This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

Submitted by Seth on 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.


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.


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

Opponent Recap: Iowa

Opponent Recap: Iowa

Submitted by Heiko on February 10th, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Previously: Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego StateMinnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State, Purdue



  • Tennessee Tech, 34-7 (W)
  • @ Iowa State, 41-44 OT (L)
  • Pittsburgh, 31-27 (W)
  • Louisiana-Monroe, 45-17 (W)
  • @ Penn State, 3-13 (L)
  • Northwestern, 41-31 (W)
  • Indiana, 45-24 (W)
  • @ Minnesota, 21-22 (L)
  • No. 15 Michigan, 24-16 (W)
  • No. 17 Michigan State, 21-37 (L)
  • @ Purdue, 31-21 (W)
  • @ No. 21 Nebraska, 7-20 (L)
  • No. 14 Oklahoma, 14-31 (L) Insight Bowl

Record: 7-6 overall, 4-4 B1G, 4th place Bo Division


  Offense Defense
Rush: 137.7 ypg, 79th 156.0 ypg, 62nd
Pass: 234.8 ypg, 59th 222.9 ypg, 58th
Total: 372.5 ypg, 76th 378.9 ypg, 60th
Scoring: 27.5 ppg, 58th 23.8 ppg, 47th
T/O Margin: +1, 52nd

Recap: If one word could describe Iowa’s 2011 campaign, that word would be “flat.” So flat that if you were to survey the terrain while driving through the state you’d be all like, “Huh, this reminds me strongly of their season,” and you’d also see the one landfill-turned-ski slope off the freeway, and it would be named “Michigan.”

Sorry. I’m a metaphors kind of guy.

This is a metaphor.

(more metaphors after the jump)

Opponent Watch: Week 12

Opponent Watch: Week 12

Submitted by Heiko on 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."


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


The Road Ahead:

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

Getty / via the Huffington Post


  • 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)

Opponent Watch: Week 11

Opponent Watch: Week 11

Submitted by Heiko on 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


  • 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)

Dear Diary Knocks Them Off Their Ivory Towers

Dear Diary Knocks Them Off Their Ivory Towers

Submitted by Seth on November 11th, 2011 at 11:11 AM

M Glee clubbers Mary Wilhel, Justin Lu, and Brandon Cory infiltrate enemy territory.

I'd never heard this before (mp3 link). It's from the the old Dick Purtan show in the 1980s, though one commenter thinks it's older. (Thank JeremyB for turning this up). However when I was in college we too stood on our porches singing such classics as "Bye Wisconsin", "Blow Right Through Ol' MSU", and "One More Loss for 'Ol Notre Dame." Nowadays the campus nerds troll our rivals by spreading the Might and Main in person:

Here we come with our dorks singing, And our helmets blue and winging…

Kids these days (are awesome). Also awesome: Denard Robinson under 4 mins in the 4th quarter (usually). Nonnair shows:

Adding the two charts together, in his five opportunities to pull off a Tom Brady-style comeback at the end of a game, Denard is 15/27 for 305 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT -- good for an NCAA passer rating of 167.5.

…but doesn't compare that to other CFB quarterbacks. He also called Borges "Uncle Fester." Needs more study.

The Sandusky stuff dominated the boards this week so badly that Ohio State finally getting their long-deserved Failure to Monitor barely registered. joesshoesIn the diaries, we got a good take from PA native Six Zero's front-paged article on how this could affect Penn State traditions, and, uh, JoePa as…Stalin? The point is about loyalty, whether to a friend or organization, and a cult of personality trumping morality. No-sign. I think people knew Josef was a bad guy, whereas Joe Paterno keeping one (very) dark skeleton carries way more disillusionment; his appearance of morality was not just about Penn State because the rest of us used it too to say the Big Ten is better or debate the notion of "all programs" with sentences that begin with "teams like Michigan and Penn State…" To have that guy turn out to harboring a total sicko is just weird.

Well you know what they say, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. It's finally time that jhackney's romp through HST novels would reach its F&L in Las Vegas crescendo. Your Diary of the Week visits sordid Iowa City in search of the American Dream, but ends up with a history of thelastplaypedophiles in State College, Pa.

Your weekly game wrap with BlueSeoul finds our intrepid screen capturer blaming refs. Rly?Yes, the last play (------>) should have been PI but unbalanced officiating was small potatoes in the game outcome next to Iowa playing great football and Michigan not. I'm your biggest fan, Seoul, but this week I disagree with more than I don't in there.

Danger Chris of Logidanger went all out this week in moving picture pages. There's highlights now and keys and…show? Show:

In etc., Blazefire doesn't think the scandals across the country are enough to discount the season. After the break we do the weeklies and the Best of a fisky Board.

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 10th, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Formation notes: A lot more under center in this game. I've got Michigan with 9 snaps in an ace formation, four in Denard jet, and 14 in I-Form. Michigan had 26 shotgun snaps in hurry-up time and 22 outside of it.

Of Michigan's 49 snaps in their base offense, 22 were from the shotgun, a 45% rate. Big dropoff from before the bye week.

I called this "ace tight":

form-ace tight

And this is still "shotgun trips bunch" but note that those are tight ends tight to the strong side, not WRs:

form-trips bunch

Substitution notes: Nothing you don't know. Hopkins is pretty much the only FB now, Schofield went the whole way, Toussaint and Smith were the only backs, and the WR/TE rotation was basically how it's been all year. Odoms and Grady may have gotten a little more time late for whatever reason.

Show? Show.


Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Zone read keeper Robinson 1
Two WRs are actually TEs as M comes out in a shotgun version of their pitch formation. Iowa ends up shifting its line away from the TEs and putting a LB over Watson. Basically an under front. Michigan runs a zone read and Denard pulls with the backside DE engaging Lewan as he tries to release downfield. DE does pop up after the mesh point to force Robinson outside; Hemingway(-1) loses his block to the outside. Robinson has a lane to cut up into but slips. Something wrong with the field? Maybe. The DE also bit it without impacting anyone. Watson got away with a hold. RUN-: Robinson, Watson, Hemingway
M32 2 9 Ace 4-wide tight 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Toussaint 4
Similar concept with TEs in a two point stance being all like “I'm a receiver.” M runs a pitch sweep to the short side, pulling Schofield and Molk. Omameh(-1) whiffs a cut on the backside DT, which becomes an issue later. Molk(+1) feels the DT on his back and knows if he continues through the hole Toussaint may get blown up by this guy, so he slows down and blocks him with his back. Iowa corner charges up into Schofield(+0.5) at the LOS, giving himself up to maintain leverage. Roundtree(+1) gets a good block on the playside LB, sealing him; Koger does a mediocre job he gets away with thanks to Roundtree; Lewan(-1) ends up losing the playside DT as he detaches to run downfield. Still, Toussaint has a crease he hits... that the Iowa safety can fill unmolested because Molk had to double back. Minimal gain. Picture paged.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield(0.5) Roundtree RUN-: Lewan, Omameh
M36 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Pass Skinny post Roundtree Inc
Four man rush with a spy. Iowa stunts; Michigan sort of picks it up but it's Toussaint picking up a DE. This is a temporary solution. Worse, the DT is now free to hit as Schofield belatedly tries to pick the stunt up. No one is open; Robinson chucks it deep into double coverage but well long. I think this is just throwing the ball away. (TA, 0, protection 0/2, team 1, Schofield 1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun trips stack 1 0 4 Nickel Run Inverted veer power Robinson 5
One LB over the stack, another in the gray area between it and the box. Two deep safeties and like... five point five dudes in box. M runs the veer. Playside DE moves out on RB; keep. Schofield(-2) is the puller and gets blown up. The sole LB in the box gets into him at the LOS and gets inside, forcing Robinson into a bunch of traffic. Robinson manages to fall forward for a good gain because of the lack of dudes. RPS +1; this formation saw an opponent put five in the box against Denard.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh(0.5), Huyge(0.5) RUN-: Schofield(2)
M28 2 5 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Throwback screen Gallon Inc
Finally an opponent figures this out. Backside DE is sitting there waiting for the waggle action. He bats the pass down; corner had read it and beaten Koger's attempted block anyway. (BA, 0, screen, RPS -1)
M28 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Pass Hitch Hemingway Inc
Starts with a triple stack to the short side; motion takes one WR to the wide side. Iowa blitzes off the short corner and leaves Hemingway wide open for about ten. Robinson puts it there; dropped. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Rollout hitch Hemingway 9
Michigan exploits some soft coverage to get an easy completion on first down; possible because Iowa shoved seven in the box against a three wide set. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M48 2 1 Denard Jet 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 0
Gardner, and a double-A-gap blitz gets M's inside zone again. The two linebackers run into the gaps caused by OL doubles and meet Smith in the backfield. RPS –2, no chance for the O.
M48 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 2
Iowa again shooting the gaps. Michigan handles it well (Koger shoves the DE inside and pancakes him; Hopkins kicks out the CB) and Toussaint should be able to hop outside and pick up the first down easily before the safety chops him down. Instead he decides to leap into the original hole, whereupon the MLB scrapes over to nail him at the LOS. Toussaint keeps his legs pumping and manages to get it.
RUN+: Koger, Hopkins, Huyge RUN-: Toussaint
50 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 8
Molk(+1) and Schofield(+1) kill the NT in the face; Hopkins(+1) stands up a blitzing LB; Toussaint cuts past that block smoothly; Lewan(+1) dealt with Binns.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield, Toussaint, Hopkins, Lewan RUN-:
O42 2 2 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 5
Gray area LB and two deep safeties so only six and a half in the box; M has numbers. They run at the gap between the one and five tech. Michigan gets a little lucky, as the SLB drops into a zone. This means the slant underneath that wipes out Omameh's downfield release does not give Iowa a meaningful free hitter. Huyge(+1) sealed the slanter before he became dangerous; Schofield(+1) got a good pull; Koger(+0.5) kicked out the DE. Toussaint(+0.5) makes a nice cut behind Schofield to pick up the first.
RUN+: Huyge, Schofield, Koger(0.5), Toussaint(0.5) RUN-:
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Hitch Hemingway Inc
This is going to be one of those five yarders with an immediate tackle; Hemingway drops it. This could have been thrown better but it's not quite an MA. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O37 2 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass PA TE flat Koger 9
Play action fake sucks the linebackers in and you'd think there'd be a spot over the middle where Iowa was vulnerable, but Robinson can't find anyone. Looks like Iowa has a robber—that might be it. Robinson surveys, checks down, and hits Koger for about six. Koger can turn it upfield for some nice YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). This is a terrible spot, BTW. Koger had the first by a yard easy.
O28 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Iso Toussaint 8
Iowa very tight to the line. M runs an iso right at them. Schofield(+1) kicks a DT; Hopkins(+1) wastes a blitzing LB, giving Toussaint(+0.5) a crease. He makes a smart cut through the line for the first.
RUN+: Schofield, Hopkins, Toussaint(0.5) RUN-:
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 10
Looks like a scrape exchange with a late-moving LB, which convinces Robinson to give. This is probably the right move. Unfortunately for Michigan, Iowa is keying on this with the safety, who is shooting upfield into the play. Toussaint(+2) cuts back. Omameh(+1), Molk(+1), and Lewan(+1) are maintaining their blocks and shove guys past the play; Toussaint cuts back further. Huyge(+1) gets one last block and Toussaint is into the secondary, where the safety chops him down as he threatens to turn this into a touchdown.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Molk, Omameh, Lewan, Huyge RUN-:
O10 1 G I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Power sweep Toussaint 2 + 4 Pen
Koger and Lewan down block; Schofield, Molk, Hopkins lead. Koger(-2) gets beat. Hopkins(+1) has to peel off and take the DE; Toussaint does have a hole as a result of that and a great edge block by Jackson(+1). The MLB is unblocked because of the Koger miss; that guy tackles. Michigan gets lucky with a facemask.
RUN+: Hopkins, Jackson RUN-: Koger(2)
O4 1 G Shotgun trips bunch 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Zone read keeper Robinson 0
Michigan actually blocking the backside end here; Robinson is reading the LB in the gray area over the slot. When he turns his attention to the WR, Robinson pulls. Huyge(-1) gets a crappy block and lets that end out on the edge; Robinson(-1) should just run for the edge but pulls up. Bad move. RUN-: Huyge, Robinson
O4 2 G I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass Dumpoff Toussaint 4
Play action, no one open, no one bothering to rush, Robinson has decades. As he starts rolling Toussaint breaks for the corner with him, beating the rather slow LB easily. Robinson flips it out. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown (botched XP), 6-7, 2 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 0 3 4-3 over Run Iso Toussaint 3
Molk(+1) chucks the playside DT to the ground as Omameh releases into the SLB. Hopkins(+1) blocks the MLB and gets a good push but can't seal him away (not his fault); Huyge(-1) does not seal the weakside DE, causing Toussaint to bounce out awkwardly. With the way this is set up he should just slam it up and see what happens; Huyge's block is not necessarily a killer. His bounce takes a long time and allows the D to converge.
RUN+: Molk, Hopkins RUN-: Huyge, Toussaint
M25 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass PA quick seam Dileo 12
LB starts creeping off the slot, indicating blitz, or at least contain. M goes inside zone play action and hits Dileo on the quick seam; Dileo gets lit up a moment after he catches the ball but hangs on. Throw could have been better here... actually, no, it almost got batted as it is. (CA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M37 1 10 Denard Jet 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Jet sweep Robinson 3
Molk(+1) reaches and buries the playside DT. Lewan seals the playside DE; Schofield gets out on the SLB but cannot seal him; not his fault, he has no angle. He and the backside DT are flowing hard; two guys are on the backside containing Gardner. Denard cuts up and sees the cutback, which he takes... Lewan's(-1) guy has come around him and tackles just as he slips past the pursuers and is poised to move into the secondary.
RUN+: Molk RUN-: Lewan
M40 2 7 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Power off tackle Smith 3
Huyge(-2) loses his down block; an Iowa stunt is handled by Omameh and Molk but it ends up absorbing Omameh on the line when he should be getting out on the WLB. Still, doing that well gets Smith a cutback lane when Schofield gets submarined by Huyge's guy. Points for those two. Picture paged by BWS.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh RUN-: Huyge(2)
M43 3 4 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass Dumpoff Smith Inc
Robinson looks downfield, then checks to Smith, who is breaking open for a first down. Binns knocks the pass down because he isn't even trying to rush the QB. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, 12 min 2nd Q. I don't have Denard for a single bad pass or decision yet.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 4
Michigan runs at the weak side. Omameh(+0.5) and Huyge(+0.5) cave in the playside DT; Hopkins(+1) gets under and inside of Binns, shoving him out of the hole. Schofield(+1) blocks the WLB. Toussaint pops outside for a moment before diving back inside; not sure if Toussaint is pulling a guy outside intentionally or just not being patient enough. It works, though, and he gets a crease. He's through to a safety, but because of the delay that's not that far downfield. I think this is actually a minus for the back.
RUN+: Huyge(0.5), Omameh(0.5), Hopkins, Schofield RUN-: Toussaint
M35 2 6 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even Run QB stretch Robinson -1
Oof. Michigan destroys the playside DL. Molk, Schofield, and Lewan(+1 each) end up driving their guys yards off the LOS and get a cut on the WLB. Grady(-2) totally whiffs as he cracks down on the MLB. Huyge(-1) got nothing on the backside DT, who's flowing down the line; Robinson(-2) should risk it anyway and hit it up behind his killer frontside blocking for a decent gain. Instead he hesitates. LB maintains outside leverage when he meets Toussaint; Robinson can no longer cut behind the DT, and when he tries to go outside the LB eats him. Very disappointing.
RUN+: Molk, Lewan, Schofield RUN-: Huyge, Grady(2), Robinson(2)
M34 3 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout hitch Hemingway 12
Binns is let go and starts moving inside, whereupon Smith chops him. That gives Denard the edge. Unmolested, he sees Hemingway about to turn to the QB on a hitch at about ten yards and throws it before the guy comes open. Hits Hemingway in the hands, caught, first down. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1 for edge)
M46 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass PA Fly Roundtree Inc
This is how contain-minded the Iowa DL is: Binns remains responsible for this waggle and hardly gets anywhere near Robinson before he gets the ball off. As for the throw: three guys in the route. Koger is bracketed short. Jackson and Roundtree have steps deeper. Robinson loads up and fires to Roundtree... and it looks like he hits him right in stride but for Roundtree misjudging the pass, breaking stride, and ending up a step behind the ball. Argh. This is a DO that the WR screwed up. (DO, 2, protection N/A) Flag thrown for PI, then picked up. I don't get how that's possible but I also don't think this was PI. Prater acts like a jackass afterwards.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Smith 0
Guh... why is Grady in the game here instead of Odoms or something? Iowa shifts late, bringing the LB off the slot. Grady runs to the safety instead of doing something useful by cracking down. Robinson is reading the MLB and gives because he is sticking inside; Smith is cut off by the slot LB, who absorbs Toussaint. He cuts back inside and meets two Iowa players. He had a major cutback if he came back inside of Omameh; instead he trips over Toussaint. RPS -1. RUN-: Grady, Smith
M46 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Dime press Pass Sack Robinson -12
Guh. On third and ten Robinson has two guys running three yard circle routes and two guys running double moves deep. Iowa sends six; one guy is buried by Smith; the delayed guy finds his way past the engaged members of the line; nothing any of the OL can do about this since blocking this guy means giving up their man. Robinson pumps a dig route and then the LB is on him. He manages to break the tackle but loses the ball as he escapes and turns it over. Frustrating thing: the route he was pumping was wide open for the first down. Again Borges has no intermediate routes. Robinson had nowhere to go with the ball before a delayed blitzer got to him. (PR, 0, protection 2/3, Team -1, RPS -2)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 6-14, 4 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA Comeback Hemingway 14
All day for Robinson as Iowa only rushes four, though a couple LBs bite so hard it looks like a blitz until they back out. Iowa is not coming anywhere near Denard. He waits and fires a high hard one to a covered Hemingway that he snags for a first down. Excellent coverage that the throw and catch beats. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M35 1 10 Denard Jet 1 1 3 4-3 even -- Yakety snap -- 3
M32 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Robinson 19
Michigan has an alignment advantage here with the slot LB not on the LOS, but working on Dileo. Dileo(+1) kicks him and opens up the corner. Koger(+2) gets the key block on the playside DE, knocking him three yards off the ball and eventually sealing him when Robinson threatens to go upfield inside of the block. Smith(+0.5) and Molk(+0.5) combine to take out one linebacker flowing from the inside and Lewan(+1) pulls around to nail the safety, sending Robinson into the secondary. RPS +1.
RUN+: Dileo, Koger(2), Smith(0.5), Molk(0.5), Robinson RUN-:
M13 1 10 Denard Jet 1 1 3 4-3 even Run PA throwback screen Koger 2
This is a touchdown waiting to happen if Lewan blocks the corner; he doesn't. This is because the corner is waiting for this play and has been coached to blow it up, so I don't blame Lewan too much. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1) RUN-: Lewan
M11 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 split Pass Slant Roundtree INT
Another planned pump, then Robinson fires a slant to a well-covered Roundtree that a DB deflects up to a safety. There is a planet on which this is called interference, but it is a planet where everyone goes the speed limit because robot birds shoot you if you go two over. Yeah, guy got there a tiny bit early. No, this is never called. The problem is Denard threw it a yard or two too far inside, allowing the DB to make a play on the ball. The INT is bad luck, but Tom Brady makes this throw. Slightly reminiscent of his second INT against MSU last year, except not as bad a throw. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-17, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 7
Omameh(+0.5) only stands up his DT but does just enough; Hopkins(+1) does a good job of getting around that block and plugging the MLB; Molk(+2) has blasted the NT four yards downfield by the time Toussaint reaches him. Toussaint(+0.5) cuts through the gaps quickly, getting cut down by a safety.
RUN+: Omameh(0.5), Toussaint(0.5), Molk(2), Hopkins RUN-:
M47 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Toussaint 1
M double the backside LB, leaving the backside DE unblocked. Lewan(-2) busts. DE rushes down the LOS and makes the tackle from behind when Omameh(-1) and Molk(-1) lose their blocks. Picture paged.
RUN-: Molk, Omameh, Lewan(2).
M48 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Robinson 22

Safety walks down w/ linebacker in gray area over the slot; gray area LB then comes down before the snap. Cannot let the D do this. Have to bubble. No bubble.

