Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs UConn Comment Count

Brian September 8th, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Video reminder: they pop up!

Substitution notes: Michigan did make the move I suggested they might in the season preview: on passing downs they lifted the Sagesse/Banks platoon, bringing in Mike Williams as a linebacker and using Roh as a DE on a three man line. Several times they used a four-man line with Mouton and Roh the DEs and Martin/RVB the DTs.

Sagesse and Banks seemed to split the snaps about evenly. Black and Patterson got spot snaps early and more extensive time later as the game seemed in hand. Moundros got one drive in the second quarter; Herron got one drive; Jones was in the nickel package and briefly spotted Mouton when he got a cramp. Thomas Gordon got one drive early and then replaced Johnson when he went out injured.

There was no substitution in the secondary (shock!) until the final, uncharted drive.

Formation notes: It's a 3-3-5 stack unless you are a football coach, in which case it is very close to but not quite a 3-3-5 stack if you believe Rodriguez and Robinson. This is what it looks like on most plays:


And that's a stack. When the opposition goes 3x1, this is what happens:


Still a stack, just a stack reacting to a 3x1.

Sometimes Roh hops down to be a DE:


You may recognize this from last year; I called it 4-4 under since it is a shifted line, this one away from the (nominal) strength of the formation. Michigan has put RVB out by himself like they did Graham last year, so Roh is doing the exact same thing he did a year before.

I had Michigan down for 40 snaps identified as a stack, 5 in double eagle (which is a short-yardage version of the stack), 5 in the 4-4 under, 5 in which they were in their "nickel rush" package in which it's that four man line with Mouton and Roh as DEs described above, and two goal line plays. 45 of 57 plays is 79% stack, which is even stackier than I thought the defense would be in the Five Questions section of the season preview. That could be an artifact of the opponent and a relatively comfortable day in which Michigan could put away much of the playbook, but, seriously people, all that talk about how it's "not a 3-3-5" and is a "multiple" defense was bunk. It smokes a cigar constantly and gets very frustrated with Jimmy McNulty.

