Picture Pages: He Just Used Power, Part 2 Comment Count

Brian October 9th, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Last time, Michigan grinds out six yards on their first snap by using POWER.

Michigan's second snap against Minnesota was more of the same, but a little lighter. Chesson replaced Butt, and Minnesota responded by covering him. They also shifted their line towards Lewan instead of away. The end result was much the same except Michigan didn't have an opportunity to block the last guy because Minnesota didn't have a linebacker bail.

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Yes, Michigan can go nuts in the passing game against this kind of alignment, and would later; this drive—this game—is about establishing something even if it's not the most efficient way to go about doing things. After Akron and UConn you can understand this line of thinking.

With the line shifted to Lewan, he's going to kick the guy outside of him, leaving Schofield and Kalis to double the playside DT; Bryant and Kerridge will again lead through the hole.


On the snap, Bryant pulls out and heads around as the double is initiated; Bryant is out so quick that he's almost running into Devin Gardner:

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This is a notable improvement from last year. Between the above frame in the next, Schofield blasts the playside DT such that he starts falling inside of Kalis. He'll end up moving to the second level, and picking up the WLB since that guy is not shooting a gap. Unfortunately, someone is shooting a gap: Hageman.

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Hageman just about beats Glasgow clean. There is a little bit of delay here that prevents him from swallowing the play in the backfield; this is still pretty bad. But the gap is even more enormous this time at the handoff point. It stretches almost from the hashes to the numbers as Michigan pounds the two playside DL away from each other:


This time Minnesota has sufficient bodies in the hole to deal with it as all three linebackers demand a body. Hageman is threatening enough from behind to force Toussaint to alter his path a bit, but with Kerridge latched onto one linebacker, Bryant about to pop a second, and a cavern to operate in he doesn't slow down the fatal step.

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That safety is unaccounted for, though, and waiting two yards downfield.


Toussaint pounds out some YAC.




Items Of Interest

Sometimes you can do everything right and get five yards. At the end of the day there's always one more defender than you have blockers. Here every block save Glasgow's gets executed and contact is still made two yards downfield.

This is both a reason not to get too worried about YPC in this game and wonder about the long-term viability of the tackle over buddy cop movie. When you can execute every block just right and get five yards the opponents is overplaying you like whoah and you are either so confident you are able to get these five yards on every play or locked in a 12-10 death struggle kind of game. Here it turns out to be the former, as Michigan scores touchdowns on 5 of 8 drives, albeit with a lot of help from third and long conversions to Funchess after their grind game clunked out.

However: as mentioned in the last post, tackle over was literally 90% run in this one and when they ran it was 83% run to the tackle side. Is this configuration powerful enough to grind these yards out against actual defenses? Can Michigan get enough play action off of this to keep defenses honest and get the big chunk plays they'll have to if a ton of their offense is grinding out four yards against a stacked front? Is this anything more than a get-healthy gimmick effective against a terrible defense?

I don't know.

This is what Bryant expected to see on the last play. He pulls around and whacks the MLB, like he did on the last play; this time the MLB is not already being blocked because a differently-aligned Minnesota defense scrapes the MLB past Schofield releasing downfield. This is one of those things that may come with experience: the ability to improvise profitably.

Meanwhile, Bryant gets there, hits a guy, woot. This is night and day from last year's guards.

Glasgow did get smoked. Hageman's pretty good, though, and he was very quiet in this one. Hageman's play didn't end up making a tackle but I think it did impact the outcome of this play because…

Toussaint puts his head down and takes what he can get. With all this room Toussaint can threaten both sides of Kerridge's block, and we've seen him dip inside to pop out before. This would be an excellent time to do that if he was not being chased by an angry 300 pound man. As it is he just runs directly upfield into the safety and runs him over for near first down yardage. That's the when-in-doubt solution, and it's the one Toussaint took consistently in this game.

Speaking of which. The bye week seems like it was spent telling Toussaint that if he does not go hard north and south he will be dipped in uncomfortably warm pudding for hours at a time. This is the kind of run where bounce-it hesitation gets you clubbed and there is a guy waiting that he can see; previously he might have tried the thing I mentioned above and gotten tackled at the line. Instead we're talking about the yards he gained after contact instead of trying to calculate how many he lost by trying to avoid it. Thumbs up.

This is now Lewan's day. This is play two. The rest of the game is basically this for Lewan, whether it's pass or run: hello, overmatched donkey about 60 pounds lighter than me. It is time to go out to the numbers. I gave him a ton of half-points that maybe should have been full ones.



October 9th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

Where's MVictors at? Schofield gets his WILL backer! Just messing with you, bud.

This is blocked the conventional way without much slanting or adjusting on the fly. Glascow does need to do a better job but it still leaves the back one on one with a safety. I'll take that all day.

EDIT: That's one hell of a man's block from Kerridge. Straight drives his man out of the way.


October 9th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

Yeah you take this all day for sure, most 10 yard plus runs involve the running back making a man miss, thats why even really good running teams don't get 10 yards a carry.  Assuming your tailback isn't incredibly weak and can fall forward on contact this run is probably a minimum of 4 yards every time when blocked like this (better glasgow block would help too).

