Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 13th, 2018 at 4:13 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

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FORMATION NOTES: Increased emphasis on four-man fronts, with about 2/3rds of all snaps featuring four DL. That's up from about 50/50 in the opener, and with almost half of Michigan's 3-3-5 snaps on passing downs standard downs were heavily 4-2-5. WMU spent almost the whole day in a three-wide shotgun featuring The Biggest Boy at H-back. He featured on this play that I still find hilarious almost a week later:

Odell Miller is listed at 270 on the roster and that is a lie, a lie, a lie. Harbaugh had to admire WMU running out a nose tackle as an offensive skill position player.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: With Marshall out, Carlo Kemp got the start and did well. Rest of the DL rotation was similar to the first game, with Bryan Mone getting even more snaps because of the Solomon injury and the reduction in 3-3-5 snaps. Paye and Hutchinson semi-frequently spotted Gary and Winovich, with Rueben Jones getting a little time late. Donovan Jeter got some late snaps as well. Dwumfour rotated in semi-frequently but was a clear backup to Kemp and not in a platoon.

LB level was Hudson and Bush for every snap and a rotation of Gil and Ross at WLB, with a slight Ross bias. Jordan Glasgow and Jordan Anthony were the late replacements for Hudson and Bush. The usual CB rotation between the three guys, with Watson being more prominent than the other two—a change. Kinnel omnipresent; Metellus got pulled for Hawkins after his personal foul and somewhat frequently after that.

