Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 22nd, 2012 at 12:51 PM

HAPPY THANKSGIVING. This will be the only post today, probably.

Formation notes: You make one offhand comment about how this notes section gets boring late in the year and Al Borges goes and does that. Okay, so. For the TE/WR/RB section I am classifying Gardner as a WR and Denard as a RB when they are not at QB.

Michigan had two different backfields featuring Denard behind Gardner with one or two lead blockers flanking him. I could have called this one "offset I three-wide" but it felt more correct to note it as a Fritz variant:


Fritz 3-wide

Since Michigan does have a declared strength here I tabbed the Iowa defense here an under. They also ran the two-FB version, which is just plain old Fritz.

The thing I used to call Denard Jet also re-emerged:


And then there was… this.


In keeping with this blog's tradition of naming weird things he hasn't seen after the nearest equivalent in NCAA Football X, this was dubbed "far twin TE."

Formation lingo may not match your local football talking guy and is merely present to help facilitate communicative acts.

Substitution notes: Line as per usual. Tight ends as per usual. Joe Reynolds got some burn at wide receiver on actual passing plays, catching a long handoff type thing that Gardner clearly aborted to—about which more later—and a hitch on which it looked like he ran a nice route, for all I know about route running. Other than that, WRs were as per usual including usual lack of focus on throwing to Dileo when not throwing to Gallon or Roundtree.

Toussaint went out early with his injury; after that it was all Rawls and Smith until very late; Justice Hayes did get in at fullback(!) on a play where Michigan ran an iso. Oh and that Denard guy played some.


