How would you defend against Denard?

Submitted by canzior on September 17th, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Trevor Matich is skeptical of Denard.  He says he “knows” how to stop him.  He must be smarter than Randy Edsall and Brian Kelly.  I get it’s early and I agree with not trusting him to be consistently this good through the Big 10 schedule until he sees more…but to come out and say I know how to stop him?  That’s absurd.  His brilliant idea is to bring the containment up to prevent him from getting long runs.  If containment is safeties, then he must be a retard to contain with his safeties at the line.  If his contain is lb’s, then who covers the 5th wr/te?  What about the back out of the backfield?  I think we are going to hear a lot of “smart-guys” give their elementary opinions on how to stop Denard.

That being said…if you coached against him, how would you attack Michigan’s offense?



September 17th, 2010 at 10:56 AM ^

They key, IME, is to get pressure on the outside via the defensive line. If he's immediately forced to scramble, but can't get the edge, you've got a chance. Easier said than done though.


September 17th, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

this is the only real solution.   it boils down to winning 1-on-1 matchups all across the field.  The DB's have to get off their block as well as the line.  The improved blocking is the biggest reason we're seeing Denard make such great plays.  That, my friends, is a result of great coaching.


September 17th, 2010 at 11:49 AM ^

If you go offsides AND make contact with the O-Line, or have an unabated path to the QB, the refs have to call the play dead, I don't think you can run a play and decline the penalty in that situation.

The real problem comes when all your players are ejected one by one for unsportsmanlike conduct. 



September 17th, 2010 at 10:58 AM ^

Against Denard, I'd probably resort to Tonya Hardings strategy against Nancy Kerrigan. That's right, figure skating smack on mgoblog.... Who'd a-thought?


September 17th, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

With my offense. I think you'd have to do a "bend, don't break" approach by eliminating or reducing the chances of big plays. Then when I am on offense I would try to keep the ball for as long as possible and work the clock to keep Denard off the field.


September 17th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

But it's soooo easy.  Once you click reply, or in the text box where you type your comment, there is a square picture looking button on the top right (near the Globe/link icon)

Click it, and paste the link you just provided and click OK.

That image you just provided might be bad though.


September 17th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

Of course, this could easily bsckfire, because the delay between Denard stepping on one and it actually detonating is probably worth 20 yards.

Elno Lewis

September 17th, 2010 at 11:05 AM ^

knock over the Center before he snaps the ball.  eventually it would be impossible to place the ball half the distance to the goal line.   confusion would result. 


September 17th, 2010 at 11:07 AM ^

Matich is a joke saying that, but probably did it for the ratings.  As someone said earlier, what makes him smarter than Edsell and Kelly.  I think teams will try everything and anything until something slows him down.  I think there may be only 1 option but like to hear what some of the experts on the board think, because I am not one.  I would hit him and run blitz every play and play man to man.  Hit him and hopefully you slow him down, because nothing else will.  Stop the run and pray that you dont give up too many big plays.  Stonum, Odoms and the rest of the WR's should have one on one's.  IMHO, only way to stop Denard is blitz from everywhere and pray that he doesnt beat you deep. 


September 17th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

Stopping the run might be tougher with that strategy than you think.  When we go five-wide, we've got five receivers traipsing through their second level; if you go man to man (five hats on five receivers), the most you can blitz with is six. 

With 5 OL, one of the blitzers will come unblocked.  If Denard escapes the blitzer (not terribly unrealistic), and the OL holds its own at the point of attack, Denard could be gashing giant gains all day.  Not to mention you have five receivers in man coverage with no deep safety and a quarterback who can buy precious seconds to throw in a scramble. 

Yep, this pretty much tells you what you already know:  stopping Denard can be done, but doing it consistently with any one strategy is nearly impossible at the college level.

Captain Scumbag

September 17th, 2010 at 11:07 AM ^

Win the battle at the line consistently and keep the ball in front of you so you don't give up the big play.

