Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Maryland Comment Count

Brian November 10th, 2016 at 3:07 PM


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FORMATION NOTES: Maryland switched between fronts a bunch, seemingly because they were trying to find anything that could possibly work. A 3-4 was their base set through the middle of the game; late and early they were mostly four-man fronts.

None of this went well. Here is an obligatory picture.

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Michigan didn't do anything wacky with formations aside from some pistol stuff that is pretty standard at various places around college football.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: 59 snaps for the line before they were pulled on the final drive. Braden-Bredeson-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson for the third straight week; Kugler got two RG snaps after the Kalis personal foul. Butt and Darboh were close to omnipresent with 47 and 44 snaps; Chesson got 33.

De'Veon Smith usage surged to two-thirds of Michigan's snaps, with Ty Isaac limited to four. Evans and Higdon had 13 and 11. Peppers got four. Hill and Poggi continued to split FB snaps about down the middle. Asiasi, Bunting, and Wheatley all got around 20 snaps; Crawford, McDoom, and Harris got around 10.

[After THE JUMP: many, many touchdowns.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-4 under 8 Pass Fly Darboh Inc
Going deep on the drop; Harbaugh is furious about interference in the aftermath and has something of a point. DB wraps his arm around Darboh as he goes to bat at the ball; he misses; Darboh extends but the ball evades his fingertips. Very much a rubbin’s racin play here; Refs -1. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
M9 2 10 Shotgun empty 2TE 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass TE Hitch Butt 6
Dink throw open for a modest gain. Speight throws this behind Butt as he continues to drift on his route; Butt makes a good catch to bring it in. (MA, 2, protection 1/1). This was a TRAIN play on which MD was still realigning their line on the snap, FWIW.
M15 3 4 Ace trips tight bunch 1 3 1 Base 3-4 7 Pass Drag Chesson 23
Three TEs in the bunch and a drag from Chesson, who lines up opposite. MD busts this coverage bigtime; easy pitch and catch for the first down and Chesson can turn it up for a bunch of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M38 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over 8 Run Iso Smith 4
This is a biff from Smith(-2). M attacks a big gap in the line after motioning Chesson without a response from MD. Chesson takes on a LB; Braden(+1) and Bredeson(+0.5) blow out a DE; Poggi takes on one of the ILBs. Poggi(-1) gets stood up and loses that contact so I guess Smith decides not to test the outside? Even though Poggi got blown up the gap there is huge and he can get through it. Cole(+0.5) got pretty good drive to open up a crease so Michigan gets a bit. RPS +1.
M42 2 6 Pistol Diamond TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Arc zone read give Evans 10
Near identical principle with Chesson motioning to the backfield as a FB. He attacks a LB as M runs zone read and M threatens to arc Speight outside. (For a given definition of threaten, yes.) Braden gets a highly questionable block on the backside DE that causes Evans to cut backside. Poggi(+1) is looking for someone to hit on the back of the play; nobody there; he redirects effectively to a linebacker. Evans(+2) makes an efficient cut behind Braden and squeezes between Poggi and the LB coming off of Chesson.
O48 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 7 Pass Scramble Speight 7
Crack sweep look; PA off a fake pitch. M unfortunate to catch a CB blitz to the rollout side. Speight(+2) avoids that guy and then sets up a block from Butt to break the pocket and scramble for a solid gain. Witchcraft. (SCR, NA, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
O41 2 3 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Smith 8 – 15 Pen
Wheatley(+1) latches on to the playside end and drives him. DE fights back to the hole; Wheatley stays attached and prevents him from doing much. He’ll eventually pancake him. Hill doesn’t get a ton on the OLB but it’s enough; Asiasi(+1) got a second level block that drove his guy a few yards downfield; that guy sheds just in time for Kalis(+0.5) whack him again. Smith picks up the first down and a few more before Hill’s guy gets him around the ankles. Kalis(-2) gets a PF after the play.
O48 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Pass PA hitch Chesson 8
Another crack sweep look into PA. Evans gets a cut on a DE to open up a passing lane to Chesson for a few. Chesson(+1) breaks a tackle to add a number of yards. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O40 2 2 Pepcat 4-wide 2* 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run QB crack sweep Peppers 6
Cole(+1) and Mags(+1) easily seal DL lined up outside of them as they slant away. Butt(+1) locks up and drives a LB. Peppers(-0.5) is very fast and Peppers and all that but he could stand to slow up here and let Kugler, temporarily in for Kalis, get to his block. Instead he commits to one side of Kugler and a DB can run past him for the tackle.
O34 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass PA post Darboh 34
Two fakes here, first jet and then a handoff. That occupies the FS’s eyes and I he busts this big time. CB on Darboh lines up with outside leverage and has little chance to defend a post route. Darboh(route++) does a terrific job to run through him on a purported corner before cutting back to the middle of the field and getting open by yards. Speight makes no mistake, though his throw is slightly off. This is so open that it’s not actually a super tough throw. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 even 8 Pass PA slant Darboh 16
Can’t throw this better. LBs suck up a bit on a guard pull but do get a little depth; doesn’t matter as Speight puts it right on Darboh right on time. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M32 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-4 even 9 Run Outside zone Isaac 3
TRAIN. MD again moving their line just before the snap and this is awkward but adjusted to. Butt(+1) gets a large kick on a DE shooting outside of him to create a bunch of room. Asiasi(+1) boots a DB out of the hole and keeps attached as he tries to shed. Braden(+2) does a terrific job to read the DE shooting outside of him and ID someone else to block; he picks off a LB trying to shoot a gap. Poggi(-2) hits the same guy. Or at least tries to. He hits Braden. This leaves an unblocked guy in the hole and submarines a promising play.
M35 2 7 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Jet sweep McDoom 12
Asiasi(+2) gets the edge on the OLB and pancakes him impressively. That’s the edge for McDoom. McDoom(+1) creates some extra yards by spinning past a guy Butt(+0.5) is harassing. RPS +1.
