Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 28th, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Formation notes: "second and seven under center play action":



Substitution notes: usual. When Lewan went out temporarily they made the same OL switch. No Rawls, FWIW.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 5
End around fake gets Te'o chasing Gallon way away from the play after he initially reacted quickly to the actual run. Kwiatkowski(+1) seals Tuitt inside impressively; Mealer cannot pass Nix off to Barnum and the other ILB and Motta are flowing freely. Schofield makes contact with the playside OLB at a hash; OLB tries to force it inside but Robinson just runs past him, jogging OOB as Motta comes up. Probably a push as far as yardage goes, but upside was greater on the cut.
M30 2 5 I-form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass FB wheel trickery Kerridge Inc (Pen +15)
Kerridge offset. Gardner comes in motion and takes a pitch from Robinson, then sets up to throw. This doesn't really fool the OLB covering Kerridge but he is checking for a potential run and ends up a step or two behind. Gardner leaves it short, giving the LB a chance to catch up and interfere. (MA, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M45 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 3
ND shifts from an under look back to their standard presnap. Lewan(-1) is smoked by Tuitt on the backside. Omameh and Mealer(-1) double Nix; when Nix takes the contact he pulls Mealer with him so that when Omameh releases he's free to run at the play, too. Denard pulls as he sees the playside LB bug out for the frontside but the two DL cut off the vertical hole and he ends up having to go back outside, which blows up all the blocking angles and lets a bunch of guys converge after three. +0.5 for Schofield, I guess, for fending off Lewis-Moore decently enough and giving Denard the little chunk he did get.
M48 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Gallon Inc
I don't think this is a bad throw, actually, since the OLB was backing out into this route and if he leads Gallon he is potentially throwing an INT. Gallon gets his hands on it but it's behind him and dropped. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
M48 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Robinson 7
Forever to look, but he can't find anyone. Kind of looks like a delayed drag from Gardner is his primary read after the other guys run off the coverage, but for whatever reason he doesn't like that and takes off, reaching for the first down dangerously. He's down before it comes out. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3, Robinson +1 on ground.) On replay, he didn't really have anyone.
O45 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA fly Roundtree Inc
Under center PA fools no one, nobody open. ND only rushes three, leaving a spy back. Time and Robinson chucks it in the general direction of a blanketed Roundtree. That's so overthrown I think he's throwing it away, but if so just run the ball. There was room to pick up something. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O45 2 10 I-form 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Iso Toussaint 2
A corner blitz submarines this. A slant got Nix upfield of Barnum but Barnum gets a shove and Nix runs by the play, leaving a gap; Toussaint tries to hit it but is run down by the corner and a LB coming around the outside. RPS -1.
O43 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Dig Roundtree Inc
Double A gap blitz. Michigan almost picks it up. Toussaint chops down one LB, but he is fortunate enough to roll over to his feet quickly enough to get up and hit Robinson as he throws. He'd found an open guy but the pass sails since he literally cannot step into it. (BA, 0, protection ½, Toussaint -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 Ace trips bunch 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Pitch sweep Toussaint -2
Play asks Roundtree(-1) to block a 250 pound OLB with predictable results. OLB beats him, strings it out, pushes Roundtree back, etc. Te'o shoots up in the gap to the interior of this block and convinces Lewan(-1) he must abort his pull outside Roundtree to take him. Toussaint ends up with no space and unblocked guys in his face. RPS -1.
O12 2 12 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Pass PA sack N/A -3
Play asks Toussaint to block Tuitt with predictable results. He whiffs, Lewan gets beat by Shembo, down goes Robinson. (PR, N/A, protection 0/4, Lewan -2, Toussaint -2) Also no one was open because not one ND player took a step towards the line of scrimmage, but hey when you can get Michigan's incredibly deep TE corps on the field on second and goal from the twelve, you gotta do it. RPS -2.
O15 3 15 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Sack N/A -10
Barnum(-1) is shoved back into the pocket by KLM; Schofield(-2) gets crushed back by Tuitt and Denard has no pocket and an edge rusher, with predictable result. Looks like Tuitt got his rush by smashing Schofield in the face, which isn't legal, but it also isn't called. Meanwhile, everyone in the pattern is double covered. Woo! (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, Barnum -1, Schofield -2).
Drive Notes: missed FG(43), 0-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run End-around Gallon 8
Similar to the Norfleet play from UMass. The OLB and corner to that side both hop out to contain; Gallon cuts it up. M gets lucky after a terrible block from JRobinson(-1), who's supposed to crack down on a linebacker and gives a weak shoulder shove as he falls to the ground. This means he accidentally trips KLM as he tries to release from Schofield(+1, I guess), and KLM falls into the linebacker who was gently caressed by JRob. Gallon(+0.5) cuts behind a charging Te'o on the corner and picks up an extra few yards.
M20 2 2 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Yakety snap N/A -6
Was going to be an inverted veer, it looks like.
M14 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Dig Gardner 18
Good protection; Robinson zings it in a tight window just as Gardner breaks open between two zone defenders. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M32 1 10 Ace 3TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Throwback screen Gallon Inc
Third TE actually Kerridge, no Funchess. This one isn't going anywhere even if accurate, as Lewan got bumped by the OLB and cannot get out on the corner. OLB and CB will probably combine to TFL if caught. Denard turfs it. (IN, 0, screen)
M32 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Hitch Roundtree 9
Barnum pulls and falls over but ND is just containing, really, and there's no pressure. Big difference between this and the passing downs above. Corner to this side is playing three deep and is run off by a corner route; Roundtree is wide open underneath it as a linebacker tries to get out on him. This is a read he was making in his first start, FWIW. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M41 3 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run QB power Robinson 2
Safety blitz almost blows this up as ND slants under the blocking and sends Motta; Omameh(+1) almost accidentally blocks him, but block him he does. Robinson(+0.5) can blast straight ahead to barely get it. Williams(-1) got slanted under dangerously; Lewan(+0.5) got enough movement on his guy to provide the tiny window exploited.
M43 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Slant sends Toussaint into a corner blitz. Mealer(-2) got beat up by the slant and ends up in the backfield, forcing Toussaint into the unblocked contain. If the corner didn't get him the other unblocked LB would. RPS -1.
