Michigan In The NFL: Who's Making The Cut?

Michigan In The NFL: Who's Making The Cut?

Submitted by Ace on August 13th, 2014 at 2:49 PM


wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

The NFL preseason is officially underway, and with mandatory roster cuts (down to 75) set for August 26th, now is a good time to check in with the former Wolverines currently playing in the league. After scouring the interwebs, here's my best guess at where each Michigan representative stands as we near the start of the season.

Locks To Make It

Jason Avant, WR, Carolina. After being relegated to decoy duty in Chip Kelly's offense for Philadelphia in 2013, Avant—who boasts the lowest drop percentage in the NFL over the last three years—should be one of Cam Newton's top targets with his move to the Panthers.

Tom Brady, QB, New England. Brady threw for over 4,300 yards with 25 touchdowns last season while working with a very raw receiving corps. It was universally considered a down year. I think he's gonna make it, y'all.

Alan Branch, DE, Buffalo. Branch was an integral member of the D-line rotation for the Bills last season, recording 39 tackles, and he should reprise that role working behind up-and-coming star Marcell Dareus again this year.

Stevie Brown, FS, New York Giants. After finishing second in the NFL with eight interceptions in 2012, Brown missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL. He's back from the injury and expected to start at free safety.

Larry Foote, ILB, Arizona. The longtime Steeler—Foote has played 11 of his 12 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh—was cut in the offseason, but quickly found a home in Arizona, which lost both of their starting ILBs from last season. He's currently atop the depth chart, and even if he doesn't hold that spot, he should stick around to provide veteran leadership for a young position group.

Jonathan Goodwin, C/G, New Orleans. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Goodwin and Tim Lelito, the two players competing to start at center, are "certain to make the final roster." Goodwin's ability to play both center and guard gives him extra job security, even at 35 years old, as does his relatively cheap one-year deal.

Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati. While Hall tore his right Achilles tendon last season, just two seasons removed from tearing his left Achilles, he's back in the starting lineup as Cinci's slot corner, a spot he plays about as well as anybody in the league when healthy. Barring further injury, his spot is very much safe.

David Harris, ILB, New York Jets. Jets head coach Rex Ryan called Harris "the most underrated player in the league" after he was left of the NFL Network's top 100 players list for 2014. Yeah, he's safe.

Junior Hemingway, WR, Kansas City. Even though Hemingway missed a good deal of training camp with a hamstring injury, he came right back and was a prime target for QB Alex Smith out of the slot. This very thorough rundown of the Chiefs' roster situation has Hemingway safely on the team—in fact, he should start in the slot—and that doesn't look likely to change.

Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville. Though Jacksonville used the #3 overall pick on QB Blake Bortles, Henne started the first preseason game, and the Jaguars higher-ups insist there's no QB controversy. Bortles is the QB of the future; for now, however, this is Henne's job.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Tennessee. First-round picks don't get cut in their rookie seasons, especially when they're competing for starting jobs.

Jake Long, OT, St. Louis. Long is coming back from a torn ACL and MCL, so he's been held out so far in the preseason, but he's on track to make a surpringly quick return. Also, he's Jake Long, which should be enough.

Ryan Mundy, S, Chicago. Even though the Bears have shuffled their safeties around, Mundy has seen the most action on the first team of anyone, and he can play both free and strong safety in their system. He started the preseason strong, picking off a pass in the opener.

Michael Schofield, OG/OT, Denver. Third-round picks also don't get cut in their rookie season, except in very unusual circumstances. Considering Schofield is "in the mix" at both left guard and right tackle, it looks like he'll be a critical backup at the very least in Denver.

LaMarr Woodley, DE, Oakland. After seven productive years in Pittsburgh, Woodley was unceremoniously released by the Steelers over the offseason, and the Raiders were happy to get him. He provides a major upgrade from them at DE, a spot that may suit him better than 3-4 OLB, where he played in Pittsburgh.

Charles Woodson, S, Oakland. At 37, Woodson came back to Oakland, where he's beloved by the fanbase. He'll play safety there, and he is Charles Woodson, so he'll play well until he decides it's time to hang up the cleats.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the list.]

Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Defense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Defense

Submitted by Ace on June 10th, 2014 at 3:44 PM


oh boy

A couple summers ago, I delved back into the blogspot days to look at Brian's 2008 recruiting posts and how well players lived up to expectations. There were high points, like Mike Martin wrestling Not Mike Martin. These were accompanied by lows such as "Dann O'Neill might be Michigan's most critical recruit." The McGuffie mixtape was rewatched, wistfully.

I forgot to continue the series last summer, so I'm picking it back up with the 2009 class; conveniently, all the players from that class have completed their time in the program, so it's easier to give a fair retrospective on their careers. If you want to go back and look though the old posts yourself, the Tate Forcier profile features links to every player.

While that last link is a nice teaser for the offense portion of this exercise, today I'll be looking at the 2009 defensive recruits. Brace yourselves.

Never Forget

I'm gonna go ahead and get the defensive back portion of this post over with, as the four commits in the secondary were Vlad Emilien, Thomas Gordon, Justin Turner, and Adrian Witty. Emilien's projection was a harbinger of doom for U-M's future situation at safety:

Projection: Either sparing special teams time as a freshman or (hopefully) a redshirt. In 2010 will be a major threat to start at strong safety, though he might have to fight Brandon Smith to get a job.

Brian, today, on this quote: "I was so innocent then."

Smith moved to outside linebacker, then announced his intention to transfer near the end of the 2009 season, ending up at Temple and never doing anything of consequence there. Emilien followed a similar path, playing a little special teams as a true freshman, then transferring after the first game in 2010 when Jordan Kovacs put a death grip on the strong safety spot. He ended up as, yup, an outside linebacker at Toledo, where he made 15 tackles as a senior last year.

omg shirtless heroin-laced carrot

Witty never actually made it onto the team due to academic issues, eventually landing at Cincinnati, where he's the top returner in the secondary this year. Not getting him through admissions may be viewed as a recruiting failure, but in context, it was totally worth it:

Adrian Witty, a teammate of Denard Robinson, is Denard Robinson's teammate. On this team, which they share, they play together. Also, Witty and Denard Robinson attended the same high school. At this high school, they played on a team which they shared and played together on: they were teammates.

That should be clear. Many, many folks regard Witty's offer as the heroin-laced carrot used to lure critical QB recruit Denard Robinson away from Urban Meyer's clutches and to Michigan's post-apocalyptic frozen wastes.

Even though Witty would've been, at worst, the second-best defensive back in this class for U-M, there are no hard feelings here. We salute you, heroin-laced carrot.

The most hyped recruit in the class was Massillon, Ohio's Justin Turner, a top-35 overall player to both Rivals and Scout.* It wasn't hard to see what all the excitement was about:

That excitement only grew after Turner tore it up at Army All-American Game, to the point that his recruitment post led off with a discussion of one of those B/R "[touted recruit] is [football titan]" posts:

If you're measuring by delusional expectations of internet denizens, Justin Turner may be the #1 recruit in the universe. You've got to have an avalanche of hype for some guy to write an article saying you're Charles Woodson and get this response:

"Good article, but i see justin turner being faster then charles woodson. I also see turner being a better saftey the woodson was but woodson will be a better return man."

IE: "Good article about some high school senior being the reincarnation of the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman, but don't you think you're selling him a little short? Also I have no recollection of Charles Woodson's return abilities, which were pretty much crap aside from one white hot moment." (Yes, this exchange happened on Bleacher Report. Where else could it?)

Brian took the conservative tack, comparing Turner to... Marlin Jackson. Let's just move along.

The one defensive back to actually make a positive impact on the field at U-M, Cass Tech's Thomas Gordon, came in as a relatively anonymous recruit. He got Brandent Englemon for his "YMRMFSPA" and this projection:

General Excitement Level: Well… he is the lowest-ranked non-kicker in the class, and that's probably for a reason. 
Projection: Obvious redshirt and will likely require at least two years before he's ready to see the field on defense. The most likely (but by no means assured) outcome is that he doesn't contribute much.

Yes, it's possible for a Cass Tech recruit to exceed expectations.

[*ESPN was a skeptical outlier, listing him as their #21 athlete. Point, ESPN.]

Who?

At least Mike Jones provided us this picture.

On to the linebackers: Isaiah Bell, Mike Jones, and Brandin Hawthorne. Brian's assessment of Jones' potential almost nailed it:

General Excitement Level: Eh; I'm expecting one of the OLB recruts to pan out in a big way, one to be okay, and one to wash out. 

Instead, nobody panned out big. Bell washed out before annarbor.com died, Jones saw the field sparingly before playing his fifth year at Western, and Hawthorne topped out as a nickel linebacker.

I won't spend much time on these guys simply because there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but I will note that when a search for a player comparison goes like this, there's a pretty good chance you've got a serious tweener on your hands:

So he's just like Shawn Crable, if Crable was six to eight inches shorter. So he's just like Chris Graham, if Hawthorne was a stiff, clunky guy incapable of shedding blockers and not much for changing direction. He's not like either, actually. I mean, just look at the guy. Linebacker? In college? Er. There's a reason Hawthorne is well down in the rankings.

Brian suggested Hawthorne "may be better suited for a 3-3-5 than a more traditional D," and hoo boy did some bad memories just come flooding back. Quick, to the defensive line!

THORQWASH & The Crab Person


Between this and the legendary hood slide, we're all good, Big Will.

Justin Turner wasn't the only five-star recruit to the established recruiting sites to get some major skepticism from ESPN. Will Campbell's rankings went #35 overall (Scout), #26 overall (Rivals), and... #21 offensive tackle (ESPN). Another point for the Worldwide Leader. Like Turner, an outstanding Army game performance added to the hype, as did pictures like this...

