Upon Further Review 2010: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 16th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Formation notes: Michigan did all its usual stuff. Notre Dame was interesting: they started the game in a 4-3 instead of the 3-4 they are purported to run. Then they switched around a bit. ND 3-4:


ND 4-3, although it's partially obscured:


Then after halftime they started moving from one to the other when Robinson lifted his leg to signal for the snap. This caused a lot of issues; I'm concerned that Michigan will still be stuck tipping their snap count when a Michigan State team that jumped a ton of snaps last year comes to town. I don't recall them doing that against UConn, so maybe that's just a road thing.

Substitution notes: Nothing too shocking. Grady, Robinson, Koger, and Webb fought over snaps with Odoms, Roundtree, and Stonum taking most of the 3WR snaps. Stokes got some time but was not targeted. Smith and Shaw were the only running backs except in the BEEF MACHINE package, in which Lewan, Washington, and Campbell come in with Hopkins to make sure the Illinois thing Never Happens Again.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 4
Koger lined up to the same side as the RB; RB kicks back to pick up backside blocks and Koger acts as a lead blocker. Dorrestein(+1) cuts the backside DT out of the play, giving Robinson(-1) a major cutback crease he could hit for big yardage, but he doesn't see it and continues outside, where Schilling(-1) fails to seal Williams, instead moving out on Te'o and allowing the DT to grab Robinson at the LOS. A bunch of shoving ensues, ending up with four yards.
RUN++ Dorrestein RUN- Robinson, Schilling
M24 2 6 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA rollout hitch Odoms 7
Zone read fake with Shaw a lead blocker on the edge. Odoms just runs a little stop route at the sticks and Robinson hits him for the first down. This one is a bit high but not too bad. Immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 2
A slight variant on the lead draw from last week sees Michigan go off tackle to the trips side, hooking the playside DE with the idea being to hit it up just outside of him. Huyge(+1) does seal off the guy, but Calabrese is moving way too fast for Schilling to get out on him and he fills the hole to tackle after a minimal gain. Good play, but you can see the Irish LBs creeping forward at the snap, which Michigan will use later. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Huyge RUN- Schilling, I guess.
M33 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 3
Same thing, but this time Huyge's(-1) guy pushes him into the backfield and disengages to tackle. And you know what? The receivers are not blocking on this. They're looking back at Robinson for a pass, and they are wiiiiiide open. I'm ZR-1ing this. BWS picture paged this along with the Roundtree TD coming up.
RUN++ RUN- Huyge
M36 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE flat Koger Inc
Robinson first looks to a hitch on the far side of the field; covered. M has slid the protection and then leaked Koger out into the flat, so Robinson starts a roll that way and tossed it out to Koger. It's a bit in front of him, sort of tough but catchable, and dropped. 50-50 this is a first down if caught; Robinson probably should have just taken off. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q. Little bit disappointed there's no PA early here with the ND linebackers clearly hyped up to stop everything, but I guess there might have been on that odd play where the receivers weren't blocking.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass PA seam Roundtree 31
Go back to the last clip: this is the exact same thing except Robinson throws it to the blindingly wide open Roundtree for a touchdown. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +3) Picture paged as well.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 4
DE maintaining contain; correct read (ZR+1) Again the ND linebackers are just crashing down on this stuff; I'm not sure if this is good recognition or plain irresponsible. Here it's good. Schilling only does okay with the DT, can't seal him but also doesn't lose him. Molk can't do much with Calabrese since he's flowing downhill so fast. With frontside blocked off Shaw cuts it behind Schilling, where the backside DE and the DT combine to tackle. This is a play on which everyone was.
M48 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Inside zone Shaw 1
This one is all on Shaw(-2) because the OL has this creased with an excellent block from Omameh(+1) driving the DT back and preventing Calabrese from shucking off Molk(+1); he would have a crease and likely a first down if he just hits it up in the hole. Instead he starts dancing, trying to cut behind Schilling and getting nothing. Bubble looks open if Denard keeps, FWIW.
RUN++ Omameh, Molk RUN- Shaw(2)
M49 3 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Stonum -2
Robinson throws this well to far outside and high, giving Webb no angle to block Walls, who makes a TFL. I can't tell but it looks like the playside DE may have gotten a finger on the ball. The wobble in the throw makes me think it was deflected. (BA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Odoms 9
Just a straight dropback pass; Robinson zips one on the money to Odoms, who ran off the corner and came back to the ball; good route. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M44 2 1 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 13
This time Schilling(+1) and Molk(+1) execute the scoop perfectly, walling off Calabrese; Denard(+1) sets up his blocks to force the DE inside and Te'o outside and then zips up in the hole provided by the scoop. He then jukes Motta out of his jock and gets the ball punched out by Te'o from behind; Smith hops on it. Uh... I'm not going to deal with fumbles as part of the run charting for simplicity's sake.
RUN++ Schilling, Molk, Robinson RUN-
O43 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Odoms 10
Virtual replay of first play on drive, with Michigan going max pro and Odoms coming back to the ball smartly. Robinson hits him in the numbers. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O33 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass PA seam Odoms 32
ND seems dead on this at the snap as they have one hard corner on Stonum, a safety splitting Odoms and Roundtree, one deep safety too far inside, and everyone else basically in the box. Safety hesitates on the play action fake and Odoms is running wide open downfield; Denard hits him. A little behind Odoms, so he has to spin to grab it. This may prevent the TD. (CA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS+3)
O1 1 G BEEF MACHINE 3 2 0 Goal line Run Iso Hopkins 1
Yeah, let's massively overreact to last year's Illinois debacle. No, seriously. I totally endorse this course of action. Lewan, Washington, and Campbell come in, as does Hopkins, and they bellow in rage as the ball is snapped. The stampede ends a half foot into the endzone. Excelsior!
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 36
Excellent read as Te'o is either blitzing or just super irresponsible and with the backside end getting blocked there is no one covering on the backside except the LB lined up over the slot. Robinson cuts upfield and then smoothly jukes past him, picking up a downfield block from TRob(+1); Motta just barely has an angle on him. (ZR+1, RPS+3)
RUN++ Robinson(2), Dorrestein, TRob RUN-
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass PA quick seam Grady Inc
Play action fake to a quick seam to Grady; Motta is charging this down but this looks like it will be complete except for the DL who bats the ball down at the line. (BA, 0, protection NA)
M44 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Robinson 6
Opens up as ND is rushing just three but that extra guy in coverage makes the space after he clears the line minimal. This time Robinson doesn't do a great job of setting up his blocks and ends up making Schilling useless and having Grady lose his guy; still six.
RUN++ Molk RUN-
50 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run TGDCD Shaw 1
ND blitzes the slot LB and he forms up and is able to slide down on Shaw after the handoff, causing a slight delay as he dives to grab Shaw's legs. Schilling(-1) does not handle Williams, who comes off of him to tackle. Possible that without the blitzing LB Shaw squeezes through this hole and bursts into the secondary. Good play by ND.
RUN++ RUN- Schilling
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 12 min 2nd Q. I would think about going for this but it's tough when you haven't been able to get much consistently.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Deep curl Odoms 21
This is a curl-flat combo that we'll see a lot where the slot guy runs a little out route and the outside guy runs a deeper curl, forcing the corner to pick between the high and low receivers. This is the play on which Roundtree got killed against UConn. Here it's Roundtree in the same spot but Odoms fights past the jam from the corner and settles down in the spot that exists in cover two; Denard rolls and hits him. A bit high but perhaps necessary to get it over guys. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) This was picture paged earlier this week.
