Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs Akron

Submitted by Brian on September 18th, 2013 at 2:06 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Discontent with trying to file plays on which a tight end motio`ns inside of the tackle box but does not line up as a pure fullback as either "ace" or "I-Form," I've created new lingo. This is "Ace H":

ace-h

Welcome it. It will be your good friend for a long time.

As the coaches mentioned, Akron spent much of the day in bear fronts. That means they folded linebackers inside of their ends at the LOS like so:

6-2-bear

I noted this as 6-2 bear. When only one Akron player was folded inside it was 5-3 bear. (On almost all plausible run snaps Akron showed an eight-man front.)

PERSONNEL NOTES: OL was the usual, with Magnuson making his regular goal-line cameo. AJ Williams didn't play and Funchess went out late, paving the way for a lot of Jake Butt and the debut of Jordan Paskorz, runnin' routes with a broken hand.

Green got two snaps, I think, and Justice Hayes was briefly featured as a second back in a shotgun 2-back formation; all he did was pass block. Wideouts were as usual. If you squint maybe you can perceive Chesson getting more time than he has in the past.

Oh: again there was a small Norfleet package. Hopefully as the season goes along "Norfleet is on the field" starts being less than 90% "Norfleet is getting the ball."

[After THE JUMP: wha happen]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace trips bunch 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Inside zone Toussaint -2
Butt in a two point stance with Houma also stacked over there along with Chesson. Akron shifts over with a NT shaded between Miller and Glasgow. Miller(-2) barely touches that nose as he moves to the second level and Glasgow has no prayer of getting a block. Akron did not cover a threatened Chesson end-around at all.
M23 2 12 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Slant Gallon 6
Quick pass with the Akron CB in excellent position to get a play on the ball; Gallon makes a tough-ish catch. Disturbing they can play this versus how we did. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M29 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Dig Funchess 17
Excellent protection; Gardner steps up and rifles a bullet to Funchess in between three guys in the zone. It's a little high, but this is to Funchess so it's not. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M46 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Long handoff Reynolds 1
This is a sight adjust that's a check out of a running play. But Akron's corner is four yards off the LOS, so he tackles on the catch. A screen BR? Yup. (BR, 3, screen)
M47 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Swing Norfleet 5
This is a called swing screen to Norfleet with Glasgow pulling around and trying to be useful. Dileo(-1) is out on the edge and sets up to block a safety coming down; he gets run over. He's falling backwards and doesn't make the DB pick a side; Norfleet tries to run outside since the corner looks wide open and gets ankle-tackled. (CA, 3, screen)
O48 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Hitch Funchess 48
An easy pitch and catch designed to move the chains goes much bigger as Funchess demonstrates great athleticism by turning it up and outrunning the Akron secondary. Zip safety biffed hard to open it up but Funchess took advantage. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 10 min 1st Q. And Akron immediately went away.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M10 1 10 Ace trips bunch 2 1 2 4-3 over Run End around Chesson 2
I'm not sure if you can expect Miller(-1) to make this judgment live, but I think by the positioning of the linebackers you can tell that this is man coverage, and in that case Miller should block the linebacker farther away from the play, who will be hauling after Houma, not the guy to the playside, who is going to check Toussaint. He picks the guy who checks Toussaint so Houma's guy is ripping through to follow. He cuts down on the space available as Houma moves to the safety, and Reynolds(-1) gets thrown away by a DB who started the play in press coverage. Not sure why you're blocking from the start here instead of trying to a get a release off the line.
M12 2 8 I-Form twins 2 1 2 6-3 bear Run Zone stretch Toussaint -2
Nine guys in the box for Akron. Michigan runs at it. Cumong man. Making matters worse, only the right half of the line has the snap count. Glasgow, Lewan, and Butt are all motionless for a beat after the snap. That makes all those guys give ground and then Toussaint gets buried instead of making a hard upfield cut behind that mess. A holistic failure. Glasgow -1, Lewan -1, Butt -1, Toussaint -1, Schofield +1 for a nice cut block.
M10 3 10 Shotgun trips bunch 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Rollout throwaway N/A Inc
Bleah to rollouts in principle. This looks like their flood concept, FWIW. Toussaint gets a good cut on a hard charging DE, so the corner, but an Akron LB is flowing up hard to the outside and pressures. No idea what Gardner is seeing downfield because this is pore-o vision and the BTN's replays are nonexistent. He escapes the second attacker and then has to chuck it away. (TA, N/A, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 6-2 bear Pass PA Hitch Gallon 8
Eight in the box with LBs tucked inside both DEs. M goes PA and actually has Kerridge running up the middle of the field unmolested but Gardner just goes with the Gallon hitch. Gallon evades a tackle for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M34 2 2 Ace H 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Power O Toussaint 11
Funchess motions from a wing position to an H-back spot. M runs at the strong side, pulling Kalis to it. Lewan(+1) blows his guy off the ball. Funchess(+1) takes the playside end inside and pancakes him. Kalis(+0.5) kicks out a linebacker. Butt(+0.5) basically gets a free block as the other LB runs himself out of the play, but he does extend it a while. Glasgow(+0.5) gets out to the second level after bumping that LB and gets a block on a linebacker; Jackson(-1) whiffs on two separate guys in the secondary, potentially preventing a bounce to the sideline and forcing everything back to help. He did get a block coming back upfield, FWIW. Toussaint(+1) made a nice cut to get behind Glasgow's block.
M45 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 6-2 bear Run Zone stretch Toussaint 14
Gardner checks after seeing the front. Schofield(+1) escorts the playside LB upfield; Kalis(+1) rides the DT down the line and pancakes him. Miller(+1) figures he can't get a scoop on that guy and releases, getting a block on an ILB as he slows up in case of a cutback. Toussaint(+0.5) jumps through the narrow crease and picks up another first down. Kerridge(+1) got through that hole too and cut off a linebacker.
O41 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 6-3 bear Run Pitch sweep Toussaint -1
Another check as Akron has all 11 guys within six yards of the LOS. It's a check to... a pitch. Uh, okay. Schofield is supposed to pull around Funchess(-1) and Chesson; Funchess is supposed to block a DE lined up outside of him. If he's going to do that he needs to take stretch steps, giving ground to get around the guy. He instead just kind of goes upfield. Chesson(-1) was supposed to help him maybe? This is a pitch to the boundary against a nine man front that asks Funchess and Chesson to execute a scoop block. Dumb. Kalis(+1) buried his guy. RPS -2.
O42 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 5-2 bear Pass Tunnel screen Norfleet 15
Flare fake to Toussaint, hit Norfleet coming underneath. Akron's DL all bite, and the LBs are late to react. Norfleet(+1) does a good job of briefly threatening outside to get a couple of block hop-outs; Miller(-1) turns around despite having Kalis outside of him to handle one of those guys trying to get around. As a result he can't block a safety and Norfleet gets penned in. Funchess(-0.5) did get a LB, kind of, but he fights through to constrict and help tackle. RPS +2; a couple more blocks and this is a TD.
O27 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Toussaint -1
Akron ends up with a massive hole between the NT, who is shaded just over Miller, and the DE, who's outside of the TE Butt. They run at this... and get nowhere. Yeesh. Glasgow(-2) releases immediately, leaving Miller(-1) trying to block a guy playside with zero help. He has a tough task but could do better, getting driven back. With Lewan and a FB they can get the two playside LBs and then Glasgow can release after a double; instead Michigan's just asking their players to make reach blocks against guys slanting away from them all day. Toussaint(-1) should just continue playside since he does have a crease since Kerridge hit Miller's guy, but cuts back into doom. Picture-paged.
O28 2 11 Ace 1 2 2 6-2 bear Pass Waggle corner Jackson Inc
Flood concept. Gardner makes the right choice here as Jackson(!) has a step or two on this guy in the endzone and there is a large swath of area in which Jackson has a touchdown, but he leaves it short and to the inside, as he's being chased and can't set his feet. (IN, 0, protection N/A)
