Picture Pages: Lack Of Massive Cutback Lane

Picture Pages: Lack Of Massive Cutback Lane

Submitted by Brian on November 24th, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Yesterday I put up an analysis of a simple iso that cut back behind Mike Martin and picked up ten yards. In the comments Magnus mentioned he thought this must be a mistake on someone's part because when you have the DT and MLB both heading to the playside A gap your defense is no longer "gap sound"—ie does not have one guy in every place a tailback can go—and things like ten yard iso plays result.

This resulted in some discussion about how the MLB's job in the 3-3-5 is to "make the nose right", IE fill the other A gap depending on what the nose does. This is a phrase unleashed to the world by Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 DVD, and I think it's what West Virginia does with its middle linebacker. It's evidently not what Michigan is doing with Demens when he's aligned in what I've come to think of as the Gergbacker position. Demens doesn't have time to make anyone right because he's too close to the play; he picks a side of the line and goes into the guard.

Another commenter complained that I shouldn't criticize Van Bergen for getting locked out upfield on this particular play because I can't be sure what his assignment is. That's true and a frustration I often have but amongst Wisconsin's brain-melting array of second half runs there is a serendipitous iso that Michigan stops that demonstrates the trends from yesterday's post and suggests that the key guy on a cutback is indeed the backside DE.

It's first and ten on the Michigan 41 in the midst of Wisconsin's first soul-crushing ground based touchdown drive of the second half. Wisconsin comes out in the same I-form they showed on the play featured yesterday. Michigan goes with basically the same stack look as well, though they've flipped Kovacs and Avery. The backup DL (Banks, Patterson, Black) is in:

iso-no-1

A moment after the snap we see a difference: the backside tackle is releasing downfield instead of blocking Banks out of the play. That's left to the TE. He gets slanted under:

iso-no-2

A moment later we see that Patterson is getting playside of the center… and Demens is shooting into the same gap to take on whoever shows up. Banks is sliding down the line behind them; also note that Jibreel Black has beaten the block of the RT and is coming upfield.

iso-no-5

At the handoff point Patterson is beating his guy and Demens is about to slam into a guard at the LOS. In doing so he halts all progress from both the G bubbled over him and the FB. Massive cutback lane would result, except Banks is right on the center's hip. Black is now through the tackle totally and converging; tailback has nowhere to go:

iso-no-4

Wad of bodies…

iso-no-7

…and two yards.

iso-no-8

So. To continue the Week of Defensiveness, usually these plays are picked because they illustrate a larger trend—Kenny Demens runs at the playside guard all day and eats facemask, and I'm pretty sure the design of this defense has a backside DE assigned to an A-gap. My choice here was between criticizing Van Bergen for getting locked out so easily or Greg Robinson for putting him in a tough position. The right answer is some of both, probably.

Object lesson type objects:

  • This is a slight variation on the play yesterday. Yesterday Wisconsin kept the backside T in to block Van Bergen and ended up blocking Mouton with a guard. Here the guard attempts to slide over on Patterson and the T is assigned Mouton. These seem like subtly different playcalls with the first designed to cut back and the second to go straight upfield.
  • Kenny Demens really does just run to the playside A gap all game, where he enjoys a scone with the DT. Here it works, though the next play is a 12 yard Down G run, the play after a four yard power play, and the play after that a 23-yard Down G touchdown.
  • So that means your options on the cutback are backside DE or no one. Here Banks gets a relatively easy task since the guy lined up over him heads downfield and he can just slide along the line; Van Bergen had that guy blocking him. Still, the results were not so good and were repeated on a number of other runs.
  • I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea. And not just on general principles! Having the backside DE clean up behind the NT  seems like a thing that would work in the 4-3 where the backside DE is actually a DT inside of the tackle. In this scheme he releases downfield or he's got what seems like easy work to seal out a guy who's supposed to be an A-gap player.
  • How about Jibreel Black beating a block and being useful on a run play? Woo progress!

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on November 17th, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Formation notes: Against a bad spread rushing attack Michigan went with the stack most of the game, with occasional changeups to a slanting four-man front and extremely rare eight man fronts as Michigan spent the entire day in a two deep for the first time in a while. They got away with this despite not having Martin or Mouton, but I don't think that will hold up against non-Purdue offenses.

This got pulled out occasionally. It's more of a 3-4 look with the stack linebackers pulled to the strong side and Gordon coming down from his position over the slot:

3-3-5 something

When Michigan moved that DE inside to be a three-tech I called this "4-3 light".

