Moving Picture Pages: Getting Denard The Edge

Moving Picture Pages: Getting Denard The Edge

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on October 13th, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Previously on Michael Schofield, This Is Your Life Game:
Denard Tacopants INT (PP -, MPP -
Fourth and Fun (PP -, MPP -

Original Picture Pages at  Analysis courtesy MGoBlog.

One thing that confused me about The Michael Schofield Experience Trilogy was that the Picture Pages appeared in a different order than the plays occurred.  Although this is the third (Moving) Picture Pages, it's the first play of the three.  I think it would have told a better story if this had been the first PP (hero doing his job), Tacopants had been the second (villain adjusts, hero fails to notice, Bad Things Happen), and Fourth and Fun had been the finale (hero adjusts and saves the drive).  But this ain't Hollywood - this is FOOTBAWWWWWW.

Setup: It's Michigan's second drive.  They are facing second and twelve from the Northwestern 44 after a holding call on Hopkins and an eight-yard throwback screen to Gallon.  Michigan comes out in a 2TE 2WR shotgun; NU counters with a 4-3 under and the Sam lined up outside of the TE.

Wha'hoppon: The call is a play-action rollout.  Schofield pulls with an assignment to seal off the EMLOS.  The Sam steps up into the outside gap as Denard pulls the ball out.  Schofield adjusts by deepening his pull, allowing him to make contact with his downfield shoulder and get around for the seal.  With the corner secured, Denard scoots outside for an easy eight yards.

Full YouTube page is

Moving Picture Pages - Fourth and Fun

Moving Picture Pages - Fourth and Fun

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on October 12th, 2011 at 10:11 PM

(Previously on The Michael Schofield Trilogy -,

Here's Part II of the trilogy.  This time Schofield sees the blitzer and saves the day, which I wasn't expecting to see until the third movie.  The second movie is where it looks like the bad guy is going to win, isn't it?

Setup: Michigan has the ball fourth-and-one at their own 42 shortly after stopping Northwestern on their own fourth-and-one attempt.  Michigan lines up in the shotgun with a slot and WR left and two TEs right.  Smith is the RB.  Northwestern plays 4-3 even with a linebacker (loosely) over the slot receiver, the CB on the line against the two TEs, and one safety rolled into the box.

Wha'hoppon: Schofield pulls on the QB Power to the right.  The two TEs double the playside DE, and the RT and RG double the playside DT.  The SLB comes hard for the gap between them, but this time Schofield sees him and stands him up so he can't blow up the play.  Smith kicks out the CB, and the safety can't come up in time as Denard easily converts the fourth down.  Michigan would go on to score a TD on this drive.

Original Picture Pages at

Full YouTube link at

Moving Picture Pages - Denard Tacopants INT

Moving Picture Pages - Denard Tacopants INT

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on October 11th, 2011 at 9:58 PM

I've got three of these to get through by tomorrow night so I won't have time for the extra analysis/summary that I need to make this a diary. 

Original PP for this is at

Full YouTube link:


Moving Picture Pages - Two-Way Hopkins II

Moving Picture Pages - Two-Way Hopkins II

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on October 5th, 2011 at 8:55 PM

In Part I (MPP:, PP: ), Stephen Hopkins shows his value as a blocker.  Here, he builds on the 35-yard Toussaint run that was enabled in large part by his two-for-one block.  The BTN announcers referred to this as a 'pop pass,' but I think 'Iso Oh Noes' has a much better ring to it.

Setup: Michigan has the ball back quickly after the previous drive (which contained the Toussaint long run).  They line up in the same formation as that play, and Minnesota counters with their same formation, with two safeties up and the corners waaaay off.

Wha'hoppon: The play starts out looking like the Toussaint run. Most likely with their ears still burning from the chewing-out they got after that, one LB and one S fail to notice that Michigan's line is pass blocking rather than run blocking, and both move to fill the hole that Hopkins is heading into.  Much to their chagrin, Hopkins heads straight out of the hole and has two steps on them before they can change direction.  Denard's pass is on target, and the result is a 28-yard gain.

Full YouTube page is

Moving Picture Pages - Two-Way Hopkins I

Moving Picture Pages - Two-Way Hopkins I

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on October 5th, 2011 at 7:44 PM

I left a fair amount of Brian's analysis out of this MPP because it didn't translate particularly well to video.  If you haven't read Brian's original PP, go do it now.  If you have, go do it again.

Setup: Michigan has it first-and-ten on their own 38 on their first drive of the game.  They come out in a 'power' shotgun (a 12-gauge, if you will) with two backs and a TE, and will run an iso to the right utilizing combo blocks on the NT and a lead blocker (Hopkins).

Wha'hoppon: Schofield and Molk plant the NT like he's a burlap-wrapped sapling.  Omameh and Huyge single-block their men halfway to the bench, Denard freezes the backside DE with his ever-present run threat, and Hopkins roars into the hole.  He gets his helmet across the LB and blasts him out of the hole, collecting a safety who really sucks at geometry in the process.  This turns out to be key to the play, since it both completely opens the hole and eliminates the man-advantage Minnesota had by walking an extra safety down into the box.  Toussaint flies through the hole untouched until he gets well into the secondary, and breaks an ankle-tackle on his way to a 35-yard gain.


Full YouTube link is at

Moving Picture Pages - Toussaint Jab Step

Moving Picture Pages - Toussaint Jab Step

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on September 30th, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Video aid to

It's one thing for a running back to have quick feet; it's quite another to have feet capable of nailing an unblocked guy's feet to the ground and teleporting an opposing nose tackle from one side of your guard to the other.

