Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Illinois

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Formation notes: They did the usual 4-3 under stuff and went to a nickel package against spread sets. On passing downs the seven-guys-on-the-line okie package was a frequent deployment; on short yardage we saw the return of the Beyer/Ryan 4-4 under.

Then they did some weird stuff. If this looks a bit like a 3-3-5, yeah, sort of :

3-3-5-stack-ish

That's clearly a pass defense D with the ends lined up outside of the tackles and both the spur/bandit-type dudes on the strong side of the formation, ready to drop into man coverage.

This is another exotic pass defense featuring nose tackle Mike Jones (serious) and DT Craig Roh (also serious):

dime-even

Illinois ran at this; Jones and Roh actually forced the play behind them into tacklers; pile fell forward for five.

Personnel notes: Secondary was Floyd/Countess/Kovacs the whole way and mostly Woolfolk but Gordon did pop up from time to time; I'm pretty sure Woolfolk left permanently on the Scheelhaase touchdown since he seemed to aggravate one of his many available injuries. Avery was the nickelback; when Floyd cramped up briefly he moved outside onto Jenkins and Gordon came in at nickel.

Demens and Morgan went the whole way at LB; Ryan played most of the game but gave way to Beyer a little.

The line was mostly the usual RVB/Heininger/Martin/Roh setup with cameos from Black, Clark, and Campbell. Brink got some plays at the tail end.

