Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Minnesota Comment Count

Brian November 9th, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Formation notes: Michigan actually spent most of this game in an over front, i.e. shifted their line towards the strength of the line and held Ryan over the slot. Like so:




Michigan would normally put Ryan over that TE to the top of the screen and shift the line the other way. Not sure why they went with the over this time.

Michigan did this once, too: an under shifted line with Demens on the LOS, Morgan in a more conventional ILB spot, and the SAM (in this case Cam Gordon) over the slot.

4-3 under slide

This was "4-3 under slide." Lingo as per usual is supposed to be consistent and descriptive.

And I clipped this for some reason so here's a reminder of what I mean by "okie":


Seven guys on the LOS, with one deep safety off the screen and three DB type guys. This is of course zoneblitzapalooza.

Also here is Dooley creepin' on the jug:


hey baby wanna get painted?

Substitution notes: Secondary as usual. Wilson got a snap or two in a dime package. After a couple weeks of minimal substitution at linebacker, Bolden, Ross, and Cam Gordon got drives. Gordon left early with an injury of some sort and didn't return.

On the line, Clark and Beyer alternated at WDE with Beyer seeming to get slightly more snaps. Black and Campbell were at three-tech and split about evenly; Pipkins got a few snaps behind Washington; Roh actually got a breather or four as Keith Heitzman emerged to get more playing time than he had yet seen. Roh didn't get a lot of points, and that was a reason why. Seemed like Michigan was comfortable with where they were most of the second half and how Heitzman was playing so they let it ride.

[AFTER THE JUMP: the usual destruction of the enemies.]

George George (the third).

