Upon Further Review 2011: Offense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 7th, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Gratuitous video of the week: It's only appropriate that we lead off with some fullback SMASH.


Reminder: dotted underline mean a video that will pop up for you when you click.

Formation notes: As noted by many, Michigan was about 70% shotgun in this game. They showed some I-form, a few ace sets, a few big sets, and one unbalanced line. I'm not sure breaking down the percentages is going to mean much given the paucity of snaps and big lead. We'll get a better picture of the offense in a pressure situation this week.

Substitution notes: Schofield played the entire game at left guard. Lewan had to come out for a couple snaps after losing a shoe; when that happened Mealer went in at RT and Huyge flipped to LT. Toussaint got the bulk of the work at RB with Shaw and Smith getting carries here and there.

Moore was the second TE and only one to play other than Koger; Hemingway, Roundtree, Gallon, Grady, and Dileo were receivers on passing downs. Jackson played but those were all runs IIRC.

Show? Show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Down G Robinson 11
Koger(+1) blocks down on the playside end as Lewan(+1) and Schofield(+1) pull around, both picking off linebackers. Toussaint(+1) leads the way for Robinson, hitting Schofield's guy as he threatens to break outside and driving the pair back into the last LB. Hemingway(-1) totally whiffs on his guy; Robinson can cut past him but slips to the ground just past the first down marker.
RUN+: Koger, Lewan, Schofield, Toussaint RUN-: Hemingway
M35 1 10 Shotgun 2TE Twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read dive Toussaint 4
The old Minor play where Robinson takes a step towards the LOS late and the RB attacks downhill. It's a little like the pistol. Schofield(+1) kicks out the playside DE; Molk and Omameh double the NT and there is a crease playside. It's getting filled by the S quickly but it's where Toussaint(-1) should go, probably. He cuts back. This puts him in the path of the NT, who is spinning backside; NT falls past the play. Toussaint is nimble enough to get behind him. This means he runs up the back of Molk and Omameh. That S and a few other guys make a pile.
RUN+: Schofield, Molk(0.5), Omameh(0.5) RUN-: Toussaint(0.5)
M39 2 6 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Roundtree 3
Simple pitch and catch as the CB bails at the snap. Defense reacts quickly and holds it down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M42 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 4
Schofield pulls around. Huyge(-1) is blocking down and loses his slanting DE a bit. This isn't serious enough to get the DE in but the ground given up almost disrupts Schofield's pull. He does make it, though, kicking out a linebacker(+1). Omameh(+1) pancakes the other MLB; Toussaint(+1) kicks out the playside OLB. Safety is charging hard but can't get to Robinson before the first down.
RUN+: Schofield, Toussaint, Omameh RUN-: Huyge
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Tunnel screen Gallon 1
Man, do I like the bubble way better here. The play action fake sucks the playside OLB up and if this was a bubble it would be one blocker, one defender, and Gallon—probably a good chunk. On the tunnel Gallon's coming inside just as the OLB reads the fake. He forces Gallon upfield and inside. Gallon does well to turn a two yard loss into a minimal gain. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
M47 2 9 I-form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Power off tackle Smith 4
Some third down back. Huyge(+1) gets a much better block this time, nailing his man inside and out of the gap. WMU is playing to spill this: the DE dives inside and an OLB scrapes over the top to catch bounce-outs. DE does a pretty good job, leaving Smith no choice but to hit it up behind Huyge's good block. In there Koger(-0.5) has only done a meh job on the MLB, who is sliding towards the LOS, where he trips Smith. I have an impulse to RPS -1 this that I know is bad.
RUN+: Huyge RUN-:
O49 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB power off tackle Robinson 10
Other side of the line so Omameh pulls. Lewan(+2) goes EPIC DONKEY, first blocking down on the DT with Schofield and sealing him, then peeling to pancake the playside LB. Omameh doesn't really have anyone to block; he's concentrating on the other LB but I'd like to see him read that and beeline for the safety. Those guys end up at a pile at the LOS; Robinson cuts behind it to avoid the safety and gets a few more.
RUN+: Robinson, Lewan(2) RUN-:
