Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs UMass Comment Count

Brian September 20th, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Formation notes: Michigan spent virtually the whole game in a nickel package, with occasional forays into okie stuff. I started labeling various okie looks "one" "two" and "zero" with the number denoting the number of deep safeties on the play. This was zero:


Also there was this weird thing once.


That is okie two, one they shifted into late. Look at Campbell there right next to Roh.

Substitution notes: Avery slid back inside and it looks like your new field corner is Raymon Taylor. Guessing it's Taylor out there when Michigan is in a 4-3 set.

At linebacker, heavy rotation between Bolden, Ross, and Demens; Hawthorne got in a bit thanks to Morgan's absence. Mike Jones came on in garbage time.

On the line, the aforementioned nickel oddity where Roh and Black were usually the DTs, flanked by Clark and Ryan. Cam Gordon and Ojemudia rotated through at DE; at DT it was Brink and Heitzman with some appearances by Campbell and Washington. Pipkins did not get in until late.

Show show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Demens 5 (Pen -10)
TE motions into the backfield to act as an H-back as UMass goes with a covered slot guy. TE then goes backside and nails Ryan. Demens is slow to the hole, getting hit two yards downfield, and Black(-1) is sealed out of the hole. Ryan(+0.5) does a pretty decent job to constrict that hole and forces Cox to knock into some of his own blockers; Demens would get a minus for missing the tackle here but his blocker is called for a hold. Gordon(+0.5) fills decisively, holding the gain down. He can't tackle Cox cleanly but does delay him enough so that there is no YAC.
O15 1 20 Shotgun trips bunch TE Nickel under Pass 5 Quick out Gordon 6
A little dink pass is complete on a half-roll. Gordon's a little iffy on his approach and falls down, but Demens flowing out makes the WR run into the prone Gordon anyway. Push, but I'm eyeing Gordon warily.
O21 2 14 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Black -1
Black(+2) reads it, backs out, gets to the spot, and tackles for loss. Roh helped out as well and Ross(+0.5) fended off a block to put himself in a position to contribute.
O20 3 15 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 4 Corner Floyd Inc
Stunt doesn't quite get there but that's because the QB is going from five yards back to 11 by the time he throws. DL is getting in, with Roh(+0.5) getting pressure that forces a throw. Floyd has a better shot at a reception than anyone else and should really have an INT but misjudges the ball badly. No points for you. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O6 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone N/A -2
Fumbled exchange. FWIW, looked like Cox was going to get popped by an unblocked Ross near the LOS.
O4 2 12 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Run N/A Zone stretch Ojemudia 11
Ojemudia(-1) as a 3-4 DE, which goes about how you'd expect. A 230 pound freshman is doubled and pancaked, cutting off the outside. I feel better about this because Michigan's not going to do this against a real opponent unless it's third and twelve, not second and twelve. Campbell(+0.5) got some good push, but it was irrelevant. RPS -2. I moved a minus to the RPS from Ojemudia, FWIW. Because obviously.
O15 3 1 Shotgun trips Okie zero Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Same guy who got the hold.
O10 3 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A TGDCD Ryan -1
M sends Bolden and Avery, sending Ross on one of those hash to hash drops. They've slanted the line away from this and had Ryan back off the LOS, which is fortunate because the playcall goes right where Ross just vacated. Roh(+0.5) comes around the tackle and squeezes the hole down; Ryan(+1, tackling +1) brings down Cox in space. RPS +1
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Stop and go Taylor Inc
Good time(pressure -1); Taylor hops up on the hitch route but has safety help so that's fine. There's a small window for a 15 yard completion that's missed. Cover push. Illegal man downfield penalty is declined.
O26 2 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Counter Ross 6
Ross(-1) doesn't read the T pull and gets sucked away from the play, sealed into oblivion. Bolden(-1) does an okay job of getting to the hole and makes contact with the pulling T at the LOS, but slows up. Instead of lowering the boom like Ross he gently contacts the T, and there's still a gap. Needs to hit that blocker in the mouth, drive him back, and then be able to come off and tackle. As it is, Ryan, the contain, is the only guy trying a tackle attempt and that doesn't go so well. Black got sealed away but I'm not sure that's really on him. Need some linebackers to not get blocked. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) makes a nice fill. Picture-paged.
O32 3 4 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 cover one Pass 5 Out Avery 4
M shows man and runs zone, but this still comes off as Avery isn't quite able to tackle on this little out before the WR can reach the sticks. This will happen on this down and distance; push.
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Black -1
