Michigan Museday is Uncomfortable Under Center

Submitted by Seth on September 14th, 2011 at 1:30 AM

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Yahoo gallery. HT: hart20.

Around suppertime Monday my synapses kicked in again, and I could think about anything from that game other that GURGLE GURGLE, BAWWHHHH, and 'WHHAAAAT?'. The first thing that came back was the 77-yard pass to Hemingway while wearing Kapron Lewis-Moore as an ankle bracelet. Then the rest of the memories returned, and I remembered I was getting aggravated earlier about how ridiculous it was to be using Denard Robinson like John Navarre. Chris Brown's Twitter feed wasn't helping:

smartigriese

…and neither was watching Henne and Brady demolish each others' defenses from under center on Monday. Of course Denard is Denard and makes magical unicorn rainbows, so hell why not have the best rushing QB in history sit in the pocket then lob an end-zone fade to a 5'9 receiver? I'm not being totally sarcastic: the guy may be 6'0 but he can also stand Denardcantbestoppedoutside the pocket with a 300-pound defender hanging on his legs like your sister's kids after dessert, then chuck a perfect zinger from his back shoulder to a receiver behind the coverage. By this point any other QB would be eating turf; Ben Roethlisberger would be eating turf.

Magical Denard is magical and is actually capable of throwing perfect spirals with a rusher in his face from a 7-step drop if you ask him to, and he is getting better at doing so. He's obviously still learning the technique—Hoke in the Monday presser:

He was the first one to come off the field after one [bad play] and say, ‘My footwork was bad.’ So that’s good to see.

I think we can safely extrapolate this was after the first interception. To actually say the I-form is responsible for any more than that (and that flimsy) we're gonna need to dig a bit deeper. And since memory of formation beyond that and the "Shades of Aaron Shea" fullback pass betrays, let's just look at all the plays run under center vs Notre Dame (mega thanks to Boyz n da Pahokee, who gets a long overdue points bump for his Every Snap Videos):

"DRV" = which play in that drive, so 3 is 3rd play, etc.

Qtr DRV Ball Dwn Dst Play Player Yds Note
1 1 M20 1st 10 SACK Robinson, D. 0  
1 3 M33 1st 10 RUSH Hopkins, S. 2 MANBALL 1
1 3 M31 2nd 10 PASS INCOMPLETE 0  
2 1 N45 1st 10 RUSH Hopkins, S. 2 MANBALL 2
2 2 N43 2nd 8 PASS Hemingway, J 43 TOUCHDOWN
3 2 M29 2nd 10 RUSH Hopkins, S. 3 MANBALL 3
3 4 M43 1st 10 PASS INTERCEPTION 0 Footwork was bad.
3 2 N6 1st G RUSH Shaw, M. -2  
3 3 N8 2nd G RUSH Robinson, D. 7  
4 4 N1 3rd G RUSH Hopkins, S. 0 TOUCHDOWN
4 2 N45 2nd 15 PASS McColgan, J 15 1st Down
4 5 N14 2nd 7 PASS Gallon, J. 14 TOUCHDOWN
4 1 M13 1st 10 PENALTY PENALTY -4  
4 3 N26 1st 10 PASS INTERCEPTION 0 Why? Why did you throw this?
4 5 N21 1st 10 PASS Smith, V. 21 TOUCHDOWN
4 3 N15 1st 10 PASS Roundtree, R 16 TOUCHDOWN

That's 8 plays where bad things happened (<4 yards to turnover) from under center, and 7 where good things happened (counting Hopkins getting stuffed and fumbling as a "good thing"), and accounts for about 35% of the offensive plays yet 100% of Michigan's scoring plays on the day (WHHAAAAAAT?). Those six in microcosm:

