Upon Further Review 2012: Offense vs UMass Comment Count

Brian September 19th, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Formation notes: Nothing particularly new from Michigan except the Norfleet-end-around thing, which I just called 2-back. The plays run from it are being called "triple veer" since there's a third option there, not that I think any of these things are reads.


This was early; Dileo did not come in motion. Same formation plus Norfleet coming in == triple veer series against UMass.

Funchess means a lot more 2 TE formations. Reminder: TV never shows substitutions so I'm usually just describing the formation for the defense here, not the personnel. IIRC UMass was in 4-3 personnel the whole time; sometimes they would commit a LB to the slot, which I called nickel.

Substitution notes: Also nothing too unusual. Kwiatkowski was the starting TE and did pretty well; Funchess saw a lot of time; the usual WR rotation occurred. When Michigan pulled Lewan late they made the same flip they did at the end of the Alabama game, moving Schofield to LT, Omameh to RT, and inserting Burzynski at RG.

As promised, Hoke did not put any of the freshman linemen on the field. At this point we know who the staff is trying to redshirt. On offense those folk are: Braden, Kalis, Magnuson, Bars, Chesson, and Johnson. Norfleet, Funchess, Williams, and Darboh are playing.

Show? Show.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 3
Funchess off line, both TEs in two-point stance. Implies pass. M runs, shooting Funchess backside and sending Kwiatkowski to the frontside. Blocking bust as Barnum(-2) does not ever pop off the DT he is doubling with Mealer; unblocked LB in the hole. Kwiatkowski(-1) gets stuck between cracking down on this guy and trying to get a DB, eventually doing neither; Lewan(+1) gets big movement on his kickout when Toussaint(+1) bounces it outside. Schofield(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) had gotten nice movement on the backside.
M38 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 13
Omameh(+1) seals the UMass DT inside quickly, allowing Schofield(+1) to move out on a linebacker without delay. Either the hand or the keep works here; Denard(+1) keeps and manages to run through an ankle tackle attempt. Funchess(+1) is inline here and releases downfield, getting a block on a safety at about ten yards after running a fake dig. Barnum pulled through the hole but took a line way outside and did not block the last dude, the FS, who tackles. Denard is riding this mesh point longer [BWS].
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Sprint counter Toussaint 7
MLB reads the Schofield pull and immediately starts heading for wherever he's going. SLB also reads the play and gets into the intended hole before Dileo can crack down on him. Mealer(+0.5) got a free release and pushes the MLB past where he wants to go, but Toussaint doesn't have anywhere to go on the playside. Omameh(+1) has blasted the backside DT back, though, and Funchess(+0.5) escorts a DE way downfield—mostly the DE being bad, not Funchess devastating him. Toussaint(+1) cuts back ably, juking a filling safety to his butt and picking up a nice gain. RPS -1? Nah, but I thought about it.
O42 2 3 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass TE Out Kwiatkowski 16
Safety rolls down for eight man front, slot CB tight on the line. Both linebackers run right at the LOS on a straight dropback, Kwiatkowski comes wide open, Denard hits him, easy conversion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1) Kwiatkowski gets some YAC by running through a tackle.
O26 1 10 Shotgun twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA TE Seam Funchess 26
This is my candy now, baby. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1). BWS picture pages.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q. I say, these chaps don't appear to be very good.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Bubble screen Gallon 14
Or LAZER, whatever. LB two yards inside of Gallon who takes off at the run on the snap, M throws the bubble, which is wide open. Gardner(+1) dominates the CB out of Gallon's way and it's an easy first down. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint -1
Mostly on Toussaint(-2). Kerridge takes on the playside DE a couple yards in the backfield, and Omameh goes upfield of that. Toussaint goes outside when a quick cut upfield is definitely positive yardage, possibly lots. Mealer(+0.5) had locked out a DT, Lewan(+0.5) and Barnum(+0.5) blew up the other guy. Instead Toussaint runs into an unblocked LB. Well... maybe. This does seem to be asking a lot of him to make a cut when he's going outside so clearly. But with Kerridge where he is Omameh has no shot of getting outside effectively and it's never a good idea to bounce when you have to go around stuff.
O41 2 11 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass PA Fly Gardner Inc
They're on to us: this is our passing formation. UMass brings both safeties up and the MLB reads the pull, shooting outside. Barnum's pulled and has two guys to block in space. He doesn't really block either. Denard has two options with his short stuff covered: bomb it against cover zero or start running around. He chooses the latter, missing Gardner by a few yards. (IN, 0, protection ½, team -1)
O41 3 11 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Rollout Fly J. Robinson Inc
A three-part flood on which the deep corner opens up. JRobinson is open as the CB to that side comes up on Roundtree's route, so Denard fires into the endzone. JRobinson is looking over both shoulders and may be able to do better than this, but Denard did leave it too far inside. It's still decent for a 40-yard pass. JRobinson has a shot at at a one-handed spear, but the S rakes it out. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Barnum(-2) falls, allowing the DT right up the A gap. Toussaint manages to squeeze for a yard or two.
O43 2 8 I-Form 3-wide tight 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass Waggle drag Gallon Inc
