Organize The Organization

Organize The Organization Comment Count

Brian October 8th, 2018 at 1:36 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

10/6/2018 – Michigan 42, Maryland 21 – 5-1, 3-0 Big Ten

Take the box score. Eliminate it. Group events in a football game. Order those groups by how weird they are—how disproportionate the amount of thing X is relative to other football games. The top of our sorted list is not quite what I want to talk about because it's "walk-on running backs wiping two people and looking for more":

Michigan-Maryland had way more of that than the average college football game.

The runner-up is what I want to talk about: pointing. Michigan's defense spent large swathes of this game frantically screaming at each other, and pointing. They pointed at Maryland players. They pointed at each other. They pointed back at the Maryland players because they'd exchanged positions, and sometimes helmets. Sometimes after a good play they'd point at each other again.

All of this made the partisan observer nervous. That's number three on our list of unusual football related things from Michigan-Maryland: the ratio of observer nervousness to opponent yards. Michigan's offense struggled to turn yards into points, so when one of Maryland's knife elves ripped off a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown the ensuing Terrapin drives had an unusual amount of collar-pulling for a game in which total yardage was approximately 200-20. At that point any particular shift may have induced an insufficient amount of pointing from the Michigan defense, whereupon Maryland scores a long big touchdown and Michigan's officially in one of Those Games again.

This was not one of those games. It was one of those other games where a vastly superior Michigan team clonks the opponent and everyone's like "okay but WHAT about THE RIVALS" afterward. Randomness notwithstanding, fair enough. But since there's a lack of other stuff to talk about, a lack of soaring emotional whatnots to put down for posterity, it is worth noting that Michigan didn't get got.

It is legitimately impressive that Michigan was able to adjust to all the junk Maryland threw at them. Until their desultory final drive Maryland's long was 20 yards and there didn't seem to be many, if any, opportunities that they failed to take. There were a couple of nervous moments when the various faster-than-light dwarves got in space and shook Michigan players; there were virtually no busts.

My grading doesn't do a good job with this because it gives you nothing for not screwing up and not being involved as a result of not screwing up. The safeties came in mildly negative last week and I tried to explain that while they had some bad plays individually they were part of a unit that gave up one play longer than 15 yards and that they were "meh" at worst. I've been thinking about trying to repair that for a while.

In any case: this was a second straight week of no big plays. Michigan is hyper-aggressive and is currently tied for 13th and 16th in number of 20+ and 30+ yard plays ceded. Whatever the individual faults the safeties have when their man coverage is tested, they are part of a coherent unit that has largely cut out the One Bust Per Game we've gotten used to the past few years. (Knock on wood.) The standout example this year was Brad Hawkins getting lost against SMU, and he's a sophomore non-starter.

This is all part of the Don Brown curve, where by year three when the team really has it down things take off. The pointing on Saturday was a different sort of pointing than the stuff from the last couple years. Old pointing induced nervousness in itself, because the opposing offense wasn't going Full Matt Canada and Michigan was still frantically pointing and yelling to each other, sometimes without a suitable outcome. New pointing gets Michigan through a Full Matt Canada game without an obvious touchdown-creating screwup.

The Don Brown curve is more of a line at Michigan since they were immediately stapled to the top of most statistical categories upon Brown's arrival. But they have remained steady in the face of some stiff attrition. After Mike Dwumfour went out, three of the four projected defensive line starters were absent. It didn't matter. It may well against Wisconsin, but if you want to bet against Don Brown in year three, go right ahead. Chase Winovich is going to be pointing out your teeth on the ground afterwards.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

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[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Shea Patterson. 10.5 yards an attempt, a couple of Forcier escapes, and a dime off his back foot that didn't even count. Repaired most of the issues from last week. More in the offense section.

#2 Zach Gentry. The focus of the passing game; 7 catches for 112 yards. Yes, should have been more if he'd followed his blockers on the screen. But he's pretty much the only non-Patterson player to have, like, stats.

#3 Khaleke Hudson. Hudson made a major impact early when the game was still in doubt, with a sack and a rush that would have been a second if Mike Dwumfour didn't barely edge him out.