M35 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Smith 2
Late move from two-high, which ND has spent the entire game in to date (which says a lot about their faith in their LBs, faith that's been largely repaid), to one-high. Motta comes down on the slot guy. Here Michigan has a major opportunity to hit something with Calabrese flowing to the front side of the play, Molk(+1) blasting Williams downfield, Omameh(+1) sealing the other DT, and Te'o scraping out to contain Robinson. There's a big cutback lane for Smith except for Huyge(-2) temporarily walling off the backside DE but then uselessly crashing into the frontside of the play, allowing his guy to tackle Smith for little gain.
RUN++ Molk, Omameh RUN- Huyge(-2)
M37 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead outside Robinson 13
Another late move sends the slot LB on a blitz, which should kill this play since it's another lead draw where Robinson running right into it, but Robinson reads it and smoothly cuts to the backside. This happens quickly enough that he darts through the gap between good blocks from Omameh(+1) and Dorrestein(+1) to burst into the secondary, where Huyge(+1) gets a downfield block and Robinson picks up the first. RPS-1. Robinson gets dinged on the play, Gardner comes in.
RUN++ Omameh, Huyge, Dorrestein, Robinson(2) RUN-
50 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 4
Suddenly rare stretch; Michigan cannot seal either DT and there's no frontside holes; +1 to Shaw for realizing this and hitting it up as a lead blocker. There could be a big cutback lane but for Huyge(-1) not getting a cut, instead trying to wall the guy off and getting squeezed down; Smith has nowhere to go. Correct handoff with the slot LB lying in wait. (ZR+1)
RUN++ Shaw RUN- Huyge
O46 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Koger Inc
Robinson looks to a hitch on the short side he decides against, then has to deal with an unblocked delayed blitz from Calabrese, which he dodges. He thinks about running for a second then attempts to go to the Koger out that was his second read before Calabrese got involved, chucking an off-balance duck that Motta nearly intercepts. Robinson made the right read on the hitch and would have had a right read on the Koger out but for the delay. After the delay, though, it's time to put it in the stands. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, team -1, Smith -1)
O46 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Throwaway Roundtree Inc
Late move to one high; ND sends five, Schilling fails to pick up on the blitz coming inside of Smith. Blitzer gets a free run on Denard, who chucks it away. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 7 (pen -15)
A pull! Schilling and Webb block down as Huyge pulls around and Shaw acts as a lead blocker. This catches ND off guard. Webb(+1) seals the DE; Shaw and Huyge(+1 each) get downfield blocks and it's only Calabrese avoiding a block from Molk(-1) and making a good play in space that holds this down. Dorrestein is called for clipping for executing what looks exactly like every other cut block on the backside of a running play. WTF.
RUN++ Webb, Huyge, Shaw RUN- Molk
M22 1 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Deep hitch Stonum Inc
We come back to this late as Michigan goes max pro again and Robinson finds a hole in the zone for Stonum. This isn't the greatest throw in the world but you can make an argument it's an attempt to keep it away from the linebacker underneath. It's definitely catchable, if a bit low, and Stonum dives for it. He can't bring it in. I have to give this a 2 but I kind of want to give it a 3; this a spot where you have to help your QB out. If he'd thrown it further inside chances are the LB gets a hand on it. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
M22 2 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Flare screen Shaw Inc
Te'o has this dead to rights (srsly, dead to rights) even if caught, but Robinson doesn't do Shaw any favors by throwing it in front of him (MA, 1, screen, RPS-1)
M22 3 25 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Fly Stonum Inc
It's either this or a give up and punt; Stonum does have a step on his guy but Robinson throws it well long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 6 min 2nd Q. Verrry questionable call kills this drive dead.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M2 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 2
ND jumping this and prevents anyone from getting sealed on the frontside, so Robinson cuts behind the Molk/Omameh double and gets tackled by the guy Schilling couldn't seal. Omameh(+1) had driven his guy back and if Dorrestein(-1) had gotten a good kickout there was room. Also Robinson could have cut back behind Schilling for a better gain.
RUN++ Omameh, Koger RUN- Schilling, Dorrestein
M4 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 7
Late shift to one high. Michigan tries to pull guys around but charging ND defenders take them out; Smith(+1) does a great job to cut the charging slot LB and Schilling(+1) improvises to cut off a penetrating DT. Koger(+1) gets an extended block on Te'o that Robinson can cut behind and near the first down.
RUN++ Smith, Schilling, Koger RUN-
M11 3 1 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith 2
Williams crushes Molk(-1) back but Schilling and Huyge(+1 each) handle the playside DE and McColgan gets Calabrese, giving Smith the room to get the first.
RUN++ Schilling, Huyge, McColgan RUN- Molk
M13 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass Waggle FB flat McColgan Inc
Batted as Robinson turns his head around and throws. (BA, 0, protection NA) ND had a blitz on that was perfectly suited for this play (RPS -1).
M13 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB stretch Robinson 87
Molk(+1) finally gets a good reach on Williams, sealing him off though he does get driven back some. Schilling seals Calabrese away. As Robinson approaches the line it doesn't look like he has anything, so he slows up enough for a crease to appear between Dorrestein and Koger as Dorrestein's guy attempts to hop inside, thinking he will cut it up. Robinson then accelerates outside. Downfield Omameh(+3) has obliterated Te'o, pancaking him and wiping out an attacking safety for good measure. Roundtree(+1) cuts his guy to the ground; Odoms just headbutts his all the way to the sideline, and Denard is set free. Engage turbo.
RUN++ Omameh(3), Molk, Odoms, Roundtree, Robinson(3), Schilling RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Penalty False start Omameh -5
Okay, so Notre Dame comes out of the locker room in the second half and starts shifting its line when Denard raises his foot for the snap. Here they show a 3-4 and shift to a 4-3. Omameh gets flagged for a false start.
M25 1 15 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Short bubble Roundtree 9
This is the evolution of the bubble screen: no route, slot receiver hangs out, slot LB takes one step towards the zone fake, and Robinson hits Roundtree, who runs straight upfield into the open space. (CA, 3, screen)
M34 2 6 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Run QB lead outside Robinson 1
Smith moves down from the slot into the box when they execute the shift, then attacks Shaw(-1, though a harsh one) right at the LOS, cutting off any possible holes for Robinson. He starts improvising and gets taken down when he tries to cut back. (RPS -1)
RUN++ RUN- Shaw
M35 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Roundtree -3
Te'o tears ass after this and blows it up right in the backfield; not sure how you're supposed to block this or if this is actually a read; if it is the other side is way more likely to result in a first down. (CA, 3, screen, RPS-1) Michigan will start using this, too.
Drive Notes: Punt, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Smith 0
My frustration from this game is that Michigan is not exploiting these run-nuts LBs. Every play they are selling out to kill runs and Michigan has gashed them with play action but not enough. Anyway: ND shifts right before the play and their solution to the inside zone is to slant the DE underneath the backside T, which the ND guy does, beating Huyge(-1) badly. Meanwhile, two separate ND LBs have Robinson contain and Calabrese hits the LOS immediately. They are absolutely ripe for PA. (RPS-1)
RUN++ RUN- Huyge
M17 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Pass Hitch Odoms Inc
Good protection; Robinson has time to throw, but double-clutches the ball and looks decidedly uncomfortable as a he turfs a ball in the direction of an open Odoms. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M17 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 2
I think ND is stunting here so the NT is just about to disengage and run away to the other side of the play when he reads draw, which means he's in a very tough position for Molk to do anything about and can force Robinson upfield where other DL can take him down from behind. (RPS-1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 shift Run QB lead draw Robinson 3