Gobble gobble.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Fritz 3-wide 2 0 3 4-3 under Run Down G Robinson 3
Blocking here a little odd and bad; Schofield heads directly for the backside LB, which is probably the design but does not work out. Omameh is trying to pull around; the DE widens out and does not get sealed. Not much Omameh can do as that guy flat out runs parallel to the LOS down the line. Mealer(-0.5) and Barnum(-0.5) can't scoop the guy further inside; Lewan(-0.5) never reads that this play is cutting back and ends up running into Barnum. Denard(+0.5) dances for a few yards.
M33 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide D 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Flare screen Robinson 4
This is essentially the veer (Omameh is pulling) except instead of a mesh point Gardner is throwing a little screen out to the edge. This does get Denard outside the end who is coming directly upfield; unfortunately the Gallon(-1) matchup is against a linebacker who just chucks him out of the way. Denard breaks that guy's tackle; that guy's tackle forces him outside and lets DBs rally. (CA, 3, screen)
M37 3 3 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Rollout out Gallon 5
Smith (commendation for valor) takes a corner blitzing off the edge M rolls to and cuts him to the ground, giving Gardner the edge and an easy throw for the first down. (CA, 2, protection 2/2) Gallon does a good job to hold on to this one as the DB rakes at it hard.
M42 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Hitch Reynolds 12
Hey Joe Reynolds catching a pass. This is actually a pretty great route on which Reynolds stops dead eight yards downfield and gets separation. Gardner nails him in rhythm. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
O46 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Sprint counter Toussaint 14
Lewan(+1) kicks out the playside DT; Schofield(+1) pulls around and nails the MLB. WLB is held by the counter step, allowing Barnum(+1) climb to him. Slot LB runs out on the slot guy so Kwi(+0.5) has an easy job on him; Toussaint(+1) hits the hole hard and runs past a safety Jackson(-1) missed; I get missing that S but Jackson then turns upfield instead of turning his attention to the other, very blockable safety, and that's the difference between ten and 40 yards. RPS +1.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide DQB 1 0 4 4-3 under Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 7
Optioned DE shuffles down and then falls over, so give. Lewan(+0.5) rides the MLB; can't seal him but does delay his progress; Gallon's block is okay; slot LB forces it inside at the numbers, where a safety comes down to lower the boom. Omameh got taken out by a legwhip from the fallen DE (refs -2) or he may have been able to do something about this. RPS +1; no real contain.
O25 2 3 Fritz 3 0 2 4-3 under Pass Flare screen Robinson Inc
Devin just misses this one. This was either going to be one yard or a lot depending on whether a particular DL could get down the line fast enough to tackle. (IN, 0, screen)
O25 3 3 Fritz 3 0 2 4-3 under Run Lead option Toussaint 10
Gardner hands to Denard and rolls. M stretch blocks, leaving the playside LB free; he attacks; Denard pitches. Smith is outside, getting a block; Schofield(+1) is riding the playside DE down the line, and hey Mealer(+1) and Barnum(+1 )scooped the DTs. Hurrah. Omameh(-1) released directly downfield into a LB who got his hands inside and shoved him backwards after some initial movement, but because of the big gap between the DL Toussaint(+1) can hit the gap and jet for a nice gain. Toussaint breaks his leg at the end of the run. Poor damn Toussaint. RPS +1
O15 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 8
DE flares out, Denard pulls and goes. Barnum(+1) turns the playside DT inside and buries him with an assist from Lewan(+1), who climbs to a LB. Kwi(+1) seals another LB, big gap; Omameh(-0.5) doesn't move to the safety here, instead coming back on to the LB Kwi has and bumping Robinson(+1) as he reads the blocks and jets to the secondary level. He can't juke past the S.
O7 2 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Iso Rawls 4
Hopkins(+1) gets an excellent lead block and Lewan(+1) drives the DE back one on one. Barnum(+0.5) popped out on a LB to get a hit in; safety comes down to hit.
O3 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G Rawls 2
The Lewan/Schofield pairing. Lewan(+1) drives his DL a yard off the LOS and well inside, so there's a crease. Barnum(+1) kicks effectively, eventually driving his man into the endzone. Hopkins(+0.5) gets a pop in and Rawls contacts the safety at the one, powering in... er, powering to the one. That's disappointing; he should be able to get in in this situation.
O1 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run QB sneak Gardner 1
They get it. +0.5 Mealer.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun Denard Jet 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Jet sweep Robinson 8
Playside DE is squeezing down hard, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense given this play but seems like it's an instinctive reaction to what looks like a veer. He recovers; he's still not even relevant enough for a pulling Omameh to get to. Kerridge(+1) gets out on a linebacker; looks like he gets the edge but Denard(+0.5 for fast) cuts inside anyway. He gets nailed after running past one guy. RPS +1.
M29 2 2 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 1
Kwi motions from line to FB. Iowa slides a LB back inside late; no one picks up the MLB. I naturally see this as a problem with not making the QB accounted for now. Mealer(-0.5) and Barnum(-0.5) are trying to scoop at DT and fail. Omameh(-1) gets nowhere; Smith has to cut behind and with three guys blocking backside defenders the MLB is free. RPS -1.
M30 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 2-back 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Lead option keeper Robinson 40
