Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Alabama Comment Count

Brian September 6th, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Formation notes: Nothing unusual. Here's a kitten in some marshmallows.


Substitution notes: On the line we got a ton of people: the starting four (Roh-Campbell-Washington-Black), Ash, Pipkins, Beyer, and Brink. James Ross rotated through both MLB and WLB, replacing Demens or Morgan on about half the drives. Cam Gordon saw a few snaps in place of Ryan.

In the secondary, Michigan first moved Gordon down to nickel and brought in Jarrod Wilson. After the long touchdown on Avery they brought in Raymon Taylor as a one for one replacement for Countess.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 1
Michigan comes out with their nickel, moving Kovacs down into the box. Line is Ryan-Campbell-Roh-Beyer. Campbell(-1) and Roh(-1) get blown a yard or two off the ball Demens(+2) and Morgan(+2) have to flow very hard very fast; they do so, meeting linemen near the LOS before they can fully disengage. Demens gets outside his man and forces it back to Morgan; Campbell is also there.
O26 2 9 Shotgun empty Okie Pass 5 Hitch Floyd Inc
Ryan (+0.5, RPS +1, pressure +2) gets a free run off the edge. McCarron has to throw immediately and does to Lacy; dropped. Floyd looked like he was in okay coverage.
O26 3 9 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway Ryan Inc
Morgan shows blitz, backs out. Michigan stunts; Ryan(+2) ducks inside the LT and runs through a crappy chip from the RB, getting pressure(+2) right up the middle as Black(+0.5) comes around the outside to contain. McCarron chucks it away.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Iso Demens 9
Countess gone now. Kovacs rolled up for an eighth guy. The second TE is lined up as an h-back on the boundary and roars up in a gap. Demens(-2) eats him two yards downfield and lets him outside; Morgan(-1) gets lost on the counter action. Roh(+0.5) had disengaged and tackles; could have tackled near the LOS if Demens hadn't gotten blown up.
O48 2 1 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Demens 2
Michigan slants away from the play, sending Ryan as they pull Black off the LOS. Roh(+1) ends up slanting into a double and gets buried, but holds up okay and does not allow anyone to get on the LBs. Demens(+1) flows into the hole next to Roh and gets a diving tackle on Lacy as he leaps; Morgan(-1) gets caught up in Roh's trash and cannot help. Otherwise this could be no gain.
50 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5? Waggle hitch Avery 7
I think this was a blitz the PA screwed up. There is no one on the edge(pressure -1) as McCarron turns, and it's an easy pitch and catch for him. Avery in coverage, not that close, does tackle on the catch.
M43 2 3 Ace 4-3 under Penalty -- False start -- -5
you gonna die now kid saban's gonna eat you
M48 3 8 Ace 4-wide 4-3 even Pass 5 Seam Floyd 19
Ryan gets dragged way out in to the slot. Play goes to the other side anyway. Michigan sends both LBs, dropping off Black short. Kovacs(-2, cover -2) goes for a chuck on the interior WR and doesn't get much; the routes are all past Black's little drop-off and the blitz is slow (Demens -0.5, Morgan -0.5, pressure -1); McCarron sees the big gap in the middle of the defense and hits it. Floyd tackles; he really had no choice here but to split the two WRs running in his zone and tackle. Kovacs has to get depth here as his man goes vertical. RPS -1.
M29 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Lead zone Demens 14
Floyd rolled up. Michigan slants away from the playside again, which means the line gets sealed inside. The LBs have to be hauling ass. Demens(-1) gets caught up in a lineman who is falling as he releases, but is releasing on the snap so that is tough. Have to have some DL make a play. . Morgan is trying to reach but wasn't done any favors by his DL; Roh(-2) and Ryan(-2) end up getting blown back two yards by single blocks and Morgan ends up in a pile of bodies. Gordon comes up to keep leverage and is kicked by the FB; thanks to Demens there is no one Gordon is funneling to. Kovacs(+1, tackling +1) comes up to make a nice openfield tackle to prevent a TD. RPS -1; slant made things tough.
M15 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Lead zone Roh 5
Morgan(-1) rushes at the LOS on some sort of blitz and gets chopped to the ground again. Roh(-1) gets blown out of his lane by his blocker. Brink(-1) also chopped to the ground on the backside. Washington(+0.5) actually gets some push and forces Yeldon into a relatively small hole. Demens is one on one with a guard and can't do much more than a helpless dive at feet. Gordon(+0.5, tackling +1) fills well.
M10 2 5 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Ash 5
Ash at NT. He's blown up(-2); Morgan(-1) is thumped backwards by the FB. Demens had no chance thanks to Ash getting blown up so fast.. They comboed him like it was nothing.
M5 1 G I-Form Big Goal line Run N/A Lead zone Heitzman 3
Michigan just chucking guys out there, anybody. Heitzman(-2) hurled to the ground and pancaked. This is the gap. Demens(+0.5) gets a good thwack on the FB at the LOS and forces it back inside, would be a no gain if that DE could just not die immediately. Guy who hurls Heitzman to ground then gets out on Morgan(-0.5); Black actually makes the tackle near the goal line.
