UFR Errata: Indiana 2010 Comment Count

Brian October 8th, 2010 at 2:40 PM

It's back. Sorry for the two-week interruption, but Forces Beyond My Control intervened.


Dorrestein love. GS put up run charts for UMass, Bowling Green, and Indiana. In sum:

  • UMass: Molk excellent, everyone else solidly positive, Lewan goes donkey, Dorrestein majorly positive.
  • Bowling Green: candy for everyone. Omameh gets the gold star.
  • Indiana: everyone positive, numbers depressed because they scored too fast, WOO DENARD, Lewan gets the gold star.

The major difference between my charting and The Other Brian's is a difference of opinion on Dorrestein. I evidently think he's treading water and just okay; TOB has him approximately equal with the other four guys on the line. Also he was quicker to catch the effectiveness of Michigan's TEs.

Devin zone read issues. After the BGSU game, BWS put up a post about Devin Gardner's zone reads and how they are "rough" if you're being nice and "sucky" if you're not; this was in agreement with the UFR's assessment. Michigan's coaches probably saw too; it appears Tate has reclaimed the backup job. Or maybe Gardner has tendinitis.

I don't hate Vincent Smith. Most of the offensive UFR comments were taken over by the comment war about Vincent Smith. To clarify:

  • Smith is a good pass protector and reliable run blocker, though his size makes his run blocking a little sub-optimal.
  • He's a good option out of the backfield but the way Michigan's offense is going this year throwing to the tailback is almost pointless.
  • He seems to have lost a significant amount of shake-and-bake because of the ACL injury.
  • He does not make a lot of yards himself, but he doesn't miss reads often either.

This adds up to an average back.

Finally. BWS has an excellent breakdown of the final drive and the importance of this moment:


This offense is not only explosive but S-M-R-T, kids.

And now on to the WARZONE:


Rollout mitigation strategies. Our Helmets Have Wings has a post based on this previously-linked BWS piece about defending the copious rollouts Michigan has endured. It evades easy summary but the idea is to take someone out of a deeper zone and have him play a flat zone close to the area the rollout is intended to go so he can pressure the QB.

Crab man. The Indiana UFR did not pick up a whole lot in the way of disagreements that are supposed to be the reason for this series, but this is an informative comment for doubters about Roh's DE potential from ironman4579:

While Roh has good athleticism for his size, the key term is "for his size."  His hips are fairly stiff in coverage.  He has great speed for a DE, probably average at best for a LB. He's not great in space. He has elite athleticism for a DE. He has below average athleticism for a LB. He's just too stiff.

I'd also disagree that he's undersized. Yes, he's a little light (I'd agree that he's definitely lighter than I'd like to see my DE's, but there's enough successful, disruptive light DE's out there in a 4 man line that I think he'd be fine. He might struggle a bit against the run, but I'd give up some in the run game to get an, IMO, vastly improved pass rush), but a guy like Aaron Maybin of Penn State had 12 sacks and 20 TFL's at 235 pounds. O'Brien Schofield was 248 pounds when he went ahead and got 12 sacks and 24.5 TFL's. That's just two recent examples. There are many, many others. Leverage plays a huge part, which actually leads to my next point.

craigrohcrazyninjastance_thumb5 I want people to watch Roh this week when he's at DE and when he's at LB. When he's at DE, he's what scout's call a "flatback." He's incredibly low in his stance. When he comes out he stays basically in the same stance, getting very low with great leverage.  He gets his hands out and keeps guys away from his body, and has a great initial punch. He shows a variety of pass rush moves.

When he's at LB, he gets very high.  He goes into blockers almost straight up. He lets guys into his body and almost seems to forget his hands until he's already engaged and the blocker is into his body (this is especially evident last year against ND on the Armando Allen hold run at the end of the game, but throughout the season this was a problem). He loses leverage regularly. When he rushes, it's almost always a straight speed rush. He gets lost in space.

The difference between Roh as a DE and Roh as a LB are night and day.  He has flashed the potential to be a fantastic DE. As a LB, I don't think he's going to be much more than an average to slightly above average player

I added the picture demonstrating Roh's crazy leverage stance before the snap. I'd like to see a lot more four-man lines this week.

An aside: the debate that's raged between what people are calling a 4-2-5 but is really just last year's defense and the 3-3-5 that's Michigan's run most of this year is really just debating what Craig Roh should do.

Cam Gordon confusion. I solicited opinions on whether or not Cam Gordon should have been able to do anything more than tackle on that corner route



…picture-paged yesterday. Many people said yes. Many others said no. Upon review I do think that Cam should have been a lot closer since there was no vertical threat from the inside. That probably wouldn't have let him make a play on the ball but he might have been able to tackle at the 25 instead of the 15. The counterargument:

The problem is, jumping the route too quickly can lead to long touchdowns.  Gordon does in fact make the right play here. If he jumps up, the experienced receiver will skinny his route and the 5th year QB will loft it over the crashing safety.  In a cover 2, the corner route will almost always beat the safety to the soft part of the zone; it's only when the corner drops back enough to disrupt this spot that this pass fails (and then the QB checks down to the out).  In a 3rd and long situation, the CB should focus on the deeper part of his zone, as it's always easier to stop a first down if the catch is made in front of the sticks.  A more experienced corner, or one that is just less hesitant to react, makes this a much more difficult play to complete.