  1. Jump ball to Hemingway in single coverage. Is short (that's good) and Hemingway makes a play then dives for the pylon. (GOOD)
  2. Denard rolls out, finds nobody, magically picks his way through a forest of ND defenders to get to the 1. (LUCKY…that we have Denard)
  3. Goal Line. Hopkins runs straight into leaping linebackers, fumbles, Denard picks it up and accelerates into the end zone.* (LUCKY)
  4. Perfectly executed Incredibly Surprising Waggle that finds McColgan open on a wheel, and brings back memories of Aaron Shea. Then again if Carr did this on 2nd and 15… (GOOD)
  5. Drops back, has to loft ball over collapsing defenders, Gallon goes up to get it, and Gary Gray becomes the Stevie Brown(-3) of Notre Dame. (LUCKY)
  6. Perfectly executed fake-bootleg screen. Smith makes this happen by out-accelerating a tackle then slipping through a few more before 'Tree can get the last block. Note: this was out of ACE Twins. (LUCKY EDIT: GOOD--I hear you board. This is the kind of under-center play that plays to these guys' strengths)
  7. Smith motions out of the TB spot to split end and…Ah hell, you deserve to relive it. (Ufer style)
Thank you Fielding Yost! Thank you Fielding Yost for that one!

Let me know when your synapses are functioning again. Actually, don't. Watch that a few more times.

When you've woken up and convinced yourself all over again that this is indeed real life and the score will be like that forever, I see 15 plays run under center of which eight did nothing and at least four or five only did something only because a fumble bounced right to Denard or Gary Gray can't cover. The touchdowns are red herrings. Wonderful, magical, sapphire herrings.

Not counting goal line, kneel downs, 3rd and long/short, and times when we needed to get 80 yards in 30 seconds or whatnot (i.e. the last two drives), Michigan ran 61.76% of its plays out of the shotgun. So this is still a 60% spread offense. When you break out the yardage on the remaining plays, it's easy to see why:

Formation PASS YPA RUSH YPA TOTAL YPA
I-Form 12.00 2.33 7.64
Shotgun 14.63 7.46 10.19
Total 13.50 6.06 9.31

(the one sack was from the shotgun, and counted as passing yards)

It's early in the season and Denard is still learning how to run this offense and by "this offense" I mean like 40% of the offense, with the rest being the stuff mostly similar to what he did last year. It does seem his recurring accuracy problems are related re-learning dropback QB footwork but except for when he says so directly it's hard to see how that affects the efficacy of formations.a8eb27e0bb451b0bb4c51a4ebc2ef966-getty-124586767

The big thing is the rushing! Small sample and all but against our first real competition (and ND is a good rush defense) Michigan put up better-than-Rich-Rod numbers out of the gun and was broken-Hart-vs.-mid-aughts OSU out of the I. The staggering difference in rushing yardage out of the I versus shotgun may be as simple as Denard's rushing ability versus that of the RBs: had Hopkins found the cutback lanes in his two rushes under center perhaps that I-Form rush YPA is up around a Lloydball-ian 3.5. That's still a huge difference. Denard in the gun means Denard as a rushing threat. Notre Dame mostly chose to play the rushing threat and force him to pass (and this worked pretty well), and yet he still got 7.46 YPA because one guy in the hole is never enough.

Two games into a new staff, got the W, very limited sample, receivers are the receivers, his legs are his legs, not likely to face a better MLB than Te'o, caveat caveat caveat caveat, but at this point (caveat caveat) I don't think lining up under center is working.

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* It was watching this play that I realized I had seen enough of Denard running that I can recognize his unique style…like you know how you could pick out a Mike Hart moving silhouette with no other clues? I think I could do that with Denard now.

Comments

willis j

September 14th, 2011 at 8:29 AM ^

that the Denard rollout and screen to Smith were lucky. You expect Denard to make those plays and you expect V Smith to be able to run around the fat slow guys. This is the exact matchups you want. You call it luck I call it good players making good plays when they are supposed to. It is subjective I can say that some of the shotgun plays were lucky. 

On the first interception even more than his footwork was his poor decison to throw into double coverage imo.  

The fact is they still need an RB to step up and be the man. Maybe that is Fitz but being hurt 90% of the time is not "being the man". 