M2 2 G I-Form Big Goal line Pass N/A PA TE corner Ryan 2
Ryan(-1, cover -1), loses the TE on the PA, but you can't blame him much.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q. Ugh, turn out the lights. Pick a DL, he got his ass kicked.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA throwaway Gordon? Inc
Ross has already replaced Morgan. Wilson playing FS. So much for no freshmen. Coverage(+2) is good off the PA; McCarron can't find anyone, at which point Ryan and Beyer are getting some pressure. He backs out and throws it away.
O33 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 16
Morgan back. M slants again. This gets the two DL past their blockers; Morgan(+1) flows hard to the cutback lane these guys just vacated. Center comes out on him but he's at the LOS already and has funneled. Demens(-2) sits and waits for the ball, getting blocked by a fullback three gaps away from the play. Campbell(-2) didn't help by getting pushed past the play.
O49 1 10 I-Form 4-3 even Pass 5 PA fly Avery 51
Play action. All day for McCarron (pressure -2); Avery (-3, cover -3) falls on the double move and guy is wide open.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-14, 5 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Overthrown and OOB. Floyd might have had a play.
M17 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 8
Pipkins in. Roh(+0.5) does a nice job to fight upfield of his guy at the numbers and force it back. Michigan has slanted to the boundary; Campbell's(-2) quickness gets him past his guy, and then he takes a terrible angle that is not along the LOS, so when the RB cuts back he's got a lane. Linebackers nowhere near the cutback, which I don't get since the line is slanting. They get swallowed.
M9 3 2 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Roh 9
Demens(+1) thunders into the FB at the LOS and forces a cut. There is one because Roh(-2) fought out of his gap and got shoved back; Floyd(-1, tackling -1) whiffs on Lacy afterwards. Mattison: "One of the touchdowns, for example, where Floyd missed the tackle in the hole, which would have been a two-yard gain, and he got a touchdown on it. Craig Roh just tried to make the play inside and should have stayed outside."
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-21, 1 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ross 50
Nobody takes the C gap to the field. The line again slants to the boundary, and get under their guys. Penetration. Black is containing to the outside. Neither linebacker goes to the hole the line is funneling them to. Ross(-3), Morgan(-2), Kovacs(-0.5, tackling -1) for missing a tough tackle but not keeping leverage, Gordon(-1, tackling -1) for whiffing as he comes up, Taylor (-1, tackling -1) for whiffing, Ryan(-0.5, tackling -1) why am I doing this
M26 1 10 whatever whatever Penalty N/A False start -- -5
M31 1 15 Ace 3-wide Okie Run N/A Inside zone Morgan -3
M seven across the front, and they send six with Ross dropping off to clean up. Ryan gets upfield and forces it back, but he's way upfield, I don't think that's ideal. Beyer(+1) gets a little penetration and cuts off a cutoff lane the RB thinks about. Morgan(+2) beats a block and surges upfield as RB tries to break outside the tackles. RPS +1
M34 2 18 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Scramble Roh 15 – 15 pen
Roh(+1) fights inside the tackle and his held, but no call; hold makes him fall. This spooks McCarron and Beyer(+1) coming around the outside flushes him totally. Contain is broken and McCarron gets a bunch of yards, but the missed hold probably made that possible. Bama guy gets a PF for hitting Floyd in the head at the end of the play. Refs -1.
M34 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Screen -- 26
Michigan gets RPSed hard(-3), sending everyone to the same side they blitz on. Yeldon has a free first down.
M8 1 G I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Lead zone Morgan 4
Again the slant, again LBs not flowing. Ross(+0.5) at least tears ass. Into a blocker, but okay. He pushes some guys back and makes the hole smaller. Kovacs cuts off the lead blocker and maintains leverage; Morgan(-1) slows up inexplicably and can only make contact from the side. Gordon(+0.5, tackling +1) meets him at the same time, preventing this from getting to the two.
M4 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Avery Inc
M4 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 6 Throwaway N/A Inc
Michigan sends the house and gets free rushers(pressure +2, RPS +1). McCarron chucks it away. This should be grounding, as he's in the pocket.
Drive Notes: FG, 0-24, 10 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Cross N/A Inc
No pressure (-2); decent coverage(+2) and a checkdown. With Ryan coming up probably a 4-6 yard gain if caught; dropped.
O47 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Counter Ross 7
Big gap on the backside as the line slides towards the TEs. Alabama pulls one to the back, which neither LB reads, and kicks Black. Brink(-1) is blown up. Ross(-1) and Demens(-1) are gone. Kovacs is nominally in the box and comes down to tackle(+0.5, +1) as Hart breaks into the second level.
M46 3 3 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass 5 Sack Ryan -6
TE standing up a yard or two outside the line points Ryan out but no one picks him up. Ross is sent; Beyer backs out. Ryan(+1) flushes McCarron up into the pocket, where Ross(+0.5) and Roh(+0.5) combine to sack.
