Blind Squirrels

Blind Squirrels

Submitted by Brian on October 22nd, 2012 at 11:53 AM

10/21/2012 – Michigan 12, Michigan State 10 – 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten

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Denard Robinson is 13 of 29 for 143 yards; he's run 20 times for 96 yards. His team is down a point and has managed to turn 120 seconds into eighteen without moving the ball anywhere near plausible field goal range. A few drives ago Jeremy Gallon was as wide open as you can be on third and goal and Denard blasted it hard and behind the guy—if it was to keep it away from a defender it was because the throw was late—or Michigan would lead by three.

Behind me, some Michigan State meathead has spent the better part of four quarters screaming "throw it, Denard, huh huh huh." Juggalo Nation, reprazent.

"Is this guy really a QB I'll say my mans vento is a better QB lol. S/O to my boy vento by the way."

-Denicos Allen, MSU linebacker, on Denard and MSU walk-on QB Tommy Vento, 9/1/2012

Michigan has second and eleven but more importantly they have seventeen seconds to get in field goal range. State shows a three man rush but also sends Denicos Allen; Allen stunts inside Will Gholston, who Lewan has nerfed, and hits Ricky Barnum at full speed. Barnum gives ground—a lot of ground. Allen is flying up into the pocket, where Denard would be.

Denard has started to roll.

pass-3

"DENARD IS SOOOO BAD! And it makes me feel so good."

-Kyle Artinian, MSU safety, 9/1/2012

The roll is bad. The roll takes out most of Michigan's routes, spends time Michigan doesn't have, removes downfield possibilities Michigan desperately needs. In the stands, my heart sinks. I have seen this script before, not just watching Michigan, but watching everyone. Michigan's win probability is sinking like a stone with every step Denard takes outside the pocket.

Denard stops. The roll steps have gotten Roy Roundtree a bracket, and made the middle of the field lonely.

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Barnum has continued shoving Allen past everything. Gholston, lined up against Lewan, is as relevant to the play as I am. Denard sets his feet.

"I can play quarterback for the school in blue."

-Jamal Lyles, MSU linebacker, 9/1/2012

Denard decides setting his feet is not for him. He starts moving up in the pocket as the State nose tackle sheds Elliot Mealer.

pass-5

Dileo's head is in a better spot to tackle someone than Gholston

As all of this has occurred with half the people on the field, the other half have been fighting hand-to-hand in remote locations. Drew Dileo has started outside, then come inside of MSU safety Isaiah Lewis. Lewis is tracking, in decent position. Dileo is entering a window between two underneath defenders. It's huge since Denard's temporary roll has caused Max Bullough to chase Roundtree—the roll truly was doomed.

Denard is moving up in a pocket that is less a pocket and more a space occupied by a no-longer-blocked Michigan State defender by the moment. He has not rolled. He is stepping into the future, whatever it brings.

Denard cocks, and throws. The stadium stops. The throw has to be on a line, at Dileo's chest. It's 20 yards downfield. As each frame ticks by, universes begin and end.

"Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while...,"

-Nick Hill, MSU running back, 9/1/2012

It's in the number—not numbers. Drew Dileo only has one. It's #9. Denard uses the enclosed space in that number as a bullseye.

pass-6pass-7

Michigan rushes to the line to spike the ball. Mark Dantonio watches Michigan execute a maneuver that cost him a game last week when his team went all John L Smith on it.

After…

denard-roar

I keep thinking about how this clown beat us in the clutch. Sure, we beat ourselves, but for all the times we've shit on him for his arm or lack of, what did he do in the final minute?

Pride comes before... DAMN IT!

-Venomous G. Duck, 10/21/2012

denard-7denard-9denard-10

…I mean, the guy knows. He's heard it all, whether he'll admit it or not. In this game the defenses dominated as both quarterbacks struggled to about 5.6 yards per attempt. The difference: Denard outrushed MSU's offense by himself and threw a meaningless interception on an end-of-half Hail Mary while Maxwell chucked one into Kovacs's chest after Michigan State had been set up with good field position. Run and armpunt that, homeboy.

"We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"

-Mark Dantonio, 4/18/2012

The remainder of Michigan State's season is a choice between not going to a bowl game and helping Michigan make the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State found a few nuts when one Michigan coach hung on too long and a second employed Greg Robinson, and couldn't wait to tell everybody every day all day. In the aftermath, they're asking Brady Hoke if they're as important as Ohio State and saying it's a real rivalry and it's level footing now, because Michigan is apparently also busy cutting off recruiting coordinators for no apparent reason and talking trash because Michigan State is losing a game. The little brother thing keeps getting brought up because it is the truest thing anyone has ever said about a 100-year-old football program.

Whatever. Michigan is rounding up a selection of ass-kickers and has its sights set on bigger things than one game against a program that's never been in a BCS bowl and hasn't seen Pasadena in 25 years. It doesn't matter if MSU or Iowa is Iowa. What matters is in Schembechler Hall, and MSU players watching Michigan play Alabama know it.

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

After the game, DenardX tweeted something about walk-on quarterbacks. 

Me and the rest of the QBs after the game with our home boy Paul Bunyan!!! #GoBlue @teamdgizzle @rbellomy

image

As of press time, Denicos Allen has not given a shoutout to his boy Tommy Vento.

Media

Eric's photoset:

Parkinggod highlights:

Other highlights from a guy named noonkick. Field level end of game video:

Presser videos from mgovideo: HokeLewan/Roh/Roundtree, Dileo/Gibbons, Roundtree is going to love that Paul Bunyan trophy yo. MVictors photos. Maize and Blue Nation photos.

Bullets

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brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumbBrady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Come on down, Drew Dileo. You caught over two-thirds of Denard's passing yardage and are now The Threat. Viva slot receivers.

Honorable mention: Jake Ryan (obvs), JT Floyd (they tried but could never bust him), Greg Mattison (I mean, my God), Denard Robinson (HEYYYY COLUMN LADY), Taylor Lewan (Tom Lolston), Kenny Demens (LeVeon Bell, welcome to 2.6 YPC), Jordan Kovacs (ditto).

Epic Double Point standings.

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

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DEE-FENSE. That image above is just perfect. LeVeon Bell crapped out 2.6 yards a carry against OSU… and 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan. That's all DL stuff and while the Michigan State line had the services of Dan France, they were out two of their three starters for most of the OSU game and did not have Treadwell much; Treadwell went the whole way against M and AFAIK Ethan Ruhland did not make an appearance. Dion Sims was gimpy; other than that it's basically the same performance against the same team.

Bell never got caught behind the line, which makes the 2.6 YPC even more impressive since Michigan didn't RPS their way into any TFLs. Michigan won the battle on third and short against LeVeon Bell. Thumbs up.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT. That was verbatim tweet I sent out Saturday and holy pants, WTF. Some of that was crappy luck and crappy decisions—Toussaint catching the Butterfield/Breaston memorial DON'T YOU DARE CATCH THAT pass, Denard checking down in the first place, but at one point the entire stadium was on its feet screaming SNAP THE BALL at once after Michigan let almost 20 seconds run off the clock for no apparent reason. Michigan had already burned nine seconds before the review on the Denard third-and-two lunge; they burned off a few more before snapping the ball.

If this was a one time thing it would be a one-time thing; after last year's Iowa two-minute debacle it's an issue. I don't think this is much on the players when they're looking to the sideline for a call, especially after Michigan burned two timeouts in this game just trying to get the playcall in.

Michigan huddling for half the playclock is killing me. There's no reason to do it, it doesn't seem to help their attempts to audible out of obvious blitzes, and their lack of practicing at tempo is an obvious detriment when they need to go fast.

8106512600_8361189f20_z[1]Jake Ryan crazy thing of the week. This is not actually the Maxwell sack pictured at right, which came about after Ryan went around the 250-pound Bell like he was not there for Michigan's only TFL of the week. Though that was pretty awesome, you guys.

Even so, the crazy thing Ryan did this week was facing down three blockers on a screen that MSU had set up like whoah, trashing the guy who peeled off to deal with him, and holding Michigan State to seven yards. Michigan booted state off the field on the subsequent third and short.

Totals: 10 tackles, 8 solo, Michigan's only sack. HE'S SLIGHTLY GOOD YOU GUYS SRSLY

JT Floyd. It was clear once MSU started taking regular shots downfield that they had identified JT Floyd as the weak spot on the Michigan defense, but he held tough. The catch-and-YAC five yard hitch first downs from the Purdue game were eliminated entirely; he got beat deep by a step or two each time but was in good enough position that the throws had to be perfect lest he pull the press Michael Floyd and live (or "trail") technique.

The throws weren't perfect, and the only long completions Maxwell managed were against Thomas Gordon (bad play by him on a ball he would have had a play on if he found it) and Raymon Taylor (got an interference call and gave up an admittedly spectacular completion late). Floyd got off without issue.

What's more, MSU's big idea to get a touchdown on short yardage was to line up a fullback over Floyd and run Bell at him. Floyd held up, got the edge, kept leverage at the numbers, and prevented Bell from getting outside, whereupon Desmond Morgan helped him tackle. The guy had a target on his back all day and came through with flying colors.

Fumbles. Are a bitch.

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Somehow Michigan did not recover this one, nor the other one, despite having nothing but Michigan players surrounding the Spartan who clutched the ball like it was a nugget of gold.

NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOWWWWWW

Denard, my man. I am totally down with the whole "not getting torn limb from limb by defenses" thing, but…

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…dude, there is a time and place to put your body on the line and turning your 44 yard run late in the fourth quarter into 50 is it.

Denard's bad throw to Gallon. Eric got a great shot of it:

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Watching the replay, Denard is throwing it in the heart of the window between the two linebackers. Gallon should be sitting between the two guys; he overruns it a bit. My thinking here is influenced by seeing Borges at that coaches clinic, where he mentioned that he wants his QBs to hold up his receivers against zone coverage.

Still, probably at least 75% Denard. He's rifling that at a guy barely ten yards downfield so his margin for error is extremely small; he doesn't read the fact that he is wide, wide open and he can just soft toss it to him.

Matt Wile: most useful backup kicker ever. Matt Wile may not have displaced Keith Stone Sasquatch Brendan Gibbons as Michigan's starting kicker but he's the best third-most-important kicker since I've been watching Michigan football. He:

  • kicks most kickoffs into the endzone
  • is a pretty effective pooch-punter
  • had a good plain-old punting record last year when Hagerup was jittery
  • nailed a 48-yard field goal that, along with all other field goals, was the winning margin.

If either kicker got injured he'd step into their shoes. Michigan should be fine on the kicking stuff for a while now. Note foregone pun.

Hagerup confidence : 2012 :: Gibbons confidence : 2011. Whatever happened with Hagerup last year to tack a four-game suspension on to his OSU suspension from 2010 led to a lot of shanks and mortifiedpunter.gif. After a couple of Sugar Bowl shanks, Wile displaced Hagerup for the rest of the game.

At that point it was writin' off time, like Gibbons after 2010. When Hagerup was still atop the depth chart in September, that made people suspicious. It wasn't alarming like Gibbons since Wile was around and fairly established, but it was only 50-50 to stick. Stuck it has. Hagerup's averaging 47.5 yards a kick and would be fourth nationally if he had enough punts to qualify.

Special teams coach: do we have one or not? The fake punt was… frustrating. Michigan's trying to set up a return, which you can't really do against a spread punt anyway, and they're playing a team that loves nothing more than faking punts and field goals. Somehow this combination results in three guys leading the punter and blocking no one at all. Michigan's even got a designated special teams/TEs guy, but they can't cover or block on punts and they got gashed for 30 yards by a punter. WTF.

Michigan did get a big return out of Gallon at the end of the first half but even that emphasized the difference in punt coverage. Gallon had to split two unblocked guys and then run laterally past a second wave. Meanwhile the one Hagerup punt that was not a 48-yard, five-second-hang unreturnable moonball was a free 15 yards for the punt returner since MSU doubled a gunner and no one else on that side of the ball got downfield.

