Presser React: Kovacs, Lewan, Beckmann, Moeller

Presser React: Kovacs, Lewan, Beckmann, Moeller

Submitted by Tim on January 12th, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Quotes from a few people of note at Brady Hoke's introductory presser.

Jordan KovacsIMG_2229.JPG

"Obviously, we had a tough year defensively this year. I think it's important that he comes in and establishes a strong defense."

"I just wanted him to be passionate about the game and passionate about this University. I've obviously loved this University my whole life, and I can tell this guy has as well." Hoke is passionate and intense, and that's important.

"He realizes the importance of the front seven, and I think that's where he's going to establish... that's where our team is going to be made, and we're excited about that."

The team had a brief meeting and lunch at the stadium with Coach Hoke. "The first thing he talked about was championships." Michigan has 42, and they want to make it 43 soon.

The coaches will make their pitch to Denard, as will the players. "He's a great quarterback, and he'll fit any system." Kovacs doesn't know what Denard plans to do.

Obviously, we've got a heavy heart for our past coach, for Coach Rod. He's a great guy and a great coach, but at the same time we've gotta pick it up, we've gotta move forward, and focus on next season."

Kovacs researched Hoke a little bit when he heard that he'd be a candidate. Looked into his coaching history, but never met him until today. "I like what I've seen."

Taylor Lewan

Everybody has only nice things to say about Coach Hoke. "Nobody has bad things to say about this guy." Everybody needs to support him, whether he was their choice or not.

On Ohio State: "Everybody's seen Harry Potter, right? That one guy... Voldemort or whatever? It's kinda like that." Everybody knows what a big deal the rivalry is.

Hoke brings a fresh start: "The sky's the limit. We have the opportunity to do so much." Though the players haven't had a chance to meet him one-on-one, they're excited.

"This is not a usual University. They expect so much out of you and what you do." There's a lot of pressure here, and Coach Hoke is already handling it well.

On getting all the players to stick with the team: "I think that's the biggest thing possible." The seniors have impressed upon everyone else the importance of sticking together as a team. They've gone through a change before. Last time, "not everybody bought into the whole thing," but now the team is closer because of it.

Coach Hoke has a personality that grabs everyone's attention when he walks into a room.

Frank Beckmann

Hasn't had a chance to talk to the players yet: "From what I hear, they're all excited about it, and I look forward to chatting with them too."

Gary Moeller

"That is a good, good fundamental football coach... He's a worker. There's no question about that." Moeller remembers when he was around the Michigan summer camp.

Photo Gallery

Monday Player Presser Notes 12-6-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 12-6-10

Submitted by Tim on December 6th, 2010 at 3:54 PM


Mike Martin

Ankles are both good: "I'm at the health that I want to be right now." The week of rest has helped, and no hitting for a couple weeks should also do him some good. He expects to be 100% by bowl time. It's frustrating being injured, because you put in the work to be ready, "you got 12 opportunities a year... you're not able to play those minutes and those plays, it's rough." Getting to full strength is his priority. A lot of guys who were banged up have been getting a lot of treatment in the week off. "There's a very good chance for me to be feeling great for the bowl."

More practices will help the young team improve: "You improve any time you can get some work in. Whenever we get into practice or anything, we always make sure we're ready to work and get better."

Excited to play an SEC team. "It's big for me, it's big for the guys that I came in with that haven't gone to a bowl yet." It's rare for a junior to not have gone to a bowl game yet. Older players are excited to get back there. Michigan has a lot of contenders to win an eating contest, if there is one. Mike doesn't think he'd be one of them.

Mouton and Denard predicted wins at the banquet: "I would say that's just excitement." Everybody is just excited and anxious to practice, and to play in the bowl. "Jonas and Denard, probably just pure excitement. Just wanting to get down there."

Rodriguez job limbo: "That's not something I can control, or anyone on the team can control." The players are just worried about playing, and controlling what they can. "Whatever pans out, we're worried about the game."

Roh's move: "I know he feels a lot more comfortable being on the line." He played DE in high school, and wasn't as comfortable at linebacker. He's able to just play his game at DL instead of over-thinking.

Darryl Stonum

Reaction of team to playing Mississippi State? "We was all pretty happy." Playing in a January 1 bowl game is exciting. "We're all happy with the Gator Bowl."

Playing an SEC team: "You always hear about the SEC speed, and the Big Ten is like slow and big muscle guys and SEC is the fast, athletic guys. In 2008 Michigan did a great job against Florida." Eager to prove that Michigan will be able to beat a good SEC team.

Exciting to play in his first bowl game. "Hopefully we can keep this going, keep the bowl game streak going, and get Michigan back to where it's supposed to be."

Taking the time in between the end of the season to heal up. "You don't want to go too hard." Worried more about sharpening skills than hitting each other. They know the whole playbook, they need to make sure they'll be able to execute well, "getting ready mentally more than physically."

Ankle is "pretty good," but he's still getting treatment. Should be 100% by bowl game. Against OSU "it was pretty tough. They tried to tape it up and do all kind of things." He was going to gut it out for the seniors no matter how much it hurt.

Denard deserved the MVP honor (though Darryl joked that he tried to vote for Troy Woolfolk). "Especially for a sophomore, so he's only going to get better. We're looking for big things from him his junior year, and big things in the bowl game" Denard should still be in the Heisman race.

In the bowl game, "I think you'll see how everybody played in the first few games," because they'll be much healthier. Everybody's rehabbing and should be fresh. "We'll be ready to go."

"No need to beat ourselves up. Might as well save it to beat up Mississippi State."

Roy Roundtree


"Denard. Denard Robinson." for team MVP. Mike Shaw voted for himself as a joke, because he knew Denard was going to win it. "Everybody knew who was going to win it because of all the hard work he put in all season." There's still more room for improvement.

Denard's very humble every day. Always trying to learn something, trying to improve his game and his teammates. Even when he was getting mentioned for the Heisman, he was more worried about working on his game.

"I felt like I played great all year, but at times, lack of focus on the football." He knows he can play better than he showed in the last four games. He's only a sophomore, so he has the offseason to work hard toward a good junior year. "Trying to take off without the ball in my hands. Drops: I had several drops in this last game." Doesn't lack confidence, just needs to practice to fix it. "That's easily corrected. It's just up to me to really maintain that."

The team will work out to stay focused in the layoff. "When we do have practice, I'm sure pretty Coach Rod's gonna have us ready." It's helping people heal up.

It's nice to finally be playing in the postseason. "Watching bowl games? You know that really sucked bad. You really couldn't do nothing about it because of the season we had. Finally getting out there, getting ready to play Mississippi State, come January first, it's gonna be great. It's SEC vs. Big Ten and we're just getting ready to go in there and give it our all."

Jordan Kovacs

Chris Spielman's comments on how Jordan isn't good enough for Michigan: "I heard about it. It's nothing that I haven't heard before. Obviously it motivates me." Every player - especially walkons - motivated by outside comments.

Against OSU, the front 7 played pretty well "eventually I guess their running game just wore us down." They played hard though, and if they can continue that, the defense will be fine going forward.

Never been to a Michigan bowl game, even though he was a fan growing up. Remembers the Capital One bowl a few years back. Jordan was 1 year old last time Michigan was in the Gator Bowl.

His roommate spoiled the surprise yesterday by telling him it was the Gator Bowl. Excited to play an SEC team because they're supposed to be the best conf. All 4 of MSU's losses are to top-16 teams in the SEC.

"The first couple weeks, I think you've really gotta heal up, because it's been a long regular season." After a couple weeks of workouts, they'll start practicing, then preparing for Mississippi State specifically. "We can get back to fundamental football. We don't have to focus on Mississippi State as much right away." Can work on getting back to Michigan football and understanding team goals and individual roles, then worry about the opponent later.

Banged up a bit during football seaosn, because that happens to everyone. "We had a lift this morning, and I feel pretty fresh." Hit his high weight of the season, so a week off can help you heal up.

Ryan Van Bergen

"I voted for Mr. Shoelaces as well. He obviously deserved it, he broke all the records." He was unstoppable until he got injured. "He wasn't able to showcase how really spectacular he can be" at the end of the season.

Junior Hemingway made big plays against Indiana and Illinois, and could have been MVP. Roy Roundtree had a great Illinois game and a couple other fantastic games, but Denard was the guy who got the ball when they needed a play all year, so he's the MVP.

4-man front worked well against Ohio State: "I think that the 4-man front, we completely thwarted them the first half." He would guess that they run some 4-man fronts in the bowl.

Used to watch a lot of hockey, Red Wings v. Avalanche, excited for the Big Chill game. "I'm excited. I've never been in the student section at Michigan before. But I'll be there in the student section at the Big House, watching a hockey game."

Big Ten v. SEC: "I don't know if they're the conference to beat, but they're the conference that I'd definitely want to play against" to get the best test. SEC, Big Ten, maybe a bit of Pac 10 are the best conferences. Regardless of when it's played, those two conferences in a bowl are a big deal.

Nobody needs to worry too much about MSU yet. Focus on self, healing injuries, get in better shape, focus on fundamentals, and then 4 weeks in, you finally start worrying about the gameplan for Mississippi State. "If you focus on the opponent that long, you're just going to overlook self-improvement."

Media circulating talking about RR: "There's always something out there." RVB is in support of Coach Rod. Somebody around the program as long as Van Bergen has has, he's excited to get back to a bowl. "I would like to say that I want to be with Coach Rodriguez for the rest of my career."

"All people see is the stuff that goes on camera, that goes out to the television sets, and you can't understand what goes on at Schembechler Hall." RR is hard-working, and cares about his players "as much as any other coach in college football cares about his players." Wants them to succeed. "He's just a great guy, and when you recognize somebody that has those leadership qualities, that's somebody that you're going to wanna follow, and I think the whole team takes that attitude."

Steve Schilling


Voted for Denard as team MVP. "When he handed out the ballots, in my head I was saying 'do we even really need to vote?'" Denard getting hit hard every game, tough to keep that up. He persevered and was never out for extended time. "He's been through it, he's felt it, and next year it will be a little more natural to him."

OL MVP award: "It's a huge honor, definitely. To be rewarded for consistent play over three years is an honor." Proud to be a 3-time winner.

Really excited to be in a New Year's Day bowl game. Glad that OSU disappointment isn't his last game. Glad to get back to a bowl game for the seniors and want to start a new streak.

Feels like the Capital One bowl was a long time ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday. Getting to a bowl game as a freshman helped him improve: "I think it was huge. Towards the end of my freshman year, I was struggling a bit." Having time off and able to worked on fundamentals and confidence helped him grow a lot as a young player. They can regroup mentally coming off a couple losses.

There's a long time between games, can't worry about MSU too early. First two practices are just getting back to fundamentals. Worry about the gameplan later, then "you go out there to win the game."

Big Ten and SEC are two of the top conferences. "It'll be fun to see how the two conferences compare" in the bowl matchups.

A few young offensive linemen will be ready to step up once Schilling graduates. Ricky Barnum got in a few plays at tackle against Ohio State "He's more fit at guard." Mealer's been playing a lot. Will Campbell has improved a bunch in the past couple weeks, and the bowl and spring practices might allow him to challenge for the job.

Illinois Video Of All Varieties

Illinois Video Of All Varieties

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Hey, remember when Michigan won games and people put lots of video on the internet? Me neither. But apparently they do. There's an SD torrent up already.

This week's headliner is Roy Roundtree being fantastic, as per usual:

The official site's highlight reel necessarily leaves out almost everything, but if you're looking for a quick primer on about 20% of the scoring here it is:

Wolverine Historian put together an extensive clip package that's after the jump.

Tim caught the on-field celebration:

Tim's photo gallery:

The halftime show was epic (and was recapped by the Hoover Street Rag):

This is an official petition for the band to have their insane wildcat tackle fake Brutus every week. For twenty minutes straight.

More interviews, highlights, and random bits after the jump.

Picture Pages: This Is Not A Stack

Picture Pages: This Is Not A Stack

Submitted by Brian on November 3rd, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Note: no UFR today, as the torrent got down late Monday and I couldn't do the first half then. Hopefully both halves tomorrow.

You'll have to forgive the picture quality on this one—both of these are low-quality torrents. Just like Michigan's defense. AMIRITE!

So in the game column this week I complained about the alignment of the middle linebacker in this bastardized version of the 3-3-5. Michigan has him maybe a yard behind the nose tackle, like so:


This creates a major vulnerability against misdirection, as we'll see. This play is a first and ten on Penn State's first drive. They've driven it into the Michigan half of the field because of depressing things, and more depressing things will happen. This isn't one of them. Michigan shows a two-deep with six in the box, but moves Kovacs down late to add a seventh guy, which gives Michigan the formation above versus Penn State's ace 3-wide.

At the snap the offset fullback heads inside the tackle to his side. You can see the handoff is going to be made to the right side of McGloin. Linebackers start scraping as each and every DE attempts to take on two blockers:


Here's the handoff point. The fullback is hitting the backside B gap, which makes me think this is a called counter play. Where's Demens?


