Picture Pages: Blowing Up The Inverted Veer

Submitted by Brian on 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.


Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

Normally, like on a power play, the kick out block is the playside DE and the TE goes on to the playside OLB.

But, when the playside DE lines up inside of the TE he becomes difficult to kick, so rather than trying to have your FB kick him out, you have the FB arch block around to the playside OLB and the TE and OT combo that DE to the backside OLB.

Well, the scheme is exactly the same for inverted veer, just you are replacing the kick out block with the option read. So, because the DE is lined up inside, the read player should become the playside OLB (who Butt mistakenly blocks).

Follow the link to the 4-3 Under G Loose diagram. The FB in this case is the read option aspect of the play.

Now, the way to stop that is to bring an 8th man to the playside (the gray area defender). So the adjustment Borges made was to put a FB in the game, not to do what a FB would in that diagram, but to do what a second lead blocker would do in this situation. If you go back and look at the tackle over plays, Kerridge has the same exact assignment he does on those plays. It's basic Power O blocking fundamentals with two lead blockers (here, the two lead blockers are the option read and then the FB rather than a U-back and then a FB).

This is the problem that I've had with the "too many things that they aren't good at anything" argument. Veer option is based on a running scheme they utilize anyway (essentially a down G) but you don't have to pull because your kick block is the option. Inverted veer is Power blocking all the way. It is their base run play with the same exact assignments and adjustements. Nebraska does absolutely nothing that shows this play is tipped, they don't play it any way other than how a standard defense would play it. But Michigan can't get out of it's own way.

And this is the argument that I've had since PSU. It is execution. This play should work. It is 100% execution. Borges has Nebraska exactly how he wants them. Michigan is missing assignments in their base blocking scheme that they've repped thousands of times from under center, from pistol, from ace, from shotgun. That's not just on the players. Why the hell isn't the coaching staff able to get the players to block their base scheme? Why is it taking so long? Youth is part of it, yes. But at this point they should be able to block the run they utilize 75% of the time, including on their counters. It's on the coaches but it's not because of the play call. The play call is perfect. Why the hell aren't the players able to execute? Part of that, a lot of that, is youth. And part and a lot of that is they aren't getting through to these kids. It's the argument that I've made that's been misinterpreted since the start of all this. It's the same thing over and over again. Why can't they block their most basic, most repetitively run play in the entire playbook?


November 12th, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

It seems, as you say, that the scheme is fine, but the execution is horrible (where have I heard this).  I hope this means that they shorten the playbook to a smaller subset of base plays and run these until they can run them in their sleep. I think the frustration also stems from the fact that this should have worked, and yet was left out of much of the game for plays that were far from busting open (such as runs out of I-form up the middle). Borges stated after the OSU game last year that they didn't get enough plays in the second half to get the offense moving.  I feel like he causes this by not providing a drive chart that has some rythm and speed.  There is no 2 minute drill with this team.

I know it is cliche', but the team feels like it is thinking too much and not reacting. This is bigger on the D, but I think this is a major issue with ND's QB's under Brian Kelly.  They fear making a mistake, more than just making a play.  Repitition is what this team needs.  I like the athletes on this team enough to execute. Get these players the ball in space. 

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

They've taken out most of the difficult things. 75+% of the runs are the same damn blocking scheme. Counter Power, Inverted Veer, Veer option, Power, that accounts for the vast majority of the plays and all those plays have their roots in the same blocking structure. They still can't get it done. It's not about reducing the playbook anymore, they literally can't without just running from the I formation or just inverted veer. They can literally only reduce it by having the same blocking scheme and the same run action behind it, and that would only make matters worse because blocking is the primary issue.

And I know the execution thing rings of cliche as well, but it is absolutely true. This grab bag theory that all these plays are independent of one another isn't correct. They do have some tweaks. Zone stretch is now intended to be a constraint. Same with the counter. But the base of the run game comes back to power over 75% of the time I can promise that. 