Substitution notes: Mostly Patterson with some Sagesse at NT. Black and Banks got spot duty replacing Roh and RVB at DE. Demens went the whole way at MLB with Ezeh, Moundros, and Fitzgerald rotating through the OLB spots. Cam Gordon got almost all the time at spur with a few plays from Johnson; the secondary was Rogers/Avery/Vinopal/Kovacs the whole way.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA scramble Van Bergen 3
Siller at QB with Henry the I-back. Woo Purdue 2010. Not sure what to call the formation as it's a 3-3-5 that slides the linebackers to the strong side and has Fitz on the line as a standup DE next to Roh. I'm just going with stack. Van Bergen(+1, pressure +1) reads the rollout and gets upfield of the pulling guard, forcing Siller back inside. He then threatens to sack and Siller has to scramble. It looks like he might get five before Roh and Kovacs converge; he pulls up lame and falls about three yards downfield.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Midline keeper Gordon 6
I can't tell if this is midline or if they just set Roh free. Probably midline. Roh attacks the tailback and that seems to be the right play because M has more players to the QB run and does not want this going backside. Patterson successfully fights inside of his blocker, the playside guard, and I think that's right too because this forces Henry outside where Gordon and Vinopal are with just one blocker. Gordon(-1) needs to attack this hard one way or the other but hesitates, throwing a lame shoulder into the blocker two yards downfield and allowing Henry a lane inside. Demens and Vinopal converge to tackle just short of the sticks.
O34 3 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Run   Jet sweep reverse Kovacs? 0
Jet sweep to a reverse that catches Michigan because RVB(-1) did not read the play and flowed down the line too close to the LOS. Moundros is also gone to the frontside but I think he has to be. This could get some major yards but as Henry comes back to block RVB he hits the runner, robbing him of his momentum and allowing Kovacs to come up. Kovacs(-0.5, tackling -1) misses the tackle but the cavalry has arrived.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Lucky break there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 2
Michigan clearly not afraid of Henry throwing as they run a corner blitz, something I don't think they've done all year. Avery has backside contain so Roh can slide down the line hard, getting inside of the backside blocker, a FB, and erasing cutback lanes. Patterson(+1) gets doubled and manages to hold up okay. He chucks the guy going playside, hurling him off balance. This allows Demens(+0.5) to fill unmolested for an easy tackle. RPS+1.
O38 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA rollout out Rogers Inc
Kovacs rolls up and the LBs are shifted over so this is more of a 3-4 look. Purdue runs a rollout pass that Ezeh(+0.5) cuts off the outside on, forcing a throw. This is a receiver well-covered by Rogers, and while the throw is upfield it kind of has to be because Rogers(+2, cover +2) appears to break this up despite the upfieldness of the throw. Huh.
O38 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   QB draw Avery 8
Patterson(-0.5) gets shoved way out of the hole, opening up a difficult amount of space. Moundros(+1) actually gets outside a block quickly and forces a bounce outside, where Avery(-1) got too far inside to string the play out appropriately and Kovacs(-0.5) can't arrive at the right angle to tackle Henry straight on, possibly halting him before he picks up the two yards he needs here.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inverted power veer Banks 2 + 15 pen
Line blocks down except for the playside DE, who kicks out Fitzgerald, and the backside G, who pulls around to block Banks. Banks(+1) reads the pull and does not shoot down the line as expected, instead changing course to block the lead blocker. Ezeh flows up on the RB fake, Henry keeps, and his hole is constricted because of Banks and Demens(+0.5); Banks comes off to tackle after a short gain but grabs a facemask, drawing a call. Good play otherwise.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 Light Run   Inside zone Banks 1
Michigan shifts its line down as Ezeh rolls up into a standup DE position; Banks slides in to be a three tech and this is a 4-3 under line with two LBs behind it and Gordon flexed over a slot receiver. This catches Purdue, allowing Banks(+1) to slant under the RG instantly. He's drawing two guys and not even getting blocked. A cutback must happen; Ezeh(+0.5) has flowed down the line to tackle with an assist from Purdue's LT. RPS+1.
M35 2 9 I-form big 4-3 Light Pass N/A PA rollout hitch Demens 7
Blitz up the middle from Moundros; pocket rolls and Michigan rolls with it. Ezeh(+0.5) hits the edge and cuts off the rollout, forcing a pullup and an uncomfortable throw for Robinson. Demens(-0.5) was in good position but actually got ahead of the TE a bit so a throw behind the guy is makeable and made; Demens does tackle immediately.
M27 3 2 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inverted power veer Roh -5
This must be a missed assignment or a missed read or maybe just a terrible playcall they needed to get out of but didn’t, because Roh(+1) is totally unblocked and can tear upfield at the exchange point, nailing the RB as he gets the ball and forcing a fumble. If Robinson kept he was going to get destroyed by a blitzing Ezeh(+1), who flew past a tackle too quickly to react, and a blitzing Gordon. Ball hits the turf and Gordon(+1) has the presence of mind to scoop and score. RPS+3--very hard for a D to get a +3, but this play was a guaranteed five yard loss in the best case scenario for Purdue with a serious danger of worse.
Drive Notes: Defensive TD, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q. Announcer exclaims "he's got a chance!" as Gordon crosses the 15 with no Purdue guy within 10 yards. Ya think?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   QB power off tackle Banks 4
Johnson in at spur—I thought he was a deep safety now? Purdue has the TE block down on Banks and pulls the two guys inside around. RB means three lead blockers. Banks(+1) gets outside the downblock, which is good because Demens(-1) sucked way up on an end-around fake and is gone. If this breaks through the line it's a big gain. Fitz(+0.5) gets outside a tackle, forcing Henry to bounce it all the way out; Johnson takes a double and ends up falling, allowing a cutback lane; Rogers and Kovacs converge for a tackle.
O24 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run   Down G stretch Demens 14
Or something? I don’t know if a good run offense can do this because you never rep any individual play enough to make it a base but lord Purdue does a lot of stuff on the ground. It's fun to watch even if it never does anything. Here the Purdue line blocks down as Michigan runs the same slant they did to get a one-yard gain on the previous play. Slant usually means linebackers flowing the other way to pickup cutbacks; here Demens(-2) pulls an Ezeh and sits. Purdue pulls a guard around, another tip for Demens to GTFO, but the C can just roll downfield and get a block on him--there's no way this should happen, Demens should be playside of the C easily. He gets crushed and there's a huge gap that's taken for a first down.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Demens? 4 (Pen -15)
What is Demens doing? Here it's a simple stretch that he's seen a million times before and instead of flowing hard he hops upfield of the guy attempting to block him. He's gone. Black(-0.5) is effectively sealed by the downblock. Moundros(+0.5) comes up to whack the pulling G and forces it inside, catching Kovacs(-0.5) coming too far outside and Demens in nowhereville, except... Demens ran down the line like a mother and actually helps tackle? Gah. I had a minus for him but am forced to erase it. I don't understand what happens here at all. Sagesse is chopped, anyway.
O23 1 25 I-form 4-3 Light Pass 5 Screen Inc
Blitz; Moundros was in the area of the screen but it looks like if the QB just calms down and throws an open pass this is a good chunk. No RPS- because it's first and twenty five.
O23 2 25 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Draw Patterson -1
A draw play to Rob Henry. Sure. Patterson(+1) takes a momentary double, then fights inside his blocker instead of getting way out of the middle of the field. This forces a bounce. Demens(+1) fills the next hole, leaving Henry on the edge with Johnson(+1), who makes a solid tackle(+1) on the edge.
O22 3 26 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 TE out 6
Give up and punt. Two tacklers in the area (cover +1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Roh 3
Man, Purdue seems to chop block again, this time on Patterson. Roh(+1) does a good job of refusing the down block and holding his guy at the LOS. Kovacs cuts off the corner and Moundros(+1) hits the pulling G in the hole. Moundros and Roh close the hole off with their bodies as the RB enters, creating a pile. OL shoving pushes it forward.
O33 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Roh 5
Roh(-1) slants under the tackle like whoah but takes an angle too far upfield and instead of murdering the play he lets it playside; LBs are shifted backside and waiting for a cutback so Purdue has room. Demens takes on a block that he's got no chance of defeating; Vinopal(-0.5) fills w/ help from Ezeh pursuit, but not that well.
O38 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Run   Zone read keeper Van Bergen? 26
This is a bust on someone's part as RVB flows down the line and Ezeh hits it up inside, no scrape. I find this incredibly frustrating since this keeps happening in every game and it is never clear whose error it is. Henry is clean into the secondary for a big gainer. RPS -2, RVB -2 because my default is that the DE is the guy.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   Inside zone Demens 27
Henry again except this time as a tailback. Michigan moves the LBs before the snap, sending Moundros into the line as a blitzer and having Roh tear after the QB to force a handoff. Demens(-2) has help to the outside in the form of Roh and is totally unblocked but wanders to the backside of the play and is in no position to tackle. It looks like they're using Moundros as a blitzer because they don't trust him in space and would like to get all their guys single blocked, allowing Demens to read and tackle. Here Moundros stands his guy up at the line and funnels it back at Demens and he's just not there. Vinopal(-2) whiffs a tackle, turning 15 into 27. (tackling -2)
M9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Run   Zone stretch Roh 4
Michigan stunting Roh and Sagesse; Roh(-0.5) bumps Sagesse as he slants inside, delaying him and opening up a crease. The stunt does pick off a pulling guard and get Demens a free run at the hole, which he takes, tackling; Moundros(-0.5) got kicked out too far and gave the RB room to build up momentum before the contact.
M5 2 G Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   QB lead draw Roh -1
Michigan stunts and gets both Fitzgerald(+1) and Roh(+1) in the hole. One blocker, two guys, no screwup, good play. (RPS +1)
M6 3 G Shotgun trips TE bunch 4-3 Light Pass 4 TE cross Johnson 3
Robinson has time but does not let his routes develop, chucking a quick TE cross that Johnson(+1, cover +1) is in position to tackle on immediately.
Drive Notes: FG, 14-3, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Delay Sagesse 6
Delay sees a backside tackle pull around as Sagesse is doubled. Moundros and Demens get outside of blockers, funneling it back to help that never comes because Ezeh got cut off by a center peeling off Sagesse(-1). Excellent example of why you need your nose to demand a double in this D.
O32 2 4 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Power dive Van Bergen -1
Van Bergen(+1) slants inside the tackle and picks off a pulling guard. Sagesse swam through a double and managed to hold his ground okay, though he's still getting blocked a yard downfield. Demens and Ezeh are in the area and convince the RB to bounce. Gordon(+0.5) has set up in the right spot so there's no hole and Ezeh(+1) is unblocked but read the play quickly to make a tackle at the LOS.
O31 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide tight 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Ezeh Inc
Robinson drops back and throws a quick hitch into an eight man coverage that Ezeh(+1) bats down. This is a super easy breakup as Robinson stares down his WR and Ezeh barely has to move to get the PBU, so no +2 this time. (cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Bubble screen? Inc
Michigan sends the house as Dierking motions from the slot into the backfield, and Purdue throws a… something. I think it was supposed to be a bubble screen but the two receivers went downfield and seemed to be blocking. That's fine for the outside guy, but not so much the slot.
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Moundros 15
Just six in the box but M blitzes Avery to provide a seventh. TE blocks down on Roh and two OL pull around. Avery(+0.5) does a good job to come up quickly and get outside of one a yard in the backfield, constricting a hole. Moundros(-2) can fill it by himself if he takes on a block in the right spot but runs way too far outside and actually bashes into the Avery block, giving Dierking a big lane just past the outstretched arm of a spinning Roh. Demens didn't flow down the line because he saw a big cutback lane caused by Patterson(-1) getting cut and hit that. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Kovacs has to get outside a WR to force it back to Vinopal; Vinopal(+0.5) closes and tackles(+1).
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Roh 0
Roh(+2) can't quite slant under the Purdue tackle trying to block him but does get him pushing really hard to get his helmet across. He responds by chucking the lineman past him, coming under, and pounding Dierking at the LOS. Patterson(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) had cut off the frontside, forcing the cutback.
M30 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 1
Michigan comes out in a 4-4 cover zero and checks into the stack after Purdue checks. Patterson(+1) takes a double and holds up; Demens(+0.5) hits the hole quickly and meets the peeling C at the LOS; Moundros(+0.5) is unblocked and tackles at the LOS. Multiple Purdue linemen were wandering around wondering who to block after the check. RPS +1
M29 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv Avery Inc
Robinson has forever and a day in the pocket but can't find anyone (cover +2) and eventually has to roll out as Roh comes free. Pressure only -1 because RVB got a holding call… eventually. Robinson rolls out and throws a bad idea to the sideline that Avery(+1, cover +1) is all over. He should really intercept but it's a little low and it falls to the turf. Hooray freshman QB.
Drive Notes: FG(46), 14-13, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Inc
Overthrown. Outcome unknown if on target.
O31 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen Van Bergen 4
Van Bergen(+1) reads the screen when the offensive lineman Olé! blocks him and comes from behind to tackle with some help from Demens.
O35 3 6 I-form twins 4-3 Light Run   Delay Avery 0
Late move to a four man line. Roh(+1) gets under his blocker and refuses to be down-blocked as Avery tears off the corner on a blitz. Patterson(+1) gets playside of his blocker, forcing a cutback into Roh; Avery(+1) tackles from behind.
Drive Notes: EOH, 14-13. Hail Mary not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Fitzgerald 5
I'm not sure what the Purdue OL are attempting to do but I think it's scoop the two playside DL. They get neither, so +0.5 Patterson and RVB. RB has to bounce; he can because a hesitant Fitzgerald(-1) got hit by a TE a yard downfield instead of at the LOS or in the backfield and the RB has a lane outside. Gordon closes it down and Demens scrapes from the inside to help.
O39 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Bubble screen Vinopal 2
This is less a bubble than just a slot screen since the WR is standing instead of orbiting outside. Michigan blitzes from the playside so it's Vinopal(+2, tackling +1) one-on-one with the WR. He attacks, gets in the right spot, forms up, forces the WR inside, and sees his tackle attempt almost run through but not quite; WR goes down for two and even if he stayed up Kovacs was going to light him up.
O41 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   QB draw Van Bergen -2
Yakety sax from Purdue as McBurse does not get the play call and goes for a mesh point with Henry. They bump and there's no lead blocker. I don't think it would have mattered because RVB(+2) slanted under the OG in a flash and was either going to destroy McBurse and force Henry into an unblocked Gordon or just destroy Henry. RPS+1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-13, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 I-form 4-3 Light Run   Iso Roh 6 (Pen -8)
I can't tell who this is on. Michigan stunts its DTs, which isn't relevant. The relevant bit: Roh slants hard under the strongside tackle, which leaves a TE and FB with great angles to block Demens and Gordon. If Roh was supposed to do this the linebackers need to flow hard behind him to pick up the slack on the strongside. They don't. There's two of them and one of Roh so I think it's on him(-1). Demens should still get outside the TE and has an opportunity to do so but doesn't, so the RB can zip off tackle quickly. This is dangerous but Vinopal(+1, tackling +1) fills quickly and makes a solid tackle to hold the gain down. He's pretty good when he's taking on guys his size. Problem: he is tiny. Play comes back on a holding call on the guy blocking Demens, so he avoids a minus.
M32 1 18 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Throwback TE screen Moundros 9
Moundros(+1) reads it and shoots out into the play. He can't make the tackle but he does suck up a blocker and force the play inside. With a TE four yards behind the LOS and no blockers that should be a win. He's got some room; Avery forms up to force him into Ezeh(-1, tackling -1), who does tackle but lets the TE inside off him and turns five yards into nine.
M23 2 9 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Wheel of doom Moundros Inc
There are people vaguely in the area code this week but Moundros(-2, cover -2) is at least five yards away from the tailback and probably can't prevent a TD if ball is accurate. Ball is not, it's short and outside. Ezeh(+1, pressure +1) came up hard and made life difficult. Still RPS -1.
M23 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout throwaway Ezeh Inc
Purdue rolls away from the pocket; no one immediately open (cover +1). Ezeh(+2) avoids a cut block, keeps his feet, gets outside the pulling guard, and shoots up to sack Robinson, except Robinson chucks the ball out of bounds at the last second. (Pressure +2.)
Drive Notes: FG(40), 20-16, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone read keeper Kovacs 12
Kovacs(-2) is rolling up to the LOS and must be the contain guy with the LBs sticking inside; Black is blocked on the backside. He sucks inside, lets Henry outside, and gives up a big gain.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Pass N/A Long handoff Inc
Dropped.
O48 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   TGDCD 8
That Goddamned Counter Draw. Avery(-1) is blitzing to the eventual playside and Purdue's WR lined up over him actually drives down to block him, and does so effectively. Have not seen that before. Moundros(+0.5) finds himself in space and can cut past OL to force a bounce but with Avery both inside and blocked the corner's open; RB takes it until Kovacs comes up to make an okay tackle. RPS -1, but I'm not mad, just impressed with the little adjustment from Purdue.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Fade Avery Inc
Check from 4-3 to stack after a Purdue check. Avery(-1, cover -1) beaten on a fade route that must have had a double move because he gets shook like whoah; ball is way overthrown.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Iso Demens 2
Deception on this play as it looks like Purdue is down-blocking and sending players to the frontside but the path of the RB is straight upfield. Given the blocking if Demens(+1) doesn't fall for it the play is dead; he doesn't and attacks unblocked to tackle at the LOS. Ezeh(+0.5) took on the FB and came off to help, as well. BTW: possible this is a Purdue bust.
O48 2 8 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Sack Johnson -2
First read covered(+1) and then Ezeh(+0.5) is out on the corner, forcing more scrambling outside. Robinson decides to take off; Johnson(+1) fills nicely to bang him out of bounds for a sack(!) short of the sticks. Pressure +1.
O46 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Yakety sax Rogers Int
Rollout to the trips. Van Bergen(+1) is immediately upfield and gets outside the RB's attempted chop. He's also outside the pulling G. Robinson slows up and then heads to the sideline as RVB gets smashed to the ground by the G. Roh(+1) has spun past the other tackle and is now charging from behind. As he's about to sack Robinson runs up; Ezeh(+0.5) fills and Robinson chucks it directly at James Rogers(+1, cover +1), who intercepts. Not so good. Pressure +2.
Drive Notes: Interception, 20-16, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Pin and pull zone Moundros 3
Playside TE blocks down on Roh and the entire left side of the line pulls. Moundros(+1) shoots up into the play and takes a double from the pullers; Kovacs fills and gets help from Patterson(+0.5), who bounced off a cut attempt and flowed down the line to prevent YAC.
O29 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Hitch Gordon 9
Gordon's actually blitzing here and his issue is getting cut to the ground(-1, pressure -1) as the part of the five man rush that gets a free run at the tailback. He's out, and this opens up a guy on the sidelines between Vinopal and Rogers (cover -1).
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Patterson 2
They block down on Black and get him(-0.5), pulling two guys around and shooting a lineman off Patterson and at Demens immediately. This is tough for M because Moundros has to run out to get the outside shoulder of one lead blocker and Demens is getting shoved past the play by the immediate release of the C. Purdue's banking on getting Patterson out of the play, then. Reasonable, and wrong. Patterson(+1) again bounces off the cut and flows down the line to tackle thanks to the good Moundros(+1) fill and forced inside cutback.
O40 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE Hitch Inc
Five yard route zinged five yards wide.
O40 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Moundros 5
Moundros(+1) is on top of it, shooting past one of the releasing blockers and getting tackled. He draws a flag. Avery(+0.5) is also there to attack at the LOS. His tackle(-1) is run through but does delay Dierking quite a bit, allowing three Wolverines to rally and tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 12 min 4th Q. Hagerup's 72-yard bomb precedes the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O3 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Long handoff Avery 39
Avery(-3, tackling -3) completely whiffs on a simple WR screen, turning five or six yards into many many yards.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Yakety sax -6
Aaaand Purdue fumbles it right back without a single Michigan player breathing on anyone. Thanks, dude.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-16, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Triple option pitch Moundros 0
Henry pitches way too fast and does not eliminate Moundros(+1), so Moundros runs out to the edge and forces the pitch guy back inside of him, where five Wolverines gang-tackle. More bad play from Purdue than anything awesome M did.
O20 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flare Avery 1
Nowhere to go on a three man rush(cover +2) so Henry checks down to a covered Dierking, who is again gang tackled after bouncing off Avery.
O21 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Scramble Patterson 1
Michigan gets a stunt to work as Roh drives into the middle of the line and Patterson(+1) loops around to pressure(+1) Henry. He starts scrambling around; Patterson peels back and engages behind the LOS; pile falls forward, robbing him of a sack. Que sera.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 6 min 4th Q. Purdue's funny/sad final drive is not charted.

