Upon Further Review 2014: Defense vs App State Comment Count

Brian September 3rd, 2014 at 3:22 PM

FORMATION NOTES: They promised it all offseason and they delivered on it:

M 30 slide 2

In your face bro. Note that this was an example of something I started calling "30 slide"*, as the linemen are basically head up on the tackles and center with Frank Clark as a sort of standup end/SAM.

*[The idea being this is a 30 front (three linemen head up on tackles and the center like a 3-4) with three linebackers slid as if they are in an under.]

Another example is even clearer:

M 30 slide

Note that in both of these shots, the three-tech is in fact to the bottom of the screen instead of between Clark and the nose as you might expect. I had not seen this before, because Michigan doesn't run it and they weren't spread enough last year for anyone to do it against them but since Appalachian State also ran it…

ASU 3-3-5 slide

this was in fact their base D probably

…and they are right in the heart of spread on spread warfare I figure it is the latest fad when you need to account for the QB in the run game. I'll get Adam to ask Mattison about it next week—unfortunately, they moved the coordinator pressers up a day so I was not educated on anything before that time came. I'll try to accelerate my UFRing process, something that is now feasible with fast downloads and the lack of TWIS on my plate.

They also of course ran a lot of standard nickel:


Michigan also debuted a weird 3-3-5-ish package with Frank Clark at "MLB":

Clark 3-3-5

This happened twice. On  both plays Clark was running at the frontside guard on the snap, impacted him, blew him back, forced a cutback, and then no one was there. More on that later.

Michigan also played some bonafide dime snaps:


These had three DL, two linebackers, and six DBs. Generally it was Delonte Holowell getting the extra nickel snaps but that's more in the…

PERSONNEL NOTES: Deep breath. On the line it was Beyer-Henry-Glasgow-Clark to start with copious substitution. Your nominal second string based on playing time was Charlton-Wormley-???-Ojemudia, with the NT ??? a combination of Pipkins, Mone, and Hurst. Pipkins looked by far the best of those guys; I expect that NT rotation to quickly settle down into Glasgow and Pip alternating with scattered snaps elsewhere. Godin got some real PT early at 3-tech.

At linebacker, Ryan, Bolden, and Morgan seemed to get about equivalent PT. Ross got a number of snaps as the game went along as an ILB. IIRC, Jenkins-Stone only saw snaps as a nickel DE late. Gedeon and McCray got in for the last drive.

Michigan played nickel on I think literally every snap they weren't playing dime. That was Peppers spotted by Hollowell and then Hollowell after Peppers got dinged. Taylor and Countess got starters' minutes at outside CB with Lewis coming in frequently; Stribling did not see time until heavy substitution began in the third quarter. Richardson got in there too.

Starting safeties were Wilson and Clark; Thomas got quite a lot of PT starting in the second quarter, with walk-on AJ Pearson seeing the field on ASU's interminable second scoring drive.

And hamburgers: I thought I was done calling people CGordon and TGordon and just realized we have two Clarks. I tried to clarify who was who below; I imagine you can figure it out if I missed a couple.

