H4: The Burned Redshirts in Order of Argh

H4: The Burned Redshirts in Order of Argh Comment Count

Seth March 10th, 2015 at 12:53 PM


I realize Strobel got one. Find a better photo then, pickers of nits.

This has to be talked about. Hoke left a roster that was in relatively good shape considering all the highly rated players who had to stick through some awful program degradation. He signed good classes, and those classes have by and large stuck around and fulfilled their academic duties. But an inordinate amount of them inexplicably didn't redshirt, and because of this there are some holes on the horizon.

I'm sure there are explanations in many of these cases that we are not party to. It's only the sheer volume of head-scratching non-redshirts under Hoke that gives us reason to call all of them into question. Like how I'm sure there are legit medical hardship waivers that occur at Alabama but [graph].

Some guys the coaches were forced to play early, and there's no need to discuss them beyond a mention as such, e.g. Jabrill Peppers. Mason Cole outcompeted a pile of guys to start at left tackle last season. That sort of thing gets a full pass. Beyond that, I've broken each Hoke class into categories of increasing argh:

  • WTF. Wasting redshirts on special teams and dime back when last year's dime back is on the bench.
  • Pick ONE. Needed bodies at this position, but not all the bodies. Battles for 2nd on the depth chart should be resolved in time for the ultimate loser to have a 5th year as consolation.
  • Need the dudes (and other things I don't blame on the coaches). Immediate starters or guys who played because Michigan sorely needed his body and his pulse at that position.

Names that should have redshirted are in red.

Class of 2011


Did you really need both, 2011? [Upchurch]

Hoke arrived to an offensive machine with two years of eligibility remaining, and a nightmare defense of guys who couldn't displace recent departures like Jonas Mouton, Ray Vinopal, Adam Patterson, Greg Banks, and James Rogers. The immediate need was obvious and Hoke rightfully set about recruiting freshmen who could fill those roles. So I'll give him a pass for some of it.

Hollowell's 2011 contribution was more than scooping up a fumbled kickoff against VT, but it was also more than Ray Taylor's. [Melanie Maxwell|AnnArbor.com]

Wtf: None.

Pick ONE

Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell. The year following the Never Forget defensive backfield, Hoke recruited five likely cornerbacks: Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, Delonte Hollowell, Tamani Carter (redshirted, transferred before 2012), and Greg Brown (early enrollee, transferred before 2011 season). The roster still had J.T. Floyd, Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott (left program summer before 2012 season), available. In a pinch, Troy Woolfolk could have converted back when Thomas Gordon won the free safety job. At least one, and probably two true freshmen would have to play.

It immediately became apparent that one would be Countess. So to fill out the two deep they would need to burn Taylor or Hollowell's shirt. Hollowell arrived as the quintessential Cass Tech mite corner. The guy was 164 pounds, but saw some action at dime back vs. Nebraska, and recovered the fumble at the end of the first half. Taylor had two tackles and a personal foul.

Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark. Going into the season Beyer was a SAM and Clark a WDE. The difference between those positions in Michigan's 4-3 under was not very great, particularly because when Beyer was inserted it was for a 5-2 look. The WDE's depth chart was Craig Roh and Jibreel Black; SAM was Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon. The reason I say one would have played anyway is the rush end position has a lot rotation, and Black was already the starter in the nickel formation.

There wasn't much to differentiate the two in aggregate play; Beyer was the more consistent, Clark the more explosive. The coaches chose to have them compete through the year instead of preserving one. Had they done so Beyer was the obvious choice despite Clark's higher ceiling. Beyer was smaller and Michigan had Roh to be a more solid edge defender, but only Clark to be a merchant of chaos (remember the Sugar Bowl interception). On the other hand Frank had a rough history before Glenville, and could have used an adjustment season. Either way he would have been dismissed after last year's incident.

Needed dudes etc.

