Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 15th, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Formation notes: There apparently wasn't anything that I thought was notable in this department; I have no screenshots. Here's a FINAL/OT shot for no reason:


Oh look here's something. Look, I-Form Big. Lots of it in this game.


This was mostly a passing formation because obviously.

Substitution notes: Nothing of note. This bit always gets thin on offense late in the year because roles are established and substitutions are limited to the obvious ones people already know about.

Oh, right, Devin Gardner played quarterback.

[AFTER THE JUMP: hopefully something more interesting than the stuff above the jump /hardsell'd]

Morf morf.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Hitch Gallon 8
Almost a 4-4 with one of those safeties rolled up. Gallon and poor CB play turns a 4 yard hitch into eight yards. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M33 2 2 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 5
Twin TE set that gets more balanced as Funchess motions over into an H-back spot. The end to the playside crashes inside, looking to pick off the puller. I'm iffy on how Funchess(+0.5) gets this block done but he does do so. Omameh(+0.5) can get around the guy and then get enough of a shove on a charging LB to get Toussaint(+0.5) the edge; Gallon(+0.5) knocked an aggressive safety inside, leaving Toussaint with the corner. Toussaint runs him over, stepping out of bounds as he does so. Barnum(+0.5) locked out the playside end, Lewan(+0.5) the playside LB. Executed well all around here and still just five yards.
M38 1 10 Pro set 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Counter flare screen Toussaint Inc
Lewan(-1) fails to cut the playside end, who knocks the pass down. (BA, 0, protection 0/1, Lewan -1)
M38 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Counter pitch Toussaint 0
Playside end hangs out outside, no one bites on the FB dive, two guys out into the boundary. RPS -2.
M38 3 10 Shotgun triple stack 1 0 4 Okie zero Pass Deep slant JRobinson Inc
NW sends the house, leaving pure man coverage. Inevitable free runner is inevitably free, but at least he's to the outside. Gardner stands in and fires a dart to JRobinson about fifteen yards downfield. Corner is sitting on something in this range since the blitz is so heavy and breaks on it to break it up. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Long handoff Gallon 6
CB off, instant throw, decent yards, why did we never do this before? (CA, 3, screen)
M28 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Jet sweep Hayes -6
Hayes in the slot. NW sends a safety hard on the snap; Hayes(-1) can cut upfield of Toussaint, who blocks the guy, and chooses not to, but that is an on the fly adjustment for a guy who never gets PT and a clear indicator NW is waiting for this. RPS -2.
M22 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Comeback Gallon 11
Dropback, pump, fire. Michigan may get a generous spot here. NW cornerbacks are awful moment: is open despite Gallon slipping out of his break. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 even Pass PA scramble Gardner 4
Even line, LB on the LOS to the field, S walked all the way into the box. NW gets back so no one open deep; Gardner should probably hit Toussaint on a dumpoff but instead takes off. I get the decision since he gets run down from behind and if that doesn't happen he gets 6-8. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M37 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Sweep Toussaint 3
Kwiatkowski(-1) is handled by the DE, neither sealed nor fended off. He gives up a lot of ground; the pulling OL are wise enough to go inside. Toussaint follows. Schofield(+1) got a driving block on the playside DT to open up some space; LB hits at the LOS to close that down mostly; crashing DE from behind tackles as Kwiatkowski's man falls off to also tackle. Guy blitzed off slot to contain Gardner, if this is an option good call. Bubble etc.
M40 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass Scramble Gardner 4
Smith motions out to give a psuedo double-stack look. All hitch, inside guys covered, Gardner sees a lane and takes it immediately. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M44 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Down G? Toussaint -5
So broken I'm not sure what's going on. It looks like Barnum(-2) is trying to pull outside of Lewan after Funchess motions to that side. That cannot work. Mealer is left to 'downblock' a guy lined up a gap outside of him. Meanwhile Lewan(-2) gets rocked back by a defensive end, and there is just a mass of humanity in the backfield. Toussaint meets a linebacker six yards in the backfield. Poor damn Toussaint. RPS –1?
M39 2 15 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass PA comeback Roundtree 32
H-back motions to FB depth. M runs max pro PA with a two man route. Another hitch NW can't cover, Roundtree snags it heading inside of a flailing CB and picks up a YACload of YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
O29 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Pass Freeze fade Roundtree Inc (Pen +5)
This ball is long even without the potential interference; I'm a lax guy on PI so I think the nocall is fine. Throw not charted since this is a free play and he's not making a decision about throwing it at a well covered WR. (NC, N/A, N/A, RPS +1)
O24 1 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass Freeze post Roundtree Inc (Pen +15)
