Hard to believe, but this team still had players recruited by Carr. Kenny Demens, Brandon Moore, and Elliot Mealer are the final holdovers. Seems like decades ago that Carr was the coach; it's hard to believe he recruited those guys.
Edit: So those 3 were the last that made their verbal commitment under Carr.
- Will Campbell commited under Carr, decommitted, then recommitted under Rodriguez.
- JT Floyd was offered by Carr and was supposedly a silent commit to Carr's Michigan.
- Marvin Robinson was offered by Carr
I'm sure Carr had a hand in at least some part of the recruiting process for a handful of other players on the team, but ultimately the players above are the last ones to commit while expecting to play under Carr.
(update) My time off has made me sloppy. Wrong font, weird timings on the captions, forgot the Evil Space Magic trick to embed the video, didn't properly credit Brian (original analysis his, used with permission), didn't link back to the original http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-short-yardage-slant, etc., etc. You'll have to excuse me for a bit while I go run the stadium steps.
Before checking the boxscore, I thought that Purdue wasn’t as bad as the score indicated, and that the game came down to a couple key fourth down plays. I mean, we only had four more first downs than them, 19-15. However, I quickly came across the “TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS” line which showed MICH 409, PUR 213. Yeah, we crushed them.
The 4thdown plays were still key to setting the tone early. On Purdue’s first drive, they were stalled at their own 34, 4thand 1. They could have made a statement there. They punted.
On our first drive, we stalled at their 22, 4thand 4. That’s 5 yards within Gibbons range, as we later found out. We could have put some points on the board and been happy. Instead, Brady made a statement. You cannot stop us. Denard to Gardner for 8 yards and the drive continues, leading to an eventual TD.
Fast forward to the 2ndquarter, now Purdue has 4thand 1. This time, Hope goes for it. The ball bounces off the receiver’s hands, into the awaiting arms of Raymon Taylor, who Rayces into the endzone for six. UM 21, Purdue 0, game effectively over. And if it wasn’t over then, the fumble on the ensuing kickoff confirmed to Purdue that it just wasn’t going to be their day.
Have I mentioned before how much I love good defense? We held TerBush and his brother Akeem and his other brother Akeem to 213 yards. (Nothing racial intended here, just playing off of the, “I’m Larry, and this is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl” from the old Newhart show. The theme of this season is rapidly coalescing around old sitcoms.)
Purdue was 1 of 11 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down. When we had an opportunity to get off the field, we did.
22 players show up in the defensive stats, including the mysteriously named, “TEAM” with ## “TM.” TEAM had 1 solo tackle.
Demens, Ryan, and Morgan all lead us in tackles with 6 apiece. Notice something about that, they’re ALL linebackers!
We had 6 TFLs, 2 INTs, 3 pass breakups (2 from J.T. Floyd) and 2 sacks.
Neither team recorded a QH.
There was a thread earlier this week about Kovacs’ tackle totals. He only had 1 this week. He basically wandered around centerfield watching everything happen in front of him. That’s how impressive our defensive performance was.
Denard ran 24 times for 235 yards. His one TD rushing was not awarded by some weird replay officiating. The Purdue catch was conclusive enough to be overturned, but Denard’s TD wasn’t?
Denard averaged 9.8 yards per carry with a long of 59 yards. It seemed like Purdue’s gameplan was to not let Fitz beat them again. OK, fine. Let Denard run for 235. Had Denard kept on all the handoffs to Fitz, I bet he could have run for 400 yards. He set some records or something. What else is new.
Denard didn’t throw any interceptions, and actually threw a ball out of bounds. Whoo-hoo!!!
Bunches of Funchess
Gardner’s TD reception was smoooth.
Denard completed one pass on 3rdand 11 to Funchess. It was behind him, much like the throws against ND that were deflected and picked off, but Devin reached back with one giant meathook and snagged the ball out of the air. First down Michigan. On the next play, Toussaint scored making it 14-0.
Gallon lead with 3 receptions for 37 yards.
Purdue was the more interesting team at least in this regard. They had a 4D, 2D, and a 7D record tackles, they wore pink for awareness, and their students raise shoes during kickoffs. What is that all about?!?
They also have players named Akeem, Akeem and Raheem, and Bush and TerBush.
On defense, they have Kawann Short (pronounced KAY-wann, and all this time I thought it was Kah-wann,) Schmeig, and a Higgs. I hope they recruit a Boson for next year.
Norf and Souf
Norfleet continues to impress with his “get as many yards as you can, as quickly as you can” approach.
