Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian October 21st, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Substitution notes: Patterson played the entire second half and big chunks of the first as it was clear that Mike Martin was not recovered from the late MSU cheap shot. RVB never came out; Black cycled in for Banks, mostly on passing downs. Fitzgerald got a few snaps as Roh's backup. At LB, Demens played the whole way except for the first few plays of Iowa's third drive; Thomas Gordon and Carvin Johnson rotated with Gordon appearing to get most of the time.

Formation notes: Okay, Greg Robinson, I believe you. This defense is indeed "multiple." Michigan played a little stack, a lot of it with two deep safeties:


That's a stack with the bandit in a deep half. I called it "stack two deep."

Michigan played some 4-3, and they played a lot of a 3-4:


This is different from a 4-3 with a standup DE because of the alignments of the DL, who are head up on the C and Ts. That's just a 3-4, straight up. Early in the game they were using Floyd as the WLB, but after a couple issues with that they put Kovacs in the box and used Floyd as the overhang guy. This appeared to be a response to Iowa's heavy use of twins.

The past two weeks the defense has used more 3-4 and 4-3 than stack, FWIW, so its heavy deployment in spring and fall may be an artifact of the team it's going against. Against spread outfits Michigan has been almost all stack.


Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 ? ? Run   ? ? 1
My copy of the game does not have this play. It was a one-yard run on which Demens made the tackle.
O39 2 9 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Demens -3
Iowa overloads the wide side of the field with a covered TE and another TE in motion to act as a lead blocker. RVB takes a double as Iowa looks to run away from Martin. Roh(+0.5) drives the playside TE back a bit, creating an obvious gap where the play will go that Demens(+2) reads and fills before the guy peeling off RVB can get to him. He sets up in the hole with that OL grabbing him around the waist; with Johnson(+0.5) set up outside in a spot to prevent a bounce and Kovacs coming from the backside Robinson is swarmed for a loss.
O42 3 12 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Dumpoff ? 10
Happy feet from Stanzi here as he doesn't even let his receivers try to test the middle of the field before checking down to the tailback. Cover +1, I guess. Roh(+0.5) was sort of coming through the line, possibly forcing a throw. Rogers(-0.5, tackling -1) comes up to meet Robinson after about five yards and offers a dodgy shoulder-block of a tackle that does manage to get him OOB but does not inspire anything resembling confidence.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-4 Pass 5 Slant Demens Inc
Kovacs blitz; no one gets home before he throws on three-step rhythm. It's a slant that Mouton(+1) reads and arrives as the ball does about six yards downfield. Receiver has to leap to catch a slightly high ball and Mouton hits him into the air, exposing him to a Demens(+1) killshot that shakes the ball loose. Cover +2.
O44 2 10 Ace Base 4-4 Pass 5 Slant Johnson Inc
Martin(+0.5) gets some pressure but doesn't matter since Johnson(-1, cover -1) has screwed up his zone drop by sticking too close to Demens and his guy, opening up a slant. Should be a first down but McNutt drops it.
O44 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Penalty ? False start ? -5
O39 3 15 Ace 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 TE out Talbott 5
Stanzi checks down (cover +1) to a TE for five yards; Talbott(+1, tackling +1) is there to tackle immediately, no funny stuff.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4? Run   Inside zone Ezeh 14
Ezeh comes in. I'm not sure what to call this formation since it's got Johnson on the slot receiver and a three man line with the guys aligned as 3-4 LBs, except the WLB is JT Floyd. Martin(-1) is single-blocked and doesn't do anything to disrupt the play. This allows a guy out on Mouton. I'm not entirely sure what the responsibilities are here, but though Ezeh(-1.5) is indeed humiliatingly pancaked by a guard, Kovacs(-1) is flowing hard to the frontside of the play and gets caught way out of position when the cutback comes. I think this is on him and not Mouton but I'm not sure. Without the rolled up S anywhere near the play Robinson shoots right into the backfield with just C. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) between him and the endzone; Gordon makes an important, solid open-field tackle.
O30 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Hitch Roh 11
Two deep safeties for the first time. Iowa goes straight dropback and Michigan drops eight; Roh(-1, cover -1) does not get a deep enough zone drop despite Stanzi looking at his receiver all the way.
O41 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run   Inside zone Banks 8
Michigan's only got six guys in the box for this with two deep safeties and T. Gordon covering the slot guy. Again, I'm not sure who's got what here but I think this is because Michigan's blitzing JT Floyd(-1) from the corner and he's heading at an upfield angle and cannot recover to flow down the line for the cutback. Banks(-1) did get controlled and blocked downfield, giving the RB the angle to get by Floyd, and I do think Ezeh ran himself out of the play unnecessarily. There are three guys on the frontside and just two on the backside so a smart guy would figure this is cutting back. Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) comes up to fill well, though he had more time than Gordon to react.