Late shift brings a safety down and the slot LB in, which forces Shaw to block that LB, which leaves Te'o totally unblocked to tackle. Robinson takes a shot on this play. (RPS-1)
M30 2 7 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 10
A classic; with the slot LB backing out Grady can go dive at his feet at the first down marker and though he doesn't get him down the delay is more than enough with Odoms(+1) mountain-goating Walls on the outside. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Odoms RUN-
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Shaw 5
No frontside to this play because Dorrestein cannot deal with the backside DT, probably because of the late move; Omameh(+1) does smack Calabrese downfield, and the DE was held outside by the fake (ZR+1) long enough for Shaw to hit it up behind Dorrestein, who did maintain his position and block long enough so that this wasn't a total loss. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Omameh RUN-
M45 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA flare draw Robinson 14
Pump fake to the flare screen sends Te'o screaming after Shaw; Molk(+1) crushes the backup NT out of the hole as Huyge(+1) kicks out the DT and Omameh(+1) shoves the other one upfield. There's a crease and Robinson's zipping through it, finally getting tackled when a corner comes from the backside after he cuts it outside, away from the safeties. RPS+1.
RUN++ Robinson, Omameh, Molk, Huyge RUN-
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 1
Robinson thinks the backside DE is too far inside and pulls it out, and he's right but the safety coming down provides contain (ZR-1), allowing Calabrese, who Omameh didn't have an angle on if it wasn't the handoff, to join and tackle. Fortunately this is actually a short gain. (Run minus: Robinson.)
O40 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Pass PA short seam Roundtree 15
Outside lead fake that's the same play Roundtree scored on earlier. LBs freak out again; this time the other deep safety is heading right for Roundtree from the snap. Since the throw is a bit high and Roundtree has to leap to get it he gets crushed, but hangs on. Throw was decent enough, just a good play from the ND safety. (CA, 1, protection NA)
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 0 (Pen -10)
Guh. Schilling(-1) and Molk(-1) get driven back by the NT, which erases any space for a cut; Molk(another -1) compounds things by holding the guy. Shaw(-1) whiffs on a block of Calabrese and Smith is tackled for nothing. Omameh(+1) did get a good block, FWIW.
RUN++ Omameh RUN- Schilling, Shaw, Molk(2)
O35 1 20 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 5
This time Odoms(-1) gets bowled over, and so does Grady, so Roundtree gets tripped after an okay gain. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ RUN- Odoms
O30 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run PA flare draw Robinson 8
Omameh(+1) again handles a charging DE/DT type and the fake pulls the NT and Te'o well outside, but not as far as last time. This allows Te'o to recover and tackle downfield. Molk(+1) got a good block downfield and special commendation to Roundtree(+1) for plastering the slot LB despite its lack of relevance. The flare screen was totally open. Not that this was a bad idea. (RPS+1)
RUN++ Omameh, Molk, Roundtree RUN-
O22 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Roundtree Inc
ND blitzes right into this and Smith(-2) whiffs on the lead block, forcing Robinson to pull up and throw it before he gets sacked. He's hit as he throws and the pass is long. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -2, RPS-1)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(39), 21-17, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 shift Run Zone read keeper Robinson 0
Late shift with the slot LB charging of the edge. Koger(+1) does a great job to neutralize him and Robinson pulls it, which is a decision I'm indifferent about on the backside but a super-aggressive Calabrese would have killed this if not pulled so whatever. PLAY ACTION, come on. Robinson(-1) has the edge and will pick up probably five yards if he just plows upfield but he decides to try and cut outside the safety, which does not work and results in no gain.
RUN++ Koger RUN- Robinson
O25 2 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Inside zone Shaw 6 (pen -8)
Come on. ND linemen have been doing this all day and not getting called for it but Omameh(-2) reaches outside the pads of a DT and does the only thing that's keeping Mike Martin from eating Crist's face and gets a weak holding call. Way to be consistent. The rest of the play is a correct handoff (ZR+1) with the DE containing and Koger heading outside to pop the slot LB, a good block on Te'o by Dorrestein(+1), and Calabrese again blasting into the play , jamming up any potential frontside creases and forcing a cutback from Shaw that he takes and does as well as he can with. (RPS-1)
RUN++ Dorrestein RUN- Omameh(2)
O33 2 18 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Roundtree Inc
Roundtree is hand-wavingly wide open as he breaks through the linebacker level, which Robinson realizes. He throws the ball on a line, unfortunately, allowing Te'o to knock it down and almost intercept. Loft that, man. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O33 3 18 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Shaw Inc
This is probably his best option as Shaw does have a small window in which he can catch the ball for a first down; Robinson throws it well long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Pooch punt, 21-17, 3 min 3rd Q. Given the down and distance I would have preferred a draw or something on second or third down to give M a chance on fourth.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Zone read stretch Smith 2
Similar thing to many other plays where the ND D's total sellout on the run makes it very difficult to gain anything. Huyge(-1) gets blasted back by his guy and beaten to the inside, which is very bad for a tackle; Dorrestein(-1) can't cut his guy, and the late shift means Molk can't seal the NT, leaving Smith able to do nothing but cut back into a lot of bodies. (RPS -1) Both Gs do get good second level blocks; Omameh is so much better in space than battling Reyes.
RUN++ Omameh, Schilling RUN- Huyge, Dorrestein, Molk
M43 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB off tackle Robinson 5
Webb(+1) blocks down and Dorrestein(+1) pulls around, which gets both guys on the end sealed away. So it's Smith(+1) getting enough of Calabrese to get Robinson outside and he's cruising in the open field until Te'o, who is the backside MLB(!) on this play runs him down. This is what they mean by sideline to sideline. I talked crap about Te'o in the preview but I take it all back. I'd be surprised if M plays a better linebacker all year. Michigan got ND on this play and Te'o kept it down to five instead of like 15.
RUN++ Webb, Dorrestein, Smith RUN-
M48 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Basically Forcier Stonum 12
Michigan runs the PA QB outside again and this time ND drops back into it. Robinson sees this, does not throw the ball, and ends up halted in the backfield with mofos coming after him. He thinks about running and is cut off by Smith. He reverses field and evades two more ND players, pulls the ball out from his elbow, and pulls up to heave a ball to an open Stonum for the first down and more. The pass was wobbly, but the situation was desperate, and so... (DO, 2, protection NA). Tate's on the sideline saying
"I taught him that."
O40 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run QB stretch Robinson 5
This time Molk(+1) does get a seal on Williams, allowing Robinson a seam between the C and T that has Schilling and Smith. Huyge does okay but does not fully kick out the DE, who comes from behind to grab Robinson's jersey and slow him down. Schilling whiffs on Te'o but it shouldn't matter since it's far enough outside that he won't be able to recover; this does cause him to peel off. Smith(-1) does the same thing instead of take on the safety, who finishes the tackle.
RUN++ Molk RUN- Smith
O35 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Odoms 6
Zinged in with good timing, slightly low. Odoms brings it in for the first and his knees are on the ground. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run Belly handoff Smith 6
Not 100% clear on why this one works. ND shifts and M runs the belly at them. The difference here is that the primary hole is on the backside of the play instead of right behind the C. Omameh(+1) seals and pancakes the DT. Impressive even if it's the backup. Webb(+1) kicks out the DE and Dorrestein(+1) pancakes Te'o. Safety fills quickly to hold it down.
RUN++ Omameh, Webb, Dorrestein RUN-
O23 2 4 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Smith 0
Corner(!) comes down to blitz late, creating an eight-man front. Schilling(-2) starts moving to the second level immediately but knows he's screwed up as the slanting backside DE is way inside of Huyge, who has no help; he peels back uselessly as Huyge gets driven backwards. Blitzing CB pulls Koger and Smith has a guy in the backfield being blocked and another one behind him unblocked; he manages to slide under that tackle and turn -2 into 0. (RPS-1)
