Monday Presser 10-3-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-3-16: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 3rd, 2016 at 6:02 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Grant Newsome is done for the year. Harbaugh wasn’t sure whether it was a career-threatening injury; it’s too early to tell.
  • Bushell-Beatty at LT is probably happening, but Harbaugh said Cole and Braden could move there.
  • If Cole moves back to LT, Kugler will be the center.
  • Karan Higdon’s lack of carries was not due to injury
  • Quinn Nordin’s been healing and might be a part of the kicking competition this week; it’s too early to tell as they haven’t practiced yet this week

Seemed like Kyle [Kalis] really brought some intensity Saturday. Can you talk about how he played?

“Yeah, Kyle always brings intensity. Kyle Kalis?”

Yeah.

“Yeah, always. Practice, games, weight room, meetings.”

Was that one of the better games you’ve seen him play this year?

“Yeah. I thought he played extremely well. He’s been doing that consistently good his entire career here at Michigan. Strong. He’s strong. Kalis Strong.”

How important is it to win games differently? You’ve won with offense, you’ve won with special teams, Saturday you win defensively. How important is that in the coaches’ room?

“I don’t know exactly how much or how important. There’s an importance to winning, importance in being successful, winning on gameday. To your specific question, how important, I don’t have the answer to that.”

Did you get specific news on Grant Newsome and whether he’s going to be done for the year or not?

“Yeah. Yeah, he had a serious knee injury and he’ll be out for the year. It’ll be a tough couple weeks for him. It’s a reminder of just how tough the game of football is, just how serious injuries can be in the game of football.

“What I do know is, as far as character, human being character, football character, nobody’s ever come through here, this football team or this university, that I know of with more of it than Grant Newsome. Leon and Kim Newsome, they should write a book on raising kids. Grant is the finest, and just praying for him right now. It’s not a good feeling today at all. But just being with him at the hospital, everybody’s he’s come in contact with, nurses and doctors, it’s ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ It’s amazing. He is an amazing, amazing young man.

“And he’s strong as they come, and I know that all things are possible with Grant Newsome. But keep him in your prayers, as he is in ours. It’s going to be—got some things to work through right now, but he’s handling it like a champ. I know he’s got pain, but he’s…watching him up there, he’s as tough as a two-dollar steak. It’s unbelievable.”

[Hit THE JUMP like Wisconsin’s linebackers hit their run-throughs]

Comments

Wisconsin Postgame Presser: Players

Wisconsin Postgame Presser: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 3rd, 2016 at 10:13 AM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Ryan Glasgow and Amara Darboh

Can you talk about how the defensive performance today gave you the opportunity as an offense, particularly, to provide the end result?

AD: “Yeah, from the offensive standpoint, the defense kept getting three and outs and then kept helping us stay in the game. They didn’t let them score all half, so that gave us the opportunity to make a play at the end.”

Talk about the placement on the long touchdown pass.

AD: “Oh yeah, it was perfect. It was one-on-one coverage out there. The safety was in the middle, then I got inside my guy and Wilton put a perfect ball and I just had to run underneath it.”

This was your guys’ first true test of the season; this was the first time you guys played an opponent many people considered a contender in the Big Ten and also nationally. What does this win mean for you personally moving forward? How does your team improve from here?

AD: “I think it says a lot about our team. Wisconsin’s a very tough football team—very good defense, very good offense—and I think us beating this team says a lot about our character. It says a lot about the players on our team, but we need to focus on the games ahead, because this win doesn’t define our season.”

Ryan, it seemed like they were playing to get the ball back to the defense to win it. Was that kind of the message, it was your guys’ time to win the game?

“Regardless of what the offense does, we don’t want any other offense we’re playing to get a yard, get a first down, get a touchdown. So, regardless of what the offense does, we expect to win every game. We had a seven-point lead, which we think that’s enough for us to win a game on defense. Regardless of how many points they score, we feel like should win the game on defense.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Colorado

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Colorado Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2016 at 4:06 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tagSPONSOR NOTES: Got a couple of requests to re-record the podcast commercial featuring Matt and his kids because it sounds like Matt has dragooned his offspring into this. Well, yeah, that's what offspring are for. Matt is a man who will dragoon for you. That's not something everyone can say, because not everyone knows what that word means. Matt does!

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

IDIOT DIRECTOR NOTES: This goober zoomed in so close to almost everything and provided zero high-angle replays, so I'm doing a lot more guessing about coverages than I usually do. As a result some plays of interest aren't clipped because the interesting bits I remember from the game aren't actually on the screen.

FORMATION NOTES: Okay, I separated front and cover look, and am still not satisfied with the results. "Press" was anything with hard corners on guys on the LOS:

press 

Off was off. This was two high, and also the post TD.

One high version of same:

2016 Michigan vs Colorado 1st Half.wmv_snapshot_00.13.34_[2016.09.21_15.55.43]

Still a work in progress.