I'm not denying the Denard is better out of the gun. I just dont the under center stuff was as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be. 

willis j

September 14th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

I just think, nobody is calling it luck when he does that stuff out of the shotgun. When that happens its because he is better out of the 'gun you know? The fumble right to him for a td is luck. Denard doing what he has shown he can do over the past couple years. Not luck. 

Blue in Seattle

September 14th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

Formations are just the framework that can provide an advantage or not (depending on what the opposition framework is - i.e. RPS) after that it is players executing, or imrpovising if something breaks down.  Denard coming out of the I or the shotgun doesn't matter as much as Denard can throw, or he can run.  I think the read option is less effective than the QB runs because the read option no longer fakes anyone out.  This is because our RB's are average and Denard is Denard.  Just give him the extra blocker and stop calling the read option.

Once again I'm sucked in to responding to this silly debate on the use of Denard.  Denard is awesome, his heart is bigger than Hart's, and he makes magical plays.  It won't be decided until the MSU game, but I'm more hopeful this year that the defense is on an upward trajectory rather than flatlining.

I expect EMU will be even more of an exhibition game than WMU, and instead of statistical delights we will see a lot of rotation and experimentation, and then we'll start this dread emo cycle all over again.

 

Vasav

September 14th, 2011 at 8:34 AM ^

Small sample size anyway, but Smith's TD and Denard's roll out turned scramble to the one were not lucky. The throwback screen was a great play which saw a missed block by a lineman where Smith made the guy miss anyway - but putting a guy in space one-on-one with a defender is still an offensive win. It's what half of Rodriguez's passing game was predicated on.

Denard's scramble to the one saw him make folks miss because they couldn't play the run - putting a QB on the edge with a run-pass option is tough to defend because even when you finally realize he's running, you're out of position to make a play on a guy as fast as Denard. This is Borges taking advantage of Denard's strengths

I agree with you that our running game is far better out of the shotgun because Denard becomes a running threat. That said with Fitz in, hopefully the I start to looks a lot better run-wise.

SanDiegoWolverine

September 14th, 2011 at 11:00 AM ^

The Smith TD wasn't luck because it was a good play call and mostly well executed less one really big missed block. You could say we got "lucky" with the three guys Smith dodged but I could say we got "unlucky" that Lewan missed his guy.

Having your Quarterback go 1-on-5 with every closing in on him and still get 7 yards is lucky even for Denard.

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2011 at 9:57 AM ^

Lucky isn't the right word.  But some of those are lower probability passes going forward.  We're going to face better DBs with better ball skills than Gary Gray.  Ohio State, in particular, had a couple guys who made nice plays on the ball this past weekend.  

As for the back shoulder nature of the fade, yes, that's the way to go.  But, and this is a big but, those work best when your outside receivers have serious wheels, and none of our guys have them.  I like throwing jump balls to Hemmingway, he's big and has the skills to go get it or at least not let it be an interception.  Everyone else, I'm concerned that it will be far less effective when playing against a CB with a clue.

Needs

September 14th, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

They're not low probability if the cbs are playing inside technique. The routes the receivers ran were designed to force the cbs to turn their backs to the qb (ie pin inside and fade to they sideline, for a great example, look at roundtree's td). Having to twist around and play a ball in the air is very difficult,especially for Gary Gray apparently.

And the cbs were aligned that way so they could help on Denard's runs. If they're playing outside, it's easier to pin them to the sideline on the qb sweep (see roundtree's block on denard's long td last year). Denard's running opens things up in the passing game.

MGoVillain

September 14th, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

That and this was something that they obviously noticed and exploited intentionally.  They weren't throwing those fades all game but relied heavily on them down the stretch.  They realized they had a mismatch with those plays- maybe not with size- but with how they were being defended and beat them before Notre Dame could figure out what to do with.  Sure it might not work as well in the future because teams have seen it, but Brian needs to at least give them credit for exploiting it in this game.  I really doubt they went into the fourth quarter with a game plan to just chuck it up there to our small receivers.  

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

That's a fair point.  I just think we're going to see better CB play who will have their head turned early enough to prevent Gallon and Roundtree from catching these passes often.

