Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian October 9th, 2014 at 4:56 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Rutgers did some weird stuff. On a number of snaps they'd start off looking like an over, then move a LB down into a three-tech like spot while flaring a DE out. I called those under fronts, and since Rutgers is pretty small all over it was just a way to sow confusion. An example; Rutgers shifted from this:

rutgers over look to under look

To this:

rutgers over to under 2

There's a standup 3-tech and an "ILB" who is actually a cornerback. It's a bit weird.

They also ran some more conventional under looks.

Rutgers 4-3 under

For its part Michigan went back to a heavy dose of gun. Removing three goal line plays, Michigan had 42 shotgun snaps to 13 under center. (A couple of those were goal to go runs from the 5 and 2, respectively, FWIW). This was not a panacea but did happen to coincide with Michigan's best rushing output against a Power 5 team not named Indiana in a long time.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Line was Cole/Glasgow/Miller/Kalis/Braden the whole way. Green got the bulk of the RB snaps until he was knocked out; Smith and Hayes got the rest. WRs and TEs as usual, though Butt is working his way into considerably more playing time as the season progresses.

[After THE JUMP: torchclowns, multiple torchclowns]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 2TE empty 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass TE out Butt Inc
Green motions out, empty backfield. M ends up with six guys in the box against seven blockers but throws anyway. Quick TE out well behind Butt, can't make one handed catch. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
M21 2 10 Shotgun D 3wide 1 1 3 Okie one Run Inside zone Green 26
Rutgers standing seven guys on or near the LOS with one LB back. M runs at this and pops through a hole, finding no one on the second level. Kalis(+1) stepped left, recognized he had no one either on the line or the second level and stopped to wall off a slanting DL that Braden needed help with. Miller(+2) got same slant, pursued, shoved guy way out of his lane; Glasgow(+1) almost gets beat by a swim move but stays connected and shoves his guy upfield. Just enough of a crease and no second level for Green(+1). I do kind of want Green to do better with this desperate ankle tackle by the S but he found a small niche for a big gain.
M47 1 10 Shotgun D 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Inside zone Green 0
M to the line immediately, does RR look for snap, then get call from sideline. Rutgers overplays the run here, leaving the bubble open. Tough to decipher; Rutgers has its NT cocked over Miller and attacking hard; Miller gives some ground early but then the DT falls; backside block with Glasgow(-0.5) and Cole(-0.5) sees the other DT split them and no one can get to a linebacker; Green(-1) still has an opportunity to blast NS for three or four but decides to dance around and gets nothing. RPS -1.
M47 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Green 1
Hill(-2) loses a down block that should be easy. DE extends and refuses to get sealed so a pulling Kalis has to deal with that and Green ends up with little space filled with two unblocked Rutgers players. Safety was coming down on this pretty quickly as well. Braden(+0.5) got a nice kick at least.
M48 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Dig Funchess 23
M checks after seeing what Rutgers looks like. Probably a penalty as Norfleet backs off the line at the last second and isn't set, refs +1. Rutgers leaves a dig wide open, good protection, Gardner throws it behind Funchess, who spins, catches the ball, breaks a tackle, and gets a big gain. (MA, 2, protection 2/2, Funchess run +)
O29 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Inside zone Smith 2
Kalis(+2) turns and buries the three tech. Braden(-2) falls down, allowing a linebacker through unfettered; Smith has multiple options that seem okay as the corner is there but the rest of the line has gotten movement; he chooses inside, where the unblocked guy gets him after a couple. Cole(+1) and Glasgow(+1) had driven DL far downfield; one major error here obscured otherwise good work.
