This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis Comment Count

Seth November 12th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

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

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

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


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


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: Minnesota

Opponent Recap: Minnesota Comment Count

Heiko January 26th, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Previously: Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State

[Note: I plan to do these twice a week from now on so that we (I) can have closure with the 2011 season by sometime in February. Apologies if you find this content dated, but since there are people still writing papers about dinosaurs, I feel somewhat timely, relatively speaking.]




  • @ No. 25 USC, 17-19 (L)
  • New Mexico State, 21-28 (L)
  • Miami (NTM), 29-23 (W)
  • North Dakota State, 24-37 (L)
  • @ No. 19 Michigan, 0-58 (L)
  • @ Purdue, 17-45 (L)
  • No. 13 Nebraska, 14-41 (L)
  • Iowa, 22-21 (W)
  • @ No. 17 Michigan State, 24-31 (L)
  • No. 18 Wisconsin, 13-42 (L)
  • @ Northwestern, 13-28 (L)
  • Illinois, 27-7 (W)

Record: 3-9 overall, 2-6 B1G, 6th place Bo Division


  Offense Defense
Rush: 160.0 ypg, 56th 186.4 ypg, 91st
Pass: 150.3 ypg, 109th 216.7 ypg, 49th
Total: 310.3 ypg, 110th 403.1 ypg, 77th
Scoring: 18.4 ppg, 111th 31.7 ppg, 94th
T/O margin: -8, 100th

Recap: There was a time not too long ago when Michigan fans could look at a team with a new coach that had finished a season with a 3-9 record and say, “I have no idea know what that’s like, but that must be terrible.”

Now that we know exactly what that’s like -- and yeah, it’s pretty terrible -- let’s take a closer look at how coach Jerry Kill and his Minnesota squad ended the season 3-9 and weep together as repressed memories begin to surface.

(more after the jump)


Opponent Watch: Week 12

Opponent Watch: Week 12 Comment Count

Heiko November 23rd, 2011 at 11:32 AM

(Wait. Which one is Michigan playing again?)

About Last Weekend:

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

"Guess why I smile a lot."


"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 Comment Count

Heiko November 15th, 2011 at 3:39 PM

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

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

About Last Saturday:

No. 24 Michigan 31, Illinois 14 (W)


The Road Ahead:

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

David Swanson / Philadelphia Inquirer


  • 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, It's Not Last Year This Year

Dear Diary, It's Not Last Year This Year Comment Count

Seth October 7th, 2011 at 9:29 AM


The difference between this season and 2009-'10: 100 percent more Jug.}
Photo: Eric Upchurch.

[ED: LATE BREAKING is this week's edition of Pick Six.]

Michigan is 5-0 and beat a Big Ten team 58-0. The only thing tempering effusive celebration and Pasadenic predictions right now is Michigan made it to 5-0 last year too. Quick this year v. last year table (EDIT: now FIXED):

2010 2011
W 30-10 v UConnn W 34-10 v WMU
W 28-24 @Notre Dame W 35-31 v Notre Dame
W 42-37 v UMass W 31-3 v EMU
W 42-35 @Indiana W 28-7 v SD State
W 65-21 v BGSU W 58-0 v Minnesota

I realigned '10 a bit to kinda sorta match the level of competition (so like beating up on BGSU = beating up on Minnesota) but last year had two road games. It also had an FCS team put up 37 and Indiana put up 35, while the season on the right side seems to keep getting better as it goes along. "This isn't last year!" was this week's rallying cry in the diaries, where justingoblue is trying to figure out how tough the schedule has been so far, and 909Dewey is taking way too small sample sizes to put 58-0 over Minnesota in the context of Michigan 2005-present.

Blazefire is preparing himself for a "Rationality Juncture," ie the swings that sports fandom brings:

We are fans because we believed that a five foot ninja could stop North Dakota. We are fans because we believed Darius Morris would shoot successfully. We are fans because we believed in 30 seconds.

This one paragraph puts him in the running for Diarist of the Week. Of course he wouldn't have a chance except BlueSeoul is exempt from winning. That does not exempt you from reading his latest masterpiece Game Wraps:

Little Brown Jug Total Gopher Destructo, with pics:


MSU-OSU Total Rival Self-Destructo, with pics:


How we know it's not 2010: Michigan State actually played Ohio State.

While we're on the subject of Mansmash vs. Brotough, see if you can guess which of the following names are 2013 prospects recently profiled by Ace, and which are MST3K space jocks:

Laquon Treadwell Fist Rockbone Brick Hardmeat Lump Beefbroth
Blast Hardcheese Stump Beefnoss Taco Charlton Shaq Wiggins
De'Niro Laster Smash Lampjaw Wit Slagcheek Touch Rustrod
Slap Bulkhead Punch Rockgroin Punch Sideiron Reif Blastbody
Bold Bigflank Buck Plankchest Gristle McThornbody Big McLargehuge
Splint Chesthair Stump Junkman Blake Fistcrunch Jake Butt
Flint Ironstag Dirk Hardpeck Buff Hardpack Smoke Manmuscle
Bolt Vanderhuge Tom Tyner Bob Johnson Beat Punchbeef
Thick McRunfast Rip Steakface Blast Thickneck Hack Blowfist
Buff Drinklots Blake Slamrock Crunch Buttsteak Roll Fizzlebeef
Grunt Slamchest Rod Bonemeal Slabs Quadthrust Jus Gritzer

Big McLargehuge has camped at Michigan but needs to improve his shape before he earns a Michigan offer. This week's points bonus opportunity goes to whoever can best apply the above names to characters from this year's OSU-MSU debacle. Last week's goes to Gwhizz for his chewbacca costume.

After the jump, more evidence that 2011 =/= 2010, and more diaries.


Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Minnesota Comment Count

Brian October 6th, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Substitution notes: Obviously there was Gardner. Hopkins played quite a bit of fullback and got a couple carries. Shaw got a little run today after missing SDSU entirely. Watson appears to have locked down the second TE spot. Unless he shows up against Purdue, Mike Cox has probably seen his career end without even the random 50-yard run against a terrible opponent.

On the line, Barnum missed the game and was replaced by Schofield. When Michigan put in its second team line it read Schofield-Burzynski-Khoury-Omameh-Mealer from left to right. Burzynski is a redshirt freshman walk-on who the official site notes has been liked four times on Facebook.

Formation notes: Fritz has been discussed plenty already, but here's Fritz anyway:


Denard is the left wingback, Smith the right, Toussaint deep. It seemed like they were flipping Denard when they were on the other hash.

The usual other than that with even less under center. When they went to it they usually passed, which is a really weird thing to realize. "Oh, it's the I. They must be passing." /head explodes

Show? Show.


Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Gallon 9
Easy pitch and catch against soft coverage. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M29 2 1 Fritz 3 1 1 Base 4-3 Run Speed option Toussaint -4
For a formation that's never been run before Minnesota sure is all over this. They shift two DBs to the TE side of the formation and those guys allow the Gophers to maintain the edge pretty easily here. This looks like a blitz specifically designed to contain a speed option handoff from an old school T formation. Go figure. (Gardner is totally uncovered, FWIW... if this was a called waggle he would be on the edge without a guy within 10 yards of him.) Koger really has no chance to seal the DB outside of him and then there's another guy further outside; Smith(-1) runs right by him to block a safety and when Robinson pitches that guy zips out on Toussaint for a TFL. RPS -2. Playside OL had done a pretty good job of dealing with this, FWIW.
RUN+: Huyge(0.5) RUN-: Smith
M25 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB Draw Robinson 13
Safety walks down for an extra guy. It matters not. The key here is Robinson's patience. Live I was watching Gallon(+1), who plants that safety in the box, and then is looking at Robinson thinking “why don't you run?” This delay gets the Gopher OL way upfield and causes the LBs to start pass-dropping just as Denard takes off. Schofield(+1) kicks a DT out to provide a lane; Smith gets out of the backfield and uses his agility to redirect himself into the MLB. Robinson(+1) reads his lanes and jukes past one guy Koger(+0.5) kind of blocked, hitting the secondary.
RUN+: Gallon, Robinson, Smith, Koger(+0.5), Schofield RUN-:
M38 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Zone read iso Toussaint 35
Hopkins the second TB. This is basically an old-school iso from a shotgun formation with the zone read fake holding a guy outside, which means it plays out like an inside zone with a lead blocker. Molk(+1) and Schofield(+1) crush the NT to his knees, sealing him. Molk pops out to seal someone on the second level, but there's no one to block. Omameh(+1) kicks out the other NT. Hopkins(+2) shoots down into the hole and thumps the MLB out of it, getting another LB caught up in the carnage. Toussaint(+1) hits the hole hard, bursting into the secondary and running through an attempted ankle tackle; he is one step from a touchdown but the tackle attempt made him break stride and that gives the last Gopher defender the foot he needs to drag him down from behind. Picture-paged.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield, Toussaint, Omameh, Hopkins(2) RUN-:
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Smith 6
Toussaint motions out to WR. I think Denard should pull this since the end on that side is getting blocked and Gallon can come down to crack the safety; test the edge here. As it is Schofield(+1) sees his man dive playside and pushes him past the play; Lewan(-1) does not seal the DE and loses him to the interior. Smith has a big hole but it's one filled by an unblocked LB. Smith(+1) cuts past him near the LOS and while the guy does grab him he's getting dragged forward. Molk(+1) maintains a second level block a long time, which gives Smith an extra couple yards when he steps through the first LB's tackle.
RUN+: Smith, Molk, Schofield RUN-: Lewan
O21 2 4 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run QB iso Robinson 18
Minnesota shifts late and I imagine Molk(-1) must have busted this because he's got a guy shaded over him and just runs past, leaving Omameh(+1) a super tough job as he tries to do anything with a guy flying upfield a yard inside of him. He manages to shove the dude, who ends up falling. This forces Denard playside, where Schofield(-1) got beat by another shifted DL. Smith(+2) manages to squeeze through the hole, which gets a bump on the guy to prevent him from hitting Denard immediately. Denard(+2) slows up, cuts back upfield of the two guys on the left side of the line, and then pops back outside as Smith earns his second plus by plugging the nearest linebacker. Denard breaks contain and is into the secondary, where he jukes a safety(+1) before getting tripped near the goal line.
RUN+: Omameh, Smith(2), Robinson(3) RUN-: Schofield, Molk
O3 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Zone read dive Smith 3
Lewan(+2 blows up the playside DE, who moves inside, as does the LB, giving up the corner. Smith(+1) reads it and takes the easy TD.
RUN+: Lewan(2), Smith RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Pass PA RB Go Hopkins 28
Zone read PA off the iso action sees Hopkins fly at the defense like he did on the 35-yard Toussaint run… only to run right by them. With no deep help Robinson can loft a soft touch pass over the defense right into Hopkins, who makes the catch. Excellent playcall that fits with the earlier one and excellent execution. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2). Picture-paged.
O47 1 10 Fritz 3 1 1 4-3 under Run Counter pitch Toussaint 15
Another interlocking play as the speed option action is met with Toussaint heading the opposite way and the quick pitch. Minnesota suckered. Five different players go with the fake and the only guy anywhere near it is a DT dropping out. Roundtree(-1) whiffs his downfield block, allowing the CB to set up about eight yards deep; Toussaint jukes him and is about to jet past when that guy grabs his jersey and ropes him to the ground. Juke still picked up eight or so. RPS +2. Got a little picture-page attention itself.
RUN+: Toussaint RUN-: Roundtree
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA Deep Hitch Hemingway 16
PA dive fake with Schofield pulling backside to block EMLOS. Line gives Robinson forever; he pumps once and then hits Hemingway on a deep hitch about 15 yards downfield. Good throw, a tiny bit behind him—high but don't mind that since it's Hemingway. Do think Denard is late here; better Ds might make a play on this ball as they read the routes. (CA, 3, protection 3/3) Also on replay it looks like Robinson missed an easy touchdown to Roundtree.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Sprint counter Shaw 8
Not a draw; Lewan(!) pulls all the way from left tackle to the backside of the play. Huyge is expecting to kick the DE out only to see him dive inside, which cuts off Lewan at the same time it opens the corner up wide. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) blew up the nose, sealed him, and created a linebacker wall that they didn't need because of the counter action but it's nice to have anyway. Gallon(+1) blows up a safety coming down on the edge, and Shaw is open on the corner. Blue Seoul knocked him for not reading the crackback and then dancing further on the outside. I bet this is why the coaches are going with Toussaint and Smith, but I won't minus. RPS +1. BWS picture-paged.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Gallon, Schofield RUN-:
O8 2 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 4-4 Run Power off tackle Shaw -1
Insert liberation society rant. Enjoy continued Bornsteining of I-form power. Etc. Playside LB spills this; getting inside of Watson(-2) blows the play up as one Minnesota defender takes out three blockers. Shaw dances in the backfield a bit but it's understandable since he's got nowhere to go; he's tackled by a cast of thousands in the backfield. RUN-: Watson(2), Shaw, Koger
O9 3 3 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB power Robinson 9
Robinson checks to this, a power at the gap in the Minnesota line. Minnesota overloads the outside to the playside and slants the other way, making three DL irrelevant. Smith(+1) kicks out the interior LB playside; the outside guy starts peeling back. Huyge(+0.5) gets an easy downfield block on a free release; Schofield(+0.5) almost but does not quite whiff on the other LB, eventually getting enough of a push to get Denard through the line. Peeling LB peels; Denard runs through his tackle. Since the three WRs to that side are DOMINATING the DBs Denard can walk in.
RUN+: Dileo, Hemingway, Roundtree, Huyge(0.5), Schofield(0.5), Smith, Denard RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 6 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Pass Throwback screen Gallon 11
Not tunnel screen; farther outside. Gophers bite hard on the play action, with literally nine guys in the box going after the handoff fake. Gallon wide open, pitch and catch, playside corner does a great job to fend off Lewan so this doesn't turn into a touchdown. Gallon still picks up the first easily. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 under Pass Hitch Gallon 9
CB way, way off, easy pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M35 2 1 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel under Run Zone read dive Smith 10
Molk and Omameh(+1 each) club the NT out of the hole; he slides outside so Molk pops off onto the MLB, or at least he would if the MLB wasn't flowing into a backside hole no one is in. Minnesota is not good. Schofield does well enough with the other DT that the clubbing provides a crease; LB over the slot receiver comes down too fast for Hemingway to block him without drawing a flag—why not have Dileo, lined up inside, plug this guy? Anyway, Smith hits it up fast and almost runs through the tackle attempt but not quite.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Schofield, Smith RUN-:
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Run QB power Robinson 3
Denard checks, flipping Toussaint to the other side; Minnesota checks in response. Michigan is trying to run power to the wide side of the field; Minnesota slants their line away from it and flows LBs over the top. Schofield is pulling; he gets bumped a bit by the dude slanting under Omameh(-1). Koger(+1) blows up the playside DE and Toussaint(+0.5) kicks out the EMLOS; Schofield does get to the hole to block the LB filling it but because of the delay he's closer to the LOS than you'd like. LB sets up to the inside and manages to make a diving ankle tackle before Robinson can burst into the secondary.
RUN+: Koger, Toussaint(+0.5) RUN-: Omameh
M48 2 7 Fritz 3 1 1 4-3 under Pass Scramble Gardner 2
Speed option action sees Denard pull up and throw it back to Gardner for a double pass; Lewan(-1) is late getting out there and a corner's flowing up to pressure Gardner; he avoids the guy and takes off. (PR, N/A, 0/1, Lewan) Roundtree was bursting past the one guy in deep coverage and got blatantly held. Refs -1.
50 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Hemingway 12
Easy candy throws as Minnesota sends the world's saddest six-man rush. It gets nowhere near Denard; corner is nowhere near the little hitch that easily picks up the first down. Minnesota is not good. (CA, 3, protection 3/3) Hemingway's inexplicable YAC knack gets a half-dozen more.
