Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-4-13: Greg Mattison

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-4-13: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on April 5th, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Opening remarks:

“We’re so proud of those guys. We’re so proud of that basketball program. I mean, what they’ve done with that young team is so special. We’re pulling for them just like everybody else.”

What do you see from Jarrod Wilson?

“I’ve seen him since the day he got here, and he’s one of the first we brought in at semester. He’s very mature. He’s a young man that studies the books, studies exactly what he’s supposed to do by position, has great pride in the way he plays, and he’s a very good athlete. All he needs now is just continued reps in game-like situations, and that’s what we do in practice a lot. He’s a very consistent football player, too. A lot of times young guys will show flashes of why you recruited them, and then you say ‘Aw man’ when you step back.”

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-28-13

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-28-13

Submitted by Heiko on March 29th, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Bullets:

  • Jake Ryan had his surgery on Thursday.
  • "No update" on Will Hagerup's suspension.

Opening remarks:

“We’re going to get after it pretty good tomorrow. I thought we had a good practice. I think it was practice eight. I think we’ve done a nice job of competing. I think a lot of the young guys are really doing a good job in the competition area and also how they’re grasping the things that we’re doing offensively and defensively.”

Has Jake Ryan had surgery yet?

“Today.”

Do you have any sense of his recovery timeline is?

“No. I think everybody’s different, so I think -- nine months, 12 months some people say. Some people say six to nine. I think it just depends on the individual.”

Hokepoints: Would Bill Walsh Draft These LBs

Hokepoints: Would Bill Walsh Draft These LBs

Submitted by Seth on March 26th, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Fuller - 8358972809_00dc6d5091_owalsh_050736

Sinestral: Ross, Ryan and Clark|Bryan Fuller, MGoBlog. Dextral: Bill Walsh

First, a Chag Sameach to my fellow tribesmen and a Happy Turtleversary to the wingnuts.

We now continue with the Bill Walshian rundown of the 2013 roster. Since Michigan's offense and defense schemes are kindred spirits of the great 49er teams of the '80s, I've found it somewhat useful to re-scout Michigan's players on the same factors that the legendary coach used to evaluate his draft picks. How do we know what Walsh drafted on? Well wouldn'tchya know it, he provided it in a 1997 article for Pro Sports Exchange that Chris Brown (Smart Football) discovered.

Part the first was the entire offense. Part the second was the interior D-Line. Now we're on to the linebackers, among whom I include the WDEs.

Weakside End

smithjameshallIMG_4406

Bruce Smith/ James Hall / Frank Clark by Upchurch

Walsh Says: 6'5/270 or 6'3/245 depending on type. It's complicated so I'm going to spend some extra time here. His DE descriptions bounced between what you want from 3-4 DEs, which is the 3- and 5-tech in Michigan's defense, and pure pass rushers. Ultimately Michigan's WDE is closer to the pass-rush-specialist-who-stops-runs-too job description of a Walshian 3-4 weakside linebacker than a blocker-sucking interior DL, so they go here with the LBs. Speed and quickness are now very much in play:

Must have explosive movement and the ability to cover ground quickly in three to five yards of space. The ability to get your shoulder past the shoulder of the tackle. This makes for a pass rusher. With that there is quickness because it sets up a lot of other things.

From the outside linebackers description we get this:

These pass rushing outside linebackers must have natural gifts, or instincts for dealing with offensive tackles who are up to 100 pounds heavier. Quickness is only part of it. They must know how to use leverage, how to get underneath the larger man's pads and work back toward the quarterback. And he must be strong enough to bounce off blocks and still make the play.

The rush DE needs to have some finesse. This site never misses an opportunity to knock on Will Gholston so I'll do that: Gholston has more than enough explosion and strength, and is an excellent tackler but the big hole in his game is he doesn't get leverage or bounce off blocks. This is why State deployed him mostly SDE this year while Marcus Rush was the premier pass rusher. Walsh says it's all the same if you can push a tackle as go around him, but being an okay jack of all trades here isn't as valuable as being super disruptive at one or the other.

Overall strength is important. You don't have to be a Mike Martin beastmonster in the weight room but a WDE has to be strong enough to not get turned by the tackle. This is also a technique issue though it's not a skill that needs years to develop—a big sophomore year leap is expected at this position as the kid gains weight, strength, and the footwork and balance to be able to keep his shoulders pointed toward the football.

As echoed in Mattison's statements in 2011 regarding WDEs, Walsh calls his rush DEs "the substance off the defensive team" since their ability to put pressure on the quarterback can make or break a defense. This is why great DEs are at such a premium in today's NFL.

The last piece is willpower, which in scouting parlance becomes "high motor." WDEs typically get rotated a lot because they burn a gazillion calories on each play. Because this spot is supposed to win 1-on-1 battles and kill plays himself, success on the second and third moves can make a huge difference.

Walsh's Favorite Wolverine: If James Hall and Larry Stevens had a baby, and that baby came out 6'5/260 and immediately ate the doctor. Michigan just hasn't had the freaks here unless you count Woodley and I'm saving him. Stevens didn't have the sacks but generated hurries. And Hall: because he's 6'2 every scout from the early recruiting years to modern NFL trade talkers underrates him, despite consistent production at every level. Hall is second (to Graham) in career sacks and 6th in TFLs among Wolverines and was the 1997 team's secret weapon. Both guys were often extolled for their virtues under the hood.

What to look for in a Scouting Report: EXPLOSIONS! I know I said this for SDE but even more so. You know these guys on sight because the innate quickness and strength makes them terrors against high schoolers. Skipping over the blue chips (or like Ra'Shede Hageman who would have been a blue chip if he accepted Florida's offer to play DE rather than Minnesota's offer of tight end) 3-stars who shine seem to have athletic tickmarks or the proverbial motor. I noticed some of the big performers from high school All-American games (Ray Drew, Alex Okafor, a million dudes who went to Florida) tend to fare well—about the worst among Army game standouts of yore was Victor Abiamiri, who was still pretty good. The pushers had ridiculous squats (Simon's was 700!)

What you can learn on film: How fast he gets into the backfield, adjusted for competition. You're looking for that quick burst. The great ones just look completely unblockable—like the guy blocking him doesn't seem to have any leverage.

What could signal bust potential: Size. Rivals tends to put its favorite DEs at "SDE" for this reason. If you browse through the five-stars you generally find two categories: high-effort guys who were early contributors and are or are on track to be NFL draft picks at defensive end, and Pierre Woods/Shawn Crable-like linebackers whose recruiting profiles said they would grow into Jevon Kearse. There's a reason they called Kearse "the freak."

How our guys compare: Frank Clark and Brennan Beyer are the two sides of the WDE coin. This refrain from MGoBlog is becoming tiresome but Beyer seems the stronger and more responsible one and Clark is the greater X-factor. We overplay this; both would still fall more into the finesse side than, say, John Simon, and both seem to top out as useful but not stars.

Ojemudia is kind of a James Hall but more akin to Shantee Orr. Where James Hall was small but had the size to stand up to a good shove when needed, here you have a dude with explosiveness and great hands for pass rushing but is going to be dead meat if doubled and run at, and is therefore best deployed as a 3rd down or [blank]-and-long specialist.

Early enrollee Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton, who's already 6'6/265 on Michigan's spring roster, is the closest thing to Walshian dreams. On film though a lot of times you just see him blowing something up because they didn't block him, and though this probably had a lot to do with being way bigger than high school tackles in Central Ohio he didn't play with much leverage after the snap. The reason for all the Tacoptimism is he blew up the camp circuit. He probably still needs a year to work on technique since he spent most of high school in a 2-point stance. Warning: he doesn't check the motor box.

[Linebackers, after a leap.]

Unverified Voracity Needs Word Like Epic, Only Moreso

Unverified Voracity Needs Word Like Epic, Only Moreso

Submitted by Brian on March 20th, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Or maybe "fail." Minnesota lost money selling beer.

The University of Minnesota lost almost $16,000 last year on alcohol sales at football games, despite selling more than $900,000 worth of beer and wine.

Proving that there's nothing too goddamn ridiculous to assert in public in a laughable attempt to save face, Minnesota responds!

University officials say it was never the intent that the school turn a profit on alcohol sales.

Jim Delany has taught you well, Minnesota.

Do you like pictures of oily men not wearing very much? Have I got some instagram for you, ladies and men hopeful Frank Clark is going to be superbad this year. Before and after winter conditioning, here's Devin Gardner and Frank Clark:

imageBFrajY8CUAAI2Uf[1]

ANN ARBOR (AP) – FEMALE BLOG READERSHIP DROPS 96.5% AS COLD SHOWERS SKYROCKET. MEN GENERALLY HOPE FOR MORE PASS RUSH, WITH SCATTERED EXCEPTIONS.

I now believe Clark is at 277, sure.

Is oiling an extra benefit? Get Rosenberg on the case, yo.

I certainly hope this prediction is worthless since you seem to have something more pressing to do. Man with no more knowledge of basketball than random Rome caller picks Michigan to Elite Eight. Happens to be president, so people note it. Watch for upcoming Graham Couch column on how Obama is racist!

Obama chose Indiana, Ohio State and Louisville as his other Final Four teams [to go with Florida].

"I think (Aaron) Craft's defense is unbelievable," Obama said. "That makes a big difference."

OBAMA IS A RACIST

By Grahm Graghm Graham Couch

Has anyone notice how racist Obama is?

Welcome to the jungle!

I kid, kid.

It's just that for a black man his skin tone isn't very dark and he seems to think Aaron Craft is good at basketball.

I think Aaron Craft isn't, because he's white.

That makes Obama racist.

Just sayin'.

I like pudding.

Alot.

Graham Couch can be reached at [email protected].

Old lady is a nut. Old Lady, please leave man-mountain alone.

"I had an old lady who saw me at Kroger with my dad, (she asked) 'Are you Taylor, that No. 77 fella?'" said Lewan, mimicking her voice. "I was like, 'Uh, yeah, I'm Taylor.'

'She goes, 'You're an idiot! Why would you do that? You're dumb.'

"I was like, 'I appreciate it. Thank you. Go blue.' I didn't know what to say."

That's what you get for going to Kroger, man. Mandatory scan-your-card grocery stores FTL, amirite?

Aw man but we're just a four seed. Jeff Goodman runs down the list of teams with the most NBA talent and starts in Ann Arbor:

Trey Burke (G, 6-0, 190): The sophomore is a National Player of the Year candidate and also could be the first point guard taken in the June draft. He can shoot it, distribute, and will be ideal at the next level in pick-and-roll situations. Most NBA executives have him going somewhere among the lottery selections.

Glenn Robinson III (F, 6-6, 210): The Big Dog's son still needs another year in college, but he's intriguing. He's long and athletic and has shown spurts in which he's looked phenomenal. He still needs to shoot it more consistently from the perimeter and also play hard all the time, but he'd likely be a first-rounder if he left after this season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (G, 6-6, 205): Another ex-NBA player's kid, Hardaway Jr. has improved his decision-making. He has nice length for a wing player, but still needs to improve his ability to put the ball on the floor. Likely pegged somewhere in the second round.

Stauskas and McGary also mentioned. But hey, at least we're a four-seed instead of an eight like #2 NC State. Mark Gottfried may be a terrible coach, but I remember thinking that about Thad Matta a few years ago and… uh… no. I will reserve judgment this time around.

This may be why. Even when talking about dangerous mid-majors in the tourney, Luke Winn manages to rope you in with interesting Michigan-related stats. Like this one:

130320.11[1]

Michigan isn't just the least experienced team in the tourney, they're the least by a mile.

SDSU is included at #8. Winn says watch out for this business:

The Wolters Special is a left-hand hesitation dribble, followed by a drive left and a righty floater/runner.