Whatever they're doing with the kickers is great… but is that anything other than hot babes visualization exercises? I'm not sure. Everything else is questionable at best.

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Game theory bits. There wasn't a whole lot of interest from my eyes but a couple of decisions have sucked up post-game airtime.

  • MSU threw on second down on their last drive. Not even close: right call. LeVeon Bell was averaging 2.6 yards a carry and had just been stuffed for nothing. Maybe you want some slants or a hitch or something instead of what they threw but you can't assume Michigan is going to run the worst successful two minute drill ever. All running on second down accomplishes is spending a Michigan timeout; getting the first down ends the game.
  • Michigan punted on fourth and seven from the MSU 42 early. Did not have a problem with this. Not in true no man's land, yardage pretty big, and if you're in the kind of game that ends 12-10 puntosaur technology is the right tech.
  • MSU attempted a 38-yard field goal on fourth and one from the 21. This was debatable—one of reasons puntosaur tech makes sense is that even if you get the first down you're probably kicking anyway. Is MSU going to score a TD? Eh… probably not. A 38-yarder is well within the range in which you expect your established PK to hit it. Even so… that was fourth and capital-S Short. If MSU is intimidated by Michigan's short yardage defense… well, I get that. Probably a mistake but in a puntosaur game I get it.

The assumption you're making on those early calls is that you are in a puntosaur game. IME, that was clear from the get-go.

Oh for crap's sake. Dollars to donuts this is new LSJ beatwriter and slappy Graham "Alex Carder Best Quarterback In The State™" Couch:

I don’t know if you guys saw after the game, but I almost got trampled out there. [MGo: -_______-] Have the fans ever trampled the field like that after a Michigan State win? Is this rivalry getting to the level of Ohio State?

[update: Heiko says it was a photographer, not Couch; stuff below stands.]

No, and no.

Couch derided Junior Hemingway—yup, Junior Hemingway—for his classlessness after the game in a tweet, going so far as to hashtag his tweet "#classless," because he interpreted Michigan's rush to get a Paul Bunyan trophy that was on the sideline last year but not this year as taunting. He's since deleted the tweet, because nothing goes better with stupidity than cowardice.

BONUS: This blog already has a "Graham Couch's laughable homerism" tag from his days covering WMU.

Pom poms. I thought I was good when the guy three rows in front of me was an Air Force veteran—so said his hat—who would clearly rather eat glass than wave a pom-pom, but then some Ladies who Just Wanted To Have Fun ended up two rows in front of me. At some point I had to say "please don't wave those so high" because I couldn't see the field, at which point they said "it's a football game" and I said "I KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT."

I don't know, man. This isn't an old man thing, it's just… if there are pom poms it is a guarantee that some dip in front of you will forget that there are people behind them and act affronted when you say there are people behind them. This is amazingly consistent in my and my friends experience: ask the kind of person who waves a pom-pom during actual football plays to not do that and you will be subjected to a "whateva, I do what I want" style rant and petulant extra-vigorous pom-pom shaking. And yet if I was to take the pom-pom and stuff it down the pom-pom waver's throat, I would be the one removed from the stadium.

Pom poms suck, because society.

Special K. False hope is worse than death.

What the incentive program should be. Any student who wasn't in the stadium at kickoff shouldn't be allowed to buy tickets next year. I mean, seriously: a 3:30 kick for the only decent home game all year and the upper 20 rows of the student section are half-full means the student section is too big.

Here

Inside The Box Score:

We had Witvoet's crew for the game. After calling a penalty on State, he let Hawthorne have it. I'm not sure what Brandin did, but I'm just glad he didn't draw an unsportmanlike penalty call.

* The officials let it be known early that they weren't going to stand for any shenanigans this year, calling Lewan for a somewhat touchy late hit. I wish they would have sent a message by calling a penalty on the team responsible for all the shenanigans last year, but they kept things under control, so no complaints.

bronxbblue has a new thing called Best and Worst:

Best:  “It’s an in-state rival. But we have bigger expectations

I’m sure this is a bit of coach-speak, but it is also something that needed to be said. Since, oh, the Eastern Michigan game, I don’t think most people saw MSU as a legitimate Big 10 championship team. The offense was too crippled by a porous line, poor WRs, and a somewhat-shaky QB to keep pace with teams like Wisconsin, UM, OSU, and Nebraska. The Iowa game cemented their ceiling for the year at 7-8 wins, even with an elite defense.

Outside of the Alabama game, though, UM’s ceiling was never defined.  Notre Dame was a tough loss but one that felt more self-inflicted than the team meeting a superior opponent. Purdue and Illinois proved only that UM was probably as good as Louisiana Tech and and Marshall. MSU, frankly, was not going to validate UM’s season, but only give them another breakpoint from which to calibrate their potential.

And that’s what Hoke encapsulates in this statement.  He recognizes that MSU is a rival and the game mattered, but this wasn’t the season.

Elsewhere

Spartanfreude section. The "Post Your Big (Jail) House experience" thread is pretty good from an M standpoint—no one reports much untoward aside from some verbal sparring, and even that is pretty tame.

I was in Section 8 and saw some arguing going on. On the way back to the car had 3 assholes walking in back of us talking shit like everyone above said, "Little brother put back in his place again", "Leveon Bell for Heisman....", "130 seasons of football and 900 wins", "UM is back in their rightful place". This yapping went. on for the whole walk thru the golf course. Mind you that I took my 74 year old dad to the game. I finally blew. Stopped in my tracks and had a few words. That slightly shut them up.

A 74-year-old man had to listen to people describe how many wins Michigan had acquired, and was exposed to the opinion that Michigan State is not as good at football as Michigan. #thugs

This Guy:

Cut my hand open, Michigan fans threatened to "throw me out of the stadium" for cheering, got my backpack stolen, bought macaroni salad on the walk home. Typical saturday. Also I got called ugly a lot. I'm like a 6 let's be real.

Edit: in retrospect, I probably swore around children a lot more than I should have

Also This Guy:

It's an awful place. Will never return after my last visit in 2010, when I had to be retstrained from attacking Walvies who kept telling me to go back to jail. Nothing about the experience is fun, no matter the result.

And this guy made TWIS but you get a taste early:

Rolled out of bed today more upset and sick than last night

This sucks. Facing the world this week with every UM drag sporting that cocky arrogant grin, wearing their colors -unwashed.
I hate this.

Many if you rcmb'rs are too you to remember all the games from late 80's until Dantonio era.... I hate this week. I can't wait for the first one to offer some sort of mild apology or winning with fg's... Kill.

That is the same This Guy who complained about the Michigan fans who had the audacity to tell him the game would be close and Michigan wasn't good last week. If this man was ever exposed to a real taunt his head would disintegrate into a fine mist.

Blog folks. HSR:

Spock: Well, Michigan was quite fortunate to have won that game.

Kirk: Woooo!  Don't care!  Wooooo!  Woooo!  Woooo!

Spock: Four field goals is hardly the offensive output necessary over the long term to win the Big Ten Championship.

Kirk: Don't care!  Don't care!  Woooooo!  Woooo!  What the Dileo?!?  Wooo!

MVictors:

As J. Lehman was interviewing Hoke during pregame (above), I heard a woman on the sideline (with a sideline pass mind you) gesture over to Hoke and ask, “Is that the coach?”. I gave the Jim Halpert stare to anyone who wanted it. And a lot of guys wanted it.

BWS points out that Michigan passed on 7 of 26 first downs, and only 5 of 22 before the two-minute drill. The lack of a reliable play action option really hurt in this one. I'm not sure why Michigan can't throw outs to their slot receivers.

The MZone has wallpaper and shiny helmet taunting. Five takes from MNBN. Holding the Rope. Maize and Go Blue. TTB.

The Only Colors has postgame react from the MSU perspective:

There aren't going to be any four-game winning streaks in this rivalry again for a long time. ("It takes four years. Of course it will be a long time." Shut up, guy). MSU will get the favorable schedule U-M has enjoyed for the next two years, and both teams are starting to stockpile talent. (If you bring up recruiting rankings, I'm going to punch you).

MSU fans are still clinging to the recruiting-rankings-are-meaningless thing. They're in for a harsh reality check once Michigan's recruiting rankings are paired with something other than crippling attrition, lackadaisical talent evaluation, and crappy coaching. Maybe not next year, when Michigan's breaking in a new quarterback and the upperclass talent levels are still relatively even, but after that… back to the salt mines, Sparty. Or maybe Alabama, OSU, and USC are only good because of their helmets.

SBN's Bobby Big Wheel was randomly at the game and randomly ended up on the field and wrote a thing defending being on the field:

…most college kids use "if it feels good, do it" as their main decision-making rule, not a six-factor test. Thus, a few jumped on the field. At first, I smiled and wondered how I'd get out of the stadium, but more people started jumping the fence. Michigan Stadium goes out instead of up, and the student section seems to run 100 rows deep. So, I learned that when you have a mile of drunk, yellow-clad college kids behind you and someone says you're rushing the field, you're rushing the field.

That's how I, a 28-year-old, job-having person, rushed the field at Michigan Stadium. And I did it con gusto. I joined in the chants, yelled "wooooo!" a lot and got my picture taken with the band. It might have been the rum and "Coke" (I suspect that the mixer was either another type of rum or a non-poisonous brand of varnish) that I'd been taking swigs of during the game, but it was still a fantastic experience. Please keep in mind that I have no ties to the University of Michigan beyond a sister in grad school there. Never mind that; running around a football field makes you feel alive.

I have to admit I rolled my eyes at the field-rush, which was epic in its half-assery. The first students over the wall waited for the team to leave the field, basically, and then it was a slow trickle as only 30-40% of the people in the front row at any particular juncture actually wanted to get on the field. The contrast from last year's OSU field rush to this one was appropriately vast.

Q: I can't remember anyone ever rushing the field outside of the 1997 OSU game before the two incidents mentioned above. Can anyone else?

The HSR is figuring out what's going on in the game based on Ace's ability to keep all of his veins in his head. Dr. Sap's decals go to Dileo, Floyd, and Gibbons, plus others. Brady Hoke's Pet Viking reprazent. MVictors did this:

mealerbunyan_thumb[1]

MVictors is pretty cool, yo.

There is another Wangler. Not Jack Wangler. Another another Wangler. Michigan picked up a commit from a guy who makes Logan Tuley-Tillman seem small.

Media folks. Nesbitt column. Baumgardner explains what happened at the end of the game with the "classless" business hopeless unprofessional slappy Couch mentioned:

Moments after Michigan's 12-10 win over Michigan State on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Lewan, teammate Roy Roundtree and a host of other Michigan players rushed the field and sprinted toward the Spartan sideline.

They were, of course, searching for the famous Paul Bunyan Trophy. But the effort was futile.

"This was my first time beating Michigan State, so I don't know how this works," Lewan said, believing Michigan was supposed to receive the trophy from MSU after the game. "I ran over there to get the Paul Bunyan Trophy, because I remember (MSU having it on the field once before).

"I didn't see him until I went into the locker room. ... I think they were upset about it."

The Michigan victory brings the trophy back to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2007, even if it wasn't brought onto the field Saturday.

After beating the Wolverines for a fourth straight time last season, Michigan State players were seen celebrating with the massive trophy on the field at Spartan Stadium. On Saturday, though, the exchange was more low-key -- it was done somewhere inside the stadium tunnel, and the trophy was waiting for the Wolverines in their locker room after the game.

More classless behavior.

Wojo. Gibbons called the attempt to ice him "pointless." You've come a long way, baby. Chengelis no doubt jinxes Gibbons.

Michigan is 20th in both polls. Jennings on The Threat, who is a football player. Grades. Numbers. Avoiding predictability.