UMass suckered and this will get turned up for a first down; Denard just misses. (IN, 0, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O43 3 8 Shotgun trips bunch tight 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Hitch Funchess 8
Lots of time as UMass sends three. Denard finds Funchess at the sticks and zips it in there, hard and low. This is between two defenders so I'll give Denard the benefit of the doubt. We don't get a replay, unfortunately, so I can't tell how good of a catch this is. I will go with my initial thought that is was really good. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Zone read keeper Robinson 20 (Pen -0)
Backside DE does not contain, so Denard pulls. Neither LB to that side is scraping over the top, and then the playside guy is staring right at Denard with the ball and still runs away. Denard again ditches a shoe and still gets outside for a big gain. Uh... I guess Denard +1 for the read, but this was free yards from a bad, bad D. Roundtree(-1) gets a dubious holding call, but just let go, man.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Penalty False start Lewan -5
O40 1 15 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Pass Screen Toussaint 17
Both of the UMass LBs to the playside move towards the LOS as they see the OL release, but they move inside, which is not a good idea. Toussaint ends up in a ton of space; Barnum(+1) gets a block in space but I'm not sure he even needs to. Toussaint(+1) jukes a safety and picks up the first down; a second juke attempt at the sideline gets him tackled awkwardly. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1).
O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB iso Robinson 5
Barnum's guy fights inside of him, which is not a real good idea when you don't have any LBs behind you. Robinson cuts behind that as Lewan(+0.5) as eliminated the end; Toussaint(+1) gets through the other hole and redirects into a filling safety. Denard's cutting behind that when Barnum's guy tackles. I'm a little leery about Barnum's role in all this but I'll forgo the minus. Mealer(+0.5) got a nice release into the MLB and Omameh got some push on the other DT.
O18 2 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 7
I think they've worked on the veer the past couple weeks. Denard's riding it longer and the FB, here Kerridge, is flaring out immediately so that that DE cannot take him out. Kerridge(+1) books for the playside LB and blasts him; Denard(+1) reads that the end is not containing Toussaint and gives. That's about it. A safety fills; Toussaint(+1) moves the pile another three yards.
O11 1 10 Shotgun twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 11
This seems like a blown read by Denard(-1) as they block the backside OLB and let the 3-4 DE free. He hugs Schofield's back and shoots down the line, so Denard is one on one with the safety for six. He gives anyway. The line has caved in the Minutemen but Toussaint(+2) has to run away from the DE and finds a hole outside. Safety fill is going to take him down after two yards but he busts a tackle and tiptoes down the sideline for six. Lewan(+1) got the movement that created the gap; Mealer(+1) and Omameh(+1) blew up the backside DT and erased any potential LB pursuit.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 3 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA quick seam Dileo 66
The usual. Linebackers suck up, Smith wide open behind them, etc. Denard's throw is a bit in front of Dileo but not too bad; Dileo makes a nice catch and keeps his feet, stiffarming a safety down but getting caught from behind by one of their linebackers. (CA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
O5 1 G Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 5
Mealer(+1) and Omameh(+1) blow up the playside DT, and that's about it. Barnum had some issues with his guy but managed to fend him off; Smith(+1) was decisive.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-3, 13 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone read keeper Robinson 4
This is probably a called play and not a read as there is no unblocked player. The run fake takes out the linebackers but UMass is run blitzing their FS right into the hole. Denard(+1) jukes him and is about to hit the jets when an OLB who stunted through clean makes a shoestring tackle. Oooooh. Too bad. Schofield(+1) blew up the playside DT; Kwiatkowski(+0.5) kicked the other guy well. RPS -1, but I like the creativity. Without this call on this is a nice gain.
M16 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Out Jackson INT
The fugly INT. If accurate this is a fine idea. It's not accurate. Also insert complaints about Jackson separation, or lack thereof. (INX, 0, protection N/A) Wow... on replay this route sucks. Jackson's post fake is basically vertical.
Drive Notes: Defensive Touchdown, 21-10, 9 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Bubble screen Gallon 6
Giving it by alignment, M takes it. Aggressive DB gets upfield of Gardner and manages a shoulder tackle that gets Gallon off his feet. (CA, 3, screen)
M31 2 4 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run QB draw Robinson 24
UMass puts one of their LBs over the second slot guy and goes six in the box, thus opening this up. The power of a stupid little play. UMass gets out of a lane and this opens up big. Toussaint(+1) gets a good LB block; Dileo(+1) does work on another LB, and Mealer(+1) gets a safety in space. Robinson(+2) sets his blocks up well and sets sail before that #9 again prevents a Michigan TD.
O45 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Scramble Robinson 25 (Pen -15)
LB blitz sent and picked up by Toussaint, who goes low. Mealer is backing out of a block and makes contact at the same time, which draws a chop block flag because they're throwing that on anything that even vaguely resembles a cut block with two guys. Unfortunate. That pickup gives Denard a ton of space, which he decides to use. Please be a trend. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M40 1 25 Ace trips bunch 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass Throwback screen Gallon 12