...and, for entirely different reasons, this:

WE GOT THOR.

In retrospect, however, maybe we should've seen Campbell's future weight issues coming:

Campbell is one of the biggest players in the Army game, but he's apparently not ready for the roller coasters when the teams visit Six Flags on Tuesday night.

"There's a weight limit on those things," he said. "I might be on the tea cups."

Even though he didn't have the desired impact until a solid, though not five-star-caliber, senior season, Campbell always gave a hell of a quote. Brian's Gabe Watson comparison was pretty on point; though Big Will didn't come close to Watson's production, they were similar players—jovial, wildly talented, bull-strong, big fans of food—with similar hype coming to Ann Arbor. 

craaaaaaab people craaaaaab people

Michigan landed two defensive ends in the top-100 range in the class: Craig Roh (right) and Anthony LaLota. While Roh never became an edge-rushing terror, he managed to consitently produce and improve despite boucing between positions—not to mention different defensive schemes that didn't necessarily fit his skill set—for his entire career due to factors outside his control. This comparison both worked and, well, didn't work:

Why Shawn Crable? Crable was a 6'6" athletic terror with chicken legs who spent his Michigan career bouncing from DE to OLB and would have been the perfect player to slot in this spinner spot. Crable was also rated right around where Roh is. The comparison here is very tight.

The tweener aspect of the comparison was spot-on, but Roh ended up being a very different player from Crable, more disciplined and able to hold the point of attack but far less explosive off the edge.

As for LaLota, he received one of the most random YMRMFSPA comps in this blog's history:

Alain Kashama… except good!

Kashama was a total project at Michigan, coming in with little football experience—as did LaLota, who played just 12 games of organized football before hitting campus—before settling in as a reserve pass-rushing specialist, eventually totaling six career sacks.

That ended up being six more career sacks than LaLota recorded, as he transferred back to home-state Rutgers two weeks into his sophomore season, where he quit football to focus on his education after a move to tight end saw him buried on the depth chart.

We end with the class curveball, Quinton Washington, whom everybody evaluated as an interior offensive lineman—with most saying he had a ton of potential there, this blog included:

General Excitement Level: High. It's clear the coaches were nuts about this guy and he's got the offers and recruiting mojo to back it up. 
Projection: Though the coaches have suggested Washington might see the field this year—they think he's that ready—a redshirt makes more sense with Schilling's move inside solidifying the interior line. He'll have to fight Ricky Barnum to replace Moosman next year; if he loses that battle he'll be the odds on favorite to replace Schilling in 2011.

Steve Schilling, in fact, was his player comparison. Washington instead moved to nose tackle early in the 2010 season, worked his way into a starting role as a junior, earned the nickname QWASH, and gave the defense a proficient space-eater until his role mysteriously diminished last season.

The real answer is Roh, but one could make a reasonable argument that Michigan's most critical 2009 defensive recruit was a guy who never played a down for the Wolverines: heroin-laced carrot (seriously, Brian, how the hell do you come up with these things?) Adrian Witty.

Bowl Practice Presser 12-14-12: Brady Hoke

Bowl Practice Presser 12-14-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on December 14th, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Bullets:

  • Jerald Robinson has left the team.
  • Craig Roh had a bit of a "sore shoulder." Me too, although mine is from pipetting too much. Probably the same thing.
  • Royce Jenkins-Stone is playing middle linebacker, not SAM. 
  • Dennis Norfleet is playing corner, not safety.
  • None of the redshirting freshmen OL have practiced at center. Right now the heir apparent to Elliott Mealer is Jack Miller, followed by Graham Glasgow.

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

file

Opening remarks:

“Before I get started talking about what we’re doing and everything, I think our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Connecticut, with that tragedy that happened. It’s unfortunate, and we just want to have them in our prayers, those families that were affected, and the senselessness of what happened.

“With that being said, we got back after today, we had a good practice. This time of year it gets a little dicey because you’re juggling some finals. There’s some guys who had finals but not very many of them that couldn’t be there, so you go through all those kinds of things, and find the times that we can. We’ll go tomorrow morning, and then we’ll go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I like how they’ve come out. I know they’ve had good weeks with lifting and running and technique work and those things, so it’s all be real positive.”

With Pride

With Pride

Submitted by Ace on December 4th, 2012 at 12:25 PM


Heiko Yang/MGoBlog

"I will wear it with pride."

To a man, the seniors of Team 133 thanked the University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit for the rings presented to them at last night's annual football bust. They may have been told to do so; the sincerity rang true, regardless.

To earn those rings, the seniors endured far more tumult than the average Wolverine class. A handful committed to Lloyd Carr's class of 2008, witnessing a coaching change before they ever set foot on campus. Every one made the jarring transition from Rich Rodriguez to Brady Hoke, who had the privilege of introducing each senior, charmingly butchering the more complicated majors—the sciences presented a particularly tricky articulative obstacle—and presenting their rings with the requisite bear hug.

Then came the stories, the laughter, and in one case, tears.

Ricky Barnum, heading to the School of Social Work next year after graduating with a degree in Afro-American and African Studies, implored the audience to "hit me up" if they ever need a grant or proposal written.

Will Campbell thanked the strength coaches for turning him "from a 346-pound slob to a 308-pound stud, as you can see."

Brady Hoke, before introducing fullback Paul Gyarmati, noted that Gyarmati's father played bass with Carlos Santana for several years. Gyarmati, off the cuff, thanked his father for "stealing my thunder."

While introducing Jack Kennedy, graduating with degrees in Mathematics and Physics, Hoke quipped, "it was tough, but I got him through."

Elliott Mealer, lumberjack beard intact, started his speech by saying, "I cleaned up for you tonight." He finished with a quote from his late father: "If you don't have good dreams, you have nightmares."

Patrick Omameh, Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Award winner for his academic accomplishments, sweat profusely during his improvised speech. "It's my trademark," he said, with no hint of shame.

Craig Roh thanked Jesus Christ for getting him through two-a-days and fall camp.

Roy Roundtree lit up while reliving his recruitment, recalling high school teammates Michael Shaw and Brandon Moore telling the then-Purdue commit that he might get a Michigan offer—"Man, I get that offer, I'm coming to Michigan," he said, noting how good he looked in a winged helmet.

Roundtree later broke down in tears while thanking Director of Academic Counseling Greg Harden, whom he credited for getting him through Michigan; his genuine thankfulness, even awe, at the prospect of going to grad school was heartwarming.

Floyd Simmons revealed that during games he liked to sit to J.T. Floyd's right on the bench, spelling out "Floyd" "Simmons" with their jersey nameplates, "but no one ever gets a picture of it."

Vincent Smith joked about chasing rabbits in Pahokee, and thanked the coaches for teaching him how to cut-block defensive ends—quite well, one might add.

Hoke called out Steve Wilson for getting into Michigan State's medical school. After mock boos from the crowd, Wilson noted that, yes, he got into State, but the only medical school he really wants to attend is Michigan.

Going last, of course, was Denard Robinson, who thanked virtually everyone associated with the program, including the academic staff that corralled the self-proclaimed "free spirit" and helped him become the first member of his family to graduate from a four-year college. He also apologized to Al Borges—and his wife—for sending him home with so many headaches before closing, aptly, with "this is Michigan, fergodsakes."

The MVP of the bust, however, was also voted Bo Schembechler MVP by the team. Jordan Kovacs, a late arrival after attending the Burlsworth Award ceremony for nation's top former walk-on, brought down the house with his opener:

“I’d first like to thank coach Rich Rodriguez for allowing a slow, unathletic and undersized kid to play at the University of Michigan. That was really nice of him to let Drew Dileo play football here.”

Kovacs, who also won the Bob Ufer Spirit Award, finished by saying he was proud to call himself many things, walk-on included, but most of all to be a Michigan Man.

On this night, as the seniors had their football graduation of sorts—a few with more football ahead, many more on their way to becoming doctors, lawyers, social workers, or teachers—it was a fitting close from the captain. All have earned the right to wear their rings with pride.

Senior Day Haiku 2012

Senior Day Haiku 2012

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2012 at 12:44 PM

20090912231722_26-umvnd[1]Craig Roh

A leaf blows in fall
Tasting each position once
Time to duck, Martinez

Will Campbell

These days people who
are not Thomas Gordon say
"Get off of me, please"

Jordan Kovacs Michigan v Notre Dame hcY6ms5iF8jl[1]Jordan Kovacs

A man from nowhere
is the safety blanket for
a hundred thousand

Kenny Demens

As Northwestern died
they must have thought "ouch" and
"my god, sweet mustache"

JT Floyd

UM-Floyd-ND-Floyd[1]Sorry about things said
two years ago, low and mean
Mattison saves all

Brandin Hawthorne

We'll always have that
Purdue hash to hash zone drop
and a kickoff hold

Brandon Moore

Must be a good guy
to get Kramer's eighty-seven
imagetime to make stories

Vincent Smith

Meet mini-Gandalf:
finger-gun Balrog LB,
state YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Elliott Mealer

tumblr_m9s369BwSH1rfy8h4o1_1280[1]The measure of man:
how many squirrels can live
in your face, repos'd

Ricky Barnum

Stayed through some things
that would have made most depart
and we needed him to

Patrick Omameh

386277_10150394019912616_648717615_8625136_973392225_n[1]This dance goes one way
two hearts meet at Notre Dame
Te'o's goes backwards

Mike Kwiatkowski

Not a walk-on, no
A scientist of brains, yes
And blocker of sweeps

[UPDATE: so I forgot Roy Roundtree.

Roy Roundtree

Joe Tiller quivers
in walrus rage as Roundtree
waves an arm, alone

]

Denard Robinson

I had been in the desert for some time, lost and directionless. The sun was relentless. A deadly thirst stalked me. I had not accepted the grisly fate which awaited me but was powerless to change it.

