Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Ohio State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Ohio State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 1st, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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someday I hope to be as happy as Robert Landers (far left) [Fuller]

Ohio State’s punt coverage team is pretty good. Drue Chrisman, Ohio State’s punter, is really good. As a unit, they’ve allowed four returned punts for a total of 55 yards this season. Forty-two of those yards came on this play.

[After THE JUMP: more on both returners, parsing the punting, appreciating James Foug]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 24th, 2017 at 6:32 PM

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[Fuller]

Formation/substitution notes: Uche made an impact, charting for the first time after (per the official site) playing on ST the previous two weeks and against Air Force. Had to look that up because I thought this was the first week they were using him on kickoff.

Otherwise, things remained the same. Michigan brought pressure on their punts when they had Wisconsin pinned deep, otherwise dropping at least one man post-snap. They doubled a gunner on punt return coverage once again this week; Wisconsin was deep in their own territory, and it worked fairly well.

[After THE JUMP: what could be more BIG TENNNN than the mere existence of a ST UFR? EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF THE PUNNNTTTTEEERRRR]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Maryland

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Maryland

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 17th, 2017 at 10:04 AM

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[Paul Sherman]

Substitution/formation notes: Michigan lined up a gunner in the slot…

maryland punt 1

…and then motioned him in. In this instance he carries the Maryland player lined up across from him into the middle, and he taps his lineman to let him know which gap he’s in.

maryland punt 2

Michigan used this motion again later in the game, though that time they had the gunner motion across the entire formation and then head downfield.

[After THE JUMP: A Eurostep punt block? Head to the comments, you titan of special teams nomenclature]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Rutgers

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 3rd, 2017 at 3:59 PM

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[Campredon]

Substitution/formation notes: Nothing at all different from the last couple of weeks, which brings us right to our normally-I’d-link-this-in-the-chart-but-let’s-put-it-above-the-jump of the week, which features Khaleke Hudson blowing up two Rutgers players and creating an opportunity for Michigan to down a punt at the two-yard line. Pretty convenient for a “khaleke hudson shatter machine” tag to already exist.

[After THE JUMP: punt clear-outs, Thomas’ continued success, and a saved touchdown]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Penn State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 27th, 2017 at 12:01 PM

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[Upchurch]

Formation/Substitution Notes: Nothing of note this week. All of the easily identifiable personnel stayed the same: Thomas and Hawkins as returners on kick with one of them plus Mason forming the two-man wedge, Peoples-Jones at punt returner, Robbins as the punter and Poggi the personal protector in a pro-style punt, and Foug and friends on kickoff. There’s not much to talk about in this section, so I’ll leave you with something that does warrant discussion: a Michigan kick returner creating something out of nothing.

[Large enough sample size to draw early conclusions about the kick return unit after THE JUMP]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Michigan State

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Michigan State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 13th, 2017 at 5:03 PM

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[Fuller]

Substitution/Formation Notes: With regard to substitutions, the big one is Ambry Thomas taking over as the primary kick returner. We saw this in the second half against Purdue and, after this game and Chris Partridge’s comments this week, it seems like it’s going to hold for the foreseeable future.

MSU did some interesting things in response to the punt return team’s ability to bring pressure; it warrants further discussion after the charts.

[After THE JUMP: the ball itself is a focal point of the yardage-tracking charts, which will surprise exactly zero of you who sat outside for this game]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2017 at 12:48 PM

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no idea

A challenger appears. LSU's Joe Alleva offered this contract to an interim coach nobody else would hire who was 10-25 at Ole Miss in his first tenure as a head coach:

If Orgeron is fired “without cause” (namely for losing too much rather than NCAA violations or legal issues) prior to Nov. 28 of each year, then he is owed $12 million this year, $8.5 million next, $6 million in 2019, $4.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021. Those numbers are “minus compensation paid during the terminating year.” So subtract $3.5 million pro-rated at however many months he’s worked that year.

This is worse than Brady Hoke's contract, which started off with an 8 million dollar buyout despite the fact that he, too, had zero other suitors. And despite his many, many flaws it should be apparent that Brady Hoke is a better coach than Ed Orgeron.

Also I don't know how you don't walk away from the deal as soon as you see the name of this LLC:

LSU’s contract is actually with “O” The Rosy Finch Boyz, LLC, which was incorporated last January when he got the job.

You gave a five year, eight figure deal to a guy who put an unironic Z in his LLC, which sounds a gang comprised of private-school sixth-graders. Coulda had Jeff Brohm, but no, had to go with the carnival barker. People are just in charge of things for no reason, man.

