Unverified Voracity Dances Way Off Team

Unverified Voracity Dances Way Off Team

Submitted by Brian on December 17th, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Goodbye beard. Also the rest of Elliott Mealer at winter graduation:

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Goodbye to you sir. Michigan suspends Hawthorne, Floyd, and Will Hagerup for the bowl game. A couple people told me this a couple days ago, and they both seemed to think Hagerup would not return. After a dramatically-timed suspension against Ohio State and another for the first four games of 2011, it would be surprising to find out Hagerup had a fourth strike.

But the AD didn't announce Hagerup was gone, so there's probably a last-ditch straight-and-narrow chance he can get back a la Stonum, except hopefully not a la Stonum. Michigan will be fine with Matt Wile for the bowl anyway.

Cornerback, on the other hand… yeah, Floyd spent the year tempting fate but the alternatives there are… uh. Moving Courtney Avery to the outside—probably to field corner since he's a lot smaller than Raymon Taylor—is probably your best one, and then your nickel guy is either Delonte Holowell or Terry Richardson. I'm still not sure that corner environment is any worse than Michigan's options at tailback, but at least the Norfleet-to-corner move makes some sense now. Hopefully it's temporary.

Hawthorne had been limited to special teams this year; his loss isn't impactful.

Now has more time for dancing. MGoVideo caught this oddly-timed dance festival just posted on youtube featuring Floyd:

I rate it an 0.8 Mike Cox.

And so it does not begin. Presenting Michigan's secret weapon in their recruitment of Derrick Green:

Dead period for football begins today and runs through January 3. No on- or off-campus contacts/evals permitted. Calls/email permissible.

Green plans on enrolling early; if he sticks to that plan he should be announcing at the Army game on January 5th, leaving virtually no time for anyone to catch up with announced leader Michigan. Does yoga, is huge.

This trend will probably stop soon. Will Leitch on the way the cable bundling model is going:

Not that many people are going through all the trouble to do this yet, but as cable fees keep going up, and more workarounds can be found (and we haven’t even gotten into pirated feeds), more people will cut the cord. We live in an information-wants-to-be-free age, and we’re still being held down by these media-company gatekeepers. In the real world it’s 2012; in the cable universe, it might as well be 1988. Eventually, this will have to change. It’s too insane and rigged-against-the-consumer for it not to. The problem, of course, is that, like so many capitalists before them, leagues and teams and sports networks are all assuming that it’ll always be like this, that these revenue will keep growing forever and ever, that this golden goose will always keep laying eggs. There are decades upon decades of Darwinian consumer trends that contradict that. In 30 years, we may have all unplugged our cable bundles and be paying a la carte. This is the nightmare situation, but I’m not the first person to suggest we’re living in a cable sports television bubble. Someday it’ll pop. Then, suddenly, we’ll look and think: Why in the world is Maryland in the Big Ten?

Rutgers is even more of an outlier but the point is a good one. At some point the rickety dam keeping all of these channels unnecessarily bundled is going to break, and then having teams that can't fill not-very-big stadiums is not going to be an asset.

Bacon. He considers the PSL increase:

Former Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham sold the experience – and we bought it.  Canham was a great marketer, but what impressed me most was what he would not do for money: solicit donors, put advertising on the uniforms or in the stadium, host night games, charge for tours – or ask for a raise.  He had already made millions in business, and didn’t feel the need to squeeze more from his alma mater.

The current athletic department now aggressively seeks donors and corporate sponsors.  It has brought advertising back to Crisler, in a big way, and has started sneaking advertising into the once-pristine Big House, too.  They now charge to host corporate events, wedding receptions, and even school tours, which had been free since the Big House opened in 1927.  Heck, until a few years ago, they didn’t even lock the gates during the week.

Michigan’s not alone, of course, and they will tell you it’s the cost of doing business – but what business, exactly?  When current Athletic Director Dave Brandon said on “60 Minutes” that the “business model is broken” – what he failed to grasp was that it’s “broken” because it was never intended to be a business in the first place.  After all, what business doesn’t have to pay shareholders, partners, owners, taxes, or the star attractions, the players and the band?

Raise your hand if you're sick of being told you can rent out the Big House for a wedding. That is everyone except the guy who emailed me pictures of his Michigan Stadium wedding over the summer in case I wanted to post them, which seemed like an awfully mean thing to do to a guy.

Brandon clearly sees the lack of advertising in the stadium as an annoyance, and has put it in anyway: just because the blaring thing trying to market something is a wedding or Michigan's facebook page doesn't mean it's not advertising. By pushing the boundaries wherever he can, Brandon indicates where he'd like to take the Big House experience if not faced with a potential fan revolt.

Bacon makes a great point: it's to the point that whenever you're putting down your money you feel like kind of an idiot for spending it. Thus the multiple "I bet I can scalp for cheap" projects on the internet and the regular stories about how you can get into most Michigan State games for two dollars or the Big Ten Championship for ten.

Speaking of: College Football Is This Other Thing post using Wall Street as the other thing is creepily accurate.

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

Step 1: Take over asset. Step 2: Exploit that asset with no regard for long-term consequences. Step 3: Laugh, buy a bigger summer house or a dressage horse or something.

In the Big Ten's case the dressage horse is a fancy building for a sport that brings in no revenue.

Yes please return. This will help the floundering hockey team:

Michigan coach Billy Powers on WTKA: "There's a good chance we could see (Merrill) immediately following the holidays."

I'm not holding out much hope for the GLI with Trouba at the World Juniors, and by the time Merrill makes it back Michigan's fate may already be sealed. Michigan is currently 36th in the RPI and would have to win 75% of their remaining games to get into the top 20, where a bid is vaguely possible. Either they rip off a streak for the ages starting right now or it's conference tourney or bust.

Etc.: can Rob Parker please stop existing now? On TV, I mean. He can remain in existence as long as he is not given a platform to express his thought-type-substances to the masses.

Derrick Walton profiled. Brandon gets dollars. Michigan was not fortunate this year. One way in which linear regressions are frequently misapplied. Key plays against West Virginia.

OFAAT: Seniors, Iowa Past

OFAAT: Seniors, Iowa Past

Submitted by Ace on November 16th, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Brian has already waxed poetic about the seniors, so I'll stick to moving pictures and keep the words to a minimum. I've done my best to cover each member of the outgoing class. Let's just say it was hard to pick one moment for this guy:

He may make some cameo appearances later.

[For the rest of the gifs, hit THE JUMP.]

Senior Day Haiku 2012

Senior Day Haiku 2012

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2012 at 12:44 PM

20090912231722_26-umvnd[1]Craig Roh

A leaf blows in fall
Tasting each position once
Time to duck, Martinez

Will Campbell

These days people who
are not Thomas Gordon say
"Get off of me, please"

Jordan Kovacs Michigan v Notre Dame hcY6ms5iF8jl[1]Jordan Kovacs

A man from nowhere
is the safety blanket for
a hundred thousand

Kenny Demens

As Northwestern died
they must have thought "ouch" and
"my god, sweet mustache"

JT Floyd

UM-Floyd-ND-Floyd[1]Sorry about things said
two years ago, low and mean
Mattison saves all

Brandin Hawthorne

We'll always have that
Purdue hash to hash zone drop
and a kickoff hold

Brandon Moore

Must be a good guy
to get Kramer's eighty-seven
imagetime to make stories

Vincent Smith

Meet mini-Gandalf:
finger-gun Balrog LB,
state YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Elliott Mealer

tumblr_m9s369BwSH1rfy8h4o1_1280[1]The measure of man:
how many squirrels can live
in your face, repos'd

Ricky Barnum

Stayed through some things
that would have made most depart
and we needed him to

Patrick Omameh

386277_10150394019912616_648717615_8625136_973392225_n[1]This dance goes one way
two hearts meet at Notre Dame
Te'o's goes backwards

Mike Kwiatkowski

Not a walk-on, no
A scientist of brains, yes
And blocker of sweeps

[UPDATE: so I forgot Roy Roundtree.

Roy Roundtree

Joe Tiller quivers
in walrus rage as Roundtree
waves an arm, alone

]

Denard Robinson

I had been in the desert for some time, lost and directionless. The sun was relentless. A deadly thirst stalked me. I had not accepted the grisly fate which awaited me but was powerless to change it.

On the fifth night—possibly the sixth—a breeze arose. It was cool and dewy. I savored it for a time, then step by step it led me home.

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Upchurch

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Formation notes: Michigan actually spent most of this game in an over front, i.e. shifted their line towards the strength of the line and held Ryan over the slot. Like so:

f-4-3-over

Closeup:

f-4-3-over

Michigan would normally put Ryan over that TE to the top of the screen and shift the line the other way. Not sure why they went with the over this time.

Michigan did this once, too: an under shifted line with Demens on the LOS, Morgan in a more conventional ILB spot, and the SAM (in this case Cam Gordon) over the slot.

4-3 under slide

This was "4-3 under slide." Lingo as per usual is supposed to be consistent and descriptive.

And I clipped this for some reason so here's a reminder of what I mean by "okie":

f-okie-one

Seven guys on the LOS, with one deep safety off the screen and three DB type guys. This is of course zoneblitzapalooza.

Also here is Dooley creepin' on the jug:

dooley

hey baby wanna get painted?

Substitution notes: Secondary as usual. Wilson got a snap or two in a dime package. After a couple weeks of minimal substitution at linebacker, Bolden, Ross, and Cam Gordon got drives. Gordon left early with an injury of some sort and didn't return.

On the line, Clark and Beyer alternated at WDE with Beyer seeming to get slightly more snaps. Black and Campbell were at three-tech and split about evenly; Pipkins got a few snaps behind Washington; Roh actually got a breather or four as Keith Heitzman emerged to get more playing time than he had yet seen. Roh didn't get a lot of points, and that was a reason why. Seemed like Michigan was comfortable with where they were most of the second half and how Heitzman was playing so they let it ride.

[AFTER THE JUMP: the usual destruction of the enemies.]

Tuesday Presser Transcript 11-6-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 11-6-12: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on November 6th, 2012 at 3:04 PM

file

Hey coach, how ya doin’?

“Better than last week, that’s for sure. It was good to get a win on the road. Glad that game is over with. Now it’s time to get these guys back at home and g et our seniors one of the last two times back in that stadium and play defense like we’re suppsoed to play.”

Can you talk about the early defensive effort in the game, particularly in light of having a new starter at quarterback?

“Yeah, I mean we understand the situation that we were in in that ball game, and we talked about it. That if you’re going to be a championship defense, then you have to do whatever you have to do to not let people score. It doesn’t matter how many times, what happens, turnovers-wise, where they get the football, then you have to stop them or you have to get the football back. And that takes everybody playing hard, everybody running to the football, and the biggest thing is you can’t give them big plays. You cannot allow in that situation someone to get a cheap one, and that’s what our guys preached. I was proud of them. Again, you hear us say this, we aren’t close yet, but they did do some good things. They did a really good job in the red zone. They did a really good job by the goal line, and that’s one of our big things is ‘Give me a place to stand, don’t let them in until they’re in,’ and we did that, but they shouldn’t have gotten there. That’s the thing we looked at. When we had a short field, we played pretty good at times, but when we had the long field, we let them get down there to make it a short field. We’ve got to get that corrected and we have to get that changed.”

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 24th, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Formation notes: Michigan is doing a thing where they have a nickel package in and go with a five-man line and one guy behind it:

5-1-nickel

The guy on the line at the top of the screen is Avery, in man on the slot guy, so he is not, you know, a lineman. That is denoted 5-1 nickel. A full okie package would also put that LB on the LOS.

Michigan was mostly in the under. This is what happens when the under faced off with a 3-wide formation:

4-3-under-slot

Ryan flared out over the slot and Michigan usually walked one of their safeties down. I still called this a 4-3 under, FWIW.

Substitution notes: Secondary same as it always is until Taylor went out, whereupon Avery moved over to the second corner spot and Jarrod Wilson was the nickelback—in that situation they would move Gordon down over the slot and use Wilson as a safety. This happened once, IIRC.

Linebackers same as they usually are. No freshmen in this one, though, all Morgan/Demens/Ryan. Cam Gordon also was left out of the lineup.

There was some rotation on the line. Black and Pipkins saw some DT snaps, with Black getting both some regular duty and his usual nickel appearances. Heitzman saw a few snaps spotting Roh, and Clark and Beyer rotated regularly. Ojemudia did not appear.