RUN++ RUN- Schilling(2)
O23 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Rollout corner Roundtree Inc
Roll away from some pressure as ND brings five; M picks it up. Robinson stops and forms up. Roundtree's running to the front corner of the endzone with a safety right on his hip. Robinson lofts a perfect pass that's in the only spot Roundtree has a shot at making this catch. Because of the excellent D, it's still a difficult over-the-shoulder catch. He doesn't make it. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(40), 21-17, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout hitch Odoms 7
This is the other thing you can do to screw with cover-two corners: run a hitch with a corner route behind it. On this play M hits the hitch as Walls turns his hips; he still recovers to hit immediately. Odoms hangs on. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M22 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout flat Roundtree 7
This wasn't picture paged but the route concept was. Here Robinson hits the quick flat right as the CB chucks the deeper WR, finding the man open for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 shift Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 5
Late move to one-high with the safety coming down. Grady(-1) does not get an effective block on the safety but Roundtree(+1) manages to sort of run through the tackle, getting forward for good yardage. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Roundtree RUN- Grady
M34 2 5 Shotgun H-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB stretch Robinson 11
So: here ND does not move late and the OL does much better. Molk(+1) seals the backup NT no problem; he comes underneath but can't really do anything about anything. Omameh(+2) completely plows Te'o: he is really great in space. This is just as good a block as he got on the 87-yarder. Koger and Dorrestein kick guys to the outside but with Molk coming back to cut the NT their jobs are super easy. Backside LB/DE is the guy who just barely manages to trip Robinson up as it looks like he might be jetting for the endzone. Srsly: Omameh's block. Lethal.
RUN++ Omameh(2), Molk, Roundtree RUN-
M45 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen TRob 10 (Pen -15)
Not blocked well. Grady does just enough to sort of cut the slot LB and Odoms lets the CB inside of him a bit, though not enough to blow up the play. This gives TRob the opportunity to dart around for near first down yardage. Grady gets a completely ludicrous penalty for a standard cut block… one he missed. (CA, 3, screen)
M31 1 24 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 shift Run PA flare draw Robinson 11
Opens up as Omameh(+1) seals out the DT and not just because of his momentum. Te'o is watching for this now and not as wildly out of position but he's still not there to stop it immediately; Robinson(+1) WOOPS past Calabrese; the two MLBs whack into each other and yakety-sax themselves to the ground. Really wish Robinson had made a hard cut back upfield for more yardage; instead he lowers his shoulder into a CB. (RPS +1)
RUN++ Omameh, Robinson RUN-
M42 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Flare screen Shaw 11
Robinson fumbles the snap but picks it up and throws it to Shaw pretty much on time. Te'o's now hesitant and stays in the middle of the field, where Omameh(+1) is agile enough to get a piece even after forcing him up the field and mostly out of the play. Dorrestein gets a good downfield block, giving Shaw a lane to near the first down. (CA, 3, screen)
RUN++ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
O47 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass FB flat McColgan Inc
Iso fake draws a crowd and Robinson rolls out but into blitzers; one of them leaps to bat down a pass to an open McColgan. (BA, 0, protection NA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 6 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 shift Run QB stretch Robinson 1
Omameh(+1) gets a great push on the playside DT, driving him off the LOS; Calabrese crashes; Smith picks him off. This leaves Webb and Dorrestein doubling the playside DE, who is AFAIK a LB; they do not drive him off the line sufficiently, leaving Robinson to cut back behind things. He slips on the turf and falls for little gain.
RUN++ Omameh, Smith RUN- Webb, Dorrestein
O47 2 9 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Odoms Inc
Robinson zings it wide of an open receiver. Odoms has a shot at it but it's tough. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O47 3 9 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Flare Smith 3
Last week this was paired with a slant and I'm confused why it's not this week. ND is in man-to-man for once and the deeper hitch is covered by the CB, leaving the flare open; accurate, but Calabrese is all over it for minimal gain. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 4 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Shaw Inc
Everyone runs hitches woo. Robinson doesn't throw it at first, thinking it covered, then starts rolling a little bit before throwing a dart to Shaw he should catch but does not as a safety hits him. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M28 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 12
Molk(+1) latches onto the NT and drives him well back; DEs fly upfield, leaving a big gap for Robinson. Grady(+1) and Omameh(+1) get downfield to seal off Calabrese and force Te'o around the mess, allowing Robinson first down yardage.
RUN++ Robinson, Molk, Omameh, Grady RUN-
M40 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 7 (pen offset)
Grady(-1) completely trucked by Smith, but Odoms(+1) gets a great block on the edge, opening up a good gain on first down. Offsetting penalties bring it back. Michigan's is somehow a hold on Grady when all he did is get run over. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON OUR SIDE ASSHATS (CA, 3, screen)
M40 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Curl Stonum 17
Another perfect example of curl flat akin to the picture pages; this time Robinson just sits in the pocket and zips it in to Stonum, picking up the first. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) ND's coverage was altered to combat curl-flat but the CB dropping deeper slipped on the turf.
O44 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Stonum 7
M rushes to the line and figures they will get the corner playing off after the last play hit them deep; they are right , as a perfectly timed hitch from Robinson hits Stonum for seven (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O37 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB stretch Robinson 2
Te'o blitzes but M runs away from it; still the blitz takes away any cutback lane. Molk gets a seal on the NT but Schilling is out of the play, Omameh(+1) is dealing with a DE, and Dorrestein has to kick out a LB. This leaves Calabrese unblocked since Shaw heads outside the C-T gap; he tackles. Robinson spins inside of him but still falls.
RUN++ Omameh, Molk RUN- Dorrestein
O35 3 1 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sneak Robinson 0
They rush to the line but still manage to come up short. Bloody fate.
O35 4 In Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB lead outside Robinson 1
This is a wad of bodies that Robinson runs up into, with Omameh getting just enough push and everyone falling forward to get just the inches they need.
O34 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Flat Shaw 12
Curl-flat again and again the defender closest to the pass just falls down on his cut. Hoist upon your own petard, turf-bastards! This allows Shaw to zip up the sideline for decent yardage. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Flat Shaw 5
Blitz and man behind it, unusual. Robinson takes the quick dumpoff; Shaw breaks a tackle at the 17 and runs down to first and goal but after a lengthy review is ruled OOB. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O17 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB off tackle Robinson 0
Blitz off the edge draws both Huyge(-1) and Shaw when it should only draw one. As a result Te'o is totally unblocked and makes a tackle despite Webb(+1) burying the playside DE. One downfield block and Denard could break this a long way. (Run plus: Webb, run minus: Huyge.)
O17 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Post Roundtree 15
Blitz and man to man behind it; Robinson stands in the pocket and delivers a deadly accurate dart to Roundtree, who catches it despite the safety interfering like a mofo before the ball gets there. (DO!, 1, protection 2/2)
O2 1 G Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Goal line Run QB stretch Robinson 2
Over as soon as Dorrestein(+1) cuts the backside DT, which takes out another LB and gives Robinson a massive cutback lane he takes; Omameh(+1) got out to plow Te'o a final, definitive time.
RUN++ Omameh, Dorrestein RUN-
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-24, 27 seconds 4th Q.