Honorable mention: The rest of the defense. Karan Higdon. Ben Mason.

KFaTAotW Standings.

7: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU, #1 NW)
4: Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska), Shea Patterson (#3 WMU, #1 Maryland).
3: Zach Gentry(T1 SMU, #2 Maryland)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Will Hart (#3 NW), Mike Dwumfour (T2 NW), Kwity Paye (T2 NW), Josh Uche (T2 NW), Khaleke Hudson(#3 Maryland).

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

The other slightly nervous portion of the game was the Maryland touchdown drive that made it 27-14; Michigan's response drive was an efficient march downfield to definitively salt the game away.

Honorable mention: DPJ gets a convoy for his TD. Hudson opens his sack account. Chase Winovich well chases people.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Ty Johnson's kickoff return touchdown momentarily makes it seem like it could be one of Those Games.

Honorable mention: Four down failure and a decision to punt on fourth and three help that 7-3 lead exist as Michigan fails to capitalize on their early ~40-yard drives.

[After THE JUMP: three fullback-related bullet points. Seriously.]

Comments

MGoPodcast 10.6: Eleven Mo Hursts

MGoPodcast 10.6: Eleven Mo Hursts Comment Count

Seth October 8th, 2018 at 7:10 AM

1 hour and 38 minutes

We are once again at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown.

The Sponsors

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 wouldn't get to do this for a living.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus

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

1. Offense

Starts at 1:00

Point for rain: reduced commercial experience felt fine. Feels much more like a football game when it’s not half commercial time. Getting 30-40 yards per drive and not scoring. Ben Mason hurdled a guy. Higdon is our favorite Michigan RB since…Toussaint? Hart? Patterson and Gentry are doing better against zone, except when Gentry cut away from all the blocking. Sean McKeon must be angry that Gentry didn’t get the reverse pass. Fun playcalls came out. Pass pro held up mostly, Patterson saved them when they didn’t. Ronnie Bell is a Guy.

2. Defense

Starts at 27:58

Playing Maryland is waiting for them to hit their big play and it didn’t happen—credit to Don Brown and the defense for having their assignments down. Did it without 3/4 of the starting DL. Uche had more great play off the edge—shoulda been a sack. Gary injury is precautionary, not hurting thanks to Paye. Gil had a Bush-like edge play. We did not like the call on Bush. Congrats to the viral holding chart since Michigan got two legit holding calls this game; if Michigan gets to normal. Brian Cook nicknames by sport: B-Cook (football), Cookie (hockey), Cooks, (baseball).

3. Special Teams, General Thoughts, Wisconsin Thoughts

Starts at 47:38

Other than THAT they did well on special teams—Ty Johnson is just fast. Ambry out there running sprints. Two guys back on 4th and 13s to nerf the Aussie directional kicker. Nordin up to 8/9 and isn’t missing chipshots. Late advice for Ty Johnson. Disappointed there was no Max Bortenschlager or Ralph Friedgen. Redshirt watch: Samuels redshirt burned. BVS not listed, probably getting his shirt now that Wangler is around. Anything project to Wisconsin? Ready for Stanford to go back to being bad so we’re not losing recruits there.

4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

Starts at 1:03:22

Big Ten’s signature win is…Texas? TCU? How to beat MSU: PASS! Thorson with 17 passes on 1st down. State saved their yardage dignity with a 75-yard drive to run out the clock down 10. State is going to turtle against PSU and save it all for Michigan again—State has a base speed option running game? Arthur Sitkowski upped his INT count against Illinois. Indiana competitive until Parris Campbell in all the space. OSU defense is a little discombobulated, Haskins is tearing it up, has so many great weapons to throw to. Direct snap to a TE is peak Iowa but is it legal? Wisconsin gives up 500 yards of offense to Nebraska, loses Scott Nelson to targeting for our first half. Throw the ball the next 2 weeks.

