Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs Minnesota Comment Count

Brian October 5th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I'm pretty sure this is the shortest UFR table in a long time. Probably not forever since in the embryonic stages a lot of plays were described as "a big wad of bodies I can't figure out," full stop, but in a long time.

Substitution notes: Secondary was the usual; Countess came in in the second quarter for Woolfolk. He is clearly the #3 CB, with Johnson the #3 S. At LB it was Ryan/Demens/Hawthorne the whole way until garbage time. On the line the usual rotation with a bit less of the backups because there was no opportunity for the starters to get tired. Still no Cam Gordon.

Formation notes: Nothing we haven't seen before, and since Minnesota was so transparently bad I didn't bother to get a bunch of screenshots of certain plays.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol 3TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Hawthorne 1
Heininger(-1) blown off the ball by a double; this should provide a lane but Martin(+1) drove the center back, Roh(+0.5) held up on the outside, and Hawthorne (+1) hit a lead blocker on the LOS, holding up surprisingly well. With nowhere to go we have a wad play that Roh eventually ends by tackling the RB.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh -1
I think, anyway. No doubles from Minnesota as two guys release downfield into Gordon and Demens immediately. This means all of the DL are one on one and all of them end up controlling their guys, able to release on either side of them if the RB tries to hit a hole. RB tries to go outside where Roh(+1) is waiting and Gordon(+1) flows up to help; Demens(+1) had also beaten a block and was there. RVB and Martin pick up half points.
O20 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -5
Stunt gets RVB(+2) through as the Gopher line busts; RVB tackles the relatively immobile Shortell before the Gophers can even finish their routes. (RPS +1, Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Demens 3
Martin(+0.5) is doubled; while he does give a little ground it's not much and the pulling G doesn't have much room. Hawthorne(+0.5) hits him near the line, causing a cutback into Demens(+0.5), who is unblocked because of the double and scrapes into the backside hole to tackle. Heininger(+0.5) did a good job closing down the intended hole as well; he popped off a defender and had a shot to tackle if the RB didn't cut back.
O44 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Floyd 5
Delayed blitz does not get through; Minnesota throws a dinky route that Floyd lets happen; he tackles immediately. Fine.
O49 3 2 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Kovacs -1
2TE motions into an H-back spot; Kovacs rolls down into the box. H-back flares in an attempt to kick out Roh(+2), the EMLOS. Roh bowls him over backwards. This cannot happen on a power if you're ever going to gain any yards. There is no lane. Pulling G derps his way past everyone without blocking anyone; Kovacs(+1) is blitzing from the outside; untouched, he tackles for loss. Hawthorne(+0.5) had also blitzed right into the play, so three separate M players were in a position to stop this. Minnesota is not good.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O6 1 10 Pistol twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Woolfolk 12
Minnesota successfully high-lows Woolfolk in zone. Not his fault as he's got a corner route coming from the inside and has to drop back into that; this naturally opens up an underneath receiver since there's no underneath help. (Cover/RPS -1)
O18 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 9
Martin(+1) fights a double team and gets enough penetration when the second guy releases into the linebackers to close off the hole himself. RB has to bounce and it looks like Ryan is about to read this and pop out on the edge to finish the play when he's yanked and seemingly ankle tackled by the OT. No call. Refs -1. Floyd(-0.5) did a kind of weak job on the edge, though the Ryan issue allowed a quick bounce so he had a tough job.
O27 2 1 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Heininger 0
Nowhere to go as Martin(+1) holds up to a double and Heininger(+1) a single block. Cutback from the RB; an unblocked Roh(+0.5) read the play and shuffled down the LOS before exploding to tackle at the line. Heininger gets his extra half point for getting control of his guy to the point where he can disengage to help tackle.
O27 3 1 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Sack Ryan -4
I'm not entirely sure but Shortell appears to be looking for his TE on a tiny little hitch first but pulls it down because Black(+1, RPS +1) chucked him before going into his pass rush. This disrupts the timing and causes Shortell to move on. RVB(+1) gets in at this point, flushing the awkward Shortell out of the pocket, where Hawthorne(+0.5) and Ryan(+0.5) roar up to sack. (Pressure +1, cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 7