Drive Notes: Punt, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone counter Kovacs -2
Not sure what to call this. Looks like standard inside zone blocking; QB flips the handoff around and gives it to the back going to the other side and he's headed backside from the start. Michigan is totally screwed on this with Beyer(-2) fighting inside and losing outside contain but for Kovacs(+2, tackling +1) shooting up past an attempted WR block and making a TFL.
O23 2 12 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 3
Ryan (+1) gets into the FB at the LOS to the inside and clogs up the hole; Roh(+1) also fights through a block and ends up taking the pulling guard as well. Lacy slows up, confused, and shows why he'll lose his job to TJ Yeldon by not shooting outside immediately. Michigan should have had a guy there but Demens(-1), unblocked, is just sitting behind the line. The delay allows an unblocked Beyer(+0.5) to tackle near the LOS.
O26 3 9 ??? ??? Run N/A Draw ??? 9
We're watching a close-up of JT Floyd for this whole play.
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Quick out Demens 13
A five yard hitch turns into more as Demens(-1, cover -1) overruns the play.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Floyd 12
No pressure(-2), WR wide open for about 15 (Floyd –1, cover -1). Easy.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Roh 11
Roh stunts with Beyer and gets into the LT, knocking him back on his heels. LT then tackles him. No call. because Bama needs that kind of help. McCarron scrambles out and dumps it off to Lacy. (Pressure +1, Roh +1, Refs -2) Lacy gets a first down but runs out the clock as he does so. Fumble pops out, because this is when we really need a turnover.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-31, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle out Gordon 28
Coverage is fine here with Gordon prepped to make a tackle after this guy catches it three yards downfield; Gordon(-2, tackling -2) whiffs, turning this into big yards. Morgan(-1, tackling -1) compounds matters.
O48 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Pipkins 5
Pipkins in at NT. He gets good push(+1), driving the C back a couple yards and constricting any frontside hole. RB has to slow up awkwardly and cut back. Roh(-2) has taken a cut and gets up, then tries to do what he did on the earlier TD by over pursuing and getting out of his lane, opening up the backside. If he's more responsible likely TFL. Ryan then brings Yeldon down after he slices back upfield.
M47 2 5 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 15
Campbell(-2) ends up shoved two yards downfield and well down the line, opening up a big cutback lane. Pipkins(-1) took an angle too far upfield and helped open it up, too. Demens(+1) does a good job to dodge an attempted cut block and tackles as Yeldon shoots upfield; this is probably a touchdown-saving play.
O38 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 5 PA sack Campbell -16
Coverage(+2) is good, causing McCarron to hesitate. He spooks. Campbell(+2) has blasted the OL's hands down and starts coming around the edge. He has to go even further around as Black is now bull-rushing his guy back, but manages to get all the way around that and run the QB down for a sack. Impressive. (Pressure +2) Washington(+1) also beat a guy and forced a RB up; that's probably the reason for the McCarron spook.
M46 2 26 Ace Nickel even Pass 4 PA scramble -- 4
McCarron has nothing (coverage +2) and despite not getting any pressure just decides to take off. He gets a few.
50 3 22 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Kovacs 15
Despite only sending four this gets dangerous. The LB to that side is sent and Michigan sends Beyer and Demens to the field; this goes to the boundary. Kovacs attacks this fantastically, getting past an attempted blocker, and... misses the tackle. He does delay the WR considerably, which helps the D rally. I'll give him a pass as this was a tough play. Gordon comes into tackle after a big gain, RPS -2; without that Kovacs play this could have been six. Bama has our screen number in this game.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(52), 7-31, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Zone counter Beyer 12
Again the backside DE here fails to keep contain. Beyer(-2) is the culprit. Kovacs is in man coverage and is not very useful; Michigan blitzed Morgan so there is no playside LB (RPS -1). Gordon(-0.5, tackling -1) comes up and misses a tackle but at least slows the guy and keeps leverage. Brink(-1) ended up on the ground, so even if Beyer contains there's a big hole to exploit.
M41 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 8
Brink(-1) is instantly doubled away and sealed; quick G release on Morgan. Morgan(+0.5) gets to the G about a yard downfield and does get outside of him, funneling back; Demens(-2) is slow to the hole and then misses the tackle(-1). Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) also there and spun through.
M33 2 2 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Ash 0
Ash(+2) beats a block by swimming under it and coming back behind the OL so that he's still in the hole. He takes on the lead blocker and forces Lacy to slow up. Demens(+0.5) is free and comes up to hit. Campbell(+0.5) helped out, too.
