 2.

What this win meant for Michigan: Michigan got the blowout as expected, but the manner in which it was achieved was pretty unsatisfying, if not downright unsettling. Eastern Michigan’s run game was the first to expose the Wolverines defense’s problems with perimeter defense and at the linebacker position. The Eagles found free yards all day by running to the edges, and they were stopped only at the goal line when there wasn’t much of an edge to run to.

The perimeter defense would get fixed gradually throughout the course of the season and would become less and less of an issue. The linebacking unit would see a little more rotation before reaching a level of moderate competency.

Really the most unsettling aspect of this game was that Bad Air Denard made his first full debut. He completed fewer than half of his passes (7 of 18) and threw an interception, forcing Borges to run him 26 times. Devin Gardner, who was expected by many to see his first significant playing time of the season, ran one play.

But there were some bright spots! Thomas Gordon made his first heads up play on the double-pass interception, and the year's only successful QB Oh Noes got Dileo in for the deciding touchdown … And that’s about it.

This guy.

And it totally felt as awesome as: Pooping in a Porta-Potty.

Comments

Opponent Watch: Week 12

Opponent Watch: Week 12 Comment Count

Heiko November 23rd, 2011 at 11:32 AM

(Wait. Which one is Michigan playing again?)

About Last Weekend:

No. 16 Nebraska 17, No. 18 Michigan 45 (W)

"Guess why I smile a lot."

"Why?"

"Uh, 'cause it's worth it."

 

The Road Ahead:

Ohio State (6-5, 3-4 B1G)

Getty / via the Huffington Post

Previously:

  • Akron, 42-0 (W)
  • Toledo, 27-22 (W)
  • @ Miami, 24-6 (L)
  • Colorado, 37-17 (W)
  • Michigan State, 10-7 (L)
  • @ No. 14 Nebraska, 34-27 (L)
  • @ No. 16 Illinois, 17-7 (W)
  • No. 15 Wisconsin, 33-29 (W)
  • Indiana, 34-20
  • @ Purdue 26-23 OT (LOL)

Last game: No. 21 Penn State 20, Ohio State 14 (L)

Recap: Recap. Have to do a recap. Last recap. Gotta finish by the end of Tuesday. Tuesday's over. Damn. Gotta finish by Wednesday. One-day-late Championship recap. Okay.

... Ohio State fell into a hole early. Penn State RB Stephfon Green took a run up the middle, evaded some tackles, and sprinted 39 yards for a touchdown. 7-0 Nittany Lions.

The ensuing Buckeyes drive stalled because Ohio State C Mike Brewster snapped the ball into his ass while QB Braxton Miller was in shotgun formation. (I think this is when this particular bad snap happened. Bad snaps happened many times throughout this game. I think Brewster ended up blaming it on his gloves.)

Penn State drove and got a field goal, miring the Buckeyes in their third 10-0 deficit in as many weeks.

Ohio State wasn’t dead, though. Not yet. Miller ran the option to good effect and scored on a 24-yard keeper; most of the Buckeyes’ large chunks on the ground came from his option keepers, which is to say he kept the ball every time. He and Denard are both members of the “never pitch” movement.

That’s not anything relevant, but I google imaged “option keeper” and it’s what I got.

Also, WR DeVier Posey returned from suspension. He didn’t make a huge impact (4 catches, 66 yards), but he was pretty much the entire passing offense, and he did do this.

All of this game’s points were scored in the first half before the allure of B1G football got the better of both teams. Penn State scored another touchdown and field goal in the first half but failed to convert on a redzone opportunity in the second half when Ohio State turned the ball over on a fumble.

On that possession, the Buckeyes defense mounted an impressive goal-line stand to keep the Nittany Lions out of the end zone.

The second Buckeye touchdown came in the second quarter when Braxton Miller found TE Jake Stoneburner on a deep crossing route in the end zone. It was an impressive throw. Something tells me that he might eventually be pretty good when he’s given a real offense to work with.

You probably know the rest. Ohio State drove ferociously for a Hail Mary opportunity in the final minutes, but the first fourth-down conversion fell short when a Miller scramble, set back by a false-start penalty, fell short of the first down marker. The second attempt after a quick Penn State three-and-out fell incomplete because Penn State actually knows how to cover receivers. Unlike you, Wisconsin. For shame.

Right now they are as frightening as: Voldemort down to his last Horcrux.

Michigan should worry about: When you look at Miller’s highlight reel, the thing that stands out is that he scrambles effectively to buy time for his receivers to get open. He keeps his eyes downfield, and his instincts are usually good when it comes to finally tucking and running. A lot of his game-winning or almost-game-winning touchdowns came when he danced around in the backfield for some length before finding his target.

To get to him, Michigan’s secondary will need to stay on receivers for a lot longer than they’re used to, and D-line discpline will be essential. If he’s able to break through the containment, Miller will make plays.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: The Nittany Lions rushed for 239 yards on not that many carries. Their running backs consistently found enormous holes in the Buckeyes defensive line and frequently had to be tracked down from behind by linebackers. It looked like Ohio State’s defensive line was caught in pass rush mode at the wrong times -- the ends were way overcommitted, allowing the backs to run right by them.

Next game: No. 15 That School Up North 

(more after the jump)

Comments

Opponent Watch: Week 11

Opponent Watch: Week 11 Comment Count

Heiko November 15th, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Finally, a post on Tuesday. November is championship football, and championship football requires championship opponent watching.

(Fear scale: 0 = Bye week; 1 = If Michigan loses to this team Lloyd Carr will announce his retirement a second time; 5 = Illinois any given year; 8 = Best in B1G, which may or may not actually be any good; 9 = National title contender somewhere in the SEC; 10 = Hold me, Ace)

About Last Saturday:

No. 24 Michigan 31, Illinois 14 (W)

***

The Road Ahead:

No. 19 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2 B1G)

David Swanson / Philadelphia Inquirer

Previously:

  • Chattanooga, 40-7 (W)
  • Fresno State, 42-29 (W)
  • Washington, 51-38 (W)
  • @ Wyoming, 38-14 (W)
  • @ No. 7 Wisconsin, 48-17 (L)
  • Ohio State, 34-27 (W)
  • @ Minnesota, 41-14 (W)
  • No. 11 Michigan State, 24-3 (W)
  • Northwestern, 28-25 (L)

Last game: Nebraska 17, No. 12 Penn State 14 (W)

Recap: Nebraska shrugged off last week’s upset loss to Northwestern as well as the national scandal that has been monopolizing headlines to win a football game on the road.

Their rush offense steadily churned out a 17-0 lead midway through the third quarter before Penn State finally put together a cohesive touchdown drive. A Rex Burkhead (25 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD) fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Nittany Lions a short field, so with the help of some trickery, Penn State was able to find the endzone again to cut the lead to 17-14.

That’s when the Huskers defensive front, led by LB Lavonte David, who had been quiet for most of the game, stiffened. Three times they stuffed Lions running backs for no gain on short yardage. 2nd and 1 turned into 3rd and 1 turned into 4th and 1, which ultimately led to a turnover on downs.

Miraculously, the Penn State defense was able to force a Nebraska four and out to get the ball back with 49 seconds remaining, but Nittany Lions QB Matt McGloin (16/34, 193 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs) had trouble finding receivers on the desperation drive, and his last pass under pressure fell incomplete.

Huskers QB Taylor Martinez had a pedestrian day, completing 13 of 26 passes for 143 yards and no TDs or INTs. He was also limited on the ground, carrying the ball 19 times for just 56 yards -- only one of those carries was a sack. He did manage the game well, however, and the offensive play of the game was his last-second option pitch to Rex Burkhead that went for a touchdown.

Right now they are as frightening as: The mounting sense of unknowing you get as you stare down the betting lines this week. 7.

Michigan should worry about: Option offense, which is something Michigan doesn’t really know if it can stop. Northwestern ran it successfully but then outsmarted themselves by abandoning it in the second half. Illlinois used it in limited quantities, and while Michigan stifled the hand-offs, the Scheelhaase keepers were effective and therefore worrisome.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: Numerous reports indicate that Nebraska’s offensive line is about as deep as Michigan’s, i.e. drowning is a hazard only for the very young or the very intoxicated. The Wolverines D-line play has been steadily improving since the bye week, so that matchup looks to be favorable.

Additionally, if you’ve ever watched Martinez throw … eesh. Imagine Denard passing, but instead of an arm he has a chicken wing. Expect to see Jordan Kovacs nuzzling the line of scrimmage frequently.

DE Jared Crick has been out with a torn pectoral muscle, so Mark Huyge at least can sleep a little better.

When Michigan plays them: Both teams are going to try to make each other take to the air, at which point it’s anyone’s guess.

Martinez thrives on the kind of passing game that made Denard a 2500+ yard passer last year -- as teams choke up on the run game, receivers find themselves wandering alone in areas of the field large enough to raise a horse. Michigan’s safeties have done a good job of not blowing these sorts of assignments or getting beat deep so far, but again, they haven’t been tested by a true option offense where the whole point is to get safeties to bite on play-action. Worry if the Wolverines can’t stop the Burkhead-Martinez tandem early.

As far as Michigan’s passing game goes, jump balls are probably not such a great idea. Nebraska boasts one of the B1G’s best cover corners in Alfonso Dennard, and the guy playing opposite him is not so bad either. The Wolverines’ passing game does seem to be more sophisticated than the Huskers’ and relies less on establishing the run game, so there’s that.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams combine for six turnovers.

Next game: at No. 18 Michigan

(more after the jump)

Comments

Picture Pages: Slanting Against Power

Picture Pages: Slanting Against Power Comment Count

Brian October 25th, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Picture Pages on a bye week? Sure. I generally take more snapshots than I can reasonably cram into one week of posting what with all the other whatnot that goes on in this space, so this is a perfect spot for some reheated leftovers.

Yesterday I tagged Whoever at WLB as one of the main trouble spots on the defense; last week I criticized the linebackers for a particular Edwin Baker run that popped big despite Michigan seemingly having it covered. I caught some criticism myself for not being harsh enough with Mike Martin on that particular play that I'm still not sure about.

In any case, I pick the individual plays after the game (or season) has developed enough for me to identify a trend, and I grabbed that specifically because of the WTF behavior of the linebackers. Here's a play from earlier in the season that got in my thought processes and may have compelled me to pull that baby out of the bathwater. Metaphors not guaranteed.

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

It's late against Eastern. The starters are still mostly in; the Eagles have been driving a bit. It's first and ten. They'll run a power play to the strong side of their formation*. Michigan is in their usual under.

*[People have told me this is a "Down G", not a Power O, because the guard blocks down—I see what you did there—and it's actually a frontside tackle pulling, along with the center.]

hawthorne-angle-1

USUAL UNDER IS USUAL
Ryan to bottom of screen, Frank Clark to top.

The key guy to watch is Hawthorne, who is the topmost of the MLBs.

On the snap everything happens!

hawthorne-angle-2

By this I mean three things.

