Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 28th, 2015 at 4:54 PM

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Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. I'm late today so I'm just going to tell you that Matt's a good guy and did my loan and Seth's loan and everything was easy and professional. We are associating our name with his and that is something we are very comfortable with.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: The director was one of those guys who fancies himself Stanley Kubrick so we never got a proper shot of what M was doing presnap on the Peppers sweep:

shotgun empty tight

You'll note that M only has four OL; Cole is lined up outside of DeVeon Smith. This was "shotgun empty tight" but that's insufficient to describe it, really.

This with 3TEs and a WR in a wing spot was "Ace tight":

ace tight

And M pulled out another goofy split line setup. Cole is one of the WRs to the top; Williams is the "right tackle". "Emory 3-wide," I said, and took another antacid:

emory 3-wide

PERSONNEL NOTES: The usual at most of the spots except Michigan whittled down the number of guys who played at the skill positions. Johnson and Green are on the participation list but didn't get carries; I don't remember them playing at all. Higdon and Isaac did get carries, but sparingly.

At WR it was almost all Darboh and Chesson and then they added in Harris or Perry in 3 or 4 wide sets. TE was about the usual.

[After THE JUMP: opportunities untaken]

Monday Presser 10-12-15: Players

Monday Presser 10-12-15: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 13th, 2015 at 9:01 AM



Desmond Morgan and Joe Kerridge

Joe, can you talk about being able to touch the ball, carry the ball and what a thrill that is?

“It’s really- over the years, looking at the fullback position it’s a lot of blocking- a lot of blocking- and so getting to touch the ball every once in a while is an awesome thing for us fullbacks. Sione’s been doing a great job. It’s a different twist in the game now and it’s something we really like to do.”

You guys probably haven’t had a lot of practices yet, but has there been an early message from Jim about how to prepare for this game? You guys have been moving up the rankings, people are talking College Football Playoff- how do you not let that get to your head?

DM: “After the game on Saturday we addressed it being a trophy game and being a big game for us, but as far as that we meet this afternoon in probably about thirty minutes or an hour. We’ll get more down to it then.”

When do you recall the countdown clocks coming down, and what do you think about that?

DM: “I don’t remember exact dates or anything like that. As far as thoughts on it, I think the whole mindset this year’s just been approach the next game, just go out and try to win the next game. So, for us in terms of countdown clocks or to count down to a certain game, it’s just basically been the next Saturday.”

Your thoughts on Jake [Rudock]. The steadiness obviously has been kind of a theme for him. This is a big game. Just your thoughts on having a quarterback who seems pretty level-headed through six weeks.

JK: “Yeah, Jake’s done a great job. He’s a student of the game, for sure. I try to get around him as much as I can. He’ll come up to me in the locker room after practice, he’ll already have watched the practice and come up and give me some pointers or something like that; he’ll critique something, or something like that. He’s shown great strides and it’s great to see a quarterback that loves the game as much as he does.”

[After THE JUMP: Jake Butt and Jourdan Lewis]

Jimmystats: Tight End Tosses

Jimmystats: Tight End Tosses

Submitted by Seth on September 29th, 2015 at 1:30 PM


During the preseason I was goofing around with wide receiver targeting stats by Bill Connelly*, and Ace asked me if it says anything about anything if a team is targeting its tight ends more than its receivers. At the time it seemed Michigan was about to do that. They haven't:


But once things shake out it wouldn't be that surprising if it's Darboh and Butt then a bunch of low-amplitude dudes. The more the season has progressed, the more it seems Ian Bunting and Henry Poggi are going to siphon snaps and targets from Grant Perry and Drake Harris. Jehu Chesson gets ignored even when his cornerback has fallen down. We can compare this distribution to the rest of the Big Ten:

