Monday Presser 10-24-16: Players

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 25th, 2016 at 5:50 PM

players 10-25

Ben, you guys looked like you worked pretty well together, you and Bredeson. Talk about that transition and how hard or easy it was and what you thought of it.

“I wouldn’t say hard or easy. It was different. Obviously I haven’t played tackle in a few years. Bredeson’s done really well as a freshman. He’s doing really well. Smart kid, knows what’s going on in the film room. I was very happy with his effort and very proud of him. We’ll see what happens. It was a fun transition. I always liked being a tackle, but whatever’s best for the team we’ll do that.”

Chris or Jourdan, you guys win 41-8 but you give up a late touchdown and you give up the long running play. How much does that help your coach Don Brown to be able to get in that film room and say, ‘Okay, here are some things we need to clean up’ and not to get too confident after a big win?

CW: “Yeah, I think we played pretty good as a defense as whole against Rutgers and Wisconsin and Penn State, going back a few weeks. We obviously know we’re a good defense, but at the end of the day there’s always things we can get better at, always things we can improve on as a D-line. And linebackers and secondary, obviously, as a whole. So, we’ll watch film today and see what we can do. Obviously want to stop those long runs, the late touchdown, but like I said, there’s things to get better at.”

Jourdan, Coach reemphasized every game’s a championship game, [and said] we prepare like we do for everybody. Especially for an in-state guy, does it take a conscious effort to control emotion when it’s a rivalry like this?

“I’m not really an overemotional guy. I really just love the game of football and always prepare for every single game like it’s my last. So, that’s what all of us do, especially on the defensive end of the ball. Not saying that Michigan State—not trying to slight them or anything, but it’s just another game, really, on the schedule.”

Ben, what’s this rivalry mean to you as an in-state guy?

“I mean, as everyone knows as a kid I was a hockey player, but when I first got to college and hearing about it from Taylor Lewan and Mike Schofield and Elliott Mealer and what the rivalry meant to them, it just kind of set the standard for what the rivalry is. At the same time, we’ve got to focus on this week just like we do every week. It’s just another obstacle we have to get across that’s going to take us to our end goal, and that’s just to win as many games as we can and be the best that we can and play the best of our game. So, I think as a team we’ve done really good at that this season and I’ve been really proud of the guys and how they handle every game.”

[More after THE JUMP]

Illinois Postgame Presser: Players

Illinois Postgame Presser: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 24th, 2016 at 11:04 AM



Dymonte Thomas, De’Veon Smith, Wilton Speight

Wilton, a little bit sloppy there in the second half, would you say, and were you a little bit disappointed with that? Not you, but the team.

“Yeah, it starts with me, but yeah, it’s obviously something we need to look at on film and figure out how to not come out with a three-and-out or a turnover here and there and not give the opponent any sense of life. We’ll learn from that and build on that.”

Dymonte, what was going through your mind as you had that interception at the end of the first half?

“First thing that went through my mind is it’s about time. I knew that my teammates—every day they make fun of me: ‘Dymonte, you can’t catch. You don’t have no hands.’ So, after I caught that interception they all said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna let you breathe. I’m gonna let you go. About time you caught it.’ It’s an exciting feeling. I was pretty happy, pretty pumped.”

Dymonte, your team held Illinois without a passing yard in the first half. What was key in doing that, especially against an inexperienced quarterback.

“We just knew we had to bring pressure. He was getting the ball out pretty quick, pretty fast, and we knew that. We just had to tighten up on our coverage and we knew some of the things, their tendencies, on third down they were going to do, short-yardage game. We just made sure that we kept that in perspective and played tight defense and allowed our defensive linemen and linebackers to blitz and create opportunities for us.”

Wilton, I know some of you guys had time off last week, but for you specifically, was there one thing you tried to work on last week or that you wanted to get better at going into the second half here?

“Yeah. So, I watched all of the six games, every snap, and just took a lot of notes on what glaringly needed to be better and also little things. So being able to throw with guys like Grant [Perry], Jehu [Chesson], in our time off—you know, we didn’t have the couple hour practice with pads on and everything but we were still able to go out there like we did this summer and throw certain routes. I just wanted to focus on—I can make every throw, in my opinion, but sometimes I was short on passes or when a guy was open I’d miss him. That’s what I wanted to focus on the second half of the season was eliminating that.”

