Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs UConn

Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs UConn

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2013 at 3:07 PM

FORMATION NOTES: UConn did some weird stuff. My lingo on these is probably bad but this was "5-1 nickel split" with a 3-4 front that has two OLBs flanking the line:

5-1-nickel-split

And I just gave up when this happened, calling it "5-4 30 front":

5-4-30-front

There was also a 5-3 30 front that had a deep safety.

This is "shotgun 4-wide tight" for M. You may note the weird tilt of Funchess:

shotgun 4-wide tight

As a rule I count a TE in a two point stance as a WR for purposes of naming a formation.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual basically everywhere. Save one snap for Derrick Green when Toussaint was momentarily injured, Toussaint got every tailback snap. Butt was preferred to Funchess late when Michigan was running the ball. And it seems like Chesson is slowly absorbing snaps from Reynolds and Jackson.

All else was as before.

[After THE JUMP: points! yards! (none of those things)]

Picture Pages: All It Takes Is One Guy

Picture Pages: All It Takes Is One Guy

Submitted by Brian on September 25th, 2013 at 1:04 PM

SITE NOTE: as is traditional during a bye week, the UFRs will be delayed a day, allowing us to ruminate in some more detail on a couple more plays that seem to be representative of larger trends.

Today in Michigan's running issues: an example of how all it takes is one breakdown for an otherwise promising play to end in the backfield. Offense and defense are opposite creatures in this regard. On defense, if you make a mistake it may or may not be punished, because someone can beat a guy and clean up for you, or the offense may not see the open receiver or cutback lane. On offense, an error is going to leave someone free and he will end your play more often than not.

A lot of Michigan's struggles so far have been one-guy breakdowns. This sounds like a promising, easy fix, but it's an unfriendly math problem. When you've got seven guys trying to execute, even if everyone has a 90% hit rate 0.9^7 is a 52% shot at someone not executing. At 95%—each guy doing their job 19 of 20 times—you still have a 30% failure rate.

That's obviously oversimplified; there are different mistakes that can make the difference between an unsuccessful run of three yards and an unsuccessful one of negative two yards. But I've been saying things like "it's just one block away from a big play" for a while now without actually seeing a lot of improvement in that category, and the previous paragraph is one of the reasons why.

Our exemplar is a zone stretch midway through the third quarter. It's first and ten after Drew Dileo extended an out route into the short seam and Gardner hit him. Michigan's in the I; UConn responds with a 3-4 look that has an extra guy hanging off the tight end side on the hash.

one-guy-1

UConn did a lot of blitzing from the outside in this game, and this will be no exception. They'll shoot the guy on the hash upfield to be the force player and slant the other two inside, way inside in the OLB's case:

one-guy-1

On the snap, nothing much is revealed as no one's made contact yet except Miller, who's underneath the nose tackle already:

one-guy-2

That nose tackle is going to end up a long way downfield. I know we're all trying to take Miller's job, but he made a couple of nice blocks on these plays in the second half.

In the above shot, you can see the first steps of the defenders highlighted in the arrow picture coming inside. a half step later Michigan has both adjusted excellently and not adjusted excellently:

one-guy-3

Both Glasgow and Lewan have adjusted their flight paths to intersect with the slanting defenders and have successfully made contact that will allow them to shove them past the play and open up a huge hole on the outside of the line, but Joe Kerridge is now trying to hit a gap that is not open.

When he does, he gets whacked.

one-guy-4one-guy-5

Now off balance and a gap away from the actual hole, he's unable to block anyone. That's the one guy. When Michigan does this on defense I mention they got a two-for-one and usually good things happen afterwards.

Here bad things happen because Yawin Smallwood is now hanging out in the hole unblocked.

one-guy-4

Fitz compounds matters by seeing this, considering a bounce, and then deciding against it, which gives up a couple yards.

one-guy-5one-guy-6one-guy-7one-guy-8

Second and twelve blues.

Video

Slow:

Items Of Interest

Well, poop. Michigan blocks this really well on the line, getting both slanters sealed inside and driving the nose tackle back into a linebacker. But once Kerridge gets picked off, this play has a maximum reasonable expectation of about one yard. It only takes one error.

This would take some pretty fast recognition to fix. A lot of zone teams either eschew lead backs or place them in positions such that they, too, have a long path to the hole (think about "superbacks" in spread offenses that start lined up next to the QB). Kerridge is lined up to the playside about three yards in front of Toussaint and his first steps are upfield as he tries to build momentum for a bone-rattling LB block. Toussaint, in contrast, kind of waits and runs lateral to the LOS for a bit, so he has time to see the slant develop and find the hole that is unfortunately filled with one Yawin Smallwood.

Kerridge doesn't have that time. If he's going to make that read presnap he's probably guessing that the OLB is going to attack the gap outside of Lewan, and when that turns out to be wrong he's already committed. I'm not sure he can be any other way when he's lined up so close to the point of attack.

If you're going to do this it almost seems like you'd have to consider Kerridge another lineman and that Lewan should release downfield into Smallwood once the OLB crosses his face, but holy hell is that complicated. Michigan should be trying to make everything as dead simple as possible so they can have uninspiring runs that do pick up some yards.*

So this is a rock paper scissors minus. I don't think Kerridge has time to change his gap, and that gap gets filled by a slant. Even if Kerridge 1) has the option to pick his hole, 2) made a presnap read of the blitzer, and 3) assumed the OLB would slant inside, the OLB is outside of Williams so a one-gap slant takes him outside of Lewan. This puts Kerridge in the right hole. When the OLB goes two gaps over that's when the problems happen.

Toussaint bounce attempt again. Like that Nix play discussed earlier, here Toussaint has grim prospects that he makes a little grimmer by trying to escape. Despite all your rage, Fitz, you're still just a rat in a cage. Here it seems like he has been told that he needs to go N/S and remembers that after his natural inclination. Or he just thinks he can't get outside Williams. Whichever.

It is not an easy decision to bench Jack Miller. The entire world has already benched the guy for the Minnesota game; I'm 50-50 on that. I'm frustrated with him sometimes as well, but here's another loss on which the offensive line appears to be working just fine. He got dumped into the backfield once earlier in this game and struggled in a couple of pass protections (a couple of other pressures that came up the middle were not on him), but I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan soldiers on with their current five guys. Even if they don't, how long is Chris Bryant going to be able to stay on the field?

Also, folks speculating that Michigan might move Michael Schofield back to guard and insert Braden or Magnuson should stop. Miller is not bad enough that switching three spots on the OL and sending a good right tackle back to guard so you can insert a freshman is anywhere near an upgrade. That's a midseason switch worthy of a Rodriguez defense.

*[This is iso's role in the world. It is the DURRR SMASH of run plays, requiring almost nothing other than brute strength and rarely picking up more than three yards, but rarely losing any.]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-18-13: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-18-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 18th, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Bullets:

  • Boo boo watch: Courtney Avery and AJ Williams are back at practice. This is not a drill. 
  • Boo boo watch part 2: Taylor Lewan didn't practice yesterday but will today. He's fine. Mario Ojemudia will be the most limited of the boo boo watchees. I don't know if he'll play.
  • The offensive line is in an introspective phase. Changes might occur as early as this week. However, the bye week presents a much better opportunity to shake things up.