Michigan and Colorado didn't do anything too weird except for some offset three man lines I'm just piling in as "exotic."

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Again a tight rotation, which makes yet more burned redshirts puzzling. Wormley and Glasgow led the way on the DL with 53 of 71 snaps; Godin, Winovich, and Garry all got around 40. Hurst got 27 and since he played well I'm guessing they're trying to keep his workload light as he continues to recover from whatever held him out of the opener.

Linebacker was as you'd expect, with Starters getting the whole game minus some personnel package items. Gedeon is the guy who stays in when Michigan has just one true LB on the field.

Secondary was also low rotation, with Thomas, Stribling, and Clark playing every snap. Hill got dinged up and missed 16; Kinnel saw 20 snaps, most meaningful; Watson had 18.

WTF burned redshirt of the week goes to Carlo Kemp and his four snaps.

[After THE JUMP: panic calibration.]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs UCF

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs UCF Comment Count

Brian September 15th, 2016 at 4:16 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tag

SPONSOR NOTES: So we fixed the link, as someone informed us that the page had been password protected for seemingly no reason. That is no longer the case. You can go over to Matt's site and be lovingly led through the process of financing a home purchase now. Alacrity, that's the ticket.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Okay. I added a column. "D Pack" is short for defensive package and lists the personnel. 4-2-5 is Michigan's standard with two ILBs and Peppers on the field. Peppers counts as part of the 5 because he can play CB and S, which he did in this game. 3-2-6 lifts a DL for (currently) a safety. There was one 4-0-7 with Peppers at LB and six other DBs on the field.

I'm still sifting through what I want to do with the other columns. I'm probably going to split Front into Front and Coverage, but given how complicated coverages are these days and my lack of ability to see downfield sometimes that'll be noisy data.

Anyway. Most of the stuff wasn't crazy. I called this 4-3 SAM slide, as it's a 4-3 even with Peppers on the end of the line:

4-3 sam slide

This was a more standard 4-3.

pop-slant-1

PERSONNEL NOTES: Almost zero rotation in this game. Starting defense when the whole way, with all 68 snaps given to the starting  DBs. Kinnel and Watson got 10 and 7 snaps in various dime packages; Lavert Hill got in for that 4-0-7 play.

Peppers, Gedeon, and McCray all missed one snap. The DL rotated six guys close to evenly. By snap counts: Winovich(55), Glasgow(47), Godin(40), Wormley(36), Gary(33), Hurst(33). Marshall got 13 and was the only other DL to play.

[After THE JUMP: calm with bursts of WTF]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Pokes The Bear

Unverified Voracity Pokes The Bear Comment Count

Brian September 13th, 2016 at 12:42 PM

ddglogo (1)Sponsor note. If, say, you ran over Scott Frost on Saturday—just speaking hypothetically here—and are now in possession of a reckless squashing of man who will not shut up ticket, your insurance will note this and jack up your rates. Persons who run over Scott Frost are liable to get nasty letters from Scott Frost's mom, after all.

To prevent this, you can go to Defensive Drivers Group, take their online course, complete it as 99% of applicants do, and get the states of Michigan, California, and New Jersey to wipe your record clean. It's normally 39.95; five bucks off for responding to this ad, and no hidden fees.

No mercy. I'm completely fine with John O'Korn throwing garbage-time bombs into the endzone with Michigan up multiple scores:

This is poking the bear. Colorado, consider the bears poked.

Meanwhile, the bear. PFF's early-season take on Michigan is off-the-charts optimistic. Notes from a meaty piece:

  • Michigan is their top defense so far. The competition has not been great, obviously.
  • The OL is second(!) in pass protection.
  • Kyle Kalis was one of PFF's worst returning guards nationally. (I wonder what PFF would have thought about Michigan's 2013 line if Kalis's shaky 2015 was that bad in their eyes.) He's up to seventh nationally(!!!) in their grading. That's sure to slide backwards as Michigan's schedule gets tougher, but as I mentioned UCF actually has a player or two on their DL. If Kalis manages to hang onto a top 30 spot it's time to buy Tim Drevno an above-ground outdoor pool.
  • Newsome's been great as a pass protector and okay on the ground; I'm seeing more or less the same thing. Newsome's having some mental issues on plays to the edge and he has a tendency to pull so deep that he runs himself out of any chance to block someone.
  • Speight is well ahead of Early Season Jake Rudock, which is 1) not a surprise and 2) faint praise. OTOH, PFF has him accurate on 28 of 36 opportunities from the last game and I think they're grading as harshly as possible there—I wouldn't knock Speight for that attempted dumpoff to Evans that Evans couldn't get out on, for one.
  • Speight's efficiency has gone through the floor when he gets pressure.
  • In a separate article on their top 25 they note that Ryan Glasgow has posted bonkers 86 and 84 grades so far; they rank Glasgow as one of their top five NFL draft risers: “Glasgow’s consistently defeated one-on one blocks, and opponents haven’t been able to move him off the line of scrimmage on double teams. In addition to his dominant run play, he’s averaging a pressure once every seven pass rushes, an impressive ratio for a nose tackle.”

