Fee Fi Foe Film: Air Force Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Air Force Defense

Submitted by Ace on September 14th, 2017 at 2:01 PM

Previously: Air Force Offense

LB Grant Ross is Air Force's only returning defensive starter.

Under Troy Calhoun and defensive coordinator Steve Russ, Air Force has devised a defense intended to turn opponents into the polar opposite of Air Force. The Falcon offense, as covered yesterday, is designed to be as efficient as possible, moving the ball in chunks on the ground with only the occasional big-play attempt through the air.

To complement that offense, AF fields a hyper-aggressive defense hell-bent on stopping the run, generating sacks and turnovers, and forcing the offense to rely on big passing plays while under heavy duress.

This makes for some crazy numbers. The Falcons had the #9 rush defense and #99 pass defense by S&P+ last year. They ranked 26th in success rate (a measure of efficiency) and 124th in isoPPP (a measure of explosive plays). They were 15th in preventing plays of 10+ yards (152) and 119th in preventing plays of 20+ yards (76).

I revisited last year's game against Boise State for this post, and BSU's drive chart is a good demonstration of what can happen when this defense is clicking. After BSU broke a big run on their opening drive to set up a short touchdown, AF loaded up the box, brought a ton of heat, and knocked the Broncos off schedule. Their drives:

  • 2 plays, 60 yards (56 on one run), touchdown
  • 6 plays, 20 yards, punt
  • 3 plays, 2 yards, punt
  • 3 plays, 5 yards, punt
  • 3 plays, 0 yards, punt (blocked for AF TD)
  • 4 plays, 10 yards, punt
  • 8 plays, 59 yards (43 on one pass), field goal
  • 3 plays, 6 yards, punt
  • 11 plays, 78 yards (57 on one pass), field goal
  • 3 plays, -4 yards, punt
  • 1 play, 75-yard touchdown pass
  • 6 plays, 89 yards (passes of 39 and 47 yards), fumble on 4th-and-goal

Air Force successfully made Boise State into a big-play-or-bust outfit, and while it got a little hairy at the end, it resulted in a 27-20 upset win.

Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:

Yes, that's one returning starter. There's a reason this post focuses entirely on scheme. Since I watched a game from last season and Air Force's week one opponent this year was a very overmatched VMI squad, we didn't hand out any stars or sore spots.

Base Set? Air Force lists themselves as a 3-4 but this is really a 3-3-5, what with the 263-pound nose tackle and 205-pound outside linebacker. They make up for their lack of size by loading the box with eight or nine guys on most snaps:

That's a safety lined up two yards off the LOS to the top of the screen and the free safety is creeping within seven yards at the snap even though he's responsible for the deep middle.

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

Fee Fi Foe Film: Air Force Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Air Force Offense

Submitted by Ace on September 13th, 2017 at 2:12 PM


QB Arion Worthman is a dangerous runner.

This is going to be a little different than the usual FFFF posts. Air Force is coming off a bye week; they crushed an overmatched VMI squad 62-0 in the opener; they return only six starters, five on offense and one on defense.

Another program under these circumstances may not even merit a full post, but Air Force is no ordinary program. Their success is based on plugging well-coached upperclassmen into their unusual schemes—a triple-option offense and wildly aggressive defense—to the point that, with a few exceptions, the personnel involved hardly matters.

So, instead of watching Air Force walk all over VMI, I went back to last year's Boise State game to get a feel for their scheme and how it functions against quality competition. AF's two most important offensive players starred in that game, too, so this should still give a decent idea of what Michigan will have to stop on a player-specific level.

Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:


 

Air Force won't always line up in the flexbone. While head coach Troy Calhoun is very much a part of the Fisher DeBerry coaching tree, he's updated the offense in his 11 seasons at the helm, mostly by incorporating spread principles.

Beyond the two dangermen, don't get too caught up on personnel at the skill positions, as Air Force will rotate a ton. Sixteen different players logged carries against VMI, and six different players accounted for their ten receptions.

Yes, McCray lost his star until he cleans up his issues in space. He'll get a major test in this very game.

