Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Ohio State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Ohio State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 1st, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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someday I hope to be as happy as Robert Landers (far left) [Fuller]

Ohio State’s punt coverage team is pretty good. Drue Chrisman, Ohio State’s punter, is really good. As a unit, they’ve allowed four returned punts for a total of 55 yards this season. Forty-two of those yards came on this play.

[After THE JUMP: more on both returners, parsing the punting, appreciating James Foug]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 24th, 2017 at 6:32 PM

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[Fuller]

Formation/substitution notes: Uche made an impact, charting for the first time after (per the official site) playing on ST the previous two weeks and against Air Force. Had to look that up because I thought this was the first week they were using him on kickoff.

Otherwise, things remained the same. Michigan brought pressure on their punts when they had Wisconsin pinned deep, otherwise dropping at least one man post-snap. They doubled a gunner on punt return coverage once again this week; Wisconsin was deep in their own territory, and it worked fairly well.

[After THE JUMP: what could be more BIG TENNNN than the mere existence of a ST UFR? EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF THE PUNNNTTTTEEERRRR]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Penn State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 27th, 2017 at 12:01 PM

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[Upchurch]

Formation/Substitution Notes: Nothing of note this week. All of the easily identifiable personnel stayed the same: Thomas and Hawkins as returners on kick with one of them plus Mason forming the two-man wedge, Peoples-Jones at punt returner, Robbins as the punter and Poggi the personal protector in a pro-style punt, and Foug and friends on kickoff. There’s not much to talk about in this section, so I’ll leave you with something that does warrant discussion: a Michigan kick returner creating something out of nothing.

[Large enough sample size to draw early conclusions about the kick return unit after THE JUMP]

Wednesday Presser 10-25-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-25-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 26th, 2017 at 8:05 AM

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[Barron]

[Ed. A- I was too sick to make the trip in yesterday, but thanks to 247’s Isaiah Hole I had video from which to transcribe.]

“I thought after the first big run that he has we did a decent job of containing there. They hit some big plays. Quarterback’s phenomenal. Hit some big plays on us in the pass game and kind of flustered us a little bit and then we couldn’t get re-settled down in terms of that. I don’t think we paid too much attention, though.”

What happened to Quinn on the missed extra point? Crowd was booing him pretty heavily but did that affect him?

“No, I mean, that’s unacceptable. That can’t happen. He knows that. He just let his emotions get carried away and kind of kicked the ground a little bit and pushed it and that’s got to be fixed immediately from a mental standpoint. Can’t have that ever happen again.”

Ambry [Thomas] seems to really be progressing in kick return. Talk about what you’ve seen from him.

“He’s explosive, fearless. He’s what you want back there. It’s a really good combination we have now. We got Ben Mason, Brad Hawkins, Ambry, three true freshmen working together, getting to know each other, feeling each other out, because all three of those guys could get the ball and two of them have to be a blocker on every kick. Really, really happy with that unit’s progression and how those guys are really coming together and feeling each other out and stuff like that. Really happy with that group.”

[After THE JUMP: Rashan don’t read this, he wants you to keep the chip on your shoulder]

Upon Further Review: Special Teams vs Indiana

Upon Further Review: Special Teams vs Indiana

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 20th, 2017 at 4:32 PM

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[Fuller]

Formation/Substitution Notes: Not much at all. No noticeable substitutions. In terms of formation, Michigan would drop a couple of wings a few yards back on punt when Indiana stacked the line. Michigan also brought the gunners in tight and staggered two wings when it looked like Indiana was going for the all-out punt block with a little over a minute to go in regulation.

max pro

[After THE JUMP: DPJ’s development, Ben Wallace-ing your way to success, and other items from Puntapalooza 2017]

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 16th, 2017 at 9:16 AM

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[Fuller]

[Ed. A- I couldn’t make it to Indiana this past weekend but luckily Ace and David were willing and able. David pulled out the kind of move you’d expect from a wily veteran and got my recorder on the table right in front of the mic, which matters a ton to me and none to you. But hey, here’s a post for you to read with words that were said, then recorded with excellent clarity, and finally transcribed with… hands? Yes, hands and typing and such.]