Same as their first play. Black(+1) gets some backwards motion and this convinces Cox to go nuts. Instead of slamming it up in a meh hole and getting tackled from the side by Black or Ryan, he hits a blocker, bounces, runs into Roh(+1), who shed a blocker to get into the backfield, and then Clark(+0.5) cleans up on the edge. Somewhere, Rich Rodriguez has an inexplicable urge to spike his headset.
O35 2 11 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 5 Rollout out Avery Inc
Michigan brings a blitz that UMass rolls away from. Same little out they got the first on is preferred because Michigan has good coverage(+1) in the area. It's turfed. Avery(+0.5) looked ready to light this guy up on the catch.
O35 3 11 Shotgun empty Nickel even Run N/A QB draw Ross 16
Michigan stunts out of the gap UMass is attacking. That leaves Ross(-1) alone in a ton of space against two blockers. One runs by, he fends off the other, and can't get out to the QB to even slow him. Ojemudia was tearing back in pursuit and safeties were filling, all Ross needs to do is slow the guy a half beat and this is not a conversion. But really, this is RPS'd. RPS -2.
M49 1 10 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Ojemudia 14
Campbell is moving and gets chopped, but I guess I can't minus him because this convinces Cox to reverse field. Or maybe it was Ryan(+1) coming under a guy—usually a no-no—with enough speed to make me think the outside is cutoff. Ojemudia(-2) abandoned his cutback contain to start a long-term pursuit angle, which opens up the corner once the QB cuts off a redirecting Ross.
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 5 Fade Taylor 22
One on one to the boundary, Taylor takes inside leverage and is basically step for step with the guy on the sideline. QB throws it perfectly, WR makes incredible catch, nothing you can do. Cover +1.
M13 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even Pass 5 Out Avery 11
Kovacs comes up late for a safety blitz, UMass dumps it short. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is through the line and about to nail the QB, so he has to dump it. Avery(-2, tackling -1) is there for a tackle attempt on a stationary guy one yard downfield that he misses. He manages to hold on to the guy but guy drags him ten yards.
M2 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull zone Clark -1
Clark(+1) blows outside a TE trying to seal him, Roh gets push on a G trying the same. Cox cuts behind that, away from his blockers. Ross(+0.5) is in in the hole and gets a tackle attempt in from the side. Black got cut and reaches out as well. Cox falls over.
M3 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Ryan -1 (Pen -10)
Ryan(+2) motions in late, shoots inside the RT, gets held, and still stops Cox in the backfield by diving at his feet. Black(+1) drove through two blockers to meet Cox in the backfield as well. Slant got it here. RPS +1.
M13 2 G Shotgun 4-wide tight 3-4 nickel Pass 5 Improv Black Inc
Black(+2) motions late to a gap between the C and G and jumps the snap Worthy style. He's offsides, obviously, but they don't call it. So you get a plus. He's up the middle of the pocket immediately, forcing a flush (pressure+2). QB actually has a shot at a WR but can't hit it. Gordon and Avery in pursuit. Gordon(+1, cover +1) was there to bat at it.
M13 3 G Shotgun empty Nickel even Penalty N/A Offsides Clark 5
Clark(-1) also offsides, this time they call it.
M8 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Roh Inc
Roh(+1, pressure +1) splits two OL and gets in to force a dumpoff. Clark(+1) reads this, backs off, and bats it down. Michigan had this killed dead anyway (cover +1)
Drive Notes: FG(25), 14-3, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Bolden 4
Bolden gets to the hole at the LOS and Cox has only a narrow gap, but he should be funneling back inside and does not. He got there pretty well, so I'll say push. Roh(-0.5) got blown up momentarily, so maybe Bolden's leery about that subconsciously. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fills nicely, holding a dangerous-looking burst through the line to four yards with help from Avery.
O30 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Okie one Pass 5 Rollout out CGordon 5
They roll the pocket away from the blitz and Gordon has to try and track down a slot guy running an out, which doesn't go well. He does enough to make the throw outside and diving, removing a potentially large amount of YAC from the equation. RPS -1.
O35 3 1 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Roh 3
Still playing Roh at DT on third and one. He gets blown out of the center by a double, and that's enough. I'm not minusing the guy for being 280 pounds. Gordon(+1) fills well, hitting at the LOS, but without DL support this is always going to get it. RPS -1.
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Floyd Inc
Half roll deflates pressure but M is all over the receivers (cover +3); a two-yard checkdown is jumped by Floyd(+1) and may have been an INT if more accurate. Nowhere to go.
O38 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Pass 5 Rollout out Gordon 3
Avery cuts off the outside and forces a throw. Pressure is not exactly rampant but it's a push. Pass is a four yard out Gordon(+0.5) is in good coverage(+1), guy runs OOB anyway.
O41 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark Inc
