Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2017 at 1:50 PM

2017 logoo_thumb

SPONSOR NOTE. This was going to be a three-thousand word sponsor note because there's not much to say about this game, but Matt was like "no, stop that," like most of our advertisers have to say to us on a regular basis. "Please stop doing that," Matt said, "and instead have a brief item noting HomeSure Lending's ability to get you a mortgage from the comfort of your own home rapidly."

Thus this note, which is not an exegesis on various details of mortgage lending, and that's just another reason to get a mortgage from HomeSure.

FORMATION NOTES. Like last week, Michigan spent the vast bulk of this game in a four-man front. Whether that's disrespect to the opposition's passing game or Aubrey Solomon emerging into Michigan's best option as the seventh guy in the front seven is to be determined.

Minnesota was all three-wide gun except when they were in their irritatingly effective jet sweep package.


More on this in a bit.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. 247 published snap counts earlier in the week so no speculation necessary: the back seven barely changed, with McCray, Bush, Kinnel, and Hill getting all or almost all of the 60 snaps. Long and Watson split the other CB snaps. Metellus would have gone the whole way but for his ejection; Glasgow entered in his place.

There was more rotation up front. Gary, Winovich, and Hurst got about 90% of the snaps before Minnesota's late FG drive; Solomon had 26. Kemp, Paye, Marshall, Mone, and Dwumfour all got 10-20 snaps.  Uche got 5, Rueben Jones 2.

[After THE JUMP: another week, another Big Ten quarterback.]

One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst

One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 7th, 2017 at 2:01 PM



Thor: Ragnarok just came out. Justice League comes out later this month. Some people don't like "comic book movies" because they say they're too unrealistic. If you ever run into one of those people, show them this GIF and whisper "I've seen some things." Their argument is instantly invalid.

Was the offensive line tipping anything in this game?

“A little bit. We were able to get a read on a couple of the pass stances that they were showing. I think the biggest thing for that play is that I was able to see the running back go in motion, and once the running back goes in motion they didn’t really have any quarterback runs where they were using the quarterback to draw or anything. I just knew it was going to be a pass, so I sort of switched my stance to a little bit more of a pass stance and got off the ball as quick as I could.”

So it’s an opportunity for you to pin your ears back there on second down.


It was 2nd-and-12, so what were you expecting from them at that point?

“They were actually running the ball a little bit on their second and long drives. I think six was kind of their cut-off where they were passing the ball. Just expecting run first, but then once the running back went in motion was able to expect that was going to be a pass.”

What’s the first thing you noticed about the guard once the ball was snapped?

“Just leaning back and sort of getting into his pass set. That was kind of where I was, and then once I sort of engage the guy I was able to get control of his hands and sort of control the man. I think that was probably the reason I was able to bull him back is that I was able to get control of his hands and use my leverage against him and was able to knock him back into the quarterback.”

From a technique perspective, what was he trying to do to you?

“He was just setting back far. Probably a little more afraid of speed than power. Normally when guards set back really far they’re trying to protect themselves against speed, so doing that kind of leaves them vulnerable to power moves. So once he started leaning back his momentum’s going that way so it kind of just carried back towards him.”

Looked like he got a hand in your face. Were you able to tell that you had even gotten to the quarterback? Did you just keep bulling through him or did you know which direction to push?

“Yeah, I mean, I could see the quarterback but one of the things is I thought the quarterback was going to scramble out of it so I was just trying to bull him, and then once I saw the quarterback was still there I just sort of reached out for him and was able to get a sack on him.”

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Don Brown

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 2nd, 2017 at 12:28 PM



What do you see from Minnesota that you’re preparing for?

“Well, they’re gonna run the rock. Their mantra, you can tell, is they’re big, strong. I think the best offensive line we’ve played to this point in terms of run blocking, and they’ve got multiple running backs that can carry the load so we’ve got to do a great job in controlling the run game and then obviously doing a good job on third down from our standpoint.”

With Aubrey Solomon getting the start, what did he do to earn that start?