[After the JUMP: a big table! and some other stuff.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A Zone stretch Beyer 6
FClark(+2) blows up the OT, throwing him back into the running lane. He can't make the TFL but does bring the tailback to a dead stop five yards in the backfield. No TFL, because the linebackers are a mess. Bolden(-1) tries to check a gap inside for some reason and gets sealed inside; he'll end up on the ground. Ryan(-1) overpursues, meanwhile, getting way outside the tackle box before the running back commits. Beyer(-1) was free on the backside and should be able to clean up anyway but doesn't run down the line but rather attacks in the backfield, so he's too late to do anything once the RB cuts back.
O31 2 4 Shotgun empty Nickel even split Pass 4 Out Taylor Inc
This three yard out could probably be completed if ASU did better; it's out of bounds. M actually in a 3 deep zone here with Taylor bailing on the snap, so both he and JClark(+0.5) react. Cover +1.
O31 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 Out JClark Inc
Trying it again; this time JClark(+2, cover +2) breaks on the ball and knocks it out of the WR's hands.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Inside zone Ryan 27
Bizarre lineup with FClark as the MLB in a 3-3-5. FClark runs to the frontside of an inside zone, and he's going on the snap so I assume this is what he is supposed to do. M has Wilson overhanging to the frontside, FClark(+1) jams it up, and the guy cuts back. He can do so because Ryan(-3) ran almost as hard as FClark at the frontside of the play and didn't give himself the opportunity to read and pick a gap. My rule is when someone is doing something clever to the frontside of a formation the LBs should be preparing for a cutback Ryan does not. Thus big run. Peppers gets dinged on a completely standard and legal cut block here. Circumstantial evidence for my take: Morgan enters at MLB immediately after this play.
M48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 slide Pass 4 Hitch Bolden 9 (Pen -15)
FClark in a two point stance a couple yards off the LOS. He drops to cover the back out of the backfield as Morgan(+1, pressure +1) is sent, swimming through a G and into the QB's face. ASU has a five yard stop route open because Lewis is initially dropping to three deep and Bolden(-1, cover -1)'s pass drop takes him out of the zone here. Comes back for a chop block.
O37 1 25 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even press Pass N/A Flanker screen Countess 0
Probably not a good idea to run this when the CB is five yards off. (Countess +1, tackling +1)
O37 2 25 Shotgun empty Okie two Pass 4 Hitch Morgan 2
Okie works like a charm, with Clark(+1, pressure +3, RPS +2) getting a free run as other gentlemen back out. Morgan(+1, cover +1) had actually backed out a few seconds before the snap and is in position to tackle this hot route immediately.
O39 3 23 Shotgun trips Dime press Pass 3 Scramble Morgan 1
Hollowell the dimeback. QB just freaks out and starts scrambling on a three man rush with delayed spy guy. Morgan(+0.5) forms up and tackles with a guy harassing him, preventing even modest yardage.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q. Clark goes over the wall and M goes right back out.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie two Pass 5 Post? Countess Inc
Michigan shifts out of the okie to a nickel press as they're snapping, and then the QB and WR miscommunicate. Good thing for them as Countess(+1, cover +1) appeared to be running the WR's route for him.
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over press Pass 5 Swing Gedeon Inc
Clark sent on blitz as he moves to the line, and then he peels off as he sees the RB exit the zone; Gedeon(+0.5) is running to the swing and it looks like he'll nerf the play for minimal gain if it's accurate. It's not. Longer routes were probably going to eat Beyer coming around on a megastunt past three other DL.
M45 3 10 Shotgun empty Dime press Pass 5 Tunnel screen Lewis 0
M was about to be stuck with Wilson as a LB and Morgan split way wide over a TE; ASU checks, Michigan swaps. Lewis(+1, tackling +1) is nose to nose with the guy who is the target of a tunnel screen and does a nice job to jump on his back and tackle before the guy who is supposed to block him can. You can't run these plays against press coverage; the coach said they were preparing for zone afterwards and just like did you even pay a little attention? (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 slide Run N/A Inside zone Godin 2
30 slide explanation above. Nowhere to go for ASU as Godin(+1) wins against the backside tackle, taking his hit, extending off, and then shedding to the backside to take the RB on his cutback. Bolden helped, unblocked. Hurst(+0.5) also held up with Beyer(+0.5) to prevent frontside creases.
O27 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even press Pass N/A PA rollout FB flat Peppers 3
Play action at which Michigan blitzes; rollout. Beyer bumps the FB dragging across to delay him and then annoys the QB; dumpoff to that FB; Peppers(+0.5, tackling +1) makes a nice open field tackle to hold the gain down.
O30 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Dime press Pass 5 Fade Lewis Inc
Blitz sent, with Ryan taking a G and Bolden(+0.5, pressure +1) left to the RB. Bolden avoids the block enough to force a throw, which is at a guy Lewis(+2, cover +2) has step for step; ball out of bounds because that's the place it could be and not get intercepted.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 30 slide Run N/A Inside zone Charlton 2
Line has Wormley in an SDE-ish spot with Hurst at NT and Charlton at the other 4-3 ish DE spot and Ojemudia as the standup end. Hurst(+0.5) gives no ground; Charlton(-0.5) understandably does, getting driven back a couple yards by a double. Ojemudia(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) bang guys to constrict all space and make this an Ultimate Pile Wad.
O12 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over press Pass 5 Sack Wormley -1
Taylor tips his blitz, ASU picks it up, checks, M comes anyway. They basically pick it up but Bolden(+1, pressure +1) makes an impact violent enough with the RG to spook the QB to flush. Likely a good decision as Bolden put the guy in a spot where he could spin off to sack. As he bugs out upfield, Wormley(+0.5) reads it and comes back to save Michigan a couple yards.
O11 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Dime split press Run N/A Speed option Wormley N/A
Since no one knew this was a TO until afterwards I'm charting this. Five guys in box, all on line. M shaded to the RB side and blows this to smithereens; Wormley(+3) rips up through the RG to blow up the QB as Morgan(+0.5) is in great position to wipe out any potential pitch. RPS +1, would be three but ASU called timeout.
O11 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 Sack Charlton -7
M stunts, with Wormley(+0.5) effectively driving the right side of the line backwards and away from Charlton. ASU picks it up as well as you can, and then Charlton(+3 pressure +2) just beastmodes through the center trying to block him. Cover +1 for giving him the time to do so.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over off Run N/A Inside zone triple option Wormley 3
Mone(-1) blown out by a double that extends to the LB level. Wormley(+1) fires off and drives his man to the hole, constricting it; Ojemudia(+0.5) comes off to tackle as the RB passes into his space. Both LBs catch blocks three yards downfield.
O34 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over off Pass 7 Post Bolden? Inc
This seems like it has to be a bust as Michigan ends up sending a whopping seven guys at the QB: all four linemen, Peppers, Ryan, and then Bolden seems like he is coming up on a delayed blitz or something but ends up in no man's land neither covering or rushing. Mone(+1, pressure +1) splits two OL to get pressure right up the middle, QB just has time to throw and finds a WR on a post route, who drops it. Clark(-1, cover –1) seemed to get the man call late and was beaten; Peppers(-2, cover –2) had to have been in the wrong playcall since the rest of the D seems to be in man free? Had a wheel route for a TD if that was the first read. RPS –3? M not in a coherent D and got lucky.
O37 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide Okie two? Pass 4 In Mone 6
Zoom o vision on third down and seven from BTN so not sure on the formations. M backs out on a zone blitz; Clark(+1, pressure +3, RPS +1) gets a free run that he closes fast on, but not enough to get the sack. Mone(-0.5, cover -1) is dropping into a short zone at the hash; he starts running to the outside on the throw, unaware that it's coming right to him. Peppers and Bolden manage to get him down just short of the sticks. RPS only +1 because Mone was put in awkward spot that was tested but did get opponent off field.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Zone read belly Bolden 14
FClark MLB #2. Again this seems to make no sense on the LB level. Clark and Ryan are both sent on the snap, with FClark's 280 pounds of speed blowing the right guard back. This wants to induce a cutback for a LB to clean up, and there are no LBs. Seems like this is Bolden(-2) not understanding the play design here. With both Ryan and FClark flinging themselves at the line even before the snap they are blitzers; Bolden makes a choice to attack the guy who should be blocking air and leaves a big cutback lane unfilled. Henry has to check QB and can't recover. Ryan(-2) did get shoved to the inside and pancaked as well, opening the hole up wide.
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper FClark 4
Morgan and Ross replace the LBs. Zone read sees D block FClark; FClark(-1) initially sets up in a force spot. Morgan runs upfield into the gap at the RB, keep. This would be bad news for ASU if Clark had just held the edge and relied on Morgan to do his job, but he tries to fight inside and the QB gets the edge. Wilson comes up; Clark and Morgan recover to hold the gain down. Glasgow(+1) did a good job to two gap the C FWIW.
O30 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 30 slide Run N/A Zone read belly Morgan 1
M blitzes off the corner and slants away, so Lewis forces the give and Morgan(+0.5) is unblocked to tackle(+1) it. Henry blasted left hard to erase thoughts of a cut to the frontside but you probably want him to hold up a bit here and not get so far in the backfield. Beyer did not take a double well, but that's not a surprise. RPS +2.
O29 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 5 Throwaway Henry Inc
Twist blitz from the LBs with Ojemudia dropping into a spy zone in case of draw. Henry(+2, pressure +3) rips under a center and does not get picked up by a confused guard, then runs through a RB to deliver a painful looking hit on the QB. Ball goes nowhere in particular. (RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 Post Lewis Inc
