Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

[PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to a three-pronged failure in various systems I lost the first half of UFR and had to re-do it. I tried, but couldn't get it done for today. 2x UFR tomorrow.]

Minnesota's offense struggled to move the ball most of Saturday. When they did move it was often because Michigan was in a difficult position against spread principles. For example: on Minnesota's first snap, Michigan slid their linebackers way to the field against a trips formation and gave up five yards when the tailback cut all the way behind the defensive line.

I'm not sure if this is actually a problem Michigan should fix or if they're taking away certain things that would otherwise be open and will just open up another hole in the dam. In certain cases, anyway. I caught a second-quarter run—at twelve yards, Minnesota's long run of the day—on which Michigan's alignment had them in trouble from the start. Since the Big Ten Network was running an uncommonly large number of useful replays, we can take a look at it from the end zone.

Begin!

outnumbered-1]

From the dead center of the field Minnesota comes out in a pistol formation with two backs flanking the quarterback. Minnesota has two WRs not shown. When Blue Seoul was pumping out With Pics on the regular he would often point out presnap alignment issues, and Michigan has one here.

This is a balanced formation right smack in the middle of the field, but note that the linebackers are shifted to the left—Demens is left of the center; Morgan is inside the tackle to the right while Ryan is well outside. The line is also shifted left: Washington is inside the guard, Campbell outside. As a result you can draw a line with five Minnesota players to one side and three Michigan defenders:

outnumbered-1

Minnesota will run at this, running the back on the left across the QB and pulling a guard to keep that two-man advantage as the center uses his angle to take care of Campbell.

outnumbered-2

Before the mesh point a few things are clear: the three backside defenders are basically nonentities. Demens has a shot, maybe, but he's getting a free release from a tackle with an excellent angle and is in tough. The two backs are available to take on Clark and Morgan.

At the mesh point and just after, two things. First, Clark:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

Clark dives inside the pack trying to get him, which could be a valid move. The second frame there has a pulling guard; if Clark hits him that's two blockers on one guy. Because Michigan was badly aligned that still won't matter, though. Minnesota will run this later at Keith Heitzman; Heitzman will do the same thing and peg the QB, so this was what Mattison wanted… sort of. I'll explain below what he actually wanted, probably.

Second, Demens:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

He eats a block, but I'm not even mad when he eats a guy before it's even clear who has the ball. Even if he reads the play on the snap this guy probably gets him since he's got a great angle; if the tackle doesn't the pulling guard literally has no one to block so Demens will again feel the wrath of two different OL on the same play. If Demens is at fault it's for presnap stuff involving this alignment that gets him in trouble.

By the time the back breaks outside, it doesn't really matter what Morgan does, the play is getting yards, whether it's inside or out.

outnumbered-5

But man you still shouldn't get hewed to the ground like this and give up the edge:

outnumbered-6

It was faintly possible that Washington, who beat a down block, gets in some sort of tackle attempt, and you also wouldn't be forcing Kovacs to get on his horse outside like he does. Note that Raymon Taylor is also on his knees after eating a cut block:

outnumbered-7

Kovacs has to take an awkward angle around that block and misses the tackle as a result. He does get the guy off balance; Taylor recovers.

outnumbered-8

Twelve yards.

outnumbered-9

Video

Things And Stuff

I don't really have a big theme here. Often these posts are attempts to explain a general trend—like Michigan not blocking anyone against Nebraska—with some concrete examples. This is just a thing that happened and probably doesn't mean much of anything. These things pop up from time to time; the defense is still really good.

If there is a theme it's that these things tend to get fixed, as we'll see in the next bullet.

Clark is less good at defending the run than other folk/Mattison adjusts fast. There are two main differences between this and a –1 yard run later in the game off this same play. One is Heitzman. Watch the defensive end to the bottom of the screen:

That may be a different playcall that causes Beyer to move down on the tackle and prevent him from releasing. It is more useful than what Clark does above. While that's not a two for one the guy taking Demens is now the pulling guard, who takes a lot longer to get out on him. That allows Demens to get outside of him; a gap further inside James Ross is also playside of that tackle when he finally releases.

The other difference is of course JMFR, who demonstrates what the coaches are talking about when they call him an "unorthodox" player by taking a cut block hard and still managing to fling his off-balance body at the RB for a TFL.

Even if that does not happen Michigan has this covered as this chain…

  1. Beyer holds up T
  2. Demens beats pulling G to outside
  3. Back bounces it outside
  4. Gordon runs past RB with no angle now

…has an unblocked guy waiting to clean up if'n Ryan isn't a wizard or something.

These things tend to get fixed. Note that Michigan's alignment above is even instead of slid to one side or the other.

