Michigan In The NFL: Who's Making The Cut?

Michigan In The NFL: Who's Making The Cut? Comment Count

Ace August 13th, 2014 at 2:49 PM


wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

The NFL preseason is officially underway, and with mandatory roster cuts (down to 75) set for August 26th, now is a good time to check in with the former Wolverines currently playing in the league. After scouring the interwebs, here's my best guess at where each Michigan representative stands as we near the start of the season.

Locks To Make It

Jason Avant, WR, Carolina. After being relegated to decoy duty in Chip Kelly's offense for Philadelphia in 2013, Avant—who boasts the lowest drop percentage in the NFL over the last three years—should be one of Cam Newton's top targets with his move to the Panthers.

Tom Brady, QB, New England. Brady threw for over 4,300 yards with 25 touchdowns last season while working with a very raw receiving corps. It was universally considered a down year. I think he's gonna make it, y'all.

Alan Branch, DE, Buffalo. Branch was an integral member of the D-line rotation for the Bills last season, recording 39 tackles, and he should reprise that role working behind up-and-coming star Marcell Dareus again this year.

Stevie Brown, FS, New York Giants. After finishing second in the NFL with eight interceptions in 2012, Brown missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL. He's back from the injury and expected to start at free safety.

Larry Foote, ILB, Arizona. The longtime Steeler—Foote has played 11 of his 12 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh—was cut in the offseason, but quickly found a home in Arizona, which lost both of their starting ILBs from last season. He's currently atop the depth chart, and even if he doesn't hold that spot, he should stick around to provide veteran leadership for a young position group.

Jonathan Goodwin, C/G, New Orleans. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Goodwin and Tim Lelito, the two players competing to start at center, are "certain to make the final roster." Goodwin's ability to play both center and guard gives him extra job security, even at 35 years old, as does his relatively cheap one-year deal.

Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati. While Hall tore his right Achilles tendon last season, just two seasons removed from tearing his left Achilles, he's back in the starting lineup as Cinci's slot corner, a spot he plays about as well as anybody in the league when healthy. Barring further injury, his spot is very much safe.

David Harris, ILB, New York Jets. Jets head coach Rex Ryan called Harris "the most underrated player in the league" after he was left of the NFL Network's top 100 players list for 2014. Yeah, he's safe.

Junior Hemingway, WR, Kansas City. Even though Hemingway missed a good deal of training camp with a hamstring injury, he came right back and was a prime target for QB Alex Smith out of the slot. This very thorough rundown of the Chiefs' roster situation has Hemingway safely on the team—in fact, he should start in the slot—and that doesn't look likely to change.

Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville. Though Jacksonville used the #3 overall pick on QB Blake Bortles, Henne started the first preseason game, and the Jaguars higher-ups insist there's no QB controversy. Bortles is the QB of the future; for now, however, this is Henne's job.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Tennessee. First-round picks don't get cut in their rookie seasons, especially when they're competing for starting jobs.

Jake Long, OT, St. Louis. Long is coming back from a torn ACL and MCL, so he's been held out so far in the preseason, but he's on track to make a surpringly quick return. Also, he's Jake Long, which should be enough.

Ryan Mundy, S, Chicago. Even though the Bears have shuffled their safeties around, Mundy has seen the most action on the first team of anyone, and he can play both free and strong safety in their system. He started the preseason strong, picking off a pass in the opener.

Michael Schofield, OG/OT, Denver. Third-round picks also don't get cut in their rookie season, except in very unusual circumstances. Considering Schofield is "in the mix" at both left guard and right tackle, it looks like he'll be a critical backup at the very least in Denver.

LaMarr Woodley, DE, Oakland. After seven productive years in Pittsburgh, Woodley was unceremoniously released by the Steelers over the offseason, and the Raiders were happy to get him. He provides a major upgrade from them at DE, a spot that may suit him better than 3-4 OLB, where he played in Pittsburgh.

Charles Woodson, S, Oakland. At 37, Woodson came back to Oakland, where he's beloved by the fanbase. He'll play safety there, and he is Charles Woodson, so he'll play well until he decides it's time to hang up the cleats.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the list.]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense Vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense Vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian November 21st, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Formation notes: There are a lot of subtleties to alignment that I'm glossing over for reasons of time and simplicity. For instance, both of these are 4-3 over—line shifted to the strength of the formation—in my book despite looking significantly different on the field:

4-3-over-middle

check the DTs and ILBs

4-3-over-ryan-field

Those are likely different defenses but we're trying to keep things simple enough to categorize in bins large enough to draw conclusions from and get this done before next week.