  1. the center pulls
  2. the frontside tackle pulls
  3. Michigan slants away from the play

You can see the entire line headed inside away from the playside. Brink, Ryan, Martin: all are oblivious to the idea of containment. This is fine.

fbz3gg[1]SLANTING THE LINE AGAINST POWER

wsg Slanty, the football-playing, jean-vested gecko who is inexplicably the first hit in Google images for "line slant football."

Why do it? To get a free hitter. Your slant should make life difficult for anything run to its side. The downblocks are key in the power. They're the easy bit for the offense. If one gets beat your play is going to not work very well. In all likelihood your pullers are going to take defensive linemen in the backfield, leaving linebackers free to run up and smash face.

If the opponent runs away from your slant it should be okay because the linebackers know there's a slant on and can chase playside as soon as the offense gives any indication there is a playside. This gets the backside tackle/guard/whoever—the guy assigned to the WLB—blocking air. The WLB gets to scrape down the line to tackle.

This gets the backside tackle… guard… whoever…

hawthorne-angle-2

…blocking air…

hawthorne-angle-3

…awww, come on, Hawthorne.

hawthorne-angle-4

In the wider view you can see huge numbers of players on the backside:

hawthorne-angle-3

Cutback == doom. Hawthorne has no responsibility but to get down the line to the POA. Note the difference in the disposition of the linebackers. Demens is hauling for the frontside; Hawthorne is in full block-catching mode.

Now, Michigan's D can bottle this up without needing a WLB if Ryan gets a two for one on these pullers. He's the guy currently inside of #68. The other puller is running right by him. He's already given up the bounce because of the slant; if he gets into the other blocker Demens has a free run.

Ryan doesn't. He gets knocked to the inside and pancaked, which erases backside help. The other puller gets out on Demens:

hawthorne-angle-5

Demens has maintained outside leverage, forcing it back to his help, which is three yards downfield and getting farther away.

hawthorne-angle-6hawthorne-angle-7

First down on a basic power run.

VIDEO

ITEMS OF INTEREST

Hesitation is a killer here and it does not seem explicable. Hawthorne does not quite know what he's doing yet, especially earlier in the season. The hesitation gets a little more explicable when you look at the previous play, when one Brandin Hawthorne got burned on a counter:

Even so, with the line slanting in front of him he should know to take off playside at any hint of a pull or any hint of a guy releasing to block him. Slanting should make LB decision processes easy.

This play is one of the archetypical examples of why the WLB is hard to block and can get away with being a slight fast guy… so don't get blocked.

This is especially bad for a player like Hawthorne. Hawthorne looks like Leo Messi out there. He has a hard time getting off blocks and has basically no chance if he's not thundering at whoever is coming out to block him. At least in that situation his momentum can pop the guy back and he can come off to tackle. He's done if he pulls the [REDACTED] Memorial Block Catching Dance.

Ryan missed an opportunity to MAKE PLAYS. The other thing a slant like this can do is take the playside DE/LB and make two guys block him. You see Ryan dive inside the first puller. This means the RB is going to bounce, which means Ryan's basically done. Also done is Ryan's blocker.

Ryan has one way to impact the play left: try to pick off that other puller, leaving Demens unimpeded on the edge. Here he takes the block and appears to try to fight back outside, which ends with him in a heap. This isn't the worst thing in the world but great defenses that swarm these kinds of plays with two guys get both the 2-for-1 and the WLB in the hole.

This is one of the reasons I'm looking owlishly at the WLB whenever something goes wrong. Picture Pages are attempts to thematically summarize trends I see as I'm UFRing, so when I pull a play to illustrate something it is a complaint/credit I've seen quite a bit of. That may mean I focus on the linebackers on a particular play that may or may not be Mike Martin's fault for not shedding his guy and tackling for loss.

Google images can be weird sometimes.

Comments

Dear Diary Harrumphs and So Forth

Dear Diary Harrumphs and So Forth Comment Count

Seth September 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 AM

DearDiaryHarrumphs

Remember the South Park episode after 9/11 where Sharon Marsh is left drooling on the couch watching CNN? That aired almost exactly 10 years ago. That's also pretty much how the MGoDenizens felt all week through another round of conference realignment that didn't quite match galactic expectations. Raise your hand if you could identify every player on the above telly prior to this week.

Those pics (all the little icon in the middle) are the cast of Hardware Sushi's Diary of the Week-winning report on EXPANSIONPALOOZZIZZA 2011. A taste:


Texas:
Anyone interested - $10 for an HJ, $20 for a BJ, $40 for a ZJ, $300mil for an LHN. If you have to ask about the ZJ, you don't want it. Anyone?


Mizzou:
We so want the B12 to survive COUGH ess eee see COUGH big ten COUGH COUGH


Jim Delany:
Harumph and so forth. Big Ten likes twelve members. You will receive my condescension and be grateful, peasants.

The boards had a good expansion thread a day (best one linked) until the Pac12's sudden aneurism of sense.

For those of you who chose the Renaissance Festival over football last Saturday (what's the point of having a blog renaissance-2if you can't troll your friends), our resident Gonzo jhackney provides assurance that Ann Arbor was hardly different, except at ours they let Sir Lewan out of the jousting ring after half-time, and several burros died:

After halftime, Michigan had a fire lit under their ass and the lighter fluid to ignite it was the usual brand, Denard Robinson. The defense also stepped up their game to begin to look respectable, but the rushing attack by the fighting EMU’s still plagued them. Denard galloped his way on his feet, which I am convinced are small unicorns blessed by the Pope.

The second half renaissance was good enough to earn some high first quarter (of the season) marks from Maize_in_spartyland, and get StephenRKass to wonder aloud if defense and special teams are maybe making their way to the positives column.

Other stuff too good to put in an etc. section: wlubd put together the 2013 offer list. Right now it's 22 guys but that will get to over 100 by March. This will be in the Usual Stuff tab and updated.

Lanyard Program is creating a Mini Program you can print on Game Days. Sample page:

sdsuminiprogram

Chris of Danger… Danger of Logic made picture pages move:

EMU Runnin' on Us, I

And cjm made a wallpaper for SDSU week.

Don't change the channel! Coming up after the break it's the weeklies and best of the board.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs EMU

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs EMU Comment Count

Brian September 22nd, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Gratuitous Video:

So my youtube account has been closed after a series of copyright claims by one of the companies that goes around doing that. Thus no video as I try to sort it out with them. They did get back to my email and I should get a call in w/ a relevant person shortly. We'll see how that goes.

Substitution notes: Status quo, mostly. Smith and Toussaint are obviously the top two backs this instant. Odoms is still an infrequent participant because of the cast; Dileo appears to be in front of Jackson and Jerald Robinson (who we still haven't seen) beyond Hemingway/Roundtree/Gallon on the depth chart.

Schofield got in a bit, once as a goal-line tight end and once spotting Barnum late. I believe that was a shoe issue.

Formation notes: A heavier dose of shotgun than Borges was calling for for obvious reasons. Michigan's using a little motion from the gun now, something RR never did, and this semi-stack formation is making somewhat frequent appearances:

trips-stack-ish

That's still shotgun trips to me, FWIW.