That's alarmingly Burke-like.

Aw man but they're an eight seed. A tip of the hat to Robert Morris despite their fans' failure to chant "N-E-C" last night after they knocked off the NIT's top seed Kentucky in a first round game at the Colonial's 3500-seat arena. (Rupp has NCAA games this weekend so Kentucky did not bid to host.) Even with the missed opportunity, Robert Morris set the irritating meme about "perception" harming the NCAA fates of SEC bubble teams on fire.

What meme? This meme. Cuonzo Martin two days ago:

“I wish I knew,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. I would say a lack of respect more than anything. When you have a second-place team at this level (Kentucky and Alabama finished second in the SEC and will join UT in the NIT), it’s almost like a mid-major mentality in this league. When your second-place team doesn’t get in the NCAA tournament — this is a BCS league, it’s one of the best league’s [sic] in the country — that just shouldn’t happen.” …

“When you look at Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky,” he added, “those are NCAA tournament teams; they’re just not playing in the NCAA tournament.”

If the SEC had actually beaten anybody in the nonconference maybe we could talk here. Florida got a three-seed thanks in part to wins over Wisconsin, Marquette, and I guess Middle Tennessee. Missouri got in comfortably with wins over VCU and Illinois. The entire rest of the league had three (three) wins over teams that got an at-large bid to the tourney, those Arkansas over Oklahoma in the midst of a 1-4 slide against BCS teams (and at home, obviously), Alabama over Villanova on a neutral floor, and Tennessee beating Wichita State at home.

USA Today rounds up the internet aftermath, with obligatory wikipedia vandalism:

w5eW8KW[1]

oh god someone get rid of that apostrophe

The ACC is also bitching about a lack of respect, Rodney Dangerfield-style. If that's the case, the ACC is suffering a lack of respect from every-damn-body on the internet. Of 120(!) brackets tracked by the Bracket Matrix, all of seven had Virginia in them.

It is not that hard to predict this stuff, as Andy Glockner points out in excellent article. It's no secret how to game the RPI: don't lose at home, play some road games, and if you have to play a really bad team make sure they're not D-I. Glockner points out an imbalance in the RPI's home-road adjustment I hadn't thought about:

Almost a decade ago, the NCAA made an adjustment to the RPI formula to try to incentivize teams to play more road games. Of course, they screwed up the math such that the new formula rewards “not losing at home” more than it does “winning on the road,” at least for what its primary purpose is: sorting teams that may make the NCAAs.

The formula adjustment for Factor I (your winning percentage) now credits you with 0.6 wins for a home win and 1.4 wins for a road victory. Likewise, you get 1.4 home losses for an actual home defeat and 0.6 losses for an away loss. That sounds like a reasonable plan until you realize that the target demographic — NCAA tournament-caliber teams — are all way above .500. As such, when you split two games (.500 overall), you want that impact to be as small as possible on your overall adjusted record, as determined by the RPI formula.

If you win at home and lose the away game, you would get an extra 0.6-0.6 added into your overall adjusted record. If you do it the other way, you get 1.4-1.4 added to your totals. If you are well above .500 overall, like all these NCAA caliber teams are, adding the 1.4-1.4 into the record drags you down more than the 0.6-0.6 does. In simple terms, losing home games (for 1.4 losses in your adjusted Factor I) is the worst thing you can do, and it’s way more harmful than adding 1.4 wins to the ledger is helpful.

He also mentions that the committee did to some extent see through the Mountain West's conference-wide Game of RPIs*, dropping New Mexico and their on-paper case for a one seed down to a three and giving the rest of the league seeds that portend a second-round exit.

Yeah, it is perception that the ACC is down and the SEC is worse than the Mountain West. An accurate one.

*[CRAPPY MATH IS COMING]

This week in Expansion Was A Bad Idea. Verizon FIOS wants to move to a you-watch-it-you-pay-for-it model. Who could have predicted this?

“This is the beginning,” said Gene Kimmelman, a former senior antitrust official at the Justice Department. “If the conflict between cable distributors and content owners persists and prices keep rising, there will be enormous market pressure to begin unbundling offerings, give consumers more choices and, from my perspective, ultimately let consumers control what they buy and how much they pay.”

Nobody! Except a lot of people. [HT: Get The Picture.]

Etc.: But the kids love it! In other news, kids enjoy Laffy Taffy. Wetzel on O'Bannon and Delany. How did it take this long for someone to beat up Tim Doyle? No offense, Tim, it's just that you shouldn't have called Kendall Gill "that wasp that lays eggs in spiders and then the baby wasps eat the spider from the inside out" for ten years.

Of course Michigan State fans are buying up SDSU apparel. This is why you are Sparty. Delany-inspired "feelings collage." "An Open Letter From Jefferson Davis To Jim Delany." Don't recruit short fat guys.

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-19-13: Brady Hoke

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-19-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on March 20th, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Bullets:

  • Toussaint is in pads. Walking around and stuff. Not doing everything yet but progress looks good.
  • Thomas Gordon is practicing at both safety positions so they can try the other guys out at both positions as well.
  • Blake Countess's redshirt application has not been filed yet, but it will be.
  • Frank Clark is staying at WDE despite gaining a lot of weight. There are no plans to move him to strongside.

Opening remarks:

“It was good to be the first day in pads. I thought we had a lot of enthusiasm like the physicalness that they played with -- really for the last three days, because even with the no-pads they got after each other pretty good. We have a lot of competition, have a lot of young guys that have to go out and compete. And then some of the older guys who have played, obviously, and they have to compete also. Everybody understands that, so it’s been good. I think the leadership’s good. I like the way they’ve handled themselves and handled the team. Like I said before, that stems from the winter into this phase.”

Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

[PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to a three-pronged failure in various systems I lost the first half of UFR and had to re-do it. I tried, but couldn't get it done for today. 2x UFR tomorrow.]

Minnesota's offense struggled to move the ball most of Saturday. When they did move it was often because Michigan was in a difficult position against spread principles. For example: on Minnesota's first snap, Michigan slid their linebackers way to the field against a trips formation and gave up five yards when the tailback cut all the way behind the defensive line.

I'm not sure if this is actually a problem Michigan should fix or if they're taking away certain things that would otherwise be open and will just open up another hole in the dam. In certain cases, anyway. I caught a second-quarter run—at twelve yards, Minnesota's long run of the day—on which Michigan's alignment had them in trouble from the start. Since the Big Ten Network was running an uncommonly large number of useful replays, we can take a look at it from the end zone.

Begin!

outnumbered-1]

From the dead center of the field Minnesota comes out in a pistol formation with two backs flanking the quarterback. Minnesota has two WRs not shown. When Blue Seoul was pumping out With Pics on the regular he would often point out presnap alignment issues, and Michigan has one here.

This is a balanced formation right smack in the middle of the field, but note that the linebackers are shifted to the left—Demens is left of the center; Morgan is inside the tackle to the right while Ryan is well outside. The line is also shifted left: Washington is inside the guard, Campbell outside. As a result you can draw a line with five Minnesota players to one side and three Michigan defenders:

outnumbered-1

Minnesota will run at this, running the back on the left across the QB and pulling a guard to keep that two-man advantage as the center uses his angle to take care of Campbell.

outnumbered-2

Before the mesh point a few things are clear: the three backside defenders are basically nonentities. Demens has a shot, maybe, but he's getting a free release from a tackle with an excellent angle and is in tough. The two backs are available to take on Clark and Morgan.

At the mesh point and just after, two things. First, Clark:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

Clark dives inside the pack trying to get him, which could be a valid move. The second frame there has a pulling guard; if Clark hits him that's two blockers on one guy. Because Michigan was badly aligned that still won't matter, though. Minnesota will run this later at Keith Heitzman; Heitzman will do the same thing and peg the QB, so this was what Mattison wanted… sort of. I'll explain below what he actually wanted, probably.

Second, Demens:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

He eats a block, but I'm not even mad when he eats a guy before it's even clear who has the ball. Even if he reads the play on the snap this guy probably gets him since he's got a great angle; if the tackle doesn't the pulling guard literally has no one to block so Demens will again feel the wrath of two different OL on the same play. If Demens is at fault it's for presnap stuff involving this alignment that gets him in trouble.

By the time the back breaks outside, it doesn't really matter what Morgan does, the play is getting yards, whether it's inside or out.

outnumbered-5

But man you still shouldn't get hewed to the ground like this and give up the edge:

outnumbered-6

It was faintly possible that Washington, who beat a down block, gets in some sort of tackle attempt, and you also wouldn't be forcing Kovacs to get on his horse outside like he does. Note that Raymon Taylor is also on his knees after eating a cut block:

outnumbered-7

Kovacs has to take an awkward angle around that block and misses the tackle as a result. He does get the guy off balance; Taylor recovers.

outnumbered-8

Twelve yards.

outnumbered-9

Video

Things And Stuff

I don't really have a big theme here. Often these posts are attempts to explain a general trend—like Michigan not blocking anyone against Nebraska—with some concrete examples. This is just a thing that happened and probably doesn't mean much of anything. These things pop up from time to time; the defense is still really good.

If there is a theme it's that these things tend to get fixed, as we'll see in the next bullet.

Clark is less good at defending the run than other folk/Mattison adjusts fast. There are two main differences between this and a –1 yard run later in the game off this same play. One is Heitzman. Watch the defensive end to the bottom of the screen:

That may be a different playcall that causes Beyer to move down on the tackle and prevent him from releasing. It is more useful than what Clark does above. While that's not a two for one the guy taking Demens is now the pulling guard, who takes a lot longer to get out on him. That allows Demens to get outside of him; a gap further inside James Ross is also playside of that tackle when he finally releases.

The other difference is of course JMFR, who demonstrates what the coaches are talking about when they call him an "unorthodox" player by taking a cut block hard and still managing to fling his off-balance body at the RB for a TFL.

Even if that does not happen Michigan has this covered as this chain…

  1. Beyer holds up T
  2. Demens beats pulling G to outside
  3. Back bounces it outside
  4. Gordon runs past RB with no angle now

…has an unblocked guy waiting to clean up if'n Ryan isn't a wizard or something.

These things tend to get fixed. Note that Michigan's alignment above is even instead of slid to one side or the other.

I am sorry to remind you of our shared, dark past, but remember the GERG defenses when Michigan would frequently get annihilated by the same thing over and over again? In the Oh God Justin Siller game (to be fair, a GERG defense only in spirit, not in letter) it was ten yard outs over and over. In the 2010 Wisconsin game I think the Badgers ran power 28 straight times in the second half, and I am not even sure that's a joke. One of the most frustrating aspects of Michigan's terrible terrible defenses pre-Mattison were the times when the same thing just kept working.

Here Michigan gets burned for a first down. The next two snaps they see out of this formation are runs that go for zero and –1 yards. That's why there's not a theme, because the things that seem to be dodgy with this defense are pure talent issues. Michigan doesn't have an elite pass-rusher or a lot of speed in the secondary. This leads to lots of attempted deep bombs that have not come off yet, mostly.

Minnesota backs and receivers can really cut block. Seriously, our guys could learn something from the Gophers in that department. Michigan CBs and LBs hit the ground a lot in this game, even if sometimes they got up like an unkillable zombie and made the tackle anyway.

Washington: pretty good. He couldn't do anything about the 12 yarder above; he did get off a block and pursue in case he could.

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

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

Bullets of informative information:

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

Presser

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

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

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Notre Dame

Submitted by Brian on September 27th, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Formation notes: I called whatever the heck this is "Nickel rush". The two DT types next to each other stunted, FWIW:

nickel-rush

This was "okie one": man to man on the outside with a free safety and six guys on the LOS. Okie was rare.

okie-one

Substitution notes: Roh and Clark went the whole way save for a drive or two on which Ojemudia spotted Clark. Washington and Campbell got the large majority of the snaps on the interior; Black was pretty marginalized. He seems to only be playing in the nickel package, of which there wasn't much.

