Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 12th, 2017 at 8:07 AM



Just talk about Mo Hurst’s game last game. Haven’t seen a lineman play that well probably in a long time.

“Well, yeah, Mo had a really good ballgame. Mo’s done some really, really good things. Obviously as a senior in big games you want to play your best and he’s been practicing that way to do that. I was happy for him. He’s capable of doing that a lot this year; he’s very explosive. The thing I’m proud of him is he’s been a good leader and he’s worked very, very hard. The guys look up to him and you want guys like that to have the reward of playing like that.”

How’s Mike Dwumfour coming along?

“Mike Dwumfour’s coming along very well. He has a lot of Mo in him. He really does. They both are very quick twitch, they’re explosive, they can run. You’ll see Mike a lot more as the season goes on. He played in this last game and I feel like we’re really starting to get with the D-line like we had before with the two-deep. They’ve worked hard in practice, and the only thing you can judge by is practice. The guys are working really hard in practice. Coach Brown does a great job of rotating them in practice like we do in-game, and they’re all starting to become that two-deep group like I want them to.”

This isn’t a criticism of Rashan, but it seems like he’s maybe a quarter step slow off the snap sometimes. Is that just because he’s playing next to a guy like Maurice Hurst?

“Well, I’d question anybody who would say Rashan’s a step slow. I bet you’d like to ask the people he’s played against if he’s a step slow. I think if anything it’s because he’s being very, very unselfish and very team-oriented and he’s knowing he’s playing the run first, and when you’re playing the run there’s a lot of times you have to react as you step as a D-lineman, and that’s what he’s doing.

“We could get all our guys to just come sprinting off the football if you wanted to but I don’t think you’d be happy with the outcome of that. I’m very proud of Rashan because he continues to try to work on his technique and continues to try to do what the defense asks him to do, and great things are going to happen because of that.”

[After THE JUMP: scouting a DeBord offense, the development of Solomon and Paye, and some good stories about Winovich]


Wednesday Presser 10-14-15: Greg Mattison

Wednesday Presser 10-14-15: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 15th, 2015 at 9:00 AM



“How ‘bout those Cubs, huh? Is there a real Cub fan in here? I wore No. 14 growin’ up. I mean, Ernie Banks is the greatest player ever! How ‘bout those Cubs! What do you think? What’s up? What can I help you with?”

Talk about Ryan Glasgow as a pass rusher and how he’s stepped up into that role this year.

“Well, I think all the guys up front have tried very hard to use their technique to do what fits them, you know? A lot of people when they talk about pass rush, they see all the fancy type things the NFL uses and all these different type of moves. Well, some people aren’t built for that, and what these guys have embraced is moving the pocket [and] doing what’s best for them and what’s best for the defense.

“And sometimes to be a good pass rusher you have to be selfish, where you don’t really care about rush lanes and things and you kind of just say, ‘Man, I’ve got to get to the quarterback cuz getting to a sack is everything.’ But there aren’t many sacks, so the big thing is you’ve got to stay in your rush lanes and try to get to the quarterback or put stress on the quarterback another way, and I think our kids have all tried to embrace that philosophy.”

These kids developed right along, but are even you surprised at three straight shutouts?

“I don’t look at shutouts. I think what you look at is you try to play the best defense you can and do what you’re supposed to do and everybody be on the same page, and then good things will happen. Sometimes shutouts go hand in hand with special teams, hand in hand with offense and it’s not always just the defense that gets that shutout, it’s the team. There’s been some great things done special teams-wise and offense-wise that’s allowed us to play defense and play what we have to do.

“We just go out every game trying to play as hard as we can with great effort, try to eliminate big plays, and try to make sure that we play with great effort and I think that’s what our kids are trying to do.”

Connor Cook’s been pressured but he’s only been sacked four times. Is he getting rid of the ball quickly? What’s the key to getting to him?

“Yeah, he’s a very good quarterback. He gets rid of the ball quick. He sees who the receiver should be by the coverage very well, and I think that’s a lot of him as a quarterback getting rid of the football.”

[After THE JUMP: Breaking down Glasgow’s sack, talking stunts, and Jake Arrieta: defensive end?]


Monday Presser 11-3-14: Greg Mattison

Monday Presser 11-3-14: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 4th, 2014 at 9:04 AM

matty points

Twenty-four passing yards allowed and Tevin [Coleman] did break 100 yards but it didn’t hurt you guys. Talk about that rush defense, it didn’t break, and then also the pass defense with only giving up 24 yards.

“Well, the pass defense… let’s be honest, that’s a product of them not throwing it very much. The rush defense: I was very pleased with the attitude and the resolve our kids had as far as keeping the ball inside and in front. If you noticed the great production that they had had previous, a lot of it came on huge plays. Eighty yard runs, 70 yards runs and I think our kids did a real good job of making sure we kept it inside and in front and everybody got to the football.”


Northwestern’s offense [and] the challenges they pose?

“Yeah, Northwestern, obviously we really respect them. I personally really respect them and their staff, the way they coach. They will be really aggressive. It’s- when they play they play, and the quarterback has a very good arm. They’ve got good wide receivers. Their offensive line has got some experience. They’re a team that has done very well throughout this year. Records, I don’t even look at records. I just know anytime you play Northwestern you better be ready to play because they’re going to play you strong and they’re going to play you hard and we’ve got to come with our “A” game on defense.”

Will you watch film of Iowa, for example, or just kind of stick to what you do?

“No, I’ll watch them very, very closely. That’s what we’ve been doing. That’s what I just came from. We study our opponent every little thing we do. We sometimes study them too much, I think. We study their last four games as closely as we can and then we go back and look at other games and see if there’s anything there. No, but we watch Iowa very, very closely. And Nebraska we watch closely. Wisconsin we watch closely. They’re very good games to watch.”


You see a kid like Mone doing what he did on Saturday, [does] that get you a little bit excited for his potential for the future?

“Oh, definitely. He did some very, very good things and he got the reward. Everybody sees him getting the fumble recovery and him doing some things, but there was other young guys that deserved an award also that played that allowed him to do that. That was neat. It was- I could go through every one of those guys. You saw some of the plays Wormley made in there. Godin keeps stepping up. Frank, Brennen Beyer [and] some of the plays he made you don’t see sometimes but it’s because of what he does that allows somebody else to play. I could- there was a lot of good play in there. There had to be to do that against a great runner like him. There’s some young kids. I mean, Ryan Glasgow. To strip the ball and recover the ball, to do that- I could go on and on. That wasn’t just the game they’ve done that. These young kids have done that and this might have been the game where they all kind of did it together or a lot more of them, and that was a good offensive line. I didn’t know how good they were but when I watched it and saw them come out on our backers a coupe times and they had some pretty good offensive linemen and for them, for our kids to have that success I was proud of them.”

[After THE JUMP: Greg Mattison is like, ‘Steal my signals, bro’]


Monday Presser 9-1-14: Greg Mattison

Monday Presser 9-1-14: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 1st, 2014 at 10:06 PM


Opening remarks:

“Well, we’re obviously very excited about the next challenge.I know we have a lot of things that we can get better at and our guys will work very, very hard to do that but we’re also very excited about some of the things we saw Saturday out there on that field but now we’ve got to move on to the next one.”

Coach [Hoke] talked about guys getting off blocks and then fits. How much was it of each in the run game when you guys were giving up some yards in the middle?

“Yeah. I’m going to be honest with you like I always am. Some of those runs were on me. There was a situation that was happening where we were walked out and the backer was coming back inside and we had an adjustment and the adjustment that I should have made with them would have been a little different and we did that later and it changed it. I’m not going to put that on our players. That’s something that I should have seen a little quicker and it wouldn’t have been a problem at all.

“A lot of good things from that, though. It shows that we have to get off blocks. One of the biggest things is we have to be able to communicate what’s happening. And I try to tell the guys, not that I haven’t been able to before, but I really trust these guys. I really trust them. But I know that when they’re out there they’re doing everything that they should be doing but if something isn’t happening perfectly then communicate and we’ll get it switched. When I’m thinking maybe this is happening it wasn’t that but we got it squared away.”

Have you guys had a chance to watch any film on Tarean Folston and Notre Dame’s running backs?

“Yeah, we’ve had a chance to watch film on all of them. We’ve spent since that game was really over until just two minutes ago when I came over here we’ve been watching Notre Dame. They have a very, very good football team, like they always do. They’ve got a lot of speed, they’ve got good running backs. They’ve got an outstanding quarterback. [Everett] Golson, he’s a really, really good quarterback and they’ve got good linemen and receivers to go with him so we’re going to get a real test, like you should. Like you should when you play this game.”