[More after THE JUMP]

Neck Sharpies: The Anti-State Screen That Nearly Worked

Neck Sharpies: The Anti-State Screen That Nearly Worked

Submitted by Seth on June 24th, 2016 at 9:33 AM

In the Kindle Edition of HTTV for this year (oh by the way that exists) I added a sidebar/article on Michigan State's defense and different ways to attack it. With Quarters coming back into vogue to combat the spread, and Quarters teams getting super-aggressive against the run, offenses have been pulling the old Spurrier trips-and-triangle stuff to attack it. But Quarters is not new, and there are some other good answers out there for an overzealous defense from the two-back offenses that dominated the '80s and '90s.

Here's an oldie but a goodie, the Tunnel (or Jailbreak) Screen to a running back:

A-Train motioned out to the flat, essentially becoming a receiver. Chris Floyd stayed in as an Ace back, then he drifted out the other way to draw people away from where Thomas is going. DeBord caught the Buckeyes in one of TENUTA!!!!'s crazy blitzes that overloaded the backside. The running backs flying out horizontally pulled the linebackers out of the middle. Then Thomas cut back in, and by the time the outside guys can react to that there's an A-Train a-comin' with a lead blocker. It's a race between him and the flat defender for ALL the yards. Flat guy won.


(And Tuman got away with a hold).

This play never went away; they run tunnel screens out of spreads all the time with receivers coming in. Whereas bubble screens attack the defense in the space outside, tunnel screens get the defense moving hard one way to defend the edge, then pass it to a good athlete coming the opposite direction. Like a cutback run, if the screen target can accelerate downfield before the defenders can reverse momentum and converge, it could be a huge gain.

DeBord brought that out in '97 because OSU was blitzing guys off the edge. In 2011 vs MSU Borges (unsuccessfully since he didn't have the personnel) tried to make it a hot read to Vincent Smith. It's particularly good to run against a defense that's getting upfield too aggressively and dropping other guys back, since it attacks the space between them. As you might have guessed, if you catch the linebackers blitzing too that space could be huge, which is why this is fun to run on passing downs.

* [Moore was technically a free safety in '97 but the way OSU played twins this game was to have the CBs follow their receivers and leave Moore the strong side overhang DB.]

[After the jump: Harbaugh's version]

Wednesday Presser 11-4-15: Mike Zordich

Wednesday Presser 11-4-15: Mike Zordich

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 4th, 2015 at 3:04 PM


Over the past two games the passing numbers for the opposing quarterbacks were obviously a lot higher. Is there something that you can pinpoint on that to change?

“Well, the Michigan State game you’re facing a really good quarterback. They made a lot of plays and we made a lot of plays ourselves in that game, but you’ve got to give credit to the quarterback over there.

“Last week, I’m not taking anything away from Minnesota [but] we just laid an egg defensively, especially in the secondary. We just played poorly. That contributes to a lot of the passing yards this past week.”

Do you attribute that to rust from a bye week or…?

“You know, we’ve all tried to figure it out. Nobody knows but we’re fighting through it and certainly we’ve talked about it, we’ve addressed it, and we are working on getting better starting yesterday in practice.”

Anything you saw specifically on some of the breakdowns that led to long pass plays?

“I just, again, think our guys in the backend didn’t play as aggressively as they have in the past; weren’t going after footballs, had bad eye control, and just losing their guys. Did not play well.”

Connor Cook is ancient history at this point, but was he one of the better quarterbacks you’ve seen this year?

“Oh yeah. He’s a real good quarterback. I mean, he puts the ball places where it’s hard for other guys to catch. He’s good. A lot of credit to him. He’s gonna be- you’ll be watching him on Sundays for sure.”