M43 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA rollout dig Roundtree 11
PA half roll thing puts Denard in space with unblocked Tuitt. Denard stops, finds Roundtree in a spot on his dig route, and zips it to him without stepping into the throw. Flat footed, a dart. I bet this goes as well all other times. (DO, 3, protection N/A)
O46 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 under Pass PA hitch Gallon 12
Two guys in this pattern and ND still gets pressure as Barnum(-1) and Mealer(-1) get split. Denard has to roll away from that and zings it to Gallon, dangerously. CB was breaking on the ball and almost had a play. (CA, 2, protection 1/3, Barnum -1, Mealer -1)
O34 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA comeback Gardner 9
Great protection this time, though again we're talking two guys in a route so maybe that's expected. Gardner comes open, Denard slings it to him. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O25 2 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 15
Kwiatkowski(+1) erases the end, who I can't ID. Backup? OLB contains, Denard sees a lane, he pulls. Barnum(+1) gets a block on Te'o. Schofield fell as he released but did make the other ILB run around him enough for Denard(+2) to burst into the open field, where he does not get a block from Roundtree(-1) and ends up chopped down by a safety.
O10 1 10 Ace trips bunch 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Halfback pass Dileo INT
You know about this. RPS punt; ND getting Te'o in Smith's face so fast he panics is because the line busts. Smith gets a BRX, if you're keeping score at home.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 1 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Kind of a midline look as Lewan flares out to block OLB Shembo and the 3-4 DE is let go. He's outside, so give. The end result of blocking Shembo is to remove Lewan from blocking the backside LB. Toussaint wants to cut back, but unblocked LB, so he has to go back into the interior, where he's dead meat. Given the angle of Toussaint's attack this is probably what he's supposed to do. Not sure what they think ND is doing that will make this work, but it doesn't. Mealer and Barnum managed to get enough push to crease Nix a little but that's a push at best; Schofield(-1) got beat up by Tuitt. RPS -1.
M36 2 8 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Penalty False start Toussaint -5
M31 2 13 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 2
They fake the bubble screen, which only proves that the bubble would have picked up like ten yards on this play. Of course, this should have as well, but Te'o makes Omameh(-2) whiff and Barnum(-1) does not get much of a block on the other LB.
M33 3 11 Shotgun trips 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Gallon INT
Toussaint motions out. M rolls the pocket to the field, which only succeeds in getting a three man rush instant pressure when Kerridge(-2) is assigned to Shembo and fails to cut him. Three guys block Tuitt, though. Guy in Denard's face, throws worst possible pass ever. Absolutely no one open, FWIW. Throw it away, Denard. (BRXXX, 0, protection 0/2, Kerridge -2) RPS -1, as best case this playcall is a sack since you singled up a freshman fullback on a great pass rusher on a three man rush.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 11 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass PA slant Gardner INT
PA leaves Te'o unblocked, who then runs into Denard's face. Denard finds Gardner, who's open, and throws it way in front of him. (INX, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -2, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 9 min 2nd Q. FWIW, the production on this game is fantastic. Great replays, no missed plays, Maycock saying a ton of smart things.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 3
PA fake with Toussaint going hard the other way doesn't hold anyone. Kwiatkowski(+1) gets a block on the playside end that forces him to give a ton of ground to come around it. That should secure the edge but a late move from Motta brings a ninth guy into the box and he aggressively fills that hole unblocked. Roundtree is hypothetically the guy who is supposed to block him but he's running downfield at the guy in man over him. (Who is twelve yards off the LOS. Bubble, etc.) Denard decides to cut back, which is worth three yards. Going at unblocked Motta is probably the same, so push. I liked Barnum(+1) sealing Te'o inside and giving Denard a lane; Lewan(+0.5) got a good kick so there is a spot. Mealer(-1) did not help Omameh seal Nix very much and he ended up not blocking anyone on the second level. RPS -1.
M23 2 7 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 8
Lewan(+2) and Kwiatkowski(+0.5) get great push on the playside DE, which makes the LBs' jobs very tough. DE contains, Robinson pulls. Lewan then comes off a crushing block on the playside DE to get a LB. Barnum(+1) has cut off Nix; Robinson has a big lane and hits it up. He's about a foot from busting outside for a big gain but can't quite get behind Williams(+0.5) who had an extended backside block that fended off Shembo.
M31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 3
Schofield pulls. Barnum and Mealer get motion, but a LB shoots the gap on the backside. Te'o shows hard and gets outside at the LOS, funneling back; with the other LB pursuing Robinson doesn't have much of an option other than running up Schofield's back for a few. I think Nix was holding Mealer, FWIW, but it was subtle enough to not get called, because you never get called unless you literally tackle a dude. I think this is push all around.
M34 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle derp Gallon INT
Notre Dame may be expecting this! Tuitt is on the edge, unblocked, and immediately shoots up at Robinson; nobody open, Robinson should just take a sack, but throws something in the general direction of Gallon that is both a terrible decision and inaccurate, turnover. (BRX, 0, protection 0/2, team -2, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 6 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 2
This is set up pretty well with Lewan(+1) blowing up one LB and two blockers hitting it up in the hole to block Te'o. Robinson(-2) should hit it up like the play is designed, but instead tries to cut back, where Nix hacks him down since he's just invalidated Barnum's block. Funchess(+1) kicked out Shembo well.
M18 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB sweep Robinson 20
Kwiatkowski(+1) seals Shembo; Lewan and Barnum pull around. LBs are charging hard upfield at the snap, which gets one of them blocked by a releasing Mealer(+1). Te'o gets super aggressive and tries to shoot inside of Barnum to attack an outside run, which runs him out of the play. Lewan(+0.5) easily kicks the OLB, and the nose is the nearest guy as Robinson hits the LOS. Boom secondary. Robinson ducks OOB after picking up a bunch. RPS +2: caught the LBs with a play that exploited their aggression.
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Hail Mary Roundtree INT
Why is Roundtree just jogging down the field? Why is Michigan throwing a Hail Mary with 16 seconds on the clock and a timeout? We may never know. Not charted.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-10, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 31