The usual ILB rotation went down with Demens and Morgan getting a solid majority of playing time but Ross and Bolden featuring as well. Ryan played every snap, I think. Secondary was Taylor/Floyd/Kovacs/Gordon the whole way with scattered nickel plays featuring Avery.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Fade Taylor INT
All day; Taylor jams his guy and ends up losing him deep a little. Golson leaves it short and Taylor(+2, cover push) snags it as he recovers. There was a window here between Taylor and Kovacs that was missed, but it's not the easiest thing in the world. Taylor is sinking in cover two, and you never want to throw over a sinking corner.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Cutback zone Floyd 8
End around fake to the boundary and the WR headhunting Kovacs from the start of the play implies this is a designed cutback. Clark(-1) gets pushed way too far down the line and opens it up. Floyd(-1) again totally fails to read a WR cracking down on a block a la Air Force and the corner opens up after Kovacs tries to fill the hole Clark left and gets blindsided by the WR.
O33 2 2 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Clark 5
Campbell(+1) takes a double and doesn't move, or get sealed, and takes two guys all the way to the end of the play. They're also doubling the backside end, bizarrely, so no second level guys. Wood has to go all the way outside. He gets the corner and I'm not sure if it's Morgan slowing up instead of hauling for the outside or Clark getting sealed inside that's the culprit. I think Clark(-1) since I haven't seen Michigan not use the end as the contain guy.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Demens 2
This looks grim for a moment as Clark gets sealed inside (ND's game plan is clear) and a tackle pulls around, but a couple of nice LB plays save it. Ryan(+1.5) delays, then jets past a center who got a free release. He comes around him in a flash and shoots up into the interior gap, taking the lead OL. Demens(+1.5) reads it, shoves a slot WR past him, and fills near the LOS.
O40 2 8 Shotgun 2TE Nickel even Pass N/A Sack Ryan 0
Yeah, they didn't credit Michigan with a sack, but I don't care. ND has one guy in this route, and it's not there as Avery(+1, cover +1) drops pack into the slant Eifert is running. Golson starts scrambling. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) grabs him by the ankles as he threatens to break into space and scramble a bit.
O40 3 8 Shotgun empty Dime Pass 4 Hitch Taylor Inc
Golson has a hitch route right at the sticks that is going to be 50-50 depending on whether Taylor can stick the guy right on the catch, but Golson airmails it. Probably a first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ross 5
Ross in at MLB. He gets a free run as ND goes at Clark(+1) again. This time he stands up to a double and gets a little push, forcing a cut up. Campbell(-0.5) is flowing down the line, too, but eventually gets sealed. Ross can't quite get to the hole and impacts from the side, riding Atkinson to the ground but giving up 3 YAC. Like his decisiveness but not quite there on this one.
O25 2 5 Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 6
ND combos Campbell(+0.5) and gets out on Ross; Campbell comes through the block and shows in the hole, but it's too big and Ross(-0.5) does not funnel to help, but the real issue is probably Clark(-1) getting kicked out too far. He ends up way outside, so even though Ross does get outside of the G eventually he can't shut it down because of the big gap. Floyd and Kovacs fill after the sticks.
O31 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 4
Michigan seems to be running a run blitz here as Clark(-2) pops outside immediately and Kovacs and Ross shoot into a backside hole. Campbell(+0.5) prevented anyone from getting out on Ross(+1), who saw the gap forming and flew up into it. Kovacs(+0.5) also there, and he didn't have to pick a gap. Michigan has this stoned until Clark is pancaked on the edge and the bounce opens up.
O35 2 6 Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Roh 2
Roh(+1) slants outside past the T and gets into the backfield, picking off H-back Eifert and forcing a cutback. Campbell(+0.5) appears to block the guy supposed to get to Morgan on the second level. Morgan has a free run as a result. Bolden(-1) again gets tentative and then fights inside the blocker, momentarily giving Atkinson a lane outside that Morgan(+1) shuts down with a flash of speed. Could have been no gain and a thumping Morgan hit if this doesn't open up outside. Picture-paged.
O37 3 4 Shotgun empty 4-3 even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Ryan 1
Ryan(+3) is sucked out to the edge by the formation. He runs up hard to the outside of the TE, gets that TE moving out to block him, then pulls up short and dives back inside, making a tackle(+1) in space on Riddick as the DL recovers to cut off angles further inside. Great, great play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+2) shoots under the center and forces a cutback into an unblocked Ryan(+0.5). Campbell(+1) had also gotten push and effectively two-gapped his blocker if the play went playside.
M16 2 9 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 TE seam Demens Inc
Eifert does beat Demens down the field and is separating as he reaches the endzone, but he's close enough to force a very tough throw out of Golson, who has to drop it over Demens's head before Gordon can get over. He misses. Cover +1.
M16 3 9 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 even Pass 4 TE seam Demens Inc
Roh(+2) roars off the ball and plows over the LT, hitting Golson from behind as he throws (pressure +2). Pass is still amazingly accurate, but Demens(+2,cover +2) is step for step with the TE and there is literally nowhere the ball can be that will be a catch.
Drive Notes: FG(33), 0-3, 10 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Dumpoff Demens 13
No pressure(-2) as Roh oddly makes a fake pass drop before rushing on a a four-man pressure. Clark got off the ball late. Coverage downfield is good but they run everyone off and Demens gets stuck in space with Riddick and that doesn't go great. Considering the situation, Demens(+0.5) does well to hold Riddick relatively stationary until the cavalry arrives. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Dig Bolden 10
Bolden(-1, cover -2) slides out of his zone, opening up a dig route before the safeties. Again little pressure(-1) but it was better this time.
M10 1 G Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power Campbell 0
Campbell(+2) slides over on the snap, moving past a couple of DL, one of whom falls. He takes on Eifert head up, sheds him to the inside, and hits in the hole. Roh(+1) had slanted all the way from the backside of the play to help close the hole. Washington(-0.5) ended up blown up a bit but I don't think that's too bad since he got doubled and downblocked.
M10 2 G Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Improv Gordon INT
Clark(+1) gets a bull rush that spooks Golson even though it's pretty harmless. He gets held so maybe that's why it ends up harmless. Roh(+0.5) also gets held on the edge as he's trying to contain the rollout; he still manages to cut Golson off before he can reach the LOS. Golson makes a decision as bad as Denard's first INT, chucking up a moonball Gordon(+2, cover +2) is in coverage on and intercepts. No one open at all. WTF.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 8 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A TGDCD Morgan -3
Morgan(+1) reads this all the way and shoots up into the intended hole unblocked, forcing a bounce. Ryan(-1) allowed that to happen by trying to close down and giving a ton of ground; Kovacs(+1) flows up quickly to cut off the outside, at which point Atkinson hesitates and is lost. Kovacs with the open-field TFL(tackling +1). RPS +1; Michigan did not bite on the action.
O49 2 13 Shotgun empty TE 4-3 even Pass N/A Improv Roh 16
Dig in the middle of the field is open but Rees doesn't like it for some reason; Campbell(+1) bulls his way into the pocket and spooks Rees out; Roh(-1) loses contain and allows that to happen, at which point the zone has been dragged open by all manner of things. It seems like Bolden is running vertical with a TE, opening it up, FWIW. (Cover -2, Pressure -2)
M35 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Bolden 2
Line makes a very shallow slant away from the play that ends up preventing anyone from getting to the second level. The DTs get sealed away by three guys and Roh ends up taking on two. Bolden(+1) sees the gap forming in front of him and starts flying up into it before the handoff is even made, forcing a bounce; Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fends off a block from a WR, tossing him away, and tackles near the LOS. I'm not even sure which ND player is hypothetically supposed to block Bolden. RPS +1.
M33 2 8 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Roh 3
Exact same play. This time Roh is not banging into two guys as M plays it straight. G releases into Demens, single blocking on front. Roh(+0.5) gets some push and comes off to tackle; Washington does the same(+0.5); Demens(+0.5) gets outside of the G and the RB runs right into him thanks to the narrow crease.
M30 3 5 Shotgun empty TE Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Taylor 24
RT moves a hair early but no call. Taylor(-3, cover -1) is in the right spot to make a play on this ball if he turns around or could just play NOBODY CARES coverage, but when the WR slows up he overruns it a little bit, getting out of position and drawing a PI flag. Catch is made.
M6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Angle Ryan 5
Roh chucks the TE as he comes out of his stance, which slows any pass rush from him considerably. This play looks like a guaranteed quick hitter to the RB, which is caught in front of the zone picket-fencing the endzone. Ryan(+0.5) does get a hit on the RB to make it short of the endzone. (Cover -1)
M1 2 G Ace Goal line Run N/A Dive Kovacs 0 (Pen -5)
Kovacs(+1) blitzes inside of the tight end and into the middle of the formation, which takes away any lanes there, forcing a bounce. Morgan(+1, tackling +1) and Demens are moving hard to the bounce at the snap, with Morgan chopping Riddick down for no gain. RPS +1. Illegal motion takes it back a little.
M6 2 G Shotgun empty Nickel under press Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Oops.
M11 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 3 Corner Avery Inc
LBs threaten double A blitz, back out. Michigan's dropping eight into coverage; Avery(-1, cover -1) does not get depth as he's trying to drop to the corner of the endzone with the slot WR and ends up beaten. Ball is overthrown; M escapes.
M11 3 G Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Dig Wilson Inc (Pen +9)
Wilson(-2, cover -1) gets beaten by Eifert in man and holds, drawing a flag. RPS -2, why is M in man coverage with no deep safeties from the eleven? And why is a freshman safety one on one with ND's best WR?
M2 1 G Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A QB draw N/A 2
Just one LB in the box and he's too far away; RPS -1. Five guy box against six blockers from the two is not going to go well very often.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-10, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Kovacs 0
I'm not sure about Clark here. He gets a big push on the RT and forces the back to change directions but does so outside, where Morgan is cut off and Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) is dealing with a WR crackdown. Seems like this is what they want to have happen and Clark needs to flare out to force it back away from blocking. OTOH, Kovacs gets a jump outside early that gets him past the block because Clark forced a quick decision from the back. Okay, +0.5. Kovacs in space, TFL, the usual.
O25 2 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even Pass 5 TE out Ryan Inc
This TE out is going to be open as Morgan was tasked with coverage and is way far away from Eifert; an unblocked Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is in the throwing lane and leaps to bat it away. RPS push, I guess? Open guy, blitz did nerf it, kind of risky.
O25 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 3 Hitch Floyd 7
Michigan backs everyone out; Rees hits a hitch a few yards short of the sticks that Floyd escorts OOB. Cover +1, RPS +1 as Rees ended up throwing this way faster than he had to as he assumed blitz.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O8 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Zone stretch Floyd 15
Campbell(+0.5) drives single blocking back, but this is always going way outside so his angle is not tested. Floyd(+0.5) does recognize the crack down this time and comes hard, cutting off the outside and forcing it back; he also gets an ankle tackle in; Kovacs(-0.5), Morgan(-0.5), and Ojemudia are each coming off blocks to hold it down. Would like Ojemudia(-1) to hold his ground better to maybe get this down to minimal yardage, and definitely want him to keep his feet and actually tackle. He ends up on his knees as Wood manages to stay on his feet (tackling -2) and burst for a first down.
O23 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Ojemudia 4
Morgan blitzes and threatens to shoot a gap, causing the ND LT to pull off of Ojemudia(-2) just as the TE releases outside to block Taylor. This leaves Ojemudia alone in space with Wood; he gets juked and beat to the outside(tackling -1). Taylor contains. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fills well.
O27 2 6 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 2
Washington and Campbell(+0.5 each) get playside of their guys and don't give ground; no creases. Roh(+0.5) also makes this true. Ojemudia(+0.5) is in the cutback lane, forcing Wood to feint outside. He hops outside. Morgan(+1) has blown past a block now to show up in the hole and tackles at the LOS.
O29 3 4 Shotgun empty TE Nickel rush Pass 6 Hitch Ross Inc
Formation explained above. Michigan sends six, getting Ross(+1, pressure +1) in basically clean and forcing a crappy inaccurate short throw from Rees that's wide of a decently covered WR.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 5 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Swing Gordon 8
Ryan(+0.5) reads it and gets outside the slot TE trying to block him, forcing the play inside to Gordon(-1, tackling -2), who comes up hard and whiffs; Bolden(-1) tries to go upfield of a block and does not get there so there is no support to the inside.
O33 2 2 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 4
Washington(+2) blows this play up by slanting and getting under the C. He's into the backfield. Ryan(-1) is not holding the edge well—he's downfield of Roh and not prepared for a bounce and Floyd(-1) is late reacting. He tackles, but really this should be a TFL after Washington forces the bounce.
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Bolden 5
Roh(+1) dives under the G and ends up absorbing the pulling T. That seems like a bust by the T but results based charting. Bolden(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked in a big hole that rapidly constricts and misses a tackle. Morgan(-0.5) got blocked out of the play but he was going to have a hard time with this guy's angle.
O42 2 5 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Washington 6
ND flips both TEs, M flips in response. Washington(-1) gets penetration but this is a stretch and he gets too vertical, opening up a seam. Campbell(-1) got pushed down field and let a blocker into Morgan. That makes cutback lane that is hit up for first down yardage. If you go upfield of a blocker I will minus you unless you make a play. UFR guarantee.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 4 Rollout hitch Floyd 12
Actually pretty good coverage by Floyd(+1, cover +1), who breaks on the hitch and has a play on the ball. Unfortunately it's high and he can't quite rake it out. A lower ball and he's got a PBU coming. Great throw or lucky, you make the call.
M40 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 2
Washington(+2) is again boom gone past the center and directly into the frontside hole. He can't quite make a tackle as Wood runs through him as the C pushes him past the ballcarrier. Kovacs(+1) shows up in the cutback hole and puts him to the ground.
M38 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Flare Gordon 5
No response to Eifert motion and M's soft zone gives up a lot of room on the edge. This time Gordon(+1, tackling +1) comes up well and tackles. RPS -1.
M33 3 3 Shotgun trips TE Okie one Penalty N/A Offsides Washington 5
Washington(-1)
M28 1 10 Ace twins 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 1
Heaps of bodies, no holes. Washington(+0.5) holds up to a double. Campbell(+0.5) flows down the line. Roh(+0.5) holds up. Clark(+0.5) gets under a blocker and tackles from behind.
M27 2 9 Ace twins Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 5
Morgan inexplicably starts moving to the field right before the play. M is in full nickel with Roh/Black as DTs and slanting hard to the playside. This does force a cutback; Black(+1) got good penetration; Ryan(-1) ends up buried. LBs both come under blocks as the slant has fouled angles; Demens(+1) does a good job to do this and tackle as Riddick threatens to cut behind this into space. Still a little dangerous because Riddick didn't have to cut it as outside as M wanted with the Ryan fall.
M23 3 4 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 1
Again the TE flip again the front flip. M seems lucky or prepared this time with Gordon(+1) blitzing off the corner and Ryan(+0.5) slanting inside to pick off a second level guy and get a two for one, allowing Demens(+1, tackling +1) to flow. Gordon forces Riddick inside at the hash and Demens tackles. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: FG(39), 3-13, 7 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Power Morgan 2
ND doubles Washington(+0.5) and moves him out of the hole but no one releases, so good job Washington I guess. G pulls around for Demens. Morgan(+0.5) is unblocked in the hole and tackles.
O27 2 8 Ace twins 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 4
Campbell(-0.5) gives a little too much ground in his quest to keep Morgan clean, which ends up opening up a cutback lane; Morgan gets blocked by the other guy as the RB comes back. Kovacs fills. There's too much space to shut it down entirely and the block on Morgan prevents him from holding this another yard or two shorter.
O31 3 4 Shotgun empty TE Nickel under press Pass 5 Fade Floyd 38
Floyd(-2, cover -2) tries to chuck and ends up stumbling as Eifert moves past him, which opens up the fade for an easy completion. Too bad.
M31 1 10 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Gordon -1
Gordon(+0.5) walks to the line and blitzes past Eifert; Riddick tries to pop outside of him and is slowed by the tackle attempt. By the time he moves outside, Demens(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) have converged to tackle.
M32 2 11 Ace twin TE 4-4 under Run N/A Zone stretch Demens 2
Gordon again just flying up; Demens(+0.5) also flows into the same hole with a tougher assignment; cutback handled by Washington(+0.5), who got a free pass from the line but did take a good angle to close down the cutback lane.
M30 3 9 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Power Washington 9
Washington(-1) ends up giving up way too much ground on this double, which forces Morgan to hold up in case of cutback and gets him chopped by the center. Campbell(-1) also got pushed back, which gets Morgan's blocker out on him and prevents a scrape. Morgan(-1) does get cut and ends up out of the play. Demens takes on a lead guard and funnels, but to no one.
Drive Notes: EOG, 6-13.