O28 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Glasgow(-2) does not read a stunt and lets an end directly upfield. Gardner should just run to the field, where he's got space, but instead does his turn around thing, gets in lots of trouble, and heaves it up OOB. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(45), 7-3, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 6-2 bear Run Inside zone Toussaint -1
Schofield(-2) gets burned around the corner by the defensive end; Miller(-1) gives a bunch of ground and allows the DT playside of him in the backfield. The bear front meant that Kalis had to go to the LB right away, so no double possible.
M26 2 11 I-Form 2 1 2 6-2 bear Penalty False Start Gardner -5
Gardner has the wrong snap count, rocks back.
M21 2 16 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Swing Toussaint 27
Replay of the swing against ND, with the TE the only player to the boundary. Linebacker to that side goes with him, no one on the swing. RPS +2. (CA, 3, protection N/A) Funchess(+1) gets a crunching downfield block to allow Toussaint(+1) to cut in smartly.
M48 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass PA Scramble Gardner 11
All day; Gardner decides to throw and then pulls it down at the last second. That out of the question, he tucks and takes off. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3, Gardner run plus)
O42 1 10 Ace H 2 1 2 6-2 bear Pass TE Hitch Butt 14
Miscommunication for Akron as one LB bugs out for Funchess and no one slides over to deal with Butt. Routes would have been difficult to deal with given Akron's posture. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O28 1 10 Ace H twins 1 2 2 6-2 bear Run Power O Green 2
Playside end dives inside as the bear LB to that side appears to have contain. He gets under Funchess(+0.5) a bit but Funchess does hit him and seem to have him under control; Kalis(-1) does not adjust, hitting the same guy. Stripped of his lead blocker Green is probably dead either way; he goes straight upfield and gets a couple thanks to a good seal from Miller(+0.5).
O26 2 8 Ace H 2 1 2 6-2 bear Pass PA FB Flat Houma 10
Houma gets wide open as man coverage sees Butt's seam route incidentally pick off the LB trying to get to Houma. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O16 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 6-2 bear Run Power O Toussaint 15 (pen -10)
This gets called back for a nonexistent hold on Butt. Seriously: there is no penalty here. Refs -3. Playside end is diving inside hoping to get a two for one and spill it to an unblocked guy, but there isn't one. Just the ILB, who isn't anywhere close enough to upfield to contain Toussaint, who cuts outside and has lots of daylight. He goes down at the two. Lewan(+1) and Glasgow(+1) buried the playside tackle; Butt(+1) did likewise with playside LB. Toussaint's(+1) bounce is a good one.  Kalis(-1) got caught up in the playside end that Houma blocked inside.
O26 1 20 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Throwback screen Gallon 16
Always works, works. Chesson(+1) occupies a corner until the end of the play; Lewan(+1) gets out to get the playside LB; Gallon(+1) breaks a tackle to pick up extra yards. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O10 2 4 Pistol trips bunch 2 1 2 4-4 even Run Speed option Gardner -12
If Gardner(-4) pitches, an easy touchdown. RPS +2. Miller(-1) had totally whiffed on a guy behind the play; Lewan(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) sealed the playside end in, but that was pretty easy.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-3, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 5-2 bear Pass Slant Gallon Inc
Press cover on Gallon works well. Gallon sells fade, breaks inside, has just a yard of space on a three yard slant that will be an immediate tackle, and may be thrown off by all of this as he lets one go right through his hands. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
O20 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 5-2 bear Pass Out and up Funchess Inc
Funchess breaks open inside the ten and Gardner finds and fires, but well behind his target. This still clangs off of Funchess's hands, but it was humming and is a pretty easy throw over the middle. (IN, 2, protection 1/1)
O20 3 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Skinny post Gallon INT
Terrible read as the corner going with Gallon should be an automatic throw to Funchess dragging underneath. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-3, 5 min 2nd Q. M has 44 seconds when the next drive starts.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Drag Dileo Inc
Three man rush; Miller(-1) sort of beat up the middle by it. Gross. Gardner, off balance, turfs a throw to Dileo. Should have hit the uncovered swing to Toussaint. (IN, 0, protection 0/1, Miller -1)
M28 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Seam Funchess INT
This is a dart that goes through Funchess's hands and off his helmet before the Zip makes contact with him. Funchess was definitely seeing that guy come at him and heard footsteps, but this was there for 20 yards. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-3, 30 sec 2nd Q. M's last snap of the half is a kneel.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Belly Gardner 2
This is a tight keep or give situation as the backside end is moving down pretty quick. He redirects well once Gardner pulls and forces him outside, but Gardner does get the corner. Gallon(-1) loses his corner, though, and he's here to clean up. Michigan had blocked the other part of this really well, FWIW. Glasgow(+1) and Kalis(+1) had locked out their guys and it looks like the entire second level is blocked.
M29 2 8 Ace H 1 2 2 6-2 bear Pass Dig? Chesson Inc
All day as M is running max protect with just the WRs, Gardner pumps once and then fires in the direction of Chesson, but it's to Tacopants. No replay so can't see what the deal is with the pump. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M29 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even Pass In Gallon Inc
Hayes in as a second RB. Gardner has Gallon for the first down and throws the ball way late and behind. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, 14 min 3rd Q. Woof.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 ??? Run Iso Toussaint 25 (Pen -10)
M caves in the backside and an end has to contain Gardner, so Fitz has a cutback lane as Kalis(+1) and Schofield(+1) blow guys off the ball. Fitz shoots past the backside linebacker and then has a ton of space with just Gallon(-1) and his guy in it. Gallon's set up outside and he can go straight upfield for at least a first down; Toussaint(-2) inexplicably tries to go outside and turns a block that doesn't get flagged into a holding call.
M33 1 20 Ace H 1 2 2 6-2 bear Run Power O Toussaint 27
Lewan(+2) blows up the playside DT. Glasgow(+1) momentarily helps and then pops off on a linebacker trying to shoot a gap. Funchess(+1) drives a LB trying to get a two for one inside and allows Kalis(+0.5) to get out on a linebacker who is the force player. Crease. Butt(+1) engaged the playside LB for a long time and Toussaint can just jet off LT for a nice gain. Chesson(+1) buries a safety so Toussaint probably scores here if he just runs by the last desperate Akron player instead of trying a stiffarm; Akron guy grabs the arm and manages to drag him down.
O40 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Iso Toussaint 4
Glasgow(+1) escorts an Akron DT well upfield and out of the hole. Kalis(+0.5) and Miller(+0.5) actually double the NT and drive him back; Miller is about to pop out on the WLB. Kerridge(+1) puts the MLB on the ground; Toussaint... cuts away from all this great blocking. WTF. -2.
O36 2 6 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 6-2 bear Run Inverted veer keeper Gardner 36
Kalis(+1) blasts the playside DT inside. End contains, pull for Gardner. Toussaint blocks the contain guy because he's right in the way. Funchess(+2) pounds the playside LB about six yards off the LOS and seals him to one side. Schofield(+1) blows up another LB, shoving him to yet another guy, who Glasgow(+1) IDs and crushes from behind, which is legal since it's in the tackle box. Got there fast, too. Gardner(+1) picks through his blocks well, then hits the jets; Jackson(+1) initially loses his corner but is able to peel back and get him on a second attempt to make it easy sailing.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-10, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 I-Form twins 1 2 2 4-4 over Run Yakety snap N/A -6
Gardner holds the ball out for Toussaint; Kerridge knocks it out as he passes.
M8 2 16 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Inverted veer keeper Gardner 35
Odd play. Playside end flies up, keep, Toussaint blocks him out. Schofield(-0.5) gets pushed back by the playside tackle; Glasgow(+2), the puller, puts him on his ass and then heads to the second level inside of Schofield. Miller(+1) seals the NT; Kalis momentarily doubles and then releases himself; Gardner(+2) reads that the hole is directly up the middle and shoots upfield, then hits a cutback lane. No angles for second level blocks for Glasgow and Kalis but there's so much room on the backside that it doesn't matter. He takes off for a huge gain.