Apparently, we don’t like punting in Indiana. After punting once against ND, we did not punt in the first half. In the 2ndhalf, Hagerup boomed a 57 yarder.
Gibbons doinked one off the cross-bar from 44 yards. He made his three other attempts from 27, 29, and 42 yards. Two FGs from <30 yards? That score could have been a lot worse.
Dileo had a punt return for 10 yards. I like the fact that they are putting a 2nd guy back there to prevent the "punt plus roll" which usually costs another 10-20 yards.
Wile only had 1 touchback out of 9 kickoffs. While that did lead to a Purdue fumble, it seemed odd not watching him kick it 5 yards into the endzone.
This was at least our second game with LeMonnier’s crew. Very few penalties were called. They basically didn’t factor in the game, and for that, we can be grateful.
Outside the Boxscore
If it’s true that defense wins championships, I like what these scores say about our ability to win the Legends division:
MSU 31, IU 27, yeah, they beat IU, but they gave up 27 points
PSU 39, NorU 28
OSU 63, NebU 38
Iowa 31, CMU 32 (Iowa had a bye, so we get to relive the CMU shocker for another week. Heck, let's relive this all season long.)
Minn 13, Iowa 31, after getting beat by Central, Iowa blows out Minnesota.
OSU and PSU are probably the two best teams in the Leaders division, and both are ineligible for the championship game. This is the year to win the Legends if you want a cakewalk in the championship game.
I've seen many references to this in recent times, including when I was reading HTTV. There seems to be some sentiment around here that Kenny Demens is better than Obi Ezeh but he won't make anyone forget about David Harris. I'm kind of confused why people are down on Demens in that way. He's not Ray Lewis, but David Harris wasn't Ray Lewis, either.
As a junior, David Harris had 88 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles.
In a comparison of junior seasons, Kenny Demens had 94 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 pass breakups.
Those are pretty similar statistics, and while Harris did more in the turnover department, I'm not sure why people are insisting that David Harris was so much better. Demens still has a year to get to that level. He may or may not get there, but I don't think it's really a fair argument to compare the two careers right now.
I apologize for the lack of slo-mo this time around; my video editing SW seems to have a mind of its own and decided 'no slo-mo for you!' OTOH, my lower-case letters are actually lower-case this time, so there's that.
Setup: Purdue comes out in the Wildcat with WR Justin Siller at QB, which immediately causes anyone who remembers the 2008 game to break out in hives. Then they realize that Greg Orton and Kory Sheets aren't on the field and they relax a bit. Michigan tips that they're going to drop Roh into coverage (Brian's original PP says he plays standup, but really he's just late to put his hand down) and stunt Ryan behind Martin (shown by Ryan lining up a yard downfield from Martin).
Wha'hoppon: Ryan does indeed stunt and Roh does indeed start to drop, then he reads the mesh point and heads for the edge to contain the outside run. Siller reads Demens heading outside as well, so he keeps. There appears to be an opportunity straight up the middle, as Purdue has two linemen heading downfield and nobody's in the hole...
...except Ryan. The pulling RG doesn't see him stunting into the hole and chooses to double RVB instead. The LG does see him but is too far downfield to pick him up. Ryan gets practically a free run at Siller, and it's only Siller's agility that makes this a regular TFL rather than a semi-vs-Smartcar moment.
Well, that went better than expected. There's plenty of good things to see, but almost all of them come with caveats:
We shut down a QB with a decent arm who was pretty productive last year
Denard's running WOOOOO!
DLine got good pressure
We're causing lots of turnovers
Defense looks more sound in general
We kind of dominated a decent team
He was missing his NFL caliber WR's
Denard's passing, eeerrrrr....
DLine kept losing contain
We're giving away lots of turnovers
Every now and then we look like the keystone cops
Brady Hoke has their playbook, signals, and personell memorized.
We were 4-0 the last two years...
Next week won't be much of a challenge or informative either. Especially if Marquis Gray is injured or hampered. So the good news is that we look like it's an easy road to bowl elligibility, but whether or not we can beat any decent bigten teams remains to be seen for a couple of weeks.
I don't know if his throwing arm/shoulder is tweeked, or if he's still just struggling with his footwork, but his accuracy is way off from last year. He had a terrible overthrow on the deep ball, the interception that got batted up was due to placing the ball too high when throwing at the TE, and the other interception was due to him missing the zone coverage. He's also staring down the screen receiver and other receivers sometimes.
But hey, HELLLOooooo speed option!