School Targets Yards Off S&P+
WRs TEs RBs WRs TEs RBs S&P Rk
Rutgers 53% 31% 16% 82% 9% 9% 25.7 86th
Michigan 53% 32% 14% 73% 19% 8% 32.4 48th
Northwestern 57% 26% 16% 63% 22% 15% 22.4 105th
Iowa 65% 18% 17% 79% 13% 9% 33.1 44th
Wisconsin 65% 13% 21% 47% 40% 13% 33.4 42nd
Maryland 68% 15% 17% 79% 18% 3% 28.6 73rd
Purdue 70% 8% 22% 75% 13% 12% 27.3 80th
Indiana 72% 18% 10% 87% 3% 11% 36.9 25th
Minnesota 73% 13% 15% 57% 32% 11% 29.5 67th
Penn State 74% 18% 8% 87% 7% 6% 29.2 68th
Illinois 77% 12% 11% 79% 13% 8% 24.6 95th
Michigan State 79% 17% 4% 76% 7% 17% 38.2 19th
Nebraska 80% 9% 10% 62% 23% 16% 36.9 24th
Ohio State 83% 8% 9% 67% 16% 17% 35.4 33rd

For the above I counted OSU's H-backs as receivers, fullbacks as RBs, and Northwestern's "superbacks" as tight ends. It's early in the season so there's still a ton of mess in those numbers. So lets get some more data and see what we find.

[after the jump: two blobs jousting]

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs UNLV

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs UNLV

Submitted by Brian on September 23rd, 2015 at 2:58 PM

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor.


I've been informed to emphasize the rates and accessibility of your loan guy and not so much the pants. I do feel that the pants are an excellent metaphor for those aspects of going with Homesure Lending. But I do as I am told. Also, Matt tells his kids to go to bed at 6 PM so you know he's not to be messed around with.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: This is the "diamond" formation referenced below:


Michigan showed this more than they ran it, often motioning a TE to the side the FB was on.

Meanwhile your weird thing of the week was Tom Strobel, OL:


He is outside of "right tackle" Patrick Kugler with Cole lined up outside of him. This was a failed fourth down conversion that in retrospect probably would have been a touchdown if Smith hadn't fallen over untouched.

As for UNLV was pretty typical:


They spent the day with between 8 and 10 men in the box. Plays on which a safety was at least 10 yards deep were conservative ones.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Starting line was as expected. From left to right he second team line was Bushell-Beatty, Dawson, Kugler, walk-on Ben Pliska, and Bars. Kugler got a couple of snaps with the first team when Michigan went to a goofy seven-man line in the third Q. Tom Strobel, wearing 50, also got in on those plays.

The rest of the rotation was pretty much as before. Smith was the lead back backed up by Isaac and Johnson in that order; Green did not get in until the final drive. It was mostly Kerridge at FB until he got hurt; not much AJ Williams at TE, almost all Butt and Poggi.

Moe Ways got more playing time at WR, but there were not a ton of WR snaps to go around.

[After THE JUMP: selling out on the interior]

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Oregon State

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Oregon State

Submitted by Brian on September 17th, 2015 at 4:27 PM

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor.


Let me further emphasize the fact that pants are entirely optional when you go with HomeSure Lending. I mean, it's not like Matt has anything against pants. You want to go with pants, you go ahead. If you want to go with a mumu or board shorts or whatever, also fine. He can't see you. Also, excellent rates. He may have wanted me to emphasize that instead of the pants.

But seriously, excellent rates. He's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. Also no pants.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan went heavier in this game. I did not this week but in the future I am going to start specifying H-backs like Butt in this shot:

ace twins h

While TEs lined up next to other TEs are often H-backs in the offense I'm going to reserve the H designation for either the above or instances where there is a tight end near the LOS but tucked inside the edges of the line.

Michigan also had an under-center version of the diamond formations that Oklahoma State and other spread teams started implementing a year or two ago:


Generally the diamond had a tailback with a tight end and the fullback in front of him. In fall camp there was the occasional rumble of these formations featuring all tailbacks. Not yet; that would be something they hold for a tenser outing, I think.

I had no idea what to call this goal line formation with the FB and RB next to each other.

goal line 2 back

And if I call something "tight bunch" this is generally what I mean:


That's a TE, FB, and WR in the bunch. Harbaugh loves throwing out buckets of formations with 2 RB, 1 TE personnel. In the Utah game this was very frequently a pitch sweep; Michigan broke that tendency in this game by running off-tackle- ish at the bunch.

FWIW, I am designating Houma and Kerridge as FBs and listing all other blocky catchy types as TEs.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL was the same as it was against Utah: Cole/Braden/Glasgow/Kalis/Magnuson. Braden got dinged and left for a play or two; David Dawson entered in his place. That's not a huge surprise but there were a couple rumbles that Blake Bars might be the first guy in the game. That may be the case if a tackle goes out; it's apparently not the case at guard.