Look, this is a great offense with a great player running it so not every team is going to be able to go out and stop it. The best part of this offense is that "tricks" or "scheme" aren't really going to beat it. You have to soundly win match-ups upfront to have a chance. If you blitz too heavily or drop too many in coverage, there are too many good options to take advantage. ND did a decent job, but came up short primarily with their safety play. I'll be interested to see how this offense does against Iowa, Wisconsin, PSU, and OSU since those defensive units might have the horsepower needed to stop Michigan.


September 17th, 2010 at 11:15 AM ^

Before every snap, the nose tackle should take the ball and throw it into the stands.  Eventually, the umpire would run out of game balls.  Although, that would merely delay the game, but if they kept calling that defensive play, they could delay it indefinitely.  However, this strategy would only work for the home team - in Michigan Stadium the fans would catch on and start throwing the balls back to the field so the forfeit strategy would work best for visiting teams.

Hoken's Heroes

September 17th, 2010 at 11:17 AM ^

...try to contain the QB by loading the box and that will just open up the bubble screen and hopefully create mismatches and open space runs. I think we all know how hard it is to tackle in open space.

If that doesn't work UMASS will probably bring in Drones because that's the only way to take out Denard!

Blue in sec country

September 17th, 2010 at 11:21 AM ^

As long as I can match him score for score, I'd let him break a couple of 80+ runs and hope he gets tired. If he begins to slow down it will be easier to stop him late in the game. That being said if I can't match him or it doesn't slow him down late, he would have had a record day against me. When he plays fast not just runs fast and they all block like they should you can't stop or o.


September 17th, 2010 at 11:23 AM ^

It looked to me in the 2nd Half ND was blitzing its back side LB (#58 I think ) and then stunting their D-line toward the blitzing LB, thus trying to funnel D-Rob. Though UM didn't score until the last drive, this seemed to work OK for ND. Then, we UM did get yardage, they killed themselves with holding calls and other stupid penalties.

The main idea for any defense is contain, don't let anyone behind you, don't fall for tricks, and learn to tackle. I love the option pass plays - the Roy TD, and Odoms to the 1, just like TRob's catch on the pump fake vs. UConn.

Yes, Denard has a ton of offensive production, the key is his reads - we are simiply taking what a defense will give us and getting 5+ yards a play.

My biggest concern is are we giving away the snap count and cadance? At State last year they were on it, and ND kept shifting when Denard would lift his leg....

Go Blue!


September 17th, 2010 at 11:30 AM ^

I think you are right, but what do I know.  It seemed like he was slowed down.  But, it seems like he has most of the short throws and reads down and can even get the intermediate throws as well.  It seems the only thing Denard doesnt have down is the deep throw.  Although, he didnt throw deep that much, there was a stretch that he threw deep and over threw, maybe  the WR was well covered.  You may give up a big play on the deep pass, but I rather that than him beating you on the ground, because he will.  Once he develops the deep throw, I would think there is now way to stop him. 


September 17th, 2010 at 12:22 PM ^

(which I do believe he does have, if he doesn't have a linebacker in his grill) that we methodically march down the field and eat the heck out of the timeclock. This keeps our Defense fresh and on the sidelines more of the game (unlike last year).

All we need is to average 4 ypc to keep moving the chains.

VS Uconn - first half passing yards = 7, 16, 5, 16, 4, 16, 4 = 68 (9.7 ypc ave)
VS ND - first half passing yards = 7, 31, 9, 10, 32, 21 = 110 (18.3 ypc ave)

This shows a good mix of positive yardage, and a nice improvement from week one to week two (against a better Defense as well).

The deep ball is coming. Be patient and.......wait for it.


September 17th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

Thanks, I also think the deep pass will come as he gains more experience.  Still, the deep pass requires our WR to beat guys and this may give opposing teams the best chance.  Thanks to COB further down the board, I read about the scrape exchange, which seems to work better, but nothing is full proof.  I just think you blitz, fill the gaps with as many people as possible to take away the runs and pray that Denard over or under throws.  You will get burned a couple of times, but hopefully not enough.  Anyway you look at it, I dont think I have ever looked so forward to Saturdays.  Even gave up golf to not miss any games.