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Roh 5
Trips pulls all LBs other than Morgan out of the box. Taylor comes down a bit over the TE side. Beyer(+1) gets push on the TE and then pops inside to cut off any frontside hole as Campbell(+0.5) holds up decently; so does Washington(+0.5). No gaps. Roh(-0.5) gets washed down the line a bit too far; Morgan is basically tasked with all potential gaps. He can't get to the backside as the RB cuts all the way back; Demens(-1) did sit and wait way too long after the handoff, but I'm not sure he could get there anyway. Morgan and Roh peel back to tackle Kirkwood as he hits the backside. RPS -1; a keep here by Nelson is probably a few more yards.
O30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Ryan goes in man when the TE switches sides. Minnesota bombs it deep; Floyd(-2, cover -2) had gotten beaten over the top by a large margin and at the numbers, giving Minnesota a huge window for a big gain that they don't take. Nobody near Nelson, either (pressure -1)
O30 3 5 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Angle Ryan 13
Ryan(-1, cover -1) is lined up behind the NT, threatening blitz; he spies. He doesn't read the QB's eyes and move laterally, which would take him right into this passing lane; one opened up as Demens carries the slot receiver deep on a seam.
O43 1 10 Pistol diamond 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 12
A mess. Demens(-0.5) is cut off by a tackle releasing free; this leaves Clark(-1) unblocked on the edge. He dives inside on of the two lead backs, almost getting a two for one but not getting a pulling G. Washington(+0.5) fought through a down block and started flowing down the line, maybe he's able to tackle if the ball is forced back inside. It's not since Morgan(-2) gets cut like whoah and gives up the edge. Taylor(-1) also cut to the ground. Kovacs(+0.5, tackling -1) comes up hard and makes contact at about five yards but has to take an indirect route because of the Taylor mess. He's forced into an ankle tackle, which he misses. It does get the back stumbling OOB; Taylor finishes it off. RPS -1. Picture Paged.
O45 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-3 over Run N/A Midline zone Heitzman -2
Black(+0.5) let go. He takes it easy and the handoff is made. That's on purpose. Not blocking Heitzman(+1, tackling +1) at all is not. Compounding matters is that neither of the two guys releasing past Heitzman blocks Demens. Not that it matters. But this is just spectacular Gopher busts.
O47 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 3
Six guys on the LOS and Ryan flared out over the slot a little. This is a counter to the inside zone as it looks like the line is motioning as if they will zone but a G pulls and goes backside. M is slanting; Heitzman(-1 )goes too lateral and gets shoved past Washington, which is never good. Ryan(+1) is covering for this by coming off the slot; he redirects like only he can once he sees the handoff and makes contact in the backfield; he can't take the RB down(tackling -1) but does slow him. Morgan(+0.5) put the lead G to his knees on contact and disengages to tackle with help from Clark(+0.5), who was folding back off the LOS and got down to help. RPS +1.
M49 3 9 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 4 Sack Kovacs -3
Looks like guys are open to the left but Nelson is looking right, where Ryan(+1, cover +1) has dropped into an interior slant and Floyd(+1, cover +1) is running with an exterior one. Michigan's blitz gets Kovacs(+1, pressure +3) and Morgan in clean against a back. The back takes Morgan, the inside guy, leaving Kovacs to nail Nelson from behind, forcing a fumble that Minnesota recovers. RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inverted veer keeper CGordon 1
CGordon in for Ryan. He's over the slot with Gordon stacked behind him, sort of implying he'll blitz and Gordon will be in man. CGordon blitzes. Roh flies up to contain the veer as a TE takes him, which means Minnesota options no one. Also, QB pull. CGordon(+1, tackling +1) flies at Nelson at top speed, redirecting to get an ankle tackle in near the LOS. Morgan(+0.5) came off a block to finish the play once CGordon had forced Nelson too far inside and robbed the guy on him of his blocking angle. RPS +1.
M49 2 9 Shotgun trips bunch 4-3 under slide Pass 5 Scramble Beyer 2
CGordon over the bunch, Demens on the LOS in the traditional SAM spot, Morgan the only guy playing ILB. M sends Demens and Morgan and folds Beyer back. The blitz gets Pipkins(-1, pressure +1) a free run at the tailback, who blocks him and knocks him over! I do not want to be Pipkins when film review of this play comes up. Nelson still bugs out of there. Beyer(+0.5) is sitting in a short spy zone and forces Nelson to slow, alllowing Roh(+0.5) to spin off a bock and tackle(+1) from behind with Beyer's assist. RPS +1.
M47 3 7 Shotgun trips TE Nickel press man Run N/A QB power Roh 6
Roh(-2) at DT, gets blown up by double. This puts the LBs in a lot of space with guys on them. Morgan(+0.5) hits the pulling G near the LOs and puts him down, contaiining and forcing the cutback; Demens(+0.5) scrapes around the guy releasing off Roh and tries an ankle tackle that misses; this motion has at least forced Nelson into Roh, who does tackle. RPS -1; Roh DT got burned.
M41 4 1 Pistol diamond 2TE 4-4 even Run N/A Iso Campbell 0
Washington(+1) dives underneath the guard over him and takes out one of the lead backs as he creates a pile. Campbell(+2) pushes past an attempted downblock and takes out two blockers while also closing off the hole the other lead back is trying to hit. Demens(+0.5) is hitting the gap Campbell just vacated hard. Beyer(-1) got shoved to the ground behind this, opening up a crease. Morgan(+1, tackling +1) scrapes to the backside hole that is the RB's only option now and pops him, stopping his momentum. Demens and the pile created by the DTs do the rest.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Run N/A Inside zone Black 1
M moves from a standard under front to seven guys on the line just before the snap. Morgan(+1) dives inside a befuddled TE. Black(+0.5) hugs the shoulder of a T who is trying to release downfield, and does, into no one. Those two guys converge on the black with three(!) unblocked guys to the outside also coming down to help. RPS +2, no chance.
M48 2 9 Shotgun trips 4-3 even Run N/A QB power Ryan 9
WR to the boundary goes in motion, taking Taylor with him. They fake an end around and run at the vacated boundary. Heitzman(+1) swims through a down block and pops up in the hole Minnesota is attacking, absorbing the lead guard. Demens is free behind if M can get it to him; they can't because Ryan(-2) loses leverage as he takes on the RB block. Washington(+0.5) had fought through to be in position to tackle if it cut back; Black(-1) got blown out.
M39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back twins 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Black 5 (Pen -15)