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Pass PA TE Seam Koger 11
Zone read fake draws up the linebackers and opens up Koger. Robinson zips it high, forcing Koger to extend to grab it. At the same time he gets lit up by the safety. He hangs on. Nice catch. (MA, 1, protection N/A)
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Toussaint 5
Doubles on both DTs; the playside one sees Schofield shove the guy and move to the second level, where there is no one to block because the WMU LB has shot up through the gap to the inside. This is to no avail as Toussaint is already outside. He's got a lane. Molk is doing okay against the playside DT and the gap is narrow. That DT reaches out to arm-tackle. Toussaint hops through it and then has to leap over Lewan, who was chucked to the ground by the DE. He's then in no position to deal with the safety; he still gets decent yardage. I think half points for Lewan and Molk for creating the hole and a half point to Toussaint for getting what he can.
RUN+: Lewan(0.5), Molk(0.5), Toussaint(0.5) RUN-:
O23 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Run QB draw Robinson 1
I'm not sure if this is anyone's fault or just an RPS. WMU line slants playside so the NT ends up impacting Omameh, not Molk. Omameh lets him outside, which means Robinson has to cut behind. This robs Toussaint of his angle on the MLB. I think I do blame Omameh(-1) because Schofield(+1) had the same problem and did better; Molk(-1) still had an MLB angle and whiffed. He tackles after a minimal gain.
RUN+: Schofield RUN-: Molk, Omameh
O22 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Speed out Dileo 3
IE: cover zero. They send seven. Michigan runs speed outs with the slots and I think this is a missed read from the start since the safety is way off Grady on the other out and he's got an easier throw and obvious first down over there. As it is he does have Dileo and probably has a first down; he throws it upfield, forcing a diving catch that takes Dileo off his feet a yard short. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O19 4 1 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Dive Toussaint 3
Straight up the middle with no lead blocker. Eh? Omameh(+1) latches onto the LB blitzing up the A gap and puts him on his ass. Molk(+1) gets under the NT and drives him back, and Huyge(+0.5) gets enough of the last LB. Toussaint slams it up.
RUN+: Omameh, Molk, Huyge(0.5) RUN-:
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone read dive Toussaint -1
Lewan loses his shoe. Huyge flips to LT and Mealer comes in at RT. Blitz/slant from WMU. Blitzer cuts off the frontside of the play; on the backside Schofield(-1) and Huyge(-1) let the DE slant between them into the backfield. Schofield ends up running into Huyge behind the LOS. Mealer(-1) ends up blocking no one. Toussaint slows up and is lost. Run-: Mealer, Huyge, Schofield
O17 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Dig Grady 15
PA stretch into the passing play where the TE leaks into the flat. WMU's WLB makes a great play; he's blitzing into the backside. He whacks Koger, then grabs him a bit and starts riding him downfield. First read closed. Robinson comes off it and hits Grady in the numbers just as he clears one linebacker in zone. Catch, first and goal. (CA+, 3, protection N/A)
O2 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
Actually blocked pretty well but just too many guys in the area. The safety who would normally be way downfield is at the LOS. Toussaint isn't big enough to plow him into the end zone. This is such a wad of bodies I hesitate to give anything out. No one seems to do anything wrong or exceptional. I guess Lewan gets a point for being the main thing that created the room down to the one.
RUN+: Lewan RUN-:
O1 2 G Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Dive Toussaint 1
Same play as the 4th and 1 and they get it. Again it seems like Lewan is the main reason, as he is playside of a tackle slanting into the gap and gets enough of him. But he also kind of gets annihilated. I'll abstain here.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE Out Koger 5
Meh gain that looks like a bad read. Slot is running the same pattern farther outside except the corner over there is being run off by a fly route. He could turn it up; Koger just gets chopped down by a linebacker. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, though Schofield had a little trouble.)
M26 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 2