M33 3 2 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass N/A Waggle flare -- Inc
McCarron doesn't have it long(cover +1) and tries to flip it to the back leaking out but biffs it. Hard to tell if this makes it.
Drive Notes: FG(51), 7-34, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Lead zone Kovacs 8
M does not adjust to motion (RPS -1) and Black gets sealed inside by the TE. Demens(-2) runs up in that same gap and is sealed by same TE, so it's Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) on the outside with a blocker and a ton of space. Kovacs damn near makes an awesome play but doesn't and loses leverage, so the minus. Black(+0.5) was actually in position to tackle if Kovacs forces it back.
O33 2 2 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 18
Campbell(-2) drives his man back, but his angle is way too far directly upfield and then he gets cut, falling over. Morgan(-1) and Ross(-1) both got blown up. Black(-1) ran way too far upfield and opened this gap up even further. I screenshotted this. It's turrible by everyone relevant. Long way to go. Long way.
M49 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Lead zone Ross 5
Michigan gets flanked a la MSU last year. Ross(-2) runs straight upfield, eliminating himself. The TE in position doesn't even have to block him, Kovacs gets walled off a bit but does come up to tackle once Floyd provides leverage at the numbers.
M44 2 5 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Pipkins 7
Pipkins(-2) blown up. Ross(-2) runs into his own OL instead of the FB.
M37 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Ross 0
Ross(+1) pops the FB at the LOS and shucks inside. Washington(+1) sheds his block around the LOS and provides a guy in the hole. Cam Gordon comes from behind to help out.
M37 2 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass N/A PA TE corner Taylor Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +1) is unblocked and dodges an RB block to get some token pressure that may see McCarron miss long on his TE; Taylor(-1, cover -1) had gotten sucked up on PA and this was open, but not mega-open.
M37 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass 5 Corner Avery Inc
Press coverage, Avery playing inside leverage, gets no chuck, lets slot have a step. Overthrown. Ryan and Roh got decent pressure from the edge, but it's a push.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-34, 12 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 3
Washington(+0.5) holds up to a double decently; Campbell(+1) gives ground on a double at first but comes through it after the second guy releases to block Ross(+0.5), who is trying to shoot the gap and at least a little aggressive. Black comes through a block but I'm not sure if I like this or not because if the back is aware enough to cut outside of this it could break big. Back doesn't, instead grinding for a few yards.
O46 2 7 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Pass 5 Waggle TE out Gordon 16
Gordon(-2, cover -2) bites hard on the play action, opening up not only the catch but a ton of YAC. RPS -1.
O38 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 11
Campbell(-2) gets clubbed to the ground by a double, which is a super quick release on Ross as a result. Kovacs(+0.5) attacks hard this time—makes me think he has not being doing well all game previous—and gets in for a tackle attempt at the LOS. He misses but at least forces the back away from the gaping hole Campbell left. Ash(-1) also got kicked pretty badly. Campbell could make a tackle now if he wasn't on the ground. Ross fights through his block and... misses a tackle(-1). Taylor comes in from the side to finish it.
O27 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ash 6
Ash(-2) blown three yards off the ball by a single block from the center. Morgan comes up hard and takes on a G near the LOS, forcing it back, but Ash getting blown up doesn't make that relevant. Ross(-1) also got chopped. If he remains up he could make a tackle at about three yards. Pursuit catches up after a few more.
O21 2 4 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Power Brink -1
Brink(+2) manages to shoot between the gap left by the pulling guard, aided by the OT's odd decision to flare out on Beyer. He's falling but a couple yards oin the backfield, and tackles(+1) at his feet. Looked well defended otherwise. Heitzman(+0.5) and Washington(+0.5) but like whatevers.
O22 3 5 Shotgun trips TE Okie Pass 6 Fly Floyd Inc (Pen+15)
Mattison's zone blitz gets Roh(+1, pressure +2, RPS +1) in unblocked, forcing McCarron to chuck a hopeful one off his back foot. It is of course dead accurate. Floyd(-2, cover -2) is in good position but just gets outrun and ends up hooking the WR's arm, drawing a legit flag.
O7 1 G Ace twins twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Ross 6
Ross(-1) is sent on a blitz and shoots the gap between two blockers. He goes to the inside, gets shoved, and thus vacates his gap. RB hits gap. Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) gets run over at the five; Morgan has impressively leapt a cut block and manages to get him down before the goal line.
O1 2 G Goal line Goal line Run N/A Iso -- 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-41, 5 min 4th Q. Backups for both teams on the next two drives, charting ceases.