M-Dog

September 14th, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

I would not say they were lucky.  But I would say that you can't count on them being replicated.  They caught a stone-footed ND DB by surprise.

They are 50/50 jump balls to whoever goes up and gets them.  B1G defenses will have guys that can get up there.   Nobody will be surprised anymore.

 

 

jamiemac

September 14th, 2011 at 8:43 AM ^

uh oh, are people now gonna come into this thread and say you're waiting for us to lose, too?

Also, on that screen pass to Vince, let's not overlook the amazing job by Barnum of just getting the fuck out of the way.

 Its also pretty clear, at least to me, that Denard and Gallon have some nice chemistry going. Ditto with Hemingway, obvs. I dont think it matters what form they are in, throw it deep to Junior once a quarter, good things will happen. Nobody wants to give Gallon any credit on that touchdown, but QB and WR seemed to be more on the same page than anyone around here wants to give credit. From my seats in that very end zone, that sucker looked like a TD the whole way.........

Six Zero

September 14th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

The part were Denard was great was great.

One thing I've been wondering and thought about it again when I saw the pics above-- if the players keep the jerseys, WHAT ABOUT THE HELMET??  That'd look great mounted in Schembechler or something, don't you think?

wolverine1987

September 14th, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

working well, (it may get much better over time, I grant) it's that there is no need for us to be under center at all IMO. Chris Brown's tweet was exactly right.

And to those (including Borges from yesterday) who say they want more i-form so that tailbacks can feature more so the defense has to focus on more than Denard I say WUT? As if we can't run tailbacks from the shotgun.

JDNorway

September 14th, 2011 at 9:09 AM ^

This arguement is almost as silly as a 2008 arguement in which you claim Sheridan/Threet should be operating out of a pro set as that would've given us the best opportunity to win that year. We're transitioning from the Rich Rodriguez offense to the Al Borges offense, and during the transition there will be a gradual change in the mix between shotgun formations and the QB playing under center.

I don't know what the ideal ratio (shotgun/under center) is for a Shane Morris or for Devin Gardner, but we're recruiting for a different offense, so putting off implementing it will not be the best move long term. We may not be (read: we're not) getting the most out of Denard by putting him under center, but hopefully we can gradually build a more successful running game with the QB under center. If Denard can become a credible passing threat from under center, then the defenses will not be able to stack the box to stop the run and we can be significantly more successful than we were against ND.

I agree that it's frustrating to watch an offense that doesn't click when we know how successful Denard can be from the shotgun, but against ND he didn't exactly light it up from the shotgun in the first 3 quarters, either. He had the one 39 yard run, but beyond that, he was pretty much getting crushed after a couple of yards. Small sample size kills your analysis above - you can't take 15 plays, claim that half of half of them were irrelevant and not look further into the other half, either. Hopkins had some lanes that he missed on a couple of his runs, maybe a Shaw hits those holes, maybe a Hopkins not playing in his first game of the season can hit them, too.

IIRC, btw, when Denard threw that incompletion in the 1st Q, McColgan was completely uncovered along the right sideline. This may also have been on the INT. Denard in his 7th game in this offense would've hopefully spotted that and completed the pass for 20 yards or more. Small sample size means this miss changes your chart significantly.

wolverine1987

September 14th, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

That is the problem with your 2008 comparison. Dernard can win several games for us if used properly, Threet/Sheridan could not have won a single one. For any opther player in America save Andrew Luck, transitioning to a new offense makes sense for all the reasons we know and that you list. But some few players are exceptions to that logic, and Denard is one.

 

Vasav

September 14th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

I mostly agree with what you're saying, but I think Threet was a good QB who had some incredibly bad luck - signing with GT right before Paul Johnson got there, transferring to Michigan right before Rich Rod got here. I really felt bad for the kid, and I love how he worked his tail off in the winged helmet for a year, and then went to ASU and started after already losing two years of eligibility and having three different coaches.

If he had gone to a school with a pro-style set from day one, I think he could have won some games for his team. And, let's not forget that memorable run against Wisconsin.

