Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on October 31st, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Formation notes: Much of the game was spent with Michigan in 2WR looks, leading to a lot of 4-3's like this with the linebackers shifted over the slot and a cornerback overhanging. When the receivers were split instead of twinned Michigan either got a straight up 4-3 even with two deep safeties or a shifted 4-4 look.


When Michigan spread the field, Nebraska defenders would go with them. Against three wide looks you got this:


And against four wide looks it was usually this:


Occasionally a safety would screw down but there weren't enough snaps with Denard on the field and M in a true spread to test it. Interestingly enough, I saw both Oregon and Arizona run double stacks last weekend like Borges does, except when they ran double stacks those stacks were damn near the edge of the field.

Substitution notes: Nothing new except for the obvious switch at QB. Rawls still can't get a snap. Funchess is playing all over the field, but rarely as an in-line TE.

[After the jump: it's okay and then DOOOOM.]

Go no go.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB sweep Robinson 3
Guy over the slot is a hybrid DB/LB sort. M blocks down, pulls playside G and C around. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) eliminates the playside end. Omameh(+1) cuts the playside end. LBs are flowing hard, hard, hard, and Omameh has to do this in the backfield. Mealer comes around, but he's a little slow because of his angle. If he doesn't take the angle he probably gets caught up in the wash, so maybe correct? Mealer(+0.5) also cuts a linebacker; safety has hit the LOS very fast and Toussaint(-1) just got beat by that slot LB. Michigan brought Gallon on end-around motion that didn't slow anyone relevant to the play and allowed that safety to not even get a token block from the slot WR. RPS -1. Picture paged.
M32 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Smith goes in motion presnap to give the appearance of a triple option. M runs it up the gut. Barnum(-1) controlled and shot into the hole by a DT. No crease, Toussaint must cutback. This robs Mealer of a blocking angle on the MLB, who sticks Toussaint in the hole. Omameh(-0.5), Schofield(-0.5).
M34 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Circle Gallon Inc
Gallon runs a good route that sends the nickelback to his knees and will get the first down if he catches the ball; he'll probably turn it upfield for a bunch of YAC. Denard misses. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Ace double stack 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Throwback screen Gallon -2
Nebraska has this scouted and sends their nickelback directly at Gallon on the snap. He's got no shot. RPS -3. (CA, 3, screen)
M13 2 12 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Dime Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 9
Nebraska has five in the box, so there is no one containing. Denard gives. Toussaint(+0.5) sees no one until Stafford comes up seven yards downfield and tries to shoulder-block him down. Toussaint bounces off and is trying to disengage when Stafford grabs his foot; still a couple YAC. RPS +2, but like more a Zook RPS.
M22 3 3 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB draw Robinson 6
Very conservative with another two deep shell and one of the LBs flexing out over the slot. This is actually a QB draw, so screaming RUN at Denard, as I did, is not necessary. Nebraska is sending a LB upfield in anticipation of this and there isn't a crease in the middle of the field. Lewan(+1) is waiting for his guy to pick a side and attack; when Robinson(+1) moves out and threatens on the edge the DE pops out; Lewan stays engaged and starts riding him. Denard cuts back inside, which I actually think is the wrong move because he's got it easy if it's on the edge. As it is he shoots up past the interior pursuit and makes the first down with ease.
M28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass PA Post Roundtree Inc
Inverted veer play action, dios mio man. Protection is pretty good until Barnum loses the guy he pulled into; still good enough to bomb it deep without getting Denard hit. The deep bomb is to Roundtree, who's got only a step or two on the corner. It's a little long; Roundtree lays out and catches it, until the replay guy says he did not catch it. Would actually prefer Denard to hold this up a bit so it's either not that tough a catch or the CB runs over the guy but a large part of why this is tough is because it's Roundtree instead of say Braylon Edwards. (CA, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M28 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run End around Gallon 8 + 15 pen
Omameh pulls as the line blocks down. Omameh is not blocking for Gallon, he's blocking for something a bit further inside. Man press on the outside takes the CB inside with Gardner until he is clearly blocking; CB then recovers to push Gallon out after a nice gain. RPS +1; blocking not required on this play. Nebraska gets a late hit after.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Run QB sweep Robinson 7
Fitz runs to the field and takes a handoff fake as everyone pulls for the boundary, which slightly delays the LBs. Kwiatkowski(-0.5) gives a lot of ground to the DE and loses him late; awkward, still not quite enough to get Robinson tackled. Barnum(+1) latches on to a corner and kicks him well outside; Mealer(+1) adjusts to the WLB flowing up hard and gives Robinson a lane. Play design was likely to get that WLB blocked by Omameh after he bit to the Fitz fake, but no sale. Again the fake away from the playside gives a safety a free fill. Robinson(+0.5) is tackled, falls forward.
O42 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Inside zone Toussaint -1