Show? Depleted show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 under Run Iso Toussaint 8
Running at the backside gap left by the under shift. Good combo block by Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) kicks out a DT and gets Omameh on to the MLB. Huyge(+1) locks out playside DT; McColgan(+1) crumbles WLB. Toussaint can just go straight upfield.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Huyge, McColgan RUN-:
M43 2 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-5 under Run Pin and pull zone Robinson 4
Both safeties in the box. Michigan goes to the pin and pull we've seen a few times that is apparently their preferred outside running play. EMU slants to it and prevents any of their guys from getting sealed(RPS -1). They have this killed, basically, except the backside DT gets way upfield and stumbles when he should be tackling Robinson on his slow-as-hell cutback. No points for anyone. Lucky. Q: why not throw the long handoff here? Or a hitch or something?
M47 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Tunnel screen Robinson 14
Denard pulls it down. I'm not sure why since the WR seems open. Hesitant after last week, or can he see this is going to get crushed because a DT is going to release right into it? I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Screen gone he's got guys in his face and Denards it for a first down. (SCR, N/A, N/A. Target: Gallon)
RUN+: Robinson(3) RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 under Run Zone read dive Toussaint 4
Linebackers are already sprinting at the mesh point, so this is tough. Backside DE forms up; correct handoff. Omameh and Huyge(+1) execute a good combo block on the local DT, kicking him out. Omameh is about to release into the second level when the sprinting linebacker is in his face. Omameh manages to get a shove on him. Unblocked MLB sitting in the hole now; Toussaint cuts back, where Huyge's block and the delay on the backside DE by the read fake get him a few yards. RPS -1.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge RUN-:
O35 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie? Run QB power Robinson 1
No one in a three point stance here as EMU gets fancy. Michigan runs power at it and has a huge hole... and a guy running at Robinson right behind the down-blocking Barnum(-2). Barnum's fault, sure, but also an RPS -1. The other blocks are easy by design here so no pluses. RUN-: Barnum(2)
O34 3 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press Pass Dumpoff Smith Inc
Huyge(-1) beaten by the EMU DE. Bodes unwell. Robinson does have enough time to get to a second read after he doesn't like the first. Why? Not sure. Hemingway had separation and was running an open in for a first down, but the two(!) spies EMU is running are reading his eyes and might leap to bat it or worse. He checks to Smith running an out in front of a linebacker. Throw is a little bit off but Smith just drops this. (CA, 3, protection ½, Huyge)
O34 4 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 3 Nickel press Pass Hitch Hemingway Int
EMU sends two up the middle and it's picked up well enough by the rest of the line; Smith(-1) gets chucked on his block attempt and only delays his guy briefly. Denard throws a hitch to a pretty well covered Hemingway. He's got a window if he throws it a bit upfield; instead it's way too far inside and the EMU DB has a play on the ball. To his credit, he makes it. (IN, 0, protection 2/3, Smith –1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q. Both of these last two passes were accurate-ish but made more difficult by tight coverage.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M1 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
Koger(-2) stood up by the DE he's assigned to on the goal line; DE fights his way inside of him and completely prevents any hole outside. Toussaint sees this and starts cutting backside. He may have a hole but Koger's block was so poor his guy comes up to tackle. RUN-: Koger(2)
M2 2 9 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass Hitch Roundtree Inc
Batted back in his face. (BA, 0, protection 2/2)
M2 3 9 Shotgun trips 1 0 3 Nickel Pass Rollout sack Robinson 0
Smith(-2) whiffs his cut on the edge and these routes, which all look long, do not have a chance to develop. Denard steps up and is swarmed. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 3 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint -1
Moore(-2) is blown up by the DE opposite him, who plows into the backfield and removes blockers and any semblance of a hole. Also they're running from the I against nine in the box. I remember handing out RPS -1s for these in the DeBord era. RUN-: Moore(2)
M20 2 11 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA Wheel Koger Inc
Yay second and 11 play action from a formation we average 2 YPC from. EMU has two deep safeties, a rarity, and the linebackers don't bite at all. One of them gets a chuck on Koger just as Denard releases the ball on his wheel route. This is pretty awesome: Koger fake blocks for three seconds and then releases and the EMU LB is right there waiting for him. I think this (no PI) is legit since the contact started before the ball was in the air and was not maintained too long. Actually a good throw without the coverage. The rare (CA, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
M20 3 11 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel Pass Panic ??? Inc
Four man rush on which Omameh and Molk block a guy, and then both stop blocking him. In Molk's case it was to peel off and block a guy who had beaten Barnum; Omameh blocks air. Denard is pressured, avoids a sack, avoids another sack, steps up, and rifles a ball eight yards over someone's head. Not even sure who. Tacopants special. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, Barnum -1, Omameh -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M3 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read keeper Robinson 52
Why everyone has forgotten how to defend this I'll never know. Basic zone read, DE crashes down, TE heads for OLB, other LBs rush to frontside of play, Denard in open field. He accelerates past two guys and rips off a big one. Tree gets a great block AAAAAH. RPS +3.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Roundtree(2) RUN-:
O45 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Down G Robinson 4
EMU DE does a great job recognizing the pull and backing out once he's left unblocked; he drops out, gets wide, picks off Toussaint, and forces the play inside. +2 that guy. Since Omameh and Molk have both pulled the backside D is running down the line—Barnum has no shot—and tackles from behind. They still get some yards because there's no one in front of Denard thanks to Huyge(+1) getting a good seal on the other NT and Koger(+1) improvising to peel off and block a linebacker after the DE exited stage left.
RUN+: Huyge, Koger RUN-:
O41 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB power Robinson -2
Barnum(-3) pulls and inexplicably runs by the blitzing LB, who plasters Denard. If that's picked up he might be able to dance for considerable yardage.
O43 3 8 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel press Run QB draw Robinson 22
This is a complete fiasco (RPS -1). EMU sends two blitzers; Michigan lets one through and picks up another at the expense of letting a DT through unblocked. Smith(+1) picks off one LB, and Denard(+3) jets past that DT—lucky. I think Barnum was right there to get the LB—closest to the play—and Lewan(-1) had to slide to make the far side DE the threat. After Denard passes the DT he's got smooth sailing since Molk(+2) and Omameh(+2) have kicked the crap out of two defenders. Denard cuts back for extra yardage, then fumbles(-3) because he's not carrying it high and tight.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Molk(2), Omameh(2), Smith RUN-: Lewan, Robinson(3)
O21 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA TE flat Koger 12
EMU in man; guy on Koger blasts into one of his own guys and falls. Wide open. Denard's getting quick pressure and flicks a soft one to Koger; he turns it up for good yardage. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB power Robinson 0
Denard checks into a bad play; EMU slants to this. Molk(-1) senses the slant and tries to pass his guy off to Omameh(-1), who is unprepared. This is for no purpose since Lewan has handled the backside DE. Robinson cuts back right into this dude and gets planted. RUN-: Omameh, Molk
O9 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA quick seam Koger 9
Zone read fake into a quick seam. LBs take one step to the LOS and that's all M needs. Good timing, catch, touchdown. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-3, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 5
EMU scrape exchange does not sucker Denard; he hands off. EMU slants playside; Toussaint(+1) cuts behind it. Unfortunately, Koger is blocking the backside DE along with Huyge so the MLB is unblocked and can react to the cutback. Need one of those guys to hit it up in the hole and Toussaint is into the secondary. I want to minus one of Koger or Huyge for a missed assignment but no idea who. Ohh: team. RUN-: Team
RUN+: Omameh, Toussaint RUN-: Team
M18 2 5 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-4 under Run Pin and pull zone Robinson -2
All right, I'm officially annoyed at this play. It's crap. It's hard to execute, never gives you cutbacks, and doesn't allow Molk to reach fools. Why not use the stretch? Here a blitzer off the edge gets past three blockers, forcing a cutback, where hard-flowing EMU defenders cut Denard down. RPS -2. RUN-: Shaw(2)
M16 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout fly Hemingway Inc
Too long. Stupid route package on third and medium-ish. Literally no short routes (RPS -1). (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M13 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel Run Zone read keeper Robinson 12
Derpity doo. Backside DE plunges inside; no scrape. Denard pulls. Slot LB chucks Dileo. Denard pulls, runs, etc. Stupidly easy. RPS +2.
RUN+: Lewan, Robinson RUN-:
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Down G Robinson 12
Omameh and Molk pull; Huyge(-1) ignores the playside DT. That's a problem, but it's kind of his job since he's pulling (RPS –1). DT gets into the pullers way fast. Denard has to hold up, reverse field, and beat everyone to the backside of the play. He breaks a kid's ankles out there for fun. No video : (
RUN+: Robinson(3) RUN-: Huyge(2)
M37 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 ??? Run Down G Smith 38
Finally they execute this stuff correctly, or at least I think so. It's possible Omameh still screwed up but we come to the play late as Lewan(+2) is plowing the playside DE inside and pullers are pulling. Barnum(+1) nails a linebacker. Koger(+2) kicks out a defensive end authoritatively. Smith(+1)... runs behind this stuff. Molk has no one to block, even. Hemingway(+2) plows an EMU DB into the sideline, allowing Smith to cut back behind him(+1) again, wherupon Molk(+1) whacks some pursuers. Keys here are Koger and Lewan and Barnum.
RUN+: Smith, Lewan(2), Koger, Barnum, Molk, Hemingway RUN-:
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB draw Robinson 3
This opens up beautifully as EMU's dudes get way upfield (RPS +1) but Robinson cuts it backside when he's got Tousssaint leading him through a huge hole frontside. This kills all the blocking angles.
RUN+: Molk RUN-: Robinson(2)
O22 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 11
This is a lovely little run. EMU WLB is scraping on Robinson, albeit slowly. EMU is slanting over the top. Omameh(+1) pancakes his guy and Huyge(+1) controls his, shooting him down the line; Toussaint(+2) reads the blocking and has the darting agility to cut back behind the Huyge block, avoid the scraping LB's tackle as he recovers, come back inside Molk's block of the MLB, and almost burst into the secondary before an ankle tackle takes him down.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Huyge, Omameh RUN-:
O11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB power Robinson 11
EMU slants hard and M adjusts well. Playside DT slants past Lewan; Barnum(+1) finds him and kicks him down the line. He dead. Molk(+1) buries the other guy. Lewan(+2) releases straight downfield and clobberates the MLB, but it's Koger(+2) who wins block of the play by adjusting to a DE slanting under him and pounding him inside to pancake. From there it's easy.
RUN+: Koger(2), Lewan(2), Barnum, Molk RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-3, 39 sec 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB power read Robinson 8
Insert scare quotes around read in that play description—I don't think this is an actual read. Line blocks down and Huyge pulls around, aiming for the hole between Barnum and Lewan. Both those guys get great kickout blocks(+1 each). Molk(+1) is aided by the sweep action that sucks the MLB a step the wrong way; he gets position and spends a long time controlling him. Huyge(+1) picks off the other LB and Denard has acres. Safety comes down quickly to hold the play down. RPS +1 for the ease of these blocks thanks to the misdirection.
RUN+: Molk, Lewan, Huyge, Barnum, Omameh RUN-:
M25 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Zone read dive Toussaint 0
EMU has a playcall on to defeat this play, with two guys on the backside of the defense. One heads right for Robinson; handoff. The inside guy hands right for Toussaint, who has to cut back because the over-shifted DL is slanting under the blocks. Toussaint gets nailed by the DT. RPS -2. No chance of this getting yards.
M25 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run QB power Robinson 2
Running at a crowded area. Adequate kickout from Koger; Omameh is also doing his job on a DT. Huyge(-1) gets chucked by the playside DE, who is now sitting playside where Barnum and Toussaint are trying to block guys. Denard cuts back behind this directly into a charging safety, who gives him a stiff shot. Denard manages to spin off it and just gets the first down.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh RUN-: Huyge
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Wheel oh noes Toussaint Inc
Draw fake into play action. Denard doesn't have much time because there's an unblocked DE in on him; he has to step back and loft one. Linebackers have sucked up, though, and Toussaint's wheel is open for a nice chunk. Denard gets it to him but Toussaint drops it. He then gets lit up because either the throw is too lofted (probably not) or late (probably); still, this should have been 15 yards or so. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M27 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Zone read dive Smith 27
Again Smith is blessed with acres of space as EMU blitzes a linebacker to the frontside of the play; Huyge(+1) kicks him way upfield. Omameh(+1) controls the DT to that side and there's a big gap that opens with no one there to contain. Smith(+1) reads it and is off, his little legs bumping and his little head waving back and forth as he just tries to go so fast. And it does seem like he's outrunning this EMU safety just before he uses the last bits of his angle to tackle. RPS+2; there are like three dudes on the backside surrounding Robinson by the time Smith breaks outside.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Smith RUN-:
O46 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Smith 5
LBs slide to the Denard side of a hypothetical zone read. This is a spot where there should be an auto-check to a bubble. EMU line slants playside; backside DE pulls up for contain and Denard hands off. Barnum(+1) is not going to seal his guy and so adjusts, blowing him down the line and providing a cutback lane. Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) blow up their dudes; Lewan(-1) gets a second level block but that guy pops off to the interior to tackle.
RUN+: Barnum, Omameh, Molk RUN-: Lewan
O41 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 3-4 base Run Zone read keeper Robinson 8
And then EMU forgets how to defend this again. EMLOS is kicked out by Koger; playside LB blitzes at the RB. Backside DT gets so hammered by Huyge(+1) that Omameh gets nailed by that block as he tries to get out on the MLB, so he can scrape. Robinson sees this and tries to pop outside Koger, does, stops when the contain comes, pops back inside the now-helmetless Koger(+1 for picking up another block), and shoots up for a first down. I think he basically had the first down if he just slams it up, but +1 for entertainment value alone. RPS +1.
RUN+: Robinson, Koger, Huyge RUN-:
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass PA TE flat Koger Inc
Don't like this PA because it's stretch action. Michigan hasn't run a stretch this year. The backside LB does not bite and backs off. Koger is still open; Denard wings it high. Would have been five yards and an instant tackle if accurate. (IN, 2, protection N/A)
O33 2 10 I-Form twins 1 2 2 4-4 even Pass Fake dive to pitch Smith 14
I have no idea why this should work. It's second and ten. If M hands it to the fullback, EMU OLB, you don't have to care. Unblocked EMLOS sucks in; playside LB does too; Lewan(+1) kills that guy; Molk(+1) gets the other LB, doesn't really matter because the EMLOS is now chasing Smith outside. Once on the corner he gets a fantastic mountain goat block from Odoms(+2) and an almost as good block from Gallon(+1) to pick up the first. He's actually tackled by the pursuing DE; he gets through that and he could be going a long way. RPS +1.
RUN+: Odoms(2), Lewan, Molk, Gallon RUN-:
O19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 12
Opens up as Barnum(+1) blows the DT past his intended spot and Robinson holds the EMLOS outside. Molk(+1) and Lewan(+1) get linebackers and this opens up cavernously. Toussaint makes an inexplicable decision to cut back outside instead of trying to shoot past the safety for the endzone but makes up for it by spinning through three(!) EMU tacklers and picking up the first.
RUN+: Barnum, Molk, Lewan, Toussaint RUN-:
O7 1 G Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Run QB power Robinson 0
Molk(+1) and Barnum(+1) seal and erase the backside DL; big cutback hole. EMU has overloaded the frontside and prevented a gap from forming despite decent blocking out there; Omameh(-1) does not adjust to the reality of the play and runs up Lewan's back; Robinson(-2) misses an obvious cutback lane that would be six points.
RUN+: Molk, Barnum RUN-: Omameh, Robinson(2)
O7 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA rollout scramble Robinson 6
Again: stretch action we only use for PA. This is the same play we scored that TD with in the first RR game except this time instead of Shaw releasing into the flat it's Koger. Opponents have this scouted and Koger is blanketed, as is Grady. Robinson engages Tate Mode, starts running around like a lunatic, totally fails to see Toussaint alone in the endzone, and runs down to the one. That's just how he do. (SCR, N/A, N/A)
RUN+: Robinson, Lewan, Barnum RUN-:
O1 3 G Goal line 2 0 3 Goal line Run FB dive Toussaint 1
The third TE is actually Schofield, lined up at LT while Lewan lines up next to Huyge on the right. Borges loves FB dives from the one and orders one up; Toussaint leaps over the pile before EMU defenders can react.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-3, 9 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run QB draw Robinson 0
More of a last year play than the power stuff we've gotten a lot of; Rawls(-1) is the RB and his lead block is running straight into the secondary. Omameh(-1) is shoved back and can't get much of a handle on his DT; Koger(-1) runs straight up his back instead of adjusting, and Denard runs into Koger. Last year these QB draw-type plays were MANBALL plays with both DTs getting doubled, and usually blown off the ball... this draw action is a little goofy given the context. RUN-: Omameh, Rawls, Koger
M25 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Zone read keeper Robinson 5
I don't understand defenses this year! DE crashes down, no scraper, pull, problems for D. The playside LB does get outside Lewan, forcing a cutback that's relevant because Molk got confused because he had no one to block, looked around, and ended up not taking the overhang guy to the short side. That guy tackles. RPS +1
RUN+: Robinson RUN-: Molk
M30 3 5 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Drag Gallon 18
Gallon motions in from the outside to more of a slot-type position. EMU sends five on a zone blitz; picked up. Denard has a great pocket and finds Gallon on his drag in front of the zone. Gallon grabs the ball, runs through a tackle, and picks up a nice gain. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
M48 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Smith 5
Argh. The totally unblocked NT follows Molk's pull, causes Molk to peel off to block. Unblocked playside DE takes out the other puller. Lewan(+2) got a great sealing block that gives the weakside LB a terrible choice; he goes upfield and around and erases himself, except he doesn't because a filling safety forces Smith back inside and gets him. This gets five yards with great play from virtually the entire O. RPS -1.
RUN+: Lewan(2), Smith, Molk RUN-:
O47 2 5 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Tunnel screen Gallon 1
This never works. You know what would be more effective than this? Throwing it directly to Gallon. His corner is ten yards off him. RPS -1. Also EMU zone blitzes such that they have a DL in a short zone right in front of this. No chance; Gallon does well to get a yard and gets lit up for his trouble. (CA, 3, screen)
O48 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Scramble Robinson 19
EMU sends five; picked up. They're in man behind it, so when Omameh blasts the DT way upfield and a lane opens it's easy for Denard to pick up the first. RPS +1.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh RUN-:
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Zone read dive Smith 6
Blitzer off the corner for contain; Robinson hands it off. Another guy on the edge is there for the cutback and gets inside of Koger, but it's not his fault. Lewan(+1) gets a good block to shove the slanting DL down the line and Smith(+1) sees the lane, hitting it for decent yardage. EMU had a good call on and M still got yards. RPS: confused.
RUN+: Smith, Lewan RUN-:
O23 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA Rollout comeback Roundtree Inc
More PA that uses stretch action M never runs. DE out in Robinson's face because he knows Rawls isn't getting the ball. Robinson forms up and has to throw; it's upfield of Roundtree and not a super great throw but he has to get it away from the DB and this isn't that difficult a catch. It's a 2, but with a guy in your face a 16 yard 2 is okay. The real problem is Hemingway was wiiide open for a TD because of a bust and Robinson missed him. Guy in his face, though. (CA, 2, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O23 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB iso Robinson 4
Schofield in. This is closer to last year's play. Molk(+1) and Schofield(+1) double the NT and proceed to drive him back. Molk(+1) then peels off to nail the MLB. The play seems to be going off tackle behind Omameh(-1) but he just passively sits and accepts the opponent like it's a draw. Last year he'd be doubling with the tackle. Denard has to cut behind Omameh, is hesitant, and then hits it up; Lewan(-1) did not control his guy and he comes off to tackle at the sticks.
RUN+: Molk(2), Schofield RUN-: Lewan, Omameh
O19 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Pin and pull zone Smith 0
Clown show: Omameh(-2) pulls and gets three yards upfield, blocking no one ever. Molk was trying to pull too and couldn't because doing so would let the NT into the backfield. Two unblocked LBs tackle Smith at the LOS. RPS -2.
RUN-: Omameh(2), Koger
O19 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Oh Noes Dileo 19
QB iso to throw, you know the drill. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-3, 1 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Shaw 3
Linebackers crashing on handoff, whatever, 28-3, no more RPS. Still think Denard should keep since his contain guy is getting nailed by Dileo; the handoff ain't right. Barnum does okay with his guy but he's slanting; cutback. The contain guy destined for Shaw thumps him. Any yards available because of Lewan.
RUN+: Lewan RUN-: Robinson
M15 2 7 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 under Pass PA Hitch Jackson 12
This is the kind of thing I am talking about. PA zone read sucks six EMU defenders in because it is an inside zone and Robinson has his choice of targets. Dileo looks tantalizing again, but Denard goes with Jackson on a five-yard hitch. Denard hits him, Jackson makes an orbit step around the defender trying to tackle and picks up the first. Vintage 2010. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run QB power Robinson 9
An accidental combo block from Huyge, who is taking on the playside DE, and Barnum, who is pulling on the power. Huyge blocks the DE and slides off him. He finds himself downfield, so he blocks the MLB who has slid playside. Barnum(+1) comes around to kick out the DE who slid off Huyge. This gives Denard a lane because Omameh(+1) sealed the playside DT away. Denard(+1) sees the lane and makes the cut for near first down yardage.
RUN+: Huyge, Barnum, Omameh, Robinson RUN-:
M36 2 1 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Pin and pull zone Toussaint -1
I really hate this play. The playside EMU DT reads the pull over him and pulls himself, avoiding Lewan's block and turning himself into an extra defender. EMU LB gets outside Barnum, another takes on Molk, and there is nowhere for Toussaint to go. Pulling DT(!) makes a TFL. RPS -2.
M35 3 2 Ace trips bunch 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Pitch sweep Smith 11
I called this from the stands: again, this is a play that has no relation to anything M has previously run and almost gives itself away by formation. Still works. It does so because Huyge(+2) gets playside of the playside DE and when he threatens to come under to flow down the line he adjusts beautifully to kick him away, which also gets rid of the playside DT. A sad Jackson(-1) cut block just gets him out of the play and EMU is flowing hard down the line, but Smith(+2) reads all this and cuts behind it, then jukes a safety for a good chunk more.
RUN+: Smith(2), Huyge(2) RUN-: Jackson
M46 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 under Run Zone read dive Smith 12
Good kickout of playside DT by Barnum(+1); Molk(+1) gets out on the MLB and nails him. Omameh can't get playside of his DT, which would be hard; Smith(+2) is able to slice through the narrow gap that results. Secondary converges.
RUN+: Smith(2), Barnum, Molk RUN-:
M44 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 under Pass PA Post Roundtree Inc
Motion into twins reveals man. Robinson makes a terrible decision to throw into double coverage when he had acres of space to run in and maybe Koger if he really insisted on throwing. Pass is broken up. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 over Run QB power Robinson 5
Late motion seems to confuse EMU D. Koger(+1) gets a good seal on the playside DE. Dileo(-1) whiffs on the nickelback and this forces Denard(+1) to cut outside, evading the guy. Bounce robs Odoms of an angle on his guy; that guy runs Robinson OOB.
RUN+: Robinson, Koger RUN-: Dileo
M49 3 5 Shotgun trips TE 1 0 4 Okie? Pass Post Gallon 38
EMU blitzes for five rushers; picked up. With a great pocket, Denard's first read is Gallon on a post similar to the one he missed against ND late. This time he zings it into Gallon for tons of yards. (DO, 3, protection 3/3)
O13 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 6
Momentary double from Molk helps Barnum(+1) destroy the playside DT; Molk(+2) then gets out on the LB. That's basically the play. Omameh does okay with the other DT, but he flows down the line. Toussaint has room afforded by the annihilation of the other dude and does all he can to hit that hole fast for good yardage.
RUN+: Molk(2), Barnum RUN-:
O7 2 4 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB power Robinson 3
It seems like these guys are way more mechanical on the power than they are on the zone. Here Omameh pulls around. Okay, fine. Barnum blocks down on the playside DT, he gets a little penetration, Omameh has a tough angle to get around. He does. And then he runs right into Lewan for no friggin reason, because Lewan is blocking a dude and EMU has two LB/S types to the inside. Slow your roll, block a dude. Lewan's excellent push and Denard keeping his balance after being hit gets this near the sticks.
RUN+: Lewan, Robinson RUN-: Omameh
O4 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Pass PA TE out Koger Inc
PA fake to waggle gets Koger open, but Robinson just misses. (IN, 0, protection N/A, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: FG, 31-3, 4 min 4th Q. Last drive not charted.