M seems so much more comfortable running at a four man line. Omameh(+2) takes on Nix one on one and blows him off the line. Mealer(+1) releases and kicks one of the ILBs. Te'o is not trying to hit the frontside gap and contains backside as he is again expecting this to be the belly. It looks like it but the Toussaint angle indicates it is not. The slight change gets two guys on the backside, where they're useless. Toussaint(+1) glides through the gap; Lewan(+0.5) gets an eh block on the corner, who gives up the edge, and Toussaint breaks a big one. RPS +1.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Zone stretch Toussaint 4
Again two guys end up containing Denard. Te'o is creeping forward at the start as Motta comes down over the TE to check any of those PA seams and bursts upfield in a flash past Omameh(-1), who does not recognize this and get a shove. Toussaint(+1) makes a cut behind this and gets some yards thanks to the double delay on Denard; Nix got moved by Mealer(+0.5) and Barnum(+0.5) and this helps as well. RPS push; guys on backside are good, but allowing Te'o to attack like this bad; bubble yadda.
O44 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run QB power Robinson -1
Toussaint runs to the opposite edge on a fake that holds some backside guys as Barnum pulls around the TE and Lewan. Te'o is running at the gap on the snap after having read the Barnum pull, presumably, and is aligned in such a way so that Mealer had no shot anyway. He shows in an otherwise well blocked hole (Kwiatkowksi, Lewan(+0.5 each), Barnum(+1). Denard has to run up the backs of his blockers and gets nil. RPS -1. Unblocked guy in hole due to ND D alignment.
O45 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 0 4 4-3 even Pass Drag Gallon 8
Straight dropback; four man rush with Te'o spying. He comes on a delayed rush and the other LB bugs out for Toussaint flaring out of the backfield, opening up a cross. Denard steps into it and hits Gallon against three guys on the first level of the zone. He turns it up for the first. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 9
OLB contains, pull. Kwiatkowksi(+0.5) seals a slow-reacting Tuitt inside. Te'o is outside of an attempted block from Schofield, which isn't really his fault. Barnum(+1) pulls around and nails him. Te'o contains, forcing it back inside. Motta assumes this is not happening and hops outside; Roundtree(+0.5) gets a block; Denard cuts behind. No flow from the inside as Omameh(+1) hammers Nix on a double. This is momentarily super exciting until Robinson(+1) runs into the overhanging corner as he tries to get the edge. Nice tackle but I think Denard needs to keep going straight upfield since this guy didn't screw it up this time. Schofield(-1) tried to block Te'o, missed, and then peeled back instead of just going further downfield, or he could have blocked the CB and put Denard one on one with the S for six.
O28 2 1 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 4 (Pen -10)
This is all Toussaint(-2), who has a gap to slam it up for a first down in as Omameh(+1) gets push on Nix; Barnum is giving ground but has fended off an OLB. Toussaint's going to get a yard or four and not much more, but that's a first down. Instead he bounces around a guy three yards in the backfield and a second guy further outside two yards in the backfield, into the boundary, which draws holding calls and gets him the same number of yards he would have had anyway.
O38 2 11 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 over Run End-around Gallon 5
Almost but not quite a big gain as FR Day is in at this end and is the guy M is trying to confuse. He pops up and contains the QB as Gallon gets the ball. Nix goes straight upfield, knocking back Barnum(-0.5) and delaying Omameh's pull, so he can get to Day before he realizes who's got it and starts chasing. JRobinson(+1) cracks down on the playside LB very well; Lewan whiffs on Te'o but to the outside, which makes him not relevant. Corner contains at the numbers and Day manages to run Gallon down from behind. Nice play by Day.
O33 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Drag Roundtree 10
Double A gap gets a guy in immediately, M has a route right beneath that from Roundtree. No one within 10 yards of him, easy completion and YAC for first. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O23 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint -1
Schofield(+1) locks out Tuitt and pushes him upfield. Linebackers flow hard to the playside, Toussaint(-1) sees massive cutback lane provided by Schofield, cuts into it... and falls down untouched. Glarble. Lewan(+0.5) and Barnum(+0.5) had blown up KLM, FWIW; Omameh and Mealer had a tougher time with Nix but did okay.
O24 2 11 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Lead zone Toussaint 8
Nix starts pushing into the intended hole; Mealer(+0.5) and Barnum(+1) push him down the line and eventually pancake him, with Barnum popping out on a LB. Kerridge(+1) eases past the detour and booms the other ILB. Toussaint(+1) has a big gap now thanks to Lewan(+1) kicking the backside DE way out and cuts behind Kerridge into a big gap. He starts dancing as pursuit converges and picks up a nice gain.
O16 3 3 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Speed option Robinson 5
Kwiatkowski(+1) and Schofield(+1) blow Tuitt out, knocking him downfield; Mealer(+0.5) just manages to get his helmet across Nix and there's a crease Robinson(-3) hits. An arm rakes the ball out, drive over.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-10, 8 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Toussaint 2
Argh bubble etc. Schofield(-2) is head up on KLM and doesn't really get anything. No motion, beat to inside. Omameh(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) beat up on Nix pretty good and Kerridge(+1) plowed the MLB; Toussaint has to cut away from his blocking because KLM is all over it. OLB who should be covering bubble contains.
M45 2 8 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 1
DE comes down on Robinson so give. Smith hits him not too well but enough; Omameh is pulling around to block the LB trying to contain; Toussaint(-2) should bounce it outside after feinting in but just decides to run into defenders. Barnum(+0.5) neutralized a penetrating Nix and Omameh(+0.5) got to the POA despite some delay caused by that; Lewan(+0.5) seemed to have a pretty good handle on Te'o.
M46 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass TE out Funchess 5
Gallon runs the corner off and Funchess goes out to exploit the space underneath. Denard hits him but it's kind of a slow, looping pass that allows the corner to recover quickly enough to prevent any YAC and force Michigan in to a fourth down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O49 4 2 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Out Dileo 4
Toussaint motions out to give an empty look. A couple of quick outs to the short side of the field are paired with a corner blitz so both Dileo and Gardner are open. Denard's pass is dodgy and low but Dileo digs it out. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O45 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso Toussaint 5
ND reacting hard to inside zone action from the OL. Te'o is gone a gap away from the play as Mealer(+1) moves out on him after doubling Nix, who Omameh(-1) seals away. Nix comes upfield of Omameh's block and pursues Toussaint from behind. Kerridge(+1) pounds the LB and gets movement on him. Schofield(+1) blows up a backup DE and there's a gap; the Omameh block makes it smaller than it should be. Pursuit harasses Toussaint into the filling S.
O40 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run QB power Robinson 1