[After THE JUMP: Kemp story.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Bush 25
WMU pulls three different guys here. One kicks Hudson(-0.5), who gives too much ground. One can’t keep up. The other gets a free run at Bush(-2) and successfully cuts him. This can happen because Gary(-1) got singled effectively by the LT. I kind of feel like Bush is misaligned? He’s almost right over the center, unusually close to his ILB mate. He also takes one false step away from the action and that helps the D get flanked. Gil has a play if Bush can funnel it to him. More positively, Kemp(+1) took the same block as Gary and ripped right through it.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Flare screen Bush 1
Works no better than ND’s attempt as Bush(+1) bends around two guys trying to disrupt him and still gets there. Metellus(+1) reads it quickly and falls off his guy to also string it to the sideline for no gain. Cover +1
O47 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass N/A Fade Long Inc
First of many futile bombs. This one is vastly overthrown. Long(+2, cover +2) got over the top of it and gets a jam in as the WR tries to pop inside of him, making it even more vastly overthrown. Pressure(-2) stymied this time.
O47 3 9 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Exotic Press two high Pass 4 Comeback Hill Inc
Bush(+1) feints and backs out and then comes; LG reacts a split second too late and Bush is through.. .and then he’s tackled (refs -2) and somehow doesn’t draw a hold. Mone(+0.5) gets a free run due to some confusion and lumbers towards Wassink. Rollout, attempted throw on a comeback that Hill(+1, cover +1) gets a hand on. I usually give 2 for a PBU but this one sees Hill creep up as Wassink is pressured to a RB on a zero yard route; he should probably be dropping and have a very good shot at an INT here. Pressure +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Hitch Ross 7
M shows zone with Ross more in the box than in the gray area where he’d be an effective slot defender. WMU takes the quick pitch and catch. WR is able to beat Hill(-0.5) for a few YAC. Cover push, I guess.
O19 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 2
Hudson dropped a little deeper and is clearly in man on the TE. When he shows to block Hudson converts to QB contain; Gary(+1) gets the TE and drives to tackle the back. Kemp(+0.5) took a double and held his ground, with Bush(+0.5) flying up to hit one of his guys and seal that gap to force the cutback.
O21 3 1 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Kemp 2
Similar play except Bush is straight up blitzing, tipping it and then coming anyway. Kemp(-1) thus has a single block and gets driven out of the hole in a situation very similar to but slightly and critically different from the last play. Gary(+1) again drives the gap and tackles but with just a little delay from Kemp this could be a stop.
O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Slot fade Metellus Inc
Kemp(+1, pressure +1) drives his guy back and disconnects; C comes over to shove him and he falls but this is decent pressure up the middle. Throw is dreaded slot fade, way long. Metellus(+1, cover +1) mirrors this and gets his head around, would take perfect throw to beat him.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Kemp 2
Third time in four plays. This iteration has no blitz so Kemp(+1) does well to fend off the double and keep Bush(+0.5) clean. Bush scrapes back to the hole; Gary(+1) again drives the DE and is able to shut down the space better because Kemp held up a bit better. RB grinds out a yard.
O25 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 NIckel even Press one high Pass 5 Comeback Hudson Inc
Hudson(+1, pressure +1) doesn’t tip and blitzes from LB level; still gets past theA RB and flushes; with Bush coming around and threatening to squirrel the QB it’s throwin’ time. Hill(-1, cover -1) beat by a couple steps here on the comeback and will not have a play if ball is accurate. It’s not.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Winovich 2
Winovich(+1) able to set the edge and then come back inside when the RB cuts up. Mone(+0.5) and Kemp(+0.5) flowed well to cut off options; Gil(+0.5) came up to hit a free releaser and helped create the ugly pile. Bush(-1) cut, albeit by a guy who went right away and offered no DL help.
O27 2 8 Pistol twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Hudson 2
M has a blitz on that causes the two playside DL to slant away. Gary(-1) sealed away without drawing much attention from a second blocker. Looks like there’s a gap but some efforts close it down. Hudson(+1) starts inside and should stay there with a safety coming down to fill the edge; he spins out, creating a gap, and then gets all the way around to help tackle. Okay. Winovich(+0.5) provides Winovich level pursuit from the back to get there and help tackle. Mone(+0.5) flowed well to chip in.
O29 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-2 dime Press two high Pass 5 Slant Hill 10
Hill on the slot to the field; sets up outside, inviting slant. Gets slant. Breaks on it well(+1, cover +1) and grabs around the waist as the ball gets there, trying to rake over the top. WMU executes and converts.
O39 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Metellus -3
This is super aggressive from the S level in a way that’s rare for Brown. Metellus(+1) is at 5 yards, Kinnel at 8, can't remember that happening before. Hudson eats a double from two TEs and that goes like it must; Metellus fires down past that and rips past Hudson blocker #2 before he can react. He’s now free on the edge. Paye(+1) and Kemp(+1) have both driven stretch blocking direct to the RB, nowhere to go. RPS +1.
O36 2 13 Pistol 2H 4-2-5 4-4 even Press one high Pass 4 Fly Watson Inc
Max pro with guys in man on the TEs converting to rushers late. Ball is out pretty fast anyway. It’s a Bad Idea deep shot at Watson(+1, cover +1), who’s in good but not awesome position and nearly intercepts an underthrown ball. I like Metellus(+1, cover +1) getting over to thwack the WR as the ball arrives a little better, actually.
O36 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Exotic Press two high Pass 4 Improv Furbush INT
Furbush and Hudson line up on the LOS and then drop, with Bush(+1) coming. WMU lets him through free(pressure +2), which is a bad idea. Wassink rolls and tries an in route that Furbush(+3, cover +2) is in front of, and not just because of the pressure. He finds the WR and then tracks him.
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-0, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass N/A Flash screen Furbush 4
M has some alignment confusion and ends up moving Furbush(+2) over the slot late. WMU has a numbers advantage here but Furbush simply runs over the WR trying to block him and disconnects to tackle after a modest gain.
O29 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Hill 8
The Gary triple team play. Kinnel comes off the edge and blasts the first puller, who grabs him in a bear hug and tackles him, refs -3. Egregious. Gary(+1) gets held a bit and flows out well despite that, drawing a second and eventually a third blocker. That should clear the edge for a thwack but Hill(-1) seems uncomfortable as an overhang safety and hesitates a couple times, giving the RB the corner.
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Zone read arc keeper Gary 5
Zone read with Gary read. He dives in because he’s got help outside. QB pulls. Hudson(+1) draws a blocker. WMU clearly hopes to get the corner here but Hudson’s able to fend off WMU’s giant-ass TE and force an awkward cut back. This works fairly well; Bush(-1) got overaggressive and attacked the RB and since he’s a gap outside of Gary that’s the reason this succeeds a bit. Gary(+1) has scary change of direction and is able to hold this down. Winovich(+1) chucking a blocker on the opposite side of the play and pursuing to get this if Gary doesn’t isn’t relevant but it is incredibly impressive.
O42 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 2
M moves Hudson down over the TE and slants playside here. Dwumfour is in on this drive and gets under his guy but gets driven out a little bit and cut behind; push. Gary(+1) is right behind him and closes that space down after shedding the TE.
O44 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass N/A Flare screen Bush 9
Well they finally get Bush on one of these. Not much he can do as the WR to his side puts himself in the right place and forces Bush to make a decision. He goes upfield, which I don’t mind on this down and distance since it’s go big or go home. He goes home; Watson can’t fall off his guy fast enough to do much. RPS -1, tipped man and got it hit.