Gets past the first level snappily as Schofield(+1) kicks out the playside DT. Omameh does okay with his guy but can't prevent him from getting playside when he starts giving ground. Still, he's through the hole. Molk contacts the MLB near the LOS and this spooks Robinson(-1) into the backside of the play, where the blocking is thin on the ground. It doesn't help that Hemingway(-1) was torn between two different guys and ends up blocking no one. The corner comes up hard; Denard jumps over him and looks like he just... might... fall over for two yards.
RUN+: Schofield RUN-: Robinson, Hemingway
M28 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass TE Fly Koger Inc
WMU rushes four and gets stoned; Molk is driven back by a blitzer and then starts blowing that LB downfield. Robinson has a ton of time. He sees Koger breaking open downfield and decides to take a shot; the pass is long. Koger had good position on a DB but was step-for-step with him. Also it's third and three and you're Denard Robinson: run. (IN, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 11 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE Twins 1 2 2 Base 4-4 Run Pin and pull zone Shaw -1
This does not work at all. The idea is to pin a couple guys with down blocks and pull more and then have the RB work it out as he goes; nothing works here. Koger(-1), Omameh(-1), and Lewan(-1) get beaten on their down blocks. Huyge misses a hard-charging corner but that wouldn't be a problem if anyone else had made a block. Shaw(+1) manages to dodge that guy and a six-yard loss. Molk(-1) then runs by the guys flowing down the line before thinking better of it, giving him no cutback against the charging corner. This was a crapfest.
RUN+: Shaw RUN-: Molk, Lewan, Koger(2), Omameh
M25 2 11 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Run Delay Shaw 5
This is a well-blocked play that gets held down because WMU is running cover zero and by the time Shaw crosses the LOS the FS is four yards away from him and charging. RPS -1. Molk and Omameh(+1 each) destroy a DT; Lewan and Schofield(+1 each) both kick out DL. McColgan kind of misses but not too badly; Shaw is one on one with a safety for a TD, but unfortunately this battle is going down three yards past the LOS.
RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Schofield, Lewan RUN-:
M30 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Deep Hitch Gallon 13
WMU sends five and gets picked up pretty well. WMU corner bails out early and Gallon cuts his route off; Denard zings it to him. Ball is a bit outside and upfield but nothing too bad; could argue he's keeping it away from defenders. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M43 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 4-4 Pass PA TE Cross Moore Inc (8 Pen)
Play action with a pulling guard suckers Western. Denard pulls up and floats one to Moore at about the sticks; he's tripped just as the ball gets there. On replay this looks like a pretty tough catch. (MA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O49 1 10 I-Form Big Unbalanced 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Smith 7
Moore at “RT”; Huyge on the left inside of Lewan. Huyge(+1)blocks the playside DE off the ball; Lewan(+1) gets a linebacker; McColgan(+2) blasts a linebacker back into a teammate, leaving no one for Omameh to block; Smith follows the blocks.
RUN+: Lewan, Huyge, McColgan(2) RUN-:
O43 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Roundtree 9
Pitch and catch as a linebacker who might be able to cover this zooms into a flat with no one in it. Zone opens up. Denard zings it considerably behind Roundtree, who makes a tough spinning catch just as he's lit up. (MA, 1, protection 2/2)
O32 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Run Zone read dive Toussaint 10
Molk(+1) clubs the NT out of the hole. Lewan(+1) gets his helmet across the backside DE and then blocks him with his back; there's the crease. Toussaint(+1) hits it, then gets into the chest of a guy Schofield was trying to block, running through him for six yards.
RUN+: Lewan, Molk(2), Toussaint RUN-:
O22 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Robinson 12
Schofield(-2) smoked in pass pro, but the guy misses Robinson, and then another guy sort of inexplicably hits the ground. Missing Robinson means you are in trouble and he takes off on a weaving, darting run. By my count he slips three tackles and turns a six yard loss into a first down. (SCR, N/A, protection -2, Schofield)
RUN+: Robinson(3) RUN-:
O10 1 G I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-4 Run Quick pitch Shaw 5 + 2 pen
I kind of hate this play since it depends on suckering an unblocked guy or having your RB make a great play. Here WMU blitzes off the edge, suckering by default, and the CB is still totally unblocked. Huyge(+1) does a great job of sealing the playside LB; Roundtree(-2) runs at the same guy, leaving the corner to charge up unmolested. Shaw(+2) jukes him , gets five yards, and then gets hit OOB.