I am sorry to remind you of our shared, dark past, but remember the GERG defenses when Michigan would frequently get annihilated by the same thing over and over again? In the Oh God Justin Siller game (to be fair, a GERG defense only in spirit, not in letter) it was ten yard outs over and over. In the 2010 Wisconsin game I think the Badgers ran power 28 straight times in the second half, and I am not even sure that's a joke. One of the most frustrating aspects of Michigan's terrible terrible defenses pre-Mattison were the times when the same thing just kept working.

Here Michigan gets burned for a first down. The next two snaps they see out of this formation are runs that go for zero and –1 yards. That's why there's not a theme, because the things that seem to be dodgy with this defense are pure talent issues. Michigan doesn't have an elite pass-rusher or a lot of speed in the secondary. This leads to lots of attempted deep bombs that have not come off yet, mostly.

Minnesota backs and receivers can really cut block. Seriously, our guys could learn something from the Gophers in that department. Michigan CBs and LBs hit the ground a lot in this game, even if sometimes they got up like an unkillable zombie and made the tackle anyway.

Washington: pretty good. He couldn't do anything about the 12 yarder above; he did get off a block and pursue in case he could.

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Formation notes: Most of the game was in the under:

4-4-even

On certain passing downs Michigan did this weird thing with one of the DEs pulled up in a two point stance between the two NTs:

3-3-5-offset

M dropped eight on this and got quick pressure when Roh beat the T around the edge one on one.

Here it is again:

f-weird-thing

May see that a little more going forward, but it's obviously a gimmicky passing down defense only.

Substitution notes: Back seven was the established starters the whole way with two exceptions: Cam Gordon got a fair number of snaps in place of Jake Ryan and Bolden came in for Demens on the last drive. I don't think Morgan came off for even a snap.

On the line, all spots got a dose of rotation. Roh got the most time; Heitzman backed him up and got a couple spots at three-tech. Washington was also heavily deployed; Pipkins backed him up. Campbell had the edge on Black at three tech but Black got more snaps than he has in the recent past. Beyer went most of the way at WDE with Ojemudia backing.

[AFTER THE JUMP: charts and stuff.]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-31-12: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-31-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 31st, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Bowlettes [Updated for clarity]:

  • Devin Gardner has been taking most of the snaps at QB this week. Denard is obviously limited during his recovery, but I think it's curious that Bellomy has gotten only "a couple," regardless of whether he's the No. 1 or No. 2 backup. You'd expect Gardner and Bellomy to split reps equally and compete for the top backup spot. Plausible explanation: Bellomy is also limited by some undisclosed injury. (I don't know for sure, but it's an educated guess.) Either way, it sounds like Gardner is the bona fide starting QB until Denard recovers.
  • As of now, Denard is expected back for Saturday. Hoke says the final call on the quarterback situation will be made just before game time. If you have been paying attention to Michigan's football program over the last season and a half, however, you have surmised that Michigan is highly unlikely to make this kind of decision just before game time. That decision will probably be made very soon if it has not been made already.
  • If the distribution of QB snaps (see above) and Michigan's track record for saying things that turn out not to be true (e.g. previous injury reports and recovery projections, most notably during the Nebraska game, "Michigan says Denard will return to the game in the second half ...") are any indication, I would guess the probability that Denard plays on Saturday is around 50%, maybe less. In the absence of real information though, anything is possible; I'm not optimistic, but I never am. 
  • Amara Darboh and Joe Reynolds have gotten the reps at receiver that Gardner is now missing.

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

file

Opening remarks:

“Thought we came out yesterday and had a really good practice. That’s good to see. We didn’t play as well as we’d like to. I think everybody understands that, but I think we’ve moved forward and did a lot of things as a team very well. Competed very well. We’re pretty physical with each other, which is always a good thing. You don’t have guys feeling sorry for themselves, so the intensity level was good.”

Can you talk at all about the division of snaps at quarterback?

“You know, I couldn’t give you an exact number, to be honest with you. You know, Denard took some, Devin took a lot, and then Russell took a couple.”

Will Denard play on Saturday?

“We’re planning on it.”

Does he have any physical limitations?

“Not really. Not right now. He’s better. It’s not all the way cleared up yet, but it’s better.”

Monday Presser Transcript 10-22-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-22-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 22nd, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Bullets:

  • Raymon Taylor should be good to go Saturday against Nebraska.
  • Hoke is being super coy about putting Denard on the kickoff return team.
  • Spread punts! I asked. Hoke answered. And ... he's just more comfortable with the traditional punt, it seems. 