I asked Devin about playing against your defense last year in practice and playing against your defense now and asked how was the defense different and he said they were faster and more aggressive. Talk about that comment and are they faster mentally or faster with foot speed?

“I mentioned this and why I’m so excited is these were young babies we had playing two years ago. Nobody cared. Nobody cared who you were playing when you’re playing a redshirt freshman who’s 275 pounds or 215 pounds where two years later now he’s 235 pounds or 300 [pounds] and they’re men now. They play faster when you have experience. When you’ve been out there under the bullets and under the everything that goes on. When you’re a young man playing for the University of Michigan and you’re out there playing in front of 115,000 you better be a man. When you do that at a young age you won’t always do the exact right things on the football field, but every year that you play and every year that you buy in to what coach Hoke and this program is all about you get better and that’s why they play faster and they play stronger. We look forward to them doing that every week that way because it’s going to be another game of experience and that’s why I’m excited about these kids because they have stuck with it and they’ve kept improving and it’s just the beginning. They’re just starting right now and every week will be a huge challenge that way.”

[More after THE JUMP]


This Week's Obsession: Cracked Skull Sessions

This Week's Obsession: Cracked Skull Sessions Comment Count

Seth November 27th, 2013 at 11:56 AM


So I couldn't in good conscience do a basketball or hockey or softball roundtable question the week of the Ohio State game, lest Bo leap from his grave and stab out my eyes.* On the other hand I've been around here long enough to know what it means when the otters and Big Lebowski references come out (I don't know what posting the game column at 5 a.m. means but it's probably bad).

In that "game column"-type thing Brian suggested a future that's basically 20 years of the late-Carr program. Perhaps a more detailed assessment is in order:

Play out the next four years of Michigan football (If you think Coach X is replaced by Coach Y you can incorporate that into your fantasy.)? What are some of the potential pitfalls along the way? Any reassessment on our rivals going forward?

*People were asking what happened to the Blog That Yost Built.




Mathlete: If I would have charted my optimistically realistic expectations entering the Hoke era, here is what it would look like versus achievement on a completely arbitrary scale.


One year of lucky over-achievement, then a year of par and this year. The trajectory is all wrong but the total results are about right. With the strong recruiting and a quality group coming of players moving into the upper class I still think last year could be close to expectations. After nearly three seasons here would be my grades for Hoke and the coordinators:

Brady Hoke: Incomplete

Greg Mattison: A

Al Borges: D (GERG gave up 37 points to UMass, Borges at least torched Indiana)

Hoke gets an incomplete pending how the offense turns out next year. The defense is his specialty and their solid progression is a positive sign. Whether Borges survives to next year or not and if he stays and how much things get better (it has to get better, right?) will be the major determiner of his grade. Most of the offensive failures to date aren't on Hoke in my mind, but everything going forward will be.

Upchurch -8646524000_532714ee0d_o
The future on defense is Tacos. [Upchurch]

That's a long preamble to the original question, what do the next four years look like?

Next year the defense will be good, probably very good. The offense who knows. At this point I think anything is possible. Borges could get fired but probably won't. He could stay and things could be marginally better, he could stay and things could click and they could be good but probably still frustrating.

Beyond 2014 the defense should be consistently good. Historically, defenses loaded with talent like Michigan is bringing have a pretty low variance. They may not always be elite, but it's pretty hard for them to be bad. I really don't know what to say about the offense. Anything is possible, they could turn into Stanford next year or they could limp through a couple more years of Borges, with enough talent and a good enough defense to keep things intact but not good enough to compete with the best teams on the schedule.

As to the rivals, the only question for Ohio State is, can Urban maintain success at one place for an extended period? He has never stayed in one place for more than six seasons. As long as he is there Ohio State should be pretty similar to what we've seen from him to date. Are they going to go undefeated every year, certainly not, their win streak hasn't exactly come against murderers row. But the schedule isn't going to get a lot tougher in the Big Ten and I would expect their regular season win total to reach double digits more often than not.

Across the state, it's a bit more complex. Does Narduzzi leave after this year? How high of a level can the defense maintain with Dantonio but no Narduzzi. If he stays or Dantonio can keep things moving without him, the Spartans aren't going anywhere. The offense will probably never be good enough to put them at a consistently elite level, but they should be a real player in the East division. If the defense can't stay elite, Michigan State's chances of staying competitive at the top year after a year probably leave too.



Hokepoints: Whence the Okie?

Hokepoints: Whence the Okie? Comment Count

Seth July 23rd, 2013 at 2:07 PM


left: Monumental's* iPad app. right: Swag Mattison. *yes the wallpaper guy.

Brian forwarded a mailbag question I hoped to answer with the UFR database:

I recently re-watched the 2011 vs. Nebraska game, which was quite a defensive performance on Michigan's part.  Several times Mattison employed the always-entertaining Okie Package, often times with very good results (sack, QB hurry, etc.).  Anecdotally it seemed like we used that a lot less in 2012, in spite of the fact that we still had no natural four-man pass rush.  Any ideas as to why we went away from this?  It seemed like easy money to generate a pass rush and potential for turnovers. If anything I would have thought we would have been more prepared to use exotic blitz packages as our guys were 1 year more advanced in Mattison's system.  The only explanations I can think of are either we expected teams to be used to seeing it and adjust, or we did use it a lot last year and for some reason I didn't notice.

Was it Used Less?

For our purposes I also categorized "Nickel eff it" from the Notre Dame 2011 UFR (picture-paged) as an Okie, since it was clearly the forerunner to Mattison's particular way of using the package.

By volume it doesn't look like we saw it any less often.Okiedefense

Yeah, Shafer's defense is in there; GERG ran an Okie just once in '09-'10. Unfortunately I don't have data from Ohio State and the bowl game for 2012 because when Michigan loses those somebody (not saying who) can't bring himself to UFR them. Anyway I don't see a difference in Okie deployment last year. The tables agree:

Def Formation 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Mattison Avg
4-3 odd - 59.2% - 35.4% 30.5% 32.9%
Nickel 14.1% 2.9% 4.0% 42.2% 21.8% 32.0%
4-3 even 45.1% 7.1% 12.7% 5.7% 22.8% 14.3%
4-4, 5-3, Bear, etc. 2.1% 18.4% 9.8% 6.4% 13.0% 9.7%
Okie 7.8% 0.0% 0.1% 7.8% 7.1% 7.5%
3-3-5 29.4% 6.3% 59.6% 1.9% 3.2% 2.5%
3-4 - 6.2% 9.4% 0.4% 1.2% 0.8%
Dime 1.6% 0.0% 4.4% 0.3% 0.4% 0.4%

Big shifts: Mattison deployed the nickel less often last year and built even fronts into the defense. I thought the former was a result of fewer spread teams charted in 2012 but my data say Michigan faced MORE receivers in the formation (2.87 per play, 2.78 on 1st downs in 2012, versus 2.74 per play and 2.65 on 1st downs in 2011). The latter is an interesting wrinkle. Anyhoo the Okie he didn't seem to touch.

Since it's a situational package, we can see if it's being used less in those situations. By down:


The big difference seems to be 4th down but that's small sample: I charted 12 attempts on 4th down against Michigan in 2011, and 14 in 2012, so there were just two 4th down deployments: one against SDSU and one versus Ohio State. It's meant to be a surprise. What about by distance?

| Total attempts | % Okie Deployed
Down Distance 2011 2012 2011 2012
1st 0-5 yards 6 4 0.0% 0.0%
6-10 yards 288 270 0.7% 1.8%
11+ yards 13 13 7.1% 7.1%
2nd 0-5 yards 66 61 2.9% 0.0%
6-10 yards 114 115 7.3% 8.7%
11+ yards 26 41 10.3% 4.7%
3rd 0-5 yards 57 58 8.1% 13.4%
6-10 yards 37 44 39.3% 29.0%
11+ yards 19 22 24.0% 12.0%
Total   636 643 7.8% 7.1%

So a little less often on 3rd and long.

Success Rate

Maybe it wasn't as effective last year minus Martin/RVB? Well I tracked its deployment on long situations (6 or more yards), and called it a "success" if it prevented the 1st down on 3rd or 4th down, or prevented 1/2 of the yards necessary to move the chains on 1st or 2nd down. Success?

Down 2011 2012
1st 100% (3/3) 83.3% (5/6)
2nd 83.3% (10/12) 100% (13/13)
3rd 96.7% (29/30) 100% (21/21)
4th 100% (1/1) -
All downs 93.5% (43/46) 97.5% (39/40)

Success! Even with a tiny window for improvement, they found it.



Why Not Use it More?