He's rubbing the guy, this seems fine to me but whatever. Ball was long possibly because of the rub. Possibly not. (NC, 0, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O9 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run Down G Rawls 1
Kwiatkowski(-1) turns the DE inside but gives up too much ground, forcing Rawls outside and slowing him. Omameh(+1) popped the contain back, Mealer(-1) took a bad angle to the second level on an outside run that had no chance of making the backside DT relevant and let his man get playside. Hopkins(-1) whiffed on the other LB. Rawls cuts back and could get some yards but those two bad blocks make it tough to go anywhere.
O8 2 G Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 even Pass Waggle scramble Gardner 8
Gardner(+2) doesn't see anyone downfield and takes off, giving a throw fake to hold up a filling DB and darting around him, extending the ball into the pylon. (SCR, N/A, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 2 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 4
Goes B-gap between Lewan and Barnum. Barnum(+1) turns the playside DT in. Lewan(+1) kicks the DT out with authority; Mealer(+1) gets a good block on the MLB. Hopkins(-1) slides off the SLB, robbing Toussaint of a few more yards.
M37 2 6 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Hitch Gallon Inc
Kwiatkowski motions to a FB spot. Hitch looks open, batted. No attempted cut so no protection minus. Wife asks 'what's the point of a tall quarterback' after this play. (BA, 0, protection N/A)
M37 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even press Pass Scramble Gardner 9
Four man rush with a pretty clean pocket. Schofield gets bulled a little but not too bad. Gardner(+1) definitely has a Smith angle route for the first down but decides to just run, which fine because he's got that too. He darts between two DL converging and picks up the first down with room to spare. (SCR, 0, protection 2/2). EO1Q.
M46 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 1
Line slant. Mealer(-1) releases without checking, Barnum(-1) gets beat. Hopkins runs by it, which is fine, DT tackles Toussaint as he reaches the LOS. PDT.
M47 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 50
End dives down, so give. Jackson(+1) cuts off a linebacker trying to shoot up for contain, and that's the edge. MLB straight upfield and gone. That's six guys gone. Gallon(+1) gets a seventh, the corner over him. Toussaint(+1) runs through an eighth... and fumbles(-3) when the ninth contacts him. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 under Pass PA scramble Gardner 2
Looks like Schofield(-1) gets his foot stepped on by Omameh(-1), which I'll just split the difference on. Result is DE running free at Gardner on max protect. He has to bug out, does, gets minimal yardage. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Schofield -1, Omameh -1)
O35 2 8 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA out Gallon 8
Easy peasy, corner way off, pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O27 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Rawls -2
Hey, now it's poor damn Rawls. Anyway. Williams and Lewan(+1) blow the playside DE off the ball; Williams misses a plus because he never peels to the LB. This should still be enough for yards but Omameh(-3) doesn't block anyone on his pull, instead going at the guy Kerridge is kicking out. That's a six, seven yard swing there. PDR!
O29 2 12 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Pass PA corner Roundtree Inc
Freeze attempt, check. Roundtree gets open on the corner route, Gardner basically hits it but it's just a little outside and Roundtree can't bring it in. CA/MA borderline but this does hit the WR in the hands-ish. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
O29 3 11 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Pass Scramble Gardner 18
Gardner(+2) gets a three man rush, looks at his first option, doesn't like it, and steps up in the pocket. Lanes a plenty, he takes off. This should result in like 7-8 yards and possibly a fourth down attempt; he jukes a LB out his jock to pick up the first, and then gets inside a DB for more. (SCR, N/A, protection 1/1)
O11 1 10 I-Form Twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Down G Toussaint 5
The realm of idiotic camera angles expands! I'm guessing here but it looks like Kwiatkowski(+1) gets a nice block on the end and Kerridge(+1) a kick on the playside LB that creates the crease.
O6 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB power Gardner 4
Hayes end around fake; Garner pulls and M runs power inside of that. ACTUALLY: This is a shovel! Funchess is looking for a pitch from Gardner who decides against it unwisely and then repairs his mistake by shooting outside, getting an awesome cut block from Smith(+2) and using his speed stuff to get outside the Hayes contain guy to pick up good yardage. No plus for Gardner because it looks like the shovel is a TD easy.
O2 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 1
He gets it. I cannot discern anything.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 0
He does not get it. I still cannot discern anything.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G Rawls 1
Schofield(-1) lets his guy upfield to pick off pulling Barnum; Hopkins(+1) redirects inside and pops a tailback as Lewan(+1) obliterates his guy; Rawls(+0.5) cuts behind to find the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 6 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M6 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA hitch Gallon 10
Your cornerbacks suck, NW. Easy pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M16 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Power off tackle Toussaint 1