M blitzes Ryan off the slot; Minnesota sends the other back at him like old style RR inside zones. Black(-2) again blown out by a double, creating a big crease. Washington(+1) got into the C trying to release quickly and then got cut, drawing a chop block flag. Without the flag he may have a play on the back. Demens had to be the QB contain with Ryan shooting inside and is delayed; Morgan(+0.5) gets a good hit on the guy releasing into him and slows up the back with his blocker, limiting the damage from the Black blowout. Clark(+0.5) had done a good job constricting the hole.
O46 1 25 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Run N/A QB draw Campbell 3
I think. WRs don't seem to get the call, so there's only one guy for the two LBs with a late-reacting slot guy trying to get Demens from the side, Probably not going anywhere. Even so when Nelson breaks upfield, Campbell(+1) is there to read it as one of his blockers releases downfield and he tackles with Roh(+0.5), who is peeling back after a RB actually blocked him out of his upfield momentum and helped him come back to the hole.
O49 2 22 Shotgun trips Nickel press man Pass 4 Fade Taylor Inc
Black(+0.5, pressure +1) does beat his guy and get some pressure up the middle; this one is going quick anyway. It's Gray versus Taylor; ball is super accurate as Taylor(+0.5 cover push) has gotten Gray most of the way to the sideline; he's a step behind and does have a play on the ball as Gray misjudges it, slows, and then has it clang off his hands. Taylor punches at those hands anyway.
O49 3 22 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Floyd Inc
Floyd(-2, cover -2) gets turned around again, reverting to that old bad habit where he swings around 270 degrees. This is a 15 yard out that won't pick up the first down unless there's YAC but Floyd is so far off that there will be if the ball is accurate. Ball is not. At all. This would have been fourth and short and going for it or a first down otherwise.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 4 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Pipkins 7
Bolden in. This goes away from the strength of the formation with the FB kicking out and backside G pulling around. M pinches down, with Roh getting into the tackle as he tries to block Pipkins; Pipkins(-1) is probably tasked with not letting the G out; the G gets out and into Morgan. FB goes for Roh, Bolden takes the lead guard and funnels back to Morgan, Morgan(-0.5) gets to one side of his blocker and allows a cutback behind. Roh can't quite spin out to get an ankle tackle; Campbell(+0.5) flows from the backside to do so a couple yards downfield, with falling forward happening.
M36 2 3 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-3 under Run N/A Midline zone Pipkins 11
Pipkins(-2) scooped easily and creased. Now two good angles to block the LBs since the midline releases a G directly. Campbell is coming down the line and a pull might actually work here too; he's not hauling so maybe that's why the give is made. He can't get around the Pipkins block to affect the RB. The LBs have a tough job but I still think Morgan(-1) needs to hold his position better and slow up the back; he gets pushed way past the play and eventually pancaked. Gordon fills, kind of gets run over, Floyd and Campbell finish the tackle.
M25 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA hitch Clark 13
Clark(-1) flares out on the slot on the snap. He sucks up on the play action, which makes this hit easy as it's in front of Floyd playing cover three (cover -1). The replay shows how close Clark was to batting this; react better to the PA and you get it. Another clean pocket: pressure -1.
M12 1 10 Pistol diamond 4-4 even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 0
Kovacs walks down. Minnesota runs an inside zone with an option fake to the outside that holds the backside end and CGordon. This is fortunate for M as both guys doubling Washington(+1) release, giving him an easy shot into the backfield, whereupon he literally jumps on the RB's back. Ouch. Bolden(-1) went upfield of a guy releasing and got pancaked. Black(-1) didn't delay that guy at all and got cut. Morgan(-1) headed outside when the lead back went there and ended up on his butt, too. Kovacs is also out there containing; if the Washington screw-up doesn't happen this could be six. Beyer(+1) also did a nice job to cut off the outside.
M12 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-4 under Run N/A Speed option pitch Floyd 2
Possibly another blocking screw-up by Minnesota as no one takes Gordon and ditto CGordon; a tackle looks around after releasing, the universal sign for OOPS. CGordon forces the pitch. Gordon is free; Floyd(+1) reads it and flies up before the WR assigned to him can get a block in. He forces it back; Gordon(+0.5) flows out to help tackle.
M10 3 8 Shotgun twin TE twins 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 TE throwback Gordon 10
Wilson in. Confusion on the part of M as Kovacs is pointing Taylor various places. This is man coverage as Gordon(-2, cover -2) goes in motion to follow the TE. Gordon then forgets he's in man and sucks up on the roll motion, touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 14 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 even slide Pass 5 Hitch Floyd 6
Kovacs(+0.5, pressure +1) sent; he gets past an RB block and will pressure if the three step throw isn't there. It is, Floyd is a bit off the hitch but does tackle immediately.
O36 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-4 even slide Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O31 2 9 Pistol diamond 4-4 even Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan -1
So Jake Ryan gets cut to the ground on this and I'm about to minus him hellaciously when he gets up, flings his stumbling body at the tailback, and ropes him to the ground. +2, tackling +1, wow experience. Heitzman(+1) dove inside again to hit the QB after rubbing off a tackle; this time Demens(+0.5) got outside the pulling G since he knew the QB was accounted for and forced the RB outside. Gordon(+0.5) helped contain on the outside since Demens forced the play away from a lead block destined for Gordon. Picture paged.
O30 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie zero Pass 4 Out Floyd Inc
Four man rush with weird config picked up and does open up some stuff downfield, so pressure -1. Floyd(+2, cover +2) breaks on this out at the sticks and gets an impressive PBU. Throw did take a long time to get there; results based charting.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 6 min 2nd Q. M scores, Minnesota gets it back with 36 seconds left. Following drive considered with that context.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press man   4 Rollout scramble Beyer 8
Minnesota pulls a guard, which confuses Beyer(-1); he sets up and then is pinned inside, corner wide open (pressure -2). Coverage(+2) is good on the two guys to that side (or so I assume) and Nelson just runs for a chunk.
O37 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Taylor 13
Taylor(-1, cover -1) playing way way way off this. Easy. I get you don't want to give up the big play here but that's a quick 13 yards and now they're almost in FG range.
50 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Cross Demens 13
Morgan sent, Beyer drops off. Nelson picks a crossing route that Demens(-1) is in position on and gets a chuck on but doesn't really slow the guy down.
