Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs UConn Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2013 at 3:07 PM

FORMATION NOTES: UConn did some weird stuff. My lingo on these is probably bad but this was "5-1 nickel split" with a 3-4 front that has two OLBs flanking the line:


And I just gave up when this happened, calling it "5-4 30 front":


There was also a 5-3 30 front that had a deep safety.

This is "shotgun 4-wide tight" for M. You may note the weird tilt of Funchess:

shotgun 4-wide tight

As a rule I count a TE in a two point stance as a WR for purposes of naming a formation.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual basically everywhere. Save one snap for Derrick Green when Toussaint was momentarily injured, Toussaint got every tailback snap. Butt was preferred to Funchess late when Michigan was running the ball. And it seems like Chesson is slowly absorbing snaps from Reynolds and Jackson.

All else was as before.

[After THE JUMP: points! yards! (none of those things)]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over Run Iso Toussaint 2
Kalis(-1) and Miller(-0.5) have some difficulty doubling the nose, who ends up diving in the backfield at Toussaint's feet. Kalis got a late release and the LBs are flowing hard; there's no crease. On the backside, Glasgow(+1) had a pounding block on the other tackle that got him through to another linebacker. I kind of feel I should RPS minus this since the blocking here isn't too bad and the result is two yards.
M22 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 2 2 1 4-4 over Pass Wheel Funchess 14
Toussaint motions out and Funchess is the 'back,' and if that's a blinking light that says wheel route to you, you are any Michigan fan. This motion totally discombobulates UConn, BTW, as they send a linebacker over Dileo and have a corner on Toussaint with seven guys in a never-run box. Compounding matters is that UConn is in man and the guy on Funchess has to run right through Butt, which he can't do because Butt is a person. Wheel wide open. RPS +2. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M36 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Inside zone read Toussaint 7
UConn shifts away from the TE and sends no one off the corner, so even though I think Gardner(-1) makes an obviously bad read it doesn't matter because Schofield(+1) pounds a DE trying to dive inside of him further and further inside, giving Toussaint(+0.5) an easy cutback to the wide open corner. Miller(+0.5) gave a little ground but effectively sealed a nose; Kalis(+0.5) gets an easy downfield block; Funchess(-1) totally whiffs on a linebacker; Dileo(+1) gets the slot overhang guy, and Toussaint can hop outside of that block for a nice gain. RPS +1.
M43 2 3 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Wheel Toussaint 7
Wheels on wheels. This is actually zone but the overhang safety has to be cautious because if he gets too aggressive and Toussaint goes vertical it's six points. Easy pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide jet 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Jet sweep Norfleet 13
UConn badly misaligned with both the LBs and the line to the field. It's jet sweep time, which looks a lot like inverted veer from the perspective of the D so we get the first look at how UConn is defending that: with a basic scrape. DE comes down as a linebacker flares. Reynolds(-0.5) is cracking down on the scraping LB and hits him but does not seal. Toussaint(-1) doesn't get the corner down at all, and he pops off to tackle as Norfleet passes. That means Norfleet can't put a move on the safety and only gets ten. RPS +2. Only two relevant blocks on this play were bad ones and it's still ten yards. Norfleet(+1) gained about six yards after contact.
O37 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone stretch Toussaint 3
Mystifying that they run a stretch to the boundary against an even formation with Funchess off the line, in a disadvantageous position to start. Even so, he gets beat(-1) badly and forces an awkward bounce. Schofield(+1) rode his guy down the line and put him on the ground, but every other block is pretty meh; Miller gets ridden down the line by a guy over him and no one gets a blocking angle on any of the linebackers. Toussaint cuts up into a mess, but at least it's a three yard mess.
O34 2 7 I-Form twins stack 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Throwback screen Gallon 2
Gallon motions over behind Chesson, and throwback screen alarms go off. Screen is thrown back; Chesson(-2) blows a block to blow up the play. (CA, 3, screen)
O32 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Delayed hitch Gallon Int
Gallon doesn't move off the LOS for a couple of seconds after the play starts and then leaks out into space M hopes is vacated once other WRs run zone defenders at the sticks off. Protection is fine; Gardner steps up and steps up unnecessarily until he's uncomfortable with how close the OL is and can't step in, a simple five yard throw is way high and batted, intercepted. This was probably fourth and short if caught, actually, and Funchess was breaking wide open behind him, if you want to add a BR. (INX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Pistol FB twins 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Zone read belly Toussaint -1
Press cover with one safety shaded over the WRs and eight guys in the box; AJ Williams is the TE. Tip? M runs IZ with Toussaint pointed at the backside of the line as Lewan(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) blow up the playside end. Williams goes for the overhang corner; Kerridge heads backside. This is where Michigan's rudimentary zone read game hurts them because the DE here is playing it really soft, making it hard for Gardner(-1) to read. I think the guy is at the LOS and he should test him on the edge, but he is in a real gray area. By the time Kerridge gets to the LOS the handoff has been made and he's got guys to either side of him. He can do nothing; Toussaint can do nothing. RPS -1.
M30 2 11 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass PA pop slant Gallon 10
M is blocking IZ and Glasgow releases a couple yards downfield to chase an OLB; but this is not a true packaged play since Gardner isn't reading the LB who might undercut this slant. It is a close relative since M is using the pure run-blocking look to get a guy open. Gardner aborts the mesh and hits Gallon for an easy pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M40 3 1 Goal line 2 3 0 4-5 over Run Down G boot Gardner 16
Schofield and Lewan paired on the left; M does the rollout thing. Funchess is gone, man, and this could be six points if Gardner decides to throw, corner is open and I'm sure he's told if it's open just get it. I'm not filing this as a pass. (RPS +2)
O46 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Scramble Gardner 2
Can't find anyone open and ends up in just acres of space in the backfield, with no one in front of him. Decides to take off but a lot of underneath zone so those guys come up and hold any gain down. Understandable, but would have been better to continue to survey. Funchess was about to break open for an easy touchdown. (TA, N/A, protection 3/3)
O44 2 8 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Tunnel screen Chesson 6
Should break massive but Kalis(-2) totally blows a downfield block and Chesson has to start dancing around way too early. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
O38 3 2 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel over Run QB Draw Gardner 11
Opens massively as it seems like UConn DT doesn't get a stunt call and Gardner traipses for the first down without meeting resistance. Easy, mostly opponent error. RPS +1.
O27 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-5 over Run Reverse Chesson -1
Kerridge(-1) is stalking the backside end like usual; backside end plays it pretty well, but he gets rocked back and doesn't try to go low at all, which he probably should. Even so, Chesson(-2) needs to bounce outside no matter the cost because there is no corner here at all and it is still likely a touchdown if he does so. RPS push since the DE was reading for this all the way.
