Picture Pages: Nefarious Option Scheme Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Air Force's ability to consistently get the edge on Michigan's defense was the most frustrating thing about Saturday's game, and many theories have been proffered as to what was supposed to be happening, why it wasn't, and why we will or will not die on the rest of the schedule.

I'm of the opinion that Michigan's scheme was predictable and that as soon as Air Force started blocking Kovacs they were out of ideas.

Here's Air Force's first play of the second half. Denard Robinson's just gone 58 yards to put M up 21-10 and a poor decision by a Falcon player to fall on a squibbed kickoff sets the Falcons up on their own 12 yard line. Michigan has just sat in the locker room for 20 minutes getting coached up; Air Force comes out and runs the same triple option they've been running all game.

It does not go well.

op-1

Okay: I called this "near half-flex" for Air  Force. Michigan is in their 4-4 under, which I know is actually shifted towards the nominal strength of the formation and so is technically an over. Michigan aligns to field, not strength—so they would flip their formation if it was on the other hash.

Against Air Force, Michigan brought Gordon down into the box and made their formation basically symmetrical. Mattison:

Jake and Thomas were the exact same position in our scheme. A lot of people play the same scheme.

Kovacs is playing center field. Earlier in the game, he was not getting blocked and doing Kovacs things. Like this:

Air Force was all like Eff that to the A and started blocking him. That took out Michigan's edge defender and opened up the corner. Michigan didn't really adjust.

op-2

Air Force's "triple" option" wasn't really that. They occasionally ran the dive to keep the defense honest but when they did that the QB just turned around and give it, no read. Here they're running the option with the token dive fake. Already in the above frame, bad things are happening.

Will Campbell(1) is tackling an Air Force lineman who's trying to get out on Bolden. He'll succeed at this, allowing Bolden to flow freely for the rest of the play, but he'll pick up a second defensive holding call doing so. On the edge, Gordon(2) is the optioned guy. Michigan is playing him to pitch like they have been all game. Kovacs(3), is the destination of the flexback.

In a second or two, Michigan is going to eat cut blocks:

op-3op-4

Thanks for participating, Clark and Morgan, but you've been elimidated. Try again next play. Meanwhile, downfield…

op-4

…the ref is ANGAR at Campbell and Jordan Kovacs is decidedly not coming up to stop the pitch.

Why is Kovacs taking that angle? Why is he not attacking the run? That's an eligible receiver he is in man coverage on. He's got no one behind him, and there are two other receivers going vertical. He has to respect this guy as a receiver, or he could give up an 88-yard touchdown.

op-5

At this point it's pretty obvious, but Kovacs doesn't have good options.

op-6

Gordon forces the pitch. Michigan has Bolden ready to hit the QB if necessary, but he doesn't know that, and that's not the scheme.

op-7

The scheme is getting cut to the ground 13 yards downfield.

op-8

Presenting yet another ten yard run on a pitch. WSG Will Campbell holding flag.

Video:

[After THE JUMP: Air Force twists its mustache!]

Oh, Wide Open, Smiths Edition

So that's bad. I don't really know if Kovacs can do anything about this without opening himself up to bad news. News like this:

pa-7

That should have been a 62-yard touchdown, and it is the wicked alternative to the above. The teams have traded touchdowns and Air Force has it approaching midfield on second and six. Air Force goes unbalanced.

pa-1

The highlighted guy is covered by a player outside of him. He can't go downfield. I asked Heiko to ask Mattison if this was taken as a run cue, and he said yeah:

MGoQuestion: A lot of times Air Force came out with two receivers lined up on the line of scrimmage such that the slot was an ineligible receiver. Do you coach your defense to use that formation as a run key?

“Yeah. We knew that. We knew that. In fact, if you watched that, you would have seen J.T. Floyd come over to him and know that he didn’t have to drop, and he didn’t. He became another run defender over there.”

Here that is a false key. I don't know if that's one Kovacs is using, of course.