Rawls goes on an orbit motion to the option presnap. Iowa sends two guys to the playside on interior blitzes. Williams(-1) gets blown upfield, picking off a pulling Barnum. A gap further inside Schofield(+1) adjusts and buries the blitzing S. Lots of room to the field now; Robinson doesn't want to hit it straight upfield because the Williams block is bad. Kerridge is blocking inside out, which is fine, but not great; a Rawls pitch is yards but Robinson is like "I could run this"; he does. Rawls(+1) chops a linebacker flowing from the inside once Robinson bounces outside behind him, and then Denard(+3) jukes Miller to the ground, adding 30 yards. The dodge out of bounds is weird. Roundtree(+2) buried a DB, too. On replay it looks like Robinson sees the guy in his peripheral vision and, like, jukes. His reaction afterwards is I Can't Believe I Did That. RPS +2.
O30 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Double reverse Robinson 5 (Pen -7)
Denard at WR. This is set up, man, set up, but Denard(-1) slows up as the pitch is made and then stumbles; if he's just running hard to the other side of the field this should work much better. His unfamiliarity with his role costs him a bit here; he has to fend off a tackle attempt and all of this allows Iowa to rally. Vincent Smith gets a block in the back that is totally not a block in the back; guy hits the hip of the defender. Refs -2.
O37 1 17 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass PA out Roundtree 10
This is just a super exciting throw for the yardage it picks up. PA, recognition, Devin loops it out to Roundtree right on the sideline in front of good coverage from Hyde, who still has no chance on it. (DO, 3, protection 1/1) Long throw from one hash to the opposite sideline and no problem.
O27 2 7 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass PA post Roundtree Inc
Not a fan of this call; Iowa is not selling out run and this is a one man route. When the S drops back to bracket Roundtree, options are basically over. Gardner still makes a bad decision to throw the ball into the double; just get what you can with your legs. (BR, 0, protection 1/1, RPS -2) Side note: despite being a bad idea, this throw was right to Roundtree.
O27 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Dime Pass Scramble Gardner 6 (Pen -10)
Smith(-2) recognizes the corner blitz late and picks it up late; he wraps his arms around the guy as well, drawing a holding calls as Gardner scrambles out. All slants here, and Gardner's first three were covered; did not have time to get to the outside slant to the field. Did pick up almost all of the yardage needed and would have set M up with a fourth and short. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2, Smith -2)
O37 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout fly Roundtree 37
Mealer(-1) peels back on this rollout and runs upfield of Barnum and the guy he's trying to block, allowing said guy to get in on Gardner and preventing him from setting up. Meanwhile downfield, Iowa executes a -5 coverage bust by leaving two different guys wide open in the endzone. Roundtree gets the senior day Worst Waldo. This is not an RPS play; it's just Iowa losing its collective mind. (CA, 3, protection ½, Mealer -1). Oh fine RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even slide Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 4
Robinson QB. Again no real contain; Gallon runs right by the MLB over him in the slot so I assume he is the read; he's outside and Robinson keeps. Barnum(-2) has a one on one matchup with a DT who goes straight upfield and can be sealed; he is not sealed. Omameh(+1) pulled and buried the playside end; Lewan(+0.5) adjusted from a bump to get a linebacker; Denard(+0.5) hit the right hole. Big gain except for Barnum not being able to make a really easy block.
M29 2 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Pass Hitch Roundtree 4
Gergplay: instant hitch for four yards. Coverage is okay and things are tackled immediately. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M33 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 2-back 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Lead option Robinson 6
Garb. DL goes straight upfield so even though Mealer just kind of runs by the DT he can't make a play. Playside end is dealing with lots of guys. Lewan(+1) latches on, drives him off the ball and moves on as Barnum takes over. Big gap. Playside LB held outside by option stuff. Williams(+1) adapts to a linebacker shooting outside on the option to kick a DB and wow it looks like Denard(-1) can shoot outside of the Lewan block and be one on one with a safety for six. Instead he goes more vertical and runs into the guy Barnum and Lewan had hammered inside. RPS +2.
M39 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA post Gallon 51
Not sure what to do with this one. Iowa is barely even trying to rush; Miller does an excellent job of hopping on the double move, and Gardner puts it out there such that it pulls Gallon away from the intended post and forces Gallon to switch which shoulder he's looking over. Meanwhile it evades Miller's PBU attempt by two inches. I don't think this was intentionally awesome and was off by a bit so no DO; catch was kind of good though. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
O10 1 G Fritz 3 0 2 4-4 even Run Counter pitch Rawls 8
Reynolds(+1) blasts the playside LB; corner is looking in the backfield; Rawls gets the edge. He steps out without being hit; he should probably score here but even so the spot here is ridiculous, off by almost two yards. RPS +1, Refs -1.
O2 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G Rawls 0
Edge LB blasts into Kwiatkowski(-0.5), who is bowled over and holds the guy but gets away with it. Burzynski's(-1) guy just bounces off his block and flows down the line hard, picking off Hopkins. Rawls meets an unblocked LB at the LOS and can't make extra yards.
O2 3 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Gardner 1
Epic all the time play. Gardner eventually scrambles, finding a yard. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2, seriously Iowa is hardly trying.)
O1 4 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Naked boot Gardner 1
Smith(+1) crushes a linebacker on the edge and that's about it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M13 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Corner Roundtree 15
Safeties up so Gardner should know he's got the outside guys one on one. Roundtree beats his man on a corner route; Gardner hits him. Long catchable throw is a little wobbly and late; Roundtree gets hit by Hyde just as he catches the ball. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