RUN+: Shaw(2), Huyge RUN-: Roundtree(2)
O2 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 4-4 Run Iso Toussaint 2
Nothing on the frontside; Toussaint sees this and cuts behind Koger(+1), who's driving down-the-line block opened up a cutback lane.
RUN+: Toussaint, Koger RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown(blocked XP), 20-7, 1:50 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 ?       ? Run ? Robinson 4
Miss the play because of technical difficulties.
M45 2 6 ?       ? Pass ? Moore Inc
We come back just in time to see a scrambling Robinson nearly throw a pick in the direction of Moore. (BR, 0, protection ??)
M45 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Slant Roundtree Inc
Well defended; pass thrown in front of Roundtree anyway. Mitigating factor: it is now raining like mad. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, special commendation to Smith for a blitz pickup)
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-10, 14 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M13 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone read dive Toussaint 43
For the first time all game that's not a passing down WMU removes a linebacker from the box and places him over the receivers. The WMU DE has to form up on the zone read; Huyge(+1) gets the MLB and Omameh(+1) shoves the NT well past the play; he slanted playside when Michigan stepped to a zone. Big cutback lane that Toussaint(+1) hits fast enough that he's by the last LB despite his angle not giving Molk an opportunity to block him. I guess that's RPS +2 if only because this was easy.
RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Toussaint RUN-:
O44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel 4-3 Pass PA seam Dileo Inc
Zone read dive fake sucks up both linebackers and one safety, leaving Dileo open for six; Denard throws it well behind him. (IN, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +3
O44 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone read dive Shaw 44
This may be what was supposed to happen on the previous play, with both LBs hitting the backside hole after the line slants playside. Problem: two blockers there. Schofield(+2) and Lewan(+2) annihilate the linebackers; the DE is held outside by Robinson. Then the umpire(+2) picks off the safety. Good job ump. Shaw just has to run straight upfield. I guess that's +1? Also RPS+2? This is why the zone read is powerful. On both these plays it erased the DE, giving a numerical advantage.
RUN+: Schofield(2), Lewan(2), Shaw, Umpire(2) RUN-:
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 34-10, 6 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 4-3 Pass PA post Hemingway 37
Hemingway comes in motion inside and Michigan runs play action, pulling(!) the backside guard as if this is power. This sucks in both linebackers and one safety, who is five yards rom the LOS in a flash. Oops. Denard sets up and has Hemingway free on a post one on one with a corner. Denard puts it up. The ball is a bit short but I'd rather it's a little short and you give up five yards than missing long here; Hemingway posts up and brings it in. (CA, 2, protection 2/2, RPS+2)
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel 4-3 Run Zone read dive Toussaint 3
WMU has flipped their formation and manages not to give up 40 yards on this. Michigan gets confused as to what they should do, as Omameh(-0.5) and Huyge(-0.5) end up doubling a DT without trying to scoop him and end up leaving the MLB unblocked. Toussaint(+1) swiftly cuts behind that block and gets out of that gap. WMU did run a scrape here; Huyge has pulled off to take on the crashing DE. The scraper read the handoff and is in position to tackle at the LOS. Here the ZR did not option off a defender. RPS -1
RUN+: Toussaint RUN-: Omameh, Huyge
O35 2 7 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Power off tackle Toussaint 11
WMU slants under the down-block from Schofield(-1) to get a DT into the backfield; he delays the pulling Omameh. Koger(+1) is a lead blocker and bangs a linebacker who's sucked too far inside. The slant plus that equals just a morass of bodies; Toussaint(+2) bounces out like whoah, breaking contain and dodging a safety for good yardage. Lewan(+1) clubbed a linebacker to the ground as well.
RUN+: Toussaint(2), Koger, Lewan RUN-: Schofield
O24 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 Base 4-4- Run QB power off tackle Robinson 2
Cover zero in a driving rain storm means this run is overwhelmed and it's tough to block everyone. Charting this is pointless.
Drive Notes: EOG, 34-10.