These DL splits were big enough for me to denote this as "nickel spread" FWIW:

f-nickel-even-spread

I think this occurred to me this week because though every Iowa run play (every one!) is classified inside zone the subtleties in both offense and defense were apparent. There's a chess game so far beyond what I can access and it was on full display in this one.

This is 5-1 nickel again; Michigan tightened its DL when Vandenberg checked:

f-5-1-nickel

Substitution notes: Ross obviously drew in for Morgan. Bolden got a few drives, one at WLB in place of Ross, further suggesting that those positions are close to interchangeable. The back seven was otherwise as you would expect. Furman came in for Kovacs on the last charted drive.

The line was also the usual at this point: an eight-man rotation with the starters getting a majority but not a huge majority of the snaps.

[AFTER THE JUMP: a relatively brief UFR.]

Comments

Picture Pages: One Step

Picture Pages: One Step Comment Count

Brian November 20th, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Saturday's game was a weird one in which virtually all of Iowa's relevant plays came on two back-to-back drives in the first half. They went three and out on their four other drives before it was 42-10.

The first of these drives was Iowa's only sustained success of the day. Iowa's second drive was a couple of chunk plays and then six straight unsuccessful ones; a terrible roughing the passer flag in the middle of that sequence got the Hawkeyes into chip-shot field goal territory.

I, like you, was a little worried about that touchdown drive and what it said about the defense; after looking at it I feel a bit better since one major reason was a bad matchup between James Ross and Mark Weisman. Ross would show up in the hole and Weisman would run him over, because he is a horsecow and Ross is a freshman.

There were a couple other subtle ways in which Ross showed his youth, like on this nine yard run. Iowa has picked up a first down and now has the ball first and ten nearing midfield. They come out in their 2TE ace set; Michigan responds with eight-ish in the box, sliding the linebackers to the field and bringing Kovacs down behind.

ross-1

Iowa pops a TE up and moves one of the WRs to the line, then motions him.

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Various Michigan defenders adjust in slight ways to this. Notably, two of the three linebackers step to the 2TE side; so does Kovacs. James Ross doesn't.

ross-2ross-3

Each of these guys has slid essentially a person-width over, which makes sense because Iowa has moved their center of gravity a person-width over. Except Ross. Does this end up mattering?

I really need to find a better way to generate suspense in these posts.

Okay, snap. Inside zone because Iowa always always runs inside zone. I'm sure the playcalls have subtle variances; these escape me and are probably unknowable without actually being the playcaller. At our level of detail, all Iowa running plays are inside zone.

Key still explaining time:

ross-4

1. Craig Roh on the backside hanging out unblocked. This is not what Michigan wants, I don't think. Earlier plays have seen Michigan split in the middle like they're doing on this play with a key difference:

closex-3

There is no unblocked end as Iowa is running from a balanced formation. See Roh? Right above him is one guy moving to the second level and two LBs. Michigan has a free hitter—Ross again—and he'll hit, and Weisman will get one yard.

2. Brennen Beyer getting doubled. Ideally I think Iowa wants to seal him inside but if he goes outside too hard the back will cut inside and the interior OL will release.

3. Kovacs containing. He is the force guy, can't let anything outside of him, etc. By moving the TE over they get him blocked while still getting that double.

4 & 5. Ross and Demens running at the right spot. This time there are blockers for both, though, as long as Iowa can get Beyer effectively blocked.

They just barely do. Here Weisman is heading outside and Ross has gotten to the LOS so Iowa has run out of time to double Beyer. The outside guy pops off and Beyer is still not sealed:

ross-5

Now this is where two things about James Ross combine to submarine Michigan. These are both basically "is a freshman." One is the the lack of response to the shift shown above. Take Ross in the above frame and move him a body-width to the outside. Now he's a step faster to this contact. He's outside, and his momentum is more downhill than it is here. With Beyer on the outside all he needs is a little bit of help…

ross-6

Just a yard, just a hesitation, just any bit of delay. Beyer just needs one step. He doesn't get it, and then there's the other thing about being a freshman:

ross-7

Sometimes you get picked up and dumped nine yards downfield.

ross-8

Video

Ross's lack of momentum when he meets the blocker is more apparent with the moving pictures.