On the fifth night—possibly the sixth—a breeze arose. It was cool and dewy. I savored it for a time, then step by step it led me home.

7958859750_26230aebbe_z[1]

Upchurch

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part III

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part III

Submitted by Brian on November 14th, 2012 at 12:15 PM

So. Michigan got a nice play from Will Campbell to turn second and three into third and one despite kind of conceding the first down, then saw Kenny Demens blow upfield as soon as he saw Venric Mark block a blitzing James Ross. He hewed down a Colter scramble in the backfield. Now it's fourth and two, and all the timeouts have been taken.

Michigan comes out in… this. I guess. Whatever this is. Weird is what it is.

stack-1

3-3-5 WTF

Please note that Northwestern has also brought their share of weird to the party. They're in a two back set with all three WRs to the field, which means one of those slots is covered up. Michigan is seven on eight in the box, with a safety—Gordon—hanging out deep. If Northwestern can get guys blocked they should have a guy running free. As we'll see, they don't.

This has been mentioned before, but Michigan came out in this weird formation on fourth and two in an attempt to bait Northwestern into a handoff up the middle, which they successfully did.

As a bonus, the bait here is compounded by Northwestern confusion.  It does not matter what Colter does here. They're dead.

Part The First: Black Surge

Jibreel Black is shaded playside of the center above and immediately shoots upfield of said center.

stack-1stack-2

This is easy for him. Just go straight upfield. It does two things:

  1. Invites Colter to hand off. That looks dangerous to him because if he's forced to pitch early by a Black surge then Roh is likely to contain the back.
  2. Forces the dive back to the backside of the play, where there are two Northwestern OL and three Michigan defenders.

In the wider view you can see three Northwestern OL releasing, with the fourth dealing with Clark.

stack-2

Part The Second: Handoff Away From Strength

That looks un-promising. But here's what they'll do:

stack-2

The option provides blocking strength to the front side of the play because you're letting the end go to option him; on the backside you're blocking him. Here Northwestern burns that strength as two confused guys go after Ross. A third has to cut Ryan, and there's no one for three separate Michigan defenders.

stack-3

At the mesh point Colter is looking at Roh on the edge and Black surging through, which seemingly puts acres of space between the NT and backside DE. There are acres, in fact.

Part The Third: Free Train With Purchase Of Handoff

stack-5

ACRES OF PAIN WOO

stack-6stack-7

Everyone run around and do things! Be happy! And then play the dog groomers song and kill everyone's buzz. But those first 5 seconds were rad.

Video

Things And Stuff

This was dead in every way. If Colter decides to keep he is probably going to get pushed wide by Black, maybe even have a pitched forced by him a la Mike Martin last year. If he does not…

stack-5

…it's Mike Trumpy in space against Jordan Kovacs with Roh pursuing from the inside-out. We've seen how that story ends, against this team even.

That was forth and inches, this is fourth and two. I'll take my chances there.

This play seems specifically designed to defeat the option. The Black surge is going to do one of two things. One option is what it did. The other is for the playside G to block Black, likely with help from the center, and leave one guy for Ross. If those guys can combo Black a keep meets the same fate you see in the frame on the last bullet. If those guys can combo Black and the C manages a release to the second level, then you are possibly in business as you hypothetically have enough guys to block the LBs.

I don't see how that happens though given what Black does here. No one is coming off that guy fast enough to be useful. The only option that gets yards is a check.

Nothing else? Just a check? The only other way in which this might eke out the first down is by letting the backside end go, too, and having that tackle hit Demens. This may or may not work and exposes the back to Clark coming down the line; at least if he's hit by Clark it's from behind. Really, though, there's nothing.

Demens! This isn't the hardest play in the world for a linebacker but even so you can't do it any better. There's no drama after this:

stack-7

No spinning out or grinding forward or sliding off. The guy just goes down, backwards, game over. That's one of them form tackles.

Cat and mouse. This play followed a series of timeouts. Michigan showed the formation they ran before the first one:

f-3-3-5nickel

Northwestern called TO, and came out with their covered slot formation. Michigan again showed the 3-3-5 alignment…

cs-1

…until everyone in the front seven yelled at Ryan to get on the LOS…

cs-2

Roh had to do a ton of pointing and talking to get this to happen

…and then Michigan called timeout before a false start. As a bonus, unless the slot receiver moved after the camera took him out of the picture, Northwestern only had six on the line of scrimmage and would have been hit with an illegal formation.

So they went to it, got a TO, showed it, got rid of it, called a TO, and then ran it. The dance of doom.

A gimmick defense for gimmick times. Yeah this could get gashed by stuff other than what Northwestern ran; Michigan knew their comfort zone and had a plan to blow it up. They had plenty of problems in this game, and I think Mattison is going to have to make some adjustments to slow the Wildcats down in future years, but at the end it was Michigan who got the last stab in after a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part I

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part I

Submitted by Brian on November 13th, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Michigan punched in a touchdown on their only possession of overtime against Northwestern and took the field needing to get a fourth-down stop at some point to win. They got it right away. On first down, Will Campbell(+2, pressure +2) swims through a guard to get instant pressure; Colter finds a running lane because Washington is out of position and picks up seven yards.

Three plays later, Northwestern was still at the eighteen, out of downs. WHA HAPPEN? In three parts, what happened.

Second And Three: Campbell Two-Gap

Northwestern comes out in the pistol, with Michigan in an even front with Ryan shaded over the slot. They keep two safeties 13 yards off the LOS—they are essentially playing a man down in the front seven because Colter demands to be contained.

The FB started on the other side of Colter and motioned just before the snap; Michigan's linebackers shuffle a little in response, but not much. Northwestern is going to run a plain old zone play.

two-gap-1

There is a mesh point here. Colter is reading Roh. Roh does two things once the tackle lets him go:

  1. He forms up at the LOS
  2. He shuffles inside a bit to remain tight with the hip of the tackle.

two-gap-2two-gap-3two-gap-4

give + no cutback == job done

#1 makes Colter give. #2 prevents Mark from heading all the way backside, which is important. If my spread 'n' shred analysis skillz are now basically irrelevant at least they're useful for parsing Northwestern. I've seen this before:

two-gap-2

It's the vertical zone read play RR termed "belly." Under RR Michigan wouldn't go so far as to move into the pistol, but they would slide the QB up a foot or two and make this same handoff. It looks a lot like inside zone to the defense, and usually by the time they find out it's not the guy going backside has picked up a nice chunk.

Belly is about doubling the DTs, and driving them back; failing that you go at the spot the backside DE vacated when he went to contain the QB.

Here there's nothing. This is the mesh point. The line is a solid mass of humanity from Roh to Campbell, with the only gap on the frontside as Clark contains. The DTs have held up at the LOS. Mark has nowhere to go save that frontside gap.

two-gap-3

That's a problem because neither LB is hitting that gap. Meanwhile the fullback shoots downfield, looking for Kovacs. Mark has to redirect—this is not what the play was supposed to create—and this takes time, which is a saving grace.

two-gap-4

Campbell is here, and then he's obscured because he's flung himself to the other side of his blocker and tackled.

two-gap-4two-gap-5

Mark squeezes out a couple before most of the players on the field converge on top of him.

two-gap-6

Now Michigan has third and short. They like third and short.

Video

Things And Stuff

It looks like Michigan is conceding the first down. Second and three and Michigan puts a full two-deep coverage on, leaving just six guys in the box against seven players. It's almost like Michigan is playing TD prevent and living to fight again on first and ten from the 13.

This is all defensive line. Collectively the two DTs take on four blockers and while those blockers release, Washington is in a spot where he closes off a gap at the LOS. Roh has taken the cutback away. And when Mark redirects outside, Campbell fills the gap outside Washington.

This is a cost of cutting off screens. Remember last year when Michigan got burned by bubble after bubble in this game? Mattison responded by flaring Ryan over the slot. That was the first we had seen of that; it's now a standard thing. Bubbles have all but evaporated. So that's good, but it also leaves Michigan in some vulnerable positions. Here their best defensive player is irrelevant to the play. It would be nice to have some better run support on the edges.

I'm not sure about the LB play here. Both guys end up catching blocks. They do this because the NW OL does not extend their doubles. Since the doubles are not extended, the DL can make the play they make. I am still kind of nervous about it. There's no slant here so they just have to play it straight, and as a result neither gets anywhere near the play. I'm guessing that's the way they have to play it. Gives me hives. Help, anyone?

Will Campbell woo. He vexed the pants off of a couple of guys in this game. This play in particular reminded me of watching Hoke talk about DL technique at that coaching clinic. Campbell may get a little high, but he takes one step inside and then fires upwards, rocking the G backwards. At that point his hands are on the interior of the OL. He controls the block, and can go from one gap to the other when Mark does. If you watch it enough you'll be like oh right the sleds DL hit.

Campbell made the Northwestern G look like an inanimate object designed to be hit to teach technique. Heininger Certainty Principle +1.

SIDE NOTE: DL DID NOT USE SLEDS UNDER RR /dies

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Formation notes: Most of the game was in the under:

4-4-even

On certain passing downs Michigan did this weird thing with one of the DEs pulled up in a two point stance between the two NTs:

3-3-5-offset

M dropped eight on this and got quick pressure when Roh beat the T around the edge one on one.

Here it is again:

f-weird-thing

May see that a little more going forward, but it's obviously a gimmicky passing down defense only.

Substitution notes: Back seven was the established starters the whole way with two exceptions: Cam Gordon got a fair number of snaps in place of Jake Ryan and Bolden came in for Demens on the last drive. I don't think Morgan came off for even a snap.

On the line, all spots got a dose of rotation. Roh got the most time; Heitzman backed him up and got a couple spots at three-tech. Washington was also heavily deployed; Pipkins backed him up. Campbell had the edge on Black at three tech but Black got more snaps than he has in the recent past. Beyer went most of the way at WDE with Ojemudia backing.

