Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Maryland Comment Count

Brian November 16th, 2017 at 3:31 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're (still!) having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

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  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
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Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. A confession: virtually all of the one-or-two safety bits of the table below are guesses, because we got BTN Director With Severe Myopia again. This is third and ten.


I hate this man. If someone ever comes up to me and says "hey, I directed the 2017 Michigan-Maryland game" there is going to be a duel with cannonballs and whatnot.

FWIW, Michigan had 20 3-3-5 snaps that were concentrated on passing downs. They were in a 4-2-5 on 30 snaps. There were also 5 dime snaps and one 4-3 snap.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. 247 again provides details. Back seven was as per usual with the exception of Lavert Hill, who went out midway. this led to a bunch of snaps for Watson and Long—56 and 50 of 70, respectively. Thomas got in for a few plays, as did Woods and JKP very late. The three safeties and two core LBs were nearly omnipresent. Furbush got 16 snaps and Uche 6.

More rotation on the DL; Winovich was again an ironman. Hurst and Gary both played just over 50 snaps; Solomon got 34. Kemp, Mone, and Marshall all got around 15 snaps, with Paye and Dwumfour picking up the scraps late.

[After THE JUMP: this again, except they got more than 300 yards]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Edge pitch Metellus 5
Solid play here as WR motions across just before the snap and kicks out Hill. Other two WRs crack down. Hudson(-1) starts firing upfield and gets knocked down. Crease; Metellus(+0.5) fills well, initiating a tackle at 3 yards that Gary(+0.5) helps finish on with his pursuit.
O28 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Pass 4 Waggle flat screen Winovich Inc
MD attempting to hit a flat throw and have the WRs over there block for it. Winovich(+1, pressure +1) is in the throwing lane and leaps. He doesn’t bat it but any ball that is a completion he bats.
O28 3 5 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 line slide Press one high Pass 5 Out Gary Inc
Weird exotic setup and rush results in a pressure as Gary(+2, pressure +2) converts speed to power and runs over the LT. QB barely gets it off and ball is well short of a guy Hill(+0.5, cover +1) was in the back pocket of. Long(+0.5) also in good coverage short.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 4 Flash screen Hill 4 (Pen -9)
Dink screen to the three WR side. Hill(+1) and Hudson(+0.5) both have blockers; Gary(+0.5) flows out to convince the WR to go outside, along with Hudson. Hill may be able to TFL this but gets held. Metellus(+0.5) comes down to force this out at 4 yards even with the hold. On replay this looks fairly tenuous, refs +1.
O26 1 19 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Jet sweep McCray -3
From the gun the jet sweep is a touch pass so this is technically a completion. McCray(+1) starts widening out even before the motion and is clearly anticipating this; he doesn’t get a crack block as the slot busts but this was unlikely to make a difference given McCray’s attack. He forces it back; Bush(+0.5) and Winovich(+0.5) finish the play. RPS +2.
O23 2 22 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 5 Flare screen Hudson 6
Screen designed to have man coverage picked off; McCray gets blocked out of the play. Hudson(+1) is able to fall off his guy and replace, running Johnson out after 5. More than acceptable in this situation.
O29 3 16 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 5
A give up and punt that gets a few yards. Hurst(+1) does a good job to flow down the line and close this down; Furbush(+0.5) also chipped in.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Speed option Kinnel 3
Kinnel(+1) one of two deepish safeties here and can make up the distance before much yardage is given up. Winovich(+0.5) flowed well from the inside to force it wide.
O23 2 7 Shotgun double stacks 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass N/A Tunnel screen Hudson 7
M playing with 6 in the box as McCray ends up split out to the field side—this is zone, don’t panic. Still leaves just two guys in the box against releasing OL. Hudson(+1) does a great job to juke an OL and show up in a productive spot; Bush(-0.5) has a tough job but gets blocked and Moore can pop outside of that block; Hurst(+0.5) helps tackle from behind. RPS -1.
O30 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Transcontinental N/A Inc
M lucks out here as Maryland can’t complete the throwback. Hurst might be able to get back to this and tackle at some point but if someone peels back, potential TD. RPS -3.
O30 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 30 nickel slide Press one high Pass 4 RPO slant McCray 16
Bush(-1) and McCray(-1) are unable to hold their water for obvious RPO reasons (cover -2). Kinnel tracks it down eventually. RPS -2.
O46 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Wheel McCray Inc
McCray(+2, cover +2) anticipates the wheel, possibly based on the RB’s presnap alignment, and successfully clears an attempted pick, putting the RB in the sideline and giving this zero window. Pocket comfortable(pressure -1).
O46 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 5 Flare screen Metellus -14
Another flare screen hoping for man that gets Metellus(+1) in a flat zone right where the play goes. Metellus can’t tackle but does enough to doom the play. RB escapes but gets contained by Long(+1); missed tackle ends up costing Maryland a bunch of yards. RPS +3.
O32 3 24 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press two high Pass 4 Fade Metellus Inc
Another attempted corner route against the safety. This one is a bit short and inside; Metellus(+2, cover +2) gets his head around and gets a PBU. Pocket (pressure -1) clean.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Split zone Bush 3
