Picture Pages: Unblocked ILBs FTL Comment Count

Brian October 31st, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Why can't Michigan run the ball without Denard? As with anything in football, the answer is "it's complicated" but against Nebraska the pendulum swung decisively towards an inability to block anything.

There were two primary ways in which things went unblocked, one of which we'll cover in two posts.

Ain't Nobody Trying To Block Important People

The first were either busts, play design errors, or combo blocking errors that left totally unblocked linebackers in the hole. A here's a third-quarter iso on the penalty fiesta drive that resulted in a field goal:


The highlighted guy is Nebraska's WLB. No one even tries to block him.


Unsurprisingly, this doesn't go well.


I'm not sure who this is on. I don't get the blocking. If Mealer releases directly downfield in the second frame in an attempt to get that WLB he does not have much of an angle and probably doesn't do much. I would expect Michigan to double that DT, leave Mealer behind on the DT, and then have Omameh pop off.

That doesn't happen. Did someone screw up? Is the play design bad? Is it Schofield moving to the second level poorly? Things are so confused I don't know.


If this was a one time thing you could chalk it up to a guy busting. It wasn't.

[AFTER THE JUMP: more unblocked guys! Like, so many you'll freak! They're coming out of holes in the ground like the Viet Cong!]

Oops I Didn't Do It Again

Nebraska MLBs were hanging out unblocked in the hole a lot. Here's a second quarter iso against a straight-up 4-3 with the same problem:


I expect double teams on the LOS, and you do see Mealer doubling a DT, hopefully sealing him inside before he moves to the second level(1). To the bottom of the screen(2), though, is a one-on-one block from Barnum on the other DT. Lewan moves to the second level…


…and is a gap away from the play with no angle on the LB.


Note that to the top of the screen, the other DT has come through the attempted double by Mealer and Omameh, so they didn't even do the bit that made sense well.


That play was the second of three consecutive first-down runs that gained two yards.


Safeties Get In The Act

This wasn't just an I-form iso problem. Sometimes it's the play design, like the end around fake to start the game.


That may have held the linebackers a fraction; it also robbed Michigan of anyone to block the safety with.


The result was three yards on a play where everyone who Michigan tried to block got blocked.

Looks Like An Option, Probably Isn't Since Michigan Never Runs Option

Michigan brought out some option action that may or may not have been a real read and was definitely not respected by Nebraska since Michigan hasn't run an option more than a couple times all year. Michigan's in a two-back setup with a TE.


They send Kerridge in motion around Denard, with a corner threatening blitz.


At the mesh point Denard is looking… somewhere. He's not looking at the end, who's getting blocked anyway. He's not looking at the MLB, who's well inside. Is he checking that corner over the slot for a potential packaged play where he just hits Roundtree as the corner comes up reading run?


Nope, Roundtree is blocking. Poorly, as the corner is past him and he's peeling back and won't end up blocking anyone. Meanwhile in he middle of the field the option fake did not pull out the MLB, Michigan has no one to block him, and that's the same story.


Zero yards.


Michigan is again optioning no one here. They block the end. This play works if Michigan runs a basic zone read and gets out on that LB; instead they're relying on the idea Michigan is going to run an option with the fullback as their pitchman to hold the defense outside.


Sometimes Michigan did get blown up spectacularly…


not going on Barnum's favorite play reel

…but far too often the Cornhusker making the tackle didn't even have anyone assigned to him.

Things And Stuff

I don't get it. Nebraska isn't running something weird here. They're shifting their linebackers sometimes, sometimes they're just playing it straight up, but these aren't blitzes or getting rock-paper-scissored by Pelini's playcalls. I get that sometimes you're just going to get caught in the wrong play. None of these are the wrong play except possibly the option, if it's actually an option.

So why the hell can't Michigan block an ILB on multiple iso plays? That's the most basic play in football and Michigan can't get anyone out on a linebacker. A lot. Not once. A lot.

The option thing is just… come on man. I'm not sure who the "come on man" is for. They have to be optioning off the MLB on this play, but Denard's not looking at him. He's just handing off and faking a pass to a guy who is not running a route. If it's just a straight handoff—and yeah guy in the comments you don't believe that Michigan's coaching staff is stupid enough to do that, and probably still don't believe Michigan had no audibles in the MSU game—then you're relying on the threat of an option that Michigan does not run with a fullback pitch man to scare the MLB out of his gap.