Let's get to the spread/shotgun comparison.

Impatient, I see. This week the run breakdown is close: 7.8 yards from the shotgun and 7.2 from under center. Vincent Smith helped by ripping off a 38-yarder from an ace three-wide set. Here's another number: Michigan averaged 11.2 yards per carry on the zone read, which was called 15(!) times. A full breakdown follows.

  • Down G: 3 carries at 18 YPC thanks to long Smith run, 12 yarder from Robinson.
  • Pin and pull zone: 5 carries at 1.2 YPC. I may have confused some of these with Down G. I picked up an ID point in the comments of the linked Smart Football post so I'll be better about it in the future.
  • Pitch sweep: 1 for 11 yards.
  • Iso: 2 for 6 YPC.
  • Traditional QB draws: 3 for 8.3 YPC, though the bulk of those were on a "complete fiasco" Denard turned into magic.
  • Power: 12 for 3.1 YPC. This includes a single "power read"
  • Inside zone read: 15 at 11.2 YPC.

Opponents' sudden inability to defend the zone read, which seemed like a solved problem, remains mystifying. Borges isn't doing anything fancy: the TE flares out to hit the playside LB, they run inside zone, and four times a game Robinson has no one covering him. Is it a combo with all the (unsuccessful) power from the shotgun? I don't know yet, but I'll try to figure it out.

So, here you make the complaints about MANBALL.

The numbers speak for themselves, I think. I'll look into the possibility the heavy dose of power is opening up the zone reads.

And Denard?

Here we must—

I'm afraid. Hold me.

chart.