Odd as Hurst buries himself in the ground beneath the center but M has a slant on so maybe okay? Odd. Gary(+1) rips inside his guy and forces a bounce into linebackers who can run through OL with no angles. Bush does get there at the LOS but RB bounces off for a moment and can squeeze out three yards. Mone(+0.5) helped dissuade cutbacks by shoving his guy a yard in the backfield. RPS +1.
O30 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 5 PA waggle flat Bush Inc
Bush creeps down to the LOS and blitzes; QB rolls right into him. Bush(+1, pressure +1) bats down an attempted throw to the flat.This was doomed anyway as Metellus(+1, cover +2) has this dead to rights.
O30 3 7 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press one high Pass 4 Tunnel screen Uche Inc
Uche(+2, pressure +3) isn’t blocked here even a little; this is a screen but his feint one way and release appears to confuse both OL into not even getting a hand. He explodes into the QB to force an incompletion. This is unfortunate for M as McCray(+1, cover +3) has been sent to undercut this and is likely to INT an on target throw. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 11 min 2nd Q. Maryland fakes the punt, which I’ll leave to Adam.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Base 3-4 Press one high Run N/A Split zone Bush 4
Kinnel blitzes, which forces a tackle to pop off on him. Winovich(-0.5) slants inside and almost gets around; Maryland OL does shove him past his spot. Bush(+0.5) fills and is able to tackle from the side, shutting down the crack Winovich barely provided. Furbush(+0.5) also gets back to tackle.
O24 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Split zone Furbush 4
M tips their intent by putting Furbush at the LOS and having Bush try to run behind him. Furbush(-1) holds up for a second and then starting getting moved out. Hurst(+0.5) probably should have held his ground instead of ripping outside, but he rips outside so fast that he’s able to come all the way around and tackle.
O28 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Speed option Metellus 4
Metellus at 11 yards presnap; he reads this and tries to close it down but can’t quite do it; Johnson ducks under a tackle and toughs out the first down. Conversion isn’t really on Metellus and the approach here isn’t a disaster so this just gets a push.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 PA skinny post McCray Inc
This is just regular PA with pass sets so the LB level doesn’t buy it. McCray(+2, cover +2) doesn’t just straight drop but reads the QB and starts running the slant for the WR without actually seeing the route. Zero window; Brand misses. Bush(+1) also dropping into this and may have a PBU on an accurate throw. Pocket comfortable but max pro(pressure -1).
O32 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press one high Pass N/A Slant Bush Inc
Winovich(+2, pressure +3) rips inside a TE and immediately gets pressure, though he did get help since an MD OL didn’t try to pick him up once he went inside. Bush(+2, cover +2) reads the QB and undercuts a drag route, getting one hand on it and nearly intercepting.
O32 3 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press one high Penalty N/A Delay N/A -5
O27 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-2 line split Press one high Pass 4 Fade Hill Inc
Pocket collapsing; holds just enough to get the ball out on one of these relatively quick slot fades. Hill is in coverage; ball is placed such that it’s not realistic for him to get a hand in. Push. Jacobs first gets the catch and then it’s overturned. Refs +1, I thought this would and should stand.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 9 min 2nd Q. This punt is blocked.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 5 Sack Hurst -6
This looks like a yakety snap kind of but with the WRs in routes I think it’s just PA that went badly wrong. Winovich(+1) powers through a DL to get Brand on the move and Hurst(+2) surges through a double team to clean that up and sack. Pressure +3.
O15 2 16 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst 4
Not entirely sure how to feel about this Hurst play, where a C tries to reach him and he goes upfield, which is usually death. Because Hurst is Hurst he gets to the back for a tackle. +0.5? Okay. This looks worse than it is because Bush(-1) shoots backside for no readily apparent reason. There’s no LB level as a result and if Hurst doesn’t make this tackle it’s a big play.
O19 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line slide Press two high 4 Hitch McCray 11
McCray(-2, cover -2) covering a slant behind him that is not a slant. Maryland puts three guys in a pattern and zero of them are in the center of the field. McCray is running the same coverage he got a +2 on earlier on a route that is not that route, because he’s not looking; wide open at the sticks but MD’s WR gives the first down back. Gary(+1, pressure +1) around the corner to hurry, but bad coverage means it doesn’t matter.
O30 4 1 Shotgun 3-wide ??? ??? ??? Run N/A Inside zone ??? 1
Director gives awful camera angle for play. Then deploys same awful camera angle on replay. No idea.
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 5 Corner Gary Inc
Gary(+2, pressure +2) takes a second to power through the LG but does do so, and surges up the middle to force and disrupt the throw. It’s to the inside, allowing Metellus(+0.5, cover +1) an opportunity to bat at the ball; there was a window here to complete a pass.
O31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Split zone Winovich 35
Michigan creases in a bad place to get creased. This is for two reasons. One: Winovich(-2) trips on the RT and falls over, creating a big lane. Two: McCray is trying to fill that lane and is flagrantly held(refs -3). MD is getting some yards either way but the McCray hold allows the RB to go directly upfield and greatly increases the damage. Kinnel(-2, tackling -2) compounds matters with another near-airball on a tackle in space; any meaningful slowdown on that attempt cuts 10-15 yards off this run.
M34 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Trap McCray 3
