Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State Defense

Submitted by Seth on November 23rd, 2017 at 12:00 PM

[Author: sorry. Previously: Ohio State Offense]

You can’t take the sky from me.

Ohio State is everything wrong with America. While most hardworking football teams have to struggle day-in and day-out to make ends meet opposing quarterbacks, the Buckeyes have so much wealth they can leave most of it cooling on the sideline, chatting with the next wave of 5-stars and Bosas. They won’t even let any of it trickle out to the NFL or, like, Cincinnati. Three out of the seven hellbeasts they rotate through on the defensive line turned down this year’s NFL draft, and a fourth would be a top-five pick next April except he’s still too young to go.

With national economy-breaking riches up front, they can afford to play a ton of Cover 1 and Man 2 low—coverages that jam the middle of the field with fast players and take advantage of their natural athletic advantages over everyone they play on the outside. You can’t run on them or pass deep because of that line. You can’t spread ‘em out and throw short because they’re up in your grill and expecting it, and anyway you’re only getting to one read before a DE has turned the corner and your pocket’s bulged inward from a snap-jumpin’ Leviathan.

So how the hell did Iowa’s offense drop 38 points on these guys? For one they got to go a half and a drive with Bosa out for targeting. They also got a friendly flag. And their quarterback had an uncanny ability to shrug off tackles, going so far as to set up and throw a form TD pass with Sam Hubbard hanging on his leg the whole time. And most of all their offensive line held up in pass pro long enough for him to hit drags and comeback routes. None of this is relevant to Michigan starting John O’Korn and a right side of the line that couldn’t pass pro against Minnesota.

What is relevant is the week after Iowa, the Buckeyes held Brian Lewerke to an 11.5 QBR and 3 yards per dropback by accidentally fixing their one glaring defensive issue (they had a spacebacker playing middle linebacker). I watched both games, and while I’d love to tell you we’re too pretty to die on Saturday, the main takeaway here is Ohio State’s defense has it so Alabama-good these days they don’t even recognize how Alabama-despicable they’ve become.

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

Personnel: My diagram gets bigger with a click, and requires explanation:

image

#higdonis>

Last year at this time I told you Ohio State’s defense this year was going to be a lot like Michigan’s defense last year. Had they not lost some guys early to the NFL that would be true. It’s still mostly true, especially up front; their second team front seven would probably be a Top 10 national front seven.

Part of that is they’re not starting their best front seven. DE Nick Bosa isn’t a “starter” in only the most technical sense—see: Mo Hurst last year—despite being their best player to PFF and the eye test. Backup NT Robert Landers, a scrappy-ass, undersized muck-a-muck, is again behind a more ballyhooed space-eater—this year it’s Godin-like Tracy Sprinkle instead of Michael Hill (who’s all but disappeared), but any crucial down will see Landers (#67) in, and for good reason. The other backup DE Jalyn Holmes came back for a fifth year despite plenty of NFL interest, and has barely any drop-off from last year’s B1G DL of the Year Tyquan Lewis.

The main weakness all season was they moved extraneous spacebacker Chris Worley to MLB, and he’s not one. With their two starting OLBs (Booker and Baker) missing time in the last few weeks, Ohio State moved Worley back to WLB and played MLB Tuf Borland, a 2016 high four-star who played for friend of the blog Todd Howard in high school. Worley is listed first in the “OR” and I imagine they’ll play him at WLB in their 4-4 look; Borland is the better fit.

Against MSU and Illinois they also played a freak athlete, true sophomore Malik Harrison, as their TE-destructor SAM spot. Harrison is now listed as a co-starter on OSU’s official depth chart, and I didn’t even have room for him on my diagram. The starters at OLB are Dante Booker and Jerome Baker. Both are Viper types; Booker would have been the starter last year but for an early season injury. Baker who’s about 20 pounds lighter, was a PFF fave-rave last year as a sophomore. Neither have any trouble keeping up with backs—Baker can “get skinny in the hole” as the coaches say, but he had some trouble with fullbacks in his first go-round.

The safeties are the weakest point. SS Damon Webb is a quasi-nickelback who’s solid at run fits but remains a liability in coverage. FS Jordan Fuller is not the superior athlete Malik Hooker was. They’ll sometimes replace him with Erick Smith, who’s more of a run-stopper. I imagine if Michigan’s going heavy Ohio State will prefer to remove one of these guys to get Booker, Baker, Worley, and Borland all on the field at once. CB Denzel Ward is one of the fastest players in OSU history—he got bodied by Simmie Cobbs in the opener and has been lights out since. The other corner spot rotates between Damon Arnette and JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield, both of whom rely on elite athleticism, which for Big Ten passing games is plenty.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown. Or don’t and go be with your family.]

Burke Departure: Possible

Burke Departure: Possible

Submitted by Brian on March 21st, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Trey-Burke[1]Untitled-1[1]

Trey Burke may have said he'd be back next year in the immediate aftermath of Michigan's ouster from the NCAA tourney, but those things are always subject to change once the emotion of a tough loss wears off.

It has, and now Burke's dad is saying stuff like this:

"We figured we had to at least see what's going on," Benji said. "That's where we're at. We're wanting to see where we're at and go from there.

"Trey just got to Ann Arbor. We just got here, and now we're talking about him leaving. It's just tough, it's a tough decision but hopefully we'll be back in Crisler this year. ... As of now, we're coming back. But anything can change. We're open."

