Upon Further Review: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2008 at 1:55 PM

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Note 2: I provide +/- for offensive players here but don't track it like I do for defenders. I'm thinking about trying that again—didn't work so great the first time—but right now they're just indications of things I thought were good or bad plays from the players in question.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Zone read bubble(?) Mathews 7
Safety comes up late to provide a third guy in the box; Michigan runs the zone read and Threet keeps it as he sees the DE crashing down. Playside LB is Crum, unblocked; when he comes up to tackle Threet throws to Mathews. Mathews(+1) does a good job of picking up significant yards after contact. (CA, 3, screen) Not sure what to term this because it's not really a bubble screen since there's no one to block.
M16 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 5
Molk and Moosman double the playside DT; Schilling(+1) does a good job reading the DE's upfield flight and shoving him up and out of the play. With Crum shooting backside to contain Michigan just has to deal with one LB and a filling safety; McGuffie just runs outside the LB; Butler(-1) whiffs on the safety, forcing McGuffie to head outside and into the traffic caused by two wide receivers blocking two corners. Odoms(+1) did a good job with his larger opponent, FWIW.
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive McGuffie 11
This time the non-Crum LB is lined up to the zone read rollout side; he blitzes. ND appears to be expecting a stretch, as it moves a safety up in the box; Michigan runs it up the gut. Good blocks by the entire left side of the line (+1 for all!) move the LOS downfield a yard or two and give McGuffie the ability to smoothly cut into the outside lane. Meanwhile, the nickel corner is busy defending the bubble screen fake and McGuffie has acres. If he can make Bruton miss he's gone; he can't.
M32 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run Dive McGuffie -2

Odoms coming around in motion as a potential pitchman. Clear screwup by the OL here as Molk immediately heads to the second level and Moosman allows the DT to slant inside, as he expects Molk to pick him up. IMO, the idea is for Moosman to shove the DT over to Molk. As it is, the unblocked DT is into the backfield and McGuffie slips trying to cut.

Evidence of the screwup: after the play, Moosman barks at Molk.

