Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian November 21st, 2018 at 1:53 PM
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image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Matt is no longer hanging out at the Charity Tailgate because there are no more home games. But if you see a bus in Columbus you'll know you've found him. Which bus will be obvious. When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Almost all 4-2-5, with occasional dips into a 3-3-5 after Winovich's injury. The double viper formation I'm charting as a 3-1-7(!) made a re-appearance as well, for some effective pass rushes. Michigan was much more heavily single-high in this game for whatever reason and dropped most of their zone looks out of the playbook.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Michigan reduced the rotation after some early issues; DT was mostly Mone and Kemp on standard downs. Marshall was a bit player; Dwumfour got all the passing down snaps and a scattering of standard downs. Solomon was barely more used than Marshall despite being pretty effective. Winovich was on the way to another iron man performance when he got hurt. Paye got most of those snaps, with a few going to Hutchinson; Furbush got most of the Rush package snaps in his stead. Gary got almost all the standard down snaps but was absent in the rush package, still.

At LB, Bush and Hudson omnipresent (or near enough) with another 50/50 split between Gil and Ross. Uche got his usual dozen rush D snaps; Furbush got about as many post-Winovich injury; Glasgow had a cameo or four.

DBs the usual. Ambry Thomas got some time late with guys dinged up.

[After THE JUMP: a slight amount of panic]

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Michigan 42, Rutgers 7

Michigan 42, Rutgers 7 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 10th, 2018 at 8:17 PM

I’ve heard people say that the best way to find a good place to eat on vacation is to strike up a conversation with a local. Judging by the above photo, the locals know their Rutgers football. Rutgers put their best into this game for a certain definition of “best,” even digging a trick play out of the back of the book and deploying it late in the third quarter for a 19-yard gain on a QB-RB-QB connection. Had they scored, Rutgers would have pulled within 14. On the next play, they tried to give Michigan’s defense whiplash with a Wildcat look; Raheem Blackshear’s handoff went off the side of Isaih Pacheco, Michigan recovered the fumble, and the game was essentially over.

It took Michigan five plays to score after the fumble recovery, a touchdown that took the game from essentially to emphatically over. Four straight handoffs to Tru Wilson moved Michigan from the Rutgers 42- to their 10-yard line, at which point a beautiful backshoulder throw to Nico Collins put Michigan up 35-7. This was just one of Shea Patterson’s many inch-perfect throws on the night, which ended for him (and most of the other starters) at the conclusion of the third quarter. The offensive line should get credit for some of Patterson’s on-the-money deep shots, as they gave Patterson as much time to throw as he’s had at any point in his Michigan career and were a significant factor in Patterson finishing 18-of-27 for 260 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The run game had a quizzical outing, especially when considering how well Michigan’s line held up in pass protection and the trajectory the running backs had been on. Michigan ran the ball 40 times for a sack-adjusted 199 yards, or 4.98 yards per carry. Chris Evans, however, was responsible for 61 yards on a single carry, taking the first handoff of the fourth quarter and the first snap of Brandon Peters’ night through the middle of the line and past Rutgers’ secondary to the end zone. Removing Evans’ carry, Michigan rushed for just 3.54 yards per carry.

[After THE JUMP: how Michigan avoided the Golden Idol of trap games]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 9th, 2018 at 1:36 PM
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image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan stuck to the four man front for almost the whole game, with just a few attempts to play a 3-3-5. The Rush package remains unchanged after Gary's return. Michigan did have some exotics, one a 3-1-7(!) alignment with two vipers and Bush out there on third and ten. This was the Glasgow sack.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Massive rotation across the front with even Chase Winovich bowing out on occasion. Gary's return and his absence from the rush package amped up a rotation that is ten guys deep now: Gary, Winovich, Mone, Kemp, Paye, Marshall, Solomon, Dwumfour, Uche and Hutchinson (sort of). As a result everyone save Winovich saw maybe half of Michigan's snaps. Also Donovan Jeter got in late.

LB was the standard: Bush and Hudson all the time, Ross and Gil splitting WLB snaps with Ross having an edge, and assorted cameos from Glasgow and Furbush. Ditto the secondary. Woods was the only backup S to get in, interestingly.

[After THE JUMP: the lamentation of their message boards]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian October 31st, 2018 at 2:24 PM
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image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Just one 3-3-5 snap, which didn't go so hot. Michigan is continuing with their rush package with Uche/Dwumfour/Paye/Winovich across the front, and semi-frequently went with a dime behind that. I have been filing Uche as a linebacker but I'm on the verge of calling him a DE.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Paye and Winovich nearly omnipresent with Hutchinson picking up a few late snaps. DT snaps got split about equally between all five contributors (Solomon, Marshall, Kemp, Mone, and Dwumfour).

Bush and Hudson omnipresent, as per usual. Ross and Gil split WLB snaps. Uche got about 20 snaps as a rush end; cameos from Furbush and Glasgow.

Secondary the usual. Long and Hill got more snaps than Watson but it was close to even. Thomas got in at the end.