[AFTER THE JUMP: charts and stuff.]

Containment Field Down! Run For Your Lives!

Containment Field Down! Run For Your Lives!

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2012 at 12:27 PM

10/27/2012 – Michigan 9, Nebraska 23 – 5-3, 3-1 Big Ten

8129503914_552674f221_z[1]

Eric Upchurch

Well, it finally happened.

Pundits and opponent fans have been predicting the demise of Denard Robinson ever since he picked up that snap against Western Michigan, but the series of bumps and bruises that frightened Michigan fans every third game had never really cost Michigan anything. In 2010, Tate Forcier came off the bench to lead Michigan to a frenetic victory over Illinois and nearly did the same against Iowa. Last year, Devin Gardner shepherded Michigan through the second half of the Illinois game. When Denard's boo-boos knocked him out for halves instead of plays, Michigan got through just fine.

They were always tempting fate, though, and upped their bet that the football gods' vast malevolence was laser-focused on the Iowa running back situation by moving Devin Gardner to wide receiver in the fall. That seemed like a risk worth taking.

Unfortunately, the containment field is down.

image

yes, it's true. this man has no elbow.

First it leaked from the Iowa running backs to their offensive line, which suffered two season-ending injuries minutes apart last week. This week, the Big Ten set to murdering football in the morning and afternoon, then this happened to Marcus Lattimore's knee:

image

artist's conception

By the time Friday night rolled around the ambient malevolence levels in college football were so high that Notre Dame won a marquee matchup to enter the national championship shortlist.

So of course Denard would be knocked out of a potentially fun, definitely important game by falling harmlessly to the turf, thus turning the rest of it into a death-march trudge. AIRBHG is no longer contained. The forces of wheeeee that (mostly) preserved Denard through three years of running at top speed into Manti Te'o have been overrun by the forces of grinding doom football. Now we're all boned. Hail Saban.

And so it came to pass that words never before spoken—words so impossible CFL teams who don't even think it's weird they're all named "Roughriders" cock an eyebrow at their assemblage—came to pass.

Tate Forcier isn't walking through that door.

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

I don't know, man. I felt ill for most of the second half but it's not like anyone is at fault other than everyone. I mean, if RR doesn't implode or Forcier is a normal person who goes to classes or Michigan doesn't hire Hoke three weeks before signing day, maybe the guy backing up Robinson has a prayer of moving the ball forward. Maybe the wide receiving corps is not so awful that it must include Devin Gardner.

In the aftermath you've got the columns declaring Gardner's move to WR a stupid idea, but I haven't seen anyone reference the column questioning it they wrote before last weekend. It's easy to be a backseat driver after whatever that was. Meanwhile, Gardner is this crappy receiving corps' #2 WR, #1 if you discount Jeremy Gallon's 150-some yards on screens.

Gardner's not good. The alternative is throwing more than four balls in the first half to Jeremy Jackson. They've needed their crappy, crappy receiver who is also a quarterback even if he is dropping a 50-yard pass in most games. Whether Gardner is worth an extra three scores against Nebraska is… debatable. His performances to date suggest he is not.

Michigan was always rolling the dice on Denard's health, and that was the move to make. Didn't work. That's life as a rickety program that's endured two coaching transitions in three years—when you have to go to the bench you get tumbleweeds.

We're now entering the period of time when most program shortcomings can be blamed on Rich Rodriguez's recruiting, which is only a slight transition from the period of time when most program shortcomings could be blamed on Lloyd Carr's recruiting fade and represents very little improvement when the one completely awesome guy at the most important position is removed from the equation. It turns out that Michigan 2012 minus Denard Robinson is pretty much Michigan 2008, and that the only thing saving us from the abyss was Denard staring down a decision to stay or go and not pulling the Mallett.

He stayed, but in the game that probably decided if he would be a champion or not he watched from the sideline because his elbow hit the turf the wrong way. Malevolence is out of control these days.

Media

Eric just posted the photos. You can enjoy them. You will not enjoy One Frame At A Time.  BTN highlights:

Also SD highlights from Michigan's official site and a Nebraska-oriented highlight reel; actual highlights start 3:20 in.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOM BULLETS

Injury item. So the thing is this:

Boo Boo[1]

Hoover Street Rag

It's the same thing that knocked him out briefly against Illinois. 

"He's got that nerve (injury), he hits it the wrong way (or) gets hit (and it's hard)," Hoke said. "The difference (today) was he didn't come back in. But, he gets better as the game goes on." …

Asked whether or not he was concerned Robinson wouldn't be available next week, Hoke replied "No." He also said the normal rehabilitation process for this type of injury is mainly rest and time.

He'll probably be fine by Tuesday and start against Gophers. Every time his elbow brushes up against the softest kitten in Minnesota the collective intake of breath will be audible. Sounds fun, and by "fun" I mean "paralyzing."

Frank Clark is also expected to be back next week, which is good because Mario Ojemudia limped off the field Saturday and was spotted in a boot today. He's probably sprained his ankle and won't be available. 

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumbBrady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Craig Roh. Beastmode sack, generally unblockable, got a number of those stat things for himself instead of everyone else, as he usually does.

Honorable mention. Quinton Washington, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Demens.

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State), Craig Roh(Nebraska).

We won time of possession! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Time of possession is a garbage stat.

That said, there is a clear narrative of decline in the defensive performance. Nebraska's first eight drives gained a total of 148 yards. Their last four gained 178. It's not easy going out there after a blizzard of three-and-outs. This would be better measured by plays instead of TOP.

 

 

BLAME BLAME BLAME BLAME. Why are we here at QB? LET'S BLAME PEOPLE WOO

  • Rodriguez's horrible recruiting at the skill positions: 40%. If Michigan has a decent deep threat at WR, Gardner is playing QB and Michigan may salvage that game. Instead, RR recruited receivers are… 2011: nobody. 2010: Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Jerald Robinson, DJ Williamson. 2009: Je'Ron Stokes. The only one of those guys to see the field is Jackson, and he's essentially a skinny tight end. That 2011 class may not be RR's fault, because there were…
  • Unavoidable transition costs: 10%. RR's WR recruiting would look slightly better if Sammy Watkins was included in that group, but once he got fired Watkins was gone.
  • Darryl Stonum's inability to just do what the court tells him to: 10%. Relevant to previous two bullets: we're desperate for a guy who has three catches for Baylor. Baylor's offense is pretty good, but he can't even get on the field.
  • The Process: 20%. Maybe Michigan gets a guy more ready to play if they're not scrambling with three weeks left. Maybe Michigan recruits one dang WR in 2011.
  • Hoke not taking a quarterback last year: 10%. Always take one every year. If Michigan has another freshman around maybe he's better than Bellomy.
  • Hoke inexplicably passing on Devin Lucien: 10%. Lucien has 10 catches as a sophomore for 6-2 UCLA and their #12 offense. He still wanted to commit to Michigan after the transition, and Michigan said no by saying they wanted him to play DB.

There. It has been blamed. Seriously, though, the Lucien thing drives me nuts.

Borges take. It's official, we have the first FIRE BORGES blog post, one made through blood-soaked tears in the third quarter of that game by The Big House Blog. The Daily is also getting testy.

I'm not there. As soon as Denard went out and it became clear that Bellomy was light years away from readiness I was pretty much like whatever. There's not much you can do when you already can't run without your QB and the guy you put in is overwhelmed and throwing moonballs.

Before that happened, Michigan was moving the ball decently and poised to score to go up 10-7. That's okay I guess—but we're also talking about a team that is 90th in the country in run defense, so…

I saw this: after Nebraska got torn up by Hundley and Miller it seemed clear they went back to the drawing board and were going to play it safe. When Michigan put 4 WRs on the field, Nebraska responded with two high safeties and 5.5 guys in the box. Michigan ran the ball and got five, six, seven yards virtually every time. That's stealing.

I mean, when I was learning about the spread some years back I watched the videos Rodriguez put out about his offense. When he talked about making a run/pass decision based on the safeties, his general rule was one deep safety was a run, cover zero was pass. The idea that someone would maintain two high safeties against his offense never even crossed his mind. Nebraska was doing it, and Michigan didn't force Nebraska out of it. I don't get it, man.

The truly crappy thing is it's going to be four or five years before we have any real read on whether Borges is any good. At this point, year three is going to be Michigan rolling with a true freshman QB—probably, anyway—and four new OL starters—probably, anyway—with what's likely to be a horrible WR corps. Anything other than an awful offense next year is a point in Borges's favor. Hurrah transition.

But Auburn? No. 2004 Auburn had the following guys on that team: QB Jason Campbell (first round pick), RB Ronnie Brown (first round pick), RB Cadillac Williams (first round pick), OL Ben Grubbs (first round pick), OL Marcus McNeill (second round pick), Ben Obomanu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 37 catches in 2011), Devin Aromashodu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 26 catches in 2011), and Courtney Taylor (sixth round pick, now in CFL after 2008 multiple sclerosis(!) diagnosis). When you can call anything and have future NFL players on both ends of the exchange that doesn't say much either. 

First Nebraska touchdown: where is that? Nebraska's first touchdown was a route that exploited Michigan's man coverage. An inside receiver ran a little hitch designed to pick the outside guy, the outside guy ran a post to eliminate the safety over the top, and the inside-inside guy used the pick to get open by yards. It didn't really matter if the receiver who ended up targeted was able to get separation naturally; the play got it for him.

Where is that from Michigan? I can't recall a wide open downfield guy that got open strictly by the play design. Gardner's been open some when DBs fall over or suck up on a double move or something; not so much the play bits.