M43 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Run Iso Toussaint 3
M runs at the overload side of the Akron line. Miller(-0.5) and Glasgow(-0.5) can't get the nose sealed away on a double and he plus the MLB mean no gaps on where there are supposed to be gaps. Miller comes around and does get a block on a linebacker. Sort of. Tough angle because of the no NT seal. Toussaint does take it N/S this time, hitting it up behind that nose and getting a few. We'll take it.
M46 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle drag Chesson Inc
Chesson coming across the formation, Gardner turns around and is almost immediately hit. He throws, dangerously, and the pass hits the turf. Atari 2600 play. (PR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -2)
M46 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Gallon 8
Pitch and catch rhythm throw that Akron defends pretty well, getting a hit on the catch. Still unable to break it up. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
O46 1 10 Pistol trips TE 1 1 3 4-4 under Run Inside zone read Toussaint 1
DE holds up, give. M is running towards the stacked side of the line and has Funchess away from the play, so he never has a shot at blocking anyone who matters. It's possible he's supposed to hit the backside end? Glasgow(+1) kicks out a DT effectively. Lewan(+0.5) gets a good kickout. Miller releases immediately and gets on the MLB, putting him to one side. Kalis(-0.5) and Schofield(-0.5) double the backside tackle and don't get him sealed; Kalis pops off on a LB but doesn't really have an angle to seal him either. Toussaint tries to pop outside into the large amounts of space Glasgow bought him but the MLB tackles. RPS –1.
O45 2 9 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass TE Hitch Butt 14
Probably an option route; Butt reads zone and sits down; Gardner hits him in rhythm, allowing Butt to turn up for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1). Thought about DO.
O31 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power O Toussaint -2
Akron slants, causing chaos. It's clear M is now trying not to turn around and pass guys off; here they blow it and get buried. I think this is Kalis(-1) not IDing the slant and coming off to block the nose who is coming into his gap. Schofield(-1) also loses his guy, who goes upfield, picks off Glasgow, and gets a two for one as Schofield chases. RPS -1.
O33 2 12 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Hitch Chesson 33
Finally! This is an iso fake into a pass with Toussaint blocking the edge guy. Two guys go after Houma. Chesson comes open for a hitch for about eight, goes around one guy, runs through an ankle tackle attempt from a second guy, and then is gently pushed towards the endzone by a third. He takes the invitation. +2 run. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-10, 3 min 3rd Q. Hold onto your butts.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 6-2 bear Run Iso Toussaint 1
With an LB over him Glasgow cannot help Miller(-1), who gets blasted back again in a poor fashion. Fitz tries to cut back, and this time he has to. Kalis(-1) had a free release and ends up letting a LB upfield of him to tackle.
M30 2 9 Ace 1 2 2 5-3 bear Pass PA skinny post Gallon Inc
Four verts for M with man free. This means both inside guys have an S coming with them and the outside guys are one on one. Instead of trying Funchess on an LB, a skinny post to Gallon against double coverage is Gardner's pick. It is well behind Gallon and that's probably good, since otherwise it's intercepted. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2).
M30 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Screen Toussaint INT
MLB sent on a blitz. Doesn't tip it at all; Miller(-2) looks to a DT immediately, which lets that guy through clean. Even a bump throws him off. Gardner drops, throws the screen, guy makes an awesome play to undercut and intercept for six. Gardner is looking at this the whole way and can loft the ball or turf it, so not good, but first and foremost I don't think you expect a linebacker to come under this like this guy does. (BR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -3)
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 21-17, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 5-3 bear Run Inverted veer keeper Gardner 3
Playside end is playing this better, shading down as the LB to the outside contains. Playside NT shoots into the backfield immediately. Glasgow gets him, but gets him such that he takes out Miller's legs in a dangerous way. Miller goes down, NT keeps his feet and starts flowing, free of Miller. Funchess(-2) again turns entirely around chasing the contain guy, leaving a MLB totally free. He and the tackle freed up by the Glasgow/Miller thing combine to tackle. Glasgow(+1) pounded his guy, FWIW, and Lewan(+0.5) got out and sealed off a linebacker.
M28 2 7 Ace H 1 2 2 5-3 bear Pass Sack Gardner -10
Sympathize with Toussaint(-2) here, as he seems to be expecting a waggle and ends up outside of the DE, but Gardner is setting up in the pocket. DE gets in, Gardner evades, delayed LB sees it and shoots up to sack. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Toussaint -2)
M18 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Scramble Gardner 10
Three man rush, lots of time, Gardner decides he doesn't have anything and takes off. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 5-4 bear Run Iso Toussaint 16
Okay, Fitz, this is a cutback to make. Akron has three guys shaded to the playside and while the blocking is okay, Kalis had to block a guy playside of him without help and that threatens to eat Toussaint. But backside end is containing Gardner, Schofield(+2) blows up the bear LB enormously; Funchess(+1) gets a great extended kick on a backside LB and Toussaint(+2) slams it up between them after the smart cutback. Glasgow(+0.5) got a good frontside block, but it becomes irrelevant. Kalis(+0.5) did drive his guy somewhat, giving Fitz more room.
M36 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 5-4 bear Run Iso Toussaint 2
Same play. Fitz should try the same thing on the same play but the backside end is coming down more and he decides to slam it up into an unblocked LB as an Akron guy cuts Kerridge in the backfield. Schofield(+1) got good drive on the backside guy and Funchess appears to get a kick; this is just Akron loading up and selling out and Toussaint(-0.5) not expecting to get the same thing he got the last play. RPS –1.
M38 2 8 Ace H 1 2 2 5-3 bear Run Power O Toussaint -1
Ludicrously bad from Toussaint(-3) as he immediately cuts away from a well-blocked playside. Funchess(+1) had banged the end inside, Kalis had gotten clear of that attempt to spill, and Toussaint runs straight into the backside of the play for a loss that is entirely his fault.
M37 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Comeback Gallon 8
Protection is okay, but only just, as Gardner gets some heat as he throws. Gallon is open, but only just, and gets tackled immediately. That's life on third and nine when your RB ignores the playcall. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-17, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 6-2 bear Pass Wheel Funchess Inc
This is batted at the line. Not a great read since Butt is leaking out by himself on the other side of the field, but it's Funchess so you can throw it up and he might catch it. Miller(-1) allowed the pressure. (BA, 0, protection ½, Miller -1)
M30 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 5-2 bear Run QB draw Gardner 35
When in doubt, run the QB. Glasgow(+1) hits a LB, opening up a crease, and then Gardner(+3) hits it, cuts back inside, dodging two guys trying to fill, and bursts upfield.
O35 1 10 Ace 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass PA out and up Gallon 21
Akron in zone; Gardner kind of stares this down but Gallon does come open in between levels and sits down; Gardner hits him in rhythm, and Gallon spins upfield to shake a tackler and pick up some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1.)
O14 1 10 I-Form twins tight stack 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass TE Dig Butt Inc (Pen +12)
Blitz right up the middle taken care of by Kerridge with aplomb. Glasgow(-1) can't prevent his guy from coming inside of him and then Toussaint(-1) gives him a weak shoulder block instead of cutting a guy much bigger than him, so Gardner has pressure in his face as he throws. Ball is inch perfect; DB wraps his hand around Butt in an attempt to get a PBU and gets an obvious PI flag. (DO, 0, protection 1/3)
O2 1 G Goal line 3 2 0 Goal line Run Down G Toussaint 2
Magnuson in, Lewan and Schofield buddy cop comedy time. Lewan(+1) caves in the playside end; Schofield(+1) puts his guy on the ground. Glasgow(+1), pulling outside of those two, also puts his guy on the ground. Toussaint has acres of space for a play from the two, and scores.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-24, 3 min 4th Q. Michigan doesn't get the ball back.