Blocked well. NW squeezes down the end; Funchess(+1) adapts to block him inside as Barnum(+1) kicks the playside LB. Schofield(+1) has a tough job with the DE rubbing him but does get to the second level. Toussaint... eats an unblocked safety coming around the Schofield block. RPS -1.
M17 2 9 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Throwback screen Dileo Inc
Kwiatkowski motions to FB. M slants towards Dileo, with a DT rubbing Schofield as a DE drops directly into the throwing lane. DT then runs at Gardner. Gardner avoids it and wisely just turfs the ball. (TA, 0, screen, RPS -1)
M17 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Rollout out Roundtree Inc
Rollout buys some time (why do you need to buy time?) and removes a scramble threat, leaving Gardner rolling to little space with linebackers flowing at him and all his WRs covered. He tries Roundtree on the sidelines and almost makes it but the ball is OOB. This was about as good as he could do in the situation, but I'm not going to DO an incompletion OOB. (CA, 1, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 2 min 2nd Q. Not a great series for Borges here.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Corner Jackson Inc
Just for Gardner completeness: this is a lofted corner route that Jackson falls down on and almost digs out but does not and would be OOB anyway because he's sliding feet first out of bounds. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: EOH, 14-14
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even slide Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 0
DE rubs Lewan, pushing him off his release and also causing the give since there is no edge. MLB flies up on the edge, though, and the SLB gets outside Jackson. Nowhere to go. RPS -2.
M26 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass PA TE seam Roundtree Inc
NW DL come around Schofield(-1) and Kerridge(-1), neither is too bad but both force Gardner up into the pocket where a DT can peel off and hit. Gardner seems to be going for Roundtree and misses badly, but the coverage is all over and this could have been picked. Should have just taken the dumpoff. (BR, 0, protection 1/3, Schofield, Kerridge -1)
M26 3 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 3-3-5 nickel Pass Rollout sack N/A -2
I don't get rollouts with a QB like this and good pass protection. Unblocked backside DE on a three man rush eventually gets there as there is no one open. (TA, N/A, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-21, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M22 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA comeback Roundtree Inc
Kwiatkowski back to FB. M never actually runs any plays with 2TE to one side in this game. Gardner's pass is accurate but broken up; I think this may be on the routes since this is man coverage and they cross somewhat close to each other; Gallon and Roundtree may need to be closer to rub that CB off and open up the out. Otherwise, Gardner should be throwing the deep post against cover zero and a guy inside Gallon. So... yeah. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M22 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Down G Toussaint 3 (Pen -11)
Freeze attempt, check. M picks up a legit chop block call as Mealer(-2) engages the backside DT as Barnum cuts. Always on the guy engaging up top. On the frontside, Schofield(-2) driven into the backfield, which forces Toussaint to bounce into unblocked dudes. PDT.
M11 2 21 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Screen Smith 4
Three man rush and one of the three guys rushing drops right into the throw! Gardner throws it anyway and this is a debatable decision. I guess it's his BATNA. Caught, guy in the lane tackles, minimal gain, (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
M15 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Fly? Roundtree Inc (Pen +15)
Idiot director never actually shows us how Roundtree got yards yards yards wide open on third and seventeen, but he did. Gardner's throw is well short but this is a 55-yard throw. More likely he just was late with it. Underthrown, panicking DB, you know what happens next. Roundtree hit early, flag. (MA, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +2 for getting a guy wide open deep on third and seventeen though I suspect this is more a NW issue than anything else)
M30 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA hitch and go Gallon 42
Hey look it's the same thing from the Minnesota game. Ball is right on target but again late, so safety plugs Gallon as he catches the ball. Difference between TD and big gain, also difference between DO and (CA, 2, protection 2/2, RPS +3)
O28 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass PA dumpoff Toussaint 28
Gallon doubled, Gardner checks down, Toussaint(+3) runs through two and a half tackles and tiptoes the sideline to score. Kind of a gift here. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-24, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle throwaway Toussaint Inc
Gardner turns around to find a guy right in his face and almost gets sacked before chucking it in the general direction of Toussaint. (PR, N/A, N/A, RPS -2)
M9 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Rollout hitch Gallon 11
File under terrible NW corner. Seven yard throw, Gallon puts some YAC on. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M20 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA Corner Roundtree 26
