Monday Presser 9-25-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-25-17: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 25th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Do you have an update on Wilton [Speight] and his condition?

“If we were playing a game this week he wouldn’t be able to play and we’ll assess it as we go.

“Somebody asked me—Angelique?—what I thought of the play. After having seen it now, I thought it was egregious. If I had a stronger word to use I would use it. With all the emphasis on protecting defenseless players, it appeared that the player knew what he was doing, targeted the head and neck area when the player was on the ground, and accelerated into it. Surprised they had two officials standing back there that were both looking at it, plus a review in the press box, that that wasn’t a targeting, that wasn’t a personal foul.”

Is that something that you contact the Big Ten about? There were other hits in that game, too.

“Yeah, yeah. We will contact them.”

What do you get when you do contact them?

“You get a piece of paper back that says they agree or disagree and has a short explanation.”

So it doesn’t really solve anything.

“With all the emphasis that’s been placed on the safety of the game, et cetera, I think it needs to be addressed. Needs to be answered.

“And the other thing, in a very good spirited way, we are gonna look at everything we can do for the visiting team here at the University of Michigan as it relates to a standard of care for the visitors on multiple levels. It’s become apparent after going around to all the visiting schools over the last couple years that [there is] a conscious effort of gamesmanship that is unsportsmanlike. You have locker rooms that are too small; they’re not heated or cooled properly—in this case there’s no air conditioning; such a tight, cramped environment; you’ve got to open the doors to get some kind of ventilation going in a very small area; people are walking by, they’re watching you dress; a number of urinals or bathrooms for the players and staff, I think there was two; there’s not even a private door around it; and then mainly the health and safety of the players. Very small space for a training room to have nothing in it. This is no different than the facility I think I saw when I was there in 1986.

“And not putting this on Purdue, this is league-wide. It needs to be addressed by the league, by the commissioner, and we’re going to lead the way. We’re going to look at what we have, but there needs to be a way to x-ray a player at the stadium. There needs to be a minimum standard of care for the players. Again, we put a lot of emphasis into health and safety of the players, but it doesn’t even seem sanitary. You were all in there. We’ve already talked about the heat, and it seems to be a conscious effort to gamesmanship, to get an advantage over the opponent.

“And I wish I had taken a picture of the actual table that it given to the visitors to put the players on when they’re injured. I mean, it looks like it’s from the ‘20s. It was ripped, it was—it’s just not good. I think that’s a pattern in the Big Ten. I asked Don Brown, ‘Did you see the same thing in the ACC?’ ‘Not to this extent.’ Did not see it to this extent in the Pac 12 when we coached there, and you could keep going on. Injured players who can’t get an x-ray, taken to a student health center in a van, we needed a brace for a player and there wasn’t one at the facility we were taken to. There’s a lot of things that needs to be addressed.

“Talked to Warde [Maneul] about it and I would ask that the rest of the Big Ten coaches look into this as well and make this a priority. We’re talking about all of our players here, and we’ll start first with us and make sure that you have guests, you have visitors that are coming in, that their health and safety needs are being addressed.”

[After THE JUMP: “Gamesmanship should cease at… the point of health and safety for the players.”]

Comments

Purdue Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Purdue Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 24th, 2017 at 12:06 PM

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[Fuller]

“No air conditioning in this locker room.”

[Ed. A- This presser took place in the back corner of a room adjacent to the sweltering visitor’s locker room]

Was that done on purpose or—

[Smirks] “There just wasn’t.”

How’s Wilton [Speight] doing?

“I think it’s—I don’t think it’s anything structural. I think it’s soft tissue. We’ll find out more.”

Where?

“Yeah, he’s just working through something. Yeah.”

Can you tell us where?

“Nah, nah. I’ll let you know when I have more information.”

Wilton going down was unfortunate but then John O’Korn came in. This was the biggest crowd Purdue’s had in over a decade. Hostile environment with a lot of pressure in his face today, he made a lot of third-down conversions, throws on the money. What did you think about his performance physically and mentally today?

