Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs Northwestern

Submitted by Brian on November 21st, 2013 at 3:43 PM

TUBE NOTES: These are not tubes, but it's pretty much tubes.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan defended spread stuff exactly like Northwestern did, leaving in a 4-3 and sliding their linebackers to the slot receiver. Since Northwestern was in a spread all the time, this was what they did all the time.

4-3-even-slide 3

Cam Gordon over the first slot receiver, Morgan in the gray area over #3, Ross in the box.

When Northwestern went with two WRs to one side instead of three two LBs were in the box.

4-3-over-slot

Michigan only went to 4-3 stuff when Northwestern went into goal line business.

pistol fb goal line

Michigan kept two deep safeties most of the day, which was a change from Nebraska.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Secondary was Countess and Taylor at corner with Stribling the third guy when Michigan went to the nickel, which was a lot less frequent. Gordon and Avery got most of the snaps at safety, with Wilson rotating in on occasion and Furman getting one drive, IIRC. He did not chart.

Linebacker the usual. Morgan/Ross/Bolden rotation at ILB, Ryan and Cam Gordon at SAM.

On the line, Beyer and Wormley rotated at SDE, Ojemudia and Clark at WDE. Black, Washington, and Henry got almost all of the DT snaps, with Black again mostly at NT. Glasgow got a few snaps, and Charlton got DT snaps in the nickel package.