O28 2 11 Pistol trips 1 1 3 Nickel over Run Zone read keeper Gardner -2
Hey, Norfleet's on the field and they don't give it to him. Woo. M runs a zone read to the boundary right into a corner blitz designed to blow this play up. DE crashes, corner blitzes, Gardner pulls, eaten up. RPS -3.
O30 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Deep out Gallon Inc (Pen +15)
Smallwood sent up the middle on a twist; Glasgow(-1) and Miller(-1) don't handle it well; Miller gives up too much penetration and Glasgow is slow reading the stunt. Smallwood flies up in the pocket and nails Gardner. Gardner gets hit as he throws a deep out to Gallon, ball is way inside and a bit long, Gallon adjust to it beautifully and gets run over by the UConn corner. Fresh set of downs. This ball was inaccurate because Gardner got lit up; took courage to stand in and fire there and Gallon was open. I'm giving him a CA here, because eating this ball is fourth and twenty and either a 50 yard FGA or a punt. (CA, 0, protection 0/2, Miller/Glasgow -1)
O15 1 10 I-Form Big 1 2 2 4-5 over Run Zone stretch Toussaint -1
This one is all Miller(-3) getting smoked by a DT he's head up on. Lewan also failed to get a cut on a backside guy. Zone stretch when you suck at zone stretch is a bad reason to go big.
O16 2 11 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass PA Post Gallon Inc
This is a touchdown if Gardner doesn't miss entirely. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O16 3 11 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Gardner 16
Man free for UConn and a six man rush. Miller (don't care if this isn't a run play) does a fantastic job to read the stunting DL and come off on him, kicking him down the line and providing a crease once Toussaint also recognizes what's happening and moves from the edge to clock Smallwood's delayed blitz. Gardner(+1) probably freaks out too fast, but once he decides to go and gets a crease, he's gone. Beats a safety, holds ball out like idiot, scores touchdown. (SCR, 0, protection 4/4). Tough, tough blitz pickup executed to perfection.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 2 min 1st Q. UFR ends here.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass TE hitch Funchess Inc
More wheel action; this time it's covered so the TE out is open. Gardner throws well behind Funchess, outside of even his massive catching radius. Ball just deflects off his fingertips. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
M35 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Sack Gardner -16
UConn walks Smallwood down at the TE motion and Funchess(-2) gets smoked by him. Obligatory waggle contain guy prevents Gardner from rolling away, Gardner spins outside and maybe should dump it away but once he breaks Smallwood there's an expectation he's busted the pocket. He probably would have if Jackson ran a route instead of blocked a guy. WTF. (PR, N/A., protection 0/2, Funchess -2).
M19 3 26 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack Gardner -4
Michigan rolls out against a team with no sacks on the year rushing three and leaves the backside guy unblocked. I don't think this is Lewan's issue, but it looks like it is because he reacts after he reads three man rush. Miller bugs out late to try and pick this guy up but can't. Gardner is nailed from behind. (PR, 0, protection 0/3 Miller -1, team -2, RPS -1). Assume M was running flood but this is poreovision.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Run Inverted veer give Toussaint 7
M actually options the end, who doesn't come far enough upfield and Gardner(+1) makes the give. The keep looked really open if the DE played it hard. Toussaint(+0.5) on the edge, gets some YAC.
M30 2 3 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Iso Toussaint 4
UConn hitting this hard. Kerridge(+0.5) takes on a LB at the LOS who forces it back inside. Next LB handled by Kalis(+0.5) , somewhat; Glasgow(+1) gets major movement on the backside DT by himself and then is able to rub out the last LB with help from Lewan(+0.5); Toussaint(+1) does a nice job to pick through this trash all the way to the backside and would burst through all this into the secondary but for the eighth guy in the box. Miller(-0.5) just about lost the nose despite help from Kalis.
M34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Counter Toussaint 5
Kinda looks like speed option at first; then Schofield pulls. Lewan(+1) crushes the playside end to the ground inside; Schofield(+1) gets around on a linebacker who bit, Dileo(-1) gets chucked away by the third linebacker and Toussaint has to spend a bunch of time dancing around him, allowing other folk to rally. I'd RPS this except that it asked Dileo to block a LB.
M39 2 5 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass Fade Reynolds Inc
Michigan screws up a freeze play. UConn doesn't jump, Miller(-1) snaps it anyway. End result is a one man fade against a guy eight yards off the LOS. Reynolds is leaned off the route by the cornerback, otherwise this is an accurate ball. (CA, 0, protection 1/1).
M39 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Dileo Inc
Live this looks like a bad throw, but the CB actually gets a shove on Dileo before the ball is in the air, causing Dileo to take a step infield that is good for the foot or two the throw misses by. (MA, 0, protection 1/1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Scramble Gardner 14
Williams at TE with Funchess; Gardner checks from under center to shotgun. This looks to be all hitch, and he's got Funchess for a few, but immediately starts bugging out. Happy, happy feet here. If he thinks the MLB is going to come on a delayed blitz and end him okay but this is a play with five routes of under four yards. Gardner doesn't throw, instead running around and whatnot. He avoids the blitzers, sneaks through a crack in the line provided by Schofield(+1) and Toussaint(+1), hits the outside, and is done with six UConn guys. Smallwood chucks Williams away (he's in a route, not his fault) and tracks Gardner down with help from the secondary. Smallwood can play yo. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3)
M30 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Iso Toussaint 2
Blitz off the corner from a safety and a slant under beats Williams(-1). Lewan plunks the slanting DT inside; Kerridge adjusts and blows up Smallwood but for naught. RPS -1.
M32 2 8 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inverted veer keeper Gardner 10 (Pen -8)
UConn clearly walking down a safety to take the slot receiver pre-snap, needs a check, no check. Kalis can't read it as fast as it needs to be but not really his fault; he runs by a guy inside who he thinks is the option guy. Meanwhile Gardner sees the guy plunging off the slot and keeps, only to get swarmed by both dudes. He makes then miss(+2) by spinning outside; Toussaint(+1) cut the corner guy, which helped quite a bit. Now on the edge, Kalis(+0.5) bashes a guy Jackson is losing, but doesn't come off to pop a safety. Play comes back as Funchess(-2) gets a holding call by refusing to let go after his block is beaten. RPS -2.
M24 2 16 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Hitch Gallon Inc
Michigan runs all hitch on second and 16 with seven guys in the protection and tight coverage. WTF. Gardner throws a low pass that's basically fine and dropped by Gallon. For five yards. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
M24 3 16 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Chesson Inc
Miller(-2) gets beaten up the middle on a three man rush. Gardner spins out, finds he can't get outside the pocket, sets up, and fires a pretty good pass considering the circumstances to Chesson, Gardner really should have stepped through the pressure instead of spinning, but I don't see any routes past the sticks anyway. (CA, 1, protection 0/2, Miller -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins stack 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Fly Chesson INT