“I thought John was really playing great. He was seeing things really good right from the time that he came into the ballgame. Ran the offense well. Made big plays. Throw that he hit Gentry on the seam route down the middle, that was a big-time throw. And he had others. I thought he played great. I’m really proud of him. Proud of the whole team. As you say, when you go beat another man, gotta do that in a football game. Then you’ve got to go against the crowd, as you mentioned, and you’ve got to beat the elements. Nothing can make you feel more like a man than that, all three of those things.”

[After THE JUMP: halftime adjustments, O’Korn’s day, and what Harbaugh learned about his team in the crucible of Ross-Ade]

Comments

Michigan 28, Purdue 10

Michigan 28, Purdue 10 Comment Count

Ace September 23rd, 2017 at 8:52 PM


John O'Korn (#8) breathed life into the Michigan offense. [Patrick Barron]

While it certainly wasn't how they planned it, Michigan may have solved their passing problems.

The trip to Purdue couldn't have started off much worse. Facing a fired-up, trash-talking Boilermakers squad, the Wolverines looked ripe for an upset in the first half. For a while, the game seemed designed for maximum frustration; first the preceding baseball game went into extra innings, causing out-of-staters to scramble to find the Fox Business Channel. Then, more disconcertingly, the offense looked even more broken than before.

Karan Higdon rushed for a first down on Michigan's first offensive snap. They'd go three-and-out to follow; the next two drives ended in the same fashion. The offensive line couldn't protect Wilton Speight or open up holes for the backs, the playcalling felt predictable and conservative. Midway through the first quarter, the game was deadlocked in an ugly scoreless draw.

Then an awkward hit changed the course of the game, and perhaps Michigan's season. As Markus Bailey came through the line untouched to sack Speight, 295-pound defensive tackle Eddy Wilson delivered a second blow that crumpled Michigan's quarterback, who stayed down before eventually being taken for X-rays and further testing. This was disaster. Yes, Speight hadn't been good this season, but he'd won the job for the second straight year over John O'Korn, and O'Korn didn't inspire any confidence in his previous appearances in maize and blue.


Zach Gentry dives for the touchdown. [Eric Upchurch]

So, of course, O'Korn promptly led the offense on a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive, completing all five of his passes, including a 12-yard scoring toss to Zach Gentry. Michigan had finally broken through. Two questions loomed. First, could Purdue counter? Second, could O'Korn keep it going?

The early returns weren't good in either regard. The Boilermakers hit back on the very next drive, covering 75 yards in only five plays after switching from David Blough to Elijah Sindelar at quarterback. O'Korn followed that with an interception after he threw a ball well behind Kekoa Crawford. Purdue cashed in with a field goal and entered halftime with a 10-7 lead. The Boilermakers had outgained Michigan 179 yards to 131. With Michigan's offense primed to struggle, the game would likely come down to a battle of wits between Purdue mad scientist Jeff Brohm and Don Brown.

Purdue would finish the game with 189 yards. Winner: Brown.

The total dominance by the defense would've been enough to avoid the upset. The offense, to everyone's considerable relief, did much more than rely on that to carry the day. After a punt and a lost fumble by Higdon, Michigan mounted an 11-play, 86-yard drive that calmed a lot of nerves. The coaches seemed to simplify the playbook for O'Korn, who looked to his tight ends and Grant Perry to catch and run with short passes. The drive only got going in the first place when O'Korn improbably spun out of a sack, reset, and hit Perry to covert a third down. It ended on a gorgeous playcall when M lined up showing a crack sweep look but instead had Chris Evans hit an interior hole off the pitch; the unexpected constraint play allowed him to waltz in from ten yards out.


Chase Winovich, with three sacks, had another dominant game. [Bryan Fuller]

O'Korn's next drive featured more creating outside the pocket, more big plays to Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry, and a targeting penalty on Purdue's Jawhaun Bentley. Ty Isaac finished that one off from a yard out, squeezing through a tackle off the right side and bursting into the end zone.

