Upon Further Review 2011: Defense vs SDSU

Submitted by Brian on September 28th, 2011 at 3:41 PM

INTERESTING SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK

sdsu-lady-board

Hey, that's a lady. BTN didn't show any shots of people you'd recognize, so this is the closest thing to evidence that they were holding up pictures of people who left. She must be support staff or something.

Formation notes: Mostly under, which they ran almost all the time when they were actually running what they wanted to. When SDSU went to spread formations the nickel package came in, with a good amount of one-high press…

slants-1

…and some regular old nickel even. IE: the usual. No funny stuff.

Substitution notes: Kovacs and Gordon went the whole way with Carvin Johnson re-claiming his spot as the fifth defensive back in nickel. Gordon is the nickelback; Johnson came in as a safety. Woolfolk went out with an ankle issue in the second quarter and Avery came in; Floyd went out with a ding in the third quarter and Countess came in. When Floyd returned it was Avery, not Countess, who took a seat.

At LB it was Ryan-Demens-Hawthorne almost the whole way. Morgan, Fitzgerald, and Beyer got a series or two each spelling the starters.

On the DL, the same four starters (Roh, RVB, Martin, Heininger) with heavy rotation from Campbell and Black with lesser rotation from Brink. I don't think I saw much of Washington. In the nickel package they lifted one of the DT types and left Ryan out as a DE.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Iso Martin 3
RB takes the handoff to the right of the QB as the FB goes left—a bit of counter action here. Martin(+2) pushes the C into the backfield, forcing an awkward cut from Hillman; RVB(+0.5) has also gotten penetration, forcing Hillman to hit it up in the small crease between the two DTs. Martin chucks his blocker and comes off to tackle. I'm trying to figure out why this is three yards instead of zero—think it's the linebackers not being aggressive enough, but no minuses.
O21 2 7 I-Form twins unbalanced 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 6
First of many flips by M's DL as SDSU flips the formation. This will have to get sorted out. They actually end up in an even formation with LBs from strong to weak Demens, Hawthorne, Ryan. Given the alignment of the other LBs this appears to be a bust by Ryan(-2), who did not flip when the rest of the line did. As a result they run power off the left hand side and one guy has no one to block. Demens heads straight upfield, taking on an OL peeling off RVB right at the LOS. This forces a bounce that may have been coming anyway because of the Ryan misalignment. RVB gets caught inside but I don't blame him since this is probably how he's supposed to play it when he's got an SLB. M gets lucky that the FB jets downfield instead of trying to block Hawthorne, who is scraping quickly from the interior. Hawthorne(+0.5) shoots between the FB headed for Kovacs and the pulling OL, forcing Hillman outside. He misses a tackle(-1) but his ability to get out in a flash forces Hillman outside into Kovacs(+0.5), who set up in a good spot; Hillman cuts back under where Ryan makes some amends by tackling before the sticks. Not an RPS minus because the error here is w/ player, not call.
O27 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh -1
Pulling guard trips as he comes out of his stance, which helps quite a bit. Roh(+3) is one on one with a tight end, pushes him into the backfield, and then throws him to the ground. He meets Hillman head-on a yard in the backfield for a thumping tackle. Strong possibility this is still stuffed with the pull since Hawthorne(+0.5) had flown up into the gap outside Roh and was in position to tackle behind the LOS.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Jet sweep Ryan 10
Ryan(-2) straight upfield again, giving up the edge. When you're let into the backfield without being blocked and don't make this guy at least change his flight path you messed up. There's no way for the LBs to remain responsible on the inside run here and get outside to track the jet sweep down unless Ryan delays the guy; he does not. Gordon keeps leverage forcing it back; Demens is pursuing and Kovacs(+0.5) comes up to tackle at the sticks.
O30 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 Throwaway Heininger Inc (Pen -10)
Not really a blitz as this is a two-man route. Deep guy is bracketed by Floyd and Woolfolk; Kovacs is going with the TE who motioned out. I think Lindley sees Hawthorne in his throwing lane and decides to chuck it at his RB's feet, which causes Hawthorne to vacate that lane when he sees the QB's eyes leave. Also, Heininger(+1, pressure +1) got in Lindley's face, drawing a holding call. It kind of looks like the TE hitch might be open, but results-based charting. (Cover +2, Kovacs +0.5; Floyd +0.5; Woolfolk +0.5)
O20 1 20 I-Form 4-3 even Pass N/A Long handoff Woolfolk 8
Played poorly by Woolfolk(-1), who lets the play outside of him and gives up eight yards on a nothing screen. Either have to tackle more quickly or force it back to help; Hawthorne was probably there if forced inside.
O28 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Floyd 11
SDSU shifts from an I-form and gets a too-easy pitch and catch in front of Floyd(cover -1). Not really his fault as this was a zone blitz they had a good route on for (RPS –1).
O39 3 1 I-Form big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Martin 7
TEs flip and this time Ryan has his head on straight. Martin(+1) slides through the center instantly. He's into the backfield, picking off a puller. This provides Michigan a free hitter, which is a hard-flowing Demens(+1), who is in position to tackle for loss; Hillman bounces. Woolfolk(+1) is there on the edge but is held to the point where his shoulder pads pop out; no call. Refs -2.
O46 1 10 I-Form twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Hawthorne 7
So this is what happens when Michigan does not flip the formation: not good stuff. Michigan's defense makes no sense: they're outnumbered on the strong side so they slant weakside and blitz Floyd(?!?) from the weakside as well. Black(-1) is not done favors by the play call but gets nailed inside; Hawthorne(+1) takes on a lead block and gets crushed but manages to keep his feet and draw the attention of a second blocker, who kicks the poor guy's ass. Hawthorne falls backwards right into Hillman's feet, which he grabs. Woolfolk was also there. Demens did okay considering the circumstances; Ryan(-0.5) was lost on the backside of the play; would not have been available to pursue if needed. RPS -2.
M47 2 3 Shotgun twin TE 4-4 under Run N/A Zone read dive Demens 7
