Picture Pages: Blowing Up The Inverted Veer Comment Count

Brian November 12th, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Michigan couldn't get yard one with the veer against Nebraska, and most of them ended up with an unblocked Nebraska player blowing up Gardner. It is time to look at them. For some reason. Why didn't I start a blog about 1980s hairstyles? 1980s hairstyles never make you want to rub your face in gravel.

I digress. The first one comes on Michigan's first drive. A late blitz has just seen a power O slanted to and blown up for a one yard loss; it's second and eleven on the 24.

Michigan comes out with an H-back and two tailbacks in a twins formation, which necessarily means that the slot receiver is not an eligible receiver. Nebraska responds with 7.5 in the box, with the gray area defender just about splitting the difference between Funchess and the tackle.


On the snap Bosch pulls and the gray area guy sits and stares the backfield down.

Michigan shows veer action with Kerridge leading Toussaint to the outside; Michigan blocks the playside end, which would mean they're expecting to option the slot defender except 1) Kerridge is out there, so they're using one of their blockers on him anyway and 2) Gardner does not appear to be reading him but something further inside, if he's in fact reading anything. Gardner's awareness of this slot defender seems to start after the mesh point.


You can see that Gardner's helmet is not pointed at the slot defender as he starts making his decision:


What's he reading? Is he reading anything? I don't know. it doesn't seem like it. Watch the video in real time to get a feel for it. Toussaint does react like a guy who might get the ball, juking the blitzer, so I guess they're reading something. What is unclear.

Meanwhile, Kerridge is expecting the slot guy to contain upfield; instead he shoots upfield inside of him hard, too hard for him to adjust to.


Gardner pulls and seems to sense a disturbance in the force now; he goes straight upfield.


Toussaint dodges the blitzer, running into Gardner; Kerridge  is prone, Gardner starts stumbling, and his momentum is taking him into the chest of an unblocked LB.


It's now third and nine, and Gardner's soul is now worn 1% more.



Items Of Interest

Optioning no one. We're back here, in year three. Michigan has a rudimentary read option game on which their QB doesn't know what to do too often and gets plays blown up, but here we're back to last year's Alabama game, where the defense made it so that Michigan's option plays didn't actually option off a defender, with similar results. No matter what happens on the edge here, the play still spends Kerridge and Toussaint on one defender and leaves an unblocked guy.

It would be one thing if I'd ever seen this fullback on the edge thing work. I have not. At best it's wasted him as he blocks a guy shooting up on the edge who is trying to contain Toussaint; at worst:

I'm about to get some comments about how this is Gardner's issue or Kerridge's issue and that Borges can't be held responsible for the results of this play. Sure. Any one play can be traced back to some execution error by the offense.

These posts are an effort to explain trends I'm seeing in the offense with particular plays, though, and this kind of half-ass option is par for the course. Michigan cannot get the fullback to be useful on these read option plays, and hasn't made him useful for three solid years.


This is the kind of stuff Denard papered over by being Denard. Even when Michigan was eviscerating Ohio State two years ago, they weren't really optioning anyone and it was left to Denard to make the magic happen against an unblocked dude at the LOS:

Michigan was fortunate that was a freshman Ryan Shazier on one leg. When you don't have Denard and you've turned your quarterback's ribs into a fine paste already, you no longer get 41 yard touchdowns and instead your unblocked dude gets a tackle for minimal gain, or more likely a loss.

They've had Kerridge for three years now and Gardner that long and Toussaint that long and they still can't get them to execute a real option. Either they're not trying or they're not coaching. And either way…

How is this supposed to work? It seems like the idea here is for the slot guy to run himself upfield outside of Kerridge to maintain a force back inside and then for Gardner to hit the gap between him and the rest of the defense. Nebraska beats that idea by using the slot guy super-aggressively.

How do you make this play work? Nebraska understood that Michigan's formation meant Funchess was not eligible; the gray area defender had no thought of a pass and ended up blowing up the play. But you can still make this work since Nebraska is sitting so deep with the safeties. Michigan has two options here: shooting Kerridge at the LOS, leaving Toussaint to his own devices, or using Kerridge to attack the slot defender and put Toussaint on the edge into acres of space.

