Analysis of first down plays with Speight vs. O'Korn

Analysis of first down plays with Speight vs. O'Korn

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on October 16th, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Because why have one Monday morning (still technically morning here on the west coast when I clicked submit) posts when you can have two?

Introduction

When O'Korn came in for the injured Speight, I thought I noticed a shift towards more off-schedule passes, especially ones on first down. While this seemed to work fine against Purdue, the wheels obviously fell off against MSU. Then, there was clearly a return to normalcy on Saturday against Indiana, as it looked like we returned to the run and Lloyd Ball'd our way to a narrow victory.

So, I decided to look back at the rate of runs vs. passes on first down, and their correlation with end down and drive success, first with Speight at the helm and then with O'Korn.

TL;DR

- With Speight, Michigan threw the ball 35% of the time on first down

- With O'Korn, Michigan has thrown the ball 39% of the time, and the numbers were even higher before the coaching staff adjusted (44%!!! against MSU--not including the last desparation series)

- With Speight, the off-schedule first down throws were relatively successful and led to several explosive plays, and seemed like a major component of the overall offensive philosophy

- With O'Korn, Michigan is missing both those effective and explosive first down passing plays

- The running game is improving, with average yards and success rate improving on first down carries

- With both Speight AND O'Korn, down series that ended with FG attempts vs. TDs were more likely to start with a pass on first down...RUN THE BALL ON FIRST DOWN IN SCORING TERRITORY

- Well, maybe run the ball on every play first down

 

Speight First Down Breakdown

 

Rush/Pass* Avg. Yards Play SR Down SR
65% / 35% 4.99 40.48% 64.63%

*Notes on methodology:

  • I included penalty yards both for and against Michigan in average yardage and success rate
  • First downs on a down series that ended in TOs on first or second down were not included
  • First downs on a down series at the EOH or garbage time were not included

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Michigan threw the ball on 1st down 35% of the time with Speight at the helm:

Pass Avg. Yards Play SR Down SR
n=30 5.97 46.67% 70.00%

Compared to running on 65% of 1st downs:

Run Avg. Yards Play SR Down SR
n=55 4.45 37.04% 61.54%

The first down offense under Speight benefited from these timely off-schedule passes, acheiving a higher average yardage, play success rate, and down success rate on pasing plays than on running plays. These numbers reflect that Michigan was especially explosive on first down, with both the long Black (vs. Florida) and Crawford (vs. Cincinnati) TD receptions coming on first down deep shots.

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Now, looking at down series where Michigan gained a first down, we have the following breakdown:

Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Down SR
40% / 60% 7.38 49.06%

Compared to down series where Michigan failed to gain a first down:

Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Down SR
69% / 31% 0.66 24.14%

This highlights not only the importance of gaining positive yards on first down, but also how ineffective our ground game was the season through the first quarter of the Purdue game. It also shows that, despite his weaknesses, Speight did have our passing game working on first down.

Note:  The comparison here between Down SR on successful vs. unsuccessful 1st down plays is limited by the fact that any gain of over 10 yards automatically counts as a down success. A better comparison of  Down SR would be to compare plays gaining between 40%-100% of first down yardage to plays gaining <40%. Maybe next time, champ.

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Finally, I wanted to look at first down plays on drives that stalled in opponent terrirory that ended up in FG attempts:

Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR
50% /50% 0.00 25.00%

Wooooooooooooof. (Again, note that I included penalty yardage in the average yardage and play success rate.)

Compared to drives that resulted in TDs:

Rush/Pass Avg. Play SR
60% / 40% 17.6 60.00%

Since n was only 5 :-( on offensive TDs through 3.25 games, the breakdown of those scores:

  • 2 passing TDs on 1st down deep shots
  • 1 long YAC passing TD on 2nd down to just outside the red zone
  • 1 long run in semi-garbage time from just outside the red zone
  • 1 red zone TD on a down series that started with a run

 

O'Korn First Down Breakdown

 

Now, let's look at the same metrics after O'Korn took over the offense. I included each individual game because, as you will see, there is a drastic shift:

Opponent Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR Down SR
Total 61% / 39% 5.34 45.35% 65.85%
Purdue 55% / 45% 5.48 51.72% 82.14%
MSU 56% / 44% 2.78 42.31% 58.33%
Indiana 71% / 29% 6.86 42.86% 59.26%

Michigan came out capital T Throwing the ball on first down once O'Korn took over against Purdue. And it tended to work. Unfortunately, we tried that same strategy against MSU, and it failed miserably. Finally, against Indiana, we adjusted and run the air out of the ball on first down (with still a limited success rate but much more explosiveness).

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Passing vs. Running on first down:

Pass Avg. Yards Play SR Down SR
Total 5.56 47.06% 62.50%
Purdue 7.08 61.54% 76.92%
MSU 2.50 41.67% 50.00%
IU 3.75 25.00% 50.00%

We see that, after the Purdue game, that all of average yards, play, and down success rates took a tumble. At this point, a pass on first down is overwhelmingly likely to be setting a down on fire. The big hit seems to be the lack of explosive plays. We saw this last week as O'Korn failed to connect on a couple of wide open deep shots. This, perhaps, aside from TOs (which were nixed against IU), is the biggest limitation we have under O'Korn.

