Michigan's Pass Pro Scheme?

Michigan's Pass Pro Scheme?

Submitted by Caesar on November 9th, 2017 at 4:48 AM

The blog has discussed at great length Michigan's improvement in the run game and the basic blocking that comes with it. However, I'm wondering how Michigan goes about its pass protection. Until a recent googling, I wasn't even aware of different approaches, but this blog post, for example, points out some different protection schemes.

I think the ultimate question I'm hoping to answer is whether Michigan has any chance of pass protection improvement it's seeing in the running game. I guess that I should also keep in mind that it's maybe less a matter of strategy and more of talent.

2018 OL two-deep?

2018 OL two-deep?

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 23rd, 2017 at 6:15 PM

OK, so this seems like a worthwhile distraction at this point... what do you think will be the make up of the Offensive Line two-deep?

Drawing from the following depth chart-by-class pool:

 

Freshmen

Sophomores
(c/o 2021)
Juniors
(c/o 2020)
Seniors
(c/o 2019)
OT
OG
N. Rumler '19
A. Vastardis*#
 
C
 
   

Replacement(s) required for exiting seniors: Mason Cole (LT), Pat Kugler (C). Despite his level of performance, it doesn't seem like UM can afford to not give JB-B a fifth year. Here's my SWAG, which leaves Bredeson at OG to bring Filiaga up at OT, but YMMV:

 
Starters
Backups
OT
G. Newsome
C. Filiaga
J. Bushell-Beatty
A. Stueber
OG
M. Owenu
B. Bredeson
S. Spanellis
J. Runyan Jr.
C
C. Ruiz
(a starter from above)?

It's looking like early playing time may be a key factor in securing Emil Ekiyor in the upcoming recruiting class.

Clemson OT Jake Fruhmorgen (former 4*) to Transfer--Michigan Potential Destination

Clemson OT Jake Fruhmorgen (former 4*) to Transfer--Michigan Potential Destination

Submitted by Caesar on January 12th, 2017 at 7:56 PM

He was 119 on the 247 composite in 2015. Article (link) mentions Michigan as a possible destination. He was on Michigan's radar and took an unofficial visit (link). 

Transfers sit a year, but Michigan could probably still use him. 

Did conservative offensive play calling or ineffective o-line play cost UM CFP?

Did conservative offensive play calling or ineffective o-line play cost UM CFP?

Submitted by Eastern Wolverine on December 4th, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Did Harbaugh and offensive staff crawl into a late game shell at Iowa and OSU or did UM not have a strong enough o-line to execute critical plays when needed? I get this line was good to very good and several members will play on Sundays. That said, in both losses (even at MSU) it seemed UM couldn't get those tough 3 to 4 yard rushing plays when needed. Defenses knew UM was running and stuffed them. Were these stops due to lackluster play calling or the o-line not being able to impose its will when needed? Thanks for any light shed on the subject.

Resolved: That this House will not accept a Funk firing before season's end.

Resolved: That this House will not accept a Funk firing before season's end.

Submitted by Caesar on August 17th, 2014 at 9:40 AM

 

 

Edit: I think there's some misunderstanding here. This is just a thread to discuss whether or not Funk should be fired with a slant towards 'no.'  It is a reaction to the calls for his firing in sUTL threads.

A summary of the debate to date (subject to edit)

Youth

Point: O-line is young.

Counterpoint: They're not as young. 

Development

Point: Borges effed this joint up. Compounding youth, unnecessary (and ineffective) complexity stifled learning. 

Counterpoint: Can't blame everything on Al. What if we're mistaking the the root of the problem--maybe Al was trying to gameplan around Funk's deficiencies. 

Knowledge

Point: He knows what he's doing.

Counterpoint: He doesn't know what he's doing.

-Ed: I don't know what I'm doing.

Results

Point: You've got to look at this stuff in context.  Blaming Funk for the poor state of the O-line is like forcing someone into a cage and accusing them of misbehaving when they throw something at you.