O49 2 2 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Floyd 5
Banks(+1) gets playside of his guy and forces a bounce well outside where Floyd(-1, tackling -1) sees his tackle run through.
M46 1 10 I-form Base 4-3 Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 11
Demens back. I don't think this is on either linebacker since Demens(+0.5) and Mouton(+0.5) each have to carry routes to the safeties and end up dropping deep. Floyd(-1, cover -1) doesn't have anyone and still bails out, opening up the dumpoff for a bigger gain than it should be. No one anywhere near the QB (pressure -1) .
M35 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Off tackle Mouton 19
So the DL here is Black, Patterson, Sagesse, and Fitzgerald. Doom? Doom. They hit a gap outside of Black; Kovacs has to come up and fill the outside and takes a block. This is what he has to do to force it back to help but there is no help. I think M's alignment is messed up since they've shaded the line to the open side of the field and the linebackers are basically even(RPS –1). Sagesse(-1) is chopped to the ground immediately. This is bad. I think it makes Demens(-0.5) suck up into the gap that forms because he anticipates the cutback lane is open. He takes a block and bounces off it but is delayed. On the playside Black(-0.5) is walled off by a double. Mouton(-2) charges into a gap that Patterson has somewhat controlled, losing leverage. Once RB is through the crease he's gone.
M16 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Pass N/A Waggle cross Floyd Inc (Pen +2)
PA rollout sees two guys in the route. Deep guy taken away by the coverage(+1) so Stanzi checks down to a TE cross that Floyd(-1, cover -1) is all over, but he grabs the guy around the waist and gets a legit call. For some reason the refs put the ball at the 14 instead of the 9 and no one notices.
M14 1 10 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Roh 0
Roh(+1) slants inside as the tackle moves to the second level immediately. He takes a blocker with him, sitting down right in the intended path of the RB and absorbing the FB's lead block. RB bounces into Floyd(+0.5), who read the receiver's attempted block and set up to contain. He's such a terrible tackler, though. Demens(+0.5) scrapes through two half-blocks to help finish.
M14 2 10 I-form Base 3-4 Pass 4 Fade Kovacs Inc
Corner blitz convinces Stanzi that he's got the guy who Floyd has just vacated so he tosses it; Kovacs(+2, cover +2) jumps it and gets both hands on what could be a 95-yard Rick Six but can't hang on. Pressure(+1) was coming so Stanzi had to get rid of it. (RPS+2)
M14 3 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 4 Drag Avery 14
Michigan in three-deep, but Courtney Avery(-3, cover -3) does the same thing he always does by chasing receivers all over the field, opening up this drag for a touchdown. Rogers(-1, tackling –1) could have stopped this at the sticks but loses leverage, etc. Stanzi had to throw because Roh(+1, pressure +1) was about to waste him. One freshman playing anything approximating zone and this is a FG attempt. Picture-paged earlier today.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Pass N/A Rollout throwaway Demens Inc
Another two-man route covered(+1) well by Michigan. Demens(+0.5) perceives the lack of underneath threats and comes charging up on the edge to force a throwaway. Maybe I'm just not used to a routine play here to give a plus-half, but there it is. I like his decision-making.
M49 2 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 4 Screen ? 15
Michigan rushing four and dropping into a zone as Iowa runs a middle screen. Zero DL come even close to reading it, leaving four blockers in space against… uh… Kenny Demens. He charges up and gets hacked down by one of them. About all he could do. Secondary converges after the sticks. RPS -2; no idea what any individual player could have done there.
M34 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Counter Black 3
Black(+1) does a nice job to slant through two Iowa OL and should draw a holding call as an Iowa TE yanks him from behind but does not. His presence in the middle of the play does force a bounce; Floyd keeps contain and Mouton(+0.5) gets free to help with the tackle and prevent any YAC.
M31 2 7 Ace twins twin TE Base 3-4 Pass 4 Corner Rogers? 31
I am not sure if this is on Rogers or Gordon. I think it is Rogers because Michigan is running three-deep and Johnson(+1, cover +1) has the out to this side of the field blanketed. The pass goes to the deep corner of the endzone where a deep zone should be in cover three; Rogers(-3, cover -4) is not there. No one was anywhere near Stanzi (pressure -3). It looks like Gordon was burned over the top but he's in cover three so he should be jumping the post cut on the assumption Rogers has his back.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-14, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Banks 4