M30 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Stop Butler 5 (Pen -15)
Threet comes down to Butler, and Rodriguez is totally correct about this play: the guard was not engaged whatsoever with the ND player. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M15 2 27 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Swing Minor -6
The disastrous swing pass fumble. 1) it makes no sense to me that this play would be designed to be a lateral. The risk is obvious and the upside is zero. IMO: execution error by Threet to throw it so soon; Minor would be ahead of him if he waited an extra second. 2) It's a little high and a little behind Minor, but dude he gets both hands on it in a pretty easy position. (IN, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. If we didn't suck we'd be good!
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive Schilling -2
Kuntz is lined up slightly to the playside of Schilling(-1) and burrows inside him, directly into the path of McGuffie. Moosman help expected? Doesn't look like it.
M12 2 12 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Flare McGuffie 1
Looks like they're trying to stretch ND horizontally as five guys run little stop routes. Threet picks McGuffie's flare; the corner comes up too fast for him to make anything out of it. Had to get rid of the ball because an unblocked blitzer was on the way. (CA, 3, protection 0/1, team -1)
M11 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Skinny post Mathews 16
Minor's flare route momentarily gets the LB to freak out, providing a small window in which this skinny post can fit; Threet gets it over the linebacker and into Matthews. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Quality throw into a tight spot.
M27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 11
Michigan is wiping out the backside LB and DE here just with the zone read stuff, which allows Molk and Moosman to again double the playside DT. Schilling(+1) shoves the DE upfield again and McGuffie heads through the same hole he did before. Now he slows up a bit, allowing the double to gain more ground and engulf the linebacker; Carson Butler(+1) does get a thumping block on a safety, eventually pancaking him. McGuffie into the secondary again where Bruton is the last man.
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 4
Very similar to the last play except Butler takes the DE as Schilling heads downfield. The DE holds his ground and discards Butler(-1), closing down an otherwise gaping hole as the same double(+1 Mo&Mo) on the NT again swept up a linebacker; Schilling(-1) whiffed his block on the safety, too.
M42 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Stop Stonum 5
Zone read fake and they get a corner blitzing right off the intended receiver. Threet stands in and hits his guy, though he stared him down and drew the safety right to him, making this a tough catch for Stonum. Note: McGuffie was tasked with cutting an unblocked defensive end, which... yeesh. He is not a good pass blocker at this point. Note2: You send Butler on a seam here and it's major yardage except for the dodgy McGuffie blocking. Maybe something to return to in the future with Minor. (CA, 2, protection 1/2, McGuffie -1)
M47 3 1 I-Form Twins Nickel Run Inside zone McGuffie -1
Molk(-1) blown into the backfield immediately. Dorrestein(-1) knocked back, too; McGuffie(-1) makes a bad cut; players converge because the blocking angles are all screwed up.
M46 3 2 Spread Punt Punt Return Run Rugby fake Zoltan 13
He is from space.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 2
Slightly different with Schilling and Butler doubling the DE and only a momentary double on the NT before Moosman(+1) peels into the second level. Molk gets driven back and McGuffie has to step through a diving tackle attempt; once he's through he's got a gaping cavernous hole to the outside that he misses, instead shooting upfield into a pursuing DT that McAvoy(-1) delayed but did not fully cut.
O43 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass PA Fly Mathews Inc
M knows they've got one on one coverage outside and they go after it. Mathews has like half a step on his guy – no Manningham he – but does a spectacular job of tracking it over his shoulder and making a diving grab. It does appear the nose of the ball impacts the ground, but this is so close it was going to stand either way. If you put a gun to my head I'd say it's incomplete. (CA+, 1, protection 2/2)
O43 3 8 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Jailbreak screen McGuffie 2
Looks like ND's got the right play on here and Crum's looking for this from the snap. He's out to McGuffie too fast to be avoided. I wonder if this should be run further inside? Michigan's linemen have no shot at getting out on this. (CA, 3, screen.)
O41 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Wheel Odoms Inc
Ugh: Butler is a million years wide open on a simple dumpoff after faking a pass block and releasing. Instead, Threet goes for the Odoms wheel, on which he's open by a good step and a half; it's underthrown badly and Odoms can't make the adjustment. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-14, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run ISQD Brown 0
ND walks a safety up; Schilling can't get out on the linebacker and he takes out Minor; Brown is forced to cut up; can we just abandon this until we can run something else out of this formation?
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Stop Savoy Inc
Threet misses the linebacker and rifles a ball he needed to float over the guy; he drops the interception. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M25 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass Comeback Mathews 16
Moosman gives a bit too much ground and Threet ends up stepping into him, which makes the throw a bit inaccurate; Mathews(+1) drove off his guy to get separation, then makes an excellent diving catch to keep the drive alive. (CA, 1, protection 1/2, Moosman -1)
M41 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch Minor 9
Moosman(+1) bursts into the DT, knocking him back by himself and eventually pancaking him. Schilling(-1) is essentially beaten by the ND DE, but Minor(+1) runs through his tackle and into the secondary. Diving tackle from the LB brings him to a halt eventually.
50 2 1 Shotgun Trips Nickel Pass Bubble screen Odoms 14
Michigan knows they have this with the nickelback lined up inside of Odoms and well inside of Butler. Butler(+1) and Savoy(+1) get a couple of good downfield blocks and move the chains. (CA, 3, screen)
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch Minor -4
ND blitzes Bruton—well timed—and McGuffie(-1) whiffs his block. Not a huge fan of having Minor and McGuffie in there with McGuffie a lead blocker.
O40 2 14 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Flare screen McGuffie 40
Not sure what to call this one either: McGuffie goes in motion just before M snaps the ball, which makes this playcall seem pretty obvious. It's too late for ND to back out of their call, though, which his a zone blitz that sees the nickel corner and the LB nearest McGuffie blitz themselves out of the play. Odoms gets a good block, as does Schilling. Crum had to overrun the play to get the ball back inside and does; McGuffie cuts past one linebacker and picks up a convoy of blockers ten yards downfield. He spins off one of his own linemen and sort of jogs into the endzone. (CA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-21, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 29 + 15