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Pin and pull Paye 3
Jet motion one way, pin and pull the other. Paye(+1) is able to fend off a downblock well enough to clear a flight path for the LB level. Hudson(+1) comes up hard and forces a cutback into Bush(+0.5) and Paye, who was able to fight through and stay relevant.
50 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Exotic Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Ross -1
Paye(+1) rocks his guy back, forcing a cut up away from a mildly promising situation. This gives Ross(+2) a shot and boy does he take it. He’s on the LOS, slanting inside a tackle. He gets inside and that’s pretty solid already since at worst he forces the ball back to unblocked guys behind him, but the back doesn’t cut back and Ross sticks him dead (tackling +1).
O49 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-1-6 Nickel over Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Watson Inc
Winovich(+0.5) the NT. He drives a couple guys back, allowing Dwumfour(+0.5) to loop around and get relatively quick pressure(+1) up the middle. Wassink still has time to throw. Watson(+2, cover +2) puts his guy in the sideline and is more likely to catch this than the WR if it’s accurate, which it is not. Hudson(-1, cover -1) got lost on the big H-back and if Wassink had more time that could have been a conversion.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Kemp 0
Kemp(+1) gets a single block, drives it a little to discourage cutting up, and then disengages when the back goes outside. He can’t tackle but forces a bend. This exposes the back to Gary(+1), who chucks his blocker away, and Bush(+0.5), who gets a free scrap because of Kemp’s work. Those guys tackle at the line. Mone(+0.5) also got some drive to reduce options before falling.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-2-5 4-4 even Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Hill 8 (Pen +10)
Pocket clean(pressure -1) as 7 guys get left in against 4. Hill(-1, cover -1) in the hip pocket of the WR but definitely grabs and holds him when he tries to break back for the ball. Guy makes the catch anyway, impressive.
O35 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Zone read keeper Hudson -6 + 11 Pen
Hudson(+1) through his blocker so fast that it looks like he’s being read. He’s not. Gary(+1) is, and that doesn’t seem like the best idea either. Even though he shuffles down he redirects out and Wassink is in big trouble. He tries to get the corner. Metellus(-2) does a nice job to come up and finish the play but definitely gives QB a little extra something well after both go OOB. Refs(+1) then short WMU four yards on the penalty.
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 Hitch Gil 9
M leaves dink hitch open by alignment. That’s five yards and okay. Gil(-1, tackling -1) misses the tackle and cedes YAC before Kinnel comes up to finish the play.
O49 2 1 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-2-5 5-1 split Press one high Pass 5 Fly Watson Inc
Watson step for step but locked outside of the WR, which might be fine since Hawkins(+1, cover +1) is playing centerfield and appears to get over the top of this. He’s certainly in a position that dissuades any post-like throws. Wassink has to step up as Uche(+0.5) almost got around the corner but the rest of the pocket is solid, giving WMU a chance.
O49 3 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Kemp 0
DT stunt. Kemp(+1) barrels in, hitting a C and diving inside a G. He falls down in the backfield but he’s created a pile. RB has to go at it because Mone is free after Kemp picked off the C.Gil(+0.5) and Winovich(+0.5) are able to clean up after the back gets tripped by the prone Kemp.
O49 4 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Okie Press zero Run N/A Zone read arc keeper Hudson 0
H-back fires out straight upfield instead of arcing to Hudson so Hudson(+1, tackling +1) can just run by him as Hutchinson(+1) shuffles and forces him wide. Hudson tackles. Hutchinson provides the finishing touch to knock him down short.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 28-0, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Insert iso Mone 5
Gap between the two DTs, which isn’t the plan on this play. The plan is to have the big H-back hit someone and go between the G and T. Ross(+1) stones that guy in the hole impressively, so plan B. Mone(-1) and Dwumfour(-0.5) both get single blocks and don’t do much with them. Dwumfour is able to come off and tackle as the back passes, at least. Mone gives ground and then gives more when he tries to get off his block.
O30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Hutchinson 3
IZ with H back blocking down on Hutchinson(+1), who’s able to drive through that and get to the gap despite some holding going on. Dwumfour(+1) is the relevant DT. He gets pushed out of the gap but is able to come around after ripping one of the guys by him.
O33 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 In Watson 10
M tips their blitz and gets it picked up (pressure -1); they also show zone with Furbush in the gray area, seemingly not close enough to the WR. Slot runs a corner route; outside WR runs an in that beats Watson(-1, cover -1). Furbush(-1) misses a tackle(-1) to tack on some more.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 4-3 over Press one high Penalty N/A Offsides Hudson 5
Hudson jumps and one of the OL does the oh-you-scared-me thing. Hudson -1.
O48 1 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Slant Watson Inc
No Gary and Winovich doesn’t get a rush so clean pocket (pressure -2). Wassink tries to thread the needle and apparently does but Watson(+1, cover +1) is right in the hip pocket and is able to rip at the WR’s arms sufficiently to baaaarely induce a drop.
O48 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Insert iso Kemp 1
Kemp(+0.5) NT in a three man front and gets a significant double that he holds up against. Ross(+0.5) comes down hard to whack the H-back. Gary(+0.5) fights over to compress space. Back has nowhere to go. Hudson(+0.5) blitzed off edge and tracks down from behind.
O49 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Flare screen Hill -7
Flare screen with no one blocking a slot corner is gonna be a bad time. Hill(+1, tackling +1) makes no mistake. RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-0, 3 min 2nd Q. Short run to end half not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Bush 9
M gets edged here. Hudson(-1) kicked out too far. Gary can’t get over as OL on him grabs around the shoulder pads, refs -1. Bush(-1) comes over to take on a blocker but lets the back outside of him and does not funnel to help. Metellus shuts it down.
O34 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass N/A PA TE flat Long 4
Dink pass to sideline with WR cracking down on Ross, who’s in coverage, and Long trying to fill. Long hits this big big boy for no gain! And then bounces off. He then continues tackling for a number of yards, with Winovich and Hudson helping. I’m not penalizing someone for being a cornerback unable to tackle a three tech pretending he’s a TE. Also this was four yards. Push.
O38 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass N/A Bubble screen Ross 3
Poor throw makes this easy to defend. I actually don’t like Ross(-0.5) taking an upfield angle here as that allows Harris to run by him a bit and grab a couple yards.
O41 2 7 Pistol 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass N/A PA RB flat screen Ross Inc
Outright blocking by the two edge guys as this is behind the LOS, so Ross(-1) has a ton of trash to get through if he’s going to get to the edge. He’s about to, and then trips. RB drops the ball on what was probably a first down and then some.
O41 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Gary 6
Dwumfour(-1) is the drive guy on a stunt and gets absorbed and pancaked. Gary(-1) gets upfield, doesn’t get great rush, and isn’t able to come back when the QB breaks forward. Open scramble that would be a first down except QB slides just short. Pressure -2.
O47 4 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 0
M leaves a big ol bubble to the weakside. This is a trap, with Ross(+1) timing up a run blitz well and standing up a guard who would otherwise free release. With OT taking Winovich, Bush(+2) has a free run, and critically knows where the gap he needs to hit is. He starts moving to it on the snap, well before RB commits, and delivers a 0.0 YAC thump(tackling +1) to kill the drive. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 35-0, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 5 Sack Gary -3