Things And Stuff

This is something of an RPS play for Iowa. Beyer makes a nice play and may hold this down if he gets that step from Ross, but Weisman also has a cutback inside of that guy since Black goes straight upfield and Demens gets blocked. I don't think that's a problem with either of those guys since it seems like Michigan's strategy on the zone was to get aggressively upfield in gaps and let one of the two linebackers flow free:

close-4

would be a first down as Demens did not funnel back to Ross, may picture page later

On this play Michigan doesn't adjust and gets that unblocked backside guy they don't want. As a result someone has to beat a block to make a play; Beyer does and it is for naught.

Michigan still could have held it down. That one step Ross didn't take is probably the difference between two yards and nine; if he hits a little earlier, with a little more authority, Weisman slows and Beyer gets his cookie.

An older Ross could have made this mistake and still held it down. And then it's just getting carried. Of all the flaws to have this is the best one because it's obvious and not at all hard to fix; it was still a bit vexing on this drive.

Weisman was a bad matchup for Ross. Ross would show up in the right spot a lot and still get crunched back for significant YAC. On the third and five that set up Iowa's sneak, he did a great job to get to the hole on Yet Another Inside Zone and make contact with Weisman. Result:

That probably doesn't happen if Morgan's in the game. People stop when they meet Morgan. A guy like Weisman may pound out a yard or two; Iowa is still facing a fourth and three or four, and probably kicking except this is Ferentz we're talking about, the sandbagger.

Ross is still super instinctive. Once the ball is snapped Ross is almost certain to read quickly and get to the spot. While he still needs some work on zone drops, if he can put on 15-20 pounds and do that the sky is the limit for him. Of all the ways Iowa's rushing offense could have been better than expected "Weisman running over Ross" is the best one from a Michigan fan's perspective. Once Ross turns those twelve tackles into twelve tackles a yard closer to the LOS, with a yard less YAC, look out.

I came away from this game thinking that Ross was a major culprit in the admittedly limited success Iowa had on offense and that he was going to be really good possibly as soon as next year, if that makes any sense. The mistakes he makes are small, and given his high football IQ it seems certain he'll fix them by the time next fall rolls around. Add on the usual amount of mass and you've got my #1 pick for a breakout player on Michigan's 2013 D.

Comments

Iowa Postgame Presser: Players

Iowa Postgame Presser: Players Comment Count

Heiko November 18th, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Denard Robinson

Thoughts on your career as a Michigan quarterback?

“It means a lot. It means -- it’s hard to put into words what this means to me. Just being a leader on this team and being one of the guys that was picked by the team to be a captain and a leader. It’s kind of hard to swallow right now because it’s coming to an end.”

What have the past three weeks been like? When did you find out that you would be able to play today?

“I’ve been getting treatment a lot. They’ve been telling me a lot of this stuff, and I’ve just been getting treatment, and I’ve been day by day and been getting better. Once I got a chance to get the go-ahead, I went out and started practicing and started playing a lot.”

How desperately did you want to play in this last game? Did you have to lobby to get in the game?

“Oh no. I think everybody knew -- if they know me, they’d know I’d do whatever it takes for the team. I’m the kind of the person that if I go, I’m going to go. I’m not going to hold back because I do whatever my team [needs]. That’s my family.”

Comments

Senior Day Haiku 2012

Senior Day Haiku 2012 Comment Count

Brian 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.

7958859750_26230aebbe_z[1]

Upchurch

Comments

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Formation notes: We've already talked about Michigan's 3-3-5 at the end of the game, which was really blue for some reason:

f-3-3-5nickel

filmed in post-apocalyptic-Denzel-Washington-vehicle-o-vision

The rest of it was as per usual. Michigan goes with an even front against spread packages and flares the LBs out to deal. This results in things like this…

5-man-box

…and is a declaration of immense faith in the DTs. Here's Ryan over the slot again:

f-pistol-fb-offset

Michigan used some super wide splits once, when they were sick of getting edged by the option:

f-4-3-spread

This was a FB dive that looked dangerous before Pipkins spatted the ballcarrier for two yards.

Finally, here's something. What? I'm not sure. THANKS DIRECTOR GUY

dumbass-director

I swear these guys who come in and think they're Football Tarantino.

Substitution notes: Secondary as it always is. The front seven saw the same rotation they have in the last couple games, with CGordon/Bolden/Ross backing up Ryan/Demens/Morgan at LB and Heitzman/Black/Pipkins/Clark backing up Roh/Campbell/Washington/Beyer. Heitzman's increased PT continued; Bolden got relatively few snaps. Ross got more, including the last drive, but maybe not as many as I expected he did going in.

