Unverified Voracity Starts Sexy WWII

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2011 at 4:12 PM

My eccentric Oregon financial advisor doppelganger. Smart Football points to a fellow who goes by FishDuck and is all about zone reads, feeding his dog, the violent-yet-genteel devouring of Mike Patrick, and more zone reads:

An interesting point picked up from Chip Kelly's presentations: Oregon has tipped inside/outside zone for six years without ill effect because declaring the play causes people to overreact to it, which opens up constraint plays. More than that, the zone often acts as its own constraint as over-aggressive players flow playside or bunch up inside, opening cutbacks and bounces.

He's also got a video on Oregon's deployment of power, which it uses as a counter to their usual inside zone stuff. We haven't seen this out of Borges yet, but I'm hoping. My desire to see Michigan pair an opposite-side-of-the-line speed option with the inside zone borders on lust. And by "borders on lust" I mean "invades Poland with sexy tanks."

On point. Doctor Saturday lays out the situation and the stakes on Saturday as well as you can:

When he was hired in January, Hoke's mission was explicitly to roll back the Rodriguez era, to restore whatever it was that made Michigan feel like Michigan again. To that end, even Wolverine fans seemed to find the sudden proliferation of countdown clocks, macho posturing and various Buckeye-related eccentricities laying it on a little thick. But six weeks in, the Wolverines are right on schedule in the national polls, the Big Ten standings and the weekly stat sheets. If they clear the midseason hurdle Rodriguez's teams never could at Michigan State, they can claim one more phase of the mission accomplished.

Kind of a big deal, this game.

Point: Tim. Reportorial ex-girlfriend Tim, who now goes by the bizarrely long moniker "Tim Sullivan" over at Rivals, was a committed skeptic about Rob Bolden since he was one of a trio of touted in-state quarterbacks in the 2009 recruiting class.

Despite the rankings, Tim said the guy didn't know how to play football. It seems like his scouting prowess has been borne out:

Game Over, Man.  Game Over.  This quarterback contest is done.  Urban Meyer remarked toward the end of Penn State's first offensive drive that at Thursday practice, he did not see Bolden complete a single pass over five yards.  This makes sense, as Bolden did not throw a single decent pass on the entire first drive.  …

Rob looks completely shattered at this point, and it's time for the coaches, players, and fans to embrace the crazy train that is McGloin Moxie Mania.

It's McGloin o'clock in Bolden's Penn State career. Beaten out by a walk-on, does a transfer again beckon? /NYT headline writer imitation

Point: Hoke. Shudder at the awful puntasaur display in the Iowa-Penn State game:

Iowa got to the PSU 33, faced 4th and 8... and punted.  That Guthrie was able to pin PSU on their own 10-yard line (a solid accomplishment) is irrelevant.  Punting from the other team's 33-yard line is A F---ING STUPID AND TERRIBLE IDEA.  I don't even need statistics to back me up on that one (although they would).  Even if Ferentz didn't want to try to convert on fourth down (4th and 8 isn't easy, obviously), why not give Mike Meyer a crack at a field goal?  It was a beautiful day, the ball was lined up near the middle of the field, and Meyer has made 50+ yard field goals in the past (this year, in fact).  But no.  Ferentz gave a vote of "no confidence" to both Meyer and his offense on that play.  Iowa probably deserved to lose the game for that decision alone. 

Of course, JoePa was determined to out-conservative -- or out-dumb -- Ferentz; he punted three times from the Iowa side of the field, including late in the game on 4th and 2 from the Iowa 36.  If he really didn't think his offense could rip off a two-yard gain against a gassed and reeling Iowa defense, I... I just have no words for the level of neanderthal football thinking on display in this game.

Of course, that coaching blunder on Ferentz's part might be narrowly eclipsed by the decision to eschew running a two-minute offense upon getting the ball at the Iowa 20 with two timeouts and 1:42 to go before halftime.  God forbid we try to score there.  It's not like we don't have a no huddle offense that's been effective this year or a kicker with decent range.  Nope. 