Seth

September 14th, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

You make some good points. The sample size is throwing things off a bit but I disagree about this situation being analogous to 2008 because this year there's talent on hand that fits a certain scheme whereas in 2008 the talent wasn't on hand at all.

2008 Team:

Quarterback:  Threet, Sheridan, Cone. The best-case scenario is a full year of Threet not getting injured, but he wasn't particularly strong-armed or accurate, and he couldn't throw a screen.
Better in a Pro-Style: Yes (except not Sheridan -- he's better off in a Spread).

Runningbacks: Minor RAAAGE, C.Brown, McGuffie, Shaw. Michigan's rushing was actually the best it had been in years and years with these guys out of a spread, which all but Minor were built for. Minor too did better in the spread because it loosed him to RAGE! against pitiable fools in the 2nd and 3rd levels.
Better in a Pro Style: No.

Offensive Line: Molk, Moosman, Schilling, Dorrestein, Ortmann, McAvoy, Ferrara, innanimate objects that might be more effective than McAvoy. Of these guys Molk was specifically recruited for zone blocking, and Schilling and Moosman weren't but they were that type of player anyway. More importantly Michigan had already transitioned to Zone blocking in '07 so why go back at that point when the redshirting guys and recruits were supposed to be zoners?
Better in a Pro Style: No.

Tight Ends and Fullbacks: Massey, Butler, Moundros, Koger, Webb. I guess maybe Moundros is more effective in an under-center offense. Massey was crap, Butler hated Nerds, Koger and Webb convinced RR to use a TE most of the time.
Better in a Pro Style: Barely

Receivers: Matthews, Rogers, Hemingway, Stonum, Savoy, Odoms, T-Rob, T-Jones, Babb, et al. For the outside guys, the style of offense doesn't matter except they're asked to block more. The slot receivers RR recruited were certainly more effective out of the spread.
Better in a Pro Style: No

So going Pro in 2008 would have set the offensive transition back a year (the offense which was the entire reason for having Rodriguez) in order to maximize what you can get out of Threet. You probably beat Toledo that way, but then the transition starts anew in '09 and then instead of Denard going Ape in 2010 it would be the clunky 2009 thing.

Contrast to today, when you have two years of eligibility left on the best spread QB in the nation, a stable full of spread backs, one of the best zone offensive lines in the country, and a bunch of slot bugs, and it's probably worth it to sacrifice some of the install for 2013 to maximize what you can get out of Denard.

Another way to put it: imagine Carr had (defeated Ohio State and then...) retired after the 2006 season and Michigan hired Rodriguez then. At that point I would have been completely on board with holding off the transition and running a mostly Pro Style offense with Henne and Hart and Long and Manningham, maybe with some spread concepts thrown in, even if this is not the kind of offense RR knows how to run, because the talent on hand did not belong in a spread and were excellent (when not injured) at Pro.

This all assumes of course that Boren/Mallett/Mitchell were sunk costs, ie they wouldn't have stuck around for a year of Rodriguez Running Pro anyway.

Hoke isn't expected to win a national championship in his first three years: the expectation is that he returns Michigan to 9-3 +/-1 and wins some Big Ten championships. A key to that is winning right away so the Era of Good Feelings continues and the recruits keep signing up and Michigan ends up 8-4 in the Outback/Citrus and everyone is still all uber alleles until Mattison gets the defense back to "Michigan defense" (and we know what that is).

They don't have to run Rodriguez's offense -- Rodriguez should run Rodriguez's offense. The thing is Hoke and Borges don't really have "an offense" in that sense (RR invented his). Rather they have Borges who knows offenses. The preference is that Borges is given the opportunity to make whatever he damn well pleases out of the talent on hand. If this offense becomes 50% under-center it's because they're being shoehorned into it by an antiquated ideal of the "right way to do things." If it's 80% under center it's GERG-level incompetency. If it's 80% out of the gun, I think that's just about right for installing some things for the future while maximizing the talent's effectiveness. RR was about 90% gun FWIW.