That was rather delightful.

It was. Michigan was one stumble away from holding Notre Dame to under 200 yards of total offense. ND drives started at the Michigan 17, 39, and 48 in the first half and Michigan still gave up a total of 13 points on nine drives (ND had a tenth on which it was not trying to score, FWIW.)

How did that happen?

Well, this ND offense probably isn't very good. Michigan forced a QB switch after Golson's second horrible interception, and neither Purdue or Michigan State had too much trouble shutting down the Irish.

You'd better have a "but…"

Okay: but Purdue gave up nearly 400 yards on 11 drives. ND had 314 on the nose against MSU on 12 drives before kneels took away 14; even if you chalk that long Goodman TD up to punt chuckin' Michigan is about even with what was supposed to be the league's best D, and their performance was on the road instead of at home. Michigan blew up the counter draw MSU fell victim to and the rush yardage comparison goes to M. MSU gave up 4.9 YPC once a sack and some kneel-downs are excised. Michigan gave up 3.3 after taking out a zero yard not-quite-sack on Golson and a knee. Purdue did even better but gave up nearly 300 yards passing to the guy M chased from the game.

It was a bit of a downer that the D couldn't hold at the end when Michigan pulled to within a score twice, but that Michigan was even within striking distance after six turnovers was a little miracle.

You still haven't said how.

I think I need a—

probably pretty dang good CHART

--chart to answer that question.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 7 1 6 I call him mini-RVB. /self high five
Campbell 8.5 3 5.5 whoah whoah whoah
Washington 8.5 3.5 5 what what what what
Black 1 - 1 Hardly got a snap.
Brink - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Pipkins - - - DNP
Beyer - - - DNP
Heitzman - - - DNP
Clark 3 5 -2 Targeted extensively, got smashed a bit.
Ojemudia 0.5 3 -2.5 Miss in space on Wood.
TOTAL 28.5 15.5 13 Take the money and run.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5 2 3 Solid tackling day, looked pretty athletic.
Demens 7.5 - 7.5 !!!
Ryan 8.5 3 5.5 Great tackle on screen.
C. Gordon - -   DNP
Ross 2 0.5 1.5 Hard to get a lot of PT when the vets play so well.
Bolden 1 4 -3 Work in progress.
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 23 9.5 13.5 Combo the DL numbers with the ILB numbers and that's the run D.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 1.5 4 -2.5 Stumble unfortunate, edge softness frustrating.
Avery 1 1 0 Rarely appeared since ND so TE heavy.
Taylor 2 3 -1 Had a play on the fade he gave up but didn't make it.
Kovacs 5.5 0.5 5 Excellent on edge. No deep stuff on S.
T. Gordon 7.5 1 6.5 Also quality.
Holowell - - - DNP
Wilson - 2 -2 Critical PI.
TOTAL 16.5 11.5 4 Safeties got a workout and passed.
Metrics
Pressure 5 5 0 This was a little bit of a downer for the DL.
Coverage 8 11 -3 Close enough to even.
Tackling 9 6 60% Most of the minuses on two bad runs.
RPS 5 5 0 The Wilson PI does grate.

So, like, yeah. I pulled out that Picture Pages on the linebackers because that was night and day from Air Force, when poor Kenny Demens was picking OL out of his teeth on every play. ND hardly ever got a release and when they did their blocks got beat fairly often.

Defensive tackles! We has them?

Okay, I think ND's interior OL sucks. Sucks pretty hard. Let's put on our caveat berets before we wade in here. Secured? Have your baguette of skepticism prepped? Let's go.

Dang, ND could not single-block these guys. When they tried it Campbell two-gapped dudes and Washington flashed into the backfield. This could have happened last year:

All DL there. Both get penetration and Washington forces a cutback into an unblocked Ryan. A Riddick spin manages to prevent a loss; I'll take it. So ND doubled, and we got results like the ones we saw in the Clean Linebackers picture pages. Occasionally one DT or the other would give too much ground, like on the last run charted. Most of the time they held their ground well enough to make cutbacks awkward and allow linebackers to flow. Like so:

No crease, forced cutback, OL is robbed of his blocking angle, and Morgan gets around him to make the play. There were a lot of half-points handed out for this sort of thing where PLAYS are not MADE but the tailback has nowhere to go. After getting shredded by Alabama, anything approximating quality against a BCS level opponent—one with a veteran line—is welcome.

Washington in particular was impressive with his repeated penetration. He's probably as shocked as anyone about this, so he's continually overrunning things, but whatever, man, he's blowing up blocking. I told you this would happen after UMass! (Pay no attention to the Robinson prediction behind the curtain. Also I didn't really.)

So we're back on the immediate post-Ezeh Demens-is-a-god thing I see.

Hey, man, find a tackle he missed or hole he didn't fill and I'll fire up my minus machine. It's possible his coverage on that Riddick dumpoff was subpar but I chalked that up to RPS because he was one man in all of the space. He managed to hold Riddick basically in place for two moves to limit the damage there.

Meanwhile, Kenny Demens is sneaky good in coverage. This is perfect:

And he flung dudes past him (along with Ryan) to impressively shut down a dangerous looking counter:

Ryan's ability to get around that OL is a squee moment.

Michigan kept guys off their LBs and they responded well. The hesitation was gone, the tackles were made, and everyone said a little prayer of thanks.

Caveat: against a team more likely to screw with your linebackers in a play action game this may go more poorly. ND quickly committed to the run in this game. Teams that can throw a bit are going to make it harder on these guys.

Speaking of Ryan, I'm about two games from declaring him All Big Ten caliber. There's that above and then he shows the same ability to change directions faster than a guy his size should as he comes under the TE on this screen:

I have developed certain rules for grading these things as we've gone along. One is losing leverage == minus… unless you make a play. Ryan would get away with a zero here if he just forced the guy inside of him; instead he gets +3 because of his ability to charge and redirect, which both keeps contain and makes a play.  Sometimes he goes a little too far in the "make a play" direction, but M has another 2.66 years out of the guy.

I'd like a bit more pass rush on the edge, please. Other than that, would recruit again A++++.

Little stingy on the Taylor INT, no?

Ah, man, I'm not giving three points unless the coverage is actually blanketed. Golson had room to drop it over the corner. He is sinking and it is a tough throw to get it over a guy, but this was not exactly Woodsonesque.