Show? Show. W00t.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Penalty N/A False start -- -5
Emblematic.
O15 1 15 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA scramble Woolfolk 1
Iso fake draws heavy attention but Scheelhaase only has two options in the route and they must both be covered(+2). I find that hard to believe but I'm guessing Woolfolk(+2) jumped the corner route behind Countess and convinced Scheelhaase to scramble. Ryan(-0.5, tackling -1) misses a tackle that would have been a sack, giving up three or four yards.
O16 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd Inc
M shows a blitz from Morgan on the outside. Illinois checks, Michigan still runs it. It's picked up. All short routes; Scheelhaase goes to Jenkins on a five yard out that Floyd(+2, cover +2) breaks up. Prelude to ownage.
O16 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +2) dives inside on a stunt that gets the Illinois OL. He gets held a little and ends up falling just short of the QB's feet (I might be done typing Scheelhaase); Martin(+0.5) runs after to contain, forcing a throwaway. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 under Run N/A Triple option keeper Van Bergen 3
Kovacs rolls down for an eighth guy. M gets lucky here. RVB(+1) stays on QB throughout the play; Ryan(-2) dives inside the slot receiver and gives up the corner. He's got to have the pitchman here. This should be a pitch for a big gain. Instead QB tries to beat RVB one on one and can't do it. Still a decent gain because M had destroyed the dive, which fine.
O17 2 7 I-Form 4-3 under Pass N/A Long handoff Countess 6
Countess(-1, tackling -1) comes up a little hard and to the inside and ends up getting stiffarmed as Jenkins breaks to the outside. He does manage to delay Jenkins long enough for Ryan(+0.5), flowing hard from the inside, to tackle before the sticks.
O23 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Martin -1
Beyer/Ryan package. Heininger(+1) drives his OL a couple yards into the backfield. Martin(+2) takes a pop from the center and still does the same to the backside G, putting him on his knees at the LOS and forcing a cutback. This screws up the blocking angles and forces Ford back into Ryan(+1, tackling +1), who came down to the LOS on the snap and took a good angle into the backfield; RVB(+1) beat a block and comes into help prevent any YAC. RPS +1 for the slant forcing the play back into an unblocked player.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun 2back trips 4-3 even Run N/A Triple option dive Heininger 0
Covered slot receiver. Michigan aligns differently than normal with DTs over the guards and Illinois runs a triple option. QB hands off since DE is on him and Countess is hanging on the pitch. Dive goes nowhere thanks to Martin(+1) and Heininger(+1) blasting single blocks back; Roh(+0.5) comes in from the side to finish Pollard after he confirms the give was made.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Drag Roh Inc
Roh and Black your DEs. Kovacs rolls down. Straight dropback. Illinois looking for the drag; Roh(+1, pressure +1) beats the tackle to the outside and is held; no call. This along with Black(+0.5) falling at the QB's feet causes some shuffling and a back-foot throw that ends up going wide of Jenkins. Completion likely if accurate but Gordon(+0.5, cover +1) seemed to have this locked down for a not so big gain.
O23 3 10 Ace 3-wide Okie Run N/A Down G Van Bergen 5
Scheelhaase checks from a shotgun formation to an inside run out of ace. They're trying to run at the middle of the line as Morgan drops out into a zone; Martin(+1) fights inside a pulling guard—mismatch—and RVB(+1) comes off a block when the second guy moves downfield. Those two combine to tackle for a meh gain.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 1 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA curl Woolfolk 7
Beyer in. Illinois runs PA. Play develops with no LBs underneath the Jenkins comeback; QB fires it to him. Immediate tackle from Woolfolk(+0.5, tackling +1) and Countess(+0.5). Coverage push, pressure -1.
O27 2 3 I-Form 4-3 under Penalty -- False start -- -5
Erf.
O22 2 8 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd 14
Kovacs rolls to a slot receiver as M shows one high. Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat on a ten-yard hitch and can't tackle on the catch. He has to set up and gives up a few more in the name of being safe.
O36 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Stop and go Floyd Inc
RB motions out into the slot. Michigan sends Beyer off the edge, dropping Roh; stoned. (Pressure -2) QB has all day to pump and then chuck deep. He ends up throwing it away because Floyd(+2, cover +2) was over the top of a double move to the point where throwing it was stupid.
O36 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Ryan 0
Ryan(+2) momentarily dives down but recovers impressively to force Scheelhaase outside, outside, outside. Floyd(+1) beats a Jenkins block to slow him, whereupon Ryan tackles from behind.
O36 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie Pass 4   Martin 7
Okie package gets the Illinois OL to bust (pressure +2, RPS +2). Martin(+0.5) gets a free run. Scheelhaase actually gets a pass off and completes it but it's off and takes the WR off his feet. Demens(+1) was there to tackle if necessary.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O5 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Heininger 7
Not entirely sure what the problem is here. Both DTs only take single blocks; Martin fights through his to almost kill this in the hole but can't quite. Morgan takes on the FB basically at the LOS and does funnel to the inside but Demens is getting blocked out of the play since the DTs have not absorbed an extra guy between them. I think this is on Heininger(-1) as the playside DT he's not absorbing a double and doesn't even get an arm-tackle attempt. You would like Morgan(-0.5) to get this closer to the LOS and Demens(-0.5) to not get sealed away totally but they both have tough jobs. RB into the secondary, where Kovacs(+3, tackling +2) puts his helmet on the ball and gets Michigan a turnover.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 14-0, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 PA Hitch Countess Inc
Scheelhaase clearly late on a lot of these by now but Countess(+2, cover +2) is still there for a quality PBU on a pass that could have been intercepted.