[After THE JUMP: infinite clips of Mike Trumpy running for two yards.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Pistol 3-wide H 4-3 over slot Run N/A Inside zone Ross 5
NW just trying blow M off the ball here; Black(-1) and Henry(+0.5) do give a lot of ground and Clark(-1) gets cut by the H-back going backside. Beyer(+0.5) fights through to the inside of a bad block from the LT and forces a cutback; Ross(+0.5) has to check two gaps the whole play because Black got blown up such that a guy gets out on Morgan; Henry, on the other hand, gave some ground but kept both his guys occupied the whole play. Ross makes a tackle a couple yards downfield and momentum does its thing.
O33 2 5 Pistol 3-wide H 4-3 under Pass 5 Scramble Taylor 4
Quick out is Colter's first read, Taylor(+1, cover +1) jumps it and will have a PBU or INT if Colter throws. He doesn't, instead bailing to scramble. Beyer and Ryan have switched gaps with Ryan just coming through to threaten as Colter moves around. Beyer cuts off the outside, Ryan chases, Morgan comes up to delay, tackle. Not great from anyone but okay.
O37 3 1 Pistol FB goal line 5-4 under Run N/A Power O Beyer 4
Beyer(-1) doubled and blown up. Black(-0.5) also shot back; Ryan(+0.5) almost fought inside to tackle and would have been relevant if the DL had held up.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 5 Hitch Taylor 5
Morgan and Ross sent, with Clark dropping off. Colter takes a hitch on Taylor playing soft, falling WR, Taylor likely to tackle on the catch. Push.
O46 2 5 Pistol trips TE 4-3 over slot Pass 4 In TGordon 4
M has a good D on for this assemblage of dink routes with a ton of guys in a short zone. TGordon(-1, cover -1) gets out of his, following a slot into Ryan's zone and opening up the in further outside. M rushed three and got cut blocking that would have put Colter under immediate pressure without this error. RPS +1. WR gives up the first down after the catch.
50 3 1 Pistol FB goal line 6-2 under Run N/A Power O Wormley 3
TGordon rolled up to LOS. M slants away. Wormley(-1) gets penetration but far too much and runs way up out of the play. Still, the slant causes confusion and as Bolden shoots to the LOS, exchanging with CGordon, he draws attention from two guys. Ross(-0.5, tackling -1) but is now free and takes his shot in the backfield but his tackle is stepped through and Wormley's absence means there's enough of a gap to hit for the first down. RPS +1.
M47 1 10 Pistol FB 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A Triple option pitch Countess 3
IZ fake holds the ILBs inside; CGordon(-1) is also drawn in and provides Colter an easy pitch read. Looks like he's defending a regular zone read instead of an option. Trumpy on the edge now; TGordon(+1) beats the slot WR's block and flows out; Countess(+1) blows up through his guy and manages to latch on, forcing Trumpy OOB for a minor gain. The fact that this is Mike Trumpy might have something to do with the bleah gain.
M44 2 7 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass N/A Bubble screen CGordon 6
M shows a Bolden blitz. NW checks, Trumpy motions to backfield. They run a bubble to Colter; CGordon(-0.5) and Countess(-0.5) are coming down at it hard but both fail to get to the edge in time, though in Countess's defense he is pretty obviously held (refs -2). Actually want to RPS+1 this since M should have had it.
M38 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under slide Run N/A Zone read keeper Bolden -1
Mostly NW dorf. M shuffles Heitzman way down; pull. They moved a TE to the backside, and that guy runs aimlessly upfield as Bolden reads the pull and starts coming out on Colter. The TE should be hammering him. Colter stumbles and starts falling, allowing Bolden(+1) to flow up and attack.
M39 4 2 Shotgun 4-wide 5-1 nickel press Run N/A Speed option keep TGordon 3
Five at the line for M with Morgan behind, press man, and a deep safety. M pretty much doomed. CGordon to backfield, takes pitch, Colter cuts up. All three actual DL are to the weakside and have no shot at doing anything; Bolden is alone against everyone and trying to flow down the line but no way man. TGordon(+1, tackling push since this is a terrible shoulder block) does a great job to come down and fill just as Colter passes the sticks but this was the best case scenario. RPS -2.
M36 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Run N/A Inverted veer keeper N/A 7
Inverted veer with Colter coming in from WR as the give back. This takes Glasgow and Clark upfield outside of blockers as they respect the jet threat. M running a double A blitz here that NW finds and blocks and Siemian has a lane he takes. RPS -1, though more because this was pretty sweet by NW and M got caught in a bad blitz for it.
M29 2 3 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 PA pop hitch Ryan 6
Reading Bolden, who comes up, abort to quick hitch, complete, immediate tackle. Won't RPS this since Bolden did take a leap at the pass and having to execute this for five yards is not a huge win for the O.
M23 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Dumpoff Beyer Inc
Beyer(+2, pressure +2) rips past the LT and gets quick pressure, hitting Siemian as he throws; Clark(+1, pressure +1) also there to hit. Siemian's just dumping the ball off and it's inaccurate because of the hit and incomplete.
M23 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even split Pass 5 Post Ryan Inc
Ryan(-2, cover -3) blows his assignment. He chases a WR into the flat as Clark drops off into said flat. It's about to be first and goal, and then the WR drops the easiest ball he'll ever get. M's blitz had gotten Wormley(+1, pressure +1) through if this was not busted.
M23 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Clark 0
Clark(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT with a pretty sweet bull-rush-to-spin move; he nearly sacks and forces Siemian to step up and start scrambling. CGordon(+1) is about to finish the sack when the LT literally grabs him from behind and leaps on his back for the most egregious uncalled hold in history. Refs -3. Coverage(+1) is still there as Siemian escapes and Morgan(+0.5) finishes him off on the edge.
Drive Notes: FG(40), 3-3, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Washington 3
5.5 in the box for M with Morgan in the gray area, so this has got to be a DL win or doom, and it is, as Washington(+2) engages, puts his helmet past the OL, and then rips under him to show up in the hole and make a tackle on Green that puts him on the ground maybe a yard after the makes contact from the side. Wormley and Morgan are arriving to help but don't even get to help tackle because Washington did it himself. I'd RPS minus this but you got a win there and…
O15 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Speed option pitch TGordon -5
Same alignment from each team. This is what I was talking about last week: M has two deep safeties on this play and as soon as Gordon reads speed option he is jetting for the pitch man; Wilson runs behind and then reacts to what NW shows. Gordon(+2, tackling +1) blazes into the backfield for a TFL. RPS +2.
O10 3 12 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Scramble Black 5
M shows up with all three DL on one side of the C, NW checks, M goes to a regular 3-3-5. Three man rush ack but Black(+2, pressure +2) beats his guy and forces Colter to move around in the pocket, whereupon a spying Ryan almost brings Colter down and gives Michigan time to rally on him. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-3, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol FB twins 4-3 over slide Run N/A Inside zone Henry 2
Henry(+2) does what Washington did on the last drive by putting his helmet across the OL and then violently discarding him, showing up in the hole. Washington(+1) has done a not quite as impressive version of same and those two guys combine to tackle.
O22 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even slide Run N/A IZ counter CGordon 1
NW hoping to catch M overplaying to the inside zone side and hit a cutback and instead eat a blitz. Washington(+2) again rips through his guy and ends up unblocked in a ton of space as Henry got blown off the line because he was supposed to stunt around Washington and got caught. But that's fine as M is sending Bolden(+0.5), who takes an OL upfield out of the picture for CGordon(+1, tackling +1) to shoot down and make a nice tackle that keeps NW from getting any YAC. RPS +1.
O23 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 TE out Taylor 6
