You should probably block Khaleke Hudson. Minnesota’s approach to this game was bad. Not baffling—they were recycling ideas that worked once each for Penn State and Rutgers. Just…bad. It was bad. Offense things: JBB is obviously a good power blocker; when the offense was going to be a spread-to-Speight outfit in the offseason he probably was too bad at pass pro to be viable. Nice to see the running backs now picking up the subtleties of power running.
2. Hoops Preview LET’S GOOOOOOO
starts at 20:58
Who’s our point guard? Guessing Simmons will end up there, but it’s weird to go into a season without that spot settled—when was the last time that was true? Charles Matthews is the guy they trust to isolate and crate his own shot. MAAR’s usage up this year? Rebounding misses Derrick Walton; Moe Wagner knows he has to start grabbing boards to make the NBA. Teske is now Big Nasty (up from Big Sleep). Duncan Robinson is a coach out there. He might be the best shooter in the country; he might be the worst defender too.
3. Gimmicky Top Five: Thoughts About Board Games
starts at 44:50
We welcome special guest Reid McCarthy from Ann Arbor Elder Law to call Brian to task for calling out Settlers of Catan. This becomes a segment on all the board games we love and hate, and just put together once and thought it was cool but never actually played before losing a piece and now it’s worthless no YOUR childhood was ruined by MouseTrap. Also Brian realizes 5 minutes into talking about Wizards of the Coast buying out Dungeons and Dragons that he just went deeper into nerdiness than even this blog is comfortable with.
4. Maryland Preview w—once again relegated to—sg Seth Fisher
starts at 1:12:35
At least they have an excuse for their quarterback play. THE BORTENSCHLAGER experience might be over in favor of 5’11” Air Force kid. It’ll be like the Rutgers game but not the Minnesota game, basically. Come to me you precious easy passing yards. Come to meeeeeeeee.
If you or a friend made some good tunes and don't have a label out scrubbing for them we'd be happy to feature you. Tonight we return to the considerably more ravey stylings of WILSON, featuring his tracks “Roll on Your Wave”, “World Class”, and “In the Meantime” Also “Across 110th Street”.
SPONSOR NOTE. This was going to be a three-thousand word sponsor note because there's not much to say about this game, but Matt was like "no, stop that," like most of our advertisers have to say to us on a regular basis. "Please stop doing that," Matt said, "and instead have a brief item noting HomeSure Lending's ability to get you a mortgage from the comfort of your own home rapidly."
Thus this note, which is not an exegesis on various details of mortgage lending, and that's just another reason to get a mortgage from HomeSure.
FORMATION NOTES. Like last week, Michigan spent the vast bulk of this game in a four-man front. Whether that's disrespect to the opposition's passing game or Aubrey Solomon emerging into Michigan's best option as the seventh guy in the front seven is to be determined.
Minnesota was all three-wide gun except when they were in their irritatingly effective jet sweep package.
More on this in a bit.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES. 247 published snap counts earlier in the week so no speculation necessary: the back seven barely changed, with McCray, Bush, Kinnel, and Hill getting all or almost all of the 60 snaps. Long and Watson split the other CB snaps. Metellus would have gone the whole way but for his ejection; Glasgow entered in his place.
There was more rotation up front. Gary, Winovich, and Hurst got about 90% of the snaps before Minnesota's late FG drive; Solomon had 26. Kemp, Paye, Marshall, Mone, and Dwumfour all got 10-20 snaps. Uche got 5, Rueben Jones 2.
[After THE JUMP: another week, another Big Ten quarterback.]
What have you seen from some of the younger guys at tackle, Stueber, some of those guys?
“They’re doing really well. That transition of coming from high school to college is going really good. You’re seeing them move around do things more natural now than six weeks ago, seven weeks ago, so really excited about the young group. There’s a good group and it’s going to be fun to watch them continue to grow and compete and prepare and the whole nine yards.”
Is that typically a pretty big transition coming from high school to college as an offensive lineman?
“Oh yeah, absolutely.”
What’s been the difference for Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]? He started out no. 2, now he’s in there moving people.
“Juwann’s—he’s really maturing in just his outlook and how he goes and it’s been really fun to watch and interesting to see, like you said, overcome some adversity early on and continue to battle and continue to press. Certainly not where we want him to be or where he feels he can be but I think he’s on that road and it’s been really fun to watch.”