QB Rudock; RB was Smith almost the whole way until the fourth quarter, when Isaac and Green got the stress-free time. Isaac did spot Smith at various times in the first three quarters.

WR was the same rotation between Darboh, Chesson, and Harris on the outside. Perry got less time but I think that was more an effect of playing a lot of tight ends than anything else. Moe Ways got scattered snaps as well.

At tight end, every available one played except Khalid Hill. No idea what's going on with him. Fullback was mostly Kerridge until late when Houma came in to impress us all with his running and hair; Kerridge reportedly had a stinger.

[After THE JUMP: we can has manballs?]

Oregon State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Oregon State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 13th, 2015 at 12:00 PM



News bullets and other items:

  • Shane Morris is the backup quarterback. Speight took the one end-of-game snap because Harbaugh didn’t want to put Morris, a junior who’s played his first two years, in for that.
  • Harbaugh wants further explanation on the roughing the kicker call. He thought the punter had established himself as a runner.
  • Harbaugh called the snap over the OSU’s punter’s head a play that goes your team’s way once in a half a century.
  • Rudock drew praise for his coolness under pressure, but Harbaugh didn’t like the fumble or interception, particularly because he felt Rudock locked on his receiver on the pick.
  • The same play was intercepted in practice, so Harbaugh took the blame and said he’s kicking himself for calling it in the game.
  • Wormley, Charlton, Smith, Bunting, and the secondary were singled out for their strong play.
  • Hackett gave Harbaugh the maize watch he’s been wearing since Harbagh’s introductory presser.


Is there a game ball that went out to DeVeon or the defense? They both played well. Can you comment on that?
"Yeah, I sure can. We haven't given out any game balls yet. We'll do that Monday, but the defense – I'd say DJ Durkin and his staff did a tremendous job preparing the players. Went 3 1/2 quarters without points and tremendous on sudden change, we turned the ball over on our end of the field and coming away with getting a turnover, Joe Bolden plucks one out of the air. I thought that was a huge play in the game.

“There was- one other one was Jake Butt plucking a ball out of the air at the 10 yard line to open up the second half when we fumbled down there deep in our own end zone – end.

“So, great team win. Very pleased. I thought this was won with the week of practice. We had a tremendous practice on Monday, especially Wednesday, and especially Thursday. Everybody contributed. The look team, the scout team, was- had its best week. Guys really challenging made those practices extremely good. But yeah, there was a lot of credit to give out to a lot of people because there was a great team win, but we're going to move on from this one with humble hearts because there's a lot of work to do."
Obviously a turning point in the game – it was still close at 10 to 7 – but the punt that was blocked…or is supposed to be blocked where there was the disputed call, how huge was that given that you disputed the call on the roughing?
"Oh, the roughing? I need an explanation on that one. Their punter caught it behind the guard, bobbled it, looks to me like he took right-left-right-left and punted it. The way I understand the rule is that if he establishes himself as a runner he's afforded the same protection a quarterback is when he is running outside of the pocket, which is if a guy takes two steps, the quarterback, [and] launches into him after he throws the ball then that would be a penalty, but that was a punt-hit. I just need a better explanation as to why that was a penalty, But maybe I stand to be corrected.

“But yeah, the game was tight. It was still in doubt and then we got the very fortuitous play for us, which was them snapping the ball over the punter’s head. I mean, that happens once in a half a century for your team. So that was a heckuva good break for us, but we'll take it. But I thought it was a good, competitive game. I thought our guys got the running game established. We tackled well. Got some pressure on the quarterback; thought that was the difference between the first quarter and a long drive they made and some other drives that they had. Wormley got a big sack that backed them up to the 2 yard line and then we got good field position. Jabrilll did another fine job fielding punts and making cool-handed decisions and we were able to turn that drive into a score and put points on the board. So,…good. Just think we've got a – it's only the second game. It's a long season and we all have a lot of work to do, so that's what we're focused on."

[The rest after THE JUMP]

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Utah

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Utah

Submitted by Brian on September 10th, 2015 at 3:29 PM

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor.