A moment after the snap, Air Force shows a speed option. The covered-up guy goes on a magical journey to nowhere, but he's at least occupied JT Floyd; Taylor is covering the receiver further outside and won't make an appearance on this play.

pa-3

Kovacs is all like NOT THIS TIME BUDDY with his downhill angle.

pa-4

NOT THIS TIME BUDDY I HAVE THE OUTSIDE

pa-5

BUDDY?

pa-6

GUY?

This is a "Worst Waldo." Where is Waldo? He's the only guy on the screen.

pa-7

Guy bobbles it and falls and does not score a touchdown. Michigan will hold on the one yard line and snuff out a fake field goal. Troy Calhoun will have nightmares about this WR derfing it for decades.

Video:

Things And Stuff

Dear Jordan Kovacs, please be everything. This is untenable for Michigan once the flexback started headhunting Kovacs. Air Force got run after run like the first play, and only once or twice was it a result of Arena-league forward motion before the snap. When Kovacs finally was like "screw it, I'm getting there," Air Force hit him over the top. Unless the guy has some sort of magic key that is always right about run, I don't see a way for him to not screw this up eventually.

After this play, Michigan backed Gordon off and stopped using this mirrored eight-man front that was exposing Kovacs to choices he could not be right on. This didn't really help. Afterwards Mattison manned up about it:

You know, not pleased the amount of yards that we gave up and not pleased with the option responsibility at times. You just want everybody to know -- I’ll take the blame for that as a coordinator. One thing we always talk about with our defense is we will always have enough bullets and always have enough in our package to be able to stop anything that somebody does. You know I think for a number of reasons, we maybe didn’t have enough or enough adjustments or I didn’t adjust soon enough to take away what they were doing.

"A number of reasons" == playing Alabama in game one.

When the second play gets posted as part of UFR I did ding Kovacs but the biggest minus on it is RPS, because it doesn't matter who you are: if you've got the pitchman and a deep responsibility, you are dead meat. Please no one talk about "assignment football"—here Kovacs has been assigned to blow up the enemy base and protect his own.

This is tweak versus no tweak. Michigan showed one thing and did it for almost the entire game. It was okay at first, but then the flexback started going for Kovacs and it was not okay. Michigan did not respond. Those responses may have left them open to those FB dives that never went for more than three yards, but something out of the ordinary could have put AF behind the chains and got them off the field.

This is like coming up against a read option team and never running a scrape exchange, and gets you torn up like it's 2005.

This is probably a Mattison weakness. I'm not surprised, nor do I think this means much except scheduling a triple option team is a bad idea. NFL does not feature a whole lot of this. He hasn't seen a true option attack in a long time. Will this be a problem in the future? I doubt it. Is this a reason to not schedule a service academy in week two after you play Alabama? Well… they won. If you got proper credit for taking down an Air Force I'd be fine with it. You don't, though.

Will Campbell holding espectacularrrrr. The first play here is the second Campbell holding call. These are rare, but both were legit. You can't tackle an offensive lineman to prevent him from getting to the second level, and Campbell did that twice. That was the only thing preventing Air Force OL from cutting the daylights out of Michigan linebackers.

Again, I'm not sure how much of this is on the linebackers. If the DL is consistently getting singled up and guards are releasing downfield on their first step, you are in a world of hurt.

Unbalanced alignment FTW. Calhoun threw out a run key on the big pass play by lining up a slot receiver in a way that made him ineligible downfield. This dragged Floyd to the other side of the field and eliminated him from the play. The chances Floyd can do anything about this with another guy going vertical to his side are not great, but there would at least be one DB in the area if Air Force doesn't make this alignment switch. Maybe he tackles the guy.

We suck at taking on cut blocks. That is all.

Comments

PburgGoBlue

September 12th, 2012 at 11:52 AM ^

So do the coaches scrap the tapes from Weeks 1 and 2 and just move on? Honestly for the Defense, I wouldn't even have them bother with watching Air Force film. I guess they can learn from the 'Bama game what not to do. I am glad these two weeks are behind and hopefully we can work on the Pass game against UMASS for a half.

readyourguard

September 12th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

My problem with Floyd in the PP1 and Kovacs in PP2 is that they're still regressing when it's clearly a run play.  Yes, they have man to man coverage, but the Offensive Guard is already 3 yards downfield, blocking an LB.  If they're reading the uncovered linemen, they'd know it's a run a lot quicker than they do.  Check out Floyd in PP1.  He's still backpedaling to cover the receiver, yet the OG is 5 yards downfield AND has had time to fall down before Floyd changes direction to help support the run.