He’s been moving people. Is the pass pro part still where you’re really—
“Yeah, it’s always because every defense presents different challenges, and so as a group and watching these guys, they’re attacking those challenges. Still making some mistakes. There’s still some things we’ve got to get where maybe a guy gets anxious or something happens where we’ve got to calm him down a little bit but he’s solidly moving forward to become what we think he can become.”
[After THE JUMP: how Frey approaches TEs, updates on Hudson, Newsome the player/coach, and a Maryland scouting report of sorts]
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Look, they can't all be good sponsor notes. Unlike HomeSure Lending mortgages, which are all good. Because they let you have a house, fast.
FORMATION NOTES. Another jumbo day for the offense. I charted just seven snaps with 3 WRs, all of them passing downs. The closest thing to a 3-wide snap on a run down was second and twelve. Standard down offense was split about evenly between 2 WR snaps (20) and jumbo formations (18 1 WR snaps, 6 0 WR snaps, only two of which were short yardage).
If you're keeping score that means that Michigan has all but discarded the two major changes in the offense—inside zone focus and a bunch of NFL-style empty formations—to go full Harbaugh.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES. QB was Peters, obviously. OL was the usual except for Ruiz replacing Onwenu, and Runyan replacing Ruiz after Ruiz nearly got Peters killed on that one play. Ulizio got in for the last drive I charted, FWIW. Spanellis continued in his role as a sixth OL, getting maybe a dozen snaps.
RB was all Higdon and Evans with Isaac and Walker out; Samuels only got the Malzone drive at the end. Gentry and McKeon continued getting the large bulk of the TE snaps; Wheatley was out. Bunting did get 10-ish snaps. WR was mostly DPJ and Collins in single WR sets, with Schoenle and McDoom coming in for the rare 3-WR sets. Perry and Crawford were out.
Thor: Ragnarok just came out. Justice League comes out later this month. Some people don't like "comic book movies" because they say they're too unrealistic. If you ever run into one of those people, show them this GIF and whisper "I've seen some things." Their argument is instantly invalid.
Was the offensive line tipping anything in this game?
“A little bit. We were able to get a read on a couple of the pass stances that they were showing. I think the biggest thing for that play is that I was able to see the running back go in motion, and once the running back goes in motion they didn’t really have any quarterback runs where they were using the quarterback to draw or anything. I just knew it was going to be a pass, so I sort of switched my stance to a little bit more of a pass stance and got off the ball as quick as I could.”
So it’s an opportunity for you to pin your ears back there on second down.
It was 2nd-and-12, so what were you expecting from them at that point?
“They were actually running the ball a little bit on their second and long drives. I think six was kind of their cut-off where they were passing the ball. Just expecting run first, but then once the running back went in motion was able to expect that was going to be a pass.”
What’s the first thing you noticed about the guard once the ball was snapped?
“Just leaning back and sort of getting into his pass set. That was kind of where I was, and then once I sort of engage the guy I was able to get control of his hands and sort of control the man. I think that was probably the reason I was able to bull him back is that I was able to get control of his hands and use my leverage against him and was able to knock him back into the quarterback.”
From a technique perspective, what was he trying to do to you?
“He was just setting back far. Probably a little more afraid of speed than power. Normally when guards set back really far they’re trying to protect themselves against speed, so doing that kind of leaves them vulnerable to power moves. So once he started leaning back his momentum’s going that way so it kind of just carried back towards him.”
Looked like he got a hand in your face. Were you able to tell that you had even gotten to the quarterback? Did you just keep bulling through him or did you know which direction to push?
“Yeah, I mean, I could see the quarterback but one of the things is I thought the quarterback was going to scramble out of it so I was just trying to bull him, and then once I saw the quarterback was still there I just sort of reached out for him and was able to get a sack on him.”
Where have you seen the offensive line grow in the last two to three weeks after the Penn State game?
“After the Penn State game I just noticed everybody going a lot harder. I mean, we always went hard in practice but I noticed guys going a lot harder and everybody’s starting to get used to everything now, the young guys are starting to get used to everything; me too. And just a lot more full-speed things. A lot less thinking. More everybody just knows where they’re going now and it’s just a lot of full speed.”
What are the biggest things that you’ve learned as an offensive lineman at this level since the start of the season?
“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to play four different positions. I’ve learned also be ready, you never know when your name’s going to be called too, so make sure you know what you’re doing at all times.”
What’s the one position you haven’t taken reps at?
“Left tackle is the only position I haven’t taken reps at.”
Where have you played the most?
“I’ve been focusing on left guard up until this week, until the last week when I jumped in at right guard.”