Nebraska shows man press and creeps a safety down. Denard would have screwed his read up but I don't think it's actually a read since he goes for a bubble fake throw afterwards instead of running. Omameh(-1) gets some drive on the backside DT but then ends up losing that guy to the playside; Toussaint(-2) should cut behind that block and meet Compton near the LOS for a yard or three. Instead he starts a dancing around and gets TFLed. I don't understand why they're not doubling on the LOS at all. Drive this guy back with a double and you're nearing first down yardage. RPS –1.
O43 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Robinson 5
The pass on which Denard has a million years and screaming RUN at the television is eminently appropriate. It looks like Denard misses Funchess but a LB got a really good chuck on him so maybe there's a safety there in time. It appears three of the other four guys are covered. Denard(+1) eventually runs around and lunges over the first down line. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel press man Run Inside zone Smith 0
A safety does come down for a one high look. There is no read here. Michigan blocks everyone on the LOS and hands off to Smith. Smith then gets eaten up by an unblocked MLB, because that's what happens when you don't use your numerical advantage. RPS -2.
O38 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Inverted veer give Smith 2
RPSed here as a safety moves down late and the LBs bug out playside. No apparent contain so Denard hands. Toussaint is running by the LB, going for the safety, Smith is one in one in space with Compton and can't do much. He does get by eventually; it takes him a long time and the cavalry can rally. RPS -1.
O36 3 8 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 Dime Pass Hitch Jackson Inc
Nebraska sends six. All short routes are covered; Jackson gets no separation because obviously. Denard throws to him, good throw, no chance because obviously. Had a free rusher coming around the outside, had to get rid of it. (CA, 0, protection ½, team -1)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(53), 4 min 1st Q. Gallon derfs the ensuing Nebraska punt and M ends up backed up.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M2 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Dime Run QB iso Robinson 6
Again five in the box. Stealing. Mealer(+1) and Omameh(+1) double the NT, blowing him back, sealing, and getting out on the only LB. Barnum(+1) kicks the other DT himself, big gap. Toussaint(+0.5) knocks a safety coming down. Denard gets an easy seven. RPS +1
M8 2 4 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Iso Toussaint 8
Mealer(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) again turn the NT out. Barnum(+0.5) has an easy time with the other DT; Hopkins(+1) pops the LB in the hole and Toussaint(+0.5) runs right up the hole through a safety arm tackle before stumbling into the last guy.
M16 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Dime Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
Nebraska sends the corner as contain and Denard(+0.5) keeps; Dileo(-2) chases the corner pointlessly instead of moving to the second level to get a safety. This allows the safety to contain and holds this down; if Dileo walls this guy off even a little this could be big. RPS push, I guess. Corner blitz did get a two for one; Nebraska still had no shot at holding this to less than they did.
M21 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB sweep Robinson 2
Another blocking screwup as Barnum(-2) peels back for a guy shooting inside of him. Mealer(+1) chops the guy like a champ, but that's a two for one and the nickelback has a free run at Denard. Another run that could have broken big with minimally competent blocking. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) got a good block on the playside end too FWIW. Lewan(+0.5) rode another DL out of the play.
M23 3 3 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Power Toussaint -1
Nebraska loads up and goes after it, slanting the playside DE and sending three guys behind him at three blockers. Kwiatkowski(-1) ends up blocking no one as the SAM comes under him. Omameh(-1) runs by him as well. Kerridge(-1) misses on the edge, too, and nobody gets blocked at all. RPS -2; this was a combination of getting beat on the call and crappy blocking.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, EO1Q. When Hoke fumed after the game about the blocking, he was probably thinking of this drive more than anything.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Run End around Gallon 6
Playside end left alone and sucked in by the potential for Denard to run. Gardner(+1) gets a good crackback block on the playside LB, so no edge. Now three on two on the edge, though. Toussaint(+0.5) gets a good block on one DB; Gallon uses that block to get as many as he can.
M27 2 4 Shotgun trips Te 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Out Jackson Inc
Roundtree motions out of the backfield. Denard has a couple outs for the first down, choosing the inside one. Jackson takes a weird hop step as he gets out of his break and ends up trying to catch a ball in front of him that should be in his chest; he drops it. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M27 3 4 Shotgun 2-back 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Jackson 6
Jackson finally just shoves the DB away from him and gets some separation. Denard's throw is a bit late but not too bad; completion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 4
Robinson screws up the read; there is no one to the outside since the DE dives inside and the playside LB also does. A give is yards. Kwiatkowski(+1) had moved from one to the other. Denard(-1) pulls and then has both those guys inside and has to start dancing around. Barnum(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) blew a DT off the ball and got to a linebacker so there is some room once he cuts back behind that business. Safety and DE can combine to tackle.