Anyway, on with the show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass PA Bubble Screen C. Gordon -1
UConn opens up with a PA run fake and then throws a bubble; Michigan has three guys in an area with three receivers because Floyd, Johnson, and Gordon are out there. Gordon(+1) reads it and keeps the WR inside of him, where Roh(+0.5) cleans up. No blocks defeated but contain kept. (Tackling +1, Cover +1)
O38 2 11 Shotgun Trips TE ? Run Power Mouton -3
First of what I'm told will be a profusion of awful directorial decisions. UConn gets to the line quickly and snaps the ball as we're doing player introductions. As we come back Mouton and Kovacs are nailing the RB for a sizeable loss. +1 Banks for holding up to a straight double and giving no ground; +1 Mouton for recognizing and getting to the hole before the pulling guard has any chance to get on him. Kovacs also kept contain.
O35 3 14 Shotgun Trips Bunch 3-3-5 stack Penalty False Start -- -5
Banks out, Jones in, Roh to DE on third and long. Also oops.
O30 3 19 Shotgun Trips Bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass Hitch Roh Inc
Michigan rushes three and gets Both Martin(+1) and Roh(+1) through blockers, Martin through a double-team. (Pressure +2). With eight guys in coverage and two guys in his face he has no chance and chucks a hitch well short of a receiver who was going to get like three yards even if he catches it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. That went better than expected.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Run Zone read stretch Kovacs 7
Banks(-2) blown back, crushed to the point where RVB on the backside is closer to the running back than he is. Martin(+1) tears through the line and threatens a tackle for loss, forcing the running back upfield a bit, delaying him. This doesn't matter because Kovacs(-1) takes a block and gets blown back by a WR, forcing Mouton to scrape over the top of him, tripping as he goes. He falls(-1), getting into the lineman's feet; Floyd(+1) comes up on the outside to maintain leverage on the ball and manages to get in a diving shoe-string tackle. Dangerously close to a long gainer.
O27 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 4-4 under Pass Throwback screen Mouton 4
Martin is stunting around and ends up tacking a block from one of the guards releasing downfield; he's there but occupied. Kovacs(+0.5) recognizes the play quickly, coming up outside as Martin gets past his blocker. This forces the RB inside to Mouton(+0.5), who delivers a thumping tackle but ends up falling backwards because this is the FB, not the TB. Everyone did all right. Tackling +1 I guess.
O31 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-4 under Run Lead draw Ezeh 8
I sighed in involuntary disgust here, as Ezeh(-2) completely fails to read the draw and goes into a pass drop. Mouton's attacking the LOS on a jammed-up frontside, leaving a big hole between RVB (the weakside DE in the under this year, a la BG last year), and Martin fighting through a double. Roh's slant will get him to the RB if there's the slightest delay--if Ezeh just meets the fullback, but there's no one there, Ezeh eats the fullback six yards downfield, and it's up to Mouton to run him down from behind.
O39 2 2 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass FB dumpoff -- 15
Mouton and Floyd blitz; Banks(+1) manages to trundle past the tackle on an inside slant, leaving two guys in Frazer's face(pressure +1), but the flat is wide open(cover -2) for the FB. This looks like a busted coverage given how close Roh and Ezeh are to Kovacs and Johnson, but it's hard to tell who it's on. (RPS -1),
M46 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Run Down G Mouton? 20
Doomed from the start. Mouton(-1) is up tight to the line outside Banks; he and Banks slant inside at the snap, with Banks actually banging into Martin as those three guys run themselves up the middle of the field as two UConn players pull around. Roh is cut to the ground by two guys, Ezeh has no chance but uselessly run inside a blocker, Floyd eats an OL, and there's a guy into the secondary with blockers. Kovacs forces him inside where Gordon(-0.5) fails to wrap up (tackling -1) but does manage to get the guy to fall on his spin move; other secondary members were there to clean up anyway. (RPS -2),
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass PA Post C. Gordon Inc
Dive fake to a pass play with some room in the middle for this post near the goal line as Gordon is late arriving, but not too late. The throw is low and in front of the receiver, taking the guy off his feet and making this probably a 1; Gordon might have had an opportunity to blast the guy if it had been more on target. Receiver cannot dig it out. No pressure at all on a three man rush. (Pressure -1),
M26 2 10 I-Form twins 4-4 under Run Power off tackle Sagesse 3
Roh moves down late and Gordon comes up as another LB, giving about nine guys in the box, give or take Johnson. Mouton and Kovacs set up outside their blockers; Sagesse(+1) holds up against a double, leaving Ezeh(-0.5) a free hitter. He sets up and dives at the RB's feet, taking him off balance but turning zero yards into three; Roh cleans up from the backside. ,
M23 3 7 Shotgun trips Nickel rush Pass Screen Martin Inc
Bangesse pulled for Mike Jones; four man undershifted line w/ Roh, RVB, Martin, and Mouton. Mouton(+1) tears through the LT with a juke move and Roh(+1) roars around the corner. This is actually a fake-right, throw-back-left screen, but Martin(+1) has chopped the RB down in the backfield (no PI behind LOS) and there's no one to go to, so Frazer chucks it into the ground. (Pressure +1) Note that the pass rush moves by Roh and Mouton were legit; neither tackle was looking to release downfield.,
Drive Notes: Blocked FG(41), 7-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass WR wheel Johnson Inc
UConn runs a fairly unconvincing bubble screen fake that draws Gordon up on the innermost receiver to the trips side. Johnson(-2) stares at the QB and then goes to the fake, vacating a ton of space behind him on a wheel route for a receiver who heads beyond him. The wide open pass dies in the wind and Michigan is fortunate to escape without giving up 20 yards (Cover -2) Another three man rush; Martin does get to jump at Frazer but can't bat it down.
O20 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Counter Van Bergen 4
Looks like a zone stretch in the backfield, but down blocks on the line and two linemen pull around on counter action. Van Bergen(+1) avoids a cut from one of the pulling linemen, hops over the guy, and tackles as the guy passes the LOS. Not sure what to make of Roh here, as he dangerously goes around the wide receiver blocking him when he's got unblocked guys to the outside. He comes around him fast enough to get in on the tackle. Good or bad?
O24 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel rush Pass Cross Roh Inc
Mouton DE, Martin and RVB DTs, Roh a standup DE, two LB, Johnson lined up basically as a nickelback. Michigan sends six. Roh(+1) doesn't even have to make a move, he just runs right by the tackle, forcing Frazer into an early throw and ending the drive. (Pressure +1) Good chance a crossing route would have come open against Floyd without the pressure.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 1 min 1st Q.
O26 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Pin and pull zone Ezeh -1
See the Smart Football link for a detailed explanation, but basically the two OL on the playside who are lined up to the playside of their guy block down as the other two pull around. Here Martin(+1) fights through his block and absorbs the pulling guy, allowing Ezeh(+1) to attack, drawing the FB's block and delaying the RB. Martin and Sagesse combine to tackle.
O25 2 11 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass Jailbreak screen Rogers 8