I don't think it's an option. Otherwise Denard would probably be running out the speed option fake instead of pulling up to fake a throw. (To a guy not running a route.) And he'd probably be looking at someone who is being optioned, which he's not. I mean, do we really think Denard is so bad at football that he can't even figure out how to look at the guy he is supposed to look at and instead stares into empty space?

Options not taken. It's not just the option that's not taken. The throw fake to Roundtree is a really good idea to make not a fake. Oklahoma State and West Virginia have deployed that with great success and if Michigan packaged a quick throw with this read they might have it too, as that nickel corner is reacting to the Kerridge motion. (He's the only one.)


Denard is pretending like they're running a stick route based on what the LB does, which would be nice if they put it in the offense but they won't because Michigan can't even block an iso right.

You've got to run it or the threat is not credible. Michigan's run this option action several times this year and handed it off every time—another indicator that this is not actually a read. At some point you have to actually run the other thing, whether it's a call or a read, because "oh the fullback is in motion" is not getting it done.

This would be a nice package. Here is a series of plays that would be hard to defend in concert off this motion:

  • speed option / lead blocker
  • inside zone w/ unblocked DE
  • inside zone w/packaged stick route
  • triple option off the MLB's motion
  • backside iso

Michigan's run one of those plays, except they're not actually reading their triple option off the linebacker's movement.

Poor damn Fitz Toussaint. I have some still from a play on which he screwed up, but that's the only truly negative play I have for him. I've got plenty of the above, where he's got no space and an unblocked guy in his face. Poor damn Fitz Toussaint.



October 31st, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

that the problem is on the O-line and not on Fitz for a majority of the plays.  Now the question is, how do we fix the line?  Both for now to save the season, and for next year when we return 1 starter (2 if we get lucky and Lewan returns).


October 31st, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

I think the point of this post is that it's not even on the OL, but the play design itself. Our OL doesn't manhandle guys, but has shown they can block pretty well. But as Brian said, that doesn't mean shit when your play design doesn't account for the playside linebacker of all players. The question still remains of how will it be fixed, but it doesn't seem like talent has that much to do with it... Right?


October 31st, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

as Mealer and Omameh getting their doubleteam split shows above, the blocking isn't fully where it needs to be.

I think the problems with the line are a combination of factors: 

1) Borges' play design - why the hell are we leaving an ILB unblocked?  Also, this shows up on the play where Lewan couldn't get to the 2nd level.  60% of blame

2) Ineffective blocking - not all the time but some of the time the blocking could stand to be better, as evidenced by the split double team or missed blocks on pulls (as shown on other picture pages or UFRs).  10% of blame

3)  Borges' play calling - as Brian repeatedly points out, we don't do enough with the play calling to keep our opponents guessing and on their heels.  We aren't doing audibles or checks at the line, or any sort of hot read when it is obvious there is an opening to exploit.  30% of the blame.

That's just my opinion.  Not sure how we fix it though.  I'd like to keep giving Borges a chance, but I'm not sure how long I'll have patience with his playcalling.  At the tail end of the Carr era his playcalling drove me nuts, and I don't want a repeat of that.


October 31st, 2012 at 2:59 PM ^

Last year Fitz was making his own yards.  I believe I said at one point that Fitz was bailing out Borges in a Picture Pages entry.  It seems as if there's an unblocked defender on every play, but a great RB can make the first defender not matter.  It's very difficult for 10 guys to block 11 on every play.

OK, let me clarify something.  I'm NOT blaming Fitz.  I'm saying this puts pressure on Borges that these options and other things he's doing aren't relieving.  I guess I'm saying while it's not Borges' fault he's put in a difficult situation, I don't like the answers he's coming up with.  We don't have a legitimate deep threat so defenses don't need one deep safety, let alone two, allowing them to load up on the running game.  But now it seems even the slot guys aren't respected, so the running game is facing a numbers disadvantage that just can't be accounted for with blocking.  The offense DOES have a guy who can command the defense's attention -- Denard -- but when he went down there was absolutely nothing for the defense to be afraid of.