This isn't directed at you (the person I'm replying to), but I'd like some of these people that have tried to call me out again and again to acknowledge my posts. I'd like to hear their response to it. I'd like to hear how all these claims that have been made time and again are still absolutely true. The playbook is simplified. The blocking schemes are simplified. The plays come together in common trends so that the team isn't just practicing 100 individual plays that have no relation. But I don't I'll get the courtesy of that. I guess it's par for the course.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

Regarding execution this reminds me of something I read in a Chip Kelly presentation:


"If your players have not run that play in a critical situation over a thousand times in practice, you will not have a chance to be successful. With our inside zone play, we get so much practice time and so many reps that we can handle all the other scenarios that come about.  Instead of trying to outscheme your opponent, put your players in an environment where they understand exactly what they have to do."


November 12th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

My post below showed up before this one by you, and here I see I fall into your "called out" category of thinking there's too much in the offense.

I guess the frustration I have is that it seems oh so very easy to utterly destroy Michigan's plays with very little effort by running "simple" stunts, blitzes, and so on, up to and including things that ought to be unsound (e.g. the aggression of NEB in this play that takes away a force player).

It doesn't look like the offense has any ability to run the plays against anything but pure vanilla defense. Anything requiring an adjustment is blown with regularity (of course, vanilla defense succeeeds painfully often too). For whatever reason, we're running plays that no one seems to understand at a level sufficient to do more than sort of go through the motions. Clearly youth plays a big part in that, but something seems very wrong with the ability to teach the "higher level" aspects of the plays that are being run. "Borges doesn't understand the plays he's calling" is a lazy and probably wrong answer, but I hope you can see why it comes up.



November 12th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^

so I don't mind calling out where I am wrong. You know way more than me, so more likely than not, I am. Anyway, I like this play design (minus the funchess ineligibilty) for a lot of reasons.  Mainly because it kept Nebraska out of the box, and it appears that the line does ok with this, while putting many options for the offense to run out of. I don't like the I formation at all with this team because, even if it is the same style of blocking, the number of blocking assigments increases the chances of a mistake. 

I do feel that there is not enough rythm in the playcalling.  I'd still like to see a 2 minute drill that can put pressure on a defense.  I think the fact that this team can only run from a huddle hurts and believe it has something to do with the variations in formations being too many.  It may be the same type, but it all feels slow.  I don't mind that Hoke wants to operate at a slower pace on offense, but all teams should be able to run their offense at different speeds to occasionally stress the defense. 

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 4:00 PM ^

You saw it briefly in the bowl game and then briefly against CMU. I think there are some worries though. Namely, if it's really to go up-tempo, are we just sending our defense back out to die really quick because we're so inconsistent (the answer here is you only run it after picking up the first 1st down). I think the bigger reason is you see this team struggling so much to even run their normal offense. I don't think they are putting much time into what needs to happen 3% of the time because they are so bad doing what they do 97% of the time.

So I do think they'd like to get there, and I very much agree that it would be nice to be able to no-huddle sometimes, huddle other times, change tempo and all that, and I think if Borges was asked candidly (not in a presser) he would answer the same as far as where he'd optimally like to take this offense.

Mpfnfu Ford

November 12th, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

Is that a new OC who is a much better playcaller won't be able to fix this mess. It's a whole sale failure of every single position coach on the offensive side of the ball. The OL coach has to go. The RB coach has to go. The TE coach has to go. Everything involved in this offense is a disaster, and not necessarily because of philosophy. These guys just can't teach what they want to do. 

The only thing I can say that maybe partially disagrees with Space Coyote, is the old rule that a lot of times when you change formation, guys have a hard time recognizing that they're in the same play even if EVERYTHING is the exact same. This is always the big argument against multiple formation offenses. Unless you're a quality teacher and especially good at driving through to kids that it's all the same crap from different formations, their natural tendency to see "Different formation = different play" is going to come through and mess up what you want to do. Again, that gets back to "these guys just suck at teaching" but at least that's a more common failure than, "Oh my god they can't teach power o!?"

But with all that on the table, I think if they just dropped all the I form, ace, pistol and what not and just went shotgun spread all the time, these guys MIGHT be able to understand what they're doing a bit better. MAYBE. It's worth a try at this point, because what else is left? 


November 12th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

SC, I'm curious what your thoughts are on the overall scheme of the offense, macro level, and how that may or may not contribute to the execution of plays like this. I ask because almost all of the arguments you and the other "Borges Defenders" (for lack of a better term - Borges Tolerators? I dunno.) put forth are of the form "this play is a good play and would have worked if..."