Attempted trap by MD finds no hole. Marshall(+0.5) and Winovich(+0.5) staple it shut. Bounce attempted. McCray(+1) sees it and jets past an attempted crack block to contain; Bush(+0.5) flows out and tackles.
M31 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass N/A Reverse QB throw N/A 22
Reverse, no one picks up QB. Winovich again on the back side of this and isn’t in good position at all for a potential reverse; McCray does a good job to read it and flow out on it but not good enough to prevent the completion. If there is someone to blame it’s Kinnel(-1, cover- 1), who didn’t see that the QB was leaking out for a pass and that McCray had the reverse covered. Mostly RPS -2.
M9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer give Hudson -2
Hudson(+1) moves down presnap and blitzes, for a flashback to Minnesota. He contains and tackles the back after a bad-idea give, but keep was also a bad idea. Winovich(+1) helps clean up. RPS +2.
M11 2 G Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Circle Hill Inc
In the game column I thought this was a terrible noncall by the refs. It is! Both ways. Hill flagrantly holds a WR trying to break outside of him just as he’s flagrantly OPI’d by another guy. TBH, this is a TD if Hill doesn’t do this so fine on his part. Ref push, except it’s really refs -6.
M11 3 G Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Pass 5 Corner Long INT
Massive rush as Uche(+2) bulls a TE back into the QB as Gary(+1) loops around to get clean pressure up the gut. C bailed to look for work and this was bad but also fine since if he didn’t Hurst(+1) was just going to kill the QB. Dude desperately hurls a corner route against man coverage that is way short. Long(+2, cover +2) has an easy INT, but he got it by falling off a slant route he was in man coverage on so that’s pretty good. He then returns this 80 yards.
Drive Notes: Interception, 28-0, 2 min 2nd Q. MD has a couple of runs at the end of the first half that are not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass N/A PA waggle flat McCray 8
Moore into a weird H back spot that heavily implies he’s getting a waggle flat target. He gets it. M responds poorly. Blocking before the throw happens and is fine because pass is behind LOS; McCray(-1) fails to read this and then gets more or less handled by a WR. Kinnel(-1, tackling -1) fills late and misses a tackle. Bush and Watson clean up.
O17 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Insert iso Furbush 0
Maryland TE looking back at QB and does not fire on snap. Furbush(+0.5) takes advantage by getting to that guy in the backfield and forcing RB away into frontside, which is doom. McCray(+0.5) and Hurst(+0.5) stand up blockers in the backfield; Winovich(+0.5) comes around a kickout block to take advantage. Bush(+0.5) also gets there through a blocker.
O17 3 2 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O22 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Long Inc
Clean pocket(pressure -1) on a quick throw that is nowhere near a WR. Long in the area but impossible to judge coverage given throw and camera angle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Hurst 26
Maybe the worst play Hurst(-3) has had since that Indiana game a few years ago. He is slanting away. Center grabs him and ejects him from the play, a yard upfield and outside of the DE. Huge cutback lane. Furbush(-1) didn’t help here by fighting back to a lane the other way.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Split zone Hurst 1
Hurst(+1) shoots his guy into the backfield and dissuades any cuts to the backside. Mone(+0.5) takes advantage of some MD confusion and fends off a double, moving over to tackle. McCray(+0.5) also there to help prevent YAC.
O47 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Split zone McCray 20
Hudson sent off the backside, which means DL needs to be slanting hard away from this, especially with Bush in man coverage on a TE moving backside. Hurst(+1) does an excellent job of this, getting in the backfield and forcing it wide. Everyone else wide does not. Solomon(-1) takes a double and loses it, getting sealed inside. That’s not great. Winovich(-2) one on one with LT; he tries to rip upfield. LT remains attached and shoves; Winovich is gone, providing no squeeze on the gap. McCray(-1) gets lost checking an interior gap and doesn’t get over the somewhat bad Solomon situation at all. Not even a tackle attempt for him, but that's tough because Bush is in man on a TE that goes backside and is the LB in better position to deal with this presnap. RPS –1.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A QB arc keeper Metellus 5
Arc keeper for the QB. Hudson gets picked off by a crack block; Long(+0.5) replaces well and forces it back, taking the arc guy with him. Metellus(-0.5) flows up hard and takes advantage, sort of. He hits the QB at 2 yards and that guy gets 5 because he’s just so dang short.
M28 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Hudson 2
Probably an intentional cutback but dunno. Solomon(+0.5) and Marshall(+0.5) both drive blocks a little and force a cutback if it’s not on purpose anyway. Hudson(+1) alone in space on this and flows up to force and then tackle well.
M26 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Split zone Solomon 0
M brings Bush right over the C to force one on one blocks for the Gs against M DTs, and that goes badly for them. Hurst(+1) blows his guy into the backfield. Solomon(+1) does something similar but less spectacularly explosive. However, he gets around his guy and grabs the RB with a meaty paw to slow him. McCray(+0.5) blitzed a gap over; he gets back to the RB and helps put him down at the LOS.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 28-0, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 30 nickel slide Press two high Run N/A Split zone Bush 3
No idea what Bush(-1) is reading here but he’s creeping backside on a play that more or less has this covered and never gets back to it. This dangerous as the line creases slightly. Furbush(+1) is able to peel back after standing up his rusher and tackle; Long(+0.5), who was in trap coverage, comes down to help finish the play.