Curious who the DBs are reading at the snap of the ball.

 

EDIT:  Nevermind on the Kovacs play.  Upon watching the video rather than the picture page, his uncovered OG actually pulls left, which can be a run or pass read.  His problem is getting chopped, while the CB is still in regress.

jg2112

September 12th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

Victory.

Expecting these guys to not screw up their defense against a triple option in 5 days is unreasonable. I think they did a very, very good job considering what I've seen other "successful" teams do against AFA with a similar amount of prep time.

Moving on.

rkfischer

September 12th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

I hope that Mattison's weakness is triple option and not the lack of defensive adjustments. On the other hand, it cannot be good when you have two freshman linebackers playing instead of your two most experienced linebackers . . . because of performance.

thisiscmd

September 12th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

I think Mattison more than demonstrated his ability to make in-game-adjustments last season. Seemed like we'd always get off to a rough start and then start throwing different looks in there and making big plays defensively.

Dude can coach...

Blue in Seattle

September 12th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

In these picture pages it was difficult for me to see the blocking scheme, but it seems like the scheme was to have two LBs who could flow to contain and absorb the cutback, and the deep safety is coverage and preventing touchdowns by the run option. Yes the defensive end and outside LB/rolled up safety get cut, but I think their assignment is to not get cut. A bad tactic was to ask Campbell to hold instead of penetrate so that he could force the pitch sooner or at least be flowing to prevent cut back while the contain showed up. Maybe that's why Mattison eventually went to the nickel package to get the best penetrating DL in there and give up on the LBs doing anything other than absorbing blockers to protect the safeties?

I look forward to the entire UFR.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

In my write up at tremendous, I predicted instead of just sit back (like a lot of teams do against the option), that Michigan would run some stunts,particularly with the MLBs and the DTs. You slant the DTs and DEs outside and crash the A gap with a middle linebackers. If the QB and guard read different things you are:

  1. Attacking the QB/FB at it's mesh point, forces the QB to quickly disconnect.
  2. Leaving the DT hypothetically unblocked as the guard thinks he is the man being optioned off for the FB dive, which means a quick pitch by the QB, which
  3. leaves the end man and company to have the pitch back.

You can do some other stunts, and obviously it's a risk/reward move, but it hypothetically gets Air Force behind the chains, where they aren't going to beat Michigan. All that really happens Air Force picks it up is that you no longer have an extra guy on the outside and you don't have the extra LB run support (which can leave a fairly dangerous running lane if the QB can cut it up), which was late all day anyway.

Good write up, though, Brian. Gave a really good look at the initial punch and AFA counter punch, and counter to the counter, etc.

steve sharik

September 12th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

...you'd get gashed doing this:

"You slant the DTs and DEs outside and crash the A gap with a middle linebackers."

...against inside veer.

The playside OG and C are responsible for playside A gap, so your blitzer won't get home: either he blitzes from depth and never makes it or he comes up to the LOS, which now makes him legal to be cut.  Backside OG has backside A.  Playside OT has playside B gap, taking your stunting DT easily.  QB reads the DE, who steps outside.  QB gives to the FB, who is being tackled by the FS if he doesn't get blocked by the slot, who now has no ILB to seal and thus goes straight to the FS.

And if the WRs block/occupy the corners, the FB just ran untouched and hits his head on the goal post.  Strike up the band.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^

I didn't intend to mean both MLBs crash A-gaps. A double A gap blitz wouldn't be effective, you're correct. So sorry for the confusion there. I meant stunting on one side with one of your MLBs.