Well, Mr. Fear of MANBALL, don't you feel silly?

Um, well… I'm not sure yet. We had five and a half drives against a MAC team, some of which were in a pouring storm. The jury is still out. As far as the blocking schemes go… I have to admit I'm a little worried. After years of noting that Molk can get his helmet across damn near anyone if tasked with a reach block, he wasn't asked to try it once against Western. The play at the beginning I thought was a stretch was actually a Down G, which they did run last year. All this interior blocking minimizes the advantage Molk possesses that seems likely to get a relative shrimp like Molk a job in the NFL.

For the record, Michigan's run breakdown:

  • Down G (gap): one for 11 yards on the first snap.
  • Power (gap): three RB carries for 7.3 YPC. Three QB carries for 5.3 YPC.
  • Draw: two QB draws for three yards.
  • Quick pitch: one for five.
  • Inside zone: seven for 15.4 YPC. Woo small sample size!

There were also four short yardage plays. Two were dives from a two TE ace formation with Toussaint lined up three yards from the LOS, a third was an iso out of an I-Form Big, and the last was a power from the same formation. The dives/iso got first downs or TDs; the power got a yard on first and goal from the two. These aren't included in the YPC numbers I'll be tracking since they'll unfairly ding under center carries that are successful if they get a yard.

Shotgun carries averaged 10.6 YPC. From under center they averaged 6.8. Zone/gap was split about evenly but there was no outside zone. Obviously these are massive sample sizes that should be taken with deathly seriousness.


Hoke uber alles?

Indeed. Tell us about our sumptuous quarterback who is the awesomest.

Uh… he kind of sucked.


Chart. I'll throw in last year for comparison:

2009, All Of It 1 7 6(2) 3(1) 4 4 - - ? 44%
UConn 2 15(6) - - 3 2 - - 2 68%
Notre Dame 3 25(8) 3(1) 4 1 - 4(1) 2 - 71%
UMass 4 10(3) - 1 1 - 1 1 - 73%
Indiana 2 8(2) 1(1) 5(1) - - - - - 66%
Michigan State 4 14(3) 1 7(1) 1 - - 2 2 68%
Iowa 1 11(3) 2 3(1) 2 - 1 - - 64%
Penn State 3 12(3) 1 4 2 - 1 - - 63%
Illinois 4 9(1) 1 4 1 3 1(1) - - 60%
Purdue 2 12(1) 1 3 1 1 1 3 - 68%
Wisconsin 3 14(2) 2(1) 4(2) - 2 2 - - 71%
WMU '11 - 6(1) 4 3 1 - - - 1 56%

This is also a huge sample size not acquired in the process of herding animals into an ark and must be taken seriously.

But… yeah, when people were saying Robinson was a disappointment they were not wrong. That's his worst downfield day since he was a confused freshman and frankly some of those MAs could have been INs. I mean, Dileo touchdown easy biff sad. He didn't do much on the ground other than use his speed on the first play from scrimmage and dance around on that one scramble. In addition, two of those non-bad throws were bad reads where he had a better option. The weird nature of the game obviates a lot of that but if Denard does not go all Denard on Notre Dame there are going to be some nervous people around here.

I don't think much of it can be ascribed to operating from under center since he was missing plenty even when it was dry and he was operating from the shotgun. The throws he was asked to make didn't seem much different than what he was doing last year, but it's possible some of the inaccuracy was a timing issue. Saturday will be the first real test.


How about some more charts?

Receivers follow; I'll refrain from duplicating the first game totals. You can figure it out:

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - - - - - 1/1 -
Roundtree - - - - - 1/1 - 1/1
Odoms - - - - - - - -
Grady - - - - - - - 1/1
Gallon -


- - - - - 2/2
J. Robinson - - - - - - - -
Dileo - - - - - 0/1 1/1 -
Jackson - - - - - - - -
Koger - - - - 1 1/1 - 1/1
Moore - - - - 2 - - -
Toussaint - - - - - - - -
Shaw - - - - - - - -
Smith - - - - - - - -
Hopkins - - - - - - - -
McColgan - - - - - - - -

Very little to go on when there are 13 attempts but for what little action they got they did superbly, bailing out Robinson on two occasions and helping twice with no drops.