[Hey: sorry about dropping the table legend out the past couple weeks. It returns. Hit the UFR FAQ for a fuller explanation of the abbreviations, but basically the first five columns are regular old throws in decreasing order of quality (dead on, catchable, marginal, inaccurate, and bad read) and the remainder are exceptional events that do not result in a catchable pass downfield (throwaway, batted, pressure, scramble).

UPDATE: I actually put the legend back in this time. Seriously. Hover over column headers.]

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? 44%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - 71%
Michigan State 4 14(3) 1 7(1) 1 - - 2 2 68%
Iowa 1 11(3) 2 3(1) 2 - 1 - - 64%
Illinois 4 9(1) 1 4 1 3 1(1) - - 60%
Purdue 2 12(1) 1 3 1 1 1 3 - 68%
WMU '11 - 6(1) 4 3 1 - - - 1 56%
Notre Dame '11 6 7(1) 1 6(1) 5 1 1 1 - 50%
EMU '11 1 10(1) - 5 1 - 1 1 1 59%

Denard didn't throw into double coverage all day—he only did it once—but that downfield accuracy remains troublesome. I don't think Denard got a lot of help from certain playcalls, about which more later, but the issues are still there.

He could have gotten some help from his receivers, though:

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - - - 2 - 3/4 1/2
Roundtree 1 - 0/1 - 1 1/2 1/2 2/2
Odoms - - - - - - - -
Grady - - - - 2 - 0/1 2/2
Gallon 1

-

- 3/3 1 - - 7/7
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - - - 1/1 - 0/1 1/1 -
Jackson - - - 1/1 - - - -
                 
Koger 1 - 0/1 2/2 2 1/1 1/2 3/3
Moore - - - - 2 - - -
                 
Toussaint - - - 0/1 - - - 0/1
Shaw - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - 0/1 - - - 2/3
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
McColgan - - - - 1 - - 1/1

Two flat drops and two failures to make help-me-out-here catches in 11 opportunities to catch a ball is a drag, man. Pick up three of the four and Denard's day looks a little less turrible statistically.

The OL:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 13 3 10 The most natural fit in donkey hating offense
Barnum 10 5 5 Struggled early (was –5 at one point) and recovered well
Molk 16 2 14 Ass kicking day.
Omameh 10 7 3 Pulling not a specialty
Huyge 9 2 7 Surprising amount of power run over him.
Schofield 1 - - A few plays.
Mealer - - - DNP
Moore - 2 -2 One major whiff
Koger 7 4 3 Pretty good.
TOTAL 66 25 41 The kind of numbers you put up after rushing for 376 yards. Also a TEAM –1 in here.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 18 8 10 Fumble was –3 and ultimately harmless.
Gardner - - - Not charted
Toussaint 3 - 3 Still think he's better than Smith…
Shaw - 2 -2 Hardly got a carry. Whiffed one block.
Smith 9 - 9 …but my numbers don't. Caveat: Smith –3 pass blocking.
Hopkins - - - Doghouse
Rawls - 1 -1 Comical missed block
McColgan 1 - - Early iso, then gone.
TOTAL 31 9 22 Contributions from non-Denards: can they last?
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Hemingway 2 - 2 One good block.
Odoms 2 - 2 I'm so mad about the video. Need moar mountain goat.
Gallon 1 - 1 --
Roundtree 2 - 2 AAAH block on one Denard keeper
Grady - - - --
Jackson - 1 -1 weak cut
Dileo - 1 -1 --
TOTAL 7 2 5 Productive downfield.
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 15 6 71% Smith 3, Barnum 1, Omameh 1, Huyge 1
RPS 16 17 -1 not worried about this vs EMU

That's the usual crushing day you'd expect an OL to have when you average 7.5 YPC against an EMU-type opponent. The big takeaway above is Vincent Smith.

I thought you were all like "no, Vincent Smith, go away, be a complementary player, boo Vincent Smith, boo"?

You are exceptionally aggressive this year, fictional alter-ego. As to your question, well, yeah, kinda. I mean, these are the kind of holes he was offered:

smith-gaping

It takes vision to find the offensive linemen on plays like this, not the hole. He still seems to be moving in slow motion to me, though on one run—this one, actually—it looks like he's outrunning the safety as the guy completes his pursuit. I'm a bit concerned he won't be able to get the corner or into the secondary against teams faster than the Eagles.

That said, he did pick up a lot of positives in nine carries (some were for blocking) and he seems to remain healthy. I like Toussaint better—I think he's got more upside—but Smith's earned a hunk of the carries. Let the two of them fight it out on the field.

Are you less of a sourpuss about the offensive design now?

I'm not exactly happy that we can't run from under center against the likes of Eastern Michigan, but I have to admit my reaction to the pro-style aspects of the first quarter was a lot like watching Jonathan Bornstein in a pre-World Cup friendly: if it's going to be bad I want it to be so bad that not even Bob Bradley thinks it's a good idea to keep it up when things count for real*. Twenty-six Denard carries later that seems established.

*[If we're extending this metaphor to its logical conclusion, the pro-style will be forced onto the field by events beyond the coaches' control during the Big Ten season and be surprisingly serviceable before being exiled to the dustbin of history.]

So… somewhat. I'm still mystified why they keep running this pin and pull zone, which seems incredibly vulnerable to slants and the like and doesn't seem to, like, work. Ever. It's a play that gets to the outside. I know the zone stretch is like drinking the wrong kind of light beer made from rice and by Europeans, but we're good at drinking those.

And then, you know, it's like… I'm just…

auto-bubble-plz

This should never happen. Michigan should not allow opponents to align like this without putting a bubble in their face. They'd run Smith for five, which is good, I guess, but there's an obvious risk of not getting that five that is not there if you throw the bubble. Lloyd threw the bubble. It's okay!

And then I'm all like just you know…

gallon-tunnel-whatgallon-tunnel-what

This ended up being a Gallon tunnel screen for zero yards when just throwing it to the dude is a first down. Tunnel screens may work in offenses where you have a bunch of guys roaring upfield because they need pass rush. In this offense you have a bunch of guys being extraordinarily careful not to give Denard rushing lanes and always extra guys in the box. I mean…

gallon-tunnel-2

…that's not good eats. Okay, this was a zone blitz that got lucky, but they gave you a first down by alignment. Take the first down! Don't throw screens into the box when there are extra guys in the box! Death to the tunnel screen!

tunnels-screen-liberation-society

JOIN THE TUNNEL SCREEN LIBERATION SOCIETY
WE'RE WORKING ON THE COLOR SCHEME

So by "somewhat" you mean not at all, then.

These are admittedly nits. If you're ever going to RPS yourself into a bloody forehead it should be against Eastern, and Michigan didn't even do that thanks to everyone's inexplicable ability to defend a zone read.

The thing that concerns me for the immediate future is the grab-bag nature of the offense. Many of the misdirection plays not copped from last year's offense (ie oh noes) are not actually alternatives to the things we actually run. The throwback screen against ND is a great example. That played off our offense's tendency to… roll the pocket from under center on first and ten? That worked once. It won't work consistently.

The best example of this is Michigan's rollout play action from the shotgun, which is an exact replica of what Rodriguez used to do. The problem: it uses stretch action and Michigan's stretch count this year is… zero. If you see stretch blocking it has been 100% PA this year. Eastern was wise to this.

Usual disclaimers apply: Borges is a smart dude. Dragging the throwback screen out did work. I enjoy the coordinator pressers so, so hard.

Heroes?

Most of the offensive line with special commendation to Molk and Lewan. Ground Denard. Vincent Smith.

Goats?

Air Denard.

What does it mean for SDSU and the future?

We keep moving more towards a spread offense that uses Denard's legs to get receivers open enough for Denard's arms to hit them. "Moving towards" might be a understating it after Robinson had 26 carries for 198 yards against Eastern. In retrospect, I kind of think the odd decision to have Denard out there running with a 28-3 lead on EMU was less about getting the offense practice and more about getting Borges practice.

So, expect Michigan to come out next week with Denard's legs as the focus early; SDSU will be an opponent to respect for at least 45 minutes and probably 60. Borges knows Long pretty well but Long doesn't know what Borges will do with Denard, largely because I'm not sure Borges does. I doubt we'll see stuff from under center until the second quarter. I'm hoping we see more pieces that fit together this week.

Long term, this is still Denard's offense, which means Borges has to get him in his comfort zone throwing. They also have to either tighten up their power game or consider wussy basketball on grass, because the manball is not operational yet.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs EMU

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs EMU Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Gratuitous video of the week:

Substitution notes: The secondary was Woolfolk/Floyd/Kovacs/Gordon almost the whole game, with Avery coming in on the garbage time drive and one snap for Marvin Robinson towards the end of charted time. When Michigan brought in a nickelback, which wasn't often, it was Raymon Taylor; they left Gordon at safety.

Demens, Hawthorne, and Ryan were almost always out there at LB. Fitzgerald, Morgan, and Beyer got one or two drives each as backups.

On the line there was more rotation. Black and Roh just about split snaps at WDE. Martin and RVB were usually out there and then Heininger and Campbell split snaps at the other DT spot. Brink and Washington made cameos.

Formation notes: A lot more 4-3 this week going up against a team that uses fullbacks and TEs and stuff. This is your 4-3 under in the flesh:

hawthorne-angle-1

Line shaded to the weakside, Ryan on the line over TEs, two MLB types in the backfield.

There was also this, which I was at a loss to name:

4-4-something

Let's get a closeup of the line here:

4-4-something

You've got an undershifted line, linebackers shifted over… and JB Fitzgerald lined up shaded inside the TE. I called this 5-3 under. If anyone knows what an actual coach might call it let me know.