So did that mean anything?

No. Let's just get that out of the way. No, it did not mean anything. Purdue's offense has now scored 19 meaningful points over the last four weeks and while OSU, Illinois, and Wisconsin all have much better defenses than Michigan so many of the stops Michigan got were Purdue shooting itself in the face that it's impossible to tell if anything got better in a real sense.

If you look at the—

Chart.

Chart, you'll see this in numbers:

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 7 3 4 May have been unfairly blamed for the big Henry keeper.
Martin - - - DNP
Banks 3 - 3 Did well in limited time.
Sagesse - 1 -1 Ceded most of his time to Patterson for a reason.
Patterson 7.5 1.5 6 !!! Happy to see him get a start and he did legitimately well with it.
Black - 1 -1 No pass rush necessary so ate bench.
Roh 7 2.5 4.5 Good day.
TOTAL 24.5 9 15.5 Fine day given a limited number of plays and only three guys.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 8.5 1.5 7 Very effective containing rollouts.
Mouton - - - DNP
C. Gordon 1.5 2 -0.5 Has absorbed the tao of spur.
T. Gordon - - - DNP
Johnson 3 - 3 Played spur. Please stop moving these people back and forth it annoys my charts.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros 8.5 4.5 4 Got lost on a wheel of doom, effective against the run.
Demens 4 5 -1 Lost on a couple of big Purdue runs.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald 1.5 1 0.5 Limited playing time.
TOTAL 27 14 13 Holy OLB play when they never have to defend the pass, Batman.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd - - - DNP
Rogers 3 - 3 One legit breakup, one INT thrown into his chest.
Kovacs - 3.5 -3.5 Removed from the run game and when he showed up had some iffy tackles.
Talbott - - - DNP.
Christian - - - DNP.
Avery 3 6 -3 Gave up the big screen.
Ray Vinopal 3.5 2.5 1 OMG FS +1
TOTAL 12.5 12 0.5 Hardly involved.
Metrics
Pressure 8 2 6 Small numbers.
Coverage 13 4 9 Tiny numbers.
Tackling 4 8 -4 Not so good.
RPS 8 4 4 Amazing what playing a true freshman in a monsoon can do for you.

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

The pressure and coverage numbers are incredibly low, as are the overall secondary numbers, which points to the thing you already knew: Michigan's weak point had virtually no pressure on it all day. How much is this going to matter when Michigan plays Tolzien and Pryor in (probably) dry conditions on turf? Probably not at all.

I see Demens didn't grade out well.

No, not so much, as two of Purdue's long runs seemed to be directly on him. The first:

This is similar to the Purdue run that was picture paged this afternoon with the line slanting one way but whereas on the Purdue play the MLB tears outside to fill the hole here Demens doesn't and gets clunked by a blocker, opening up a big gain. You can argue that Fitzgerald and Roh didn't do Demens any favors but they are slanting and that means Demens has to get behind them.

The second is just bad:

Moundros blitzes up the middle and when the handoff comes he fights to funnel the guy back to Demens, but Demens has wandered out of the middle when it's clear Roh is tearing at the QB and Kovacs has that space.

And then I'm not sure how I feel about this. Watch Demens hop outside the tackle on a stretch:

He does tear down the line and gets in on the tackle, so maybe that's okay. It gives me the heebie-jeebies, though.

Ezeh did, though, and you are an avowed Ezeh hater who really really hates Ezeh and would like to see him dipped in acid, right?

Er. I just think he hasn't been a very good linebacker.

You are also an avowed GERG hater who wants GERG dipped in acid and he's got a +4 RPS, right?

I would appreciate it if you stopped claiming I have a bias for or against certain players and coaches by using UFR numbers that contradict previous UFR numbers. This makes me want to stab you. Performances vary, and collecting those performances gives you a picture of a player. I try very hard to be systematic about the numbers handed out and as a result sometimes disagree with those numbers in the very UFR they are published in. They exist as a sanity check and a guide.

You're defensive, so it must be true.

ARGH STAB

Anyway, as to GERG. In this game the 3-3-5 seemed to make sense. This is because the linebackers were all at linebacker depth and Michigan did occasionally stem to different fronts that gave Purdue trouble. Here's an RPS +1 that sees Michigan move Banks down to a three tech, slant him under an unprepared guard, and force the play back into unblocked contain:

That's a concrete example of a "multiple" look being an asset. But it's against Purdue and their ramshackle lean-to of an offense. It's too little too late unless the team really surprises in the last three games.

You clipped a punt?

Damn right.

What was the best part of the game, and perhaps any game ever?

Sarcastic Hurray Guy after the Cam Gordon touchdown:

Win.

Heroes?

Obi Ezeh and Adam Patterson for filling in admirably for downed starters.

Goats, or as much of a goat you can be when the opposing offense scores six points?

Demens got lost a few times and opened up most of Purdue's successful runs; Avery made a big mistake that turned into Purdue's best play of the day.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and beyond?

Nothing. Seriously.

If you really want to stretch you can slightly downgrade your Demens enthusiasm, upgrade your Roh enthusiasm, and maybe vaguely hope Patterson is functional when he fills in for a (please God be) healthy Mike Martin. Ezeh may be okay as an OLB the last couple games, and will almost certainly be better than Roh was. But this was a terrible team playing in terrible conditions and Michigan's performance rested largely on their lack of competence. Wisconsin will probably bring Michigan back to earth with a thump.

Senior Day Haiku

Senior Day Haiku

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2010 at 4:14 PM

An annual tradition. Special bonus this year: holy pants there are no seniors. Usually I skip a bunch of anonymous walk-ons who never saw the field unless they have a silly name; this year this is it.

Michigan runningback Kevin Grady runs the ball  during the second half of the Wolverine's 2009 season opener 31-7 win, versus Western Michigan University at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, September 5th.
Melanie Maxwell| Ann Arbor.com
  Martell Webb

It goes thump. Sometimes
it catches or drops a pass.
Mostly it goes thump.

Perry Dorrestein

Bad back, outed grades
but through it all a kickin'
Punisher tattoo

Steve Schilling

Been around forever
Witnessed the Horror up close
Football purple heart

John Ferrara

Thrown into the fire
just two weeks after switching
'08: the nutshell

Adam Patterson

One last swing hits sod
A shaft of daylight strikes down
Hello two deep

Renaldo Sagesse

Hurling hockey kids,
the largest man in Quebec came
and he was all right

Greg Banks

Took the Moosman crown
as player most likely to
impress your TA

Obi Ezeh

Why did you tattoo
"Stand around, think about plants"
across your torso?

mark-moundros-nwBONUS NOT MEAN HAIKU

Like Schilling, lived
through every last awful bit
and never complained

Jonas Mouton

The west wind in fall
brings everything, and then
takes everything

Mark Moundros

Walk-on captains are
intimidatingly bald
pretty much always

James Rogers

The last vagabond
a-wander from spot to spot:
Dread Pirate Rogers

COMMENCE THE SYLLABLE COUNTING.

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10

Submitted by Tim on November 1st, 2010 at 3:31 PM

[Ed-M: Added the video provided by Boyz n da Pahokee]

David Molk

"It's an attitude adjustment... it can't just be some half-assed work ethic." Guys need to fight every game, every down. "We're gonna realize that shortly, and we'll get it done."

"Losing isn't good. Losing looks bad, and we don't deserve it. We've worked too hard, gone too far, and done too much, and this shouldn't be the outcome. It's going to change. I'm going to do whatever I can do, as much as I can do."

Every young football player coming in needs to make an adjustment to the next level. It comes with the experience of playing in college. "It's coming. It just needs to show."

The team has ability, and is showing effort. "It's just the mental apect, we need to improve our technique, we need to improve our reading skills. It's something that will come and I'm hoping it comes fast." The mental game is an acquired talent, you don't just wake up one day and know how to play football. Guys need to work at it, and they are learning it. "We're moving towards the place we need to be. We're just not there yet."

How to avoid pointing fingers at D? "We're a team for a reason. We're not an offense and a defense. We're a team. And when you point things at one side, it just kills it. There's a chemistry that we have as a team, and will build on for years to come."

Illinois is a good defense with a strong defensive line, and a good linebacker in Martez Wilson. "They're a solid defense, a very solid defense, but I think we should do well against them."

What was it like to miss last year's game? "I mean I've answered this question probably 300,000 times at every media event I've ever been to. Obviously it's not good. I don't like sitting at home watching it with my leg up."

Mike Martin's ankle injury - the only thing that hurts him is the physical injury. It's hard to come off that, but you adapt to the pain. No football player has ever been 100% healthy the entire season.

Rich Rod doesn't need his players to play psychiatrist with him. "He's his own man and he can handle himself. He doesn't need one of his players to mediate him and make sure he's calm."

What does the team think about media criticism of Rodriguez? "I could care less. I don't think I've ever read or listened to a single media thing that you guys have ever put out. So, I mean I could care less."

Greg Banks

"We haven't had a team meeting yet, but from what I've seen from lifting today, our spirits are still pretty high."

The expectations on DL aren't on the player, but the position. Adam Patterson and Renaldo Sagesse have to step in for MIke Martin's production if he goes down.

The defense: "We spoke to each other after the game. We're all on the same bus... we told the young guys 'you're not a freshman no more. You're all a year into what, your sixth or seventh game.'"

RR's fourth quarter speech was about reminding players that the big stage is why they came to Michigan. They need to play together as a unit and step up, making the plays when available.

Scheelhasse can run and pass, and his teammates have been supporting his production very well. "He did it both with his arm and his legs." Have to prepare for dual-threat QBs every week practicing against Denard. A few of the guys Michigan has faced prefer to stay in the pocket, but seize the opportunity to run if they get it.