With an extra player backside the S and LBs can charge at the play without delay. Schofield gets beat to the hole—not his fault—but manages to shove the guy, who falls. Koger gets beat but manages to shove the guy, who falls. Robinson slows up and pops out side a bit as these guys tumble to the ground. Toussaint(+1) redirects at the last second to kick out the S, and with the three guys on the playside either on the ground or gone, Robinson accelerates through the hole for a big gain. He reaches the 30 and runs through an arm tackle, then just kind of glides OOB when he could stay in bounds for another 10 yards, maybe more. Argh. RPS -1. Koger goes out after the play.

RUN+: Schofield, Koger(0.5), Toussaint, Robinson(3) RUN-:
O30 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 3
Omameh(-1) can't move the DT and that's the intended hole gone. Molk(+0.5) and Schofield(+0.5) blow up the other guy; Hopkins(-1) runs up the back of Omameh, making himself useless, and Toussaint has to cut back into an unblocked LB.
RUN+: Molk(0.5), Schofield(0.5) RUN-: Omameh, Hopkins
O27 2 7 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint -1
DE swims upfield of Lewan(-2) and beats him clean, then redirects down to tackle for loss. MLB met Hopkins in the backfield, which didn't help matters. RPS -1. RUN-: Lewan(2)
O28 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Dumpoff Smith 8
Safety comes down to blitz off the edge. Michigan picks it up, and then the DL goes into panic mode. Robinson finds Smith breaking to the outside on a dumpoff and hits him; Smith orbits inside the LB covering him and manages to extend for the first. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Sweep Toussaint 0
Again: LB over slot comes down to contain zone read, opening the bubble M refuses to run. Everyone on the line loses. Schofield(-1) can't cut the backside DT. Huyge(-2) misses a down block on the playside guy. Roundtree(-1) runs by the corner. Toussaint runs to the sideline and is surrounded. RUN-: Huyge(2), Schofield, Roundtree
O20 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass PA TE out Watson Inc
Backside DE on Denard contain; everyone covered anyway. Robinson throws it at Watson, who's covered but might be able to pick up a few yards. Binns bats it back in his face. (BA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O20 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Fluke Smith 5
Iowa sends seven against six blockers (Smith is releasing downfield) and gets through clean. Robinson tries to throw and is blown up in the act. The ball miraculously falls to Smith. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, team, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: FG(32), 9-17, 6 min 3rd Q. Denard whacks his hand on a pass rusher on the final play of that drive. Gardner gets the next one.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle scramble Gardner 3
Gardner doesn't see anyone open downfield and decides to take off for a minimal gain. Had Hopkins late but didn't see him. (TA, N/A, protection 1/1)
M27 2 7 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
Gardner checks into this... not so much. This looks like power designed to go in the A gap instead of off tackle, but that could just be because this gets blown up. Koger(-1) does not block down well and Omameh(-1) fails to recognize a linebacker blitzing from the inside; Hopkins(-1) ends up missing on the outside but it doesn't matter since the LB has forced Toussaint away from his blocking. Molk and Schofield handled a stunt well, but for naught. RPS -1
RUN+: Molk(0.5), Schofield(0.5) RUN-: Omameh, Hopkins, Koger
M27 3 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Hemingway Inc
Plenty of time; Iowa has adjusted to the slot hitch Hemingway has run for good yardage (or drops) a couple times earlier. They've got a guy sitting in front of it. Gardner waits, does not check down to Smith, who's running underneath this and has a 50-50 shot of turning it up for a first down. He eventually throws it to Hemingway. It's way high, which prevents the ball from being intercepted, I guess. Hemingway stabs at it with one hand but cannot bring it in. Offsides gives M another chance. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M32 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Speed option Gardner 5
Molk(+1) seals the NT. Koger(+1) and Lewan(+1) momentarily combo the playside DE; Koger gets a seal and then Lewan comes off to plow a LB shooting the gap. Gardner almost takes the cheese but does see the DE reached on the outside and takes it out there; safety cuts him down as he picks up the first.
RUN+: Molk, Koger, Lewan, Gardner RUN-:
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Sweep Toussaint 1
Huyge(-2) gets beaten up by this little LB on the POA, giving a bunch of ground, forcing Molk upfield inside of him, and eventually losing him outside, where he makes a tackle at the LOS. Molk(-1) ran by the MLB and even if this didn't happen Toussaint probably wasn't going anywhere. Toussaint dinged. RUN-: Huyge(2) , Molk
M38 2 9 Ace trips bunch tight 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Scramble Gardner 1
Sweep formation except Watson flares out wide and Hemingway is the interior slot guy. Seems to tip pass. It's a straight dropback. Gardner finds no one and takes off for minimal yardage. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
M39 3 8 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel Pass Rollout sack -- -12
Michigan runs a flood and I bet they have the second level. Hard to tell but the corner is at ten yards and I think the guy behind him should be open. Gardner again finds no one, sacked. (TA, N/A, protection ½, Smith -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-17, 1 min 3rd Q. Down 24-9 with ten minutes left, M goes hurry-up.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide? 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Hemingway 7
Miss most of this play for some frippery. Short pitch and catch for a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
50 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Hemingway Inc
Well covered; way long and on a line. A throwaway? I don't know. Rather see him toss it back shoulder to maybe give his guy a chance. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) He had more time, so if a TA a bad decision.
50 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB power Robinson 2
Iowa ready for this. They have the line and LBs moved playside. Down block on playside DT from Omameh(-0.5) and Huyge(-0.5) is meh. Linebacker can scrape over the top of it because of the difficulty and the alignment. Robinson has to slow, at which point DT comes through to tackle. RPS -1.
RUN+: Koger RUN-: Omameh(0.5), Huyge(0.5)
O48 4 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 5-2 tight Run Speed option Robinson 5
Smith blows the snap count and moves way, way too early; NT points him out... and Molk(+2) still reaches him. Robinson(+1) sees it and hits the gap immediately. Schofield(+1) reaches the backside DT and slows down to eliminate him. Omameh(+1) releases into the MLB; Koger also helps. Robinson picks up the first and then cuts outside... or would but for a desperation ankle tackle by the safety.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Grady 9
Grady's the slot; he does a good job of settling in a spot in the zone and then moving a bit as the linebacker comes over so that Robinson still has a lane. Robinson hits him in the numbers. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O34 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Pin and pull zone Robinson 14
Omameh(-1) blows his zone block; Molk has to peel off to finish it. Grady(+1) gets a good kick on the slot LB, which allows Robinson to just squeeze through a crease between that and Koger zoning—barely—Binns. Smith(+1) also hopped through and hits the safety, opening up the corner. Huyge(+1) got a good whack on the playside LB as well.
RUN+: Grady, Robinson(2), Smith, Huyge RUN-: Omameh
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Out Grady 14
Slot LB creeps down and basically sits there; with the outside receiver going deep and running off the corner this is wide open and easy. Is this a bust? Probably. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) Grady breaks a tackle for some extra.
O6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Angle Koger 6
Robinson again has forever. Koger releases, makes like he's going to run an out, then cuts back upfield on a post cut that gets a linebacker to hold him. Robinson loads up and floats it right to him or six; Koger makes the catch despite being interfered with. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 16-24, 7 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M4 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA quick seam Hemingway 20
PA mesh point to the quick seam as the slot LB again sucks in on the run. Robinson zings it to Hemingway, who catches it for a first down, then runs through a tackle for a chunk more. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
M24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Out Dileo Inc
Dileo is well covered and there is no pressure so you'd like to see Robinson keep this a bit and try to find someone else or scramble, but it's thrown. It's low and away from defenders but not accurate enough to give Dileo any chance of catching it. The lack of a potential INT prevents this from being a BR, but Robinson made this tough on himself. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M24 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB iso Robinson 1
Schofield(-1) does not get around the NT despite getting quite a bit of help from Molk; Omameh(-1) loses the playside DT after giving a bunch of ground. Robinson doesn't see it and decides to bounce. Safety comes up, Robinson has to cut back inside and gets little. Bounce was not there and he definitely didn't improve his lot by taking it; should have hit it up. RUN-: Robinson, Omameh, Schofield
M25 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Dig Roundtree Inc
Zone blitz(!) from Iowa sees a DT drop off, but it's picked up and Robinson can step and fire up the middle. Roundtree has no separation at all, Robinson throws high and a little wide, and the safety nearly picks it off. Tough life there when you've got a dig route against man that should be open and Roundtree is blanketed. Crappy route? Maybe. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 4 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read dive Smith 11
Playing off the first play of the last drive, and also you basically can't defend this with six guys in the box. Michigan doubles the backside DE—weird--and the NT. Molk(+1) and Schofield(+1) get push on him; Molk pops off to get playside LB. Backside guy is watching Robinson and has to remain responsible; Robinson hands off. Smith hits the hole and breaks an arm tackle to pick up a first down. RPS+1.
RUN+: Smith, Molk, Schofield, Omameh(0.5) RUN-:
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Roundtree Inc
So M blows 11 seconds before snapping the ball here. Gurg. No pressure; Robinson sets up and bombs it deep to a single-covered Roundtree, but Roundtree has run a crap route and is pushed OOB by the CB (legally). No chance. Robinson had a guy underneath open and time. Shouldn't have thrown to a guy with no shot. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M29 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Post Roundtree Inc
Half roll with Robinson pulling up once the backside DT threatens him a bit; he finds a wide open Roundtree for six... and misses. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M29 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout hitch Odoms 13
First catch of the year for Odoms; he is on a short hitch and rotates outside as a late-arriving DB misses a tackle on him. Turned up for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Hemingway Inc
Ton of time; he finds Hemingway in one on one coverage but very good one on one coverage and throws it way long. Hang that baby up there. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Penalty False start -- -5
Some confusion and the offense never fully stops moving before the snap. Roundtree was the guy who did not get set.
M37 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Dig Roundtree 18
Forever, huge pocket, zings to Roundtree as he cuts in front of coverage at the sticks. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Cross Roundtree Inc
Ready for play is three seconds after the playclock resets. WTF. Michigan lets 15 seconds run off before the snap. MOTS: forever and a day in the pocket, zinged to Roundtree's hands for seven plus maybe some YAC, dropped. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Drag Gallon 13
Roundtree in backfield, motions out. Again no rush. Gallon's drag comes open as Roundtree drives off the corner; Robinson hits him and Gallon turns it up for a first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) Gallon stumbles and does not actually get OOB here.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Gallon Inc
Michigan huddles. Guh. Ready for play at 32 seconds, snap at 14. They blow 18 seconds. Did they think Gallon got OOB? Anyway, no rush: Robinson pumps to one side of the field and then comes to the other side where a well-covered Gallon is one on one with a corner. He throws it OOB. This may be a throwaway. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O32 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Slant Roundtree 9 (Pen +10)
Zone blitz sees Iowa send five. Michigan biffs the protection with Huyge and Smith headed out to the corner, but Robinson's already throwing a slant. (CA, 3, protection ½, Huyge -1) Flag for holding stops the clock and gives M a first down.
O22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Deep out Roundtree 19
Michigan lets nine seconds run off the clock from the ready to play after a penalty. No pressure. Robinson finds Roundtree inside the ten in front of a corner and nails him. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O3 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Pass Fade Hemingway Inc
Massive blitz; Robinson chucks a duck off the back foot when the back corner fade to Hemingway is looking open. (IN, 0, protection 1/1) Protection only one because it's a quick throw and the free blitzer is unblockable since they're sending seven.
O3 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Pass Fade Hemingway Inc
Slant is first option; covered. Robinson comes off it and there's a guy eating his face, so he has to chuck it back foot. This one isn't great but it's vaguely catchable; Hemingway vaguely does not catch it. (MA, 1, protection ½, team)
O3 3 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Pass Improv Smith Inc
This time a guy gets free right up the middle; Robinson has to dodge him, which he does. He's taking more heat and has to get rid of it; he finds Smith and tosses it to him; a little low and outside but pretty catchable and away from the defender. Smith can't bring it in. (CA, 2, protection 0/3, team)
O3 4 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Pass Slant Roundtree Inc
The interference. Refs -2. Again no time because a guy not on the outside is coming free (CA, 0, protection 0/3, team, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 16-24, EOG.



