Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian November 1st, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Formation notes: Most of the game was in the under:


On certain passing downs Michigan did this weird thing with one of the DEs pulled up in a two point stance between the two NTs:


M dropped eight on this and got quick pressure when Roh beat the T around the edge one on one.

Here it is again:


May see that a little more going forward, but it's obviously a gimmicky passing down defense only.

Substitution notes: Back seven was the established starters the whole way with two exceptions: Cam Gordon got a fair number of snaps in place of Jake Ryan and Bolden came in for Demens on the last drive. I don't think Morgan came off for even a snap.

On the line, all spots got a dose of rotation. Roh got the most time; Heitzman backed him up and got a couple spots at three-tech. Washington was also heavily deployed; Pipkins backed him up. Campbell had the edge on Black at three tech but Black got more snaps than he has in the recent past. Beyer went most of the way at WDE with Ojemudia backing.

[AFTER THE JUMP: charts and stuff.]

Go go.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 1
Heap of bodies. Ryan(+0.5) gets into a lead blocker in the backfield, squeezing the hole. Roh(+0.5) basically holds his ground against a double. Can't do much other than fling a torso at the back but he's got nowhere to go. Demens(+0.5) swims past a releasing G and pops the lead guard in the hole. Black(+0.5) chucks a guard downblocking him and flows from the backside of the play to help with the gang tackle.
O27 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Roh 1
Before the snap Beyer pops up from a down position to go cover the TE guy to the boundary. On the other side, Ryan walks down. Pretty weird. Line slants to cover up for the not having Beyer thing, Nebraska runs inside zone. Slant gets Roh(+1) past a guard; he peels off to prevent him from shooting directly into the back, leaving Demens(+1, tackling +1) unblocked in the hole; he tackles. Washington(+0.5) absorbed two guys. RPS +1; slant prevented any release downfield.
O28 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 3 Corner Floyd 19
Back well behind Martinez, aligned to go up the middle. Meanwhile Ryan pops off his DE spot and hangs out between the two DTs. Weird. Martinez checks. Michigan backs out. Roh(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT clean and hits Martinez; ball is already out as the corner route comes wide open (cover -3, Kovacs -1, Floyd -1). Floyd's either got to get a better chuck or sink; here he does neither and the WR beats Kovacs to the corner. This was a flood concept BTW. RPS –1.
O47 1 10 Shotgun trips Te 4-3 even Run N/A Inverted veer give Roh -5
Nebraska goes uptempo and kind of screws themselves. Martinez appears to blow this read badly as he hands and Roh(+1, tackling +1) is unblocked and blowing up the back. A keep here is probably some yards as Michigan was pretty confused on the back end. Not sure this is a read though because Martinez doesn't even look at Roh before the handoff. Biff.
O42 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A QB power Campbell 6
High snap brought in. backside tackle pulls. Campbell(-1) gives up too much ground; Demens(-0.5) is hesitant despite not getting anyone on him until the puller; he does not get into the guy fast enough to cut off an interior cut and funnel to his partner. Morgan is coming down from the slot to tackle(+1) as Martinez breaks to the second level; Demens does peel to help.
O48 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 4 Scramble Black 5
Blitz is picked up but Martinez bugs out anyway without giving his routes a chance. If it's because he sees a lane, okay, but Black(+0.5) is dropping, reads the scramble, and chases Martinez into Floyd, tackling(+1) when Martinez tries to cut back. RPS +1, I guess, as the playcall seemed to trick Martinez into a scramble that wasn't there.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Pass 4 Flare CGordon 7
Washington(+0.5) drives up in the pocket and his OL gets in Martinez's feet, which spooks him a bit. He doesn't like anything downfield(cover +1) and checks down to Abdullah. Cam Gordon(-1, tackling -1) is there to shut it down but gets his ankles broken and gives up a nice gain.
O43 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Roh 0
Another slant gets Roh(+1) between two OL; he holds his ground until Demens(+0.5) comes up and forces one of them to release. Pipkins(+1) drives the C back and prevents any thought of a cutback. Abdullah runs right into Roh and goes down for nothing.
O43 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass N/A TE cross Ryan Inc
Showing man on the outside; Gordon walks down. Ojemudia at DT. He spins and gets picked up by a second OL; everyone else one on one. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) gets around the RT and flushes after coverage(+1) is good to start. Floyd(+1, cover +1) flows with the TE dragging to the sticks and has a play on any ball inbounds. Martinez completes it OOB.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 3 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Midline read keeper Gordon 5 (Pen -14)
Not sure what to call this as I haven't seen it before. It is a midline-type play on which Pipkins is let loose and the RB comes across the QB hard, heading outside. The H-back dives inside to act as a lead blocker. Pipkins is chasing, overrunning it a bit, but this is tough. Pipkins avoids a minus since he managed to get his paws on Martinez and slow him a bit. Despite that, this opens up big; Black gets chopped to the ground by a chop block, which is called. Demens(-1) chooses the wrong guy and gets himself run out of the play; Roh(-1) flies upfield irresponsibly and is in no position to come back and keep this limited; Gordon(+2, tackling +1) comes up hard, gets upfield of a blocker, comes under that blocker, and tackles after a decent gain. Corners looked to be cutting it down a bit further downfield but this one really had Michigan dead to rights. RPS -1.
