Hokepoints: Denard Under Center

Hokepoints: Denard Under Center Comment Count

Seth September 18th, 2012 at 8:04 AM

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There was once a dream that was called Denard Robinson: Accurate Passer. You could only whisper it; anything more than a whisper and it would vanish…it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the fall.

Last Saturday while watching Andrew Maxwell derf another derpity doo, I half-rhetorically asked the assembled a room full of Spartan fans who's the best passing quarterback in our conference this year. Answers, in order of appearance:

  1. "CHHIIIRP CHIRRRP" –insects with that leg-rubbing noise
  2. "Howl" –wolf in the distance
  3. "How about that little dude on Northwestern?" – a Sparty
  4. "No he graduated." –another Sparty
  5. "Shit. Really?" –first Sparty

After three weeks the stats (min=25 attempts) say it's Denard and ol' Tyranno-arm:

Rk Player Team Att Cmp Yds Yds/Att Ys/Gm TDs INTs Rating
1 Denard Robinson Mich 75 41 699 9.3 233.0 6 4 146.3
2 Taylor Martinez Neb 79 56 713 9.0 237.7 7 1 170.7
3 MarQueis Gray Minn 44 26 398 9.0 132.7 5   169.2
4 Reilly O'Toole Illini 48 38 394 8.2 131.3 6 2 177.3
5 Braxton Miller OSU 78 48 611 7.8 203.7 7 2 149.1
6 Robert Marve Pur 56 41 414 7.4 207.0 4   156.7
7 Tre Roberson Ind 50 33 368 7.4 184.0 2   139.8
8 Cameron Coffman Ind 57 40 410 7.2 205.0 3   146.4
9 Matt McGloin PSU 104 59 688 6.6 229.3 8 1 133.5
10 Danny O'Brien Wis 71 44 454 6.4 151.3 3 1 125.5
11 Trevor Siemian NW 47 32 292 6.2 97.3 1 0 126.7
12 Andrew Maxwell MSU 114 65 710 6.2 236.7 2 3 109.3
13 James Vandenberg Iowa 103 59 593 5.8 197.7 0 2 101.8
14 Kain Colter NW 56 37 321 5.7 107.0 2 0 124.9
15 Caleb TerBush Pur 43 24 237 5.5 118.5 3   123.0

His interceptions are dragging down the passer rating, but half are explained by an accurate throw Vincent Smith deflected, and Roundtree getting shoved into last Tuesday by a Bama cornerback. It's just three games in, and the Big Ten competition this year isn't exactly the NFC South, but raise your hand if four weeks ago you thought there might be even a flimsy statistical case for saying "Denard is the best passer in the Big Ten right now."

In last week's Mailbag article Brian remarked upon a Mike Rothstein study that claims Denard has been way more accurate under center than from the shotgun. The Power Rank made a chart:


We've been over his higher efficiency as a runner from the gun ad nauseum, and charted his regression last year as of December, but is he really a better passer when dropping back? Brian's suggested explanations were Pressure, Situation, or Luck (ie sample size). Let's dig into the UFR database and see if there's an answer.



Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Air Force

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Air Force Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Formation notes: The Air Force defense is the opposite of their offense when it comes to formations. They run their 3-4 on virtually every play. They started off in some unusual (for them, anyway) formations, got burned for 79 yards on the second, and then decided to do this every play:


That may look like a four-man line but the line is directly over the C and tackles; the standup end is a linebacker, with AF's other linebacker flared out over the opposite hash.

For Michigan this is "double stacks," BTW.


I did not call this out specifically—it's just shotgun twins twin TE but note the inversion of the line TE—Kwiatkowski—and Funchess, who is in an H-back spot inside of him. Michigan used this mostly to get Funchess on wheel routes.

Substitution notes: A mishmash at WR with Gardner, Gallon, and Roundtree all seeing about the same number of snaps. Jackson and Jerald Robinson were next in line. Funchess, Kwiatkowski, and Williams split a good number of TE snaps.

Toussaint was the only tailback all game save for a few Smith snaps; the line was all starters.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun triple stack 1 0 4 Nickel under Run QB counter Robinson 1
Looks like read option in the backfield; Lewan pulls around into the hole. Omameh(-2) lets a DT go straight upfield into the Lewan pull; Lewan delays to prevent a TFL and Denard has to deal with that unblocked LB in the hole. RUN-: Omameh(2)
M21 2 9 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Okie Run QB lead draw Robinson 79
AF goes with a six man front and one MLB behind it with a cover two shell in the secondary. They send five, backing two out, those two are tasked with covering the receivers. They're looking at a bubble screen fake, and bug out. They're gone. Michigan blocks the four frontside guys, with Mealer(+1) and Barnum(+1) getting a scoop on the DT that gets Mealer(+1) to the second level, where he pancakes a safety. Gardner walls off a corner, and then Robinson(+3) is one on one with the last guy. You know how that ends. Ermagerd. RPS +3. This was easy, really.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Mealer(2), Barnum RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0. 8 min 1st Q. By the time M gets the ball back plays are 24-2 AF.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson -1
This is either a run blitz or a really great read; one AF MLB shoots forward at the snap, getting past Mealer(-1) before he can come off a combo block. Maybe Molk makes this play, but it's not awful to not be able to do it. The DT Mealer and Omameh(-1) are trying to combo is shooting way left at the snap, so this is a blitz, I bet. Omameh totally loses the guy. Hopkins(-2) runs right by the blitzer, and this gets Denard buried in the backfield. RPS -1. RUN-: Omameh, Mealer, Hopkins(2)
M26 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA TE seam Funchess 21
Why, hello. LBs suck up on run fake, Funchess wide open, nailed, caught, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
M47 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 1
AF tips a blitz like whoah and Michigan does not check. They send a corner and LB, slanting the line away from that blitz. Barnum(-2) gets confused and lets a DT through untouched. This is not good. Toussaint dances through it for a yard or two. Omameh(-1) also did not pick up the blitz and let that LB through clean. Bubble? Open. RPS –1, gotta have a check. RUN-: Barnum(2), Omameh(1)
M48 2 9 Shotgun double stack 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA drag Gallon 8
Gallon comes in motion as the ball is snapped; M fakes the zone and flips it out to him in space. Same play that he got open on against Alabama but Denard overthrew it. This one is on the money. Gallon gets the edge on the slowish AF defense and nears the first down. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O44 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 7
AF running another blitz up the middle with stunting action. Michigan's pulling outside of a TE and Omameh(+1) plugs a blitzer, ending that backside threat. On the playside, Kwiatkowski(+1) seals the playside end, Toussaint(+0.5) kicks the OLB (easy), and Barnum(+0.5) pulls through to get an OK second-level block. Robinson is about to test those safeties again when a linebacker who was originally blitzing to the backside recovers for the ankle tackle. Nice recovery by that guy. RPS +1; blitz put AF in a bad spot.
RUN+: Omameh, Barnum(0.5), Hopkins(0.5), Kwiatkowski RUN-:
O37 1 10 Shotgun triple stack TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB counter Robinson 7
Run to the other side with Schofield pulling. AF blitzes right in the intended gap; Schofield(+1) slows up to wall the guy off… guy goes after Toussaint. If Schofield keeps going and bips a safety... oh well. Denard now has a big hole thanks to a big kickout from Lewan(+1) and Barnum walling off a LB who bit on Toussaint. S fills well, Denard tries to go around him and is chopped down by pursuit.
O30 2 3 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Toussaint 5
Mansome block from Hopkins(+2) who takes a blitzing LB, stands him up, and thrusts him out of the hole. Mealer(+1) adjusted well to a moving LB and escorted him out of the way; Omameh(+1) put a potentially problematic DT on the ground. Safety fill is rapid since he was moving forward on the snap as AF went to an eight man front.
RUN+: Hopkins(2), Mealer, Omameh RUN-:
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint -1
This is just an old Rodriguez inside zone and that it doesn't work is kind of on three people. One: Denard. End isn't crashing but a keep is attractive here. Two: Mealer(-1), who can't get much of a block on a playside LB. Three: Toussaint(-2), who refuses to cut it up and ruins excellent blocks from Barnum(+1) and Lewan(+1) on the backside. Maybe the end shuts this down, but probably not for zero yards. Also... we could use some belly here. FWIW, yeah, Omameh and Schofield are in the backfield but this is essentially fine on zone blocking. That's where they went. Toussaint needs to cut.
RUN+: Lewan, Barnum RUN-: Mealer, Toussaint(2)
O26 2 11 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson -8
AF tips a safety blitz, no checks on either side. Michigan runs directly into it. Lewan is expecting to kick a DE who screams inside of him; nothing he can do. Denard runs around and goes down. RPS -3. This was dead. Moar checks. This was so tipped.
O34 3 19 Shotgun double stack 1 0 4 Dime Pass Rollout out Gallon Inc
I think. This is a rollout flood route on which AF blitzes and still has everybody blanketed. Denard eventually throws it at a double-covered Gallon, getting it batted near the LOS. Given the situation I don't really mind the attempt—it's a crappy punt in a world of crappy punts if it gets picked off. He had Roundtree if he wanted to throw across his body... does he? I don't know. He's there for a reason, I guess. I'm just going to punt and BA this. (BA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, 13 min 2nd Q. Gallon costs M 25 yards by not catching a punt before the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun triple stack TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 6
AF blitzes right up the intended gap; Toussaint(+1) takes that guy out of the play. Mealer(+0.5) does an okay job with the NT; Barnum(+0.5) gets a linebacker he released directly into. Robinson(+0.5) gets a half for moving past the blocks in an optimal way.
M18 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone stretch Toussaint 0
AF stunts, sending the playside DT right into Mealer. He goes low, submarining him and taking out Barnum. Not sure what Mealer can do about that. Omameh and Schofield now have to block guys inside of them that are at angles they are not expecting; they don't do this well. Even if they do, the peel-off leaves an unblocked guy waiting to fill. Williams(-1) did get owned on the edge and that didn't help. Rest of it seems RPS -2. Bubble open, BTW.
M18 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Out Jackson 8
Stacked to the boundary. Bubble yawningly open. Michigan does it the slightly harder way by sending Jackson on an option route at about six yards. He breaks open, but not by much, and Denard shoots it in there like he's a WCO QB. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Wheel Funchess 24
Play action fake to Smith sucks up the OLB, who dodges Funchess like he's blocking. He and Gallon break deep against one safety, who takes the inside. Funchess is open, Denard sees it and hits him. Big paws man. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O45 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run Broken play Robinson 2
Denard(-1) bobbles the snap. I was going to call this an iso since the play worked out like that but after watching it a couple times, Smith is definitely expecting a mesh point and just improvises after he figures out it's not coming. This is a half-step from breaking big, in fact, but a blitz from the OLB gets Denard around the legs just as he's about to burst. Barnum(+1) and Omameh(+1) paved the way.
RUN+: Omameh, Barnum RUN-: Robinson
O43 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 1
This one is on the right side of the line as AF slants to get it to the backside. Schofield(-2) is supposed to latch on to that slant and push him past where he's trying to go; instead he just whiffs and dude makes contact in the backfield. This is really all Schofield; Barnum is looking for someone to block in his zone and this is not a tough thing to do. All Schofield has to do is push the guy and Toussaint has a nice lane on the cutback he did find. RUN-: Schofield(2)
O42 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Gardner 12
AF brings the heat. Both Mealer (-1) and Omameh(-1) get blown by, with Omameh's being more relevant. Denard has a guy in his face, and where previously he may have backfooted something turrible this time he shoots one out to Gardner in rhythm. It's a little upfield, but that's fine. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, Mealer -1, Omameh -1)
O30 1 10 Ace Big 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Pass PA TE corner Funchess 30
PA gets Funchess one on one with a safety and Denard all day. Funchess loses the S because he's thinking waggle, and Denard fires it. It's a little short, but the S is still running as Funchess finds the ball, so it's not really very off. Much better this than missing. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +3). FUNCHESSSSSSS
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-3, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 7
Looks like Toussaint(-1) blows an assignment and heads into the wrong gap. He ends up running into Omameh near the LOS; unblocked MLB. Robinson(+1) bounces it and gets the edge thanks to Schofield(+1) driving his guy a couple yards off the LOS. Interior blocking looked good, FWIW
RUN+: Robinson, Schofield RUN-: Toussaint
M45 2 3 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
AF walks down a safety and blitzes him right into this. They tipped this too, but no checks never checks. RPS -2.
M45 3 3 Shotgun double stack 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Dumpoff Smith Int
Pass is a little high and hard for the 5'6" Smith, bouncing off his hands and getting intercepted. Denard had all the room in the world to run, but this was also wide open for a first down. (MA, 2, protection 1/1) On replay I don't even know if this is MA. Very catchable.
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-3, 5 min 2nd Q. Next drive starts with 1:16 in the half and two TOs.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 10
AF shows blitz and backs out of it. Funchess's guy is backing out at the snap. Funchess ends up chasing him a bit, then decides to release downfield. Denard(+1) pulls since there's no one containing him and shoots up in the gap for a first down. Funchess probably should have clocked a linebacker instead of going for the safety, but oh well. RPS +1.
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Rollout hitch Roundtree 5
A crappy throw takes Roundtree off his feet, robbing him of YAC and keeping the clock running. Accurate and this is 8-10 and a stopped clock. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
M34 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass In Gardner 5
Eight men in coverage; Denard can't find anything except a short one to Gardner at the sticks. Accurate, at least. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Deep hitch Gardner 19
Three man rush again; Denard surveys and finds Gardner open between levels in the zone, zips it for a first down. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1). They burn nine seconds before the next snap.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Post Dileo Inc
AF sends seven; picked up. Denard stares down Dileo and does not see Gardner coming open beneath him. He forces it into three guys. No es bueno. (BR, 0, protection 3/3)
O42 2 10 N/A       N/A Penalty Illegal substitution -- -5
O47 2 15 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Post Jackson Inc
I'm not charting this given the situation. May as well force it. Do think Gallon was a better option, but whatever. (NC, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: EOH, 14-10.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 58
AF sends a blitzer off the corner. Toussaint(+1) deals with him. Omameh has to get around that issue and does. Robinson slows up for him. Now both are on the edge with a linebacker. Omameh(+1) blows him up. Robinson cuts inside that. Lewan(+2) has donkeyed a slanting DL all the way to Schofield(!), so there's a gap. Mealer(+1) sealed away another DT. Williams and Barnum are doubling a linebacker. Denard(+2) has a big cutback lane. Dileo(+1) cracks down on the other OLB and gets a bonus block on a DB who wasn't making the play anyway. Gardner's stalk-blocking the corner to that side; Denard(+1) jukes that guy inside out and seeya. No shoes necessary.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-10, 14 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 1
M pulls Omameh and Schofield around two tight ends to the boundary. AF is stunting things; Williams(+1) does a good job to shove the playside DE past everything. Another DL has stunted himself out of the play, and Lewan(+1) gets the third despite the stunting. Michigan crushes the second level, and the only thing that can prevent Robinson from getting five or six yards is Robinson(-2) not cutting upfield and instead jogging out of bounds.
RUN+: Lewan, Williams RUN-: Robinson(2)
M36 2 9 Shotgun triple stack TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 10
AF tips that blitz again, and this time it seems like we do get a check. Robinson fakes a WR screen to Gallon and takes off. Just like his opening run, the two linebackers haul for WRs on the outside, so if Denard can get past the line he will get yards. Pump fake gets one for free; Lewan(+1) stuffs the other blitzer and there's an avenue outside. No gap in the middle, unfortunately, or this could have been a massive gain. As it is it's an easy first down. Denard(+1) for speed and things. RPS +1.
RUN+: Robinson, Lewan RUN-:
M46 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 5
Barnum(+1) pulls and gets there. He takes on a run-blitzing LB at the LOS and wins. Toussaint(+1) kicks the OLB. No chance on the safety because Barnum got used at the LOS but he's got to be cautious and it's a decent gain.
RUN+: Toussaint, Barnum, Williams RUN-:
O49 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Slant J. Robinson 10
That's not Milliner. The Other Robinson gets inside position and uses his body to wall off the DB; Denard nails him. Body-caught, but results-based charting. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
O39 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Wheel Funchess 26
TEs both in two point stances. Michigan runs a Toussaint fake and then goes pass, with Funchess running a wheel down the sideline. Man coverage, AF linebacker tries a chuck or something, and that's over. Denard floats a perfect touch pass over the LB. Funchess bobbles it but does bring it in. Great throw maximized YAC. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 6
This time the other way. Kwiatkowski(+1) seals the DE; Lewan(+1) shoves a slanting DT and then gets a second level block. LB spins off it but is significantly delayed. Robinson(-0.5) gets spooked by that fellow and runs a little outside where he should, giving up some yards when a guy Dileo cut decently can make a tackle from his knees.
O7 2 4 Ace Big 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Pass Waggle out Gardner 7
Play action fools the entire AF secondary; easy pitch and catch for Denard and Gardner. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-17, 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M1 1 10 I-form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
Ugh, just throw the damn ball to Gallon and see if this AF corner's eight-yard cushion is something he can make up. That's a guaranteed five yards. Instead, M runs a power. Williams(-1) loses a DE to the inside. Omameh(-1) does not get there, and that's all she wrote. RPS -1.
M2 2 9 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Gardner Inc
Extremely token run fake and max pro. Robinson fires a hitch, accurate but maybe a tiny bit late. Gardner gets his hands on it but ends up dropping it as the CB rakes it out. Could be route here, as separation was not gained. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)
M2 3 9 Shotgun double stack 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Out Jackson Inc
Zone blitz gets two ILBs in Robinson's face, so he flings a dart to Jeremy Jackson that he bobbles and then the OLB backing out knocks down. Dileo had separation and could have turned up for the first; Jackson is just slow. In any case, this was probably a yard or two short of the first down unless Jackson did some mansome OLB dragging after the catch. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, team)
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-17, EO3Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 6
Omameh's back to pulling really badly, as he ends up two yards in the backfield at one point and Robinson has to slow up for him. He does plug the linebacker that shows, I guess. Tentative +1. Lewan(+1) and Williams(+1) club the playside DE with Williams coming out on a LB. Barnum(+0.5) gets the easy NT block; Toussaint(+0.5) kicks the DE, and Denard only has a safety to deal with.
M40 2 4 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA seam Dileo Inc
Robinson gets instant pressure from the edge as a blitz comes and has to dump it immediately. Dileo is covered by one of those linebackers coming out from the center of the field and Denard chucks it high of everyone anyway. I'm filing this PR. I don't mind this from Denard. (PR, 0, protection 0/1, team, RPS -1).
M40 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Out Jackson 9
Three-step rhythm throw (except this is a shotgun). This is west-coasty. It's Purdue-y. It's a short out to Jackson for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1). Jackson gets some bullish YAC, too.
M49 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA post Roundtree Inc
Toussaint gets a great cut block on a blitzing OLB that gives Denard time. He pumps, indecisive, and then he's got to go. He runs up in the pocket and as he's getting tackled by that OLB unloads 50 yards downfield to Roundtree, who is open by a step; pass is way long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 7
AF sends a double A gap blitz, backing off an OLB. Barnum(+1) catches one LB and escorts him out of the hole. Toussaint(+1) kicks the other one. Crease. Williams(+1) gets a good downfield block on that OLB who backed out. Robinson is one on one with a safety and ends up trying to cut behind Williams; Safety chops him down by the ankles.
O44 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 11
DE slanting inside on the playside makes Omameh move around him, which slows him. Denard slows, too. By the time he's finished doing that, Williams(+1) has shoved that DE all the way past the back of the line, Schofield(+1) has blown the playside DE past Barnum's guy, and a big cutback lane opens that Robinson(+2) takes. Dileo(+1) cuts off a linebacker and bang secondary.
O33 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Waggle corner Gardner 20
Toussaint again gets a nice cut block on the OLB coming hard on the edge. Denard is now in plenty of space and can leisurely pick out Gardner breaking open 20 yards downfield. Hit in the numbers, easy catch, big gain. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O13 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Toussaint -1
S nominally covering the slot comes on a Kovacs blitz and nails Toussaint for no gain. RPS -2. No blocking matters here.
O14 2 11 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Delayed slant Gardner Inc
Gardner hitches up at five yards and then extends his route when a LB comes up to cover, and Denard goes for him. He's about to have a completion nearing the sticks when an DL who's not even bothering to rush gets a hand up at the LOS and bats it down. Foiled again! RPS +1, great little route. (BA, 0, protection 2/2)
O14 3 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Dumpoff Toussaint Inc
Air Force sends six. Picked up but Robinson is spooked and dumps it to Toussaint, low and tough. Not caught, not getting the first down even if caught. RUN THE BALL DENARRRRD. Taking off here has possibilities, man. (IN, 1, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: FG(31), 31-25, 8 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 2
Playside LB splits Toussaint and Barnum, getting upfield of Barnum and forcing Denard inside away from blocking. This gives AF a free hitter, who tackles Robinson in the hole. Think Toussaint(-1) has to go at this guy and cut him so Barnum can come around. Stunt made the blocking down very easy FWIW.
M45 2 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Williams(-1) gets shoved back and loses his guy, which picks off Brink and gives Brink's guy an avenue to flow. Toussaint(-1) never actually gets a hat on the contain guy, and these folks combine on Robinson for a short gain.
RUN+: Schofield RUN-: Toussaint, Williams
M47 3 6 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout hitch Gardner Inc
Wide open as the smash route takes the corner to that side deep. Robinson finds it and leaves it short, but catchable. Gardner cant' bring it in. (MA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-25, 2 min 4th Q. Michigan's final snaps are kneels.

I like this not playing Alabama thing.

Yeah, it's pretty cool.

My favorite bits are Denard running until your brain melts.

Me too!

My second favorite bits are when Denard throws the receivers are not coated in a blood-red harbinger of doom.

I feel you.

I'm even feeling pretty good about this chart you're going to hit me with.

Do… you want to? You know, do it? The thing where I say—


—chart and you interrupt me to say—


--chart. The love is back!

[Hennechart legend is updated.]

2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3 - - 3(1) 1 71%
Air Force 1 14 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 75%

Boom. Denard's misses:

  • Dumpoff to Smith that's a little high and hard marked MA. This was the INT.
  • Two iffy throws on sideline stop routes, one of which takes Roundtree off his feet inbounds on Michigan's hurry-up drive at the end of the first half, one of which forces Gardner to try and dig out a low throw on Michigan's final real snap. Both MAs.
  • Fifty-yard bomb to Roundtree thrown while on the move and getting tackled. IN, but not a big deal.
  • Dumpoff to Toussaint as he's getting pressure on third and eleven. IN.

There was also a crappy read right at the end of the first half. That's it. Denard Robinson killed Tacopants tag: deployed.

I mean, I'm just like you guys. Wheels on the money, corner routes on the money, even one of those dinky Purdue routes in traffic squeezed in there. He stood in against pressure and shot darts out to his WRs. QBs make mistakes. There are those little frustrating moments when the guy won't just RUNNNNNNN and you're going HNNNNNNGGGG because look at all that space on third and three. But if you're trying to tell me this is not a significant leap forward, you crazy.

This is pretty.


I am so Funchized right now you guys.

you're what

I am Funchized to the max.

that's not even a thing

Oh, man, this is great stuff.