ACK

You know, change some parameters here and Michigan is fine.

FALSE. ACK

The biggest parameter is admittedly "starting QB doesn't make the large mistakes that now seem baked into his game."

ACK ACK ACK TTHPPPTH ACK

Oh and some stuff about the line and Toussaint. But we should look at the main man first. Here is a—

ACK TTPPHTHTHTH BLARF

—chart.

Devin Gardner 2012

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Minnesota 3 7(1) 4 2(1) 2* 2 - 3 4 72%
Northwestern 4 16(2) 2 1 3* 2(1) 2(1) 2 5 79%
Iowa 3 16(4) - 2(1) 2 1 - 1 4 83%
Ohio State 3 11(1) 2 5* 2 1 - 3 2 65%
South Carolina 4 16(2) 2 8 3 4 - 2 2 57%

Devin Gardner 2013

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Central Michigan 2 10(1)+ 1 1 2* - - 1 3 82%
Notre Dame 7+ 16(1)++ 4(1) 2 3* - 1 4 4 82%
Akron 3 14(2) - 5 3** 2 1 3 1 59%

Shane Morris

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Central Michigan - 4 - 1 1* 1 - - - N/A

Dammit. One week after a superlative performance with rushers all up in his face, Gardner gets all wobbly.

Gardner made three mistakes that had a huge impact on the game: not pitching on the speed option and the two interceptions that weren't rifled off of Funchess's head. The first INT was just a terrible read. It's the same play Michigan scored on at the end of the Outback bowl, a route that sees Gallon head inside to a seam area and then break in or out to a corner or post. This is the post, but it doesn't matter which Gallon is breaking to, when that corner sinks with Gallon he should immediately come off and hit Funchess on the crossing route:

I'm torn on the pick six, which is at least half Akron getting a good playcall in and the linebacker making an awesome play. I don't know if you can expect Gardner to see that guy when he's got defensive linemen in his face. He may have had his vision blocked.

The frustrating and crazy thing about the option play is that Gardner saw Akron didn't have a force player to the boundary, checked into the speed option, and then didn't make the obvious pitch he'd seen presnap. Akron's end played it well, backing off and waiting, but there's a moment he commits and Gardner don't curr.

I filed that as a BRX, a BR, and a –4 on the ground for Gardner (mistake plus fumble), FWIW.