We have managed to maintain our sponsorship relation for a day, which is progress for us. During this day we would like to reiterate that Seth and I both refinanced with Homesure, which was both easy—everything's over a secure internet dropbox, so you don't have to put on pants—and efficient—he asks all the banks which one will give you the best deal. He's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Where the defense alternated between basically two setups, the offense was a smorgasbord of stuff ranging from five wide…


…to unbalanced goal line packages…

goal line unbalanced

To this, which I called "offset Maryland I":

offset maryland i

FWIW, I filed Poggi as a tight end in the table.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Rudock your QB. Line was Cole/Braden/Glasgow/Kalis/Magnuson the whole way except for a few snaps on which Logan Tuley-Tillman came in to play tackle that used Mason Cole as an inline tight end (who can't go downfield).

Butt played almost every snap—maybe every single one. There was a lot of rotation aside from him. Henry Poggi got the most time as an H-back; Kerridge was your traditional fullback. Williams got the most time other than Butt as an inline TE. We saw a little bit of Hill and Bunting.

WR was mostly Darboh and Chesson on the outside, with Harris rotating in. Perry played in the slot, sometimes in twins formations in which there were two TEs.

Smith was the main back with Isaac getting maybe 20% of the snaps behind him. Green and Taylor-Douglas got a few snaps each.

[After THE JUMP: throwing guys in the wrong direction.]

Wednesday Presser 9-9-15: Jay Harbaugh

Wednesday Presser 9-9-15: Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 10th, 2015 at 9:01 AM

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Did you ask Mike Riley for a scouting report here on Oregon State’s personnel or anything?

“No, it’s so different. The schemes are so different. There’s not a lot of carryover from what I remember us doing at Oregon State back in the day or I remember him doing the last few years.”

MGoQuestion: Is Khalid Hill 100% and will he see more time going forward?

“Yeah, yeah. He’s healthy to my knowledge and he’s going to continue contributing for us.”

Can you share a little bit about your decision to go to Oregon State and the whole process, because your dad had the connection with Riley a little bit.

“Mmhmm. Yeah, that was the connection really was that he played for Reily so it was the kind of deal where I knew I could go there and be well looked after and learn under a really good leader who treats people well. So, that was kind of the most important part of the thing.”

They gave you a lot of responsibility, though, as a student.

“Yeah, I don’t know why they gave me so much. They were very trusting, but the guys there were really good in terms of teaching and giving me responsibility but then giving you tools to get things done and trusting you, so I greatly appreciated that.”

You’re still pretty young. In the past few years since then do you think you’ve learned more than most coaches would at your age?

“Uh…I don’t know. That’s a tough question. To compare to other people I’m not really sure, but I would hope so.”

[After THE JUMP: I got shut down in the interest of protecting play calls and it was actually pretty awesome]

Monday Presser 9-7-15: Players

Monday Presser 9-7-15: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 8th, 2015 at 10:00 AM


[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Jake Butt and Amara Darboh

When did you know going into the game that you were going to have an opportunity to really have a big production day?

JB: “I mean, I think with the way our offense is set up it’s not just going to- each play isn’t just designed to just get one guy the ball. Really, anyone can get the ball on any given play. I knew there’d be opportunities and plays called where I’d have a chance to get open so I was just trying to catch the balls that were thrown my way.”

Talk a little bit about the process of a new quarterback and receivers getting to know each other and the little things that make the difference in a pass route or a football game.

JB: “The process started really the day Jake [Rudock] got here. His locker’s next to mine in the players’ locker room and we started just playing catch, and all summer we’d do our player-led practices, 7-on-7 and 1-on-1s and just running routes and we started to build the chemistry there. Jake’s had some success at other schools and stuff, so he knows how to get it done.”

AD: “Yeah, true. We were just trying to get the timing down throughout camp and summer, like Jake said. Just tying to get a feel and he tries to get a feel for where we’re going to be at and put the ball in the right spot.”

What did you see out of Grant Perry in preseason camp to know that he was going to be able to help you, and after the game- Coach Harbaugh just said there were a couple routes he didn’t run very precisely that led to interceptions- what do you say to him to make sure he doesn’t get down on himself?

AD: “With the first question, he was a guy who was very focused. He would always ask questions and took good notes and he was a guy that you could tell he understood football even though he was a freshman. And then with the mistakes and stuff, I told him after the game just go out there and pay attention to details and try to do the routes that you did in practice and don’t let the crowd or the atmosphere change the way you play.”

[After THE JUMP: Jourdan Lewis and Willie Henry]