The base play. I highly recommend you check out EGD's diary on Air Force's offense, which was a huge help in putting this post together. The base play of their offense is the inside veer, which sets up everything else they'll do. EGD's primer:

Now, AFA is known for running its option plays out of numerous formations (and here is some VIDEO of them doing just that.  But in the standard flexbone formation that the triple option is commonly associated with, there are two A-backs who line up just outside the tackles (and may be called “slotbacks” in this formation), while the B-Back aligns two yards directly behind the heels of the quarterback.

Okay, so: the triple option.  The base play in the triple option offense is the “inside veer.”  That is the core play on which the B-Back threatens the dive (attacking inside the OT), the quarterback threatens off-tackle, and the (an) A-back threatens further outside (the linebackers).  Inside veer looks slightly different depending on whether it’s run against a three-man or four-man defensive line, and with Don Brown we really don’t know which one to expect, but for simplicity’s sake let’s just look at it against Brown’s basic 4-2-5:

The A-back (who'll be the pitchman) motions behind the B-back at the snap. The first read is of the defensive lineman to the outside of the playside guard (the circled WDE on this play); if he doesn't attack the diving B-back, the quarterback hands off to the B-back. If the quarterback doesn't give on the dive, his next read is the defender to the outside of his first read (the circled safety, in this case); if that defender goes after the QB, he pitches to the motioning A-back, who will attack the edge. If nobody takes the QB, he keeps it.

Simple enough, right? Now you just have to prepare for them to run it out of a bunch of different formations with several tricky constraint plays, all while making sure not to overcommit to the run and allow a deep bomb in the passing game.

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? None of the above, really. This is still a flexbone triple-option system at its core, and that doesn't neatly fit into any of those categories. In this video from 2010, you can see them running the triple option out of Maryland I, shotgun two-back (with a shovel pass replacing the fullback dive), and flexbone sets:

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Mostly basketball on grass; there's an interesting four-minute coaching clinic video of Calhoun talking about how AF runs inside zone if you're so inclined. (The short version: they want to get upfield in a hurry, so their back has two options, frontside A-gap or backside A-gap.)

Hurry it up or grind it out? You'd expect an old-school triple option team to grind it out, right? Wrong. Air Force is even tougher to defend because they go at light speed; they ranked seventh in the country in adjusted pace in 2016. Just because they keep the clock moving doesn't mean they're moving slow.

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

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Submitted by Seth on September 8th, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Previously: Cincinnati Offense

No YOU begged to write the Cincy FFFF just so you could watch abominable football and call it work.

I did not slow this down that’s just how fast they move.

The team Cincinnati played last week is literally the worst football team you can play. Austin Peay is on a historic losing streak that was last interrupted when Doug Nussmeier was Michigan’s offensive coordinator, and bad news for Toys R Us meant some negative publicity over their line of Breaking Bad action figures. That streak (Peay’s) continues, but only because Cincinnati went 4-1 in turnover luck when the Bearcats’ offense could only muster 248 yards.

Getting a read on the defense is a bit harder, because Peay’s quarterbacks are the kind of passers you make stand in the driveway so you’re not always chasing the ball into the neighbor’s garden. They still might miss the barn:

I’ve analyzed the Peay tape and while some of the things in it are indeed disturbing, there is nothing here that constitutes a threat to national security. That makes extrapolating applicable things from Peay’s offense to Michigan’s rather difficult. Also difficult: not cackling. I promise to do my best on the former.

Personnel: My diagram [click to embiggen]:

image

I tried not to be too harsh with the cyan circles because it’s all relative, even if this whole scout was literally relative to the worst team in the kindest definition of Division I football. On any other FFFF the strong safety and the HSP would have circles too; they get a reprieve for playing opposite whatever the opposite of shields are.

Given Peay’s passing I have to punt on the corners but one note: David Pierce was a surprise starter last week over incumbent senior Grant Coleman, who’d been starting since he Wally Pipp’d the job from… [everyone put on your Rich Rod defensive recruit radiation jackets]… Adrian Witty in 2014. Pierce was a safety last year and deep into fall camp. Coleman was a walk-on. Again, Peay had no way to test this, but heuristically last-minute position switches are ill omens.