Demens has taken a step towards the line of scrimmage and has hit a guard. Now… he hit the backside guard, the one that PSU is cutting towards. He read the play, but he's a linebacker two yards from the LOS meeting a guard with a free release who's much bigger than him. Momentum means that the best he can do is bounce off it and attempt to flow down the line. (This is much more apparent in the video below.)


The play cuts back as designed. Roh has attacked a frontside gap. Martin and Demens are caught up in the wash on the interior, and Mouton, who was scraping along well back of everyone else, is going to eat the fullback four yards downfield:


The saving grace here is Kovacs, who sifts through the blockers and makes a mediocre ankle tackle that the RB (Royster, I think) steps through:


Demens and others finish it off but after four yards:


Michigan got away with this by putting an extra player in the box late. When Penn State was not caught in a bad playcall, counters like this gashed Michigan all night.

Here's the video:

I don't have an exact replica of this from Rodriguez's WVU days but here's an inside zone Rutgers ran in their 2007 game. Rutgers was no joke on the ground in '07. Ray Rice was around and the Scarlet Knights finished 26th nationally.

The first thing that's obvious is that the MLB is six yards off the line of scrimmage, not two. Also despite playing against a bigger set—Rutgers has a tight end on the field instead of a third wide receiver—West Virginia maintains two deep safeties:


At the snap WVU has shifted to an aggressive look with the OLBs and the spur at the LOS; the MLB has moved up a yard:


At the snap six players attack the line, giving all but one WVU DL a one-on-one matchup:


This is a similar setup, really: inside zone. Main difference is that there is an inline TE instead of a fullback on the backside, but they block the backside end above. The playside end is about to beat a Rutgers tackle to the inside. Note the MLB two yards away from the LOS now—where Demens started the play—after the handoff. He's scraping to the hole. A Rice cutback would be somewhat problematic for him but he's not likely to get a lineman in his face:


MLB has now engaged an OL at the LOS. Rutgers tackle is totally beaten and forces Rice to start cutting:


There are four WVU guys in the area:


And Rice goes down shortly after he crosses the LOS:


On the day Rutgers would get 183 rushing yards, but Mike Teel completed under 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions on a 128 yard passing day because WVU left the safeties back the whole time. West Virginia won 31-3. Their rushing defense was 18th nationally.

So, things:

  • It seemed like Michigan was using Jonas Mouton like WVU used their MLB in the 3-3-5. Except Mouton was four yards off the LOS, not six, and not aligned in the middle of the field. So if he's going to get to anything on the frontside he has to run hard, which means he is susceptible to cutbacks.
  • I don't think Demens ever had a prayer of dealing with a cutback or counter because of his alignment. One step to the playside and he's a yard away from the LOS about to get swallowed by a guard.
  • Michigan plays Demens at the same depth in their other line alignments. 3-4:
    Paired with the disconnect in WVU's 3-3-5 this signals shoehorning to me. Demens should be at a certain depth in more conventional sets and putting him six yards back would confuse him in pass drops, run fills, etc, but in the 3-3-5 he takes one step and there's a lineman releasing free into him. In these sets he's got a chance to scrape without dealing with an unblocked OL all the time. So…
  • Michigan's deployment of the 3-3-5 isn't really a 3-3-5. I don't know what it is, but that whole attacking from everywhere, making different fronts, blitzing, getting guys through the line unblocked thing is something you can see on a fairly typical WVU play above. There are six guys on the LOS threatening and a dedicated cleanup guy behind them with the space and time to get anywhere along the line. Michigan is a passive three man line with guys you can easily single block (but get to double if you want) and linebackers who are living a nightmare. It's incoherent, and Michigan going back to it after having a fairly solid day against Iowa basing almost exclusively from traditional fronts is a miniature version of what happened against Purdue in 2008. Michigan's 3-3-5 is a 3-4 with linebackers in places that don't make sense.
  • Michigan only escapes the above play by outnumbering the offense. No one on the defense beat their counterpart. Everyone was blocked out of the play, which means you can't win unless you've got an extra guy, which means you can't play two deep without getting smashed.
  • I have no idea what Greg Robinson is trying to accomplish. This puts me in the same situation as Greg Robinson.

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-1-10

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

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

David Molk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Banks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jordan Kovacs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midseason Re-Eval: Secondary

Midseason Re-Eval: Secondary

Submitted by Brian on October 20th, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Taking stock during the bye week.


People thought I was depressive when the secondary preview started "what's the point of anything?"


WHO'S DEPRESSIVE NOW!?!?! YEAHHHHH. Score one for cold-eyed realism. This could be the worst secondary in a BCS conference. It's definitely the worst in Michigan history.

Anyway, cornerback got a 1 and I thought about breaking the rules to go lower:

Nothing has ever gotten a zero before even jokingly, not even the 2008 offensive line that consisted of seven guys who could plausibly play and actually started a defensive tackle who had been switched in the middle of fall camp. But I thought about it here. What Michigan has to offer at corner is going to be substandard unless a great miracle falls from the sky, and will probably be no better than last year's fare even before Woolfolk moved.

Some vague hopes were offered for JT Floyd despite his ugly, brief tenure as the starter opposite Donovan Warren once Boubacar Cissoko went ham. These were based on constant positive reinforcement from the coaches and the occasional mysterious practice observer, with the latter given more credence because they didn't have an obvious ulterior motive. "Average" was the "best anyone could hope for," though.

Opposite Floyd I took a wild guess that Cullen Christian would end up starting—if not immediately by the time the Big Ten season hit—because he was the most highly-touted recruit and was not James Rogers. Avery and Talbott were regarded as basically identical recruits who needed a year and 20 pounds before seeing the field. They wouldn't be allowed that luxury.

At safety 2 was offered, "generously." Jordan Kovacs was said to be totally incapable of playing a deep half but "pretty good as a tiny linebacker." In sum:

So Kovacs is going to have to cover a deep half sometimes. This won't go very well, and Michigan's defense will be limited by it. On the other hand, the run defense shouldn't be nearly as bad with Kovacs filling the weakside alley; last year he racked up 75 tackles despite the late start. Marvin Robinson will press Kovacs for his job, but probably not take it. Iowa and Wisconsin have gotten away with players like him for years.

At free safety, Cam Gordon was named the Grady Brooks memorial King of Spring Hype. The usual accolades were relayed, the thing about how he should probably be a linebacker mentioned, and a projection of a sort offered:

As a redshirt freshman, a "big year" would be wrapping up his tackles and not letting anyone behind him for crippling long touchdowns. … Repeating [Brandon Englemon's] +0.7 per game would go a very long way towards bringing Michigan's defense back from the dead. That's optimistic. Cam Gordon will chase more than a couple opponents into the endzone. But not on third and twenty-four.

Fast forward to NOW!


nothing really matters… anyone can see… that nothing really matters to meeeeeeeeeee

Depressingly accurate overall even considering the original depression that was depressing. Michigan is 118th in pass defense and 94th in efficiency.

Maybe the corners have been slightly less atrocious than expected, but Michigan's been limited when they try to play man coverage because things like Iowa's last touchdown happen when they do. On that play, Michigan sent the house and JT Floyd gave up a slant despite starting with inside leverage. They make plays on occasion, but lord they're not good. Michigan's defense is limited in the same way their offense was in 2008—with deficiencies that severe man coverage is a dangerous gamble every time it's deployed.

Floyd is significantly improved, so there's that. He's still below average. He's not a total liability. On the other side, Michigan hasn't been able to displace Rogers despite his tendency to go into anaphylactic shock whenever he comes within five yards of an opponent wide receiver…



…because the freshmen have been playing like typical three-star true freshmen: badly. They first started rotating into the lineup against BG; since then

  • Cullen Christian was burned twice against BG and gave up an easy long touchdown against Michigan State,
  • Terrence Talbott was primarily responsible for turning third and fifteen into first and ten on Michigan State's second touchdown drive and gave Indiana their last touchdown by dragging out of his zone, and
  • Courtney Avery was personally responsible for large chunks of Indiana yards, gave up a touchdown on third and ten against Iowa by dragging out of his zone, and turned what should have been another third and ten stop into a whiffed tackle, 20 yards, and the field goal that was the final nail in Michigan's coffin.

This is disappointing, especially Christian's failure to beat out not only Rogers but apparently his classmates. Talbott and Avery feature in the nickel and dime packages while Christian backed up the outside guy; he has apparently lost that job. too—Avery came in against Iowa when JT Floyd missed a few plays.

At safety, Kovacs has been Kovacs. He's small, he's not very fast, but he's probably the team's best tackler and he's been in the right spot more often than anyone on the defense. This has resulted in a bunch of UFRs where he's got several half-points in each direction and comes out at zero. He could be the fifth-best player on a good defense.

Cam Gordon has been rough, honestly little better than the mess Michigan threw out last year. He racked up a double-digit negative day against Notre Dame and followed that up with another one against Michigan State. His angles have been too aggressive or too conservative with little porridge in-between, and he's failed to shake a nasty habit of not wrapping up his tackles. He's pretty good running downhill, and that's about it. Preseason hype has given way to cold reality. Gordon is a redshirt freshman converted wide receiver who should probably be playing linebacker. He plays safety like he's a bowling ball: he goes fast in one direction and hopes to knock over the pins with momentum because he has no arms.


Fast forward to LATER!

What can we expect the rest of the year? Pain, but less of it.

Rodriguez made an offhand comment about maybe moving someone from one safety spot to another when discussing the possibility of a Will Campbell move, but that would either be Jordan Kovacs or Marvin Robinson. Kovacs's tenure at deep safety last year was hardly less disastrous than that of Mike William or Gordon; Marvin Robinson is yet another freshman who is likely to make the same sorts of mistakes.

Gordon's it unless Michigan wants to turn to true freshman two-star Ray Vinopal, who picked off a pass from a third-string Bowling Green walk-on and has therefore made the best play by a Michigan safety in the last ten years. I'm not sure if that's a joke.

Floyd's not very good, Rogers is what he is at this point, and the freshmen are clearly not instant impact types, except insofar as they give up an extra touchdown per game than a Michigan secondary featuring Troy Woolfolk. That is an impact, just not the one you're hoping for.

Your best hopes the rest of the year:

  • Courtney Avery learns WTF a zone is and how to play it.
  • Cam Gordon's angles and tackling improve marginally.
  • JT Floyd progresses towards average and at least gets basic things right.

Actually, your best hope is this: Michigan did okay against the two rookies and/or flat bad quarterbacks they've faced to date. Zack Fraser didn't do anything. ND's three-headed QB was contained. Bowling Green couldn't do much of anything. Michigan's next three opponents all feature freshmen at QB; they're ranked 104th (PSU), 105th (Illinois), and 107th (Purdue) in passing efficiency. They're bound to be less effective than the last three guys, a senior returning starter, junior returning starter, and senior returning starter who are all in the top 30 in passer efficiency. Tolzien will shred, but who knows what Terrelle Pryor will do? (Probably shred, actually—he has no problems against awful Ds this year.)

By the end of the year Michigan's numbers will be slightly less grim as the schedule eases and the freshmen learn WTF a zone is. They will still be grim.

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Michigan State

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Michigan State

Submitted by Brian on October 14th, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Substitution notes: Black got some more playing time this week, seeing passing downs. He also got an entire drive in the third quarter. It was MSU's last touchdown drive and he was a big reason it happened, unfortunately. The rest of the line was as normal, with Patterson sometimes spotting Martin and RVB a constant. Roh was more DE than LB this week and played most of the game; Fitzgerald had maybe half a dozen snaps. At linebacker it was Gordon, Ezeh, and Mouton the whole way.

In the secondary, Cullen Christian came in for Rogers when he went out with a cramp. After Christian gave up an easy long touchdown they replaced him with Talbott. Avery saw time in the nickel and dime packages.

Formation notes: A significant shift. After playing almost no four man fronts against Indiana they played mostly 4-4 against MSU. The defense looked a lot like last year's. Michigan went to a nickel package early, replacing Thomas Gordon with Avery, but later they just left Gordon out there.

MSU did this thing:


I called that "full house," FWIW. I'm pretty sure that's not right but whateva, I nomenclature how I want.


Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run ? Zone stretch T. Gordon 4
Eight man front with a standard 4-3 even alignment for the LBs and Kovacs hanging out on the backside; MSU runs at Roh and Thomas Gordon. Some three guys sort of block RVB, getting slightly down the line and then popping a guy out on Ezeh. This leaves T. Gordon totally unblocked but he overruns the play(-1), allowing a cutback; Martin(+1) had avoided a cut and comes from behind to tackle as the RB crosses the LOS. They fall forward.
O24 2 6 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass N/A Bubble screen Rogers 7
Avery in for Gordon as MSU goes three wide; Michigan shows man coverage and one-high with Avery tracking the WR across the field when he goes in motion. Rogers is focused on his man so does not see the play developing and sucks inside on the WR until he blocks Avery, at which point he chases down Martin but not before the first down. (RPS -1, Rogers -0.5)
O33 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run ? Power off tackle Roh 0
MSU pulls a TE across the formation to overload the short side. Dangerous as T. Gordon is going with the TE to that side in man coverage and he gets a block on Ezeh, effectively getting a 2 for 1. Roh(+2) takes on a block from the motioning TE and comes through it, grabbing the back at the LOS and tackling there; Mouton(+0.5) attacked the play and got his guy back far enough that there's no way for the RB to fall forward.
O33 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Out Floyd 14
Okay, so Kovacs doesn't quite get out in the flat fast enough to prevent this throw from being completed but with Floyd in a cover three behind it this should be five yards and a third and medium. Floyd(-2, cover -2) instead starts chasing inside against a TE he has no shot at and opens this up for an easy first down.
O47 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-4 Run ? Power off tackle Ezeh 3
Er. This is dangerously close to breaking through the line because Ezeh(-1) reads the play wrong and ends up running right into the last lead blocker; Mouton had hopped out to close off a gap further outside. Banks(+0.5) had managed to fight through his double and caused some linemen to fall; Ezeh gets pancaked but the hole's narrow enough that the RB trips over a mess of bodies. Video clipped for Ezeh complaint complainers.
50 2 7 Ace Base 4-4 Penalty ? False start ? -5
O45 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Mouton -1
Michigan blitzes right into the run play, sending Banks on a slant past the playside T and blitzing Mouton and Kovacs from the backside. Martin(+1) zips past the center and bumps the pulling G, knocking him back into the RB and allowing Mouton(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) to converge and tackle, though they do allow the RB to get two almost impossible yards. This is the kind of stuff our tailbacks have not done this year. (RPS +1)
O44 3 13 Shotgun trips bunch 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Throwaway Martin Inc
Michigan aided by Cousins momentarily fumbling the snap. Michigan uses Roh as a blitzer up the middle on a stunt, which gets Martin(+1, pressure +1, RPS +1) around the C. He then makes the back miss and forces Cousins to scramble and throw the ball away. Black(+0.5) also drew a holding flag, though it was more poor play from the MSU OL than dominance. BWS picture paged this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA TE seam C. Gordon 34
Plenty of time with the PA and a three man rush(pressure –2); Mouton(+1, cover +1) gets a really good drop that forces Cousins to toss a lob over his head and should set up a Cam Gordon INT or killshot; instead he takes a looping route too deep, allowing the TE to catch the ball just in front of Floyd. He hits Floyd, but Floyd(+0.5) does bang him to the ground, preventing a TD. Gordon gets -3. The coverage stays +1 since because of the good drop from Mouton this window was really tight and could have been nonexistent.
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel Run ? PA power off tackle Martin 3 (Pen -10)
M shows man. MSU fakes a bubble and runs an off tackle power play from the shotgun. Martin(+1) shoots into the backfield as there's no one blocking him—guard pulls—and he doesn't buy the fake. He shoves the G and forces the RB outside of the intended hole. Roh(+1) sets up outside and would be in position to do something about the bounce but is thrown to the ground, drawing a holding call. This opens up the corner. Ezeh is out there--not sure if this is good play or good fortune that the intended hole is gone because he gets blasted pretty good. He does force the RB inside where Martin cleans up from behind.
M48 1 20 Ace trips TE Nickel Pass 6 Sack Van Bergen -12
MSU goes play action and Cousins sets up deep in the pocket; Van Bergen(+3) beats an offensive tackle and shoots straight up the middle of said pocket, sacking Cousins for a huge loss. (Pressure +2)
O40 2 32 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 6 Out Rogers Inc
PA rollout. Ezeh(+1) is in man coverage on the TE, I believe, and when Kovacs attacks upfield, drawing him inside, Ezeh attacks, forcing a quick throw (pressure +1). Rogers(+2, cover +2) is there to break it up.
O40 3 32 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Slant Mouton 11
Dangerous pass from Cousins just in front of Roh but on the money. It's ten yards downfield, though, so BFD. Mouton(+1, tackling +1) delivers a big hit to finish it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 14 min 2nd Q. What a quarter. I bet the rest of this game goes just as well.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-3 Run ? Zone stretch Ezeh 8 + 15 pen
Triple guh on a stick. Roh(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) do a good job of stringing this out; Ezeh is fast enough to prevent the C from sealing him. He takes a hit and stays on his feet, flowing down into the hole Baker is about to hit. If he just runs parallel to the LOS he has the guy or he has him cutting back into Mouton; instead he takes an upfield angle and whiffs a tackle, but not before he yanks the facemask(-2, tackling -1). C. Gordon(-0.5, tackling -1) comes up for a killshot after four yards but doesn't wrap up; Baker bounces off. The delay is enough for Kovacs and Rogers to combine to tackle; Baker drags the pile four yards. Michigan has just failed to convert on a third and one because Vincent Smith couldn't drag one guy one yard, FWIW. The difference here is stark.
O39 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Run ? Zone stretch Martin 61
Man, I don't know. Martin(-2) heads upfield, which allows MSU to easily scoop him and get a center out on Mouton unmolested. Mouton takes a shove from him, then another shove from a second OL who has messed up his assignment and is just pushing the nearest player. He gets shoved backwards and out of the play but this is not his fault at all. Banks(-3) is getting way too far upfield; on a stretch like this when you realize you are backside you flow down the LOS, disengaging from the OL and giving up ground if you have to so that on a cutback you are in position to make a tackle a few yards downfield. Banks does not do this, instead getting upfield and falling. Doom. Baker sees the unblocked guys on the frontside and slams it up in the hole Martin and Banks provided, and then he's gone. I guess I blame Gordon(-2) for not getting the cutback angle here but Baker got through a big hole immediately and is gone; he's not the main issue. (RPS –2; I'll explain later.)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-7, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Run ? Power off tackle Van Bergen 3
MSU blocks down on RVB and tries to hit the gap by kicking out Roh and pulling the backside H-back around to pick off Gordon. RVB(+0.5) comes under a block and forces the back a little further outside, where T. Gordon(+0.5) has fended off the TE who was attempting to block down on no one and then peeled off on him, tackling as the back approaches the LOS.
O25 2 7 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Floyd -3
Bell initially split out, then motions into the backfield. MSU runs a screen that JT Floyd(+2, tackling +1) reads and attacks, arriving as the ball does and tacking Bell down in the backfield. Martin(+0.5) was also there as he'd read it and flowed with the interior OL. (RPS +1, MSU was banking on man I think.)
O22 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Penalty ? False start ? -5
The false start on which Michigan sends the house and gets a dumpoff that Kovacs tackles on.
O17 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Slant Talbott 18
MSU throws a give-up-and-punt slant that MSU's Martin turns into a first down by cutting all the way across the field. I'm not sure who or what to blame. I guess Mouton(-1) gets too far downfield and allows the first cutback and then Talbott(-2) does the same thing but it's even more damaging because he's the outside guy and has to force Martin into his help. Once Martin goes around him upfield Kovacs is easy prey for blockers and Martin has room to pick up the first on the corner. Woo freshmen cornerbacks. (Tackling –2)
O35 1 10 Ace Base 4-4 Pass 7 PA Fly Rogers Inc
Receiver with a step but Rogers(+1, cover +1) is in pretty good position so this ball has to be perfect. It's not. Michigan sent so many because they were in man free and two guys stayed in; T. Gordon(+0.5) took a good run at Cousins and may have caused the long throw. (Pressure +1)
O35 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Base 4-4 Pass N/A Bubble screen C. Gordon 11 + 15 pen
Rogers(+0.5) attacks this quickly and gets walled off by the receiver but his reaction has pulled the blocker upfield and created a lane for Cam Gordon to flow and finish the play. Gordon(-1, tackling -1) whiffs the tackle, turning 3-4 yards into a first down; Rogers then gets a facemask penalty on top of everything.
M39 1 10 I-form Base 4-4 Run ? Yakety sax ? -2
Fumbled snap. MSU recovers.
M41 2 12 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run ? Inside zone Patterson 41
So on this play Fitzgerald is in for Roh at DE and Patterson in for Martin. RVB is between them. Patterson(-3) is completely obliterated, getting sealed and kicked down the line by a scoop block; Mouton is cut off by a guy who had an easy release at him. Ezeh is again shooting into the outside gap. He did that on the 61 yard run, the first snap of this drive, and on this. Alternatives: Ezeh is a total idiot who keeps doing something he's not supposed to do or this is the scheme because of man coverage. I know I called this clever when Martin was in but here you've got Adam Patterson, who is very liable to have this happen, in and it seems obvious that you should play this way more conservatively. RPS –3.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-14, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run ? Power off tackle Mouton 13
Banks(-1) blown out of the hole and does not require a double so a TE has an angle on Ezeh and blocks him. Kovacs and Mouton are on the edge and Mouton(-1) takes the wrong shoulder of his blocker; with Kovacs outside of him he needs to funnel the play to that guy instead of getting locked out of the play and giving MSU a crease. He's through into the secondary, bowling over guys for some YAC.
M46 1 10 Shotgun H-back Base 4-3 Run ? Counter off tackle Mouton 2
Counter step from the back then they run a power play off the right side of the line. Banks(+1) reads the guy blocking down on someone else and gets into a pulling G, forcing the play outside. This time Mouton+(0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) come on opposite sides of the lead blocker and give the RB nowhere to go, tackling him at the LOS.
M44 2 8 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Pass 4 TE flat Kovacs Inc
Three step drop pass to the TE in front of Kovacs in the flat; dropped. Probably turned up for five-ish if caught before Kovacs knocks him OOB.
M44 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass 4 Dumpoff Ezeh 5
First read is covered(+1) and then Black(+0.5) vaguely threatens Cousins, causing him to start moving around, at which point Martin is going to get to him so he has to dump it off to a covered(+1) RB. He's covered by Ezeh(-1, tackling -1) who misses a tackle at the LOS. Secondary converges to tackle short of the sticks, but the five yards given up allows MSU to go for it on fourth down.
M39 4 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Mouton 10
Mouton(-1, cover -1) gets too deep and opens up a quick hitch MSU takes. Kovacs was in the area but had to drop on the outside receiver.
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Hitch Kovacs 4
Hitch at the sidelines is open and complete. The receiver is taken OOB by the throw with Kovacs coming in to tackle. No +/- on four yard passes.
M25 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 7 Sack Martin -10
Martin(+2) blows through the center's attempted block and comes right up the middle just as Cousins tries a pump fake. Cousins has to roll out, at which point Roh(+2) comes around the tackle to sack. (Pressure +3)
M35 3 16 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Bubble screen Rogers 14
Michigan playing way off to get the stop so plenty of room. This gets dangerously close to the first down because Rogers(-1) let Martin outside of him; could have been a longer field goal if this was played better
Drive Notes: FG(38), 10-17, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O32 1 10 Ace Base 4-4 Pass 6? PA TE cross Kovacs 15
Kovacs(+1, pressure +1) is blitzing off the edge to contain the QB and prevent play action from hitting deep. He does contain Cousins, forcing him to throw a looper off his back foot that's way high of the tight end. TE gets a hand on it and deflects it high enough for Keshawn Martin to catch the deflection on a ball that would have one-hopped to him. Rogers literally eight yards off of Martin as he catches it, but that was because of a cramp. Cullen Christian replaces him after the play.
O47 1 10 Full house 3-3-5 stack Run ? Counter off tackle Roh 6
This is an I-formation with another tailback next to the FB; probably not what this is actually called. MSU fakes an outside pitch and pulls a guard around to run a conventional power play. Martin gets a good push but is momentarily sealed away from the ball; guard gets a free release on Ezeh and blocks him, though Ezeh's in pretty decent position. T. Gordon(+0.5) comes up and hits the outside shoulder of the lead blocker, leaving the tailback for Roh, except Roh(-1) got suckered by the fake and went the wrong way around Ezeh. C. Gordon comes up to make another tackle, this one somewhat iffy.
M47 2 4 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Run ? Zone stretch Ezeh 6
An aggressive RVB(-1) is cut to the ground on the backside, opening up a large cutback lane when nothing opens up on the frontside. This time Ezeh scrapes down the line gently and tackles the back. No plus since he's stationary and accepts a blow; he could have gotten more aggressive and held this down? I'm happy enough that he just makes a tackle, I guess.
M41 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Pass N/A Bubble screen T. Gordon 0
T. Gordon(+2) is the slot LB as Michigan shows zone. He gets out on the WR at the LOS, tackling(+1) for no gain.
M41 2 10 Full house Base 4-4 Pass 6 PA Fly Christian 41
Why the hell is Cullen Christian the guy in man coverage on a receiver running a fly route? Why isn't it Floyd? Christian(-3, cover –3, RPS -2) is smoked crispy as he bites on an out and up gives up the touchdown. Roh was about to hit Cousins but no matter.
Drive Notes: Touchdown,10-24, 12 min 3rd Q. For that matter, why is Christian in the game instead of Avery?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O7 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run ? Zone stretch Black 11
Another cutback lane opened up by the backside DE not flowing down the line properly. Black(-2) is playside of his blocker but instead of heading along or slightly off the LOS he heads a yard into the backfield and can only wave an arm at Bell. A yard downfield and he's forcing a cutback all the way behind the backside tackle into an unblocked Kovacs. Floyd keeps contain and forces the tailback into Gordon(+0.5), who makes a good tackle(+1).
O18 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Zone stretch Martin 4
MSU tries to scoop Martin again; this time he does not get sealed by the guard and flows down the line; the C pops out on Ezeh and cuts him. Martin(+0.5) is fast enough to tackle(+1) after a few yards. Black(-0.5) was unable to get off a block to help.
O22 2 6 Ace trips TE Base 4-4 Run   Zone stretch Martin 4
Martin(+2) owns the center and is going to blow this up in the backfield when he's tackled from behind. No call. As a result there's a gap. Mouton(+1) stands up a guard and sheds him to the playside, forcing the back into Floyd, who makes a tackle but gives up a yard or two after contact.
O26 3 2 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run   Zone stretch Black 4
Michigan completely crushes the frontside of this play with RVB(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) getting playside of guys but Black(-2) is hurled to the ground on the backside, opening up yet another cutback lane. Mouton(+1) does a valiant job to shut it down but the RB has all the momentum and the pile falls forward.
O30 1 10 I-form unbalanced Base 4-4 Pass 4 PA throwaway Kovacs? Inc
First option covered(+1) with M in zone. Kovacs, Ezeh, Roh all +0.5 for good drops. The DL then drives through the OL and gets to Cousins somewhat quickly, causing a throwaway.
O30 2 10 Ace Base 4-4 Run   Zone stretch Kovacs 8
RVB(+1) slants into the play, blowing it up and forcing a cutback. Black(-1) is yet again blocked to the ground, leaving a cutback lane; Kovacs(-1) still has an opportunity to make a tackle(-1) at the LOS but misses it. Bell then runs through another tackle from Floyd(-0.5, tackling -1), turning four into eight.
O38 3 2 Ace Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Ezeh 11
Ezeh guh. This is supposed to go the TE side of the line, MSU brings the other TE in motion for use as an H-back but RVB(+1) stands up the OL and comes through as Bell approaches the line, forcing a cutback that's there because Martin(-1) got pushed out of the hole. Still, because Black(+0.5) slanted into the backside and occupied two blockers no one is blocking Ezeh(-2) at all, but instead of running through the window in the line and meeting Bell at the LOS he does the Ezeh sit-and-wonder. He's so slow here that not only does he not prevent a first down, he doesn't even touch Bell as he shoots through a tiny gap on a cutback, leaving C. Gordon to make a desperate tackle in a ton of space against a tailback who wasn't even delayed when he shot upfield.
O49 1 10 Wildcat Base 4-4 Pass N/A Reverse trickery C. Gordon 42
Cam Gordon(-3, cover -3) sucks up despite the fact they're pitching a reverse to THE QUARTERBACK. Floyd(+0.5) does manage to track the guy down.
M9 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Sagesse 2
Sagesse(+1) slants under the tackle and into the path of the play, absorbing a pulling blocker and still popping up in the hole. He causes a delay that Mouton(+0.5) picks through the wash to finish; Ezeh was also there but a step slower.
M7 2 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Banks 7
Banks(-2) obliterated in one on one blocking by the Spartan RT. Ezeh(-0.5) accepts a block from the TE and doesn't come close to shedding it. C. Gordon(-1, tackling -1) makes contact at the four and his tackle is run through as he tries to drag Caper down.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-31, 4 min 3rd Q. This is totally demoralizing and almost entirely the fault of Black and Gordon, two freshmen.
O18 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run   Zone stretch Martin -1
Hey, they adjust, probably after getting chewed out on the sideline. Martin(+1) slices through blockers and forces a cutback; T. Gordon(+1) also shot past a blocker and into a gap. Mouton(+0.5) and Banks(+0.5) have not been blocked into oblivion this time and converge to tackle.
O17 2 11 Full house 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone stretch Mouton? 2
No holes with Banks(+0.5) holding up to a double and Mouton(+0.5) slamming into the playside TE. No cutback available with RVB(+0.5) avoiding a cut and Roh hitting it up into the B gap; the play is strung all the way out to the sideline where Floyd boots the RB OOB.
O19 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 6 TE slant Kovacs 6
Replica of the play that Michigan got MSU off the field with except for a false start: M bring six, Cousins has to get rid of it, Kovacs(+1, tackling +1) allows the catch but tackles three yards short of the sticks. (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-31, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 PA throwaway Van Bergen Inc
Van Bergen(+1) isn't buying the run fake and is instead heading directly upfield at Cousins. When he turns around he's got DE in his face and chucks it away. Could be grounding but there are receivers vaguely in the area. (RPS +1, pressure +1)
O24 2 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Iso Mouton -1
Martin(+1) chucks past the center ridiculously fast and gets playside of a guard, driving into the play. Mouton(+2) defeats a block and shows up in the hole. Martin means no cutback and Mouton tackles with help from Kovacs and his man getting into the RB's legs.
O23 3 11 Shotgun trips 4-1-6 dime Pass   Drag Van Bergen 7
Michigan runs the same stunt they did earlier in the game with Roh attacking in the middle and Martin pulling around; this time Black is also rushing through the same gap and a bunch of feet get tangled and everyone falls. RVB(+1) is coming around the outside, though, and Cousins has to throw short because deep options are covered(+1); a dumpoff to Dell is tackled short by Avery and Talbott.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-31, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 I-form Base 4-4 Run   End around Mouton 15
Actually a great job by Kovacs(+1) to see the end-around fake coming and get upfield; he ends up taking both blockers out of the play. Mouton(-2) is running at the tailback and sees that he doesn't have the ball but for some reason steps inside and then comes up too fast, losing leverage and allowing Martin the gap that he hits. Gordon(-1) comes up and misses a tackle(-1); the secondary manages to stop it after another six yards.
O42 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Power off tackle Mouton 0
Michigan slanting away from the play so Banks gets shoved way down the line; Mouton(+2) is blitzing. He manages to slide under the attempted down block of the TE. He's into the backfield quickly enough to take on the inside shoulder of the second lead blocker and push him back into the RB's path. Mouton can't make the difficult tackle but the delay is substantial; Martin and Kovacs get him at the line.
O42 2 10 Full house 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Ezeh? 8
Same play as earlier with the off tackle fake coupled with a counter coming underneath. T. Gordon(-1) is blitzing and takes off after the QB. I'm not sure what the LB responsibilities are but I think they're in man on their guys and Ezeh(-0.5) does not read the guy coming across the formation fast enough, getting blocked; Roh(-0.5) splits the minus because he's the LB to that side and is no faster despite not getting blocked. (RPS –1)
50 3 2 Ace Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Ezeh 3
They double Martin and neither guy gets out; RVB is the playside DT and gets blocked out of a small hole. Mouton, Roh, and Gordon are cutting off the frontside so there's just one hole to take. It is taken. Ezeh is there, meeting him after a yard… RB gets two more. This isn't exactly a bad play by anyone but this is the difference between a really good LB and a guy who's just a yard or two worse on a consistent basis. Michigan had this set up for a stop. They didn't get it.
M47 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-4 Pass 6 PA Corner C. Gordon 45
Motion drops Floyd back into a deep safety spot as C. Gordon comes up to the line. He and T. Gordon end up playing almost in the same spot because of? I don't know. I don't know what the coverage is supposed to be but it leaves a guy on a corner route wide open (cover -2). Could be Cam's fault or Terrance Talbott. Talbott(-1, tackling -1) whiffs a tackle to get this down to the two.
M2 1 G Goal line Goal line Run   Zone stretch Demens 1 (Pen -15)
RVB(+0.5) holds up to a double decently and is flowing down the line in the vicinity of the POA when the RB cuts up. Guy pops out on Ezeh, delaying him; Floyd is taking on the FB, so there's nowhere to go. Momentum and thudding power might get this into the endzone but Demens(+1) has come from his deep LB position in the goal line package, shooting through the gap between RVB and Campbell to tackle. Chop block brings it back anyway.
M17 1 G I-form big 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Waggle Kovacs Inc
Kovacs(+1) reads the TE leaking out into the flat—similar play to the Webb touchdown—and covers it(+1); Cousins comes off his primary read. Ezeh(+1, cover +1) is all over the other TE; Cousins throws it high and basically away. (Pressure -1)
M17 2 G Ace twins twin TE Base 4-4 Run   Edge pitch Kovacs 2
Kovacs(+1) avoids a cut and gets into Cunningham, which allows Floyd to run up hard to the outside and forces a cutback. A chasing Banks(+0.5) and Ezeh converge.
M15 3 G Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass N/A Bubble screen Talbott 2
Give up and punt; Nichol actually at QB on this play for whatever reason. Talbott(+1) does a good job of stringing it out, FWIW.
Drive Notes: FG(34), 17-34. Final drive is after game is over and is not charted.