Blake Countess and Desmond Morgan won starting jobs on the 2011 defensive reclamation project. They also both would lose a season to injury so we have them back yay. Thomas Rawls I'm not broken up about, though he will be a pretty good MAC back this year. RBs usually have most of the "it" they ever will as freshmen, and if they do become long-term starters the toll it takes on their bodies means they're often better off moving through their careers early. A redshirt year can make a guy a better blocker, or put some distance between a good back and his heir, or let a smaller guy fill in. Matt Wile is a special pass even though they wasted his redshirt on kickoff duties (and punting during Hagerup's first suspension). I learned recently that Wile made it clear from the start he intended to graduate in four years and do engineering things.

[Save your anger for after the jump.]


Monday Presser 9-1-14: Players

Monday Presser 9-1-14: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 3rd, 2014 at 9:01 AM

photo 2

Funchess, Gardner, Taylor

This one’s for Devin and Devin. That first half you came out and really made a statement. What was going through your mind? Especially, Devin, with that back of the endzone catch. What was one your minds in that first half?

Funchess: “The preparation and practice. We prepared from the later parts of camp and then the week before the game so it was just preparation and practice. We were just doing it just like we practiced. Pitch and catch, and that’s what you saw on Saturday.

Gardner: “We were just in really good sync and you could see the work we put in through the-

/Devin Funchess is told his mic isn’t on.

Funchess: “You mean I’ve got to repeat what I said? I told you it wasn’t on. I tried to check it.”

/laughter. The picture above is taken.

Gardner: “As I was saying, I feel like our preparation throughout camp, like you said. I feel like we were in really good sync and that’s pretty much it. Just focus on what we had to do one each play. Not look forward or look back.”


Raymon, Brady told us you played probably the best football game that you played. That’s pretty high praise because you know how coaches are, they don’t every want to come out and say that. Talk about your performance in that game and also look forward to Notre Dame and what your greatest concern is.

Taylor: “I’ve been working a lot on technique through fall camp. Just keep coming to work and keep working hard technique-wise. He said I did great technique[-wise]. They didn’t throw too much but my technique was great. For Notre Dame I just want to come out and compete and just keep working and just get the job done.


What about Everett Golson? What kind of problems does he create because he’s one of those quarterbacks like Devin who can beat you with the run?

RT: “He’s fast. He can get out of the pocket and sling the ball up. He can make plays and beat you deep if you get off your man so he’s an explosive player.”


After watching film, Ray, what was the best part of the defensive performance on Saturday?

RT: “The defensive backs pressing a lot. They said we were a defense that played off a lot so we came up to press. The technique was great on Saturday, but that was last week. We’re looking forward to Notre Dame week.”


This is for any of the players. When you look at the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry what stands out about it for you and what does the rivalry going on hiatus take away from college football, or does it take anything away from college football?

DG: “I feel like it’s a great rivalry. You don’t really have to talk abut what kind of rivalry it is, everybody knows. The type of impact it has on college football and they type of implications it has around the country in the past so, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”


[After THE JUMP: Devin Gardner says the thing you probably saw on Twitter but should still read in context]



Monday Presser 9-1-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser 9-1-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 1st, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Hoke presser 2 

 file because I need to remember to shoot landscape next time

News bullets and other items:

  • Jabrill Peppers was held out of the second half to immediately receive treatment
  • Yet it was not classified as a boo-boo
  • Delano Hill, Graham Glasgow, and Peppers are all expected to be available against Notre Dame
  • Kyle Kalis’ back is fine
  • Hoke said Ray Taylor may have played his best game at Michigan against Appalachian State
  • Hoke took Devin Funchess off special teams. Funchess got mad, so Hoke put him back on
  • Hoke said there’s a plan for how to use Glasgow
  • All of the coaches mentioned a plan. Hoke said it’ll be a good one. No one cared to share what it was.

Opening Remarks:

“Number one, thanks for coming out. It was good to get the win last week. I think one thing was, part of that was that the crowd was into it. I think there was a lot of energy. The students, I know our guys feed off that so it was a great energy throughout the whole game. That always helps you as a football team.