Always works; works. Lewan(+1) donkeys the corner, Gallon goes outside, safety fills. (CA, 3, screen) RPS +1? Sure.
O48 2 13 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Smith 6
Lewan(+1) blows one DT off the ball; Barnum(+0.5) finishes sealing him. Williams(+0.5) takes on a DE, then moves to the second level, passing the DE off to Kerridge. Williams can't quite lock that LB out, though, and he falls to tackle Smith just as he's breaking through to the secondary with Omameh(+0.5) as a safety-destroyer in front of him. Potential TD otherwise.
O42 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 Okie Pass Drag Gardner 42
UMass sends the house. Unblocked guy right up the gut who Smith blows up, allowing Denard time to step around and up into the pocket. Everyone else is taken care of. Gardner's drag has taken him past a LB; Denard hits him. Gardner then just barely outruns #9 (who can play) and tiptoes the sideline for a spectacular TD. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3, special Smith commendation issued)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, 6 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 8
DL overplays to the playside here and the WLB is sucked out to the corner because Denard must be contained. Toussaint(+1) finds the cutback after Omameh(+1) shoots an aggressive DT past his hole. Schofield(+0.5) walls off the backside DE. Barnum and Mealer(+0.5) each combo to the second level.
O47 2 2 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 10
Barnum(+1) has a one on one matchup with playside DT and gets motion on the guy, driving him back a couple yards. SLB runs himself outside aimlessly. Williams and Lewan double playside DE and kick him out; would like to see Lewan climb to second level but this may be short yardage approach. Toussaint(+1) beats a filling safety to the edge and turns a first down into a small chunk. Mealer(+1) got a free release and beat up the MLB.
O37 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 1
Nice play by the MLB to find the hole immediately, shooting past Mealer's block and arriving to tackle just as Kerridge is kicking out the SLB. Mealer(-1) could have taken a better angle to the second level, but this is mostly an RPS -1. Barnum(+1) and Lewan(+1) had provided a nice big hole with one on one blocks.
O36 2 9 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle throwaway Roundtree Inc
Everyone covered; LB specifically containing this play. Denard pumps and escapes outside, then just dumps it as he nears the LOS and it becomes clear he doesn't really have a running lane. Assumption is this was just putting the ball in the turf. (TA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O36 3 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Robinson 36
Has forever as UMass rushes three, then sends a spy late. Denard eventually decides to use those feet things, at which point laughter happens. Kerridge +1 for getting the downfield block that ends any chance of pursuit. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2, Denard +3 on ground)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-10, 4 min 2nd Q. They get it back with 2:02 to go and run a two minute drill.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass Wheel Smith 19
Play action with the three WRs running vertical. LB has to sink into the boundary route, opening up a wheel for Smith; Denard floats it in nicely. Smith(+2) then stops on a dime and spins inside the tackle attempt, turning eight yards into 20. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Cross Gardner Inc
Same route Gardner had for a TD. No pressure this time and Denard just misses this one. This was going for 20+ too. (IN, 0, protection 2/'2)
M36 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Pass Scramble Robinson -3
Denard appears to be looking for a Jackson hitch. There's a LB under it and he decides against the throw. LB then turns his back to chase downfield; Denard decides to run. Good decision, but he bumps into Mealer before he can get his motor running and falls. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2) Scramble awarded because this was a good idea that went bad; if Denard escapes the pocket he's got at least ten.
M33 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Cross Dileo 16
This one is in between Dileo's numbers; route is a yard or two short of the sticks but the throw allows him to turn it up for the first down easily. No pressure. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass In J. Robinson 9
Has just forever and eventually zings it to JRobinson just in front of a defender. Probably should have looked for Smith, who is abandoned, but he hit the guy so okay. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O42 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Dileo 9 + 15 pen
Another pump, this one at Funchess on a little out; he decides against that and nails Dileo on a hitch. Against better opposition these delays may be a problem. Here Schofield(-1) did get beat; Robinson gets a faceful of DE. (CA, 3, protection ½, Schofield -1) This turns into a dodgy flag.
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run QB draw Robinson 16
LBs way back, expecting pass and backing out at the snap. As soon as Omameh(+1) shoves the playside DT way down the line this is easy money. Mealer(+1) got a good downfield block; Robinson(+1) is fast and stuff and knows to burrow behind Mealer. RPS +2.
O2 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 0
Kwiatkowski(-1) does not get any push as a lead blocker and ends up stalemated; Kerridge runs up his back but can't actually contact an opponent, and Toussaint has no crease.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line Penalty Illegal sub N/A 1
All right.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line Run Speed option Robinson 1
