Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs CMU Comment Count

Brian September 4th, 2013 at 1:29 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan didn't do anything particularly weird that I had to call out. Hey, look, it's an I-Form.



I called this 4-4 for Central Michigan, FWIW.

No idea if the prevalence of under-center stuff after the opening couple drives means anything in the long run. This one was out of hand fast, and Michigan did use shotgun on downs like second and six on occasion.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Gardner, then Morris at QB. After Toussaint went out the first carries went to Drake Johnson (Rawls got in to hand off on the reverse), then Green/Smith, then Hayes/Rawls. At WR, Gallon was the main guy with Jackson, Reynolds, and Chesson rotating outside at the other spot and Dileo/Norfleet in the slot. Norfleet got more playing time than I expected.

Butt/Funchess/Williams at TE; Kerridge was followed by Houma at FB. The line was Lewan-Glasgow-Miller-Kalis-Schofield until late, when it first read Braden-Glasgow-Burzynski-Kalis-Magnuson, then Braden-Bryant-Burzynski-Bars-Magnuson.

[After THE JUMP: OL puts on a clinic, Gardner puts on a clinic (mostly), running backs… do not. Chesson escalates quickly.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass TE Out Funchess Inc
Quick hitter to Funchess, meh throw that takes Funchess off his feet and goes right into his body, which is a moderately tough catch you do want him to make. It looks like he does but ref says no. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
M7 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Out Dileo INT
Just a speed out by the slot that the LB/S hybrid undercuts. He shows blitz early, Gardner pre-determines his read based on that, and the nickel does a fantastic job of undercutting the route. Disagree with SpaceCoyote on Dileo's route. Looks like a conventional speed out to me. (BRX, 0, protection 1/1) FWIW, is is a great play by the CMU defender. Mitigates that somewhat.
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Run QB Draw Gardner 7
Looks like Kalis has a crappy block here but on this I think the QB has to set it up better; a juke out and then back in gets the defender on the wrong side; Gardner is now cutting away from his blocking. He runs through a tackle attempt and gets an ass-kicking block from Gallon(+1) to get a good gain anyway. Despite the missed read I think I have to give Gardner +1 as well.
M30 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Scramble Gardner 6
A couple hitches to the bottom of the screen are definitely not there. Gardner has all day, pocket eventually opens up, and he takes off for the first down. Made something out of nothing. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2, kinda want to RPS minus this but I guess not)
M36 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Run Zone stretch Toussaint 6
Michigan's first running play of the year is a zone stretch. If you predicted that, you are a liar. Glasgow(+1) and Miller(+1) scoop the NT. Lewan(+1) and Funchess(+1) seal the end and Funchess would get the LB but he darts up in an interior hole. That's the edge for Toussaint. Playside S is filling hard; Toussaint(+1) cuts up past him and tries to hit the jets but gets tripped by the prone, flailing safety. Backside S was the only thing between Fitz and a TD if he could have kept his feet.
M42 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Slant Reynolds Inc
Wide open, thrown low, hard, and behind Reynolds. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
M42 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Improv Dileo 36
CMU sends six, picked up. Gardner moves up in the pocket, decides he doesn't have anything, takes the ball down, and escapes, rolling to the sideline. Spy type guys comes up, leaving Dileo open, Gardner sees it, throws it, and Dileo is off to the races. Dileo never wins races. Nice soft toss by Gardner. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Scramble Gardner 22
Again, forever in the pocket. Gardner looks, looks, finds no one, eventually scrambles up into acres of space, jogging into the endzone. Chesson(+1) crunched the cornerback to make it easy. (SCRX, N/A, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-3, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-2-5 base Run Zone stretch Toussaint 5
I know, weird. Lewan(+1) immediately seals the playside end and this is going outside all the way after that happens. Funchess(-2) is the playside TE after motioning from the wing; he whiffs on a linebacker and then turns around instead of moving on.Glasgow(+1) and Miller(+1) scoop the playside DT and Glasgow(+1 again) pops off that block to kick out the hard-charging linebacker that Funchess did not recognize. This gives Toussaint a lane, which he hits. An aggressive run-oriented safety then fills, holding it down. If Funchess hadn't chased upfield pointlessly he would have had a shot at that S and Toussaint would have had a shot at a big play. Really encouraging from Glasgow/Miller here. Picture paged.
M32 2 5 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-2-5 base Pass TE Out Funchess 11
Williams out, Butt in, I predict pass in the stands, pass. Another all shorts route package, with a couple of TE outs to the field. Gardner hits Funchess; Funchess breaks a tackle to pick up the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M43 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-2-5 base Pass PA Hitch Gallon 8
Easy pitch and catch as Gallon's CB blitzes and he just stops. Good recognition by Gardner; hate that he has to take his eyes off downfield and then quickly assess the situation, but that's just me. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O49 2 2 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Toussaint -3
This is on Toussaint. CMU has a safety rolled up and he charges upfield at the snap. Chesson(+2) is assigned to crack down on him. This looks impossible and live I was like dangit Chesson; now that I look at it he absolutely levels a blitzing LB/S despite that block being damn near impossible. Toussaint(-3) has the corner all day and a lead blocker in Kerridge thanks to that block and instead cuts upfield into the falling S. Glasgow(+1) and Miller(+1) had again scooped the playside DT. Lewan(+1) sealed the end. Williams helped a bit on the end and then got a mediocre block on the playside ILB.
M48 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Zig Dileo 7
All Dileo's route, as he fakes the out and then beats the HSP inside; Gardner hits him with perfect timing. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1). I almost want to DO this five yard pass. Slick.
O45 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-2-5 base Penalty Illegal Sub Chesson -5
He's the guy running off the field.
50 1 15 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Reverse Norfleet 38
Norfleet at outside WR. Telegraphed. Yup. Michigan pulls Kalis and that's all she wrote for the ILBs, as they are upfield and gone. Kerridge(+1) has to dance around with the playside end to both sell the fake and not block the guy in the back; he successfully does so, sealing him. Schofield(+0.5) releases a DT, sets up, seals him off when he comes back. Miller(+1) gets out on the weakside LB and gets a cut block; Gardner(+1) reads that and goes to the next level, fending off a safety. Norfleet(+1) is fast; cuts inside a pursuit guy and gets tripped by his shoelaces to prevent a touchdown. RPS +3; Norfleet didn't have to make a move until he was 30 yards downfield.
O12 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Pass Zone stretch Toussaint 7