O38 1 10 Fritz 3 1 1 Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Gardner 15
Speed option action with no handoff and a rollout into an intended throw. Minnesota is throwing some sort of blitz at this; backside DT twists outside, then starts running after the fake; backside DE drops off into a short zone. Gardner sees he has the corner and just takes off. (SCR, N/A, NA)
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA Hitch Hemingway 6
QB iso action sees Dileo get wide open but Denard is looking further outside since DBs are again playing in the parking lot. Simple hitch to Hemingway goes for five yards plus YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O17 2 4 Ace trips bunch 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass RB pass Dileo 17
This is Michigan's pitch formation—at least it was the only time they've done it thus far this year—and they run the pitch. Smith does a great job of selling the run long enough for Minnesota to suck up; Dileo runs right by everyone and is wide open. Smith hits him for six. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS+3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 14 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Sprint counter Toussaint 24
Minnesota dives under the backside tackle again with their DE, which forces Huyge(+1) to kick that guy out instead of getting downfield as Lewan(-1) blocks no one. Normally this would mean there's no hole but Molk(+3) singlehandedly escorts the NT outside the frickin' tackle box, so there's a gap. There are no linebackers in the gap because they sucked way playside—again there is a very lonely Michigan OL having a tea party for one on the second level. Toussaint hits the gap and runs a long way. Toussaint(+2) jukes a safety along with his nice cut and picks up some bonus yards. RPS +2
RUN+: Huyge, Molk(3), Toussaint(2) RUN-: Lewan
O45 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Hemingway 8
THIS IS SO EASY GUYS (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O37 2 2 Shotgun 2back twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Triple option dive Hopkins 2 (Pen +5)
Triple option yo, though this could just be a dive with some option action to it that is not a read. Minnesota has loaded the backside. With a guy coming right at Denard he hands it on the dive, but he should pitch. Schofield(+1) escorts the backside DT well down the line; Lewan releases and has three guys to block. He chooses the outside guy. That seems to be a poor choice for the dive but if the option goes outside that might be preferable. One of the two unblocked guys comes up to hit Hopkins near the LOS; he does get the first. No RPS-1 since it got the short yardage it required. Minnesota jumped offsides anyway. Picture-paged by BWS.
RUN+: Schofield RUN-: Robinson
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 4
Off the left side, going outside of Lewan and Koger as they block down. Koger(+1) clears the corner. Omameh and Hopkins are your lead guys; Hopkins(-1) is bounced off of and falls to the ground and Omameh(-0.5) does get a block but gets stood up by the Gopher MLB. Toussaint doesn't have a crease; he runs up backs.
RUN+: Koger RUN-: Hopkins, Omameh(0.5)
O28 2 6 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Throwback screen Smith 28
Waggle gets Denard the corner as Hopkins gets a good block on the edge contain guy, putting him on his knees. Not relevant to the play but good job. If this was an actual waggle Denard would have plenty of time and room to make something happen, but it's a throwback screen. Minnesota blitzed and is dead, with eight players at or near the LOS focused on the waggle. One of them manages to peel off and pursue; Huyge(+1) chops him to the ground. Molk and Omameh have to run 20 yards downfield to find anyone to block; Omameh(+1) chops the FS and Molk watches as Gallon(+1) buries the corner. Smith runs straight upfield for six. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +3.)
RUN+: Omameh, Gallon, Huyge RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-0, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Toussaint 37 (Pen -10)
Molk(-1) releases immediately instead of executing a combo on the NT. He does give a token shove but he needs more there. That NT gets into Omameh(-2) to the playside. Omameh holds him. This gives Toussaint a gap that he hits like whoah, accelerating away from an unblocked linebacker and zipping into the endzone. Excellent work by Schofield to open the gap up; Toussaint might have gone right by the DT if Omameh does not hold.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Schofield RUN-: Molk, Omameh(3)
O47 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass PA Deep Out Hemingway Inc (Pen +15)
PA with a pulling G to provide some pass blocking help on the edge. Omameh(-1) gets out there but instead of blocking the edge guy he sets up to take on the backside DE, who was unblocked and is pursuing the RB. As a result he blocks neither guy. Both start rushing at Denard, who chucks it off his back foot in the general direction of Hemingway. The ball is way uncatchable but the Minnesota DB still picks up a horsecrap PI call. Refs +2. (IN, 0, protection 0/1, Omameh)
O32 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Shaw 18
Virtually identical to the first play on this drive with a major exception: Molk(+1) gets a good shoulder into the NT and Omameh(+2) uses that extra help to get around him and seal him out of the play. MLB sucks himself out of position on the zone read fake, allowing Huyge to block him easily, and Molk gets downfield to push a linebacker to the outside. Shaw busts upfield, angling away from a safety until another defender comes in and forces him back into the tackle.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh(2), Shaw, Schofield RUN-:
O14 1 10 I-form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Down G Shaw 5
Not actually G; Lewan pulls around the two TEs. Molk also pulls from the inside. Watson(+1) and Koger(+1) seal their playside guys away. Molk(+1) does the same with the LB flowing from the inside. Lewan's guy has to maintain leverage so he is essentially running himself out of the play. Omameh can't get his LB on the backside but he's always the toughest to block. Hopkins(-1) gets a weak-ish shove on another LB flowing and that guy plus the backside guy combine to tackle.
RUN+: Watson, Koger, Molk RUN-: Hopkins
O9 2 5 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass Waggle TE flat Koger 0
Minnesota shooting a guy right into the waggle; Robinson has to throw immediately to his guy in the flat; Minnesota has a zone defender there to tackle immediately. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O9 3 5 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Speed option Robinson 2
BOO REF BOO. Molk owns the NT, getting his hand in the middle of his chest and literally throwing him to the ground. This gets a holding call. Boo! Princes Bride dream style boo! Watson(-1) and Huyge(-1) do a very weak job on the playside DE, who just kind of flows down the line without being harassed. Pitch guy is taken. Robinson has a cutback lane thanks to the Molk hold-type-substance but misses it and just runs up the backs of his blockers for not much yardage.
RUN-: Robinson, Watson, Huyge, Molk (boo!)
Drive Notes: FG(25), 31-0, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Zone read iso Toussaint 8
Minnesota now scraping this as the DE is hauling after Toussaint. Hopkins(-0.5) runs right through the back of Schofield's block, stumbling. He keeps his feet and does get out to a linebacker but the delay probably allows the LB to get outside instead of being sealed inside. Roundtree(-1) just whiffs on a safety. Meanwhile, I think Robinson tries to pull this, which Toussaint is all like “no” about; he is momentarily off balance. Good work by the interior OL gives him a crease and he bounces outside the charging safety near the LOS, turning it up into a corner for a good chunk.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Schofield, Molk(0.5), Omameh(0.5) RUN-: Roundtree, Hopkins(0.5)
O48 2 2 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Triple option dive Hopkins 6
Lewan(+1.5) and Schofield(+0.5), but mostly Lewan, donkey the DE to the backside, blowing him downfield. Molk(+1) seals the playside DE; Koger(+0.5) kicks out the LB. Big hole that Hopkins heads straight into, getting tackled by a linebacker after a bit.
RUN+: Lewan(1.5), Schofield(0.5), Koger(0.5), Molk RUN-:
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Pass PA rollout something Koger? Inc
This time it's Schofield(-1) who's trying to pull to provide pass protection and he, too, slows up to maybe block the playside DE instead of hauling after the edge LB and ends up blocking no one. Robinson has to stop his roll, allowing the DE to get into him. He chucks it off his back foot, apparently to Koger, but misses badly. I'm torn between PR and IN. Let's be mean! (IN, 0, protection 0/1, Schofield)
O42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Sprint counter Smith 8
Um... what? I don't think I've ever seen this before: Huyge makes the now-standard pull to the frontside of the play... and so does Lewan. So you've got two OTs crossing as they pull. Very weird. My assumption is that Lewan(-2) busted the playcall. If this was a crazy key-breaking call it would be a G pulling to simulate the pass blocking. So Lewan leaves this guy unblocked and the natural reaction of this DE is to get straight upfield to contain a zone read even though it's not even close to the play call. This gives Smith a window. He cuts up past the guy, then cuts behind Koger(-1), who totally lost his battle with the backside DE. Schofield(+1) got a good one on one kickout on one DT; Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) execute a good combo block to seal the other guy away and deal with a linebacker. Yes, this time Molk actually has someone to block. Smith(+2) cuts back outside, accelerating through the hole before getting chopped down by the safety near the sticks.
RUN+: Schofield, Molk, Omameh, Smith(2) RUN-: Koger, Lewan(2)
O34 3 2 Goal line 2 3 0 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 3
Watson motions to an H-back spot, which tips the MLB that this is an iso right over him. He attacks at the snap; Watson(+1) does a good job to kick him out. Lewan(+2) annihilates the playside DE, pancaking him. NT slants himself out of the play. Schofield(+1) and Hopkins(+1) get excellent second level blocks; Toussaint is about to jet for an easy TD when a blitzer comes around from the outside and chops him down.
RUN+: Lewan(2), Hopkins, Schofield, Watson RUN-:
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Drag Dileo 6
Robinson wants a fly route; covered, he checks down. He's a little late on the check down and his throw is a little low, taking Dileo off his feet and removing the possibility of YAC. (MA, 3, protection 2/2)