M28 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Sprint counter Smith 6
MLB does a good job of reading this play and getting to the LOS as Schofield does. Schofield(-0.5) makes contact and gets rocked back; losing leverage. Lewan(+1) had a little bit of a rough time with an end trying to shed but by this point he's battered the guy inside; Barnum(-0.5) let a guy spin through him, though that's not relevant. Smith(+1) runs at the LB, picking up a decent gain. Williams(+0.5) had fended off a LB on the edge for a while.
M34 2 4 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Corner Gallon 31
High low on the corner with Kwiatkowski running a shallow cross and Gallon a deeper corner; CB sucks up and there is no safety help, so this is wide wide open. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Improv Roundtree 18
Epic time. These guys aren't even trying to get to the QB. Gardner hangs out man, gets comfy, hangs out. You know. Relaxed-like. He eventually decides to start scrambling around, which he really doesn't have to do, but I get it. Usually hanging out in the pocket this long is death. Roundtree's covered, it doesn't look like anything's happening, then WHAM SIDEARM FLING for not only a completion but a bunch of YAC. Short throw but yards from nothing. (DO, 3, protection 3/3)
O17 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB draw Gardner 0
Borges is probably thinking surely they have to actually try to rush one of these times. Not so. The DTs are just hanging out; Would like Omameh(-0.5) to actually get some movement on his guy but nyet. Gardner has no gaps. RPS -1.
O17 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass TE out-post Funchess Inc
Funchess is breaking open on a post for a touchdown and Gardner just slings it behind. Like, Funchess is breaking open in front of a defender and the ball goes behind that defender. Funchess is huge enough to actually have a shot at catching this, but the LB has his hands in Funchess's chest as he turns back and this would have been extremely difficult. (IN, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O17 3 10 Fritz 3 0 2 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Smith 17
Ten Iowa players are so focused on Denard that there is only one guy for three to block and then hey free touchdown. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 4
Playside DE does as good job of splitting the difference, convincing Robinson to keep and still being relevant when he does. Michigan actually sends the pulling G past the end, which they have not always done. DE forces Robinson away from a well-blocked frontside; he can dance for a few yards. I think maybe having Rawls here makes it a lot easier for DEs to do this. Mealer, Robinson, Kwi, Lewan half points despite the meh gain; tip of the hat to that DE.
M23 2 6 Far twin TE 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Waggle scramble Gardner 4
Twin TEs to the boundary with Hopkins a little offset to the field and Rawls outside of him behind Schofield. There's a picture above. In keeping with my Use EA Sports Terminology When Confused, this is far. M fakes an inside run and runs a bootleg; this is covered all around and has a guy in Gardner's face immediately. Hopkins(+1) realizes what's going on and aborts his route to block the guy flaring out on Gardner, allowing him a few yards. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M27 3 2 Shotgun quad bunch tight empty 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Angle Dileo 5
Smith motions out late for an empty look. This takes a corner away from the bunch formation and leaves those three guys against the LBs. Dileo runs a little angle route underneath the other two guys in the bunch and is hit for the first down. Good coverage here by Iowa, better execution by M. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M32 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Sweep Smith 2
Safeties creeping up big time again. Mealer and Omameh pull; the unblocked end gets upfield and Omameh kicks him; Mealer(-1) keeps going around despite the fact that the outside is now cut off. Schofield(-1) gets knocked back and driven down the LOS on a down block that seems like it should be pretty easy. Smith cuts up behind Omameh, finding a linebacker who came all the way from the backside; Kwi(+1) got the playside one effectively.
M34 2 8 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even slide Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 4
Safety down to keep seven in the box. Though this looks like a wrong read at first, this veer features the end getting blocked and the MLB scooting out for Smith, so if Denard can get vertical quickly they can exploit that scrape exchange.Verdict is no. Omameh(-0.5) didn't get much motion when he impacted the DE; Barnum(-1) got upfield of the DT and let him through the hole Denard is trying to attack. Dancing ensues for a few yards. +0.5 Robinson.
M38 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even split Pass Scramble Gardner 19
Iowa sends a fifth guy and actually tries to get to the QB. Mealer(-2) is run over by a DT, falling over backwards. This brings down the DT as well and should almost certainly be a holding call but is not. Refs +2. Gardner(+2) has time to react now that the DT is on his face. He hops through a tackle attempt, breaks outside, and gets a big gain after the DE can't get him either. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2, Mealer -2)
O43 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass PA post Gallon 31
All day all day. Apparently no safeties; Gallon is in front of his DB but only just as his route didn't get any separation. Gardner loads it up anyway and tries it. It's dead on the money; DB is interfering a bit and bats at the ball as it comes in, knocking it up. Gallon gets it on the deflection. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
O12 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Long handoff Reynolds 5
Nine in the box, M just slings the long handoff to Reynolds. You know what I like about the Gardner offense? Michigan won't run at these stacked fronts. They've done it like once or twice. They generally take what is given. (CA, 3, screen). This is a sight read BTW, as Michigan is running a run play that Gardner just aborts. RPS +1.