O14 1 24 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 TE out Demens 15
Michigan sends Ryan off the corner and backs Beyer off, which backfires. Demens is reading the QB and isn't hauling directly for the TE, which isn't really his fault. Ryan(-0.5) could do a better job of getting in the passing lane and leaping at this thing; he doesn't. A five yard pass turns into a bunch more because Nebraska executes very well and Demens can't tackle on the catch (cover -1, RPS -1)
O29 2 9 Shotgun empty diamond Okie two Pass 4 Diamond screen Taylor 12
Nebraska tempos, snapping the ball with 27 on the clock. A simple screen to the diamond, like it always is. M not ready. Beyer sent off the edge pointlessly. Taylor(-2) runs himself out of bounds, which is pretty terrible and very crease-providing, and Michigan has three blockers for three defenders but one is a safety many yards downfield and there's no one for the ballcarrier. RPS -2. If Demens(+0.5) doesn't get on his horse from the backside of the play this could have been six.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Rollout hitch Floyd 5
Open, kind of a looper, Floyd there to prevent YAC. Push.
O46 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under man press Run N/A QB sweep Heitzman 3
Looks just like M's QB sweep but Heitzman(+1) is flared out well outside the TE and gets the edge instead of getting sealed. He bangs the guy and gets through; TE peels back and the RB takes him and Martinez has to cut up. Pulling OL adjust admirably well to this new reality. Campbell(-1) is one on one with the C and gets cut after those guys are engaged. Washington(-1) gets too vertical and is in no position to help as the play cuts back. This is still dangerous despite the two for one Heitzman got thanks to that; Martinez is cutting back and preparing to jet as Morgan(+1) blasts one of those pulling OL and drive him back a step, causing Martinez to fall over his leg. Exhale.
O49 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Fade Taylor 19
Taylor(-3) sucks up on a shorter route and the gap behind him is vast. Gordon(-1) also moves forward instead of finding that guy going vertical, and it's a wide open big gainer that probably would have been a touchdown but for a crappy throw. (Cover -4) This is basically a 51 yard touchdown Martinez was not accurate enough for.
M32 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under press Pass 4 Wheel N/A 32
Roh(+1, pressure +1) has blown up Abdullah and is about to crush Martinez; no matter, as the man coverage is exploited by a just barely legal pick route and Gordon has no chance on this wheel. RPS/cover -3, got owned here.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Pass 4 Waggle throwaway Gordon Inc
Coverage(+3) excellent downfield; Martinez rolls out and throws it away.
O26 2 10 Shotgun double stack 4-3 even Pass 4 Corner Kovacs Inc
Nebraska high-lows the corner; Taylor(-1, cover -1) sucks up and opens up the deeper route that Kovacs doesn't really have a shot at getting to. Martinez misses.
O26 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 4 Scramble Ryan 6
M sends Ryan(+1, pressure +1) off the edge and backs Roh out as Kovacs(+1) comes down to cover (+2) the short routes to that side that might otherwise come open. Ryan gets under the tackle and moves up into the heart of the pocket; Martinez decides to move out and takes off. Kovacs reads it quickly, cuts off the outside, and tackles with help from friends. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Roh 5
Roh(+1) beats his man to the edge and gets into the puller, forcing the play back inside. There's a crease; Washington(-1) got too vertical and isn't there to fill that gap. Campbell(-0.5) let a guy directly downfield. He's now harassing Morgan. Demens(+0.5) is flowing free because of the Roh action and can cover the cutback lane, albeit from the side. Campbell and Morgan help clean up.
O30 2 5 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Iso Washington 1
Washington(+2) takes on a double, holds his ground, chucks the C to the ground, and tackles at the LOS. Beyer(-0.5) had gotten shoved way upfield and is not there to help prevent YAC; Campbell(+1) had also chucked his guy and was there to assist if Washington can't make the play himself. Morgan(-0.5) also hesitant as he came up; lead blocker plowed him backwards. Though Washington makes contact in the backfield the RB can squeeze forward for a couple.
O31 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Confusion Pass 3 Out N/A 5
Michigan substitutes as Nebraska goes uptempo, never gets set, gives up an easy completion for the first down. RPS -1. Gordon(+0.5, tackling +1) filled well.
O36 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Down G Washington 14
Washington(-1) slashed to the ground by a cut block so when Roh(+1) cuts off the intended hole again there is a crease. Pulling G is smart enough to go inside it this time. Demens(-1) is flowing; he manages to avoid a chop but it slows him considerably and he did not get playside of the guy. Morgan beat a backside tackle on his flow; frontside guy now shows up to block a flying tackle attempt. Abdullah bounces outside. Gordon(-1) is in tough now, in a bunch of space getting blocked; he picks a side and is wrong, losing leverage. Abdullah now in space going fast; Taylor(+1, tackling +1) makes a nice fill to hold it down.
50 1 10 I-Form 4-3 over Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan 0
Pulling G can't get out of his stance and stumbles. M sent Ryan(+1) on the Kovacs Memorial Backside Blitz anyway, he's unblocked and bearing down. Black(+1) steps around a blocker and takes out a second guy. Washington(+0.5) drives a blocker into the hole and Morgan(+1) slides past a guy releasing downfield to fill the hole; once the RB has to slow up Ryan eats him. RPS +1.
