Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian October 24th, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Formation notes: Michigan is doing a thing where they have a nickel package in and go with a five-man line and one guy behind it:

5-1-nickel

The guy on the line at the top of the screen is Avery, in man on the slot guy, so he is not, you know, a lineman. That is denoted 5-1 nickel. A full okie package would also put that LB on the LOS.

Michigan was mostly in the under. This is what happens when the under faced off with a 3-wide formation:

4-3-under-slot

Ryan flared out over the slot and Michigan usually walked one of their safeties down. I still called this a 4-3 under, FWIW.

Substitution notes: Secondary same as it always is until Taylor went out, whereupon Avery moved over to the second corner spot and Jarrod Wilson was the nickelback—in that situation they would move Gordon down over the slot and use Wilson as a safety. This happened once, IIRC.

Linebackers same as they usually are. No freshmen in this one, though, all Morgan/Demens/Ryan. Cam Gordon also was left out of the lineup.

There was some rotation on the line. Black and Pipkins saw some DT snaps, with Black getting both some regular duty and his usual nickel appearances. Heitzman saw a few snaps spotting Roh, and Clark and Beyer rotated regularly. Ojemudia did not appear.

The defense is pretty much settled at this point. The only spot at which there is any debate is WDE, which looks like a Beyer/Clark run/pass platoon until one of them (or Ojemudia) emerges. The other ten spots—eleven if you count nickelback—have rock-solid starters.