Mealer pulls here. ND is just too aggressive on this one, but they have to have gotten help from a Jackson(-2) bust as he runs right by the OLB to this side to hit a safety. OLB contains, getting outside the Mealer block, Te'o fills unblocked, Robinson bounces out for a minimal gain. Man, Kwiatkowski(+0.5) is just sealing guys every time. Easy job? Or is he killing people?
O39 3 4 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Speed option Robinson 6
Omameh(+1) gets across the playside DT, who is a backup, and gets to the second level; Mealer(+1) then takes over and eventually puts this guy five yards downfield as he tries to flow. Schofield(+1) and Kwiatkowksi(+1) do the same thing to the DE, who is FR Day. Robinson sees the world caving in and just rams it up the backs of his OL for the first. Pitch was open too. Lewan leaves with a shoe issue.
O33 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 5
ND has slid its LBs to the field and Robinson is reading the OLB, as M blocks the line. OLB contains, pull. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) and Schofield (now at LT, +0.5) seal Day, with Kwi popping out on a LB. Burzynski(+1) pulls around and hits Te'o. Hole. Robinson hits it up then cuts behind, which seems like a good idea, but Mealer(-1) lost KLM after getting a good seal on him and he flows down the line to tackle.
O28 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 3
Again they're flaring out to block that OLB and letting the 3-4 DE go; DE does not really commit anywhere and there is a handoff. Ride that mesh longer or you're not really getting anywhere here. Toussaint is attacking farther outside, but this time no holes. Mealer(-1) got pushed too far by Nix; Schofield(+0.5) got a decent push on KLM and Toussaint can run up his back for a few.
O25 3 2 Shotgun 2back 2TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 3
Lewan back in. He(+1) blows KLM back a yard on the snap and to the inside. Kwiatkowski and Williams(+0.5) both take on players at the POA. Kwiatkowski has a DE, who wins easily but not fast enough to be relevant. Williams stalemates a LB. Omameh shoves him forward, Robinson burrow up behind. RPS +1; this was a pretty easy conversion with a spare blocker pushing a pile past the sticks.
O22 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Run QB sweep Robinson 0
Oof. This is one block away from being huge, and that block is Omameh(-2) not getting any kind of seal on a DT shaded inside of him. He fires out straight while everyone else steps right, Nix gets the edge on him. Kwiatkowski(+1) gets Tuitt sealed. Schofield and Mealer pull around. Schofield doesn't actually kick the OLB but he's moving way outside to contain. Mealer(+1) chops Te'o but the contain and pursuit from Nix ends the play when this is probably at least a first down otherwise. Denard tries to cut after being chased outside and slips, giving up a few yards.
O22 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 4
Barnum(-1) does not step around Nix after he takes a Mealer bump and loses him to the playside. Omameh(-1) just gets beat by KLM. Toussaint(+1) bounces outside past both DTs and picks up a few thanks to Kwiatkowski(+0.5) and Schofield(+0.5) getting the playside DE back a couple yards.
O18 3 6 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA scramble Robinson 3
Play action fake does nothing except get two ND defenders in as they take off for Robinson. LBs suck up a little but get back on a little drag over the middle, and Funchess is blanketed by two guys. Denard dances around and gets tackled short of the sticks. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, team -2, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: FG(33), 3-10, 13 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass PA post corner Gardner Inc
Gardner starts in the backfield and then motions out. Denard gets great protection this time and can sit and survey until Kwiatkowski finally gets beat, whereupon he finds a miraculously open Gardner 40 yards downfield. Gardner again does the 360 as Denard takes him away from the safety; pass is in his hands; dropped. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2) No idea why this could possibly work in this situation but it did. Borges sorcery ++.
M30 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass RB wheel Toussaint Inc
Toussaint motions out to the boundary, which is WR-free. Token play fake to Kerridge, protection pretty good but Omameh does make Robinson move his feet a little. He's staring at a bunch of covered guys and manages to put it over the head of a guy in great coverage on Toussaint, who has the ball in his hands a moment before Motta comes over the top and separates it from him after disengaging from Funchess, who he's covering. We don't get a wide shot to see if he had someone somewhere else; this is a great deep throw and a play equal to that from Motta. (DO, 1, protection 2/2)
M30 3 10 Shogun trips 1 0 4 Base 3-4 Pass Improv Gardner 13
Only a three man rush. Robinson steps up through it after his initial survey finds no one. This draws a couple of underneath zone defenders up; he tosses it over them to Gardner, who is still just a hair in front of the safety. Completion, tackle, first down. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Bubble screen Gallon 13
Boy am I glad it took 54 minutes to throw this. It's not a true bubble as the throw is delayed and guys get downfield to block but it's so open Gallon cuts inside of the OLB despite Roundtree setting up to block him so Roundtree can get outside. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1!)
O44 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA corner JRobinson 20
PA kind of threatens dread waggle. Barnum is flaring out to the waggle-ish side to block, though, and Smith has enough time to shut down Shembo on his otherwise unblocked charge. Denard sets up and now has a simple high low read on the corner, who is not sinking, so he throws the corner. Nails the other Robinson in the numbers on rhythm. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE drag Funchess 5
Double A blitz. It's not timed as well as the MSU ones, which allows a pickup. Smith gets a cut but the LB does force a throw; it's the same drag M used a couple times earlier and is complete but this time ND is ready for an immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O19 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB draw Robinson 12
ND sends only three and starts dropping the LBs; by the time M releases downfield all those guys are at the sticks and moving backwards. Mealer(+1) shoves the NT to one side and that's Denard through the line. Funchess(+1) and Omameh(+1) pick up blocks on virtually stationary downfield defenders and Robinson shoots between them, getting chopped down by a safety inside the ten. RPS +1.
O7 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run QB power Robinson 1
Funchess(-1) is blocking down and gets blown up by Day, which picks off Barnum's pull and makes Denard(-2) decides to go under it... which is where Day is. Go outside, take your chances, maybe get OOB.
O6 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Sack N/A -8
All day, no one open. Robinson's timer goes off and he wants to scramble around; Day grabs him as he tries to break the pocket. Not Schofield's fault at all. Just a thing that happens on the goal line sometimes. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O14 3 G Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Corner Gardner Inc
OL collapsing all around him as ND knows he has to throw and is really coming hard this time w/ Te'o spying. Gardner is his best option and is kind of open. Denard misses, putting it off Gardner's hand but well OOB. (IN, 0, protection 2/3, team -1)
Drive Notes: FG(33) 6-13, 3 min 4th Q. EOG for offense