Reasons that Cajun Brady Hoke is losing games. Yahoo has an article with some Tiller-level anonymous quotes on LSU:

“It wasn’t what you expect,” said one assistant coach. “You expect guys ready to kick your ass. There wasn’t any fire. Genetically they weren’t as good. On film, they weren’t as good. But these guys, I don’t know. These guys, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe they play the way they do. They’re soft. Soft. It doesn’t make sense.”

Added another personnel executive: “When everything got super tough against Mississippi State, they tapped out. State was giving it to them and they didn’t want any piece of it. They were tapping out the entire game.”

We've seen what happens when you believe your coach is incompetent first hand. I'm sure people called Devin Funchess soft after his indifferent final year in Ann Arbor; he doesn't seem soft in the NFL. When your leadership sucks you don't give it your best, because what does it matter?

Speaking of Tiller level. RIP to former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, who still defines Purdue football to this day. Tiller brought basketball on grass to the Big Ten, won a bunch of games, and was probably the source of a bunch of harsh-but-true things in those anonymous coach quote articles. Their spiciness level dropped off a cliff after Tiller retired.

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Tiller's mustache game was fierce and he made the Big Ten a more interesting place. RIP. SBNation has assembled a collection of remembrances for those so inclined.

FBI fallout of the week. Many articles saying "pay the players" have come out, because obviously. If the NCAA can't touch 90% of the malfeasance going on without the involvement of the FBI—which can hardly be counted on going forward—you have a choice between the current system, where shady characters run riot and you've got a choice between your eligibility and reporting your income, and something that makes any sense.

We'll see if any of that sticks. This guy in the WaPo doesn't think so and he's got history on his side:

In 1915, the University of Chicago Daily Maroon upended the college football community by pushing the matter further. Given that the editor of the college newspaper and the tuba player in the marching band received compensation from the university, the Maroon argued, why not the college athletes? “They work hard for the university organization known as the football team, which is a money making enterprise, the receipts from football being something like $20,000 [roughly $478,000 today] more than expenditures for the sport. Why not give the players a share of the profits accruing from their hard and faithful labors?”

The University of Chicago was only one year removed from a national championship in football; its voice on the subject mattered.

102 years later we're still all like "man... these dudes have accrued with hard and faithful labors."

Hockey recruiting item. SBN's Jeff Cox had one main takeaway from the USHL Fall Classic camp:

Green Bay Gamblers left defenseman Michael Vukojevic was the best pro prospect on the ice Wednesday, but the ‘01 isn’t eligible until the 2019 NHL Draft. The Oakville, Ontario native was selected by Green Bay in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft.

A Michigan commit, Vukojevic has the size and skating ability to be an elite defenseman. He plays older, communicates well and makes plays in both ends. He’s still adjusting to junior hockey and rushed a couple of breakout passes, but he’s a big time prospect. Kitchener holds his OHL rights.

Kitchener is one of the OHL teams with the resources to woo committed prospects but at the moment Vukojevic seems committed to the college route. For one, he's at USHL camps. If Michigan does manage to get all their committed defensemen to campus they are going to be more loaded on D than they have been since I've been paying attention. Vukojevic, Quinn Hughes, Bode Wilde, and Mattias Sameulsson aren't just potential first round picks but potential top ten picks.

Chances are at least one gets picked off or leaves in a flash, but even so Michigan's blue line is going to be stacked.

On Hughes. Adam Herman breaks down what makes Quinn Hughes an elite prospect:

He has immaculate skating ability, both in terms of straight-line speed as well as agility. Furthermore, he reads plays from the back-end similarly to how an elite football quarterback might survey the field.

In the age of analytics, the ability to make clean entries into the offensive zone with possession has been highlighted as an effective first step towards creating threatening shifts. Hughes’ previously highlighted abilities plus his fearlessness when dealing with the opposition’s forecheck make him elite in creating these types of shifts. ...

He is adept at walking the blue line and creating time and space for himself to set up a play. He takes on defenders, makes crisp passes to open players in dangerous spots, and can get the puck off his stick quickly to surprise goaltenders with a hard shot.

Hughes's PPG pace in 26 USHL games with the U18s is unprecedented for a player two years away from the draft, although in Hughes's case he only missed this year's edition by three weeks—he's several months older than Werenski was when he accelerated and joined Michigan a year early.