Max pro, Roundtree on a corner route, beauty throw to the sideline hits him in stride. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Tough for the line as this is a hard slant with NW LBs coming behind it. Mealer(-2) doesn't adjust to what's in front of him and releases into nobody as Omameh gets slanted behind, and that's it. As soon as Mealer does not help on the DT he's in the backfield forcing a cutback into all of the people. RPS -1.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Slant Dileo 13
Easy pitch and catch as the LB slides outside on a further slant; Gardner nails Dileo in the hands on time and Dileo can turn it up for YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read belly Toussaint 6
Gardner threat holds a DE outside as Funchess flares to block an overhanging corner. Michigan is just bashing all DTs with extended doubles, getting motion. Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1) get movement and Barnum gets out on the backside LB; Mealer cannot do the same on the MLB. Toussaint has to cut back behind as that guy flows to the hole but because of the extensive movement by the backside block and the DE held outside by Gardner there is actually room to run and everything.
O35 2 4 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 10
Freeze attempt, check. NW slants. Mealer(+1) bashes the DT slanting to him back outside; Barnum(+0.5) seals and then Mealer goes and gets a linebacker. Kerridge(+1) blasts the other LB out of the hole. Omameh(+0.5) escorted the other DT out, which wasn't too hard; Lewan(+0.5) got enough of the end trying to come underneath and into the hole to prevent him from tackling. Toussaint(+0.5) hits the hole hard and gets some YAC.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Rollout out Gallon 8
Slight pick route as Roundtree's out and up is designed to prevent anyone from coming up hard on Gallon. Hitch open for like five; Gallon dances for four more. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O17 2 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass Freeze fade Roundtree Inc (Pen +5)
Again. Again not charted. (NC, 0, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O12 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 4
Slant the other way. Omameh(+2) gets a nice one on one block with a DT that moves him well back as he tries to slant under. Barnum(+0.5) shoves a guy moving the way he wants him to go further. Hopkins(+0.5) cuts off the LB; Mealer(+0.5) releases and gets a piece of the LB; Toussaint(+0.5) cuts behind into a big hole. Would be a nicer gain but safeties all up in the business so close to the goal line.
O8 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Rollout out Gallon Inc
Derp angle. Gardner has Gallon on an out and misses wide; Gallon gets a fingertip on it but that's all. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
O8 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie zero Pass Seam Funchess 8
House sent; Gardner steps up past the unblocked guy who is at least to the outside. Then he daintily flings a looper to a covered Funchess, it's high like it has to be and a TD. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Totuchdown, 28-24, 8 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Wheel Funchess INT
You know, I don't know, you know? Okay. Yeah. Okay. This is what I think: This is three deep fire zone. Gardner gets confused when the LB on the wheel route follows it like he's in exceptionally crappy man coverage, but the DB on Gallon is never in man coverage and when Gardner throws it he's looking at Gardner, not his WR, and falls off it to INT. So yes, he should go for Gallon. (BRX, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Interception, 28-31, 3 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Prevent Pass Post Roundtree 53
Miraculouso. How does this get open deep? I know not. I remembered this a little wrong in the game column: this is probably right on the money if the DB doesn't bump Roundtree, if a little high. You'd actually like this shorter, so that the WR is in better position and the DB has to come through him instead of vice versa, but I'll take it. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(26), 31-31, EORegulation
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass PA Post Roundtree Inc
Freeze attempt, check. Usual huge contempt of DBs. This one features a safety flashing in front of the pass and everyone going I'M NOT SURE THAT'S A GOOD IDEA; the ball is low and in front of Roundtree, who cannot digit out as he goes to ground with the corner on his back. A hair late, maybe a bad idea, hard to dig out. (MA, 1, protection 1/1)
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Hitch Roundtree 17
Terrible DB play turns five yards into this. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O8 1 G I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 5
Mealer(+1) and Barnum(+1) deposit a DT three yards downfield on his back; Omameh gets a good shove on the other guy but does lose him upfield in an almost relevant way, so push there. Hopkins finds a LB; Lewan(+0.5) gets push on an outside DE who cannot help fill; Toussaint(+0.5) redirects past the guy Omameh lost and just slams it up for a good gain.
O3 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 2
DT again removed by that double; Barnum(+1) does the bulk of the work. Hopkins(+1) kicks a hard charging LB; Toussaint(+1) drives to the goal line, through a tackle attempt.
O1 3 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run QB boot Gardner 1
Has a pass option but this is really a run. Omameh(+1) pulls and shoots a charging LB inside of him, game over. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-31, EO1OT. Not actually game over. Figuratively.