-----------------------

Opening remarks:

"Good practice yesterday. Thought we came out and competed very hard, which you expect every day. But I thought we physically were getting after each other, and we'll do the same thing today. We've got to play the run better, run the ball better, same old stuff you always hear, but it's the truth and it is what it is. I liked how we came out and competed with each other."

Noticeably different from last week?

"On a Tuesday? Probably a little bit."

A lot players said last Tuesday was lackluster. Can you tell that?

"They would know best if they felt that way. Maybe it's an individual thing, too."

Can you talk about UConn's defensive front?

"Yeah they're a big front. Not quite Notre Dame big in some ways, but they're a big front. Active in the linebackers. I think Smallwood is a guy who is their main bellcow when it comes to tackling and getting the ball on the ground. Just reading some of the comments Paul has made, I know they want to play better against the run also. I'm sure they've worked their tails off like we are."

Did Taylor Lewan practice?

"He didn't do anything yesterday. He did some alternate conditioning stuff, but he'll practice today. He's fine."

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-11-13: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-11-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 11th, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Bullets:

  • Boo boo watch: AJ Williams is questionable, Courtney Avery is getting better, but still probably limited. 
  • It's Akron week. Yawn.

------------------------------

Opening remarks:

"Practice was pretty good on Tuesday. We've talked about it before, we're putting some wrinkles in, both offensively and defensively, for what you want to do and what you want to try and work on for the future. Some of it always is for that opponent. It was a pretty good practice. A lot of heat, which was good, because we were relatively, during fall camp, it really never got hot. So we got to play in the heat a little bit, and Akron is going to be a high tempo team. They like to get on the ball as quickly as they can. They like to throw the ball around, get on the perimeter of the defense some. From a defensive perspective for them, they're very aggressive. You know, they like to blitz, they like to play zero coverage, they like to play man free. So they'll stack the line of scrimmage a little bit and you have to take advantage of the shots you get."

Rows Of Teeth

Rows Of Teeth

Submitted by Brian on September 2nd, 2013 at 12:43 PM

8/31/2013 – Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9 – 1-0

9638390537_51e5d0eae6_z[1]

oh yeah Kalis and Magnuson beardin' it up yo [Upchurch]

You may not remember this because of the recent history of Michigan football, but often after one-sided blowouts not against Notre Dame this space will throw up its hands at the idea of crafting an actual column and skip straight to bullets and highlights and whatnot. It's tough to narrate the emotional tenor of a humid August day against a team that never had a chance.

MY COLUMN ABOUT THIS FIFTY POINT WIN THAT MADE MY WIFE MAD BECAUSE SHE FELT BAD FOR THE OPPONENT

It was kind of boring, but on the other hand it was nice not to be terrified. It was hot and Dave Brandon smells like pee.

/column

But, you know, at some point in the third quarter Michigan threw a second team offense out there, and it was thrilling. I know this is basically me saying "hello, I am freak. Freak talk now. Freak talk." But there it is. I actually felt excited when the second-team OL came out, possibly more excited than I had been for anything that was not Dennis Norfleet all day. Ben Braden was out there. Chris Bryant. Blake Bars. Erik Magnuson. Joey Burzynski. One walk-on (not four); no upperclassmen. The future. Magnuson even got in on the goal line and did well for himself.

Michigan loses Lewan and Schofield; they also get six more bullets in their chamber as the 2013 OL class comes off redshirts, chomping at the bit. The days when Michigan's depth chart reads "three to five guys, then a bottomless pit" are close to over. Might already be over.

On the other side of the ball the equivalent moment came too soon to even think about it: the second drive. Michigan threw four guys out there who hadn't played on the first drive, and switched up some linebackers, and I'm not sure fans who don't obsessively track the numbers of everyone in the game would even notice. They'd go three deep at many spots by halftime.

They'll graduate three of the 20 players in the front seven who saw the field, and nobody from the secondary. Because of suspension and injury in the safety corps, yeah. But still.

Take this depth chart. Stack the 2014 depth chart behind it. Put 2015 behind that. You can even go to 2016, probably, what with Michigan's 2015 class approaching halfway done already. What do you get?

shark-teeth-1[1]

An infinite conveyor belt of shark teeth. It's coming. Might be here already.

Highlights

Via Parkinggod:

There's also a shorter BTN reel.

Photos

Eric and Bryan posted their galleries on Sunday. A season-opening reminder: all photos on the mgoblog photostream are Creative Commons licensed and can be used on your blog or twitter or facebook or whatever (just not sold). We just ask for a link back.

Meanwhile Roy Roundtree is pretty great y'all:

9642329806_140dccc5ed_z[1]

Fuller

Awards

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumb

Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Difficult to pick any one person here since no one had more than four catches or 14 rushing attempts and Gardner threw two ugly picks in 15 attempts. Meanwhile on defense, the heavy rotation meant no one except Desmond Morgan had more than five tackles.

But… Cam Gordon looked good and his two sacks are the most statistically impressive achievement on the day. And Brennen Beyer only got credited for one sack but really had two, a sack/strip and then a plain ol' sack, both of which appear in the highlights above. On both he beat blockers. Gordon got his on (well timed, effective, finished) blitzes. Since everyone is feeling much, much better about Not Jake Ryan, Not Jake Ryan gets the nod.

Honorable Mention. Jarrod Wilson (for a guy who supposedly lost his job to Courtney Avery he was lights out); Jeremy Gallon (a couple tough catches amongst his four, and two touchdowns); Devin Gardner (okay, yeah, but Vince Young); Fitz Toussaint (looked goooood despite lack of stats); AJ Williams (provisional based on possibility he was caving in the outside of the CMU defense.)

Epic Double Point Standings.

0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. The blocked punt touchdown set the tone, showed us the crazy explosiveness of Dymonte Thomas (Heiko and Ace point out that he blocked it before it even hit the punter's foot), gave us some faith that special teams might be a real asset this season, and was a Heartwarming Moment when former walk-on Joe Reynolds scored his first touchdown. So that.

Honorable mention: Desmond Morgan embodies his description in the season preview with a textbook stick of Zurlon Tipton; Cam Gordon invades the backfield to make us all feel better about Not Jake Ryan; ditto Beyer; Derrick Green rips off a 30-yarder; Reynolds brings in a tough 50-yard catch.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

N/A

Burned redshirt watch

A first-game thing to do.

On offense: De'Veon Smith, Derrick Green, Csont'e York, Jake Butt, and Shane Morris.

All of these make sense to me. Playing one of the freshmen wideouts makes sense, one or both running backs could help Michigan win a game this year, ditto Butt, and Morris needs blooding.

On defense: Delano Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Dymonte Thomas, Taco Charlton, Ben Gedeon.

Despite previous complaints about burning either LB redshirt, if Gedeon is the backup WLB I'm fine with it. He appears to be. Everyone else is obvious save Jourdan Lewis, and even if that's a debatable decision M is still redshirting two corners this year and brings in Jabrill Peppers next year. I don't think they'll be moaning about a lack of a fifth year for Lewis.

Probably redshirting: All OL, Wyatt Shallman, Jaron Dukes, Khalid Hill, Da'Mario Jones, Reon Dawson, Ross Douglas,  Henry Poggi, Maurice Hurst,  Mike McCray. McCray is a bit of a surprise after the number change seemingly designed to get him on special teams with Dileo. I'm very much in favor of a redshirt to get some separation here. Everyone else is obvious save maybe Hill.