[After THE JUMP: The wings on the helmet will tell on you if you lose eye control]

Unverified Voracity Remembers Ufer

Unverified Voracity Remembers Ufer

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2015 at 2:55 PM

RIP Ufer. Via Dr. Sap, rembrances of Bob Ufer on Michigan replay, 1981:

Also Harbaugh on Ufer:

"When there was an away game, we'd just gather around the radio and listen to it. Roll around, jump around on the furniture," Harbaugh recalled Monday during his radio show. "And I had a record, too. I had a Bob Ufer record, a vinyl record. John, my brother, had a stereo and I would listen to that almost every night before I went to bed.

"His calls of the game were just so awesome."

Well, yeah. PFF on Jourdan Lewis:

Jourdan Lewis owns the top PFF cornerback grade at +15.9. Opposing quarterbacks have posted a quarterback rating of 36.1 when targeting Lewis. In addition, Lewis has allowed only 18 receptions on 51 targets and leads the nation in passes defensed with twelve (the second place CB has eight). Lewis passed a major test in this last week’s epic game against Connor Cook (+26.1) and the CFF fifth ranked passing offense, Michigan State Spartans (+47.5). Lewis was also just named as a finalist for the 2015 Jim Thorpe award which goes to the top defensive back in the county.

They also have a list of the best-performing wide receivers on their college home page; Lewis's foe in the epic one-on-one battle last Saturday is at the top of the list. MSU is an interesting combination of very good players and very bad ones.

Minnesota incoming. Jerry Kill was just forced to retire, of course, and now Gopher fans are like… uh… what now?

The good news: Tracy Claeys, the new interim head coach, and the coaching staff have been through this before -- sort of. Back in 2013 when Kill stepped aside midseason to deal with his health, Claeys took over as interim head coach and led the Gophers to four straight Big Ten wins. This situation is a bit different, as Claeys is no longer keeping the ship afloat until Kill returns -- Kill is not coming back. So the good news is that I don't expect Claeys to be in over his head. This staff has been together too long to fall apart now, and they're well versed in how to handle adversity.

The bad news: This final stretch of games is brutal. Injuries have ravaged the depth chart. You've got a roster of players who've now lost their head coach. The future of the coaching staff is uncertain. The cloud of a Title IX investigation and the search for an athletic director hang over the university. In what has been a disappointing season, this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back. It is possible that the Gophers will play inspired football the rest of the season to honor their former head coach and pull off enough wins to become bowl eligible. But it is also possible that the Gophers' misfortunes continue with a streak of five more losses to end the season.

Unless Minnesota seriously outperforms expectations they will be facing a choice between promoting an interim on a team that didn't do so hot and trying to find a coach in one of the most competitive hiring markets in the history of college football without an athletic director. Hopefully they've got a Jim Hackett hanging around; more likely what that means is that Claeys is going to get the job even if that doesn't end up seeming like the best idea.

Mike Leach FTW. Leach on time of possession:

One stat a number of coaches have railed against for years is time of possession. Some still point to it, but many don’t anymore. With the rise in tempos, it becomes irrelevant.

“The biggest waste of time is time of possession,” Leach said. “What’s interesting to me is that was the national obsession for decades. Now, it’s viewed more of a waste of time. It probably took 50 years for that to happen.”

It's not quite dead yet. Leach also rails against the NCAA applying sacks against rushing attempts. Preach, Mike Leach. Preach and beat Stanford this weekend to throw the Pac-12 into complete chaos.

The new guy. The news has started using Tony Paul as their everything beat writer—equestrian is coming right up—and part of his gig led him to track down people who know recent 2017 basketball commit Jordan Poole:

“Yeah! If you have a coach who is just like, ‘If you’re open, shoot it,’ why not?” Poole said. “If the coach is telling me to shoot, he does not have to tell me twice.

“That’s what really caught my attention as a player.”

It's a fit.

Here is an 80 yard punt by Blake O'Neill. I clipped this for UFR and then forgot about it and frankly I'm just putting it here so that for next year's season preview when I go all rapture mode on John Baxter I can find it:

This has been "Brian puts something on the internet so he can Google it later." You're welcome.

Etc.: ESPN has comments? Pete Carroll is promoting a rugby-style tackle for all levels of football. Interesting adaptation. DJ Wilson speaks. Jarrod Wilson, pleasantly boring. Derrick Walton back. The Bentley treasure trove opens.