That AnnArbor.com article is headlined "Burke to look into NBA draft stock, still leaning towards staying." The analogous article at the Free Press is of course titled "Trey Burke strongly considering leaving Michigan for NBA draft," because obviously. Pick your probability from amongst options.

Burke's dad says he's had reports that Trey could go anywhere from 18-24th overall. That is greatly divergent from draft boards maintained by Chad Ford (where he ranks 72nd) and Draft Express (not in the top 100, last pick of the first round in their 2013 mock) and could be agents trying to get a kid to sign; that's why they have advisory boards.

I don't think Burke's in a situation like Darius Morris, who left with full knowledge he probably wouldn't be a first-rounder, but at this point any Michigan fan who's assuming is doing the understandable thing.

If Burke does end up declaring Michigan is of course totally boned. At this point the #2 PG is either a walk-on or a 6'6" shooting guard who isn't even on campus yet. They'd probably get a transfer or late commit or something given the obvious opportunity but Trey Burkes don't grow on trees. With the NCAA moving up the withdrawal date over and over again at least we won't have to wait long to know: Burke is in or out by April 10th.

Darius Morris Reportedly Staying In Draft

Darius Morris Reportedly Staying In Draft

Submitted by Brian on May 3rd, 2011 at 11:41 PM

I wasn't sure how much credence to give this tweet by DraftExpress…

Darius Morris has decided to keep his name in the draft and will not be returning to Michigan, according to a source close to the situation.

…but UMHoops says he's legit, so he's legit. So… fuuuuuuu.

Items Du Vol

Items Du Vol

Submitted by Brian on March 15th, 2011 at 3:38 PM

forks-up

John Beilein says "forks up" to his NCAA tourney bid
Pensive Dave Ablauf is not so sure

Trends. Tennessee is coming at this 8-9 game from a totally different place than Michigan: once entrenched in the top ten in the polls, Tennessee's season started off a cliff after a home loss to Oakland and never really recovered. Where Michigan has won 9 of 13 and was only beaten solidly by national #1 seed Ohio State during that stretch, Tennessee enters the tournament having lost 7 of 11 with two of those wins against terrible South Carolina. (To be fair, two of the losses were by one point, one against two seed Florida.)

That win against Pitt seems like a decade ago.

Defenses. Dylan points out that national commentators still hung up on the idea that Beilein is primarily running a 1-3-1—something that hasn't been true for two years—could have backed their way into some correct analysis.

What's the thing Michigan is guaranteed to give up when they switch to the 1-3-1? An open corner three. What's a shot you're comfortable with Tennessee taking? An open corner three not from Scotty Hopson. No Vol other than Hopson is shooting better than 32%. They've got a guy (Cameron Tatum) with 119 attempts who's shooting 28%—imagine what your reaction would be if half of Darius Morris's shots were threes.

So okay fine. Then add in the main benefit of the 1-3-1: turnovers generated. Tennessee has a tough defense and brutally effective offensive rebounders. Getting turnovers helps mitigate both advantages, and if they're settling for threes long rebounds are at least less likely to result in immediate putbacks.

OTOH, Tennessee's much bigger than Michigan and the 1-3-1 really prefers long guys who can make skip passes arc enough for the defense to recover so they don't give up open corner threes. Also the primary weakness of the defense is allowing (drumroll) tons of offensive rebounds. There's a chance it could backfire spectacularly.

I bet Beilein gives it a whirl at some point just in case it turns UT into a gibbering mess. Judging from the internet, Vols fans aren't impressed with their team's basketball IQ. And if you're not judging from the internet, you're on the wrong internet.

Sign those scrubs up. I'm not sure if this is real or just motivational but I'm hoping it's the former:

In Monday's practice, the Vols' scout team enjoyed eye-popping success against the starters while running Beilein's offense. Reserves Jordan McRae and Renaldo Woolridge buried numerous open 3-pointers off passes from guards Tyler Summitt and Michael Hubert.

"Just putting it in today on our scout team, those guys were successful running that offense against us,'' UT senior center Brian Williams said. "That offense is tough to check.''

I checked the comments and sure enough there's a wag suggesting that if either of the scrubs can hit threes they should replace Tatum.

If this is a real thing Tennessee has trouble with in the game, it will be up to Novak to take advantage. Woolridge was playing the perimeter four and "messed [them] up good." I'm a little concerned about this since Novak's also got the toughest defensive assignment as he attempts to check 6'8" Tobias Harris. Novak's shooting slump earlier coincided with a lot of tough defensive work against guys bigger than him. I'll take open threes, though.

tobias-harris

Harris: tall.

Tobias. The aforementioned matchup is high on Tennessee's radar:

“We’re ready for Tobias to have a big night in there, ya feel me?” junior guard Scotty Hopson said. “Obviously we want to expose that, because Tobias is obviously one of the best players on our team. We’re looking forward to getting the ball inside more and taking advantage of (Michigan’s) lack of posts.”

Harris is a freshman with approximately Hardaway-level usage shooting 49% from two and 31% from 3. He's got a Morris-like distribution between the two. (IE: he takes a ton of twos and the occasional three.) Zack Novak is short. On the other hand, Michigan can double off anyone not named Hopson and what's Tennessee going to do, have Tatum shoot a three?