Ball is way behind the intended receiver and drags him back and outside, turning this into something like an impromptu bubble. Thomas Gordon is in the game and out there along with Rogers; both guys try to get outside leverage, giving the receiver time to hit it up behind the WR blocking for him; Ezeh's not fast enough to get out there. Rogers and Ezeh combine to tackle. Er... I think I'm going to hit Rogers with a -0.5, and probably Ezeh, too, since he did not react that quickly.
O33 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 eagle Pass Quick hitch Rogers Inc
Looks like one of Shafer's old Okie packages with a three deep shell and eight guys threatening something at the LOS, and then the LBs back out and it just looks like a 3-3-5. Another three man rush, UConn has quick throw on; Rogers(+1) is sitting on the little out by the #2 WR and attackis it, breaking it up(!) and even if he hadn't probably tackling short of the sticks. (Cover +1, RPS +1),
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass Corner Johnson 21
Similar problem to the earlier pass in which Johnson got lost and let a guy behind him. Play action fake doesn't really fool anyone as M drops into zone. Johnson(-2) gets a bit of a chuck and then no depth at all, instead running a few yards away from Roh, guarding no one in particular. This time they actually hit the wide open guy for big yardage. (Cover -2, Pressure -1). Another three man rush, this one totally neutralized.
M42 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass Quick out Floyd 9
JT Floyd must be faking a blitz because he heads towards the QB for a few steps and then starts backing out; it is too late since they're just running one of these quick outs and he's the flat guy. Easy pitch and catch and YAC. RPS-1. Coverage -1.
M33 2 1 I-Form 3-wide 4-4 under Run Iso Moundros 0
Roh moves down. Moundros is in; he and Mouton (+0.5 each) both tear into the hole, with Mouton standing up an OL and Moundros the FB; Roh(+0.5) comes from the backside to clean up after the mess.
M33 3 1 I-Form Big 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Roh 4
Either Roh or Moundros screws up because they both head inside and one guy blocks both. Blocker gets driven back a bit and ends up tripping the OL pulling through the hole, allowing Floyd to dart by him and deliver a solid tackle(+1). I blame Roh on review: -1.
M29 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle? Mouton 0
Late getting to this play; as we get to it two OL have pulled around and are trying to block Kovacs, Mouton, and Moundros. Mouton(+2) avoids a cut block, leaping over it to deliver a thumping tackle(+1) for no gain.
M29 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass Quick out Rogers Inc
Quick pass zinged high and through the hands of the intended receiver. Rogers(+1) read it well and was coming up to pound the guy on the catch anyway. (Cover +1),
M29 3 10 Shotgun Trips TE Nickel rush Pass TE Cross Kovacs 8
Rush package. Michigan sends six, with Martin(+1) breaking through and threatening terrible things; Frazer has to throw. He does to his TE, who catches it and is immediately tackled (+1, tackle +1, cover +1, RPS+1) by Kovacs short of the sticks.
M21 4 2 I-Form Big 3-3-5 eagle Run Power off tackle Banks 2
This is actually a great play and a stop. Mouton(+1) blasts downhill at the fullback and nails him at the LOS, forcing him back; Banks(+1) shucks the LT, comes under the other puling guard, meets to tackle at the LOS, and gets the hefty Shoemate down seemingly short of the first down. They give him the spot. Maybe I'm wrong... they never show a replay.
M19 1 10 Shotgun Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Power dive(?) Martin 0
Features a guard pulling around the center, who single blocks Martin, and by single blocks Martin I mean tries to single block Martin. Martin(+2) pwns the guy, comes around, and tackles with some help from Mouton(+0.5).
M19 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass TE Cross Moundros Inc
House sent, getting Moundros free up the middle. He leaps and bats the pass(+1, pressure +1, RPS+1). Floyd may have been in position to do something about it right after the catch, but maybe not.
M19 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel? Pass Dumpoff Roh 3
Kovacs drops back to safety depth; Johnson takes up a position behind the linebackers. Don't know what to call this. Three man rush finds no one open or near the QB until Roh(+0.5) threatens to spring free, forcing the dumpoff that Moundros and Rogers(+0.5) snuff. Cover +1.
Drive Notes: FG(32), 21-3, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass Fly Gordon Inc
Three man rush, so Frazer has plenty of time (pressure -1) to step up and bomb; the pass is long. Receiver had a step on Gordon(-1, cover -1).
O23 2 10 Shotgun Trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass Flare screen Ezeh Inc
I don't know WTF this is, but it develops late and has no prayer to work since Ezeh(+0.5) and Rogers(+0.5) react in time for there to be two guys ready to pound this guy behind the LOS; he drops the ball anyway. Some execution error on UConn's part, surely.
O23 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Ezeh? 21
Another three man rush and plenty of time (pressure -1); this time Frazer finds someone well downfield between guys in the zone and nails him. I don't really blame Ezeh since there's a number of guys who this could be on. Wouldn't surprise me if this is Carvin getting too deep since he seem too close to the safeties. (Cover –2)
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel rush Pass Cross Floyd Inc
Corner blitz gets Roh a free run (pressure +1, RPS+1); Frazer dumps it to a crossing route that the guy drops; Floyd(+0.5) was probably in position to tackle. (Cover +1)
O44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass HItch Floyd Inc
Johnson(+1) blitzes this time, spooking Frazer into the throw (pressure +1) that short hops; Floyd(+0.5) again seemingly in position to tackle for no YAC afterwards. (Cover +1)
O44 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel rush Pass Dig Kovacs 47
Mouton(+1) smokes the RT and gets in on Frazer(pressure +1). He has to chuck it and does as Kovacs(-2) vacates the middle of the field for some unknown reason. If he just sits back on third and ten he has a deflection or pick. Pass should be caught but is juggled ridiculously, causing Cam Gordon(-2) to alter his path to the receiver because he's going after the ball, that receiver eventually hauls in. Gordon whiffs, Floyd drags him down inside the ten. Cover –2, tackling –2.
M9 1 G Shotgun Trips TE 3-3-5 stack? Run Power off tackle Mouton 2
Get to this play at the snap as the tackles are pulling around. RVB(+1) is quick enough from the backside of the play that the backside tackle bumps into him and gets slowed down, allowing Mouton(+1) to knife upfield and meet the RB at the line; Herron jumps on his back and the pile falls the wrong way.,
M7 2 G I-Form Big 3-3-5 eagle Run Down G Ezeh 4
Mouton(+0.5) again slashes upfield, taking out a blocker; Ezeh(-1) waits and gets blown way downfield and pancaked. If he had held up a little bit the cavalry would have arrived sooner (Herron again) and the gain held down.
M3 3 G I-Form Big Goal line Run Power off tackle Ezeh 2
Kovacs(-1) blitzes into the pull to spill' the play but to do that he's got to make a pile, instead he just gets plowed by the FB. Danger. Roh's coming from behind and starts tripping the guy, Mouton cuts off the outside, Ezeh(+1) fights through the Kovacs traffic to grab Todman. Gordon(+1) delivers the final blow to stop his momentum short.
M1 4 G I-Form Big Goal line Run Power off tackle -- 1
They rush to the line and snap it before M gets set. Frustrating no TO. (RPS-2.)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-10, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass Flare screen T. Gordon 0