Wednesday Presser 10-28-15: Jay Harbaugh

Wednesday Presser 10-28-15: Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 29th, 2015 at 9:02 AM



Are you finding teams focusing on Jake [Butt] a little bit more as part of their gameplan, trying to take him away?

“There seems to be a little bit of that every now and then. Just, sometimes that’s how it shakes out, how the cookie crumbles, that the guy that’s the intended target of a route isn’t open and we trust Jake Rudock to get the ball to the guy who is open.”

What was your reaction when you found out about Jerry Kill’s resignation this morning?

“Sad. I figured it was something that had to be pretty serious. You never want to hear anything like that, and you know that he has the background of certain health issues so you hope and pray that he gets healthy and his family deals with everything alright, because that’s a serious thing.”

As a young coach, how do you have to learn to manage balancing the stresses of coaching with your health?

“I don’t know, I probably don’t do a good job. I had a donut today, so that’s good. I don’t know. I mean, I think a lot of it has to do with your work environment. The guys we work with are serious about football but they’re lighthearted guys, so it’s fun, it’s loose and serious at the same time if that makes any sense. I’m not a doctor, but I would imagine that’s helpful over the long term of not developing like hypertension or something. I don’t know. I probably should stop eating donuts, too.”

How have your dad and uncle managed to handle it? How have you seen them do it?

“Um, I don’t know. Not in any way that’s special or unique, I don’t think. They both find ways and time to spend with their family and exercise and stuff. They have fun doing what they’re doing. I don’t know. It’s a good question. Certainly it’s something to be aware of.”

[After THE JUMP: Did he use the two-costume strategy as a kid? Also, things about tight ends. And Jabrill.]

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 28th, 2015 at 4:54 PM

HomeSure Logo NMLS-1

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. I'm late today so I'm just going to tell you that Matt's a good guy and did my loan and Seth's loan and everything was easy and professional. We are associating our name with his and that is something we are very comfortable with.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: The director was one of those guys who fancies himself Stanley Kubrick so we never got a proper shot of what M was doing presnap on the Peppers sweep:

shotgun empty tight

You'll note that M only has four OL; Cole is lined up outside of DeVeon Smith. This was "shotgun empty tight" but that's insufficient to describe it, really.

This with 3TEs and a WR in a wing spot was "Ace tight":

ace tight

And M pulled out another goofy split line setup. Cole is one of the WRs to the top; Williams is the "right tackle". "Emory 3-wide," I said, and took another antacid:

emory 3-wide

PERSONNEL NOTES: The usual at most of the spots except Michigan whittled down the number of guys who played at the skill positions. Johnson and Green are on the participation list but didn't get carries; I don't remember them playing at all. Higdon and Isaac did get carries, but sparingly.

At WR it was almost all Darboh and Chesson and then they added in Harris or Perry in 3 or 4 wide sets. TE was about the usual.

[After THE JUMP: opportunities untaken]

Wednesday Presser 10-28-15: Greg Jackson

Wednesday Presser 10-28-15: Greg Jackson

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 28th, 2015 at 2:00 PM



What have you seen from Minnesota on film?

“Real strong, powerful running backs. A good running game. I think we’re going to have our hands cut out for us when we get prepared for Minnesota as far as the running game is concerned.

“An the receivers are good. They have No. 9 and No. 1, which are real flashy receivers. The guys know how to get open. They have really good speed, so it’s going to be a challenge for us on the outside and also in the run game.”

What kind of a quarterback is Mitch Leidner?

“He’s a good quarterback. He manages the game real well. Not flashy, I guess because of the knee injury that he had. Probably not the same, but we’re still on the alert for him running the football. He’s a good, solid quarterback. He’s got some good receivers and he’s got a good tight end in No. 86 who can stretch the field down the middle, so…you know, I think one of the biggest things we’re going to have to be alert for is a lot of play-passes and bootlegs from these guys.

“Because one thing we have to do, we have to focus on stopping their running game first because once their running game gets going that’s when everything else opens up. They’re a strong team, so we do have to be on the alert for that.”

MGoQuestion: What happened on the 30-yard touchdown pass to Kings and the fullback wheel route against Michigan State?