Just look at the first quarter, man. Time ceased after that.


Let's just get this over with, then? Chart?





Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 9.5 1 8.5 One impact sack, some additional pressure, solid against the run. Good player.
Martin 11.5 3 8.5 A good performance, but coming down from his ridiculous nonconference level.
Banks 3 6 -3 Didn't do well, pulled for Black, who did worse.
Sagesse 1 - 1 One good slant.
Patterson - 3 -3 Killed to bits on second long TD for MSU.
Black 1.5 5.5 -4 Pancaked multiple times on drive where he got most of his PT.
Campbell - - - One goal line play.
TOTAL 26.5 18.5 8 This week Roh was mostly DE so his +4.5 factors in here. Story: two good players and not a lot of help.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 2 6.5 -4.5 Sigh.
Mouton 11 5 6 At least he's turned it around.
Roh 6 1.5 4.5 Wasn't a liability in the run game against a pounding team.
Johnson - - - DNP. Has apparently lost out to…
T. Gordon 4 2.5 1.5 Doing fine for a freshman.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 1 - 1 Goal line only, again.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - - - Did not get minus for long TD but I'm sure having him in couldn't have helped.
TOTAL 24 14.5 8.5 Actual LBs: Mouton good, Ezeh bad, Gordon neutral.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 2.5 3 -0.5 Not victimized.
Rogers 3.5 1.5 2 Theory about displacement: fail.
Kovacs 6.5 1 5.5 Such a weird player.
C. Gordon - 11.5 -11.5 Of course.
Talbott 1 3 -2 Martin third down conversion largely on him.
Christian - 3 -3 Crispy.
Avery - - - Didn't register. Yay?
Ray Vinopal - - - DNP
TOTAL 13.5 23 -9.5 Less grim than the Chappellbombing. Still grim.
Pressure 11 5 6 Lot of max pro PA.
Coverage 10 11 -1 Big hits; underneath okay.
Tackling 6 13 -7 Very, very bad.
RPS 4 7 -3 Bad.

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

So. That's a major falloff from the defensive line. RVB and Martin acquired above-average days and Roh was decent. The other guys combined for –9, which is really really bad. I think this bore out in the substitution pattern, too: Banks wasn't playing well so they tried out Black, who played worse, so they went back to Banks.

At linebacker, the usual. Thomas Gordon continues to impress by not doing anything particularly wrong. If Carvin Johnson was really good enough to beat him out before the season Michigan should be set at spur for a long time.

In the secondary, Kovacs is good, and the starting corners weren't a disaster. Everyone else… ugh.

Aaaargh GERG ffffuuuuuuu?

I don't know. I don't think I'll know at all this year. If you look at how Michigan State gashed Michigan the thing that jumps out is the shocking youth of the offenders. By touchdown drive:

  1. Ezeh takes bad angle on first play, tacks on facemask. On second play Martin and Banks fail; Cam Gordon turns large gain into touchdown.
  2. Talbott lets Martin outside of him on third and fifteen to give up a conversion. Cam misses a tackle on a bubble screen, robbing Michigan of an opportunity at third and medium. Patterson is destroyed on a 41-yard touchdown with a bizarre scheme that sees Ezeh fly out of the middle of the field.
  3. Fluke tipped completion, two six yard runs veterans are responsible for, Cullen Christian burned deep after Rogers goes out.
  4. Jibreel Black is a cutback-conceding machine on the drive he plays every snap of. Ezeh does his sit-and-wonder on a run of moderate length. Cam sucks up on the trick play. MSU finishes the drive by blowing up Banks and shedding another Gordon tackle.

Gordon was also responsible for taking a bad angle on the TE seam on MSU's second drive. That should have been an interception but he overreacted to his error from the Notre Dame game and played the angle too conservatively. We have one usual suspect in Ezeh. The other players largely responsible for the touchdowns are two freshman cornerbacks, a freshman defensive end, and redshirt freshman and position switch starter Cam Gordon. Oh, and Adam Patterson, a fifth year senior who's never played before this year.