The defense is pretty much settled at this point. The only spot at which there is any debate is WDE, which looks like a Beyer/Clark run/pass platoon until one of them (or Ojemudia) emerges. The other ten spots—eleven if you count nickelback—have rock-solid starters.

Row row.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Roh 1
W/ a slot receiver Ryan is flared out, not on the LOS as he would be against a TE. Roh(+2) beats a crackdown block from a WR who has motioned in and starts flowing down the line. Ryan also beats his block, though not as quickly or authoritatively as Roh. Taylor(+0.5) contains; Gordon(+0.5) beats a cut block and flows to the hole with Demens(+0.5), where those two, Roh, and Ryan gang-tackle.
O45 2 9 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 5
Ryan comes down late, showing blitz with one high behind it. MSU throws a dink hitch in front of Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), who makes contact before Burbridge can turn it upfield; Morgan comes over to prevent anyone from falling forward.
50 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
New LT moves early... probably should have been called on M as it looks like Roh entering the neutral zone causes it. Refs +1.
O45 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Morgan 5
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the LT and forces a throw. It's an out short of the sticks that Morgan(+1, cover +1, tackling +1) is out on; looks like they were trying to pick off Taylor and get the corner here but Morgan's all over the circle route from Burbridge. Morgan slings him to the ground with ease.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Flare Ryan 2
Maxwell has more time here (pressure -1) to find someone but dumps it down to Bell anyway. Coverage(+2) was good downfield as three MSU guys are blanketed. Ryan(+0.5 tackling +1) comes up to force Bell out of bounds after a minimal gain.
O35 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 2
Roh(+1) is left unblocked temporarily. He takes on a fullback inside, then disengages to pop the pulling G. Washington(+0.5) has split a double but that's more MSU derp than anything since both guys peel off to do other things, one of them bizarrely. No holes in the center. Ryan(+1) beats another WR block and pops up on the LOS outside of Roh; he tackles(+1).
O37 3 6 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel Pass 3 Wheel Demens Inc
Demens and Ryan flanking three down linemen with Morgan behind them. Morgan pokes his nose in as if he will blitz; Kovacs comes down; both back out. Michigan only sends the interior guys; both LBs are looking to deal with backs out of the backfield. Caper delays as if to pass block, then goes on a wheel that Demens(+1, cover +1) is able to cover, basically. Despite epic time (pressure -1, three man rush) no one pops open and Maxwell's attempt to hit the wheel is well long. Black(+0.5) did force a flush, FWIW. Everything other than the wheel was covered(+1), FWIW.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 6
They motion a TE and then run away from it. Roh(-2) gets blown out by a double. He lets one guy through and gets shoved as he tries to spin out of his mess to no avail. His attempt to rescue it makes things worse and prevents Washington(+0.5) closing down the hole and Demens(+0.5) popping the lead guard in said hole to matter. Roh's just all out of position and despite everyone else playing it right there's a gap Bell can hit for a few yards before the world converges.
O26 2 4 I-Form 4-3 under Penalty N/A Illegal sub N/A -5
lol cant count lol
O21 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Same quick hitch. Floyd(-0.5) is a yard or two off and would probably give up the first if Burbridge was more decisive after the catch; he delays and Floyd and Ryan combine to tackle for minimal YAC. No pressure opportunity, cover push.
O28 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 8
Ryan flies down from the edge to blitz, LT biffs, Ryan gets a free run at Maxwell's blind side (pressure +2); Floyd(-1, cover -1) is way off a meh route and gives up a first down completion. Easy.
O36 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 3
This is not aligned well from M as they are in an even front with Kovacs overhanging and this looks pretty good for State running at the weak side of the M line without a shift on. Morgan(+2) screams downhill, takes on a free releasing tackle, sheds, comes inside, forces the G outside, makes Bell stop in the hole, and then gets buried. Ryan has come from the slot and Campbell has come through a double thanks to the delay and Bell can only pick up a few. RPS -1; heroic effort from Morgan required to prevent something big. Kovacs(+0.5) helped cut the hole down.
O39 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even Run N/A Counter Beyer 2
Beyer(+1) beats a TE trying to kick him inside, absorbing the pulling G; Bell decides to go outside. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) fills well, making contact at the LOS and getting Bell to the ground with help from Morgan, who'd had a free flow and is just helping on the bounce so no soup for him. Campbell(-1) got blown up badly on the backside FWIW.
O41 3 5 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Michigan shows press with a single high safety, sends five. MSU tests it. Blitz picked up (pressure -1). Floyd(+1) is in decent coverage, but has given up a step or two. Throw is on the money, Burbridge juggles it, and I think Floyd takes the opportunity to whack it out but I can't quite tell with the torrent quality. A bit fortunate, results based charting, was there to futz with the guy's arm, kinda PBU.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Sack Ryan -10
Ryan(+3, pressure +3) beats Bell as he blitzes up the edge, delivering a thunder-sack. Washington(+1) and Roh(+1) had also beaten blockers and arrive to confirm the kill.
O15 2 20 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Gordon 45
Roh(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT around the corner and seems to be held. Maybe enough for a call, maybe not. It slows him down just enough for Maxwell to launch a deep middle of the field fly route as MSU just went three verts against Michigan's coverage. Gordon(-2, cover +1) is step for step, never locates the ball, gets recepted upon, tackles, sad.
M40 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Floyd 3
Inside zone fake to an end around to Burbridge. MSU trying to pull their C, who never gets there. Black(+0.5) may have helped that but mostly incompetence, I'd wager. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked as a result and fills behind the LOS at the numbers; Burbridge flings him to the ground and gets some yards before Morgan(+0.5) cleans up after a few.
M37 2 7 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 4
Kovacs shows man on a TE that goes in motion and is a straight up ninth guy in the box with Gordon also hanging out in there. M pinching down from both ends. Black pops out into a TE, which means a tackle releases but has no angle on Morgan. Heitzman(+0.5) is trying to spill the thing by getting into a lead blocker and jamming up the pulling G. He does an eh job but does delay the puller. Morgan(+0.5) gets into him at the line well. Demens(-1) got caught in the wash after not reading the play. Actually a surprise when this happens now. He's not there when Morgan funnels. Black(+0.5) has spun off a block and come back to help tackle even without the linebacker getting involved; Gordon and Morgan help.
M33 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Quick pitch Kovacs 3
M blitzing and looks like they might get caught but it's sound behind the rushers. Roh shoots inside the guy blocking him extremely fast; he slightly delays the quick trap block outside. Demens can flow free as a result; Kovacs is a free hitter but has to come around Taylor backing off trying to cover the outside WR. Those guys get there to tackle; Bell squeezes out the first down. Um. They can't prevent the conversion but usually three yard runs are a little positive. Half points for Roh and Kovacs.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3 4-3 even Run N/A Power Pipkins 8
Bell's longest run of the day. Pipkins(-2) momentarily doubled until he's shoved out of the hole and pancaked. Roh(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) actually do a good job to fight to the now-gaping hole and get in slowing arm-tackle attempts. Morgan is in tough after the G released immediately. He's held a bit—arms outside the shoulder pads by the OL—and can't really disengage to tackle. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) comes in since his WR slanted and kind of flings himself at Bell without using his arms or bringing his feet. Textbook tackling technique... IN HELL. M recovers thanks to the triple slowdown and tackles. Refs -0.5.
M22 2 2 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 1
Same bit with the other I form big on this drive, but to the other side. Roh(+1) drives outside, disengaging to pick off a lead blocker and getting his 2for1. Gordon(-1) blows that by continuing to head outside and not reacting to what's in front of him. Morgan(+2) is now the next guy inside. He bangs McDonald at the LOS and drives him back, then disengages to grab Bell with an arm... and Bell slows. Wow. I expected him to blow right through this but he's suddenly in molasses, allowing Campbell(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) to converge and set up third down.
M31 3 1 I-Form 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 0
Roh(+1) and Ryan(+1) shoot under their blocks on the snap, forcing a very slight cutback from Bell. Bell trips over Ryan's guy; Gordon(+1) and Demens(+1) are screaming down behind the slant and put Bell to the ground at the LOS. RPS +2, slant FTW. Inspired a Hokepoints.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(38), 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat over the top on this, but it's long. No pressure but this is max pro and the ball is out pretty quickly.
M44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 5 Fade Taylor Inc
Super aggressive look from with seven guys on the line; two back out into shorter zones. Taylor(+1, cover +1) forces the WR out of bounds as he tries to release upfield on a fade. Kovacs(+0.5) had shoved a RB back and come off underneath to force a throw (pressure +1), which is OOB and may just be a throwaway. Gordon(+0.5) was over the top.
M44 3 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark 7
Stunt gets Clark(+1, pressure +2) in basically clean as Roh(+1) takes the LG way upfield and there's no chance the tackle can do anything with Clark plunging inside. Maxwell has to dump it short of the sticks where Avery(+1, tackling +1) is there to force the punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Flare Ryan 3
A called dink pass as the RT just cuts Roh and the guys on the playside are blocking from the start. Ryan(+2) pops his blocker, comes around him really fast, and eventually forces Bell OOB for minimal yardage.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 6
M sends a blitz that looks like it gets picked up and another dink pass to the flats is fired. Burbridge again hesitates as he turns it up and makes a probable first down into third and short. Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), I guess.
O34 3 1 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Roh(+0.5) gets under the LT and gets some movement back but not quite enough to take out the pulling G. Ryan(+1) takes on a FB kickout block, chucks the guy past him, and tackles Bell a yard in the backfield. Demens popped the G at the LOS but tries to spin off of it and gives up just a tiny bit of ground, allowing Bell to eke out the first.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Floyd Inc
Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there to bang on the catch and separate Burbridge from the ball. Still could have caught it if the throw was a bit better, so no +2.
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +2) stunts around Black and comes through when one of the OL moves to Black and no one pops out on him. Ryan(+0.5) has beat the RT around the corner and threatens to sack, Maxwell must throw. He chucks it deep at Floyd(+2, cover +2), who is step for step with Burbridge and gets a PBU.
O35 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 7
Maxwell takes a hitch before the pressure can get there; Taylor(+0.5) escorts the guy OOB before the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, EO1H
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Morgan 5
Washington(-0.5) gives some ground, allowing Bell time to pick a gap backside or straight up the gut. Morgan(-1) gets cut to the ground by the FB. Campbell(+0.5) comes through his block and initiates the tackle once Bell picks; Morgan is there to grab legs; pile lurches forward.
O25 2 5 Ace twins 4-3 over Pass 4 WR screen Gordon 5
Michigan pretty well prepared for this as Gordon(-1, tackling -1) breaks down at the LOS after the catch. Unfortunately he overran it and the WR can move inside of him for a decent gain.
O30 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 6 Deep slant Kovacs 19
Michigan with a double A gap blitz of their own right into iso play action. Kovacs(-2, cover -2) sucks up an unreasonably large distance and never starts dropping back into a middle of the field robber zone that seems to be his assignment since Taylor lined up with outside leverage and seemed to expect interior help that was never there. RPS -1.
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Kovacs 14
Beyer doesn't see this coming and lets the edge guy go. Kovacs(-2) is not prepared, either, and gets blindsided by the WR cracking down. Worse, he gets shoved upfield and Burbridge can get a shove on Morgan when he tries to flow out. Taylor(-1) doesn't read this until way late and can't contain so there's an alley between him and Morgan. RPS –1.
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Taylor 12
Both backs stay in, three guys in the route. This is essentially a pick route, with Burbridge going straight upfield and Mumphery cutting out near the sticks and using Burbridge as a screen.. Taylor(-1, cover -1) got beat by that.
M25 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 2
Gordon rolls up to the LOS. M slants away from the play; Gordon(-1) gets cut by the H-back. His inability to stay up allows Bell to leap over that block away from all the people; Demens(+1) flowed behind the slant quickly, took on a TE trying to peel off onto him, kept his feet, and grabbed Bell at the LOS. Morgan(+1) is also flowing behind, cognizant of the slant, and gets from the backside to Bell, finishing the tackle(+1). Pipkins(+0.5) made it impossible for anyone to get out on Morgan, BTW.
M23 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Quick hit in front of Floyd(-0.5), who's a long way off this time. Throw is marginal and takes Burbridge off his feet, so no YAC.
M16 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
Campbell(-1) gets blown back by a double; Washington(-2) is turned and pancaked when he is engaged with the C and takes one shove from the RG. Morgan(+1) nails the two lead blockers in the backfield, which could lead to another stop but the DT dissolution provides a cutback lane for an easy conversion. Bell has to slow down to get around all this traffic, giving various folks time to converge.
M12 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Trickeration scramble Ryan 10
The reverse throwback play. Gordon(+1, cover +1, RPS +1) has the throwback to the QB covered; Kovacs is shooting directly at the WR trying to throw when he gets blocked... almost in the back. But not quite. His momentum's off now and the WR dodges him. Ryan(-2) has the next shot and overruns it badly; Roh was coming from the edge and got blocked past the play. Now he's all running in a chaotic broken field and gets down to the one.
M2 1 G Goal line Goal line Pass N/A PA TE corner Morgan 2
Morgan(-1, cover -1, RPS -1) sucks up on the play action, open guy, TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 6-7, 7 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+1) stands up McDonald; the play is going away from the H-back, who hits a backside gap Morgan is not in. Morgan gets a free flow as a result. Bell decides to run away from that; Washington sheds. That's a TFL but Bell bounces it outside. Roh(+0.5) disengages from the tackle to chase. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) charges up and chops Bell down at the ankles, preventing any YAC.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass N/A Screen Ryan 7
A pretty much normal screen with a flare fake to Bell and then Caper slipping out on the other side. Entire DL sucks up with no pursuit except Campbell. Roh(-0.5) and Washington(-0.5) go for the QB and eliminated themselves. Caper now has three blockers in a lot of space. One peels off for Campbell. A second goes for Demens. A third takes Ryan. Ryan(+2) does what he does, which is look like he's going outside and then redirect under a slower player to show up after he cuts upfield. He keeps leverage AND makes the tackle. Boom. Tackling +1; RPS -1. Took a badass play from Ryan to prevent this from being big.
O28 3 2 Shotgun twins TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Throwaway N/A Inc
Bell motions out for a trips TE look. They roll to the trips. Maxwell biffs here; Taylor(-1, cover -1)) bugs out deep on a guy who is covered deeper and leaves Bell open; Maxwell hesitates, starts rolling further outside the pocket, and chucks it OOB. Had Bell for the first. I guess Beyer(+0.5) gets some credit for holding the edge and getting up in his face.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Pipkins 3
Pipkins(-1) gets blown out by a double. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) are single blocked and both take their guys into the space vacated by Washington, closing off the hole before Bell can reach it. Bell stops. He can bounce to the outside because Roh crashed to cut off the hole and Pipkins got blown downfield so the linebackers can't flow. Demens again eats two OL.
M49 2 7 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 3
Always going to be a nothing pass as all the routes are hitches against man. Taylor(+1, cover +1) is there to tackle on a three yard catch. Ryan(+0.5) avoided a cut and harassed.
M46 3 4 Ace Nickel even Pass 4 TE Dig Black INT
Clark(+0.5) gets a little bit of pressure from the edge, causing Maxwell to step up in the pocket a bit. Black(+0.5, pressure +1) is now leaping at Maxwell as he tries to throw. Avery(+1, cover +1) is in the TE's back pocket here and has a play on almost any well-thrown ball. The ball sails to Tacopants, and eventually falls to Kovacs(+1), who makes the INT.
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 1
Campbell(+2) blasts McDonald back one on one and forces a Bell cutback. Washington has given ground but took two blockers, push. Demens(+0.5) is free and sees the cutback; he tackles in the hole.
O10 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Beyer 2
Gordon comes down late for a seventh man in the box as M goes man free on the back end. Beyer(+1) knows he's got help outside and fights inside a kickout. Roh(-1) got blown up by a double as a DT, but that'll happen. Beyer rakes the ball out; Morgan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) had constricted available space to likely make this a third and medium anyway. MSU somehow recovers.
O12 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Slant Taylor 10
Avery comes down of the slot and blitzes. Maxwell picks the outside slant correctly and hits it. Taylor(-1) came up hard but to the inside, apparently expecting short hitch #1000. RPS -1, Pressure -1... this got picked up.
O22 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Pass 4 Dumpoff Ryan Inc
Time is good for MSU; Campbell does come under a guy and start moving into the pocket with Clark also arriving (pressure -1) to make it not horrible. Coverage(+2) is excellent downfield, Maxwell checks down to a fullback who drops the ball. He was getting nowhere anyway as Ryan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) were about to crush this.
O22 2 10 I-Form 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Ryan(+1) looks to take on a kickout, pops upfield of it, and falls over as he beats the block, grabbing Bell's leg as he does so. Demens(+1) clubs the pulling G at the LOS and stand him up; Black(+0.5) comes from the backside to wrap up after Bell finally steps through the arm tackle attempt.
O23 3 9 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel press Pass 5 Slant Floyd Inc
Mumphery against Floyd on the slant; Floyd(+2, cover +1) does give up the inside a bit but rides him and is in position to make a play on the ball as it arrives. Meh throw; didn't really matter.
Drive Notes: FAKE punt, 9-7, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Burbridge has exactly one step on Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) and this throw would have to be perfect. It's long.
O49 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Taylor 12
M shows man. Taylor(-2, cover -1, tackling -1) takes a crappy angle to the slant and ends up upfield of the WR; his off balance tackle attempt is run through. That is baaaad. Gordon(+1) is there to clean up, thankfully, making a solid tackle that prevents anything big from going down.
M39 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Beyer 5
Beyer(-1) in at SDE and the difference between him and Roh is noticeable. He gets blown off the ball by a double; LBs blocked by the TE and pulling G as FB kicks Ryan. Demens funnels; Morgan takes on a block, folks tackle after five. Basically standard stuff once you've lost that double at the POA.
M34 2 5 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
At the other side of the line. Campbell(-0.5) gets creased a little bit. Heitzman(-1) runs straight upfield past the kickout so the gap is pretty big. LBs take on blockers as well as they can but Bell is just running up the backs of his OL and can push the pile.
M30 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Roh 2
M slants playside. Roh(+1) gets under the guard and drives in to the backside of the play, forcing a cutback behind him. Ryan(+0.5) is there in that gap to stall that initial cutback. Demens comes up to start pushing; Bell manages to find a tiny crease and pushes through it.
M28 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Kovacs 2
Quick pitch with a motioning TE blocking down as the tackle pulls around him Kovacs(+2) is initially hesitant as he follows the TE motion since he's in man on the guy, then realizes it's a run and attacks outside. WR cracks down on Demens. Ryan(-1) tries to shoot upfield of the pulling T and gets shoved past the play, the T is delayed but continues his pull, dangerous. Floyd(+1) is trying to contain against two guys now. He avoids a cut and spins outside; Kovacs(tackling +1) screams through the gap between the two OL that Floyd helped create by not going down to the cut and needing another blocker to deal with him; he's charging fast but manages to hang on and tackles; everyone's falling forward but whatever, great play.
M26 2 8 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 Corner Taylor 14 + 6 Pen
Maxwell has to throw as Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is shedding a blocker and about to hit him. Campbell(-1) is also coming from behind after dodging a blocker with agility(!) and would get a plus… if he didn't rough the passer after Maxwell dumps it. Alas. The corner route is to a blanketed receiver; Taylor's got the coverage. He wraps his arm around the guy and gets a penalty call, but he's also in great position. This throw has to be inch perfect and a great catch; it's both. Taylor(-1, cover +1) gets a minus for a legit PI call but he was in the right spot to make a play, which is what coverage attempts to measure. Taylor goes out on this play. Avery replaces him.
M6 1 G I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 PA TE delay Gordon Inc
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the RT and hits Maxwell either as or just after he throws. Beyer(+0.5) and Washington(+0.5) also surge up in the pocket, demanding a throw. That throw is a highly delayed pass to the TE that Gordon(+2, cover +2) is waiting for and PBUs.
M6 2 G Ace twins 4-4 under press Run N/A Power Demens 2
TE kicks Ryan; Beyer(+0.5) slants inside the tackle, which makes the tackle hesitate. Demens(+1) plugs the pulling G at the LOS; Morgan(+0.5) is there as Demens funnels to him, many people stop Bell's momentum.
M4 3 G I-Form Big Goal line Run N/A Inside zone Floyd 2
They motion a TE to Floyd's side and run at him. Floyd(+1) fights outside the block. Morgan(+1) is flowing hard at the play and Bell has no choice but to try and run up the back of the blocker; Floyd and Morgan tackle(+1). Kovacs(+1) shot a gap that made the outside the only possible place to go BTW.
Drive Notes: FG(19), 9-10, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Outside trap Campbell 0
MSU trying to get a quick trap block on Campbell(+2) by blocking down with the tackle, bringing the G around him, and hitting the bubble between Campbell and Roh. Campbell blows through the down block and gets into the trapper. Roh(+0.5) has contain. Gordon and Morgan are both in the hole against one blocker; Bell tries to cut back and hits the guy blocking Campbell. Beyer(+0.5) avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle.
O9 2 10 I-Form 4-4 under Pass 4 PA slant Floyd Inc
Two man route. Primary is a slant Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position on; Gordon(+1) is rolled up in the box but drops off in time to make a delayed throw a bad idea. WR tries to break back outside, stil covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the ball sails wide. Pressure -1, all day but two man route.
O9 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Screen Morgan 4
Morgan(+1) gets outside of the lone OL blocker already out and forces the play back into Ryan(+1) who showed blitz and backed out. Ryan tackles after a meh gain, punching the ball out, MSU gets it back. RPS +2, screen in to three man rush had no chance.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-10, 2 min 4th Q