[AFTER THE JUMP: getting gashed, responding, Kovacs in your grill]

Comments

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part III

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part III Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2012 at 12:15 PM

So. Michigan got a nice play from Will Campbell to turn second and three into third and one despite kind of conceding the first down, then saw Kenny Demens blow upfield as soon as he saw Venric Mark block a blitzing James Ross. He hewed down a Colter scramble in the backfield. Now it's fourth and two, and all the timeouts have been taken.

Michigan comes out in… this. I guess. Whatever this is. Weird is what it is.

stack-1

3-3-5 WTF

Please note that Northwestern has also brought their share of weird to the party. They're in a two back set with all three WRs to the field, which means one of those slots is covered up. Michigan is seven on eight in the box, with a safety—Gordon—hanging out deep. If Northwestern can get guys blocked they should have a guy running free. As we'll see, they don't.

This has been mentioned before, but Michigan came out in this weird formation on fourth and two in an attempt to bait Northwestern into a handoff up the middle, which they successfully did.

As a bonus, the bait here is compounded by Northwestern confusion.  It does not matter what Colter does here. They're dead.

Part The First: Black Surge

Jibreel Black is shaded playside of the center above and immediately shoots upfield of said center.

stack-1stack-2

This is easy for him. Just go straight upfield. It does two things:

  1. Invites Colter to hand off. That looks dangerous to him because if he's forced to pitch early by a Black surge then Roh is likely to contain the back.
  2. Forces the dive back to the backside of the play, where there are two Northwestern OL and three Michigan defenders.

In the wider view you can see three Northwestern OL releasing, with the fourth dealing with Clark.

stack-2

Part The Second: Handoff Away From Strength

That looks un-promising. But here's what they'll do:

stack-2

The option provides blocking strength to the front side of the play because you're letting the end go to option him; on the backside you're blocking him. Here Northwestern burns that strength as two confused guys go after Ross. A third has to cut Ryan, and there's no one for three separate Michigan defenders.

stack-3

At the mesh point Colter is looking at Roh on the edge and Black surging through, which seemingly puts acres of space between the NT and backside DE. There are acres, in fact.

Part The Third: Free Train With Purchase Of Handoff

stack-5

ACRES OF PAIN WOO

stack-6stack-7

Everyone run around and do things! Be happy! And then play the dog groomers song and kill everyone's buzz. But those first 5 seconds were rad.

Video

Things And Stuff

This was dead in every way. If Colter decides to keep he is probably going to get pushed wide by Black, maybe even have a pitched forced by him a la Mike Martin last year. If he does not…

stack-5

…it's Mike Trumpy in space against Jordan Kovacs with Roh pursuing from the inside-out. We've seen how that story ends, against this team even.

That was forth and inches, this is fourth and two. I'll take my chances there.

This play seems specifically designed to defeat the option. The Black surge is going to do one of two things. One option is what it did. The other is for the playside G to block Black, likely with help from the center, and leave one guy for Ross. If those guys can combo Black a keep meets the same fate you see in the frame on the last bullet. If those guys can combo Black and the C manages a release to the second level, then you are possibly in business as you hypothetically have enough guys to block the LBs.

I don't see how that happens though given what Black does here. No one is coming off that guy fast enough to be useful. The only option that gets yards is a check.

Nothing else? Just a check? The only other way in which this might eke out the first down is by letting the backside end go, too, and having that tackle hit Demens. This may or may not work and exposes the back to Clark coming down the line; at least if he's hit by Clark it's from behind. Really, though, there's nothing.

Demens! This isn't the hardest play in the world for a linebacker but even so you can't do it any better. There's no drama after this:

stack-7

No spinning out or grinding forward or sliding off. The guy just goes down, backwards, game over. That's one of them form tackles.

Cat and mouse. This play followed a series of timeouts. Michigan showed the formation they ran before the first one:

f-3-3-5nickel

Northwestern called TO, and came out with their covered slot formation. Michigan again showed the 3-3-5 alignment…

cs-1

…until everyone in the front seven yelled at Ryan to get on the LOS…

cs-2

Roh had to do a ton of pointing and talking to get this to happen

…and then Michigan called timeout before a false start. As a bonus, unless the slot receiver moved after the camera took him out of the picture, Northwestern only had six on the line of scrimmage and would have been hit with an illegal formation.

