Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on October 10th, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Formation notes: Stacks and stacks. Here's a "shotgun trips" with Dileo moving outside a couple of stacked WRs, one of whom is Kwiatkowski:


Totally standard three wide for some reason:


Michigan spent a lot of time in this, which was dubbed Shotgun 2TE twins:


And triple stack tight:


Substitution notes: Nothing weird. No Rawls, a few Smith plays. Darboh got on the field for some real plays for the first time but no passes—not that there were many to go around. Didn't see Jerald Robinson at all, FWIW.

Show show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
Three man front for Purdue for whatever reason. Michigan doubles both playside DTs; Short is moving away from the play at the snap anyway. Omameh(+1) pulls past that and a double by Lewan and Kwiatkowski on the playside end; LB contains and Denard(+1) pulls. A safety has moved down to add another guy to the box; Denard has to go inside the Omameh block. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) peels off to get a pop on a linebacker, but these guys were a bit confused and did not try to seal the DE inside, so he can disengage from Lewan and tackle. Purdue in pure cover 0 here.
M27 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run End-around Gallon 4
I wonder if this might turn into a read at some point as Denard does appear to be looking at someone on the D as he executes the mesh; Barnum pulls around and heads up inside, so a pull could be viable here. I don't think it's a read yet, though. Denard hands to Gallon as the playside DE chucks Schofield in an effort to get to the inside. He removes himself from the play. Schofield didn't look too hot here but he's probably not expecting the DE to do his job for him. Toussaint(+1) gets a hit on an OLB that gives Gallon(-0.5) the corner as Gardner(+0.5) cracks down on a LB; Gallon kind of jogs out of bounds instead of trying to blast out the first down.
M31 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1 + 15 Pen
Michigan barely squeezes this out as Mealer(-0.5) kind of loses Short and does not get around him to seal him out of the intended hole and Williams(-1) really loses the end; both of those guys are in the hole as Lewan and Barnum release into one guy. Bler. Omameh(+0.5) is pulling around and manages to get a hat on a filling LB; this gives Toussaint his tiny little crease he hits for a yard and a first down, with a facemask penalty aiding the cause.
M47 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 4
Kwiatkowski(+1) blocks down on the playside end and erases him. That's Short! Dang. Lewan and Barnum pull around him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks a linebacker type, easy. Barnum(+0.5) finds a linebacker farther inside and blocks him. Mealer and Omameh are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite get it done but it's a push since the guy has to give a ton of ground to prevent the seal. Robinson runs up in the huge gap and goes NS, picking up a decent gain on first down. The 3-4 seems to be screwing with some blocking assignments.
O49 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Toussaint -1
Michigan gets caught by a corner blitz that allows Purdue to slant towards the playside. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the playside end past the play. Omameh(-0.5) gets no movement on Gaston and loses him to the frontside; Short beats a scoop by Barnum(-1) badly, and when the LBs keep leverage on the pulling linemen the two DTs flow from the interior to eat up Toussaint. RPS -1. Nice kick from Schofield(+0.5) and cut by Mealer(+1), FWIW.
50 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Drag Roundtree 10
Pretty simple for Robinson as the MLB is stacked over the center and takes a step to the field as Roundtree drags inside of him. He recovers okay; not nearly enough to prevent the conversion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Reverse Gallon 7
Purdue blitzes off the slot; Michigan fakes a QB run to the field and pitches to Gallon coming the other way. Schofield(-1) blocks down on the backside DT for a moment and then lets him go, then thinks he's messed up and chases the guy. Gallon avoids him, then cuts up; the DE who is further downfield now comes up to contain and or tackle; he can't do anything. Schofield ends up blocking the DT but after Gallon beat him and doesn't actually make anything useful happen. Omameh(+1) makes the yardage happen thanks to a long-term block on the other DT that ends up sealing him away from the sideline. Gallon(+2) has already beaten two guys and throws in a third for good measure.
O33 2 3 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 3-4 Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 3
The playside end comes down a little bit, enough to convince Denard to give. DE can chase Toussaint outside but not catch him, so maybe this is right? I'm not sure. Dileo(-1) runs by the slot LB, who forces Toussaint to bounce upfield; Darboh(-0.5) also gets beat by his blocker. Toussaint(+0.5) bounces outside of the first guy and then tries to do the same with the second, getting slowed by one DB and bashed by a second when just hitting it up is a first down.
O30 3 In Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Same bit with Kwiatkowski(+1) shoving an end well out of the hole; his block eventually takes out Short, who slanted inside an attempted double. Roundtree(-1) whiffs an easy crack down; Barnum(+1) pulls and slows up to knock a linebacker inside, which gives Robinson a crease for the first down despite Lewan(-1) getting only a bler kickout as he falls to the ground. Robinson(+1) had cut well and was one and a half of those missed blocks from a touchdown. RPS +1.
O28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 6
The slightly odd shotgun iso Michigan broke out against Minnesota a while ago. Gap to get is between Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1). Lewan gets movement and a kickout; Barnum's guy helps him but Barnum locks him out well despite a hands to the face that goes uncalled; Kerridge(+1) thumps a linebacker. Toussaint's got a good hole and hits it; overhang guy is unblocked and tackles.
O22 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
Purdue moves a guy off the slot and blitzes right into the mesh. Again, have to prevent this from happening with bubble punishment. M runs the veer; Robinson does read it and pulls in time. Schofield(-1) is getting slanted under and gives up too much ground, knocking Barnum off his pull. That guy shoots past the play as Denard pulls; now he's past an initial wave and in space further inside than he wants to be. It really looks like he's got huge lane outside but because of the bump on Barnum he's not making contact with the LB at the LOS and Denard(-1) fails to read the open space he will have. He made a quick decision to take here, but a missed opportunity for more. Since he does not cut outside he has blown up the blocking angle of a down-blocking Omameh and an overhang guy can come in to tackle for no gain. Kind of want to RPS -1 this but M did have an opportunity to pick up yards if Schofield and Denard execute a little better.
O22 3 4 Shotgun 3TE 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Pass Flare Toussaint Inc
OLB is moving at the QB at the snap; Funchess is mainly picking the ILB to the short side, leaving Toussaint all alone on a little swing; Denard overthrows it. Toussaint almost makes a one handed stab-and-grab but can't quite. (IN, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O22 4 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Gardner 8
Great pocket; Denard zings it into Gardner's chest on time. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O14 1 10 Shotgun 2-back trips 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Smith 1
Covered slot play. Purdue has a CB to the non-WR side on the LOS, a LB there, and a safety who is reading run the whole way. Corner comes upfield at snap; this looks like a veer but if so it seems like Denard should pull, except it doesn't really matter since Toussaint blocks the corner and there is no one being optioned. Denard gives; Smith meets an unblocked guy at the LOS. RPS -1. Schofield(+1) had a good block on a slanting guy, FWIW, and Barnum(+1) got to the second level right quick. If they'd had a guy for the safety...
O13 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 under Run QB iso Robinson 4
This is an iso on which they run a fake veer mesh point and send Smith up the middle of the field. Barnum(+1) gets a tough scoop block on one of the DTs, sealing him. Mealer moves to the second level and would get an LB blocked if he knew where the ball was. Omameh(+1) kicks the other DT, Short. Lewan was blocking a guy who never tried to contain because the slot LB had it; he never gets sealed or kicked and flows down the line to tackle. Would like to see Mealer(-1) hold his ground and react on the fly once that LB starts moving away from the play. That's what the action is supposed to do, so set up and wall off anyone who shows, not just the LB.
O9 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 nickel Run QB draw Robinson 8
How does this even happen I don't know. Purdue is running man on the goal line against Denard. They send a corner who Schofield(+0.5) flings upfield; Short gets out of his lane all by himself, and this gives Robinson(+1) a crack to the outside that he takes, as he is wont to do. He cuts past a charging LB and extends the ball to score, probably, but is called down and the replay can't overturn it. Bah. RPS +1, amazingly.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Trap Toussaint 0 (Pen +0)
Burzynski in and a Lewan/Schofield setup on the left side of the line. Schofield(+1) blows up Gaston and Kerridge(+1) blows up a linebacker; Toussaint(-1) has an easy dive into the endzone that he does not trust and goes too far outside, allowing Purdue to recover. Rawls scores this. Purdue is offsides.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Off tackle Toussaint 1
Basically the same one gap over. Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1) pave the way and it's Toussaint one on one with a safety; Toussaint manages to squeeze in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 38
Man, this is easy. Just six guys in the box for Purdue and the sixth flares out on the slot receiver. Playside DE contains, but it doesn't really matter since Omameh(+1) is pulling around and blocks him since he's got no one else to deal with. Lewan(+1) gets rid of the only(!) LB. Barnum got beat-ish by a late shift by Short but not enough to screw the play up; push. Robinson(+2) is into the secondary in a flash and turns ten into lots by making a safety look foolish. Gallon(+1) fended off a cornerback, adding a big chunk, too. RPS +3: five in the box against Denard Robinson.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 3
NT blows upfield of Mealer(-1) and disrupts the pull from Omameh. Against a three man front this is bad. Mealer ends up blocking no one. Lewan(+1) crooshes silly donkey DE to the interior but Kwiatkowski(-1) shows to the inside too much and lets a linebacker run over top of him. Toussaint kicks a guy, leaving two unblocked in the hole. Denard(+0.5) dances for a couple.
O22 2 7 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 6
OLB comes off slot; Kwiatkowski blocks him out. Purdue slides its line playside and has a linebacker behind who's unblocked thanks to the blitz. He's staying outside, so handoff. The slant gets the Purdue OL past the M OL but the M OL gets good push on a couple guys. Mealer(-1) lets Short by him in frightening fashion; Lewan(+1) gets his guy two yards downfield and makes him give up a lot of space. Toussaint(+1) cuts backside and avoids that linebacker, stumbling as he manages to power through the arm tackle. Short can now finish the job from behind.
O16 3 1 Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Speed option Smith 2
You know, Denard never ever pitches here and on this play of all plays he does. He's got a completely obvious lane for a first down; yeah, charging safety but he'll never stop you. Instead, pitch. That charging safety alters his angle and gets past Toussaint's hypothetical lead block; Toussaint does get a bit of a shove on him as Smith cuts inside, which gives Smith just enough to squeeze out the first. Schofield(+1) and Williams(+1) had crushed guys back for that lane; Denard(-1) should have kept this instead of risking the pitch.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
Funchess in as an H-back. This looks like the veer but they don't let anyone go so I assume this is an actual no read power to screw with folks. Schofield(-1) doesn't fire off, ends up catching a DE, lets him inside, and then Barnum(-1) blocks him too as he fills the hole. Toussaint bounces outside, unblocked LB, no gain. Barnum should be moving outside of this block instead of dealing with the guy who shows. If Schofield can't push him past the play that's not on you.
O14 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson -1
Bubble stuff. OLB comes hammering off the edge; Lewan(-2) is pulling around Kwiatkowski(+0.5) who again eliminates the DE easily. Barnum pulls up to wall off a LB coming from the inside and would have a crease for Denard but for Lewan getting blown upfield and the OLB disengaging to tackle. RPS -1.
O15 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide trips bunch 1 1 3 Okie zero Pass TE Dig Funchess 14
Okie look from Purdue with no single deep safety. Only four sent; M picks it up. Nice pocket that Robinson steps up into and rifles a pass to Funchess at the goal line in between three zone defenders that Funchess brings in. Slightly behind Funchess but still a good throw given the coverage and situation; even better catch by Funchess. (CA+, 1, protection 3/3)
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 0 Goal line Run Off tackle Toussaint 1
Purdue better prepared for this, getting into the pulling Barnum(+1) in the backfield; Toussaint(+0.5) feints outside, finds an unblocked guy, decides that's a bad idea, and then cuts back into Barnum's ass, which is busy escorting a dude into the endzone so that works out okay.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 14 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
Gallon motions in from the slot to be the possible handoff and Robinson(-1) keeps. That's an error as the DE is diving down. The corner is coming and this could be an issue but there's a lead blocker to pick the guy off. DE who has come down is in the hole... oh and I guess we take Denard's minus off the board(+1) since he bounces it outside after everyone sucks in and picks up five. Dios mio man. Gallon(+0.5) got a block on the edge. Barnum(+0.5) got a good pull and seal.
O21 2 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Penalty False start Schofield -5
nyet. Schofield –1.
O26 2 10 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 0
FB offset, TE covered. A big gap develops between the Mealer block and a pulling Barnum on the playside DT. LB shoots the gap, Toussaint gets nailed. Not sure what to do here; Barnum has to block that guy, need that playside double from Kwiatkowski and Lewan on power, Purdue gets unblocked LB in backfield; RPS -2. Insert rant about running from the shotgun.
O26 3 10 Shotgun double stacks 1 0 4 Okie zero Pass Throwaway Robinson Inc
Purdue sends seven at first but backs out the middle three guys. Schofield doesn't get out on the outside blitz and lets the guy through but to be fair Omameh is thinking about blocking a guy dropping out and you go inside out on pass pro. If Schofield goes out the inside guy goes in. Robinson should step up in the pocket and be Dan Marino at this point, instead he rolls out and chucks it OOB. I'll take it! (TA, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 21-0, 11 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 8
Kwiatkowski(+0.5) gets Short sealed for a moment before Short spins past the block; he falls. Mealer(-0.5) and Barnum are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite do it but he is delayed; Mealer releases into the second level and ends up blocking no one there as he lets a LB run past. He does get a safety as a second reaction but it seems like the 3-4 is confusing the line a bit. Schofield(+1) gets a good kick on the OLB; Omameh is leading Denard; a little slow but okay. Denard(+1) sees a crease and hits it fast.
M34 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 10
Gallon comes in from the slot, fake end around. Short and the OLB both go way upfield and outside in an attempt to contain. Line does an eh job on the iso stuff; MLB meets Toussaint at the LOS and there is no crease. Schofield, Mealer -0.5 each for not getting movement on their guys; Kwiatkowski(-1) blew a block on the OLB. All of this is fine because of Short chasing Gallon, which opens up a huge cutback lane for Denard(+2), at which point he's into the secondary for a nice gain. RPS +1.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run End-around power Gallon 2