DL going hard upfield at the snap. Lewan(+1) adjusts despite stepping left to start, bashing the playside end past the play. Glasgow immediately goes to the second level as he should; Miller(+1) walls off the playside DT; Williams(+1) kicks out the playside LB with authority. Kerridge(+1) blows up a filling S. Toussaint cuts back behind Kalis and Schofield(!) who are downfield with one of the DTs and runs up their back for eight. Glasgow(+1) had found his linebacker and got him. A lot of plusses for an eight yard run sure but going from the 12 to the 4 and getting second and two is a huge win, and this was just beautifully executed.
O5 2 3 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 base Penalty False Start Miller -5
Charged to Glasgow but since everyone else on the offense is moving it's obviously Miller not getting the snap count right.
O10 2 8 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 base Pass Waggle Cross Gallon 10 (Pen -5)
Not a surprise that the corner is wide open as CMU has been giving that for the last couple drives; Williams also stays into block the backside end. Gardner rolls and fires to Gallon for a TD. This is definitely behind where it should be but it's on the CA side of things. (CA, 2, protection 1/1). Lewan gets a horsecrap illegal man downfield penalty. They never call that. I've seen Air Force players OL blocking guys in zone coverage and that doesn't get called.
O15 2 13 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 4-2-5 base Run Delay Toussaint -3 (Pen offset)
CMU blitzes right into this and stuffs it with a free linebacker. Gardner actually pulls on what I doubt is a mesh point and the play still gets blown up. Dileo gets called for a low block off screen; CMU gets a holding penalty I can't see. RPS -2.
O15 2 13 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 base Pass Back shoulder fade Gallon Inc
This is actually a good-looking back shoulder fade but Gallon falls down as he tries to cut back to the corner of the endzone. Reminiscent of Trevor Siemian's TD in this endzone last year. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
O15 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-2-5 base Pass Comeback Gallon 14
Another six man blitz; Fitz(-1) does a bleah job of picking it up and a guy gets in Gardner's face as he throws. The ball seems to sail a bit, but Gallon comes back to it and makes the catch. Got hit as he leapt for it and still brought it in. Better DB may make a play on this ball. (CA, 2, protection 2/3, Toussaint -1)
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Toussaint 1
Note that M's goal line package flips Schofield to LT, has Lewan at TE, and puts Magnuson at RT. This is a simple iso on which Glasgow(+1) buries his guy and Kerridge(+1) crunches his; no stopping Toussaint now.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-3, 14 min 2nd Q. Man do I like what I see from Glasgow.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 base Pass PA fly Gallon INT
Frustrating playcall given the central D, which has eight guys in the box, press cover, and a safety ten yards off. Any post by Gallon is wide open. Instead it's hitch and go, which only gives the CMU DB the opportunity to get over the top. If Gardner sees this and is trying to throw it shorter we never get to find out because Funchess(-1) doesn't pick up a guy Williams passes off to him and that guy gets into Gardner's feet. That might make a back shoulder throw sail. Chesson has a step or two on the other side of the field. Gallon lock-in syndrome. (BR, 0, protection ½, Funchess -1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 21-3, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 base Run Tackle power Toussaint 20
Michigan runs power by pulling Lewan across. Lewan(-1) ends up four yards in the backfield blocking no one; Toussaint has to bend around him and wait; Lewan does eventually block a guy but the delay allows guys to flow up into the play. Toussaint(+2) spots a cutback hole and hits it hard. It's there because Kalis(+1) sealed one DT and Glasgow(+1) pancaked the other; Miller gets a tiny shove on a linebacker and that's enough.
M44 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-2-5 base Run Power O Toussaint 4
Glasgow pulls, and hey actually gets there. Williams(+1) blocks a guy inside by himself; Glasgow(+1) does a very good job to get to the hole and kick a charging LB. Kerridge(+0.5) blows out another guy. LB did force a cut inside of Glasgow so he has some help in a LB that the Kalis/Schofield double could not get to. Not really their fault, that guy was moving fast. Toussaint cuts back behind Williams and is just about to burst upfield when that LB comes around the same block and gets in an ankle tackle. Well blocked, but very aggressive D holds it down.
M48 2 6 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-4 even Run Inverted veer keeper Gardner 0
I suspect this is a blitz. In any case the playside DT swims outside of Schofield(-1) on the snap, surprising him. A quick good move. This means when Gardner pulls because the DE is containing that he has to go inside. Glasgow is pulling and redirects inside Schofield but cannot prevent the WLB from shooting past him upfield into Gardner. Not his fault, don't think any 300 pound player could make this play. RPS -1.
M48 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 base Pass Scramble Gardner 1 + 15 pen
CMU sends six. M has six blockers; Miller(-1) gets his head up late and does not see the blitz coming; he doubles a DL and lets one through. Toussaint(-1) block on the other LB is not good. Gardner has to spin out of the pocket a la Minnesota last year. He keeps looking, can't find anything, eventually scrambles for a couple, nearly gets his head taken off, flag. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, Toussaint -1, Miller -1)
O36 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Johnson 7
Another fast fast read from one of the CMU linebackers might be worth something if Lewan(+2) hadn't bashed the playside end inside. Johnson bounces for good yardage.
O29 2 3 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Johnson 1
CMU slants away and sends the boundary corner. Williams(-1) sees his block of the playside LB bounced off of; Kerridge(-1) can't do much with the corner. Those guys combine to tackle.
O28 3 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 base Run Down G Toussaint 1
Frontside G, Kalis, pulls. Toussaint actually has two potential lanes here, and while the outside one between Kerridge and Kalis is open for the first. Toussaint(-1) doesn't have the patience to wait for Kerridge to block and cut off that, though, instead slamming it straight up. That might work, actually, but Williams(-1) loses the playside end to a spin move and he tackles.
O27 4 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 base Run Gardner boot Gardner 12
Kalis(+0.5) pulls again, sealing the playside LB inside easily, Gardner on the edge with a MLB, and that's easy. RPS +1. Schofield(+0.5) also got a easy seal on a guy trying to stop a run up the middle. Funchess does murder a guy but it's not really relevant. This is a run/pass where Gardner can throw but I'm filing it as a run.
O15 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Screen Toussaint -1
A nice play by the corner they're going at to shoot up and nail Toussaint. This is Kalis's guy(-1) and I do think he needs to take a shallower angle to the corner. (CA, 3, screen)
O14 2 11 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Tackle power Toussaint 0