Hawthorne sent as Gordon backs out. Clark(+1) gets around the edge(pressure +1) and gets the QB's feet moving. Floyd(+1) jumps one out; CGordon(+1, cover +2) has the one underneath. QB turfs it, possibly on purpose.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-3, 10 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel under Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O30 1 15 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 PA Out Clark Inc
They leave Clark unblocked, try to throw a three yard out and miss. Clark may have gotten a finger on it. RPS +1? By default, I guess. Clark +0.5.
O30 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide tight Okie two Pass 5 Tunnel screen Ross 4
WR ends up in front of all his blockers. Bolden(+0.5) and Ross(+0.5) force the guy upfield away from all those folk. Gordon(+0.5) comes up to keep leverage well inside the numbers, and then everyone rallies to tackle.
O34 3 11 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 5 Sack Bolden -24
This is a screen. Bolden(+1) is charging forward at the snap along with Avery; Bolden gets through clean. Ryan(+0.5) has dropped right into the screen; not sure if this is read or if QB is just panicking. Roh also gets some pressure before bailing out; QB ends up tossing the ball away well short of the sticks after giving up 24 yards, giving Bolden a sack. RPS +2, Pressure +2, cover +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Counter Gordon 6
LBs do a much better job of reading this, with Ross(+1) sticking the pulling T in the hole and Bolden(+0.5) getting around a block to fill if Cox is going to go where Ross wants him to. He doesn't because Gordon(-1) has lost the edge. Kovacs and Taylor fill on the bounce; still gave up more yards than they had to there.
O34 2 4 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 4 In Ross 9
M ran this against NW last year: double flare screen fakes with an little middle hitch opening up. Ross(-0.5, cover -1) books out for the flare, opening a slant behind him. I don't really blame him. RPS -1.
O43 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel under Run N/A Power off tackle Clark 9
Okay so our DL on this play includes Clark as a DT. M blitzes one LB-type substance—Kovacs is the other—and stunts Roh back around. Clark(-1) gets blown back, so Roh can't flow; Kovacs is taking on a pulling G and there is no one on the second level. Clark does spin off his block and take Cox down with a lunging shoulder grab; otherwise this is Gordon vs touchdown. RPS -2. Virtually nothing any M player could do. Hope they're just screwing around at this point.
M48 2 1 Ace twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 Flea flicker Taylor 33
This looks like man coverage w/ Avery going in motion to mirror his guy presnap. The flea flicker sucks up all the underneath guys, giving the QB a look at the deep guy, who is covered(+1) by Floyd and Gordon. Taylor(-2, cover -2) got way behind the second option, a deep in by the other receiver. Not close enough to tackle immediately, Taylor gives up another 20 yards after the catch.
M15 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch TE Nickel under Pass 4 Rollout out Floyd 2
Another one of these dink passes. This one takes the WR off his feet; Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) looked like he would tackle anyway.
M13 2 8 Shotgun trips bunch TE Okie zero Pass 6 Throwaway Clark Inc
Mattison sends the house. Clark(+1) leaps a cut block, Roh(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) both come free as the T can't get out and the G has another guy to block. QB just gets rid of it. Had no one anyway. (Pressure +2, Cover +1, RPS +1)
M13 3 8 Shotgun trips bunch tight Nickel even Pass 4 Throwaway N/A Inc
Miscommunication and QB tosses it into the endzone, where none of his WRs are. Coverage(+1) looked good.
Drive Notes: FG(30), 35-13, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol trips bunch Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Roh -3 (Pen -13)
Roh(+2) shoves an opposing guard into the backfield, causing a full stop by Cox as he reaches where he'd normally cut despite Black getting chop-blocked to the ground (no minus, that ain't right). Ryan(+0.5) cleans up as the unblocked backside guy. Ross(+0.5) split blockers and was going to be useful if Roh hadn't beat him to it. Flag overrides play.
O12 1 23 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Black 3 (Pen -6)
Runner is actually a slot receiver who comes in motion and takes a shovel pass. Ryan(+0.5) gets upfield, forcing it back and stripping the WR of a lead blocker. Black(-0.5) avoided a cut but got delayed sufficiently that he can't close the hole. Ross is bugging out, gets blocked. Demens is taking 'er easy, which fine given down and distance. Ross forces back to Demens; before Demens can tackle the RB falls of his own accord. Another chop block backs them up even further.
O6 1 29 Shotgun trips covered Nickel even Run N/A Zone counter Black -1
Again with the counter; Ryan(+0.5) squeezes down and prevents that backside hole from forming. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) both shed blocks and meet Cox in the backfield to tackle for no gain.
O5 2 30 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Clark 7
Clark(+1, pressure +1) rips around the corner and is about to safety the QB when he fires out a short hitch that is complete. Instant tackle from Demens(+0.5, cover +1)
O12 3 23 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Draw N/A 10
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-13, 12 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power Brink 7