Yup: YAC


Yup: YAC

What about this Nick VanHoose guy?

Did not play.

I see. So this was not a full strength Northwestern defensive backfield which is horrible anyway and was even more horrible and we should ignore all this from Saturday?

Absolutely not. Yeah, Gardner had an easy time of it and saw a bunch of small throws get inflated, but, well, just look at the--




[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%

(Note that none of the three freeze fades were charted.)

That's a monster day, especially when you consider those five scrambles included a touchdown on second and goal from the eight and a third and eleven conversion. The ability to keep a drive alive on things like this simple four yard run is a great asset:

And then tack on the spectacular stuff and that's a real nice asset to add. If Gardner can be as consistently accurate on deep balls as he has been so far, four verts is going to be an absolute bitch to defend—zone up and get outnumbered deep or play man and turn your back on this guy:

As I was doing this I thought to myself ''I really should put scrambles in the positive category for DSR", which says just amazing things about how Denard just refuses to run on passing plays—it has not come up yet in my brain. If you want to add those in Gardner's DSR pops up to 79%. Four-fifths of the time Gardner dropped back to pass something good happened, without the aid of an even halfway-credible running game.

Gardner's postgame stats are probably fair even if you leave the distorting end-of-regulation miracle in. In the game column I mentioned that he'd been robbed of a Jerald Robinson post completion when Robinson couldn't fend off an opposing DB, and in retrospect that wasn't even the most AWWW CUMONG CATCHIT moment of the game. That would be this:

That's a moderate catch in UFR receiver world; Jackson's weird outfielder slide probably cost Gardner 30 yards, and while it wouldn't have had much impact on the game that is a quality downfield throw for naught. All told, there was exactly one inaccurate ball, that an out in the endzone to Gallon that glanced off his fingertips.

Caveats: horrible INT was horrible—clearly a three deep fire zone coverage that Gardner did not read. My guess is he saw the DE on Funchess run with him and assumed man coverage. Also horrible: Northwestern. I mean:

All day. That was all day. Gardner is also slow reading certain plays, like the bomb to Galllon and the first play of overtime, a dangerous post route that should have been gone quicker. That is of course totally expected and something that should drop off as Gardner acquires experience.

Where was this before? We have seen Gardner struggle mightily against Michigan's backup defense in spring, struggle pretty mightily when he got in against Illinois and Michigan State last year; the coaches saw plenty of Gardner and Bellomy in practice and thought they were equivalent enough to move Gardner to receiver. After two games back, this is happening.

This is slightly better so far than what we expected given all the data we'd received.

Line stuffs?