This play works because of two things. Two of their defenders just flat out over-run the play because they're freaking about Denard's speed
And we get great downfield blocks that are sustained. It really is as simple as getting a hat on a hat when you've got dilithium in the backfield. The play is setup so nice that Vincent is celebrating the TD before Denard even passes the line of scrimmage!
Here's the same moment from behind. That's a nice hole.
Give some credit to SDSU, they stuffed this play when we ran it again in the 2nd half. But when you've got a guy who can do this:
You can't win just on positioning.
You can have perfect position, and Denard can stil make you look silly.
Lloyd Brady Approves! (drink)
Various Defensive Awesomeness
Mike Martin is awesome. I think all D-Linemen should have a background in Judo or Wrestling or both. On this play he doesn't get to the QB, but he causes a rushed throw with his bull rush.
First, he's quick off the line and gets underneath the pads of the guard and pops him back.
Then he drives him back so hard that the tackle has to come down and help out.
But he's got so much momentum that he's buckled the guards legs and knocks him over.
At that point there's nothing left to do except laugh at your defeated foe and scream bloody murder at the QB. RVB also does a nice job of beating his man on his speed rush.
Kenny Demens is often awesome. On this play Demens demonstrates the textbook definition of "fill the hole and blow up the blocker".
This is your typical power iso play with a FB and a pulling linemen leading the way. Demens recognizes run action and gets on his horse.
RVB does a great job on his slant to fill the hole. This bounces the play outside. Demens reads this too and accelerates to take on the blocker.
Hawthorne is a little slow to react and gets blocked too easily here. But because Demens hits his man so hard, the ballcarrier has to stop his feet and go backwards.
Meanwhile, Jake Ryan has beaten his blocker with a quick step (Dude has a quickstep, this is my meme for Jake Ryan from now on.) and cleans up the play with a TFL. Hawthorne is getting held, but he has to do a better job of reacting and shedding his blocker. This is probably why he got benched for a bit.
Craig Roh is still fighting for more playing time in the DE rotation, but on this play he shows how to shed a blocker using leverage.
Roh is kind of tall and lanky, that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you use it. Here he pushes his blocker sideways and gets him off balance.
Then he just tosses him aside and has eyes on the ball carrier. Results in a TFL and great play.
From the other angle you can see how Roh uses the blocker's arm as a lever and just dismisses him. Hawthorne could learn a thing or two from this.
But it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
In last week's tardy diary, I discovered a new pet peeve. That pet peeve now has a name. It's called FUCKING AROUND WITH ALIGNMENT IN SHORT YARDAGE SITUATIONS. (FAWAISYS)
It's one thing to flop the defensive alignment when it's 1st or 2nd and 10 or even 3rd and 5. No one's in a rush and it doesn't really matter if you give up an easy yard or two. But when it's 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1, you're really pissing me off with chinese firedrill bullshit. It makes you vulnerable to the quicksnap and if you're all worried about where you're supposed to be, you're not thinking about the play, the snap count, or the 600+ pounds of blockers that are coming at you shortly.
It happened all game. And it's not like we're forced to do it. It's just that some d-calls have us locked onto their formation strength.
This is the most egregious example:
This is a three man shift, the two TE's on the left are moving to the right and the FB that was at flanker is moving into an I form. Jake ryan is perfectly at rights to be moving. Nothing wrong yet.
And then the ILB's see it and swap places. Okay, nothing big about keeping the Fritz and Mike responsibilities on Hawthorne and Demens respectively.
But do the DE's really need to flip on this play? Are their responsibilities and talents that different? Why can't RVB just squeeze down and Jirbeel Black flex out a bit? Or is it that Black can't take on two blockers and needs to speed rush from the uncovered end?
So now we got 8 guys moving around and they've got about 1.4 seconds to get their shit sorted out.
Which is made harder when the two DE's collide 0.o And the secondary is completely lost and in no position to support the run.
It's 3rd and Fricken 1!!!
So, let's summarize. It's 3rd and 1, our DE's are hugging each other, our OLB is out of breath from sprinting into position, our DB's are in a cover 2 umbrella, there's about Umpteen million different ways for SDSU to pick up 1 yard without having to touch anyone, and we've got about 0.7 seconds to get lined up on 3rd and fucking 1.
Yes it's true that the offense has to reset for a second after the shift, so you theoretically have time to get setup. But one of these days it's going to bite us for a critical conversion. So far, Brady Hoke's Magical Golden Poop actually got SDSU to false start while we were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.
I'm not thrilled with our FB play. #44 doesn't seem to get his pad level low enough or drive through his blocks.
Hopkins.... HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL.
WTF is this? Does SDSU have some new cheerleader wannabe's?