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

Presser

file

Opening remarks:

“You know, we had a good practice last night. Good energy. We have an opponent that’s an awfully good football team when you look at they’ve won 18 of 20 at home. They’re 4-0 this year. I think Taylor Martinez is playing his best football. You look defensively or offensively, they’re leading the league in scoring. Very good football team. They’re physical up front. Defensively you look at tackles for a loss and you look at negative plays that they create. They’re leading in sacks, I think they’re leading in TFLs. Very physical group. Playing in Lincoln a neat place to play because of their tradition and their passion that they have as a fan base about Nebraska football. It’s really a neat place to play. It’ll be loud. We’ll have to play our best football that we’ve played this year.”

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-16-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-16-12: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on October 16th, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Greg Mattison

file

Opening remarks:

“This is the week you look for. This is a big week for us, and you know, I know our guys are going to prepare that way. I think as a football program, we’re very very excited about this challenge.”

Can you talk about the emphasis on physicality this week?

“There’s no question about it. I think last year if you look back, that’s something that kind of sticks with us the entire year. They took it to us. You can cut it any way you want. They lined up, ran the football, and knocked us off the football and we don’t like that. We don’t believe in that at Michigan. It’s going to be that kind of game. It’s going to be a very physical football game.”

Do you feel like that game motivated your defense the rest of the way?

“Oh no. I don’t think -- any time you don’t play well, I hope you don’t use that for motivation. I think if anything, it emphasized that each and every week you must play physical. You can’t go out there anytime and think we’re Michigan, we’re going to play. In this league, against the people we play each and every week, you have to bring your a game.”

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Purdue

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

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

4-3-slide

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

trips bunch TE

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

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

4-3-even-split

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

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

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

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

Shoe shoe.

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

I almost kind of expect this.

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

I don't know, you know?

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

CHART

a chart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought you were kind of mad at JT Floyd?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAKE F. RYAN

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

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

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

Also, murderdeathkill.

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

+10, no minus, yeah baby.

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

Demens? Morgan?

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

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

DL marveling?

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

Anyone new emerging?

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

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

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

Heroes?

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

Goa—nevermind.

Srs. GTFO, man.

What does it mean for Illinois and the future?

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

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

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

Mattison must break you. Jake Ryan is his tool.

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-9-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-9-12: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on October 9th, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Greg Mattison

file

[THE SCENE: A member of the media (who shall remain anonymous) talks about being involved in a recent car accident. Enter Greg Mattison]

“… You really didn’t go get an ambulance to take you to the hospital, did you? You really didn’t do that, did you? Come on.”

I hurt my back and neck.

“Come on ...”

I hurt my back and neck! It’s not my fault they rear-ended me.

“Come oooon. I mean, just think of the force these guys out on the field that get hit with. Sheez.”

Hey, they might get hit with the same force, but … they’re expecting it!

[Sigh.] “What do we have? What do we got?”

You had to be pleased with the effort last Saturday, huh.

“Yeah I was pleased with the effort. We’ve stressed so much about you’ve got to run to the football, you’ve got to play as hard as you can on each and every snap, and when they feel, I think, that you’re sincere in having a rotation and having guys go in that game and you’re in the Big Ten, you’re playing for all of it each game. It was good to see them buy into that and play extremely hard on every play. There were plays in that game that I was very pleased, when you looked out there, it was the way I perceived Michigan defense, where you had all 11 running as hard as they could to the football. Not nine, not eight. And then when a young man had played a number of plays, then the next guy goes in and he did the same thing. Still our technique, still we’ve got a long ways to go that way. We had a couple missed assignments that you can have, but all in all the effort was very pleasing.”

That 70s Game

That 70s Game

Submitted by Brian on October 8th, 2012 at 12:24 PM

10/6/2012 – Michigan 44, Purdue 13 – 3-2, 1-0 Big Ten

8062728265_9504ec1162_z[1]

Bryan Fuller

For three hours on Saturday, October 6th, 2012, a rapidly-expanding event horizon engulfed the Indiana town of West Lafayette. Inside, gold chains were cool, Playboy featured natural breasts, you could lose four-year-olds in your carpet, and mass colorblindness reigned. Hair erupted from everywhere. Do not talk to central Indianans about storm drains.

A Jed Smithson from nearby Frankfort found his balding pate mysteriously replaced with a resplendent afro. Leaping atop a teal Chevy the size of a city block, he proclaimed a quest to fornicate with every hot broad in the county. He was a half-dozen hot broads into this project when the effect dissipated as mysteriously as it had arrived; the aftermath was even more appalling than that of the average middle-aged central Indiana sexual congress. Do not talk to Frankfort residents about what you can find in storm drains.

