Upon Further Review 2012: Defense Vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian November 21st, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Formation notes: There are a lot of subtleties to alignment that I'm glossing over for reasons of time and simplicity. For instance, both of these are 4-3 over—line shifted to the strength of the formation—in my book despite looking significantly different on the field:


check the DTs and ILBs


Those are likely different defenses but we're trying to keep things simple enough to categorize in bins large enough to draw conclusions from and get this done before next week.

These DL splits were big enough for me to denote this as "nickel spread" FWIW:


I think this occurred to me this week because though every Iowa run play (every one!) is classified inside zone the subtleties in both offense and defense were apparent. There's a chess game so far beyond what I can access and it was on full display in this one.

This is 5-1 nickel again; Michigan tightened its DL when Vandenberg checked:


Substitution notes: Ross obviously drew in for Morgan. Bolden got a few drives, one at WLB in place of Ross, further suggesting that those positions are close to interchangeable. The back seven was otherwise as you would expect. Furman came in for Kovacs on the last charted drive.

The line was also the usual at this point: an eight-man rotation with the starters getting a majority but not a huge majority of the snaps.

[AFTER THE JUMP: a relatively brief UFR.]

Go! Go!

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 over Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
An excellent start
O20 1 15 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA TE flat Kovacs 4
Ross(+0.5) seems to be in good position on a deeper TE crossing route and Vandenberg checks down(cover +1); Kovacs(+0.5, tackling +1) comes up to tackle immediately.
O24 2 11 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Pin and pull zone Demens -2
Ryan(+1) over the slot; he's sent on the snap. He bangs a lead blocker and forces the play back inside. Demens(+1) shoots a gap inside as Weisman slows to cut north-south and hits Weisman in the backfield. Washington(+0.5) had gotten through a downblock to help clean up if necessary; it wasn't. RPS +1.
O22 3 13 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Hitch Demens 6
Literally no one runs past the sticks on this play, and one of the wide receivers is actually a tight end. Who runs a ten yard stop. On third and thirteen. Vandenberg checks down to a five yard TE hitch. Um. I'm not RPSing this but let's just marvel at Greg Davis for a bit. Demens(+0.5, cover +1), I guess?
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 4 TE out Ryan 6
Ryan(+2, tackling +2, cover -1) does get a little behind this TE out and lets the guy turn up for about six yards but makes up for it by tomahawking the ball out from behind like that Texas linebacker used to do, which is a big play... except the ball squeezes OOB. Fluck.
O31 2 4 Ace 3-wide 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Ross 2
Ryan blitzes off the corner; this is not relevant to the play but that allows the line to slant. Black(+1) gets penetration on one G and forces Weisman to cut behind. This robs Iowa of an angle to block Ross(+1, tackling +1), who reads and fills, making contact at the POA. Weisman can fall forward for a couple. Washington(-1) got handled pretty easily on the backside; with some help this could have been zero.
O33 3 2 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 6
I'm not too sure if this is any one person's issue or three guys not quite doing it. Washington seems to be filling a gap outside and is fine. Roh may get pushed too far outside but he's clearly attacking a gap too. Demens(-1) is heading for the LOS on the snap, can't really ask him to do a lot more than this but he does get stood up by the blocker and gives Weisman a lane outside, away from a charging Ross(+0.5), who shows up in the hole before a blocker can but cannot do much more than ankle-tackle Weisman since he's running outside of Demens.
O39 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Ross 9
Iowa pops up a TE on the line and has two of them to the boundary. Michigan's two linebackers who are not freshmen slide; Ross(-2) does not. One TE flares out to kick Kovacs. The other doubles Beyer(+1) momentarily before releasing; Beyer actually comes through that and waves an arm at the passing RB at the LOS. Ross ran to the LOS himself, meeting that TE and giving a ton of ground. If he slides over presnap I think he can take a more vertical route to the hole, not get knocked back so easily, and maybe let Beyer tackle near the LOS. As it is he ends up carried five yards downfield. Needs more meat. I'm also not a fan of Demens(-0.5) getting way lost backside.