"Where we need to improve is our tackling and our third-down efficiency. We all take the responsibility for that. Me as a defensive lineman, I take a heavy burden on third down, because we need to get more pressure on the quarterback."

"The onus is on us. I mean the coaches, they can only do so much. The rest of it falls into the players' hands." Greg Robinson is a great coach, the players' execution in tackling, etc. is letting them down. "He's putting us in the positions, we're just not executing."

Nobody's gotten the Michigan defense's best shot this year. They haven't had 100% effort, execution, and responsibility in any game yet.

Jordan Kovacs

The team is excited every Monday to get back to work. They're disappointed with Saturday's performance, but can't dwell on it, need to try improving.

Not sure how the defense can force more turnovers: "If I had that answer, I'd be a coach right now." There's a necessary mentality that the team needs to improve. Same story on 3rd and long: "Those are key parts of the game that we definitely need to improve on. I don't know what it is, why we've struggled with it, but I'm sure the coaches know and we'll get into that this week."

Hasn't heard the rumors about Greg Robinson being demoted.

Players beat themselves up after the game about individual mistakes, not the play of the other guys on the defense. "What could I have done to help the defense play a better football game, and stuff like that sticks with you a little bit."

Ray Vinopal had a great week of practice, with a few picks. "He came in a little wide-eyed... for the most part, I definitely thought he played very well." He made some plays, didn't allow anything big.

They work on 3rd and long defense every day. "I guess that's not something you can improve on just in practice. It comes with game reps." They'll continue to improve with experience.

"Guys are still hungry. It's not gonna be like last year; We're gonna turn it around. We're just gonna continue to fight, and that's what this team's about... This group fights, they're hungry, these guys want to win. I guess that's just different than last year." They are different years, and there's no purpose i dwelling on similarities.

"We've been playing a lot of freshmen." Jibreel Black, Ray Vinopal, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery have improved over 8 games, and will continue to do so.

Illinois has a versatile offense with a good running back, multiple offensive formations.

Picture Pages: Losing Contain, Again Again

Picture Pages: Losing Contain, Again Again

Submitted by Brian on October 25th, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Promised last week but Wife Day occupied the designated space.

This week's great linebacker debate is about how I'm sitting in a tree with Kenny Demens, finding reasons to posbang him that would not be reasons to posbang Ezeh or Mouton. That's not really how UFR works on defense. A three-yard run is a usually a +1 for the D, a zero-yarder +2, and a TFL +3—though it's context dependent—and I try to assign credit and blame to get to those numbers. There is wobble when the other team makes an error or there's a rock paper scissors play. If I was going to give Demens positive he didn't deserve they'd be coming off his teammates in the front seven and the only guys to suffer relative to expectations were Rotating Ineffective Nose Tackle and the Banks/Black combo.

Mouton also come in for a big minus and clucking, but I thought that was easily justified by the clips provided. If it's not here's another one. It's late in the third quarter and Iowa has third and three from the Michigan eleven. They come out in an unbalanced formation with a covered TE; Michigan responds with a 4-4:

moutong-ugh-1

Iowa will run off the right tackle. At the snap Kovacs blitzes. Banks, the DE to the bottom of the screen, takes on a double team from Iowa's LG and RG; Renaldo Sagesse is getting single blocked by the center:moutong-ugh-2

A moment later Banks and Patterson have both gotten in bad situations. Sagesse is a yard downfield and sealed to the inside. Banks has managed to stick at the LOS but he's about to be effectively comboed and sealed to the inside:

moutong-ugh-3

Kovacs gets picked off by the fullback. Roh's gotten a cut on the backside but Gordon is flowing behind him; RVB has gotten down the line to cut off a hole; Sagesse is getting buried by a double downfield. Mouton has set up on the Iowa RT as Banks just kind of sits there at the LOS:

moutong-ugh-4

Here's an endzone angle of the last moment:

mouton-angle-2

That's a lot of grass to Mouton's right there. I wonder what he's going to do about that:

mouton-angle-3

Dios ffuuuu, man. This will be clearer on the video but this was not some crazy block by the right tackle here—Mouton fought inside of the guy, sealing himself. The sad thing is that Kenny Demens has cleared the trash from the Sagesse double and is showing up in the hole:

moutong-ugh-6

If Mouton is outside the guy he's almost certain to tackle short of the first down…

moutong-ugh-7 

…but he's not:

mouton-angle-4mouton-angle-5

Another third-down touchdown from the ten given up by a combo of players but especially one in particular; another four points on the board because of a basic mental error from a Michigan defender. This one is ten times more frustrating than Courtney Avery's because Mouton is a fifth year senior who's been doing this his entire career, including earlier this year against UMass on another egregious play that was picture-paged.

Video:

Object lessons:

  • Either Mouton has suffered the worst kind of coaching malpractice during his career or he's just not all there. Or both, I guess. He should not be making this mistake. He has made this kind of mistake dozens of times. Maybe there's something in the scheme that makes it confusing as to when he's supposed to be the contain guy, but I don't think so. WLBs should know this as part of their DNA. There's a theory floating around that Mouton has gotten used to playing next to Ezeh and now assumes he has to do everything himself and may get all clueful now that he's playing with a linebacker that usually shows up in the right spot at the right time, but I don't think so. It doesn't matter who you're playing next to since hopping inside that tackle is guaranteed doom.
  • The defensive line didn't do the linebackers any favors… Other than some sporadic help from RVB and Roh this was par for the course. Here the NT is Sagesse instead of Patterson but the end result is similar to what happened all day: effective combo on Banks gets him passively single-blocked and gives Mouton a tackle to deal with. Combo on whoever the NT is crumples and/or seals the guy.
  • …but could this actually be something resembling okay from Sagesse? It's not good by any stretch of the imagination but the reason Demens is flowing into the gap unblocked is because the C could not pop off of Sagesse after shoving him downfield. That mess falls in a heap, meaning that the nose has taken out two blockers. I didn't plus the guy because I thought it was more luck than anything and ending a play on your knees two yards downfield doesn't seem like a strategy sustainable in the long term. I didn't minus him either because he kinda sorta just managed to do his job.
  • More good Demens play. He doesn't get blocked but because Sagesse is blown off the LOS this isn't the world's easiest scrape. He makes it and should have an opportunity to tackle if everyone else does their job. It's impossible to say whether or not Ezeh would have made the same scrape, but we've seen enough of him to know that he doesn't do it consistently. He might be standing right where he was at the snap, or he might not have the agility and recognition Demens does to get around the garbage. (FTR, Demens did not get a plus here; Mouton was –2, Banks –1.)

We don't know whether or not Demens does execute this consistently, or whether his run-fill gusto is exploitable with misdirection or play action. His Iowa game was promising, though. I'm sure he'll have some wobbly games during the second half—Iowa was not one. I repeat my stat of wonder and alarm: when Demens was on the field runs that did not pop outside contain because of mistakes by Mouton, Black, and Banks averaged under 2.5 YPC. This happened essentially without Mike Martin. Whatever problems existed with the run D had nothing to do with him.

Mouton, meanwhile, is incredibly frustrating. This year he's turned "big positive, bigger negative" into "big negative, bigger positive" but I'm not going to spend 2011 pining for him. Michigan can't and shouldn't pull him since he makes a lot of good plays; I don't think Michigan's run defense is going to suffer greatly without him.

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on October 21st, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Substitution notes: Patterson played the entire second half and big chunks of the first as it was clear that Mike Martin was not recovered from the late MSU cheap shot. RVB never came out; Black cycled in for Banks, mostly on passing downs. Fitzgerald got a few snaps as Roh's backup. At LB, Demens played the whole way except for the first few plays of Iowa's third drive; Thomas Gordon and Carvin Johnson rotated with Gordon appearing to get most of the time.

Formation notes: Okay, Greg Robinson, I believe you. This defense is indeed "multiple." Michigan played a little stack, a lot of it with two deep safeties:

stack-two-deep

That's a stack with the bandit in a deep half. I called it "stack two deep."

Michigan played some 4-3, and they played a lot of a 3-4:

base-3-4

This is different from a 4-3 with a standup DE because of the alignments of the DL, who are head up on the C and Ts. That's just a 3-4, straight up. Early in the game they were using Floyd as the WLB, but after a couple issues with that they put Kovacs in the box and used Floyd as the overhang guy. This appeared to be a response to Iowa's heavy use of twins.

The past two weeks the defense has used more 3-4 and 4-3 than stack, FWIW, so its heavy deployment in spring and fall may be an artifact of the team it's going against. Against spread outfits Michigan has been almost all stack.