The FannMan

October 9th, 2013 at 3:32 PM ^

I was paying so much attention to the blocking at the point of attack that I stopped watching Lewan.  I had to go back and watch it again.

At least his guy had a good view of the play since he was facing the wrong way, on his back, ten yards away.  Yikes.


October 9th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

Can Michigan get enough play action off of this to keep defenses honest and get the big chunk plays they'll have to if a ton of their offense is grinding out four yards against a stacked front?

I don't think this will have to be "a ton of the offense" nor do I think "grinding out 4 yards against a stacked front" is some kind of drive killer.

I get the impression this is a thing that Michigan can do and defenses have to respond to it now. Most will respond by freaking out about the run. For some, even that won't be enough. When appropriate, Michigan will punish those that do with play action. Not to keep them honest but to get a bunch of yards.

Space Coyote

October 9th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

If Michigan is lining up and having Fitz meet a DB 2-3 yards on the opposite side of the hole with a lead blocker blocking someone straight up in between them, well, I'll take that all day. 1 DB vs a RB to make the play a minimum of 5 yard gain or else it's a TD, yeah, that's pretty alright with me.

FWIW, a big difference between this play and the last play is the depth of that DB. On the last play he gets up to LB level (thus the change of blocking assignments I talked about in those comments) whereas here that player stays 3 yards back and can't stop this play for anything less than 5 yards.


October 9th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

Am I wrong for thinking that we are wasting Lewan on these kinds of plays? Or thinking like it's a High School game?


Why wouldn't we let the Fullback or Bryant take care of the DE and let Lewan get all angry on some LB's and maybe take out two guys while doing so? Then you still have that FB or Guard coming that way too.


FWIW, I am not bitching at all this is a good play.

Space Coyote

October 9th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

If those players are stacked, or both outside Lewan, in a power blocking scheme, Lewan (typically the TE in these situations) will kick out the DE. It's a fairly typical adjustment to power blocking.

I also wouldn't consider it wasted. Lewan washes the DE way out of the play, which really opens up the hole.


October 9th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

Just want to explain the difference here from the other thread. Brian says: "He'll end up moving to the second level, and picking up the WLB since that guy is not shooting a gap".

This is a base 4-3 with the linebackers stacked. The WILL is more of a true OLB. Here he will slow play more.

The other thread they were in an under. The WILL was more of an ILB. Here he is reading the guard and shooting that gap. You've seen clip of James Ross doing this in the spring and thought it was a blitz... Thats the read.


October 9th, 2013 at 3:49 PM ^

It looks like he hesitates between helping on Hageman and blocking the DE.

And then, as the play develops, the DE doesn't crash on the RB. At the mesh point, he's got his shoulders square and is keeping contain on Gardner for the bootleg - which, as we've seen over and over again, is both (1) a good idea, given M's penchant for bootleg and waggle; and (2) more or less standard defense at this point.

Why not have Williams help on Hageman and leave the DE, unless and until the DE starts crashing? At that point, M can either tell Williams to block the DE, or crack open the bootleg/waggle chapter of the playbook.


Space Coyote

October 9th, 2013 at 3:54 PM ^

Williams is supposed to squeeze the hole as Glasgow down blocks. This squeeze is to prevent what happened from happening. Once Glasgow is able to control the NT, then Williams will hinge and block the biggest backside threat (typically the backside DE).

Now, if the NT is aligned over the center, then the center should be able to control him on his own. My opinion here is that Glasgow should be able to control him on his own here. But Williams needs to squeeze and probably could have done a little better job here to make the NT fight a bit, but it appears to be mostly on Glasgow.


October 9th, 2013 at 4:27 PM ^

Looks like he meant to do that, but hardly did anything at all to Hageman before hinging to the DE. He ends up in position to block the DE earlier than he really needed to - as a result, the relatively unthreatening DE is totally blocked, and the much more dangerous to the play Hageman is barely slowed.

-1 or -2 to Glasgow? Probably -0.5 to Williams?

Vacuous Truth

October 9th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

Unmentoined in the discussion but I'm sure he'll get a +1 at least - in both Power Picture Pages, Kerridge throws a helluva block. He meets the LB in the hole and just owns him. 


October 9th, 2013 at 4:43 PM ^

Based on the above breakdowns (tremendous, btw), this capitalizes on Lewan's movement and superior athletic ability on the end of the line. Does it also indicate that Bryant is a more effective "puller" than Kalis? I remember someone (Demens?) saying that when Bryant pulled, you were in a world of hurt, but also heard many comments here and other boards clamoring that Bryant wasn't effective in space.


In short - if we swapped Schofield to traditional "LT" and made Lewan "TE" in a traditional alignment, then we could pull Kalis. Not saying I'd prefer either, as I don't think Kalis has shown special ability on the move, but any thoughts on this are welcome. 


October 10th, 2013 at 1:37 PM ^

The difference is, MSU and OSUs Safeties will be up in the hole a hell of a lot faster than anyone we face. Those dudes sell out for the run and take out the RBs legs on every tackle.