JDNorway

September 14th, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

I don't disagree with what you've written here, the 2008 comparison was for effect rather than "I think this is like 2008".

Yes, I think we'll have a better offense operating out of the spread, but the coaching staff is taking us in another direction long term. Borges does use multiple formations, but his mandate is to score points while keeping the ball out of the other team's hands, whereas the RR offense was created to score as much as possible as fast as possible.

I agree with your main points and I hope they keep the ratio at around 70/30 or hopefully 80/20 so while the games are competitive and while Denard is our QB.

Where I disagree with you is that I think it's unreasonable to expect a coaching staff hired on a mandate to change the offensive approach to a more "old school" offense, to completely shelf this transition because we have a unique talent at QB. Hopefully our offense will gradually become more capable of running the ball with Denard under center, so we won't lose any games because of the ratio under center/shotgun being suboptimal. Denard becoming a capable passer from under center will both be the key to the running game improving and the key to him getting a look as a QB on the next level (though I'm pretty sure he'll end up playing a different position in the pros if he makes it there).

Seth

September 14th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

That's the big thing, isn't it? There's this whole narrative of "spread doesn't work" and "Hoke's coming in to go back to MICHIGAN offense." But then there's the real story which was that RR was a one-trick pony who built an awesome offense and was an unmitigated disaster almost everywhere else. The Drew Sharps of the world are the ones toting a mandate for offensive change as the defining characteristic of the coaching change. On the opposite end there's Smart Football saying using Denard like he's Brian Griese is downright criminal.

The "Spread" is such a misnomer now anyway. Michigan this year has actually been devastating from a Shotgun max protect formation (two flanking backs and a tight end). 

Really what this is about is shotgun versus under-center. Putting a QB under center, unless you're going to put all the backs there with him and run a Triple-Option, is how you protect him from having to move around so much. Do that with an effective running game and the defense has to cheat on play action and then you are free to unload your Tom Brady upon them. "Old School" offense didn't become so popular because there's an inherent rightness to it; it's awesome because it found a way to minimize the necessity for your quarterback to be a great running back too, allowing teams that could run it effectively (ie recruit an entire offense to compliment) to unleash Howitzer QBs upon defenses. You couldn't do that from the Wishbone, is why the great offenses of the '70s and '80s went with Triple-Option attacks. The I-Form specifically is a run formation that gives you mass going forward like the Wishbone but it's easier to pass from once you've forced the defense to cheat against the run. It's a particularly bad fit for Denard because it limits the very things he's best at. The only worse formation would be the Pro Set (used extensively by Carr in the Griese/Brady/Navarre/Henne years).

This shotgun's major weakness is you can't run out of it very well unless a) Your passing is so effective it makes the D susceptible to draws, or b) Your QB is so mobile (and O-line so agile) that if the D leaves its running lanes to pass protect he's liable to break a huge gain.

With Denard they have to respect the run every time he has the ball in his hands. So everything you accomplish by running ISOs and Dives out of the I-form you already get by putting Denard in the Shotgun. 

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2011 at 10:10 AM ^

In addition to the "this isn't '08 argument," I think there's another big difference.  I believe Borges can and is installing a lot of his offensive concepts in the shotgun spread look.  Blocking schemes, passing schemes, etc. can often be run as effectively out of the shotgun as they can from under center.  

You can use a lead blocker with a fullback, you can pull guards, you can run middle screens, you can even roll a pocket.  About the only play that's not really in the fold out of shotgun that is from under center is the QB waggle play.  

M-Dog

September 14th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I really disagree about the philosophy that we need to scrap what Denard is good at and immediately get to a new system because that's "the future".

This year and next year are not waste years that we might as well use for training.  With a D that is starting to gain a pulse and with some down opponents, we can be in the B1G hunt if we let Denard be Denard.

I'm all for investing for the future, but you've got to have some victories along the way to get there (ask RR).  If the past 3 years have taught us anything, it's that the Michigan faithful have the patience of a 2 year old.  So feed the beast enough to keep it at bay and live to fight another day.  