Show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 ? ? Run   ? ? 1
My copy of the game does not have this play. It was a one-yard run on which Demens made the tackle.
O39 2 9 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Demens -3
Iowa overloads the wide side of the field with a covered TE and another TE in motion to act as a lead blocker. RVB takes a double as Iowa looks to run away from Martin. Roh(+0.5) drives the playside TE back a bit, creating an obvious gap where the play will go that Demens(+2) reads and fills before the guy peeling off RVB can get to him. He sets up in the hole with that OL grabbing him around the waist; with Johnson(+0.5) set up outside in a spot to prevent a bounce and Kovacs coming from the backside Robinson is swarmed for a loss.
O42 3 12 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Dumpoff ? 10
Happy feet from Stanzi here as he doesn't even let his receivers try to test the middle of the field before checking down to the tailback. Cover +1, I guess. Roh(+0.5) was sort of coming through the line, possibly forcing a throw. Rogers(-0.5, tackling -1) comes up to meet Robinson after about five yards and offers a dodgy shoulder-block of a tackle that does manage to get him OOB but does not inspire anything resembling confidence.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-4 Pass 5 Slant Demens Inc
Kovacs blitz; no one gets home before he throws on three-step rhythm. It's a slant that Mouton(+1) reads and arrives as the ball does about six yards downfield. Receiver has to leap to catch a slightly high ball and Mouton hits him into the air, exposing him to a Demens(+1) killshot that shakes the ball loose. Cover +2.
O44 2 10 Ace Base 4-4 Pass 5 Slant Johnson Inc
Martin(+0.5) gets some pressure but doesn't matter since Johnson(-1, cover -1) has screwed up his zone drop by sticking too close to Demens and his guy, opening up a slant. Should be a first down but McNutt drops it.
O44 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Penalty ? False start ? -5
Oops.
O39 3 15 Ace 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 TE out Talbott 5
Stanzi checks down (cover +1) to a TE for five yards; Talbott(+1, tackling +1) is there to tackle immediately, no funny stuff.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4? Run   Inside zone Ezeh 14
Ezeh comes in. I'm not sure what to call this formation since it's got Johnson on the slot receiver and a three man line with the guys aligned as 3-4 LBs, except the WLB is JT Floyd. Martin(-1) is single-blocked and doesn't do anything to disrupt the play. This allows a guy out on Mouton. I'm not entirely sure what the responsibilities are here, but though Ezeh(-1.5) is indeed humiliatingly pancaked by a guard, Kovacs(-1) is flowing hard to the frontside of the play and gets caught way out of position when the cutback comes. I think this is on him and not Mouton but I'm not sure. Without the rolled up S anywhere near the play Robinson shoots right into the backfield with just C. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) between him and the endzone; Gordon makes an important, solid open-field tackle.
O30 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Hitch Roh 11
Two deep safeties for the first time. Iowa goes straight dropback and Michigan drops eight; Roh(-1, cover -1) does not get a deep enough zone drop despite Stanzi looking at his receiver all the way.
O41 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Inside zone Banks 8
Michigan's only got six guys in the box for this with two deep safeties and T. Gordon covering the slot guy. Again, I'm not sure who's got what here but I think this is because Michigan's blitzing JT Floyd(-1) from the corner and he's heading at an upfield angle and cannot recover to flow down the line for the cutback. Banks(-1) did get controlled and blocked downfield, giving the RB the angle to get by Floyd, and I do think Ezeh ran himself out of the play unnecessarily. There are three guys on the frontside and just two on the backside so a smart guy would figure this is cutting back. Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) comes up to fill well, though he had more time than Gordon to react.
O49 2 2 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Floyd 5
Banks(+1) gets playside of his guy and forces a bounce well outside where Floyd(-1, tackling -1) sees his tackle run through.
M46 1 10 I-form Base 4-3 Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 11
Demens back. I don't think this is on either linebacker since Demens(+0.5) and Mouton(+0.5) each have to carry routes to the safeties and end up dropping deep. Floyd(-1, cover -1) doesn't have anyone and still bails out, opening up the dumpoff for a bigger gain than it should be. No one anywhere near the QB (pressure -1) .
M35 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Off tackle Mouton 19
So the DL here is Black, Patterson, Sagesse, and Fitzgerald. Doom? Doom. They hit a gap outside of Black; Kovacs has to come up and fill the outside and takes a block. This is what he has to do to force it back to help but there is no help. I think M's alignment is messed up since they've shaded the line to the open side of the field and the linebackers are basically even(RPS –1). Sagesse(-1) is chopped to the ground immediately. This is bad. I think it makes Demens(-0.5) suck up into the gap that forms because he anticipates the cutback lane is open. He takes a block and bounces off it but is delayed. On the playside Black(-0.5) is walled off by a double. Mouton(-2) charges into a gap that Patterson has somewhat controlled, losing leverage. Once RB is through the crease he's gone.
M16 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Pass N/A Waggle cross Floyd Inc (Pen +2)
PA rollout sees two guys in the route. Deep guy taken away by the coverage(+1) so Stanzi checks down to a TE cross that Floyd(-1, cover -1) is all over, but he grabs the guy around the waist and gets a legit call. For some reason the refs put the ball at the 14 instead of the 9 and no one notices.
M14 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Roh 0
Roh(+1) slants inside as the tackle moves to the second level immediately. He takes a blocker with him, sitting down right in the intended path of the RB and absorbing the FB's lead block. RB bounces into Floyd(+0.5), who read the receiver's attempted block and set up to contain. He's such a terrible tackler, though. Demens(+0.5) scrapes through two half-blocks to help finish.
M14 2 10 I-form Base 3-4 Pass 4 Fade Kovacs Inc
Corner blitz convinces Stanzi that he's got the guy who Floyd has just vacated so he tosses it; Kovacs(+2, cover +2) jumps it and gets both hands on what could be a 95-yard Rick Six but can't hang on. Pressure(+1) was coming so Stanzi had to get rid of it. (RPS+2)
M14 3 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Drag Avery 14
Michigan in three-deep, but Courtney Avery(-3, cover -3) does the same thing he always does by chasing receivers all over the field, opening up this drag for a touchdown. Rogers(-1, tackling –1) could have stopped this at the sticks but loses leverage, etc. Stanzi had to throw because Roh(+1, pressure +1) was about to waste him. One freshman playing anything approximating zone and this is a FG attempt. Picture-paged earlier today.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Pass N/A Rollout throwaway Demens Inc
Another two-man route covered(+1) well by Michigan. Demens(+0.5) perceives the lack of underneath threats and comes charging up on the edge to force a throwaway. Maybe I'm just not used to a routine play here to give a plus-half, but there it is. I like his decision-making.
M49 2 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Screen ? 15
Michigan rushing four and dropping into a zone as Iowa runs a middle screen. Zero DL come even close to reading it, leaving four blockers in space against… uh… Kenny Demens. He charges up and gets hacked down by one of them. About all he could do. Secondary converges after the sticks. RPS -2; no idea what any individual player could have done there.
M34 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Black 3
Black(+1) does a nice job to slant through two Iowa OL and should draw a holding call as an Iowa TE yanks him from behind but does not. His presence in the middle of the play does force a bounce; Floyd keeps contain and Mouton(+0.5) gets free to help with the tackle and prevent any YAC.
M31 2 7 Ace twins twin TE Base 3-4 Pass 4 Corner Rogers? 31
I am not sure if this is on Rogers or Gordon. I think it is Rogers because Michigan is running three-deep and Johnson(+1, cover +1) has the out to this side of the field blanketed. The pass goes to the deep corner of the endzone where a deep zone should be in cover three; Rogers(-3, cover -4) is not there. No one was anywhere near Stanzi (pressure -3). It looks like Gordon was burned over the top but he's in cover three so he should be jumping the post cut on the assumption Rogers has his back.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-14, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Banks 4
So they've switched Kovacs and Floyd here, with Kovacs the nominal WLB and Floyd the nominal overhang guy. Michigan LBs hit it up quickly—they're probably depending on Iowa to run the max-pro routes on PA they've run before—and Mouton(+0.5) takes on a guard at the LOS. Robinson bangs into the mess; Patterson(+0.5) has actually come through and threatens from behind but Banks(-0.5) has been kicked out too far and Floyd(-0.5) is hesitant. He meets Robinson two yards downfield and gives up two more.
M44 2 6 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 5 Hitch ? 16
Kovacs in a two-deep instead of at the line. Michigan runs the Floyd corner blitz again and gets burned (RPS -1) as Iowa adjusts to the Kovacs near-pick on the last attempt to kill it by shortening up the route. Mouton(+0.5) got a free run but with the wide open guy on the sideline it doesn't matter. Stanzi hits him, Kovacs tackles.
M28 1 10 Shotgun twins 2TE Base 3-4 Pass 3 Sack Banks -4
Eight man drop does cover(+2) everyone this time but the pressure(-2) is nonexistent. Martin is out and this is sad minus Martin. Stanzi rolls out, Banks chasing him. Stanzi inexplicably runs OOB instead of chucking the ball away.
M32 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 5 Dumpoff Banks Inc
Banks(+1) gets inside the Hawkeye LT and comes right up the middle, with Roh(+0.5) providing supporting rush (pressure +1). Those two force a dumpoff to the tailback behind the LOS that Demens(+0.5, cover +1) probably has nailed for no gain; ball is upfield and bounces off Robinson's hands.
M32 3 14 Ace 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Run   Delay Mouton? 15
Michigan in a three deep shell with six DBs on third and forever, which okay. RVB(+0.5, seriously) slants inside his blocker and forces a cutback. Black is understandably way upfield. Mouton(-1) takes on the wrong side of his blocker with the cutback, and with just five guys in the box it's a long way to the next M defender. Those guys are Avery, Kovacs, and Gordon, and somehow the three of them give up the extra two yards for the first down. Alright. I'm not going to put my fist through anything. 1) Avery is 20 pounds too light to stiff the momentum. 2) Kovacs is physically deficient still and with a receiver pushing the pile can't stand it up. Both get -0.5s for being tiny. Gordon had little chance to do anything given the angles of the play. Michigan would have been much better off without the cutback, but what can you do? Argh.
M17 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Martin 5
Martin(-0.5) back in and gets clubbed back. At this point it's clear he just doesn't have it. Thanks, MSU cheapshot. Demens(+0.5) does a good job to close the forming frontside hole and force a cutback; Banks(-0.5) blows his pursuit angle and is too far upfield to tackle at the LOS; Mouton(+0.5) did a good enough job with his guy to delay the back slightly and allow Banks to come from behind and tackle.
M12 2 5 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 2
Similar to the last play but RVB(+0.5) is slanting down the line along the line instead of two yards upfield so the cutback lane isn't there; Mouton(+0.5) perceived the cutback, hit his hole, and helped tackle.
M10 3 3 Ace Base 4-4 Pass N/A Rollout out Floyd 6
Motion reveals Floyd in man and eight guys on the LOS reveal a lack of crazy robber zones, so Stanzi can roll out and be confident he's got a window to hit on this out route. He does; Roh does okay on the rush but can't get past the RB instantly, and Stanzi's pass is accurate against good but not great coverage. RPS -1.
M4 1 G I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Mouton 4
Sagesse(-1) gets crushed out of the hole but Roh(+1) stands up his guy, shucks inside, and convinces Robinson to maybe bounce it. He decides against it since that's going to be closed off, cutting back inside. Mouton(-1) is there. Mouton *was* there until the feigned bounce saw him head way to the playside where he had no hope of doing anything. That combined with a guard crushing Johnson(-0.5) into the endzone is a touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-21, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Demens 0
Martin is out for the remainder. Nowhere to go this time as the M DL provides no gaps. +0.5 to Banks, who held up to a double well, Mouton, who took on a TE at the right spot to prevent a crease, and Kovacs, who took on a block and held. +1 Demens, who saw the gap forming when Patterson(-1) got scooped out of the play and hit the releasing center at the LOS, removing a developing cutback lane. Floyd(+0.5) contains, forcing Robinson back inside and allowing a gang tackle.
O29 2 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Out Rogers 8
Four yard out picks up a few YAC to set up third and short; Rogers(-0.5) in the area but not able to tackle quickly because of a general lack of athleticism. Avery actually dropped back into a zone well here, so there's that.
O37 3 2 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run   Draw Kovacs -2
Probably goes for the first here except for Kovacs(+2) blitzing untouched from the outside reading the draw, changing direction, and tackling for loss. Demens ate a block but I'm sympathetic here since this is a draw against what looks like man coverage and he has to respect the threat of the guy as a receiver. Mouton should have scraped faster, IME. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Floyd 3
Patterson(-1) scooped and sealed easily, allowing the Iowa C out on Demens, who's trying to scrape to the hole but now has lineman in his face. Banks(+0.5) holds up to a single block well and closes the hole down, giving Floyd(+0.5) a fairly easy job to come up and tackle after a moderate gain.
O17 2 7 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Mouton 1
Patterson blown down the line as they try another zone play; with both playside DL getting doubled Demens hits that gap hard, cutting off the frontside. However, Patterson(-0.5) getting washed down the line so far and Banks(-0.5) getting kicked out leaves Mouton(+2) in a ton of space against a lead blocker on a play likely designed to cut back right here. He avoids the TE but gets tripped; he was aggressive enough and under control enough to knock into the back. This delays him and eventually sends him down. Even if he didn't go down the hit was enough to allow Kovacs to tackle if necessary. (RPS -1)
O18 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Fly C. Gordon Inc
Plenty of time (pressure -2) but the underneath stuff is taken away(cover +1) and Stanzi just decides to bomb it. C. Gordon(+1, over +1) is there on an underthrown ball, taking the right angle. He's got a better chance to make a catch than the receiver. Ball goes over his head.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Pass 3 PA post C. Gordon 34
No one near Stanzi(pressure -2) and there are five guys in a short zone with one outlet receiver; a huge gap opens up between the LBs and the secondary. -1 Demens, -1 Mouton. -2 Gordon for being too far off in a cover three with three deep guys; he should be jumping the post route instead of being literally ten yards off. His tackle is almost run through, too. This was easy. (Cover -2)
M29 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA dumpoff Kovacs 11
No pressure again(-2); coverage downfield is good but the little dump route to the FB releasing out of the backfield is wide open with Demens(-1) not reacting to get over and Kovacs(-1) getting pulled downfield by a deeper route. (Cover -1)
M18 1 10 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Roh 2
No gaps anywhere again. Roh(+0.5) has slanted past a blocker and absorbed an extra guy, as has RVB(+0.5), so there are defenders in the backfield and no gaps. RB has to bounce into Floyd, who could make a tackle at the LOS with a better angle but is conservative outside(-0.5); Demens(+0.5) has scraped over the top and dives back inside to tackle.
M16 2 8 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 5 Drag Floyd 5
I swear to god I'm not slanting this to Demens(+1, cover +1) but here he gets a chuck on a TE releasing downfield and causes Stanzi to come off his primary read. Second read is a drag Floyd(+1, tackling +1) is in man on. He tracks the pass and comes up to tackle immediately on the catch. Stanzi again had a ton of time (pressure -1).
M11 3 3 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Mouton 11
No gaps inside; this is going outside. Kovacs blitzes and is picked off by the FB. Banks(-1) can't deal with a double and gets shoved inside, allowing the LT to come out on Mouton(-2), who makes a fatal mistake by fighting INSIDE of the tackle. He can get leverage on this guy, but instead fights inside and gives up the corner. Touchdown. Demens had scraped through and maybe could have tackled at the five if he had gone upfield instead of shot the gap, but in this situation I'd rather have a MLB who expects his guys to execute their assignments and hits that gap with authority than some guy who's always worried what might go wrong. Demens is playing better than anyone realizes.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-28, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Banks 20 + 15 pen
Three-fold failure on a cutback after Patterson(+1) and others cut off the frontside. 1) Banks(-1) is blown down the line way too far. 2) Kovacs(-1) tries to hop upfield of the fullback, opening the hole up wider when he needs to squeeze down; 3) Mouton(-2) again reacts late to the developing play and loses the tailback outside of him. Demens was in position to tackle, albeit for decent yardage, if he got a guy funneled to him as he reacted to the cutback and again scraped properly. Floyd adds 15 on a facemask.
M25 1 10 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 1
Van Bergen(+1) pops through the line and forces another cutback. This time Mouton(+1) does get outside his blocker and heads outside to force the play back into the scraping, waiting, tackling(+1) Demens(+1).
M24 2 9 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Mouton 5
I mean, Jesus balls Mouton maintain leverage for twice in a row. Here there's nothing because RVB(+1) has driven two guys into the backfield and provided Roh a free run into one gap. Kovacs(-1) takes on the FB and gets knocked back, but Mouton(-1) is flowing upfield too hard and lets the RB outside of him; Demens has flowed down the line to shove him OOB after five when this should have been nothing. Maybe this is on Kovacs for not getting outside the FB... but the success of a play jammed up by the DL is on one, the other, or both of the guys maintaining leverage to the playside.
M19 3 4 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 7 Slant Floyd 19
Michigan sends the house. Seven guys come and Gordon is trying to run man on a guy running a slant ten yards in front of him. Doesn't matter since Floyd(-2, cover -2) gave up a slant despite setting up with inside leverage, yielding an easy TD. Maybe someone busted and Michigan was going to drop someone or two someone's into short anti-slant zones?
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-35, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Demens 4
RVB(+1) drives playside, taking two Iowa DL into the backfield a yard. Patterson(-1) has been blown out by single blocking easily, allowing the C to nail Mouton. Demens(+1) is scraping into a lot of space, and forms up to tackle at the LOS as one of the RVB blockers tries to peel, but too late.
O24 2 6 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Black 5
Nothing obvious on the frontside as Patterson flows down the line and the linebackers are attacking the playside shoulder of their blockers, but it does seem more open. Black(-1) is cut to the ground on what kind of seems like a clip but isn't called. Mouton has to radically change direction and and can only get a bump; Kovacs flows in from the edge to tackle; C. Gordon comes up to prevent YAC.
O29 3 1 I-form big Base 4-4 Penalty   False start ? -5
Likely on the C since everyone moves and the snap is fumbled.
O24 3 6 Ace 3-wide Nickel 3-4 Run   Zone stretch Demens 1
Three wide for Iowa with seven guys against six blockers in the box so there's no one to block one particular guy: Demens. Banks(+0.5) flows to cut off the playside; Patterson(-1) and RVB(-1) have been blasted off the line by single blocking but Demens(+0.5, tackling +1) avoids the trash and comes up to tackle in the cutback lane. Asking for this if you run into a stacked box on third and six (RPS +1); would be frustrated here if an Iowa fan. Mets Maize picture-paged this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-35, 8 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 3-4 Pass N/A Waggle TE out Kovacs 25 (pen -5)
Entire world sucks to the run fake. I understand why, but this is just ludicrously open (cover -3) because Kovacs(-1) and Mouton(-1) the playside guys, went nuts about the run. Result is a big gainer but Iowa was in an illegal formation and it comes back. (RPS -2)
O35 1 15 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Waggle TE out Kovacs 10
Floyd comes off with a minor injury; Avery in. Same play; Michigan defending it better but does allow a short completion; Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) overruns the tackle and allows the TE to cut back inside for an extra five.
O45 2 5 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Kovacs -4
Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) blitzes off the edge untouched into another inside zone, where he forms up, gets under control, and tackles in the backfield by himself. Unblocked, sure, but actually making the tackle here is a big deal since it's the difference between third and long and third and medium. RPS +1.
O41 3 9 Ace 3-wide Nickel 3-4 Pass 5 Slant Floyd 17
Floyd(-3, cover -2) again gives up an easy slant based on one stutter-step outside. Increased penalty for doing the same thing you just did like five minutes ago. Also he's still not even in position to tackle.
M42 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone stretch Mouton 2
Patterson(-1) scooped and sealed again; Demens eats OL. So does Mouton(+2.5) but he beats the block to the outside on the stretch and pops Robinson at the line. This is a great play, and one Mouton can make but doesn't too often.
M40 2 8 I-form big Base 4-4 Pass   Waggle scramble Mouton 0
Mouton(+1) reads it and *flies* upfield at Stanzi(pressure +1), forcing him to roll out further and eventually forcing him OOB slightly behind the sticks.
M40 3 8 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass   Dumpoff Avery 26
Michigan stunts, getting Van Bergen(+1, pressure +1) through on Stanzi and forcing him to dump it off really early. Avery(-2, tackling -2) comes up way, way too hard on a play where all he has to do is make a lousy ankle tackle and completely whiffs. Demens(-1, tackling -1) takes an angle too far upfield but maybe he's just doing what he does and knows a tackle eleven yards downfield is death and if he can't make it short of the sticks why bother at all? In any case, he's too far upfield after the whiff and Robinson runs through an arm tackle for a bunch of yards. This isn't even really a juke here, it's just... a freshman. I need a drink.
M14 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Mouton 1
Linebackers attacking hard given the situation; Mouton(+1) avoids one block and Demens(+0.5) comes up to pick off a guy peeling off Patterson. Mouton tackles.
M13 2 9 Ace Base 4-3 Run   Inside zone Sagesse 2
Two deep safeties as Michigan may expect pass. Sagesse(+1) at NT (finally) gets playside of his guy and drives him into the backfield, forcing Robinson outside. Demens(+0.5) is chasing from the inside, forcing it further out where Mouton(+1) has kept outside leverage against two guys and comes off to tackle. Banks had fallen here; dangerous without good play from the LBs.
M11 3 7 Ace twins Base 4-4 Pass 5 Corner T. Gordon Inc
T. Gordon tears off the corner unblocked(+1, pressure +1) and nails Stanzi quickly; Stanzi just chucks it long to prevent a sack. No one open, FWIW.
Drive Notes: FG(38), 28-38, 3 min 4th Q. Last drive not charted as it is irrelevant.

