Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 21st, 2013 at 3:43 PM

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

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

4-3-even-slide 3

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

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


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

pistol fb goal line

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

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

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

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

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


Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2013 at 5:08 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan abandoned the two-high look for most of this game in favor of seven or seven and a half man fronts depending on whether Nebraska was in standard or three-wide personnel. Against 2TEs and a back:


Against three wide they would often go with a straight up 4-3 under on plausible run downs. This is a four-wide formation on which Michigan has 4-3 personnel on the field (that's Cam Gordon over the slot) and only gets out of their 4-3 under because Nebraska splits a TE.


This is a wide shot of a fairly typical one-high setup:


All of this was great for jamming up Nebraska's inside run game and very bad for option pitches.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Avery and Furman started at safety, with Wilson frequently subbing in. He was in the same role Bolden was, essentially a third starter. Thomas Gordon did not play. Countess went out in the first quarter, which put Dymonte Thomas on the field in the nickel and Stribling on the field on all downs. Lewis played only a little early and then was out.

Linebackers were the usual. Ryan/Gordon at SAM, Ross/Bolden/Morgan three guys for two spots at ILB. On the line, Jibreel Black(!) was your starting nose tackle with Washington rotating in. Henry and Glasgow were at the three tech, Clark went almost the whole way at WDE with Ojemudia in a clear backup role, and the same thing happened at SDE with Beyer and Wormley. On nickel packages, Taco Charlton came in as a DT. This was probably not a good move.

[After THE JUMP: 17 points should be good enough.]


Unverified Voracity Wears Fedora

Unverified Voracity Wears Fedora Comment Count

Brian November 16th, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Men wearing hats. And bandanas.


LS&A magazine collects Bentley photos of old-timey Michigan games to the present-day to examine what people wore to the things. This is from 1936; I think I recognize the guy in the glasses in the front row.


Don't look at the Ark, dude.

Things didn't really fall off a cliff until the 80s.


Probably DFW on the left there. Probably.

All the Kwiatkowski features. The AD must have offered people free nachos for articles about senior walk-on TE and MGoFave-Rave Mike Kwiatkowski, because you can't throw a rock this week without dinging one on the head. The Daily version:

It’s fine to recognize how unlikely it is that Kwiatkowski rose from regular student to scholarship starter in a matter of three years — but don’t call him a walk-on.

“I actually despise that label,” Kwiatkowski said. “Because like you said, there’s been a number of (walk-ons) who have played, and just because you weren’t given a scholarship doesn’t mean you aren’t as capable. Obviously there’s some exceptions to that, of people who walk on and don’t end up playing.

“I guess that’s the rule, if anything.”

Er. Senior Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science major Mike Kwiatkowski. MLive also features Kwiatkowski.

Denard QB controversy stuff. There's really no controversy, everyone strains to point out; unfortunately it seems like there's really no expectation it'll even be relevant. This is where we're at:

If Denard Robinson can't go, Hoke will consider single, symbolic play

That would be something I would think about, but to be honest with you," Hoke said. "The seniors and the guys and the people who are truly Michigan fans, I think they understand the significance he's had."

He was asked about using Robinson in another role Saturday. The injury has caused numbness in his right hand and made it difficult to grip the football.

"Oh, I don't know," Hoke said on 97.1. "The health of him and all those things are what we're concerned about."

At this point I'm not expecting him against Iowa, except in that ceremonial role. If it's two weeks on from the Nebraska game and he's still throwing ducks in warmups, as he was before the Northwestern game, it doesn't seem likely he'll get better before the bowl game, if then. John Niyo:

…chances are, we've seen the last of Robinson as Michigan's starting quarterback. The ulnar nerve injury that has sidelined him since the first half of an Oct. 27 loss at Nebraska takes weeks to heal, if not months, or surgery. And coach Brady Hoke's cat-and-mouse games with the media notwithstanding, that reality — along with Robinson's NFL prospects — figures to leave the senior stuck in this new dual-threat role: as an extra coach and cheerleader on the sideline while Devin Gardner succeeds him under center.

At least Gardner is doing well, the considerable silver lining in pretty much the worst way for Denard to go out.

Halfway to a final verdict thing. The MZone's Season Tickets vs Stubhub feature concludes with resounding victory for the scalper, especially for primo seats which could be had at a 40% markdown on the secondary market. This is the easy year, though: a home schedule featuring Nebraska/ND/Ohio State is not likely to end up with the scalper in the black. How close will a two-year total be? Tune in next year to find out.

I'm guessing it'll be pretty close to break-even overall, but once you take the ND game out of the equation… well, Arkansas probably isn't going to cut it.

Talking with Mo. MVictors sits down with Gary Moeller:

One of the greatest times I had after I came back was when we watched Michigan football together in the press box.  One day up there I found out how much he truly loved this university.  He said, “Hey Mo, come here. I wanna show you something.”  The band was already out on the field and the players were coming out of the tunnel, and they’re playing The Victors and all that stuff. Bo said, “Now there—isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life?  Look at the fans, look at band and look at this team coming out here. That’s what Michigan is all about.” It was as though he was just painting a portrait that was in his mind of something that he was so proud of.

"One of the greatest times I had after I came back was when we watched Michigan football together in the press box. He said, 'hey, come here' and told me to listen to this generic Nickelback ripoff cheese by a band named Porpville or something. Bo said 'Now there—isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life?' Then Zombie Nation came on, and we wept in each others' arms."

-conversation that did not happen

Iowa: not good. Win percentage chart from the Purdue game showing how Iowa stayed in the game:

It may not be much of a comfort to anyone, but Iowa was actually very fortunate to lose to Purdue on a last-second field goal. Or to put it another way, Iowa was lucky to be in the game at all. If Purdue could have just gotten out of its own way on a couple of occasions, they would have won by two touchdowns or more. Every time it looked like the Boilermakers were going to go ahead decisively, they managed to make an egregious blunder -- a fumble, a penalty, a missed field goal -- that kept Iowa inexplicably and unjustly still in the game. If we look at the win probability chart for the game, we can see exactly where these moments occurred (WP here refers to Iowa's chances of winning):


That's how you lose by a field goal despite getting outgained almost 2 to 1.

Tie that running back to the train tracks. Northwestern defensive lineman Sean McEvilly: we need to have a talk.

Sir. You are named Sean McEvilly. You do not pronounce this like you are Scottish adverbial evil, nor do you have a luxuriously nefarious mustache. In fact you look about as evil as a schnauzer.


I'm nice.

Also, what is the deal with this?

Good attitude on the practice field.

This should read "conspires to tie pretty debutantes to Venric Mark." At least you are majoring in economics.

I'm sure you feel, like I do, that this is a missed opportunity. Look at Jake Ryan: he grows his hair out and becomes Clay Mathews. To ensure a ticket to the NFL, you need one of these:


Please acquire one posthaste and accept the internet glory that surely awaits.

This isn't Canisius anymore, Toto. Michigan can throw it up, and someone can catch it and rain thunder down. This is… intriguing for John Beilein:

The alley-oop: the most exciting play in basketball.

For the first time in his 35 years of coaching, Beilein now incorporates the alley-oops into his practices.

“I realize it’s a really good play,” he noted Monday, pausing before he finished, “if you have athletes.”

"…I have just discovered that men like Glenn Robinson III exist, and whoah."

Policework objection. BWS takes on the long Mark option discussed in the defensive UFR:

before the ball is even snapped, you can see a huge problem: Michigan is badly outnumbered to the boundary side of the field. From the offensive center toward the boundary, Michigan has only four defenders. Nebraska has four men on the line of scrimmage, Colter, and Mark. There's absolutely no way Michigan can defend this play toward the sideline.

It's tough, sure, but doable. I clipped this exact play a bit later and Michigan executed better. Beyer and Kovacs combined to impact Mark near the LOS; the pile fell forward for four.

Also note Ross's presence. The key is for that defensive end to stay on the LOS and widen out. Beyer at the pitch on the first one versus the second:


Beyer doesn't get as far upfield, is a step or two further outside, and is turned to chase on the pitch, which gets him to the back as Kovacs contains. Michigan's alignment there can get the job done, and if you don't slide to the field they'll have opportunities out there. That's what the spread does—requires you to make plays without the advantage of numbers. Michigan's trying to get that back by using the sideline as their 12th guy.

One of Michigan's main issues against the option in this one was the defensive ends giving themselves up one for one quickly. We saw them get a little better at that as the day went on; they'll have to rep it a lot next week in preparation for Ohio State.