O32 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 3 Drag Countess Inc
This may be batted but there's no replay so can't be sure. Demens(-1, cover -1) does get way out of position on another WR's route, dragging well into Morgan's zone. Countess(-1, cover -1) appears to make the same error he did against Iowa, and if Jenkins catches this it's a first down and maybe a bunch more. Jenkins has to delay because the umpire gets in the way; incomplete. Lucky.
O32 3 10 Shotgun empty Okie Pass 4 Sack Ryan -14
Okie set gets Ryan(+1) and Demens(+1) roaring at the QB with one guy to block them (pressure +3, RPS +3); Van Bergen(+1) comes off a block to help sack when Scheelhaase understandably bugs out. QB overwhelmed by three guys on a four man rush == +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Morgan 7
Good time on a four man rush (pressure -1). QB has time to survey and fire to a TE for about nine; Morgan(+0.5, tackling +1) puts him down immediately. Given situation coverage fine.
O28 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Yakety snap -- -14
Derp.
O14 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Down G Van Bergen 1
RVB(+1) shoots inside a downblock and gets enough penetration to force Ford well upfield; Roh is out there on the bounce but gets shoved past the play. Still, that took a long time. Martin flows down the line and forces Ford behind; Avery(+0.5, tackling +1) makes a nice low tackle that takes Ford to the ground immediately. Fumble is ruled but overturned, which costs Michigan seven important seconds. Irritating.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA out Kovacs 12
Kovacs(-1) hesitates on the play action and only belatedly shoots out on his zone; with the outside WR going deep Countess has other responsibilities. Out open, easy pitch and catch (cover -1, pressure -1)
O32 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 11
Reading RVB; he stays responsible and the handoff is made. Martin(-1) fights to the wrong side of his block and Heininger(-1) gets penetration too far upfield, so Illinois gets a crease without doubling any DL. This means LBs are getting thumped; Morgan(-1) is the guy on the playside gap and he starts moving to the LOS before actually stalling and taking a step back before being engulfed. RB into the secondary. Demens(-0.5) also caught a block.
O43 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 over Run N/A Down G Campbell 2
QB checks into an ace from the same pistol set they just ran. Campbell(+1) takes the guy downblocking him and ends up driving him into the backfield, forcing Pollard away from blocking; the playside G is pulling around outside but Pollard isn't going out there. Live I thought this was a missed cut; on tape it's clear this would be a ++ move from the back to cut up and then immediately back out. So Morgan(+2, tackling +2) gets credit for powering through his blocker and decleating Pollard.
O45 2 8 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Speed option Kovacs -4
Ryan(+2) reads the option action and tears ass for the QB, leveling him just as he pitches. FB makes a mistake, peeling back on Ryan in a hopeless chase, and this opens up Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) to do the thing he does by taking a good angle at speed; Pollard cuts inside and gets TFLed. Martin(+1) had blown through blocking and was there to help if necessary, which is crazy impressive.
O41 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -12
RVB(+2) splits two blockers confused by the okie package; Clark(+1) gets a good drive on a tight end to prevent any lane to move upfield, and Ryan jumps on the QB's back for very large sack. This was a six-man protection on which the QB had zero chance to even look at read one. Pressure +3, RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 12 min 3rd Q. Riley O'Toole gets the next Illinois drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 over Pass 6 PA TE Flat Morgan 7
Roh ends up free on the edge and gets some decent pressure; this means a TE has released behind him and O'Toole hits him for a decent gain; Morgan(+0.5) reads it pretty well and escorts the guy OOB to prevent a significant one.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 RB flat Martin Inc
Martin(+2, pressure +2) beats two blockers and roars up the middle of the pocket, forcing a terrible throw Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in a better spot to catch than the RB flaring out.
O32 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 Quick out Floyd Inc
Quick throw does not allow time for pressure; Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there with a play on a well thrown ball (but not a great one); Toole's ball is too far outside and not caught.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Martin 12 (Pen-10)
Roh(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) pressure(+1) Scheelhaase, forcing a scramble up into the pocket that picks up some yards but probably would have been a sack but for Martin(+1 again) drawing a holding call. Demens(-1) gave up the outside here and turned this from a few into a hypothetical first down.
O15 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Martin 8
Here Martin(-1) gets shoved out his lane without actually getting to the QB; Black(-0.5) gets shoved way upfield, albeit by a double (pressure -1); Scheelhaase can find no one (cover +1) and runs for a good gain. This time Demens is blocked out of the play.
O23 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Dime even Run N/A Zone read dive Jones 5
Mike Jones lined up as the NT. Yeah, I know. Roh the DT. Yeah. Daring Illinois to run; they run. Jones(+1) actually drives the center back(!), forcing a cutback into Roh(+1), who slanted inside and gets a tackle attempt. He's getting blocked and the attempt is run through; it gives Michigan time to rally to the ball and hold the play down. RPS -1? I don't even know. I guess not.
O28 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Scramble Ryan 7
Scheelhaase looking for an out Avery(+1, cover +1) has covered well enough to dissuade; Countess the other guy over there on the deeper route. Zone blitz is coming through now to the outside with Demens(+1) beating a block; Ryan(-1, pressure -1) is out of his lane and allows Scheelhaase to run straight upfield. Martin and Morgan are there to catch him after about five but the pile manages to surge forward just over the line. Impressive power by Scheelhaase.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Plenty of time (pressure -1); Illinos goes four verts and everyone is covered(+3); Floyd(+1) is step for step with Jenkins and would have a play on the ball if it was accurate. It's not.