Dispensing with chatter.

This was the structural problem with the Michigan offense against ND.




  • often showed extremely soft coverage,
  • ran cover zero behind it,
  • never had their corners tested, and
  • never had their OLBs put in a bind.

I'm not just talking about bubble screens here. In either of the top two frames, a simple smash concept…


A and Z are running a smash concept that high-lows the corner

…is an easy read Michigan—one Denard was doing way back in the day—is in advantageous position on. Michigan ran some of these. They either should have kept going to that and curl-flat or bubble screens until ND was forced out of this defense.

They should also have protected Denard at all costs. Even in this game, when Robinson had time he was zipping it in.

Borges's late under center passes were max-protect sorts that kept Robinson clean and resulted in big gains (or should have) as ND's inexperienced corners got lost on Gardner, sucked up on a short route, opening up a longer one, etc.

On each interception*, Denard got quick pressure. On the first it was a three man rush with a rolling pocket that got a redshirt freshman fullback singled up against Shembo. On the second, Te'o flies up in the pocket unmolested. Smart Football suggested that Smith needs to abort the mesh point and just go block the guy, and yeah if that's what ND is doing and Michigan is prepared for it go for it. They apparently weren't. I've never seen M abort a mesh like that, or have to.

The third is second and seven under center play action that gets Tuitt in Denard's face. Is Gallon open? Yeah. Does that somehow erase the fact that Denard has thrown INTs on his past two throws thanks to pressure, has has thrown the ball away once this year and was amongst the worst guys in the country in interception rate last year? I mean, we know this happens. It has just happened against Air Force and UMass, at home. It is not going to stop happening. Calling plays that emphasize this flaw is insane. Everyone in the stadium knows that when Michigan goes under center a defender or two will make their top priority Denard containment. He'll be unblocked, and Denard will have to form up and make a throw with a guy in his face. Which he sucks at.

If you don't think that's stupid, I don't know what else I can tell you. Robinson was 24 of 40 for 244 yards, a TD, and no INTs two years ago against the Irish in a year when they finished with the #25 pass efficiency D. His regression is obvious despite having two solid years of QB coaching from Borges to raise him up.

If it's not the structure of the offense, what is it? Is Denard in Flowers for Algernon?

*[we're setting aside the Hail Mary because it's a Hail Mary.]

Now, Denard.

Losing this game was of course a joint effort. Passing table:

[Hennechart legend is updated.]

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%

Gardner had an MA, Smith an INX. UFR charts don't fully weight the horribleness of any particularly horrible throw and so the DSR does not reflect the horrible horrible INTs. It's still pretty bad. The run chart is worse for Denard: he ends up –2.5 after fumbling and missing some cuts.

I've gotten so many conflicting opinions on the Gardner route on INT 2 that I don't know what is going on there, but he's staring right at Gardner so even if the route is not as expected he should be adjusting to that. The most authoritative word I've heard said the route was fine in the eyes of the coaches, so the final verdict is it's on Denard (and the combination of events that literally prevented him from stepping into the throw).

Meanwhile, taking sacks or just chucking the ball away on the other two throws saves Michigan 100 yards of field position, with another 71 thrown away by the fumble. Thanks to the heroics of the defense, it took both Denard and Borges having awful games to lose it, but lose it they did.

FWIW, Denard did abort a throw in the second half, which resulted in… a failure to convert a third down and a field goal attempt after he got instant pressure on ill-conceived play action. If he had done that in the first half, Michigan punts and ends up in third and long on the two passes that were just WTF—ie, not the Gardner miss. FWIW, in that half he was 8 of 11 with two of the incompletions deep balls in the hands of his WRs on the final drive. Notably, he was not eating unblocked pass rushers as he did this.

How could the pieces fit together better?

Bubble, etc. Posts written about it before. Or flash screens or what have you, anything that forces opposition corners and linebackers to think about the slot guys on every play. They're more effective as in the box blockers when they are dragging guys out of the box than trying to deal with guys much bigger than them.

That brings the secondary up, and then you're either looking at a deep safety and a more consistent run game, opportunities to hit shots over the top, or zip gone TDs. Here's a nine-yard inverted veer from the second half:

They option off the OLB. The safety sitting twelve yards off the LOS flashes into the screen at the end; he's the guy who forced Denard into the cornerback. If Michigan has forced him to react to the possibility of a bubble screen, he is not available and this defense has just ceded a 42 yard touchdown, or Motta has made a fantastic recovery—look how he's beating Roundtree's block to the outside—and Michigan still gets nine yards.

Meanwhile, Michigan's best running play is that inverted veer.

Michigan has no play action off of it. They have no counter from it. They just kind of run it. And it's great! But if you want to get the explosion back you need to start screwing with opponents by faking your good plays. Michigan tried it last year, couldn't block it, and dumped it. They took an offseason and kept it dumped. Oy.

Michigan should be running more max protection schemes. Keep Denard clean, give him a couple options, and then tell him to take off. Maybe leak Toussaint or Smith (or Norfleet) out of the backfield after a delay.