More of the same.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 5.5 2 3.5 Okay for him.
Barnum 6.5 3 3.5 Bounce-back.
Mealer 3.5 6 -2.5 Not a good day.
Omameh 5 3 2 Scraping along.
Schofield 2 3 -1 Got bashed back a couple times.
Kwiatkowski 1 2 -1 Gave up ground a couple times.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams - - - DNC
Funchess 1.5 - 1.5 Nice turnaround.
TOTAL 39 26 57% Basically the same as last week.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson - - - DNP.
Gardner 5 - 5 Scrambles hurrah.
Toussaint 7 3 4 TD pushes him significantly above zero for first time in a while
Rawls 0.5 - 0.5 Was who he is on TD.
Smith - - - DNC
Hayes - 1 -1 Could have mitigated jet sweep damage.
Hopkins 2.5 2 0.5 Slipped off a couple LBs.
Kerridge 2 - 2 Preferred iso guy.
TOTAL 17 6 11 Dumpoff TD + scrambles are +8 of the +11.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner - - - -
Roundtree - - - -
Gallon 1.5 - 1.5  
Jackson 1 - 1  
Dileo - - -  
Reynolds - - -  
JRobinson - - -  
TOTAL 2.5 - 2.5 Hardly relevant.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 33 5 87% Schofield –2, Lewan –1, Omameh –1, Kerridge -1
RPS 11 15 -4 Passing success more brute force than cleverness.

Despite the negative RPS, I think Borges had an okay day. RPS is just one part of an OC's performance—when Michigan drops back and runs token PA and max protection because they can just destroy NW's corners on hitches over and over again, I don't RPS that because completing a five yard hitch and turning it into eight is not coordinator magic. That doesn't mean it's not a good idea.

That said, there were a couple of extremely rough points where calls put Michigan behind the eight ball, in particular this series late in the first half:

  1. YAC hitch for ten yards
  2. Well blocked Toussaint run hewed down by safety for 1 (argh where is my numerical advantage)
  3. Throwback screen overrun, turfed on purpose by Gardner
  4. Rollout on third and nine leaves everyone covered, takes away scramble option

In this game the only times Northwestern got to the QB were on all-out seven man blitzes, basically, so why cut off half the field and take away your QB's legs? The next drive also ended with Gardner seeing no one open on a rollout and eating a sack, and then the rollouts died.

The overall gameplan—kick sand on Northwestern's corners and ask them if they were going to do anything about it—was solid.

Blocker sadness: shouldn't that be worse?

You only need one missed block to blow up a play so operating at a 50% +/- clip is going to be ugly; Michigan is closer to that than the 2/1 ratio that has been a traditional good target around here. Michigan's 50 yarder was an outside give on which the linemen could have stood there motionless without impacting the outcome of the play.

What was this? I don't know.

BWS tries to explain; to me that's just doomed as soon as Barnum tries to pull. There is no one to downblock a DT, and that's game over. Missed blocking assignments are too common. (That's also probably Lewan's worst run block of the year.)

When Michigan got going late it was because they just said "screw it, doubling everything." Compare this iso from the first half…

…with this one:

When Michigan finally got everyone blocking a guy at the LOS they finally got some movement up front plus a second level block and picked up yards. The interior line is just not any good at identifying what's going on in front of them; at this point it's about settling for getting the first level blocked and getting out late on the second level. No more not blocking someone on the LOS. That's projected to change in 2013.


There are actual numbers this week.

[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 2 1/4 0/1 4/4   12 2/8 4/5 14/15
Gallon 1   1/1 6/6   11 1/2 4/7 25/27
J. Robinson     0/1     1 0/1 1/4 2/2
Dileo       1/1   1 2/3 3/3 9/9
Jackson     0/1     5   0/1 5/7
Kwiatkowski                 3/3
Funchess 1   1/1     7 2/4 2/4 9/9
Hopkins             0/1    
Toussaint 1     1/1   1 0/2 1/2 5/5
Smith       1/1     0/1 1/2 7/7
Kerridge             0/1   1/1

Hey look catches. Note the concentration of routine balls, a credit to Gardner's accuracy and the total incompetence of NW CBs. Galaxy-spanning, in fact. Requests: more Dileo! More Funchess!

Toussaint is alive!

That poor poor man. We saw what he can do in some space a couple times in this game, though one of those plays ended in a fumble. The other one had a more satisfactory conclusion:

He's missed some cuts, sure; he has had few opportunities to make plays.