This is the kind of thing you could come back to later with a tweak and bust a big gain. Clearly there were no big gains on this day. This design isn't necessarily bad; the inability to see what Nebraska is doing and get rock to their scissors at some point is. I mean, if you get this again and block the dude the defense has no force player, which means you get a lot of yards. This move by Nebraska violates a cardinal tenet of sound defense and works because they win on RPS, and if you probe at what they're doing here you can beat that. Instead Nebraska just kept chewing up Michigan's offense.

Hooray covered slot receiver. Hooray. I will never understand the point of that. If Michigan had some package where the ability of the H-back to get to the backside of the play meant something, okay. Instead you get nothing and if the D recognizes it, as they seem to here, you're playing 10 on 11. Temporary voluntary red card.

Again, maybe this is some sort of genius but since I've never seen it do anything productive it just seems dumb.



November 12th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

Had Kerridge actually hit that block we wouldn't be talking about this, certainly. The play looks like it is meant to go outside of the tackle and still could have seen a decent gain had Gardner not tripped trying to read the crashing corner. Instead he tripped and fell towards the line instead of being able to run to the edge where most of the D-line and LB's were sealed.


On the other hand, the point about never optioning someone is completely valid here. The scheme doesn't make sense, but could have avoided a crappy ending with better execution. [/Hoke speak]


November 12th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

Also Gardner did not trip trying to read a crashing corner - tripped because Kerridge's guy caused Fitz to stall otherwise DG would have been in the clear (footwise).  Kerridge just needs to occupy the guy in some shape or form for it to theoretically work.  The O-line and Bosch especially did their job.

Usually have seen this where the lead (in this case Kerridge) is suppose to track "inside to out".  The idea being that he can interrupt what happened or the DB has to make a decision (and therefore slowdown and play the ball) which will enable the read option to work. 

Don't think Kerridge anticipated that the guy was coming inside like that and that is why the lateral release.

North Star

November 12th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

but b/c of the ineligble slot,  the slot LB can  scream downhill at warp speed with absolutely zero regard for a pass (i.e., constraint play) - the result is we are magnifying the degree of difficulty for Kerridge's block to the point where it is very likely he'll miss the assignment.  As a result, a technically unsound defense is actually the right one given pre-snap alignment.


While these are subtle points, they are the sort of things that good coaching can do to put players in a position where they are likely to succeed vs. likely to fail.  Like all MGoBloggers, I have been following the long debate over Borges. I think he is near impossible to defend given the mounting objective evidence that his schemes and play structures are too easy for defenses to diagnose and too hard for athletes to execute.  M can do better at OC - the talent level is not perfect, but it is certainly good enough to be a middle of the B1G offense.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

Isn't this just Kerridge missing a block? I understand the frustration with a "fake" option and the ineligible receiver, I really do, but I mean, Kerridge has one assignment: run out and get in the guy's way and he ends up on his face and the guy doesn't come within 2 feet of him. Get that block and (presumably) the ineligible receiver is blocking down field which springs Fitz for 5-10 yards. The ineligible receiver thing, yeah, that's a huge tip to the defense and is stupid, but they needed another blocker there and would've had too many in the backfield otherwise. The non-option is really just a regular handoff that maybe draws a little hesitation from guys who've been drilled to not commit to either RB or QB too early.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

Kerridge is expecing that guy to be force and kick. That is a tough adjustment to make on the fly in that much space. Michigan could adjust to that by coaching him up on the sidelines and come back to it, but obviously they didn't. 

Seriously: at what point does anything go back to the coaches for not preparing their guys? At what point does the consistent inability to get a fullback to do anything productive on an inverted veer become a coaching issue? Is there literally anything that would cause you to conclude that something was wrong with the structure and preparation of the players? Every week you do this: I point out a larger trend I'm seeing and you say "well yeah but we didn't execute." At what point does not executing on every play become not a player issue?


November 12th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

I do think at this point, they know it's not just execution but rather their inability to teach these guys what to do or adjust.