Excellent job by T. Gordon(+1) to gets outside the #2 WR's block and shoot directly inoo the FB's path. He's forced to cut inside, where RVB(+0.5) had avoided a cut and tackles the flying FB for no gain. (Cover +1.)
O39 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Counter pitch Ezeh 17
Counter step like this is going to be a stretch, then the RB heads out for a quick pitch; sort of like what we tried to run last year with the edge pitch that never really came off. Kovacs(+1) reads and attacks, getting past the blocker and threatening to tackle. Mouton(-1) does the same but takes a shove that could be a block in the back and gets shoved out of the way, yielding a hole because Ezeh(-2) is outside the guard who pulled around the other side to block the backside DE. RB can cut inside, running by RVB and into the secondary where Floyd and Gordon tackle.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Broken play Roh -4
This is supposed to be a power play but the RB goes to pass block. Frazer is dead meat; Roh(+2) does a nice job of avoiding a cut and taking him down for a loss.
M48 2 14 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass PA Corner Mouton 19
Mouton(-2) sucks up on second and fourteen and then drops straight back, ending up no more than two yards from Ezeh on his zone drop and leaving a huge area along the sidelines for UConn to exploit. Floyd(-1) failed to get any depth in a cover two, taking the short guy instead of the deep one. Kovacs(+0.5) comes up to tackle(+1) immediately (cover -2). RVB(+0.5) was getting there on a three-man rush.
M29 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Ezeh 9
Power play they just messed up; Michigan blitzes two guys on the backside of the play, leaving a lot of room and not many guys to the run side. (RPS-1) Martin(-1) is doubled and taken out of the play, then continues to attempt to get upfield instead of spinning back in case there's a tackle opportunity. Meanwhile, Ezeh and Mouton are taking on a WR and a pulling OL; both go outside, leaving Todman an opportunity to cut past Ezeh and into open space. Should Ezeh(-1) attempt to send Todman outside to his help? Yeah, probably. He definitely shouldn't just thunk into the OL and fall over, which he does. Gordon does make a solid tackle(+1).
M20 2 1 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Counter pitch Mouton 4
Same blocking but the counter step and the pitch out. This time Ezeh does recognize it and starts heading out to follow the back, but it doesn't matter because Kovacs(+0.5) and Mouton(+0.5) are all over it; this time Mouton doesn't get a debatably legal shove in the back and tackles, albeit weakly, yielding a first down.
M16 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Down G Mouton 6
Roh(+1) times a blitz into the heart of the line well, drawing a guard and erasing the pulling OL. Kovacs(+1) reads it, beats an OL block, and hops around the guy to grab and tackle; Mouton(-1) should be a free hitter here since Roh took two blockers but he stepped away from the play to start and has not given himself an angle to attack. Instead of finishing Kovacs' tackle with a thump he runs by and watches Kovacs dragged a considerable distance.
M10 2 4 I-Form Big 3-3-5 eagle Run Power off tackle Ezeh 1
Pulling guard slips as he comes around the line, allowing Ezeh(+0.5) and Gordon to tackle pretty much unmolested. ,
M9 3 3 Wildcat 3-3-5 stack Run QB power Mouton 3
Mouton(+1) reads and blasts the leading guard, allowing Ezeh a free hit. He forms up and lowers his shoulder, getting the tackle just short of the sticks. Would like it if he was a little faster to the hole and brought some momentum.
M6 4 In I-Form Big 3-3-5 eagle Run Down G Floyd -4
Mouton blitzes and is erased by a downblock; Kovacs kicked out, Ezeh manages to get past one guard only to get crushed off his feet by a second; Floyd is free and fills, putting his head on the ball(+2), jarring it free; Ezeh has it pop to him, recovering.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 24-10, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass Hitch Floyd Inc
Looks like some miscommunication as the receiver is not near the ball at all. Floyd(+1, cover +1) is, and if this is a little lower he's got a shot at a pick.
O28 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass Angle Patterson Inc
Michigan rushes two(!), dropping Patterson into a short zone in front of the fullback that happens to be where Frazer's outlet is. The ball clanks off Patterson's pads. (RPS+1, cover+1, Patterson+1.)
O28 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass Dumpoff Mouton 9
Roh and Mouton blitz off the edges, with Mouton(+1) coming around and threatening a sack; Jibreel Black(+1) has also fought through, preventing Frazer from stepping up. He has to get rid of it, picking a five-yard dumpoff to the FB. Floyd(-1) has dropped into that deep zone that the corner routes were exploiting earlier and does not react quickly enough to tackle at the snap; Ezeh(-0.5) is in decent position but his tackle attempt is mostly powered through, setting up fourth and short instead of fourth and two. (Pressure +1)
O37 4 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Iso -- 2
Todman burrows for the first. Martin has been out most of the last two drives, BTW, and Black is playing in RVB's stead--they're basically packing it in. Black does get through the line and almost finds himself in position to thump this, but not quite.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run Power dive Ezeh 14
Martin(-1) is pass rushing and gets way out of position, opening a crease. Ezeh(-1) sits there, not challenging a blocker, and gets pushed out of the way without delaying a tailback; Roh(-1) starts a pass drop too soon and can't recover. I guess some of this is understandable given the situation, but Roh should tackle(-1) anyway and does not.
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass Dumpoff -- Inc
Martin(+1) is triple(!) teamed on a three-man rush and still manages to claw through to spook Frazer into a throw to the underneath dumpoff (cover +1), which the guy can't handle, dropping it instead of getting his five yards.
M47 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Counter Martin 15
Martin(-1) appears to be pass rushing again, hopping to the wrong side of the C here and getting single-blocked, which leaves two guys pulling and another two releasing. Roh(-1) comes up too hard to the outside, getting kicked out; Ezeh(-1) just gets shoved out of the play.
M32 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Pin and pull zone Ezeh 4
Jones(-1) is tardy reading the play and bumps into Ezeh, causing him to trip a little; Ezeh(+1) however, is reading it fast and flows to the hole well enough to get a diving tackle. Kovacs(+0.5) squeezed it down so the RB would have to cut back into help.
M28 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass Quick out Rogers Inc
Variation on the long handoff, I guess, as the outside WRs run slants and the inside guy runs parallel to the LOS, turning back for the ball. He drops it; didn't matter since Michigan was going to crush it anyway. (Rogers +1, cover +1)
M28 3 6 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Power off tackle Banks 3
Michigan sends the house but UConn manages to run by it. (RPS-2) Michigan is very fortunate that Banks(+1) can make a diving tackle on the TB, otherwise he scores.
M25 4 3 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run Counter Ezeh 2
Same counter they were just gashed on. Roh(+0.5) manages to squeeze down enough for the RB to run up in an area where Ezeh(+2) has a chance. He's blocked but he discards the guy and makes a lunging tackle that sees the RB short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 30-10, 9 min 4th Q. Michigan strangles the game; the last Uconn drive was meaningless and saw Michigan adopt a prevent; it's not charted.