Counterpoint: We must judge him based on performance.

Calling all Experts

Magnus. Space Coyote. Other experts. 

 

Let's look at Coach Funk's pre-Michigan time with Coach Hoke

Let's look at Coach Funk's pre-Michigan time with Coach Hoke

Submitted by Erik_in_Dayton on November 4th, 2013 at 7:02 PM

 

I decided to make as much sense as I could from what is available online regarding OL coach Darrell Funk’s time with Coach Hoke.  I didn’t get into Funk’s time with Colorado State, because he wasn’t with Hoke then and because I don’t have the time.  We’re all pretty familiar with the story of what’s happened since the two coaches arrived in Ann Arbor, so I also omitted that.  What is below, then, is the story of Funk and Hoke at Ball State and San Diego State – as least as best as I can piece it together.  As you’ll see, I often rely on general offensive statistics, because there are of course few (if any) statistics available for just an offensive line.

A final initial note:  Anyone with more chart and graph-making ability than me is more than welcome to turn the stats below into charts/graphs. 

Final initial note part II:  I can't get the spacing below fixed. Apologies.    

Introductory Thought:

Before I start, I want to point out something that we shouldn’t lose sight of when analyzing the information below.  Namely, players (and coaches, for matter) are not the same from year-to-year.  College football players – being human beings and college kids – go through ups and downs that no coach can control.  Those ups and downs are the result of health problems (or a lack of them), family trouble (or a lack of it), dating drama (or a lack of it), academic trouble (or a lack of it), partying too much (or not at all), committing to offseason training (or slacking off), etc.  A foot is always twelve inches, but Johnny Offensive Tackle may not have been the same guy in 2011 that he was in 2012.  Accordingly, we never have a perfect point of reference when comparing Johnny’s performance under his 2011 coach to his performance under his 2012 coach.

 

2008: Funk arrives at Ball State

Funk was only Brady Hoke’s OL coach for one year at Ball State.  In fact, he didn’t coach the entire O-line that year.  Funk coached the OGs and centers in 2008, but John Powers coached the tackles (and tight ends).  This was something of a demotion for Powers, who coached the BSU O-line by himself in 2006 and 2007.*

The story of the 2008 Ball State offense begins in 2005, when BSU’s offense pretty much sucked.  It averaged 299 yards per game and 21.1 points per game, the latter good for 94thnationally.  Things picked up in 2006, with the offense generating 351.3 yards per game and 27.2 points per game, the latter being 39thin the country.  The offense improved yet again in 2007, gaining 433.8 yards per game (including 148.9 per game at 4.1 ypc on the ground, an improvement of 57 ypg) and scoring 31.5 points per game (40thnationally). 

In 2008, BSU went 12-2.  The offense improved slightly in total yards, 442.5 yards per game, and impressively in rushing yards, gaining 184.5 per game (5.0 ypc).  It also improved slightly in scoring, putting up points at rate of 34.9 per game.

In 2009, with Funk and Hoke in San Diego, the BSU offense took a major step back, gaining 293.8 yards per game and scoring 19.2 points per game (108thin the country).  This presumably was caused in large part by the loss of QB Nate Davis, who declared early for the NFL draft and was taken in the 5thround by San Francisco.  It was also presumably a result of the loss of several offensive linemen, who are discussed below.  It’s worth noting that BSU did not lose its leading rusher (MiQuale Lewis) in 2009, and its rushing attack fell off to 159.4 yards per game, which was a relatively small decline compared to that of the passing attack (which withered to 134.4 yards per game).

*Interestingly, Powers was retained by new Ball State HC Stan Parrish in 2009, but he did not coach the O-line.

 

Who were Funk’s OLs at Ball State?

Funk’s starting line was OT Robert Brewster, OG Kreg Hunter, C Dan Gerberry, OG Michael Switzer, and OT Andre Ramsey.  It was an experienced group, albeit one that left high school with little publicity.  Information for each is listed below.    