M spreads out the line and backs off Taylor presnap and they run their middle blitz where both LBs and a safety come as the DEs drop out; picked up. TE out is open after the WR runs Taylor off, complete, too close to the sideline and a yard short. That will drive NW coaches nuts; they had M. (RPS -1, cover -1, pressure -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-3, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even slide Pass 3 Scramble Black 7
Black(+1, pressure +1) gets decent pressure and forces a scramble but despite the eight men back there is no spy and no one who can afford to come up without opening up a downfield route so Siemian can get a good gain on a scramble. You can't really maintain rush lanes with three guys and even approach the QB. RPS -1.
O41 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under slide Pass 4 Out Clark Inc
Ryan blitzes off the corner as Clark drops and NW throws the route M wants them to but Clark(-1) has hopped inside as if this is a run on something that is not PA and can't get in the lane. Taylor(+0.5) is in pretty good coverage on a six yard out anyway that NW drops.
O41 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Slant Taylor 6
Taylor(+0.5, cover +1) does give up this conversion but he makes it tough, maintaining contact on the slant and coming from behind to whack at it in case there's any bobble. Ideally he's a half-step faster here but this was a tight window to execute in.
O47 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even slide Pass 5 In TGordon 4
Blitz drops Clark to go with a tailback route and gets Morgan(+1, pressure +3, blitz) free up the middle. Siemian stands in and delivers a hot route to a guy in front of TGordon(-0.5), who allows the catch and tackles immediately. Not awful but with the blitz would like to see this be a little harder for NW.
M49 2 6 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Sack Ross -9
Another zone blitz drops off both Ojemudia and Glasgow right into Siemian's hot routes. He's got a guy to the right but doesn't believe that Glasgow(+1, cover +1) and Ojemudia(+1, cover +1) are going to drop off and get excellent coverage on the left side, so he naturally goes there. When he discovers IT'S A TRAP, it's too late with Ross(+2, pressure +3, blitz) screaming up the pocket and tackling to sack. RPS +3.
O42 3 15 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 4 Screen Morgan 13
Only four guys upfield so not a huge bad deal but Charlton(-1) falls to the ground and cannot pursue effectively as the nearest DL. Morgan(-2) gets locked out by a WR, tries to fight upfield, and still gets locked out. He's gone just outside the hash so Ross can't help out until late; he comes in to tackle as NW nears the sticks. Now it's go for it time.
M45 4 2 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Penalty N/A Delay N/A -5
If this was an attempted freeze play it looks like they got Black but no snap.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-3, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Washington 1
Washington(+2) doubled, gives little ground, and when one guy releases to the second level he's in the desired hole. Wormley(+1) sets up outside and comes down to finish after Trumpy bumps into the guy blocking Washington. Washington tackles.
O40 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 base Pass 5 Hitch Countess 16
Clark just straight up lined over a slot receiver as Ryan comes on the world's least surprising blitz. Morgan sent too. Countess(-2, cover -2) is on the outside and playing way soft, so soft that even though he's playing soft he bails out deep just as this guy cuts off his route. Easy, easy conversion. Possible this is a bust somewhere as NW goes tempo FWIW, but Countess turns to run deep after the ball is in the air.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under slide Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 5
Your basic nothing five yard hitch with an immediate tackle.
M39 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Improv Avery 0
Cut blocks. Ross(+0.5, cover +1) out on the out from the slot WR, Siemian checks off to a guy running an in that Avery(+1, cover +1) jumps. Time is now up. Black(+0.5) and Ryan(+0.5) combine to make Siemian toss one off his back foot that goes to a WR coming back on the other side of the field. Stribling(+0.5) there to make the tackle for nothing. RPS +1.
M39 3 5 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Run N/A Speed option pitch TGordon 12
Five in the box with Ross split over an H-back type in the slot. M shows man press with two deep. Another option, Charlton is the end and forces the pitch, TGordon(-3, tackling -2) is ripping down like the previous play and gets burned by Mike Trumpy. Guh. This is set up for him to get a TFL and all he has to do is force it back inside with Bolden and Gordon hammering at this play that they expect; instead bounce, first down, big gain. That is three points directly on him. (RPS +2). Okay. Ross(-1) also screwed up by not holding the edge.
M27 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Hitch Taylor 7
Taylor jumps this and just about gets a PBU but is a hair late and as a result can't get the tackle. He does delay the guy enough for Morgan to finish. Cover +1, Taylor push. Tough-ish but a little late.
M20 2 3 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Inside zone CGordon 12
Cumong. Michigan not set, no idea what it's doing, this is a two minute drill with a running clock. They eventually set up in a 3-3-5 ish formation. Black(-1) gets blown up by a double, CGordon(-1) is idling in space not sure what to do and has an opportunity to tackle the back unblocked, but is late and he scoots through a gap. RPS -2.
M8 1 G Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Henry 2
Charlton(-1) blown up by a single block that will carry him dangerously downfield by himself; Henry(+2) blows his guy into the backfield like he is not there, forcing the play back to unblocked Clark and Morgan(+1, tackling +1), who reads it and scrapes to the POA to put in a tackle that prevents two from becoming four.
M6 2 G Shotgun trips 2-back Nickel over Run N/A Triple option dive Henry 2
Covered slot for NW. NW almost gets M to jump, checks, M starts pointing things out, think they understand covered slot. Colter is in the backfield and gets a triple option dive pitch. M stunts the DTs; Henry(+1) penetrates and forces a cutback. That cutback is in a spot that Clark(+0.5) can crash down on; Charlton(+0.5) is coming around and is flagrantly held by an OL trying to adjust to the stunt, otherwise he could keep this shorter than it already is. RPS +1.
M4 3 G Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Power option Ryan -1
TGordon again pitch guy and rips up. Colter sees it and cuts up. Ryan(+1) jets out after reading it and gets outside of him; cutback. Clark(+1) initially hit the OL inside, possibly to prevent him from releasing into Ryan, and then comes off that to end Colter. RPS +1. Colter had a shovel option on this play from Trumpy, who was lined up at TE, but it never developed.
Drive Notes: FG(22), 3-6, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Pistol trips TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Clark 6
5.5 in box with Taylor the closest run support defender. Both DTs take extended doubles and Henry gives a little bit of ground on his but just a yard and he's got two guys on him the whole play. Clark(-1) takes a low hit from the TE and gets off balance. He ends up upfield and gives the RB a crease. Ross has to check two gaps and eventually loses sight of the back and picks the wrong one, but I think that's probably the right default behavior since he's got Taylor in the other gap. Clark does recover to get a hand on the back, helping Taylor finish the play off, albeit with some YAC. RPS -1.
O25 2 4 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 3 Scramble CGordon 6
Vitale motions, M brings Gordon down to him and goes one high with Gordon over the slot. NW tries to throw; Black(+1, pressure +1) comes up thte middle of the pocket to bother Colter after his first read is covered(+1). CGordon(-2, tackling -2) is spying on Colter and is totally unblocked; he's got a shot at a sack here but doesn't even touch Colter as he shoots inside. By the time M can track him down he's past the sticks.
O31 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide ??? Pass 4 Scramble Beyer 10
