Chase Winovich getting held
We have to work on our appreciation. [Eric Upchurch]

Neck Sharpies: Chased Comment Count

Seth October 10th, 2018 at 10:44 AM

There wasn't very much schematically to take away Maryland game—just a few little things.

  1. Michigan added a center pull to the Power/Down G/Iso package.
  2. Maryland had a novel response to Down G, having their edge guy stalk block the puller so the running back wouldn't know which gap to go through until the cavalry arrived. Michigan responded to it rather quickly by having Onwenu run through this idiot DE/OLB trying to stand in his way.
  3. Michigan's Big Big Boys were blowing the Terps DTs off the line.
  4. Once the Illinois transfer was booted for targeting the Maryland LBs were a disaster.
  5. Shea's ability to escape unblocked pass rushers ruined a few perfect blitzes Maryland spent much of the game setting up.
  6. Tru Wilson provided all kinds of value in blocking, heady running, and tenacity.
  7. The Wolverine linebackers, especially Devin Bush, matched the speed of Maryland's backfield, defeating the whole purpose of Canada's schemes
  8. I think Don Brown planned an option blitz scheme with Khaleke Hudson that Hudson paid off.

More than any X or O on Jimmy's white board, this game was won by Michigan's Joes performing much better than their counterparts. But if we're going to highlight the play of one particular player we should do the one who changes the entire approach of every opponent's offense.

We are watching a player having one of the greatest seasons in Michigan football history at a position where the competition includes guys like LaMarr Woodley and Bennie Oosterbaan. But because our guy plays with so many other good and great players in an excellent system, and because with Gary out this opponent could gameplan to keep Chase's UFR amplitude low, it would be too easy to let this week pass without giving Winovich his due.

So this Neck Sharpies there's no amazing new strategy. Let's just go through the tape and appreciate what's happening because Chase Winovich is on the field.


Play 1: Maryland opens with an extra (ineligible) offensive tackle to Winovich's side and rolls the other way. Winovich splits both OTs and pressures.

Gfycat randomly named this one UltimateWindyAsiaticgreaterfreshwaterclam and that's not the 10th best label they applied so I'm going to share these as we go.

[After THE JUMP: An entire day of this]

2. Backside contain, stalemated for a moment then rips past the RT. Easily could have drawn a (n irrelevant to the play) hold since the OT latches onto Chase's opposite shoulder pad and the back judge is looking right at it.

3. Maryland shifts a ton and ends up in their Flexbone like the previous play. This is their double-blocked play where the backside blocking flares out to block a jet sweep and the rest of the line stretch blocks toward the frontside, either getting numbers that way or creating a big lane to cut back into. Michigan is slanting which means Winovich is the guy unblocked in the cutback lane. It's about to spring to the safety on the frontside because Kemp got way too upfield but out of no man's land Winovich comes crashing down and stops for no gain.

4. Out of a timeout Maryland runs a Mesh play without an outlet because the running back has to stay in to help on Winovich. Kinnel is outrun.

5. Pass rush and Winovich is immediately inside his OT, who looks like he should be getting help from the RG. Immediate pressure (from Bush too), Hill tries to throw it away and it gets batted and nearly intercepted.


6. Fake option trap pull that leaves Winovich unblocked for a second so he forms up. Then he sees the puller and steps into the block, jamming it up enough to force a give. All of the second-level blockers are chasing the ball outside because they know Winovich has inside contained, and Gil and Bush footrace each other for a TFL.

7. Winovich a super-wide DE in a 3-3-5, draws the LT (who blocks him down well) and the LG, who got so worried about blocking Winovich he just left the guy he was blocking, Dwumfour, who's like "That was a freebie."


8. Play-action that play where Winovich is optioned (he dives inside the puller). But it's a pass, so Winovich pops the puller and gives the fool a ride back to his quarterback. Quarterback has Hudson in his face and tries to escape right when Winovich is arriving with the remains of that guard. Winovich rips outside to get the sack but gets an EXTREME hold right in front of a ref. Fortunately the guard's feet are now caught in the quarterback's and Hudson can jump on Hill's back.


9. Crash/jet away from Winovich's side gets 6 yards on 2nd and 14

10. Two blockers left for Winovich becomes one when Glasgow also blitzes off that side. It's that horrible LG, who gets shed at 4(!) yards, but realizes he's beat gets an arm bar, and falls at Winovich's feet to create just enough delay for his QB to chuck it at a covered fade.


11. Zipper (jet then come back from jet) motion becomes that outside zone/backside jet play with Winovich on the frontside this time. He's got to set the edge to restrict space, and does so at 2 yards past the hashes. This is not much space—Ty Johnson cuts back into that backside space and Paye is waiting.