Etc.: Northwestern analyzes its doom, needs bigger screenshots. Classic Ufer nicknames.  Super Toe! The only Iranian I know who wears cowboy boots! For best results, play Indiana. Rich Rodriguez on Denard. Orange Bowl contract finalized, ND gets significantly less than everyone else if they participate. Senior salute from M&GB. Holdin' The Rope on Denard.


Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Formation notes: We've already talked about Michigan's 3-3-5 at the end of the game, which was really blue for some reason:


filmed in post-apocalyptic-Denzel-Washington-vehicle-o-vision

The rest of it was as per usual. Michigan goes with an even front against spread packages and flares the LBs out to deal. This results in things like this…


…and is a declaration of immense faith in the DTs. Here's Ryan over the slot again:


Michigan used some super wide splits once, when they were sick of getting edged by the option:


This was a FB dive that looked dangerous before Pipkins spatted the ballcarrier for two yards.

Finally, here's something. What? I'm not sure. THANKS DIRECTOR GUY


I swear these guys who come in and think they're Football Tarantino.

Substitution notes: Secondary as it always is. The front seven saw the same rotation they have in the last couple games, with CGordon/Bolden/Ross backing up Ryan/Demens/Morgan at LB and Heitzman/Black/Pipkins/Clark backing up Roh/Campbell/Washington/Beyer. Heitzman's increased PT continued; Bolden got relatively few snaps. Ross got more, including the last drive, but maybe not as many as I expected he did going in.

[AFTER THE JUMP: getting gashed, responding, Kovacs in your grill]


Picture Pages: Unblocked ILBs FTL

Picture Pages: Unblocked ILBs FTL Comment Count

Brian 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:


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


Unsurprisingly, this doesn't go well.


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.


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!]


Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian November 24th, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Formation Notes: HAI GUYS I'M BACK


Been back for a few weeks now, but whatever.