Fine, fine, I am so Funchized.

That's not even a thing.

I clipped all four of his catches not because I set out to do so but just because it happened. Each was a big gain, each was virtually unstoppable for safety or linebacker, and all but one made you think that Funchess was going to have awesome hands as he plucked the ball out of the air with the twelve-inch skillets attached to his wrists. Was the seam a little behind him? Maybe if it's Dileo the throw forces a spin and a tough catch. Funchess just reaches out for it. Was the touchdown a little short?

Maybe if we're talking about Martavious Odoms or Jeremy Gallon going for that. In Funchess's case, feed the man up high.

Aigh Toussaint?

Let's do another variety of chart first.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 8 - 8 Blew some guys off the ball; locked out edge guys.
Barnum 6.5 2 4.5 Solid.
Mealer 4.5 2 2.5 Seems like a decent player.
Omameh 5 5 0 Pulling getting bad again; got blown by a couple times.
Schofield 3 2 1 Not tested that much.
Kwiatkowski 2 - 2 Did okay.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 5 3 2 Very blocky.
Funchess - - - Blocking is for saps.
TOTAL 34 14 71% What they needed to do against Air Force.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 11.5 3.5 8 XOXOXO
Bellomy - - -  
Toussaint 5 5 0 Pretty good day blocking on rollouts FWIW.
Rawls - - - DNP
Smith - - - DNR
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins 2 2 2 Denard running meant not much Hopkins.
Kerridge - - - DNP
TOTAL 18.5 10.5 8 fast
Player + - T Notes
Gardner - - -  
Roundtree - - -  
Gallon - - -  
Jackson - - -  
Dileo 1 - 1 --
J. Robinson - - -  
Darboh - - - --
TOTAL 1 - 1 Eh.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 33 5 87% Team –3, Mealer –1, Omameh –1.
RPS 17 13 +4 A lot of RPSes.

Those line numbers have extremely low amplitude because Michigan only got off 28 rushes—Air Force had 71!—and the high RPS numbers mean that I attributed a lot of stuff to play design/response instead of blocking. Like, on the 79-yarder there was only one second level player who needed thumping. That means fewer treats to pass out to the OL and more for Borges. Similarly, getting whacked in the backfield by an unblocked blitzer is not on the OL.

When the line did get called upon, they did well. Mostly.

Okay. Now: Aigh Toussaint?

I'm not sure it was much about Toussaint. He missed one cut pretty badly. Other than that, I'm not sure what he was supposed to do:

Air Force tipped blitzes a lot and Michigan didn't check out of their play but once or twice (and I didn't actually clip the check). Not sure if that's on Denard or Borges, but a lot of the time when Toussaint was getting the ball he was dodging unblocked guys in the backfield. Lewan said this was "embarrassing" OL performance; I do think they had some problems but I think it was mostly Toussaint getting the wrong chamber in Air Force blitz/slant roulette.

Michigan's success in the air was the flipside of that business. Michigan's final TD was easy easy because even Air Force's corners freak out about run.

But the right side of the offensive line is a problem?

I'm not sure Schofield had enough relevant reps in this game to make any sort of declaration. Omameh was pretty bad, though. I was probably too kind when gave him a +1 on some of his pulls. He's back to that arcing thing where he ends up running eight yards when he can run five. And too often yesterday did he let slanting guys right by. Here's the first play:

Have to get a shove on that guy even if he hops past you. Schofield had a similar error on a zone where Air Force slanted hard playside and the only thing preventing Toussaint's good-idea backside cut from working was the whiff. I don't see stuff like that from Lewan.

Robinson only had 4.5 YPC if you take out the big touchdowns, though.

Thanks, Danny Kanell. The way Air Force was playing left them exposed to monster plays. The 79-yarder saw a blitz and both LBs bugging out into a potential bubble screen:

the youtube url for this play has "Wee" in it

There is no one on the second level, period. Air Force did a lot of stunting and slanting  blitzing in order to make up for their size deficiencies, and when it worked it got Michigan in second and long. The long runs were a cost they were hoping not to pay. You can't just take them out and expect to say anything meaningful.


Yo I got your magic midget right here.

He'll get some carries Saturday.

Did you forget something?

Right, receivers:

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Gardner 1 0/1 0/1 5/5   5 0/3 1/2 5/5
Roundtree 1   1/1     2 0/1 1/1 2/2
Gallon 1     1/1   2 0/1 2/3 2/2
J. Robinson       1/1   1     1/1
Dileo 1         1 1/1    
Jackson 1     2/3         3/4
Kwiatkowski                 1/1
Funchess       4/4         4/4
Toussaint     0/1         0/1  
Smith     0/1         0/1 2/2

Notice the large drop in 0s. Obviously. The only routine drop was a Jackson out when Michigan was backed up on the goal line. Wouldn't have gotten the first down but would at least have gotten Michigan away from the goal line and give Hagerup an opportunity to boom one. Smith's 0/1 was of course painful.


Denard! Also Funchess.


Omameh had a rough day on the OL.

What does it mean for UMass and the future?

UMass will be a walkover.

As for the future, if Denard puts up the same sort of accuracy against UMass that ND game will be monstrous for the fan excitement level. Put up a bunch of completions against the Irish and keep that streak going and it's that MSU game for the Roses. Revert and we're all feeling pretty crappy about ourselves.

Toussaint gets an INC; the right side of the line is the biggest worry now, along with the tight ends holding up against bigger teams.

But, hey, Funchess and a rapidly developing Gardner combine with Denard's running to pose a tricky question for upcoming defenses. The passing just has to be for real.


Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Alabama

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Alabama Comment Count

Brian September 5th, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Formation notes: Just the usual array of stuff. Mostly shotgun, etc.:


Nothing really jumped out.


Substitution notes: OL was steady until Lewan went out with a thankfully minor injury, at which point it went from Lewan-Barnum-Mealer-Omameh-Schofield to Schofield-Barnum-Mealer-Burzynski-Omameh. At TE, Moore went out early and it was mostly Kwiatkowski with Williams appearing in two-TE sets. Funchess got in very late.

WR starters were Roundtree, Gallon, Gardner. Jeremy Jackson and Dileo were the next most-frequent participants; Jerald Robinson got a little run. At RB, Smith and Rawls and only them. Only Hopkins at FB.

Show? Show.

[Note: I forgot about my RUN+/- separation, but got them for the run chart. I'm probably going to dump the extra confirmation since it's useless.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Deep slant Gardner Inc
Safety walks up on slot and Bama shows seven man front. Michigan goes play action at Gardner, who runs a deep slant after being given inside leverage. I think this is a crappy route that does not get the requisite separation because he just kind of drifts inside instead of cuts. Throw is accurate, Milliner makes a great play to break it up. (CA+, 0, protection 1/1)
M22 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Flare Smith 9
Gallon motions into a trips. Moore releases downfield, holding the corner in a little bit, Denard reads it and hits Smith on a little flare. Smith runs through an ankle tackle and nears the first down; gets a crappy spot. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1, would like to RPS +half this but let's not get crazy)
M31 3 1 I-Form Big 2 1 2 ??? Run Iso Smith 3
Lewan(+0.5) and Kwiatkowksi(+0.5) combine to kick out the OLB; Barnum(+0.5) just does handle the playside DE, and Hopkins(+0.5) gets enough on his lead block to give Smith a gap.
RUN+: Lewan, Kwiatkowski, Hopkins, Barnum(0.5 all) RUN-:
M34 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Roundtree Inc
Safety rolls up. Michigan repeats their first play with the same result. Milliner is all over Roundtree (in a legal way) and breaks it up. (CA, 0, protection 1/1). If this is in front of Roundtree more maybe there's a shot, but that's an NFL window.
M34 2 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Nickel even Run Inverted veer Smith -1
Eight in the box with the safety rolled up; this is unbalanced so TE cannot go downfield. Michigan pulls Barnum and uses Hopkins as a lead blocker. Playside DE is inside of Hopkins, so if this is a read it's a give, but then why block the guy? (Because he blocked you.) Denard gives and Smith heads outside, but there's a free guy on the edge and he shuts it down. RPS -1. This is not the blocking's fault, it's Alabama defeating the play. Picture-paged.
M33 3 11 Shotgun trips stack 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Scramble Robinson 8 (Pen -15)
Alabama rushes three; Lewan(-3) gets beat one on one, ripping off the DE's helmet in the process for a 15-yard penalty. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, Lewan -3)
M18 3 26 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Rollout corner Roundtree Inc
Borges actually gets Roundtree open at the sticks, but they let the backside guy go and he pressures Denard, who doesn't really have time to set and step into it. Ball sails. (IN, 0, protection ½, team -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer Rawls 0
Alabama sends the corner down and plunges the DE inside. Denard reads that the DE is diving down and hands off. Corner nails Rawls. RPS -2. Also picture-paged.
M29 2 10 Shogun 2-back tight 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA corner Gallon Inc
Corner pulls up on the short route, opening up a corner for about 15 yards. Denard misses; again, some token pressure on the edge seems to have spooked him. Just overthrew it. (IN, 1, protection 1/1) If Gallon was 6'2 he's got a good shot at this.
M29 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Penalty 12 men -- 5
yoooo deeeed
M34 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Fly Gardner Inc
Gardner gets a step but takes a weird gallop as he does so and drifts a step or so inside. Denard's throw is pretty good but Gardner's not getting there fast enough. He leaps and gets a hand on it, but that's it. (MA, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 6 min 1st Q. Yay 30 yard throw on third and medium.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 3-4 nickel Pass Bubble screen Gallon 8
Almost ceases being there on the snap as the LB to that side backs out closer to Gallon. Still not enough as Jackson(+1) hacks down the LB out there and Gallon(+1) turns it up quickly enough to burst past the LB despite being a yard or so inside the numbers. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: Gallon, Jackson RUN-:
M32 2 2 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Iso Smith 1
Mealer(-1) leaves his block too early and Barnum can't keep the guy outside; he does okay. Omameh gets stalemated by the other DT, Schofield same, the end result is a big pile of dudes a yard past the LOS.
M33 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Iso Rawls 2
Barnum(+1) takes a DT who's trying to slant and buries him. Lewan(+0.5) prevents the guy he's got from coming under him, creating a crease. Two guys are coming up that crease; Hopkins(+0.5) submarines one and Rawls falls forward for the first.
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Sprint counter Rawls -2 (Pen -10)
One high with a seventh guy in the box. They run the sprint counter from last year (what is it a counter to, though?). Lewan pulls. Schofield(-1) gets chucked by the DE as Lewan nears; Lewan is now running directly into Schofield. Rawls(-2) still has an opportunity to just go straight upfield for a few yards. Instead he tries to bounce it, which works about as well as you might expect. Refs get Lewan for holding, which I don't see, and miss an obvious facemask on Rawls. Refs -3. Hoke said something about this being a BS call on Lewan, FWIW. BWS picture-paged.
M25 1 20 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA corner Gardner Inc
Bama does not care that we are running PA from the I. They're all over all three guys. Denard throws it at Gardner and does get it over the corner. It's also over Gardner. Could be IN but Robinson had no better options. (CA, 0, protection 2/2) Also, watch Gardner's route. He holds up. If he runs through the route this is a potential DO.
M25 2 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass PA fly Roundtree Int
Milliner chucks Roundtree OOB and intercepts. It's hard to tell but it certainly looks like this happened after the ball was released. Either way, this is a frustrating playcall. Second and twenty with Roundtree matched up against their best corner, let's have guys with free runs at Denard and see what happens. (BR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-14, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 9
Robinson actually double clutches this, which is bad, but it still works as the WRs come through. Roundtree(+1) puts a safety on the ground. Gardner does likewise, and then Roundtree gets another block that Gallon(+1) runs behind for good yardage. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: Roundtree, Gardner, Gallon RUN-:
M35 2 1 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass PA slant Gallon Inc
This one's actually open. Not sure if Gallon is more of a threat or it's just because this is not Milliner. Robinson misses somewhat, but this is catchable. Gallon doesn't catch it. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M35 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Speed option Robinson 3
Smith flares out for a pitch but Denard is just running this one from the word go. Blocking is okay on the frontside except for Williams(-1), who gets beat. Schofield(+0.5) just manages to delay the backside pursuit and Denard(+1) hits a very small gap to convert.
M38 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith 2
Running at the backside. There is a S containing Denard so he hands, but not sure this is really a read. Bubble open, but again these are not reads. Omameh(-1) lets his guy spin back to the hole. Schofield(-1) does as well. Hopkins blocks one LB; the other is there to help tackle. Possible that Smith could have cut to a backside hole if Schofield doesn't lose his block. RUN-: Schofield, Omameh
M40 2 8 I-form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Smith -2
Schofield(-2) loses his guy on the backside of the play and he tackles. That's the easy stuff. Barnum(-1) loses his guy on a double, too, despite blocking down. I do like Hopkins(+1) blocking the stuffing out of a guy, may have gotten the edge. BWS picture-paged.
RUN+: Hopkins RUN-: Schofield(3), Barnum
M38 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Fly J. Robinson Inc
It's third down so we throw it 30 yards. Alabama blitzes, sending six. Michigan picks it up. Robinson panics and chucks a back-foot throw when just scrambling out of the pocket probably puts him in epic space against man coverage. J. Robinson is blanketed, DB knocks it away. Pass was actually right on the money, but the coverage was superb. (CA, 0, protection 3/3) Where's the dig route?
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-21, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M5 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inside zone Smith 0
Bubble wide open, no threat of Denard, OL cannot get any push, Smith runs up the backs of his guys for nothing. Barnum(-1) pushed back. Smith(-1) could have run behind the double but did not.
M5 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Out Jackson 4 (Pen +5)
Late move to a seven man front. Safety comes down on Jackson, Denard throws the out accurately, instant tackle. Alabama offsides. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M10 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 2
AAAAARGH. Anyway: hole almost forms. Barnum manages to get his body across the backside DT, but only with his back; that guy comes around. Omameh(-0.5) and Mealer(-0.5) can't kick the other DT and the narrow path is closed down by the guy coming around Barnum.
M12 3 3 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Flare Smith 2
Denard makes a somewhat bad read on the LB and should go to Kwiatkowski underneath as the LB bugs out for the flat. He had a window. This is still complete and has a shot at the first so I won't BR it, but he could have done better. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-24, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M2 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA fly Gardner Inc
Plenty of time for Robinson as Michigan goes with just three guys in the route. Denard tries it deep to Gardner, who's covered again, but he has no other options. Pass is a tiny bit short but 40 yards downfield. Gardner has it in his hands; Milliner punches it out. (CA+, 1, protection 3/3)
M2 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Rawls 1
Williams tears through Omameh(-2) and is right in the hole. Barnum ends up going outside of the Hopkins block as the playside LB comes in to spill power outside. Rawls goes inside. Barnum is not a factor on the LB, who tackles at the LOS. Not sure if this is a Rawls problem or a Barnum problem. I get why both of them did that. I'm guessing Rawls, but tenuous. RUN-:  Omameh(2), Rawls
M3 3 9 Shotgun trips stack 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Post Gardner Int
Denard throws it directly at a linebacker underneath the route. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Defensive TD, 0-31, 4 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Rawls 3
Okay crease but only okay. Omameh(+0.5) gets decent push on the nose, Mealer gets out to the LB, Barnum is eh on the other DT, and Rawls can fit in this gap until the LB sheds Mealer in a tight space.
M28 2 7 Shotgun 2TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA stop and go Gallon 71
Max pro again and Alabama is containing, so plenty of time. Denard can load up and fire deep to Gallon, who's the first M receiver to have an inch of separation all night. Denard hits Gallon right in stride at the 20; Gallon gets to the goal line before he can get tracked down. (DO, 2, protection 3/3), RPS +1. Why aren't we throwing at this corner instead of Milliner?
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line Penalty Illegal sub -- -5
O6 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Goal line Run QB power Robinson 6
Schofield(-2) gets beat by the backside DT as Omameh pulls.This guy gets into Omameh in the backfield and destroys his pull. LB in the hole now gets cut by Smith. Denard his headed outside where there is contain, which gets the Alabama DE to pull upfield. Denard(+2) changes direction in a flash, heading straight upfield. Omameh(+1) gets to the hole now and picks through Smith, blocking the guy he just cut. He blows the LB off the ball; Barnum(+1) does the same, and Denard can burrow behind those guys to fall into the endzone.
RUN+: Robinson(2), Barnum, Omameh RUN-: Schofield
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-31, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inverted veer Smith 3
Same stuff minus Hopkins. DE comes down, Denard hands off, Smith ends up on the edge against an unblocked guy as Dileo comes down on a linebacker and Jackson flares out on one of the three guys in M2M to the trips side. That leaves another guy, who tackles with help from that DE peeling back. RPS -1. No run plus minus, as there were no relevant blocks.
M25 2 7 Ace 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Penalty False start Lewan -5
M20 2 12 Shogun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA quick seam Dileo 20
Not sure if this is an iffy pass or an attempt to keep it away from the defender but knowing Denard it's probably the former. An easier catch would probably not have resulted in anything bad. Dileo spins 360 degrees, grabbing the ball halfway through, and keeps his feet for a nice gain past the Bama secondary. This a borderline 1 or 2; I'll give the one for keeping his feet. (MA, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Mealer and Omameh both pull. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) seals the playside end. Barnum(-1) gets out but his attempted cut is not effective; that LB gets up and gets outside, hitting near the LOS. Smith just ran into the secondary; would prefer it if he helped out here. At least this time we're asking them to beat a block. A great play by the LB here; if Smith had doubled down on this Denard is getting some yards.
M42 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass Flare Gallon Inc
Michigan brings Gallon across the formation and then fakes a stretch(!) into the boundary(!) that fools the backside LB. Denard has Gallon wide open for quite a few yards and misses. (IN, 0, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M42 3 8 Shotgun trips stack TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Robinson 5
Michigan rolls to the field, right into a safety blitz. Smith can only chop one of them; other guy is right in Denard's face, forcing a scramble that doesn't get there. (PR, N/A, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-31, 12 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Zone stretch Rawls 5
Bubble is open as they've got two safeties back, but M runs. It's a stretch into the boundary, which is a little odd. Rawls(-1) misses the cutback lane behind the backside tackle that would have gotten him going NS against a DE trying to contain Robinson and only coming back later. He ends up bouncing off Omameh and going around to the outside, which somehow works. Lewan(+1) bludgeoned the DE there and Gardner(+1) spent a long time fending off a corner. Lucky, lucky.
M40 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Robinson 5
Denard is looking at Jackson on a little slant at the sticks and decides against it... I think if he throws it on time it gets there but hard to tell. Instead he decides to take off and run for stuff. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Run QB inside zone Robinson 9
Alabama slants under the line and blows up the blocking. Mealer(-1) is left in a heap, Lewan(-1) also falls to the ground as his guy gets inside of him, and Barnum(-1) releases to the second level without checking. Alabama's guys fall, too, which gives Denard(+3) an opportunity. He hops, then hops again outside; Schofield(+0.5) does a decent job maintaining his block and this gives Denard the edge. Once he's out there he uses a dodgy block from Gardner to get outside and jets for near first-down yardage. Standard bitching about lack of Denard. Musberger finally gets to tell us Usain Bolt story with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
RUN+: Denard(3) RUN-: Lewan, Mealer, Barnum
O46 2 1 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Smith 0
Odd blocking here as AJ Williams goes backside into the gap just inside Lewan; Bama NT two-gaps on Barnum(-1) and when Smith picks the hole to the frontside comes off to tackle. Crappy read by Smith? I don't know. Don't know why you send a guy to the second level and not help on Williams here.
O46 2 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Speed option Rawls -2
Bama has everyone within a few yards of the LOS; Sunseri is deepest at eight. Michigan orbits Rawls and runs a speed option; they block it well enough but Sunseri is tearing like a bat out of hell for Rawls and plants him two yards in the backfield. Ingram Rawls is not. RPS -1; this probably gets the first down except for no deep safeties.
O48 4 3 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Broken play Robinson 2
Robinson(-1) fumbles the snap, picks it up, and starts running around on a broken play. He gets tripped up, reaches for the first down, and doesn't quite make it. Overturn is correct.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 7-31, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Sprint counter Smith 1
Schofield(-2) gets destroyed by the LB he's assigned to. That guy comes through the block and tackles Smith. Otherwise this is okay, though it's not fooling anyone. Since M never runs any plays that look like this but are not the counter, the counter action does not work.
M15 2 9 Shotgun trips stack 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Screen Smith Inc (Pen +15)
Blitzing LB is straight up the middle too fast. Denard is hit as he throws and the ball is behind Smith. (PR, 0, protection 0/1, RPS -1) M gets bailed out by the LB getting a hit on Denard's head. Very marginal call.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA fly Gardner Inc
Fake inside zone with Barnum pulling to the backside, which they don't do. Three guys go out, two going deep another sort of deep. No one is really open. Denard chucks it deep at Gardner, who has a shot at it before being tripped by the safety. They throw a flag, and then pick it up. [fumes] This was a fifty yard throw that beat bracketed coverage and was a yard inside the edge of the field. (DO, 0, protection 2/2).
M30 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone stretch Smith 22
Omameh(-1) can't get a cut or any control on the backside DT so Smith(+3) can't really find anything on the cutback despite Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) blowing the frontside guy almost to the sideline. That guy eventually splits the two and comes up on Smith, who miraculously hops outside and shoestrings the sideline for 22. Lewan(+0.5) and Hopkins(+0.5) had a hand in it.
O48 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 4
Alabama tips a huge blitz from the field with six guys at the line and no one within the two outside receivers except one guy eight yards downfield. Michigan runs at the boundary again. Kwiatkowski(-2) whiffs on the playside DE entirely, allowing him outside. He runs into Barnum, cuts off Smith, and forces Denard to cut up. Denard is into that hole before Omameh can get there, unblocked guys, tackle.
O44 2 6 Ace twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass PA Fly Gardner 44
No pressure; Milliner looks back, gets his legs tangled up with Gardner, and goes down. Denard hits Gardner in stride for the TD. (DO, 2, protection 2/2.)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-34, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith -1
Nickel rolls down. I think this is an iso but it's hard to tell since the blocking gets blown up so hardcore. Mealer(-1) loses his guy into the gap Hopkins is attacking, and Barnum(-1) is stood up at the LOS. Smith goes away from the gap Hopkins did because there is no gap and unblocked guys tackle. RUN-: Mealer, Barnum
M7 2 11 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA corner Gallon 19
Unbalanced, Michigan goes PA, no one is buying it. Schofield(-1) is beaten but does manage to maintain contact and shove the guy who beat him past Denard, who sidesteps, sets up, and threads a dart to Gallon 20 yards downfield. Same throw he made to Gardner earlier except the WR didn't misjudge it. Tough play all around. (DO, 2, protection ½, Schofield -1)
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Iso Smith 2
They try the other side of the line. Omameh(-0.5) does better with his guy but can't really control him; Schofield(-1) cannot kick the DE. Those two guys converge to tackle as Smith passes the LOS.
M28 2 8 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA fly Roundtree Inc
Everyone is bracketed, Denard chucks it deep to Roundtree, overthrown by five yards, almost intercepted. (BR, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
M28 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Deep hitch Gardner Inc
Ugh, Musberger calls M and Alabama two of the great brands in college football. Shoot me. Mealer(-1) gets over aggressive on a stunt and a rusher slides through right up the middle. Smith takes him out, Denard gets squirrelly and chucks one over Gardner's head. (IN, 0, protection ½, Mealer -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-34, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Rollout hitch Roundtree 5
Short pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M40 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Roundtree 7
Milliner turns for three-deep and the slant opens up. Now just trying to bleed yards. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE out Kwiatkowski 6
Again open underneath as Alabama is playing off. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O47 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson 1
Omameh(-1) and Mealer(-1) fail to combo the NT at all.
O48 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Sack -- -6
Schofield(-2) smoked; Burzynski(-2) fails to read a stunt and two guys converge on Robinson. (PR, N/A, protection 0/4, Burzynski -2, Schofield -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-41, 4 min 4th Q. Final snap is a Bellomy INT and not charted.