The Okie package became a favored topic of discussion after it did mean things in the Illinois game:

the classic

Here's that play as drawn up on MonuMental's app, which is my new favorite toy:


Red=LB, green=DB, black=DL

Brian would come to call this "Okie one" for the number of safeties back in the formation. Michigan showed seven guys on the line of scrimmage but rushed just four. The right tackle and right guard were basically left alone while the rushers stunted around the guys on the left side and Illinois ended up blocking almost nobody.

Here a variation from 2012 used on 2nd and 12 on Minnesota's first drive:


Mattison senses this is an opportunity to kill the Gophers' opening drive. Here it's the 6th play of the drive and Michigan has already begun rotating the DL: the 5-tech is Heitzman, having come in for Roh on the 4th play of the drive, and Pipkins has just come in for Black. Michigan comes out in an Okie two, rushes five and drops to a Cover 2.

It turned out to be a run; Ryan managed to change course and hinder the RB in time for the Will (Desmond Morgan) to shut it down for a short gain, setting up a 3rd and 9. On the ensuing play Mattison dialed up another Okie:


Not 100% on the coverage. I think it's Cover 4 but the corners may be in man; Floyd is definitely giving his guy a tough release but Taylor is playing a Cov4. Crowd?

That's Avery (at nickel) playing back at the 1st down marker, and Thomas Gordon is also deep and went with that tight end when he motioned to the left side. Roh's back in for Heitzman and Black has come in for Washington (ALL THE pass rush!). In the diabolical world of Mattison's Okie package this is a Balrog with wings. Michigan lines up all over the tackles, and this time comes from the (offense's) left side. The two LBs on the weakside drop into short zones, as does the "nose" Black. Roh shoots past both the LG and LT to get into the center, and Morgan and Kovacs attack outside. The result:

Black seems to be in the wrong zone (he winds up all up in Demens's stuff), and that means the TE in the flat will be wide open on the sideline as soon as Taylor carries the X receiver's deep route:


That never happens; the QB has just enough time to see the slot's in-route has been disemboweled by Jake Ryan before the left side of his line not blocking anybody becomes his primary concern. The running back gets a delaying chip on Morgan and Kovacs gets a free shot and a forced fumble (which Minnesota recovered). You see there's weakness: Mattison's asking his nominal nose tackle to cover a deep zone when the receiver started 8 yards outside of him. But because the offensive line couldn't figure out who to block that never has time to develop. That's why the Okie is a changeup: the more Michigan uses it the more opposing coaches are going to prepare for it and the less valuable it can be as a situational ace in the hole.

One more from 2012. This is on 3rd and 8 from Michigan's 34 early in the 4th quarter and the Wolverines are down 9-16. Nebraska's kicker is Brett Maher, so every yard is a big deal for preventing the Huskers from going up by two scores.


Again, excuse me if I screwed up the coverage; here I'm guessing Gordon and Taylor were playing a read: they're both watching the inside receiver and break when he does. Nebraska's linemen mostly did their jobs here, though the guard (All-B1G Spencer Long) let himself get pushed really far backwards and that made room for Ryan to get into the center. Morgan took a few steps into a pass rush before backing into his zone but the RG and RT are not confused by this and do fine fending Heitzman off. The nickel blitz is unexpected but the left tackle did a good job adjusting and riding Avery behind the pocket. But for reasons passing understanding the tight end let Roh (playing WDE) past him and right into the RB. Ameer Abdullah can be little more than a piece of flotsam in the pile of mass about to descend on Martinez. It is beautiful.

You get a glimpse of Demens's coverage too as he got from the line to his zone in time to have pretty decent coverage on that slot receiver, not an easy thing. Anyway you can see how the Okie uses confusion to create a lot of places where things can go wrong for the offense, and if just one does you're out of FG range and punting in a one-score game. Of course the offense was Denardless that day and couldn't capitalize.

Still, as fun as these things are to watch you see each time Mattison was attacking from different angles and by the end of last year there were only one or two blocks the offense didn't pick up. If that diminishes to zero blocks, you give up six. Conclusion: the Okie was used just as often and incrementally more effectively last year as it was in 2011. However it's meant to be a changeup package; if opponents are sitting on it you'll get knocked out of the park. As something to pull out 7 percent of plays you're forcing opposing coaches to prepare for eight different attacks of which they're likely to see one or two, or giving yourself a situational out pitch when you're in a jam.


Hokepoints: The Defense is Still The Wall

Hokepoints: The Defense is Still The Wall Comment Count

Seth October 23rd, 2012 at 3:41 PM


Stuffing. Upchurch

Eleven months ago I used this space to discuss Michigan's crazy success in defensive short situations. That was brought on by a staggering performance against Illinois, at which point Michigan had stopped 15 of 27 3rd- or 4th-and-one situations, and 13 of 19 against real competition. This was up from stopping less than a quarter of such plays the previous two years, and almost as far above the going rate for all defenses.

This was huge. Getting one yard for any offense is far easier that stopping it for any defense—one good block can usually do it. Forcing a 4th down situation from 3rd and 1 or a turnover on downs on 4th and 1 is worth half a turnover or more. Jamie Mac addressed this further in his HTTV article, showing that the stoppage situation was affecting the happy margin between our yards-ceded defense and scoring defense as much as having a ridiculous year in turnover luck.

Michigan last year was really good at stopping the short stuff, but folks chalked it up to Martin and Van Bergen playing to their strengths and figured it was a blip. Except it wasn't just those guys. Here's last year's chart for short situations, through OSU: BarnumRoundtreeRohSpringGame-Heiko

Player (2011) + -
Kenny Demens 6.5 0
Ryan Van Bergen 6.5 0
Craig Roh (right/Heiko) 6 0
Jake Ryan 5.5 0
Mike Martin 4.5 0
Jordan Kovacs 3 0
Campbell, Hawthorne & Heinigner 2.5 0
Black, Morgan, and Woolfolk 1 0
Herron and Beyer 0 -1
Total 42.5 -2
RPS 7 -2
Refs 0 -2

Two thirds of Michigan's short-down production from last year returned (as did bad refs). Demens, Roh, Ryan, Kovacs, and Campbell were all key role players in that ridiculous shutdown rate, and if the UFR can be trusted, they weren't getting it just because of things the Team 132 seniors were doing.

This doesn't even count things like stopping Ohio State on 3rd and goal from the 2. Actually it doesn't count goal line situations at all, though 1st and goal from the 1 is as hard to stop as 3rd and 1 from the 40. So I revisited when updating the UFR database. Get ready to be happy (through MSU):

Year    --FCS and MAC removed--         --All Opponents--
Stopped! They got it :( Stop % Stopped! They got it :( Stop %
2008 11 14 44% 16 18 47%
2009 3 11 21% 7 16 30%
2010 5 18 22% 11 24 31%
2011 14 10 58% 16 16 50%
2012 10 7 59% 10 8 56%
Total 43 60 42% 60 82 42%

It's still happening. It's happening more. We replaced Martin and RVB with Washington and Campbell, and if anything got better! And like last year Michigan's short defense seems to be getting tougher as the season goes on. Since Big Ten play started, the non-stops have read thusly: Purdue converting with 16 seconds left in the half while down 18, Illinois benefiting from a terrible spot, two plays where Bell was forced to cut back into the pile and just managed to squeak through, and one bust.

[After the jump, what's causing it, and the plays vs. State]


Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue Comment Count

Brian October 11th, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Formation notes: Michigan set to blowing up Purdue's screen game by sliding their linebackers over to any trips formation like so:


The guy nose to nose with the WR on the LOS is Jake Ryan. I called this "4-3 even slide." Here's a closer look on another play:

trips bunch TE

Kovacs would come down on the other side to play tiny linebacker.

A couple of times Purdue went to formations like this and Michigan split their linebackers way out wide:


Yeah that looks super-vulnerable to the run but Purdue couldn't get any creases so it's not. Nice trick to put five in the box with two deep safeties and not get gashed.

Note that M spent most of the game in an even front instead of an under. This appears to be their default against spreads.

Substitution notes: Secondary was as usual: Taylor/Floyd/Kovacs/Gordon with Avery coming in for nickel packages. Morgan and Demens got almost every meaningful snap; Ryan saw most but Cam Gordon did get a couple drives.

The line was more Washington/Campbell regular stuff than the nickel business that didn't work so well against the UMass spread.