So they've switched Kovacs and Floyd here, with Kovacs the nominal WLB and Floyd the nominal overhang guy. Michigan LBs hit it up quickly—they're probably depending on Iowa to run the max-pro routes on PA they've run before—and Mouton(+0.5) takes on a guard at the LOS. Robinson bangs into the mess; Patterson(+0.5) has actually come through and threatens from behind but Banks(-0.5) has been kicked out too far and Floyd(-0.5) is hesitant. He meets Robinson two yards downfield and gives up two more.
M44 2 6 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 5 Hitch ? 16
Kovacs in a two-deep instead of at the line. Michigan runs the Floyd corner blitz again and gets burned (RPS -1) as Iowa adjusts to the Kovacs near-pick on the last attempt to kill it by shortening up the route. Mouton(+0.5) got a free run but with the wide open guy on the sideline it doesn't matter. Stanzi hits him, Kovacs tackles.
M28 1 10 Shotgun twins 2TE Base 3-4 Pass 3 Sack Banks -4
Eight man drop does cover(+2) everyone this time but the pressure(-2) is nonexistent. Martin is out and this is sad minus Martin. Stanzi rolls out, Banks chasing him. Stanzi inexplicably runs OOB instead of chucking the ball away.
M32 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 5 Dumpoff Banks Inc
Banks(+1) gets inside the Hawkeye LT and comes right up the middle, with Roh(+0.5) providing supporting rush (pressure +1). Those two force a dumpoff to the tailback behind the LOS that Demens(+0.5, cover +1) probably has nailed for no gain; ball is upfield and bounces off Robinson's hands.
M32 3 14 Ace 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Run   Delay Mouton? 15
Michigan in a three deep shell with six DBs on third and forever, which okay. RVB(+0.5, seriously) slants inside his blocker and forces a cutback. Black is understandably way upfield. Mouton(-1) takes on the wrong side of his blocker with the cutback, and with just five guys in the box it's a long way to the next M defender. Those guys are Avery, Kovacs, and Gordon, and somehow the three of them give up the extra two yards for the first down. Alright. I'm not going to put my fist through anything. 1) Avery is 20 pounds too light to stiff the momentum. 2) Kovacs is physically deficient still and with a receiver pushing the pile can't stand it up. Both get -0.5s for being tiny. Gordon had little chance to do anything given the angles of the play. Michigan would have been much better off without the cutback, but what can you do? Argh.
M17 1 10 Ace 3-wide Stack two deep Run   Inside zone Martin 5
Martin(-0.5) back in and gets clubbed back. At this point it's clear he just doesn't have it. Thanks, MSU cheapshot. Demens(+0.5) does a good job to close the forming frontside hole and force a cutback; Banks(-0.5) blows his pursuit angle and is too far upfield to tackle at the LOS; Mouton(+0.5) did a good enough job with his guy to delay the back slightly and allow Banks to come from behind and tackle.
M12 2 5 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 2
Similar to the last play but RVB(+0.5) is slanting down the line along the line instead of two yards upfield so the cutback lane isn't there; Mouton(+0.5) perceived the cutback, hit his hole, and helped tackle.
M10 3 3 Ace Base 4-4 Pass N/A Rollout out Floyd 6
Motion reveals Floyd in man and eight guys on the LOS reveal a lack of crazy robber zones, so Stanzi can roll out and be confident he's got a window to hit on this out route. He does; Roh does okay on the rush but can't get past the RB instantly, and Stanzi's pass is accurate against good but not great coverage. RPS -1.
M4 1 G I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Power off tackle Mouton 4
Sagesse(-1) gets crushed out of the hole but Roh(+1) stands up his guy, shucks inside, and convinces Robinson to maybe bounce it. He decides against it since that's going to be closed off, cutting back inside. Mouton(-1) is there. Mouton *was* there until the feigned bounce saw him head way to the playside where he had no hope of doing anything. That combined with a guard crushing Johnson(-0.5) into the endzone is a touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-21, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Demens 0
Martin is out for the remainder. Nowhere to go this time as the M DL provides no gaps. +0.5 to Banks, who held up to a double well, Mouton, who took on a TE at the right spot to prevent a crease, and Kovacs, who took on a block and held. +1 Demens, who saw the gap forming when Patterson(-1) got scooped out of the play and hit the releasing center at the LOS, removing a developing cutback lane. Floyd(+0.5) contains, forcing Robinson back inside and allowing a gang tackle.
O29 2 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Out Rogers 8
Four yard out picks up a few YAC to set up third and short; Rogers(-0.5) in the area but not able to tackle quickly because of a general lack of athleticism. Avery actually dropped back into a zone well here, so there's that.
O37 3 2 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run   Draw Kovacs -2
Probably goes for the first here except for Kovacs(+2) blitzing untouched from the outside reading the draw, changing direction, and tackling for loss. Demens ate a block but I'm sympathetic here since this is a draw against what looks like man coverage and he has to respect the threat of the guy as a receiver. Mouton should have scraped faster, IME. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Floyd 3