At this point, Purdue was desperately flipping quarterbacks, but had no answer for Michigan's ferocious defense. Blough re-entered in the fourth quarter only to be pummeled into the turf. After the eighth of nine three-and-outs forced by the Wolverines, Evans broke the game wide open with a 49-yard slice through the gut of the defense. Up 28-10 against a team that couldn't move the ball, Michigan went into clock-killing mode. The final six minutes and change passed in a hurry, helped along when Mike Wroblewski knocked the ball out of Terry Wright's hands for a Noah Furbush fumble recovery.

After averaging a woeful 3.7 yards per play in the first half, Michigan hummed along at a 7.3-yard clip in the second. O'Korn, despite a couple hiccups, looked like a completely different player from the one who underwhelmed when Speight was hurt last year. The defense, meanwhile, amassed five sacks, three of them by Chase Winovich, and took the run away from the Boilermakers entirely.

After the game, Jim Harbaugh said Speight suffered a "soft tissue" injury and declined to give a timeline for how long he'd be out. With a bye week ahead to work with the first-team offense, however, it's hard to imagine O'Korn hasn't earned his shot to lead this team against Michigan State. At the very least, Michigan heads into their week off at 4-0 and finally carrying some momentum on offense.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Air Force

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Air Force Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2017 at 4:37 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTES. Just recommended HomeSure Lending to a friend and it's weird that I have to say "you should know this guy sponsors us," because I actually would recommend Matt even if that was not the case because when we refi-ed our house I had quotes for various mortgage lengths very very quickly.  The deal was done in a flash.

But yeah like he does sponsor us, which is even better. It's nice to have sponsors you can actually recommend with a clear conscience, especially because they have never paid a dime to the Larry Culpepper guy.

FORMATION NOTES. Air Force runs a 3-4, but it's not like that. Whereas your conventional 3-4 has big guys who two-gap, Air Force has little guys. It's a one-gap 3-4, if you will.

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The NT almost always shaded between the C and G in a one tech, with four linebackers in the traditional 3-4 umbrella. Sometimes head up with the same umbrella, and check those safeties on first and freakin' ten:

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Now, there are a ton of very obvious ways in which this is not at all the 3-3-5 stack Michigan runs. Air Force doesn't stack their linebackers, for one. They rarely insert an OLB between their DEs as anything other than a twist blitz; Michigan is constantly making Furbush an extra DL. AF just about always shaded their NT instead of running a zero-tech, and they had a clear weakside and strongside end, with the strongside end basically a DT. Michigan's DEs have run identical techniques for the duration of the season. Also there is not a withdrawn MLB like Bush; instead two ILBs.

These are the ways in which Michigan's defense is not at all like Air Force's, which is a one-gap 3-4.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. The regular at QB and OL. Onwenu got pulled for the last three plays of the final drive, with Runyan coming in. Isaac was the starting RB and got the bulk of the work; Evans was pulled after his fumble until late, when Isaac went out with a minor injury. Mason one snap at FB, with the seniors going the rest of the way.

WR was Black, Crawford, and DPJ outside with cameos from Schoenle on running plays. That's getting into a major play tip zone, though Black's injury might change that. Perry got most of the run in the slot; McDoom had maybe a dozen snaps, and not all were jet stuff.

Tight end was the usual rotation of everyone, minus Wheatley. He had a ding that held him out. Also I might not have seen Eubanks? I don't think I saw Eubanks. Bunting is losing ground, BTW, to McKeon and Gentry.

[After THE JUMP: the bone! oh if only]

Comments

Beet-Red And Nude

Beet-Red And Nude Comment Count

Brian September 18th, 2017 at 12:35 PM

9/16/2017 – Michigan 29, Air Force 13 – 3-0

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also this happened [Eric Upchurch]

I have ceased being a person who gets seriously exercised about the shortcomings, real or imagined, of Michigan's coaching staff. I will get my grouse on when it's fourth and a half yard and Michigan punts, because if I tried to hold that in I would literally die. There's some stuff later in this post about giving the ball to the Hammering Panda on short yardage and how it's dumb and stupid not to. There will always be niggling details that grate.

