Picture Pages: Someone Fed Mouton After Midnight Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2010 at 11:42 AM

This is just pure aaargh right here, but how about a preview of why the Michigan defense was so terrible against UMass?

It's first and ten on the Michigan 35 on what will be UMass's second touchdown drive. UMass comes out in an ace set with two tight ends to the short side of the field:


Michigan is in a 3-3-5, basically, but the twins formation and the double TEs distort it. Roh's off the field momentarily, replaced by JB Fitzgerald. UMass is going to run it up the gut:


There's no pull on this so it's an inside zone. There's nowhere to go with RVB shoving his guy into the backfield, Kovacs beating the second TE to the inside, and Leach blitzing unmolested off the weak side. Michigan has basically killed this play as the RB has no choice but to head outside, where…


…Mouton is totally unblocked. You can also see Kovacs poking his head through at the top of the line and Van Bergen getting his shove on.

Anway, Mouton: with no one outside of him because of the alignment he's the force defender who must get the tailback inside of him, where Leach and a scraping Ezeh can deal with the tailback if he cuts back inside tackle. (For some reason, this is "keeping leverage on the football.") And he's playing against a I-AA tailback. So he runs up real fast…


…lets the tailback outside of him…


…and personally turns zero yards…


…into 15:




Seriously, there's nothing else here except Mouton making an enormous mistake. The good news is that if they fix that stuff the scheme of the defense is fine. It's not like they're asking the players to do anything particularly difficult or novel: make tackle. If cannot make tackle, funnel RB to help. Do not let RB outside of you. This has nothing to do with a shift to a 3-3-5. Look, here's Mouton doing the pretty much the same thing last year, albeit against a blocker:

That's the bad news: if these linebackers have been starting for three years and are still making these mistakes, why would they stop now? GERG linebacker fairy theory is about it and that took a major hit against UMass.

Maybe it was just an off day, one on which the linebackers took it easy and reverted to old, bad habits. Yeah. That, too, is the ticket.



September 21st, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

Classic Gremlins reference!!!!

Also classic Mouton.  I thought he was better at maintaining his lane (leverage on the ball), instead he was late charging the line and took a bad angle, again.  Watching UMass run like that I was having nightmare about the big ten, and it wasn't even Wisconsin, it was with Indiana...arghhhhhhh.

Hopefully, some video study and focused practice on that concept alone will awaken Mouton, but I have been holding my breath for a long time.  I hope he gets it together b/c he could be a special player. 

I would like to see some picture pages on Obi as it seemed like he was playing a different game on Saturday. 

Blue in Seattle

September 21st, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

is harder than instilling new habits.  It's at least twice the work.

whatever GERG's skill at a position coach is, he's working with guys who have had poor and varied training 3-4 years prior to this year.  I'm thinking Mouton and Ezeh are both redshirt Seniors, so this is their 5th year of instruction on basic linebacking skills.

since the likes of Magnus et al have stated the lack of athleticism (or maybe meh athleticism?) then this is what happens when the individual is not staying 100% focused.

I would say that 10 years ago, for both parity and quality of Michigan recruiting, that Michigan players could get away with relaxing their brains and discipline, and just plain use athletic ability be the gap that kept the Division 2 teams in their place.

JT Floyd got beat by this same running back and lost contain, the price a touchdown.  And you can't tell me Floyd is slower than that running back.

But I bet that running back was staying focused, and won't put in an equivalent effort all year.  This was their shot to beat Michigan on the biggest stage.  They were bringing their A game.


Crime Reporter

September 21st, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

I believe it was later in this drive that JT Floyd had the RB dead to rights for a 2 or 3 yard gain, but instead he got sucked too far inside letting the RB bounce outside for an easy score.


September 21st, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

I'm generally pretty slow on picking this up in games, but this happened again, and again, and again...enough that I knew where to look on every play to see if it was going to be a loss of 2 or gain of 5-15.

Thomas Gordon was responsible for the same type of mistake on at least one of the TD runs. That might have been that counter play that they ran all day, though. If it was he was biting on the run to the other side and when it came back to him, he didn't have position to stop the RB any more.

The play that I'm more worried about in the Big10 is that PA boot that they were doing. No one ever got in the QBs face for fear of leaving their zone and the defenders were all sitting loose on their receivers, which allows them to complete easy passes, but then stops them right away. They are going to need to come up with some way of stopping that or we are going to have an 80% 3rd down conversion rate against us.


September 21st, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

is you could have done this with a half dozen other plays.   Just play fundamental football and this defense would be average and thats all this team really needs is an average to below average defense.  But its games like this that make me scared to play Wisconsin, MSU, Iowa, and OSU.


September 21st, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

What are the odds that this is just some young riding high after a 2-0 start playing an FCS team and thinking they don't have to worry about leverage and can just go after it and blow shit up, and will be much more discplined going forward? Please??


September 21st, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^

I feel like these are just simple mental mistakes.  Like here Mouton got so excited he was gonna blow up the play in the backfield that he forgot his fundamentals and blew the play instead.