“We need to build off of what we did on Saturday and continue to get better and improve offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game. Offensively, we have to be more precise in the precision in our passing game. That’s one thing that coming out that the offensive coaches and Doug [Nussmeier] really felt that the precision needed to be better. That’s mechanics, route running, the spacing that you need to have.

“The interior of the defensive front needs to be better. They got some yardage in there as far as through the middle of the defense. Some of it’s just fits, some of it’s not getting off blocks. That’s going to be a real emphasis and needs to be. And then winning the fourth quarter’s always huge and we didn’t do that as a team when you look at points in the fourth quarter. Those things we’ve got to do a better job. Turnover battle- we turned the one over, didn’t get any turnovers. You know, you don’t want to play football that way. You want to be on the plus side of that if you’ve got a chance to win so that being said those are things we need to do. We’ve moved to a new opponent, obviously. It’s one of the great rivalries in football and we’re excited about it.”

Can you talk about how the offensive line graded out on film and will we see any changes this week?

“Well, the guys up front all did some real good things and did some things they’ve got to do a better job of. We’ll have a plan for what we want to do this week.”

With Jabrill [Peppers], it didn’t look like he came out in the second half. What was the reason for that and this week are you going to limit him at all?

“He’s been in there all morning getting treatment. We haven’t started school yet. We decided- I made a decision at half time because they could start treating it right then not to come out in the second half. You know, [instead of being] in a boot on the sideline start the process of healing. So we’re excited and we’ll evaluate every day but he’s working hard to get better.”

You mentioned interior defense. Have you guys had a chance to look at Notre Dame’s running backs at all?

“Yeah. We started that yesterday, yeah. I think that they rushed the ball pretty well against Utah State. I think that have two backs that are a little bit similar and one that’s a bigger bruiser guy and they ran the ball pretty well.”

So with Jabrill would you say he’s a question mark for Saturday?

“I don’t think it’ll be a question mark. I think he’ll be ready to play.”

Did he go yesterday with you guys?

“No. no.”

You mentioned the offensive line. Where does Graham [Glasgow] settle in here?

“Well, we’ve got a plan for it and we’ll go through the week.”

Do you want to divulge what that is?


[After THE JUMP: evaluating the defense, scouting Notre Dame, and the inevitable Nussmeier-on-the-sidelines questions]


Preview 2014: Cornerback

Preview 2014: Cornerback Comment Count

Brian August 28th, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Previously: Podcast 6.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End. Defensive Tackle. Linebacker.

Rating: 4.5.

Boundary Corner Yr. Field Corner Yr. Nickelback Yr.
Blake Countess Jr.* Raymon Taylor Sr. Jabrill Peppers Fr.
Jabrill Peppers Fr. Jourdan Lewis So. Blake Countess Jr.*
Delonte Hollowell Sr. Channing Stribling So. Dymonte Thomas So.

Michigan returns their entire cornerback corps and adds Jabrill Peppers, which is kind of amazing. The top guy on the depth chart is… uh… well, it is one of four guys. Which is amazing.


This happened a lot. [Bryan Fuller]

I guess we'll start with BLAKE COUNTESS, because he's first alphabetically. Countess was on the Michigan Star Corner track after emerging as a freshman starter, and then he blew his knee up in the 2012 opener against Alabama. One medical redshirt later, Countess returned with a bucket of hype (Jabrill Peppers has a firetruck) and just about made good on it.

Countess's six interceptions were the most by a Michigan corner since Todd Howard in 2000 and are in a multi-way tie for third all time (Tom Curtis had 10 in 1968; Charles Woodson had 8 in 1997), and he led the way for a good pass defense that got little help from its pass rush and was so dissatisfied with its safety play that it started swapping them around midseason.

So why does it feel like he's been kind of a disappointment? One Tyler Lockett facecrushing will do that to you.

Countess was also just about run off the field by Devier Posey as a freshman and one of the reasons people are so hype about Freddy Canteen is that he pulled the same on Countess. He seems more vulnerable than a star should be.