Substitution Notes: No Smith, who was apparently laid up with a shoulder injury, and no Barnum. Odoms is getting more and more run as the seasons winds down. Other than that, the usual.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Power sweep Toussaint -4
Odoms goes in motion to the weak side to be a potential pitch man as M runs a stretch one way w/ an option look on the other side. If this is a read Denard(-1) screwed up because he can get the corner easy and has a pitch guy. Meanwhile on the handoff, Michigan pulls Omameh and Huyge around the two TEs. This leaves the playside DT unblocked; he rushes into the backfield for a TFL. This has to be a bust but by who? I assume Watson(-2) but that is admittedly a guess; if he blocks down and Koger blocks down on the end this will get some yards. Omameh gets a minus for not doing what we saw Molk do on a previous mediocre outside run; that was a nine-yard difference.
RUN-: Watson(2), Omameh, Robinson
M27 2 14 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Throwback screen Gallon 5
This does open up decently; Huyge(-1) whiffs an open-field block to get Gallon tackled after a modest gain. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
RUN-: Huyge
M32 3 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass In Grady Inc
Late moving safety to the LOS. Nebraska sends six; OL does a great job picking it up and giving Denard a lane to step up into. He finds Grady somewhat open for a first down and throws it way behind him for a potential INT. Dropped. (IN, 0, protection 4/4)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 3-2-6 nickel Run Zone read keeper Robinson 16
LB over the inside slot receiver and five guys in the box with a safety creeping down weakside. Backside end gets crushed inside by Lewan(+1) and backside LB flows down the line; edge wide open so Robinson pulls. Dileo kicks the slot LB, though he was pretty far outside and didn't have much of a chance to get Robinson(+3) anyway. Robinson jukes the safety and is one step from a 79 yard touchdown when David recovers to tackle from behind. Robinson pounds the turf in frustration. Zookian RPS+2 here—WTF is Nebraska thinking?
RUN+: Robinson(3), Lewan RUN-:
M37 1 10 Pro set 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Flare screen Toussaint 7
Dive fake to Hopkins as Toussaint runs a flare. Gallon(+1) cracks down on the playside LB as Schofield(+1) gets out in space; Toussaint sets up the Schofield block very well but his inside-outside juke does slow him enough that the safety can get over to chop him down after a good gain. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN+: Gallon, Schofield, Toussaint RUN-:
M44 2 3 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Zone read dive Toussaint 3
Straight inside zone here with no doubles. Omameh(+2) gets a little help from Molk but not much and ends up pancaking his DT; Molk(+1) peels off on a linebacker. Toussaint is cutting through the hole provided; Huyge(-1) couldn't get enough push/control of the playside DE, who comes off to tackle as Toussaint moves through the hole.
RUN+: Omameh(2), Molk RUN-: Huyge
M47 1 10 Shotgun empty 2TE 0 2 3 4-3 over Run QB inside zone Robinson 2
Odoms will come in jet motion on all these plays. Another double from Omameh(+1) and Molk on the just pancaked DT knocks him well out of the hole but Schofield(-1) has lost control of his man. Robinson jukes backside and the DT puts himself on the other side of the block; Robinson now has a hole. Unfortunately, Molk(-1) whiffed on David and he tackles in the hole.
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh RUN-: Molk, Schofield
M49 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Hitch Roundtree Inc
Molk gets his head up for a beat before snapping and picks up a blitz up the middle. David comes delayed and Toussaint basically misses him, forcing a throw to a covered Roundree. It's an okay throw and could be complete if not for obvious PI the refs miss. (CA, 0, protection 2/3, Toussaint -1) Refs -1.
M49 3 8 Shotgun triple stack 1 0 4 3-2-6 nickel Pass Fly Roundtree 46 + 2 pen
Toussaint motions out for an empty look. Nebraska rushes three with a fourth guy delayed; line picks it up and Denard has all day. He bombs it deep to a single-covered Roundtree, who slows down as is his wont; DB bangs into him and falls; momentum propels Roundtree into the path of the pass, which he catches. While the catch wasn't hugely difficult the setup was. (CA, 1, protection 3/3) Nebraska gets a PF tacked on.
O2 1 G Ace 1 2 2 Goal line Penalty Delay -- -5
No clock.
O7 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Speed option Robinson 0
Nebraska line stalemates M line, providing no obvious creases; Robinson bails on the play, cutting all the way back behind the line and into an unblocked contain guy. He manages to make that guy miss, seems like he's about to make another guy miss and get the corner, and then just goes straight into guy #2. IME: should have kept it to the playside, sucked in David, and pitched to Toussaint to see what he can do with the safety.
RUN-: Robinson
O7 2 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass PA cross Gallon 7
PA fake with Toussaint shooting outside; Toussaint beats the LB outside, sucking up a safety. Robinson looks at Toussaint then pulls up, gets square, and zips a dart to Gallon running free behind the Toussaint route for a touchdown. (CA+, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA Scramble Robinson 16
Waggle action gets Robinson all day as NU's DL doesn't get anywhere near Denard. Two fly routes take both safeties deep; Koger releases on a wheel that takes one linebacker and Toussaint releases into the flat, taking another. No one open, Denard finally runs. His breathtaking acceleration is just barely matched by David, who chops him down after a good gain. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3)
RUN+: Robinson(2) RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel stack Run Zone read dive Toussaint 9
Koger H-back action. Nebraska has three down linemen and a LB over Koger, with apparently just six in the box. I again think this can be a keep read with a DE coming down and Koger coming around to block David; Robinson one on one with a safety. Denard hands off. Both playside linebackers hit inside gaps quickly, cutting off creases. Toussaint(+2) bounces. His outside bounce is quick but he's got the safety coming down and a corner containing. He takes a couple stutter-steps that fool the safety and shoots inside of the Grady block on the containing corner for a solid gain. Omameh(+0.5) picked up a stoning block on a LB entering his zone.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Grady, Omameh(0.5) RUN-:
O30 2 1 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 5
Doubles on both DTs are extended; Hopkins heads backside to hit the unblocked DE on that side. Hopkins(+1) gets a good thump on that guy but DE is shuffling down the line and Hopkins can't kick him out. Lewan(+1) releases and then flares to get the scrape exchange linebacker; Toussaint(+1) reads the blocking—Nebraska is slanting playside—and cuts back, where David hacks him down.
RUN+: Hopkins, Lewan, Toussaint RUN-:
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 3-2-6 nickel Run QB iso Robinson 7
Three man line and five in the box is asking for this; M gives it to them. Molk(+1) blows up the NT. Omameh(+1) and Schofield(+1) also get good push. Robinson just has to run up their backs for a nice gain. RPS+1.
RUN+: Omameh, Molk, Schofield RUN-:
O18 2 3 I-Form 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Iso Toussaint 4
Nebraska kind of confused as to what they're doing here; chalk it up to multiple advantage. M runs same play, basically, with Hopkins lead and Toussaint running. Molk(+1) helps blow up the NT and then blows up David; Hopkins(+1) nails the other LB; Schofield(+1) ends up pushing the NT almost to the first down line. Toussaint hits it up for the first.
RUN+: Molk, Schofield, Hopkins RUN-:
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read keeper Robinson 2
Stupid tight shot. This looks wiiiiide open on the corner after Denard pulls but there might be a slot LB plunging down. No one mentions this so I assume not. If not, jeez Denard. DE is shuffling down the line in an attempted defense of the belly and Koger is about to seal the backside LB. Run for the corner and it could be a huge gain. Instead Denard pulls the Scheelhaase last week to poor effect. Still could have worked but for Huyge(-1) not being able to maintain his block but there are no blocks to maintain outside. Picture paged.
RUN-: Robinson(2), Huyge
O12 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Seam Grady Inc
Another blitz up the middle, this one not timed that well. It's picked up. Toussaint's coming off the mesh fake and runs right by the delayed blitzer, who is about to light Robinson up. He lets it fly to Grady on a quick seam that is a dangerous but does get through, clanging off a diving Grady's hands. (CA, 2, protection 0/2, Toussaint -2, RPS -1)
O12 3 8 Shotgun double stacks 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Sack -- -12
Hemingway motions from a triple stack to a double. Nebraska reveals man and sends seven. WRs are not open and Toussaint's cut block is not a Smith cut block, letting his guy through; Denard is under quick pressure with no options and tries to keep the play alive, taking a sack. Torn between asking him to throw this away and thinking about what happens if he dodges this guy. Six points, probably. (PR, protection 1/3, Toussaint -2, RPS -1). Where's our third down back?
Drive Notes: FG(42), 10-0, 2 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun empty 2TE 0 2 3 Nickel even Run Pin and pull zone Robinson 0
The jet sweep would have been a huge gainer as the D sells out on Robinson. I mean, Nebraska doesn't even react to the jet motion. Unfortunately, no read here so it's a straight run all the way. Koger(-1) loses his fight with the playside DE badly, Omameh(-1) does not delay the backside DT at all and leaves Huyge to chase him futilely, and the playside corner runs right by everyone to tackle. RPS -2. No chance structurally.
RUN-: Koger, Omameh
M20 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read trap Toussaint 3
Safety rolled up hard and an overhang corner is eight in the box. Schofield pulls behind Molk to trap the other DT; Michigan splits them but the MLB reads the trap immediately and runs past Huyge. Tackle attempt is broken but delays Toussaint. David, over the slot, does not even look at the WRs and scrapes down to clean up. Screw it: this is a play that should have been bubbled and it cost Michigan a gain after a broken tackle. RPS -1.
RUN+: Toussaint RUN-:
M23 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel press Pass Rollout out Hemingway 27
ESPN has a crazy tight angle on third and seven. Derp. Odoms motions out of the backfield. Nebraska plays tight man on the WRs and walks a safety down. They back him out and blitz off the slot to the side Michigan is rolling to. Hopkins gets a cut that delays the blitzer long enough to let Robinson set up and zing it to Hemingway on an out that's there and a lot easier because of the moved pocket. Caught, first down. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, Hopkins special mention.) RPS +1; Hemingway on some white dude.
50 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Jet stretch Odoms 0
This is essentially a WR stretch play that Odoms(-2) screws up immensely. Playside end is not reached, which means go inside. He goes outside; this takes forever and a safety hacks him down at the LOS. Huyge(+1) had chopped the backside DT and Schofield(+1) driven the playside guy back yards so any back used to a zone would have cut inside and gotten something between five and a crapton of yards.
RUN+: Schofield, Huyge RUN-: Odoms(2)
50 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-4 even Pass Screen Toussaint INT