What was with the Vincent Smith play? That didn't look right.

It wasn't. A reader pointed out what Michigan did against Minnesota, pulling both playside linemen. On the initial pitch play, Michigan pulled both playside linemen. On the ill-fated trick play, nobody pulls. According to Borges that's a call that did not get to the line, which yeah. I punt on the RPS there, shading to plus since if Smith didn't have to pull up so quickly it looked like Dileo was coming open.

Consider my objections there retracted. The play likely would have worked but for the bust on the line call.

Please give me something positive?

The offensive line went from battered to batterer at halftime, inexplicably. Michigan's first play of the half set the tone when Patrick Omameh(!) of all people blows Nix off the line of scrimmage:

Michigan manballed up late and blew a dump-truck sized hole in the ND OL plus got a Dudley-level thump from Kerridge:

On a speed option late, Michigan picked up a third and four by blowing ND down the line so far that it didn't matter that the pitch was unbelievably wide open.

Here's the run chart:

the ratio that is important for the OL. On a lot of plays they do okay and get a push.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 8.5 2 6.5 Got quality motion.
Barnum 7.5 3.5 4 Much better day than UMass.
Mealer 8 6 2 Big time struggles early, did better, also bad snap.
Omameh 8 7 1 I'll take a positive day for him against that line.
Schofield 7 6 1 Roughed up a little, but came through okay.
Kwiatkowski 10.5 - 10.5 I must be giving him too much credit for easy stuff?
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 1 1 0 Kwiatkowski is getting more PT than these guys though.
Funchess 2 1 1 Not really tested.
TOTAL 53.5 26.5 67% Burzsnyski also +1. That's quality but the Kwiatkowski thing worries me about this number.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 4.5 7 -2.5 Didn't really get many Denard yards.
Bellomy - - - DNP
Toussaint 4 5 -1 Couple of WHAT ARE YOU DOING cuts
Rawls - - - DNP
Smith - - - DNCarry
Hayes - - - DNP
Hopkins - - - DNP
Kerridge 3 - 3 Insert complaints about scholarship FBs x2
TOTAL 11.5 12 -0.5 Need better from the ballcarriers.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner - - 1-  
Roundtree 0.5 2 -1.5  
Gallon 0.5 - -  
Jackson - 2 -2  
Dileo - - - --
J. Robinson 1 1 0  
Darboh - - - --
TOTAL 2 5 -3 [Comment not found]
Player + - T Notes
Protection 32 19 63% Toussaint –3, Lewan –2, Schofield –2, Barnum –2, Kerridge –2, Smith –2, Mealer –1, Team -5
RPS 12 13 -1 I was super super kind on the Denard INTs.

So, the protection sucked, and the line was in tough but came out okay, and the ballcarriers didn't do much, and I must be Mike Kwiatkowski's secret dad or something. I don't know about the Kwiatkowski stuff, but he sealed guys away every time when Michigan went for the edge. That gave him a ton of relevant blocks that he accomplished and boosted those numbers up there. I probably should have started with the half-points more, but I'll keep an eye on him in the future. There is a reason he is playing a lot more than Williams in single TE sets (and sets with Funchess).


[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 2 - - 3/4   9 0/3 1/2 10/11
Roundtree 1   - 3/3   4 0/1 1/1 7/7
Gallon 2   1/1 2/2   5 0/1 3/4 9/9
J. Robinson       1/1   1 0/1   1/1
Dileo     1/1     1 1/1 2/2 2/2
Jackson           1     3/4
Kwiatkowski                 2/2
Funchess       2/2     1/1   7/7
Toussaint   0/1   1/1     0/1 0/1 1/1
Smith       1/1       0/1 3/3
Kerridge   0/1         0/1    


Nothing to see here, really.


Kwiatkowski was a major part of Michigan's success on the ground, along with Lewan.


Denard, Borges, Denard, Borges, Denard, Borges, Denard, Borges, offensive line pass pro.

What does it mean for the Big Ten schedule?

I don't know, man. I'm guessing they'll finally look at themselves and say "okay, let's just assume this is what happens when Denard gets pressured" and move to avoid that at all costs. That means more running, fewer plays on which they put Denard on the edge against an unblocked dude, and please sweet baby Jesus more easy quasi-running game throws that get Gallon more touches.

Even in this dismal game, Denard's passes when he did not get pressure were quality, so max protect the guy, give him easy hot reads against those double-A blitzes, and run the ball.

They can and will do better against the Big Ten. Yes. I believe this.



September 28th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

Is there any chance that Hoke/Borges have been operating this way as to limit scouting opportunities for our B1G foes?  I mean our goal this year has always to be to win the big ten.  A run at it all was highly out of the question (brutality of road schedule, etc.).  Could it be that with the placement of the MSU game early in the schedule they were hoping to not have to release the hounds until Oct. 20th?  [Wishful thinking I guess...]


September 28th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

I know what you mean, and I'm positive that Borges would look at the same film and realize things that he didn't catch during game time.  In fact, I'm sure any coach would do that.  Also, while Brian makes good points, I think Borges would have a good rational explanation for why he does what he does.  You don't work as an offensive coordinator for 20 some-odd years and not have a good reason for doing what you do.

coastal blue

September 28th, 2012 at 4:45 PM ^

But maybe that's just it. For over 20 years, he's coached a certain style and he believes in it. So when the time to adjust comes, its tougher because he's scheming away from what he's spent his whole life perfecting into a successful gameplan. I think that that is a fairly typical attitude of any coach. 



September 29th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

Yes.  It is totally true.  He ran the same offense at eight schools over 25 years and his QBs rushed for nothing at every one of them.  Also, pointing to Al's OC track record doesn't really work in his favor.

Al's total offense rank since 1999:  85, 63, 77, 69, 98, 25, 37, 76, 97, 86, 16, 42.   

But yeah, he happened to be the OC for Cade McNown and Jason Campbell.  So there's that.


September 29th, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

Why do none of the Borges defenders here address the points being made?   Three of his four years at Auburn showed regression, not progression.  Indiana was a dumpster fire.  Even McNown regressed as a senior (nearly doubling his interceptions), and Lindley never came close to completing 60% of his passes. 