Neither DT needs a double. Brink(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) stand up single blocks and get upfield, so the A gap is where the play must go. Heininger(-2) ends up sealed a yard and a half downfield after only a momentary double. The linebackers take on blocks near the first down marker and converge to tackle. Hillman and various OL start pushing the pile, whereupon Hillman fumbles because Demens(+2) ripped the ball out.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. Not too peeved about this drive since it should have been booted off the field on a third and short but for a hold.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 PA Deep out Gordon 21
Morgan in for Hawthorne. Late motion stacks the two WRs over each other; one runs deep and the other cuts out an out route. Deep guy has run off Woolfolk and Gordon is coming from the inside so there's a big hole in the coverage(-2). Martin(+0.5) had gotten some pressure on Lindley to force him to throw it off his back foot a bit; Morgan(-1) sucked way up on the playfake and let Hillman out into the flat with no one around him. Gordon(-1) didn't read this very well.
M49 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 3
Another formation flip, causing Michigan to do the same. TE then motions into the backfield as short side is overloaded. This time Ryan(+0.5) is in the right spot. He takes on his blocker quickly, standing him up at the LOS and further inside than he wants to be. Pulling G impacts him. RVB, Martin, and Heininger all do their jobs without doing anything spectacular, so there are no holes and a wad of bodies forms about two yards downfield. Half points for RVB and Heininger; Martin got pushed back a bit trying to shed and is the reason there's a little push.
M46 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 6 Out Woolfolk 10
Rhythm throw from Lindley comes too soon for serious pressure unless someone doesn't get picked up; SDSU stones the blitz (pressure -1, RPS -1). Woolfolk(+0.5) is there to tackle on the catch and has a decent shot of raking the ball out; he's about a half step from a PBU.
M36 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Gordon 1
Both TEs block down as both guards pull. Ryan again flies straight upfield, avoiding the downblock but not doing anything useful. If he slows up here and picks off the pulling G he gets a plus, but he doesn't. Hillman is in business if he cuts upfield but he widens too much and too fast for his OL to keep up with him, allowing Gordon(+1) to flow hard upfield. Hillman tries to cut inside; Demens(+0.5) slows up and is blocked by the guy Ryan did not pick off. He is in a good spot to prevent bad things from happening, though. Hillman bounces back outside, where Gordon has beaten the other G's block. He can't make a tackle but does slow Hillman enough for Demens, Martin, and Morgan to tackle for little gain. One yard gain only gets 1.5 plus because I think this is a poor job by Hillman of reading his blocks.
M35 2 9 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 5
TE motions in and Floyd moves down in as a quasi SLB. Michigan slanting playside; Heininger(+0.5) gets upfield of his guy but Campbell(-1) does not, getting sealed away. Heininger's move robs SDSU of some of its blocking angles; there's an OL out on Morgan but no one on Floyd or Demens so those guys can shut it down after a few yards provided by the Campbell crease. Would like to see Demens(-0.5) hit this more authoritatively; he gives up YAC by making a bleah arm tackle.
M30 3 4 Shotgun trips Nickel press Pass 6 Slant Van Bergen Inc
Van Bergen(+1, pressure +1) bats it at the line.
M30 4 4 Shotgun 2TE Okie press Pass 6 RB flat Demens Inc
So they do leave a guy wide open here, but they might have done it on purpose. SDSU misaligns, leaving a TE covered up. Johnson points him out out Floyd, and, then Floyd ignores him to double the RB coming out of the flat. Is Johnson IDing the guy as ineligible or telling Floyd to cover him and getting ignored? Don't know. In any case, Michigan sends six. Ryan gets a free run(+0.5, pressure/RPS +1) but Lindley has time to try to find a guy. It's his RB leaking into the flat after giving Demens(+2, cover +2) an ole; Demens pivots and is maybe a step behind him, making this throw all but impossible. Lindley has about a yard where the RB can catch it but it won't bounce off Demens's head, and Floyd(+0.5) is coming up to hit him at or near the sticks anyway.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 14-0, 3 min 1st Q. The coverage is just night and day. Sometimes guys get open but this is suddenly a much, much tougher secondary to go up against.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 even Pass 5 PA TE Seam -- Inc
I don't know what the hell they pulled to get this but Ryan is now lined up over the slot receiver. Michigan runs zone behind a blitz; Lindley throws a seam to a TE who is running an out. With three guys around this TE it was going to be a tough window on the seam.
O27 2 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Campbell 4
So... Campbell(+0.5). He gets doubled and holds his ground as NTs are supposed to do. Hurrah. This allows both LBs to flow to the hole unimpeded. Ryan(+0.5) gets into his blocker at the LOS, forcing the pulling G and RB outside; Fitz(+1) takes on the G at the LOS and forces it back to Hawthorne, his help. This should be a textbook stop except Ryan(-0.5) has started to cede ground quickly and is now behind the LOS. Cutback lane opens up. Campbell should be there to cut it off but has spent the entire play just burrowing into his two dudes. Gordon(+1) has flowed down with the time provided by the jam-up on the front and makes a solid-wrap up tackle(+1) to mitigate the damage but this probably should have been zero.
O31 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Dig Gordon Inc
This is so good. One: Martin(+2) rips through a double team and forces Lindley to throw to his first read(pressure +1). Two: Hawthorne is ripping upfield as Michigan sends three blitzers up the center as Black peels off to pick up the TE drag. Three: Gordon(+2, cover +2) reads the TE cut and jumps the route, arriving at the destination in front of the TE. If this is accurate Gordon has a shot at an INT; Lindley wings it wide. This is what a damn strong defense looks like.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass 4 RB flat Martin Inc
Martin(+2, pressure +1) roars up the center of the pocket, eventually pancaking the center(!) and causing Lindley to dump it inaccurately to a flat route Hawthorne(+1, cover +1) had blanketed anyway.
O17 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Woolfolk 13
I think Beyer needs to get some more depth on his drop here but this is a 12-yard out he can't help on. Far too easy for the WR here as Woolfolk(-1, cover -1) is beaten clean and can only shove the guy out after he turns upfield.