Barnum pulls. Toussaint is a lead blocker and Gardner is cracking down on the outside. The corner comes, Gardner shoves him some, which causes the guy to spin (odd). Gardner then gets a shove on a linebacker. Toussaint hits the spinning CB and puts him on the ground; Gallon is headed way outside where an unblocked safety has time to fill. Gallon can't make him miss. This may be a read but they don't appear to be optioning anyone. Pull looked pretty good, FWIW. RPS –1; the corner blitz again.
M46 2 8 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Throwback screen Gallon 28
Always works, works this time even though the pass is deflected. Secondary is fearful of bomb; Funchess whiffs on his guy, but Gallon has so much space he can just run inside a little bit. Omameh(+1) is in space and gets a safety block. Schofield(+1) gets an effective cut way downfield, and Funchess saves a minus by keeping with the play and latching on to the guy Schofield cut to give Gallon(+1) an extra ten yards. (not charted, 3, screen, RPS +2)
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 3
Jackson(-1) starts the play by taking steps inside like he's going to crack down on the LB, who has no chance at making a play here, and is thus late getting out on a safety lined up eight yards off the LOS. That guy gets outside and fights off a cut, so the inside guy can come up and make a play after a couple yards. (CA, 3, screen)
O23 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
I'm not sure who the read is since it looks like everyone is getting blocked. Jackson(-1) comes down on the OLB, poorly. The guy is upfield and can explode into Toussaint if he gets the ball; Funchess thinks about blocking him before moving to the second level inside that block. That leaves a charging safety for Toussaint if he gets the ball, so that's not likely to be successful. Denard pulls anyway. Schofield(-1) got beat and his DE sheds to the inside, where Barnum is pulling. Now Denard has to go outside of that block, where Jackson's guy comes down to tackle because he's got an angle. RPS -1; this one was hard to see working even if Schofield gets his block. Slot Jackson is kind of an obvious run tip.
O23 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Post Gardner 23
Purdue sends five and goes from two high to one high late with one safety coming up in a robber. Robinson reads it, finds that the other safety has dropped way too deep, and zings a twenty-yard post to Gardner as a stunting blitzer gets to him. He leaps, catches, falls into endzone. (DO, 3, protection 2/3, Barnum -1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-3, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
OLB tears at the mesh point; Denard pulls but too late and it looks like Smith is instinctively clamping down as he takes the hit. Denard(-2) should have just aborted the mesh early but it's tough to ask that.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 28-3, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 9
Same thing as the previous play with Gallon in motion sucking Short way upfield. The playside end is slanting hard under Lewan(+1), who latches on and shoves the guy inside and upfield. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) get movement on the NT and Barnum pops out on a linebacker who is coming up. Toussaint pops the other ILB, leaving a safety who came down unblocked; Robinson(+2) cuts behind and thanks to the Lewan block and Mealer getting movement he's got that cutback lane generated by the Gallon fake. He takes it. Short recovers to tackle from behind. You would like Omameh(-0.5) to prevent this from happening. RPS +1.
M47 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 2
Kwiatkowski and Lewan get a little movement on the end; Fitz kicks the OLB. Omameh is trying to get to the ILB to the playside; a safety in the box comes down unblocked to fill and tackle. Denard does get it. Okay, fine, short yardage against cover zero no funny stuff up 18. Push for everyone.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Sweep Toussaint 3
Well blocked, with Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bashing the DE inside; he trips as he spins upfield past the block; would prefer this to not look like it's going to work before it doesn't but the movement Kwiatkowski gets is the reason someone steps on him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks; Barnum(+0.5) gets the ILB, and Toussaint... has an eighth defender in his face because Purdue is in pure cover zero. He makes a good cut past the containing safety and is about to get some nice yards when Short, unblocked on the backside, tackles from behind. RPS -1, technically, not that I'm all upset about it or anything.
O48 2 7 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Pass PA TE Wheel Funchess Inc
Throwback screen fake that is supposed to get Funchess wide open down the sideline; it does not. Whatever the safety's key was it wasn't something M showed; he drops off and has great coverage that forces Funchess OOB. That's Denard's only receiver and he doesn't have anywhere to scramble so he tosses it up. The pass is perfect, except Funchess is running OOB so that ain't legal for catchin'. Um. (CA?, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O48 3 7 Shotgun trips stack tight 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Funchess Inc
Denard finds Funchess for about ten and it looks like they'll convert but the pass ends up well behind him and wobbly. I looked at this a lot and I think Short got a finger or two on it, as it looks like a tight spiral until it reaches Short reaching up and then it gets wobble on it. I get it if you're like IN, but this got deflected. (BA, 0, protection 2/2). BAs still count against your downfield success rate anyway.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 13 min 3rd Q. Man, the drop from NBC to BTN is enormous.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Belly give Toussaint 2
Poor damn Toussaint. Again he's eating an unblocked guy in the backfield. The end shuffled down and then collapsed on the handoff; give or not is a push for Denard because the corner was blitzing. Play was dead on the snap. RPS -1.
M29 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Gallon 6
Second bubble, second screwup by the WR blocking. Darboh(-1) stands at the LOS like a doof and Gallon actually reaches the guy as he catches the ball. From there Gallon(+1) does Gallon things to pick up pretty good yardage. More Gallon touches. (CA, 3, screen)
M35 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sweep Robinson 4
Outer two players block down as Mealer and Omameh pull around. WR motions in right before the snap and cracks down. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the DE inside, getting the edge. Toussaint(+1) kicks the corner with authoritah. Big hole with three M guys in it and three Purdue guys; Denard gets a little impatient and runs up his blockers' backs. Omameh(+1) gets a good second level bock and Mealer is leading, looking at the safety, when that safety goes low, submarining Mealer and just tripping Denard as he tries to cut behind. Think Short had him in pursuit even if this doesn't happen but pretty close to making things happen.
M39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 46
This pull is brilliant madness. M leaves the back two guys unblocked; Short tears after Toussaint. The OLB is unblocked and containing, Denard pulls anyway, and goes straight upfield. Short's still after Toussaint; the end cannot reach Denard as he goes straight NS. Mealer(+1) moved the NT playside and got him a yard off the LOS. Schofield(+1) was releasing downfield to get the other ILB, who starts heading outside even before the mesh and runs himself out of the play; Schofield adjusts to eliminate him. Then, Denard(+3), space, fast, etc. No shoe. Runs OOB. Would like to see him be more aggressive in big games. Keep yer shoe on.
O15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Sweep Toussaint 0
Kwiatkowski(-1) does not get a seal on the end this time. Schofield(-0.5) loses the OLB upfield because he's attacking aggressively there. Mealer and Barnum can't get a seal on the backside DT. Toussaint has to arc outside that DT and then try to hit it up; Mealer(-1) couldn't get to a LB despite leaving early and he and Short blow it up at the LOS. Nobody got blocked here. RPS -1.
O15 2 10 Ace big 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Michigan runs an inside zone away from the strength of the formation and into five guys against four blockers. This doesn't work, especially when the playside ILB bugs out to beat a block. Maybe this should have been a cutback. Yeah, maybe, but tough when Barnum(-1) has just caught a guy and is a yard in the backfield. Still, Toussaint -1.
O14 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 Okie zero Run Speed option Smith 4
Jackson(-2) is the main blocker on the edge here and barely touches the cornerback. Denard gets some pursuers from the interior and ends up pitching late, but it's so late that as one pursuing guy tackles Denard becomes a human cut block on a second, leaving Smith in space with the corner and Jackson; if Jackson can even shove this guy a little Smith can score a TD; he does not. RPS push since normally the second guy on Denard would hold this down.
Drive Notes: FG(29), 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Penalty False start Lewan -5
bah. Lewan –1.
M6 1 15 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 0
Safety overhanging is an unblocked guy in the box as M bizarrely doubles the backside DT. I guess Denard could pull and go vertical again; he doesn't. There is a DE that seems to be containing but I'm not sure if he can do anything about this. Anyway, blocking is good for the iso; Toussaint(-2) sees the overhang guy and tries to bounce away from him, turning five yards into zero. Lewan(+0.5) got a good kick; Kerridge(+1) bombed the MLB. Barnum only did eh with Short, understandably.
M6 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 6
Gallon end around fake. This again gets Short chasing, but no cutback as one of the ILBs is filling that gap. Omameh(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) are able to shove and seal the nose. Toussaint(+0.5) gets an okay lead block and Denard(+1) just hits it straight upfield. A safety comes down to tackle after a few; he's doing it from the side and Robinson can drag. This play... this play will be able to hit big on PA. This is going to get an RPS +3 sometime in the next three games.
M12 3 9 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Roundtree 13
Only three rush. Denard sits and zips it to Roundtree for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Veer PA post Gallon Inc
M continues to have trouble blocking this play action as Barnum sort of overruns his gap and a LB threatens. Barnum does get a shove that allows Denard to move outside and reset but now he knows he's got to go go go and can't let a wheel develop, etc. Gallon is one on one on the outside and has inside position, so this is a throw you may as well make. It's accurate enough despite being a back foot throw; Gallon leaps... and is too short. It does go off his hand, which is pretty good for a 40 yard throw under these conditions. (CA+, 2, protection 2/3, Barnum -1) Funchess or Gardner likely brings this in.
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Gallon end around action to the sweep. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bombs the DE. Schofield(+0.5) gets a good kick. M can't seal the NT but does okay and Robison can run by him.Smith and Omameh(-1) are leading into two defenders; Omameh lunges at his guy and doesn't cut him but does fall as he hits in the midsection; gotta pick one thing to do. Robinson is thinking he'll hit a hole between his two lead guys and burst into the secondary; that plan is foiled when Omameh's guy comes through the block to tackle.
M27 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Gardner Inc
Gardner gets himself open with a post corner; Robinson hits him a little high and a little hard but it's still right in his hands; dropped. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Denard threw this so the ball was in the air on target as Gardner came out of his break.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 3 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 59
Pretty much the basic spread play bursts huge. M lets the DE go with Kwiatkowski blocking the OLB. DE shoots for Toussaint, pull. LBs also going for the frontside, so there's a big hole. Safety coming down to fill it; Denard cuts behind Schofield(+1), who latched on to one linebacker and shoved him outside, giving Denard a lane. Lewan(+1 released downfield and though the LB has the angle on him he still collapses to his knees and falls. Boom, lane, gone. 50 yards later there are members of the secondary. He dodges one, then gets ankle-tackled. Dangit. Robinson +3. RPS +2.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read handoff Toussaint -1
Exact same thing except Denard(-1) hands despite the DE crashing. At least five if he keeps. Schofield(-1) got blown up too, making things worse for Fitz.
O17 2 11 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Sweep Toussaint 2 (Pen -15)
LB overhanging goes upfield and gets a two for one as he picks off Kerridge and forces Toussaint inside. Williams(-1) loses his block; both LBs are flowing hard, and there is a safety. Four Boilers, one blocker. Ball game. Schofield(-1) gets called for a chop block.
O32 2 26 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 8
Man, Short can recover like whoah. He gets way upfield, M runs a draw right up in that lane, and he still almost comes back to kill it. Robinson(+1) manages to cut inside the containing LB for a nice gain.
O24 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Batted ball Gallon Inc
Five man rush with two delayed guys. Picked up. Can't tell if this is a good idea or not. Gallon thinks so, FWIW. (BA, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: FG(42), 34-13, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Purdue selling out now and M just killing clock so I'm not going to be too tough. Toussaint would have a shot at a cutback for some yards but the MLB is ripping at the LOS at the snap and bowls Barnum(-1) over backwards; Lewan can't get on him because he's just charging. Situation, whatever. Toussaint does well just to get a couple.
O25 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB iso Robinson 11
Playside DE slants inside hard and is shunted away by Lewan(+1). Kwiatkowski(+0.5) kicks the OLB. Toussaint(+0.5) stands up a LB who is containing. Barnum(+1) managed to sidle out into the other ILB; Denard(+1) shoots through the gap and brushes past Barnum for a first down.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
This is the frustration play where Toussaint(-2) has 4-5 just by running up his OL's back but bounces for zip. Lewan(+1) had pounded a DE. Mealer(+0.5) locked the NT out.
O14 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 4
Gallon end around action. Barnum pulls, power etc. Well blocked; Robinson(-0.5) probably makes an unwise decision to bounce but has the speed to pick up five or so so no full minus. Kwiatkowski(+1) had gotten a ton of movement on his guy. Barnum went for a safety instead of the LB, but that decision wasn't tested.
O10 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Gardner Inc
Batted at the line, and then by a linebacker. Fingertips both and he may have had Gardner otherwise so no BR. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(30), 37-13, 6 min 4th Q. That's it for Denard. I'll take a look at Rawls in the next drive but I'm not charting too hard at this point.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Rawls 5
Lewan out, Burzynski in at RG, Omameh RT, Schofield LT. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) blow the NT off the ball; Rawls cuts behind and rams it into a safety.
O28 2 5 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Rawls 2
Basically same thing except Schofield gets slanted under a little and Rawls has to cut further back, allowing the safety time to get to him near the LOS. He tries to bounce and probably should just slam it right upfield.
O26 3 3 I-Form twins covered 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 19
Barnum(-2) whiffs on his DT, falling; Kerridge is forced to take him instead of the LB charging up the middle of the field. Schofield(+1) has enough push on the DE to allow Rawls(+3) a bounce; Rawls then runs over a filling safety and turns barely a first down into a big gain.
O7 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Iso Rawls 7
DT slants under Barnum(+1) again; this time Barnum latches on to drive Short past the play and gets a cutback lane. Schofield(+0.5) kicks the DE well; Mealer(+0.5) gets out on one ILB, with the other trying to fend off Kerridge. Mealer's guy can't extend to tackle in time and Rawls(+2) runs through another safety tackle after the cut for six.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-13, 2 min 4th Q. Rest of M snaps are kneels.