Shoe shoe.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Quick hitch Ryan 4
M ends up way spread out by Purdue in a double stack-ish formation. Purdue goes with a dink pass that Ryan(+0.5, tackling +1) is close enough to get a no-YAC tackle on, but only just. He would have delayed the receiver long enough for the D to rally even if he hadn't managed to get the receiver down.
O29 2 6 Shotgun trips bunch TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Zone belly Kovacs 5
M moves Ryan all the way out to the hash where the bunch is and has Demens a bit further inside; Morgan is the only actual LB in the box; Kovacs overhangs to the short side. Purdue tries to take advantage by running a belly zone at the backside. Clark contains; give. Campbell(-0.5) gives a little too much ground and Kovacs(-0.5) is hesitant when he's got a free run at the ballcarrier—seems like he doesn't entirely trust Clark, which fair enough. Clark comes down to tackle with help from Kovacs near the sticks.
O34 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Pin and pull counter Demens 0
Fullback goes away from the play and RB takes a counter step as two linemen pull around the other way and TerBush pitches. This probably should have worked but one of the pulling linemen goes for Taylor instead of looking for a linebacker flowing from the inside. The other blocks Ryan(+0.5) who sheds quickly and comes upfield but does get in a shoestring tackle attempt that helps make the RB an easy target; Demens(+1) did flow quickly and get to the hole to tackle(+1) short of the sticks. Mostly just a Purdue screwup but M did execute some.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. See you in ten minutes, D.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Sack Ryan -11
Clark flares out just as the field WR goes in motion, which gives M more of a 3-4 look but the DEs are tucked inside. Anyway, he's upfield to deal with the potential-end around on the snap. It's play action; no one open as Gordon(+1, cover +1) pulls up and moves out on the TE drag coming across the field. Ryan(+2, pressure +2) is unblocked backside and making for the QB all the way. He has the agility and discipline to not overrun the QB and makes a massive sack as Terbush can't risk the throw to the covered safety valve. RPS +3—this was dead to rights.
O21 2 21 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Run N/A Counter trap Morgan 10
Roh(+0.5) actually does a good job to not run way upfield once the G over him releases and comes down on a the trapping OL, which forces the RB to go outside of him. Demens(-0.5) and Morgan(-1) do not take that opportunity. Morgan doesn't read the G pull right over him and gets locked out by a tackle releasing. Demens goes upfield of his blocker and doesn't make a play; probably not relevant because Morgan didn't read it but still bad. Kovacs fills for his only tackle of the day(!).
O31 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Rollout hitch Floyd Inc
Rollout gets TerBush all day (pressure -2) but no one is open at all (cover +3) and Floyd(+2) is there to break on the ball and get a PBU when TerBush eventually has to pull the trigger on a throw as he nears the chalk.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 3 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 11
Floyd(-1, cover -1) is unable to tackle on this five-yard hitch and turns it into a first down.
O48 1 10 Shotgun double stack 4-3 even split Pass 4 PA bubble screen CGordon 3
Ish, anyway. Cam Gordon(+1) is getting blocked by the outside WR in an almost-stacked formation as TerBush throws to the inside guy who is shuffling backwards on the catch. That's one on one with Taylor but Gordon's blown his blocker back and cut off the inside so the WR has nowhere to go and gets sandwiched by Taylor and Gordon after a small gain.
M49 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Rollout fly Beyer Inc
Beyer(-1, pressure -1) is hacked to the ground by the tailback and just kind of stops there; he didn't get cut, he got CUT. This gives TerBush all day on the edge. Demens is coming up to turn that pressure on and TerBush misses badly on a WR who had an okay gap between Avery and Kovacs. Coverage push; this wasn't too bad in the secondary.
M49 3 7 Shotgun 2-back Okie two Pass 5 Hitch Morgan 5
Slot blitz from Avery plus a hash to hash zone drop from Morgan that he holds up on; notably, this h2h drop features the guy looking all the way. Avery(+0.5, pressure +1) gets in free, forcing a quick throw. Morgan(+0.5) is combining with Gordon(+0.5, cover +1) to box in the obvious hot read from the corner blitz and get the guy down short of the sticks. RPS +1; M got exactly what they wanted on this play.
M44 4 2 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Hitch Taylor INT
This should be a five yard completion for the first down, which okay. Terbush throws it high, WR deflects, Taylor(+1) is like okay free touchdown yay. Cover –1.
Drive Notes: Defensive TD, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q. Boilers fumble ensuing KO.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Quick pitch Floyd 0
CGordon(+1) in for Ryan, playing with his hand down. He is upfield on the snap as the T releases downfield and forces a scary pitch that is well behind the RB and almost dropped. RB brings it in, spinning. The spin takes him outside into Floyd(+1), who has set up at the numbers at the LOS and forces it back to the pursuing CGordon, except not actually because the RB runs his face into Floyd's.
O27 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 11
Another five yard hitch Floyd(-1) is lax on and turns into a larger gain. He's indecisive, taking a couple false steps before attacking. I'm not too mad since getting beat over the top is worse against this flailing O but be there to tackle before the sticks plz.
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh 3
Roh(+0.5) holds up pretty dang well to a double for a guy his size at three tech. Clark(+0.5) is unblocked on the backside, keeps contain, and comes down quickly. Washington(+0.5) doesn't really know what's up but has blasted a single block back and will ass tackle if Clark doesn't actually tackle; more to the point there's nothing to burst through because of Washington.
O41 2 7 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Improv Floyd 7
Floyd(-1) in press along with Avery; they're backed by safety help. Aggressive on the short routes, Terbush finds nothing (cover +2) and rolls. Token pressure from Clark; Terbush does find a WR late, with Floyd getting lax as TerBush rolls out. Get up on your man; he's not going anywhere that close to the sideline.
O48 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-3 even slide Pass N/A Scramble Ryan 2
Ryan(+1) is destroying things before they even exist on this play as Terbush aborts a WR screen so that Ryan doesn't kill all the people. Roh(+0.5) contains; Pipkins(+0.5) helps tackles, but this is RPS +2 mostly.
50 2 8 Shotgun double stack 4-3 even split Pass 4 Improv Beyer 20
Cut blocking so they want a quick throw. Ryan(+0.5) and Taylor(+0.5) are all over the routes TerBush wants and then he has to exit pocket posthaste. Roh(+1) avoided that cut and leapt, preventing a throw. Beyer(-1) overruns the QB and lets him outside the pocket, at which point Kovacs(-1) gets beat by the TE for a big gain.
M30 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Slant Demens Inc
Purdue fakes the WR screen Ryan is set to destroy and goes for a short slant behind it; ball is in front of the WR and dropped. Demens(+0.5, cover +1, RPS +1) was right there on a deeper slant and would have likely tackled this for a minimal gain if complete.
M30 2 10 Shotgun trips bunch 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Improv Gordon 3
Nothing at first(cover +2) as TerBush goes through a couple reads. Internal timer goes off and he starts trying to find a way out of the pocket. Roh(+1) gets pressure(+1), forcing a TerBush throw off the back foot that loops to his WR. He's penned in by three Wolverines and it's third and long. This ball is obviously fumbled but the refs screw it up by calling forward progress. Gordon +1 for the strip, refs –2.
M27 3 7 Shotgun empty Okie one Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Morgan 4
Slot comes in motion for the handoff. Okie stuff gets three guys blocking the backside DT as two folks drop to LB depth. Morgan(+1) reads the pull and stands up a pulling G two yards downfield despite having no momentum; Ryan(+1) is unblocked on the backside and has the speed to close and tackle near the LOS; Demens(+0.5) reads it and finishes the play unblocked.
Drive Notes: FG(40), 21-3, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Yakety snap N/A -2
Fumbled snap.
O29 2 12 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle hitch Floyd Inc
Again they get the edge (pressure -1) but Roh is pursuing so it's not super easy. Coverage(+3) is excellent downfield for a long time; TerBush finds an open-ish guy that Floyd(+1) is there to break up. PBUs are usually two but this was pretty easy on a stationary WR.
O29 3 12 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble N/A 1
Michigan looks like they're trying something fancy as both DTs move way way outside, opening up a huge lane for TerBush to step into. He does, and he's looking to find someone downfield when he runs into his own tailback; the delay forces him to start moving again, at which point it's too late for him. Um. Pressure -1, Cover +2? I think we got a little lucky here.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-3, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA WR screen Kovacs 8
Play action allows Purdue to get a TE out to the edge without drawing LB attention. Kovacs(-1) sucks in a step or two and doesn't read the TE; he gets stalled many yards downfield. Floyd comes up to keep leverage okay. Kovacs does get off the block and Ross starts dancing around, eventually getting stuck(+0.5, tackling +1) by Morgan in space.
M28 2 2 Shotgun 2TE twins Base 3-4 Pass 4 Bubble screen Beyer 3
Beyer's(+1) flared out as an OLB type as Michigan goes with more of a 30 look. He's got a blocker he gets outside of, forcing the WR inside of him. Campbell and Morgan are coming out and are now useful because of the leverage but can't cut him off before the sticks. That'll happen.
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Trap Morgan 9
Tough to defend this with 5.5 in the box and DTs Black and Roh. Black(-1) gets blown out as CGordon shoots upfield unblocked but also useless; two guys move through the center of the field to find one guy, Morgan(-1), who gets cut really badly. Demens(+0.5, tackling +1) flowed down the line and smashed the TB just as he breaks to the secondary; fortunate. RPS -1.
M16 2 1 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Flare CGordon Inc