Which kind of YAAARGH FALARGH is this now?

There are multiple kinds of YAAARGH FALARGH?

Yes. There is the YAAARGH FALARGH that YAAARGHs about Denard getting about two carries in the first half and FALARGHs about the idea that fate has consigned us an offensive coordinator who can make delightful minute adjustments in a West Coast passing offense and a quarterback who can't run them that. Then there is the YAAARGH FALARGH that YAAARGHs about the idea that Rich Rodriguez might have some good ideas when it comes to offense and FALARGHs whenever this here guy points out that Borges is not an invincible superman.

Didn't Rich Rodriguez almost get West Virginia to a national title game?


And put up 48 against Oklahoma and 38 against Georgia in BCS games?


The former then.

An excellent choice.


Like, oh my God. Alabama does that to everyone. It is virtually impossible to tell how Michigan will do against an earthly defense when this is basically the best defense since M 1997 minus some important guys and the guys replacing the important guys are dudes like DeMarcus Milliner, who is insane. Insaaaaaaaaaaane.

What happened Saturday may not have any bearing at all on what happens the rest of the year.

Okay, good UFR, let's go home.

Not so fast.

But I want to go home. You have no idea.

There are things to learn! Expectations to tweak!

I would rather not.

Scriven away, Bartleby, this is happening.

Not saying it.


[A reminder about what this means can be found in the UFR FAQ. Note that screens behind the LOS are in parens, so in the first half of 2011 Denard threw 66 balls labeled catchable, 54 downfield and 12 screens. The DSR metric is Dead On and Catchable balls divided by all throws not marked Marginal, Pressure, or Scramble.]

2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3 - - 3(1) 1 71%


lol wut

I know. A couple caveats: three of those CAs were late when Milliner had lost interest and a fourth was borderline on a slant that took Gallon off his feet (but was still very catchable), and one of the BRs was of course the BRX—the X stands for XTREME—on the pick six. On the other hand, I marked the Dileo seam an MA because it was behind the guy when you can make a case that he was keeping it away from the defender, and now I feel guilty for asserting that "knowing Denard" it had to be inaccurate. Blame on the first interception can be split between Denard, Borges (no other options), Roundtree, and possibly the refs. Call it a push.

In terms of accuracy, Denard had a good day. Maybe very good. Those first two slants are in the receiver's chest. The problem was that Milliner was also in said chests.

That kid is nasty, and Michigan's wide receivers could not get separation from him unless he fell down. Maybe there was a square foot in which the ball could be caught without Milliner making a play on it… maybe. I doubt it.

Sometimes when it looked like Denard missed, it was his receiver blowing the play. This deep corner looked like an overthrow live, but the replay shows that 1) ain't nobody open, really, and 2) despite that if Gardner does not first slow up and then misjudge the ball once it's in the air this is probably a fantastic completion:

Later in the game, Gallon would run the route correctly for a twenty-yard completion. Even when Denard chucked a back foot throw to Jerald Robinson thirty yards downfield on third and ten, it was right on the money. It was broken up by Milliner, of course, and I'm leery of him trying that again, but we're a results-based charting service.

And then you've got a couple of perfect deep completions plus a third that would have been if not for the Alabama safety coming over and tripping Gardner. He plain missed about as often as McCarron. The difference was in the defenses and the wideouts.

This was actually encouraging. Possibly really encouraging. I know, I know.

But the horrible horrible interceptions!

Yeah, we got the three NOOOO Denard throws: the two picks and a chuck-and-pray to a bracketed Roundtree that was five yards to long and almost intercepted. You'd like for Denard to find someone else, but on at least two of those there was no one else open. So then you'd like him to throw it away or RUN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST RUN, but we're stuck with it, I guess.

This is a situation that, like all situations, may improve when you're not playing Alabama. Various YPAs from veteran QBs against Alabama the last couple years:

  • Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: 5.3
  • Clint Moseley, Auburn: 3.4
  • Ryan Mallett, Arkansas: 9.4
  • John Brantley, Florida: 6.5
  • Kirk Cousins, MSU: 7.5
  • Denard Robinson, M: 7.7

If Michigan's receivers were capable of getting separation—or Michigan had manufactured some with play action Denard—things would have been fine. If Robinson's accuracy continues against mortal defenses he'll have outstanding numbers and Borges will get a gold star.

What about Gardner?

Well, first, the receiverchart. I'll leave the season numbers blank because obviously.

[Passers are rated by catchability:

  • 0: uncatchable
  • 1: very tough
  • 2: moderately tough
  • 3: routine

The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Gardner 4 0/2 1/1            
Roundtree 2 0/1   2/2          
Gallon 1 0/1 2/3 1/1          
J. Robinson 1                
Dileo   1/1              
Jackson       1/1          
Kwiatkowski       1/1          
Smith       2/2          

So there's obviously a huge difference between the accuracy credited Denard above and the catch rankings above. Part of that is Milliner and other guys always covering everything. Part of that that I didn't adjust for crappy routes. This is supposed to be a hands measure. I can only hand-wave at the routes.

Anyway, a routine day in limited opportunities. Hands were fine, separation was not.

And Gardner?

Obviously looked very, very raw. The corner route above is evidence enough of that, and on the touchdown I don't think the 360-degree spin-around is a standard move. His routes suck, but he's a 6'4" guy who can leap out of the gym. We'll see how good that speed is against mortal teams. He should get better day by day; Michigan really needs him.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the freshmen as early as next week.

The run game.

Look away.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 2.5 1 1.5 Above zero!
Barnum 3.5 6 -2.5 Not above zero.
Mealer 1 4.5 -3.5 Now a lot more worried about Molk transition after flip
Omameh 1.5 7 -5.5 Blown up, but not a surprise
Schofield 1 9 -8 woof
Kwiatkowski 1 2 -1 Current nominal starter.
Moore - - - Injured early.
Williams - 1 -1 Hard to tell.
Funchess - - - One play.
TOTAL 10.5 30.5 26% All time worst.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 6 1 5 I don't want to talk about it.
Bellomy - - -  
Toussaint - - - DNP
Rawls - 4 -4 Pretty much Mark Ingram.
Smith 3 1 2 Basically the one sideline jaunt.
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins 2.5 - 2.5 Hard to judge since he rarely had a shot at going one on one
Kerridge - - - DNP
TOTAL 11.5 6 5.5 I don't want to talk about it.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 1 - 1  
Roundtree 1 - 1  
Gallon 2 - 2  
Jackson 1 - 1  
Dileo - - - --
J. Robinson - - -  
Darboh - - - --
TOTAL 5 - 5 omg bubble bubble bubble
Player + - T Notes
Protection 26 10 72% Lewan –3, Team –2, Schofield –2, Mealer –1, Burzynski -2
RPS 4 9 -5 Not like it mattered but it didn't help.

So that's the line getting annihilated and getting no plays from the runners save a couple from Denard. Let's not take any of this too seriously until next week.

Ugh, Rawls?

Yeah, for a north-south mooseback he had a case of the Shaws. Go upfield, young man.

Other running type things?

Fitz will obviously be a huge boost. Neither of the guys who got carries broke tackle one, both missed holes, neither juked guy one. I really, really want to reserve judgment on the offensive line until next week. They were straight-up destroyed; let's see what happens later in the season.

Borges said he didn't regret how little Denard ran, and that Alabama was doing stuff with its safeties that prevented Michigan from going with him.

I find that… unconvincing. For one, two of the three runs all night where someone made something despite the blocking being poor were from Denard:

(The other was Smith's 22-yarder.) For two, you can just call his number. There is nothing preventing you from doing that instead of handing off to Rawls or Smith. If you're going into the game thinking "don't get hurt!" why are you even playing it?

By the time Michigan was down a billion, okay, whatever, the next two quarters are an exhibition. If this happens in a critical Big Ten game that Michigan ends up losing, though, the torches and pitchforks will be out in force.

It's not about scheme!

That's the DeBord way to look at it. Players can get beat; so can coaches. Both played a factor in the loss. When you hand off and there's an unblocked guy waiting for you…

…the blocker isn't at fault. Because there isn't one. I'm not sure why Michigan thought they could get away with straight-up inverted veers against Saban nine months after they tore up OSU.

In a weird way, I'm actually encouraged about Borges long-term since his response to a defense that stacks the box is to throw at it. Once you get the receivers and the line and Morris in, that stuff is going to work, and we won't have to facepalm after yet another run into a stacked front on first and ten.

But it is about scheme, in addition to the players getting whipped. A failure that comprehensive touches everyone. E-fact.


Gallon. Maybe Denard? Sort of Denard.


Even adjusting for level of competition the OL was very disappointing. While Lewan got off easiest in the run chart, he also got three penalties, two of them legit.

What does it mean for next week and the future?

God willing, nothing whatsoever.

A few things I'll be looking to confirm or disconfirm before Notre Dame:

  • Is Denard way more accurate now?
  • Will Denard be less interception-prone against humans?
  • Is Schofield in trouble at tackle?
  • Is Gardner a real actual receiver?

If the OL can't move Air Force I'm going into full on bunker mode.


Michigan Museday Has a Senior QB

Michigan Museday Has a Senior QB Comment Count

Seth May 9th, 2012 at 8:11 AM



Michigan goes into 2012 with the rarest of all birds (recently at least): a senior returning starter at quarterback. Since we can't count half a season from an injured Henne, the last time we saw this senior-type thing under center was the last time a QB wore 16: Navarre. It's been nine years!

History too has been a bit rough on senior QBs. Brady shared much of his last season with Henson. Todd Collins played almost as much as senior Grbac, who took away half of Michael Taylor's seminal season, who nabbed the bulk of Demetrius Brown's last year.

Since Bo's first year Denard is the 14th senior starter at Michigan. The other 13, by stats:

Season Name Comp Att % Comp TD Int Yds Efficiency
2007 Chad Henne 162 278 58.3% 17 9 1938 130.5
2003 John Navarre 270 456 59.2% 24 10 3331 133.6
1999 Tom Brady 214 341 62.8% 20 6 2586 142.3
1997 Brian Griese 193 307 62.9% 17 6 2293 140.0
1994 Todd Collins 186 288 64.6% 13 10 2518 146.0
1992 Elvis Grbac 129 199 64.8% 17 12 1640 150.2
1989 Michael Taylor 74 121 61.2% 11 3 1081 161.2
1986 Jim Harbaugh 180 277 65.0% 10 11 2729 151.7
1983 Steve Smith 106 205 51.7% 13 8 1420 123.0
1980 John Wangler 117 212 55.2% 16 9 1522 131.9
1978 Rick Leach 78 158 49.4% 17 6 1283 145.5
1974 Dennis Franklin 58 104 55.8% 8 5 933 146.9
1970 Don Moorhead 87 190 45.8% 8 6 1167 105.0

I'll save you some of the suspense: those are good efficiencies. And when that starter wasn't dinged it made for awesome seasons. Even counting '07, over these 13 seasons Michigan went 127-26-3, went to Pasadena 7 times (plus an Orange and Sugar and no bowl one year when Michigan finished 3rd overall), finished in the Top 10 of the Associated Press 11 times (avg finish: 7th), and won a National Championship. Small sample size and whatnot, but special years do seem to follow the seniors around.

Let's all shake our fists at: Chad Henne shoulder-hating god. Three shakes!


You also probably already figured that since players generally improve year to year, that senior quarterbacks are best. What I'm looking at here is whether there's maybe something about being a senior, whether its age, or whether that mythical senior tag has some weight. To the charts!

Senior Quarterbacks-age

Click embiggens. The mythical senior tag didn't seem to do anything except as a function of experience. When broken up by age it wasn't any different than when broken up by how many passes he threw before coming. What age does seem to do is reduce variance. Look at the grouping of 5th year seniors (light blue). There's not enough data here to make a conclusion but I am intrigued by this concept of 5th year players producing no worse than a rating

A better way to decide if age or class means anything at all would be to use the Mathlete's database. Mathlete: you should do this some day: chart year to year improvement of quarterbacks and see what the progression curve looks like. What I'm doing here is just working with Bentley numbers for Michigan quarterbacks, since at least for these guys I can trust we know most of the exigent circumstances behind IMG_4709different swings. Just pulling returning starters and major contributors. In: John Navarre's 77 attempts in 2000, Tate Forcier's 84 attempts in 2010. Out: Drew Henson's 47 attempts in 1998. Show things:

Year Avg. Eff Change Denard
Senior +1.4 ?
Junior +16.6 -9.8
Sophomore +7.3 +58.0 (!)


Denard's freshman to sophomore leap was high, not unheard of. Rick Leach leapt a ludicrous 76.1 points in efficiency between his freshman and sophomore years, a matter of going from 32% completions and 3 TDs to 12 interceptions to 47.6% completion rating and a 13/8 TD/INT ratio. Michael Taylor made a leap similar to Denard's between his Junior and Senior seasons (first and second as at least a part-time starter). Drew Henson, Jim Harbaugh and Demetrius Brown also had huge leaps forward as juniors. If you're smelling a trend, these were all guys who to varying degrees considered "mobile" quarterbacks.


Senior Quarterbacks

The way efficiency is wired, a shift in TD/INT ratio, a shift in completion %, and a shift in yards per attempt. Big chart of returning passers (either starters or guys who got a significant amount of playing time the year before) so we can see if any one of these factors might stand out. Bolding numbers that I think made the difference:

Season Name Att Att-DIF Comp% DIF INT/TD
Avg-DIF Efficiency Eff-D
1976 Rick Leach, So 105 +5 +15.6% +10/-4 +2.5 151.1 +76.1
2000 Drew Henson, Jr 237 +147 +9.4% +15/+2 +3.0 159.4 +49.6
1985 Jim Harbaugh, Jr* 227 +116 +9.8% +15/+1 +2.2 157.9 +49.6
1988 Demetrius Brown, Jr* 84 -84 +9.5% -5/-16 +1.8 158.2 +45.5
1991 Elvis Grbac, Jr* 254 -12 +6.7% +4/-4 +1.0 161.7 +24.5
1989 Michael Taylor, Sr* 121 -1 -1.1% +6/-1 +1.1 161.2 +22.8
1974 Dennis Franklin, Sr 104 +37 +2.0% +4/0 +1.0 146.9 +21.4
1996 Brian Griese, Jr* 61 -177 +4.0% -10/-8 +1.8 137.7 +19.0
2006 Chad Henne, Jr 328 -54 +3.5% -1/0 +1.0 143.4 +13.8
2003 John Navarre, Sr* 456 +8 +3.9% +3/+3 +0.8 133.6 +11.4
1999 Tom Brady, Sr* 341 -9 +1.6% +5/-6 +0.1 142.3 +10.6
1978 Rick Leach, Sr 158 -16 -2.4% +2/-3 +0.4 145.5 +10.6
1993 Todd Collins, Jr* 296 +195 -1.5% +10/+4 +1.6 149.3 +9.4
1973 Dennis Franklin, Jr 67 -56 +5.8% -2/+3 +1.3 125.5 +8.8
2002 John Navarre, Jr* 448 +63 +1.6% +2/-6 +0.2 122.2 +5.7
1970 Don Moorhead, Sr 190 -20 -1.4% +2/-1 +0.1 105.0 +4.6
1996 Scott Dreisbach, So* 269 +163 +2.6% +9/-6 -0.5 126.7 +2.8
1997 Brian Griese, Sr* 307 +246 +5.5% +14/+4 -0.9 140.0 +2.3
2010 Tate Forcier, So 84 -197 +5.6% -9/-6 -0.2 130.2 +2.0
1982 Steve Smith, Jr 227 +17 +5.8% -1/+2 -0.3 125.1 -0.6
1983 Steve Smith, Sr 205 -22 -0.3% -1/-5 -0.7 123.0 -2.1
2005 Chad Henne, So 382 -17 -1.8% -2/-4 -0.3 129.6 -3.0
1990 Elvis Grbac, So* 266 +150 -4.7% -8/+6 +0.1 137.2 -3.0
1994 Todd Collins, Sr* 288 -8 +0.7% -3/+4 +0.3 146.0 -3.3
1986 Jim Harbaugh, Sr* 277 +50 +1.1% -8/+5 +1.1 151.7 -6.2
2011 Denard Robinson, Jr 258 -33 -7.5% +2/+4 -0.4 139.7 -9.8
1992 Elvis Grbac, Sr* 199 -55 -0.1% -8/+6 +0.0 150.2 -11.5
2007 Chad Henne, Sr 278 -50 -3.6% -5/+1 -0.7 130.5 -12.8
1977 Rick Leach, Jr 174 +69 +4.1% +2/+1 -1.5 134.9 -16.2
1980 John Wangler, Sr* 212 +82 -4.8% +8/+2 -3.8 131.9 -30.1
2001 John Navarre, So* 385 +308 +1.8% +11/+12 -1.2 116.4 -30.8

Bolded things of note: If I bolded the name or the amount of attempts you can just discount that guy since his year to year stats are thrown off by a huge difference in his role, e.g. John Navarre went from a guy who murdered MAC teams to full-time Big Ten passer who chucked things in the direction of Marquise Walker. Rick Leach basically learned how to pass a football (to his teammates). Henson and Harbaugh had matching junior leaps as they grew from leggy guy who might throw to polished passers.

jwanglerDemetrius Brown had his numbers saved by Bo halving the amount of pass plays and going full-tilt option. Tom Brady stopped had a major turnaround in TD/INT as a senior, while Todd Collins and Jim Harbaugh went the other way. Johnny Wangler looks to have suffered (EDIT: was this when Carter injured? This is before my time.) his senior season, as YPA dropped terribly and completion suffered a little. I'm not sure Grbac's TD-INT ration can be explained by the similar loss of Desmond Howard—it's possible Dez's Heisman campaign simply separated itself from two similar yet pedestrian seasons.

What does this all mean for Denard? Most of the seniors touched up their games. Most had their big leaps as juniors, but I should point out of the 13 guys to make the biggest one-year leaps, 8 of them were redshirt juniors or seniors, i.e. Denard's age. Also working for him is running the same offense that he did last year. The transition ultimately came more to him than the other way around, though, so don't expect miracles. Working against him will be the loss of his favorite target, and the effective replacement of a tight end for a second back, which isn't always great for the passing game. Unless a deep threat emerges from the unknowns in the receiver corps, expect his YPA avg. to dip again, with a corresponding rise in completion % (something most seniors seemed to have done). I'd also venture Denard will cut down further on his interception and probably get his TDs up the same as Michigan's mite-y backs and receivers score more with screens. +4/-4 would be excellent. Meanwhile the team will win 10 games, place in the Top 10, and end the season in Pasadena, because that's what Michigan senior quarterbacks do.


Michigan Museday Charts Shoe's Arm

Michigan Museday Charts Shoe's Arm Comment Count

Seth December 20th, 2011 at 8:00 AM


For those tracking Denard's passing acumen the tale has been one of major progression before 2010, followed by regression in 2011 followed by re-progression as he a.) grew more comfortable in Borges's offense, b.) played more out of the shotgun, and c.) gave his staph infection time to heal.

If you were reading the weekly previews this season you would have noticed the space for Michigan's passing game was consistently fretting about Robinson's accuracy. This would be followed by a game with some flash of the laser precision he seemed to possess at times in 2010, followed by a bomb that overshot Hemingway/Roundtree by 20 yards. This was our concern. The more intelligent announcers talked about where his shoulders and toes were at their release, and Borges pressers reiterated the footwork theory.

Then sometime around Purdue-Iowa-Illinois, said all, 2010 Denard worked his way back. I'd like to use this space to test if that was really the case.

The Hennechart you know (screens and Snackycakes have been removed):

2009 2009, All Of It 1 7 4 2 4 4 - - ? 44%
2010 Connecticut 2 9 - - 3 2 - - 2 69%
  Notre Dame 3 17 2 4 1 - 3 2 - 71%
  Michigan State 4 11 1 6 1 - - 2 2 68%
  Iowa 1 8 2 2 2 - 1 - - 64%
  Penn State 3 9 1 4 2 - 1 - - 63%
  Illinois 4 8 1 4 1 3 - - - 60%
  Purdue 2 11 1 3 1 1 1 3 - 68%
  Wisconsin 3 12 1 2 2 2 - - - 71%
2011 W. Michigan - 5 4 3 1 - - - 1 56%
  Notre Dame 6 6 1 5 5 1 1 1 - 50%
  SD State - 8 - 4 2 1 - 1 - 53%
  Minnesota 1 10 1 3 1 - - - - 73%
  Northwestern 4 9 1 7 2 - - - 1 59%
  Michigan State 1 7 3 6 5 - 1 7 1 40%
  Purdue 1 6 - 1 2 1 - 2 - 64%
  Iowa 2 21 2 7 1 - 2 2 - 70%
  Illinois 1 3 1 2 - - - 1 1 67%
  Nebraska 1 9 - 2 2 1 - 1 3 67%
  Ohio State 3 7 2 1 - 2 - - 1 77%

That's lots of numbers. The easy metric to break these down metric is Brian's Downfield Success Rating at the far right. That's Dead-Ons and Catchables divided by all the rest (marginals are excised). But a few years ago, while trying to get a handle on what we had in Forcier, a few users thought to visualize this. I try that now with Denard's career:


I centered in the middle of the marginals to show how good the very goods were and how bad the very bads got. You kind of have to look hard to see it, but there is a regression apparent. Denard seemed to level off in the Big Ten season last year to a good chunk of accurate balls, one or two bad reads, and as many inaccurate as were dead on. For a good part of this year it was that one temptress of a perfectly thrown ball, one to five bad reads, and almost as many balls to Tacopants as the vicinity of his receivers. By Ohio State, on pure downfield success rating, it was just outside the UFR-era hall of fame (on many fewer attempts):

2007 HENNE Purdue W 3 20 N/A 1 1 1 1 2 29 85.20%
2007 HENNE EMU W 4 16 N/A 1 0 1 2 1 25 83.30%
2005 HENNE Ohio St L 6 27 N/A 1 1 4 1 N/A 40 82.50%
2008 SHERIDAN Minn W 2 20 4 3 2 1 0 0 32 78.60%
2005 HENNE MSU W 4 25 N/A 1 3 3 1 N/A 37 78.40%
2011 ROBINSON Ohio St W 3 7 2 1 0 2 0 0 15 76.92%

FTR by this metric, the Michigan State game this year is 3rd all time in the hall of shame, better only than Sheridan in the Badge of Fandom Endurance game vs. Northwestern, and Threet versus Purdue. Sheridan being on both lists was one (happy) fluke between games his coaches hardly let him throw more than a screen for fear of triggering an early duck season. 2011 Denard's is the opposite: one bad game amidst a bunch that range between mediocre and okay. His games aren't in the Junior Henne/Early Forcier range; they are about on par with Big Ten Forcier as a freshman, and he's better than freshman Mallett. This is without the legs.