Run Avg. Yards Play  SR Down SR
Total 5.21 44.23% 68.00%
Purdue 4.19 43.75% 86.67%
MSU 3.00 42.86% 64.29%
IU 8.10 50.00% 63.16%

This is a positive trend, as the average yardage, play, and down success rate have all increased over the last 2.75 games.

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Now, again for the comparison betwen successful and successful down series:

Successful Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR
Total 63% / 37% 8.04 66.67%
Purdue 57% / 43% 6.26 60.87%
MSU 64% / 36% 4.36 71.43%
IU 75% / 25% 12 68.75%

Unsurprisingly, you can see here again that running the ball led to greater odds of successful downs, as the proportion of running plays out of successful down series was higher than passing plays overall and against every individual opponent (including even Purdue, where Michigan did pass very well).

Unsuccessful Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR
Total 57% / 43% 0.54 3.57%
Purdue 40% / 60% 2.40 20.00%
MSU 50% / 50% 0.50 0%
IU 64% / 36% -0.36 0%

Woof. This realllllly shows the importance of first down plays, as failed downs reallllly failed on first down. And failed downs had a very high proportion of first down throws relative to successful downs.

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For the last kicker, here is the comparison between drives that ended with FG attempts vs. drives that ended with TDs. Let's see if you spot anything...

FG attempts:

Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR
50% / 50% 1.5 0%

TDs:

Rush/Pass Avg. Yards Play SR
100% / 0% 14.5 87.50%

If you didn't catch that, I'll spell it out for you: RUN THE GOT DAMN BALL ON FIRST DOWN IN THE RED ZONE!!!!

Comparing Speight and O'Korn using 3 UFR-based QB metrics to control for Pass Pro & WR drops

Comparing Speight and O'Korn using 3 UFR-based QB metrics to control for Pass Pro & WR drops

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on October 7th, 2017 at 3:59 PM

 

Introduction

 

MGoBrethren,

Happy Day to all. Beat State. Beat them to an indistinguishable pulp.

With that said, I thought I'd share with all of you still sober (or black out or anxious as hell for anything else Michigan before the game) some of the analysis I've been working on since the Purdue game. I set out to review the UFR in an attempt to see whether or not "Red Zone Offense" is a thing. I ended up compiling a massive chart of all the UFRs plus a couple extra data points collected from rewatching the games. The RZ analysis is coming. But in the meantime, I wanted to share my attempt to create 3 new QB score metrics to best compare Speight and O'Korn on a level playing field.

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The QB Score metrics:

 

I have divided passing plays into two main categories:

  1. Standard passing downs (1st & >15, 2nd & >8, 3rd & >4)
  2. Standard running downs (1st & <15, 2nd & 8-, 3rd & 4-)

Then, I am filtering each category based on whether the charted pass protection is negative or possitive/NA (i.e. screen plays).

Finally, I am excluding plays where WRs dropped a catchable ball (CA/DO as charted in the UFR), or where the pass rush resulted in a charted PR.

This creates 3 types of plays:

1) Pure QBS: Passing plays on standard passing downs with non-negative pass protection scores, with WR drops on CA or DO throws excluded.

- This looks at a QB's ability to make plays on passing downs where the D is expecting pass, and the OL withstands the pass rush.

2) Explosive QBS: Passing plays on standard running downs with non-negative pass protection scores, with WR drops on CA or DO throws excluded.

- This looks at a QB's ability to make plays on theoretically unexpected passing downs, where the D may be caught off guard by the pass, and the OL provides time to deliver a throw.

3) Playmaking QBS: Passing plays on any down with negative pass protection scores, with plays killed due to PR excluded.

- This looks at a QB's ability to make plays when the pass protection fails, but not so much so that he can't still get the ball out.

I then look at each play as they fall into one of these three categories and create the following summary for each metric:

QBS Metric Speight (n=?) O'Korn (n=?)
  Yards ? ?
  Yards Per Play ? ?
  DSR %? %?
  Success Rate* %? %?
  TD/INT ?/? ?/?

*A quick note on success rate:

  • Success rate is a very interesting metric in itself. See The Mathlete vs. Bill C. for full definition and discussion of its relevance.
  • tl;dr: it has solid utility in analyzing Michigan's passing offense because the offense is average at best.

With the definitions laid out, we're onto the comparisons.

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1) Pure QBS:

 

Pure QBS Metrics Speight (n=30) O'Korn (n=13)
  Yards 275 124
  Yards Per Play 9.17 9.54
  DSR 66.67% 83.33%
  Success Rate 50% 62%
  TD/INT 1/1 0/1

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2) Explosive QBS:

 

Explosive QBS Metrics Speight (n=34) O'Korn (n=12)
  Yards 291 136
  Yards Per Play 8.56 11.33
  DSR 66.67% 75.00%
  Success Rate 50% 67%
  TD/INT 2/0 1/0

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3) Playmaking QBS:

 

Playmaking QBS Metrics Speight (n=17) O'Korn (n=6)
  Yards 43 22
  Yards Per Play 2.53 3.67
  DSR 57.14% 60%
  Success Rate 24% 33%
  TD/INT 0/0 0/0

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Analysis:

 

Go Blue, beat State. (I'm still working on breaking these down by O-form, play type--i.e. PA vs. dropback, WR vs. HB vs. TE target, route #s, pass blockers vs. pass rushers, etc. All that to come sometime soon, hopefully...)