I'm already bored with this.

What?

Not enough points. This isn't boringsball. It's football.

You can't be serious.

Whatever happened to games that ended with 70 points being scored?

You mean like last year's OSU game?

YEAH

You liked giving up 34 points to Jim Bollman.

Uh. CHART

I wasn't… oh fine.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 14.5 3.5 11.5 Field day against backup freshman tackle.
Campbell 5.5 3.5 2 Big play on final drive.
Washington 3.5 3 0.5 Mostly eating doubles on power.
Black 3.5 - 3.5 It lives!
Clark 1.5 - 1.5 Eh
Beyer 4.5 1 3.5 Beyer surges into tentative WDE lead on run heavy day.
Pipkins 0.5 3 -2.5 Blown up once.
Heitzman 0.5 1 -0.5 Eh.
Ojemudia - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 15 19 Little bit of dropoff from Illinois but not much.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 9 2 7 Remember the athleticism worries with him?
Demens 7.5 1 6.5 Four straight +++ games.
Ryan 17.5 3 14.5 I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Ross - - - DNP
Bolden - - - DNP
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 6 28 /gapes
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 12.5 5 7.5 Recovered from meh start to have damn fine day.
Avery 2 - 2 May have contributed to INT.
Taylor 4 7 -3 Missed a couple slants; MSU switched to targeting him late.
Kovacs 5 4 1 Did biff a robber zone, also had awesome Kovacsplay.
T. Gordon 7 5 2 Gave up the big one.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNC
TOTAL 30.5 21 9.5 As a whole, a pass.
Metrics
Pressure 16 6 10 Even the deep throws were like one two three chuck.
Coverage 22 8 14 Maxwell helped here with some indecision.
Tackling 12 4 75% Bell didn't plow anyone.
RPS 5 5 0 Meh.

This has been an interesting experience since every week I look at the numbers I've collected and then think to myself "oh crap those are too high" and then go check the boxscore and think "actually…"

This week's "Actually"…

  • Maxwell averaged a Sheridan-like 5.6 YPC and threw an INT.
  • MSU averaged 3.3 YPC once sacks and the fake punt are removed; Bell ran for 2.6 YPC.
  • The sole play longer than 20 yards was the bomb to Fowler on which Gordon was in position and neither found the ball nor played the man.
  • Michigan forced two fumbles that MSU was fortunate to recover.
  • MSU scored 10 points on 12 drives.

So, yeah. The DL numbers are down a bit except for Roh, who didn't do much on the scoresheet but as Ace mentioned on the podcast is becoming a guy running backs cut behind into their doom three times a game. He had a super-easy matchup against MSU's 6'3" backup LT and exploited that to his credit. He is really tough to seal.

I can't be the only guy who saw that first playcall and had flashbacks to last year. Well, Roh is a ton better at not getting put away by WRs (and BJ Cunningham isn't walking through that door) this year and he strings the play out until the cavalry rallies.

Ryan… par for the course. Also both ILBs have shed that early-season hesitation and the pesky freshmen.