Those who exited. Michigan's transfers are surveyed at MLive. Still sucks that Keith Washington bolted; he's got 2 INTs and 4 PBUs already for his JUCO. Also of note: Ross Douglas, RB/CB at Michigan, is starting for Rutgers. At linebacker. Spacebacker, to be sure, but yikes. Rutgers might not be good.

THE FOUG CONSPIRACY. Bruce Feldman collects some data on James "Doug" Foug:

Jim Harbaugh has quite a weapon in kickoff man James Foug. Purdue special teams coordinator Tony Levine told me that in 15 years as a coach he’s never seen a kickoff guy get the kind of hang time Foug gets. Most of his kickoffs end up as touchbacks. The ones that are returned end up with the opponent’s average starting field position at their 17.

Levine says anything over four seconds of hang time on a kickoff is exceptional; Foug’s kicks consistently come in around 4.5. Usually when the returner catches the kick, you want the coverage guys to be inside the 35-yard line; Levine says that by the time Michigan’s opponents receive the ball, the Wolverines’ coverage team is typically inside the 25.

Michigan is definitely trying to keep the ball just short of the endzone so they can pick up that 5-10 yards of field position. Weird that Harbaugh told the media that Seychel would kick off when they've got this dude hammering them.

Also, Troy Calhoun on what he faced down:

Two weeks ago, the Wolverines held Air Force to 232 yards of total offense, its lowest output since 2012. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told me this was one of the best defenses he’s ever faced. The guy who really caught his eye was linebacker Devin Bush Jr. “He doesn’t look like much, he’s maybe 5'10", but he’s so quick and tough. He just unloads and knocks the heck out of people.”

Whenever people talk about Bush I'm reminded of this Ringer article about the evolution of the NFL linebacker. He's a modern linebacker all the way.

Etc.: Some good news, at least. Contains this quote: "“We can get them dead, but they’ve got to go someplace." Hidden gems of Washtenaw County foods. Talkin' Ben Mason. Harbaugh on kneeling. Gasaway on FBI. Drum major Kevin Zhang profiled.

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Purdue

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 29th, 2017 at 12:35 PM

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in need of a prospecting name [Fuller]

Formation/Substitution notes: Only change of note is subbing Kekoa Crawford out for Ambry Thomas on kick return. Crawford was the deep man for the first two returns of the game, both of which went out of the end zone. Michigan then inserted Thomas to start the third quarter. Timing is a bit odd considering Crawford didn’t have a shot to return the first two kicks before ceding his spot, but there’s a chance he can earn it back considering how the third-quarter return went. More on that later.

It’s not a substitution, but Brad Robbins’ redshirt is gone and Will Hart’s on the bench. Robbins did an excellent job getting distance and hangtime on his punts. It’s hard to tell whether they just drifted or were intentional, but it seems more likely that Robbins executed two directional kicks—Hart’s bête noire—in the second half. All told, it was an excellent debut for the touted freshman.

Other than that, Michigan would often hold three guys in a zone short of the sticks on punts. This was a smart decision and likely something Michigan picked up on film, as Purdue was frequently motioning out one of the members of the shield wide. The only all-out rushes were when Purdue was punting from inside their 10-yard line. They also went safe on Purdue’s lone field goal.

vlc record 2017 09 28 09h37m05s Michigan vs Purdue 1st Half mp4   YouTube

Makes perfect sense considering Purdue’s Brohminess and where the ball is located.

[After THE JUMP: Robbins’ new gig; roughing vs running into the kicker; and Foug, god of hangtime, ruler of return teams]

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Air Force

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Air Force

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 22nd, 2017 at 10:04 AM

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gone [Upchurch]

Substitution/formation notes: As far as I could tell, coverage and return units featured the same personnel as they did against Cincinnati. The most noteworthy non-change was Donovan Peoples-Jones as punt returner—more on that after the jump.

Michigan’s formations were the same as they’ve been, but they brought pressure on punts and field goals infrequently. Earlier this week Chris Partridge said that they try to limit instances where they bring everything to keep the defense guessing. When Michigan doesn’t bring pressure on punt return, sometimes just one guy will release toward the shield, and even then he will sometimes stop and peel back before hitting the shield. On field goal defense, Michigan only brought pressure from one side and had Lavert Hill step to the line and hold on the other side. As close as the game was, Michigan decided not to gamble. Thanks to Donovan Peoples-Jones, that worked out.

[After THE JUMP: don’t have to bring the house when you take it to it]