Unconfirmed Report: Speight broke a vertebra

Unconfirmed Report: Speight broke a vertebra

Submitted by LGenius on October 2nd, 2017 at 8:46 AM
Out for the season. Per Diehard: http://www.diehardsport.com/college-football/heres-hearing-wilton-speig… Edit: I realize this story is potentially self referential, but I thought it was board material anyway, since we all don't get a chance to comb through every comment posted. Here's a link to one of umbig11's comments about Speights injury in the forums: http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/penn-state-8pm-abc#comment-4658903

Purdue Responds to Locker Room Criticisms

Purdue Responds to Locker Room Criticisms

Submitted by BoFlex on September 26th, 2017 at 7:17 AM

Purdue released an official statement on the recent criticisms of its locker room by Harbaugh:

Source/Tweet

Purdue regards the welfare of all student-athletes as its No. 1 priority. We would fully support a conversation regarding a conference-wide set of guidelines for visiting football team accommodations because we have experienced less-than-ideal conditions on the road. There IS no place for gamesmanship when it comes to player care and safety.

The after-the-fact concerns expressed by Michigan are somewhat surprising because a member of its football staff conducted a walk-thru of our facilities with our athletics department staff at Ross-Ade Stadium on July 18.

Furthermore, to help teams prepare in advance, our visiting team manual highlights in bold type "there is no air conditioning in the (visiting) locker room," with accompanying Purdue Athletics staff contact information about how to request preferred temporary accommodations. We did not receive any such request.

Basic x-ray is available within our athletic footprint and more-sophisticated capabilities are located two blocks away, similar to the arrangements at many other schools. Our sports medicine staff members, in fact, have received numerous compliments from their Michigan counterparts regarding the care they received at Purdue.

From the sounds of other Purdue blogs, and writers. There are several older athletic and non-athletic facilities on Purdue's campus that do not have permanent A/C installed. Purdue instead opts the use temporary units/chillers during the warmer months the facilities are being used, and removes them during the fall. It seems strange/idiotic that a school with resources like Purdue does not just do a campus-wide upgrade of all their facilities.

Analysis of Michigan's RZ (+ RZ-ish) plays against Air Force

Analysis of Michigan's RZ (+ RZ-ish) plays against Air Force

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on September 18th, 2017 at 3:24 PM

I made two separate posts on the board with analysis based on my mini UFR of the first and second half RZ area plays.

I've decided to combine them and update my reads based on the feedback I received on those posts. I've also added some picture break downs from a couple plays where I dinged Speight for a missed read or throw.

Here is the tl;dr which is still too long:

The biggest issue moving forward is clearly the offensive line. People like me can knock Speight all we want, and even if his culpability is closer to my hot take than those with cooler heads, at the end of the day, there's only so much he can do when the OL is a sieve. My biggest worry is that, if the OL doesn't improve fast, Speight is going to regress into Poor Damn Devin Gardner mode. In fact, my new wild conspiracy theory is that Speight's seeming regression is stemming from practice, where he has to go against our terrifying defensive line with only this year's OL sieve, which is creating and worsening this PDDG process. Hopefully it isn't affecting the progression of Peters, either.

IMO, most deficiencies in play calling ultimately comes down to the OL. What are the coaches supposed to call if the OL can't execute basic rush blocking schemes in the redzone? What are the coaches supposed to call if the OL can't block when they have more blockers than pass rushers? We all want to see more TE routes, but Air Force was getting pressure while leaving a guy dedicated to any TE leaks. One thing of note, I don't think TE or RB screens would have worked in this game, since Air Force got pressure while still leaving 1-2 guys spying the backfield on each play. I do hope to see some quicker passes moving forward. With Black gone for at least 6-8 weeks, I'm expecting to see Perry become a stronger and stronger safety blanket. He reminds me of Gallon. The guy gets open on almost every play.

All this being said, I'm pretty torn on whether or not I believe we're holding back the playbook. Maybe those easy short throw dunkers are coming. It's hard for me to believe that Perry doesn't understand the playbook enough to feature him in those plays. But it's also very easy to believe that our OL and other young receivers are struggling so much executing the basic plays we called in this game for us to move forward with other plays. We shall see in the coming weeks.

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First, a quick film session: these are two plays that should have been either a TD or long gain.

#1. Failed McDoom sweep. Watching live, I rolled my eyes at the play call for being too predictable. On a rewatch, this was a perfect play call and is an easy TD if Bunting correctly IDs his assignment.

From the snap, it's clear that there are only 3 defenders that have any leverage to make a tackle on a sweep. I can't read their numbers but they are the corner and the two DBs at the far left on the screen. And Lo, we have 3 blockers to neutralize them all: Cole, Bunting, and Mckeon.