Michigan's line steps to the left on the snap. This doesn't seem like a full on slant, it's just a way to one-gap the D. I'm not sure if Heininger(+0.5) is playing this okay and just gets pushed past the play or if he got out of position. He does slice through two blockers, causing the C to attempt to peel back and forcing a cutback behind him—away from the blocking angles. Demens(-1) has a free run at the gap but reads it late and meets the RB a couple yards downfield when he can make a tackle at the LOS. Then some bad luck as a pursuing Black impacts the tackle from behind, knocking Demens to the ground and giving the RB some YAC.
O27 2 3 Ace twins 4-3 even Pass N/A Sack Ryan -9
Ryan is lined up over the slot and blitzes. Minnesota is trying a PA rollout to his side, pulling a backside OL around to give some edge protection. Ryan(+2) explodes upfield, getting into Shortell's feet and cutting off the outside. Shortell does manage to escape upfield, where Martin(+1) is tearing around blockers, coming from the inside. Shortell spins back to avoid that sack, whereupon the Red Sea caves in on him. (Pressure +3, RPS +1)
O18 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone -- 4
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Rollout hitch Countess 8
Countess in for Woolfolk. You can see Michigan checking when the TE motions across the formation; Gordon comes down into man on the slot receiver, implying that Ryan(-1) should come to the LOS to act as a 4-3 SLB. He doesn't, instead dropping into a redundant zone and opening up the corner (pressure -1). Shortell finds his hitch in front of Countess.
O28 2 2 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 PA Quick seam Hawthorne Inc (Pen +9)
TE motions to Ryan's side and this time he does creep down off the slot. He blitzes off the snap, getting picked off by a pulling pass protector after the PA fake. Michigan is zone blitzing and tips it by leaving Roh in a two point stance; he drops off in coverage over the TE. Hawthorne makes one of those back-to-QB zone drops across the field, and this zone seems perfectly designed to stop this route. Hawthorne(cover +1) gets over to the TE quick seam before the TE can get there; he slows up rather than run over Hawthorne and Shortell's wobbler goes well long. Demens(+1) timed his blitz excellently and got a free run, thumping Shortell as he threw(pressure +2) Hawthorne(-2) then gets an incredibly late, but legit PI call for grabbing the TE as he tried to cut inside.
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen -- Inc
Dropped. Strong possibility Hawthorne blows this up for little.
O37 2 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass N/A Rollout hitch Countess 11
Replay of the previous hitch except Ryan is on the edge this time, though he gets eliminated easily. (Pressure -1) Again in front of Countess(-1, cover -1) and I will ding him for not being there to challenge on the same route he just saw.
O48 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 0
Martin(+1) takes on a double and wins, forcing his way into the gap to his left and preventing anyone from getting out on the LBs. Demens(+2) uses this to his advantage, seeing the gap open up behind Martin as he pushes playside. He shoots it and makes a tackle at the LOS after having removed the cutback lane. RVB(+0.5) held up well on the edge and helps tackle.
O48 2 10 Shotgun twin TE 46 front Pass 5 Fly Countess Inc
Campbell(+2) runs over the center and comes right up the middle of the field (pressure +2), leveling Shortell. Shortell stands in and chucks one to a guy on a fly route. Countess was in press coverage and is step for step(+2, cover +2); he finds the underthrown ball and adjusts to it. He has a shot at an INT but it's a tough catch and he settles for the PBU.
O48 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 6 Hitch Countess 7
Michigan sends the house and doesn't quite get there; Roh(+0.5) seems like he's coming around the corner fast enough to cause problems if Shortell has to wait another beat. Instead he throws a hitch route short of the sticks that Countess(+1, cover +1) allows to be completed but tackles immediately on. He pops the ball loose as he does so; Michigan recovers.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 31-0, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Fade Floyd Inc
Testing the press w/ McKnight. Floyd is in good position and has pushed McKnight almost to the sideline but does not time his jump well; he gets his head around and then it seems like he fails to locate the ball. McKnight goes up to grab it but steps OOB on his way down. Given the position of McKnight this was circus all the way, so (+1, cover +1)
O34 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 7
Kovacs blitzes from the backside and gets upfield outside of the TE. That seems okay since he'd have to contain the QB. Roh is shuffling down the line on the inside zone and gets cut behind. This may be possible because instead of a mesh point the QB accidentally bats the snap right to the RB. The cut backside this should expose RB to unblocked Demens; Demens(-1) drops into a short zone and then lets the RB outside of him. Johnson has rolled down over the slot and does keep leverage; Demens tackles from behind. Partially one of those things—an actual mesh point and Demens/Roh probably have time to react better to this—but an unblocked LB should not let an RB outside of him.