September 21st, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

Can't wait to read the breakdown on the last two Mass TDs in which a TE was jogging his way across a vacant HALF of the endzone.  The last one in particular -- don't know if he was Mouton's or Kovac's assignment, but jesus, somebody's responsible for absolutely checking out mentally.

Indiana Blue

September 21st, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

Great call on our LB issues.  LB needs to move more laterally so the RB is forced back into our pursuit.   When the LB sees the tight end engaged in blocking, he needs to get to space so he has a clearer view od RB / QB.  The LB'ers seem to charge upfield taking a bad angle which a quick back will exploit as they can out-quick a LB.

This move upfield is also a huge problem when the TE disengages from his blocking to go upfield (see Iowa game 2009).  When this occurs the TE is totally uncovered.  I reference the change between pic 1 and pic 2 (above)   -  look how our weak side safety has rotated to the strong side (you can't see him in pic 2  -  because we had a strong side blitz to protect against).  Had the TE released (like Iowa does) and the QB  goes play-action ... well its a TD.  By moving laterally if the LB sees its play action and he can try to recover and get the TE.

Difficult scheme to get right ...  but seems like other teams do it.   Go Blue !


September 21st, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

I'd like to debate the merits of our defensive alignment here.   I don't like the fact Kovacs is inside the 2nd te.  Any type of pitch play with a pulling guard seems like easy money against this formation.  The TE just blocks down on Kovacs and it's Mouton and Ezeh vs blockers and backs.  I'd rather take my chances with Kovacs outside the TE funneling things back to the wash.  

I never used to recall this alignment where you invite them outside until the Lions used to do it repeatedly.   When Schwartz was hired he said one of the main differnces in philosophy is that he wanted everything funneled to the middle where as the tampa 2 wanted to force you outside where they could use their speed to force you to the boundary.  

When I played my coach always wanted 1 person outside of either side of the offensive blockers so we had a free guy to funnel things back. I know all schemes have there pros and cons.   I was wondering if anyone could help me out on what we are trying to accomplish with our alignment?  It just seems to put too much pressure on players that aren't that good.  Maybe this would work better with Ray Lewis patrolling the middle with a bunch of mediocre lineman and safeties.  Any input would be appreciated


September 21st, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

I don't know if Gerg defends formations but they (M) have a numbers advantage plus Mouton is stacked behind a gap player and Kovacs. Someone has to block the gap player and probably will be a combo but who knows? Mouton is there and Ezeh is coming for an apparent 2-1 with no lead blocker.

Mouton doesn't have a gap and gets to play football. In this case, he didn't play it very well.

The 3-3-5 offers the advantage of messing with blocking rules for the offense and supposedly can defend run and pass out of the scheme.

That probably doesn't help much but at any rate, that is one man's take


September 21st, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

But what do I know.  I assume Kovacs has that inner gap, and Mouton has contain on this play.  Does he know that?  His first step looks to be with his inside foot.  I don't see Kovacs doing anything but getting blocked in that formation.  What happens on an end-around?

Also, see Kovacs with his back to the ball on this play.  I noticed it all day: players spinning as a way of shaking the blockers.  This happens in defense sure, it's a viable technique.  But it didn't work.  Many times our ends/tackles got spun right into the middle of the defense.  There should be one play on UFR where both Mouton and another player spin, get caught halfway and pushed, and are actually running away from the offense.  They recover, but still.  Didn't see any of this the first 2 games

Blue in Seattle

September 21st, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

Kovacs is playing on the line as an "up" DE and may have originally had the outside contain responsilbity and been completely blown away by the extra TE on that side.

BUT, tracking down a guy one to one in the open field means that you must get outside of the guy when you try to tackle, so that IF you need help, you'll be driving the ball handler to help.

But I think you are correct on the scheme, Kovacs should have stayed outside the "outside TE" and pushed the RB into Mouton as the Gap filling LB on that side.

Of course that's my knowledge from High school football in the late 80's, looked at in a different way, the DL did their jobs in filling gaps and tying up all blocker, since no one made it to the second level, BOTH LB's were free to slide over to the RB.

And now we are back to Mouton trying to do it all himself and getting pwned.

and Obi saving a TD, on that play.


September 21st, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

My somewhat schizophrenic reaction is: That's something that should be easy to fix/That's not something that should happen with a 5th-year senior.   I now feel both better and worse. 


September 21st, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

Jonas believes he can pull the running back down for a loss, so he runs right at him. I don't know how you get him to not try to do that -- he appears to be impulsive and unable to stop himself from making that mistake because he thinks he sees a big play-making opportunity.

Let's hope that he won't feel the urge to do that against the Big Ten powers because he'll have more respect for their running backs. I kinda (not really) wish he was up against a better MAC team this week -- I worry his (over-)confidence will ramp up just in time for Indiana. I pull him out of this week's game as soon as I have a decent lead, hopefully before he starts feeling like Superman again.

ND Sux

September 21st, 2010 at 12:37 PM ^

down for a loss". 