All of that is very positive, especially Kalis. In the season preview I mentioned that he was the one returning player on the line who could take a major step forward. Early indications are that he has, and again since so many of his problems last year were mental the kind of improvements he's made are ones that translate to tougher competition.

I'm not sure there's much to read into Speight's issues against pressure yet. I'd expect that he remains iffy in that department because he's not that mobile; eight attempts is not a sample size worth getting exercised over.

I'm over it. I'm mostly over it. Speight on the fading days of the Hoke era:

"When I came in during the winter (of 2014) and redshirted that season, I didn't know what was going on that year and not many people did. It was kind of a messy year, it didn't end well at all," Speight says. "I just kind of skated through that year without much discipline (with) football. It was kind of a rude awakening when (the new staff) came.

"I realized I needed to change some things."

While he tried to soften it…

Speight wants to make it clear. Brady Hoke -- the coach who recruited him to Michigan -- and his staff gave him plenty of coaching in 2014. He says he just wasn't in the mood to listen.

…I mean come on. It wasn't just Speight who wasn't in the mood to listen. It was team-wide. A couple weeks ago Kalis said something wistful about how he wished that he'd had five years under Drevno instead of two.

I'm a little surprised that guys are throwing the old staff under the bus in press conferences, but also… not surprised. I was there, and bitter. I can't imagine how bitter I'd be about the Hoke chaos if it was eating through my eligibility with nothing to show for it.

Anyway, Speight's starting now and good at throwing balls.

ALSO IN WILTON SPEIGHT TALKING.

“There was one UCF player who was trying to talk smack at me, and I just started dying laughing, because we heard him from the huddle. And there were other times that we’d be up on the line of scrimmage and I’d think something was funny.”

Speculation on what this laughter-inducing smack was:

  • "Got my crampons on, gonna scale your ass"
  • "I am going to camp out halfway up your surface."
  • "Ed Davis got a sixth year"
  • "I may be the size of a flying squirrel but sir, I propose to embark on a climbing expedition lo these many months. And yea, I will harvest your acorns. Mark these words. Acorns. Harvested. Eventually."

Now in something other than Speight talking. Rich Eisen talking:

Injuries. As near as I can tell:

  • Probably back Saturday: David Long.
  • Could be back Saturday, could be another week or two. Taco Charlton, Jourdan Lewis. Lewis's injury was described by Harbaugh as a "muscle strain" unrelated to the issue that kept him out of the opener. He "did some things" and ran around on Monday. Charlton had a slight limp after getting his ankle rolled. Michigan could keep both guys on the bench in a game they expect to win.
  • Definitely another few weeks: Bryan Mone.
  • Unknown but doesn't look great: Noah Furbush and Drake Johnson. Radio silence on Furbush's issue probably isn't good. Johnson has similarly been out of uniform without much in the way of explanation.

Etc.: Ross Fulton on OSU's early offensive struggles against Tulsa: didn't want to get the QB hit and Tulsa banked on this. Won't apply for M. Chase Winovich on his first start. Matt Godin on his last go-around. NCAA removes events from North Carolina. Colorado plays fast and has a good secondary. When you have two quarterbacks and one of them is a Purdue transfer, you have zero quarterbacks. Possibly negative one quarterbacks. Urban Meyer on his brain and how he fixed it.

Comments

Monday Presser 9-12-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-12-16: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 12th, 2016 at 4:59 PM

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[Upchurch]

What do you think Yost would think of your almost point-a-minute offense so far?

“Um…you know, it’s so far, so good.”

Can you talk about how the offensive line graded out on Saturday?

“Did well. They played a lot of plays, the offensive linemen. Really were in the most snaps of the game. Mason Cole was the best of all the linemen, and I thought the other four were real close, but I thought Mason stood out.”

I noticed at the satellite camps that you always told the campers don’t be Freddy P. Soft [alternate Chase Winovich-posited spelling: Fredeee P. Soft]. I’ve been trying to find out who is this guy, Freddy P. Soft?

[chuckles] “He’s a four-inch guy that wears a cape and a hat with a plume in it, and he’s just tall enough to talk right into your ear and tell you that ‘You don’t have to practice today. Why are you working so hard? Get over there in the shade. You don’t have to attack with enthusiasm unknown to mankind today. Take a break, take a knee.’ Yeah, he’s not a guy you want around. Want to get him off your shoulder as fast as possible.”

I know you guys do the practice where you have the guys spring and you race. You know what I’m talking about? Where you have them race in practice?

“Yeah, the race.”

Where does Eddie McDoom land in those heats with the skill guys?

“We don’t do those in the fall as much as we do in the spring. We’re real close to having a race between Jehu Chesson and Eddie McDoom. It’s been talked about, so when that official challenge is made, then we’ll race ‘em. It’s been close. There’s been discussion if Eddie’s faster than Jehu or not. That would be the guy that Eddie would have to dethrone would be Jehu.”