CGordon gets a hand up but doesn't actually deflect the thing; it's just a crappy pass. I guess he gets +0.5 for maybe making the pass go badly. Taylor was coming up, with indeterminate results if this is complete.
M16 3 1 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Trap Morgan 3
M slanting, which means the DT Purdue is running at ends up running at the trapping G and kind of seals himself, but at least this time Morgan(+0.5) is moving fast at the snap, knowing the playcall, and ends up in the hole before the tackle coming out on him can block. He can't quite get out there, though, and while he makes the tackle it's not the thumper required to prevent a first down. Demens(+0.5) did a good job to pop a guard releasing and come off to finish the tackle. RPS push; good idea but evidently tough to execute.
M13 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Morgan 9
Purdue pulls a guard and Morgan(-1, cover -1) does suck up on it, but I'm not sure I'm even mad. Demens(+0.5) is not coming up and almost drops right into the route, getting a hand out and coming about an inch away from a PBU. Gordon(+1) gets a good tackle(+1) right away.
M4 2 1 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass 4 Slant Taylor 4
Taylor(-1, cover -1) is lined up with inside leverage, bites on a feint outside, and gives up the easy slant.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Sweep Roh 0
Roh(+1) bursts upfield and outside of the TE, as he's aligned outside of him and is tough to seal. That blows up any sweep type ideas as he's now cutting off the outside, which is 3 for 1! Morgan(+1) flows, takes on an awkward block by a redirecting G, and those two combine to tackle for no gain. RPS +1. Mattison blew this up with alignment.
O21 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even split Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 11
Floyd(-1, tackling -1) again turns a four yard hitch into a first down or near it by being unable to tackle on the catch.
O32 1 10 Shotgun double stack 4-3 even split Run N/A Trap Washington 0
Five guys in the box, Purdue wants to test it. Washington(+1) goes boom into the center, driving him back; this picks off the trapping G. Campbell(+0.5) gets into him in the backfield and forces an awkward bounce. Roh(+1) is riding a tackle so he can't get into Demens; as he sees the cutback he releases upfield and makes the tackle for no gain. BWS picture-paged.
O32 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Slant Floyd Inc
Credit to Floyd(+2, cover +2) on this one: he is right there on this slant and gets a PBU.
O32 3 10 Shotgun Trips TE Okie one Pass 5 Tunnel screen Avery 3
Clark(+1) reads the tackle releasing and starts moving outside. This doesn't get a tackle in or anything but it does force the WR vertical before he wants to go vertical; Avery(+1) is charging at the WR and tackles after a modest gain. Got lucky, as the tackle coming out should have pounded Avery and then Gordon is the man who is basically the only thing between Purdue and a TD. He probably makes the play but would have been do or die right there.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 11 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Rollout hitch Demens Inc
Coverage(+2) is good on the rollout. Ryan(+0.5) picks up a flat; Floyd(+0.5) has a deeper route; Demens(+0.5) has a hitch to the inside. Heitzman(+0.5) is delivering nominal pressure, and TerBush eventually chucks it across his body wildly; Demens almost gets a hand on it and likely would if this was more accurate.
O36 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Clark 2
Demens(+0.5) seems to have the inside slant; Purdue runs a bubble fake to the outside and Floyd(+1, cover +1) is definitely all over the slant that's supposed to be the gotcha counter. TerBush throws it anyway; Clark(+1) bats it as he is wont to do. Inside slant guy catches it for a few.
O38 3 8 I-Form twins Nickel even Pass 4 Rollout dig Floyd Inc
Clark is containing but there are three guys on the edge blocking so he's got no shot. This looks like it's designed to suck Michigan to the edge of the field and then hit them back inside as the outside WR runs a dig; Floyd(+2, cover +2) is all over it and gets a diving PBU.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 5 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Run N/A Power off tackle Washington -3
Washington(+1) shoves his man into the backfield and picks off the pulling G. Roh(+1) chucks the tackle trying to block down on him; Demens(+1) beats a WR block; Ryan(+1) does likewise and attacks, getting a diving TFL. If he misses he's still forced the guy upfield and Demens and Gordon will blow him up anyway. Morgan(+0.5) was scraping to the hole if it went further upfield. Ain't nowhere to go.
O20 2 13 Shotgun 2TE twins Nickel even Pass 4 Hook and ladder N/A 20
More like a fake tunnel and ladder but whatever. Okay, they get M. I'm not minusing the D, but this is an RPS -2.
O40 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even Pass 4 Out Taylor 14
A five yard out Taylor(-0.5, cover -1) can't tackle on the catch. CGordon(-1, tackling -1) is coming out as the WR turns upfield and overruns it. Gordon fends off a block to slow the guy and gets an ankle tackle as Taylor recovers to tackle.
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Sprint counter Pipkins 11
Heitzman left unblocked; he flows up to contain the QB. The line hasn't gotten gapped on the backside but there's a big hole between Heitzman and Pipkins(-0.5), who doesn't slow the back...I think he may be right to cut this thing off but I'd like to see him realize where the ball is going faster and at least bother the guy. Demens was pass-dropping; he gets into a blocker and contains about three yards downfield. Morgan(-0.5) went around a blocker upfield and almost almost makes a nice play to hold this down but cannot. Kovacs fills; pile falls past sticks. RPS -1.
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 WR screen Taylor 2
M shows cover one and that they will send CGordon off the edge. Purdue shows a sweep to the left and just throws it at a single receiver to the right. Taylor(+1, tackling +1) comes up to make a stop after a minimal gain. Beyer flowing out from the line helped, I guess, but not really sure what Purdue is trying to accomplish here.
M33 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Scramble N/A 6
Again all of the time on the edge. Clark(-1) gets sealed inside, though the RB leading out there is just looking to block. Pressure –2. No one open (cover +3) despite all day, Marve runs for a few.
M27 3 2 Shotgun 2TE tight 4-3 even Pass 4 TE out Kovacs 1
Kovacs(+0.5) and Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) are right there on one yard pass and force a fourth down. RPS +1.
M25 4 In Ace trips Nickel even Run N/A QB sneak N/A 1
They get it.
M24 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass 4 Scramble Beyer 2
Initial read is covered and then Beyer(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5, pressure +1) collapse the pocket, with Beyer going around the edge and Campbell bulling an interior OL back. Still nobody open(a total over cover +2) as Marve gets the edge; he scrambles for a couple.
M22 2 8 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Throwaway Morgan Inc + 11 Pen
Looks like miscommunication but Marve is just throwing this away; his OL cut the interior guys so the WR's route is right. That's a slant that Morgan(+1, cover +1) is going to pick six if thrown. Roh(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) are beating guys upfield and meeting at the QB so Marve has to get rid of it. Pressure +1. Washington(-1) gets a personal foul. No idea why, no replay.
M11 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE Nickel even Pass 5 Sack Ryan -6
Max pro with two WRs. Marve thinks they're covered(+1) and starts rolling, unwisely, as Ryan(+1) avoids a cut and charges at him. Ryan can't bring him down but does force him to the sideline. Roh(+0.5) pursues fast and finishes forcing him OOB.
M17 2 16 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Draw Roh -2
Purdue's OL derfs as both guys blocking Roh(+1) let him go and move to the second level. Roh does contain the back and force him back to the rest of his DL; Beyer(+0.5) finishes the tackle.
M19 3 18 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 4 Throwaway Ryan Inc
Mattison zone blitz as Demens is lined up over the G, fakes like he's coming, and backs out. That occupies a G; C occupied by Black. Ryan(+1, pressure +2, RPS +2) gets to roar straight up the middle of the pocket untouched and level Marve, who chucks it out of the endzone.
Drive Notes: FG(36), 31-13, 12 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Reverse Roh 11
Ryan and Roh are on the edge here. Ryan goes straight upfield to cut off the outside; Roh starts running straight for the sideline, opening up a lane. Roh(-2) should have let Ryan handle the contain. Gordon comes up to tackle.
O27 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Out Taylor 5
Taylor(+0.5, cover +1) in cover two and tackles on the catch.
O32 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Drag Ryan INT
Ryan(+1) blitzes, stunting inside into the center, beating him and again shooting straight upfield at Marve. Clark(+1) beat the RT with a speed rush. Those guys are going to crush Marve, so he throws. It's a drag route Demens(+0.5, cover +1) is going to blow up short of the first down; WR deflects it directly to Gordon(+1), who makes the easy INT. Pressure +2, cover +1.
Drive Notes: Interception, 34-13, 9 min 4th Q. Rob Henry gets the next drive but M starters are still mostly in so okay.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Run N/A QB draw Campbell -2
Campbell(+1) drives the G back into the intended crease, convincing Henry to go outside, where he and Ojemudia(+1) combine to TFL.
O25 2 12 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Hitch Demens 5
Five yard route, immediate tackle. Demens +0.5
O30 3 7 Shotgun trips bunch 3-3-5 nickel Pass 5 TE out Ojemudia 4
Three man front with two LBs flanking. Ojemudia(+1) swims past a guard, as does Black(+0.5), though Black is not as quick. Ojemudia looks held, no call. QB chucks another short dink route; Floyd(+0.5) there for an immediate tacke. Pressure +1, cover +1.
O34 4 3 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inverted veer keeper   -1
Ojemudia(+2) shuffles down a bit, then moves upfield as the back gets there, which causes a pull... and causes the pulling G to go for him. Ojemudia goes upfield of that block and starts making an ankle tackle; Morgan(+0.5) was unblocked thanks to the Ojemudia play and helps finish with CGordon, who came from the backside quickly.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 37-13, 5 min 4th Q. One more drive but mostly backups so fin.