[Rest after the jump]

Preview 2013: Tight End And Friends

Preview 2013: Tight End And Friends

Submitted by Brian on August 27th, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Previously: Podcast 5.0, The Story, Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver.

funchess[1]

I'll miss you, #19.

Depth Chart

FB Yr. U-back Yr. Tight End Yr. Flex Yr.
Joe Kerridge So.* Khalid Hill Fr. AJ Williams So. Devin Funchess So.
Sione Houma So. Wyatt Shallman Fr. Jordan Paskorz Jr.* Jake Butt Fr.
Thomas Rawls Jr.     -- -- -- --

Al Borges necessitates a change in season preview strategies. Previously folded into the wide receiver section, tight ends and close relatives have become so prevalent and diverse that they demand their own post and elaborate delineation of responsibilities. I have also snatched the fullbacks away from the tailback section to give a full spectrum of guys who aren't tailbacks or receivers who will see the field for Michigan this fall.

Your author's attempt to distill all the things he's heard about the guys listed above and put them into categories:

  • FULLBACK: a man with a steel plated head runs into linebackers, gets two carries in his career, and has six catches. See: Kevin Dudley.
  • U-BACK: A "move" tight end that motions all about, rarely lines up on the actual line of scrimmage, often goes from fullback to a flared spot or vice versa, and operates as more of a receiver than the fullback. Must be a credible threat to LBs; ends career with 40 catches. See: Aaron Shea.
  • TIGHT END: Larger that the U-back, the tight end is a tight end who is actually tight to the end of the line. He comes out, lines up next to a tackle, helps him win blocks, and clobberates linebackers at the second level. He goes out into patterns as well, and may end his career with 40 catches himself. See: Tyler Ecker.
  • FLEX: Sort of like the U-back in that he rarely lines up on the line of scrimmage itself, but if he motions away from his spot near the line, it's not to fullback but wide receiver. They get a billion catches and break Jim Mandich's record eventually. See: Devin Funchess is the only flex guy I can think of recently.

Complicating matters is the fact that many of the players listed above bleed into other positions: Houma, Rawls, and Shallman could be tailback-ish, Funchess and Butt will have their share of time with their hand in the dirt, tight to the end, and may even motion to fullback on occasion. In a Borges offense, things are not as they appear!

/tosses smoke bomb

FULLBACK

RATING: 3.5

Fullback is a spot where walk-ons are prevalent; Dudley mentioned above was both a walk-on and Michigan's finest linebacker eraser in the past 20 years, with only Chris Floyd offering competition. This year is no exception, as JOE KERRIDGE eased past converted tailback Stephen Hopkins last year to acquire a strong hold on the job. Judging from one of the sudden legion of shirtless photos players put on Instagram, if you encounter Joe Kerridge in the wild you should walk away slowly and hope you don't smell like salmon:

image

L to R: Sione Houma, Bobby Henderson, Joe Kerridge.

Jebus.

That plus the whole returning-starter bit should see Kerridge retain his role as Michigan's first choice when something absolutely has to die. In year one he was a little tentative, as you might expect, and there were a number of plays on which I though he was not reacting to the situation in front of him quickly enough to make an effective block. I'm still not clear on whether some of the suboptimal blocking on spread plays was because Michigan wasn't using newfangled arc blocking (ie: using your fullback or tight end to take out an exchanging linebacker and give your edge guy the edge) or because a freshman wasn't executing, but with the move away from spread elements, the job will be simpler: see man, make man wish he had taken up lawn darts. 

Kerridge has a ton of potential. When he makes solid contact with guys, you can hear football:

That linebacker set up outside, Toussaint cut outside, and all the LB could do was fall over. He can bring the pain.

Kerridge had his inconsistencies. After three consecutive +3 games and a monster +6.5 against Illinois

And Kerridge is racking up big numbers.

I may be giving him too much credit for standing up linebackers but to my eyes he really appears to be whacking them and providing the impetus for an improved under center run game. Those isos and such are

…he fell off into a bunch of games where he hung around 1 point. A large part of that was the Gardner transition; he also lost some playing time to Stephen Hopkins, who came back from injury and was given a shot to displace Kerridge. Kerridge did whiff some blocks. He got smoked for a sack in the bowl game, for one. And this inverted veer against State is something an experienced guy might decide to block the end on because otherwise there's no one else he can hit.

For a redshirt freshman it was a promising season. In year two the goal is to cut his failure rate in half and catch five passes. He'll be an interesting guy to watch in UFR. If Michigan really commits to MANBALL he could see some big numbers.

[After THE JUMP: Funchess, Williams, U-backs, we've got it all. Except upperclassmen.]

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-16-13: Al Borges

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-16-13: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on April 16th, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Opening remarks:

“What are you shaking your head about? Don’t start this like that. I want positive karma out of you. Hi. How you guys doin’? Heiko, what’s happenin?”

MGo: Not much.

“Always good to see you.”

MGo: It’s good to see you, too.

“You didn’t mean that.”

MGo: I’m really sad that you didn’t run any pistol formations.

“We don’t have any pistol formations. How could we run it? But if you’d like us to put them in we’ll be happy to do so just to make you happy.”

MGo: That would be great.

“Because my life revolves around your happiness if you haven’t figured that out by now.”

MGoHeartAsplode.

“... Okay.”

The first play from scrimmage was a 30-yard pass down the sideline to Amara Darboh. Was that to show people that they don’t need to worry about the wide receivers?

“Heh. No. That wasn’t what I was thinking. No, we were just thinking -- it’s always a good idea every so often in coming out on offense to try and take a ball deep. Our defense isn’t necessarily like this, but a lot of defenses will get a little reckless, you know? They’ll try and create a safety or whatever. A deep ball sometimes is a pretty good deal so we just decided at least once we were going to try and do that. That’s the reason for it.”

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-26-13: Al Borges

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-26-13: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on March 27th, 2013 at 12:12 PM

What do you like about what you see so far?

“Other than Angelique and Chantel, not much.”

MGoUhHelloI'mStandingOverHere.

“No, uh … I think we have some good enthusiastic practices and really good hitting, which has been fun. Competition is hot and heavy. Guys working hard. It’s been a fun first six days. Spring football is always kind of fun for the coaches because it’s all about teaching a system and evaluating the players without the pressure of playing a game. It’s kind of nice.”

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Illinois

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Illinois

Submitted by Brian on October 17th, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Formation notes: With the Norfleet jet sweep thing becoming consistent enough to call out, it's now "Shotgun Jet":

shotgun-jet

Norfleet is to the top of your screen, with a tight end. He has always come in motion. I'm sure they'll start doing some other stuff with it.

Aigh stack stack stack (not ours)

aigh-stack

Aigh.

Substitution notes: Same stuff on the OL, with Burzynski coming in for both Barnum and Lewan when Barnum was dinged and Lewan was lifted a drive or two before the rest of the line. Jack Miller got in for his first non-garbage time plays on the two unsuccessful goal line dives when Denard was out.

Moore returned at TE but was clearly behind the guys who had already been playing. WR stuff was about what you would expect; Jerald Robinson only got in once Michigan had salted the game away.