Unfortunately, due to the remote location of the event the only video evidence of this supernatural phenomenon was a foot-ball game between the University of Michigan and Purdue University in which the former team ran on every down for six yards a carry and the latter meekly accepted its place in the college football firmament. Up eighteen points at halftime, Michigan's head coach groused about his offensive line and said "you can't win football games like that" in reference to a fumble at the end of the first half. His team won by thirty-one. They ran for 300 yards and grudgingly passed for 100.

It was the greatest three hours of Jed Smithson's life, and pretty all right for Michigan fans watching on TV.

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

Michigan stewed for a week after intercepting away the Notre Dame game and came back resolved to boringly suffocate opponents. Thanks to Greg Mattison's ability to turn anything more coordinated than a tube sock into a functional defensive tackle and those things on Denard Robinson that aren't arms—leargs or something—their first experiment in 1970s death football was a resounding success. There were no interceptions, and one lost fumble. Michigan won by many points.

Iowa fan Adam Jacobi crashed in the guest room en route to and from Blogs With Balls 5; at some point he complained that his job required him to actually watch that incredibly dull game from start to finish, and the two halves of my brain high-fived each other. I have taken walks to the other end of sanity where Michigan beats Illinois 67-65 or loses to Penn State 41-31 and feel like settling down with a vacuum cleaner repair manual for a while just now. There are worse things than boredom.

Call it Lloydball or MANBALL or Every Michigan Game Before 1986 or whatever. The plan was obvious, and executed, and would have resulted in a resounding victory even if Purdue hadn't thrown in a free touchdown. Lloydmanbopigball it was, and it was beautiful for being so ugly.

After Michigan's first drive, a 17-play Viking saga that ended with a one yard plunge into the endzone, I told twitter that was the second half of the Notre Dame game continued. As that expanded into the whole game it seemed like Jesus had indeed been come to by both Al Borges and Denard Robinson. Borges put his head down and rammed various players into the line; Robinson threw the ball away once and pulled the ball on the read option lots.

How long will it last? Ask again later. This was an easy game to get away from your comfort zone as a playcaller, what with the enormous lead and the instant success and the 9.8 YPC from the quarterback. When things get tight and boredom threatens to send Michigan into a grim Big Ten loss with both teams in the teens, will Borges and Denard be able to find a middle ground that does not lead to crippling interceptions? Will folks be blocked, will throws be on, will anything be anything?

We've seen these moments before, moments where Michigan dials it back for Denard. Once that works and everyone's feeling good about themselves, the playbook sets to exploring the exact contours of Denard's competency, usually with slate gray results. Trash Tornado. Iowa. Etc.

At some point this year Michigan may be forced into dropping back and throwing over and over again; let's make sure we give the leisure suit offense every chance to succeed before flinging the doors open to this modernity business. Given the state of the league there's a pretty decent chance that gold chains and chest hair are all you need to make reservations in Pasadena.

Boring, Boring Bullets

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3Brady Hoke Epic Double Point of the week. This could go to Denard Robinson, obviously, but in the aftermath of a 213 yard performance by the opposing offense it feels more appropriate to hand it to Jake Ryan, whose sack leads this column. He picked up a second TFL, as well; more importantly he was tasked with sitting out on the perimeter against trips sets and annihilating anyone who took a step backwards in preparation for a WR screen.

Purdue was so discombobulated by this their WR-screen-heavy offense was reduced to a series of short passes in front of JT Floyd that were unsustainable as a method for driving the field. Ryan's performing at an All Big Ten level, easy.

Honorable mention: Al Borges (running the damn ball), Brady Hoke (for establishing the tone on the first drive by going for it on fourth down and likely for sitting Borges down and saying "get the gold chains, Al, and run the damn ball"), Denard Robinson (for running the damn ball), Kenny Demens (six solo tackles including the key stuff on Purdue's first three and out), defense in general.

Epic Double Point standings.

2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass), Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama)

I be like dang. When you only throw 16 times, your freshman tight end is not going to get a ton of looks but um guys I think he's pretty good anyway.

8062721680_7622ecff7f_b[1]

Bryan Fuller

That's Funchess's third and long catch that set M up on the goal line, which was impressive on the TV and more so in that shot. Mandich watch still won't return this week—may not return until Michigan has completed the Denard era if the ground game keeps this pace up—but I'm pretty sure he'll get there even with a freshman year detour into a 1970s offense.

Funchess did get pushed out of bounds on a long wheel route later, but I'm not sure if that's on him or just excellent coverage by the Boiler safety checking him.

Shoeless Shoelace. I don't remember more than one or two incidents in Denard's career where his shoe actually came off until this year, when it seems there's a 50-50 shot that any long run will feature one of Denard's socks. Tighten up that velcro, man.