During the season we're not going to get red meat soundbites, but I doubt this offseason comes to pass without some changes occurring with the football staff.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

I'm not denying coaching issues (I've called for Funk's dismissal numerous times for example), I just don't think it's scheme, or at least not to the extent you say. If Kerridge was a defender going to tackle that guy, it would be considered taking a bad angle and he would be rightly criticized for whiffing so badly. Yeah, it goes back to his coaches that he did it so poorly, but at the same time it's not a unreasonable thing to ask someone to do, even on the fly with minimal preparation. I mean the guy's not even juking him really, he just takes a different path, Kerridge just doesn't react until it's way way too late. There shouldn't be a read or adjustment, that's the guy he needs to block so track him. I do completely agree that the the sheer volume of bad execution is alarming and probably systemic at some point.

MGrowOld posted a good post about how people have made up their minds and only see things that support that and I think we're probably both guilty to a degree, so consider all my second guessing of your stuff as another perspective I guess.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

Brian isn't attacking scheme. He's attacking what the coaches do with it.

Right here, he is saying that even this mid-executed play could still lead to something if adjustments are made and we see this again. Instead, nothing.

I believe these execution errors are due to the "just plays" design philosophy combined with low rep practices. It puts players in positions where it is more likely that they will fail to execute, because proper execution requires more variables to return properly.

If Michigan repped this particular play (and some constraint variations of it) with some frequency, Kerridge makes the right play because the action has slowed down for him. Or, just as good, a constraint variation of the play is run where Kerridge feints a block on the blitzer, but deliberately goes around him while the blitzer is optioned off, and a big play with more downfield blockers is possible.

But that's not how the coaches roll.

If this was repped in practice as a basic staple offensive play, which it has effectively become on the field, guys like Kerridge would know more than just a basic assignment. They would know all the little detail variations that they need to adjust in order for the play to work. Kerridge would instantly see that he needed a different angle and his second step would be to the blitzer, etc.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

this could be a good base to be successful.  that run could have been successful if kerridge just chips that guy a bit.  but as you say, there can be many different plays run off this set, especially if they line up funchess in an eligible manner.  but borges often runs a play once or twice then abandons it; successful or not; and reverts back to the i-form bad runs.

but as has been pointed out, maybe they don't practice this set enough.  hence, the mistakes.  but i'm sure they practice the i-form sets enough, but there is no success there either.  personally, i would like working on bases like this thread (vs the i-form) and practice the hell out of it.  i think it's may be the best way to get our skilled guys out in space.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

merely for the 7.5 in the box.  Michigan's talent resides in the skill positions. Spreading these guys out makes for easier blocking assignments for the line.  As many pointed out, this play is close to breaking it big, and still resulted in a positive yard.  With as many ways this play can be optioned, this seems like it should be a focus moving forward.  I-form/ with play action has not shown any possible big play out of the run, and thus no ability for the playaction to develop.  I think the frustration is plenty here. 1. This play was not executed 2. this play left one of our best threats unused as a decoy 3. This play almost worked and we didn't go back to it enough. 


November 12th, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

if you show me that we're throwing more than the average number of plays and wrinklels at the team, or if you can show that Borges was unsuccessful or did the same at other stops on the way. 

If you can--and I say this with little knowledge of strategy--I also wonder whether trying to work with both spread and West Coast/other principles might not be putting too much on the kids' plates. In that case, although a failure, the attempt to move toward the system they want this year--repping that--would make some sense. 

I think that the simplest explanation of all the running plays (given that we didn't try it much against ND) is that in game after game this season they have convinced themselves that they would finally have at least some success with it. And been completely astonished that they couldn't. 

Since everyone who speaks of him, including Wojo, says he's super bright, and since he's the best spoken of the three coaches by far, I just don't buy that brain farts, stupidity, or even cussed stubbornness as very adequate explanations for what's happening. 


November 12th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

do you think Kerridge might be reacting late because he does not run this play or things like it frequently enough to be able to react to an unexpected event

does it even matter  if Kerridge blocks this guy when Gardner pulls anyway since he's apparently not reading the slot LB or screws it up

do you think that everyone screwing up on every play may be related to an inability to teach the scheme

do you think trying to do everything may be a part of that

if you cannot teach the scheme how is it not the scheme

does michigan just have the single dumbest collection of players in the history of mankind

why do you think that just because a play could hypothetically work that it's okay that it does not and never does

why do you address the single play mentioned and not the overall trend i pointed out that has lasted three years and counting

why does michigan rarely option anyone on their options, and how is that not scheme

does it really matter about the particular semantics of the worst offense anyone has ever seen at Michigan


November 12th, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

Format is like a freep article. 