O16 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer give Hudson 6
M has no edge by alignment, with Gary checking an inside gap and Hudson seven yards off the LOS. Hudson(-1) does dodge a block that is imaginary, which is the difference between a tackle near the LOS and one not near the LOS.
O22 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Winovich 28
RB flight path outside to start and Winovich(-2) does not provide an effective edge. He sets up on the edge but RB just runs by him without consequence. McCray can’t shut it down but nobody does on this, really. McCray(-1) does make it way worse by not taking a conservative angle and getting outrun mostly because he bends. M again losing playside LB to TE motion. RPS –1.
50 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Mone 6
Mone(-1) drives a single block into the backfield but instead of looking for the back he just rips outside; this is a two gap kind of play here but he doesn’t play both gaps. There’s a hole up the gut now. Hurst(-0.5) took a double and got moved a bit by it. Gil(-0.5) flows hard to the frontside and doesn’t get back to this until it’s almost too late. Kinnel(+0.5) filled well to mitigate the damage.
M44 2 4 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel under Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer give Kinnel 1
Kinnel(+2, tackling +1) at nine yards here; he reads and fires hard at the run action, arriving at a yard and forcing the back OOB. RPS +1.
M43 3 3 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press one high Pass 4 Circle screen Long 27
Clever from MD. Innermost of trips WR fakes a slant and then peels back around to the outside. Long, in man, gets blocked. This may be behind the LOS and may be after the catch; it’s mostly irrelevant as he’s not getting to this anyway. YAC YAC YAC YAC for MD. RPS -2. Cover -2.
M16 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 In N/A 11
One man WR screen that is again just on the borderline; man coverage picked off and chunk. RPS –2.
M5 1 G Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press zero Pass 4 Flat Metellus 3
More man, more pick routes, woo. Metellus(+2, cover +1, tackling +1) does a great job to pick up the motion WR from Long and get around the various pick routes to make a thumping tackle at the 2.
M2 2 G Shotgun twin TE 4-2-5 Goal line Press zero Run N/A Split zone Solomon -1
Everyone at the LOS; Solomon(+2) blows the C back and initiates a tackle. Hurst(+1) doe something less(!) spectacular but similar. Those two guys are tackling as the rest of D arrives.
M3 3 G Shotgun 3-wide tight 4-2-5 Goal line Press zero Pass 5 PA waggle flat Kinnel Inc
Waggle in the flat is probably a TD as Thomas is trailing after getting through some trash and probably can’t get there in time. Ball doesn’t get to WR as Kinnel(+1, pressure +1) reads the play and bursts upfield to force a short throw.
Drive Notes: FG(20), 28-3, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 5 Dig Bush 27
All day for MD(pressure -3) as Hudson blitzes from six yards deep and gets picked up. Zone breaks down given that much time and MD hits a deep strike over the middle(cover -2), largely because Bush(-1) sucked up on PA, somewhat understandably.
M48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Fly Long Inc
Long(+2, cover +2) in excellent position and gets a PBU. Pocket again clean(pressure -1).
M48 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Hurst 0
Hurst(+2) drives around an OL trying to hinge block him and makes a tackle in the backfield. Very Hurst play. Gary(+0.5) helped force it back.
M48 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press one high Pass 5 Hitch Long 7
Gary(+2, pressure +2) drives through the TE and hits a moment after the ball is gone. Ball is a hitch that Long(+0.5, cover +1) is in excellent position on, in part because he clearly holds(refs +2). Ball is high and outside and in the only spot it can be for a completion. Gary goes out with the stinger thing he’s been battling all year.
M41 4 3 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 4-2 under Press one high Pass 4 In N/A 4
Another one man WR screen at the LOS; conversion but barely this time. RPS –1.
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
M42 1 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Edge pitch Bush 0
Playside WR and TE both go after Hudson, which allows Bush(+1) to flow free to the sideline and tackle with authority.
M42 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel exotic Press one high Pass 4 Screen Bush Inc
Bush(+2) reads this and zips between two OL releasing downfield before they can get their heads around and ID him to block. He’s heading right for the back and will likely TFL, but the ball is off and zips right by his head.
M42 3 15 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press two high Pass 3 Dig Kinnel 15
Rushing three is weird for Brown and I’m reminded of why I hate it here. No pressure(-1) as it’s six vs three and then Kinnel(-2, cover -2) gets beat by Moore on his break inside; he can’t even tackle on the catch, or annoy. Catch and tackle here is OK because it’s fourth and six; fourth and one is something else.
M27 4 1 Shotgun twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Furbush 3
Super easy as M has just three guys on the LOS and the playside ones are Marshall and Kemp. Furbush(-1) runs up to hit a free releasing OG and gets stood up and driven back; rest of it is academic. RPS -1.
M24 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3-4 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Winovich 14
Winovich(-2) hit and turned in by the RT, RG then comes around to seal him inside. RT can now kick McCray and there’s no second level since Bush(-1) doesn’t read the POA until it’s too late.
M10 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass N/A RPO slant McCray 10
McCray(+1, cover +1) actually covers this well. He might even get his hand on it, but if he does deflect it it’s not quite enough to get it away from the WR.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, 9 min 4th Q. Maryland’s last drive is three plays ending in a Hudson INT gift and is not charted.