O25 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB Draw Robinson 7
Molk gives one DT a shove to help Schofield(-2) but Schofield doesn't get anywhere near a proper seal despite the help. This puts that DT right in the running lane. Omameh also lost his but he lost his upfield, which is fine. Robinson has to dance between the two. He does so, then dances past a guy Koger did kind of a bad job on. He gets past another guy thanks to a good sustained block from Smith(+1) and picks up the first.
RUN+: Robinson(2), Smith RUN-: Schofield(2)
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE Out Koger Inc
Not a very good read since this is covered. LB makes a play on the ball but does not get a PBU because the pass is perfectly thrown. He does incidentally trip Koger, making this reception even tougher than it already would be. Great accuracy here but still a bad read—the payoff is not worth the risk. (BR, 1, protection 2/2)
O18 2 10 Shotgun 2back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Quick out Dileo Inc
Minnesota sends the house, blitzing 8(!). Michigan's got an open quick out that Robinson takes. His throw is tough but catchable; Dileo bobbles it and brings it in but not before he goes OOB. (CA, 2, protection N/A)
O18 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie Pass TE Seam Koger 18
Seven rushers this time; Michigan has something on for it. Koger jukes the chuck of the LB on him in man and that's all she wrote as Denard hits him with a nice touch pass for six. (CA+, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-0, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 2
Blocked well; backside DL is slanting outside and is gone; Koger(+1) and Huyge(+1) kill playside DE; Koger pops out. Hopkins kicks out playside LB. Schofield finds a block, but it's the ninth guy in the box, a safety, who flows down over the top to tackle Toussaint. Would RPS minus this if the game wasn't long over. Think Toussaint has more yards here if he follows Schofield instead of getting outside and exposing himself.
RUN+: Koger, Huyge RUN-: Toussaint
M28 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Screen Toussaint -2
Smith motions out. Minnesota DL reads this as Molk(-1) just runs by him without selling the pass block, peels off, and tackles. (CA, 3, screen)
M26 3 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel under Pass Deep out Hemingway Inc
Another rollout gets multiple linemen blocking no one and exposes Denard to pressure. Smith bumps a blitzer on the rollout side and lets him outside; Denard has to pull up. Unblocked guy from the backside and contain guy converge; Denard throws it off his back foot and sails one in the direction of Hemingway. (IN, 0, protection 0/1, Smith)
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 11 min 3rd Q. OUTRAGE
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Zone read dive Shaw 5
Robinson(-1) misses a read as the DE is tearing after the RB. OTOH, four defenders are hanging out backside in case this is a keep so maybe not. Given the way the play develops I stand by the minus. Omameh(+1) kicks out the playside DT; Molk(+1) and Schofield(+1) batter the NT back. A linebacker inexplicably takes off after Robinson and Shaw is about to burst for a ton of yards when the crashing DE grabs him by his jersey. We need some slicker jerseys, man.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield, Omameh RUN-: Robinson
O49 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Shaw 14
NT slants way out of the hole, so there's a big gap. Molk is doubling the other DT with Schofield, though, and there are seven defenders in the box against Michigan's five blockers, so that gap is filled with two defenders. Shaw could hammer it up for a few but decides to bounce. He always decides to bounce. This time it works out as Hemingway(+2) comes down to shove a safety past Shaw and picks off a linebacker as he does so. Corner achievement achieved.
RUN+: Shaw, Hemingway(2) RUN-:
O35 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass PA TE flat Koger 18 + 9 pen
I-form is our passing formation. Weird. Play action fake, Koger blocks a guy and releases, finding himself open. Denard tosses it to him; Koger is met by a DB who he stiffarms to the ground as he picks up the first. Who is your daddy. (CA, 3, protection 2/2.) Minnesota picks up a roughing the passer afterwards.
O9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Sprint counter Shaw 8
More of this and Minnesota still has no idea what's going on. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) double the NT, blowing him a couple yards off the ball; Molk peels off to take an attacking LB. Attacking his way out of the play, sure, but whatever. Huyge(+1) sort of walls off the DE, who's happy to just hug Huyge for support. No effort to get off the block at all. Lewan pulls and that takes a linebacker out with him; Shaw(+1) hits the gap and gets down to the one. RPS+1.
RUN+: Shaw, Molk, Omameh, Huyge. RUN-:
O1 2 G Ace 1 2 2 Goal line Run FB dive Toussaint 1
Borges loves this.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 45-0, 8 min 3rd Q. Gardner comes in on the next drive; I'll cover it but we're officially in half-ass mode. Mostly looking for Gardner's performance and offense things, ceasing serious OL grading since we've established they murder this team.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Gallon Inc
Gardner stares it down and throws a soft toss out to the hitch, allowing the Gopher CB to make a play on the ball. Need to gun this in. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M47 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Shaw 3
Lewan(-2) loses his guy entirely, allowing him and a blitzer to come up the middle of this play unmolested; Shaw(+2) has to bounce this time and does successfully, getting the corner and turning a loss into a small gain.
RUN+: Shaw(2) RUN-: Lewan(2)
50 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Rollout bad idea Hemingway 14
Another rollout that ends up with the QB getting pressure on him thanks to a guy dedicated to getting the edge. Gardner has to pull up and tosses a soft floater across his body that screams INT but somehow finds its way to Hemingway for the first down. Results based charting, but this is asking for it against teams that have players on the field. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA Hitch Roundtree Inc
Complete at the sticks except not complete because Roundtree drops it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O36 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Iso Toussaint 16
Omameh watches his guy slant out of the play; Molk(+1), Hopkins(+1), and Gallon(+1) all get second level blocks; Toussaint(+1) makes a good cut behind the Hopkins block for a big chunk.
RUN+: Molk, Hopkins, Gallon, Toussaint RUN-:
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Zone read dive Toussaint 4
Huyge(-1) doesn't provide the requisite push to get the playisde DT sealed and Omameh(-1) loses control of him; Tousssaint(+1) manages to hop outside that guy's tackle attempt. His bounce takes him upfield into the kicked-out DE, who comes back to tackle. Dileo helped out by getting a safety.
RUN+: Dileo, Toussaint RUN-: Omameh, Huyge
O16 2 6 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Waggle scramble Gardner 4
Insert usual waggle/rollout rant here; there is a dude in Gardner's face immediately, trying to sack; Gardner goes all crazy legs, scrambling all the way back to the other sideline. He looks like he'll get taken down at the line, then powers through a tackle to pick something up. RPS has ceased but I want to minus this so hard. Picture-paged by BWS.
RUN+: Gardner RUN-:
O12 3 2 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Penalty Delay -- -5
O17 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Scramble Gardner 2
Minnesota sends a couple blitzers; Michigan does a good job of picking them up. Gardner, perhaps used to being behind the sacktastic walkons of the second team, bugs out when he's got a pocket and some time to find the open guy, scrambling for minimal yardage. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(32), 48-0, 2 min 3rd Q. OL backups start coming in on the next drive. I'm not including those numbers in the run table.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run QB power Gardner 11
Molk out for Khoury, Huyge out for Mealer. Playside LB runs himself way out of the play. Moore(+1) rides the playside DE out; big hole. Schofield gets out in the hole but doesn't actually block the guy; Gardner has room because Mealer(+1) and Watson(+1) sealed LBs.
RUN+: Moore, Watson, Huyge RUN-:
M31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Sprint counter Rawls 25
Minnesota line basically seals themselves but Mealer(+1) does get a good block on the DE diving inside and this allows Lewan to pull around outside. Roundtree(+1) blows up a safety coming down and Lewan(+1) manages to peel back, shoving the last LB with a shot at Rawls upfield. Rawls(+1) is into the secondary, where he runs through a weak ankle tackle attempt and keeps his balance for a nice chunk.
O39 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Draw Rawls 1
Minnesota slants, which screws up intended lanes here; Hopkins(-1) does not read the play and take a blitzer off the corner. Rawls has to burrow behind him and because of the lack of space ends up tripping over Lewan's feet as the Gophers converge. Usual rant about I-form running.
O38 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Hitch Gallon 12
Easy pitch and catch that may be a little late but is accurate; Gallon can turn upfield because the Gopher DB is very bad. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Inside zone Rawls 5
H-back headed backside. No cutback as Khoury(-1) gets blown back; Rawls does step around the block and get to the LB level; Omameh got a good block on the second level. I'm done with OL +/- at this point, I think, as walk-ons are in.
O21 2 5 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Rawls 7
Moore(+1) kicks playside DE down the line; Rawls(+1) does a good job of setting up his lead block from the pulling G, who is a walk-on with a complicated last name.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Zone read dive Rawls 0
Minnesota scraping the backside DE down the line and having a LB come over the top; no one blocks him as Moore-2) takes an outside contain guy and no gain.
O14 2 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Zone read dive Smith 0
Omameh(-1) and Khoury, but mostly Omameh, get beaten by the Gopher NT, who ends up in the hole outside that Smith wants after the scrape. This is bad; Omameh is playside of the guy on the snap.
O14 3 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Sack -- -7
Mealer(-2) gets Gardner sacked.
Drive Notes: FG(38!), 51-0, 9 min 4th Q. Charting ceases.