O30 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass N/A Waggle TE Flat Roh Inc
Roh(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) don't bite on a weak fake and are right in Lindley's face(pressure +2), forcing him to turf it. Hawthorne(-1, cover -1) had gotten way out of position and this would have been open otherwise.
O30 2 10 I-Form twins Nickel press Run N/A Iso Van Bergen 9
Michigan goes nickel on second and long versus a standard set, and are one guy away from stuffing a run anyway. Martin(+1) slants under the backside G and just misses taking out the FB. Instead he's in the path of the RB, forcing him to stop and cut back behind. Both linebackers shed blocks and are about to tackle when Van Bergen(-2) gets blown way off the line after standing up initially, providing a cutback lane with no one in it because Black(-1) ran around upfield. Hawthorne nailed with a block in the back; no call. Johnson(+0.5, tackling +1) does fill well.
O39 3 1 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Campbell 2
Seems like M is playing this too conservatively, with two deep safeties and the LBs five yards off the LOS. Campbell(+0.5) stands up a G and comes off to tackle but it's not enough with the LBs having to come down from far away.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass N/A Post Woolfolk Inc
Good pocket(pressure -1) and Lindley seems to want a post on Woolfolk—you can tell how they're picking on him and avoiding Floyd. The receiver thinks it's a run play and starts blocking.
O41 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 3 Out Gordon 9
Gordon(-1) allows a five yard out, which fine, but then overruns the play (tackling -1), turning the five yards into nine. He does manage to tackle from behind when the WR slows up.
50 3 1 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Penalty N/A False start -- -5
This is why you don't talk into conch shells.
O45 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 6 Slant Woolfolk 9
No time to get to the QB here as it's slants; Woolfolk(-1, cover -1) is beaten, and while I wouldn't usually be so harsh here he's got a WR juggling the ball and if he hits him at all it's incomplete. Instead he's a step away. It's instructive to compare Floyd on the other side—he is covering his very well. Woolfolk leaves the game limping at this point.
M46 1 10 Goal line 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Hawthorne 4
Nothing on the frontside as Martin(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) hold up; Heininger(-1) is blown up but Hawthorne(+1) slices into the gap before the guy coming off Heininger can pop him. Roh(+0.5) is flowing down the backside and forces a bounce all the way behind into an unblocked Avery, who tackles.
M42 2 6 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass N/A Long handoff Floyd 5
Kovacs is charging hard from the inside and Floyd does play this better than Woolfolk, making a tackle instead of forcing him OOB. This means five yards instead of eight. Still less than ideal.
M37 3 1 I-Form Big 46 eagle Run N/A Down G Fitzgerald 2
Going at Fitz, lined up over the TE. He does an okay job to stay at the LOS but gets no penetration. Playside DE is RVB, who shoots into the backfield and gets blown out of the play. That is something that happens when you're gambling on short yardage. Demens(+0.5) gets to the lead blocker at the LOS and forces Kazee up the back of the TE; Hawthorne(+0.5) comes under a block to tackle but Kazee can fall forward for the first.
M35 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 PA Deep comeback Ryan 21 (Pen -10)
Ryan(+2, pressure +1) is blitzing off the edge and gets inside the fullback; he's held. Otherwise a sack is likely. Lindley steps around the hold and lofts an impossibly accurate back-foot deep comeback that nails a WR at the sticks 16 yards downfield in front of Avery. Dude made a lot of bad throws, but dude... this is dude. Avery(-1, tackling -1) compounds matters by missing a tackle.
M45 1 20 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Campbell 0
Campbell(+1) and Heininger(+1) both shove single blocking into the backfield, forcing the play behind into the unblocked Ryan(+0.5) for a TFL.
M45 2 20 Shotgun 2TE Nickel press Pass 4 TE flat Avery 2
Ryan(+0.5) and Roh(+0.5, pressure +1) bullrush right back into Lindley, forcing a quick throw for nothing that Avery(+1, cover +1, tackling +1) is all over.
M43 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Post Floyd Inc
Martin(+1, pressure +1) flushes Lindley up into the pocket; he has to throw as RVB threatens to come outside to take him out. It's a post. Similar to the previous incompletion on fourth down, here the Michigan defender is in very good position and Lindley's window is tiny. Floyd(+1, cover +1) doesn't get his head around for the ball and so doesn't pick up an extra plus; if he did you could have filed this under passes Lindley was lucky he didn't throw more accurately.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 6 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 PA throwaway Martin Inc (Pen -10)
Martin(+2) blows through the center's block before Lindley can even turn around and his held. Lindley is all like GET IN THE CAR IT'S MIKE MARTIN and chucks the ball away. (Pressure +2)
O42 1 20 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Demens -2
Hoo! Demens(+2) reads the play and roars to the LOS, blasting the pulling OL on his ass. Ryan(+2) set up the FB's block so that it would be in the wrong place, Harris-style, then explodes upfield at about the same time Demens is giving this OL the business, tackling for loss. Greg Mattison, man.
O40 2 22 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Slant Floyd Inc
Lindley wings a slant behind his receiver. Floyd(+0.5) seemed in position for an immediate tackle, which is fine in this D&D.
O40 3 22 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Black 8 (Pen +5)
Black(-1) jumps offside. Lindley checks down (cover +1) despite having a free play.
O45 3 17 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Comeback Martin Inc
Zone blitz with both LBs headed up the middle as the DEs drop off. Kovacs comes late. This is telegraphed and picked up; Martin(+2) quickly battles through the OT's block and gets a hurry on Lindley, forcing him to get rid of the ball. Comeback is well wide. Short of the sticks but in go for it range if complete. (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 11 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 2
Michigan slants the line away from the strength of the formation. This takes RVB(+0.5) into the playside G, eliminating him from downfield blocking. Ryan(+1) impacts both lead blockers, delaying the lead guy and taking the second one. Fitz's initial burst is taking him outside, where he'll need to be if there is a bounce against this slant, so he can't change direction fast enough to do much other than impact the FB that Ryan delayed. That's fine since the slant has left Hawthorne(-0.5) a free hitter. If he's as fast to the LOS as Fitz this is no gain; as it is he's a little late. He does tackle(+1). RPS +1.