Do you know that from time to time I wake up sweating because in my dreams I forget Denard Robinson is on our team?

Like, you just expect him to have ripped Michigan's heart out with a third-and-twelve run. Yes.

Like he's McNabb back from the grave.

Yes. If the Iranian government ever gets a nuclear weapon this is exactly how they'll feel.


COMMENCE THE CHARTENING! Hennechart, with a reminder that numbers in parens are screens.


2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ?
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 -

Robinson made some errors and had a number of balls batted down on rollouts ND blitzed into but even so that performance is possibly even more remarkable than the UConn one since it came on the road against solid senior corners and guru-approved defenders, not the rag-tag UConn secondary. Robinson's downfield success rate (DO + CA / All Throws Not Marked MA, PR, or SCR, screens excluded) is 71%, even better than the 68% he put up against UConn and up there with a solid game from Chad Henne.

Robinson did reveal some flaws against Notre Dame, most prominently a two-play sequence during which he threw what should have been another Roundtree touchdown on a line, allowing Manti Te'o to break it up, and followed that with a badly overthrown seam to Shaw. When a downfield pass requires some air under it, Robinson is shaky. It wasn't all bad, though. He did lay in a beautiful corner route to Roundtree, though that wasn't caught.

Most impressive to me is the 1 in the BR category on 40 throws in his first road start, and that was actually Robinson going through his progression to his second receiver, finding him open, and then throwing it late because he WOOPed a blitzing Calabrese. We'll see how for real ND's defense is this year, but I'm betting it's actually good. They have a lot of talent and I was impressed with their DC's creativity, but more on that later.

The final word on Robinson's day: I would be praising it if he had zero rushing yards. I mean, look at this:

That guy ran for 258 yards! That guy!


This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Stonum 1 - 1/2 3/3 1 - 1/2 8/8
Odoms 1 - 2/3 5/5 - - 2/3 7/7
Hemingway - - - - - - - -
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Roundtree 1 2/2 0/1 7/7 2 2/3 0/1 7/7
Grady 1 - - - 2 - - 3/3
Robinson - - - 1/1 - - - 2/2
Stokes - - - - - - - -
Koger - - 0/1 - - - 1/2 2/2
Webb - - - - - - - -
Smith - - 0/1 1/1 - - 0/1 4/4
Shaw 1 0/1 0/1 3/3 1 0/1 0/1 1/1
Cox - - - - - - - -
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -

Receptions got a bit tougher against a better defense and results were mixed trending towards good. Roundtree brought in two 1s (the one where he got clocked by the safety on a seam and the final one where he was getting interfered with), 2s were about 50-50, and Michigan hasn't had a flat drop in two games. They may not be explosive but the receivers are proving reliable.