And I really appreciate those contributions, they certainly help a guy like me understand on the micro level what's going on in a given play. But I think you may be missing the forest while defending the trees - in any case Brian et. al are arguing on the macro level while you do more dissection of the individual plays, and as a result your arguments lack a lot of actual clash with each other (the proverbial two ships passing in the night).

So I'd really like your take of the macro level scheme - what you think Borges is going for overall, and whether that makes sense. Maybe you've been uncomfortable with that because it requires more assumptions, I don't know. But here's one vote for hearing your opinion, unfounded or not.

To me, the potential macro issues with this play, which, as you mention, has potential to be good, are as follows:

1) The adjustments/counters in this play are not being taught, and/or are just not in the playbook.

2) The adjustments are being taught/called but are being biffed by the players consistently (and the key here, since we're talking macro, is consistently).

1 is obviously a "scheme" issue, since the ability for the defense to cheat with impunity effectively neuters the play.

But 2 could also be "scheme" in the sense that the coaching/playcalling philosophy seems to be in the "little of this, little of that" school, rather than focusing on getting good at one or two base sets. Obviously youth/inexperience forces you to "shrink the playbook", but the staff's way of doing that seems to be "spend less time teaching adjustments and counters in favor of having more sets". As others have mentioned, it's hard to do "a little" option. Are we not repping enough? What are your thoughts? 

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 2:18 PM ^

It's the crux of the system (just like Hoke said he wanted it to be) just like when Rich Rod arrived the zone read way.

So, to answer your questions

1) There are adjustments/counters being made. This is actually an example of it where you adjust to a defense trying to squeeze the hole on a power play. This is a defense trying to constrict the run inside, and an adjustment is made so you can get outside of them. This is similar to if you lined up in trips and ran a bubble screen to the inner most defender. It's the same type of idea.

On top of that, there should be PA off of it. Why there isn't off of the inverted veer I've explained below I believe. But there is lots of PA and it's based on a power look outside of pulling the OG because they are tying to simplify the pass pro schemes for the OL that are clearly struggling with pass pro. By doing this, they have defined different ways to constrict the defense, stretch them vertical, and stretch them laterally. Once a defense respects this (because God forbid we can actually block someone correctly from our base blocking scheme) then it opens up everything else, perhaps most importantly, the short and intermediate passing game. But defenses have to respect the fact that we can run and pass protect before they'll give that stuff up. It all comes back to OL

2) So, my answer is the problem is 2. It's not scheme. It's a combination of teaching these players and these players being too young to understand all the adjustments they need to make. Youth is part of the reason, a flaw in the coaching is another.

As for sets, they don't really change anything for anyone in the box. Sure, you can have two lead blockers and it's a small change, but it's still basic power O blocking. You can put a receiver on either side of the field, still the same. You can run a smash concept from hundreds of different looks, it's still the same play and the same scheme, pass or run. That stuff is just window dressing and it's there to prevent defenses from keying in on things.

Now, maybe they aren't repping the read enough for DG, maybe that's why he's having some trouble with it. But it's a fine line. Do you spend time working with DG on making reads, or do you try to improve his mechanics or reads in the pass game? What about his footwork? What about his other mechanics? What about teaching him about getting the offense in the right protections? Audibles? Checks? You really can't do all those things well, even though people want all those things to be done well. But it's why Rich Rods spread relied on very simplified passing concepts. It's why there were other big simplifications in that offense. So they could learn how to read option plays, so they could learn how to read that QB Whoops. They sacrificed other things for those things. Borges is sacrificing some of that for other things. Neither is wrong, it's just that you have a finite time budget to work with.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

Thanks. Hopefully I'm sufficiently "acknowledging" your posts ;).

I think your last paragraph is where the frustration from Brian et al comes in. The idea that you have to choose what to sacrifice is spot on. We had a bye week before Minnesota and clearly a large chunk of practice time there was spent on "tackle over". That quickly sputtered out once it was on film, because fundamentally it wasn't that flexible or particularly sound and there was only so much you could do with it. That seems like a poor sacrifice.

