Neck Sharpies: High Leverage

Neck Sharpies: High Leverage Comment Count

Seth November 6th, 2018 at 11:19 AM

It's the last minute of the 3rd quarter. Michigan has dominated in just about every phase of the game. They're winning the turnover battle. They're quadrupling in yardage. They're converting 3rd down. They even have a huge advantage in special teams—despite a nearly disastrous blocked kick—because of DPJ's punt returns. And yet it's only 14-0. Michigan's at the PSU 7 with 2nd and 6 on a 13-play drive that's just murdered most of the third frame. A field goal and it's probably over. A touchdown and you know it's over. Nothing…well, Penn State knows a thing or two about losing games that Bill C's numbers say they won handily.


Michigan's in a 3-tight end shotgun. The day so far has seen a lot of split zone and zone reads with a crossing TE to the backside of similar formations, and Penn State's having none of it, getting into an Under formation with the backside reinforced and no safeties deep. Michigan likes to run, huh? Well We Are Penn State. We're Unrivaled. We brought the BLUE band and they're hanging out by the sideline over there. James Franklin's Pennsylvania boys. And Michigan's about to see what they're made of, especially if the Wolverines try the middle.

Penn State's inviting Michigan to try that gap between the Bushell-Beatty's right shoulder, where the strongside end is lined up, and two gaps over where the DT has shifted to Ruiz's right shoulder. Remember back to the Neck Sharpies after Northwestern, how your defensive linemen are your fortresses and the weak spots are the gaps between them? Look at PSU's front and where they want Michigan to go:


I don't remember the Sun Tzu quote for this. If your enemy shows you a weakness, use it? Or is it never do what your enemy wants you to do? Or is it when facing an irrational man never rationality? I'm sure it's something.

[After the Jump: The Art of War.]


View from the Sidelines: It's time to believe in Michigan's offensive line

View from the Sidelines: It's time to believe in Michigan's offensive line Comment Count

Ethan Sears October 14th, 2018 at 3:28 AM

By the time Lavert Hill took a one-handed interception into the end zone, ending Wisconsin in every way that didn’t involve a clock hitting zero, every question you had about Michigan coming into a game of this magnitude had already been answered.



Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2018 at 4:46 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

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

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

mason form

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

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

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

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

[After THE JUMP: down G over and over]


Neck Sharpies: Oh I'm Sorry Were You Keying That?

Neck Sharpies: Oh I'm Sorry Were You Keying That? Comment Count

Seth September 25th, 2018 at 4:12 PM

Nebraska fixed their atrocious linebackers by giving them aggressive reads. So Michigan unfixed them. [photo: Eric Upchurch]

I had a very hard time pulling anything interesting from this game. I wanted to see Michigan dominating with skill, speed, and play design, but the takeaway after a rewatch was Nebraska's linebackers were responsible for much of the Michigan offense's explosive day.

This was something of a surprise. In the film preview I thought the Huskers had found a good player in WLB Mohamed Barry (#7) and a serviceable one in MLB Dedrick Young (#5) by giving them easy Keys and telling them to play those aggressively. I think Michigan saw this too, and also a way to use that to make Nebraska's linebackers atrocious again.

So the play in question is the first snap of Michigan's second drive. They had already used it for a big Higdon run on the first drive but Nebraska did some funny stuff that time while this was straight-up pwnage.

Michigan is running two concepts on this play to screw with the Nebraska LBs' Keys. On the frontside it's Down G, and on the backside it's a Wham Block. Let's go over the bolded terms.

About Keys

One of the great things about about Down G is how it messes with "Keys." Keys are cheats that defenses use to get extra defenders to the ball faster by identifying what the play is by certain types of backfield action. Every defense uses keys, and the game that running game coordinators are often playing is identifying what the defense's keys are then using that against them. The defense meanwhile will have different keys for different looks to punish an offense that just sticks to the plays they run well.

A highly common Key against power teams is to read your guard. The backside LB ("W" in the diagrams below) is often Keying the backside guard to decide what to do. If the guard pulls, that LB can guess the ball's going that way too and hightail it across the formation, arriving in the intended gap before the pulling guard and mucking everything up.


If that backside LB reads a zone block he doesn't activate so quickly, since he's got to cover that lane in case of a cutback. For completeness if the guard steps back to pass block, the LB knows to sink into coverage, or if the guard releases the LB knows to get playside and dodge the block.

Keying is a slider; you can use it as information while staying on your assignments, or tell your players to go hell for leather whenever they read one. Where you set that has to do with what your players are capable of doing on their own. If you have a particularly fast linebacker or one who can diagnose more things on his own, you don't have to try to cheat him into the right spot so much. Think back to 2011 Michigan with Brandin Hawthorne, who could knife through for some key stops or get caught paralyzed, versus Desmond Morgan, who though a true freshman was more diagnostic and decisive in his approach.

Nebraska is at the Hawthorne stage of a similarly wholesale rebuild. They're not as blitzball as the WMU and SMU linebackers when they Key run action, but they're up there with recent Rutgers and Minnesota teams Michigan's faced who don't wait to see the whites of their blockers' eyes before firing at a gap. As you may have derived from those memories, playing blitzball against a Harbaugh run game can get you a few stuffs followed by a good view of the back of Higdon's jersey. Except with the Huskers, it was a different shiny thing.

[After THE JUMP: Michigan's getting good at this, Nebraska was REALLY bad]


I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness

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

Brian September 24th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

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

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

You rn:


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week



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

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

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

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

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

KFaTAotW Standings.

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

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

You gotta put some style points on it.

Honorable mention: The first half.


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

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

[After THE JUMP: Ol' Murderback]


Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2018 at 4:24 PM

[Eric Upchurch]


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

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

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

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

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

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


Picture Pages: Resistance Is Futile, Your Plays Will Be Assimilated

Picture Pages: Resistance Is Futile, Your Plays Will Be Assimilated Comment Count

Brian November 5th, 2013 at 5:29 PM

As I'm going over the film here something is resonating that I read from Ace's VEQ last week.

I cannot tell you how many times in the last three years I've watched an opposing offense go for 50, 60, 70 yards on their first drive, kick a field goal, score a touchdown, flip field position, whatever, and then absolutely get downloaded by this defense. It happened just this last weekend at Illinois. Sometimes it takes more than one drive, some days it takes a half of football or so. But I, for example, watched Purdue experience some early success throwing little 12-15 yard out patterns beneath MSU's retreating zone cornerback on two third downs in quick succession to keep drives alive, and then the third time Purdue tried it, not only was the corner right there in man coverage, but there too was safety Isaiah Lewis flashing in front of the receiver and nearly collecting a pick-six. Stuff like that is a joy to watch.

That was the story of this game, as well. Michigan found snatches of success early, whereupon MSU adjusted and that was all she wrote. A play that finds success has been followed by a nothing play that MSU crushes with a creepy consistency so far. Without the context of MSU's stats this year it feels like Pat Narduzzi is the luckiest guy in the world for a while, and then it's like he's Doyle Brunson.