Kind of an RPS play as CMU slants to the playside here and Michigan has a lot of trouble adapting. Glasgow(-1) loses his man to the inside and gives ground. Toussaint(-1) should still follow Lewan and try to bash it up in case Glasgow can step around; even if he can't he'll get some yards. Instead he cuts back. Now he's got a force guy in his face immediately and a safety cleaning up even if he does something with that. RPS -1.
O14 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Skinny post Gallon 14
This is a replay of M's last touchdown in the Outback bowl. Gallon shakes with a post-corner-post move, Gardner fires it in hard. It is a tiny bit behind Gallon and a bit of a tough catch but it's a tight window for a touchdown on third and eleven. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-6, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel over Penalty False Start Glasgow -5
Glasgow(-1) starts leaning back early.
O17 1 15 Shotgun trips 1 0 4 Nickel over Pass Draw Toussaint 4
That slow slow draw again. CMU isn't buying; their WLB is creeping to the LOS even as M pretends pass. He gets into Miller and pops off; Toussaint(-1) really missed a cut here as the right side of the field is very open. He does spin through a tackle to pick up some YAC but a missed cut all the same.
O13 2 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 base Pass Comeback Gallon 9
Excellent protection; Gallon runs a comeback in between a lot of defenders and Gardner zings it in. A bit high but basically fine. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O4 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Scramble Gardner 4
Looking for Gallon, he's blanketed. Funchess too. At that point a huge hole opens up on the right side of the line and he's just like seeya. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-6, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass Waggle cross Jackson 17
Gardner has a guy right in his face containing. He stops, steps up, and fires to Jackson open further inside than the covered Funchess. Throw is a little high but this is Jackson, not Gallon, and not even a particularly difficult catch. This is the area Jackson can be effective in: PA zone stuff. (CA+, 3, protection N/A). Note that the waggle will be a lot more effective this year if Michigan runs the stretch, like, at all.
M42 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Toussaint 7
Double from Miller(+1) and Kalis(+1) caves in one DT. Double from Glasgow(+1) and Lewan(+1) caves in the other. Massive hole; both doubles turn into downfield blocks on LBs as well. Toussaint cuts back as Houma got bashed at the POA and there's not a frontside crease. The backside guy is only there because he ignored Jackson on the snap and is creeping down; Toussaint could try to pop outside of him and get a big gain but instead just slams it up.
M49 2 3 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Toussaint 5
Miller(+1) gets around the playside DT and seals him easily. Glasgow(+1) was going to help double, feels that Miller has it, and releases immediately into the MLB. Solid seal block. Houma(+1) pops the other LB and Toussaint hits it up for the first. Safeties are coming down hard to hold these down; only extra men are doing anything to slow the run game.
O46 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA fly Reynolds 45
Play action with Gardner coming to a halt in the backfield and waiting for a couple seconds before turning around. Reynolds gets over the top and Gardner chucks it, complete. Chesson had screwed up his route and was in the same area. This looks like it should have been flood to me; he was supposed to run a 20-yard crossing route. Instead he runs more defenders to Reynolds. This basically hits Reynolds in stride 45 yards downfield; separation is not superior so the catch is a little tough. (DO, 2, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G Toussaint -1
This isn't really Miller's fault, per se. The DT is just shooting upfield at the snap and he's got to get across him, tough assignment. Glasgow(-1) has a less understandable issue as he's pulling to the EMLOS and lets him come around upfield of the block. That plus the guy who fell at Miller's feet makes for an awkward pick through the LOS and that delay allows an unblocked guy to come up and pop him. That unblocked guy is unblocked because the other DT cut out both Kalis(-1) and Magnuson(-1). Don't know what you'd do there.
O2 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power O Toussaint 2
Kalis(+1) blows the playside DT into the endzone. Houma(+1) kicks the force guy as well. The rest of the blocks are pretty mediocre. Williams is stalemated and Butt almost lets his guy upfield inside of him; Glasgow pulling through the mess may make contact with Butt's guy. Toussaint picks through the hole and bulls his way in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-6, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Green 5
Lewan(+1) seals the end again but the rest of the line has caved everything in so badly that Green hits it up inside anyway. Glasgow(+1) and Miller(+1) execute another scoop that gets two guys driving CMU players off the ball yards downfield. Kalis(+1) blows the backside tackle away as well. Green puts a foot in the ground and goes N/S. He... actually cuts himself into trouble and goes down on first contact. Had some more here. -1.
50 2 5 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone stretch Green 2
Butt(+1) and Schofield(+1) scoop the playside end, who just can't ever stay outside on the stretch. Either one. Hard filling safety starts eight yards off the ball now and is just charging down. Michigan doesn't really care about exploiting this at this point. Green decides to try to bounce it away from that guy instead of run him over and again gives up some yards. -1. Be who you are.
O48 3 3 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 even Run Zone stretch Green 30
CMU looks misaligned, shifting at the snap gets off and not in a confidence inspiring way. Williams(+1) and Lewan(+1) again bash the DE inside. Glasgow(+1) and Miller(+1) scoop playside DT with Glasgow sealing the nearest LB. EMLOS throws himself at Kerridge and takes himself out of the play. Chesson(+1) gets a good block on that filling S and finally there's some room. Green runs straight until he is tackled.
O18 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Smith 4
Glasgow(+0.5) and Miller(+0.5) double PSDT, drive him back. Glasgow pops out on a hard charging LB. He gets the block; the hard charge means Smith will have to cut away from his FB, which he does. That hard safety comes up again to hit after a few. The blocking on all these plays is excellent. Worry not about the YPC; Michigan is running a clinic.
O14 2 6 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Zone stretch Smith 3
Hey look the end stayed outside. Good job, end. CMU pinches their LBs together presnap and shoots them upfield. Miller(-1) doesn't read this and allows one of those LBs to hit a gap behind him. This makes it difficult for Smith to cut up into the massive, massive gaps Michigan is carving out. That and a lack of movement by Williams(-1). Smith can still cut up for four because Glasgow(+1) has blown a DT four yards down the line and Lewan(+1) blasted a linebacker.
O11 3 3 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Iso Green 1
Meh job by Schofield(-1), who gets no movement; if he could get some it would help with the LB flowing over the top that Miller can't get to because of physics. Green gets submarined by that free linebacker and goes down.
O10 4 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Green 3