why are you doing this to me


i'm not doing anything


just leave me alone


Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 7.5 8 -0.5 Surprised he came out this well.
Campbell 3.5 11 -7.5 Minor downgrade at this position.
Washington 3.5 - 3.5 ?!?!?!?!
Black 1 1 0 I guess.
Brink 2 4 -2 Blown up a couple times.
Ash 2 5 -3 See above.
Pipkins 1 3 -2 Etc.
Beyer 2.5 5 -1.5 Etc.
Heitzman 0.5 2 -1.5 Didn't register.
TOTAL 22.5 39 -16.5 erg
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 5.5 10 -4.5 And this was the best ILB play!
Demens 6 12.5 -6.5 Seemed marginally worse than Morgan.
Ryan 4.5 3.5 1 I may have not picked up some things he was doing that were bad.
C. Gordon - - - Nothing of note.
Ross 2.5 11 -8.5 Welcome to college.
Bolden - - - Garbage time.
Hawthorne - - - DNP.
TOTAL 18.5 37 -18.5 urgh
Player + - T Notes
Floyd - 4 -4 Bad PI extended Bama TD drive.
Avery - 3 -3 Big TD on his fall.
Taylor - 3 -3 One long TD on him.
Kovacs 4 5.5 -1.5 Poor day by his standards.
T. Gordon 1 5.5 -4.5 Missed tackles a plague.
Holowell - - - DNP
Wilson - - - Did not chart.
TOTAL 13.5 26.5 -13 Thanks for being inaccurate, Miller.
Pressure 12 8 4 Do I hear bright spot?
Coverage 9 13 -4 Could have been worse.
Tackling 5 14 26% This probably could not have been worse.
RPS 3 8 -5 Blitzes exploited a couple times.

So that's a demolition, too. If you want to sanity-check those numbers, Alabama averaged 6.2 YPC while running two-thirds of the time. Other than the Avery fall, Michigan kept the Alabama passing game in decent check, but it doesn't matter when you get crushed that badly on the ground.

I'm shocked that Washington didn't pick up any negatives and can't vouch for that. It may be that there were just other places to run all the time. We'll see what happens this week.

Oy, Campbell.

Yeah. He flashed impressive closing speed to track down McCarron on his sack but unfortunately also vacated lanes like whoah. By the time Yeldon hits this hole, he is behind Desmond Morgan, like literally directly behind him on the field:

And, like… come on, man:

The last-second switch on the defensive line seemed ominous when it was made and even considering the opposition I think that disquiet is confirmed now.

So it was all on the line?

The numbers say no but I have to admit this was hard sledding for me as I tried to figure out what was going wrong. On last year's defense, it was usually a single thing, maybe two things. On certain plays against Alabama it became extremely difficult to pinpoint what was wrong because it seemed like everything was.

So take this Yeldon run.

Michigan is slanting away from the playside blocking, which is going to leave a gap to the outside. Alabama has a lead blocker who kicks a charging Gordon, which is fine for Gordon, as he's turning it upfield at the hash.

Everything else is broken. Three Michigan defenders are on the backside of the play with two Alabama blockers. Then there is a cavern. Roh and Ryan are both clubbed off the ball by single blocks. As a result Demens is slashed to the ground because the OL assigned to him doesn't even have to provide a token double. Morgan is trying to flow to the hole but has to jump over Demens because the lineblob has gotten back to him. Once Yeldon reaches the LOS there is no one to even slow him. He hits the secondary, where Kovacs makes an impressive touchdown-saving tackle on a guy who wasn't even touched before he passed the sticks.

Who is at fault here? That side of the line, definitely. Demens? I mean, he's trying to read in the backfield and he's already got a guy in his legs before the ball is handed off. Morgan? He probably could have taken a more conservative angle… and tried to tackle where Kovacs got him. Trying to judge linebackers under these conditions is trying to find out who's the best guy at reattaching limbs in a field hospital stocked only with Elmer's Glue and old copies of Guns and Ammo. When they just single-block the entire line and roar out on you on the snap, life as a linebacker is a sad, sad existence.