For a while this looks like it's not going to develop but at the last moment just enough of a crease opens up between Molk(+1) and McAvoy, single blocking the playside DE and DT. Meanwhile, Dorrestein(+1) has plowed Crum out of the play. Once McGuffie is through the crease he's jetting. Bruton again shoves him out. Notre Dame picks up a weak personal foul well after the play.
O29 1 10 Shotgun Trips Nickel Pass Bubble screen Odoms -9
The ND corner reads this and jumps it before Michigan even throws it. Good play from him; risky if we fake it. Odoms actually spins out of the tackle attempt, but only manages to lose five more yards as a result (CA, 3, screen)
O38 2 19 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 10
Grady in as the other RB and used as a lead blocker. ND blitzes a linebacker who gets picked up by Molk(+1) and as the play stretches to the sideline McGuffie just squeezes through the small crease between Moosman and Schilling; McGuffie runs through the tackle of the backside DT. Once Molk picked up the blitzing LB and that crease showed up there was no one between McGuffie and the secondary.
O29 3 9 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Scramble Threet 23
Both backs stay in; Threet can't find anyone open downfield but notices that there's no one between him and the goal line and takes off on a Navarre-esque buffalo ramble. (TA, N/A)
O6 1 G Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 0
McGuffie forced to cut back as there's obviously not going to be a crease on the frontside; Moosman(-1) helps Molk shove the backside DT downfield on a momentary double, but then, weirdly, peels back to try to block the backside DE, who's already been cut to the ground by Schilling. When Molk passes off his guy to block Crum he becomes unblocked instead of having Moosman in his face and McGuffie's cutback ends with a faceful of DT. Moosman doesn't peel back here and this is probably McGuffie heading to the corner for a TD.
O6 2 G I-Form Big Base 4-3 Pass Waggle Butler Inc
Iso fake into a waggle rollout and Threet has two guys in his face immediately. Not a fan of this playcall as it's a pretty obvious one. Threet chucks one off his back foot to Butler, who is sort of open if he can put it in the right place; he can't. Tough throw. (IN, 0, protection N/A)
O6 3 G Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Jailbreak screen Babb 0
Good playcall for the situation as ND is blitzing and all Michigan has to do is pick off one guy with Moosman and it's an easy touchdown. Unfortunately, Threet throws this too far outside, forcing Babb to come to a stop and robbing Moosman of the angle he needs to block the guy. Babb needs to be moving when he catches this ball. (IN, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: FG(23), 10-21, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun Trips Nickel Pass Bubble screen seam Stonum 20
M fakes the bubble screen to exploit the over-aggressive ND corners; this gets Stonum a window of opportunity down the sideline as both corners bite on it. Stonum ends up having to dive for this ball but I think it's actually perfectly thrown and it was only a Stonum stumble when he made the fake block on the DB that makes this a difficult, diving catch. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Zone read bubble Odoms 7
Threet goes with a zone read keeper for a bit, again deciding to toss it out to Odoms on the perimeter when he gets shut down. The ball is actually significantly behind Odoms and he has to make a leaping catch, then pirouette. He's one-on-one with a corner and nearly beats him before being tackled by his armband. (CA-, 2, screen)
O33 2 3 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 6
DE shoots inside on this one, driving McAvoy back a bit but stumbling, at which point McAvoy buries him. This naturally leaves a sizeable crease; Molk's guy gets playside of him but the backside pursuit ran upfield at the snap and out of the play. McGuffie into the secondary, where McCarthy brings him down.
O27 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Triple option dive Grady 1
Good stunt gets a DE into the hole unblocked; Schilling(-1) beaten by his guy, and Grady has nowhere to go as the two converge.
O26 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 3-2-6 Dime Pass Slant Stonum 10
Odoms runs a bubble screen route, which gets the short zone defender to come up on it and opens up a window for this slant. Threet is a little out in front of this one, again taking Stonum off his feet. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie -1 (Pen + 8)
McGuffie tackled by his facemask, which draws no flag from the side judge staring right the F at him. An umpire finally throws the flag. If not for the facemask this probably gets 2-4 yards; hard to tell.
O8 1 G Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 2
Safety comes up late and blitzes hard, taking out Grady and forcing McGuffie to head outside. Dorrestein doesn't have an angle on the LB and Odoms isn't prepared for the play to break outside so McGuffie has two guys to deal with. It looks like he's trying to stutter-step and head outside the corner when the LB closes him down.
O6 2 G Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Triple option dive Grady 6
Triple option fake holds the unblocked playside DE and blitzing safety outside; Dorrestein(+1) blows up Crum and McAvoy has an easy angle to block the playside DT. Then it's just up to Grady(+2), and he impressively carries the other ND LB into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-28, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 11
McAvoy(+1) and Molk(+1) double the playside DT, driving him back, and the playside DE gets upfield. Big holes. Problem: backside DT was not effectively blocked, as Moosman just sort of pushed the guy a bit, then moved downfield, as Schilling(-1) fails to cut him. McGuffie runs through his arm tackle and is into the secondary.
M37 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 0
Playside DE manages to slice between McAvoy and Dorrestein this time, forcing a cutback. With the DT being wrestled to the ground by Molk – holding for sure – there's a gap, except that Schilling's(-1) guy has come around the outside of him and tackles. Schilling needs to hold that block just a little longer.
M37 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Yakety Sax Threet -8
Fumbles as he tries to throw. Not charted.
M28 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Not exactly the world's most shocking throw with a freshman QB on third and 18, so the DB is running the WR's route for him. Mathews is more defender than receiver. (BR, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-28, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M10 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 3