Note that Roundtree had a huge game after being mostly ignored against UConn. Also, tight ends evaporated. Odd given the play action opportunities ND seemed to be conceding.

And finally, PROTECTION METRIC: 34/40, Smith –3, Schilling –2, Team –1.

That's night and day from last year. No doubt Robinson has a fair bit to do with that since getting out of your lane against him is doom; even so, Michigan got through a game against Notre Dame with 40 throws without either tackle picking up a protection minus. Someone buy Greg Frey an ice cream cone.

Can this last? I don't know. Michigan hasn't faced an intimidating 4-3 defensive end yet, and might not until Adrian Clayborn comes to town for homecoming. But the initial results are almost as remarkable as Robinson's numbers above.

And, finally, a bighuge run chart that has a shocking performance even to me, the guy who put it together:

Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Huyge 5 7 -2 Kapron Lewis-Moore gave him trouble.
Schilling 5 7 -2 Ditto.
Molk 11 6 5 Solid win on the day, but was less dominant against Williams; did most of his damage on backup Cwynar.
Omameh 21 2 19 Discussion below.
Dorrestein 8 4 4 Did better against Johnson than his compatriot.
Webb 3 1 2 Okay.
Koger 3 - 3 Also okay.
TOTAL 56 27 29 Up two from UConn.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 11 3 8 Surprisingly stingy.
Gardner - - -
Shaw 2 4 -2 Blew one good gain by not having faith in Omameh.
Smith 2 1 1 Meh.
Cox - - - DNP
Toussaint - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - BEEF MACHINE
McColgan 1 - 1 Eh.
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 16 8 8 Time to see what everyone can do.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum - - - --
Odoms 3 1 2 Goat. Mountain goat.
TRobinson 1 - 1 --
Roundtree 3 - 3 Bubble's back.
Grady 1 2 -1 Way worse than the other slots blocking.
TOTAL 8 3 5 !?!?!?
Zone Read 5 2 3 Not much of it, really.

So… yeah. The number above that leaps out is Omameh. The lone lineman to exit the UConn game with a minus (it was minus one) put up a 21-2-19, which I have no context on because I just started doing this but if that doesn't stand for a long, long time I'll be surprised.

What happened? The theory of Omameh since he started against Purdue last year has been that the coaches moved him from tackle, where there was an obvious need, to guard because his incredible mobility would be better used there. Against UConn he was tasked with fighting off a beefy, veteran Kendall Reyes. He was kind of bleah doing this. Against Notre Dame he was frequently permitted the opportunity to operate in space when ND went to three man lines, whereupon he did this:

And this:

This isn't some gimpy UConn linebacker. Te'o is a beast. Omameh is great in space. Anyone who doesn't put a first-level guy on him the rest of the year is asking for it. It was only right that Michigan's winning touchdown saw Omameh shove Te'o into the endzone. It was the coda to a ridiculous day.

As for the rest of the numbers: I went into the UFR thinking the offensive line had struggled and that the tailbacks were getting an unfair rap on limited opportunities; I came out of it with… well… that. Michigan averaged 7 YPC on 41 carries, so I think the huge positives are justified. They averaged 5 YPC even if you take out the +10 that was an 87 yard touchdown run. Despite the struggles it was a monster day.

Grimble grumble tailback gaaah?

I was going to be contrarian here, but… yeah. In this grading system tailback is like defensive end on defense: if you end the day with zero you're wasting playing time that a playmaker who makes plays (MAKE PLAYS!) can play in.

It was revealing watching Michigan tailbacks opposite Armando Allen. A large chunk of Notre Dame's production on the ground was created solely by Allen. Michigan did a great job of disrupting run plays; Allen MADE PLAYS that turned nothing, or losses, into big gains. So far this year the only thing a tailback's done that's comparable is Smith's nimble touchdown to open the scoring against UConn. Mike Cox might be a nut who runs backwards to see what it's like but it's probably time to give him a shot; Fitzgerald Toussaint is Chris Perry and Mike Hart but fast and is now healthy. Rotation beckons; hopefully by Michigan State they'll have found a back or two that can do more than take up space.

Do you believe Notre Dame's turf monster conspiracy theories?

Yeah, I do. It rained a lot but that turf was turrible beyond even expectations. They have tarps, you know. Michigan plays on turf and is used to solid footing; ND is used to the crapshow that is their grass. But lo! The results were deadly to ND on the final drive, when cornerbacks slipped twice, opening up simple curl-flat routes that ND was theoretically covering with their defense. Serves 'em right.

Asshat linejudge?



Surely you must be grumpy about something, you crab.

Fine: it was frustrating to see Notre Dame crash down against the run so violently without it getting thrust in their face sufficiently. Mets Maize on first down passing:

The thing that surprised me was Michigan's success with first down passes. A quick look at the stats revealed that they were 13 of 17 for 168 yards on first down.

Ah wait, here.  ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: +12, –13 = –1. I had Michigan down for a negative RPS despite handing out two separate +3s on the Roundtree and Odoms seams. I think this is understandable to some extent since you're taking your running quarterback on the road for the first time ever, but by some point in the third quarter they should have had the confidence in Robinson to start running more play action. Then again, they did manage 7 YPC. I don't know.

I will say this: late Michigan shifted to a few plays that notched up RPS+1s: the fake screen draws. Those worked, and then later opened up the flares that Te'o was crushing earlier in the game. Michigan was caught off guard when ND came out of the locker room and kept shifting between 3- and 4-man lines, did okay anyway until penalties killed their drives, and adjusted to what they saw on the field to pick up yards late, including a final touchdown drive. The adaptability I saw from Magee was encouraging.


Robinson, obviously. Odoms. Roundtree. And Patrick "Die, Te'o" Omameh.


The left side of the OL had troubles most of the day; the tailbacks did not MAKE PLAYS

What does it mean for UMass and beyond?

I don't know how you stop this offense consistently if Denard is going to throw like he's throwing, especially if he develops as quickly as a true sophomore starting for the first time can be expected to. His package of skills is great right now; if he develops that extra bit as a passer like he should, it's lights out. Your best chance is to have referees call a thousand ridiculous penalties.

Other developments: Omameh downfield is lethal, the receivers are very sure-handed, Roundtree is still the go-to guy, and Michigan needs to embark on a three-week war to find a Steve Slaton-type object. But the vectors are oh so very good.