50 2 10 N/A N/A Penalty N/A Illegal sub N/A -5
O45 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A QB draw Morgan 0
This opens up a lot as M flies upfield to pass rush. Ojemudia(-1) should realize that when the tackle directly over him releases downfield on the snap, Nebraska is not passing. He flies upfield anyway. Morgan(+3) is now one on one with this dude and runs around him, containing Martinez and then tackling with help from Washington(+1), who didn't fly upfield and fought to the hole to help tackle. Ball pops out, recovered by M.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 6-7, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Morgan 3
Black hops inside and is only able to delay momentarily. Morgan(+2) heads for the hole right on the snap, taking on the guard releasing from Black and the fullback at the LOS. He cuts off the outside despite the double team, leaving the back for a free-flowing Demens(+0.5) who hits and tackles in constricted space. M slanting, LBs know it now.
O34 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A QB power Black -6 + 15 pen
Maybe. Whatever this was was blown up by Black(+2) slanting under a G and getting two yards into the backfield on the snap. Pulling G has no chance. Roh(+1) has no one kicking him as a result, he blasts Abdullah and forces Martinez to go around way in the backfield. Ryan(+1) bursts upfield to finish it off. Michigan gets an awful PF call after the play. Refs -3. RPS +1.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-3 over Run N/A Inverted veer keep Morgan 5
Roh contains, so keep. Ryan(-1) gets over-excited and shoots way upfield. He's coming hard, and is blitzing as Beyer folds on the backside but if you're doing that and you get that guard pulling you have to hit him as hard as you can and then see what happens; here he just flies upfield. Big hole. Morgan(+1) is clean as the guy who might be blocking him sits at the LOS; he does a nice job to read, track, and tackle(+1) as Martinez threatens to hit the secondary.
O48 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 even Pass 4 PA Post Gordon Inc
Virtually a replay of the long Roundtree completion earlier for M. Inverted veer action sucks the LBs up, posts behind it. Martinez finds a guy for 30 but misses him. Coverage had been beaten somewhat but not horrendously. Gordon(+0.5) may get a jarring hit in if this is accurate.
O48 3 5 Shotgun double stack Nickel Pass 4 Deep hitch Morgan INT
It feels like someone screws up because everyone goes left. I suspect Ojemudia busted and was supposed to stunt around Ryan but can't be sure. Roh(+0.5) gets some token pressure around the edge that flushes Martinez; no corner since hypothetical bust and Ryan darting inside (pressure -2), Martinez finds a guy for the first down. Morgan(+2) sitting in the passing lane pulls the EA Sports, leaping super high to bat it skyward. Ojemudia(+1) is tracking back and picks it off; tough catch as he accidentally got tackled by Morgan as he made it. Cover +1? I guess. Results-based. Replay.
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 13 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M4 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A QB power Campbell 2
Campbell(+1) gets playside of his man and takes out the puller, cutting off the intended path of the play. Martinez can cut behind as Washington(-1) got too vertical. Demens(+0.5) is there behind a blocker about a yard downfield; Beyer(+0.5) flows from the backside to be the first contact on a gang tackle.
M2 2 G Goal line Goal line Pass N/A PA FB flat Morgan Inc
FB moves right at the snap, maybe a hair before, and Morgan gets beat by a bit. Martinez misses.
M2 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie zero Pass 7 Corner Avery Inc
Michigan sends the house, corner route(-1, cover -1) beats Avery, well thrown, WR loses it in the lights. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: FG(19), 6-10, 11 min 3rd Q. This stop was admittedly pretty lucky.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Down G pitch Ryan 2
Roh(+1) again refuses to get cut off here and ends up getting a two for one as the pulling G becomes useless. Cutback lane though as Pipkins(-1) got slashed to the ground and Campbell(-1) was flowing down the line and just kind of fell. Business is looking dangerous as the FB managed to cutback with the back until Ryan(+2) shoves the TE back and disengages to get an ankle tackle attempt on a cutback two gaps away from his responsibility... and the FB runs right by Demens(+0.5), who helps tackle.
M37 2 8 Shotgun 2TE twins Base 3-4 Run N/A Midline read keeper Demens 2
Hoo boy Martinez blows a read hard here, or M RPSes him into it. Looks like the midline here or something but Nebraska pulls two guys around to the outside and that looks wide wide open. Roh dives inside to the play, though, and Martinez thinks that means pull as the DT they're not blocking is not in the hole for him. Maybe? Demens blitzes behind this, hard. He misses(tackling -1) a big TFL. He does spin Martinez around, slowing him and robbing him of the ability to juke, allowing Gordon and Morgan(+0.5) to combine to tackle. RPS +1. I think.
M35 3 6 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even press Pass 5 Scramble Roh 1
M sends five, with Black backing out. Nebraska picks it up but Roh(+1, pressure +1) gets a bull rush on the LT that causes Martinez to scramble. Black(+1, tackling +1) is spying him and gets all the way to the sideline to tackle after a minimal gain. That's good work there.
Drive Notes: FG(51), 6-13, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-4 even Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 9
Kovacs rolled down, even line. Taylor(-1, cover -1) playing way way off this hitch and Nebraska takes the easy yards.
O38 2 1 I-Form 4-4 even Run N/A Down G pitch Washington 3