Unfortunately, Bunting fails to ID his assignment and doubles the corner with Mckeon, leaving Cole in no-man's land to decide between taking Bunting's man or getting upfield to get to his own assignment.

Cole doesn't really have any chance at getting to Bunting's assignment, so he goes towards his man. Bunting comes off his first erroneous block, and is still in position to at least bother his man. Unfortunately, he makes a second mistake by choosin instead to go towards Cole's blocking assignment.

And the play is doomed.

This is almost assuredly a TD if Bunting correctly IDs his blocking assignment. Perfect play call to neutralize the Air Force blitz. Unfortunately, a mental error ruins it.

#2: Crawford/Perry Hi-Lo that Speight fails to read.

Pre-snap, Air Force shows a blitz from the corner covering Perry. The safety responsible for Perry is 12 yards away.

Air Force DBs are in man coverage, with a corner + LB blitz and 2 LBs dropping into zone coverage. Michigan is running a Hi-Lo on the left side, with Crawford running a fly route and Perry an out. There is only 1 corner in the area, with the safety, again, 12 yards away.

The LB fails to drop deep enough in his zone to cover the area vacated by the blitzing corner (-1 for McCray). This leaves Speight with a simple read on the corner covering Crawford. If the corner bites on the short route to Perry, he throws to Crawford. The safety is too far away to make a play on the long pass, especially considering his eyes are on Perry. If the corner sticks with Crawford (which I'm almost 100% does on this play), you throw to Perry, who breaks open with at least 6 yards of separation. This is 11 yards in the air and likely goes for more after the catch.

Instead, Speight chooses against this read in favor of going towards DPJ's drag over the middle. It is possible that this was the designed play, as there doesn't appear to be anybody over the middle to cover him if he can beat his corner. However, he is bracketed by the two LBs that dropped into zone coverage, and the passing window is not open.

Speight misses his window of opportunity, and is forced to scramble. He then fails to throw OOB and scrambles for a loss of 4 that is luckily only marked for a loss of 1. This could have been important for the FG attempt, considering he loses an additional chunk of yards on his sack + fumble the next play.

This is another great play call that gives Speight a quick and easy read and results in a wide open receiver. Speight fails to make the read, and Michigan misses out on another potential TD.

Onto the play-by-play.

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Redzone #1 (11:40 in the 1st quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 18: Air Force only rushes 4—and never shows blitz—but we leave Gentry and Isaac in for pass pro (woof). Protection is thankfully great given it’s 7v4. Perry runs a great sloping out route that shreds their zone D, gets open by a couple steps, but Speight misses the somewhat lengthy throw wide. This is a relatively tough throw, but Speight completes the same pass under extreme duress in the second half, so he is more than capable of making it. FWIW, there is an easier pass open over the middle of the field.

-1 Speight: missed throw

Play calling: +1. We have two receivers open on this play despite only running 3 routes and Air Force only rushing 4.

2nd & 10 @ the 18: Air Force has 7 in the box, we have 6 blockers. Shotgun inside hand-off to Higdon, Mckeon pulls to block inside (which looks by design), leaving an unblocked edge DE who makes the tackle after a 1-yard gain.

-1 Speight/press box: needed to audible out of that run call

Play calling: -1. See above.

3rd & 9 @ the 17: We have 5 wide w/ 5 blockers. Air Force shows 6 rushers but drops the D tackle and one LB into underneath coverage after only mini rushes. This leaves Bredneson blocking air as the edge LB gets a free rush onto Speight from the blind side, hitting Speight as he throws. Speight misses a pretty well-covered Perry too high by a half-foot on a go route in the end zone.

-1 OL: blitz pick-up

Play calling: Push. There aren't a lot of good options to go to on 3rd & long, and if Speight has more time to make a better pass, I think Perry can make that catch despite the good coverage. But it would have been nice to see a play that gets quicker/easier separation for the receivers.

Summary:

Air Force won the RPS battle on each play, and shredded our OL on 2/3 plays. The first down route by Perry was still excellent and Speight flat missed him, which was a total drive-changer. The second down play was never going to work because it left DE unblocked, which was clear before the snap, so either Speight or the press-box needed to audible there. The third down play call was fine—if Speight has more time to throw that ball better, I think Perry can make that catch even though it was covered well. Air Force just had a great disguised blitz called and our OL didn’t pick it up.

Play-calling: 1-2/3

Redzone #2 (12:40 in the 2st quarter)

1st & goal @ the 9: Air Force has 7 in the box. We run-fake out of the gun to Higdon and leave in Gentry and Higdon to block. Air Force brings only 6 (but has 1 LB taken out by play fake/covering Higdon). However, Ulizio and Gentry both block the DE, leaving an unblocked rusher who gets into Speight’s face in a hurry, as the play-fake has taken Higdon to the opposite side of the line. Speight sails a fade to totally covered Crawford out the back of the endzone, which is understandable considering he's got a free rusher right in his face.