Gardner got rattled after the first couple mistakes, pump-faking on a throw to Chesson and then shooting it way over his head, then throwing way late and thus behind an open Gallon to force a Michigan punt.

On the other hand, hey, Devin Gardner can do this:

That was one of three separate 35-yard runs he had. Even with a 12-yard loss for the fumble in there, Gardner ripped off 111 yards on nine carries. (He was sacked once for a ten yard loss). That was the difference between victory and death when everything else was going wrong. Also, Gardner's YPA of 8.2 remained in the excellent range.

But let's move on to the hot line takes.

OH NO. NO NO NO NO—

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 7.5 1 6.5 Pancake factory on power.
Glasgow 12.5 3.5 9 Apparently I agree with the coaches.
Miller 3 8.5 -5.5 Oof.
Kalis 7 4.5 2.5 Not as consistent as the other G.
Schofield 8 4 4 Got push, push got used by Toussaint cutbacks.
Williams - - - DNP
Funchess 7.5 3.5 4 Turned around once, but otherwise a nice day.
Butt 2.5 1 1.5 Pretty good for a freshman.
Magnuson - - - DNC
TOTAL 48 26 65% Not what you want against Akron but better than it seemed after initial shakiness.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 7 4 3 Fast; argh option.
Morris - - - DNP
Toussaint 5.5 9.5 -4 Much more on this later.
Green - - - One carry.
Smith - - - DNP
Hayes - - - DNC
Rawls - - - DNP
Houma - - - DNC
Kerridge 2 - 2 Blocks got cut away from.
TOTAL 14.5 13.5 1 Toussaint YPC his own doing.
Receiver
Player + - T Notes
Gallon 1 2 -1  
Jackson 1 1 0  
Chesson 4 1 3 Two for his catch and run.
Reynolds - 1 -1  
Dileo - 1 -1  
Norfleet 1 - 1 Followed blocks on screen.
York - - - DNP
TOTAL 7 6 1 Note on blocking press stuff in WR chart section.
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 36 8 82% Glasgow –3, Miller –2, Toussaint –3
RPS 10 11 -1 We love him this week

--wait. What?

Toussaint's day looks a lot better statistically if a phantom holding call on Jake Butt doesn't bring back a 15-yarder and he doesn't nerf a long run himself by running outside of Jeremy Gallon. Oh, and occasionally follows good blocks by his teammates. After the initial issues with zone, Michigan blocked well enough to see their tailback crack 100 yards at an excellent YPC; the tailback just didn't cooperate. Why in just a bit.

The other thing that jumps out is the noobs on the interior…

FIRE MILLER! FIRE GLASGOW! FIRE LEYLAND!

People have been mad about guys on the line in the aftermath of Saturday's game and have been demanding change. Since the tackles are obviously sacrosanct and Kyle Kalis is guru-approved, most of the vitriol has fallen on Miller and Glasgow. The fact that both have been dumped into the backfield periodically doesn't help.

Unfortunately, the issues here are more complicated than sending one or two guys to the unemployment line. As noted in the picture pages, some of the things they're doing don't make sense, and it's hard to tell why. The one about Michigan leaving first-level defenders un-doubled spawned a triple-digit comment thread featuring a lot of infighting about whether this was terrible on the part of Miller and Glasgow or terrible on the part of the coaches/Gardner for not checking away from the doomed play. I don't know.

I do know that if M does double those guys at the line, they are far less exposed to the kinds of TFLs they experienced in the first half of that game until Akron starts shooting gaps, and that not doubling guys on inside zone—which was Michigan's first play of the game—is very bizarre.

But why is Glasgow in the game? Because he executes his assignments more consistently than his competitors. Miller, too. Yes, even if he's badly negative in this one. Maybe Chris Bryant will be a revelation at some point, but every snap those guys take and every one in practice Bryant misses because of nagging injury du jour distances the current starters from their backups. Their issues are serious, but not fixable by anything but time.

In this edition of "here is a subtle thing I think an experienced offensive line might pull off," Miller releases on the Chesson end around and blocks the linebacker nearest to the play:

That turns out to be the wrong guy to block, because Akron's in man coverage and the guy further outside is the one shooting to the backside of the play while the guy Miller blocks is checking Toussaint. Miller looks at both of these dudes and picks the superficially logical one; a deeper understanding of what he's looking at when the playside LB is stepping away from him might get him to block the guy booking for where the play's actually going. (Coaching types, feel free to tell me this is crazy to expect.)

That kind of stuff is the thing holding back the running game against Akron and CMU. It's turning around in space, or not getting the right double. It's no coincidence that when Michigan's running game turned into see-man-smash-man power plays it (largely) took off. It may turn out that Miller can't hold up against Big Ten linemen and gets replaced, but so much of offensive line play is quick decisions aided by reps and chemistry. A midseason shift brings its own problems.

If you want a little hope in this department, watch Glasgow on one of Gardner's two big inverted veer gains:

Schofield gets pushed back, cutting off Glasgow's route to where the play design is, so Glasgow decides to end that guy and go get him a linebacker. That is one huge crease up the middle all of a sudden and Gardner's off to the races. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. That kind of instinct under fire is a long-developing thing.

I actually think Michigan has a problem elsewhere…

Fire Toussaint? Surely you can't be serious.

Not exactly Fire Toussaint, but he's really starting to frustrate me. He all but refuses to follow his fullback (again, as noted in the recent Picture Pages) and has turned into Michael Shaw when it comes to any and all options. Here he's already cut to the back side of the line on an iso. Unlike many times he's done this, it works out for him because the guys on the backside have blown their guys back and he evades a tackle attempt—#5 on the ground there.

fitz-go-north-south

He takes this ball outside of Gallon. Yup. Instead of cutting right upfield on the M and maybe juking a safety for six points he goes east/west, bringing the sideline into play and turning an irrelevant block by Gallon into a holding call as he blows up that blocking angle. Gallon's blocking an iso to the other side of the field—he can't expect the running back to go behind him.

Meanwhile, this was another iso on that drive:

follow-your-blocks-fitz

That is a huge freaking hole. Every one of his offensive lineman has executed his assignment and Kerridge is about to cut the MLB to the ground. Toussaint cuts this to the backside like he did on the frame above; this time he gets tackled by that linebacker hanging out back there, turning a potential big gain into four yards.