Devin Gardner—if I could retroactively change it I would Epic Double Point him instead of Roundtree. In marked contrast to the Minnesota game where hijinks and receiver bailouts suggested an untenable game plan, this was all smooth, repeatable stuff. Someone photoshop Devin Gardner onto the Alpaca photo.



Gallon and Roundtree also had fine days.


Interior OL, always interior OL.

What does it mean for Iowa and the future?

Iowa will be an interesting test for the new-look offense. They're pretty mediocre but have some quality cornerbacks that will be tougher to YAC YAC YAC than Northwestern. Michigan probably won't be able to move the ball on the ground much; they'll have to try in an attempt to prep for Ohio State, when the Gardner renaissance may come crashing down. In the end Iowa is too horrible for Michigan's performance to make a difference in the W/L.

Long term, obviously QUARTERBACK OUT OF NOWHERE is the main development. With (probably) four-fifths of the line out the door after the year, we're not getting much data useful in the long term there, and the skill guys are what they are at this point.



November 15th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

Camp Gardner versus Game Gardner - not thinking as much in game perhaps?  Just able to read and react more.  Whatever the reason, we'll take it!


November 15th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

Having been a fan of Denard doing Denard things, I never thought I would feel so blissfully at peace watching us line up in I-form, interior line deficiencies notwithstanding.


November 15th, 2012 at 4:25 PM ^

I know this is going to be unpopular, but I feel a little let down by the "vanilla" looks after a few years of exciting, cutting-edge (some say gimmicky) looks that the spread option brought.  I was one of those guys that got bored after growing up with Bo/Mo/Carr - got lulled into a sense of entitlement and I entered a great awakening under Rodriguez.  That was why I joined MGoBlog and became a contributor, to learn more about the spread and more about football in general.  In some ways, this all feels like a reversion back to the old days.  Not that they weren't great old days, but I really came to enjoy the complexity of the offense the past few years.




November 15th, 2012 at 4:38 PM ^

I can definitely appreciate that feeling and completely agree with you.  I was writing from mostly the context of studying a particular offense and schemes/formations.  I too feel much more comfortable from a "state of the program" context than I have in several years, which is tremendous.  But the offense UFR will just never be as enjoyable for me, unfortunately, as when I was learning loads of new football things.



November 15th, 2012 at 7:28 PM ^

I have a feeling that the simplicity of our current offense is largely due to breaking all of the personal (particularly Gardner) into it was well.  We've been running adapted spread principles the last couple years as we transition...  I expect that we'll start learning plenty about fancy passing schemes in the coming years as Borges installs his offense with personal recruited to play in it.  Cost of transitions.  *shrugs*

Bill the Butcher

November 15th, 2012 at 5:26 PM ^

The thing about the spread is that it isn't really complex at all.  Thats the beauty of it.  It is nuanced sure but the reason people around here love it and understand it so well is because it is a very simple scheme to understand.

I personally think there is a lot more complexity in the "vanilla" offense we ran under Bo/Mo/Lloyd (Zone Left not withstanding) and the reason it didn't seem complex was because you would run right, left or up the middle and no one would take the time to parse out the differences in the play calls really.  Probably because we all didn't have Brian and Smart Football feeding us the info during those years.  I think there will be even more complexity in the WCO that we run with Borges then the offenses run here in the past.

Thats not to say one offense is better or worse than the other one.  They all work in their own way.  I just think a pro-style offense is more complex than the spread.


My $.02


November 15th, 2012 at 5:31 PM ^

Maybe you're right, and it may have felt more complex to me because I knew nothing about it, but it always felt as though there were many more moving parts than a traditional offense.  Either way, it just felt more "fun" to me as a viewer and student of the game, if that makes sense.  Alas, I guess I'll just have to get used to an old friend and winning lots again.



November 15th, 2012 at 10:06 PM ^

came from continuous possible big play. The difference was the o.c's. Look at M against Florida in the bowl game. 50 points? The difference imo? The o.c. was willing to take some risk. Under Carr, there was no excitement. It was methodical slow grinding drives of out executing the opponent. If he has been willing to have the qb chuck the ball all over, I bet it would have been more exciting.

Blue in Seattle

November 15th, 2012 at 6:33 PM ^

what did you find boring in the Northwestern game?