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Flea flicker Y cross Chesson 40
Jet action and a threatened jet sweep for Peppers that actually looks like a big gain if he keeps. Instead he throws back to Speight. Ball is a bit errant; Speight still has time to grab it and set up and fire a dart to Chesson. This was not wide open; Chesson gets hit on the catch. Tough way to get a big play. (DO, 2, protection N/A, RPS… push.)
O13 1 10 Offset I twins tackle over 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Power O Higdon 3
Almost another chunk. Bredeson(-2) pulls and fails to ID his block. That guy tackles. Kalis(+0.5) got some depth on a DT; Braden(+0.5), a nominal TE, kicked a DE upfield. Mags(+1) got to a LB and forced him back. W backside blitz useless and a S to the weakside instead of the middle this is a TD if Bredeson gets his block. RPS +1.
O10 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Scramble Speight 10
Another one of those redzone plays where M leaves a WR at the LOS. Speight wants to hit Butt on a slant but the DB undercuts it, nothing there. Bredeson gets shed at this point, which isn’t great but also probably not worth a minus; rest of the line stones their guys and with MD overplaying the passes the middle of the field has nobody in it. Speight takes off. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 9 Run Iso Smith 14
Not real great for MD when they have no deep S and still get gashed. This is just another iso at the gap between the NT and DE when MD goes to this three man front. Braden(+1) takes the DE for a sec and then passes him to Bredeson(+1) once he gets a blitzer; Hill(+1) thunks the playside LB and moves him back; this time Smith bursts outside of this block for a chunk.
M34 1 10 Ace trips 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass PA Y cross Butt 37
Token PA is enough to suck up the MLB. Another OLB freezes with nobody in his area; Butt is wide, wide open. Speight puts it on his hands so he doesn’t have to break stride, and then Butt(+1) runs over an S for another 12 yards. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O29 1 10 Ace twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Crack sweep Smith 8
Three motions on this play take Hill from the left to the right; ditto Chesson; MD gets flanked for what’s finally a crack sweep. Mags(+1) manages to get outside a guy trying to keep the edge and stays attached when dude tries to rip him upfield. W/ MD hauling ass for the sideline that’s good enough for a crease. Smith(+1) makes a good cut directly upfield for a nice gain. Cole(+1) turned in the NT so he couldn’t pursue; MD blitzed a LB away from the play and was minus one at the POA. RPS +1.
O21 2 2 Offset I Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Smith 3
JBB(-1) technically a TE on this play. He blocks down on a DE and gets shed, with the DE popping up in the hole and making the tackle. M still gets some yards as Mags(+0.5) manages the slant better and shoves his guy inside to provide the tiny crack that gets Smith the first down. Kalis(+1) blew an ILB downfield so there’s no second level, as well.
O18 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass TE drag Butt 2
Mansome blitz pickup by Hill, who finds his guy late but stands him up like a boss all the same. Speight doesn’t like his options and checks down to a Greg Davis special: the two yard drag. Didn’t look like he had much else. (CA, 3, protection 2/2 RPS -1)
O16 2 8 Shotgun 2-back twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Crack sweep Peppers 13
Darboh(+2) motions inside and then crushes the DE. He gets whipped and pancaked. I be like dang. Stunt on the interior is asking too much of the NT to be relevant. He half-heartedly chases, no pursuit from inside. Kalis(+1) and Smith(+0.5) get good lead blocks; Chesson(+1) plugs a guy; Peppers(+1) sets up his blocks well and runs over a guy for a near-TD.
O3 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Iso Smith 3
Big cutback lane appears as Bredeson(+1) puts hits guy on the ground; guy fired out low and buried himself of his own volition somewhat. NT ain’t paying attention enough; Smith(+1) cuts back and runs through a S tackle for an easy TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass PA comeback Darboh Inc
Braden(-1) beat around the corner, and Higdon(-1) gets confused on his pickup; he ends up in Speight’s knees for some reason. Speight’s pass is reasonable given the situation but still off. (IN, 0, protection 0/2)
M49 2 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Double iso Smith 3
Asiasi to the backside. He goes into the gap and doesn’t hit anyone; previously we’ve seen him whack the NT if the LB goes into the other gap. Smith doesn’t test this; he goes to the front. Poggi ends up a gap outside the center since MD is slanting; M does get a gap with Kalis(+0.5) adjusting to the slant and Poggi(+0.5) getting a solid hit. Second LB is unblocked since M spent Asiasi away from the play and tackles. Mags(-1) did not handle the slant well. RPS -1.
O48 3 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-3-5 stack 6 Pass Improv Hill 15
Hill(-2) blows a pass protection, setting up too close to the LOS and allowing a blitzer around the corner. Speight dodges this dude and rolls out; Hill goes out in a route because why not; Speight hits him for the conversion. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
O33 1 10 Ace twin TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Penalty False start Braden -5
Braden -1.
O38 1 15 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7 Run Power O Higdon -4
Mags(-3) fails to block the OLB, instead hitting a DE that Cole has covered. Despite being on the backside this guy can go nail Higdon for loss.
O42 2 19 Shotgun 2-back 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Wheel Harris 38 (Pen -15)
Harris lined up at RB; he runs a wheel and gets a safety over the top, so this isn’t a massive RPS gotcha. He pushes off on the face of the DB and I guess that’s OPI but it’s really rare that something like that actually gets called. Route minus for Harris. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M43 2 34 Shotgun 3-wide TE 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Screen Evans 56
Only four guys sent but man free, man. M runs off four DBs and the FS is the FS. A DE backs out in the general area of the screen but ends up behind Bredeson(+1), who cuts him. Evans almost drops the ball . Once he doesn’t there’s nobody for a million years. Cole(+1) gets a hit on the S and Evans(+1) is fast,. The end. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +3)
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run FB dive Hill 1