On with show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 I-form twins unbalanced 4-3 under Pass 5 PA Fly Woolfolk Inc
PA with two guys in the route. One is a fly on Woolfolk(+1, cover +1), who is stride for stride for the guy and has a play on the ball if it's accurate. It's not.
O10 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Jet sweep Ryan 13
Pretty much all Ryan(-2), who flies directly upfield and loses contain instantly. Gordon and Woolfolk are on the edge with Demens pursuing from inside but not much chance for anyone to do anything about it since there's a blocker for each player and just tons of space.
O23 1 10 I-form 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Heininger 6
Heininger(-2) clobbered off the ball by a double team. He gets shoved right out of the hole. Demens is immediately under pressure by a guy with a great angle on him and Hawthorne has to take on a tough lead block despite being 214 pounds. They both do credible jobs(+0.5 each). There is no crease for the back. Unfortunately there's another blocker coming and no one to tackle because of Heininger's play, so the pile lurches forward for a significant gain. Picture-paged.
O29 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run N/A Power off tackle Black 3
Taylor in; TGordon stays at S. RVB(-2) is blown up this time and Hawthorne(-1) is pancaked by the guy peeling off RVB. Large gap. Demens(-1) comes up to fill, this time keeping leverage when I'm not entirely sure he should. He's got Gordon as a free hitter outside of him. In any case, the blocker kicks his ass. This is about to be EMU RB versus Kovacs for TD when Black(+3) saves everyone's bacon. He shoved the TE into the backfield, forcing an awkward cut inside, then dove to tackle(+1) the guy as he passes. Major bailout.
O32 3 1 Goal line 4-4 even Pass N/A Flea flicker (scramble) Hawthorne 19
Black and Hawthorne both get in basically unblocked and are there to pressure(+1, RPS +1) Gillett. They miss because Hawthorne(-1) gets too fast and Gillett manages to move around them. Demens is then trying to scrape to wherever Gillett's going to pop up when Martin pops back out of his stance and trips him. Just one of those things.
M49 1 10 I-form 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Demens 12
Michigan is slanting away from the play(RPS -1), which makes it tough on the DL. Still, RVB(-1) should do better to hold his ground and Demens(-2) definitely needs to get outside the first blocker to funnel the RB back to his help. He does not. Ryan did okay on the edge, it's just everything else here. RB into the secondary Black(+2) read the OL pull (apparently we can do that!) and immediately peeled off to pursue from the backside; he is almost the only thing between EMU and a touchdown other than a blocked Kovacs. He gets there to tackle at the sticks. The +2 is just for the pursuit and the tackle; the forced fumble is a bonus.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 under Pass 4 PA Deep cross Ryan 18
This looks a lot like the shotgun counters that have burned Michigan the first two weeks: counter step from the RB, pulling backside G, another lead blocker, this time another RB. Instead of a handoff Gillett spins backwards and rolls out. Later this will hurt EMU. Ryan is sent on a blitz, reads the pull, and dives inside to blow up the counter he thinks is coming. Hard to fault him for that. This gets Gillett out on the edge; Ryan does come through the block to provide some token pressure. This isn't enough to throw the QB off; he finds a receiver open for a chunk. I guess you could blame Demens or Gordon here but that seems really harsh to me. (RPS -1, pressure -1, cover -1.) Kovacs(+0.5) comes up to tackle immediately. Picture paged.
O45 1 10 Shotgun 2TE unbalanced 4-3 over Run N/A Jet sweep Ryan 18
Ryan(-2) again gives up the edge on the sweep action. He compounds matters by falling to the ground as he tries to get outside. Demens is held inside by a QB run fake momentarily; Woolfolk comes up to the outside and is cut inside of. I do think Demens(-1) could have reacted more quickly here—RVB was going to be in the QB's face if he kept—and held this down to eight or so. BWS picture pages.
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Run N/A QB down G Hawthorne 8
EMU motions a tight end over late and snaps quickly; Demens shifts a couple yards strongside but Hawthorne does not match him; on the snap they're right next to each other. As a result Hawthorne(-2) gives up the corner, getting blocked by the RB. Black(-1) had gotten blown off the ball by a double and there might have been room inside as well, but there's no question to the outside.
M29 2 2 I-form 5-3 under Run N/A Down G Van Bergen -3
Michigan crushes this. Van Bergen(+2) shoots straight upfield, blowing up the lineman trying to pull around and getting through into the backfield. Heininger(+1) slants past his blocker on the backside to show up in the running lane; Fitzgerald(+0.5) is three yards into the backfield taking on the puller RVB blew up, and Martin(+1) has shed a blocker. Nowhere for the RB to go. RPS +2.
M32 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run N/A QB power Hawthorne 4
S brought down for an extra guy. FWIW, Gordon is coming down instead of Kovacs. He's your SS. Ryan(+1) is left alone for a pulling guard to take. He takes the guy on a yard into the backfield over where the tackle was and stands his ground. Gillett doesn't really know where to go; the back also impacts Ryan to provide a corner. This gives Hawthorne(-1) a free run. All he has to do is form up and he's got a TFL; instead he misses the tackle(-1), allowing Gillett to spin inside and start picking up yards. RVB tackles from behind; Kovacs(+0.5) stands Gillett up as he nears the sticks, forcing a fourth down.
M28 4 1 Ace Firedrill Run N/A Tricky pitch Kovacs 14 + 7 pen
EMU to the line quickly and snaps before Michigan is prepared; line dive blocks as if they're going for the QB sneak. Everyone bites on it; they pitch outside, where there isn't anyone. Kovacs(-1) was the playside guy who did not stay responsible on the RB, but this is mostly an RPS play as EMU caught Michigan unprepared. Growing pains. RPS -2. Taylor gets a legit but pretty weak late hit after.
M7 1 G I-Form trip TE 5-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 4
Either Ryan or Black screws up here. Black dives inside the last TE on the line, then heads upfield a bit to pick off the fullback. Ryan hangs outside as well, allowing the pulling G to not even block him. Need to have one of those guys cram that hole down. I vote Black(+1) for taking out two blockers and against Ryan(-1) for not even hitting a guy on this play. Kovacs(-0.5) is also slow to react, waiting for the RB to get to him instead of IDing the hole opening in front of him and hitting it.
M3 2 G I-Form trip TE Goal line Run N/A Power off tackle Van Bergen 1
EMU flipping TEs everywhere and Michigan not reacting quickly enough—Heininger is trying to get Martin to slide over at the snap. He does just make it. RVB(+3) blows this up himself, though, sliding through a downblock and into the pulling G. The RB has to cut behind this mess and ends up falling over the G RVB had put on the ground moments earlier. Martin(+0.5) had gotten through a block to show up in the hole just in case.
M2 3 G Power I Goal line Run N/A Iso Martin 1
Michigan again having a hard time lining up. This time Black trips over himself trying to get to the wrong side of the line. He gets up and just gets into place on the snap. Martin(+2) takes a guard's block and chucks the dude past him, then comes under the tackle trying to deal with RVB to meet the second FB—actually an OL—a yard in the backfield. The pile of meat gets a yard.
M1 4 G Power I Goal line Run N/A Iso Kovacs -
Everyone does the low-man-wins goal line blocking as EMU tries it again. Roh(+1) is in the path of the pulling dudes and wins his block, penetrating into the backfield. The second FB is tripped up/leaps from about the three. The RB tries the same thing only for Kovacs(+2) to roar around from behind him and stall his momentum, spinning him to a halt short of the goal line with an assist from Demens(+0.5). Picture-paged by MGoFootball.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Campbell 4
Campbell's been in a bit and this is his first noticeable play. This appears to be a slant to the playside here, which is good for M as it gets Campbell(+1) past his assigned down-blocker and into the guy lined up right over him who pulled. Roh(+1) swam through his blocker to set up outside of the Campbell mess; cutback. RVB(-1) is flowing down the line; he's too far upfield after shoving a DL and allows the guy to dive through an arm tackle for positive yards.
M20 2 6 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Demens 2
Miss part of this play; looks like counter action from a tight shot of the RB. M gets lucky as the guy blocking RVB thinks the blitzing Ryan is a major issue and peels off; pulling G now has to take RVB. This leaves Demens(+0.5) unblocked in the hole. His tackle is spun through but that takes a long time to happen; Ryan(+0.5) comes from behind to finish the job but there's some YAC here.
M18 3 4 Shotgun trip TE 4-4 under Run N/A Pin and pull zone Hawthorne 7
Guh. Triple TEs to one side and Michigan slants away from it. Guys right over the LBs are pulling and both are so late. What can they be keying on? Hawthorne(-2) is especially late; Demens tries to shoot a gap without effect but it was a good idea given that setup. M blitzed from the weakside, had no support over the top, and even if Hawthorne plays this perfectly this doesn't look like a stop (RPS -2)
M11 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Pin and pull zone Van Bergen 3
Van Bergen(+2) shocks his blocker with a quick punch and gets playside of a downblock. He ends up driving to the outside, sucking up both lead blockers and forcing a cutback. Demens(+0.5) pops up in a hole; more cutback. Roh has hesitated a bit in case Gillett keeps, which is fine, but Heininger(-1) got blown up and ends up pancaked so when Roh comes down the line he's only able to tackle from behind; forward momentum is slowed by Hawthorne but not stopped.
M8 2 7 Shotgun 2TE 4-4 over Run N/A Power off tackle Hawthorne 2
EMU seems to have a bad playcall on because there is no blocker for Hawthorne(RPS +1). Block down, pull backside T and G around. Ryan is kicked out by G. Demens kicked out by the T. Hawthorne(+1) is free to meet in the hole; Demens peels to help tackle.
M6 3 5 Shotgun 2TE 4-4 over Run N/A Jet sweep Demens 2
Finally some contain. Gordon(+1) is creeping up looking for this on the jet motion and forces a cut up, picking off a blocker. Ryan does better but still gets too far upfield, IME. No delay in the guy's path because of him. Thanks to the contain Demens and Kovacs have shots at this; Kovacs(+0.5) takes a hit from a block and stays upright; Demens(+1) has flowed to the sideline and tackles(+1) near the sticks. Picture-paged.
Drive Notes: FG, 0-3, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle Ryan 6
Morgan in. Waggle action from EMU is poorly executed so RVB is out on Gillett; he falls down (-1, pressure -1). Gillett can only come underneath to a WR drag rout a couple yards downfield. Ryan(+1, tackling +1) helped take away one of the deeper routes then rallies to tackle almost on the catch, holding this to a minimal gain (Cover +2).
M41 2 4 Ace diamond Firedrill Pass N/A Double pass Gordon Int
Michigan is horribly misaligned at the snap, with only three guys against the four out to the right. If this is just a screen it could get some yards, but it's trickery. Okay. Defense freaks out, TGordon(+4(!), cover +2) goes with the WR and makes an incredible one-handed INT. Should have tried the transcontinental here. RPS -1 for misalignment, or RPS +1 for covering the trick play? Aw, hell, the latter.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Iso Martin 10
Campbell in, Morgan still out there, Brink at SDE. EMU basically runs an iso but the RB takes a counter step like he's headed outside. This works like crazy, sucking every playside defender to the outside. Martin(-1) is the biggest offender; Brink(-1) is pancaked. Morgan(-1) is cut to the ground and Demens(-0.5) has a really tough job but pulls the Ezeh by just sitting there. Gordon fills to tackle. I am actually a fan of the EMU running game. They are a confusing bunch to work against.
50 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Iso Ryan -2
Basically the same play from a different formation with the same counter step. This time Ryan(+1, RPS +2) is blitzing from the counter side and crushes the guy in the backfield. Martin(+1) had blown back blocking so even the cutback wouldn't have been there.
O48 2 12 Shotgun twins unbalanced 4-3 under Run N/A QB power Black 3
EMU flips their RT to the left side after they align and Michigan flips their entire front five in response. They run the jet motion but have the QB take it upfield with help from a puller. Martin(+1) beats a downblock and cuts off a cutback lane. Campbell is on the playside and doesn't do great. Black(+1) gets into the TE trying to double Campbell instead of shooting down the line, then takes on a block to the outside, defeating it. Campbell is just kind of there, being large(+0.5) so Gillett has nowhere to go except up the backs of some of his dudes; Black tackles.
M49 3 9 Shotgun trip TE 4-3 under Pass N/A PA TE flat Gordon 5
This orbit boot motion again; Black(-1) flies upfield at it but is chopped down by a cut block. Demens and Taylor are blitzing, though, and get through untouched to provide pressure(+1) and force a dumpoff short of the sticks. TGordon(+1, cover +1) belts him OOB.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, 6 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Ace 4-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Trap Heininger 0
Fitz in. Heininger(+1.5) is passed off by the G over him as he runs downfield to hammer Michigan's spread-out LBs. He keeps his feet and gets popped by a pulling G, fighting playside of him. Martin(+1.5) beat a downblock; the two DTs converge to tackle.
O44 2 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Iso Hawthorne 0
M moves Kovacs down late for another guy in the box. Campbell(+1) slants under his blocking, which is pretty good on this play since they're trying to dupe you to head outside; this time he comes under and heads backside for the RB. Hawthorne(+2) read the play on the counter step and attacked the backside hole that opens up; FB can only make a diving stab at him. This does get him to the ground but he's falling forward into the path of the runner, whereupon he grabs ankles; Campbell comes in from behind.
O44 3 10 Shotgun empty 2TE Nickel Run N/A Jet sweep Kovacs 4
This is a formation with a covered up slot WR on third and ten and run a jet sweep towards it. I take back what I said about the EMU running game. Kovacs(+2) is sent on a blitz up the middle, reads the play, adjusts his flight path, and meets the WR after a couple yards to make a nice open field tackle(+1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, 3 min 2nd Q. M scores, then squibs to terrible effect right before the half. Next drive starts w/ 33 seconds left.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass 4 Scramble -- 8
Clark in for the first time, I think. Four man rush gets nowhere(pressure -2) but the coverage is good(+2) and Gillett has to scramble out. He picks up eight, which seems more due to the situation than a breakdown.
M44 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Rollout scramble Black 4
Sprint draw fake as the pocket rolls. Coverage is good(+2) but Black(-1) loses the edge and ends up falling to the ground, giving Gillett the corner.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run N/A TGDCD Black 1
That God Damned Counter Draw... is defended. Wow. Martin(+1) reads the play and chucks his defender past him, peeling back to close down the hole as Hawthorne steps up to take on the lead blocker. Black(+2) collapses down to close off the hole outside Hawthorne, then extends back outside when the RB bounces, bringing him to a complete stop and eventually tripping him up when he breaks outside again.
M40 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Scramble Martin 7
Roh(+0.5) gets around the T enough to force Gillett to step up, where Martin(+1.5) has beaten a couple blocks to rush up the middle; Gillett has to bug out lest he gets crushed (pressure +1). Gillett has room to run after he breaks the pocket but, like, fine.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(50), EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 PA sack Roh -7
This doesn't end up under because of motion, but whatever. EMU goes play action and Roh(+2) reads the PA seemingly before the mesh point with the RB. This is not hell-bent QB obsession, as he takes a step inside, sees the puller, and then heads upfield. He gets outside Gillett; Gillett slows up, Roh still grabs him; Martin(+1) beat a block and comes into finish the job. (Pressure +2)
O26 2 17 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan? 5
Ryan(-1) is not used to playing off the line and it shows, as he sits in the hole way too long. RVB(-1) is the playside DE and fights inside his block, which seems like a good idea only if there's a LB containing—if you're in an under. They aren't. Here Ryan is off the line and once RVB fights inside there is a bounce. RB takes it. Gordon(+0.5) fills quickly; Floyd(+0.5) comes up on the edge to tackle.
O31 3 12 Shotgun empty 2TE Okie Run N/A QB power -- 5
A give up and punt. Jet sweep action, Michigan is pass blitzing. Combo is a bit odd and gets Gillett to the second level, where Floyd(+0.5) comes up to whack; Hawthorne(+0.5) finishes him off.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-3, 7 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Ace 4-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Power Campbell 5
DTs are Campbell (nose) and Washington (3tech). EMU runs a-gap power, pulling a G around into the hole between Campbell and RVB. Campbell(-1) gets pushed out of the hole easily and RB is into the second level without delay. Demens(+0.5) forms up, takes on a blocker, and disconnects to tackle with help from Hawthorne(+0.5). RVB(-1) was easily passed off, allowing that block on Demens to be executed.
O40 2 5 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Campbell 4
Campbell(-1) stands straight up and gets Heininger'd. This provides a small crease for decent yardage; RVB(+0.5) held on the edge and Demens was there to close it down.
O44 3 1 I-Form trip TE 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle -- 3
Line shifting in response to the formation flip and Michigan has this defensed for a loss except for a pretty good cutback by the EMU back. He just manages to squeeze through a gap between RVB and Martin's blockers, tripping as he goes; Demens is there to bump but the cutback was too quick—guy just went straight upfield, really—to do anything about it.
O47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Flare screen -- Inc
Dropped. May or may not have worked if completed.
O47 2 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 1
Running at the strong bit of the line. Roh(+2) slants under the TE, gets held, takes on a lead blocker, and fights through all that to tackle for no gain. RVB(+0.5) held up well on his block and helps constrict the hole; this was a blitz that worked against power (RPS +1).
O48 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Run N/A TGDCD Hawthorne 10
Kovacs(-1), blitzing off the edge, does not execute the look-for-puller-flatten key like Ryan did earlier and gets upfield/outside of the guy. Hawthorne(-2) reads the play and has no one blocking him but takes a shallow angle and misses a tackle(-1) that would boot EMU off the field.
M42 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Hawthorne 10 (Pen -10)
Okay, Michigan is slanting to the weak side after aligning to the weakside, which means you're going to have a lot of players back there and not up there, if you know what I mean. In the past when I've seen something like this both linebackers bug out for the playside because they are needed. Here Demens does, getting outside and forcing a cutback; Hawthorne(-2) does not, getting blocked by the backside tackle. Ryan(+1), the SLB, had slanted inside the pulling T and was tackled, drawing a flag that erases the gain. Kovacs again cleaned up (+0.5, tackling +1).
O48 1 20 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Pin and pull zone Ryan 12
SDE Brink(-1) handled by single blocking from an EMU TE as two OL pull around. Ryan(-2) gives up the edge; three tech Heininger(-1) was blown up, erasing Hawthorne. Demens gets blocked by a puller. Black(+1) was tearing hard on pursuit from the backside and tackles from behind(!) after about ten yards. His pursuit has been outstanding; on this play all he needed was a little delay on the edge to tackle from behind at the LOS.
M40 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 over Run N/A Down G Black -2
Michigan slanting playside since they're lined up away from the strength of the formation. Black(+2)slides past the TE's block and gets into the puller in the backfield. Campbell(+0.5) threatens to get into the backfield and draws the C's attention; Hawthorne(+1) shoots the gap in front of him for a TFL.
M42 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Rollout scramble Roh 2
Gordon to nickel as MRobinson comes in. Sprint draw fake to Gillett rollout. Roh(+1) is on the edge and starts chasing (pressure +1), causing Gillett to abandon things after his first read is covered(+1). His scramble goes for little.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-3, 11 min 4th Q. Last drive is garbage time; not charted.