OL: -1 blitz pick-up

Play calling: +1. Can't fault the play call for giving up pressure given there are more blockers than pass rushers. If Speight is given time to make a progression, he has Tarik Black 1-on-1 on the opposite side of the field, who gained inside leverage on a slant route.

2nd & goal @ the 9: McDoom sweep that gets blown up for no gain. This should have been a TD. We have 3 blockers for the 3 edge Air Force defenders who can possibly make this tackle. Bunting completely blows it here by not identifying who he is supposed to block as he inexplicably doubles the corner that McKeon is easily blocking, leaving Cole in no-man’s land to either fight a losing battle to block Bunting’s LB or get out to the safety. Cole chooses the safety (still not his fault, he couldn’t have made the block), leaving the LB free to get the stop for no gain. Very frustrating.

OL: -1 for Bunting run block

Play calling: +1. This was an excellent RPS and perfect call against the Air Force blitz. We just failed to execute

3rd & goal @ the 9: Michigan is in the gun with Isaac. Air Force initially shows 5 rushers but then brings the corner and LB from the strong side late, dropping the weakside LB into coverage to make it 6v6. But our OL gets absolutely crushed. Cole blocks nobody as he was expecting the weakside LB blitz. Onwenu can’t decide which of 3 rushers to block and ultimately doesn’t block anyone. Speight does an incredible job of rolling out and getting free. He then looks like he's going to tuck and run, but at the last second can't decide between that or throwing to Crawford. Neither decision is likely to get into the endzone, but running would have made us a lot closer.

Speight: +1 for roll out, -0.5 for run/pass indecision

OL: -1 blitz pick-up

Play calling: +1. This call gets Perry wide open on a corner route that will be a TD if the OL gives Speight any time to throw.

Summary:

Each of these plays could have been TDs if our blocking executes. On the first, Speight doesn't have time to make a more accurate throw to Crawford or progress on his read to see Black getting separation inside. On the second, Bunting makes a terrible mental mistake and misses his blocking assignment, turning a probably TD into no gain. On the third, Perry gets open in a hurry but the OL fails to give Speight even a fraction of second before the blitz hits home.

On both pass plays, the Air Force blitzes were as impressively designed as the blocking was atrocious. Still, the TDs were there for the taking.

Play-calling: 3/3

Not technically redzone but close enough #3 (2:12 in the 2nd quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 24: This is the play diagrammed above.

Speight: -1 missed read

OL: +1 pass protection

Play call: +1. This is a very simple read that RPS's the corner blitz perfectly.

2nd & 14 11 @ the 25: Pass out of the gun as we leave Eubanks and Isaac in again for pass pro. Air Force threatens 7 but only sends 6 (with one guy neutralized b/c he’s playing man on Isaac who doesn’t run a route), so it’s 6v7. Ulizio doesn’t identify whom to block and misses his blitzing LB assignment. The LB has a free run at Speight for the sack. Speight doesn’t have time for for the play to develop, which showed promise, as Crawford was breaking free down the middle for a solid chunk play, and Perry also looked like he was again going to get open. As Speight is getting sacked, he makes the most inexcusable decision of the game of trying to throw it away while going to the ground. His arm hits Ulizio as he’s doing this and he fumbles. The ball miraculously falls in front of Eubanks who makes a heady play to snag it, but after losing 3 additional yards.

OL: -1 blitz pick-up

Speight: -1 terrible fumble

Play call: +1. Perry looks like he's going to get open again if the OL does their job

3rd & 21 @ the 35: Isaac draw play for 4 yards to make the FG easier. Hard to fault the play call given the poor play from the OL and Speight up to that point. Also lucky for Ace that the ref missed those 3 yards from Speight’s scramble to make it a 49 yarder rather than 52 yarder (because we all know MVP Wild Thin’ Quinn Nordin woulda knocked that baby in from 60.)

Play call: +1. Needed to gain a couple sure yards to make the FG more manageable.

Summary:

Speight made his first bonafide bad passing read, failing to pull the trigger to a wide-open Perry for a bare minimum 11 yarder that easily could have scored. He followed that up with his worst basic mental error by not taking the sack and almost costing us 3 points. Pass pro finally picked up a disguised blitz, only to follow it up with the worst blow of the game on a 6v7 rush as Ulizio failed to identiy his assignment.

Play-calling: 3/3

Redzone #4 (5:15 in the 3rd quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 21: Speight makes a crazy impressive throw. Another play where we keep in the TE (Mckeon) and RB (Higdon) for pass pro. Air Force brings the house and its 7v7 for the first time. But Ulizio and Mckeon block the same guy so Air Force has an extra rusher. Luckily, the pass pro is otherwise solid, so the free rusher takes quite some time to get there. This gives Perry enough time to do his thing, getting open on a slow developing out route. Speight does a great job to stay in the pocket (especially given the pressure he’s previously faced), and makes a crazy throw that I don’t really understand the physics (looks like he throws sideways) that hits Perry in stride for 13 yards. Really amazing throw.

Speight: +3. Amazing throw.