Demens? Demens Demens? Is it really pronounced "Demons"?

Sounds like you need a—

Chart.

Chart.

demon-chart

Hahaha!

No, seriously.

You're no fun.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 5.5 1 4.5 Best performance on the day but that's just average.
Martin 0.5 1 -0.5 Clearly hurt.
Banks 3.5 4.5 -1 Is what he is. No pass rush.
Sagesse 1 2 -1 Wonder why he's not the backup NT.
Patterson 1.5 5.5 -4 Bled it slowly this time, at least.
Black 1.5 1 0.5 Did not play much except on passing downs.
Campbell - - - DNP
TOTAL 13.5 15 -1.5 Roh still mostly DE here so his plus also factors in here; the worst day for an M DL in a very, very long time. Pressure metric will confirm.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh - 1.5 -1.5 At least the humiliating pancake was the definitive last word.
Mouton 13 10 3 Frustratingly culpable for most of Iowa's cutback or bounce-out runs.
Roh 5 1 4 Okay, but not making a big impact.
Johnson 1.5 1.5 0 This is the life of a spur this year…
T. Gordon 1 - 1 see?
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 11.5 3.5 8 A full and sumptuous conversation later.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - - - A couple plays only.
TOTAL 31 17.5 13.5 Competency! And terrible loss of leverage!
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 2.5 11 -8.5 Oh my god the slants.
Rogers - 5 -5 Oh my god the 31-yard TD.
Kovacs 7 6.5 0.5 The usual.
C. Gordon 2 2 0 One good angle on a deep ball, one good tackle, some excessively conservative play.
Talbott 1 - 1 One tackle, little dime in this game.
Christian - - - DNP
Avery - 5.5 -5.5 The whiff, the zone vacation, etc.
Ray Vinopal - - - DNP
TOTAL 12.5 30 -17.5 It's dead, Jim.
Metrics
Pressure 6 13 -7 Loss of Martin gave Stanzi luxurious amounts of time.
Coverage 16 21 -5 Corners came in for a beating.
Tackling 7 5 2 Pretty decent until the 404.
RPS 5 8 -3 Typical.

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

Losing Martin—even when he was in the game he was obviously not Martin—crushed the DL just like you would expect. With Martin out the only half-plausible rushers on the line are RVB and Roh, if he's coming, and since the other two guys can be single-blocked no problem all you have to do is leave one guy in to double the other two, and while they're not terrible they're not BG or Martin. Add in Patterson and Banks getting clubbed in the run game and it adds up to a very rare—possibly unprecedented—negative day for the DL to go with a –7 pressure.

The linebackers we'll get to in a sec; the secondary is just a debacle. Avery's a part of that but it's not like the starting corners are any good, either. The two slants Floyd gave up were incredibly frustrating, the second moreso than the first because you should be able to play off the receiver and tackle the slant for less than nine yards.

Demens. Wow.

Yeah. Watching the game live I thought that he was an obvious upgrade over Ezeh but expected that when I went over the game in detail I'd find he was at fault for some of the longer Iowa runs or third down conversions, or had messed up in some way that had gone unexploited. I didn't. I found little things that I thought were good plays I hadn't seen live, like this:

There Patterson gets insta-scooped and the center is going to club the MLB five yards downfield and the tailback will get a nice gain, except this is Demens and he reads the block. He attacks, turning the center into the clubee and turning the Iowa line into a mass of bodies without a gap in it. Floyd comes up to tackle.

How many times did Iowa RBs find themselves facing a line with no penetration and no holes in it? Several. How many times did previous Michigan opponents face this? Essentially never. Good DL play with crappy linebacker play yields a lot of penetration and a lot of lanes where the DL aren't. Crappy DL play with good LB play is this, a bunch of bodies on the line with no windows to squeeze through.

This doesn't look like much but he's there when Mouton forces it inside:

This was 100% consistent. When plays were turned back inside Demens was there.

Meanwhile, this was the only instance where it seemed like he was burned on play action:

Is that really on him? It seems like it's mostly on Gordon being way, way too deep. Demens was eight yards deep on his drop and I can't see any way that him being better at pass D stops this play. I minused him here, but I'm not sure if he deserves it.

He's the undisputed starter now. Not to pile on the guy, but this is the first thing that will pop into any Michigan fan's head when Obi Ezeh is mentioned for the rest of time:

Fair or not (pretty much fair), that's the coda.

So if Demens was such a ninja how did Iowa rack up all those yards on the ground?