I'm noticing a distinct lack of ichor seeping from the clawed-out holes that used to be my eyes.

Yeah, that was dodgy but far from the worst-case scenario.

They completed less that half their passes!

Yeah, how about that. How about that.



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 3 - 3 Not exactly BG, but I don't think he has to be if it's a stack.
Martin 8 3 5 Late minuses for getting too pass-rush-y. Demands doubles. Good start.
Banks 5 2 3 Line will probably be something akin to this all year.
Sagesse 1 - 1 Eh.
Patterson 1 - 1 Had ball thrown into chest.
Black 1 - - Decent debut.
TOTAL 19 5 14 Were working uphill most of the day with Michigan going to a lot of three-man rushes, so this is okay.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 6 9.5 -3.5 Well, when you're almost beaten out by a walk-on it's for a reason.
Mouton 11.5 6 5.5 Smells like progress. DE moonlighting was effective.
Roh 7.5 3 4.5 Odd reliance on three man rushes.
Johnson 1 4 -3 Culprit on one long pass play and another that should have been a long pass play.
T. Gordon 1 - 1 Eh?
Jones - 1 -1 Part of the pass defense package, FWIW.
Moundros 1.5 - 1.5 Not much data.
Herron - - - Did not register a point on his drive.
TOTAL 26.5 23.5 3 Going to take a bit to get a feel for the new scheme, but they appeared to do all right. Mouton and Roh are going to be in a lot of backfields.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 6 2 4 Guh?
Rogers 4 0.5 3.5 Wha?
Kovacs 5 4 1 Keeping his head above water.
C. Gordon 2 3.5 -1.5 I don't really blame him for the long pass too much.
Talbott - - - Garbage time.
Christian - - - Garbage time.
M. Robinson - - - DNP on D.
Ray Vinopal - - - Spinal Tap's current drummer.
TOTAL 17 10 7 !?!?!?
Pressure 11 4 7 In retrospect, a better than than I thought.
Coverage 12 12 0 Even ==  major win for any secondary.
Tackling 6 4 2 No outright misses.
RPS 5 9 -4 Maybe not showing your hand?