BWS said the linebackers were hesitant.

Yeah, he's right. I'm not saying the linebackers were good—they got hammered numerically—and hesitancy is the main problem to my eyes as well. Here's a very similar defensive call on which the line gets excellent penetration:

This leapt off the screen to both myself and Chris, who focused on it in the above-linked post.

Here your slant closes off most of the holes. Campbell gets shoved past his ideal location, and that's a problem, but watch Morgan and Demens mostly. Morgan is aggressive, getting to the hole at around the LOS and funneling to his defensive partner. Demens then gets blocked by an h-back(!) three gaps away from where the play is. Morgan's at the LOS; Demens is two yards behind it. Is Campbell at fault here? Yes, if he is in the right spot there is no gap in the line.

Did Demens screw up? I think so, but this happened with enough consistency that in an ideal world Michigan wants that to happen so Demens can track down that RB when he has to slow up and awkwardly pick a hole.

Here there isn't going to be one so you need to slam hard into that big gap. How do you know this? You probably don't. Your peripheral vision picks it up and you go, because you have instincts. Or don't, as in this case.

These are what James Ross are supposed to have, yes?

Reportedly, yes. It didn't take him long to leap Joe Bolden and become the #3 LB on the depth chart. He rotated in at both MLB and WLB and did a bunch of stuff wrong but at least was damned decisive about it. Here's a replica of the first play above, the lead zone. This one is still a lost down (four yards on first and goal from the eight) but the differences between Ross and Demens are notable:


Ross pounds into the guys at the line and gets himself sealed, but at least the POA is still at the LOS and there isn't a huge body in the way of Morgan. Morgan then takes a false step and can't get to the hole despite this being Yet Another Slant on which cutbacks should be doomed. Watch Morgan slow up as the blocker reaches him despite Campbell being obviously unblocked directly in front of his face. Blocker gets into him a bit and instead of meeting the tailback in that hole, he does it three yards downfield from the side.

So what's the point of all the slanting?

This is one of those things that I still need coaching up on, but IME executing that slant where you pick a gap and get in it is designed to force the tailback into a specific gap your DL are not covering by design. This gap is ideally one-person-sized and can be filled by the nearest LB plugging a FB or leading guard at the LOS. This allows the other LB to play it a little cooler. When the gap is big enough that the back can pick either side of the block the fullback laid down then you need that second linebacker to haul ass, beat the block (which is almost always coming from a difficult angle for the offense to get you on the slant), and finish as a free hitter.

Michigan was getting large gaps without free hitters. Is this on the DL? Or LB? Or both? Hand me the glue and the March 1987 edition—you know, the one with that guy using an AK47 on a bear.

Because, man, the linebackers seem clueless. Michigan slants left on this play, leaving Black as backside contain. the linebackers go… left. so you've got a huge hole you were planning on putting there and honey linebackers don't care.

Long, long way to go. For everybody.


Was not a step up or down in this environment. Is that good? If you want it to be, I guess. He did force a cutback by getting good push, something we didn't see much else of:

In general, ask again later.

Any unrelated complaints recycled from last year?

Spread punt plz.



I know Hagerup's kicking the dickens out of the ball, but that's all the more reason to get those interior guys gone on the snap. Most of college football probably isn't wrong about this.


Nobody. I don't trust my Washington number.


Oh hell let's just move on.

What does it mean for Air Force and beyond?

This made me feel much worse than the offense. Denard flashed greatly improved accuracy, we didn't have Fitz, Alabama is Alabama, etc. Here it's just a complete crapfest. You expect to lose the battle against this OL with Michigan's DL but they got so comprehensively owned that I'm worried this ends up being a harbinger.

Campbell was bad. Campbell is playing because Michigan has no other choice. Campbell can remain bad and not get pulled off the field. There is no reason to think Campbell will ever be not bad, etc. I'm expecting the DL causes Michigan to get gashed by Air Force—like, a lot—and we have an uncomfortable outing Saturday.



September 6th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

My hat is off to you for plowing through the Bama game tape; this has to be one of those times where mgoblog is less a labor of love, and more like real hard work. 