As always, pass defense and linebacker play are mysterious since who's at fault can vary wildly based on assignments you're not privy to.

The larger point stands. Michigan's inexperienced secondary is not reading the opponent's routes at all (underneath) or quick enough (deep). Hopefully they develop this with time. Also, Chris Brown pointed out this is another variation on the snag concept that Michigan was running elements of earlier this season.

BONUS: Misopogon suggested that the issue was with JT Floyd not getting depth and letting Gordon out to the sideline, but I disagree. Sometimes I fail to explain things I picked up over the course of the game and people disagree based on the individual play, and that's the case here. Most of the time when Michigan went to this coverage, JT Floyd was acting as a Tampa 2 middle linebacker with responsibility in the deep seam. That's why he was at fault when IU hit a deep seam to the TE in the first half

Does the "J" in J.T. stand for Journeyman?

Floyd spent his second week in a row being moved all over the place.  I can understand why they're doing this (he's probably our best DB and we need to get our best athletes on the field.) But with all this moving around, you expect him to get confused occassionally.


On this play he gets caught looking at the underneath crossing route when what he needs to be doing is getting depth in his zone to squeeze off the seam route.  The cross will be picked up by the other linebacker, so his false step here was not going to help anyone.

… later in the game when Michigan had covered this bunch snag route a few times they went to a different variation where the vertical receiver ran a post and Floyd dropped right into it. He is not playing a deep half; he's playing a robber. On this pattern he will be of use when the receiver running a dig to the top of the screen clears the CB.

Zone! Man! Fight. BWS's thing this week is advocating more man coverage, complete with a chart of the results when Michigan ran man:

So in 12 attempts, Indiana had six incompletions, one sack, and five completions for approximately 69 yards. Is this statistically significant or proof that Michigan should use more man coverage? Probably not and no.

I'm not sure all of those were man, as BlueSeoul's continuing epic game breakdown series touches upon: 

Combo Coverage

When you're facing 4 or 5 WR, a 3 man rush is not a bad idea because it allows you to run combo coverage behind it.


2 Deep, looks like man coverage underneath, but really it's zone.  The man on the slot has good position for run support. The near cornerback is in bump n run with the tall and dangerous, but not necessarily quick, Belcher.


Everyone is covered, Rodgers even manages to stay close enough to his man to dissuade a throw against the confusing look, the 3 man rush gets pressure because Martin beats a double team. Plus we've got 4 extra men in coverage that are just waiting for Chappell to misread it as man coverage and try to force a ball in, so they can get an interception.


Chappell coolly throws it away.

So those numbers may not be right. It seems clear that whatever Michigan is doing in the dime they need to keep doing until they can do it right, at which point they can mix some stuff up. Man coverage is playing with fire every time because of…

James Rogers finally getting exposed. One of the main takeaways from BlueSeoul's post is something that was obvious in the Indiana game after Michigan managed to get away with it through the nonconference:

I've probably covered this enough already, but just to summarize, he is the weakest link.  No, that's not surprising given what's happened to the depth chart at corner.

It's so bad that it's hard to  tell who he's covering and whether he's supposed to be in zone or man.  He's just kind of over there on one side.  By the 2nd half, Indiana was actively targeting him on a large percentage of plays.  He's giving up the 7 yard out



I don't mean to beat up on him but I agree; he's Nick Sheridan out there. I'm half-expecting he gets replaced this weekend, probably by Avery, though I imagine he'll still have a job in the dime package. Whither Cullen Christian? (Blowing coverages against BGSU, is where.)



October 8th, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

on Rogers, dude is disappointing to say the least.  I know he was a WR, I know the coaches probably are not putting him the best situations, I know CB depth..yadda, yadda.  I came away from the Indiana game drunk as hell, and really pissed at the secondary, especially James Rogers.  All I can do is pray for better QB pressure tomorrow.


October 8th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

I was also intoxicated at the end of the Indiana game. However, I was happy. Very happy. Not mad at anyone at all.

Some interesting words from Rich Rodruguez;

"I live in a world where when you win, people are happy. I'm sure some people are still unhappy and probably will be for the rest of their lives."


October 8th, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

Dear James Rogers,

Thank you for all your hard work, and for stepping up when we really needed someone to.  It's great that you never transferred, kept working, and made some plays when you were literally our last option.  However, the only time I hope to see you from now on is on the sideline, congratulating Avery after a PBU on 3rd down. 