There was also wide variance in number of throws, partly due to game-planning, but also having a lot to do with Borges leaning somewhat more on the running game when Michigan led. Look at the paucity of passes for Michigan against Purdue and Illinois, versus huge stacks for MSU (look at their pressure metric!) and Iowa. The percentages chart below can adjust for that a bit:


Click it to embiggen. I took out a few more bad defenses to make that one if you're wondering why fewer bars. Also those marks are the rankings by FEI of that opponent's pass defense—the worst pass defense would be at the very bottom, the best at the very top. Take with a huge grain of salt since FEI's weird this year. (No way Iowa and Purdue have the same secondary, nor do I believe either are 40 spots worse than Minnesota). Anyway it shows the metric is at least defense-independent.

This one has the story we've been telling: 2010 was fairly static, while 2011 was a dropoff followed by progression in the new offense (and a stinker in a trash tornado in the middle). Denard also maybe scrambled a bit more at the end of the season (the white bars). Overall you'd almost expect the two years to be flipped, with the hard learning and scrambling a sophomore campaign and the leveling off near the peak of the previous year the work of an upperclassman. If you consider time in the system, it's more like the work of a redshirt freshman followed by a true freshman.

The reads are another thing that fixed over time (Nebraska's weekly BR looks bigger in a small sample). The % of bad robinson-michiganreads this year all told took a rather scary dip from pushing Sr. Henne to Threet-ish:

Player BR/Att DSR
HENNE 2007 6.12% 71%
ROBINSON 2010 6.67% 69%
FORCIER 2009 7.73% 70%
THREET 9.09% 55%
ROBINSON 2011 9.17% 61%
SHERIDAN 10.00% 60%
MALLETT 10.69% 51%
ROBINSON 2009 14.29% 44%

I'm ready to believe this was related to the footwork thing. If the staph infection affected him, it couldn't be more than the beating he took last year blamed for the perceived reduction in Big Ten play. There is evidence of greater pressure—the 7 categorized "PR" in the MSU game is one fewer than Brian gave for all of 2010—and all that.

How much this regression "hurt" Michigan this season can be overstated. Using all plays charted in UFR, Denard averaged 6.93 yards per play, as opposed to the 7.25 yards per play in 2010. That's not about bad defenses; against real opponents Denard's 6.55 YPA is better than his 6.30 in 2010. This is a result of the long passes against Notre Dame (10.09 YPP – which is ridiculous), but if we normalize every play longer than that to a cap of 20 yards, this is what he looks like per passing attempt (2010 schedule futzed with to match comparable games):denard-robinson

2010   2011  
Connecticut 7.48 WMU 6.57
Notre Dame 6.00 Notre Dame 7.77
Bowling Green 10.75 EMU 6.55
Penn State 6.29 SD State 5.88
Massachusetts 7.56 Minnesota 8.84
Indiana 9.00 Northwestern 10.96
Michigan State 6.10 Michigan State 3.17
Purdue 5.91 Purdue 7.14
Iowa 5.79 Iowa 4.31
Illinois 7.95 Illinois 6.64
Wisconsin 6.75 Nebraska 6.73
Ohio State ??? Ohio State 7.35

Including only non-theoretical defenses (No FCS, EMU, BG, Indiana, WMU, NW), and again, counting everything over 20 yards as 20, Denard was getting 6.47 yards per attempt last year, and got 5.96 per passing attempt this year. That's still good. And it's a good bet, with a second year fusing with Mr. Borges, the performance level he got back to from Iowa through Nebraska is conceivable for the bowl game and beyond. If he can somehow sustain what he did against Ohio State he would be inconceivable.


Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs OSU

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs OSU Comment Count

Brian December 8th, 2011 at 3:17 PM


they don't like it

Formation notes: Almost entirely shotgun this week. As far as OSU's defense goes: they run a nickel package on every down with Tyler Moeller the "star", a sort of hybrid safety/LB. OSU had two main alignments, one with Moeller over the slot and one with him in the box. Moeller slot == Nickel. Moeller box == 4-3. "Plus" means a safety has walked down all the way into the box.

Substitution notes: Status quo on the line and at WR. Toussaint was obviously the main guy at RB; Hopkins got some time as a single blocking back on passing downs and Denard runs. Not sure if Smith is still dinged up or if that's a shift in deployment. Moore seemed to be the second TE in this game.

In lieu of anything interesting on the Michigan side of the ball, here's an oddity from OSU: planetoid DT Jonathan Hankins spent almost the entire game playing DE. No idea why. While he made some plays out there he was useless in pass rush.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over plus Run QB sweep Robinson 5
Barnett rolled down as another LB with the SLB over the slot. Michigan pulls Schofield and Molk; Odoms runs an end around fake. Koger(+1) gets a good downblock on the playside DE, opening the corner. Toussaint has the cornerback; Schofield(+1) has Barnett. Barnett bugs out and is about to go for a ride; Molk(-1) does not see Sabino coming from the inside and runs past him. Sabino was slightly delayed by the end-around fake and he can't cut Denard off until he picks up a nice gain; could have been big time if block is made.
RUN+: Koger, Toussaint RUN-: Molk
M31 2 5 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 0
Odoms motions for the triple option look. Hankins is lined up at DE and is the unblocked zone guy. Weird. He shuffles down. Shazier is in the gray area as far as a handoff goes; playside CB is hard on the edge and will eat up a pitch. This is supposed to be a belly given the blocking but it's not there; MLB is unblocked and Toussaint has to dance around to get back to the LOS. The blocking does not make sense with Toussaint's angle of attack. Not sure who that screwup is on but assume Toussaint since the blocking is coherent. RPS -1; I can't figure out how Michigan is going to get yards here.
RUN-: Toussaint
M31 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Slant Odoms Inc
An accurate dart; Odoms is blatantly interfered with without a call. Refs -2. (CA+, 0, protection 1/1) Odoms got an illegal motion call so this would have offset.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q. Three and out plus sack plus crappy punt sets Michigan up with good field position on the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Pro set 2 1 2 4-3 over plus Pass Flare screen Toussaint 6
Actually a T formation(!) until Hemingway motions out. Michigan runs a delay fake to Hopkins and then hits Toussaint on the flare screen. Hankins is the playside DE again and gets chopped; he's useless out there. Shazier sucks up. Gallon whiffs a block in space, as does Schofield, and Toussaint doesn't realize he's got a lot of room behind Molk, so he ends up running into the corner after a decent gain. RPS +1. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN-: Gallon, Schofield(0.5)
O41 2 4 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 41
Nickelback comes down off the slot to show blitz and then just forms up as LB. Short side corner does blitz. Hopkins ends up kicking him out as Denard pulls. Shazier covers Toussaint; Omameh is pulling and ends up ignoring Sabino, instead choosing to block Shazier. Robinson(+3) jukes Sabino as Omameh(+1) latches onto Shazier and pulls the Te'o special by driving him into a safety; Toussaint also improvises to help get that guy blocked. Gallon(+2) puts Barnett on the ground and that's all she wrote. Lewan(+1) crushed Hankins inside BTW. I thought Omameh screwed this up, which is why Denard had to juke, but it worked out in the end. I'm not sure about the screwup now; more later. RPS +1. Picture paged. Replay w/ Gallon block.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Omameh, Lewan, Gallon(2) RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 9 min 1st Q. Safety gives M 9-7 lead and good field position on next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Denard jet 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Jet sweep Robinson 5
Basically the same play they started with from a new formation. Boise State "just plays" theory. OSU sends a guy off the edge who sets up in good position, making either the bounce or the cut upfield awkward. Michigan now running at Simon, not Hankins, and that's a big difference. Moore(-1) is owned. Denard has to bounce outside. Molk(+1) gets a shove on the contain guy Smith is blocking, giving Denard(+1) a little room before a safety comes up to contain; Smith's guy disengages to tackle.
RUN+: Robinson, Molk RUN-: Moore
O47 2 5 Ace triple stack 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon 2
This is dead since the corner is sitting on it and is right on top of it to tackle on the snap. Not actually sure how this gained any yards at all. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
O45 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB power Robinson 2
Well blocked and should actually be a nice gainer except Hopkins(-1) starts blocking the edge contain guy Odoms is already on, leaving Shazier free to flow to the hole. Koger(+1) got an excellent seal of Simon. Omameh did a meh job on his pull but did get a helmet on Sabino; Sabino gets playside and impacts Robinson, so when Shazier bangs into the pair their momentum stops dead.
RUN+: Koger RUN-: Hopkins
O43 4 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 5-3 eagle Run FB dive Hopkins 3
Easy because Omameh(+1) and Huyge(+1) crush one DT; NT submarines himself and Hankins isn't terribly useful; Molk(+0.5) gets enough of a shove on the MLB to prevent anyone from coming over the top and Hopkins gets it easily.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Molk(0.5) RUN-:
O40 1 10 Denard jet 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Counter pitch Smith 3
No sale. Shazier reads it and gets outside of Lewan, flowing down to tackle when the corner maintains contain. Still an okay gain.
O37 2 7 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Rollout hitch Roundtree 8
With Simon doubled and Toussaint screening the edge is a given here since the slot LB is dropping into coverage. Denard finds Roundtree for a first down; throw is low and has to be dug out. Maybe that's intentional since he's keeping it away from coverage... but probably not. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O29 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 3
Odoms in motion underneath and after the handoff Robinson fakes a bubble screen. Which was CRAZY OPEN. Borges did this to spite Heiko. The run is close to working too; expecting belly the two linebackers end up on the backside as Toussaint hits the gap between Schofield and Omameh; Shazier has bolted up into the backside of the play and is sealed away by Omameh. Schofield(-1) got shoved into the backfield, however, and Hankins has both gaps covered. He reaches out to slow Toussaint, allowing the safety to fill. Toussaint(+0.5) breaks a tackle to get some yards after contact.
RUN+: Toussaint(0.5) RUN-: Schofield
O26 2 7 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Post Hemingway 26
Play action. Robinson has all day; great protection from the line and Smith lights up the LB when he comes on a delayed blitz. Live I thought this was late from Robinson but it's not really, Koger just screwed his route up by running a seam instead of what I'm sure must have been an in or something. With no safety over the top and Hemingway inside of his man all he has to do is box out. Denard underthrows it a smidge but nothing too bad; Hemingway's adjustment is simple. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 16-7
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 2
Schofield heads to the second level immediately and Molk(+1) has to block the NT one on one; he goes playside and Molk locks him up; Toussaint(-1) has to cut behind. He reads this late, slowing up in the hole and gingerly picking his way through the traffic. This delay allows Simon, unblocked on the backside, to hug Lewan's hip and then come around. (Koger is headed outside to potentially block contain guy Shazier, but no keep.) There's a hole because of the overplay by the NT and Omameh/Huyge comboing the DT; Omameh(-1) gets out on the MLB but is shed easily, robbing Toussaint of the ability to fall forward for a couple more or run through Simon's ankle tackle attempt.
RUN+: Molk RUN-: Toussaint, Omameh
M9 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 2
Okay, this is the second straight time the pulling guard has blocked the guy the read options off instead of heading to the second level. Michigan got away with it the first time; not so much here. Koger is blown up by Simon; Denard reads Klein shooting outside and pulls; Schofield(-1) blocks him anyway. Klein is so confused he runs after Toussaint well after the pull. This leaves Denard in a lot of space against Johnson, the safety. He makes a wrong move and Johnson makes a great open field tackle to prevent a big gain; Robinson fumbles but Michigan gets lucky on the recovery. Omameh(+1) got a good driving block to open up more room. RPS+1; this should have worked even with the screwup. (If it actually was.) BWS picture-paged.
RUN+: Omameh RUN-: Schofield, Robinson(3)
M11 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Sack -- -4
Koger motions out. Michigan rolls out to that side and gets plenty of time; Robinson can't find anyone open and eventually eats a sack. Hopkins could have done a better job cutting Simon, I guess. (TA, N/A, protection ½, Hopkins -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 16-7, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 3
Ten man football. Backside DT slants inside Lewan(-1) and Schofield(-1) and charges down the line; Molk(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) have beaten up the other DT and Simon has to contain; Grady(+0.5) comes down on the safety and there is a developing gap. Toussaint has to run away from the backside DT and this gives Ohio State time to rally.
RUN+: Omameh(0.5), Molk(0.5), Gallon(0.5) RUN-: Lewan, Schofield
M23 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run PA scramble Robinson 5
After an inverted veer fake Robinson pulls and sets up to throw. I think Robinson needs to ride the fake longer here to get the DE to commit to Toussaint; as it is he pulls and has that guy plus a linebacker scraping over with just one blocker. DE comes in on him; Robinson takes off. Without the pressure, I think he's got Hopkins on a wheel route as Shazier is confused as hell. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2, Robinson(!) -1, Team -1)
RUN+: Robinson RUN-:
M28 3 2 Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 5-3 eagle Run QB power Robinson 3
Simon blows up Koger(-2), who loses him outside immediately; Simon takes out the puller and forces a bounce that Robinson can manage because Toussaint(+1) got a good block and he is Denard Robinson. He gets the first down before fumbling; this time Michigan is not so lucky. Shazier gets all limpy on this play. He'll continue but he won't be full strength. (Robinson only loses two on this play because he got a +1 for the run before the -3 for the fumble.)
RUN-: Koger(2), Robinson(2)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 16-10, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even plus Run Zone read keeper Robinson 1
One high with Moeller out on the slot and Johnson walking down. Sabino does a good job of getting outside Koger's block and Grady(-1) totally whiffs on the slot guy, so Denard can't just go outside. Would probably have gotten decent yardage if Grady gets anything on Moeller.
RUN-: Grady
M22 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass PA TE flat Koger 7
Both safeties back, for the most part. OSU blitzes a linebacker and has Simon drop off as a DT heads out on the edge for contain. No linebackers means the short flip to Koger is open; Robinson takes it. Moeller does a good job of filling; you'd still want Koger to maybe shake this guy a little and get more yards here. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M29 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 3-4 nickel press Pass Scramble Robinson 9
DL in a 3-4 alignment with Simon in a standup position on the edge. OSU offsides; no call. Refs -1. Their early movement reveals a slant/stunt that gets Simon past Huyge(-1); Huyge does keep shoving the guy and eases Robinson's step past him. With a DL upfield there's a running lane Robinson hits for the first, picking up another five by dodging a tackler. (SCR, N/A, protection ½, Huyge -1)
RUN+: Robinson(2) RUN-:
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even plus Run Sprint counter Toussaint 46
Sabino buries himself in the line on the counter action. Schofield(+1) seals one DT; Molk(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) the other. Huyge(-1) gets chucked by the playside DE and falls to the ground; a pulling Lewan(+2) improvises to pick him up. Shazier is in a lot of space and Toussaint can go either side of the Lewan block because it's at the LOS and Lewan is shoving the guy downfield; Shazier tries to maintain leverage, forces the cutback, and slips. I don't think the slip mattered; Toussaint(+2) was one step and gone upfield. Barnett can't close him down because he hesitated, thinking Denard might have it. RPS +3.
RUN+: Schofield, Molk(0.5), Omameh(0.5), Lewan(2), Toussaint(2) RUN-: Huyge
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 2
This is all about Simon. Schofield's(+0.5) guy gets upfield and is sealed away; Lewan(+0.5) gets downfield with alacrity to seal Shazier. Molk deals with the backside DT easily enough. There's Simon, unblocked, Koger on Sabino, and Hemingway(-1) on Moeller; Hemingway loses Moeller quickly to the outside and Toussaint has to cut upfield. Koger's block is okay; Simon plays this perfectly to get the handoff and still make the play on Toussaint on the cutback; he reaches out and spins him 360 with an arm tackle on the shoulder, allowing the safety to fill. I think Denard has to ride the mesh longer here to make Simon pick. He's the only guy who can deal with this.
RUN+: Schofield(0.5), Lewan(0.5) RUN-: Hemingway
O14 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle TE flat Koger 3
Nine guys tight to the line. Michigan runs PA because that's what they always do from this formation. Huyge(-2) inexplicably lets a DT go to block Shazier, DT pressures, Denard sidesteps. More guys come in now (Huyge whiffed on Shazier, too) but the threat of the run pulls Simon up and Koger is open on the sideline for a short catch and some YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, Huyge -2)
O11 3 5 Shotgun trips bunch 1 0 4 Okie Pass Drag Odoms 5
Three guys are sent up the middle; Molk and Hopkins pick up two. The last guy is unblocked as Schofield is blocking air with a DT dropping out. A guy is in Denard's face; he calmly hits Odoms on a drag route for the first. Ball is behind him but not too bad; Odoms gets hit by the safety and has to juggle and re-catch the ball as he goes to the ground. Tough, tough catch. (CA, 1, protection 0/2, team -2)
O6 1 G Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-5 umbrella Run Zone read dive Toussaint 0
Backside blitz sends contain DE Simon inside; Lewan(+1) blocks him. Koger, heading backside picks off the blitzer. Toussaint(-1) has a cut backside for six and misses it. Huyge(-1) has gotten shoved into the backfield and lost inside position on his DE; Toussaint bounces into a lot of trouble.
RUN+: Lewan RUN-: Toussaint, Huyge
O6 2 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even plus Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 6
DE upfield; obvious keep. Sabino heads outside for Hopkins, who he must be keying on to maintain leverage. Safety Johnson has no idea who has the ball and takes a step outside well after the mesh point. Huyge(+1) gets a good downfield block on Shazier, pancaking him; Omameh(+0.5) did enough with the playside DT, and Robinson(+1) strolls in. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 23-17, 3 min 2nd Q. Michigan gets the ball with little over a minute left inside their 20 and runs the clock out to end the half, then gets the opening kickoff in the second.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 8
DE is Hankins and he does not get upfield, so the handoff is made. Koger(+1) blocks Shazier, Omameh(+1) pulls and blocks Hankins, again leaving a rolled up safety one on one with Toussaint. Toussaint(+2) jukes him out of his jock with a jump cut reminiscent of his high school film. He's now on the edge; Sabino just manages to come around traffic to tackle with help from the corner, who chucked Hemingway upfield.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Koger, Omameh RUN-:
M28 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB power Robinson 3
Odoms in motion for an end around fake. Denard keeps and it's power. OSU blitzes. Omameh(+2) crushes blitzing MLB to the ground, removing him and destroying backside pursuit. Playside DT slides outside, creating a big hole in the middle. Unfortunately, Koger(-1) is assigned to him and can't deal with it. He peels off; both Schofield and Toussaint see him as a threat so he ends up taking three blockers. Simon is to the outside of this so it's not that bad but it does leave Johnson unblocked. Robinson has a lot of space and should probably try to jet straight upfield. Instead he goes with the bounce and Moeller tracks him down, but after he picks up the first.
RUN+: Omameh(2) RUN-: Koger
M31 1 10 Ace triple stack 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon 8
Hemingway blocks the near guy this time as eight OSU defenders are dealing with the zone fake. Odoms... heads inside. Argh. One of the two WRs has to go to the safety. Neither does. He's still about eight yards off on the catch and Gallon does juke him to the outside, but the delay allows other members of the secondary to fill, turning a potential big play into a decent one. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1.)
RUN+: Gallon RUN-: Odoms
M39 2 2 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 4
DE comes down so the give is made. Shazier heads outside to contain and is kicked by Hopkins(+0.5); Schofield(+0.5) comes around in time to bump the MLB. Zone stuff holds that DE inside long enough. Johnson is overhanging close to the LOS and fills quickly; Toussaint tries to bounce and Shazier closes him down. Johnson gets dinged, paving the way for Dominicoe.
RUN+: Hopkins(0.5), Schofield(0.5) RUN-:
M43 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even plus Run Triple option dive Toussaint 4
Or sort of anyway; Hopkins in motion on the speed and Toussaint runs after a handoff I bet a dollar is not a read. Toussaint sees nothing inside and bounces; Huyge(+0.5) did get the corner by not giving ground but this is not a slam dunk. Toussaint(+0.5) ducks under a Shazier tackle to turn a couple into a couple more.
RUN+: Huyge(0.5), Toussaint(0.5) RUN-:
M47 2 6 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Triple option keeper Robinson 5
Virtually the same play with Odoms coming in motion to replace Hopkins and a Denard pull. Not sure if this is a real read or not. Moeller blitzes off the edge; Koger pulls across, forcing him to delay but not actually getting a block. Robinson(+1) sees Lewan(+1) has shoved Simon down the line and shoots directly upfield, taking a shot from the MLB as he recovers from the playfake. Rolled up safety finishes it off short of the first, but very close.
RUN+: Lewan, Robinson RUN-:
O48 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB power Robinson 3
Odoms motion, fake jet sweep action. Lewan(+1) and Schofield(+0.5) double the playside DT, busting him back and sealing him; Lewan then pops off to the second level. Molk(+0.5) gets an easy seal on a guy lined up outside of him. Robinson leaps over the prone DT Schofield is sitting on and gets it easily.
RUN+: Lewan, Schofield(0.5), Molk(0.5) RUN-:
O45 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass PA TE seam Koger 26
Blitz off the slot draws Lewan and leaves Schofield(-1) with Simon; Simon gets a dangerous rush. All for naught as Koger drives past Shazier after a not particularly convincing fake and Robinson lofts a perfect touch pass to him for a big gain. (DO, 3, protection ½, Schofield -1, RPS +1.) Shazier is in good position here but the throw is very good; need to make that fake better.
O19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB sweep Robinson 6
End around fake to Odoms as Molk and Schofield pull outside of Lewan and Koger. Lewan(+1) eliminates his DT. Koger almost loses Simon but manages to push him past the play as he threatens to TFL. OSU flows well to the play; Toussaint(+0.5) kicks out one LB and Schofield(+0.5) gets the MLB but those two have made creases difficult to find. Molk is also running at this situation; both he and Denard run up the back of Schofield and lurch the pile forward for a decent gain.
RUN+: Lewan, Schofield(0.5), Robinson(0.5), Toussaint(0.5) RUN-:
O13 2 4 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-5 umbrella Pass Triple option pitch Odoms -7
Moeller moves late to the edge and blitzes off the corner, which forces a pitch from Robinson about a half second after the mesh point. The pitch is wildly off. I'm not sure why he kept; having that guy coming off the edge is bad news even if the pitch is completed and the handoff is the move.
RUN-: Robinson(2)
O20 3 11 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Dig Odoms 20
OSU gergs it, dropping Simon into a short zone and attempting to rush with three DTs (Hankins is still playing DE). With Hopkins protecting that's doubles for everyone and a billion years in the pocket. Robinson surveys and finally throws a dart to Odoms in between four defenders, two of whom derp each other, allowing Odoms the last three yards for the touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 3/3) Replay.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 30-24, 9 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Sprint counter Toussaint 1
Molk(+1) buries the NT. This has the unfortunate effect of taking out Schofield's legs from behind and freeing Hankins to flow down the line. Omameh(-1) whiffs on Sabino on the second level. Huyge(-1) is in a stalemate with the playside DE, who successfully forces the play back inside as Huyge kicks Shazier. Hankins whiffs as Toussaint jukes; Sabino makes the play. Somewhat unfortunate.
RUN+: Molk RUN-: Huyge, Omameh
M10 2 9 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel over Run QB draw Robinson 10
This screams QB draw but OSU can't do much about it. I assume this is a draw but the receivers mostly go into routes; Odoms is the only guy mountain goating up. Michigan doubles the NT and runs at the gap between that guy and the DE as OSU shifts their line; when neither of those guys fights into the gap it opens up wide. Huge room and Shazier can't close the space down. RPS +1.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh(0.5), Huyge(0.5) RUN-:
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel over Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 22
Omameh(+0.5) kicks the playside DT easily as he slants. DE and Shazier have to go out for the fake; Sabino picks up a hypothetical -2 by not being in the hole; he goes for Toussaint as well and this opens up huge. Huyge(+1) gets a downfield block on the filling safety. Schofield again goes for the DE; not sure I understand this but it seems like that is the way it's coached. Robinson(+2) jets for the secondary, getting a good block from Roundtree(+1) downfield. RPS +1.
RUN+: Robinson(2), Omameh(0.5), Molk(0.5), Roundtree, Huyge RUN-:
M42 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Triple option dive Toussaint 3
Hopkins motions as the pitch guy. Definitely good decision to hand as a LB is scraping over and they've brought Moeller off the slot. Huyge has a tough job as OSU aligns their playside DE inside of him and scrapes Shazier over the top of that, so the DE gets penetration and the bounce is not there. With Schofield(-1) getting busted back by Hankins there is no room; Toussaint(+0.5) wisely just burrows straight upfield, which gets Michigan a few yards when the pile is shoved forward.
RUN+: Toussaint(0.5) RUN-: Schofield
M45 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA rollout out Dileo 4
Robinson's throwing on the move to his left, which is awkward, and leaves this ball short and upfield. It's catchable but Dileo is taken off his feet and denied the chance to turn upfield for a shot at the first down; probably third and one, though. (MA, 2, protection N/A)
M49 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even tight Pass Corner Grady Inc
Pure man from OSU with no one deeper than six yards. OSU sends two blitzers against five blockers, the second delayed, and there is obviously a free guy. Molk blocks both, actually, letting the initial blitzer go as Shazier comes. Not much he could do. No one is open, really—he could try Hemingway on a hitch and rely on him to box out his defender, but he's stopped and covered—and he tosses a corner route to Grady that's OOB. Torn between IN, TA, PR here. I guess it's (IN, 0, protection ½, team -1) but this is about as understandable of an IN as you can have. I also wonder about these routes. You know you're getting man, so a slant or a drag maybe? Hemingway had an opportunity to pick the guy covering Hopkins's flare but did not. RPS –1.
Drive Notes: PUNT DISASTER, 30-24, 1 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun triple stack 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sweep Robinson 3
Odoms in motion for end around fake. Simon does a good job of stringing out the edge here; Koger(-0.5) cannot get a handle on him. This really slows things up and makes for a lot of people in the area when decision time comes. Simon does end up falling and Schofield is moving out; I think Denard makes a bad cut here as Toussaint(+0.5) got a good kick and the charging safety is coming up inside of Schofield; if he follows his lead guy he will burrow for decent yardage. Instead he cuts behind and gets tackled just past the LOS, almost losing the ball. Tough read in a brief window, but still lost yardage.
RUN+: Toussaint(0.5) RUN-: Koger(0.5), Robinson(0.5)
M28 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle deep out Hemingway 20
No real play action fake, just Denard spinning around to the outside as Schofield pulls to provide some edge protection. Simon dives inside and Schofield has an easy time kicking the contain-concerned LB upfield. Denard pulls up and finds a wide open Hemingway about 20 yards downfield. Better thrown ball picks up a bunch of YAC; at this depth that's the difference between a DO and (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1). You can argue Denard is throwing the safe ball here and I get you.
M48 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone stretch Toussaint 11
Oh argh argh. Perfect time to call this as OSU sends a blitzer straight up the middle who Molk(+2) seals and disposes of. Backside guys are slanting outside and not useful; Omameh(+1) gets a seal on the other linebacker, who was almost moving away from the playside. Hankins is pushing hard to the the playside and forces it back inside, into the cavern just described. Lewan has a block on Moeller on the edge but Toussaint(+1) can't cut upfield and back outside quick enough to not bang into it; he stumbles a bit. Grady(-0.5) loses his block downfield and Hopkins(-1) doesn't block the safety, instead going to double the player Hemingway already has. Toussaint is stumbling forward when the corner and safety converge on him. RPS +2; Michigan was a block and a half from one BILLION yards.
RUN+: Molk(2), Omameh, Toussaint RUN-: Hopkins, Grady(0.5)
O41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson 10
Robinson delayed by a stunt that gets Hankins thrumbling his way into the backfield. OL does a reasonable job with it and the stunt does open up a big running lane once Robinson(+1) gets around it, so RPS push. Omameh(+1) deals with the other DT well, holding his block a long time. Molk's looking around for someone to block and finds no one; Shazier beats Toussaint thanks to the delay but is delayed himself; Denard runs through his arm tackle attempt. Safety fills near the sticks. Hemingway(+1) gets a  great, extended block on his guy. RPS +1 overall.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh, Hemingway RUN-: Toussaint(0.5)
O31 2 In I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 5 + 13 Pen
Line slants away from the play; Schofield(+1) buries the playside DT. Hankins has slid inside and blows up Omameh(push, he is not expecting to deal with a cutback and gets on the wrong side) but the Schofield block means Toussaint(+1) can cut behind that easily. He picks up the first, at which point unblocked dudes converge since Toussaint has cut away from his blocking. Shazier rips his head off for 15 more. RPS +1
RUN+: Toussaint, Schofield RUN-:
M13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Zone read keeper Robinson 3
Cover zero with man. Michigan lets Hankins go and Koger(+1) flares out on Shazier, eventually pancaking him. When Hankins gets too aggressive Denard pulls. Good decision but Lewan moves to the second level and ends up blocking no one because his assumption is he's walling the defender off from the zone. Robinson ends up tackled by both those guys in space.
RUN+: Koger RUN-:
M10 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper   6
Simon comes HARD off the edge, unblocked, and crushes Toussaint in the mesh point. Denard pulls at the last second a la MSU 4th down conversion. Robinson gets bumped, too, and instead of heading straight upfield into open space he has to orbit around this mess. Shazier comes underneath a block; Robinson runs past him, jersey tugged but not enough. He cuts behind Roundtree(+1) blocking a DB and gets chopped down by the last man, Barnett. Dang, Denard(+3). Hemingway did a good job of moving on to another DB after Shazier got upfield, creating some of that space Denard used.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Hemingway, Roundtree RUN-:
M4 3 1 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Pass Waggle TE corner Koger 4
Hopkins and Toussaint offset, in a semi-pro-style thing. Michigan runs a deeply bizarre play action fake with OL blocking like it's a sweep and Toussaint coming in a counter motion; Koger releases downfield and is wide open for six. Confusion. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 37-27, 8 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Sweep Toussaint 2
Unbalanced. M tries to pull Molk and Schofield; Hankins goes straight upfield and removes Molk from the play while simultaneously forcing Toussaint outside. Koger(-1) is on Simon and Simon swims past him; Toussaint can only run to the corner. He does well to get a couple yards. RPS -1.
RUN-: Koger
M22 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass Rollout corner Dileo 28
M gets the corner, at least enough. Denard pulls up and fires as Sabino starts rushing at him, finding Dileo just breaking open in front of the safety and hitting him in the safest place possible; Dileo has to make a tough catch to bring the ball in. NFL all around. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint -1
Only six in the box and this should be money. Not so much. With the TE to the same side as the RB, this is a situation in which a cutback is your primary read off the handoff; since it's made the DE is upfield and since Omameh(+1) got a good block on the backside DT it's there. Toussaint(-2) cuts to the wrong side of Schofield, robs Molk of his blocking angle, and gets swarmed. Denard even cuts the backside DE! Cut back, Fitz!
M49 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson 16
Shazier blitzes and is picked up by Hopkins(+1). Hankins is sliding into the lane; Molk(+1) blocks him into Schofield(+0.5) and then releases. Denard(+1) into the second level. He sets up Molk's downfield block and glides to an easy first down. RPS +1.
O37 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 20
Moeller over the slot, leaving just two LBs and the overhang corner plus a safety in the area. Omameh(+2) and Huyge(+2) destroy the playside DT. Molk(+1) throws Hankins to the ground. This plus a good read from Toussaint and the OSU LBs flowing hard to the intended hole gives a cutback lane that is hit with authority; Lewan(+1) walled off Simon on the backside with help from Denard's waggle motion. Toussaint into the secondary, where he's barely roped down.
RUN+: Toussaint, Lewan, Omameh(2), Huyge(2) RUN-:
O17 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 2
Well blocked but eighth guy in the box plus power from the I equals bad. Koger(+0.5) flares out on Moeller; Schofield(+1) seals Hankins; Omameh(+1) makes a much better pull, getting to the hole as fast as possible, getting a block on Sabino. Hopkins(+0.5) kicks Simon and this should work except for the unaccounted-for safety. RPS -1.
RUN+: Koger(0.5), Hopkins(0.5), Koger (0.5), Schofield. RUN-:
O15 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB power Robinson 11
Odoms end around fake. OSU has two LBs at the LOS and they blow themselves out of the play. Toussaint(+1) takes on a charging, unblocked Simon at exactly the right spot and shoves him out of the play upfield. Koger(+1) and Lewan(+1) donkey Hankins. Schofield(+1) seals blitzing Shazier. Denard has all of the room. Omameh(+1) gets a good block on the safety; Robinson cuts to the wrong side of that block and turns this from a TD into not quite a TD. I am not that mad since he plows inside the five. Push there. RPS +1.
RUN+: Omameh, Lewan, Koger, Toussaint, Schofield RUN-:
O4 1 G Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Goal line Run QB power Robinson -1
A massive pile of bodies. Hankins beats Koger(-1) upfield. Schofield gets slanted under. A blitzing LB gets past Molk and takes out the pulling Omameh, removing any cutback lanes. Hopkins(-0.5) should pound the dude Schofield has sort of lost and helped the burrowing, but it's pretty much a lost cause by then. RPS -1.
RUN-: Koger, Hopkins(0.5)
O5 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power off tackle Toussaint 5
NT slants outside and live I thought this was Toussaint making a great play; it's not, its Schofield(+2) reacting to push the slanting NT past the play. Toussaint(+1) does cut past the problem smoothly, but it's Schofield adjusting that makes this. With the NT gone it's Molk(+1) owning a blitzing LB and Huyge(+1) getting a downfield block on Shazier that gets Toussaint into the endzone. Sort of, anyway. There are two angles, one of which is obviously out and one of which is obviously in. SURPRISE: it's based on the angle of the camera. Refs -2.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield(2), Toussaint, Huyge RUN-:
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Bootleg Robinson 1 (pen -25!)
This gets the corner; Omameh(-2) does hold the guy on the edge. Watson does plug this guy. I kind of wish they just did the QB sneak. The downside there is nil. RPS -1.
RUN-: Omameh(2)
O25 3 G Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Throwaway Roundtree Inc
I'm surprised this is a throw instead of free ten yards given the situation, but they go for it; Robinson has no one except maybe a check down and is being pursued so he just chucks it OOB. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(42), 40-34, 2 min 4th Q