Massive cutback lane momentarily looks available as the WLB has kept contain on the zone read and the weakside DE got cut; unfortunately, McAvoy(-1) can't control Williams, so he can't take it. The frontside looks jammed up until the Moosman-Molk double begins blowing guys off the ball; McGuffie appears to have a lane until Williams tracks him down.
M13 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 17
ND sends a safety late and there are two guys flying upfield at Threet at the snap; he hands off. Dorrestein(+1) blows his DE downfield, opening up a massive cutback lane McGuffie takes into the secondary. Good vision from McGuffie.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive McGuffie 6
Decent-to-good one-on-one block from McAvoy on the interior; the ND DT takes a wrong step, allowing Schilling to seal him off; McGuffie sets up his blockers and then shoots into a gap for a decent gain. A little bit better block from McAvoy and maybe he's more comfortable cutting it to Moosman, who's getting a second level block, and into the secondary.
M36 2 4 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch Grady -2
One of the rare times Michigan's consistent double-teaming of the playside DT doesn't end up with that DT well downfield; this time he gets good push on Moosman(-1). Ethan Johnson shoots inside of Molk(-1), too; Grady(-1) looks at all this and decides to cut back instead of head outside like he should; all this slicing up had left the outside wide open and that's where his lead blocker was going.
M34 3 6 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Stop Mathews Inc
Excellent blitz pickup and protection from the line. Threet finds an open receiver and throws an ugly duck out to him—rain. Mathews flat drops it. There was a DB making it a little tough and the aforementioned rain, but this is a drop. (CA, 2, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-28, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie -1
Playside DT is not effectively doubled this time as McAvoy(-1) just sort of glides along and Molk attempts to hold his man off. Molk gets shoved back into McGuffie; Grady(-1) is being used as a lead blocker and uselessly starts futzing with the DE instead of trying to deal with Bruton, brought up as another man in the box.
M19 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run Throwback screen Mathews 8
Looks like the McGuffie flare again until Threet whips around and tosses a throwback screen to Mathews. Weakside LB was responsible and tracks Mathews down but not before a sizable chunk. (CA, 3, screen)
M27 3 3 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Wheel Odoms 34
Odoms gets a step on his pressing defender; Threet lays it in beautifully. (Odoms is down on this, BTW, you can see his knee skidding on the turf.) (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive McGuffie 13
One DT is slanting to what would be the playside of a stretch and erases himself. McAvoy is dealing with the other; looks like he falls or something. Molk(-1) does not effectively block the MLB; he misses the tackle and McGuffie is into the secondary. Scary, certain injury tackle is miraculously non-damaging.
O26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch Shaw 3
Playside DE ends up stunting behind both DTs and holy cow Shaw should shoot this outside for mondo yardage. He does not, choosing to cut up, and I can't fault that too much because Johnson's been shot backwards and it looks like a sizable gap before the backside DT closes it down. Need just a little better blocking from McAvoy(-1).
O23 2 7 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch Shaw 2
MLB shoots into the gap between the DTs; frontside again doubled and backside is cut; this is dangerous but ND rolled up a safety to act as a third linebacker. The charging MLB causes Grady to peel back and get a block-ish thing on him, but not really. Shaw hesitates in a sort of stutter-step which does nothing but give the MLB time to close. If Shaw just takes it hard outside he might be able to get past the guy. Slowed by the arm tackle, a couple players converge to tackle Shaw.
O21 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Wheel Odoms Inc (Pen +15)
Same play we saw earlier in the drive. Odoms again has a step; this time Threet throws it way, way too far inside. Fortunately, the DB gets one of those PI penalties when the receiver is trying to adjust to the ball and the DB runs him over. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch 1
McAvoy fails to cut the backside DT and Notre Dame is, of course, crashing hard on this. Your standard double is blowing back one DT and Grady(+1) gets a good block on the MLB; it looks like there's a crease for McGuffie to cut into. Maybe the backside DT flowing down the line convinces him to head outside; he gets strung out.
O5 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive Grady 2
I'm not even mad about this fumble. It's perhaps the most understandable of his career. He's wrapped up by three different guys, his forward progress has been stopped for like three seconds, and he's got both hands on a soaking wet ball. It gets ripped out. That's life.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-28, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Yakety Sax -- --
Well, that's not good.
Drive Notes: Fumble(TD return), 17-35, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie -1
Notre Dame all over this as they blitz a corner; this allows the rest of the line to slant against the grain and into the backfield without losing outside contain. The corner comes up and tackles.
M29 2 11 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Wheel Odoms Inc
Good blitz pickup from the line; Threet finds Odoms running wide open as Stonum's run the coverage off. He throws a high-trajectory duck—bet it slipped—that Odoms tracks to the sideline. It goes right through his hands. (CA-, 3, protection /2/2)
M29 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Run QB Draw Threet 9
Play basically works but this is Steven Threet and he's not likely to make the safety miss.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-35, 13 min 4th Q. For the record, you can't punt here on fourth and two down three scores.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Hitch Odoms 5
Sheridan in. Competent enough pitch and catch; ND tackles immediately. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M35 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Fly Babb 45
Zion Babb?!? I guess. Excellent throw and catch; Babb, of course, fumbles, but he stepped OOB first. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 4
Dorrestein(-1) blown back and controlled by the DE; DE's diving tackle attempt on McGuffie is stepped through. McGuffie steps through another tackle attempt, spins through a third tackle, and almost spins through a forth. Whee!
O16 2 6 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Out McGuffie 4
McCarthy on this immediately. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O12 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Hitch Butler Int
This is on Butler, IMO, who doesn't run his route quickly enough and lets the ball go through his hands. Sheridan did throw it too high, I guess. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-35, 7 min 4th Q. The only thing left is the ridiculous Sheridan INT: BR, 0, protection 2/2) EOChart.