Rush four and don't get there, but Henry(+0.5) is driving back into the pocket and there's not going to be any more time than this. Throw is actually deflected by Ross(+1, cover +1), who got good depth on his drop with no one in front of him and that's probably the reason Lewis(+2, cover +2) can't pick the ball off after undercutting the route.
O28 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A Zone stretch Pipkins 0
Pipkins(+2) takes a double, goes nowhere, pushes his guy back, and then disengages to tackle. Henry(+1) did a similar thing against a single blocker.
O28 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 Out JClark Inc
FClark(+1) spins through the tackle and is about to seriously pressure the QB when Henry(-1, pressure -2) gets out of his lane on a stunt and the OL blocking him knocks him into Clark. Hurst(-1) also ends up running too far upfield and away, so the QB can step up in the pocket with no one harassing him. He might be able to run for it, instead he pulls up and tries to hit a stop at the sticks for the first down and throws it poorly. JClark(+1, cover +1) is there to get the PBU but this probably should have been a first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 1 min 2nd Q. Michigan blocks and returns the punt for a TD, ASU runs out the clock, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly Henry 6
Henry(-1) gets driven way too far down the line, allowing the RB to go straight N/S. Morgan and Ross meet to tackle him but they're both fending off OL blocks and catch the guy three yards downfield, with the pile lurching forward as it obeys physics.
O31 2 4 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Run N/A Zone read belly Henry 6
Henry(-1) again flung down the line; he tries to recover this time, giving ground as he does so. Morgan(+0.5) bangs into a free releasing OL, knocking him back and into the RB, slowing this down, otherwise this could be a bigger gain. Picture Paged.
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips 30 slide Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 3
M changes up to more of 30 front look with Beyer to the belly side. Glasgow(+1) bangs the C back; Henry(+1) does the same to the G next to him and there are no lanes. Beyer(+0.5) also present in his lane. RB cuts back into unblocked Morgan recovering from zone fake.
O40 2 7 Shotgun trips 30 slide Pass 4 PA pop slant Hollowell Inc
This slant is behind and already not caught by the time Hollowell(+1, cover +1) comes in with a thumping, jarring hit that may have knocked the ball loose anyway.
O40 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 5 Slant Ryan 5
Again both LBs with Ojemudia dropping to spy zone. World collapsing as Ryan(+1) and Henry(+1) are roaring through gaps and into the QB, he must throw, he throws a circle route low and takes his WR off his feet. Hollowell(+0.5) likely to tackle anyway. Pressure +3, RPS +1.
O45 4 2 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Run N/A Speed option pitch Beyer 3
Difficult for Michigan to play this by alignment but they almost do anyway. Beyer(-1) forms up on the QB and makes his decision easy, need him to split the difference here a bit more to slow things up. Hollowell(+1) does well to shed his block and come upfield to force it back inside the numbers and starts a tackle attempt; Ryan(+0.5) dodged a block and flows down to help finish; Wilson(+0.5) is there to bang the guy back for no YAC. Almost had him. RPS -1.
O48 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly Wormley 10
M coaches have to be getting frustrated now; Wormley(-1) is another backside DT to attack the frontside hard and get ridden out of the hole belly attacks. Ryan(-1) makes matters worse by trying to dance around the OL instead of bang him and gets blown out of the hole, turning a gain that may actually be modest with Beyer coming down into a first down. Bolden attacked the frontside again and ran himself out of the play, as well. Picture Paged.
M42 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 PA post JClark 34
Coverage bust. M in a three deep zone, but either M is using some pattern matching principles or something else is going on. I think it's the latter as M has often shown a tendency to man up a slot receiver who goes vertical. He does, Wilson goes with him, JClark(-3, cover -3) ends up over the top of that slot receiver instead of in the middle of the field where he can make a break on this ball.
M8 1 G Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A Zone read belly Pipkins 3
Pipkins(+1) finally plays this right, banging upfield at the guard and driving him back. Guy still manages to get three because belly is tough without a free guy; Bolden was pointing at the snap and could have been more aggressive here with no real pass responsibility except the RB.
M5 2 G Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A Speed option FClark -3
M better prepared for this this time, shaded to the field where the run goes. Bolden(+0.5) recognizes the RB move and starts flaring out to cover him; he has this pitch dead to rights. FClark(+2) runs upfield in a manner to get the QB to keep and then makes the TFL when he cuts upfield. RPS +2, dead meat.
M8 3 G Shotgun trips Okie one Pass 3 Corner Lewis 8
Lewis(-1, cover -1) should be dropping into this as M runs a zone coverage that floods the trips side and as soon as the outer guy turns in Hollowell has him. He should be dropping to the corner no matter what; he pulls up and that's the fraction of a space SIMMS MCELFRESH needs to make a circus catch. (DO, 1) guys.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-7, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A IZ read keeper Ryan -2
Henry(+1) blows the G into the backfield four yards so if this is handoff it's doom. It's doomed anyway because Ryan(+1, tackling +1) is the contain guy, sees the keep, and tackles for loss.
O25 2 12 Shotgun 4-wide 30 slide Run N/A Zone read belly Glasgow 3
M backs Henry off the line after starting in slide; Henry contains QB; Glasgow(+1) fights through a double without giving ground to get to the hole and gives the RB nowhere to go. He manages to burrow for a few.
O28 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 5 Hitch Beyer Inc
LBs sent again with Ojemudia in a spy zone. Keeping the other blitzes under wraps it seems. Beyer(+2, pressure +2) gets around the edge to hit as the QB throws, and the ball is turfed as a result. Wilson had slipped and this may have gotten the first down but he recovered to be relatively close.
Drive Notes: Punt, 49-7, 3 min 3rd Q. Next drive has heavy substitution so I'm going to get through it quickly in case there's anything interesting.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O4 1 10 ??? ?? Run N/A Zone read belly Ross 1
By the time we cut to this play, Ross is running at the tailback unblocked.
O5 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 30 slide Run N/A Inside zone Mone 4
Mone(-1) in at nose, doubled, eventually sealed off and then falls over. He took that double for a long time though and OL on Wormley has to come off on Morgan, so Wormley grabs from behind to hold the gain down.
O9 3 5 Shotgun trips Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O4 3 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass 4 Drag Morgan 14
Stunt just about gets Wormley in and forces a short throw; Morgan(-1, cover -1) should be able to read this crossing route and go get it but doesn't, and then he slips. Bolden(-0.5, tackling -1) has a shot at getting him down short of the sticks and doesn't, but that is a tough open field tackle. Thomas gives him a good stick to end the play.
O18 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 4 Out Thomas 4
Standard four yard out you shouldn't defend on first and ten with Thomas in decent position.
O22 2 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Run N/A Inside zone Wormley 4
This is nothing until the back goes right into Wormley's chest and bangs out four yards from a wad of people. Push? 4 yards is kind of a push.
O26 3 2 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass 4 Rollout out Thomas 3
Everyone's favorite rollout out that is basically impossible to stop in man coverage, if it's for three yards. Thomas makes the tackle on the almost-dropped catch.
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips 30 slide Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon 8
Hurst stands the C up at about the LOS and disconnects but misses a tackle(-1); still not bad. Gedeon(-1), though, did not read the hole until it was too late and ends up tackling from behind. Also either Wormley doesn't do well or McCray doesn't stunt like he's supposed to.
O37 2 2 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 19
Hurst(-2) blown up and pancaked by a double. Gedeon is doomed and with a box this light on players that's about it. RJS's ankle tackle attempt is run through(tackling -1) and it's a chunk.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 Fade Stribling Inc
Stribling(+2, cover +2) step for step and has given the WR no sideline to work with.
M44 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Run N/A Inside zone McCray 6
McCray(-2) flares out when a slot receiver goes in motion when Thomas is tracking him man to man, so he is not in position to tackle. M ends up with no LB at all.
M38 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 4 Out N/A Inc
WR runs an in, QB throws an out.
M38 4 4 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Run N/A Speed option pitch Ojemudia 4
Again they just need to make the QB indecisive here and they've got it. Ojemudia(-1) forms up on the QB and doesn't make it hard, may as well just go nail him if you're going to do that. Gedeon(+1) beats a cut block and almost gets them down short but he is off balance after the cut and can't bring any power to his tackle.
M34 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch JClark 5
Five yard hitch with immediate tackle from JClark(+0.5, cover +1)
M29 2 5 ??? ??? Run N/A ??? ??? 6
TV doesn't show this play.
M23 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass N/A Rollout corner Countess Inc
Ball is way off the mark.
M23 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass 4 Comeback Lewis 12
Lewis is right on top of this but it looks like he slips when he tries to change direction and the QB hits the small window provided.
M11 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even press Pass 4 Out Clark Inc (Pen +9)
Clark(-2, cover -2) beaten on a simple out and grabs at the WR for a legit PI call. ASU punches it in but I'm not charting goal line carries in a 42 point game. Probably could have skipped this whole drive.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 49-14, 9 min 4th Q.