M37 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB iso Robinson 1
World's worst lead block by Toussaint(-2) who gets destroyed at the LOS and moves backwards, preventing Denard from cutting behind and picking up some yards. Mealer(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) had walled it off on the backside and Barnum(+0.5) dealt with the other guy okay, nice crease if a minimally competent lead block is executed.
M38 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Out Jackson 8
Slot guy on Jackson stumbles out of the break, so some separation. Throw seems a little behind Jackson but hard to tell if it's relevant given the stumble. Complete. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M46 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass PA FB seam Hopkins Inc (Pen +15)
Slot guy walks off the WR presnap. Michigan goes play action, showing veer and backing out. Linebackers suck up and are gone. Denard has a nice pocket and finds Hopkins shooting to the second level. His throw is a little high, a little behind Hopkins, forcing a harder catch out of him than is necessary and taking him off his feet. CA/MA borderline; his throw did make this tougher. (MA, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +1) Nebraska picks up a targeting flag afterwards. I made this a one because Hopkins got hit in the head immediately after the catch.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press man Run End around Gallon 3
Gardner(-1) misses his crackback block this time and the guy in man going in motion is looking for this so once Gallon cuts inside of an eh block from Toussaint he doesn't have much room.
O36 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass PA RB flat Smith 1
PA off the same action they just ran. Immediate pressure, guy in Smith's business as Denard has to dump off immediately. No pull; all previous plays here have pulled a lineman. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O35 3 6 Pistol double stack 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Deep hitch Funchess Inc
Smith hops to one side of Denard when he motions for the snap. Robinson finds Funchess for about 15 in between two guys; NFL window. Ball gets raked out. Lewan picks up a dubious holding call that is declined. No replay to see how legit, but it looks like the guy just fell over Lewan as he fell. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Funchess really needs to come back for this ball to get away from the coverage; he's sitting still instead of attacking the ball. Well past the sticks, so...
Drive Notes: FG(52), 3-7, 8 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA Post Roundtree 32
Inverted veer PA, blocked well, gets linebackers sucked up and the two WRs one on one with DBs in man coverage. Denard steps up and nails Roundtree for a big gain; Roundtree had not gotten any separation but did shield the DB away with his body. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
O42 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 2
Safety creeps down for an eighth guy in the box. Why you would do this when they're laying back on shotgun stuff I don't know. Nebraska slants, using the S as contain; Mealer(-1) loses his guy into the hole. Toussaint(+0.5) gets a couple. RPS -1.
O40 2 8 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Screen Smith 10
Just one blocker leaking out, Omameh. Williams is tasked with the MLB. Denard holds on to this too long, I think, as Smith should have an extra moment or two to get his bearings after the catch. He doesn't but Omameh(+0.5) gets out to wall off a guy who is keeping leverage and Williams(+0.5) gets a shove, so Smith(+1) has a crease up the middle of the field he deftly takes. Smith is tracked down from behind by a peeling DL as the safeties converge on him, (CA, 3, screen)
O30 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 2
Blocking scheme is odd here as instead of trying to seal out one NT and get a guard to the second level Lewan releases downfield and has no angle on one of the LBs. I wonder if that's a bust? Lewan might have been tasked with trapping around. Mealer(-0.5) gets no push on the other DT and when he releases downfield from the double with Omameh the DT is free. He forces Toussaint away from him and into the guy Lewan has no angle on. Barnum(+1) got a good block on the other DT; Kerridge(+0.5) got a pop on the MLB before sliding off. Toussaint gets taken down by the unblocked LB. Picture paged.
O28 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press man Pass Post Gardner Inc (Pen +10)
Safeties creeping down more now. Robinson takes a shot. Again no separation as the DB rides Gardner all the way downfield and gets a leaping stab at it. Gardner gets one, too, getting one hand on it and almost hauling it in after the ball clunks off the hand. (CA, 1, protection 2/2) Nebraska gets a penalty for riding the guy forever, so maybe not so bad for Gardner. RPS +1, deep route one on one.
O18 1 10 Shotgun 2-back twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Option motion from Kerridge. Michigan hands off, not sure if this is a read. If it is, it's a blown once since M has two on one on the edge and a lot of space. Nebraska's DL gets playside of the line, which normally wouldn't be a big deal but here there's a totally unblocked LB in the hole since M has them outnumbered on the edge and isn't running out there. LB tackles. RPS –2. Picture paged.
O16 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB draw Robinson 8
Funchess lined up next to Denard in World's Most Obvious Future Wheel Route. I can't tell but I think this is actually a called run. Toussaint is hunting LBs. Denard has nothing inside as Nebraska stunts the DTs; Lewan(+1) gets him the edge when the DE gets too aggressive and is pushed past the play. Robinson(+1) gets to the edge, decides to get the first down instead of running OOB, knocks elbow, is out.


