Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs South Carolina

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs South Carolina

Submitted by Brian on August 22nd, 2013 at 5:16 PM

IT ALSO EXISTS

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan did a lot of that stuff the Redskins did in Tecmo Bowl, lining up in one formation and then changing everyone around. There were some oddities.

This I called "near twins." You can see that Kerridge is the nominal tailback and Denard is aligned to his left.

near twins

In the NCAA football games that constitute the closest thing to a Unified Internet Football Lingo Database this might actually be "far." I don't remember. Someone tell me which it is and I'll fix it going forward.

This was "full house near," what with the two fullbacks and Denard:

full-house neaer

And this is "I-Form offset tight":

i-form offset-tight

Michigan also ran a few plays where Schofield and Lewan were on the left side of the line with the tight end playing right tackle:

lewan-schofield-united

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Gardner was at QB the whole way except for a few Denard QB plays, and often he was at WR when those happened. Denard was essentially the starting tailback; Smith came in and that was it at RB. Kerridge was full-time at FB.

The line was the usual save for one drive on which Lewan got knocked out; when that happened Schofield flipped to LT, Omameh slid over to RT, and Burzynski came in at RG.

WRs were the usual rotation heavy on Gallon and Roundtree with Dileo and Jackson filling in.

[AFTER THE JUMP: Gardner gets wobbly, Gallon owns people, Lewan vs Clowney verdict]

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-16-13: Al Borges

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-16-13: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on August 16th, 2013 at 3:28 PM

"Heiko, what's up? How's it going?"

MGo: Not bad. How are you?

"Good ... I'm supposed to give a shout out to Devin Gardner. Don't ask me what that's about. So I did it, okay?"

...

"Well this is pretty easy."

How comfortable has Devin Gardner looked in practice?

"Pretty comfortable, yeah. Like I said last time, he's pretty confident in nature. He's been in the system now for a while. Understands what we want. For the quarterback, if he thinks like the coaches, which I think he's doing more and more of, it really gives him a chance."

Have you seen specific elements that he improved on over the summer?

"Oh yeah. Yes. Just understanding route structure, decision-making. All that comes when you play more, obviously, but there's a big difference in terms of just knowing where to go with the ball, timing of the cuts, how we work ... we work a lot on improv stuff because he's athletic, but we would do this with any quarterback. We work a lot on when we break contain or push the pocket, when something doesn't happen by structure and he has to make something happen. So we work more and more on that kind of stuff. We work on the receivers and where they're supposed to be and all that stuff. He's getting a really good understanding of that, too."

With Pride

With Pride

Submitted by Ace on December 4th, 2012 at 12:25 PM


Heiko Yang/MGoBlog

"I will wear it with pride."

To a man, the seniors of Team 133 thanked the University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit for the rings presented to them at last night's annual football bust. They may have been told to do so; the sincerity rang true, regardless.

To earn those rings, the seniors endured far more tumult than the average Wolverine class. A handful committed to Lloyd Carr's class of 2008, witnessing a coaching change before they ever set foot on campus. Every one made the jarring transition from Rich Rodriguez to Brady Hoke, who had the privilege of introducing each senior, charmingly butchering the more complicated majors—the sciences presented a particularly tricky articulative obstacle—and presenting their rings with the requisite bear hug.

Then came the stories, the laughter, and in one case, tears.

Ricky Barnum, heading to the School of Social Work next year after graduating with a degree in Afro-American and African Studies, implored the audience to "hit me up" if they ever need a grant or proposal written.

Will Campbell thanked the strength coaches for turning him "from a 346-pound slob to a 308-pound stud, as you can see."

Brady Hoke, before introducing fullback Paul Gyarmati, noted that Gyarmati's father played bass with Carlos Santana for several years. Gyarmati, off the cuff, thanked his father for "stealing my thunder."

While introducing Jack Kennedy, graduating with degrees in Mathematics and Physics, Hoke quipped, "it was tough, but I got him through."

Elliott Mealer, lumberjack beard intact, started his speech by saying, "I cleaned up for you tonight." He finished with a quote from his late father: "If you don't have good dreams, you have nightmares."

Patrick Omameh, Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Award winner for his academic accomplishments, sweat profusely during his improvised speech. "It's my trademark," he said, with no hint of shame.

Craig Roh thanked Jesus Christ for getting him through two-a-days and fall camp.

Roy Roundtree lit up while reliving his recruitment, recalling high school teammates Michael Shaw and Brandon Moore telling the then-Purdue commit that he might get a Michigan offer—"Man, I get that offer, I'm coming to Michigan," he said, noting how good he looked in a winged helmet.

Roundtree later broke down in tears while thanking Director of Academic Counseling Greg Harden, whom he credited for getting him through Michigan; his genuine thankfulness, even awe, at the prospect of going to grad school was heartwarming.