The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1998 and 1999 and Texas won the 2005 Rose Bowl with Greg Robinson as DC.  Therefore Greg Robinson is infallible and must succeed once he gets his guys in place, right?  It's not like Al Borges is a Lloyd Carr man -- I do not see why he gets the free pass.


OMG Shirtless

September 29th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

He's not getting a free pass.  Very, very few people are giving him a free pass.  The vast majority, who are defending Borges, are just saying that when your Sr. Quarterback throws 4 interceptions and gives up a fumble, the Offensive Coordinator is not the reason your team lost.


September 29th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

QB rushing yards:

2010 19 carries -31 yards

2009 22 carries -131 yards

2007 47 carries -96 yards

2006 51 carries -177 yards
2005 44 carries -125 yards
2004 58 carries 30 yards

2003 97 carries -7 yards
2002 55 carries -52 yards

2001 77 carries 63 yards

2000 52 carries -195 yards

After 25 years, Al finally found an irresistable force at QB and hasn't been able to stop it.  He has only been able to slow it down a little.  You're right.  He's totally flexible.  And as soon as Denard is gone, we won't be running the same below average offense Al has been running since back when he had a full head of hair.

(sorry about the horrible formatting)


September 28th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

I've always wondered about this kind of thing.  I know they protect some plays and only reveal them against certain special opponents but I was puzzled by the Iowa game last year (and the constant I-formation) and then ND this year.  It was more than just holding back some plays that could be run and was more like running a completely different philosophy (a bit overstated, but you know what I mean).  It just seems like Borges may sometimes be out-thinking even himself, but WTF do I know.



September 28th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

The points on Denard are well put, Brian.  He doesn't throw well under pressure, which is just an unbiased fact.  

For this reason, while he is definitely an NFL athlete, is not an NFL quarterback prospect.

Too bad Borges has been too stubborn to roll with that, it cost M a few wins last year and probably the ND game this year.  Here's to hoping Al runs the Denard offense for the rest of this season. 



September 28th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

There's simulated pressure: huge D lineman runs at you but doesn't take your head off and REAL pressure: huge D Lineman runs at you and not only intends to take your head off, but in all likelihood will succeed in taking your head off.  Practice pressure doesn't hurt.  REAL pressure does...alot.  


He has to learn to stand and take the hit. This is why Brian suggests max-protect.  Guy in face = throw off back foot = INT. 


September 29th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

Borges desperately wants Denard to be something he is not, give it up Al.  

One of my favorite quotes:  in battle a soldiers conscious mind shuts down and instinct takes over.  

Denard's instinct is to take off and run if the pass is not open, always has been, always will be.      We all know Borges wants Denard to hang out in the pocket and let the play develope.   Al should tell him to scrap all the NFL pocket passer shit and give Denard the green light to run if the pass is not open after a few seconds.    And keep the damn plays simple for Denard.

Bill the Butcher

September 29th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

"Denard's instinct is to take off and run if the pass is not open, always has been, always will be. We all know Borges wants Denard to hang out in the pocket and let the play develope."


This is 100% false.  Not even one bit of that statement is true.  Denard has never been big on scrambling when throws aren't there.  This goes back to 2009 and 2010 under RR.  One of the constant complaints in offensive UFRs was the fact that Denard seemingly refused to take off and run.  The coaches (Hoke and Borges) have stated on numerous occasions that they wish Denard would take off and run more when the primary or secondary read isn't there.

In fact, if you go back and look at the UFR's from last year (off the top of my head i can specifically recall the Nebraska game) you will see Brian commenting on the transformation Denard seemed to make by scrambling much more than he has before.  

A 2 minute search In the Nebraska UFR found this quote from Brian "He even added some scrambles, which the entire diaspora said "finally" to."

The fact is Denard, for whatever reason, has never been much of a scrambler.  That has held true through 2 coaching staffs.  To put the blame on Borges for that is laughable.



snarling wolverine

September 29th, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

Exactly.  If he were an instinctive scrambler, it would help his passing tremendously.  For one thing, he wouldn't be throwing so many ill-advised passes into coverage.  Second, teams would be forced to play zone coverage in the secondary (to ensure that their DBs' backs aren't turned to the QB), and this would make it easier for our WRs to get open.  


Sten Carlson

September 29th, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

Although I agree with your cliche about instinct taking over in the heat of battle, the statement infra is ASININE.


Denard's instinct is to take off and run if the pass is not open, always has been, always will be. We all know Borges wants Denard to hang out in the pocket and let the play develope. Al should tell him to scrap all the NFL pocket passer shit and give Denard the green light to run if the pass is not open after a few seconds. And keep the damn plays simple for Denard.


Have you not listened to a word Borges has said on the subject? Have you not watched Denard play QB since 2010? I guarantee you that Borges is in the press box screaming at Denard to, "run it, run it, RUN IT DAMN IT!" and pulling his nose hairs out (he's got none left on his head) when he doesn't. He's said all along that Denard is unique in that his 2nd or 3rd check down is HIS LEGS.  But, for whatever reason, even under RR, Denard just doens't seem to want to do that.  You cannot put that on Borges Dave.


September 28th, 2012 at 7:02 PM ^

2 of those wins (ND and Sugar Bowl) were about as improbable as improbable wins come by, and weren't really influenced by the offensive gameplan. Also, last year's schedule was very favorable, with the only marquis road game being MSU and playing down OSU and okay Nebraska teams at home.

OTOH, the offense looked brilliant against both Nebraska and OSU last year, which Borges deserves credit for.


September 29th, 2012 at 2:26 AM ^

And the offensive gameplan in the Iowa and MSU games seemed very different and much less successful than the one used in the Nebraska and Ohio games. So it seems to me the question of "why does Borges keep doing things we know won't work when he's demonstrated something that works much better?" a valid one.

Blue boy johnson

September 29th, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

Ever occur to you that Hoke and Borges have no desire to have a top 5 offense in the country. Not a good thing or a bad thing. Nick Saban has no desire to have a top 5 offense either, nor did Jim Tressel or numerous other coaches. Then you have coaches like Bob Stoops, Chip Kelly, Rich Rodriguez, et al, who primary thing is offense. Nothing wrong with either approach.