Can you talk about Karan Higdon today, especially on those big plays?

“Yeah, he was phenomenal. I don’t know how many yards he got after contact but they were tough yards, and had some plays that looked like they were going to be a tackle for loss or a one-yard gain or no gain that he found a way to get four or five out of. More than a few. Lot of yards—I think more than 200 in the game—and cracked the big one for us and didn’t get trapped behind the line thought, I don’t know, if at all, maybe a couple times. But yeah, big boost from Karan Higdon today.”

Defense had been on the field a lot and when they faced goal-to-go from the two and had two negative plays and couldn’t come up much bigger. Talk about how those guys dug down deep were able to dig down deep.

“Yeah, I really thought our whole team did. Put our best people on it, our players and out coaches, and asked them to find a way and knew that we were going to have to dig down deep to do it. The goal-line stand was a great opportunity for us to keep them out of the end zone and win the ball game and responded with the tackle for loss and the incompletion, interception, and the quarterback option run up the middle so it was a great four plays for us.”

Was there a point in the game when you realized that Karan was going to be the guy to carry you through on offense or was that always the plan going in?

“Yeah, I mean, Karan started the game and we leaned on him heavy. I thought Chris [Evans] and Ty [Isaac] both added some good plays there. Nice to see Kareem Walker get a shot and produce; might be more carries for him in the future. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re very humble about this, and we’ll move on to a big road game next week, but this was a big game for our team. And mistakes were made but I think it’s something we can really grow from.”

[After THE JUMP: “We were grinding some meat out there today” is a way better phrase than “It was tough sledding”]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Michigan State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Michigan State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 13th, 2017 at 5:03 PM

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[Fuller]

Substitution/Formation Notes: With regard to substitutions, the big one is Ambry Thomas taking over as the primary kick returner. We saw this in the second half against Purdue and, after this game and Chris Partridge’s comments this week, it seems like it’s going to hold for the foreseeable future.

MSU did some interesting things in response to the punt return team’s ability to bring pressure; it warrants further discussion after the charts.

[After THE JUMP: the ball itself is a focal point of the yardage-tracking charts, which will surprise exactly zero of you who sat outside for this game]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

Oh God What If Boston College Follows You Around Like You Just Broke Up With It And It Wants To Be Friends

Oh God What If Boston College Follows You Around Like You Just Broke Up With It And It Wants To Be Friends

Submitted by Brian on October 9th, 2017 at 11:49 AM

10/7/2017 – Michigan 10, Michigan State 14 – 4-1, 1-1 Big Ten

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a metaphor for somethin' [Bryan Fuller]

Don Brown is in one of those Progressive commercials where everything gradually turns white, except in his case everything is gradually turning back into Boston College. Someone walks by with a bunch of hockey sticks. Bill Simmons is on the television again. He swears he overhears a conversation about pahking the cah. Maroon filters into his peripheral vision.

On Wednesday at three fifteen PM there is going to be a knock on the door. Steve Addazio is going to walk in and sit down. Brown will summon all his willpower not to jam the nearest pen through his own eyesocket, to claw the power of sight from his face and evaporate from the world of men.

Jay Harbaugh, seated, will wonder if the slight twitch under Brown's eye means anything or if it's just something that happens to men of a certain age. He will not say something about "guys being dudes," and will never know how close he—how close all of us—came to Total Mustache Annihilation. He will tell Brown about Terrace House, a Japanese version of the Real World where everyone is very nice and considerate of each other's feelings.

Thus disabused of the Addazio specter, Brown will resume destroying all that opposes him until the inevitable knife in the back. He tries not to think of Sisyphus, and fails.