Floyd Simmons revealed that during games he liked to sit to J.T. Floyd's right on the bench, spelling out "Floyd" "Simmons" with their jersey nameplates, "but no one ever gets a picture of it."

Vincent Smith joked about chasing rabbits in Pahokee, and thanked the coaches for teaching him how to cut-block defensive ends—quite well, one might add.

Hoke called out Steve Wilson for getting into Michigan State's medical school. After mock boos from the crowd, Wilson noted that, yes, he got into State, but the only medical school he really wants to attend is Michigan.

Going last, of course, was Denard Robinson, who thanked virtually everyone associated with the program, including the academic staff that corralled the self-proclaimed "free spirit" and helped him become the first member of his family to graduate from a four-year college. He also apologized to Al Borges—and his wife—for sending him home with so many headaches before closing, aptly, with "this is Michigan, fergodsakes."

The MVP of the bust, however, was also voted Bo Schembechler MVP by the team. Jordan Kovacs, a late arrival after attending the Burlsworth Award ceremony for nation's top former walk-on, brought down the house with his opener:

“I’d first like to thank coach Rich Rodriguez for allowing a slow, unathletic and undersized kid to play at the University of Michigan. That was really nice of him to let Drew Dileo play football here.”

Kovacs, who also won the Bob Ufer Spirit Award, finished by saying he was proud to call himself many things, walk-on included, but most of all to be a Michigan Man.

On this night, as the seniors had their football graduation of sorts—a few with more football ahead, many more on their way to becoming doctors, lawyers, social workers, or teachers—it was a fitting close from the captain. All have earned the right to wear their rings with pride.

OFAAT: Seniors, Iowa Past

OFAAT: Seniors, Iowa Past

Submitted by Ace on November 16th, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Brian has already waxed poetic about the seniors, so I'll stick to moving pictures and keep the words to a minimum. I've done my best to cover each member of the outgoing class. Let's just say it was hard to pick one moment for this guy:

He may make some cameo appearances later.

[For the rest of the gifs, hit THE JUMP.]

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Northwestern

Submitted by Brian on November 15th, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Formation notes: There apparently wasn't anything that I thought was notable in this department; I have no screenshots. Here's a FINAL/OT shot for no reason:

final-ot

Oh look here's something. Look, I-Form Big. Lots of it in this game.

under-center-31-seconds!

This was mostly a passing formation because obviously.

Substitution notes: Nothing of note. This bit always gets thin on offense late in the year because roles are established and substitutions are limited to the obvious ones people already know about.

Oh, right, Devin Gardner played quarterback.

[AFTER THE JUMP: hopefully something more interesting than the stuff above the jump /hardsell'd]

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on November 8th, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Formation notes: much, much more under-center in this game. FWIW, Minnesota had some packages where they'd put a linebacker in between two DL, as below:

f-nickel-bear

Last year people told me this was a bear front, so that's what I called it. On short yardage Minnesota would do this to both sides of the line, so that's double bear. As always, lingo may not be compatible with your local football lingo-knowing guy and only exists to provide extended conversations with Seth about what the hell I meant when I classified X as Y.

Also here's this guy again:

mister-block-miyagi

BEARD

Substitution notes: Gardner the whole way at QB, Rawls got some playing time, Smith was back, and the line was exactly how it always is. Burzynski got a few goal line plays on that package where they line up Lewan and Schofield next to each other.

The WR rotation was about what you'd expect as well, except there was a lot more Jerald Robinson. He has apparently inherited most of Devin's snaps.

[AFTER THE JUMP: so how was Devin really, and ARGH runs ARGH]

Picture Pages: Peeling Back

Picture Pages: Peeling Back

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Yesterday's Picture Pages covered extensive confusion on Michigan's part as they tried to run basic isos against a basic defense but couldn't get the ILBs blocked, with a side of playcalls that leave guys alone in the hopes that accounting for end-around motion or the threat of an option play will draw players away from the actual threat.

A second major reason Nebraska had unblocked guys all over the place was blockers seeing a player shoot past them quickly and reacting. I've been doing this for a while now and this sort of thing has become one of my pet peeves. A blocker will see a defensive player run past them clean. They now have two options:

  • Turn around and get that guy.
  • Know—or at least hope—that wasn't your guy and find someone else to block.

Door A never works. They don't block the guy they missed, and they don't block anyone further downfield. When another blocker takes care of the aggressive player or the ballcarrier outruns him, the play is still screwed up because another defender is coming free.

This happened to Michigan on consecutive plays at the end of the first quarter. On the first, Michigan runs the veer from a 4-wide formation. Nebraska responds with two safeties at about ten yards and 5.5 guys in the box, as was their wont:

dileo-peel-1

You can see the nickelback cheating off Dileo presnap, and he will come.