12. Zipper motion again to that play with the puller but Winovich stunts with Devin Gil (who's up on the line) and shoots the backside gap this is trying to attack, getting Ty Johnson's foot. No gain. Good call coach.


13. Same play at the start of the game where they roll away from Winovich. Unfortunately for Maryland rolling toward Uche isn't that great an idea either.

14. Diamond formation, fake screen draw that's supposed to attack Winovich's edge, which has nobody out there but Winovich. It did have an offensive tackle too but Winovich had no use for this person who was a 5-star five years ago, and discards. Back is McFarland, who cuts inside and manages to wriggle out of Winovich's grasps. Dangerous because Dwumfour got reached, but Winovich's delay gives the defense time to rally: Kinnel then Paye and Bush arrive to keep the damage down. Same play they showed at the start of the game where Maryland scored a long TD on Minnesota.


15. Diamond zone read, Winovich is the guy being optioned, forms up to force the give that goes for nothing.

16. Play-action power, poor #75 arrives to find Winovich holding the edge. The RG sets up a little further back this time, Winovich gives the guy a little shoulder dip, and the dude can only grab Winovich's neck and pray that thing about no holds getting called on Michigan stays true as he gets a piggyback ride into Piggy. It doesn't, but only because the left guard had two fistfuls of Dwumfour when Dwumfour fell down.


17. Tempo and it's that Flexbone Jet Fake/OZ play with Winovich the guy in the cutback lane. Winovich dances a bit to hold the tight end then shoots inside when he sees the handoff to end this for no gain (This is the missed chop block where Dwumfour got hurt).


18. Third and 19, simple outside pass rush, Hill takes awhile, and Winovich sheds the OT, who's got no other recourse but to flagrantly tackle (no flag, but I'm going to keep pointing these out because Winovich is generating them).


19. Split zone, Winovich shuffles for the zone read look then sees the tight end coming across and dives inside to assist in pursuit; he's not needed. Illegal formation because Maryland had just 6 guys on the line of scrimmage.

20. Jet/OZ action goes to the Jet this time away from Winovich, who's slanting into the B gap and stalemated there with the right guard.

21. Zone read but Winovich is diving into the B gap again as Gil replaces him outside, so the ball is given to the running back who heads outside. Winovich sheds the C's block and follows the RB down the line. Devin Bush gets there first, Winovich, coming from the backside, would be the next to arrive.

22. Jet/OZ with Winovich the unblocked backside again. He crashes, redirects, and is there to help finish the tackle Lo Marshall initiated.

23. 3rd and 30, and it's a fake rollout away from Winovich that's meant to convert into a QB run (Uche was all over it).

24. Maryland on their 2 and just chipping and running the hell away from Chase. He gets chipped, or tackled if that's what you want to call a tight end whose arms are around Chase's ankles, but Chase gets up and arrives at the back of the pile of non-moving people.

25. Outside zone away from Winovich's side and a zip motion that takes away the cornerback, so Chase has this edge all to himself. Chase has a tight end coming across him. "Oh no you don't." He fires into the guy and stands him up 2 yards in the backfield so no cutback lanes (flag is because the center tackled Kemp).


26. Winovich a standup edge in Bear look and they run a zone stretch away from him with a fake RB motion to his side. Winovich sees the handoff and jets himself down the line, getting caught behind two Maryland players sitting on Lo Marshall. He sorta runs into, sorta tackles Hutchinson and goes down with the running back on the other side of the guy Hutchinson was engaged with. Thanks, I guess?

27. Maryland running the jet sweep out of the Jet/OZ action and Winovich sees it too late, forming up but letting the jet guy and his blocker get around. He gives chase and Metellus cleans up after 5 yards. Bad Winovich. Why are you having a bad play here on the 27th snap of a game where the offense was designed to screw up your reads? Bad. Bad.

28. Winovich the 5-tech in a 4-3 under look against an unbalanced formation: Maryland has a guard and a TE on Winovich's side so Winovich is lined up over the guard. I should mention he's playing Anchor (Gary's position) when Hutchinson is on the field. It's a Jet Sweep (a full one) this time out Hutchinson's side, and Hutchinson is no Chase so it gets some yards while Chase is preventing the guard from getting to the second level, then ripping the center to the ground, Ryan Glasgow style.

29. Maryland is covering the tight end and putting two OTs to Winovich's side for that Jet/OZ thing again, which is an OZ handoff away from Winovich's side. Michigan's got all linebackers going wherever Winovich ain't, and this is a good bet. Announcers are talking about him for this and the next play.

30. Jet/OZ again and Winovich is the guy in space, checks the Jet guy but of course they're running away from him again and it gets no yards.