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Avery 14
Plenty of time (pressure -2) without Martin in the game; Avery(+0.5) is actually in pretty good coverage here, forcing a throw high and to the sideline that is executed. Made it tough.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Floyd Inc
Too much time (pressure -1), though the pocket isn't as clean on this outing. Floyd is in press and they test him deep; he is step for step. He can't quite adjust to the back-shoulder fade but this is still a +1, cover +1 because it required a DO and tough catch to complete. This is basically unstoppable if you can execute it. Illinois thinks they do but on replay it turns out they do not—Jenkins juggled it.
O49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 Slant Floyd Inc (Pen+8)
Michigan sends six and is getting there but not in time to prevent a throw here. Floyd(-1, cover -1) picks up a legit PI call for arriving too early but I don't mind this. Much better than arriving late and you don't always get this call on you.
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 TE out Morgan 11
Late blitz from a very deep Kovacs; Morgan(-1) gets a chuck on a dragging WR but does let him past into open space since this is raw man coverage. Scheelhaase hits the guy and he can turn up for some YAC. Pressure -1, cover -1. Morgan does make a good tackle(+1).
M32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 0
Kovacs rolled up for a seventh guy in the box. Martin(+1) surges through the line and forces it outside. Roh(+0.5) forces it further outside by getting inside and diving at Ford's legs; Kovacs(+0.5) is out there containing. Ford turns it up directly into a scraping, tackling(+1) Demens.
M32 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack? Pass 7 Slant Avery Inc
This is kind of stack-y but not really with two pass-rush aligned DEs, three guys in man on the WRs, and both overhang safety types to the same side of the field. M sends every damn body. QB is about to eat Kovacs(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5, pressure +2) as he chucks. He's got a WR on a slant in front of Avery(+1, cover +1), who's tackling on the catch and making life difficult. He may rake the ball out. We can only say may because the WR runs into another Illini WR and goes down as if he'd taken a shot from Reggie Nelson.
M32 3 10 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime Pass 5 Tunnel screen Morgan 19
Michigan gets RPSed here with five guys blitzing and no one thinking to peel back. Line is Campbell, Demens, and Roh... so... yeah. Morgan(-1, cover -1) doesn't read the WR screen quickly at all and gets easily blocked; Floyd(-1) is getting blocked but shouldn't let the WR outside like he does. Big gain. RPS -2.
M13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Clark 13
Clark(-3) forms up, then decides Ford has the ball after Scheelhaase pulls it. This opens up the corner; DBs are in man and not in any position to help. Woolfolk(-1) may be able to tackle before the endzone but pulls up gimpy and can't make it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Comeback Floyd Inc
Scheelhaase has this open for a first down and just misses it. Floyd(-1, cover -1) beaten. Pressure was getting there.
O38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Penalty -- Offsides Martin 5
Martin -1.
O43 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Martin 3
Martin(+2) drives his guy so far into the backfield that he impacts the runner three yards behind the LOS; this delay allows Black(+0.5) to flow down and tackle after keeping contain on Scheelhaase. Wish the LBs did a little more here.
O46 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Black 8
Black(-3) does the same thing Clark did on the last play, diving down on the back after the mesh point. Juice Williams ninja ballfake reprise.
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive Morgan 2
Belly play where the backside DT is getting doubled off the ball. RVB(+0.5) does an okay job holding up; Demens(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) react quickly enough to remove creases. Martin(+0.5) flows down the line to tackle after his second blocker releases into Morgan.
M44 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Drag Roh 4
DT stunt gets Martin(+0.5) in thanks to RVB(+0.5) threatening to dart past the G. Roh(+1) beats the tackle straight up and Scheelhaase is about to get destroyed(pressure+2) and has to let it go. He's got a quick drag from his TE that Demens(+1, cover +1) is there for an instant tackle on.
M40 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 5 Hitch Floyd INT
Kovacs late blitz; he is moving right into Scheelhaase's face as he throws but may get blocked. Pressure push. Floyd(+4, cover +3) is breaking on the ball as the WR cuts his route off and picks the ball off; he is one avoided Scheelhaase tackle from a pick six. Monster play.
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-7, 10 min 4th Q. M scores and Illinois gets it back with 10 minutes left down three scores, which informs Michigan's defensive style. I'll keep it in mind as I chart Comeback Ishtar.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle scramble Roh 9
Roh(+0.5) cuts off the corner but gets pushed past the play. QB can't find anyone (cover +1) as he rolls up and scrambles; Demens(-0.5) is not reacting very well and ends up running into a guy trying to block Martin as Scheelhaase cuts behind. RVB tackles from behind.
O29 2 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Improv comeback Heininger 12
Heininger(+1, pressure +1) beats an OT around the corner(!) and is held; no call. This does flush Scheelhaase up; Ryan tries to disconnect from his guy and is held as well, so Scheelhaase can fire to a Jenkins comeback for the first. Instant tackle. Cover -1. Refs -2.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone read keeper Morgan 3
Morgan is over the slot; w/ Roh tucked inside the TE there basically is no backside DE. Scheelhaase pulls as Morgan(+1) comes down on the run. Morgan jukes the TE coming out on him, sliding past the block and forcing the QB to cut up into Demens(+1, tackling +1), who puts him on the turf in space.