Denard given time. …makes better decisions, and he's often given time because of his legs. Your nervous "oh God is Denard going to throw an INT" sickness was finally—at long last, sir—unnecessary, as on third and long Michigan just dropped back and threw, no funny stuff. The Funchess catch above saw Denard step forward in the pocket and shoot that ball in between three defenders:

Rollouts probably can't be dumped entirely but reducing them, as they were reduced in this game, is a good idea.

If someone on the schedule can stop Michigan's offense from the Purdue game and put up enough points to win, tip your cap and say "well done." I'm not sure anyone in the Big Ten eligible for the postseason can do both.

The Fitz issue. I don't know, man. I think some of his ineffectiveness was on Denard, who gave when he should have kept a couple times. Some of it was on the line, which was not getting creases except when the veer made it easy to do so. And some of it was on Toussaint, who got impatient and started going BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE.

There was a particularly egregious instance in the second half where the line had gotten decent push and he could have gotten three to five by running up the backs of his linemen; he decided to go backwards around a Lewan kickout and got a yard for his trouble. He is getting impatient.

I'm not sure Rawls is going to be much of a solution because the veer is Michigan's best play and a moose like that is not going to be much of a threat going laterally as that play demands the RB do. I wouldn't mind seeing Norfleet get some cracks at that, though.

As for Rawls, Michigan can fit him into the spread offense. Think Brandon Minor: a lot of plays that go right upfield. Michigan tried a couple belly plays against ND and got defeated by shifts into the 3-4; that shouldn't be a problem going forward and is a way to get a power back going straight downhill at the snap.

Where is the stuff that fits with the other stuff? The one lingering issue with the offense was a lack of play action off the plays Michigan actually runs. I count two first down passes in the entire game(!), one of them a bubble to Gallon, the other a long bomb also to Gallon that was IIRC run from under center. Michigan's other attempt to get a big gainer was a shot at Funchess down the sideline that played off the throwback screen that always works (even when it's deflected).

That was covered pretty well, and I get why. After watching Borges for a year and a half he has a tendency to iterate through different things you can do with a new (or recycled from a while back) package. He runs that fly sweep off the veer look, then runs the veer, then runs play action. He runs the throwback screen, then runs play action off that throwback screen. He runs an iso from the gun, then runs play action from iso from the gun. He runs a pitch play, then runs a halfback pass off the pitch. The pattern may be too obvious to get guys wide open downfield.

If you're running play action off stuff you run a lot, not just once, it become a lot harder to say to yourself "okay, this time they're going to fake it." As long as Michigan's staple plays don't have ways to dick with the safeties built in, there will be a lot of Epic Viking Saga drives and not much of the five-play, 80-yard stuff. That could come back to bite M against the better teams in the league.

Here's hoping that Michigan has it but decided to keep all that stuff under wraps for another week since there was no point at which Michigan needed to do anything other than choke the game out after the Taylor INT. I'm still waiting for Michigan to get a wide open dude way downfield.

Speaking of that bomb to Gallon. I'm just like man you gotta be a half-foot taller there, Jeremy Gallon. No excuse for still being 5'9" as a redshirt junior.

8062717583_c54c36fb79_z[1]

Fuller

Raymon Taylor entered a "free touchdown" coupon code. The game swung from plausible matchup to laugher on the fourth and two on which TerBush throws high and the WR deflects it directly to Taylor's meh coverage for a touchdown—that's 14-7 or 14-3 versus 21-0 and kind of a big deal. Given the yardage disparity, not enough of a big deal that it could have flipped the game but it is a big swing.

Holy pants defense. Film necessary to be sure but the DL kept those linebackers clean and kept contain, which led to a lot of nice sticks in or around the LOS. Kenny Demens set the tone when he shut down an outside run that looked like it was going to pick up a first down for the Boilers; he was allowed to do so because the DTs didn't allow anyone to get to him on the second level. Funny how he looks like a better player when he's not getting cut by multiple 260 pound Air Force guys on the same play.

Purdue's rushing output in this game was awe-inspiringly terrible. Restore seventeen yards lost on two sacks and Purdue still only gets to 73 yards on the day, barely over three yards a carry.

Purdue's only other relevant datapoint comes against a Notre Dame defense that's looking elite after a 41-3 stomping of Miami. Remove sacks and Purdue averaged 4.3 yards an attempt there—point Michigan.

Illinois hasn't put up more than 14 against a BCS opponent yet and have only managed to crest 300 yards once, that thanks to an 87 yard drive at the end of the Penn State game while down 35-7, so expect another outing like the last two before the Michigan State and Nebraska games define Michigan's season.