M37 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Hitch Floyd Inc
WR beats Floyd(-1, cover -1) clean and Lindley can throw on rhythm. WR drops it. Pressure was getting there if there was a second read. (Pressure +1)
M37 3 8 Ace twins twin TE Okie press Run N/A Pitch sweep -- 22
Massive RPS here as Michigan is lined up in its okie set with one guy on deep and does not react when SDSU motions in a TE who was already split out. When the Aztecs run the toss to that side they've got Roh, Hawthorne, Kovacs, and Avery versus four OL. Yay. Roh(-1) crushed inside like Lewan is blocking him; Kovacs(-2) takes fatal steps to the interior. Hawthorne manages to spin outside one block only to get buried by another OL. Avery keeps leverage but has little hope of doing anything else. Johnson(+0.5) manages to dive at Hillman's feet as he nears the 15 despite taking on a block; Hillman runs through it but this slows him down enough for a pursuing RVB(+2) to tackle from behind, punching the ball free as he does. Ryan recovers. RPS -3. It is super inane that the replay focuses on Jake Ryan instead of the DT WHO RAN DOWN RONNIE HILLMAN. Guh.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 21-0, 9 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Yakety snap -- 1
Fumbled snap is picked up by Hillman, who rushes to the edge. Ryan gets lit up on a crackback block; Floyd cleans up. He's dinged on the tackle, paving the way for Countess.
O24 2 9 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 TE Corner Martin Inc
This is open for a big chunk and just missed; Avery(-2, cover -2) has no threats in front of him and has to get much deeper on this to take it away. Ryan(+1) and Martin(+1) had both beaten blocks to pressure(+2) Lindley, possibly causing the incompletion. If Avery covers this is a sack.
O24 3 9 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Skinny post Countess Inc
Time, but no one open(cover +2); Countess(+2, cover +1 again) is tested and is running this skinny post for the WR; he's even got his head around. Ball is well behind the WR and incomplete.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA something Countess Inc
Plenty of time(pressure -1); Lindley throws sort of in the direction of Countess and his guy but not, like, near them.
M38 2 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Run N/A Iso Ryan 4
Ryan in space over the slot receiver. Campbell(+1) takes a double and doesn't move, then fights playside of his blocker. Hole is small. Fitz(+1) pops the FB right at the line; RVB(+1) fights outside to keep the bounce from happening; Ryan(-1) is hesitant about the bounce and fails to fill the last remaining crack of space Hillman has; he does tackle but the delay allows Hillman to get four where there were none. It is possible this is on RVB for bouncing out, but I doubt it since he's the senior.
M34 3 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Avery 7
This seems like about as good as you can defend this. Avery(+1, cover +1) does give up the inside but only barely; he's right on the WR's back and the throw has to be perfect and the catch good since Avery whacks the WR's hand just as the ball arrives, then tackles.
M27 1 10 Ace 3TE Nickel even Pass 4 PA TE Wheel Kovacs Inc (Pen -5)
Black(+1) beats a blocker and hurries Lindley(pressure +1), forcing a throw. This one is way off and wouldn't have mattered anyway since Kovacs(+2, cover +2) had run the guy's route for him, forcing the TE OOB of his own volition. Another good-thing-you're-inaccurate-buddy throw. TE was covered up anyway, illegal man downfield. I would not have taken a five yard penalty instead of an incompletion here.
M32 1 15 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 6 PA RB flat Hawthorne 13
Blitz gets a guy in but there is an easy dumpoff because of it; Hawthorne(-2, tackling -2) is running out to keep this down to a moderate gain but overruns the play badly, barely touching Hillman. Gordon comes from behind to tackle near the sticks.
M19 2 2 Goal line 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle TE Flat Ryan 3
Hillman takes three yards on a TE flat. Okay.
M16 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Post Avery 16
I actually tend to blame Gordon more than Avery here; as soon as that TE in the slot goes horizontal you are no longer threatened in the deep middle and it's time to find the other WRs. That's speculation from me. Avery does get beat on the post but not by much. He's again on the back of the WR and forces a perfect throw, which Lindley provides. Am I being too nice here?
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, EO3Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
50 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Black 0
Black(+2) ducks under the OT's block and penetrates into the backfield, forcing Hillman away from blocking lanes and getting a diving arm tackle attempt that brings him to a near halt. Martin(+0.5) has held his position and pops off into a lane that Hillman might hit; he comes back inside, where Demens(+0.5) is there to finish the job.
50 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Slant Countess 10
Blitz up the middle with dropping DEs. I can't tell if this is Ryan's fault, Countess's fault, or no one's fault. Ryan drops back into the slot's slant instead of the outer slant, leaving it open; Countess is off the line. I'm watching Floyd on the other side play an identical slant and he's in much better position, so Countess(-1, cover -1) gets the ding. He does recover to tackle before the sticks. Also pressure -1.
M40 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Post Countess Inc
Ryan off the line. He approaches it on a late shift; Gordon comes down over the slot for a one-high look. Play action with the outside receivers going deep; Countess is in man with a guy on a post. He runs it for him (+2, cover +2) and Lindley adds to his list of thankfully inaccurate passes. Pressure -1.
M40 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd Inc
Big personnel with Hillman spread out wide and a FB next to Lindley. They run a little hitch to Hillman, which might work okay if they'd successfully motioned out a LB on him, but it's Floyd(+2, cover +2), who breaks on the ball for a PBU. RPS +1.
M40 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 6 Fade Countess Inc
Blitz gets Morgan(+1, RPS +1, Pressure +2) a free run up the middle. Lindley makes a back-foot chuck a la Carder but this one is deadly accurate, a fade outside of Countess's guy(-1, cover -1) that he just drops.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 12 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Outside zone Ryan 14