If this is a real option, Denard should pitch(-1), but doesn't. He gets tackled by a blitzer in too quickly on Lewan(-1), the fumbles(-2) as he reaches out to the goal line. Lewan, or someone anyway, recovers. Ah, hell. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-13, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips Te 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 13
DE is not containing Toussaint; give. That's about it. Rest of the D is in the box in case Denard keeps. Gardner, Jackson, and Roundtree(+0.5 each) all get okay to good blocks on DBs downfield. RPS +1.
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel even Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 11
Identical thing to other side. DE does not show hard upfield, give. MLB gets outside of Dileo but for naught as there's a ton of space. Lewan(+1) pancaked the other guy, that's why. Jackson(+1) gets a good extended block downfield and Toussaint(+1) takes what's he's given, accelerating past fallen bodies until the sticks. RPS +1.
O17 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Toussaint -1
UMass slants; this catches Mealer(+1) but surprise but he adjusts to starts shoving the slanter by the play. Lewan(+0.5) and Barnum(+0.5) had comboed the backside DT and climbed to the second level; Toussaint gets past the Lewan block, downshifts to hit this gaping hole... and gets roped down by a hand. Bad luck, that.
O18 2 11 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Gallon Inc
Batted at the line. (BA, 0, protection 2/2)
O18 3 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass Post Roundtree 18
Excellent time; Denard finds and nails Roundtree on a post the safety probably should have covered but does not. Must have overplayed the route further inside. Not sure if this is too far outside or if Denard is playing it safe but he does hold Roundtree up some. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 49-13, 10 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 11
Playside DT ends up coming through the line but not sure if that's a big problem since by doing so he gets shoved way past where he wants to be by Mealer(+1). Toussaint cuts behind. Barnum(+1) is doing to the same to the next guy. He cuts behind. Kwiatkowski(+1) has blown the last guy two yards downfield; Toussaint(+2) bursts outside. He anticipates and leaps past the safety's attempt to fill, then jukes a corner, and he's in the clear. Pursuit takes him down at the sticks.
M39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Triple veer around Norfleet 14
Norfleet on the outside, he motions in and takes a quick handoff. Unblocked DE to that side is playing an inverted veer and lets Norfleet by. JRobinson(+1) cracks down and blows up the playside LB; the press corner goes with him. Gyarmati is leading now and has only the S to block. He does so; Norfleet tries to shoot past him, ankle tackle. Nice play by that S; if he only maintains leverage this might be six points. RPS +2.
O47 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power off tackle Toussaint 3
Schofield(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) bury the playside DT. Williams(+1) shoves the DE outside and then comes down on a linebacker; Gyarmati finishes kicking the DE. Barnum(-1) freaks out when Wiliams's guy starts moving upfield and hits him instead of continuing outside. He bounces back off this; Toussaint runs into him. That delay gets safeties involved; Toussaint gets what he can surrounded by white shirts.
O44 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inverted veer keeper Robinson 0
DE splits the two runners very well, getting Denard(-1) to keep and still tackling. Barnum(-1) flat lost his guy one on one, straight up, no slant, and he penetrates to prevent any Denard funny stuff.
O44 3 7 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack Pass Cross Gardner 6
Back out from heavy pressure look to three man line. Gardner sets up on a hitch and then starts drifting across the field; Denard doesn't like the deeper look and zings it underneath. A tiny bit short of the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O38 4 1 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Power off tackle Rawls 18
They've replaced Lewan. Schofield(-0.5) now at LT, he does not get his DL moving and allows some penetration that ends up delaying a pulling Burzynski. Gyarmati(+1) plus a guy on the edge, who does not keep the edge; Rawls(+1) sees that and heads out there. He breaks contain, picks up a bunch of yards, and then lowers the boom on a pretty hefty dude to finish it off.
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Triple veer give Rawls 4
Playside DE goes straight at the pulling G and submarines him; Kerridge is trying to seal him inside so that the G can get out but he's got no shot. That's a two for one for the D. Corner is now the contain guy. He sees Rawls has it and is agile enough to crash down to tackle. Rawls takes a hit from the guy Burzynski couldn't block, too. RPS -1, but I like the concept.
O16 2 6 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Pass Triple veer PA JRobinson Inc
Backside DE is going straight for Denard and gets instant pressure. Denard throws off his back foot at an open-ish Robinson and misses. Torn between IN and PR here. He had few alternatives and didn't put up a punt, so PR. (PR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O16 3 6 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Out Roundtree 7
WCO precision route with Williams taking a corner out and opening up a small window for the conversion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O9 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 9
UMass blitzes from the edge; Kerridge(+1) does a good job to come down on him and clock him, clearing the edge. The edge should be win UMass but the LB just biffs it, taking a crappy angle. Smith(+1) outruns him to the corner and gets in. An RPS -1, probably, but results.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 56-13, 3 min 3rd Q. Backups the rest of the way, including the walk-on OL. Charting ceases.