Slot blitz with Clark dropping on the other side. Black(+1) drives his guy back and almost disengages to tackle, again after Countess(+0.5, cover +1) takes away his first read, a hitch. Beyer(-1, pressure -2) gets out of his lane and provides an avenue for Colter to hit it up. CGordon also upfield and not able to disconnect to harry when Colter takes off. Morgan(-1, tackling -1) is alone in some space but does have Clark getting blocked as an aid to shut the space down; Colter runs through a diving ankle tackle attempt for a first down.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass 3 Hitch Taylor 12
A quick hitch; Taylor(-1, cover -1) is indecisive and takes one step forward, hesitates, and then attacks. This allows the WR to turn upfield and turn six into a first down.
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass 5 PA fly Countess Inc
NW tries to bomb it deep; Taylor is sent on the backside and is totally free save for a late desperate shove by Green. Taylor is just about to grab Siemian's arm, maybe force a fumble, when he throws; somehow he misses. (Pressure +1, blitz). Countess(+1, cover +1) is beat by a step but very near the sideline and pushes the WR out; he then strips the ball for good measure.
M47 2 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Out Taylor 6
Siemian wings this wide and almost incomplete; WR lays out to bring it in. Taylor all alone and in push coverage on this.
M41 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Speed option keep Stribling 0
Avery blitzing on the snap, NW runs the option with Siemian and Trumpy. Okay! Ojemudia(+0.5) flares out and forces a keep, which Siemian really does not want to do. Good thing, too, as the corner looks open. Bolden(-1) and Charlton(-1) both get chopped to the ground on the edge; Black(+1) flattens out, gives ground, and evades any blocks, flowing free. Stribling(+1) comes up and beats his block to the inside, coming up under the WR to force Siemian to bow out, whereupon Black tackles. RPS +1; probably wanted a pitch here but M did not allow it and Siemian is no Colter.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-6, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Pistol trips TE 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Henry 2
Clark in a two point stance. He does shuffle down and absorb a tight end on the snap. Standard IZ with both DTs taking doubles. Washington(+0.5) gives a little ground but not much. Heitzman(+0.5) gets into the LT and can threaten to disengage if RB does not cut back. RB should probably just hammer it up but does cut back, where Henry(+1) has driven through the double for a bit and then reads the cutback, discarding to tackle as the back reaches him. No room outside so he has to run it up the back of his blocker for little.
O46 2 8 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Scramble Henry 2
PA rollout; Colter doesn't like anything downfield(cover +2) and then Heitzman is on the edge bothering him. Slightly. He runs upfield of Colter, Colter goes into scramble mode. Ojemudia's being blocked by three guys now with Henry(+1, tackling +1) free behind that mess; Henry forms up, forces Colter upfield of him, and tackles as he passes. Nice play in space by a guy who should probably get smoked.
O48 3 6 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Out Charlton Inc
M lays back with Ryan spying; M does a good job of compressing the pocket with just three guys as Charlton(+0.5) and Clark(+0.5) just about collapse on the QB as he throws; no time, awkward step results and the ball is nowhere near the target. Pressure +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-6, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under slide Run N/A Inside zone Heitzman 4
M puts on a blitz from Morgan and Ryan, slanting away from the play. Heitzman(-0.5) and Morgan(-0.5) conspire to have a gap between them that doesn't seem like it should be there; Morgan got a little outside and Heitzman pushed a little past the play. RB has a crease, hits his own guy, goes down for an okay gain. RPS +1; slant should have gotten this for not much at all.
O15 2 6 Shotgun empty 4-3 even slide Pass 3 Seam TGordon 26
Three man rush, all kinds of time (pressure -2); Siemian finds a guy with that time. He's the #2 WR to the trips side, with #3 running a deep post that Morgan goes into man to man on; Gordon is in the deep middle. Ryan(-1) did not get a chuck on the defender and TGordon(-2, cover -2) was way late. RPS -2, though, as Gordon was trying to split two guys going vertical on him on an eight man coverage.
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 2
No creases as the DTs hold up to doubles, for the most part. Glasgow(+0.5) gives a little ground but not much; ditto Black(+0.5); Clark(+0.5) forms up and then comes down to tackle when the back goes inside of him.
O43 2 8 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 6 Hitch Taylor 4
Six guys at the LOS with M in pure man behind it. M sends all six. That's a free run for Beyer; Siemian gets rid of it quickly, short hitch on which Taylor(+0.5, cover +1) makes an instant tackle. No pressure plus since 6 > 5.
O47 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run N/A QB stretch Black 7 + 15 Pen
Black(-2) takes a hit from the playside guard and is blasted past the first down marker by the end of the play. M stunted on the backside so Glasgow is in no position to help; big gap for Colter to cut up into. Clark, pursuing down the line, makes a tackle on Colter, by his facemask. Whoops. No minuses for a guy just trying to make a tackle. It happens. RPS -1.
M31 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even slide Pass 3 Improv N/A 17
M shows blitz, check. M drops out. Three man rush doesn't get there; coverage initially good but when Siemian rolls out, which he does because he has all day (pressure -3), he eventually finds a guy alone on the sideline (cover -2); Wormley(-0.5) and Countess(-0.5) kind of miss the same tackle(-1) and give the WR another six or so yards. Guys rushing on this: Ojemudia, Henry, Washington. What? RPS -2. Black and Clark I kind of get. This… no.
M14 1 10 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 6 In Ross Inc
Another all out blitz gets the extra man through; Siemian tries to hit a TE in; Ross(+2, cover +2) gets a chuck on him and knocks him off the route.
M14 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A QB stretch Ryan 1
M moves Ryan to the LOS and goes one high presnap. Stunting the DTs; Washington(+1) sees and recovers to get playside of a G. Bolden(+1) dodges a cut block. Ryan(+2) flows, looking like he's going outside and then blowing through the guy trying to block him to put Colter down for little. RPS +1.
M13 3 9 Shotgun empty Okie zero Pass 6 Tunnel screen TGordon 0
NW tries to set up a screen to Colter and does not, as no OL can release. Must be hoping man coverage eliminates TGordon(+1, tackling +1) as he follows the guy who blocks Countess, but he's aware and thumps Colter as he catches the ball. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: FG(30), 3-9, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O1 1 10 Goal line diamond 4-5 under Run N/A QB sneak N/A 1
They get a yard.
O2 2 9 Pistol FB goal line 4-5 under Run N/A Power O Clark 1
Clark(+1) left alone by the TE to his side; he blasts into backfield, taking on the FB and the pulling G and forcing a cutback. Heitzman(+2) shoved through his guy on the backside and the back cuts right into him; tackle made.
O3 3 8 Pistol FB twins 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Out Black Inc
Black(+2, pressure +2, organic) rips past a guard and flushes Siemian. He's got to throw at a guy TGordon(+0.5, cover +1) seems to have covered on an out and overthrows it badly, either because he's moving in the pocket or he's just trying to get rid of it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-9, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-3 under slide Pass 5 PA FB flat TGordon 12
M blitzes Ryan and Morgan again, dropping Clark to the opposite side of the field where the action happens. Ryan is out on Siemian as fast as possible but not fast enough; Gordon is covering an inside hitch and can't get to the corner to prevent a big YAC. RPS'd. (RPS -2)
O37 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under slide Pass 4 Hitch Ross 8
M pushes the pocket for decent pressure. Washington is coming through late for a pressure push. Ross(+1, cover +2) is making a rake at the ball that somehow does not take the ball out; WR makes a great catch and a few YAC. Merph.
O45 2 2 Shotgun trips 4-3 under slide Run N/A Zone read keeper Taylor 0
M blitzes Taylor off the corner, shooting Clark inside. This should be good for a TFL, especially against Siemian. Taylor(-2, tackling -2) misses. Avery(+1) comes up to make a nice tackle to prevent a first down. RPS +2.