But this feeling is probably not an accurate feeling. I mean, six interceptions, and again these were earned. He is a crafty gentleman well versed in baiting a quarterback to throw the deeper route in cover two only to pop up, twirl his dastardly mustache, and make off with the dame ball. His pick at the end of the first half of the Notre Dame game was the thing preventing the later Gardner pick six from being a face-melting event:

His interception at Iowa was a virtual replay, and it's something that Anonymous Big Ten Opponent noted:

"I thought Blake Countess was tough to play against. He's not real physical but he's one of those guys that knows what he does well and what he doesn't. And he sort of lulled us to sleep. We kept thinking that we could go at him and I think that's what he wanted because he stepped in front of two balls, picked one, and we didn't throw at him very much after that."

Opponents hate quarterbacks who feel dangerous to throw against. Countess was definitely that. If he feels like a disappointment that's because our expectations were way too high. I admit some guilt in this department. Post-Indiana:

Other than that he was probably the best guy out there. I said he'd gotten burned in the game column, but the longer Wynn touchdown was not on him. It was more on Wilson and a defense that was vulnerable to that particular play given how they aligned. He got a PBU on a corner route that was straight out of pressing Michael Floyd and living; he was close enough to bother IU receivers; he is pretty good. He's not the crazy star we thought he'd be, at least not yet.

Pretty good is pretty good for a redshirt sophomore. Countess still has considerable upside. He's got two more years in the program—prepare for him to be the Big Ten's Brooks Bollinger Memorial 8th Year Senior next year—and had his quality 2013 despite an injury that required offseason surgery:

"It was lower abdominal pain," Countess said. "(I was somewhat limited), but I played through it. Just movement. Speed. Things like that. Not anything that you guys could probably recognize, but I didn't feel like myself completely on gamedays or throughout the week.

"I had a decent season last year, but it was definitely something I voiced to my coaches and trainers."

Countess probably won't be as prolific in the interception department; he should continue getting incrementally better; if the injury issue was a real problem he could even get to that Leon Hall level. It says here that he remains a bit short of that, and plays at a second-team All Big Ten level.

[AFTER the JUMP: no Peppers, he's in the safeties. BUT LOTS OF GUYS EVEN SO!]


Fall Camp Presser 8-22-14: Brady Hoke

Fall Camp Presser 8-22-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp August 23rd, 2014 at 9:02 AM


News bullets and other items:

  • Blake Countess and Ray Taylor would be the starting corners if the season started today
  • Ryan Glasgow would be the starting nose tackle and Willie Henry the starting three technique if the season started today
  • Jabrill Peppers will be returning punts
  • Dennis Norfleet is the starting slot receiver, though Freddy Canteen has gotten better as camp has gone on

Opening remarks:

“Number one, thanks for coming out. We’ll break camp tomorrow. We've had two really good practices after taking Wednesday just to get them a little back healthy and rest and all that kind of stuff. Guys have done a nice job. Those two practices were spirited obviously. We had some humidity which was good because that's really the first time and then yesterday we were inside because we were thinking that we were going to get the storm that we finally got and it was good because it was nice and hot in there so they got to work through that a little bit.

Their mindset has been awfully good and the competition level, competing in challenging each other every day I think has been really good for us and I think our coaches and players would say the same thing. The competition has been very positive at every position. I'm excited about how they've come out and competed. Today for us was a Wednesday, Tomorrow will be a Thursday in how we manufacture the practice time. Will give them some rest on Sunday, give them some rest on Monday. That would almost normal for what a school– getting them ready and acclimated to the school times of practice.

We should be healthy as we can be right now. Still don't know about Delano [Hill]. He's been practicing as far as no contact. He feels good. The doctors will still evaluate him one more time and let us know if he will be ready for Appalachian State or not. Jake Butt has come a long way but I would say were still on the timetable we talked about and we’ll get with the doctors on that a little bit more.