I think. It's not really stretch blocking but the playside tackle is definitely sealing RVB inside. It bounces outside spectacularly because Ryan(-2) is hacked to the ground by a fullback block, giving up the corner. Demens(-2) is also cut to the ground, meaning there's zero chance anyone can get out there before the secondary.
O48 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Jet sweep Van Bergen -5
A tiny little adjustment murderizes the play. Michigan goes to an even front, which shifts RVB outside over a TE. TEs fan out and RVB(+1). goes straight upfield to tackle(+1) for loss. Normally the TEs would block Ryan and the T would get Van Bergen but the shift to the even confused them. More bust than tactical checkmate but still RPS +1.
O43 2 15 I-Form twins Nickel even Run N/A Draw Van Bergen 4
Van Bergen(+1) blows his guy back as they make contact, forcing Hillman behind him and away from his blocking. Countess(+0.5) realizes what's going on and sees Hillman coming; he can't disengage smoothly but does manage to sort of arm tackle him; Demens(+0.5) finishes it off. I'll take a four yard run on second and fifteen when you're in nickel and they're in a regular set.
O47 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide Okie press Pass 6 Slant Countess 10
Countess(-1, cover -1) is beaten a lot easier than Floyd and Avery have been so far this game and can only tackle afterwards; no chance at a breakup. This sets up a fourth down.
M43 4 1 Ace 3TE 4-3 under Pass 4 PA TE Seam -- Inc
PA is wildly effective and this guy is wide open (RPS -2, cover -2) but either Lindley misses or his TE turns the wrong way and it's incomplete.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-7, 8 min 4th Q. Michigan scores quickly and SDSU gets the ball back with 6 minutes left down 21. Both starting units stay on so I'll keep charting, but with game situation in mind big minuses for chunks will be slim. I'm mostly just trying to get a grip on the D.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Out Kovacs Inc
Lindley badly misses on an out or the WR should have run a hitch; either way Kovacs(-1, cover -1) is way far off after a Floyd corner blitz.
O27 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Flat Countess 2
Okay pressure; Lindley has to check down (cover +1). Countess(+1, tackling +1) is the hard corner in the zone and comes up for an immediate tackle.
O29 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide Okie press Pass 5 Skinny post Van Slyke 23
Van Slyke in tight man against an SDSU TE and just gets outrun by yards. Man. That guy cannot play in real games, I don't think. No cover because I don't think this is relevant to actual games.
M48 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 3 Dig Hawthorne 15
Hawthorne(-2, cover -2) busts, flying out on an out route and leaving a big hole in the zone.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Post Gordon 14
Out and and a post behind it; Gordon starts moving out on the out, then realizes that's not a good idea and sinks back. On the throw he's right there but the WR undercuts him a little and gets to the ball first, making a juggling catch. He's there and he's got a shot at an INT; could have played it better when the ball got there. (-0.5)
M19 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Sack Roh -8
Not instant BG death pressure here as Lindley sits for a second or two before trying a deep corner route, but Roh(+2) does beat the OT and hit the QB as he throws, forcing a drive-ending fumble. Pressure +1.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 28-7, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 TE seam Demens 30
Martin and Lindley are out there so I guess I'm charting. I have no idea what to do with this one since Demens is in great position and actually has this ball go off his head before the TE Prothros him. I think (+0.5, cover +1) but please get your head around son before you Todd Howard us all. I mean... this throw was really hard and so was the catch and Demens could have done better but he didn't do bad.
O47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Countess? 13
This may be on Countess (-1, cover -1), as this appears to be zone; Countess sits down on a short hitch, opening space up behind him that Gordon and the S can't cover. He should definitely be dropping deeper in this situation; who cares about a little hitch?
M40 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen Countess 1
Michigan misaligns and SDSU busts. Opa! Hawthorne(-1) lines up wrong but the WR out on the bubble doesn't block so okay. Countess tackles for a minimal gain.
M39 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Gordon Inc
Gordon on the slot; pocket is okay; Black is getting there but Lindley can step up. Zinged to Denso, who makes a one-handed grab with Gordon in pursuit. Gordon was riding him but couldn't make a play on the ball. -0.5. It's dropped because of the tough throw.
M39 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Screen Ryan Inc
Ryan(+1) and Campbell(+1) read screen and snuff it out; Lindley turfs it. RPS +1. Black(-1) was offside.
M34 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Gordon 9
Gordon(-1, cover -1) beaten, and fairly easily.
M25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Countess 6
Six yard slant with instant tackle... I usually don't ding these on first down since you have to be wary about longer routes.
M19 2 4 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 Out Countess Inc
Wide. Probably right at the sticks if completed.
M19 3 4 Shotgun trips Nickel press Pass 4 Hitch Hawthorne 6
Hawthorne in tight coverage but Lindley fits it in and Hawthorne can't rake it out.
M13 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel press Pass 4 Throwaway Black Inc
Black(+1) gets some pressure and Lindley chucks it OOB due to good coverage(+1).
M13 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel press Pass 4 Corner Countess Inc
Corner route against man is a TD if well thrown; this is too far inside. Countess(+0.5) is there and can make a play on the ball as it gets there, though, so there's that. M making it tough.
M13 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie press Pass 7 Seam Floyd Inc
Unblocked guy, naturally, Lindley chucks it off his back foot inaccurately; Floyd(+1, cover +1, RPS +1) was riding the WR before the throw to make sure that was the case.
M13 4 10 Ace twins twin TE Nickel press Pass 4 Slant Gordon Inc
Gordon in trail position again and seems beaten but as the WR catches it he double clutches; Gordon(+1, cover +1) punches it loose.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 28-7, EOG.