One Frame At A Time: Michigan State

One Frame At A Time: Michigan State

Submitted by Ace on October 22nd, 2012 at 10:30 AM

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to One Frame At A Time, our new weekly gifs post that will go up each Monday morning after football weekends (and probably continuing into basketball season, too, and whenever else it strikes my fancy).

From here on out, words will be sparse; if one picture is worth a thousand, I won't bother to calculate how many are accounted for by a moving image—bajillions, probably. In that sense, apologies for my wordiness, but the Michigan State game was a treasure trove for gifs. Par exemple:

[Due to the large file sizes, the rest of this week's gifs are after THE JUMP. Remember that you can always hit 'escape' (except in Chrome) to stop the animation.]

Michigan State Postgame Presser Transcript: Players

Michigan State Postgame Presser Transcript: Players

Submitted by Heiko on October 21st, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs

What was so formidable about your opponent today?

Denard: “They’re a great team. They’re a great defensive team, too. And so they played great. Toward the end that’s when we started picking it up. We talked about all week finishing, so that’s what we did. We finished out the end of the game, and we kept fighting the whole game. We never let up.”

What does this moment feel like for you guys?

Kovacs: “It’s pretty good. It feels pretty good. And like Denard said, you have to tip your hat to those guys. Obviously they were struggling a little bit coming in, but we knew it was going to be a dogfight. That’s what the Michigan-Michigan State game is year in and year out. They have a tough defense. They pound the ball on offense. You have to tip your hat to them, but Michigan won today.”

Is this defense good enough to win the Big Ten?

Kovacs: “We believe it, but at the same time, I think if we play like this every week we’re going to be in trouble. We have to keep getting better. That’s one of the things coach Hoke and coach Mattison emphasize: never become complacent. Get better every week. That’s what we plan on doing, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The last defensive stand was sort of reminiscent of the last drive against Notre Dame. Did it feel like redemption or something similar to be able to get the stop this time?

Kovacs: “You know, that’s what I was thinking as we took the field. It’s our opportunity to redeem ourselves and give the offense the ball back. Same situation as Notre Dame, and today we executed. We stopped them when we needed to and made some big plays and got the offense the ball back and let Denard take over.”

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Illinois

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Illinois

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

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

shotgun-jet

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

Aigh stack stack stack (not ours)

aigh-stack

Aigh.

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

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

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

You of course know about the QB substitutions.

Flow flow.

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

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

Pretty much.

So… things to take away: are there any?

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

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

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

MANCHART

ballchart

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

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

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

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

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

The second:

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

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

Sure!

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

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

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

But what about Toussaint?

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

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

WHERE DO YOU GO ON THIS PLAY?

image

NOOOOOOOOOOOO

image

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

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

And Kerridge is racking up big numbers.

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

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

Why does the throwback screen always work?

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

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

Denard has now gone two games without an INT.

Fiesta!

Also

charrrrrrrrrrt

a chart.

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah. I like Denard.

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

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

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

One catch for everyone chart.

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

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

Nothing to see here, really.

Norfleet?

Yeah, pretty cool to have this guy around.

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

Heroes?

Schofield and Omameh. Denard. Also Barnum.

Goats?

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

What does it mean for MSU and beyond?

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

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

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

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 15th, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Bullets of informative information:

  • Michigan State. This is a rivalry game. Rivalries are important.
  • Vincent Smith getting held out for his hamstring was precautionary. May be back this week. Maybe not.
  • Hopkins is "back."
  • Frank Clark's decreased playing time was due to rotation, not due to injury.
  • Denard is fine.

Presser

“You know, obviously it was a great team win the other night. Played well as a team. Played together. Probably our most complete game when you look at the offense and defense. In the kicking game I thought we did some very good things. Had some penalties that we don’t want to have when you look at hitting the returner late and we had two defensive offsides penalties that we need to be a little more poised and a little more composed about that. A couple dropped passes. I think we were 9 of 14 on third downs, probably could have been 11 of 14. Missed assignments, I think we had 10 of them on offense. Defensively, early in the game I thought they ran the ball a little too well, so we have to do a better job with the integrity of gaps and getting off blocks. Best we’ve played, but a long way from playing championship football, so we have a lot of work to do. We’ll go back to work.

"This is a great week because it’s a rivalry game and those are always special, always fun. At the same time it’s another championship game, which we’ve started that run two weeks ago. We have to prepare like we have, and I think we will because we’ve done a nice job to this point and the maturity of our team – I think we are maturing, so we just have to keep going forward.”

Illinois Postgame Presser Transcript: Players

Illinois Postgame Presser Transcript: Players

Submitted by Heiko on October 15th, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Something came up yesterday and I had to drive to Cincinnati, which is why this is late. I will  post today's presser transcript later this afternoon/evening. Apologies for the whacky timing.

Desmond Morgan and Denard Robinson

Opening remarks about Gerald Ford’s jersey:

Morgan: “I’d just like to say it’s quite an honor and privilege not only to represent a former Michigan player -- obviously left his legacy on the program, was a standout person and player -- but on top of that the President of the United States. It’s an honor, and I’m going to wear it proud.”

Denard, what did you hurt and were you scared that it was going to be more serious than it turned out to be?

Denard: “No, it was just a boo boo. I mean, everybody gets hurt, so I mean, it was all good. I came back in and it didn’t bother me at all.”

What’s ‘it?’

Denard: “It didn’t bother me. I don’t know. It was nothing. Funny bone. Nothing serious.”

Denard, can you talk about the defense and how much you feel like you can rely on them?

Denard: “Uh, I think every great team has to have a great defense. It starts with the defense, to be honest with you. If they can stop people, we could score three points and win the game if they shut them out. They’re playing well and it was a team effort.”

The Lamentation Of Their Women

The Lamentation Of Their Women

Submitted by Brian on October 15th, 2012 at 12:18 PM

10/13/2012 – Michigan 45, Illinois 0 – 4-2, 2-0 Big Ten

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Eric Upchurch

Six games into year two of the Hoke and Mattison defensive regime, Michigan stands 10th in total defense. Last year they finished 17th. The year before that they languished in the triple-digits, unsure of who they were, what they were doing, and how life was supposed to have any meaning. Now, they know.

The flow thing is no coincidence.

arnold-schwarzenegger-conan-the-barbarian-movie-image-2[1]x350[1]

RYAN THE BARBARIAN

Yeah, you can use the advanced numbers to push the exact measure of Michigan's improvement to and fro—Michigan is 16th in S&P+ with FEI pending—but who cares? The exact magnitude of the improvement is difficult to measure in the same way an exploding volcano is. It is organized and has long hair and will hit you very hard. Volcanoes. Dig it.

Michigan has not quite swept across the steppes, burning all in its path yet. They're still waiting for a real test after they got run over in the opener and had to survive an option attack they were ill-prepared for. Since those two games they've played UMass, a Notre Dame team that seems to score 13-20 against any opponent more competent than Miami, Purdue, and Illinois. Competent quarterbacks have exited. Chaos reigns even before Michigan gets involved.

But but but, by whatever measures you care to look at Michigan is providing novel horrible experiences to the hapless in their path:

  • Illinois was held to under 150 yards of offense. In blowout losses against Arizona State and Penn State, the former without Scheelhaase, they racked up over 300 and scored. They neared 300 against Wisconsin last week.
  • Purdue's worst yardage output of the season was versus Michigan; they've played ND and Wisconsin.
  • Michigan held Notre Dame to under 250 yards, also their worst output of the season.

When life gives you lemonade stands, all you can do is pillage five-year-olds. Nickels in hand, Michigan faces a recent nemesis this weekend. They've got a real nice stand set up. Would be a shame if something happened to it.

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

It's mostly lemonade stands from here on out. Only two of Michigan's remaining six opponents squeeze into the top half of the total yardage rankings—Ohio State (34th) and Nebraska (12th). Hypothetical Big Ten Championship Game foe Wisconsin is cooling its heels at 87th. Thanks to the BIG TENNNNNN nature of the Big Ten, Michigan's defense can get along despite being rickety in parts.

Six weeks in it's getting hard to figure out what those rickety parts are. Kenny Demens has just spent three weeks attacking third and one with abandon and dropping into all the deep seams. He's been able to do that because the defensive tackles are keeping him clean. Raymon Taylor is being avoided by opponents who would rather go at JT Floyd. Craig Roh's move to strongside end has been successful beyond all reason.

The big hole on the defense is…

…weakside end? Maybe Floyd himself? It's unknown, really.

We do know now what we hoped—maybe suspected—at the beginning of the year: the GERG to Greg turnaround was 10% fumble fluke, 90% sustainable development. I watch Michigan play defense and think about watching Greg Mattison get distracted by an endzone shot of his four DL making the exact same step on a particular cutup at a coaching clinic. The line moves with perfect choreography and Mattison's supposed to be talking about higher-level stuff but is simply incapable of looking at that beautiful synchronicity and not stopping to talk about it:

Mattison did not select the cutups himself—that was delegated to a video coordinator—and didn't know exactly what would come up. This made for an interesting dynamic as he evaluated each play live. He repeatedly digressed from his main topic to note the footwork of his linemen: Van Bergen is getting distance with his first step. All of these guys have identical footwork.

The tape winds back and forth; Mattison beams like a proud father. He fumes at imaginary people who would not direct their weakside end to put his outside foot back when he gets a tight end to him. He passes the geek test.

The same folks who made Will Heininger a key piece of a top 20 defense have reconstituted Michigan's defensive line from a converted OL, a five star at the bottom of the sea, and a 250-pound weakside end. When not battered by a once-in-a-generation outfit in Tuscaloosa, they've stoned everyone they've come up against*. That line is not where Michigan's going, but it's good enough to be amongst the best in the conference.

That is the brick on which Hoke's program is built. They will take whatever they've got and turn it into a well-oiled machine. Some years they will be undersized and coping well. Some years they will be rampant. The next ten years will feature an endless procession of mashing defenses. There will be one blip to the downside and two units that put Michigan in national championship contention.

Year in, year out, lemonade stands across the Midwest will burn. Toddlers in Elmo t-shirts will weep. Winged helmets will look on impassively, knowing what is best in life.

*[Air Force's success was not on the DL, at least not much.]

Media

Highlights from parkinggod:

The Ford presentation:

Also pressers by Hoke, Denard and Desmond Morgan, Jake Ryan and Patrick Omameh, and Kenny Demens and his disco 'stache.

Upchurch photos went up this morning.

Real Bullets

8090613148_17f3f8cbe7_o[1]

Ace

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3Brady Hoke Epic Double Point of the week. Jake Ryan, come on down. Obviously. He's got a bullet down the page, but: 11 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and a number of plays made that didn't even show up on that statline.

Honorable mention: Denard Robinson (7/11, > 10 YPC, no turnovers), Patrick Omameh (seems to be destroying Akeem Spence on a few of Denard's long runs), Kenny Demens (INT, two third and short thumps), Greg Mattison (knows what is best in life).

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama)

I know, man.

My God, It's Made Of Funchess note of the week. From my vantage point in the stadium, I thought the play-action rollout that eventually turned into the Funchess touchdown had been defeated by coverage. I thought that Denard saw this too and was chunking the ball out of the endzone, which I was pleased with—WOO NO INTERCEPTION—as I saw the ball soar into the stands… at least the dance team… well past Devin Funchess's outstretched… oh.

8088254863_7608233a68_o[1]

Ace made this. ESC to stop it, unless you're on Chrome.

