Upon Further Review 2014: Defense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 10th, 2014 at 3:19 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent the entire night in a nickel package save for some short yardage/goal line snaps. Notre Dame was the same passing-oriented spread they always are. It was in fact eerie how closely the teams mirrored each other in approach. Michigan would frequently press the single X receiver away from NDs twins or trips:

M nickel even half press

This is the definition of on an island: on the LOS with the safety in the middle of the field. It did not go well.

Michigan also showed a number of two-deep looks, of course.

ND tight trips, M slid LBs

The Frank Clark MLB thing came up a couple more times, FWIW.

And maybe Brandon should grow a mean professor beard or something, ND dominated this matchup:

slight contrast


SUBSTITUTION NOTES: There was a lot less of it. In Morgan's absence Ryan and Bolden played just about every snap.

Lewis rotated in early and played the rest of the game after Taylor's early ankle issue; Hollowell played just about every snap. Countess was briefly yanked for Stribling after a couple of Will Fuller receptions, but Stribling was little better and Countess came back in.  Clark and Wilson were your safeties almost he whole way; Hill got some playing time after the game was decided.

The line did see rotation, but again less than usual. The Clark/Henry/Glasgow/Beyer starters were in most of the time. Ojemudia got some early PT. Wormley spotted Henry but by the end of the game it was Godin getting snaps as Wormley tended to fall over; Glasgow went far more snaps than NTs usually do and was spotted primarily by Mone, with just a couple Pipkins snaps. IIRC Hurst did not play. Charlton got sparing time spotting Beyer.