O41 3 3 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Rollout TE Flat Roh 1
Roh(+1) drops off into a short zone as Ryan blitzes. He gets cut; Heininger(+1) bumps the TE and then heads upfield between two befuddled Gopher blockers once that guy releases. He pressures(+1) and Shortell has to dump it off; Roh gets outside to tackle(+1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 14 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass 5 TE comeback Ryan Inc
Roh again in a two point stance, indicating he will drop; he drops. Ryan(+1) blitzes from the other side, beating the TE and flushing Shortell up into the pocket(pressure +1). Shortell manages to find the second he needs and finds a receiver, who happens to be the TE on a comeback in front of Roh. TE drops it. (Roh -1, cover -1)
O16 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Run N/A Inside zone Van Bergen 2
Michigan blitzing Ryan and Demens; Demens lines up right over the C and then twists outside. The C is convinced he's supposed to block Demens, which he doesn't; G releases downfield. This allows RVB(+1) a single block that he gets playside of and carries to the hole; Martin(+1) also closed off the frontside, leaving nowhere for the RB to go.
O18 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel press Pass 6 Fly Johnson Inc
Johnson backs out in to a deep zone late as Kovacs is sent on a blitz. Roh(+1) beats his blocker and is getting into Shortell's face (pressure +1) as Kovacs comes; Shortell bombs it deep. Gordon(-1) is beaten but Johnson(+2) is quick enough to get over and get a PBU as he arrives at the ball at the same time the WR does (cover +1, better thrown ball does find space).
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 10 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Pistol 2TE 46 front Run N/A Power off tackle Heininger 2
Heininger(+1) dives inside the OT trying to block down and comes around. Black(+1) has driven the OT back, giving the RB an awkward cut to make upfield. This allows Heininger to tackle from behind. Demens(-0.5) ended up running past the play as the pulling G got to him.
O36 2 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 Rollout TE Flat Black 9
Again with the blitz and WDE dropping off into coverage. Minnesota runs a quasi-screen here, pumping to the left, then coming back to the little TE flare as the RB comes out of the backfield intent on blocking. This time Black(-1, cover -1) drops a ways and because the RB gets in his way he's not in position to tackle this on the catch, allowing the TE to turn it up for a first down.
O45 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Heininger 1
Similar to the previous power on this drive. Minnesota flips the TEs, which doesn't make M flip the lines, they just move Hawthorne and Kovacs over. Hawthorne lines up right over the tackle. On the snap he takes a block and starts giving ground; Heininger(+2) bowls over this blocker as Black(+1) gets penetration that restricts the hole and prevents a bounce. Those two combine to tackle at the line as the RB just kind of falls over.
O46 2 9 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 5 Hitch Avery Inc
RVB(+2, pressure +2) slants inside a blocker and comes right up the center of the field to get a hurry; throw now or get sacked. Hitch is open in front of Avery(-0.5, cover -1) for near first down yardage; throw is upfield and dropped.
O46 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 5 Hitch Avery Inc
Good pocket(pressure -1); Shortell wings it well high. Avery(+0.5, cover +1) appears to have reacted quickly enough to make a play on the ball if there was one to be made.
Drive Notes: Punt, 45-0, 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A QB power Campbell 0
Hawthorne(+1) reads the QB's cut upfield and runs away from the blocking angle further outside; he and Campbell(+1), who beat a single block to show up in the hole, combine to tackle.
O25 2 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Pass 5 Fade Avery 33
Okay, Brink and Avery and Fitzgerald in. This game is not long for the charting. Shortell gets the corner (pressure -1) and has an easy deep throw to Avery's guy(-1, cover -1) as he's beaten so badly he cannot recover.
M42 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel press Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 3
Wad o bodies as Minnesota can't move Campbell(+1) out of the playside hole with a double. He gets support from Heininger and Ryan(+0.5 each) and the RB runs up into the wad for little.
M39 2 7 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Brink -4
Instead of blocking Brink(+2) the playside TE watches him run past and make a TFL. Minnesota: not good.
M43 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Countess Inc
Countess(+2, cover +2) fights the WR for position and makes a play on the ball as it arrives.
Drive Notes: Punt, 48-0, 14 min 4th Q. Charting ceases.