Well that seemed like a good start.

Yes. Michigan has to work out some mental kinks. They messed up a zone, their linebackers didn't understand what the line play meant to them sometimes, and they got dinged on that belly play a bit. Those are all easily attributable to first-week goofs that have a good chance of being resolved.

Aside from that, Michigan felt physically dominant against an overmatched opponent everywhere. Wide receivers couldn't get a micron of space. OL had a hard time not getting flung into the QB. It was what it had to be if Michigan is going to make a leap to kick-ass. Necessary but not sufficient, of course, but an encouraging first step in Michigan's new Teddy KGB defense.

Remember easy yards?

Nope. Not this year.


You're supposed to interrupt me…


…about this. Oh. I get it. You're bei



Chart. But first:


I give pluses and minuses to players who do things that I think are good or bad and then add them up. A +3 is a monster play, +2 very good, +1 quality, and half-points are for things that are not too hard but done well (or hard and done okay) and play a part. Minuses go the same way.

Because of the way football works this is not fair. Mentally adjust yourselves: DL need to be positive to be average. It is a MAKE PLAYS position. +4 is our approximate "okay" benchmark, though with the number of plays and heavy rotation in this one take it with a grain of salt.

Linebackering is hard and we are content if a linebacker is at 0. Truly good players will be consistently positive.

DB is both hard and off the screen unless you screwed up most of the time. We have a coverage metric that should always be your first point of contact when trying to figure out any individual secondary member. Also, members of the secondary can get +4 or –4, even –5 I think I gave out once, for massive huge plays like INTs or 80-yard coverage busts. (Any individual long run has a thousand fathers and the negatives get spread out.)

In general I'm trying to make it so that a 4 or 5 yard run or 6 or 7 yard pass is a push all around and for numbers to make sense as results diverge from there. We adjust for situation, of course, and also based on the quality of the opponent: if they miss a WR open for 30 yards you're still getting negged.


okay okay

Keep in mind that nobody got a ton of plays so even on the DL anything positive is good.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Clark 8 1 7 Impressive debut given limited plays.
Henry 6.5 3 3.5 Problems came when he was too strong, good problem.
Glasgow 3 - 3 Was fine. Pipkins has more upside.
Beyer 3 2 1 Playing 3-4 DE in that slide set not a specialty.
Ojemudia 1 1 0  
Wormley 5 1 4 Showed some explosion.
Pipkins 3 - 3 This in very limited time. Look for him to come on.
Charlton 3 0.5 2.5 Beastmode sack.
Godin 1 0 1  
Hurst 1 3 -2 Doesn't seem ready just yet.
Mone 1 2.5 -1.5 Ditto.
Strobel - - - DNP.
TOTAL 45.5 14 31.5 As dominant as it felt live.
Player + - T Notes
Bolden 2.5 4.5 -2 Negative mostly because of Clark MLB run.
Ryan 2.5 7 -4.5 Yanked twice for bad missed assignments.
Morgan 4.5 1 3.5 Lots of half points for doing easy things well.
Ross 1 - 1 About to get a lot more ILB PT.
Gedeon 1.5 1 0.5  
McCray - 2 -2 Missed assignment on last drive.
RJS - - - IIRC only played nickel DE
TOTAL 12 15.5 -3.5 Discussion below. Point of concern.
Player + - T Notes
Countess 2 - 2  
Taylor - - - DNC! Usually a good sign for a corner.
Lewis 5 1 4 Undercut a couple routes, almost got a PBU
Stribling 2 - 2 Blanketed one fly route.
Peppers 0.5 - 0.5 Tweaked ankle early.
Hollowell 2.5   2.5 Had some quality coverages and hits.
Wilson 0.5   0.5 All hail boring safeties.
J. Clark 4 6 -2 Despite the negative a promising start.
Thomas - - - DNC
Hill - - - DNP
TOTAL 14.5 7 7.5 Zero separation on M corners all day.
Pressure 20 2 +18 ASU barely even tried to go deep.
Coverage 15 10 +5 Clark messup and incoherent snap most of negs.
Tackling 5 1 +4 Ignore this until I fix it.
RPS 11 4 +7 Seemingly every blitz got home.