In one instance, it seems like it took MSU one play to assimilate something Michigan was doing. M debuted a run play that is basically power from the playside guard gussied up to look like inverted veer. The first instance of this sort of worked. The second did not. The yards were basically the same, but that's because Toussaint managed to evade a TFL on the second.


It's Michigan's first drive; they've hit a couple passes to Gallon to open up with 46 yards on their first two plays. They come out in a 2TE set featuring Paskorz and Butt with Funchess in the slot. Unusually for MSU, they flip a corner over Funchess. Both safeties are hanging out where they usually do: rolled up tight.


Butt will release. Lewan will block down on the playside end; Bosch will pull around. Since the end doesn't  get an initial block and Michigan makes its mesh point look like an inverted veer, he reads that and hangs outside, creating a wide crease for Toussaint to explore.


The design basically works. Lewan turns his guy inside and the veer appearance means Bosch isn't seriously challenged by the DE, who is trying to maintain outside contain.


Meanwhile, Butt and Glasgow release immediately into the playside LBs. This gives Magnuson an impossible task on the other DL, but I think they figure that guy's not going to make a play on this play and that a significant percentage of the time he will get hung up on the other DL getting smoked. Either that or it's just another assignment screwup; in UFR I thought Bullough was more dangerous than the DT and passed on a minus.


By the time Toussaint gets the handoff there's a nice gap that is unfortunately being rapidly filled by that DT, but there's so much space that he can run away from it. Meanwhile, Funchess has come down and blocks… uh… Butt, kind of. He eventually does shove the corner on him back but that looks bizarre to me; seems like he should be carrying to the safety. In any case, gap is extant.


This is looking rather promising.


But MSU holds the damage down, as Calhoun comes off the Bosch block easily and spins Toussaint around, allowing the safety to come down and tackle after a modest gain.


Three yards is a win, I guess?



Items Of Interest

It's new, and shiny, and created a hole. Hoorah. This play uses Lewan's strength to bash open a hole and while it doesn't actually option a guy off it uses the threat of a veer to make Bosch's job considerably easier.

I still don't understand M centers shooting to the second level immediately despite guys basically over them. It happens with such consistency that it might actually be the plan, but it drives me nuts every time it happens. Here Michigan issues Magnuson a blocking assignment that is flatly impossible and sends Glasgow out immediately; meanwhile on the back side of the play Schofield and Paskorz do combo the end, getting him sealed away. You can see the cost in the linebacker blocks: Glasgow gets into Bullough and gets him moving hard, providing a nice cutback lane… that the back cannot take because there's a DL flowing down the line. Meanwhile Allen gets playside of Schofield and is filling that hole.

To me it seems like you'd want to reverse this: shoot Schofield out immediately and say damn the backside end while getting that DT sealed away. It seems like whenever a M C or G ignores a nose tackle and gives someone else on the line a difficult task it results in doom, but it's happening almost all the time, and this doesn't seem like rocket science. The guy is in alignment X against you, you chip him so your partner can get around.

Michigan isn't doing this with a regularity that makes me think it's intentional, and the results are underwhelming. FMK: goofy assignments or guys who can't execute rule one of zone running.

Tight end blocking again an issue. Butt's block here gets hardly any motion and does allow the LB to slide off, or would if Funchess didn't add himself into the equation. Funchess, meanwhile, brings his corner into the fray and since the general rule of running when you suck at it (and probably even when you don't) is that most blocks are just opportunities to screw up a play, that is a negative.

I know what Funchess is thinking here, because Michigan would run this again against a more typical MSU D:


His job is to go get that slot LB. Here his job is to… run the corner off or something, go bash the safety, but he screws it up, probably because Michigan was prepping him to run it against a gray area LB instead of a press corner.

MSU's alignment throws this off. Compare the screenshot right above with the presnap setup here:


Note the relation of the LB Butt is going for relative to himself. On this play, he's even; on the other play he's a player and a half inside of him. Much easier angle for Butt, more likely there's a gap away from the DE and a nice gain. That's why the linebacker blocks here don't really get Fitz a hole he clearly expects to be outside. (And maybe why Michigan's okay with leaving the DT: they expected a different D.)

The download. The next time Michigan ran this they got the above formation. Aaaaand:


Slot LB rips down, Funchess has no shot, Toussaint does well to bounce around it and gets eaten by a safety after a similar gain. Is this sheer luck? On some level, sure. But the creepy mind-reading tendencies of the MSU defense are so consistent that it seems like something more. Could Narduzzi have executed this inference chain?

  1. Michigan has a new run play on which Funchess accidentally doubled a LB in a defense we don't run much.
  2. He's probably supposed to block the slot LB in our usual stuff.
  3. It's first and ten from the nine, probably a run.
  4. If it's the new toy, blitz slot LB.

I wouldn't put it past him. Seems hard given the chaos of football but if you're a DC with tons of experience and have a feel for this live, well, you might be quite good at your job.


Picture Pages: Backside DE Pursuit

Picture Pages: Backside DE Pursuit Comment Count

Brian October 12th, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Over the past five years I've watched a lot of football plays over and over until I understood them (or threw my hands up and asked the peanut gallery). The play I've seen more than any other in that time is the zone stretch. DeBord ran almost literally nothing else, and it was the most common play in the RR offense's first two years. Though Michigan's gone away from it with Denard, boy do I have the zone stretch down.

This is not a zone stretch. It's a power off tackle QB run where the nearside guard pulls (AKA "down g") and the guys on the outside block down. But it does demonstrate a key element of defending outside runs of any variety where cutbacks are possibly lethal.

It's the first play of Michigan's fourth drive of the day. MSU has just scored a 61-yard touchdown on a zone stretch cutback that we'll address later. It's first and ten; Michigan comes out in a three-wide package with Stephen Hopkins as the back. The first shot is a little early; Robinson drops back so Hopkins is at stretch depth.

The key guy here is somewhat unusual given the play: the backside DE. He's to the top of the screen: backside-flow-1

On the snap Michigan sends Robinson to the strong side of the formation:


Key bits in the frame above: Webb and Lewan are blocking down on the playside DE and DT as Schilling pulls around. Hopkins is sprinting out as a lead blocker, leaving Schilling and Hopkins taking on the two playside LBs; Molk has to cut the WLB.

In the next frame Molk has gotten out on the WLB. Schilling has gotten shoved back by that playside DT, which we can't see yet but will in the next frame. The backside DE has read the direction of the play and is in the process of releasing from Dorrestein:


Molk chops the WLB. He's dead. Webb has crushed the playside DE inside. There's major gap. Problem: Robinson has basically caught Schilling already because of the shove from the DT:


…he's now a yard in front of Denard and not moving forward. This is the equivalent of being behind Denard.

Meanwhile, the backside DE has totally disengaged from Dorrestein by giving ground and is taking a pursuit angle slightly downfield. Dorrestein is caught up in the wash closer to the LOS, demonstrating why you give ground in pursuit. You can watch him get slightly further and further from the LOS as he flows down the line:


In the next frame Hopkins gets a good block on the OLB. Schilling is now a yard behind Robinson and useless, leaving a one-on-one matchup between Denard and Greg Jones:




Robinson jukes past the over-pursuing Jones. He has room to do this because the playside DT is off the screen upfield and the playside DE is still trying to get off Webb's excellent block. He is one step from cutting back outside and turning on the afterburners when…


The backside defensive end, now four yards off the LOS and running his ass off, makes a desperation lunge. Robinson trips and the gain is held down to seven yards.