Michigan's gotten a lot of experience dealing with a post guy matched up with one shooter—three games against OSU's Sullinger-Diebler combo—and has frequently doubled from the baseline to force long skip passes. That burned Michigan against OSU's better-than-competent non-Diebler shooters (Lighty, Buford, and Craft are all around 40(!) percent from three). Maybe not so much against the Vols.

Etc.: Beilein gettin' forky with it comes from his personal site's "behind the scenes" post on Selection Sunday. Dylan and I used a bunch of the same links but he's got some extra at UMHoops. Tennessee fans say Michigan reminds them of a Pearl team, which… um… thanks? Oriental Andrew collects links too. The Fab Five's '93 matchup against GW.

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Penn State

Submitted by Brian on November 4th, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Formation notes: After two games in which Michigan deployed a lot of 4 man fronts and mixed in some 3-4 and 3-3-5 looks Michigan was almost exclusively stack against Penn State. They did move Demens (and Roh/Fitzgerald) back at halftime. First half:

kovacs-1

Second half:

3-3-5-second-half

Substitution notes: Martin played maybe the first two series before coming out, and didn't do anything in that time. He was replaced by a combination of Sagesse and Patterson. Black and Banks are now platooning regularly, with Banks still getting most of the snaps. RVB is the line's ironman. He never comes out.

At linebacker it was Demens and Mouton the whole way with Fitzerald getting a drive or three when Michigan thought Roh wasn't playing well. Cam Gordon and Thomas Gordon split time at spur. Rogers was replaced by Talbott for much of the game. Vinopal went the distance at FS.