This is too far inside and a little short, allowing the DB to make a play on the ball at the same time Chesson does. Chesson needs to slow and extend a la Manningham here; instead he does not use his body to shield the defender and ends up trying to make a simultaneous catch that the defender wins. Chesson also could have undercut the DB to high point the ball before it gets to him; either way he could use some Braylon lessons. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-7, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB Draw Gardner 3
UConn sends a fifth guy to the outside and stunts a DE into the desired running lane. Miller(-1) should recognize it earlier since it seems like he's looking right at the guy; DE rips through to force Gardner(+0.5) to the outside, where he slips through a narrow hole to get something before being swarmed. RPS -1; seems like a D designed to snuff out a draw if it happens to occur.
M47 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack Gardner -13
Yerk. So Funchess momentarily blocks a linebacker as he releases. No idea why. He then goes into a route. UConn sends a couple guys; Toussaint(-1) does a bleh job of cutting one and Kalis(-2) decides to help out there as he watches the Funchess block occur. If he sticks with that LB, Gardner might be able to escape, as it is, sack. Important: not on Miller. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, Toussaint -1, Kalis -2)
M34 3 20 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Run Zone stretch Toussaint 10
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, EO1H.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 7
Miller(+2) instantly under the pads of the nose tackle and gets good push. When NT tries to shuck to a frontside gap Miller drives him back even further, shoving him four yards downfield and pancaking him. Glasgow(+0.5) and Schofield(+0.5) got decent blocks on other UConn folk. Lewan(+0.5) got some drive on the playside end. Toussaint(+0.5) is patient, finding the hole Miller provides and getting as much as he can with his blocks. Safety is first contact: that's a well-blocked play.
M32 2 3 Ace twins 1 2 2 5-1 nickel split Run Inside zone Toussaint 2
Weird formation seems to throw M off. Kalis(-1) should probably help with a down lineman or go direct to the single LB, instead he helps on a guy who is head up on Miller. Miller(+1) has this guy handled basically himself, shoving a slanting guy down the line and getting a little depth. Schofield(+0.5) gets slanted under but gets control and escorts him down the line. Toussaint(+1) makes a nice read and cuts back behind that just as Kalis peels off and does find the linebacker, getting a little shove. Toussaint is hacked down by arms as he reaches to the first down marker.
M34 3 1 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run QB sneak Gardner 0
Disaster sneak. Magnuson(-1) blown up; Gardner(-3) fumbles. RPS -1 for putting a redshirt freshman in this position.
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 7-21, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 Nickel over Run QB Draw Gardner 49 (Pen -10)
Miller(-1) driven back and two-gapped by the NT, so Gardner has no particular place to go. He ends up taking it outside; Lewan(-0.5) has engaged the guy enough for Gardner to get the corner, and he gets an iffy holding call. This is the kind of thing that happens when you have to pop outside a block, though in this case Gardner had little choice. Gardner(+2) does shoot through the secondary with help from Toussaint(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) on Smallwood.
M26 1 20 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over Run Zone stretch Toussaint -5
You have to be kidding me with this playcall. You can't block this all night and it's first and twenty and you load up to run this? Miller(-3) ignores a guy shaded between himself and Kalis, he shoots into the backfield. Glasgow(+1) kills the playside DT really impressively, with Miller kind of ineffectually helping from behind. UConn overplays the outside, beating up Williams(-1) and getting penetration; Funchess(+0.5) actually seals his attacker inside but that DE who beat up Williams comes underneath the Funchess block to get a major TFL. RPS -1. First and twenty zone stretch that hasn't gained a yard all night. From a big formation. Cumong man.
M21 2 25 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 3-3-5 nickel Pass Throwback screen Toussaint 0
Lewan(-1) waits too long to get out on his block and can't even contact the CB coming up hard; UConn DT does a good job to get out on this and finish the play after Toussaint(+0.5) slips the first tackle. RPS -1.
M21 3 25 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Run QB Draw Gardner 8
Give up and punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-4 over Run Inside zone Toussaint 4
Miller(-1) and Kalis(-0.5) spend a while doubling the NT and get no motion; Miller gets dumped a yard in the backfield as a guy Kalis can't deal with gets past him. Williams(-1) beat straight up by the end, ugly. Toussaint(+2) smartly cuts away from this mess, into more mess. Butt(-1) lost his guy, too; Lewan(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) did move the other DT significantly, providing the small crease Toussaint exploits for okay yards.
M29 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Out and up Dileo 13
Great patience by Gardner this time, as a three man rush is getting nowhere. Gardner stands and delivers, but only after pumping to Butt first. Dileo(+awesome) perceives his out is blanketed and extends to a seam-type route. Gardner fires high to get it over a linebacker, Dileo brings it in. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
M42 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Zone stretch Toussaint -1
I mean, there's a guy obviously blitzing off the edge and no one within ten yards of Gallon. No check. Still, this is blocked pretty well. Lewan(+1) and Glasgow(+1) perceive their guys shooting inside and seal them off . Miller(+1) gets under the center and blasts him back. He's likely to pick off the MLB. Kerridge(-1) does not perceive the slant, or just can't adjust. With that overhang guy blitzing off the corner I think that's a pre-snap read you can make, maybe? That leaves an unblocked linebacker in the hole; Toussaint(-1) makes a bad decision to maybe bounce instead of just pounding it into that guy, which costs M a few yards. Picture paged. RPS –1.
M41 2 11 I-Form Big 1 2 2 4-4 over Pass PA In Gallon 12
Token PA. Various guys clear out the inside zones and leave Gallon open; pitch and catch plus YAC as Gallon(+1) has gotten just wide open against man. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide jet 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Jet sweep Norfleet 1
Basically inverted veer without a read. Playside end doesn't dive inside and pursues well, no chance for Kalis to get him. Gallon gets a pop(+0.5) and Toussaint(+0.5) also does; excellent crease if that end isn't playing this just right. He is. Norfleet picks the guy to run into. (RPS -2)
O46 2 9 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Run Zone stretch Toussaint 7
Check! Into a stretch. Okay. Williams(+1) chips the end and gets to LB; Schofield(+1) finishes the seal. Kerridge(+1) kicks the force guy well, seam for Toussaint. Toussaint(+0.5) stiffarms a guy for some YAC.
O39 3 2 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Gardner 4
I think? Gardner(+1) bugs out of this so fast it seems like a draw but no one is blocking and Toussaint is headed for a blitz pickup on a guy coming of the corner. Guess: Gardner saw the big split between the DL and said screw it, goin'. It's dodgy for a bit but he drags guys for the easy first down. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Reynolds Inc
Check! Double slants. This was thrown to either Dileo or Reynolds. I don't know which, it's so off target. IN, 0, protection 1/1)
O35 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Run Speed option pitch Toussaint 35
Check! UConn shows three guys on the line with various blitzer types and press cover. Gardner checks to the speed option. Miller(+1) cuts the nose tackle; Gardner(+1) pitches just before getting plowed by the DE. Schofield(+1) kicks out a playside linebacker and Kalis(+0.5) gets barely enough of a push on a linebacker who blitzed and then came back. This puts Toussaint(+2) into the secondary, where he gets a block from Butt(+1) all the way from the backside and dodges a guy it appears Jackson missed to turn 15 yards into a touchdown. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-21, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Ace H twins 1 2 2 4-4 over Run Power O Toussaint 0