We've been trying to figure out why the run game sucks so much basically since the season started, and every time I try to explain this I talk about the offensive line mostly and then go "oh by the way, Toussaint probably should have done something different." Those add up. He's turning 2 yards into –2 yards and 10 yards into 4 yards too often and not making up for it much. He's got a nice 14-yarder against ND and then yet another cutback into trouble when he had a gaping hole that he managed to turn into 22 yards by breaking a tackle and juking. That's it.

Meanwhile on play after play he's killing blocking angles to everyone's detriment. For every play on which the opponent actually overplays the playside enough for the cutback to be the best choice there are three on which he's setting yards on fire. This was the capper, a power play on Michigan's penultimate drive that he cuts back into blood and doom for no earthly reason:

That is a healthy gain if he follows his lead blocker turned into a loss. Michigan would complete a tough eight yard pass on the ensuing third and nine. I know he had a nice day against Notre Dame in the run charting, but if he doesn't break that Day arm tackle he's right around zero for that game with negatives in the two MAC games—you know, the ones in which there were actually holes for him to hit because the line wasn't getting spanked by NFLers.

I don't know if the guy is totally borked after last year's slasher flick, but I sincerely hope Fred Jackson spends the next three weeks screaming at him to follow his lead blocker. Kerridge is wrecking people to no purpose. Fitz needs to stop playing heroball.

FWIW, Green's only carry was a power play on which Kalis made a mistake and got caught up by the playside end crashing inside. He burrowed straight upfield for a few yards instead of heading to the intended gap, which I can understand but do not prefer.

Receivers?

[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
Gallon 3   3/3 3/4   8   8/9 11/12
Jackson 1         2     3/3
Reynolds       1/1     0/1 1/1 2/2
Chesson 2     1/1   3     1/1
Dileo           1 1/1   4/4
Norfleet       1/1   1     3/3
York                  
Funchess 1   0/2 2/2   2 1/2 0/3 6/6
Butt 1     2/2   1 0/1 0/1 5/5
Williams                  
                   
Toussaint 1     1/1   1     3/3
Hayes                  
Green                  
Smith                  
Kerridge                  
Houma       1/1         1/1

This week in Jeremy Gallon is good at football:

Lock-on syndrome does appear to be a thing, and it hurt Michigan on one of the interceptions.

I don't have a table for this, but with Akron in press coverage for big chunks of this game it was strange to see Michigan try to block guys. It turned an otherwise open Chesson end around into two yards when running the DB off* is usually the preferred option. Michigan did that on the doomed option play…

…to good effect, so not seeing it a couple other places was odd. You know they use it.

Speaking of Chesson, welcome to the party. Good to see a few targets his way, especially when he's such a nice guy that opponents actively try to get him touchdowns.

*[IE, immediately releasing outside and running a fly pattern, which will turn the DB's back to the LOS away from the play. By the time the DB realizes it's a run, he's 20 yards downfield.]

Funchess blocked some dudes?

Yeah, he was considerably better in this game. When Michigan ran power Akron was shooting the end inside (playing to "spill"), hoping to get penetration on Funchess and pick off the pulling G. Funchess got the guy inside and held his ground enough to allow the guard around, and Toussaint picked up some nice runs when that happened since Lewan and company were pounding their guys inside. Example:

Watch the H-back.

Funchess also got some nice kicks on iso plays that cut back to him and was the key block on Gardner's inverted veer touchdown. He may have gotten away with a hold, but I'll take Funchess driving a guy six yards off the LOS any way that he can do it. I don't even really blame him for the one ugly block he seemed responsible for, as he was given a tough assignment, trying to seal a DE lined up outside of him on a pitch to the boundary. That's tough for anyone.

Caveat: I do think Akron Isn't Notre Dame is a big factor in his improvement. There's Prince Shembo and then there's a 230-pound defensive end you have to catch because he turned his back to you for no reason.

Funchess also was more involved with the gameplan, catching a 17-yarder and of course turning upfield for a long catch and run on the first drive. An encouraging game that may not mean much against stiffer competition.

Do you have a preview of Khalid Hill's life at Michigan?

Yes!

Heroes?

Glasgow and Kalis consistently bashed in the Akron line. Gardner's legs were hugely important. Gallon was as good as he usually is.

Maybe not so heroic?

Gardner's huge mistakes cost Michigan ten points and depending on your POV of the pick-six maybe another seven. Toussaint gave away a ton of yards by not trusting his blocking. Miller had a rough day.

What does it mean for UConn and the future?

The offensive line wasn't as bad as it looked. They had some identification issues early that hampered things, but they also get credit for blocking the inverted veers and once they adjusted to what Akron was doing they were blowing them up, for the most part. Protection was good, as well. Glasgow had a good game after a tough outing against Nix. If there is a change it will be sliding him to center so Bryant can come in.

Glasgow is ahead of Kalis. That's right, I said it.

Toussaint has PTSD. Poor Damn Toussaint is only a thing still because he assumes the blocking will die and makes bad decisions both when it does (bouncing hopelessly) and doesn't (cutting away from big creases). Not to sound like a low-rent color commentator, but go north/south, and stop pussyfooting around like a pinko. RUN LIKE 'MERICA: INTO THE TEETH OF UNNECESSARY DANGER.

Gardner is a danger to himself and others. If he stops making the big mistakes, look out. If he continues making the big mistakes, look out. He can get wobbly and fall apart; when he's on, he's really f-ing on.

Michigan needs some counters. Passing off the veer or running that counter trey right or something. Need it.

THROW IT TO DILEO. No targets. Cumong man.

Comments

Magnus

September 19th, 2013 at 10:27 AM ^

Heh. Very limited in his skill set? You won't find many running backs who can run through the tackles of 300 lb. defensive linemen. Toussaint can do anything you realistically expect a 5'11", 200 lb. back to do, although he's struggling right now with hitting the hole. That hasn't really been a problem before, so maybe that's a learned trait that can be unlearned once his interior linemen aren't whiffing on blocks so consistently as to spook him...

reshp1

September 18th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

FWIW, the coaches graded him out well too. Live, I thought he had a rough first half but got it cleaned up in the 2nd. I did see him do a lot of nice things on the long runs. I personally had him ~even or slightly positive (I thought Kalis had a good game, but he ended up ~even for what it's worth), but it doesn't surprise me that much he graded out well. I just think his mistakes are more of the glaringly obvious variety than the good things he's supposed to do.

gbdub

September 18th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

Seems like he makes some busts and errors that look (and are) really bad, but as long as he points in the right direction he's at least average, and often better, as a blocker.

Miller seems to have a different problem - even when he does get things right, he's less effective.