On with it:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA Fly Floyd Inc
Play action bomb against three deep; McGloin sets up and throws deep to his tiny guy Smith. Ball is underthrown and Floyd is in decent position, though a long enough throw beats him. Floyd has a chance to intercept but doesn't look for the ball quickly enough and a throw that looks like it was to him hits the turf. Um. I have to: Floyd +1, cover +1, pressure -1.
O29 2 10 I-form twins Base 4-3 Run   Off tackle Banks 0
Banks(+2) gets immediately playside of the PSU RT and drives him into the backfield. Michigan's running some sort of stunt on the backside that looks pretty unsound and as a result Demens was swallowed by two OL; Mouton is walled off by another—none of this matters because Banks has driven into the path of the RB and tackled him at the LOS by himself. Bad omen for the future.
O29 3 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Scramble Demens 11
One DT drops off to chuck the RB, looking for a screen. Martin(-1) comes through to flush McGloin, but with only three guys rushing there's a gap to the other side of him and McGloin steps up, sees no one, and runs. Demens(-1) is the guy nearest to him and gave up the corner because he drifted too far inside on a TE crossing route. This is definitely his fault: C. Gordon is going with his guy all the way downfield. Martin gets the -1 for coming up the wrong side and giving up the lane.
O40 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA Throwaway Van Bergen Inc
RVB(+1, pressure +1) gets upfield of his blocker and immediately releases into McGloin, forcing him to toss it away.
O40 2 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Slant Floyd 16
Michigan shifts late to man coverage and Floyd(-2, cover -2) isn't even in the same zip code as Smith on a simple slant. He can't even make a tackle, giving up another eight yards after the catch.
M44 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Kovacs 4
Michigan moves late to a one-high by, sending Kovacs into the box, and the shift gets PSU in a bad playcall. Seems like a designed cutback and a really bizarre scheme: Demens is like a yard from Martin and gets hit by a tackle; Mouton is way back and is scraping to the nominal frontside of the play only to get blown up by the FB as he drags himself out of position. Kovacs(+0.5) is there in the hole as a result of the late move to tackle near the LOS but he grabs ankles and allows Royster to spin forward for a decent gain. I'm guessing I'm going to neg a lot of guys because of this weird setup but not yet. This was the "This Is Not A Stack" play.
M40 2 6 Shotgun 2-back TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Pin and pull zone C. Gordon 3
Completely bizarre play from C. Gordon(-0.5) here, who is the contain guy to this side. Instead of flowing down the line and keeping outside leverage somewhere near the LOS he takes a weird looping downfield angle that sees him five yards downfield by the time the RB gets outside; he also impeded Roh with his weird delayed move outside. RVB(+1) had driven his guy well upfield and forced an outside angle by the RB, which allowed Gordon time to recover and hold the gain down.
M37 3 3 I-form Stack two deep Pass 3 FB screen Mouton 8
Three guys and still no one to sniff out the screen. Mouton(-1, cover -1) failed to read it and dropped very deep when he should have been staring right at it. Demens had a guy coming across his zone to drop into and then flows to tackle—without that this will go for a lot more. (RPS -1)
M29 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Power off tackle Banks 5
Banks(-1) crushed two yards downfield by a double. Mouton comes up to hit a pulling guard and restricts the hole but there's nothing anyone can do to prevent Royster from burrowing behind his linemen for a decent gain.
M24 2 5 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Quick out Banks Inc
Banks(+1, pressure +1) knocks down the quick out at the LOS. Probably open for the first if not batted.
M24 3 5 Ace trips Stack two deep Pass 5 Flare Roh? 7
Michigan sends five and RVB(+0.5) swims through an OG to get to McGloin, forcing a dumpoff that is so open I have no idea who I should even blame. Roh(-1) is the most likely suspect (cover -2, RPS -1)
M17 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway Black Inc
Michigan covers(+1) McGloin's first read and then Black(+1) is one-on-one with the RB as PSU slides their protection. He gets cut but manages to stay up and threatening, forcing a rollout and a throwaway (pressure +1)
M17 2 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Mouton 14
Double shoves Martin out of the hole; he shoots up under it but to no avail. Demens takes a step to the playside and is then engulfed by two OL because he's too damn close to the LOS to do anything about it. There's a hole and one blocker for Mouton to deal with; he shoots past the guy and is on the verge of a +3 for a monster play when he lets Royster through his tackle(-1 Mouton, -1) and pick up a huge gain thanks to a missed tackle(-1) from Vinopal(-2). RPS -1.
M3 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) destroyed by a single block and pancaked, giving the edge. Kovacs(-1) blocked and does not keep contain, giving up the edge for Royster as well.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone C. Gordon 20
Another huge cutback lane. I'm not entirely sure who this is on because depending on assignment it could be any of Roh, Cam Gordon, and Van Bergen. Van Bergen is upfield as the unblocked backside guy and is cut by a TE pulling to the backside. Roh is flowing to the frontside and seems too close to Demens for that to be a good idea; Cam Gordon is either way too far outside or properly setting up to catch any bounces outside. -2 Roh for filling the same hole as Demens and -1 Gordon for being the guy shot past. Mouton actually made a nice read and flowed from the frontside of the play but for naught; Vinopal comes up and forces Royster to cut outside, where Rogers tackles. (RPS –1)
M36 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Sack Mouton -11
An end around pass ends badly as Michigan covers(+2) both available receivers well and Mouton(+2) reads the end-around, gets out on the edge, and attacks. He'd sack but the guy's falling to the ground as he gets there anyway. Pressure +1.
M47 2 21 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Corner Floyd 27
The underneath coverage on this is indeed a debacle but the super debacle is JT Floyd(-4, cover -4) getting so completely lost in three deep coverage on a guy in his zone that he's not even the tackler on an underthrown, softly-tossed lob thirty yards downfield. What the hell is Floyd doing on a hashmark, facing inside, in a three deep, on second and twenty one? YOU HAVE HELP INSIDE. BWS picture-paged this if you hate yourself.
M20 1 10 Ace twin TE Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Demens 19
Michigan horrendously misaligned as Penn State motions a TE over to give them two to the short side of the field. Michigan hardly reacts at all. So there's five PSU blockers to the short side and three Michigan defenders. Compounding this, Michigan just screws up. Demens(-2) runs to the backside when he's got Vinopal walking down and Mouton filling a backside lane, leaving no one to fill the frontside gap that he should have; there's not even a counter here, he just runs to the wrong side of the line. Banks kicked out and Roh(-1) blown up by the inline TE, Roytser into the secondary like that. (RPS -1)
M1 1 G Goal line 3-3-5 stack Run   Dive ? 1
Whatever. This isn't even M's to-date successful goal line package. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-14, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter T. Gordon 3
Cam pulled for Thomas as SURPRISE, moving a deep safety to linebacker makes him confused. M adjusts to the motion this time, and Penn State runs a counter at it expecting an overreaction. Demens, who's still a yard behind his NT, gets caught with a step and sealed as the NT is Patterson and he does the usual.. Michigan does have two guys in the hole versus one blocker thanks to good reads by the backside folk. Blocker runs by Gordon to get Roh(+0.5) so T. Gordon(+0.5) hits at the LOS; they fall forward because there's no help.
O23 2 7 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass   Out T. Gordon Inc
McGloin throws a decently open out well wide of his receiver. Third and short in all likelihood if accurate.
O23 3 7 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Middle screen Demens 5
They throw another screen; this time Demens(+0.5) is tasked with the tailback. He doesn't tackle but he does get into the play enough to delay the guy as he has to cut back behind Demens and the guy blocking him. RVB(+0.5) takes this opportunity to peel back and make a diving tackle attempt that's spun through but does slow Redd; Mouton(+0.5) and Demens converge to tackle short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA TE flat C. Gordon 20
Cam Gordon(-2, cover -2) sucks in way too far, not only giving up the pass on the corner but not being anywhere near enough to tackle after the catch. Why on earth did they pull Thomas off for this?