But I'm not going to freak out because Michigan's offense is struggling. If my mentions, or Ace's, or poor damn Nick Baumgardner's are any indication the Air Force game was HONEYMOON OVER for a healthy section of Michigan's fanbase. No doubt Sam and Ira have just completed four hours of radio where 75% of the callers were spittle-flecked, nude, and beet-red, proclaiming manifestoes about the personal embarrassment they were caused when Michigan could not score an offensive touchdown in the first 59 minutes of a game against a Mountain West team.

And... eh. I mean, nobody sane could disagree with propositions up to and including "this offense is butt and probably going to cost Michigan any chance of silverware." I wish the offense was not butt, too. In previous years I might be nude and beet-red, writing a manifesto about how I suffered personal embarrassment when Fitz Toussaint ran 27 times for 27 yards.

I am not. I'm going to see how this works out.

I'd like to think this is because I am so good at looking at football that I know that Michigan's problems under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke were clear, severe, and systemic coaching issues while Harbaugh's are not. To some extent this is probably true: Harbaugh has not switched his base defense midseason in a panic (twice!), or decided that "tackle over" was an offense instead of a gimmick, or continued inserting a quarterback without an ulnar nerve in the second half of an Ohio State game. The worst tactical issue he's had so far was the increasingly disappointing Pepcat package last year, which is a speeding ticket compared to the grand felonies perpetrated by Michigan's last two coaching staffs. Check that: three coaching staffs.

But I'm also extrapolating based on track record. There is an element of faith that Harbaugh engenders, because... uh... I mean, obviously? If you need numbers, here's Stanford, with Harbaugh in bold:

Team Year Record FEI S&P YPC YPA YPP
Stanford 2006 1-11 N/A 113 2.1 (118th) 6.3 N/A
Stanford 2007 4-8 61 83 3.0 (113th) 6 N/A
Stanford 2008 5-7 48 31 4.9 (20th) 6.4 (82nd) 59
Stanford 2009 8-5 1 6 5.2 (7th) 8.7 (7th) 9
Stanford 2010 12-1 5 3 5.2 (16th) 8.9 (10th) 13
Stanford 2011 11-2 6 8 5.3 (13th) 8.7 (7th) 6

Harbaugh embarked on a similar project at San Francisco. The 49ers were 25th in Football Outsider's DVOA fancystat the year before his arrival. They improved to 18th in year one and then had consecutive top ten years (fifth and eighth) before a dropoff in Harbaugh's final season under Jed York. That last season is the only one in Harbaugh's pre-Michigan coaching career where the offense isn't either taking a significant step forward or an elite or near-elite unit, and it's saddled with a bunch of confounding factors. (SF got hit with a blizzard of injuries that year, oh and the owner was trying to force out a guy who'd gone to three consecutive NFC Championship games because reasons.)

At Michigan he immediately took the dead thing that was the Brady Hoke offense and made it okay, leaping from 89th to 38th in S&P+. Last year plateaued largely because the starting QB inexplicably went in the tank in Iowa and then did something nasty to his shoulder.

If the late slide a year ago and early sputters from a team that lost seven starters is enough to overthrow Harbaugh's long career of mostly great offenses in your mind, please go away. Yes, there are problems. No, this isn't Lloyd Carr turning Tom Brady, David Terrell, Anthony Thomas, and four long-term NFL starters into the 60th-best offense in the country. Bitching about Harbaugh's offense makes no sense after two years of inventive game plans, plays I have to invent terms for after a decade of doing this, and mostly solid results despite Brady Hoke's abominable late offensive recruiting*.

This feels bad man. But put your damn clothes on and stick to not sports.

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

*[Deep breaths. Ready?