I think anyway. This time Nebraska is prepared for the idea that Roh will not get sealed and they will cut the NT. Roh(+0.5) does not get sealed. The guard who looks like he'll pull then just goes inside with the FB. Washington(-1) gets cut. Ryan(+0.5) again affects a play he shouldn't have a shot at, diving at Abdullah's feet as he dives inside and disrupting his stride. Demens(+0.5) takes on a guard at the LOS and forces it back inside; Campbell(+0.5) has flowed down the line and gets the tackle as Abdullah seems to fall by himself. Maybe Ryan juju-ed him into it. Playing with fire a bit here; Nebraska is doing a better job of anyone since Alabama at getting M's DTs out of position.
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under Pass 4 Corner Kovacs 16
One high safety and he's at the hash, can't expect him to get over. Outside WR takes Taylor deep, Kovacs(-1, cover -2, RPS -1) gets lost in man coverage and the corner opens up big.
M43 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 even Pass 4 FB flat screen Kovacs 6
PA fake and then screening to the FB in the flat with both WRs blocking. Morgan(+0.5) bugs out quick, which gives M three against two blockers. Blockers take their guys, Kovacs is free. He makes contact a couple yards downfield and gets the guy to the ground but not before he can get some YAC. Push.
M37 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 Improv Demens 11
Kovacs half rolled down with Gordon to the twin WR field. Kovacs(+0.5, cover +1) takes the first read away, a hitch. DL is now getting in, pressure push. Martinez starts rolling around, moves up in a pocket and find a guy just in time. Demens gets beat on the improv stuff after covering the out, tackles immediately. More a good play from Martinez than anything else.
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 under Pass 4 Fade Floyd Inc
Floyd(-2, cover -2) beaten, interferes obviously, called.
M11 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 under Pass 4 Flare Ryan -3
Martinez doesn't like what he sees (cover +1) and then checks down too fast. Ryan(+1, tackling +1) comes off chucking a TE and while he can't get Abdullah down he stops him in his tracks, allowing Demens and Morgan to finish the job.
M14 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 4 TE post Morgan Inc
One high with man look underneath. Michigan getting there as Martinez throws well behind a TE; Morgan(+1, cover +1) was in good position and this would have had to be perfect.
M14 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 offset Pass 3 TE seam Gordon Inc
Michigan in this odd formation; they back out, net result is a three man rush with Roh(+1, pressure +1) singled up on Abdullah. Roh wins that battle and gets a hurry, Martinez throws into Gordon(+1, cover +1) and his coverage. Throw hits Gordon's back. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: FG(31), 6-16, 4 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Sweep Ryan 18
Nebraska runs a play similar to M's sweep. Roh(+1) fends off the tight end and does not get sealed. He then pops out on the edge, picking off one of the lead blockers. Slot receiver heads for a safety, so it's Demens and Ryan on the edge against one guy. Guy hits Demens, leaving Ryan(-2, tackling -2) on the edge. He attacks at the LOS and misses. Whiff. He gives up the outside and pursuit can't help. Kovacs(-0.5) misses on the sideline and gives up a few more. Demens(-1) got bashed to the ground by the blocker, didn't take it on very well.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Sweep Ryan 9
This time Roh(+1) slants inside the tight end and picks off a pulling guard by getting upfield inside of him lickety-split. Again two on one on the edge. Ryan(-2) takes on a block and gives up leverage, so an unblocked Demens has no shot. That turns a likely TFL into a big gain.
M48 2 1 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even Run N/A Sweep Beyer 1
Ryan pulled for CGordon. Nebraska runs a sweep to the boundary TE side. Beyer(+2) plays Roh, blasting the TE back and picking off a leading Abdullah. Taylor is backing way way out as M blitzes CGordon from the field aimlessly. Morgan(+1) attacks a releasing G, knocking him back and and bashing the guy into another puller. Beyer comes back to tackle from behind. RPS -1; took two guys getting two for ones to hold this down. Probably should have been a big gain.
M47 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Pass 4 PA corner Gordon Inc
PA works; slot guy fakes a block and then runs to the corner as the outside CB gets run off. Gordon(-1, cover -2) is the guy who sucks up. Martinez throws it short, WR should still have it. Dropped.
M47 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even Pass 4 TE out and up Demens 11
Demens(-1, cover -1) goes for the out; TE runs an excellent route to get that reaction, then goes vertical, then sits down before the safety level. Thinking about RPS -1, but nah.
M36 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run N/A Down G pitch Heitzman 4
Heitzman(-1) in for Roh and it shows. He gets edged by the playside tackle instantly and ends up thrown to the ground. CGordon(+1) makes a Ryan-type play by getting upfield to contain, then coming back quickly to get a tackle in. Washington(+0.5) also constricted the hole, forcing the RB into Gordon.
M32 2 6 I-Form Big 4-4 over Run N/A Power off tackle Ryan -2
TEs start even, then one motions to until he's just over the G on the snap. Michigan slants to the strength of the formation. Ryan(+2) shoots into the tackle, and then redirects to get into the backfield. Demens(+1) attacks the pulling G hard, hitting him a couple yards in the backfield and cutting off the RB's path. He goes right back into Ryan. Morgan was sitting behind this if needed, unblocked. RPS +3. Annihilated.
M34 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Fly Floyd Inc (Pen offset)
Kovacs sent, five guys rush. Picked up-ish but Beyer(+1) does avoid a lot of traffic to threaten Martinez relatively quickly and force a throw. Pressure push because it's a five man rush. Floyd(+2, cover +2) is step for step with the WR and gets a PBU; Gordon(+1, cover +1) comes over the top and blows the WR up after the ball gets there, incomplete, OUTRAGEOUS PI flag. Black(+1) drew a holding call on the rush, so they offset.