[After THE JUMP: I was probably too harsh on a kid who’s doing something way more amazing than I ever will]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Submitted by Seth on September 6th, 2017 at 4:10 PM

Austin Peay did not win a game in 2016. They did not win a game in 2015 either. Nor did they win a game in 2013. In fact in their last 47 tries their lone victory was October 18, 2014, versus Murray State. Remember when Michigan planted a railroad spike in East Lansing, then Brady Hoke apologized? That is more recent than Austin Peay winning a football game. The closest they’ve come since: last Saturday at Cincinnati.

Michigan’s next opponent was outgained 313 (Detroit!) to 248 (Cranbrook!), and needed a big fourth quarter touchdown drive and two end-of-half turnovers near their goal line to kick off the Luke Fickell era with a victory over literally the worst team in the most charitable definition of Division I. The same Governors (FYI: Austin Peay are the Governors), who gave up an average of 46 points vs FCS schools last year were able to hold the Cincinnati attack to 3.3 YPC, 5.4 YPA, and 3/11 on first downs.

Yeah, football results are not always transitive. But this might be:

if this is accurate there are only five unblocked defenders around

I find beauty in atrocious football. It’s yet to be seen if we can find much of use. Welcome back to foe film.

Personnel. My diagram [click to embiggen]:

image

Oreo offense: hard cookie outside with a soft, gooey center.

There wasn’t that much I could glean from watching them play Peay. The offensive line returned one starter and the new kids got zero push against Peay’s DL. The right tackle, a JUCO transfer, is large but really stiff and a complete turnstile against the pass rush. The center got overpowered on the regular but seemed to know what he was doing. Both guards had trouble in all departments, getting little to no push, blowing zone combos, and occasionally providing entertainment of the “'I’m glad it’s not our guys” variety. For example try to guess who the pulling guard, #64, will block on this play.

image

If you went with “unblocked guy right in front of him,” you lose. The other LB near the tight end? Wrong. That cornerback? Nope. “Nobody?” You’re giving him too much credit.

image

Fortunately it’s not an illegal block in the back if it’s your own tight end so this was just a tackle for no gain.

[After THE JUMP this is some bad football right here]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Florida State Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Florida State Defense

Submitted by Ace on December 28th, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Previously: Florida State Offense

...damn.

As it turns out, not having a functional passing game against Florida State's defense is a serious issue. Florida, a subpar-at-best running team, managed a respectable 4.6 yards on 23 non-sack rushes against FSU. On their 41 dropbacks, however, they gained only 149 yards through the air and lost 46 on six sacks for a total average of 2.5 yards per pass play.

Michigan, with a month to prepare a superior offense, will fare better than Florida. They'll still deal with the same core issue: how do you slow down FSU's pass rush enough to consistently move the ball?

Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:

FSU is dealing with serious injury problems in their secondary. Star free safety Derwin James was lost early in the season; starting strong safety Nate Andrews tore his pectoral against Miami; replacement Ermon Lane, who made a midseason move from wide receiver, is out after suffering a foot injury in practice. What had been arguably FSU's strongest position group is now piecing a lineup together with scotch tape and chewing gum:

With Lane out FSU will likely move Trey Marshall back from the star position, and move true freshman Kyle Meyers into his spot. Meyers has played quite a bit this season with Marshall moving back and forth between the safety and star positions, as well as an injury that kept him out of the NC State game.

If FSU wants to keep the physical Marshall close to the line of scrimmage to help out against the Wolverines downhill rushing attack, then it will be sophomore defensive back Calvin Brewton that will play opposite of sophomore A.J. Westbrook. Brewton has played sparingly this season, but he has played more than true freshman Carlos Becker.

Florida wasn't able to test FSU's safeties at all in the passing game; that shouldn't be the case with Michigan.

Base Set? 4-3, often with a standup weakside DE; FSU uses the same "BUCK" term for that position that DJ Durkin used in his time at Michigan.

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

Fee Fi Foe Film: Florida State Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Florida State Offense

Submitted by Ace on December 27th, 2016 at 2:38 PM

Much of the information in this post is provided by Pro Football Focus.

So, yeah, that guy might be a problem.

Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:

While FSU's most serious injury issues are on defense, they're making some adjustments on offense, too. Senior left guard Kareem Are is expected back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a concussion. His replacement in those games, redshirt freshman Cole Minshew, is now locked in a battle at the other guard spot with redshirt junior Wilson Bell, who's also dealing with some legal issues. Minshew grades out as the best of the three, albeit in a much smaller sample size, so we have him projected to start over Bell.

The other injury situation to keep an eye on is at receiver. Funchess-like jumbo wideout Auden Tate was spotted in a non-contact jersey at Monday's practice. They're also likely to make a change at kicker. Logan Tyler, who's 1/2 on the year, is taking first-team reps over Ricky Aguayo (brother of Roberto), who's 17/24 but looked awful against Florida, missing well short on a 49-yarder and getting a low live-drive 44-yarder blocked.

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Hybrid that leans pro-style. FSU spent a lot of snaps in the gun with three wideouts on the field, but they also go under center and play a fullback on about a quarter of their snaps.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? FSU has a pretty diverse running game. They like getting Dalvin Cook to the edge and they'll do it in a variety of ways: zone stretch, toss sweeps, and counters, along with a couple screens, got him into plenty of space against Florida.

Hurry it up or grind it out? Right in the middle; FSU is 55th in adjusted pace.

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

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Defense

Submitted by Seth on November 25th, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Previously: Ohio State Offense

image

When half of your defensive depth chart gets requisitioned by the NFL it’s usually a bad sign. Somehow, Ohio State is getting even more production out of the replacements. Without Joey Bosa or much in the way of blitzes, the Buckeyes are tops in the nation in power success rate and stuff rate, and 14th in Havoc.

Whereas the offense was relatively young with lots of stars covering up a few big holes, this defense is relatively young with lots of stars and a few guys I had to explain why they didn’t get stars.

My search for visual evidence was inhibited by the decision to shoot the whole Wisconsin game in that annoying sideline angle-vision:

image

…which I guess directors love because the formations are perfectly framed, and people trying to watch football hate because you can’t see anything once the ball is snapped. Getting a read on the secondary was especially tough, since you literally didn’t see them until the same second they’re making a play on the ball. The tradeoff for pore-o-vision was Wisconsin ran a ton of heavy sets, power, and jet sweeps. Michigan’s best hope to crack this nuts defense is with RPS, and the Badgers did just that.

Personnel: The diagram is nuts.

image

click for bigger, open in new window for bigger-bigger

The only guy who wasn’t at least close to a star is strong safety, Cass Tech alum Damon Webb, who came from cornerback to win an all-offseason position battle rife with negative heuristics. Webb is a –4.1 in pass coverage to PFF and about zero overall. Zero is hanging in there; he’s the weak spot only insomuch as McCray is Michigan’s, and like McCray, Webb’s weakness often takes the form of getting beat to the flats. Troy Fumagalli had 7 catches for 84 yards in this game.

Worley is fine, not spectacular. Baker is discussed below. Also discussed below: three starry “backup” linemen who rotate as heavily as Michigan’s DL. The backup CB, Denzel Ward, is a speed demon who was neck and neck with Lattimore through fall camp; OSU fans think he’s a future Jourdan Lewis. Dime corner Damon Arnette made an appearance and was promptly beat on a fade on 3rd and 9.

Base Set? They’re a nickel over (think Michigan State) team with a hybrid space player to the weak side and the DL aligned to formation, with the SDE over or outside the tight end. Wisconsin brought out a lot of heavy sets so Ohio State responded by walking down the overhang DB as a 4th linebacker.

image

The LB about to blitz there is the HSP, Baker, in an attempt to use aggression to solve the fact that he’s safety sized. We’ll see this play again in the overview section.

On passing downs they remove the DTs and put their four best pass rushers (Bosa, Hubbard, Holmes and Lewis) out there with wide splits. Ramzy said they call it the “Rushmen” package, which is far too lame for something so terrifying. The “Four Next-Bosas” is more apropos:

Or maybe “The Dogs of Ramsey Bolton”:

Wisconsin never found a way to deal with this other than take a 10-step drop and hope to survive the tsunami. And try like hell to stay out of passing downs.