The only offensive recruit to even make it to year five from the 2013 class are Patrick Kugler and the fullbacks. De'Veon Smith and Jake Butt were productive and graduated. Da'Mario Jones, Csont'e York, Jaron Dukes, Dan Samuelson, Wyatt Shallman, Chris Fox, David Dawson, Kyle Bosch, Shane Morris, and Derrick Green all burned out without making any impact.

Hoke's miserable 2014 class has Speight, the starting QB, Mason Cole, Ian Bunting, and nobody else even contributing. Moe Ways, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Freddy Canteen, Drake Harris are all gone or benched.

And literally the only offensive recruits Hoke left Harbaugh in the transition class were Alex Malzone, John Runyan Jr, and Grant Newsome. That is three recruiting years producing four starters.]

[After THE JUMP: but hey the defense though]

Comments

Air Force Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Air Force Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 17th, 2017 at 11:50 AM

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[Upchurch]

Red zone: how much of a concern is that that you aren’t getting more touchdowns in those opportunities?

“I thought both teams played really good red zone defense today. Good. We had the right calls on at the right time, pushed them back out of the opportunities to score touchdowns and they held the line as well. Hats off to both teams for really good red zone defense.”

Talk about the challenge of having to switch gears on defense for a team like this and how your guys responded defensively.

“I thought we responded really well. For the most part, with the exception of a few drives. I thought we shut them down well and I thought we won all three phases. They play a brand of football I really like, which is you just keep jabbing away and you don’t make mistakes, you don’t turn the ball over, few penalties, and you get first downs… push the opponent back in field position. They make you go beatcha. They don’t beat themselves and it’s a good brand of football. Our team was able to make plays offensively, defensively, special teams was a huge factor in today’s ball game.

“Donovan’s punt return was fabulous. Our kickoff coverage was excellent all day, and right on down the line. Punt protection was really good as they were bringing 10; we got the all-out rush and we were able to block it up. Each phase. And the standout was Quinn Nordin and the snapper, Cheeseman, Garret Moores, the holder—that whole battery. And the field goal protection was outstanding. Tied a record, Michigan record, for most field goals in a game. Really proud of the way our special teams played. Offensively, defensively, special teams: thought we won all three phases.”

Rhythmically, where do you see the offense going and specifically with Wilton and Donovan, looked like that could be a connection. How do you assess that?

“Yeah, it was good to see Donovan go and make a big play offensively. Made the big play special teams-wise, so great to see him a factor in the third game of his freshman year. Just terrific. Like Tarik has done, one of those freshmen that are playing in their third ballgame and are huge factors in where we are, 3-0, and the ballgame we had today.”

[After THE JUMP: getting RPS’d, the kicking battery, jamming it in in the red zone, and how to use DPJ]

Comments

Michigan 29, Air Force 13

Michigan 29, Air Force 13 Comment Count

Ace September 16th, 2017 at 4:10 PM


Quinn Nordin got his second school record in three games. [Eric Upchurch]

Michigan had their J. Walter Weatherman game today.

You could practically hear "...and that's why you don't schedule Air Force" echoing through the stadium as early as the first quarter, when the Falcons somehow used 6:13 of game clock to drive 24 yards in 12 plays for a field goal to knot the game at three apiece.

While Michigan's defense played up to their lofty standard, Air Force lingered in a contracted game that featured only 11 full drives from each team. The Wolverines could only move the ball in fits and spurts, generally going in the right direction until they hit the red zone, where all-too-familiar problems from the season's first two games cropped up again. Whether it was blown blocks, conservative playcalling, or missed opportunities, those problems forced Michigan to settle for field goals on all four of their trips to the red zone.

"They were doing a really good of disguising coverages, disguising blitzes," quarterback Wilton Speight said, noting Air Force did a particularly good job in the red zone.

"They had a better call than we had most of the time down there in the red zone," said Jim Harbaugh. "We'd like to score more touchdowns in the red zone. I think that'll come. We're moving the ball."