I do wonder what the hell this was supposed to accomplish:

I know I called it "clever" in the picture pages when Martin was in but that's the same scheme with Adam Patterson in the game. I thought it was clever because it was relying on your best defensive player not to make a major error—Martin did that one time and Michigan got burned, okay. Doing it with Adam Patterson in the game is asking to get touchdown in your face, and Michigan got touchdown it its face. This was not Ezeh's fault. I watched him do this all day; he did it on the first touchdown, then went to the sideline and did it two more times on the next drive. If he had screwed something up they would have corrected it or benched him, right?

Michigan went away from this later but here's why you just tell Ezeh to do something and hope it works:

Maybe that's a cutback he's not expecting but good lord, find the gap in the line and hit it. Even if you're slow an arm tackle slows the guy down. For him to not even touch the tailback there is dangerous, as Gordon has to come up fast and almost misses a tackle with his dodgy technique. Here, and often in this game, RBs were untouched into the secondary, though, and when that happens your safety is under enormous pressure.

Something in the same vein:

Michigan has that stopped. They have a third and two and have forced the tailback to run through a tiny window filled with an unblocked middle linebacker, but Ezeh is hesitant like always and catches the tailback. He never hits anyone.

Demens any different?

I have no idea. Here's your sum total of Demens hope:

His job in the goal line package is to come from way deep and flow to the hole. This is of interest because look how WVU aligned their linebackers back in the day:


That's way off the line. Michigan has not done this yet but it might be something to try since Demens has been doing that in the goal line package, and doing it well.

Other scheme complaints?

It was insane to put Cullen Christian on an island against BJ Cunningham in a one-receiver formation. JT Floyd was in overhang mode against a TE; why not put your non-true-freshman on the receiver?

So I'm not entirely happy with GERG. But I'm also not sure what the hell you're supposed to do when Rogers goes out and your five-man secondary reads freshman, freshman, freshman, sophomore, sophomore and your nickel and dime packages add in two more freshmen.

Didn't you just say you liked Cam Gordon?

Uh… yes. And then he was terrible against MSU. His shoulder-block style of tackling was something he got away with before he faced Michigan State but against MSU he was bouncing off ballcarriers because they were big and strong enough to take the blow. Then he would try to drag them to the ground, which only worked sometimes and always gave up YAC. He blew a chance to intercept that TE seam, or at least separate the guy from the ball. He took a very bad angle on the first touchdown and got burned on the trick play.

This is a guy who does not have confidence in his angles:

Too aggressive against Notre Dame, he was too conservative here; later he would get too aggressive again. This is what happens when you flop someone in spring practice and have him start at free safety. He has a long way to go. He was just as bad as Michigan's debacle at the spot last year, unfortunately, and while there are  good reasons for that the fact he's stuck at free safety when he's linebacker size and linebacker fast is just another symptom of the roster explosion.

Is anyone, you know, developing?

Ryan Van Bergen appears to be emerging into a player who makes an impact. He had a slow start but two weeks in a row he's been basically on par with Martin as Michigan's highest-scoring DL. If he can do something similar against Iowa it'll be time to ramp up expectations for him to fringe All Big Ten.

Also, Kovacs may have had his best game at Michigan. He's so reliable; on a day when Michigan couldn't find a tackle it didn't want to miss, Kovacs twice dragged down TEs in space to boot MSU off the field. Only one counted, unfortunately.


Martin, Van Bergen, and Mouton are all guys who would start on nine Big Ten defenses, and they're playing like it. Kovacs is the complete opposite of the rest of the team.


Player retention, youth, the defensive end not named Roh (Banks and Black were collectively –7), Ezeh, the cornerback not named Floyd or Rogers (freshmen CBs collectively –5), and Cam Gordon.

What does it mean for Iowa and beyond?

Apparently that Kenny Demens is going to emerge from the boonies and try to tackle people instead of catch them. Keep telling yourself he's just a sophomore, try to ignore the redshirt bit or the Moundros dalliance, and tap your heels together. If Michigan can upgrade there they might have a chance to hold down the Iowa running game. Michigan State has somehow acquired the without-question best stable of tailbacks in the league; Iowa's Adam Robinson isn't bad but he's not the equivalent of Baker/Bell/Caper, and there's only one of him.

I'm not sure how meaningful Iowa's statistics are in this department. They had three games against totally overmatched opponents. A fourth against Penn State saw Iowa bash into the PSU line over and over because they correctly guessed that Robert Bolden was not going to score on the Iowa D. The fifth saw Iowa gaffe their way into a big hole and abandon the run game in the second half. But for the record, Iowa tailbacks had 17 carries for 35 yards against Arizona (which has a kickass run D) and 28 for 95 against Penn State (which has an okay run D). They could be sort of okay in this department.

That will likely mean Ricky Stanzi is called upon to rain fire on the Michigan secondary, which he will do with aplomb. The Rick Six is a thing of yesteryear, apparently. I have some vague hope that the MSU and Iowa passing games are about equivalent but the MSU run game is a lot better and Michigan can hold Iowa to like 24 points or something.

Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana 2010

Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana 2010

Submitted by Brian on October 7th, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Substitution notes: The base secondary was the same and played every snap IIRC. At linebacker Mouton played every down and Ezeh was the MLB but pulled regularly for the dime package; Carvin Johnson started the game but was pulled in the first half and replaced by Thomas Gordon. The line did its usual amount of rotation (mostly Martin, Banks, always RVB, a little Patterson and Sagesse) with one exception: Jibreel Black got a significant amount of time in passing situation, replacing Banks.

Formation notes: A heavy dose of the dime package that pulls Banks/Ezeh off the field for Avery and Talbott. Meanwhile, Indiana had all manner of weird stuff. I called this "Empty bunch quad":


This was "Pistol FB twins"; note that the TE is covered up on this play:


The FB is more of an H-back on this play; he was lined up next to the QB on most other plays of this variety. The rest of it was fairly straightforward.