The leadership on this team has really been throughout the team. I think when they voted for guys out of each class it's been really a positive and those guys--you can see it just in how they've treated each other--came out and competed and the things you want to see. It's been really a good camp. We're going to finish that tomorrow morning. Most of that will be a lot of kicking up at the stadium and a little bit of some of the scout team work that we want to continue to do but we won't be there but an hour and 15 minutes. A little bit of a preview of game day. How we approach it, who goes out when, all the mechanics with that. We've done it once so far but this will give us another chance. We have new guys on the team who weren’t here before and we made a couple changes so I think those are all positives.”

We haven't talked a lot about special-teams. You talked about Matt Wile. How confident are you that he's going to go from being your long-range guy to being your every-field-goal guy?

“Well, you know, Matt was always consistent from long-range or from every-field-goal guy. He's done a nice job. We rushed him a little bit because he's been doing kickoffs and that the last two days but I'm sure that tomorrow we might not kick him just for the simple fact that he probably wouldn't be at his best. He had a little bit of a foot [injury] which wasn’t his plant foot but that's fine but we just want to make sure that we’re resting him enough.”

So it's his kicking foot then?

“Yeah, which I've never heard of. You'd think it would be a plant foot. I'd be more worried if it was the plant foot.”

Kyle Kalis – is he healthy now and which positions is he working yet and does he have a chance to start?

“Well, I think he has a chance. I think we're still going through that a little bit with him. He's practiced the last two days which is the positive. I think between him and the way we been running it over there, you know, we've got [Kyle] Bosch over there working some, Joe Burzynski has been over there working some but, you know, getting Kyle back out is a real plus. Gives you some more… a little more of different people that we can play with.”

Who's going to be returning punts?

“That would be Jabrill.”

[After THE JUMP: corner shuffling, your starters on the interior defensive line, and another non-answer regarding captains]

MGoQuestion: Who's competing at nose tackle and who's at three tech?

“Oh boy. I’ll tell ya, Ryan Glasgow has had a really good fall camp, Ondre Pipkins has had a really good fall camp, Mone, Bryan Mone. There's all four of them at the nose, they’ve played really well. Ryan would be the starter. At the three technique I think Wille Henry, Chris Wormley, and Matt Godin and Tom Strobel have all really done a nice job but if we started today Willie would be the guy up first.”

You said you're working with Jabrill on punt returns. You guys haven't had much from the punt return. I mean, you had some sure-handed guys but is that an area that you need to get more out of?

“Well, I think that number one we’re putting a lot of our best guys out on the field and I think that's a plus. I think we've had some in the last three years that have been decent, some that maybe we haven't fielded the ball as well as we should have sometimes and I think that's all true – every special teams you want to get improvement.”

Is Norfleet still in at kick returner?

“Yeah. Oh yeah.”

What were the two or three things when you opened camp that you felt you absolutely had to accomplish and did you?

“I think yeah, we did accomplish it. The first thing which you guys all love to ask is the offensive line and I think that the progress that's been made there is really positive. Do I think that we're where we need to be as we get through the season? No, not yet but there's been a lot of progress. I think at the corner position we’ve had a great competition out there and I think all those guys have improved and that’s huge. I think up front defensively I think being a defensive line coach the noses and the three techniques, who is going to separate themselves and I think I said that the other day and Willie has done that at the three and I would say Ryan has right now at the nose position so those things were all – I think how the group of linebackers has worked together, and then the receivers. Who is going to come on and where Darboh’s health was. All of those things were part of what we wanted to see.”

You said you were going to work Jabrill more at the nickel but does Jourdan [Lewis] have that other spot? Is he a starter?

I think if we went out today it would be Ray [Taylor] and Blake [Countess]. Jourdan’s had a good fall camp. [Channing] Strib[ling]’s had a good fall camp, need a little more consistency. Delonte Hollowell’s had a good fall camp so I think that if we started the game today though it would be Blake and Ray.

Is that an experience thing?

“No, they've played well. The competition has been very heated.”

When you talk about the group of linebackers working together, how’s that come together with Jake [Ryan] changing positions and all of that and how are they working together?