[After THE JUMP: more Ruiz, Spanellis, Hurst, Long, and apologies to Poggi]
11/4/2017 – Michigan 33, Minnesota 10 – 7-2, 4-2 Big Ten
FACE TO FACE [Bryan Fuller]
Michigan has a new starting quarterback, a highly touted redshirt freshman who flashed potential a week ago. This week he got his first-ever start, completed some simple throws early, and then went home to have a cheese sandwich. Probably? Maybe? I don't recall if he continued playing after the first drive.
He probably did. Starting quarterbacks leaving the stadium during a game tend to make the news. I think I remember a hitch on third down in there somewhere, now that you mention it. But if Brandon Peters hadn't stayed around the result would have been little different, because Michigan's rushing game can optimistically be termed a Ground Assault now. Michigan assaulted a large number of Gophers on Saturday night. They did not battle or fight or contest Minnesota, because all those terms imply a certain evenness. They assaulted Minnesota, like a gang of Hell's Angels descending on a gaming convention. "Aaaaaargh, why are you still playing Settlers of Catan instead of something fun," screamed Michigan's running game, metaphorically. Also, I hope, literally because Catan is trash dot emoji.
I don't even have to subtract sacks to bring you a stat that's absurd: 10 yards per carry. Ten. One first down of yardage per carry. Also this:
I'm genuinely not sure which is more impressive: that they averaged 6.9 ypc after contact, or that they averaged 6.6 ypc BEFORE contact. https://t.co/X5DxY06RSG
In three weeks there will be a ripped from the headlines Law & Order episode in which Michigan is convicted of murder in the zeroth degree, because of this game. Ice T will accuse Michigan of being hopped up on Zebra Glitter and only be half-wrong. Michigan is hopped up on life, Ice T. Life and 60+ yard rushing touchdowns. And murder.
ANKLE TO FACE [Fuller]
And now for the lame bit: hoping this sticks. Falling apart at the end has been the fate of all excellent Michigan football things over the past decade or so. The 2006 defense. Denard Robinson's elbow. Chad Henne's shoulder. Last year's top 5 team. Michigan's pursuit of David Cutcliffe. All of these things ended poorly.
Also some less than excellent ones like Brady Hoke. And last year's passing offense. You probably don't remember this but this was the state of Michigan's passing attack after nine games last year:
Speight's 8.9 YPA leads the Big Ten by almost a half yard and is 11th nationally.
His 15-3 TD/INT ratio is second in the Big Ten to JT Barrett (21-4).
His passer rating is now five points clear of Perry Hills for best in the league and is 14th nationally.
He's fifth nationally in ESPN's QBR metric, which accounts for rushing yards and SOS.
I wrote that and can barely remember it in the soup that followed. Michigan got ambushed in Iowa City the next week—though not as ambushed as Ohio State did on Saturday, amirite—and Speight got hurt at the end of that game. Since it's been somewhere between coping and total disaster against teams not named Purdue.
So it must be mentioned that the parking lots that were once Rutgers and Minnesota are very likely to be terrible run defenses, and Minnesota's was badly hurt by their injury issues in the secondary. Back when Harbaugh was hired I talked about his Stanford offenses, which went against the prevailing trends in college football by putting very big guys on little guys; here Michigan put no guys on the littlest guys. They ignored the Minnesota cornerbacks and saw that decision pay off with a series of comically bad attempts to execute a run fit. This kind of hamblasting is always equal parts you, the opponent, and luck.
DESPAIR TO FACE [Fuller]
If you're still waiting for the other shoe to drop, that is a well-learned tendency. I sort of am as well. The last two opponents did not have sufficient confidence in their secondaries to jam everyone forward, and they were probably correct to do so. Michigan's passing game is still almost totally nonexistent, and the two heavies at the back end of the schedule are going to make Michigan suffer for that deficiency.
Probably, anyway. Michigan has been steadily building to this for half a season and will continue refining now that they've put their foot down and become a thing. That thing is a semi truck careening wildly towards the end of the season. Maybe it will flip over in a ditch. Maybe it will careen right through a series of animals and trees until the thick paste on the grill is an unspeakable mélange of the defeated.
no no no no no no no no no[Eric Upchurch]
Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week
you're the man now, dog
#1 Khaleke Hudson. Michigan appears to have noticed what we did while taping the podcast on Sunday: Chase Winovich got credit for the sack on the intentional grounding call. They've fixed that and are now claiming 3 sacks and 8 TFLs for Hudson. The former is a solo Don Brown Hat Trick; the latter is a school record. So, yeah, that's good enough.