So that looked like a functional offense.

Yeah, how about that? Despite throwing away six separate drives Michigan managed to rack up 350 yards in a game that was half monsoon. McGuffie consistently gashed the ND defense and it was only David Bruton and Kyle McCarthy—who were both excellent—preventing Michigan from ripping off some huge runs.

Hey, how about that Threet guy?

First we must look at Chart.



As always, the Threetsheridammit chart legend.


Utah 1 11 5 1 3 2 1
Miami - 6 4 1 - 2 -
Notre Dame 3 12 5 2 1 - -


Utah 1 11 4 5 - - 1
Miami - 4 1 - - - -
Notre Dame 1 2 - 1 - - -

Remember the infinitely depressing chart of throws past the line of scrimmage from the Miami game? It got better. Threet downfield:

Miami - - 4 - - - -
Notre Dame 3 7 3 2 1 - -

This isn't Chad Henne at his best or anything—one of those BRs should have been a terrible interception—but it could have been Chad Henne on a mediocre day, which seemed an impossible dream two weeks ago.

HOWEVA, the numbers in the chart obscure some miscues:

  • Threet fumbled twice without being touched by a Notre Dame player. He fumbled in similar fashion against Miami and now has three in about two games of action, only one of which occurred in a monsoon. This is still likely to be a fluky coincidence, but last year at this time we were telling ourselves that Ryan Mallett would surely figure out how to take a snap from under center.
  • There were two major issues on screens. The Minor swing pass was obviously one; the other was the third-and-five jailbreak screen to Babb that was thrown way too far outside. If Threet makes that simple throw, Schilling whacks the safety and Babb walks in.