But he’s up there with the fastest on the team?

“To my eyes. My eye-time of watching him run, he’s right up there with Jehu. And I’m not the only one. There’ve been a few others that have commented on it and would like to see that race. It may take place. The gauntlet, the challenge has not been thrown down yet, so it’s just been talked about.”

Khalid Hill has obviously been helping you around the goal line. Can you comment specifically on how he’s done so far and on your fullbacks?

“Yeah, I’d say Khalid has been outstanding in all areas: blocking, catching out of the backfield, protection, and a special gift of being all around the ball. He’s got a real knack. Picked up some fourth downs for us and touchdowns. I mean, he looks like the most complete NFL-prototypical fullback on our roster.

“And the others, Henry Poggi, I think he’s coming along and he’s…they’re both real tough guys. I think of the hammer, rather be the hammer than the nail. A fullback is a guy we want to be our hammer. There’s a special place on our team for the fullback position. It’s the identity of the team. Both those guys, along with Bobby Henderson. All three have real courage, contact courage.

“I think of it as contact courage. How fast can you go from point A to point B to hit somebody? That’s where the courage shows up. Just how quick can you get there to do that aggressive act? Feel good about all our fullbacks right now. The most polished guy in terms of at an NFL-ready level, I would say that would be Khalid.”

[After THE JUMP: things that are obvious for anybody who knows football, cereal vaguely power ranked, O-line issues diagnosed, what to do after a QB’s inflection point]

Comments

Return Of The Crab People

Return Of The Crab People Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2016 at 11:34 AM

9/10/2016 – Michigan 51, UCF 14 – 2-0

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[Eric Upchurch]

It's been a while since Michigan fans set to grumblin' about 37 point wins, but here we are. That one track guy ran a long way and quarterbacks set to scrambling and a bunch of guys jetted into the backfield. These are bad things that a remorseless juggernaut would not allow in its vicinity, and thus it's open season for crabbers.

This is not necessarily a criticism. Your author joined with the Ann Arbor Pincer & Exoskeleton masses at halftime:

Michigan led 34-7.

What can I say? I expected Michigan to pave these dudes and they did not. While UCF did stack the box and blitz its little try-hard buns off, I rather thought that wouldn't matter. I did not expect UCF to rush for an uncomfortably large number of yards themselves.

I don't place anywhere near as much emphasis on these things as Scott Frost—"we outrushed them, we outhit them, and in the futuristic game of run-hit-ball, those are the only factors"—but in the middle of a live football game you're winning by a zillion points the only thing that keeps your interest is taking the data in front of you and projecting it down the road, when Michigan will face teams that can rush for 300 yards and not lose by 37… or at all.

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

After a rewatch and a little bit of time to reflect, the things that happened were things Michigan can clean up. Blitzers coming free because Michigan didn't get off their blocks fast enough. Defensive ends too gung-ho about getting around the edge because their careers are still in the tadpole stage. A bust here and there probably related to the new defense.

There wasn't anything that set off alarm bells except one bad fill by Dymonte Thomas against a 10.3 100 meter guy who was such a niche player that his 87-yard touchdown was his only carry of the game. (You know you're a specialist when you run 87 yards on your first opportunity and your coaches are like "great job, eat bench.") Per folks who look at these things closely, Michigan did mostly pave them, and declined to do things that would exploit UCF's blitz-happy approach on the ground.

What they did instead is let Wilton Speight go to work. Whatever ground game hiccups have increased the worry factor should be more than offset by Speight looking like a Harbaugh quarterback immediately. Michigan saw stacked boxes and responded by passing over and over again. Up 31-7, Michigan got the ball on its own 13 and threw five straight times to open their drive. After halftime they indicated they were not inclined to take the pedal off the metal by opening up a touchdown drive with back to back completions to Butt for a total of 40 yards.

I have seen some quarterbacks this year. I have seen LSU fans go bonkers because a Purdue transfer went 6/14 for 100 yards against Jacksonville State. I have seen Clayton Thorson rack up seven points against Illinois State. There's a ton of collar-pulling across college football when new quarterbacks step in, no matter their age or hype level. Harbaugh has none of that with Speight. UCF set up to deny the run so Michigan rained it on their heads.

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[Upchurch]

There wasn't an ounce of hesitation, and I was reminded of the quarterback press availability a week or so before the season. Speight sat down and told the assembled reporters that he flat-out expected to start. That was a confident read. It went with his spring performance, and now 50 throws into his starting career we have a bonafide trend. Wilton Speight is a man who knows where he wants to go, and would like us to come with him. Even if we are a crusty, crustaceous people.

HIGHLIGHTS

Parking God:

WD:

MGoVideo has the Harbaugh postgame and Inside Michigan Football.

AWARDS

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[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

#1 Wilton Speight completed 68% of his passes despite three drops on routine balls, cracked 300 yards, was still super accurate on everything under 20 yards and good on longer throws, and dealt with an unfortunate amount of pressure with aplomb.