Finally, you can see the effect of the change in run offense on Molk's numbers:


Offensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Lewan 10.5 1 9.5 Left-handed power.
Barnum - - - DNP
Molk 4 2 2 : (
Omameh 4.5 2.5 2 Lot of pulling; bear with me as I adapt to the new style.
Huyge 4.5 2.5 2 All right, as per usual.
Schofield 8 2 6 Good debut; did get smoked on the Denard scramble.
Mealer - 1 -1 DNP
Moore - - - Did some blocking but didn't register good or bad.
Koger 3 1 2 Did well.
TOTAL 34.5 11 22.5 Solid; running does seem considerably left-handed.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 4 1 3 Most of this on the scramble.
Gardner - - - DNP
Toussaint 8.5 0.5 8 I like him. May be a little exuberant though.
Shaw 4 - 4 Half of this on the quick pitch, another point for running fast on TD
Smith - - - Third down back my patootie.
Hopkins - - - DNP
Cox - - - DNP
McColgan 2 - - One slamming block.
TOTAL 18.5 1.5 17 We'll see if this holds up with more sample size.
Player + - T Notes
Stonum - - - --
Odoms - - - --
TRobinson - - - --
Roundtree - 2 -2 --
Grady - - - --
Gallon - - - --
Hemingway - 2 - --
TOTAL 0 4 -4 Not a good day on the outside. Held down a couple runs.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 12 2 83% Schofield –2.

That's a lot of plusses, but the numbers say they're warranted as Michigan ripped off 7.3 YPC and would have threatened 250 yards rushing if the game had been completed. Rushing is not a concern yet. Notre Dame looms.

Little enthusiastic about Toussaint there, aren't' you?

I admit that when the number came up I was like "oh, someone wants a good running back this year and has corrupted himself to get it." This was pretty sweet, though:

That bounce is super-quick and correct. Toussaint showed good vision all day and that is 11 yards from nothing.


Lewan was the best of the OL, Toussaint had a good debut, and the receivers as a unit were near flawless.


Er, Denard? Please don't pelt me with radioactive socks.

What does it mean for Notre Dame and beyond?

Man, I ain't extrapolating much from a few plays run in blistering heat or a driving rainstorm against a MAC opponent that got outscored by Michigan's defense. I think we'll see a multiple offense that leans on the shotgun in crunch time; I think Toussaint is for real and will be a B+ starter this year; I seriously hope they're not just going to shelve the stretch all year.

Against better teams I think the only way they get that safety in the box is by using Denard as that extra guy in the run game—the two long ones this week were zone reads where WMU did not scrape, providing Michigan a numerical advantage. Let's say it a third time: next week will be the test.



September 7th, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

So THAT's what UFR stands for. :)  I can't wait to read every word of this.  I've been checking mgoblog a few times a day knowing something like this was coming along.




September 7th, 2011 at 5:47 PM ^

Hooray! UFR returns!


But yea, due to the odd circumstances of the weather it is still a small sample size to pull from (our offense had what 5 possessions?). The UTL game should provide more of an idea of where this team is at.

Always a good read though.


September 7th, 2011 at 5:54 PM ^

I think that the (1) weather combined with the fact that it was the (2) first game, (3) against a MAC opponent, (4) prior to a rivalry game, and (5) was a game we were never in a position to lose...

all mean that almost nothing can be taken from this game in terms of how the offense and defense will continue to perform throughout the rest of the season.

This could just be wishful thinking of course, but seeing as we don't really need to practice the zone running game, maybe we simply left it out for Western. Maybe the coaches wanted to see how we could run power against an opponent we should physically dominate. 

Denard's numbers do concern me a little, but as long as he can avoid the turnovers this year I think he will be fine. I just don't think he's going to put up 500 yards of total offense all by himself.

But at the end of the day, wins matter most. I already saw Denard do a couple things last Saturday that I rarely saw last season. (1) He seems to make much better progressions in the passing game, moving from #1 to #2 pretty smoothly. (2) I saw Denard demonstrate a better awareness of when to take off on a called pass.

Of course the play where he almost threw the pick was scary. And the drive where he went deep to Koger despite having a wideopen check-down past the sticks is also a concern.

But overall, I think Denard will continue to get better making decisions, and he will still have the ability to make big plays whe called upon. 

We shall see...

Magnum P.I.

September 7th, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

When I saw that Fitz cutback during the game, my heart fluttered a little. That's what a good running back is supposed to look like. I haven't seen that since Mike Hart. 