starts here, feels bad man

O8 1 G Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Bellomy 1
Blitz. DT threatens to slant under Schofield; Barnum is pulling for the veer and gets held up by that guy's quick entrance into the backfield. Not much Schofield or Barnum can do, the guy timed it perfectly and was moving forward at the snap. Bellomy(+0.5) makes the right read as the LB flying up takes the RB, and goes straight upfield into the linebacker Barnum isn't blocking. Almost certainly a TD without that two for one, but that's why they run that blitz. RPS -1.
O7 2 G Pistol trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Angle Funchess Inc
Funchess sets up for a hitch, drawing the MLB over to him, then releases inside. He has to basically go through the MLB, who is essentially blocking him, and does so. Impressive. Bellomy finds him and slings it well behind him. Gallon flashbacks from last week. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
O7 3 G Shotgun trips bunch tight 1 1 3 Okie zero Pass Drag Roundtree Inc
Nebraska sends the house, seven guys. Roundtree's running a drag and should take it vertical but doesn't know it, Bellomy has to start rolling away from the pressure and throw. Ball is well wide but Roundtree was getting chucked as he throws the ball and there's nowhere to go. (PR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: FG(24), 6-7, 2 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Dime Pass Slant Roundtree Inc
Blitzes, man coverage, ball well behind Roundtree. DB clearly goes through him to break it up but no flag. Boo. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
O45 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass TE Flat Funchess Inc
Funchess pops wide open and can turn this up for a first down if it's not punted into the stands by Bellomy. (IN, 0, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O45 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack N/A -10
Omameh(-2) smoked, allows guy right up middle. Mealer(-1) does not adjust so someone was coming free anyway, now it's two someones, sackage. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)
Drive Notes: EOH, 6-7.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 7
Well blocked all around. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) gets the playside DE in, albeit dodgily. Schofield(+1) gets push on a DT and then gets to the second level to harass Compton. He can't seal the guy because he's hopping to the play but he is making life difficult. Barnum(+1) finds the other LB shooting into the gap and adjusts to put him to the ground. Kerridge(+1) kicks out the overhanging corner and just keeps blasting him to the sideline, giving Toussaint(+1) room to run past Compton, who's off balance thanks to the Schofield block. Safety fills at this point.
O47 2 3 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA hitch Gallon Inc
Nebraska brings a sixth guy to the LOS and rolls a safety down behind. Michigan passes. Gallon gets open on a hitch just past the sticks, Bellomy hits him, dropped. GRARG (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O47 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press man Pass Dumpoff Smith INT
DE comes inside and bowls over Barnum(-1) as he spins inside Lewan. DE falls, is getting up, Bellomy has to dump it, goes with a Smith out that is pretty well covered. He puts it short, Smith tries to dig it out of the turf, somehow contrives to pop it up to a defender, who intercepts and runs it back. Woo. (MA, 2, protection ½, Barnum -1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 12 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Zone stretch Smith -4
Gallon motions for the end around, M runs a stretch the other way. Mealer(-3) lets a DT he gets his helmet across get under him way too quick. That should be dead meat for the defense, instead a DT chases Smith into a TFL. Lewan(-1) also screwed up his stretch block.
M28 2 14 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon Inc
Fortunate this is dropped because three guys were about to bury Gallon in the backfield. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -3).
M28 3 14 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack N/A -8
Six sent against six blockers, with the guy off the corner coming free from a long way away. This is on Bellomy, and the playcall, and the fact that the corner can blitz off Jackson and he still can't get open. (PR, N/A, protection 2/3, team -1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-10, 10 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 1
M doubles both DTs, gets little movement. Mealer(-1) spends way too long after it's clear the DT they've got is moving outside; he never releases downfield. Omameh(-1) does not get any push on the other DT and Schofield(-1) does not step around him, so he's there when Omameh releases into the other LB. Nowhere to go.
M36 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Gardner Inc
Bellomy way late and high to a covered Gardner. No one open on three short routes. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
M36 3 9 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Hitch Toussaint Inc
Toussaint motions way out. M rolls to the 3 WR side. Bellomy launches a five yard hitch that isn't getting the first down anyway into the stands. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-13, 7 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Dime Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 1
Toussaint(-2) is one on one with a linebacker trying to flow out and has five, six yards easy if he just friggin runs the ball to the hash. Instead, he stops and gets tackled.