RB rotation began in earnest, with Toussaint, Rawls, and Hayes splitting carries. Norfleet got a few specialized plays. Smith missed the game with a hamstring issue. Hopkins was also held out in favor of Kerridge again.

You of course know about the QB substitutions.

Flow flow.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Two deep safeties and what looks like man with only six in the box. Both safeties are coming hard on the run action, though, with one containing Denard as Buchanan crashes down on Fitz after he handoff. Barnum(-1) gets handled by a DT, pushed back and almost into the lane, so cutbacks are absent. Omameh(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) have gotten movement on the other DT, which does provide a small crease, but the DT set up to the outside and thanks to the Barnum bleah Fitz has to test that. He takes an outside angle, where the quick-filling safety goes boom on him. Denard(-1) probably should have pulled with Funchess arcing around Buchanan.
M17 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 7
Handoff is very viable here as well but Denard saw a lane and hit it so okay. Lewan(+0.5) comboes with Barnum(+1) to get movement on a playside DT; Barnum pops off quickly to shove a blitzing linebacker. Blitzing linebacker on the frontside is coming hard but there's a gap behind him; Omameh kind of maybe gets a tiny touch on him, but it's really just Denard(+1) pulling and accelerating unbelievably fast through a small crease. Another quick safety fill by a guy who is just playing centerfield on runs holds it down after Denard makes it through the first level.
M24 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Iso Toussaint 6
Straight up the gut. Mealer(+1) and Omameh(+0.5) get movement on one DT. Barnum can't do much with Spence but he still can't affect the play; Kerridge(+1) clubs a linebacker out of the hole and Toussaint(+0.5) bursts right up the middle, leaping over a little trash to get five instead of one.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run End around Norfleet -1
Norfleet as a tight receiver, comes in motion. This is no read, just a handoff. I feel like M screwed up their blocking here as both the bulling Omameh and cracking down Gardner take a playside LB; the playside OLB is hanging on the edge; playside end is unblocked as this is fake veer. Toussaint(-1) heads on a path too far upfield and ends up not even touching the OLB; DE pursuing from inside out forces Norfleet into him. RPS -1; this feels like something went awry in the design.
M29 2 11 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon 71
Always works and so much this time. Borges uses Illinois's aggressive safety fill against them. Motion from Roundtree reveals man coverage, the fake sucks eight Illinois defenders away from the playside and kills them. Now it's three M players in space against three Illinois players. Roundtree(+1) blocks a corner well outside the hashes. Barnum(+1) walls off a linebacker trying to recover. Lewan(+2) does a great job on a safety, slowing up, extending to make contact, and then driving through him when he tries to shed to the inside. And then the cavalry arrives in Schofield(+2), who released to the second level, realized no one was coming back and the went to the third level. He checks out Gallon and then hauls ass to get to the last safety, walling him off as Gallon(+1) cuts behind. Then it's just Kwiatkowski(+0.5) cutting off a guy who probably isn't catching Gallon anyway and six points. RPS +3. 20 yards and a one on one matchup with that S if Schofield doesn't climb to him minimum.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Sprint counter Toussaint 12
Backside LB shoots an interior gap as the backside DE is blown off the line by Schofield(+1); he also fights into the interior gap. That means outside is wide open, Fitz(+0.5) takes it. Four guys converge at the sticks. RPS +1. Mostly bad play by the Illini.
M46 1 10 Shotgun empty 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run QB sweep Robinson 3
Not a surprise. TE blocks down, Mealer and Omameh pull around. Williams(-1) should have an easy seal as Buchanan's first step is upfield; move outside a step and seal and he's gone. Instead, step back, get beat. Omameh(+1) gets a good pop on the linebacker trying to full; Mealer(-0.5) should probably see Buchanan and peel back to pick him off. Instead he moves through the hole; Denard follows and is tackled by Buchanan. Good gain if M just deals with that guy.
M49 2 7 Shotgun 2-back twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Inverted veer give Rawls 3
M blocks the end and sends Kerridge outside; end gets upfield of Kwiatkowski but Denard is reading a linebacker and hands off. With two guys coming up against just a pulling Barnum, right decision. Rawls(+0.5) sees the business outside and cuts up; Barnum just gets a shove on one of the LBs, who funnels to help and gets in an ankle tackle attempt. His buddy finishes from the side; Rawls falls forward for four but gets a crappy spot. Not usually a fan of not having your FB block anyone, but I guess this is a push.
O48 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Angle Rawls 6
Rawls goes on a little angle route underneath; Denard steps up through traffic nicely. He's got a much easier throw if he just takes another step towards the LOS and lets a linebacker come up on him so that Roundtree's out is wide open but instead rifles a dart to Rawls just in front of a recovering linebacker. He was getting some pressure so I get it. (CA, 2, protection 2/2). Barnum goes out for the rest of the drive.
O42 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA post Roundtree 33
Four verts for Michigan and Robinson thinks he's got Roundtree in a window behind an underneath cover three slot defender who's dropping and two of the safeties. He's... right! The outside guy comes over the top but can't do anything about it; ball is high but I think here that's where you want it since you want to keep it away from the underneath guy and it's a 33 yard completion in between three guys do I really have to explain this is a DO? (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O9 1 G Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run QB power off tackle Robinson 8
No read, this is just a fake. Toussaint is hauling at the unblocked end; end hops outside because he fears the end around. He's gone. Burzynski(+1) picks off a linebacker charging up into the gap; Schofield(+1) checks on the playside DT, sees Omameh(+1) has him off the LOS and sealed inside, and climbs to the second level in a flash. MLB walled off. Denard(+0.5) is fast, down to the one, leaves with boo boo. RPS +1. End around fake earned yards.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 0
Mealer(-1) and Omameh(-1) do not handle a slant well; Mealer gets blown into the backfield and Toussaint has to cut behind; Omameh could not cut the gap behind and there is a guy in it; delay, and on the goal line that is doom. Jack Miller's(+1) actually in at RT and he put an Illini guy in the endzone impressively.
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 0
Mealer(-0.5) again can't get much movement; Toussaint(-1) can probably still squirm in at some point but he decides to leap when there's nowhere to leap and when contact is made he has no choice but to go backwards. Physics is a bitch.
Drive Notes: FG(18), 10-0, 1 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M18 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Rawls 3 + 15 pen
Bellomy's drive. Toussaint goes on an orbit motion presnap, threatening an option thing. M just hands off on an inside zone to Rawls; seriously doubt this is a read Bellomy is allowed to make. DT double from Mealer(-0.5) and Omameh does not quite get the playside guy sealed away; Omameh has to pop off to block a linebacker; Rawls does not trust the block and goes laterally instead of NS, getting tracked down by the LB. Rawls -1; be who you are. Gallon +1, as he flattens a safety. Schofield(+0.5) got a good kick. M gets lucky with a facemask call.
M35 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 3
Illinois runs an exchange with their MLBs that successfully confuses M. Mealer releases into a guy who is moving past him as a LB sets to fill the gap that leaves; Kerridge also hits him. Toussaint has no choice but to whack the unblocked LB. -0.5 for both Kerridge and Mealer, who collectively did not adjust to the Illinois play but did get movement on their guy and helped make this somewhat positive; Omameh(+0.5) got a nice block on playside DT to help, though that guy was going vertical in the B gap.