Insanely long show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout throwaway Banks Inc
Roh lines up over the center. Martin and RVB flip positions. Indiana rolls the pocket away from Martin but lets him in free anyway; Banks(+0.5) drives through the tackle to force Chappell to pull up. He has to throw before his receivers can force Floyd(+1, cover +1) into a choice, so he chucks it OOB. (pressure +1)
M23 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Power off tackle Ezeh 6
Not to be that guy who hates Ezeh but this is pretty much Ezeh. IU brings Doss in motion and fakes an end around, then runs power at Banks. Banks(+0.5) fights inside and Mouton(+0.5) takes on the FB at the LOS, cutting off the frontside. Roh recognizes and attacks through a gap in the backside of the play and could get this at the LOS or in the backfield but slips, so no plus or minus. He does force the RB to head outside of Banks, where he finds room because Ezeh(-1) stepped towards the end-around and did not get back; Martin actually peels off a blocker and heads downfield to tackle.
M29 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Slant C. Gordon 14
Michigan threatens blitz and does come, dropping Banks and Roh off into short zones; Indiana picks it up (pressure -1) and a slant comes wide open (cover -2) with Cam Gordon(-1) sinking on a route Rogers should have covered. Good tackle by Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1).
M43 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA WR flare Johnson 15
Fake end around, fake handoff, throwback to Doss after everyone chases after the fake. IU has acres of space since Roh(-1) chased after the fake even though he's the linebacker to this side and abandoning the WR means there's no one out there; Johnson(-1) gets sealed, Rogers(-1) never does get off his blocker, and it's an easy first down (cover -1, RPS -1).
O42 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Inside zone Mouton 2
Willis decides to cut this back despite no penetration; it looks like they were trying to scoop Martin(+0.5) but he knocked the C back and ended up occupying two blockers; still, Willis might have a crease on the frontside. Instead he cuts it back into a huge space because Banks(-0.5) was kicked out easily; Mouton(+1, tackling +1) reads and reacts to tackle.
O40 2 8 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Power off tackle Martin 24
Man, this should be easy to read: the pulling G starts pulling out before the snap, a dead giveaway. It doesn't turn out that way. Martin(-2) completely misses the pull, fighting into the space the G has just vacated. This opens a huge gap and allows the guy doubling him to get a release on Ezeh; pulling G hits Mouton and the two LBs just have too much space to shut down. Willis is through the crease between them as their waving arm tackles are unsuccessful. Floyd(-1.5) is playing deep safety here and comes up to make a tackle(-1) attempt after ten yards but almost misses it and allows Willis to drag him another 15 yards. This is an example of how useful Cam Gordon is as a run defender; this has happened zero times to him.
O16 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Martin -1
Some redemption as Martin(+1) drives the C backwards and causes the back to hesitate, allowing Renaldo Sagesse(+0.5), unblocked on the backside, to close and tackle with help from Kovacs(+1), who read the play and shot the gap at the right instant, beating a block and getting in on the TFL.
O17 2 11 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Slant Floyd 12
Terrible terrible coverage by Floyd(-2), who has one receiver to his side of the field and is in the redzone and lays off this slant to the point where it's unbelievably wide open on the world's easiest read (cover -2). Michigan had gotten a free rusher and if Floyd is up on this Chappell is running for his life. Terrible pairing of pressure, coverage, and game situation. I really hope this isn't how the play was drawn up. Floyd then compounds things by getting dragged past the sticks by Belcher(tackling –1).
O5 1 G Pistol twins unbalanced Base 4-4 Run N/A End around Kovacs 2
Kovacs(+0.5) is out providing contain and forces the play into Mouton, who helps tackle.
O3 2 G Pistol twins unbalanced Base 4-4- Run N/A Power off tackle Van Bergen -2
Fake end around, hand it off. RVB(+3) comes underneath a guy trying to downblock him, reads the handoff, and meets the tailback two yards in the backfield. He holds him up and help arrives.
O5 3 G Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv ? 5
Absolutely forevvvver on a three man rush that gets nowhere and doesn't even have Roh in it (RPS -1, pressure -2). Martin eventually comes through blockers to hit but it's too late as one of IU's receivers has separated from the coverage of Mouton and found an open spot in the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc
IU runs a series of hitches that are all covered by Michigan's eight-man drop (cover +1), at which point Martin(+0.5) flushes Chappell and forces the throwaway.
O39 2 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Penalty ? Delay ? -5
O34 2 15 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Out Rogers Inc
Rogers in a three-deep zone and beaten badly for at a ten-yard completion but Chappell chucks it well OOB, then starts grabbing his hand. (Cover -1) Actually, I think the player most at fault here is Avery(-1) who sucked in on routes others were covering instead of sinking back into this one.
O34 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Scramble Roh 10
Floyd lines up as a deep safety, then runs to the LOS to threaten a blitz. Roh rushes! Chappell sets up but can't find an open guy(cover +1) at first, then moves up in the pocket thanks to Roh(+0.5) and Black (+0.5) coming around the end. He takes off to run, which works about as well as you might expect. Roh runs him down from behind. (Pressure +1.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run N/A Power dive Ezeh 3
Martin again seems like he's about to get sealed and let his blocker out on a linebacker, and does cede a big hole here. He jumps back and flows down the line when he reads the play, though, so no minus. Ezeh(+1) reads the play and blasts into the pulling G, forcing the play back inside, where Martin and Mouton come off blocks to tackle after a moderate gain.
O29 2 7 Wildcat 4-wide bunch Base 4-3 Run Banks QB stretch Banks 0
They start out in one formation then motion all around and end up in the wildcat. Why? Who knows. They then run a stretch that Banks(+1) strings out, occupying two blockers and giving no ground. This allows Mouton(+1) to attack the edge when Doss commits to it, tackling for no gain. Roh flowed down the backside to help tackle.
O29 3 7 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Slant Roh 14
Two blitzers up the middle (Black one of them) with Mouton and Roh dropping into short zones. Michigan again pairs a blitz like this on third and medium with a soft zone that sees a slant route open up as Roh(-2) sucks up on a two-yard drag that had no chance at first down. (cover -2) Chappell got wasted by Martin as he threw; just a second more in coverage and this is a stop, but I say that all the time.
O43 1 10 Pistol FB Base 4-3 Pass NA PA TE corner Kovacs Inc
Kovacs initially beaten on this but tracks the TE down by the time this ball gets there and has a chance to maybe make a play on the ball if it's in a certain spot. It's long. Floyd, playing FS here, had been sucked to the other side of the field by a roll away from the route—this is a tough throw. No coverage +/- since this is mediocre.
O43 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out Rogers Inc
They're going high-low on Rogers and he sinks back so the out is open; Chappell misthrows it. (Cover -1)
O43 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Drag Roh 6
Roh(+1) rushes. He sets the OT up outside, then dives inside of him to get pressure(+1) on Chappell, hitting him as he throws short (cover +1) to the drag route; Floyd and Mouton tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O1 1 10 Ace 3-3-5 stack Run N/A QB sneak -- 1
They get a yard.
O2 2 9 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4? Rollout hitch Rogers 9
Okay, so this is going to happen sometimes but the thing that grinds my gears is that this is a five yard route that a good defense would tackle immediately and ours would give up a first down on, which they do. Rogers -1; his ability to change direction is not so good, and it results in stuff like this here. (Tackling –1)
O11 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass   Bubble screen Johnson 7
Johnson(-0.5) and Rogers(-0.5) both get blocked, opening up the corner.
O18 2 3 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB End around Roh 7
Roh(-1) sucks in on the playfake and even though Johnson(+0.5) does a good job of funneling it back inside Roh's slow reaction opens up a crease for the first. This was the kind of stuff he was always going to be vulnerable to as a linebacker. C. Gordon comes up for a killshot that lands a glancing blow; Roh wraps up from behind.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Hitch Johnson 5
Roh rushes; neutralized. Martin is coming in on Chappell eventually, forcing a throw. Chappell finds a guy open but could have had a better option to the outside; as it is Ezeh and Johnson(+0.5, cover +1) tackle immediately.
O30 2 5 Pistol FB twins Base 4-4 Pass N/A Waggle corner Floyd Inc (Pen +10)
Floyd does grab his jersey in a flamboyant fashion as the guy cuts outside and uses that to stay in contact and make a good PBU(-1, cover -1). I'd rather see this than Rogers not being within three yards of a guy.
O40 1 10 Shotgun H-back bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass   Long handoff Rogers 1 (Pen +15)
Rogers(+1) does react to this quickly, forcing the WR inside of him at the LOS and allowing Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) to plant the guy; Rogers gets flagged for a face mask. I don't minus stuff like this that's accidental instead of dumb.
M44 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Dumpoff Ezeh Inc
Good coverage downfield(+2, Ezeh +1 for a good drop in space that took away the primary read) induces Chappell to chuck a three-yard checkdown that he overthrows and nearly sees intercepted.
M44 2 10 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Out Johnson 7
Another frustrating dink of a pass that should be shut down for little but ends up giving IU third and short. Johnson(-0.5) was too far to tackle right away and Roh(-0.5) was awkward in space instead of aggressive. (Tackling –1)
M37 3 3 Shotgun trips bunch TE 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Flare ? 5
With Mouton chucking the TE Chappell reads his flare is open and throws it on the money, giving the RB the opportunity to get the first despite Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) coming downhill and making a solid tackle almost on the completion. Excellent execution from IU and a conversion that would not have happened with better tackling on the previous play.
M32 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen C. Gordon 9
This is a bubble fake that counters into a tunnel screen and gets Cam Gordon(-1) shooting up to the outside of the play; Roh(-1) also headed outside despite watching the OL release downfield; there is much space. Gordon does recover to tackle solidly(+0.5). This is a clever play we should consider adopting.
M23 2 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Floyd Inc
Open in front of Floyd for four yards; in this down and distance whatever, it's probably right to play it safe. Pass is a bit short and dropped.
M23 3 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Run N/A QB sneak ? 1
Chappell runs up under center and takes a snap; they get it. Very tough to stop this with how they've spread the field.
M22 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Inside zone Johnson 22
So they've been putting Johnson(-2) on the interior on these plays right over the tackle. IU runs right at him and he makes a critical mistake by doing… something, I don't know what. He steps to the right for some reason, maybe because IU has an end-around fake; this allows an IU guard to seal him easily. Ezeh(-1) also stepped right, getting blocked out of the play, and Gordon(-1) moved over too with the WR motion. As a result there's a big hole right where the RB is hitting it up and three players who should be in the area are all gone because they moved to combat a playfake that was not their responsibility and they could do nothing about.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Pistol trips bunch TE Base 4-3 Pass 4 Flare Roh Inc
Roh rushes. He draws attention from both the LT and the LG, giving RVB a free run at the QB despite no blitz. Chappell is forced into a quick swing that he throws wide of the tailback. This is pure bust by IU but Roh did run right by the tackle to pressure, as well (+1 Roh, pressure +1)
O31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Flat Floyd 9
Roh rushes; LT fends him off. RVB(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) are crushing the pocket so Chappell has to get rid of the ball (pressure +1); Floyd(-2, cover -2) is jumping a slant route that is not open because Mouton is dropping into it(+1). This opens up a nothing pass in the flat for major yards.
O40 3 1 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run N/A QB sneak ? 1
They get it.
O41 1 10 Pistol Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass   Bubble screen Roh 8
Rogers(+0.5) and T. Gordon(+0.5), in for Johnson, recognize this, attack it, and cut off the outside, where Roh(-2) awkwardly overruns the receiver and turns 0 yards into eight. (Tackling -2, Cover +1)
O49 2 2 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Mouton 3
Linebackers on their heels here. Martin(+0.5) absorbs a double without giving ground or allowing a guy off on a downfield player but Mouton(-0.5) took his first steps into a zone drop and can't hit the hole before Willis is through for the first; he does come up to tackle after the short gain.
M48 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Inside zone Martin -1
Martin(+1.5) takes a double and drives it playside by himself, cutting off any hole. Willis has to cut to the backside, where Sagesse is unblocked. He misses but delays the guy, allowing four Michigan players to come through the line and surround Willis; Mouton(+0.5) tackles for a loss; Ezeh(+0.5) had dipped past a blocker to cut off another lane; everyone else just had to run to the ball.
M49 2 11 Pistol 3-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 TE Seam Floyd 27
Roh rushes, Stoned. Chappell is looking right down the center of the field where Mouton and Floyd are; both suck up on a little drag route and subsequently leave a TE seam wide open (cover -3); Cam Gordon comes over to bash the guy to the ground. I am not entirely sure what is desired here but I find it hard to believe that Floyd(-2) isn't supposed to carry the receiver deeper; Gordon may have been late as well.
M22 1 10 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Slant Floyd 6
Fake blitz gets Banks in free (pressure +1, RPS +1), but there's no zone under the slant to the short side and it's an easy pitch and catch. Immediate tackle from Floyd(+0.5, cover –1).
M15 2 4 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Pass 4 Rollout corner Gordon Int
They roll away from the pocket to the wide side of the field and leave everyone in to block; Chappell makes a horrible decision to throw to a guy on a corner route that Gordon(+2, cover +2) has blanketed; he intercepts and manages to not fumble it back.
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-14, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run ? Draw Martin -3
Martin(+3) zips between the C and G with evil intent on the QB but has the agility to change direction and swallow the draw well in the backfield.
O25 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Flare screen Kovacs 12
Guh. Okay, Black(-1) does not recognize this and just runs at the QB. Talbott(-1) eats an OL and doesn't seem to even think about getting off his block. And Kovacs(-1) came up slow, didn't recognize where Mouton was coming from, and ends up making a weak ankle tackle that turns this from third and medium into third and two. (Tackling -1)
O37 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Floyd 7
DL tight in case of a sneak so not likely they'll get pressure; IU does not sneak, instead hitting a receiver in front of Floyd's soft zone (cover -1).
O44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Hitch C. Gordon 17
Zone blitz sees Banks and Martin drop out as two guys come from the linebacker level, getting a free run on Chappell, but since it's backed with a three deep zone he has a wide, wide open guy on a hitch that he hits (cover -2, presure +1). C. Gordon(-1) was not in the deep zone and needs to react more quickly to this; another example of M giving up a ton of YAC. This could have been eight; it's seventeen.
M39 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc
No pressure(-1) but the coverage(+2) is very good and Chappell has nowhere to go when Patterson eventually gets through and flushes him.
M39 2 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Corner Rogers? 24
NFW Michigan can defend this as aligned, as Rogers has a nasty choice between giving up the corner or the flat and chooses poorly by not sinking into the corner. (Cover -2, RPS -2); Gordon has no prayer of getting over in time and can only hope to tackle. Also, Avery(-1) appears to be abandoning his zone to ride the WR on a little hitch farther, which means the flat is wide open; Michigan is putting lots of guys in the same areas on their zone drops.
M15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Slant Roh 13
Roh(-1) fakes a rush and then drops into a zone; his drop is not good and Chappell can just wait for the receiver to clear him on the slant; C. Gordon(+1) does read this and delivers a hellacious hit just as the ball arrives; receiver hangs on but that was a monster hit that could force an incompletion or fumble. (Cover... 0). Also this is an example of Indiana's pass offense being flat good.
M2 1 G Pistol FB twins Goal line Run RVB Inside zone Van Bergen 1
Van Bergen(+1) surges into the backfield, cutting off the RB's intended path and forcing a cutback. Martin(-0.5) has been shoved down the line and eventually collapses in a heap of bodies; Campbell(-0.5) is also on the ground, so no loss here; Mouton(+0.5) and others converge to tackle short of the goal line.
M1 2 G Pistol FB twins Goal line Run RVB Power off tackle Van Bergen -1
Van Bergen(+2) slants past the tackle into the play, absorbing the pulling guard and forcing the RB up the middle of the field, where Demens(+1) forms up and tackles, driving the tailback backwards with help from Mouton, who basically tackled Demens from behind to provide extra momentum.
M1 3 G Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Circle Talbott 1
Rush gets unblocked guys in (pressure +1) and Chappell has to get rid of it, which he does by throwing a circle route in front of Talbott, who is right there but can't do anything about a perfectly placed pass that required the 6-5 Belcher to lay out. Again: Indiana's passing offense is legitimately good.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-21, EOH. Indiana had 45 seconds and three timeouts when they got to first and goal and still would not have had a fourth down play here.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A PA WR flare T. Gordon 15
A repeat of a play from the first drive. Roh(-1) hauls ass after the handoff fake despite RVB sitting there unblocked to handle any cutbacks, opening up space for Doss; T. Gordon(-1) also bit inside pointlessly and gave the IU WR a great angle to block him despite having no earthly way to do anything about a hypothetical run from this far outside. C. Gordon makes a solid tackle(+0.5, tackling +1) but not before the first down.
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Hitch ? 11
Easy since M is playing the same soft zone behind their blitzes, giving Chappell plenty of opportunities to hit guys. Man coverage does not exist. (Cover -2, RPS -1). T. Gordon and Rogers tackle after the first.
50 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Bubble screen Rogers 3
Blitz caught(RPS -1) and leaves a ton of space since Michigan has sent it from the receiver-heavy side of the field.
M43 2 3 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Banks 1
Martin(+1) and Banks(+0.5) shoot through the line immediately, crushing the play's blocking and forcing the RB outside, where Floyd(+0.5) comes up to tackle. Banks let the RB outside, so no +1.
M42 3 2 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB End around T. Gordon 0
Van Bergen(+1) sets up outside and maintains contain responsibly, stringing the play out. This allows T. Gordon(+1) to get outside his blocker and string it all the way to the sideline, with Rogers adding the final dainty shove OOB.
Drive Notes: Insane punt, 28-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Fly Rogers 46
This is a cover two that Rogers(-2) immediately gets burned on, a step behind the receiver and unable to do anything about a good pass; Gordon(-1) was also late after not reacting to where the vertical routes were coming from. (Cover -2.)
M15 1 10 Wildcat 4-wide bunch Base 4-3 Run N/A Zone stretch Van Bergen -1
Indiana throws away a down so okay. RVB(+1.5) drives into the backfield, forcing a cutback into Banks(+1), who came under a blocker, and Kovacs(+0.5), who was free on the backside.
M16 2 11 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flanker screen Mouton 5
So this is what I would like to see on this: okay, you gave up some yards but not that many. Floyd(+0.5) took on his blocker quickly and Mouton(+0.5, tackling +1) thumped the ballcarrier after a modest gain. Not third and one coming up.
M11 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 6 Out Talbott 8
Blitz does not get there in time (pressure -1) and Talbott(-1, cover -1) is smoked in man coverage.
M3 1 G Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Banks Power off tackle Banks 3
Banks(-1) tries to slant inside and gets shoved out of the play without taking out another blocker, leaving a lot of space and a lead guy. RVB has come all the way from the backside of the play and Martin is also there; they connect at the LOS but get dragged into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-28, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Waggle deep cross Floyd 19 + 15 pen
Linebackers suck up to the playfake but recover decently; Ezeh(+0.5) is just a step behind the receiver and Chappell has to fit it in a tight window (cover +1) since Floyd is on the edge; Floyd(-1) then misses a tackle(-1) and turns this first down into a first down plus like ten more yards. Black(-0.5) shot into the supposed run play and gave up the corner, giving Chappell some time. He then gets a roughing the passer call(-1.5).
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Run N/A Draw Martin -1
Another stupid wasted down. Martin(+1) pushes through the IU blockers; no one bothers to stay with him, and since he's so agile he can shut down even mondo space like this. RB does run past him but the blocking angles are screwed up and Ezeh(+1) can read it and move up to make a solid TFL(tackling +1).
M28 2 11 Shotgun trips bunch TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Angle Ezeh Inc
Mouton(+0.5) gets a free run but no RPS plus on this because Indiana has a hot route that looks like it will work since Ezeh(-1) is in man on the RB and flies out expecting a flat route only for the RB to dive back inside. Pass is too hot and dropped. First IU drop of the day. (Cover -1)
M28 3 11 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Throwaway Black Inc
No one open immediately (cover +1) and then Black comes around the corner with enough of an angle to force Chappell to start moving his feet. Black then comes around like he's taking another pass in a bomber, forcing Chappell to the sidelines, where RVB can help chase; they force him to chuck it OOB. +1 Black, I think, and pressure +1.
M28 4 11 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Cross Black Inc
Black(+2) shoots inside the tackle and is tripped by the guard, drawing a holding flag and forcing Chappell to start moving his feet; RVB(+0.5) takes advantage of this to start chasing from the outside. Chappell throws to a guy well-covered by Floyd(+2, cover +1) and the pass is broken up.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs,35-28, 4 min 3rd Q. Couple of nice plays by Black there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Sack Banks -11
So this is pretty weird from IU, with the RT just sort of holding off Banks and expecting inside help that the G is not providing. This allows Banks to head upfield pretty much unmolested and sack. +2 for him, though that may be generous given the bust, and +1 for good coverage downfield.
O9 2 21 Shotgun trips 4-1-6 dime Pass 3 Dumpoff Mouton 5
Martin playing DE here and though there's not much pressure Chappell gets spooked and tosses a dumpoff (cover +1) that Mouton(+1, tackling +1) closes down.
O14 3 16 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Deep hitch Avery 17
BWS picture-paged this and I agree: Avery(-2) abandons his zone responsibility to essentially play man on the slot receiver and opens up a 20-yard completion. (Cover -3) Rogers(-1) was also passive here; he's never close to receivers.
O33 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Long handoff Floyd 12
Floyd(-1.5) sucks in on play action and gives up an easy first down. (Cover -1)
O45 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Dive Mouton 3
Martin(-0.5) controlled and sealed though he doesn't give up too much room; Mouton(+1) slams into the lead blocker at the LOS and Black(+1) chucks his blocker away, forcing a cutback from the RB that Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) tackles on.
O48 2 7 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 7(!) Out ? Inc
Inevitable someone gets a free run here and it comes right up the middle; quick throw is wide of the WR. Rogers did not have very good coverage. (Pressure +1)
O48 3 7 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Hitch Avery 10
Roh(+1) spins inside the RT and nails Chappell as he throws (pressure +2) and Banks(+1) is coming around the edge; any hesitation and this is a sack. There isn't any because Avery(-2) has again totally vacated his zone in favor of chasing a guy across the field, providing a huge window in which to throw (cover -2). I can't believe they haven't ditched this package yet; Avery has no idea what he's doing.
M42 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out T. Gordon 12
Plenty of time (pressure -2) but good downfield coverage(+1) leaves nothing but a short out; T. Gordon(-2, tackling -1) is there and whiffs, turning four into a first down.
M30 1 10 Shotgun trips Base 4-3 Pass 3 Flare screen Floyd -1
No one out on Floyd(+1) so he rolls up on the RB and makes a solid open field tackle(+1) for loss. I assume the WR busted here?
M31 2 11 Pistol 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Sack Martin -15
Eight man drop sees no one open immediately (cover +1) and Martin(+3) shoves the center backwards, forcing him to trip over one of his linemates. Free, Martin consumes Chappell's soul.
M46 3 26 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Dig ? 10
No one gets near Chappell this time (pressure -1) and he has plenty of time to find a WR for about half of it; Roh(-0.5) overruns a tackle but Mouton(+0.5) makes up for it and they get him down about where he catches it. In this situation, fine.
M36 4 16 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Scramble Van Bergen 7
Coverage(+1) at first, then RVB(+1.5) chucks away a guard and threatens to come up the middle, flushing Chappell; Black(+0.5) comes from behind to chase and Chappell has to scramble fruitlessly. (pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 35-28, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run RVB Dive Ezeh 2
RVB(+0.5) heads upfield and past his blocker and Ezeh(+1) thumps into the pulling guard at the line, causing the RB to head to the backside where Mouton(+0.5) is unblocked and makes the easy play.
O20 2 8 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Throwaway ? Inc (Pen +15)
Michigan blankets all three of the bunch receivers(cover +2) and then Martin(+0.5) fights through blockers to force the dumpoff. Michigan is hit with a borderline roughing the passer call as Martin bangs into Chappell after the throw (-2).
O35 1 10 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Zone stretch Banks 0
Banks(+1) takes the double but doesn't get sealed, leaving Mouton(+0.5) to slam up into the frontside gap before the OL can get out on him. This forces a cutback into Ezeh(+0.5), who is unblocked but in good position and tackles(+1) for no gain.
O35 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Ezeh Inc
Michigan has this bunch set down and has again covered(+1) the options. Ezeh(+0.5) drops right into the TEs route, and Chappell has to scramble as RVB(+0.5) comes free. He chucks it at one of the covered receivers; pass goes wide. (Cover +1, again.)
O35 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Post Floyd Inc
This same route package with one exception: deep receiver to the bunch side runs a post. Short guys covered, deep guys covered, and Floyd(+2) drops right into the targeted area. Chappell throws it well long, which is fortunate for IU (cover +2).
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-28, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol FB twins 3-3-5 stack Run Banks End around Kovacs 13
Kovacs(-1.5) is too focused on the dive playfake and gets thunderously cut to the ground; Banks(-0.5) also sucks inside, leaving Doss wide open on the corner; Floyd(-0.5) comes up and gets run over without so much as an attempt to wrap up; he doesn't force the ballcarrier back into help, either.
O33 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 PA WR flare Rogers 8
Third time for this play; this time T. Gordon(+0.5) gets into his blocker and forces a choice, which is outside; Rogers(-1) beats his blocker but overruns the play to the point where he runs up between Rogers and the guy trying to block him. Cam Gordon makes a solid tackle after all that.
O41 2 2 Pistol trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Banks Inside zone Martin 2
Martin(+1) jams up the frontside, forcing a cutback with help from Banks(+0.5); IU G attempting to block Martin successfully diagnoses that he's screwed and makes a really smart play to peel off and hit Ezeh just as he's about to hit the RB at the LOS, allowing him a tiny crease for the first.
O43 1 10 Pistol trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Bubble screen Roh 9
T. Gordon(+0.5) does zip past his blocker and get into the WR at the LOS. He could/should have this for nothing but the throw is a ltitle bad—inside and upfield—which gives the WR some momentum away from where Gordon expects him to be and he ends up missing the tackle. He's still disrupted the play, but Roh(-1) bit on the run fake and is late, and Rogers(-0.5) makes a really weak tackle(-1) that sees the guy pick up 4-5 YAC. Our corners don't tackle well.
M48 2 1 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Inside zone Patterson 8
Patterson(-1) sealed easily enough for the C to pop out on Mouton(-0.5) who had a tough job but had help in the box from Kovacs and should have attacked the hole here more aggressively. Ezeh had another gap that was open to sit in.
M40 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Penalty   False start ? -5
M45 1 15 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch ? 5
Open. T. Gordon and Rogers are running out on it but it's upfield and the WR can't catch it and stay on his feet. M has pulled Roh for Fitzgerald on this play.
M40 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Dumpoff Roh 5
Roh's absence was very temporary; he's back. Good coverage(+1), no pressure(-1); Chappell dumps it off, where Roh(+0.5) does make a good tackle(+1) after little gain.
M35 3 5 Shotgun trips bunch 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Hitch Roh Inc
Chappell misses an open out in favor of throwing a deep hitch that Roh(+1, cover +1) is right in front of. Chappell throws it really high and uncatchable; if not this high could have been deflected/picked.
M35 4 5 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 In Roh 11
Man. Black(+2) smokes the LT and gets inside of him, nailing Chappell as he throws (pressure +2) and forcing a throw short of the sticks. This is a little in that Roh(-1, cover -1) is just a yard or two too deep on but there was a route behind him. This is just outstanding from Chappell to get this pass off and get it to the right place. I do think Roh took his eyes off the QB for a moment for whatever reason and that's why this ends up in a first down.
M24 1 10 Pistol FB twins Base 4-3 Run N/A Dive T. Gordon 0
Mass of bodies, no creases in the line, and T. Gordon(+1) moves up into the gap, hitting the lead blocker in the backfield and forcing a cutback. Kovacs peels back and Mouton(+0.5) stands up the RB at the line.
M24 2 10 Shotgun empty bunch quad 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Dumpoff Patterson Inc
Time(pressure -2) but good coverage(+2) and Patterson(+0.5) bides his time, coming through blockers as Chappell starts moving around the pocket to force an inaccurate throw on a dumpoff.
M24 3 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 Middle screen Martin 5
Just one LB in the middle of the field and Indiana runs an RPS+2 play against it that could/should obliterate this D except for Martin(+2) peeling back and tackling the RB from behind. How many DTs can do this? That saves Michigan's bacon temporarily.
M19 4 5 Shotgun trips bunch 4-1-6 dime Pass 4 RB flat Talbott 19
This is another clueless freshman essentially playing man in zone; do not listen to the man with the telestrator blaming Mouton. Talbott(-2, cover -3) runs with the slant way too far, opening the RB flat wide open and giving up the first down. Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) makes a heady, gritty play by missing the tackle and giving Denard time to work with. That's the ticket!
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-35, 1 min 4th Q. Last drive happens with 12 seconds and is not charted, but Talbott does make a good play on the slant that was play 1, FWIW.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing it was the 2010 Indiana game / and they'll keep on charting it forever just because…