O7 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Run QB draw Gardner 4
Pretty much all Gardner(+1) here as the DTs are squeezing down and force a bounce away from blocking; Gardner evades a DT and speeds his way to the three.
O3 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Down G Rawls 0
Williams(-2) quickly spun through on a down block; Rawls(-0.5) has to bounce because he is right in his face. Or at least he does bounce; I mean, he could just burrow up Hopkins's back. Hopkins(+0.5) gets a decent pop on the filling LB; Mealer(+1) got out to cut another LB so without the bad TE block this is probably a TD. As it is Barnum barely turns in an S and Rawls is on the edge with DBs moving laterally; no YAC.
O3 4 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run QB boot Gardner 3
Same thing as always, with Schofield(+1) turning in the playside end and Omameh(+1) crubberating a DB; with LBs sucked in no way man. I fear that OSU will have this dead to rights though. (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-10, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 I-Form offset twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Double A gap blitz with the LBs twisting. Smith picks one guy up; Mealer goes for the first one, then checks up and seems like he'll block the other one. For some reason he then goes back to the guy he just let go, and the other blitzer gets in free. Guy Smith cut gets up and Gardner's in a lot of trouble; he chucks it OOB. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, Mealer -2)
M40 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even slide Run QB draw Robinson 1
No creases as again Iowa is just not rushing. RPS -1.
M41 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Pass Hitch Gallon 15
Showing man with one deep safety. Another double A gap blitz, this one picked up, Gardner hits Gallon with a strike a couple yards short of the sticks and Gallon turns it up. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3)
O44 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Iso Rawls 0
Mealer(-2) and Barnum(-2) let a playside DT they're hypothetically doubling go right through them, and that guy cracks Rawls in the backfield. Omameh(+1) had gotten nice movement on the other guy one on one.
O44 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even slide Pass Hitch Reynolds 4
Gardner hesitates a hair here to make sure his guy is open and hits the hitch; that probably lets the CB tackle immediately for a meh gain. CA/MA borderline but (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O40 3 6 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even slide Pass Rollout out Dileo Inc (Pen +11)
Gardner rolls out, plenty of time, not really anyone open. Dileo is bracketed and Gardner still shoots it in there; I am leery about this in a serious way but he does keep it away from the dangerous outside guy and hit Dileo in the hands; Dileo is getting tackled by Morris as the ball gets there and draws a flag. (CA, 0, protection 1/1)
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even slide Pass TE seam Funchess 29
lol. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) RPS +1?
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-10, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Denard Jet 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Jet sweep Robinson 9
Blocked like a veer so that DE is checking up to prevent the inside run. Difference is this is a jet sweep so you're adding a lead blocker in the back. That's Hopkins(+1), who takes out the scraping MLB. Denard(+1) waits for that block and then accelerates into open space; he has to leap over Hopkins, which gives the pursuing DE a window to trip him. RPS +1.
M32 2 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Iso Rawls 3
Push all around! Wad of bodies, everyone does adequately, three yards are acquired. It's 42-10, man.
M35 1 10 Fritz 3 0 2 4-3 under Pass Flare screen Robinson 20
This is looking pretty good as Gallon(+1) nails the MLB and three OL are in a lot of space with Denard. Denard juggles the ball, a lot, and Barnum(-2) just runs by the one guy out there. I mean, come on. Robinson(+2) stiffarms that guy and then reverses field because why not. Wheee 20 yards. (CA, 3, screen)
O45 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 1 2 Nickel Run Iso Rawls 5
Again it's just like okay doubles all the time forever. Mealer(+0.5) and Barnum(+0.5) blow the NT off the ball a few yards. Justice Hayes(!!!) hits a linebacker filling the gap; Lewan has let his guy inside of him but has also gotten him back a yard or two, which allows Rawls(+0.5) to cut outside and hit it up behind that block for a decent gain.
O40 2 5 Fritz 3-wide 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Pitch sweep Robinson 7
DE goes straight upfield; Omameh is trying to pull and can do nothing but kind of shove him. Robinson just runs outside of it. Gallon(+1) gets an excellent driving block on the CB lined up over him; Hopkins gets a meh pop on a LB, Denard(+1) is fast. A filling safety comes up near the first down; Denard cuts behind; guy who slid off Toussaint gives Denard a pop.
O33 1 10 Fritz 3 0 2 4-3 under Run Lead option Robinson 1
DL slanting hard to the field on this and all of them get the edge on their guys. Lewan(-1) should be able to deal with his; DE still pops outside. LB to the playside is widening out instead of attacking Denard, which makes the pitch or give decision harder. Denard(-1) decides to keep; I think he's got to fake a pitch if he's going to or actually pitch. Smith runs by the SAM and SAM makes the tackle. Line slant was going to eat this anyway, I think.. RPS -1.
O32 2 9 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Corner Gallon INT
This is pretty impressive by Hyde, who initially is sitting on the flat route and then drops into the corner to intercept it at the height of his leap. So, yeah, shouldn't have thrown it, especially with Roundtree breaking open on the other side of the field, but not egregious. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 42-10, 14 min 4th Q. M's final drive is a couple of Hayes runs with funny camera angles. And one SCR for Gardner with 0/2 protection, -2 Barnum, -2 Gardner for a fumble.