[After THE JUMP: Somebody stop Will Fuller. Seriously. Someone put a hand on him.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly Henry 5
Trying the thing ASU did well. Henry(+1) gets doubled and gives some ground but then rips through to fill the hole and initiate a tackle. Bolden(-1) caught a block and if Henry doesn't slow the back this could be further trouble. With the guy dragging a DT along he disconnects to tackle as well. Kind of want to RPS -1 this since there is a hat for every Michigan defender.
O21 2 5 Pistol 3-wide Nickel over press Run N/A Zone read belly Bolden 2
Corner blitz with M slanting away initially opens up a big hole; Bolden(+2) understands the hole to get to and jukes an OL to initiate a tackle. Clark forms up on Golson, which I'm not a huge fan of but the corner does have the H-back blocking him so if he crashes Golson could keep. Ryan(+0.5) also picked through traffic to help tackle.
O23 3 3 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Inside zone Henry 3
Henry MLB-ish. Oddly, he just stands there on the snap, doesn't attack. I am confused. Glasgow(+1) stands up a single block and gets a little depth so the RB doesn't like the frontside. Henry(-0.5) gets an extended double and gives just a little bit too much ground; Bolden(+0.5) comes around since he's free because of the double and tackles from the side; RB can squeeze out the first down.
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even slide Pass N/A Flanker screen Taylor -1
ND with a very tight trips to the boundary; M slides their LBs over and tucks Hollowell in. M blitzes Bolden off the edge as ND threatens the same run play; instead its a flip out to the flanker and Michigan is really flirting with trouble here as there are two blockers for two DBs and nobody else in the area. M gets lucky as Fuller bobbles the pass, allowing Taylor(+1, tackling +1) to come up and stick the dude. RPS -1.
O25 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even off Pass 4 Snag Ryan 5
Another ND TO followed by M aligning in apparent man coverage with Hollowell creeping down for a blitz which is easily IDed and stoned. M runs zone behind it; ND runs a corner/snag/flare triangle. Golson hits the snag; immediate tackle by Ryan(+0.5, cover +1)
O30 3 6 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel even press Pass 6 Out Countess Inc
Double A blitz with Bolden delayed a bit for contain/RB purposes, it looks like. Ryan(+0.5) and Henry(+0.5) execute the stunt well, with Ryan picking off a couple guys and Henry(pressure +2) ripping up the middle of the pocket, forcing a throw. It's wide; Countess(-0.5, cover -1) took a false step inside and was beat to the out.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even off Pass N/A PA pop out Hollowell 6
Line run blocking all the way; Golson goes into a quick out in front of Hollowell; he's off but immediate tackle.
O35 2 4 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over press Run N/A Zone stretch Glasgow 3
Ojemudia drops down at last second, M sends guy off corner, ND runs a stretch away from it. Beyer(+1) shoves back the TE and then that guy gets tripped by an OL, so RB must cut up. DL has done a good job of not letting anyone go; Henry(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) both occupy two guys the whole play. McDaniel has to cut up behind Glasgow, which gets some yards because Ojemudia(-1) fell over and Ryan(-1) attacked upfield in a gap way behind the play and took himself out. Ojemudia did get up to force a third down but the DTs deserved better on this play.
O38 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over press Run N/A Zone stretch Beyer 3
Oy. M sends a safety off the corner again for the zone read so Beyer(-2) has license to rip down the line and clubberate McDaniel in the backfield. Instead he forms up for a second and then runs at McDaniel two yards in the backfield, giving him the extra step and a half he needs to get past him. Glasgow(+1) again did very well against a double, pushing it into the backfield to force the cut up. Henry(-0.5) gave much more ground on the double to open a lane. RPS +2, should have killed this dead.
O41 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel over off Pass 4 PA pop seam Ryan 18
PA pop action on which ND's line just pass blocks, but Ryan(-1) and Bolden(-1) bite pretty hard anyway, opening up the underneath route that Hollowell(-1, cover -2) is beaten on. Immediate tackle at least. This was cover 3 FWIW.
M41 1 10 Shotgun empty quad 3-3-5 nickel Pass 5 Fade Lewis Inc (Pen +15)
Golson has time to throw this but only just as the pocket is beginning to collapse. Call it a pressure push, as the secret to these fade routes down the sideline is that they don't actually take that much pass pro to get off since the ball is in the air so long. Lewis(-2, cover -1) actually has great coverage here and has put the guy on the sideline, but he badly mistimes his hit and gets a legit flag.
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over press Run N/A Zone stretch Charlton 2
No gaps as Mone(+1) does a decent job against single blocking and Bolden(+2) shoots the gap upfield of the free releasing OL to fill. Wormley(-1) got pancaked on the backside and is not useful; Charlton(-1, tackling -1) has a free run at the tailback for a TFL and misses. This does give the D time to rally.
M24 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass 4 PA slant Hollowell 12
Hollowell(-1, cover -1) not even close to the slot on this slant. M had telegraphed man coverage BTW, and Golson threw this with no hesitation.
M12 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over press Pass 5 Fade Lewis Inc (Pen +10)
Another fade and there's not much question about this call either as Lewis gets into the WR well before the ball arrives and while there is mutual pushing only one guy is going for the ball. (-2, cover -1). Note again that there is no chance to pressure on this quick throw even though it goes a long way. Lewis needs to attack when the arms go up. He's way too early.
M2 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even press Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 1
Glasgow(+2) wins his block and rips to the inside to not only force a cutback but almost tackle. Henry(+0.5) also won a block less spectacularly. Must cutback... and no one is waiting. JClark(-1) needs to read this faster and attack that backside gap.
M1 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over press Run N/A Inside zone Clark 1
This is again jammed up pretty good with Ryan(+0.5) hurdling over the pile to literally land on McDaniel. This is not good for tackling but should set M up for a stick here; JClark(-1) is once again late on a goal line play.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Ojemudia 6
Another corner blitz should get this play in the backfield; Ojemudia(-1) shoots inside of the OT as a result. He falls, unfortunately, and he can't close the space down as he gets up. This lets Bryant poke through to the backside of the play that no one is well prepared to do anything with because of the slant away. Lewis closes the thing down as the force player. Wormley(-1) did get blown off the line and eventually pancaked. RPS +1; should have worked.
O37 2 4 Shotgun trips Nickel even? Pass 4 Rollout hitch Hollowell 9
ND goes fast tempo. M ends up in cover three, it looks, as ND rolls the pocket and an inside go route picks off Hollowell. Easy pickings for Golson. M is fortunate he takes the WR off his feet. (Cover -1, pressure -1, RPS -1)