Later Taylor would blow a coverage on a similar play in which he was in man press on a fade like that, thus his minus, but so far he hasn't been a big problem. Tentatively hoping he'll get through the season well and we get to be pumped up about Michigan's starting corners going into next year. He certainly looks the part athletically.

What about our corners this year?

Floyd stumbling out of a break sucks but it'll happen. I'm more annoyed by the guy is still not coming hard on outside runs on which the receiver is booking for a block along the LOS:

Now, Clark—this is part of ND's Kill Clark gameplan at the beginning of the game—gets blown way down the line and this forces Kovacs to come further inside than is ideal on his contain, because otherwise the RB is going upfield. Okay. That's some yards ceded already.

Floyd is still eight yards downfield when he breaks down to tackle. He should be reading run a lot quicker. At this point I don't think that's in the cards consistently, though he did make a couple good reads late. One was on the 20 yard Wood run, but that wasn't his fault.

Let us all say a prayer of thanks that we can be annoyed about this kind of thing from cornerbacks these days. 

Kill Clark, you say?

Clark was obviously IDed as a weak point by the Irish and they spent most of the first quarter running at him. He got blown up a lot. He ends up even with Campbell in the video above, which is bad. (SCIENCE!) In this one he ends up pancaked:

That's a loss thanks to Ross and Kovacs hitting the hole lickety-split if Clark can just hold the corner; he ends up buried. He took a bunch of minuses for that and then ND went away from it because they weren't getting much more than you see on the play above. Also, Clark started getting some upfield push to rescue his day a little bit.

If that's going to be the cost of running him out there you'd like to see some pass rush from him; Michigan did not in admittedly limited opportunities. He got one kind of good rush on which he persuaded Golson to exit the pocket and drew a hold; other than that he was not much of an impact guy. Youth, etc. He's a guy to keep an eye on as one of the remaining wildcards on the D.

Kickoff thinkin': do you have some?

I've gotten some questions about what I thought about Michigan's kickoff strategy at the beginning and end of the second half. To the answermobile!

At the beginning of the half, Michigan is kicking from the 50 after a PF on Notre Dame. Q: should Michigan onside kick? Probably. You're giving up 15 yards of field position for a shot at a turnover. ND had not aligned in a way to discourage that so your chances are pretty decent. Even if they've been told to watch for the thing, the punishment is slight.

Now I have a Q: what would have happened if Michigan booted it out of bounds? The rule says it's 30 yards from where you kicked, which would be the 20. Which is better than a touchback. mindblown.gif

At the end of the game, Michigan has 3:27 on the clock and two timeouts. ND aligns to prevent an onside, and M kicks it deep. The ball hits at the three and squeezes into the endzone. Q: onside? Probably not. With the rule change you have to commit an Iowa-level boner to not recover onside kicks and you have a pretty good setup to get the ball back. ND ended up throwing a bomb on third and four. I'd rather take my chances on that than try to drive from the ten.

Heroes?

Anyone in the front seven other than Clark (and Bolden was iffy). Also safeties.

Goats?

Stretching: Clark was exploitable on the edge.

What does it mean for the Big Ten season?

Increment your hope meters a good chunk, as getting this kind of play out of the defensive tackles was way above expectation. If they can continue that into league play all of a sudden this defense looks plausible or better, if lacking certain components that would make it truly elite—like a big-time pass rusher.

Meanwhile, the linebackers played well, the safeties played well… I mean, 190 yards of offense before final drive. ND got a couple of chunk runs when Wood was improbably not tackled and a couple of fades were completed; other than that ND got essentially nothing. The line was all but impeccable save for some Clark stuff that only gave up 4, 6, 7 yards a pop. The LBs got to the ball and tackled, and Gordon and Kovacs had one and a half missed tackles between them as they cleaned up.

I'm trying to keep things in check… that performance relative to MSU and Purdue's plus the in-season improvement we saw from a lot of players last year makes it difficult. That game was so far beyond the reasonable best-case scenario that it shifts hopes upward.

Offense? Never heard of it.

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs UMass

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs UMass

Submitted by Brian on September 20th, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Formation notes: Michigan spent virtually the whole game in a nickel package, with occasional forays into okie stuff. I started labeling various okie looks "one" "two" and "zero" with the number denoting the number of deep safeties on the play. This was zero:

okie-zero

Also there was this weird thing once.

um-formation

That is okie two, one they shifted into late. Look at Campbell there right next to Roh.

Substitution notes: Avery slid back inside and it looks like your new field corner is Raymon Taylor. Guessing it's Taylor out there when Michigan is in a 4-3 set.

At linebacker, heavy rotation between Bolden, Ross, and Demens; Hawthorne got in a bit thanks to Morgan's absence. Mike Jones came on in garbage time.

On the line, the aforementioned nickel oddity where Roh and Black were usually the DTs, flanked by Clark and Ryan. Cam Gordon and Ojemudia rotated through at DE; at DT it was Brink and Heitzman with some appearances by Campbell and Washington. Pipkins did not get in until late.