O45 3 2 Pistol diamond 2TE 6-4 under Run N/A Speed option pitch Morgan 2
TGordon(-1) ends up as the optioned guy and doesn't do a good job. Needs to delay the pitch or force it back up; doesn't really do so. Pitch to Trumpy with a lead back. Countess(+1) moves out on him, forces him in, and disengages to tackle. Morgan(+1) took a hit from the releasing TE but doesn't go down and flows to the POA, where he tackles(+1) with Countess. Morgan brought the wood enough to stop Trumpy from getting the first down, which, like, yeah.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-9, 9 min 4th Q. This is a punt on fourth and inches. Dumb, or O-based?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O5 1 10 Pistol FB twins 4-3 even slide Run N/A Inside zone Black 1
Nowhere to go as Wormley(+0.5) stands up his guy; Black(+1) takes on a double and goes nowhere; Henry(+1) does the same. RB plunges into heap of bodies for tiny gain.
O6 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under slide Run N/A QB stretch Black 10
M appears to be slanting against the play as both backside guys end up chasing way behind and Black(-2) goes upfield and gets sealed away with ease. H-back motioned in from slot and not much adjustment from M. Ross gets cut but no matter what he wasn't doing anything as Black didn't delay that guy a nanosecond and got sealed away. Brutal. RPS -2; Michigan is just misaligned or in a terrible playcall here.
O16 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under slide Run N/A QB power N/A 9
I mean... M has 5.5 in the box here with Colter at QB. This is asking for it. NW pulls both the backside OL and uses the FB to take out Heitzman on the backside. This screws with Ross's keys, it looks, as now he expects IZ based on RB motion. NW seals Henry away with a double they never have to come off of. Clark is kicked by one puller. Other gets Ross(-0.5), who lets Colter outside but was mostly screwed either way. RPS -2.
O25 2 1 Pistol FB twins 4-3 under slide Run N/A Inside zone Heitzman 5
Slot blitz and slant away from that. Heitzman(-2) does not get to the gap inside the LG and on a slant that's a major issue. Black(+0.5) has come all the way around and has a play for no gain if RB has to delay but he's got a crease that he hits for a nice gain. Bolden(+0.5) made a nice read to tackle and keep this relatively down.
O30 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under slide Run N/A QB power Clark 1
Same play as the previous QB power. M slants away; Clark(+1) pops a puller at the LOS and forces a bounce. Morgan(+1), scraping over the top, gets to the other one and forces it back, where he gets an arm tackle attempt in. Clark sheds to finish. RPS +2; Morgan moving to this at snap helped a lot, and the slant put Clark in a position to pop the lead guy back into the other puller.
O31 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run N/A QB stretch CGordon -8
CGordon comes down on Trumpy motion and M goes one high. Beyer(+2) gets the edge and penetration, flowing down the line and forcing it way outside, where a charging CGordon(+2) shuffles until Colter commits and then explodes Jake Ryan style for a big TFL. RPS +1.
O23 3 17 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
This will be kind of important.
O18 3 22 Shotgun trips Nickel over Run N/A QB draw Charlton 19
Welp. Black(-1) gets no push as he tries to set up a stunt for Charlton(-2), who does not adjust to that and runs smack into Black. Result is a huge hole for Colter and lead blockers. This could have been ten yards shorter otherwise, and every yard is critical here.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-9, 2 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 over slide Pass 4 Out Ross 4
Quick sideline throw against Ross(+0.5), who's there to hit the guy OOB on the catch. Clark applying some pressure on this quick throw.
M21 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over slide Run N/A Zone read belly Black 3
Trying to get a crease on the backside as Beyer must respect Colter. Someone blows something as the FB arcs outside without touching Beyer and Colter gives... keep seems in order. Beyer(+0.5) sets up and comes down to tackle; Black(+1) swims through his block to join. Morgan(-0.5) got pulled in by the IZ action and sealed, though he recovered to be somewhat useful.
M18 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Out Avery 4
M shows press and man when WR motions so it's an easy read for Siemian to hit the out route after two WRs run through and force Avery to run around and cede the first down, albeit not much more. RPS -1. M's blitz did get Clark(+0.5, pressure +1, blitz) up the middle but Siemian has the ball gone before that matters.
M14 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-3 even slide Pass 4 Drag Ross 8
Good pocket for Siemian with the ends coming but not real fast (pressure -1); Ross is chasing this crossing route in man and can't do much about it (Cover -1, RPS -1)
M6 2 2 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 even press Run N/A Zone read belly Washington 5
Morgan at line, sent blitzing. FB moves outside, Ross has to go with him in case it's a pass. Clark outside forming up to contain Siemian. Washington(-1) washes too far down the line; CGordon(+0.5) actually does a good job to beat a block and initiate a tackle but he's got no help because Avery(-1) hesitated and then ran into the ump, falling over.
M1 1 G I-Form Big Goal line Run N/A QB sneak N/A 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 16-16, EO1OT
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under slide Pass 4 Fade Taylor Inc
Taylor(+2, cover +2) gets over the top of the WR and rides him OOB. No chance. Stunt got Henry(+0.5, pressure +1, stunt) in to harass if not quite hit.
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under slide Run N/A Zone read keeper Beyer 6
This time they read it right and Colter keeps; Beyer(-2) finds himself too far inside to do anything, even absorb the arcing FB block... and he tackles the back anyway. With Morgan(-1) again sealed away by the IZ action this looks real bad for a second or two. Then Ryan(+1) sets up, follows Colter's feints, and once he commits outside he forces Colter to run around his dive and slows him so that Countess(+1) and TGordon(+0.5) can converge to set up third down.
M19 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Throwaway Taylor Inc
M shows man coverage and with Ross in man on a motioning WR just five guys in the box really, but NW throws. Taylor(+1, cover +1) engages and disrupts a slant; Ryan(+1, cover +1) backs out and runs underneath it; Black(+1, pressure +1) surges up the middle to flush Siemian and then it's chuck it OOB time. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: FG(36), 16-19, EO2OT
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Pistol FB twins 4-3 over slide Run N/A Zone read belly Washington 1
Washington(+2) rips right past the playside G trying to block down on him and splits him and the T, getting into the backfield. Colter could probably keep again but does give, and Washington eats the back. Morgan(+1) is wise to this business now and sheds past the guy releasing into him to finish the tackle with Washington. RPS +2.
M24 2 9 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Black -14
Siemian doesn't like either of his first two reads (cover +2) and by that time a stunt has gotten Black(+2, pressure +2, 1 each organic and stunt) around a guard and into Siemian. Siemian tries to spin out and momentarily gets to think "by Jove, you've done it" before Black's meaty paw reaches up and yanks him down to the ground from behind.
M38 3 23 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Improv Charlton Inc
M stunts again and gets both Charlton(+2) and Black(+1) through (pressure +2, again split) Charlton in particular just beats his guy for pressure; Siemian has to rollout and eventually tosses a wild ball to anyone. Anyone is Thomas Gordon, who is a defensive back in this game and so believes the ball is lava and drops it. -1.
M38 4 23 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime press Pass 3 Chuck TGordon INT
Only three guys rush, their goal is to get upfield and force Siemian up so the two LB sorts can rush him delayed and force a throw. This basically works. Siemian has to get rid of it with Morgan(+0.5) flowing up at him. Pressure push. The throw is an aimless chuck near no NW receiver that TGordon(+1) does pick off this time. This was basically a Hail Mary.
Drive Notes: Interception, 27-19, EOG.

