Neck Sharpies: Picking Apart a Snag

Neck Sharpies: Picking Apart a Snag

Submitted by Seth on April 20th, 2016 at 2:34 PM

The last few years Michigan moved toward becoming a major Cover 1 defense, and that looks to continue under Don Brown, whose BC teams were in a Cov1 (“City”) over half the time.

Last weekend I noticed more than a few opponents (and non-opponents) were practicing Cover 1 beaters in their spring games. So I thought I’d show one from Ohio State’s that I found particularly interesting. Hoping the coaches will chime in on this one since I’m not sure of everything I saw. Here’s the play:


It’s a snag package, a thing we talked about in the Borges days because it’s a good way to create those triangles that work against all coverages. Smart Football at that link:

The snag is so synonymous with the triangle concept that some teams simply call it “triangle.” The basic concept involves one receiver in the deep third on a corner route (good by itself against man-to-man), one receiver in the flat, often a runningback or inside receiver (which can also be good against man from a bunch-set), and a third receiver on the “snag” route, sometimes also known as a “slant-settle” or a “mini-curl.”


Building triangles is high up in the scale of offensive complication, because you’re asking the quarterback to ID the coverage and read multiple defenders.

However the first rule of Urban Meyer offenses is keep the thinking to a minimum* and lo and behold their snag isn’t really being run like a triangle. On this play Ohio State doesn’t even bother setting the high-low on the corner. Instead they set some picks on the outside to make it unlikely a CB will be able to cover the stick routes, draw off the rest of the coverage, and isolate the middle linebacker, giving the QB a simple read: See which way the MLB turns his hips, and throw behind him.

If that’s not open, find a guy going long and loft it. And if they’re not there, run around.


* [This is NOT a statement about the academic capability of Ohio State quarterbacks. Keeping things simple is a thing coaches try to do for all players, not just the intellectually incurious ones who’ve never heard of Uber.]

[Hit the jump to see how it works vs. man coverage]

Unverified Voracity Is Secretly Switzer

Unverified Voracity Is Secretly Switzer

Submitted by Brian on August 12th, 2011 at 11:40 AM



An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
Friedrich Nietzsche

EPIC. Thujone's latest paint opus has panels for Tate Forcier, Big Ten expansion, and Les Miles, but this is where it's at:



As always, Thujone comes with a CARTOON PENIS warning. Do not click if you are in a situation where being caught looking at a cartoon penis would be compromising.

Epic in the other direction. Chris Brown's latest at Smart Football is one of those posts that instantly illuminates a part of football that was murky before, and this one even comes with locally-relevant content. He describes the "snag" and "y-stick" plays you may have seen in your copy of NCAA 12 (or any year since '08 since they haven't changed it since). They incorporate stretches both vertical (i.e., making a cover two cornerback pick between a high guy and a low guy) and horizontal (i.e., making a flat defender pick between an outside guy and an inside guy) with routes that do well against man coverage.

Presenting that concept taking candy from a baby:

The snag is so synonymous with the triangle concept that some teams simply call it “triangle.” The basic concept involves one receiver in the deep third on a corner route (good by itself against man-to-man), one receiver in the flat, often a runningback or inside receiver (which can also be good against man from a bunch-set), and a third receiver on the “snag” route, sometimes also known as a “slant-settle” or a “mini-curl.”


As a general matter, against a Cover Two defense the quarterback will have a high/low read of the cornerback; if he sinks back he can throw it to the inside receiver in the flat; if the cornerback drops he will throw it to the corner route behind the cornerback, as shown in the clip below.

Against a Cover Three defense, the cornerback should take away the corner route by dropping into the deep third, but the snag/mini-curl and the flat should put a horizontal stretch on the flat defender and one of the two should be open.

At times like this I think to myself "boy, I hope I got that right." Drumroll…

NFW Michigan can defend this as aligned, as Rogers(-1) has a nasty choice between giving up the corner or the flat and chooses poorly by not sinking into the corner. (Cover -2, RPS -2); Gordon has no prayer of getting over in time and can only hope to tackle. Also, Avery(-1) appears to be abandoning his zone to ride the WR on a little hitch farther, which means the flat is wide open; Michigan is putting lots of guys in the same areas on their zone drops

Not bad. Michigan didn't even make that snag hard; by the time the ball is gone Mouton and Ezeh are within a yard of each other and Avery isn't much farther away. I still don't think there was any way for Michigan to defend this staple play as aligned, which points to the incoherence of the defense. Everything from last year points to the incoherence of the defense, sure.

Outdoor hockey is go. The on-again-off-again outdoor game in Cleveland is on again, this time officially. It's January 15th.

I wonder what the fan breakdown will be. This one's a bit farther than the Big House but still an easy drive and Ohio State fans don't usually turn out for hockey. They do make an exception for Michigan, though, and they'll probably make a larger one for the outdoor game PR stunt. 50-50?

Let's be friends. Dimitri Martin has a one-liner about bumper stickers: "to me, all bumper stickers say the same thing: 'let's not be friends.' This is one of two exceptions:


You know what happened in 1973, I'm sure. If not MVictors has you covered.

The other exception: once I saw a guy with a black bumper sticker that read CASH, as in Johnny.

I'm surprised it took this long. Greg Mattison has declared his team a "blitzing" team:

Very aggressive. I'll take anything more than three guys this year. Also, feel the soothing reassurance of Greg Mattison talking vis a vis Greg Robinson.