The usual ten points?


You know what... bolded alter-ego, I don't entirely disagree here.


Maryland's third quarter chunk plays were a bit disconcerting. Well, some of them. Not the first one, which featured a staggering missed call as McCray is held right in front of the running back's path:

#9 LB to bottom

I mean. FFS. Every week it's something else.

My favorite play was down near the goal line. I mentioned in the game column that Lavert Hill got away with a hold; I didn't notice at the time that he was also flat-out blocked. This is a mighty tower of illegality smack dab in the middle of the field that none of the nimrods in stripes can make out:

But that's not what you're asking about.


Of a sort. Let's set aside the 35-yard travesty above. Maryland's other chunk run plays are 26, 20, 14 and 28 yards. Winovich has issues on three of those plays. Once he rips upfield and doesn't discard his blocker, so he's unable to fight back to the hole; Solomon and McCray also have problems since they are not reading the RB's outside flight path.

Michigan's tendency to have a linebacker vacate the area when a tight end slips to the backside for a split zone or potential waggle also hurts there since McCray is not in great presnap position to shut down a run that breaks outside of Solomon.  The same play—stretch action with the playside TE moving opposite the OL flow—got Michigan for a 28 yard gain when Winovich couldn't set the edge:

I hope Michigan stops having a box player motion with that TE post-snap and comes up with something else, because opponents have been doing that with some regularity and almost breaking stuff. Maryland was the first team to pull it off; you can be damn sure that Ohio State will try to get that same action going. If you can get a free block on the playside LB with a tight end you take it.

Finally, the last big play is mostly Mo Hurst, of all people, finding himself ejected from the LOS.

He is slanting a gap over on the snap but it's very, very bad when you are a DT and find yourself a yard outside of your force player. Furbush also chips in on the play, but it's mostly Hurst badly losing a one on one block in a way that hasn't happened since he was a sophomore. I don't think that's likely to recur.

Winovich's edge issues might be a real issue to worry about. Hurst probably not. The—


--still fairly good chart is still fairly good.


Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 10.5 10.5 Another excellent day with few stats to show for it. Frank Clark esque.
Hurst 12 3.5 8.5 Was Hurst, except for the one play.
Mone 1 1 0
Winovich 7 8.5 -1.5 Couldn't win on the stretch plays, getting edged or getting too far upfield.
Kemp   DNC
Solomon 3.5 1 2.5 Flashing.
Marshall 1 1
TOTAL 36 14 22 The usual here but the pressure metric was not great overall.
Player + - T Notes
Furbush 2.5 3 -0.5 Losing time to Solomon.
Bush 9 5.5 4.5 This is a very good LB day for people who forgot pre-Bush scoring trends.
McCray 9.5 6 3.5 Covered a wheel!
Uche 4   4 Two explosive rushes on six snaps.
TOTAL 25 14.5 10.5 Some coverage issues but overall solid day.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 4.5 2 2.5 HudsonCam caught a solid but not amazing day.
Metellus 7.5 0.5 7 Excellent day, made 3-4 plays without giving up any. Also blocked a punt.
Kinnel 4.5 6 -1.5 Another couple of missed tackles.
Hill 1.5 1.5 Left early.
Long 7   7 INT, PBU, and 3 points gathered from run D. Player.
Watson   50+ snaps, DNC
Thomas   DNC
TOTAL 25 8.5 16.5 Excellent outing.
Pressure 19 9 +10 Okay, it's still pretty good.
Coverage 22 10 +12 Many cover issues pick routes vs man.
Tackling 2 4 -2 Converted 15 to 30 a couple times.
RPS 10 16 -6 Pick routes vs man.

So this looks more or less what I expected it to. Winovich took the brunt of the third quarter minuses, with the linebackers and Kinnel suffering the rest. Gary was quiet statistically because of the usual reason: QBs flinging the ball just before he could sack. Here he executes that speed-to-power rush on the Maryland LT.

#3 DE to bottom

He had three or four of those and was not relevant on any successful Maryland play. He's not a rabid Viking just yet but he's having an All Big Ten level season, stats be damned.

The RPS minuses likely stem from a lack of GAF in the third and fourth quarters; Maryland had a good deal of success with the stretch plays above and some borderline screens.

Screens? That's OPI! OPI up the wazoo, I say!

Maybe? But probably not. The one consistently successful thing Maryland did is execute a bunch of borderline WR screens where the ball was caught at or just past the line of scrimmage. These look like basic passing plays that happen to have a bunch of OPI built into them, but depending on the precise definition of the line of scrimmage they may be legal. This one was especially nice.

The very next play was a variation on the theme:

Maryland would run the exact same concept to convert a fourth and three on their TD drive. None of these got flagged, because the WRs were close enough to the LOS. I have zero faith in Big Ten referees to call these even if it's downfield... see above.

It was mostly these screens and only these screens that got Michigan. There was the occasional RPO slant and one big hit down the middle; that was about it for the Maryland passing game. The downfield rub routes didn't work as well; on this one Metellus does a great job to get around trash and tackle with authority on a play that looks dead certain to be a touchdown for a moment.

He had an excellent game.

There was a distinct lack of "oh God, Mike McCray in space" in this game, right? Twice, I think?

Yes. I think Michigan spent much more of this game with two high safeties, playing zone, than they usually do. I don't know because usually the slot receivers weren't even in the frame(!), but the front seven's alignment frequently implied that Michigan was playing more like Iowa. This was probably an effort to shut down Maryland's outside running game without relying on McCray in space, and it worked. Maryland's opening snap got the linebacker/CB level blocked but only got five yards because Metellus was able to fly into the picture and initiate a tackle at three:

Kinnel would improve upon this a bit later.

So clearly he's on the hash there and has the ability to fire at the run when the pitch happens.

Other edge stuff was anticipated by Michigan's defense, like an early jet sweep that McCray crushed. Michigan also showed some man coverage that morphed into zone. Here Metellus is over the slot WR, which is usually a man tip. Instead he pops into a flat zone and this little screen is totally boned:

Metellus's alignment certainly doesn't imply man coverage, but maybe that's too subtle to pick up on when Michigan hasn't done this before. And I don't think they have.

Maryland had to get rid of their edge stuff and explore other bits of the playbook. By the time Maryland adjusted to this and put anything together it was the end of the first half, and 28-0 Michigan.

And one of the edge McCray things was getting outrun on that long run above... the other... I forget... WAIT. HE DID IT.

Yes! Mike McCray got stuck in man coverage on a wheel route against a Maryland scatback. It went great!

I think the back's alignment there tips McCray off. He's maybe a yard wider than he normally was. That head start isn't worth it, kids.

McCray's zone coverage, which was a problem earlier in the year against Cincinnati, has improved but is still a bit up and down. He is probably the guy responsible for the RPO slant here...

...because he did a much better job on the Maryland touchdown, also an RPO slant on which he may have deflected the ball slightly before it got to the WR. He also did well here, and this play is interesting because of the huge difference in the quality of Michigan's zone drops on regular play action:

#9 LB to bottom, also #10 MLB

These two clips back to back should be sufficient evidence of why everyone is mad about RPOs. They are brutal to defend.

But he's not looking at guys and when they're not running the route you think they are you're open for a big play.

Looks like McCray was coached up to take away these deep slants, succeeding twice, failing once, and having that tendency to drift inside exploited once.

Those slot fades are still happening. I dislike those.