#2 Ryan Glasgow had a dominant defensive game on the interior, sussed out a dangerous screen for a TFL, and just about ran down a track star on the 87 yarder. His range is completely absurd for a nose tackle.

#3 Jabrill Peppers led Michigan with eight tackles, two of them TFLs, added two hurries on top of that, returned a punt 35 yards, and was not responsible for much of the scramble or screen yardage ceded.

Honorable mention: Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh were locked in and excellent. Erik Magnuson and Grant Newsome shut out the men trying to rush on them.

KFaTAotW Standings.

3: Mike McCray(#1, Hawaii), Wilton Speight (#1 UCF).
2: Jabrill Peppers (T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF); Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF).
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii).
0.5: Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii), Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

No sir, no Early Season Jake Rudock this year.

Late Season Jake Rudock… ask again later.

Honorable mention: BLOCK ALL THE KICKS; Peppers forces a fumble with authority; Rashan Gary flashes end product on impressive sack; Speight hits Butt on a sweet corner route for a TD in tough circumstances; Michigan inserts Chris Evans at upback so they can't pop it up and UCF panics and kicks it out of bounds; Chase Winovich sack/strip results in a turnover.

WGIBTUs Past.

Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

Dymonte Thomas gives everyone the heebie-jeebies by failing to tackle a dude for like 20 yards and instead he goes 87. Also worrying about this play: the eerie similarities between it and the late season problems last year's defense had.

Honorable mention: Michigan Stadium has collective hallucination that Jake Butt dropped not one but two passes; various QB scrambles caused by bad contain; Kenny Allen drops the snap on a punt; several run plays are thunked in the the backfield.

PREVIOUS EPIC DOUBLE BIRDs

Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.

[After THE JUMP: SPEIGHTDOWN, also bad thing discussion]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Hawaii

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Hawaii Comment Count

Brian September 7th, 2016 at 2:50 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tagSPONSOR NOTES: Homesure Lending returns to sponsor this post, and as a bonus he's sent the blog to Iowa by finding us a block of five together. This will create glorious road trip content. (Matt has stipulated that I clarify he is not to blame if the Iowa game turns out like that stupid triple overtime Penn State game; we have agreed to collectively blame the first commenter on this post.)

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, he is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS NOTES: Good news, everybody: we've purchased PFF's Michigan and opponent data for the season, which will allow us to do a bunch of things previously impractical. We've got snap counts, for one, and their grades, and some drill-down stuff I'll reference when it seems relevant to what I'm saying.

One important disclaimer: I'm not looking at this stuff until I go over the game myself, to prevent confirmation bias.

FORMATION NOTES: Normal Brian is super happy Don Brown is Michigan's defensive coordinator. UFR Brian is frickin' pissed. I'm going to split the next UFR's "Formation" column into "personnel" and "formation" because I give up trying to jam that all into a few words. Even that figures to be insufficient.

About halfway through this game I decided that:

  1. Michigan is a 4-2-5 defense.
  2. Sometimes they run a 3-2-6.
  3. I need a "box" column denoting persons in said box with maybe a .5 for gray area guys.
  4. I need to stop bothering with even-odd stuff since that's not actually important for this level of analysis.

And then momentum carried me through. You improve the most between week one and week two; I'll endeavor to do so.

Anyway. I'm going to try to call out safeties and depth, insofar as this is possible. This is nickel one-high:

4-3 nickel

And this was 4-3 over two high:

base 4-3 over

These are the same personnel packages. Hill is the gray area guy kind of over the slot and Stribling has dropped to be the nominal second safety. Everyone in this secondary has to be able to play multiple roles.

Nickel two high:

cover-2-outside-run-1

And honestly I don't know what to term this:

peppers abort

That is two "safeties" at like six yards. Peppers would bail into a deep zone until he read run, FWIW. Nickel two low, I called it. /shakes fist at Don Brown.

I don't even want to get into the various fronts yet.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Deep breath. The back seven was pretty static and has a clear depth chart. Without Lewis, Stribling (45 snaps) and Clark(51) went just about the whole way until garbage time. Ditto Thomas(54), Hill(54), Peppers(54), McCray(44), and Gedeon(54). Brandon Watson (28 snaps but most of those late) had scattered snaps as a nickel corner on passing downs. Usually Michigan lifted a DL when this happened. Tyree Kinnel did get five snaps before the backups came in en masse.

The backups at all these spots are also clear: Kinnel and Hudson at safety, Long and Lavert Hill at corner, Devin Bush and Wroblewski at LB, File Not Found for Peppers.

The line started out with Wormley, Glasgow, Mone, and Charlton across it. Once Mone was out Michigan played a lot of Matt Godin, and they yanked Chris Wormley early. Gary actually got 32 snaps to Wormley's 27. Winovich went the whole way after Taco exited and actually racked up more DL snaps than anyone else with 40.