This wasn't actually a problem last year, when Michigan quarterbacks made sport of ignoring the the wide open guys Borges was machining downfield. Is it just Junior Hemingway's absence?

8133875646_3b2d23bc4e_z[1]

Upchurch

 

I think they watched film. Congratulations, Nebraska: you are apparently the only Big Ten team to ever watch tape of the Michigan offense and leap on the throwback screen. It's not exactly hard to find, since the first time Michigan goes under center in any game is virtually guaranteed to be the throwback. It's pretty bad when everyone in the room I was watching said "throwback screen" as soon as Michigan lined up in ace.

Q: why is that play consistently run from under center? There doesn't seem to be anything about it that would require it to be.

I'M GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBellomy. Well… that wasn't very good. The most disturbing thing was probably one of Bellomy's few completions—a ten yard wheel-ish route run by Kerridge that picked up a first down and took just decades to get where it was going. Accuracy issues and a tendency to scream in horror during plays themselves (@ right by Upchurch) can be fixed with time. The arm strength deficiency probably can't.

That particular throw made me wonder why Michigan recruited the guy at all since it seems like the #1 thing on Borges's radar screen is the ability to laser it in just inside the sideline. Hurrah Process/unavoidable transition costs. Boy, is next year's offense going to be a wow experience or what I tell ya.

Offensive line. I'm not entirely sure how they did since once Bellomy came in it was open season and Michigan settled into a routine that exposed them to the same "eight of them, five of us" problems that Michigan experienced against MSU. Hoke was not impressed.

Ryan got edged. When Michigan gave up some yards it was often on the edge when various Nebraska players broke contain. The most spectacular incident was when Abdullah broke Cam Gordon's ankles…

8129476247_ce2fe97fa0_z[1]

Upchurch

…but it happened to Ryan a few times. When Nebraska was not bouncing it outside they were getting very little; excellent day from the interior DL and the LBs.

Roh beastmode. Also Roh, who took the opportunity presented by Abudullah being assigned to block him to destroy Martinez in a hilarious beastmode sack. If you've ever wondered why tailbacks always cut block guys on pass protection, that's why.

8129475117_d31b54529c_z[1]

Upchurch

Where is Rawls? I don't know what happened to Toussaint but at this point I'm not even irritated at Vincent Smith carries because it's not like Toussaint is consistently making yards past what the blocking gets him. Meanwhile, Rawls ends up watching, even when Michigan deep into Bellomy panic time and trying to run from under center.

I'm sure there's a reason they don't trust him yet; whatever it is it must be pretty bad. If you're down to running power from the I-form—and Michigan was—you might as well find out if your backup guy can break some tackles.

Defense: stepping towards elite. Nebraska entered the game averaging 512 yards and 42 points a game, leading the league in rushing yardage, pass efficiency, total yardage, and points per game. Michigan held the Cornhuskers to 326 yards and 23 points. Six of those points were field goal drives of two and five yards in length. Without turnovers, that's 17 points.

Relative to the quality of opponent, that's their best performance of the year by far and a major step away from criticisms that Michigan's defense hasn't actually stopped anyone. If the offense doesn't implode with Denard out those numbers are undoubtedly better, probably under 300 yards for the game for the Huskers.

Not relevant but worth it. This happened after Northwestern's win over Iowa:

314166_10151297179242269_1389408240_n[1]

Bo Cisek, walk-on DT and new internet legend

It speaks for itself except for the fact that guy's wearing #1.

8129502440_a5eef7ae40_z[1]

Upchurch

Michigan + Nebraska == refereeing atrocity. The Roundtree catch that was overturned was one of those plays where it's not clear either way because of the goofy fuzzy catch rule and should be left to stand, and then you've got that terrible terrible late hit call and some terrible terrible pass interference calls both ways. This combination of teams is not good for ref sanity.

Cats! So hey like if you follow me on twitter I'm sort of sorry for retweeting like 30 cats into your timeline except not really. People started sending them to me, so clearly there was a need. Here is another cat if you are not satiated.

Here

Inside The Boxscore:

* As bad as we played, the first downs were close, 20-18 in favor of Nebraska. Of course, 6 of our first downs came from Nebraska penalties.
* Nebraska's 20 1st downs translated to 326 total yards, we managed 188 total yards. At least we were efficient with our first downs. Why get 20 or 30 yards when you only need 10?
* We won the TOP, 31:36  to 28:24. Yippee. We did control the clock early, and I was expecting that to pay off in the fourth quarter when we should have been able to grind down their defense, but then, you know, Denard got hurt.

Also:

Edit: I forgot the main silver lining, BELLOMY CAN AUDIBLE!

Yeah, what was with that?

Yeoman scans Massey, comes back with Michigan having a 30% shot at winning the division now. Let's go Spartans.

Elsewhere

Blog stuff. Sap's decals hand out nothing to the offense. Nebraska fans are far too enthusiastic about snuffing Bellomy out. TTB. Maize and Go Blue. The M Block considers what happens next year at QB.

Hoover Street Rag:

Duct tape.  It's was held together with duct tape, hope, and rolling dice.  And now the questions will come for the coaching staff, although any questions to Greg Mattison will likely consist of "Why can't you guys score too?"  But we caught a glimpse of a future we will need to face all too soon, a future without Denard Robinson.  That future consisted of three field goals total output on offense.

MVictors:

You watched the second half perhaps with some hope that Spring Game Bellomy would emerge but save for a few late first downs it wasn’t really even close.  I swear I caught Jeremy Gallon staring off into space after the RS freshman was calling a pass play early in the second half and remember thinking, “Gallon knows this ain’t happening…”

1 gallon
That play was the horribly underthrown toss (yes, headed for Gallon!) which was easily picked off by Nebraska. 

Also, Denard's jacket was old school split M style now verboten.

1denardM[1]

Probably got it off Jon Falk's back.

Regular stuff. CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. AGGRESSIVE DECISION TO FALL ON HIS ELBOW GENTLY COSTS DENARD ROBINSON. RUSSELL BELLOMY MAY NOT HAVE DONE TOO WELL. ROBINSON'S EXIT REVEALS THAT MICHIGAN IS NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING AND SHOULD PROBABLY JUST DIERUSSELL BELLOMY WAS NEVER GETTING PULLED.

Stupid malevolence. Stupid offense.

Wait they're still saying this?

Three Bellomy interceptions rushed the defense back onto the field and into quick-change situations. Nebraska started drives in Michigan territory, including one on the four-yard line. There’s a good excuse.

“No,” Kovacs said. “We take pride in that. Our motto is: ‘Spot the ball.’ It doesn’t matter where the ball’s at, just put the ball on the field and we’re going to go play defense and not let them get any yards.”

That's a Rodriguez-era phrase that remains as mysterious today as it was when it was introduced and probably should have gone in the bonfire with GERG's playbooks and stuffed beavers and hair. I guess that's appropriate for the reappearance of the 2008 offense. If someone says "hold the rope" any time soon I'm going to hide under the bed.

wat

Michigan-Nebraska: The Sick Man of Europe

By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a

The red balloons floated upward, little harbingers of doom dotting the night sky. I didn't know what to make of it, but it could not have been anything else but that. Or, maybe they were just balloons.

By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a

HoldTheRope

HoldTheRope

/hides under bed

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 24th, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Formation notes: Michigan is doing a thing where they have a nickel package in and go with a five-man line and one guy behind it:

5-1-nickel

The guy on the line at the top of the screen is Avery, in man on the slot guy, so he is not, you know, a lineman. That is denoted 5-1 nickel. A full okie package would also put that LB on the LOS.

Michigan was mostly in the under. This is what happens when the under faced off with a 3-wide formation:

4-3-under-slot

Ryan flared out over the slot and Michigan usually walked one of their safeties down. I still called this a 4-3 under, FWIW.

Substitution notes: Secondary same as it always is until Taylor went out, whereupon Avery moved over to the second corner spot and Jarrod Wilson was the nickelback—in that situation they would move Gordon down over the slot and use Wilson as a safety. This happened once, IIRC.

Linebackers same as they usually are. No freshmen in this one, though, all Morgan/Demens/Ryan. Cam Gordon also was left out of the lineup.

There was some rotation on the line. Black and Pipkins saw some DT snaps, with Black getting both some regular duty and his usual nickel appearances. Heitzman saw a few snaps spotting Roh, and Clark and Beyer rotated regularly. Ojemudia did not appear.

The defense is pretty much settled at this point. The only spot at which there is any debate is WDE, which looks like a Beyer/Clark run/pass platoon until one of them (or Ojemudia) emerges. The other ten spots—eleven if you count nickelback—have rock-solid starters.