Another well blocked play but this one falls to the fact that there are eight guys in the box and seven blockers. Lewan(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) get the playside tackle inside. End dives down playing to spill; Butt(+1) bashes him inside effectively. Kalis(+0.5) routes around and gets a kickout block, leaving Toussaint(-0.5) one on one with the eighth guy. He dances to no effect, turning a 2 or 3 yard gain into zero. RPS -1.
M29 2 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Improv Gallon Inc
Extremely token PA fake. Schofield(-2) gets spun through, pressure up the middle as M slides their line hard. Toussaint(-1) can't handle a DE, Gardner has to scramble outside. He finds Gallon for a first down nicely, but airmails it way high. Gallon can only get a fingertip on it. (IN+, 0, protection 0/3, Schofield -2, Toussaint -1)
M29 3 10 Shotgun double stacks 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Penalty False start Glasgow -5
Glasgow -1.
M24 3 15 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Chesson 17
All day as it's just a three man rush. Chesson comes open as UConn seems to have huge spaces in their zone; Gardner fires it hard and low. Chesson digs it out. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
M41 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 5-1 nickel split Pass TE out Butt 9
Wheel/TE combo. UConn covers the wheel so Gardner dumps it to Butt for a solid gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
50 2 1 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G boot Gardner 4
Everyone's favorite short yardage play until it doesn't work. Two guys go with Funchess and while the guy on the edge is really trying to keep contain he's got Williams on him and Kalis(+0.5) pulls into him; Gardner(+0.5) runs around the edge, whereupon a corner comes off to force him OOB.
O46 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass Post Chesson Inc (Pen +15)
Ton of time for Gardner; he sits and fires deep to Chesson, who has smoked a cornerback. He misjudges an excellently thrown ball, slowing up a step and seeing the ball go over his head by about that much. (DO, 2, protection 2/2). Hands to the face gives M a first down.
O31 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Inside zone Toussaint 0
Miller(-2) whipped by the NT, who flows to the hole playside and sheds easily. Schofield(-1) stalemated. Lewan(-1) can't get his guy at all. Ugly playcall as UConn is obviously blitzing off the other edge so everyone will slant to the play; UConn doesn't even bother to check the QB. RPS -2.
O31 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Sack N/A -7
Miller(-3) chucked to the ground by the nose tackle, instant pressure up middle on three man rush. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, Miller -3) Gardner scrambles around, avoiding one guy and breaking the pocket, but a spy is coming hard and he can't make a play after.
O38 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Gardner 15
Good protection against four; Gardner can't find anyone. He starts moving forward when Kalis slips on the turf and then has to bounce outside; DE Schofield is blocking slips himself. Gardner's(+2) outside the pocket and takes off, shooting straight upfield and getting some YAC. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
O23 4 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 6-2 base Run QB Draw Gardner 1
I'm not sure if this is actually supposed to be lead by Toussaint or not. UConn sends everyone to that side, though, and Garner immediately cuts back to a backside hole. He seems caught between hitting it up hard and bouncing outside of Butt(+0.5), who eventually put a DB on his back. Lewan probably gets away with a hold, FWIW. Refs +2. Gardner(-3) almost evades one tackle and then fumbles as he's hit from behind by Smallwood. That costs him his forward progress and possibly the first down. It was going to be close.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 14-21, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 5-4 30 front Run Zone stretch Toussaint 11
More a massive UConn mistake than anything great by M as the force player jumps inside of Butt(+1), who does bump that guy and then another guy coming inside out to get a block. Toussaint(+0.5) reads it and has the corner for an easy six. Pulled the Mouton. Without that this is maybe three yards as AJ Williams(-1) does a very poor job on the edge (his guy can pop off to either side a yard in the backfield) and UConn has a free guy with 9 in the box and no safeties at all. Lewan(+1) and Glasgow(+1) did an excellent job to blow a guy down the line and extend to a linebacker, FWIW.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-21, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 over Run Zone stretch Toussaint 14
Similar to the previous play as Williams(-1) gets clunked into the backfield awkwardly and Toussaint has to pick his way around that. He goes upfield, dangerously towards a lineman flowing, but Kalis(+1) manages to step around him and seal him off when he anticipates a full cutback from Toussaint(+2) that does not come. He now extends to the sideline. Lewan(+1) locks onto a linebacker and pushes him literally off the field. Butt(+1) puts his guy on the ground. Glasgow(+0.5) and Miller(+0.5) get push on the playside DT, but can't pop off to get Smallwood; M gets lucky as Smallwood loses sight of Toussaint and can only react late.
O26 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 5-3 30 front Run Zone stretch Toussaint 6
Butt(+0.5) and Williams(+0.5) kick LB types out. Further inside, Miller(+1) struggles a bit with the NT but when he tries to shed Miller cuts him down. Lewan(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) again blast a DT off the ball without being able to climb to Smallwood, and this time Smallwood is on the ball.
O20 2 4 Ace H 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Power O Toussaint 0
Butt(-1) gets knocked back by the unblocked playside end, causing Toussaint(-1) to misread the play. Lewan(+0.5) gets some motion on a DT; Glasgow helps but he should come off on a gap shooting LB and doesn't. Williams does a meh job with a linebacker.
O20 3 4 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Rollout out Gallon 8
UConn shows man cover zero and M gets a bit of a rub route as Gallon breaks out as Dileo goes down the seam, impeding a defensive back indirectly. A six man blitz doesn't get anywhere. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O12 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 5-4 30 front Run Stretch edge Toussaint 2
This one designed to go outside as Chesson(+1) cracks down on the force guy, putting him on the ground. Butt then releases to the outside after helping Williams(-1) chip; Williams still gets driven back, widening Toussaint's angle and allowing the OLB to press Toussaint inside out. As a result he doesn't consider a cutback once he's on the edge and gets popped four yards downfield by a corner, fumbling. -3 for Toussaint. M recovers but they give back half the gain.
O10 2 8 Ace H 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle scramble Gardner 6
Butt blows an assignment at first and then realizes he's supposed to get in a route. He does that late and gets covered; the deeper route is also covered; Gardner takes off. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A)
O4 3 2 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 6-2 base Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Kalis pulls to the outside a la Gardner runs previous; UConn ready for it and cuts off the outside. Worse, Schofield(-2) ignores a DL to double someone else and he comes through up the middle to pressure. Garner dumps it OOB. If he had time I think he's got Butt for a TD. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: FG(21), 24-21, 4 min 4th Q. Michigan's final snaps are kneels.