You're just mad about eating a lemon.

Bro, do you even chart?

Well no. I just like dismissing data based on supposed personal biases of the presenter when I don't actually have a counterargument.

Do you work in cable news?

I do, actually.

All this makes so much more sense.

Anyway, I thought the linebackers were not so good. The first play from scrimmage could have been a TFL as Clark blew up a tackle and forced the RB to a dead stop, but by that time Bolden was on the ground and Ryan had run himself way outside the hashes as the backside LB.

Bolden checks a gap that Ryan has and Ryan just runs his ass off: if we are trying to defy our stereotypes, Bolden hesitating because he doesn't know what he should do and Ryan running as fast as he can somewhere is not a good start. (This still should have been a zero yard gain but Beyer does not go parallel to the LOS, yes.)

To get some more on the LB issues, we have to look at…

What was up with Clark at "MLB"?

It was a weird callback to what the 3-3-5 is supposed to look like. The 3-3-5 is really a four man front that doesn't tell you which guy is headed to which gap before the play. It always sends a guy to the line from the LB corps and everyone takes a gap; the idea is to use the element of surprise and the benefit of momentum to cover up for the fact that all your dudes weigh about 230.

So Michigan put Clark at MLB and had him pick an OL and go donkey him. This worked pretty great. Not many people are going to take a 280-pound train coming at their face and not stumble backwards. Clark impacted a guard, blew him back, and immediately forced cutbacks to unblocked guys…

…who weren't there. Ryan runs at the frontside of a play that isn't going to have one. Then he goes to the bench.

The second one actually sent Ryan and Clark. Both guys got picked up but the play was forced to the backside hole. It was again completely open:

Hell no I ain't happy.

This time both Bolden and Ryan were immediately yanked.

To me this seems like a reoccurrence of an issue Michigan was having a couple years ago where they'd slant the line and the linebackers would play it straight, either unaware that the playcall meant they should expect a cutback or unable to prevent themselves from executing their Pavlovian response to guys stepping to inside zone. The Clark gambit is designed to blow up the frontside of that play, get the guy blocking Bolden blocking air, and have Bolden waiting to thump the RB when he cuts back. Ryan getting blown inside on his blitz doesn't help things, but it must be frustrating for linebackers to not react to the play you've called. That is why they went YOINK.

So what do you do with Jake Ryan then?

Both Michigan and App State played a number of snaps in something I called "30 slide" where the line is in a three-man front with the fourth lineman standing up on the edge. A reprise from above:

M 30 slide 2

From top to bottom, those players are Clark, Beyer, Glasgow, and Henry. It seems like it would be very natural for Ryan to become this standup end. It is basically spread SAM. You could then have Clark put his hand down and significantly beef up the 30 front.

That's a chunk of playing time and then you can rotate him in for Beyer and Clark at DE, especially Beyer, on passing downs. Everyone is going to rotate on this defense, Michigan is going to play a ton of nickel, and they can find him his snaps at spots he is more likely to make a positive impact than he did at MLB in this game. This still-theoretical Morgan injury obviously puts a big monkey wrench into that plan, but if you're in a nickel James Ross is still available, and Gedeon and McCray may round into viable options over the course of the season.

We like Pipkins?

Yeah. He was the most effective NT of the backups by some distance, and while I'm willing to believe that Glasgow is doing things in practice with enough consistency to deserve to get a lot of playing time it seems like a hard case to make for either Mone or Hurst. Pipkins took doubles and made tackles:

I think he will come on as the season develops.

Are we concerned with the relative lack of pressure in this game?

Hard to say. After some thoroughly failed experiments early…

…ASU barely threw a pass longer than eight yards. It wasn't until the middle of the third quarter that they had a completion longer than six(!) yards (they had a nine yarder called back for a chop block), and for the game they had two completions that travelled more than eight yards downfield in the air, the second coming against the third stringers on the 19-play TD drive.

Given the lack of opportunity, both in terms of sheer number of plays and the dink and dunk nature of them, two sacks, four hurries, and a number of crowd-alarming thunks to the QB's chest…

excellent YOU GOT JACKED UP "aaaooooowwwww" from the crowd

…are good. I mean, I kind of felt the same way but when I looked at it either the QB was about to die or at least get annoyed on route to a +18 pressure metric. Jury remains out. Ask again next week.

What was with that play where they rushed ALL THE PEOPLE?

Michigan surely did not intend to fling seven(!) guys at the QB on this play:

This whole play was borked—the guy running a wheel to the top of the screen was wide open for a touchdown—because it looks like half the defense is playing one thing and the other half is playing another.

Wilson is motioning Clark into man on the slot receiver who gets targeted, but it kind of seems like Taylor is running a three-deep zone (I can't tell because of this game's stupidly tight camera angle). If you're running man free then having a corner blitz, as Peppers does, is bad, and then they have no one for the tailback if he leaks out to the right. Bolden's certainly not checking him.

Michigan's lucky that didn't hurt them in an important game; hopefully we don't see that happen again. This was –3 cover and –3 RPS, so when M was actually trying to play the same defense those numbers are even a bit better.

In the picture pages you mentioned playing "games" to stop the belly play. Have an example?

Meant to include this:

Corner has the QB, DE slides inside and must be picked up by the tackle, Morgan is there to shut it down for one yard.

Even in this case you would like Henry to not get moved so much. He's got an issue understanding when the OL is using his momentum against him. If they actually want to stop him, that's when he's good.

SIDE NOTE: This is Michigan's 30 slide package. Watch the play again focusing on Beyer, who gets blown up by a double team. Not relevant to this play but 1) that's why Michigan doesn't want him playing SDE, and 2) that's why putting Clark down seems like a better idea. It's weird that they're aligning this way when Beyer is a former SAM and 25 pounds lighter than Clark.

What happened on the long completion?

So I think in certain situations Michigan is running either pattern-matching concepts or hybrid man/zone stuff. (These are the same thing.) It is otherwise hard to reconcile what exactly is going on on certain plays.