MUSIC

  • "Throw Some D's"—Rich Boy
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme"
  • "Badger Badger Badger"—MrWeebl
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Cookie’s mad.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2018 at 4:46 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumbSPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). Food trucks, beer, TVs, and also those things. When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: A bit more balanced, with Michigan going shotgun (or pistol) on about 40 snaps and under center on the other 30. All murderback snaps were three TE ace sets:

mason form

Nebraska stuck in a 3-4 with their line shaded to the run strength for most of the day, frequently adding their strong safety into the box after starting him from the gray area.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Patterson, then McCaffrey and Peters at QB. No Milton, boo. At RB Higdon a clear #1, Wilson a clear #2, and Samuels sprinkled in on a couple carries before garbage time. By the middle of the third it was Samuels and a debuting Christian Turner. Mason got some run at RB, obviously. Jared Wangler got some backup FB snaps.

Collins and DPJ your primary outside WRs with a healthy dose of Oliver Martin, who stayed out there deep into the game. Ronnie Bell got a bunch of second-half snaps; Ambry Thomas got three total. TE the usual with maybe a little more Eubanks because of the 3TE sets and garbage time. Redshirt freshman walk-on Carter Selzer got snaps in the fourth quarter, which is a definitive statement that Schoonmaker and Muhammad are redshirting.

OL was the usual on both first and second units, except that Michigan brought in Andrew Vastardis at C after one drive and bumped Stephen Spanellis out to RG. Stueber and Paea got the last drive.

[After THE JUMP: down G over and over]

Comments

One Frame At A Time: Nebraska

One Frame At A Time: Nebraska Comment Count

Ace September 25th, 2018 at 10:40 AM

It was a game made for GIFs: a points-in-all-three-phases blowout with two expressive coaches and you don't have to hear Tim Bra--

Hold on, do you still work here?

I think so! I'm evidently using the company rhetorical device.

That's dehumanizing.

I'm sorry. Anyway, I couldn't let something like Donovan Peoples-Jones proving me oh-so-right about the punt returner situation pass by without making an appea--

JUST POST THE GIF.

Are you my alter ego or Brian's? Either way, you make a point.

Hot damn.

Hot damn.

[Hit THE JUMP for more hot damn.]

Comments

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

9/22/2018 – Michigan 56, Nebraska 10 – 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten

In the aftermath of an implausible beatdown there is always a race to identify the most emblematic stat of the day. I have participated. I have scoured the box score. I have consulted with the learned elders. This one takes the cake. Prepare thyself. Ensconce. All right: Adrian Martinez had 22 passing yards with a long of 32.

You rn:

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Those 32 yards came when a hunted Martinez hurled a 500 ball skyward that one of his receivers was accidentally in position to come back to. Michigan was one arm punt away from a statistic that would implode the fundamental nature of football. Alas.

At least they won? And Martinez finished with negative total yards?

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

The strangest thing about a game like this is how the goalposts move in the middle of the first quarter. If Nebraska had been moderately feisty and the defensive tackles had been a major factor in a 3.0 YPC day from the Cornhusker ground game, we'd be talking about how they passed a major test against a couple of senior guards who Big Ten coaches thought were pretty good. Instead Michigan held Nebraska's top three backs to ten yards total.

Nebraska now proves nothing. It might prove something later, if the tough-luck Nebraska that outgained Colorado by 150 yards but conspired to lose thanks to Laviska Shenault making absurd plays re-emerges. If Michigan also continues looking like a juggernaut instead of the sad mess that took on Notre Dame, this game will be retroactively upgraded from "accidentally played another MAC team" to the turning point when the Warinner hit and the corner got turned.

For now this was the sort of game where your sack celebration is ripping out and eating your own heart, because nothing else is going to be a challenge.

Precisely calibrating exactly how much to take from an unexpected hamblasting of a Big Ten team is far more pleasant than many things you can do after a football game. But we have been here before. With the exception of last year Harbaugh's Michigan teams have paved lower-tier teams flat. This is good! This tends to fling you up very far in predictive ranking systems. Michigan is now 5th in S&P+, like they seemingly always are, and S&P+ is designed to tell you who will win football games in the future. Paving people flat is a characteristic of very good football teams that win many games and leave you with a rich satisfied feeling that we are assured is something football fans can feel after the conclusion of a season.