Lately we've seen a lot of O-line shuffling from play to play and game to game, basically trying to do with personnel matching what we can't seem to do with talent. That probably doesn't help with cohesion and the ability to adjust - the guys aren't good at one position, now they have to flip around. Probably a questionable sacrifice.

And yes, the key blocking schemes may still be all or mostly "power or zone + some window dressing", but tackle over and the OLine shuffle are complications that take time to learn, time to practice. Window dressing it may be, but it's not free. Sacrifices, as you note.

So that's where I think some of this idea of "we're trying to do to much" comes in. There seem to be places where we've sacrificed practice time to add more stuff to paper over fundamental flaws, when maybe we'd have been better served at addressing the fundamental flaws. Additionally, there seem to be places where "obvious" window dressing is not being used - lack of (or very infrequent) play action from our shotgun run sets, lack of running from our usual play action sets.  

Anyway, I think there's room to criticize the choice of sacrifices without devolving into a dead horse beating contest over the individual playcalls or what the definition of "scheme" is.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 3:18 PM ^

Mostly in the passing game and in some of the run game, run game set up, and constraints off of it. But I do think it is an exaggeration. The blocking, other than being from under center more often, is little different. A lot has been installed. I would say at least half of it has been installed (probably reached a peak at arount 75% this year and then was dialed back a bit), the things I listed above probably were cut in favor of repping some other aspects. But yeah, seems like an exaggeration.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

I was going to mention that - a core of your arguments has been "these are all just tweaks on the same basic concept". While that fact does partially exonerate the play calling, it seems to negate the "Denard held us back" and "RR's recruits aren't built for this system" lines of argument that showed up a lot the last couple years.

That's sort of, or should be, the beauty of the inverted veer look - it's power O with an option and/or extra blocker.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 3:53 PM ^

There is stuff out there to argue that is really valid criticism of Borges.

People point to South Carolina and say it was a good offensive performance. Yeah, but probably a quarter of the plays and designs were plays that weren't installed previously before the bowl game with Denard, mostly in the pass game (they also ran unbalanced line). That stuff caught South Carolina a little off guard, Michigan put up points.

Then people ask why Michigan doesn't get back to what the did against ND? Well, ND has approximately half a data point to work from (the quarter of the bowl game, and whatever could actually be gathered from the CMU game). Most of what Michigan was doing, a lot of the added stuff, hadn't been shown yet. ND was still working from a relatively blank slate.

But then the ND game showed a lot of what Michigan was about. Then teams started seeing the weaknesses and the cracks. They could scout the offense, both in terms of tendencies (yes, the offense has tendencies) and in terms of personnel issues.

So now that that's all on film, the offense is struggling. They aren't worse. They've simply been scouting, they've been exposed. People understand the real tendencies Michigan has just like they understand the tendencies other offenses that are on film has.

Anyway, there are arguments to be had, I just get tired of people making false ones. So here's some food for the crowd that doesn't support Borges. You're welcome. But don't make it more than what it is (this will probably get the "predictability" train rolling, which isn't the intention)

MI Expat NY

November 12th, 2013 at 2:33 PM ^

As I understand it, your argument is that the TE screws up by blocking the playside OLB.  He is either supposed to double the DE, making the OLB the read, or take the OLB as the T flows to the ILB (or doubles the T?), leaving the DE as the read.  If the read defender flows up the field going after Touissant, DG keeps and follows his lead blocker.  If the defender stays inside, DG hands off to Touissant, who goes around the Kerridge block to lots of daylight. 

That sounds extremely plausible, if not outright correct without the advantage of actually seeing how Borges drew it up.  I guess my problem is that the TE seems to have one read for determining the assignment, the positioning of the DE.  They don't appear to have been shifting, Paskorz has at least a couple beats to examine his key, yet he apparently screws it up.  How is it possible that he could screw up such a basic assignment?  

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

The TE ande OT will combo from the playside DE (lined up inside the TE) to the backside OLB. The pulling OG blocks MIKE. The SAM (playside OLB) is the read. After that you are spot on with how DG is intended to read it.