Fine, you win.


We get it.


Yeah, but how about this business on the passing—



[Hennechart legend is updated. Hover over column headers for quick explanations]

2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3 - - 3(1) 1 71%
Air Force 1 14 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 75%
UMass 1 16(4) - 4 - 1 1 1 3 68%
Notre Dame 4 10(1) 2 4(1) 2 1 1 3 1 65%
Purdue 3 7(2) - 1(1) - 1 2 - - 73%

How about that BR number compared to the TA number? Yeah. Yeah man. Oh, Denard threw it away. Threw it away LIKE A BOSS. That one time.

Anyway, very low numbers so don't take the DSR super serious you guys. Potential alterations: a particular throw behind Gardner may have been IN instead of BA, the one charted IN was filed a screen since it was a little flare behind the LOS, and I gave Denard a CA on the Funchess wheel route that was OOB since he did as well as he could in that situation and it wasn't his fault that the WR was running out of bounds. Also I didn't chart the deflected screen to Gallon.

The line kept him clean, and he responded with a quality small-sample-size day. What happens when he has to throw more than 16 times? We'll cross that bridge if we have to.

I think having faith in the OL is key for Denard. Here's a third and eleven from the 15 on which Denard's got a great pocket, steps forward a couple times, and rifles it to Funchess:

BOOM. Denard with/without pressure is just night and day. Also when he's set up in the pocket he seems to handle it better than when his feet aren't set.



There was a bubble screen!

As Borges pointed out to a shamed Heiko, there were two. Weirdly, both got crap blocking as exterior WRs seemed to not get the playcall. Jackson started a crackback block on no one on the first and I have no idea what Darboh thinks he's doing on the second:

Even so they picked up 3 and 6 yards. You don't want to get so bubble dependent you're getting Jake Ryans in your face on the edge but if you want big plays—and if we've learned anything in the past year and a half it's that Borges has a Fathead of a freestyle ski-jumper screaming GO BIG OR GO HOME in his room—you've got to pull those corners up when they try to play you from the parking lot. Next week maybe the outside WRs will even block for them.

A side note on this section: man, we need more Gallon touches. He had three runs, three catches, and a fourth target in this game. I'd like to see him get to 10-12. Toss him screens, use him as a pitch back on the speed option, hand it to him on an inverted veer from an otherwise empty formation, etc.

All right, passing whatever, MANCHART




Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 10.5 4 6.5 Best drive blocker on the line.
Barnum 11.5 6 5.5 Big numbers because M is now lefthanded.
Mealer 5.5 5.5 0 Can't seal like Molk against big time competition.
Omameh 7 2 5 Reliable, got some space stuff.
Schofield 10 8 2 Gets pushed back more than the other linemen.
Kwiatkowski 7 3 4 M's running all those sweeps for a reason.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 1 2 -1 Less effective than 81.
Funchess - - - Got a push on the screen
TOTAL 52.5 30.5 63% Slightly below desired 2:1 ratio, but game situation mitigates
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 20.5 6.5 14 9.8 YPC is good, right?
Bellomy - - - DNC
Toussaint 5 6 -1 Discussed previously.
Rawls 5 - 5 Made a case for more PT.
Smith - - - Didn't get a plus or minus.
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - DNP
Kerridge 3 - 3 Insert complaints about scholarship FBs x3
TOTAL 33.5 12.5 21 Denard kind of good at the running thing.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 0.5 - 0.5  
Roundtree - 1 -1  
Gallon 5.5 0.5 5 More touches more touches more touches
Jackson - 4 -4 For a designated blocking WR he needs work on blocking
Dileo - 1 -1 Bad crackback.
J. Robinson - - - DNP?
Darboh - 1.5 -1.5 Bubble biff.
TOTAL 6 8 -2 Gallon ran well, receivers blocked poorly.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 20 4 83% Team –2, Barnum –2.
RPS 12 11 +1 massive credit to Borges that this is positive with 76% runs and Purdue selling out on them

Protection stellar, Denard a flaming tower, line could have done better but got a win. Wide receivers were a problem when not in possession of the ball.

Why can the line block for Denard but not Toussaint?

Well so the thing is Purdue spent a lot of bullets blitzing against zone stuff. On plays where Fitz took inside zone handoffs and ate turf for no yards the handoff was always correct because someone was containing. If Denard keeps, he's meat (except that one time). Then you're left with a weird conundrum about why.

Well, one reason why: blocking the inverted veer is relatively easy. It's power without a kickout usually, because the end is containing the back. So the kickout can't screw up, and you get a free release from the guy who would be kicking out, and then you get a downblock on the DT, and you get a bonus guy pulling around to clean up first level mistakes and head-hunt LBs. It's a pretty good play you guys.

Also, sometimes Denard is just dang.

Hello, OLB specifically designed to contain me. Goodbye, OLB. Say hello to Walrus when you get chewed out on the sideline.

There is something to the idea Purdue was going after Toussaint aggressively. On Denard's 59-yarder the unblocked end charged after Toussaint, causing a pull. Denard dipped inside a Schofield second level block when the safety charged up and that was all she wrote. Why you would construct your defense to get Denard Robinson to pull I have no idea.

How much should we care about this?

Um… not much? Michigan put up 6 yards a carry* while running 76% of the time. Completely erase Denard's 59 yarder and you're a hair under 5 yards. That doesn't even make sense! That is a totally unfair thing to do! And Michigan is still kicking ass against a team that did this to Notre Dame:

  • five sacks for 40 yards
  • 3.3 YPC, sacks excluded, while running 40% of the time

ND just rushed for 376 yards against Miami. Purdue did better against the ND offense than World Best Defense MSU did. Michigan spent the entire game running into stacked fronts. I'm willing to give the OL a pass for getting blown up by Kawann Short a bit en route to 300 yards rushing.

That this game comes after a second half in which Michigan bulled its way down the field against the mansome ND front seven only makes OL fretting even sillier. These guys aren't Steve Hutchinson clones but come on man. They'll be fine until the final test against Hankins and Simon.

*[kneels excised as per usual]

What is your Kwiatkowski deal?

I tried to back off on the assumption that what he was doing wasn't that hard, but Michigan's running that sweep thing where the TE blocks down and the two guys to the interior pull around all the time and you have to figure Kwiatkowski is a reason why. I mean, this is against Kawann Short:

Later in the game Short would start fighting back upfield of this by spinning but Kwiatkowski had usually shoved him so far that he could not recover to make a play. He's kept AJ Williams, a 285 pound player who was a tackle last year, largely off the field. Dispense with anti-walk-on bias—he's a pretty good player. I'd be surprised if Moore got his job back when he returns from injury.

You teased something about QB iso, and I want it more than crack cocaine.

It's back, albeit in a modified form. One of a few things Michigan ran off the Gallon end-around action was an iso where the back would move a gap or two over and Robinson would go straight upfield. The first couple times they ran it, the playside DE to Gallon's side of the field blew out of his gap to chase the end around and Robinson got big cutback runs…

…that would end later when LBs started filling behind the DL. They also ran it with Toussaint a little, but the lack of ostentatious presnap motion didn't cause the same kind of freakouts on the DL.

That vertical motion is going to lead to some freakouts if opponents are going cover zero as much as Purdue and ND did. In the Toussaint link above, if Smith runs by the LB it's game over for the Boilers as Denard flips it into space for an easy TD. In the embed the worst thing that happens is you have pure one on one matchups with both outside WRs; you may be able to shoot a TE down the seam against certain defenses, though this one looks like man to man so that's not the best option.

The return of the iso is what can truly bring back QB Oh Noes, as fear of Denard will drive safeties to abandon deeper responsibilities. If Kwiatkowski gets a shove and then releases downfield on this play… well… you know what happens.

It's called "Tony Moeaki 2009."

Someone's getting burned big time in the next few games. Not Illinois.


Okay, he's shown a little something with the annihilation of the UMass LB and running through tackles against Purdue. Upgraded from Mark Ingram But Fast to Jim Brown But Fast, by which I mean I am intrigued and would like to see some real carries for the guy on Saturday.

The guys who do the… thing. With the hands. Catching?

Oh right those guys.

[Passes are rated by how tough they are to catch. 0 == impossible. 1 == wow he caught that, 2 == moderate difficulty, 3 == routine. The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Gardner 1 - 0/1 2/2   9 0/3 1/3 12/13
Roundtree     - 2/2   4 0/1 1/1 9/9
Gallon     0/1 3/3   5 0/1 3/5 12/12
J. Robinson           1 0/1   1/1
Dileo           1 1/1 2/2 2/2
Jackson           1     3/4
Kwiatkowski                 2/2
Funchess 2 1/1       2 2/2   7/7
Toussaint   0/1         0/2 0/1 1/1
Smith               0/1 3/3
Kerridge             0/1    

Minimal numbers, most notable thing the Funchess circus catch.


Denard, the left side of the OL, Kwiatkowski.


Toussaint did get antsy. Jackson needs to block better if he's going to be a blocking WR. Schofield got pushed back a bit too far for my tastes.

What does it mean for Illinois and beyond?



Encouraged by the new stuff in the run game; if Borges is focusing on that it looks like we may get little tweaks to keep it fresh.

Denard had a big bounce back from ND and we can tenuously hope he has found turnover religion. Funchess: bad ass.

The line… is okay. They'll never blow guys off the ball but the best DL in the league other than OSU is now in the rear view mirror and they'll be fine.

Gallon needs more touches.

Toussaint will get some holes the next few weeks.


Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on 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.

Picture Pages: Argh Denard

Picture Pages: Argh Denard

Submitted by Brian on November 22nd, 2011 at 12:53 PM

For a few weeks now people have been asserting that Denard Robinson has not been right. I wasn't sure what to make of those complaints since we didn't really get to see him in the open field much. After Nebraska, the answer appears to be "speed just fine, thanks" even if Lavonte David did hack him down on a couple of potential big gainers.

But, yeah, I do think something isn't right with Denard. That is not necessarily injury. Against Nebraska I've had more "argh" moments in re: Denard running than I've had in a long time. There was this:

argh robinson argh

That's a scramble on Michigan's botched end-of-half drive on which Denard, presented with a massive hole straight upfield, tries to bounce outside and gets tackled for a three yard gain—in bounds. Michigan ended up getting nothing here when making the really obvious cut (Denard knows the corner will be keeping leverage as his top priority) sees them set up with a first and ten near field goal range or better.

There was this on a play where Martavious Odoms came in motion to be a pitch man:


Denard handed off there when Nebraska had one guy containing two on the edge; Hopkins thumped straight ahead for three yards. Robinson keeps showing up in the run minus category because he's not pulling when the corner opens up like whoah.

Even when Denard did pull he made some inexplicable decisions. Here's one.

It's first and ten on the Michigan something or other and Michigan is in some variety of formation. So is Nebraska. I'm not entirely sure what they are because the director in this game comes from the Michigan Stadium Replay Guy school of framing where everything is a super tight closeup. I assume Michigan is in a standard three-wide set. You can see the slot to the bottom of the screen; M will have a WR on the line outside of him. The other guy could be in a trips formation below or to the top of the screen away outside.

Nebraska appears to be in a straight nickel with a safety as support.