This loss wasn't on Borges or Fitz, but if I was to summarize what I think the running game issue is, it's that A) Michigan lacks talent on offense and B) Borges isn't optimally using what he has.  If the defense knows that they can play man coverage on the wideouts, even if they fell for it what's faking the fullback as a pitch man gonna do?  And as long as the defense doesn't fear an option we're not utilizing anyway, all the wrinkles and fakes and other stuff Borges is using isn't tying up defenders.  They're free to stick to their assignments, and when they do that against the talent we have, there's nowhere to go.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

If Jake Long returned for his senior year, you would think Lewan will.  Lewan is not big enough, strong enough and struggles at run blocking to make an immediate impact in the NFL.  Another year improving all of these things could be the difference between having a 3 year career in the NFL or having a 10 year career in the NFL.

Of course, he has millions staring him in the face right now, partially due to a depleted LT corps in this draft class and partially because he is GOOD... With that being said, If I were him, I'd take the money even if, long term, it isn't the best idea.

But yeah, our OL is average at best.  Probably below average.  Our two guards struggle to keep their weight at 300 lbs (remember they came in at 250lbs, they aren't meant for this weight) and Mealer is playing a position he has practiced for an off-season.  

If Lewan stays, our OL next year will be a lot better.   There's a chance to have Lewan-Schofield-Miller achorning the left side of that line, and that will be the best combo in the B1G.


October 31st, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

I would say our OL is about average. Mealer isn't a star but is serviceable. Barnum and Omameh are decent, but again not stars. Lewan is obviously the best of the bunch and Schofield has shown some improvement the last few weeks. Also, Schofield will remain at right tackle (if Lewan stays) or move to left tackle (if Lewan goes). He will not play left guard again. I doubt a RS Freshman (Magnuson more likely) would start at left tackle next year, but then again that's when Lewan became a starter.


October 31st, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

Part of what makes a lineman good is not missing assignments. The first set of pictures shows a line whose calls are totally busted. The first thing that happens on any play is the center calls out the linebacker alignments with a "Mike" or "Mac" call. The look up top is difficult to call, as it looks like the last weakside backer is actually a safety, with the Sam backer walked out over the slot. This is where the confusion begins. But in the end, the look ends up being a stack, or even 4-3, with a Mike backer. Because this is an iso, the line will leave one backer free. Against a stack, the free backer will be the Mike. Since the Mike is accounted for by the FB, the line has to account for the Sam and the Will. In this case, the backside is blocked appropriately, with Lewan and Barnum blocking their men and Mealer getting to the Will. Where this play dies is with Schofield blocking the walked out "Sam" (#42) instead of the 'actual' Sam that is right in front of him (#51). #42 should be blocked by the slot reciever.

This isn't a play-design problem. You guys don't really get what goes into play-design anyways. All plays must be able to be run against all defensive looks. Problems arise when the players have to identify the defense, make their calls, and then actually physically move people out of the way. In this instance, it seems like there was confusion over the defense. This falls on either Mealer (for not calling out the Mike) or Schofield (for not knowing who to block having a Mike call). If you think any coordinator, at any level, draws up plays that are designed to leave men unblocked in the hole, you are an idiot.

Allow me to say this unequivocally. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE DESIGN OF THIS PLAY! The problem is execution. Execution doesn't just mean the actual blocking of people, but includes the getting of those people into the right places.


October 31st, 2012 at 4:38 PM ^

I would say 99% of the people who view this blog have no idea, what you just described, occurs on every play... 

We also have to understand, Mealer just started taking snaps at the center position on a consistent basis this fall camp.  This is all new to him.   Unfortunately, our OL is so paper thin, there are no other options and Mealer is the best we have at the position. (all things considered, he is doing a decent job)

I actually think, Jack Miller will be a huge upgrade next year for the simple fact, he has been learning the position for 3 years now and should have a good grasp on reading the defense and getting people in their right spot.   He had a Stanford and a Northwestern offer so by all accounts, he is extremely intelligent. 

Molk was one of the best in Michigan history at doing the things you mentioned in your post, it would be silly to think there wasn't going to be a drop off.   Our biggest problem is we didn't have a center ready to take over for Molk.  

I doubt this will prevent people from blaming the lack of "Constraint" plays on why we struggle on offense. 