Show show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Demens 5 (Pen -10)
TE motions into the backfield to act as an H-back as UMass goes with a covered slot guy. TE then goes backside and nails Ryan. Demens is slow to the hole, getting hit two yards downfield, and Black(-1) is sealed out of the hole. Ryan(+0.5) does a pretty decent job to constrict that hole and forces Cox to knock into some of his own blockers; Demens would get a minus for missing the tackle here but his blocker is called for a hold. Gordon(+0.5) fills decisively, holding the gain down. He can't tackle Cox cleanly but does delay him enough so that there is no YAC.
O15 1 20 Shotgun trips bunch TE Nickel under Pass 5 Quick out Gordon 6
A little dink pass is complete on a half-roll. Gordon's a little iffy on his approach and falls down, but Demens flowing out makes the WR run into the prone Gordon anyway. Push, but I'm eyeing Gordon warily.
O21 2 14 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Black -1
Black(+2) reads it, backs out, gets to the spot, and tackles for loss. Roh helped out as well and Ross(+0.5) fended off a block to put himself in a position to contribute.
O20 3 15 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 4 Corner Floyd Inc
Stunt doesn't quite get there but that's because the QB is going from five yards back to 11 by the time he throws. DL is getting in, with Roh(+0.5) getting pressure that forces a throw. Floyd has a better shot at a reception than anyone else and should really have an INT but misjudges the ball badly. No points for you. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O6 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone N/A -2
Fumbled exchange. FWIW, looked like Cox was going to get popped by an unblocked Ross near the LOS.
O4 2 12 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Run N/A Zone stretch Ojemudia 11
Ojemudia(-1) as a 3-4 DE, which goes about how you'd expect. A 230 pound freshman is doubled and pancaked, cutting off the outside. I feel better about this because Michigan's not going to do this against a real opponent unless it's third and twelve, not second and twelve. Campbell(+0.5) got some good push, but it was irrelevant. RPS -2. I moved a minus to the RPS from Ojemudia, FWIW. Because obviously.
O15 3 1 Shotgun trips Okie zero Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Same guy who got the hold.
O10 3 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A TGDCD Ryan -1
M sends Bolden and Avery, sending Ross on one of those hash to hash drops. They've slanted the line away from this and had Ryan back off the LOS, which is fortunate because the playcall goes right where Ross just vacated. Roh(+0.5) comes around the tackle and squeezes the hole down; Ryan(+1, tackling +1) brings down Cox in space. RPS +1
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Stop and go Taylor Inc
Good time(pressure -1); Taylor hops up on the hitch route but has safety help so that's fine. There's a small window for a 15 yard completion that's missed. Cover push. Illegal man downfield penalty is declined.
O26 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Counter Ross 6
Ross(-1) doesn't read the T pull and gets sucked away from the play, sealed into oblivion. Bolden(-1) does an okay job of getting to the hole and makes contact with the pulling T at the LOS, but slows up. Instead of lowering the boom like Ross he gently contacts the T, and there's still a gap. Needs to hit that blocker in the mouth, drive him back, and then be able to come off and tackle. As it is, Ryan, the contain, is the only guy trying a tackle attempt and that doesn't go so well. Black got sealed away but I'm not sure that's really on him. Need some linebackers to not get blocked. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) makes a nice fill. Picture-paged.
O32 3 4 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 cover one Pass 5 Out Avery 4
M shows man and runs zone, but this still comes off as Avery isn't quite able to tackle on this little out before the WR can reach the sticks. This will happen on this down and distance; push.
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Black -1
Same as their first play. Black(+1) gets some backwards motion and this convinces Cox to go nuts. Instead of slamming it up in a meh hole and getting tackled from the side by Black or Ryan, he hits a blocker, bounces, runs into Roh(+1), who shed a blocker to get into the backfield, and then Clark(+0.5) cleans up on the edge. Somewhere, Rich Rodriguez has an inexplicable urge to spike his headset.
O35 2 11 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 5 Rollout out Avery Inc
Michigan brings a blitz that UMass rolls away from. Same little out they got the first on is preferred because Michigan has good coverage(+1) in the area. It's turfed. Avery(+0.5) looked ready to light this guy up on the catch.
O35 3 11 Shotgun empty Nickel even Run N/A QB draw Ross 16
Michigan stunts out of the gap UMass is attacking. That leaves Ross(-1) alone in a ton of space against two blockers. One runs by, he fends off the other, and can't get out to the QB to even slow him. Ojemudia was tearing back in pursuit and safeties were filling, all Ross needs to do is slow the guy a half beat and this is not a conversion. But really, this is RPS'd. RPS -2.
M49 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Ojemudia 14
Campbell is moving and gets chopped, but I guess I can't minus him because this convinces Cox to reverse field. Or maybe it was Ryan(+1) coming under a guy—usually a no-no—with enough speed to make me think the outside is cutoff. Ojemudia(-2) abandoned his cutback contain to start a long-term pursuit angle, which opens up the corner once the QB cuts off a redirecting Ross.
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 5 Fade Taylor 22
One on one to the boundary, Taylor takes inside leverage and is basically step for step with the guy on the sideline. QB throws it perfectly, WR makes incredible catch, nothing you can do. Cover +1.
M13 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 5 Out Avery 11
Kovacs comes up late for a safety blitz, UMass dumps it short. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is through the line and about to nail the QB, so he has to dump it. Avery(-2, tackling -1) is there for a tackle attempt on a stationary guy one yard downfield that he misses. He manages to hold on to the guy but guy drags him ten yards.
M2 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull zone Clark -1
Clark(+1) blows outside a TE trying to seal him, Roh gets push on a G trying the same. Cox cuts behind that, away from his blockers. Ross(+0.5) is in in the hole and gets a tackle attempt in from the side. Black got cut and reaches out as well. Cox falls over.
M3 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Ryan -1 (Pen -10)
Ryan(+2) motions in late, shoots inside the RT, gets held, and still stops Cox in the backfield by diving at his feet. Black(+1) drove through two blockers to meet Cox in the backfield as well. Slant got it here. RPS +1.
M13 2 G Shotgun 4-wide tight 3-4 nickel Pass 5 Improv Black Inc
Black(+2) motions late to a gap between the C and G and jumps the snap Worthy style. He's offsides, obviously, but they don't call it. So you get a plus. He's up the middle of the pocket immediately, forcing a flush (pressure+2). QB actually has a shot at a WR but can't hit it. Gordon and Avery in pursuit. Gordon(+1, cover +1) was there to bat at it.
M13 3 G Shotgun empty Nickel even Penalty N/A Offsides Clark 5
Clark(-1) also offsides, this time they call it.
M8 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +1) splits two OL and gets in to force a dumpoff. Clark(+1) reads this, backs off, and bats it down. Michigan had this killed dead anyway (cover +1)
Drive Notes: FG(25), 14-3, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Bolden 4
Bolden gets to the hole at the LOS and Cox has only a narrow gap, but he should be funneling back inside and does not. He got there pretty well, so I'll say push. Roh(-0.5) got blown up momentarily, so maybe Bolden's leery about that subconsciously. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fills nicely, holding a dangerous-looking burst through the line to four yards with help from Avery.
O30 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 5 Rollout out CGordon 5
They roll the pocket away from the blitz and Gordon has to try and track down a slot guy running an out, which doesn't go well. He does enough to make the throw outside and diving, removing a potentially large amount of YAC from the equation. RPS -1.
O35 3 1 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 3
Still playing Roh at DT on third and one. He gets blown out of the center by a double, and that's enough. I'm not minusing the guy for being 280 pounds. Gordon(+1) fills well, hitting at the LOS, but without DL support this is always going to get it. RPS -1.
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Floyd Inc
Half roll deflates pressure but M is all over the receivers (cover +3); a two-yard checkdown is jumped by Floyd(+1) and may have been an INT if more accurate. Nowhere to go.
O38 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Pass 5 Rollout out Gordon 3
Avery cuts off the outside and forces a throw. Pressure is not exactly rampant but it's a push. Pass is a four yard out Gordon(+0.5) is in good coverage(+1), guy runs OOB anyway.
O41 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark Inc
Hawthorne sent as Gordon backs out. Clark(+1) gets around the edge(pressure +1) and gets the QB's feet moving. Floyd(+1) jumps one out; CGordon(+1, cover +2) has the one underneath. QB turfs it, possibly on purpose.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-3, 10 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel under Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Er
O30 1 15 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 PA Out Clark Inc
They leave Clark unblocked, try to throw a three yard out and miss. Clark may have gotten a finger on it. RPS +1? By default, I guess. Clark +0.5.
O30 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide tight Okie two Pass 5 Tunnel screen Ross 4
WR ends up in front of all his blockers. Bolden(+0.5) and Ross(+0.5) force the guy upfield away from all those folk. Gordon(+0.5) comes up to keep leverage well inside the numbers, and then everyone rallies to tackle.
O34 3 11 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 5 Sack Bolden -24
This is a screen. Bolden(+1) is charging forward at the snap along with Avery; Bolden gets through clean. Ryan(+0.5) has dropped right into the screen; not sure if this is read or if QB is just panicking. Roh also gets some pressure before bailing out; QB ends up tossing the ball away well short of the sticks after giving up 24 yards, giving Bolden a sack. RPS +2, Pressure +2, cover +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Counter Gordon 6
LBs do a much better job of reading this, with Ross(+1) sticking the pulling T in the hole and Bolden(+0.5) getting around a block to fill if Cox is going to go where Ross wants him to. He doesn't because Gordon(-1) has lost the edge. Kovacs and Taylor fill on the bounce; still gave up more yards than they had to there.
O34 2 4 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 4 In Ross 9
M ran this against NW last year: double flare screen fakes with an little middle hitch opening up. Ross(-0.5, cover -1) books out for the flare, opening a slant behind him. I don't really blame him. RPS -1.
O43 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel under Run N/A Power off tackle Clark 9
Okay so our DL on this play includes Clark as a DT. M blitzes one LB-type substance—Kovacs is the other—and stunts Roh back around. Clark(-1) gets blown back, so Roh can't flow; Kovacs is taking on a pulling G and there is no one on the second level. Clark does spin off his block and take Cox down with a lunging shoulder grab; otherwise this is Gordon vs touchdown. RPS -2. Virtually nothing any M player could do. Hope they're just screwing around at this point.
M48 2 1 Ace twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Flea flicker Taylor 33
This looks like man coverage w/ Avery going in motion to mirror his guy presnap. The flea flicker sucks up all the underneath guys, giving the QB a look at the deep guy, who is covered(+1) by Floyd and Gordon. Taylor(-2, cover -2) got way behind the second option, a deep in by the other receiver. Not close enough to tackle immediately, Taylor gives up another 20 yards after the catch.
M15 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch TE Nickel under Pass 4 Rollout out Floyd 2
Another one of these dink passes. This one takes the WR off his feet; Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) looked like he would tackle anyway.
M13 2 8 Shotgun trips bunch TE Okie zero Pass 6 Throwaway Clark Inc
Mattison sends the house. Clark(+1) leaps a cut block, Roh(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) both come free as the T can't get out and the G has another guy to block. QB just gets rid of it. Had no one anyway. (Pressure +2, Cover +1, RPS +1)
M13 3 8 Shotgun trips bunch tight Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway N/A Inc
Miscommunication and QB tosses it into the endzone, where none of his WRs are. Coverage(+1) looked good.
Drive Notes: FG(30), 35-13, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol trips bunch Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh -3 (Pen -13)
Roh(+2) shoves an opposing guard into the backfield, causing a full stop by Cox as he reaches where he'd normally cut despite Black getting chop-blocked to the ground (no minus, that ain't right). Ryan(+0.5) cleans up as the unblocked backside guy. Ross(+0.5) split blockers and was going to be useful if Roh hadn't beat him to it. Flag overrides play.
O12 1 23 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Black 3 (Pen -6)
Runner is actually a slot receiver who comes in motion and takes a shovel pass. Ryan(+0.5) gets upfield, forcing it back and stripping the WR of a lead blocker. Black(-0.5) avoided a cut but got delayed sufficiently that he can't close the hole. Ross is bugging out, gets blocked. Demens is taking 'er easy, which fine given down and distance. Ross forces back to Demens; before Demens can tackle the RB falls of his own accord. Another chop block backs them up even further.
O6 1 29 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Black -1
Again with the counter; Ryan(+0.5) squeezes down and prevents that backside hole from forming. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) both shed blocks and meet Cox in the backfield to tackle for no gain.
O5 2 30 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Clark 7
Clark(+1, pressure +1) rips around the corner and is about to safety the QB when he fires out a short hitch that is complete. Instant tackle from Demens(+0.5, cover +1)
O12 3 23 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Draw N/A 10
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-13, 12 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Brink 7
Brink(-2) blown up by a double. This means Ross can't flow; Bolden(+1) got to the hole, stood up the blocker, and funneled to his help but that help got washed out. Ross does come through the block to tackle; Brink spun off and added a little help too.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Clark 6
Clark(-0.5) left unblocked and gets in on the QB as coverage(+1) takes away whatever he was about to dink. Clark misses the tackle(-1); Campbell(-1) misses another tackle(-1) and QB squeezes out the first down. Campbell's was worse because QB didn't even put a move on.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Avery -1
Avery(+2, tackling +1) comes up hard, stalls out a couple yards in the backfield, convinces the QB to give, and then tackles the guy. Ojemudia(+0.5) had prevented an OL from releasing into Ross so he was likely to hack this down pretty quickly.
O37 2 11 Shotgun empty Nickel even Run N/A QB draw Roh 3
Roh(+1) takes a shove from the C but still doesn't get kicked out and this convinces the QB to start rolling outside, away from the guys releasing downfield. Black(+1) also helped this no crease situation and when he read the play he's the guy containing, forcing the QB back into blockers.
O40 3 8 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 5 Throwaway Demens Inc
Blitz gets picked up but Demens(+1, pressure +2) drives inside his blocker and gets upfield pressure; Roh(+0.5) also got in on the edge. QB is like seeya ball, don't need you no more.
Drive Notes: Punt, 49-13, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 4
Washington(+1) clubs a G backwards, which cuts off the guy trying to move backside to pick up Ryan. Heitzman(-1) has gotten shoved backside, though, and there's a crease. Ryan(+0.5) comes down to tackle from behind. I still wish the LBs would be a little more aggressive here but this is single blocking and immediate release stuff. Bolden does shed to help tackle downfield.
O33 2 6 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Clark -6
Clark(+1) shoots past the RT and gets upfield, picking off a leading block. That's a two for one. Cox stops and thinks about hitting it up. I think Heitzman is again getting too much motion; Washington(-0.5) gets cut but Michigan gets lucky as Cox slips on his cut. By the time he gets going forward again Washington is to his feet and unblocked backside guy Ryan is a factor. Cox doesn't know when he's beat and gives up a bunch more yards by trying to outrun Ryan(+0.5) upfield. Shades of that Sugar Bowl play.
O27 3 12 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 4 Rollout corner Avery 13
Mostly an RPS thing as Richardson gets run off deep and there's no one in the zone to get the corner that develops underneath it. I'm guessing Avery may have been able to play this better somehow, but it probably wouldn't have been enough to stop it. (Cover -2, RPS -1)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 2
Washington(+2) blows up the LG and shows up in the middle of the line. Brink(+0.5) is also there, albeit still blocked and just holding on. Bolden was free thanks to Washington's work and moves up in the hole, but doesn't actually get to do anything because Washington eats the guy instead. NT play. Just UMass. Remain calm.
O42 2 8 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 3 Throwaway Hawthorne Inc
Another double flares and slant combo that is designed to get the LBs bugging out and open up the inside. Hawthorne(+1, cover +1) doesn't bite as Gordon flares out with the flare. Pipkins(+1) avoids a cut block and trundles up them middle, forcing a throwaway. RPS +1.
O42 3 8 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Out Hawthorne 11
Stunt doesn't get there (pressure -1) and the man cover behind it is vulnerable to a route like this; would still like Hawthorne(-1, cover -1) to at least be there to challenge on the catch, maybe try a tackle. He's not and then misses his tackle attempt. No real damage, but first down yielded.
M47 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Jones 4
Heitzman(-0.5) gets plowed back; he also lets a guy through, a guy that Hawthorne(-1) eats when he really should be able to scrape past it. Jones(+0.5) gets a hit on the pulling G at the LOS; Ojemudia(+0.5) can peel off and tackle thanks to the small hole created.
M43 2 6 Shotgun empty Dime Pass 5 Rollout out CGordon 15
Rollout away from pressure effective; again running off that outside corner and finding space underneath. No idea if this is Gordon or Richardson or just RPS; we'll give it to RPS. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M28 1 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble N/A 1
Thought this was a draw but no one releases downfield and the WRs are running routes, so just QB panic. No particular reason for this; unblocked LBs converge after a yard.
M27 2 9 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 6 Batted Bolden Inc
Bolden(+0.5) gets a free run(pressure +2) and hits the QB as he throws. RPS +1
M27 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 3-4 nickel Pass 6 Batted Clark Inc
Clark(+1) bats down an out that may or may not have had it; Hollowell in coverage that is not great.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(45), 56-13, 13 min 4th Q. It's walkon white CB time the next time UMass gets it; charting ceases.

THEY GOT SIX YARDS ON THAT ONE CARRY WERRRRR GON DIEEEEE

I was with you man, but then I was like "oh, they are putting 250 pound guys at DT and 230 pound guys as 3-4 DEs."

WERRR GON DIE?

Oh, I'm not saying we're not going to die. We may very well die. But the yards UMass was grabbing weren't evidence of things that should carry over against bigger opponents. They were evidence you should not expose Mario Ojemudia to OL double teams at this juncture.

wer gon live?

Well, the Big Ten sucks. I'm a little worried about what it means when Michigan is not even playing its DTs on first and ten. Okay, it's a sub package. Why run that on a potential running down even if you've got the nickel in there? Is it because you're wondering if you can get away with it against other opponents? What does that say?

Mattison talked up Washington, FWIW…

"I will say this, the one guy if you ask me to single out, one guy I was really really pleased with as far as seeing his technique really come on was Quinton Washington. When he went in there, he did some things that we have been trying to get done, and it was just the technique. I was real pleased with him.”

…so I'd wait on any conclusions you might draw from the substitution patterns until after the ND game. If you've got some extra heebie to go with your jeebie I can't say I disagree.

