This Week's Obsession: The Brahma Defense

This Week's Obsession: The Brahma Defense

Submitted by Seth on October 23rd, 2013 at 2:32 PM


On one hand it was freak plays against a freak offense. On the other hand it was a whole LOT of offense. On the other other hand Indiana is actually quite talented. On the other other other regression in pass rush. On the other other other they're consistently there to make plays. On the other other other other they consistently don't make those plays.

The Pantheon:

  • Vishnu Cook. Cannot be exactly defined. Known to be rather impatient with people who screw with his flowers.
  • Aci Parashaktibender. The personification of the divine power of creativity, particularly off the dribble.
  • Shiva Fisher. The destroyer who comes in both the form of a benevolent copy editor, and the fearsome form of a chartmonger.
  • Blue Indra South Bend. God of rain, thunderstorms, and snark, with hair and beard the color of flames.
  • Dheikovantari. God of medicine and that one constraint play he's always on about.
  • Coach Brhaspati. Guru of the gods.
  • Saramathleti. God of knowledge, music, arts, science, and overseer of vast spreadsheets wherein these things are contained.

The Question:

What is the essence of Michigan's 2013 defense, and how will it hold up against the remaining schedule?

Mathlete: For me, I see just one thing about this defense. They are a good defense. They are not a great defense, they are not a dominant defense, they are not a shut down defense, but definitely a good defense. They've had two awful halves (second half against Akron and second last weekend).

2 -Upchurch - IMG_4561
They are a good defense. They will never be a great defense. They are a Thomas Gordon defense. [Upchurch]

They've been put in some bad positions by the offense and haven't been able to bail them out a lot. But they haven't put the offense in a bad position yet this season. The only real deficits the offense has faced this year have come after defensive touchdowns or short fields induced by the offense.

I think Mattison has found the perfect positioning for the talent and the offense that Michigan has. Lacking real play makers he has put together a defense that has limited big plays against non-Indiana teams, forced teams to drive the field, convert third downs and go 10 plays without making a drive ending mistake. Most teams can't do that very times in a game. Nebraska, a healthy Northwestern and Ohio State probably can. Michigan State hasn't proven it can against an FBS team that isn't Indiana. Iowa may be able to, but probably not to a major degree. This works because this defense shouldn't be needed to win games. They aren't quite talented/experienced enough to do that without incurring major risk. Michigan's offense should be dynamic enough that a good defense forcing teams to beat them should get them to 9 wins, easily.

That's where the trouble came against Penn State, the offense didn't push the pedal enough and the defense wasn't quite good enough to push against the stacked deck. I am convinced that an offense that is aggressive, even with a few extra turnovers is the perfect compliment to this defense. We will struggle against the remaining opponents if that aggressiveness goes away because turnovers will still happen (that's football) but the defense is just not equipped yet to be the game-changing unit.

[Brian's complete lack of surprise, after the Jump]