So that all seems in order then.

You're not even a little impressed?

I particularly enjoyed the bit after you stopped charting where Michigan sportingly did some sort of leg-throw interception out of kindness.

You mean a punt.

punt what is punt

It's that thing you described.

leg interception

Yes. You know interception.


You will know nothing else other than interception and vicious efficiency when I show you the—


--no. But whatever.

[Hennechart legend is updated. Hover over column headers for quick explanations. [I'm putting little asterisks in for BRX or INX plays now. One per awful event.]

2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3* - - 3(1) 1 71%
Air Force 1 14 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 75%
UMass 1 16(4) - 4 - 1 1 1 3 68%
Notre Dame 4 10(1) 2 4(1)* 2** 1 1 3 1 65%
Purdue 3 7(2) - 1(1) - 1 2 - - 73%
Illinois 3 6(2) - - 2 - - - - 78%
MSU 4 9(2) 3(1) 4 2* 1 5 2 - 48%
Nebraska 2 9(2) 1 1 - - - 1 1 90%

That's Denard. His only miss was his first pass, which went wide of Gallon.


Nebraska 1 4(1) 2 7* 1* - 1 4 1 31%

And Gardner:

Minnesota 3 7(1) 4 2(1) 2* 2 - 3 4 64%
Northwestern 4 16(2) 2 1 3* 2(1) 2(1) 2 5 75%
Iowa 3 16(4) - 2(1) 2 1 - 1 4 79%

Ace added scrambles to the positive in his FFFF; I have not yet done that. If you do Gardner pops up to 83%, which is boggling. Not putting it in: still boggling. A dossier of things that went wrong:

  • missed flare screen to Denard
  • throw behind Funchess on a 15-20 yard post
  • throw into double coverage on one-man route when he should have taken off
  • Hyde interception
  • Gardner runs around for a million years near the goal line and does not score when he finally decides to scramble but does get down to the one

That's all of the bad stuff versus 314 yards passing and four scrambles. Even if Iowa was like "lol we suck here free yards" sometimes, they were not like that all the time and Gardner's accuracy has been downright creepy the last couple games. IIRC, the only deep ball he has flat missed was the massively underthrown completion to Roundtree against the Gophers. He has been money otherwise even when I'm not entirely sure he's trying to be:

At this point you can't doubt him. Scoreboard.

Scoreboard, yo.

On shorter stuff he's all rolling out and hitting guys in the numbers and zipping hitches in for YAC and look at this thing!

Unstoppable Throw-God Trevor Siemian is like "nice throw bud." It's just ten yards but it is also from a hash to the opposite sideline, there is no coverage in the world that stops it, and given all the other throws Gardner is made that doesn't seem like luck, it just seems like what Gardner does. Remember when he was shotputting it Martinez style all over the field? Yeah. I don't know if moving to WR allowed him to move on from old bad habits or what but it's gone, mostly, and when it's not gone he's kind of leaping up like a gazelle and still putting it on target. His accuracy is such that he doesn't have to hammer the ball in, which may account for the surge in WR catchiness since he entered.

Even the interception wasn't that bad. Hyde drew up on a shorter route at first and then started sinking; I know that Borges never wants a QB to try a throw over a sinking corner so he should have gone elsewhere—like to Roundtree open on the other side of the field—but the end result was a pretty badass play:


dude is pretty far off the ground

Big difference between that and some of Denard's interceptions that hit guys in the chest and if they don't hit guys in the chest will hit another guy in a chest. I forewent the X in this situation.

We can run again! I wonder why.

Is that sarcastic?