So they went to it, got a TO, showed it, got rid of it, called a TO, and then ran it. The dance of doom.

A gimmick defense for gimmick times. Yeah this could get gashed by stuff other than what Northwestern ran; Michigan knew their comfort zone and had a plan to blow it up. They had plenty of problems in this game, and I think Mattison is going to have to make some adjustments to slow the Wildcats down in future years, but at the end it was Michigan who got the last stab in after a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Comments

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part II

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part II Comment Count

Brian November 13th, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Last time on keeping Michigan's overtime record sterling, Will Campbell played both sides of a guy and turned second and three into third and one. Venric Mark gets dinged on that play, Mike Trumpy comes in, and it's time for third and short.

Northwestern comes out in a goal-line version of the pistol they just ran. They again flip the FB:

scramble-1scramble-2

Michigan sets up in an over front, which was unusually prevalent for the second straight week. It won't matter much because this is going to be a pass, which third and one with Kain Colter and you throw—Michigan's defense puts the fear of God into you on short yardage.

scramble-3

Michigan sends James Ross; Gordon and Floyd back out into coverage. Both NW players are taken care of, leaving only the tight end on the backside, who is running a slant to the interior.

scramble-4

This is not Demens's guy, it's Taylor's. Michigan is in man, which you can tell because of this:

scramble-5scramble-6

The instant Mark lowers his head to block Ross, Demens starts flying at the LOS. He's got the RB out of the backfield, and once that RB commits to a blitzer he is now in QB attack mode.

Here's a wider shot:

scramble-5

Demens is moving before Colter even completes his drop. By the time Colter has taken a single step, Demens is across the LOS and closing:

scramble-7scramble-8

It's now fourth and the game.

Video

Things And Stuff

Colter had the third guy in the pattern but did not have the patience. He decides to take off after seeing the first two reads covered. Demens's presence may dissuade him from trying the route, but that TE is well inside Taylor and Ryan if Colter waits another beat or two for Demens to fly up at him.

scramble-5

Those guys were pointing at each other before the snap, confused; I am not sure if it's on Ryan or Taylor. Either way those guys are going to have a little trouble covering this since they're both lined up outside of him.

Can't really blame Colter for going one-two-go in this situation, but it looks like Michigan was banking on that being the default reaction here given how aggressively Demens plays this. He was likely told that if the back stays in go get the QB. If it's third and five, maybe he waits for Colter to take off.

Ross and Washington give Demens the space. Washington's playing this like he would a goal line carry, submarining the OL with no other thought than moving the LOS backwards. Look at that still above: mission accomplished. Ross meanwhile has bashed the OL he blitzed into into that mess and is taking the Mark cut block. Colter is looking at two guys against one blocker, who is Venric Mark, and knows those odds—another reason he was all GTFO.

Comments

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part I

Picture Pages: Ending It, Part I Comment Count

Brian November 13th, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Michigan punched in a touchdown on their only possession of overtime against Northwestern and took the field needing to get a fourth-down stop at some point to win. They got it right away. On first down, Will Campbell(+2, pressure +2) swims through a guard to get instant pressure; Colter finds a running lane because Washington is out of position and picks up seven yards.

Three plays later, Northwestern was still at the eighteen, out of downs. WHA HAPPEN? In three parts, what happened.

Second And Three: Campbell Two-Gap

Northwestern comes out in the pistol, with Michigan in an even front with Ryan shaded over the slot. They keep two safeties 13 yards off the LOS—they are essentially playing a man down in the front seven because Colter demands to be contained.

The FB started on the other side of Colter and motioned just before the snap; Michigan's linebackers shuffle a little in response, but not much. Northwestern is going to run a plain old zone play.

two-gap-1

There is a mesh point here. Colter is reading Roh. Roh does two things once the tackle lets him go:

  1. He forms up at the LOS
  2. He shuffles inside a bit to remain tight with the hip of the tackle.

two-gap-2two-gap-3two-gap-4

give + no cutback == job done

#1 makes Colter give. #2 prevents Mark from heading all the way backside, which is important. If my spread 'n' shred analysis skillz are now basically irrelevant at least they're useful for parsing Northwestern. I've seen this before:

two-gap-2

It's the vertical zone read play RR termed "belly." Under RR Michigan wouldn't go so far as to move into the pistol, but they would slide the QB up a foot or two and make this same handoff. It looks a lot like inside zone to the defense, and usually by the time they find out it's not the guy going backside has picked up a nice chunk.