Brink(-2) blown up by a double. This means Ross can't flow; Bolden(+1) got to the hole, stood up the blocker, and funneled to his help but that help got washed out. Ross does come through the block to tackle; Brink spun off and added a little help too.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Clark 6
Clark(-0.5) left unblocked and gets in on the QB as coverage(+1) takes away whatever he was about to dink. Clark misses the tackle(-1); Campbell(-1) misses another tackle(-1) and QB squeezes out the first down. Campbell's was worse because QB didn't even put a move on.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-4 nickel Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Avery -1
Avery(+2, tackling +1) comes up hard, stalls out a couple yards in the backfield, convinces the QB to give, and then tackles the guy. Ojemudia(+0.5) had prevented an OL from releasing into Ross so he was likely to hack this down pretty quickly.
O37 2 11 Shotgun empty Nickel even Run N/A QB draw Roh 3
Roh(+1) takes a shove from the C but still doesn't get kicked out and this convinces the QB to start rolling outside, away from the guys releasing downfield. Black(+1) also helped this no crease situation and when he read the play he's the guy containing, forcing the QB back into blockers.
O40 3 8 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 5 Throwaway Demens Inc
Blitz gets picked up but Demens(+1, pressure +2) drives inside his blocker and gets upfield pressure; Roh(+0.5) also got in on the edge. QB is like seeya ball, don't need you no more.
Drive Notes: Punt, 49-13, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 4
Washington(+1) clubs a G backwards, which cuts off the guy trying to move backside to pick up Ryan. Heitzman(-1) has gotten shoved backside, though, and there's a crease. Ryan(+0.5) comes down to tackle from behind. I still wish the LBs would be a little more aggressive here but this is single blocking and immediate release stuff. Bolden does shed to help tackle downfield.
O33 2 6 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Clark -6
Clark(+1) shoots past the RT and gets upfield, picking off a leading block. That's a two for one. Cox stops and thinks about hitting it up. I think Heitzman is again getting too much motion; Washington(-0.5) gets cut but Michigan gets lucky as Cox slips on his cut. By the time he gets going forward again Washington is to his feet and unblocked backside guy Ryan is a factor. Cox doesn't know when he's beat and gives up a bunch more yards by trying to outrun Ryan(+0.5) upfield. Shades of that Sugar Bowl play.
O27 3 12 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 4 Rollout corner Avery 13
Mostly an RPS thing as Richardson gets run off deep and there's no one in the zone to get the corner that develops underneath it. I'm guessing Avery may have been able to play this better somehow, but it probably wouldn't have been enough to stop it. (Cover -2, RPS -1)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Washington 2
Washington(+2) blows up the LG and shows up in the middle of the line. Brink(+0.5) is also there, albeit still blocked and just holding on. Bolden was free thanks to Washington's work and moves up in the hole, but doesn't actually get to do anything because Washington eats the guy instead. NT play. Just UMass. Remain calm.
O42 2 8 Shotgun 2-back Nickel even Pass 3 Throwaway Hawthorne Inc
Another double flares and slant combo that is designed to get the LBs bugging out and open up the inside. Hawthorne(+1, cover +1) doesn't bite as Gordon flares out with the flare. Pipkins(+1) avoids a cut block and trundles up them middle, forcing a throwaway. RPS +1.
O42 3 8 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Out Hawthorne 11
Stunt doesn't get there (pressure -1) and the man cover behind it is vulnerable to a route like this; would still like Hawthorne(-1, cover -1) to at least be there to challenge on the catch, maybe try a tackle. He's not and then misses his tackle attempt. No real damage, but first down yielded.
M47 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power off tackle Jones 4
Heitzman(-0.5) gets plowed back; he also lets a guy through, a guy that Hawthorne(-1) eats when he really should be able to scrape past it. Jones(+0.5) gets a hit on the pulling G at the LOS; Ojemudia(+0.5) can peel off and tackle thanks to the small hole created.
M43 2 6 Shotgun empty Dime Pass 5 Rollout out CGordon 15
Rollout away from pressure effective; again running off that outside corner and finding space underneath. No idea if this is Gordon or Richardson or just RPS; we'll give it to RPS. (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M28 1 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble N/A 1
Thought this was a draw but no one releases downfield and the WRs are running routes, so just QB panic. No particular reason for this; unblocked LBs converge after a yard.
M27 2 9 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 6 Batted Bolden Inc
Bolden(+0.5) gets a free run(pressure +2) and hits the QB as he throws. RPS +1
M27 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 3-4 nickel Pass 6 Batted Clark Inc
Clark(+1) bats down an out that may or may not have had it; Hollowell in coverage that is not great.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(45), 56-13, 13 min 4th Q. It's walkon white CB time the next time UMass gets it; charting ceases.