Row row.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Roh 1
W/ a slot receiver Ryan is flared out, not on the LOS as he would be against a TE. Roh(+2) beats a crackdown block from a WR who has motioned in and starts flowing down the line. Ryan also beats his block, though not as quickly or authoritatively as Roh. Taylor(+0.5) contains; Gordon(+0.5) beats a cut block and flows to the hole with Demens(+0.5), where those two, Roh, and Ryan gang-tackle.
O45 2 9 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 5
Ryan comes down late, showing blitz with one high behind it. MSU throws a dink hitch in front of Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), who makes contact before Burbridge can turn it upfield; Morgan comes over to prevent anyone from falling forward.
50 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
New LT moves early... probably should have been called on M as it looks like Roh entering the neutral zone causes it. Refs +1.
O45 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Morgan 5
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the LT and forces a throw. It's an out short of the sticks that Morgan(+1, cover +1, tackling +1) is out on; looks like they were trying to pick off Taylor and get the corner here but Morgan's all over the circle route from Burbridge. Morgan slings him to the ground with ease.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 4 Flare Ryan 2
Maxwell has more time here (pressure -1) to find someone but dumps it down to Bell anyway. Coverage(+2) was good downfield as three MSU guys are blanketed. Ryan(+0.5 tackling +1) comes up to force Bell out of bounds after a minimal gain.
O35 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 2
Roh(+1) is left unblocked temporarily. He takes on a fullback inside, then disengages to pop the pulling G. Washington(+0.5) has split a double but that's more MSU derp than anything since both guys peel off to do other things, one of them bizarrely. No holes in the center. Ryan(+1) beats another WR block and pops up on the LOS outside of Roh; he tackles(+1).
O37 3 6 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel Pass 3 Wheel Demens Inc
Demens and Ryan flanking three down linemen with Morgan behind them. Morgan pokes his nose in as if he will blitz; Kovacs comes down; both back out. Michigan only sends the interior guys; both LBs are looking to deal with backs out of the backfield. Caper delays as if to pass block, then goes on a wheel that Demens(+1, cover +1) is able to cover, basically. Despite epic time (pressure -1, three man rush) no one pops open and Maxwell's attempt to hit the wheel is well long. Black(+0.5) did force a flush, FWIW. Everything other than the wheel was covered(+1), FWIW.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 6
They motion a TE and then run away from it. Roh(-2) gets blown out by a double. He lets one guy through and gets shoved as he tries to spin out of his mess to no avail. His attempt to rescue it makes things worse and prevents Washington(+0.5) closing down the hole and Demens(+0.5) popping the lead guard in said hole to matter. Roh's just all out of position and despite everyone else playing it right there's a gap Bell can hit for a few yards before the world converges.
O26 2 4 I-Form 4-3 under Penalty N/A Illegal sub N/A -5
lol cant count lol
O21 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Same quick hitch. Floyd(-0.5) is a yard or two off and would probably give up the first if Burbridge was more decisive after the catch; he delays and Floyd and Ryan combine to tackle for minimal YAC. No pressure opportunity, cover push.
O28 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 8
Ryan flies down from the edge to blitz, LT biffs, Ryan gets a free run at Maxwell's blind side (pressure +2); Floyd(-1, cover -1) is way off a meh route and gives up a first down completion. Easy.
O36 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 3
This is not aligned well from M as they are in an even front with Kovacs overhanging and this looks pretty good for State running at the weak side of the M line without a shift on. Morgan(+2) screams downhill, takes on a free releasing tackle, sheds, comes inside, forces the G outside, makes Bell stop in the hole, and then gets buried. Ryan has come from the slot and Campbell has come through a double thanks to the delay and Bell can only pick up a few. RPS -1; heroic effort from Morgan required to prevent something big. Kovacs(+0.5) helped cut the hole down.
O39 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even Run N/A Counter Beyer 2
Beyer(+1) beats a TE trying to kick him inside, absorbing the pulling G; Bell decides to go outside. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) fills well, making contact at the LOS and getting Bell to the ground with help from Morgan, who'd had a free flow and is just helping on the bounce so no soup for him. Campbell(-1) got blown up badly on the backside FWIW.
O41 3 5 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Michigan shows press with a single high safety, sends five. MSU tests it. Blitz picked up (pressure -1). Floyd(+1) is in decent coverage, but has given up a step or two. Throw is on the money, Burbridge juggles it, and I think Floyd takes the opportunity to whack it out but I can't quite tell with the torrent quality. A bit fortunate, results based charting, was there to futz with the guy's arm, kinda PBU.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Sack Ryan -10
Ryan(+3, pressure +3) beats Bell as he blitzes up the edge, delivering a thunder-sack. Washington(+1) and Roh(+1) had also beaten blockers and arrive to confirm the kill.
O15 2 20 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Gordon 45
Roh(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT around the corner and seems to be held. Maybe enough for a call, maybe not. It slows him down just enough for Maxwell to launch a deep middle of the field fly route as MSU just went three verts against Michigan's coverage. Gordon(-2, cover +1) is step for step, never locates the ball, gets recepted upon, tackles, sad.
M40 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Floyd 3
Inside zone fake to an end around to Burbridge. MSU trying to pull their C, who never gets there. Black(+0.5) may have helped that but mostly incompetence, I'd wager. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked as a result and fills behind the LOS at the numbers; Burbridge flings him to the ground and gets some yards before Morgan(+0.5) cleans up after a few.
M37 2 7 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 4
Kovacs shows man on a TE that goes in motion and is a straight up ninth guy in the box with Gordon also hanging out in there. M pinching down from both ends. Black pops out into a TE, which means a tackle releases but has no angle on Morgan. Heitzman(+0.5) is trying to spill the thing by getting into a lead blocker and jamming up the pulling G. He does an eh job but does delay the puller. Morgan(+0.5) gets into him at the line well. Demens(-1) got caught in the wash after not reading the play. Actually a surprise when this happens now. He's not there when Morgan funnels. Black(+0.5) has spun off a block and come back to help tackle even without the linebacker getting involved; Gordon and Morgan help.
M33 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Quick pitch Kovacs 3
M blitzing and looks like they might get caught but it's sound behind the rushers. Roh shoots inside the guy blocking him extremely fast; he slightly delays the quick trap block outside. Demens can flow free as a result; Kovacs is a free hitter but has to come around Taylor backing off trying to cover the outside WR. Those guys get there to tackle; Bell squeezes out the first down. Um. They can't prevent the conversion but usually three yard runs are a little positive. Half points for Roh and Kovacs.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3 4-3 even Run N/A Power Pipkins 8
Bell's longest run of the day. Pipkins(-2) momentarily doubled until he's shoved out of the hole and pancaked. Roh(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) actually do a good job to fight to the now-gaping hole and get in slowing arm-tackle attempts. Morgan is in tough after the G released immediately. He's held a bit—arms outside the shoulder pads by the OL—and can't really disengage to tackle. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) comes in since his WR slanted and kind of flings himself at Bell without using his arms or bringing his feet. Textbook tackling technique... IN HELL. M recovers thanks to the triple slowdown and tackles. Refs -0.5.
M22 2 2 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Morgan 1