Only 32 runs were charted once you remove the four scrambles; Gardner and Gardner alone can get pluses for that (or minuses, as he did on a fumble late). Numbers are correspondingly lower.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 7 1.5 5.5 More involved. Like it when he is involved.
Barnum 5 8.5 -3.5 Got a big minus for not blocking anyone on the Denard field reversal, but since that spurred the field reversal…
Mealer 3 4 -1 Pretty much the usual.
Omameh 3 3.5 -0.5 I don't get it man.
Schofield 4 1.5 2.5 Bit of a recovery.
Kwiatkowski 2.5 0.5 2 Bashed a linebacker or two.
Moore - - - DNC
Williams 1.5 3 -1.5 Technique needs work; would be redshirting if M had any TEs
Funchess - - - DNC
TOTAL 26 23.5 53% Burzynski –1; Ugly out there.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 10 3 7 Oh right that's where the running game comes from.
Gardner 3 2 1 Fumble otherwise +4.
Toussaint 2 - 2 Poor damn Toussaint.
Rawls 1.5 0.5 1 No YAC on eight carries.
Smith 2 - 2 One point on a block naturally.
Hayes - - - Played FB!
Hopkins 4 - 4 May have regained FB primacy.
Kerridge 1 - 1 Nice day from FBs as a group.
TOTAL 23.5 5.5 18 In case you were wondering how you average 5.3 YPC with that above.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner - - - -
Roundtree 2 - 2 DB pancake on Denard 40-yarder.
Gallon 2 1 1  
Jackson - 1 -1 never turn around!
Dileo - - -  
Reynolds 1 - 1  
JRobinson - - -  
TOTAL 5 2 3 Srs check that Roundtree block.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 32 9 78% Mealer –5, Barnum –2, Smith -2
RPS 20 7 13 Exploded; see below.

Hey, Denard! Ace and Heiko have mentioned that their defense mechanism against cheering in the pressbox is laughing after Denard does something ridiculous, and Brian Griese is totally feeling that:

It's worth noting that Denard was kind of rusty. On that play above the replay seems to show that Denard was actually trying to juke away from the guy in his peripheral vision as he lost track of where he was on the field, and there were points at which the blocking had set him up for a big one and he missed it:


awww man go left

While this may have been a reaction to an earlier veer on which this exact same hole looked open only for Barnum to lose his guy on a down block, I'm all like awww man go left. Hopefully he'll be sharper for Ohio State. He is still a functioning run game by himself.

Meanwhile, I kind of threw up my hands with the RPS at points. Wide open guys are usually big RPS pluses but here it seemed clear that Iowa's incompetence was just massive and the play design was not breaking their minds. Even so, I awarded Borges +1 for massive busts for TDs. I don't know man.

Even if I hadn't done so Borges would have been way on the positive side of the ledger here. The throwback screen was a +3, when Michigan was blocking the end on the veer it was setting up stuff like the above still because Iowa was exchanging, the option stuff was working, Iowa was leaving lots of guys open even on the plays where they were not hilariously busting coverages. I mean, when you can do this:

And then come back to that throwback screen later and both are working that's a nice day as a coordinator. Iowa caveats do apply.

The offensive line is going backwards?

Maybe not backwards. Definitely treading water. I think the move away from the shotgun is hurting them for whatever reason. The unblocked linebacker fiesta in the Nebraska game did start with Denard in the game but got a lot worse once Michigan started operating from under center, and the last three games have seen the line barely edge above 50%. That's play recognition and a general inability to double anyone effectively; again in this game there was a late iso where it was clear Barnum and Mealer had been told to abandon the idea of getting to the second level quickly and just batter their man off the ball.

The other thing is that the veer is just a pretty good play man, one on which everyone has a nice comfy angle to get their guy and the unblocked DE has to make a play in space against fast guys with a pulling guard potentially available to block him if the opponent is executing a scrape exchange. Robinson popped in to set up a second and two and just look at how easy all the blocks are here:

When you move away from that to plays that don't option off a guy you are asking the OL to execute much tougher assignments, with the results we've seen.

And then the other other thing is just that Michigan is not moving people. Lewan does fairly consistently, like on this sprint counter on which he got help from the DE but still got that hole expanded by a step or two. Occasionally you will see another OL do that, but it's rare.

Receivers are all of a sudden covered in stick things. Like cinnamon buns.


[Passes are rated by how tough they are to catch. 0 == impossible. 1 == wow he caught that, 2 == moderate difficulty, 3 == routine. The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Gardner           12 0/5 2/5 14/15
Roundtree     1/1 4/4   12 2/8 5/6 18/19
Gallon 1 1/1 2/2 1/1   12 2/3 6/9 26/28
J. Robinson           1 0/1 1/4 2/2
Dileo 1     1/1   2 2/3 3/3 10/10
Jackson           5   0/1 5/7
D. Robinson 1     2/2   1     2/2
Reynolds       3/3          
Kwiatkowski                 3/3
Funchess   0/1   1/1   7 2/5 2/4 10/10
Hopkins             0/1    
Toussaint           1 0/2 1/2 5/5
Smith       1/1     0/1 1/2 8/8
Kerridge             0/1   1/1

Lights out, lights out, lights out. One catchable ball not brought in, that the ball way behind Funchess. Also look at the preponderance of routine balls. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Rawls clarification you need to get in.