Balrog_of_Morgoth

September 18th, 2013 at 2:50 PM ^

I would not be surprised to see Lewan-Bryant-Glasgow-Kalis-Schofield start against Minnesota after the bye week. At this point, I think I would be more surprised if Miller was still the starter in October.

AriGold

September 18th, 2013 at 2:50 PM ^

with your analysis on Fitz...you cannot blame the terrible play of Miller and inconsistant blocking on Fitz...he has become prone to side-stepping because half of the time he HAS to do so in order to get back to the line of scrimmage...Miller is bad, we need a better center, but replacing him this late could make things worse for the line in general...putting everything on Fitz to make it happen is unfair and uncalled for...without Fitz this team would most likely be 2-1 and possibly 1-2

WolvinLA2

September 18th, 2013 at 3:00 PM ^

Do you think Brian is putting everything on Fitz after reading that? That's certainly not what I took from it. But you can't deny that Fitz made some huge screw ups, and saying that because his blocking is sometimes awful he's not responsible to run smartly when it isn't is a cop out. He's a 5th year senior running back. Sometimes the blocking will suck. When it doesn't, he needs to make the right choice. Too often, he doesn't.

AriGold

September 18th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

But Glasgow and Miller are missing plenty of blocks where Fitz has to cutback more times than he ever should right when he receives the ball...Everyone on this board is so critical of Fitz but are failing to realize without his clutch plays and big runs we have at least 1 loss this season...Yes I understand Fitz has missed a few big holes, but I will gladly take that given his elusiveness and overall good speed compared to the other backs who can't do what he does...Take away the two holding calls and Fitz is over 120 yards rushing and at least 1 TD but Miller and Glasgow are still getting blown up and no one is calling for Fitz's head on this board...it is absolutely ridiculous how many posters on here are calling for Green to replace him...ummm, he is 240+ pounds and will go down fast with his inability to cut and get out of the way when Miller gets blown off the LOS by the NG/3-tech

BiSB

September 18th, 2013 at 3:17 PM ^

You assume Glasgow is getting blown up, and that as a result Fitz's errors aren't "errors" because he's making up for Glasgow. But you haven't done anything to prove that Glasgow is, you know, getting blown up. Looking at these cut-ups, I'm having a hard time seeing these huge errors you speak of.

AriGold

September 18th, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

but he has had made plenty of mistakes the past 3 games where Fitz was left behind the 8-ball...my point is the interior line could not get a lot of push against f-ing AKRON!...how in the hell is this on Fitz for missing a few holes????? If Devin pitches the ball to Fitz thats another TD and 10 or 15 yards...take away 1 of the holding calls and that is another 20...so you are saying in a game where the QB turns the ball over 4 times, Miller plays absolutely terrible, you place the majority of the blame  on the RB who scored, blocked pretty well, and made a couple of mistakes where he should have ran north and south??? that it is mainly the RB's fault for the lack of production and/or crucial 1st downs?????

gbdub

September 18th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

Based on the number of question marks in your post, this may be a lost cause, but you're missing the point. No one is placing the blame all on Fitz - obviously, that would be ludicrous in a game where the QB gave up 4 turnovers and the interior line had some major breakdowns. We're saying that many Fitz's poor runs were either caused by or exacerbated by his choices.

The issue with Fitz is bad decision making. We're not expecting him to make up for poor line play, we're expecting him to not make nothing out of something. He needs to take what the line is giving him. Maybe he doesn't trust them (and he has some reason not to, particularly based on last year), but what he's doing is making things worse, not better.

As Brian pointed out, there were several instances where Fitz  had a decent hole where the play was designed, and instead cut back into a worse situation. There were several other times where maybe the hole and the blocking wasn't great, but hitting it with authority at least gets you back to the LOS while bouncing gives you a loss on the play. And his odd choice to go behind Gallon on that one run is a major error that ends up turning a big gain into a -10 yard penalty.

If Fitz is going to be a successful every down back, he really needs to avoid negative plays. He's made some great big runs, and occasionally is able to make something out of nothing. As you mention, his stats would have looked better without a phantom hold and a bad decision by Gardner, but right now he's very boom or bust, and a lot of that is on him. I'd rather have a guy that can reliably churn out 3-8 yard runs on every down - consistency, not big plays, are what our offense is lacking.

WolvinLA2

September 18th, 2013 at 3:23 PM ^

Brian still blamed Miller too. I think the difference is that the mistakes Miller is making have to do with his ability and the fact that we don't have a plethora of centers capable of taking his spot. Fitz's mistakes, OTOH, are not based on his ability but are mental mistakes that a 5th year back shouldn't be making.

Blocking a nose tackle is hard, regardless of how good that nose tackle is. Hitting am enormous hole is not hard and Fitz is still messing that up.

CompleteLunacy

September 18th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

But you cannot deny the issues Brian brought up. The one play where Gallon has a block i the open field, and he has about 10 yards of space over midfield, but for some reason heads to the sideline outside of Gallon? Fitz can be great, but he's losing sight of the basics. Follow your blocks, run north-south. Take the easy yards...don't try for a homerun everytime you touch the ball. I mean, how can you explain the play where he takes the ball and immediately abandons the playside before you could even tell what would happen with the blocks? It's one thing if the blocks are never there...but the thing is, they ARE there, more times than not. Maybe not as consistently as we want, but it's not like the OL is incapable of blocking anything. 

I don't think Fitz needs to be flat out replaced yet...but if he doesn't stop doing this so much Green deserves more snaps for sure.

AriGold

September 18th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

I will gladly like to see how Green handles some B1G nose guards when they are in his face right after he gets the hand-off...he is too big to cutback and get away, and with Miller playing badly, he will end up having to run over the 300lb. NG/3-tech to get free/space to run....the group-think on this board is unreal at times...hardly anyone is acknowledging that without Fitz we would be in a bad place

gbdub

September 18th, 2013 at 4:12 PM ^

Where exactly have you seen Fitz successfully avoiding nose tackles and turning errors by the line into gains? Because mostly I see him getting swallowed in those situations and nobody blaming him for that. Hence "Poor Damn Toussaint".

Fine, I'll say what are apparently magic words: We'd be worse off without Fitz's contributions. Apparently the coaches agree since they're, you know, starting him. But you have to admit that he's had a lot of negative plays, and you haven't even tried to refute the evidence Brian has laid out pretty clearly in word and video form: Fitz is missing holes with some regularity, and oddly the holes he's missing are often the one's that the play is designed to create. He's too quick to abandon read #1 and is making things harder on himself as a result.