Even if trying the field goal with Gibbons is a mistake, it pales in comparison to that business. I cannot express how much I love the Mathlete's new Dumb Punt of the Week feature. The inaugural winner is Ohio State's Frank Solich, who punted on fourth and one from the Buffalo 36. Buffalo has the #91 rushing defense. After an 11 yard punt, Buffalo drove for a touchdown. Ohio State lost by a point. The game theory gods do not take kindly to being spited so grandiosely. (See also: Kirk Ferentz.)

I missed another Hoke game theory bit: he got the ball at the 22 with about two minutes left and did not pull the Ferentz. Robinson rushed for a loss of one on first down, then five straight passes got Michigan to the Northwestern 44 before Robinson's third awful interception set up a Northwestern field goal drive. While we've seen Hoke eschew half-ending drives a couple times this year, those were with a minute or less on the clock, not two.

Now… it didn't work out that time, but these things are never 100%. Did it make sense at the time to try to score with a couple minutes left against Northwestern's defense? Yeah.

Glarb glarb glarb. So when Michigan shuffled its fullback on third and one and got owned I had a conniption fit. This was the result of DeBord Doom re-emergence:


That's the corpse of Steve Watson you see getting annihilated at the LOS. Glarb.

BWS picture-pages this and points out that the shuffling fullback opened up the Gardner rollout TD on which he had either the run or pass; I'm not so sure showing the first play is worth the cost to get a yard when your redzone offense seems to be able to get a yard whenever it wants. I like diabolical machinations better when they're like the above Oregon stuff—plenty diabolical in their own right without the counter.

Mitchbreaks. Mitch McGary's impending Michigan decision now seems far less certain:

Recently, reports came out that Mitch was nearing or had made a decision. However, Tim refutes that notion “He hasn’t made a decision. I just talked to him tonight (Monday night) and we talked about it a little bit. He’s coming home Wednesday night and we’re going to sit down and talk about it. They get a four or five day break this weekend so he’s flying in to O’hare and my older son will pick him up. We’ll be able to sit down and sort things out.”

Likely rumor vector: AAU coach to national guy, national guy tizzy checks in with coach a few more times, everyone wants to back off. Confidence level: reduced, but still high.

Etc.: Denard Robinson is healthier this year because he is homeopathic or something. Mark Huyge has had a tough year. Holdin' the Rope doesn't like "smug, pompous buffoon" Mark Dantoinio. Jon Merrill suspension 50/50 to end his career. Sad face.


His Dudeness

October 13th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^


He's also got a video on Oregon's deployment of power, which it uses as a counter to their usual inside zone stuff. We haven't seen this out of Borges yet, but I'm hoping. My desire to see Michigan pair an opposite-side-of-the-line speed option with the inside zone borders on lust. And by "borders on lust" I mean "invades Poland with sexy tanks."


I see what you did there. I too would like it if Borges could run RR's offense. I have my doubts, but if Borges could put in place some of this offense I would not have a bad word to type about him. I would be a believer.


October 13th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

You've been missed, old friend.  But it sounds like things are going well so congratulations are in order!  Don't be a stranger.  (And to make sure you aren't, I'm going to dock you points for each week that passes without a post from you.   /teasing, I think?)



October 13th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

The funny thing was Penn State took that field position, ran 17 plays, travelled 89 yards and kicked a FG

Why Captain  Kirk has more confidence in a D thats been shredded by everyone this year and not his good looking offense and strong legged kicker is beyond me

I feel he owes me money for losing the +4 on his lame ass coaching

Naked Bootlegger

October 13th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

Do not fret, Brian.  Merrill may be an irreplacable cog on the men's hockey squad, and Red's bunch may accordingly struggle without him.   But we will always have our Lindsay Sparks-led women's hockey team to lift our collective sprits throughout the long, cold, dark winter months!


October 13th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

I'm not a huge fan of the TE motion necessarily, but Steve Watson kind of sucks.I can see the play being a little bit different with A.J Williams as Watson (already squatting 415 in HS(!)). 

I can see why the coaches would like it--Michigan has numbers to that side of the field.  If the TE does to the linebacker what Lewan is doing to #94, it's FB on LB w/running room.