Speight finished an underwhelming 14-of-23 for 169 yards in what's become a typically uneven performance. He had a few excellent throws and lost some yardage to drops—most notably on a third-down pass that clanged off Kekoa Crawford's hands in the fourth quarter—but also missed a couple open receivers and couldn't lead the offense to a touchdown until the game's waning minutes.


DPJ couldn't be stopped once he got his eyes on the end zone. [Upchurch]

Fortunately for Michigan, while the offense found their footing, the other two units were rock solid. Quinn Nordin tied a program record with five field goals in five attempts, including a 49-yarder with room to spare to give Michigan a 9-6 halftime lead.

After the defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, it looked like Michigan would finally break the game open. Donovan Peoples-Jones fielded a Charlie Scott punt that outdistanced the coverage, sprinted past the first wave, reversed field, and then tightroped the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown, the first of his Michigan career.

"My punt return team did a great job of blocking," Peoples-Jones said. "It made my job very easy. It just opened up like the Red Sea."

"I feel like great things are going to happen for Donovan Peoples-Jones," said Harbaugh.

Air Force countered with a rare explosive play, however, as receiver Ronald Cleveland got a step on Tyree Kinnel and took at third-down slant 64 yards to the house only four plays later.

That proved to be Air Force's only completion of the afternoon.


Somewhere in there is Air Force's quarterback. [Upchurch]

The defense, and the defensive line in particular, controlled this game. Against an offense that avoids negative plays at all costs, Michigan recorded nine tackles for loss and had three sacks on just 12 Air Force dropbacks. The three-man line of Rashan Gary, Mo Hurst, and Chase Winovich controlled the A- and B-gaps, allowing the back seven—led by Devin Bush and Mike McCray, who both finished with a team-high 11 tackles—to flow to the ball unencumbered.

By the second half, they were kicking the Falcons off the field with ruthless efficiency. Gary damn near beheaded quarterback Arion Worthman while forcing a third-quarter fumble the Falcons were fortunate to recover, inducing a roar of bloodlust from a previously stagnant crowd.

Their dominance meant two more field goal drives, plus a miss from Air Force's kicker, were enough to all but put the game away. Michigan was in clock-killing mode when Karan Higdon broke down the left sideline for a 36-yard touchdown with 1:02 to play.

"They play a brand of football that I really like, which is keep jabbing away," Harbaugh said. "They make you go beat them. They don't beat themselves."

That held true in this game. Frustratingly, it took the offense far too long to put the game away and still have fans feel comfortable heading into Big Ten play. Next week's trip to Purdue, a reinvigorated program under first-year coach Jeff Brohm, is looking far more perilous than it did a few weeks ago.

"We'll keep forging ahead, keep making improvements," said Harbaugh. "I like where this team is at right now."

Comments

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Tim Drevno Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 14th, 2017 at 8:28 AM

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[Barron]

Some of the defensive players were saying that Joe Hewlett was really helping out with the scout team in emulating Air Force’s offense. Have you seen that as well?

“Yeah, I’ve been busy with the offense. I really haven’t paid much attention to the defense, but I know that Joe Hewlett’s in there.”

Have you ever run a triple option at any stop in your career?

“Uh…no. I’ve kind of messed with it here and there.”

What does that mean?

“I’ve put in some different plays but never saturate yourself into it, so I don’t know the ins and outs of it. You try to maybe put a play in here or there in the form of a triple option but not live in it, no.”

What have you seen from Air Force’s defense?

“Great question. Very fast, well disciplined. They play an odd scheme. They love the pressure. They’re very good tacklers in the back end. Play extremely hard. Just technically sound. They know how to get off blocks, know how to pass rush. Secondary’s very good at reading route concepts, know how to break on the ball. They’re very well coached. They do a great job at Air Force.”