M32 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA TE flat Funchess Inc
Corner blitz with LB moving out on Funchess and safety on Jackson, instant pressure, turfed, wasn't getting anything anyway. (PR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -2)
M32 3 9 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Jackson Inc (Pen +30!)
Bunch of covered hitches at the sticks, Bellomy throws high into an NFL window to Jackson, ball off his fingertips, M bailed out by targeting call. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O48 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass PA FB flat Kerridge 12
PA, nice blitz pickup from Toussaint. Nobody covers Kerridge, Bellomy has all day, he thinks about deep and then fires a looper to Kerridge. (CA, 3, protection 3/3. RPS +1)
O36 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint -1
Yet another play on which an ILB has no blocker. WTF. Schofield or Mealer must have busted. Guess it's on Mealer(-1), but even if he picks the right guy this play is tough to see work. RPS –1. Picture paged.
O37 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA Post Roundtree Inc (Pen +15)
Inverted veer PA, everyone open. Funchess releases after an initial block, which gets Bellomy some pressure as Barnum(-1) can't handle blocking a guy who's already been chipped on his pull. Toussaint's wheel looks open, Bellomy goes for it all at a single-covered Roundtree post. The throw is crappy, driving Roundtree back outside; he does get a hand on it but it's a tough, tough catch, one he doesn't make. Very dubious PI bails M out. (MA, 1, protection 1/2, Barnum -1, RPS +1)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Power off tackle Toussaint 3
Gallon end around action, he doesn't get the ball, RB does. LB shoots up into the hole; Barnum(-1) does too as Smith cuts that guy. Another example of a block being executed just fine as someone else decides it won't be. No one trusts anyone. Schofield(+1) gets good push on the playside DT, which gets Toussaint a few. Notably, the nickelback went with Gallon in case of PA. If Barnum flares good yardage awaits.
O19 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel press man Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Corner blitz. Barnum(-2) destroyed by backside DT, getting blown yards back. Toussaint manages to run by it. Lewan(-1) lost backside DE, everyone else is hopping frontside, unblocked LB with nothing in his way hits Toussaint.
O19 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel press man Run Speed option pitch Smith -3
LB takes off for the edge on the presnap motion and annihilates Smith. RPS -2. Telegraphed, no chance for Schofield to get out on the guy.
Drive Notes: FG(37), 9-16, 1 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run PA Fly Gallon INT
Play action not super effective since the pulling lineman is pulling away from the run action but M doesn't care about LBs here anyway and is probably just trying to buy some time. The pass rush is picked up until Toussaint(-1) trips Mealer, sending a DT in to Bellomy's face. Both double moves work, Roundtree and Gallon are open. Gallon is streaking past a guy open by three or so yards as Bellomy loads up... and leaves this ball about 15 yards short. (INX, 0, protection 1/2, Toussaint –1, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 9-16, 11 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB power Bellomy 1
Kwiatkowski(-0.5) gives some ground and makes Barnum's pull awkward but Barnum gets around it. Omameh(+0.5) has shoved the DT far enough inside for a gap to open. One of the LBs moves up to fill it as Toussaint and Barnum go around. Bellomy(-2) cuts away from his blocking into the unblocked LB and gets tackled.
M30 2 9 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
Nebraska shows man with a blitz, Bellomy checks(!!!). It's power. Toussaint thinks it's a pitch. He recovers to get the handoff eventually. Kwiatkowski(-1) gets a little push to start but then goes dead and gives the ground back. Omameh(-0.5) pulls. He hits a guy for a kickout; that guy bounces off and can tackle with help from the other guy after a minimal gain.
M31 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Dig Gardner 15
Three man rush, ton of time. Bellomy steps up and shoots one to Gardner for a leaping catch past the sticks. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M46 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Scramble Bellomy 15
Mealer(-1) gets beaten by a DT, so Bellomy(+1) has to step up past that guy as he threatens to sack. The rest of the NU DL is contained and so once he's past the DT he's got a running lane he takes for a nice gain. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/3, Mealer -1)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even Run PA circle Gallon 11
Mealer(-1) run over. Barnum(-1) misses the DE on his pull, pressure and lots of it. Bellomy flings a duck out to Gallon; S runs through a corner route behind the circle Gallon is running but can't get there in time to prevent YAC. Michigan should be running simple stuff like this more often. (CA, 3, protection 0/2)
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass TE out Funchess Inc
Funchess may be open for five and an instant tackle; pass is batted. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
O28 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Post Gardner INT
Token PA fake. Bellomy throws into double coverage well behind Gardner. INX or BRX, take your pick. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 9-23, 7 min 4th Q. Nebraska runs out the rest of the clock.