I do agree though. I'm fine with plays not working, as long as it sets up another play later that busts a large net gain. i.e. a 1 yard gain with a 10 yard gain out of the same set, is a net of 5.5 yards/ attempt. I also believe the play calling, with a mixed bags, is part of the reason they have to go to the huddle and the plays get in so late.  If the offense was working with a smaller base set to run out of, then the players would know where they need to go and only need the variation call.  

the lack of 2 minute drill type drives is disturbing, and makes me think the playbook is too big. 


November 12th, 2013 at 1:47 PM ^

do you think Kerridge might be reacting late because he does not run this play or things like it frequently enough to be able to react to an unexpected event

Sure, I don't disagree with you that the constant changing has had a big negative impact. But half of this board is about asking the coaches to do something different after every game. That takes practice time. Asking for change and then criticising the changes for burning practice time to implement isn't fair, IMO. Personally, I would be fine losing every game this year so the coaches to implement and rep the same set of plays until competency develops but I think most of this board would be on high ledges somewhere if that were to happen.

does it even matter  if Kerridge blocks this guy when Gardner pulls anyway since he's apparently not reading the slot LB or screws it up

I do think somewhere between pic 4 and 5, Gardner is looking at the clusterfuck that's going on with Kerridge and pulls. You said yourself, Fitz would be blocking rather than juking if the play design has Gardner pulling.

do you think that everyone screwing up on every play may be related to an inability to teach the scheme

Yes, I said as much. There's something systemic going on that's preventing retention on the field. The constant changes aren't helping, but that's the tradeoff between trying stuff to find something that works and salvaging some games vs sticking to one thing and trying to get better in the long run. And it's not everyone, it's usually just one guy and often not the same guy. I don't know if that makes it more or less frustrating.

do you think trying to do everything may be a part of that

See above

if you cannot teach the scheme how is it not the scheme

Because it's teaching of scheme, not scheme? I'm not saying Borges isn't responsible still, but teaching a set of plays and getting them repped is, in fact, different from the design of said plays.

does michigan just have the single dumbest collection of players in the history of mankind

They are young and inexperienced, add lack the reps to be familiar with all the changes (I'm guessing that's your point?)

why do you think that just because a play could hypothetically work that it's okay that it does not and never does

No, again, I don't disagree with the fact that the staff hasn't been able to teach.

why do you address the single play mentioned and not the overall trend i pointed out that has lasted three years and counting

Because you did a picture pages specifically for this play? What else am I going to talk about? Do I think there are alarming trends with where this offense is going? Yeah. I just don't think this play is a good example.

why does michigan rarely option anyone on their options, and how is that not scheme

I have no idea, maybe they don't trust the read to happen correctly, maybe it's a counter to a scrap exchage. Either way, the play design still puts people in a position to do reasonably easy things and still succeed. I don't think given their preference, I don't think the coaches would run a option look at all, so it goes back to them trying something that the guys are more familiar running from the last 2 years.

does it really matter about the particular semantics of the worst offense anyone has ever seen at Michigan

Really, no, but if we're going to type 1000 words on the reason for it we might as well be precise about it.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:30 PM ^

I love how the coaches get a pass for "half of this board . . . asking the coaches to do something different after every game."  You might be on to something here -- if Borges is looking to the board here for approval and for tips on how to fix his crap-tastic offense, that might explain the week-to-week changes that make no sense.

Or . . . it could be that Borges is outsmarting himself by always reacting to the last thing to go wrong, rather than settling on something that will take best advantage of the strengths of his personnel and sticking with that.  That would explain why Borges had his best moments when Denard was still here -- no matter what overly-complex, overly-reactive plays Borges drew up, each play started with the ball in Denard's hands, and with at least some opportunity to make something happen, even if it had little or nothing to do with the actual play design.  Without that security blanket, we're beginning to see what Borges is (in)capable of.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:35 PM ^