Surprise. Bredeson(+1) gets motion on a single block and that’s enough.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-0, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Ace H 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Lead zone Smith 6
Feels like a trap but nobody gets let go. Tight all around; Smith(+1) makes a good cut to the back. Braden(+1) gets motion on a DE and gets to the second level. Butt(+0.5) does just enough on the guy Braden leaves. Bredeson(+0.5) doesn’t seal his guy but gets drive on him. Smith squeezes through a crease for a good gain.
M45 2 4 Ace empty twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass TE drag Butt 16
Nothing throw on second and short that Butt(+2) turns into a chunk by juking one guy, stiff-arming a second, and running over a third. (CA, 3, protection ½). Mags(-1) got Speight hit on the throw after winning the first move.
O39 1 10 Offset I twins 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass PA stop and go Butt Inc
M motions Butt to an outside WR spot, catches zone, and still manages to get their TE open over the top. This is incomplete as Butt dives at the ball and can’t bring it in but this is more on WR than QB as the ball hits at just about the perfect spot. This should be complete and is a badass looping throw to get his WR under the ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2, Butt route +)
O39 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass Out McDoom 5
Excellent protection. Five man rush and nobody near Speight even on an extended look. He eventually comes to McDoom on a circle route that got disrupted; decent gain. (CA, 3 protection 3/3)
O34 3 5 Ace trips tight bunch 1 1 3 3-2 dime 6 Pass Out and up Chesson 34
Butt(-2) left in to protect and gets run right around by a corner blitz; Speight has to step up and around this guy. He can because the rest of the protection is flawless. He sets up and chucks it to Chesson in the endzone for a TD. This should be a bit longer; Chesson ends up going down to catch it; Chesson(route+) burned the CB on the route and then the CB inexplicably stepped up once Speight made his move. (CA+, 3, protection 2/4)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-0, 42 sec 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under 8 Run Lead zone Smith 9
Bredeson(-2) reads the front wrong and releases without chipping a DE who shoots to the backfield with Braden attached. M gets fortunate as he goes too vertical and Smith(+1) runs through his tackle attempt. That means there’s a big gap on the backside to hit. Cole(+1) blew out the NT and Smith(+1) smiths his way to some additional YAC. Butt(+0.5) had a good kick that he lost eventually.
O40 2 1 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7.5 Pass Dumpoff Smith 17
JBB your second TE. Kalis eventually loses his man but not before Speight can check a couple reads downfield and take the checkdown. His throw is iffy, forcing Smith to jump for it; Smith(+1) makes something of it anyway by running over a DB. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
O23 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Smith 3
Nowhere to go at first as Bredeson(-0.5) loses some ground on his downblock. He fights the NT off eventually; at first his block results in a jammed up front. Ditto Braden(-0.5). Both guys eventually get some push and Smith can squeeze through them for a couple.
O20 2 7 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass PA hitch Chesson 8
Replay of something from the first drive down to the result: Butt draws attention from a linebacker just long enough to pop Chesson open. Chesson(+0.5) grinds out the first down afterwards. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O12 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Flare screen Peppers Inc
This is not a great throw but it is catchable; Peppers lets it hit the ground. Too bad, as this was pretty open. (MA, 2, screen)
O12 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Smith 3
Close to a success but Butt(-1) and Braden(-0.5) both leave a DE after they’ve doubled him off the line. DE’s given ground and when he hits Smith the pile lurches forward so there are worse blocks. Good pull and second level block by Kalis(+1); Bredeson gets an eh block that sees his guy eventually slide to the gap and help on the tackle. Poggi(+0.5) got a solid hit on the edge.
O9 3 7 Offset I twins 2 1 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -1
Various stunt issues here. DT engages Bredeson(-1) before looping around; Braden hits the DE diving inside. He has to continued hitting that guy because Bredeson did not pop off the DT, falling instead. DT around the corner, flushing Speight. Speight is now cocky as hell and tries to spin through a LB tackle and run for it. He almost does. He does not. (TA, N/A, protection ½)
Drive Notes: FG(22), 38-0, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Crack sweep Smith 7
Wheatley(-1) blocks an OLB and gets around him. He looks set to seal and set the edge when the DE tosses him to the ground. He did delay the guy a bit. Bredeson(+1) aborts a pull to pick off a DL effectively. Braden(+0.5) gets out to kick. Hill(+2 finds a LB who’s off balance and puts him on the ground; he moves to the next level and gets a second block. Chesson(-2) entirely missed the LB level on his crack block; Smith cuts behind Braden and gets tackled by Wheatley’s guy. RPS +1 since the blocking didn’t match the result.
M42 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass Out Darboh 20 + 15 pen
Double outs to the field; Bunting’s route sucks up a LB and the deeper one comes open. Speight slots it in smoothly. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1). Darboh(+1) grinds out five or six after contact on the tackle; facemask tacks on another chunk.
O23 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over SAM 7.5 Run Jet sweep Evans -1
MD prepped now; do want Butt(-1) to hold his ground on the edge a bit better so Evans doesn’t have to bend so much, but there are four defenders and two blockers in the area; not much Evans can do. RPS -2.
O24 2 11 Ace empty twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Pass Out Darboh 7
Darboh gets open for a solid gain, pitch and catch, immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O17 3 4 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass FB flat Hill 3
McDoom motions in and runs a drag through the MD D. This draws attention from a LB and Hill pops into the flat wide open. Speight just about misses on an easy throw; Hill manages to bring it in with a spectacular juggling catch. (IN, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O14 4 1 Goal line H 3 2 0 Goal line 11 Run FB dive Hill 0
M stood up as Cole(-1) and Kalis(-1) can’t get anything on the DTs lined up opposite them; this maybe not the best idea when you’ve got so many linemen for the opposition. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 38-0, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 over SAM 8 Pass PA TE out Butt 15