In this case, if your DT is in a one tech or head up on the playside OG, then he is slanting into the B gap, if the OT is responsible for the B-gap he's blocking the DT into FB dive. This means that the FB would have to bounce one hole, to the C gap, where and you're hoping the O-line has made all the proper reads and that the backside MLB can't make it to the inside hand off.

The big risk is if they run away from it, then you don't have that backside MLB to help. But AFA was gashing Michigan for big yards anyway. It's a risk/reward thing to try to get them behind the chains. I'm not saying Michigan should have run it exclusively. I'm saying I'm surprised they didn't run it at all to switch up AFA's reads by attempting to confuse the QB or the O-line.

Maize and Blue…

September 12th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

Played against option teams many times and our DE was always responsible for the QB and the CB had responsible for the pitch or at least forcing it back inside for the LB and/or safety to clean up. All that matters is that we won though I'm strating to worry about our Oline. 

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

A lot of high school teams do that, but most option teams high schools play (in my experience) utilize TEs more than WRs. The problems seen in the picture pages above are only amplified if the CB becomes responsible for the pitch man and loses his coverage assignment. This is easier when you face TEs because you see their heads come up, etc, instead of blocking linebackers, but it is risky nonethereless. The way to combat this is to shift to a cover 2 with whatever direction the action is taking you (ie, the corner will have flat/pitch responsibility toward the play, the backside corner will cover deep half away from play, saftey deep corner toward play). You run into some big risks with the underneath counter and reverses though as natural run lanes are opened when you do that.

Also, at the high school level, the tackling difference between a corner and a safety isn't always so dramatic, but the tackling ability of Kovacs vs a corner is fairly extreme.

Retnep

September 12th, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

If I remember correctly, the sideline reporter spoke with Mattison at half time and he said that the CB weren't coming up fast enough to stop the run. When you look at the CB alignment, the CBs were playing around 10 yards off the ball as if they were afraid to get beat deep. That seems crazy to me against a triple option team. I'm not sure why the corner's weren't playing more press coverage, reading through to the backfield and setting the edge with S giving over the top help. That seems a more preferable than having the CBs catching blocks 10 yards down field with the S being forced to set the edge coming from the middle of the field. On a number of plays there was backside pursuit if only the edge had been set. Frank Clark consistently was chasing on the backside when the ball went away from him.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

But you don't typically want to run press coverage either. This is because if the WR gets behind you quickly you have to turn and run with them and you have no idea what is happening behind you. Theoretically, you would want to be just far enough off that you can read through the tackles (or some other read, be it guards, TEs, or the QB himself), to determine run/pass and then be able to step into the WR and set the edge, but still close enough where once run/pass is determined you can meet the WR 1-5 yards off the LOS.

Either way, they were taking on blocks too far down field in this game, so they were not beating the WR blocks. A lot of the time I saw them shy away from the blocks a bit, which took them too far outside. Need to be more physical there and win through the blocks, get a strong base, and really set the edge about 3-5 yards off the LOS.

StraightDave

September 12th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

for explaining the DB situation.  It was driving me nuts all game watching the UM DBs play so far off the ball.   Michigan has better athletes at corner than AF does at the receiver position.  It seems to make sense bringing more defenders closer to the LOS when playing a team that runs the ball 90% of the time.  

steve sharik

September 12th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

Especially with how softly and passively they attacked the WR.  It's hard, but doable.  First, attack straight at the WR, then take a slight inside path so he won't try to cut you, then (at the last instant) strike him nose to nose.  Extend arms, post the outside arm, rip, and run.

I would've preferred a Saban-style cover 3 technique where the corners are about 7 off and shuffling with eyes toward the QB/backfield.  The corners then can be coached to key linemen for getting downfield as their run/pass key.

Maize and Blue…

September 13th, 2012 at 8:07 AM ^

since we moved a safety up to LB basically playing a 4-4 or HS defense as you would say. This made it impossible to leave the CB responsible for pitch coverage and once AF figured out to block Kovacs made the D totally ineffective against the option. IMO the D would have been better served moving one of the LBs up and leaving four deep so they could play cover 3 and free up a corner or SS (preferable) to play the pitch.  Instead we had the 4-4 OLB forcing the pitch or playing in no man's land and no one on the pitch man because he was blocked.