Andre Ramsey:

Not rated coming out of high school in 2005.

A true senior in 2008 (i.e., no red shirt).

Essentially a four-year starter.

First-team all-MAC in 2008.

Made several NFL rosters but has been a journeyman.

 

Michael Switzer:

A two-star player per Scout in 2007.

A true sophomore in 2008.

A new starter in 2008.

No all-conference honors in 2008.

Appears to have made it to an NFL training camp but no more.

 

Dan Gerberry:

Not rated coming out of high school in 2004.

A redshirt senior in 2008.

A four-year starter. 

First-team all-MAC in 2008.

Was on the Lions' roster for a couple of years. 

 

Kreg Hunter:

A two-star player per Scout in 2007.

A redshirt freshman in 2008.

A new starter in 2008.

No conference honors in 2008.

Doesn’t appear to have had a pro career.

 

Robert Brewster:

A two-star player per Scout in 2005.

A true senior in 2008.

A four-year starter.

First-team all-MAC and Outland Watchlist in 2008.

(He may have been first-team all-MAC in 2007 too.)

Drafted in third round of NFL draft but only played one game before being cut.

 

Various things to consider when making sense of Funk’s time at BSU:

*There were only 92 MAC players on NFL squads at the start of 2012 (I couldn’t find the number for this year), and only 16 of them were OLs.  These numbers – 92 and 16 – include players who played for teams that were in the MAC during the players’ careers but are not in the conference any longer (Temple, for example).  This means that – by including those former MAC teams – there was only one OL per MAC school in the NFL at the start of 2012. 

*Gerberry (not-rated redshirt senior), Ramsey (not-rated redshirt senior), and Brewster (two-star true senior) made up three-quarters of the all-MAC OL in 2008 as decided by the conference.  Scout omitted Gerberry from its all-conference team (I can't find the non-BSU members of the team awarded by the conference itself), which was made up of Brewster, Ramsey, and three seniors, one of whom was a two-star and two of whom were unrated coming out of high school. 

 

2010: Hoke and Funk go to San Diego State

Funk was Hoke’s only OL coach during his two years at SDSU.  They inherited an offense that moved that ball at only a 312.4 ypg clip and scored at a rate of only 19.2 ppg (104thin the nation) in 2008, though they also inherited future stand-out QB Ryan Lindley.  The team particularly struggled to run the ball, gaining only 73.2 rushing per game vs. 239.2 passing. 

In 2009, the SDSU offense improved to 341.1 ypg, with most of that improvement coming through the air (263.6 ypg passing vs. 78.3 ypg rushing).  The offense scored 23.3 points per game, good for 85thin the country.  Additionally, the OL gave up only the 16th-fewest sacks in the nation.

In 2010, SDSU’s offense took off.  Future third round pick Ronnie Hillman (RB) joined a unit that gained 456.7 ypg.  The offense gained more yards both passing (295.4 ypg) and rushing (161.3 ypg) than it did in 2009.  It also scored 35 ppg, good for 19thin the country. Also, the OL shined even more in pass protection than it did the prior year, yielding only the sixth-fewest sacks allowed in the country.

In 2011, with Hoke and Funk at Michigan, SDSU gained 427.4 ypg (242.9 passing/184.5 rushing).  They scored 29.5 ppg, which was 47thin the country.  It’s worth noting that they lost relatively few players – a starting OL and both starting WRs – between 2010 and 2011.  That said, those WRs took 2572 yards in receiving with them when they left campus. 

 

Who were Funk’s OLs at SDSU?

In 2009, SDSU started OT Tommie Draheim, OG Emilio Rivera, C Trask Iosefa, OG Ikaika Aken-Moleta, and OT Peter Nelson.  In 2010, that unit became Draheim, OG Mike Matamua, Iosefa, Rivera, and OT Kurtis Gunther.  Information for each is listed below.