M37 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even N/A N/A Spike N/A Inc
M37 2 10 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 4 Hitch and go Floyd Inc
M gets Morgan(+1, pressure +2) in free with Kovacs absorbing a tailback. Another blindside hit is threatened; Nelson chucks it as fast as possible as Floyd(+1, cover +1) is tested deep again. This time he's basically step for step. WR can't find a ball that lands OOB anyway. RPS +1.
M37 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 4 Throwaway Roh Inc
This random set of rushers is picked up, but Nelson gets happy feet once he sees his selection of short routes is covered(+2, RPS +1) and he bails. Roh(+1) chucks the back and harasses Nelson into a throwaway.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(55), EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Washington 6
Again taking advantage of the slide here as there's only really one LB in the box. Washington(-1) and Roh(-1) are cut to the ground on the backside. Morgan gets a blocker to him, reads the cutback, and does what he can to cut that hole off, forcing it to Floyd, who does an okay job of tackling; Morgan also peels off. Demens stuck in no-mans land. RPS -1.
M34 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 5 PA TE out Ryan 9
Ryan(-1, cover -1) comes up on the play action and then shoots up at Nelson, vacating the zone behind him and opening up a short toss with decent YAC. Roh was headed out there too, and Beyer did not fold back so my assumption is that this is not a blitz but a blown assignment. Taylor comes up to tackle(+1); Michigan is fortunate he doesn't get blocked by Gray.
M24 1 10 Pistol diamond 4-4 even Run N/A Power off tackle Demens -3
Same play that got picture paged. On this one no release from the T as Roh(+1) is right over him. Roh swims through that block and comes upfield in case the QB has it. With the linebackers slid to the playside now, something they can do because Kovacs has walked down in to the box, they are in a much better position to deal with blocks. Demens(+2, tackling +1) reads it very fast, shooting the gap before the guard can get out on him and getting a TFL. Ryan(+1) had also come upfield of another RB to help. RPS +1.
M27 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Demens 12
Yikes. End around fake and then they run inside zone. That end around fake takes three Michigan defenders out of the play. Ryan is furthest outside on the snap and seems like the contain so he gets off. Heitzman(-1) and Demens(-1) not so much. Heitzman flies up past any place he can be useful and Demens sucks out so that the tackle releasing downfield after letting Heitzman go has an easy time of it. M is slanting playside; Morgan has two gaps in front of him and ends up taking on a releasing G to get to a frontside hole instead of hitting the backside gap the tailback takes.
M16 3 1 Shotgun trips bunch 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Black 0
Ryan over the bunch, ILBs in the box. Pure zone read, with backside tackle releasing into Morgan and Clark containing the read. Black(+2) dominates the C at the POA and drives into the backfield. Washington(+2) bowls over the backside G. Heitzman(+0.5) got a good squeeze on the end kicking him; Morgan(+1) beat the T to the spot and puts his helmet in Kirkwood as the two DTs collapse on him.
M16 4 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-4 even Run N/A Speed option Heitzman 3
Morgan blitzes to the backside and is gone. M not slanting, playing it straight up. Ryan(+0.5) contains and gets a tackle attempt in but the QB can cut too far inside as Black(-0.5) got sealed away and Heitzman(-0.5) was unable to hold at the LOS, eventually getting kicked past the hole a couple yards down the LOS. Ryan and Demens do tackle after a modest gain.
M13 1 10 I-Form Big 4-5 under Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan -1
M slants away from the play, sending Ryan off the edge. Ryan(+2) is in too quick for the FB and gets around him, making a leaping TFL with help from Beyer(+2), who slanted past the tackle blocking down on him to help pop the guy in the backfield.
M14 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel press man Run N/A Reverse Ryan -6
JMFR(+3). Good thing, too, because he was all alone out there.
M20 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Seam Gordon Inc
Three man route, good time (pressure -1) with max pro. No one open(cover +2), with Gordon(+1) running in the chest of the slot receiver on a seam route. Ball is errant.
M20 4 17 Field goal Field goal Pass N/A WR screen Taylor 6
Try throwing it downfield maybe?
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 14-7, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 over Pass 4 Hitch Floyd Inc
Bolden in. This is out of Nelson's hand before Gray even breaks on his route and Floyd(+2, cover +2) gets a PBU anyway.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Run N/A QB power N/A 9
WR in jet motion, they fake to him and run power away. They send five guys, dropping Bolden and Morgan off. Bolden is dropping into a zone on the other side of the field. Morgan is one on one with a tackle and has no momentum, pulling G has easy angle on Bolden, Campbell(-0.5) got bashed inside but hard to see how anyone holds this down. RPS -2.
O32 3 1 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass 6 PA FB flat Bolden? 11
Looks like M is caught in a blitz here as Gordon and Ryan fly upfield without even waiting to see what the playcall is. Bolden might be the guy in coverage(-1) here, he sucks up too, but this will happen from time to time. RPS -2.
O43 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even slide Pass N/A Bubble screen Ryan 8
Ryan(-1) is looking in the backfield and does not react to the bubble quickly; he tries to go upfield of the block and cannot execute it this time. Gordon contains.
M49 2 2 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-3 over Run N/A Midline zone Bolden 4
M blitzes Ryan off the slot. Minnesota lets Black go, he checks up, handoff. Ryan's(+0.5) blitz takes attention from a tackle and the lead blocker, leaving one lead guy against two LBs. Bolden is the unblocked guy. He's hesitant to attack the gap because he's checking outside instead of having faith that Roh and Ryan will shut it down and can't take advantage of the free run, probably because M was slanting away from the play and he thinks Roh(-0.5) will be in that gap, bouncing it outside to him. Roh ends up locked out. Bolden adjusts and tackles(+1) from the side.
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 over Pass 4 Wheel Floyd Inc
M shows man and puts guys in the box, Minnesota goes for a wheel similar to the one Nebraska hit on M. Floyd is off the LOS and does not get picked. He's there, in decent position, and gets a push on a WR who lands about six inches OOB. The opportunity was here to make a catch. Not too bad; push. Black(+0.5) did wade through the line to get some pressure up the middle.
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Run N/A QB power Heitzman 0