O48 2 1 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ross 1
This is what I was talking about w/ Demens on the previous third down conversion. This is a similar setup where the SDE and SAM take the two outside gaps and the NT goes upfield; Pipkins(-1) is buried. This still leaves both LBs in a gap with one blocker; Demens(+1) gets outside and Ross(+1) flows free to the ball, tackling(+1) at the LOS. Iowa gets a generous spot.
O49 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Pass 4 TE out Demens 6
Demens(+0.5, cover +1) is right on top of this one and gets to rake at the arms from behind as the ball arrives; can't get a PBU. Campbell(+1, pressure +1) had bulled directly into Vandenberg for some good pressure that can't be relevant when you throw five yard passes.
M45 2 4 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Ross 6
They run away from strength for the first time. M shows man press and brings Gordon down on a quasi-blitz late. Later in the game this will turn into coverage on the TE. Ryan holds the edge okay; Black(+0.5) swims through a blocker and it looks like he's held, but no call. There is a gap; Heitzman(-0.5) at DT didn't delay the backside G at all and he gets into Demens; Ross(-0.5) does everything right, quickly attacking the outside shoulder of the releasing guard, but is just too slight to stop Weisman when contact is made a yard downfield. Weisman drags Ross a full five yards after contact (tackling –1). He was getting blocked, which mitigates things. RPS -1, as the light line here got thumped.
M39 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even spread Pass 4 Hitch and go Floyd Inc
Line way spread out. Michigan tries a blitz, gets nowhere against six guys, big clean pocket (pressure -2); Floyd(+1, cover +2) gets a big time chuck on a hitch and go that is essentially a PBU. Throw is yards long. I thought about making this +2 for Floyd but eventually decided the WR's route was crappier than his coverage was good.
M39 2 10 Ace 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 TE out Gordon 5
M comes to the line in a pass rush looking outfit, Vandenberg checks, M tightens their DEs down and slides the safeties into the box. M sends five, runs man free behind it, Gordon(+0.5, cover +1) is in decent position on the TE and tackles on the catch.
M34 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Ross 4
Another slant gets Weisman cutting up with poor blocking angles; Weisman chooses not to bounce outside despite Black(-0.5) getting creased back inside, which is probably wise because that's Kovacs free needing to prevent him from getting five yards. He hits it straight upfield; Ross(-0.5) is again right where he needs to be... and run over. His tackle(-1) is run through and Weisman manages to pound out four where there were none.
M30 4 1 Ace 3-wide Chaos Run N/A QB sneak N/A 2
They get it; Michigan was trying to substitute and not set. RPS -1.
M28 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
M33 1 15 Shotgun empty 4-3 even slide Pass 4 TE In Demens 10
I think this is a stick route, where the TE has an inside or out option and decides based on the LB. Here Demens(-1, cover -1) gets juked by Polish Hat and this five yard catch turns into ten with the YAC. Pressure not great but Campbell was getting there.
M23 2 5 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 7
Campbell(-2) gets creased; given the LB alignment I'm pretty sure he needs to hop outside; they're slid towards the boundary so as soon as he gets locked inside they are in tough as far as blocking angles go. The other possibility is an RPS minus here, but I don't think so. Ross(-0.5) got swallowed up; he's in a tough spot but would at least like him to get free downfield instead of getting erased. Floyd(+0.5) comes up for a nice fill after the sticks.
M16 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-4 under Pass 4 PA TE seam Ross 16
Kovacs rolled down. Ross(-1, cover -1) sucks up on the PA and does not go vertical with the TE or chuck him, which opens up the touchdown. Gordon(-1, cover -1) could have gotten over faster as well as Vandenberg stares this down the whole way. Clean pocket(pressure -1).
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 1 min 1st Q. Rough drive for Ross but a lot of it was literally not having enough mass to stop Weisman.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA TE Seam Ross 19