Denard Robinson is a terrible thrower who can't throw anything.

Look, man, I'm just like… I chart—


—these things and this is what I got:

[Hover over column headers for explanation of abbreviation. Screens are in parens.]

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%
SDSU '11 - 10(2) - 4 2 1 - 1 - 53%
Minnesota '11 1 13(3) 1 3 1 - - - - 73%
Northwestern '11 4 12(3) 1 7 2 - - - 1 59%
MSU '11 1 8(1) 4(1) 6 5 - 1 7 1 40%
Purdue '11 1 7(1) - 1 2 1 - 2 - 66%
Iowa '11 2 21 2 7 1 - 3(1) 2 - 69%

Gardner had a CA on a screen, an IN, and three TAs, for a DSR of 0.0%.

I got Denard's best performance of the year against a D-I opponent. The things that happened to him that were bad were many dropped passes, Roundtree misjudging a perfectly-thrown deep ball, and plenty of batted passes.

Yeah, I said it, perfectly thrown deep ball:


Roundtree slowed up a moment before this still. If he runs through the ball this is a touchdown the DB can't do anything about. Arggggh.

What's more, I have all seven of Denard's INs and his BR in hurry-up time; most of those were the Rex Grossman deep balls it seemed like he was instructed to throw on first down just in case something worked out. All were way off but historically I've mentioned deep ball INs as less egregious because… like… they are. His BR was an OOB chuck to Roundtree when he had a shorter guy open for a chunk—there was no "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING" throw this week. If his WRs had helped him out we are talking about a different game.

There is a massive caveat: Iowa did not rush the passer. I don't mean they rushed four and didn't get there. I mean that unless Iowa was deploying one of their infrequent blitzes, they literally made no attempt to sack Denard.


That's second and fifteen with less than two minutes left and nobody is even trying. Instead they are containing. This was a near constant throughout the day. It explains many things:

  • why Denard did not even look like scrambling once (not that he does much anyway)
  • why an unusual number of passes got batted down
  • why Denard's DSR is much better

It seems like an incredibly dumb strategy but I guess it worked. Robinson did not handle the pressure well on the last series—third down was good, first and second not—and against opponents that get after you more I expect his passing to revert back to the previous not so good form.

The receivers were bleah, you say?

I say.

[Passes are rated like so: 0 = uncatchable, 1 = very difficult, 2 = moderately difficult, 3 = routine.]

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway 3 0/2 1/1 4/6 10 0/2 8/9 16/19
Roundtree 6 - 0/1 2/3 10 1/5 5/7 9/10
Odoms - - - 1/1 2 - - -
Grady - - - 2/2 4 - 0/1 2/2
Gallon 2


- 1/1 7 - 2/2 21/21
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - 1/1 - - - 0/2 2/3 2/2
Jackson - - - - - - 1/1 1/1
Koger - - 1/1 1/1 6 1/3 3/4 9/10
Moore - - - - 2 - 1/1 -
Toussaint - - - 1/1 - - - 2/3
Shaw - - - - - - - 1/1
Smith 1 - 0/1 1/1 3 0/2 1/1 7/8
Hopkins - - - - 2 - - 1/1
McColgan - - - - 1 - - 1/1

Three flat drops and two coulda-had-thems. Both of the latter were critical. The first was the Roundtree misjudge you see above, the second Smith's endzone drop of a low floater. One of Hemingway's routine drops ended a drive. It wasn't an all-time bad performance but it could have been better, especially when you consider some of the seemingly crappy routes Michigan ran. I have no way to quantify that, but trust me.

And the run game?

This is an ugly chart.

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 6 7 -1 Off day.
Barnum - - - DNP
Molk 14.5 2 12.5 Legit All-American, I think.
Omameh 4 6.5 -2.5 The usual at this point.
Huyge 5 9.5 -4.5 Binns ripped him up.
Schofield 9.5 4 4.5 Got an easier assignment against the crappy DT.
Mealer - - - DNP
Watson - 1 -1 Not a whole lot of time.
Koger 6 3 3 Still held up okay.
TOTAL 45 33 58% A struggle. Had moments, though. Bigger disappointment…
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 8 5 3 Too much bounce, not decisive enough, blew some good reaches. M needs more from him on the cuts.
Gardner 1 - 1 Meh.
Toussaint 5.5 3 2.5 Also could have done better. Had some dancing at the line that allowed safeties to help. Did have a sweet cutback.
Shaw - - - DNP
Smith 2.5 1 1.5 Eh.
Hopkins 7 2 5 Nice day. Major reason those isos were effective.
Rawls - - - DNP
McColgan - - - DNP
TOTAL 24 11 13 Need to MAKE PLAYS here and largely did not. Ball carriers +5 on 35 carries.
Player + - T Notes
Hemingway - 1 -1  
Odoms - - -  
Gallon 1 - -  
Roundtree 1 1 0  
Grady 1 3 -2 --
Jackson 1 - 1  
Dileo 1 1 0 --
TOTAL 5 5 0 Also a disappointing day.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 57 15 79% Team 12, Schofield 1, Smith 1, Huyge 1. Blitzes an issue.
RPS 7 15 -8 Throwback screens don't work anymore. At least they got a rollout blocked.

That is Molk, Hopkins, Schofield, and disappointment. Denard is not immune to criticism here. It was on the ground more than in the air that his decision making was problematic. Cut it up, dude:

Glarg. I wonder if the change in emphasis here has made Denard rusty on his zone cuts. Once that guy comes up it's straight upfield until they tackle you.

Meanwhile, Iowa's ends won the day against the tackles—Huyge in particular could not handle Binns, or the cut block on the above play—and the receivers were crappy when called upon. Like on that play, where Grady turns a big gain into zilch. Y U NO ODOMS. Seriously: why he no Odoms? Where did Odoms go?

We can has fullback?

Maybe. Stephen Hopkins was a bright spot. He has nimble feet, especially for a fullback, and brings a load when he meets linebackers at the POA.

That's pretty good right there. Dude is hammering full speed at the LOS and gets turned out. Later he pancaked the same dude.