September 7th, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

How dare you imply anything other than Denard was spectacular.  I, for one, will give you a one week pass to correct such mistakes until I get out my radioactive socks.  Until then, I will be getting my chemo for my foot cancer.


September 7th, 2011 at 6:08 PM ^

I'm not sure how much worse Denard was.  Perhaps you're grading him a bit harder now than you did the first part of last year?  I certainly was guilty of that critiquing Denard during the game....

myantoniobass …

September 7th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

You need to answer my question-last year Denard threw 18tds and 11ints plus some fumbles.  

The fact is, whether you or I agree with it, the new coaches are emphasizing TOP and winning the turnover battle.  I find Brian's comparison to last year inconclusive if he doesn't add in a turnover measurement.  Thus his argument is weak and worthy of nuke socks for those that want to bemoan his attachment to the past.



September 7th, 2011 at 10:50 PM ^

I think you're fine on turnovers; that wasn't my issue. I just think t.o.p. is, in isolation, not worth much as a measure.

I agree that a successful 8-minute MANBALL drive where the O-line smacked the @#$% out of the other team's defense and generally IMPOSED ITS WILL would be pretty sweet. But, the points would still be the same.

Really, I find it odd that people are basically saying, "Brady, just make the drives longer and everything will be better," as if it would be easy to just flip a switch and increase the number of plays. What if our principal weapons are better suited to shock 'n awe than three yards and a cloud of <something>?


September 8th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

Basic math says that the percentage of drives you score on vs. the percentage of drives the other team scores on is all that really matters. The TOP comes into play for us because we have a very thin defense. The first drive by western took over 7 minutes. If we had Rodriguez  and scored on 2 plays, and then our defense came right back out, I think it would have been harder for the defense to stop them and Western likely scores a touchdown rather than miss a field goal. By sustaining an 8 minute drive, we allowed our coaches to show the players what they did wrong on the first drive and gave them a rest. This does matter to some extent.

myantoniobass …

September 8th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

Agree.  However not every coach will run Denard for 1700 yds based on their playcalling.  Inherent in his carries last year was the stat he missed series in what, 10 games?  

The issue I'm addressing is not TOP-it's turnovers.  This coaching staff wants to minimize Denard's turnovers AND his injuries by the plays they call.  Coaches are responsible for their playcalling and the inherent risk of each call.  Clearly playcalling is different from last year.  So as others have said we should account for turnovers in the chart. 

Brian may brand Denard as a goat in this game, but I think Denard did nearly everything this staff asked of him.  


September 8th, 2011 at 7:17 AM ^

he would have gotten negative points in the UFR.

It felt to me like the offense was just getting going when the game ended. Seems like they got past the first game in a new system jitters, and were starting to roll, so unfortunately they didn't get full advantage of the tune up game. It was nice to see Fred Jackson's boys doing their thing though. And that 8 minute drive probably worked wonders for the defense to get their heads together.


September 7th, 2011 at 6:09 PM ^


O17 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Dig Grady 15
PA stretch into the passing play where the TE leaks into the flat. WMU's WLB makes a great play; he's blitzing into the backside. He whacks Koger, then grabs him a bit and starts riding him downfield. First read closed. Robinson comes off it and hits Grady in the numbers just as he clears one linebacker in zone. Catch, first and goal. (CA+, 3, 

Look at Hemingway, the top WR. Because of the WLB's blitz the safety (who eventually makes the tackle) has sucked up and the CB is facing the wrong way to react if Denard throws the post. When I saw this live I thought Denard was going to throw into the endzone. I guess the safety was watching Robinson's eyes because he broke on Grady before the ball was thrown.


September 7th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

The saftey to the field flows toward the boundry side based on where Denard was looking.  To me, not an expert, this looks like it opened the middle and back of the endzone.  Now look at Grady.  He was actully covered when Denard starts his motion.  I know he came free and open, but would that happen next week with Teo, probably not.  Indeed the MLB looks flat footed here, if Teo was flowing to the ball with Denard's eyes that is a knocked down ball or worse a pick and a missed wide open Junior.  


The FannMan

September 7th, 2011 at 10:39 PM ^

Yes, he is really, really open for an easy TD.  