O46 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Kovacs 9
Michigan again hugely, vastly misaligned as PSU brings in their WR/TE guy to be a second TE to the short side of the field, where be Kovacs; said Kovacs(-1) is blasted five yards downfield and JT Floyd(-1), the overhang guy, is met and blocked seven yards downfield. When Royster has to bounce because Mouton and Demens have cut off the inside there's no one out there. Banks(-1) was also single blocked and couldn't even slow Royster as he broke outside. (RPS -1)
M45 2 1 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Banks 7
Another cutback opened up by Banks(-1) getting washed down the line. I think. We come to this play late and I'm not entirely sure what's going on.
M38 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA TE flat Mouton 10
Another play where I can't tell who's screwing up on a wide open pass in the flat. It's either Mouton or Kovacs. Minuses for both. Cover -2.
M28 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 3
Roh has been pulled for Fitzgerald. Woo 3-3-5. Here RVB(+0.5) beats a guy, forcing another cutback; Black(+0.5) has slanted under his guy to the point where it has to go behind him, giving Kovacs(+0.5) the ability to read the cutback and make a weak ankle tackle at the LOS that could be run through but for Sagesse(+0.5) fighting to the ball and finishing it.
M25 2 7 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA throwaway Kovacs Inc
No one open (cover +1) as I think they were looking to go to the FB on the throwback but Kovacs(+1) reads the play and sits back on it, causing McGloin to chuck it OOB. Decent but not immense time.
M25 3 7 Ace trips 3-3-5 stack Pass   Cross Demens 6
Completely mistimed blitz from Floyd(-1) on the overhang sees him both tip it and leave late, so it's easily picked up. No one anywhere near McGloin (pressure -2) and he has plenty of time to find a crossing route as it nears the sticks. Demens is in the area in pursuit and tackles short of the first down, but only a yard short.
M19 4 1 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle C. Gordon 2
Demens(+3) shoots the gap between the NT and DE at the snap, blasting into the guard pulling around to provide a lead block, shucking him, and meeting Royster a yard in the backfield. Monster play, and a dead drive if he can get some help. Marvin Robinson(-1) comes up and wraps up Royster's shoulders; Cam Gordon(-2) takes an angle upfield and comes too far inside, running himself out of the play when Royster spins free. This is an amazing play by Royster, but Michigan should never have let this happen.
M17 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Sagesse 13
Sagesse(-2) crumbles to the ground against single blocking before the handoff. Doom. Demens is again too close to the LOS to have any hope of scraping past releasing OL (RPS -2) and Roh can take the outside shoulder of the leading guard all he wants but that doesn't mean there's anyone coming to help.
M4 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) easily sealed by a single block, which allows another OL to pop out on Mouton without delay; everyone plays this right but this is an I form big against something other than a goal line package from the 3 (RPS -1).
M1 2 G Goal line Goal line Run   QB sneak ? 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-21, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA FB screen Mouton 17
PSU just killing this coverage where Kovacs runs his ass off into a hole at the sideline 10-15 yards downfield. Michigan again rushes three and no one reads the screen, with Mouton(-1) the guy who's zone is closest; he compounds a deep drop by getting cut to the ground. Demens(-1) didn't read the direction of the releasing linemen and steps towards Royster, making certain he won't be able to track this down. Fitzgerald(-0.5, tackling -1) whiffs a tackle just past the sticks and gives up another six. (Cover -2, RPS -1)
M20 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Power off tackle Banks 0
Banks(+1) takes on a double and holds at the LOS, eventually driving the OT over him back a bit and causing Royster to trip. Fitzgerald(+0.5) came down at a good angle to squeeze the hole tight. Royster seems to trip over legs that are there because Banks made a good play and Demens(+0.5) flows to the hole to finish the play at the LOS.
M20 2 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Post C. Gordon Inc
Talbott now in at field corner, PSU goes after him and it does seem like he's got position—Talbott's at least on his back unlike certain other corners. Cam Gordon(+1, cover +1) gets a good drop and tips the pass, causing an incompletion.
M20 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 5 Corner Vinopal 20
Guh. Michigan blitzes and C. Gordon(+1) sets up a blocker on the edge to the inside, juking by him to get a free run at McGloin, who tosses up a punt off his back foot. This punt is a slightly underthrown corner route. Ray Vinopal(-2, cover -2) is too far away from the receiver to make the slightly underthrown bit matter and waves helplessly at the ball as the receiver brings it in; they fall into the endzone. While McGloin's basically been handed scads of yardage by Michigan, he deserves some props here: his ridiculous back foot just having fun Wrangler Favre throw that should be easily intercepted is a fairly well thrown touchdown. FML.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-28, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA Deep Hitch Van Bergen Inc
Roh blitzes into the interior and doesn't really get anywhere. Talbott(-2, cover -2) is beyond way off on this 15-yard deep hitch and this will be complete but RVB(+1, pressure +1) reads the play and closes in on McGloin, deflecting the ball and causing it to come up well short. Fortunate.
O24 2 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 1
Same play from PSU that was picture paged; here Michigan is again using Roh as an interior blitzer; his attack draws two blockers and allows Patterson(+0.5) the luxury of just one; he slants past that guy and forces a cutback from Royster. Mouton(+0.5) is now playing a regular linebacker thing, not whatever he was doing in the first half, and reads, meeting the FB at the LOS. He's cut to the ground but his body is in the right spot and Royster slows, at which point Kovacs(+0.5) grabs him and gang tackling happens.
O25 3 9 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Deep hitch Talbott 40
Michigan drops back into a zone coverage with C. Gordon escorting the slot guy deep. (I now agree with BWS totally: it was Demens responsible for the Iowa TD). Talbott's on Moye on the outside and is in great position to break up the pass or even intercept but he screws it all up, letting the ball through for the completion and missing a tackle, turning a three and out into many yards. Talbott -3, cover +1, pressure -2. Srs.
M35 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Stop and go Floyd Inc
Roh out, Fitz in and they do the same thing again; this version of the 3-3-5 is mostly a 4-3 with one tiny DT. PSU runs a slant and go and Michigan is in three deep with Floyd(-3, cover +1) in what should be great position to make a play on the ball, but he again gets totally lost. He's running a yard away from the sideline, facing it, in a spot that no one would ever think useful. So instead of being in a spot to intercept on a bad decision he can only watch a receiver almost catch a poorly thrown ball he should be all over.
M35 2 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Power off tackle Patterson 5
Patterson(-1) is doubled and gives a lot of ground quickly, eventually getting pancaked five yards downfield. However, the playside is jammed up because RVB(+1) drove his guy back and fought inside, closing off the running lane and forcing a cutback. Mouton responds as quickly as possible but with Patterson getting hammered like he does all he can do is hold the gain down.
M30 3 5 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 4 Rollout out C. Gordon 7
Vastly too easy as C. Gordon(-1) does not react to the out fast enough and this is an easy pitch and catch (cover -1)
M23 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Down G Floyd 4
Headed outside with the playside TE blocking down and the two guys inside of him pulling around. There's a WR/TE to that side, too. Kovacs(+0.5) is momentarily doubled and gets shoved out of the play, but does at least close off an interior cutback. Mouton charges up and gets cut but creates a pile; Floyd(+0.5) comes up hard to make a tackle. Royster tries to leap through it but doesn't make it.
M19 2 6 Ace 4-wide Stack two deep Pass 5 Out Floyd 5
Floyd beaten on a quick out (cover -1) but is at least there to tackle.
M14 3 1 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle   0