Michigan runs a basic inside zone read, leaving the backside guy unblocked and flaring Koger out.


The above is the mesh point. Robinson is reading the end. The end is square but he is in shuffle mode.


What's shuffle mode?

Remember that period in 2009 when Carlos Brown or Brandon Minor would slam up the backside of the line and run untouched into the endzone? That was Michigan's response to various games defenses were playing with the backside end. The shuffle is the DL's response to that response. He is protecting the soft spot behind the backside tackle that the zone read often causes. He's not really containing the QB, though he's a lot more useful on a keeper than someone screaming down the line. He's more of an RB defender.

Michigan's started seeing this because they brought back the RR H-back inside zone where there is a guy cracking back on this DE.


On the next frame Robinson has just pulled it:


Denard Robinson is Denard Robinson. Koger has flared out to seal the playside linebacker. There is no slot to the top of the screen. Robinson is about to run to the corner for a billio—





Robinson does run past Meredith and David but Huyge can't extend his block on that defensive end, and that defensive end…


…eats Denard after a two yard gain.



Items of interest

Yeah, this is kind of the same thing Scheelhaase did last week. You know, this:

The difference between the plays is that Scheelhaase screwed up his read and pulled when the defensive end was upfield in a QB contain mode. It was a plan B, one that worked. Here Michigan's plan A is "Denard in a race with a defensive end going the other way." That's a good plan. Let's try that.

It does almost work, but Huyge isn't great and he loses his guy. If Michigan sustains that block they get a decent gain.

Note the difference in the defensive ends. Clark is not shuffling down the line. He's a couple yards further outside and a yard in the backfield. Meredith is at the LOS and tucked in behind a Michigan OL. That should be enough to get Denard the corner but…

Denard seems hesitant. I don't know what the deal is. Unless there's something outside the frame that's relevant—not likely—it's really weird that Robinson wouldn't just run outside. Feel the panic in this linebacker:


That is a man going "oh shiiiiiiii" in slo-mo. He's done and Denard pops outside the DE and is dealing with that safety. Maybe he gets five yards. Maybe he gets ALL OF THE YARDS.

In recent weeks it seems like he's been less of a north-south guy. In this game he is way less of a read threat than he needs to be. In just the first half of last week's game you've got the above three plays, a speed option on which Denard cuts all the way to the backside of the line to little effect, and three or four seemingly obvious pull reads he's missed.

It is possible the reads aren't actually reads, but given what Borges has said it seems like they are. I'm not sure we've seen him pitch on the option yet, though. Is it really an option, or is it just a decoy?

The picture painted is of a guy who's thinking, not reacting.

Too much cram cram. This is a downside of not having a true base offense, I think. Lacking reps on all these things, Denard makes mistakes. If the speed option is just another way to run a QB stretch that's because they don't rep the option enough to be comfortable with the pitch. If they miss a bunch of keep reads it's because they're not repping it enough to make that clear to the quarterback.

Remember that last year Michigan largely dumped the read option in favor of just running Denard. This isn't a regression, it's Denard trying to do something he might not have been very  good at last year. That plus an entirely new passing offense means there's a ton on his plate.

We've seen progress in the passing game. They may be emphasizing that since it turns out handing the ball to Toussaint isn't that bad of an idea even when it's a bad idea. Hopefully Michigan can get some of this corrected over the next week because Denard left a lot of yards on the field even when Lavonte David wasn't tackling him by his ankles.

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Illinois

Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Illinois

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Formation notes: They did the usual 4-3 under stuff and went to a nickel package against spread sets. On passing downs the seven-guys-on-the-line okie package was a frequent deployment; on short yardage we saw the return of the Beyer/Ryan 4-4 under.

Then they did some weird stuff. If this looks a bit like a 3-3-5, yeah, sort of :


That's clearly a pass defense D with the ends lined up outside of the tackles and both the spur/bandit-type dudes on the strong side of the formation, ready to drop into man coverage.

This is another exotic pass defense featuring nose tackle Mike Jones (serious) and DT Craig Roh (also serious):


Illinois ran at this; Jones and Roh actually forced the play behind them into tacklers; pile fell forward for five.

Personnel notes: Secondary was Floyd/Countess/Kovacs the whole way and mostly Woolfolk but Gordon did pop up from time to time; I'm pretty sure Woolfolk left permanently on the Scheelhaase touchdown since he seemed to aggravate one of his many available injuries. Avery was the nickelback; when Floyd cramped up briefly he moved outside onto Jenkins and Gordon came in at nickel.

Demens and Morgan went the whole way at LB; Ryan played most of the game but gave way to Beyer a little.

The line was mostly the usual RVB/Heininger/Martin/Roh setup with cameos from Black, Clark, and Campbell. Brink got some plays at the tail end.