Is it safe to come out?

Ask Denard's ulnar nerve compression.

If I do so in this space will it respond to me or am I stuck with you?

I think we need to re-evaluate just who is stuck with who here.

It's clearly me being stuck with you.


I've decided I don't want any—


--charts this week, for obvious reasons. Now go away.



That's a graph, idiot.

You're the one who keeps asking for goats on defense after they give up like four points.

That's part of the shtick.

Here's a chart:

[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%

I think that may have made a difference. Bellomy's most terrifying throw was probably one of his three completions. Kerridge was at the sideline about ten yards downfield, wide open. Bellomy checked deep and then decided to throw that checkdown. That part is all good. It's just about what happened after:

It's never good when the color guy is laughing at your completion. That may have gotten blown back in Bellomy's face if there was a stiff wind.

Meanwhile, his second interception was actually Evil Genius Al Borges getting two separate guys wide open deep and Bellomy leaving the ball thousands of yards short because he did a weird hop backfoot thing:

Wow. I feel bad for the kid for being put in a situation he was clearly not ready for, and wonder what the hell could be going on in practices that made anyone think they could move Gardner.

But, man, was he far from the only problem.

There is no manchart. It's like a not man chart.


Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 2 2 0 They aren't really running any plays on which his blocking is relevant. That is bizarre.
Barnum 5.5 6 -0.5 Also crappy pass blocking.
Mealer 5 5.5 -0.5 Also also crappy pass blocking.
Omameh 4 4 0 Meh.
Schofield 2 1.5 0.5 Rush, a smaller guy, didn't give him much trouble.
Kwiatkowski 2.5 3 -0.5 Didn't seem to be getting as much movement.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 0.5 - 0.5  
Funchess - - - DNC
TOTAL 21.5 22 49% Atrocious.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 4 1 3 Goodnight sweet prince.
Bellomy 1.5 2 -0.5 One scramble, one blown QB power.
Toussaint 3.5 7 -3.5 Some bad blocking, one extremely bad cut.
Rawls - - - DNP
Smith 1 - 1 Screen.
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins 1 - 1 Back.
Kerridge 1.5 1 0.5 Blocks not relevant because other LB often unblocked.
TOTAL 12.5 11 1.5 Rawls can at least block, I assume.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 1 1 0 -
Roundtree - - - -
Gallon - - -  
Jackson - - -  
Dileo - 2 -2  
Reynolds - - -  
Darboh - - -  
TOTAL 1 3 -2 When you can't get to the secondary this happens.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 36 11 77% Mealer –3, Barnum –3, Omameh –2, Team –2, Toussaint -1
RPS 14 26 -12 Throwbacks: scouted.

The pass blocking is okay, and Denard gets off okay. Everything else was a complete debacle. You may want to take the RPS number with a grain of salt since Bellomy and everything; still, Borges called two throwback screens that had a maximum output of 0 yards that would only be achieved if the receiver dropped the ball. When you call a play that has a zero percent chance of being positive, that's –3, and you have to make up for it elsewhere with chunk plays. Michigan didn't really.

The rest of the team was a trainwreck, basically, as the picture pages attested to. I've got a second one on the docket that's going to be a bunch of guys getting confused and blocking nobody, like Barnum here:

I can't even complain about no stretch blocking because the one time they ran a stretch Mealer let a guy come right under him on a play that otherwise would have been a decent to big gain. They can't really block anything anymore. They can't combo on inside zone, they don't have the power to knock people back for gap schemes, they get in space and twirl around looking for people to block. They've been holding it together previously, but for whatever reason they fell apart in Lincoln. Given the Cornhusker's defensive rankings—90th in run defense before Saturday—I don't think you can mitigate their performance by pointing to the guys across the LOS like last week.

So the failure was total.

What is wrong with the blocking?

One thing I don't get is Michigan's tendency to jet to the second level without any combo blocks. This is second and three. Watch Mealer and Omameh.

Mealer releases immediately, leaving Omameh with a tough job on a guy slanting under him. He loses that battle, but he's trying to cut off a guy lined up inside of him. Mealer should hit the DT on the snap, get some motion on him, allow Omameh to come under, and then release.

Meanwhile, a team with Denard Robinson isn't even using the zone read here. Schofield blocks the DE and Kerridge goes backside to block no one, leaving an unblocked LB on the cutback. That's a hugely broken play design or a huge bust, and they were so frequent in this game it seems clear the offense has no damn idea what it's doing.

This should be happening on every snap, basically:

Mealer goes BOOM into the DT, Omameh hits him and seals him, Mealer releases. Same setup on the line, with an even front. Too many times Michigan is not running that double, and they're paying for it. Maybe you can get away with it when you have an Alabama level OL, but Michigan doesn't. Can anyone explain why sometimes you get a double against and sometimes you don't against the same front? I'm really at a loss.

And then there's just busted play design. I mean, run the damn zone read!

That is a potential touchdown if Schofield releases downfield into the only(!) linebacker and Denard reads the end. Instead Denard reads nobody and that guy is unblocked for a zero-yard tackle. No, it's not a bust by the OL. Michigan did the same thing later on a another blown up inside zone.

That is just infuriating. What are you trying to do? Who are you optioning? Do you understand the concepts of this offense at all? How do you expect to get yards with Denard's legs without optioning a guy off?

At least Michigan got some play action off the veer, though.

So there's that. That and infinite unblocked linebackers, who are probably Denard's fault too.

But Michigan was moving the ball before Denard went out.

In fits and starts, sure. Michigan drives before Denard went down:

  1. Three and out
  2. 12 play, 49-yard drive ending in long missed FG
  3. One first down and out
  4. 10 play, 44 yard drive ending in long FG
  5. 10 play, 67 yard drive ending in FG

They were on pace to put up 20 points on a bad defense and had a long run of nine yards against a team that implodes versus mobile quarterbacks. It was bad. Maybe Michigan pulls it out if Denard stays in, but that would be thanks to the munificence of the defense more than anything else. Even if you extrapolate the first half yardage—177—to a full game you only get 354 yards. This is a team that gave up 371 rushing yards to Ohio State.

Receivers and their existential crisis?