Indubitably, I say.


You said these chaps weren't very good after the first drive.

Oh, right. They're not. Let's do the numbers. So I've got these—




[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%

An easy day with a lot of open guys and a few worrying misses. Those were the INT, the cross to Gardner flung over his head, and the little Gallon drag similarly flung to Tacopants. The fourth one was a bomb on which he was long, which happens. But hey no BRs (UMass covered no one so there could not be any) and some scrambles (UMass managed to both not cover anyone and give up huge running lanes).

As I was saying, indubitably.




This is burned into my head.

Let's talk about actual things. Denard accuracy monitoring?

Still feeling pretty good about it. Though UMass was actually a slight step back in the Downfield Success Rate metric, its impact on our hypothesis ("Borges + Denard == Tate Forcier passing") is positive since we need more data here.

He's still good for the one or two ARGH NO throws a game nothing will ever get him to stop. Look at those Throwaway numbers: three games, one ball I thought was not an attempt to complete a pass. Four more got filed as scrambles, but that's still a vanishingly low percentage of balls tossed away. Everett Golson doubled that in one game against MSU.

We got some more screens.

Yes, as Heiko's on-going, not-serious-but-actually-deadly-serious bubble/lazer-off with Borges highlights, Denard is throwing more stuff at or behind the LOS. The four throws marked as screens in the last game are almost half of Denard's output from the entire second half of last year.

Bubble bubble yes but there was also an honest to God screen-screen that Toussaint turned up for a bunch. Michigan hasn't been throwing those under Borges because when Denard has tried it he has gotten pressure in his face and launced balls well over the intended receiver's head. Maybe that's technique, maybe it's the fact that he's maybe six foot tall and there is no angle that he can throw the thing that won't get stuffed back in his face and not overshoot the mark dangerously.