[A reminder: 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.]

Are you telling me that every member of the secondary had a great day except Gordon?

Uh… maybe? UConn's deeper completions were on Kovacs, Ezeh, or Gordon, with the corners mostly hanging out in the flats and punishing short passes, which they did very well. And because of all those short passes the cover number is even. That's a good result for any secondary, let alone what we thought would go down with these guys.

Caveats abound. Michigan dropped eight into coverage a lot. UConn's solitary receiver with any talent got a step on Floyd and Gordon once only to see Frazer miss, and that guy dropped a couple of tough-ish catches. The wind may have prevented UConn from testing Michigan over the top much. Frazer is thoroughly mediocre. They kept dumping it to squat white guys. Etc etc.

But even if all those things were true we've seen magnificently flaming failure time and again from Michigan secondary members. On Saturday the only hint of that was the ridiculous bobbling catch that went for 47 yards, and it's hard to blame Gordon for altering his path when he saw the ball pop skyward and he thought he could intercept it. The rest of the day he took excellent angles to the ball and delivered blows. There was one shoulder-block of a tackle that came as Floyd was wrapping a guy up; other than that and the bomb he looked pretty solid. If every game ends with an opponent's longest run checking in at 20 yards, he will be a hero.

Wither Brandon Graham?

Zero sacks from 38 attempts is not an encouraging statistic. But when I looked at it closer it came out to 11-4 = 7, which is a good, if numerically low day. Mouton, Martin, and Roh flashed hints that they'll be able to get to the passer regularly, and RVB and Black chipped in a little help. On a lot of Frazer's errant or short-of-the-sticks throws he had little choice but to dump it off to the squat white guy lest he eat facemask.

UConn may not be the most talented team Michigan plays this year but it might be the most experienced: Frazer is a senior, as are three of the offensive linemen, with the others a junior and sophomore. They returned for starters on the line and both guys in the backfield. Last year they were solidly above average in sacks allowed despite the statue quarterback; they should be better this year. And they didn't bother trying deep passes or long-developing routes more than a few times. It'll be interesting to see what happens against Notre Dame, as they only return their guards from last year's offensive line and will be starting Dayne Crist for only the second time.

That nickel rush package looks promising. I wouldn't want to try to pass block against Roh, Mouton, Martin, and RVB.

How are the initial returns on the GERG Linebacker Magic theory?

Good, but not great. It's not much of a surprise when you juuuust barely beat out a walk-on for your job but Obi Ezeh's progress has been incremental at best. He did make a nice play on the last defensive play charted up there but there was an awful lot of Ezeh getting shoved around like a rag doll and even one instance of those horrible times last year when he'd go into a pass drop on a run play. I mean:

That's pretty much what his day was like. Do something sort of right, get hammered to the ground. It's really frustrating that the second best option is not only a walk-on but a walk-on who's not even going to be around next year. There are picture pages to follow with more detail.

On the other hand, Jonas Mouton didn't do anything I remember as really frustrating. There were the usual errors that come along with being a linebacker, a couple of instances of late recognition, and maybe a coverage issue or two, but he did look good. Numerically he put in his best day since he was a sophomore.

Roh looked good too. He looked far more dangerous as a pass rusher than he ever did as a freshman and did not make a ton of linebacker errors.

So was this… good?

I don't know. Michigan was playing a lot of bend, don't break and they bent and they didn't break much. Even on UConn's long drives they had to put together fourth down conversions. It would be nice if Michigan could keep those stops a yard or so shorter and force punts, but that seems like random fortune instead of something repeatable.

The shortness of the game—just eight real drives each—overstated how efficient the defense was, so don't let that yardage total influence you too much (especially if you're looking at the sub-300 total from before the last drive. By result:

  • Three and outs: 3
  • Somewhat fluky two-minute drill touchdowns: 1
  • 40-60 yard drives ending in bupkis or FG: 4

I'd be livid if this was 2002, but it's 2010 and the secondary is comprised of baling wire and duct tape. I'll take that, assume opponents can get to 24 points in a normal length game when they don't waste drives like UConn did, and say "outscore them, Denard."