Again this seems like Ross(-1, cover -2) sucking up on play action here. Taylor is coming down hard on the TE but this really seems like cover 3 on which Taylor is adjusting once the ball is in the air. He tackles on the catch. Totally clean pocket (pressure -2).
O45 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Ross? 14
There is no one in the playside C gap. Black goes straight upfield and neither linebacker has a prayer of getting out there. Ross goes straight upfield, as well. Bolden is moving behind him, FWIW. Someone had to have blown an assignment. I think it has to be Black. Black(-2) went upfield as the rest of the DL stepped right; he did so without hitting the Iowa C, who hits Ross, who ran straight into a block and got erased. I think he was blitzing. RPS -1. Gordon(+0.5) filled well with Kovacs.
O31 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Zone stretch Bolden -1
OL start moving laterally on Washington as Black gets doubled. Weird; might be a bust. Washington(+1) splits the two guys moving laterally as neither even tries to block him; Bolden(+1, tackling +1) is shooting the gap and has the RB dead to rights as soon as Washington slows him with a hand as he runs by. Beyer(+1) beat a block and helps tackle. RPS +1.
O32 2 11 Ace 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 6 TE Out N/A Inc
Blitz doesn't get there on a three step drop; Demens goes with the QB looking to the other side of the field on his zone drop and the TE comes open (cover -1). Taylor is coming down on the other side and can hit after the catch; the likely outcome is a near first down. Vandenberg misses. RPS -1, pressure -1.
O32 3 11 Shotgun trips Okie two Pass 5 Out Kovacs Inc (Pen +15)
Safety blitz with a couple linebackers backing out. Kovacs(+1, pressure +2) times it perfectly and gets a free run. Vandenberg seems to feel it and chucks a five yard out well wide of his WR; Avery(+1, cover +1) right there to tackle if necessary. RPS +2; refs -3 as they throw a ridiculous roughing the passer flag on Kovacs.
O17 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 6 Dumpoff Black Inc
Another Kovacs(+1, pressure +1) blitz gets there but Demens(-1, cover -1) blows the cover on the releasing RB, who is open. Black(+1) has stopped his attack and bats the ball down. Fortunate.
O17 2 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Angle Ryan 4
Another quick dump throw to a covered TE. Ryan(+0.5, cover +1) puts him down on the catch.
O13 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Scramble Clark 4
Clark(+0.5, pressure +1) gets a kind of decent rush around the edge; Vandenberg takes off after he finds no one open (cover +1). Ryan and Ross get Vandenberg down before the sticks.
Drive Notes: FG(27), 14-10, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Bolden -3
Bolden in for Ross. No read and react here as both LBs are sent on a blitz; Bolden(+2, tackling +1) shoots a gap to the interior and meets Weisman in the backfield. RPS +2.
O21 2 13 Ace 4-3 over Pass 4 PA scramble Bolden 7
TE pops up and motions again; all linebackers move this time. They run PA; Ryan(+0.5) looks to be deep enough on his drop to dissuade a throw, and then Roh(+0.5) does just enough rushing against a TE to start Vandenberg moving around. No one else anywhere near though (pressure -2) and Beyer(-0.5) got way outside, so there's a run lane. Bolden(+0.5) keeps leverage and keeps the gain down.
O28 3 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Ryan -1
M runs some sort of cover three that sends Ross and drops Clark to the 3WR side. Quick throw not there (cover +1) and Ryan(+1, pressure +2) rips around the LT to almost sack; Ross(+0.5) beat a block from Weisman but is inside when Vandenberg escapes; Kovacs(+1, tackling +1) cleans it up on the edge.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-10, 3 min 2nd Q. Iowa's kind of sort of drive at the end of the half is in extreme conditions and not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 4
Washington(+2) fights through a scoop attempt and drives down the line; Roh and Ryan are taking on TEs and a gap forms. Demens(-1) gets to a releasing G but doesn't funnel and this threatens to break for a nice gain except for Washington tracking down a guy bouncing outside of an OL two gaps from him.
O33 2 6 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 1
Roh pushes upfield outside of the RT; Washington goes straight upfield and gets some motion before getting sealed; Demens(+1) meets that unblocked G in the hole and gets him stood up; he also gets outside; Campbell(+0.5) has just barely kept the other G from releasing to Ross(+0.5), who gets to the hole as Weisman does and helps tackle.