 

 

reshp1

September 12th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

On play one, why is Bolden not just hauling ass towards the sideline parallel to the 15 yard line. Instead, he seems to be mirroring what's happening in the backfield and running an arc instead of a straight line which costs him edge contain. I noticed this on other plays as well, we'd get into 1 vs 2 situations on the edge where the linebackers should of had time to get there to even it up but were miles away.

Also, what's the rational for always forcing the pitch? It seems like if the defender in the 1 vs 2 situation takes the pitch and forces the QB inside, that would push him towards support instead of the other way around which pushes the pitch man towards the open edge.

BiSB

September 12th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

That's not Bolden's edge to maintain. He's got responsibilities to fill up the middle on the snap, and he has to be mindful of a cutback. If he overruns the play hauling ass for the pitch man, and Gordon decides for whatever reason to take the pitch, the QB is still running.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

Bolden may be responsible for the underneath counter. He does have to help on the FB dive. Then he has to haul ass outside to try to support in the option. He doesn't have a "man" per se, he is run support throughout the play. He does take a bit of a step toward the dive and step back outside to avoid the wash (and try not to get cut). It difficult for that backside LB to get to playside when he has to run support and look for those differen tthings.

You also force the pitch because the most dangerous man is the one with the ball. If you take pitch and the O-line gets their cuts, there is a huge seam for the QB to attack vertically rather than horizontally. Hypothetically, you want to attack the QBs pitch shoulder right off the end man on the line. This way if he cuts it up, it's close to the support and you can still tackle him, albeit for a minimal gain (~1 yard), but you still make him think about it. Then the RB is going horizontal where the support should have time to come on (works better if the corner holds the edge).

 

loginone

September 12th, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

the most dangerous man is the pitch man getting the corner, not the qb cutting back into 9 flowing defenders including a free safety. in both plays above if the qb cuts up vs pitches linebackers were there flowing plus kovacs. kovacs simply saved ryan's ass on the first one by getting the pitch man. we had 8 guys in the box (including jake and gordon)....you're telling me none of those EIGHT people had responsiblity for the running back/ pitch man...but in fact it was one of the 3 DBs who had to defend the deep third on the pass? The reason this was an unmitigated disaster and both ryan and gordon found themselves benched at times is because they could not do the opposite of what they normally do: leave the qb with the ball for someone else and take out the pitch man. they saw the qb with the ball, their inner id took over, and they missed their assignments over and over and over.

NoVaWolverine

September 12th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

As someone who's never played a down of football in my life, I have a question for the coaches/former players who read this blog, given that we "suck at taking on cut blocks," as Brian notes: What's the proper technique to defeat these things? I've always been curious about this.  I assume the first priority is to protect your legs and stay on your feet so you can still make a play. How do you do that? Do you give some ground and let the blocker eat turf, and then resume moving toward the ball carrier?  (If so, it must be tough to overcome a defender's natural instinct to move forward and take on the blocker, which of course leads right into the cut blocker's trap). Or do you try to juke/go around the guy, or even hurdle him if necessary? 

EDIT: Did a site search and found a pretty good threat on this question from last November:

http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/countering-cut-blocking

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

Is not to let the blocker into your body. You would prefer, with proper technique, that you have them at about arms length (no matter if they are cutting or not you don't want to let the blocker into your body), as they start to drop, you use their momentum to pull them down by the chest plate and then push their shoulders or helmet into the ground so that they never reach your legs. You then step over or around them. Hopefully you don't have to take any false steps backwards in the process.

The difficult part about coaching this up during practice is that you don't tend to want your defenders being cut often in practice, particularly by blockers that aren't accustomed to it (because of the injury risk). So you do a lot of drills at kind of half speed and do some mock cutting in scrimmage, but it's never at the speed of a team that does it all the time.