THEY ALL BE RUNNIN' YO

Yeah… they do all be runnin'.

BUT WHHHHHHHHHHY

It's a combination of things. Abitrary pie graph? Arbitrary pie chart:

image

For confirmation of this, let's check the

ARBITRARY PIE CHART

We already checked that.

BORING ASS NON COLORED CHART

Chart. A disclaimer: since Eastern hardly threw there were scant opportunities for DL to pick up bonuses on plays where they get collective minuses for lack of pressure, so even-ish is okay.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 8 6 2 Had some trouble holding up; also made some big plays.
Martin 10.5 1 9.5 Consistently fought playside of blocker appropriately but got bupkis for it.
Roh 7.5 - 7.5 Did some things.
Brink - 2 -2 Handled one on one.
Heininger 2.5 4 -1.5 Got blown up more often than he made plays.
Black 12 3 9 A monster in pursuit and played well at the POA.
Campbell 3 2 1 Doesn't seem that real.
TOTAL 44.5 18 26.5 Goal line stand is a major reason this is so positive, but, hey, goal line stand.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Demens 3.5 4.5 -1 Slow to diagnose some things.
Herron - - - DNP
Ryan 3.5 7 -3.5 Eaten up on the edge.
Fitzgerald 0.5 - 0.5 A few plays.
Jones - - - DNP
Evans - - - DNP
Beyer - - - Did not register.
Hawthorne 5 11 -6 Slow reads really got him.
Morgan - 1 -1 One drive.
TOTAL 12.5 22.5 -10 Edge edge edge edge edge.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 0.5 - 0.5 Day off.
Avery - - - DNP in charted time.
Woolfolk 1 - - Day off
Kovacs 6 2.5 3.5 I don't even know what to do.
T. Gordon 6.5 - 6.5 Two solid safeties? Is this legal?
Taylor - 2 -2 Personal foul.
Robinson - - - One play before charting ceased.
TOTAL 12.5 4.5 8 Half of that the INT.
Metrics
Pressure 6 3 3 Ignore
Coverage 9 1 8 Ignore
Tackling 3 2 1 Need Hawthorne to get guys down.
RPS 8 6 2 Hugely reduced numbers as M goes vanilla

So the defensive line numbers came out more positive and the linebackers more negative than I expected, but a quick glance at the chart above shows a lot of EMU success on the flanks, where linemen are doing well just to remain in the picture. Even on the power stuff the theme is obvious:

Demens(-2) definitely needs to get outside the first blocker to funnel the RB back to his help. He does not. ... Hawthorne(-2) gives up the corner ... they pitch outside, where there isn't anyone ... Guys right over the LBs are pulling and both are so late. What can they be keying on? Hawthorne(-2) is especially late ... Hawthorne(-2) reads the play and has no one blocking him but takes a shallow angle and misses a tackle(-1) ... In the past when I've seen something like this both linebackers bug out for the playside because they are needed. Here Demens does, getting outside and forcing a cutback; Hawthorne(-2) does not, getting blocked by the backside tackle.

Linebackers not getting to the hole, Hawthorne especially. This is a great example of the day's theme:

1: The three tech is not helping matters. Here it's RVB.
2: Hawthorne + block = done
3: Y U NO DEMENS
4: Jibreel Black bailing our asses out.

Here's another one. Watch RVB get blown out and Demens not funnel back to Hawthorne, and Jibreel Black bail our asses out:

Why would Hawthorne be so disappointing a week after a good game against Notre Dame?

Hawthorne didn't blitz or cover against EMU, two things he flashed great skill at in the ND game. Instead of sending him places where he has a job and is suppose to do it, they asked him to play linebacker straight up and he got blocked tons. The rest of it is just not reading the plays quickly enough, something I noted last week.

I'm curious as to what he was doing when Michigan slanted its line, though. When I've seen this in the past—and I have plenty—what happens is the line slants one way and the LBs roar over the top the opposite direction. This eats up cutback lanes and gets that offensive lineman who releases downfield immediately blocking no one, leaving the weakside LB a free hitter. Michigan didn't do that when they slanted:

Look at this:

image

There's nothing but a TFL on the back side of this play because the line slanted to the weakside of the formation. Hawthorne has to get playside of that guy releasing because there's going to be a hole. It's going to be a hole without anyone to block him in it if he gets to it quickly enough; instead he gets hammered.

EMU also tested him—and the rest of the defense—mentally by changing formations and using motion constantly. He didn't do so well, and even when he did he missed some tackles. Just a rough day.