[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 1 0/1 1/1 -   12 0/5 2/5 14/15
Roundtree 2 0/1 1/1 1/1   10 0/3 4/4 9/10
Gallon 2     2/4   9 0/1 3/5 16/18
J. Robinson           1 0/1 0/1 2/2
Dileo           1 1/1 3/3 5/5
Jackson 2     2/3   5     5/7
Kwiatkowski                 3/3
Funchess 2 0/1 0/1     4 2/4 1/3 8/8
Hopkins   0/1         0/1    
Toussaint 1         1 0/2 1/2 4/4
Smith   0/1   2/2     0/1 1/2 6/6
Kerridge       1/1     0/1   1/1

So a week after he was the offense against Michigan State, Drew Dileo gets no targets. Instead Michigan throws at Jeremy Jackson five times, and on all of those throws there is a defender implanted in his chest. I don't get it. Jackson can't get separation from anyone, and he's got two flat out drops in seven attempts, plus a number of those uncatchable balls are because defenders are breaking them up due to the lack of separation, instead of just being inaccurate like the top three guys. Look at Dileo's chart! THROW AT THAT GUY.

Where is Rawls?

Don't know. He should be tried. Michigan's not getting anything out of Toussaint and he might be able to run over those unblocked linebackers some.

Where is Funchess?

Double-covered and badly missed when targeted.

What is love?



Denard, for a half.


Everyone except Denard, who was actually having a wonderful day. Al Borges does come in for a bunch of WTFs in this game from the reliance on Jackson instead of Dileo to ALL THE UNBLOCKED LBs. Nebraska wasn't even doing anything clever.

What does it mean for Minnesota and the future?

If Bellomy plays we're in trouble obviously. The blocking schemes are just not getting through to the players and seem to be going backwards. Guys are peeling back when their guy has another blocker or is about to be optioned off. MLBs are not getting IDed. Combo blocks are not even being attempted. And whatever they're trying to read is not clear to me, or evidently Denard.

Michigan managed to move the ball some largely because Nebraska was playing some wildly inviting defenses—five in the box against Denard Robinson, no one on the edge for the veer give—and they hit a couple deep plays. Against a D that has been a tire fire they still should have done much better. This game was a lot more depressing than the Michigan State game, and it's not all on Bellomy's shoulders.



October 31st, 2012 at 11:53 PM ^

Unless we are blessed with transfers of three first round picks who happen to be seniors (and were thus developed by a different staff) at QB (like, for instance, Jason Campbell) and RB (Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams), we will never have the personnel in which Borges has achieved success in a big six conference this century.  I am not optimistic that we will be getting those three transfers any time soon.

Meanwhile, when Holgerson started at West Virginia, he was able to use that personnel pretty well.  RR, in his first year at Arizona (which won all of four games last year), has used that personnel to go 5-3 so far and put up 39 points on a ranked USC team, 59 points on a ranked Wisconsin team, 35 points on a ranked Oregon State team, and 48 points on a ranked Stanford team.  (That offense is now ranked 4th in the country in yards per game and 20th in points per game.)  Meanwhile, our offense statistically regressed last year (80 fewer yards per game, for one), and has now taken regressed further.  There is no reason to expect anything but further regression next year.  Borges supporters say we should be patient for year 4.  Yet the only place at which he has lasted four years this century reveals a story of consistent regression.  (Year one he enjoyed the three senior first round picks in the backfield.)  I am interested to hear of other major programs who are moving to a WCO and achieving success.


November 1st, 2012 at 2:05 AM ^

The problem with the power blocking scheme is that the reads take backers to the ball. You depend on numbers advantage at the point of attack by counting noses on that side of the center and sending more blockers there than there are defensive noses. The backside of the defense needs to be gap sound against counter flow, so you retain numbers until it's crystal clear that no counter is on the way. With the lack of counter action in the offense, there is nothing to respect backside, so defensive flow gets aggressive. Denard gets loose on the invert from time-to-time because he is basically the counter action and he's Denard.

The beauty of zone blocking the thing getting chips and going to the second level is that so many vertical seams are formed and a lot of guys gotta figure out where the ball is going without a lead blocker telling them. On any play, with jet motion the defenders get 3 guesses on the hand-off/keep read, then deal with the thought of the qb throwing the thing either way.

Borges squeezes the field by formation to inside the numbers and more often inside the hashes. There's no damn space. Then most of the route packages wind up between the hashes, too. Unless someone's being chased, defenses only need to look for the ball between the hash marks. Al has cut the field space by two thirds and told the defense where the ball is going with the blocking scheme. Defenses don't even need to load the box because Al sort of does it for them. Rather than having corners spread to 5 yards from the sideline, pushing safeties either out to the numbers or forcing them into a one- high, Al lets 'em play bump-and-run-blitz with all the narrow spacing. Hell, even the line splits are tight, putting an inside linebacker into a position where they can cover the width of the run fits in 4 shuffle steps either way. I'm thinking if the logic ain't obvious and it ain't successful, then it must be stupid -- maybe that's a corollary to Occam's Razor.

Damnedest thing I've ever seen. Offensive suicide. I'm with Bigelly71 -- not even setting up to block guys, then leading 'em to the ball with pulling guy.

The whole unconstrained play calling is for another day. It's as if every play exists only for itself. Never makes the defense do anything but do recognition drills once they have some kind of sample size in the cut-ups.