Do you think Jon Runyan’s a better fit at guard? He was in the mix at tackle and then seems like he’s coming in a little bit—

“Yeah, Jon’s a very athletic guy. He could play all five positions. It’s just right now he could be a guard, he could be a tackle, but he does a good job just initial quickness off the ball, with his hand placement, really athletic, feet move well,  when something moves he can cover it up. Jon’s doing a nice job and progressing well.”

[After THE JUMP: correcting little mistakes, O-line development, and Grant Newsome as coach/president. Oh, and what it means to be human]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Cincinnati

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Cincinnati Comment Count

Brian September 13th, 2017 at 4:19 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE: Boy Skyline chili is bad, amirite? Almost as bad as hummus made of kittens or large mortgage companies that offer less personal service than a small company and have ad budgets much larger and less efficient than HomeSure Lending's laser-focused MGoBlog sponsorship. Also Matt makes me do things sometimes; other loan companies just hang out with Larry Culpepper trying to look cool.

Don't hang out with Larry Culpepper. Go to HomeSure Lending.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan didn't do anything weird except for a fake-out Emory And Henry on the first snap they never returned to.

Cincinnati mostly played a 4-3 under, sometimes with a standup end.

vlcsnap-2017-09-11-23h14m25s859

Line slid away from the strength of the formation, WDE stands up, SAM type substance. They played a lot like a 3-4, with three big DL and the linebacker type guy, even if they didn't have a guy lining up head up on the C:

vlcsnap-2017-09-12-02h06m42s730

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL and QB remained the same. No Runyan run-out this week. Cesar Ruiz got one snap as a super jumbo TE. Isaac was the primary back with Evans and Higdon getting maybe a quarter of the snaps each.

Crawford and Perry were the top receivers in snaps garnered with Black and DPJ splitting the other outside WR snaps. McDoom had some limited time; Nate Schoenle got maybe ten snaps, none of which he was targeted on. TE remained a blender, with McKeon, Wheatley, and Gentry most prominent.

[After THE JUMP: absolutely no discussion of the QB situation, sorry]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Flew To South Bend

Unverified Voracity Flew To South Bend Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Sea of red. Georgia played Notre Dame last weekend and this is what it looked like:

image

Old friend of the blog Braves and Birds has an article about this remarkable screenshot, pointing out that this was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for Georgia fans and they reacted accordingly. Somewhat similar scenes might play out if other fanbases were afforded an opportunity to go see a college football cathedral instead of a sterile NFL stadium that still smelled of Phil Simms:

...the reaction of Dawg fans to the chance to travel to South Bend is a reminder that there is huge, untapped demand among big college football fan bases to see their teams play other elite programs on the road and not at NFL stadiums.

One way to illustrate this point is to look at how the most popular programs have never visited one another. Here are the top 10 in attendance from 2016: Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State, Texas, Georgia, and Nebraska. There are 90 potential home-and-home combinations among those teams. In over a century of football, 33 of these matchups have never happened. That’s a bevy of road trips that big fan bases have never gotten to take.

I say "somewhat" because Notre Dame is especially vulnerable to this kind of takeover because of the nature of their fanbase and ticketing. Large chunks of the fanbase merely put their names in a lottery for certain games annually. The proportion of season ticket holders is (probably) much lower than other schools due to the national nature of ND's fanbase. Also these fans have a lot to pay attention to, what with the Yankees, Duke, and Manchester United all existing. With Notre Dame at a low ebb it might make sense for a frontrunner in NYC to sell his tickets in a way that it doesn't for someone who shows up to every game every year.

Unfortunately irrelevant. Oklahoma took OSU to the woodshed in their own building on Saturday. This was fun, but as I was watching it I was struck by how irrelevant it was for Michigan's chances down the road. Oklahoma's offense is built to neutralize defensive line advantages by using a metric ton of misdirection and the threat of the QB's legs. Ian Boyd has a breakdown of what happened, nearly all of which is unreplicable by Michigan—at least as they stand now.