Over the next couple weeks I want to see:

  • Denard develop some additional diversity in the routes he can throw.
  • Cox and Toussaint and possibly Hopkins.
  • Junior Hemingway's healthy return.
  • Increased involvement of the tight ends in the passing game.

I expect they'll be working on some new run packages but will keep those in the garage until Michigan State.


Other Chris

September 16th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

Smith and Shaw were the only running backs except in the BEEF MACHINE package, in which Lewan, Washington, and Campbell come in with Hopkins to make sure the Illinois thing Never Happens Again.


September 16th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

Wow I love Omameh. He was tearing it up against a very solid LB in Te'o. Can't wait to see D-Rob continue getting better as a passer and I agree with Brian, once he is able to make all of the throws and a RB emerges, this offense will be completely unstoppable. 


September 16th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

Its not really fair to ask for anything more from Robinson, but I am convinced Stonum and even Hemingway can beat people deep and I am dying to see a "Henne-like" deep rainbow for a long td. If defenses have to worry about the deep pass, there is literally nothing they can do to stop us. Just pick whichever way you want to die.


September 16th, 2010 at 1:57 PM ^

I was waiting for the UFR to say this even though it doesn't have anything to do with it minus Denard being 100%  pure colombian awesome but Happy Denard Robinson Day!


September 16th, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

This is one of many things that separates this blog from the rest of Michigan sports coverage.  Anywhere. Why anyone would choose to go anywhere else for anything media related to UM football is beyond me.  Great job!


September 16th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

Wait. I am confused. The added run metric. So, what is the official + number for that 87-yards run?

Fantastic stuff. That was the best I have ever seen a Michigan offense perform in South Bend. Yes, even better than 2006. Epinion.

Omameh sure is putting a different spin on the Greg Jones will break Denard in two meme that's coming from certain MSU and Big 10 camps. Should be a great battle that afternoon


September 16th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

Webb(+1) blocks down and Dorrestein(+1) pulls around, which gets both guys on the end sealed away. So it's Smith(+1) getting enough of Calabrese to get Robinson outside and he's cruising in the open field until Te'o, who is the backside MLB(!) on this play runs him down. This is what they mean by sideline to sideline. I talked crap about Te'o in the preview but I take it all back. I'd be surprised if M plays a better linebacker all year. Michigan got ND on this play and Te'o kept it down to five instead of like 15.

I believe this play was an error in design/blocking scheme.  Both Molk and Omameh release to the second level.  However, Molk's job is to block the backside ILB (Te'o).  Te'o's much too fast to get blocked on a play like that.  Meanwhile, Calabrese was too quick to get blocked by Omameh, too...but Vincent Smith's lead block picked off Calabrese.

Omameh should have blocked Te'o.  The playside ILB should have been (and was) blocked by the lead blocker.  Everyone else was taken care of.  It was a great play by Te'o, but it was also an error in execution/design by Michigan.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:48 PM ^

I would agree there. With no play action and the play being a QB sprint from the start, you have to assume that the frontside linebacker is running. It would have been a much better design to have molk release downfield to maybe grab a safety-which could provide a cutback and have Omameh on Te'o. It looked like Omameh could have got to him easily. I agree with Brian that Te'o is probably the most athletic and fast( and reckless) linebacker we'll play all year. Greg Jones can move too. So, maybe it won't be a big deal.  But, what you're suggesting is probably much lower risk, and Molk downfield on a safety could open up for an even bigger gain. win/win. I feel like I just talked in circles there.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

Hopefully Michigan's coaches see that Smith/Shaw aren't getting it done in the running game.  Maybe we'll see what Cox/Toussaint can do this week.  Hopefully those guys can average more than 3.07 yards per carry.


September 16th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

Why do you have to be so aggressive about it? 3 YPC is not getting the job done by any stretch of the imagination. All he is saying is that hopefully some of the other guys get a chance to play so that we can see who the best back is in gametime situation. It's not like he's calling out the coaches as making a poor decision to start them in the first place.

Fuzzy Dunlop

September 16th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

It's not unheard of for coaches to make the wrong decision on RBs, only to reverse themselves when game results prove them wrong.

In 1994, coaches decided to start Ed Davis when Tyrone Wheatley was injured to start the season.  He sucked.  Then they gave Biakabutuka a shot.   The rest is history.

Two years ago, Rich Rod thought MacGuffie should be the starting RB over Minor Rage.  Res ipsa loquitur.

Touissant was benched because of injury, not coach's decision, obviously.  But here's hoping that when he gets a chance we see the same type of dramatic difference as with the above two examples.


September 16th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

didn't decide to bench Toussaint, injury did. I think you have a point on Cox, though. He has all the potential in the world, but I trust the coaches who have decided he just isn't as good as Smith and Shaw. That being said, we should be able to use all our running backs against UMass and Bowling Green so we should get some more data at least.

Blue in Seattle

September 16th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

I don't think anyone is challenging the coaches, we're just eager to see more of the second string guys get a chance against UMass.

Toussaint has been injured, so not even a coaching decision, and while Cox showed more talent he showed less smarts from fall camp, at least as far as analysis from trusted onlookers went,

I think Shaw and Smith were there because of work ethic/smarts/reliability and most of all health.

Also we're only two games into the season, and we've saved our cupcakes for dessert.

I'm excited to see some more Devin and some Tate the next two weeks, because there probably isn't much more for Denard to polish beyond the first 15-20 minutes.




September 16th, 2010 at 11:08 PM ^

Doesn't this get old?  Your response could be used when anyone suggests anything different than what any coach is doing.

You didn't like that play call, huh?  I guess you know more than the coaches, right?

You think they should have gone for two, huh?  I think the coaches know more than you.

You think we should pass the ball more?  Do you think you know more than the coaches?

Blah blah blah.

I don't think I know more than the coaches.  I just think they're wrong about this.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

I still think the RB's are being unfairly blasted.  As Brian pointed out ND was run blitzing much of the game and I look at plays like the last drive where Shaw caught the short pass and battled his ass off for extra yards before he was ruled out of bounds as a good sign.  I still believe Shaw's time is close and he could break out soon.  


September 16th, 2010 at 2:31 PM ^

I still think you will still see Shaw and Smith on passing downs, but I think that Cox and Toussaint are more likely to break a tackle or knock someone on their ass than the other two. I've always seen Shaw as a Carlos-Brown-but-doesn't-fall-down-when-the-wind-changes-direction type of back, while Cox reminds me of Minor. If we can get a guy that can get 3-5 yards on the plays that our backs have been getting -2-2, that will open things up even more for our receivers and Denard as they will have to pay more attention to our backs and we will be able to run them more often without fear of losing a down.