I think the Minnesota RB may have busted here as he goes on a flare route. It's a flare route that gets Morgan, who's pulling off the LOS as he drops, to chase outside and  run out of the play, so in a sense that's 2 for 1. Heitzman(+1) is stunting or something and ends up running into Campbell and his block before realizing what's going on, and redirecting to tackle the QB near the LOS with no blockers anywhere near. Washington(+1) drove the playside tackle way upfield, opening up the space.
M45 3 10 Shotgun trips 5-1 nickel press Pass 5 Slant Demens 32
WR goes in motion, drawing Avery(-2, cover -2) with him and then goes back. Avery is still moving fast to the outside at the snap, his back 90 degrees from upfield. When the WR cuts inside he's got to flip 180 degrees and has no shot. Demens(-1, cover -1) is sitting in a spy zone and should be reading Nelson's eyes, maybe getting some depth. Blitz had gotten Morgan(+0.5, pressure +1) in free along with Clark(+0.5) coming up to try and bat the ball. Kovacs(-1) doesn't read the route in front of him and starts moving the other way, opening up a lot of YAC. RPS -1, man coverage exploited.
M13 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Morgan 3
Ash(-1) blown out by a double. Ryan(+0.5) sent from the backside and gets in a tackle attempt that causes loss of balance. Morgan(+1) pops the lead back in the hole and makes the avenue for the back very narrow despite Ash giving a lot of ground; Demens(+0.5) sheds a pretty bad block by the guy popping off Ash to tackle.
M10 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 5 Slant Taylor Inc (Pen +7)
M shows man as Ryan goes with the TE. Blitz doesn't get there (pressure -1) and Taylor(-1, cover -1) gets a pretty chintzy PI call. He put his arm around the guy, and they always call that.
M3 1 G Shotgun 2-back TE 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Washington 0
Washington(+1) and Campbell(+1) slant, with Washington preventing a guy trying to release from doing so. Both guys get to their gaps and force a cutback into two unblocked LBs. Demens(+1, tackling +1) is there first and stops Kirkwood dead when they meet; a bunch of other guys show up shortly after.
M3 2 G Shotgun 2TE twins 4-4 under Run N/A Speed option keeper Ryan -1
Ryan(+2) sent on a blitz, which convinces Nelson to keep as the pitch is asking for a fumble. Ryan can redirect quickly enough to tackle; Clark(+0.5) had gotten some movement on his guy that would have helped if Ryan couldn't make this tackle quite so spectacularly.
M4 3 G Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel press Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
This was going to be QB power off the end around fake; it was also going to be a scoop and score for M off a fumbled snap.
M9 3 G Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Morgan Inc
Morgan(+2, cover +2) reads the QB and jumps in the throwing lane, should probably have an INT. Demens(+1) was on the WR's back and had a play or at least a tackle if the ball gets through.
Drive Notes: FG(26), 21-10, 13 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 over slide Run N/A Inside zone Ross 10
Another slide provides a good run for Minnesota. Ross(-1) the only LB in the box. M slants away from the play; he gets sealed inside by the OL releasing. Floyd keeps leverage, getting kicked by the guy who doubled Beyer, but really this is just M having 5.5 in the box again. RPS -1.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Heitzman(+1) shoves into the backfield some as Washington(+1) takes a double and moves it into the hole without giving a yard. Heitzman's got enough penetration that when the back tries to cut back he hits Heitzman's blocker. That slows him; Demens(+0.5) cleans up when he comes through the hole with some help from Campbell, who did get cut but got up quickly.
O40 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 4 PA rollout hitch Ross 6
Looks like M is in a conservative cover three as at this point they just want to bleed clock. Ross(-0.5, cover -1) sucks up a bit on the PA and then bails out trying to get to this hitch; he can't. Throw is MA, upfield and taking the guy off his feet as Taylor comes up. Otherwise first down.
O46 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Out Avery Inc
Slot receiver comes across the formation with Avery(+1, cover +1) and runs a short out that Avery is on top of. He hits on the catch and helps jar the ball loose. Three step drop, no time for pressure.
O46 4 3 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Slant Floyd 9
Floyd(+1, cover +1) has inside leverage and does give it up to Gray but he's there on the catch and gets his hand in; Gray is strong enough to bring it in anyway. Tip of the cap there.
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Floyd Inc (Pen +15)
Floyd(-1, cover -1) step for step but grabs Gray's arm and gets a legit PI flag. I'm not too mad, though. He's there, the PI is one of those things that doesn't always get called, etc.
M30 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Floyd(+1, cover +1) step for step, pass is long.
M30 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 4 Slant Ryan Inc (Pen +4)
Another one of those horrible PI calls where the defender is supposed to be incorporeal as Ryan backs off into a short zone and stops. WR runs into him, ball sails past, flag thrown. Guh. I guess Ryan -1, cover -1 but whatever I hate this flag. Kovacs(+0.5, pressure +1) got a free run but all these quick routes and such.
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Taylor Inc
Taylor(+0.5, cover +1) in good coverage, ball OOB. Pressure was coming, but ball is just out out out all the time.
M26 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 13
M sends Ryan and Morgan on a blitz. Ryan(+0.5) surges past his blocker and almost gets an arm tackle in. Morgan(-1) gets sealed out of the next gap. Demens is not moving behind those guys so there's no LB to clean up. RPS -2.
M13 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Never got set.
M18 1 15 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 2
Seems like they're trying to go outside but back cuts up. Clark(+0.5) redirects inside; Washington(+0.5) avoids a cut and flows down the line. Morgan(+1) reads, gets past a free release from a tackle with a bad angle, and the three combine to tackle.
M16 2 13 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass N/A Fade Floyd Inc (Pen +14)
This one is total horsecrap. Refs -2. This was Floyd over the top and a great back shoulder throw that may have been an accident, FWIW. I would normally give a plus here but the completion was there for the taking. I guess okay. (+1, cover +1)
M2 1 G Goal line Goal line Run N/A PA QB boot Taylor 0
Taylor(+1, tackling +1) is on the edge to make the play after the roll.
M2 2 G I-Form Big Goal line Pass 4 Throwaway Beyer Inc
Beyer(+1, pressure +1) gets in relatively quickly after M covers(+2) everything in the endzone.
M2 3 G Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 nickel Pass 7 Fade Taylor Inc
M sends house, gets unblocked guy(pressure +1), crappily thrown fade is the response, Taylor(+1, cover +1) there to get an easy PBU type thing.
Drive Notes: FG(19), 28-13, 5 min 4th Q. Garbage time left. Charting ceases. Next drive is a couple bubble screens, one incomplete, one fumbled, and then it's a couple runs at the tail end.