Here Clark rolls to the line of scrimmage and runs man to man with the slot receiver, who goes on a wheel route. Meanwhile, the rest of the defense is definitely in a zone. Lewis's drop is pure cover 3, the linebackers are clearly dropping into zones, it's a zone. Except one of the slot guys is getting manned up by Clark.

This is pretty well defended before it even gets to Lewis, as Ross gets a fingernail on the ball to change its trajectory. It may still be a completion even so but that'll happen if a QB just gets it over a LB. Instead Lewis undercuts it and nearly picks it off after coming inside. That feels like he knows that if the #1 WR cuts inside that Clark has that and he can play that guy in quasi-man.

Michigan has been tracking vertical slot receivers deep for a while now but it often felt like there was a point where they were supposed to come off and pass it to the safety level; this feels like they've ditched that and now if you are the slot defender in a zone and that guy goes vertical, he's your guy. This is an attempt to deal with one of the main problems of a 3-deep zone: four verts.

Now the table is set. On the 34-yarder that set ASU up for their first touchdown, Wilson rotates down to the interior receiver of a trips set and tracks that guy the whole way as he starts cutting inside. This is four verts.

Wilson is step for step with the guy he's covering all the way as they pattern-match on vertical routes from slot receivers. Clark is… also with that guy. At worst he should be to the center of the field, if not shaded to the trips side; if he understands this coverage against four verts he should be laser-focused on the #2 receiver to the trips side.

This probably could have been a Picture Pages.

But the secondary was impressive?

Yes. Downfield separation was nonexistent except on the above play and the rush-seven incompletion above.

While I think Jeremy Clark busted just above and he got a silly PI on the final drive, I still liked his debut. He is rangy and seems athletic. His man to man coverage was generally high quality. If he stops busting, he'll be good.

Also in corner depth for days, it says something that when Michigan went to dime early that it was Delonte Hollowell who came in instead of, say, Countess sliding down to a spot he played all last year. They clearly like him in that role. It didn't feel uncomfortable at all with him out there after Peppers's absence. While he didn't get many opportunities to make plays, his coverage seemed good and the one time they tested him he delivered a wallop:

Shame that was already incomplete, as there's a good chance that knocks the ball out. I will take that kind of contact all day on a six-yard slant.

Meanwhile I don't think either starting cornerback got a throw in his direction all day except for the Countess stick on a WR screen. When a starting CB doesn't chart, as Taylor didn't, he is doing work.


Had one nice open field tackle and was not otherwise tested. This section only exists because I clipped a three yard punt return that seems like it heralds a butt-ton of fun from that guy over the next few years.

Those first two moves are enticing.


Frank Clark and the DL in general. The secondary in general save for I guess Jeremy Clark.

Maybe not so heroic?

Jeremy Clark did bust on the long completion and his PI was silly. Has to clean that up. I didn't think either starting LB did well.

What does it mean for Notre Dame?

We're going to miss Morgan if he is indeed out. Maybe the starters get better; not having him as an option in case they don't is bad.

Jake Ryan to MLB doesn't look so hot after game one.  I don't see him getting better to the point where it becomes one. That's just not his game.

The secondary lived up to the hype insofar as it was possible. Press coverage and zero separation. All day.  Even got an unexpected additional contributor in Hollowell, who was good and fiesty, like Brandon Harrison (hopefully without the comprehensive inability to blitz).

The line is super deep. A two deep of starters, basically. Nose isn't as deep as we might want right now but Glasgow/Pipkins looks just fine.

Frank Clark looks like end of 2013 Clark. This is muy bueno.

I really wish we didn't have duplicate names on defense again.

It could be happening. Check back Saturday to see.



September 3rd, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

Even though he didn't grade out that well, I liked what I saw out of him for his first game starting. He's only going to get better. If Hill was ahead of him before injury, then the safety position is in good hands going forward.


September 3rd, 2014 at 3:40 PM ^

UFRs have returned. I be all like, happy and stuff. This is why I first started reading this blog. So glad I don't do analysis and statistics for a job any more. I enjoy reading it much more than doing it. Thanks for the hard work, Brian.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 PM ^

Hard to tell if Ryan is sent on a Blitz and this should be an RPS thing, or if Ryan just reads run and is trying to be a Viking. 

I would go RPS, as Ryan seems to move toward the line at the same time, if not before Clark. Maybe I'm being picky, but Ryan would go from a -4.5 to -1.5. From that play alone. Hopefully no confirmation bias there Brian???

[EDIT]: Video linked in that play is actually the one from the 2nd qtr. Statement revoked.


September 3rd, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

They don't even have the first initial on the back of the jersey to help us out, but I don't think anyone is getting those two confused based on size alone.


September 3rd, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

Thanks Brian. Just one note: I think the DL + column total and net column total ended up with 10 more than they should have (45.5 vs 35.5 and 31.5 vs 21.5). Still very impressive performance, but a net over 30 just seemed unreal.


September 3rd, 2014 at 3:52 PM ^

Maybe my memory is faulty, but I swear it was a common opinion around these parts very recently that our LB corps was deep and talented. One game against a crappy opponent, and now there are issues.


September 3rd, 2014 at 8:12 PM ^

the LB talent on the roster. Forget about recruiting rankings. RJS and Ross hasn't panned out like many expected them to be.  Morgon is a solid LB but limited athlete.  Gedeon is a solid LB.  Ryan is their best LB playing out of position IMO.  It will take a while until Ryan is completely comfortable playing MIKE because it is a completely different responsibilty and skill set to play the position as opposed to rush LB that he has been playing.

Monocle Smile

September 3rd, 2014 at 3:57 PM ^

Remember the 2011 defense? Remember how they looked that first game vs. Big Ten play?

Mattison likes to play with his hounds and maybe teach them how to roll over before releasing them.


September 3rd, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

Which play do you think Mattison was talking about when he said he needed to make a correction earlier? My guess is it's on the two 3-3-5, Frank Clark at MLB plays. It gave up big runs both times so it makes sense he would think of these when asked about long runs up the middle.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:02 PM ^

It will be interesting to see if Ryan stays in the middle or if they move him outside as the season progresses.  The coaches have to be seeing the same thing you are seeing (as evidenced by him gettng yanked during the game) and they also have to know that he's one hell of a disruptive force on the edge.

Lots of things seem like a good idea at the time (see New Coke, McDonald's Pizza, the Aztek van, tackle over, etc).  The trick is how fast do you recognize they arent working and change direction.