So, about that.

Yeah, not much you can take from that game.

But it's nice to be able to say that about a Big Ten team, right?

Sure. The last team Michigan made look that inept was Baby Seal U, and the last team before that was the 2007 Notre Dame outfit that was the absolute nadir of super-geniusdom. Last year's Purdue team may have been as bad on offense; with the help of a driving rainstorm Michigan held them to 256 yards, giving up a 61-yard field goal drive early. This edition of Michigan's defense was better against the 2011 equivalent.

But… yeah, the Purdue example is instructive. There is a level of offense that can make even last year's Michigan D seem competent. Minnesota is at that level of offense.

There is something we can take from this, though, I mean, right?

A little, sure. A couple years ago Michigan gave up 17 to EMU in the first half, ceding 179 rushing yards to that year's #116 total offense. Last year Michigan gave up 37 to I-AA UMass.

You can never tell anything good from a game like this, but you can receive an ominous message that causes you to stock up on survival gear. The failure to get one of those represents progress.

Also, I only caught one wacky misalignment in the above-charted plays, that a failure of Jake Ryan to come down to LB depth after Minnesota shifted a TE. That's significant improvement from the nonconference portion of the schedule. That first drive against Western where no one knew where to line up has receded almost entirely.

I suppose we should look at the chart.

Man, you are subdued.

I'm locked and loaded. Actin' like I've been there. Emulatin' Brady Hoke's cool sideline demeanor. Somewhat terrified about what happens after game five in Michigan football seasons.

Right. Chart.

Keep in mind that this is only 36 snaps, five of which were contested mostly by backups. If you had to reduce certain games last year to find reasonable numbers, for this game you need to almost double them to find a per-play average approximately in line with historical norms.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 7 - 7 Minnesota couldn't move him.
Martin 7 - 7 Or him.
Roh 7.5 1 6.5 Seems to have reclaimed the starting spot.
Brink 2 - 2 Thanks, lack of Minnesota blocking.
Heininger 6.5 1 5.5 Hard to move after first snap, too.
Black 3 1 2 Playing time reduced.
Campbell 4 - 4 "Get off me"
TOTAL 37 3 34 lol. +0.94 per snap
Player + - T Notes
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Demens 4.5 2.5 2 Not many plays even got to him.
Herron - - - DNP
Ryan 4 1 3 Couple of explosive pass rush moves.
Fitzgerald - - - Nothing of note.
Jones - - - DNP
Evans - - - DNP
Beyer - - - PT in garbage time.
Hawthorne 3.5 2 1.5 Not giving his PT back.
Morgan - - - PT in garbage time
TOTAL 12 5.5 6.5 Enjoyed some tea as they watched the DL do the tackling for them.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 1 0.5 0.5 Not tested(!)
Avery 0.5 1.5 -1 Has obviously slid behind Countess.
Woolfolk - - - Rest this man.
Kovacs 1 - 1 Earl Grey, please
T. Gordon 1 1 0 I'll have chai
Countess 5 1 4 Think we may have something here.
Johnson 2 - 2 Roobios for me
TOTAL 10.5 4 6 Smashing, chaps
Pressure 15 4 11 NO BLOCKY FOR YOU
Coverage 10 5 5 Tony Gibson –6.02 x 10^23
Tackling - - - Nothing even approached an open field tackle.
RPS 3 1 2 Whateva

So… yeah. The defensive line annihilated the opposition to the point where nothing else really mattered. Can we take anything away from that? Eh… probably not. I'd love to live in a world where Will Heininger can flatten an opponent's interior OL, but I don't think that's the case.