That was fun!

Yes, our quarterback threw it at people!

Except when there was a rollout!

And our linemen often found themselves on the second level wondering if anyone was going to validate their existence!

Except when they went under center!

Which, to be fair, they did about twice!

So… same question that we asked about the D applies here: anything of meaning to be found?

Yes, probably moreso than the defense because certain things on offense are defense-independent, or at least sort of defense independent. The best way to show this is with a—


—chart. One you don't even cower in fear at.

[Hover over column headers for explanation of abbreviation.]

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%

Happy pony forever!

Now the caveats: Minnesota, for one. For two, virtually all of that was short stuff, with the Hopkins go route and another pass to Hemingway the only moderately long passes thrown. It is progress. It may not be meaningful against teams with a secondary.

Now the anti-caveats: The MA was a not-too-difficult completion that gained six and could have been a shaky CA, and I don't really blame Denard for any of those INs.

Who do you blame?

Not to tempt the wrath of Gordon Borges, but Borges. (Michigan was +12 RPS, FWIW, so regard this as the nit it is, Mr. Borges sir.) Rollouts are killing me, man. Maize Pages has been charting the Denard throws in some detail and reports back on the rollout situation from the last game:

There are so few incomplete passes that it's easy laying all 5 of them (4 + 1 PI call) out again:

  • 1+20 | shot | PA, rolls left, sets feet, pumps, bad feet, P3, throws up jump ball, PI called (incomplete)
  • 1+10 | shot | PA, rolls right, moving feet, P2, overthrows Hemingway (incomplete)
  • 1+10 | shot | takes 1 step back, sets feet, P0, throws to a tightly covered Koger out route (incomplete)
  • 2+10 | shot | rolls right, doesn't set feet, P1, throws to Dileo who bobbles could have been caught (incomplete)
  • 3+10 | shot | rolls right, sets feet, P2, overthrows Hemingway (incomplete)

Notice a trend? 4 of his 5 incomplete passes were on roll-outs. On my count, Denard rolled 6 times all game, giving us a completion rate of 2/6 out of the pocket. While it's become clear that Denard is more comfortable from the gun, rolling the pocket seems to be the bad within the good, unnecessarily complicating his footwork and taking him out of his comfort zone.

Borges referenced some of these incompletions in his presser and blamed footwork and protection, both of which are right. Denard's footwork was poor as he pulled up to throw off his back foot; on two of those the pulling G who's supposed to provide Denard some protection pulled up when two guys burst upfield and he couldn't decide who to block. If the guards shoot into the outside guy without hesitation…

Well, they probably still end up letting him onto the edge because he is coming hard, and then Denard has to deal with the guy on the inside, and you still have issues. You have fewer issues than you did in the last game but it's still not an ideal situation.

I'd rather keep Denard in the pocket, where people rush him gingerly, if at all, and have him zip it into receivers without having to set his feet. That's right: Denard is a pocket guy.

Meanwhile, BWS picture-paged Gardner's crazylegs scramble that started when he turned around on a waggle only to find a Gopher in his face:


The moral of the story is that when you put a Michigan quarterback on the edge you are exposing him to rushers that are unblocked or almost unblocked because the first priority of any opposing defense is to prevent #16 (or #7) from getting the edge. The only time a quarterback could get the edge was when the defense was freaking out about the other quarterback getting the other edge.

Okay, there was also this time:

When they didn't need it, Robinson had the corner wiiiide open.

And the waggle… guh, man, guh. That is the Atari 2600 version of the spread 'n' shred. You are turning your back to the defense and hoping that when you turn around you don't find an angry 250 pound man in your face. Since This Is Michigan (2011 edition) that always happens because power gains two yards and the quarterback leaves neutrinos in the dust. Priorities one through five for the defense are containing the QB.

This is why all that throwback stuff is working so brilliantly. How can we keep that—which everybody likes—and ditch the incompletions? I don't know, but apparently doing max-protect rollouts fools everyone all the time even without an actual threat of gaining yards on the frontside so lets keep doing that.

ANYWAY, you crab.

I'm not a crab. Let me prove this with more charts.

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway 2 - - 5/5 4 - 4/5 6/7
Roundtree - - - 0/1 1 1/3 1/2 4/4
Odoms - - - - 1 - - -
Grady - - - - 2 - 0/1 2/2
Gallon 1


- 4/4 1 - - 12/12
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - - 0/1 2/2 - 0/1 1/2 2/2
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Koger - 0/1 - 3/3 2 1/2 1/2 6/7
Moore - - - - 2 - - -
Toussaint - - - 1/1 - - - 1/2
Shaw - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - 1/1 1 - - 5/6
Hopkins - - - 1/1 - - - 1/1
McColgan - - - - 1 - - 1/1

Hey, look: numbers. At this point in the season we can say that the top two receivers seem to be Hemingway and Gallon, with Roundtree evaporating but still third and Dileo seemingly fourth. Odoms and Grady appear to be down the depth chart as seniors, which is surprising. Odoms does have the hand injury.

Offensive line, keeping in mind that only 35-ish carries were charted after around 50 last week.

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 5.5 6 -0.5 Yeah, surprised me too: had a couple busts and one bad whiff.
Barnum - - - DNP
Molk 14.5 4 10.5 Was always going to happen. Did miss some first level blocks, I thought.
Omameh 10.5 4.5 6 Stayed in late.
Huyge 5 2 3 Did not have a big role.
Schofield 12 4 8 Basically a sixth starter.
Mealer - - - Did pick up minuses but after I said no mas.
Watson 2 3 -1 Eh.
Koger 5 2 3 Better than last week.
TOTAL 54.5 25.5 29 +/- ratio holds steady at 2:1
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 7 3 4 Missed a couple reads, still got a lot of positives in six carries.
Gardner 2 - 2 Not Denard but effective.
Toussaint 10.5 1 9.5 Made many miss.
Shaw 5 1 4 bounce bounce bounce bounce
Smith 10 1 9 Good bit of this blocking.
Hopkins 4 2.5 1.5 Blocking erratic.
Rawls - - - DNP before charting seriously ceased.
McColgan - - - DNP
TOTAL 38.5 8.5 30 Excellent day by all runners.
Player + - T Notes
Hemingway 3 - 3  
Odoms - - -  
Gallon 4 - 4 --
Roundtree 1 2 -1  
Grady - - - --
Jackson - - -  
Dileo 2 - - --
TOTAL 10 2 8 record setting. srsly.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 27 4 87% Lewan 1, Omameh 1, Schofield 1, Smith 1
RPS 15 3 12 Borges hates lakes/Prince/etc.

The offensive line did about as well as it did last week, which may qualify as something of a disappointment or may just reflect how hard it is to get five to seven guys all doing the right thing on every play. The backs and receivers had excellent outings—that's how you get to 7.9 YPC from the 7.3 posted against SDSU.

So this Omameh business?

I can't help but wonder if he is struggling for reasons other than awkward change to a new system. When Michigan threw the second team OL out there they left him on the field. Michigan doesn't have much depth on the OL but they've got someone who can go out there leading Minnesota by 50 in the fourth. The other guard was a walk-on.

The lack of depth on the line is an argument to get Omameh out in my mind, since you really don't want one of your 7-ish plausible OL going down in garbage time. Leaving him on the field makes me think they're not happy with his play and are trying to get him more reps because they don't have other options.

And the shotgun/center run dichotomy?

There's nothing to talk about this week, as the only under center runs I have charted are two short yardage plays (a one yard Fitz TD and a three-yard Fitz iso on third and two) and a single second and two power from the eight that lost a yard. I think there were one or two more after charting stopped that also did poorly.