QB has one read and doesn’t like it. Then he’s eaten. Gary(+2) goes speed to power; QB tries to move up in the pocket but Kemp(+1, pressure +3) has nailed that door shut with good push and Gary gets his reward.
O19 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 5 Back shoulder fade Hill Inc
Attempted back shoulder is badly off. Hill(+0.5, cover +1) in a good spot. Throw too quick for meaningful pressure but Hudson got a free run(+0.5, pressure +2) probably because of a WMU bust.
O19 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Long Inc
Again nowhere near. Gary(+1, pressure +1) coming through to force a throw. Coverage a little iffier from Long but nothing too bad.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 4 Hitch Furbush 7
M leaves this slot guy wide open and Furbush(-1, cover -1) then bites on play action hard. Long helps corral the guy but only after an easy eight yards.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3- stack slide Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Dwumfour 3
Winovich almost around the corner at eight. He falls. He’s flushed the QB but can’t come back, so push. Dwumfour is the relevant DT. He gets good push on the pocket but hasn’t widened at all, ends up right next to a teammate, and Wassink has an escape hatch. At least it’s one that forces QB wide and allows some response time. Dude gets the first down but Ross(+1, tackling +1) blasts him and lets him know. Actually: on review I'm moving a Dwumfour minus to refs(-1) because Dwumfour’s got a play until yanky mcyankerson gets his yank on.
O35 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Pass 4 PA TE flat Hawkins 8
Hawkins(-1, cover -1) draws the assignment here and flows up too hard to the inside, allowing the TE to escape and turn upfield. He’s a cover two safety and doesn’t have immediate run responsibility so this is mildly bad.
O43 2 2 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Hudson -1
Dwumfour(+1) surges upfield and picks off one of the pullers. Hudson(+1) gets another and runs up to cut him almost inside the tackle box, which restricts space. LB level can flow free. RB does a good job to pick through the trash and bounce. Bush bends him but can’t bring him down. Ross(+0.5) closes the gap and finishes.
O42 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass N/A Screen Hawkins -3
Michigan has a bunch of guys move in a formation that probably has a cool name like laser shark or whatever. Jet fake, RB into flat as they try to set up a screen. Seems like the H-back is the only guy on this screen and while he does a good job M moved down Hawkins(+1, tackling +1) to five yards pre-snap and he’s unblocked and ripping up to tackle. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-0, 3 min 3rd Q. Mostly Paye/Hutchinson at DE on next drive. Dwumfour at DT. Back seven still starters.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Watson 10
Max pro and quick throw with no real pressure availability. Watson(-1, cover -1) does get beat on the back shoulder and they hit it this time.
O30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Hutchinson 6
M slants away from this, with Bush motioning away from the slant pre-snap and getting over. Gil(-2) does not follow and gets hit by the C, missed assignment. Probably. To the playside Hutchinson(-2) gets buried. He slants into a double and this is not going to be easy for him but he gets ripped down and sat upon. Bush(+0.5) gets one of Hutch’s blockers and does force it back, where Watson(+0.5) is able to convert as his man goes in motion. He becomes S, comes down, solid tackle after decent gain. Hudson almost came around the force guy but got held pretty blatantly, refs -2. RPS +1, this didn't get much despite a couple of bad plays because Watson ended up a S at about 6 yards.
O36 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Split zone Paye? 5
This isn’t your usual over, what with three DL to one side of the C and no one even in an NT spot. Big bubble. WMU runs right at it with their call more or less and M’s weird blitz in response isn’t quite right. I honestly have no idea who screwed up. Hudson heads out as the force guy despite a starting position that really implies he’s not, but that could be a trap. If so then Paye needs to dive inside and muck this up and bounce it instead of getting kicked. Gil(-1) did sit and read and get whacked by a free releasing G. Mone(-1) should probably two-gap this instead of getting so vertical? Dwumfour(+0.5) does get off a block despite being lined up outside the T on the snap and holds this down. Guessing, not gospel, etc.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Pass 4 Fly Long Inc
Another half roll away from strength of M formation and max pro with a quick-ish chuck so no real pressure or read. Long(+1, cover +1) is able to harass the WR into many complaints on a ball nowhere near either guy.
O41 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 4-3 under Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Uche 4
Jeter(-0.5) dug out by a long double, some threat to playside. Dwumfour(+1) drives his guy back a bit and eliminates it. Cutback. Backside sees Hutchinson(-1) driven out by an OL and Hudson draws the big big boy and gets hammered back, which is more RPS than anything. Uche… well he fires out hot at the mesh point and this is not standard these days; a shuffle would probably do better, but he does solo tackle after four yards because he’s fast and can change direction so push I guess.
O45 3 6 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 4-1 dime Press two high Penalty N/A Offsides Uche 5
Uche -1.
50 3 1 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Okie zero Press zero Run N/A Zone read keeper Kinnel 0
Pull is not advisable but is made anyway. Six of one, though, as RB looks doomed. Kinnel(+0.5) on contain and forces it back after QB threatens outside. Cannot get to tackle. Gil(+0.5) and Uche(+0.5) able to use that delay and get there to tackle for nothing.
50 4 1 Ace HHH 4-2-5 Okie zero Press zero Run N/A QB sneak N/A 1
I love this play. WMU’s giant H-back motions directly behind his QB, slaps his ass to let him know he’s there, and then just shoves the dude over the line to gain. This is majestic. This is football.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Watson Inc
Another quick fade. Watson(-0.5, cover push) beat slightly but this one is well timed and sometimes they get you. It’s not quite accurate enough for a completion, which is a problem with the whole back shoulder thing.
M49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 4 Hitch Watson 5
Hitch at the obvious open slot guy. Watson(+0.5) does tackle immediately.
M44 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-1-6 Nickel under Press two high Pass 4 Slant Long Inc
Pure one on one here with Long(+2, cover +2) getting a PBU as he leaps on the back of the WR and punches the ball free. No replay but there was a stadium replay that made this apparent.
M44 4 5 Shotgun trips 4-1-6 Dime over Press two high Pass 4 Angle Metellus Inc
QB might be a hair late on this. Is. Metellus(+1, cover +1) is able to read and come down on the WR breaking in at the sticks and if this is thrown into the WR’s chest he has a play on the ball. QB puts it well behind WR, whether he’s trying to avoid that or just because he’s not good dunno. But guy has to try a circus catch and can’t make it.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 42-0, 11 min 4th Q. Final drive is a mishmash of various folks including a walk-on DT and is not seriously charted, but I pulled a couple plays of interest.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O46 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Anthony 10
Dwumfour(+1) stands up his guy and disengages to threaten TFL but gets no support. The bounce is open as Anthony(-1) gets lost and blocked and Hutchinson(-1) can’t force the RB to bend at all. Single high safety Metellus comes down to deal with it after the sticks.
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Glasgow 0
Glasgow(+2) stands up a pulling G, putting him on the ground, and then disengages to tackle. Hutchinson(+1) won his single block and helps staple the gap closed.
M17 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 4-3 under Press one high Pass 5 Sack Anthony -2
Uche(+1) around the corner quickly and stays on his feet. QB flushes. Anthony(+2) is able to run through an attempted RB cut block and come around it to sack the flushed QB. Pressure metric is off.
Drive Notes: FG, 49-3, EOG