He's quickly supplanted McColgan and should be a useful piece the next couple years. If he can stop fumbling he could let Michigan add a triple option to their repertoire. 

Why haven't you complained about a bubble yet?

Oh mah gawd, good point. It's not really about the bubble, it's about preventing stuff like this from happening:

Not the 22 yard run part. The part where it takes two guys miraculously falling down to get the 22 yard run. Not bubbling this…


Is pretty much asking for vicious frontside flow because ain't nobody worried about the cutback with the slot LB coming down. This is the wider view from a little earlier:


That is a free first down. Take it. Take it and relieve some pressure from your run game. The only way for them to defend the bubble with that setup is to have the safety roar down at it, which opens them up to Worst Waldo counterpunches.

Can a brother get a run breakdown?

Right. I forgot last week. This week:


Total: 6 carries, 2.6 YPC.


Total: 11 carries, 3.4 YPC


Total: 15 carries, 6.3 YPC. Should be noted that the power play was fortunate, the zone read that got any yards on the last drive, and the veer that got any yards the Toussaint massive cutback. Not a whole lot went as planned.

Did you have any issues with the last drive?

We talked about this a bit earlier in the week: once you get to the three with 16 seconds left I think taking your TO and throwing is the move, at least until fourth down.

HOWEVA, there's no way it should have come to that.


Is that a freaking huddle as the ref signals the game clock with 31 seconds on the play clock? Yes.



That's Michigan snapping it seventeen seconds later. /head asplode

Two plays earlier they let fifteen seconds run off after the Roundtree conversion on second and eighteen; three plays later they let nine seconds run off after a penalty. If they chop those delays down to an average of five seconds—more than reasonable considering the last one should have been like two—Roundtree is tackled at the three with 42 seconds left, ie forever. They easily keep their time out and prevent Iowa from sending seven on four consecutive plays.

There is a slight mitigating factor on the above since I think they thought Gallon got out of bounds, so they could huddle. Once it was clear the clock was running they'd already slowed down. It's still really frustrating.

I need one more complaint for my bingo card.

Hated the playcall on Denard's fumble. M comes out in a double stack and has the foremost WRs run little out routes as M goes for a double move. Pump fake…


…to a wide open dude at the sticks…


…who is trying a double move. LB roars up; Denard escapes but fumbles as he does. He had nowhere to go with the ball.


Watch Vincent Smith advertise speed option to the entire state of Iowa and Molk still reach the DT:

I am going to miss that brilliant twinkle-toed media-hating bastard.

Also… uh… Hopkins? Yeah, Hopkins. And here's a change of pace: Denard's arm.


The rest of the line not named Schofield. The receivers somewhat. Denard's legs. (I knew I put Opposite Day in the podcast for a reason.)

What does it mean for Illinois and the rest of the season?

The line has to be better against the Illinois DL or it's going to be a long day. Can they? I don't like that Huyge-Mercilus matchup at all. Without Liuget I think they'll be vulnerable on the interior—Molk reached Akeem Spence all day last year—but will Hopkins-based isos be enough? Will Michigan use Molk's super powers or not?

I don't think Denard's passing performance is replicable. Not only does Denard screw up throws when he actually gets pressure, his inability to figure out how pressured he is has caused a lot of bad throws when players are vaguely near him. The comfort zone he was in against Iowa isn't going to be replicated against an Illinois defense that gets a ton of sacks (third nationally at 3.4 per).

I don't have a lot of faith in this offense moving the ball against the #6 D in the country, on the road. Since this is Big Ten football 2011, they will score 40 points.

  • 2 inside zone for 0.5 YPC
  • 1 jet sweep for 3 YPC
  • 1 pitch sweep for 4 YPC
  • 2 power plays for 4 YPC
  • 6 isos for 4.7 YPC
  • 4 power plays for 2 YPC
  • 1 sweep for 1 YPC
  • 2 pin and pull zone for 16.5 YPC
  • 1 power play for 22 YPC
  • 1 QB iso for 1 yard
  • 1 QB power for 2 yards
  • 1 QB stretch for –1 yards
  • 1 sweep for 0 YPC
  • 3 inverted veers for 5 YPC
  • 2 speed option for 5 YPC
  • 3 inside zone reads for 4 YPC

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Formation notes: Michigan debuted a big set that features two SLBs. Here Ryan is to the top of the screen and Beyer the bottom; Countess was lifted.


Michigan was in this set for both of the late third and ones on which Michigan punched Iowa off the field, though on the second they put Beyer and Ryan in a bear front.

Michigan also showed a fair number of over fronts with the line shaded strongside and the SLB off the line: 

form-4-3 over

They've dumped the flipping seen earlier in the year in favor of sucking it up and running this from time to time. I assume the flipping was a sub-optimal thing Mattison felt forced into because his defense couldn't run an over front effectively what with all the freshmen at SLB and WLB.

Substitution notes: Secondary was Countess/Floyd/Woolfolk/Kovacs the whole way with Avery the nickelback. The linebackers were Demens and Morgan for the most part—Hawthorne got one drive right after the "Morgan is killing us" touchdown drive.

Ryan picked up a stinger on the first play and sat out a big chunk of the game. Cam Gordon was in briefly before being replaced by Beyer for the bulk of the extra playing time; Clark assumed Ryan's role as a nickel DE. As noted above certain short yardage plays late Beyer and Ryan were on the field at the same time as Michigan lifted Countess.

There was less substitution on the line than usual. Campbell only got a few plays, I did not see Brink, and Black was an infrequent participant as well. It was mostly the starters. I don't think RVB and Heininger came off the field.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen 3
M linebackers seem misaligned, too far to the weakside. On the snap Michigan slants strongside. Martin(-1) is doubled and gives a ton of ground—way too much. He does take both blockers the whole play. RVB(+2) drives his man down the line, eventually shoving him so far that Coker bangs into the left tackle. Morgan(-1) flew up past the Martin double to meet a G and gets pancaked at the line; Demens(+0.5) and Heininger(+0.5) manage to tackle thanks to the delay.
O27 2 7 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Martin -1
Ryan out with stinger; Cam Gordon does come in. This time the center ignores Martin(+2), leaving him to get cut by the backside G. This does not happen even a little bit. Martin contacts Coker three yards in the backfield; dude manages to burrow his way back to the LOS. Morgan(+1) did blitz effectively inside of a tight end and was the second man on the scene; even if Martin isn't here instantly Morgan is probably making contact behind the LOS. RPS +1.
O26 3 8 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Drag Countess 44

The obvious problem on this play is Countess(-2, tackling -1) turning this from a first down into 44 yards by letting Davis outside of him. Then I had Heiko ask Mattison about what happened to open up the completion, whereupon Mattison answered:

What happened on Keenan Davis’s catch and run with Kenny Demens chasing him en route to a 44-yard gain? “That’s cover-2. Kenny Demens doesn’t have him all the way to the sideline. Kenny Demens has him to the hash and we should have had a corner that should have rolled up on that.” Was he Courtney Avery’s assignment? “No. [Avery] was the nickel. He was running with the vertical. When you’re playing that coverage, any time No. 2 runs up the field, he has to run up with him. So it comes all the way to the corner. The corner’s the flat defender. He turned his back trying to be physical with that guy, and the guy was by him by then.”

So Countess gets the ding there, too(-2, cover –3). Harsh, but if Avery's doing what he's supposed to do and the cover-two corner doesn't even tackle the guy after the first down it's all him.

M30 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-3 over Pass 4 PA slant Demens 20
Iowa motions Davis outside of McNutt, drawing Countess wider and getting Morgan matched up over the slot. Not good. They run play action that sucks Demens(-2) up and Morgan(-1) lets McNutt inside of him after starting with a four yard head start to the interior of the field. Demens makes things worse by moving out on a nothing dumpoff, opening the center of the field like whoah. Kovacs(+1, tackling +1) makes a tough tackle on the catch; this was such a quick hitter that it looked like it might go the distance. RPS -1, Cover -2)
M10 1 G I-Form big offset 4-3 over Run N/A Down G Black 6
Narrow WR, TE motion to wide side, offset FB. They're trying the same stuff MSU did. Black(-2) fails to understand this and gives up the edge by moving straight upfield; he gets sealed out of the play. Heininger will end up closer to Coker than he does. Martin(+1) tears through the line and would kill this if there was any delay on the edge. There isn't. Morgan(-0.5) stood up by a cracking WR; tough with that guy's angle but still a missed opportunity to do something. Kovacs and Countess maintain leverage against two guys; Woolfolk is there to tackle with help from Heininger(+0.5) and the aforementioned Martin.
M4 2 G I-Form big offset 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 4
Same setup with a widened WR; they run power at the same place that just ate the outside run. Black(+1) dives inside to cut off the intended flight path, taking out both the puller and the lead back. Morgan(-2) is a free hitter on the outside. He takes a crappy angle and sees his arm tackle run through(-1 tackling). Woolfolk(-1) was sitting in the end zone wondering what to do too long; by the time he makes a decision it doesn't matter what Coker picks because he can't do anything until the guy is already in the endzone. More on this later.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 10 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass 4 Quick out Floyd 4
Three step drop against soft coverage with an immediate tackle from Floyd(+0.5) to keep it down. Push.
M44 2 6 Ace twins TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Kovacs 3
Motion of a twinned TE to the two WR side. Kovacs starts signaling others but no reaction. Morgan(-1) doesn't react to the motion at all and runs too far upfield instead of widening out to cut off the outside. Roh took a double and didn't win; he also didn't get beat up enough to allow a linebacker out on Morgan... not that it mattered. Push. Kovacs(+1.5) avoids a cut block from the slot receiver and gets out on the corner himself, saving Morgan considerable blushes. He can't quite tackle; Countess(+0.5) finishes it off. Excellent edge play by the secondary. Martin(+0.5) again blew through the line.
M41 3 3 I-Form Nickel even Run N/A Iso Martin 3
Jesus, Iowa can't block Martin(+1) . This time he slants under the G in the intended hole and comes underneath him quickly enough to also take out the fullback. Michigan is in their nickel package with only six in the box so both linebackers still get blocked. Demens(+1) beats his and gets to the hole. Coker meets him a yard and a half short of the first; Coker pushes the pile because he is Coker. Morgan did a pretty good job too, and RVB beat a block and almost made a play in the backfield. RPS -1; an actual 4-3 against this I-Form and this is potentially a loss.
M38 4 In I-Form Nickel even Run N/A QB sneak Van Bergen 0
Excellent coaching for Michigan to know Iowa does this and show up in force on the interior of the line when Iowa hurries to the line. RVB(+2) is the key guy, getting under the G and push him back; Martin(+1) also got key push. RPS +2. Huge swing play due to coaching.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 10

I'm not 100% on this. What happens is Iowa runs a zone at the short side of the field, away from Beyer (over the slot) and at the overhanging Floyd. Roh ducks under the tackle at the snap, which gets him in the backfield. That and total inability to block Martin means Coker has to bounce, which he does. That duck inside should mean a LB is exchanging over the top, which would be Morgan, but Morgan sucks inside. Heininger is moving out but can't make the diving ankle tackle, leaving Coker the corner. Morgan recovers to tackle from behind after a big gain.