Glasgow(-1) goes right to the second level and blocks the wrong LB; Miller(+1) steps around the playside DT by himself. Playside end slants in; Lewan(+1) seals. Kerridge(+1) gets a good kickout on a hard charging dude and Williams has an easy time sealing the playside LB. Green is bursting upfield into the secondary when the guy Glasgow didn't take makes an ankle tackle.
O7 1 G Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Smith 3
CMU is really loaded up to the playside, with four second level defenders out over the 2TE side. M runs there anyway. If this wasn't a meat on the table sort of drive I would RPS -1 this; telltale sign that this is not a good play to be in is Kalis releasing and having no one he can possibly block. Anyway. Glasgow(+1) gets his shoulder spear to help Miller then blows up the MLB. Lewan(+0.5) and Williams(+0.5) just barely seal the end and kick another linebacker. Smith(+0.5) picks that crease and runs over the first tackle for a yard or two of YAC.
O4 2 G Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 base Run Zone stretch Smith 3
Kalis(-1) loses the backside DT, so a cutback has no appeal. Glasgow(+1) just buries the playside DT. I know. I know, but it's happening. He's moving too hard left to get sealed; Glasgow ends up pancaking him at the goal line. Because of the Kalis miss Smith can't cut up behind this, though. Butt(+0.5) and Lewan(+0.5) do a decent job on their blocks; Smith heads outside and tries to get the corner; Butt's guy pops off and helps an unblocked S to tackle.
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Iso Green 1
Well, on the one hand if Green cuts behind Miller he gets in easy. Because of the playside DT's release Glasgow deals with him and Miller releases upfield. When Glasgow puts his guy on the ground, Kalis(+0.5) and Magnuson(+0.5) have driven the backside DT into the sea. Easy TD waits. Instead Kalis follows his FB and thwacks into the LB Miller no longer has an angle to. But he spins off that and another tackler to eke his way in. If I was mean I would make this a push. But okay. +1. Houma(+1) crushed a guy.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 49-6, 4 min 3rd Q. MANBALLLLLLLLLLL. Morris enters for the next drive. Braden, and Magnuson come in at the tackles, Burzynski at C. Bars at RG.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 even Run Zone stretch Hayes 7
Williams(+1) and Magnuson(+1) combo the end with Williams popping out on the playside LB. Houma kicks a charging nickel guy. Kalis(+1) cuts off the playside end; Hayes hits the obvious crease quickly and goes N/S. Backside safety flows down hard as per usual.
M26 2 3 I-Form 1 2 2 4-3 base Pass Waggle hitch Chesson Inc
Butt motions back to FB. Hayes gets an excellent cut on the unblocked playside DE, giving Morris the corner. Chesson sets up on a hitch; I think he should keep drifting outside; he does not. Morris flings it wide of him to where I think Chesson should be drifting to but since that's just my dumb opinion and this is also low and hard it's IN. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
M26 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE out Butt 8 + 15 pen
Easy, good looking pitch and catch. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1). Roughing the passer is tacked on.
M49 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Rawls 9
Playside LB shoots forward at the snap; Glasgow(-1) tries to peel off but ends up letting the guy through. He gets a little shove to knock the guy off balance. Rawls(+2) cuts back on this smartly. Magnuson(+1) has washed the backside tackle way down the line; Butt(+1) has got the end a few yards downfield so there's a gap. Rawls runs through a couple of arm tackles and puts his head down to get some more YAC. Best run of the day from a tailback? Well there was that Fitz cutback. Other than that, yeah.
O42 2 1 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Rawls -2
CMU blitzes past Kalis(-1) and under Braden(-1) to get two guys into the backfield deep. Williams(-1) lets the DE inside of him; he was expecting to kick and got a surprise. Rawls gets buried.
O44 3 3 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Rollout out Norfleet 3
Quick out. Norfleet is stacked behind Butt so I assume Butt is supposed to rub the playside LB, but he does not. As a result he's in Norfleet's hip pocket and tackles seemingly short of the sticks. M gets it on measurement. Okay. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O41 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 2 2 4-4 base Pass Waggle cross Funchess 36
Many CMU players suck up on Butt running underneath, Funchess is open deeper. Morris finds it and fires a dart. It's a little behind Funchess, but very catchable; with no one around he turns it up for good YAC. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O5 1 G I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Iso Rawls 5
Magnuson(+0.5) and Williams(+1) double the end to seal him; Williams pops out on a LB smartly. Chesson(+1) cracks down and smacks the playside safety. That's a crease; Rawls hits it and basically doesn't get touched until he's in the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 56-6, EO3Q. The entire starting line is out now and I'm going to stop seriously charting runs.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Green 1
Burzynski and Bars double the playside DT; Burzynski peels off to get a block on a charging LB. Bars loses the DT. Green hits a good hole except for that late-developing, uh, development.
M48 2 9 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Waggle seam Norfleet INT
This is the wrong throw and a bad throw. York is the guy he should target; he has separation further outside. Norfleet has a guy on him, and a guy coming underneath. Morris's throw floats and wobbles. If it doesn't float the underneath guy probably gets a PBU; since it does Norfleet can only get a fingertip on it. This was not nearly as catchable as I thought it was. He deflects it, fortunate INT for CMU. (BRX, 0, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Interception, 56-9, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Iso Green 3
Pretty much just a couple of doubles getting some room. Bryant does look like he impacts people heavily, FWIW.
O24 2 7 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 base Run Zone stretch Green 3
The usual on the edge, with Williams really hammering the end down the line. CMU blitzes off the corner, Houma picks it off, Green(+0.5) jumps outside wisely, but then looks pretty ponderous on the corner.
O21 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Norfleet 13
Zone blitz, no one in the flat, easy pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). Norfleet shakes his way past a corner to get some extra yards.
O8 1 G I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 base Run Iso Smith -1
Bars gets beat badly one on one, which absorbs the FB and makes Smith cut in the backfield.
O9 2 G I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 base Run Zone stretch Smith 0
Smith(-1) gets past the line and then tries to bounce it; mistake. Slam it up or cut back.
O9 3 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 base Pass Sack N/A -4
CMU sends six. Morris does not throw a slant that he thinks may get undercut and misses Norfleet of all people on the other side coming open. By that point M's messed up protection has come home to roost as they left a guy unblocked. (TA, N/A, protection 1/3, team -2)
Drive Notes: FG(30), 59-9, 7 min 4th Q. Nothing interesting on the final drive save Smith(-1) cutting away from a sure first down when a linebacker flashes through the line on a power.