Oh, man. This is not Robinson's fault at all, really. Someone's got to cut this guy because the ball is headed directly to Toussaint and that guy has two blockers and air in front of him. It's gotta be Lewan, who's feebly pushing this dude as Schofield releases to block the screen. His dude leaps, bats, intercepts, and returns. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Lewan -2, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-7, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 9
This works out for Fitz but it's not as great as it seems on first viewing because he misread the play, started cutting back into unblocked guys, and then burst back to the hole that was open the whole time. Omameh(+1) beat up and controlled the playside DT, forcing him off the line. Toussaint stops behind a mediocre block from Schofield(-0.5) and thinks about going backside, then decides not so much. When he goes back the the original hole it's still there thanks to good extended blocks from Huyge(+1) and Hemingway(+1!) Toussaint then does earn a plus by dancing past a peeling DT to add three or four to his run.
RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Hemingway, Toussaint RUN-: Schofield
M35 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Run Zone read belly Toussaint 2
Extended doubles here as Michigan adapts the zone to short yardage. Lewan(+1) and Schofield(+1) blow the backside guy off the ball and provide a lane as they cut off a linebacker. Safety coming down fills just past the LOS.
RUN+: Lewan, Schofield RUN-:
M37 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 1 2 2 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 1
Denard misses a must-pull with the playside DE diving down hard. There is no one containing him; DE gets underneath Koger and the way-off-LBs converge to crush this.
RUN-: Robinson(2)
M38 2 9 Shotgun twin TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Hopkins 3
Nebraska shifts the LBs with the Odoms motion and Denard again misses a keep read. Yeah, there's a contain guy. There are two of you on the edge. The defensive end isn't even thinking about Denard, instead hugging the LT's hip as he releases downfield. When the MLB slants hard under Lewan to force a cutback that DE is there to tackle.
RUN-: Robinson
M41 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Comeback Hemingway 8
Good route and good placement by Robinson to take it away from the defenders; coverage wasn't bad but the throw and route here beat it. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) RPS +1 as Hemingway again got defended by scrub.
M49 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass Waggle comeback Hemingway Inc
This inexplicably works well enough that a pulling Schofield has no one to block on the edge. All day for Robinson. He pulls up and fires to a wide open Hemingway. Total whiff. Should have set up instead of throwing on the run. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M49 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass PA Scramble Robinson 4
Stretch action fools no one—M does not run stretches, really—and Robinson has no one. When pressure comes he jukes it and gets outside for a few yards. (TA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O47 3 6 Shotgun triple stack 1 0 4 Okie Run Speed option Robinson 8
Okie at first and then Nebraska checks. They're still looking at the sideline when Michigan snaps the ball... and the blocking is really weird. Molk pass blocks, like it's a draw. This works. Odd. Huyge(+2) reaches the playside DE so Robinson heads outside. Omameh(+1) pushes David past the play; Robinson(+1) cuts back and jets upfield for the first. Lewan also got a block that pushed a player past the cutback.
RUN+: Huyge(2), Robinson, Lewan, Omameh RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 16
DONKEY HATING. Too little of this this year. Inside zone with a probably designed cutback; Schofield(+1) pushes the backside DT out of the hole. Lewan(+2) destroys his DE, driving him four yards downfield. Hopkins(+1) kicks the contain guy after he contains. Molk can't quite get the MLB but the Lewan block gives Toussaint(+2) a lane he jets into. He jukes a safety for an extra five yards and bonus point. The replay on this is why I like Spielman no matter what anyone says.
RUN+: Lewan(2), Schofield, Toussaint(2), Hopkins RUN-:
O28 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
Denard actually checks to this. Lord knows why. Nebraska has three relevant linebackers because the backside guy scrapes past Lewan before he can get out; not really on Lewan since the DT buried himself and made it impossible to get out to the second level. Michigan has two lead blockers. Toussaint(-1) tries to bounce and gets eaten up for nothing when just slamming it up in the nonexistent non-hole maybe gets a couple. RPS -1.
RUN-: Tousssaint
O28 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Robinson 9
A rollout that is intended to turn into a throwback screen that Robinson thinks isn't there... because it isn't. There's a DE in front of Toussaint. He's got a lane because Roundtree(+1) thumped a linebacker, who fell, and caused a DL to fall over him. (SCR, 0 (target: Toussaint), protection N/A)
RUN+: Robinson, Roundtree RUN-:
O19 3 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-4 even Run QB power Robinson 19
Late movement from Nebraska to get a guy over the slot. Four DL, five second level players. Koger(+1) kicks the playside DE and a blitz takes the playside DT out of the picture; Schofield does wall him off. Blitz also takes a LB away from the play out. Big hole, three on three in it. All three get outside of Lewan, with Lewan's guy beating that block; Omameh(+1) wipes him out. Robinson(+1) cuts behind that and is gone. RPS +1
RUN+: Robinson, Omameh, Koger RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-10, 6 min 2nd Q. Next drive starts with 3:21 left.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sweep Robinson 7
Schofield and Molk pull to give Denard three lead blockers. Toussaint(+1) forms up to kick a charging LB past the play. Koger(+2) kills the playside DE, driving him five yards downfield. Huyge(+1) seals the playside DE. Robinson's lead blockers have no one to block until five yards downfield; Robinson follows them. He should really bust outside for a big gain; instead one guy submarines the whole pile.
RUN+: Koger(2), Toussaint, Huyge RUN-:
M18 2 3 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint -2
Another obvious blown read. The backside DE is let go and charges down Toussaint. There is no scraper and the two TEs are flaring out to clean that edge. Robinson must pull; he does not. MLB reads the mesh point and charges straight upfield at Toussaint, getting through the line about a second after the mesh. He bounces, which isn't a good idea, but he has no good ideas. RPS -1.
RUN-: Robinson(2)
M16 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson 2
Omameh(+1) crushes his DT out of the lane and to the ground, giving Robinson a lane. Schofield(-0.5) does a meh job. Molk heads downfield into a linebacker; that linebacker rushes outside as he thinks Robinson is going there, and Robinson should read that and cut behind that block so David can again tackle him by the ankles after ten yards. Instead he continues outside and gets chopped down by the LB.
RUN+: Omameh RUN-: Robinson, Schofield
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 1 min 2nd Q. This is three straight Denard running screwups.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Dime even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 5
With no apparent contain this is the right move but they blitz off the corner and Roundtree(-1) doesn't read it fast enough, letting his dude by. Toussaint(+2) is confronted by a corner in the backfield, he jukes past a la Hart. This allows a defender to come from the backside and tackle but it's still a +7 yard effort. RPS -1.
RUN+: Toussaint(2) RUN-: Roundtree
M48 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Robinson 3
Robinson drops back and finds no one. Protection is excellent and he has a lane, so he takes it. Toussaint realizes what's going on and sets up to block the one linebacker in the area; all Robinson has to do for a big gain is cut to the correct side of it. He instead bounces outside, where the LB is keeping leverage, and turns a big to huge gain into very little. Arrrrgh. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
RUN-: Robinson
O49 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson -2
Nebraska seems to be looking for this; Omameh(-1) and Huyge(-1) lose their guys inside and Robinson has nowhere to go. He bounces but has to weave around guys and David tracks him down. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: EOH, 17-10. Argh. Terrence Robinson blasts a dude for the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Pin and pull zone Robinson 2
This thing again, oddly to the short side of the field. Koger(+1) blows the end off the LOS; Omameh(-1) loses his guy. Robinson has to bounce as the playside LB does a nice job of getting to the POA quickly and taking out Huyge in an inconvenient spot. Robinson gets to the sideline but a safety is there and he has no room to string it out to the corner. RPS -1.
RUN+: Koger RUN-: Omameh
O31 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon 24
I mean, seriously, Nebraska? You have zero guys within ten yards of this play. Have you watched Michigan ever? Huyge(+1) gets a block on the charging safety; Omameh(+1) picks off the backside LB, who bit hard on the play action. Gallon jets straight upfield for a big gain. RPS +2.
RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Gallon RUN-:
O7 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 0
Obvious pull is obvious; not made. Backside DE is shuffling hard and Hopkins is headed backside into the scrape linebacker. Safeties are an issue but the kind of issue that's “four yards or TD?” Denard hands off and the shuffle DE stops hugging Lewan's hip; he nails Toussaint at the line.
RUN-: Robinson(2)
O7 2 G Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Speed option Robinson 2
Oof. Schofield(+1) does a good job of ripping through the playside DT and heading out to the second level; at this point Molk(-2) should have an easy time of sealing this guy and Robinson shoots upfield near the goal line. He runs by the dude. Robinson sees the lane and hits it; DT ropes him down and Robinson plows into Molk to add insult to injury. If Molk makes this block touchdown is distinct possibility.
RUN+: Schofield RUN-: Molk(2)
O5 3 G Shotgun double stacks 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Cross Roundtree Inc (Pen +3)
Nebraska tips a blitz and still sends it. Michigan picks up six but cannot get a seventh because there's literally no one to block him. Robinson backs out and lofts one to Roundtree, who is one on one with their scrub DB. It's decently accurate but a little short; scrub DB is in Roundtree's chest, making this tough. It's dropped. Michigan is bailed out by a crap flag. Refs +2. (CA, 1, protection 3/3)
O2 1 G Power I 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power off tackle Toussaint -2
Nebraska DL just submarines on the snap, leaving four guys running at the ball. DE gets in on Hopkins well and blows up the play; Watson can't get over to block David as he shoots a gap, Toussaint tries a bounce and gets swallowed. RPS -1. What's wrong with calling an iso? Why always the slow developing stuff we suck at?
RUN-: Watson, Schofield
O4 2 G I-Form big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Speed option Robinson 3
No creases on the line; no one comes through as everyone does a decent job and Robinson manages to squeeze out three yards by diving forward as he nears the sideline. Unfortunately, this is run from under center, which means Robinson can't see the backside chop by Schofield that would open up a TD.
RUN+: Robinson RUN-:
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Bootleg Robinson 1