Patterson(-1) scooped and sealed easily, allowing the Iowa C out on Demens, who's trying to scrape to the hole but now has lineman in his face. Banks(+0.5) holds up to a single block well and closes the hole down, giving Floyd(+0.5) a fairly easy job to come up and tackle after a moderate gain.
O17 2 7 I-form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Mouton 1
Patterson blown down the line as they try another zone play; with both playside DL getting doubled Demens hits that gap hard, cutting off the frontside. However, Patterson(-0.5) getting washed down the line so far and Banks(-0.5) getting kicked out leaves Mouton(+2) in a ton of space against a lead blocker on a play likely designed to cut back right here. He avoids the TE but gets tripped; he was aggressive enough and under control enough to knock into the back. This delays him and eventually sends him down. Even if he didn't go down the hit was enough to allow Kovacs to tackle if necessary. (RPS -1)
O18 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Stack two deep Pass 3 Fly C. Gordon Inc
Plenty of time (pressure -2) but the underneath stuff is taken away(cover +1) and Stanzi just decides to bomb it. C. Gordon(+1, over +1) is there on an underthrown ball, taking the right angle. He's got a better chance to make a catch than the receiver. Ball goes over his head.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Pass 3 PA post C. Gordon 34
No one near Stanzi(pressure -2) and there are five guys in a short zone with one outlet receiver; a huge gap opens up between the LBs and the secondary. -1 Demens, -1 Mouton. -2 Gordon for being too far off in a cover three with three deep guys; he should be jumping the post route instead of being literally ten yards off. His tackle is almost run through, too. This was easy. (Cover -2)
M29 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA dumpoff Kovacs 11
No pressure again(-2); coverage downfield is good but the little dump route to the FB releasing out of the backfield is wide open with Demens(-1) not reacting to get over and Kovacs(-1) getting pulled downfield by a deeper route. (Cover -1)
M18 1 10 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Roh 2
No gaps anywhere again. Roh(+0.5) has slanted past a blocker and absorbed an extra guy, as has RVB(+0.5), so there are defenders in the backfield and no gaps. RB has to bounce into Floyd, who could make a tackle at the LOS with a better angle but is conservative outside(-0.5); Demens(+0.5) has scraped over the top and dives back inside to tackle.
M16 2 8 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 5 Drag Floyd 5
I swear to god I'm not slanting this to Demens(+1, cover +1) but here he gets a chuck on a TE releasing downfield and causes Stanzi to come off his primary read. Second read is a drag Floyd(+1, tackling +1) is in man on. He tracks the pass and comes up to tackle immediately on the catch. Stanzi again had a ton of time (pressure -1).
M11 3 3 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Mouton 11
No gaps inside; this is going outside. Kovacs blitzes and is picked off by the FB. Banks(-1) can't deal with a double and gets shoved inside, allowing the LT to come out on Mouton(-2), who makes a fatal mistake by fighting INSIDE of the tackle. He can get leverage on this guy, but instead fights inside and gives up the corner. Touchdown. Demens had scraped through and maybe could have tackled at the five if he had gone upfield instead of shot the gap, but in this situation I'd rather have a MLB who expects his guys to execute their assignments and hits that gap with authority than some guy who's always worried what might go wrong. Demens is playing better than anyone realizes.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-28, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Banks 20 + 15 pen
Three-fold failure on a cutback after Patterson(+1) and others cut off the frontside. 1) Banks(-1) is blown down the line way too far. 2) Kovacs(-1) tries to hop upfield of the fullback, opening the hole up wider when he needs to squeeze down; 3) Mouton(-2) again reacts late to the developing play and loses the tailback outside of him. Demens was in position to tackle, albeit for decent yardage, if he got a guy funneled to him as he reacted to the cutback and again scraped properly. Floyd adds 15 on a facemask.
M25 1 10 I-form big Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Van Bergen 1
Van Bergen(+1) pops through the line and forces another cutback. This time Mouton(+1) does get outside his blocker and heads outside to force the play back into the scraping, waiting, tackling(+1) Demens(+1).
M24 2 9 I-form twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Mouton 5
I mean, Jesus balls Mouton maintain leverage for twice in a row. Here there's nothing because RVB(+1) has driven two guys into the backfield and provided Roh a free run into one gap. Kovacs(-1) takes on the FB and gets knocked back, but Mouton(-1) is flowing upfield too hard and lets the RB outside of him; Demens has flowed down the line to shove him OOB after five when this should have been nothing. Maybe this is on Kovacs for not getting outside the FB... but the success of a play jammed up by the DL is on one, the other, or both of the guys maintaining leverage to the playside.
M19 3 4 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 7 Slant Floyd 19