Hello, old friend.


It's been so long. Things have… changed since you've been gone.

I was once told you can't go home again.

There was a wizard. A white wizard.

What did he do?

He installed the zone stretch.

It turns out that home follows you, sometimes.

Also Devin Gardner follows you because dang if he isn't all up in your zones. Here, take a look at this—



I told you things changed. Spelling "chart" is one. Also now we call pizzas hamburgers and vice versa.

Right. Anyway.

It's a new year, so annual explanation of things: what follows is an attempt to categorize passes beyond just attempts and completions. Hover over the abbreviations to get them de-abbreviated. Full explanations are found in the Hennechart Legend. The "DSR" or "downfield success rate" is a rough metric of how often something good happened when Michigan went back to pass.

UPDATE FOR 2013: I will be adding scrambles into the numerator in the DSR, because now they are so frequent and important to the offense that it's foolish not to. (Note that "scramble" is only awarded for a sensible decision to take off. When a QB can't find anyone and rumbles for two yards on third and ten he gets a TA, which is mildly negative.) I know, how did I get through the Denard Robinson era without making that change? Well, he never scrambled. Argh. The 2012 Gardner DSRs have been updated to the new standard.

Also new in the chart: + markers for throws that Gardner created with his ability to get outside of the pocket and improvise. * marks still stand for XTREME bad things in the IN and BR categories.

Devin Gardner 2012

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

Central Michigan 2 10(1)+ 1 1 2* - - 1 3 82%

Oh, and:

Shane Morris

Central Michigan - 4 - 1 1* 1 - - - N/A

So, yeah. The quarterback charting has never really figured out what to do with things like the Gardner scramble rollout that ended in a 36-yard Drew Dileo reception or, you know, a casual 22-yard scramble for a touchdown. I think the little rushing touchdown is actually the best emblem:

Central covers everybody. And then they're dead. This year I've added the SCRs in, which helps us get to grips. I'll also be putting those plus marks in to note things like that throw to Dileo. Simple throw, but one most quarterbacks can't even get in position to make. Hopefully these two changes will fully encapsulate the Devin Gardner experience.

Meanwhile, that experience: the good news is that his accuracy went most of the way back to his early deadliness after the concerning last two games of 2012. I should mention that there are a few throws in the CA category that shade towards MA—passes thrown a little behind Funchess and Gallon—but don't quite get there. It was not an inch-perfect day; it was encouraging. Twenty yard ropes are a nice tool to have.

All your redzone are belong to us. By the way, Michigan was 6/7 on the day and the one field goal attempt came with Gardner on the bench. Crazy efficient.

The big downer is the first interception. That was a read he was suckered into presnap and never adjusted to afterwards. A learning experience. The second interception is less concerning for the reasons discussed in the Picture Pages yesterday: Gardner saw the coverage and was trying to let his receiver make a play, but the ball sailed because he got hit on the throw. If he back-shoulders it or just puts it up short, Gallon may come down with it. It's a little weird to think about a 5'8" guy as someone you think armpunting to is a good idea, but… I mean… isn't it? FWIW, that incompletion where Gallon fell down in the front corner of the endzone was a back-shoulder throw, so you know it's in the repertoire. 

Get those things figured out and Gardner's in business.

Should I be concerned about Michigan's lack of pizzazz in the run game?

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but here is a chart.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 17 2 15 Crushing ends inside all day.
Glasgow 15.5 5 10.5 Just bludgeoned dudes all day. I know.
Miller 10.5 2 8.5 Consistently got his helmet across playside DT.
Kalis 6 4 2 Most plays away from him, and he barely pulled.
Schofield 2 2 0 But have you heard about pass protection?
Williams 4.5 4 0.5 Seemed improved but I want more push.
Funchess 1 2 -1 Picture paged error was a big one. Did not get a point for murder most foul, FWIW.
Butt 2.5 - 2.5 Nice start.
Magnuson 3 1 2 Part of the goal line package.
TOTAL 62 22 74% Excellent day well above 66% Mendoza line.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 2   2 One of these points actually for a block.
Morris - - - Just in case.
Toussaint 3 6 -3 Made some large mistakes.
Green 1.5 2 -0.5 Bouncing outside like it's HS and he's 220.
Smith 0.5 2 -1.5 Made a bad cut late.
Hayes - - - Single carry was not a challenge, but he took it well.
Rawls 2 - 2 Best run of the day probably.
Houma 3 - 3  
Kerridge 4.5 - 4.5 FBs did well.
TOTAL 16.5 10 6.5 RBs collectively –3. That is not too good. Zero is a real disappointment.
Player + - T Notes
Gallon 1 - 1 -
Jackson - - -  
Chesson 5 - 5 He's a killer! More on this below.
Reyonlds - - -  
Dileo - - -  
Norfleet 1 - 1 Ran fast.
York - - -  
TOTAL 7 - 7 The Wiry Destroyer. Bueller?
Player + - T Notes
Protection 23 4 85% Toussaint –2, Funchess –1, Miller –1.
RPS 6 4 2 Games like this quickly ignore RPS.

(BONUS: Backup line was 4/6 with two minuses charged to the team.)

Now you may be looking at the YPC and the chart above and saying "WTF?" Let me just say that Michigan got into don't care mode really early on this one and Central Michigan started selling out like crazy against the run. On play after play, Michigan would crush people off the ball and a safety who started the play eight yards off the line of scrimmage and took two steps forward before the handoff would step in to tackle.

While that was happening, Central Michigan was getting crushed off the line. All of these stills are from Michigan's third quarter meatgrinder drive on which they got one long run from Green and then spent eight plays churning out the other 25 yards.


This was a three-yard stretch as Miller didn't get his head up in time to disengage into that linebacker you see chasing. Glasgow has plowed the playside DT four yards downfield; the backside guy is still on the ground.


Both DTs are a few yards downfield and steadily giving ground. This would be five yards as Green cuts away from his blocking and gets whacked by that LB you see just below the M. Should have been more.


The guy chasing Smith was lost by Kalis for –1. But also note that Glasgow is burying the playside DT at the goal line.


This is Green's long one. The interior line has clubbed every DL inside. Glasgow got out on a linebacker, who went upfield of him. That's a win for M, as upfield means dead on almost every play.


This is an iso; the backside DT has been blown downfield by Kalis and Schofield.

This was a clinic. I mean:

These guys had no chance of staying near the line of scrimmage. None.

Central had a terrible run defense a year ago—93rd, playing in the MAC—that resembles what Michigan will face on Saturday in no way whatsoever. But they did everything they possibly could to lend you faith that they can get this done. Compare that output to the second game last year, which was against the 99 rushing defense in the country:

Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 8 - 8 Blew some guys off the ball; locked out edge guys.
Barnum 6.5 2 4.5 Solid.
Mealer 4.5 2 2.5 Seems like a decent player.
Omameh 5 5 0 Pulling getting bad again; got blown by a couple times.
Schofield 3 2 1 Not tested that much.
Kwiatkowski 2 - 2 Did okay.
Moore - - - DNP
Williams 5 3 2 Very blocky.
Funchess - - - Blocking is for saps.
TOTAL 34 14 71.00% What they needed to do against Air Force.

This was much more dominating performance against a team of similar caliber. About the only thing wrong was Taylor Lewan trying to pull.

Well then, where are all the yards?

Yes, take out Gardner and the Norfleet reverse—all yards that had very little to do with the OL—and you get a pedestrian 4.1 yards an attempt against a MAC snack. As mentioned, a large portion of this was Central getting very aggressive. For most of the second half they rolled another guy into the box and had that free safety eight yards off and coming down on the snap. In a competitive game, Michigan will go over the top on that all day.