OH MAH GAWD WE HELD A ACTUAL-ISH TEAM TO SEVEN POINTS

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

EEEEE—all right.

Yes. Right.

Composure.

Yes. Yes, smooth out the jacket.

Insert bubble pipe.

Adopt calm, professional mien.

How about a chart?

Yes, that will help.

image

That's not very professional.

I took out the reference to "sex."

You have multiple exclamation points… and did you put the title at a jaunty angle? IS THAT AN EMO-KID LOWERCASE LETTER AMONGST CAPITALS IN THERE?

It's not in comic sans at least.

Pretty soon you'll be referring to Michigan's coaches as "CBH, CGM, and CAB."

Hater. I'm not even going to let you say chart.

Already did.

Oooooh. Fine.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 8.5 2 6.5 Forced fumble was big deal; solid otherwise.
Martin 15.5 - 15.5 Unblockable today.
Roh 6.5 1 5.5 Not bad for splitting time.
Brink 0.5 - 0.5 Sporadic PT.
Heininger 3 3 0 I'll take it.
Black 4 4 0 Not much impact; two offsides calls.
Campbell 4.5 1 3.5 Keep hope alive.
TOTAL 42.5 11 31.5 Martin wrecked these guys. Check the pressure metric.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Demens 9.5 2.5 7 Not sure what to do with his Howard-esque coverage but I liked it.
Herron - - - DNP
Ryan 9.5 8 1.5 Paging Jonas Mouton to aisle reincarnation.
Fitzgerald 2 - 2 A couple plays.
Jones - - - DNP
Evans - - - DNP
Beyer - - - Did not register.
Hawthorne 4.5 6.5 -2 Half of minuses came on final drive, fwiw, but he did bust a coverage there.
Morgan 1 1 0 Eh.
TOTAL 26.5 18 8.5 A better day from most; Ryan makes plays but really needs to settle down on the edge.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 5.5 1 4.5 Tony Gibson -1000
Avery 2 3 -1 Tough completions made against him.
Woolfolk 2 3 -1 Didn't seem right even before the injury.
Kovacs 3.5 3 0.5 Got him on the long RPS run.
T. Gordon 5 4 1 All safeties > 0 against real QB.
Countess 6 4 2 Not as rapturous as we thought but still pretty good, full stop.
Johnson 1 - 1 A couple of fills.
TOTAL 25 18 7 Stunning.
Metrics
Pressure 20 4 16 Jeepers.
Coverage 25 19 6 Flabbergasting.
Tackling 5 5 0 Could use work.
RPS 8 10 -2 Blitzing reduced as not necessary; did get RPS-3ed on a big run

To sanity check those numbers, SDSU had thirteen drives and got seven points. Four drives started at midfield or worse. When Michigan punched in their final TD to end the game with about six minutes left, SDSU had 266 yards. Michigan at least sort of forced three turnovers.