O44 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 6
Illinois lets 27 seconds run off the clock after the play. RT falls; Roh gets a free run. Martin(+1) and RVB(+1) have again stunted and get in Scheelhaase's face (pressure +2). He has to throw hot. That's to the RB leaking out of the backfield. He catches it; Floyd(+0.5) and Morgan tackle(+1) the guy short of the sticks in bounds.
50 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Campbell 0
Cambpell(+3) in at the nose. He drives the center back and does not give ground when the FB impacts the block. RB cuts back and he sheds, making impact in the backfield. Heininger(+2) beats a blocker as well and is there to help; Roh(+0.5) is getting his body in the way as well. Dang third and one. Dang Campbell.
50 4 1 Goal line 4-4 under Run N/A Down G Demens 1
Roh gets sent inside by the TE as M's interior line prepares for something in there; Illinois is going outside the tackle. Not a big problem and he does have awareness to spin back outside. Beyer(+0.5) takes on a kickout block in a pretty good place; Morgan(+1) gets the pulling G at the LOS and forces it back inside. Demens(+0.5) scrapes over and makes contact with Ford in the hole but can't get square to him and Ford just manages to fall forward. Even when they make it it's not easy.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Floyd 1
Happy feet; no immediate pressure for the line but Scheelhaase goes to the RB dumppoff; Floyd(+1, tackling +1, cover +1) is there on the catch to tackle in bounds for a meh gain.
M48 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway Kovacs Inc
Scheelhaase fires OOB; seems he didn't have an immediately open guy and I think he does not trust his OL to go to the next read. Kovacs(+1, cover +1) over the top as this s again Floyd vs Jenkins. Another cover +1 for good stuff everywhere else.
M48 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Improv comeback Martin 12
Martin(-1) gets a free run but for the peeling back, who chops him to the ground. This lets Scheelhaase outside the pocket, where he can wait and zip it to Jenkins in a lot of space (cover -1, pressure -2).
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dig Gordon Inc
Backups on the DL give Scheelhaase a lot of time (pressure -2); he steps into a deep in to his tight end that Gordon(+2, cover +2) breaks on and nails on the catch. I think this is complete but it's ruled to not be so; in any case this is a safety making life as hard as possible for a WR.
M36 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 4 Improv comeback Van Bergen Inc
Okie business gets RVB(+1, pressure/RPS +1) through the line, whereupon he jerks back as if held; no call. Scheelhaase has to scramble and gets the corner; Roh is coming hard and he has to throw. It's back across his body to Jenkins with Floyd coming hard but not quite there to make a play; ball is too far out in front and eventually dropped. Floyd cramps up and has to come off briefly.
M36 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Roh -16
Four man rush annihilates, with Roh(+2, pressure +4) roaring around the corner as Clark(+2) does the same and a stunt gets RVB(+1) up the middle; with nowhere to go Scheelhaase tries to back out and is engulfed.
O48 4 26 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Post Clark? 32
Scheelhaase has time and steps through the line, which is bad because it makes this into fourth and 16 instead of fourth and 26 (pressure -3). RVB(-2) and Clark(-2) get way outside. Martin does too but he is stunting and supposed to. Would like Mattison to have a guy close to the LOS on a delayed blitz to prevent this; no dice. Scheelhaase steps up and rifles it to Jenkins in front of Kovacs(cover -2); this is really all about letting Scheelhaase through the line and not pressuring him at all.
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 TE Drag Demens 5
Michigan in man so this is a tough cover with a sort of pick route taking Demens a little off an ideal path. He still gets in position to force this OOB after an okay gain. Cover push, Demens +0.5.
M15 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Morgan? 11
Scheelhaase keeps and sees Clark has kept contain this time; he screwed up. So he just runs the RB's play. This works so well I think M should put it in the playbook. Michigan defends the RB fantastically but this pulls RVB out of the middle of the field as he tackles his assignment. Morgan(-1) takes on a block and doesn't shed it; he's really the only guy with a shot at holding this down and can't do it. Scheelhaase into the secondary, where Kovacs forces him into a good tackle from Countess(+0.5, tackling +1). RPS -1?
M4 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read dive N/A 3
Going backside and with no scrape it is really hard to hold this down without giving up contain on the QB. Clark keeps contain and then comes down, making a good play to tackle as the guy passes the LOS but this can't prevent him from picking up three. I won't RPS this but I kind of want to.
M1 2 G Ace 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A QB sneak Martin 1
They don't get it. RVB(+1) and Martin(+1) are basically the whole play. Illinois does get a yard, but they needed slightly more than one.
M1 3 G Goal line Goal line Run N/A Iso N/A 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Pyrrhic touchdown, 24-14, 3 min 4th Q. Oh, all right, I'll do the last one because it's fun.
Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -8
M stunt gets Martin(+1) and RVB(+2) through (pressure +3) and RVB gets there first. Two guys block air and one tries to block Martin.
O12 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 TE out Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +1) gets driving pressure that forces Scheelhaase out of the pocket; Scheelhaase has a TE breaking open but has to float it because underneath coverage(+1) is there and overshoots.
O12 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Scramble Martin 1
Avery comes from the corner; Martin(+1, pressure +1) shoves a tackle into him and then bursts upfield. Scheelhaase can scramble out because of some dudes falling and stuff, but cannot find anyone open(cover +1); Avery comes back to tackle. Would be a sack but the guy manages to fall over the line.
Drive Notes: Punt. 31-14, EOG