We require some sort of crazy extrapolation to justify this piece.

Okay. We did get some depth chart clarity. Roh seems the clear starter at WDE, and Countess is #3 at CB and rising. Also we should now know who is redshirting and who is not. On defense:

  • Burned: Countess, Brown, Taylor, Beyer, Clark, Morgan
  • Redshirting: Carter, Hollowell, Heitzman, Rock, Poole

A couple of those do strike me as AAARGH burned redshirts: Brown and Clark. Brown is the #5 CB at best and Clark has two guys in front of him at WDE. Maybe the long-term plan is to slide Roh or Black to SDE next year, in which case I retract my argh.

Can we at least get a little Countess eeeeing?

Oh, all right: Countess had a couple of hitches completed on him but also acquired two PBUs, one of them another of the "too bad the QB didn't throw that more accurately" variety, the other a broken-up slant:

That looks like an exceptionally crappy route to me, but every little bit helps as we try to extrapolate young Countess into Charles Woodson. He also forced a fumble thanks to Mattison's new turnover-causing technique: tackling the opposition. That was a completion given up but it was also seven yards on third and ten, ie fine.

Was Minnesota really bad?

Oh, God yes. It was kind of marvelous. The best examples (on defense, anyway) I found were two separate incidents where Michigan defenders destroyed Minnesota OL. The first was Craig Roh taking a kickout block and turning it into total destruction:

That never happens.

And then there was Will Campbell using his sumo belly flop on someone other than Thomas Gordon:

After that it was a surprise Shortell didn't get up two-dimensional.

Minnesota is a bad football team.


Everyone but especially everyone on the defensive line.


No one.

What does it mean for Northwestern and beyond?

It means we don't have a terrible, terrible defense but not much more.



October 5th, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

The first replay of the BWC hit did not do his destruction of Shortell justice, the next replay from the side showed just how much he was destroyed.  That could not have felt good.


October 5th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

He ended up with a 2.5 so it all works out but I hope he doesn't get exposed against better teams. Of course, he's performed well in other games, so I think I'm just looking for something to complain about.


October 5th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

Shortell's gunslinger mentality when BWC blew him up:  he didn't have time to make any other read, of course he'll throw it up for grabs!  I guess it takes courage to not go into the fetal position when Campbell comes through the line (nearly) unimpeded, but still, it's like we're watching different games.


October 5th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

Best because EEE we are sweet


Worst because We learn nothing NOTHING!


Also is anyone else not that excited for tomorrow's UFR?  Because well it's going to be this and we can't take anything away from that either.  In sum:  Insufficient data try again next week.  

Woodhard M. Sp…

October 5th, 2011 at 3:27 PM ^

UFRs seem like way too much work just to verify over and again that RodRich should've been fired.

We know. We agree. No need to document the steady improvement of previous failures.


October 5th, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

I think we've reached the point of trying to put too fine a point on the redshirt watch. I don't think coaches can safely maximize this kind of thing. There will be inefficiency. Sometimes, maybe, they need to see a guy play in a game before they know what they've got. Sometimes it works out well and that guy plays a lot. Other times not and it looks like a wasted redshirt oppurtunity. Maybe the coaches need to develop some depth and then fortunately never need that depth.

In the push and pull between and betwixt winning now or saving for the future, I would prefer the coaches err well on the side of today and then recruit more dudes.

You want to redshirt guys that clearly are not ready to contribute rather than redshirting them for the purpose of keeping them on campus a year longer, I think.


October 5th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

I guess one of the things that I'm saying is I don't think you can view players as commodities to be maximized against their will.

Many players don't want to be redshirted--certainly not in the middle of their college career.

This kind of thinking is both unrealistic and would doubtlessly  hurt recruiting as well as team morale.

turd ferguson

October 5th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

Thanks for two very smart, interesting posts.