Show? Show. W00t.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Penalty N/A False start -- -5
O15 1 15 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA scramble Woolfolk 1
Iso fake draws heavy attention but Scheelhaase only has two options in the route and they must both be covered(+2). I find that hard to believe but I'm guessing Woolfolk(+2) jumped the corner route behind Countess and convinced Scheelhaase to scramble. Ryan(-0.5, tackling -1) misses a tackle that would have been a sack, giving up three or four yards.
O16 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd Inc
M shows a blitz from Morgan on the outside. Illinois checks, Michigan still runs it. It's picked up. All short routes; Scheelhaase goes to Jenkins on a five yard out that Floyd(+2, cover +2) breaks up. Prelude to ownage.
O16 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +2) dives inside on a stunt that gets the Illinois OL. He gets held a little and ends up falling just short of the QB's feet (I might be done typing Scheelhaase); Martin(+0.5) runs after to contain, forcing a throwaway. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 under Run N/A Triple option keeper Van Bergen 3
Kovacs rolls down for an eighth guy. M gets lucky here. RVB(+1) stays on QB throughout the play; Ryan(-2) dives inside the slot receiver and gives up the corner. He's got to have the pitchman here. This should be a pitch for a big gain. Instead QB tries to beat RVB one on one and can't do it. Still a decent gain because M had destroyed the dive, which fine.
O17 2 7 I-Form 4-3 under Pass N/A Long handoff Countess 6
Countess(-1, tackling -1) comes up a little hard and to the inside and ends up getting stiffarmed as Jenkins breaks to the outside. He does manage to delay Jenkins long enough for Ryan(+0.5), flowing hard from the inside, to tackle before the sticks.
O23 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Martin -1
Beyer/Ryan package. Heininger(+1) drives his OL a couple yards into the backfield. Martin(+2) takes a pop from the center and still does the same to the backside G, putting him on his knees at the LOS and forcing a cutback. This screws up the blocking angles and forces Ford back into Ryan(+1, tackling +1), who came down to the LOS on the snap and took a good angle into the backfield; RVB(+1) beat a block and comes into help prevent any YAC. RPS +1 for the slant forcing the play back into an unblocked player.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun 2back trips 4-3 even Run N/A Triple option dive Heininger 0
Covered slot receiver. Michigan aligns differently than normal with DTs over the guards and Illinois runs a triple option. QB hands off since DE is on him and Countess is hanging on the pitch. Dive goes nowhere thanks to Martin(+1) and Heininger(+1) blasting single blocks back; Roh(+0.5) comes in from the side to finish Pollard after he confirms the give was made.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Drag Roh Inc
Roh and Black your DEs. Kovacs rolls down. Straight dropback. Illinois looking for the drag; Roh(+1, pressure +1) beats the tackle to the outside and is held; no call. This along with Black(+0.5) falling at the QB's feet causes some shuffling and a back-foot throw that ends up going wide of Jenkins. Completion likely if accurate but Gordon(+0.5, cover +1) seemed to have this locked down for a not so big gain.
O23 3 10 Ace 3-wide Okie Run N/A Down G Van Bergen 5
Scheelhaase checks from a shotgun formation to an inside run out of ace. They're trying to run at the middle of the line as Morgan drops out into a zone; Martin(+1) fights inside a pulling guard—mismatch—and RVB(+1) comes off a block when the second guy moves downfield. Those two combine to tackle for a meh gain.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 1 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA curl Woolfolk 7
Beyer in. Illinois runs PA. Play develops with no LBs underneath the Jenkins comeback; QB fires it to him. Immediate tackle from Woolfolk(+0.5, tackling +1) and Countess(+0.5). Coverage push, pressure -1.
O27 2 3 I-Form 4-3 under Penalty -- False start -- -5
O22 2 8 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd 14
Kovacs rolls to a slot receiver as M shows one high. Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat on a ten-yard hitch and can't tackle on the catch. He has to set up and gives up a few more in the name of being safe.
O36 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Stop and go Floyd Inc
RB motions out into the slot. Michigan sends Beyer off the edge, dropping Roh; stoned. (Pressure -2) QB has all day to pump and then chuck deep. He ends up throwing it away because Floyd(+2, cover +2) was over the top of a double move to the point where throwing it was stupid.
O36 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Ryan 0
Ryan(+2) momentarily dives down but recovers impressively to force Scheelhaase outside, outside, outside. Floyd(+1) beats a Jenkins block to slow him, whereupon Ryan tackles from behind.
O36 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie Pass 4   Martin 7
Okie package gets the Illinois OL to bust (pressure +2, RPS +2). Martin(+0.5) gets a free run. Scheelhaase actually gets a pass off and completes it but it's off and takes the WR off his feet. Demens(+1) was there to tackle if necessary.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O5 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Heininger 7
Not entirely sure what the problem is here. Both DTs only take single blocks; Martin fights through his to almost kill this in the hole but can't quite. Morgan takes on the FB basically at the LOS and does funnel to the inside but Demens is getting blocked out of the play since the DTs have not absorbed an extra guy between them. I think this is on Heininger(-1) as the playside DT he's not absorbing a double and doesn't even get an arm-tackle attempt. You would like Morgan(-0.5) to get this closer to the LOS and Demens(-0.5) to not get sealed away totally but they both have tough jobs. RB into the secondary, where Kovacs(+3, tackling +2) puts his helmet on the ball and gets Michigan a turnover.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 14-0, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 PA Hitch Countess Inc
Scheelhaase clearly late on a lot of these by now but Countess(+2, cover +2) is still there for a quality PBU on a pass that could have been intercepted.
O32 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 3 Drag Countess Inc
This may be batted but there's no replay so can't be sure. Demens(-1, cover -1) does get way out of position on another WR's route, dragging well into Morgan's zone. Countess(-1, cover -1) appears to make the same error he did against Iowa, and if Jenkins catches this it's a first down and maybe a bunch more. Jenkins has to delay because the umpire gets in the way; incomplete. Lucky.
O32 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie Pass 4 Sack Ryan -14
Okie set gets Ryan(+1) and Demens(+1) roaring at the QB with one guy to block them (pressure +3, RPS +3); Van Bergen(+1) comes off a block to help sack when Scheelhaase understandably bugs out. QB overwhelmed by three guys on a four man rush == +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Morgan 7
Good time on a four man rush (pressure -1). QB has time to survey and fire to a TE for about nine; Morgan(+0.5, tackling +1) puts him down immediately. Given situation coverage fine.
O28 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Yakety snap -- -14
O14 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Down G Van Bergen 1
RVB(+1) shoots inside a downblock and gets enough penetration to force Ford well upfield; Roh is out there on the bounce but gets shoved past the play. Still, that took a long time. Martin flows down the line and forces Ford behind; Avery(+0.5, tackling +1) makes a nice low tackle that takes Ford to the ground immediately. Fumble is ruled but overturned, which costs Michigan seven important seconds. Irritating.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA out Kovacs 12
Kovacs(-1) hesitates on the play action and only belatedly shoots out on his zone; with the outside WR going deep Countess has other responsibilities. Out open, easy pitch and catch (cover -1, pressure -1)
O32 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 11
Reading RVB; he stays responsible and the handoff is made. Martin(-1) fights to the wrong side of his block and Heininger(-1) gets penetration too far upfield, so Illinois gets a crease without doubling any DL. This means LBs are getting thumped; Morgan(-1) is the guy on the playside gap and he starts moving to the LOS before actually stalling and taking a step back before being engulfed. RB into the secondary. Demens(-0.5) also caught a block.
O43 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 over Run N/A Down G Campbell 2
QB checks into an ace from the same pistol set they just ran. Campbell(+1) takes the guy downblocking him and ends up driving him into the backfield, forcing Pollard away from blocking; the playside G is pulling around outside but Pollard isn't going out there. Live I thought this was a missed cut; on tape it's clear this would be a ++ move from the back to cut up and then immediately back out. So Morgan(+2, tackling +2) gets credit for powering through his blocker and decleating Pollard.
O45 2 8 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Speed option Kovacs -4
Ryan(+2) reads the option action and tears ass for the QB, leveling him just as he pitches. FB makes a mistake, peeling back on Ryan in a hopeless chase, and this opens up Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) to do the thing he does by taking a good angle at speed; Pollard cuts inside and gets TFLed. Martin(+1) had blown through blocking and was there to help if necessary, which is crazy impressive.
O41 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -12
RVB(+2) splits two blockers confused by the okie package; Clark(+1) gets a good drive on a tight end to prevent any lane to move upfield, and Ryan jumps on the QB's back for very large sack. This was a six-man protection on which the QB had zero chance to even look at read one. Pressure +3, RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 12 min 3rd Q. Riley O'Toole gets the next Illinois drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 over Pass 6 PA TE Flat Morgan 7
Roh ends up free on the edge and gets some decent pressure; this means a TE has released behind him and O'Toole hits him for a decent gain; Morgan(+0.5) reads it pretty well and escorts the guy OOB to prevent a significant one.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 RB flat Martin Inc
Martin(+2, pressure +2) beats two blockers and roars up the middle of the pocket, forcing a terrible throw Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in a better spot to catch than the RB flaring out.
O32 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 Quick out Floyd Inc
Quick throw does not allow time for pressure; Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there with a play on a well thrown ball (but not a great one); Toole's ball is too far outside and not caught.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Martin 12 (Pen-10)
Roh(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) pressure(+1) Scheelhaase, forcing a scramble up into the pocket that picks up some yards but probably would have been a sack but for Martin(+1 again) drawing a holding call. Demens(-1) gave up the outside here and turned this from a few into a hypothetical first down.
O15 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Martin 8
Here Martin(-1) gets shoved out his lane without actually getting to the QB; Black(-0.5) gets shoved way upfield, albeit by a double (pressure -1); Scheelhaase can find no one (cover +1) and runs for a good gain. This time Demens is blocked out of the play.
O23 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Dime even Run N/A Zone read dive Jones 5
Mike Jones lined up as the NT. Yeah, I know. Roh the DT. Yeah. Daring Illinois to run; they run. Jones(+1) actually drives the center back(!), forcing a cutback into Roh(+1), who slanted inside and gets a tackle attempt. He's getting blocked and the attempt is run through; it gives Michigan time to rally to the ball and hold the play down. RPS -1? I don't even know. I guess not.
O28 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Scramble Ryan 7
Scheelhaase looking for an out Avery(+1, cover +1) has covered well enough to dissuade; Countess the other guy over there on the deeper route. Zone blitz is coming through now to the outside with Demens(+1) beating a block; Ryan(-1, pressure -1) is out of his lane and allows Scheelhaase to run straight upfield. Martin and Morgan are there to catch him after about five but the pile manages to surge forward just over the line. Impressive power by Scheelhaase.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Plenty of time (pressure -1); Illinos goes four verts and everyone is covered(+3); Floyd(+1) is step for step with Jenkins and would have a play on the ball if it was accurate. It's not.
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Avery 14
Plenty of time (pressure -2) without Martin in the game; Avery(+0.5) is actually in pretty good coverage here, forcing a throw high and to the sideline that is executed. Made it tough.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Floyd Inc
Too much time (pressure -1), though the pocket isn't as clean on this outing. Floyd is in press and they test him deep; he is step for step. He can't quite adjust to the back-shoulder fade but this is still a +1, cover +1 because it required a DO and tough catch to complete. This is basically unstoppable if you can execute it. Illinois thinks they do but on replay it turns out they do not—Jenkins juggled it.
O49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 Slant Floyd Inc (Pen+8)
Michigan sends six and is getting there but not in time to prevent a throw here. Floyd(-1, cover -1) picks up a legit PI call for arriving too early but I don't mind this. Much better than arriving late and you don't always get this call on you.
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 TE out Morgan 11
Late blitz from a very deep Kovacs; Morgan(-1) gets a chuck on a dragging WR but does let him past into open space since this is raw man coverage. Scheelhaase hits the guy and he can turn up for some YAC. Pressure -1, cover -1. Morgan does make a good tackle(+1).
M32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 0
Kovacs rolled up for a seventh guy in the box. Martin(+1) surges through the line and forces it outside. Roh(+0.5) forces it further outside by getting inside and diving at Ford's legs; Kovacs(+0.5) is out there containing. Ford turns it up directly into a scraping, tackling(+1) Demens.
M32 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack? Pass 7 Slant Avery Inc
This is kind of stack-y but not really with two pass-rush aligned DEs, three guys in man on the WRs, and both overhang safety types to the same side of the field. M sends every damn body. QB is about to eat Kovacs(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5, pressure +2) as he chucks. He's got a WR on a slant in front of Avery(+1, cover +1), who's tackling on the catch and making life difficult. He may rake the ball out. We can only say may because the WR runs into another Illini WR and goes down as if he'd taken a shot from Reggie Nelson.
M32 3 10 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 5 Tunnel screen Morgan 19
Michigan gets RPSed here with five guys blitzing and no one thinking to peel back. Line is Campbell, Demens, and Roh... so... yeah. Morgan(-1, cover -1) doesn't read the WR screen quickly at all and gets easily blocked; Floyd(-1) is getting blocked but shouldn't let the WR outside like he does. Big gain. RPS -2.
M13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Clark 13
Clark(-3) forms up, then decides Ford has the ball after Scheelhaase pulls it. This opens up the corner; DBs are in man and not in any position to help. Woolfolk(-1) may be able to tackle before the endzone but pulls up gimpy and can't make it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Comeback Floyd Inc
Scheelhaase has this open for a first down and just misses it. Floyd(-1, cover -1) beaten. Pressure was getting there.
O38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Penalty -- Offsides Martin 5
Martin -1.
O43 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 3
Martin(+2) drives his guy so far into the backfield that he impacts the runner three yards behind the LOS; this delay allows Black(+0.5) to flow down and tackle after keeping contain on Scheelhaase. Wish the LBs did a little more here.
O46 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Black 8
Black(-3) does the same thing Clark did on the last play, diving down on the back after the mesh point. Juice Williams ninja ballfake reprise.
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Morgan 2
Belly play where the backside DT is getting doubled off the ball. RVB(+0.5) does an okay job holding up; Demens(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) react quickly enough to remove creases. Martin(+0.5) flows down the line to tackle after his second blocker releases into Morgan.
M44 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Drag Roh 4
DT stunt gets Martin(+0.5) in thanks to RVB(+0.5) threatening to dart past the G. Roh(+1) beats the tackle straight up and Scheelhaase is about to get destroyed(pressure+2) and has to let it go. He's got a quick drag from his TE that Demens(+1, cover +1) is there for an instant tackle on.
M40 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 5 Hitch Floyd INT
Kovacs late blitz; he is moving right into Scheelhaase's face as he throws but may get blocked. Pressure push. Floyd(+4, cover +3) is breaking on the ball as the WR cuts his route off and picks the ball off; he is one avoided Scheelhaase tackle from a pick six. Monster play.
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-7, 10 min 4th Q. M scores and Illinois gets it back with 10 minutes left down three scores, which informs Michigan's defensive style. I'll keep it in mind as I chart Comeback Ishtar.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle scramble Roh 9
Roh(+0.5) cuts off the corner but gets pushed past the play. QB can't find anyone (cover +1) as he rolls up and scrambles; Demens(-0.5) is not reacting very well and ends up running into a guy trying to block Martin as Scheelhaase cuts behind. RVB tackles from behind.
O29 2 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Improv comeback Heininger 12
Heininger(+1, pressure +1) beats an OT around the corner(!) and is held; no call. This does flush Scheelhaase up; Ryan tries to disconnect from his guy and is held as well, so Scheelhaase can fire to a Jenkins comeback for the first. Instant tackle. Cover -1. Refs -2.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone read keeper Morgan 3
Morgan is over the slot; w/ Roh tucked inside the TE there basically is no backside DE. Scheelhaase pulls as Morgan(+1) comes down on the run. Morgan jukes the TE coming out on him, sliding past the block and forcing the QB to cut up into Demens(+1, tackling +1), who puts him on the turf in space.
O44 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 6
Illinois lets 27 seconds run off the clock after the play. RT falls; Roh gets a free run. Martin(+1) and RVB(+1) have again stunted and get in Scheelhaase's face (pressure +2). He has to throw hot. That's to the RB leaking out of the backfield. He catches it; Floyd(+0.5) and Morgan tackle(+1) the guy short of the sticks in bounds.
50 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Campbell 0
Cambpell(+3) in at the nose. He drives the center back and does not give ground when the FB impacts the block. RB cuts back and he sheds, making impact in the backfield. Heininger(+2) beats a blocker as well and is there to help; Roh(+0.5) is getting his body in the way as well. Dang third and one. Dang Campbell.
50 4 1 Goal line 4-4 under Run N/A Down G Demens 1
Roh gets sent inside by the TE as M's interior line prepares for something in there; Illinois is going outside the tackle. Not a big problem and he does have awareness to spin back outside. Beyer(+0.5) takes on a kickout block in a pretty good place; Morgan(+1) gets the pulling G at the LOS and forces it back inside. Demens(+0.5) scrapes over and makes contact with Ford in the hole but can't get square to him and Ford just manages to fall forward. Even when they make it it's not easy.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 1
Happy feet; no immediate pressure for the line but Scheelhaase goes to the RB dumppoff; Floyd(+1, tackling +1, cover +1) is there on the catch to tackle in bounds for a meh gain.
M48 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway Kovacs Inc
Scheelhaase fires OOB; seems he didn't have an immediately open guy and I think he does not trust his OL to go to the next read. Kovacs(+1, cover +1) over the top as this s again Floyd vs Jenkins. Another cover +1 for good stuff everywhere else.
M48 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Improv comeback Martin 12
Martin(-1) gets a free run but for the peeling back, who chops him to the ground. This lets Scheelhaase outside the pocket, where he can wait and zip it to Jenkins in a lot of space (cover -1, pressure -2).
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dig Gordon Inc
Backups on the DL give Scheelhaase a lot of time (pressure -2); he steps into a deep in to his tight end that Gordon(+2, cover +2) breaks on and nails on the catch. I think this is complete but it's ruled to not be so; in any case this is a safety making life as hard as possible for a WR.
M36 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Improv comeback Van Bergen Inc
Okie business gets RVB(+1, pressure/RPS +1) through the line, whereupon he jerks back as if held; no call. Scheelhaase has to scramble and gets the corner; Roh is coming hard and he has to throw. It's back across his body to Jenkins with Floyd coming hard but not quite there to make a play; ball is too far out in front and eventually dropped. Floyd cramps up and has to come off briefly.
M36 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Roh -16
Four man rush annihilates, with Roh(+2, pressure +4) roaring around the corner as Clark(+2) does the same and a stunt gets RVB(+1) up the middle; with nowhere to go Scheelhaase tries to back out and is engulfed.
O48 4 26 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Post Clark? 32
Scheelhaase has time and steps through the line, which is bad because it makes this into fourth and 16 instead of fourth and 26 (pressure -3). RVB(-2) and Clark(-2) get way outside. Martin does too but he is stunting and supposed to. Would like Mattison to have a guy close to the LOS on a delayed blitz to prevent this; no dice. Scheelhaase steps up and rifles it to Jenkins in front of Kovacs(cover -2); this is really all about letting Scheelhaase through the line and not pressuring him at all.
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 TE Drag Demens 5
Michigan in man so this is a tough cover with a sort of pick route taking Demens a little off an ideal path. He still gets in position to force this OOB after an okay gain. Cover push, Demens +0.5.
M15 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Morgan? 11
Scheelhaase keeps and sees Clark has kept contain this time; he screwed up. So he just runs the RB's play. This works so well I think M should put it in the playbook. Michigan defends the RB fantastically but this pulls RVB out of the middle of the field as he tackles his assignment. Morgan(-1) takes on a block and doesn't shed it; he's really the only guy with a shot at holding this down and can't do it. Scheelhaase into the secondary, where Kovacs forces him into a good tackle from Countess(+0.5, tackling +1). RPS -1?
M4 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive N/A 3
Going backside and with no scrape it is really hard to hold this down without giving up contain on the QB. Clark keeps contain and then comes down, making a good play to tackle as the guy passes the LOS but this can't prevent him from picking up three. I won't RPS this but I kind of want to.
M1 2 G Ace 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A QB sneak Martin 1
They don't get it. RVB(+1) and Martin(+1) are basically the whole play. Illinois does get a yard, but they needed slightly more than one.
M1 3 G Goal line Goal line Run N/A Iso N/A 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Pyrrhic touchdown, 24-14, 3 min 4th Q. Oh, all right, I'll do the last one because it's fun.
Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -8
M stunt gets Martin(+1) and RVB(+2) through (pressure +3) and RVB gets there first. Two guys block air and one tries to block Martin.
O12 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 TE out Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +1) gets driving pressure that forces Scheelhaase out of the pocket; Scheelhaase has a TE breaking open but has to float it because underneath coverage(+1) is there and overshoots.
O12 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Scramble Martin 1
Avery comes from the corner; Martin(+1, pressure +1) shoves a tackle into him and then bursts upfield. Scheelhaase can scramble out because of some dudes falling and stuff, but cannot find anyone open(cover +1); Avery comes back to tackle. Would be a sack but the guy manages to fall over the line.
Drive Notes: Punt. 31-14, EOG

So who do we pick up next?


We have Woodson. Now we need to go back to medieval Europe or ancient Greece to pick up babes and/or Socrates.

Wouldn't it be better to go get other people who can play football?