Add those in and the performance weakens considerably.

Even so, that was a massive step forward from Threet, a performance virtually any freshman would be pleased with. Threet was confident, mostly accurate, and mostly right. Mental mistakes were limited to a couple of open receivers he passed up for more difficult throws and that one pass that should have been intercepted. (The other BR was a fly route on third and long which would have been a punt if intercepted.) He looked like a viable quarterback now and for the future.

Other charts?

Your protection metric is impressive: 33/36. Team –1, McGuffie –1, Moosman –1.

The –1s didn't result in a throwaway—the one pass labeled TA was actually a 23-yard Threet scramble—or PR or sack; Threet was hardly touched all day on 16 downfield attempts.

This probably says more about Notre Dame's defense than the offensive line, unfortunately.


This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Clemons - - - - 2 - - 2/2
Stonum - - 3/3 - 3 0/2 3/3 2/2
Mathews - 1/3 1/2 1/1 3 2/4 1/2 4/5
Hemingway - - - - 1 0/1 2/2 -
Odoms 0/1 1/1 4/5 1 0/1 2/2 11/12
Babb - - 1/1 1/1 - - 1/1 1/1
Massey - - - - - - - -
Butler 1 - 0/1 1/1 2 1/1 0/1 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
McGuffie - - - 3/3 2 - - 8/8
Shaw - - - - - - - 3/3
Minor - - - 1/1 1 0/1 - 2/2
Moundros - - - - 2 - - -

A pretty good day from the receivers in a pounding rain, with balls dug out by Stonum and Mathews—Mathews would have been 2/3 on circus catches if that razor-thin review had gone the other way—and only a couple drops.

Clemons is getting killed by the lack of depth in the slot and Odoms' emergence; Mathews appears to be the #1 outside receiver with Stonum just behind him.

We seem to be getting some stuff added to the offense.

A number of plays made their Michigan debut and look like solid additions:

  • The zone read keeper that turns into a long handoff WR screen as Threet approaches the line. This is a clear reaction to Threet's lack of wiggle; he now has the option to chuck it if the opponent has kept contain.
  • Martavious Odoms was sent on wheel routes three times with good results: one 34-yard completion, one pass interference call, and one fourth-and-two incompletion. On all of them, he was open. If Threet can throw this more consistently it could be a money play.
  • A bubble screen fake that morphs into a slant from the outside receiver. Michigan ran this twice and completed both passes for decent yardage.


Yes, McGuffie, but also the offensive line. Michigan had great success with the zone stretch and occasional dive because Molk and either McAvoy or Moosman spent the day crushing the playside DT downfield. With good kickouts from the tackles and Notre Dame defenders keeping contain on Threet, McGuffie got into the secondary time and again.

Back to Karate Dynamite: McGuffie's most impressive trait against Notre Dame was his vision. When there was a cutback, he took it. When he needed to be patient and wait for the crease to open up, he waited. When he needed to spin around and stuff, he did that, sometimes multiple times on one play.

You could see the difference when Shaw came in: on both of his rushes Shaw had the opportunity to make more yards if he made decisive cuts outside. Instead he cut up or hesitated and had to settle for minor gains.


Molk, Moosman, and McAvoy consistently blew up the interior of the Notre Dame defense. McGuffie, of course, and Threet.


Also Threet, as he provided Notre Dame with a short field and a free touchdown. Butler missed a few blocks (but also made a few) and didn't get his head around quickly enough on Sheridan's first interception.

There wasn't much disappointment to go around. The offense could have been better but everyone performed pretty well.

What does it mean for Wisconsin?

It means we've got a shot. I'm skeptical about the Notre Dame defense but they did a decent job against Javon Ringer until a back-breaking 63-yard run late in the fourth quarter that wouldn't have happened if the ND defense wasn't forced into a hyper-aggressive stance because of the dwindling time. Even with that long, academic drive at the end, Michigan State ended up gaining approximately what Michigan did. They did that at home in dry conditions.

Wisconsin's defense is probably much better than Notre Dame's but they did give up 350 yards to and get outgained by Fresno State. I know Bruce Ciskie's got a lot of concerns about the team, which we'll explore further in a Vicious Electronic Questioning.