[After THE JUMP: one broken QB, barely more yards]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Wisconsin Comment Count

Brian October 17th, 2018 at 4:33 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was content to roll out the base defense against Wisconsin despite the radical change in approach the Badgers are from Michigan's previous spread-oriented opponents. Hudson was omnipresent. There was one tweak on passing downs, with Michigan replacing Gil/Ross with Josh Uche to present a five-man front:

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Uche lurking to the bottom of the line; Bush kneeling near the umpire

Note also that Michigan has their three cornerbacks on the field and just one safety. This still comes out as 4-2-5 in my 'package' column but should be something else and will be if it continues.

Just one 3-3-5 snap on a run down in this game, a six yard run.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Winovich and Paye were almost omnipresent; Hutchinson did get a dozen snaps spotting them, mostly late. Kemp, Marshall, Mone, and Solomon got about equal time at the DT spots, with Dwumfour a bit further behind. Michigan tried to confine him to passing downs.

Bush and Hudson omnipresent; Gil and Ross split their snaps about down the middle. Uche played in the package above; Furbush and Glasgow made cameos.

Secondary is what you'd expect save for Kinnel missing some snaps with what looked like cramps. Hawkins got that time.

[After THE JUMP: a lot of running and almost no passing.]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Maryland

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Maryland Comment Count

Brian October 11th, 2018 at 3:33 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool, it supports charity, there's pizza and barbecue and beer, and the GameDay crew might stop by. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Most notable development was the near-elimination of 3-3-5 snaps: just six, all of them on passing downs. Maryland ran a bunch of stuff from under center to facilitate their jet sweep game, and brought out a lot of pistol diamond formations when Piggy was in.

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Nothing worked until real late.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: With Gary absent and Dwumfour exiting in the first half, the DT rotation was mostly Kemp, Mone, and Marshall. Jeter and Myers came in late. At DE, Winovich was his usual omnipresent self until the final two drives. Paye got the bulk of the Gary snaps with about 10 from Hutchinson and 10 more during the backups portion of the game.

At LB, Bush and Hudson nearly omnipresent. Gil and Ross back to splitting about 50/50, with the usual ten or so snaps from Uche and Furbush. Secondary the usual.

[After THE JUMP: a lot of runs that go nowhere]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian October 3rd, 2018 at 4:39 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: A couple of tweaks: Michigan pulled a linebacker to go with a true 4-1 dime setup on various passing downs. Paired with that was a shift in personnel on those snaps. Michigan's 4-man line on passing downs was Winovich-Dwumfour-Paye-Gary, with Uche replacing Gary after he went out.

rush d

Uche standing to bottom, Paye tucked inside

They did this a bit last week. Since this seems to be a Thing now I've designated it as "Rush" in the package column, with "Rush N(ickel)" indicating two linebackers behind it and "Rush D(ime)" indicating one.

Northwestern was almost all a standard 3-wide spread setup.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Winovich omnipresent. Gary got about two-thirds of the snaps, exiting late. Paye picked up most of that slack; since he also got in on those rush snaps he was out there maybe half the time. Dwumfour got more DT snaps than anyone else, which was up and down; Kemp, Mone, and Marshall split the rest. For whatever reason Aidan Hutchinson barely got in. I think he had one snap?

At LB, Bush omnipresent. Glasgow and Hudson omnipresent in their respective halves. Ross again got more snaps than Gil but it was closer than last week—and probably closer than it should be at this point. Furbush and Uche got maybe a dozen snaps each, functioning more as pass-rush DEs than linebackers.

Secondary was the usual, with injuries knocking the starting safeties out here and there. Brad Hawkins got a fair amount of time. I think Woods might have got a snap or two.

[After the JUMP: a lot and then not much]

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I Was Just A Balloon But They Stabbed Me All The Same

I Was Just A Balloon But They Stabbed Me All The Same Comment Count

Brian October 1st, 2018 at 1:20 PM

[Patrick Barron]

9/29/2018 – Michigan 20, Northwestern 17 – 4-1, 2-0 Big Ten

On the one hand you look at the spread and things like "opponent loses to Akron" and you assume that Michigan will have a comfortable victory. On the other, you are playing the Northwestern Wildcats, so things are gonna get weird. Dave brought up the recent history of this series on the podcast, and other than a 38-0 blitzing in 2015 it is Hall of Fame weird:

  • 2014: M00N
  • 2013: The Dileo Power Slide field goal gets Michigan to overtime, and is possibly the only last-second clock-running scramble FG to ever go through the uprights.
  • 2012: Michigan gets to overtime thanks to a Northwestern safety tipping the ball to Roy Roundtree with just seconds remaining.
  • 2011: Fairly normal.
  • 2008: The Fandom Endurance III game is played in conditions that are less sleet and more sideways ice knives.