I almost kind of expect this.

I know. Like… I know. But even if you kind of expect that you can't actually expect that, you know?

I don't know, you know?

Well, the thing is I've been doing these things for a while and I kind of know what a reasonable number is for a lot of this stuff and the numbers for this game are just not reasonable. I think we should look at


a chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 8.5 2 6.5 Reliable. Active. Mini-RVB.
Campbell 2 0.5 1.5 Purdue only bothered to test M DTs a couple times.
Washington 2.5 1 1.5 So like whatever.
Black 0.5 1 -0.5 Again marginalized.
Clark 3.5 1 2.5 Another batted pass.
Beyer 2.5 2 0.5 Got cut pretty badly that one time.
Pipkins 0.5 0.5 0 eh
Heitzman 0.5 - 0.5 no comment possible for one half point
Ojemudia 4 - 4 All of this on last drive but that was impressive on the veer
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 24.5 8 16.5 When Purdue tried to run at hilariously few guys in the box they got zip.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5.5 3.5 2 Overshadowed with +2, is this real life?
Demens 6.5 0.5 6 As I said after ND: !!!
Ryan 10 - 10 I call him mini Clay Matthews.
C. Gordon 2.5 1 1.5 Getting some run now.
Ross - - - DNP
Bolden - - - DNP
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 24.5 5 19.5 That is incredible. Has to be the best +/- LB ratio ever.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 10.5 4 6.5 Got 3-4 PBUs to go with 3-4 not quite tackles on short stuff.
Avery 1.5 - 1.5 Tunnel screen stick.
Taylor 3 1.5 1.5 TD was a little bad.
Kovacs 0.5 2.5 -2 Plz ignore, see "coverage"
T. Gordon 4.5 - 4.5 Playing pretty well these days.
Holowell - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNP
TOTAL 20 8 12 LOL
Pressure 11 7 4 Rollouts a little annoying but…
Coverage 34 5 29 I don't even know what to do with myself.
Tackling 5 2 71% Eh.
RPS 11 4 7 Mattison must break you.

Okay, so the LB numbers and the coverage numbers I will tell you flat out without even looking are completely unprecedented. Linebacking is hard, and covering people is hard, and I've been tolerant of scores around zero for both groups. To come out of a game with 80-90% good marks just never happens.

When something like this goes down I naturally would like to sanity-check it, so… yup, eleven drives, a flat 200 yards on those drives and 13 points. 10% of Purdue's yards on a hook and ladder. Purdue starting QB averages 4.4 YPA. When hook and ladder removed, all Purdue QBs combine for 4.2 YPA and throw two INTs. Purdue rushes for 3.0 YPC. Sanity checked. Sanity is like "maybe those numbers should be a little higher."

So, yeah, don't look at the –2 for Kovacs on like the few plays he was on the screen for, look at the coverage metric, and nod your head and say woo pig sooie. (Do not say that.) This was the quintessential play from yesterday: good play action from Purdue sucks Morgan up a fraction and…

…Demens almost bats it down and Gordon tackles the guy as soon as he touches the ball. College teams cannot execute in these windows very often, and even when Purdue's stuff was working they were operating with a tiny margin for error.

I started a tweet BOOM on Saturday and later thought to myself that was out of character; now I kind of wish I had added the SHAKALAKA deserved.

I thought you were kind of mad at JT Floyd?

I am still a little when 33 of Purdue's scanty yards are acquired on little five yard hitch routes Floyd cannot tackle on immediately:

(It happened to Taylor once, FWIW. These plays were about a quarter of Purdue's entire offensive output.) Reviewing the film I found 4 PBUs—even though the official stats only give him two in my book you get a PBU for being in position to catch a ball no matter how ugly the duck that misses the WR is. PBUs are hard and get points and again, no yards for Purdue and massive coverage metric.

Floyd also had a good run fill on a quick pitch, so there's that.

Is it weird they're just going at Floyd all the time?

A lot of those were rollouts and it's easier to roll out right for a right handed quarterback and then when the play is over you're on the right hash and Floyd is the boundary corner. I bet that if Michigan had swapped their guys Purdue still would have been throwing rollouts to the boundary, only at Taylor.

That said, it is a little weird. Taylor did give up that slant on fourth and two and just got lucky; he also gave up a slant on first and goal that was not so good. If that guy beats you to the outside and they complete the fade, okay. That's a much tougher recipe than chucking that easy slant.

Taylor's still doing very well in general—again, holy coverage metric. The bet here is that Floyd's frequent targeting was just a symptom of the limited offense Michigan was going up against.


Yeah man yeah yeah. Okay, so he spends a big part of the day hanging out on the edge making or threatening to make plays like he did against that one ND screen on third and four. Purdue eventually just had to abandon that part of their gameplan entirely after they couldn't even throw the ball:

Another part of the day is spent pass rushing. He's unblocked here but TerBush is decently mobile and how many times do you see guys set loose overrun opponents?

Brandon Harrison sucked at that* and he was about half Ryan's size.

Also, murderdeathkill.

Mostly Mattison but again demonstration that Jake Ryan has a killer size/speed combo. On the next drive Ryan would do that again, and Marve was all like ball gone please leave me alone.

+10, no minus, yeah baby.

*[No offense Mr. Harrison. Brandon Harrison should have been much more involved in the 2008 defense, which insanely benched him until Minnesota when the 4-2-5 nickel came back.]

Demens? Morgan?

Demens now has a +14, –0.5, +13.5 line the last two games. Morgan hasn't had that kind of eye-popping UFR production but he's not that far off as a true sophomore. Note that in this game the veterans kept the rookies entirely off the field—that should tell you the coaches are a lot happier with them than they were a couple games ago.

Against a team that runs as much dinky pass stuff as Purdue that's mostly a compliment to their pass coverage.

DL marveling?

I'll have to take a pass this week as Purdue barely tested the DTs. When they did, Michigan responded, as BWS documented in a picture pages. I will say that Roh is handling SDE duties just fine so far; he's becoming the half-point machine RVB was last year where he's not lining up the opposing QB for killshots but is getting to him consistently, is stringing stuff out and closing off holes and doing all the littler things that make life easier for everyone else.

Anyone new emerging?

I was impressed by Mario Ojemudia's brief cameo at the end of the game. He swam past an offensive guard on a play reminiscent of his high school tape, and then he played an inverted veer just right. So here he delays the QB's decision, forces a pull, occupies the pulling G, and helps tackle:

Can't do that better. Just getting the two for one (contain and the pulling G) is a major win; doing that and making the subsequent tackle easier for the unblocked LB you caused to be unblocked is great.

While I'm not sure how much more we'll see him in important moments with Beyer back, he's shown the first flashes of quality play. Whoever wins the WDE dogfight going into 2013 is going to be pretty dang good.


Jeez. Pick someone. Entire secondary, Jake Ryan, Demens, and Roh. There you go.


Srs. GTFO, man.

What does it mean for Illinois and the future?

Illinois will put up 14 or fewer points and totally fail to move the ball consistently.