Euroleague says thanks. Someone credible enough to get retweeted by Pete Thamel says he "keeps hearing" NBA owners are pushing for an eligibility structure similar to the NFL. I.E.: you can't enter the draft until you're three years out of high school.

At that point wouldn't a lot of kids scheduled to be one-and-done GTFO? It's one thing when you've got to cool your heels for a year nailing cheerleaders and maybe taking a few classes. Three years is a totally different matter. The money will be bigger overseas since they can expect some high-level performances when the #1 pick in the NBA draft is 21.

Football can get away with their structure because there's nowhere else to play and they're almost always right: you should not be playing in the NFL less than three years after prom because you will die. The Adrian Petersons of the world are exceedingly rare. In basketball there are a dozen guys coming out of high school every year who can be all right NBA players right away.

Etc.: NCAA may or may not have sent a second "we're investigating you, buddy" letter to OSU. Wholly unreliable local radio host "The Torg" says "Ellis" from the SI story has talked to the NCAA, so take that for what it's worth.

Martavious Odoms's alarming cast should be off in two weeks so no big deal. Nobody knows who the starting running back is.

Picture Pages: Snag Package

Picture Pages: Snag Package

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Earlier in the year Chris Brown of Smart Football offered up some clarification of a route package Michigan's running, and now I'm spotting it in key situations so I might as well Picture Page it. This will please people who complain about the relentlessly negative PPs in past weeks that are all about explaining why Michigan gave up a touchdown.

It's third and four from the 29 on Michigan's second drive of the day. Michigan comes out in a standard formation:


Smith, Hemingway, and tight end Kevin Koger are going to run a snag concept. This consists of three parts:

  1. The #1 (outside) receiver runs a slant and then sits down about five yards downfield.
  2. The #2 receiver, in this case the TE, runs a corner route.
  3. The tailback runs a flare.

This is what it looks like on a diagram. It's on the right:


Chris Brown on the point of this package:

The snag is a variant of the smash, where one point is to get a high-low with the corner route and the flat route (except now the flat is controlled by the runningback), with the added dimension of an outside receiver running the “snag” route — a one-step slant where he settles inside at 5-6 yards. This gives you a “triangle” stretch, where you have both a high/low read (corner to RB in the flat) and a horizontal read from inside to outside (snag route to the RB in the flat).

In previous games when Michigan's run this the opponent was in three deep and the read was simply reading the playside linebacker: throw it where he's not. Here Illinois runs what looks like a combo coverage. Just after the snap:


Illinois has a hard corner to the bottom of the screen and a soft one to the top. Robinson's reading the snag package all the way. Here he's starting at the playside LB, who's figuring out what to do with Koger.

It turns out he goes with Koger:


The hard corner is taking away the flare and this linebacker is turning his hips, so the snag route itself (Hemingway's) will come open. Denard should probably be throwing the ball now.


He should definitely be throwing the ball now.






Hemingway's about a half yard short of the first down and is fortunate that Martez Wilson read the route package about as fast as Denard did. He's still two steps away from Hemingway, allowing Hemingway to take that orbit step wide receivers to do evade overpursuing tacklers…


…which gets him past the sticks for a first down.


Object lessons:

  • Maybe Michigan's passing game isn't as unsophisticated as the spread n shred used to be? This is a favored package around the NCAA right now, which is why Smart Football could bring it to my attention—he'd seen it in the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, despite having a quarterback who's going to break the all-time rushing record for his position and possibly Tim Biakabutuka's Michigan rushing record, this is not the West Virginia offense. Disclaimers about Tate cameos and catchup ball apply, but Michigan's running 61% of the time this year. That's not far off from Carr's last three years, which were 56% rush (2007), 61% (2006), and 55% (2005) and it's a far cry from Rodriguez's Pat White offenses that ran 75% of the time.

    Despite missing a game and a half, Denard already has more attempts than White did as a sophomore and needs just 22 attempts per game to match White's 274 attempts as a senior (which wasn't even an RR offense anymore). Michigan's 14th in passer efficiency, which says a lot more when you're throwing it around at a semi-normal rate.

  • But maybe so, or maybe not. Previously in this series we've broken down the curl/flat combo (twice) and frequently mentioned the snag. Here Illinois runs a combo coverage that blankets the curl/flat to the top of the screen and probably should do the same to the snag but for Wilson's tardiness. They're prepared for this play. On the other hand, they were completely unprepared for the all-hitch routes that Roundtree kept dropping, and Michigan got their bomb on. So maybe nevermind.
  • The game is still slowing down for Denard. This is the euphemistic way to say "he's not reading defenses fast enough yet." (For a given definition of "enough," anyway. He's 11th in passer efficiency.) He's late here and I think he was late a couple other times. It's hard to tell whether certain balls are inaccurate or thrown in the right zone window, but thrown too late. I think the fourth and nine Roundtree touchdown may be an example of this. He couldn't hit Roundtree in the numbers because of the safety coming over and forced a moderately difficult catch out of him.
  • Great protection. This happened all day. Robinson sat back there like John Navarre, most prominently on the second(!) 75-yard completion to Roundtree where Michigan slid the line and he re-enacted his throw to Roundtree from the spring game except without the guy coming into his face.
  • Maybe this is why he never scrambles? He seems uncertain about his reads still so he sits in the pocket wondering if he's missing something when he should just run, Forrest, run. For a guy with his ability on the ground he's got a weird antipathy for taking off. I've got him for four scrambles on the year.