OL: -0.5 for leaving free rusher but still gives exactly enough time for Speight to make the throw

Play-calling: Push. This was a very slow developing pass, which doesn’t really make sense given the pressure that was getting there all day. I guess they were betting on their OL to do its job for the first time, which is either stubbornness or luckiness depending on the shade of your glasses. IMO, it isn’t a great adjustment from the first half, but it worked, so que sera, sera.

1st & goal @ the 8: We have 3 TEs and a FB in for the first rush on first down from the redzone. I think the trio of TEs are Gentry on the rush side and Bunting + Mckeon on the weakside (but can’t really see clearly). Tl;dr, the blocking on this was bad, but I’ll wait for Brian to tell me who to blame. This is a stretch play with Higdon. My take: the inside TE (either Bunting or Mckeon) on the weakside misses his block, Ulizio misses his, and Onwenu and Krugler and up both slip upfield to block the same LB. Overall, not good, Bob. Higdon gets stuffed for a half-yard gain.

OL: -1 run blocking

Play calling: +1. Have to expect your OL to be able to block this basic play.

2nd & goal @ the 7.5: This was a fantastic play call by the Air Force D. They have 6 in the box and show all as blitzing. This is the first time nobody actually blitzes. Michigan keeps the TE and RB in the backfield once again for pass pro, leaving us at 7v4. Air Force +++. We make a play call that expects the blitz, a short flat route to Perry that still requires a relatively impressive play from the Air Force corner to stuff for no gain.

Speight: Push. This was a designed play and there’s nothing else there.

OL: Push. At least they didn’t get beat on 7v4.

Play calling: Push. Air Force just made a better call on this play. This play call made sense, but, as Harbaugh said in the presser, Air Force guessed right that it was coming. I think he was really referring on the second half play calls by Air Force, and this one especially.

3rd & goal @ the 8: The Isaac draw play. This play was never going to work and, like in the first half run, either Speight or the booth failed for not changing it based on the pre-snap blitz. We had 5 blockers for 7 rushers, that was never never never going to work.

Speight: -1 for not calling an audible.

OL: Push. Put in a position to fail.

Play calling: -1 for not calling an audible or time out. This was never going to work.

Summary:

Speight made the best throw from the redzone(-ish) area and then the play calling was outdone by Air Force. The 3rd & goal play call was the only inexcusable one. The others were just failed execution and/or Air Force making the right call.

Not technically yet the Redzone #5 (00:37 in the 3rd quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 29: Corner is giving Black 6 yards of cushion and Speight zings it over for an easy 8 yards.

Speight: Good throw.

Play calling: +1. This was frustrating to watch live because it seemed like it was begging to be called earlier in the game. But, better late than never.

2nd & 3 @ the 21.5: Sweep play to Higdon. Onwenu pulls and blocks nobody until going to the second level. Higdon does a good job to battle for 2 yards and the refs reward him with an extra yard on the marking to give us the first down.

OL: -1 on Onwenu blocking air.

RB: Higdon +1 for grinding out yards.

Refs: +1 for extra yard given.

Play calling: +1. The call made sense. Again, it wasn’t executed well.

1st @ 10 @ the 19: Air Force has 7 in the box and brings an 8th prior to the snap. Michigan leaves the TE and RB in once again, this time on a play fake. Air Force only brings 5 but is still confusingly leaving 2 players to spy the TE and RB, neutralizing them on the play. The OL does serviceable in a 7v5 situation, but there is some push up the middle, which seemingly spooks Speight. Speight lets it go half a second too early and throws off his back foot, even though he does have room to step into the throw. This causes the throw to go a step past McDoom, who breaks free in the endzone at the last second on a solid post route.

Speight: -1. He has a Poor Damn Devin Gardner moment and gets spooked by the pass rush despite adequate protection, and releases the ball a second too early + off his back foot, failing to give McDoom a chance on the ball.

OL: -0.25 for ceding too a little too much ground given the 7v5 blocking advantage. Still did enough to get the job done.

Play calling: Push. Again, hard to say this slow developing play makes 100% sense given the OL struggles. Would have liked to see a quicker pass. But, the play succeeded to get a player open as called, the OL did hold up enough, Speight just didn’t deliver.

2nd & 10 @ the 19: Counter run play that fails miserably. Again, I’m not too great at understanding run blocking schemes, but Gentry blocks air, which gets a Not Good, Bob. Onwenu releases to the second level to block an LB, which leaves Ulizio in a tough position to make a block on the DE who already has inside leverage. Ulizio cannot make the block, and the DE swallows Higdon for no gain.

OL: -2 for Gentry blocking air and the right side doing inexperienced right side things.

Play calling: I mean, what are they supposed to do when the OL can’t pass protect or run block?

3rd & 10 @ the 19: Michigan again keeps the TE and RB in for pass protection. Air Force brings 6 and it’s 7v6. Pass protection holds up. Routes are a fly by Crawford, an in by Perry, and a hitch by DPJ. Perry is bracketed and not open for the first time all day, DPJ’s hitch would take a perfectly timed pass and could easily be intercepted if thrown, and Speight goes with the what looks like the primary read which is Crawford’s fly route. This is a very low percentage throw and very difficult pass. Speight doesn’t keep it in bounds to give Crawford a chance.