Same bit with the other I form big on this drive, but to the other side. Roh(+1) drives outside, disengaging to pick off a lead blocker and getting his 2for1. Gordon(-1) blows that by continuing to head outside and not reacting to what's in front of him. Morgan(+2) is now the next guy inside. He bangs McDonald at the LOS and drives him back, then disengages to grab Bell with an arm... and Bell slows. Wow. I expected him to blow right through this but he's suddenly in molasses, allowing Campbell(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) to converge and set up third down.
M31 3 1 I-Form 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 0
Roh(+1) and Ryan(+1) shoot under their blocks on the snap, forcing a very slight cutback from Bell. Bell trips over Ryan's guy; Gordon(+1) and Demens(+1) are screaming down behind the slant and put Bell to the ground at the LOS. RPS +2, slant FTW. Inspired a Hokepoints.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(38), 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat over the top on this, but it's long. No pressure but this is max pro and the ball is out pretty quickly.
M44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 5 Fade Taylor Inc
Super aggressive look from with seven guys on the line; two back out into shorter zones. Taylor(+1, cover +1) forces the WR out of bounds as he tries to release upfield on a fade. Kovacs(+0.5) had shoved a RB back and come off underneath to force a throw (pressure +1), which is OOB and may just be a throwaway. Gordon(+0.5) was over the top.
M44 3 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark 7
Stunt gets Clark(+1, pressure +2) in basically clean as Roh(+1) takes the LG way upfield and there's no chance the tackle can do anything with Clark plunging inside. Maxwell has to dump it short of the sticks where Avery(+1, tackling +1) is there to force the punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Flare Ryan 3
A called dink pass as the RT just cuts Roh and the guys on the playside are blocking from the start. Ryan(+2) pops his blocker, comes around him really fast, and eventually forces Bell OOB for minimal yardage.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 6
M sends a blitz that looks like it gets picked up and another dink pass to the flats is fired. Burbridge again hesitates as he turns it up and makes a probable first down into third and short. Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), I guess.
O34 3 1 Ace 4-3 under Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Roh(+0.5) gets under the LT and gets some movement back but not quite enough to take out the pulling G. Ryan(+1) takes on a FB kickout block, chucks the guy past him, and tackles Bell a yard in the backfield. Demens popped the G at the LOS but tries to spin off of it and gives up just a tiny bit of ground, allowing Bell to eke out the first.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Floyd Inc
Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there to bang on the catch and separate Burbridge from the ball. Still could have caught it if the throw was a bit better, so no +2.
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Floyd Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +2) stunts around Black and comes through when one of the OL moves to Black and no one pops out on him. Ryan(+0.5) has beat the RT around the corner and threatens to sack, Maxwell must throw. He chucks it deep at Floyd(+2, cover +2), who is step for step with Burbridge and gets a PBU.
O35 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 7
Maxwell takes a hitch before the pressure can get there; Taylor(+0.5) escorts the guy OOB before the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, EO1H
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Morgan 5
Washington(-0.5) gives some ground, allowing Bell time to pick a gap backside or straight up the gut. Morgan(-1) gets cut to the ground by the FB. Campbell(+0.5) comes through his block and initiates the tackle once Bell picks; Morgan is there to grab legs; pile lurches forward.
O25 2 5 Ace twins 4-3 over Pass 4 WR screen Gordon 5
Michigan pretty well prepared for this as Gordon(-1, tackling -1) breaks down at the LOS after the catch. Unfortunately he overran it and the WR can move inside of him for a decent gain.
O30 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass 6 Deep slant Kovacs 19
Michigan with a double A gap blitz of their own right into iso play action. Kovacs(-2, cover -2) sucks up an unreasonably large distance and never starts dropping back into a middle of the field robber zone that seems to be his assignment since Taylor lined up with outside leverage and seemed to expect interior help that was never there. RPS -1.
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A End-around Kovacs 14
Beyer doesn't see this coming and lets the edge guy go. Kovacs(-2) is not prepared, either, and gets blindsided by the WR cracking down. Worse, he gets shoved upfield and Burbridge can get a shove on Morgan when he tries to flow out. Taylor(-1) doesn't read this until way late and can't contain so there's an alley between him and Morgan. RPS –1.
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 5 Out Taylor 12
Both backs stay in, three guys in the route. This is essentially a pick route, with Burbridge going straight upfield and Mumphery cutting out near the sticks and using Burbridge as a screen.. Taylor(-1, cover -1) got beat by that.
M25 1 10 Ace twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Demens 2
Gordon rolls up to the LOS. M slants away from the play; Gordon(-1) gets cut by the H-back. His inability to stay up allows Bell to leap over that block away from all the people; Demens(+1) flowed behind the slant quickly, took on a TE trying to peel off onto him, kept his feet, and grabbed Bell at the LOS. Morgan(+1) is also flowing behind, cognizant of the slant, and gets from the backside to Bell, finishing the tackle(+1). Pipkins(+0.5) made it impossible for anyone to get out on Morgan, BTW.
M23 2 8 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 Hitch Floyd 7
Quick hit in front of Floyd(-0.5), who's a long way off this time. Throw is marginal and takes Burbridge off his feet, so no YAC.
M16 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
Campbell(-1) gets blown back by a double; Washington(-2) is turned and pancaked when he is engaged with the C and takes one shove from the RG. Morgan(+1) nails the two lead blockers in the backfield, which could lead to another stop but the DT dissolution provides a cutback lane for an easy conversion. Bell has to slow down to get around all this traffic, giving various folks time to converge.
M12 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Trickeration scramble Ryan 10
The reverse throwback play. Gordon(+1, cover +1, RPS +1) has the throwback to the QB covered; Kovacs is shooting directly at the WR trying to throw when he gets blocked... almost in the back. But not quite. His momentum's off now and the WR dodges him. Ryan(-2) has the next shot and overruns it badly; Roh was coming from the edge and got blocked past the play. Now he's all running in a chaotic broken field and gets down to the one.
M2 1 G Goal line Goal line Pass N/A PA TE corner Morgan 2
Morgan(-1, cover -1, RPS -1) sucks up on the play action, open guy, TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 6-7, 7 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+1) stands up McDonald; the play is going away from the H-back, who hits a backside gap Morgan is not in. Morgan gets a free flow as a result. Bell decides to run away from that; Washington sheds. That's a TFL but Bell bounces it outside. Roh(+0.5) disengages from the tackle to chase. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) charges up and chops Bell down at the ankles, preventing any YAC.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 even Pass N/A Screen Ryan 7
A pretty much normal screen with a flare fake to Bell and then Caper slipping out on the other side. Entire DL sucks up with no pursuit except Campbell. Roh(-0.5) and Washington(-0.5) go for the QB and eliminated themselves. Caper now has three blockers in a lot of space. One peels off for Campbell. A second goes for Demens. A third takes Ryan. Ryan(+2) does what he does, which is look like he's going outside and then redirect under a slower player to show up after he cuts upfield. He keeps leverage AND makes the tackle. Boom. Tackling +1; RPS -1. Took a badass play from Ryan to prevent this from being big.
O28 3 2 Shotgun twins TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Throwaway N/A Inc
Bell motions out for a trips TE look. They roll to the trips. Maxwell biffs here; Taylor(-1, cover -1)) bugs out deep on a guy who is covered deeper and leaves Bell open; Maxwell hesitates, starts rolling further outside the pocket, and chucks it OOB. Had Bell for the first. I guess Beyer(+0.5) gets some credit for holding the edge and getting up in his face.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Ace twins 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Pipkins 3