M34 3 8 Shotgun trips TE Okie one Run 5 Sack Roh -11
Mattison drops Demens(+1, cover +1) into the slant Martinez wants as M sends Avery off the edge. The blitz occupies the entire OL, Nebraska slides protection to the field. That leaves Roh(+3, pressure +2) one on one with Abdullah, with GIFworthy results. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-16, 11 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inverted veer give Morgan 6
Beyer is left alone and squeezes down. Handoff. Beyer(+0.5) redirects out to cut down the angle. Morgan hits the WR trying to block him hard; there's no edge. RB is away from blocking now on the edge. Taylor is off and comes up to escort the RB OOB. RPS -1; I actually prefer Morgan giving up the edge here since he takes out the lead blocker and exposes the RB to an unblocked DB on the sideline. Force way off.
M41 2 4 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Speed option keep Ryan 29
M slanting under and sending LBs behind. Ryan(-2) is left unblocked, basically, and goes way upfield falling as he does. Roh(-1) gets taken out by a one on one block. Demens(-1) gets cut. Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) can't fill at the 20 or so and gives up an extra ten. Mostly Ryan; M had the edge thanks to Gordon(+1) getting out on the corner well to leverage.
M12 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 even Run N/A Sweep Demens 12
Roh still not containable by the playside TE but he is not slanting and not totally totally dominating and the Nebraska OL kind of expects this now so they go around. Ryan comes up on the edge and maybe gets a little far upfield. Gordon(-0.5) and Demens(-1) get split; you get Gordon needing to contain; Demens does not get to the outside of his blocker and force back into pursuit, which probably wasn't there anyway as Morgan(-1) got chopped and Washington(-1) did a poor job; instead of flowing he waits, ends up parallel with Campbell, who is a gap farther from the play than he is, then gets cut to the ground.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 9-23, 10 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Power off tackle Beyer 2
Bolden in for Demens. Beyer(+2) slants under the tackle and gets into the pulling G. He eventually comes through that guy, too, and makes a tackle from behind. Bolden(+0.5) hits the lead blocker better than he has in the past to cut down on available space; Kovacs fills the gap outside. Pile does lurch forward.
O22 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Bolden 11
M spread out; Roh, Bolden, and Gordon all go for the give action and the resulting hole is pretty huge. Bolden(-1) and Gordon(-1) are likely wrong given how M has played this previously. Pipkins(-0.5) got sealed away and Morgan is too far from the play on the snap to get over. Gordon fills at the sticks; Morgan helps run Martinez down.
O33 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run N/A Down G Black 2
Black(+1) refuses to get sealed, beating a downblock and getting into the gap Nebraska is attacking. He takes a lead block and forces a cutback. Washington(+1) shot into the backfield and drew two blockers; to get him down Nebraska ends up chopping him, but no call. Morgan is there on the cutback with a fallen OL in his feet; CGordon(+0.5) actually makes the tackle after flowing from the backside hard.
O35 2 8 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 11
Both DTs get long doubles, giving ground. Black(-1) gets pushed way out of the hole and allows an OL to pop out on Gordon overhanging. Washington(-0.5) does a little better; still not great. Morgan(-2) reads something wrong and shoots a backside gap, one that Bolden is actually closer to than he is. Once he vacates that space Bolden has to cover for him and cannot, seeing his arm tackle(-1) run through. Kovacs cleans up.
O46 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3 under Run N/A Iso Campbell 2
Morgan(+0.5) hits the fullback hard at the gap; Campbell(+1) sheds and comes in to tackle. Washington(+0.5) held up to a double decently.
O48 2 8 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Bolden 2
Roh shoots upfield at the snap and is the contain; Gordon is further outside but actually dives back in after Roh(+0.5) establishes the edge. This means no blocking angles for those guys. Washington(-0.5) actually gets too much penetration and ends up getting escorted to the edge as well; Bolden(+0.5) is the guy over the playside gap this time. He runs up and hits it. No immediate hole; CGordon and Morgan(+0.5) run through outside gaps to tackle.
50 3 6 Goal line Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Black 6
Gah. Not good personnel for this. Black(-1) gets pounded inside, big gap that allows a cutback. Morgan(-0.5) comes in a little too hot and misses a tackle; Bolden(-0.5) wraps up the RB but also sees his tackle run through; Kovacs just barely gets the guy as he's falling anyway. RPS –1, tackling –2.
M44 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone Black 5
This is basically jammed up as Washington(+0.5) and Bodlen(+0.5) have the frontside combo at about the LOS. Black(-1) gets shoved about three yards downfield as he tries to flow and provides the small crease that Nebraska gets.
M39 2 5 I-Form Big? 4-3 under? Run N/A ??? ??? 5
We miss the first bit of this play looking at Pelini. When we come back Morgan's not quite making a tackle and Taylor(-0.5) is sitting back when the guy bounces outside the not quite tackle to give up about first down yardage.
M34 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-3 under Run N/A Inside zone CGordon -1
Nobody blocks Cam Gordon(+1), who tackles the back in the backfield. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Last snap is a kneel. EOG, 9-23.