So who do we pick up next?

What?

We have Woodson. Now we need to go back to medieval Europe or ancient Greece to pick up babes and/or Socrates.

Wouldn't it be better to go get other people who can play football?

Do we need any?

I…

I don't know. I just don't know what to do with myself when there's a three play series on which:

  1. Morgan decleats the RB in such a way as to get Craig James hootin'.
  2. Ryan decleats the QB on a speed option in such a way as to get the stadium going "ohhhhhhhh I hope he's not dead."
  3. Later on that same play Kovacs makes a textbook tackle in space.
  4. Ryan Van Bergen roars up the middle of the pocket and jumps on Scheelhaase's back like he expects to round up cattle on the sideline.

It almost can't be real. By the time the punter hit the field I was afraid I would wake up to someone rubbing a beaver in my face.

kenny-demens-beaver

No… no… NONONONO… It was all a dream… no… no… I want to go back

So we're totally getting ahead of ourselves, right?

We have to be. I mean, last week's performance was exactly acceptable and we were happy with this. We are not the '86 Bears. We must not get hopes up. Illinois couldn't score on Purdue until there were 10 minutes left.

Hopes are totally up.

I can neither confirm nor deny that statement. I can only point you towards the most insane, ridiculous, beaver-pelt-laden congregation of numbers I may have purveyed in the history of doing this. I present

DOOMCHART

Doomchart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 14.5 2 12.5 To be fair, two points in garbage time. HAHAHAHA
Martin 19 3 16 HAHAHAHAHAHA
Roh 9 - 9 Oh… oh wow.
Heininger 5 2 3 Didn't get in on the sack explosion largely because he's lifted in the nickel.
Clark 3 3 0 Zone read WTF was kind of magnificent. More later.
Black 1 3.5 -2.5 Other guy to WTF a zone read.
Campbell 4 - 4 Time to get excited about him again until next week.
TOTAL 55.5 13.5 42 That is nuts.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5.5 4.5 1 Step forward from last week; still freshman.
Demens 7.5 3.5 4 Second consecutive solid game. Pretty good in coverage.
Ryan 6.5 3.5 3 Showed the guys above how to do it on the zone read.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP
Beyer 0.5 - 0.5 Few plays.
Hawthorne - - - DNP.
Jones 1 - 1 Charts as a DT. HAHAAHAH
TOTAL 21 12.5 8.5 I'll take it from two freshmen and a junior.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 14.5 3 11.5 You think the DL is nuts, Floyd thinks. I'll show you nuts.
Avery 3 - 3 Good day. Quality option as a third guy.
Woolfolk 2.5 1 1.5 Floyd made him not entirely necessary. May still be hurt.
Kovacs 7 1 6 Forced fumble, good tackling, is Kovacs.
T. Gordon 2.5 - 2.5 Thumping hit forced technical incompletion.
Countess 3 2 1 Also had a jumped Jenkins PBU.
Van Slyke - - - DNP
TOTAL 32.5 7 25.5 NUTS
Metrics
Pressure 31 18 13 Stunts and okie annihilated OL.
Coverage 30 12 18 HAHAHAHA.
Tackling 13 2 87% I can't even remember a broken tackle.
RPS 11 3 8 Annihilation.

So… yeah. There is something seriously wrong with the Illinois offense. There has to be, because you can't do the above without the offense helping you out quite a bit. I think Scheelhaase is perpetually late on his throws, and that they're tipping their passes, and that their offensive line is a total sieve. All that makes their offense really, really bad.

Even so… good gravy. Michigan had two DL at Brandon Graham levels of performance and a third not far off. I can't remember any cornerback ever hitting double digits before, and I can't remember a near 75% coverage day. I'm usually happy when coverage is a push. On Saturday, this is what they did to four verts:

four-verts-2

There's a dude behind the one slot guy that you think might be open. He is not open. No one is open.

That is easily the best performance since 2006.

JT FLOYD?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!???!?!!??

Word. Guy may not be the fastest player in the world but has he been beaten deep once this year? Not really. Michael Floyd got a 30-yard fade on him but even on that play he was there making life difficult and I +1ed him. He's had problems in run support… okay. He just spent a day breaking up a ton of short stuff, never getting threatened deep…

…and putting the cherry on top:

Even when Jenkins did get something on him it was often tough:

That guy is right on the sideline, which contributes to the overturn when he juggles it. If that's what Floyd's giving up, okay. I'll take that and a PI on which you broke for the ball too early.

These posts have started off cautious, moved towards "I know you won't believe this but…," and are now at a crossroads. People: JT Floyd is a legitimately good Big Ten corner. If he maintains this level of performance the last two weeks he should get consideration for All Big Ten.

TONY GIBSON MINUS ALL OF THE POINTS

Minus all of the points.

Are we at Alan MFin' Branch levels on third and one yet or what?

Not quite, but sort of yes. Alan MFin' Branch levels:

You can see 6'6", 330 of angry New Mexican hauling the tail end of that graph down like a black hole in spacetime. That's Alan Branch. 33 percent! On third and one! Six of eighteen! SIX OF EIGHTEEN!

!!!

Seth did the legwork for this year on Tuesday and came up with 44%, which isn't quite Michigan 2006. It is, however, insanely good. What's more, when he chopped out the MAC opponents from this year the numbers were six of… nineteen.

image

If you look at a third and one as an opportunity to boot the opponent off the field Michigan is literally doubling an average success rate and doing better than that against the meat of the schedule. The entire front seven shares in this accomplishment, as does Mattison, but IME the main guy in this success is Mike Martin.

The guy is the center of most of these plays. He gets doubled and he still gets penetration; the tailback cuts back and meets unblocked dudes.

I mean… we're talking about comparing this defense to 2006—the very best part of the 2006 defense—and saying "not quite as good except against real competition." My jaw has made it halfway to the Orb of Zot. Big Ten Wonk has authorized use of the word "stunned." THIS IS SURPRISING.

Remember last year when sometimes we'd line up with a three man line on third and one? And not even blitz anyone? HAHAHAHA

Aren't you a little harsh on those zone reads that got outside?

No. I mean, seriously:

clark-er-2

This is cool. We've got this.

clark-er-3

GUH?

clark-er-4

Duh.

That's a nothing play—maybe a loss—turned into a touchdown because Clark's not looking at the ball, which is literally right in front of his face. This is how it is done:

Run at the guy with the ball.

That okie package was lethal, wasn't it?