Well.

Well.

Yup.

So I guess we're done here?

I think we need to repeat many of the same things we've been saying all season and have a table, for completeness.

Ah, completeness.

Oh, wait, I've got something!

Hit me.

Michigan didn't get hurt by the option in this one much, if at all. The best output Northwestern had on it was a 12 yard gain on third down that only happened because Thomas Gordon missed a thunderous TFL as Mike Trumpy went around him.

FIRE GORDON

Cumong man. The point is: Michigan saw their problems against Nebraska and altered what they were doing to the point that Northwestern all but abandoned the option. On five attempts they got a total of 12 yards, all of them on that one play where Michigan should have had a TFL.

They did this by backing off, paradoxically. Against Nebraska:

option-1

one deep safety

Against Northwestern:

option-1

two deep safeties

Those aren't quite comparable since I didn't get exactly mirrored screenshots, but Michigan went from a flat out 4-3 under any time Nebraska had even one blocker in the box with one high safety to a more conservative look where they'd have one fewer guy in the box, slide their linebackers to NW's WR strength, sometimes severely, and use Gordon as a missile to beat up pitch guys. They were so committed to this that they'd go to a dime package on third down with five guys in the box, just so they could both press and keep two deep safeties. The results:

That play was immediately preceded by the same formation from both teams; Northwestern tested the relatively sparse box and got three yards before Quinton Washington ripped underneath his blocker and sat on Green for three yards.

That is not a bad trick for 5.5 in the box. When you can do that consistently, and Michigan did, you can have a dedicated pitch death guy, and then Northwestern's all like "well… now what?"

[Note: Michigan did run some one high and got optioned on it once; Gordon and Countess combined to make a nice stop on Trumpy by beating blocks. Also… if that's Mark it's probably more than three yards.]

Surely there must have been some tradeoffs there?

Hypothetically, yes. But either the secret problem to Northwestern's season is that their offensive line is really terrible or Michigan's defensive line is developing at an alarming rate, because they had no problem stuffing inside run after inside run. As I was clipping the defense I was struck by the fact that virtually everything I was grabbing was Mike Trumpy running inside zone plays that didn't even reach the linebackers because Washington, Henry, and Clark were beating up the Northwestern offensive line something fierce. One of many examples:

It's a tough environment to operate in when Henry and Washington are going NOPE on your offensive linemen so frequently. I continue to be excited with Henry's violent swipes past offensive linemen.

Well, then how did Northwestern move the ball?

Very methodically. Their first drive went from their 28 to the Michigan 23 without picking up more than seven yards on any play. Their first play of more than ten yards came a few minutes before halftime; they had one play of 20+ yards on the day. Northwestern was born as a dink and dunk team that spreads the field to mitigate the fact that they can't block anyone and has reverted to that fully. Those two clips were attempts to go 15-20 yards on Northwestern's first drive that almost ended in sacks; from then on it was dink dink dink.

Sounds like the defensive line had a good day.

As you can see on the

MONKEY ENTERPRISE CHART

chart, yup.

[Reminder that DL is a MAKE PLAYS position and being neutral is bad; for a full game you want +4 to break even.]