[No video yet since I'm still converting.]

Object lessons:

  • Denard: pretty good at running. The vaunted Jones looked like Ezeh here.
  • Backside DE pursuit is important. It goes like this: diagnose run play headed away from you. Get playside of your blocker by releasing from him and flowing down the line of scrimmage at an angle that takes you about three yards downfield by the time you hit the point of attack. Hope someone funnels the ballcarrier to you and tackle.

    Without the backside DE doing this correctly, Denard has 15, 20, maybe 60 yards.

  • Why no cut from Dorrestein? In frames two and three it seems obvious that Dorrestein can get an easy cut block on the DE, eliminating him. Instead he tries to flow down the line with him, gets caught up in the wash, and loses the guy who eventually makes the tackle. I'm sure he's coached to do this, but I can't understand why the play doesn't call for an easy cut block on this guy. Even one step of delay and Robinson is off.
  • Webb is a major component of the run game. He's got a fairly easy block since MSU is intent on the inside zone and the belly and whatnot so the backside guys are attempting to slant into the gaps inside of the blockers. Even so he drives the DE way, way inside and holds that block long enough for Robinson to make up for the shove that eliminated Schilling from the play.
  • This play is a counter to the inside zone. I stole my thunder on this one in the last bullet but to reiterate: Michigan was running a ton of inside zone on which the backside DE was contain and the backside DT was blasted off the ball by double teams. MSU made an adjustment on Michigan's previous drive—the three and out on which Smith was stuffed on an inside zone on third and one—and Michigan comes out on their next play with this. They get the playside linemen blocked way out of the play and the WLB cut; they should have two lead blockers for Robinson against two guys but for the shove on Schilling. Even though they lose one of the lead blockers the linemen have been bludgeoned out of the play to the extent that Robinson can juke Jones to the inside and still pick up a good gain.
  • Hopkins pops guys. This is not a surprise since he's 230 pounds of near-fullback, but Stephen Hopkins has displayed superior blocking ability in his brief cameos. He gets in people and shoves them back; Smith and to a lesser extent Shaw get in the way of people and hope it's enough. I want more Hopkins. He makes Denard better and provides a thunderous counter to all that dilithium.
  • This was the story of the first half. This is one of maybe a dozen plays on which one player fails to execute and costs Michigan a touchdown. Here it was Dorrestein and somewhat Schilling; Robinson made up for one of them but not the other. Other times it was Lewan or Robinson or Roundtree or Grady. I think this was just one of those days. So far I've seen mostly domination from the offensive line. I wonder what changes in a rougher second half.


Upon Further Review: Offense vs Bowling Green 2010

Upon Further Review: Offense vs Bowling Green 2010 Comment Count

Brian September 29th, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Formation notes: Michigan debuted something sort of like Gator Heavy:


This isn't different personnel than the shotgun 2TE set that Denard scored on to beat Notre Dame but deploying the two TEs as H-backs gives Michigan added flexibility and unpredictability in the run game. I called this "Shotgun 2H," since if I did call it Wolverine Heavy I'd have to come up with something else if and when we see a formation that adds McColgan or Brandon Moore to the mix by taking one of the WRs off the field. Wolverine Super Heavy? Wolverine Weis*?

Other than that it wasn't too exciting. Bowling Green stuck with base personnel the whole game, deployed a ton of eight-man fronts either by alignment or a safety walking down before the snap, and played way more man than any previous opponent. You can see their "base 4-4," as I called it, above. Here's what I called "nickel 4-3," as the slot LB is way outside the box:


This almost always saw a safety walk down, FWIW, and often had the nickel LB blitz for contain.

Substitution notes: You know all about the carousel of incredibly dangerous quarterbacks. Lewan started at left tackle and Huyge did not get in until Dorrestein came off with a slight injury. On the last series before Michigan sent in the backups, Barnum replaced Schilling at left guard.

At tailback, Shaw and Smith remained the starters with Hopkins getting the first non-those-guys opportunities. When he fumbled it was back to the starters for a while, then Cox, then Toussaint, then Teric Jones. With Shaw and Toussaint "doubtful" for Indiana per RR, Hopkins and Cox are poised to get more first-team opportunities against Indiana.

At wide receiver, the usual rotation with less Terrence Robinson and more Jeremy Gallon.

*(Fairly indifferent to you at this point, xoxo.)