Mouton. I know he came out +3 but I'm annoyed with that, and annoyed with him. There will be a picture pages later today or tomorrow discussing Iowa's 11-yard touchdown run on which Mouton fought inside a tackle and gave up the corner when Demens was scraping to the hole; most of Iowa's long runs were on plays where Mouton did not contain the ball and drive it back inside. Here's one:

Black didn't do Mouton a ton of favors but he can't get upfield and essentially block himself there. Force it back inside and it might be a big gainer; let him outside and it will be.

On the same play I gave Demens a minus half because he bit up, but I was torn about that since he sees Sagesse chopped and knows there's going to be a cutback lane, then doesn't get locked up by the OL. He seems like a smart player. Mouton doesn't; he makes a lot of great plays but he is still consistently making errors similar in severity to Avery's zone messes. Avery's a true freshman. He's a fifth-year senior. He is better this year, but he's still mistake-prone.

Another example:

Here a window opens up in the line. I know what Demens would do: hit it. Mouton gives up backside contain by attempting to scrape over the top on a jammed-up play and gives the cutback lane. The #1 answer to the question "why do we give up so many cutback runs" is Mouton.

Another example:

These four plays represent 54 of Robinson's 110 or so yards that came with Demens in the game. On plays where the rest of the D allowed him to be involved Iowa averaged under 2.5 YPC. This is how you get +8 as an MLB. Mouton came out positive because he made some impressive plays and blame on those outside runs was shared with the DL; he was obviously Michigan's second-best LB on the day.

Why the hell didn't they put Demens on the field before?

Man, I don't know. I assume part of it is disciplinary; I heard from a good source that he got in some minor trouble in the offseason. Not trouble enough to actually warrant a suspension or justify leaving him off the field for the first half of the year, but something that would provide some drag as he attempted to pass a senior returning starter. That's the only explanation for the Moundros dalliance. Obviously they were dissatisfied with Ezeh; to go to a converted FB walk-on when you've got Demens in your pocket there has to be something off-field, whether it's attitude or whatever.

And then Obi had a game or two where he was moderately okay, and GERG apparently really likes him, and oh hell, I don't know. As you're bitching try to remember that this is the vastly preferable scenario. For the rest of this year and the next two years Michigan will have an upperclass starter who looks competent instead of yet another freshman or position switch guy.

Isn't this all a little too good to be true?

Yes. I mean, Cam Gordon imploded as soon as I said "I like the kid!" I've just doomed Demens.

What about the other ten guys?

Right. Something more specific?

That's a horrendous performance from the DL, isn't it?

Yes. For most of the day Stanzi's experience in the pocket was this:

Martin is the Woolfolk of the defensive line and not having him made the line 70% as bad as the secondary. (The secondary doesn't have an RVB and the line isn't starting freshmen.) Patterson does well to not get blown up by a single block and Banks is reason 1B for all the cutback runs; neither can sack the quarterback unless given a gilded invitation (Banks got credit for one for Stanzi's inexplicable run OOB, FWIW). There's nothing surprising here given what we know.

The secondary?

Is the secondary.

Heroes?

Yeah: Kenny Demens. Also, RVB and Roh did yeoman work against extra defensive attention and still came through to the good.

Goats?

All cornerbacks save Talbott and Mouton, +3 be damned.

What does it mean for Penn State and beyond?

If Martin's not full go we're permadead, but you knew that. Secondary is dire, but you knew that.

Demens's emergence is huge. If he can maintain this level of play Michigan will have gone from some of the worst linebacker play in the league to average-ish, or even better, and they've filled a gaping hole in the 2011 and 2012 defenses with the upperclass years of an effective player. There is a nonzero chance that Michigan can kinda-sorta shut down Penn State's rushing attack. If Demens comes through the next three games unscathed Michigan just picked up a huge win.

Freshman quarterbacks ahoy!

Picture Pages: The Total Lack Of Backside DE Pursuit

Picture Pages: The Total Lack Of Backside DE Pursuit

Submitted by Brian on October 12th, 2010 at 3:44 PM

What happened on the 60-yard touchdown? The opposite of the thing that MSU did to prevent a 60-yard touchdown. This is a zone stretch. Michigan State has just run a stretch that creased the line because of a poor pursuit angle from Obi Ezeh. They tacked on a 15-yard facemask and got the ball out from deep in their own territory.

On the next play they run the same play to the other side of the line. Setup: msu-zone-td-1

Michigan is a 4-4 front with the linebackers playing even. Kovacs is rolled up to the weak side. MSU was in a balanced ace twins formation but pulled the backside TE to be an H-back on an overloaded line. The snap:msu-zone-td-3

It's a zone stretch. By this point something bad and unusual has happened: MSU has successfully scooped Mike Martin. See Mouton right in front of the umpire? He's got the MSU C coming out on him. The backside guard has his helmet across martin and will get a cutback gap for his running back.

Note Kovacs above flowing down the line. He has to check on Cousins first, then flow down after the ballcarrier in case he tries to cut it all the way back. A moment later the handoff has yet to be made but we're at a critical point:msu-zone-td-4

Ezeh is headed to the front side of the play. Many people have criticized him on this play for not being around but this is his assignment. MSU has overloaded one side of the field and he is the outside force defender. This is hypothetically a great adjustment. The guard releasing downfield has no chance to block him and Gordon is hitting it up to absorb the TEs block. If Baker has to bounce Ezeh will be there unblocked.

Note two things: Martin is totally sealed now and this frame is just like a frame we saw on the last Picture Pages where the backside DE is about to disengage from his blocker and flow down the line for cutbacks. Here:backside-flow-3

Back to this play, on the next frame we see… wait, where the hell is Banks?msu-zone-td-5

Banks?

msu-zone-td-7

BANKS!?!?!?

Right now Banks should be directly between the two State linemen blocking no one downfield. Maybe he won't make a tackle. Maybe Martin getting sealed here makes this cutback a dangerous proposition either way. Maybe an excellent back like Baker breaks a tackle. But a the very least, 280 pounds of defensive end in a not-very-big hole slows Baker down significantly.

Instead of a 280 pound defensive end there is air:msu-zone-td-8

Note that poor Mouton has no chance here since he took a shove from the center who  got the scoop on Martin. Then the tackle who had no one to block because Michigan was shooting Ezeh outside decides he may as well block the one guy still in the area. Linebacker double team downfield and back running in to area equals death.

Cam Gordon comes up hard but is too far to the inside…msu-zone-td-9

…(and Banks is still at the LOS)…

msu-zone-td-10

…seeya, let's burn something.

[Video still en route.]

Object lessons:

  • NOT Ezeh's fault. He had an assignment. Would he have executed it? Eh… maybe. But he can't be blamed for following his assignment on a cutback run he had a frontside gap on.
  • Not Mouton's fault much, if at all. Martin made it hard on him by allowing the C something close to a free release and then the clever scheme Michigan ran got Michigan a free hitter to the frontside… and a doubled linebacker to the backside.
  • IME, this is 90% on Banks and Martin. Yes, Gordon came up too shallow and robbed himself of an angle but Baker's hard cutback wasn't impeded in the slightest and when someone shoots into the secondary like that to the backside of a play it's not surprising that the safety was caught off guard. If Gordon is more experienced here maybe he gets an angle and cuts this down to a 40 yard gain or something.

    But giving up that gap is on Martin, and not closing it down, or slowing it down, is on Banks. Banks's error is greater since he's not dealing with a double team and all he has to do is run away from his blocker into the gap. He doesn't have to beat anything. He just has to get in the way. Instead he falls on his butt because he does not get away from the LOS and gets caught up in the wash of Martin getting playside of his blocker.

  • The rest of it is Gordon. He's not that fast and took a poor angle. He was not going to be able to hold this down much but there's a big difference between 40 and 60 yards.
  • This is actually a clever scheme that takes advantage of Michigan's strengths and beats the blocking scheme. The shame of the play here is that its weak point so ruthlessly exploited is Mike Martin's gap. Mike Martin is Michigan's best defensive player and can almost always be relied upon to not do what we saw here. If Martin does what he usually does, Ezeh has a shot at a TFL on Baker as he tries to bounce it outside Roh. If fifth-year-senior Banks does not get caught up in the wash from Martin's attempt to rectify his error, Baker gets a decent run that probably comes up short of first down yardage. Neither of these things happened and Cam Gordon was subjected to tremendous pressure he did not roll double sixes on.
  • Man it would have been nice to be in two-high here. Kovacs coming downhill at this holds it down, too.

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-11-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-11-10

Submitted by Tim on October 11th, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Kelvin Grady

Dropped passes: "We were frustrated, but it happens. Unfortunately it happened in a pretty big ballgame." They'll catch some extra balls this week, and avoid it happening again. "There's nothing that happened on Saturday that's not fixable." Even the best players drop the ball sometimes.

The offense has high expectations for each week, and had more mistakes Saturday than they've probably had for the rest of the year. "We had to make some changes, and unfortunately some of those changes didn't work."

Denard was poised, but got caught in a couple situations he's not used to being in. He spoke up in the locker room after the game, and got a message across to the whole team. Said that the team had to work to avoid feeling that way again. "In his eyes, you could just see it. He's hungry."

Iowa's a great team with a great defense. "We've gotta be ready for it and we are."

"We're 5-1, not 1-5. Even though we lost to a pretty good Michigan State team in a rivalry, we've gotta move on."

"Sometimes when you're winning and everything's going perfect, we don't see the things we need to work on."

Patrick Omameh

"I feel like we were doing pretty well early in the game, and they switched up some looks on us." Michigan adjusted, but wasn't able to execute as well. Being unable to get the pass game going hurt as well. "If we executed the way that we should have, it would have been more favorable on our side."

Team had grown accustomed to 500 yards of offense every week. They learned they can't just expect it, they have to work for it.

The team should respond well coming off a loss. "It's going to be something to grow from."

Iowa defense - "They have a talented front four. They have a talented defense overall." Big, strong guys on the front. "They're a sound defense. They won't throw a lot of different things at you, but they're really good at what they do."

Denard "was clearly upset after the game. We all were." He told the team that it's going to be unacceptable for them to play that poorly again.

Greg Banks

Resolve going into this week's game. "It's a learning experience." They'll recuperate and go into the week with the same focus as last week.

"Losing is losing. Every game for us is a big game." Trying to prove that they can accomplish their goals despite setbacks.

Leaders - seniors all have to step up. "There's some things I could have done better myself."

It was hard coming in as a young guy, the freshmen this year will get it soon enough. "You just gotta bring them up to speed. The game's gonna go how the game goes." Seniors need to help keep them up to speed on the field. Off the field, they lead by example in the weight room, etc.

"We have the players to defend anybody that we play. It just comes down to execution and keeping a clear focus."

"We aren't blind to the fact that we have some glaring weaknesses, but we're working hard to get on those."

Ryan Van Bergen

"We just didn't play gap-sound football" against the run. Guys were trying to make plays in the wrong gaps.

Hard for the young guys to come in without seniors to teach them the ropes in the secondary. "I think that as they grow, the defense is gonna get better and better." That improvement can happen from week-to-week. Once a couple different guys "click," the defense should be good.

In the locker room after the game, Coach Rod said that one loss can't deter the team from their goals. There's a lot of season left. "We still have a lot of opportunities to prove ourselves as a good team."

Fewer injuries than last year, losing Molk was a big deal. The losses started snowballing. This year, the seniors have made the underclassmen understand that there can't be a letdown.

Molk and Schilling, Roundtree, Denard are offensive leaders. All three D linemen, Jonas and Obi "try their best." And Craig. J.T. Floyd and Jordan Kovacs are the leaders at DB.

"I'm very confident in the gameplan." They knew what Michigan State was going to run, and that's what made it so disappointing, because they knew what was coming. "We were prepared for it all week, and unfortunately we just didn't get it done when it came time."