Michigan gave up a lot of first downs, yes, and many of them were on stuff like this:

That should be two yards, and then it should be four yards, and then it is six. The next play is a little flare that Kovacs tackles on immediately:

That's about as well as you can play that and if Michigan had held two yards to four it would have been fourth down (and Indiana would have gone for it). This happened a lot. When you're playing against Indiana a lot of defensive execution is keeping dink passes dinky, and Michigan did not do this well at all. This is because of crappy tackling, the lack of defensive backs athletic enough to tackle on the catch, and…

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

I mentioned this in the game column and saw it when I reviewed the game: Craig Roh is oh exploitable in space.

As we'll see in a bit, this was not a good day from him and it was mostly stuff like that; you'll note that the clip in the first section above also features Roh being uncertain about attacking the guy with the ball.

I'm confused by the decision to play him at LB in this game after we saw him be effective against a passing spread at DE in the Notre Dame game. Okay, Brandon Herron is out, but how much worse than Herron can JB Fitzgerald be? And isn't the passing-down upgrade from Banks to Roh worth it?

The only thing I can think of is that Roh is not a guy who is going to beat two blockers and Michigan was addicted to the three-man rush, but even that's weak.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

The natural effect of the three-man rush is to not give up anything long—Indiana's long reception on the day was a 46-yarder to Doss on one of the few instances where they tried to play man and Rogers got burnt. The next longest was a 24-yarder, again to Doss. It also does a crappy job of getting negative plays and booting people off the field, yielding lots and lots of long drives.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…


This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

This is going to sound like the self-serving thing fans do where the opponent is total crap that will fall weakly until they actually do, at which point they were a colossus overcome by derring-do and iron, but you can check the game preview to confirm this is what I thought after taking in the Western Kentucky-IU game: Indiana has a legitimately very good pass offense. They had 41 opportunities to make catches and made 40. Chappell almost never went to the wrong guy and missed on maybe five of his 65 attempts. Their receivers are tall and fast and shifty. One dollar they're the most productive pass offense in the conference at the end of the year.

This is the UFR that never ends / it just goes on and on my friends / some people started charting it not knowing what it was / and they'll continue charting it forever just because…

Chart. Keep in mind that the numbers for DL will be inflated to the positive simply because of how many plays they got; similarly, the defensive back minuses will be larger than usual.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 12 - 12 Excellent against the run, got some pass rush, mentally round this down to a +8.
Martin 16 5 11 Actually got beat out by someone, also round this down to +7 or so.
Banks 8 2.5 5.5 Still adequate, though his sack was a gift.
Sagesse 0.5 - 0.5 Hardly used.
Patterson 0.5 1 -0.5 Also infrequent.
Black 7 3 4 Nice performance for a freshman.
Campbell - 0.5 -0.5 One short yardage play.
TOTAL 44 12 32 Or around +20 for three DL, which is a decent, not great day.
Player + - T Notes
Mouton 9.5 1 8.5 Er?
Roh 5 12 -7 I totally took clips off all his bad stuff so people wouldn't yell at me. Not deployed properly; this is hardly his fault.
Johnson 1 4 -3 IME the primary guy on the long Willis TD..
T. Gordon 3.5 3 0.5 I think he's the starter here for a bit.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 1 - 1 Goal line only.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - - - One play IIRC.
TOTAL 26 23 3 Players other than Mouton struggled tackling in space.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 7.5 11.5 -4 Busy day came out to the negative mostly because of bad tackling.
Rogers 1.5 7 -5.5 Beat up pretty good for the first time.
Kovacs 3.5 3.5 0 The king of moderate-moderate-0.
C. Gordon 4 5 -1 More on him later.
Talbott - 4 -4 Zone vacancy.
Christian - - - DNP
Avery - 6 -6 Zone vacancy II.
Ray Vinopal - - - DNP
TOTAL 16.5 37 -20.5 Chappellbombed
Pressure 14 11 3 I'm still having a hard time judging what is reasonable in the three man rush.
Coverage 28 34 -6 Possibly too kind.
Tackling 11 11 0 I should change this to a percentage: 50% on this sample size is not good.
RPS 1 8 -7 Chappell found holes in the zone all day.