You are probably tired and want to get this done fast.

It's like you read my mind, let's go to the…



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 3 4 -1 Heitzman took a lot of his PT for whatever reason, and most of those minuses are for not playing DT well.
Campbell 4.5 0.5 4 Occupied a lot of guys.
Washington 10 1 9 Occupied even more guys.
Black 4 4.5 -0.5 Got blown up some when doubled.
Clark 2.5 2 0.5 Slipping behind next guy in WDE derby.
Beyer 5.5 1.5 4 Second consecutive pretty good day.
Pipkins - 4 -4 Got scooped, not ready yet.
Heitzman 5.5 2.5 3 Emerged into a steady player in second half.
Ojemudia - - - DNP
Ash - 1 -1 Just one snap AFAIK.
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 35 20 15 Actually a bit of a step back here.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 11 5.5 5.5 You stop when he hits you.
Demens 6 4.5 1.5 Has taken small step back from a few games ago, did have kickass TFL.
Ryan 14 6 8 JMFR; did get edged a couple times.
C. Gordon 1 - 1 Went out injured somewhat early.
Ross - 1.5 -1.5 Wouldn't read too much into this.
Bolden - 1 -1 Can really tell the difference between him and Demens now.
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 32 20.5 11.5 Remember that LBs  > 0 is usually good.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 10 5 5 PBUs, PIs, and missed deep shots.
Avery 1 2 -1 UFR, big third down conversion mostly on him.
Taylor 3 3 0 Minnesota went after Floyd deep.
Kovacs 2.5 1 1.5 Remember when he was super important? Now nothing gets to him.
T. Gordon 2 2 0 Should have been in man on the TE on the TD.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNP
TOTAL 18.5 13 5.5 Opponent YPA was 4.9 but could have been a bunch higher.
Pressure 12 7 5 Most of the positive blitz-oriented.
Coverage 23 18 5 Again, good day but helped out by opponent.
Tackling 10 2 83% Opponent does not have any tackle-breakers.
RPS 12 12 0 Spread stuff versus zone blitz stuff ends in push.