So we can't do it. Fine. Borges is adapting, which is great, and seems to be getting his MANBALL from other sources, like shotgun isos at spread out teams and a hell of a lot of sprint counter.

Sprint counter.

Yessssss. It's not quite TGDCD but it is ver' nice, especially when Molk gets his Lewan on. Minnesota was clueless the whole day and since it looks virtually identical to the QB going off tackle it is going to kill guys. They might have to break a key or two to keep it working later in the year since that tackle pull is a dead giveaway, but you know me, I love those interlocking plays.

You are still a crab.

So here's this, bolded alter-ego: I am going to go all sports talk radio on you, in gushing fashion. Maybe it was the proximity of this game to the flaming garbage dump that was MSU-OSU, but these players look exceedingly well coached. There were a couple plays where having that extra beat of patience paid off. One was the first third down of the game:

That extra beat he waits gets Minnesota's linebackers to drop into coverage and gets him the room he needs for the conversion. He moved so late that Gallon (who had a day blocking people, yo) has already buried the rolled-up safety by the time he reveals his intent.

And then there was Vincent Smith thespian school:

You know how you're watching a football game and it's just bleeding obvious that the RB/WR is going to throw? You ever get that feeling? I do all the time. I was shocked when Smith pulled up to throw, and so was Minnesota. I bet 95% of teams would have gotten suckered there.

Weekly tailback opinion?

I'm still in Toussaint's corner but the current breakdown between Smith and Fitz will find no complaints here. I think he's got better burst than Smith:

Smith brings a bunch of other things to the table and deserves about half the carries; I think Toussaint will end up the leading non-Denard rusher.


Pretty much everyone. Special commendation to the tailbacks and Borges.


Lewan did not perform up to his usual standard on the ground.

What does it mean for Northwestern and beyond?

The primary takeaway is that when in the correct situations Denard can be an effective passer. While his limitations are obvious by now, having him throw in better situations and giving him quick rhythm passes results in a 73% DSR. Borges is right that they have to open it up deep. There's a pretty good way to do that without jump-balling it: oh noes.

I hope what we saw against Minnesota is a precursor and Borges is going to continue installing and using innovative packages based on Denard's legs. There is a little bit of lingering fear that this was just a dog and pony show that they'll put away the rest of the year now that they've gotten everyone to prepare for it, a strategy that seems far worse than using those plays against a plausible opponent, but Borges says that's not the case and he seems pretty rad so far so I believe him.

The I-Form seems dead. They're not even bringing it out in garbage time against Minnesota to practice it against real opponents and they're using a two-back TE look from the shotgun that seems like a direct attempt to replace it. I'm okay with that since the shotgun still gives you that advantage by forcing the D to account for Denard's legs.

Other item: Shaw just confirmed the Smith/Toussaint 1-2 punch in the backfield.


Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Minnesota Comment Count

Brian October 5th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I'm pretty sure this is the shortest UFR table in a long time. Probably not forever since in the embryonic stages a lot of plays were described as "a big wad of bodies I can't figure out," full stop, but in a long time.

Substitution notes: Secondary was the usual; Countess came in in the second quarter for Woolfolk. He is clearly the #3 CB, with Johnson the #3 S. At LB it was Ryan/Demens/Hawthorne the whole way until garbage time. On the line the usual rotation with a bit less of the backups because there was no opportunity for the starters to get tired. Still no Cam Gordon.