Speight: -0.25 for not keeping the ball in bounds. But, this is a very low probability play anyways.

OL: +1 for solid blitz pick up.

Play calling: -1. Not a lot of good options on 3rd and long when the OL hasn’t been great at pass blocking. An incredibly tough fly fade is not a good option.

Summary:

An offense isn’t going to do well in the redzone when it can’t run block down there. Speight throwing off his back foot to miss a TD doesn’t put warm, fuzzy feelings in your belly, but by that point, the pass protection had to be giving him a little bit of Devin Gardner syndrome. Otherwise, uninspiring play calls.

Analysis of first half redzone attempts versus Air Force

Analysis of first half redzone attempts versus Air Force

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on September 17th, 2017 at 7:53 PM

I’m feeling super hermit crabby today and I’m too impatient to wait for Brian’s UFR so I decided to use WD’s highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xNoJwnGkVk) to break down where the redzone drives went wrong. Mods feel free to move this to the Diary section or delete it if it is stepping too hard on Brian’s toes, whatever you see fit. Also, I set out to do the whole game but got too tired/frustrated and only did the first half. If the response is positive I’ll do the second half tonight.

 

I don’t want to put the tl;dr here because I fear nobody will actually read the rest and blow this off as a hot take (and I’m acknowledging right now the out huuuuge sample size asterisk), but, here it is:

-  The play-calling was very solid except for maybe one or two exceptions. Specifically, I thought the calls were good on 7.5/9 plays.

- Perry is a fantastic route runner and got open on almost every play.

- The pass protection was as bad as they looked live. Air Force called some great disguised blitzes that will probably make Don Brown nod in respect during film sessions, and our OL was devastated even though we had equal or sometimes more blockers than rushers on every play.

- We left a TE and RB on pass pro on 4/6 throws, but they still got pressure on 2 of those plays. Woof.

- The run blocking on the McDoom sweep cost us a TD.

- Speight was terrible. Yes, this is a teensy tiny sample size. Yes, the OL was relatively more terrible. But watching it live, I thought that the OL was so bad that it gave Speight no chance to make any plays. And it almost was. But on 6 pass plays, he missed a huge pass or read on 4/5 throws, and had 1 inexcusable fumble that almost cost us 3 points.

 

Redzone #1 (11:40 in the 1st quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 18: Air Force only rushes 4—and never shows blitz—but we leave Gentry and Isaac in for pass pro (woof). Protection is thankfully great given it’s 7v4. Perry runs a great sloping out route that shreds their zone D, gets open by a couple steps, but Speight misses the somewhat lengthy throw wide.

-1 Speight: missed throw

2nd & 10 @ the 18: Air Force has 7 in the box, we have 6 blockers. Shotgun inside hand-off to Higdon, Mckeon pulls to block inside (which looks by design), leaving an unblocked edge DE who makes the tackle after a 1-yard gain.

-1 Speight or coaching: needed to audible out of that run call

3rd & 9 @ the 17: We have 5 wide w/ 5 blockers. Air Force shows 6 rushers but drops the D tackle and one LB into underneath coverage after only mini rushes. This leaves Bredneson blocking air as the edge LB gets a free rush onto Speight from the blind side, hitting Speight as he throws. Speight misses a pretty well-covered Perry too high by a half-foot on a go route in the end zone.

-1 OL: blitz pick-up

Summary:

Air Force won the RPS battle on each play, and shredded our OL on 2/3 plays. The first down route by Perry was still excellent and Speight flat missed him, which was a total drive-changer. The second down play was never going to work because it left DE unblocked, which was clear before the snap, so either Speight or the press-box needed to audible there. The third down play call was fine—if Speight has more time to throw that ball better, I think Perry can make that catch even though it was covered well. Air Force just had a great disguised blitz called and our OL didn’t pick it up.

Play-calling: 2/3

 

Redzone #2 (12:40 in the 2st quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 9: Air Force has 7 in the box. We run-fake out of the gun to Higdon and leave in Gentry and Higdon to block. Air Force brings only 6 (but has 1 LB taken out by play fake/covering Higdon). However, Ulizio and Gentry both block the DE, leaving an unblocked rusher who gets into Speight’s face in a hurry. Speight sails a fade to totally covered Crawford out the back of the endzone. Speight is locked into Crawford the whole way, and while he doesn’t have any time to get through his progression given the free rusher, he has Tarik Black 1-on-1 on the opposite side of the field. If Speight reads this pre-snap, it’s an easy TD as Black easily gets inside leverage on his slant route.

-0.5 Speight: missed read

-1 OL: blitz pick-up

2nd & 10 @ the 9: McDoom sweep that gets blown up for no gain. This should have been a TD. We have 3 blockers for the 3 edge Air Force defenders who can possibly make this tackle. Bunting completely blows it here by not identifying who he is supposed to block as he inexplicably doubles the corner that McKeon is easily blocking, leaving Cole in no-man’s land to either fight a losing battle to block Bunting’s LB or get out to the safety. Cole chooses the safety (still not his fault, he couldn’t have made the block), leaving the LB free to get the stop for no gain. Very frustrating.