Kickoff WTF. The wind was not a factor Saturday so why did Wile cease booting things deep into the endzone? Did he get tired? Is he inconsistent? Is Michigan doing this on purpose for some reason, like maybe forcing a turnover when a returner tries to make a tough running catch?

We saw Michigan start screwing around with kickoffs in the UMass game, put all available into the endzone against ND, put all available into the endzone against Purdue until Michigan was up 14, and then more screwing around. Tentative guess is that it's experimentation with the new rules and that wind permitting we won't see anything fancy tried against MSU or Nebraska unless they've got something in their pocket.

Media

Highlights:

A shorter version:

Bryan Fuller's full photoset can be found in a previous post.

 

 

Here

Inside The Boxscore:

Denard didn’t throw any interceptions, and actually threw a ball out of bounds. Whoo-hoo!!!

Remembering the Touchdown Rabbit.

Elsewhere

Blogfolk. HSR:

I think it was easy to believe that "Bad Denard" was going to show up because we only tend to remember the last thing we have seen.  But Denard's apology after the Notre Dame game, and all of the right things we heard from the team and the coaches during the bye week* brought me to the conclusions that this was going to be an OK day.  It didn't make me any less fearful about the game, but I had staked out my position ahead of the game on that ground.

I'm all like man how do you even get Bad Denard when he throws 16 times. It's a lot harder, at least.

Also I can't agree with this bit from Touch The Banner…

Denard Robinson zone read anger.  Twice in this game, Robinson held onto the ball too long before pulling it out of the running back's stomach.  The first time it worked okay for him because he gained a bunch of yards, even though his running back (Toussaint or Smith, I can't remember) got smoked.  The second time it was disastrous because he got Smith crushed and, oh yeah, Robinson fumbled the ball in the process.  He gains a lot of yards because he's a dynamic runner, but he's never been adept at running those plays.

…when yanking the ball from his running back was something he did three times for huge gains on the veer. Michigan stayed away from a lot of reads when he was a sophomore and then de-emphasized them when Borges came in; we haven't been given a chance to see what would happen if he is put in a situation where he's doing it all the time. Probably too late now, but declaring anger after ten yards a carry against a DL featuring a first round pick that held ND to like 50 yards rushing… uh.

Sap's Decals:

JAKE RYAN – After watching #47 do his thing again, one word came to mind – MANSTER.  In the late ‘70s, Bob Ufer recalled how UM D-Tackle Chris Godfrey was called “manster” by fellow wolverine Ron Simpkins.  Why manster? He was half man, half monster. Jake Ryan – ‘nuff said!

Maize n Brew:

Michigan came out and did exactly what I hoped it would do: run, run, run. In my preview post for this game, I predicted (hoped, really) that Borges would call a run-heavy game, something to the tune of a 65:35 run-pass split. The Gorgeous One blew that figure away, with Michigan running it 51 times (not including the kneel downs) and passing only 16 times, good for a 76:24 run-pass split. It was the perfect gameplan for a team like Purdue: good tackles and good corners (with good playmaking ability) but not much else, particularly at linebacker, is basically a flashing neon sign saying RUN DENARD.

BWS:

This game was also another building block in the not-so-straw house of Michigan's defense. This Boilermaker offense, while not prolific, is still the most recent team to score an offensive touchdown on Notre Dame and had properly rolled the cupcakes you would expect from a good offense (48 against Eastern Kentucky, 54 against Eastern Michigan, and 51 against Marshall). Putting aside Raymon Taylor's gift pick-six* Michigan held Purdue to just 56 yards on 26 carries (2.2 YPC) and only 157 yards through the air on 23/35. Perhaps the most promising stat of the game is that Michigan's top four tacklers were all front-seven guys (Kenny Demens, Jake Ryan, Desmond Morgan, and Craig Roh). Michigan was controlling the line of scrimmage and hitting Purdue ball carriers at the point of attack. When Jordan Kovacs only makes one tackle in a dominating defensive performance, you know things are looking up.

Linking this just for the bizarre headline:

Pur"don’t": A Gravy Train With Biscuit Wheels

iseewhatyoudidthere.jpg AND lolwutpear.jpg in the same headline: well done.

Purdue POV. As you might imagine, the Purdue folk are not taking Saturday well. Purdue: Saturday :: Michigan : Alabama game.

Jumbo Heroes:

From the opening drive by Michigan yesterday Purdue was simply outmanned, outclassed, and quite frankly outcoached.  Purdue looked lost on offense for much of the game and seemed completely baffled that Denard Robinson was running with the ball.  Everyone knew coming in that Robinson was THE GUY that Purdue needed to stop in order to defeat Michigan.  Purdue failed miserably to do that.  Robinson ran for 235 yards in the game.  That’s more yardage than Purdue had on offense.  Wrap your head around that. 