“Well, I think that whole group has really worked well together and you can throw Ben Gedeon in there, Royce [Jenkins-Stone], James Ross, [Joe] Bolden, Desmond Morgan, and Jake. Mike McCray’s had a good fall camp. He's got to be a little more consistent but we like what we’ve seen of him so far. I think Jake had a little apprehension coming into camp even though he was over there all spring but I really think that he did a very good job of asserting himself in the position.”

You guys really liked Jarrod Wilson coming out of the spring. Has he solidified that free safety spot for you and what do you like about having him back there?

“Yeah, he has. I like his range, Like his intelligence, like his toughness, his ball skills and the abilities that he has.”

You mentioned the corners. What kind of rotating could you do at that point? You mentioned Ray and Blake but are Jordan and Jabrill going to be outside too?

“They can. They can. We haven't sat down yet to say we're gonna play this guy so many reps, this guy so many reps.”

But you don't mind shuffling them at those spots? I know Greg [Mattison] didn't like shuffling safeties...

“…as much last year. I think there were different reasons why. I think sometimes it’s just a comfort level with guys. You know everybody's going to get you in the right positions.”

So maybe there'll be more of it this year?

“Yeah, I would think so.”

What kind of weapon is Hagerup? We haven't seen him in a while. What does he add?

“Well, as far as Hagerup, what I like about Will is how he's come back, how he's taken some – that's hard to go through what he's gone through. I'm proud of him. You know, when he's on, which two years ago he was on most of the time, he's very effective in changing the field.”


“You know, we've got great leadership throughout.”

We heard a lot about Freddy [Canteen] in the spring and saw a lot of him in the spring scrimmage. Is he the slot guy or is Dennis [Norfleet] the slot guy?

“Dennis right now. I think one thing, Freddy, he started a little slower but he's finished very well.’

So you think that’s a shared position?

“Yeah, I think that personnel groups and formationally it makes a difference.”


Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian August 22nd, 2014 at 2:38 PM


A lot of big formations

Why did you do this?

Oh some attempt at achieving completeness or something. Without actually doing so, of course.

Please tell me you didn't do the other side of the ball.

I did! At least it was short.

Well then. You may as well detail what you discovered.

Ah yes, but let's put in a jump here.

[After THE JUMP: Clark against the best tackle in the league, inexplicable LB sub pattern, Washington falls off a cliff, corners are in your base]


Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 21st, 2013 at 3:43 PM

TUBE NOTES: These are not tubes, but it's pretty much tubes.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan defended spread stuff exactly like Northwestern did, leaving in a 4-3 and sliding their linebackers to the slot receiver. Since Northwestern was in a spread all the time, this was what they did all the time.

4-3-even-slide 3

Cam Gordon over the first slot receiver, Morgan in the gray area over #3, Ross in the box.

When Northwestern went with two WRs to one side instead of three two LBs were in the box.


Michigan only went to 4-3 stuff when Northwestern went into goal line business.

pistol fb goal line

Michigan kept two deep safeties most of the day, which was a change from Nebraska.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Secondary was Countess and Taylor at corner with Stribling the third guy when Michigan went to the nickel, which was a lot less frequent. Gordon and Avery got most of the snaps at safety, with Wilson rotating in on occasion and Furman getting one drive, IIRC. He did not chart.

Linebacker the usual. Morgan/Ross/Bolden rotation at ILB, Ryan and Cam Gordon at SAM.

On the line, Beyer and Wormley rotated at SDE, Ojemudia and Clark at WDE. Black, Washington, and Henry got almost all of the DT snaps, with Black again mostly at NT. Glasgow got a few snaps, and Charlton got DT snaps in the nickel package.

[After THE JUMP: infinite clips of Mike Trumpy running for two yards.]


Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian October 25th, 2013 at 3:19 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent every snap in their nickel. This was fairly typical.


That also shows what I called "shotgun triangle" for IU. Wynn is lined up in the backfield behind the QB, but it's shotgun depth, not pistol. Wynn would always motion out after a hand-wave from the QB; this was always a decoy.