Tommie Draheim:

A two-star prospect in 2007 per Scout.

A redshirt sophomore in 2009/a redshirt junior in 2010.

A first-year starter in 2009/second-year in 2010.

All-Mountain West first team in 2011.

Has been in and out of the NFL and is now with the Chiefs.

 

Emilio Rivera:

A two-star prospect in 2007 per Scout.

A redshirt sophomore in 2009/a redshirt junior in 2010.

A first-year starter in 2009/second-year in 2010.

No conference honors that I found. 

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Trask Iosefa:

A two-star prospect in 2005 per Scout.

A redshirt junior in 2009/redshirt senior in 2010.

A four-year starter.

All-Mountain West second team in 2010.

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Ikaika Aken-Moleta:

A three-star prospect in 2005 per Scout.

A redshirt senior in 2009.

Apparently a second-year starter in 2009.

No conference honors that I found. 

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Peter Nelson:

A walk-on in the class of 2005.

A redshirt senior in 2009.

Apparently a first-year starter in 2009.

No conference honors that I found. 

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Mike Matamua:

An unranked (no-star) prospect in 2007 per Scout.

A redshirt sophomore in 2009/redshirt junior in 2010.

A first-year starter in 2009/second-year in 2010.

No conference honors that I found. 

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Kurtis Gunther:

A two-star prospect in 2007 per Scout.

A true junior in 2009/senior in 2010.

A first-year starter in 2010.

No conference honors that I found. 

Apparently no NFL career.

 

Various things to consider when making sense of Funk’s time at SDSU:

*The MWC apparently had 150 players on NFL rosters at the start of the 2012 season (again I couldn’t find the numbers for this year).  I could not find how many of those are OLs.

*The 2010 all-MWC first team O-line was made up of a 24-year old four-star redshirt junior, three two-star redshirt seniors, and a redshirt senior who entered college as an unranked DT per Scout. 

*The 2010 all-MWC second team was made up of a 24-year old two-star junior, a three-star true junior, a 24-year old redshirt junior who entered college as an unranked DE per Scout, a true senior who apparently entered college unranked, and Trask Iosefa.

 

Conclusion:

I don’t see any obvious and firm conclusions that one can draw from what’s above other than that it’s good to have experienced O-lineman – 24-year olds if you can get them!  As I mentioned above, it’s very hard to separate the success of an offense from the success of an offensive line.  Was Funk a better coach because he had Ryan Lindley, Nate Davis, MiQuale Lewis, and Ronnie Hillman? 

Funk hasn’t been a miracle worker, but Funk, Coach Hoke, Coach Wellman, and former BSU OL coach John Powers put together some apparently high-functioning lines at BSU and SDSU.  The group they put together at BSU had greater personal success than did the group at SDSU, but at both schools the coaches in question (with and later without Powers) oversaw dramatic offensive improvement at various points.  

Concern for O-line vs. Defenses with a pulse?

Concern for O-line vs. Defenses with a pulse?

Submitted by Phuryus on September 28th, 2009 at 12:01 PM
I was a little concerned after the IU game about the state of our O-line.  Depth didn't seem to be too big a concern on the line.  After the poor rushing performance in the Indiana game and Moosman having so much trouble getting the snaps to the qb's, depth at center seems to be an issue.  Indiana has some talented DE's and is much better than what we saw vs. WMU,EMU.  I just wonder if the success we enjoyed thus far this season on the ground can continue or was it an effect of the level of teams we were playing?  I noticed that RR finally had enough of the bad snap/fumbled snaps and went under center mostly late in the game.  With Molk likely out another month or so, does this become an issue as we go deeper into the Big 10 schedule and reach the tougher games?  Maybe it's just paranoia, but I am hoping that we continue to get better at the rushing game and not just rely on what's worked so far.  If the IU game is any evidence, teams with even decent DE's will be able to slow down the zone read.  I am just hoping RR has grander plans he's waiting to unveil at the right moments.