That's the last decade of Michigan playing Northwestern. It is a nonstop barrage of Pat Fitzgerald pumping his fist until his head expands into a Thanksgiving Day balloon. Michigan scales the balloon to let the air out, sometimes gradually and sometimes all at once. In the post-game presser Fitzgerald's head keeps flopping to one side; he must testily re-seat it. His veins are inverted. He is not so much a hollow shell of a man but the very inverse of a human being, a creature of deflation. Nobody is to walk over to Pat Fitzgerald. Your space-time wavelength may intersect with his and cancel it out, leaving nothing but a ghostly jaw where once two people—one person and one deflation—were.

Nothing can cancel out Pat Fitzgerald's jaw.

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I guess this season is all about mental calibration. Some way through the third quarter the Black Pit of Negative Expectations gave way to a feeling that stretches all the way back to Lloyd Carr: the Gray Pit of We're Probably Going To Win This Game Despite Starting Horribly Now Could We Please Hurry Up And Actually Do That. (Watch out for the GPoWPGTWTGDSHNCWPHUAADT t-shirt coming to a store near you.) This is a better feeling than the Very Black Pit of Oh God We're Going To Blow Another 18 Point Lead Aren't We.

Michigan did win the game, eventually. By the standards of Michigan-Northwestern it wasn't even that weird. Michigan outgained Northwestern ~4 to 1 after the initial blitzing and was only stopped by a boggling penalty and some boggling failures to use Ol' Murderface when short yardage loomed. Michigan ran into the line on first down and found itself in second and long; they converted that anyway. Nothing could be more traditional. Except also running into the line on second down, which Michigan did not do.

There were no last-second rescues by providence, no inexplicably organized portions of a Brady Hoke team pulling Michigan's ass out of the fire, no two-point conversions to finish our suffering either way. The only thing in question was whether Michigan was going to catch up before the clock ran out. Once they did things were more or less over; they could have played a second game immediately following the second and Northwestern would still be stuck on 17.

Squint and things look pretty good. Maybe that 20 looks like a 28. Michigan almost doubled up the opponent in total yardage (376 to 202) while blasting punts 50+ yards. You don't lose games like that unless you turn the ball over. I know Michigan almost did. We're squinting here.

Open your eyes back up and it's a three-point win over a team with previous ignominious demises at the hands of Duke and Akron. Your personal level of negative expectation will determine how much squinting you're going to do. I am at war with myself. On Monday two days removed I can look at the box score and Pat Fitzgerald's giant throbbing head and be relatively sanguine. Saturday, not so much. Future Saturdays will tend to slip into the black pit until such time as that decision is forcibly repudiated. At this point I don't think anyone has much control over it.

At least Michigan can inflict it, as well. When the game was ended, his quarterback in yet another heap of Michigan defenders surrounded by apologetic linemen, Fitzgerald spiked his headset into the ground and trundled across the field. Instead of a hand to shake he found a wall of Michigan players incidentally in his way. There was no way through. Eventually he veered to one side, disgusted, leaking helium from pin-pricks across his body. By the time he got to the locker room he was barely there at all.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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[Patrick Barron]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Chase Winovich. Everywhere. His sack was a gift; his other two TFLs were +3s where he scythed through guys trying to block him and solo TFL'd in the backfield. Now the national leader in TFLs. Also living up to meme potential in pre-game.

#2(T) Mike Dwumfour, Kwity Paye, Josh Uche. Michigan's fresh-faced crew of sackists thrived in the absence of Gary and Aidan Hutchinson. Dwumfour forced more of the play than his teammates, creating both of Paye's sacks and getting one of his own, but also got blown out a couple times against the run. Uche ended he game with a textbook dip around the corner that looked like the offseason hype sounded. I like 'em both, and the other one too. One point each because the points are made up and don't matter.

#3 Will Hart. Last week: "Will Hart is gonna get on the board if Michigan ever punts six times in a game." This week: Michigan punts six times. Hart averages 51 yards a kick. Here you go, Will Hart.

Honorable mention:

KFaTAotW Standings.

7: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU, #1 NW)
4: Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Shea Patterson(#3 WMU), Will Hart (#3 NW), Mike Dwumfour (T2 NW), Kwity Paye (T2 NW), Josh Uche (T2 NW).

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

Michigan scores to take the lead. Leading is good.

Honorable mention: A-gap Higdon gashes. Gentry sets up the final TD with a ball that just squeezes inside a DB. Will Hart punts! Various sacks.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Has to be the Worst Holding Call In The History Of Football:

That call caused one of just two three-and-outs after Michigan got it together and erased a Michigan first and ten from about the Northwestern 40 in the midst of four different scoring drives.

Honorable mention: Various failures to Mason. The entire first quarter.

[After THE JUMP: CSI: TOUCHDOWN]

Comments

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 29th, 2018 at 10:05 PM

[Fuller]

It’s not just that they came back to win, it's how quickly things turned in the beginning. Michigan had the braggadocio to take the ball after winning the coin toss; they were then hit squarely in the face, took a nasty shot to the body, then took another one to the face. These were not the kind of hits that come together over a long stretch to wear someone down. These were the kind that rock you to your core, that are designed to get you to pack it in and move on.

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