Those numbers are a bit lower on the line than last week, with Craig Roh falling off a cliff from +17 to –1, but in Roh's case he picked up minuses when he got blown up playing DT on downs when he probably shouldn't have been playing DT and then didn't really get a chance to earn it back because Keith Heitzman came in for a bunch of playing time, which he did well with. Either Roh was dinged or the coaches were feeling comfortable with the way the game was going and wanted to get an heir apparent some quality playing time, like what they do with the linebackers.

Sanity-checking the line numbers: Minnesota's two main backs combined for 96 yards on 25 carries with Nelson adding 41 on 11 (he got sacked once for a four yard loss). That's a good day from the D, not a dominant one, and the numbers reflect it.

What did you mean by "spread stuff" in the RPS thing?

Well, when Michigan goes with that linebacker slide they're exposing themselves in the box somewhat. Here the DL does basically everything right but Morgan has to check an entire line's worth of gaps himself and Demens is flared out over a slot receiver:

A cutback all the way to the backside is there for five yards. That's fine, but there Michigan's alignment made it really tough to defend that particular eventuality. Minnesota got a few runs like that where they were able to take advantage of Michigan having 5.5 guys in the box.

Barbarian of the week of the year.

JMFR, of course. He's still making occasional errors like not sliding into a passing lane and occasionally busts and edge.

On the other hand, the touchdown on which the TE came wide wide open was not on him, I don't think, as Thomas Gordon showed man when that guy went in motion and then just abandoned the guy. Unless Michigan had an automatic check after that move, it's on Gordon.

And here is a redirection party.

[SIDE NOTE: So you see how Clark comes in to tackle at the end? This is another slant/blitz/fold play on which Mattison essentially flips his defense on the snap, which has been hell on opposing offenses as they try to get guys blocked. These playcalls get offenses inadvertently doubling DL they cannot move all the time.]

You of course know about the reverse and we discussed his unkillable zombie fling TFL in Picture Pages. He was also the secret sauce in the Kovacs sack, dropping into a slant effectively and forcing Nelson to try a second read, at which point dead.

And the other sophomore?

Man, Desmond Morgan will stop you. Michigan's fourth-and short stonage was Morgan one on one with a power back who just stopped moving after contact:

In the film room, Mattison said "do you think that moderately sized sophomore will hit ya?" No doubt.

One dollar says Morgan slides over to MLB next year with Ross at the weakside. If there's a guy on the team I want taking on lead blockers, it's Morgan. This linebacker corps is going to be awesome the next two years.

What is the Pipkins deal?

Keep your panic restricted; DL need time and think of the Heininger Certainty Principle. That said, Quinton Washington is getting more snaps than any other DL for a reason. This never happens to him:

And by this I mean "getting scooped out of the hole  by a guy a gap behind you and letting someone out on a linebacker." Pipkins also got hilariously blown over by a running back when the blitz pickup put a 200 pound guy face to face with 340 pounds of nose tackle. He needs some more time; at this point I don't think you're going to see the Pip/Washington combo in 2013. One more grooming year behind Washington and then he emerges as the nose tackle.

Speaking of Washington, here is the Minnesota tailback wearing him like a backpack:

That's just a blown block by the Minnesota OL, nothing amazing. Except of course how painful that tackle must have been.

Do you have any sort of looming horror you're worried about?

Yeah. I can't be alone in the little pit in the stomach when opponents chuck it deep. JT Floyd has not yielded more than one or two deep completions this year but sometimes it seems like it's just a matter of time. I mean:


Hoo boy that's a lot of room that Nelson missed. A little bit later, Michigan had the Gophers in third and 22 and coulda maybe converted when Floyd got turned around on an out:

That was a little bit reminiscent of the infamous Penn State still.


Floyd jumped a couple routes excellently—he got one PBU on a pass that was out before Gray was out of his break!—but that lack of raw speed catches up from time to time.

No one has really burned Floyd yet but it's clear what opposing offenses think the weak link is. Michigan State went at Floyd over and over deep, Minnesota went at Floyd over and over deep, etc. I'm not too worried about the next two weeks since Northwestern and Iowa seemingly can't complete a pass longer than four yards, but Devin Smith—the actual Devin Smith, not Vincent Smith—looms in The Game.


Washington, Ryan the Barbarian, Desmond Morgan.


No one was really bad enough to warrant this section; Pipkins did get Michigan gashed a couple times but he was only in a few plays. Floyd could have shown up here with some more accurate throws from Nelson, though.