I was with you man, but then I was like "oh, they are putting 250 pound guys at DT and 230 pound guys as 3-4 DEs."


Oh, I'm not saying we're not going to die. We may very well die. But the yards UMass was grabbing weren't evidence of things that should carry over against bigger opponents. They were evidence you should not expose Mario Ojemudia to OL double teams at this juncture.

wer gon live?

Well, the Big Ten sucks. I'm a little worried about what it means when Michigan is not even playing its DTs on first and ten. Okay, it's a sub package. Why run that on a potential running down even if you've got the nickel in there? Is it because you're wondering if you can get away with it against other opponents? What does that say?

Mattison talked up Washington, FWIW…

"I will say this, the one guy if you ask me to single out, one guy I was really really pleased with as far as seeing his technique really come on was Quinton Washington. When he went in there, he did some things that we have been trying to get done, and it was just the technique. I was real pleased with him.”

…so I'd wait on any conclusions you might draw from the substitution patterns until after the ND game. If you've got some extra heebie to go with your jeebie I can't say I disagree.

That said, Roh and Black did turn in nice games. Here's this—


--chart I've got.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Roh 8 0.5 7.5 Tiny opponent funtime.
Campbell 0.5 1 -0.5 Not much PT.
Washington 3 0.5 2.5 Ditto.
Black 8 1.5 6.5 Snuffed his share of runs.
Brink 0.5 2 -1.5 Eh.
Ash - - - DNP
Pipkins 1 - 1 One play late.
Beyer - - - DNP
Heitzman - 1.5 -1.5 Needs weight. Ideally would not see field until 2013.
Clark 8 2.5 5.5 Whacks down all the passes.
Ojemudia 1 3 -2 Too small to be anything but situational pass rusher.
TOTAL 30 12.5 17.5 Problem solved forever you guys.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan - - - DNP
Demens 1.5 - 1.5 Didn't notice him do much either way.
Ryan 8.5 - 8.5 Essentially a DE in this game.
C. Gordon 1 - 1 Ditto.
Ross 3 2.5 0.5 Another couple blocks split; still think he got lost on misdirection.
Bolden 3.5 1 2.5 bring more BOOM plz
Hawthorne 1 2 -1 Nevermind the Hawthorne PT thing.
TOTAL 19 5.5 13.5 Jones also +0.5. Move Ryan to DL and this is a lot of nothing.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 3 - 3 Shoulda had a pick though.
Avery 2.5 2 0.5 Permanickel.
Taylor - 2 2 Flea flicker is the negative. Check cover metric below.
Kovacs 0.5 - 0.5 No deep passes at all.
T. Gordon 6 1 5 Various authoritative fills.
Holowell - - - DNC
Wilson - - - DNC
TOTAL 12 5 7 Not much to do.
Pressure 15 2 13 No time… no time!
Coverage 19 7 12 Open downfield guys were about zero.
Tackling 5 3 62% Whiffs mostly on QB oddly.
RPS 8 11 -3 Weird personnel most of this.