Row row.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Roh 1
W/ a slot receiver Ryan is flared out, not on the LOS as he would be against a TE. Roh(+2) beats a crackdown block from a WR who has motioned in and starts flowing down the line. Ryan also beats his block, though not as quickly or authoritatively as Roh. Taylor(+0.5) contains; Gordon(+0.5) beats a cut block and flows to the hole with Demens(+0.5), where those two, Roh, and Ryan gang-tackle.
O45 2 9 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 5
Ryan comes down late, showing blitz with one high behind it. MSU throws a dink hitch in front of Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), who makes contact before Burbridge can turn it upfield; Morgan comes over to prevent anyone from falling forward.
50 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
New LT moves early... probably should have been called on M as it looks like Roh entering the neutral zone causes it. Refs +1.
O45 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Morgan 5
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the LT and forces a throw. It's an out short of the sticks that Morgan(+1, cover +1, tackling +1) is out on; looks like they were trying to pick off Taylor and get the corner here but Morgan's all over the circle route from Burbridge. Morgan slings him to the ground with ease.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Flare Ryan 2
Maxwell has more time here (pressure -1) to find someone but dumps it down to Bell anyway. Coverage(+2) was good downfield as three MSU guys are blanketed. Ryan(+0.5 tackling +1) comes up to force Bell out of bounds after a minimal gain.
O35 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 2
Roh(+1) is left unblocked temporarily. He takes on a fullback inside, then disengages to pop the pulling G. Washington(+0.5) has split a double but that's more MSU derp than anything since both guys peel off to do other things, one of them bizarrely. No holes in the center. Ryan(+1) beats another WR block and pops up on the LOS outside of Roh; he tackles(+1).
O37 3 6 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel Pass 3 Wheel Demens Inc
Demens and Ryan flanking three down linemen with Morgan behind them. Morgan pokes his nose in as if he will blitz; Kovacs comes down; both back out. Michigan only sends the interior guys; both LBs are looking to deal with backs out of the backfield. Caper delays as if to pass block, then goes on a wheel that Demens(+1, cover +1) is able to cover, basically. Despite epic time (pressure -1, three man rush) no one pops open and Maxwell's attempt to hit the wheel is well long. Black(+0.5) did force a flush, FWIW. Everything other than the wheel was covered(+1), FWIW.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 6
They motion a TE and then run away from it. Roh(-2) gets blown out by a double. He lets one guy through and gets shoved as he tries to spin out of his mess to no avail. His attempt to rescue it makes things worse and prevents Washington(+0.5) closing down the hole and Demens(+0.5) popping the lead guard in said hole to matter. Roh's just all out of position and despite everyone else playing it right there's a gap Bell can hit for a few yards before the world converges.
O26 2 4 I-Form 4-3 under Penalty N/A Illegal sub N/A -5
lol cant count lol
O21 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Same quick hitch. Floyd(-0.5) is a yard or two off and would probably give up the first if Burbridge was more decisive after the catch; he delays and Floyd and Ryan combine to tackle for minimal YAC. No pressure opportunity, cover push.
O28 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 8
Ryan flies down from the edge to blitz, LT biffs, Ryan gets a free run at Maxwell's blind side (pressure +2); Floyd(-1, cover -1) is way off a meh route and gives up a first down completion. Easy.
O36 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 3
This is not aligned well from M as they are in an even front with Kovacs overhanging and this looks pretty good for State running at the weak side of the M line without a shift on. Morgan(+2) screams downhill, takes on a free releasing tackle, sheds, comes inside, forces the G outside, makes Bell stop in the hole, and then gets buried. Ryan has come from the slot and Campbell has come through a double thanks to the delay and Bell can only pick up a few. RPS -1; heroic effort from Morgan required to prevent something big. Kovacs(+0.5) helped cut the hole down.
O39 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even Run N/A Counter Beyer 2
Beyer(+1) beats a TE trying to kick him inside, absorbing the pulling G; Bell decides to go outside. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) fills well, making contact at the LOS and getting Bell to the ground with help from Morgan, who'd had a free flow and is just helping on the bounce so no soup for him. Campbell(-1) got blown up badly on the backside FWIW.
O41 3 5 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Michigan shows press with a single high safety, sends five. MSU tests it. Blitz picked up (pressure -1). Floyd(+1) is in decent coverage, but has given up a step or two. Throw is on the money, Burbridge juggles it, and I think Floyd takes the opportunity to whack it out but I can't quite tell with the torrent quality. A bit fortunate, results based charting, was there to futz with the guy's arm, kinda PBU.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Sack Ryan -10
Ryan(+3, pressure +3) beats Bell as he blitzes up the edge, delivering a thunder-sack. Washington(+1) and Roh(+1) had also beaten blockers and arrive to confirm the kill.
O15 2 20 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Gordon 45
Roh(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT around the corner and seems to be held. Maybe enough for a call, maybe not. It slows him down just enough for Maxwell to launch a deep middle of the field fly route as MSU just went three verts against Michigan's coverage. Gordon(-2, cover +1) is step for step, never locates the ball, gets recepted upon, tackles, sad.
M40 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Floyd 3
Inside zone fake to an end around to Burbridge. MSU trying to pull their C, who never gets there. Black(+0.5) may have helped that but mostly incompetence, I'd wager. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked as a result and fills behind the LOS at the numbers; Burbridge flings him to the ground and gets some yards before Morgan(+0.5) cleans up after a few.
M37 2 7 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 4
Kovacs shows man on a TE that goes in motion and is a straight up ninth guy in the box with Gordon also hanging out in there. M pinching down from both ends. Black pops out into a TE, which means a tackle releases but has no angle on Morgan. Heitzman(+0.5) is trying to spill the thing by getting into a lead blocker and jamming up the pulling G. He does an eh job but does delay the puller. Morgan(+0.5) gets into him at the line well. Demens(-1) got caught in the wash after not reading the play. Actually a surprise when this happens now. He's not there when Morgan funnels. Black(+0.5) has spun off a block and come back to help tackle even without the linebacker getting involved; Gordon and Morgan help.
M33 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Quick pitch Kovacs 3
M blitzing and looks like they might get caught but it's sound behind the rushers. Roh shoots inside the guy blocking him extremely fast; he slightly delays the quick trap block outside. Demens can flow free as a result; Kovacs is a free hitter but has to come around Taylor backing off trying to cover the outside WR. Those guys get there to tackle; Bell squeezes out the first down. Um. They can't prevent the conversion but usually three yard runs are a little positive. Half points for Roh and Kovacs.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3 4-3 even Run N/A Power Pipkins 8
Bell's longest run of the day. Pipkins(-2) momentarily doubled until he's shoved out of the hole and pancaked. Roh(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) actually do a good job to fight to the now-gaping hole and get in slowing arm-tackle attempts. Morgan is in tough after the G released immediately. He's held a bit—arms outside the shoulder pads by the OL—and can't really disengage to tackle. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) comes in since his WR slanted and kind of flings himself at Bell without using his arms or bringing his feet. Textbook tackling technique... IN HELL. M recovers thanks to the triple slowdown and tackles. Refs -0.5.
M22 2 2 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 1
Same bit with the other I form big on this drive, but to the other side. Roh(+1) drives outside, disengaging to pick off a lead blocker and getting his 2for1. Gordon(-1) blows that by continuing to head outside and not reacting to what's in front of him. Morgan(+2) is now the next guy inside. He bangs McDonald at the LOS and drives him back, then disengages to grab Bell with an arm... and Bell slows. Wow. I expected him to blow right through this but he's suddenly in molasses, allowing Campbell(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) to converge and set up third down.
M31 3 1 I-Form 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 0
Roh(+1) and Ryan(+1) shoot under their blocks on the snap, forcing a very slight cutback from Bell. Bell trips over Ryan's guy; Gordon(+1) and Demens(+1) are screaming down behind the slant and put Bell to the ground at the LOS. RPS +2, slant FTW. Inspired a Hokepoints.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(38), 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat over the top on this, but it's long. No pressure but this is max pro and the ball is out pretty quickly.
M44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 5 Fade Taylor Inc
Super aggressive look from with seven guys on the line; two back out into shorter zones. Taylor(+1, cover +1) forces the WR out of bounds as he tries to release upfield on a fade. Kovacs(+0.5) had shoved a RB back and come off underneath to force a throw (pressure +1), which is OOB and may just be a throwaway. Gordon(+0.5) was over the top.
M44 3 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark 7
Stunt gets Clark(+1, pressure +2) in basically clean as Roh(+1) takes the LG way upfield and there's no chance the tackle can do anything with Clark plunging inside. Maxwell has to dump it short of the sticks where Avery(+1, tackling +1) is there to force the punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Flare Ryan 3
A called dink pass as the RT just cuts Roh and the guys on the playside are blocking from the start. Ryan(+2) pops his blocker, comes around him really fast, and eventually forces Bell OOB for minimal yardage.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 6
M sends a blitz that looks like it gets picked up and another dink pass to the flats is fired. Burbridge again hesitates as he turns it up and makes a probable first down into third and short. Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), I guess.
O34 3 1 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Roh(+0.5) gets under the LT and gets some movement back but not quite enough to take out the pulling G. Ryan(+1) takes on a FB kickout block, chucks the guy past him, and tackles Bell a yard in the backfield. Demens popped the G at the LOS but tries to spin off of it and gives up just a tiny bit of ground, allowing Bell to eke out the first.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Floyd Inc
Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there to bang on the catch and separate Burbridge from the ball. Still could have caught it if the throw was a bit better, so no +2.
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +2) stunts around Black and comes through when one of the OL moves to Black and no one pops out on him. Ryan(+0.5) has beat the RT around the corner and threatens to sack, Maxwell must throw. He chucks it deep at Floyd(+2, cover +2), who is step for step with Burbridge and gets a PBU.
O35 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 7
Maxwell takes a hitch before the pressure can get there; Taylor(+0.5) escorts the guy OOB before the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, EO1H
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Morgan 5
Washington(-0.5) gives some ground, allowing Bell time to pick a gap backside or straight up the gut. Morgan(-1) gets cut to the ground by the FB. Campbell(+0.5) comes through his block and initiates the tackle once Bell picks; Morgan is there to grab legs; pile lurches forward.
O25 2 5 Ace twins 4-3 over Pass 4 WR screen Gordon 5
Michigan pretty well prepared for this as Gordon(-1, tackling -1) breaks down at the LOS after the catch. Unfortunately he overran it and the WR can move inside of him for a decent gain.
O30 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 6 Deep slant Kovacs 19