Wow. Is that legal? Should I clap now? Is touchdown? Is touchdown. Clap. Smile. Turn to wife and console her that the Illinois people are probably used to this anyway and she shouldn't feel bad for them because… um. Return to clapping, wait for day when Michigan throws more than 15 passes and Jim Mandich Watch returns.

norfleetwatch. hai guys here's this punt i should probably fair catch this syyyykkkkkkeeeee hey i'm going this way syyyyyyykkke I PUT OUT MY HAND AND YOU STOP BECAUSE I HAVE POWERS goodbye tackler goodbye tackler goodbye tackler hello sideline i am sorry i will never touch you sideline i just don't feel like that about you ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM wait wat is punter

8084213122_81e573ebd3_z[1]

Upchurch

wat is punter wat is

wat

/dies

RESPAWN

Kicking from the one. Michigan pooted in the shortest possible field goal late in the first quarter, which normally would have driven me bonkers. IMO that was a close enough call that I wasn't super peeved. The situation:

  • Denard is out so you've got a freshman at QB.
  • Barnum is out so you've got your 6'1" walkon at LG.
  • You've just been stuffed twice consecutively since Illinois knows you're not throwing, not least because…
  • It's a rainstorm that could easily degenerate into an MSU-Iowa-ish slopfest in which points are at a premium.

If an 18-yard field goal in the first quarter is ever going to be the right move, it's there. It was really hard to disentangle any emotions about the kick from the momentary dread experienced as I watched Michigan's season circle down the drain in an injury deluge, but before it was a laugher it seemed like the kind of game where the first team to 17 wins and the field goal is defensible.

This is an extension of my being fine with a similar chip shot field goal in last year's Illinois game; that one came later and extended Michigan's lead from 14 to a probably-insurmountable 17. Early in this game any points seemed like a good idea in case the skies truly opened up.

Not that it mattered, but this wouldn't be MGoBlog without minute dissection of every possible game theory decision.

Even if you didn't like the kick you should note with approval that Michigan tried to take their two-minute opportunity at the end of the half only to be foiled by a bad snap after they'd moved the ball 19 yards.

8084216146_71bd66bd67_z[1]

Upchurch

Never again. Hey, guys, we're past Annual Denard Versus Illinois Injury Scare, and this one was the best of all because Denard came back and Illinois scored no points anyway. High five.

Michigan has now survived half the season with only one major injury, that to Blake Countess. While Wormley and Brink being out strips Michigan of some of its DL depth, neither guy was playing much or projected to play much—hard to imagine Wormley being a major step up from Michigan's current three-tech/SDE production.

That's getting off relatively light. Anyone glancing at Iowa City or East Lansing will get quick confirmation of that. Brady Hoke poops magic, still going strong.

Everything is not a bubble screen. I got a half-dozen tweets after the Gallon touchdown about bubble screens, and I knew that there had been a disturbance in the force due to announcer incompetence. Watching the highlights, I found out: the PBP guy thinks any throw to a wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage is a bubble screen.

That's not true, obviously, and the Gallon touchdown was the Always Works Every Time Except That One Time Against Iowa throwback screen. That play has little to do with the various critiques leveled around here about the lack of edge pressure applied by the Borges spread. It works by getting the playside tackle out on the edge without blocking that DE, and that gets you a chunk of yards. Michigan's broke huge as Michigan picked up +++ downfield blocks from Schofield and Kwiatkowski:

Schofield got a piece of the safety 20 yards downfield. That's a throwback to his days as a guard and a reason Rodriguez was so hyped on acquiring him. Michigan's OL can still get downfield like a boss.

Anyway, the throwback screen has been a strange disconnected bit of the offense that Borges pulls out once a game that picks up between 15 and 70 yards without fail except that one time against Iowa. It's always run from under center; it's obviously a pretty awesome play but it isn't yet anything more than a dime store novelty because the core of the offense remains spread.

Lewan injury scares. Taylor Lewan wasn't the first choice in warmups and again exited before the rest of the offensive line; a couple of people have mentioned to me that he seemed to have a limp as he went back to the locker room at half-time. This is fine, because Lewan is in fact powered by injury. Tom Gholston will rip his leg off, laugh evilly, and turn around only to be faced with a being of unimaginable power created by his very own hands.

PROTIP: let's not try to throw screens over that guy.

Fitz vs Rawls vs Hayes vs Norfleet fight. The Toussaint Job Threat watch is still on after his YPC was the worst of anyone who got more than one carry—and the guy who got that one carry also almost took a punt return 90-some yards.

Rawls has earned some more playing time—if he's not taking over short yardage duties posthaste I'll be surprised—and will be given an opportunity to take some chunk of the carries, but Fitz is going to remain the starter, I'd imagine. Michigan did hand it off to Rawls on an inverted veer, FWIW.

Rotation. Michigan had more of it in this game, especially one Pipkins:

8084218269_0cfe242ca0_z[1]

Upchurch

That started early on Illinois's somewhat annoying early successes straight up the gut. I'll have to see what was going on there in the UFR; live it seemed like a thing that Michigan was not quite expecting but quickly got fixed. Think early Rodriguez offenses in the first half versus the second.

Moore return, maybe not so much. Brandon Moore was back and still apparently behind Kwiatkowski and Funchess, possibly also Williams. I saw him whiff a block badly on one of his limited snaps. I don't think he's getting much playing time back.

Everybody Hates Russell. It was bad enough that Michigan receivers reacted to Russell Bellomy's passes like they were radioactive, but does the media have to pile on? Daily:

Bellomy struggles in spotlight

Apparently the offense couldn’t move a single yard without Robinson under center, and the Wolverines settled for a field goal…

Fans’ expectations for the quarterback position could be a bit exaggerated because they’ve been spoiled by the exhilarating play of Robinson, but Bellomy didn’t do a great job of living up to any expectations in his brief role on Saturday.

On the following drive, he tossed a pair of incomplete passes — granted, the second was dropped by fifth-year wide receiver Roy Roundtree — before Michigan punted on a three-and-out.

Baumgardner:

Russell Bellomy wasn't exactly sparkling in mop up duty for Robinson. He took over with the ball inside the five in the second quarter, and couldn't get Michigan into the end zone. He also lost a fumbled snap in the second half.

TTB:

Michigan's backup quarterback situation is shaky.  Russell Bellomy struggled somewhat.  He let a snap squirt right through his hands, and he completed just 1/3 passes.  I'm not a huge fan of what I've seen out of Devin Gardner as a quarterback, and I do think Bellomy has potential down the road . . . but boy, does he look shaky right now.  He wasn't helped out by his receivers, though, who had their hands on both incompletions; but Bellomy looks afraid to push the ball down the field, and he's not very crisp running the plays.

Come on guys, he handed off a couple times and threw a few passes that were dropped. Given the conditions, the fumbled snap is not a huge surprise—I file Bellomy's performance under incomplete.

Hoke likes him. Yeah.

Another lost shoe. An epidemic. This never happened before. What's the deal?

Roh pretty damn good. Two of Michigan's WDE's switched positions in the offseason, and that was pretty worrying. At least one of those seems to be working out pretty well: SDE Craig Roh. Check out Michigan's first third and short stop. Watch 88, the DE to the top of the screen:

Shift a step before snap to line up right over the TE, get under the TE, move upfield and pop the pulling guard. That's why Demens is free to tackle. That's a full point in UFR that doesn't show up at all in the box score, and Roh has been doing that consistently for the first six games. There's a stretch at 2:14 that's similar: Ryan gets a TFL because Roh beats his guy playside.

Also on that first play Jake Ryan pops his guy back and disengages to make that Demens tackle a matter of stopping an already-falling guy's momentum. Funny how Demens is a lot better now that he's not eating guys on a free release. Speaking of…

JAKE F RYAN. Ryan needs no explanation, and in this game he put up the kind of stat line that makes even distant observers sit up and take notice: 11 tackles, 7 solo, 3.5 TFLs, a sack and a half. He also got some of those Roh plays—the stuffed fourth and inches was Ryan getting the two-for-one with a slant under the tackle and letting Demens roar up into the hole untouched.

Repeat of all things previous about all Big Ten, verge of—the next two weeks will either solidify that or delay it.

A screen worked, to a running back and everything. That's an everything's coming up Milhouse moment.

Scheelhaase out. At least one team in the Big Ten is willing to remove a guy with a concussion. Terry Hawthorne didn't play, either. Objection from UV withdrawn.

OL doing stuff. Big Robinson runs resulted from:

  • Omameh blowing up Spence one on one.
  • Lewan blowing up a DE on the easy Denard draw TD.
  • Omameh blowing up Spence again on the 49-yarder

Student section fight. Michigan State:

aint-nobody-end

Michigan:

crowd2_thumb[1]

Difference is that Michigan was up by a billion in a noncompetitive game, and they look to have about twice the people. Win for Michigan.

Yakety sax pending. THE KIDS ARE PLAYING THEIR TAILS OFF AND THE COACHES ARE SCREWING IT UP

FURMAN DESTROY. My only disappointment with the above highlight reel is that it leaves out a fifteen-yard penalty on Michigan, when Josh Furman went Fresno State on an Illinois punt returner. A personal reaction:

OHHHH HE'S GONNA LIGHT THAT GUY UP

OHHHHHHHH

/ball hits ground

oh?

That punt had ridiculous hangtime, is what I'm saying.

Damn you, Special K. Damn you. You know, you get through two full games without hearing the Dog Groomers play "In The Big House" and you think you're out of the woods and then they bring it back. False hope is worse than death.

I am so with you HSR:

Really, I could have like six anti-Special K bullets here, but will it really do any good?

The weirdest thing was the soulful acoustic guitar thing they played for like an entire commercial break. YEAH I'M FIRED UP HIT ME WITH THE JOSE GONZALEZ I CAME HERE FOR WARRRRRRRR.

Now you can't do it. Ace mentioned the on-field proposal after everyone had cleared out Saturday, and now the gentleman who totally one-upped you passed along the event itself:

Jonathan San declares "I've never made that many girls scream before," and he's got you topped. Unless you're Steve Breaston—in which case respext, you are good at football.

Dang big gap. The MSU line opened at M –11.5 and currently stands at M –10.5.

Here

Inside The Boxscore:

After watching the Spartan fan-fail, I was curious to see how UofM's students would approach the game. Even though the weather was basically the same - rain - the stands looked full to me. There were a few who left the game in the 2nd half, but I'm sure if we would have gone to double OT, the stands would have been full. So even though State may have won the last four games in the series, they have a long way to go to match the University of Michigan on the field, in the classroom, and in the stands.

Also, ST3 goes to badminton practice. MICHIGAN MENZ.

Turd Ferguson kicks off a rivalry week with a dossier of Michigan State's recent achievements, as well:

Michigan State athletics programs have become pioneers in 21st-century teambuilding.  Concerned about the rapid decline of face-to-face contact, MSU athletes have repeated come together, in large groups, to contact the faces of their fellow athletesand classmates.

Spartans are known to generously extend a hand to those in need.  They’ve developed a prison-to-work program seen by many as a model for how to reduce to an absolute minimum the time between prison and work.  Their athletic director moonlights as avolunteer career counselor and their football coach as a public speaking coach, offering their time even to supposed athletic rivals.  When one of their neighbors could use help just stretching his neck, scratching his eye, massaging his arm, or bludgeoning his face, a Spartan is always there to assist.

Elsewhere

Blog folk. MVictors pulls out a Gerald Ford speech from 1975 in an effort to figure out what he might have said if he was around for the event:

As I mentioned a moment ago, I was lucky enough to play football, first on Ferry Field and then in the stadium. And I was lucky enough to start a few games in the football season of 1934–and that was quite a year. The Wolverines on that memorable occasion played Ohio State, and we lost 34 to 0. And to make it even worse, that was the year we lost seven out of eight of our scheduled games. But you know, what really hurt me the most was when my teammates voted me their most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue. [Laughter]

MVictors postgame:

It’s seems like a simple expectation but you forget, especially in the aftermath of the Alabama and Notre Dame games, that these coaches have a track record of making players better.  You are seeing it.   The defense confident and fun to watch and they’ve retooled the gameplan with Denard and it’s clearly working.  I’ll take this stat line 24/7: 7-11, 2 TD, 0 INT.