On with show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 5
Lewan starts at LT. BG slants a bit and the backside DT gets into the A gap past Schilling; Omameh tripped and so the frontside doesn?t look to good; Smith(+1) cuts it back behind Schilling. DE is moving laterally down the line and is in good position until Shaw pops him backwards, allowing Smith to snake his way for decent yardage. Lewan clamped onto a LB downfield, FWIW. He was not blocking for the cutback so it didn't really matter.
RUN+: Smith RUN-:
M25 2 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-4 Pass Rollout quick out Roundtree 7
Man coverage so Roundtree has plenty of room working against a safety. Robinson seems a little late on this but this is not a good D and it doesn't matter; Roundtree has time to catch and cut back inside past the safety overrunning the play to pick up some YAC and a first down. (CA,3, protection 1/1)
M32 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-4 Run Zone stretch Smith 5
BG flowing hard, so Molk and Omameh have no chance of scooping the playside DT; Omameh ends up taking him and riding him down the line; Shaw stands up a LB in the playside B gap. Molk(+1) sees what's going on and adjusts, picking off the MLB as he shoots up into the gap and giving Smith(+1) a crease he finds and hits. Schilling(-1) could do nothing with the backside DT, who did a good job of not getting sealed and makes a diving tackle just as Smith looks to be off to the races.
RUN+: Molk, Smith RUN-: Schilling
M37 2 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-4 Pass Corner Roundtree 35
BG has been putting their DBs in man on Michigan receivers and being very aggressive up front so Michigan goes after it, running a hitch/corner combo that opens up as Roundtree gets his man turned and ends up with yards of separation. Robinson reads it and pulls up on his roll, hitting Roundtree in the numbers. This was pretty easy but I usually DO any long pass that's right on the money and this is a 30-yarder to the edge of the field that could not be thrown better. (DO, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
O28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Shaw 12
Similar to the last stretch but to the other side: playside BG DT does not get sealed and neither does the backside guy. I'm not minusing either G here because they do control their guys well enough; neither manages any penetration. Molk(-1) whiffs on the MLB, though, and he's through on Shaw. Shaw(+1) runs through a tackle, then spins through another one(+2) past four BG defenders, stumbling his way for a first down. Lewan(+1) engaged the DE, who then attempted to shuck him upfield; Lewan was off balance for a moment but maintained contact and finished the kickout, providing a large amount of space for Shaw to operate in. Smith isn't getting a plus but I appreciate his instinct to bash the DT flowing past Schilling; too often in these situations under Carr guys just ran by and problems resulted.
RUN+: Shaw(3), Lewan RUN-: Molk
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power Robinson 9
A down G scheme where Koger and Dorrestein block down on the playside DL and Omameh pulls around to the outside. Omameh(+1) has the agility to wall off the MLB, who charges outside to force Robinson back into safety help; Molk(+1) got out on the WLB, providing a ton of space that Robinson hits it up into. This was the GTFO play.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Robinson, Koger RUN-:
O7 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Dive Shaw 3
A power look with Lewan and Schilling doubling the backside DT; Molk and Omameh double the playside DT. Koger kicks out a DE and this leaves the WLB unblocked. Schilling(+1) peels off the double to get a shove on the MLB blazing into the picture, giving Shaw a spot to cut up behind Lewan, who's burying a dead donkey. A note: I try to keep +/- about in line with how good a play was; as the field compresses I get more generous since a two-yard run from the six is much better than a two yard run from the 50.
RUN+: Schilling, Lewan RUN-:
O4 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 2
Omameh(+1) gets under one DT and kicks him out. Schilling gets a good shove on the BG DT but doesn't seal him away; there is still a big gap right up the middle. Molk again lets the MLB by him but I think that's partially on Schilling not getting his block exactly right. I won't minus Schilling because he did hit this guy back far enough that it's still two yards in a situation when you do that twice and you get a TD.
RUN+: Omameh RUN-:
O2 2 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
BG actually does a good job of coming underneath the blocks on to the playside but in doing so they just open up the outside, which Robinson(+1) reads, using his agility to walk in.
RUN+: Robinson RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA circle Grady 9
This curl-flat combo was picture paged against ND. It looks like BGSU is running almost all man here, so the guy covering this is the safety. He is nowhere near the LOS when the play starts so it's a fairly simple read for Denard to see the open guy and hit him. Grady turns upfield for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M21 2 1 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 24
Hopkins in. Schilling(+1) locks out his DT; Omameh(+1) locks on to his guy and starts driving him downfield, which is important because the BGSU LB is attacking the LOS. Hopkins(+1) gets a good block on him but the quick reaction and Molk(-1) missing another LB means Robinson can't cut it behind Omameh's excellent block but has to hit up the small crease Hopkins has provided. Second level and more because of excellent blocks from Stonum(+1) and Grady(+1).
RUN+: Schilling, Omameh, Hopkins, Grady, Stonum, Robinson RUN-: Molk
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass Flanker screen Hemingway 7
Hemingway is the outside WR; the other two guys attempt to get him blocks, with Roundtree doing okay since the BGSU CB attempts to go inside of him, opening up the outside and a good gain. (CA, 3, screen)
O48 2 3 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run Belly Hopkins 2
Correct handoff(ZR+1) as BGS blitzes from the backside, getting two guys in unblocked. Hopkins is immediately tackled by the second guy, falling forward for a couple. (RPS -1)
O46 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 46
Schilling(-1) does not get a seal again and this time his guy shoots into the backfield, which is bad. Robinson(-1) misses a pretty obvious cut since Omameh(+1) had sealed the backside DT and there was a crease up the middle. He heads outside, running past both Schilling's guy and a charging linebacker, then stopping on the sideline for a safety to overrun him and slide to the ground. He leaps past a tackle attempt from a corner and is then into the open field, at which point it's academic. Points to Dorrestein, Stonum, and Webb for getting downfield blocks that assured no BG players had angles. Oh, yeah: Robinson +4. BWS picture-pages.
RUN+: Robinson(3), Webb, Dorrestein, Omameh, Stonum RUN-: Schilling
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 42
BG slanting again; this time Molk(+1) realizes it and starts a combo block with Schilling on the backside DT, bashing him downfield; Omameh(+1) seals the playside guy. Schilling(+1) peels off the combo to take out the WLB and there's a big hole; Smith is one on one with the MLB and gets a hat on the guy; hole is big enough for Robinson to move through it. Robinson(+2) then smoothly jukes a safety down in the box and is off, getting great downfield blocks from Odoms(+1) and Grady(+1); the last guy has an angle and tackles him as Robinson crosses the 50. Robinson bangs his knee and is done for the day.
RUN+: Robinson(2), Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Odoms, Grady RUN-:
O49 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Gardner 1
Gardner in. Correct read(ZR+1) as the DE crashes down and there's no one scraping over, but instead of slamming it upfield into acres of space he cuts outside and gets tackled by the cornerbacks.
RUN+: RUN-: Gardner
O48 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA fly Stonum 35
Stonum(+2, though I don't track this) smokes the corner with a great double move, getting yards of separation. There is no deep safety. Gardner has okay protection and launches it deep but the ball is well underthrown, forcing Stonum to cut back and haul it in underneath. This is something Stonum could not do last year; he's made a leap. Some part of the throw ending up short was Dorrestein(-1) letting his guy in on Gardner, shortening his release. Still... (MA, 2, protection 2/3, Dorrestein -1)
O13 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Gardner 2
Incorrect read since the crashing DE is not the guy to read since Shaw is going to cut him; it's the scrape backer who keeps contain. Gardner is run down from behind by a late blitzer who came free and either would have nailed Smith in the backfield if the handoff was made or (more likely) run right by him and given Smith a good shot at a TD. (RPS -1)
RUN+: RUN-: Gardner
O11 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 11
Just man on the edge and Gallon's guy is ten yards off the LOS so unless he tears at this immediately he's not in great shape; he does not. Hemingway(+1) blocks his corner into the sideline, leaving Gallon(+1) one on one with the safety, who he beats for a touchdown. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: Gallon, Hemingway RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run Belly Hopkins 4
Slot LB is the contain and is tearing downhill so probably a correct handoff despite the DE crashing on Hopkins (ZR +1, RPS -1). Hopkins(+1) does well to carry the tackler four yards.
RUN+: Hopkins RUN-:
M30 2 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run PA circle Roundtree 5
Same play as earlier; BG again in man and the safety too far away to effectively combat this, overrunning the play. Roundtree cuts past him but slips as he goes and stumbles short of the sticks when he had an opportunity to pick up a lot of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M35 3 1 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Hopkins 7
Omameh(+1) latches onto and controls one DT with help from Molk(+1), who then pops off and whacks the MLB. Schilling and Lewan double the other guy and handle him, though really they should. Hopkins slams it up in the crease, picking up the first down and a bit more.
RUN+: Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Lewan RUN-:
M42 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Hopkins 19
The classic stretch we haven't really seen much of this year. Molk(+2) and Omameh(+2) execute a textbook scoop block, which seals the playside DT and dooms BG. This is tough to do and they make this look easy. After they seal the guy Molk crushes him backwards and Omameh peels off to batter the MLB; Webb(+1) kicks out another LB and Schilling(+1) successfully delays the backside LB with a cut; Lewan(+1) cut the backside DE. Essentially everyone on the OL except Dorrestein dominated his man on this play, and Dorrestein still did a good job of kicking out the DE. Hopkins has huge lanes to hit, which he does, running through an arm tackle and into the secondary. (Run+: Molk(2), Omameh(2), Schilling, Webb, Lewan.)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 4