As for screwing it up, I don't know. It's literally the adjustment to Power (as I showed in the link above), so it's standard procedure. DE line up inside, down block him. Why he flares out to the OLB as if the DE was outside of him I have no clue. Mental lapse is my guess, honestly. But this should be so drilled into these players minds that they can make this adjustment in their sleep. They really shouldn't have to think about it at all.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

Overly complex answers are designed to confuse the reader into believing what he knows to be false. Answer a very simple question.

If youth and experience are the problem, why are they not better after 9 games and 2 bye weeks?

They are now older and more experienced, yet the on the field results are the same.



Paul Kuharsky: "Good coaches find a way to get players to execute"


November 12th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

Rich Rod would block the option defender in response to the scrape exchange because Michigan used to gash defenses on the ground and this kept the defense honest.  Al Borges doesn't run many plays that option off of a defensive lineman, and the formation mostly gives up the play, which would still be alright if he had any constraints or PA off of this particular look, but he doesn't.  So the results shouldn't be that surprising given that he's asking his players to execute against a defense that pretty much knows what they're trying to do, which is stupid.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

Both of these plays are a reaction to scrape exchange on the inverted veer. The FB is blocking the exchange defender. It's to make the crashing DE wrong on his "scrape".

Going back to the MSU game, and this is interesting, Narduzzi dialed up several scrape exchanges in that game where he had the DE just attack the mesh point and had LBs exchange behind it. So on that third down play Borges thought "I bet MSU will try to scrape exchange, so let's put a FB out there to block the exchange defender, thus opening up the sideline."

Borges was correct. Narduzzi went to a scrape exchange. But he pulled out a wrinkle I've personally never seen before. He inverted it. Instead of the DE crashing, forcing the QB to give, the DE fanned out. The safety was essentially the "scrape" defender. This is why Kerridge was supposed to block the DE there. Because he's supposed to arch block the exchange defender. Gardner was supposed to read the "scrape" player, which is the safety. The rest of that play is blocked correctly and this is the same basic power blocking assignment for everyone blocking. The only difference is DG moving his eyes to the inside to see the safety, as he should. He didn't. Why not? I dunno, I'm guessing the coaching staff didn't rep it enough. I mean, as I just said, I haven't seen that exchange before.

Then come Nebraska, the play is the same. They are blocking the alley defender. The exhange player (the guy coming off the slot to try to blow up the play). Borges gets exactly what he wants, he dialed up the exact right play. The blocking assignments broke down from the FB and the TE. So then there was no read, so Gardner kept (remember, on inverted veer, default is to keep because it's minimizes the bad on a broken play). But if it's blocked correctly, if DG can actually make a read on the OLB, if that OLB comes after DG, this should be a huge play. Everyone is blocked. The slot defender is sealed inside. The entire box is sealed inside. Funchess is on a safety and Gallon has the CB. I mean, there is real possibility for this to be a TD. It was the exact right play for the look he received.

So again, it gets back to execution. As I stated above, why do these players continue to screw up their base blocking scheme? This isn't a thing where they don't rep it. This isn't a small wrinkle, this is the single blocking scheme they rep by far the most out of any blocking scheme in their playbook. So what's the problem? To me, it comes down to youth and inexperience, and the fact that the coaches aren't being able to transfer their knowledge to the kids.


November 12th, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

in the old days, the OC would grab these polaroids and say, "what the hell are you two guys doing" (TE and FB).  the play is there.  tell them on the spot to block the right people.  then maybe go run that play again.  i wonder if having the OC in the press box hinders this or communication to the field in between series.  i wouldn't think so.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

It isn't true because the great space coyote says it isn't?  Borges runs a veer that doesn't option anybody and he has no fucking PA for it and no fucking constraints for it.  Rich Rod should be left out of the discussion since he rarely ran the veer, he had constraints for his option plays which were plays where he, you know, optioned defenders and Borges only runs one version of this.  Have fun running around in circles.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 4:07 PM ^

You said something about how Rich Rod would send someone to block the option defender to counter the scrape exchange (not exactly what he did, he blocked the exchange defender to make the read correct, but I'll give you that that's what you meant). I show (like discuss with actual thought about the truths of the play design) that Borges is doing the same thing essentially.

Then you say I'm wrong.... 