All of the points. Michigan had not scored that many points against Ohio State since a 58-6 whipping by Fritz Crisler and company in 1946. If you give the safety to the defense 2006 beats it and 2000 ties it, but then you've got the whole touchdown fiasco.

And what's more, that was a short game. Michigan had only ten drives. None of them were turnover-spawned and many of them were long. Michigan put up 460 yards of offense. Against Ohio State. In ten drives.

How did this happen?

Remember the 2005 Rose Bowl, when Michigan felt the wrath of Vince Young? While Young did put up 192 rushing yards what lost Michigan the game was the invincible robot going 16 of 28 for 180 yards in the air.

Invincible robot chart?

Invincible robot chart.

[Hover over column headers for explanation of abbreviation. Screens are in parens.]

2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? 44%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - 71%
Michigan State 4 14(3) 1 7(1) 1 - - 2 2 68%
Iowa 1 11(3) 2 3(1) 2 - 1 - - 64%
Illinois 4 9(1) 1 4 1 3 1(1) - - 60%
Purdue 2 12(1) 1 3 1 1 1 3 - 68%
WMU '11 - 6(1) 4 3 1 - - - 1 56%
Notre Dame '11 6 7(1) 1 6(1) 5 1 1 1 - 50%
EMU '11 1 10(1) - 5 1 - 1 1 1 59%
SDSU '11 - 10(2) - 4 2 1 - 1 - 53%
Minnesota '11 1 13(3) 1 3 1 - - - - 73%
Northwestern '11 4 12(3) 1 7 2 - - - 1 59%
MSU '11 1 8(1) 4(1) 6 5 - 1 7 1 40%
Purdue '11 1 7(1) - 1 2 1 - 2 - 66%
Iowa '11 2 21 2 7 1 - 3(1) 2 - 69%
Illinois '11 1 4(1) 1 2 - 1(1) - 1 1 66%
Nebraska '11 1 12(3) - 2 2 1 1(1) 1 3 66%
Ohio State '11 3 10(3) 2 1 - 2 - - 1 77%

Lethal, lethal, lethal. His one IN was a corner route thrown to Grady on a third and medium when everyone was covered and he had an unblocked blitzer coming up the middle. His two MAs were completions. His DOs were fantastic. Finding Odoms on third and eleven was the best:

He sees that linebacker vacate his zone to chase Hemingway and lasers it in. Pray this is a consistent thing.

Meanwhile in open versions of Hemingway:

Various Buckeyes on twitter bemoaned the fact that Denard missed Koger so badly that he hit Hemingway, which is laughable, man.

Robinson dealt with a lot of pressure effectively, scooting out for a scramble and calmly hitting Odoms for a critical third down conversion in the redzone. There is nothing to criticize in his passing this game. You know what that performance warrants? The "Denard Robinson killed Tacopants" tag.

So… we have a pattern now. In the beginning of the year Denard had no idea what to do with this passing offense and his lack of comfort screwed up his mechanics. As he progressed and Borges adapted to his strengths the comfort level rose and he hit a plateau of totally acceptable performances before lighting up OSU. The progress is undeniable. He'll regress a bit against VT but if he nudges his DSR above 70% it's time to quietly hope he can have a ridiculous career capping year in 2012.

The best part of going 14/17 for ten YPA? Three QB draws for 10, 10, and 16 yards. Run and tell that, homeboy. If Denard is the QB he became after the trash tornado game, look out: 59% completions, 7-4 TD-INT, 8.4 YPA against Purdue/Iowa/Illinois/Nebraska/OSU translates into… I don't even know what.

Yea, and we looked unto his serene face and praised him.

So the big chart is the big chart and you are going to be skipping to the last bit:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 9.5 1 8 Effective against DTs, mostly, also getting to the second level.
Schofield 9.5 4.5 5 Fortunate to have a sixth OL as competent as this.
Molk 10 1 9 Great day picking up blitzing LBs.
Omameh 15 4 11 Has picked it up late.
Huyge 7 3 4 Had some issues but hardly a weak link.
Barnum - - - DNP
Moore - 1 -1 Heir apparent next year.
Watson - - - DNP
Koger 5.5 5.5 0 Simon was a tough matchup.
TOTAL 56.5 20 65% Slight step back from Nebraska but still a quality day. Very little penetration yielded.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 16.5 8.5 8 A bunch of awesome and then two fumbles and a bad pitch.
Gardner - - -  
Toussaint 12.5 4.5 8 Step back from his 18(!) last week but consistently a playmaker.
Shaw - - - DNP
Smith - - - Did not register; did get a critical Mountain Goat.
Hopkins 2 2.5 -0.5 Bit of an off day.
Rawls - - - DNP
McColgan - - - Did not register.
TOTAL 31 14.5 16.5 Two! Two fantastic runners. AH AH AH
Player + - T Notes
Hemingway 2 1 1  
Odoms - 1 -1  
Gallon 3 1 2 Key block on long Denard TD.
Roundtree 3 - 3  
Grady 0.5 1.5 -1 --
Jackson - - -  
Dileo - - - --
TOTAL 8.5 4.5 4 Solid.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 21 10 68% Team 4, Huyge 3, Robinson(!) 1, Schofield 1, Hopkins 1
RPS 19 7 12 BAM

The inverted veer tore Ohio State up and Borges got good mileage out of the throwback screen. There were plenty of open receivers and Borges pulled out some old staples that had been put in the barn for a while: the sprint counter and PA TE seam picked up huge chunks on Michigan touchdown drives. He even got an easy flip into the endzone on play action.

I want to focus on what happened in the fourth quarter. After the punt disaster Michigan gets the ball back on their own 20 up three points. Their drive goes like so:

  1. QB sweep for 3
  2. Waggle action rollout to deep, uncovered Hemingway for 20
  3. Zone stretch for 11
  4. QB draw for 10
  5. I-Form power for 5 on second and inches
  6. Zone read keeper for 3
  7. Inverted veer keeper for 6
  8. Waggle TE corner for 4 yards and a TD

These are all different; OSU had not seen plays 2, 3, 5, or 8. On second and medium in the fourth up three, Borges throws the ball downfield. On the next play he RPS+2s OSU by running a stretch against a linebacker blitz up the middle. A few plays later he does it again. Remember how we were talking about the Boise State "just plays" philosophy? The TD was that incarnate.

So you've got this pro-set sweep thing with counter something something and what the hell is going on? Michigan hasn't aligned in that formation all year. It hasn't run anything like that all year. There is nothing for the defense to key on. They have no idea what's happening in front of them and end up so mesmerized Koger can declare his corner of the endzone Kevin Koger's Kogerland and hold elections without anyone noticing. President for life of Kevin Koger's Kogerland: Kevin Koger. First order of business: a motion to put six points on the board. Vote: unanimously in favor. Ratify that baby, Vice Exchequer Gibbons.

And then on the next drive Michigan gets the ball up three with seven minutes left; on second and eight Borges dials up the Dileo corner for 28 yards. Michigan marches down the field and coulda-shoulda-did put the game out of reach.

That continued aggression got Michigan ten points on drives starting from the 25 and 20 in the fourth quarter. Without it Michigan does not win this game.

How about that offensive line?

Hey, remember early in the year when everyone was saying they were overrated and Michigan was doomed? Yeah. No. While they too experienced a frustrating transition period, once they got their feet under them they helped rack up Michigan's massive rushing numbers.

Against OSU they were executing at a very high level; when they were defeated it was because Hankins and Simon are very good players, not because of anything poor they did. Sometimes when runs went backwards it was the tailback's fault, not theirs. They even broke a power big when Omameh and Huyge thumped a DT five yards backwards:

mmmmm grasss

Watch Omameh pull along the line and get to the hole way before Robinson:

That is how it's done, and that's night and day from Omameh's kind-of-sad attempts to pull earlier in the year. Compare and contrast the above with a similar QB power from the MSU game:

Funk has brought him a long way in a short time. I'm not sure if Omameh will ever have the size and strength Michigan wants in their guards but he's a hell of a lot better now.

They're not great all along the line like some of Michigan's units from a decade ago but combined with Robinson and Borges they've put up better numbers than anyone in 15 years. Molk is an all-timer at center, Lewan is still on the Jake Long track (and past the half-way point), and Schofield is going to be a very good three year starter. The right side is a little shakier but I don't think I'd trade for any line in the conference save Wisconsin. OSU's went out the window when Mike Adams got thrashed in pass protection two or three times.

What about that third and goal from the inch call?

That is the one thing I had an issue with. From that spot on the field I would sneak it 100% of the time since the chance of success is very high and the downside is a yard loss, if that*. Putting yourself on the edge exposes you to the possibility of negative events without a commensurate increase in success rates.

There was a second thing: once you're back on the 26 I'm just taking the free chunk of yards OSU will cede and setting up a chip shot field goal. The chances of actually scoring from the 26 are close to zero and the field goal from the 43 is not a gimme. Running for ten yards makes your FGA a lot less harrowing and strips OSU of its last timeout.

*[If you're thinking about Chad Henne's fumble against ND in 2005, you have to make the exchange on any call you make.]


Ah, yes. Those guys. Very strong day.

[Passes are rated like so: 0 = uncatchable, 1 = very difficult, 2 = moderately difficult, 3 = routine.]

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - - 2/2 11 0/2 8/9 22/25
Roundtree 1 - 1/1 - 12 2/7 6/8 9/10
Odoms 1 1/1 - 1/1 4 1/1 1/1 5/5
Grady 1 - - - 6 - 0/1 2/2
Gallon -


- 2/2 7 - 2/3 25/25
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - - 2/2 - - 0/2 4/5 3/3
Jackson - - - - - - 1/1 1/1
Koger - - - 4/4 6 1/3 3/4 14/15
Moore - - - - 2 - 1/1 -
Toussaint - - - 1/1 - - - 5/6
Shaw - - - - - - - 1/1
Smith - - - - 4 0/2 1/1 7/8
Hopkins - - - - 2 - - 1/1
McColgan - - - - 1 - - 1/1

100% on catchable balls with a 1 and three 2s. They were money.

Have you ever felt personally taunted by a college coordinator?

Not until last Saturday.

/shakes fist at Borges
/looks at above RPS numbers
/sheepishly ceases fist-shaking
/makes a golden idol or something

So what was with the pulling guards blocking optioned guys on the inverted veer?

I thought this was a mistake due to a lack of reps, but like Troy Woolfolk jumping short routes it happened with such consistency that it eventually became clear it was no mistake. Tyler Sellhorn has a possible explanation:

Dear Brian,

I think Schofield and Omameh were coached to block the DE. Hoke/Borges do not like leaving unblocked defensive linemen out there. A famous unattributed coaching axiom that I am sure that Hoke/Borges believe in is: "First level defenders cause fumbles, second level defenders make tackles." To me, this is the "MANBALL" component of M's "option" game.  True power running game people think like that.  I think that is the reason there have been fewer really long runs (the second level has been blocked less consistently this season). 

This is one philosophical difference: RR's first thought always was, "How can we dick with the safeties to get big yards when we break through the line", Hoke/Borges first thought is "How can we dick with the DL so they are less aggro (in run and pass situations) and we don't ever have a negative play." Both work well as we have seen.

Tyler Sellhorn

To me it's weird that you'd option a guy off and still block him, but we saw Denard keep on the inverted veer five times and these were the results:

  1. WOOPS unblocked Sabino in the hole and gets to the sideline for 42-yard TD.
  2. Does not WOOP unblocked Johnson in the hole, gains two yards.
  3. DE flies way upfield, Hopkins takes Shazier outside without having to block him, Schofield moves to second level to block Johnson, six yard TD.
  4. Sabino blows his assignment and heads out on Toussaint. Pulling G blocks DE.
  5. Simon annihilates mesh point, Robinson pulls and miracles his way into six yards.