Cole(-1) gets ripped through and gives up pressure up the middle. He’s able to slow the NT up a bit and Speight has just enough time to get the ball out. It’s to Butt, who got a bunch of separation from a LB. Ball takes Butt off his feet but this is still pretty good. (CA+, 2, protection ½)
O37 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 over SAM 7.5 Run Lead zone Smith 11
Backside gap opens up and Smith(+1) hits it. Kalis(+0.5) does enough with the NT; Bredeson(+0.5) does the same, barely fending off a DT who then pops off to attempt a tackle. Cole(+1) got a good second level block and Smith(+1) runs through more tackles because that’s what he does.
O26 1 10 Offset I 1 2 2 4-4 over 8 Run Offset draw Smith 9
Playside DE again dives inside so this is awkward. Braden(+1) gets a shove in; guy can still get a lunge in at Smith(+1) that he runs through. Braden then goes and gets a second level block; Butt(+1) removes a LB. Cole(+1) gets out to another LB well downfield; Darboh(-1) lost his block and Smith gets hit by that guy as he nears the sticks.
O17 2 1 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Higdon 4
CB blitz should work as Darboh can’t do anything about it without blocking in the back. He harasses the guy anyway and Higdon(+2) manages to run through him and then take a direct hit from a LB at the LOS. Higdon drags this guy four yards. RPS -2. Braden(+1) got motion on a DE by staying attached as he tried to rip inside; Poggi ends up in that gap with a LB exchanging outside. Not really his fault.
O13 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Off tackle Smith 8
Butt motions to the short side a couple yards outside the tackle; he wants to crack down on the OLB. He widens out, expecting that he’ll get this guy moving to the sideline when he sees the run action outside; instead he goes upfield. Butt(-1) does hit the guy a bit but he still gets a tackle attempt in. Smith(+1) sheds him with a stiffarm. On the edge Poggi(+1) gets a good cut and Bredeson(+1) sticks with the playside end after Braden combos with him; Braden pops off that block but can’t find anyone else. Kalis(+1) got an impressive cut block on the backside to remove a LB. Smith has a path to the S thanks to Darboh(+1) doing better on his man.
O5 2 2 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Power O Smith 3 + 1 Pen
MD slants; Mags(+1) and Kalis(+1) adapt to it and shove two gents a goodly distance. Bredeson has some issues getting around this, understandably. Wheatley(+0.5) locks up a DE. Smith cuts back into the gap the right side of the line made and grinds it down. PF takes it a further yard.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Pass PA TE out Wheatley Inc
MD covers both TEs well; Speight tries to hit Wheatley because he’s got a tiny window. He misses but this is the right throw given the situation. (MA, 0, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
O1 2 G Goal line H 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Iso Smith 1
Kalis(+1) and Mags(+1) put their guy in the endzone and that’s all she wrote.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 45-0, EO3Q. O’Korn on next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Ace H 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Trap Isaac 53
Waited a while to pull this out and it pays off big, with Kalis(+1) moving to the second level immediately to whack and move a LB; Poggi(+1) slams down into the NT and knocks him out of the hole. Bredeson(+0.5) gets chucked away but did enough to create a hole. Isaac(+1) makes a safety miss and runs a long way. Crawford whacks some guys at the end but probably whacks the wrong one, and a DB gets Isaac OOB. RPS +2.
O11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6.5 Run Zone read give Smith 9
S moves down and takes a path way upfield so there’s a cutback lane. Braden(+1) handles a slant under him, driving that guy down the line, and Smith(+2) hits the cutback lane and runs through a DB for a goodly chunk of YAC. RPS +1.
O2 2 1 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Iso Smith 2
Kalis(+1) and Mags(+1) again blow their guy into the endzone for an easy conversion.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 52-3, 9 min 4th Q. All backups now, and I’m just grabbing a few things for season preview purposes. FWIW they shifted the second team line. Left to right: JBB, Dawson, Kugler, Onwenu, Ulizio.
M17 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Cross Crawford 16
O’Korn bugs out after a bit and eventually finds Crawford; his throw is well wide but Crawford makes a spectacular diving catch. (MA, 1, protection 2/2)
M33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 under 8 Run Inside zone Higdon 6
Odd alignment from MD but M handles it well; Higdon(+1) gets a big gap and runs through a tackle for a solid gain. Dawson(+1) flung a guy upfield and Kugler(+1) turned the NT away.
M39 2 4 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Hitch Crawford Inc
M IDs a corner blitz and checks to a hot route off of it. Ball is high; Crawford doesn’t make the check(route -). (MA, 0, protection N/A)
M39 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Drag Crawford Inc + 15 pen
O’Korn pressure immediately up the gut and I think it’s Higdon(-2) blowing it. O’Korn makes a pretty good play to give ground and get the ball out to Crawford, but it’s a hair off and Crawford can’t make a one handed stab. M bailed out by a roughing call. (PR, 1, protection 0/2)
O46 1 10 Ace trips 1 2 2 Nickel over 6 Run Crack sweep Higdon 6
DE goes directly upfield and picks off a puller, nothing Asiasi can do about it. Nobody for a LB now. Wheatley(+1) seals the other one. Higdon(+1) is able to split a couple of defenders and gets some YAC; Ulizio(+1) got a good cut.
O40 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 even 6.5 Run Zone read give Evans 13
MD again spends a guy upfield on a zone read like it’s 2000 and M takes advantage. Evans(+2) does most of the work, with Onwenu(+0.5) getting just enough movement to give him the gap. RPS +1.
O27 1 10 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run FB trap Henderson 8
Kugler(+1) turns out the NT. Dawson(+1) comes around and pops the other DT; gap up the middle.
O19 2 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 over SAM 8 Run Iso Evans 10
Wheatley(+1) gets good movement on a DE kick. Guy sheds upfield and that’s not good for D integrity. Poggi(+1) thunks a LB; Evans(+1) hits the gap just outside; Ulizio(-1) doesn’t recognize that he should go to the S quickly enough and ends up blocking nobody. Evans has to dodge the S and does; this forces him into a corner.
O9 1 G Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-4 under 8.5 Pass PA post Crawford 9
Slight coverage bust leaves Crawford wide open. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 59-3, 3 min 4th Q. M doesn’t get the ball back.