October 8th, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

The secondary is no worse than many of us thought it would be when Woolfolk went down.  This makes it less painful for me.  It surprises me that this isn't true for others. 


To modaddy21: James Rogers is disappointing?  What did you expect?!  


October 8th, 2010 at 5:12 PM ^

Don't say that you'd like a more risk-reward strategy.  The reward (maybe a PBU?) does not outweigh the humongous risk (40+ yard TDs)

By comparison, our secondary is currently only getting lightly crisped.  You're proposing that we throw everything into a volcano.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:18 PM ^

Sure, Indiana made him look like a guy who converted to CB from receiver after not seeing the field much for the first few years of his career, and in the second half made him look like a guy who is only the starter because of A Series of Highly Improbable and Unfortunate Events knocked out the 17 guys ahead of him on the CB depth chart... but choosing between a guy who gets beat consistenly in front of him as opposed to behind him, I'll take in front. 

The bright side is that no one is lobbing fades in his direction.  He's a big, tall kid and not easy to throw over anywhere on the field.  And I can't really think of many times I've thought DAMNIT, ROGERS, MAKE THAT TACKLE. 

He might end up replaced by a true corner by November.  But seriously, much like Steven Threet, he's been plopped by circumstance into an impossible situation and he's doing what he can to help the team no matter how cringe-worthy it looks. 

Seriously, what did people expect?  That we'd luck into finding a lockdown corner buried somewhere on page 10 of our depth chart?  He's the girl with the profile on the online dating site that's just as camera-unfriendly in person as she is in her profile pics.  You may not be interested in more dates, but man, you have no right to be disappointed.

That'll do, James Rogers, that'll do. 

grand river fi…

October 8th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

Fair play to Rogers if he gets replaced.  Kid stuck around and has filled in early this season when we needed it despite not possesses the required talent.  Hopefully the young corners can step up their game.


October 8th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

I feel like I just got out of a lecture. Those are some seriously complicated (not to mention split-second) decisions for first and second year guys to make. I can see why the coaches are a going with eight man coverages because one wrong move by a noob and it's wide open spaces. Sure wish we had #29 out there.


October 8th, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

Everytime I see stuff like this I'm very impressed.  Thanks Brian (and everyone) for all of the input and to help me better understand the game.  Now, if things would just "slow down" so I could notice them while watching the game, I'd be set.


October 8th, 2010 at 4:12 PM ^

Gerg is using a 3-deep Cloud, with the rotation toward the boundary corner (Floyd) and giving up the flat to the field.  Real quarterbacks can make that throw and real receivers can beat Rogers on it, so I think the reason we were using that against Indiana was to shore up the running game when the TE is to the field.  The field TE usually isn't a deep threat on play action, so Kovacs can read run flow his direction and come hard downfield.  JT isn't a great tackler, but he sets the edge pretty well, so that works too.


SD Go Blue

October 8th, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

Or maybe Gardner has tendinitis.

This is exactly what I was thinking when Tate came in against IU. I hope DG disappears the rest of the year with an "injury" of some sort.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:08 PM ^

Eh, it'll be close.  Playing in the BG game (#4) would for sure be above the 25% limit for a medical scholarship in a normal 12 game season....

Unless we get to a bowl game and #13.  Then you'd have to see at what point in the game DG came out.  Unfortunately, I think he was in the game past the 1st quarter, which basically means no medical redshirt for Gardner.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

As the leader of the STFU about Vinny crowd, its worth pointing out that I sat out the UFR just because I didnt want to talk to you folks about it anymore.

We could be in a lot worse hands than with somebody who is on pace for one of the lowest lost yardage numbers in school history and whose career TD per touch ratio is among the best in program history.

That's the last word I'm saying on the subject for the rest of the year

In closing,



October 8th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

Just to add to my referenced post, the guy that Roh reminds me of most is Jared Allen.  Long arms, explosion, great leverage, a wild man on the field. 

I wish I could find a picture of Allen or Kyle Vanden Bosch in their stances.  Roh just reminds me of those guys so much. 

And despite the listed weights for both guys, they've both said on NFL Radio that during the season they play at around 250-260.  If those guys can play DE in the NFL at that weight, Roh can certainly do it in college.

He just seems to be wasted at LB.


October 8th, 2010 at 7:54 PM ^

If Rogers is replaced in the lineup (which I agree is likely at some point), we'll be starting two sophomores and three freshmen in the secondary.  Wow.  If we can get through this year, we'll have great secondary depth in 2011 and beyond.


October 8th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

"pick-prone Cousins" was like swearing. Guess it kinda is if you say it six times really fast. Really enjoyed the anal y sis. What does it mean? Tomorrow's Saturday. Hopefully a MD shows up for the game and I don't mean the Pepper varity although it would be nice if Mike showed up under a winged helmet. Send them green weenies to the Dr. Have to break out my "Family Values" background in honor of the game tomorrow.