Michigan sends the house. Seven guys come and Gordon is trying to run man on a guy running a slant ten yards in front of him. Doesn't matter since Floyd(-2, cover -2) gave up a slant despite setting up with inside leverage, yielding an easy TD. Maybe someone busted and Michigan was going to drop someone or two someone's into short anti-slant zones?
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-35, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins Base 3-4 Run   Inside zone Demens 4
RVB(+1) drives playside, taking two Iowa DL into the backfield a yard. Patterson(-1) has been blown out by single blocking easily, allowing the C to nail Mouton. Demens(+1) is scraping into a lot of space, and forms up to tackle at the LOS as one of the RVB blockers tries to peel, but too late.
O24 2 6 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Black 5
Nothing obvious on the frontside as Patterson flows down the line and the linebackers are attacking the playside shoulder of their blockers, but it does seem more open. Black(-1) is cut to the ground on what kind of seems like a clip but isn't called. Mouton has to radically change direction and and can only get a bump; Kovacs flows in from the edge to tackle; C. Gordon comes up to prevent YAC.
O29 3 1 I-form big Base 4-4 Penalty   False start ? -5
Likely on the C since everyone moves and the snap is fumbled.
O24 3 6 Ace 3-wide Nickel 3-4 Run   Zone stretch Demens 1
Three wide for Iowa with seven guys against six blockers in the box so there's no one to block one particular guy: Demens. Banks(+0.5) flows to cut off the playside; Patterson(-1) and RVB(-1) have been blasted off the line by single blocking but Demens(+0.5, tackling +1) avoids the trash and comes up to tackle in the cutback lane. Asking for this if you run into a stacked box on third and six (RPS +1); would be frustrated here if an Iowa fan. Mets Maize picture-paged this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-35, 8 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Ace twins twin TE Base 3-4 Pass N/A Waggle TE out Kovacs 25 (pen -5)
Entire world sucks to the run fake. I understand why, but this is just ludicrously open (cover -3) because Kovacs(-1) and Mouton(-1) the playside guys, went nuts about the run. Result is a big gainer but Iowa was in an illegal formation and it comes back. (RPS -2)
O35 1 15 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Waggle TE out Kovacs 10
Floyd comes off with a minor injury; Avery in. Same play; Michigan defending it better but does allow a short completion; Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) overruns the tackle and allows the TE to cut back inside for an extra five.
O45 2 5 Ace twins Base 4-4 Run   Inside zone Kovacs -4
Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) blitzes off the edge untouched into another inside zone, where he forms up, gets under control, and tackles in the backfield by himself. Unblocked, sure, but actually making the tackle here is a big deal since it's the difference between third and long and third and medium. RPS +1.
O41 3 9 Ace 3-wide Nickel 3-4 Pass 5 Slant Floyd 17
Floyd(-3, cover -2) again gives up an easy slant based on one stutter-step outside. Increased penalty for doing the same thing you just did like five minutes ago. Also he's still not even in position to tackle.
M42 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone stretch Mouton 2
Patterson(-1) scooped and sealed again; Demens eats OL. So does Mouton(+2.5) but he beats the block to the outside on the stretch and pops Robinson at the line. This is a great play, and one Mouton can make but doesn't too often.
M40 2 8 I-form big Base 4-4 Pass   Waggle scramble Mouton 0
Mouton(+1) reads it and *flies* upfield at Stanzi(pressure +1), forcing him to roll out further and eventually forcing him OOB slightly behind the sticks.
M40 3 8 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass   Dumpoff Avery 26
Michigan stunts, getting Van Bergen(+1, pressure +1) through on Stanzi and forcing him to dump it off really early. Avery(-2, tackling -2) comes up way, way too hard on a play where all he has to do is make a lousy ankle tackle and completely whiffs. Demens(-1, tackling -1) takes an angle too far upfield but maybe he's just doing what he does and knows a tackle eleven yards downfield is death and if he can't make it short of the sticks why bother at all? In any case, he's too far upfield after the whiff and Robinson runs through an arm tackle for a bunch of yards. This isn't even really a juke here, it's just... a freshman. I need a drink.
M14 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Mouton 1
Linebackers attacking hard given the situation; Mouton(+1) avoids one block and Demens(+0.5) comes up to pick off a guy peeling off Patterson. Mouton tackles.
M13 2 9 Ace Base 4-3 Run   Inside zone Sagesse 2
Two deep safeties as Michigan may expect pass. Sagesse(+1) at NT (finally) gets playside of his guy and drives him into the backfield, forcing Robinson outside. Demens(+0.5) is chasing from the inside, forcing it further out where Mouton(+1) has kept outside leverage against two guys and comes off to tackle. Banks had fallen here; dangerous without good play from the LBs.
M11 3 7 Ace twins Base 4-4 Pass 5 Corner T. Gordon Inc
T. Gordon tears off the corner unblocked(+1, pressure +1) and nails Stanzi quickly; Stanzi just chucks it long to prevent a sack. No one open, FWIW.
Drive Notes: FG(38), 28-38, 3 min 4th Q. Last drive not charted as it is irrelevant.