Down into the valley of death rode the six hundred.

Sex cannons to the left, sex cannons to the right.

Aborting this train of thought. That seemed like a noble but eventually futile effort.

Yeah pretty much. Nebraska missed a couple opportunities and busted Michigan open from time to time; a lot of those plays ended with a Michigan defender making a damn good play. This was a tough offense that tested you all over the field and Michigan held them to season lows in yardage and points, the former by over 100 yards. Bellomy's absence had little to do with it, as Nebraska did not pop a two score lead until near the end of the game and remained on the front foot for much of it.



is a little weird.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 19 2 17 Okay lolwut more discussion below.
Campbell 3.5 3.5 0 Black took up a lot of his PT.
Washington 6 7 -1 Didn't get down the line enough on a lot of plays.
Black 7 3 4 Was surprisingly effective.
Clark - - - DNP
Beyer 6 0.5 5.5 Had a number of two for one type plays.
Pipkins 1 1.5 -0.5 Limited PT.
Heitzman 1 1 0 Ditto
Ojemudia 1 - 1 Ditto
Ash - - - DNP
Brink - - - DNP
TOTAL 44.5 18.5 26 Michigan's ends were just too quick for the NU tackles.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 11 4 7 Hit Y on leaping bat that became INT.
Demens 7 6.5 0.5 A bit of a tougher outing.
Ryan 10 7.5 2.5 Got edged a lot; Nebraska used his aggression against him successfully.
C. Gordon 2.5 2 0.5 DNP
Ross - - - DNP
Bolden 1.5 1.5 0 last drive only.
Hawthorne - - - DNP
TOTAL 32 21.5 10.5  
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 3 3 0 One legit PI, one ridiculous PI.
Avery - 1 -1 Eh.
Taylor 1 7.5 -6.5 Targeted frequently, gave up a lot of corner stuff.
Kovacs 1.5 3.5 -2 Corners also an effort to exploit M's lack of blazers at S.
T. Gordon 6.5 3.5 3 Good in the box this time out.
M. Robinson - - - DNP
Wilson - - - DNP
TOTAL 12 19.5 -7.5 Got let off the hook some by Martinez's lack of accuracy.
Pressure 7 2 5 Lot of running, PA held these numbers down.
Coverage 17 21 -4 Lots of open corner routes.
Tackling 10 7 59% Abdullah on the edge.
RPS 12 13 -1 Push, basically.

So… Craig Roh put up a monster number, one that Mike Martin would think is shiny. What can I say? I don't think either of Nebraska's tackles blocked him all game. There was of course the hilarious sack on which Abdullah tried his darndest to block Roh and ended up on the other side of his quarterback saying sorry, but probably more impressive than that were the time he just beat guys straight up. This is another sack for him if Michigan can just cover a corner route:

And sometimes Nebraska was just like "here free TFL okay." When Heitzman was in the difference in that SDE play was palpable. When Roh was in, M slanted and he got underneath play after play, picking off a lead blocker damn near every time Nebraska tried to run a power play of any variety, and then he added

  1. Quick QB pressure no one noticed because M was leaving corner routes open.
  2. Hilarious sack
  3. Free TFL

That's how that happens.

Why did Black suddenly get a lot of PT?