I feel that doing this is neither realistic nor helpful, especially midseason.


Awwww, you don't really mean that.


To properly evaluate this in context we need a—

a ch—





about these things:

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%
Notre Dame 7+ 16(1)++ 4(1) 2 3* - 1 4 4 82%
Akron 3 14(2) - 5 3** 2 1 3 1 59%
UConn 2 13(1) 1 5*+ - 1 - 5 5 76%

Shane Morris

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

That was… okay? I guess? I'm surprised by that number, too. Let's sanity check it. Here are the incompletions on which I did not give Gardner an IN:

  1. Gardner blown up on third and long, throws to Gallon, gets PI call.
  2. Freeze play gone awry.
  3. A slant that went wide was filed an MA as the DB gets a shove on Dileo and busts up the route somewhat.
  4. Hitch dropped by Gallon.
  5. Pressure up middle, inadvisable spin, low but catchable throw to Chesson.
  6. Interception on decently thrown deep ball to Chesson.
  7. Chesson misjudges well thrown deep ball.
  8. Gardner chucks ball OOB as he gets instant pressure.

You could argue that some of those were bad plays, but I think that's about right. You don't want five balls that are wildly inaccurate in a game but Gardner did not throw into coverage all night and only had one pass on which he had an opportunity to find someone and didn't—a two yards scramble with no pressure on which he had Funchess about to streak open deep. He also missed Funchess open for a touchdown on his first short-yardage boot of the night, but with the corner wide open I'm betting he's told to run the dang ball if he knows he can get a first down.

Unfortunately, Gardner's pocket presence is still an issue. Here he's got a three-man rush on which a cavern is opening up to one side of the nose tackle and still does his spin, this time into trouble:

If he's making that throw to Chesson by stepping into it as he nears the LOS it likely arrives on time and whistling, giving Michigan a shot at a first down. He appears to be working on it, at least.

A few things were mitigated by repeat views. Inexplicable covered fade to Joe Reynolds was a freeze play on which Miller snapped the ball without an opponent in the neutral zone. I think this third and medium pass is less bad than it seemed since Dileo gets knocked off his route:

It's subtle, but Dileo is moved more parallel to the LOS than he wants to go and Gardner seems to throw it to where he's supposed to be instead of where he is. I chalk that up to good defense, mostly.

Gardner didn't get much help from either his line or his receivers in this one, and the happy feet don't really show up in the UFR chart except as that one TA. And it's debatable how happy those feet were anyway. His six scramble rushes averaged 9.5 yards an attempt and turned third and eleven from the 16 into a critical touchdown. Pretend those are completions and his line is… well… slightly less horrific. It goes from 13/25 for 111 yards to 19/31 for 168 yards. Woo?

A lot of slack was cut to Gardner for a reason you might be able to guess if you look at the "PR" section above.

With that number up the offensive line chart must be just…


Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Lewan 7.5 2 5.5 Gets movement, but without purpose.
Glasgow 8.5 1 7.5 Can play! CAN PLAY.
Miller 7 13 -6 Pass protection uglier.
Kalis 4 4.5 -0.5 Got lost on screen for big minus.
Schofield 6.5 1 5.5 Pulled, showed agility.
Williams 1.5 6 -4.5 Ouch.
Funchess 0.5 4 -3.5 Useless hold wiped out impressive Gardner bailout run.
Butt 5 2 3 Replaced Funchess late, deserved to.
Magnuson - 1 -1 Kind of a big minus.
TOTAL 40.5 34.5 54% Just not good enough. Tight ends a massive issue.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 12 8 4 Great! Except for the two fumbles that cost Michigan 10-14 points.
Morris - - - DNP
Toussaint 13 6.5 6.5 Blocking helped him with the number.
Green - - - DNC
Smith - - - DNP
Hayes - - - DNP
Rawls - - - DNP
Houma - - - DNP
Kerridge 1.5 2 -0.5 Not heavily involved.
TOTAL 26.5 16.5 10 Toussaint number is a surprise to me.
Player + - T Notes
Gallon 0.5 - 0.5  
Jackson - - -  
Chesson 1 4 -3 End around a bad cut; biffed a throwback screen block.
Reynolds - 0.5 -0.5  
Dileo 1 1 -  
Norfleet 1 - 1 YAC on jet sweep.
York - - - DNP
TOTAL 3.5 5.5 -2 Tough day for Chesson all around.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 33 20 62% Miller –7, Schofield –4, Funchess –2, Toussaint –2, Kalis –2, Glasgow –1, Team –2.
RPS 16 19 -3 Started off really strong, and then ran out of steam.