But because of Certain Events and Certain Circumstances Leading To Third-String Quarterbacks all that feels hollow even if you're gripping onto the random, bloody-minded universe theory with everything you've got. We've been taught that paving folks doesn't correlate with winning the games that might cause the most annoying people in the universe to shut up for at least three seconds. That's not rational, but it sure as hell is sports.

The goalposts are going to keep moving until someone, probably Devin Bush, tackles them and glues them to the floor. Michigan has one more friendly double-digit spread next week against Northwestern, and then we get to play the games that will determine your state of mind, and, perhaps most importantly, the tenor of the takes we will have to endure for eight months of barren, dumb offseason.

Have fun storming the castle! Or paving it! Please pave it.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. Bush's main accomplishment was getting up to nine tackles on a day where Michigan's constant rotation and Nebraska's inability to stay on the field spread defensive stats incredibly thin. Michigan's next highest tackler had four; 12 different guys had TFLs. Bush had 2.5 of his own, a sack, and got sideline to sideline to blow up Nebraska's perimeter run game. He is reaching the Mo Hurst level where he is so consistently excellent it's hard to find new talking points about him.

#2 Rashan Gary. Just a half of play from him but it was a monster half. He's got his own section below. Felt terrifying in the way we were hoping he would before the season.

#3 Karan Higdon. The holes were there for him. He took advantage. His power was welcome after some YAC struggles last week, and if he hits the open field he'll outrun a lot of angles. Also he was the only offensive player to, like, feature.

Honorable mention: Will Hart is gonna get on the board if Michigan ever punts six times in a game. DPJ had a punt return TD. The tackles didn't give up a pressure? Is that true? I think it might be. The 10 guys with TFLs not mentioned.

KFaTAotW Standings.

4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU), Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

You gotta put some style points on it.

Honorable mention: The first half.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Khaleke Hudson is ejected on a dubious targeting call and will miss the first half against Northwestern.

Honorable mention: Injury worries for Gary, who was holding his shoulder, and Kwity Paye. Harbaugh passes on a potential program-record field goal. Four commercial breaks in the first eight minutes of gametime.

[After THE JUMP: Ol' Murderback]

Comments

Michigan 56, Nebraska 10

Michigan 56, Nebraska 10 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 22nd, 2018 at 5:07 PM

[Upchurch]

On a day that featured the actualization of the Platonic ideal of a Harbaugh-led offense, a legitimate argument can be made for the defense being the most impressive unit on the field. In other words, Scott Frost, so used to disputed titles, couldn't even find one phase of the game to hang his hat on. Michigan outrushed, outpassed, and, yes, outhit Nebraska en route to their most complete game of the young season.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2018 at 4:24 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

image-6_thumb_thumb5

SPONSOR NOTE: HomeSure Lending will provide you a mortgage. It's a simple process, really: some tax returns, maybe some other stuff, and then Matt works with various lenders to get the best deal. It is a quick process, as well, and one where you know the guy providing your mortgage has your best interests at heart because he gets business through word of mouth and MGoBlog advertising. Also he has opinions you can talk about related to Michigan in down times.

FORMATION NOTES: About 50/50 between shotgun and other stuff, with an emphasis on TEs and WRs—just 12 fullback snaps for Mason. Nothing stood out as unusual. WMU responded with a four-man front on every play and some rolled up safeties... sometimes absurdly so.

This was less of a problem for the run game than you'd think but RBs did have to dodge these guys at the line from time to time. The flipside was the Nico Collins touchdown, which was super easy because a safety lined up at eight yards.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Same OL as the opener. Second team was Mayfield/Filiaga/Spanellis/Honigford/Hudson. QBs went Patterson, McCaffrey, Peters. Higdon and Evans got closer to equal reps with Wilson indeed the #3. WR rotation was pretty much the same as the opener, with DPJ and Collins clear-ish starters on the outside and Martin the only guy rotating in much. TEs were the same.

Muhammad, Schoonmaker, Turner, Milton, and Hayes not getting in strongly implies redshirts are coming for them.

[After THE JUMP: I am down with the G]

Comments