Michigan with a double A gap blitz of their own right into iso play action. Kovacs(-2, cover -2) sucks up an unreasonably large distance and never starts dropping back into a middle of the field robber zone that seems to be his assignment since Taylor lined up with outside leverage and seemed to expect interior help that was never there. RPS -1.
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Kovacs 14
Beyer doesn't see this coming and lets the edge guy go. Kovacs(-2) is not prepared, either, and gets blindsided by the WR cracking down. Worse, he gets shoved upfield and Burbridge can get a shove on Morgan when he tries to flow out. Taylor(-1) doesn't read this until way late and can't contain so there's an alley between him and Morgan. RPS –1.
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Taylor 12
Both backs stay in, three guys in the route. This is essentially a pick route, with Burbridge going straight upfield and Mumphery cutting out near the sticks and using Burbridge as a screen.. Taylor(-1, cover -1) got beat by that.
M25 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 2
Gordon rolls up to the LOS. M slants away from the play; Gordon(-1) gets cut by the H-back. His inability to stay up allows Bell to leap over that block away from all the people; Demens(+1) flowed behind the slant quickly, took on a TE trying to peel off onto him, kept his feet, and grabbed Bell at the LOS. Morgan(+1) is also flowing behind, cognizant of the slant, and gets from the backside to Bell, finishing the tackle(+1). Pipkins(+0.5) made it impossible for anyone to get out on Morgan, BTW.
M23 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Quick hit in front of Floyd(-0.5), who's a long way off this time. Throw is marginal and takes Burbridge off his feet, so no YAC.
M16 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
Campbell(-1) gets blown back by a double; Washington(-2) is turned and pancaked when he is engaged with the C and takes one shove from the RG. Morgan(+1) nails the two lead blockers in the backfield, which could lead to another stop but the DT dissolution provides a cutback lane for an easy conversion. Bell has to slow down to get around all this traffic, giving various folks time to converge.
M12 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Trickeration scramble Ryan 10
The reverse throwback play. Gordon(+1, cover +1, RPS +1) has the throwback to the QB covered; Kovacs is shooting directly at the WR trying to throw when he gets blocked... almost in the back. But not quite. His momentum's off now and the WR dodges him. Ryan(-2) has the next shot and overruns it badly; Roh was coming from the edge and got blocked past the play. Now he's all running in a chaotic broken field and gets down to the one.
M2 1 G Goal line Goal line Pass N/A PA TE corner Morgan 2
Morgan(-1, cover -1, RPS -1) sucks up on the play action, open guy, TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 6-7, 7 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+1) stands up McDonald; the play is going away from the H-back, who hits a backside gap Morgan is not in. Morgan gets a free flow as a result. Bell decides to run away from that; Washington sheds. That's a TFL but Bell bounces it outside. Roh(+0.5) disengages from the tackle to chase. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) charges up and chops Bell down at the ankles, preventing any YAC.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass N/A Screen Ryan 7
A pretty much normal screen with a flare fake to Bell and then Caper slipping out on the other side. Entire DL sucks up with no pursuit except Campbell. Roh(-0.5) and Washington(-0.5) go for the QB and eliminated themselves. Caper now has three blockers in a lot of space. One peels off for Campbell. A second goes for Demens. A third takes Ryan. Ryan(+2) does what he does, which is look like he's going outside and then redirect under a slower player to show up after he cuts upfield. He keeps leverage AND makes the tackle. Boom. Tackling +1; RPS -1. Took a badass play from Ryan to prevent this from being big.
O28 3 2 Shotgun twins TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Throwaway N/A Inc
Bell motions out for a trips TE look. They roll to the trips. Maxwell biffs here; Taylor(-1, cover -1)) bugs out deep on a guy who is covered deeper and leaves Bell open; Maxwell hesitates, starts rolling further outside the pocket, and chucks it OOB. Had Bell for the first. I guess Beyer(+0.5) gets some credit for holding the edge and getting up in his face.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Pipkins 3
Pipkins(-1) gets blown out by a double. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) are single blocked and both take their guys into the space vacated by Washington, closing off the hole before Bell can reach it. Bell stops. He can bounce to the outside because Roh crashed to cut off the hole and Pipkins got blown downfield so the linebackers can't flow. Demens again eats two OL.
M49 2 7 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 3
Always going to be a nothing pass as all the routes are hitches against man. Taylor(+1, cover +1) is there to tackle on a three yard catch. Ryan(+0.5) avoided a cut and harassed.
M46 3 4 Ace Nickel even Pass 4 TE Dig Black INT
Clark(+0.5) gets a little bit of pressure from the edge, causing Maxwell to step up in the pocket a bit. Black(+0.5, pressure +1) is now leaping at Maxwell as he tries to throw. Avery(+1, cover +1) is in the TE's back pocket here and has a play on almost any well-thrown ball. The ball sails to Tacopants, and eventually falls to Kovacs(+1), who makes the INT.
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 1
Campbell(+2) blasts McDonald back one on one and forces a Bell cutback. Washington has given ground but took two blockers, push. Demens(+0.5) is free and sees the cutback; he tackles in the hole.
O10 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Beyer 2
Gordon comes down late for a seventh man in the box as M goes man free on the back end. Beyer(+1) knows he's got help outside and fights inside a kickout. Roh(-1) got blown up by a double as a DT, but that'll happen. Beyer rakes the ball out; Morgan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) had constricted available space to likely make this a third and medium anyway. MSU somehow recovers.
O12 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Slant Taylor 10
Avery comes down of the slot and blitzes. Maxwell picks the outside slant correctly and hits it. Taylor(-1) came up hard but to the inside, apparently expecting short hitch #1000. RPS -1, Pressure -1... this got picked up.
O22 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Pass 4 Dumpoff Ryan Inc
Time is good for MSU; Campbell does come under a guy and start moving into the pocket with Clark also arriving (pressure -1) to make it not horrible. Coverage(+2) is excellent downfield, Maxwell checks down to a fullback who drops the ball. He was getting nowhere anyway as Ryan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) were about to crush this.
O22 2 10 I-Form 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Ryan(+1) looks to take on a kickout, pops upfield of it, and falls over as he beats the block, grabbing Bell's leg as he does so. Demens(+1) clubs the pulling G at the LOS and stand him up; Black(+0.5) comes from the backside to wrap up after Bell finally steps through the arm tackle attempt.
O23 3 9 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel press Pass 5 Slant Floyd Inc
Mumphery against Floyd on the slant; Floyd(+2, cover +1) does give up the inside a bit but rides him and is in position to make a play on the ball as it arrives. Meh throw; didn't really matter.
Drive Notes: FAKE punt, 9-7, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Burbridge has exactly one step on Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) and this throw would have to be perfect. It's long.
O49 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Taylor 12
M shows man. Taylor(-2, cover -1, tackling -1) takes a crappy angle to the slant and ends up upfield of the WR; his off balance tackle attempt is run through. That is baaaad. Gordon(+1) is there to clean up, thankfully, making a solid tackle that prevents anything big from going down.
M39 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Beyer 5
Beyer(-1) in at SDE and the difference between him and Roh is noticeable. He gets blown off the ball by a double; LBs blocked by the TE and pulling G as FB kicks Ryan. Demens funnels; Morgan takes on a block, folks tackle after five. Basically standard stuff once you've lost that double at the POA.
M34 2 5 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
At the other side of the line. Campbell(-0.5) gets creased a little bit. Heitzman(-1) runs straight upfield past the kickout so the gap is pretty big. LBs take on blockers as well as they can but Bell is just running up the backs of his OL and can push the pile.
M30 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Roh 2
M slants playside. Roh(+1) gets under the guard and drives in to the backside of the play, forcing a cutback behind him. Ryan(+0.5) is there in that gap to stall that initial cutback. Demens comes up to start pushing; Bell manages to find a tiny crease and pushes through it.
M28 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Kovacs 2
Quick pitch with a motioning TE blocking down as the tackle pulls around him Kovacs(+2) is initially hesitant as he follows the TE motion since he's in man on the guy, then realizes it's a run and attacks outside. WR cracks down on Demens. Ryan(-1) tries to shoot upfield of the pulling T and gets shoved past the play, the T is delayed but continues his pull, dangerous. Floyd(+1) is trying to contain against two guys now. He avoids a cut and spins outside; Kovacs(tackling +1) screams through the gap between the two OL that Floyd helped create by not going down to the cut and needing another blocker to deal with him; he's charging fast but manages to hang on and tackles; everyone's falling forward but whatever, great play.
M26 2 8 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 Corner Taylor 14 + 6 Pen
Maxwell has to throw as Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is shedding a blocker and about to hit him. Campbell(-1) is also coming from behind after dodging a blocker with agility(!) and would get a plus… if he didn't rough the passer after Maxwell dumps it. Alas. The corner route is to a blanketed receiver; Taylor's got the coverage. He wraps his arm around the guy and gets a penalty call, but he's also in great position. This throw has to be inch perfect and a great catch; it's both. Taylor(-1, cover +1) gets a minus for a legit PI call but he was in the right spot to make a play, which is what coverage attempts to measure. Taylor goes out on this play. Avery replaces him.
M6 1 G I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 PA TE delay Gordon Inc
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the RT and hits Maxwell either as or just after he throws. Beyer(+0.5) and Washington(+0.5) also surge up in the pocket, demanding a throw. That throw is a highly delayed pass to the TE that Gordon(+2, cover +2) is waiting for and PBUs.
M6 2 G Ace twins 4-4 under press Run N/A Power Demens 2
TE kicks Ryan; Beyer(+0.5) slants inside the tackle, which makes the tackle hesitate. Demens(+1) plugs the pulling G at the LOS; Morgan(+0.5) is there as Demens funnels to him, many people stop Bell's momentum.
M4 3 G I-Form Big Goal line Run N/A Inside zone Floyd 2
They motion a TE to Floyd's side and run at him. Floyd(+1) fights outside the block. Morgan(+1) is flowing hard at the play and Bell has no choice but to try and run up the back of the blocker; Floyd and Morgan tackle(+1). Kovacs(+1) shot a gap that made the outside the only possible place to go BTW.
Drive Notes: FG(19), 9-10, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Outside trap Campbell 0
MSU trying to get a quick trap block on Campbell(+2) by blocking down with the tackle, bringing the G around him, and hitting the bubble between Campbell and Roh. Campbell blows through the down block and gets into the trapper. Roh(+0.5) has contain. Gordon and Morgan are both in the hole against one blocker; Bell tries to cut back and hits the guy blocking Campbell. Beyer(+0.5) avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle.
O9 2 10 I-Form 4-4 under Pass 4 PA slant Floyd Inc
Two man route. Primary is a slant Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position on; Gordon(+1) is rolled up in the box but drops off in time to make a delayed throw a bad idea. WR tries to break back outside, stil covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the ball sails wide. Pressure -1, all day but two man route.
O9 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Screen Morgan 4
Morgan(+1) gets outside of the lone OL blocker already out and forces the play back into Ryan(+1) who showed blitz and backed out. Ryan tackles after a meh gain, punching the ball out, MSU gets it back. RPS +2, screen in to three man rush had no chance.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-10, 2 min 4th Q