Now That's What I Call Defense, volume... uh 25? 24?

Yes, this was familiar: any bad offense that comes up against a Don Brown defense gets pounded to bits. After WMU discovered that their running game wasn't going anywhere after the first snap their response was to alternate dink passing with downfield bombs on which Wassink would chuck the ball without making a read. Almost none of these were even close, limiting opportunities for takes.

In fact I only have a couple other than "yep, that was always going to happen."

Do tell.

Well, what jumps out on this...


...chart? (And yes, shout-out to Fox Director Who May Be Named Rick. Fox games have the best replays.)

Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 12.5 3 9.5 Not enough genuine pass rush opps to get huge scores, v good on ground.
Marshall       DNP
Mone 2 2 0 Present.
Winovich 3.5   3.5 Lot of Paye, very few rush opps.
Paye 3   3 Solid run D
Dwumfour 5 1.5 3.5 Nice bounce-back but much of it late potentially against backups.
Solomon       DNP
Hutchinson 3 4 -1 Buried once.
Kemp 8.5 1 7.5 Hello sir. 
TOTAL 37.5 11.5 26 Iffy pressure metric though.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 8 3.5 4.5 No big plays but consistently forcing the play to others.
Furbush 5 2 3 INT was excellent.
Bush 7.5 5 2.5 Edged twice for relatively meh day.
Gil 1.5 4 -2.5 MA and not a lot of impact.
Ross 6 1.5 4.5 Three thumps.
Uche 2 1 1 Furbush holding him off.
TOTAL 30 17 13 Anthony's 2-1=1 and Glasgow's +2 not in totals.
Player + - T Notes
Metellus 5 2 3 Rangy. Dumb penalty only flaw.
Kinnel 0.5   0.5 Has 0.5 grade at all in two games. Boring!
Hawkins 2 1 1 Real rotation?
Hill 3.5 3.5 0 Flagged, beat once, otherwise in hip pockets.
Long 5   5 PBU and dominated deep route.
Watson 5 2.5 2.5 Bounce-back.
Thomas       DNC
TOTAL 21 9 12 FWD: I am back
Pressure 13 9 +4 Bit of a downer.
Coverage 19 6 +13 Back to the usual.
Tackling 6 2 +4 Two critical 0 YAC whacks
RPS 8 1 +7 Mostly WMU dorfs giving M free runs