Michigan did show a few okie packages. This is Okie two; I designate them by the number of safeties.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Boatloads. Avery went back to safety and spotted Gordon and Wilson from time to time. This led to a lot of Stribling and Lewis, as Michigan played every snap in their nickel. Countess and Taylor did not leave the field, IIRC.

At linebacker the usual Ross/Morgan/Bolden rotation saw Ben Gedeon join. The line was the usual profusion of bodies. Clark or Ojemudia was usually one end with one of Beyer/Ryan/CGordon the other. On the interior, Washington, Black, Wormley, Henry and Heitzman seemed to split snaps almost evenly. Glasgow also got in some.

[After THE JUMP: go go go go go go go go go go]


This Week's Obsession: The Brahma Defense

This Week's Obsession: The Brahma Defense Comment Count

Seth October 23rd, 2013 at 2:32 PM


On one hand it was freak plays against a freak offense. On the other hand it was a whole LOT of offense. On the other other hand Indiana is actually quite talented. On the other other other regression in pass rush. On the other other other they're consistently there to make plays. On the other other other other they consistently don't make those plays.

The Pantheon:

  • Vishnu Cook. Cannot be exactly defined. Known to be rather impatient with people who screw with his flowers.
  • Aci Parashaktibender. The personification of the divine power of creativity, particularly off the dribble.
  • Shiva Fisher. The destroyer who comes in both the form of a benevolent copy editor, and the fearsome form of a chartmonger.
  • Blue Indra South Bend. God of rain, thunderstorms, and snark, with hair and beard the color of flames.
  • Dheikovantari. God of medicine and that one constraint play he's always on about.
  • Coach Brhaspati. Guru of the gods.
  • Saramathleti. God of knowledge, music, arts, science, and overseer of vast spreadsheets wherein these things are contained.

The Question:

What is the essence of Michigan's 2013 defense, and how will it hold up against the remaining schedule?

Mathlete: For me, I see just one thing about this defense. They are a good defense. They are not a great defense, they are not a dominant defense, they are not a shut down defense, but definitely a good defense. They've had two awful halves (second half against Akron and second last weekend).

2 -Upchurch - IMG_4561
They are a good defense. They will never be a great defense. They are a Thomas Gordon defense. [Upchurch]

They've been put in some bad positions by the offense and haven't been able to bail them out a lot. But they haven't put the offense in a bad position yet this season. The only real deficits the offense has faced this year have come after defensive touchdowns or short fields induced by the offense.

I think Mattison has found the perfect positioning for the talent and the offense that Michigan has. Lacking real play makers he has put together a defense that has limited big plays against non-Indiana teams, forced teams to drive the field, convert third downs and go 10 plays without making a drive ending mistake. Most teams can't do that very times in a game. Nebraska, a healthy Northwestern and Ohio State probably can. Michigan State hasn't proven it can against an FBS team that isn't Indiana. Iowa may be able to, but probably not to a major degree. This works because this defense shouldn't be needed to win games. They aren't quite talented/experienced enough to do that without incurring major risk. Michigan's offense should be dynamic enough that a good defense forcing teams to beat them should get them to 9 wins, easily.

That's where the trouble came against Penn State, the offense didn't push the pedal enough and the defense wasn't quite good enough to push against the stacked deck. I am convinced that an offense that is aggressive, even with a few extra turnovers is the perfect compliment to this defense. We will struggle against the remaining opponents if that aggressiveness goes away because turnovers will still happen (that's football) but the defense is just not equipped yet to be the game-changing unit.

[Brian's complete lack of surprise, after the Jump]


One Frame At A Time: Indiana

One Frame At A Time: Indiana Comment Count

Ace October 22nd, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Reader and graphic designer Brian Downing shows off his skills with the above, which I wish I was aware of before attempting my own "Al Borges is trolling us all" GIF:

Brian's (NTB's) is obviously superior; both of these are exempted from voting this week since they're edited. There's still plenty to choose from after the jump, mostly featuring Indiana not playing defense and various reactions to the on-field insanity. It's a good crop, so...