September 7th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

Our defensive line is extremely disappointing so far, and honestly, our D line recruiting needs to improve.  We've gotten Pip and Poggy but otherwise, all 3 stars.  We need more line beef in the way of noses and 3 techs.  Losing Wormley sucked because he needs reps too.  This is one area where Ohio has been crushing us on the recruiting trail.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:07 PM ^

The linebacking numbers are depressing.  I don't think we can come up with any conclusion on the defensive line yet, as it pertains to how it will handle Big Ten play.  And, since AF averages around 260 lbs on their Oline, I don't think we are going to get a good grasp of where we are at until after the ND game.  That is unless our Dline gets handled by Air Force, but I don't see that happening.  The loss of Countess puts that much pressure on us to create more of a pass rush, which is exactly what we don't need right now.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:49 PM ^

AF might not be such a bad test after all. They're definitely a different animal in terms of size, but the system they run demands that the defense is disciplined and stay on their assignments and gaps, something we struggled with against Alabama in addition to getting pushed around. Also, the LBs can't be hesitant against them. Hopefully, the coaches get the team prepared this week.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

If there was one good thing that came from this game defensively, it is that UM will not face an OL anywhere close to as good as Alabama the rest of the season.  I can understand why this would lead one to think the DL will be gashed by any and every team, but I'm willing to bet most teams will meet a similar fate in regards to 'Bama's OL.  Things will get better (PLEASE!!).


September 6th, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

Last Saturday's game is certainly not one where I'd confirm any long-held beliefs about any player, especially Campbell.

Alabama's O-line made first round NFL draft picks look awful last year.

Michigan's D-line, including Campbell, will be just fine this year. Heck, if Campbell replicates his effort and performance from last Saturday across the entire season, he'll have the chance to break Michigan's single season sacks record, because he's not lining up across from anyone as tough as Jones-Kouandijo-Warmack-Fluker the rest of this season.

UofM Die Hard …

September 6th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

I agree in that I dont think we can tell what is going to happen this year with Campbell based on the Bama game, their OL is just ridiculous.......makes me sick ridiculous.  


I dont agree that Campbell will have a chance to break any records with sacks.  That one play where he get pushed behind Morgan is absolutely awful, should not happen, ever.

I think he holds his ground for the rest of the season with glimpses of dominance and failure but I dont think we can use this game as a measuring stick right now.




Team 133


September 6th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

I think Campbell is basically the DT version of Mouton at this point, totally awesome good plays from time to time and totally god awful bad plays from time to time.  I'd rather have the consistent guy than one of those types, but hey, until Pipkins/freshmen are ready, he's the best we've got.

Here's to hoping it's just Bama's OL being that good than Michigan's DL being that bad.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

I remember a few rough games, or at least rough quarters*, at the start of last year while the coaches shuffled around players trying to figure out who could do what. They don't have as many new players this year, but the opponent was much more difficult. Once all the new guys get experience and the coaches figure out who can play (and we aren't going against a line of NFL first rounders), we'll be fine.

*Off the top of my head I'm specificially thinking of the first two drives of both the Western and ND games. Three easy touchdowns, and almost a fourth before a great play by Ryan.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

What were we expecting? As far as I'm concerned, this was about right for the DL. None of them started last year, and few played the position they're playing now (Roh started at a different position). Are any of the guys we have in the front 7 ready to be called draft picks? how about 1st rounders? Maybe someday, but not right now. Alabama is so freakin loaded (thanks oversigning!) that they moved the Outland Trophy Winner (AKA Best Tackle in Football) from left tackle to center because they have that kind of talent. If we can't handle AF's small OL then we're in trouble, but until then, who else has 5 draft picks on the OL? Remember the Mathlete's numbers from earlier today: The talent disparity from Bama - Michigan is the same as that from Michigan - Minnesota.

Re: Linebackers, they worry me a bit more, but I think they'll figure it out soon. Remember, they're playing behind new guys too and have to figure out how to do that. RVB never went down, the LBs aren'y used to getting around a cut. MM would stand up to every double team, and get a ton of penetration on his own. That's not happening right now, and our Defense isn't designed around it either (see the planetoid nose tackles as opposed to 300lb wrestlers). So they've got to adjust. We got worked by a vastly more talented team. Once we get through our tomato cans and work out the kinks our real test will be ND. If our D gets blown up this bad, then we've got major problems for the rest of the year.


September 6th, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

But there hasn't been a single shred of evidence that Campbell is getting any better, or will get any better.  Its year #4 man.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and disco dances like a duck, odds are pretty goddamn good its a duck.

The BWC era just ain't gonna pan out man.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

FWIW, I re-watched the game in slow-motion, paying close attention to the lines.  I thought Washington had a really bad day, though I may have confused him with BWC on a couple of plays (both of their numbers start with "7"). 

It's a cliche, but you have to wonder who the leaders of this defense are going to be.  Michigan's D lost its beating heart when Martin, RVB, and Heininger left.  I'm not sure there's anyone to fill that gap this year. 


September 6th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

Maybe he'll get better. I mean, not good, but just ok. All season to work with the coaches and get tons of game experience. He has to get better, right? Right? Tell me I'm right. Anyone?