Do we need any?


I don't know. I just don't know what to do with myself when there's a three play series on which:

  1. Morgan decleats the RB in such a way as to get Craig James hootin'.
  2. Ryan decleats the QB on a speed option in such a way as to get the stadium going "ohhhhhhhh I hope he's not dead."
  3. Later on that same play Kovacs makes a textbook tackle in space.
  4. Ryan Van Bergen roars up the middle of the pocket and jumps on Scheelhaase's back like he expects to round up cattle on the sideline.

It almost can't be real. By the time the punter hit the field I was afraid I would wake up to someone rubbing a beaver in my face.


No… no… NONONONO… It was all a dream… no… no… I want to go back

So we're totally getting ahead of ourselves, right?

We have to be. I mean, last week's performance was exactly acceptable and we were happy with this. We are not the '86 Bears. We must not get hopes up. Illinois couldn't score on Purdue until there were 10 minutes left.

Hopes are totally up.

I can neither confirm nor deny that statement. I can only point you towards the most insane, ridiculous, beaver-pelt-laden congregation of numbers I may have purveyed in the history of doing this. I present



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 14.5 2 12.5 To be fair, two points in garbage time. HAHAHAHA
Martin 19 3 16 HAHAHAHAHAHA
Roh 9 - 9 Oh… oh wow.
Heininger 5 2 3 Didn't get in on the sack explosion largely because he's lifted in the nickel.
Clark 3 3 0 Zone read WTF was kind of magnificent. More later.
Black 1 3.5 -2.5 Other guy to WTF a zone read.
Campbell 4 - 4 Time to get excited about him again until next week.
TOTAL 55.5 13.5 42 That is nuts.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5.5 4.5 1 Step forward from last week; still freshman.
Demens 7.5 3.5 4 Second consecutive solid game. Pretty good in coverage.
Ryan 6.5 3.5 3 Showed the guys above how to do it on the zone read.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP
Beyer 0.5 - 0.5 Few plays.
Hawthorne - - - DNP.
Jones 1 - 1 Charts as a DT. HAHAAHAH
TOTAL 21 12.5 8.5 I'll take it from two freshmen and a junior.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 14.5 3 11.5 You think the DL is nuts, Floyd thinks. I'll show you nuts.
Avery 3 - 3 Good day. Quality option as a third guy.
Woolfolk 2.5 1 1.5 Floyd made him not entirely necessary. May still be hurt.
Kovacs 7 1 6 Forced fumble, good tackling, is Kovacs.
T. Gordon 2.5 - 2.5 Thumping hit forced technical incompletion.
Countess 3 2 1 Also had a jumped Jenkins PBU.
Van Slyke - - - DNP
TOTAL 32.5 7 25.5 NUTS
Pressure 31 18 13 Stunts and okie annihilated OL.
Coverage 30 12 18 HAHAHAHA.
Tackling 13 2 87% I can't even remember a broken tackle.
RPS 11 3 8 Annihilation.

So… yeah. There is something seriously wrong with the Illinois offense. There has to be, because you can't do the above without the offense helping you out quite a bit. I think Scheelhaase is perpetually late on his throws, and that they're tipping their passes, and that their offensive line is a total sieve. All that makes their offense really, really bad.

Even so… good gravy. Michigan had two DL at Brandon Graham levels of performance and a third not far off. I can't remember any cornerback ever hitting double digits before, and I can't remember a near 75% coverage day. I'm usually happy when coverage is a push. On Saturday, this is what they did to four verts:


There's a dude behind the one slot guy that you think might be open. He is not open. No one is open.

That is easily the best performance since 2006.

JT FLOYD?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!???!?!!??

Word. Guy may not be the fastest player in the world but has he been beaten deep once this year? Not really. Michael Floyd got a 30-yard fade on him but even on that play he was there making life difficult and I +1ed him. He's had problems in run support… okay. He just spent a day breaking up a ton of short stuff, never getting threatened deep…

…and putting the cherry on top:

Even when Jenkins did get something on him it was often tough:

That guy is right on the sideline, which contributes to the overturn when he juggles it. If that's what Floyd's giving up, okay. I'll take that and a PI on which you broke for the ball too early.

These posts have started off cautious, moved towards "I know you won't believe this but…," and are now at a crossroads. People: JT Floyd is a legitimately good Big Ten corner. If he maintains this level of performance the last two weeks he should get consideration for All Big Ten.


Minus all of the points.

Are we at Alan MFin' Branch levels on third and one yet or what?

Not quite, but sort of yes. Alan MFin' Branch levels:

You can see 6'6", 330 of angry New Mexican hauling the tail end of that graph down like a black hole in spacetime. That's Alan Branch. 33 percent! On third and one! Six of eighteen! SIX OF EIGHTEEN!


Seth did the legwork for this year on Tuesday and came up with 44%, which isn't quite Michigan 2006. It is, however, insanely good. What's more, when he chopped out the MAC opponents from this year the numbers were six of… nineteen.


If you look at a third and one as an opportunity to boot the opponent off the field Michigan is literally doubling an average success rate and doing better than that against the meat of the schedule. The entire front seven shares in this accomplishment, as does Mattison, but IME the main guy in this success is Mike Martin.

The guy is the center of most of these plays. He gets doubled and he still gets penetration; the tailback cuts back and meets unblocked dudes.

I mean… we're talking about comparing this defense to 2006—the very best part of the 2006 defense—and saying "not quite as good except against real competition." My jaw has made it halfway to the Orb of Zot. Big Ten Wonk has authorized use of the word "stunned." THIS IS SURPRISING.

Remember last year when sometimes we'd line up with a three man line on third and one? And not even blitz anyone? HAHAHAHA

Aren't you a little harsh on those zone reads that got outside?

No. I mean, seriously:


This is cool. We've got this.





That's a nothing play—maybe a loss—turned into a touchdown because Clark's not looking at the ball, which is literally right in front of his face. This is how it is done:

Run at the guy with the ball.

That okie package was lethal, wasn't it?

Check BWS for a breakdown of the different blitzes run from it. Chris identified six, seemingly all of which ended with Scheelhaase running for his life or losing it. Por ejemplo:

Now that Michigan is keeping a deep safety on these things and not offering free touchdowns—Mattison learned that lesson in one try—they are increasingly difficult to deal with as new players and stunts get added to them. It's almost like Scot Shafer was on to something.

This is the week we get excited about Campbell again, isn't it?

Yeah. Check that Morgan decleater and see who forces the cutback into death: Campbell. On a late third and one that Michigan stuffed it was Campbell, not Martin, who blew the play up:

Get push, take on a fullback, shed and tackle… that's a good play right there. Illinois OL caveats apply; we'll probably be back to fretting next week.

What went wrong on the fourth down play?

The main problem was the fact that it turned into fourth and 18, not fourth and 26, when the line split like the Red Sea and allowed Scheelhaase to run up in the pocket:

With another ten yards to close the distance Kovacs probably gets there. I'd like to see a delayed blitzer in there to prevent that from happening.

Have any random notes for Borges he will roll his eyes at?

This botched decision by Scheelhaase worked out well:

Man, I think we should do that. We should run a fake inside zone that Robinson ostentatiously keeps on with the intent of pausing and then running up in the same hole the tailback is hitting. The ol' fake inside the fake.


Everybody. Especially Martin, Van Bergen, and Floyd.


WTF, get out of here with your goats.

What does it mean for Nebraska and the future?

I think we're in for a bit of a letdown; Nebraska's wacky option system does a lot of stuff that Michigan has not seen before—last week they turned the inverted veer into a speed option and I was like "oh that is so cool"—that attacks Michigan's still-youthful edges. I can see Nebraska effectively attacking the outside and making the Martin/Heininger/RVB axis a smaller factor than it's been the past couple games. Also that just can't happen again. My heart has already burst out of its little box; if Michigan holds Nebraska to 30 yards rushing it will emerge from my chest.

That said, it's suddenly hard to envision Nebraska having much success in the air even if Taylor Martinez is on a relative tear. They'll probably pick some stuff up on play action and the like, but Nebraska's had a hard time moving the ball against… quality defenses… like Michigan has. /faints

Anyway: 270 yards against MSU and victory only because they did to the MSU offense what Michigan did to that of Illinois, 331 against Penn State, 335 against Wisconsin. They did put up some points and yards in the frenetic final quarter against OSU; other than that it has been tough sledding.

As for the future… man. Woolfolk and Gordon seem like a push, so if Michigan can find some defensive linemen they are set for next year. Come on, Campbell.

Unverified Voracity Will Be Nicer To The Media

Unverified Voracity Will Be Nicer To The Media

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Not actually, actually.

Off topic season is over. It is game week and we are putting on our game faces. Most off topic posting is hereby illegalized until after the Ohio State game. The exceptions:

  • local pro teams in moderation
  • general college football in whatever quantity you'd like

As a reminder that will forever go unheeded, threads about the Big Ten and Michigan opponents are on topic. I will shake my fist at you and scream "why?" if you label a thread about Ohio State OT.

Captains. Not much surprise that Michigan's captains are David Molk, Kevin Koger, and Mike Martin.

It's amazing to me that the guy who recruited Molk to Michigan was Lloyd Carr. It's been a long four years. Here's Molk latest appearance on CTK, where he discusses being a captain in his usual blunt fashion:

Q: Will you change at all, publicly?
A: Yes. I will be nicer to the media.


We did this winning thing from time to time. Bo after the 1976 Ohio State game:

And he's actually a lizardman wearing human skin. AnnArbor.com has discovered four things about Mitch McGary you might not already know. They are:

  1. Thinks the bowler is the king of hats
  2. Was worshiped as the sun god by ancient Sumatrans
  3. Pinky finger can be removed and applied as a teeth-whitening device
  4. Enjoys bread

That what I got out of the article, anyway.

This is what I am talking about. The Muskegon Chronicle does something cool with its archives: it uses them instead of locking them away, reprinting a September 1st, 1948, article on the ascension of Bennie Oosterbaan to the top job:

Bennie knows football from A to Z. He is popular with his players and with his fellow coaches. There is very little about football that Bennie doesn’t know. Fritz Crisler gives Oosterbaan considerable credit for much of Michigan’s successes in recent years.

Michigan will have a good team this fall. Practically the same defensive eleven as last year will be available. The squad won’t be as deep with experienced players as it was last year, but enough talent has returned to continue the two-team idea used so successfully last season. …

Michigan’s attack this season will probably be built around the running of Derricotte. While all of the backs can pass, there probably won’t be as much passing as a year ago.

Recruiting was important even back in 1948—the article mentions Michigan's stiff admissions requirements made the freshmen class "the poorest in years."

RIP Killer. I lost my interest in the Lions a while ago and withdrew into maniacal focus on Michigan a few years later but still remember Tom Kowalski as a quality beatwriter and one of the rare people who could carry a nickname like "Killer" ably. He died in his sleep two days ago at 51. John Niyo remembers him, as does local media flamethrower Jeff Moss.


Do you feel like crushing something? How about this poll that determines the winner of the USMAP Best Team/Region-Specific Blog category? You and the overwhelming onslaught from the rest of the readership here should be able to produce a damp squeak if you pile in willy-nilly. Some of these other blogs are not very highly trafficked at all. The slaughter will be impressive.

Where power fits now. Shakin' The Southland runs down all the different things you can do to that defensive end you're usually optioning off in the zone read game. One of them is something Michigan ran last year and will run more of this year:

Now what else do I want to throw at that DE to get inside his head? What if he has a tip on the read option and plays it right, or the opposing DC has instructed him to always go for the QB? We can use that against him with a Trap. …Another option, very similar, is to run a Power on him. Below I'm using the TE/H on the playside, but he could also be set in the backfield beside the QB. Either way, he gets kicked out or log blocked.

What if he spots this formation based on my tendencies as a playcaller, and figures out that we're going to run Power from this set? To keep him from making that guess every time, I need to be able to run my zone read option from the same formation. Also, instead of having the TE/H kick him out, I just send the blocker on an Arc outside, and run the tight zone or power anyway. If he stops to set his feet to take on the H-back, he wont be able to do much to the RB in time to stop the play.

Here you're making up for a lack of pile-bulling beef by using the power as a changeup that exploits the need to cheat on whatever the base play is. Lately those ends just tear down the line so power might not be the best anwer—Michigan had success pulling the playside guard last year and getting outside that end.

Etc.: Pahokee football is struggling after an epic run of dominance. Tressel's vacated year will cost him his spot amongst the Big Ten's all-time winning percentage leaders, which require a minimum of ten seasons. Yost-Bo are 1-2 now. Mike Martin finishes #1 on TTB's countdown of most important Michigan players. /BOOM cowherd'd.

Winners abound on youtube.

Picture Pages: Exploiting The Lack Of A Scrape Exchange

Picture Pages: Exploiting The Lack Of A Scrape Exchange

Submitted by Brian on October 15th, 2010 at 10:54 AM

In the offensive UFR I mentioned State's Denard containment strategy: they sat a defensive end out on the zone read and forced gives, causing Michigan to go away from the read in the second half. But in the first half they had some success with their tailbacks. Also scrape exchange link.