Space Coyote

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:48 PM ^

What about the fact that Ryan has been a good football player for Michigan since the beginning, regardless of position? What about the fact that guys that have sent LBs to the NFL believe Ryan fits well at the MIKE? What about the fact that they continue to put him out there? What about the fact that Mattison is in fact coaching players to get better? What about the fact that Ryan has all the physical tools to do it? What about the fact that different teams run different schemes and that Michigan may also look to deploy Ryan in different ways?

Need I go on? Or are there literally no reasons to believe Ryan can be a good football player at the MIKE despite one game with limited snaps that shows he wasn't good at MIKE?


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:03 PM ^

Question for the masses, why didnt the coaches put Wormley and Godin or some other 3T at the 3-4 DE position? Clark standing up didn't thrill me either, I hope this is not a package and just an experiment. Not like we played a lot of it so...

Space Coyote

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:15 PM ^

Is that they wanted to keep base personnel out there and then give the offense a new look (and so the offense couldn't call a protection for a certain defensive personnel grouping). I think Clark is a stand-up because Mattison likely wants to run a lot of zone blitzes out of this look, which he also did a bit last year.

I personally wouldn't mind seeing Clark slide in to the 30 DE position and have Ryan as the stand-up guy, but that would be at least a tip of what formation was coming at this point (though I think they could easily use Ryan in a variety of ways as a passing down rush end) to mitigate that tip).


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:22 PM ^

sense, good call about disguising personnel, I wasn't thinking. I just think Clark should always have his hand in the dirt to help his pad level and because he has such a great first step out of his stance. If he could learn to consistently time his punch with his step then he would be another Brandon Graham...

steve sharik

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:05 PM ^

To my eye, it looked like this:

  • Nose 2-gaps the C, picks the easier A gap. Clark blitzes opposite A gap, playing off the nose.
  • Ends have C gap.
  • Stack backers have B gap; on the first one, both read; on the second, Ryan blitzes the gap.
  • On the first play, Bolden fits late and incorrectly--his helment and hips should've been on the inside half of the OT.
  • On the second, Ryan blitzes the B gap, which appears closed, yet he tries to squeeze through.  To be fair, the OT had Ryan solo, so if Ryan had tried to get outside, the OT turns him that way and now the B gap is clean.
  • Either way, the issue is the same as the picture pages: DE alone playing a big-ass C gap, trying to contain the QB and can't constrict until the ball is handed off.  Belly is such a quick hitter that this is impossible and, thus, the genius of the offensive scheme.
  • Again, in future games against spread option teams with a QB who is a runner, we must have an overhang player out there to account for QB to allow for proper defense of the inside runs with the DL and ILBs.  I prefer the 3-4 against the spread, FWIW.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:22 PM ^

Totally agree.  You need D linemen in your B gaps. Giving a DE the C gap with LB in the B gap is asking for the OT to block down on the LB and option the DE in a TON of space.

You either leave your DT in the B gap and make the playside OG/OT combo the playside LB (tough combo block), or you gap exchange when the OT leaves the DE (giving DE the B gap) and make the OT block your playside LB when the playside LB knows he has contain (tough for 300lb OT to dive inside the DE and block an LB moving to cover C gap/edge).

You also want to leave a seventh man in the neighborhood, even if he's not in the box.  When your DBs are up tight and your safeties deep, you actually have more help sending the run outside (QB keep). When you play your DBs off, you can roll up your SS.

Space Coyote

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:36 PM ^

It's certainly more difficult, but I think you can do it and still blitz. You just have to be really confident your DL can two gap and that your LBs can read flow quickly, but that takes a lot of experience and forces guys to be really disruptive and consistent, otherwise, well, yeah, you get huge busts like we saw.

I do agree, in the end if Michigan is set running mostly Cover 1, that the easiest way to handle this is by playing Cover 1 Robber, which was my belief of what would be Michigan's standard Defense (Michigan has pretty good box safeties) to allow a SS as a half man in the box makes sense). I don't think you have to necessarily play your DTs in the B gap, and in general I think it's alright to play an Over front to field or away from the RB alignment (if IZ is the base). But everyone in the front needs to be on the same page, and I think the NT playing more of a 2i and coming up straight allows him to fight back across the face if needed, rather than doing the slanting stuff Michigan was doing (which is more guessing than letting them play straight up).


September 3rd, 2014 at 5:12 PM ^

To play a six man box against a credible spread option (QB run threat) you need players that can beat one-on-ones, DTs that can two gap, etc.  If you have those then you're good to go.

To clarify, I mean: to the RB side in 10 personnel, you want either (1) DT with some B gap responsibility (2i / 2 / 3 tech, B gap or 2 gap), or (2) gap exchange, DE takes B gap when OT blocks down, LB takes edge.  Basically if you leave your bigger/slower player on the edge (DE compared to LB), you want to minimize the amount of space they have to option him in.

Covering the B gap with an LB is a bad idea, because a) it's an easy down block for the tackle (unless the Guard needs help with the DT), b) the LB is off the LOS, which creates more space on the edge. 

In high school we would run veer from 10 personnel under center and just check it to run at the 1/2i Tech.  

steve sharik

September 3rd, 2014 at 8:11 PM ^

  1. I'm not in favor of any scheme that requires superior players to be successful.  Good scheme puts players in position to be successful, even if he's merely "serviceable." Then when you put great players in that scheme, what you get is domination.
  2. I never said, nor do I believe, that one must use DL to be responsible for B gap.  In fact, in a 3-4, you can have ILBs responsible for B gap, DEs responsible for C gap and squeeze down blocks hard, and OLBs responsible for primary force/contain.


September 3rd, 2014 at 9:52 PM ^

Steve, I'm trying to agree with both you and space coyote. Your 3-4 works also, but that puts 7 men in the box. You're probably playing a zone against 4 wide then? How do you stop a bubble screen? Or you've got no safety deep?

I guess it depends on if you think you need "superior" players to play 2 gap technique at DT. IMO, you've got to adjust your scheme to your strengths one way or the other (maybe not week to week but rather year to year).

The general point is its tough to defend when the QB is a run and pass threat. You either play man down in the box or you cover without the extra man.

Ties into why mathlete shows anybody can scheme an offense but a good defense requires talent.

Also why Brian get chills about hybrid-space-player (TM) jabrill peppers.