So what if Shane Morris is the first "real" QB student of the new system?  If I'm fresh off the glow of competing for the B1G the previous year, I can live with that.

    

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2011 at 10:01 AM ^

I can only see it in that we really didn't execute the play and ND should have shut it down for a gain of 1.  Vincent Smith made a great play, but I don't think the coaches were expecting a TD when he had to beat two guys.

Overall, those are the plays we should be running.  A play that uses the threat of Denard's legs to make someone else better.  More of those, please.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 14th, 2011 at 10:27 AM ^

I believe that a mistake forced by the skill of another player means that it is not just a lucky play. One of the advantages of Smith is that he's a shifty little guy. It's not surprising, nor unprecedented that he pick his way through the open field. That's what he does. Were all those Barry Sanders runs just lucky because he happened to squirm out of takles?

Vasav

September 14th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

It was a wonderful playcall, and almost perfectly executed except for Lewan messing up by missing a block. Smith made up for Lewan by making a guy miss. Then he outran a guy who was behind him - so that second guy he "made miss" was out of position because of the wonderful play call. And the third guy was blocked by Roundtree - I guess you can say that's individual effort if you want . But that was ten yards downfield - at that point the difference between a big gain and a TD is always the downfield blocking. But the first ten yards weren't lucky.

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

I agreed with you up to the guy out of position part.  The guy he "outran" was actually a DT who read the play pretty well and actually got a hand on Smith because Smith was forced to juke the first guy inside.  If the first guy gets any more of Smith, the DT makes the play.  Anything but a poor play by the guy Lewan missed makes this a one yard gain.  

Great play design, poor execution, and thankfully saved by Smith.

Indiana Blue

September 14th, 2011 at 9:21 AM ^

I've just taken 2 new lessons from my golf pro, and I am so pissed that still cannot shoot a 65 on a course that I play all the time!  So what that I won my first 2 matches. Maybe if I practice a bit more ... well fuck that, I want it now!

Go Blue!

Tater

September 14th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

The Lewis-Moore thing reminded me of Anthony Carter.  The best quote I ever saw about AC was that tackling him was like "trying to tackle barbed wire."  That is what Lewis-Moore looked like trying to tackle Denard.  I hope poor Kapron had his tetanus shot.

One Inch Woody…

September 14th, 2011 at 9:40 AM ^

You know, Brian... you're right. Almost every single play that we gained positive yardage on in that game was lucky!

All of those jump balls were terrible throws... I mean it's not like the defenders were 2 steps ahead of the receiver and could have easily picked those off in each of those cases.

It's not like Denard can ACTUALLY throw the ball har har.

Oh yeah, and interceptions? TOTALLY luck. I mean, who throws balls at double covered receivers? (Not to mention fumble recoveries... it's lucky that Michigan has recovered EVERY single fumble that has been in their general area).

We might as well just give up playing football because everything we do right is luck. And everything we do wrong is because we have a lack of talent on our team.

While we're saying this... Auburn last year also totally sucked but got really lucky all the time. How many games did they win by missed field goals or by Cam Newton running for 80 yards? That's right, Cam Newton running for 80 yards. He was just lucky that he got some downfield blockers. Pure luck.

Shoot, and Michigan state was totally lucky winning the Big 10. Them creaming wisconsin was total luck. Also when they beat us, they picked off 3 balls. I mean, who ever is THAT lucky? Their team totally bases everything off of luck. Oh, darn, I forgot... when OTHER teams hold opponents to 30/40 points, they have a "good defense". And when other teams get 3 interceptions in a game, it's because they have a talented secondary. And when other teams obtain fumbles it's because hats fly to the ball.

When we do it, it's because we just got lucky.

/s

 

One Inch Woody…

September 14th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

Oops.

 

I read the whole article and assumed it was Brian due to the constant bashing of our scheme.

My bad!

I still want to make the point, though, that this is a new year of Michigan. If we find success, it shouldn't be completely attributed to luck. By that same vein, if we make mistakes, it shouldn't completely be attributed to our lack of skill/talent.