M38 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA TE flat Funchess Inc
Quick hitter off mesh PA; DE is instantly in Bellomy's face. He does a good job to get it off; throw is a little high and behind Funchess but right in his hands; ends up spiked to the ground. (CA, 2, protection N/A, RPS push I guess)
M38 3 7 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Nickel 4-3 Pass Drag Roundtree Inc
Bellomy rifles it to Roundtree; dropped. This was a four yard pass open by about five yards and was likely to pick up the first. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Toussaint 4
Denard back. Illinois shoots a linebacker at the snap with impeccable timing; he gets under Barnum and knocks Omameh off his pull. Kerridge(+1) gets a nice cut on the contain guy, which gives Toussaint a slight window to run away from the filling MLB. He takes it; filling MLB just makes an ankle tackle. RPS -1. Williams(-1) again loses a downblock he should be able to finish easily.
M36 2 6 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Hayes 8
Man, keep looks good too, but DE is not outright containing so give is right. Blocking is almost irrelevant; Toussaint(+0.5) gets a decent lead block and Hayes(+0.5) cuts it up behind and hits a DB so the pile falls forward past the first down marker. RPS +1. Barnum(+0.5) got a good block on the playside DE to open up a hypothetical shot up the middle by Denard.
M44 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Rawls 6
Rawls(-1) misses a huge cutback lane as Omameh(+2) crushes Spence off the ball; Barnum(+0.5) and Mealer(+1) shoot the other DE playside and then Mealer pops off behind to pick off a linebacker. With the backside end blocked, a cutback is Rawls thundering at a WLB for 5-8-10 yards. Instead he bounces and gets lucky as the end gets overaggressive and gives him the corner. I don't care that you got yards, man, GO NORTH SOUTH THAT'S WHAT YOU DO. I cant' give him a bigger minus because he did get yards.
50 2 4 Shotgun Jet 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB iso Robinson 4
The Norfleet end around plus iso thing from last week. LB is screaming at the LOS; Spence has set up so that a cutback doesn't seem like a great idea. Rawls(+0.5) bangs LB, stands him up. Barnum(+0.5) handles the other DT okay as he tries to hop outside; his falling tackle attempt has no momentum. Denard hits it up for near first down yardage.
O46 3 In I-Form Big 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 3
Boom. Omameh(+1) handles Spence as he tries to chuck and get to the hole; Kerridge(+0.5) gets an okay MLB block; Rawls(+0.5) is just a bowling ball.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run QB iso Robinson 33
Sweep fake is Toussaint from the two back formation. Backside DE tries to shoot upfield; Barnum(+1) ends up pancaking him on what may be a hold but results based charting. Omameh(+2) blows Spence off the ball one on one. This is an ass kicking. Rawls(-0.5) lets a LB under him, he could disconnect to tackle in the hole but massive cutback thanks to the G blocks; Robinson(+2) takes it. Mealer(+1) has shot a linebacker way out of the hole; hello, safeties. Robinson makes 10-15 more yards by making them terrified he's going to cut outside.
O10 1 G Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 4
Vertical RB attack angle means this wants to go backside. Unblocked DE contains. Schofield(+1) blocks down on Spence, kicking him down the line and providing a nice lane. Omameh(-1) is surprised by the too-quick attack of the playside LB, and turns back to try to block him; Toussaint(+1) cuts behind the fine Schofield block and is going vertically at the endzone when he runs into Omameh. Find someone else downfield, man, he's gone. RPS +1, should have been six. Mealer(+1) also blew out a DT. Might have been better to shoot Kwiatkowski at that LB than Omameh instead of flaring him out and going safety but not sure.
O6 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA rolllout Dig Gallon Inc
This is just well defended all around. Playside DE is released by Funchess and is quick enough to get out on Denard so that he can't run. Three routes in the endzone all pretty well covered; Denard does pick out Gallon coming across; ball is on the money and Gallon has body position on the defender so INT is not in play; defender makes a +2 play to get the PBU. (CA, 0, protection N/A)
O6 3 G Shotgun double tacks 1 1 3 Dime Run QB draw Robinson 6
Man coverage on a three-ish man rush takes a linbeacker away from the field, no one releases from the line at all, everyone convinced this is a throw, corners get thumped by WRs and Denard breaks outside, easy six. Funchess, Lewan, Roundtree, Denard +1; RPS +2. Funchess's drag got a two for one as the guy in man went with him and he picked a guy off, and that was about it as Illinois stunted and gave up the corner.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-0, 4 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB draw Robinson 13
Illinois running a stunt that I've seen blow up draws before but it just doesn't work for them. Schofield(+0.5) got a big kick on the DT running outside, Omameh(+0.5) handled the DE coming inside. Denard's lane is farther outside than he wants but it's there and he can hit it fast enough so it doesn't matter. Second level; Denard(+1) decides to slide as Mealer(-1) misidentifies who he should block and a safety gets in. RPS push, I think, since Illinois just executed poorly.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Hitch Dileo 9
Snag concept goes to the interior receiver, Dileo. Great protection, on target throw, open guy, nice catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O37 2 1 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass Yakety snap N/A -6
Robinson fumbles a good snap and ends up falling on it. Not charted but keep it in mind when we talk DSR.
O43 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass Drag Roundtree Inc
Delayed blitz stunt thing gets a LB around the edge against Lewan(-1), albet pretty far around the edge. Denard has to throw and goes after a pretty well covered Roundtree; we don't get a replay but it looks like this is broken up from behind. Maybe should have ran? Anyway, pressure from a stunt and no one open on hot stuff so got RPSed. (CA, 1, protection 1/2, Lewan -1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-0, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun Jet 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 9
This may or may not be an inverted veer; it could just be a called play. Action is IV. Playside end moves way down as Illinois slants away from the play and the outside contain from the LB is way outside. Pull is obvious, made. MLB is trying really hard to funnel to help and makes contact to the outside of pulling Omameh(+0.5), but with Toussaint(+0.5) banging the contain guy no chance. Denard(+1) pops outside a tackle attempt and is into the secondary. Gallon(-1) ran right by his guy, who tackles as Denard neared the sticks. RPS +1. Basically impossible for Illinois to not have this happen with their playcall.
M35 2 1 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Barnum(-1) blown up, loses his guy playside, gives up penetration. Ditto Omameh(-2), except he also falls instead of continuing to escort the guy where his momentum takes him. Toussaint can cut back behind the first biff, but not the second. Worst play of the day from the OL I'll bet.
M35 3 1 Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 4-4 under Run QB power off tackle Robinson 4
Rawls moves to give some speed option action but I think that's just a decoy. Schofield(+1) blocks down on Spence from some distance and gets him. Spence tries to spin past the block and loses ground, he's done. Williams(+1) locks out the playside end well, possibly aided by the Rawls option motion. Barnum(+0.5) is coming around to get a middle linebacker; Robinson(-1) reads the hole poorly and almost gets tackled for nothing by picking the wrong side of Barnum after the LB shows up to the inside unexpectedly. He does manage to sidestep the tackle and get a few, but that put the play in danger and cost him yards. RPS +1, as the option motion really helped.
M39 1 10 Shotgun Jet 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Corner Gardner Inc
Fakes to both Norfleet and Toussaint into play action. Protected well. Denard tries to throw over a dropping corner and that corner deflects it. Kind of close to an INT; should have checked down to the Norfleet wheel route. (BR,0, protection 2/2)
M39 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 12