That's about what you'd expect when an opponent's offense scores six points.

Overall numbers are low because of a low number of plays and a lot of dinky four-yard routes on which pushes are extremely common since the DL doesn't have time to get to the QB and the thing to do in the secondary is let the pass happen and tackle.

Is any of this meaningful? Doubt it.

We did get a few additions to Frank Clark's rapidly expanding collection of knocked-down scuds. If he keeps doing this I might start calling him the Patriot Missile.

I'm worried about everything DL related.

I feel you. At least Clark is making plays out there. He was batting stuff down, he got a one on one speed rush that almost racked up a safety…

…and he made some plays against the run. He does tend to get far upfield quickly, which is nice on passing plays but could expose Michigan to things like That Goddamned Counter Draw, which ND used for a big gain against the Spartans.

Meanwhile on the other side, quasi-DL Jake Ryan is playing at a high level. Those two guys are your pass rush. Their performance against ND will be crucial, especially since Golson loves rollouts, whether they're called or impromptu.

Also, Quinton Washington made a couple of plays. He's driving UMass's center back and blowing stuff up…

…so this is obviously going to happen against ND. But that's what Mattison was talking about. If your NT is not going to do that when single-blocked, thus demanding another guy, your linebackers are doomed. It's hard to put their iffy performances to date in perspective when the line is not helping them out at all.

Kind of pointy for Gordon there.

Yeah. I thought he came down well when Cox popped through the line. If he missed a tackle it was after he'd created a long enough delay to prevent any more yards from being gained, and he didn't often do that:

The coaches were talking him up over the course of camp and we're beginning to see a sliver of that there. Yes, UMass, etc.

What's this "covered" thing?

A high school coach convinced me that "unbalanced" was not a great term for plays on which only four guys are eligible receivers because one is covered on the LOS. So I'll go with covered since that's explicit. For the people asking why you'd do this, UMass had a play made possible by it:

Michigan adjusted after that first one when UMass tried it a couple more times. Here they've dragged coverage outside and gotten that counter to work since Kovacs is in man and can't get through the trash as the LBs attack the frontside.

Mike Cox is good?

While he's tough to bring down and fairly athletic, I totally get why coaches benched him. He has a bad tendency to miss holes and then start running around in the backfield in a way you can't get away with in college.


Everybody! The line mostly because UMass couldn't get past the line.



What does it mean for ND and the future?

Another playmaking performance from Clark offers hope that Michigan can get some impact from their WDE spot. Notre Dame will be the big test for that. They probably should use NTs against the Irish, and Washington might be the man there. And… uh. Don't play Ojemudia as a five-tech?

It's UMass. It is not that useful.

Generally, this is going to be when we find out what happens against a bunch of mortals instead of the godly, dead, or bizarre. I'll be looking to see if Clark and Ryan can beat guys one on one on the edge, if Washington in particular can hold up—Campbell hope is flatlining—and looking out for Taylor on the edge. Moment of truth stuff this weekend.


Blue boy johnson

September 20th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

I don't really understand what Mattison is talking about when he goes on and on about technique, but in this video of Q Wash, I actually see Q punch the OL back, then use his right arm to hold the OL at bay, then Q disengages from the block and makes the tackle. I see you Coach Mattison



September 20th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

Let's hope Roh has a 2011 RVB arc, where we go into the year calling him "solid, but maybe not quite built for the position," start saying things like "quietly doing a good job" by week four, and are calling him a hero by OSU. How great would that be?