Demens? Demens Demens? Is it really pronounced "Demons"?

Sounds like you need a—





No, seriously.

You're no fun.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 5.5 1 4.5 Best performance on the day but that's just average.
Martin 0.5 1 -0.5 Clearly hurt.
Banks 3.5 4.5 -1 Is what he is. No pass rush.
Sagesse 1 2 -1 Wonder why he's not the backup NT.
Patterson 1.5 5.5 -4 Bled it slowly this time, at least.
Black 1.5 1 0.5 Did not play much except on passing downs.
Campbell - - - DNP
TOTAL 13.5 15 -1.5 Roh still mostly DE here so his plus also factors in here; the worst day for an M DL in a very, very long time. Pressure metric will confirm.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh - 1.5 -1.5 At least the humiliating pancake was the definitive last word.
Mouton 13 10 3 Frustratingly culpable for most of Iowa's cutback or bounce-out runs.
Roh 5 1 4 Okay, but not making a big impact.
Johnson 1.5 1.5 0 This is the life of a spur this year…
T. Gordon 1 - 1 see?
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros - - - DNP
Demens 11.5 3.5 8 A full and sumptuous conversation later.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - - - A couple plays only.
TOTAL 31 17.5 13.5 Competency! And terrible loss of leverage!
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 2.5 11 -8.5 Oh my god the slants.
Rogers - 5 -5 Oh my god the 31-yard TD.
Kovacs 7 6.5 0.5 The usual.
C. Gordon 2 2 0 One good angle on a deep ball, one good tackle, some excessively conservative play.
Talbott 1 - 1 One tackle, little dime in this game.
Christian - - - DNP
Avery - 5.5 -5.5 The whiff, the zone vacation, etc.
Ray Vinopal - - - DNP
TOTAL 12.5 30 -17.5 It's dead, Jim.
Pressure 6 13 -7 Loss of Martin gave Stanzi luxurious amounts of time.
Coverage 16 21 -5 Corners came in for a beating.
Tackling 7 5 2 Pretty decent until the 404.
RPS 5 8 -3 Typical.

[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

Losing Martin—even when he was in the game he was obviously not Martin—crushed the DL just like you would expect. With Martin out the only half-plausible rushers on the line are RVB and Roh, if he's coming, and since the other two guys can be single-blocked no problem all you have to do is leave one guy in to double the other two, and while they're not terrible they're not BG or Martin. Add in Patterson and Banks getting clubbed in the run game and it adds up to a very rare—possibly unprecedented—negative day for the DL to go with a –7 pressure.

The linebackers we'll get to in a sec; the secondary is just a debacle. Avery's a part of that but it's not like the starting corners are any good, either. The two slants Floyd gave up were incredibly frustrating, the second moreso than the first because you should be able to play off the receiver and tackle the slant for less than nine yards.

Demens. Wow.

Yeah. Watching the game live I thought that he was an obvious upgrade over Ezeh but expected that when I went over the game in detail I'd find he was at fault for some of the longer Iowa runs or third down conversions, or had messed up in some way that had gone unexploited. I didn't. I found little things that I thought were good plays I hadn't seen live, like this:

There Patterson gets insta-scooped and the center is going to club the MLB five yards downfield and the tailback will get a nice gain, except this is Demens and he reads the block. He attacks, turning the center into the clubee and turning the Iowa line into a mass of bodies without a gap in it. Floyd comes up to tackle.

How many times did Iowa RBs find themselves facing a line with no penetration and no holes in it? Several. How many times did previous Michigan opponents face this? Essentially never. Good DL play with crappy linebacker play yields a lot of penetration and a lot of lanes where the DL aren't. Crappy DL play with good LB play is this, a bunch of bodies on the line with no windows to squeeze through.

This doesn't look like much but he's there when Mouton forces it inside:

This was 100% consistent. When plays were turned back inside Demens was there.