DE sitting on Denard(+1) so a good non-default handoff. Corner now open as Dileo(+0.5) cracks down on a linebacker, so it's Toussaint vs secondary now. Hard fill from safety; Toussaint(+1) hops inside, then out to set up a nice block from Jackson(+1) and pick up an extra five.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run QB iso Robinson 49
Toussaint takes the jet fake, Rawls leads. Omameh(+2) gets control and push one on one with Akeem Spence. Rawls(+1) bombs the MLB. Schofield(+1) locks out the DE. Denard can get five or six easy if he just slams it up; he decides to pop outside as Spence has given ground to shed the Omameh block. Denard dodges Spence's tackle attempt as he comes behind. Filling safety now plus the MLB coming off the Rawls block; Denard cuts back to the middle of the field. This is open because Lewan(+1) continued his block on the other end as he tries to pursue and a lazy NT accepts a block from Mealer(+0.5), hole, edge, Toussaint sees it and has the speed to get the only other guy with the angle and seeeeyaaaaaa. Denard +3. Jackson(+1) got a good block on a safety that prevented him from coming down as well.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-0, 12 min 3rd Q. I like Denard.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Sprint counter Toussaint 1
Denard motion holds a box defender outside, leaving six on six plus Toussaint. Schofield(+1) gets a big kick on the playside DE. Omameh(+1) gets a seal on the playside DT, big hole. Lewan(+1) fills it, sealing the one remaining LB inside as Mealer(+1) releases into a MLB. Everyone blocked, big hole, major yards... Toussaint(-3) cuts away from the design of the play for crap yardage for no reason.
O26 2 9 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Screen Toussaint 15
This actually works. Denard finds a lane through the bodies so he doesn't have to loft it, which has been a problem in the past. He can just fling it directly to Toussaint, which he does. No DL peel, so those four guys are gone. Kwiatkowski(+1) is in the slot, he seeks out the playside LB and hits him inside, allowing Mealer and Omameh to release outside. Secondary time. Dileo(+1) gets a block on a filling safety; Omameh(+1) gets a leveraging corner; Toussaint(+1) sets those blocks up and splits them. He cuts past a safety, gets a block from Barnum(+1) and is about to jet for the endzone when the backside DE manages to tackle him. RPS +1.
O11 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 3
DE does not contain so give. Roundtree(-1) does not adjust to the goal line situation and allows a safety to shoot up past him when he's supposed to crack down on him. That strings Toussaint out. He lowers the shoulder on a tackle and sheds it a la Rawls, but with a containing corner he cant' pick up much more than he would have without the broken tackle.
O8 2 7 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Pass Waggle PA corner Funchess 8
The coverage is there, thrown anyway, thrown over the coverage, reach, spear, touchdown, whoah. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-0, 10 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Zone stretch Toussaint -4
Mealer(-2) is blasted yards into the backfield by a Spence shove. He ends up at the same depth Toussaint is. Lewan(-1) is chucked past the playside end as well, so outside is not a solution. Those two DL surround Toussaint in the backfield, end run.
M36 2 14 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 4
Weird scheme sees all DL blocked; usually you'd let the end go and let him contain Robinson. Spence gets blown up by Mealer(+1) and Omameh(+0.5), so big hole that also engulfs MLB since the other DT slanted out of the play; Barnum(+0.5) escorted him. Now unblocked WLB in space against Toussaint(-1). He runs right straight ahead until tackled. Meh.
M40 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass Deep hitch Gardner 17
All day, as it's only a two man rush with two spies. Robinson sets up and zings a ball directly to Gardner in between two guys; NFL window. Caught, first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)
O43 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 ??? Run Inside zone Hayes 2
Moore(-2) smoked by Buchanan, who is instantly in the backfield and can tackle despite having to go outside of everything and attack outside in. Other stuff goes wrong but hard to tell what since the TV doesn't get much of this play.
O41 2 8 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Sprint counter Hayes 3
Lewan(-2) busts and pulls directly into a pulling Schofield. Hayes has his choice of unblocked LBs to run into. Barnum(+1) got a good one on one block to at least create some yards. LBs were confused by the Lewan pull and so did not attack, either.
O38 3 5 Shotgun trips stack tight 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Drag Roundtree Inc
Motion from Jackson is paired with a guy moving with him, which usually indicates man. This is zone. Robinson misreads the coverage on a curl flat and almost gets Roundtree killed; Gardner was open on the deeper hitch. (BR, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-0, 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O6 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 4
Spence goes loose cannon and tries to shoot inside of Barnum on the snap, directly upfield. He ends up just falling. Barnum(+1) got enough. Kerridge(+1) slams a LB trying to fill; Toussaint cuts behind that block into the wide open space left by Spence. Unblocked guys at that point.
O2 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power off tackle Toussaint 2
Kwiatkowski(-1) loses the playside end. He continues harassing but this is pretty bad. Omameh(+1) kicks the edge guy on his pull, which just gives Toussaint(+1) a lane to move outside the end and hit. Kerridge(+1) plowed a DB, so the stumble Toussaint is in after breaking the end's tackle is not relevant.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-0, 3 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 5
Lewan out, Burzynski in. Mealer(+1) and Burzynski(+1) combo one DT way out of the hole; Mealer goes to the second level. Barnum(+0.5) gets the other DT; he was headed upfield anyway. Kerridge(+1) pops the other LB, nice hole, aggressive safety fill.
M38 2 5 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Sweep Toussaint 4
Moore(+0.5) eliminates the playside DE. Reynolds gets a block on the playside LB; Mealer and Burzynski are pulling and both guys end up going for the MLB. Aggressive safety fill; Toussaint(+0.5) spins through a tackle to near the first down.
M42 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Iso Rawls 4
They get it. Mealer(+0.5) with good push. Kerridge(+0.5) finds a linebacker and Rawls hits a crease hard.
M46 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 5
Run at a gap outside a bit. Burzynski(+1) escorts a DT upfield out of the hole; Kerridge(+1) thumps a linebacker inside, big gap. Overhanging corner comes down to tackle Rawls; Rawls(+0.5) gets some YAC as he cuts behind a second level block from Mealer(+0.5)
O49 2 5 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB draw Bellomy 9
Opens up large. Schofield(+0.5) escorts a gentleman upfield. Barnum(+0.5) fights off a backup DT for a crease. Bellomy hits it, gets the first, slides. RPS +1.
O42 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Yakety snap N/A 0
Fumbled snap turns it over.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 38-0, 12 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Hayes 3
Correct handoff but safety is filling really hard so Hayes is on the edge with him; can't beat him. Would RPS -1 this if it wasn't 38-0.
O42 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Fly JRobinson Inc (Pen +5)
Bellomy gets Illinois to jump and goes deep with the free play. Bellomy throws a nice back shoulder fade to JRobinson, which he just drops. It was in his hands, DB watching. Tough catch in the rain and falling backwards but not impossible. (DO, 2, protection 1/1)
O37 3 2 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 1 – 15 Pen
We come back to this late and I can't be bothered to piece together the circumstantial evidence at this point. Reynolds gets an unnecessary roughness call.
M49 3 16 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 3-3-5 stack Pass Hitch JRobinson 8
Deeper stuff not open; Bellomy checks down to a hitch well short of the sticks. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 9 min 4th Q. First team OL all gone after this drive, so no more charts. Here is the Rawls run though.