About midway through the third quarter Michigan unearthed Lawrence Marshall, Michael Dwumfour, Michael Onwenu, and redshirt junior walk-on Garrett Miller. Miller actually played 21 snaps and graded out well per PFF but at 271 on the roster it is highly unlikely he's going to be a contributor going forward unless things are in the darkest timeline. I didn't grade him well, FWIW.

[After THE JUMP: Viking raiders from across the sea / they've come to plunder you and me / oh no i've been stabbed / but our defense makes me glad]

Comments

Preview 2016: Defensive Tackle

Preview 2016: Defensive Tackle Comment Count

Brian August 31st, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Previously: Podcast 8.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End.

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[Eric Upchurch]

 
STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Rashan Gary Fr. Ryan Glasgow Sr.* Chris Wormley Sr.* Taco Charlton Sr.
Lawrence Marshall So.* Bryan Mone So.* Maurice Hurst Jr.* Chase Winovich So.*
Carlo Kemp Fr. Michael Dwumfour Fr. Matt Godin Sr.* Reuben Jones Fr.*

Holy pants, you guys. This is bar-none the best situation Michigan's had at defensive tackle since… I don't know. Probably since scholarship limits came into effect. Michigan has three guys who should go in the top few rounds of the NFL draft, plus a Tongan who was generating more hype than any of them before an injury robbed him of his 2015 season. And on top of that they've got a fifth-year senior who's been productive and would be a strong rotation contributor on any Michigan DL of the last ten years.

Just stay healthy. Knock on all available wood, ladies and gentlemen, that Michigan will get to the Ohio State game without having to unearth Michael Dwumfour.

NOSE TACKLE: DAMMIT IF YOU DOUBT A GLASGOW YOU HAVE ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME

Rating: 5

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[Upchurch]

No. Shut up. Stop it. I know Harbaugh said that thing. I still insist that you cease flapping your mandibles about in some misguided attempt to denigrate the play of Ryan Glasgow, who yes was a walk-on upon his arrival but is no longer. Glasgow was long ago awarded the Order of St. Kovacs and if you insist on talking about Bryan Mone even an instant longer I will have no alternative but to unlock his cage. A cage for robot Vikings.

You still doubt, sir? Reap the pointy-helmeted whirlwind:

Glasgow was good as a sophomore, when he ascended to the top of the depth chart in front of former five-star Ondre Pipkins. Pipkins was coming off an injury, so people assumed that was a temporary thing. It was not. Glasgow held up in the run game excellently but provided close to zero pass rush, and that was fine with Frank Clark coming off the edge a ton. Michigan used Glasgow as a screen or draw spy frequently of the time, and coped with the fact that he wasn't having much impact in that department.

Then Glasgow got better, DJ Durkin deployed a ton of stunts, and dude blew up.

Game Opponent + - TOT Comment
1 Utah 7.5 2 5.5 Added interior pass rush.
2 Oregon State 6 2 4 Partially culpable on first big run, otherwise good.
3 UNLV 11   11 Two very impressive TFLs.
4 BYU 13   13 Just wrecked BYU's C.
5 Maryland 7.5 3 4.5 Slightly off day.
6 Northwestern 15 1 14 This poor damn center.
7 MSU 8.5 2 6.5 Blown out once, otherwise Glasgow.
8 Minnesota 17 1.5 15.5 This will be a trend.
9 Rutgers 2.5   2.5 Injured relatively early.

Glasgow alternated solid performances with center-wrecking exhibitions until leaving for good on a harmless-looking tackle early in the Rutgers game. The previously nonexistent pass rush showed up in a major way. Against Utah he ripped his way past their center more than once, and by Northwestern he'd started deploying a deeply unfair technique scouting sorts call "push-pull" where you blast the dude in front of you as hard as you can, then grab his jersey and rip him forward.

Glasgow wasn't quite dominant enough to rack up a ton of counting stats; no longer was he sitting back and waiting for screens. He forced a lot of scrambles and helped other guys get their numbers, especially as a dangerous man in Michigan's stunt game. Despite the lack of stats PFF had him the #18 pass rush DT in the country a year ago, a huge step up.

Meanwhile he was a rock as a run defender. He's explosive and he's smart as hell. After he and Hurst spearheaded the goal line stand against Minnesota, Adam got a brief one-on-one with him. Michigan won that game largely because Glasgow read the Gophers' intentions on the last two plays:

I really want to talk about isn’t the last play but the second to last. When they motioned what were you thinking, and did you expect that to happen?

“I mean, you can kind of tell by an offensive lineman’s demeanor what kind of play to expect, and they were all in loaded stances the whole game when they were coming off a run and they were sitting back. I was kind of confused at first when they were in their tight bunch set and everyone’s like really close splits but didn’t look like they were ready to fire out."

Over the course of the year guys will vacate their gaps or a rush lane and open it up for the opposition; I don't have a single clip from last year in which a Glasgow mental error was worth noting. Like his brother, Glasgow thinks the game at an advanced level.