Juking/going around the guy is an option if you have enough room, but the "box" is a fairly confined area, and usually trying that ends up making it even easier for the blocker to cut you. 

micheal honcho

September 12th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

I've heard an NFL D-lineman, can't remember who, on the radio talking about how to defeat cut blocks. His reply was that you don't defeat them, you bring your entire weight to bear on an elbow or knee as you come down on the most vulnerable part of their body you can find. Basically he said if you're going to cut me at the knees I'm going to make sure you're not around in the 2nd half to do it.  The host asked about intent to injure and he replied that the person cutting has no repect for my livelihood so why should I respect his. I'm going to try and break his short ribs with my knee or elbow or ruin his knee by coming down on the back of it as hard as I can.

I realize this is an NFL guy talking and its a little more "serious" at that level BUT its still a dangerous blocking technique that has a lot of potential to injure  at any level.

Asgardian

September 12th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

"The covered-up guy goes on a magical journey to nowhere, but he's at least occupied JT Floyd."

On the second play:

Why does Floyd follow him if we know he is ineligible?  Can he still receive a backwards pass/lateral?  If so then I'm thinking he has to honor the "music city miracle" fake.

We definitely get RPS'ed and out executed all day.  Think of it this way:  11 vs 11 (because the QB is a threat to run), and you draw it up so you can get a block or coverage responsibilities on everyone except the backside linebacker (look at Tom Gordon in PP2).  If it's run either some of your 10 blocked guys have to not get blocked, or TG has to come all the way across the field to make a tackle. Option Pass is a "constraint play" to help your WR/RBs make their downfield one on one blocks all day.  Ugh. 

BiSB

September 12th, 2012 at 12:54 PM ^

Why does Floyd follow him if we know he is ineligible? Can he still receive a backwards pass/lateral? If so then I'm thinking he has to honor the "music city miracle" fake.

The reason his journey to Narnia is effective is that Floyd has to defend against the bubble screen there. If he comes off the edge and guesses wrong, Kovacs makes the tackle... 40 yards downfield.

Sac Fly

September 12th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

In the second half, Air Force ran to the side they motioned too almost every time. Maybe we didn't want to get fooled by a misdirection, but we never adjusted to that one time.

loginone

September 12th, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

. Please no one talk about "assignment football"—here Kovacs has been assigned to blow up the enemy base and protect his own.

_________________

Kovacs needs to defend against that WR going deep 100% of the time as his first read. His secondary responsibility is run support on the option. We have 8 guys in the box for cyring out loud, Kovacs responsiblity is always deep threat first option second. 8 guys are MORE THAN ENOUGH to snuff the option 100% of the time if they play ASSIGNMENT FOOTBALL.  Simple example:

What you're missing is Thomas Gordon botched this. You act as if "bummer for Gordon he got optioned." That is the wrong approach. Sure he is being optioned, but 110% of the time he HAS THE PITCH MAN. If he does his job and takes the pitch man, keeps contain, and forces the QB to keep it  this option is dead in the water. The read for Gordon is clearly OPTION, he immediately needs to turn his hips and sprint parallel to line of scrimmage making it crystal clear to the QB "if you pitch this I got the pitch man dead to rights." Watch it again and imagine if Gordong ignores the qb and immediately takes an angle for the ball-less pitch man. IHell he was set up 5 yards outside the TE yet the pitch man still broke his contain. If GORDON does his job its a 3 yard loss instead of 13 yard game. 

If Gordon does this, QB has to keep it and turn up into the pursuing M defense. Game over.

That was the simple breakdown ALL GAME LONG. The guy being optioned has the pitch man but instead of taking out the pitch man couldnt stop salivating over a qb with a football in front of him. Option football is actually really easy to defend if the who has the pitch man takes out the pitch man. Go re-watch every long option and imagine what happens if the guy being "optioned" ignores the QB and takes the right angle to snuff the picth man. The QB would turn up and get DRILLED.

 

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2012 at 1:10 PM ^

Gordon clearly has QB responsibility. He plays it that way the entire play. If Gordon mirrors the wing back on the option, then the QB cuts it right up field without anyone slowing him down and the backside MLB can't make it there, and instead of 8 yards its 20 yards. The backside MLB with dive support responsibilty isn't going to keep up with a QB that has a huge run lane if Gordon doens't have QB responsibility, that would be a completely unsound game plan. This play isn't on Gordon with Michigan's game plan.