O46 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie two Run N/A Inside zone Mone 3
Odd okie set on first and ten; ND at line with 25 on playclock and checks. Into a run up the gut. Okay. End result is ultimate wad as M mostly backs off; Mone seemed to get in the same gap Wormley did and this provides enough of a crease for some positive yards, but 2 instead of 4 is a matter of luck as to when the knee hits the ground. Mone(+0.5) and Charlton(+0.5) for jamming up the hole real good.
O49 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass N/A PA pop TE seam Mone Inc
Refs miss an illegal man downfield as an ND tackle blocks a linebacker at four yards. How is this not a point of emphasis? Anyway, Golson blows this as the bubble fake had sucked Countess in big time and there was a slant outside of this open for big yards, but Mone(+1, pressure +2) recognized this and attacked him hard so the back-foot floated throw to the TE is at least under duress. Cover -2.
O49 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over off Pass 4 Slant Lewis Inc
Ryan(-2, cover -1) blows his coverage, running at the tight end on the other side of the field when Wilson has him. With Lewis playing a deep third and outside leverage there is a ton of separation on the throw; he does a quality job(+2, cover +2) to recover and get a drive-ending arm-hack in. Clark(+0.5, pressure +1) had come around the corner if this immediate throw wasn't open.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Beyer 2
Wilson rotates down late and is the contain guy so the six in the box can go at the IZ. They jam it up well, with Pipkins(+0.5) and Godin(+0.5) holding up blockers to constrict space; Ryan(+0.5) comes in to hit the free guard quickly, allowing Beyer(+0.5) to rip inside and tackle.
O22 2 8 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 4 Comeback Countess 13
Nobody underneath this route as M goes cover three and Golson has an easy throw for a chunk. Not really on Countess; someone has to be underneath this to dissuade the throw, because FClark(+1, pressure +1) was going to wreck Golson from the blindside if he didn't throw exactly on time. Hollowell(-2) chased his slot to Wilson. Cover –2.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel over Pass 4 Out Bolden 9
Again M coverage cannot make pressure relevant. Beyer(+1, pressure +1) swims inside a guard as M brings a guy off the edge but another rhythm throw to an open guy nerfs it. Bolden is off and makes the tackle here but this is zone so I think it's FClark(-1, cover -1) who needs to get under this route instead of hang arund on the inside.
O44 2 1 Pistol FB 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Godin 1
ND gets this first down but this is pretty good from Godin(+2), who takes on a block, extends away from it, and then rips to the hole to tackle at the LOS. Unfortunate they don't get the spot and this is a second down.
O45 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Rollout comeback Hollowell 12
Misdirection sucks FClark in on the edge and Golson is free to roll and fire, and this WR does get separation from Hollowell. Even so this is a rolling dart from Golson that is super impressive. I guess Clark -0.5, Hollowell -0.5, RPS -1.
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under Run N/A Zone read keeper Beyer 1
Michigan blows most of this up quite well. Henry(+0.5) and Godin(+0.5) blow into the backfield to nerf a handoff; Beyer(+0.5) shoots upfield to contain after the keep, and Ryan(+0.5) scrapes and tackles for a minimal gain.
M42 2 9 Shotgun trips TE Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Beyer 6
M splits their LBs and rolls Lewis down in a zone look reminiscent of last year. Bolden(+1) is sent on a blitz on which he blows up the interior of the play, so bounce. Ryan initially folds inside and then tries to fight back; Beyer(-2) gets destroyed by a double, so the edge is tenuous. Lewis comes up and both he and Ryan end up playing force; Lewis recovers to tackle but yards short of where he would be otherwise.
M34 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide tight Nickel under Pass N/A Out Hollowell Inc
Pick route against man coverage that you see all the time; Golson just misses. Hollowell did as well as you can expect, M got ok pressure.
M34 4 3 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 4 Slant Countess 9
Countess(-2, cover -2) just flat out beat to the inside. Again, if there's any delay here Golson has problems as a blitz ends up with Ryan at Golson's feet as he throws. Everyone else on the defense gets slants and plays them better. I mean.
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Post Stribling 22
Stribling(-2, cover -2) replaces Countess, gets no jam, allows deep post to goal line. This was a pressure -1 situation, so (pressure -1); this is actually a surprise.
M3 1 G Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 1
Glasgow(+1) slants between the C and G and gets around quick enough to get a tackle attempt in. Bolden(+0.5) scrapes to the hole to tackle with RJS, who was hanging out backside and crashed down after the keep.
M2 2 G Shotgun 2TE 4-4 over Run N/A Speed option keeper 1
Three different dudes hit Beyer so I don't blame him for giving ground; RJS(+0.5) and Henry(+0.5) combine to tackle Golson short of the line.
M1 3 Shotgun trips TE Okie zero Pass 7 Rollout out Hollowell 1
This is a two yard out on a rollout against man coverage, would be crazy to expect better from Hollowell, things happen man.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-14, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Pass N/A Throwaway Clark Inc
Clark(+2, pressure +2) rips around the LT to pressure. M had a DT stunt on, Henry(+0.5) pursues once Golson tries to break the pocket and forces the throwaway.
O44 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Countess 12
Bubble fake to a hitch behind it. Countess(-1, cover -1) playing way off, cannot tackle to make this five yards, and gives up a first down.
M44 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 Dumpoff Lewis 11
Clark MLB. Three man rush with Clark hanging back, then breaking on Golson when he breaks the pocket. This is his role so while it looks like he leaves the back open out of the backfield it's on Lewis(-1, cover -1), who drops way too deep on his zone, well into the area of the other players, and turns this simple thing into a first down.
M33 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over Run N/A TGDCD Bolden 4
That goddamned counter draw reappears. Looks open, but Bolden(+1) isn't overplaying it so RB is forced to sideline and out after a modest gain.
M29 2 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Improv Bolden 6
Clark(+1, pressure +1) spins through the OT and gets quick pressure; again he cannot sack. Golson somehow escapes, spinning himself and leaking out to the sideline. Wormley has this covered; Bolden(-1 cover -1) doesn't trust his DL and flies up, opening up a route on the sideline.
M23 3 IN Shotgun trips Nickel even press Pass 4 Fade Countess 23
Clark(+1, pressure +1) beats the LT again and is about a fingernail away from batting this ball out of Golson's hand, but it gets away because fades are relatively quick throws. Countess(-2, cover -2) doesn't even touch Fuller and that guy has a full three yards of separation. He recovers well but it's too late, he has no play on the ball.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-21, 30 sec 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Henry 1