Pipkins(-1) gets blown out by a double. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) are single blocked and both take their guys into the space vacated by Washington, closing off the hole before Bell can reach it. Bell stops. He can bounce to the outside because Roh crashed to cut off the hole and Pipkins got blown downfield so the linebackers can't flow. Demens again eats two OL.
M49 2 7 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 3
Always going to be a nothing pass as all the routes are hitches against man. Taylor(+1, cover +1) is there to tackle on a three yard catch. Ryan(+0.5) avoided a cut and harassed.
M46 3 4 Ace Nickel even Pass 4 TE Dig Black INT
Clark(+0.5) gets a little bit of pressure from the edge, causing Maxwell to step up in the pocket a bit. Black(+0.5, pressure +1) is now leaping at Maxwell as he tries to throw. Avery(+1, cover +1) is in the TE's back pocket here and has a play on almost any well-thrown ball. The ball sails to Tacopants, and eventually falls to Kovacs(+1), who makes the INT.
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 2 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Campbell 1
Campbell(+2) blasts McDonald back one on one and forces a Bell cutback. Washington has given ground but took two blockers, push. Demens(+0.5) is free and sees the cutback; he tackles in the hole.
O10 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Beyer 2
Gordon comes down late for a seventh man in the box as M goes man free on the back end. Beyer(+1) knows he's got help outside and fights inside a kickout. Roh(-1) got blown up by a double as a DT, but that'll happen. Beyer rakes the ball out; Morgan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) had constricted available space to likely make this a third and medium anyway. MSU somehow recovers.
O12 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Slant Taylor 10
Avery comes down of the slot and blitzes. Maxwell picks the outside slant correctly and hits it. Taylor(-1) came up hard but to the inside, apparently expecting short hitch #1000. RPS -1, Pressure -1... this got picked up.
O22 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 over Pass 4 Dumpoff Ryan Inc
Time is good for MSU; Campbell does come under a guy and start moving into the pocket with Clark also arriving (pressure -1) to make it not horrible. Coverage(+2) is excellent downfield, Maxwell checks down to a fullback who drops the ball. He was getting nowhere anyway as Ryan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) were about to crush this.
O22 2 10 I-Form 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Ryan 1
Ryan(+1) looks to take on a kickout, pops upfield of it, and falls over as he beats the block, grabbing Bell's leg as he does so. Demens(+1) clubs the pulling G at the LOS and stand him up; Black(+0.5) comes from the backside to wrap up after Bell finally steps through the arm tackle attempt.
O23 3 9 Shotgun 2-back 5-1 nickel press Pass 5 Slant Floyd Inc
Mumphery against Floyd on the slant; Floyd(+2, cover +1) does give up the inside a bit but rides him and is in position to make a play on the ball as it arrives. Meh throw; didn't really matter.
Drive Notes: FAKE punt, 9-7, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-3 under press Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc
Burbridge has exactly one step on Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) and this throw would have to be perfect. It's long.
O49 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Taylor 12
M shows man. Taylor(-2, cover -1, tackling -1) takes a crappy angle to the slant and ends up upfield of the WR; his off balance tackle attempt is run through. That is baaaad. Gordon(+1) is there to clean up, thankfully, making a solid tackle that prevents anything big from going down.
M39 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Beyer 5
Beyer(-1) in at SDE and the difference between him and Roh is noticeable. He gets blown off the ball by a double; LBs blocked by the TE and pulling G as FB kicks Ryan. Demens funnels; Morgan takes on a block, folks tackle after five. Basically standard stuff once you've lost that double at the POA.
M34 2 5 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Campbell 4
At the other side of the line. Campbell(-0.5) gets creased a little bit. Heitzman(-1) runs straight upfield past the kickout so the gap is pretty big. LBs take on blockers as well as they can but Bell is just running up the backs of his OL and can push the pile.
M30 3 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power Roh 2
M slants playside. Roh(+1) gets under the guard and drives in to the backside of the play, forcing a cutback behind him. Ryan(+0.5) is there in that gap to stall that initial cutback. Demens comes up to start pushing; Bell manages to find a tiny crease and pushes through it.
M28 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Pitch sweep Kovacs 2
Quick pitch with a motioning TE blocking down as the tackle pulls around him Kovacs(+2) is initially hesitant as he follows the TE motion since he's in man on the guy, then realizes it's a run and attacks outside. WR cracks down on Demens. Ryan(-1) tries to shoot upfield of the pulling T and gets shoved past the play, the T is delayed but continues his pull, dangerous. Floyd(+1) is trying to contain against two guys now. He avoids a cut and spins outside; Kovacs(tackling +1) screams through the gap between the two OL that Floyd helped create by not going down to the cut and needing another blocker to deal with him; he's charging fast but manages to hang on and tackles; everyone's falling forward but whatever, great play.
M26 2 8 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 Corner Taylor 14 + 6 Pen
Maxwell has to throw as Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is shedding a blocker and about to hit him. Campbell(-1) is also coming from behind after dodging a blocker with agility(!) and would get a plus… if he didn't rough the passer after Maxwell dumps it. Alas. The corner route is to a blanketed receiver; Taylor's got the coverage. He wraps his arm around the guy and gets a penalty call, but he's also in great position. This throw has to be inch perfect and a great catch; it's both. Taylor(-1, cover +1) gets a minus for a legit PI call but he was in the right spot to make a play, which is what coverage attempts to measure. Taylor goes out on this play. Avery replaces him.
M6 1 G I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass 5 PA TE delay Gordon Inc
Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the RT and hits Maxwell either as or just after he throws. Beyer(+0.5) and Washington(+0.5) also surge up in the pocket, demanding a throw. That throw is a highly delayed pass to the TE that Gordon(+2, cover +2) is waiting for and PBUs.
M6 2 G Ace twins 4-4 under press Run N/A Power Demens 2
TE kicks Ryan; Beyer(+0.5) slants inside the tackle, which makes the tackle hesitate. Demens(+1) plugs the pulling G at the LOS; Morgan(+0.5) is there as Demens funnels to him, many people stop Bell's momentum.
M4 3 G I-Form Big Goal line Run N/A Inside zone Floyd 2
They motion a TE to Floyd's side and run at him. Floyd(+1) fights outside the block. Morgan(+1) is flowing hard at the play and Bell has no choice but to try and run up the back of the blocker; Floyd and Morgan tackle(+1). Kovacs(+1) shot a gap that made the outside the only possible place to go BTW.
Drive Notes: FG(19), 9-10, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Outside trap Campbell 0
MSU trying to get a quick trap block on Campbell(+2) by blocking down with the tackle, bringing the G around him, and hitting the bubble between Campbell and Roh. Campbell blows through the down block and gets into the trapper. Roh(+0.5) has contain. Gordon and Morgan are both in the hole against one blocker; Bell tries to cut back and hits the guy blocking Campbell. Beyer(+0.5) avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle.
O9 2 10 I-Form 4-4 under Pass 4 PA slant Floyd Inc
Two man route. Primary is a slant Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position on; Gordon(+1) is rolled up in the box but drops off in time to make a delayed throw a bad idea. WR tries to break back outside, stil covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the ball sails wide. Pressure -1, all day but two man route.
O9 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Screen Morgan 4
Morgan(+1) gets outside of the lone OL blocker already out and forces the play back into Ryan(+1) who showed blitz and backed out. Ryan tackles after a meh gain, punching the ball out, MSU gets it back. RPS +2, screen in to three man rush had no chance.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-10, 2 min 4th Q