O27 2 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime Pass Out Darboh 6
Simple pitch and catch. M picks up a blitz. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O21 3 2 Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line Run Lead zone Smith 0
Braden(-1) does not pick up that the DT is slanting to him and that he needs to help Kalis; he takes his presnap uncovered read and moves to the second level, giving Kalis an impossible job. Kalis starts giving ground as he tries to stay attached to a guy who started playside and is roaring further thus. Smith(-0.5) still has a chance if he cuts right behind this and goes upfield hard, because Miller(+1) has gotten push and depth on his guy. Instead he tries to follow his FB, which is understandable, too long. Butt(-1) loses his guy definitively as well, finally inducing a cutback that's too late now.
Drive Notes: FG(39), 3-0, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Counter power Green 6
Counter step from Green with Hill and Glasgow leading through the hole. Playside end flies upfield irresponsibly, Glasgow can't block him because he shouldn't be able to; rather large gap. Kalis(+0.5) and Braden struggle to deal with the DT but do get him dealt with; struggle means Braden is late to the second level and doesn't get much of a block on the playside LB. Hill(+1) does. He gets under the guy and blasts him back to the first down marker. Not the hardest thing to do when he's already set up but that is authoritah. Butt(-0.5) kinda loses the force corner and allows him to constrict space so Green(+0.5) has no choice but to run right at an S; he does sort of hurdle over him for some YAC.
M31 2 4 Ace biggish 1 2 2 4-4 under Run Zone stretch Green 1
Man can I do without the infinite embattled coach shots. Chesson your wee TE. For one, once Michigan makes a wee TE Rutgers shoots an S down, presenting a full on nine-man box. They slant playside hard since the S lets 'em. Kalis(-1) doesn't perceive the slant and tries to move to the second level. Miller(-1) has a hard job but gets driven back too far, forcing a cutback. Chesson does a crappy job on a DE and I'm not minusing him for that because that's what happens. RPS -1.
M32 3 3 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack N/A -3
Darboh is blasted off his route by a DB, a couple of weak hitches underneath are covered, Gardner bugs out after his first read doesn't look good. M has blocked this just fine, and just throwing it up to Funchess is viable. Gardner runs himself into a sack. No one was open, though. (BR, N/A, protection 2/2, RPS -1, Darboh route -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-3, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-4 under Pass Corner Funchess 23 + 15 pen
Five sent by Rutgers, Cole gets two guys and picks the interior one eventually. Smith comes around to pick up a blitzing LB, so there's enough of a pocket for Gardner to step and fire because he does so in rhythm. Throw is a lofted corner route to Funchess that is right on the money and sets up some YAC. Illegal hands to the face tacks on 15. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Flanker screen Funchess 8
One of M's abort plays with rest of team running a pin and pull. Chesson(+0.5) and Norfleet(+0.5) get blocks and those are the only two guys in the area on the snap so Funchess can probe for good yardage. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O29 2 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass TE seam Butt Inc
Very slow developing PA but line holds up fine and Gardner fires a rope to Butt 20 yards downfield. Butt doesn't have great separation; DB is yanking at his arm as the ball arrives a bit, but man this hits him in the chest. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O29 3 2 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 under Pass Waggle flat Norfleet 4
Kind of predictable waggle here with Norfleet a Tiny TE dragging across the formation. Rutgers edge guy is headed straight at Gardner on the snap, he turns around to find that unpleasant information, and loops a ball to Norfleet like he did against ND, Norfleet grabs it and manages to get the first down narrowly. (CA, 3, protection N/A) This is a lot of work for four yards.
O25 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 0 3 Nickel over Pass TE seam Butt 20
Close replay of previous seam except Butt gets more separation and the throw here is in front of him, requiring a spectacular one-handed stab that he of course makes. Given the location of the linebacker under him Gardner runs the risk of hitting him if he's closer; probably prefer he throws it higher but then maybe the safety becomes relevant. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
O5 1 G Shotgun trips 1 1 3 30 slide Run QB draw Gardner 1
Rutgers stunts and gets a guy in free. Glasgow(+0.5) does recognize it after initial contact from the DT, coming off to get some variety of block on the stunting DE. Cole(-1) never sees it and continues futilely chasing the DE; Gardner cuts behind Glasgow and gets tackled by the free guy. RPS -1, stunt was always going to be hard even when Glasgow recognized it about as fast as reasonably possible.