Corner blitz; Henry(+1) burrows into two OL who cannot move him. Beyer(+0.5) is in a good spot on the edge to prevent any cutback, and then Lewis(+0.5) contains him when he gives up to get back to the LOS.
M37 2 9 Shotgun trips Nickel under. Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Ryan slides up to SAM as line shifts, giving M a one-high look with seven-ish in the box. RT rocks back.
M42 2 14 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 5 Out JClark Inc
Another corner blitz, picked up easily, Golson goes right at the weak spot, with Clark unable to do much more than tackle on the catch if there is one. There isn't as Golson wings it wide. This was probably seven yards if completed, so not a disaster. Push, I guess.
M42 3 14 Shotgun trips Okie two Pass 5 Slant Glasgow Inc
Yuck; Michigan zone blitzes wackily, dropping Glasgow, and the corner comes for the third time, easily picked up. Golson steps into fire and Glasgow(-1, cover -1) is overrunning his zone so if there's a catch it's one bounce outside of him and a first down is possible unless Clark can rally. 50/50. Hollowell(+0.5) got a bit of a bump that might help in the event of a catch; Golson zings it through his WR's hands. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel under Pass 5 PA rollout throwaway Ryan Inc
Zone sretch action with a G pulling backside to pass protect on a rollout; Ryan(+1, pressure +1) gets on the edge, forcing Golson back into the pocket. He chucks it OOB.
O39 2 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Clark -1
M moves Bolden to the line presnap and slants under; Clark(+2) puts the LG to his knees; Glasgow(+1) gets under and forces the ball to Clark. RPS +1. Ryan was there to clean up if necessary.
O38 3 11 Shotgun trips Dime press Pass 3 Improv Countess 21 + 15 Pen
This one is just... I mean okay. Golson gets flushed by Henry(+1, pressure +1) ripping up into the pocket and Ryan is chasing him down once he breaks out. Golson throws a twenty-yard laser to the sideline on the run in response. This is like a DO++++. Yeesh. Countess(+0.5, cover +1) is in fact in the guy's pocket this time. Ryan then gets an awful roughing the passer call. Ball is gone for about a half second before he makes contact. Refs -2.
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Henry -2
Lewis rolls down to the TE side and M slants away; everyone gets under their blocks. Henry(+2) busts his guy three yards in the backfield; back slows; Glasgow(+1) also busts into the backfield and initiates an awkward tackle as he gets shoved right before he tries it; back manages to stay up and spin off, but he's gang tackled after getting a couple yards of the loss back. RPS +1.
M28 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass N/A Flanker screen Hollowell 8
M in a bad spot here showing zone with just Hollowell(+1) rolled up to the line; he actually does a good job to rip away his block at the right moment. This is just in time to get crushed by an OL literally twice his size, but he took up two blockers. M recovers to hold it down as well as they can given their setup. RPS -1.
M20 3 4 Shotgun empty Nickel over Pass 5 Slant Countess 5
Blitz gets Bolden(+1, pressure +2) in clean; Countess(-1, cover -1) again doesn't even touch Fuller and this slant is easy pitch and catch; Hollowell(-1, cover -1) beat just as bad.
M15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even press Run N/A Inside zone Beyer 4
Godin(-1) gets blown out a little bit by a double and there's the crease; Ryan(-0.5) is hesitant and catches a block; Beyer(+1) does a nice job to come off a block and tackle before anything threatens to get to the second level.
M11 2 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Tunnel screen 11
M gets RPSed here as they blitz past a screen. Clark(-1, tackling -1) doesn't even touch Carlisle despite being unblocked, though. RPS –2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-28, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Mone 6
Mone(-2) blown up by a double, so big room; Ryan(+1) dodges a block effectively and comes around to tackle.
O41 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Charlton 3
Wormley kind of gets blown out as well but does fight through to constrict the hole somewhat, push. Charlton(+0.5) comes back to start a tackle thanks to the narrow window; Bolden(+0.5) takes on a block and gets to the back to set up a third down.
O44 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen Stribling -4
Stribling(+2, tackle +1) blows past the corner and trashes this in the backfield. He can't tackle but he delays the WR for everyone else to rally.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-28, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Pass N/A Hitch N/A Inc
Nowhere near Golson(pressure -2); coverage good(+1) but we get a checkdown that should get a chunk; dropped.
M26 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Run Rush Inside zone Pipkins 6
ND snaps this with 20 seconds on the playclock. Clock's stopped. But... man. Envy. M stunts; Ojemudia(-0.5) doesn't get around too quick and Pipkins(-0.5) gets pushed out of the hole too much, quick hitter with room for a nice gain.
M20 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over press Pass N/A Swing Ryan 6
M aligned poorly. In man, RB goes to right of Golson, Ryan(-1, cover -1) ends up aligned a yard to left of C. Simple matter to swing it out to him, Ryan can't make up the difference. RPS -1.
M14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Circle Glasgow Inc
Glasgow(+1, pressure +1) rips upfield and looks like he'll get pushed past until he throws the OL upfield at the right moment and threatens to sack. QB is throwing but this action must disrupt his motion; ball is turfed.
M14 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Speed option pitch Countess 4
Beyer(+1) strings it out well; he takes a block and forces the pitch. Countess(+0.5) beat a block, though it looked like the WR just screwed up, and he has contain. He cannot tackle(-1), allowing a would be zero-yard play to get some.
M10 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Sack Beyer -15
Coverage(+3) sack; Golson has no one. His timer goes off after sitting and he starts rolling. Beyer(+1, pressure -1) does get to him eventually, first containing and then attacking as Golson tries some run around stuff. He hits as Golson throws, throw doesn't get to the line, grounding.
Drive Notes: FG(42), 0-31, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O13 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Run N/A Power O Ryan -2
Michigan blitz with a fold back gets Ryan(+1) and Godin(+1) into the backfield; BOlden(+0.5) cleans up. RPS +1.
O11 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Flanker screen Bolden 7
M plays this decently, with Ryan(+0.5) threatening to split two OL and occupying both; that forces a cutback to Bolden(-0.5, tackling -1), who has contact at four yards and allows a big chunk of YAC.
O18 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Pass N/A Out JClark Inc
Open for the first down, thrown wide. Golson missed a lot of outs in this game.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-31, 7 min 4th Q. Last drive is backups, not charted.