That said, Roh and Black did turn in nice games. Here's this—

CHEURTTTTR

--chart I've got.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 8 0.5 7.5 Tiny opponent funtime.
Campbell 0.5 1 -0.5 Not much PT.
Washington 3 0.5 2.5 Ditto.
Black 8 1.5 6.5 Snuffed his share of runs.
Brink 0.5 2 -1.5 Eh.
Ash - - - DNP
Pipkins 1 - 1 One play late.
Beyer - - - DNP
Heitzman - 1.5 -1.5 Needs weight. Ideally would not see field until 2013.
Clark 8 2.5 5.5 Whacks down all the passes.
Ojemudia 1 3 -2 Too small to be anything but situational pass rusher.
TOTAL 30 12.5 17.5 Problem solved forever you guys.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan - - - DNP
Demens 1.5 - 1.5 Didn't notice him do much either way.
Ryan 8.5 - 8.5 Essentially a DE in this game.
C. Gordon 1 - 1 Ditto.
Ross 3 2.5 0.5 Another couple blocks split; still think he got lost on misdirection.
Bolden 3.5 1 2.5 bring more BOOM plz
Hawthorne 1 2 -1 Nevermind the Hawthorne PT thing.
TOTAL 19 5.5 13.5 Jones also +0.5. Move Ryan to DL and this is a lot of nothing.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 3 - 3 Shoulda had a pick though.
Avery 2.5 2 0.5 Permanickel.
Taylor - 2 2 Flea flicker is the negative. Check cover metric below.
Kovacs 0.5 - 0.5 No deep passes at all.
T. Gordon 6 1 5 Various authoritative fills.
Holowell - - - DNC
Wilson - - - DNC
TOTAL 12 5 7 Not much to do.
Metrics
Pressure 15 2 13 No time… no time!
Coverage 19 7 12 Open downfield guys were about zero.
Tackling 5 3 62% Whiffs mostly on QB oddly.
RPS 8 11 -3 Weird personnel most of this.

That's about what you'd expect when an opponent's offense scores six points.

Overall numbers are low because of a low number of plays and a lot of dinky four-yard routes on which pushes are extremely common since the DL doesn't have time to get to the QB and the thing to do in the secondary is let the pass happen and tackle.

Is any of this meaningful? Doubt it.

We did get a few additions to Frank Clark's rapidly expanding collection of knocked-down scuds. If he keeps doing this I might start calling him the Patriot Missile.

I'm worried about everything DL related.

I feel you. At least Clark is making plays out there. He was batting stuff down, he got a one on one speed rush that almost racked up a safety…

…and he made some plays against the run. He does tend to get far upfield quickly, which is nice on passing plays but could expose Michigan to things like That Goddamned Counter Draw, which ND used for a big gain against the Spartans.

Meanwhile on the other side, quasi-DL Jake Ryan is playing at a high level. Those two guys are your pass rush. Their performance against ND will be crucial, especially since Golson loves rollouts, whether they're called or impromptu.

Also, Quinton Washington made a couple of plays. He's driving UMass's center back and blowing stuff up…

…so this is obviously going to happen against ND. But that's what Mattison was talking about. If your NT is not going to do that when single-blocked, thus demanding another guy, your linebackers are doomed. It's hard to put their iffy performances to date in perspective when the line is not helping them out at all.

Kind of pointy for Gordon there.

Yeah. I thought he came down well when Cox popped through the line. If he missed a tackle it was after he'd created a long enough delay to prevent any more yards from being gained, and he didn't often do that:

The coaches were talking him up over the course of camp and we're beginning to see a sliver of that there. Yes, UMass, etc.

What's this "covered" thing?

A high school coach convinced me that "unbalanced" was not a great term for plays on which only four guys are eligible receivers because one is covered on the LOS. So I'll go with covered since that's explicit. For the people asking why you'd do this, UMass had a play made possible by it:

Michigan adjusted after that first one when UMass tried it a couple more times. Here they've dragged coverage outside and gotten that counter to work since Kovacs is in man and can't get through the trash as the LBs attack the frontside.

Mike Cox is good?

While he's tough to bring down and fairly athletic, I totally get why coaches benched him. He has a bad tendency to miss holes and then start running around in the backfield in a way you can't get away with in college.

Heroes?

Everybody! The line mostly because UMass couldn't get past the line.

Goats?

Nobody.

What does it mean for ND and the future?

Another playmaking performance from Clark offers hope that Michigan can get some impact from their WDE spot. Notre Dame will be the big test for that. They probably should use NTs against the Irish, and Washington might be the man there. And… uh. Don't play Ojemudia as a five-tech?

It's UMass. It is not that useful.

Generally, this is going to be when we find out what happens against a bunch of mortals instead of the godly, dead, or bizarre. I'll be looking to see if Clark and Ryan can beat guys one on one on the edge, if Washington in particular can hold up—Campbell hope is flatlining—and looking out for Taylor on the edge. Moment of truth stuff this weekend.

I Got Jingos

I Got Jingos

Submitted by Brian on September 17th, 2012 at 10:59 AM

9/15/2012 – Michigan 63, UMass 13 – 2-1

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Eric Upchurch

I don't have anything incisive to say about Saturday's events. Even if I did it would be equivalent to taking a scalpel to a pig you dropped out of a hot air balloon: the scene speaks for itself, and you're not going to come out of it with ham.

I'm with this guy:

I started poking around previous events like this to figure out what you're supposed to say when the predictable thing that doesn't mean anything happens, finding this after the 2010 Bowling Green game:

It's been a long time since this has happened, but in the aftermath of a 721-yard outburst against a I-A opponent there's no grand emotional narrative arc to relate. Last year there was a sense of relief after the Western game; the Eastern game was a reminder that sometimes Michigan plays teams obviously worse than they are and beats the pants off them and isn't that nice but sometimes the quarterback goes down and that's not nice at all. The Bowling Green game was that minus a loss to a 3-9 MAC team the year prior—i.e., a pleasant nothing in which crappy special teams play was just an opportunity to rack up more yards on offense.

A couple years further removed from actual losses to these sorts of teams, or even vaguely competitive games and you can't even offer that paragraph. That game… existed.

Things happened, but the only ones you can derive anything slightly meaningful from are scattered opponent-independent events and those in which the domination was not dominating enough for your sense of optimism. Like the defensive line. You know, the one I tweeted my despondency about in the midst of giving up six points. Denard, who made everyone a little leery when he missed on any pass. Yeah, Michigan won by 50 but the only things that meant anything were a tiny bit bad because they implied you might be unhappy at a future date.

This is what happens when you play a UMass and you're still jumpy from the bad old days. Let's always be bored and have little to say, forever and ever, amen.

Photos

The Observer/MGoBlog cooperative had not one but two(!) guys on the sideline on Saturday. Regular man Eric Upchurch:

And new guy Bryan Fuller:

A bonus NOTE for anyone out there blogging: the MGoBlog flickr page now has tags and everything, so if you're looking for a Creative-Commons-licensed photo of player X, that's the place to find it. Just hit us with a link if you use one.

Highlights

This is all offense:

There's a shorter but more diverse MGoBlue version.

Bullets That Didn't Slip On Quite Enough Gore

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_3Brady Hoke not-that-epic double point of the week. Well… nearly 400 yards of total offense and another dump truck of articles wondering if this is something that will hold up in the big bad(?) Big Ten means it's Denard again, doesn't it?

Honorable mention: Fitzgerald Toussaint, Will Hagerup, Frank Clark, probably some OL.

EPIC DOUBLE POINT STANDINGS:

2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon (retroactively awarded for Alabama game)

Chasing Jim Mandich. Devin Funchess adds 34 yards and now needs 1355 to pass Jim Mandich. At his current pace he needs 29 games to do so.

The irrational worry that you all have too. Defensive tackles are killing us. Or will be killing us, at least. Possibly. QUALIFIERS. You get the idea.

Roh makes some plays here and there and will fill a hole, force a bounce, etc. Clark is making some plays, yes against not great competition, but that's something to hang a hat on maybe. The DTs? Yeesh.

It didn't help that Michigan ran a pass-defense crew out there with Roh and Black your two DTs with Clark/Ojemudia and SLB du jour at DE. That was their nickel setup and when Michigan ran it on standard downs the line let guys through. Usually for three or four or five yards, but we're talking about a team that has issues gaining one on most downs. Washington and Campbell weren't in much, were never in together, and Pipkins didn't make an appearance until garbage time. Ash was totally absent.

What do you make of that? Just practicing for what seems a very pass-reliant Notre Dame attack? Willfully giving up some rushing yardage just to get the linebackers reacting to QB draws and runs and whatnot? Or doom?

You can make a case for the former. Michigan started screwing around with their kickoffs to see if they could come up with anything better than Wile belting it eight yards into the endzone (verdict: no), and was probably just working on things they wanted to work on once the score got out of hand.

It gives me the willies, though. Especially Pipkins being exiled to the bench for so long. That implies he's further from the field than everyone wants him to be. Or that diabolical Hoke machinations are waiting for the ND game to spring the Great and Powerful Pipkins on unsuspecting Irish. That's the ticket.

7990023998_17dba3c643_z[1]Clark, at least. I know we've gotten just one and a half games from both Clark [@ right by Upchurch] and Beyer. Clark has had the full game versus UMass, Beyer the full game versus Alabama. This is not a strong basis for comparison.

Just eyeballing it, though, gives a clear edge to Clark. He is Making Plays™. Beyer didn't seem to be. Clark was by far the superior option against Air Force and was the most active DL on Saturday. He's making spectacular bat-downs of opponent passes something of a trademark. I like trademarks that aren't "I don't do anything much."

He and Ryan will have to get a ton of pass rush to keep heat off Michigan's secondary. Michigan really, really needs him to be a playmaker. He's the only guy who is consistently getting into the backfield even against the UMasses of the world.

FWIW, it looked like Ojemudia was doing a bunch of freshman things when he got in there. He'd overrun a play with a bad angle and let Cox cut back, giving up a big chunk, or he'd miss a tackle, etc. He's Clark last year.

7991699812_6844f6d5fb_b[1]Funchess. The touchdown was just Funchess being wide open and could have been scored by anyone on the roster, including guys out for the year with injuries. That third-down conversion was maybe something to hold on to despite it being Funchess's first catch of under 21 yards. [@ right by Fuller]

On that play Denard moved around a bit and fired a hard, low ball at the sticks. That was either a crappy throw or a great pass to keep it away from defenders; either way it was a tough, tough ball to dig out, especially when you're 6'5". Funchess had no problem. Give him hands to go with that frame and he doesn't have to add much weight—if any—to be a crippling matchup. If you've got a two-TE set out there the defense is either going nickel and giving Funchess someone he won't have much issue blocking or conceding the LB matchup that is never going to go well.

The wide receiver corps in general: hurray? Other than some of the guys being little buggers who are easy to overthrow, I think Denard's targets are way less of a concern than we thought they'd be at the beginning of the season. Funchess is a big part of that. Also coming through: Devin Gardner, who is looking downright comfortable three weeks in, and Drew Dileo, who may not be much to look at—he gets called the "white receiver" by his teammates, except he doesn't—but will snag that bullet you put too far in front of or behind him no problem.

Dileo's big reception was reminiscent of the key late crossing route he snagged against Ohio State, and twice this year he's kept his feet after tough catches for big hunks of YAC. He's a nice option to have.

Strength of competition disclaimers apply, but would you swap Michigan's WR/TEs for Notre Dame's? Maybe, but it's debatable. The Irish are running out versions of Jeremy Jackson (John Goodman) and Drew Dileo (the Toma kid), and Michigan's running out a guy who hopes to be Tyler Eifert (but fast!). How about Michigan State's receivers? No way. Ohio State's? Ask again later. I'll take that for a group that was supposed to be a weak point of the team.