He seemed to be better at keeping his feet than Campbell, and Michigan was slanting a lot, which gave him the opportunity to use his superior speed to make some plays. This kind of thing was the thing we were hoping we'd get from him when his DT move was announced:

It took half a year but there is some of it. He also drew a holding call against Nebraska on a similar quick upfield move, setting up the Roh donkeysack.

Slight downer: Nebraska starting running some mashing inside zones at the end of the game, doubling both DTs for extended periods, and he got put on skates a little bit. Not a huge surprise since he's undersized for the position.

We have a new best linebacker for this week?

Morgan also had a nice day. He shut down a dangerous looking QB draw by running around a blocker like he isn't there, helping force a fumble, and made the Ojemudia pick possible by leaping all real high and stuff. In between he thumped lead guys in the hole a lot.

We've talked some about how Bolden doesn't come downhill with authority yet; Morgan does.

That cuts off the outside and gets two blockers stalled in the hole, allowing Demens to tackle. That's pretty dang good.

What was with all the corner routes?

See that first video discussing Roh above for an example. Answers are hard to come by here just because you can't see all of the coverages on TV, but it looked like Michigan was running a lot of cover two and Nebraska was successfully attacking it. The clip above features three receivers running to the right edge of the field at three levels. If you remember the picture pages from last year talking about flood routes


…that's what Nebraska is doing. Michigan has one and a half guys out there, and you're either asking Floyd to drop well past the sticks or Kovacs to get over there in time, which is tough. My guess is Michigan wants to defend this by having the corner hit the WR to slow him down, which should allow the safety to get over. They did not successfully execute that task.

That seems pretty hard to me, and it also seems like the response to that could/should be some sort of cover three thing but maybe there was something in what Nebraska had done previously that made cover two a better idea.

The defensive tackles didn't make out so well.

When they got doubled it was effective for Nebraska, and when Michigan ran away from them they frequently fell over or took an angle that was too far upfield—Washington especially—and left a gap behind whoever Roh was blowing up.

There was too little of this:

And too much of this:

Pipkins get cut, Campbell just falls over, this looks like it might break big when Ryan makes an awesome play to get a tackle in from two or three gaps away from the play.

At least, if we're judging by our revised midseason expectations in which Michigan has a B+ defensive line. I'll take an even day from the DTs against the best offense in the conference, and don't forget about Black when you consider that position group's performance.

What happened with Ryan?

He had a pretty Ryan day, what with stuff like the above play and his ridiculous ability to redirect in short spaces. His minuses mostly came when he got edged. Michigan has this play dead if Ryan just keeps Abdullah inside:

[note Roh annihilating one of the pulling guards to pick up one of his 17 points.]

That happened on three or four different plays; that particular one was a minus two because his job is easy and important and not done. He picked up another on the long Martinez run that finally cracked the Michigan defense and gave Nebraska a two score lead.

He's still a sophomore learning on the job, and Nebraska was prepared to take the good with all the bad he brings to the table for opposing offenses.

Did you get any sense of foreboding or anything during, like, half the plays?

Yeah, there were quite a few moments when I was all "oh God that's a huge gain" and then it turned into three to five yards. For a team that runs the veer a lot Michigan sure looked shaky defending it. On the free Roh TFL, a keep by Martinez is yards and yards as both of the playside LBs suck out to contain the tailback:

Nebraska would later get an easy first down when this happened again and Martinez decided not to get his tailback killed in the backfield.

I wonder how much of that was Nebraska's dedication to screwing with Michigan's heads. They would go uptempo from time to time, which got them at least one free third down conversion. They would run midline stuff that opened up huge and Michigan was fortunate to escape alive from…

why hello Thomas Gordon fill

…they looked very tough to defend despite their general struggle to move the ball. They missed some reads here and there and Martinez's accuracy remains an issue; I still think the contrast between the Nebraska offense and the Michigan offense is interesting. With Nebraska you just feel everything makes sense together, and they take whatever advantages they can by screwing with tempo and using the check-at-the-sideline gambit to get good plays on.

I loved their first touchdown:

Pick route, sure, but rubbin's racin'. Nothing Michigan can do as soon as that guy rubs Gordon off. Where'd they get that call?


all your heads in a box to the left

From the sideline after they got lined up with 25 seconds on the clock and Michigan showed man coverage with one high safety. That was not aww shucks luck. It's using the extra information the defense gives you to exploit it. Michigan, meanwhile, is usually still in the huddle with 18 seconds on the playclock and often scrambles to the line with no other option than running what's called no matter what the D shows.

It kind of sucks that Michigan doesn't seem to want to do similar things. You'd think every coach would love the opportunity to get whatever information they can before making a decision.


Roh and Morgan, also Jibreel Black and Brennen Beyer.


Raymon Taylor busted a coverage pretty hard right before the rubbin's racin' play above and seemed to get lost in his zone coverage on some of those corner routes. The DTs other than Black had a hard time keeping up with the Nebraska OL. Ryan kind of belongs in both categories this game.

What does it mean for Minnesota and the future?