I'm already bored with this.

What?

Not enough points. This isn't boringsball. It's football.

You can't be serious.

Whatever happened to games that ended with 70 points being scored?

You mean like last year's OSU game?

YEAH

You liked giving up 34 points to Jim Bollman.

Uh. CHART

I wasn't… oh fine.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 14.5 3.5 11.5 Field day against backup freshman tackle.
Campbell 5.5 3.5 2 Big play on final drive.
Washington 3.5 3 0.5 Mostly eating doubles on power.
Black 3.5 - 3.5 It lives!
Clark 1.5 - 1.5 Eh
Beyer 4.5 1 3.5 Beyer surges into tentative WDE lead on run heavy day.
Pipkins 0.5 3 -2.5 Blown up once.
Heitzman 0.5 1 -0.5 Eh.
Ojemudia - - - DNP
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 15 19 Little bit of dropoff from Illinois but not much.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 9 2 7 Remember the athleticism worries with him?
Demens 7.5 1 6.5 Four straight +++ games.
Ryan 17.5 3 14.5 I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS
C. Gordon - - - DNP
Ross - - - DNP
Bolden - - - DNP
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 34 6 28 /gapes
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 12.5 5 7.5 Recovered from meh start to have damn fine day.
Avery 2 - 2 May have contributed to INT.
Taylor 4 7 -3 Missed a couple slants; MSU switched to targeting him late.
Kovacs 5 4 1 Did biff a robber zone, also had awesome Kovacsplay.
T. Gordon 7 5 2 Gave up the big one.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNC
TOTAL 30.5 21 9.5 As a whole, a pass.
Metrics
Pressure 16 6 10 Even the deep throws were like one two three chuck.
Coverage 22 8 14 Maxwell helped here with some indecision.
Tackling 12 4 75% Bell didn't plow anyone.
RPS 5 5 0 Meh.

This has been an interesting experience since every week I look at the numbers I've collected and then think to myself "oh crap those are too high" and then go check the boxscore and think "actually…"

This week's "Actually"…

  • Maxwell averaged a Sheridan-like 5.6 YPC and threw an INT.
  • MSU averaged 3.3 YPC once sacks and the fake punt are removed; Bell ran for 2.6 YPC.
  • The sole play longer than 20 yards was the bomb to Fowler on which Gordon was in position and neither found the ball nor played the man.
  • Michigan forced two fumbles that MSU was fortunate to recover.
  • MSU scored 10 points on 12 drives.

So, yeah. The DL numbers are down a bit except for Roh, who didn't do much on the scoresheet but as Ace mentioned on the podcast is becoming a guy running backs cut behind into their doom three times a game. He had a super-easy matchup against MSU's 6'3" backup LT and exploited that to his credit. He is really tough to seal.

I can't be the only guy who saw that first playcall and had flashbacks to last year. Well, Roh is a ton better at not getting put away by WRs (and BJ Cunningham isn't walking through that door) this year and he strings the play out until the cavalry rallies.

Ryan… par for the course. Also both ILBs have shed that early-season hesitation and the pesky freshmen.

As for JT Floyd…

AAAAAH JT FLOYD AAAAAH

Let's talk Floyd. He started off poorly, getting flung to the ground by Burbridge and beaten deep by him—on an incompletion—en route to being –3-ish, and then he ate some spinach. MSU kept going after him with slants

and deep stuff

and slants

and this isn't really going after him but this is a nice fill and tackle.

and then they started throwing at Raymon Taylor. Floyd went from targeted weak point to guy Michigan State is avoiding over the course of a quarter or so. It is really rare for a DB to rack up the kind of numbers Floyd does because the kind of guys capable of racking up a +12.5 to the positive at corner never get the opportunity because they don't get thrown at. You can only get there if the opposing offensive coordinator thinks you suck. Floyd proved otherwise against a hyped athlete.