“Well, it was just one of the plays where our eyes and our linebacker wasn’t focused on the play, and a lot of our guys’ eyes were in the backfield, so it’s just one of those plays that happens. You wish it wouldn’t have happened, but we’ll learn from that from this point on.

“And like I always say and always tell the guys in the back end, it’s all about eye control. If you play with good eye control those plays are going to be at a minimum.”

[After THE JUMP: I get coached up on eye control]

Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 27th, 2015 at 3:10 PM

HomeSure-Logo-NMLS-14_thumbUpon Further Review has a sponsor. Ran into Matt at a hockey game at Yost on Sunday. We kind of shook our heads about some of the defensive breakdowns, shrugged, and went on with our lives. (Everyone was wearing pants, yes, do I really have to clarify that? I suppose I do.) But anyway this is a person who is part of our community; we've used him and we have been happy, as have other MGoFolk who have communicated this to us.

He's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan had a new thing for MSU's heavy sets. This lineup has Wormley, Godin, Glasgow, and Henry from top to bottom on the line with RJS lined up as a linebacker. Bolden is acting as the SAM with Gedeon the other ILB:

4-4 over[2]

That is the first time this year we've seen four true DL on the field at the same time. Another example, this time with RJS rolled up to the line:

trips TE[6]

They also did this, which I called 7-2 bear:

bear eagle bear[2]

This was the TD on which RJS got bear-hugged; it did not come out again.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Aside from the occasional 4-4 mentioned above it was the usual rotation on the defensive line with one exception: I don't think I saw Charlton out there at all save for one buck snap. RJS got every other snap on which there was a buck—M lifted the buck in their dime sets.

Morgan played every snap. Ben Gedeon got most of the game; in the first half he was the third linebacker when M was in base personnel. After Bolden was ejected he was the guy lining up next to Morgan even after Ross became available in the second half. In the brief period between Bolden's ejection and the end of the first half, Allen Gant got a few snaps. Gedeon looked good.

Secondary was close to the usual with the notable exception of Jourdan Lewis shadowing Burbridge around the field after the first series of the game. To be honest I don't know what the Clark/Stribling breakdown was because they were peripheral, but I'm pretty sure Stribling got the rest of the snaps after Clark blew his coverage on MSU's second TD. Dymonte Thomas was the dime back.

[After THE JUMP: run run throw at Lewis, punt or repeat]

Monday Presser 10-26-15: Players

Monday Presser 10-26-15: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 27th, 2015 at 10:00 AM



Amara Darboh and Willie Henry

What did you guys work on individually this week and what did you want to address as a team with your bye week?

AD: “We worked on a lot of different things. Me personally, I worked on routes, worked on timing with the quarterbacks and then as a team we just worked on getting better overall.”

WH: “Same on this side of the field. Defensive-wise, we corrected mistakes we had against Michigan State, worked on a lot of techniques, get our hands better, our feet and footwork because technique’s a big part of our game. Just getting better and resting our bodies as much as possible.”

What does your coach have to say to you or what did he have to say to you about perhaps one loss not taking you guys out of the Big Ten race and the forward focus you guys needed to have?

AD: “He told us to focus on us and our team. Depending on whether we won or lost we have to keep on winning, keep on taking every game as if it were the last game and go out and try to compete each game.”

Willie, coach Harbaugh was talking about Jarrod Wilson and his leadership style and how he’s not a guy who’s going to say a lot and how he leads silently. Have you seen that, and in what ways does he lead the defense?

“He’s not a guy who’s a big talker. He’s a doer, so you can see by his work ethic a lot of times what kind of leader he is on and off the field, in the class room and also when we’re off the field in the locker room the kind of person he is, the kind of person who cares for his teammates and wants the best for everyone in that locker room whether it’s the class he came in with or younger guys. He’s always trying to coach somebody and help them and help the team.”

Jon Falk isn’t here any more, so who tells the Jug story every year?

AD: “No one’s told it this year yet, but I think being here for a while we all know the story so now we’ve been telling the younger guys about it and how this is an important trophy game.”

[The rest after THE JUMP]