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Heitzman 2.5 2.5 0 Lost PT now just Beyer taking it.
Washington 10.5 1 9.5 FREE QWASH
Black 15.5 7.5 8 Gets blown up a lot but still contributing more positives.
Clark 8 3 5 Duplicate of his NW numbers. Solidifying status as player.
Wormley 2.5 1.5 1 Hoping for a leap next year.
Pipkins - - - DNP
Glasgow 1 - 1 Dropped into a zone! And it worked!
Ojemudia 1.5 - 1.5 Cameo.
Godin - - - DNP
Beyer 5 4 1 Needs more weight for SDE, but M is working with what they have.
Henry 9 - 9 Didn't get blown up in this game.
Charlton 3 5 -2 He did, but nice rush on third and 23.
TOTAL 58.5 24.5 34 Washington/Black/Henry/Clark dominated NW OL.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
C.Gordon 4.5 4.5 0 Had a big TFL on final drive of regulation.
Morgan 6 5 1 Drawn in by some misdirection.
Ross 6.5 2 4.5 M not afraid to put him in man against a slot sometimes.
Ryan 6 3 3 Showing that crazy redirect a little more often.
Bolden 3 1 2 I'll take it.
Gedeon - - - DNP
RJS - - - DNP
TOTAL 26 15.5 10.5 Not a high amplitude day with DL eating up the NW run game.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Countess 4.5 3 1.5 One biff on a 16 yard hitch; good on option edge.
Taylor 5.5 3 2.5 Weekly is good(?) eval later.
Stribling 1.5 - 1.5 Nickelbacks got a lot less time in this one.
Thomas - - - DNP
T. Gordon 7 8.5 -1.5 That missed TFL was basically a three point play.
Avery 2 1 1 Punt.
Wilson - - - DNC
Furman - - - DNP
J. Clark - - - DNP
Lewis - - - DNP?
TOTAL 20.5 15.5 5 Check coverage metric, it's a good one.
Metrics
Pressure 27 9 +18 +16 organic, +8 blitz, +3 stunt
Coverage 25 13 +12 Too much easy short stuff.
Tackling 5 9 36% Basically only issue on the day.
RPS 26 20 +6 M shut down clever stuff quickly.

That is by far the best day for the defensive line all year. Black, Henry, and Washington all neared double digits with help from Clark, and they put up a great pressure number. I'm guessing a lot of this is because of the opponent. I'm still encouraged, because Akron and crippled Nebraska and etc etc etc.

The linebackers were pretty good but not as involved because so many plays were done before they could get in on them, and the secondary had a generally good day when they weren't missing TFLs presented to them on a platter by Mattison.

That was the main problem on the day: tackling. Michigan had several opportunities to put NW in holes that they whiffed, none worse than Thomas Gordon getting edged by Trumpy. Those whiffs were the only thing standing between Northwestern and a 6-point, 250-yard kind of effort in regulation. This was a damn good day for the D.

It seems like time for our weekly "Is Raymon Taylor Good?" section.

I think we might be able to stop these unless he gets blown up in either of the last two games. Raymon Taylor is good. He occasionally lines up too far off the LOS and lets up something easy, but those are receding and he's increasingly a tough out these days. When he gets a completion on his face it's often something he made difficult…

…and he's developing a pretty solid press game. This is the kind of thing that will cause a defensive back coach to clap like a seal until he catches you looking his way, regains his composure, clears his throat, and says "get better every day, kid":

Taylor forces that guy into the sideline if he wants to go downfield, and once that happens the chance of a completion is zero. It is the best to see the QB go deep, whip your head to the throw's location, and already see the WR standing out of bounds.

For whatever reason teams seem to go at him a lot more than they do Countess, despite Countess seeming to turn in the poopiest coverage of the day on one hitch where Northwestern was provided a very easy first down. (Let us marvel at the above clip being the worst coverage of the day. Never Forget.) They get All 22 film and see what he's doing all game, so that's a decision with a lot more weight than my evaluations… and I like the idea that all the stuff we're seeing from Taylor is still preferable to testing Countess in the opposition's eyes.

Taylor did have a bad whiff on Colter when sent on a corner blitz that should have blown that play up, so that is a consistent weakness. He's still pretty good.

Henry is grading out consistently well.

Yeah, to the point where I asked Heiko to ping Mattison about his development. Mattison immediately started talking about what a good game Quinton Washington had, which is true and also like… so why hasn't he had much playing time? FREE QWASH!

Anyway. I'm admittedly focused on the future here with any goals other than the faint hope of Rochambeauing Ohio State off the table, and Henry is a terribly exciting target of the Heininger Certainty Principle. He's a redshirt freshman who spends a lot of time ragdolling offensive linemen, and his leverage and awareness are taking forward leaps weekly. He just about kept Northwestern out of the endzone by himself near the end of the first half:

Here he bails out a blow'd up Charlton (stuck out there as NW hurries) by getting penetration and forcing a cutback that takes the back into Ojemudia.

Here the burrow is good; it gets Colter cutting back, and then the spin back to help tackle is also good.

As the season goes along instances where he gets blown up spectacularly are decreasing rapidly; I'll be keeping a close eye on him against Iowa and Ohio State, which will pose more serious threats than Northwestern.

He has already claimed a starting job and will maintain that into next year. Paired with the similarly steady improvement of Frank Clark, next year's line looks like it's verging on a strength. Slap 20 pounds on Beyer to complete his Craig Roh 2.0 destiny and he's a B+ SDE, and then next year Clark/Henry on the other side sounds mighty good. Nose tackle is the major question mark with the Pipkins injury being a huge, huge bummer, but if he can come back from that strong that's a strength to go with getting everyone except Avery and the Gordons back in the back seven. Taylor, Countess, and Peppers at CB… I've been pointing at next year as the point at which the defense could/should take a leap to elite, and the pieces are falling into place.

RPS positive? I am unfamiliar with this. Does the scale go positive?

Mattison may have gotten lucky here but at points his feel for the game is impressive. So it's Northwestern's last regulation drive and they're trying to run out the clock. They come out with a weird play that pulls both backside G and T, using the tailback to cut the backside end who would otherwise be free to run at the play. This screws with Michigan's keys, it looks like, and Colter rips off a nine yard gain.

Northwestern converts on the ensuing second and one and goes back to the well on first and ten again. Now, Michigan has not seen this play all day, but whether it's fortune or skill Michigan absorbs it, with Mattison calling a slant away on which Clark holds up to take on one lead blocker and Morgan gets to the other one such that Colter is penned in:

They got Michigan once and then bang dead. Luck? Maybe! I'm biased by what happened on the last play of last year's game, though, and the fact that they straight-up-murdered the QB stretch Northwestern had taken to after the option stuff had stopped working, and that after a little success running belly plays in overtime Mattison had Washington go WOOP around the tackle and eat one:

Oh and the QB stretch play Northwestern pulled out that got seven yards on an important third down and then was shut down after. It seemed like Michigan needed to see something exactly once in this game before assimilating it, like Borg taking phaser fire.