Space Coyote

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 PM ^

Where Michigan brought 7, there was almost certainly a miscommunication late by the safeties forward to the CBs. The safeties were rotating in such a way as they played it as if Taylor was going to blitz (from the bottom of the screen) but instead Peppers blitzed. The problem is almost certainly on the safeties, as both Taylor and Peppers are on the same page, yet the safeties have not communicated their adjustment forward. Their initial alignment has the safety over top covering for Peppers to blitz, but when they rotate late, they rotate so that the safety is over top of Taylor and the safety that was over Peppers is now playing center field.

If the RB leaks to the top of the screen, either Peppers or Clark will peel off onto him, if he leaks forward or to the bottom of the screen, the LB should pick him up. So it's a 6/7 man pressure with a funnel between Clark/Peppers and the delay LB. It can work with either CB blitzing, but the safeties and CBs need to be on the same page. It's the safeties job to communicate that.

Shop Smart Sho…

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:11 PM ^

Would it be at all possible to do that really helpful thing where you put a colored box around the player you are focusing on in the videos?  It makes it much easier for those of us who aren't as well-versed to more easily follow along.

Also, two formatting suggestions:

1.  Line breaks between each series to make it easier to identify.

2.  Put the score and time at the beginning of each series as well as the end.  Makes it easier to track how long the defense is on the field, as well as maybe give an idea as to what type of pressure the defense is facing due to the score.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:12 PM ^

On the two belly plays you picture paged I think those need to be RPS minuses for Michigan.  A DT slanting A Gap is exactly what you do not want against that Belly (Veer option) play.  Looks like the slant was called by Mattison.

When your DTs can win one on ones straight up, slanting them around is too cute by half and asking them to get their momentum used against themselves.

Lots of times Michigan DTs played head up on an App St. guard, Michigan beast-moded that matchup in this game.

(Those DT slants may be good against Inside Zone, but bad against Veer/Belly.  Even if its a sound playcall, Michigan guessed wrong.)

Michigan Arrogance

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:23 PM ^

On that play just after this PP:

"Anyway, I though the linebackers were not so good. The first play from scrimmage could have been a TFL as Clark blew up a tackle and forced the RB to a dead stop, but by that time Bolden was on the ground and Ryan had run himself way outside the hashes as the backside LB."


Yes, Ryan overpersued a bit, but he had a long way to go thru a lot of traffic. I can't fault him for that and I think this might be the main reason (his ability to get thru traffic- either shedding a direct block or weaving thru a mess as he did here) that they moved him inside.

Howevah, after this PP:

"So Michigan put Clark at MLB and had him pick an OL and go donkey him. This worked pretty great. Not many people are going to take a 280-pound train coming at their face and not stumble backwards. Clark impacted a guard, blew him back, and immediately forced cutbacks to unblocked guys…"

Ryan seemed to attack a spot where the FB was vacating. He shed the block quickly, but I always thought LBers were taught to move right if they see moving across their face to the right. That's probably not his direct read & react (I assume these are, read: OL in run block mode == react: to attack). IDK tho.

either way, it was a troubling day for the LBers and this confirmed it. Too bad we lose one for ND.




September 3rd, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

Holowell's big hit probably gets him chewed out in the film room.

His head is behind the defender. If that ball is thrown in front and the receiver gets it in stride, that could turn into a big whiff.

I love that he's trying to lay lumber though.

M Vader

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:30 PM ^

"Because of the way football works this is not fair. Mentally adjust yourselves: DL need to be positive to be average. It is a MAKE PLAYS position. +4 is our approximate "okay" benchmark, though with the number of plays and heavy rotation in this one take it with a grain of salt.

Linebackering is hard and we are content if a linebacker is at 0. Truly good players will be consistently positive."

If you wanted to make the points more understandable across positions to the casual reader, perhaps you could employ a handicap system.  Fore example, subtracting 3 or 4 from the DL position, adding 1 to linebacker, and so on.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:47 PM ^

Brian should include a percentage of snaps aspects to the UFRs, like they do on Pride of Detroit (a Lions blog). Basically, list a player's name, how many snaps he played, and what percentage of total defensive/offensive plays that was.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:47 PM ^

It could just be that Mattison really likes the idea of 280lb man running full speed at a guard. That part of the play (minus the O call) worked out pretty well. Mattison likes to move and blitz his defensive freaks - he did it here with Mike Martin and with the Ravens and Haloti Ngata too. I don't doubt that it's something he'll do in the future, although it seems to me that we might be even better suited to having Clark on the line with Ryan in the blitz role - I think this is a changeup that we'll do occasionally.

Also I'm in for Ryan being "standup end/Sam" and having Clark replace Beyer in future 30-slide packages.


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:54 PM ^

I seem to remember Mike Martin standing up at the linebacker position a few times in 2011.  That worked out pretty well.  Still, if you're just wanting to move you best pass rushers around to create havoc, I'm not sure why you wouldn't use Ryan in that role instead of Clark.  Regardless of who is the better pash rusher, Ryan has that slightly crazed look in his eyes that can make opposing QB's wet themselves.

[EDIT:  JeepinBen beat me to the punch]


September 3rd, 2014 at 4:53 PM ^

that 3-3-5 thing looked like amateur night....it really did....

and kudos to Brian for calling the Ryan to mlb error.... it appears quite accurate.

and I thought Gedeon would be in serious consideration to start by now...



September 3rd, 2014 at 6:10 PM ^

In either of the 3 man fronts, what is the advantage to Henry at end vs. a guy like Wormley or somebody else who has played DT/SDE? Is this a matter of practicing a different look with the personnel that will likely be on the field in the case of a hurryup offense?

Edit: Nevermind - I see this was addressed earlier in the thread.



September 3rd, 2014 at 5:48 PM ^

Well there is great irony here.  All offseason we had the LBs as the strength of this defense, and here they go and score the worst.  That's the beauty of football.  We'll see if it changes this week.

Main positives here were Brian seemed to like what he saw out there from Glasgow who many are confused by due to lack of starz, and the CBs seemed as dominant as it looked out there.  Hollowell being a real contributor this year would be an upside bonus.

Main negative outside of LBs is Beyer not flashing against even an overmatched OL.  His size continues to worry me despite alignment adjustment to protect him.  Hurst also seems "not ready" if he is getting pushed around by App State.  And has Poggi been lost?  I see Strobel as DNP but no Poggi either.  Disappointing for our 5th DE.