Boiled Sports:

That was an embarrassing display in Ross-Ade Stadium this afternoon. Truly shameful. There's simply no way Michigan is that much better than Purdue. And to lose like that at home? In the first conference game of the season? When there are high hopes and getting off to a good start could quite possibly catapult you into the Big Ten title game? Much more easily than in most years? To come out like that and just stink up the joint so disgracefully?

Aaand Boiled Sports:

If you didn't watch it, congratulations.  Those hours that you spent coaching your children, watching better football, gardening, painting, napping or hunting for the perfect pumpkin were hours well-spent.  But the three hours that I spent in one of my favorite places in the world, I'll never get back. 

Postgame thread from Hammer And Rails:

Wasted money

I love Purdue football and basketball like a battered spouse loves their abuser, which is why I continue to spend my hard earned money to watch games like Saturday’s debacle. I am more disappointed for the program and students than anything. This was a chance to get some fans back. This was an opportunity to win some hearts and minds. No such luck. The fact the game wasn’t sold out was sad. The michigan fans sitting behind me were semi-mocking the stadium and number of fans and I could say nothing because they were right. …

by Scotty A on Oct 7, 2012 6:24 AM PDT

I don't know why some of you guys have to hit the special ed kid in the face. BE NICE.

MSM stuff. Michigan is ranked in the AP poll. I'm not sure where but probably first. Air Force and getting pounded by Alabama still distorting Michigan's pass D stats. Michigan had lots of time of possession, so therefore they outgained Purdue 2-1. I'm pretty sure that's the direction it goes.

Hoke is grumbling about penalties in the manner of an affronted walrus:

"We had some bad penalties, really three dumb penalties," Hoke said. "We don't want to play football that way."

This is a good sign when you have four penalties all game.

Grades of A for everyone! Except you, Fitz. Angelique suggests that maybe the defense is okay. Denard ties Ron Dayne for most B10 offensive player of the week awards.  M-MSU won't have a set gametime until October 20th. Also Joe Rexrode should explore the "rotate" option in his friendly local paint program.

ESPN predicts M to the Rose Bowl.

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-2-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-2-12: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on October 2nd, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Greg Mattison

file

Opening remarks:

“Well, it’s getting going in the Big Ten season, and you know we’ll see where we are and we’ll see how much we’ve improved. This is a good football team we’re playing. Purdue’s a much better team than they were last year. Watching them on film, they’ve done some good things, so this will be good. This will be good for us to take the next step.”

What are the things they do offensively that concern you the most?

“Well they throw a lot of screens. They throw a lot of screens, a lot of bubble screens, a lot of X screens, and that’s their way of getting the ball outside, so what they’re going to do is show you a running play and either hand it off in the run, or if they don’t feel like you’re covered down well enough, then they’re going to throw it out there, and they’ve been very successful on it.”

Is there a big difference between how they play this year vs. last year?

“Probably executing much much better this year. The quarterback’s making good throws, and they just look like a much better football team. The thing about it is you always look at who do they play, well they played Notre Dame pretty darn well. I’ve been watching a lot of them against us last year, too, and they beat Ohio, you know. They’ve shown that they can go.”

Unverified Voracity Is Getting A Call From Mom

Unverified Voracity Is Getting A Call From Mom

Submitted by Brian on October 2nd, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Caleb-TerBush-e1346524562334[1]

wait, what? – Caleb TerBush

Yikes. Michigan is a mere three-point favorite against Purdue this weekend, which seems mighty narrow to me. I may be assuming that Denard Robinson does not turn the ball over five times, which Vegas is not. Boo 2012 Notre Dame game, boo.

Purdue's coming off a not-as-close-as-you-think game against Marshall in which they led 42-14 at halftime before yielding three touchdowns in the first 18 minutes of the second half and allowing the Herd to get within ten points. They traded touchdowns in the final 12 minutes, and that was the final margin. Marshall's lost to Ohio and beat Rice in two OTs; they've got the worst scoring D in the country at the moment, and they outgained Purdue by 91 yards. If Michigan only wins by three I'll be expecting bad things the rest of the season. Purdue QB Caleb TerBush was ineffective against ND (8 of 19, 79 yards, 1 TD/2 INT) and was pulled for a considerably better Robert Marve. Marve won't be available.

So what I'm saying is that at first blush I don't like the spread, which makes me feel both sad and alarmed because it's the best predictor available. I would like to avoid posting this at any point over the weekend:

mjVSD[1]

Beyer's back. The most newsy bit of the press conference:

How’s your team’s health?