Check BWS for a breakdown of the different blitzes run from it. Chris identified six, seemingly all of which ended with Scheelhaase running for his life or losing it. Por ejemplo:

Now that Michigan is keeping a deep safety on these things and not offering free touchdowns—Mattison learned that lesson in one try—they are increasingly difficult to deal with as new players and stunts get added to them. It's almost like Scot Shafer was on to something.

This is the week we get excited about Campbell again, isn't it?

Yeah. Check that Morgan decleater and see who forces the cutback into death: Campbell. On a late third and one that Michigan stuffed it was Campbell, not Martin, who blew the play up:

Get push, take on a fullback, shed and tackle… that's a good play right there. Illinois OL caveats apply; we'll probably be back to fretting next week.

What went wrong on the fourth down play?

The main problem was the fact that it turned into fourth and 18, not fourth and 26, when the line split like the Red Sea and allowed Scheelhaase to run up in the pocket:

With another ten yards to close the distance Kovacs probably gets there. I'd like to see a delayed blitzer in there to prevent that from happening.

Have any random notes for Borges he will roll his eyes at?

This botched decision by Scheelhaase worked out well:

Man, I think we should do that. We should run a fake inside zone that Robinson ostentatiously keeps on with the intent of pausing and then running up in the same hole the tailback is hitting. The ol' fake inside the fake.

Heroes?

Everybody. Especially Martin, Van Bergen, and Floyd.

Goats?

WTF, get out of here with your goats.

What does it mean for Nebraska and the future?

I think we're in for a bit of a letdown; Nebraska's wacky option system does a lot of stuff that Michigan has not seen before—last week they turned the inverted veer into a speed option and I was like "oh that is so cool"—that attacks Michigan's still-youthful edges. I can see Nebraska effectively attacking the outside and making the Martin/Heininger/RVB axis a smaller factor than it's been the past couple games. Also that just can't happen again. My heart has already burst out of its little box; if Michigan holds Nebraska to 30 yards rushing it will emerge from my chest.

That said, it's suddenly hard to envision Nebraska having much success in the air even if Taylor Martinez is on a relative tear. They'll probably pick some stuff up on play action and the like, but Nebraska's had a hard time moving the ball against… quality defenses… like Michigan has. /faints

Anyway: 270 yards against MSU and victory only because they did to the MSU offense what Michigan did to that of Illinois, 331 against Penn State, 335 against Wisconsin. They did put up some points and yards in the frenetic final quarter against OSU; other than that it has been tough sledding.

As for the future… man. Woolfolk and Gordon seem like a push, so if Michigan can find some defensive linemen they are set for next year. Come on, Campbell.

Comments

los barcos

November 16th, 2011 at 4:46 PM ^

I actually think Gordon/woolfolk is advantage Gordon, especially with the injuries woolfolk has been experiencing. 

 

There is no sugar-coating losing RVB and MM, but man, we return everyone else and add a year of maturity & of mattison.  I cant help but to think next year we may have – not just a good defense – an elite defense.

unWavering

November 16th, 2011 at 4:55 PM ^

I don't think we will be as solid stopping the inside run, for obvious reasons, but I have to believe our LBs will be better next year and our secondary should be as close to shutdown as we've seen in the past decade.  I think it will be a good year for the defense if they can find someone to at least partially fill the void up front.  It seems that our only true weaknesses in 2012 will be the depth and quality of both lines..... which is admittedly is the worst kind of weakness to have.

joeyb

November 16th, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

"Man, I think we should do that. We should run a fake inside zone that Robinson ostentatiously keeps on with the intent of pausing and then running up in the same hole the tailback is hitting. The ol' fake inside the fake."

We did that to great success against ND. It wasn' exactly as you describe it, but we faked the hand off to Hopkins (most of the time) and he would counter to become a lead blocker in the hole that Denard was supposed to run through. That got the LBs flowing hard and Hopkins was able to get a seal on them.

TrppWlbrnID

November 16th, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

i am going to get this entire UFR tattooed on my back. not just the chart parts, but the split personality brian dialogue parts, the frozen youtube frame of GERG part, the "i be like dang" cat picture part, all of it.

ALL OF IT!

JT4104

November 16th, 2011 at 5:14 PM ^

DLine is the question for next year....Roh/Black/Clark/Beyer should hopefully provide enough on the end. Hopefully Big Will/Q Wash/Pipkins and whoever else ends up inside can at worst give us stalemates and our LB's can make plays until they figure it out.

Also, on the clark blown read option...Campbell had that dead to rights he had came off his block and was going to devour ford if he had the ball.

UofM Die Hard …

November 16th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

Thank god for this breakdown, I didnt really notice BWC in there but damn he had some good stuff going on.  I hope he goes ape shit in the weight room in the off season and has a Nick Farley type last season. 

For this Saturday, when they run the option our end guys need to do what Ryan did everytime, even if Martinez gets the pitch off, hit the shit out of him.  Wear that bitch down.