While he's not 330 and occasionally succumbed to a double team his terrific technique allowed him to stack and shed most single blocking. Guys got hurled to the turf:

And not just jabronis from Minnesota:

With his stamina and lightning quick penetration I started comparing him to a star nose tackle of recent vintage. After BYU I compared him to Mike Martin thanks to plays like this:

I was chided for this take, and now I will have my revenge. Glasgow's Martin vibe only got stronger as the year went on and he blasted through and knifed past OL after OL. After Maryland:

Meanwhile, Glasgow did not have a day that was spectacular statistically (just one tackle) but contributed to the general defenestration of the Maryland offensive line. We talked about his crazy ability to pursue on that Delano Hill TFL. There was a also a screen on which he made a tackle outside the numbers after getting knocked over. His range and endurance are major assets.

The first play linked in that section is worth an embed:

That is simply absurd mobility from a 300-pound nose tackle. The only other guy I've seen play the spot and regularly involve himself with plays outside the hash marks was, yes, Mike Martin.

By midseason UFRs had a section in which Glasgow was praised in ever more fulsome terms. Oregon State:

Right now not so much. Glasgow has built on a promising first year as a starter and is now a highly consistent, disruptive interior DL. He's got a great feel for the game. Here he catches a downblock and rips through it almost automatically:

I don't think he even bothered to look at that guy.

Glasgow is capable of blowing guys up with raw power as well…He has terrific endurance and has even added a little pass rush this year. Michigan is lucky to have him.

Northwestern:

Dude is elite. … He is playing out of his damn mind. Last year he'd flash talent and battle most of the time; this year he is violently discarding anyone put in front of him.

Like Hurst, his explosive upfield motion was occasionally used against him, but as you can see in the chart above minuses for him were close to nonexistent.

Glasgow was the linchpin of a ridiculous run defense, and it drove off a cliff immediately after his injury. Michigan gave up 864 rushing yards in nine games with him and 725 in four games without him; their yards per carry plummeted from third nationally to 26th. That's partially on Durkin's inability to deal with spreads and is still a stark reminder of just how important Glasgow was to last year's team.

Goals for Glasgow this year include "stay healthy," which is 1-100, and then to get that increment better so that his rushes that were previously effective at making the quarterback uncomfortable become rushes that deposit Glasgow's helmet into the quarterback's midsection. He'll be elite against the run. I'm loathe to project postseason accolades for a position that often gets overlooked so people can throw four DEs on the All Big Ten team, but Glasgow will absolutely deserve them on his way to the second or third round of the draft.

[After the JUMP: four more potential/extant dudes. And Jabrill Peppers! Really! He's the very next thing!]

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Brian August 26th, 2016 at 4:25 PM

REMINDER A THING IS HAPPENING. I totally biffed this the first time by linking to last year's event. There is a Football Eve from Homesure this year:

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First beer is on Matt, there will be a Q&A and… trivia? I think? We're asking people to RSVP because space is limited. Hit the link to do so.

WTKA friend with product on offer. If you're a fantasy guy or, uh, wagererer, Ed's got data for you. So much data. Binders full of data. You can parlay that data into non-data. Yeah.

Oh yes, this is going to get a lot of use. Via EDSBS:

The gif you now need in your life:

For life. Harbaugh on his future plans:

Speaking in a taped interview with SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday, Harbaugh was asked by a host if he can "legitimately" see himself coaching at Michigan "forever" -- meaning does he think he'll be at Michigan 20-25 years down the road.

Harbaugh's answer came quickly.

"Yeah I think that way," Harbaugh said. "I think, God willing and the creek don't rise, that'll happen. I love coaching, I love football and I love the University of Michigan."

Never say never and all that.

Yes, lots and lots of talent. CBS's Dane Brugler provides an extensive breakdown of Michigan's NFL draft prospects, of which there are many. Unlike ESPN he picks up on Ryan Glasgow as a thing:

Glasgow bursts off the snap and finishes each rep with the same fire. He has the grip strength to stack and dispose of single blockers, using push-pull technique to regain his momentum and penetrate the pocket. Glasgow lowers his head and attacks like a battering ram, but often loses sight of the ball and takes himself out of plays. Although his motor is always running, he is more of a one-speed athlete and lacks the closing burst to finish some plays in the backfield. Glasgow would benefit from improved discipline, but his hustle, mentality and strength are why he is a valuable member of Michigan's defensive line rotation. And also why several scouts grade him as a top-10 senior at his position.

The tenth DT in the 2016 draft was off the board at the beginning of the third round, albeit with a bunch of juniors in those spots. That feels about right. Mike Martin was a third round pick as well.

