Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Submitted by Seth on September 8th, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Previously: Cincinnati Offense

No YOU begged to write the Cincy FFFF just so you could watch abominable football and call it work.

I did not slow this down that’s just how fast they move.

The team Cincinnati played last week is literally the worst football team you can play. Austin Peay is on a historic losing streak that was last interrupted when Doug Nussmeier was Michigan’s offensive coordinator, and bad news for Toys R Us meant some negative publicity over their line of Breaking Bad action figures. That streak (Peay’s) continues, but only because Cincinnati went 4-1 in turnover luck when the Bearcats’ offense could only muster 248 yards.

Getting a read on the defense is a bit harder, because Peay’s quarterbacks are the kind of passers you make stand in the driveway so you’re not always chasing the ball into the neighbor’s garden. They still might miss the barn:

I’ve analyzed the Peay tape and while some of the things in it are indeed disturbing, there is nothing here that constitutes a threat to national security. That makes extrapolating applicable things from Peay’s offense to Michigan’s rather difficult. Also difficult: not cackling. I promise to do my best on the former.

Personnel: My diagram [click to embiggen]:

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I tried not to be too harsh with the cyan circles because it’s all relative, even if this whole scout was literally relative to the worst team in the kindest definition of Division I football. On any other FFFF the strong safety and the HSP would have circles too; they get a reprieve for playing opposite whatever the opposite of shields are.

Given Peay’s passing I have to punt on the corners but one note: David Pierce was a surprise starter last week over incumbent senior Grant Coleman, who’d been starting since he Wally Pipp’d the job from… [everyone put on your Rich Rod defensive recruit radiation jackets]… Adrian Witty in 2014. Pierce was a safety last year and deep into fall camp. Coleman was a walk-on. Again, Peay had no way to test this, but heuristically last-minute position switches are ill omens.

[After THE JUMP: I was probably too harsh on a kid who’s doing something way more amazing than I ever will]

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Jay Harbaugh

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 7th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Upchurch]

Did Ty [Isaac] earn a start with his play Saturday?

“We’ll see.”

Thank you.

“Nice try.”

A couple of the running backs said this week that you take a really interactive approach to coaching: a lot of dialogue, a lot of back and forth, the Socratic method, if you will. How does that help you as a first-year coach? How does that help your players?

“Well, it sounds like you asked them how it would help already. For me, they’re an extension of me on the field so it’s invaluable to hear what they’re seeing and what they feel and then try and use that to make corrections or adjustments over the course of a practice or the course of a game. So, good information from veteran guys that you can trust is really, really crucial.”

Can you think of a particular moment where there was a dialogue like that or you were like, Oh, a light bulb went on?

“Yeah, there’s parts of the game where a few series in [it’s] ‘Hey, what do you see? What do you feel about this run?’ ‘Oh yeah, I think that’ and then we can bring that and then talk about hey, maybe let’s call this because that’s what the guys are seeing out there. Sometimes they’ll feel certain things on the field that you can’t really discern from the sideline quite as well or sometimes hey, you think you have a thought and they say, ‘Yeah, that sounds really good.’ Just that back and forth, open lines of communication is always a good thing.”

[After THE JUMP: a good deal of RB coaching philosophy]

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Brian Smith

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Brian Smith

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 6th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Your guys played pretty well. Talk about how they played.

“Yeah, I thought Josh [Metellus] and Tyree [Kinnel] both did a solid job just overall. Just running to the football, they were aggressive, and I thought we tackled well, so I was happy with the way they played.”

Assignment-wise did you think they pretty good, too?

“Yeah. Assignment-wise I thought we were pretty clean. Communication, didn’t have a lot of issues that way so we’ve just got to keep it going going forward and maintain that same level.”

Tyree yesterday was talking about some plays where him and Khaleke [Hudson] were able to switch spots. What does that add when you’re able to do that?

“I think it helps out a lot. Having Khaleke, he has some experience playing safety. That versatility, being able to move to different places, kind of helps out the defense as a corps when you can get guys lined up and give the offense different looks. I think that helps out.”

What are the looks that change when they switch?

“Well, it depends. I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about in that case but there are different situations where we can end up in different positions.”

[After THE JUMP: communication clicking, Josh Metellus’ ceiling, and the bygone era in which Don Brown brought… more pressure?]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Submitted by Seth on September 6th, 2017 at 4:10 PM

Austin Peay did not win a game in 2016. They did not win a game in 2015 either. Nor did they win a game in 2013. In fact in their last 47 tries their lone victory was October 18, 2014, versus Murray State. Remember when Michigan planted a railroad spike in East Lansing, then Brady Hoke apologized? That is more recent than Austin Peay winning a football game. The closest they’ve come since: last Saturday at Cincinnati.