The coaches want to win and certainly understand the pressure from the fanbase, but I'm not implying we have any direct influence on the coach's decisions. I'm just saying that it's unfair to demand change while not accepting the potential negative consequences of implementing changes mid-season, which is always a risky endeavor.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

is that if the coaches change anything, I'm sure it's because they thought it would be an improvement, and not because the fanbase "demanded" it.  If the change doesn't work, it's on the coaches, and there's nothing "unfair" about that.  Sure, maybe the fanbase is hypocritical -- shocking, I know -- but that has nothing to do with the issue at hand, which is coaching (in)competence.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

"Sure, I don't disagree with you that the constant changing has had a big negative impact. But half of this board is about asking the coaches to do something different after every game. That takes practice time. Asking for change and then criticising the changes for burning practice time to implement isn't fair, IMO. Personally, I would be fine losing every game this year so the coaches to implement and rep the same set of plays until competency develops but I think most of this board would be on high ledges somewhere if that were to happen."

Michigan has been running the inverted veer since Borges has been here. It is probably our most called run play out of the shotgun. We better be using substantial practice time on this play, and we better be able to make simple adjustments to it, based on the look we are getting from the defense.

Watch the embedded play from the MSU game. That is a safety at the line of scrimmage forcing Devin to hand it off to Fitz. Most coaches would see that, and think, maybe we should have a PA pass off of this backfield action. Yet in year 3 of running this we dont. That is absolute incompetance from our offensive staff.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:55 PM ^

he did say "I do completely agree that the the sheer volume of bad execution is alarming and probably systemic at some point."

It's obviously impossible for us to know for certain exactly how much blame should go around. The failure of the offense would seem to indicate that there is a lot of it, and that nobody is entirely immune from it.


November 12th, 2013 at 5:04 PM ^

I know for my part, I get confused when this type of play is cited as "bad play calling" or "a bad scheme." Or that is what I percieve the criticism to be.

In this play, it looks to me like Kerridge has a clearly defined block to make and he totally misses it. Maybe the defender reacted in a way that made the block harder and blah blah blah but the scheme or play call is not the problem. The execution is.

At this point, with so much terrible execution, the coaches shoulder most of the blame for that. These are the players that they picked and prepared and they are not getting the job done.

Blaming execution is not a way for the coaches to avoid blame or for me to explain away the responsibility that the coaches have for these failures--it is a description of the problem.

The coaches are fully responsible for everything that happens on the field. The blocking and OL play on this team is unpossibly bad and the coaching is to blame.

This problem is so bad that I doubt any change in play calling is going to make a significant improvement. At some point, you have block people to be effective and not a single position group on this team can block anyone. Except maybe the WR.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^



Liked your idea of Kerridge running right to the LOS, could this play possible be an off-tackle run to Fitz instead of a slow developing veer? Why not have Kerridge bolt to the outside hip of the DE, quick handoff to Fitz, at least get a yard or three no? I think these slow ass developing run plays for this o-line are huge mistakes. Try some quick hitters and just have Kerridge run forward and hit a guy, don't make him think to much. Kick out the end or if he is sealed kick out the next guy. (Easier said than done)

Maize and Blue…

November 12th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

allows the Nebraska defender to agressively blitz because there is no fear of a pass to Funchess who is ineligible.  This is part of what Nebraska's defenders were talking about by tipping plays.  No OC in his right mind would cover up a WR allowing the D an advantage and the aggresive blitz.  This is not Kerridge's fault and the counter would be to simply allow him to blitz and throw the ball Funchess (can't because he's covered) or to Kerridge. Of course, Borges never did this because he doesn't counter anything which is evident by three years of total failure against A gap blitzes.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

I agree with the formation being dumb as I mentioned in the original post. The H-back could be on the line and Funchess a  yard back and it functionally wouldn't really change the play. At the same time, how is not Kerridge's fault for not blocking him? He should be IDing that guy and tracking him from the snap, not taking 3-4 steps outside before realizing, "oh shit" and trying to adjust. Look at the guy's helmet, he's staring at the mesh point in every single frame. If that doesn't tip his intentions, I don't know what would.

EDIT: I should add I completely agree with the lack of counters criticism. Of all the things I think people are piling on him that are unfair, this one I think is totally justified and I agree completely.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:07 PM ^

bracketing Funchess, I think an out route would pull the extra defensive player away until he recognizes the run.  It atleast would put Gardner or Fitz against a defender in space. I'd take that any day. If the safety or CB started to cheat this, you could hit them over the top. I hope to see this a lot in the future. I htink this offense can be powerful without a huge amount of tweaking. 