As for JT Floyd…

AAAAAH JT FLOYD AAAAAH

Let's talk Floyd. He started off poorly, getting flung to the ground by Burbridge and beaten deep by him—on an incompletion—en route to being –3-ish, and then he ate some spinach. MSU kept going after him with slants

and deep stuff

and slants

and this isn't really going after him but this is a nice fill and tackle.

and then they started throwing at Raymon Taylor. Floyd went from targeted weak point to guy Michigan State is avoiding over the course of a quarter or so. It is really rare for a DB to rack up the kind of numbers Floyd does because the kind of guys capable of racking up a +12.5 to the positive at corner never get the opportunity because they don't get thrown at. You can only get there if the opposing offensive coordinator thinks you suck. Floyd proved otherwise against a hyped athlete.

Have the freshmen linebackers been vanquished for good?

Ah yup. As long as Morgan and Demens are playing like they are, it's wait until next year for those guys aside from a few drives a game against not Nebraska or Ohio State where Michigan tries to get them some experience. Last week it was Demens turning in the highlight reel stuff; this time Morgan led the way with a series of you're-done-now tackles. This one on Bell was the best:

Morgan is taking on a block and can only reach out for an arm tackle against LeVeon Bell going north and south, and Bell's momentum evaporates. The delay lets Michigan rally to the ball, sets up a third and short—against which Michigan is still deadly—and on the next play Roh and Ryan slant under to boot State off the field. A missed field goal attempt follows. In a game of inches like this one, you can point to Morgan being able to just about stop a 250-pound mooseback like Bell with one arm as the difference in the game.

Oh yeah:

image[1]

Awarded.

That hesitation this site complained about for about a year solid seems gone. Here's Morgan coming from the backside of the play to make a tackle near the LOS:

I'm not sure this happens a few weeks ago. For one, the line has kept the LBs clean. For two, both of the LBs are biasing their motion away from Michigan's DL slant, which is not something they were doing early in the year. Morgan seems to have a better sense of where the ball is going to end up based on the defensive call, and more faith that his defensive line will execute the slant well enough to make the cutback lanes he's hesitated checking for a distant possibility.

With apologies to Wisconsin and Penn State, we may have just seen the two best LB units in the league go head to head. You can make the case, at least, and that's good enough in terms of hot sprotstakes with no definable metric.

Have the last vapors of GERG been chased away?

I think so. Michigan gave up some yards on reverses this game, which okay. Those were 10-12 yard gains. What struck me, though, were three different attempts to fool Michigan into leaving the backside unprotected, none of which succeeded. On the first Kenny Demens was invited to scream into Maxwell's chest, passed, and turned what coulda mighta shoulda been an RPS –2 to play into an incompletion:

Demens ends up getting outrun at the end there and there is a window; he successfully turned that play from an argh-where-is-everybody 20-yard-gain into an extremely difficult downfield completion to a guy who is not a natural receiver.

The second was the trick play that eventually became a first and goal after Lippett ran places and did things; on that one Gordon hung back, taking away the throwback to the QB. Gordon did it again on the final attempt, when MSU released a TE way late and Gordon was there for the PBU. These guys know their assignments and trust that the rest of the defense will execute for them.

A couple years ago we were enduring wheelapalooza against Illinois; these days you get extremely scanty opportunities to hit something easy and pick up free yards. MSU set up one screen that Jake Ryan did his leverage-but-wait-there's-more-FREE-TACKLE thing on that would have been a nice gain and Kovacs sucked up on a post. Other than that, bupkis.

Crappy opponent offenses, sure. Michigan hasn't really blown anything since Air Force, and that was not on Kovacs but a scheme against the triple option that won't be relevant again. That's half a season. Against anyone, that's impressive—ask OSU, which gave up an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Purdue on Saturday.

Solid, solid, solid. Michigan is about as good as you can be on defense without having an elite pass rusher on the DL.

Let this also inform all judgments levied on the safety numbers. Yes, the individual numbers. Also look at the coverage—Michigan has not been this consistently good at that metric since I started doing this.

We didn't get any pressure. Worry?

I actually thought Michigan did a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback. MSU had a lot of short stuff; their long stuff was as quickly developing as it can be since it was all throwing it to Burbridge as he ran straight downfield. On a number of those attempts, Maxwell was about to get hit. So it wasn't as dire as the single sack implied.

This is never going to be great until Michigan's getting better production out of its WDE spot, but Ryan and Roh coming off the same edge is decent. If you've got a worry, this is it; scanning the teams left on the schedule doesn't reveal a lot of teams that like to just drop back and bomb it deep.

Heroes?

Roh, Ryan, Floyd, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two ILBs.

Goats?

For a second week: GTFO. You could maybe pick on Taylor but he is a part of that coverage number, so no.

What does it mean for Nebraska and beyond?

Nebraska will be Michigan's stiffest test since Alabama. They're running the ball all over the place and use a wide panoply of different looks that will put that hesitation lack under the microscope. Don't be fooled by the close game against Northwestern, which was the product of an avalanche of special teams miscues. They've put up over 400 yards on Wisconsin and OSU and Taylor Martinez is much improved as a passer—grumble grumble aging makes people better not worse? They will be a stiff test even if Burkhead is out.

I don't really know what to expect. No one has held Nebraska under 29, and that's a tough number to see Michigan's offense exceeding against a team with one of those pulse things these days unless Michigan takes the O out of the garage some, but that's another post.

Michigan will see its entire front seven extensively tested by the run game and will need to win one on one matchups outside if they're going to make Kovacs the tiny linebacker who was so effective last year. I'm 50/50 on whether that will happen—Nebraska's WRs are one of the hidden secrets in the conference and they're coming off a great game.

Touch and go, touch and go. I think Michigan will hold them to a season low in yards and points since they just don't give up anything big on the ground, like, ever—but if they keep Nebraska under 20 that will be a wow experience.

Blind Squirrels

Blind Squirrels

Submitted by Brian on October 22nd, 2012 at 11:53 AM

10/21/2012 – Michigan 12, Michigan State 10 – 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten

8106868022_4283383c16_z[1]

Upchurch

Denard Robinson is 13 of 29 for 143 yards; he's run 20 times for 96 yards. His team is down a point and has managed to turn 120 seconds into eighteen without moving the ball anywhere near plausible field goal range. A few drives ago Jeremy Gallon was as wide open as you can be on third and goal and Denard blasted it hard and behind the guy—if it was to keep it away from a defender it was because the throw was late—or Michigan would lead by three.

Behind me, some Michigan State meathead has spent the better part of four quarters screaming "throw it, Denard, huh huh huh." Juggalo Nation, reprazent.

"Is this guy really a QB I'll say my mans vento is a better QB lol. S/O to my boy vento by the way."

-Denicos Allen, MSU linebacker, on Denard and MSU walk-on QB Tommy Vento, 9/1/2012

Michigan has second and eleven but more importantly they have seventeen seconds to get in field goal range. State shows a three man rush but also sends Denicos Allen; Allen stunts inside Will Gholston, who Lewan has nerfed, and hits Ricky Barnum at full speed. Barnum gives ground—a lot of ground. Allen is flying up into the pocket, where Denard would be.

Denard has started to roll.

pass-3

"DENARD IS SOOOO BAD! And it makes me feel so good."

-Kyle Artinian, MSU safety, 9/1/2012

The roll is bad. The roll takes out most of Michigan's routes, spends time Michigan doesn't have, removes downfield possibilities Michigan desperately needs. In the stands, my heart sinks. I have seen this script before, not just watching Michigan, but watching everyone. Michigan's win probability is sinking like a stone with every step Denard takes outside the pocket.

Denard stops. The roll steps have gotten Roy Roundtree a bracket, and made the middle of the field lonely.

pass-4

Barnum has continued shoving Allen past everything. Gholston, lined up against Lewan, is as relevant to the play as I am. Denard sets his feet.

"I can play quarterback for the school in blue."

-Jamal Lyles, MSU linebacker, 9/1/2012

Denard decides setting his feet is not for him. He starts moving up in the pocket as the State nose tackle sheds Elliot Mealer.

pass-5

Dileo's head is in a better spot to tackle someone than Gholston

As all of this has occurred with half the people on the field, the other half have been fighting hand-to-hand in remote locations. Drew Dileo has started outside, then come inside of MSU safety Isaiah Lewis. Lewis is tracking, in decent position. Dileo is entering a window between two underneath defenders. It's huge since Denard's temporary roll has caused Max Bullough to chase Roundtree—the roll truly was doomed.

Denard is moving up in a pocket that is less a pocket and more a space occupied by a no-longer-blocked Michigan State defender by the moment. He has not rolled. He is stepping into the future, whatever it brings.

Denard cocks, and throws. The stadium stops. The throw has to be on a line, at Dileo's chest. It's 20 yards downfield. As each frame ticks by, universes begin and end.

"Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while...,"

-Nick Hill, MSU running back, 9/1/2012

It's in the number—not numbers. Drew Dileo only has one. It's #9. Denard uses the enclosed space in that number as a bullseye.

pass-6pass-7

Michigan rushes to the line to spike the ball. Mark Dantonio watches Michigan execute a maneuver that cost him a game last week when his team went all John L Smith on it.

After…

denard-roar

I keep thinking about how this clown beat us in the clutch. Sure, we beat ourselves, but for all the times we've shit on him for his arm or lack of, what did he do in the final minute?

Pride comes before... DAMN IT!

-Venomous G. Duck, 10/21/2012

denard-7denard-9denard-10

…I mean, the guy knows. He's heard it all, whether he'll admit it or not. In this game the defenses dominated as both quarterbacks struggled to about 5.6 yards per attempt. The difference: Denard outrushed MSU's offense by himself and threw a meaningless interception on an end-of-half Hail Mary while Maxwell chucked one into Kovacs's chest after Michigan State had been set up with good field position. Run and armpunt that, homeboy.

"We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"

-Mark Dantonio, 4/18/2012

The remainder of Michigan State's season is a choice between not going to a bowl game and helping Michigan make the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State found a few nuts when one Michigan coach hung on too long and a second employed Greg Robinson, and couldn't wait to tell everybody every day all day. In the aftermath, they're asking Brady Hoke if they're as important as Ohio State and saying it's a real rivalry and it's level footing now, because Michigan is apparently also busy cutting off recruiting coordinators for no apparent reason and talking trash because Michigan State is losing a game. The little brother thing keeps getting brought up because it is the truest thing anyone has ever said about a 100-year-old football program.

Whatever. Michigan is rounding up a selection of ass-kickers and has its sights set on bigger things than one game against a program that's never been in a BCS bowl and hasn't seen Pasadena in 25 years. It doesn't matter if MSU or Iowa is Iowa. What matters is in Schembechler Hall, and MSU players watching Michigan play Alabama know it.

------------------

After the game, DenardX tweeted something about walk-on quarterbacks. 

Me and the rest of the QBs after the game with our home boy Paul Bunyan!!! #GoBlue @teamdgizzle @rbellomy

image

As of press time, Denicos Allen has not given a shoutout to his boy Tommy Vento.

Media

Eric's photoset:

Parkinggod highlights:

Other highlights from a guy named noonkick. Field level end of game video:

Presser videos from mgovideo: HokeLewan/Roh/Roundtree, Dileo/Gibbons, Roundtree is going to love that Paul Bunyan trophy yo. MVictors photos. Maize and Blue Nation photos.

Bullets

8106514742_dc2d5b7aab_z[1]

Upchurch

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumbBrady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Come on down, Drew Dileo. You caught over two-thirds of Denard's passing yardage and are now The Threat. Viva slot receivers.

Honorable mention: Jake Ryan (obvs), JT Floyd (they tried but could never bust him), Greg Mattison (I mean, my God), Denard Robinson (HEYYYY COLUMN LADY), Taylor Lewan (Tom Lolston), Kenny Demens (LeVeon Bell, welcome to 2.6 YPC), Jordan Kovacs (ditto).

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State)

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Upchurch

DEE-FENSE. That image above is just perfect. LeVeon Bell crapped out 2.6 yards a carry against OSU… and 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan. That's all DL stuff and while the Michigan State line had the services of Dan France, they were out two of their three starters for most of the OSU game and did not have Treadwell much; Treadwell went the whole way against M and AFAIK Ethan Ruhland did not make an appearance. Dion Sims was gimpy; other than that it's basically the same performance against the same team.