September 6th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

college football--was that meant to apply to Ds, Os, or teams as a whole? And would it still hold for a team that runs a 3-zone shotgun option? 

I still see us winning handily, but think it may be difficult to diagnose the D after the game. 


September 6th, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

That has to be a difficult analysis.  I read through the linked BWS article about hesitant linebackers.  I have to say that amongst the comments there seems to be disagreement on where to place blame.  I'm sure that most of the confusion comes because players are executing so poorly.  This would make it very difficult to guess at what the play is designed to do.  

It appears that Mattison has his hands full for the next two games getting them polished for ND.  ND will probably have two 1000 yard running backs this year, with the one (George Atkinson III) being extremely fast.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

I've watched the Yeldon run where Brian conclude who was actually at fault, over and over. I've concluded that it has to be Demens. Either the TE or the tackle releases on Demens but basically is stumbling and makes no real contact. Gordon comes up and forces the run back inside. Demens has to get through the 'very' weak block and stuff the whole right there. Instead, he trips over the offensive player's fingernail and leaves a gaping hole.


September 6th, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

It's tough for Demens because there is absolutely no delay at the LOS for that guy. Even if he doesn't get cut he still has to go around that guy and will be delayed long enough to be out of the play. Last year, Michigan would punish that because you just singled up Martin or RVB or whoever. This year (against this opponent) Roh and Ryan get annihilated. 

I do agree he shouldn't get cut that easy, thus the minus, but this is by no means all on him. 

Blue in Seattle

September 6th, 2012 at 4:21 PM ^

I think Hoke was mentioning that the DL needed to slow down the releasing OL more to give the LB time to react. Also it was more than Ross getting "blooded" out Theresa true freshman. The fact that Countess was on punt coverage at all is an ominous sign of lack of depth, and punt return coverage was still poor. I'm hoping that the liberal use of freshman also provides a recruiting benefit, as well as some depth thickening toward the latter half of the season.

Gorgeous Borges

September 6th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

Pretty damned disappointing. We have three D-line coaches, a line full of 4-5 star players, and they got destroyed. Tackling was bad, linebackers were bad, coverage was bad, RPS was bad, Michigan did nothing well all day. Nobody played well. No silver lining.



September 6th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

But with all the "confusion" with the linebackers, it might as well go here.

No secret I have as much Hoke love as anybody; and I think those that switch out the "b" in Saban to a "t" aren't that far off...but as much as it digusts me, Saban is a great coach. I'm sure he has good assistants, but he does just fine even when none of his assistants will go with him to a new job.  He hasn't won 3 national titles by accident. And yeah, there's shadiness there, but there are a lot of shady programs that are incompetently run enough that they don't succeed at that level. He's a great football mind, and I don't doubt there are things they prepared for that would make linebackers, and everyone else, look silly. Then you have NFL guys doing it to Not NFL guys* and well...you get that.

(*People are still living in a world where Michigan is still sending a lot of early round picks to the League, and underachieving with them...and let's be honest, our best senior beast last year was a 3rd round pick, and our other accomplished senior went in the last round.  We have some good college players who can win some college games this season, but we're still a good way's away from even being of the Michigan of old with NFL talent just below the NFL factory type schools. But if we can keep up recruiting, we can get back there.)


September 6th, 2012 at 7:27 PM ^

Unfortunately, out talent level is way below what we are accustomed to. I will go one step further. ITs not just that our defensive players wouldn't start for bama. Aside from Lewan, I don't think that a single one of our players would start for bama. Hell, other than Lewan and perhaps countess, I don't think a single one of our starters would crack their two-deep. (I am excluding Denard because, while he would not make bama's 2 deep, that has to do with the fact that they run a different system for which his skill set obviously is not suited).


September 6th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

You could have had to UFR a RichRod approved 3-3-5 defense. If having RR here to utilize Denard better would've resulted in Michigan gaining an extra 35 yards on the ground, having RR here would've given Alabama another 10,000 yards on the ground.

The team Michigan faced Saturday would've beaten RichRod's best WVU team by 70.



September 6th, 2012 at 8:15 PM ^

I was just trying to be as helpful as bringing up the fact that Borges doesn't know how to run Rich Rodriguez's system as well as Rich Rodriguez does for the umpteenth time. How you can bring up the fact that Alabama figured out how to defeat the read option (a RichRod staple) and somehow still think the only problem was that RichRod wasn't thereto run cleverly disguised variations of it is beyond me. Please go watch 2010 Alabama-Auburn before you criticize Borges gameplan again. Tell me why Denard would have done better than Cam Newton on the ground if only we had RR running the offense, and I'll shut up.