November 12th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

Unless Gardner is just divining the presence of the slot defender, the pull was unrelated to Kerridge's missed block. Gardner is still faced with (a) trying to dance around whatever happens on the front side, or avoiding the unblocked WILL on the back side.

There is, of course, no risk of this for the defense, because Michigan deploys no counter to punish the crashing defender, or even create the threat of a counter by making Funchess (who spends this play wandering the wilderness like Thoreau or Bear Grylls) eligible.

The formation is stupid. The level of deception is non-existant. There is no ability to exploit this in the future. And the BEST CASE scenario is a play that probably gets stuffed more often than not.

THAT is scheme.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

I disagree the pull was unrelated. The reaction of Fitz and the play design don't make sense otherwise. I agree with most of your other points. I think this reeks of a back of the napkin play design that was supposed to catch Nebraska once or twice for a modest gain by overloading the right side with blockers and getting Fitz the edge.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 2:07 PM ^

This is a counter to crashing defenders. This is a counter to teams trying to overload the playside. This is essentially a way of getting around the defense, stretching it laterally, rather than the pop pass over the top (which, sure, I like that too). But this is adjusting to what defenses are doing in a very real way that should have worked. The blocking messed up and the rest went to hell.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:20 PM ^

goes the dynamite!!!! pwn3d....it would seem as if we need an OC that can mix up the schemes when needed and can adapt...basically what most of us have been saying all season and some of since the end of last year

EDIT: but what the hell do I know, im no coach...maybe back-to-back negative rushing yards is just part of the grand scheme to win a B1G championship


November 12th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

unless for some reason he took his eye off of that rusher for a split second to see if the CB was coming on a blitz, then realized too late that the rusher was going inside.  it's obvious that's his man.  and there really is no excuse for missing that block entirely.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

All you have to do is switch up Paskorz and Funchess and you make Funchess a threat.  Responsibilities stay the same and probably makes Kerridge block easier as the slot defender has to respect Funchess at least by alignment.  If he for some reason doesn't you run play action to Funchess. 


November 12th, 2013 at 12:20 PM ^

Why is this not a handoff every time? Kerridge misses his block. If he doesn't and Gardner gives to Fitz, there are yards to be had here. 

But Gardner pulling puts him one on one with the only LB not accounted for. And there's no way to block him.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

First off, I hate covered slot receivers. Michigan is far from the only team that does it, but I hate it. I also hate covered TEs. I hate making any of your available receivers into something less than that unless you're going full-on don't give a crap Stanford on Oregon because you know you can get yards.

Now about the play. The slot receiver is supposed to work to the safety and the FB is supposed to lead block the gray area defender. The purpose of the FB is to simplify Gardner's read. It's basically the same as the thing Rich Rod used to do with the TEs in his offense. He'd pull them backside and kick the "exchange" defender. The FB prevents this from getting blitzed into off the far edge in a way that DG can't possibly read. There is an important distinction here. Kerridge only kicks if the gray area player gains depth and takes himself out of the play. But the intention isn't to kick, it's to scoop. The intention is to give Fitz an alley to run if if DG hands off.  You want that alley outside so that your two running lanes can't be defended by a single defender (the read guy). That's why Kerridge is taking the angle he is, he's trying to scoop the man, not kick him. But he doesn't react quick enough. I feel like this is a typical adjustment for a FB, they arch block all the time. Minnesota effectively attacked Nebraska with arch blocks from their FBs. Why is it not being executed by Michigan FBs? I dunno. Lack of being prepared, mental mistake, wrong path to the defender, I can't say.

Now, the other issue: interted veer is working the Power O blocking concepts, and the kick out block is dictated by the option read (or look if you don't believe they are reading, but I believe they are otherwise Kerriges assignment makes zero sense within the scheme). So what goes wrong? There is a communication problem between the U-back and Schofield, and my guess is it's on the U-back. You see the DE and the LB pretty much stacked over Schofield's outside shoulder. In Power blocking terms, this means that he's in a position that is nearly impossible to kick. It's a 6i technique, a technique that was developed I believe in the 80s to make the it hard to develop a hole with a power blocking scheme. The fact that this is power blocking also speaks to Kerridge's assignment. The read option is the kick, Kerridge is essentially the second lead blocker. Just like what happened with a basic power play, he's trying to get to that second level defender. There is only the slight variation in that he's arch blocking him instead of hitting him straight on because the RB is intended to "bounce" the run.