But the run defense?


Even this kitten without front legs?



I could try to tell you what happened.


Death to you.

DEATH TO—oh fine.

Explanations for why things went wrong rarely get this simple: Hollowell and Countess, especially Countess, comprehensively lost one-on-one matchups against the Notre Dame receivers. All complaints about everything else should be shelved. Michigan crushed the ND run game and got consistent pressure on Golson, and none of that mattered at all because Michigan's new aggressive man scheme backfired spectacularly.

Countess was exposed a bit against Tyler Lockett in the bowl game and now he may as well upload nudes to Apple. This was stark. The maddening fourth and three conversion was actually one of his better attempts on Fuller, because he got a hand on him:

Other times that was a faint hope indeed.

Even the guy doing the torching was surprised by its completeness. Here Fuller expects Countess to be closer than he is and tries to break back outside when he can just keep running:

A simple five yard hitch that turns into a first down because Michigan can't tackle on the catch:

Even on incompletions they were sometimes just Golson throwing wide of an open Fuller.

Meanwhile, Hollowell was also not so hot. This is a zone on which he chases the slot receiver all the way to the safety and provides nothing underneath on a twelve-yard hitch:

There were a number of out routes he couldn't deal with, including one of the touchdowns. He was just as burned on slants. Peppers was missed. Probably. I mean, I assume so.

I would like to give him a hat tip for a play that he got hilariously destroyed on. This is actually good from him as he rips through his blocker. The problem is what happens immediately after:


That's a 2 for 1, +1 for getting painfully buried by a guy literally twice his size. A hard-earned point.


Better, even if he started off with some bad PI calls. To get them you have to be in position to touch the WR. Lewis did, and that made him the best CB by some distance on Saturday. He did forget his SHORYUKEN coverage on the second one, getting into the WR way too early:

You attack when the arms go up. But at least he's in with a chance.

Note that the Lewis PBU was actually zone coverage. Lewis is dropping to a three deep trying to keep his guy inside; Ryan blows his assignment and provides an obvious THROW HERE window.

Lewis still makes a play, and that was the end of targeting Jourdan Lewis. Literally. The only other UFR mention of him comes when he gets too deep on a zone and Golson dumps it off to a running back for profit. Lewis committed two silly pass interference penalties on his first two tests and Notre Dame stopped targeting him three minutes into the second quarter.

So… that happened. For the more holistic look here is a…

…a chart.


I don't feel aggressive anymore.

Ah. Well, here it is anyway:

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

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Clark 7.5 1.5 6 Any coverage and his impact seems large.
Henry 8 1 7 Ton of half-points.
Glasgow 8.5 1 7.5 Prepare the Order of St. Kovacs.
Beyer 6.5 4 2.5 I'll take it from least impactful starter.
Ojemudia 2.5 -2.5 Fell down on the backside twice.
Wormley 2 -2 Pancaked twice in limited PT, replaced by Godin.
Pipkins 0.5 0.5 0 Mone got most of his PT.
Charlton 1 1 0 Limited snaps.
Godin 4 1 3 Looked pretty good, may pass Wormley for real.
Hurst - - - DNP
Mone 2.5 2 0.5 Had a better day today.
Strobel - - - DNP.
TOTAL 38.5 16.5 22 Run game crushed, no time to get to QB.
Player + - T Notes
Bolden 9 3.5 5.5 Shot some gaps, not notably out of place for much.
Ryan 5.5 3.5 2 Better, but lacks much impact at MLB.
Morgan DNP
Ross DNP?
Gedeon DNP
McCray DNP
RJS 0.5 - 0.5 Got a few goal line snaps.
TOTAL 15 7 8 Much better from these guys.
Player + - T Notes
Countess 1 6.5 -5.5 See above. Wreck'd.
Taylor 1 - 1 Went out early.
Lewis 2.5 4 -1.5 Dual PIs were bad, still best corner on day.
Stribling 2 -2 Smoked on post on only notable play.
Peppers DNP
Hollowell 1.5 5.5 -4 Struggled all day.
Wilson   DNChart, no need to challenge S.
J. Clark 2 2 0 Wanted him more aggressive on goal line.
Thomas - - - DNP
Hill - - - DNC
TOTAL 8 20 -12 Panic.gif
Pressure 14 5 +9 Ball gone before it could mater.
Coverage 8 24 -16 Gibson level performance
Tackling 1 4 -3 Mostly TFLs wiggled out of.
RPS 6 8 -2 Eh.

So… yeah. Front seven was pretty much outstanding and the secondary couldn't make it hold up. Possible I should have been even harsher on repeated not-even-close coverages; adjust your personal numbers for your level of bloodthirst. Do note that secondary numbers should be taken in context with the Coverage metric, which was even more atrocious than it looks since M got a half their coverage plusses when it was already 28-0. This was an incredible 2010 PSU level coverage blowout.

What? Our DL sucks and we got no pressure.

The DL, especially Clark, was doing as well as you can expect if they actually try to block you. Go back to that Lewis PBU above and watch Clark to the bottom of the line. If Golson has to come off just one read Clark is going to at least flush him and maybe more.

It's impossible to get to the QB when it's 1-2-3-gone every time, and thanks to Michigan's coverage that was the case the whole night. Even when the play is a 30-yard shot to the endzone it's 1-2-3-gone, with Clark coming around the corner:

Clark was doing this on just about every play. Once when he dropped into coverage it was Beyer doing it (and probably Clark the reason the throw was 1-2-3-gone). On the rare occasions it was 1-2-3-not-gone, Clark was getting there, but Golson's escapability and Michigan breaking down saved ND:

That will happen sometimes, and Golson was terrific on the run. I do wish Michigan got a little bit more rush from non-Clark dudes. But this was all on Golson's first read being open 90% of the time.

You seem to be in the pocket of Glasgow Industries, Inc, buddy.