The setup: Michigan is on its first drive of the day. It's second and two near the 50. They come out in a trips formation:


They're going to run a zone read but here they'll do something a little different. Instead of looking to seal a guy they'll double team both defensive tackles and blast them back. The handoff:


Denard sees the DE keeping contain and hands it off.


As Smith nears the line the doubles start to take effect. Both DTs are getting shoved yards downfield:


Both linebackers suck up into the hole in the interior; Smith can bounce it out either way. He goes to the backside, where the containing defensive end cannot get back in time to tackle. The doubles have driven the DTs back so far that the linebackers cannot get outside:


By the time the backside DT does grab smith he's five yards past the LOS:


…and ends up with eight.



Object lessons:

  • In this trips formation you have a pretty good idea who the contain guy is. With the linebackers shaded to the receiver-heavy side of the field asking the WLB to scrape is a somewhat taller task. By alignment you're likely to read the DE unless a safety walks down.
  • A DE containing the zone read means cutbacks are more viable; this play is designed to cut back. Michigan showed little interest in  blocking the linebackers on this play because they assumed doubling the DTs would open up two large holes. One is between Lewan and the doubled DT on the frontside, the other between the two DTs. Linebackers have to fill those holes, leaving Michigan room on the backside of the play to pick up a nice chunk of yards since the only person covering the cutback lane is a otherwise-occupied defensive end. Here the driving double-team on the backside DE effectively blocks both linebackers on the cutback.
  • MSU adjusted to this and blew it up a few times. Later in the game MSU would slant that backside DT around the double and blitz linebackers into the A gaps, which stuffed Michigan on a couple of third and shorts. I didn't clip any of those but I did clip this Shaw run on which MSU runs the same blitz and gets burned:

  • MSU was probably okay with this. They bled a lot of yards early in the game and coulda/shoulda given up a lot of early points but the long drives gave them time to adjust. Michigan had to go away from this later, but not  before they saw a couple drives end when they went to the well one too many times with the 5'6" Smith.

Unverified Voracity Says Adios, Again

Unverified Voracity Says Adios, Again

Submitted by Brian on June 21st, 2010 at 12:35 PM

No Kinard. This has been in the wind for a couple weeks now, but it is now official:

Jeff Whittaker, the coach at Youngstown (Ohio) Liberty, said Sunday that linebacker Antonio Kinard is weighing three options for this fall, playing football at prep schools Fork Union or Hargrave military academies, or signing with a junior college in Kansas.

"He’s looking at it like it’ll be his redshirt year," Whittaker said. "It just won’t be at the university and then he’ll be able to get it in order and finish this test and get back on track coming up."

Kinard still wants to come to Michigan and will attempt to do so after a prep year. If he goes to a JUCO, he's probably out, but Michigan's taken military academy kids before, with Chris Perry the most prominent. Demar Dorsey, meanwhile, has frustratingly signed with Louisville and will be on a college campus this fall.

For what it's worth, this does leave Michigan with a couple of open scholarships if they want to get in on any USC players who might like to transfer. Rodriguez didn't make it seem likely, though:

“You got to have scholarships first to give out, and there’s got to be mutual interest and all that,” Rodriguez said. “So we’ve been concentrating on our guys. And guys that have been on campus and taking summer classes and the freshmen that we expect to come on the 26th, that’s had most of our attention.”

With USC's appeal likely to delay their penalties to the 2011 season, seniors will get their bowl game. Juniors will be told that the NCAA will repent, repeal everything, and give USC ice cream, and will buy this for reasons unknown.

The read option. Having gotten sick of the poor quality, I haven't bought NCAA in a few years now.  But after Madden's sales collapsed, EA switched focus from awful new features that add nothing but sound impressive in the gaming press to an effort to actually make a playable, realistic football game. Result: increase in sales.

I'm probably not going to get it this year, either, but this actually looks sort of like a read option:

> > > > > >

Sure, the middle linebacker took off for the other side of the field, but the blocking on the line actually looks extant and readable, which is more progress in a few months than the series has made during its entire time on this generation's consoles. They've added a lot of RR's offense to this edition and it might actually work. I follow a couple blogs that look at EA games with a jaundiced eye; if they say it's worth getting I might take the plunge.

Budget stuff. The University has submitted its annual budget to the Regents. While we'll have to wait for a real journalist to FOIA the exact details, the overall picture is unsurprising for anyone not on the "Save the Big House" organizing committee:

Total revenues for FY 2011 are budgeted to be $105.0 million and total operating expenses are budgeted at $100.3 million. The athletic department is a self-supporting unit that does not receive financial support from the University's General Fund.

With the revenues derived from the Michigan Stadium expansion, the U-M Athletic Department will realize an additional $11.0 million, taking revenues over the $100 million mark for the first time. …

"The athletic department projects a $16.1 million operating surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, and will start fiscal year 2011 with $35 million of unrestricted operating reserves," said U-M Athletic Department Chief Financial Officer Jason Winters.

Successful businessman with extensive capital and under-utilized resource creates bonus revenue. News… this is not news. Cat videos at 11.

Meanwhile, this enormous pile of money may have actual payoffs for the people providing it:

“We’re looking at some updates and enhancements to Yost ­- bleachers, the concession areas, the circulation space, lighting,” Brandon said. “And we’re looking at some real interesting things as it relates to the scoreboard and technology in all of our venues, including the football stadium.

“We’re in a situation where one of the things we have to attend to at some point in the future would be update the technology because there’s HD technology, bigger screens and higher resolution that our fans would really enjoy.”

Though Munn Ice Arena is a sterile environment easily raided, they do have a sweet replay board. Yost has no capability outside of cartoonish GO FIGHT WIN screens.

Penn State hockey? This seems like your usual off-the-cuff mental doodling from a newspaper columnist who just likes sayin' stuff, but this is more evidence that a Big Ten team might add hockey than has ever existed before:

There's a rumor afoot I cannot yet confirm that Penn State is looking into retrofitting the Bryce Jordan Center for hockey. I left a message for Tim Curley on Wednesday but heard nothing back. I've been told by PSU sources it would easily be an 8-figure undertaking, involving the dismantlement of the arena floor, demolition of some seats and the installation of a cooling system for the ice. That's a lot of coin.

Apparently there's a Penn State alum who just sold some acreage to Shell for a ridiculous amount of money who "has been a youth hockey coach." So this is definitely happening and is not something that Penn State's AD will privately laugh at.

Is this… fluff? Angelique Chengelis dropped an article a few days ago that is your typical slice of profile fluff wherein someone who is involved with sports does something nice for someone else. The only surprise is who got the treatment:

On April 16, a Friday and a day before Michigan's spring football game, the team's final practice before August camp, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and his wife, Rita, were at Mott Children's Hospital visiting sick children, as they often do. Michigan offensive linemen Perry Dorrestein and John Ferrara also were there that day.

Rodriguez was running late for practice, as he walked through the hallway of the pediatric intensive care unit.

Dave Page was wheeling his wife to their baby's room to say goodbye. David III was dying, his organs failing, and it was only a matter of hours before he would lose his battle.

Page passed Rodriguez, who was in the middle of a conversation, in the hallway of the intensive care unit.

"All I could think to say was, 'Go, Blue' because I had my mind on other things," Page said. "And (Rodriguez) stopped, had a big ol' smile and said, 'Go, Blue.' "

It goes on from there in a fashion that's only unusual in that it's typical of these sorts of articles. Even the arrogant and unpleasant Charlie Weis got regular praise for his charity dedicated to autistic kids. (His daughter is affected.) When people end up having a lot of money they try to do nice things for other people who are less fortunate. It's not a surprise, or at least shouldn't be without two years of relentlessly negative media coverage that painted Rodriguez as a demon hick with the temerity to attempt to negotiate a buyout down.

Etc.: Hammer and Rails previews a common opponent: Notre Dame. The hockey schedule is out. MGoUser willywill9 has a conversation with a former WVU player in which Rodriguez is described as the "best coach in the country," something that happens about every three months: former WVU player flags down a guy wearing Michigan gear and praises Rodriguez apropos of nothing.

Unverified Voracity Scales Mount Indiana

Unverified Voracity Scales Mount Indiana

Submitted by Brian on April 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Bubbly. AnnArbor.com catches up to a smiling Brandon Graham after his selection by the Eagles:

Rarely have I been so happy for a Michigan player. After the last two years, Graham deserves every good thing that can possibly happen to him. I hope he learns how to fly.

(Also: can I take a moment to tout how useful UFRs have been in tracking Brandon Graham's impact? I was a little worried that BG was outperforming Woodley, but there he is in the top half of the first round after the NFL saw how unblockable he is.)

Denard-o. Gerry DiNardo has lost more football games than you've ever watched, but he's still on the television so people ascend to his yurt high up in the Indiana mountains to beseech him for his wisdom. Last year his wisdom was "Denard Robinson is going to start at quarterback," which is a strong indicator as to why he's lost more football games than you've ever watched. DiNardo single criterion for choosing a starting quarterback is "is it vaguely possible this kid was named after me?" By no other measure was Robinson a plausible starter in 2009.

In 2010 things are different. Denard Robinson is still named after Dinardo, though:

"I think it has to be Denard Robinson," he said. "If you think about the way Rich Rodriguez became so successful at West Virginia it wasn't with a drop-back quarterback that threw 50 times, even though that approached worked for him some as an offensive coordinator. He wants to play the game that Denard plays, with a greater emphasis on the running attack than the passing attack. He wants to have that guy that can tuck the ball and make you miss even when the blocking isn't perfect, that can make you miss even if he misreads the read-option, and from everything I've seen, Denard Robinson is that guy.

"In college football nowadays, defenses, as much as they try to practice this, cannot tackle in space. From the earliest age, you're not coached to tackle one-on-one without help. The instruction is always about rallying to the ball and then for your defensive backs to use the sideline as their friend. But when you're stuck in a one-on-one situation, against an athlete like Denard Robinson, most of the time you're going to be left grasping for air.

"So when I see what he can do, and then I see what Forcier did last year - to me there is no comparison for where this offense wants to go."

I'm not sure he's right that Rodriguez is dedicated to running 75% of the time, but his other points are solid. The bit about defenses being unable to tackle in space could be the operational philosophy of Rodriguez's entire offensive system. Tate missed reads on the option plenty last year—most of the time, it seemed—and while he was slippery enough to evade lumbering defensive ends he wasn't fast enough to turn his frequent missed reads into anything more than a few yards. A prime example from the Illinois game:

It's possible Robinson can turn this into another couple yards, or even break something long (although probably not on this particular play). A quarterback who can get that extra couple yards is an extremely dangerous option. For all Forcier's flaws, he was an effective runner. If you cut out the copious sacks Michigan gave up last year (24 for 184 yards), he averaged 4.7 YPC. (This is slightly optimistic since Robinson probably took a couple sacks, so you may want to mentally adjust that to 4.5 or so.) A version of Denard Robinson that can run the zone read and throw well enough to keep linebackers honest will obliterate that.

Keeping the linebackers honest will take some doing, but the nice thing about being Denard Robinson is that when you go to play action, it's time to cheat like a mother for all but the best defenses. I don't think Ohio State is going to be particularly vulnerable to a raw sophomore like Robinson, but I also don't think Illinois or Purdue has much of a chance to stop him.

Merrill rising, talkin' smack. Incoming defenseman Jon Merrill saw his stock slip slightly over the course of his final year with the NTDP, but a strong U-18 tournament (where the US is obliterating all comers) has seen Merrill's stock pop up into the rarefied air of a potential top ten selection once more:

At the beginning of the tournament Gudbranson had the inside edge as the potential top defender to be selected this year, battling it out with Windsor's Cam Fowler, but the gap is closing.  The play of Merrill, along with the struggles of the Gudbranson-led Canadian team, may have catapulted Merrill into that coveted position and certainly into the overall debate. 

Coming into the tournament many even felt Forbort would likely be ranked and selected ahead of Merrill, and even though Forbort has looked strong, the abilities that Merrill has showcased so far during this tournament have pushed him ahead in the eyes of many scouting circles.  Merrill is a tall and lanky player with a lot of room to build on his frame.  He has tremendous speed and has extremely good intelligence with and around the puck.  Merrill has been the kingpin of the US's powerplay and quarterbacks it tremendously well. 

Merrill will jump into Michigan's top four on day one and I'm betting he'll be on the top powerplay and top pairing by midseason at the latest. He was also interviewed by McKeen's, and because he's going to play in college he was asked to justify his existence. He did so with aplomb:

I think a lot of guys make the argument that the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) is the most similar to the NHL in style of play, and you play a lot of games, and things like that, but you’ve got to look at it from my perspective. I’m 18 years old. If I went and played in the CHL, there’s 15 and 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, in the league. There’s top-end 18 and 19-year-old guys, too, but if you go to college, everyone’s older than you. I’m a freshman in a bigger, stronger, faster game, and you get up for every game, because you only play 35, 40 games, or whatever it is. Every game is a big game. Whereas in the CHL, you’re playing in Sudbury on a Tuesday night, and how do you get up for that, you know?