Big House Blog:

If yesterday was a heavyweight title fight it was over in the first round.  The only drama came when the champion hurt his hand because he was hitting the challenger's face too much.  TKO Round 1 - UMass played harder in the Big House.

More HSR:

One thing we do know is the defense put in an amazing performance against Illinois.  They were held to 3.3 yards per carry (with a standard deviation of 5.1 yards). These two stats indicate that not only did the D hold the Illini in check, but that they kept them from pulling off many big runs; in fact, Illinois only had one run of over ten yards all day, the Nathan Scheelhaase dash that knocked him out of the game. If you calculate the standard error about the mean, it's 0.14 yards, suggested that if U-M and Illinois face of again and again, Michigan would hold them to under 3.5 YPC again and again and again. That's consistency. That's dominance.

Maize and Go Blue:

Al Borges continues to pare down his play calling to suit this team, and it has worked the past two weeks as Michigan has run for just under 330 yards per game and thrown the ball only 27 times total. The

Holding The Rope:

When Odysseus* returned home, he was met with a cohort of unruly suitors. Like those suitors, Illinois simply did not have the strength to string the bow and fire.

MICHIGAN MENZ.

MNBN:

RAMROTH FINNEGAN declares Michigan by far his best visit. I know the kid is destined to end up at Cincinnati, where all the best names go, but let's savor this moment when it is just fate, not fact.

The Illinois perspective:

In our last nine Big Ten games, we’ve scored 7, 14, 7, 14, 17, 7, 7, 14, and 0 points. 9.7 points per game. Has to be the worst such stretch since the 1970′s, right? We had huge offensive failings in 2005 and 2003 and 1997 and even 1993. But we’ve never had a stretch like this, have we? I mean, since the days of 0-0 ties with Northwestern and such in the 70′s. Can anyone remember anything this bad?

Less than two years ago, we scored 63 points at Michigan. With Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback. How could we fall that far in 24 months? Yes, Michigan’s defense has improved tenfold over RichRod’s 2010 defense. But from 63 points to zero? How is that even possible?

TTB awards. M&GB on the RB platoon. Sap's Decals. Photos from MNBN.

Mainstream folk. Grades are somewhat good from Meinke. Daily game story. Smith sat out with a hamstring issue, "boo-boo" resurfaces as nonspecific Denard injury term. Helfand on Michigan's defense. Estes on Kenny Demens. Meinke on MSU week. Baumgardner on lack of turnovers.

Bliss

Bliss

Submitted by Ace on October 13th, 2012 at 7:19 PM


Upchurch

Outside of a two-possession stretch when Michigan fans held their breath as Denard Robinson was sidelined with a pinky injury, the Wolverines couldn't have made it any easier to look ahead to next week's game against Michigan State, pounding a hapless Illinois squad, 45-0.

If anything, the final score belied Michigan's dominance. The offense moved the ball at will, rushing for 353 yards on 6.9 per carry and adding 174 through the air on just 15 attempts. The defense held the Illini to a mere 134 yards, including an unheard-of 29 yards on 16 passes; while it didn't help matters when starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase exited in the second quarter with an upper-body injury, his four yards on six attempts weren't lighting the world on fire.

Seemingly every play called by Al Borges worked as intended, starting with a 71-yard touchdown to Jeremy Gallon on a bubble screen* to open the scoring; Gallon weaved through the Illini defense, helped by stellar downfield blocking, most notably by tight end Mike Kwiatkowski. The next drive stalled near the goal line for a field goal after Denard exited the game with a banged-up pinky; it was the only moment when Michigan fans felt even a hint of concern.

The Wolverines continued to establish their identity as a run-first, run-second outfit on Denard's first possession back in the lineup, gaining all 68 of their yards on the ground en route to a six-yard scramble for Michigan's dreaded wonder. When Robinson opened the second half with a physics-defying 49-yard scamper to paydirt, the rout was on in earnest. Illinois's next possession ended after one play, a Kenny Demens interception of Reilly O'Toole. Three plays later, Devin Funchess hauled in a Robinson lob in the back of the end zone, bringing the score to 31-0 before many fans had returned with their halftime hot chocolates.


Upchurch

On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan flashed his All-American potential again and again, amassing 11 tackles (7 solo), four TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and a devastating forced fumble as he flushed O'Toole out of the pocket, doubled back, and blindsided him to jar the ball loose. Denard Robinson may have finished with four touchdowns, 159 yards passing, and 128 yards rushing, but Ryan made a legitimate claim for best Wolverine on the field.

Ryan wasn't the only standout, as seven Wolverines tallied tackles for loss, neither Illini quarterback could find an open receiver, and Greg Mattison's blitzes hit home time and again. Two years ago, Michigan faced this same Illinois squad—with the same starting quarterback, even—and gave up 561 yards and 65 points. Against this defense, the Illini would need almost a full 17 quarters to rack up that same yardage; no matter how long they went, they'd obviously never reach that point total.

Safe to say, times have changed for both programs.

Michigan has found their perfect match at head coach and defensive coordinator. The offense under Al Borges has had their growing pains, but it's clear that they've found a suitable balance since the bye week to maximize Denard's remaining time as a Wolverine.

After the game, the marching band spelled out "Marry Me, Danielle?" as a band member dropped to a knee at midfield. Like everything the Wolverines dialed up on Saturday, the play was a success. On a cold, grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor, only the weather could dampen the spirits of those in Maize and Blue.

-----------------
*On second look, it wasn't exactly a bubble screen, as Gallon started downfield before stopping and coming back to the line; a very well drawn-up play regardless.

Unverified Voracity Drops The Puck

Unverified Voracity Drops The Puck

Submitted by Brian on October 11th, 2012 at 6:24 PM

RITonight.  Get it? Get it? Puck drops on Michigan's season opener in a couple hours. Yost Built has a preview and a wrapup season preview post. A few comments on Michigan exhibition against Windsor:

  • Trouba is the truth. Three assists, one leveling open-ice hit, and defensive responsibility until everyone got sloppy up a ton in the third. A tape to tape breakout pass machine. Money money money.
  • Andrew Copp is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. Not a big recruit by any stretch of the imagination but Copp stood out as a big dude with some jump; he split time between football and hockey in high school and may develop into something a bit better than Danny Fardig 2.0.
  • Moffatt-Treais-PDG looks to be your top line, at least for now, with the wingers on that line seeming to have good chemistry. Looking for a bustout year from PDG, who was young enough to get drafted after his freshman year and should improve greatly.
  • Brennan Serville is another guy I'll be watching early for signs of improvement, especially with Merrill out six weeks and Serville skating every night as a result. Initial impression was not much different than last year's struggles, unfortunately, but confirmation bias and all that.
  • I miss Hunwick. Rutledge gave up a soft goal in his period and looked like he had holes all over. This may be paranoia.

The mid-tier guys (Moffie, Bennett, Guptill, Old Lynch, Hyman) were scratched, FWIW. Hyman's another guy I'm hoping will start producing more after his freshman hype fizzled.

Jake Ryan, basically. Roh on Ryan:

“He’s like a Tootsie Pop,” Roh said. “No matter how many times you talk to him, you really never know what you’re going to get until you get to the chocolatey center.”

Zach Helfland asks the obvious question:

Meaning what exactly?

Roh:

“I don’t know,” Roh said. “You can’t describe him, really. He’s like, I don’t know, he’s like smart but dumb at the same time, but he’s also just random, just like, ‘Yo,’ randomly.”

YO. Elsewhere in that article, Ryan is an alien. Read it.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JT FLOYD WHYYYY

"I told him right before I cut them, 'Man, 'Lace, I'm going to cut 'em,'" Floyd said. "He's like, 'No you're not, no you're not.'

"He was the first guy I saw. He just looked at me and smiled, 'Man, I can't believe you did it.' We had a little dreadlock bond, I guess. Now I'm trying to persuade him to cut 'em"

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

but it's not going to happen. Not going to happen."

Nevermind.

Ticket pricing update. To be fair The M Zone needs to continue their scalping project into next year to see what it's like trying to grab OSU tickets online, but so far so good for the idea we're closing in on the max amount people will pay to go to Michigan games:

Endzone Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72

Total Endzone StubHub Savings So Far - $96.44

Maize Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38

Total Maize Section Savings So Far - $130.76

Victors Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
Total Victors Section Savings So Far - $263.36

MSU is looking like a win for season ticket holders but that's the only one, and that's with Stubhub's massive cut (15% from the seller plus 20 bucks in "convenience fees" from the buyer) taken into account.

Willis Ward to be honored. Michigan's going to do it, and it's all thanks to an eight year old girl:

"A lot of people like to listen to little kids, and you should speak up and make a difference," said Genna, a Brighton third-grader.

She addressed the university's board of regents in March and lobbied state legislators in June to name a special day after star U-M football player Willis Ward, who was benched for a game against Georgia Tech in 1934 because he was black.

Genna succeeded, and Willis — a friend and teammate of future President Gerald Ford — will be honored by the state and school next week.

…or the guys who made the documentary that's the only reason anyone's talking about Willis Ward in 2012, whatever.

Like flies. Blocking-type Michigan State people continue to get injured at an alarming rate. TE Dion Sims may or may not play against Michigan; if he doesn't they probably won't be throwing his backup many passes:

Andrew Gleichert, a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship before the opener against Boise State, has a broken wrist and will have to play with a cast the rest of the season.

"We got concerned with him being a point-of-attack blocker," Roushar said. "We feel like he's got to do a better job. He's working on it. With the loss of Dion, you're looking for something stronger at the point of attack."

Meanwhile, former megarecruit Lawrence Thomas went from linebacker to 295-pound fullback and can't move down to tight end this week because he picked up a concussion against Indiana—his second since August. He's expected to play against Iowa because obviously.

[AFTER AN UNUSUAL UV JUMP: THINGS PEOPLE DID TO THE DANNY HOPEDOKEN GIF]

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on October 10th, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Formation notes: Stacks and stacks. Here's a "shotgun trips" with Dileo moving outside a couple of stacked WRs, one of whom is Kwiatkowski:

3-wide-iish

Totally standard three wide for some reason:

gallon-1

Michigan spent a lot of time in this, which was dubbed Shotgun 2TE twins:

keep-1

And triple stack tight:

stack-tight

Substitution notes: Nothing weird. No Rawls, a few Smith plays. Darboh got on the field for some real plays for the first time but no passes—not that there were many to go around. Didn't see Jerald Robinson at all, FWIW.