AriGold

September 19th, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

that Fitz has left yards on the field...but he hasn't turned the ball over and has been absolutely crucial to Michigan getting win(s)....Green is too slow right now and no other RB has proved even close to as good as Fitz...there isn't any other options right now, and I think Fitz has done a fine job given the terrible blocking that occurs at least 50% of time he gets the ball

Ron Utah

September 18th, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

None of this explains why he doesn't follow his lead on power plays.  In zone, it's harder to blame Fitz.  But our power game is opening holes in a big way, and Fitz is still looking to cutback.

No one is saying Fitz shouldn't be the starter, but there's blame to go around here.

AriGold

September 18th, 2013 at 3:42 PM ^

Fitz's mistakes of missing the hole/not following his blocker a few times over Miller and Glasgow getting blown up over the past 3 games (mostly Miller) and in turn causing Fitz and Devin to make something out of nothing which in turn helps lead to Devin making bad decisions and throwing picks...granted, some of the picks are solely on Devin, but getting pressured too many times from Miller not doing his job doesn't help....bottom line, without Fitz this team has at least 1 loss

WolvinLA2

September 18th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

First of all, Fitz almost never makes something out of nothing. He has a hard time making something out of something lately.

But you're suggesting that no one is critiquing the OL, which isn't true. Those interior guys, especially Miller, have gotten plenty of flack. But you seem to be suggesting that Fitz is above criticism, and the only argument I've heard from you is "but Miller is worse."

Magnus

September 19th, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

Toussaint had a couple nice runs in this game where he set up blocks, showed nice vision, etc. Let's not go overboard. He's missing some holes, but when he hits the hole, he's a pretty darn good runner. He's not Tyrone Wheatley in the open field, but whenever he gets room to run, something big can happen.

I feel like sometimes people forget about what Toussaint has done in his career. He had a 1,000-yard season in 2011, and for his career, he's got 1841 yards and a 4.8 yards/carry average. That yards/carry rate is right on par with Anthony Thomas and ahead of such guys as Stan Edwards, Chris Perry, Ed Davis, Ed Shuttlesworth, etc.

I had to constantly beat my drum for Brandon Minor, who averaged 5.0 yards/carry for his career...and you all love Mike Hart, who also averaged 5.0 yards/carry. Maybe people just like to complain even though they don't know why they're complaining.

Brewers Yost

September 18th, 2013 at 4:05 PM ^

I do not think Fitz needs to be replaced. He is obviously talented but he needs to trust his FB more often.

Go watch the UFR Offense for CMU on the 3 yard loss, Fitz cuts it up into nothing instead of following Kerridge for big yards.

An example of what I would like to see more of is from Green on his 3 yard run during the manball CMU drive. If you watch that video there is a bit of penetration but Green follows Kerridge and squezes through and gets 3 yards. I feel like Fitz would cut that back and lose yards.

 

CooperLily21

September 18th, 2013 at 5:08 PM ^

IMUO (IMUneducatedO), Fitz is the kind of running back that fits perfectly in a spread offense where there is a premium on open-field running (i.e. cutback "scattiness" abilities).  However, in what we all believe is headed to be a more pro-style offense, you need more disciplined runners that follow lead blockers, etc.  I've never had the impression that Fitz is that kind of runner.  I mark him down in my book alongside Denard as players that have been or will be "hurt" in the Borges transformation.  That's not a knock on the current regime, its more of a uneducated observation.

reshp1

September 18th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

I will say that grading a RB's decisions with the advantage of slow-mo replays and screen captures is inherently unfair. It discounts things like reaction time, and what he's actually able to see as a 5'10 guy behind a wall of 6'5" guys. I think the RB a lot of times has to make a decision before the glaringly obvious situation Brian is using as criteria actually materializes. A lot of running seems to be by feel and unfortunately the feel for Fitz seems to be second guessing things and making a lot of ultimately bad decisions. This is probably PTSD from last year and not having trust/experience with the guys this year. That said, he did make a lot of inexplicably WTF decisions. The one where he ran Gallon into a holding call is a perfect example.

gbdub

September 18th, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

You're right, but I think that critique would make more sense if we were complaining about Fitz missing cutbacks or not taking some odd line that turns out to be good but only in retrospect.

The big issue for him in this game was not going where the play was supposed to go. He really needs to decisively go to his blocking, and only waver from that if doing so is going to be guaranteed lost yardage.

There's a more common QB equivalent - sometimes you throw to a guy that's open for a few yards and miss a guy wide open for a touchdown, but that's forgiveable if the first guy is read #1 - you throw to the first read that's open. Right now Fitz is passing up the open first read and trying to throw to a double-covered read #2.

MidnightBlue

September 18th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

Id like to see Glasgow go to center, and have Braden and/or Bryant come back at LG. Im not a fan of undersized linemen. Even no matter how good Molk was, or even Raiola... I just don't like it... 

alanmfrench

September 18th, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

"This is the post, but it doesn't matter which Gallon is breaking to, when that corner sinks with Gallon he should immediately come off and hit Funchess on the crossing route:"

Dang...if he hits Funchess on that it's six points. At the very least he goes down at the five.

 

His Dudeness

September 18th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

This team is much easier to watch once you realize that we almost lost to Akron (at home) and adjust your expectations way WAY down.

Now if we beat UCONN I am going to be excited as opposed to shrugging my shoulders and going on with my day. Hooray for lowered expectations!

 

CooperLily21

September 18th, 2013 at 5:29 PM ^

I think we might be brothers from another mother - your mother being, NO OFFENSE, much more, for lack of a better word, "firey" than my mother.  The most important thing I learned from Michigan football over the past 5 years relates to expectations.  We as fans enjoyed success for so long that it took several years to adjust expectations under Rodriguez.  No, with Hoke's almost immediate success, its almost as if we are experiencing whiplash and forgetting things like how young the team is, etc.  IMO, the near-loss to Akron should really be as surprising/frightening to us than it appears to have been.  Notwithstanding all of the great success and great recruiting, I think the reality check that was Akron is going to end up being very useful to us fans for the rest of the season.

(With respect to the basketball team's success, I have been curious for several years under Bielien's as to how quickly expectations with respect to the basketball team will exceed reality.  Interesting, I don't think it was until just now that expectations may be a bit excessive.  Might be a fun sociology thesis - fan expectations vs. actual success/failure.)

mGrowOld

September 18th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

In all due respect it seems to me that over the past several years there have been two "sacred cows" on the football team that have been immune to any sort of criticism from Brian no matter how they performed during games.  One of them graduated last year and the other is our starting tailback this year.

This UFR is quite surprising and candidly - kinda refreshing.