Meanwhile, this was the only instance where it seemed like he was burned on play action:

Is that really on him? It seems like it's mostly on Gordon being way, way too deep. Demens was eight yards deep on his drop and I can't see any way that him being better at pass D stops this play. I minused him here, but I'm not sure if he deserves it.

He's the undisputed starter now. Not to pile on the guy, but this is the first thing that will pop into any Michigan fan's head when Obi Ezeh is mentioned for the rest of time:

Fair or not (pretty much fair), that's the coda.

So if Demens was such a ninja how did Iowa rack up all those yards on the ground?

Mouton. I know he came out +3 but I'm annoyed with that, and annoyed with him. There will be a picture pages later today or tomorrow discussing Iowa's 11-yard touchdown run on which Mouton fought inside a tackle and gave up the corner when Demens was scraping to the hole; most of Iowa's long runs were on plays where Mouton did not contain the ball and drive it back inside. Here's one:

Black didn't do Mouton a ton of favors but he can't get upfield and essentially block himself there. Force it back inside and it might be a big gainer; let him outside and it will be.

On the same play I gave Demens a minus half because he bit up, but I was torn about that since he sees Sagesse chopped and knows there's going to be a cutback lane, then doesn't get locked up by the OL. He seems like a smart player. Mouton doesn't; he makes a lot of great plays but he is still consistently making errors similar in severity to Avery's zone messes. Avery's a true freshman. He's a fifth-year senior. He is better this year, but he's still mistake-prone.

Another example:

Here a window opens up in the line. I know what Demens would do: hit it. Mouton gives up backside contain by attempting to scrape over the top on a jammed-up play and gives the cutback lane. The #1 answer to the question "why do we give up so many cutback runs" is Mouton.

Another example:

These four plays represent 54 of Robinson's 110 or so yards that came with Demens in the game. On plays where the rest of the D allowed him to be involved Iowa averaged under 2.5 YPC. This is how you get +8 as an MLB. Mouton came out positive because he made some impressive plays and blame on those outside runs was shared with the DL; he was obviously Michigan's second-best LB on the day.

Why the hell didn't they put Demens on the field before?

Man, I don't know. I assume part of it is disciplinary; I heard from a good source that he got in some minor trouble in the offseason. Not trouble enough to actually warrant a suspension or justify leaving him off the field for the first half of the year, but something that would provide some drag as he attempted to pass a senior returning starter. That's the only explanation for the Moundros dalliance. Obviously they were dissatisfied with Ezeh; to go to a converted FB walk-on when you've got Demens in your pocket there has to be something off-field, whether it's attitude or whatever.

And then Obi had a game or two where he was moderately okay, and GERG apparently really likes him, and oh hell, I don't know. As you're bitching try to remember that this is the vastly preferable scenario. For the rest of this year and the next two years Michigan will have an upperclass starter who looks competent instead of yet another freshman or position switch guy.

Isn't this all a little too good to be true?

Yes. I mean, Cam Gordon imploded as soon as I said "I like the kid!" I've just doomed Demens.

What about the other ten guys?

Right. Something more specific?

That's a horrendous performance from the DL, isn't it?

Yes. For most of the day Stanzi's experience in the pocket was this:

Martin is the Woolfolk of the defensive line and not having him made the line 70% as bad as the secondary. (The secondary doesn't have an RVB and the line isn't starting freshmen.) Patterson does well to not get blown up by a single block and Banks is reason 1B for all the cutback runs; neither can sack the quarterback unless given a gilded invitation (Banks got credit for one for Stanzi's inexplicable run OOB, FWIW). There's nothing surprising here given what we know.

The secondary?

Is the secondary.


Yeah: Kenny Demens. Also, RVB and Roh did yeoman work against extra defensive attention and still came through to the good.


All cornerbacks save Talbott and Mouton, +3 be damned.

What does it mean for Penn State and beyond?

If Martin's not full go we're permadead, but you knew that. Secondary is dire, but you knew that.

Demens's emergence is huge. If he can maintain this level of play Michigan will have gone from some of the worst linebacker play in the league to average-ish, or even better, and they've filled a gaping hole in the 2011 and 2012 defenses with the upperclass years of an effective player. There is a nonzero chance that Michigan can kinda-sorta shut down Penn State's rushing attack. If Demens comes through the next three games unscathed Michigan just picked up a huge win.

Freshman quarterbacks ahoy!



October 21st, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

Guess what folks?

The emergence of Demens in the final 6 games of this year, and the return of Woolfolk will mean that Michigan has, in effect, 9 returning starters on defense, with someone (Jibreel Black) replacing Banks and someone needed to spell Mouton.