Have the freshmen linebackers been vanquished for good?

Ah yup. As long as Morgan and Demens are playing like they are, it's wait until next year for those guys aside from a few drives a game against not Nebraska or Ohio State where Michigan tries to get them some experience. Last week it was Demens turning in the highlight reel stuff; this time Morgan led the way with a series of you're-done-now tackles. This one on Bell was the best:

Morgan is taking on a block and can only reach out for an arm tackle against LeVeon Bell going north and south, and Bell's momentum evaporates. The delay lets Michigan rally to the ball, sets up a third and short—against which Michigan is still deadly—and on the next play Roh and Ryan slant under to boot State off the field. A missed field goal attempt follows. In a game of inches like this one, you can point to Morgan being able to just about stop a 250-pound mooseback like Bell with one arm as the difference in the game.

Oh yeah:

image[1]

Awarded.

That hesitation this site complained about for about a year solid seems gone. Here's Morgan coming from the backside of the play to make a tackle near the LOS:

I'm not sure this happens a few weeks ago. For one, the line has kept the LBs clean. For two, both of the LBs are biasing their motion away from Michigan's DL slant, which is not something they were doing early in the year. Morgan seems to have a better sense of where the ball is going to end up based on the defensive call, and more faith that his defensive line will execute the slant well enough to make the cutback lanes he's hesitated checking for a distant possibility.

With apologies to Wisconsin and Penn State, we may have just seen the two best LB units in the league go head to head. You can make the case, at least, and that's good enough in terms of hot sprotstakes with no definable metric.

Have the last vapors of GERG been chased away?

I think so. Michigan gave up some yards on reverses this game, which okay. Those were 10-12 yard gains. What struck me, though, were three different attempts to fool Michigan into leaving the backside unprotected, none of which succeeded. On the first Kenny Demens was invited to scream into Maxwell's chest, passed, and turned what coulda mighta shoulda been an RPS –2 to play into an incompletion:

Demens ends up getting outrun at the end there and there is a window; he successfully turned that play from an argh-where-is-everybody 20-yard-gain into an extremely difficult downfield completion to a guy who is not a natural receiver.

The second was the trick play that eventually became a first and goal after Lippett ran places and did things; on that one Gordon hung back, taking away the throwback to the QB. Gordon did it again on the final attempt, when MSU released a TE way late and Gordon was there for the PBU. These guys know their assignments and trust that the rest of the defense will execute for them.

A couple years ago we were enduring wheelapalooza against Illinois; these days you get extremely scanty opportunities to hit something easy and pick up free yards. MSU set up one screen that Jake Ryan did his leverage-but-wait-there's-more-FREE-TACKLE thing on that would have been a nice gain and Kovacs sucked up on a post. Other than that, bupkis.

Crappy opponent offenses, sure. Michigan hasn't really blown anything since Air Force, and that was not on Kovacs but a scheme against the triple option that won't be relevant again. That's half a season. Against anyone, that's impressive—ask OSU, which gave up an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Purdue on Saturday.

Solid, solid, solid. Michigan is about as good as you can be on defense without having an elite pass rusher on the DL.

Let this also inform all judgments levied on the safety numbers. Yes, the individual numbers. Also look at the coverage—Michigan has not been this consistently good at that metric since I started doing this.

We didn't get any pressure. Worry?

I actually thought Michigan did a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback. MSU had a lot of short stuff; their long stuff was as quickly developing as it can be since it was all throwing it to Burbridge as he ran straight downfield. On a number of those attempts, Maxwell was about to get hit. So it wasn't as dire as the single sack implied.

This is never going to be great until Michigan's getting better production out of its WDE spot, but Ryan and Roh coming off the same edge is decent. If you've got a worry, this is it; scanning the teams left on the schedule doesn't reveal a lot of teams that like to just drop back and bomb it deep.

Heroes?

Roh, Ryan, Floyd, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two ILBs.

Goats?

For a second week: GTFO. You could maybe pick on Taylor but he is a part of that coverage number, so no.

What does it mean for Nebraska and beyond?

Nebraska will be Michigan's stiffest test since Alabama. They're running the ball all over the place and use a wide panoply of different looks that will put that hesitation lack under the microscope. Don't be fooled by the close game against Northwestern, which was the product of an avalanche of special teams miscues. They've put up over 400 yards on Wisconsin and OSU and Taylor Martinez is much improved as a passer—grumble grumble aging makes people better not worse? They will be a stiff test even if Burkhead is out.

I don't really know what to expect. No one has held Nebraska under 29, and that's a tough number to see Michigan's offense exceeding against a team with one of those pulse things these days unless Michigan takes the O out of the garage some, but that's another post.

Michigan will see its entire front seven extensively tested by the run game and will need to win one on one matchups outside if they're going to make Kovacs the tiny linebacker who was so effective last year. I'm 50/50 on whether that will happen—Nebraska's WRs are one of the hidden secrets in the conference and they're coming off a great game.

Touch and go, touch and go. I think Michigan will hold them to a season low in yards and points since they just don't give up anything big on the ground, like, ever—but if they keep Nebraska under 20 that will be a wow experience.