That was almost half. The other almost half: the backs were collectively very bad. Toussaint looked like his fast and fun old self, but he made at least one twenty yard mistake and several smaller ones. Here's the 20-yarder:

Chesson murders that dude dead and Toussaint has acres of space plus Kerridge to the outside; instead he trips over that guy's grave.

When Green came in he played like a kid used to high school, bouncing runs for minimal gains when he should have been slamming them upfield for burrowing 8-yarders. Smith missed a couple cuts. Though Rawls and Hayes did do some good things they had limited opportunities to do so before the backups came in. As a unit this was bad. Rust and youth, hopefully.

The small remainder is the usual spread theory this space has. This style of offense finds it harder to get that safety over the top blocked because it does not option off a guy, and the waggle rollout stuff is dangerous to depend on too heavily because it asks your QB to turn his back to the play and then hope some guy isn't flying up at him when his head is in a position to look at football players again. It's a tradeoff. YPC is going to go down as Michigan moves away from spread option. They hope to find compensation in reduced variance and more effective passing options.

There's always an unblocked guy, so getting long runs means either the D screwed up, you were perfect, or a tailback made plays. Michigan got one play from the RBs all day and is still working out understandable early-season kinks on the line. They're a step or two away from busting some big ones.

Why are all the points on the left side of the line?

That was where Michigan was going for most of the day, and backside blocks weren't evaluated much because Lewan was consistently sealing the end and Miller/Glasgow were consistently sealing the playside DT. There were no cutbacks. When the right side did get involved, Kalis looked powerful but more error-prone than Glasgow while Schofield looked like Schofield.

Miller graded out well.

Yes. He and Glasgow were a scoop machine. Glasgow would bash the DT, Miller would scoot around him. His agility looked outstanding even when he was on his own.

Also this one, on which he gives ground to get around a defensive tackle and walls him off. Very Molk, this:

Michigan didn't seem to miss any line calls save that one time the entire offense had one snap count and Miller had another. Crappy opponent caveats apply in spades, but Miller did make a case to keep him in the lineup even if Chris Bryant finds himself totally healthy soon. He's got a monster test this weekend.

(FWIW, I didn't chart any Bryant plays seriously, but I did look at them and man you can feel his presence. When he hits a guy they rock back ostentatiously. Stark difference between Bryant and Bars, who looked a long way away from competing seriously.

Wait, Chesson is blocking fools? Isn't he supposed to be the stick figure guy?

He may not have caught a pass, but hoo boy did he tattoo some people. He's the guy clobbering the cornerback on the easy Gardner touchdown. In the stands I thought a loss by Toussaint was a "dawww I'm a freshman" moment from Chesson; instead it was a very tough crackback block executed to perfection. He stood up a safety on Green's long run, giving him the edge:

If blocking is the key to acquiring wideout playing time at Michigan, Chesson just got himself a gold star.

The lone negative for his day (other than not being targeted until Morris came in) was on the long Reynolds completion, as he busted his route and ran extra defenders into the area.  That was supposed to be the flood combo Michigan likes so much.


[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 2   3/3 2/2   2   3/3 2/2
Jackson       1/1         1/1
Reynolds   0/1 1/1       0/1 1/1  
Chesson 1         1      
Dileo 1     2/2   1     2/2
Norfleet 1     2/2   1     2/2
Funchess     0/1 2/2       0/1 2/2
Butt       1/1         1/1
Toussaint       1/1         1/1

Not much data yet. Nice day from Gallon.


Lewan, Glasgow, and Miller. Gardner except that one pass. Gallon. Chesson the Destroyer, despite not being targeted.

Maybe not so heroic?

The tailbacks, collectively.

What does it mean for Notre Dame and the future?

I'm almost entirely encouraged. The two question marks on the line performed very well, especially Glasgow. Michigan actually involved Taylor Lewan heavily on the ground for the first time in forever. Pass protection was excellent; Gardner was for the most part very accurate.

The main downer was the bleah production from the tailbacks, and I mean that in a UFR sense. They could have gotten many more yards than they ended up getting on various plays.

Nothing Michigan could have done against CMU on Saturday would have meant we could go into the ND game with anything resembling confidence about the Nix/Tuitt versus M interior line matchup, but they acquitted themselves about as well as possible and significantly increased my hope that matchup is a stalemate.

I'm not going to freak out about this just yet, but man Michigan needs some one other than Gallon to get some targets. Funchess with only three targets is bler. Half of Gardner's attempts can't go to the same guy. Get that down to 35-40.



September 4th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

the UFR. Very time consuming but I feel like I'm learning about football. I can't imagine how long they take, but I look forward to Wednesday and Thursdays following a game.

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 2:22 PM ^

Gardner was the reason for the first INT. I still would like to see Dileo's first step to be at the NB's outside hip, just because that prevents the DB from getting a clean break on the ball (all this means is that Dileo's first step is about 6" inside of where he stepped), but the conclusion I ended up coming to is that the NB isn't even looking at Dileo. He's breaking on Gardner's eyes the whole way.

Mr. Brownstone

September 5th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

I agree that the first pick was on DG. The route wasnt the greatest but look at DG's feet. If it is indeed a pre-snap read on the potential blitz then that first drop step needs to be with the right foot, not the left. If DG gets his feet right the ball comes out quicker and the LB/S never gets there in time.


September 4th, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

I think your analysis of Toussaint is WAY WAY off on a few of those. I'm actually more annoyed than anything because now everybody out there is going to say "look, he has all these negative points, start Green!" Toussaint is by far our best back right now.

The -3 for the Chesson crack back block play is silly to me. If you really watch what happens, Toussaint starts to cut inside as soon as he sees the guy blitzing outside of him. Immediately thereafter Chesson blocks him directly into Toussaint's feet. After watching it like 20 times, I think Toussaint did the right thing, assuming that Chesson wasn't going to knock the guy 5 yards back into him.

The other negative to Toussaint on the long delayed draw is even more ridiculous. Toussaint is looking left the entire time, trying to sell that he's pass blocking a free guy coming from the left as a part of the protection. Once he actually gets the ball, his view of the right is even more obscurred. You seem to want him to be psychic and able to know that WRs and OL out 20-30 yards to his right have set up perfect blocking for him when he has absolutely no way to see this or know this whatsoever.

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 2:22 PM ^

Fitz is reading it that the FB is going to kick out the LB that Chesson ends up cracking. If I'm not mistaken, Chesson is not supposed to chase his man up field. Once that guy gets that far upfield he becomes the FB's responsibility and he needs to get the next guy at the second level. I also think Chesson's split may be too wide here.