BG slants under the blocking, which gives M trouble as Omameh and Dorrestein are split on the backside and Molk and Schilling have a tough time with the playside DT. The latter guys do get their guy under control but do not get out on LBs; Omameh(-1) does not help seal the other guy and he comes through Dorrestein. Dorrestein avoids a minus for pushing the guy beyond the play; allowing Smith(+1) to cut behind it and pick up an excellent edge block from Hopkins(+1) to pick up a few.
RUN+: Hopkins, Smith RUN-: Omameh
O35 2 6 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Hopkins -2
Well, first Michigan gets a deserved chop block call as Schilling(-1) engages with the backside DT and then Lewan chops him. I blame Schilling since Lewan had this guy. On the frontside BG again slants under, this time getting past Molk(-2) and Omameh(-1), leaving Hopkins facing down two guys in the backfield. He gets hit and fumbles. Fumbles are not a part of the run tracking.
RUN+: RUN-: Schilling, Omameh, Molk(2)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 21-0, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 9
Gardner should have pulled with a TE coming to block the backside DE and Lewan moving out on the WLB (ZR -1). Schilling doesn't get a seal but manages to control his guy enough that he can't make a play in the backfield. With an unblocked linebacker coming up into the playside B gap the cutback's where it's at. BG DE does a good job of flowing down the line and cutting it off but Koger(+1) gets enough of him to provide Smith(+1) a window behind him; Lewan has engaged the WLB and though he ends up playside Lewan just donkeys him to the ground, giving Smith another cutback lane he takes; a safety fills at this point.
RUN+: Smith, Koger, Lewan RUN-: Gardner
M33 2 1 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 11
Lewan(+1) gets a face-planting cut block on the backside DT, leaving him crumbled on the ground. On the frontside Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) get a good scoop on the playside guy; Omameh pops out on a LB. BG brought a safety down late and has a guy in the gap, though, as Webb got caught up in some wash and can't get out front. Because of the Lewan cut, though, there's a huge cutback lane. Schilling(+1) gets a shove on the WLB and Smith has a lane, leaving a guy over the slot receiver to recover and tackle. Handoff was correct (ZR +1).
RUN+: Lewan, Molk, Schilling, Omameh, Smith RUN-:
M44 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Gardner 3
Should hand off with the DE maintaining responsibility; this is compounded by a safety filling fast, leaving three guys out on Gardner with no shot for him to do much (ZR-1).
RUN+: RUN-: Gardner
M47 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel 4-3 Pass PA Fly Gardner Inc
MICH obviously pissed about all this cover zero safety nonsense, so they go deep. Gardner sets up in the pocket and this time the pocket is excellent. He lays one out to Hemingway, who's got a step on the DB; DB falls; ball hits Hemingway in the hands at the ten... dropped. Breastonian. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M47 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Post Gardner 53 (pen + 2)
Gardner knows he has Grady on a linebacker and goes right to him, feathering a ball on a post route that fits perfectly in a window between that LB and the safety, who takes a terrible angle and turns a big gainer into a touchdown. Molk gets it called back for whacking some guy. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M49 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Hemingway 16
Zone this time; double slants to one side of the field. Roundtree's interior slant drags a defender and opens up Hemingway's; Gardner nails it for the first down. Finally. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA circle Gallon Inc
BG prepared for this after seeing it a few times and blitzes into it, getting a guy in free(RPS -1). Gardner has an opportunity to make a play but his pass is inaccurate as he gets hit as he throws. Still think his delivery gets poor when he's under duress. I am going to mark this IN because the ball is out before he gets hit. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, team, RPS -1)
O35 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3- Run Zone stretch Shaw 3
BG again slanting under blocks. Lewan(+1) does an excellent job to react to it, latch onto the guy, and shove him out of the RB's path, giving Shaw a lane with Koger(+1) kicking out a blitzing LB. Schilling blocks a linebacker on the second level but Dorrestein(-1) could not do anything with the WLB, who flows down the line and tackles. RPS -1.
RUN+: Lewan, Koger RUN-: Dorrestein
O32 3 7 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Pass Flare screen Shaw 2
Great read by one of the BG DTs, who takes off after Omameh as soon as he feels him release. A safety is screaming down past blockers as well but while this play looks grim Shaw might have a cutback lane for big yardage if the DT(!) isn't quick enough to get out there and tackle him from behind. (CA, 3, screen)
O30 4 5 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass Drag Hemingway Inc
Zone behind a four-man rush; Gardner cannot find anything and tries to hit Hemingway on a drag. He is between two guys, and one of them almost intercepts. Very poor decision since he was short of the sticks anyway. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-7, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass Flanker screen Odoms 2
Tate in. TRobinson(-1) gets chucked by the guy he's blocking and Roundtree(-1) whiffs on a cut, leaving Odoms dealing with two guys and no blocks. He gets what he can. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: RUN-: Roundtree, TRob
M33 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 0
TRobinson(+1) gets a good cut this time, but instead of heading straight upfield and either juking the linebacker coming out on him or plowing into him and getting somewhere between 4 and 8 yards Roundtree(-1) spins around and falls to the ground in an attempt to get outside. (CA, 3, screen)
M33 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Deep hitch Odoms 13
Just a very long pitch and catch; worry that he does not have the arm strength to get this out there against top competition, because as it is this BG CB isn't exactly miles away here. Nevertheless today it's good enough and Odoms evades the CB for a few YAC, though it could have been more if he had kept his feet. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M46 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Forcier 5
Eh? probably the right read since the DE was sliding down the line to prevent the belly and the LBs both came in(ZR+1). Tate ends up on the edge with the slot LB and I still want him to just run upfield until he gets tackled but he tries to juke the guy to the outside and gets tripped up.
O49 2 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 10
Backside DT gets completely donkeyed by Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1), ending up somewhere around the first down marker by the time Shaw flies by. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) had done basically the same thing to the other DT, with Lewan and Molk getting easy popouts on the BG LBs. One of them gets a diving tackle attempt that Shaw spins out of but he's lost his momentum and goes down. If this was a read it was the right one with a DE in an inconvenient place and a scraper over the top(ZR+1).
RUN+: Lewan, Schilling, Molk, Omameh RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA Bubble Roundtree 10 (pen -6 lol)
Forcier fakes the inside zone and immediately goes to the bubble; Odoms pounds a guy in the midsection for a good block and somehow gets called for a chop block because these guys are pure Sun Belt. (CA, 3, screen)
O45 1 16 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Throwback screen Stonum -3
The counter to the flare screen; Robinson(-2) gets confused and doesn't block the slot LB at all, which blows up the play. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: RUN-: TRob(2)
O48 2 19 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass Improv fly Roundtree Inc (pen +15)
Ton of time as M stones four rushers; no one open for Forcier so he starts rolling in the pocket. His receivers break deep and he picks out Roundtree but throws the pass well short. Roundtree is run over, drawing a flag. I don't really know what to tag this. It was good play to chuck it because the DB was definitely in trouble but the ball was not great. I'm going with... (MA, 0, protection 3/3)
O33 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Pass PA Bubble Roundtree 23
All Roundtree(+3) as he jukes two different guys and turns this into a big play; Stokes(+1) did get a good block on the corner and finished it off by shoving the guy past Tree as he cut back for his final six or so yards.
RUN+: Roundtree(3), Stokes RUN-:
O10 1 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Inside zone Shaw 8
Wolverine heavy, sort of. It works, with Omameh(+1) controlling and shoving his man to seal him just as Shaw approaches the line; Dorrestein(+1) kicks out the DE and Koger(+1) gets an excellent lead block on a filling LB; Molk(+1) moves to the second level and plants the MLB. Shaw bursts through and gets cut to the ground by a desperate safety.
RUN+: Omameh, Koger, Shaw, Dorrestein RUN-:
O2 2 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-4- Run Inside zone Shaw 2
Pretty much the same thing, with BG slanting heavily to the inside; Dorrestein(+1) caves his guy in and Shaw(+1) reads that, slipping outside and running over a linebacker who tried to fill. Webb(+1) got a good edge block.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-14, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Shaw 2
No cutback with Schilling(-1) unable to do anything with the backside DT; he is moving into the backfield. This is relevant because BG has slanted heavily and the frontside guy is shoving Omameh(-1) well into the backfield, forcing Shaw outside the tackle. Smith(+1) plugged the LB to that side, actually pancaking him, which does give Shaw a little crease; the delay allows a BG safety to thwack him just past the LOS.
RUN+: Schilling, Omameh RUN-: Smith
O49 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA cross Roundtree 21
BG again getting good pressure on this PA rollout protection scheme by having a linebacker zip up into the hole between the line and a pulling Schilling, so Forcier doesn't have much time. The BG linebackers jump the circle route M's thrown a few times today, opening up Roundtree behind them. Forcier reads it and finds Roundtree. Ball is a little high but just in front of the safety and Roundtree brings it in as he's hit. The guy in the face increases the DOD. (DO, 2, protection 1/2, team -1)
O28 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 8
Schilling(+1) owns one DT on a single block, shoving him back three yards. Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) do the same to the other, with Molk popping out on a middle linebacker. All that beef moving downhill means Shaw is met four yards downfield and the pile lumbers another four. Lewan flashed his impressive agility here, too, though for no real purpose.
RUN+: Schilling(2), Molk(2), Omameh RUN-:
O20 2 2 Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Zone counter Shaw 2