Remember earlier in the year when I was complaining that the linebackers didn't seem to understand that when the line slanted one way they should be moving against it since that is where the ball is likely to end up? This is an offensive version of that.

Dileo should know these things when the corner comes:

  1. Michigan is running the inverted veer.
  2. A blitzing corner is invariably the defense's force player—he contains and forces the runner inside.
  3. On an inverted veer the force player will be optioned off by the running back. The quarterback will have the ball going vertically.

So does he need to block the corner? No. Will he block the corner? Well, this post exists, so deduct for yourself.

Michigan snaps the ball and runs the veer. Barnum pulls. Here's the mesh point:

dileo-peel-2

45 degrees from downhill—okay

The playside end is hugging the back of the tackle who's ignoring him. This is normally a give by Robinson, and Michigan has picked up some decent chunks early by giving. Denard pulls this time, which is good because that corner is coming to make the give a likely TFL. Nebraska made it easy by tipping that the nickelback was coming presnap.

Dileo should move to the next level, but he turns and starts pursuing the nickelback.

dileo-peel-3

90 degrees! alert!

Argh. At this point the guy is gone, and even if Dileo makes contact there's a good chance he'll pick up a block in the back call. To add insult to injury, trying to block this guy you can't block is purposeless—he's already going to be optioned off.

Elsewhere:

  1. Barnum picks up the end.
  2. Schofield gets his free release and engages the MLB.

The coast is clear!

dileo-peel-4

turned around: dead

Tantalizing!

dileo-peel-5

Dawwwww, unblocked safety. Unblocked safeties.

dileo-peel-6dileo-peel-7

Five yards, and Dileo comes back in at the end to go "dawwwwww."

Video

If Dileo can cut that safety like Joe Reynolds did against State, that is six points. Even if the safety keeps his feet and contains, that's likely a first down.

[AFTER THE JUMP: dawwwww not again.]

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on October 31st, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Formation notes: Much of the game was spent with Michigan in 2WR looks, leading to a lot of 4-3's like this with the linebackers shifted over the slot and a cornerback overhanging. When the receivers were split instead of twinned Michigan either got a straight up 4-3 even with two deep safeties or a shifted 4-4 look.

f-neb-4-3-even

When Michigan spread the field, Nebraska defenders would go with them. Against three wide looks you got this:

neb-nickel

And against four wide looks it was usually this:

five-in-the-box

Occasionally a safety would screw down but there weren't enough snaps with Denard on the field and M in a true spread to test it. Interestingly enough, I saw both Oregon and Arizona run double stacks last weekend like Borges does, except when they ran double stacks those stacks were damn near the edge of the field.

Substitution notes: Nothing new except for the obvious switch at QB. Rawls still can't get a snap. Funchess is playing all over the field, but rarely as an in-line TE.

[After the jump: it's okay and then DOOOOM.]

Picture Pages: Unblocked ILBs FTL

Picture Pages: Unblocked ILBs FTL

Submitted by Brian on October 31st, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Why can't Michigan run the ball without Denard? As with anything in football, the answer is "it's complicated" but against Nebraska the pendulum swung decisively towards an inability to block anything.

There were two primary ways in which things went unblocked, one of which we'll cover in two posts.

Ain't Nobody Trying To Block Important People

The first were either busts, play design errors, or combo blocking errors that left totally unblocked linebackers in the hole. A here's a third-quarter iso on the penalty fiesta drive that resulted in a field goal:

iso-wtf

The highlighted guy is Nebraska's WLB. No one even tries to block him.

iso-wtf-2

Unsurprisingly, this doesn't go well.

iso-wtf-3

I'm not sure who this is on. I don't get the blocking. If Mealer releases directly downfield in the second frame in an attempt to get that WLB he does not have much of an angle and probably doesn't do much. I would expect Michigan to double that DT, leave Mealer behind on the DT, and then have Omameh pop off.

That doesn't happen. Did someone screw up? Is the play design bad? Is it Schofield moving to the second level poorly? Things are so confused I don't know.

Video:

If this was a one time thing you could chalk it up to a guy busting. It wasn't.

[AFTER THE JUMP: more unblocked guys! Like, so many you'll freak! They're coming out of holes in the ground like the Viet Cong!]

Picture Pages: ND Shift, Belly Defeat

Picture Pages: ND Shift, Belly Defeat

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Notre Dame has a very good defensive line, possibly great. If they still had Aaron Lynch holy pants man. They don't, but Tuitt is a 300 pound pass rusher, Nix is hard to move, and their Kapron Lewis-Moore/Prince Shembo combo at the other DE is a quality option. They've been making a lot of plays so far, and some of them against Lewan, who has a bunch of NFL hype and has shut down virtually every DE he's ever gone up against, including guys like Adrian Clayborn.