That was... thorough.

Check out what Michigan's done with their first-half possessions since the bye week:

  • Illinois: 6 drives, 4 touchdowns, 1 field goal, 1 punt.
  • MSU: 5 drives, 3 touchdowns, 2 field goals
  • Maryland: 5 drives, 5 touchdowns

That's 12 touchdowns and 3 field goals on 16 drives. Two of the field goals were kicked not because Michigan got stopped but because halftime was nigh.

None of these teams are good, but that's insane. Speight going from meh to legit good has turned this offense into a juggernaut not far off their defense. Metrics that attempt to adjust for SOS are inching into the bonkers zone. Michigan's offense is #8 in S&P+, #4 in FPI, and #1(!) in FEI.

And... I don't know if I disagree? Especially given the trajectory here. Those metrics include a big chunk of the season in which Speight was not playing anywhere near this level. "Ain't played nobody" is a charge with some merit, but I mean dang man, 'Bama had 17 points at halftime against Kentucky. Much of the time you fail on offense because of things you're doing independent of the opponent (see also: first three drives versus Rutgers). Michigan's error level is impressively low.

You can see this in Michigan's adjusted pace. Michigan is meaningfully above average at 39th despite having an offense that never tries to go up-tempo and has a ton of realignment and motion. That's indicative of a team that gets out of the huddle quickly and gets to it. Remember those Al Borges teams where they'd be in the huddle with 15 seconds on the play clock? Yeah, not so much with Michigan this year. They are well coached.







[Hennechart orientation: mouse over column headers for explanations of the categories. + is handed out for a good throw under duress. * is handed out for a very bad version of a bad thing. Numbers in parens are screens. DSR is an attempt to compress the numbers into one overall number. PFF is PFF's grade.]