Comments

switch26

October 24th, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

we won't score more than 29?  Lavonte David is the only player that saved them from having Denard run all over them last year..  Unless he has a bad game.  I can't see them scoring 29 on us either tbh..

borninAnnArbor

October 24th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

I live in South West Ohio and often have UM OSU conversations. Most are annoying because they are with Buckeye fans.  However, there are some reasonable people who just like to talk football. 

Today we had a conversation about defenses, about Michigan’s good performance so far, and OSU’s seeming struggles.  What we both came away from the conversation with is that OSU may have better rated recruited guys, but they don’t play well together.  What I thought is great about Michigan is that they are so well taught about what their roles are, and how to play defense as a team that the overall result is better.  Every game I come away thankful that Mattison is the coordinator and Hoke is our coach.   

lhglrkwg

October 24th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

but I have a hard time envisioning Nebraska doing toooo much against our D. I think the best D they've faced so far is Wisky at #18 and Wisky never really plays anyone who can test that number if they can help it.

Plus, the fact that the Dual Threat QB Led Buckeyes hung a cool 63 on them makes me think their defense is going to be a sieve on Saturday.

I'll believe Taylor Martinez is actually a good passer when I see it.

M 45
Neb 28

xcrunner1617

October 24th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

Wow.  I feel like I have been reading the same UFR for defense the last 4 weeks and couldn't be happier about it. 

I agree with you completely about Nebraska though. One could easily make an argument that Michigan has faced 3 out of the 4 worst offenses in the Big10.  While he have shut those teams down, I want to see us take out a team whose offense doesn't pain me to watch.

Nebraska needs this game just as much as Michigan does and its at their place so they will be playing with a ton of energy.  As a result I am expecting their defense to play much better than it has so far (at least at the start of the game) and their offense to maintain the level they are currently at.

Key will be for Michigan to open the offense up early because I can see Nebraska following MSU's gameplan and selling out on the run.  This could lead to some short drives (3 and outs) and all Nebraska needs to do is score and now we have Denard playing down a score or two in a hostile environment and I just don't ever see that ending well.  Open it up early and get some scores or first downs and the crowd noise lessens and  their defense will begin to show their true colors.  This is when we go back to the running game plan and take control of the game. 

pedro441

October 24th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

Brian is pretty down on the offense. We'll see what comes out in the UFR tomorrow. I can't say I disagree, but I'm still sticking with 55% chance we win this game. I think 24 points will do it.

 

EDIT: "This game" meaning the upcoming game against Nebraska

unWavering

October 24th, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

I think Brian is overreacting to a minimalistic game plan against a really good defense.  Remember last year when we put up 45 on the Huskers, and probably could have put up more?  Well, their defense is worse than last year, and they have not been able to defend any spread teams very well.  OSU has the most similar offense to ours and they put up 63, scoring at will.

If 24 points is enough, Michigan will win handily.

EDIT:  And holy cow, you joined over 3 years ago and that was your first post?

michgoblue

October 24th, 2012 at 8:34 PM ^

I am worried about this game. Last year, we had hemmingway and his jump-high-to-bail-Denard-out ability. Dont underestimate how huge of an impact this had on our offense. Not just on throws that connected but as a means of making opponents respect our downfield offense and thereby loosen up the run. Also, last year we had beast mode fitz, not dance around behind the line of scrimmage fitz. Finally, last year was the first time Nebraska faced Denard. Now they are more used to him and will be better prepared.

Not saying DOOM, but if you are expecting a repeat of last year you may be disappointed.

unWavering

October 24th, 2012 at 8:54 PM ^

Regarding Hemingway; we now have two guys that can do that.  Funchess is just as capable as Hemingway to catch the high jumpball.  Gardner is as well, but is maybe a bit less consistent than Hemingway at coming down with it.  Another factor is that we are on the road, where we have struggled a bit in the past.  And while your points are valid, Nebraska's track record on defense makes me feel confident about our chances.  I think we put up 35 or more, and I can't see Nebraska keeping up with that against our D.

a non emu

October 24th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

I have a nice big smile on my face after reading that. Just love this defense. The Demens play where he doesn't tear after the QB but instead recognizes the delayed wheel route out of the backfield was awesome. Awesome not in the physically gifted player making insanely athletic play, but in the sort of nerdy way where superior preparation and coaching puts you in a position to succeed. We are doing this with no obious freaks of nature (except perhaps Ryan?) but purely by playing sound assignment defense and excellent preparation.

Magnus

October 24th, 2012 at 7:38 PM ^

I did not see a +12.5 day out of Floyd.  But if you're handing out +2 points for an incomplete slant when Floyd is aligned in press man coverage (which is called by Mattison), then I guess it's easy to rack up points...  You're basically giving him a +2 for lining up correctly.

Based on what I've seen this year, I think Michigan has the best linebacker unit in the Big Ten.

HipsterCat

October 25th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

Magnus just curios how would you rate floyd? I didnt think he had a great game either after seeing those recievers getting past him deep and maxwell missing them. Having zero football experience myself outside of some IM/pickup games I dont know how to feel db play when I see that, do you just chalk that up to the reciever making a play or is there something else you want to see the db do?

Magnus

October 25th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

I haven't watched the whole game in minute detail like Brian has, so I can't give an exact rating.  However, things like getting a +2 for lining up correctly and then stopping a slant that was poorly thrown and required no particular skill doesn't really instill a lot of belief in the rest of his pluses and minuses.