As for the future, it seems like the veteran ILBs have reasserted a hold on their jobs, and for the best reason: playing better. We'll see more of the freshmen when the defense isn't booting the opposition off the field in three plays while Michigan takes 17 to matriculate down the field; I don't think they'll be huge threats to displace the oldsters. Michigan's LBs are clean and playing a lot faster.

We got a few extra hints that the DL was pretty good, and that whatever coverages Michigan is running are being executed extremely well. Michigan's short a couple elite athletes in the secondary; other than that there's not much to criticize.

Mattison must break you. Jake Ryan is his tool.


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Brian October 9th, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Hail Mattison. Tube sock brigade == ND's line in the eyes of a guy who might know, Purdue OC Gary Nord:

Gold and Black: Are you having trouble with your offensive front, and is that affecting your run game?

Nord: "No, I think the offensive line played the best game they've played this year, I really do. They probably protected better than they've ever protected. I think Michigan's defensive line was probably as good as any that we've played. They were very good. They held Notre Dame to about the same number of yards we had and they had five turnovers on them. They played two of the better teams in the country in Alabama and Notre Dame, those two, so their stats were screwed up a little bit going in, but watching them man-for-man and for the four-down guys and two linebackers, they're as good as there is in the country."

Coachspeak? Never. Gary Nord speaks the gospel truth at all times thanks to an ancient curse passed down from Nord father to Nord son that turns them into a walrus if they ever say anything other than the unvarnished facts of a matter.


Danny Hope has it too, and fell from the straight and narrow.

That's so Weis. I mean, seriously.


The US government needs to disguise Weis as an Iranian ayatollah and send him into deep cover. Within weeks the country will collapse in the world's most disorganized civil war.

Yeah, I know about Somalia. I stand by what I said.

Next up: the University of Phoenix Phoenixes. TOC does a thing where they deploy Bradley-Terry ratings for college football* in the service of predicting things. They've got a margin-aware version, too. The West is a sack of cats with Michigan a tiny favorite thanks to not having a conference loss yet; the by-far top two teams in the East are the ineligible ones. BIG TENNNNNN.

Michigan's opponent this weekend… eh… not so good.

Blowout of the Week (Illinois Division): Illinois @ Michigan

Not only has Illinois only won one game against 1-A competition (Western Michigan), last week's 17-point loss to Wisconsin was their closest loss. This will not end well. Michigan is an 80% favorite according to the basic method, 93% (17 points) according to margin-aware.

The Illini have a one in 70,100 chance of winning out, though.

Over at A Lion Eye they're trying to figure out how on earth you fire Ron Zook and get a lot worse:

Our last four losses by 17 or more under Zook:

11/26/11: Minnesota 27, Illinois 7
11/12/11: Michigan 31, Illinois 14
10/16/10: Michigan State 26, Illinois 6
10/03/09: Penn State 35, Illinois 17

So if you’re scoring at home, that’s four 17+ point losses in the last five weeks for Illinois.  And before this season, four 17+ point losses in the last 35 games.  You know what, let’s make this one hurt a little more.  2006 through 2011.  Six seasons, eight losses by 17 points or more.  This season, four of our six games were losses by 17 points or more.

Illinois's run game has fallen off a cliff you already thought it had fallen off, dropping from 11th in 2010 to 41st in 2011 to 94th(!) this year, 94th when three of their opponents have been WMU, Charleston Southern, and Louisiana Tech. Every La Tech opponent has rushed for more yards against the Bulldogs than Illinois.

BONUS: after collecting 41 sacks a year ago, Illinois has nine in six games this time out. They returned everyone but Mercilus. They're 109th at sacks allowed. Illinois: not good.

*[college hockey fans may know this as KRACH]

Another tough injury for State. Dion Sims missed most of the Indiana game with an ankle injury. He's day-to-day-ish:

"I don't know that he'll make it this week," Dantonio said of Sims, "but he may make it next week. We'll have to see how he responds in the next couple days, really."

This week is Iowa, next week Michigan. Sims is MSU's leading receiver with 313 yards, though if you give Aaron Burbridge a minute he'll eclipse that.

Sims's backup is a redshirt freshman, FWIW. If Sims misses the Michigan game the main benefit seems to be a lack of the multi-TE sets State used to spring Ed Baker to a big day last year.

Also in injuryland, OSU MLB Etienne Sabino is out four weeks with a bone fracture in his leg. That prognosis should have him back on the field for Michigan, but seriously you can come back from this sort of thing in four weeks?

Senior linebacker Etienne Sabino has a broken right fibula and will miss at least three weeks, possibly more, for the Ohio State football team.

Sabino was injured in the first half of Saturday’s 63-38 win over Nebraska. He had surgery on Sunday to implant a steel plate into his leg.


“He talked to the team afterwards, and it was an emotional moment,” Meyer said. “The best case is three weeks. The worst case is longer. We hope to get him back.”

I am terrified of football players. Sabino's replacement is true freshman Joshua Perry, but OSU spends a lot of time in a nickel package that he won't feature in.

Willis Ward to be honored. All it took was action from the state legislature:

Oct. 20 (UM vs. MSU) is Willis Ward Day in Michigan. Athletic Department spokesperson said Michigan plans to recognize Willis on that day.

I've always loved "recognize" as a thing that is done by official-type people. "Oh, hey… you're Willis Ward, aren't you? Rad. I suppose this IS a plaque with you on it!"

Yost to host. Hockey drops the puck tonight in an exhibition against Windsor; Yost Built previews the D and goalies. I agree with him that splitting Moffie and Bennett across two pairings makes sense. Something like…

  • Trouba-Merrill
  • Bennett-Clare
  • Moffie-Chiasson

…gives you offensive firepower at all times and a defensive guy who will cover up for the offensive guy when he lets his freak flag fly. I'll also be watching to see what kind of progress Brennan Serville can make. He was pretty bad last year but also very young; he could make a big step forward.

Red says Rutledge, Racine, and Janecyk will all play a period so hopefully that means Rutledge's eye thing is healed is ready to go for the real season opener on… Thursday? Guh.

Someone's got to do something about hockey scheduling. There's a game at Yost on February first this year. You know when the next one is? March. I assume this is just the CCHA screwing with Michigan because it can; hopefully next year they'll be able to move more home games into the back half of the schedule.

BONUS SCHEDULING TIP: The Big Ten should seek out opportunities to have rival weekends where, say, Minnesota football and hockey come to town at the same time. The travel equation changes dramatically when you get a hockey series on top of your football game.

Compher so pretty. JT Compher had another career lined up if hockey didn't work out:

"When I was younger I did toddler modeling and I was on the front of a catalog," Compher told "I got to keep the red scooter that I was modeling. That was pretty cool."

Compher said he can't remember what company the catalog was from, only that he was 3 or 4 years old at the time and got a pretty cool new toy out of the deal.

Okay, okay, this happened. Stop emailing me about it plz:


As I said on the twitter, my favorite part is that he appears to have misspelled his own damn name in his twitter handle.

Etc.: Ramroth Finnegan! I bet he ends up at Cincinnati. Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne was taken off in an ambulance last week but may return Saturday. Weinreb on Penn State remembering this football thing. Tim Hardaway expectation tracker. More numbers displaying that Illinois is bad yo. Denard throws are key.


Unverified Voracity Gets Serious This Time, Seriously

Unverified Voracity Gets Serious This Time, Seriously Comment Count

Brian August 3rd, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Sponsor note: SPORTS POWER WEEKENDS will get you to a road game with POWER. /Herbstreit

Check them out to help the blog.

Pro combat. Via Tremendous, freshman OL Erik Magnuson and Kyle Kalis in a dorm hallway:


Magnuson should wear that on gameday. DEs would speed rush the wrong way.

Liveblog status update. I've checked out the comments left on the Liveblog Conundrum post and things seem split 60-40 in favor of CIL, but a couple of misconceptions may have swung that. To clarify:

  1. The embedded twitter feed hypothesized in the previous post would not be unmoderated. We would not be relaying the results of a hashtag. We would create a separate gameday twitter feed that would be part of the list that would exclusively retweet comments sent to it, a la CIL. There would be a base set of feeds like Ace, Heiko, Seth, myself, and Grant Wahl that would be in the list, and then various people who wanted to contribute to the list as commenters would send tweets to the gameday account.
  2. Kickstarter requires a deliverable, so their platform doesn't work for raising money for a service like this. We could do a generic donation drive for these things, but… it's moderated chat software. Paying these sorts of prices seems insane. Various people have brought up the idea of spinning up our own version, and I agree that is an attractive long-term solution but it's August and that is not an option for 2012.
  3. I don't see the "I might annoy people following my feed" and "I might not be as anonymous as I would like to be" issues as real problems. If anything, that kind of drag on posting would be beneficial to the over-stressed moderators. If you'd ever been in a CIL trying to figure out what to give an approve to you'd know. Caring about that sort of thing seems like a benefit.
  4. A commenter mentioned P2, a wordpress theme that turns a front page into… well, SB Nation comments. This would be great. It does not have a Drupal equivalent. I could try to incorporate it as a subdomain ( but again, it's August and at this point it's time to embed or die.