That's fine - he can go for the TFL, as long as he maintains an "outside contain" mentality.  Overplay the RB to the outside so that in case he misses the tackle, Obi is there to clean it up for no gain instead of 15. 


September 21st, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

Should have just wraped him up.  If he gets dragged a bit for a 2 yard gain, not a big deal.  Instead, he went for the big play and gave the RB the edge.  I feel like we've seen this for 3 straight years now from our LBs.  


September 21st, 2010 at 10:38 PM ^

That overconfidence leading to not playing smart factor is what makes the Indiana game the most interesting one of the first 5 IMO.

The first two games we probably were more apt to have that good fear, leading to better focus and trust in the game plan.  UMASS might have helped restore some of that healthy respect for playing in the framework of a team?


September 21st, 2010 at 12:26 PM ^

This was the exact play that stuck out in my mind. It looked to me like Mouton was shocked, shocked I tell you!, that this FCS school had a TB who wasn't a cripple and could get the corner on him.

The play just looked completely ridiculous.


September 21st, 2010 at 10:15 PM ^

If the breakdown of this play is any indication of the larger picture of the defense that we all saw, maybe we had a bunch of guys seeing a day long FCSta  across from them. Incorrectly.

All it takes is one guy on any one play. Especially a guy with open space responsibilities.

The things I learn being on here make even pain like our defense versus UMASS more enjoyable.  Bring more pain in suffering with that complete grade out.  I can take it.



September 21st, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

That shouldn't happen in JV high school football. Perhaps guys forget they are 'run fitting' and they are a part of the puzzle. They just have to do their job (force the run back to help) and all is well.

Maybe he didn't trust the guys playing run fit to the hole inside of him?


September 21st, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

Brian and the rest of Mgoblog,

     The big Mouton mistake that sticks out in my mind was on the UMass QB touchdown run. See Mouton hesitate here at about the 3:09 in the youtube video.    Is clear to me that Mouton was in position to make a play, but he overthought himself and assumed the QB would step out of bounds at the 1 or the 2 instead of try to make a play for the endzone.  Mouton probably was more worried about the prospect of a late hit out of bounds penalty than an actual UMass touchdown. 


My faith in Mouton is diminishing rapidly.  Hello Kris Frost post is what I need. 


September 21st, 2010 at 3:30 PM ^

I understand what you are saying.  I cant fault it.  I like to give kids the benefit of the doubt.  One thing I am worried about is football smartness or awareness.  These guys have been playing for a while now and seem to be less football savy.  I can forgive Denard for throwing late across his body and getting a pass intercepted. still a soph.  Just my observation.


September 21st, 2010 at 2:01 PM ^

I think he thought it had already happened. I'll bet he was sure the guy had stepped out. I don't see that as a "big" mistake. A split-second decision based on something he saw, from what turned out to be a bad angle. A small mistake. Losing containment because you think you can make the play all by yourself, that's a big mistake.


September 21st, 2010 at 12:55 PM ^

Before we all get too down on Mouton, during our first 2 games, he was one of our better defensive players (ok, not saying much, but still).  There were quire a few threads about GERG's magical fairy dust and its affect on the LBs. 

Until a pattern emerges, I am willing to write this off as one really bad showing from Mouton and the entire defense. 

Obviously, Mouton has certain tendancies and this is one of them.  When he is playing sharp, he seems to have the ability to minimize those tendancies.  He didn't play sharp, and just reverted to bad habits.  I would bet that we see much less of this against BG next week.


September 21st, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

There was at least 2 plays where Mouton, lining up as  down lineman, inexplicably got a slow jump off the line and then started * in * towards the blocking, while the QB rolled outside of the pocket.

I really hope that maybe he just wasn't focused and that this is not an indication of his true ability.   But his opportunities for proving his doubters wrong are running short, being a senior.

Penn State Clips

September 21st, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

Thanks, Brian, nice analysis. I wish a Penn State blogger did game breakdowns like you do on MGoBlog.

The UM-PSU game should be interesting. I have to say, I'm now a believer in Robinson. He showed incredibly quick feet last year, but his passing...did I mention his incredibly quick feet? What a difference a year makes!

The jury is still out on your defense, as noted in your analysis, but we have a true freshman QB. At least the game is at Beaver Stadium.

Again, nice job of breaking down this play. I'm jealous of your skills.

Yard Dog

September 21st, 2010 at 1:04 PM ^

How coachable is Mouton (and Ezeh, for that matter)?  Mistakes like the one highlighted just cannot be made as regularly as Jonas makes them.  My dad was just telling me how much he likes Mouton.  I said I like him too, but he has way too many negative plays.

Here's hoping he's had enough time in the system where he quits doing things like this, but I'm not holding my breath. 


September 21st, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

it's most everyone in the back 8.  time and time again players are blowing contain or not properly filling the gaps.  very frustrating; especially for the experienced guys who continue to make these mistakes.

Durham Blue

September 21st, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

outside contain on running plays over the past 2 seasons and 3 games is staggering.  We clog the middle pretty well but as soon as the RB cuts outside, count on a 4+ yard gain.  It makes me want to bang my head against the wall.