Heiko asked about this. Mattison's answer is below; in short, this is an RPS –1.

O33 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Martin 0
This is nuts. Every play Martin(+2) is beating blocks. This time he momentarily takes on the C before shedding him to the playside, which forces an uncomfortable cutback. I think Martin actually grabs a foot; either that or he trips. Heininger(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) did well to constrict the space so he could not fall forward for a gain.
O33 2 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Deep hitch Martin Inc
Michigan brings a safety down as a withdrawn MLB type person when Iowa motions a TE into an H-back spot; pass anyway. Martin(+1, pressure +1) beats the LG and forces a throw; Vandenberg has a guy open in front of Floyd(-1, cover -1) but airmails it.
O33 3 10 Ace 3-wide Okie Penalty N/A False start -- -5
Martin as quasi-LB. LT moves early.
O28 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Roh 11
M stunts the DTs. Roh(+1, pressure +1) drives the RT back into Vandenberg as RVB(+1) arrives; he has to throw. Despite going to the ground as he releases this he gets off a dart to McNutt on a slant that Countess(+0.5, tackling +1) is there on; he tackles. Great play by Iowa just to get the completion.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 27
I blame Morgan less for this than I did live because M was pretty screwed either way once Campbell(-2) was slashed to the ground. This is their first play without Martin. But... that just means he gets -2 instead of -3. When he shoots the interior gap he gives up the outside; Heininger is flowing well but once the tackle realizes he's got no one showing in his gap he doubles on Heininger and seals him; no chance. Even if Morgan pops out Coker probably picks up a big gain because not only Campbell but RVB(-1) got cut. It wouldn't be nearly as big because forcing him back inside makes Kovacs relevant. Coker runs through a Woolfolk(-0.5, tackling -1) tackle attempt at the end, getting five or so additional yards.
O49 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle deep hitch Kovacs 14
Michigan burned on play action; Kovacs(-1, cover -1) does not get enough depth as he's running to the sideline and opens up a deeper route when he could have mitigated the damage that was coming. Countess has no chance; he does tackle immediately. RPS -1.
M37 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 2
I keep using "inside zone" but the formations and motion provides subtlety no one other than the coaches will ever pick up, which is my way of saying this is kind of an iso. The TE motions back into a FB spot and then heads straight upfield as everyone else zone blocks. This clears the frontside as Martin and others fight to defend the zone; RVB(-0.5) gets sent upfield, though I think that might be part of a playcall. This leaves Demens(+1) one on one with the TE in a fairly big space. He stands up the guy; Coker bangs into the guy from behind. Morgan(+1) crushed his blocker backwards and now peels off to help tackle. Rare play from the LBs here.
M35 2 8 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Heininger 1
Michigan blitzes Floyd off the edge and stunts the DTs. Heininger(+1) ends up blowing up about three guys; Martin and Morgan flow to the hole. Coker has to cut back; he does. RVB(-0.5) has been blown down the line a bit too much and can only make a hopeful diving attempt on Coker. He runs through it; Martin(+1) does the same and manages to trip him up. Beyer(-1) took a turrible angle and is the main reason this is scary. RPS +1.
M34 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 Hitch Floyd Inc
Martin LB thing. Michigan doesn't get there with six(pressure -2) and Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beaten for the first down; dropped.
M34 4 7 Ace 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Out Avery 8
This is tough; Avery is in inside leverage, takes a shove, and has man on an out route. He gets beat. Sometimes that's life. I don't get what Morgan's doing; everyone else is in man and he's sitting in a short zone not getting after the QB or doing much of anything. Could be a call; who knows with Mattison. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M26 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA deep hitch Countess Inc
Plenty of time(pressure -1) albeit on first down play action. Vandenberg looks for McNutt on a deep-ish comeback route that is low and difficult to catch; Countess(+1, cover +1) is there making life difficult and possibly getting a PBU.
M26 2 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Martin 13
Martin(-2) gets locked onto by Ferentz and blown out. He tries to chuck after he's given up a bunch of ground and still can't manage it; backside G peels off on Demens as the FB kicks Morgan. Both LBs hold their ground well enough but Martin getting blown up means a big crease and a first down. Kovacs comes in to tackle.
M13 1 10 I-Form Big 46 bear Run N/A Iso Demens 3
Vandenberg sees the bear front and checks. They run away from it, to ungood effect. Campbell(-0.5) gets kicked and pancaked. Morgan(+1) is moving to the play at the snap and takes on the FB at the LOS, funneling back to help. Demens(+0.5) does not get a blocker because RVB(+1) tripped his dude, whether accidental or not. Demens makes a decent tackle attempt but does give up a yard or two YAC before the rest of the defense arrives.
M10 2 7 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle TE flat Kovacs 9
Kovacs(-1, pressure -1) is sent on a backside blitz and sucks in on the run fake instead of getting in Vandenberg's face. Morgan(-1, cover -1) does the same thing on the TE drag route, opening it up; Woolfolk(+1) does a good job of reading it and almost getting to it but can't; he tackles at the one.
M1 1 G Goal line Goal line Pass N/A PA TE flat -- 1
If you're going to call it, first down is the time. Damn you Ferentz. No minuses assigned for a difficult job not quite done.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 6-14, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass N/A WR pass scramble Demens 7
Hawthorne comes in. Iowa goes for the jugular by running an end-around pass; no sale from the secondary(cover +1). McNutt runs. Ryan(+1) does a good job of stringing it out and live I was mad at Hawthorne but he is the LB away from this play and he beats Demens(-1) to the sideline by yards. He still takes a crappy angle(-0.5) and gives up an extra couple yards.
M24 2 3 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen -3
Iowa derfs on their blocking and lets RVB(+3) through clean. He does take a good angle under the tackle and to the ballcarrier, getting the TFL by himself, so nice job. RPS +1.
M27 3 6 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Avery 2
Not sure what Iowa is thinking here but they've got no one to block Avery on this play, so Avery(+1, cover +1) shoots up into McNutt and grabs him. He ends up missing the tackle but takes so long to do so three guys grab McNutt after two yards. I think Iowa might have screwed something up here.
Drive Notes: FG, 6-17, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Scramble Van Bergen 6
Coverage(+2) is good but pressure(-2) is stoned; Van Bergen(-1) is trying to get to Vandenberg and gets out of his lane, opening up a scramble.
O31 2 4 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen 9
RVB(-1) sealed quickly; Demens(-1) gets locked away by a guy releasing off RVB, and that's enough for a crease. Coker picks up like 4 YAC on the Woolfolk(-0.5) tackle.
O40 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Sack Heininger -8
Martin(+2) chucks a center by him and starts attacking vertically once he reads the PA,which draws attention from the G and FB. His motion upfield accidentally takes out the legs of the guy blocking Heininger. Heininger(+2) takes advantage of the opportunity to sack. (Pressure +2)
O32 2 18 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Morgan 2
Running at the gap between martin and WDE Black. Morgan(+1.5) runs downhill at the FB and meets him at the line; Black(+1) chucks his blocker to the outside. Martin(+0.5) does a decent job against a double to not provide a cutback lane. Play goes nowhere.
O34 3 16 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Sack Roh -4
There are like two DL with Kovacs, Morgan, and Demens hanging around the line and Martin a quasi-LB. Michigan zone blitzes, sending only four. As Martin drops into a short zone right in front of a TE slant. Vandenberg pumps, freaks out, starts running out of the pocket, and gets sacked by Roh(+2). Cover +1, Pressure +1, RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-17, 11 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 4
Running away from Martin at the overloaded side of the line; Roh(-0.5) manages to get outside and does not give ground but ends giving too much width. Morgan(+0.5) takes on a block okay and funnels to help; Demens(+0.5) fights through a block to get to the hole and tackle. Heininger may have had a play a couple yards further upfield but he was held. Refs -1.
O44 2 6 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Martin -3
They again run away from Martin; Martin(+2) slants under the guard as the C releases immediately—not a good idea—and runs right into Coker's path. Heininger(+0.5) also beat his block and would have been there to finish the play if necessary.
O41 3 9 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Slant Morgan Inc
Michigan tips a zone blitz early. It looks like it's about to get picked up when Vandenberg releases the ball seemingly too early. He's got two receivers within about a yard of each other. Morgan(+2, cover +2) makes the hash to hash zone drop with aplomb, getting a PBU on a ball that if better thrown could have been a pick. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-17, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA hitch Countess 8
Easy pitch and catch that Countess(-1, cover -1) allows to be turned up for 4 YAC.
O46 2 2 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Morgan 3
Heininger(+1) fights through a single block to the hole and absorbs the FB. Coker has to cut behind. Morgan(+0.5) scrapes to the hole and hits at about the LOS; Coker falls forward. That's life against Coker. Martin(-1) was blown out by a double, which gave Coker the room.
O49 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 4
No real creases. Martin(+0.5) fights through a double okay and Demens(+0.5) pops a releasing G near enough to the LOS to convince Coker to cut back. Heininger(+0.5) also deals with a double in a moderately effective way, preventing the second guy from really doing anything to Morgan. Coker falls as he passes the LOS; Morgan probably would have stopped this for a similar gain anyway.
M47 2 6 I-Form 46 bear Pass N/A Hitch Countess Inc
Vandenberg checks when he sees bear + man coverage. He goes after Countess on a McNutt hitch; Countess(+2, cover +2) is right there to break it up. Nice play. RVB(+0.5) was getting some pressure, perhaps forcing an inadvisable throw.
M47 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd 15
Michigan shifts late and blitzes. Avery(-1) doesn't time it that well and is about a yard or two away from crushing Vandenberg from behind when he gets the ball off to McNutt. McNutt got separation from the press coverage of Floyd(-1, cover -1)
M32 1 10 Ace big 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen 2
Third TE motions over Beyer and then runs straight to the safety. Weird. Iowa doubles RVB and looks like they will seal him and get a crease but he manages to get playside of the interior guy(+0.5) and force a cutback. Beyer(+0.5) fends off a block and starts tackling from behind when Martin(+1) and Demens(+0.5) meet him in the hole.
M30 2 8 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Countess 6
Countess(-1) is a little late here and is very fortunate his desperate lunging arm tackle(-1) brings McNutt down. A little more balance and this is six on a nothing hitch.
M24 3 2 I-Form Big 46 bear Pass 5 Quick out Floyd 4
This is tough to stop if executed well; it's a three yard route. Floyd can't do it, but I won't ding him.
M20 1 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 7
Campbell(-2) in; he is easily slashed to the ground by the backside G. Heininger(+0.5) does a good job of cutting off the frontside but that cutback is there all day with the NT on his knees at the LOS. Morgan, getting blocked to the other side, reaches out an arm and slows Coker down but there's no way that's actually going to get him to the ground. Kovacs comes up and gets plowed over, but that's not his fault. That's physics.
M13 2 3 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 4 PA throwaway Demens Inc
Kovacs rolls up. Iowa goes play action with essentially a one-man route... McNutt jogs off the LOS as a TE releases. No sale from Demens(+1); Woolfolk(+0.5) is over the top and Vandenberg chucks it OOB. Weird call. Cover +1.
M13 3 3 I-Form Big 46 bear Run N/A Lead zone Roh 13
Beyer and Ryan in the game at the same time, with Beyer the rolled up LB on the line. Kovacs is going in man with the TE coming across the formation. Roh(-2) gets blown up by that TE; crushed to the inside that is it for the line. Morgan(-2) runs straight into the LOS. Kovacs has to keep contain and gets kicked out; TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 9-24, 10 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA Dig Floyd 24
Floyd(-0.5, cover -1) beaten on a dig route for a round first-down yardage; Woolfolk(-1, tackling -1) whiffs embarrassingly on the tackle, running right by the dude without even getting a hand on him and banging into Demens. Morgan(-1) vacated his zone by biting on the PA as well.
O48 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Slant Floyd Inc
An I form version of QB oh noes with the entire line blocking as if it's a run and Iowa throwing a wide open slant against Floyd(-1, cover -1); dropped. RPS -1.
O48 2 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Heininger 9
Iowa runs at the strong side of the line. Martin(+1) beats the G and takes out the FB. Heininger(-1) is kicked out big time; Demens(-1) takes a block a couple yards downfield from a releasing G. Beyer(-1) fails to read the play and gets himself out of position, then absorbs Coker, falling backwards and giving up near first down yardage.
M43 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Demens 0
Beyer and Ryan in. Beyer rolls to the line when Iowa evens its strength so you've got a 4-3 under with SLBs on both sides of the line, basically. Heininger(+0.5) and Morgan(+1) do well enough on the playside to force a cutback, with Morgan impacting the FB at the LOS and removing any hole. Demens(+3) sees the iso and roars at the line, taking on a block from the second guy releasing off Martin at the LOS and getting outside of it. Coker runs into him and Demens friggin' sticks the guy, holding Coker not six inches from where the impact happened until the cavalry arrives. That is almost unbelievable.
M43 4 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Penalty N/A False start -- -5
Illegal snap prevents Ferentz from going for it here in a horrifying, exactly-right game theory play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 16-24, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 4
Beyer(+0.5) sets up well on the outside, restricting space but not offering a bounce. RVB(+0.5) is blown out by a double but recovers after the second guy releases downfield to trip Coker a couple yards downfield. Need Demens(-1) to do better here; he took a block and got shoved back, eventually doing nothing.
O40 2 6 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 5
Demens(+0.5) hits the LOS quickly and Martin(+0.5) shoots to the intended spot, forcing a cutback. Heininger(-1) has been blown off the ball by a double, so it's there, but he fights through the block; Morgan(-1) is the bigger issue since he took the block of the other guy and lets Coker outside. He gets off it to tackle but momentum carries them both forward three yards before they run into Kovacs and his blocker.
O45 3 1 Goal line Goal line Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan -1
Beyer and Ryan to one side of the line in a bear front. Iowa runs power at them. It is a heap of bodies. Ryan(+2) takes on a TE's block and sheds it to the outside, falling into Coker's feet in the backfield as Demens(+1) reads the G pull and scrapes to the hole on the outside; he's not needed because Ryan tackles but he would be there if needed. RVB and Martin(+0.5 each) help by standing up to double well enough that Coker couldn't try to cut it inside.
Drive Notes: Punt, 16-24, 2 min 4th Q. Michigan's next drive is the rest of the game. EOG.