M Wolve

September 12th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

I don't know what loginone sees to think otherwise.  You can scheme it like he says, but we clearly we not running it that way (although I think it should have been another "bullet" to be added).  Like Mattison said, Jake and Thomas had the same responsibilities in this scheme.  They played it right for the majority of the plays, we just didn't have anyone there on the pitchman.

loginone

September 12th, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

if the qb cuts it up instead of pitching bolden is right there so is morgan, not to mention his momentum is to the sideline and he has to cut up field. if gordon has qb responsibility its 100% mattison's fault but no defense is designed that poorly. gordon doesnt have qb responsibility and thats part of the reason he found his way to the bench. he kept giving up pitch man/contain responsilibilty.

if you don't believe gordon has the pitch man....then who does have the pitch man????? 

loginone

September 12th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

gordon plays it like he has qb responsibility and then he found the bench for the last half of the game. he has pitch. watch it again, if the qb cuts up field where is he going to go??? jump over desmond morgan AND avoid bolden? at the time the qb goes to cut it up the field he's already starting from 2 yards behind the LOS. if gordon takes the pitch man....and same with ryan, the qb cuts it up into the flowing defense and the option goes nowhere all day long. people are forgetting ryan also got benched and came back and had an amazing last series of the game. prior to that last series, he saw bench.....why? for not taking the pitch man.

loginone

September 12th, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

pause it at the 6 second mark is the qb going to cut it up if gordon takes pitch man? NO. at the 7 second mark? NO. He goes 4 yards into the backfield and at one point has 4 wolverines on top of him....with no one on the pitch man. this one is easy guys. jake/gordon had pitch man all game long and they blew it all game long.

MCalibur

September 12th, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

Seems like we're collectively doing a lot of 'splaining away of some concerning defensive performances in the first two games. First we chalked it up to superior talent, now it's Superior scheme / Not enough time to prepare. Dline is getting chewed up and a very plausible explanation for it is the fact that we bled an awful lot of talent from the roster on the Dline.

There are 5 teams remaining on the schedule that make heavy use of the option - Ill, @ NEB, @ Min, NW, @OSU. And this Golson dude at ND ran it 11 times (plus 5 sacks) vs Purdue. As a recruit Golson was a 4 star ATH ranked 154 overall by ESPN in 2011.

Uh...the Air Force game film will be intresting for all of these teams. At least we know Commie Football don't work round these parts...

contra mundum

September 12th, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

In other alignments, AF would "crack back" on Kovacs with the SE and put our CB in the same situation. The corners played very soft and had 12-15 yards of ground to make up when the ball was pitched.

We didn't attempt to hide our pitch responsibility in this game at all it appeared to me. I was very surprised we didn't play some press man on the corners..and attempt to "fire" a corner into the pitch from time to time and keep them off balance.

imafreak1

September 12th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

It looked to me like they switched it up and Gordon had the pitch some in the second half. Most of the plays I thought this, Gordon didn't get it done or was getting blocked just like Kovacs is here.

MGoBlue96

September 12th, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

under the new rules regarding cut blocking this year, that cut blocks downfield were supposed to be illegal? Wouldn't those cut blocks on Kovacs 10+ yards downfield be considered downfield cut blocks or are those still considered to be in the box area?

Erik_in_Dayton

September 12th, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

Triple option teams often figure out who has the pitchman and then send the wingback to take him out.  The defense then has to enter into what can be a game-long game of cat-and-mouse as far as which defender has what guy. 

lhglrkwg

September 12th, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

Is there anywhere where I can find a "Covered Up WRs and TEs for Dummies". I struggle to understand what the rules are on the nuances of covering up receivers

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

September 12th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

It's simple: on the line of scrimmage, only the furthest-out players on the edges are eligible.  Anyone on the line of scrimmage with a player outside of him is ineligible.  The reason it seems nuanced is because slot receivers and tight ends, in order to be eligible, line up a yard or two behind the football, so technically they're in the backfield.