Huyge(+1) gets outside the playside DE and puts him to the ground. Koger releases downfield as if he's a pass option but when Robinson turns the edge is clean and he walks in. Omameh had pulled but didn't even have to block anyone. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-10, 11 min 3rd Q. Nebraska derps a punt on the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 11
Linebackers are expecting the belly, which is dumb since the shuffling DE has it; they suck backside. Hypothetically this should be okay because the line is slanting and Omameh can't seal his guy but when Molk(+2) sees the linebackers moving away from the hole he holds up and seals the backside DT. Toussaint through the line. Hemingway(+2) then gets an excellent block in space as he cracks down on the safety. Stands the guy up and ends him. Toussaint(+1) darts past the corner and is ankle tackled by that dude and David.
RUN+: Molk(2), Hemingway(2), Toussaint, Schofield RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 11 + 14 Pen
Same deal but oddly Molk doesn't make the same seal, instead moving out to the second level only to see David hit a gap in the line; he blocks nobody. Toussaint has to bounce playside, where the safety who got cracked on the last play is flowing hard downhill so he doesn't have that happen again. He's past Roundtree before he has a chance in hell of getting a block. Toussaint(+3) bounces outside the tackle, gets the corner, and picks up a first down. Lewan(+2) got a good block that shoves a leveraging DE past the LOS and helped get that corner. DE picks up an uber dumb late hit.
RUN+: Toussaint(3), Lewan RUN-:
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Hopkins 14 (Pen -3)
Nebraska DL slanting hard playside; Omameh(+1) escorts one gentleman past where he wants to go, creating the crease. Koger(-1) biffs by not blocking down on the end, who almost tackles Hopkins as he attacks the back of the D. Instead he flares out on a guy who is uselessly containing. Hopkins(+1) runs through the arm tackle attempt; Molk(+1) gets a block on David, and Hopkins(+1 again) heads straight upfield, plowing the last five yards carrying a defender and Jeremy Jackson, who gets his hand caught in the defender's facemask.
RUN+: Hopkins(2), Molk, Omameh RUN-: Koger
O17 1 13 Pro set 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Flare screen Toussaint -3
Defense looking for this; Lewan can't cut the relevant DE because he is alert for this play; Gallon(-1) whiffs as he cracks down on the playside LB. Toussaint makes a guy miss but can't even approach the LOS. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -2)
RUN+: Toussaint RUN-: Gallon
O20 2 16 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass PA Out Dileo 15
Stretch action into a rollout, which doesn't really fool anyone but there's either a bust or a huge hole in this coverage because a simple out to Dileo is wide open for YAC. Pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O5 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-4 even Run QB power Robinson 0
Schofield pulling short as M goes into the A gap. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) blow dudes up thanks in part to a slant. Huyge(+1) adjusts his release to pop a blitzing David; he only gets a piece but robs him of his momentum and creates a pileup. Denard sees the crease just in front of Omameh and seems to decide to go into it, then inexplicably runs right into David and another LB when he had a a crease for the first and possibly a TD if arm tackles don't get him.
RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Molk RUN-: Robinson(2)
O5 4 1 FG 1 4 0 FG block Run Down G Dileo 4
Opens up wiiiiiide. This is not part of the offense and is not charted but +1 Hoke.
O1 1 G Power I 3 2 0 Goal line Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
EMLOS on the playside dives down hard, getting inside of Hopkins (not his fault) and threatening major cloggage. Toussaint(+1) reads and smoothly bounces outside without losing much momentum. Nebraska doesn't have anyone on the edge like you would expect given the EMLOS giving up the edge (bust?) and Schofield(+1) adjusts his path to get outside of the two guys trying to adjust to their new reality. He impedes them enough and Toussaint walks in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-10, 5 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M4 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 2
Denard refuses to pull. Here he's got Koger blocking the contain LB and will be alone with the safety. Instead he hands off. Schofield(-0.5) gets beat but it's not really his fault since the DT is slanting; still you'd like to see him get more movement on the DT. Toussaint has to cut behind, where the shuffle DE eats him.
RUN-: Robinson, Schofield(0.5)
M6 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 3
The Nebraska blitz with one LB up the middle and a delayed guy. Molk(+1) blows the blitzer out of the hole as the playside guys run themselves out of the play. Schofield(-1) releases but keeps his eyes to the backside, failing to adjust to the playcall. He misses an opportunity to block David and give Toussaint a big crease. Toussaint dances around and makes a few yards before David tackles.
RUN+: Molk, Lewan RUN-: Schofield
M9 3 5 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Rollout fly Roundtree Inc
Blitz picked up and Michigan gets the corner easily. Robinson has all day. He finds no one open and unleashes the dragon to a double covered Roundtree. Terrible decision; scramble. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press Run Zone read stretch Toussaint 3
Safety fully in the box as Nebraska gets aggressive. Michigan runs an actual stretch. Omameh(-1) just rides his guy down the line ineffectively when it seems a cut gets him to the ground or delayed. Nebraska strings the rest of the play out and Toussaint(-1) is hesitant when one hard upfield cut may get him past that backside DT. Instead he gingerly cuts behind Lewan and runs up the back of a couple OL until the DT runs him down from behind. Good push from Molk(+0.5) and Schofield(+0.5) gets the yardage.
RUN+: Molk(0.5), Schofield(0.5) RUN-: Omameh, Toussaint
M17 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Zone read trap Toussaint 3
Insert bubble complaint here. Nebraska slants under the blocking and blitzes off the corner; there isn't a prayer in the world of covering Hemingway on a bubble. Toussaint appears to screw this up by not hitting it up in the trap area, which does crease, but he'll just get nailed by David anyway if he does and he manages to dance around for three yards on a totally dead play. RPS -1.
RUN+: RUN-: Toussaint
M20 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Run Speed option Robinson -3
All Nebraska players within five yards of LOS. M lets a DE go on the speed option; he forms up; Denard runs right into him. Pitch the damn ball. This is a huge gain if he does. Instead it's a loss because the QB guy hits the QB when he's still got the ball.
RUN+: Hemingway, Koger, Huyge RUN-: Robinson(3)
M17 4 7 Punt 1 2 2 Punt return Punt Punt -- Pen +15
Nebraska roughs the punter. You touch the plant foot in the air, automatic. Nebraska bitching about this is ludicrous.
M32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 14
Same deal as a previous play: both LBs backside, Molk(+1) comes off his release to seal the backside DT, Toussaint hits the gap and there are no LBs. This is to the RPS +1 point because Nebraska's scheme to deal with this is getting torn up. I won't minus him but Toussaint should have cut outside for even more yardage.
RUN+: Molk, Toussaint RUN-:
M46 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Penalty False start Molk -5
Molk messes the snap up. -1. That's okay, though, this was going to lose five anyway. At least we get to keep the down. I keed, I keed.
M41 1 15 Ace twins twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 8
Three different Nebraska LBs fill the intended gap. Uh. Cutback? Cutback. Molk(+0.5) manages to shove David a bit. He can't come from behind. Omameh(+0.5) does okay with the backside DT, but eventually does give ground and get pancaked; Huyge(+1) helped push him a bit and then comes off to get a LB. Toussaint(+2) somehow manages to squeeze through three arm tackles into the secondary, where he's tackled from behind. RPS -1. This should have died at the LOS.
RUN+: Molk(0.5), Omameh, Huyge(0.5), Toussaint(2) RUN-:
M49 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 3
Oh, my god, it works. Koger(+2) destroys the playside DE. Schofield(+1) pulls around and seals the MLB. Hopkins(+1) gets an excellent kick on the SLB. Toussaint has a hole... that a safety fills with authority and thumps him to the ground as he tries to cut past him. Stupid power.
RUN+: Koger(2), Schofield, Hopkins RUN-:
O48 3 4 Shotgun double stacks 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass In Odoms 9
Odoms cuts inside against man coverage; good protection; Robinson stands in and zings an accurate one. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 0
Nebraska switches their defense of this play, sending the playside DE underneath Lewan and a LB behind that block. They send a LB off the slot, pulling Koger(-1) upfield on that guy (I may be giving him minuses when I should RPS minus but that is unknowable; I assume that blocking the guy optioned off by the zone read is not the play design). Scrape LB hits in the hole. RPS -1.
RUN-: Koger
O39 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press Run QB iso Robinson 1
Opens up as Molk(+1) takes a blitzing LB and shoves him out of the play. Omameh(+1) escorts a DT well outside as well. Big hole up the middle filled by Hopkins, Robinson, David, and a safety. Hopkins(+1) gets a good block on David; Robinson cuts the wrong way into the safety and is tackled for a meh gain. He dances instead of either cutting behind or just testing his speed against the safety.
RUN+: Hopkins, Omameh, Molk RUN-: Robinson(2)
O38 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Fly Odoms 38
Michigan sets Roundtree and Hemingway up to the short side with Odoms alone in a lot of space to the other. With all day, Robinson sets up and absolutely nails Odoms in the back of the endzone for six. Double coverage my ass. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-17, 10 min 4th Q. Nebraska fumbles ensuing kickoff.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint -3
Backside blitz has no thought of containing Robinson; sellout to stop the run. This probably isn't going anywhere even if Toussaint hits it up but he sees the backside guy in his peripheral vision and bounces, which is a mistake. RPS has been turned off with M up 21 and less than 10 minutes left.
RUN-: Toussaint
O26 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 1
Molk(-1) blocks a blitzing LB up the middle but needs to pass him off to Omameh and continue on; he does not and an unblocked dude tackles Toussaint in the hole.
RUN-: Molk
O25 3 12 Shotgun trips bunch 1 0 4 Nickel even Pass Rollout out Odoms Inc
Rollout gets the corner but no one is open; Robinson throws a dangerous ball into coverage to Odoms that is deflected and could be intercepted. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(42), 8 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone read dive Toussaint 31
Same blitz; Molk(+1) kicks the LB. Contain DE flares out to cover Koger as the playside DT contains the read. Big hole, useless Huyge. Omameh(+1) gets out on David; Toussaint jukes a charging safety. Molk pushes the LB past Toussaint again as he peels back, eventually banging the other safety. Grady(+1) blocks a corner into that mess and Toussaint(+3) bounces outside of it, accelerating with fantastic agility to burst past everyone for six.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Grady, Toussaint(3) RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 45-17, 7 min 4th Q. Backups on next drive; charting done.