So Michigan was up against it against the Irish. They compounded those troubles with a spate of seemingly bizarre play calls that made it even harder for Michigan to execute since they often left key players unblocked, with the results you saw.

Here's a two yard run in the second quarter. It's first and ten on the first play of Michigan's first drive after the Smith interception. ND comes out showing a four-man front with one-high coverage, but will shift into their standard 3-4. Zeke Motta, currently 16 yards off the LOS, will approach the LOS for an eighth run defender against eight players in the box.

two-yard-1

Post-shift, this is about standard for ND. Note that the secondary is showing extremely soft man coverage on the receivers, which is par for the course when you are in cover zero with three converted offensive players. Or at least, I'd imagine it's par for the course if anyone else ever did this.

two-yard-2

Now, you may be thinking "AAAAAH DAMN AAAH BUBBLE." I am too. The defense is allowed to align like this because Michigan won't take a shot at that gooey soft edge. Constraint plays constrain what a defense can do, simplifying life for QBs. Here we've got a play, and it's a run despite the D showing a cover zero look.

On the snap it's revealed to be an inside zone play…

two-yard-4

…but Lewan does something unusual by flaring out to go block Shembo as Denard reads Lewis-Moore. Meanwhile, look at Toussaint's upfield angle of attack:

two-yard-5

This was supposed to be a midline type read. When ND showed a four-man front, Nix was shaded outside of Mealer. He would hit the frontside A-gap, allowing Barnum to release into the second level. Instead he's head up on the center and fights back, forcing Barnum to try and deal with him.

two-yard-shoulda

What Michigan thought it was doing

Meanwhile, Lewan's flare out on Shembo was supposed to be useful. Instead he's blocking a contain guy on a run up the middle. Lewis-Moore is not tearing up in a gap like a one-gap DL would but coming upfield under control.

So instead of a quick hit that got Michigan past the DT they get this:

two-yard-6two-yard-8

Which is two yards thanks to an unblocked LB in the middle of where your belly is supposed to go.

Video:

This Looks Familiar

Denard's second interception is a terrible throw helped along by a totally unblocked Te'o as Barnum tries to help on Nix.

int2-1int2-2int2-4int2-5

Terrible throw and all that but also not a shining example of coordinator mastery. This is a position to fail in, when you can't step into your throw because you'll get hit if you do so.

Things and Stuff

RB angle gives you the intended hole. Look at how vertical Toussaint is going. This is designed to go backside.

Checks: none. Once ND shifts to the three-man front, this play is in trouble, and once Motta slides down you're up against zero safeties. This would be a nice time to check. To what? Well, you are maybe probably getting some yards if Lewan changes his assignment and releases directly into that LB, or, you know…

two-yard-1

…that OLB has eyes only for the backfield, so you've got one guy within twelve yards of the slot receiver. Who isn't a slot receiver, sure.

Since this was the first play of the drive I assume there was time to do this after the shift; nothing comes. This might be on Denard, or there just might not be a check for this. Rodriguez took that check burden onto himself with those plays where Michigan would call for a snap and then everyone would look to the sideline.

Constraints: none. A little later Michigan will block a QB sweep well but Motta will show in the hole as an unblocked eighth guy. Denard will abort and get three. ND again went cover zero with pudding soft outside coverage:

take-the-fucking-yards

They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money! It's not the stupid little bubble itself that helps—though the yards from 2-8 averaging about 6 aren't bad—but the things that the defense can't do because they can't align with their secondary in Bolivia and bring down a run defender that erases your numerical advantage.

This alignment cannot be allowed to exist without a quick easy throw that invalidates it. Have we mentioned that both corners are converted offensive players? And one is a freshman?

Oy OL. Note that Nix not only drew a double but ripped through it to the backside hole, and that Tuitt has gotten inside of Schofield with ease. It may have been possible to get some yards here by getting Nix sealed and hitting a gap further to the playside, but none of that happens. I haven't gotten to the bit where Michigan just grinds on them yet, but so far there have been a lot of plays like this where Michigan OL get nowhere with their guys.

Why are we running a play that seems designed to go at a 4-3? ND will go to it but they are a 3-4 at heart and when they show a four man line it's usually short yardage or a passing down. I would expect an incoherent play like this to fire off when ND is giving Michigan a 4-3 curveball instead of the 3-4, especially after Michigan spent two weeks preparing exclusively for this defense. That Lewan flare-out is deadly to this play because Barnum has to help on a NT who is not shaded—and is rarely shaded. Meanwhile that guy on the edge is not a threat to Toussaint. RPS –1.