 

That Morgan hit gives me a bojee

 

Tha Quiet Storm

November 16th, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

Re: DT for next year

If Mattison and the defensive coaches can do things like turn J.T. Floyd into a borderline all-conference player and possible future NFL draft pick, then I have the utmost confidence in their ability to find 1 or 2 "plus" players out of Campbell, Washington, Ash, Wilkins, and Rock.

go16blue

November 16th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

You stole my thunder.

If they can turn Will Freakin Heininger into a productive DT/DE, I'm sure they can turn Ondre Pipkins into one as well, even in his first year. I'm not too worried about D Line depth next year, given this coaching staff.

GoWings2008

November 16th, 2011 at 7:01 PM ^

Coaches are always talking up how the Seniors are doing a great job leading by example, and I can only hope that the teaching and "mentoring moments" are a-plenty during practice and in between defensive series.  I hope the next group of guys expected to step up on the D line are taking good lessons from these guys.  I'm sure MM and RVB know how important developing the underclassmen is to this team, esp now as they move forward.

turtleboy

November 16th, 2011 at 6:57 PM ^

and I'm pretty sure you mean DJ Floyd. Very interested in seeing where Wilkins lands the most often and how they coach him up, also like to give the nod to the possibility of Brink earning time in the DE rotation since they had him start a game this year.

colin

November 16th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

I have totally said to myself, myself, that should be a play. A standard defense for the ZR these days is to sit the end and force the ball to the back and zone blitz the back's path. That would be a great counter to any team that wants to get the ball out of Denard's hand by squatting the DE. Not like he's gonna get chased down from behind.

Tapin

November 16th, 2011 at 5:56 PM ^

My jaw has made it halfway to the Orb of Zot.

Yeah, that's right, this blog pulls out the ROGUELIKE references when things start gettin' real. Next up: detailed comparison of a certain dilithium-based lifeform vs. Rodney.

Never change, Brian.

ForeverVoyaging

November 16th, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

I feel mostly OK about getting decent D-line play next years just because we have a LOT of coaching in that area, and many schools have excellent track records of producing quality linesmen without a lot of big name recruits (TCU, Stanford, Michigan State, to name a few off the top of my head).

jamiemac

November 16th, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

Great Post, Brian

Wasnt it the last Sunday of September we spent a couple minutes on the podcast talking and asserting that this third and short D was more than sustainable once Big 10 play started

Wow. What great stuff. I know you are focused on just the third and 1's, but this short yardage D magic has been outstanding on third and 2 and 3's as well

 

JeepinBen

November 16th, 2011 at 9:25 PM ^

The '86 Bears defense was actually statistically surperior to the '85 Bears during the regular season. Ditka often said the '86 team was better. But the '86 Bears lost their first playoff game, while the '85 Bears won 2 shutouts before beating the pats 46-10 in Superbowl XX. Giving up 10 points in an entire playoff is pretty damn good.

MichFan1997

November 16th, 2011 at 7:39 PM ^

HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I also love watching how very slowly, throughout the year, Michigan keeps adding things to the defense. Simply stunning when last year I couldn't even figure out what was going on.

 

BlueMan80

November 16th, 2011 at 8:34 PM ^

You have to root for RVB, MM, and the rest of the D to close strong and be the difference in the next two games.  It would be a great tribute to RVB and MM for their leadership through this season and building the foundation for great Michigan defenses to come.  A big accomplishment they can both be proud of and we as Michigan fans will always appreciate.  To think I was watching the game on saturday telling myself everything was OK, the defense will make a stop and get the ball back and keep Illnois out of the game....that thought process has gone through my brain since 2006.

The FannMan

November 16th, 2011 at 8:36 PM ^

Mattison and company have turned JT Floyd into a player, the defense into an asset, and all of us be like dang about the defense. The Defense! What a turn around. I mean Brian gave JT Floyd a +4. This could not have been imagined last year

San Diego Mick

November 16th, 2011 at 8:41 PM ^

How many of ya'll thought you'd be talking this way just 10 months ago?

 

That's the most beautiful thing to me, I was so pissed at so many commenters on here prior to this staff showing what it can do. It just seemed like an RR sycophant convention sometimes, it used to make my blood boil.

 

I'd be wondering to myself what people were seeing in wanting to give that guy another year. How scary is that thought right now? Thank goodness we have this staff and ultra-cool and smooth head coach. This man can coach, recruit and represent with the best of them, I'm really glad he woulda walked to AA.

 

I'm proud of the mgoblog community right now and I'm proud of Brian for coming around and what great work you do w/the UFR, how in the fuck do you do it man, thanks for the great job you do.

I really like our chances to win the next 2, how attractive would a Michigan be in a Fiesta or Sugar Bowl? We average 37 PF to 11 PA at home this year.

Go Blue!

harmon98

November 16th, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

Mattison and company are managing to get damn near 100% efficiency with the roster. This is remarkable for several reasons not least of which this being a new staff and all of the challenges inherent with that. We're beginning to see the fruits of fundamentals and technique which has instilled a confidence; a real sense of pride and purpose in this group of guys.
Dare I say we have ourselves the genisis of a damn fine defensive outfit.