At least I think this is designed to cutback with both TEs headed to the backside of the play, the line blocking down, and Shaw ready to cut back real fast. Lewan(+1) helps cave in the playside DT and then pops out on the LB. Webb(+1) takes out the slot LB and Shaw looks like he's about to be in the clear with Koger ahead of him and just one BG safety left; he heads outside, Koger(-1) watches the safety run by, and that guy makes a desperate arm tackle to prevent six.
RUN+: Webb, Lewan RUN-: Koger
O18 1 10 Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Zone stretch Shaw 9
Slanting under again and moving an eighth guy in the box. Molk(+1) moves past the playside DT and then realizes what's happening. He peels off and seals that guy. Lewan and Schilling are dealing with the playside DE who is threatening to slant between them as Koger(+1) kicks out a blitzer. Webb(+1) is leading Shaw and kicks out the playside LB, giving him a lane between that block and the Lewan/Schilling double. Shaw(+1) did a good job of finding and hitting a small crease.
RUN+: Shaw, Koger, Webb, Molk RUN-:
O9 2 1 Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 0
Confusion between Lewan(-1) and Webb(-1) as Lewan starts moving to the second level and then gets held up by the DE; DE is now in good position to eliminate a cutback. Webb runs by this for a second level block; this is not so good. Forcier could have kept but I don't know if he actually has a read here; since it would have been successful and he didn't keep it I have to ZR -1 him. Smith(-1) should have just run to the frontside of the play, where Omameh(+1) had blown out the playside DT badly and there was a gap for the first down and maybe more.
RUN+: Omameh, Koger RUN-: Webb, Lewan, Smith
O9 3 1 Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 3
These are not all the same play as the H-backs keep going in different directions, FWIW. Here Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) pancake a BG DT; Schilling(-1) falls and loses his guy, drawing Webb's block and allowing a BG guy to come in to tackle after a short gain, but the obliteration of the DT was sufficient for the first.
RUN+: Omameh, Molk RUN-: Schilling
O6 1 G Shotgun 2H 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Zone stretch Smith 4
Good handoff (ZR+1) with lots of guys unblocked on the backside. BG is running down the line fast, preventing anyone from getting a seal, so the OL just rideS guys down the line. Omameh(+1) gets the relevant block, controlling his guy and keeping him at the LOS, driving him far enough along that there's a cutback hole between him and the unblocked backside DE; Dorrestein and Molk(+1 each) get second level blocks. Smith hits it up and is lassoed down by the DE.
RUN+: Smith, Dorrestein, Molk, Omameh RUN-:
O2 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Iso Shaw 0
No push from the line but there is a gap for McColgan to hit, which he does(+1), blowing his guy into the endzone. If Shaw(-1) had run up his FB's back it's a touchdown but he hesitates and then has nowhere to go.
RUN+: McColgan RUN-: Shaw
O2 3 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Pass PA boot FB flat McColgan 2
McColgan wide open as BG bites (RPS +1) and he flips it in for the easy TD. (CA, 3, protection NA)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 37-14, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Fly Stonum Inc (pen +15)
Forcier fumbles the snap on what was going to be a bomb and just chucks it after he recovers. TA? IN? MA? I don't know. I'm going to file it TA since I think he's just getting rid of it to live another down. BG's corner has great position on the play and gets an awful flag for pass interference. This is raw, throbbing injustice in a can. A perfect example of the kind of play a cornerback in position should be allowed to make. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout quick out Gallon 14
No PA, just a plain old rollout that sees Shaw cut the playside DE, giving Forcier plenty of time to find Gallon yards in front of a slot LB that appears to be in man coverage. Easy pitch, catch, and YAC. (RPS +1, CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O8 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 8
Molk(+2) gets a great reach block on the playside DT, creasing the line; Omameh(+1) gets a second level block, and Lewan(+1) cuts two(!) guys on the backside. Schilling(-1) whiffed his second-level block but Smith(+1) runs through the tackle into the endzone. Dorrestein(+1) pancaked his guy too.
RUN+: Molk(2), Omameh, Lewan, Smith, Dorrestein RUN-: Schilling
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-14, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 2
I am officially in half-ass mode, FWIW. Good play by a deep corner to charge this down. (CA, 3, screen)
M40 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone stretch Cox 3
Corner blitz provides contain on the QB so BG has a DE and a LB on the backside; they slant hard to the playside and don't get sealed. Cox cuts up in a big hole between Omameh and Dorrestein and sort of avoids two tackles before being whomped by a safety. RPS -1. Could have minused Dorrestein if I was feeling mean.
M43 3 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-4 Pass PA Deep comeback Stonum 10
PA rollout sees a BG blitz get in Forcier's face; he pulls up and nails a comeback route to Stonum. It's weird to remember he can do these things. (CA+, 3, protection 1/2, team -1)
O47 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-4 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 16
This one is wide open by alignment and M takes it; Roundtree gets a block from Hemingway(+1) and it's easy. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
RUN+: Hemingway RUN-:
O31 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Smith 6
Little room as BG slants under again and Molk(-1) gets driven into the backfield some. Smith(+1) cuts back and gets outside thanks to a crushing block from Webb(+1) on the edge and jukes a tackler for decent yardage.
RUN+: Smith, Webb RUN-: Molk
O25 2 4 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Power off tackle Forcier 16
This is a broken play since Shaw just takes off to block someone on the backside as Forcier holds the ball out for a mesh that never comes. Okay, so Forcier just runs the play, which features Dorrestein(+1) and Webb(+1) blocking down as Omameh and Molk pull. Smith(+1) kicks out a linebacker; Omameh(+1) demolishes his guy, and Forcier hits the gap, makes a safety miss, and would be gone if he was Denard but is not Denard and gets a shoestring tackle for his troubles.
RUN+: Forcier(2), Omameh, Smith, Dorrestein, Webb RUN-: Shaw
O9 1 G Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Down G Smith 6
Other side of the line with Webb(+1) sealing the playside DE and Schilling pulling around. Schilling(+1) and Cox(+1) both kick out second level guys and Smith is one on one with a safety in some space; he lowers his head and is tackled. Meh.
RUN+: Webb, Lewan, Cox, Schilling RUN-: Smith
O3 2 G Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Inside zone Cox 2
Omameh(-1) whiffs on his guy, who ends up falling in the backfield in the path of the runner, forcing Cox outside where he runs through one arm tackle and then meets a safety while still off balance, getting stood up. This was possible thanks to Huyge, now playing RT, kicking his guy out far enough for Cox to have a lane.
RUN+: Huyge RUN-: Omameh
O1 3 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Zone stretch Smith 1
Omameh, Huyge, and Webb all blow their guys out and Omameh actually has a moment in this play where he's blocking two separate BG players by pushing them in the chest simultaneously. McColgan doesn't even have anyone to block as Smith strolls in.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Webb RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 51-21, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M6 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Inside zone Cox 4
Barnum in. Okay, I will do some vague charting here but I'm not going to bother with RPS since M is just running the game out. Here blitzing linebackers hit the gaps too fast for the linemen to get out on them, forcing a cutback from Cox(+1). He runs through a tackle and drags another guy forward four yards; would have gotten a couple more if the refs hadn't whistled it down for lack of forward progress that seemed to be progressing still.
RUN+: Cox RUN-:
M10 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Cox 2
Also discarding ZR since I don't want QBs carrying at this point, but this should have been a keep if it wasn't a 30 point game in the fourth. Omameh(-1) gets stalemated and then his guy fights inside; Dorrestein is only doing OK on the edge so Cox does not have gap to the outside and has to cut back into a crashing DE. He keeps his feet impressively on a tackle attempt but the delay allows BG to converge and he only gets an extra yard out of it.
RUN+: RUN-: Omameh
M12 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Pass Scramble Forcier 7
Five guys come and Michigan blocks them all; Forcier actually has Koger wide open for the first but sees a lane open up in front of him and knows he can get the first with his legs; he does so. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Forcier 2
Forcier keeps; no idea what or who he's reading here since the blocking is unfamiliar. He fakes the bubble as he attempts to get to the edge but a linebacker runs him down; Molk was blocking for the handoff and the LB read keep too fast. Denard gets the corner here but you knew that.
RUN+: RUN-: Forcier
M21 2 8 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Inside zone Cox 10
Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) fire off to double one DT, who gives a ton of ground; Molk pops off on the MLB. The other DT is crushed by Barnum(+1) with help from Lewan; a crashing DE is taken out by Koger(+1). Cox just has to run up in the gaping hole and does.
RUN+: Barnum, Omameh, Molk, Koger RUN-:
M31 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Gardner 3
Gardner returns, and should definitely keep this since BG is cheating on the RB but still gets run down for two yards by taking an angle not far enough outside. I think he's plenty fast but he's got a lot of work to do as a runner.
RUN+: RUN-: Gardner
M34 2 7 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 60
Features a pull from Omameh as Huyge(+1) blocks down on the playside DT and provides a big hole. Koger(+1) kicks out a DE; a blitzing MLB has taken himself out of the play and Omameh(+1) clubs the last LB out of the way, opening up green pastures for Toussaint.
RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Koger, Toussaint RUN-:
M6 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Zone stretch Toussaint 6
Backside DT is cut to the ground by Lewan(+1) and the frontside guy kind of lunges in at Molk, forcing Toussaint around him but falling uselessly; Omameh(+2) controls and then destroys the playside DE, who is blocked into the endzone. Toussaint with an easy TD. Barnum(+1) also did well to get a block on the second level.
RUN+: Omameh(2), Lewan, Barnum RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 58-21, 7 min 4th Q. Backup OL comes in and charting ceases, as we're not going to learn anything about this year's team from this game. You can watch Cox's long run, on which Quinton Washington obliterates some dude, though. And here's Gardner's touchdown.