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

Again, there are a lot of factors throwing off the numbers: a vast number of plays. The reliance on the three-man rush. The 3-3-5. I'm still searching for my footing in a new environment. These things are just supposed to be guides surrounded by plenty of context, though, not gospel.

As for the guides: I thought Mouton was good, Kovacs and Gordon okay and reliable, and all cornerbacks not good. Floyd is the best of the bunch right now and he has major issues tackling; his coverage is much better than last year but still only brushes up against adequate. Rogers plays it safe because whenever he doesn't he gets burned. Roh was covered above: he's not being done a favor by this D.

Any bright spots?

I like Cam Gordon. He imploded magnificently against Notre Dame but this week very little of what went wrong can be put on his head. There was the interception, of course. And he did this:

I know he didn't get a PBU or wrap up but that's a hit with the potential to jar a ball free. When was the last time a Michigan safety did that? In contrast, this is JT Floyd moonlighting at safety:

That stuff happens all the time with defensive backs trying to tackle, but so far Gordon has not fallen victim. Through five games the longest run an opponent has had on Michigan was the 29 yards Armando Allen picked up on an edge pitch that Michigan was doomed on because they were blitzing Kovacs right past it. While he took a dodgy angle on that one it's hard to remember another run on which I thought "argh Cam Gordon." The run minuses have been few and far between for him.

He's off to a good start for a redshirt freshman who just flipped to defense. As he gets more comfortable the wood will be brought with more regularity.

Elsewhere, the linebackers who are actual linebackers did little that was objectionable, though the big tests for them come the next two weeks. And Jibreel Black got a +4 in limited time, showing good pass rush ability against an Indiana line that is at least competent at protecting the passer. That seems like the first step on the way to a productive career; if he can push through a competent Banks into the starting lineup that will be encouraging int the same way Lewan's emergence has been. Even if he just ends up in heavy rotation and does fairly well with it that will probably plug one of the three holes in next year's starting line up with an upgrade.


Martin, Van Bergen, Mouton. I thought Kovacs and Gordon had a lot of opportunities to make big errors and did not, as well.


Any of the four cornerbacks, and the linebacker version of Roh. I think all save Rogers (who is what he is as a fifth year senior) can and will get better, but in this game they were the guys most responsible for giving up 35.

What does it mean for Michigan State and beyond?

Maybe not that much since Michigan is done playing passing spreads until they meet Purdue; I'm actually more worried about what happened in the UMass game re: MSU, Iowa, PSU than anything that happened against Indiana. Okay, a veteran, accurate quarterback and his band of tall, excellent receivers burned Michigan's secondary. This is not shocking. Michigan State is not likely to come out throwing on 80% of first downs anyway.

I think this dime package can work once the freshmen get some more experience; many of the errors were correctable. If guys start dropping into the right zones Michigan's front three has shown enough pass rush to get opponent offenses off the field somewhat regularly, and "somewhat" should be enough.

Roh should and probably will play way more defensive end against the rest of the schedule; at the very least when he's a linebacker Michigan should be sending him on blitzes at least 70% of the time. The extra guy in coverage just isn't that useful compared to the extra pressure he can bring. 

Some issues are fixable, but the lack of raw talent in the secondary isn't. Roh's inability to move like a linebacker and the lack of pass rush from the starting DEs are also issues that will persist throughout the year. The best I can offer is that I'm not 100% sure that State will shred Michigan's D for 500 yards because the linebackers have picked up their play and this could turn out to be an all right run defense and Indiana could turn out to be the best passing offense in the league by some distance. I don't think it's quite as bad as it looks right this instant.

I will reserve GERG bashing until I see what happens the next two games. There are clear problems that can be addressed by player development or scheme adjustments; hopefully Michigan can get the ship somewhat righted.

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-4-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 10-4-10

Submitted by Tim on October 4th, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Denard Robinson

"I'm feeling good. Feeling alright. Just got done lifting." He felt pretty good yesterday after the Indiana game. Staying healthy - "I guess every Big Ten game's going to be a big game. I've been working out, I've gotten treatment, doing everything I can to take care of my body."

"I love people, so it's not that bad" getting recognized around campus.

"I've made some bad reads, and I kind of overthrew a couple guys. There's always time for improvement." Doesn't worry about his stats, so he doesn't care what people are saying about him. "Just don't watch it, don't read it, stay away from it."

Teammates can make plays "don't try to make too many plays."

On Roundtree: "Roy, just give him the ball and he's going to make something happen." He just makes plays. "We could do that with all our receivers, but he's standing out right now."

OL has been performing every week. "That's who I've gotta give thanks to all the time. Them and God."

Doesn't get any bigger than M-MSU [Ed: just wait a few weeks, son], it's going to be a hard-fought game. "They're a great team, they're a physical team, and they come to play. It's going to be a hard game." Everybody gets pumped up for this game, especially in-state guys.

"I was playing with him. I felt like I was in the game and just playing with him." During Tate's comeback at MSU last year.

Greg Jones is a fast, physical player who can hit. "As a quarterback, you've gotta read everybody else, not just one player." Nobody's tried to spy Denard with one player yet, we'll see what MSU does.

Roy Roundtree

"Mike Shaw is doing good." He told Roundtree he's ready for Saturday. Just needs to go in, watch film, and get ready.

Denard is always worried about getting better, and that's what he's doing. "Man, Shoelace just too fast... Coach Rod just tells him 'run straight,' and once he runs, he runs." Depth at QB means that the offense doesn't struggle too much when Denard goes out. Denard is humble, and doesn't worry about the Heisman hype he's getting. "This week, he's gotta get better, and get us right." The skill players like to have the quarterback motivate them.

Roy works hard and listens to the coaches to get better. "It's showing Saturdays, but I know I've got a lot to improve."

"When we're out there, we don't really know the stats and whatnot. We just go out there and play Michigan football." Not worried about how many yards they got. Happy for Junior's big game against IU after the fact.

Everybody knows their offensive assignments now, the team is prepared well.

Intense this week? "Come on man, it's Michigan State, it's rivalry week." This will be the biggest game Roy's played at Michigan Stadium outside of Ohio State last year. Need to have a great attitude this week to get the win. "This week is like a different intensity level."

"You just gotta be ready, man. It's all preparation." Can stay undefeated and clinch bowl eligibility this game. "What happened last year was last year. You know, it hurt all of us. But we've gotta do what we've gotta do today to get ready for Michigan State."

"I still get nervous each game, so it don't really bother me." Prepares hard, which makes him confident for each play he's out there.

They've played tough defenses, not worried about putting up stats, just getting ready for the next D they'll face.

Steve Schilling

On Denard- "Any time he breaks through there, we know he's gone, which is a great feeling to have." The more yards Denard gains, the better it is for the offense.

Confident in the offense even if Denard goes out. Tate and Devin getting snaps, and they can spread the ball around. "I'm pretty confident in our offense no matter who's out there. Obviously 16's a special player."

You're getting the job done if you score quickly on offense.

Patrick's been playing really well, Taylor's been showing what the players knew he could do.

The OL is confident in the running game, hopefully they can run for more yards and get the win (as the team who has rushed for more yards has won 30 of the past 33 matchups between these teams).

Was never into the Washington-Washington State rivalry. Michigan-MSU is a much bigger rivalry. "Even if you win the Big Ten, you didn't win the state championship" if you lose to MSU.

Seniors will explain the importance of this game to some of the younger guys. "If you come to Michigan and you don't understand the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State... it's almost set in stone." They'll also hear from some former players about the rivalry.

Doesn't hear from students about losing to MSU twice in a row. "I know the fanbase obviously wants to get a win." Lots of people want to beat State. Winning as a senior is the most important, because it's the one you remember. "To be able to go out with a win, and to be able to say you beat Michigan State in your senior year is huge."

"Michigan State's always a physical game." Not particularly concerned for Denard, because he's a tough guy. He understands the importance of the rivalry. Maybe a little more banged up than he lets on with his toughness, good leadership.

Schilling hopes Michigan's speed can trump State's size. Endurance will be a big factor as well. "Some of the non-conference teams were smaller" up front. Michigan State has more size. Big Ten teams in general are a bit bigger.

Greg Jones is almost always leading the nation in tackles. He powers through blocks and makes a lot of plays.

"It's a big test for us. Coming in undefeated, there's a lot of angles to kind of approach it." Lots of storylines, looking to come out of the game undefeated.

Mike Martin

Big sack against Indiana - "It was an exciting play, a big play for our defense."

"I've seen still pictures of myself before I snap the ball, and it kind of scares myself" the faces he makes.

Creating turnovers is a big emphasis. Coach Robinson talks about it, because you have the opportunity to get the offense the ball more than the other team.

He was used some at DE against the Hoosiers. "It's a different look. Whenever you can give a different look to an opposing team, I think it confuses them." They'll practice it again this week.

Patterson is a good sub when Martin needs a rest.

It's nice seeing other defenses chasing Denard around, because Martin, Van Bergen, and Banks have to do it in practice all the time. "He's always been a hard worker."

Michigan State is a big game for both teams. Excited to prepare this week. "I always grew up watching Michigan, so I loved Michigan through thick and thin... I never really liked the color green."

Tough to lose the last two years, but it will help be motivated to get the win. "We do remember what happened in the past, and the past two years have been hard." It's made the team better overall and closer as a unit.

Making a bowl is a team goal, along with winning the Big Ten. "If we can just control what we can control" that's all you can ask for. "We always remind ourselves of our goals." Keeping it in sight reminds you of what you can do.

MSU's offense is good, Martin has already watched a bit of film. "We're just gonna prepare as best as we can. Guys are getting in the film room on their own."

"I love the fact that they're undefeated. That just makes this game even bigger. I think that ensures they give their best on Saturday, and I wouldn't want it any other way."

There's a bit more talking between teams in a heated, in-state rivalry game like this one.

MSU's line looks athletic, and they play hard. Both teams play a little harder in this game, because it's a big deal.

Obi Ezeh


Doesn't worry about what outside people are saying about the defense. He knows the defense has its issues (as does the offense). "They're all correctable. Every team's going to have issues, and every unit's going to have issues. We have five new starters so we're kind of learning as we go here... We're undefeated and we haven't played our best football yet."

"It works in practice, so it should work in games." Some issues are people trying to do a bit too much. Defense is improving this year, taking strides inthe right direction.

It's good to win the games, but you know where to draw the line with letting it get to your head. "As soon as I leave here and go down to the biulding, I put on my business face and go to work."

Not worried about bowl eligibility right now. Try to win the game, and that will happen on its own. "Those rivalry games are always big for us... it doesn't matter if we haven't won a game going into those, it's always going to be a big game."

Want to stop the run against MSU - "that's usually the key to victory in most games." Get after the QB and punish their skill players. "I feel more needed" when the opponent will try to run the ball.

Was always interested in Michigan running backs growing up, so he was on the Michigan side. Was a RB in high school.

"Year-round I hear from all of my ex-classmates who have gone to Michigan State. A lot of the families back home are either Michigan or Michigan State." The in-state rivalry is an all-year thing.

"It's not easy, it's not fun" to lose two in a row and not have bragging rights. "That's part of our motivation is to go out and get those bragging rights back."

Do you root for MSU in other games? "I don't. I would like them to have as much success as possible before they play us." It doesn't rise to the level of rooting, though.

"I hope the crowd's really rocking on Saturday."

Jordan Kovacs

"I think every defensive player takes that personal, and it makes us even hungrier for the win" when people talk down on the M defense.

Improvements are happening week-to-week, particularly the young guys. "I know it something that's surely going to show up in games."

Mike Martin played well against Indiana. "It worked out pretty well, he was definitely getting after the quarterback." Defense hurt themselves with some penalties, and that stuff is correctable.

The players may be fueled by losing the last two to Michigan State, but the past is in the past. "It doesn't matter if it's my first win or my fourth win against them, any time you can play Michigan State, you'd better be motivated."

Keys to the game: "It doesn't matter who your opponent is, any time you can make a team one-dimensional... you've got a chance of winning the game."

Cousins is a great QB, and they have a great offense. This should be the biggest challenge so far for the defense this year.

RBs are big guys that can move. Probably the best Michigan has seen this year.

Denard: "He's something else (laughs)." Other teams can try to contain him, but Kovacs doesn't know how they'll do it. "You've gotta have some speed, that's for sure."

Picture Pages: UMass Counter Reconsideration

Picture Pages: UMass Counter Reconsideration

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


Here is some confusion. The RB fakes outside…


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


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


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

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

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