O4 2 G Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Zone read keeper Gardner 4
So I guess one advantage of breaking the huddle with ten seconds left is occasionally the D freaks out? Rutgers puts four guys over the trips, bad from the four, and Gardner(+1) keeps on a zone read type play on which Cole(+0.5) kind of bumps one end and then goes and kind of gets a block on the DB, both of which kind of blocks are enough for Gardner to get to the corner. Somehow. RPS +1? I guess.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-6, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M10 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Counter zone Green 1
Rutgers blitzes off the corner and that guy makes an unblocked tackle. Looked pretty good otherwise but can't know for sure. (RPS –2.) Miller(+1) pancaked his guy and Kalis(+1) kind of ended up on top of a guy who burrowed under him but to no avail.
M11 2 9 Shotgun D twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under? Pass Improv Chesson 6 + 15 pen
I'm a bit boggled by this, as Rutgers appears to move a LB down to three tech and flare a DE to act as SAM, so it's a 4-3 under with a standup DT. Okay? M with another all hitch, Gardner has Funchess open for five yards and immediate tackle, decides not to throw for some reason, starts rolling out, and then finds Chesson at the sideline for a decent gain that was harder than it needed to be. Oh well? (CA, 2, protection 2/2). M gets a first down on another hands to the face call.
M32 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Deep out Norfleet 20
Rutgers sends five with man behind it and two LBs hunting near the LOS for scrambles or Green popping out. Gardner has plenty of time and finds Norfleet on an out on which he was matched up with a LB; good time. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O48 1 10 Shotgun D 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Green 8 (Pen -10)
M to line, checks. Backside looking rough as Butt releases downfield immediately, which looks like an arc block against no one to block. Miller(-0.5) is having some difficulty with the NT; Green(+1) feels the edge is there and goes for it, he's right as Cole got some depth but really this is just Rutgers not having a force guy. Glasgow(+1) gets a good second level block and Norfleet(+0.5) gets to a point where he can wall off a WR. Cole(-2) called for holding, and it is legit.
M42 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Out Chesson Inc
This feels like a bad route as by the time the ball gets to Chesson Darboh is a few yards away, allowing a guy nominally in a deep third on him to come off and nearly intercept. If this is an out it feels like it needs to be cut off sharply instead of rounded so that this DB can't fall off Darboh so comfortably. Gardner just about completed this and was under some duress as Cole(-1) let his guy in to bump on or near the throw so I don't have a big issue with the decision. (CA, 0, protection ½, Chesson route -1)
M42 2 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Scramble Gardner 14
Woof on the pass protection here as Braden(-2) gets straight up discarded by a DE and Kalis gets driven back... I think that's not great but it might have been okay; Gardner(+2) bugs out just in time to evade the DE and gets a terrific block from Hayes(+1) to give him the sideline and a big gain. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2) M gets to the line a la RR and then there is no playcall to the point where M has to take TO.
O44 3 6 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Nickel even Pass TE out Williams Inc
Late safety blitz confuses Kalis(-1), who hits a guy moving inside, Miller(-1), who is not looking for this guy, and Braden(-1), who ends up blocking nobody as people fly around him. Gardner gets immediate pressure up the middle, gets a heroic ball out to Williams, who drops it. (DO, 3, protection 0/3) Gardner must be going CUMONG MAN after this play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-6, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Slant Norfleet Inc
Just a flat drop. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M26 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Power O Green 11 (Pen -9)
Similar to play called back on last drive as Rutgers has no one to set an edge. Butt(+0.5) does a decent job on an end; Kalis pulls to a LB and stands him up; Chesson(+0.5) chases a linebacker inside and escorts him past Green(+1) without getting a block in the back, and that's one D with no leverage. Kalis(-2) gets a wholly unnecessary holding call, wiping out the gain. RPS +1.