This was the thing about the UConn game: there are only eight clips above. That's less than half the usual number, and that's because there weren't hugelong unexplainable touchdowns that needed to be present so I could give someone a big minus without also providing the evidence; there also weren't many OMG AWESOME plays. Michigan had just 4 TFLs. UConn had 11. It was a boring, boring day from the defense.

Maybe that's not good, exactly. But maybe it's good enough.


The cornerbacks! Jonas Mouton! !!!!

Also less thrillingly weird, Mike Martin.


Ezeh mostly, but Banks, RVB, and Sagesse need to turn in some more plays. RVB did not have a good day.

What does it mean for Notre Dame?

Oh, God, who knows? I'm about 75% of my way through the Purdue game and the offense looks very similar to UConn's except replace Juggly McHusky with Mike Floyd and I'm A Good Big East Back with what looks like a pretty rampage-y Armando Allen and that's a recipe for the above drive breakdown minus the bupkis.

On the other hand, UConn's OL has got to be a bunch better and if Michigan gets pressure by running past the pretty trundling OTs Crist is liable to freak out. In a word: variance.



September 8th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

I hope this indicates how improving/removing our worst players from last year leads to a better D (even when losing Graham)

This is so close to the shell of the defense I once dreamed about last year!


September 8th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

It makes me very very happy to see Mouton get a solid + number.  Watching live (-ish) I thought he had a good day, the UFR bears that out, and what that means to me is that if Mouton can make a nice Stevie Brown-esque resurgence then we have two of three linebacker spots in good shape.  That's much better than last year.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:19 PM ^

On the insane juggling catch, my first thought was, well "Dammit!", then it was "Well, whatchagonnado?", but then it was "Will Brian ding the secondary for that, or will be go with, well, it's just one of those things."

Glad to see it was the latter.  When the biggest play is basically a end of the year highlight reel catch, I think that's a pretty good day for the secondary?


September 9th, 2010 at 12:02 AM ^

Cam needed to hit him and jar that ball loose. There was nothing but Michigan guys around to snag the ball that was about to be propelled off that guy and into the hands of a Michigan player giving them their 1st INT of the year and that much needed boost of self-esteem.


September 9th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

the rule now includes hits above shoulder for defenseless players, which include recievers turned to catch the ball.  Cam likes to pop people with his helmet, so I hope he knows to make a good tackle in such a situation, and not pop him up high.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:22 PM ^

On the big fumble play ESPN's guys seemed to think Ezeh had made that play by occupying two blockers so Floyd could be a free hitter.  Now obviously you, me, and my dog have more football knowledge than Matt Millen, but maybe a plus or two is in order for Ezeh there?

As always though absolutely brilliant stuff, UFR's continue to be the best thing on the internet.


September 8th, 2010 at 7:51 PM ^

Well yes he did take on two blockers, freeing up Floyd.

But keep in mind that this was a 4th and 1 play from inside the 5. I can't imagine the defense on that play was designed to free up our CB to make the stop.

Bottom line is that Floyd did a nice job of putting helmet on ball. But most of the time, that play results in a 1st and Goal or maybe a TD.


September 8th, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

What exactly should Ezeh do better on that play?  I mean, when you have two blockers in your path, there's not much that ANY middle linebacker can do...

Personally, I think these UFRs are sometimes a little too tough on the linebackers.  Not that the analysis is incorrect, but that the numbers make them look less successful than they are.  Sometimes a linebacker's job truly is to take on a blocker or two, especially in a three-man front. 

Remember how Ray Lewis didn't like moving to a 3-4 defense because it meant that he had to take on offensive linemen instead of roaming free?  If perhaps the best MLB in the NFL doesn't like taking on blocks from 325 lb. offensive guards, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge Ezeh harshly for failing to make a tackle when somebody who outweighs him by 70 pounds gets in his way...

Kilgore Trout

September 8th, 2010 at 9:33 PM ^

I think this play almost has to be a RPS -1.  It's a power run where there is literally no defensive lineman at the point of attack.  The fullback blasts the safety / linebacker and the tackle dominates the blitzing WLB.  The MLB (Ezeh) is the next man to the point and while fighting off one block, gets nailed by a pulling guard with a full head of steam.  Ezeh doesn't actually get knocked down, but fights through and is aware enough to grab the loose ball.  Roh stumbles into the picture late.  I'd say the combo of Floyd and Ezeh saved an easy touchdown from a clear (in my mind) RPS mistake.  If there's an additional negative, it would have to be for Kovacs and Mouton getting completely neutralized.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 8th, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

Kudos to Ezeh for making an unEzehlike play.  He got inside the first block, so the second guy had to block him.  When the first guy recovered to block Ezeh, it was too late for the second guy to lead the ball carrier through the hole, and instead of getting blocked, Floyd was free to make the hit.  And OMGWTF Ezeh grabs and holds onto the damn ball!


Unfortunately, I wonder if this just falls under Ezeh = broken (analog) clock.