-1 Bunting run block

3rd & 10 @ the 9: Michigan is in the gun with Isaac. Air Force initially shows 5 rushers but then brings the corner and LB from the strong side late, dropping the weakside LB into coverage to make it 6v6. But our OL gets absolutely crushed. Cole blocks nobody as he was expecting the weakside LB blitz. Onwenu can’t decide which of 3 rushers to block and ultimately doesn’t block anyone. Speight does an incredible job of rolling out and getting free. Unfortunately, he is locked on Crawford because he has Perry breaking wiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open on a devastatingly beautiful post route in the back corner of the endzone and there is nobody even close to him. Easy, easy, easy TD if he sees him. Instead, he can’t decide between running or throwing to a completely covered Crawford and chooses to patty cake pass it for an incompletion.

-1 Speight: missed read

-1 OL: blitz pick-up

Summary:

Each of these plays could have been TDs if our guys make plays. On the first, Speight missed a read on having Black with 1-on-1 who runs a great route to get separation inside. On the second, Bunting makes a terrible mental mistake and misses his blocking assignment, turning a probably TD into no gain. On the third, Speight makes a fantastic play to roll out of pressure but doesn’t keep his eyes downfield and misses Perry, who ran a beautiful route to get utterly wide open. This is even less excusable because Perry is clearly the #1 WR given that Speight is looking at him before the pocket collapses.

On both pass plays, the Air Force blitzes were as impressively designed as the blocking was atrocious. Still, the TDs were there for the taking.

Play-calling: 2.5/3

 

Not technically redzone but close enough #3 (2:12 in the 2nd quarter)

1st & 10 @ the 24: I’m running out of steam and getting more frustrated. Perry is wide open on yet another great corner route which would have gone for ~11 yards in the air and, with a decent throw, he had enough separation to likely get in the endzone. Air Force has 7 in the box, but the corner on Perry shows blitz well before the snap, ends up being the only rusher as they send 5. We again leave Gentry and Isaac in for protection, and finally pick it up. Speight is looking towards the left at either Crawford or Perry (I’m praying it’s Crawford), and doesn’t see that Perry is wide wide wide wide open, and holds onto the ball until the pocket collapses and he scrambles out of bounds (rather than throw the ball away) for a loss of 4 yards that the ref bafflingly marks as only a loss of 1.

-1 Speight: missed read

2nd & 14 11 @ the 25: Pass out of the gun as we leave Eubanks and Isaac in again for pass pro. Air Force threatens 7 but only sends 6 (with one guy neutralized b/c he’s playing man on Isaac who doesn’t run a route), so it’s 6v7. Ulizio doesn’t identify whom to block and misses his blitzing LB assignment. The LB has a free run at Speight for the sack. Speight doesn’t have time for for the play to develop, which showed promise, as Crawford was breaking free down the middle for a solid chunk play, and Perry also looked like he was again going to get open. As Speight is getting sacked, he makes the most inexcusable decision of the game of trying to throw it away while going to the ground. His arm hits Ulizio as he’s doing this and he fumbles. The ball miraculously falls in front of Eubanks who makes a heady play to snag it, but after losing 3 additional yards.

-1 OL: blitz pick-up

-1 Speight: terrible fumble

3rd & 21 @ the 35: Isaac draw play for 4 yards to make the FG easier. Hard to fault the play call given the poor play from the OL and Speight up to that point. Also lucky for Ace that the ref missed those 3 yards from Speight’s scramble to make it a 49 yarder rather than 52 yarder (because we all know MVP Wild Thin’ Quinn Nordin woulda knocked that baby in from 60.)

Summary:

Speight again missed a wide-open Perry for a bare minimum 11 yarder that easily could have scored. He followed that up with his worst basic mental error by not taking the sack and almost costing us 3 points. Pass pro finally picked up a disguised blitz, only to follow it up with the worst blow of the game on a 6v7 rush as Ulizio failed to identiy his assignment.

Play-calling: 3/3

Jim Harbaugh: 3 quarterbacks battling for starting job (ESPN)

Jim Harbaugh: 3 quarterbacks battling for starting job (ESPN)

Submitted by GoBlueinEugene on July 25th, 2017 at 4:33 PM

LINK

"[Speight] comes in really tied for first with John O'Korn and Brandon Peters, legitimately, through competition," Harbaugh said. "Throughout all the spring, we went through 15 practices and it was a dead heat. But the good news is they all did some things. Brandon really shot up. John O'Korn really played consistently good. And Wilton really had some impressive moments as well."

Wilton Speight (MGoVideo)

Wilton Speight (MGoVideo)

Submitted by LLG on June 15th, 2017 at 8:12 AM

Wilton Speight - Michigan Football Doppelgänger by Michael Spath 

The article begins:  "When he completed his redshirt sophomore year at Michigan, John Navarre was 11-5 as a starting quarterback, had thrown for 3,018 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, almost an exact 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio."

Spath has a series of these videos:

Here