Bell never got caught behind the line, which makes the 2.6 YPC even more impressive since Michigan didn't RPS their way into any TFLs. Michigan won the battle on third and short against LeVeon Bell. Thumbs up.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT. That was verbatim tweet I sent out Saturday and holy pants, WTF. Some of that was crappy luck and crappy decisions—Toussaint catching the Butterfield/Breaston memorial DON'T YOU DARE CATCH THAT pass, Denard checking down in the first place, but at one point the entire stadium was on its feet screaming SNAP THE BALL at once after Michigan let almost 20 seconds run off the clock for no apparent reason. Michigan had already burned nine seconds before the review on the Denard third-and-two lunge; they burned off a few more before snapping the ball.

If this was a one time thing it would be a one-time thing; after last year's Iowa two-minute debacle it's an issue. I don't think this is much on the players when they're looking to the sideline for a call, especially after Michigan burned two timeouts in this game just trying to get the playcall in.

Michigan huddling for half the playclock is killing me. There's no reason to do it, it doesn't seem to help their attempts to audible out of obvious blitzes, and their lack of practicing at tempo is an obvious detriment when they need to go fast.

8106512600_8361189f20_z[1]Jake Ryan crazy thing of the week. This is not actually the Maxwell sack pictured at right, which came about after Ryan went around the 250-pound Bell like he was not there for Michigan's only TFL of the week. Though that was pretty awesome, you guys.

Even so, the crazy thing Ryan did this week was facing down three blockers on a screen that MSU had set up like whoah, trashing the guy who peeled off to deal with him, and holding Michigan State to seven yards. Michigan booted state off the field on the subsequent third and short.

Totals: 10 tackles, 8 solo, Michigan's only sack. HE'S SLIGHTLY GOOD YOU GUYS SRSLY

JT Floyd. It was clear once MSU started taking regular shots downfield that they had identified JT Floyd as the weak spot on the Michigan defense, but he held tough. The catch-and-YAC five yard hitch first downs from the Purdue game were eliminated entirely; he got beat deep by a step or two each time but was in good enough position that the throws had to be perfect lest he pull the press Michael Floyd and live (or "trail") technique.

The throws weren't perfect, and the only long completions Maxwell managed were against Thomas Gordon (bad play by him on a ball he would have had a play on if he found it) and Raymon Taylor (got an interference call and gave up an admittedly spectacular completion late). Floyd got off without issue.

What's more, MSU's big idea to get a touchdown on short yardage was to line up a fullback over Floyd and run Bell at him. Floyd held up, got the edge, kept leverage at the numbers, and prevented Bell from getting outside, whereupon Desmond Morgan helped him tackle. The guy had a target on his back all day and came through with flying colors.

Fumbles. Are a bitch.

8106856075_380c93b310_z[1]

Upchurch

Somehow Michigan did not recover this one, nor the other one, despite having nothing but Michigan players surrounding the Spartan who clutched the ball like it was a nugget of gold.

NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOWWWWWW

Denard, my man. I am totally down with the whole "not getting torn limb from limb by defenses" thing, but…

8106866112_d0cecac0e7_z[1]

Upchurch

…dude, there is a time and place to put your body on the line and turning your 44 yard run late in the fourth quarter into 50 is it.

Denard's bad throw to Gallon. Eric got a great shot of it:

8106830455_ebc098f285_z[1]

Upchurch

Watching the replay, Denard is throwing it in the heart of the window between the two linebackers. Gallon should be sitting between the two guys; he overruns it a bit. My thinking here is influenced by seeing Borges at that coaches clinic, where he mentioned that he wants his QBs to hold up his receivers against zone coverage.

Still, probably at least 75% Denard. He's rifling that at a guy barely ten yards downfield so his margin for error is extremely small; he doesn't read the fact that he is wide, wide open and he can just soft toss it to him.

Matt Wile: most useful backup kicker ever. Matt Wile may not have displaced Keith Stone Sasquatch Brendan Gibbons as Michigan's starting kicker but he's the best third-most-important kicker since I've been watching Michigan football. He:

  • kicks most kickoffs into the endzone
  • is a pretty effective pooch-punter
  • had a good plain-old punting record last year when Hagerup was jittery
  • nailed a 48-yard field goal that, along with all other field goals, was the winning margin.

If either kicker got injured he'd step into their shoes. Michigan should be fine on the kicking stuff for a while now. Note foregone pun.

Hagerup confidence : 2012 :: Gibbons confidence : 2011. Whatever happened with Hagerup last year to tack a four-game suspension on to his OSU suspension from 2010 led to a lot of shanks and mortifiedpunter.gif. After a couple of Sugar Bowl shanks, Wile displaced Hagerup for the rest of the game.

At that point it was writin' off time, like Gibbons after 2010. When Hagerup was still atop the depth chart in September, that made people suspicious. It wasn't alarming like Gibbons since Wile was around and fairly established, but it was only 50-50 to stick. Stuck it has. Hagerup's averaging 47.5 yards a kick and would be fourth nationally if he had enough punts to qualify.

Special teams coach: do we have one or not? The fake punt was… frustrating. Michigan's trying to set up a return, which you can't really do against a spread punt anyway, and they're playing a team that loves nothing more than faking punts and field goals. Somehow this combination results in three guys leading the punter and blocking no one at all. Michigan's even got a designated special teams/TEs guy, but they can't cover or block on punts and they got gashed for 30 yards by a punter. WTF.

Michigan did get a big return out of Gallon at the end of the first half but even that emphasized the difference in punt coverage. Gallon had to split two unblocked guys and then run laterally past a second wave. Meanwhile the one Hagerup punt that was not a 48-yard, five-second-hang unreturnable moonball was a free 15 yards for the punt returner since MSU doubled a gunner and no one else on that side of the ball got downfield.

Whatever they're doing with the kickers is great… but is that anything other than hot babes visualization exercises? I'm not sure. Everything else is questionable at best.

8106495421_bf11f6f638_z[1]

Upchurch

Game theory bits. There wasn't a whole lot of interest from my eyes but a couple of decisions have sucked up post-game airtime.

  • MSU threw on second down on their last drive. Not even close: right call. LeVeon Bell was averaging 2.6 yards a carry and had just been stuffed for nothing. Maybe you want some slants or a hitch or something instead of what they threw but you can't assume Michigan is going to run the worst successful two minute drill ever. All running on second down accomplishes is spending a Michigan timeout; getting the first down ends the game.
  • Michigan punted on fourth and seven from the MSU 42 early. Did not have a problem with this. Not in true no man's land, yardage pretty big, and if you're in the kind of game that ends 12-10 puntosaur technology is the right tech.
  • MSU attempted a 38-yard field goal on fourth and one from the 21. This was debatable—one of reasons puntosaur tech makes sense is that even if you get the first down you're probably kicking anyway. Is MSU going to score a TD? Eh… probably not. A 38-yarder is well within the range in which you expect your established PK to hit it. Even so… that was fourth and capital-S Short. If MSU is intimidated by Michigan's short yardage defense… well, I get that. Probably a mistake but in a puntosaur game I get it.

The assumption you're making on those early calls is that you are in a puntosaur game. IME, that was clear from the get-go.

Oh for crap's sake. Dollars to donuts this is new LSJ beatwriter and slappy Graham "Alex Carder Best Quarterback In The State™" Couch:

I don’t know if you guys saw after the game, but I almost got trampled out there. [MGo: -_______-] Have the fans ever trampled the field like that after a Michigan State win? Is this rivalry getting to the level of Ohio State?

[update: Heiko says it was a photographer, not Couch; stuff below stands.]

No, and no.

Couch derided Junior Hemingway—yup, Junior Hemingway—for his classlessness after the game in a tweet, going so far as to hashtag his tweet "#classless," because he interpreted Michigan's rush to get a Paul Bunyan trophy that was on the sideline last year but not this year as taunting. He's since deleted the tweet, because nothing goes better with stupidity than cowardice.

BONUS: This blog already has a "Graham Couch's laughable homerism" tag from his days covering WMU.

Pom poms. I thought I was good when the guy three rows in front of me was an Air Force veteran—so said his hat—who would clearly rather eat glass than wave a pom-pom, but then some Ladies who Just Wanted To Have Fun ended up two rows in front of me. At some point I had to say "please don't wave those so high" because I couldn't see the field, at which point they said "it's a football game" and I said "I KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT."

I don't know, man. This isn't an old man thing, it's just… if there are pom poms it is a guarantee that some dip in front of you will forget that there are people behind them and act affronted when you say there are people behind them. This is amazingly consistent in my and my friends experience: ask the kind of person who waves a pom-pom during actual football plays to not do that and you will be subjected to a "whateva, I do what I want" style rant and petulant extra-vigorous pom-pom shaking. And yet if I was to take the pom-pom and stuff it down the pom-pom waver's throat, I would be the one removed from the stadium.

Pom poms suck, because society.

Special K. False hope is worse than death.

What the incentive program should be. Any student who wasn't in the stadium at kickoff shouldn't be allowed to buy tickets next year. I mean, seriously: a 3:30 kick for the only decent home game all year and the upper 20 rows of the student section are half-full means the student section is too big.

Here

Inside The Box Score:

We had Witvoet's crew for the game. After calling a penalty on State, he let Hawthorne have it. I'm not sure what Brandin did, but I'm just glad he didn't draw an unsportmanlike penalty call.

* The officials let it be known early that they weren't going to stand for any shenanigans this year, calling Lewan for a somewhat touchy late hit. I wish they would have sent a message by calling a penalty on the team responsible for all the shenanigans last year, but they kept things under control, so no complaints.

bronxbblue has a new thing called Best and Worst:

Best:  “It’s an in-state rival. But we have bigger expectations

I’m sure this is a bit of coach-speak, but it is also something that needed to be said. Since, oh, the Eastern Michigan game, I don’t think most people saw MSU as a legitimate Big 10 championship team. The offense was too crippled by a porous line, poor WRs, and a somewhat-shaky QB to keep pace with teams like Wisconsin, UM, OSU, and Nebraska. The Iowa game cemented their ceiling for the year at 7-8 wins, even with an elite defense.

Outside of the Alabama game, though, UM’s ceiling was never defined.  Notre Dame was a tough loss but one that felt more self-inflicted than the team meeting a superior opponent. Purdue and Illinois proved only that UM was probably as good as Louisiana Tech and and Marshall. MSU, frankly, was not going to validate UM’s season, but only give them another breakpoint from which to calibrate their potential.

And that’s what Hoke encapsulates in this statement.  He recognizes that MSU is a rival and the game mattered, but this wasn’t the season.

Elsewhere

Spartanfreude section. The "Post Your Big (Jail) House experience" thread is pretty good from an M standpoint—no one reports much untoward aside from some verbal sparring, and even that is pretty tame.

I was in Section 8 and saw some arguing going on. On the way back to the car had 3 assholes walking in back of us talking shit like everyone above said, "Little brother put back in his place again", "Leveon Bell for Heisman....", "130 seasons of football and 900 wins", "UM is back in their rightful place". This yapping went. on for the whole walk thru the golf course. Mind you that I took my 74 year old dad to the game. I finally blew. Stopped in my tracks and had a few words. That slightly shut them up.

A 74-year-old man had to listen to people describe how many wins Michigan had acquired, and was exposed to the opinion that Michigan State is not as good at football as Michigan. #thugs

This Guy:

Cut my hand open, Michigan fans threatened to "throw me out of the stadium" for cheering, got my backpack stolen, bought macaroni salad on the walk home. Typical saturday. Also I got called ugly a lot. I'm like a 6 let's be real.

Edit: in retrospect, I probably swore around children a lot more than I should have

Also This Guy:

It's an awful place. Will never return after my last visit in 2010, when I had to be retstrained from attacking Walvies who kept telling me to go back to jail. Nothing about the experience is fun, no matter the result.

And this guy made TWIS but you get a taste early:

Rolled out of bed today more upset and sick than last night

This sucks. Facing the world this week with every UM drag sporting that cocky arrogant grin, wearing their colors -unwashed.
I hate this.

Many if you rcmb'rs are too you to remember all the games from late 80's until Dantonio era.... I hate this week. I can't wait for the first one to offer some sort of mild apology or winning with fg's... Kill.

That is the same This Guy who complained about the Michigan fans who had the audacity to tell him the game would be close and Michigan wasn't good last week. If this man was ever exposed to a real taunt his head would disintegrate into a fine mist.

Blog folks. HSR:

Spock: Well, Michigan was quite fortunate to have won that game.

Kirk: Woooo!  Don't care!  Wooooo!  Woooo!  Woooo!

Spock: Four field goals is hardly the offensive output necessary over the long term to win the Big Ten Championship.