Guilty as charged. They have long funded me in secret as I conspire to grade them well in this column, and boy do I deliver.

What can I say? Michigan stoned Notre Dame's run game and it could have been significantly worse if a couple of backfield tackles are made. Glasgow was a penetrating, disruptive presence. Here he rips to the hole on a goal line play and just about gets a TFL:

That deserved better than a 1.5 yard gain after he nearly brought the back down in the backfield. Here he slants to the backfield effectively, forcing the back into traffic:

(Bonus: Clark dismissing that guard.)

Here he rides a zone stretch a long way and then feels where the play is going, ripping back to the tailback as he passes.

He can't make the tackle, but he constricts space. Constricted space is tough to do anything in. If Ojemudia doesn't fall over right when the play starts this is probably no gain.

Here he's got a full on double the whole play and puts it in the backfield, forcing a cutback.

If Beyer understands that he's got that corner support and tears down the line that is a crucial third down stop.

The only stuff that's negative for him is getting pushed out of a lane a bit and not having impact as a pass rusher.  Oh, and he got a minus for bad coverage on a zone drop. He's a nose tackle, so pass rush is a bonus. He had a major hand in an anemic Notre Dame rushing game, and the interior of that line is supposed to be excellent.

We'll see if it holds up. I'm getting the Order of St. Kovacs ceremony ready for him. I think he can play.

You just loved the entire line.

Well, 1.7 YPC. Those two guys weren't alone. Henry showed his beastly power on more than one occasion without getting out of his lane even once:

That's a fifth year senior and captain he's treating like a third grader right there.

Mone showed surprising upfield burst on one pop pass to harry Golson into a bad decision and bad throw.

Any RPS considerations you may have missed?

This is more an offense UFR thing but Notre Dame repeatedly used the bubble to open up big holes in Michigan's pass defense.

That should still be held down more than it is but that bubble gets the underneath defender chasing, making that throw easier, building up that 1-2-3-gone rhythm.

More generally I wasn't giving minuses when Golson would find Countess on Fuller and Fuller would destroy him since hypothetically that's something you can deal with as a defense. RPS is more for adding + and – when I can't assign it to a player. Here there was a clear option.

That does not mean it was ultimately foolish to try to go man press-ish against this offense. RPS is a trees metric; discuss the forest using it as a resource, but not the only one.

Any vague hope?

The Big Ten sucks and Golson was dealing. He missed a few outs by throwing them wide, but he looks like the different quarterback ND fans promised. Some guys take a leap. What can you say? You never know when and where it's going to happen.

The rhythm of Golson's throws we've mentioned; he also showed excellent escapability to keep plays alive when things weren't there. This is just…

…okay. Twenty-yard dart on the run to a yard-wide window while preparing to get hit. Good game, mister.

I don't think that's on Mitch Leidner's docket right there. QBs Michigan will face in the Big 10: Leidner, Gary Nova, Christian Hackenberg, Connor Cook, Nate Sudfeld, Trevor Siemian, CJ Brown, JT Barrett. Hackenberg, Cook, and Sudfeld's tempo are the most threatening things there and I think we're all writing off the MSU game already. If the line can continue to do this there are a number of teams on the schedule who won't have other answers.

Sounds like it's time for your weekly illegal man downfield bitchin'.

Correct! The right guard is five yards downfield, blocking a linebacker on this throw.

Pop passes are brutal enough as it is without the offense flagrantly signaling run against the rules of the game. Last week saw Appalachian State actually use downfield blocking of a linebacker as a way to get their flat passes open. Again, how is this not a point of emphasis already?


Everyone who isn't in the secondary. Note that Michigan did all of this in the ground game with very little safety support.

Maybe not so heroic?

Countess, Hollowell.

What does it mean for Miami (Not That Miami)?

The DTs are probably at least good. This was a veteran line they were going up against and they stomped them. They used a lot of slants to do so, so look for that to continue.

Bolden and Ryan recovered to have nice games. Jury is still out on them, and it feels like Ryan is not an impact guy as a middle linebacker, but any thought of moving him around necessarily ended with the Morgan injury.

Q: what are you going to do with Ross and RJS if they have no role against spreads? Do you want to look at them as interior guys even a little here?

Don't worry about Clark. He will get his. He was consistently dangerous in this game in adverse circumstances to make an impact.

The corners were a huge issue. I expect Lewis to start and Taylor to displace Countess if he's healthy; Countess will continue to get at-bats as he tries to right himself. The guy was a good player the last couple years, he didn't just evaporate.

Meanwhile, Hollowell tried but he just wasn't able to make any plays on the ball against ND. Peppers's return is huge. Nickel is a critical spot.


Space Coyote

September 10th, 2014 at 3:23 PM ^

Swarbrick looks like the "evil, arrogant, dad that doesn't understand anything but work" in pretty much every children's or comedy movie (Ex. Richard Dreyfuss in "What About Bob?")

Brandon looks like someone farted, and he doesn't believe it was him, because he believes it stinks.


September 10th, 2014 at 3:30 PM ^

You made me feel somewhat better about the D after looking through this.  I don't think we will see a QB play like this the rest of the year, and once Peppers is back our coverage can be at least better than it was last week.  That will lead to more QB pressure and hopefully turnovers and better field position.   