Does that change any opinions?

Mattison in for the medium haul. I don't think it's a surprise that Mattison is planning on retiring at Michigan

"The good thing that happens when you're older and you've been a lot of places is, a lot of (coaches) want to win so they can move on," Mattison said. "Me? Hey, this is my last stop. I just want to win because it's Michigan."

…but maybe Borges saying the same thing is news:

"Now that I'm here, not really -- not like I did 10, 15 years ago," Borges said in a recent interview when asked if he still hoped to be a head coach. "I never say never, but by the same token, I don't go looking for them. Used to be I did, but I'm done hunting down head coaching jobs. I'm in a place where I'm very happy and I just want to make this job the best job I can make it.

"This is a great place to coach and to be, and for someone to leave here, you better be able to justify it. And I just don't see any scenarios that could justify me leaving the University of Michigan."

How long would these guys be in place? Well, Mattison is 62 and Borges 56. Norm Parker just packed it in at 69 due to health issues and Mattison says he'll keep going as long as those don't prevent him from doing his job:

"At first, I thought I might do this for a few years," he said. "But after this last season ... my wife, she said it me, 'What else are you going to do? You are going to go golfing for about two weeks, and then you're going to go crazy.'

"'I said, 'You're right. I'm going to coach, as long as my health holds up, and as long as they want me, and as long as I can still keep doing the job.' "

So this staff will probably hang together until someone gets poached to be a coordinator elsewhere or Mattison retires.

We're serious now you guys. Glad to see that John Infante, the Bylaw Blog guy, also had a problem with UCF's wrist-slap penalty for its athletic director paying a street agent(!) and that I'm not a bloodthirsty maniac. Or if I am I'm not a lone bloodthirsty maniac. Infante:

What UCF was accused of was, on its face, one of the worst packages of NCAA violations in recent memory. Not only were both of its revenue sports using a runner (among others) to help recruit athletes and that runner was providing benefits to student-athletes, but all of this was with the knowledge, encouragement, and even active participation of the athletic director.

For all that, UCF got off relatively light. Twin postseason bans, scholarship losses and major recruiting restrictions are not a slap on the wrist. But considering the conduct, it could and should have been much worse. The NCAA would have been justified in laying to waste both of UCF’s most prominent sports for the rest of the decade

Infante hypothesizes that the COI is waiting for the new enforcement structure coming down from on high before doing anything serious to someone. Well, it's here:

A program found to have made a "serious breach of conduct" with aggravating circumstances could face postseason bans of two to four years. In addition, the program may have to return money from specific events or a series of events or the amount of gross revenue generated by the sport during the years in which sanctions occurred - fines that could cost a school millions of dollars.

If this sounds familiar, it should. After the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State, the NCAA barred Penn State from playing in a bowl game or the college football playoff until after the 2016 season and levied a $60 million fine - the rough equivalent to a year of gross revenue from the football program.

Coaches, too, would face new guidelines. They would be presumed responsible for any violations committed by their staffs. If they cannot prove they were unaware, the head coach could be suspended from 10 percent of the season to the full season.

The board also approved a provision that would publicly identify individuals responsible for the violations if there is a finding of lack of institutional control or failure to monitor.

It won't be real until October, but it should be real then. Hopefully UNC and Miami are first on the chopping block.

I can foresee no problems with this. This is part of a generally sensible move towards slashing out big chunks of NCAA rule minutia:

Boosters would be allowed to contribute directly to the compensation of coaches, potentially controlling more of the terms under which coaches are paid, if a new NCAA proposal is adopted.

Under the plan, described in a 12-page NCAA document obtained by The Chronicle,boosters could come up with their own bonuses instead of giving their money to the athletic department and hoping that they would have the influence to get it written into a coach’s contract, one NCAA rules expert says.

I'm not sure who thought the problem with booster influence was that it was too restricted. I would like to tell this person that they're not right. The rest of the proposal seems fine by me: removing a bunch of recruiting restrictions implemented to maintain a "level playing field," including the contact restrictions men's basketball has already dumped.

Here's a person who is sane:

“The playing field is not and has never been and never will be level,” said James F. Barker, president of Clemson University and chair of the NCAA working group that came up with the proposed changes. “To say the NCAA should try to create a level playing field is impossible and is not a wise path to take.”

Here's a person who is not:

“I do not know if the proverbial ‘level playing field’ can ever be had,” Bill Zack, head women’s rowing coach at the University of Portland and president of the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association, wrote to the working group through an NCAA feedback form. “But I think it is problematic to outright acknowledge that it is OK to have institutional financial advantage."

There's a place for that, and it's called DIII.


shooters are shooting in code

Irvin hype. Rod Beard checks in with 2013 basketball recruit Zak Irvin and in doing so touches on the most remarkable aspect of Beilein's recruiting thus far:

"Irvin is probably the most improved kid in the state this year. He had a great year in high school and he's carried it over to AAU. He can really shoot, he's athletic at 6-7 and he's a lot like Hardaway," said Dan Dakich, who coached at Indiana University and now coaches an AAU team in the state.

"He's a better shooter than Hardaway coming out, but he's got that kind of length and can handle the ball and is comfortable on the perimeter. Beilein likes length and shooting ability and certainly those two kids can do that. I think they got two really good ones."

Over at ESPN, a couple of analysts confirm Dakich's assessment($). Paul Biancardi votes for Irvin as the best player he saw across two dozen AAU events…

His long-range jumper is accurate and if a defender gets too close, he will drive to the basket with a long first step. Plus, he has the size to score over defenders in the painted area. … Overall, he is a clutch performer, arguably the best player in the state of Indiana and the best player who helped his team win I saw all summer.

…and John Stovall plugs him as the guy most likely to rise in ESPN's rankings:

The Michigan commit has improved to the point where he is the best player in Indiana and one of the very best in the Midwest. He can play either wing position (SF or SG) and is a solid athlete who is much better off the dribble now with his improved handle. He can create space off the dribble and hit shots from midrange all the way to 22 feet. He is also better as a defender. He has nice length and athletic ability. Irvin is easily a top 50 player now and should be ready to play immediately at Michigan.

Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Glenn Robinson III, and now Irvin have all seen surges after their commitments as they pass various players Beilein has not recruited. (Hardaway and Burke had to wait to arrive on campus before getting the bump.) That's quite a streak. Talent evaluation: Beilein has it.

BONUS: rumble has it that Scout, the lone remaining Irvin skeptic, is about to come around whenever they update their rankings next.

We'll be seeing you in Michigan Stadium this fall. Congrats to Tyler Clary, the former Michigan swimmer who nailed down a 200M backstroke gold medal by beating favored Ryan Lochte last night-ish, then live-tweeted the replay.

We might not be seeing you in Michigan Stadium this fall, at least not early. Frank Clark's pretrial date is September 11th, which is after the Alabama and Air Force games. If Hoke goes by the Josh Furman precedent Clark will be out at least that long, but hopefully he won't since having Furman sit out spring practice for a piddling offense that was eventually dismissed seems detrimental to everyone.

Requirement: three people should have this jersey. The Wisterts' #11 is back in circulation as a legends jersey. Don't give it to Kovacs. Or Denard.

Minor hockey rule changes. Hand passes are now illegal everywhere, and defensive zone hand passes are subject to a no-change rule similar to icing. Deflecting a puck into the net with your skates is now cool as long as it's not kicked. (This rule will be changed within five years, because it always changes.) And defensive players slightly dislodging the net will not cancel goals like Michigan's second against Cornell last year. Which, like, finally.

Thumbs up on all of these. I think they should move the kicked-puck rule to a bright line: if the skate stays on the ice for the whole process, it's legit. If it comes off, it's not.

BONUS thing: Canadian university Simon Fraser is the NCAA's first international member. They'll enter at DII and will hopefully wrangle themselves a DI hockey program as soon as possible.

Only lawyer in America update. Also via John Infante, Michael Buckner's firm scored Montana's NCAA business.

Etc.: NCAA widens bowl eligibility to 5-7 teams if they have a top five APR, which, just… come on man. Every bowl that would ever consider taking such a team is stealing money from college football with ticket guarantees to games that will have no one at them. Countdown To Kickoff kicks off. Also counts down.