O34 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Dumpoff Kovacs Inc
Blitz sees five guys come; Ross is basically unblocked and then Ryan is basically unblocked as the RT changes his mind midway through the play because two guys are on the NT. (Pressure +2, RPS +1). Vandenberg has to dump; dropped; Kovacs(+1, cover +1) would be there to plow for no gain anyway.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-10, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass 4 Waggle flat Ryan 1
Nothing open deep(cover +2) so dumpoff; Ryan(+1, tackling +1) erases that immediately.
O35 2 9 Ace twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Gordon 5
M is stunting Roh and Ryan; Roh is coming outside as Ryan dives in; Roh is held; Refs -2. Roh +0.5. This gives Weisman the edge; Gordon(+1) does well to fend off a block and get in an ankle tackle near the LOS.
O40 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 TE out Gordon Inc
M shows a Kovacs blitz, then backs out; it's Gordon(+2, cover +2) who slides down late. He going for man cover on the TE and jumps the route, breaking it up. RPS +1; pressure was kind of getting there as Roh(+0.5) and Ryan(+0.5) were converging.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-10, 3 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Pass 4 Dumpoff Bolden 5
Kovacs out, Furman in. Bolden in for Demens, CGordon in. Black(+0.5) gets some token pressure quickly and Vandenberg dumps it to the RB. Bolden(-0.5) is a little too far away to keep this down.
M17 2 5 Ace twin TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Beyer 2
Motion to Beyer; Beyer(+1) drives through an attempted double; outside blocker has to deal with him and inside guy releases to Ross; Beyer is coming up to the interior and Ross(+1) reads it, running out to the edge; releasing OL cannot get him. Furman(+0.5) contains well and Ross can tackle(+1).
M19 3 3 Shotgun empty Nickel spread Pass 4 TE drag Furman 34
Taylor starts waving at Bolden as Weisman is on the outside; he wants the WR matchup. Furman(-3, cover -3) is caught between some sort of blitz that he never actually executes and a short zone. He runs up to the first down sticks and recovers late and Polish Hat opens up in front of Ross; not really Ross's fault I don't think. That's the difference between six yards and lots.
O43 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass 4 Dumpoff Ross 15
No pressure(-2); both TEs release directly downfield. Garmon exits the backfield and quick dump to him. Ross(cover -1) has been carried deep by the TE and can't recover in time. RPS -1.
O28 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell -8
Um. I guess it looks like Clark, Washington, and Campbell (0.5 each) are controlling their OL and will cut this down for a minimal gain no matter what gap GGarmon hits. Garmon reverses field right into CGordon(+0.5, tackling +1) for a big loss. Freshman.
O36 2 18 Ace twin TE Nickel even Pass 5 Improv Bolden 20
CGordon(+1, pressure +1) gets around the edge and flushes Vandenberg up in the pocket; Ross(-1 pressure -2) has come on a blitz and collapsed inside well away from any lane; Vandenberg has an easy exit and roll; Bolden(-1, cover -2) tries to pick up Garmon coming out of the backfield and trips over him as the back goes vertical. Guy is open, Vandenberg flicks it to him.
O16 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 2
Washington(+1) drives through an attempted scoop and flows. Campbell(+0.5) gives up some ground but does also pop outside his block when the guy doubling him comes off. Roh(+1) quickly got penetration and forced the back upfield into the DTs.
O14 2 8 Ace 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 4
Similar; Campbell(+1) and Roh(+1) cut off the frontside; Washington(-1) gives too much ground on the backside; Beyer comes under okay to force a cutback behind him, and overhanging Furman(+0.5, tackling +1) gets the tackle.
O10 3 4 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh -2
Hard to see anything. Roh(+1) and Clark(+1) burst into the backfield on some sort of blitz thing and tackle. RPS +1.
O12 4 6 Shotgun empty Nickel spread Pass 4 Cross Avery 5
KMM has this first down on a short completion in front of Avery(-1, cover -1) but inexplicably stops and jukes and falls to the ground short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 42-10, 8 min 4th Q. Iowa's final two drives are a melange of backups and are not charted.