Michigan slants the line right and sends two linebackers into the gap right, which is exactly where PSU is going with the ball. DL get crushed out of the hole but that's what you expect; Mouton(+1) roars up into the hole to take on the outside shoulder of the pulling guard, which funnels the tailback to Demens(+0.5). Demens engages to tackle but it's 50-50 whether it's a first down or not until RVB(+1) comes in. RVB was well to the backside, shoved his blocker back, and shot through the same hole the linebackers hit to help. Nice job. (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: FG(31), 10-31, 10 min 3rd Q. This drive is basically good play and one 40-yard mistake by a freshman. If this is what was going on consistently I could live with it.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Van Bergen 3
Trying to go outside it seems. Line blocks down on the two DL, leaving RVB(+1) alone. He reads the play and heads upfield at the back, absorbing the pulling G and lead FB, and forcing the RB inside. There the RB meets a heap of bodies; Demens(+0.5) was responsible for creating the lack of gaps in the line. The delay allows a bunch of players to tackle.
O23 2 7 I-form 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass N/A PA FB screen Demens 7
This again. Another very slow read by the LBs; this time Mouton is up to take a cut near the LOS and forces the ball inside but Demens(-1, cover -1) is nowhere to be found and there's a lane the FB hits for first down yardage.
O30 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-3 Run   Down G Black 12
It looks like M is trying a similar slant to the one that got them the third and one stop on the previous drive but then Demens runs right into the middle of the line and Black runs upfield so I guess it can't be. It's pretty weird, though. Black(-1) heads upfield and is not blocked but does not sit down in an effort to combat the run, he just runs upfield, takes a shove from some OL, and is gone. Big gap. Mouton(-1) needs to get outside the pulling tackle but does not. Kovacs does what he can to funnel it inside against a blocker, and then RVB(-1), who stunted and flowed down the line the whole way, overruns Royster and turns this from like six into 11.
O42 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Floyd 6 (Pen +10)
So Floyd is rolled up to the LOS and Kovacs is overhang. Banks and Floyd to one side of the field? Let's run right at it. Floyd(-1) starts executing a pass drop before the handoff and gives up the corner on a play that otherwise could have been stopped near the LOS. Umpire calls Sagesse(-1) for grabbing the C and preventing him from getting out on a linebacker. Need to be more subtle about it, eh?
M48 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA rollout wheel Christian? 34
PA gets McGloin a billion years as RVB(-2, pressure -3) sucks into the playfake and removes any and all pressure. McGloin has forever. PSU runs a post-wheel combo against Christian, Gordon, and Johnson, IE three freshman, two of whom are playing their positions for the first time ever. Gordon gets beat but I don't really blame him; Christian(-1, cover -3) was late getting over. (RPS -2)
M14 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Sagesse 4
RVB(+0.5) squeezes down on the pulling TE and there should not be much in the way of holes, but Sagesse(-0.5) gets booted out of the center, opening up a small crease that creates a decent positive gain.
M10 2 6 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Off tackle Roh 5
Roh(-2) gets hooked and gives up the corner easily. Michigan seems misaligned, too, as PSU OL have incredibly easy angles to block Michigan LBs. (RPS -1) Floyd comes off a guy to tackle at the sticks.
M5 3 1 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   FB dive Sagesse 5
Sagesee(-2) is crushed, erasing the MLB; Banks(-1) slants inside a TE but takes a way upfield angle and can't close down the resulting hole. Kovacs is pulled outside by a pitch fake and Mouton eats a free release from a tackle.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-38, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Down G Roh 5
Black(+0.5) does get sealed off but gives no ground and absorbs two blockers, leaving two on the edge against just one PSU guy. Roh(-1) is the outside guy and goes a little too far upfield, then gets chopped to the ground by the pulling guard. Demens is flowing from the inside and can't quite run Redd down as he breaks outside. Redd runs OOB after about five.
O30 2 5 I-form 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Black 1
Black(+2) comes underneath the RT and into the running lane. He forces the RB away from the gaping lane behind him caused by Patterson(-1) getting blown back three yards and forces Redd to leap into a cluster of bodies in an attempt to avoid Black's tackle. RVB(+0.5), who's shooting inside when unblocked now, helped knock him off balance.
O31 3 4 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Rollout out Talbott 5
Way too easy. No one within miles of McGloin (pressure -2) and the little out is open in front of Talbott(-1, cover -1)
O36 1 10 Ace twin TE Base 3-4 Pass   PA sack T. Gordon -10
Michigan PA blitzing all the way with Thomas Gordon(+2, RPS +2) sent off the corner on a McGloin search and destroy mission. He gets upfield too quickly for McGloin to adjust and tackles solidly for a huge sack. (Pressure +3)
O26 2 20 I-form twins Stack two deep Run   Down G Sagesse 6
Banks slants under his blocker and it takes a good adjustment from the pulling guard to wall him off. Sagesse(-1) is blown downfield immediately by the backside guard after getting scooped and the linebackers have to deal with a ton of blockers. Demens actually gets doubled, so he's doing well just to stand his ground. Fitzgerald(-0.5) overruns it, leaving Sagessse to come off his block seven yards downfield and tackle, which good for you but really the whole issue is that you're seven yards downfield.
O32 3 14 Ace 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass 5 Corner Floyd Inc
Michigan sends blitzers and then sends a delayed LB once it's clear the TE is staying in. No one gets there (pressure -2). McGloin can throw a corner route; this one is well covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the resulting throw is well high. Floyd was grabbing, but these days PI isn't PI unless it's called, same for holding. Rubbin's racin'.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-38, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone stretch Van Bergen 2
They run at RVB for the first time in what seems like forever; he gets a push on the two OL over him(+0.5) that allows Fitzgerald(+0.5) to flow hard to the outside, absorbing the playside tackle and leading FB, and cutting off the outside. Cutback forced. This time Banks(+0.5) is flowing properly and is there to tackle with help from Mouton(+0.5)
M47 2 8 I-form 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Counter Fitzgerald 3
Michigan blitzing here; Fitz and C. Gordon come from the outside. RVB(+1) gets inside a tackle and takes out the pulling guard as this is supposed to go right up the middle of the field. Royster takes it a gap outside into the B where Fitzgerald(-1) is supposed to be; he runs too far upfield and gives up a gap between himself and the RVB mess. Demens(+1) was dropping into a zone to prevent any quick slants behind the blitz. When he reads run he comes up quickly and makes a solid tackle(+1) two yards downfield; Royster falls forward for two more. Plus for the Demens drop because I believe his pass pro responsibilities came first because of the Gordon blitz and he did react quickly enough to hold this down to 3.
M44 3 5 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 4 Rollout hitch Kovacs 14
Michigan finally covers the out but in doing so they open up the hitch inside of it. Kovacs(-1) is nowhere to be seen on a play with no deep routes and a rollout in a situation where a first down is a serious threat of game over (cover -2). I'm not sure if Demens is doing the right thing here since he seems to have the tailback and moves up towards the LOS. If he stayed back that's where he'd be. Also this could be Floyd or Mouton since they both end up covering the out. Any of these folks could be at fault. Just don't know. Do know that this is a pretty insane call for the situation. Let's have two deep safeties twenty yards downfield.
M30 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Mouton 0
Mouton(+1) flows, hits the pulling G at the LOS, gets outside of him, and stands there, eventually drawing the affections of the FB. Floyd(+0.5) comes up to hit the FB, too, cutting off all holes; Demens(+0.5) has scraped from the inside and delivers the tackle, though there's a bunch of bodies and a lot of falling so it wasn't a difficult one.
M30 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Stack two deep Pass 4 Scramble Black 4
PSU slides its protection and lets Black(+0.5) in on a tailback; he gets cut but does convince McGloin to start scrambling around; no one open (cover +1), McGloin decides to take off. Four Wolverines converge after a few yards.
M26 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Flare ? Inc
No one open (cover +1) and McGloin does something I don't think we've seen all day: checks down. Sad face. This is dead meat if caught and is poorly thrown anyway.
Drive Notes: FG(42), 31-41, 5 min 4th Q. PSU's last drive is academic and not charted.