Hurray points.

Hurray points. This game exemplifies why points are not independent of the defense and special teams.


Hurray points.

Run breakdown?

If you cut out runs from inside the opponent 4 you've got this in the under center category:

  • 2 iso for 12 yards
  • 3 power off tackle for 0 yards

The sub-trend from under center is that we can get motion against certain bad DL and Hopkins is actually a pretty good fullback; meanwhile we suck uproariously at running power. Shotgun runs averaged a hair over 5 YPC excluding Denard scrambles.

So, the usual. Except not quite the usual because Michigan left an absolute ton of yards on the field from the shotgun. But for that we'll need a—

Chart… but this is not the order of chart.

No, but does it really matter what order the charts are in?

What's next, Blog Brandon? Are you going to have maize stripes for one game a year?

Fine, fine. QB chart.

[Hover over column headers for explanation of abbreviation. Screens are in parens.]

2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? 44%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - 71%
Michigan State 4 14(3) 1 7(1) 1 - - 2 2 68%
Iowa 1 11(3) 2 3(1) 2 - 1 - - 64%
Illinois 4 9(1) 1 4 1 3 1(1) - - 60%
Purdue 2 12(1) 1 3 1 1 1 3 - 68%
WMU '11 - 6(1) 4 3 1 - - - 1 56%
Notre Dame '11 6 7(1) 1 6(1) 5 1 1 1 - 50%
EMU '11 1 10(1) - 5 1 - 1 1 1 59%
SDSU '11 - 10(2) - 4 2 1 - 1 - 53%
Minnesota '11 1 13(3) 1 3 1 - - - - 73%
Northwestern '11 4 12(3) 1 7 2 - - - 1 59%
MSU '11 1 8(1) 4(1) 6 5 - 1 7 1 40%
Purdue '11 1 7(1) - 1 2 1 - 2 - 66%
Iowa '11 2 21 2 7 1 - 3(1) 2 - 69%
Illinois '11 1 4(1) 1 2 - 1(1) - 1 1 66%
Nebraska '11 1 12(3) - 2 2 1 1(1) 1 3 66%

A trend: it is sensed. Denard again hits the mid-60s that has been his domain for much of the Big Ten season. Three of the last four games he has been at exactly 66%.

The DO was the inch-perfect Odoms throw…

…and I was tempted to bump one of three or four CA+ throws up. He had his traditional Unleash The Dragon moment when he threw to a bracketed Roundtree on third and medium when a scramble held promise and he could have thrown a more dangerous interception on his other BR. Other than that he had a pretty good day. I don't really blame him for the INT:


He's getting pressure, it's wide open, and he's got every right to expect that Lewan will get into this dude's legs, preventing him from getting his arms up. Not so much:


Too bad, because that thing was going to be a big gainer. Note that this isn't a Denard height issue since the guy deflecting the ball is seven yards away. If he threw it in such a manner as to miss him it would also miss Toussaint.

There were a couple other throws that shoulda/coulda been intercepted, so don't take this as a declaration all is right in the passing world. Just this particular item.

Overall, it was further proof that Denard is not the guy we saw in the nonconference schedule. He even added some scrambles, which the entire diaspora said "finally" to. Those were opened up by Nebraska playing man two deep. On the one linked in the previous paragraph watch the replay: man with two safeties bracketing on two deep routes, two guys out to cover Michigan players on the sidelines, four rushers, and Lavonte "Goddammit Ankle Tackle" David. They must be really dedicated to man coverage to run it against Denard.

It's just… you know… I mean…

You're going to do it. I'm going to put my fingers in my ears. LA LA LA LA LA

This does not prevent you from reading.

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 9 - 9 Finally some productive donkey hatred. Belly helps him produce; also got Toussaint the edge on a play that would have gone badly otherwise.
Barnum - - - DNP
Molk 12 5 7 Adaptability helpful on a couple of Nebraska slants.
Omameh 13 6 7 Solid.
Huyge 10 4 6 Also solid.
Schofield 10.5 4.5 6 Solid?
Mealer - - - DNP
Watson - 3 -3
Koger 7 3 4 These numbers are eerily similar to last week.
TOTAL 61.5 25.5 71% Numbers last week: plus 61.5, minus 28.5. Weird.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 9 21 -12 If refusal to pull the ball because it's not actually a read, migrate a bunch of those to Borges.
Gardner - - -  
Toussaint 22 4 18 Dang, son. Caveat: –5 pass blocking.
Shaw - - - Eh.
Smith - - - DNP
Hopkins 7 - 7 Turned into a solid fullback quickly.
Rawls - - - DNP
McColgan - - - DNP
TOTAL 38 25 13 Copious discussion later.
Player + - T Notes
Hemingway 4 - 4 Probably got a lot of stick in practice this week.
Odoms - 2 -2  
Gallon 1 - 1  
Roundtree 1 1 0  
Grady 2 - 2 --
Jackson - - -  
Dileo - - - --
TOTAL 8 3 5 There's a weird role reversal for you.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 33 7 82% Toussaint 5, Lewan 2.
RPS 14 17 -3 Robinson execution probably pushes this way positive.

Before we talk about Denard, yes, Toussaint really is the man and yes, he bailed Michigan out a lot. This is despite good play from the OL, Hopkins, even Hemingway—other than Watson (the assumed culprit on the busted first play from scrimmage) it is hard to find anyone who had a bad day other than a point or two from the WR corps.


Wow. Don't you think that's a little rough on a guy who averaged 4.5 YPC and had an efficient day throwing?

No. No I do not. The numbers are the numbers and there is a system. When someone makes a mistake that makes a play end after a yard, they get a minus. It's possible I'm not giving sufficient plus points when something goes right but the minuses are the minuses. Given the performance of the rest of the team Michigan should have had a dominant rush offense, not just a pretty good one. Repeated screwups on zone reads and option plays prevented this.

When I cut the clips the striking thing is just how many of them I had taken because they were crap gains when Denard refused to make blindingly obvious reads. Meanwhile, the screencap folder is full of images titled "denaaargh" and the like. Setting aside the three plays already covered in the Argh Denard Picture Pages (here's a clip of the missed Odoms triple option), these are my screenshots:


Handoff for zero yards as Hopkins flares to block the backside LB and the shuffle DE makes the play.


Hesitates and then cuts to the side of the Hopkins block where the extra player is for one yard.


Denard ran this directly into David for no gain, forcing the fake FG. Notice in both of these shots his weight is shifted back, indicating he's stopping when the hole is obvious.

pitch the damn ball

Denard did not pitch this and lost three yards, setting up the punt on which Hagerup was roughed.


Actually a good gain by Toussaint as Lewan donkeyed Toussaint the corner.

And then there are the clips I took.


Aaaaaargh araaarghg aaargh. That looks like a play designed to pull.


There are two separate issues here. One is Denard making crappy cuts. Those are frustrating but that's life. I don't think you can do anything about that—at some point Denard just has to be a Football Player and cannot be coached to slash the right way. Mike Shaw. QED. I do hope someone took him aside this week and told him to go upfield whenever possible and if he runs out of bounds against OSU it had better be after he crosses the goal line. Get yards. Make touchdowns. Don't dance. Just make your decision and go:

That decisiveness has been lacking. See air: go.

The other is Denard consistently making bad reads. These come in two varieties. On the speed option he never pitches. Like… I don't think he's pitched once this year. In the zone read game he almost never pulls.

The one time he did pull the backside tackle blocked the end inside and nobody scraped, which makes me wonder if I am putting all of this on his shoulders when Michigan has abandoned the zone read in favor of making it look like the zone read but not actually giving Denard the option.

Man, I wonder if that guy who tediously claims you are incapable of being objective about Denard Robinson on half of your posts says that about this one.

That guy clearly cannot read, so probably.


[Passes are rated like so: 0 = uncatchable, 1 = very difficult, 2 = moderately difficult, 3 = routine.]

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway 1 - - 2/2 11 0/2 8/9 20/23
Roundtree 2 1/2 - - 12 2/7 5/7 9/10
Odoms - - 1/1 2/2 4 - 1/1 4/4
Grady 1 - - - 6 - 0/1 2/2
Gallon -


0/1 2/2 7 - 2/3 23/23
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - - - 1/1 - 0/2 2/3 3/3
Jackson - - - - - - 1/1 1/1
Koger - - - - 6 1/3 3/4 10/11
Moore - - - - 2 - 1/1 -
Toussaint - - - 2/2 - - - 4/5
Shaw - - - - - - - 1/1
Smith - - - - 4 0/2 1/1 7/8
Hopkins - - - - 2 - - 1/1
McColgan - - - - 1 - - 1/1

Not too much of interest save Roundtree getting his bump-and-extend technique on the money this time:

Never in the history of this guy watching football have I seen a wide receiver get flagged for interference without shoving a receiver with his hands, so that seems like a a safe way to eliminate the cornerback and get a reception without risking a flag. He just needs to judge the ball a little better. We saw him try it against Iowa on a ball that was perfectly thrown; the ball escaped his fingertips because of his delay.

Anyway, "1" reception awarded.

Toussaint… so silky.

Yes. He was a major reason Denard's consistent lack of pulls did not destroy the offense. Here he misses a hole but his Hart-like ability to weave in traffic still gets him nine:

I'm not even kidding anymore. That run is full on Hart déjà vu. He is quality.

There is a significant caveat. Vincent Smith is the third down back for a  reason.

Denard didn't "panic," he is used to that linebacker getting sliced to the ground and knows if he gets outside the tackle he has seven rushers and man coverage behind it. Toussaint picked up all of the actual pass-rush minuses (Lewan's came when he did not cut block the eventual interceptor on the screen).

Hemingway had a bounce back, didn't he?