Formation notes: Nothing we haven't seen before, and since Minnesota was so transparently bad I didn't bother to get a bunch of screenshots of certain plays.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Hawthorne 1
Heininger(-1) blown off the ball by a double; this should provide a lane but Martin(+1) drove the center back, Roh(+0.5) held up on the outside, and Hawthorne (+1) hit a lead blocker on the LOS, holding up surprisingly well. With nowhere to go we have a wad play that Roh eventually ends by tackling the RB.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh -1
I think, anyway. No doubles from Minnesota as two guys release downfield into Gordon and Demens immediately. This means all of the DL are one on one and all of them end up controlling their guys, able to release on either side of them if the RB tries to hit a hole. RB tries to go outside where Roh(+1) is waiting and Gordon(+1) flows up to help; Demens(+1) had also beaten a block and was there. RVB and Martin pick up half points.
O20 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -5
Stunt gets RVB(+2) through as the Gopher line busts; RVB tackles the relatively immobile Shortell before the Gophers can even finish their routes. (RPS +1, Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Demens 3
Martin(+0.5) is doubled; while he does give a little ground it's not much and the pulling G doesn't have much room. Hawthorne(+0.5) hits him near the line, causing a cutback into Demens(+0.5), who is unblocked because of the double and scrapes into the backside hole to tackle. Heininger(+0.5) did a good job closing down the intended hole as well; he popped off a defender and had a shot to tackle if the RB didn't cut back.
O44 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Floyd 5
Delayed blitz does not get through; Minnesota throws a dinky route that Floyd lets happen; he tackles immediately. Fine.
O49 3 2 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Kovacs -1
2TE motions into an H-back spot; Kovacs rolls down into the box. H-back flares in an attempt to kick out Roh(+2), the EMLOS. Roh bowls him over backwards. This cannot happen on a power if you're ever going to gain any yards. There is no lane. Pulling G derps his way past everyone without blocking anyone; Kovacs(+1) is blitzing from the outside; untouched, he tackles for loss. Hawthorne(+0.5) had also blitzed right into the play, so three separate M players were in a position to stop this. Minnesota is not good.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O6 1 10 Pistol twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Woolfolk 12
Minnesota successfully high-lows Woolfolk in zone. Not his fault as he's got a corner route coming from the inside and has to drop back into that; this naturally opens up an underneath receiver since there's no underneath help. (Cover/RPS -1)
O18 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 9
Martin(+1) fights a double team and gets enough penetration when the second guy releases into the linebackers to close off the hole himself. RB has to bounce and it looks like Ryan is about to read this and pop out on the edge to finish the play when he's yanked and seemingly ankle tackled by the OT. No call. Refs -1. Floyd(-0.5) did a kind of weak job on the edge, though the Ryan issue allowed a quick bounce so he had a tough job.
O27 2 1 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Heininger 0
Nowhere to go as Martin(+1) holds up to a double and Heininger(+1) a single block. Cutback from the RB; an unblocked Roh(+0.5) read the play and shuffled down the LOS before exploding to tackle at the line. Heininger gets his extra half point for getting control of his guy to the point where he can disengage to help tackle.
O27 3 1 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Sack Ryan -4
I'm not entirely sure but Shortell appears to be looking for his TE on a tiny little hitch first but pulls it down because Black(+1, RPS +1) chucked him before going into his pass rush. This disrupts the timing and causes Shortell to move on. RVB(+1) gets in at this point, flushing the awkward Shortell out of the pocket, where Hawthorne(+0.5) and Ryan(+0.5) roar up to sack. (Pressure +1, cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 7
Michigan's line steps to the left on the snap. This doesn't seem like a full on slant, it's just a way to one-gap the D. I'm not sure if Heininger(+0.5) is playing this okay and just gets pushed past the play or if he got out of position. He does slice through two blockers, causing the C to attempt to peel back and forcing a cutback behind him—away from the blocking angles. Demens(-1) has a free run at the gap but reads it late and meets the RB a couple yards downfield when he can make a tackle at the LOS. Then some bad luck as a pursuing Black impacts the tackle from behind, knocking Demens to the ground and giving the RB some YAC.
O27 2 3 Ace twins 4-3 even Pass N/A Sack Ryan -9
Ryan is lined up over the slot and blitzes. Minnesota is trying a PA rollout to his side, pulling a backside OL around to give some edge protection. Ryan(+2) explodes upfield, getting into Shortell's feet and cutting off the outside. Shortell does manage to escape upfield, where Martin(+1) is tearing around blockers, coming from the inside. Shortell spins back to avoid that sack, whereupon the Red Sea caves in on him. (Pressure +3, RPS +1)
O18 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone -- 4
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Rollout hitch Countess 8
Countess in for Woolfolk. You can see Michigan checking when the TE motions across the formation; Gordon comes down into man on the slot receiver, implying that Ryan(-1) should come to the LOS to act as a 4-3 SLB. He doesn't, instead dropping into a redundant zone and opening up the corner (pressure -1). Shortell finds his hitch in front of Countess.
O28 2 2 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 PA Quick seam Hawthorne Inc (Pen +9)
TE motions to Ryan's side and this time he does creep down off the slot. He blitzes off the snap, getting picked off by a pulling pass protector after the PA fake. Michigan is zone blitzing and tips it by leaving Roh in a two point stance; he drops off in coverage over the TE. Hawthorne makes one of those back-to-QB zone drops across the field, and this zone seems perfectly designed to stop this route. Hawthorne(cover +1) gets over to the TE quick seam before the TE can get there; he slows up rather than run over Hawthorne and Shortell's wobbler goes well long. Demens(+1) timed his blitz excellently and got a free run, thumping Shortell as he threw(pressure +2) Hawthorne(-2) then gets an incredibly late, but legit PI call for grabbing the TE as he tried to cut inside.
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen -- Inc
Dropped. Strong possibility Hawthorne blows this up for little.
O37 2 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass N/A Rollout hitch Countess 11
Replay of the previous hitch except Ryan is on the edge this time, though he gets eliminated easily. (Pressure -1) Again in front of Countess(-1, cover -1) and I will ding him for not being there to challenge on the same route he just saw.
O48 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 0
Martin(+1) takes on a double and wins, forcing his way into the gap to his left and preventing anyone from getting out on the LBs. Demens(+2) uses this to his advantage, seeing the gap open up behind Martin as he pushes playside. He shoots it and makes a tackle at the LOS after having removed the cutback lane. RVB(+0.5) held up well on the edge and helps tackle.
O48 2 10 Shotgun twin TE 46 front Pass 5 Fly Countess Inc
Campbell(+2) runs over the center and comes right up the middle of the field (pressure +2), leveling Shortell. Shortell stands in and chucks one to a guy on a fly route. Countess was in press coverage and is step for step(+2, cover +2); he finds the underthrown ball and adjusts to it. He has a shot at an INT but it's a tough catch and he settles for the PBU.
O48 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 6 Hitch Countess 7
Michigan sends the house and doesn't quite get there; Roh(+0.5) seems like he's coming around the corner fast enough to cause problems if Shortell has to wait another beat. Instead he throws a hitch route short of the sticks that Countess(+1, cover +1) allows to be completed but tackles immediately on. He pops the ball loose as he does so; Michigan recovers.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 31-0, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Fade Floyd Inc
Testing the press w/ McKnight. Floyd is in good position and has pushed McKnight almost to the sideline but does not time his jump well; he gets his head around and then it seems like he fails to locate the ball. McKnight goes up to grab it but steps OOB on his way down. Given the position of McKnight this was circus all the way, so (+1, cover +1)
O34 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 7
Kovacs blitzes from the backside and gets upfield outside of the TE. That seems okay since he'd have to contain the QB. Roh is shuffling down the line on the inside zone and gets cut behind. This may be possible because instead of a mesh point the QB accidentally bats the snap right to the RB. The cut backside this should expose RB to unblocked Demens; Demens(-1) drops into a short zone and then lets the RB outside of him. Johnson has rolled down over the slot and does keep leverage; Demens tackles from behind. Partially one of those things—an actual mesh point and Demens/Roh probably have time to react better to this—but an unblocked LB should not let an RB outside of him.
O41 3 3 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Rollout TE Flat Roh 1
Roh(+1) drops off into a short zone as Ryan blitzes. He gets cut; Heininger(+1) bumps the TE and then heads upfield between two befuddled Gopher blockers once that guy releases. He pressures(+1) and Shortell has to dump it off; Roh gets outside to tackle(+1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 14 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass 5 TE comeback Ryan Inc
Roh again in a two point stance, indicating he will drop; he drops. Ryan(+1) blitzes from the other side, beating the TE and flushing Shortell up into the pocket(pressure +1). Shortell manages to find the second he needs and finds a receiver, who happens to be the TE on a comeback in front of Roh. TE drops it. (Roh -1, cover -1)
O16 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen 2
Michigan blitzing Ryan and Demens; Demens lines up right over the C and then twists outside. The C is convinced he's supposed to block Demens, which he doesn't; G releases downfield. This allows RVB(+1) a single block that he gets playside of and carries to the hole; Martin(+1) also closed off the frontside, leaving nowhere for the RB to go.
O18 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel press Pass 6 Fly Johnson Inc
Johnson backs out in to a deep zone late as Kovacs is sent on a blitz. Roh(+1) beats his blocker and is getting into Shortell's face (pressure +1) as Kovacs comes; Shortell bombs it deep. Gordon(-1) is beaten but Johnson(+2) is quick enough to get over and get a PBU as he arrives at the ball at the same time the WR does (cover +1, better thrown ball does find space).
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 10 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Pistol 2TE 46 front Run N/A Power off tackle Heininger 2
Heininger(+1) dives inside the OT trying to block down and comes around. Black(+1) has driven the OT back, giving the RB an awkward cut to make upfield. This allows Heininger to tackle from behind. Demens(-0.5) ended up running past the play as the pulling G got to him.
O36 2 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 Rollout TE Flat Black 9
Again with the blitz and WDE dropping off into coverage. Minnesota runs a quasi-screen here, pumping to the left, then coming back to the little TE flare as the RB comes out of the backfield intent on blocking. This time Black(-1, cover -1) drops a ways and because the RB gets in his way he's not in position to tackle this on the catch, allowing the TE to turn it up for a first down.
O45 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Heininger 1
Similar to the previous power on this drive. Minnesota flips the TEs, which doesn't make M flip the lines, they just move Hawthorne and Kovacs over. Hawthorne lines up right over the tackle. On the snap he takes a block and starts giving ground; Heininger(+2) bowls over this blocker as Black(+1) gets penetration that restricts the hole and prevents a bounce. Those two combine to tackle at the line as the RB just kind of falls over.
O46 2 9 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 5 Hitch Avery Inc
RVB(+2, pressure +2) slants inside a blocker and comes right up the center of the field to get a hurry; throw now or get sacked. Hitch is open in front of Avery(-0.5, cover -1) for near first down yardage; throw is upfield and dropped.
O46 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 5 Hitch Avery Inc
Good pocket(pressure -1); Shortell wings it well high. Avery(+0.5, cover +1) appears to have reacted quickly enough to make a play on the ball if there was one to be made.
Drive Notes: Punt, 45-0, 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A QB power Campbell 0
Hawthorne(+1) reads the QB's cut upfield and runs away from the blocking angle further outside; he and Campbell(+1), who beat a single block to show up in the hole, combine to tackle.
O25 2 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Pass 5 Fade Avery 33
Okay, Brink and Avery and Fitzgerald in. This game is not long for the charting. Shortell gets the corner (pressure -1) and has an easy deep throw to Avery's guy(-1, cover -1) as he's beaten so badly he cannot recover.
M42 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel press Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 3
Wad o bodies as Minnesota can't move Campbell(+1) out of the playside hole with a double. He gets support from Heininger and Ryan(+0.5 each) and the RB runs up into the wad for little.
M39 2 7 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Brink -4
Instead of blocking Brink(+2) the playside TE watches him run past and make a TFL. Minnesota: not good.
M43 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Countess Inc
Countess(+2, cover +2) fights the WR for position and makes a play on the ball as it arrives.
Drive Notes: Punt, 48-0, 14 min 4th Q. Charting ceases.

So, about that.

Yeah, not much you can take from that game.

But it's nice to be able to say that about a Big Ten team, right?

Sure. The last team Michigan made look that inept was Baby Seal U, and the last team before that was the 2007 Notre Dame outfit that was the absolute nadir of super-geniusdom. Last year's Purdue team may have been as bad on offense; with the help of a driving rainstorm Michigan held them to 256 yards, giving up a 61-yard field goal drive early. This edition of Michigan's defense was better against the 2011 equivalent.

But… yeah, the Purdue example is instructive. There is a level of offense that can make even last year's Michigan D seem competent. Minnesota is at that level of offense.

There is something we can take from this, though, I mean, right?

A little, sure. A couple years ago Michigan gave up 17 to EMU in the first half, ceding 179 rushing yards to that year's #116 total offense. Last year Michigan gave up 37 to I-AA UMass.

You can never tell anything good from a game like this, but you can receive an ominous message that causes you to stock up on survival gear. The failure to get one of those represents progress.

Also, I only caught one wacky misalignment in the above-charted plays, that a failure of Jake Ryan to come down to LB depth after Minnesota shifted a TE. That's significant improvement from the nonconference portion of the schedule. That first drive against Western where no one knew where to line up has receded almost entirely.