However, it does look like Grady was the second read and was open enough.  My guess is that they have told Denard to get rid of it at the first open read he sees.  Maybe  robo-Henne's operating system would have processed the positions of the safety and the LBs hit the post for the TD.  (Maybe not.)  Denard just isn't there yet.  I would rather have him hit the first open read than wait and try to look all over the place.


September 8th, 2011 at 8:59 AM ^

This isn't how playing quarterback works, though.

QB's have reads, in order. Denard's first read was covered, so he went to his second read - Grady. Grady was open, so he threw the ball. It's not like Madden where you get to see all three WR's in their own isolated windows.


September 7th, 2011 at 6:16 PM ^

I agree, Toussaint looks like he can be a very solid RB for us this year.  He seems to have good vison and has the shiftiness/power that Shaw doesn't have.  I did enjoy the quick pitch to Shaw near the endzone.  


September 7th, 2011 at 6:32 PM ^

The best part of Toussaint's long run is Kelvin Grady (the #2 receiver to the bottom of the screen) running a fade route and getting the defensive back to chase him.  After about 20 yards of running downfield, Grady points to Toussaint and is presumably yelling at the DB "Look over there, you dummy!"

That's awesome.

Maize n Blue

September 7th, 2011 at 6:36 PM ^

This confirmed my worries that we might not use Molk in a way that benefita us most. His reach blocks are amazing to watch, and I really hope we utilize his quickness against ND.


September 7th, 2011 at 6:37 PM ^

I think the Michigan O will see a lot of zone this year....I think D's are going to try to force denard to make the correct reads all game long. Also, he needs to lead his receivers a little better. Even last year this was a problem. There is a lot of opportunity out there if denard can lead his receivers instead of trying to throw it directly to them.

It's gonna be a fun yet agonizing season watching denard learn to be a solid drop back QB. I look forward to it,

One Inch Woody…

September 7th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

The final score of the game, given a fourth quarter, would have undeniably been somewhere near 58 - 10. The weaknesses of our game are obviously covered because of the caliber of opponent, but there really was no need to do anything other than Zone Power and Down G. Denard's reads were fine and if there was any need to, I believe we could have easily put 200+ passing.

The play calling last year was so one dimensional that it was only a matter of time before defenses knew what we were doing and adjusted to it accordingly (hence the scoring margin in the 2nd quarter and 4th quarter). I felt no such apprehension in these 3 quarters and I was surprised by how efficiently we ran our vanilla plays.

The offense will unload on Notre Dame.


Lord have mercy.


September 8th, 2011 at 1:26 AM ^

"But… yeah, when people were saying Robinson was a disappointment they were not wrong."

The article was great until your last paragraph. Im not sure why we want to start talks about how Denard isnt going to fit in the new offense. This was the first game of the season, under a new offense, new coach, under 40 offensive plays and was a game that was cut short.

He's still is going to need to work on timing and footwork, but the fact of the matter is that he looked a lot better in the pocket and didnt through any interceptions. Everyone still needs a lot of work, but ask yourself is it really fair to crucify the guy under this new scheme and with the game getting cut short?

The kid has the right attitude, the right coaches, the right teammates, and with the numbers he can post I truly think its optimistic to say we dont need to worry about Denard after week 1.


September 8th, 2011 at 7:29 AM ^

Denard was a disappointment, he's got a ways to go yet in the new system -- not -- Denard was a disappointment, he's not a fit for the new system.

I think we all need to keep in mind that this game was going to be about establishing the run game, not the Denard game. The rain pretty much sealed it, but I think this was a tune up around getting manball installed and functional. It depends on Notre Dame's defense, and the weather, but I think this week we see a closer approximation to what the full up offense will look like this year.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 7th, 2011 at 6:58 PM ^



Yay, football is back!  (Mostly.)  And players not Denard can have long runs?  Tremendous!

It will be interesting to see how the offense performs carrying more of the load against a tougher opponent.  (I don't think the defense is going to score twice.)  I don't even want to think about attempting FGs.  DAMMIT!  WHY"D YOU HAVE TO BRING THAT UP?  NOW I"M THINKING ABOUT IT!