Do you ever think to yourself that "QWash" is the greatest ARod-style nickname in the history of ARod style nickname.

All the time. Fear Qwash!

He's like a wrestler.

Yes. He is tag-team buddies with Surpress and managed by Jewel DeNial. His finishing move is the Sqwash, where he jumps off the top rope, does a flip, and lands on your face.

Do you feel bad talking about this when there is football to be discussed?

I think Brian Griese started talking about Oregon in the first half so not really. It was not a competitive contest, you know.

What about that drive, you know, that one, the bad one?

Well that'll happen. Those tight end five yard outs are hard to cover—usually when teams complete them and there is a tackle I just give the defense a push; sometimes a plus depending on down and distance. But yeah I shrug at all five yard passes because if you're defending a five yard pass really well you're probably doing it wrong. "It" being defense. Consistently stringing together dink completion after dink completion is hard, so let 'em do it and see if they can march down the field with that stuff.

Iowa did, once.

But the second drive?

Two chunk plays to start that seemed to be a freshman linebacker not reacting well to play action and probably a busted assignment that left a gap totally unfilled, then two straight GTFOs with a terrible call on Kovacs extending the drive, which is a huge disappointment because I wanted to see Ferentz punt from the 32.

And the third?

Substitutions started in earnest on that one and Josh Furman seemed to drag way out of position on the long Iowa catch and run. The two freshman LBs got lost on a passing down; Ross, rushing, let Vandenberg out of the pocket and Bolden tripped on Garmon's legs as he turned it upfield.

So you're saying?

I don't think there's anything to worry about because Iowa managed to move the ball a tiny bit. I mean, four of their first six drives were three and out, with a bonus three-and-out in there when Iowa had their FG drive extended by the PF, and then the game was over and substitutions started, whereupon Iowa moved the ball a bit.

Here is a—

--a chart.

Oh sorry I was thinking about Qwash's tights.

This game was not very interesting. Also this is just 44 charted plays since I stopped when senior walk-on time started, so multiply by 1.5 to normalize.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 4.5 - 4.5 A lot of filling outside gaps not relevant to inside zones.
Campbell 3.5 2 1.5 Also mostly the gaps.
Washington 5 2 3 Showed off some nice mobility.
Black 3 2.5 0.5 Sample size.
Clark 2 - 2 Pass rush guy.
Beyer 3 0.5 2.5 Run D guy.
Pipkins - 1 -1 Buried once.
Heitzman - 0.5 -0.5 All right.
Ojemudia - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 21 8.5 12.5 Limited opportunities to do anything with every five yard pass in the world thrown
Player + - T Notes
Morgan - - - DNP
Demens 4 4.5 -0.5 Had a couple of zone difficulties.
Ryan 5.5 - 5.5 Nearly had an explosive sack.
C. Gordon 2.5 - 2.5 Iowa can't test your edges.
Ross 5 6.5 -1.5 Remember that we're generally okay with a 0-ish day from ILBs
Bolden 3.5 1.5 2 One booming TFL.
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 20.5 12.5 8 Weisman plus TEs made for a tougher ILB matchup.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 1.5 - 1.5 Probably could have taken the day off.
Avery 1 1 0 Should have given up the fourth down on the last drive there
Taylor - - - Michigan's field corner did not chart. Greg Davis.
Kovacs 4.5 - 4.5 I will miss you.
T. Gordon 3.5 1 2.5 Nice third down PBU.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Furman 1 3 -2 Last drive only above.
TOTAL 11.5 5 6.5 Earl Grey, please
Pressure 11 12 -1 Rush lanes again an issue, organic pressure rare.
Coverage 15 15 0 Relatively low number for this secondary is something I have been happy with for the last six years.
Tackling 12 3 80% No Iowa tackle-breakers; Weisman did run Ross over a couple times.
RPS 9 5 4 Blitz dial ups effective.