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

Michigan's main problem on offense is that they are bad at it. This is not a good problem. "Our right tackle sucks" is something you might be able to address. "Almost everyone is not good at football right now" leads to situations like Saturday. I brought up the Law Of Large Percentages Multiplied A Lot, which is something I just made up right now, in a brief twitter conversation with a reporter who wanted people to know one weird thing about Oklahoma football:

That is a weird thing, but it's not as weird as it sounds. If OU was a 10 point favorite in eight games they'd get through unscathed just 12% of the time*. If they were a 14 point favorite they get up to 27%. You have to get up to 17.5—a 93.7% shot at victory!—before Hypothetical OU even hits 50%. The Law Of Large Percentages Multiplied A Lot is that even big ones fall off faster than you'd think.

Michigan's offense has 6-7-8 guys who have to execute on any particular play for it to be a success, and... let's just say many of them are not three-score favorites to do so on any particular play. They are an example of The Law Of Large Percentages And Some Quite Small Ones Multiplied A Lot. The results can be seen in the box score, or the haunted look on the face of a man who replaced ten starters and still has the #3 defense in the country.

And so today the Must brigade is out. "Must" is the worst word in sportswriting for a lot of reasons. Foremost among them is that whatever follows "must" is something so blindingly obvious Marcelo Balboa is probably talking about a replay of it as we speak. He must catch that ball. He must YES WE KNOW I HAVE EYES, AT LEAST FOR NOW, I'M CONSIDERING A CHANGE IN THAT DEPARTMENT, THANK YOU.

I spent most of the weekend trying and failing to get this column done because I couldn't wade into any commentary on the game that wasn't furious and over the top, and immediately made me want to go do something else. Weird shit happens in college football, especially when you're playing your backup QB, and there's a brief second-half monsoon, and on top of that you turn the ball over five times. Various dirt stupid people are now flogging a "Harbaugh is 1-4 versus rivals" thing as if that encapsulates the whole of his tenure, or even his career. Yeah, Michigan had the dumb thing happen on the punt and lost by a literal inch in Columbus last year. If you're ascribing that to something other than chance I cannot help you.

Whatever Harbaugh MUST do he's probably already doing. He has a track record, and he'll either follow that up with more of the same or not. We're oddly locked in: few coaches trying to establish themselves at a new school come with the pedigree that Harbaugh does, so he'll get a ton of time and a bunch of rope and we'll see where it goes. It'll probably go really well once they aren't carrying the baggage of someone else's screwups on top of their base rate.

But I mean, go ahead and yell about how unacceptable everything is, I guess. We are dying to hear about your feelings.

*[This is based on this site's conversion of point spreads to winners.]

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blanket [Fuller]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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

#1 Mo Hurst. Hurst got to play a lot of three tech this week and went from making good plays that someone else scoops up the glory on to wrecking the interior of the opposition offense himself. The fourth down stop stands out, because Hurst may have induced the fumble from a nervous center; Hurst whooped him anyway and the play was doomed either way.

#2 Lavert Hill. Hill's three PBUs were all excellent plays, and he was in the hip pocket of whoever his assignment was for the duration. MSU had... one open receiver? Maybe two? Lewerke averaged 4.3 YPA. Hill played the largest part in that.

#3 Brad Robbins. Averaged 43 yards a punt in often-difficult conditions and mindblasted the MSU returner on the muff; gave up just ten total return yards on seven attempts.

Honorable mention: Most of the rest of the defense. And... Grant Perry, I guess?

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue)
5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue) 
3: Mason Cole (#1, Cincinnati), Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU)   
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Lavert Hill (#2 MSU)
1: Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati), Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

MSU's punt returner dorfs on a bomb by Robbins, muffing it back to the two and setting up a short field that Michigan would use to get their touchdown.

Honorable mention: The first drive was pretty all right until the back-to-back fades.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Eddie McDoom drops a pass that would have taken Michigan down to the 25 with 13 seconds left.

Honorable mention: Pick a turnover but especially the first two, as they were key in Michigan's deficit by the time the rain arrived. Lewerke scrapes out a late first down because he lands on Michigan players. Michigan gets a touchdown wiped off the board on a Higdon holding call. Most offensive plays.

[After THE JUMP: what would you say you do here]