“Wow. Just a big boy growing up. He’s learned the system, he’s minimizing errors, and he’s kind of solidifying himself as a solid guy we can depend on on a three-down basis. And it’s not rocket science. I mean, on third down, we’ll do whatever we want to do anyway to get off the field, so with some of those things he’s involved and some of ‘em he’s not involved, but he’s a tremendous run defender and a very solid pass defender.”

On that second touchdown drive against Rutgers they hit a couple plays where your guys were right there on them. Is that going to happen and are there times where you as a coordinator just tip your cap?

“Well, I tip my cap on the pass. The kid made a one-handed catch. I thought Tyree was in great shape. You want to be able to lean into him and go through his hands and all that but at the end of that day it was like that [mimes a one-handed catch away from the body].

“So, you know, the bottom line is… let me paint a picture for you. You’re in zone coverage, okay? And we played a bunch, by the way, last Saturday, but we play combination coverages so guys are—we don’t want guys running free. We don’t want, oh we’re in zone, this guy dropped him. We’re not doing that, okay? So I’d rather spend my time teaching great technique, great fundamentals, let B. Smith and Mike Zordich do their deal and also be able to mix in, when we decide, other concepts that will cover people. Not people running through air and then relying on those zone pieces. I mean, that’s just not what we do.

[I had to split this answer with THE JUMP because posting novellas to the front page during the season is discouraged]

Upon Further Review: Special Teams vs Indiana

Upon Further Review: Special Teams vs Indiana

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 20th, 2017 at 4:32 PM



Formation/Substitution Notes: Not much at all. No noticeable substitutions. In terms of formation, Michigan would drop a couple of wings a few yards back on punt when Indiana stacked the line. Michigan also brought the gunners in tight and staggered two wings when it looked like Indiana was going for the all-out punt block with a little over a minute to go in regulation.

max pro

[After THE JUMP: DPJ’s development, Ben Wallace-ing your way to success, and other items from Puntapalooza 2017]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2017 at 2:53 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Man, you know who would resign if circumstances demanded it? HomeSure Lending. Except that would never happen because HomeSure Lending is good at its job and not, say, Sunil Gulati. HomeSure Lending` just gets you fast mortgage quotes from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan did slide more heavily towards a four man front against a manball outfit. Michigan had 27 3-3-5 snaps; they had 35 in a four-man front, almost all of which feature Mone. Those 4-X snaps were split 15/20 between 4-2-5s featuring Hudson and 4-3-4s featuring Furbush.

They also had 3 dime snaps, one in a 3-2-6 and two in a 4-1-6.


Here is a picture.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Formation notes prove spoiler: Michigan had about 35 Mone snaps, give or take a substitution. Michigan chose to put out two of Mone, Hudson, and Furbush depending on the situation and Don Brown's whim. Mone got about 60% of the snaps; Hudson and Furbush 70%.

The rest of the defense was almost entirely static. Winovich, Hurst, Bush, McCray, Metellus, and Kinnel did not leave the field. Gary got almost all the snaps with just a few for Kemp. The cornerbacks rotated through their top three of Hill, Long, and Watson.

The defense had zero margin for error in this game and they deployed like that was the case.

[After THE JUMP: the inverse Fielding Yost: a point per drive.]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 12th, 2017 at 8:07 AM



Just talk about Mo Hurst’s game last game. Haven’t seen a lineman play that well probably in a long time.

“Well, yeah, Mo had a really good ballgame. Mo’s done some really, really good things. Obviously as a senior in big games you want to play your best and he’s been practicing that way to do that. I was happy for him. He’s capable of doing that a lot this year; he’s very explosive. The thing I’m proud of him is he’s been a good leader and he’s worked very, very hard. The guys look up to him and you want guys like that to have the reward of playing like that.”

How’s Mike Dwumfour coming along?

“Mike Dwumfour’s coming along very well. He has a lot of Mo in him. He really does. They both are very quick twitch, they’re explosive, they can run. You’ll see Mike a lot more as the season goes on. He played in this last game and I feel like we’re really starting to get with the D-line like we had before with the two-deep. They’ve worked hard in practice, and the only thing you can judge by is practice. The guys are working really hard in practice. Coach Brown does a great job of rotating them in practice like we do in-game, and they’re all starting to become that two-deep group like I want them to.”