Yes. Difference between this:

And last week makes me wonder if Hemingway spent practice getting chewed out. Also on this play: check the subtle adjustment Molk makes. When he sees that both linebackers have headed backside he stops releasing into the second level and seals the DT slanting past Omameh, giving Toussaint the crease. He did this on another successful run that probably should have been a pull. Smart.

The previous section was not really about Hemingway.


On a day where virtually everyone played well Toussaint was first among equals, consistently making more yards than the plays had set up for him. The offensive line was all but perfect in pass protection and had a solid day against the Nebraska DL.


Denard's reads on the read option and the plain ol' option, or Borges calling a bunch of plays that look like the read option but actually aren't. It's not like they were saving Denard—he had 23 carries.

What does it mean for the Game?

With Andrew Sweat questionable, it's looking like the Ryan Shazier show at the critical OLB slot that will be scraping over to contain Denard on zone read type items. This is a good matchup for OSU unless it's really not. "Really not" will consist of Borges getting the freshman running very fast in the wrong direction with various trickery. If he's just allowed to hang out on the edge, Denard won't be able to keep at all and it'll be more of the same this week except OSU's defensive line will be better than the mediocre Nebraska outfit.

OSU's safeties are crap tacklers and mediocre players so getting past that linebacker level may produce the big plays that have not been around on the ground for Denard so far this year. Just have to do it. I wonder if they'll try to stretch Hankins, who's kind of a tub, and hope Shazier's run fits are iffy.

As far as passing goes, Denard's level has been established. When not pressured and allowed to set his feet he is pretty accurate; he'll still throw a ball or two in a dangerously inaccurate place. He will still unleash the dragon once or twice. He'll be able to move the chains, I think, but expect a lot of rollouts away from Simon if they line him up over Huyge.

I think it'll be a frustrating struggle, but I also think this is not a department in which I can be particularly objective given the frustrating struggles past.


Monday Presser Transcript 9-26-11: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 9-26-11: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko September 26th, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Brady Hoke

News bullets and other important things:

  • Weekly tailback musical chairs update: Fitz and Smith. No mention of anyone else.
  • Cam Gordon still not 100%.
  • Barnum is questionable for Minnesota at the moment.
  • Woolfolk was up and running last night.
  • Two of Denard's bad throws were the result of bad routes.
  • Justice Hayes didn't dress because he had a "bump."
  • Hagerup has to compete to get his position back. (I have a feeling this is nominal, but we'll see.)

Press Conference (filmed)

Opening remarks: “Again, as always, thank you for coming out. This is really loud.

“Ahem. It’s good to win football games. It’s bad to lose games, so it was good to win. I thought from a perspective as a team, I thought we played as well as we have to this point for the first quarter and maybe three quarters. Then I think we struggled a little bit for one reason or another from an offensive standpoint. You can’t turn the ball over four times. That does nothing for you as a team, and I thought defensively they hung in there and they played hard. I thought our front played probably their best football to this point of the year.

“It’s got to get much better as we get into Big Ten play offensively. Three-and-outs and turnovers in the third quarter -- time of possession affects your football team in a lot of ways … momentum and all those things. So we have to do a much better job executing and being more consistent blocking at the line of scrimmage. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

“In the kicking game, I thought Matt Wile did a nice job punting the football, and I thought his kickoffs -- he really placed the ball well. He had one kickoff that was in the middle of the field, but everything else I thought he did a tremendous job. And that was a good sign of a guy that’s maturing as a freshman.”

Is Will Hagerup’s suspension over, and does he have to compete to get his position back? “They’ll compete. We’re going to compete in everything we do. I think that’s an important part of your development as a program. I think that’s how you improve as a program. They’ll compete during the week.”

Cam Gordon dressed but did not play -- at this point is it his conditioning or is the injury still affecting him? “I think he’s just not 100% yet. I think he’s just not where he needs to be yet.”

13 for 13 in the Red Zone. What makes you so successful there? “I don’t know if there’s a magical answer. I mean, I think part of it is always you have some pretty good luck. Things are going well. I think we’re blocking it decently. I think the different options that Al presents to some degree within the offense makes [us] a little bit tougher to defend.”

Denard’s incompletions. You said it wasn’t all Denard. When you look at the film did you see problems with other things, too? “It’s definitely not all him. I mean, route running -- we blew two routes. We didn’t convert on another route. That’s part of it. He’s got a lot of pride, and he’s going to also help himself with some of the technical and technique -- fundamental parts of being a little more patient with his feet and doing a good job with that.”

What led to strong start against SDSU, and how do you replicate that? “It’d be great to replicate it every week. I think we had a great week of practice. I think our preparation was good. From a defensive standpoint, they really did a nice job of preparation. I thought Greg did a nice job with the plan, and Al did too.”

(more after the jump)


Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press

Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press Comment Count

Brian August 26th, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Countdown: 8.


Son, never throw a punch at a redwood.
Tom Selleck

Second amendment say what. Borges:

"We'll be gunning more than we've ever gunned — than I've ever gunned," Borges said. "We use a lot of shotgun, but we're tailoring the gun more to his skills. I'm not going to reveal any trade secrets here, but we're going to use Denard the way he can best exploit the defense."

And there was much rejoicing.

He's done it. Thanks to user Chunkums here's a glimpse of Borges running the speed option at Auburn back in the day. It's at 26 seconds:

Dollars to donuts this is happening.

Are you a woman, a bicyclist, a baby, very sweaty, or all of the above? This is your lucky day if you've been interested in some MGoShirts. Underground has a limited-time store up with women's, kids, and toddler sizes plus wicking shirts, hoodies, and assorted exotics. Check it out. Order by the 30th.

Tomorrow they'll announce Dantonio's hiring. The RCMB had a thread featuring user photoshop mockups of the Pro Combat uniforms everybody will always wear against Michigan forever. One of them featured the RCMB logo on the helmet. So of course this happened the next day at the Free Press:


Someone associated with the "Downtown Coaches Club" emailed it out, so that's obviously happening. I hope the State spokesman was under 40 and therefore far more aware of the RCMB than Steve Schrader.

Chagrined by their mistake, the next day the Free Press reported that TE Evan Jones had committed to State. That's accurate. It also happened three months ago.

This is probably just me. Does Darrell Funk give off kind of a Gary Busey vibe?

Just me? Okay. As far as actual news, Huyge is holding off Schofield; Schofield is actually practicing at RG(?) as well.

Bring out yer dead conferences. The CCHA has ceased to be, or has set a point in the future where it will cease to be:

After two rounds of talks, the WCHA is ready to accept five CCHA schools into the conference, sources have indicated to CHN.

The switch from the CCHA to the WCHA is pending each individual schools' Board of Trustees approving the move. Announcements will thus come piecemeal, with the first ones potentially coming as early as Friday.

The WCHA has given the CCHA schools are 30-day window in which to officially accept the invitation. At least three CCHA schools are certain to accept — Lake Superior State, Ferris State and Alaska.

Bowling Green and Western are both waiting around to see what Notre Dame does. If ND joins the NCHC—we really need a sarcastic nickname for them—Western hopes to tag along. If Notre Dame goes to Hockey East, both BG and WMU hope to get their faces kicked in for all eternity in the NCHC. That latter scenario would mean the powers of the WCHA broke it up so they could add Miami, WMU, and BGSU.

I'm a little disappointed this is the way it's playing out. I would rather have seen the CCHA bolster itself with the four Atlantic Hockey schools that were interested in moving and kept conferences relatively small so expansion would be an attractive option. It's still a lot better than it was before the Big Ten formed.

At least get your lame political cracks right. Via the MZone, here's this guy:


I thought Ann Arbor was supposed to be full of liberal hippies. Apparently it is also really into sharia.

Etc.: Catlab returns. Trippy. I think I'm in love with Dana Holgorsen: "Holgorsen's idea of balance is making sure a bunch of people get the ball, whether by pass or by run, and then get a bunch of yards." Frank the Tank's latest on conference realignment. The Hoover Street rag is irritated that Michigan is phasing out the seal in favor of the block M. Holdin' The Rope explores the file on Nate Brink.


Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Countdown: 10.


I figure that if the children are alive when I get home, I've done my job.
Roseanne Barr

Hatch encouragement. Austin Hatch's latest Caring Bridge update is very encouraging.

Pick Six: the return. Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky used to run an annual contest wherein blog users would pick six teams, five from the AP poll and one unranked, that users thought would do well. Because they know what verbs are and can count, they called this Pick Six. (Ohio State fans would have called it "Ramming Speed.")