What does it mean for Northwestern and the future?

This is just more of the same at this point. The most notable development was Keith Heitzman getting significant snaps for the first time and doing pretty well with them. He steps into the SDE heir apparent spot and gives Michigan fans some confidence they'll get production there next year.

Quinton Washington… I mean… what can you say? Aside from the NFL slam dunks at Purdue and Ohio State I don't think there's a DT in the league clearly better than him. It's boggling. Heininger Certainty Principle FTW.

Morgan and Ryan continue to prove they're excellent players as well, and JT Floyd is hanging on. Kid's got alligator blood. We are going to see it tested against Ohio State, like, a lot.


Sac Fly

November 9th, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

I'm glad that Washington stayed on defense and they moved Campbell back. I can't imagine either of them would have done anything on the other side of the ball.


November 9th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

Great write up...reading these defensive URLs is flat out fun.

Getting beat over the top is my only concern with the D. Floyd is the obvious one, but neither safety is a burner.

I was wondering about Morgan at the MIKE. Would Bolden then compete against Ross at the WILL or just back up Morgan?


November 9th, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^

"...at this point I don't think you're going to see the Pip/Washington combo in 2013."

So you expect Washington/Black, with some Pipkins and Ash in the rotation?  Or do you expect others in the class of 2012 (Godin/Henry/Wormley) to beat out Pipkins for time at 3-tech?  (I assume Kenny Wilkins is not a factor at this point, until proven otherwise.)


November 9th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

At DT in the B1G, I would probably also take PSU's Jordan Hill over Washington at this point, but it's a hell of a lot closer than I could have ever imagined at the start of the season.


November 9th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

He WILL get burnt by OSU. We saw what happened last year when they just started chucking deep. They were one bomb away from a W in the Big House.

I can only hope that UM finds a way to get a pass rush or else OSU will put up 35+. I don't think Mattison is going to try and protect Flloyd in coverage b/c Mattison's priority is always stopping the run (as it should be). Hopefully Flloyd and T Gordon have huge games.

Hopefully Denard is healthy. I think a strong running game (TOP type game) is are clearest path to victory vs. Urban.


November 9th, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

All depends on what type of scheme/game plan Mattison comes up with.

Has Braxton improved that much as a passer?  If he has, I doubt we won't have any safety help like last year.  I also doubt JT Floyd will be playing in the WR's hip from the snap.

We dared Ohio to beat us over the top last year, just like teams dare Michigan to when Denard is the QB. 


November 10th, 2012 at 12:43 AM ^

Part of the problem last year was Bollman completely changed the offense for the UM game.  Mattison even admitted in interviews they didn't prep for OSU to throw the ball around like they did.  Maybe that's coach talk for protecting their players but OSU's offense was Tressell-like conservative last year until the UM game.  Posey was suspended for most of the year so OSU didn't really have a deep threat.


November 9th, 2012 at 4:38 PM ^

I love how in the off-season everyone was certain that Pipkins would be the starter by the third game at the latest.  The fervor with which people on this site buy into the recruit rankings is ridiculous.  True freshmen rarely make significant contributions to teams especially freshmen on the defensive and offensive lines.  That is why Kalis, another "he will start at either guard or tackle in 2012" is going to redshirt. You cannot count on freshmen to fix a team's problems. These players need time to develop into good contributors.


November 9th, 2012 at 5:50 PM ^

in the trenches. You can count on elite freshmen at receiver, tight end, running back, defensive end, linebacker, cornerback, safety, punter, kicker, and returning kicks. Some times freshmen quarterbacks even make a difference. All 5 star linemen should have a redshirt year, I think. I agree about recruit rankings fervor, though. I like high rankings only for publicity, because that's the only value they have.


November 9th, 2012 at 9:08 PM ^

Or have a loose definition of "count on." Running backs can generally be effective, but how many Michigan receivers can you say were big time contributors as freshmen? Linebacker terrors? Defensive Ends who weren't pushed around? Heck, it took almost the full freshman season for Woodson to become WOODSON even (he was abused by MSU).

They can certainly play there, but if you're expecting them to completely shore up holes, or be leaders at the position, you're probably in trouble there.


November 9th, 2012 at 6:18 PM ^

The need for Pipkins is diluted by Quinton's improvement and Jabreel's activeness. Pipkins probably boosts UM's long-term ability more by lifting and observing rather than playing 50 downs a game - similar vein to your thought of interior guys needed a year to develop. Suspect Hoke also needs to play the 5* some as a show of "best play regardless".

Watch out next year when Q, Peewee, Jabreel, Frank, Mario and the crew disrupt the LOS.


November 9th, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

That Unkillable Zombie Fling doesn't load for me and I want to see it so bad!!!!

And where's that ten minute megamix of all JMFR's big plays I've been belly aching about?!! Come on internet!!!