You moved Hudson to linebacker

okay yes, I did

Hawkins is on this one

okay yes, he is, but cumong, man.

Fine, Carlo Kemp.

Yep, yep, yep. DOD caveats aside this was a really encouraging game for him, and it started from snap one.

#2 DT to right

Kemp was able to hold up to doubles pretty well and WMU's attempts to single block him almost invariably went badly. He was not the explosive penetrating menace that Michigan's been fortunate enough to have bunches of over the past half-decade, but he doesn't need to be given the guys that surround him. All he needs to do is get a little drive and shed and then see what happens. He does that here and what happens is Bush and Gary finish the guy off:

#2 DT to bottom

That seems like fate for anyone who gets pushed away from Michigan's potential weak point.

Here he takes a double, stays on the LOS, and then pops through a gap when one of his guys tries to get to Bush:

#2 DT to bottom

Gary makes that play but Kemp has a tougher job and executes. WMU's OL are probably pretty bad but they're still OL. Having 600 pounds of dude lean on you while going nowhere is impressive.

A bit later WMU started running some stretch stuff and Kemp did well with that, too. This is the third stretch on a late first quarter drive and it features Kemp (and Paye) driving blockers into the backfield and into the running back:

#2 DT to top (also DE #19 to top)

That's decent quickness, something he displayed on a short yardage stuff a bit later. He's slanting inside here and gets off the ball a hair faster than his teammates and WMU, so he's able to drive and fall in a productive place, jamming everything up:


He even showed a wee bit of pass-rush upside; here he's able to rock back and run through a guard:

More important than whatever pass rush he's able to muster himself is how he impact the rush of the guys around him. Gary's sack was an excellent speed to power rush which I hope we see more of; Kemp played a role by pushing the pocket. Wassink knows what's coming and wants to bug out here but when Kemp shows up in the lane up the middle and one of his OL has been flung aside next to Kemp there's nowhere to go but down:

#2 NT

Kemp was better than Michigan's other DTs against the same level of competition and if that continues that patches what looked like a worrying hole vs ND. Jury remains out.

So Dwumfour is just over then?

Not over-over, but he didn't look as good as Kemp in this game and if they're going to play Marshall he might find snaps hard to come by. Because while Dwumfour made a play or two, even when doing so he didn't seem like he was operating on Kemp's level. Here he gets a double and does rip one guy away to come through and tackle:

#50 DT to top

That's good, but he gives a bit of ground there and WMU's able to grind out a few yards. That also feels like a bit of a boom or bust approach. If he misses the rip or the OL handles it he's going for a ride. Kemp was able to hold up better and got moved less. Meanwhile, Dwumfour's version of the Gary sack above didn't go quite as well.

#50 NT

He's getting held, true. Kemp had driven through the same guy and made that an impossibility; Dwumfour drives a bit less and doesn't successfully shed and the gap for a scramble is there.

If Dwumfour was turning in a bunch of penetration he could make up for his relative lack of solidity. He did flash that ability on a pin and pull where he gets a two for one by jetting into the backfield:

#50 DT to bottom

That hasn't been frequent enough so far. Maybe later. That could be later in the season or in 2019.

What happened to Winovich?

Nobody ran at him for whatever reason and WMU's gameplan, like Michigan's, was based around the dead certainty they wouldn't be able to pass block. Even the bombs were no-decision chuck-it specials. Also, he rotated out a lot. Probably just because of the opponent.

How did those backup DEs look then?

Kwity Paye looked good. He got a lot of run next to Kemp. WMU, noticing that he was Not Rashan Gary, tested him frequently, and he mostly passed. He's able to drive his man here and get off of him to stay relevant on a play where he catches a downblock:

#19 DE to top

That's a tight end but it is Odell Miller, so... yeah. Paye also had the play above in the Kemp section. Both of those are encouraging since Paye is apparently the main backup for Gary. He needs to do anchor things at 260 if he's going to be an anchor. He passed the first test on Saturday.

Hutchinson flashes promise but occasionally looks like he's just out of high school. Here he slants into a double, which is going to be a rough time. Still want him to stay upright instead of getting sat upon without delaying the guy who's not sitting upon him:

DE #97 to bottom

This is why I listed Paye as the backup anchor and Hutchinson as the backup WDE going into the season. Paye is much better able to execute the run defense aspects of the job; Hutchinson picked up scattered minuses concentrated late, when Michigan was happy to put him in situations where he could be attacked on the ground.