No, he hasn't run the pop pass from the inverted veer look. But there are more constraints than that, including blocking the read defender or doing things to make the read "correct" when the defense scrape exchanges. So, it's not false because "the great space coyote says it's false". It's false because it's simply not true. Look at the play and how it's designed. Read my comments and do it if you can't do it on your own.


November 12th, 2013 at 4:16 PM ^

1) Borges doesn't run any constraints for the veer.

2) Rodriguez blocked the option man to spring runs against defenses that would cheat in support of the expectation of an unblocked player.  This was a change up so that the bread and butter of the read option continued to be effective.

3) This play is bad on so many levels.  Because Michigan runs the veer out of this formation (or similar shot gun two back looks) Nebraska knew what was coming.  Because Borges runs no constraints (see #1) this play had little to no chance.  Because the coaches have failed to teach/develope players in technique, the predictable play calling hurts even worse.

I'm wrong because your expansive knowledge of football through coaching is far greater than obvious observations.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 5:16 PM ^

Got ya. Glad you still don't understand how/why this play is run.

I guess I don't understand the group of posters that tries to argue with me when I'm simply explaining how the play is designed and for what purpose it is designed. They are so caught up in the fact that I'm not firmly on the "FIRE BORGES" side of the argument that they fail logically to counter any of my arguments.

I mean, most people are fine that are on the other side of the aisle, they know when they have an opinion and speak up when they have something logical to say. Then there are people that are so anti-anything I say that they will just disagree with it to disagree without, whether there is truth in it or not. It's amazing really. It's amazing that someone knows how something works (not even opinion, just how something is supposed to work) and people with no basic knowledge or foundation of how the thing works still attempt to refute it. It's pure ignorance.


November 12th, 2013 at 6:34 PM ^

I disagree.  But mostly I am just upset and was lashing out and have been up since 4 am.  I'm beyond caring about the purpose of the play because it was doomed to failure like most of the play calls these days.  Sorry if I took it out on you maybe too far.  I did read what you posted but have lost interest in the camp that makes continual excuses for Borges, and that's probably not what you were doing even though you aren't necessarily in the "Fire Borges" camp.  I am obviously in that camp for what I consider obvious reasons.  Carry on, and pay the "ignorant" no mind.


November 12th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

Gardner seems to be reading the MLB ... Does he keep because that LB takes off for the playside? But that doesn't seem right, because the pulling guard ends up on the MLB. Is this supposed to be a handoff but Gardener pulls because the FB botches the block?

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

He's supposed to be reading the playside OLB (usually it's the playside DE, but there is a blocking adjustment). When that guy gets blocked he likely takes his eyes inside to read off the next biggest threat, but then he gets blocked. Default = QB keep because the play is likely blown up if the blocking is that screwy in front of him (it actually wouldn't have been that bad if the FB made his block, but he didn't so the default keep did what it was intended to do).


November 12th, 2013 at 6:13 PM ^

The defensive alignment gets the offense to (try to) block everyone who could potentially be optioned - and when that happens the default is to keep. But it looks like, if everyone gets blocked, there's a play for Toussaint to the outside - almost as if it's designed that way, right?

My logic has to be missing something

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 6:59 PM ^

The playside OLB (SAM) that Paskorz blocks was not supposed to be blocked. That was supposed to be the read guy. So there is still a read component, assuming that the read guy isn't blocked (Paskorz and Schofield are supposed to combo the DE and one should move to the backside OLB (WILL).

But yes, if the FB makes his block and that OLB doesn't commit to Fitz, then the read is to give to Fitz where there is a big play to be had. If he does commit to Fitz, he keeps and there should still be a very big play because the only man left to beat is the backside safety (everyone else is blocked).

The default = keep is only saying that if Gardner can't make a read (the read guy gets blocked) or can't decide if the right play is to give or keep (a guy playing in a gray area that is tough to decide one way or the other) then he keeps. So, maybe default is the wrong word, but DG should lean on the keep portion of the play if it's not clear to give. 


November 12th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

"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"

I just wanted to focus in on that clip for a second. It seems to me that having Kerridge scoop the DE and Devin read the safety would be a very difficult adjustment to make after the snap. The problem that I see with this play is that MSU is in man to man coverage, but nobody is accounting for Kerridge. My guess would be that the Safety is assigned to him in man to man, but once he saw the Inverted Veer action, he flew straight up to the line of scrimmage because we don't have a PA pass off the IV action.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

Which yes, is a mismatch, but it's how the defense is designed until someone else can get across (remember when Wormley was in a similar position against UConn).