I also don't really believe in the "results based" nature of some of Brian's ratings.  For example, if a cornerback lets a receiver run right past him but the QB throws the ball 5 yards too long or out of bounds, I would still give the CB a minus because he wasn't doing his job.  The quarterback's poor throw doesn't negate the CB's poor coverage.

My initial feeling is that Floyd should be slightly on the plus side, maybe a +7/-5, something like that.  He didn't have a terrible game, but it wasn't deserving of that many positives.

kehnonymous

October 24th, 2012 at 8:52 PM ^

Two questions -

1) Is there a rhyme or reason for whether the defensive or offensive UFR is done first?  My selective memory makes me think we often get the more pleasureable read first (i.e., defense for this game, defense for Notre Dame 2012, offense for OSU 2011)  Not a complaint at all, just random curiosity

2) How many of our current defensive starters have viable NFL potential, and to what extent might this be slanted more towards our underclassmen because of more years under Mattison?

BK-bloo

October 25th, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

that's just re: question 1, right?

there are at least a couple future all-B1G players, and maybe an all-american or two down the road that are already on the roster. no?

seems that with mattison's strong reputation and connections in the league, players coming from his system would be well received and more likely to get a look.

EGD

October 25th, 2012 at 12:34 AM ^

At the beginning of the year I was looking over the draft grades of some Michigan defensive players.  The only players who were shown as even having a chance of being drafted were Roh, Demens, and Kovacs, and even then it would be in the sixth or seventh round.  Things may have changed a little since the start of the year, but probably not much.

I don't think any of those sites were looking at underclassmen, so maybe a guy like Ryan or Countess could develop into a pro prospect eventually.  But for the most part, Mattison is working his magic without a ton of high-end talent on the field.

smwilliams

October 24th, 2012 at 9:51 PM ^

This is epic and while the Mattison/Hoke pairing deserves a lot of the credit don't forget the position coaches who work on a lot of the little things.

In the past 5 games Michigan's D has given up an average of 8.4 points a game. Yes, points aren't an ideal metric, and yes the offenses we've faced aren't 2004 USC, but that's still damn impressive.

I'm trying to come up with the amount of long, sustained drives other teams have had and can only think of Purdue's TD drive and State's TD drive.

Truly an amazing turnaround from just two years ago.

State Street

October 25th, 2012 at 9:32 AM ^

This is so true.  Mattison is putting together the gameplan which is obviously working well but the position coaches are the hands-on guys that are coaching all of the stuff that is so noticably different from the RR-era: fundamentals, tackling, angles, etc.

M-Wolverine

October 24th, 2012 at 10:44 PM ^

But Nebraska has given up 20, 36, 27, 63, 28 to teams with a pulse (and 20 is winless Southern Miss). So I'm not sure this defense is closer to our offense against "solid defenses", or Purdue.

ShockFX

October 24th, 2012 at 10:54 PM ^

I don't really know what to expect. No one has held Nebraska under 29, and that's a tough number to see Michigan's offense exceeding against a team with one of those pulse things these days unless Michigan takes the O out of the garage some, but that's another post.

 

Brian, not sure if you watched, but UCLA and OSU ran through Nebraska like they weren't there. Wisconsin was up 27-10 and dominating and then somehow fell apart inexplicably, failing on numerous occasions on 3rd and 1.

Nebraska is Michigan 2010 in my book until proven otherwise. Which will happen this weekend.

TIMMMAAY

October 24th, 2012 at 11:09 PM ^

Nebraska definitely doesn't have a great defense this year. Their secondary (at least my the numbers) is terrible. Our O-line> their D-line. I could see us tearing them up offensively, but could also see the coaches calling it tight if at all possible. 

I think we're more than capable of scoring a lot of points on the Huskers, but this game probably comes down to gameplan 100%. We'll see...

Indonacious

October 25th, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

I also think that some of Nebraska's offensive stats are inflated by playing teams such as Southern Miss, Idaho State, and Arkansas State... in the same way that our offensive stats may be depressed by playing 3 of the nations top 10 defenses by essentially all measures... bama, msu, and nd. This is not to take away from the fact that Nebraska may be the most dynamic offense we have faced so far, but just to do away with the idea that it will automatically become a shootout that we will have trouble competing in because of our seemingly, at times, struggling offense. 

BiaBiakabutuka21

October 25th, 2012 at 2:59 AM ^

Also from the Nebraska Def UFR last year:


Jake Ryan candle count?

Getting up there. If 16 is the maximum number of candles Jake Ryan can have I'd say he's gone from a 4 or 5 early in the year to 10 around now.

Ryan with another couple candles is All Big Ten.

 

How many candles does he have now? 13?  Can we bring back the Jack Ryan candle count?  Also, is calling him Jack Lion out of the question?

Bodogblog

October 25th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

He was in at DT for at least one passing down.  You can see him in the B1G Journey show.  Mattison is trying anything and everything to try and get some pass rush.

Metzger

October 25th, 2012 at 6:55 PM ^

last year, everyone seemed to be freaking out and nervous about Michigan playing Nebraska and look what happened.  Perhaps I'm not paying close enough attention, but I don't feel like Nebraska is THAT much beter this year.  (And I think we're at least as good as last year).  I'm just not buying in that Martinez has improved enough to pick apart our defense like many talking heads on ESPN say will happen. 

Jonesy

October 26th, 2012 at 6:18 PM ^

Yeah, compared to last year, I feel like their offense is better but their defense is worse.  Meanwhile I think our team is pretty much the same talent-wise except Borges is better at using Denard and Mattison has had more time to teach our defenders.  I feel like its our game to lose.