Not much that happened Saturday was surprising on defense. We've seen Roh mature into an All-Conference level player; the DTs have been serviceable, the LBs pretty good, etc. Michigan just ran up against a real offense for the first time and while they did get somewhat lucky to only give up 23, they got horrendously unlucky with their starting field position and such.

What we did get is further confirmation that the things we suspected before are true. This is a near-elite defense, and they won't face an offense that will be able to test that until the end of the year. Minnesota and their true freshman quarterback are highly unlikely to put up 350 yards.



November 1st, 2012 at 5:17 PM ^

Roh and Kovacs are going to be hard to replace next year. Roh is especially vital to our defensive success up front. Hopefully Wormley and Strobel are taking good notes.


November 1st, 2012 at 5:27 PM ^

I find myself thinking the same things, but look at this year. The message coming in was, "Martin and RVB are going to be awfully hard to replace", but the remaining starters got coached up and took either small (Thomas Gordon, Demens) or large (Ryan, Morgan, Roh, and Washington) steps forward, and the defense as a whole didn't suffer for it. I think as the system becomes even more engrained, the leaps forward might not happen in place of steady improvement, but with these coaches and the players they're bringing in, it's hard to imagine this defense being even average over the next several years.


November 1st, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

Last year the exact same thing was said about RVB as you just said about Roh. At the time Roh was a good but not great player, but with great coaching he turned ito what he is now. Why should we expect anything other than the same next year, with another player soaking up good coaching and stepping up?


November 1st, 2012 at 5:32 PM ^

... and sometimes players and coaches aren't good fits, even if they're good on their own.  We've all seen good players regress and coaches have some success with one guy and not with another.

That said, I have no reason to think that will happen next year, but two data points does not a future make.



November 1st, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

I agree that our defense won't suffer on the whole, with above average or better expectations from here on out (while Mattison is at the helm). I just think that Roh will be missed at the SDE position. I know younger players can be coached up, but Roh had a higher upside than Heitzman and Brink, and Wormley and Strobel will only be redshirt freshman (the former coming off an ACL injury). To think that Roh's performance from this game can be duplicated consistently by any one of those younger players would be optimistic but nevertheless ideal.


November 2nd, 2012 at 1:35 AM ^

The defense keeps getting stronger as the year goes on. I think the difference is playing time. While they may be difficult to replace, I like that some positions have backups playing now to help in future years.

Marley Nowell

November 1st, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^

Is this crazy Roh day sustainable going forward?  It might have taken a year and half to get all the bad coaching / positional switching mojo out of his head.  If he plays like this he looks like an NFL draft pick.


November 1st, 2012 at 6:31 PM ^

I don't know if you're exaggerating or really mean it, but IF he does continue to play like this for he next 5 games he might just earn himself a spot on an NFL roster after all.  Not a starter but he'd at least be a good practice squad guy for a year or two and could blossom into a decent back up D-end (especially if he could gain some speed ion the upcoming years).


November 1st, 2012 at 6:41 PM ^

This was a fun read, at least relative to the Offensive UFR, but I thought things went pretty well save for one drive.  I was skeptical of their offense going in (partially after last year's ass-beating we gave them) but kind of had an idea and believed Brian that they were a "good" offense.  After that game I do think they actually are a pretty good offense and can/will keep a lot of teams on their toes playing them.  I also remember while watching the game last Saturday that "Man, I wish Michigan would utilize some of these concepts in their offense to keep the opposing defense 'off-guard'".  Nebraska does/did a good job of this.  Overall, though, Michigan played a pretty damn good game and kept this "good" offense at bay.  Yea, a few things fell into their lap that Nebraska "gave away", but that happens every game, and let's just say Good-to-Very Good defenses just make those kind of great plays.  As goes Denard, so goes the team.  But this defense is impressive.  Rematch Alabama!  JUST KIDDING.  But this defense paired with a semi-competent offense would be great to see (and could compete with a Florida/USC/USC-East/Georgia/Oregon State/Notre Dame(duh)/Kansas State) but I'm not sure we'll get to that point.


November 1st, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

Brian, not sure how you tend to add up the points, but I'm seeing +14 for Morgan, not +11.

Morgan has become my favorite player on the defense this season, perhaps because I choose to view him as a coaching barometer. He came in without much hype for his talent or technique, but with a reputation for punishing folks when he could get to them. To see him consistently get where he needs to be and make plays when he gets there gives me even greater confidence in the coaching staff. As we're seeing with Borges, being a coordinator isn't just about gameplanning and having a sound scheme, but rather making sure individual players are aware of their assignments and have the technique to get them done.


November 1st, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

but Im convinced of Mattisons genius. This is a defense that with similarly rated personnel was languishing near the triple digits in D under GERG. Then under Mattison, the defense was almost immediately excellent and continues to be excellent. What a steal he was


November 1st, 2012 at 9:50 PM ^

The UFR basically confirms what I thought live was that after so many three-and-outs or turnovers combined with the somewhat gimmicky Nebraska offense is that the D just got tired. A lot more minuses as the game wore on.