[You are welcome to hit THE JUMP if your doctor says it’s alright. Tell her you’re taking a lot of Harbaugh.]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Offense

Submitted by Seth on November 24th, 2016 at 9:00 AM

[Happy Thanksgiving! We’re on holiday. Hope this is enough to chew on]:

I’m guessing you don’t need to be told what we’re up against. The spread offense liberated running games from under center, and with it came all the fun stuff like little athletes juking people in space, big ones running deep downfield in man coverage, and all sorts of defenders standing around wishing someone—anyone—would at least try to block him. Each early adopter added a wrinkle: tempo, bubble screens, wide splits, quick folds, receiver route trees, lazy verts, and run-pass-options. Urban Meyer’s innovation was to assimilate all of it into the Earl Bruce power offenses he grew up in.

At Ohio State Meyer found he could tap Big Ten resources and fall back on SEC attitudes to convince athletes from all over America to bring their biological distinctiveness to its least charming truck stop. There they are assigned mundane designations like “Corey Brown” or “James Clark” and adapted to serve wherever it’s most efficient—usually as a diversion from running up the gut.

They are the Borg; resistance is futile, unless it rains.

Personnel: A star-studded diagram:

image

click to lightbox it bigger, open in new window for even greater largosity

Everybody was a top 250 recruit except the kicker, a backup tight end, and the best interior lineman in the conference. They have a Heisman candidate, and it’s not the starting quarterback who was a Heisman candidate at the beginning of the year. We’ll talk about the backfield in dangermen and the OL in the overview.

If you’re new to Meyer offenses, one slot WR position is just called the “H” now that “Percy Harvin’s position” is a dated reference. It’s a running back/slot receiver hybrid that does whatever the latest guy is good at. Curtis Samuel is the current guy. Last year he stole half of Braxton Miller’s playing time. He’s kind of a big deal.

They have a stable of 4- and 5-star receivers who are worth discussing here. Noah Brown is the Darboh but they have to create Chesson in the aggregate. Parris Campbell is the nearest approximation and though he doesn’t “start” he’s getting the starter snaps since Secret Weapon™ Corey Smith has had his hand in a cast all year. Smith’s role and nominal starts go to Terry McLaurin, who’s a throwback to the Odoms/Gallon Rodriguez-era mountain goats, right down to a listed height of two inches greater than plausibility. Backup H Dontre Wilson is a Norfleet. Those five guys will be in for two-thirds of the snaps; the remainder is split evenly between the next four: slot receiver KJ Hill is a good route runner. James Clark is an athletic deep threat who wasn’t connecting. Other extant cardio-pulmonary systems who’d have 1500 yards in the MAC are Johnnie Dixon and Austin Mack. OSU will rotate them heavily and send them sprinting downfield until your cornerbacks’ lungs burst from their chests—actual throws come less than once per drive.

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid: Spread, which for lack of blocking TEs and superb blocker Ezekiel Elliott is back to being an actual spread:

Form Rn Pass RPO PA WRs Snaps Dwn Rn Pass RPO PA
Gun 20 20 10 4 1 1 1st 10 6 5 5
Pistol 1   6 2 2 1 2nd 7 6 8 1
Ace 2       3 38 3rd 6 8 3  
4 17
5 8

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? A 60-40 mix in favor of manball. They use a lot of zone on their QB and zone read runs, but Inverted Veer/Power Read is still their base play.

Hurry it up or grind it out? Hurry up and wait. On third downs they usually will take their time getting set up and snap it with three to six seconds left. Otherwise the snap came with the clock between 16 and 25.

Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): 8, effectively 9. We’ve always struggled to nail Barrett to a number on this scale because he’s a good runner but not Gardner-level. What he lacks for in whoop he makes up with vision, patience, and leaving all of his bad decisions for off the field. Against Michigan State I charted JT a perfect 19/19 on zone reads. That didn’t include the RPOs, which he also, on review, chose correctly every time. There’s a serious there, there, which is a big deal for an offense that has to stay ahead of the sticks.