We can't glean anything from #5 since it did not go as intended. On three of the other four the pulling guard blocked the optioned DE. On the other, he got to the second level. Why? My theory is because there was no one else on the edge but the DE. On the other runs OSU ran blitzes that forced Hopkins to block guys other than the DE, who was then in a position to make a play on the ball, hypothetically, and received the attention of the pulling G. On the six yard TD the DE flew upfield to contain Toussaint and the puller moved on.


Nobody. The only bad things to happen on the day were Denard's fumbles.


Everybody. Denard, Molk, Omameh, Lewan most of all.

What does it mean for Virginia Tech and the future?

It means we're going to be disappointed when Michigan does not execute flawlessly in the Sugar Bowl.

It also hints at fantastic things for next year. If Denard can maintain that level of play in the air the offense goes from dang good but inconsistent to


Can he? Well… probably not. We've got a lot more evidence pointing the other way. But you can't rule out something like the last five games, if not a little better, over the whole of 2012. That would be a great offense if they can just keep every single offensive lineman healthy throughout the whole year and find a tight end. And figure out what life without David Molk is like. So… some questions, but so much promise.


Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs UMass

Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs UMass Comment Count

Brian September 23rd, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Formation notes: Nothing unusual from Michigan. UMass did not appear to do any substitution, staying in a 4-3 the entire game. They did occasionally shift their front to a 3-4, for what it's worth. This was usually what M went up against, with the standup DE sometimes up, sometimes down:


Substitution notes: The only major change is the one you've already heard plenty about: Taylor Lewan came in on the second series of the first half at left tackle and played the remainder of the game. Shaw and Smith again got all the RB snaps. Junior Hemingway came back and rotated in regularly; you could consider him a co-starter with Odoms and Stonum if you want. The slots were the same rotation between Roundtree, Grady, and Robinson.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 1
Correct handoff with two guys watching Robinson. Schilling(-1) and Omameh(-1) both get beaten by their OL, forcing Smith outside and allowing UMass time to shuck blocks; he's eventually run down by three guys. (ZR+1)
RUN+ RUN- Schilling, Omameh
M35 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Skinny post Roundtree Inc
Linebackers bite without so much as a run fake and the OL locks out four rushers, giving Robinson a ton of time to throw. He stares down Roundtree, allowing one safety to come underneath his pass as he tosses it. He deflects the ball and the other guy, badly beaten by Roundtree, picks it off. This is exactly what happened on the pass Te'o broke up against ND: Roundtree is open for a TD but Robinson throws it on a line, allowing an underneath defender to bat it. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 9
Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) crush the playside DT backwards so far the MLB gets caught in the wash; Shaw gets a meh but good enough block on the SLB and Robinson has a crease he takes for near first down yardage.
RUN+ Molk, Omameh, Robinson RUN-
M16 2 1 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 5
We're watching OSU beat up Ohio. Thanks, BTN, I hate you. It was a short completion to Roundtree for the first. Guess: (CA, 3, protection 1/1) It's taken off the board with an illegal substitution penalty.
M21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Shaw 6
UMass shifts the line and uses the slot LB to the field side as a blitzer; correct handoff with the weakside LB scrape exchanging with the blitzer. Molk(+1), Schilling(+1), and Omameh(+1) completely destroy the NT and the single MLB, opening up a ton of room for a potential big gainer; Shaw does not perceive the backside guy and heads upfield before cutting out into the space, which gives the blitzer an angle to tackle from behind. He does get upfield quickly and drag the tackler, FWIW. (ZR+1)
RUN+ Molk, Omameh, Schilling RUN-
M27 2 4 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Yakety OMG Roundtree 73 (pen -5)
Get to this play late, too. This is Michigan's double screen play; Robinson fumbles the snap, then improvises, chucking it deep to Roundtree, who got open behind everyone just as he gets crushed; Roundtree jets for the endzone. It comes back for two separate penalties: not getting set before the play and Schilling ending up a few yards downfield. I thought you got some leeway with the latter, not that it matters. Uh... (CA+, 3, protection NA)
M22 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA circle TRob Inc + 15 pen
Half-roll after the zone fake and Robinson wings it too high for TRob on a pass that would have gained maybe five and then gotten him blown up. He still gets blown up and UMass gets a penalty for going helmet to helmet against a defenseless receiver. From the stands this looked pretty bad, FWIW. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
M37 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA slant Odoms 16
Zone read fake and then a bubble fake and then Michigan hits the slant behind it; UConn in tight man so Odoms has very little room in front of good coverage; Robinson zings it in right on the money. I'm still in a bit of disbelief when he does stuff like this. (DO, 2, protection NA)
O47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson -1
Robinson gives a hard count and appears to get UMass offside but no call. The SLB blitzes with great timing at the snap, coming through the line, picking off the lead blocker, and forcing Robinson to cut to the backside of the play, where everything falls apart because the blocking angles are busted. (RPS-1)
O48 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flat TRob Inc
Curl-flat combination against man; Robinson reads it right and hits TRob about three yards downfield with plenty of room to turn it up; TRob drops it. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O48 3 11 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Fly Grady 43
With the safeties rolled up and a linebacker transparently in man on Grady this is a pretty easy read for Robinson. UMass loads up and sends six, with an unblocked guy coming right up the middle. Robinson steps back to give himself just enough time and chucks a 40-yard pass that basically hits Grady in stride; Grady brings in an over-the-shoulder catch and stumbles at the five. Super impressive. (DO+, 2, protection 1/3, team -2)
O5 1 G Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 4
Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) seal the playside DT and Omameh has an easy job of sealing the MLB since he's running up behind said DT. Dorrestein(+1) locks out the DE and it's Shaw one on one with a safety in a ton of space; he makes a good cut and falls forward to the goal line.
RUN+ Omameh, Molk, Dorrestein RUN-
O1 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Iso Shaw 1
Hurray touchdown. Molk and Omameh blow up the same DT; McColgan gets a good block on the LB, and it's easy.
RUN+ Molk, Omameh, McColgan RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-3, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back H-back 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 20
We get to watch Smith not have the ball as Robinson(+3) beats a DE set up to contain him, then beats a safety to the outside, then gets a good block from Odoms(+1) to the corner. This ends 20 yards downfield. We don't even get a replay. WOO BTN. I'd ZR-1 this but it kind of went 20 yards.
RUN+ Robinson(3), Odoms RUN-
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack ? -7
Looks like they're going with the zone read fake to seam combo and looks like they have Roundtree wide open; Robinson bobbles the snap and gets sacked by the blitzing LB. Not charted. This is all on Robinson; snap was perfect.
O47 2 17 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 7
Stunt opens this up big time and this could go for a lot of yards if not for a great reaction from the MLB and Molk(-1) whiffing the block, allowing said MLB to come around and make a diving ankle tackle. (RPS+1)
RUN+ RUN- Molk
O40 3 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Sack ? -6
Robinson rolls out. UMass is blitzing a LB from that side of the field and scrapes another guy; first LB is picked up by Smith but there's no one to block the second. A pump fake from Robinson gets the guy in the air but he manages to crunch DR for an impressive sack. (PR, 0, protection NA, RPS-1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Zone read bubble Roundtree 5
First time this year they've actually thrown this, as Robinson pulls the ball with apparently no contain. A safety is coming up hard as the scraper though (first time I've seen that) and Robinson bails out into the bubble, which gets a few. (CA, 3, screen)
M21 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB off tackle Robinson 16
Opens up big as UMass slants the wrong way. Koger(+1) crushes the playside DE out of the play on a down block as Dorrestein pulls around. Shaw(+1) kicks out a LB, Dorrestein(+1) does the same, and Schilling(+1) shields the MLB out of the play. Omameh(-1) got turned around on the same guy and did not move to the safety, which is probably the only thing preventing a touchdown here. (RPS +1)
RUN+ Robinson, Koger, Schilling, Dorrestein, Shaw RUN- Omameh
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 8
Not a read this time but does come with the zone fake. Stonum(+1) gets a great cut block, opening up the edge; Roundtree can probably get more than he does if he just runs up the sideline. (CA, 3, screen)
M45 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Flare Shaw 5
Snag concept minus the corner route, but the same slant/flare combo we saw a lot earlier this year. This time Robinson should probably hit the slant but chooses the flare, which he impressively drops over a retreating DE and right to Shaw, who has to deal with a LB charging at him immediately. He spins by for the first. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB stretch Robinson 8
Playside DE crushed back by Huyge(+1) and gets caught in wash behind Koger's(+1) block of the slot LB. With those guys giving ground the outside is where it's at and Robinson takes it out there, where Shaw(+1) takes out that playside LB once and for all and gives Robinson the corner.
RUN+ Shaw, Huyge, Koger RUN-
O42 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 0
DE has contain and doesn't crash so I guess this is a correct read but I'd like to see Denard pull since he's got a ton of space and can probably pwn this guy. But technically correct. So Shaw gets it. Interior line does its usual blow-back job on the interior UMass line but Dorrestein(-1) gets slanted inside of; no hole. Shaw(-1) should just run up the backs of the interior OL on second and two but attempts to spin by the backside DE and gets swallowed.
RUN+ Molk, Omameh, Schilling RUN- Robinson, Shaw, Dorrestein
O42 3 2 ? ? ? QB off tackle Robinson 17
Guh: let's watch a play from last week instead of one from this week. On replay we get some details, but the replay is a field-level view. PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH. Anyway: downblock and Omameh pulls around. Shaw(+1) gets a good block on the edge, as does Odoms(+1) and the corner is assured. No idea about the line. (RPS+1)
RUN+ Shaw, Odoms, Robinson RUN-
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 5
Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) crush the playside DT, providing a crease, with Omameh getting out on a LB and attempting to seal him to one side only to see Smith cut behind the block. Dorrestein has only done an OK job on the backside DT, who tackles. Smith(-1) could have done better here.
RUN+ Molk, Schilling RUN- Smith
O20 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith -1
UMass slants under the blocking (RPS -1), with Molk(-1) completely whiffing a DT and getting Smith nailed in the backfield. Handoff seems okay. Run minus: Molk(2)
O21 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA rollout Roundtree Inc
Rollout cuts off most of the field and a charging DE gets cut off by Schilling but still eliminates the outside and forces Robinson to pull up and throw to Roundtree, open-ish in the endzone but covered by the safety; he makes an excellent play to break it up. (CA+, 0, protection 1/1) I guess he got there a tiny bit early but i would hate it if this was called PI if I was a neutral fan.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(39), 7-10, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Stonum 67
This is mostly set up by the coverage, which is tight man on the edges. This gives Grady(+1) an easy block of the corner. Omameh(+1) comes out to plant the safety, Molk(+1) was out fast enough to make the MLB come upfield of him despite slipping, and Stonum(+3) has the speed to just plain outrun the one remaining deep safety, running through a tackle as he goes. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-17, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Run QB draw Robinson 4
Opens up big time with UMass only rushing three and dropping everyone else. Grady(+1) gets a good block on a LB; he sets up outside to keep contain. Omameh and Schilling end up double-teaming another linebacker; there's a crease between them and one UMass player trying to fill it, but Robinson slips as he tries to cut and eats the turf.
RUN+ Grady, Omameh RUN- Turf
M49 2 6 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Hemingway 36
Three man rush is stoned by the OL; Robinson has all day to find Hemingway, who got deeper than the first wave and then cut inside about twenty-five yards downfield in front of the safety. Denard hits him in the numbers with perfect timing and Hemingway can pick up some YAC because of a poor angle by a safety. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O15 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA circle Grady 6
Looks like cover two and this is either a checkdown or a missed read, but the timing's good enough for Grady to pick up five, though he doesn't get OOB. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O9 2 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Grady Inc
Molk(-1) fails to cut the UMass DT here and he leaps to bat it down; probable touchdown otherwise. (BA, 0, protection 0/1, Molk -1)
O9 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Circle Stonum 9
Confusing set of routes here since Grady is running another circle and Stonum is doing the same thing except deeper. I don't know if I've seen this before. Stonum's route gets the CB to bite to the inside a bit, at which point he looks at Robinson and loses the plot; Robinson nails Stonum (but not before the ball flashes by Grady, who gets tackled and momentarily makes me think this is a disaster) for a touchdown. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-17, EO1H.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
Only six guys in the box so Michigan naturally tries the lead draw since they hypothetically have no one to defend it. The UMass LB to the playside makes a great play to shoot into the backfield and hit Shaw a yard behind the LOS, cutting off a hole and forcing Robinson to cut back behind him, where Huyge(-1) has gotten chucked by the DE. DE tackles, Robinson manages some YAC. (RPS –1)
M33 2 8 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Reverse Grady 15
Robinson stretch fake sucks six guys to the frontside and the playside LB hesitates. Shaw(+1) gets out on him to cut him. Dorrestein gets out and bothers but does not get a safety down; Stonum(+1) maintains a stalk block a long time, providing Grady an alley outside; safety runs him out. (RPS +2)
RUN+ Shaw, Stonum RUN-
M48 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 9
Correct handoff (ZR+1) with the DE maintain contain; Webb was headed outside to provide a lead block on a scraping LB if the DE crashed. MLB is charging inside to cut off holes; Huyge(+1) walls him off and pushes him far enough inside that Shaw(+1) can make a decisive cut behind the entire OL, in which there are no holes, and burst into the second level.
RUN+ Huyge, Shaw, Schilling RUN-
O43 2 1 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
Schilling and Molk(+1 each) crush the NT back; Huyge(+1) shoves the DE back a couple yards and cuts him off as he tries to slant inside. Robinson is cutting outside, but a weak block from Shaw(-1) on the edge gives his man an opportunity to hit Robinson. As he's being driven back he makes a pitching motion to Shaw, causing the entire stadium to go noooooo, so he doesn't.
RUN+ Schilling Molk, Huyge RUN- Shaw
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 7
TE is on the backside of the formation and blocks the DE out there so it appears Robinson is reading the playside LB. He comes inside, so he pulls (ZR+1). The slot LB comes in to provide belated contain; Robinson jukes upfield and darts behind downfield blocks from Webb(+1) and Huyge(+1)
RUN+ Webb, Huyge, Robinson RUN-
O33 2 3 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Shaw 33
The longish Shaw touchdown on which he comes to a complete stop in the hole despite there being an obvious lane in front of him. Schilling(+2) gets a driving, sealing block on an NT lined up well inside of him. Omameh(+1) fights off the DE to that side of the field; Molk(+1) gets a downfield block on the MLB and Webb(+1) stones a player coming off the edge that would have crushed Shaw because of his hesitation. When Shaw finally decides to run up in the gaping hole in front of him, he is fast and cruises into the endzone easily because the safety to his side of the field tore after a Robinson keeper or something. Can you minus a tailback on a 33-yard touchdown? (BTW: ZR+1; Denard had a guy blitzing directly at him.)
RUN+ Schilling(2), Molk, Omameh, Webb RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-17, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M6 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 4
Enter Taylor Lewan. UMass linebackers screaming downhill past the double of Schilling and Molk right in the frontside C-T gap. (RPS -1) On the backside Dorrestein(+1) gets enough of the backside DT to push him back and seal him, providing a tiny crease that Smith can dart into; that LB dives and ankle-tackles from behind, causing Smith to fall.
RUN+ Dorrestein RUN- Schilling
M10 2 6 Shotgun Twins 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 9
Omameh(+1) gets a reach block on the playside DT, opening up gap between himself and Webb(+1), who is crushing the DE out of the play. Dorrestein gets a free release. He walls off the playside LB(+1), but Smith(-1) does not get a good block on a crashing corner and he tackles, though Robinson runs through it for some bonus yards. Also: Taylor Lewan(+1) latched on to the backside LB and blocked him 15 yards downfield.
RUN+ Omameh, Webb, Dorrestein, Lewan RUN- Smith
M19 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB counter Robinson 4
Inside zone fake but this is not a read, it's just a called play. Playside DE slants between Lewan and Schilling without either of them picking up on it. Think this is on Lewan(-1) since its his third snap ever. This means there's an unblocked guy in the middle of the play and Robinson has to improvise, which he does by dodging the contain guy, getting out to the edge, and picking up a few by slinking past a corner.
RUN+ Robinson RUN- Lewan
M23 2 6 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA Fly Stonum 46
Michigan does a PA fake QB stretch and then Robinson pulls up after a slight roll. The playfake has erased the safety to Stonum's side of the field and the corner there is in tight man coverage. Ball is very slightly underthrown, which causes Stonum to slow up and should draw a PI flag on an early-arriving corner who's not even looking for the ball, but Stonum brings it in anyway. Maybe they throw it if he doesn't catch the ball? Anyway: this is a 40-yard deep ball and is accurate enough for the DO despite being a tiny bit short. If he can do this consistently, jebus. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Credit to the corner: this is pretty good coverage given the situation.
O31 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 4
Molk(+1) reaches the playside DT, sealing him off. Lewan(+1) has driven the playside DE back—something that has almost never happened on M stretches in the RR era, or for that matter the Carr era—so Koger and Smith head outside, where there should be green pastures except for Schilling(-1) essentially whiffing on the OLB, who reads the play and makes a great tackle as Smith approaches the LOS. I would so trade our MLBs straight up for theirs.
RUN+ Lewan, Molk RUN- Schilling
O26 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 11
UMass line is slanting to the right and pushing the LBs left to compensate, but Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) successfully control the playside DT and Lewan(+1) locks out the DE, giving Smith a lane and no linebackers. He takes it, but slips as the safety comes up and is not able to make the man miss.
RUN+ Lewan, Molk, Schilling RUN-
O15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 7
Complete obliteration of the same guy by Molk and Schilling(+1 each); Schilling then pops out on the playside LB. It's only a corner blitz that provides anyone who can stop this; Smith runs through a terrible shoulder block of a tackle(+1) to pick up good yardage. Lewan dangerously close to a holding call here.
RUN+ Molk, Schilling, Smith RUN-
O8 2 3 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 8
No contain so Robinson pulls(ZR+1) and then beats a late-reacting DE to the corner, zipping up between him, a corner, and a safety for the TD.
RUN+ Robinson(2) RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-17, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 50
UMass does pretty well on the frontside of the play but on the backside Lewan(+3) completely destroys a DT. Turns him into goo. Massive cutback lane seen and taken by Shaw(+1). Shaw then breaks a tackle(+1) and takes off, with Grady, Webb, and Robinson(!!!) acting as downfield convoy. Webb(+1) kills a DB but the cutback forced allows the playside DE to ankle-tackle Shaw. Robinson should have peeled back.
RUN+ Lewan(3), Shaw(2), Webb RUN-
O22 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 3
Another big cutback lane as Omameh(+1) shoves the backside DT well out of the play, but Smith(-1) does not cut back enough and ends up running directly into Omameh's guy.
RUN+ Omameh RUN- Smith
O19 2 7 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 8
This time it's Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) doubling and shoving back the playside DT with Lewan(+1) kicking out the DE. Schilling can't get out on the MLB and he and a crashing slot LB tackle.
RUN+ Lewan, Schilling, Molk RUN-
O11 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 7
Molk(+1) blasts the playside DT, this time not attempting to reach him but content with pushing him back. This provides a cutback lane as Schilling(+1) and Lewan(+1) scoop the backside DE and Schilling pops out on the WLB. Shaw(+1) makes a good cut but can't shake the safety.
RUN+ Lewan, Schilling, Molk, Shaw RUN-
O4 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 4
Frontside totally jammed up; Koger(+1) drives the backside DE far, far inside, giving Shaw(+1) a cutback lane he takes for the TD.
RUN+ Koger, Shaw RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-24, 12 min 4th Q. Michigan has passed once in the second half and I hadn't even noticed until this drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Inside zone Smith 1
Schilling(-1) does not dominate his man and there's no frontside crease; Smith(-1) misses a cutback lane behind Omameh, who got a decent block on the DT. Cutback open thanks to Dorrestein's(+1) excellent LB block and McColgan cutting off the backside DE.
RUN+ Dorrestein RUN- Schilling, Smith
M38 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 8
Heading way outside here. Koger(+1) gets enough of the playside DE to give the corner. Roundtree gets enough of a CB to force him inside; Jackson(-1) gets discarded by his guy but Robinson(+1) shoots past him and nears the first down.
RUN+ Koger, Robinson RUN- Jackson
M46 3 1 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Iso Smith -3
Unblocked backside LB blitzes and owns Smith in the backfield (RPS -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-30, 3 min 4th Q. Punt is blocked as Hagerup drops it.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 I-Form big 2 2 1 Base 4-4 Run Iso Shaw 7
Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) blow the NT off the ball, allowing Omameh to peel off on the MLB and giving Shaw a fairly large gap for a last-minute iso up the gut against a stacked line. He duly slams it up.
RUN+ Omameh, Molk, Shaw RUN-
O28 2 3 I-Form big 2 2 1 Base 4-4 Run Iso Shaw 2
Same deal, with Dorrestein more important since the play cuts back a little bit due to faster-reacting UMass LBs. Shaw does a crappy job of getting YAC here.
RUN+ McColgan, Dorrestein RUN- Shaw
O26 3 1 I-form big 2 2 1 Base 4-3 Run Iso Shaw 2
Hurray they get it runing behind Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1)
RUN+ Lewan, Schilling RUN-
Drive Notes: EOG, 42-37.

Now this looks like what should happen against a I-AA team minus those ever-increasing scores for the opposition in the drive notes section.

Yes. This probably would have been abandoned early if not for the defense's inability to get the Minutemen off the field. Michigan punted twice. The first time Robinson bobbled a snap and got sacked on a play that was wide open. The second came on a drive when they were just trying to run clock.

For a stretch in the second half they ran on 19 of 20 plays and I didn't even notice because those were three consecutive touchdown drives. Michigan threw once in the second half and put up 42 points that should have been 45 with a makeable field goal; it was a dominant performance after Robinson's oops-I-forgot-I'm-awesome-now interception.

It's just against a I-AA team, sure, but it is further confirmation that this offense looks like the best since Henson and Terrell were lighting it up in 2000. We won't be able to say for certain until they get through the Indiana-MSU-Iowa stretch.



Hennechart comes with a reminder that numbers in parens are screens!


2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? 44%
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2 68%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - 71%
UMass 4 10(3) - 1 1 - 1 1 - 73%

(I've added the Downfield Success Rate to the chart on the suggestion of a reader; hover over the column header for its definition.)

We all had a Letterman neck moment on that interception but Robinson recovered to have a very efficient day. The most important bit of his performance were the three deep balls to Grady, Stonum, and Hemingway. The first one was truly impressive since he had the footwork to hop a step back in the pocket, giving himself time to get the ball off:

Even after two games in which Robinson has established himself a quarterback who doesn't suck that's a stunning combo of poise, agility, and accuracy.

The second was a dead-on fly route of 40 yards; the third was Denard IDing a hole in zone coverage and throwing it to an area his WR would be in. All of that is advanced stuff, though standard quality of competition disclaimers etc. Another step forward in any case. Kid can throw:

He added one inaccurate pass to his brief gallery of misses but if those deep balls are hit consistently they take the offense from very good to napalm in cleats. Can this really keep up? As the weeks pass it becomes more and more likely. He is now 19th in passer efficiency against a tougher-than-average schedule.