That protection number is miserable, barely better than Michigan's performance against Notre Dame. Gardner did not cope as brilliantly as he did against the Irish.

I'm actually surprised by the Toussaint number, which also includes a –3 for his fumble. Leave that aside and that's a really strong day. Despite the 120 yards at 5 yards a pop in my head I still think he had a bleah day. That's what the charting's for, though: to make you reconsider your lying eyes.

The rest of it lines up with my expectations: Lewan and Glasgow were both good, as was Schofield; Kalis had a bit of a struggle, Miller did some good things but got destroyed on way too many plays, the tight ends are huge liabilities blocking, Gardner's legs saved Michigan's ass except when his arms were fumbling.

But Glasgow's a walk-on?

I'm about a month away from giving him knighthood in the Order of St. Kovacs, whereupon the fact that he is a walk-on becomes a quaint historical fact relevant only to Tom Rinaldi.

He's got to show it against Big Ten foes, but Glasgow is good. He is just good. Even when Michigan is not picking up yards on run plays he is firing off the ball and getting push, consistently.

A few times in this game he'd club some guy only to see another player mess something up such that Michigan could not take advantage of it. Maybe he won't perform as well against Big Ten teams—he struggled against Nix—but he is definitely Michigan's best interior lineman.

I won't say fire, but… like… there seems to be kind of a glaring hole in the above chart. Other than the tight ends.

Yes. You, like the rest of the internet, clamors for the insertion of Chris Bryant and benching of Jack Miller. It seems like you may get your wish in two weeks against Minnesota, as buzz around says Michigan is going to make that switch as long as Bryant stays healthy. Which he's never been, but whatever.

Miller did struggle. He was in large part responsible for three busted zone plays and gave up two pressures up the middle that resulted in lost plays for M, and while UConn's DL isn't terrible it's not Notre Dame where you can just about write a bad performance off. He also messed up that freeze play. He was run over twice for stretch TFLs.

This was just… are you seriously leaving this guy?

In what world is that guy not lined up over you? In what world does Kyle Kalis have the faintest prayer of blocking that guy without a scoop? This is game four and if you're still making enormous, obvious mistakes like that on the stretch while simultaneously being the smallest dude on the line, you're nearing your expiration date.

Meanwhile in pass protection:

"That can't happen" is the worst analysis, but man… that can't happen. (Craig Ross did make a great point on WTKA today, though: Why is Glasgow helping Lewan? Lewan is fine. Lewan is doing sudoku he is so bored. Help Miller.)

Miller did do some positive things. One of them was covered in the picture pages; here's a second-half-opening inside zone on which he's the primary block that gets Toussaint a nice gain:

He and Toussaint did pick up a twist blitz from UConn that gave Gardner a lane for Michigan's first touchdown, as well.

He's inconsistent and when he is on the bad side of that things tend to go really badly because of his size—290 is probably an exaggeration. He can't get away with any slip in technique at all. Really makes you appreciate David Molk. I know I just argued that benching Miller is not an easy choice, and I still think it's not a slam dunk because Chris Bryant may shatter at any moment… but once you add it up it's stark. Michigan has to try something else here after consecutive days of –5.5 and –7 against Akron and UConn, the latter with seven protection minuses besides.

Unfortunately and as detailed extensively earlier this week, Miller's failings are far from the only issue with the run game and benching him will not be a magic wand.

Sigh. Well, then, what are the issues with the run game?

A dossier of failed (< 4 yards except short yardage type plays) Michigan runs broken down by responsibility (I split some plays 50/50 between two categories):

  • Rock-paper-scissors loss: 6
  • Toussaint issues: 1
  • Missed reads: 1
  • TEs: 3
  • Line biffs: 5

Note: left out the end around and a two yard run on second and three.

Miller was responsible for over half the the line issues, but those RPS hits are a big part of the problem. Again and again Michigan got caught in crappy situations like zone read against a corner blitz, and just sucked it up. If Gardner has a check maybe that's on him.

So you give Toussaint a super grade and think that he's not responsible for short runs in this game and you're still down on him?

I can't argue. I will have to resolve this inconsistency going forward.

My feelingsball take: I still think he's deeply uncomfortable with the idea of following his blocks. At the slightest hint of adversity he wants to bounce, bounce, bounce. Sometimes that's because he's got an unblocked guy he's trying to deal with, but especially on power plays even minor issues cause him to lose faith, think about a bounce, and blow up the precise timing required to run the ball. Canonical example:

Butt gets rocked back there by the end. Toussaint wants to bail, figures out he can't bail, and then gets swallowed up for zero yards. If he follows his lead blocker that's the worst case scenario. More likely he grinds out four or something.

When faced with a hole occupied by a defensive player he almost invariably tries to bounce it outside, finds that a Michigan player is in the way since he's kicking out a defender, and costs Michigan two or three yards:

That adds up when it happens on six to eight plays a game.

On a rather heavy other hand, he did have a couple of nice downshift-through-the-hole moments on zone plays, most prominently the inside zone embedded above and the 14-yarder that kicked off Michigan's winning field goal drive:

He also showed his skill in the open field on the 35-yard speed option touchdown, setting up the last man with an upfield cut and then bouncing to the sideline for a critical 20 bonus yards. In this game the good outweighed the bad. I guess.

How do we fix this?

This is never happening but Michigan would be wise to seriously de-emphasize their tight ends. Funchess's issues have been discussed in depth, but Williams is hardly better. He consistently gives ground against players smaller than him. Toussaint's fumble on the last drive is probably a touchdown if Williams doesn't get blasted back three yards by an OLB:

Don't confuse that with kickout blocks on which offering upfield penetration is acceptable. Michigan cracks down with Chesson and then flares Butt to the corner—one of those tweaks I complain about not seeing enough of in Michigan's run game—on a play designed to get the corner all the way. All Williams has to do is stalemate a 230 pound OLB (with help from a chip!) and Toussaint has the ability to cut back. Instead he has to run to the corner.