In terms of recruiting, I'd imagine that it's a powerful selling point to tell a kid, "I won't redshirt you unless you and your family agree that that's what you want to do."  Playing time is up to the coach, of course - and there's nothing wrong with giving honest advice - but redshirting has a big effect upon a kid's life, and I'd want to be involved in that decision if I were a player.

I don't know if I'd be willing to go the other way on that ("I won't play you as a freshman unless you're willing to burn your redshirt"), but I'd consider it.


October 6th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

They all want to play. And if a guy is practicing well enough to play over other guys, you have to play him, for the morale of the team, and so they know the guys who are working hardest get to play. That doesn't mean if a QB is the second best player on your team he has to get playing time if the first best is your other QB. But if he's outplaying the guys at his position, and can help your team now, you can't save him for some "extra-special-good" 5th year.  Not fair to the player or the team.  And if he's REALLY good, there's no guarantee you're not just getting two playing years out of him rather than 3.

Not to mention, it can go the other way. If a guy looks like he'll never be a big time starter, but has a knack for special teams, and can help you out there, there's no reason to tie up a scholarship by redshirting a guy who's only going to get spot minutes over his career. Let him play, enjoy his four years, and move on to his earning life...whether that's NFL stardom, or using that degree.

blue in dc

October 5th, 2011 at 6:10 PM ^

<br>- Roh was sick and not playing well
<br>- SDE - wasn't (and still isn't) strength of line, sliding BlCk or Roh wasn't (and probably still isn't) out of the question
<br>- these both seem like reasonable reasons to want extra depth
<br>- Woolfolk recovering from injury
<br>- Floyd and Avery have not locked down spots
<br>- weak coverage teams
<br>- all seem like reasonable reasons to want depth


October 5th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

Yup, exactly what I thought when watching the game. I know Minnesota sucks horribly, and that it doesn't mean anything. I know. But it was nice to once again watch a game where the offense made me laugh gleefully and the defense made me tell Minnesota, "nope, that's not gonna work", over and over again. And yes, I talk to the TV during Michigan games. I also yell at it. I know you do, too.

It was Baby Seal U all over again. But it was fun. Moar, plz.


October 5th, 2011 at 4:06 PM ^

When Brian says "It means we don't have a terrible, terrible defense but not much more." I think that he is just saying that is all that this game could prove, right? I.e. he isn't implying that our D is just a notch about "terrible, terrible" but just that a game like this can do nothing but prove that you are terrible, which we avoided it doing.

I am sort of curious to know what Brian thinks that the best case scenario is for the D at the end of the year. Obvious somthing in between our current national rankings and just above terrible, terrible (i.e. last year).


October 5th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Well, I think we are kind of in uncharted territory here, in terms of improvement, because we're going from the quintuple whammy of:

1) extreme youth last year;

2) multiple guys playing away from their natural positions (e.g., Roh at LB; Gordon at FS)

3) GERG;

4) the fact that GERG couldn't even run his desired defense;

5) Tony Gibson


1) more experience;

2) guys actually playing where they should be;

3) Greg Mattison;

4) Greg Mattison being allowed to run what he wants;

5) Curt Mallory

The usual models for year-to-year improvement may not apply here. 

ND Sux

October 6th, 2011 at 9:14 AM ^

kid has very good cover skills, and will continue to improve.  He is also confident, which is critical.  I told my GF that Countess was the next Leon Hall, only to come to the board this week and see similar comments.  I think he's our next lock-down guy, with lots of picks to come.


October 5th, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^

Possible excuse for unbridled optimism:

In the last 30 years, there have only been 3 seasons other than 2011 where the UM defense has allowed a total of 10 or fewer points over a 3 game stretch.  

2003 - During that year, Michigan only lost 2 regular season games by a combined total of 7 points @Iowa and @Oregon.  Went on to lose to USC in the Rose Bowl. 


1985 - UM did it twice in one season.  Finished reg. season 9-1-1 with a 2 point loss @Iowa and a 3-3 tie @ Illinois.  Went on to beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. 


1980 - UM shutout Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue in consecutive weeks.  Finished reg. season 9-2 with only a 2point loss @South Bend, and a 3 point loss to South Carolina at home.  Went on to beat Washington in the Rose Bowl.