Not sure why this happened in this game and not, say, the Nebraska game, but Nebraska didn't exactly tear this defense up either. Michigan's making a lot of tradeoffs this year in response to their B+ personnel; they've largely been good ones. Other than getting blazed by Indiana's tempo, having Channing Stribling phase out of reality at inopportune times, and giving up the winning drive to Nebraska there hasn't been much to complain about… and a half-competent offense puts that Nebraska team away in the third quarter.

Surely, though…

Okay, yeah. On one Northwestern play Michigan went with a three man rush of Washington, Henry, and Ojemudia. Cumong man.

Heroes?

It's too bad Michigan's not a better team, because Jibreel Black's senior season is getting lost in the shuffle. He's playing nose tackle, and mostly effectively. He picked up the OT sack and heavy pressure on the very next play. He's super undersized, and it doesn't matter. (Much.)

Washington and Henry also dominated the Northwestern OL; Clark had another solid game, and Taylor was good.

Maybe not so heroic?

There's no one who stands out as having a particularly bad day except some guys who missed tackles. Taco Charlton is not anything but a pass rusher this instant and Michigan got hurt a couple times when he got stuck on the field, I guess. That's about it.

What does it mean for Iowa and the future?

Every week the line develops. OSU will be a major test that they'll probably fail (4 senior OL for OSU), but if they only fail a little bit that'll bode well. Things are shaping up nicely for 2014, especially when you consider they'll be bringing back Godin, Strobel, Hurst, and Poggi amongst guys who aren't playing and can probably expect to get at least one player out of that group along with the development of the folks already in the rotation.

I am slightly worried about Black against OSU, but not Iowa. Iowa's zone stuff is very good for Black to dart around. OSU's more mashing style is not ideal. Hopefully they can go with a lot of Washington/Henry on running downs. Beyer, too, seems vulnerable to mashing.

Raymon Taylor: probably good. Yes.

Michigan adapted to the option by leaving two guys back. Not sure they can do that against OSU… why do I keep talking about that game? That game is not to be thought of until absolutely necessary.

Comments

reshp1

November 21st, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

Henry was my sleeper of the year after seeing him blow up (a walk-on) OL and then run hash to far sideline in pursuit in the spring game. His size, speed, effort ratio should make him a pretty damn good one when it's all said and done.

Space Coyote

November 21st, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

Was on Gordon, not Countess. That's Cover 3, Gordon carries the seam too deep. This is a trade off Michigan has made because their seam coverage sucked, and now they carry the seam too deep without a lot of redirect and struggle getting to their flat responsibility. Same is said for LBs in Cover 3 with flat responsibility (if the field safety takes the flat, which is the more common approach, then a LB is responsible for the other flat - that LB or DE drop flat responsibility is why Michigan attacked the boundary on their PA hitch rather than the field, FWIW, as did Northwestern more often than not). They're just working with what they have in-season and taking the lesser of two evils.

Space Coyote

November 21st, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Seam is a bit tougher throw, but it's much more likely to break long. An out still isn't exactly easy and it should be held down to 5-6 yards. I'd take the offense throwing the out every time, as I think Mattison would as well.

FWIW, if Countess comes up on the out/hitch early, teams are going to run corner routes or hitch and goes and get big yards all day. Do no want.

reshp1

November 21st, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

Hurst would be coming off his RS and Ash should still be around (RS Sr). Henry probably has the size to play nose in a pinch, which might bring Poggi into the mix (also coming off RS) at 3 tech. Bryan Mone at 315 could be an option as a true freshman too.

Der Alte

November 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

Given that Ash has played sparingly --- to say the least --- all year and some promising DL prospects have been redshirted, I'm interested that you think Ash will be offered a fifth year. That's a valuable scholarship, especially when M has so few to give.

An unsatisfactory Pipkins rehab might be the only reason for Ash to return, IMO.

Young John Beilein

November 21st, 2013 at 4:46 PM ^

I guess they could shuffle Henry or Glasgow over there.  But then you're looking for a 3-tech which would require more shuffling and/ or leaning on youth.  Hopefully Pip can come back strong.

Any scuttlebutt on Maurice Hurst?  I have pretty decent hopes for this kid.  Poggi?

bronxblue

November 21st, 2013 at 4:47 PM ^

Glad that people are starting to notice Black even more.  He is definitely undersized, but on another team I could see him being purely a pass-rushing floater and terrorizing teams that forget about him.  

Thought the defense played pretty well, and it was nice to see them adjust so quickly to what the offense was doing.  I refrain from making any more comments about other units on this team and whether or not they have displayed this same ability.

Bodogblog

November 21st, 2013 at 5:22 PM ^

Is +4 still break even for DL, given all the rotation?

And Taylor actually breaks up that slant.  If you slow it down enough, you can see the ball popping out, and actually fall on the ground if you catch the right frame.  Too hard for a ref to see, but a great play by him

AC1997

November 21st, 2013 at 5:46 PM ^

I think Henry's size gives them some positional flexibility, as we've seen with Black the last two seasons.  If Pipkins is healthy, you have two big guys in the middle.  If he's not, you play undersized with Henry at the nose and whoever does well of the new guys like Poggi/Strobel.  I doubt Mone will be ready as a true freshman at that position.  But given Henry's performance this year, maybe Hurst is going to be a vaible rotation player. 

Jgruss42

November 21st, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

It really does look like there is progress from top to bottom in the D-line.

Our 2-deep next year should be outstanding (assuming for normal, continued progress).

It is encouraging to think that these guys are:

  • getting well coached
  • are generally being used in ways that enhance their strengthsa
  • re being rotated appropriately to given just enough time to the guys lower on the depth chart

it's still a young team. There are lots of opportunities to screw it all up, but I definitely like what I am seeing on the line at this point in the season.