November 1st, 2012 at 2:27 AM ^

The talent on our OL is average to above average in the B1G. I know we lost Molk but it looks as if Funk may not be doing a good job developing these lineman! Or there is some kind of weird disconnect between Borges and Funk.  Over the season, I can not blame Fitz, he is met more time than not in the back field. Denard gets off quick and usually finds a lane through the middle and if he can make it into the open field beyond the LB's he's going to end up with big yardage.

Anyhow, even with our somewhat malign offense, if Robinson would not have injured his arm nerve, I think we would have won 26  to 20.

The defense played well through most of the game but wore down in the 4th. Hopefully Borges will have his act together for a win over the Gopher.s. If Robinson cannot play, then I will worry.  Though,  I would not be surprised if the D takes over and scores some points for a low scoring victory.

I already have 2013 down as a new beginning for the WCO era. The more I think about next season the more I want Morris to start. It will be his break in year and as the team improves around him for his Sophomore, Junior and Senior years we will be back to 10 plus win seasons!


November 1st, 2012 at 9:25 AM ^

There is seriously absolutely nothing I want less than him starting next year.  We are graduating 3 OL starters and probably losing Lewan to the draft.  I don't want a true freshman out there that has had only the fall to learn the offense, with that untested of a line trying to protect him.  Plus, he missed half of his senior year with mono.  That is a recipe for disaster and injury.  Let him redshirt, learn the playbook, and build up his strength.

Bellomy hasn't shown himself to be a good option yet at QB, he'll need to drastically improve to be the starter.

They need to move Devin back from WR to QB.  He's got a great arm, and good mobility too.  There is no reason we shouldn't start him next year.


November 1st, 2012 at 6:02 AM ^

a little bit of trouble here. We heard a lot about RR's failure to adapt but. . . other side of the ball. Fairly tragic waste of Denard. 

If Brian and the post from 1M1UCLA above me there are half-right. . .

El Jeffe

November 1st, 2012 at 9:05 AM ^

My memory is that people crapped on RR for not adapting his offense to his personnel. Which, FTR, I always thought was an idiotic argument--if you want a pro-style offense, don't hire Rich Fucking Rodriguez.

The argument about the defense was not so much about failing to adapt but about first getting stupidly involved in Shafer's job (the disastrous 3-3-5 game against Purdue) and then stupidly firing Shafer and then stupidly hiring GERG and stupidly not firing Tony Gibson et al. Whole lotta stupid, that.

I'm actually not as bearish on Borges as some. Obviously our offense has underperformed, especially compared to what coulda been had RR not been so very stupid about the defense, but that's part of what you get when you fire a coach after three years and bring in a totally different kind of coach. I will reserve judgment on Borges until several more years. At the same time, watching Denard muddle through whatever this offense is does make me a little sad.


November 1st, 2012 at 1:10 PM ^

Earlier in the thread, you say (in response to Borges criticism): don't let facts and evidence get in the way of good internet spleen.  Now you claim that Michigan was top 20 in yard and points per game last year.  With even a little research, you would know that that is false. 

2010 (RR): 488.7 Yards/game -- 8th in nation

2011 (Borges): 404.7 Yards/game -- 42nd in nation

2012 (Borges): 378.1 Yards/game -- 82nd in nation

We also were not top 20 in points per game last year. 

The overwhelming facts and evidence of Borges' long career show failure and regression.  Is it perfectly linear regression?  Of course not.  But his offenses have by and large not shown improvement at his various stops this century, be it in the Pac-10 (Cal), Big Ten (Indiana), or SEC (Auburn).  So we are left with the "progression" of the 2010 Mountain West team in which a NFL-drafted QB managed to complete 57% of his passes.  Furthermore, the QB of that team (Ryan Lindley) was coached by SDSU's QB coach, Brian Sipe (who studied under Don Coryell himself).  Based on the historical evidence we have, the likelihood that Borges will be able to develop a successful offense in the Big Ten and develop a QB who will be able to throw the very high risk, high reward long balls with slow developing plays that Borges embraces is just not very high.  There is a reason why so many other teams on the college and pro level have embraced high-percentage plays and up-tempo offenses.  And there's a reason Nick Saban is worried about those kinds of offenses (complaining that teams shouldn't be able to play that fast), and not worried at all about the offense Borges would like to create.


November 1st, 2012 at 1:20 PM ^

Your fantasies about Saban's concerns seem belied by the fact that he has, himself, chosen to run an offense that, while not identical by any means, is much closer to what Borges prefers than it is to what you claim he thinks is a superior offense.


November 1st, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

My apologies. 23rd in points.

My question remains: we had a large effective offense last year. Why is this year's offense significantly less effective?

I'm not going to argue that Borges is a brilliant play-caller (I have no idea, and my opinion is worthless). What I don't think he does is draw up play designed to leave the MLB unblocked.


November 1st, 2012 at 9:50 AM ^

Another question:

Is it possible that Molk, a 4 year starter at Center, was better at making the OL calls than Mealer, who wasn't a center until maybe August?

Could this partially explain unsound blocking schemes where none existed last year?