Michigan’s next opponent was outgained 313 (Detroit!) to 248 (Cranbrook!), and needed a big fourth quarter touchdown drive and two end-of-half turnovers near their goal line to kick off the Luke Fickell era with a victory over literally the worst team in the most charitable definition of Division I. The same Governors (FYI: Austin Peay are the Governors), who gave up an average of 46 points vs FCS schools last year were able to hold the Cincinnati attack to 3.3 YPC, 5.4 YPA, and 3/11 on first downs.

Yeah, football results are not always transitive. But this might be:

if this is accurate there are only five unblocked defenders around

I find beauty in atrocious football. It’s yet to be seen if we can find much of use. Welcome back to foe film.

Personnel. My diagram [click to embiggen]:

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Oreo offense: hard cookie outside with a soft, gooey center.

There wasn’t that much I could glean from watching them play Peay. The offensive line returned one starter and the new kids got zero push against Peay’s DL. The right tackle, a JUCO transfer, is large but really stiff and a complete turnstile against the pass rush. The center got overpowered on the regular but seemed to know what he was doing. Both guards had trouble in all departments, getting little to no push, blowing zone combos, and occasionally providing entertainment of the “'I’m glad it’s not our guys” variety. For example try to guess who the pulling guard, #64, will block on this play.

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If you went with “unblocked guy right in front of him,” you lose. The other LB near the tight end? Wrong. That cornerback? Nope. “Nobody?” You’re giving him too much credit.

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Fortunately it’s not an illegal block in the back if it’s your own tight end so this was just a tackle for no gain.

[After THE JUMP this is some bad football right here]

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Players

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 5th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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[Fuller]

They didn’t have players take the podium today, so instead I took a little bit of audio from the different scrums around the Towsley Museum and transcribed it for you, dear reader. If you’re wondering why other sites might have certain quotes not seen here or vice versa, keep in mind that I have one recorder and one me to gather audio.

Tyree Kinnel

I jumped in the scrum late but the question seems pretty obvious.

“Who’s the hardest hitter? Chase thinks he’s the biggest hitter, Josh [Metellus] thinks he’s the biggest hitter, I think I’m the biggest hitter. We always have that argument but as long as we’re all getting there at the same time and laying the big hit then it should be fine.”

Do you feel like you did well?

“I felt like I was communicating well with my teammates. I felt I did good. I felt like I got to the ball pretty fast and [was] making all my checks.”

Totally comfortable now guiding all the younger guys back there?

“Yeah, I did feel comfortable. We were all talking after the game about the game and the coaches work us so hard in practice we were like, ‘Man, this is pretty easy.’ Because of the way they work us in practice, we felt really good.”

Did Josh Metellus play well Saturday?

“He did everything well. He was talking to me the whole time. He was making checks as I was making checks. He covered a lot. He covered a lot more than me just because of their offense and I feel like he covered really well. He was on the tight end; there was one time he was covering a receiver and the quarterback checked down and ran it and he got off the block and forced that fumble; that was a good play by him. Any time you come out of coverage and make a tackle like that is good.”

You mentioned speed quite a bit. Has there been more of an emphasis on that this year, on being faster than last year?

“I don’t think they really coach the speed, I think that’s just naturally how we are. I think they want us running for the ball but speed-wise, I think that’s just all of us as a group together trying to get to the ball as fast as we can.”

[After THE JUMP: Nolan Ulizio and Lawrence Marshall]

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 4th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Chris Cook]

Coach, could you talk about how Patrick Kugler did in his first start?

“Yeah, he did outstanding. He graded out the highest of all offensive linemen. Just very effective. Really, really happy with the way the offensive line played. Pat played his best game.”

In addition to the offensive line, what were the things on the offensive side of the ball that jumped out on video that you liked?

“The run game. Liked our pass protections. Liked in the passing game we hit big plays. We executed at times very well. The play action was extremely good. And we moved the ball. We were able to move and score points. Feel like we turned some of those red-zone field goals into touchdowns and you score 40, 45+ points.” 

Obviously every game plays out differently but with the way Isaac succeeded, do you try to get the ball in his hands more going forward?

“Well, we were. I mean, that was the plan going into the game as well. He had a terrific game. He’s going to be our offensive player of the week. Really got us going on some off-schedule third-down runs. He played brilliantly and really happy for him.

“Chris [Evans] as well had good runs and so did Karan Higdon. We really felt good about those three backs in the ball game and we continue to feel good about them coming out of the ball game and going forward.”

Chase said on Saturday that forced fumble for him was a culmination of a lifetime of work. What’s impressed you most about him and his progression there after bouncing around from position to position earlier in his career?

“The motor. His energy, his effort…fast. It’s the speed at which he does it and he’s a strong player. Speed and strength, those are huge in football, as a team and as an individual player. Combine that with his get-up-and-go, his motor, his gung-ho attitude: all is a great combination for a football player.”

[After THE JUMP: running off-schedule, the starting QB, and offensive line…hype?]