That was methodical dissection of some not very good defense up in there.

Pretty much.

So… things to take away: are there any?

Illinois's interior DL is veteran and Spence is going to get drafted in the mid-rounds at worst, plus Buchanan's pretty good and they've got some linebacker talent, so… yeah, I think being able to run the way Michigan did on them despite the rain allowing opponents to tee off on ground games is another meaningful indication that Michigan's rush offense is very good.

6.9 YPC is a ton, and far better than Wisconsin/PSU/Arizona State managed. Slash out the two long runs in the fourth quarter (Rawls's 63 yard TD and the 24-yard fumble-recover-run by Hayes) and Michigan is still at 5.4. That latter number probably would have been higher if the game had remained competitive and Denard acquired 20 carries; he could have cracked 200 again if necessary.

I'm especially impressed with Omameh; after coming out and getting movement on guys in the second half of ND he had another good game last week and blew it out this week. Let's start with the—

MANCHART

ballchart

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 5.5 4 1.5 Would have been fine but pulled on a spring counter going his way.
Barnum 9.5 2 7.5 Ver' nice.
Mealer 9 6 3 Got blown up pretty good a couple times, otherwise okay.
Omameh 15 4 11 !!! Owned Spence repeatedly.
Schofield 9.5 - 9.5 Pulls and operation in space and DE kicks; best day at M.
Kwiatkowski 1.5 1 0.5 Didn't get a whole lot of relevant opportunities.
Moore 0.5 2 -1.5 Got a play blown up.
Williams 1 2 -1 Still like Kwiatkowski better.
Funchess 1 - 1 Occasionally blocks guys.
TOTAL 55.5 21 73% Burzynski +3 with no minuses; excellent performance overall.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 10.5 2 8.5 49-yarder laugh-inducing
Bellomy - - - DNC on runs.
Toussaint 6.5 6 0.5 Scuffling.
Rawls 6 2.5 3.5 Awarded +3 for big run at the end.
Smith - - - DNP
Hayes 0.5 - 0.5 A couple late runs not charted, but also gets away with a fumble as a result.
Hopkins - - - DNP
Kerridge 7 0.5 6.5 Really nailing guys. Wonder if Hopkins could have been back already but Kerridge is keeping him off the field.
TOTAL 30.5 11 19.5 Kerridge goes boom.
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Gardner - - - -
Roundtree 2 1 1 -
Gallon 2 1 1 More touches more touches more touches x2
Jackson 2 - 2 Bounce-back.
Dileo 1.5   1.5  
J. Robinson - - - DNC
Darboh - - - DNC
TOTAL 7.5 2 5.5 Better day after some eh blocking.
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 18 1 95% Lewan –1.
RPS 13 4 +9 Tim Beckmann is a clueless dude, and Michigan got a screen to work! To a RB!

I'm going to need some overly defensive analysis of the right side of the offensive line.

Okay, coming right up. On Schofield: he used his agility well in this game and didn't get overpowered by anyone. The Denard run that temporarily knocked him out is a good example, as he flashes to the second level extremely quickly and rubs out a linebacker:

That was his day: not needing overwhelming power, using his ability to move.

Omameh… well, I never thought I'd see the day he clubbed a legit defensive tackle for most of a game. I have seen the day. On both of Denard's long runs it was Omameh obliterating Spence that was the difference between six yards and Denard loose in a secondary, shoes flying everywhere. These are one on one blocks, too. The first:

The second:

Exact same play, simple QB isos. Cutback is there because Omameh doesn't just win the battle, he shoves Spence yards off the LOS. Spence did some stuff to other guys so I don't think he's a scrub, and Omameh got push on Nix some in that ND game. If he can move MSU's DTs I'll be extremely happy.

Could I get some overly defensive comparisons between the TEs too?

Sure!

So this is the kind of thing I'm not seeing happen much to Kwiatkowski. Watch the TE at the top of the screen, which is Williams in this case:

That should be an easy block since the DE's first step is upfield. You step around him and seal him and ballgame; here Williams is chucked and the DE can flow from the inside to tackle Denard just as he's about to do something fun.

Williams made a similar error later on a play that also got blown up by an LB blitz that erased a pulling guard. That rarely seems to happen against Kwiatkowski.

But what about Toussaint?

Again the short yardage is somewhat distorting. Toussaint had two carries from the one, a carry from the two, and a carry from the six. The latter two got two and four yards, respectively. There was also a second and one play on which Mealer got blown up. Remove those five carries for six yards that are extremely low upside and you get 13 for 56 yards, a decent 4.3 a pop. It's not quite as bad as the number disparity suggests.

HOWEVA, he does seem just… off. He would have ripped off a big gain on one of the sprint counters except he completely failed to read Lewan's block and cut away from a gaping hole into traffic:

WHERE DO YOU GO ON THIS PLAY?

image

NOOOOOOOOOOOO

image

To boot, he's not providing much in the way of extra yards from his shake 'n' bake as he was last year. OL issues are part of it, as are some odd play calls—iso?—and Michigan's reliance on him at the goal line. At this point it's open season on carries, though. Rawls has made post-contact yards in consecutive games in limited opportunities.

I'd expect Michigan makes Rawls the full time short yardage and goal line guy for MSU and the rest of the season and leave Toussaint to his spread stuff he's pretty good at. Rawls isn't perfect either, as noted in the game column when I put up that still showing a mile-wide north-south cutback lane Rawls inexplicably ignored in favor of bouncing it outside.

And Kerridge is racking up big numbers.

I may be giving him too much credit for standing up linebackers but to my eyes he really appears to be whacking them and providing the impetus for an improved under center run game. Those isos and such are effective. Hopkins was supposed to be back by now; at the very least they're taking their time with him because Kerridge is not much of a downgrade. If he is at all.

He's just a redshirt freshman, too. Grumble about scholarship fullbacks inserted.

Why does the throwback screen always work?

I don't know man, but I'll picture page that touchdown so everyone can get a handle on what it's trying to do. I will say that busted very large because Michigan's tackles can move in space really, really well. Schofield came from a backside second level block to nail a guy 20 yards downfield:

That kind of agility in a 6'8" guy also makes the sprint counter go, too, so there are compensations for not having a road grader at RT. (Lewan kind of is a road grader, which makes him the NFL prospect he is.)

Denard has now gone two games without an INT.

Fiesta!

Also

charrrrrrrrrrt

a chart.

[Hennechart legend is updated. Hover over column headers for quick explanations]

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3 - - 3(1) 1 71%
Air Force 1 14 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 75%
UMass 1 16(4) - 4 - 1 1 1 3 68%
Notre Dame 4 10(1) 2 4(1) 2 1 1 3 1 65%
Purdue 3 7(2) - 1(1) - 1 2 - - 73%
Illinois 3 6(2) - - 2 - - - - 78%

Denard's incompletions other than the two bad reads—which were garden variety bad reads, not OH GOD LINEBACKER BRXes—were the crossing route to Gallon in the back of the endzone that was broken up by a very good play by the Illinois defender and a covered hot route on third and long that was broken up; Denard was getting pressure and had a chance to run he didn't take.

