Neck Sharpies: Counter Punching

Neck Sharpies: Counter Punching

Submitted by Seth on January 6th, 2016 at 10:00 AM

How does a mediocre running team do this:

…to one of the best run defenses in the country? Let's discuss.

Entering this game Florida was fifth in rush D to S&P+, giving up just 4.4 YPC with sacks removed, which means they turned their opponents' running games into basically Florida's freshman-infested running game. In our diagram for Ace's FFFF we gave 7/11 defensive starters a "dangerman" star, and three(!) got the shield that's reserved for the top players at their position in the country. Among them was end Jonathan Bullard, perhaps the best run-defending player in the nation, and strong safety Marcus Maye.

And yet Michigan, whose running game was barely better than Florida's this year, ran on that: 225 yards on 46 carries. Brian mentioned in the game column that a lot of this came from a reinvigorated De'Veon Smith, and from my rewatch I bet you the UFR will bear that out. There was also a little RPS, some great plays by individual offensive linemen (Mason Cole and Graham Glasgow had very good games), and some Harbaugh games.

Part I: Florida throws paper

The run above, which came mid-way through the 2nd quarter, must be taken in context. Smith by this point was already well up in +'s running Michigan's base stuff, and Rudock was well on his way to an excellent day.

Florida's pass defense is just as good as their run D, and in passing downs they're lethal. So it's worth it to them to try some surprising/a little unsound things on 1st and 2nd down to keep Michigan's offense behind schedule, and bring up those long situations. Against Michigan in particular it appeared Florida's gameplan was to take away inside runs, trusting the Wolverine backs not to find any holes that left elsewhere.

Let's first go back to an earlier thing Florida did that should have earned a TFL:

This is the one where the broadcast crew infamously put up the ND and OSU scores mid-play. What Florida called (I think) is below:


It's an under but the 5-tech is actually in a 7-tech.

Michigan tried to run "Power" into this, pulling Kalis, blocking down on the DL and using the fullback as lead blocker. Florida is ready, as the NT shoots up the back of Glasgow before Braden can get an angle on him; Braden blocks air, and Kalis runs into the nose in the middle of his pull:


Smith did a very good job to dance around that NT, then to bounce outside the unblocked MLB whom Kalis was heading toward, turning minus two yards into four.

The lesson: Florida was messing with Michigan's power running attack by sending rushers into the A gaps, leaving the 'B' gaps open, but only as a funnel directly to the linebackers. Yes, you'd like Braden to get a better block. Yes, that was a great play by the NT to get into the path of Kalis. But this was Florida's plan against Michigan's base thing, and they got the base thing. RPS'd.

[After the jump we RPS right back]

This Week's Obsession: Production Values

This Week's Obsession: Production Values

Submitted by Seth on September 16th, 2015 at 11:12 AM


The Question:

Color changes, helmet stickers, rawk/band ratio, production: what was better/worse/different this time about the stadium experience?

The Responses:

Adam: What was better and worse and different was people going to the game. The neighborhood I normally park in had lots of people tailgating and throwing footballs around outside, and the tailgates that used to exist closer to State Street were back as well. It was nice to see people outside enjoying a game day in Ann Arbor, especially considering how tail gates disbanded more and more often as last season wore on.

The downside of attendance numbers that actually pass the eye test is traffic. Last season I got stuck once, and that was after the Penn State night game. Usually people were cleared out by the time I finished with the postgame presser and walked back to my car. The last thing I expected was to get stuck on Main Street after a game that entered garbage time early in the fourth quarter, but that's what happened. People care again, man. They stuck around.

As far as in-stadium stuff goes, I'm hoping the block M and end zones get repainted to match the uniforms soon. I think the darker maize on the uniforms is perfect. I don't really care who the apparel manufacturer is as long as the maize and blue we saw on the field Saturday are the maize and blue they use.

Sticking with uniforms, I was initially lukewarm on helmet stickers but have come around after seeing them in action. I can understand people's concern over a helmet that appears cluttered, but I think they look great. It's hard for me to argue with a uniform change that results in something that appeals to Harbaugh and appealed to Bo and not illegible maize letters or oddly placed stripes.

[After the jump: WE ARE WINNING AT THIS!]