This isn’t a criticism of Rashan, but it seems like he’s maybe a quarter step slow off the snap sometimes. Is that just because he’s playing next to a guy like Maurice Hurst?

“Well, I’d question anybody who would say Rashan’s a step slow. I bet you’d like to ask the people he’s played against if he’s a step slow. I think if anything it’s because he’s being very, very unselfish and very team-oriented and he’s knowing he’s playing the run first, and when you’re playing the run there’s a lot of times you have to react as you step as a D-lineman, and that’s what he’s doing.

“We could get all our guys to just come sprinting off the football if you wanted to but I don’t think you’d be happy with the outcome of that. I’m very proud of Rashan because he continues to try to work on his technique and continues to try to do what the defense asks him to do, and great things are going to happen because of that.”

[After THE JUMP: scouting a DeBord offense, the development of Solomon and Paye, and some good stories about Winovich]

One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst

One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 3rd, 2017 at 4:07 PM



One of the more difficult aspects of preparing for these one-on-ones is finding a play where there’s enough to go through that a natural set of questions emerges; without multiple questions, these interviews would just be “whoa dang,” “yep,” fin. It’s always worth going through the entire game to make sure the right play wasn’t overlooked in favor of the one that stood out on the stat sheet. That said, we’re all human, and sometimes we get caught in the tractor beam that is talking about the “whoa dang” play. This is one of those times.

What are some of the differences between playing defensive line and playing the line on punt return?

“I think on punt return you kind of just get a running start for things. You’re not really keying a guy for the most part. And especially when we’re in our safe punt formation, more so just to fair catch a ball and not trying to do anything intricate with a return.”

On this particular play, did you expect that guy lined up a little outside of you to at least chip you as he releases?

“Yeah.” [laughs] “I think that’s normally what they want to get done and he ended up doing that and I was able to run free for the most part.”

Once he does get past you and see the open field in front of you, what else are you seeing?

“I’m just seeing the punter and their shield guy and I know from previous years that a lot of the times that we’re in our safe punt you try to blow up the shield guy, and that’s what I did on that play.”

With that shield guy, what are you thinking when you see that he starts to drop his shoulder and break down?

“Just to run over him.”

After you have that collision did you think about doing the belly rub or is that reserved just for sacks and tackles for loss?

“That’s just for sacks and tackles for loss.”

I gotcha. Not a special teams thing.

“Yeah.” [laughs]

[Ed. A- Props to Gfycat for coincidentally nailing the naming of this GIF. (Open in a new tab if you’re curious.)]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on September 29th, 2017 at 2:37 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTES. If you're a Power 5 university that still doesn't have air conditioning in a visitor's locker room in 2017, there's probably a reason. Maybe you're paying a buyout for a guy you hired after one good year in the MAC, that sort of thing. Maybe you've made some poor choices in your athletic department and do not have ready cash to repair the embarrassing thing about yourself. Maybe you need a loan. Well, HomeSure Lending can get you that loan.

Probably. I mean... it's not like you're a part of the Michigan fanbase. No promises. But you'll find out fast if you have sufficient credit to build a marginally acceptable locker room. That HomeSure Lending can promise.

FORMATION NOTES. 15 4-DL snaps versus 39 3-DL snaps; Michigan had a few passing down snaps where Furbush was a DE and they lined up in a four-man line, so call it 1/3rd four-man lines and 2/3rds 3-3 stuff with a heavy stack emphasis. Michigan had three dime snaps with all three CBs on the field, which is a slightly meaningful indicator about the trust they've got in their top three.

They had some more of their weird line slide snaps.


This was about the only thing of note in the formations. Purdue had a bunch of bog-standard spread stuff. Michigan did what they'd done in their previous games. The end.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. A little bit more rotation on the interior DL, with Solomon, Kemp and Dwumfour getting several snaps. Winovich was omnipresent until very late. LBs were Furbush, McCray, and Bush the whole way except for one drive Wroblewski got in the first half.

The secondary saw the now usual rotation of Hill, Long, and Watson through the snaps, in approximately equal shares. Hudson, Metellus, and Kinnel did not come off the field.

[After THE JUMP: throwbacks and doom]