September 20th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

As I'm sure many of you would agree, I was hoping this year would be a breakout year for Will Campbell.  Unfortunately, that just isn't meant to happen.  It would seem as though he is battling with Ondre Pipkins for backup time right now.  Sad to see that.  On a somewhat positive note, Washington might actually be a legit option at NT.  I imagine against ND the DL will look something like this: SDE - Roh, WDE - Clark, DT - Black, NT - Washington.  All we really need out of Washington is for him to show the ability to stand up against double teams.  I feel Roh, Clark and Black are all capable of beating one on one blocks.


September 20th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

I guess if I were to pick who I prefered as the better NT between NWC and Q, I'd pick Q since he'll be here next year as well.  If BWC isn't even starting by the end of the year then that's one less starter we need to replace.  Granted, I'd rather them both be good and worry about next year next year, but if only one can be good, I guess I'm glad it's Washington.


September 20th, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

Mattison was experimenting with having smaller guys in the middle against UMass, so I wouldn't read too much into BWC not playing much last week. I think he's still rotating with Black at the 3 tech depending on the situation, if not outright starting there against "normal" teams. D-line gets a lot more rotation in general so he probably will spell QWash at NT too. He certainly isn't living up to his 5 star rating (too late to say "yet?"), but I think he's been pretty serviceable this year. Based on what I've seen he's far ahead of Pipkins up to this point. If Pipkins pushes him by the end of this year, I would be very happy.


September 20th, 2012 at 4:20 PM ^

I really wouldn't draw any conclusions about BWC or Pipkins or Ash from this game, or the Bama game. Realistically, the last three games were poor tests for our interior line. First, because Bama has the best Oline in the country, second, because Air Force essentially cut blocked the entire game and ran to the outside almost exclusively so they were never tested well, and third, because we played UMass in an almost exclusive Nickel  package with Campbell, Pipkins, and Ash on the bench. We run two different DLine looks, like a lot of teams do (including ND) for our Base, and Nickle defenses. Our Base look was announced as Black at SDE, Washington at NT, Campbell at DT, and Roh at WDE, our Nickel, or fast line has been Roh at SDE, Washington at NT, Black at DT, and Clark or Beyer at WDE.

I don't think Campbell will be the next Mike Martin, but then again I never did, but proclaiming his career as destined for mediocrity, over after the 3rd game of the season,  and sad is still a little premature. Campbell will be important for Michigan in the next 9 or more games whether he's a world beater, or average, and Pipkins and Ash will be for the next few years, none of them really played last Saturday, though.


September 20th, 2012 at 8:05 PM ^

"Isn't meant to happen"? Like fate controls how these guys play? Lets all give this defense a couple of more games before we start writing off players. Will has had a tough road, partly his own doing and partly the consequence of poor coaching. 

I have no idea what kind of season Will will have, but it's still rather early to write him or any other player off. 


September 20th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

I'm confused by what Mattison was doing with his packages.   With a lack of experience on the interior I would have thought he'd try to let guys like Washington and Campbell get more snaps rather than fewer.

If he's searching for guys that can play inside going small wouldn't seem likely to show much against such a weak front.  

If he knew he could get away with it due to a weak front and wanted speed it still seems like he'd try to get Q and Campbell more reps to hopefully improve.

My fear is Campbell is a lost cause and QW is slowly progressing so they are talking him up hoping that praise helps him elevate his game.  In that scenario it is likely all the pre-season praise for Campbell was the same thing but it didn't work.   God I hope I'm wrong and Mattison just wanted to rest those 2 a bit.   


Who knows.  Let's hope Mattison has some of that magic left to get this line to improve and play above their heads going forward.


September 20th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

So this basically means Campbell is a four-year lost cause?  Wish the kid the best and I am happy he stuck around for the 4 years, but man, a 5* DT who doesn't see the field in meaningful ways for his entire time at UM feels like a massive miss.

Still nice to see Clark performing well.  Will need that athleticism against ND, as Golson seems like a bit of a scrambler.


September 20th, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

Just a general question here but when you have a wide-out covered what is the point in having a man on him as he runs downfield?  Shouldn't you just have a guy line up on him and then just run straight to the backfield? The guy can't catch a ball so what's the risk in leaving him out there?


I may be forgetting my rules but he can't catch a screen either right? It would have to be a backward pass (I think...).