This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum - - 1/1 2/2 1 - 2/3 10/10
Odoms - - 1/1 - - - 3/4 7/7
Hemingway - - 1/1 - - - 1/1 -
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree 2 - - 4/4 4 2/3 0/1 11/11
Grady - - 1/1 1/1 2 - 1/1 4/4
Robinson - 0/1 - 0/1 - 0/1 - 2/3
Stokes - - - - - - - -
Koger - - - - - - 1/2 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - - - - 0/1 4/4
Shaw - - - 1/1 1 0/1 0/1 2/2
Cox - - - - - - - -
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

Not a lot of action with the limited throws but the guys came through. Stonum catching that deep ball under duress is an encouraging item, and Grady pulling in an over-the-shoulder grab is also progress from last year. The other Robinson did have the receiving corps' first flat drop of the season. That's one in 43 opportunities. The receivers are officially exceeding expectations.

And PROTECTION METRIC: 15/18, Molk –1, Team –2.

Not much to see there.


Right, well, for the running stuff we need a—

Chart II?

Chart II.

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 4 1 3 In just over a half of play.
Lewan 9 1 8 Start the hype machine, yo.
Schilling 12 4 8 Bounce back from the meh ND performance.
Molk 15 3 12 Totally dominant as you would expect.
Omameh 11 2 9 Didn't pwn anyone downfield, still doing well.
Dorrestein 6 2 4 I might not be giving the tackles enough credit for locking out DEs.
Webb 4 - 4 Plus eight between the TEs is impressive.
Koger 4 - 4 Word.
TOTAL 65 13 52 Complete obliteration.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 11 1 10 Also check the ZR metric.
Gardner - - - DNP
Shaw 10 3 7 Didn't get a plus on the long TD but ran hard, found cutback lanes, and broke a couple tackles.
Smith 1 4 -3 Most of that is blocking but he did have some opportunities to pick up more yards than he has. I don't know if it's the injury but he certainly doesn't seem as agile as he did as a freshman. It's probably time to see some alternatives.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - BEEF MACHINE, but DNP.
McColgan 2 - 2 Functional.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 24 8 16 Shaw seems established as the #1.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum 5 - 5 Broke that screen for the TD.
Odoms 2 - 2 Goatman.
TRobinson - - - --
Roundtree - - - --
Grady 2 - 2
TOTAL 9 1 8 Also a –1 from Jackson
Zone Read 6 - 6 Dangerous for opponents if M and Robinson have figured out scrape responses.

Finally, the RPS number was 6-7=-1.

Those numbers don't seem that high to me; Michigan averaged 7.7YPC minus the kneeldown and Robinson's sacks (UMass was only credited with one but the bobbled snap play was a pass; in any case it's not representative of the line's performance). If you are averaging nearly 8 YPC and running 80% of the time your OL should come out +52 or so.

Another item in Robinson's development: no bad reads on the zone play except one he may have gotten away with but 1) gained 20 yards on and 2) faked out the BTN cameraman to the point where it's impossible to tell if he should have pulled or not. I'm a fan of the play where Michigan pulls the TE all the way around to the outside (detailed in a Tate picture page), which Michigan has been showing intermittently and will destroy the scrape exchange against teams who run it consistently. It's just a matter of time before Robinson rips into the secondary.

Well, then: Lewan?

I have to agree with the hype. Wow. This is his second snap from scrimmage:

"Hello. My name is Taylor Lewan. I am here to inform you that, while you believe you are a linebacker, you are actually a donkey. Let's go for a ride."

And then there's Shaw's 50-yarder:

"I hate you, donkey. Sincerely, Taylor Lewan."

The standard UMass disclaimers apply. However, you are in a good situation when a tackle who seems to be playing somewhere between adequately and well is getting pushed out of the lineup by a redshirt freshman who racks up a 9-1=8 in just under a half of play in his first extended playing time. This is good for this year; it is very good for next year, when it seems like Michigan will be able to plug in whichever LT loses the battle this year without missing a beat.

This is the exact opposite of the MLB situation. At LT, a hyped player is forcing his way through an experienced veteran who's playing well. At MLB, an experienced veteran is not playing well and there's no one to pick up the baton.

Tailback situation any clearer?

I also have to agree with the mounting Smith criticism. In this game he had a couple opportunities to add plus yards on runs that broke open and couldn't do it. He's not breaking or dodging tackles and he obviously lacks the raw speed of Shaw; Shaw is also heftier and seems less prone to missing blocks. I'd say he's earned the first shot at the Big Ten schedule and Michigan should start rotating in Cox, Hopkins, Toussaint, and even Teric Jones to see if they can find something there.

Shaw, meanwhile, was making decisive cuts for the most part. The primary exception was the 30-yard touchdown, on which he came to a total stop in the hole and then burst upfield when it was pretty obvious there was going to be room directly in front of him. I can understand slowing up a bit to set up the blocks, but it looked like Shaw was considering a cutback. I think he's the best Michigan has right now but am hoping Toussaint lives up to Fred Jackson's hype. Or, like, 10% of it.

What about the I formation runs at the end?

It seems like a waste to have a running QB and then line him up in the I-form to hand off when everyone knows you're running. While you should expect to get it anyway against a I-AA team you are vulnerable to that guy tearing off the edge that might get blocked if you just had the QB take it ahead.

I mentioned this in the game column but to repeat: with two veteran TEs who are blocking well and a fullback who exists I'd like to see a Wolverine version of the Gator Heavy formation in which Tim Tebow tanked his way to the promised land. I can't find a shot of it except from NCAA players who complain about how it's an exploit:


Here the guys are using it as an exploit by shoving the leetle tailbacks in instead of the beef, but it seems like M's short yardage formation should be a 2TE set with McColgan and whichever other back is the best blocker (hypothetically Hopkins but probably Shaw right now). Robinson isn't Tebow but he's probably going to be about as effective in heavy since he can dart into any crease that opens up.

OTOH, they're doing pretty well right now without trying this.


Essentially everyone. Special praise for the interior OL.


Smith is about it.

What does it mean for Bowling Green and beyond?

Tackle, thought to be a potential weak spot going into the year, now has a competent or better player on the bench. I'm still waiting for the Iowa game to declare Frey a miracle worker; initial returns are excellent. The offensive line is meeting high expectations.

The receivers are catching everything and Denard flashing an accurate deep ball is the second to last thing he needs to add to his arsenal to be virtually unstoppable (the last: a seam with some touch). His progression continues to be remarkable, and while there will be at least a couple bumpy roads in the Big Ten we're nearing the point where Denard is just Denard and we're all lucky for that.

Tailback is the only spot at which it seems Michigan could improve. I'm trying to keep expectations in check after last year but this feels different; this feels like the best offense at M in a long time.


Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs UConn

Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs UConn Comment Count

Brian September 9th, 2010 at 2:23 PM


NEW! So I've finally decided I'm going to try to hand out +/- for run blocking, which has been a sore spot when it comes to numbers since UFR started. With Michigan running 75% of the time against UConn, I can't just go by gut feel anymore. I've got enough of a handle on it to at least give it a try. I'm adopting the same sort of +/- format Genuinely Sarcastic uses, because that seems like a good idea, and hope he continues doing his version since different eyes will see different things.

Also, Denard Robinson demands some changes to the way UFR does passing. I'm adding a new SCR indicator for a scramble that is clearly a good idea given Robinson's speed and the down and distance situation. A four yard run on third and fifteen is still a TA.

Formation note: UConn didn't seem to do much, if any substitution. By the end of the game it was clear that they essentially had two defenses, a one-high formation…


…and a two high formation…


…and that the only thing that changed other than that was the alignment of the linebackers based on the position of the WRs—when Michigan went to trips a linebacker lined up over the #2 WR. There was a slight variant of the one-high defense deployed when Michigan went to two TE sets that saw one of the linebackers drop down to the line and the others slide over; I called that "Base 5-3," FWIW. As always, nomenclature is an attempt to be clear about what I'm talking about, not a guarantee of fidelity.

Michigan didn't do anything too exciting except debut this formation I called "Shotgun H-back":


Here Martell Webb is lined up as a quasi fullback; usually he would pull to the backside and block the crashing DE, who always crashed on a… wait for it… scrape exchange.

Substitution note: Nothing you don't already know. No substitution on the OL except for Molk's momentary cramp. Robinson and Grady were rotating in at slot frequently even before Roundtree went out, with Robinson seemingly ahead of Grady when it came to PT. Koger and Webb rotated, with Webb more of a blocker and Koger a receiver. Jeremy Jackson got in some spot duty; Je'Ron Stokes did not see the field.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M4 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Off tackle Shaw 6
Basically an iso designed to go just outside the TE; Koger and Dorrestein double and drive back the playside DE, with Koger popping off on the linebacker scraping over the top. McColgan has the short side corner; all these blocks are very well done. Unfortunately Omameh(-1) is overpowered by the DT and lets him into the backfield, forcing Shaw to bounce it outside. This robs Koger of the angle on the MLB and he has a free shot at Shaw for about one; Shaw(+1) spins through the tackle and gets six.
RUN+ Koger, Dorrestein, Shaw RUN- Omameh(2)
M10 2 4 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout hitch Stonum 7
UConn walks down the strong safety, so the corner on Stonum gives him an eight yard cushion. The quick hitch is open and Robinson hits him in the numbers. Pass was late and from the stands this looked a little dodgy--there will be a couple additional plays like this--but you can't ask for more when it comes to accuracy and velocity. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M17 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run? Scramble Robinson 9 - 13 Pen
Michigan fakes a belly handoff to Shaw, doubling both DTs and hypothetically leaving Shaw one on one with the unblocked MLB. Not a convincing fake. it's supposed to go to a short bubble, but Robinson pulls it down and takes off, zipping by the MLB and scurrying around a safety, finally getting hacked down near the first down marker. Was the bubble open? Eh, probably, but not for 9 yards. Should Forcier have thrown this? Yes. Robinson? Run, jackrabbit, run. (SCR, --, protection NA) Omameh gets a personal foul for a hit well after the whistle.
RUN+ Odoms, Robinson RUN-
M13 2 14 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 22
UConn's nickel 4-3 is a 4-3 with one of the LBs lined up over the #2 WR outside. There are also two safeties about ten yards downfield. Molk(+1) and Schilling(+1) execute a classic scoop block, springing Schilling out on the the MLB, who he blocks out of hte play. Shaw(+1) takes out the other LB. Roundtree(+1) cuts a safety. Dorrestein(+1) gets a free release and has no one to block so he just runs downfield walling off the short side corner. A charging safety forces Robinson outside, where the corner manages to make a desperate lunging tackle, preventing an 85-yard touchdown. BWS picture-paged this play.
RUN+ Schilling, Molk, Roundtree, Shaw, Robinson RUN-
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly keeper Robinson 10
This is a variant on the zone read but I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to be yet or who Robinson reads. I think it's the WLB, actually, as Koger kicks out the DE and all the linemen get blocked. Here Huyge(-1) and Schilling(-1) get split by an active DT and Shaw would be dead but Denard(ZR +1) pulls it out. He's now past the slanting DT and Schilling has released downfield along with Molk. Molk(+1) clocks Lloyd. Omameh(+1) controls the other DT and drives him two yards downfield, allowing Robinson to cut back behind when the LB avoid Schilling and Shaw. Dorrestein is again walling off a guy downfield; Robinson cuts behind; Stonum(+1) nails a corner, giving Robinson room to the sideline.
RUN+ Omameh, Molk, Stonum, Robinson(2) RUN- Schilling, Dorrestein
M45 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Shaw 5
Michigan blocking the backside DE; they are going to be reading LBs all game. With the WLB crashing down on the stretch, this is a missed read by Denard(ZR-1). Still hypothetically has a shot at succeeding but Omameh's guy has gotten a bit of push and is set up in the B gap; he absorbs Smith's block. Shaw(+1) has nowhere to go and cuts behind blocks into the wide open gap Denard should have taken, managing to fall forward after barely avoiding the guy Schilling was blocking.
RUN+ Shaw, Schilling RUN- Omameh, Robinson
50 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 4
Double the playside DT and contain him, run right at the MLB, with Shaw getting a decent block; Robinson runs decisively, taking a hit from said MLB as he bounces off Shaw's block.
O46 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Bear 5-3 Run Iso Shaw 2
Do isos just go in a gap or can that change based on the D? Because UConn slants into this gap, leaving a big hole between Schilling and Omameh that has two linebackers, Molk, and could have McColgan if they went there. Instead it's just straight ahead at because Omameh(-1) and Dorrstein(-1) have lost out on blocks there are two tacklers and nowhere for Shaw to go; Shaw(+1) manages to fall forward for the first.
RUN+ Shaw RUN- Omameh, Dorrestein
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Shaw 4
Not sure if this is the right read or not; DE is sliding down the line but maintaining some contain; definitely a handoff if Forcier, but Robinson? Benefit of the doubt since the DE did hesitate on Robinson. ZR+1. Omameh(-1) blocks down on the DT from an advantageous position and sees his block spun off of, forcing a cut outside where the backside DE is; the delay allows him to tackle. Crashing safety also there, but one-on-one that could have been a play.
RUN+ Robinson RUN- Omameh
O40 2 6 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA TE cross Koger 16
Zone stretch fake with Schilling pulling around to provide pass protection on the unblocked backside DE. Linebackers suck up like whoah (RPS+2), leaving Koger wide open as the guy who should be covering the zone he's entering is actually trying to tackle Robinson. Dart hits him between the numbers 15 yards downfield, caught, first down. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O24 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone stretch Shaw -1
Frustrating, as UConn has six in the box and literally not enough guys to tackle if they run another draw. This is a stretch, and Robison makes the correct handoff decision (ZR+1) since the WLB is charging right at him. Omameh's(-1) DT does get a little penetration and closes off the frontside B gap, forcing Shaw to cut back; Molk(-1) and Schilling double team the NT and eventually pancake him but don't block anyone else. Blitzing WLB makes the play. (RPS-1) Run minus: Omameh, Schilling.
O25 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 10
This is just too easy, as UConn does the exact same thing. With two deep safeties and six in the box they literally have no one to tackle the QB. WLB runs into a frontside crease, leaving no one for Shaw to even block until he's ten yards downfield. Molk(+1) controlled and pancaked the playside DT; Robinson and Shaw banged a safety, leaving the slot LB to come from behind and tackle. RPS+2.
RUN+ Robinson, Molk RUN-
O15 3 1 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
SIX GUYS IN BOX ON THIRD AND ONE AT THE 15. Edsall derp. A slightly short yardage variation as Molk and Schilling double and crush the playside DT. Weakside LB reacts quickly and defeats Smith's block but has no chance to keep this under three yards, let alone one. RPS+1. Millen's praising Lloyd, and praising him correctly, and this had no chance.
O12 1 10 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Smith 12
Almost all Smith. Schilling(-1) gets driven back and thrown almost into the path of Smith; he ends up with his back to the DT looking at him. On the frontside, Molk and Omameh just manage to wall off the playside DT; Omameh pops off on the charging SLB. Smith manages to slip through this mess into a totally unblocked safety, who misses, at which point he can cut behind Roundtree(+1) and get into the endzone.
RUN+ Smith(3), Roundtree RUN- Schilling
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. 108 yard drive with two passes. Bo, man. Bo.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Shaw 4
This is on Denard because the unblocked DE was hauling ass after the RB and he needs to pull it out (ZR -1). If he does he has Webb as a lead blocker, Huyge on Lloyd, and the slot LB between him and the safeties--first down probably, touchdown maybe. As it is Shaw(+1) does well to hop around the DE and pick up a few yards.
RUN+ Shaw RUN- Robinson
M27 2 6 ? ? ? ? ? Pass Hitch Stonum 5
Watching Rice-Texas instead of this play, come back just as Stonum's catching a zinger from Denard. (CA, 3, ?)
M32 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
Corner rolled down into the box as a WLB, allowing the LBs to slide over. This lets them send two guys into the hole the draw has gone into already, forcing Robinson behind the ineffective Molk/Schilling double and into the path of the backside DT, who has shucked Omameh; SLB comes up unblocked to fill but not before Robinson's quickness picks up the first. (RPS -1)
RUN+ Robinson RUN- Omameh
M35 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly lead keeper Robinson 12
Same play as the first snap on this drive and Denard has learned (or just been told to pull the damn ball, getting a ZR+1). He yoinks the ball out as the DE against crashes down and finds himself in plenty of space with Webb as a lead blocker. Huyge(+2) gets a great pancake block on MLB Lloyd and Robinson jets past the first down; would like to see him try to set up the safety inside and hop outside in an effort to get a touchdown. Also Odoms does a great, if ultimately irrelevant, job on the outside.
RUN+ Robinson, Huyge(2), Odoms RUN-
M47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flare screen Shaw 16
Seven guys in the box now and UConn sends a safety-type player on a blitz. Four men are in a deep umbrella, leaving just two guys underneath, and they don't know where to go because Michigan is sending two OL each way. Michigan hits the flare. Odoms and Dorrestein get cuts downfield; Grady gets a decent block that springs Shaw through, leaving him one on one with a safety for six. Off balance, he can't put a move on and gets tackled. (CA,3, screen, RPS +1)
RUN+ Odoms, Dorrestein RUN-
O37 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Shaw 5
Essentially an identical play to the first one on the drive, where DE hauls ass after Shaw, Denard makes a bad read (ZR-1), Shaw(+1) evades the DE and hits the backside of the play. This time Denard actually gets out to block, Webb totally walls off the slot LB, Huyge gets another good block on Lloyd, and it's still six yards.
RUN+ Shaw, Webb, Huyge RUN- Robinson
O32 2 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run QB lead draw Robinson 32
You cannot draw up a scoop block better than this. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) drive the playside DT back and then Omameh pops out on the MLB. A pulling Webb(+1) wipes Lloyd out, Shaw(+1) takes out the weakside safety type thing and Millen drops "that's six" as Robinson crosses the LOS. He really is a fantastic broadcaster. Replay.
RUN+ Molk, Omameh(2), Smith, Robinson, Webb RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Off tackle Shaw 15
Variant on the belly series from the last drive. On this one Webb pulls to clock the backside DE and Omameh(+1) blocks down on the playside DT; both linebackers have sucked to the backside because they're worried about Denard and not expecting this to go so far off tackle the other way since Shaw is lined up in the belly spot behind his QB. Ton of space; Shaw just runs by the SLB until he's forced inside by the corner. SLB tackles. RPS+1. Don't think this is a read, think this a called play, so no ZR.
RUN+ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
O29 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson -3
UConn adjusting to this by slanting the DE into the gap instead of letting the OT kick him out. This creates a mess. Denard slows up and tries to cut back, but Omameh(-1) has been driven back and he still tries to go around, eventually getting tackled for a loss. Should have just cut it outside. The evolution of dance here is for Tebow-style play-action fakes that consist of a single step forward. RPS-1. Run Minus: Omameh, Robinson
O32 2 13 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Jailbreak screen Grady 3
Fake the flare screen to Shawn and come back with the jailbreak on the other side of the field. This has sucked a lot of people out of position, leaving three blockers and three defenders before Grady is jetting for the endzone. Koger(+1) picks off the slot LB. Molk(+1) blocks MLB Lloyd. Schilling(-1) totally overruns the safety, who tackles unmolested. (CA, 3, protection NA)
RUN+ Molk, Koger RUN- Schilling(2)
O29 3 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass TE cross Koger 4
Not sure how restricted Robinson's read is here, but M is hoping for man and gets zone so Koger gets nailed as soon as he catches it. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(42), 14-0, 13 min 2nd Q. Shankapotamus punt sets M up with good field position on the next drive.
O38 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4- Run Reverse Grady -3
PEDANTRY NOTE: Since the action of the play goes one way with what looks like a QB sweep and then has a pitch to the WR, I'm calling this a reverse instead of an end around. The play: Michigan runs QB sweep action and pitches it to Grady as Koger takes out the backside DE. Problem: this 4-4 has a weakside alley defender like a Kovacs and no one is doing the thing where they run with Stonum on a fly route for 20 yards. This guy bites but is so far to the backside that he can easily recover in time to hit Grady. Grady, for his part, just runs right into the guy when he could have cut it inside and gotten some yards, possibly lots, and then he fumbles. Not a great play for Grady.
RUN+ Koger RUN- Grady(3)
O41 2 13 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4- Run QB lead draw Robinson 6
Best block of the day for Omameh, who gets under the DT and pushes him back a couple yards. LB is flowing downhill at this very fast so Robinson decides to cut back rather than chance a pileup with that guy and Webb at the LOS. Omameh's guy pops off to try to tackle but falls over backwards thanks to Omameh and Denard runs through it; MLB ate Molk(+1) and Denard can fall forward, stiffarming as he falls.
RUN+ Omameh, Molk RUN-
O35 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Pass Slant Odoms 16
Smith runs the flare screen route, Roundtree heads straight downfield, and Odoms slants inside. Denard throws what looks like a dangerous pass, but the safety coming down isn't even looking at Odoms, he's trying to get out for the screen, only realizing his error as the ball arrives. Odoms catches and quicks his way past the safety, picking up the first down and considerably more. With Odoms coming to a stop and a guy in Denard's face he can't wait any longer to make this throw; it is on rhythm. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Omameh -1)
O19 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Inside zone Smith 4
Backside blitzer makes this a correct read (ZR+1) Omameh and Schilling(+1 each) successfully crease the DTs, leaving Molk one on one with SLB, who beats him(-1). Smith is tackled by that guy.
RUN+ Schilling, Omameh RUN- Molk
O15 2 6 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4- Run QB lead draw Robinson -2
This one also appears designed to go right up the middle, but Omameh(-1) is beaten by the slanting DT and there's nothing. Robinson has a chance to hop outside and maybe beat the backside DE but slips and is tackled for a loss. RPS -1; this slant killed the play. Run minus: Omameh, Dorrestein
O17 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Run QB lead draw Robinson 10
UConn stunting, which takes the playside DE inside. He's walled off by Huyge(+1); Schilling(+1) absolutely blasts the playside DT, erasing him; Smith shifts outside the DE when he sees the way the play is developing; Smith and Roundtree get blocks downfield and it's first and goal.
RUN+ Schilling(2), Huyge, Smith, Roundtree RUN-
O7 1 G Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 3
Correct read with a backside blitz. Schilling kicks out his DT; Molk plows the MLB; Omameh cannot handle his DT, who comes off him to make a play a few yards downfield. Not minus-worthy but I was thinking about it.
RUN+ Schilling RUN-
O4 2 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Goal line Run Inside zone Shaw 4
Basically the same play; Schilling(+1) again does a great job of kicking out the DT; Molk(+1) gets out on the MLB, and Omameh does enough on the other guy, falling to the ground but getting in the way of him.
RUN+ Schilling, Molk RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O8 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read keeper Robinson 8
Robinson correctly reads the crash (ZR+1) and pulls it out, finding himself in open space. Huyge can't maintain his block on the outside but he's blocking the handoff so not his fault. Robinson jets for eight.
RUN+ Robinson RUN-
O16 2 2 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB lead draw Robinson 6
They do get the intended crease this time (no slant from the DE) but the MLB fills immediately, bashing Smith close to the LOS. Robinson(+1) darts around Molk and has the acceleration to dart up into the crease behind him before Omameh's guy can come off and grab him. He does manage to reach out an arm and spin him down.
RUN+ Robinson, Molk RUN- Smith
O22 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Run Belly handoff Smith 0
The read here should be keep but this might not actually be a read since he just ran twice. I have to assume it is, though, so: ZR-1. Smith has no hole because Omameh(-1) did not seal his man; that delay is enough for the backside DE to tackle for nothing. Run minus: Omameh, Robinson
O22 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Pass PA throwaway Roundtree(?) Inc
UConn blitzes right into this, getting an unblocked guy in Robinson's face before he even has a chance; a slanting player has slashed past the fake run blocks and is also in the backfield. Robinson avoids one guy, then the other guy, in a remarkable Houdini act. With another couple guys coming in to crush him he just chucks the ball hard, deep, and on a line well past Roundtree. Was he trying to complete this? Does he just throw everything like this and has no deep ball? I don't know, but the benefit of the doubt goes to the guy who just escaped two defenders and is chucking the ball away. (TA, 0, protection 0/2, team, RPS-1)
O22 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Jailbreak screen Stonum 4
UConn prepared for this, with the SLB in a position where there's no way anyone is going to be able to block him. Stonum(+1) does well to run through his tackle but he can't make the second guy miss. (CA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-3, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass ZR Bubble Roundtree -1
Denard pulls it out with the DE crashing (ZR+1) but Huyge(-1) and Webb(-1) both have ineffectual blocks so DR goes to his safety valve; Odoms(-1) can handle his guy and it's a loss. (CA, 3, screen) Run minus: Huyge, Webb, Odoms
M18 2 11 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Quick out Roundtree Inc
This is a quick rollout with the two guys running an out and a fly to test the cornerback in a presumed zone; Denard throws the quick out before the play develops, allowing the corner to come up and crush Roundtree, separating him from the ball and knocking him out for the game. Another beat and he would have probably had Stonum, or the corner would have backed off Roundtree. (BR, 1, protection 1/1)
M18 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Deep hitch Grady 16
Great protection leaves Robinson all kinds of time, and there's a fifth guy spying. Robinson waits for Grady to clear the linebacker level and sit down in the hole in the zone, then zips one in a decent window right on the numbers for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M34 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Smith 4
Same as previous plays; Webb(-1) just runs by the backside DE; Omameh(-1) cannot contain his man, and both of these guys get arms on Smith at the LOS. He does a good job of running through those tackles and getting a decent gain anyway. Schilling got his guy sealed again.
RUN+ Schilling, Smith RUN- Omameh, Webb
M38 2 6 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 3
Molk(+1) gets a seal on the stretch block against that DT Omameh's been struggling with as Omameh heads to the second level, where the LB heads outside of him; Dorrestein(+1) pancakes the DE. Robinson should cut it up in between the C and T but heads outside, where Smith manages to wall off the SLB Omameh had no angle on. This leaves an unblocked safety to fill.
RUN+ Dorrestein, Molk RUN- Robinson
M41 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Odoms 9
Smith runs the flare again, drawing up the WLB and opening a window in which Robinson zings a first down completion. Slightly high, but ok. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M49 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Smith 1
Correct handoff with a S waiting for him and Webb going to block the crashing DE. Story is again the same: Omameh(-1), even with help from Dorrestein, cannot contain DT99, who forces himself over into the hole, leaving nothing for Smith to do except run up the back of his OL. If I was grading the UConn D he'd be en route to +10 or better. ZR+1. Run minus: Omameh
50 2 9 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Smith 4
No crash; correct handoff(ZR+1). Omameh(+1) does seal and kick the DT this time; they're running it to the opposite side. Unfortunately, Schilling(-1) can't get any drive or seal and Smith has to cut it back; Huyge(-1) whiffed on the SLB. Smith meets two guys two yards downfield and burrows for two more.
RUN+ Omameh, Robinson RUN- Schilling, Huyge
O46 3 5 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Stonum 11
The flare again sucks a linebacker up to it, leaving Stonum in a big hole in the zone. Zing, bobble, catch, first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O35 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Grady 4
Safety walks down. This bubble is the short bubble where the receiver does not run the full route in the hopes of finding space between the freakin' out LB over the slot and the interior defense. This not so much. Odoms does manage to cut his guy but a safety charges up as soon as it looks like a bubble and snuffs it out. Michigan will use this later. (CA, 3, screen)
O31 2 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 5
Dorrestein(+1) cuts the backside DT to the ground, removing him totally. Molk(-1) gets pushed back and Robinson has to cut behind; this open because of the Dorrestein chop. Omameh releases into the second level but ends up blocking no one, which is unfortunate because Denard squeezes through arm tackles only to take his first real shot of the day from a safety a yard short of the sticks.
RUN+ Robinson, Dorrestein RUN- Omameh, Molk
O26 3 1 ? ? ? ? ? Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
TV misses this play.
O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Belly handoff Smith 4
This again. Omameh(+1) does get enough of the DT for the RB to skip by; Schilling seals his guy out. Unfortunately Molk(-1) has a really weird whiff where he just runs away from the MLB, the only person he can reasonably expect to block, and that guy tackles.
RUN+ Omameh, Schilling RUN- Molk
O19 2 6 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Flare Smith -1
Incorrect read by Robinson as the LB is flying out of the zone and Michigan again has the slant they've worked for a bunch of first downs. He instead throws the flare, getting Smith whacked by the corner. (BR, 3, protection NA)
O20 3 7 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Robinson 11
UConn in zone and does a great job of covering a slant/wheel to the top of the screen Denard is looking at. Same thing on the bottom, same coverage. No one open, he takes off, darting past outstretched hands for the first down. Bonus: Smith's wicked blitz pickup. (SCR, --, protection 2/2)
O9 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 5
Playside DT just surges forward and falls, almost cut-blocking Molk. A charging LB darts past Webb, leaving two guys for Smith to block on the outside; the DT's fall has provided a cutback lane. Dorrestein(-1) could not cut the backside DT at all so he's there, but Robinson's hesitation move gets him to delay in case he cuts back around him, opening up a hole to dart into.
RUN+ Robinson, Huyge RUN- Dorrestein
O4 2 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Belly Keeper Robinson -3
DR seems en route to endzone when he bobbles and drops the ball. Never really had it after the exchange.
O7 3 G Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 0
Blitz into the play cuts off the outside and gives UConn another guy on the inside to snuff this play out. RPS -1. Michigan will use this later, too.
Drive Notes: FG(24), 24-10, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Ace 4-wide 1 1 4 Base 4-3 Run Dive Shaw 5
End around fake from Odoms; this is just a straight handoff up the middle. Omameh(+1) and Schilling(+1) crease the DTs and Molk(+1) nails the MLB; OLBs converge to tackle.
RUN+ Omameh, Schilling, Molk RUN-
M16 2 5 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Off tackle Shaw -10
Omameh(-2) completely pwned by the DT, who I will name for you at this point: Kendall Reyes. Shaw(-2) compounds matters by dancing backwards instead of just trying to cut behind the mess and get back to the LOS, getting shoved and tackled for a huge loss. Run minus: Omameh(2), Shaw(2)
M6 3 15 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 15
A give up and punt play, which is reasonable given the game situation and your sophomore QB. Except, uh? first down. UConn rushes four and has three LBs in the middle of the field. Smith(+1) gets enough of the MLB; Grady and Robinson get in the way, and the other Robinson(+1) gives a tiny hip fake that causes one of the LBs to hop outside the blocker; he continues upfield, getting submarined, flying for the first down, and giving his hip an owie.
RUN+ Robinson, Smith, T. Robinson, Grady RUN-
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Gardner -4
Correct read (ZR+1) as the DE crashes but a terrible decision by Gardner(-2) to attempt to go outside of Koger and his man when the interior line was crushing that side of the line downfield. Koger(-1) also should have done better.
RUN+ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN- Gardner(2), Koger
M17 2 14 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Zone read belly Smith 13
Another good read (ZR+1) with an outside blitzer and the fake is good enough to suck two guys outside and give Smith a big cutback lane he takes. Omameh(+1) crushed Reyes on this play; Dorrestein(+1) sealed off the SLB.
RUN+ Gardner, Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
M30 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run QB lead draw Robinson 4
Surprise. LBs flying downhill at this, filling the hole, but Koger(+1) and Dorrestein(+1) have doubled the playside DE, driving him well back and giving Robinson a lane outside he takes for the first down. Robinson is too quick for the alley guy. (RPS-1)
RUN+ Koger, Dorrestein, Robinson RUN-
M34 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flare Smith 8
Fourth or fifth time they've run this; this time the LB sticks in the middle of the zone and Robinson nails Smith with a perfectly placed touch pass that he can ramble up the sidelines with. (CA+, 3, screen)
M42 2 2 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA Bubble Post T. Robinson 43
Dorrestein(-1) completely whiffs his cut block as Michigan goes for a fake handoff, then a fake bubble that sucks the UConn linebacker corps to the LOS in a fashion I've never seen before. Robinson has two guys running wide open and picks Robinson's post because it's probably the primary read; he does this with a guy in his face so it's kind of a tough throw. It's on the money 20 yards downfield, providing Robinson the ability to run after the catch, so it gets a DO. (DO, 3, protection 0/1, Dorrestein, RPS+3)
O15 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Smith 5
Eighth guy in the box is coming down hard in the G-T gap so Smith has to squeeze between the two guards; both have maintained good blocks. At this point the backside DE is crashing in and the eighth guy has adjusted, so the tackle. Smith does a good job of getting some YAC. RPS-1.
RUN+ Omameh, Schilling, Smith RUN-
O10 2 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -1
PA rollout finds no one open for Robinson so he tries to run it; this is well defensed. Good D by Uconn, correct decision by Denard. (TA, --, protection NA)
O11 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Flare screen Smith 11
UConn blitzes right into this, and gets DOOM'D for their trouble; you can hear Michigan Stadium go "yeeeeeah" as soon as they see what the playcalls are. RPS+2. There are only two guys to the same side of the field as Smith and four blockers; Huyge(+1) and Odoms(+1) do excellent jobs and Smith can walk it in. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+ Odoms, Huyge RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown (missed XP), 30-10, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Shaw 3
UConn is pouring downhill at these so I won't judge too harshly on a drive when Michigan's just trying to put a game that's already put away fully underground. Omameh(+1) gets a good block; Molk's angle out of the line does not take him through defenders, and the crashing DE is crashing so hard Shaw again has to go behind a guy and get what he can, which is three since there are linebackers everywhere. I'm not going to ZR this either because the game's done and Robinson doesn't need more carries.
RUN+ Omameh RUN-
M26 2 7 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 5-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 9
Okay, I will. UConn pulls an LB down to the line to combat the second TE, Webb(+1) kicks him out. DE crashes, Robinson pulls (ZR+1), Huyge wipes out Lloyd (easy), and Robinson shoots up in the gap provided by Schilling and Webb, cutting behind the SLB after five yards to pick up nine.
RUN+ Webb, Huyge, Schilling, Robinson RUN-
M35 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 5-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 8
Basically same thing as M finally starts testing a UConn D intent on shooting the DE down the line. Here MLB Lloyd is the scrape guy and starts hauling ass after Denard immediately, but Denard just outruns him to the corner easy. Koger got a block on the playside DE. (ZR+1)
RUN+ Koger, Robinson RUN-
M43 2 2 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Iso Shaw 3
Reyes submarines Omameh and falls; Schilling(+1) seals his DT; Molk(-1) whiffs on Lloyd, who meets Shaw a yard past the LOS thanks to the excellent Schilling block; Shaw just blows him and gets the pile to fall the right direction.
RUN+ Schilling RUN- Molk
M46 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 Base 4-4- Run Broken play Shaw -1
Shaw and Smith bump into each other, almost certainly because Smith gets the wrong playcall. Not going to bother with the blocking because who knows?
M45 2 11 Ace 1 2 2 Base 5-3 Pass Waggle TE flat Koger 10
This sucks the WLB to the fake and gets Koger open in the flat. Robinson gives him a soft toss and he turns it up to get near the first down marker. (CA, 3, protection NA)
O45 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 5-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 6
Dorrestein(+1) and Koger(+1) totally obliterate the playside DE, catching the linebackers up in the wash and letting Robinson just run up their backs for five. This is a variant of the regular draw where they're doubling one particular member of the DL on short yardage.
RUN+ Dorrestein, Koger RUN-
O39 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 5-3 Run Inside zone Smith 0
At this point I'm not really interested. WOOOOO. Omameh gets the main demerit, but I'm not sure what Molk is doing either? at this point whatever.
O39 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Run Belly handoff Smith 3
I understand this blocking so I'll chart it: again with the inside zone; Omameh(+1) gets a goot block; Schilling a bleah but acceptable one; Molk(-1) gets the ole job by Lloyd. Kind of disappointed in Molk's downfield blocking this game.
RUN+ Omameh RUN- Molk
O36 3 7 Shotgun 3-Wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Stonum 7
Simple pitch and catch, well timed if a tiny bit upfield. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O29 4 1 Ace 1 1 3 Base 5-3 Run QB sneak Robinson 2
They get it.
O27 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 5-3 Run Iso Smith 0
This is Omameh(-2) getting smoked. Run minus: Omameh(2)
O27 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 5-3 Run Dive Smith 1
Playside DT submarines Molk, taking himself and Molk out and opening a frontside crease. McColgan(-1) makes a really weird decision by hitting one of the contain guys instead of going right upfield and putting his facemask on the MLB's chest. Dorrestein can't cut said MLB and he tackles Smith near the LOS.
RUN+ Omameh RUN- McColgan
O26 3 9 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 5-3 Run Iso Smith 0
Seriously, at this point whatever.
O26 4 9 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 5-3 Pass Waggle hitch Grady Inc
Can't see this from the tape but I had a good line on this in the stadium and it was open but Denard did not get the ball out fast enough. You can see that Stonum was open on the outside, too. I usually go with IN for balls that aren't bad ideas but are thrown too early/late but with Stonum sitting out there it's BR time. (BR, 0, protection NA)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 30-10, 2 min 4th Q. EOG.