Kirk: Don't care!  Don't care!  Woooooo!  Woooo!  What the Dileo?!?  Wooo!

MVictors:

As J. Lehman was interviewing Hoke during pregame (above), I heard a woman on the sideline (with a sideline pass mind you) gesture over to Hoke and ask, “Is that the coach?”. I gave the Jim Halpert stare to anyone who wanted it. And a lot of guys wanted it.

BWS points out that Michigan passed on 7 of 26 first downs, and only 5 of 22 before the two-minute drill. The lack of a reliable play action option really hurt in this one. I'm not sure why Michigan can't throw outs to their slot receivers.

The MZone has wallpaper and shiny helmet taunting. Five takes from MNBN. Holding the Rope. Maize and Go Blue. TTB.

The Only Colors has postgame react from the MSU perspective:

There aren't going to be any four-game winning streaks in this rivalry again for a long time. ("It takes four years. Of course it will be a long time." Shut up, guy). MSU will get the favorable schedule U-M has enjoyed for the next two years, and both teams are starting to stockpile talent. (If you bring up recruiting rankings, I'm going to punch you).

MSU fans are still clinging to the recruiting-rankings-are-meaningless thing. They're in for a harsh reality check once Michigan's recruiting rankings are paired with something other than crippling attrition, lackadaisical talent evaluation, and crappy coaching. Maybe not next year, when Michigan's breaking in a new quarterback and the upperclass talent levels are still relatively even, but after that… back to the salt mines, Sparty. Or maybe Alabama, OSU, and USC are only good because of their helmets.

SBN's Bobby Big Wheel was randomly at the game and randomly ended up on the field and wrote a thing defending being on the field:

…most college kids use "if it feels good, do it" as their main decision-making rule, not a six-factor test. Thus, a few jumped on the field. At first, I smiled and wondered how I'd get out of the stadium, but more people started jumping the fence. Michigan Stadium goes out instead of up, and the student section seems to run 100 rows deep. So, I learned that when you have a mile of drunk, yellow-clad college kids behind you and someone says you're rushing the field, you're rushing the field.

That's how I, a 28-year-old, job-having person, rushed the field at Michigan Stadium. And I did it con gusto. I joined in the chants, yelled "wooooo!" a lot and got my picture taken with the band. It might have been the rum and "Coke" (I suspect that the mixer was either another type of rum or a non-poisonous brand of varnish) that I'd been taking swigs of during the game, but it was still a fantastic experience. Please keep in mind that I have no ties to the University of Michigan beyond a sister in grad school there. Never mind that; running around a football field makes you feel alive.

I have to admit I rolled my eyes at the field-rush, which was epic in its half-assery. The first students over the wall waited for the team to leave the field, basically, and then it was a slow trickle as only 30-40% of the people in the front row at any particular juncture actually wanted to get on the field. The contrast from last year's OSU field rush to this one was appropriately vast.

Q: I can't remember anyone ever rushing the field outside of the 1997 OSU game before the two incidents mentioned above. Can anyone else?

The HSR is figuring out what's going on in the game based on Ace's ability to keep all of his veins in his head. Dr. Sap's decals go to Dileo, Floyd, and Gibbons, plus others. Brady Hoke's Pet Viking reprazent. MVictors did this:

mealerbunyan_thumb[1]

MVictors is pretty cool, yo.

There is another Wangler. Not Jack Wangler. Another another Wangler. Michigan picked up a commit from a guy who makes Logan Tuley-Tillman seem small.

Media folks. Nesbitt column. Baumgardner explains what happened at the end of the game with the "classless" business hopeless unprofessional slappy Couch mentioned:

Moments after Michigan's 12-10 win over Michigan State on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Lewan, teammate Roy Roundtree and a host of other Michigan players rushed the field and sprinted toward the Spartan sideline.

They were, of course, searching for the famous Paul Bunyan Trophy. But the effort was futile.

"This was my first time beating Michigan State, so I don't know how this works," Lewan said, believing Michigan was supposed to receive the trophy from MSU after the game. "I ran over there to get the Paul Bunyan Trophy, because I remember (MSU having it on the field once before).

"I didn't see him until I went into the locker room. ... I think they were upset about it."

The Michigan victory brings the trophy back to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2007, even if it wasn't brought onto the field Saturday.

After beating the Wolverines for a fourth straight time last season, Michigan State players were seen celebrating with the massive trophy on the field at Spartan Stadium. On Saturday, though, the exchange was more low-key -- it was done somewhere inside the stadium tunnel, and the trophy was waiting for the Wolverines in their locker room after the game.

More classless behavior.

Wojo. Gibbons called the attempt to ice him "pointless." You've come a long way, baby. Chengelis no doubt jinxes Gibbons.

Michigan is 20th in both polls. Jennings on The Threat, who is a football player. Grades. Numbers. Avoiding predictability.

Unverified Voracity Drops The Puck

Unverified Voracity Drops The Puck

Submitted by Brian on October 11th, 2012 at 6:24 PM

RITonight.  Get it? Get it? Puck drops on Michigan's season opener in a couple hours. Yost Built has a preview and a wrapup season preview post. A few comments on Michigan exhibition against Windsor:

  • Trouba is the truth. Three assists, one leveling open-ice hit, and defensive responsibility until everyone got sloppy up a ton in the third. A tape to tape breakout pass machine. Money money money.
  • Andrew Copp is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. Not a big recruit by any stretch of the imagination but Copp stood out as a big dude with some jump; he split time between football and hockey in high school and may develop into something a bit better than Danny Fardig 2.0.
  • Moffatt-Treais-PDG looks to be your top line, at least for now, with the wingers on that line seeming to have good chemistry. Looking for a bustout year from PDG, who was young enough to get drafted after his freshman year and should improve greatly.
  • Brennan Serville is another guy I'll be watching early for signs of improvement, especially with Merrill out six weeks and Serville skating every night as a result. Initial impression was not much different than last year's struggles, unfortunately, but confirmation bias and all that.
  • I miss Hunwick. Rutledge gave up a soft goal in his period and looked like he had holes all over. This may be paranoia.

The mid-tier guys (Moffie, Bennett, Guptill, Old Lynch, Hyman) were scratched, FWIW. Hyman's another guy I'm hoping will start producing more after his freshman hype fizzled.

Jake Ryan, basically. Roh on Ryan:

“He’s like a Tootsie Pop,” Roh said. “No matter how many times you talk to him, you really never know what you’re going to get until you get to the chocolatey center.”

Zach Helfland asks the obvious question:

Meaning what exactly?

Roh:

“I don’t know,” Roh said. “You can’t describe him, really. He’s like, I don’t know, he’s like smart but dumb at the same time, but he’s also just random, just like, ‘Yo,’ randomly.”

YO. Elsewhere in that article, Ryan is an alien. Read it.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JT FLOYD WHYYYY

"I told him right before I cut them, 'Man, 'Lace, I'm going to cut 'em,'" Floyd said. "He's like, 'No you're not, no you're not.'

"He was the first guy I saw. He just looked at me and smiled, 'Man, I can't believe you did it.' We had a little dreadlock bond, I guess. Now I'm trying to persuade him to cut 'em"

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

but it's not going to happen. Not going to happen."

Nevermind.

Ticket pricing update. To be fair The M Zone needs to continue their scalping project into next year to see what it's like trying to grab OSU tickets online, but so far so good for the idea we're closing in on the max amount people will pay to go to Michigan games:

Endzone Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72

Total Endzone StubHub Savings So Far - $96.44

Maize Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38

Total Maize Section Savings So Far - $130.76

Victors Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
Total Victors Section Savings So Far - $263.36

MSU is looking like a win for season ticket holders but that's the only one, and that's with Stubhub's massive cut (15% from the seller plus 20 bucks in "convenience fees" from the buyer) taken into account.

Willis Ward to be honored. Michigan's going to do it, and it's all thanks to an eight year old girl:

"A lot of people like to listen to little kids, and you should speak up and make a difference," said Genna, a Brighton third-grader.

She addressed the university's board of regents in March and lobbied state legislators in June to name a special day after star U-M football player Willis Ward, who was benched for a game against Georgia Tech in 1934 because he was black.

Genna succeeded, and Willis — a friend and teammate of future President Gerald Ford — will be honored by the state and school next week.

…or the guys who made the documentary that's the only reason anyone's talking about Willis Ward in 2012, whatever.

Like flies. Blocking-type Michigan State people continue to get injured at an alarming rate. TE Dion Sims may or may not play against Michigan; if he doesn't they probably won't be throwing his backup many passes:

Andrew Gleichert, a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship before the opener against Boise State, has a broken wrist and will have to play with a cast the rest of the season.

"We got concerned with him being a point-of-attack blocker," Roushar said. "We feel like he's got to do a better job. He's working on it. With the loss of Dion, you're looking for something stronger at the point of attack."

Meanwhile, former megarecruit Lawrence Thomas went from linebacker to 295-pound fullback and can't move down to tight end this week because he picked up a concussion against Indiana—his second since August. He's expected to play against Iowa because obviously.

[AFTER AN UNUSUAL UV JUMP: THINGS PEOPLE DID TO THE DANNY HOPEDOKEN GIF]

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on October 11th, 2012 at 2:19 PM

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

4-3-slide

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

trips bunch TE

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

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

4-3-even-split

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

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

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

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

Shoe shoe.

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

I almost kind of expect this.

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

I don't know, you know?

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

CHART

a chart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought you were kind of mad at JT Floyd?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAKE F. RYAN

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

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

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

Also, murderdeathkill.

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

+10, no minus, yeah baby.

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

Demens? Morgan?

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

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

DL marveling?

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

Anyone new emerging?

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

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

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

Heroes?

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

Goa—nevermind.

Srs. GTFO, man.

What does it mean for Illinois and the future?

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

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

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

Mattison must break you. Jake Ryan is his tool.

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Notre Dame

Submitted by Brian on September 27th, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Formation notes: I called whatever the heck this is "Nickel rush". The two DT types next to each other stunted, FWIW:

nickel-rush

This was "okie one": man to man on the outside with a free safety and six guys on the LOS. Okie was rare.

okie-one

Substitution notes: Roh and Clark went the whole way save for a drive or two on which Ojemudia spotted Clark. Washington and Campbell got the large majority of the snaps on the interior; Black was pretty marginalized. He seems to only be playing in the nickel package, of which there wasn't much.