Of course, on this play Toussaint wasn't the only guy with super powers.  The SDSU DE running the scrape exchange made himself invisible, at least to Kevin Koger.

The Setup:  First and 10 for Michigan on the SDSU 16, up 21-7 and driving to close the game out.  Michigan will run the zone read (I think; I'm sure I'll be corrected if I get it wrong) out of the shotgun, pulling Kevin Koger to open the backside. 

Wha'hoppon: Robinson sees the LB come down for contain and so hands off to Fitzgerald Toussaint.  Koger misses the DE coming down the line on the scrape exchange, blocking the LB that had already been neutralized by the handoff. 

With a free hitter staring him in the face, Toussaint takes a half-step to the outside, freezing the DE and changing the momentum of the NT being blocked by Omameh.  This puts him on the wrong side of the hole, and Omameh rides him out of the hole as Toussaint comes through one step ahead of the DE.  Good downfield blocking lets Fitz ride his OL to a 9-yard gain.

Full YouTube link is

Moving Picture Pages - EMLOS Keys Are Hard

Moving Picture Pages - EMLOS Keys Are Hard

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on September 23rd, 2011 at 11:19 PM

(EMLOS == End Man on the Line of Scrimmage, in this case Jake Ryan).

The ability to make my lower case letters actually be lower case continues to elude me.

Setup: EMU is on its second drive of the day.  They have a counter bootleg called; Michigan will blitz Jake Ryan off the right side.

Wha'hoppon: Ryan reads the pulling OL coming at him and turns up the line to face him instead of blasting straight upfield (vice Brennen Beyer in the WMU game, captured in, stepping inside the OL to clog the lane for the runner... who doesn't have the ball.  This forces him to disengage the OL to the inside instead of to the outside, allowing the QB to roll out without having Ryan in his face the moment he turns around.  One of the three receivers crossing right-to-left finds the seam behind the LBs and Gillett throws an on-target pass for an 18-yard gain.

The counter play-action froze the other linebackers long enough that they couldn't drop to the depth necessary to take away all the passing lanes.  Ironically, if Ryan had blitzed on this play the same way Beyer blitzed in the aforementioned play (straight up the field at maximum afterburners), he would most likely have beaten the pulling lineman through the spot and dined on Gillett's soul, or at least forced an off-balance throw. 

Analysis courtesy Brian, as usual.  Original Picture Pages is at


Moving Picture Pages - EMU Runnin' on Us, I

Moving Picture Pages - EMU Runnin' on Us, I

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on September 20th, 2011 at 10:53 PM

[ed-M: bump. always bump.]

Do we have any Pinnacle Studio 12 experts among us?  I seem to have lost the ability to have my titles display lower-case letters properly (compare this MPP to my previous ones).

Setup: EMU will run power right against Will Heininger (left DT).

Wha'hoppon: Roh stands up the TE on the edge but Heininger gets blown out of the hole, leaving three blockers coming out against three linebackers going in.  Roh's positioning against the TE forces the FB to 'finish him,' Hawthorne stands up to the pulling guard, and the RB dives into the pile, which poops him out six yards downfield.

Full YouTube page is

Original PP is

Picture paging Kovacs' interception

Picture paging Kovacs' interception

Submitted by dnak438 on September 12th, 2011 at 9:46 PM

MGoBlog user the fume suggested in the comments of my last diary that Kovacs' interception in the 2nd quarter came from the same defensive play call that led to Notre Dame's final score, so I thought that I'd satisfy my own curiosity and look at that play too.

It's 3rd and 9 at the 36 yard line, ND 14-UM 0. Michigan brings all of its defensive personnel to within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, with three down linemen (Black, MM, RVB), three linebackers (Hawthorne, Demens, Ryan) and five defensive backs (Avery, Gordon, Robinson?, Kovacs, Floyd). Here's the look:

Rees checks into a new play. This is the play he checks into:

He's focused in on Floyd at the bottom of the screen. Michigan, however, is going to rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage. It's a 3-deep zone coverage with five players in the short zones:

The pressure on the defense will come at the bottom of the screen, since the slot receiver will run a seam route straight up the hash marks, and Floyd is running a 12 yard curl route. Although the seam route is open, Rees apparently expects man coverage, as he seems to have decided already to throw it to Floyd.

The seam route is open. If Rees sees it, it's probably a touchdown. Note that the safety playing the center of the field is at the 44 yard, on the other hash marks, running like crazy up field. He's the only defender who has a chance at preventing a touchdown if Rees sees the seam. 

But Rees is staring at Floyd, and Kovacs is watching Rees' eyes. Here's what it looks like when Rees starts to throw, with Black breathing down his neck. Note how open the slot receiver still is.

Rees compounds his error by making a poor throw too far inside. I suppose he thinks that Kovacs is running with the slot receiver and that Floyd will be wide open.

The result: Kovacs makes the pick.

It's a great play by Kovacs. This defense clearly has a problem, however. The player who plays the center deep third of the field needs to turn at the snap and get deep. He doesn't have time to survey the field and adjust his position. Here it's even worse than on the touchdown in the fourth quarter, as the deep center defender is on the opposite side of the formation from the receiver he needs to cover.

As several people commented, Mattison is not adverse to taking risks with his defensive play-calling to generate turnovers and uncertainty. Sometimes, as here, it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But I think all of us are happier with this approach than the very passive approach taken by the past coaching regime.

Here's the video (1:00 mark):