Chart.

Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 10 3 7 The solitary player to have a good day.
Martin - 1 -1 I'm going to throw myself off a bridge.
Banks 5 6 -1 I'm picking it out right now.
Sagesse 0.5 6.5 -6 Not high enough.
Patterson 0.5 2 -1.5 Too high.
Black 6.5 1 5.5 Hey… wait, what? I guess so.
Washington - - - DNP
TOTAL 22.5 19.5 3 Lost out to a terrible OL.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh - - - DNP
Mouton 6 5 1 Very difficult day; made that one awful missed tackle on Royster.
Roh 0.5 7 -6.5 Is not a linebacker. Is not a linebacker. Is not a linebacker.
C. Gordon 2 6.5 -4.5 Doesn't know WTF he's doing. Clearly inferior to…
T. Gordon 2.5 - 2.5 …but Cam played more than a guy who'd established himself as decent.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 6.5 5 1.5 Still picking guard out from his teeth.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald 1 2 -1 More PT because Roh is not a linebacker.
TOTAL 18.5 25.5 -7 Position moves a disaster.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 3 12 -9 Awful, awful, awful.
Rogers - - - Did he play at all?
Kovacs 3 4 -1 At least he's around zero.
Johnson - - - Did play a little but did not make an impact.
Talbott - 6 -6 Played in place of Rogers.
Christian - 1 -1 One exploitable play.
Avery - - - DNP, I think.
Ray Vinopal - 4 -4 Obviously tiny.
TOTAL 6 27 -21 Worst ever.
Metrics
Pressure 7 11 -4 No pressure on PA.
Coverage 11 27 -16 An utter debacle.
Tackling 1 3 -2 This counts as good.
RPS 3 13 -10 Let's align our MLB two inches from the nose tackle.