Yes, opponents are still trying to hit those slot fades. They haven't quite worked for a few weeks. Notably, Metellus had an excellent PBU on one.

I wonder how much of their time in practice is spent defending this exact route. Lots, I'd bet. Unfortunately for Michigan, Maryland was able to use the threat of that slot fade to nearly convert on a third and long; Kinnel bites on it and Moore breaks inside:

#23 S to top

Getting beat for the catch is one thing; not being able to tackle or even attempt one is another. That's the difference between fourth and six and fourth and one, which Maryland subsequently converted en route to their touchdown.

Anything new or new-ish?

Michigan got a 2016 Winovich kind of game from Josh Uche, who was only in on a half-dozen snaps but made a major impact on two of them. His explosion to the QB on this attempted screen is something.

#35, murdering QB

And he was able to drive a Maryland TE all the way to the QB, helping force the errant ball that Long picked off.

#35, LB to bottom

That TE gets shocked back on first contact with Uche and is then just trying to survive. He's currently just a pass rush guy and may remain in that kind of specialist role next year; he is hinting that he'll redeem his recruiting hype as a wildly undersized but explosive edge rush dude.

Also in relatively new guys making plays, Aubrey Solomon was rarely a problem and had a couple of Hurst-ish plays. Here both DTs get single blocking on third and three; both surge to the backfield and collectively tackle.

#73 and #5, DTs

Michigan's defensive call relies on those wins since it's got Bush at the LOS, where he's not likely to do much more than occupy the C.


Metellus was excellent. Gary and Hurst mostly continued dominating opposition OLs. David Long had a pick and a PBU and was good otherwise.

Maybe not so heroic?

Winovich wasn't able to touch a back on any of the big plays that came to him; Kinnel's iffy tackling cropped up again in this game.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and the future?

More of the same. Brand was a better QB than anyone Rutgers or Minnesota has but that's about it as far as meaningful differences go.

Uche keeps making a case for himself. I don't know if next year's defense has room for him since the only guy M needs to replace in an Uche-feasible position is Mike McCray. Is Uche an actual linebacker? Or is he a viper? Or is he a little DE who can't play on standard downs? Dunno. But hot dang dude can get after it.

Solomon continues to establish himself, as well. If he'd gotten the same number of snaps as the starters he probably would have had something like 6-2=4. That's pretty good for a freshman.

Josh Metellus had a day and is clearly ahead of Kinnel. They have different roles, mostly, but Metellus seems better in coverage and a surer tackler.

Khaleke Hudson is not a super alien come here to TFL the world. He's pretty good but Minnesota's gameplan was the main cause of the TFL explosion.

David Long: also good. He was +7 here and whooped up on Simmie Cobbs earlier in the year. Michigan's corners are #1 and #1A.



November 16th, 2017 at 4:19 PM ^

I don't understand not calling it.  These are blatant.  The Maryland WRs didn't even fake trying to run a route.  They were staring directly at their targets and most times even had to move last minute to execute the blocks. 

I'm not sure why Harbaugh isn't making as big a stink about it.  Even if he stays calm during the game, he should be ripping the refs or the non-calls after the game and force the Big Ten to have to respond.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:54 PM ^

But isn't the rule that the pass has to be behind the line of scrimmage and those clearly were not behind being both passes went to WRs who were lined up at the LOS and then took a step or two forward before cutting across.  If it was close, I wish refs would throw the flag and then let replay tell them if the pass was behind the LOS.   Should be pretty clear to the official that is standing on the LOS



November 16th, 2017 at 5:22 PM ^

What do you want Harbaugh to do?  They send reviews into the Big 10 office.  Officiating in the conference has deteriorated for years now, in some part because they've added more for officials to look for, in part because Delaney is terrible.  If Coach does make it a public issue it brings all the trolls out.  I like the put your head down, onward approach.  He's invested at every level and it will pay off sooner and later.


November 16th, 2017 at 3:53 PM ^

My only Metellus complaint on the day is the Long interception where Metellus ran alongside him rather than hitting the guy coming up from behind.  A block there likely springs Long for a TD.  Instead, he opted to run to the outside of the play.  Head scratcher.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:09 PM ^

I've noticed some odd moments like that from Metellus mid-play. A little stutter step or moment of hesitation when, from the comfort of my couch, there appears to be a play to be made right in front of him (thinking of one against Penn State along the sideline).  Could just be a guy for who the game hasn't entirely slowed down yet and he's thinking too much out there instead of just doing or reacting.

That said, a hell of a player overall despite being another whodat recruit.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

Winovich has really leveled out after his early exploits. So has Bush, for that matter. Not that they're bad or disappointing, just that they haven't sustained dominance.

They'll be tested Saturday. Big-time.