On the linked screen above, Michigan actually gets it done by blocking the end and shoving the DT, giving Denard a window. The horizontal aspect also helps prevent disaster—previously a lot of these RB screens were going straighter up the field. I'm still not sure how much that's ever going to be a staple since teams tend not to blitz Denard hard, but having that option is a nice.

Also: throwback. Believe it.

What happened on the next play after that bubble you linked above?

UMass put about five and a half players in the box and got a QB draw in their face for 24 yards. Panacea, no, but an effective play that opens up the rest of your offense when people on the edge are accounted for man-to-man.

Denard doing stuff with legs?

Michigan's been working on the veer. Michigan has moved from a stationary quick pull to the more common hop-hop-hop-decide process where the QB rides that fake as long as possible and only makes a decision when he feels the DE has committed. Even when he doesn't commit that movement and delay gets results on the second play of the game:

You'll notice that the pulling G actually runs by that DE (and then widens out so far that he ends up blocking a guy already being blocked many yards from Denard, so they're not exactly a machine yet).

Michigan's also screwing around with some additions/alterations, like the Norfleet end-around series Michigan broke out in the third quarter.

There the DE is like "veer veer veer" and Norfleet just zooms by him. Once he's outside of that, a big gain is guaranteed. Michigan came back  with a  handoff and a play action pass off that, neither of which were as successful.

This was kind of like the Minnesota game last year when Michigan test-drove their sprint counter against the twitching corpse of a long-dead opponent. I like seeing new stuff enter the offense, but I'd rather bring it out against Notre Dame. What's the deal with all the secrecy around the program if they're just going to bring out the toys against the UMasses of the world?

Offensive line?

Offensive line. 43 runs in this one, so numbers should approach normal… and would if I hadn't chalked up many of the yards gained as UMass being UMass. Remember that it's 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 7.5 1 6.5 Dominating in this game.
Barnum 7 6 1 Pretty concerning. Fell down some, got straight up beat a couple times.
Mealer 9 1 8 Mobility in space a pleasant surprise.
Omameh 7.5 - 7.5 Beating up on little guys, but Nix will be a load.
Schofield 3.5 0.5 3 Got beat once in pass pro, but fine. Think people got a little panicked because of Alabama.
Kwiatkowski 1.5 2 -0.5 Eh.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 1.5 - 1.5 Eh.
Funchess 1.5 - - HE DOES EVERYTHING (against UMass sometimes)
TOTAL 39 10.5 79% Meaningfulness: not meaningful.
Player + - T Notes
Robinson 10 5 5 Hit him for the fumble.
Bellomy - - - DNC
Toussaint 13 2 11 Did a lot of bouncing, hit a lot of holes, juked some guys.
Rawls 1 - 1 Lowered the boom on a pretty big dude.
Smith 4 - 4 Spin move was sweet.
Hayes - - - DNC
Hopkins - - - DNP
Kerridge 3 - 3 Insert complaints about scholarship FBs.
TOTAL 31 7 24 Gyarmati was also +1.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 1.5 - 1.5  
Roundtree 0.5 1 -0.5  
Gallon - - -  
Jackson 1.5 - -  
Dileo 1 - 1 --
J. Robinson 1 - -  
Darboh - - - --
TOTAL 5.5 1 4.5 [Comment]
Player + - T Notes
Protection 32 2 94% Team –1, Schofield -1
RPS 14 7 +7 Veerin'.

That's what happens when you average almost 7 YPC without a run longer than 36 yards. Note also the near-flawless day in pass protection. Denard had forever, and on that 36 yard run he had two forevers before finally deciding to take off.

So, yeah. Complete obliteration of a foe that can only be obliterated and causes panic if you do not obliterate them. File under necessary and not meaningful.


Um, okay.

1. Lewan
2. Mealer
3. Schofield
4. Omameh
5. Barnum

Barnum had problems?

Yeah. He fell down a couple times; once he just never popped off a double and exposed Toussaint to an unblocked LB, and late on a veer-type run he got beat straight up. By ND transfer Hafis Williams, so not a total scrub, but from a confidence perspective guys who transferred away from the team you're about to play are not the best guys to beat your OL.

Last game I thought Omameh struggled and Barnum did pretty well, so jury is out on both guards.

Toussaint's pretty good again?