*Elaborate yawning mechanism.*

Yes, yes, steampunk fictional questioner who does not appreciate where he has come from.

Well, is there really even a point?

No, not on this side of the ball. I would have cut this off sooner but for BG's annoying persistence on offense and our first extended look at Devin Gardner. The offensive line was crushing to the point where it was tough to tell whether or not I should be handing out pluses to the tackles on plays where the interior linemen were ridin' that donkey five, six, seven yards downfield. Here's Fitzgerald Toussaint's touchdown. Watch Omameh:


This was most of the day. So take everything below with a grain of salt. Michigan won't face a defense this bad after this weekend again.

We demand low-information charts anyway.

Low information charts, then.

Hennechart comes with a reminder that numbers in parentheses are screens! I've also added the zone read metric to these charts instead of spreading it out. It's in the format correct decisions / opportunities.


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


BGSU 2 4(2) 1 1 1 - - - - 4/7 N/A


BGSU 2 9(6) 1 - - 1 - - 1 3/4 N/A

Nobody had enough downfield throws to warrant a downfield success rate, but everyone impressed. Denard hit a 30-yard corner route, Devin had two long should-have-been touchdowns, the second a beautiful touch seam, and Forcier rolled out and pulled up to hit Roundtree over the middle.

My only complaint/worry here was the short toss to Gallon on which Gardner was pressured. He defaulted to that pushing motion, it looked, and the resulting pass was well off target. Oh, and there was the failed fourth down attempt. In any case, it certainly looks like Michigan is more loaded at quarterback than they've ever been.

Who works for number two?


Uh… if that's a question about the second-string quarterback, I think it should be Tate, but not because of any of the passing numbers above. It's the zone read stuff, where Gardner's barely above 50%, and the numbers from the—


Run chart, but whatever. BEHOLD THE DONKENING

Chart II?

Chart II.


Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 2 - 2 Couple of good plays at RT late.
Lewan 11 1 10 Was very effective on cuts, too.
Schilling 10 5 5 Had some trouble with BG slants.
Molk 16 5 11 Wish he'd be more consistent on MLBs.
Omameh 20 6 14 Most of Michigan's long runs came over his side of the line.
Barnum 2 - 2 I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.
Dorrestein 6 1 5 I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.
Webb 9 1 8 Fetch me the club…
Koger 7 1 6 …and smite the heathen seals.
TOTAL 83 20 63 Even more obliteration.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 8 - 8 Not bad for four rushes.
Gardner - 5 -5 Yeah… about that.
Forcier 2 1 1 Was limping, too.
Shaw 10 2 8 Broke some tackles, seemed to hit all the right holes.
Smith 10 2 8 Smart blocking, good cuts, an occasional broken tackle.
Cox 2 - 2 Physically impressive. Good balance again.
Toussaint - - - Runs were super easy.
Hopkins 3 - 3 Fumble not included.
McColgan 1 - 1 Usual.
Jones - - - Stopped charting by the time he got in.
TOTAL 36 10 26 Shaw again most impressive.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum 2 - 2 --
Odoms 2 - 2 --
TRobinson 1 3 -2 --
Roundtree 3 2 1 --
Grady 2 - 2 --
Gallon 2 - 2 --
Hemingway 2 - 2 --
TOTAL 14 5 9  

So this was more of the same, with Lewan being impressive for a tackle just because he is noticeable on so many run plays. Tackles mostly just lock out DEs who are happy to cut off the outside; Lewan is making an impact comparable to an above-average guard. Also, the tight ends were just clubbing guys all day.

At tailback, Smith and Shaw came out about even in the numbers above and the official ones (both had 12 carries; Smith had three more yards) but if I had to pick it would be Shaw and it wouldn't be that close. The three backups who got charted all flashed some ability and didn't screw up except for the Hopkins fumble. Cox really is physically impressive, capable of dragging tacklers and again flashing great balance. I'm hoping we get to see more of him as the season goes on.

So about number two?

Right, so, Gardner has a –5 up there, the only minus of the day aside from Terrance Robinson. This came about because he pulled the ball on three separate instances when he should have handed off and got roped down for little gain; on a couple other runs he eschewed certain yards for more of that high school stuff where you just cut it outside all day on the assumption you are faster than everyone else. Tate has more experience at the college level and when he cut it way outside he had a block and got tracked down by a linebacker from behind; he also seems to be better at ascertaining when to hand it off.

That plus Tate's excellent day throwing makes me lean towards Forcier in the unfortunate event of a serious injury to Robinson.

I still have a couple more charts, by the way. Receivers:

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum - - 1/1 2/2 1 - 3/4 11/11
Odoms - - - 2/2 - - 3/4 9/9
Hemingway 1 - - 2/3 1 - 1/1 2/3
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree 1 - 1/1 8/8 5 2/3 1/2 19/19
Grady - - - 2/2 2 - 1/1 6/6
Robinson - - - - - 0/1 - 2/3
Gallon 1 - - 1/1 1 - - 1/1
Koger - - - - - - 1/2 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - - - - 0/1 4/4
Shaw - - - 1/1 1 0/1 0/1 3/3
McColgan - - - 1/1 - - - 1/1
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

A fairly boring day here. Just one drop, but it was a big one: Hemingway's oopsie on Devin Gardner's first shoulda-been touchdown.

And this isn't a chart but PROTECTION METRIC: 26/31, Dorrestein –1, Team –4.

The "team" minuses were for blitzes into Michigan's favored rollout package that got Forcier and Gardner in trouble a couple times. Michigan might have to go way from that now that Bowling Green has demonstrated how to pressure it consistently. M got away with it against a team with little talent, but add some speed to that linebacker or some competence to the secondary and bad things might happen.

Did we see anything new?

Obviously the Wolverine Heavy look was new, but Michigan also started responding to BG's tendency to slant like there's no tomorrow by breaking out the pulling OL. Watch Omameh:

That's a completely standard run play I've seen Michigan defend dozens of times over the past few years. I've even got an automatic link for it: Down G. See? It linked.

On Down G you've got a tackle and sometimes a tight end blocking down on the line as Michigan pulls one OL and finds a lead blocker from somewhere else, whether it's a tailback or a H-back or whatever. This is a response to BG's uber-slanting. If the DL slant in the direction of the play, they meet the downblockers head on and get blown up as they do above. Then there's lots of space off tackle and usually the linebackers will be hanging out on the backside of the play where the cutbacks are on a zone. On this play one blitzes right up the middle, another heads to the backside, and there's just one guy in a big hole starting down the mobile death that is Patrick Omameh. And then you get a lot of yards.

Here's another example, on which Shaw busts his assignment but BG is so confused that it doesn't matter and Molk doesn't even have anyone to block:

Michigan has not shown this much in the RR era (and literally never ran it during the DerpBord stretch-and-stretch-only era). I wonder why they chose to do so in a game they'd salted away already. It's not like this is rocket science—it's a totally standard play—but I'd rather break it out against Michigan State than BG.

What does a can of injustice look like?


Poor BG cornerback. This is my least favorite iteration of pass interference, where a guy is running in front of or even with a receiver who tries to run through the DB. The DB has great coverage and is penalized for it. They should clarify the rule to express that a player who is even or deeper with a wide receiver can't be penalized for not changing his momentum. If you're beaten and the ball's underthrown and you run a guy over, fine, flag. But that stuff above is painful even when you're on the right end of a wrong call.


Again, you could almost pick anyone. Special commendation to the offensive line and tight ends.


Hopkins fumbled, Molk got that personal foul, and Devin Gardner had some iffy running plays, but that's it when you score touchdowns on 9 of 11 drives.

What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?

Indiana is going to get nuked. They are currently sporting the 92nd-best rushing defense in the land thanks to the dynamic ground attacks of Towson, Western Kentucky, and Akron. None of those teams have a win over a I-A opponent, and they're actually 1-3 against I-AA thanks to Towson sucking and Gardner Webb beating Akron in OT. Akron exceeded their season average in yards by over 100 and their opponents other than the I-AA team were Syracuse and Kentucky. They are donkeys.

As for the rest of the season, Taylor Lewan seems to have locked down the left tackle job and pushed that position from average or slightly above to good, potentially verging on great. His emergence gives Michigan spare bodies on the OL and makes the offense close to bulletproof without an Angry Michigan BLANK-Hating God injury monsoon with the lone exception of quarterback, where your prayer vigil should be unceasing.

Even there, both Michigan quarterbacks showed well. Michigan gave up a couple scores late in the first half and there was a rumble of worry in the stadium when it was 21-14, but Rodriguez just threw Forcier out there and watched him march down the field for a touchdown, another touchdown, some more touchdowns, additional touchdowns, etc.

I'd ratchet up expectations another half-notch here. Lewan gives the offense more depth, Denard's added a few more items to his "not a fluke" pile, and the backup quarterbacks look solid. Also they just put up 721 yards, and I don't care who it's against if it's a I-A team: 721 yards means your offense is scary.