September 10th, 2014 at 3:46 PM ^

Have you seen him play this year? He looks much improved. Not Golson level yet, but he's can string together a few "wow" throws into tight windows. MSU's receivers are also pretty damn good so the windows might not be that tight either.


September 10th, 2014 at 4:26 PM ^

Golson wasnt beating us by scrambling Saturday night.   It was with his arm.  Which is the more worrisome aspect.  If it was a true dual threat you could at least rationalize he was beating us via his legs and arm.  And no one else on the schedule presents that threat unless Barrett develops massively in 8 weeks.  But this was just a guy sitting back and getting rid of he ball quickly.  Which a lot of QBs can do.

Danny Bonaduce

September 10th, 2014 at 4:10 PM ^

He's definitely much improved but he really struggled in the second half of the Oregon game, which is somewhat understandable.  He has a little Devin Gardner in him in that if the pocket starts to collapse he tends to panic.  But he probably has the best arm of any QB we will face the rest of the year not named Hackenberg. 

Space Coyote

September 10th, 2014 at 4:15 PM ^

And he has clearly grown as a passer. He still isn't at an elite level, but he has the arm tools to make the throws. He will get confused from a multiple coverage team. Unfortunately, that's more what Michigan was last year than this year. But he reads safeties well and can read his first key pretty well. Doesn't move past that often though. Lots of 2x2 concepts based on safeties or simple bunch concepts like a spacing concept. He still does get caught throwing off his back foot when the pocket gets pushed from the interior.

Hack I think has as good of an arm as anyone in college football. Guy can sling it anywhere on the field. But his athletes on the outside are very raw. His OL is Michigan's OL minus Lewan last year. So he has no run game and his most polished receivers are TEs. They struggle to get separation for him, and he's often flushed, and therefore he makes some bad decisions and forces a lot of passes. So I'm not as concerned with him simply because PSU appears to have some serious issues that Michigan better matches up with.


September 10th, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

This is the exact same bullshit people were saying about Golson a week ago at this time as they looked at 2012 tape and say HAHAHAH and "Rees is the guy who beat us not Golson".  They ignored the Rice game as a one off and think guys do not develop.  Cook Sep 2013 looked like shit, Cook November 2013 looked like a NFL 4th rounder.

Currently Cook is being mocked in the late 1st to mid 2nd on multiple sites.  He threw for 300+ v Ohio, Stanford and Oregon.  In big stages.  Some of you guys need to get over your hate for other schools to realize they have legit players. 

Right now Cook and Hackenberg are exactly the type of weapons to cause hell for this defensive backfield.  That is partially mitigated by PSU's OL being awful so you hope our DL gets home.  Unless Hackenberg goes all Golson and does 3 step drops all night .  And until we do ANYTHINg to stop it every team will do this.  Just like every team flushes Devin through the A gaps and throws a new coverage in the secondary on any important down until he shows he wont revert back to HS Devin who forgets the playbook and goes back to hero ball.

Indiana can also do this and Maryland does not have a great QB but they have 2 NFL WRs on their team - I assume their QB can throw 6 yard slant patterns to them all day. 

So yeah lets talk about Mitch Leidner not being able to throw 5 yard passes on target accurately but there are other QBs even in our garbage conference who can.

turd ferguson

September 10th, 2014 at 5:18 PM ^

"Right now Cook and Hackenberg are exactly the type of weapons to cause hell for this defensive backfield."

I agree, though I think "this defensive backfield" refers to the particular group that we had on Saturday.  I think there are two reasons to think we should be better by Big Ten season.  

The first is that our secondary looks much better and deeper with Taylor and Peppers in it.  Hopefully those guys really are just day-to-day and we can keep everyone on the field for awhile when they get back.  

The second is that I think those Lewis PIs rattled Mattison more than they should have.  That coverage was so much softer than what we saw last week and heard about before the season that I have to believe it was more than just injury- and opponent-related.  One of my critiques of this coaching staff has been that they worry too much about avoiding bad things (like INTs or penalties) and don't accept them enough as the price to pay for getting good things.  Even though Countess isn't the right guy for really tight coverage, I'd have kept pressing for awhile until the refs really painted the field yellow with PI flags.


September 10th, 2014 at 6:32 PM ^

Hi Turd (I like saying that)

I assume Peppers and Taylor are upgrades.  I don't know for sure.  You (nor I, nor anyone) has seen Peppers or Taylor versus a team with a heartbeat this year in the new press coverage.  In fact we've barely seen Peppers.  I did think Taylor made an awesome play coming off his block on the first drive to tackle a pass out to the sideline vs ND. 

But if Countess had been hurt instead of Taylor everyone would have said "well we have yet to see this scheme with Countess in it, once we get him back everything would change."  It is an assumption right now how our DBs will look - they played together mostly versus App State.  Ray Taylor was bemoaned by many year with the hopes Lewis had passed him.  Now suddenly he is the second coming.   I'd have a different opinion if Peppers and Taylor had played together 8 games and went down for a game with injury and they had proven themselves.

So count me in the wait and see category for major improvement with those guys in there.  Taylor has played as much press as Countess in his career and Peppers has played about 15 snaps in his career.

I agree with you on Lewis.  I dont care about 15 yard PIs that much; it is part of being aggressive.  The 2nd was also lame.  Look if Lewis has 4 PIs a game for 4 games, yes its an issue.  But you cannot tell a dude be aggressive then shackle him the first time he tries it against competition of his athletic ability.