M17 2 19 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Screen Hayes 11
Well set up and mostly well executed. Glasgow(+0.5) looks around for immediate threat, sees none, and turns back in case there's a trailer. There is, he blocks him. Kalis(-0.5) only gets a weak shove on a DB who gets a play on Hayes; Chesson(+0.5) significantly delays a LB but does get thrown away in time for that guy to come down; Hayes(+0.5) is pretty fast and avoids the CB tackle. RPS +1 (CA, 3, screen)
M28 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Sack N/A -4
Protection good at first on five man rush, but after Gardner has a couple of reads he doesn't like he is getting a guy looping around to him and starts bugging out. He almost has a lane but Miller got tripped by a DT and things close down. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2). M protected reasonably well and Gardner had time to find options.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-12, 5 min 2nd Q. M gets a short field after the failed fake punt on the next possession.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run End around Norfleet 8
No edge again, so this is basically free yards. Kalis(+0.5) pulls and gets in the way of the DE who biffed; Cole(+0.5) does wall off the next most dangerous guy on the line. Butt(-1) falls on the second level, so Norfleet(+0.5) has no choice but to run into a safety; he manages to bang out a few YAC. RPS +2.
O35 2 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 2
Frustrating on Smith(-2)'s part here. M interior line blows Rutgers up; Smith cuts away from a sure first down to expose himself to a charging unblocked safety. Braden(+2) absolutely buries his man; Kalis(+2) blows into the NT and then releases downfield, then picks the NT back up. Glasgow(+0.5) also walled a guy off. They give M the first down, review it, still give it to M, looks like a bad call. Refs +1.
O33 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Post Chesson 28
Rutgers sends six with a seventh waiting for a scramble out; Michigan does a great job of picking it up. Smith ends up picking up a DT with the best pass pickup M has had since Vincent Smith left; Gardner starts to bug out but then regains faith and looks downfield, delivering one of his awkward no-step floaters. This is directly to Chesson in between two defenders for a big gain. Okay! (DO+, 3, protection 3/3)
O5 1 G Ace 1 2 2 4-4 over zero Run Inside zone Smith 3
Miller(+1) takes on the NT; Kalis(+1) hits him as well, NT starts collapsing back, Miller ends up burying him. Other blocks are a push, and this is just a grind play up the middle so Smith hits it straight NS. I think they short him a yard but they just gave him one so call it even.
O2 2 G Ace 1 2 2 Goal line Run QB sneak Gardner 1
They hurry to the line and snap it with (probably) 28 seconds on the clock, which is bad since the tempo advantage isn't worth the time here. Gardner spins to the half-yard line before a DB sticks him.
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Down G Smith 1
Hurst in. As per usual he is not needed. Braden(+0.5) and Williams(+0.5) get the small push necessary for Smith to blast in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-12, 1:43 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Sack N/A -13
Relatively decent pickup for a six man pressure; Kalis ends up blocking no one because of the protection; Gardner just has to get rid of this faster, he's got some dumb little hot routes for decent yardage and doesn't throw it, instead hesitating and becoming lost. (TAx, N/A, protection 2/3, team -1)
M28 2 23 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Scramble Gardner 11
Basic screen looks open for good yardage but Gardner decides to bug out and run. Not a bad decision with the NT headed for the screen, actually. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A)
M39 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Skinny post Chesson Inc
This is obvious interference on a catchable ball that the refs ignore. So... hurray. Refs -2.. Good protection on a six man pressure. (CA, 0, protection 3/3, Refs -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-19, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even? Run Pin and pull zone Green -2
Looks pretty good until a LB shoots a gap behind Miller(-2), who doesn't see at all who he might have to block until too late; he turns around but can't touch the guy; guy tackles Green in the backfield. A slight shove there put Green one on one with an S.