The usual ILB rotation went down with Demens and Morgan getting a solid majority of playing time but Ross and Bolden featuring as well. Ryan played every snap, I think. Secondary was Taylor/Floyd/Kovacs/Gordon the whole way with scattered nickel plays featuring Avery.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Fade Taylor INT
All day; Taylor jams his guy and ends up losing him deep a little. Golson leaves it short and Taylor(+2, cover push) snags it as he recovers. There was a window here between Taylor and Kovacs that was missed, but it's not the easiest thing in the world. Taylor is sinking in cover two, and you never want to throw over a sinking corner.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Cutback zone Floyd 8
End around fake to the boundary and the WR headhunting Kovacs from the start of the play implies this is a designed cutback. Clark(-1) gets pushed way too far down the line and opens it up. Floyd(-1) again totally fails to read a WR cracking down on a block a la Air Force and the corner opens up after Kovacs tries to fill the hole Clark left and gets blindsided by the WR.
O33 2 2 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Clark 5
Campbell(+1) takes a double and doesn't move, or get sealed, and takes two guys all the way to the end of the play. They're also doubling the backside end, bizarrely, so no second level guys. Wood has to go all the way outside. He gets the corner and I'm not sure if it's Morgan slowing up instead of hauling for the outside or Clark getting sealed inside that's the culprit. I think Clark(-1) since I haven't seen Michigan not use the end as the contain guy.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Demens 2
This looks grim for a moment as Clark gets sealed inside (ND's game plan is clear) and a tackle pulls around, but a couple of nice LB plays save it. Ryan(+1.5) delays, then jets past a center who got a free release. He comes around him in a flash and shoots up into the interior gap, taking the lead OL. Demens(+1.5) reads it, shoves a slot WR past him, and fills near the LOS.
O40 2 8 Shotgun 2TE Nickel even Pass N/A Sack Ryan 0
Yeah, they didn't credit Michigan with a sack, but I don't care. ND has one guy in this route, and it's not there as Avery(+1, cover +1) drops pack into the slant Eifert is running. Golson starts scrambling. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) grabs him by the ankles as he threatens to break into space and scramble a bit.
O40 3 8 Shotgun empty Dime Pass 4 Hitch Taylor Inc
Golson has a hitch route right at the sticks that is going to be 50-50 depending on whether Taylor can stick the guy right on the catch, but Golson airmails it. Probably a first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ross 5
Ross in at MLB. He gets a free run as ND goes at Clark(+1) again. This time he stands up to a double and gets a little push, forcing a cut up. Campbell(-0.5) is flowing down the line, too, but eventually gets sealed. Ross can't quite get to the hole and impacts from the side, riding Atkinson to the ground but giving up 3 YAC. Like his decisiveness but not quite there on this one.
O25 2 5 Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 6
ND combos Campbell(+0.5) and gets out on Ross; Campbell comes through the block and shows in the hole, but it's too big and Ross(-0.5) does not funnel to help, but the real issue is probably Clark(-1) getting kicked out too far. He ends up way outside, so even though Ross does get outside of the G eventually he can't shut it down because of the big gap. Floyd and Kovacs fill after the sticks.
O31 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 4
Michigan seems to be running a run blitz here as Clark(-2) pops outside immediately and Kovacs and Ross shoot into a backside hole. Campbell(+0.5) prevented anyone from getting out on Ross(+1), who saw the gap forming and flew up into it. Kovacs(+0.5) also there, and he didn't have to pick a gap. Michigan has this stoned until Clark is pancaked on the edge and the bounce opens up.
O35 2 6 Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Roh 2
Roh(+1) slants outside past the T and gets into the backfield, picking off H-back Eifert and forcing a cutback. Campbell(+0.5) appears to block the guy supposed to get to Morgan on the second level. Morgan has a free run as a result. Bolden(-1) again gets tentative and then fights inside the blocker, momentarily giving Atkinson a lane outside that Morgan(+1) shuts down with a flash of speed. Could have been no gain and a thumping Morgan hit if this doesn't open up outside. Picture-paged.
O37 3 4 Shotgun empty 4-3 even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Ryan 1
Ryan(+3) is sucked out to the edge by the formation. He runs up hard to the outside of the TE, gets that TE moving out to block him, then pulls up short and dives back inside, making a tackle(+1) in space on Riddick as the DL recovers to cut off angles further inside. Great, great play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+2) shoots under the center and forces a cutback into an unblocked Ryan(+0.5). Campbell(+1) had also gotten push and effectively two-gapped his blocker if the play went playside.
M16 2 9 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 TE seam Demens Inc
Eifert does beat Demens down the field and is separating as he reaches the endzone, but he's close enough to force a very tough throw out of Golson, who has to drop it over Demens's head before Gordon can get over. He misses. Cover +1.
M16 3 9 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 even Pass 4 TE seam Demens Inc
Roh(+2) roars off the ball and plows over the LT, hitting Golson from behind as he throws (pressure +2). Pass is still amazingly accurate, but Demens(+2,cover +2) is step for step with the TE and there is literally nowhere the ball can be that will be a catch.
Drive Notes: FG(33), 0-3, 10 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Dumpoff Demens 13
No pressure(-2) as Roh oddly makes a fake pass drop before rushing on a a four-man pressure. Clark got off the ball late. Coverage downfield is good but they run everyone off and Demens gets stuck in space with Riddick and that doesn't go great. Considering the situation, Demens(+0.5) does well to hold Riddick relatively stationary until the cavalry arrives. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Dig Bolden 10
Bolden(-1, cover -2) slides out of his zone, opening up a dig route before the safeties. Again little pressure(-1) but it was better this time.
M10 1 G Ace 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power Campbell 0
Campbell(+2) slides over on the snap, moving past a couple of DL, one of whom falls. He takes on Eifert head up, sheds him to the inside, and hits in the hole. Roh(+1) had slanted all the way from the backside of the play to help close the hole. Washington(-0.5) ended up blown up a bit but I don't think that's too bad since he got doubled and downblocked.
M10 2 G Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Improv Gordon INT
Clark(+1) gets a bull rush that spooks Golson even though it's pretty harmless. He gets held so maybe that's why it ends up harmless. Roh(+0.5) also gets held on the edge as he's trying to contain the rollout; he still manages to cut Golson off before he can reach the LOS. Golson makes a decision as bad as Denard's first INT, chucking up a moonball Gordon(+2, cover +2) is in coverage on and intercepts. No one open at all. WTF.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 8 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A TGDCD Morgan -3
Morgan(+1) reads this all the way and shoots up into the intended hole unblocked, forcing a bounce. Ryan(-1) allowed that to happen by trying to close down and giving a ton of ground; Kovacs(+1) flows up quickly to cut off the outside, at which point Atkinson hesitates and is lost. Kovacs with the open-field TFL(tackling +1). RPS +1; Michigan did not bite on the action.
O49 2 13 Shotgun empty TE 4-3 even Pass N/A Improv Roh 16
Dig in the middle of the field is open but Rees doesn't like it for some reason; Campbell(+1) bulls his way into the pocket and spooks Rees out; Roh(-1) loses contain and allows that to happen, at which point the zone has been dragged open by all manner of things. It seems like Bolden is running vertical with a TE, opening it up, FWIW. (Cover -2, Pressure -2)
M35 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Bolden 2
Line makes a very shallow slant away from the play that ends up preventing anyone from getting to the second level. The DTs get sealed away by three guys and Roh ends up taking on two. Bolden(+1) sees the gap forming in front of him and starts flying up into it before the handoff is even made, forcing a bounce; Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fends off a block from a WR, tossing him away, and tackles near the LOS. I'm not even sure which ND player is hypothetically supposed to block Bolden. RPS +1.
M33 2 8 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Roh 3
Exact same play. This time Roh is not banging into two guys as M plays it straight. G releases into Demens, single blocking on front. Roh(+0.5) gets some push and comes off to tackle; Washington does the same(+0.5); Demens(+0.5) gets outside of the G and the RB runs right into him thanks to the narrow crease.
M30 3 5 Shotgun empty TE Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Taylor 24
RT moves a hair early but no call. Taylor(-3, cover -1) is in the right spot to make a play on this ball if he turns around or could just play NOBODY CARES coverage, but when the WR slows up he overruns it a little bit, getting out of position and drawing a PI flag. Catch is made.
M6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Angle Ryan 5
Roh chucks the TE as he comes out of his stance, which slows any pass rush from him considerably. This play looks like a guaranteed quick hitter to the RB, which is caught in front of the zone picket-fencing the endzone. Ryan(+0.5) does get a hit on the RB to make it short of the endzone. (Cover -1)
M1 2 G Ace Goal line Run N/A Dive Kovacs 0 (Pen -5)
Kovacs(+1) blitzes inside of the tight end and into the middle of the formation, which takes away any lanes there, forcing a bounce. Morgan(+1, tackling +1) and Demens are moving hard to the bounce at the snap, with Morgan chopping Riddick down for no gain. RPS +1. Illegal motion takes it back a little.
M6 2 G Shotgun empty Nickel under press Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Oops.
M11 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 3 Corner Avery Inc
LBs threaten double A blitz, back out. Michigan's dropping eight into coverage; Avery(-1, cover -1) does not get depth as he's trying to drop to the corner of the endzone with the slot WR and ends up beaten. Ball is overthrown; M escapes.
M11 3 G Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Dig Wilson Inc (Pen +9)
Wilson(-2, cover -1) gets beaten by Eifert in man and holds, drawing a flag. RPS -2, why is M in man coverage with no deep safeties from the eleven? And why is a freshman safety one on one with ND's best WR?
M2 1 G Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A QB draw N/A 2
Just one LB in the box and he's too far away; RPS -1. Five guy box against six blockers from the two is not going to go well very often.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-10, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Kovacs 0
I'm not sure about Clark here. He gets a big push on the RT and forces the back to change directions but does so outside, where Morgan is cut off and Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) is dealing with a WR crackdown. Seems like this is what they want to have happen and Clark needs to flare out to force it back away from blocking. OTOH, Kovacs gets a jump outside early that gets him past the block because Clark forced a quick decision from the back. Okay, +0.5. Kovacs in space, TFL, the usual.
O25 2 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even Pass 5 TE out Ryan Inc
This TE out is going to be open as Morgan was tasked with coverage and is way far away from Eifert; an unblocked Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is in the throwing lane and leaps to bat it away. RPS push, I guess? Open guy, blitz did nerf it, kind of risky.
O25 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 3 Hitch Floyd 7
Michigan backs everyone out; Rees hits a hitch a few yards short of the sticks that Floyd escorts OOB. Cover +1, RPS +1 as Rees ended up throwing this way faster than he had to as he assumed blitz.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O8 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Zone stretch Floyd 15
Campbell(+0.5) drives single blocking back, but this is always going way outside so his angle is not tested. Floyd(+0.5) does recognize the crack down this time and comes hard, cutting off the outside and forcing it back; he also gets an ankle tackle in; Kovacs(-0.5), Morgan(-0.5), and Ojemudia are each coming off blocks to hold it down. Would like Ojemudia(-1) to hold his ground better to maybe get this down to minimal yardage, and definitely want him to keep his feet and actually tackle. He ends up on his knees as Wood manages to stay on his feet (tackling -2) and burst for a first down.
O23 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Ojemudia 4
Morgan blitzes and threatens to shoot a gap, causing the ND LT to pull off of Ojemudia(-2) just as the TE releases outside to block Taylor. This leaves Ojemudia alone in space with Wood; he gets juked and beat to the outside(tackling -1). Taylor contains. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fills well.
O27 2 6 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 2
Washington and Campbell(+0.5 each) get playside of their guys and don't give ground; no creases. Roh(+0.5) also makes this true. Ojemudia(+0.5) is in the cutback lane, forcing Wood to feint outside. He hops outside. Morgan(+1) has blown past a block now to show up in the hole and tackles at the LOS.
O29 3 4 Shotgun empty TE Nickel rush Pass 6 Hitch Ross Inc
Formation explained above. Michigan sends six, getting Ross(+1, pressure +1) in basically clean and forcing a crappy inaccurate short throw from Rees that's wide of a decently covered WR.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 5 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Swing Gordon 8
Ryan(+0.5) reads it and gets outside the slot TE trying to block him, forcing the play inside to Gordon(-1, tackling -2), who comes up hard and whiffs; Bolden(-1) tries to go upfield of a block and does not get there so there is no support to the inside.
O33 2 2 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 4
Washington(+2) blows this play up by slanting and getting under the C. He's into the backfield. Ryan(-1) is not holding the edge well—he's downfield of Roh and not prepared for a bounce and Floyd(-1) is late reacting. He tackles, but really this should be a TFL after Washington forces the bounce.
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Bolden 5
Roh(+1) dives under the G and ends up absorbing the pulling T. That seems like a bust by the T but results based charting. Bolden(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked in a big hole that rapidly constricts and misses a tackle. Morgan(-0.5) got blocked out of the play but he was going to have a hard time with this guy's angle.
O42 2 5 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone stretch Washington 6
ND flips both TEs, M flips in response. Washington(-1) gets penetration but this is a stretch and he gets too vertical, opening up a seam. Campbell(-1) got pushed down field and let a blocker into Morgan. That makes cutback lane that is hit up for first down yardage. If you go upfield of a blocker I will minus you unless you make a play. UFR guarantee.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 4 Rollout hitch Floyd 12
Actually pretty good coverage by Floyd(+1, cover +1), who breaks on the hitch and has a play on the ball. Unfortunately it's high and he can't quite rake it out. A lower ball and he's got a PBU coming. Great throw or lucky, you make the call.
M40 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 2
Washington(+2) is again boom gone past the center and directly into the frontside hole. He can't quite make a tackle as Wood runs through him as the C pushes him past the ballcarrier. Kovacs(+1) shows up in the cutback hole and puts him to the ground.
M38 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Flare Gordon 5
No response to Eifert motion and M's soft zone gives up a lot of room on the edge. This time Gordon(+1, tackling +1) comes up well and tackles. RPS -1.
M33 3 3 Shotgun trips TE Okie one Penalty N/A Offsides Washington 5
Washington(-1)
M28 1 10 Ace twins 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Clark 1
Heaps of bodies, no holes. Washington(+0.5) holds up to a double. Campbell(+0.5) flows down the line. Roh(+0.5) holds up. Clark(+0.5) gets under a blocker and tackles from behind.
M27 2 9 Ace twins Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 5
Morgan inexplicably starts moving to the field right before the play. M is in full nickel with Roh/Black as DTs and slanting hard to the playside. This does force a cutback; Black(+1) got good penetration; Ryan(-1) ends up buried. LBs both come under blocks as the slant has fouled angles; Demens(+1) does a good job to do this and tackle as Riddick threatens to cut behind this into space. Still a little dangerous because Riddick didn't have to cut it as outside as M wanted with the Ryan fall.
M23 3 4 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 1
Again the TE flip again the front flip. M seems lucky or prepared this time with Gordon(+1) blitzing off the corner and Ryan(+0.5) slanting inside to pick off a second level guy and get a two for one, allowing Demens(+1, tackling +1) to flow. Gordon forces Riddick inside at the hash and Demens tackles. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: FG(39), 3-13, 7 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Power Morgan 2
ND doubles Washington(+0.5) and moves him out of the hole but no one releases, so good job Washington I guess. G pulls around for Demens. Morgan(+0.5) is unblocked in the hole and tackles.
O27 2 8 Ace twins 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 4
Campbell(-0.5) gives a little too much ground in his quest to keep Morgan clean, which ends up opening up a cutback lane; Morgan gets blocked by the other guy as the RB comes back. Kovacs fills. There's too much space to shut it down entirely and the block on Morgan prevents him from holding this another yard or two shorter.
O31 3 4 Shotgun empty TE Nickel under press Pass 5 Fade Floyd 38
Floyd(-2, cover -2) tries to chuck and ends up stumbling as Eifert moves past him, which opens up the fade for an easy completion. Too bad.
M31 1 10 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Gordon -1
Gordon(+0.5) walks to the line and blitzes past Eifert; Riddick tries to pop outside of him and is slowed by the tackle attempt. By the time he moves outside, Demens(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) have converged to tackle.
M32 2 11 Ace twin TE 4-4 under Run N/A Zone stretch Demens 2
Gordon again just flying up; Demens(+0.5) also flows into the same hole with a tougher assignment; cutback handled by Washington(+0.5), who got a free pass from the line but did take a good angle to close down the cutback lane.
M30 3 9 Ace 3TE 4-4 under Run N/A Power Washington 9
Washington(-1) ends up giving up way too much ground on this double, which forces Morgan to hold up in case of cutback and gets him chopped by the center. Campbell(-1) also got pushed back, which gets Morgan's blocker out on him and prevents a scrape. Morgan(-1) does get cut and ends up out of the play. Demens takes on a lead guard and funnels, but to no one.
Drive Notes: EOG, 6-13.