September 16th, 2010 at 5:02 PM ^

That's exactly why I think those two are seeing the field and not Cox, they're just more polished all around. Shaw and Smith may have a low YPC, but so far they've played well in other facets, particularly in blocking and in the passing game. That said, I'm eager to finally see what Toussaint can add to the team.

Fuzzy Dunlop

September 16th, 2010 at 5:09 PM ^

People keep saying this, as though Denard's extra blocker somehow excuses the RBs averaging less than 3 yards a carry.  It makes no sense.  Maybe that excuses the RBs from not running as well as Denard (that, and no dilithium), but it doesn't excuse them from averaging less yards than would be expected from a typical RB (none of whom have extra blockers). 

Not to say there aren't reasons for their yards per carry numbers other than poor numbers, just that the "Robinson has an extra blocker" excuse makes no sense.

El Jeffe

September 16th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

What's interesting is that this play

is actually more promising than this play

In the sense that in play 1, Grady misses a key block on Smith (#22), who eventually makes the tackle. In play #2, Smith basically just accidentally trips over Teo, who, in fairness, was being creped (that's French!) by Omameh. Kinda random outcomes for those two plays, but indicative generally of the extreme pressure Robinson puts on defenses.

Gulo Gulo Luscus

September 16th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

from the looks of it, smith was doing everything he could to take a good angle on play 2, but omameh just keeps pushing, causing te'o to backpedal into smith.  unlike play 1, koger provides additional blocking from the wingback spot and roundtree is in the slot, making a fantastic downfield block.  also the fake handoff is barely a threat on this one and denard just takes off.

on play 1, it looks more like a legit zone read, plus the slot WR to the QB's right (t robinson) hovers near the line of scrimmage as though its a run/pass option if denard keeps it.  (TRob does end up making contact with a defender to help spring denard for extra yardage despite the delay).  unforunately, as brian points out, grady is "way worse than the other slots blocking."  maybe if we had roundtree in that spot, play 1 would have been a TD as well.

i think the differences in the play design and performance make this more than "random outcomes."


September 16th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

Another difference (and the reason I don't think it would've mattered which slot was in on play 1) -- in play 1, he's immediately dropping into his deep half, which gives him the time and depth he needs to avoid the block and catch Denard on the angle.  In play 2, he actually steps forward on the snap, so when he starts on his angle he gets caught up in the wash.  I wonder if he got bitched out on play 1 for bailing so quick and thus being unable to catch Denard until 40 yards downfield, so when play 2 came up he's thinking, "Oh man, I gotta get upfield ASAP!"

Also, Te'o was blitzing on play 1, which meant that Omameh had to take him at the LOS, rather than getting on him five yards downfield and pushing him back.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^

In 3 years P. Omameh will be drafted by the Washington Redskins.   This guy is M. Shanahans wet dream.    Not sure where Alex Gibbs is coaching right now, but he's got a big woody watching this tape...he loves this guy more than Trickett liked Christian Pace.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:35 PM ^

I get the criticism of the RBs - they need to MAKE PLAYS, otherwise they are taking up space.  I also thing that they need to take some of the carries (and do more than average like 3 ypc) so that Denard doesn't get too bruised up once we get into the B10 schedule.

I think that we will likely see more of Toussaint and Cox over the next 2 weeks.  Hopefully one of these guys can step up and be a break-out.

I am disappointed in Shaw - when we were recruiting him, he was supposed to be lightning quick and very shifty.  I have seen neither - he doesn;t really create openings and has never gotten himself free enough to use his speed.

His Dudeness

September 16th, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

At the risk of opening myself up to "Wow, you sure are stupid!" comments, what am I supposed to be seeing in the "linejudge ass-hat WTF" portion? I have seen this pop up twice and, well, I'm not seeing what I am supposed to be seeing I guess...

His Dudeness

September 16th, 2010 at 2:43 PM ^

Thanks. I did hear the "crack back" call during the game and I had never heard of the infraction before so I just figured they were making shit up like they tend to do in South Bend. It looks as though every linemen other than Omameh shot directly toward the knees of the D-Line on the play. I take it that is legal? Looks like the intent was there with Grady at least... meh. WE WINAAR!

El Jeffe

September 16th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

The Wikipedias tell me that a crackback block is

An illegal block delivered below the opponent's waist by an offensive player who had left the area of close line play and then returned to it, or was not within it at the snap. The term is also used to describe a legal block (delivered from the front, or from the side with the offensive player's helmet in front of the blocked player) by a wide receiver on a player who lined up inside of him.

It basically is meant to not allow cut blocking of unsuspecting defenders--I guess you can only cut people who are basically engaged with the line play.


September 16th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

The play was illegal because Grady was blocking below the waist from the outside-in. A crack back block is a blindside block (defenders usually look toward the center of the field, where the play is developing) where the blocker hits a defender from the outside (toward the sideline). It becomes illegal when you block below the waist for obvious injury concerns. Sure Grady whiffed on the block, but you can see if he connects the defender isn't in a position to defend himself and could easily blow out a knee. It was actually the right call, but it still doesn't make up for the MASSIVE HOLDING going on that wasn't called.


September 16th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

Basically, what is illegal about it is that you can't hit below the waist if you are running from the outside in. Like the guy above me said, it's to protect unsuspecting defenders because they might be looking inside at the play.

This is only the second time I have heard of it, the first being when Favre was called for it last season.

Fuzzy Dunlop

September 16th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

In the line judge's defense, the only reason it wasn't an illegal block is because the defender dodged the dive below his knees.  But even with the miss, it largely took the defender out of the play.  So should a penalty not be called if a player tries an illegal move, and another player takes himself out of play to dodge it?

That's like saying if a cornerback tries to clothesline the receiver before the ball arrives, and the receiver ducks to save himself, allowing the safety to intercept the ball, it's a perfectly legal play.  I don't think that's the case.


September 16th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

I still think he can be a good back.  As RR said, ND played to stop the RBs (not sure why).  I am sure we will run all over UMass and BG the next few weeks, but I imagine Indiana and MSU will play to stop Denard, at which point our RBs will step up and make plays.

SC Wolverine

September 16th, 2010 at 3:11 PM ^

Okay, but Brian is right in that he has not shown much flash.  I am very much hoping to see some FT in the coming weeks.  Also having watched Lattimore for USC vs. Georgia, I find myself wanting to see what Hopkins looks like getting 20 carries in a game.