I'm already bored with this.

What?

Not enough points. This isn't boringsball. It's football.

You can't be serious.

Whatever happened to games that ended with 70 points being scored?

You mean like last year's OSU game?

YEAH

You liked giving up 34 points to Jim Bollman.

Uh. CHART

I wasn't… oh fine.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 14.5 3.5 11.5 Field day against backup freshman tackle.
Campbell 5.5 3.5 2 Big play on final drive.
Washington 3.5 3 0.5 Mostly eating doubles on power.
Black 3.5 - 3.5 It lives!
Clark 1.5 - 1.5 Eh
Beyer 4.5 1 3.5 Beyer surges into tentative WDE lead on run heavy day.
Pipkins 0.5 3 -2.5 Blown up once.
Heitzman 0.5 1 -0.5 Eh.
Ojemudia - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 15 19 Little bit of dropoff from Illinois but not much.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 9 2 7 Remember the athleticism worries with him?
Demens 7.5 1 6.5 Four straight +++ games.
Ryan 17.5 3 14.5 I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Ross - - - DNP
Bolden - - - DNP
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 6 28 /gapes
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 12.5 5 7.5 Recovered from meh start to have damn fine day.
Avery 2 - 2 May have contributed to INT.
Taylor 4 7 -3 Missed a couple slants; MSU switched to targeting him late.
Kovacs 5 4 1 Did biff a robber zone, also had awesome Kovacsplay.
T. Gordon 7 5 2 Gave up the big one.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNC
TOTAL 30.5 21 9.5 As a whole, a pass.
Metrics
Pressure 16 6 10 Even the deep throws were like one two three chuck.
Coverage 22 8 14 Maxwell helped here with some indecision.
Tackling 12 4 75% Bell didn't plow anyone.
RPS 5 5 0 Meh.

This has been an interesting experience since every week I look at the numbers I've collected and then think to myself "oh crap those are too high" and then go check the boxscore and think "actually…"

This week's "Actually"…

  • Maxwell averaged a Sheridan-like 5.6 YPC and threw an INT.
  • MSU averaged 3.3 YPC once sacks and the fake punt are removed; Bell ran for 2.6 YPC.
  • The sole play longer than 20 yards was the bomb to Fowler on which Gordon was in position and neither found the ball nor played the man.
  • Michigan forced two fumbles that MSU was fortunate to recover.
  • MSU scored 10 points on 12 drives.

So, yeah. The DL numbers are down a bit except for Roh, who didn't do much on the scoresheet but as Ace mentioned on the podcast is becoming a guy running backs cut behind into their doom three times a game. He had a super-easy matchup against MSU's 6'3" backup LT and exploited that to his credit. He is really tough to seal.

I can't be the only guy who saw that first playcall and had flashbacks to last year. Well, Roh is a ton better at not getting put away by WRs (and BJ Cunningham isn't walking through that door) this year and he strings the play out until the cavalry rallies.

Ryan… par for the course. Also both ILBs have shed that early-season hesitation and the pesky freshmen.

As for JT Floyd…

AAAAAH JT FLOYD AAAAAH

Let's talk Floyd. He started off poorly, getting flung to the ground by Burbridge and beaten deep by him—on an incompletion—en route to being –3-ish, and then he ate some spinach. MSU kept going after him with slants

and deep stuff

and slants

and this isn't really going after him but this is a nice fill and tackle.

and then they started throwing at Raymon Taylor. Floyd went from targeted weak point to guy Michigan State is avoiding over the course of a quarter or so. It is really rare for a DB to rack up the kind of numbers Floyd does because the kind of guys capable of racking up a +12.5 to the positive at corner never get the opportunity because they don't get thrown at. You can only get there if the opposing offensive coordinator thinks you suck. Floyd proved otherwise against a hyped athlete.

Have the freshmen linebackers been vanquished for good?

Ah yup. As long as Morgan and Demens are playing like they are, it's wait until next year for those guys aside from a few drives a game against not Nebraska or Ohio State where Michigan tries to get them some experience. Last week it was Demens turning in the highlight reel stuff; this time Morgan led the way with a series of you're-done-now tackles. This one on Bell was the best:

Morgan is taking on a block and can only reach out for an arm tackle against LeVeon Bell going north and south, and Bell's momentum evaporates. The delay lets Michigan rally to the ball, sets up a third and short—against which Michigan is still deadly—and on the next play Roh and Ryan slant under to boot State off the field. A missed field goal attempt follows. In a game of inches like this one, you can point to Morgan being able to just about stop a 250-pound mooseback like Bell with one arm as the difference in the game.

Oh yeah:

image[1]

Awarded.

That hesitation this site complained about for about a year solid seems gone. Here's Morgan coming from the backside of the play to make a tackle near the LOS:

I'm not sure this happens a few weeks ago. For one, the line has kept the LBs clean. For two, both of the LBs are biasing their motion away from Michigan's DL slant, which is not something they were doing early in the year. Morgan seems to have a better sense of where the ball is going to end up based on the defensive call, and more faith that his defensive line will execute the slant well enough to make the cutback lanes he's hesitated checking for a distant possibility.

With apologies to Wisconsin and Penn State, we may have just seen the two best LB units in the league go head to head. You can make the case, at least, and that's good enough in terms of hot sprotstakes with no definable metric.

Have the last vapors of GERG been chased away?

I think so. Michigan gave up some yards on reverses this game, which okay. Those were 10-12 yard gains. What struck me, though, were three different attempts to fool Michigan into leaving the backside unprotected, none of which succeeded. On the first Kenny Demens was invited to scream into Maxwell's chest, passed, and turned what coulda mighta shoulda been an RPS –2 to play into an incompletion:

Demens ends up getting outrun at the end there and there is a window; he successfully turned that play from an argh-where-is-everybody 20-yard-gain into an extremely difficult downfield completion to a guy who is not a natural receiver.

The second was the trick play that eventually became a first and goal after Lippett ran places and did things; on that one Gordon hung back, taking away the throwback to the QB. Gordon did it again on the final attempt, when MSU released a TE way late and Gordon was there for the PBU. These guys know their assignments and trust that the rest of the defense will execute for them.

A couple years ago we were enduring wheelapalooza against Illinois; these days you get extremely scanty opportunities to hit something easy and pick up free yards. MSU set up one screen that Jake Ryan did his leverage-but-wait-there's-more-FREE-TACKLE thing on that would have been a nice gain and Kovacs sucked up on a post. Other than that, bupkis.

Crappy opponent offenses, sure. Michigan hasn't really blown anything since Air Force, and that was not on Kovacs but a scheme against the triple option that won't be relevant again. That's half a season. Against anyone, that's impressive—ask OSU, which gave up an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Purdue on Saturday.

Solid, solid, solid. Michigan is about as good as you can be on defense without having an elite pass rusher on the DL.

Let this also inform all judgments levied on the safety numbers. Yes, the individual numbers. Also look at the coverage—Michigan has not been this consistently good at that metric since I started doing this.

We didn't get any pressure. Worry?

I actually thought Michigan did a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback. MSU had a lot of short stuff; their long stuff was as quickly developing as it can be since it was all throwing it to Burbridge as he ran straight downfield. On a number of those attempts, Maxwell was about to get hit. So it wasn't as dire as the single sack implied.

This is never going to be great until Michigan's getting better production out of its WDE spot, but Ryan and Roh coming off the same edge is decent. If you've got a worry, this is it; scanning the teams left on the schedule doesn't reveal a lot of teams that like to just drop back and bomb it deep.

Heroes?

Roh, Ryan, Floyd, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two ILBs.

Goats?

For a second week: GTFO. You could maybe pick on Taylor but he is a part of that coverage number, so no.

What does it mean for Nebraska and beyond?

Nebraska will be Michigan's stiffest test since Alabama. They're running the ball all over the place and use a wide panoply of different looks that will put that hesitation lack under the microscope. Don't be fooled by the close game against Northwestern, which was the product of an avalanche of special teams miscues. They've put up over 400 yards on Wisconsin and OSU and Taylor Martinez is much improved as a passer—grumble grumble aging makes people better not worse? They will be a stiff test even if Burkhead is out.

I don't really know what to expect. No one has held Nebraska under 29, and that's a tough number to see Michigan's offense exceeding against a team with one of those pulse things these days unless Michigan takes the O out of the garage some, but that's another post.

Michigan will see its entire front seven extensively tested by the run game and will need to win one on one matchups outside if they're going to make Kovacs the tiny linebacker who was so effective last year. I'm 50/50 on whether that will happen—Nebraska's WRs are one of the hidden secrets in the conference and they're coming off a great game.

Touch and go, touch and go. I think Michigan will hold them to a season low in yards and points since they just don't give up anything big on the ground, like, ever—but if they keep Nebraska under 20 that will be a wow experience.