“There ya go. You know, I think Beyer will be back. Brandon Moore will be close. He’s getting better.”

Richard Ash?

“Richard is better. Uh there’s one more, too.”

Hopkins?

“Hop’s fine. Devin’s fine. They all practiced last night. Yeah Ricky Barnum was a little -- sore shoulder. He was fine last night. So with the guys who aren’t out for the year, the rest of them are okay.”

Marvin Robinson?

“He was better. He ran around last night and he feels much better.”

Beyer was walking around in an air cast after his injury and I was a little worried he might be laid up for a long time, which would have been bad. The options at WDE were a major target for ND and didn't do so well. Beyer at least gives them another option at the spot. Clark makes more plays you notice, but I'll bet a nickel Beyer is less likely to get caved in and give up the edge.

Also, feel free to infer that Brink is out for the year from the above.

Also also, this:

Are you worried that Denard is what he is, i.e. not improving in your system?

“No. Not at all. I mean, he’s our quarterback, and he’s a damned good quarterback. I didn’t say that, so don’t write that. No we’re very comfortable and we’re very confident in him. … I know you’re going to write that.”

I will.

“Daggone it. My mom’s going to read that and get mad.”

She doesn’t think you swear?

“Why don’t you just ask a question.”

And you're fired and you're fired and you're fired. Extreme media hostility isn't just for Los Angeles anymore:

Tuesday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier finally spoke with his media after two days of giving an opening statement and then refusing to field questions.

What has Spurrier so irked? Apparently columnist Ron Morris — again.

Ron Morris is a columnist at The State in South Carolina and has become Spurrier's nemesis. Last October, Spurrier called out Morris for something he wrote in the spring regarding then-basketball player Bruce Ellington and how Spurrier persuaded Ellington to play football.

This time, according to Saturday Down South, Spurrier seems to be mad about a Morris column that questioned playing quarterback Connor Shaw against UAB. Shaw, who has been nursing an injured shoulder he suffered in the season opener against Vanderbilt, injured the shoulder again against the Blazers.

The excerpt from the column that follows is pretty tame (also: dumb). Spurrier is accused of a "poor decision" to play Connor Shaw with a dinged shoulder, which he re-injured in the game. The column is just another tossed-off nothing (Shaw was 20 of 21 against Missouri), but apparently this business goes back a ways. Be chill, OBC.

Meanwhile, a local news station axed the guy's weekly segment, causing free speech rabbling.

Meanwhile in local media situations. Meinke is writing articles based off of his viewing of Inside Michigan Football. Interesting ones, even. Here's Mattison on Morgan defending that goddamned counter draw:

Mattison said he was most impressed by Morgan's discipline, specifically citing one counter draw play on which the sophomore could have pursued the ball, but elected to stay home as he was taught.

The play came back to him, and he made the tackle.

"We gave him that play probably four times in practice, and every time we gave it to him, we said, 'Desmond, you've got to stay home. You can't help on that sprint anyhow,'" Mattison said. "Well that same thing has happened before and he would go running and try to make the play because he's a young guy eager to make plays.

"All of the sudden, in this game, he became more of a veteran."

And Mattison on Raymon Taylor:

"Raymon has really improved," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said this week on the Inside Michigan Football radio show. "He has been thrown in the fire. If someone would have said to me at the beginning of the year, 'Will he be starting against Notre Dame?' I don't know if I would have said yes.

"(But) I was really proud of him how he played. He knows he's got a lot of things he has to get better at, but one thing he didn't do was shy away from anything. He competed."

I'm not sure you can do that. In yet another NHL draft ranking, Chris Peters tackles prospects 26-50. D Michael Downing and F Tyler Motte show up, FWIW, but I'm most intrigued by this construction:

49. Tyler Motte - C - U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL) - 5-9, 190

When at his best, he's an offensively dynamic talent. Good speed, solid strength despite a smallish frame, and good finish around the net make him an intriguing prospect. Motte has had a problem with consistency, which he has a whole season to prove isn't a problem anymore.

Lloyd Carr feels you, Mr. Peters. Also, yes please 5-9 kid good enough to be a second rounder. Needs moar tiny scoring machines at Yost.

Nice concourse. Wow:

concourse[1]

That's quite a difference from last year. Also the zambonis have studded tires now. Yost Built is back to posting, BTW. The Blue/White game scheduled for next Sunday will be a start-studded even thanks to the NHL lockout.

Etc.: UMHoops previews Jordan Morgan and Matt Vogrich. AP Mealer article is everywhere. Trey Burke is a third-team All-American to the Sporting News. Baumgardner on Burke. Weinreb on Holgo and the WVU-Baylor game. Michigan hasn't sucked after byes.