Gulo Gulo Luscus

September 9th, 2010 at 2:05 AM ^

as others have said, LBs may take on big lead blockers to free up a tackling lane.  if that was the plan, it certainly worked out.  floyd put a hat on it and ezeh showed great awareness staying up and grabbing the fumble.

"having said that..."

last year ezeh frequently engaged rather than avoided blockers, even in the open field.  i'd like to see him drop that habit this year, and expect to see plenty of moundros if he doesn't.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

I feel like I have to watch the video clips ten times before I begin understanding what's going on in the play and identify all the main players, but the pop up video is great.

That the defense put up this type of performance against an offense that was this experienced and returned that many starters seems significant enough feel confident with a high does of cautious giddyness going forward.

These these things are much more fun to read 'cover-to-cover' after a win.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

While the defense played very well overall it did still give up 4 plays of 20 yards or more including one of which that was 47 yards.  The performance was much better then most of last season and should only continue to get better as the season goes on.  Thanks for the hard work Brian.  Awesome first UFR of the season.  If you would have told me before the UConn game that majority of our secondary would have positive games, as well as the D-line and most of the linebackers I would say you were nuts.  Obviously there has been great progression in the offseason and our defense might be a little bit better then we thought it would.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Thanks as always for the work.  Two nitpicks -- in your substitution intro, you mention Mike Williams coming in.  Perhaps you had the duck/juice thing on your brain, but don't you mean Mike Jones?  Second, I think Obi deserved more credit on the fumble recovery -- he took on two blockers (allowing Floyd to be a free hitter), but still did not get knocked off his feet, which ultimately meant he was in position to make the recovery.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Did Emilien not play, or did he only play during the uncharted drive?  If the latter, how did he look?  Does any of this help explain the transfer?


Question McQuestiony


September 8th, 2010 at 6:40 PM ^

I'm a little disheartened by the solidly negative RPS metric, but as you said, it might have been just because they didn't need to show it.

I really liked the play where they were showing blitz blitz blitz man coverage and backed out right before the snap.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

opponents to 24 points, we are going to be ok most of the time. 

I agree with the above.  Mouton looked serviceable.  Ezeh and Moundros...no idea.  The secondary did what it was supposed to do, but may make Michael Floyd look like a world beater this weekend.  Pass rush is the key.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:46 PM ^

The most disheartening thing about Ezeh is that he has to be the SOFTEST MLB I've ever seen play the game of football. He almost always accepts the blocks and falls to the ground instantly. I mean hell pull the guys facemask or something...just show me there is a little violence in your body. if he could just meet pulling guards and stalemate them I would be completely satisfied with him.

As a RB you almost have no fear of him meeting you one on one...Heck, i get the feeling Ezeh would rather hug you instead of driving you through the ground and that just not a good feeling to have about your 4 year starting MLB.

Very disappointed that a kid who has had that must experience still looks like a first year bright eyes freshman just seeing the field for the 1st time.


September 8th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

I realize we don't have a huge data set from which to analyze, but I was really please with the bend-don't-break play of our secondary against UConn.  If Roh and the D line can get more pressure on ND this week, I think the secondary has chance to look decent for the 2nd week in a row. 


September 8th, 2010 at 6:58 PM ^

I'm wondering what coach, besides RichRod, is most responsible for not calling the timeout before UConn lined up for their 4th down TD.  Everything always comes back to the head coach, but should we be laying some blame down on GERG too or not?

That was one of the few things that I look back on in the game and say that it was a flat-out horrible mistake by RichRod.  To the best of my knowledge, he wasn't frantically running to a ref to call timeout either, he just let it go.

Besides that, I was satisfied with the defense.  I do hope that Brian is right and we kept as much in the bag as possible for ND and beyond.


September 8th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

Bad on the coaches, but the players screwed up too. At least ONE person on the field (MLB?)has to have the awareness to see the quick snap coming, realize the D is nowhere near being lined up, and signal for a timeout like a madman. Not only did they give up the TD, but Carvin was left totally exposed and gets injured as a result.


September 8th, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

Doesn't seem like a major pass rushing threat.  Is his inclusion in the QB-Terror line (with Roh/Martin/Mouton) intended to impede the vision of the QB or maybe bat some passes down (given his height)?  I understand it might be a get-your-best-guy-out-there strategy, but given the rotating thats happening anyway (Jones for Bangesse), maybe another DL (Black?) should be out there in obvious passing downs to keep RVB fresh.


September 8th, 2010 at 7:15 PM ^

I can't decide what I'm more excited about, Mouton and JT Floyd with positive numbers or the delicious "The Wire" reference right before the charting.  And this is why I like September.



September 8th, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

Good Stuff, Brian......here's to the James Rogers Era at CB!!!

Also, Juggly McHusky, lol......i think I saw a girl by that name strip in some dive bar near Pellston. Who knew she also had college football eligibility


September 8th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

Very accurate summary from where I sit.  The difference is this week we have to get to Crist, which I think we will, hopefully creating sacks and turnovers.