September 24th, 2008 at 2:39 PM ^

I started reading this blog during the offseason to find out more on Rodriguez and the transition, but I am already addicted to UFR. I have to say, I felt a little like a crack addict this past week and a half. I was feeling the bugs crawling all over but now I am in a blissful haze.

Also, agree that Threet had a few more mistakes that were costly than we want to admit. Still, he looked better than I thought possible at this point. And Grady. Give the kid some more chances. The fumble, while devastating at the time, is forgivable.


September 24th, 2008 at 3:35 PM ^

Has a history of fumbling.  His fumble was not something that was uncharacteristic.  I'm not sure the team can take chances with him, as their margin for error is already thin.

Seriously, was there anyone watching the game who saw Grady come in during the monsoon and think immediately "he's going to fumble if they give him the ball"?  As soon as I saw Grady on that drive I turned to my friend and said those exact words.


September 24th, 2008 at 2:40 PM ^

You think ND's good performance might have been because they knew Ringer was going to get the ball 80% of the time ?
Not being an ass, serious question.


September 24th, 2008 at 2:56 PM ^

My enjoyment of UFR would increase ten-fold if you could include a video of every play reviewed.  Would that be possible? 

I really want to watch Zoltan's fake punt and his fake punt option turned punt. 


September 24th, 2008 at 3:09 PM ^

2 things:  I really like Sam McGuffie.  He is not only really good, but fun to watch.  And he can do the splits, which would be cooler if he was a chick, but still pretty cool.  Second, I agree with msoccer10 that Grady should stay as an option, maybe getting more carries.  The fumble was a bummer, maybe shouldn't have been a fumble, but the 5 yard carry-a-linebacker into the end-zone was pretty solid.  He's a great change of pace and should be utilized. 


September 24th, 2008 at 3:42 PM ^

On Grady's TD play, Dorrestein should get a -1 if anything.  He doesn't "blow up Crum" like you say.  Crum just runs himself out of the play and Dorrestein just looks upfield chooses not to block the only linebacker in between Grady and the end zone then looks backwards to see if there is anybody to block (there isn't) and just kind of runs to the side.

If he takes one more step forward and blocks the inside linebacker, then Grady has a beautiful touchdown run, doesn't get tired out by carrying a linebacker and probably wouldn't fumble in the second half.  In addition to that, the refs would be wowed by how amazing Michigan's offense works and retroactively award Matthews a touchdown on his catch in the end zone.  Basically the loss to Notre Dame is entirely because of this one play (that we scored a TD on).


September 24th, 2008 at 4:13 PM ^

I do think we should give Grady a few more carries in short yardage situations.  Another fumble or two and I would keep him off the field but he deserves a chance as a big power back.  He was impressive in his TD run and maybe the play should have been blown dead w/ his forward progress.


September 24th, 2008 at 4:15 PM ^

I'm hopeful and optimistic, but will reserve judgement until after he's faced a good defense.  ND's does not qualify.  Now granted, I watched the game at a ND household, but I kept thinking to myself when Sam was making some of those runs that he'd have been stopped much sooner by a better tackling team.  My opinion may have been skewed by my surroundings, but I don't think so.  Will be fun and interesting to see how he performs vs. the typically physical Wisconsin D.


September 24th, 2008 at 4:29 PM ^

hey brian, thanks for another great, detailed run-down. i am glad to see the offensive line played as well in your estimation as it seemed on Saturday.

there was one snippet i was confused by, and i'm hoping someone can clear it up for me-

"Clemons is getting killed by the lack of depth in the slot and Odoms' emergence;"

My interpretation goes something like this: clemons has the size to be an outside type receiver, but he also has the quicks to be a slot/electron type guy; with the slot position thin in RR's first year and a decent stable of outside receivers, he gets moved to the slot and sits because Odoms has played well. yes? 

We definitely haven't seen much of Clemons, either this year or ever, which makes it tough in my mind to render a verdict on whether he's got the five star potential many locals talked about when he was being recruited. so my other question is, are we making a mistake by allowing him to be the odd man out? Odoms has played well, but he's still a freshman. It would seem risky not to get some other guys game experience in case he gets hurt, or wears down, or simply starts making freshman mistakes. thoughts?


September 24th, 2008 at 4:55 PM ^

Yeah, that was a little unclear but that's what I meant. IMO Clemons is an outside receiver and would be in the mix for playing time there but because of Robinson's injury he hasn't gotten the chance to practice there.