Anyways, great post big fella, I'm saving it for later use.  You'll get cited for sure.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

Our offense looks like it has completely regressed over the past 3 weeks from decent  to okay to struggling to downright dreadfull.  

Are they implementing an entirely new blocking scheme midseason?  

Why are they deciding to put in new plays and new formations instead of constraint plays?

Is Borges fishing for solutions here but not looking in the right places?



October 31st, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

It looks to me like there is a miscommunication on the iso as to which player is the Mike linebacker.  I don't know their blocking rule specifically, but it almost looks like Mealer is blocking like #45 has been designated as MIke, and Schofield is blocking like Compton has been designated as Mike.  But that's just a guess.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

The guys didn't get less talented, less athletic, or smaller since last year. They're faster, stronger, and more experienced, yet the offense has taken a BIG step back in year 2. They just look lost. Small point Brian made that should be emphasized: you have to actually run the play to make it a successful fake. All year long it seems like we've faked handoffs to a guy who has acres and acres of space to keep it and dive in to a wall of bodies for no gain. Faked a throw to a wide open man to keep it and get stuffed. Almost every game I see a handful of plays where I say: man, if they had given instead of kept they'd still be running. You don't need to fake with Denard. Every person on every defense already focuses on him. He's such a target they should fake him keeping it to free up other guys, instead of faking to Smith to free him up. We're losing the battle at the point of attack every game now. We can't just keep hammering the middle like that, especially against teams that are selling out up front.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

You can have your 50yd line tickets, oh how I would love to be a fly in the wall in the film room with just the coaches.   I'm always amazed at these conundrums.  

1. Coaches make mistakes all the time so to just say Brian's an engineer,  he's wrong,  is not a response.

2. On the other hand Borges has been doing this for some time so I'm guessing he's not designing multiple plays that have no chance of success which these appear to be.

Much like Greg Robinson's defense this just confuses me on a logical level.  It just doesn't compute.

After watching the USC/Arizona game that option pitch play just looks depressing.

My guess to give myself some sanity and give Borges every benefit of the doubt was that the option play was ran as Brian described so that he could see how Nebraska would react and that he had something coming later to create a big play based on how they played it, but that's me with maize and blue glasse on and a big ole cup of Borges Kool Aid. 


October 31st, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

To this untrained eye, it seems like there is a different issue with the offense each week.  One week its Denard having to throw too often (and not being able to do it well - see ND).  The next week its insisting on running the ball every play even if the defense is giving other things (no audibles allowed - see MSU).  And now its plays designed to amass tons of yards if the blocking assignments were properly, uh, assigned.  I'm not a blame guy but the only constant is the offensive gameplan.  Sure, execution is often poor but it seems like the gameplan is the underlying offender.  Its almost like Borges is doing everything he can to avoid being a true read option team, even knowing that its only one more year of Denard, and instead trying lots of different things (see Iowa last year).  I don't get it.



October 31st, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

In this instance, your mistake is thinking you know the first thing about what goes on during a football game. Borges didn't design or call a play that left a man unblocked in the hole. His lineman got their calls wrong and bungled the play. The reason this doesn't make sense to you is that I am almost certain you didn't even know lineman made calls. I am all for passionate fans. I am all for fans who try to improve their understanding of the game. I absolutely loathe fans that think they know what they are talking about. It would be like a psych 101 student trying to tell Freud about the Oedipus complex. That student will eventually learn more and might one day be Jung, but as of now, he is just a kid in 101 who thinks he knows more than he does.


October 31st, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

What is interesting to me is that given Borges' omniscience, and the fact that he called the Alabama game perfectly (wouldn't change a thing), and had Bellomy prepared mentally and physically (no question), the teams that he coaches always seem to have so much execution and talent regression.  I mean, even regression in the two years at Indiana under Gerry DiNardo. He must be the most unlucky person on the planet, given his prowess at playcalling and coaching, to be forced with the failure and regression of his offenses.  It's like all of the players and fate are conspiring against him.  Everywhere he goes, he keeps getting it right, and the kids keep getting it wrong -- he's the anti-John L. Smith (MSU rant).