Picture Pages: UMass Counter Reconsideration

Picture Pages: UMass Counter Reconsideration

Submitted by Brian on September 23rd, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Normally in these posts I've noticed something or understood something or am trying to explain something. No so much on this one. I grabbed this because it's a play where it seems like four different things could go right or wrong to turn it into a better or worse play than it ended up being, which is a five-yard run on first and ten.

It's the beginning of UMass's first drive of the second half; Michigan has just put up three touchdowns in four minutes of game time to surge into an 11-point lead. UMass starts off in an Ace formation with twin WRs to one side of the formation and twin TEs to the other. Banks and Kovacs are to the top of the screen, RVB and Gordon to the bottom:

ezeh-nt-right-1

At the snap the tailback starts running to the left side of the line. Martin gets under the center and starts pushing him back. Michigan linebackers start stepping to the playside, and Kovacs starts burrowing into the line:

 ezeh-nt-right-2

A moment later the action has continued but the tailback has started coming back to the right. The move left was a feint; this is a counter. It's pulled the Michigan linebackers to the right:

ezeh-nt-right-3

A couple things on the above frame: it certainly looks like Martin is in a position to tackle in the A gap if the play ends up there, and he has gotten into a position where he is useful. But: I +1ed him on this play I shouldn't have since the defense is trying to seal him to one side and has. I don't think this is a negative play since he hasn't gotten blown off the line or anything, but it's not a win for the D.

The confusing thing about the linebacker play to me is if Martin is going to go to one side when the play starts it would make sense for the MLB to immediately go the other. This is "making the nose tackle right" if the nose can cut off that gap, which it certainly looks like Martin has.

HOWEVA, in the UFR comments, Steve Sharik made a point I hadn't ever thought of: when you pull linemen you are putting more blockers in a gap than there are defenders if everyone just takes a gap. So it makes some sense that Michigan LBs were in a read-and-react mode against UConn, which was pulling linemen all over the place. ND also makes heavy use of pulls, and frankly I'd be surprised if Michigan bothered to change their gameplan for UMass. The Minutemen did their share of pulling, anway. So it's more complicated than that. If Ezeh hammered it up behind Martin on this play and the opponents were pulling around into Martin's gap they would find a lot of space.

By the next frame the tailback has taken the handoff and the defense realizes it's a counter. Banks and Kovacs are engaged in a shoving match with the OL on the right side of the line that is going nowhere, which is usually a +0.5 in my book. It won't be here, as we'll see.

Mouton and Ezeh are free, though Ezeh is about to get a guy peeling off Martin:

ezeh-nt-right-4

Mouton sitting in that gap dissuades the RB from trying to hit it up; a step later he's still moving outside as the center attempts to get out on Ezeh:

ezeh-nt-right-5

Ezeh gets his face across the blocker and Martin is fighting through his guy; no place to go (except maybe cut behind Martin for a big gainer, but RVB seems like he'll shut that down):

ezeh-nt-right-6

A moment later this is obvious. Mouton is nearing the second TE, giving M three defenders on three blockers and Floyd ready to handle a bounce:

ezeh-nt-right-7

Here is some confusion. The RB fakes outside…

ezeh-nt-right-8

…which causes Mouton to hop outside the TE and surprises Floyd; Kovacs has finally yielded to the physics of his leetle body, giving the tailback a crease:

ezeh-nt-right-9

Kovacs and Floyd close the crease down, but it's six yards:

ezeh-nt-right-10

Video; watch how the tailback's little juke outside gives him the crease:

I misidentified this play as an inside zone, which it kind of is but that does not take into account the counter action. These are the things I think about it after some consideration:

  • I should not have given Martin a plus nor Ezeh a minus. Both plays are fine. Ezeh did react in time to get across the center and Martin cut off his gap, then fought back through his blocker in time to help close down the play's intended hole. But Martin did not force a cutback—that was the play design—and didn't help on the tackle.
  • On a later edition of this same play Banks should have been minused for flowing down the line too hard and opening up space for the tailback, but I still think Ezeh is slow to read and react, thus allowing him to be "blocked" by a center who's falling to the ground because of Martin's violent burst into the guard; I'd rather run the D like Martin is going to able to slant into the gap he wants against most teams and watch the cutbacks. Kovacs's ability to pursue hard when he has a gap to one side of Mouton to fill, then redirect and make a tackle when the RB cuts inside of Mouton is impressively aware.
  • This was the story of Banks's day: I'm not doing much but I'm not going backwards either.
  • Kovacs is small and this hurt him here as he tried to stand up to blockers, but really if it takes this long for help to arrive it's not his fault.
  • Mouton and Floyd are confused when it comes to edge play; here it seems like Mouton should make sure he bounces the RB to Floyd and instead he hops outside, creating a gap that the RB can use. If he bounces it to Floyd he should be able to tackle; if Floyd expects that Mouton will funnel it inside he should be able to tackle. Neither happens. More of this deficiency can be seen in the earlier Mouton picture pages and the easy touchdown UMass scored when Floyd let the RB outside.
  • I think I would prefer a chancier scheme that said "aww, the hell with it" and blasted linebackers into open gaps once they read run. If Michigan's going to get ground like they did attempting to play read and react—a lot of should-be-zero-yard runs like this one turned into four or six—they're going to give up a lot of drives like we saw Saturday. Getting those zero- and negative-yard plays on early downs seems more likely to get the defense off the field. This will put more pressure on the safeties when this doesn't work out, but they seem like good tacklers and guys who take good angles.

Monday 9/13 Presser Notes: Players

Monday 9/13 Presser Notes: Players

Submitted by Tim on September 13th, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Denard Robinsonnardheisman.png

On Heisman hype: "I don't pay attention to none of that." He doesn't have cable,and doesn't go on websites that talk about it. For entertainment "I like being around my teammates, and around the players." The opinion on him has really changed: "A lot of people doubted me last year... I really don't care what other people think about me."

Staying humble: "My mom raised me to be humble, and always keep your eyes on the prize, and on you go." Can't get a big head. People back home tell Denard he's gotta keep going "It's not the end." What is the prize to aim for? "Try to keep winning for Michigan. Be all-in."

Are teams trying to knock him out? Yeah, but you can't control that. "I guess you've gotta be ready to take blows like that, shots like that." He's a little sore, but you've gotta get through it.Denard is stronger and faster than he was in high school. Can take more of a pounding, reads defenses better. "You get better when you get to the next level because you have great coaching."

Other teams recruiting him said receiver, corner. Michigan's pitch was "you'll be a quarterback unless you want to play something different."

Growing up, he watched "Charles Woodson, you gotta say the great guys who came through Michigan" but watched the great players from the Florida teams. Mostly receivers, RBs, guys with the ball in their hands. He's never talked to him or met Pat White, but it's an honor to be compared to him. "That's somebody that's set records." Denard has watched lots of tape of him. Great runner and passer. "Same thing they listed me at: as an athlete."

"When the offensive linemen are blocking like that and it's god-willing, I can do whatever."

QBs are a happy family. "We're all brothers on this team." Tate, Devin, Jack happy for him after the game. The team is having fun. "Just starving to get better."

The RBs are all-in for Michigan, and nobody's going against each other. "Michael Shaw is a tough, tough dude." He tells Denard to make the read, and if he has to pull the ball, so be it.

Punting - Practiced it a lot, and RR makes a big deal about QBs being able to punt. "I wouldn't like to punt. We don't want to punt any balls."

"Classmates, they don't really say to much. They probably just say 'great game, and just keep doing it.'"

"Both of my parents like smiling. My whole family smiles all the time. It's just something that goes through my family, I guess."

David Molk

"Denard is probably the best person that could have all this fame." He can handle it, and doesn't seek it out. "He's not gonna get taken by the storm."

RBs - "Our running backs are forming. Denard's been taking a lot of it as we all know. they're going to step up and they're gonna be big."

Ranking doesn't change his view of the season "I don't like the attention that comes with all of it." Would rather see the team stick together. The team came in ranked 80th, now 20th, will change other teams' view of them.

"Everyone's more mature, no one's making mistakes" frorm last year.

OL is doing well, but there are always places to improve. Will find and make those improvements over the course of the season. Playing center in a spread offense is "probably no different than any other center in the country." He starts with the ball, so his screwups look bad. It's nothing he can't handle. "Offensive line play, in my eyes, really doesn't change. I just get to hit people, snap the ball."

On fan perception of Rich Rod: "They hate him when we lose, and they love him when we win."

It was amazing to see guys come together when drives would stall because of mistakes. "It was more come together: 'we know we need a drive.'"

Greg Banks

"We don't really look at rankings. We're still playing like we're ranked 80th in the nation." The players all citing the 80th ranking is not a marketing ploy, it was the truth coming in. They're trying to earn everybody's respect back. Anything provides motivation.

Is it tough to get up for a powderpuff? There's no such thing. "We saw that with App State. We underestimated them, and it'll never happen again." Michigan will give their all against every team.

The defense wasn't low about allowing the last ND touchdown. "It happened one play ago, so we have to flush that in order to be ready for the next play." During Michigan's game-winning drive, Banks was just reminding everyone to stay focused and be ready to get back out there.

UConn and ND have great OLs, not taking anything away from them "we can only focus on what we can do."

Doesn't matter what year it is, "The Notre Dame game is the Notre Dame game. Big either way you look at it."

Can't replace Brandon Graham. It's not the player they're filling, it's the position. "I can only play within my limits. I talk to him every day before the game, before practice." Graham is a mentor. "He's a great friend of mine that I'll have for the rest of my life."

James Rogers

Preparing for an FCS team - "just gotta stay humble. Go out and prepare every week like it's the biggest game of the year." Prepare the same way as other games. Didn't see any of JMU's win against Virginia Tech. "I didn't see any of it, so I don't know."

UMass receivers - get scouting books today and learn more about them.

Michael Floyd "I kind of picked of some of his tendencies early from watching film." Prepared well for him. You have to watch as much film as you can for a little advantage over an exceptional opponent.

Denard off the field "He's a great kid. He's only a sophomore, but the kid's a leader." First one to workouts, etc. "Boy's a speedster. When I see him, I just look at it like it's a track meet. He's just gonna cross that goal line and be a champion."

DBs get together as a unit to watch film "I gotta help these young cats out a little bit." Help them use the film system, etc. Cam Gordon- "Cam's a hard worker. Me and Cam worked out together over the summertime." He'll watch the film and get better - he's his own biggest critic.

Comfort level - "I go out and play, just have fun every week. I feel that I've got nothing to lose." Have fun, play with enthusiasm. Always get out there and have fun with it. Saw Woolfolk's injury and any position switch as an opportunity. "I knew when Troy went down, I knew I had to step up my leadership as a senior."

Half the team probably doesn't even know they're ranked.

JT Floyd

Denard "He's the best, man. He's a real down-to-earth guy... I can't say enough good things about him, I'm just proud to be on this team with him."

Jonas Mouton - "Man, I love having him on my side." He's a great ommunicator, always gives 110%.

Extremely impressed with James Rogers's play against ND. "He's always had the work ethic," and just needed a bit of game experience.

The goal is always to win for Michigan. Stay focused and keep the hunger.

"It was one of the most exciting games I've ever been a part of." Confidence "I definitely believe this is a step in the positive direction." Still a lot of stuff that needs to be patched up. The road victory is something that can be attributed to hard work and preparation.

UMass has a good group of receivers. Work hard to prepare for them.

On his interception: "It was a big weight off my shoulders, just getting that first one. It's aways elusive." The secondary did well, had some good plays. Gave up a couple plays they wish they could have back.

Unfair perception of the secondary - it's just something out there, everyone's inexperienced. "Every week we've just gotta go out there and prove we really belong here."