The rest of that article is a preview of what I'm going to say about a bunch of Michigan players in the season preview, down to a Manningham-Chesson comparison and questions about De'Veon Smith's ability to see things:

Smith makes it a chore on defenders to finish him off as linebackers have to him cleanly and finish or he refuses to go down. His vision and run instincts tend to run hot/cold, leading to questionable decisions, and with his lack of explosive traits, Smith needs to be more decisive and trust what he sees. He tends to leave you wanting more due to his marginal burst and instincts, but there is a place at the next level for Smith due to his power, ball skills and upside as a blocker.

Brugler's higher on Erik Magnuson than I am and doesn't mention Darboh or anyone in the secondary other than Lewis—though the latter might be because there were so many people to get to ahead of those gents—in a report that is otherwise extensive and right on point with both strengths and weaknesses. Read the whole thing.

This Peppers thing isn't even slightly weird. Peppers as SAM is part of a trend that is sweeping football at all levels, including the NFL. The Ringer has a piece on the continued evolution of NFL linebackers into 220 pound safety types:

NFL coaches say the change in thinking about linebackers started five or six years ago. Spread offenses were dominating college football, and the task for defensive coaches at that level was to find linebackers who could cover and tackle in the space created by this new, wide-open approach. “We started looking for guys who played skill positions or safety, and those were guys we actually looked to see if we could turn into linebackers,” says Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who served as a graduate assistant at North Carolina from 2007 to 2009.

Michigan was not doing this; they were running Jake Ryan out as a SAM. They continued to suffer against spread teams; Don Brown is really the first guy in the history of Michigan football with any positive track record against spread rushing offenses.

The article above focuses on  Deone Bucannon of the Cardinals, who's actually a more extreme manifestation of the tiny linebacker trend than Peppers since he plays on a team with Tyrann Mathieu—he's not a "star" or walkout linebacker or nickelback, Bucannon is actually a 210 pound inside linebacker. This is actually a situation where the NFL is more spread than college. Michigan is unlikely to follow suit with safety-sized ILBs because of the nature of their opposition. The NFL is a passing league; Ohio State is a running team.

PFF ABT. Pro Football Focus's All Big Ten team has a number of Michigan guys on it, as you might imagine:

  • First team: Jehu Chesson, Maurice Hurst, Jabrill Peppers, Jourdan Lewis
  • Second team: Jake Butt, Mason Cole, Erik Magnuson, Taco Charlton, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill

That's a lot of guys. PFF projects almost half of Michigan's starters as ABT players. We already knew that Hurst was a fave-rave of PFFs and that they like George Kittle of Iowa better than Butt because of his blocking ability. The most interesting item there is the inclusion of Delano Hill as a second team safety. That would be very nice if it came to pass.

PFF on JT Barrett. Barrett is the single-most important opposition player on Michigan's schedule, the last tentpole from the last couple years of Ohio State teams. He had a weird 2015, seeing his passing production dip radically. Which guy is it? PFF:

Intermediate and deep accuracy have been consistent issues for Barrett both seasons. On throws longer than 10 yards in the air in 2014, Barrett completed just 44 of 111 attempts, and in 2015, he was 20 of 45.

Barrett’s passes traveling 10+ yards in the air during 2014 season

Barrett 2014 passes over 10 yards thru air

Barrett’s passes traveling 10+ yards in the air during 2015 season

Barrett 2015 passes over 10 yards thru air

Keeping in mind the fact that he was throwing to the likes of Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Devin Smith, Braxton Miller, Jeff Heuerman, and Nick Vannett, all of them currently playing in the NFL, it’s difficult to expect his consistency to improve on deeper passes with newer, less experienced receivers and tight ends.

Barrett's not great against pressure, either, but OSU's system sometimes makes that hard to apply. He's an outstanding runner and there's always the chance of a leap forward, but he's a guy who has some limitations that Don Brown might be able to exploit.

Good luck with that. Per Pat Forde, the NCAA is expanding its Ole Miss probe:

NCAA Enforcement representatives have visited Auburn and Mississippi State, and perhaps at least one more SEC Western Division school, this summer to speak with players who were recruited by Ole Miss. The players were granted immunity from potential NCAA sanctions in exchange for truthful accounts of their recruitment, sources said.

If these guys are all telling the same story about 500 dollar handshakes on visits that could get really ugly for Ole Miss. They're already facing down a suite of Level 1 violations. I'm beginning to believe this could be an actual hammering, the first since USC that didn't involve… you know what at Penn State.

Hinton rates everything. Matt Hinton has done his usual preseason data-jam, evaluating every D-I school on their recent performance, crootin, experience, and projected competency. 17 categories go in the blender, and this is what comes out for the top 40:

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Nebraska is relatively high; MSU relatively low. PSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin are all in the 8-4, 7-5 range. This will no doubt enrage highly enrageable Iowa fans.

Etc.: NLRB reverses an earlier decision that was relevant to the Northwestern unionization push. A reason to hate every Big Ten school. Just because someone else is getting paid to abuse our national namespace doesn't mean you have to participate. Herky The Hawkeye is too angry for one Iowa professor. Hank Aaron will honorarily captainize a game this fall.

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