October 31st, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

I'm not taking any side here, I'm just curious as to your thoughts about why, all of a sudden, the lineman are leaving linebackers unblocked in this game when they hadn't in most of the previous games?  Is it because they are not used to seeing the plain vanilla 4-3 defense that Nebraska lined up in those particular plays?  I tend to agree that Borges wouldn't design a play to leave a thread unblocked but I tend to disagree with you that these kids are solely to blame and are suddenly forgetting to block the guys or misreading these alignments.


October 31st, 2012 at 6:18 PM ^

The errors probably come from seeing Nebraska in a 4-3 stack. Having not watched the tape of every play against every team, I can't know for sure, but I know the stack is sort of uncommon in college. Any time you have to block a front that is unfamiliar, MAs will happen. As these pictures show, it only takes one wrong call (the initial mike) to set off a chain reaction of missed calls. Then, your play is fucked.

You asked if I was suggesting our lineman got worse at identifying fronts. In short, yes, if only because Mealer has far less experience than Molk. So there has been a drop-off from last season. With regards to this season only, there have been more MAs that we should be having, whether Brian has picture-paged them or not. Because it is new to this blog doesn't mean it is new to the team. Our line is pretty good, but the difference between pretty good and great is often not individual talent, but cohesion.

Again, I've no allegiance to Borges or anything. I just don't get how people who have no idea about the minutia of football can say with a straight face that Borges is so incompetant as to call plays that allow for free running backers in the hole. And its started off by a picture showing us the exact opposite!


October 31st, 2012 at 8:17 PM ^

In my opinion, it's not a new occurence and has been happening all year.  I've noticed a ton of plays that would have gone for long gains if the OL had just blocked the right guy.  My suspicion is that 2 of 3 interior Oline are new to playing regularly and the center that makes the line calls doesn't always get it right and sometimes the lineman head for the right guy but don't get there fast enough.


October 31st, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

You know what I loathe? Guys who played a little ball who think and therefore think only they are allowed to talk about football.

It's not rocket science. A guy was left unblocked and this led to badness. Either somebody busted (blocked the wrong guy) or the play design was bad. You'll note that Brian leaves open the question of which it was, but notes correctly that it happened repeatedly. Either way it seems to be a coaching issue - for some reason the OL is consistently making poor choices regrading who to block.

In your analogy, Brian is not Jung or a psych 101 student, but more like a professor who's spent several years studying Freud's writing but hasn't contributed directly to new psychological theory. He may not be qualified to lecture Freud on the concept of the id, but if Freud were to write a new book that made no sense in the context of his previous work, Brian would be qualified to say, WTF mate? Which is what he's doing here.

lexus larry

October 31st, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

Typed  what I was thinking, and wanted to type myself. 

I am by no means an expert on football, but yeah, I know what the center is doing as far as calling out formation/assignments prior to the snap.

(EDIT:  Oops, wanted to comment to Wolverine1987...but both of you made excellent/tremendous points, so kudos!)


October 31st, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

Guys that have never played a down can talk about whatever they want, including play design. I can talk about rocket science if I wanted to, but that wouldn't mean I knew anything about it.

I would never suggest that you shouldn't talk about something you want to talk about. I will suggest that your thoughts aren't worth a thing.

Mind you, this is only in regards to technical things like play design. Your thought are as good as mine on things like recruiting. Neither of us know much, and its fun to speculate. But with regards to the mechanics of play design, my thoughts are absolutely more valid. It's a fact. I don't say this to claim any superiority or anything, but the play Brian highlighted was an absolutely obvious case of an MA, on a very basic play, into a pretty basic D. Yet he suggested that our offensive coordinator is a fucking moron who draws up plays that leave free running linebackers in the hole.


October 31st, 2012 at 10:37 PM ^

Key part of first bit: "I don't know."

Thanks for correcting me. 

The latter bits: there is no one assigned to the safety on the first play from scrimmage, and whatever Denard's reading on the option play does not appear to be the right thing to read. There is literally no one to block the LB on that. 


November 1st, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

That's exactly the key. You wrote that you didn't know if the problems were because of execution or play design or what, but I think you know damn well that no offensive coordinator draws up plays with free backers in the hole. If you thought Borges was that inept, you'd be calling for his head, and rightfully so. The problem is that you carry a lot of cache, and when you suggest such a thing, a lot of the readers who don't understand the game start to believe it. As for the other plays, you seem to be right on.