Across the rest of the defense, especially in the 5 secondary positions, everyone returns. That bodes well for the 2011 season.

So, in total what, 20 of 24 positional starters return in 2011?

Keep the faith folks. 2011 is lining up to be a monster season. Let other teams get theirs now. Next year is when the machine purrs.


October 22nd, 2010 at 12:24 AM ^

I'm sure some combination of X-Files fandom site and Fathead decal ought to work out pretty well as a makeshift substitute, since it's pretty much what I (digitally) used.

But, hey, Brian? MGoStore?  I hereby bequeath you the idea if you want it.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

Thinking about 2011, each LB that emerges as a reliable starter is a huge deal not only for the LB corps, but also for the DL.

Consider that Patterson, Sagesse, and Banks all depart, meaning Campbell is your only experienced (using that term loosly) non-starter.  And he might be on the O-line, so that means no depth whatsoever behind RVB/Martin/Black.  The simplest way to fix that is to use Roh more often on the DL.

That said, maybe people like Heininger, Watson, Ash, Talbott, Wilkins, Paskorz, or even a stud recruit are ready to help by then...but no one should feel very confident about that.

If Demens can be relied upon, thats HUGE for the D as a whole.


October 21st, 2010 at 5:16 PM ^

Okay, my signature below with all the national championship dates including the 2011 season was a dumb prediction i made when RR was first hired. I may not be so dumb after. Hey! Maybe i got a little bit of the KNOWLEDGE in me...not THE_KNOWLEDGE, that guys an ass.


October 21st, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

similar to ezeh, i don't understand why banks gets all this PT. you almost never hear his named called on D.  i wish black would see much more PT.  granted he's prone to mistakes but conversely, he makes plays.  and he definitely gets more pressure on the QB, which is the single most important factor in slowing down the passing game.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

on those final drives by Iowa (especially the like 15 yard TD reception) when Floyd would bite so hard when the WR would just move his shoulder and jump to the outside. Only to take himself completely out of the play and the slant pattern is too open too quickly for any over-the-top safety help. Please sit 2 yards inside your man and make the remaining QBs nail 8 yd outs. At least you'll have the sideline as your friend...


October 21st, 2010 at 7:00 PM ^

Floyd is lined up to take away the slant so I'm pretty sure Gibson is telling his CBs to not let the WR get inside of him in man-to-man coverage. 

I mean, that is a pretty standard rule for a CB in that situation; take away the slant and make the QB execute a good fade over the top.

I'm assuming that Floyd simply failed to execute ... twice.  You could make the argument that he doesn't play much bump-and-run so that is why he fell for the double move on the touchdown, but there is no excuse to have the same exact thing happen again on a critical 3rd down.

If we had anything more than the 3 freshman behind him, I'm sure you would have seen Floyd yanked out of the game after the touchdown.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

Fine, I'll do it.


Floyd                                                   Avery/Talbott

     Kovacs     CGordon    Demens    TGordon

      Roh          Martin         RVB           Black


That's a not-terrible D, right?  If Cam progresses and Troy can be a CB, even better. 



October 21st, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

What happened to Herron?  I know he was hurt before, but he wasn't on the injury report this week and it seemed like they had something going in the ND game when they played Herron in Roh's spot with Roh going to DE. 


October 21st, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

in until after we were very very very very sure that Obi wasn't the answer, but this lends some credence to the Gerg-can-coach-technique hope.  It's totally iffy too given the spring-game-only evidence, but Mike Jones was solid there I thought.  We maybe MAYBE will have competent linebacking the likes of which we haven't seen since '06 next season.  Things are shaping up okay even though this is completely painful to watch.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

I've been preaching..the scheme CAN work...the personnel is...not cutting it. They are almost alway sin position to mak eplays, but missing tackles and losing 1 on 1 battles are eating us alive.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

Heading in Wisconsin is doable.  At the beginning of the season I had penciled in Illinois as the sure fire win.  Now I think Penn State is the sure fire and Illinois is a bit more difficult.  Purdue... oh how sweet revenge will be.

Number 7

October 21st, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

Nice work, as always. Incidentally, onIowa's fifth TD, the 7-man blitz that Got read and burned probably merits an rps -1, no? I started channeling Easterbrook (and hated myself for it) when I saw M invite a Iowa's experienced receivers to challenge our novice DBs by showing mega-blitz on that play. Td was practically a foregone conclusion before the snap.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

is it possible that his bad choices are something that he has had drilled into him to try to cover up for Obi's mistakes?  I don't know a terrible amount about the X's and O's, but it stands to reason that a lot of mistakes can occur when your players don't trust each other.