Hutchinson's an excellent prospect who will be a very good player here, but he's not a superhero and needs time to develop. He would be redshirting if Michigan had DE depth; now that Kemp's at DT and Vilain is still unavailable they don't.


Maybe a tiny bit since each got beat cleanly against ND—FWIW the opening third down conversion in that game was indeed a missed switch on Metellus—but, eh, not really. Not yet, anyway. Here they were challenged in one specific way and mostly dominated. Hill got hit with a deserved flag on an attempted back shoulder and Watson got beat on one, but those were the only incidents where the CBs weren't in excellent position to make a play. Sometimes WMU did...

...but that happens. As long as the CB is making life difficult that's a W for him.

I do think that things are more even than they were last year, when Hill was the clear #1 and Long and Watson were #2A and #2B. I don't think anyone is a clear #1 this year as Hill has dropped back to the pack a little bit and Watson is playing very well. Here's a vintage Watson press-your-face-off incident:

He got beat once or twice but so did Hill; only Long escaped unscathed and that was partially due to a lack of targets.

I would notch expectations down slightly, but that takes you from A+ to A.

Did we see someone win the WLB job?

I think so. Josh Ross had an impressive outing at the same time Gil had a hiccup or two on an otherwise quiet day. Ross had the best stick in the game. Here he comes under a blocker; that guy is still engaged when Ross stops the RB dead in his tracks:

#12 LB standing between #2 Kemp and #90 Mone

Bush's stick was good but it wasn't harassed. And that, too was aided by Ross. Michigan had a run blitz on that saw Ross act as defensive fullback and he stoned his guy dead, giving Bush the free run he took advantage of.

Ross also had the third best stick after Wassink escaped the pocket. He got hit hard enough to cause DeMarco Murray to involuntarily utter an "oof":

He had to change direction there and was still able to deliver that hit. On the Dwumfour pin and pull linked above he was able to clean up for Bush after initially blitzing into the backside of the line. That is impressive range. Possibly Bush-level range.

Meanwhile Gil was quiet. I dinged him for a missed assignment on the second-to-last drive and a missed tackle on a quick hitch; he didn't offset that by hammering anyone. Gil was fine against ND; Ross was a hair better. If this week recurs against SMU, Ross is going to eat all or most of Gil's snaps. Gil looks fine; Ross looks like a potential star.

What happened to Uche's hype?

Furbush is eating into time that might otherwise be a vehicle for that hype and deserving it. As was mentioned in the game column, Furbush's interception was on a very bad idea throw but Furbush is the one who made it a bad idea by looking up a receiver and covering him instead of hoping a guy ran into the section of grass he was on:

#59 LB to left of line

On WMU's very next play Furbush flashed shade of "Jake Ryan versus a bubble screen," simply blowing through his assigned blocker en route to a tackle:

That was the end of Furbush doing cool stuff but if he can drop into coverage well and Uche's still working on that the flexibility that provides is probably more valuable than whatever bonus pass rush Uche brings.

Gaaaargh! Metellus make me angar!

Always with this. When not getting a bad penalty Metellus was very good. When sucked into Dreaded Slot Fade defense he was right in the hip pocket of the WR:

I thought he actually did a better job than Watson on Watson's near-INT. For a deep centerfield safety to get over this far on a fly route is something I don't think we've seen from a Michigan player since I've been charting:

If that ball is on point Watson gets beat and Metellus probably saves the day by hitting the instant it gets there. That WR is D'Wayne Eskridge, who WMU claims runs a 4.33. While that's probably bunk dude is 5'9" and their top outside WR so he has to be at least reasonably fast.

Metellus did get pulled after the penalty for a while, and even after he came back Michigan was rotating Hawkins in freely. He too appeared to get over the top on a poorly thrown bomb...

...and he was again authoritative when asked to fill against the run. I expect Metellus to hold onto his job but this looks like a bonafide competition.


I had to get the triple team play in here somewhere:

If Kinnel hadn't been tackled that would have paid off. Gary's day was a very Chris Wormley outing where he picked up a ton of +1s by chucking people. He also got that sack that we threw in the Kemp section.

What about the [insert description of three bad plays here]

As is tradition. WMU's opening chunk run saw Michigan get edged. Bush takes a false step despite three guys pulling and isn't able to make it up despite his speed:

#10 MLB

Hudson and Gary also can't get off blocks but that's mostly an exceedingly rare instance of Bush not getting outside of the opposition.

Uh... was there anything else?

Longish drives at the end of the game I guess?

In addition to featuring a lot of rotation, those drives also saw Michigan test drive some weird stuff they didn't quite get right. Like a massive gap in the line that's obvious bait for a run blitz that doesn't quite come off:

There could be any number of things that went wrong there but whatever they are they're more about assignments than ability. I'd turned RPS off at that point but I'd put most of those yards on backups and RPS stuff not quite working out.