I think they're right. With a few exceptions on too-easy short passes and busts on edge contain, San Diego State got dominated.

But Lindley was terrible. This means nothing!

I don't think Lindley was good by any means, but in a way the Aztecs were lucky he was so off. On multiple plays Michigan had defensive backs in position to either get PBUs or intercept the ball only to see Lindley miss by miles. A lot of the time the reason those balls were so off was pressure applied by Martin or others.

Lindley is no joke, either. He is a legit NFL prospect:

Overall, he’s got a strong arm, showcases the ability to look off defenders, find a secondary option and when given time he can get his feet around toward his target. However, he doesn’t possess the kind of coordination/balance from the waist down that you want to see from an NFL quarterback, especially in today’s NFL where you need a QB who can escape pressure both inside and outside the pocket, settle himself quickly and burn a defense that wants to bring the blitz. Something I have a hard time seeing Lindley doing consistently at the next level.

Lindley is certainly worth a draft pick and has the skill set to go somewhere in the early/mid round range, depending on how well he performs the rest of the year/post-season. However, if he doesn’t improve his overall footwork/coordination from the pocket, it’s going to be tough for him to make plays in the NFL when he doesn’t have a clean pocket.

While he's not Tom Brady I don't have to remind anyone reading this of the murderer's row that carved Michigan up last year.

ben-chappellllllllmatt-mcgloinfootball-cat

The Michigan secondary held a fifth year senior NFL prospect QB to 5.3 YPA, which is also known as "Threet/Sheridan production." Take whatever coaching-upgrade-based optimism you held going into the season and triple it.

Okay, okay, no receivers and a lot of Mike Martin tearing through the line. Sure. San Diego State is going to backslide this year. I refer you to the above murderers row, though. Upgrade: massive.

Here's where I want to embed several plays that showcased Michigan's newfound talent for making life tough on opposing receivers, but I'm still trying to figure out what my status is there. But, man, even when SDSU was completing stuff they had guys in their grill. Lindley had to make some perfect passes to complete slants on Avery and often just missed because a guy like Demens had given him the choice of throwing it high/wide or throwing it into his helmet.

And the run defense?

There are still problems on the edge. Ryan did end up positive but is dinged for losing contain on three separate occasions that resulted in 30 yards. So there's that. There was also the massive minus rock-paper-scissor run that ended in the Hillman fumble. That was another 30 yards. So the SDSU run game:

  • Ryan losing contain on edge (w/ assist from Demens once): 3 carries, 30 yards
  • That one RPS play: 1 carry, 30 yards
  • Everything else: 24 carries, 77 yards

As a wise groundskeeper in a Snickers commercial once said, great googly moogly. Say what you want about Lindley and his receivers, SDSU returned essentially their entire running game and was shut down when not exploiting one freshman's issues with keeping the edge or running that one play. Those things seem fixable. Even if they aren't, Michigan held the Aztecs to 4.2 YPC.

I'm getting closer to believing that Campbell can be an average three-tech in the Big Ten. Like, a guy who doesn't get blown up and is mildly positive. Weakness at LB outside of Demens is going to be an issue that prevents Michigan from having a really good run defense, but I think they're 80% of the way to the best case scenario already.

So you're down on Ryan, then.

Relative to the rest of the internet, yeah. I think he's promising. I also think he's making four or five really obvious mistakes per game. Maize Pages picture paged the second play of the game, a six yard run that was the first of Michigan's Flip You For Real plays. Notice something?

flip-you-for-real-5

The middle linebacker is… Brandin Hawthorne. The line is… undershifted. Jake Ryan is… definitely not in position. When Michigan meant to run an even front this is what it looked like:

even-for-real

Demens in the middle, line slid more playside. Maize Pages dinged the D for not adjusting but they didn't have to; a safety slid down when the TE went in motion. If Ryan's where he's supposed to be Michigan probably defends this play.

COUNTESS!

I'm a little less thrilled than I was on gameday but I'm still pretty impressed. Even more impressive: when SDSU runs double slants and I look across the field at Floyd to see if he's playing it better, he is. Maybe we should be saying FLOYD!

Seriously. When the starters were in there, SDSU went after Woolfolk. When Avery was in there, they went after Avery. Floyd came up with a jumped-route PBU and ended up significantly positive despite being a corner. I'm still leery about the depth of the transformation here but each game adds evidence to the pile indicating Floyd can play now and Pitt fans should get used to shootouts.

Back to Countess: he ran some routes for guys, which puts him in a group with Gordon, Kovacs, Floyd, and not quite Avery. I be like dang.

image

Speaking of being like dang…

Yes. Mike Martin in full effect, never more so than when he literally ran over the SDSU center en route to the QB. A large number of Lindley's hopeless mortar shells can be directly attributed to Martin ripping through those guys like they were not there. This was a solid offensive line he did it to; with his quietly plus-double-digit day against Eastern (no passes to be devastating on) he seems poised to wreck the Big Ten. I can't wait to see him matchup against MSU's center, who will be a freshman coming off injury or a converted DT.

Why is your eye twitching?

BOY I'M GLAD TERRANCE ROBINSON CAN TACKLE DESPITE BEING SIX INCHES TALL

punt-wtf

That's a lot of grass, man. That is all.

Heroes?

Mike Martin, JT Floyd(!?!), RVB, and Kenny Demens.

Goats?