This is a disappointment. If they're improved over last year it's incrementally; they have not taken a leap. Putting those  guys in the box is asking for one or both to whiff a block and blow your play up. Michigan's best formation is probably a shotgun 2-back system with Dileo or Funchess in the slot and Kerridge your superback. I'd even flip Funchess out to WR and run some bubbles on the assumption he can handle a cornerback. Get guys out of the box so you have fewer possible blown blocks that end up with you eating grass in the backfield. Lining up with two tight ends is a terrible idea right now.

It is going to keep happening all year.


[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 4     4/5   12   8/9 15/17
Jackson           2     3/3
Reynolds 2         2 0/1 1/1 2/2
Chesson   0/1 1/3 1/1   3 0/1 1/3 2/2
Dileo 1   1/1     3 1/1 1/1 4/4
Norfleet           1     3/3
Funchess 1     1/1   3 1/2 0/3 7/7
Butt       1/1   1 0/1 0/1 6/6
Toussaint       2/2   1     5/5
Houma                 1/1

There is the migration from the two veterans to Chesson, who got five targets to Reynolds/Jackson's two. Unfortunately, Chesson showed his inexperience on his two deep targets; he should have been able to shield the corner off the ball on the first one and misjudged the second, possibly because he'd just been chewed out about shielding the ball earlier in the game. But he did get another nasty crackback block in. Chesson for tight end!

Reluctantly tsk-tsk Borges?

Yeah man you've got to be nuts to run out an I-Form big formation on first and twenty and run a stretch with these guys. And the Norfleet stuff…

…is unbelievably predictable. (As was lining up Funchess in the backfield for a wheel route, but I guess it worked.) He was in for one play in this game where he was not provided the ball. His first jet sweep was a success largely because UConn was badly misaligned, and now that it's in the books teams will be prepared for that. I'm hoping that Borges assumed these last two games would be blowouts in which he wouldn't have to show anything he hasn't put on film already.

I'm also getting peevish about Michigan running into stacked boxes. On Michigan's first play from scrimmage they come out in an I-Form big and shoot Funchess into a cornerback, leaving Michigan 7 on 8.5 in the box with predictable results despite the blocking being pretty much fine. No one accounts for the quarterback. It seems like we're back to the DeBord style in which Michigan does a bunch of low-upside stuff in which they lull you into a false sense of security before hitting the big waggle play; I prefer forcing the defense to account for a QB like Gardner consistently. It sucks to have to guess whether UConn will check your QB or ignore him.

At least they ran an identifiable counter play that worked. For five yards, but, hey, five yards.


Toussaint, says logical me. Gardner's legs, when not fumbling. Lewan and Glasgow and Schofield.

Maybe not so heroic.

Tight ends. Miller. And Chesson had a rough all around game.

What does it mean for Minnesota and the future?

It's time to make the change on the OL. Maybe it won't work but with such a clear hole you've got to try it. Time for ol' Bubblewrap Bryant to show out.

Michigan's tight ends still can't block. Not even a little bit. Maybe Butt, but I don't want to test that extensively.

Gardner wasn't as bad as it appeared, turnovers excluded. He got a ton of pressure and clearly lost confidence in his line, for good reason.

You can't exclude turnovers. The first fumble was loose handling of the ball on a QB sneak. Cumong man. Gardner's accuracy was the issue here; he needs to calm down and keep his mechanics going.

Toussaint does need to learn that he can only get what he can get when he's penned in. Hop cut in the hole: fine. Bounce: no bounces.

They want Chesson to emerge, but he's still raw. Losing Darboh is hurting right now.

Michigan needs to decide who they are instead of running the entire world of plays. I think they should be a spread offense that uses half a tight end instead of two, but I think we're stuck watching Michigan waddle aimlessly through every play in the book.



September 26th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

The first picture could be a weird 3-3-5 with the outside backers walked up. 

The second picture looks like a 5-2 or a 3-4. depending on what you want to call the outside backers on the line. The safeties are walked up because it's 1st and 10 on the 12 and Michigan has a 2TE look and runs the ball 105% of the time on 1st down.

They sold out all game to stop the run.

We Do Not Sow

September 26th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

I'm no defensive coordinator, but the defenses in the 2nd and 3rd photos, referred to as the 54 and 53 defenses, look like the 3-5-3 defense I played in in high school.

NT is heads up on the center with the two DT in 5 techniques. The stand up DE are usually just run support, but often one of them will be dropped into flat coverage.

I could be wrong though. Space Coyote what say you?


September 26th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

I think you have to give Borges a lot of credit for the flexibility he's shown in using Denard and now DG, players of the type he hasn't had before.  He may be able to use a broader variety of styles and plays than almost any OC.  I am left to question, though, whether he fully grasps any philosophy other than "pound the ball and then use playaction." 

I watched a show last night in which a guy made an ingot of steel in a small oven and then pounded it and worked it for hours untl he made it into a sword.  I admired his work, and I admire the Coach Hoke/Coach Borges attempt to make Michigan into a power running team.  Sometimes, though, I throw my hands up and say, "This isn't a sword, man!  It's an ingot of steel, and you've got to work with that."   


September 26th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

I don't think Borges is going to adjust.  And while I'm not sure about Borges' other offenses at Auburn, I do that his most successful offense by far was the 2004 one that did not feature a mobile QB (Campbell ran more when he got to the NFL).  What he did have was three first rounders including tailbacks that ran for over 1000 yards, and a future pro-bowler on the OL.  That was a super manball offense.  More manball than he even ran at SDSU.  I think we can give up on the notion of Borges being able to run any type of spread stuff consistently.  He can run the basic principles, but cannot adjust.  What this offense needs is just uber talented, and experienced players that will perform consistantly at the height of their ability.

Space Coyote

September 26th, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

I thought play action got some guys open. There are different types of play action, and not all of them are designed to make the defense full sale commit to the run. Sometimes it's also for timing, to occupy the DL, and just make the LBs hesitate enough to throw a pop pass or something.


September 26th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

Saddest part of this UFR: TE'a suck at blocking, UM shouldn't rely on them to block well in tight formations, but in no way will this stop Borges from calling such plays and formations. We're now in the third year of this kind of stuff happening, and I agree that it's never going to change for the offense. Better hope everyone on the offense just gets really good and that there is little fall off year to year in the future. I doubt we'll see any consistent adjustments to personnel who can't 'execute' with Borges at the helm.