Gary and Kemp did the most damage on the DL. Ross and Furbush both turned in big plays to get WMU off the field. The secondary put up an excellent coverage number.

Not so heroic maybe?

Gil didn't do a ton and had a couple of bad plays. Mone didn't have much impact even if we're keeping expectations modest.

What does it mean for SMU and beyond?

May have a three-tech. The consistency with which Kemp made plays is encouraging despite the competition level. There were chunks of the game I clipped most of because Kemp was doing something on every play. He's not super explosive but if he's able to rock guys back and shed that's a big upgrade over ND.

May have a WLB. Even setting aside the MA for Gil, Ross has things in his toolbox Gil does not. Ross feels similar to Bush with his ability to get places and hit hard. He's not as fast but he's bigger.

Furbush can cover now? Okay?

Hawkins is moving towards starter confidence. Michigan thinks highly enough of him to continue rotating him through despite Metellus having a good day aside from the penalty.

Solomon's effective return is a major season wildcard. Mone eats space and that's appreciated but the defense lacks a certain zest when it's playing two DTs who aren't going to penetrate much.



September 13th, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

The Dwumfour stuff continues to be interesting.

On Inside Michigan Football this week, Harbaugh again specifically mentioned Dwumfour as being impressive. 



September 13th, 2018 at 5:03 PM ^

I knew that Ross stick on the 4th and 1 play was going to be gifed when I saw it live. He stoned that lineman and set bush up for the stop. Beautiful play. 

death by wolverine

September 13th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

I know it’s only 2 games but I figured the defense would be a little better. Hudson has been quiet, Hill looks like he took a small step backwards. No interior lineman is good enough right now. Metellus is going to have another boneheaded play that loses us a game. 


September 13th, 2018 at 5:49 PM ^

What the hell does it take to get a holding call at this point?   I'm serious - is this just against Michigan or have college refs given up calling it?  

Better question - is Michigan's OL not doing enough holding given that it never gets called?


September 13th, 2018 at 6:05 PM ^

I know it was past charting time, but seemed like when Ambry was at CB for WMU FG drive, he took unnecessary holding penalties.  An area of concern if all 3 above him on depth chart leave after this year.


September 13th, 2018 at 6:15 PM ^

I’m still concerned about our DL next year. 

But not as much as last week. Greg Mattison is the man. 

BTW bear with me in this but suppose one of our two star junior CBs did the unthinkable and stayed for their senior year? That would be something. 


September 14th, 2018 at 9:26 AM ^

Hill is having a meh start to the season.  Unless he comes on strong his draft position won't be very attractive with mediocre stats in his junior year.  Both he and Long might need another year of maturity to reach their max draft positions.  Watson on the other hand looks like a higher draft pick than Hill or Long ... at least based upon their play so far this season.  But we are just getting started with tons of playmaking yet to come.  I would expect Hill to come on strong in league play and likely be the guy who goes early.  Long was a redshirt so more likley he stays another year ... you know, be THE guy of the DBs versus the guy just behind Hill.  I think he stays to improve his draft position.


September 13th, 2018 at 7:22 PM ^

agree on kemp and ross, both look encouraging.  would be huge if kemp could continue rising to pair with solomon (whenever he returns) bc the rest of the depth are just guys this year (well see what dwumfour does, and bowl prep into year 3 will be big for jeter if hes making a move). 

ross has a chance to be really good - hes explosive and clearly brings the wood, has decent instincts and appears to have gotten quicker. 

metellus trusts his instincts and his eyes and typically gets where hes going in a hurry - he usually breaks on ball at full speed and those differences show up with kinnel.  hes an emotional player too and while i liked his passion, instincts, angles, etc on hs tape as well as now, those instincts and get up and go style will lead to over aggressive plays now and then (ie wmu, nd).  hes a pretty good overall safety for them though.

some good stuff this past week.  interested to see if guys like kemp keep it rolling vs smu.

hudson now charted as LB - ive been waiting for you to switch the base D from 4-2-5 to 4-3


September 13th, 2018 at 7:48 PM ^

After two games, the most obvious difference between this and last year is the lack of penetration from the DT position.  Pretty much all other facets are as expected, and depth seems extraordinary.  We may be entering a golden age of performance on that side of the ball, despite every rule advantage being designed to create more offense.


September 13th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

Hawkins does not seem like a boring safety.  I hesitate to say “ball hawk” because his name is Hawkins, but the shoe does look to be about his size.

Maybe in a year or two the starting safeties will be Hawkins and Woods, and their nicknames will be ”Hawkin’ & Wood.”

Im thinkin bou…

September 14th, 2018 at 1:00 AM ^

i can confirm that eskridge and bellamy ran laser timed 4.33 and 4.34. i forget who won, theyre very competitive with eachother, dating back to their indiana track and field days.  also, odell really is 270.  hes top heavy so he looks bigger.


September 14th, 2018 at 9:15 AM ^

Wow, Kemp looks much better than just a guy.  We will see how he stacks up to a B1G lineman but he has potential.  Former anchors make good 3-techs, they really get the role and the teamwork needed with the anchor.