Low numbers all around due a lack of plays and avalanche of short passes on which UFR tends to offer a half-point for an immediate tackle and move on to the next play. You'll note that Ross came down from a big game last week; we have discussed this somewhat already in the Picture Pages. Here's another example of Weisman plowing the guy:

Minus half point for not being huge enough to deal with Weisman while being shoved by a blocker, but again that is the very best problem for a freshman linebacker to have. In two years Ross is still going to be darting past this offensive lineman to hit the tailback:

The tailback will get one yard after contact instead of three. Meanwhile, the Iowa touchdown was at least partially on Ross but when you see that endzone angle it's clear he's just a step away from making a play. Ross needs one step.

Historically, inside linebackers have it tough in UFRs. They can get lost or suck up on play action or miss a tackle and are relevant to more plays than anyone else; ILB is hard. In the past a player who edges above zero has gotten a thumbs up—in the recent past few have. Michigan's linebacker play this year has been higher quality than at any time in the recent past; if we go back to David Harris the UFR scale and thought process has changed so drastically that I'm not sure it's useful to make a comparison. So yeah kind of an off day from the MLBs but let's keep it in perspective. They did some good stuff.

As for the rest of the defense, here is the best way to describe Greg Davis: Michigan's starting field corner did not register.

Have any canonical examples of the slight but real differences between the two inside linebacker spots?

Why yes I do, funny you should ask. In the under there is one "bubble"—an OL not covered by a DL. It is the strongside guard, who will generally release into the middle linebacker. The weakside LB is usually protected by the NT and three-tech and can flow to the ball freely.

In practice this is far from always the case (see the play above on which Ross is taking on a blocker while trying to tackle Weisman), but the setup of the defense is such that to test that WLB you are sledding uphill somewhat. The defense has to deal with that bubble, though, and this means having that MLB take on the guard's block and getting that WLB to the hole, like in this inside zone from Iowa:

frontside G: free release into Demens.
C and backside G: blurberated by DL
Ross: free to flow

This is why I keep saying I think Morgan moves to MLB next year. Ross is really good at getting to the spot if he's free and Morgan is a thumper who can take on those OL.

Speaking of thumping…

That's nice to see after some earlier games in which you wanted Bolden to wind up and hit somebody.


Irrelevant except for some open-field tackles from the safety. An Iowa receiver didn't touch the ball before it was 42-10. So, I guess good job secondary.

Defensive line?

Close to irrelevant. On the inside zones they were supposed to pop up hard in single gaps and by doing so get Ross free; they largely did this, thus Ross's 12 tackles. In the passing game it was all the short routes.

I remain concerned about a lack of natural pass rush; at this point it is what it is.


Greg Davis. Jake Ryan. Greg Davis. QWASH a little but mostly just because I want to say Qwash. Kovacs.


I think we should probably rename this bit.

Players not quite as advanced in Mattison-fu?

Well, Ross did end up responsible for a couple of big chunk plays for Iowa and got dragged by Weisman. Massive caveats about this only applying to this one game, as above. Freshman with upside in spades.

What does it mean for Ohio State?

Well, nothing. The two offenses couldn't be more different, and Ohio State is not a tire fire.

One thing: I think we do want Desmond Morgan back pretty badly, as Ohio State's tailbacks are thumper types, not Venric Mark, and he seems like the better matchup. (When Miller breaks outside it will be up to the safeties to be the primary contain.) There just isn't much else to take from the game. If you're worried about tight ends, OSU TEs have combined for 17 catches on the year. Worry about Miller.