That was totally acceptable.


Was it better than acceptable?

No. It was exactly acceptable despite the low yardage totals. That was a short game. Iowa only had nine drives and scored long touchdowns on three of them; they did not turn the ball over. They didn't even come particularly close—the closest thing was a Desmond Morgan PBU (about which more later) that would have been a spectacular catch.

Iowa averaged 6.7 yards per passing play* and 4.6 per rush. That's meh. Vandenberg's actual YPA was 8.1—not good; Iowa averaged 5.3 yards a play. Etc. It all points to an average performance against an average offense. Iowa is hovering around 60 in all the yardage metrics and is 29th in FEI, Michigan gave up an average number of points, etc. etc.

*[IE: I added in Vandenberg's rushes to get 167 yards on 25 attempts]

But acceptable is good?

Excellence is good. Acceptable is acceptable, which is unbelievable in this context.

I'm confused.

This is what it's like to live in GERG's head, I think.


Okay, yeah, that's a good idea. Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 11 4 7 Busy, busy. TFL or two and usual level of stoutness.
Martin 17.5 4 13.5 Essentially unblockable. What we expected from him the whole year. Think Iowa's inside zone game plays into his strengths.
Roh 3 2.5 0.5 Sack was kind of a gift from freaked Vandenberg. Didn't do much else.
Brink - - - DNP
Heininger 7.5 2 5.5 Quality day. Will take this the rest of the year.
Black 2 2 0 Limited time.
Campbell - 4.5 -4.5 Got cut to the ground and was a major culprit on two long runs.
TOTAL 41 19 22 The Mike Martin we've been waiting for; 2:1 ratio is the usual at this point.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 9 12.5 -3.5 Not as bad as you might think, but still a problem.
Demens 10 6 4 Stuck Coker cold a half yard from a critical third down conversion. I be like dang.
Ryan 3 - 3 Michigan missed him.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP
Beyer 1 2 -1 Lacks the impact of Ryan, didn't do anything too obviously wrong.
Hawthorne - 0.5 -0.5 Brief cameo.
C. Gordon - - - One play, I think.
TOTAL 23 21 2 Average average average.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 0.5 4.5 -4 Struggled with McNutt.
Avery 1 1 0 Seems quality at nickel.
Woolfolk 1.5 3 -1.5 Tackling questionable, not tested deep.
Kovacs 2.5 2 0.5 Ah, Kovacs.
T. Gordon - - - DNP(!)
Countess 4 6 -2 Great day except for the 44 yards that were all on him.
Van Slyke - - - DNP
TOTAL 9.5 16.5 -7 A bit of a letdown, but expected given opposition.
Pressure 8 6 2 Decent job; few blitzes.
Coverage 11 14 -3 Good recovery after weak start.
Tackling 1 5 13% Coker.
RPS 7 6 1 Old school push.

Martin was crazy good. Just 1.5 TFLs but was the primary force for a large chunk of Iowa's other not-so-good plays, including the Heininger sack on which three guys tried to block Martin and Heininger squeezed through some befuddled dudes. This was all day:

Heininger, meanwhile, had his best day as a Wolverine. He looked like an above-average Big Ten player. I wonder if Iowa's interior line is not very good.

The linebackers felt Ryan's absence mostly in his lack of playmaking—both ways. Beyer was out there but not tested often. Demens seems to be topping out at just okay, but he had one of his better games of the year. Twice he took on a lead block and came off it to tackle Coker, and the second was a critical play I still find hard to believe:

If you could freeze time at the moment it became clear Coker was going to cut back into a blocked Demens a yard from the first down, what kind of odds would you get on a stop? I submit the odds would be very low.