Gotta block that punt, though.
#2(t) Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. The backs edge ahead of their top blockers this week because they made a lot for themselves. Higdon ran through Cesar Ruiz on his first big run and set a number of others up with hard cuts after initial feints that bought him a second level block. For his part, Evans ripped off two 60+ yard TDs, the second one featuring a broken tackle near the line of scrimmage on an unblocked linebacker.
#3(t) Mason Cole and Ben Bredeson. Two gentlemen that did work on the opposition defense, consistently and ruthlessly. JBB and Ruiz narrowly miss because their pass protection was alarming.
Honorable mention: Mo Hurst did his usual Mo Hurst things. The rest of the front seven was impregnable on anything but a jet sweep. JBB and Ruiz and Kugler do deserve some recognition for their ground efforts.
8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue) 7: Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU, T2 Minnesota). 6: Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers, T3 Minnesota). 5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers), Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU, #1 Minnesota). 4: David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU) 3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana)) 2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers), Chris Evans(T2 Minnesota). 1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), Ben Bredeson(T3 Minnesota).
Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week
Uh... let's pick the first Evans touchdown, on which he broke a linebacker tackle and then glided into the endzone.
Fun fact: I always think "glode" is the right past tense of "glide" for one point six seconds.
Honorable mention: Higdon's enormous touchdown. The other enormous Evans touchdown. Enormous Higdon run that doesn't reach the endzone. Khaleke Hudson tomahawks the ball out from Demry Croft; Hudson tackles for loss like seven more times.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
Quinn Nordin misses another extra point. What's the deal man? #collegekickers? Let's not #collegekickers. Let's not do that at all.
Honorable mention: Nordin pushes a 49 yarder just wide; Peters is thundersacked on third down on consecutive third quarter drives; Minnesota has a legitimate touchdown drive; rush is stopped for three yards. Hudson doesn't block that punt.
This was recorded at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor in one of their TEN conference rooms.
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan we’d be talking to ourselves.
Wetfeels: Brian’s 20-year streak of going to home games ends; Thanks Delany. Shout out to Black Engineer for tracking this: 20 commercial breaks, which is twice an appropriate limit. Did not play even 5 minutes of football between commercial breaks, couldn’t even get to 9 minutes of real time.
Offense: he Indiana split flow counter worked all night—we were actually getting annoyed with the Minnesota linebackers screwing that up. Manball approach took advantage of DBs who couldn’t run support. Running game is now consistently getting to ol’Stanford/Wisconsin levels. JBB is still an awful pass protector. Higdon’s long speed is impressive (>>>). Passing game look extant and functional early, later was just eating sacks, and unnecessary.
starts at 27:38
They completed three passes and gave up five sacks—you really have to work to find complaints here. They kept running the wildcat despite that not working at all. Khaleke Hudson finally got a chance to be hitman. Might have been robbed of the grounding sack; if that’s the case he passes Foote with 3 sacks and 7.5 TFLs in a single game. Some of that was attacking the not-mesh. Like a shark. Hurst was Hurstian.
Metellus ejected for nothing—least equal offsetting penalties ever.
3. Brian’s Wet Gophers: Hoops & Hockey
starts at 44:50
The guys read my joke Lantana read verbatim because they’re deranged. Do you know who else is deranged? Spencer Tillman.
Hoops takes: Mathews (GVSU caveat) might be the real deal. Duncan Robinson is Duncan Robinson. Zavier Simpson started over Simmons; that probably won’t last. Expect Simmons to win that with Z regularly in. Working on transition a lot. Teske rebounds, knows his way around the court, has some passing skills.
Hockey: Michigan doubled up Ferris in shots, earned a win and OT loss. Lack of skill up front came back to bite them. Marody coming into his own at least. At-large conversation. It’s fun to go to Yost again.
4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac
starts at 1:03:00
Chaos reigns in Iowa: JT Barrett made a statement in the Heisman race, which is that J.K. Dobbins was getting 8 ypc and they forgot to give him the ball. Josh Jackson is so good. Wadley finally got loose. Northwestern plays for OT with a 7-point lead because he always wins in OT. Maryland is down to an Air Force quarterback. Did Purdue put it on Lovie Smith? Indiana made it a game with Wisconsin. Penn State and Michigan State both discovered the other doesn’t have a secondary: 103 passing attempts in a rainy game.