/Debbie Downered.

turd ferguson

September 10th, 2014 at 9:45 PM ^

"Wait and see" is fair, but even if Taylor and Peppers aren't better than Countess and Lewis (and I'm not saying they are), they're obviously valuable for depth.  It's clear that the staff sees those guys as its top four CBs.  Losing two of them hurts even if that's only because it puts other guys (like Hollowell) in position to play more/differently than the coaches had hoped.


September 10th, 2014 at 6:19 PM ^

I will openly admit that Cook looks good right now, though let's not ignore the fact the guy completed 50% or less of his passes in 2 of of the 3 games before he played OSU, and while he looked fine against Stanford he threw a couple passes that should have been picked off beyond the one that was returned for a TD.  So while the raw numbers look good, he still seems like the type of guy who can get rattled (like he did in the 2nd half against Oregon), and when he does that can cause problems for him.  

What drives me crazy about all this complaining on both sides is that it ignores the fact UM will be a different team when they play MSU, Maryland, etc.  Hell, it will be a different team this weekend when (I presume) Taylor and Peppers get on the field.  Every argument presumes that the opponents will only get better and UM will either stay the same or experience even more degradation, which flies in the face of common sense and football historically.  Baring crazy injuries, UM will be better defensively against the pass in the objective sense; doesn't mean the good QBs in the league won't be able to still perform well.  But Cook and Hackenburg aren't nearly as mobile as Golson, and there were 3-4 times that game where a less mobiel QB either gets sacked or throws a bad pass.  The game was much closer than the score, and considering the history between the programs some of the freakouts on this board seem misguided.

Teams are always picking at the edges and trying to disrupt offenses.  I do think that people pile on guys like Gardner because it is easy and he's always around, but go to some MSU boards and you'll see people bitch about Cook, and guys were killing Miller last year at OSU despite him being the B1G Offensive POY.  I presume the team will try to build on the solid run defense and a pass defense that struggled but is fixable.


September 10th, 2014 at 7:11 PM ^

Michigan State and Penn State don't run a spread offense, so our defensive scheme will be in a completely different scenario against those teams.  Both Cook and Hackenburg have not shown that they can lead their team to victory when their run game isn't supporting them, which if ND is any indication, it won't be against Michigan.

Don't lose hope.  Move away from the edge of the building.

MI Expat NY

September 10th, 2014 at 5:59 PM ^

I have no doubt he isn't terrible and may even be a first-round level pick (mostly because I think this year's QB class is pretty shallow), but several places have him rated above Winston and to a lesser degree above Mariota?  If so, I find those places less than credible at this stage.  


September 10th, 2014 at 6:23 PM ^

Everywhere I've looked has him in the top 5 for 2016, usually behind Mariota, Hundley, and Hogan.  Mind you, they have him two spots about Braxton Miller in a couple of places, so take them with a grain of salt.  But it sounds like most people see Connor Cook as a a solid starter prospect but probably a step below "elite."

Ron Utah

September 10th, 2014 at 5:24 PM ^

Reading the UFR and watching again, it's clear just how much of this game was decided by one-on-one matchups where UM simply could not hang with ND's athletes.

Countess cannot play press man against an elite WR; Will Fuller is an elite receiver.  Hollowell is another smallish guy who just could not compete with ND's athletes.

Golson's throws were on target and his WRs were getting separation.  What's disturbing is that almost all of the damage was pre-snap reads to the first option...that means your pass rush has no chance of getting home.  He was picking out Countess and Hollowell and ate them alive.

I have to agree with Greg Mattison here: he waited WAY too long to adjust the scheme.  Countess was obviously out-matched (as was Hollowell) and we needed to throw more curveballs at Golson to at least make him think.  Most of this damage is on one or three step drops from shotgun where Golson only ever looks at one target.  It was just pitch and catch.

Bad game for the CBs, and bad game for the DC.


September 10th, 2014 at 6:37 PM ^

Agree so much with both of you 2.  Mattison is paid far too much to show up after a game and say "in retrospect I should have adjusted."  The game is over at that point.  You've been coaching for decades.  I don't care if there was no good solution, at least try something new.  And start trying it mid way through the 2nd quarter when it mattered.  He didnt even seem to try to change things at any point other than personnel changes.  I don't get this.  Golson has been out of football for a year - he hasn;'t seen everything under the sun.  We have to have more than 3 looks in out entire arsenal to throw at a QB.


September 10th, 2014 at 7:20 PM ^

regressed during the last 4 years and then look at Cook and Golson and see how they have progressed.  Poor DG. He did not receive proper coaching and still not receiving it.  He would have been a first round NFL pick if he had enrolled at ND or MSU.  It just makes me sick.

Monocle Smile

September 10th, 2014 at 3:32 PM ^

In several post-game threads, people were whining their asses off about how Frank Clark was a bust and how they would never listen to offseason hype ever again.

Clark and Henry were both blowing dudes up all night, and anyone who could restrain their emotions even a little could tell while watching live. The DL is pretty good.

Danny Bonaduce

September 10th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

With the emergence of Glasgow and Henry I think Clark is going to have a very good campaign in conference games.  He should rarely see double teams and, if he can get help from the CB's, I still think he is the quickest DE in the conference.

On another note, I mentioned right after the game that I thought Glasgow looked very good and this reinforces that opinion.  The future is very bright at the DT position.  If the CB play can improve to where it should be, this still has a chance to be a very good defense.