October 31st, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

Fans that criticize don't know football or what they are talking about I see. The great unwashed probably shouldn't comment on play design right? I'll give you one piece of news: I bet you that 90% of the people that read this blog in fact do know, and have known for years, that every time they see a center pointing and yelling during a game pre-snap, that one thing he is doing is in fact identifying the Mike. and that the QB sometimes does that as well.  

If you think Brian is wrong or other posters are wrong, feel free to say so and why. But throwing out the Saban know nothing argument isn't helpful, and doesn't make you come off well.


October 31st, 2012 at 6:25 PM ^

I DID write about how Brian was wrong. I wrote a rather long description of what actually happened, including the play call, the defense, who the FB is targeting, what the calls were, what they should have been, and even why the wrong call was made.

What more do you want?

Oh, you just don't want me to point out that you know nothing about the goings on in a football game? Fuck that. Listen, I know fuck-all about the programming of video games. But I play them, and like them, and have critiques of them. Never once, though, will you hear me talk about the coding of the game. That would be stupid of me.


October 31st, 2012 at 7:13 PM ^

It's entirely possible to be right without being a dick about it. "You all know nothing, so fuck you all. Shut up" is being a dick about it.

Anyway, since you're so damn smart about football (I mean that sincerely), describe the end around fake - it appears the blocking went as called, but the play still worked poorly. Is that bad play design, or was there a bust we're not seeing?


October 31st, 2012 at 7:25 PM ^

It's weird to me that you, and others, are so hostile towards a legitimate subject matter expert, just because he might interfere with MGoBlogs pretend playtime. Yes, he was a bit of a dick about it, but his comment was actually insightful, unlike 98% of the "scheme analysis" in see comments.


October 31st, 2012 at 7:51 PM ^

I didn't tell anyone to shut up. I originally stated my distaste for novices (chill out, it's not a pejorative, it's just true) to complain about play design. What I left out is that this bothers me most when no alternative is given, nor is it coupled with any sort of material discussion. "Borges sucks" doesn't count.

If you want to complain about play design, for heaven's sake, give the board an alternative. Read a few things, go to some clinics, sit in on some high school practices, but try to learn. It would really help the level of discourse on this board, which is by almost all accounts the best of its kind.

I was a dick in a few of my later responses, but that is because some guys attacked me without once engaging with the topic at hand. There was nothing wrong with the design of the play. If you think there is, tell me why, in the same manner I explained there wasn't. Maybe you think the ISO is aimed at the Sam, not the Mike.

I guess what I'm saying is that despite all of your hand-wringing about my posts, you have added nothing to the discussion.

I'll look at the end-around play later. I'm going to a party. Tomorrow maybe. My first hunch is that the play isn't poorly designed, it is just the old problem of 11-10 because the QB isn't a blocker. Most plays are designed to get the back to the 2nd level, at which point he will have to make a safety miss. Don't quote me til tomorrow though, after I've had a chance to look at the play.


October 31st, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

Exactly like every other internet guy.

Now having said that, I agree with your original post, I agree that in that example it is far more ikely, and true, that it was an execution problem exclusively. My post was about tone, which was "I know football and those that disagree know nothing about football." Oh ya, "no offense, I don't mean anything by saying those that disagree know nothing about football."

Without that point I would have said nothing about your post, and agreed with it.


October 31st, 2012 at 9:14 PM ^

Or he might be Skinner and realize that the generally prevailing view doesn't fit and blow the whole thing up.  He doesn't need to be an expert in psychoanalysis to say, "hey, I don't think this is working.  Let's try something different."  I'm glad you know a lot--apparently--about the minutiae of football (but apparently not much about psychology), but to attempt to discredit anyone else's view simply because, "hey, I (think) I know more than you," doesn't really advance the discussion.  I don't think it's very complicated to say, "hey, whatever the reasons, the offense is not getting it done.  Isn't that on Borges?"

the unsilent m…

October 31st, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

Not an Xs and Os guy so stuck with generalizations, but why doesn't the offense try to take advantage of the ILBs aggressive play?  In watching the games, it seems like there are holes in between the hashes (as shown by above video) and we rarely take advantage of them. 