I suppose we should look at the chart.

Man, you are subdued.

I'm locked and loaded. Actin' like I've been there. Emulatin' Brady Hoke's cool sideline demeanor. Somewhat terrified about what happens after game five in Michigan football seasons.

Right. Chart.

Keep in mind that this is only 36 snaps, five of which were contested mostly by backups. If you had to reduce certain games last year to find reasonable numbers, for this game you need to almost double them to find a per-play average approximately in line with historical norms.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 7 - 7 Minnesota couldn't move him.
Martin 7 - 7 Or him.
Roh 7.5 1 6.5 Seems to have reclaimed the starting spot.
Brink 2 - 2 Thanks, lack of Minnesota blocking.
Heininger 6.5 1 5.5 Hard to move after first snap, too.
Black 3 1 2 Playing time reduced.
Campbell 4 - 4 "Get off me"
TOTAL 37 3 34 lol. +0.94 per snap
Player + - T Notes
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Demens 4.5 2.5 2 Not many plays even got to him.
Herron - - - DNP
Ryan 4 1 3 Couple of explosive pass rush moves.
Fitzgerald - - - Nothing of note.
Jones - - - DNP
Evans - - - DNP
Beyer - - - PT in garbage time.
Hawthorne 3.5 2 1.5 Not giving his PT back.
Morgan - - - PT in garbage time
TOTAL 12 5.5 6.5 Enjoyed some tea as they watched the DL do the tackling for them.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 1 0.5 0.5 Not tested(!)
Avery 0.5 1.5 -1 Has obviously slid behind Countess.
Woolfolk - - - Rest this man.
Kovacs 1 - 1 Earl Grey, please
T. Gordon 1 1 0 I'll have chai
Countess 5 1 4 Think we may have something here.
Johnson 2 - 2 Roobios for me
TOTAL 10.5 4 6 Smashing, chaps
Pressure 15 4 11 NO BLOCKY FOR YOU
Coverage 10 5 5 Tony Gibson –6.02 x 10^23
Tackling - - - Nothing even approached an open field tackle.
RPS 3 1 2 Whateva

So… yeah. The defensive line annihilated the opposition to the point where nothing else really mattered. Can we take anything away from that? Eh… probably not. I'd love to live in a world where Will Heininger can flatten an opponent's interior OL, but I don't think that's the case.

We require some sort of crazy extrapolation to justify this piece.

Okay. We did get some depth chart clarity. Roh seems the clear starter at WDE, and Countess is #3 at CB and rising. Also we should now know who is redshirting and who is not. On defense:

  • Burned: Countess, Brown, Taylor, Beyer, Clark, Morgan
  • Redshirting: Carter, Hollowell, Heitzman, Rock, Poole

A couple of those do strike me as AAARGH burned redshirts: Brown and Clark. Brown is the #5 CB at best and Clark has two guys in front of him at WDE. Maybe the long-term plan is to slide Roh or Black to SDE next year, in which case I retract my argh.

Can we at least get a little Countess eeeeing?

Oh, all right: Countess had a couple of hitches completed on him but also acquired two PBUs, one of them another of the "too bad the QB didn't throw that more accurately" variety, the other a broken-up slant:

That looks like an exceptionally crappy route to me, but every little bit helps as we try to extrapolate young Countess into Charles Woodson. He also forced a fumble thanks to Mattison's new turnover-causing technique: tackling the opposition. That was a completion given up but it was also seven yards on third and ten, ie fine.

Was Minnesota really bad?

Oh, God yes. It was kind of marvelous. The best examples (on defense, anyway) I found were two separate incidents where Michigan defenders destroyed Minnesota OL. The first was Craig Roh taking a kickout block and turning it into total destruction:

That never happens.

And then there was Will Campbell using his sumo belly flop on someone other than Thomas Gordon:

After that it was a surprise Shortell didn't get up two-dimensional.

Minnesota is a bad football team.


Everyone but especially everyone on the defensive line.


No one.

What does it mean for Northwestern and beyond?

It means we don't have a terrible, terrible defense but not much more.


Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-4-11: Coordinators

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-4-11: Coordinators Comment Count

Heiko October 4th, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Al Borges

Thoughts on Denard’s improvement? “We worked on it pretty good, you know. And he took it to heart. He was stressing that he wasn’t throwing well. He’s a better passer, I’ve told you that before. Like I said, part of it is we had to get him some throws that he could make early and then he got into rhythm, and it was lights out after a while. Yeah he was feeling good. But his fundamentals were so much better other than two throws, okay -- there were two throws and both of them were pocket movements to the left where I think he didn’t get turned very well, and part of that was protection. But he got his screws in the ground pretty good and transferred through most of the throws, and he was pretty much on the money. And he touched a few balls nice, too. He dropped a couple balls in, and the key to passing is it’s a finesse art.”

How did you come up with the diamond thingy and what can we expect to see from that in the future? “Well I’m not going to tell you that. But it’s something -- Devin Gardner’s a talented kid, and we just wanted to give him a chance to feature him a little bit in a couple of deals. [With] Big Ten play, we’ll empty the drawer more as we go now. Our first four games, we’re still learning the offense. That’s still a work in progress. We’re going to have our deals. They’re not all going to work. Some are going to be good, some of them aren’t. But that was just one of them.”

Is it based off anything or did you just kind of pull it out of thin air? “Well, it goes way back. There was a series [that the] Chargers ran back in I think was the 80s or early 90s with Buford Jordan, where he was a quarterback in college and we took a piece of that and expanded it a little bit. I think Dan Fouts was playing back then. Part of that’s kind of old Ernie Zampese would have done that. The other piece is that we just kind of built some stuff off it that they didn’t do back then. The option part of it was a piece from the past.”

(more after the jump.)


Picture Pages: Two-Way Hopkins II

Picture Pages: Two-Way Hopkins II Comment Count

Brian October 4th, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Last time on Picture Pages we looked at a 35-yard iso on Michigan's first drive against Minnesota. A 35 yard iso means someone did something terrible on defense or your tailback did something ridiculous; Michigan was playing Minnesota so it was the former.

So Michigan scores a touchdown and gets the ball back and opens up with the same set. Minnesota again has both safeties rolled up.


On the snap the line pass blocks but the backfield executes a historical reenactment of The Battle Of Minnesota Sucks At Isos.


There's a gap in the line that Hopkins is thundering towards again and by the time it's clear Denard has the ball the three LB type substances have started moving towards the LOS:


When Hopkins hits the LOS the two guys who could hypothetically cover him are four yards from the LOS and stationary.


This is what it sounds like when doves cry.



Items of Interest

Constraint theory right here. Minnesota just got hit with a big iso and got chewed out on the sideline about it. They are hyped up to stop it, so when Michigan shows it again the LB and S suck way up and leave Hopkins open for a big gain over the top. This works not only because Minnesota overreacts to it but because of the omnipresent Denard threat posed in the shotgun. That means the Gophers are operating with essentially zero deep safeties.

This is what happens when you can force the defense to cheat. An actual opponent playing this way probably would have given up five, not 35, on the first iso, but that's enough to force them to cheat to it, whereupon bang.

This isn't unique or new. Literally every program in the country except Ohio State* tries to do this. Michigan's old-school waggle is an example. The hope with Borges is that he'll use them frequently to score lots of points instead of occasionally as part of a bler offense run by 70s thinking. Denard is a hell of a thing to try to stop without cheating, much more threatening than Michigan's four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust running game was in the late 90s and early aughts.

This is the stuff you get in the shotgun even when Denard is not running because the zone read demands attention at all times. Under center Denard's legs mean waggle or Incredibly Surprising QB Draw, neither of which forces safeties into the box.

We saw a bucket of constraint against the Gophers. This is in part because the Gophers are so bad they have to cheat every play in the hopes of stopping the opposition.

I think it's also in part because Borges is finding his legs in this strange environment where your quarterback is one of the most threatening rushers in the country. Michigan tried the waggle a bunch earlier this year (and in spring) and got little out of it; against the Gophers that was ditched in favor of plays that use fear of Denard's legs as a major component of their success.

Hey man, nice touch. Denard floated a nice catchable ball to Hopkins about 18 yards downfield. He could do that because there were no safeties, so I've got no problem with the throw.

Let's see if Shaw can block this. Because this is a 75 yard touchdown if a fullback isn't running it. Also Hopkins almost dropped this.