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Hawaii 1 8(1)+       1(1)       1* 2*   73% -1.0
UCF 3 21(1)     5 2     2 2(1) 2   82% 1.0
Colorado - 14(2)++++ 1   4 3   2 - 5 6**   50% -3.5
Penn State 1+ 17(2)++ 1   1 4   1(1) 2+ 8(1) -   68% 1.0
Wisconsin 3 16(3)+   5+   1 2+ 4 5*   57% -0.5
Rutgers 1+ 10(1)++   1   5   67% 0.5
Illinois 5+ 10+ 1 2 3   1* 3   79% 4.5
MSU 4++ 11(1) 2 6   4 2*   70% 2.5
Maryland 4 16(1)+++ 2 3(1)   1 2   88% 6.5

Sooooo... not bad. This is the throw that made me say uhh in the stands:

That's not a tough throw. It caught my attention because of Speight's command. He pops up off the PA fake and knows Darboh will be open between the LBs and bam it's out and right on point. This was Michigan's second drive and in fact Michigan's first play after the Darboh TD; this was the point at which it felt like, look, Speight is dialed in and just this guy, you know. This is New Speight becoming just Speight. A later out would feel similar, as M ran double outs to put Maryland in conflict and Speight read that side of the field, slotting in a ten yard out to the field that has perfect placement:

Maybe this all goes away in flames against OSU, but at this point that would be a surprise.

Speight's ability to avoid pressure and make something positive happen is verging on the uncanny. He's got perfect timing for evading guys coming in hot, and then he keeps his eyes downfield:

That's a juke, man. He moves up in the pocket for a step before pivoting backside. Then he completes a pass to a guy who's not even supposed to be in a route there. In addition to the above, Speight had two scrambles(!) in this game and nearly had a third when he tried to spin through a tackle and almost did.

I had a big argument on WTKA this morning about whether Speight was more mobile than John Navarre--I said not really--but I think we might have been talking past each other a bit. Speight's ability to move around the pocket is terrific, and proven. Not only does he bug out when he should, he will stand in against pressure and fire completions.

Happy feet are not a problem.

In addition to meticulous underneath dissection, Speight was lighting it up downfield. The trick play didn't really trick Maryland's DB much, and Speight had to re-set after catching an iffy pass from Peppers and nail Chesson in pretty tight coverage; he did so.

The wheel route to Harris was perfect.

Even the incompletions were pretty.

I charged him with two inaccurate balls: one the spectacular three yard catch by Hill, the other a comeback route wide of Darboh in part because Karan Higdon ended up in Speight's knees for reasons that remain mysterious. I certainly could have filed that as a neutral throw.

So that's all right then.

This was the first game where it really felt like all the triplets were activated at the same time.

Yuuuup. All three guys came to play. The opening touchdown was a 40-yard throw that I marked CA because Darboh (and what I assume is a free safety bust) made it stupid easy. His corner-post route is run through the defensive back and doesn't rely on the guy biting to work. It's just a matter of momentum:

He's added the deep threat to his arsenal in a big way; he's beyond any reasonable expectations now. He's playing out of his mind.

Oh, and he's also out here pancaking DEs.

Darboh's now a complete receiver who the NFL will be very interested in.

While we're on the WRs, note that Chesson had a productive day on various routes that he ran well.

That head turn as if he's running an out induces a bite on third and five; that's all she wrote. He's open by a full four yards. Last week's minor panic was a bit hasty. While Darboh has passed him, Chesson's still at a terrific 9 yards per target.

I didn't clip anything from Butt but he had a significantly positive day as a blocker and had two De'Veon Smith-esque runs after the catch.

While we're talking receivers, catch chart:

[0 = uncatchable, 1 = circus catch, 2 = moderate difficulty, 3 = routine]

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Darboh 1 0/1 4/4   15 3/9 4/4 35/38
Chesson 1/1 4/4   11 0/2 9/11 17/18
Perry     9 1/1 5/5
Peppers     0/1       1/2 2/2
Ways                 1/1
McDoom       1/1     1/1   3/3
Crawford   1/1   1/1     1/1   2/3
Harris     1/1   2   1/1
Butt 2/3 3/3   5 1/2 3/5 25/27
Bunting         1     2/2
Wheatley 1       1     1/1
Asiasi               2/2
Poggi               4/5
Hill   1/1 1/1   1 1/1 2/2 7/7
Smith 1/1     4 1/1 3/3 7/7
Evans     1/1   1 0/1   4/4
Higdon         1      
McKeon                 2/2
Hirsch                 1/1

ROUTES: Darboh++, Chesson+, Butt+, Harris –, Crawford –.

Just two passes filed at zeros for the whole day.

So... not to get ahead of ourselves, but Harris is a starter next year?

He does seem to be emerging into the #4 target. This is the third downfield shot at Harris that should have gone better. This time it was kind of Harris's fault, but the catch he made after his ticky-tack OPI was real nice. The rapport he and Speight were reputed to have seems to be paying some dividends for him--as is Grant Perry's suspension.

Harris will remain an interesting slot option since he brings a big-play element that most slots don't, and it's going to be super hard to not give him a good matchup with Michigan's other weapons. Against cover four teams he could be a secret weapon. Don't be surprised if he scores against OSU.

Kekoa Crawford also helped state his case:

Those two guys and McDoom would appear to have the edge at outside receiver.

And that left side of the line? Still okay?

Depends on who you ask.