The secondary… well, I think we knew something like this was coming. Countess froshderped that long completion on Iowa's first drive and Floyd is just never going to do well against top flight receivers. That's life.


He obviously had some problems but since we can now ask the coordinators direct questions and get straight answers we know it's a little more complicated than just that:

The first play of Iowa's third drive was an inside zone that bounced outside the end for ten yards. Roh dove inside the tackle. Was that something you called? “That would be me. In coaching Craig and watching everything they did -- I know exactly what you’re talking about -- every game that they’ve played so far this year, they’ve brought the tight end in motion, and he blocked out on the end man. Well when that tight end is in Craig’s area right there, most times you have him attack that tight end. Well they kind of wanted you to do that in other games, so now the tackle has an angle on you and he can knock you out farther. So I just told him, I said, ‘Craig, don’t mess with that. When that guy comes over in motion, just attack the tackle and hold the edge on the tackle.’ Looking back on it, I told him straight out, I said, ‘Craig, they changed. They did the same thing Michigan State did and they hadn’t done it all year. They kind of influenced him to keep him from being able to attack that tight end. That’s not him.”

MGoQuery: Was Desmond Morgan supposed to scrape over the top? “Desmond Morgan’s supposed to stack behind him. He’s not running outside of him. Because Craig didn’t play through the tight end like he probably thought he should have, and I wish I would have told him to do that, the guy got knocked back a little bit and got kind of in Desmond’s way and he got caught up in the trash. That’s what happened on that one.”

My natural inclination on that play is to ding Morgan because a junior dives inside and a freshman doesn't come over the top to pick up the trash. It turns out this is one of those hidden RPS things that we can never know, or at least couldn't before the Great Hoke Coordinator Presser Revolution, and that this is somewhat on Roh but mostly an RPS thing.

I do think Morgan has the opportunity to read what's going on in front of him and adjust to the changing situation to make a great play… when he's a junior, and if he's an All Big Ten level player. So I don't know if giving Morgan a –2 on the first Coker touchdown is actually right since Black might be freelancing inappropriately and Morgan's assignment is not something that matches my expectations. This is a necessary limitation of not actually being Greg Mattison. As always, numbers in these posts are helpful summaries and useful… but not gospel.

Anyway, Morgan did some good stuff. He actually executed a successful hash to hash zone drop:

I've seen a bunch of people try that this year. No one has actually done it until then.

Now that we've got the defending out of the way… yeesh, Morgan had some problems. This is not even a little bit of a surprise when you run a freshman out against Marcus Coker and Iowa's zone running game. It's a sore spot, though:

That is not good. /science!

Is there anything you have ever loved in your whole life more than the coordinator pressers?

Not related to football media. I think they even beat out Star Control II. I mean, you can ask Mattison about a specific ten-yard run in the first quarter and he knows exactly what you're talking about and can explain what happened. No longer do we have to have months-long arguments about whether Kenny Demens or a corner was the problem on a 44-yard drag. We can just ask.

I know I've been critical of Borges but Borges's pressers are about 95% as awesome as Mattison's. While I'm frustrated with the steep costs of the transition (on offense, anyway), reading the presser transcriptions from Heiko fills me with confidence this is going to be a national program once they get the pieces they need in. The contrast between this and GERG is immense.

Any other worries pop up?

Yeah, this was not a good game for Campbell. Contrast the above video, where Campbell gets put on his knees, with anything Mike Martin did. Campbell went down on two of the few snaps he was in and both of those turned into big runs. If Campbell is on his feet and moving on the above, does Morgan still run up into that gap? Maybe, maybe not. The dropoff from Martin to Campbell in this game was ominous. With Heininger established Michigan is now replacing 3/4ths of their defensive line with not a whole lot of playing time going to backup options.


Martin had his best day of the year; Heininger and RVB also played well. Mattison's short-yardage attack is killing people.


Countess is going to be a real good time, with emphasis on going to be. Floyd can't quite check McNutt, and the wildly oscillating item that is Desmond Morgan ended up considerably in the red.

What does it mean for Illinois and the future?

I'm sure the Illini will test Michigan with the triple option after watching them struggle with it against Northwestern… but I think Michigan will have ironed out many of their issues.

Unfortunately, AJ Jenkins is going to be an issue. I assume Woolfolk will be over the top on him. That will be a test for a guy who's bounced back and forth from safety and hasn't really gotten his feet under him since returning from his ankle injury.

As for the near term future, it looks like Cam Gordon is way down the depth chart and the defensive line is going to be an issue next year. On the bright side, for the rest of this year it looks like we may be getting an improved (healthy?) version of Mike Martin and Will Heininger seems to be approaching average.

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-9-11: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-9-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 9th, 2011 at 2:18 PM

News bullets and other important items:

  • Delonte Hollowell had his redshirt burned two weeks ago. 
  • There will be some rotation between Thomas Gordon and Troy Woolfolk vs. Illinois regardless of which one wins the spot in practice.
  • Ricky Barnum still limited in practice. Hoke says he "will play," however.

Brady Hoke

from file

Opening remarks: “I’m going to make a brief statement just regarding everything up at Penn State. One thing I can tell you, we have an utmost respect for what coach Paterno’s done on the field. It’s really a situation that’s obviously unfortunate, but it’s one that doesn’t affect us. We’ve got to worry about Michigan and the decision that we make in getting ready for this week and going to Illinois and winning a football game.

“Now practice yesterday was good. I like it. I liked how they competed. I liked how they came out, had a lot of energy, and they fought like heck.”

(more after the jump)

Picture Pages: Mediocre Pitch Sweep

Picture Pages: Mediocre Pitch Sweep

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2011 at 12:29 PM

It's Complain About Blocking day in the Michigan blogosphere, what with me complaining about blocking and BWS complaining about blocking and—hey!—me complaining about blocking again. Which is this.

This is a mild complaint on another "ten guys" play. Michigan got Iowa fairly well blocked thanks to their alignment, but one mistake far away from everything ends up submarining a winning playcall.

It's Michigan's second play of the game. Robinson has just slipped while cutting, turning a decent gain into a single yard. On second and nine Michigan comes out in a tight ace set with both TEs in a two-point stance. Nominally this is a passing formation what with the TEs all standing up, but formations like this often result in outside runs this year.


On the snap Roundtree, Koger, and Lewan block down, with Schofield and Molk pulling. Patrick Omameh is going to cut the backside tackle… or at least he's going to try. His failure to creates a CHAIN REACTION that DESTROYS THE REACTOR:


Hmm. This isn't good. The backside DT isn't delayed at all. A TFL is possible here. TFLs are not nice.


Meanwhile, there is good work being done on the playside. Koger and Lewan have gotten movement on their guys and Roundtree is cracking down on the playside LB with a great angle.

Molk perceives the threat and removes the threat of the DT with his back. That takes the TFL off the table. Unfortunately, Koger and Lewan have now lost their guys playside. Roundtree does get the linebacker:


At the moment of truth Toussaint does have a crease because Roundtree's block cuts off Koger's guy and Molk slowing has prevented that DT from making the play; Schofield has kicked out the corner.


Unfortunately, there is no lead block, and there is a safety. With the playside DT flowing down the line there's nowhere to go.


On third and five Robinson gets quick pressure and has no one open, so he chucks it well past everyone.


Items of Interest

Ten angry men. So… yeah. Borges basically got Iowa here. Look at the alignment of the linebackers:


They're shifted well to the wide side, assuming that the outside run will come behind Hemingway's block. That gives Michigan a numbers advantage to the playside and gives Roundtree a super easy block on the most dangerous linebacker.

That's enough to get Toussaint a crease on the sideline. If Molk is hanging out being all blocky chances are this sets Michigan up in a third and short. But because of whiff by Omameh so total it threatens to allow a guy on the backside of the play to tackle on a pitch sweep Molk has to bail and unblocked safety is unblocked.

Receivers tight to the line == outside run. Not all the time, of course, but frequently.

These defensive ends are not Purdue defensive ends. Remember Purdue, when a defensive end was a gnome on ice skates?

Good times. Michigan was not playing Purdue in this game. (This is why it was in Iowa.) Koger loses his guy to the outside, and as you can see in the left frame above #79 is threatening enough to remove any hope of a cutback behind Lewan. He's not making the play, but he's doing enough to let some other guys do it. This was a theme.

I don't think Michigan's going to have much better luck with the rest of the defenses on the schedule. Koger's monster day against Purdue looks like an outlier based on the opposition, not a sudden renaissance. NFL scouting of him is middling overall and negative on his blocking:

Isn’t a real balance blocker. Struggles to keep feet under him, lunges into contact and doesn’t create much power as an in-line guy. Possesses a naturally strong frame, but his inability to gain leverage and maintain balance kills him at the point. Possesses long arms and strong hands that allow him to stick initially when he gets his hands on you, but is still learning the nuances of being a consistent run blocker.

That was pre-season; NFP's Wes Bunting re-iterated that recently in a post I can't find.

This is going to be ugly next year when the only options are Brandon Moore, Ricardo Miller, and freshmen. People are talking up AJ Williams as a potential tackle but I think Michigan would love to keep him at tight end if this is at all possible. Having an edge blocker like Williams is a critical piece of a manball offense. Even if Williams is a tackle long term I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't redshirt and Borges uses him as an extra OL. Preseason he talked about wanting to install an extra tackle package but couldn't because he didn't actually have any extra tackles.

Molk == SMRT. The reason this is a modest gain instead of a TFL is Molk's awareness. He catches a glimpse of an Iowa player in his peripheral vision and immediately knows this is trouble. If he had continued on his pull no one would have blamed him—or at least no one would have blamed him much.

He's adapted fairly well to the new system. Not every center can pull effectively. He certainly can, and while he's not an in-line mauler he is generating push more consistently than either of the guards. I predict Michigan misses him badly next year.