October 13th, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

Granted, that guy FishDuck seems borderline stalker material, and although the random comments in that video were annoying ("you just want to run out on the field and hug them"), but the video was extremely informative.  Its amazing that even if broadcast to the world that the outside zone is coming, its still effective.  I wonder what would happen if a great spread option team (like Oregon?) ran that same formation every down . . . Would they beat the majority of FBS defenses?


October 13th, 2011 at 6:17 PM ^

In the fourth quarter of the NU-OSU game, leading 27-20 and at the NU 32, OSU took an intentional delay-of-game to give their punter more room for a pooch kick. It "worked" in the sense that the punt was downed at the 9-yard line, but I refer you to the final score to test another definition of "worked".

I cackled with knowing glee at the decision. This, folks, is why we all need to root for Fickell somehow keeping that job.

Yinka Double Dare

October 14th, 2011 at 12:31 PM ^

You'd think they could have kicked a field goal, since OSU nearly always has a good kicker.  But if not, to be honest I might actually consider punting from there and playing field position if my quarterback is someone who might not have even started for 2008 Michigan or this year's Indiana or Minnesota squads. 


October 14th, 2011 at 5:15 AM ^

Brian, Meta:  The Dr. Sat. vide embed of "This is Michigan, fedgodsakes." is awesome. No, not just the fact that Hoke saying this is good. The link has a video arrow thingy button, and the video pops up in the lower left hand corner of the screen on top of the Dr. Sat. window. It doesn't bring up a new window, and it doesn't require two clicks (i.e., open link to window in new screen, then hit play.) Check it out, and perhaps change your links this way. kthxbye.


October 14th, 2011 at 5:44 AM ^

Loved the zone read Oregon stuff. Which reminds me:  I think we are slightly forgetting that Michigan is still learning a new offense. To consider what we've done with a new OC elevates Michigan yet further. And raises Borges in my estimation. Yes, he has adjusted based on what he has, especially with Denard's speed. But he keeps on reminding us that the WR Corps is still learning route precision, and DR is still learning how to throw. And, we see great innovation, as in, 2 QB sets, etc. I think that Michigan will only improve more over the course of this year. I'm thrilled also that bethind the scenes, Stonum is learning routes, and will be way ahead of the learning curve for the 2012 campaign.


October 14th, 2011 at 8:34 AM ^

Borges has more tricks up his sleeve, and some of them will pop out this weekend. I expect to see some more wonderful shenanigans with formations that make this "vaunted" defense look bad.  I'm a bit scared of thier gigantic DT, but all we have to do is attack off tackle or to the outside with the run game. This might be a game where running right up the middle is only used to keep the defense honest.

I heard the BTN call our WR core the best 4 WR's in the B1G and I agree. Gallon has especially surprised me with his ability to make guys miss and find the endzone. Hemmingway is amazing in 50/50 contests in the air, and Roundtree is finally settling down as an outside guy.  God, I can't wait to beat these guys on Saturday! Go Blue!!!


October 14th, 2011 at 9:14 AM ^

Hoke has got to get Gibbons (and the whole unit) some actual experience with longer field goals. I think that's what he was doing there -- taking a risk in order to get that for Brendan et al. I don't think BH had any illusions about whether it was a good idea in terms of game tactics, but in his judgment (at that point in that game against that opponent) that was outweighed by the need to get his kicker a meaningful chance at a longer field goal.

This MSU game is the most important game this season -- unless M loses, in which case it's not. It hurts to think of the emotional impact of a loss on this team, after their experiences the past two seasons. But I believe in these players -- I don't think I've ever been as invested in a Michigan team as I am in this one at this point. You nailed this a few weeks ago, Brian -- these guys embody "those who stay" in an archetypal way.

Regardless, even if things go awry tomorrow, with a bye week before Purdue, they'll still be in good shape for the home stretch.

El Jeffe

October 14th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

Did anyone else have the uneasy sense that FishDuck was feeding his dog chunks of human flesh carved out of the corpses of teenage runaways he keeps in a deep freezer in his basement torture dungeon?

No? Just me then?