Belly is about doubling the DTs, and driving them back; failing that you go at the spot the backside DE vacated when he went to contain the QB.

Here there's nothing. This is the mesh point. The line is a solid mass of humanity from Roh to Campbell, with the only gap on the frontside as Clark contains. The DTs have held up at the LOS. Mark has nowhere to go save that frontside gap.

two-gap-3

That's a problem because neither LB is hitting that gap. Meanwhile the fullback shoots downfield, looking for Kovacs. Mark has to redirect—this is not what the play was supposed to create—and this takes time, which is a saving grace.

two-gap-4

Campbell is here, and then he's obscured because he's flung himself to the other side of his blocker and tackled.

two-gap-4two-gap-5

Mark squeezes out a couple before most of the players on the field converge on top of him.

two-gap-6

Now Michigan has third and short. They like third and short.

Video

Things And Stuff

It looks like Michigan is conceding the first down. Second and three and Michigan puts a full two-deep coverage on, leaving just six guys in the box against seven players. It's almost like Michigan is playing TD prevent and living to fight again on first and ten from the 13.

This is all defensive line. Collectively the two DTs take on four blockers and while those blockers release, Washington is in a spot where he closes off a gap at the LOS. Roh has taken the cutback away. And when Mark redirects outside, Campbell fills the gap outside Washington.

This is a cost of cutting off screens. Remember last year when Michigan got burned by bubble after bubble in this game? Mattison responded by flaring Ryan over the slot. That was the first we had seen of that; it's now a standard thing. Bubbles have all but evaporated. So that's good, but it also leaves Michigan in some vulnerable positions. Here their best defensive player is irrelevant to the play. It would be nice to have some better run support on the edges.

I'm not sure about the LB play here. Both guys end up catching blocks. They do this because the NW OL does not extend their doubles. Since the doubles are not extended, the DL can make the play they make. I am still kind of nervous about it. There's no slant here so they just have to play it straight, and as a result neither gets anywhere near the play. I'm guessing that's the way they have to play it. Gives me hives. Help, anyone?

Will Campbell woo. He vexed the pants off of a couple of guys in this game. This play in particular reminded me of watching Hoke talk about DL technique at that coaching clinic. Campbell may get a little high, but he takes one step inside and then fires upwards, rocking the G backwards. At that point his hands are on the interior of the OL. He controls the block, and can go from one gap to the other when Mark does. If you watch it enough you'll be like oh right the sleds DL hit.

Campbell made the Northwestern G look like an inanimate object designed to be hit to teach technique. Heininger Certainty Principle +1.

SIDE NOTE: DL DID NOT USE SLEDS UNDER RR /dies

Comments

Tuesday Presser Transcript 11-13-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 11-13-12: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Heiko November 13th, 2012 at 2:07 PM

file

Opening remarks:

“Well are we on game 18 or what? It seems like, hoo boy. Every week. This next one is as big as any of them or bigger because one, you’re in the title hunt. You’re still playing for a championship. And two, these seniors deserve to play a great game, deserve to have things be like they should be when you’re a senior at Michigan and you play your last game there.”

What do you take from surviving Northwestern?

“Well the thing that we saw in that game -- people wouldn’t have seen it -- that defense played unbelievably hard. There’s a play in the fourth quarter when there are 11 helmets truly hitting the ball on our sideline, and ironically the next play Craig Roh got a sack and it held them to a field goal rather than a touchdown. And you never know when that’s going to happen. I’m not a stat guy. Never have been. The only stat that matters to me is whether we win or lose. I don’t like it when teams run the football, but the thing that you also saw on that tape, one, that quarterback is a tremendous football player and a tremendous athlete. I think there were four or five legitimate sacks that we had them -- any other quarterback you probably would have had a sack -- that he changed from being a third or a second and long to a first down.

"And that’s where the perception is that you’ve got to get off the field. We’re not talented enough, and there aren’t many [teams] that are good enough, to be able to say, ‘We could have gotten off here, but we’re going to let you play three more plays.’ That happened too many times where you had just what you wanted and he made a play. And I won’t say that our guys didn’t, even though they could have, that young man Colter is -- he’s got my respect, I’ll tell you that. That guy is a football player. And their running back was a very good football player also. The greatest thing is that there are some mistakes again that we have to have corrected on some blitzes and things like that, but they played hard and they stuck together and gave us an opportunity, and our offense did a great job at the very end there and we came out with the win, and that’s all that matters.”

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