So the adjustment to that is to say, "fine, we'll just down block you and make the guy stacked above you the kick defender".  So the TE and Schofield should be taking the DE and working to the backside. Even look at Schofield's technique, it looks like he's taking 2/3s of the DE's body and looking for a combo from the TE. The TE is treating the play like he normally would here, to get up to the second level by side stepping the DE.

So the problem is two-fold: Kerridge completely whiffs his block because he archs too wide. His goal is essentially to scoop that gray area defender like he's trying to do in the MSU clip, note in that clip how he passes off the read DE and tries to get to the second level where he blocks no one because the safety he wants to block shot the gap instead (in theory here, his eyes are in the wrong place, there should be some adjustment that allows for DG to read the safety crashing and for Kerridge to scoop the DE, and DG should give here in that instance, but was likely hoping that guy would just follow Fitz and he'd have a clear path to a TD by having the option essentially block two-defenders, but as expected, it doesn't). The second problem is the fact that two people (Schofield and the TE) aren't on the same page as to what the power blocking adjustment should be.

Now, I don't think as far as the missed communication that it's because the blocking scheme is too complex. Much and most of their run scheme settles around a power blocking scheme. That should be better. The play against Nebraska should be executed better, but there were two huge botched assignments. The play against MSU is tougher and something that clearly wasn't repped enough (on the coaches). The FB nor Gardner made the correct adjustment to a safety shooting a gap. They might have repped it a few times, but clearly it wasn't enough to be familiar with how to adjust it in game.

Hopefully this helps explain it and doesn't come off as argumentative. But that's the intention of the play without getting into the "it's execution by the players" and "it's because the coaches don't understand" aspect of the argument.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

The inverted veer series should have an option of who you're optioning off based on alignment.  That DE aligns straight up on Schofield, which then allows the u-back to get to the OLB.  The unblocked guy is then the MLB, which should be Gardner's read.


His alignment in this place dictates a semi-double team, allowing the OLB to run free.  This isn't optimal, but if he doesn't open up wide, this walls off the MLB somewhat.  So Gardner should read the OLB here.  


If these above are true, I'm guessing it's once again, an issue of practice time.  You devote a great deal to running out of the shotgun/pistol/spread, you're familiar with various options, fronts, adjustments, and they're the generally the same as you're operating from the same base.  But with this "mixed bag" of offensive plays, counters to mitigate our plays maybe aren't being discussed/drilled.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

As I say below, it seems to be very hard to dabble in option or veer plays.  Teams that try to tack on option/veer plays to the rest of their offense as a borderline afterthought tend to fail at those plays (at least as I've seen).

This doesn't quite prove my point, but I think it's telling that there are h.s. and college teams that run almost nothing but option or veer plays.  They are a goldmine if you run them really well, but that sure seems to take a lot of commitment.

As far as evaluating Borges here, I'm torn.  I applaude his willingness to try to use DG's running ability.  On the other hand, he's running the risk of OC malpractice by using a play that he doesn't have much expertise in.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

my high school ran a 3 back set with multiple formations; 80-90% run.  that said, the same system was taught to us in pop warner.  so by the time we were seniors, we had been running the same system for 6 years.  and the head coach was rewarded by being elected to the MHSAA hall of fame when he was done.

this team has young guys running multiple systems in their first and second year on campus.

Durham Blue

November 12th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

it is probably no small task to implement both a pro and spread offense into your offensive game plan.  Of course, I say this from zero experience but it seems like a lot to ask.  Which now begs the question, should Borges/Hoke be trying to implement both given the shit we're seeing this year on offense?  I think not.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

And I've answered the question in other areas. That seems like a plausible answer when you isolate inverted veer from the rest of the offense. But it's not isolated from the rest of the offense. It's a Power O play with Gardner making a read. Blocking is exactly the same as Power O. It's their most repped play in the entire playbook.