One user around here has been missing it since BGS called it a day a few years ago and finally stopped waiting for me to do something about it. Presenting Pick Six: The Return.

Contest king Jeff does not have a prize, but I do: the top five all get a free MGoShirt from the MGoStore and the winner gets three.


click for store

All these could be yours. Or other items, like maize versions. Hit up the google doc to get registered, and don't pick Michigan if you want to win.

U MAD, media? Brady Hoke is trolling the media. They hit up practice and get to see a bunch of stretching and Brady Hoke punting, and then:

The media saw only one snap from organized drills, and it was a carry by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is among the seven players vying to become Michigan’s first lead tailback since 2007.

That's worse than not opening practice at all. Someone photoshop Trollface onto Hoke pointing at something.

Tangent: I wonder if the Fort is back in earnest after watching a significantly lamer edition of the BTN's tour show. We got hardly any insight and they were so hard up for video they showed the same plays a half-dozen times. Will Michigan still issue an injury report this year?

No need to hit play. This is Hoke talking about his team from yesterday:

But I'm just putting it here so I can compare him to Towlie.


He's even pointing.

Q: How is will Campbell doing? A: I have no idea what's going on.

Send this to Borges a thousand times. Smart Football's latest post is on the speed option, something we've never seen the good side of Michigan. We've been annihilated by it time and again; never have we used its powers for good.

Apparently it's just what we already run with added oopmh:

What further makes the play so good is that these concepts are universal; they are not tethered to a single offense or system. The play works from under center or shotgun, and has been effectively used by teams with great running quarterbacks and it has been used by teams with more pedestrian quarterbacks as just a cheap way to get the ball to the outside.

In modern form, the play is simple. The line outside zone blocks, which means they step playside seeking to cut off the defense and to even reach them as they can. The linemen work together to double-team the defensive linemen before sliding off to block the linebackers, and the idea is to create a vertical crease somewhere between a spot outside the tight-end and the sideline. The offense leaves an outside guy unblocked, typically either the defensive end or the strongside linebacker. The quarterback takes the snap and runs right at the unblocked defender’s outside shoulder. If the defender stays wide, the quarterback cuts up the inside crease (and typically looks to cut back against the grain). If the defender attacks the quarterback or simply stays inside, the QB pitches it.

To everyone except the runners that's a read option or outside zone. Meanwhile, the quarterback is attacking the same side of the defense the line is and is moving towards the LOS when he makes his decision. The lack of true option plays last year was likely an artifact of Denard's rawness; adding them is a good way to suck defenders to that threat without getting him killed. (You can get killed running the option, of course, but speed options from the gun seem less likely for that to happen because the QB has more time to make a decision.)

Additionally, the speed option seems like a good way to combat scrape exchanges. If that DE is hammering down the line he's blocked himself when the play heads the other way, and then another defender gets optioned off.

Chris praises the speed option as a simple, economical wrinkle you can put in even when your quarterback is not particularly fleet of foot. Even if Borges is not an expert on running quarterbacks, adding a true option to Michigan's repertoire seems doable. As a bonus, the speed option gives Michigan a run play that uses Denard from under center. An example:

Michigan's existing zone system paired with under-center running that uses Denard. Sex? Sex.

You can take things back. If only the Big Ten had the humility of Iowa Corn:

"The overwhelming feedback has been negative," he said. "Because we've listened ... people want something different than what was proposed last week. And we as Iowa corn growers and the farmers we represent, we want people to be happy."

A temporary trophy will be designed for this year's game on Sept. 10. Fans will be able to suggest a design for the more permanent replacement.

"The new Cy-Hawk trophy, we trust, will truly be something fans will embrace," Floss said.

The vetoed trophy is en route to the third world, where it will become the African Cup of Nations. The temporary trophy will be briefly labeled "interim" until that hurts recruiting; then it will be not interim, but not hired, either.

If Jim Delany was in charge of this, the new trophy they debut for the 2012 game would be exactly the same instead of what it should be: a hawk in an F16 shooting a missile at a tornado.

Evanston: so hood. I saw this on twitter but dismissed it as a joke. It is not a joke:

Does Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa have a limp or not?

‘‘Your limp could be somebody else’s pimp walk,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

You'll have to forgive me a moment of regret that Michigan didn't score Fitzgerald during its coaching search.

(HT: Rittenberg.)

Even more Hart. Man, Mike Hart takes a coaching job and everyone's all up in his business. This time it's the Syracuse press reliving his high school days and publishing an extensive interview with him. Hart's career goals:

“As I look forward, I want to be a head football coach of a college program that wins a national championship. My next goal is to go down as one of the best-known coaches. I’d like to be on the level of Lloyd Carr. I plan on being a great coach one day.”

He also says his exit was because he couldn't stay healthy—"If it was my business, I wouldn’t risk my money on somebody who got hurt every fourth game, either"— and flatly refuses to ever work for OSU or MSU. Recommended.

Etc.: The Dayton Daily News has just discovered that Terry Talbott got a medical scholarship a month ago. Do not panic about Terrance's status—at least don't do so because of that. Bill Connolly throws up his hands when trying to project OSU's season. Corn Nation previews Michigan—hey, that's us! Their poll about the game is split nearly 50-50 as to who wins. Weird. Just Cover looks at MSU and their Vegas-set over under of 7.5 wins.


Picture Pages: Getting The Edge

Picture Pages: Getting The Edge Comment Count

Brian October 13th, 2009 at 11:21 AM

This one's pretty simple because the blocking scheme is "hey, receivers, block that guy": it's the edge pitch Michigan debuted over the weekend.

The setup:


A standard formation with Koger as the near-side slot receiver. Note Forcier's position: he's a yard in front of the tailback—in this case Michael Shaw. This usually means Michigan is running something intended to go up the middle. On pure stretch plays Forcier will be even with the tailback.

Iowa, for its part, is in the base 4-3 cover two they ran the whole game. More about this in UFR later, but if Iowa persists in running this scheme in the future I think Michigan is going to smoke them when their quarterbacks are freshmen who are freakin' out, man.

Here's the snap:


Forcier's got the ball already and you can see Shaw bugging out to the sideline to get a in a pitch relationship with Forcier. There's no counter action on this play, it's just get to the edge as quickly as possible.

A moment later:


Forcier's still got the ball and has hardly moved;  you can see by the clock on the field that this is less than a second later. The only things to note here are Iowa's MLB, who's taken a step to the side of the field a stretch would go to, and the defensive end, who has also stepped inside in anticipation of one of Michigan's plays that attacks the backside DE's usual tendency to either crash or head out on the quarterback. His caution, usually rewarded, pulls him out of this play.

A second or two later, Forcier has ditched the ball and is a spectator:


Odoms has whiffed his cut block, unfortunately, leaving a linebacker in space. Iowa safety Tyler Sash is also filling, and the backside DE has reacted to provide some contain.


Shaw gets upfield quickly before the three Iowa defenders can converge…


…and picks up five yards despite Odoms whiffing on one of the two relevant blocks.

Object lessons:

  • It's hard for this play to not pick up five yards unless the defense is specifically gameplanning for it (which they probably will at some point). Michigan ran this a bunch and the worst it ever did was two yards on second and two, and that was because a receiver ran right by a safety and that safety bounced Minor—who's not the best guy to run this thing—out. At all other times it picked up four to six yards. Opponents will now start preparing for that, which will open up some other stuff, as the defensive end's tendency to slide down the line in an effort to defend the zone counter dive opened up the edge for this play. Cat and mouse goes on forever.
  • It's probably never going to break big against a defense like Iowa's. Linebacker versus slot receiver usually doesn't go well and it doesn't develop fast enough to make a cut block, even a really successful one, more than an annoyance when those linebackers are five yards downfield. Then you've got that safety coming downhill unblocked, the backside defensive end peeling back, and linebacker help from the inside. It's weirdly like MSU's power off tackle game, which is likely to pick up 3-5 yards and unlikely to do anything more.
  • It's something I bet they wanted to run against MSU, and might work better against an aggressive defense that's using a corner guy as a scrape exchange defender. Iowa plays two deep on every play, which always gives them a safety who can run to the POA and fill. If the corner guy is charging off the slot and sucks in on Forcier, then Odoms can go block the safety and Shaw ends up with a lot of room to run downfield. Or he ends up with that scrape defender in his face. About that…
  • This is step one in the evolution of a speed option game. The solution to that is to turn this into a true option play where Forcier threatens to get upfield and takes that scrape defender before pitching, or turns it up himself for yardage. Right now this is just a safe little pitch play that has no read and is easy to run.