Show show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
Three man front for Purdue for whatever reason. Michigan doubles both playside DTs; Short is moving away from the play at the snap anyway. Omameh(+1) pulls past that and a double by Lewan and Kwiatkowski on the playside end; LB contains and Denard(+1) pulls. A safety has moved down to add another guy to the box; Denard has to go inside the Omameh block. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) peels off to get a pop on a linebacker, but these guys were a bit confused and did not try to seal the DE inside, so he can disengage from Lewan and tackle. Purdue in pure cover 0 here.
M27 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run End-around Gallon 4
I wonder if this might turn into a read at some point as Denard does appear to be looking at someone on the D as he executes the mesh; Barnum pulls around and heads up inside, so a pull could be viable here. I don't think it's a read yet, though. Denard hands to Gallon as the playside DE chucks Schofield in an effort to get to the inside. He removes himself from the play. Schofield didn't look too hot here but he's probably not expecting the DE to do his job for him. Toussaint(+1) gets a hit on an OLB that gives Gallon(-0.5) the corner as Gardner(+0.5) cracks down on a LB; Gallon kind of jogs out of bounds instead of trying to blast out the first down.
M31 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1 + 15 Pen
Michigan barely squeezes this out as Mealer(-0.5) kind of loses Short and does not get around him to seal him out of the intended hole and Williams(-1) really loses the end; both of those guys are in the hole as Lewan and Barnum release into one guy. Bler. Omameh(+0.5) is pulling around and manages to get a hat on a filling LB; this gives Toussaint his tiny little crease he hits for a yard and a first down, with a facemask penalty aiding the cause.
M47 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 4
Kwiatkowski(+1) blocks down on the playside end and erases him. That's Short! Dang. Lewan and Barnum pull around him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks a linebacker type, easy. Barnum(+0.5) finds a linebacker farther inside and blocks him. Mealer and Omameh are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite get it done but it's a push since the guy has to give a ton of ground to prevent the seal. Robinson runs up in the huge gap and goes NS, picking up a decent gain on first down. The 3-4 seems to be screwing with some blocking assignments.
O49 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Toussaint -1
Michigan gets caught by a corner blitz that allows Purdue to slant towards the playside. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the playside end past the play. Omameh(-0.5) gets no movement on Gaston and loses him to the frontside; Short beats a scoop by Barnum(-1) badly, and when the LBs keep leverage on the pulling linemen the two DTs flow from the interior to eat up Toussaint. RPS -1. Nice kick from Schofield(+0.5) and cut by Mealer(+1), FWIW.
50 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Drag Roundtree 10
Pretty simple for Robinson as the MLB is stacked over the center and takes a step to the field as Roundtree drags inside of him. He recovers okay; not nearly enough to prevent the conversion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Reverse Gallon 7
Purdue blitzes off the slot; Michigan fakes a QB run to the field and pitches to Gallon coming the other way. Schofield(-1) blocks down on the backside DT for a moment and then lets him go, then thinks he's messed up and chases the guy. Gallon avoids him, then cuts up; the DE who is further downfield now comes up to contain and or tackle; he can't do anything. Schofield ends up blocking the DT but after Gallon beat him and doesn't actually make anything useful happen. Omameh(+1) makes the yardage happen thanks to a long-term block on the other DT that ends up sealing him away from the sideline. Gallon(+2) has already beaten two guys and throws in a third for good measure.
O33 2 3 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 3-4 Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 3
The playside end comes down a little bit, enough to convince Denard to give. DE can chase Toussaint outside but not catch him, so maybe this is right? I'm not sure. Dileo(-1) runs by the slot LB, who forces Toussaint to bounce upfield; Darboh(-0.5) also gets beat by his blocker. Toussaint(+0.5) bounces outside of the first guy and then tries to do the same with the second, getting slowed by one DB and bashed by a second when just hitting it up is a first down.
O30 3 In Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Same bit with Kwiatkowski(+1) shoving an end well out of the hole; his block eventually takes out Short, who slanted inside an attempted double. Roundtree(-1) whiffs an easy crack down; Barnum(+1) pulls and slows up to knock a linebacker inside, which gives Robinson a crease for the first down despite Lewan(-1) getting only a bler kickout as he falls to the ground. Robinson(+1) had cut well and was one and a half of those missed blocks from a touchdown. RPS +1.
O28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 6
The slightly odd shotgun iso Michigan broke out against Minnesota a while ago. Gap to get is between Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1). Lewan gets movement and a kickout; Barnum's guy helps him but Barnum locks him out well despite a hands to the face that goes uncalled; Kerridge(+1) thumps a linebacker. Toussaint's got a good hole and hits it; overhang guy is unblocked and tackles.
O22 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
Purdue moves a guy off the slot and blitzes right into the mesh. Again, have to prevent this from happening with bubble punishment. M runs the veer; Robinson does read it and pulls in time. Schofield(-1) is getting slanted under and gives up too much ground, knocking Barnum off his pull. That guy shoots past the play as Denard pulls; now he's past an initial wave and in space further inside than he wants to be. It really looks like he's got huge lane outside but because of the bump on Barnum he's not making contact with the LB at the LOS and Denard(-1) fails to read the open space he will have. He made a quick decision to take here, but a missed opportunity for more. Since he does not cut outside he has blown up the blocking angle of a down-blocking Omameh and an overhang guy can come in to tackle for no gain. Kind of want to RPS -1 this but M did have an opportunity to pick up yards if Schofield and Denard execute a little better.
O22 3 4 Shotgun 3TE 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Pass Flare Toussaint Inc
OLB is moving at the QB at the snap; Funchess is mainly picking the ILB to the short side, leaving Toussaint all alone on a little swing; Denard overthrows it. Toussaint almost makes a one handed stab-and-grab but can't quite. (IN, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O22 4 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Gardner 8
Great pocket; Denard zings it into Gardner's chest on time. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O14 1 10 Shotgun 2-back trips 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Smith 1
Covered slot play. Purdue has a CB to the non-WR side on the LOS, a LB there, and a safety who is reading run the whole way. Corner comes upfield at snap; this looks like a veer but if so it seems like Denard should pull, except it doesn't really matter since Toussaint blocks the corner and there is no one being optioned. Denard gives; Smith meets an unblocked guy at the LOS. RPS -1. Schofield(+1) had a good block on a slanting guy, FWIW, and Barnum(+1) got to the second level right quick. If they'd had a guy for the safety...
O13 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 under Run QB iso Robinson 4
This is an iso on which they run a fake veer mesh point and send Smith up the middle of the field. Barnum(+1) gets a tough scoop block on one of the DTs, sealing him. Mealer moves to the second level and would get an LB blocked if he knew where the ball was. Omameh(+1) kicks the other DT, Short. Lewan was blocking a guy who never tried to contain because the slot LB had it; he never gets sealed or kicked and flows down the line to tackle. Would like to see Mealer(-1) hold his ground and react on the fly once that LB starts moving away from the play. That's what the action is supposed to do, so set up and wall off anyone who shows, not just the LB.
O9 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 nickel Run QB draw Robinson 8
How does this even happen I don't know. Purdue is running man on the goal line against Denard. They send a corner who Schofield(+0.5) flings upfield; Short gets out of his lane all by himself, and this gives Robinson(+1) a crack to the outside that he takes, as he is wont to do. He cuts past a charging LB and extends the ball to score, probably, but is called down and the replay can't overturn it. Bah. RPS +1, amazingly.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Trap Toussaint 0 (Pen +0)
Burzynski in and a Lewan/Schofield setup on the left side of the line. Schofield(+1) blows up Gaston and Kerridge(+1) blows up a linebacker; Toussaint(-1) has an easy dive into the endzone that he does not trust and goes too far outside, allowing Purdue to recover. Rawls scores this. Purdue is offsides.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Off tackle Toussaint 1
Basically the same one gap over. Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1) pave the way and it's Toussaint one on one with a safety; Toussaint manages to squeeze in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 38
Man, this is easy. Just six guys in the box for Purdue and the sixth flares out on the slot receiver. Playside DE contains, but it doesn't really matter since Omameh(+1) is pulling around and blocks him since he's got no one else to deal with. Lewan(+1) gets rid of the only(!) LB. Barnum got beat-ish by a late shift by Short but not enough to screw the play up; push. Robinson(+2) is into the secondary in a flash and turns ten into lots by making a safety look foolish. Gallon(+1) fended off a cornerback, adding a big chunk, too. RPS +3: five in the box against Denard Robinson.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 3
NT blows upfield of Mealer(-1) and disrupts the pull from Omameh. Against a three man front this is bad. Mealer ends up blocking no one. Lewan(+1) crooshes silly donkey DE to the interior but Kwiatkowski(-1) shows to the inside too much and lets a linebacker run over top of him. Toussaint kicks a guy, leaving two unblocked in the hole. Denard(+0.5) dances for a couple.
O22 2 7 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 6
OLB comes off slot; Kwiatkowski blocks him out. Purdue slides its line playside and has a linebacker behind who's unblocked thanks to the blitz. He's staying outside, so handoff. The slant gets the Purdue OL past the M OL but the M OL gets good push on a couple guys. Mealer(-1) lets Short by him in frightening fashion; Lewan(+1) gets his guy two yards downfield and makes him give up a lot of space. Toussaint(+1) cuts backside and avoids that linebacker, stumbling as he manages to power through the arm tackle. Short can now finish the job from behind.
O16 3 1 Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Speed option Smith 2
You know, Denard never ever pitches here and on this play of all plays he does. He's got a completely obvious lane for a first down; yeah, charging safety but he'll never stop you. Instead, pitch. That charging safety alters his angle and gets past Toussaint's hypothetical lead block; Toussaint does get a bit of a shove on him as Smith cuts inside, which gives Smith just enough to squeeze out the first. Schofield(+1) and Williams(+1) had crushed guys back for that lane; Denard(-1) should have kept this instead of risking the pitch.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
Funchess in as an H-back. This looks like the veer but they don't let anyone go so I assume this is an actual no read power to screw with folks. Schofield(-1) doesn't fire off, ends up catching a DE, lets him inside, and then Barnum(-1) blocks him too as he fills the hole. Toussaint bounces outside, unblocked LB, no gain. Barnum should be moving outside of this block instead of dealing with the guy who shows. If Schofield can't push him past the play that's not on you.
O14 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson -1
Bubble stuff. OLB comes hammering off the edge; Lewan(-2) is pulling around Kwiatkowski(+0.5) who again eliminates the DE easily. Barnum pulls up to wall off a LB coming from the inside and would have a crease for Denard but for Lewan getting blown upfield and the OLB disengaging to tackle. RPS -1.
O15 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide trips bunch 1 1 3 Okie zero Pass TE Dig Funchess 14
Okie look from Purdue with no single deep safety. Only four sent; M picks it up. Nice pocket that Robinson steps up into and rifles a pass to Funchess at the goal line in between three zone defenders that Funchess brings in. Slightly behind Funchess but still a good throw given the coverage and situation; even better catch by Funchess. (CA+, 1, protection 3/3)
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Off tackle Toussaint 1
Purdue better prepared for this, getting into the pulling Barnum(+1) in the backfield; Toussaint(+0.5) feints outside, finds an unblocked guy, decides that's a bad idea, and then cuts back into Barnum's ass, which is busy escorting a dude into the endzone so that works out okay.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 14 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
Gallon motions in from the slot to be the possible handoff and Robinson(-1) keeps. That's an error as the DE is diving down. The corner is coming and this could be an issue but there's a lead blocker to pick the guy off. DE who has come down is in the hole... oh and I guess we take Denard's minus off the board(+1) since he bounces it outside after everyone sucks in and picks up five. Dios mio man. Gallon(+0.5) got a block on the edge. Barnum(+0.5) got a good pull and seal.
O21 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Penalty False start Schofield -5
nyet. Schofield –1.
O26 2 10 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
FB offset, TE covered. A big gap develops between the Mealer block and a pulling Barnum on the playside DT. LB shoots the gap, Toussaint gets nailed. Not sure what to do here; Barnum has to block that guy, need that playside double from Kwiatkowski and Lewan on power, Purdue gets unblocked LB in backfield; RPS -2. Insert rant about running from the shotgun.
O26 3 10 Shotgun double stacks 1 0 4 Okie zero Pass Throwaway Robinson Inc
Purdue sends seven at first but backs out the middle three guys. Schofield doesn't get out on the outside blitz and lets the guy through but to be fair Omameh is thinking about blocking a guy dropping out and you go inside out on pass pro. If Schofield goes out the inside guy goes in. Robinson should step up in the pocket and be Dan Marino at this point, instead he rolls out and chucks it OOB. I'll take it! (TA, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 21-0, 11 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 8
Kwiatkowski(+0.5) gets Short sealed for a moment before Short spins past the block; he falls. Mealer(-0.5) and Barnum are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite do it but he is delayed; Mealer releases into the second level and ends up blocking no one there as he lets a LB run past. He does get a safety as a second reaction but it seems like the 3-4 is confusing the line a bit. Schofield(+1) gets a good kick on the OLB; Omameh is leading Denard; a little slow but okay. Denard(+1) sees a crease and hits it fast.
M34 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 10
Gallon comes in from the slot, fake end around. Short and the OLB both go way upfield and outside in an attempt to contain. Line does an eh job on the iso stuff; MLB meets Toussaint at the LOS and there is no crease. Schofield, Mealer -0.5 each for not getting movement on their guys; Kwiatkowski(-1) blew a block on the OLB. All of this is fine because of Short chasing Gallon, which opens up a huge cutback lane for Denard(+2), at which point he's into the secondary for a nice gain. RPS +1.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run End-around power Gallon 2
Barnum pulls. Toussaint is a lead blocker and Gardner is cracking down on the outside. The corner comes, Gardner shoves him some, which causes the guy to spin (odd). Gardner then gets a shove on a linebacker. Toussaint hits the spinning CB and puts him on the ground; Gallon is headed way outside where an unblocked safety has time to fill. Gallon can't make him miss. This may be a read but they don't appear to be optioning anyone. Pull looked pretty good, FWIW. RPS –1; the corner blitz again.