What MSU is running (as I noted elsewhere) is an inverted scrape exchange for an inverted veer. DE has flat responsibility or any leak his direction of of the the backfield. Safety is QB the whole way as this is essentially a safety blitz.


November 12th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

The more I watch the play, the more I think nobody was assigned to him. Not one person on the defense so much as looks at Kerridge the entire play. Once they get their reads they are all looking directly at the QB/RB mesh.

Even if the DE is responsible for Kerridge man to man, its ridiculous that our offense is set up on such a way that its possible for a defense to make those kinds of adjustments to it without consequence. All you have to do is run PA off it enough that the defense has to respect it. If you aren't going to do that, you might as well not even run the inverted veer at all.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

I did somewhere I believe in this post articulate why Borges hasn't. Still, that's a play that has to be called with the idea that that safety is coming every time. So that's something on film or something else.

Interesting note about that QB Whoops with Rich Rod (this is arguing for or against, just explaining how this works a bit). Rich Rod saw on film that MSU liked to fill the alley with their Safeties against spread teams. This is perfect for the QB Whoops play. So when Michigan went to play MSU, they went to run it, and MSU's safeties stayed back. They switched the responsibility and had OLBs or DEs focus more on getting leverage outside. Rich Rod's adjustment was to still run it, but install it with an out instead of the streak. I believe this was how one of the long plays happened late, Stonumn I believe ran an out, broke a tackle and then ran diag. across the field.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

Imagine on this play if you ran the tripple read option with a bubble to Funchess.  You line up Paskorz at TE and Funchess in the slot off the LOS and switch up Kerridge and Toussaint.  On playside Schofield leaves the DE, helps down and he and Paskorz go after the LBs.  On the backside Bosch and Lewan block the end and Will in any combination with Kerridge leading to take care of any mess.  Gardner would read the playside end and option off of him.  If he flows towards Toussaint he would keep and then read the slot defender and either keep it and run or throw the bubble.  Of course this involves spread concepts and would never be considered but just a thought. 


November 12th, 2013 at 12:34 PM ^

Have we seen any of the PA off this yet this season? I remember that being a great play in 2010 and with 8 guys attacking the LOS, I would have to think the matchup would be favorable with Funchess running a skinny post.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

But I seem to remember a pop pass off of it once or twice last year (I believe with Denard at QB). Honestly can't say why Borges hasn't run a false mesh, slide protection pop pass off of this look yet this year. I would like him too as well unless. My guess is that he's uncomfortable with DG making that read in traffic (he's worried about someone undercutting it or scrapping into it is my guess, and DG not processing it fast enough).

This is intended to argue one way or another if that play should be in there (I would personally like it), it's just trying to give perspective on if it's been run before and why an OC may shy away from it.


November 12th, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

I think Michigan is a good example of the fact that it's very tough to dabble in option or veer plays.  They are something that needs to be honed quite a bit.  If you commit to it, it can of course work really well, but I don't think it's something that you can just pick up and put down.  Braxton Miller, for example, is a great runner, but he still isn't very good at making reads in the read option (though Kenny Guiton is). 


November 12th, 2013 at 12:52 PM ^

I came to the conclusion last night that I owe Denard Robinson an apology.  For two years I thought he held back Borges's offensive scheme due to his lack of passing ability.  I thought once Borges had a "real" QB his offense would really click given his ability to incorporate more advanced and complicated reads and route adjustments.

I was 100% wrong.  Denard's ability to improvise and make something out of nothing saved Borges's ass and covered over our complete lack of coherent game planning and play calling.  In the two games we lost in 2011 Borges didnt let "Denard be Denard" first by trying to make him a pure passer in a freaking torando at State and then trying to make him a conventional QB by putting him almost completely under center at Iowa.  In virtually all other games Denard running wild (and the threat of Denard running wild) was the difference in the game.

Last year I think Denard was hurt in the Alabama game and never the same after that so it's hard to tell what he could've been.  But either way I was totally wrong about Denard V Borges and who was helping and who was hurting who.