Offensive Line
Player Snaps + - Total PFF   Snaps Pass- Error% PFF
Braden 31 9 2 7 -2.8   28 1 2% 0.6
Bredeson 31 7.5 4.5 3 0.6   28 1 2% -0.8
Cole 31 5.5 1 4.5 1.7   28 1 2% 0
Kalis 30 9.5 3 6.5 3.7   27 -0.3
Magnuson 31 6.5 4 2.5 1.0   28 1 2% 1.0
Bushell-Beatty 6 1 -1 0   7 0.3
Butt 19 7.5* 3 1.5 0.9   6 2 17% -0.8
Bunting 11 0 0.2   0
Wheatley 14 3.5 1 2.5 -0.5   1
Asiasi 14 4 4 0.9   0
Hill 8 3 3 0.9   2 2 50% 0.1
Poggi 19 5 3 2 -0.8   1 0
TOTAL - 50 22.5 69%

*[Three points for Butt for runs after the catch.]

Player + - T Notes
Protection 38 9 81% Hill –2, Butt –2, Higdon –1, Braden –1, Magnuson –1, Bredeson –1, Cole -1
RPS 17 9 +8 Screens and Speight finding open guys a ton thanks to predictable coverages.

PFF and UFR numbers are pretty close on just about everyone except Ben Braden, who I thought did a very good job; PFF not so much. (I assume that Hill's blown pickup got misclassified since he's got a –1.2 in the pass game but pass blocking was positive.) Unfortunately, I didn't really clip anything either way. Braden did have a couple of blocks on which he looked less than impressive but got the job done, and I'm guessing PFF was harsher on those than I was.

Bredeson had a couple of big mental errors that cost Michigan chunk run plays but was solid otherwise; Michigan ran successfully off the left side about as much as the right. @JDue51 first picked up on this excellent blitz pickup from both guys on the left side in this game:

Braden and Bredeson repeatedly passed guys off to each other and various tight ends and the like; even with the usual level of freshman stuff from Bredeson this is going about as well as can be expected.

That goes for the rest of the blocking as well. Michigan hit the Mendoza line and exceeded it at 69%, and would have had a truly big percentage there but for the two –2 mental errors from Bredeson and one power play that got buried when Magnuson blocked the wrong guy on the backside. This was always supposed to happen against a very bad run D. Hooray for it happening.

You don't seem to be writing 2000 word screeds about running back cuts anymore.

I know! I'm not even slightly tempted. Chart:

RB chart (WR grades are run only):

Player Rushes + - T   PFF   Notes
Speight 2 2 2   0.7   Two effective scrambles.
Smith 20 10.5 2 8.5   2.4   Another +0.3 from PFF for his catch and run.
Isaac 2 1 1   0.4 Cameo goes 53 yards.
Evans 4 6 6   0.7   Also 0.9 as a receiver.
Higdon 5 4 4    0.4  
Peppers 2 1 0.5 0.5   0.7   -1.1 as a passer for drop and inaccurate throwback.
Johnson               DNP
TOTAL 45 25.5 2.5 23   +5.3    
Player Blocks + - T   PFF G   Notes
Darboh 24 4 1 3   0.9 Hammered a DE. 
Chesson 13 2.5 2 0.5   -0.6   One crack sweep biff.
Harris 2         0    
McDoom 3 1   1   0.5 Another slipped tackle.
Crawford 6       0.5 I did not offer points for that block. Sue me.
TOTAL - 7.5 3 4.5

That's at least the third straight week just about everyone comes in positive in both metrics. Ty Wheatley for the win.

With Ty Isaac limited we got a heavier dose of Smith than usual and he was his usual mauling self.

I did detect a biff from Smith on Michigan's first run, when he avoided a big gap outside and cut it in for a modest gain. Don't know if he saw Poggi get rocked back or just assumed the LB would fill space he doesn't; that downgraded a chunk run to four yards. I guess he's cutting off the Cole block.

In any case, that was the only run of 19 on which I thought Smith could have done better. He's night and day from midseason last year.

Evans and Higdon both had nice days as well. Higdon's ability to take this run which should be stuffed at the LOS and turn it into four yards is eye-opening:

That's some Mike Hart stuff.

Evans got a lot of run in Michigan's oddly effective zone read game and made a couple of excellent backside cuts.

He goes down easy compared to the other guys; he's usually eaten up more yardage than the other guys before contact.

Bunting got 20 snaps? I didn't even notice.

Neither did I. He didn't do anything to pop out either way. Bunting ended up 0.0 overall to PFF and I didn't chart any of his actions.

But those other TEs...

Yeah, I mentioned a couple of thumping Asiasi blocks in the game column, and lo, they were just as good on replay:

That's an ass-kicking, and he's been so consistent at doing this when he gets matched up with any back seven player. He doesn't fall off; he doesn't get run around; he stays attached when things aren't going quite as well as they did above. He is a stunningly good blocker for a freshman. Remember freshman AJ Williams? Yeah. Asiasi is something else.

In addition, we're starting to see flashes from Wheatley. He was the main driver on a successful power play:

He had one bad play on which a guy chucked him downfield but was otherwise a consistent positive in the run game. This was not the case earlier this year.

If you'll permit me a bit of an odd comparison, he kind of reminds me of Ben Braden last year. He has a tendency to lean with his upper body and lunge at people, so he falls off rather spectacularly when that doesn't work out. He is large and powerful and hints that he's good pop through intermittently when he gets it right. Also like Braden, PFF is harsher on him than I am because he isn't directly responsible for lost yardage but he's not exactly textbook.

This game was progress for him, and hopefully by the end of the year he feels like Braden did entering this year: a large man who decent but still working on his technique. Difference is he'd have three years left instead of one.