If I had to pick a guy it would be Ryan, but even that is a guy who ended up positive on the day. Black also should be mentioned—if you're going to take two offsides penalties you need to have one big negative play to compensate and he didn't.

What does it mean for Minnesota and beyond?

They should do about what they did to SDSU to Minnesota, a team in disarray that can maybe run a little bit when Gray is in there. I actually expect them to hold the Gophers to not many points.

As far as beyond, it seems like they've plugged a lot of their holes. I'm still worried about what happens when Michigan goes up against a serious offensive line but it's hard to find any until the last couple weeks of the schedule. There has been ever less firedrill confusion as the season progresses and in two weeks when they start the Big Ten schedule in earnest it's not too much to expect it to be largely gone. Then it's just a matter of getting improvement from Ryan/Hawthorne/Campbell/Johnson to bring the starting defense up to "decent to good Big Ten team." There's still a lack of out and out stars behind Martin but it's hard to point to a truly gaping hole at the moment, either.

This could all blow up against Northwestern if they've got Persa back. Right now, though, the defense is currently executing the best case scenario.

Comments

blueinwinston

September 28th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

"Riding steel horses through a post-apocalyptic future like it is not even a thing"  - AWESOME and I vote that it should replace "save us the hymnals, cooler poopers" as the blog's tag line.

STW P. Brabbs

September 28th, 2011 at 4:43 PM ^

Save this for a big game, but I really want someone to find a good picture of Mike Martin chucking an OL and a QB backpedalling furiously with this text:

GET IN THE CAR IT'S MIKE MARTIN

 

 

Blue Durham

September 28th, 2011 at 4:45 PM ^

already, less than 4 full games in. 

Better schemes, better talckling, better coverage.  Better results.

I have no doubt that this is due to better coaching, I still look forward to seeing what a couple of Big Ten teams are capable of against this defense.  Last few years, after undefeated non-conference schedule, even the weakest of Big Ten offenses moved the ball with ease.  I do think this year is going to progress very differently.

Blue boy johnson

September 28th, 2011 at 6:03 PM ^

I am really looking forward to the MSU game. Hoke is gonna have these boys ready and I mean ready to go. Like Brandon Graham used to say,"them boys better be ready". Michigan is going to be flying around at a level we have yet to see. To borrow a quote from Lawrence Taylor the greatest defensive player I've ever seen,

Let's go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun

The best is yet to come. The young fellas like Ryan and Black aren't going to be making these mental errors as much as the season progresses but the effort will continue. These boys hit. As Stan Edwards observed Sunday morning on Sam's show, I'm paraphrasing, "Ronnie Hillman wasn't the same runner in the second half as he was in the first because of the beating he was taking from M's defense."

Blue Durham

September 28th, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

to as well.  As much as I dislike Dantonio, he has to be the best coach Michigan State has had since Perles, easy.  Might even be better than Perles, but man I just can't stand him.

Anyway, most years, regardless of MSU's talent level, that game was always the most physical game of the year.  More so than Notre Dame, more so than Ohio State. 

With Hoke's emphasis on returning Michigan to being physical and playing MANBALL, I think that game is really going to show where the team really is.

Yinka Double Dare

September 28th, 2011 at 5:02 PM ^

I can't wait to see him matchup against MSU's center, who will be a freshman coming off injury or a converted DT.
At least until Dantonio orders his man to sweep the leg dive at Martin's knee or ankle from behind.

Mengin06

September 28th, 2011 at 6:14 PM ^

Do the 'flips' by the defensive line concern any of you? Throughout the game I was thinking that SDSU could totally do a quick snap after they bring the TE in motion and catch us in the middle of one of those.

I know we want the even/under, strongside/weakside players to be in position but that seemed really odd to see. I don't recall other teams doing that.

Needs

September 29th, 2011 at 12:55 AM ^

We're not flipping the line when players simply go in motion, only when they shift to change the strength of the formation (TE side) If the guy shifting is going to be an inline TE, he has to be set for at least a second before the ball is snapped, and any motion can't start until he is set. We're only flipping the strength when TEs are inline, because that's what affects the positioning of the Dline (with the SDE lining up between the Tackle and the TE) and the WDE lining up outside the open ended Tackle.

Edward Khil

September 28th, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

But I agree, I kept expecting a quick snap.  But Mattison was impressed with how they "flipped."  So I've got to believe it won't be exploited going forward, but, rather, be disruptive to the offense seeing these defensive mad magicians (no upper case earned as of yet) flipping.  They be like dang.

snoopblue

September 29th, 2011 at 12:46 AM ^

This is after the Screen pass TD. Can you imagine how much weight that little guy has on top of him? I haven't seen this picture yes. The best part is the ND band and cheerleaders in the background. I almost feel bad for them, they have no idea what is about to happen.

ND Sux

September 29th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

at about 7:18 remaining in Q1, I'm pretty sure it is KOVACS who rips the ball out, not Demens.  Admittedly it's hard to see, but he runs up toward the end of the play...watch his right elbow jerk back as he rips the ball out. 

Watch it again.  I'm curious what you all think. 

Mr. Yost

September 29th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

Question: How many more times does Will Heininger have to get knocked back 3 yards before we figure out he's not a DT.

 

SSDE? Absolutely. And solid. But he literally loses ground 75% of the time he plays DT. Look at the Demens/Gordon fumble. If he holds ground, that play goes no where. Instead he's pushed back and they get the first down. Luckily we attack like angry wolves and strip the ball.