I said my bit on Rawls in the game column—getting a Kevin Grady vibe—but I should note that since part of my irritation was that Rawls couldn't get his Fritz counter pitch in the endzone I should note that he almost did and the refs screwed it up. They marked it at the two; Rawls's foot was clearly in bounds:


It was a little hard to tell with the limited camera angles provided but he at least reached the one and I think he is about an inch short when his foot does come down:


Boo refs boo.


Gardner, Gallon, rest of the receiver corps as a whole, Denard's legs, the fullbacks.


Interior OL, as per usual.

What does it mean for Ohio State?

I'm extremely concerned that Michigan won't be able to block the interior even a little bit; Denard on the edge may have to make up for that stuff. Michigan needs to find ways to get Denard and Devin in the same backfield for most running downs even if Denard can't block because I don't see anyone else making yards and the veer is so much better than every other Michigan running play they're going to need it.

Each week Gardner adds more evidence to his pile of Is Now Awesome. Gallon is the man. Joe Reynolds will have a catch or two in the game, and Dileo will still be criminally underused, except Michigan has been averaging like 15 yards an attempt so maybe not so criminal.

Pass blocking will be crucial.



November 22nd, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

I've always found "Goats?" to be kinda of sketchy declaration to make. I've always respected the ideal that you don't tear these college kids down. Go after the coaches, the ADs. But these are not pro athletes to rip on. These a 18 - 23 year olds just doing their best. No need to pile on if they had a rough day.

In addition, the idea that there were "Goats?" in a game that Michigan thoroughly dominated is ridiculous.


November 22nd, 2012 at 10:51 PM ^

Do you really think any of these 18-23 year olds would agree with you? Are they too young to be able to deal with criticism? I bet they would find that offensive. Its one thing to attack their character or something but do you really think they care that a website said their on field performance was not up to par? They care what their coaches think. Go protest a spelling bee man... Some feelings are getting hurt there.


November 23rd, 2012 at 12:01 AM ^

Is the reason why you don't like the "goats?" catagory simply because it uses the term "goat" to describe players who committed several mistakes throughout the game?  Would it be acceptable if it were called, "most in need of improvement"?  That's actually an equivocation fallacy.  You do realize that Brian's not actually refering to these players as "goats" in a literal sense right?


November 22nd, 2012 at 5:59 PM ^

Brian started the "Sheridan = death" meme. Proclaiming "Goats" is in the same vein. Brian is human but there is a line between calling out mistakes on individual plays by individual players and stepping into ad hominem territory. Considering the Sheridan example, this is even more egregious since the attacks on the player were obviously an exercise in overlooking the shortcomings of the paid professionals and instead focusing on the shortcomings of the amateur student athletes. 


Perhaps instead of "Heroes" and "Goats" it should be "Extra Dessert" and "Extra Laps".


November 23rd, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

When I played I was called a lot worse by the coaches and kids who read The Daily Northwestern. "Goat" for a day would have been perfectly acceptable to me.

I share the OP's thought to be cautious in criticizing because most of the time in college I found the media write ups to be terribly inaccurate in assigning blame. We as players just often did not see it the same way. It's hard when a bunch of people who know so little about sports or your team have collectively decided that your close friend, "sucks" and think its cool to blast him in public. I remember as a freshman getting absolutely skewered (verbally) in an elevator based on a column written about a game I pitched in. I bet those kids would have kept their mouths shut if they realized I was standing right there. In summary, goat is fine, justified criticism is fine. Be careful about going overboard on blame.


November 23rd, 2012 at 12:16 AM ^

This is not in regards to the UFR, but the lack of Ohio week material.

This is Ohio's recruiting weekend. They are using Bo.

The people need hype.


November 23rd, 2012 at 4:20 AM ^

Thanks for the post on Thanksgiving, Brian.  Did you get time to eat any turkey??  

Considering how much stick Brian took after the MInnesota game and not being all 'Devin is the greatest QB in Michigan history'...I think he's been more than fair in his assessment of Gardner in the last couple weeks.  Actually it's been fun to see Brian get more and more excited about the QB position for the next year.


November 23rd, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

Ace added scrambles to the positive in his FFFF; I have not yet done that. If you do Gardner pops up to 83%,

Shouldn't four scrambles on fewer than 30 attempts increase his percentage by more than that?  Or is there some kind of different calculation there for scrambles?