Chesson is making an effort play, I'm not going to hate on him for that, but from Fitz's POV he is reading FB kick on a guy in the backfield, not a crack block back into him. This means he needs to cut up and then out, where he would have had green grass for days with Chesson sealing any defender coming inside out to the inside.

MI Expat NY

September 4th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

Went back and watched it again paying close attention to Kerridge.  You're absolutely right.  Kerridge was taking the LB, and Chesson's crackback block actually caused Kerridge to hesitate before going around the edge.  If Chesson lets that guy go, Kerridge kicks out the LB, and Chesson picks up the CB who Kerridge eventually tried to block, could have been a big play.  I'd give Chesson a -2 and take away any negative points for Fitz.  

Probably a freshman mistake.  The LBs shifted on motion and might have made  it difficult for Chesson to figure out his assignment.  


September 4th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

My question on this: when you say

Fitz is reading it that the FB is going to kick out the LB that Chesson ends up cracking.

Isn't that a bad read? His FB sees the Chesson block coming and goes around it, looking for targets on the outside. Shouldn't Fitz see his FB going outside and follow his blocker instead of trying to cut it up?

MI Expat NY

September 4th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

Fitz is expecting Kerridge to have a block at or near the line of scrimmage.  He reads Kerridge going parallel to the line of scrimmage as indicating that Kerridge is kicking and the hole is going to be off his right hip.  By the time Kerridge has made his decision to go around Chesson's block, Fitz has already read Kerridge and turned his attention to the hole between Lewan and Williams, looking for the free tackler.  

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

The FB is taking an angle (parallel to the LOS) that will kick out the LB when the LB gets upfield. The LB's momentum is going to take him further up field by the time the FB gets there. But Chesson gets there first, essentially at the same exact time Fitz is reading FB kick (if you pause you'll almost literally see Fitz's plant foot at the same moment as the crack).

As far as the comment above this, I think it comes down to his split being too wide. If that LB isn't on the offensive side of the LOS, the WR needs to crack him. If he gets into the backfield, he needs to move onto the next guy. But Chesson is too wide to start and so the LB is able to crash hard and get into the backfield before Chesson can get there. Basically, Chesson is chasing the LB because he's too far away from him.

Now all this is kind of bad luck too. If Chesson is actually a half second later the FB gets to the guy and it's probably a 6 yard gain until Fitz has to take on the CB still. At the end of the day, you'd still like to see Fitz make a play here. Pick his feet up and not get tripped, something like that.

MI Expat NY

September 4th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

On the split being the problem: I'm not sure that LB is ever Chesson's guy.  Lewan has the playside end, Glasgow has the playside tackle, Kalis has the backside tackle and then is flowing to the next level.  That leaves Williams after he chips on the end, Miller pulling and Kerridge to pick up the two playside LBs and maybe an overly aggressive backside LB if Kalis can't get to him.  Throwing skinning Chesson in to pick up the LB and let one of those previous three get a safety or CB doesn't seem like the best use of resources.

On edit:  You make a good point below that Chesson crashing indicates it's a designed crackback.  So maybe you're right.  Still not sure I think this is the best use of resources.   


September 4th, 2013 at 9:03 PM ^

I have a simpler explanation:  Chesson made a killer play that ideally Fitz would've exploited for a huge gain, except if I was Fitz I would've been shocked myself.  I never would've expected him to get there in time.  As for Chesson, you don't make a play like that unless you're confident you can finish.  It's an effort play that was wasted by simple miscommunication.  This isn't exactly something to get distraught about in the first game.

Fitz and Chesson are still feeling out each others' capabilities.  I don't think Fitz has ever seen a WR destroy a defender like that; bear in mind that was supposed to be Darboh.  As they gain playing time together hopefully they can utilize each others' athleticism.


September 4th, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

I doubt whether Fitz is supposed to expect a blocked defender to be flying directly into his path.

On Green's long run, he's also got the FB in front of him, but just as Fitz did, Green doesn't follow him around the end, but cuts up inside. The difference here is that he doesn't have a flying defender deposited virtually at his feet just as he's beginning to make the cut.

MI Expat NY

September 4th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

I'm with you on the Chesson crack back play.  I think Toussaint is right to think that a guy on the outside a yard or two in the backfield is his to beat and that the defender isn't going to get blocked by the WR.  While it's pretty amazing that Chesson was able to get a legal block on the guy, I'm of the belief that this is one of those situations addressed in picture pages yesterday, where Chesson's assignment wasn't blockable and he should have headed upfield to get the next guy and hope for the best behind him.  

This isn't applicable to your post, but I don't feel like adding another comment.  I think this UFR was awful generous on Gardner's accuracy.  Better defensive back play sees some PBU's.  While his accuracy wasn't as bad as some of Denard's passes over the last three years, Gardner is playing in a pro-style system with greater demands on accuracy.  He needs to be better against better competition.  


September 4th, 2013 at 3:11 PM ^

"Results-based charting"

Also, I'm pretty sure that one is all on Fitz.  Freeze frame the play and you will see that Chesson has already hit the linebacker by the time that Fitz makes his cut.  Fitz cuts upfield while Kerridge heads outside.  It's a terrible read by Fitz. The only way that play could possibly be on Chesson is if it was a big blown assignment by Jehu, which is unlikely, since it was a very simple assignment for him and there isn't another guy in the neighborhood for him to crack down on.  It looks 100% like that play was intended to go to the outside the entire time.  I guess it's possible that he got the play wrong and that he was supposed to be blocking downfield while Kerridge took the guy at the LOS, but there is no evidence of that. 

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

Chesson has the right play, but sticks with his base assignment instead of adjusting post-snap. Idealing, the LB doesn't crash and Chesson seals the LB inside on the defensive side of the LOS. But the LB crashes and gets in the backfield before Chesson, Chesson needs to pass this man off to the LB and get the next man inside.

Chesson isn't going after the CB here either way, it's a designed crack block. Unless he absolutely knows he can't get there (which he can't know pre-snap) he has to come down. But he also needs to adjust after the snap. Chesson didn't miss his assignment, he just didn't override his intial assignment and adjust to what was happening in front of him.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

There is no other man inside.  Everyone else is blocked.  It seems obvious early in that run that the defender who made the "tackle" is going to get walled off (or in this case, knocked onto his ass) to the inside.  Chesson makes contact with the guy a split second before Fitz makes his cut.   I guess maybe you could argue that it is an RPS-1 since without that guy crashing down it's an easier block, but Chesson does his job beautifully.  If Fitz just follows his fullback outside of the crackback block, the way that it is designed, then it's a big gain.  But, for some reason, he cuts inside.