September 26th, 2013 at 3:34 PM ^

Could all of the various defensive sets we have seen the last couple of weeks be causing confusion to our young interior line and hurting their ability to perform?


Space Coyote

September 26th, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

But this is part of why OL is so difficult of a position and why it takes time. You can't say "oh hey, there's a 4-3 over front, this is how we block it", because there are simply too many different types of fronts. You need to know the theory behind the play and what you are attempting to accomplish by running the play, and understand how your assignment should change based on that. 


September 26th, 2013 at 4:59 PM ^

The back also needs to know the theory behind the play because the play is going to break differently every time you run it. Odd man fronts and even man fronts can make the back have to take a more narrow or more wide path on the play.

Some plays that have a designed blocking scheme can be scrapped mid play based on what the defense does. Like if a defense slants to the play the line essentially has to wash the line down and let the back cut off their back. 

Football is never a picture perfect world of sunshine and rainbows.

EDIT:You're the expert on things like this. Just adding a few things.

Space Coyote

September 26th, 2013 at 5:37 PM ^

While I appreciate that I'm viewed as an "expert" (trust me, I'm far from that), I've seen the qualifying remarks after my posts several times. I don't want people to feel like they need to be careful adding on to a post of mine or something. There are surely things that slip my mind that are great additional points or even things that I'll learn about or that could use reinforcement. So again, while I do appreciate it, it isn't necessary either. Just a heads up to people in the future.


September 26th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

"Get guys out of the box so you have fewer possible blown blocks that end up with you eating grass in the backfield."


I think that statement says it all. Totally agree.

ND Sux

September 26th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

Brian Cook is just a guy with an engineering degree!  /s

Suck on it haters...I really appreciate the UFRs.  There are MANY times when Brian is quick to point out that he's not positive what someone's assignment is/was given the situation.  It's not like he is passing the UFRs off as gospel, but they seem DO most of the time...at least CA. 

Thanks again Mr. Cook. 


September 26th, 2013 at 3:46 PM ^

What's with the pessimism on Bryant not staying healthy, is there insider rumblings we're not aware of? I mean, season ending injuries happen and take time to heal, especially for large guys. I'm not saying he's recovered fully, but what's the reason behind saying he can't stay healthy, not ever?

Also, I think Borges deserves a little slack for the RPS stuff, at least the running into a loaded box stuff. A) What else is he going to call in the context of the disaster that was the 3rd quarter? and B) Devin's really the guy that needs to get us out of those plays and.... well, see above.

I totally agree with moving away from 2 TE formations. It's just one more person to (likely) miss an assignment and blow up a play at this point. Line Funchess up in slot and force a LB to run with him in coverage rather than counting on him to identify and execute the right block in space.




September 26th, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

I think the Bryant thing is just going by history.  He was supposedly set to start last year, but then broke his leg.  He gained weight in the spring, the got back down.  He was pushing for a starting spot in fall, but then had to have his knee drained mid camp and supposedly hasn't been healthy since.  One message board made rumors that he may have to retire from football; I have heard this nowhere else though. 

I think Borges gets all he deserves in the RPS.  You even mention a solution right in your own post.  Quit going to two TEs and tight formations.  Line up with 4 wides.  Spread the field.  That literally forces the defense to take men out of the box, or take away any over the top safety help. Well it doesn't literally force the defense to move, as they could leave a receiver uncovered.  Actually that's a good strategy considering Borges ran into stacked boxes against VT in the Sugar bowl while refusing to throw a bubble to a literally uncovered WR...I think I see a pattern here with Borges and stacked boxes...


September 26th, 2013 at 4:28 PM ^

Those types of scheme changes aren't all that easy to make mid-game, especially with a shaky QB going through some mental hurdles. You only have so many hours of practice. On any given week, you make a game plan, rep the handful of plays you think work to that gameplan and you hit the field.

EDIT: You also have to consider why teams are stacking the box against us. For most of the Denard games and for long stretches of Akron and UConn, it's because they gambled that we couldn't hurt them through the air, and they were absolutely right. That's not on Borges, if we could execute the counters effectively, we would. I have a hard time believing a 20 year veteran OC is too dumb to see what we're seeing or is too stubborn to change.


September 26th, 2013 at 5:56 PM ^

That's still on Borges. If every single double tight run was going for 15 yards, teams will start walking down safeties and LBs to stack the box. You have to be prepared for that eventuality if everything is going right, and be prepared to shift somewhat if things are going wrong.

If Michigan literally does not have any option but to run with 2TE formations on first and 20 because that's all they've practiced, that entirely falls on Borges.

As it is, the main problem is the same one Brian has touched on time and again, when the offense huddles for so long and doesn't have time to check into a counter play, they eat whatever RPS- Borges had on the original call. If they have time to check into a less flawed play Borges wouldn't probably be getting the criticism of running into stacked boxes.


September 26th, 2013 at 7:14 PM ^

<blockquote>If Michigan literally does not have any option but to run with 2TE formations on first and 20 because that's all they've practiced, that entirely falls on Borges.</blockquote>

Not if the other half of the playbook went out the window with Gardner's confidence.


September 26th, 2013 at 4:43 PM ^

Thanks for the info. Is it Bryant or bust? I'm still not quite sure why the Braden at LG experiment was brought to a halt so suddenly. If it's just simply they wanted Miller at C and Glasgow was better at LG, does that mean he's plausible again or has that ship sailed?

Ali G Bomaye

September 26th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

I hope Borges figures out how to use a good receiving/poor blocking TE like Funchess before Ian Bunting arrives on campus.  Bunting will be a total matchup nightmare as a receiver, but he's a HS WR right now, so if Borges is planning to use him to drive the power run game we might be in for another four years of frustrating UFRs.


September 26th, 2013 at 3:46 PM ^

After Butt releases he completely biffs on blocking the corner and almost gets Toussaint killed. If he cuts that guy or knocks him out of bounds Toussaint gets a couple more yards before the safety tackles him. I would say Butt (-2) and Toussaint (-1) for not holding onto the ball when he gets lit up.


September 26th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^

Need video to be sure, but for Chesson to get outside on that reverse my recollection is he would have needed to either:

A) Retreat 5 yards

B) Phase through a dude

C) Run over said dude, losing momentum

C seems most likely to be successful, given  his propensity to wreck dudes blocking, but live it certainly seemed like he made the right choice to cut our losses.