[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

I'm going to dispense with the cute. This was a debacle. Michigan abandoned a defensive philosophy that hadn't exactly shone against Iowa but did put Michigan in a position where better play here or there from one player would have gotten redzone stops. They forced five three-and-outs and endured an avalanche of short fields and turnovers, looking sort of respectable against a veteran offense with solidly above average numbers. The Mathlete had their performance about three points worse than an average defense. They did this without Mike Martin.

Michigan gets a bye week. They play a team without a mobile quarterback running the same assortment of conventional power and inside zone plays they've faced. They:

  1. Install Ray Vinopal at FS.
  2. Move Cam Gordon to spur and displace the Johnson/Gordon combo.
  3. Install a bizarre three-man line package that's somewhat like a stack but not really a stack.

All of these moves fail. Cam is the worst spur we've had all year because he's been playing it for a week and a half. Vinopal is clearly overmatched whenever called upon. And the 3-3-5 sees Michigan give up 41 points to a team that was 82nd in yardage, 99th in scoring, and starting a backup walk-on quarterback. Penn State scores on all but two of nine real drives. 41 points on nine real drives. Without a single turnover.

Every single move made in the bye week is a detriment, and two people have now told me that at half time the adjustment made to Kenny Demens's alignment was a result of Demens himself asking for it. Michigan badly regressed after a panicked bye week adjustment that saw them slide to the 3-3-5 and fail at it, which is exactly what happened in 2008. This doesn't even cover it

mathlete-psu

…because the chart doesn't know Robert Bolden was out.

Michigan needs to pick one thing and do it. Right now what are they? Are they a stack? Are they a 4-3? Are they a 3-4? The answer to all of these questions is "no."

You know who did this? You know what is going on here? Do you know the thing that is happening to Michigan's defense?

"They're going to have to learn about us, OK? Let them try to stop a pro-style [defense], which has multiple personnel groups and multiple formations. Let's see how they are going to do. They've had their advantage because I've come into recruiting late. Well, now it's Xs and Os time. Let's see who has the advantage now."

weis-e-coyote

We've been Weis-ed. This is the equivalent of running a spread option against Georgia Tech and then abandoning it a quarter into the season. Michigan is running around with ten freshmen playing meaningful time and not one of them has any idea what they're supposed to be doing down to down. Greg Robinson has never had a successful college defense except for his one year at Texas where he just went with the flow before moving on, and his pedigree comes from the NFL. GERG E. Coyote, man.

So… your firing stance after the review of the game?

Even stronger. Michigan needs to get a proven collegiate defensive coordinator by paying ridiculous money and boot at least two and probably all of the other defensive assistants so he can bring in whoever he wants, and he needs an iron fist. There are two possibilities here: either GERG thought this stack was a good idea and needs to be fired, or GERG cannot maintain control over the gameplanning despite what happened in 2008 and needs to be fired along with everyone else.

GTFO.

Got a better example of the stack incoherence that got Kenny Demens eaten?

Yeah:

One step, he reads it, he tries to get back, he's way too close to the LOS and any release from an OL eats him.

How much brunt do the players bear?

Quite a bit, obviously. I mean:

death6.2

JT Floyd had three instances of the worst coverage I've seen in my life. The one where he correctly read a stop-and-go only to run himself to the sideline five yards in front of the WR is even worse than this one, which is heroagagdddgsagasfying as is. In its glory:

McGloin threw about four terrible passes that a secondary with "players" "somewhat near" the "opponent" coulda/shoulda intercepted. On zero of them was the coverage within yards. Floyd's regressed badly and while Michigan's secondary was horrible with him they're not going to be much more horrible without him.

I won't get on anyone else too badly since we all knew the NT was death minus Martin and the other guys with big shiny negatives are freshmen who shouldn't see the field until they're redshirt juniors (Vinopal, Talbott) or second year players who've been jerked around into positions they aren't suited to and don't know very well (Roh, Cam Gordon). It's obvious why they're bad. This is Floyd's third year and he's not good.

It's symbolic that this is the play where it all went to hell:

Demens has that dead to rights if he can just get some gang tackling help. Marvin Robinson whiffs, Cam Gordon vacates the only area Royster can go, and Royster makes a terrific play to spin outside for the first down. Great play, but you can't spin past three guys without something having gone horribly wrong. That's a true freshman and a redshirt freshman who was a wide receiver last year and a safety last week. FFFUUUUUUUU.

Heroes?

Ryan Van Bergen.

Goats?

Greg Robinson, everyone in the secondary, Not Mike Martin, and whoever decided Craig Roh should play linebacker.

What does it mean for blah blah blah?

Everyone will score every time they touch the ball this year and when Greg Robinson is fired after the season Michigan will hire a Tecmo Super Bowl cartridge to run their defense.