[After the JUMP: inside the mind of the Collective]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Defense

Submitted by Seth on November 18th, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Previously: Ace did the offense.

pretty good, still indiana

Last year’s heavy-offense, no-defense #CHAOSTEAM was hella fun for everybody not responsible for Indiana’s defense. New defensive coordinator Tom Allen is a Hugh Freeze assistant who was about to get the Auburn DC job if Muschamp turned it down. It seemed like a good hire. It’s been more like a Don Brown good hire.

Indiana pork famers aren’t investing in nets just yet. Since poking into the Top 25 after Ohio State, three rough outings against the far east of the Big Ten East dropped Indiana’s defensive S&P to a just 46th. That’s still ahead of the offense, which goes against everything you ever thought you knew about Indiana. This I had to see.

I started out with last week’s PSU game then switched to Michigan State (from way back on October 1st) because Indiana’s been playing all spreads since. If you squint you can pass off the rampantly holding State OL (it was even more ridiculous than against Michigan) as Michigan’s comparative OL competency, and Price as a poor man’s Butt, and wobbly Tyler O’Connor as John O’Korn in his first game, and early October rain for November rain.

What I saw is what you might expect from Don Brown if you gave him four sticks of bubble gum, various old truck tires, and an unused set of wedding knives. Allen’s 4-2-5 defense is a jalopy that’s marvelous because it knows what it is. They keep their linebackers clean and aggressive, don’t ask their DBs to cover very long, and solve any and all problems with aggression. Until that doesn’t work, whence Indiana.

Personnel: My diagram:

image

The DL has a lot of rotation: seven defensive lineman have over 200 snaps this year (an 11th is at 94) according to PFF’s tracking, and the last guy on that list leads the team in QB hurries. Robinson and Hoff are space-eaters, Green is the beast; he will often slide down to NT. Off the bench, Dougherty and McCray can line up inside or out; the former is a run-stuffing specialist and the latter is an excellent stunt pass rusher. Pass rush from the WDE position has been an issue: Gooch is just a guy, and Sykes is a big downgrade when Gooch comes out—nearly all of Indiana’s pass rush comes from blitzing linebackers and stunts.

The back seven mostly stay on the field. Former starter Chase Dutra got pushed out by SS Tony Fields, who still has some issues but isn’t a gaping hole in deep coverage; Dutra still rotates in plenty as a run-stopping/red zone option. Fant and Riggins will play nearly every down. The linebacker hanging off the edge is their version of a hybrid space player, true freshman Marcelino Ball, whom I’ll discuss further down.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Offense

Submitted by Ace on November 17th, 2016 at 3:19 PM

just the usual 270-pound freshman RB taking a direct snap and running a read-option with the backup QB wait what

Today's film post is brought to you by Theraflu. In related news, tomorrow's will be brought to you by Seth. (Thank you, Seth.)

I ended up watching last week's Indiana/PSU game for this post, which was a hell of a game to pick while taking heavy-duty cold medication. The Hoosiers had 454 yards on 5.5 YPP against a good PSU defense; they also fumbled five times—four on offense, one on a punt that hit a blocker—and lost all five. They broke out their Wildcat package with Tyler Natee and Zander Diamont but didn't deploy it in a way that made any damn sense. Richard Lagow didn't throw any picks but still alternated brilliant throws with wildly inaccurate ones.

And to think, for a moment there we thought we'd lost CHAOSTEAM.

Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:

That's a lot of sore spots, especially for an offense that isn't outright bad. QB Richard Lagow is marked as such because he's either great or terrible, which is not ideal at that position. Cronk, Rogers, and Friend all grade out as bad run blockers to PFF, and Cronk adds terrible pass protection as well; this checked out on film.

The personnel wrinkle to watch is the one highlighted at the top of the page. Indiana will break out a Wildcat of sorts with 270-pound freshman RB Tyler Natee and mobile backup QB Zander Diamont in the backfield; in a twist, Natee, who played QB in high school, takes the direct snap more often than Diamont.

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? This is a Kevin Wilson production, so I probably don't have to tell you it's a spread.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Lots of outside zone, with some inside zone and pin-and-pulls as changeups; I recount one power that didn't go anywhere.

Hurry it up or grind it out? IU's no-huddle isn't quite at ludicrous speed this year. They're still quite fast and capable of tempoing a defense into mistakes. They rank 23rd in adjusted pace.

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