And a follow-on, Bo never had a heisman trophy winner, but both Moeller and Lloyd did.  And I think every starting QB for Moeller ended up with an NFL paycheck, and quite a few of the WR's also.

Lloyd did demonstrate what a risk averse offense was all about, even the National Championship team had fewer exciting games from an offensive aspect than even the Henson, Navarre years.  But then again, Debord was the OC in 1997, he left for a while and then came back to guide Lloyd to retirement during the Henne era.

But Moeller was breaking the Bo mold befor Bo even left.  I remember several games where Moeller went for it on 4th down, one in a bowl game that Bo couldn't make it to for health reasons.

Denard has been the most prolific runner since Wheatley.  Wheatley was a Moeller recruit and player of the Moeller era.

Moeller's teams were very exciting, but the pressure he was under to surpass Bo was what made him crack.  And he had to surpass Bo during the scholarship reduction and before the Cream Puff scheduling became a necessity for getting to the National Championship.

I think Moeller even won the Big Ten every year he coached, yes sometimes as co-champion, but still, better than Carr.

Nope, we're not going to watch a dynamic sprinter running the QB slot, but that doesn't mean we won't see a 4WR set with a Tom Brady Laser cannon offense.  At least that's what I expect we grow into, and if we have a few Garnder scamble machines mixed in with the Shane Morris Laser Cannons, I don't see how that isn't exciting.

But if you only see the world as black and white, I can understand that this offense is not Read Option running.  Cause it isn't.


November 15th, 2012 at 10:19 PM ^

I'm not sure about your point. Is there one? I was in school there for most of what you mention and enjoyed all of it. But the spread offense interested me more. Sure it sucked to watch them lose, but I loved watching the offense. Now, not as much. I'll just focus on the defense and Mattison's complex blitzing. It'll be fine.

R Kelly

November 15th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

I feel like -3 on the Toussaint fumble was a bit too harsh.  It difficult to tell from the replay above, but during the game they showed another angle, in which you could see that Toussaint had the ball covered up as well as you can reasonably expect him to, especially considering he was 50 yards downfield.   I think it was more just a combination of a nice play by the defender and a little bad luck.  


November 16th, 2012 at 12:35 AM ^

I've gotten the impression (especially this year) that everything is very formulaic.  If you fumble it is worth -3 points regardless if you are holding it in the wrong hand away from your body or in Mike Hart perfect position.  Toussaint did get a +1 on the run itself and the play overall garnered a +2.  

Mr. Yost

November 15th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

I think playing WR helped Gardner more than anything...

For two reasons. One, he was a starter - he had to prepare as a starter every single day. No matter if he was LG, WR or QB...he knew he was starting and had to prepare and practice like it.

I've always felt the reason we squeezed him into games last year (even before Denard's boo boo) was to get his head in the game. To make him feel a part of the team and use his talents (he's is and WAS one of the best 11 players on offense). I go back to that Minnesota game, he ran for a first down and go up celebrating like he'd just won the Rose Bowl.

The obvious other reason it helped was that he got to learn the routes, perfect them. He also realized how much effort those guys put in for limited catches per game. In practice if they miss a ball, they have to run all the way to the endzone --- even if it's the QBs fault. Playing WR gives you appreciation when you're QB...it also makes you a better QB knowing what they're doing and thinking.


November 15th, 2012 at 5:17 PM ^

Is the freeze play something UM can run with Gardner just because he's good at altering his voice inflection at the LOS?  Or is it maybe a response to opponents trying to time the snap in the past?  Or is it something Al just put in because who doesn't need two or three free plays per game?


November 15th, 2012 at 5:58 PM ^

... and agree with Brian that Borges called a reasonable game. The big issue is that our best play to date is simply ineffective without Denard and the increased passing game doesn't seem to make up for it.


November 15th, 2012 at 6:09 PM ^

I wonder if Borges calls some roll outs to try and keep defenses honest with the throw back plays.  Doesn't the QB take one or two steps in one direction and then turn and throw the other way to Gallon?  Kind of the same with the throwback screen to Smith that they rarely use.

I'm guessing Borges, and any OC, often times calls plays thinking they will work but also with interest in how the defense reacts.  Depending on how a team re-acts it could dictate or allow for other possibilities later in the game.