Seeing as we just came off of a great performance against good ol' Ron Zook, I figured I'd pass along an "Uninformed Zook" meme bank that I came across earlier today. Many of them are pretty funny, but here's one referencing last year's Michigan game:
There's quite a few gems in there across eight pages that had me laughing. Hopefully these start popping up across the interwebs. Share your favorites.
[Ed: argh, having some editing issues. Bump.]
"Play hard and play with great effort"
Immediately after the game, I was struggling to come up with a thru-line for what had just happened. But then Brian posted "Defensive Annhilation Muppets" and then the video of Mattison getting emotional surfaced. And for a moment I thought, 'you guys are over-reacting. Illinois does not have a good offense'. I like when coaches just give coachspeak. But then I thought about the last three years and yeah, it makes sense. The difference in emotion between Chip Kelly's comments and Mattison's are where you're starting from.
A couple of years from now, a win like this will only be notable for constructive criticism. There were a lot of bad plays that need to be corrected. But given the circumstances of where we were last year and what we were expected to be this year and the fact that we're 8-2 with a decent chance of picking up at least one more win and a very small chance of getting to 11 wins, emotional celebration is more than appropriate.
What a difference a week makes!
Al Borges didn't have a great game against Iowa, and I pointed that out. He had a much better gameplan this week. I don't know if he or anyone close to him reads blogs or not, but he responded to several very specific criticisms leveled here last week.
Holding the backside DE
I mentioned something about a lack of reverses.
Thanks Al! Odoms is coming from his slot position to take an end around fake. Not only did it hold the backside OLB and prevent the DE from crashing down on Denard, it also froze the MLB just enough for Fitz to run right by him.
But that wasn't the only trick up Al's sleeve. He pulled out another wrinkle from the Richrod days.
One of the problems with protecting Denard and limiting his carries is that the DE that you're optioning on the zone read doesn't have to respect the keep and is free to chase the TB. But here we see Koger coming from his H-back wing to block #9.
The O-line is getting good lateral movement and both Denard and Koger are eliminating defenders from the pursuit.
One caveat is that their safeties were pretty bad (someone mentioned they had backups in the game). #5 has badly misread this play, and he's too slow to catch Fitz anyway. Meanwhile, if you wonder how a guy can get over 100 yards in the first quarter, you can bet he's breaking tackles. This arm tackle didn't even slow him down.
This arm tackle slowed him down,
but it didn't stop him.
So Fitz had about 45 yards of YAC from the first arm tackle and then about another 15 yards of super YAC downfield.
The offense as a whole had a much better day (despite some derpiness in the 2nd and 3rd quarters). The O-line was doing a great job with the zone blocking in the first quarter and opened up some nice running lanes.
Here we've got Hopkins blocking the DE from his FB position instead of Koger, but the result is about the same. Gallon cracks down on his man and Omameh does a good job scraping off the double team and getting to the linebacker.
Huyge takes his man where he wants to go and it opens up a nice line.
On this next play, there's only 5 in the box because the OLB's are out on the slot receivers.
Molk does an excellent job of tracking down his man and we've got a hat on a hat.
The Zen of zone blocking is you just get on your man and take him away from the play using his own impetus. Of course you need a guy like Fitz back there who is patient enough and has good vision to see the hole developing.
Even though the OLB crashes down for contain, he's nowhere near Fitz and Denard has read him properly. If this were the pros Fitz would be owing five really large guys a nice dinner for this play.
The Numbers Game
We had some issues in the red zone last week. Part of that is due to Iowa's talent on the D-line and part of it is having Denard sitting in the pocket or handing off or otherwise not putting pressure on the defense to account for him.
If this were a normal pitch play or off-tackle dive, it would've been completely stuffed because they've got more defenders than we've got blockers on the playside. But when Denard keeps it, we've got an even matchup and Denard just has to pick his way through and find a hole.
But what really makes this play work is that Omameh gets a great cut block, upending his man. Now we've got 6 blockers against their 5 defenders and Denard with no one to track him down.
Omameh's block freed up Molk to get on the pursuing linebacker and the result is an easy touchdown for shoelace.
So what happened in the 2nd Quarter? Well let's compare to a play where we don't have a numbers advantage.
They've got 9 defenders in the box with both safeties playing up. If Denard has the freedom to audible (or we had gotten to the line with more than 8 seconds so that the coaches could call a check play #misshightempo), then he should be throwing a fade or "z out" to Roundtree at the bottom of the screen. We've got 9 in the box, but because we're in I form, the defense doesn't have to account for the QB (as his first 5 steps are backwards).
The play is a lead draw. The line shows pass blocking and then the center or whoever is free is supposed to head upfield after a couple beats. But this call means that Illinois has a lot of unblocked defenders. It doesn't help that Molk misreads the defense and doesn't scrape off to one of the linebackers. This means that Hopkins has three unblocked people he has to choose from. If Denard had been running, then both Hopkins and Fitz would have hit the MLBs so Denard would just have to juke the safety to get in the endzone.
Instead, Hopkins gets one LB and the other stuffs Fitz for a loss with both safeties racing up to make sure he doesn't fall forward.
[ed: follow the jump.]
Just a few things. Questions, comments, this and that:
- The Juice was awesome yesterday. I think it's just that simple. He was flying all over the field breaking tackle after tackle. Much to our dismay his accuracy is much improved from his hilariously awful Freshman year.
- Barwis or no Barwis I think our D got gased yesterday. The amount of big plays they gave up, the stupid mistakes the offense made that put them in bad situations, and having to chase that G-D Juice all over the place took their toll. Last week against Wisky they didn't have to chase the QB around, which helped them in the 4th. Yesterday? Not so much. In the 4th quarter there was no hope, and the offense and special teams offered absolutely nothing to stop the bleeding by turning the ball over again and again.
- The damage that Juice did does not bode well for the OSU and Penn State games. PLUS those are on the road. Could get ugly in Happy Valley and in the snake pit. However, teams with Water Buffalo types at QB are on notice from our D: MSU, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern and Toledo. That puts them at 7-5. Please?
- I posted this as a comment earlier, but this is so mind-bendingly stoooopid I'll repeat it here for your entertainment. The lady in the row behind me said this, and she was completely serious. The score at the time? 17-14 Illinois:
- "They need to start throwing the ball more, this is getting
ridiculous. I think they need to put Sheridan in, he's the better
passer, I'm sorry but it's true."
- "They need to start throwing the ball more, this is getting
- Anyone else hear anything close to that stupid and annoying? I'd love to hear it from you.
- Those big plays were killers. Michigan's offense just can't exchange TD's like that. I believe in his preview Brian said they couldn't give up anymore than 3 big plays? According to chitownblue they gave up like 7???!!!!!! Holy Shit!
- Ron Zook = AAAAAAAASSSSHOLE?? Why was Juice in the whole game? Jesus H it was apparent with like 10 minutes to go in the 4th that it was over over over. He almost paid for it too when Graham (I believe) leveled Juice toward the end of the game. I'm not one to laugh over players getting injured, but ha ha bitches, serves you right.
- What happened to "Duel Threet"? It really seemed to me that the Illini were selling out on the handoff on those zone reads. It seemed like Threet could have had another 58-yard keeper. Perhaps that's what happened on the Shaw fumble?
- The special team (we're special!) fumbles continue. At this point we can probably consider the kickoff and punt return team to be = EPIC FAIL. I've never seen so many fumbles on returns!!! Has there ever, in the history of College Football, been a team this cursed at kick returns? At this point if they were anywhere near as reliable as last years laughable unit it would be considered a success!