M46 2 8 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Throwback screen Gallon 28
Always works, works this time even though the pass is deflected. Secondary is fearful of bomb; Funchess whiffs on his guy, but Gallon has so much space he can just run inside a little bit. Omameh(+1) is in space and gets a safety block. Schofield(+1) gets an effective cut way downfield, and Funchess saves a minus by keeping with the play and latching on to the guy Schofield cut to give Gallon(+1) an extra ten yards. (not charted, 3, screen, RPS +2)
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 3
Jackson(-1) starts the play by taking steps inside like he's going to crack down on the LB, who has no chance at making a play here, and is thus late getting out on a safety lined up eight yards off the LOS. That guy gets outside and fights off a cut, so the inside guy can come up and make a play after a couple yards. (CA, 3, screen)
O23 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
I'm not sure who the read is since it looks like everyone is getting blocked. Jackson(-1) comes down on the OLB, poorly. The guy is upfield and can explode into Toussaint if he gets the ball; Funchess thinks about blocking him before moving to the second level inside that block. That leaves a charging safety for Toussaint if he gets the ball, so that's not likely to be successful. Denard pulls anyway. Schofield(-1) got beat and his DE sheds to the inside, where Barnum is pulling. Now Denard has to go outside of that block, where Jackson's guy comes down to tackle because he's got an angle. RPS -1; this one was hard to see working even if Schofield gets his block. Slot Jackson is kind of an obvious run tip.
O23 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Post Gardner 23
Purdue sends five and goes from two high to one high late with one safety coming up in a robber. Robinson reads it, finds that the other safety has dropped way too deep, and zings a twenty-yard post to Gardner as a stunting blitzer gets to him. He leaps, catches, falls into endzone. (DO, 3, protection 2/3, Barnum -1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-3, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
OLB tears at the mesh point; Denard pulls but too late and it looks like Smith is instinctively clamping down as he takes the hit. Denard(-2) should have just aborted the mesh early but it's tough to ask that.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 28-3, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 9
Same thing as the previous play with Gallon in motion sucking Short way upfield. The playside end is slanting hard under Lewan(+1), who latches on and shoves the guy inside and upfield. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) get movement on the NT and Barnum pops out on a linebacker who is coming up. Toussaint pops the other ILB, leaving a safety who came down unblocked; Robinson(+2) cuts behind and thanks to the Lewan block and Mealer getting movement he's got that cutback lane generated by the Gallon fake. He takes it. Short recovers to tackle from behind. You would like Omameh(-0.5) to prevent this from happening. RPS +1.
M47 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 2
Kwiatkowski and Lewan get a little movement on the end; Fitz kicks the OLB. Omameh is trying to get to the ILB to the playside; a safety in the box comes down unblocked to fill and tackle. Denard does get it. Okay, fine, short yardage against cover zero no funny stuff up 18. Push for everyone.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Sweep Toussaint 3
Well blocked, with Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bashing the DE inside; he trips as he spins upfield past the block; would prefer this to not look like it's going to work before it doesn't but the movement Kwiatkowski gets is the reason someone steps on him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks; Barnum(+0.5) gets the ILB, and Toussaint... has an eighth defender in his face because Purdue is in pure cover zero. He makes a good cut past the containing safety and is about to get some nice yards when Short, unblocked on the backside, tackles from behind. RPS -1, technically, not that I'm all upset about it or anything.
O48 2 7 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Pass PA TE Wheel Funchess Inc
Throwback screen fake that is supposed to get Funchess wide open down the sideline; it does not. Whatever the safety's key was it wasn't something M showed; he drops off and has great coverage that forces Funchess OOB. That's Denard's only receiver and he doesn't have anywhere to scramble so he tosses it up. The pass is perfect, except Funchess is running OOB so that ain't legal for catchin'. Um. (CA?, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O48 3 7 Shotgun trips stack tight 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Funchess Inc
Denard finds Funchess for about ten and it looks like they'll convert but the pass ends up well behind him and wobbly. I looked at this a lot and I think Short got a finger or two on it, as it looks like a tight spiral until it reaches Short reaching up and then it gets wobble on it. I get it if you're like IN, but this got deflected. (BA, 0, protection 2/2). BAs still count against your downfield success rate anyway.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 13 min 3rd Q. Man, the drop from NBC to BTN is enormous.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Belly give Toussaint 2
Poor damn Toussaint. Again he's eating an unblocked guy in the backfield. The end shuffled down and then collapsed on the handoff; give or not is a push for Denard because the corner was blitzing. Play was dead on the snap. RPS -1.
M29 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 6
Second bubble, second screwup by the WR blocking. Darboh(-1) stands at the LOS like a doof and Gallon actually reaches the guy as he catches the ball. From there Gallon(+1) does Gallon things to pick up pretty good yardage. More Gallon touches. (CA, 3, screen)
M35 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sweep Robinson 4
Outer two players block down as Mealer and Omameh pull around. WR motions in right before the snap and cracks down. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the DE inside, getting the edge. Toussaint(+1) kicks the corner with authoritah. Big hole with three M guys in it and three Purdue guys; Denard gets a little impatient and runs up his blockers' backs. Omameh(+1) gets a good second level bock and Mealer is leading, looking at the safety, when that safety goes low, submarining Mealer and just tripping Denard as he tries to cut behind. Think Short had him in pursuit even if this doesn't happen but pretty close to making things happen.
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 46
This pull is brilliant madness. M leaves the back two guys unblocked; Short tears after Toussaint. The OLB is unblocked and containing, Denard pulls anyway, and goes straight upfield. Short's still after Toussaint; the end cannot reach Denard as he goes straight NS. Mealer(+1) moved the NT playside and got him a yard off the LOS. Schofield(+1) was releasing downfield to get the other ILB, who starts heading outside even before the mesh and runs himself out of the play; Schofield adjusts to eliminate him. Then, Denard(+3), space, fast, etc. No shoe. Runs OOB. Would like to see him be more aggressive in big games. Keep yer shoe on.
O15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Sweep Toussaint 0
Kwiatkowski(-1) does not get a seal on the end this time. Schofield(-0.5) loses the OLB upfield because he's attacking aggressively there. Mealer and Barnum can't get a seal on the backside DT. Toussaint has to arc outside that DT and then try to hit it up; Mealer(-1) couldn't get to a LB despite leaving early and he and Short blow it up at the LOS. Nobody got blocked here. RPS -1.
O15 2 10 Ace big 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Michigan runs an inside zone away from the strength of the formation and into five guys against four blockers. This doesn't work, especially when the playside ILB bugs out to beat a block. Maybe this should have been a cutback. Yeah, maybe, but tough when Barnum(-1) has just caught a guy and is a yard in the backfield. Still, Toussaint -1.
O14 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 Okie zero Run Speed option Smith 4
Jackson(-2) is the main blocker on the edge here and barely touches the cornerback. Denard gets some pursuers from the interior and ends up pitching late, but it's so late that as one pursuing guy tackles Denard becomes a human cut block on a second, leaving Smith in space with the corner and Jackson; if Jackson can even shove this guy a little Smith can score a TD; he does not. RPS push since normally the second guy on Denard would hold this down.
Drive Notes: FG(29), 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Penalty False start Lewan -5
bah. Lewan –1.
M6 1 15 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 0
Safety overhanging is an unblocked guy in the box as M bizarrely doubles the backside DT. I guess Denard could pull and go vertical again; he doesn't. There is a DE that seems to be containing but I'm not sure if he can do anything about this. Anyway, blocking is good for the iso; Toussaint(-2) sees the overhang guy and tries to bounce away from him, turning five yards into zero. Lewan(+0.5) got a good kick; Kerridge(+1) bombed the MLB. Barnum only did eh with Short, understandably.
M6 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 6
Gallon end around fake. This again gets Short chasing, but no cutback as one of the ILBs is filling that gap. Omameh(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) are able to shove and seal the nose. Toussaint(+0.5) gets an okay lead block and Denard(+1) just hits it straight upfield. A safety comes down to tackle after a few; he's doing it from the side and Robinson can drag. This play... this play will be able to hit big on PA. This is going to get an RPS +3 sometime in the next three games.
M12 3 9 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Roundtree 13
Only three rush. Denard sits and zips it to Roundtree for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Veer PA post Gallon Inc
M continues to have trouble blocking this play action as Barnum sort of overruns his gap and a LB threatens. Barnum does get a shove that allows Denard to move outside and reset but now he knows he's got to go go go and can't let a wheel develop, etc. Gallon is one on one on the outside and has inside position, so this is a throw you may as well make. It's accurate enough despite being a back foot throw; Gallon leaps... and is too short. It does go off his hand, which is pretty good for a 40 yard throw under these conditions. (CA+, 2, protection 2/3, Barnum -1) Funchess or Gardner likely brings this in.
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Gallon end around action to the sweep. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bombs the DE. Schofield(+0.5) gets a good kick. M can't seal the NT but does okay and Robison can run by him.Smith and Omameh(-1) are leading into two defenders; Omameh lunges at his guy and doesn't cut him but does fall as he hits in the midsection; gotta pick one thing to do. Robinson is thinking he'll hit a hole between his two lead guys and burst into the secondary; that plan is foiled when Omameh's guy comes through the block to tackle.
M27 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Gardner Inc
Gardner gets himself open with a post corner; Robinson hits him a little high and a little hard but it's still right in his hands; dropped. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Denard threw this so the ball was in the air on target as Gardner came out of his break.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 3 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 59
Pretty much the basic spread play bursts huge. M lets the DE go with Kwiatkowski blocking the OLB. DE shoots for Toussaint, pull. LBs also going for the frontside, so there's a big hole. Safety coming down to fill it; Denard cuts behind Schofield(+1), who latched on to one linebacker and shoved him outside, giving Denard a lane. Lewan(+1 released downfield and though the LB has the angle on him he still collapses to his knees and falls. Boom, lane, gone. 50 yards later there are members of the secondary. He dodges one, then gets ankle-tackled. Dangit. Robinson +3. RPS +2.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read handoff Toussaint -1
Exact same thing except Denard(-1) hands despite the DE crashing. At least five if he keeps. Schofield(-1) got blown up too, making things worse for Fitz.
O17 2 11 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Sweep Toussaint 2 (Pen -15)
LB overhanging goes upfield and gets a two for one as he picks off Kerridge and forces Toussaint inside. Williams(-1) loses his block; both LBs are flowing hard, and there is a safety. Four Boilers, one blocker. Ball game. Schofield(-1) gets called for a chop block.
O32 2 26 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 8
Man, Short can recover like whoah. He gets way upfield, M runs a draw right up in that lane, and he still almost comes back to kill it. Robinson(+1) manages to cut inside the containing LB for a nice gain.
O24 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Batted ball Gallon Inc
Five man rush with two delayed guys. Picked up. Can't tell if this is a good idea or not. Gallon thinks so, FWIW. (BA, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: FG(42), 34-13, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Purdue selling out now and M just killing clock so I'm not going to be too tough. Toussaint would have a shot at a cutback for some yards but the MLB is ripping at the LOS at the snap and bowls Barnum(-1) over backwards; Lewan can't get on him because he's just charging. Situation, whatever. Toussaint does well just to get a couple.
O25 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 11
Playside DE slants inside hard and is shunted away by Lewan(+1). Kwiatkowski(+0.5) kicks the OLB. Toussaint(+0.5) stands up a LB who is containing. Barnum(+1) managed to sidle out into the other ILB; Denard(+1) shoots through the gap and brushes past Barnum for a first down.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
This is the frustration play where Toussaint(-2) has 4-5 just by running up his OL's back but bounces for zip. Lewan(+1) had pounded a DE. Mealer(+0.5) locked the NT out.
O14 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 4
Gallon end around action. Barnum pulls, power etc. Well blocked; Robinson(-0.5) probably makes an unwise decision to bounce but has the speed to pick up five or so so no full minus. Kwiatkowski(+1) had gotten a ton of movement on his guy. Barnum went for a safety instead of the LB, but that decision wasn't tested.
O10 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Gardner Inc
Batted at the line, and then by a linebacker. Fingertips both and he may have had Gardner otherwise so no BR. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(30), 37-13, 6 min 4th Q. That's it for Denard. I'll take a look at Rawls in the next drive but I'm not charting too hard at this point.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Rawls 5
Lewan out, Burzynski in at RG, Omameh RT, Schofield LT. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) blow the NT off the ball; Rawls cuts behind and rams it into a safety.
O28 2 5 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Rawls 2
Basically same thing except Schofield gets slanted under a little and Rawls has to cut further back, allowing the safety time to get to him near the LOS. He tries to bounce and probably should just slam it right upfield.
O26 3 3 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 19
Barnum(-2) whiffs on his DT, falling; Kerridge is forced to take him instead of the LB charging up the middle of the field. Schofield(+1) has enough push on the DE to allow Rawls(+3) a bounce; Rawls then runs over a filling safety and turns barely a first down into a big gain.
O7 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 7
DT slants under Barnum(+1) again; this time Barnum latches on to drive Short past the play and gets a cutback lane. Schofield(+0.5) kicks the DE well; Mealer(+0.5) gets out on one ILB, with the other trying to fend off Kerridge. Mealer's guy can't extend to tackle in time and Rawls(+2) runs through another safety tackle after the cut for six.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-13, 2 min 4th Q. Rest of M snaps are kneels.