I was watching a Texas game with my wife a couple weekends ago vs Wyoming and they did the same covered WR thing quite a few times and every single time it was a run and the DB covering the covered WR was being blocked by the guy that's not even an eligible receiver - I've got to be missing something right?


September 20th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Although you're right that it's almost always a run play, running right into the backfield might be a really good way of running yourself right out of the play.  It might not, but it's hard to know that before the snap.  

The guy over the covered WR is going to be either a LB or a nickelback.  On run plays, you're gonna want those guys in there to tackle, and running them into the backfield would be tough unless it's timed perfectly.  

A better solution would be to have that guy cheat inside and line up closer to where an outside linebacker would line-up if that covered guy wasn't there.  That said, those plays can be tough to diagnose right away for a DB who is already a handful of yards off the ball.


September 20th, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

In covering the covered WR? Yeah, you may not want them to run straight into the backfield but what's the point in having the guy that far away from the action?  At least send them down the line.  I know it may be tough to diagnose but the added advantage is you're playing 11 on 10 and that's gotta be a huge advantage when you get an automatic free rusher/contain man.  Why aren't the coaches on the sidelines yelling in to them on it?  From the plays I've seen with covered WR the teams aren't hiding it and just changing it at the last second they are throwing the guys out there many seconds (10+ before the hike) and I'd think that would be long enough to let the guy covering him there's no point in covering him.


Do the coaches just cover him because of the potential bust if/when the official completely blows the call and doesn't throw a flag?


September 20th, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

I think you have that guy cheat in a bit, but here's the problem:

Let's say you see that the guy is covered, so you don't cover him at all.  You move that guy up to the line, move him to LB, whatever.  You decide that since he's no eligible, you're not going to cover him.  Now, the QB sees this, yells an audible, and in a second before the snap, the outside WR steps back, and the WR on the other side steps forward, and now your "covered" guy in no longer covered and is an eligible receiver.  And he's wide open.  

You have to account for those guys to come extent.  Like usual, the offense has the advantage - if you cover him, you have a defender pulled out away from the play.  If you don't, the offense adjusts and you have a receiver wide open.  The safe bet is to have the defender on him cheating a bit for the run.


September 21st, 2012 at 7:57 AM ^

I'm just wondering what, on the snap, the guy covering the covered guy covers the guy who's ineligible. Yeah, you can't just leave him completely open because of the alignment issues but on snap if he's on the line and ineligible there are only 3 possible scenarios - screen pass to guy to his outside, run, illegal man downfield. 


That has to be a decided advantage to the defense right? Knowing that it can't be a downfield pass (assuming the guy doesn't just stay out there and hover that is, but, yeah).


It just seems like something we could take advantage of since we've got, no homerism here, one of the smartest/knowledgable DCs in the country.


September 20th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

If Black can hold up inside, and Washington is what we are hearing (and seeing): just no one get hurt and hope exists.  It's sad that this program has to stare down a senior year with Will not even starting, but we need to adjust the sails according to the wind.

Next year, throw Pipkins and Wormley into the mix plus a bulked up Mario O, and also Beyer. and Heitzman. Only down Roh.  Well things are looking up.


September 20th, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

"and looking out for Taylor on the edge."  Did I miss a section there?


And how did we go from "Campbell is legit" to bust in 3 weeks?  You'll find out on Campbell against ND as well.  In a game where Ojemudia was playing DT and promising freshman Ondre Pipkins barely got on the field, I wouldn't use playing time as much of a barometer. 

They probably don't want those guys getting hurt, and figure Ojemudia and others could use the physical-ness.

Michigan Arrogance

September 20th, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

I wonder if the coaches just didn't want the DL to get hurt playing UMASS of all teams. They essentially get a bye, ND, bye, then the B10 starts. The coaches know they need those guys on the DL for 8 straight in the B10. They should be fresh for that starting 10/6.

I'd bet they would have done the same on the OL (similar depth issues there) but they didn't want to burn OL RSs and/or get the QB killed.


September 20th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

I think they wanted to put the best pass rush unit on the field which they did.  Neither Black or Roh have played much on the interior, and I think Mattison wanted to get them extensive playing time together.  He didn't know how they would be able to hold up against the run, so he left them in long enough to give UMass a chance to take advantage of the lack of size. 

I suspect we will see this alignment again in obvious passing downs against better teams.