31. Cut to it late because Chase is Facetiming with Conor McGregor. Maryland rolls away from Chase's side. Chase gets a tight end who was lined up in the backfield and gets around at 5 yards, though he got pushed a yard out.

----------Officials timeout for some reason. Chase gets a drink of water. They're still talking about him so we learn Shea told him if he sticks around he'd be his roommate. They play Fortnite a lot. Chase's ringtone is Todd McShay calling him small. /Chase interlude. Now back to Chase murdering people.-----------------

32. Jet/OZ away from Chase, RB isn't even looking for a cutback lane.

33. Play-action out of that Jet/OZ thing catches Michigan blitzing Hudson and Chase scrapping his way into the C gap inside that tight end. Chase easily disconnects and goes after it so the receiver can't cut back when the guy who was supposed to be on him, Brandon Watson, arrives after a 6-yard gain.

34. Just a slant on Kinnel.

35. Slide protection again has both the LG and LT blocking Winovich for a fade to the only receiver on that side. Ball is out before pass rush is relevant.

36. Jet/OZ and this time the running back, who's gotta be sick by now of running into a wad of bodies on the frontside, finally decides to cut back and try that DE in a lot of space. That DE is Winovich so the RB immediately reconsiders this proposition and falls into a frontside gap for a yard instead.


37. Late shift and Maryland sets up unbalanced with an extra OT on Winovich's side. This time they hand off to the Jet of the Jet/OZ with that extra OT giving Winovich a little chip before arcing outside to pick off a linebacker. That leaves the Jet WR in space against J'Marick Woods and Winovich chasing in case the guy escapes—he does but he's off balance and it's only a 7-yard gain on 3rd and 9.

38. The 4th and 6 slant. Winovich is set up wide as the Anchor in a 3-3-5 and gets around the right guard, who manages to keep a hand connected to Winovich's shoulder and yank him a bit past the QB (this is not holding, you are allowed to block a guy's shoulder). If the ball's not out this second Chase has a chance to strip but it's out and complete. Between JKP and Kinnel.


39. Tempo, Winovich unblocked, dives inside after QB gives and joins the rest of the blueshirts ravenously devouring the limbs of the RB. Play called back because a sub was coming on the field.

40. Jet/IZ is jetted out the side away from Winovich.

41. QB sneak, Winovich left unblocked on the edge and dives in there to help stuff it but by the time he can get there it's only the QB's legs he can affect.

42. Jet/OZ Jet away from Winovich scores.

Michigan is up 35-14 with 6:37 when Maryland gets the ball back, and Reuben Jones is on the field.

So what did we learn?


So what was the point?

Chase is awesome and opponents either run away from him or play 9 on 10 so they can devote two players to him and even then that doesn't work and they just have to run away from him.

We knew that.

Indeed. But it's certainly fun to appreciate it.




October 10th, 2018 at 11:54 AM ^

I was just reading someone trying to explain what makes Michigan's defense so effective, and it made me wish I had a ton of clips that I could just watch defensive dominance. And voila! Thanks!


October 10th, 2018 at 12:11 PM ^

I'm very confused by the first play here?  "Maryland opens with an extra (ineligible) offensive tackle to Winovich's side and rolls the other way. Winovich splits both OTs and pressures."  What I'm seeing in the video (might be the wrong video?) is very definitely just two players on Winovich's side of the center.  I guess they might have substituted a tackle for a guard to make two tackles on his side, but that seems unlikely?  Whoever they are, he certainly does split them nicely.

Section 1.8

October 10th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

Really great post, Seth.

Reiterating the point that you made at the end of your intro; think of how much more statistically awesome Winovich might be, if opposing O-lines were also contending with a healthy Gary and a healthy Solomon at the same time.  

About "Woodley" and "Oosterbaan."  It's hard to compare Winovich to a force of nature like Lamar Woodley. 

The guy that I would very favorably compare Chase Winovich to, is Mark Messner.  If Chase Winovich knows anything about Michigan football history, he should be flattered and thrilled by that comparison.  Messner led defenses that were as good as the Don Brown defenses.  Messner was the same sort of field leader.  The same sort of hyperactivity from a defensive lineman.  The same sort of freakish agility from a down-lineman.  All-Big Ten every year that he played; All-American as a senior.

This film is edited as a Mark Messner tribute.  It is glorious for the awesomeness of Michigan defenses in that era, and features video of Jim Harbaugh that the youngsters will like.  Watch Mark Messner and see if it doesn't make you think of the Beta version of Chase Winovich.



October 10th, 2018 at 2:55 PM ^

mgoblog staff, request for next This Week's Obsession: determine what's on an UnrulyEsteemedConey. We will all then go to our local coney etablishments and demand it be put on the menu.