Yeah, man. Independent of the opponent he tiptoed the line for a TD and I love a particular aspect of this zone that cuts all the way across the field. Try to figure out what it is:

If you guessed "the little hop he takes when he perceives that an ankle tackle is coming from behind," you win an MGoPoint.


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

A bit of a fuss was made about Gardner only bringing in 8 of 20 targets this far. I'm missing one, but of my 19 he's got seven with no shot and three really tough ones. It's somewhat about his routes, but I chalk most of that up to "is deep threat".

I've mentioned this already this week, but Dileo is increasingly a guy who I'm comfortable with getting lots of playing time. He's not big, he's not super fast, but he catches everything in his area…

…and has a knack for keeping his feet as he does so. Usual slot-dot drawbacks apply; Dileo adds a fourth or fifth guy who I think is a pretty good receiving option.

QB Oh Noes returns?

A point of order is in… order after I saw a bunch of @replies in the twitter and BWS pointed out the vast open Funchess TD. QB Oh Noes was coined here to specifically refer to plays on which Denard himself takes a step towards the line as part of a run fake and then backs out. The PA fake made here:

Is something RR did a bit but not a ton. Borges, on the other hand, does run it a ton, and did last year as well. Now that he's got Funchess running down that seam expect even more of it.

[Also, BWS points out that Omameh is not quite Air Force-level illegally downfield. Illegal downfield: go for it, OL!]

Special commendation Vincent Smith needs out-of-table love.


"Why isn't Norfleet playing more?" the message boards ask. That is why. Fingerguns Smith.

BONUS: that's the play of which Borges said this:

I’m knocking on wood. I never assume anything, but his footwork is like night and day. He’s pulling balls down now and working up underneath the pocket and taking off and buying beats. He had a play during the game and it was a zero blitz where he got underneath the rush, gave Vince a chance to chip off a blitzing linebacker and threw the ball to Devin for a touchdown. A year ago he would have run backwards, and they’d have chased him for about an hour, and he’d probably end up throwing it out of bounds.

I'm ready to upgrade the Denard Can Throw hypothesis to a theory if he can just do it on Saturday.

BONUS BONUS: Smith spin move swag featuring Denard touch pass.




If you're really mean and stuff, Barnum could have done better.

What does it mean for ND and the future?

Sadly, not much. The worries about the OL will go one way or the other on Saturday and I'm not sure which one it will be. Schofield's going to come in for scrutiny—I'm guessing he handles it fine. More concerned about the guards.

Meanwhile, inching towards the idea that Denard can throw… sidling up to it, not looking at it directly, maybe giving it an eyebrow. Saturday is maybe not an acid test against a young secondary featuring three position switch starters, but after last year yeah it's an acid test. Let's do some stuff not on Gary Gray's back.



September 19th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Pleasantly surprised by Mealer so far this season, unpleasantly surprised about Barnum so far as well. I expect he'll get it going sooner or later, though. Again, in pass pro they should be okay against ND, adding in TEs, Smiths blocking, and Denards mobility. Passing the ball against NDs backfield should be fun to watch. Running the ball against that defensive front should be....interesting.


September 19th, 2012 at 1:39 PM ^

I am on board the "denard is now accurate" train.  He has been making some really nice throws.  More importantly, I find that his decision-making is getting better.  Some of that obviously has to do with playing a middle school team on defense for the past two weeks, but even against bama, it appears that he is more comfortable in this offense - something that tends to happen in a second year within the same offense.

Here's hoping that this holds up against a good / great front this coming weekend.  If Denard really has gotten the whole passing thing down, it will be tough for ND, given their secondary, to stack the box, which should open Denard / Fitzs up some room to run.


September 19th, 2012 at 8:46 PM ^

Decision making is better?  He's thrown 4 interceptions in three games, and two of them have been against bad teams; two of those have been returned for touchdowns.  He fumbled on the goal line this past Saturday because he was careless with the football.


September 19th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

On what you call the 2-Back Triple Veer, what are the options you see? You say, "not that I think any of these things are reads." Do you see this changing? Can one of the coaches on the board diagram this play?

With Denard having Gardner & Funchess receiving, do you see more jump balls, or no? (I'm not a huge fan of jump balls personally.)

How is the OL doing this year on pulling?


September 19th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

But think of it as a Jet Sweep Option, then an Inverted Veer Option behind it.

Kind of like this. In this picture there is a Zone Read, and if the QB keeps he's got a "traditional" option pitch available.