Still on your Hill kick?

Yes. Impact fullback is a thing man. He had another edge two for one:

And he displayed his hands on that juggling stab of one of Speight's few errant passes.

He stands guys up on iso blocks and is a plus receiver; he will be in the NFL for a long time. I still find it odd that he's getting limited snaps; just 18 in this one. Both I and PFF are consistently grading Hill out as the much better run blocker, and there's no contest as a receiver.

Stanford... Harbaugh stuff?

The flashy item in this game was the double pass trick play, but, uh... Michigan might get 40 yards if Peppers just runs the dang sweep.

I now want Michigan to run this except Peppers turns around to throw it back and then just takes off on the sweep again. We can get weirder.

We got some more of run for Chesson at... fullback. Last week he led out for a Peppers touchdown; this week he motions into a pistol backfield and occupies a linebacker with some help from a hypothetical Speight keeper.

My immediate thought when I see a WR/TE in the backfield is that Michigan will throw, and you can see the Maryland ILBs aren't exactly firing at this run with vim and vigor. Using Chesson as an arc blocker isn't getting the extra blocker the zone read tries to win back since there's only one guy checking Speight and Chesson, but it did effectively remove his man from the equation.

Also that arc block can easily turn into a route.

TRAIN made a couple more appearances, though on the first one Darboh actually ran to his intended spot before realizing it was TRAIN. This was nearly a big play as Braden adjusts to a DE running away from him, but Poggi hit the same guy:

That's a huge gap but for the mental error, and for whatever reason TRAIN keeps resulting in plays that either are or probably should be successful. It's Michigan's version of going tempo. They can substitute their weird packages and insert Chesson a TE or FB or whatever and get the advantage of a D trying to figure out how Michigan intends to screw with them in the one second between set and snap.


Speight, obviously. The three amigos at WR all had excellent days. Hill was very good in limited time, and the line as a whole performed very well. That is about the whole offense, but Michigan put up 660 yards. It probably should be.

Maybe not so heroic?

PFF didn't like Braden. I did. Nobody else comes close.

What does it mean for Iowa and the future?

This is (probably) Speight now. Maybe not this exact game but the average of the last three weeks. Iowa will be something of an upgrade on Maryland—maybe not statistically, but certainly in having Desmond King. And Indiana is a top 25 S&P+ pass defense, so if he can maintain his play over the next couple weeks I'll be confident he can win the Game.

The running backs know what they're doing. Almost no negatives for the third straight week. They hit almost all the gaps. They break tackles. Coaching. It matters.

The wide receiving trio all performed. Chesson shook off some criticism from last week to have a good game; Butt is Butt; Darboh is killing it.

The left side of the line is probably both fine and the biggest way Michigan's offense falls apart. Bredeson is still a freshman and that will come to the forefront from time to time. My grade for Braden is based on the fact that he did not get Michigan tackled for minimal gains much; PFF's grade might be closer to his projected performance against an OSU. This is almost literally the only worry I currently have about the offense.

Drake Harris is getting off the cart. Now he just has to catch one of those long ones.



November 10th, 2016 at 5:47 PM ^

Clemson's DL is scary good. Those two defensive lines are what may keep Michigan from going all the way. Our OL has been doing alright and we've been able to run and pass protect, but good players on the DL have given some guys real problems at times. Bama and Clemson both have multiple guys that are homewreckers. 

We played a DL of homewreckers last year in The Game and it didn't go well at all. Harbaugh did a great job gameplanning around it, but there's only so much you can do. With Speight coming on, this team will go as far as the OL can take them.

I Like Burgers

November 10th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

If they are going to make a title run, the three teams they need to beat line up nicely and help Michigan prepare for each.  Provided they beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten champ game, they'd likely face Clemson, which is a better version of Ohio State, and then likely face Alabama, which is a better version of Clemson.

To do it, they are going to have to tame their dual-threat QB bugaboo from years past.  But at least they will play teams that prepare them for that from one challenge to the next.


November 10th, 2016 at 3:38 PM ^

The Peppers fake throwback Brian suggested would be awesome. Based on the wide angle replay view, Speight also could have thrown it back to Peppers for bunches of yards. The jet sweep transcontinental. 


November 10th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

but at times I wonder if the offense is as good, if not maybe better than, the defensive unit.  Obviously, not over the course of the first 9 games but with the way Speight has played lately and the way the left side of the line is coming together, it seems to be a pretty complete unit.  They are just mashing teams on a weekly basis.


November 10th, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

Not saying it was intentional, but that "errant" pass back to Speight from Peppers takes Speight far enough back that he doesn't get sacked before the ball gets out. Maryland guy was closing in on him.

Michigan Arrogance

November 10th, 2016 at 3:53 PM ^

88% is the highest recorded QB Chart grade for a single game, no? THat would be, uh, encouraging.


Also re: Coaching. It matters. I submit, in opposition, the following evidence to the court:

Penn St and James Franklin at 7-2, # 10 in the country.  /s (i think?)


November 10th, 2016 at 4:06 PM ^

I see why Brian thought Crawford got the wrong guy with his block, but I disagree.  I think Crawford checked his options, realized he was unlikely to get to the guy who made the tackle, thus he took out the other two guys.  Not perfect, but best case for him.