Also on the downside: on Michigan's two minute drill at the end of the half he fumbled a perfectly good snap.

I'll take it given the rain and the fairly harmless nature of the screwed up reads—PBUs, not INTs. There is of course the stuff on the ground, which makes me think I like Denard.

Yeah. I like Denard.

Oh no, the collapse of the offense when Bellomy is in?

Ugh, correlation is not causation. He had a DO and 3 CAs in four attempts only to see his receivers spike three of those balls to the ground. It's far too early to say anything about him as a potential starter next year.

Statements like "if Denard goes down we are in trouble" are O RLY level analysis. The freshman quarterback is a lot less good than the senior busy breaking every record he possibly can? Somebody call the CDC.

One catch for everyone chart.

[Passes are rated by how tough they are to catch. 0 == impossible. 1 == wow he caught that, 2 == moderate difficulty, 3 == routine. The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Gardner 1     1/1   10 0/3 1/3 13/14
Roundtree 1 0/1 1/1 0/1   5 0/2 2/2 9/10
Gallon 1     1/1   6 0/1 3/5 13/13
J. Robinson     0/1 1/1   1 0/1 0/1 2/2
Dileo       1/1   1 1/1 2/2 3/3
Jackson           1     3/4
Darboh                  
Chesson                  
                   
Kwiatkowski                 2/2
Moore                  
Funchess     1/2     2 2/2 1/2 7/7
Williams                  
                   
Toussaint       1/1     0/2 0/1 2/2
Smith               0/1 3/3
Kerridge             0/1    

Nothing to see here, really.

Norfleet?

Yeah, pretty cool to have this guy around.

Why it took so long to offer him I have no idea.

Heroes?

Schofield and Omameh. Denard. Also Barnum.

Goats?

No one was atrocious or anything but Fitz is in a funk.

What does it mean for MSU and beyond?

For the first time in a while I feel pretty confident that Michigan will be able to get movement on the interior DL of MSU. Worthy is gone and they have just switched starters at one spot; Hoover seems out as well, if he'd even be useful as a Pat Massey-sized DT. Anthony Rashad White seems pretty good but Omameh has done well the last three weeks with guys better than him. That should make the run game go even with Bullough breathing down Michigan's neck.

The passing offense remains a question but we keep getting little bits of data that suggest the Notre Dame thing was a horrific one off performance and that if Michigan can keep Denard clean they can get production out of him.

Michigan's not going to run MSU out of the stadium. If they persist with the run game, deploy some new tricks, and just remain patient they should be able to get enough yards and points to win.

Preview 2012: Receivers of All Varieties

Preview 2012: Receivers of All Varieties

Submitted by Brian on August 28th, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Previously: Podcast 4.0, the story, quarterback, running back.

 

Depth Chart

WR Yr. WR Yr. Slot Yr. TE Yr.
Roy Roundtree Sr.* Devin Gardner So.* Jeremy Gallon Jr.* Brandon Moore Sr.*
Jeremy Jackson Jr. Jerald Robinson So.* Drew Dileo Jr.* AJ Williams Fr.
Amara Darboh Fr. Ricardo Miller So.* -- -- Devin Funchess Fr.

This bit could be better. Roy Roundtree suffered more than anyone in the transition from the spread 'n' shred to the spread 'n' pasted-on-West-Coast-stuff, plummeting from 72 catches to 19. Notre Dame and Sugar Bowl savior Junior Hemingway is off to NFL practice squads as a seventh-round pick; following him out the door are Martavious Odoms (replaceable) and Kevin Koger (uh…).

In their stead Michigan will field a forest of unproven guys with limited upside, freshmen, their backup quarterback, and Jerald Robinson, the one vague hope for a high quality downfield threat who is not the backup quarterback.

It should be noted that Michigan is running the opposite of the Holgorsen style "you came here an X, you learned it in three days, you repeated it 60 times, you are forever an X" specialization offense. Jeff Hecklinski said as much last year

"The difference in this offense is there aren't really slot receivers as much as outside receivers — they play everywhere on the field and we move them around," Hecklinski said. "The switch is big because of all the little things asked of them - they have to convert routes, pick up checks and route changes and coverages."

…and the frequent deployment of Junior Hemingway in the slot and Jeremy Gallon outside confirmed that over the course of the year. Therefore "slot" is used to denote the player who is going to get all the wide receiver screens, which will never be bubble screens.

Outside Receiver

imageRating: 2, with upside.

Assertion: Junior Hemingway was the most valuable Michigan wide receiver since Braylon Edwards. Hemingway may not have been as good as Mario Manningham or even Adrian Arrington, but imagining last year without his ability to rise from a thicket of hands to snag "no no no no no no YESSSSSSSS" touchdowns is not a pleasant exercise. He is the undisputed king of yards per target since 2005. He was important.

Unfortunately, Hemingway's gone. Left behind is the mismatched collection of runty Rodriguez slot receivers, Rodriguez leapers who run like hobbled ducks, and… maybe Devin Gardner. Definitely Devin Gardner.

Aw, hell, I should probably start off talking about Roundtree and stuff but everyone wants to know about Gardner.

Yeah, man, he's going to play. Unless Jerald Robinson delivers on the perpetual low-level hype, no one else on the roster comes close to Gardner's combination of size, leaping ability, and speed. At the very least he'll frequently attempt the Terrelle Pryor "oops I'm huge" redzone fade…

…and it's hard to see him not being more than that given the alternatives. Gardner played exclusively at wide receiver at the Mott open practice, and with the first team. I've heard from multiple source since: that's no smokescreen. 

While no one knows how this will go, the steady drumbeat of hype from players is encouraging. It took about all of a dozen spring practices for reports like this to reach my ears:

Someone who's seen Gardner at all of Michigan's practices so far says he's "instantly Michigan's best receiver and adds a new dimension to the offense." He's "crazy athletic" with "surprisingly great hands."

Similar reports popped up on the premium sites, and when fall camp started and everyone asked anyone in front of the mic about the possibility, his teammates said "dang." Kovacs:

"He's a great athlete, I feel like he could play anywhere and he could probably take my spot if he tried," Michigan senior safety Jordan Kovacs said. "He's a natural athlete, and if they play him at receiver, I'm sure he'll be pretty good.

"Wherever he plays, he's going to make big plays."

Denard:

"When he gets out to receiver, you think he's a receiver," Robinson said. "He looks like he's been playing there for years."

And then there's this extremely reliable and not all dated video of Gardner screwing around at WR as a high school kid:

That's the ticket, man. They might have to protect him from getting jammed, but that's not too hard: line him up off the LOS, possibly in those stack formations, and there you go. Then it's about running the routes and catching the ball. 

The possibility of a "devin gardner dunked on tacopants" tag and a paucity of options to fill the Junior Hemingway role that bailed the offense out time and again last year will see Gardner on the field. It may be sparingly at first, but if it's crunch time against Alabama do you want him on the bench?

Attempting to predict what happens here is very difficult, but I'm betting Gardner is one of four players approximately level on catches and yards at the end of the year, with no true star player. The upside is tantalizing, though, and your best hope for an offense that scorches both ground and sky. Devin Gardner, you've been X-factor'd.

[hit THE JUMP to read up on Roundtree, Gallon, and company.]