That was rather delightful.

It was. Michigan was one stumble away from holding Notre Dame to under 200 yards of total offense. ND drives started at the Michigan 17, 39, and 48 in the first half and Michigan still gave up a total of 13 points on nine drives (ND had a tenth on which it was not trying to score, FWIW.)

How did that happen?

Well, this ND offense probably isn't very good. Michigan forced a QB switch after Golson's second horrible interception, and neither Purdue or Michigan State had too much trouble shutting down the Irish.

You'd better have a "but…"

Okay: but Purdue gave up nearly 400 yards on 11 drives. ND had 314 on the nose against MSU on 12 drives before kneels took away 14; even if you chalk that long Goodman TD up to punt chuckin' Michigan is about even with what was supposed to be the league's best D, and their performance was on the road instead of at home. Michigan blew up the counter draw MSU fell victim to and the rush yardage comparison goes to M. MSU gave up 4.9 YPC once a sack and some kneel-downs are excised. Michigan gave up 3.3 after taking out a zero yard not-quite-sack on Golson and a knee. Purdue did even better but gave up nearly 300 yards passing to the guy M chased from the game.

It was a bit of a downer that the D couldn't hold at the end when Michigan pulled to within a score twice, but that Michigan was even within striking distance after six turnovers was a little miracle.

You still haven't said how.

I think I need a—

probably pretty dang good CHART

--chart to answer that question.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 7 1 6 I call him mini-RVB. /self high five
Campbell 8.5 3 5.5 whoah whoah whoah
Washington 8.5 3.5 5 what what what what
Black 1 - 1 Hardly got a snap.
Brink - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Pipkins - - - DNP
Beyer - - - DNP
Heitzman - - - DNP
Clark 3 5 -2 Targeted extensively, got smashed a bit.
Ojemudia 0.5 3 -2.5 Miss in space on Wood.
TOTAL 28.5 15.5 13 Take the money and run.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5 2 3 Solid tackling day, looked pretty athletic.
Demens 7.5 - 7.5 !!!
Ryan 8.5 3 5.5 Great tackle on screen.
C. Gordon - -   DNP
Ross 2 0.5 1.5 Hard to get a lot of PT when the vets play so well.
Bolden 1 4 -3 Work in progress.
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 23 9.5 13.5 Combo the DL numbers with the ILB numbers and that's the run D.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 1.5 4 -2.5 Stumble unfortunate, edge softness frustrating.
Avery 1 1 0 Rarely appeared since ND so TE heavy.
Taylor 2 3 -1 Had a play on the fade he gave up but didn't make it.
Kovacs 5.5 0.5 5 Excellent on edge. No deep stuff on S.
T. Gordon 7.5 1 6.5 Also quality.
Holowell - - - DNP
Wilson - 2 -2 Critical PI.
TOTAL 16.5 11.5 4 Safeties got a workout and passed.
Metrics
Pressure 5 5 0 This was a little bit of a downer for the DL.
Coverage 8 11 -3 Close enough to even.
Tackling 9 6 60% Most of the minuses on two bad runs.
RPS 5 5 0 The Wilson PI does grate.

So, like, yeah. I pulled out that Picture Pages on the linebackers because that was night and day from Air Force, when poor Kenny Demens was picking OL out of his teeth on every play. ND hardly ever got a release and when they did their blocks got beat fairly often.

Defensive tackles! We has them?

Okay, I think ND's interior OL sucks. Sucks pretty hard. Let's put on our caveat berets before we wade in here. Secured? Have your baguette of skepticism prepped? Let's go.

Dang, ND could not single-block these guys. When they tried it Campbell two-gapped dudes and Washington flashed into the backfield. This could have happened last year:

All DL there. Both get penetration and Washington forces a cutback into an unblocked Ryan. A Riddick spin manages to prevent a loss; I'll take it. So ND doubled, and we got results like the ones we saw in the Clean Linebackers picture pages. Occasionally one DT or the other would give too much ground, like on the last run charted. Most of the time they held their ground well enough to make cutbacks awkward and allow linebackers to flow. Like so:

No crease, forced cutback, OL is robbed of his blocking angle, and Morgan gets around him to make the play. There were a lot of half-points handed out for this sort of thing where PLAYS are not MADE but the tailback has nowhere to go. After getting shredded by Alabama, anything approximating quality against a BCS level opponent—one with a veteran line—is welcome.

Washington in particular was impressive with his repeated penetration. He's probably as shocked as anyone about this, so he's continually overrunning things, but whatever, man, he's blowing up blocking. I told you this would happen after UMass! (Pay no attention to the Robinson prediction behind the curtain. Also I didn't really.)

So we're back on the immediate post-Ezeh Demens-is-a-god thing I see.

Hey, man, find a tackle he missed or hole he didn't fill and I'll fire up my minus machine. It's possible his coverage on that Riddick dumpoff was subpar but I chalked that up to RPS because he was one man in all of the space. He managed to hold Riddick basically in place for two moves to limit the damage there.

Meanwhile, Kenny Demens is sneaky good in coverage. This is perfect:

And he flung dudes past him (along with Ryan) to impressively shut down a dangerous looking counter:

Ryan's ability to get around that OL is a squee moment.

Michigan kept guys off their LBs and they responded well. The hesitation was gone, the tackles were made, and everyone said a little prayer of thanks.

Caveat: against a team more likely to screw with your linebackers in a play action game this may go more poorly. ND quickly committed to the run in this game. Teams that can throw a bit are going to make it harder on these guys.

Speaking of Ryan, I'm about two games from declaring him All Big Ten caliber. There's that above and then he shows the same ability to change directions faster than a guy his size should as he comes under the TE on this screen:

I have developed certain rules for grading these things as we've gone along. One is losing leverage == minus… unless you make a play. Ryan would get away with a zero here if he just forced the guy inside of him; instead he gets +3 because of his ability to charge and redirect, which both keeps contain and makes a play.  Sometimes he goes a little too far in the "make a play" direction, but M has another 2.66 years out of the guy.

I'd like a bit more pass rush on the edge, please. Other than that, would recruit again A++++.

Little stingy on the Taylor INT, no?

Ah, man, I'm not giving three points unless the coverage is actually blanketed. Golson had room to drop it over the corner. He is sinking and it is a tough throw to get it over a guy, but this was not exactly Woodsonesque.

Later Taylor would blow a coverage on a similar play in which he was in man press on a fade like that, thus his minus, but so far he hasn't been a big problem. Tentatively hoping he'll get through the season well and we get to be pumped up about Michigan's starting corners going into next year. He certainly looks the part athletically.

What about our corners this year?

Floyd stumbling out of a break sucks but it'll happen. I'm more annoyed by the guy is still not coming hard on outside runs on which the receiver is booking for a block along the LOS:

Now, Clark—this is part of ND's Kill Clark gameplan at the beginning of the game—gets blown way down the line and this forces Kovacs to come further inside than is ideal on his contain, because otherwise the RB is going upfield. Okay. That's some yards ceded already.

Floyd is still eight yards downfield when he breaks down to tackle. He should be reading run a lot quicker. At this point I don't think that's in the cards consistently, though he did make a couple good reads late. One was on the 20 yard Wood run, but that wasn't his fault.

Let us all say a prayer of thanks that we can be annoyed about this kind of thing from cornerbacks these days. 

Kill Clark, you say?

Clark was obviously IDed as a weak point by the Irish and they spent most of the first quarter running at him. He got blown up a lot. He ends up even with Campbell in the video above, which is bad. (SCIENCE!) In this one he ends up pancaked:

That's a loss thanks to Ross and Kovacs hitting the hole lickety-split if Clark can just hold the corner; he ends up buried. He took a bunch of minuses for that and then ND went away from it because they weren't getting much more than you see on the play above. Also, Clark started getting some upfield push to rescue his day a little bit.

If that's going to be the cost of running him out there you'd like to see some pass rush from him; Michigan did not in admittedly limited opportunities. He got one kind of good rush on which he persuaded Golson to exit the pocket and drew a hold; other than that he was not much of an impact guy. Youth, etc. He's a guy to keep an eye on as one of the remaining wildcards on the D.

Kickoff thinkin': do you have some?

I've gotten some questions about what I thought about Michigan's kickoff strategy at the beginning and end of the second half. To the answermobile!

At the beginning of the half, Michigan is kicking from the 50 after a PF on Notre Dame. Q: should Michigan onside kick? Probably. You're giving up 15 yards of field position for a shot at a turnover. ND had not aligned in a way to discourage that so your chances are pretty decent. Even if they've been told to watch for the thing, the punishment is slight.

Now I have a Q: what would have happened if Michigan booted it out of bounds? The rule says it's 30 yards from where you kicked, which would be the 20. Which is better than a touchback. mindblown.gif

At the end of the game, Michigan has 3:27 on the clock and two timeouts. ND aligns to prevent an onside, and M kicks it deep. The ball hits at the three and squeezes into the endzone. Q: onside? Probably not. With the rule change you have to commit an Iowa-level boner to not recover onside kicks and you have a pretty good setup to get the ball back. ND ended up throwing a bomb on third and four. I'd rather take my chances on that than try to drive from the ten.

Heroes?

Anyone in the front seven other than Clark (and Bolden was iffy). Also safeties.

Goats?

Stretching: Clark was exploitable on the edge.

What does it mean for the Big Ten season?

Increment your hope meters a good chunk, as getting this kind of play out of the defensive tackles was way above expectation. If they can continue that into league play all of a sudden this defense looks plausible or better, if lacking certain components that would make it truly elite—like a big-time pass rusher.

Meanwhile, the linebackers played well, the safeties played well… I mean, 190 yards of offense before final drive. ND got a couple of chunk runs when Wood was improbably not tackled and a couple of fades were completed; other than that ND got essentially nothing. The line was all but impeccable save for some Clark stuff that only gave up 4, 6, 7 yards a pop. The LBs got to the ball and tackled, and Gordon and Kovacs had one and a half missed tackles between them as they cleaned up.

I'm trying to keep things in check… that performance relative to MSU and Purdue's plus the in-season improvement we saw from a lot of players last year makes it difficult. That game was so far beyond the reasonable best-case scenario that it shifts hopes upward.

Offense? Never heard of it.