As far as rotating someone in for Odoms goes, I don't think he's in much danger of getting worn down since he only makes a few catches a game, and he needs experience as much or more than someone like Clemons because he's going to be playing that spot for four years.


September 24th, 2008 at 4:30 PM ^

I just don't think its happening this week. Wisconsin may be unimpressive but they are top 10 and they play the bruising, 3 yards and a cloud of dust-type of power football that our defense has struggled with. ND is terrible. I think our offense has improved but...ND is terrible. We won't be able to move the ball like that against Wisconsin and if we have turnovers its gonna be blowout city.

I hope I'm wrong but Wiscy 31 Michigan 13.


September 24th, 2008 at 7:00 PM ^

Whoa, Negative Nancy. 

 Wisconsin is quite possibly the worst top 10 team I've ever seen.  The only good team they played was Fresno, who should have beaten Wisconsin if it were not for missing makable FG's, and Fresno showed in their Toledo game that they are far from a powerhouse themselves.  I think people are looking at that 9 next to Wisconsin's name and assuming they are strong because of it.

And 31-13?  At home?  You think so?  We'll break at least a few to score more than 13, and 31 for Wisco?  I agree that we are the underdogs here, but 18 points is a big margin.  I'll take Michigan against that spread all day long.


September 24th, 2008 at 5:03 PM ^

We look competent, our offensive strategy is night and day from what it was under the past regime, and I feel like we are dangerous enough to make the rest of the season more interesting than people expect. You really need to give RR credit for creating an offense that attacks and attacks vs our old game plan of "we are michigan so we are going to run the same 10 plays and win because of our sweet helmets".  

 Ok, I am done rambling.  Just excited for the wisco game.  And are we not good at stopping these traditional offenses?  A win here and the whole season has a new outlook, I am sure everyone understands this and I expect an awesome effort.  Gotta love the UFR.    Michigan 31 Wisco 17.

J. Lichty

September 24th, 2008 at 5:28 PM ^

The offense showed that the fundamental and potential for success are sound.  The carnival of fumbles is a fluke in bad conditions, and I am willing to give the offense a mulligan.

Yes, ND is not good, but neither was Miami.  This was a greatly improved offensive performance.

chitownblue (not verified)

September 24th, 2008 at 6:54 PM ^

Can someone please detail this "Grady is lousy fumbler who fumbles" meme for me? Everyone always talks about how much he fumbles, but I can recall two: 2006 Notre Dame and 2008 Notre Dame (which I hardly blame him for). I can recall many, many more Minor fumbles. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but please, lets get some solid info here.

Enjoy Life

September 24th, 2008 at 7:38 PM ^

That's all that is left unitil we can all relax or shit our pants.

 Basically, as many comments have stated, college football has fallen into the death spiral of the MNC. The first few games are as meaningless as the NFL preseason.

WTF, who knows how good anyone is?? (except, of course, osu, which played a real opponent and got FUCKED UP!!!).



September 25th, 2008 at 10:30 AM ^

It sure is nice of ND to schedule Sparty for the week after our game so we have something to measure ourselves against.  I was very unimpressed by MSU's play, and that gives me some measure of hope that we won't totally suck.  At least MSU is sort of a known quantity, so we've got one data point to compare ourselves to.

I'm not going to make excuses against ND, but with a reasonable number of fumbles, that score should be more like 28-24 (for either side).

I'd say we've got a shot to be .500 against the Big Ten, which is Good Enough for me, and I still say we'll have a better record at the end of the season than ND.


September 25th, 2008 at 10:39 AM ^

It has been said that we struggle against Wisconsin type of offense (MSU, Wis, and OSU all showed that last year), but we all know the spread has given us fits as well. So exactly what type of offense can we stop? Making the trip to AA tomorrow and I cant wait.


September 25th, 2008 at 11:40 AM ^

Our defense hasn't really been good against anybody all year.

I'm having a hard time understanding some of the logic. So, we feel better about ourselves against MSU after we lost to ND by 2+ touchdowns and watched while ND lost to MSU by 2+ touchdowns? That doesn't make sense. The score is the score, ridiculous turnovers aside. ND was playing w/ the same ball we were.