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Fuller

One downer event here was Jerald Robinson not catching a 40-some yard TD pass that was in his hands. Before that he complicated matters by doing a 360 with the ball in the air—never good. If he'd just located the thing properly he could have used his body to separate from the DB and possibly have prevented the rake-out that occurred.

Oh, wait, right, the other thing.

Also a downer. The pick-six. Here's an endzone view:

That's a bad throw to a guy who was kind of open, but Jeremy Jackson being slow contributed a lot, too. He makes that post cut threat. The safety hardly reacts, then he jumps the out when Jackson rounds it off to the outside. That INT reminded me of Countess jumping a Jackson route in the spring game. Without any fear of being beat deep, that was easy pickings. Here you've got a UMass corner in straight man to man against a guy who threatens to go up the middle of the field by himself and still no separation.

I noticed something similar in the Air Force game when a heavily-pressured Denard fired one out to Jackson on third and long. Jackson had a shot to make the catch and could not, but wouldn't have gotten the first down anyway. Dileo was running the same route on the opposite side of the screen and had enough separation for some nice YAC. The smaller guys are harder to hit but they get away from opponents a lot more easily.

(Yeah, Denard has a couple other guys open here. He's also got an unblocked guy in his face and a player in man to man who should be able to get separation. It's not the decision but a combination of the throw and the route that are problems. I'm guessing Denard is repeating what Borges says here:

"It was a good read, just a bad throw," Robinson said.

)

The bu—LAZER screen. Michigan threw a couple of them. They gained nice yardage, because they always do. Borges has renamed it the LAZER(!) screen—the Z, I feel, is implied—and will hopefully swallow his pride long enough to test it out against Notre Dame. The Irish got smoked on all manner of WR screens against Purdue and it was only Zeke Motta making a great play that held down MSU's attempt.

MSU does not have a Gallon, and with Slaughter out Motta is either going to be in center field or Notre Dame will be rolling with a redshirt freshman who played WR last year as the last line of defense. Here's hoping the new nomenclature allows Borges to go after ND's inexperienced CBs and their tackling early and often.

TURNOVERS! Ain't got none. Problem? Eh. Most of Michigan's first two games were spent defending all of the runs, and the third did not feature many defensive plays at all. Opponents have fumbled seven times, but Michigan's only recovered two. One was Hagerup beaning the returner in the head, the other the meaningless one at the end of the half. Michigan has recovered two of seven fumbles on D and both of their offensive fumbles. So, like … about half.

Oh, that's too small of a sample size, you say? I hate you so much.

The real turnover concern. If Michigan can't get pressure on the QB, they will suffer a decline in fumbles and ill-advised passes generated, and without Mike Martin and RVB that seems a virtual certainty unless Clark busts out enormously. Save us, Mattison zone blitz machine.

 

Atmospherics

Cooper Barton. …probably shouldn't have gotten a bigger cheer than Ron Kramer. Priorities, people. Now we're just waiting for him to release a song on Youtube ("Michigannnn, Michigannnnn, gotta get down on Michigannnnnnnn") they'll play every game.

But he is cute!

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Maize and Blue Nation

Seriously. That is a cute five year old. Someone cast him as a gnome in something. Preferably something in which gnomes make no sense, like the next Fast and the Furious movie.

But at least there's a hole. Second straight week we were mercifully without "In The Big House." I'd crumble to my knees in thankfulness if there wasn't a small child in front of me who would kick me in the face as a result.

Heiko? This is not professional. BUT IT IS AWESOME

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(This is not actually Heiko. Obviously.)

7991670392_ef69906f5e_z[1]Kramer jersey. Giving it to Moore [@ right by Fuller] clears up a lot of things: they're just going to hand them out to people, they're not going to make sure they're stars, and anyone can get them. I'm not even sure they'll make sure they're around every year now, but I'd guess once the jersey is vacated someone will hop on it. I'd bet Butt or Hill is wearing #87 next year.

I do wish those patches were a little less busy. Last name, years present, those things better, no border. /boom runway'd.

There are other players. Michigan's still struggling to make their video boards not useless hunks of metal that annoy you with any advertisements they think they can get away with. To date this has been a struggle, but they took a big step forward last week by telling the goof running the replays to zoom out so you could see more than the texture of the ball. I have no idea when they made this change because I didn't even bother to look at the replay board until the second half, so well have they trained me to believe that there is nothing of use on it.

Speaking of…

There is no middle ground between nothing and everything. Spartan Stadium put their meat on the table with scoreboards BIGGER and MORE POWERFUL than Michigan Stadium's. Reviews:

You Know What Would Look Really Sweet On The Scoreboards??

    Some f---ing statistics. 5,412 square feet of scoreboard and you can't put any kind of statistics up at any point??? I literally never saw any stats at all the entire night. Hell, with our anemic offense, you only would have needed about 10 square feet for our stats. I'm glad to see that Huntington, Pepsi, GMC, Fly Lansing, and every other f---ing company in this damn state is sponsoring us, but I feel like it wouldn't be too much to ask to set aside some room on the ribbon to put stats up. There were points that the sponsor area on the scoreboard just had the MSU logo or some little design. I don't know why you can't put some stats up at that point. …
    That just really annoyed me and I'm just in a bad mood. Might already be a thread on this. Didn't look. Don't care.
    /rant

The only thing preventing Dave Brandon from doing this is the threat of outright revolt in the fanbase. That's something he's directly stated multiple times in the pass. He's already fitting advertising in anywhere he can. The poles outside the sections went from vaguely-plausible-here-is-our-Stubhub-partnership ads to flat-out Consumer's Power, Whichever Bank is the Sponsor Now things.

It's a slippery slope and any relaxation in the posture will result in the kind of stuff described in the blockquoute above. Remain strong, my people.

Hype videos. They're missing something this year. I really liked the last couple years with the people saying the things; now there are no people saying the things. Probably too late this year, but for 2013 how about something based around the famous Yost quote the HSR deploys on its sidebar?

"But do let me reiterate the spirit of Michigan. It is based upon a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways; an enthusiasm that makes it second nature for Michigan men to spread the gospel of their university to the world's distant outposts; a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours."

--Fielding H. Yost upon his retirement as Michigan's athletic director in 1942.

Maybe you need to tighten it up a little, sure.

Throw that in the mix with last year's "Team, Championships, Heismans" thing and Bo's The Team The Team The Team speech and you've got a nice rotation.

Here

Inside the Boxscore resolves a mystery anyone watching at home experienced:

During one random play in the game, two M defenders ended up hitting the UMass ballcarrier at the same time, from opposite sides. The B1G Network announcer called this a “Malachi Crunch.” There’s nothing like B1G announcers breaking out a 36 year old reference to describe a play. For those still in college reading this diary, the “Malachi Crunch” refers to a demolition derby move employed by the Malachi brothers against Pinky Tuscadero, as shown in a three-part 1976 episode of Happy Days. Fonzi risked his life to rescue Pinky. Then, he baited the Malachi Brothers into trying the move on him. He moved his car at the last moment, causing the Brothers to Crunch themselves. I think providing you with this bit of worthless trivia is entirely consistent with my avatar.

Hawthorne(!) was our leading tackler.

Hoke For Tomorrow:

Will Hagerup - This guy is back and better than ever.  I must have re-watched the 70-yard-in-the-air blast off the facemask of befuddled UMass return man 7 times minimum.  Punts like that could be game-changers going forward.

Elsewhere

Media things and things. Things and stuff from Baumgardner. Meinke notes that Michigan should have Morgan, Beyer and Hopkins back for ND. Meinke on Robinson's assault on the Michigan record book:

Robinson threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns Saturday during No. 17 Michigan's 63-10 win over Massachusetts, passing both Brady and Harbaugh on the school's all-time list to move into fifth place overall.

In addition, he's now just 91 total yards shy of passing Henne and becoming Michigan's all-time leader in career total offense.

"To be honest with you," Robinson said after the game. "The only thing I think about is winning, and coming out and being accountable for my team.

Robinson has now thrown for 5,630 yards in his four-year career, and is 208 shy of Todd Collins for fourth all-time. He's also racked up 9,210 total yards with both his feet and his arm, just 91 shy of Henne's all-time mark.

The Daily on Cooper's day out. Vincent Goodwill at the news has a novel take on things: Denard is too important. Meinke is like "how does Michigan use Denard less" and I'm like "isn't it clear that's never happening by now?"

The Daily on the band.

Blog stuff and stuff. Hinton finds an excellent picture of a terrified umpire:

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I have no idea where this comes from

Hinton's survey of the CFB landscape is heavy on the Big Ten. We're not good!

Outside of Northwestern's 3-0 run in the Smartypants Series, Big Ten teams are 1-8 against their peer group, before accounting for other marks of shame like Minnesota's overtime escape from UNLV, Wisconsin's ongoing struggles with the likes of Northern Iowa and Utah State (see below) and Penn State's loss to Ohio U. of Ohio. Even the apparent bellwether, Ohio State – setting aside the fact that the apparent bellwether is coming off a 6-7 record in 2011 and is ineligible for the conference championship under a first-year coach –legitimately struggled Saturday to put away Cal at home. That still stands along with Michigan State's win over Boise State as the most valuable non-conference skins on Jim Delany's wall, and unless Michigan delivers another dagger to Notre Dame's fragile psyche next week in South Bend, it will have to hold up until the bowl season. Who's looking forward to that?

The prize for winning the conference now appears to be an execution at the hands of Oregon, USC, or Stanford in Pasadena.

MVictors is calling Brandon "#1000SSS" for some reason:

Old 98?:  Speaking of Legends and #1000SSS…while Tom Harmon is listed on the game tickets to be honored October 20th before the Michigan State game there has been no announcement of any formal plan to honor the 1940 Heisman Trophy winner.   My understanding is that it’s not dead yet and U-M is still trying to talk to the family.  Stay tuned. 

My ask: if we don’t honor Harmon, how about honoring Willis Ward on that day, the 78th anniversary of the fateful Georgia Tech game?

(P.S. do you remember the last time Harmon was featured on a Michigan football ticket?  Avert your eyes!).

Touch The Banner:

Oh by the way, f*** you guys. UMass running back Michael Cox, who played for Michigan from 2008-2011, had a pretty solid game for the Minutemen.  He ended with 18 carries for 76 yards (4.2 yards per carry) behind a bad offensive line with not much of an aerial attack.  There were a couple plays where he ran east-and-west when there was no hole, losing a chunk of yards.  But he had some impressive runs against a Michigan defense that should have been able to clamp down on the running game.  I never really thought Cox was a superstar, but I did think that he deserved a shot to play when the aforementioned Smith was being used as a feature back.  The knocks on him were always fumbling (he never fumbled at Michigan, though there was a botched exchange in this game), learning the playbook (I didn't see any missed assignments in this game), and running east-west too much (perhaps a fair criticism).

Everyone knew that was coming. I don't necessarily disagree, but the guy just reverses field all the time, and this has to drive coaches nuts.

Photos from Maize and Blue Nation. Here's Cox saying hi postgame:

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UMGoBlue also has a gallery.

HSR:

Ordinary is underrated.  Seriously.  Christianity calls any of its non holiday seasons "Ordinary Time" after all.  But, if we have learned nothing else from our social media revolution, it's that there is a certain beauty and joy in the every day, in the expected, in the run of the mill. That is, as Ann Howard Creel put it, the Magic of Ordinary Days.

Other recaps from Maize and Go Blue and Holding the Rope, plus M&GB taking a quick look at ND.