I'm dizzy because I keep running around in circles screaming "wheeeeeeeeeeee!" I know it's Thursday, I don't care.

Yeah, let's just get right to the—


Chart. I've included our Denard Robinson All of 2009 chart for comparison:

[Hennechart legend, or hover over the table headers]


2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ?
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2

Downfield success rate: 68%.



I know. There has never been a UFR passing chart devoid of MAs and INs. The full dossier of things Robinson was dinged for:

  • Chucking the ball away deep after escaping two unblocked rushers.
  • Running out of bounds for a one-yard sack on a waggle play.
  • Throwing a flare instead of a slant and getting Vincent Smith hit for a one yard loss.
  • Getting Roundtree killed on an out that he caught until it was violently separated from him.
  • Throwing a waggle hitch late on the last offensive play Michigan had.

That's it. The first is a good play. The second was a good decision since he had nowhere else to go and is Denard Robinson approaching the line of scrimmage. The other three were passes as deadly accurate as his other 18 but weren't the best options; only on the last was their any chance of a turnover. Everyone's worried about Tate Forcier transferring because of a lack of playing time… but what about Tacopants? He got zero balls.

UConn's secondary has to be terrible.

Yeah… UConn's secondary is probably terrible. They were starting a bunch of freshmen and failed to take advantage of a couple moments where it looked like Robinson was late on hitches. Also all that other stuff happened. Here is the avalanche of caveats and stern looks designed to keep your pants on—

—or put them back on—

TMI—and put Robinson's performance in perspective. Many of his downfield throws were either simple hitches or the slant/flare combo they ran about eight times where Smith would run a flare route, the linebacker to that side would start charging it down, and Robinson would zing a wide-open slant in the vacated space. Once the linebacker charged it down and Robinson threw the flare for no yardage; once he stayed home and Robinson threw the flare for good yardage. Michigan didn't show a whole lot, and for the most part avoided plays that could be risky.

The only play I gave the hallowed DO other than the wide open TRob (apologies for the use of that annoying shorthand but I'm not going to distinguish between the two Robinsons with full names for the next three years) post was this:

And while that's wicked sweet it's the only time he really fit it in a window. Not that I'm worried about his accuracy anymore*. It's more about what happens when his receivers are covered. Can he come off a primary read? Can he consistently recognize when guys are covered? Can he process information fast enough to get the passes out on time? Answers:

  • Don't know, as both times UConn covered the primary read they covered everyone and Robinson ran.
  • Don't know. He made three bad reads, but didn't throw anywhere truly dangerous.
  • Not consistently yet. Some of the CAs above were late but he got away with them, and the last incompletion was very late.

Notre Dame and their veteran secondary will be another test.

On the other hand, how many times did you see Pat White zinging balls to hopelessly, almost unbelievably wide open receivers? Part of the magic of the offense is that when you can run 70% of the time and still put up first downs and string together long plays, things like that Robinson-to-Robinson pass where there isn't a defender in the same time zone as the receiver happen. The burden on Robinson to read defenses is going to be so much lower than it would be for a Henne or Tate because it's impossible to leave two high safeties against him (or at least a terrible idea) and taking a step forward is the best play-fake in the world.

Also, on third and 11 up 11 with this guy who wasn't even a quarterback last year, Rodriguez let 'er rip. They have some level of confidence there.


My pants—

More charts! Receiverchart:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum - - - 5/5 - - - 5/5
Odoms - - - 2/2 - - - 2/2
Hemingway - - - - - - - -
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree 1 0/1 - - 1 0/1 - -
Grady 1 - - 3/3 1 - - 3/3
Robinson - - - 1/1 - - - 1/1
Stokes - - - - - - - -
Koger - - 1/1 2/2 - - 1/1 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - 3/3 - - - 3/3
Shaw - - - 1/1 - - - 1/1
Cox - - - - - - - -
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

An exceptionally unchallenging day, but one on which they made no mistakes. Having Koger go 3/3 is encouraging. The only hypothetically catchable pass that wasn't was the one on which Roundtree got blown up. Hard to blame a guy for that.

PROTECTION METRIC: 12/16, Dorrestein –1, Omameh –1, Team –2.

Low sample size makes it tough to get a read but since the Dorrestein –1 was a failed chop block on the TRob post and the team minus was getting overwhelmed by a blitz into play action the initial returns are pretty good. No minuses from the tackles when they're actually setting up to pass block is win.

Rock-paper-scissors: +13, –7, TOTAL +6.

This may even be pessimistic since I started dinging Michigan points for running the same stuff over and over again when they probably put away the tricks because they didn't need them and I think I even RPS-1ed a successful QB lead draw on third and one because UConn was all over it. Is it really a bad decision if they leap all over it and still can't stop it?

It'll be interesting to watch this over the course of the season—Robinson's promise is that he can drop more RPS+3 plays this year than Michigan has in the last two seasons combined.

All right, now… the run game, which was the bulk of the offense?

Right, so this is the first time I'd ever systematically done this and it could end up being totally whack but here it is anyway:


Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 7 2 5 No pass rush minuses, too. Excellent day.
Schilling 13 6 7 Clearly the best interior OL on the day.
Molk 10 5 5 Had some downfield whiffs.
Omameh 15 16 -1 Major issues with Kendall Reyes.
Dorrestein 9 4 5 Couple of pancakes.
Webb 3 2 1 Seemed better.
Koger 6 1 5 !
TOTAL 63 36 27 Splat.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 17 6 13 Woo ha!
Gardner 1 2 -1 Should have cut his loss upfield for a big gain.
Shaw 7 2 5 Lot of hopping on bad ZR decisions.
Smith 7 1 6 TD killer.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - DNP
McColgan - 1 -1 Eh.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 33 15 18 Zip.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum 1 - 1 --
Odoms 4 1 3 Wha?
TRobinson 1 - 1 --
Roundtree 3 - 3 --
Grady 1 3 -2 Negs on the bad reverse.
TOTAL 17 10 7 !?!?!?
Zone Read 10 3 7 Just Robinson. Gardner also had a 2-0-2.

I have no idea what the context is here and think I should separated out carrying and blocking +/- for the RBs, since the former seems more important than the latter but it essentially bears out what I thought when watching the game. The tackles were surprisingly good but not that involved on a day when Michigan did almost all of its damage up the middle. Schilling took a major step forward, something that's echoed by NFL draft types:

Steve Schilling/G/Michigan: Schilling, who looked liked a star in the making as a freshman, has struggled the past few seasons adjusting to Michigan's motion offense. On Saturday, he showed signs of major improvement in his ability to block on the move and annihilate opponents at the point.

Molk was good but did not execute many of his patented reach blocks because of the interior focus and whiffed on MLBs a bit too often for my tastes.

And Patrick Omameh struggled. He didn't exactly lose out, but as the only guy on the line anywhere near even he stood out as a sophomore. UConn's Kendall Reyes was a problem all day, bursting into the backfield on the Shaw ten-yard loss and causing most of the bounce-outs. Sometimes this just happens. I remember Eastern Michigan's Jason Jones doing a lot of damage, pointing out how good he was, and hoping this was true both for credibility and what it said about Michigan's offensive line. Jones eventually went in the second round of the NFL draft. I both think and hope Reyes is really good, headed for All Big East recognition. If not, Omameh has a lot of work to do.

What if Robinson explodes or something?

Well, we're in trouble. This might happen. Quarterbacks get injured frequently. But it doesn't appear that they get injured any more frequently when they run a lot, as MCalibur's diaries have shown. There is a slight increase in injury rate that does not rise to the level of statistical significance, which is to say that the numbers suggest there might be a slight uptick, but the rate at which this happens is low enough that we can't be sure. In any case, an extra 2-3% chance your QB goes down is so worth the added explosiveness a guy like Robinson brings.


Almost everyone to some extent but special mention goes to Robinson (obviously) and Schilling.


The only person who even remotely qualifies is Omameh and even he did all right.

What does it mean for Notre Dame and beyond?

Next week's game is going to be interesting on the interior of the line since ND is running a 3-4. Omameh won't have a DT lined up directly over him; that will fall to Molk, who will endeavor to put Ian Williams on rollerskates for the third straight year. Williams has supposedly bulked up and didn't spend most of the last year rehabbing a knee so that matchup should be more even. If Molk can win it consistently, Schilling and Omameh will spend most of their time trying to stay in front of Carlo Calebrese and Manti Te'o, ND's MLBs. Those three matchups will go a long way towards determining the outcome of the game. I expect considerably more variation in the run game, with a lot more stretch plays to test the historically immobile Williams.

In the passing game… well, if Notre Dame leaves primary reads open Robinson will hit them. They will probably have an answer to the slant/flare combo that worked so well for Michigan against UConn, but with so few tricks pulled out of the bag in the first game they'll have to deal with a larger than usual set of plays they have not seen before. That combined with Robinson's legs demanding attention should set him up with a large number of makeable throws as long as he's not stuck with long-yardage situations. That goes back to the interior line, then.

We don't know much, but we'll know a lot more after Saturday.