Ali G Bomaye

November 16th, 2017 at 4:36 PM ^

Teams have been focusing on them. If your obsession on offense is to keep a 220-lb MLB from blowing up every single play, you can probably do that, but that will open up things for other people. Our edge linebackers/VIPERS, like Hudson, Uche, etc. have been making many more plays than they were earlier in the year, and I have to believe that's partly because the offense has to make sure they have a guy release to block Bush before he can get ahead of the play.

With regard to Winovich leveling off, he's still playing at a high level. It's just tough to go up from where he was. And as a DE, sometimes you get the numbers and sometimes you don't, like this UFR talks about with Gary.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:54 PM ^

you mean, focusing on running at him, than I agree.  It's not like they're doubling him or doing anything other than running at him and hoping he doesn't set the edge against one-on-one and he's not been doing that with good enough consistency.

It's not a lack of sacks that is the complaint.  He's great on pass plays.  He's not setting the edge on run plays is the problem.

kevin holt

November 16th, 2017 at 4:14 PM ^

The overturned catch was not a catch, and even the camera angles were sufficient evidence. I was at the game and felt like there was an additional angle they didn't show on TV, but I'm not sure. At the time I was certain it wasn't a catch, and still am. You can see the ball roll on the ground from one angle, and from the other angle you see the receiver sweep the ball against his body with his elbow---ball firmly on the turf---when he rolls over (i.e. finishing the "process")


November 16th, 2017 at 4:24 PM ^

Agreed. I thought it was pretty clear that the ball hit the ground and you can see the ball move in arms when he rolled over before he secured it.  They are pretty consistent that if the ball moves even just a bit it means you didn't catch it securely enough. 

I still think they need to change the use of replay from conclusive video evidence to making the best call based on what can be seen on the video (sort of like a preponderance of evidence).  Not sure why the default is to rely on an official ont he field who is usually many yards away from the play and may not have the best angle 


November 16th, 2017 at 4:23 PM ^

When I was charting the Virginia Tech game, there were broadcast angles on empty formations that showed zero of the receivers in the frame. The ACC Network (which consists of ESPN's F-minus personnel) is the worst of all television options. A completely Rick-free environment.


November 16th, 2017 at 9:05 PM ^

Two true sophomores. Granted, top 200 recruits, but that is good talent identification and even better coaching. I was one who was worried when Greg Jackson left, but my goodness Zordich is a boss. Pairing him with Don Brown and Greg Mattison--we're eating.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:54 PM ^

Yes. I think Michigan spent much more of this game with two high safeties, playing zone, than they usually do. I don't know because usually the slot receivers weren't even in the frame(!), but the front seven's alignment frequently implied that Michigan was playing more like Iowa.

Didn't Iowa do this to OSU and basically sit back and let JT Barrett throw himself to death? Any chance we're prepping this for future OSU use?


November 16th, 2017 at 9:07 PM ^

I was wondering after the Iowa game what we would do defensively. I know Don Brown shut down OSU last year, but Iowa got me to thinking about some zone as well. Good to know we're at least getting it into our repetoire for a change of pace look (maybe we have before and I haven't paid enough attention).


November 16th, 2017 at 9:17 PM ^

Zone defense is essential to slowing down OSU. That's exactly what both Oklahoma and Iowa did and it worked. Although, I have to below that the OSU staff has been focusing on beating zone coverage, so who knows if that vulnerability will still be there for us to exploit? I commented after their Iowa debacle that I wished they would have rolled Iowa so we could exploit the weaknesses that the Hawkeyes did.

Communist Football

November 16th, 2017 at 5:02 PM ^

I feel like there have been a number of times where our DBs swat the ball away when they're actually in position to make an interception, but they're so focused on defense that they don't think to catch the ball (not a terrible idea, but still).


November 16th, 2017 at 7:01 PM ^

That's an extremely difficult INT to make in man coverage.  His eyes are on the receiver for the whole play until he's able to close the gap and "control" the receiver, as Zordich calls it.  Hard to tell in slow motion, but I think it's only a fraction of a second between when he gets his head around and when the ball arrives.  Not enough time to get his arms up and make the catch.  When you play press man, you're not going to get many INTs on routes like these.


November 16th, 2017 at 5:21 PM ^

I know McCray is the vocal leader of the defense, and he is excellent in reading the offense and calling adjustments, but does anyone think there won't be much drop-off in quality of play when he graduates? 

In regards to next years defense, obviously there is no Hurst 2.0 on the roster to replace Hurst, but if Winovich and Mone come back, our defense next year should be one of the top defenses again. 


November 16th, 2017 at 7:19 PM ^

Are we becoming DBU? Or maybe at least CBU? Get Mike Zordich a damn raise, the man has made all Big Ten corners out of the last 5-6 guys he's coached. Unreal