November 21st, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

Remember the U Mass game when a D16 school rolled up 37 points on us and almost won?  Remember the Illinois game where we scored over 60 points and only barely managed to win in triple overtime?  Remember our Linebackers lined up inches off the tackles ass and powerless to make a play due to the insane formation?  Remember the Wisconsin game where they ran the EXACT SAME PLAY 30+ times in the second half and we could do nothing to stop them but our Defensive Coordinator unleashed a stuffed toy for "motivation"?  Remember our D Backs seemingly not knowing who to cover and if we were in a zone or man defense half the time. And remember that bowl game where MSU (not that MSU) scored literally at will and their offensive players were laughing at us during the game?

Yeah...neither do I anymore.

All Hail King Mattison.

Mich Mash

November 21st, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

...make it stop, please.  At first I saw the first line about the UMass game and I was like, "wait a minute, were we watching the same game?"....and then I was like, duh.  We have come a long way; I really hope we have a long time with Mattison.  I worry that he won't be around on the staff for many more years...it's just one of those recurring nightmares.  Or that insane situation where you wake up thinking you have to go to work, just to realize that it's 5:30am on Saturday.


November 21st, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

I'd like to think we'd have him for another 5 or so years.  It'd be nice to see what he does with this defense when these sophs, freshmen and incoming recruits are all upperclassmen.

At the same, while we heap praise that is obviously deserved on Mattison, I think we often overlook the job the position coaches have done in developing the players.  The quality and improvement of play at every position is a thing of beauty.  Even in the second half of the Carr era safety play was erratic at best, and knock on wood, the safety play has been quite solid.


November 21st, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

The staff seemed really high on Robinson when they got here (he played quite a bit early in 2011 before getting into his off field shenanigans).  Furman really hasn't been a factor outside of special teams, and even there he lost out on the return man role it looked like he might fill before this season started. 

At the end of the day though, both guys are by all accounts fantastic athletes and have been in the program a while.  I don't think the winner of a position battle between the two gives us anything to worry about next year.


November 21st, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

I imagine we'll see some combination of all of them getting time in different situations until a substitution pattern gets finalized.  The staff seems to like Wilson in that center-fielder role already, but I think the Furman/Robinson winner could give us a lot of thump in the run game, without losing much in coverage. 

Either way it is a good problem to have.  The D is going to be ridiculously deep, experienced, and versatile next year.


November 21st, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

She asked if we needed to worry about Iowa. I said no. Then the 1st 3 and out happened when NO ONE RAN A ROUTE PAST THE STICKS. I again said we'd be fine.

GERG DAVIS minus all of the points (from an Iowa perspective)


November 21st, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

Another example from a UFR that illustrates (for me) what Mattison is talking about. With this, I recall hearing Mattison say something about everyone taking the correct step and moving in unison. At the snap, you see Kovacs, Demens, and Bolden all take that hard first step to the right...in unison.

Beautiful stuff to watch.


November 21st, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

right now we're running a good number of 'unheralded' recruits back there with only 2 years in the system and it's just beautiful to watch. Desmond, JT, Thomas Gordon and Kovacs were all 3* or less. Q is a converted OL. No shame in that, but it shows how brilliant Mattison is

When all these younger, highly rated guys start to grow up, the defense is going to be sick nasty


November 21st, 2012 at 1:44 PM ^

I hope Greg Mattison lives to be 100 years old and coaches for Michigan the entirety of his life.
Also this: we have LBs that will hit with extreme prejudice.


November 21st, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

That quick read and step that Bolden made on that play makes me excited to see him in there in the future. Ross has it too. With that reaction time and quickness, LB is going to be a fun position to watch in the next few years. 


November 21st, 2012 at 7:02 PM ^

Is it just me or have his numbers started to fall these past three games or so?  Are offenses playing him different, or gawd forbid, he's playing hurt?  Or is it just that his numbers are coming back to earth?