MANBALL

LLOYDBALL

BOBALL

RUNBALL

Runball?

Fine, you win.

MANBALL

We get it.

RUNBALL

Yeah, but how about this business on the passing—

CHARTBALL

--chart?

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

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

How about that BR number compared to the TA number? Yeah. Yeah man. Oh, Denard threw it away. Threw it away LIKE A BOSS. That one time.

Anyway, very low numbers so don't take the DSR super serious you guys. Potential alterations: a particular throw behind Gardner may have been IN instead of BA, the one charted IN was filed a screen since it was a little flare behind the LOS, and I gave Denard a CA on the Funchess wheel route that was OOB since he did as well as he could in that situation and it wasn't his fault that the WR was running out of bounds. Also I didn't chart the deflected screen to Gallon.

The line kept him clean, and he responded with a quality small-sample-size day. What happens when he has to throw more than 16 times? We'll cross that bridge if we have to.

I think having faith in the OL is key for Denard. Here's a third and eleven from the 15 on which Denard's got a great pocket, steps forward a couple times, and rifles it to Funchess:

BOOM. Denard with/without pressure is just night and day. Also when he's set up in the pocket he seems to handle it better than when his feet aren't set.

FUNCHESS.

Word.

There was a bubble screen!

As Borges pointed out to a shamed Heiko, there were two. Weirdly, both got crap blocking as exterior WRs seemed to not get the playcall. Jackson started a crackback block on no one on the first and I have no idea what Darboh thinks he's doing on the second:

Even so they picked up 3 and 6 yards. You don't want to get so bubble dependent you're getting Jake Ryans in your face on the edge but if you want big plays—and if we've learned anything in the past year and a half it's that Borges has a Fathead of a freestyle ski-jumper screaming GO BIG OR GO HOME in his room—you've got to pull those corners up when they try to play you from the parking lot. Next week maybe the outside WRs will even block for them.

A side note on this section: man, we need more Gallon touches. He had three runs, three catches, and a fourth target in this game. I'd like to see him get to 10-12. Toss him screens, use him as a pitch back on the speed option, hand it to him on an inverted veer from an otherwise empty formation, etc.

All right, passing whatever, MANCHART

ballchart

RUNCHART

lloydchart

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 10.5 4 6.5 Best drive blocker on the line.
Barnum 11.5 6 5.5 Big numbers because M is now lefthanded.
Mealer 5.5 5.5 0 Can't seal like Molk against big time competition.
Omameh 7 2 5 Reliable, got some space stuff.
Schofield 10 8 2 Gets pushed back more than the other linemen.
Kwiatkowski 7 3 4 M's running all those sweeps for a reason.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 1 2 -1 Less effective than 81.
Funchess - - - Got a push on the screen
TOTAL 52.5 30.5 63% Slightly below desired 2:1 ratio, but game situation mitigates
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 20.5 6.5 14 9.8 YPC is good, right?
Bellomy - - - DNC
Toussaint 5 6 -1 Discussed previously.
Rawls 5 - 5 Made a case for more PT.
Smith - - - Didn't get a plus or minus.
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - DNP
Kerridge 3 - 3 Insert complaints about scholarship FBs x3
TOTAL 33.5 12.5 21 Denard kind of good at the running thing.
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 0.5 - 0.5  
Roundtree - 1 -1  
Gallon 5.5 0.5 5 More touches more touches more touches
Jackson - 4 -4 For a designated blocking WR he needs work on blocking
Dileo - 1 -1 Bad crackback.
J. Robinson - - - DNP?
Darboh - 1.5 -1.5 Bubble biff.
TOTAL 6 8 -2 Gallon ran well, receivers blocked poorly.
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 20 4 83% Team –2, Barnum –2.
RPS 12 11 +1 massive credit to Borges that this is positive with 76% runs and Purdue selling out on them

Protection stellar, Denard a flaming tower, line could have done better but got a win. Wide receivers were a problem when not in possession of the ball.

Why can the line block for Denard but not Toussaint?

Well so the thing is Purdue spent a lot of bullets blitzing against zone stuff. On plays where Fitz took inside zone handoffs and ate turf for no yards the handoff was always correct because someone was containing. If Denard keeps, he's meat (except that one time). Then you're left with a weird conundrum about why.

Well, one reason why: blocking the inverted veer is relatively easy. It's power without a kickout usually, because the end is containing the back. So the kickout can't screw up, and you get a free release from the guy who would be kicking out, and then you get a downblock on the DT, and you get a bonus guy pulling around to clean up first level mistakes and head-hunt LBs. It's a pretty good play you guys.

Also, sometimes Denard is just dang.

Hello, OLB specifically designed to contain me. Goodbye, OLB. Say hello to Walrus when you get chewed out on the sideline.

There is something to the idea Purdue was going after Toussaint aggressively. On Denard's 59-yarder the unblocked end charged after Toussaint, causing a pull. Denard dipped inside a Schofield second level block when the safety charged up and that was all she wrote. Why you would construct your defense to get Denard Robinson to pull I have no idea.

How much should we care about this?

Um… not much? Michigan put up 6 yards a carry* while running 76% of the time. Completely erase Denard's 59 yarder and you're a hair under 5 yards. That doesn't even make sense! That is a totally unfair thing to do! And Michigan is still kicking ass against a team that did this to Notre Dame:

  • five sacks for 40 yards
  • 3.3 YPC, sacks excluded, while running 40% of the time

ND just rushed for 376 yards against Miami. Purdue did better against the ND offense than World Best Defense MSU did. Michigan spent the entire game running into stacked fronts. I'm willing to give the OL a pass for getting blown up by Kawann Short a bit en route to 300 yards rushing.

That this game comes after a second half in which Michigan bulled its way down the field against the mansome ND front seven only makes OL fretting even sillier. These guys aren't Steve Hutchinson clones but come on man. They'll be fine until the final test against Hankins and Simon.

*[kneels excised as per usual]

What is your Kwiatkowski deal?

I tried to back off on the assumption that what he was doing wasn't that hard, but Michigan's running that sweep thing where the TE blocks down and the two guys to the interior pull around all the time and you have to figure Kwiatkowski is a reason why. I mean, this is against Kawann Short:

Later in the game Short would start fighting back upfield of this by spinning but Kwiatkowski had usually shoved him so far that he could not recover to make a play. He's kept AJ Williams, a 285 pound player who was a tackle last year, largely off the field. Dispense with anti-walk-on bias—he's a pretty good player. I'd be surprised if Moore got his job back when he returns from injury.

You teased something about QB iso, and I want it more than crack cocaine.

It's back, albeit in a modified form. One of a few things Michigan ran off the Gallon end-around action was an iso where the back would move a gap or two over and Robinson would go straight upfield. The first couple times they ran it, the playside DE to Gallon's side of the field blew out of his gap to chase the end around and Robinson got big cutback runs…

…that would end later when LBs started filling behind the DL. They also ran it with Toussaint a little, but the lack of ostentatious presnap motion didn't cause the same kind of freakouts on the DL.

That vertical motion is going to lead to some freakouts if opponents are going cover zero as much as Purdue and ND did. In the Toussaint link above, if Smith runs by the LB it's game over for the Boilers as Denard flips it into space for an easy TD. In the embed the worst thing that happens is you have pure one on one matchups with both outside WRs; you may be able to shoot a TE down the seam against certain defenses, though this one looks like man to man so that's not the best option.

The return of the iso is what can truly bring back QB Oh Noes, as fear of Denard will drive safeties to abandon deeper responsibilities. If Kwiatkowski gets a shove and then releases downfield on this play… well… you know what happens.

It's called "Tony Moeaki 2009."

Someone's getting burned big time in the next few games. Not Illinois.

Rawls?

Okay, he's shown a little something with the annihilation of the UMass LB and running through tackles against Purdue. Upgraded from Mark Ingram But Fast to Jim Brown But Fast, by which I mean I am intrigued and would like to see some real carries for the guy on Saturday.

The guys who do the… thing. With the hands. Catching?

Oh right those guys.

[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 2/2   9 0/3 1/3 12/13
Roundtree     - 2/2   4 0/1 1/1 9/9
Gallon     0/1 3/3   5 0/1 3/5 12/12
J. Robinson           1 0/1   1/1
Dileo           1 1/1 2/2 2/2
Jackson           1     3/4
Darboh                  
Chesson                  
                   
Kwiatkowski                 2/2
Moore                  
Funchess 2 1/1       2 2/2   7/7
Williams                  
                   
Toussaint   0/1         0/2 0/1 1/1
Smith               0/1 3/3
Kerridge             0/1    

Minimal numbers, most notable thing the Funchess circus catch.

Heroes?

Denard, the left side of the OL, Kwiatkowski.

Goats?

Toussaint did get antsy. Jackson needs to block better if he's going to be a blocking WR. Schofield got pushed back a bit too far for my tastes.

What does it mean for Illinois and beyond?

MANBO

RUNLLOYD

Encouraged by the new stuff in the run game; if Borges is focusing on that it looks like we may get little tweaks to keep it fresh.

Denard had a big bounce back from ND and we can tenuously hope he has found turnover religion. Funchess: bad ass.

The line… is okay. They'll never blow guys off the ball but the best DL in the league other than OSU is now in the rear view mirror and they'll be fine.

Gallon needs more touches.

Toussaint will get some holes the next few weeks.

Funchess.