This is a great example of why Denard was so awesome.  He had magical Jedi powers that allowed him to see a half second into the future and he almost never cut the wrong way. 

After watching it a few more times, I wonder if he cut upfield because he was reading AJ Williams's block.  AJ hadn't sealed his man very authoritatively.

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

But there are rules that you follow when you crack block. You're supposed to move on to the next guy inside. If that guy isn't there you go down field. Chesson gets his block, but pushes him into the ball carrier, almost gets a block in the back, and isn't really walling off the outside as the play is designed. If Chesson doesn't get him on the ground then he's put himself in no man's land, which is why there are rules.

Again, optimally, Chesson cracks a guy on the correct side of the LOS, sealing the play outside and the FB goes onto a dropping CB. Then it's huge yards. But the play is fluid and his responsibility changed. It became the FB's job to kick out the guy that bursted into the backfield, not Chesson's because you don't give someone an assignment that is extremely likely to end in a block in the back or blocking at an angle that does nothing for the RB.

Regarding Denard, Denard also had an extra blocker and could afford to be more patient (something he's dealing with now as a RB). That said, I bet Denard cuts this up too, he probably just stops cuts back and up, and then to the outside. He wouldn't gain depth from his angle when he's reading his FB's butt here, which is what he's supposed to do first on this play.

I feel like this is appropriate here


September 4th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

Totally disagree on the draw - this is where I would have given Fitz a -3.  I believe the play is supposed to go right, or at least have that available.  As a RB you need to be able to see that blowing wide open.  You don' t need to see 20-30 yards downfield.  But you're expected to see the daylight 5 yards in front of you.  On that play, Fitz ran to the only area where there were CMU players at all.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:29 PM ^

I was surprised that he didn't get a -3 for that one as well.

My general expectation is if I see the lane before the running back misses it, it's a -3. If I see it live and he misses it, it's -2. If I see it on the replay, it's a -1. On this one, I was disappointed the moment Fitz chose to follow it inside.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

It's the RB's job to find the hole. WR crackback blocks are generally rare, but when they happen it's almost always a called play and everyone on the field expects to see it on the highlight film the next day. It shouldn't have been a surprise to Fitz that this was coming. Fitz looked rusty but not bad. The one thing that I will give him is that the block came a little late. Freshman WR, man.

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

That crack shouldn't happen in the backfield. Think of it this way, why would you seal the outside in the backfield while simultaneously pushing a defender into the ball carrier. The only time a play like Chesson's should be made is on a reverse (you'll actually see a "missed block" and then crack back on Norfleet's reverse). But it shouldn't happen here.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:08 PM ^

As a counter point though, I think Brian was rather kind to him in terms of protection and blitz pick up. I re-watched the game last night and Fitz was pretty bad. He got stood up and deposited back into Gardner's lap several times. I do agree that Fitz is the best RB we have at running right now, but I often hear that he should play even if not because experienced guys are better at pass protection and I don't know if that's necessarily the case right now. It will be interesting if either of the other two will start pushing him as the starter as the season goes on.


September 4th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

Brian, I just want to thank you for what you do.  I'm just a guy sitting in an office on the 28th floor in downtown Charlotte surrounded by Nascar, Carolina and Duke Hoops fans and here I get to read about my beloved Wolverines ('87 grad) on one screen while I work on a spreadsheet on another.  Makes me choke up, I'm so glad you're there for us...really.


September 4th, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

You were going to blow up Glasgow's UFR due to your comments in the podcast. I thought you would inflate him a little, due to how much you would be surprised by how not bad he was, instead of him actually being really good.

My initial thought was that the RB's and the OL each had a solid day. I did not realize that the OL was on a donkey-killing spree, and the RB's left so much out on the table. 

So yeah, Glasgow, Miller, Lewan, are all very deserving of those scores. Would like to see Kalis get more on the board. But he gave us this...

...and for that, we are grateful.

Space Coyote

September 4th, 2013 at 2:35 PM ^

Any snap reactions about OL, including my own, need to be taken at least to some degree with a grain of salt. There is so much happening in such a small window, without knowing the exact play call, that it is difficult to get it all immediately. There are some obvious things (Lewan struggling to pull) or things where guys are regularly getting blown up, but overal it tends to be a very difficult position to grade out because it's difficult to see what all 5 OL are doing as a unit in combination with what the defense is doing when you know what neither team is running.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

Seems like Ol are subject to some of the same snap judgements that CBs and Safeties are.

If you do your job right, nobody really notices, but when you blow it up, everyone points and yells "HE SUCKS". Poeple may have been noticing the few plays Miller did poorly and totally missed where he did well because they were watching Fitz running 5 yards downfield


September 4th, 2013 at 2:26 PM ^

I was one of those, but Brian gave Miller a pass on the goal-line play where Fitz got stuffed (and in fairness that was a tough reach for Miller) and apparently the rest of the plays look better. That's part of the purpose of the UFRs--intensively grading every play. I don't really have the time or capability to do that.

So I'm a bit more encouraged, but cautious--Saturday is, perhaps, the biggest test of the year for the OL based on ND's talent.



September 4th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

People think an OL is supposed to blow his man 5 yards off the ball every play, and if they don't they've failed.  Or they see a play or two where he's chasing or getting pushed back, and draw a conclusion.

Players get beat or miss assignments.  But on balance, anyone watching Miller and Glasgow work together over the entire game had to be tremendously impressed. A lot of it was textbook.  And Glasgow looks farily athletic and strong.  Miller looks like a gamer. 

It was much more than anyone could have expected, and raises the bar on this season.


September 4th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

I was one of those initially. I did re-watch the game again last night and he looked better. Live, I caught him on the ground behind the line once or twice and another couple times 5 yards downfield blocking no one. Revisiting those plays, it looks like he more or less was doing what was expected of him.


September 4th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

we experienced the horror and a loss to Toledo in the past several years.  There is no longer a hint of those teams left in this UFR.  We will lose a few games in the coming years, but games against the likes of Central and Akron and Purdue and Minny will be decided before halftime.

Tator Salad

September 4th, 2013 at 5:04 PM ^

Part of me thinks not targeting chesson was on purpose. I remember mannigham was unknown before he blew up in that nd game with a few deep plays. Maybe they're thinking the same thing with chesson, don't show nd how fast he is and then have him blow past their dbs... Then again I may just be overly optimistic!


September 4th, 2013 at 2:19 PM ^

Love these UFRs ... love them.

I'm hardly a football X's and O's guy ... but I'm learning ... and these UFRs allow me to read and absorb some of the nuances my eye can't catch real-time.

So "ditto!" to all the expressions of gratitude for doing the UFRs ... these are terrific!