In the "Triple Veer" it's a Jet Sweep, followed by an inverted Veer if Denard keeps. I think. I'm not a coach, and I drew that in MS Word (way better than MS Paint, you heard me Shredder / fake flamewar)


September 19th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

Its been fun to watch Denard mature into a more comfortable passer.  On numerous plays I purposely watched his helmet to see him go through progressions.  There were several times where he targeted the 2nd and 3rd receivers he spied.  I remember him locking onto targets constantly.  Very impressive maturation.


September 19th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I thought on the veer play, the read could have gone either way.  We had some pretty good downfield blocking by the WRs and that DE wasn't going to catch Fitz, had Denard gone with the give read.

I loves the QB on noes.  They can be deadly accurate.  And when you swing the TE out like that, it's easy for the LBs to lose him, until it's too late.  OH Noooooooooo.

(EDIT:  It looks like the DBs were cover 0 or 1, based on their "man turns" on the outside receiver.  Was the safety supposed to be locked up on the TE?  If so, he ain't gonna like his UFR)

I am not a huge fan of our guard play.  I hope that improves......a lot.




September 19th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

I know it never really was an option given the state of our program at the time, but I can only imagine how I'd be feeling if Denard had been able to redshirt back in '09 and was currently a RS Junior.  Of course, domino effect and then Gardner may not even be here, but hey I can dream can't I?


September 19th, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

If you think about it, that season was a total wasted season anyway.  For the few times where Denard had to come in, we could have been just as well served putting in whichever walk-on was behind him on the depth chart.  He has admitted that in '09 he didn't know even a fraction of the playbook.

Ultimately, this cuts both ways - while we would all love another season with Denard, at some point we are going to have to go through the transition from our current offense to the offense that Borges and Hoke really want to run.  Denard graduating this year sets up a pretty crappy 2013 from the QB perspective (I like DG much better as a receiver), but in 2014, we should be fully into our new offense.

snarling wolverine

September 19th, 2012 at 4:41 PM ^

If we'd wanted to, we could have redshirted him.  Nick Sheridan could have been the backup QB.  But I think after the 3-9 season, Rodriguez was feeling pressure to win and thought using Denard as a quasi-wildcat QB would give him more of a chance.  

I can't be too upset about that though, since Denard is a three-year starter all the same.  Three years of the same starting QB is very good. Gardner's (apparent) burned redshirt in 2010 is more frustrating.  We played him a handful of snaps not because we really needed him but because Tate Forcier was in the doghouse at the time.



September 19th, 2012 at 2:32 PM ^

Glad to see you are acknowledging Denard's Throw-Aways or lack there-of. 

Denard Robinson in 2.3 years could possibly Eclipse Chad Henne's career interception mark this weekend with half the career passing attempts.   

Denard needs to utilize the throw it away option on his controller or super speed and take off!

steve sharik

September 19th, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

Has not returned, according to that clip, anyway.  That's pure dropback with Denard avoiding rushers.  Watch the OL pass pro.

QB Oh Noes is zone blocking with Denard taking snap and running toward the line immediately, then flipping to a slot receiver.


September 19th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

i remember having indubitably in my repetoire of witty responses. years of people glaring at me wondering what the hell i was talking about had surpressed that way back into my head. now brian brings it back and i feel all awkward again.


September 19th, 2012 at 11:01 PM ^

And he knew it immediately. It's hard to see in that clip (though you can), but if the replay had the end zone angle it shows pretty well that as soon as he lets go and gives it off he claps his hands in disgust and jerks his head shouting something like "Damn!" I noticed it in the Stadium, and watch the replay on fanvision to make sure I saw what I thought I saw...and was pretty amused we scored on a "busted" play.


September 20th, 2012 at 7:07 AM ^

Pretty much the only guy who gave Michigan much of a challenge was UMass' #9, Christian Birt.  That guy was Kovacs on UMass' GERG defense.  When Michigan scored it was often because his assignment made him nowhere near the ball.

Guess who caught up to Dileo on his 66-yard reception?  Nope, wasn't a linebacker.  Look again.  It was #9.

Guess who pick-sixed Denard?  Yup, #9.  As bad as Denard's throw was, he made an excellent cut on the ball.

Dude can seriously play.  I'd be happy if he transferred to Michigan; we'd find room for him on the field.