Boyd accidentally twists the knife a bit at the end:

It pays to have a senior QB going on four years of starting, with a knack for playmaking off the cuff, when you are trying to get after a top-five opponent on the road.

Michigan can't get their QB to the OSU game healthy about half the time and never when he's a senior.

If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true. Basic advice for basic columnists, but apparently necessary:

SB Nation did a fine job reporting the contents of Lewis' testimony to the NCAA a couple of weeks ago, but it may have buried the lead.

Within the piece, Lewis' mother Tina Henderson told a former Ole Miss assistant that LSU had offered $650,000 for the services of her son.

If even close to the truth, that amount of money changes everything we know about cheating in college athletics. If even close to the truth, this case isn't so much about Ole Miss cheating but the lengths any wrongdoer would be willing to go.

And there is reason to believe $650,000 is close to the truth. I checked with the story's author, Steven Godfrey, and he said confirmed the figure wasn't a typo on his part or the person transcribing the testimony.

Instead we are supposed to believe that Leo Lewis took barely more than 10% of that to play for Mississippi State. The inclusion of the LSU number throws that whole article into doubt, because it makes it look like Godfrey is just repeating what people tell him without sanity checking anything. IE, Godfrey is being Steven Godfrey.

If LSU genuinely offered over a half-million dollars for Leo Lewis, 1) he'd be at LSU and 2) LSU's hypothetical budget for their #5 2015 class is... what, ten million dollars? Of private money? Cumong man.

Some Speight numbers. Tom VanHaaren has some bins to put Speight throws in

Facing blitzes, Speight completed just over 33 percent of his throws, as opposed to completing 61.1 percent with no pressure. On the season, he's completing just over 51.9 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. ...

Through two games when Speight is passing in the middle of the field between the numbers, he has completed 76.4 percent of his passes for 396 yards. Outside the numbers on the left and right side of the field, when out of the pocket, Speight only has completed 10 percent of his passes for 6 yards.

The first paragraph above does help paint a picture of a guy who gets sped up and loses his mechanics; that latter bin is almost all last resort scramble drill stuff, I'd imagine. Also I see "10 percent" in a paragraph with "76.4 percent" and assume that's exactly ten throws. Still very limited data there.

Out. Donovan Jeter will miss the season with an injury. Jeter had bulked up to 290 and was pushing for time at three tech—3-3-5 nose 50% of the time now, I guess. That was the one spot on the front that could sustain a hit with Dwumfour and Marshall providing additional, non-true-freshman depth.

I guess it was the gunners after all. Harbaugh on the DPJ punt follies:

"We got some things fixed there," Harbaugh said. "It wasn't Donovan Peoples -- when we watched the film, these gunners got out too fast. And then they're making their block next to Donovan."

He didn't have an opportunity to field a couple of those punts because of his own teammates. The last one he had an opportunity on was very very bad and on him since there was no teammate in the area; in the stands we speculated that he'd lost it in the sun.

Harbaugh says DPJ will be back out there because he is not a "mistake repeater."

Another pronunciation note. I am bad at pronouncing things, but I can't be held responsible for "McCune" when it's not spelled like that. I am coping. Thank you for your cards and letters. Similarly, Tyree Kinnel:

"It's Kinn-ill," Kinnel said Monday night on the "Inside Michigan Football" radio show. "A lot of people say Ka-nell. It's been like that all of my life, so I'm used to it."

Life is a struggle, and never more so than when you're saying something out loud that you've mostly—or only—read before. Or trying to say Rod Gilmore's name more than once.

Etc.: The Power Rank on randomness. Harbaugh, decorous. Study Hall stat profiles up. Exit 2019 hockey commit Alec Regula to the OHL. He was a midround pick maybe, so not a disaster. Indiana's OL, on the other hand, is a disaster. Mason Cole on his decision to return. If you want some more fun OU-OSU numbers. Booing: for jerks. This isn't an NFL game, jerks!

Jim Delany is absolutely shameless and obviously published this during football season because I'm too busy to eviscerate this jackalope.

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