Sometimes I'm reminded of our 90s/early 2000s offense, where our recievers had routes from the hash to the sideline, rarely in the middle- drove me nuts.  Worse yet, on the other side of the ball when our ILBs got aggressive, we'd get shredded (a la Northwestern).

We don't have the wideouts to play manball on the outside.  Wouldn't it make sense to try and run quick slants, drag the middle of the field with wideouts, or try and wrap them behind the ILBs to try and take advantage of opposing d's aggressive play and our lack of WO size (a la 90s Northwestern, and still a bit today I suppose)?



C Tron

October 31st, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

picture pages segments.  You have me convinced that our plays aren;t properly designed.  But that can't be right, can it?  Borges is a professional and has been in the game a long time.  Surely he would be able to recognize the problem if you can, right? 

Or maybe not.  At this point I have no idea.

The FannMan

October 31st, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

The funny thing about that play is that it could actually work as an option pitch to the FB.  Look at the freeze frame with the graphics - the LBs are tearing after Fitz.  If Denard keeps the corner has to go for him.   Roy then goes and blocks a safety (yeah, its an assumption). At this point, the pitch to the Kerridge is wide open.  I get that he is a fullback.   I'm not expecting him to tear off a 78 yard TD.  But he probably rumbles for 20-25.   (I think having him in there is important because that is what gets the LBs going for Fitz no matter what.  Assuming, you know, this is an option which it probably isn't.)


October 31st, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

It should be run with Rawls as the IZ back, and Fitz as the option back. If the ILB bites on Rawls you pull and run option with Denard and Fitz. If he slow plays it, you hand off to rawls and he gets 3-4 yards minumum... WVU ran an effective version of this with Pat White, Owen Schmidt, and Steve Slaton.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

Brian, what are your brahs saying?

If you haven't already send this to Chris Brown to get his take? 

I say you have a 50/50 shot if you send RR a note he would be glad to sit down and go over why our offense sucks balls...on the other hand forget that he probably couldn't offer any insight.  He would take 1 look at that optioning fullback play and say

RR: Gee Brian your guess is a good as mine this looks like a mess, just like the mess  Symba was in after his father's death in my favorite movie The Lion King.   Did you know that was my favorite movie?  I often sat down with Greg and told him the same thing after looking at his defensive tape.

BC:  Go now before I kill you with my eye lazers!!!!


October 31st, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

I'm one of those guys who can get into near-pompous "voice of reason" mode, and after Saturday I was mentally writing the game off as a situation that Borges could do nothing about after injury.

The problem is that these PPs are devastating. Because we see good players put in positions where they are leaving yards and points on the field.

Could Michigan do better with the same players? Ask yourself: could RichRod coordinate the offense in such a way that it would be more productive on the ground? I think the answer is yes. What does that mean? Nothing... Except that there are schemes out there that would produce better results than what we are seeing now.

Honestly, Hoke is probably just as much at fault for this. The insistence on MANBALL blocking schemes puts much of the line in positions that it is not well suited for. Borges might prefer it this way, but Hoke could easily dictate the use of run blocking schemes that better utilize the talent on the field.

Even accepting at face value that the TOP-emphasis, huddling on every play, and other philosophical changes aren't steps backward but merely "another way" of doing things, there are tactical advantages available that Michigan isn't using.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I don't think we actually have that "option" in our offense. It looks like it was an attempt to get a gift from the Nebraska defense by running the exact same look that sprang Venric Mark for 80 yds last week. (Only Michigan lined up with twins play side instead of back side).


Unfortunately, Nebraska probably took a look at that on tape and got it fixed on there end. They would be stupid not to. Bo Pelini is competent. Aw shucks.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:39 PM ^

I think Heiko ought to ask the following of Borges: "It seems like you're running a lot of fake option / play action that the other teams aren't respecting - how do you make them respect the fakes and punish them when they don't?"

That's the real problem I see - plays that aren't designed to punish unsound defense. If you run a fake that your opponent doesn't buy, you are, at a minimum, wasting one player (and probably others are doing something less than optimal).

I get the idea of imposing your will on offense as opposed to reacting to defense, but how can you impose your will when you're wasting players in ways that don't contribute to the play?