Tuesdays in Sudbury is a best-seller by Bizzaro Canadian Mitch Albom, but not a particularly attractive option compared to playing outdoors in front of one million people, give or take nine hundred thousand.

Nothing on Moffatt, unfortunately. He has just one assist for a rampant USA. The U18s are the last opportunity to put it out there for NHL scouts and he's not drawing a whole lot of notice. Hopefully he'll slide in comfortably—a mid-round NHL draft pick is usually a good player—but an instant impact is unlikely.

Side note: please don't read anything about Jack Campbell. It will make you sad.

(Interview HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)

About the one million people. Sales for Cold War II have been ridiculous so far:

General ticket sales began Wednesday, netting 14,700 purchases by 4 p.m., according to an athletic department spokesman. When added to the that seats have already been sold or committed to by season-ticket holders, former players and other groups, officials announced Wednesday that close to 80,000 tickets have already been sold.

"This has just taken off. You knew it would when you have something this special at the Big House - the first time ever, maybe the only time ever," Berenson said in a statement. " Everybody wants to be there. I think we'll be sold out before we know it. It'll be a tough ticket to buy."

With the original Cold War still the all-time hockey attendance record, the question at this point is not if this December's game will break it, but if the record shatters with enough force to match the destructive power of a bear dropping a bomb into a volcano.

Probably not. But it will be close, yo.

Cancer, again. Chris Perry's arrest was a family thing in which something went down with a cousin, possibly because Perry's mom is terminally ill with the cancer she was battling when Perry played at Michigan. Irene Perry is the main reason Chris didn't transfer a couple years into his career. Best wishes, for whatever that's worth, to the Perry family.

Etc.: Martell Webb and a tiny child.

Picture Pages: Stretch versus Veer, Fight

Picture Pages: Stretch versus Veer, Fight

Submitted by Brian on October 20th, 2009 at 12:16 PM

I mentioned this earlier in one of the two instances where I brought up Chris Brown's explanation of the differences between inside and outside zone runs. Here's a play featuring the tell a couple coaches suggested I look for when I was complaining about the difficulty of distinguishing between the two.

Michigan's in a shotgun with trips to the right. Two things to note here are the two deep Iowa safeties, and the shift of the Iowa linebackers outside. Angerer, the MLB, is lined up over Odoms, sort of:


Also, Greece has destroyed Latvia in World Cup qualifying.

The thing to note in the above frame is the position of Forcier relative to Minor. Forcier is a yard or so in front of his tailback. For comparison, here's a play against Indiana that would end up a standard zone stretch:


Forcier is a yard behind the tailback. This allows the RB to come across him at speed and get to the frontside creases the stretch looks to exploit.

Back in the Iowa game, the positioning of Forcier allows Minor to take a handoff already headed upfield, which was one of the adjustments that Penn State struggled with so badly last year. Also note a great oddity:


Michigan is blocking the backside defensive end! Why are they doing this? Well, if you don't block him and he crashes down and you're running a play that's anything short of a stretch play that's running away from him there's a good chance he makes a thumping tackle in the backfield. Michigan did this a lot against Iowa because Brandon Minor's RAGE is most effective when he's heading straight upfield.

Another item to note: at the moment of the handoff, Forcier is staring at the MLB over Odoms, judging whether or not he's coming up to contain.


He isn't. And one reason for that may be that this looks like play action. Odoms isn't running a bubble. The backside defensive end is getting blocked. In the past, this has always been a pass, or an attempted one. So Angerer gets a pass drop. By our next frame he'll be hanging out at the first down line, six yards back from the frame above:


You'll note that Minor is running right next to Forcier; with five guys in the box and no support for a hypothetical bounce, Minor could have made this same run. Iowa's decision to leave two deep safeties back makes it really hard for them to stop Michigan's ground game, though it did prevent Michigan from breaking anything long: their longest run in Kinnick was twelve yards.

At the end of the play Forcier has near first down yardage after having slid to the ground untouched. The Iowa defender does give him his best Cato June, though:


Here's the glorious you-tube-o-vision, in which you can see that the receivers' half-hearted routes. That indicates this was a called run play, not an improvisation, in case you're wondering if this was play action gone awry (awright?):

Object lessons:

  • Zone runs have a bit of a tell. If your depth perception and processing is quick enough and you see the QB step forward you've got a good idea that it's not a stretch. If he stays back you've got a good idea it is. This is probably not a huge deal since the QB takes up his final position moments before the snap, preventing—or at least hindering—the ability for defenses to key on it. It's a lot to process that when you're trying to time the snap and figuring out your assignments and whatnot. It is there.
  • But you, the viewer, have a great view of it. TV angles are great for picking this out, though, and it's simple enough that you can try to pick it out real-time.
  • RAGE. Michigan went to a lot of interior, non-stretch runs with Minor and blocked the backside DE. This helped out on a variety of plays and should hypothetically make Forcier's job on the reads easier because the guy he's reading is a lot further away and his motion has to be less subtle if he's got contain. This also brings in some elements of Paul Johnson's flexbone, too. Johnson loves to leave a guy unblocked for much of the game, then crush him unexpectedly for a big play.
  • Michigan's mixing up its routes on certain keeper plays. I'm betting that if Odoms ran a bubble route on this play that was a key for one of the linebackers to shoot up for contain against Forcier and for one of the safeties to crash down on the bubble. By just running its receivers downfield, Michigan got Iowa to go into pass drops and opened up tons of space for Forcier.
  • Iowa loves them some two-deep safeties. The zone read brings in the quarterback as another runner and has essentially forced its opponents to ditch the two-deep look. In the Rodriguez coaching videos kicking around the web, the implicit assumption is that opponents will usually have a single deep safety because of the threat of the keeper. Iowa defies that, and it worked for them, albeit barely. Michigan racked up almost 200 yards on the ground without its starting center and nominal starting tailback despite seeing five drives end on turnovers. Michigan had similar success against Notre Dame last year when Corwin Brown decided to keep two deep safeties. Once Michigan emerges from its freshman quarterback purgatory I wonder if Iowa will be able to get away with this sort of thing.



Submitted by Brian on October 15th, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Or, a selection of emails that are sort of old:


I noticed something potentially of interest in the Hennechart.  There's an absolute lack of batted balls.  There are ZERO and Tate's reputed to be a midget.  By comparison, Navarre was a giant, and I seem to recall that one of the most frustrating things about watching him was that he would seemingly fire at will into the raised arms of D-lineman (I don't have a Hennechart reference to back that up because it hadn't been invented yet, right?).

So, questions:  Is this schematic?  Does our offense now somehow help our QBs avoid the batted ball in ways that the previous offense did not?  (A comparison of Tate vs. Death last year might help as a reference, but Death wasn't very good, so…)  Does Tate have a special knack for avoiding batted balls?  He's always been short and Navarre was probably always tall, so maybe it's something he developed by necessity, whereas Navarre never had to worry about that sort of thing until he reached college.



Forcier got his first two batted balls of the year against Iowa, and both were on third down when Broderick Binns just sat back and waited for Forcier to throw his way; he wasn't even rushing. Even so, the batted ball phenomenon is seriously reduced from past years. The reasons are partially schematic, as Michigan runs a lot of rollouts that open up passing lanes, and partially Tate creating his own fake rollouts by bugging out of the pocket after his first read is covered. As Michigan moves to more pocket passing they'll see the batted balls creep up, but it's not likely to ever approach the frustrating levels it did when Navarre was the statuesque Michigan pocket passer of choice.

Are Kovacs and Leach on scholarship?  I know they are referred to as walk-ons but are they now on scholarship?

If not, what are the odds that Kovacs and possibly Leach earn scholarships this year?  Kovacs is appears like he is going to be a major contributor the rest of the year with Leach seeing some time too.

I realize that there aren't many scholarships left, but RR also wants to develop a solid walk on program.  I've always figured that one of the ways to make sure you have a good walk on program is for the walk on's to know that there's a chance, albeit very slim, that you could earn a scholarship.

Obviously, the fans and I'm sure RR would like to use the scholarships on incoming fresh but if Kovacs keeps up his play and isn't on scholarship, how do you tell him he hasn't earned one?


Michigan's only got 76 scholarship players on the roster now, but teams always hand out bonus scholarships to their walk-ons when they end up short. I'd assume Sheridan, Kovacs, Leach, Heininger, Olesnavage, and Pomarico (the long snapper) are all getting this year of school for free. Three other guys who are less obvious are also getting money.

Those scholarships—all scholarships, actually—are one-year deals. If Michigan fills out its roster next year the walk-ons will be out of luck; usually what happens is Michigan fills up in February and then sees some offseason attrition that opens up a couple slots, but not nine, for the top of the walk-on crop. Kovacs, who looks like he'll start the whole year, might be an exception to that.


I am curious to hear your thoughts on whether or not Tate and Denard have been making the right reads on the zone read option.  I've seen a lot of criticism directed at these two indicating that they are keeping it too often and making the wrong read.  I know RR has said he'd like to have them not have as many carries.  My question is this - are they actually making the wrong reads?  On the zone read option, Isn't the correct read against the scrape exchange for the QB to keep it?  Or do they need to read the scraping LB/DB (the guy filling the hole vacated by the backside DE)?  It just seems a little knee-jerk to say that they are keeping it too often.  I know we've come up with a set of plays to counter the scrape exchange, but I'd be curious to hear how the scrape exchange has impacted the reads on the bread-and-butter zone read option play.

I realize it's difficult to assess whether they are making the right reads as we have no idea if a play was a called run or keeper but it might be interesting to try and track whether it appears the correct read was made when you are doing the offensive UFRs.

Tony Sinicropi

This was before the Iowa game and an interesting development in that game: Michigan blocked the backside end frequently and, I believe, had Forcier read the appropriate "scrape" linebacker if he read anyone at all. It looked like Michigan took away many of Forcier's reads in the run game and just told him to hand off to the back, because Iowa frequently left no one for contain on him and he did not keep the ball.

The one time he did, though, he made a wrong read, pulling the ball from Minor when the backside DE was keeping contain; he managed to juke the guy and pick up six yards anyway. This has been a frequent occurrence, which isn't unexpected when you're dealing with a true freshman adjusting to a ton of backside games.

The thing I'm wondering about: where is the zone read with Denard Robinson? He's run a ton of draws and called runs but other than a reverse pitch here and there, there's been precious little misdirection from the Robinson package.

what’s the difference between the zone read dive and the zone read veer? is a “veer” just the term for any play that reads the frontside instead of the backside?

- bml

The "zone read dive," or zone counter dive, is not a read play. Michigan pulls the TE to the backside to block the DE back there and always hands it off with the intent of hitting the gap between that DE and the rest of the line, which down blocks. The play gets rid of the extra defender that read plays get rid of by assuming a linebacker to that side of the line has containment on the QB and will run himself out of the play. While it looks like Forcier has an option on the play, he really doesn't.

The veer is a true read play on which the tailback's desired hole is between the backside tackle and the backside DE*. If Viddler had any idea what fair use was I could show you some killer examples from Brandon Minor a year ago, but alas it is not to be. But the idea is this: you block down.** This looks exactly like a stretch play until it's too late and all the DL have slanted past the OL and out of the play. The QB reads the backside DE like a normal zone read, but the tailback cuts hard and swift upfield behind everything, hitting into the secondary immediately since the DE's been dragged outside. Minor had touchdowns on it against Purdue and Wisconsin where he ran virtually untouched into the endzone.

Opponents took away the veer most of the year by crashing the DE down and scraping, which necessitated Michigan's response to that. By the end of the Michigan State game it was clear they weren't scraping, so Michigan ran a version of the veer that was bleedingly open, but Forcier kept it and turned a lot of yards into four.

The key takeaway: any time

*(In Michigan's offense so far. It has a lot of different forms.)

**(Blocking down is the polar opposite of stretch or reach blocking. You basically shove a guy you started playside of; this always leaves an unblocked defender or two behind you. Power off tackle plays seek to get rid of him by pulling guards and tight ends around; the veer tries to do it with a read.)

You have mentioned a couple of times that the performance of the Michigan rush offense against Michigan State the past two years has been a statistical outlier.  I think you have also mentioned that this may be a result of State spending more than the usual amount of preparation time for this game.  If that is the case, how much more time do you think State is putting toward Michigan than a typical opponent and what kind of negative impact might that have on State since that would be time they are not spending on their current opponent?

Andy Heck

Steve Sharik has it from sources inside the MSU program that Dantonio came up with much of the defensive game plan himself, which is unusual. MSU blogs have been complaining about Pat Narduzzi all year. So, yes, Dantonio "gets the rivalry" and Rodriguez "has an injured freshman quarterback."

As far as the question: one thing I might have overlooked in the aftermath of the State game was State getting a test run against Michigan's offense when they played Central Michigan. That did not go well, obviously, but it did give State an entire game film with which to scout themselves and fix a bunch of their problems. Then they went out and laid an egg against Wisconsin in all aspects of the game… it's hard to not see the correlation. Too bad Illinois is such a debacle or we would have gotten some more interesting information out of that game.