When he did things right—and he did a couple—he was a decisive slasher. He, more than most LBs, needs to figure out the play and hit a gap before blocking can get in place. He's not going to make a lot of plays by taking on lead blockers. Diagnosis skills are key for him.

I think EMU actually did us a favor here by exposing a lot of mistakes in the defense. The film room this week is going to have a lot of "ohhhhhhh" moments; hopefully we can iron some of this out before Ronnie Hillman shows up this weekend.

So, Jibreel Black and Craig Roh both did things.

Yes, yes they did. A lot of Black's positives are encompassed above, and Roh got off the stat schneid with a sack and some other tackles. It's not that Roh has been actively bad. He's done a number of quiet things that help the D without showing up on the statsheet. For one, he's the hidden reason Michigan made that fourth down stop on the goal line. He got penetration and caused a lead blocking EMU OL to leap at the endzone from the three. RB had to follow, Kovacs came in from the side, stop. He's probably not going to be James Hall at this point but he can be solid.

Black looks like a different player, though. That downfield pursuit on the fumble recover is both smart and fast. He did that all day. If anyone was holding the edge on a number of plays he would have been crushing dudes from behind. He's holding up at the POA better (against Eastern, granted) and seems to be emerging into a starter.

Here's a thing that has a 50-50 chance at happening: Michigan starts playing both at the same time, with Roh (probably) at strongside DE. Roh's bigger, Black's pursuing like a mofo, and Roh has far too much experience coping as an SDE, which he played as a freshman when he was too exploitable alone on the edge and sort of played last year when he moved to a three-man line. Is he ideal? No. Is it a way to get better personnel on the field? I think so.

What's wrong with Mike Martin?

I don't think anything is yet. He's having a hard time making an impact when everyone's heading outside.

The secondary?

They get an incomplete on the day, though Thomas Gordon did take another step forward, and not just because he speared a pass I would have rated an 0.5 if he was a receiver.

Heroes?

Jibreel Black had his best day in a winged helmet; Martin was solid inside; Roh got off the schneid; Gordon interception hello.

Goats?

Pick a linebacker, with Hawthorne having the toughest day. Also the three-tech is a sore spot. Heininger got blown out, yeah, but you can see that RVB suffered the same fate in a couple of those clips above.

What does it mean for SDSU and the future?

Unfortunately, Hawthorne has not locked down the starting WLB job and will probably have to fight for it as long as he's not diagnosing pulling linemen more quickly. The three tech spot is a sore one and will need to be addressed if the interior run D is going to hold up; choosing between freshmen at SLB is leaving Michigan vulnerable on the edge.

I know everyone says the three tech gets one on one blocking, but that has not been the case so far this year and the inability to hold up there has caused a multitude of problems.

As for the rest of it… Black may or may not be a player. Check back in a couple weeks to see if he keeps it up against better competition.

This is the point at which we see learning happen—they're not very good right now but since they won't be swapping systems midseason these issues with play diagnosis should get better. We are all scarred by the last few years; here is where they start sucking less when people teach them how to play football.

Hypothesis! Michigan is going to start slanting heavily when they feel they're in trouble. The three tech is not holding up well, the linebackers are not good when being asked to read and react, but they've got a lot of DL who can get penetration when tasked with being aggressive one-gap players and linebackers who can come over the top to the other side. It will be a high risk, high reward system but against teams with good running games the alternative is getting bled to death because your guys are getting plowed or are hesitant.

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Unverified Voracity Executes Ref Bump

Unverified Voracity Executes Ref Bump Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2011 at 11:31 AM

The full Hebner. If you've got a Scout account I highly recommend their latest video of Kyle Kalis($). It has many examples of Kalis burying some poor high school kid, sure, but the main attraction is a ref bump worthy of Wrestlemania:

image

At this point in the film I was expecting Luke Fickell to rush in from behind and deliver a low blow, then roll Kalis up for a pin.

In other news, holy crap Kyle Kalis hates people. Molk will be proud.

Will Campbell tackled Thomas Gordon after his INT.

Q: "Did he say anything do you?"
A: "Get off me."

My name is Boris. Michigan let Pryor golf partner and all-around weirdo Dennis Talbott in, but he was calling himself "Tennis Dalbott" and could not be identified:

"I actually spoke to him and told him he would no longer be credentialed," Dave Ablauf, Michigan senior associate athletic director for media and public relations, told ESPN.com. "He came in under a different name than what we were familiar with. Had the name I knew popped up, I wouldn't have credentialed him."

He's been booted, as has the organization he was working with. So… have a free spot on the sideline, do you, Michigan? #callme

Welcome to our pit of shame and despair. Amongst Eleven Warriors' constantly shifting cast of writers is a man named Danny. Danny seems new. Danny seems untouched by trouble, a happy-go-lucky fellow just raring for another bite at life's apple. This is going to last another two months, tops:

In a recent B1G conference power ranking by Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, the Buckeyes are listed at number six in the conference behind Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State.

I expect these numbers to change in OSU's favor by the time B1G play opens up against Michigan State on Oct. 1. Yes, Ohio State had a major meltdown against Miami, but this team will get better if the offense can gain some consistency coming out of this week's game against Colorado.

Rittenberg's rankings are pretty reasonable with the way the Buckeyes have played up to this point, but I expect to see OSU ahead of at least Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State later this season. Ohio State has endured much hardship stemming from last December, but this team is much better than sixth in the conference and time will prove that.

That's right: despite barely cracking 200 yards and only eclipsing 13 passing yards because of two pity throws allowed Braxton Miller at the end of the Miami game, OSU is "at least" better than Illinois, MSU, and Michigan. Danny's not sold on this Wisconsin business, and Nebraska's passing game? Eh… a little shaky.

He may actually be right about Michigan but when The Game is played for that all-important eighth win this guy is going to be a mite peeved, and by "a mite peeved" I mean "catatonic on the floor of a 7-11 in Euclid." At least he's not the guy who thinks a 9-3 projection is "worst case."

The 'freude! You like it this week, too. On Bauserman:

I got 3 lil boys all who can kick his ass and get nothing since they got clean records. honestly I bet someone on campus is going to kick his ass.if I knew where he lived he would take a ass whipping for laughing during that gm and f--- all u lil bitches who got somethin to say on here supporting him

Luke Fickell doesn't understand how time works. He doesn't think you can save timeouts, but he does think that he is going to run off as much time as a team trying to kill the clock:

“We still knew we were going to need two scores. Our thought was if we’re going to need two scores, we’re going to need to have the ability to stop the clock offensively,” Fickell said. “They were running (the clock) out.

“If we look back in hindsight, the very last (third down), maybe it would have saved us 30 seconds in our minds and maybe we could have got a little bit of a breather (for the defense, which) is something that I always look back at. Our thought was, ‘Hey, we’re going to do the best we can to try to make sure we have a couple (of timeouts) to score twice.’ ”

This is a breathtakingly stupid thought. Hire this man, OSU. (HT: DocSat)

ND pregame. We missed an impressively overwritten Tom Rinaldi intro for the Michigan-ND game never got aired because the SEC game went late. Bonus bits include full pregame festivities and Brent Musberger rambling semi-coherently despite no one watching him.

I bet Musberger does this on planes. YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE at a half-ounce packet of peanuts.

Road trips. An Ole Miss fan did the wise thing a couple weeks ago and hit up Ann Arbor instead of watching the Fighting Ackbars go at it one week before they'd feature in Vandy's biggest SEC win in 40 years. Overall gist:

Aside from being an incredibly exciting football game punctuated by a tense, high-flying fourth quarter which featured the Wolverines coming back from a 17-point deficit on the back of Denard Robinson's heroics, this number made the trip itself worth it. 114,804 is the largest attendance number ever recorded in the history of NCAA football. I'm sure that, in time, that record will be broken, but until that happens I will be able to proudly boast that I was a part of the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game. That's cool, dammit.

Bell's is enjoyed. He did us the service of getting a good shot of the U MAD Kelly sign:

IMG_3246_medium[1]

Also, Orson hit up the LSU-Mississippi State game and reports back with what's left of his cowbell-shattered sanity.

You think we're wafer thin? I'll show you wafer thin. Michigan State's offensive line was a sore spot going into the season and has just been poked by Notre Dame to the tune of 27 rushing yards. That ain't good. The injury situation is worse:

A day after Michigan State announced starting right tackle Skyler Burkland will miss the rest of the season following left ankle surgery, Dantonio said starting center Blake Treadwell and backup tackle Jared McGaha will be sidelined with knee sprains.

Both of the latter are questionable for the M-MSU game on the 15th of October; MSU does get center Travis Jackson back this weekend. Dantonio got his customary shot in at Michigan about it, but if I had to pick between OL situations for that game it's a slam dunk for M, which has two solid backups and a complement of experienced starters. Michigan State just flopped a third defensive tackle—one who was seeing playing time!—to offense in less than eight months.

Michigan's situation. With Toussaint and Barnum's apparently healthy returns the injury situation for Michigan is not bad at the moment. Cam Gordon's has been out but is expected to play against SDSU, as is Brandon Herron. Then you've got Woolfolk's array of comically obvious minor injuries and… that's about it. Knock on wood.

Unfortunately shoddy. I was about to be all about Nate Silver's stab in the dark at the relative sizes of college football fanbases because the Big Ten made out like gangbusters and the M-OSU-PSU troika finished 1-2-3, but a little deeper poke into the numbers reveals they fail some basic sanity checks. Braves & Birds:

I love Silver's writing on politics and baseball, but you can tell from his post that he is not a college football fan. If he were, then he would know that he needs to go back to the drawing board when his methodology produces a conclusion that Georgia Tech has 1,664,088 fans, while Georgia has only 1,098,957 fans. Anyone who follows college football in this market …immediately knows that this number is wrong. Georgia sells out every game in a 90,000 seat venue, regardless of opponent. Georgia Tech struggles to fill a 50,000 seat stadium unless the opponent brings fans. Georgia has a fan base that will make massive donations in order to have the right to buy tickets; Georgia Tech has to offer ticket packages to get casual fans in the door.

That highlights a major bias towards 1) metro areas and 2) nerds, and while we joke about Ohio State's fanbase most of the counties in that state do have power. Can't say the same for a lot of places college football is popular.

There's also this:

image

When your data includes a note that it is "highly inaccurate" and your results defy common sense it's back to the salt mines.

A ridiculous picture of Ron English for no reason.

ron-english-ridiculous

Via Philly.com. EMU is at Penn State this weekend.

Etc.: Big East folks are just bombing everything around them. Jim Boeheim more than anyone. On The Banks is in full Kelly mode, except they're seemingly justified because their ham-handed attempt to force Villanova football into the Big East blew it all up. My favorite part is Jack Swarbrick complaining about people doing things that have "very negative consequences" for other schools. Notre Dame has long been known for its teamwork and spirit of share and share alike, which is why they voted down a big rights increase for Big East football.

Jamiemac tries to say nice things about the Big Ten. A couple of cool counter plays Texas ran against UCLA. SEC expansion remains stupid. Craig James media awards are extra spicy this week. Silver featured.

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