September 29th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

No, it didn't occur to me as it makes no sense whatsoever.  I'm pretty sure it's the goal of every coach in the world to have the best offense/defense/special teams possible.  That's a brilliant philosophy, though.  Let's just not maximize our talent from here on out.  I'd like to hear a coach explain why top 42 is better than top 5.


September 29th, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

A top flight offense does not preclude a top flight defense, nor is the inverse correct.  That type of attitude is one that rationalizes mediocrity.  Every team, every coach, should be striving to have the best offense, defense, and special teams as is possible.  In fact, a very good defense can actually help the offense to become better by giving it more snaps and mitigating offense team mistakes. 

By the same token a very good offense can help a defense by allowing the defense opportunities to take risks it might not otherwise take.  The two facets of the game don't have to be adversarial, they can and should be the best possible and symbiotic.

Sten Carlson

September 29th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

I think you're misconstruing what he was saying. If you look back into Michigan football history, you'll see a program that emphasized defense, and played conservatively on offense. This changed a bit when Michigan had special talents like AC, Howard, and Woodson. The old adage, "defense wins championships" has basically been the mantra of Michigan football for many decades.

We all were witness to what happens to a brilliant offense whose defensive counterpart cannot stop an FCS team from racking up 400+ yards in a game.

Yes, every coach wants every aspect of their team to be a good as possible. But, it comes down to an overall recruiting philosophy. Obviously, teams are trying to get the best players that they can, but teams like Bama recruit defense harder, are looking for huge OL's, and big battering ram RB's. By contrast, a team like Oregon is far more focused upon recruiting the offense, and speed in particular. Bama wins by playing stifling defense, running the ball, and playing relatively conservatively. Michigan, IMO, is heading back in that direction and is departing from the Oregon style that RR tried to establish.

Michigan isn't shooting to out-gain teams like Oregon, Baylor, and WVU, which are the "top offenses." That's not to say that Michigan doesn't want to have a "good offense" or an "efficient offense."


September 29th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

What you say about recruiting will apply when we don't have top-5 talent on offense.  It was there last year, though, and performed well below expectation.  There's no justification for any philosophy that takes a team with the talent to be one of the best units in the country on either side of the ball and turns it into something slightly above average.

snarling wolverine

September 29th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Borges turned a talentwise top-5 offense

No way in hell did we have a top-5 offense in the country in terms of talent. Take a look at where our guys went in the NFL Draft.

As for the notion that our offense somehow declined from 2010 to 2011,  we averaged 32.8 points per game in 2010 and 33.3 last year.  Where's the decline?  

If your comment is referring to yardage, honestly, who cares if it went down or not?  We outgained ND last Saturday.  Do you think ND fans care about that?  We were playing from behind most of the game, while they had the lead, so of course we had more urgency to move the ball.  And that was true for a lot of games in 2010 also, whereas in 2011 we usually were playing from ahead.



September 29th, 2012 at 11:25 PM ^

No team can control how other teams perform over the season, a top five offense one year that performs the same or even better the next, may find itself out of the top five.  So what we are left with is how did the offense perform year over year and in this specific instance the 2011 Michigan offense put more points on the board than did the 2010 version.  At the end of the game, at the end of the day, and at the end of the season, that's what matters.


September 28th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

I think they'll do better against the B1G. And the Defense excites me.

Something to remember (for everyone, but especially the 'Brian hates Borges' crowd) is that the RPS goes both ways. All the minuses aren't bad calls by Borges, but sometimes the opposing DC earns his paycheck too.

I too hope that the fusion cuisine gets better. Denard is a good passer when he can set his feet and has time. He's a terrible passer if he cant. Ergo, let's put him in situations that he's good in, without unblocked guys in his face.  

EDIT: Borges did much better at this in the 2nd half, with all the max-protect sets. The real killer was Denard's fumble, as we were still within a score there.


September 28th, 2012 at 3:11 PM ^

Silver lining: I haven't said this in about a quarter century, but I bet ND would win the Big Ten this year if they were in it. They are not a great team, would not beat the real top teams in the country, but would win the Big Ten in the style Wisconsin did the last couple years - not go undefeated, but be the best team.

My point is, we probably won't play a team as good as ND for the rest of the year, and we almost beat them. Also, remember what happened last year - we looked OK at best at the beginning of the year, and then our coaches realized what they had and we rolled. I wish that didn't need to happen this year, but we can chalk it up to tough road games and move on.


September 28th, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

OK, you could say that about 75% of the teams we've ever lost to: if we had a chance to play them again, we'd have a good shot at beating them. 

That's not the point.  The point is that they've now beaten Purdue, MSU (handily) and Michigan in consecutive weeks.  I'm not saying they'd certainly go undefeated, but if they played a full Big Ten schedule, I think they'd be the best team in the league.  Would they certainly win the BTCG?  Who knows, because anything can happen in one game against a tough team (especially when you've played that team already), but that's not my point. 

My point was that we just went toe-to-toe with a team who is likely better than any team in our league, at their place, and had our QB not played one of his worst games ever, we probably would have won.  I'm not saying that makes up for the loss, but it's a silver lining.


September 28th, 2012 at 6:41 PM ^

The scary thing is that every team on ND's schedule has shown themselves by now to be severely flawed in ways that ND can likely take advantage of. If Stanford's rush game can be shut down by UW, who got curb stomped by LSU, then why can't ND's pretty good front 7 shut it down. If Stanford can shut USC down by putting lots of pressure on Barkley, why can't ND's very good pass rush? If Kansas State can pressure Oklahoma into 3-4 horrible turnovers, why not ND?

In no way do I think ND's capable of competing with the best teams in the country (LSU, 'bama, Oregon, Florida State, maybe West Virginia). But they don't have to. They have a schedule of big name, flawed teams, UM included, that will print them a ticket to the title game if they run the table or even if they have one loss. I'm not sure I'm prepared to deal with the level of ND hype that would ensue.