M29 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Scramble Gardner 8 (Pen -10)
Miller(-2) called for an obvious hold on a block that still sends Gardner scrambling for what he can get. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M19 2 22 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one Pass Comeback Darboh Inc (Pen +11)
Five sent, M picks it up, Gardner throws at Darboh, CB jumps route, Darboh tackles him, M gets lucky flag. Not a good decision, had Chesson for something. (BR, 0, protection 2/2, Darboh route -1) Refs +3.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Power O Hayes 4
Cole(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) turn in one DT and put him on the ground; Chesson cannot get to a LB before he's way upfield of him and that puts too many guys on the edge to block. Bubble, etc. Hayes(+1) does a nice job to set it up outside and then cut NS, probably a nice gain except MIller(-1) couldn't get the other DT sealed at all and he comes from the other side of the play to hit after a few yards.
M34 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Power O Hayes 1
Seven guys in the box and two deep safeties and M just goes at it; still not effectively preventing things like this. Slant beats Cole(-1) badly; he loses his guy upfield, absorbing the pulling Kalis and forcing a cutback. Backside blitz then eats Hayes after he makes that cut inside where he has to. RPS -2.
M35 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one Pass Post Funchess INT
Pressure, picked up okay, Gardner pumps, then throws a vastly off target ball that a S intercepts. (INX, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-19, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 under Run Inside zone Green 8
Rutgers with a shift to LB 3tech again; Glasgow(+2) hurls him away from the play; Miller(-1) ends up falling; Glasgow pops off to take his guy on the second level. Cole(+0.5) got a good kick for some room and Norfleet(+0.5) gets an extended block on a slot LB to provide room for Green(+0.5), who just goes straight upfield for the most part but did cut behind the Glasgow block well.
M39 2 2 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Flanker screen Funchess 0
Chesson(-2) gets beat by the corner badly; he blows Funchess up immediately. Not a bad idea. (CA, 3, screen)
M39 3 2 Goal line ace 1 4 0 Goal line Run Inside zone Green 8
Miller(+2) buries the NT; Kalis(+1) moves left and then perceives the slant coming his way and stops to wall off the other DT. Glasgow(+1) gets to the second level; Green has a crease right up the A gap, with only the S to stop him. He runs him over, going down in the process.
M47 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Counter power Green 21
Counter gets LBs hesitant. Williams(+0.5) does an okay job on the playside end; Kalis(+1) pulls and gets a seal on playside LB; Cole(+1) got to the backside guy to chop him down. Green(+1) into the secondary, running through a safety tackle for bonus YAC. RPS +1.
O32 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Zone read keeper Gardner 8
Think this is a called play rather than a true read. Rutgers does a slant to this play, with a DT ending up the contain guy, but he's drawing a blocker. The unblocked guy is a DE folding back who gets super confused about who has the ball and gives M time to get around the contain guy. Glasgow(+0.5) gets a good block on the next man inside that's aided by the zone fake; Butt(+0.5) also gets a second level block; Gardner(+1) jukes that end with help from the Cole(+0.5) block and picks up a nice gain. RPS +1.
O24 2 2 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 5
This breaks outside because Funchess(-1) holds the hell out of a cornerback after whiffing on a block, refs +2. Decision to bounce highly questionable with Michigan getting a lot of push to the interior, with Miller(+1) and Kalis(+1) caving in the center of the Rutgers defense. Glasgow(-0.5) had some issues with his guy but they were minor ones.
O19 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle scramble Gardner 19
Waggle is not looking good with a CB sent off the edge to specifically combat this; Gardner(+3) makes that guy miss somehow, points guys downfield, breaks a tackle, and scampers into the endzone. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-26, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Counter power Smith 9
Standup end to the playside dives in, plays it badly, ends up blocked by Kalis(+1) and trying to lurch backwards at Smith. Hill(+2) completely clobbers a linebacker; Cole(-0.5) doesn't do a great job on the second level; Smith(+1) runs over a guy and picks up some YAC.
M23 2 1 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 4
Stacked WRs to the field leave 6.5 in the box with one an overhang corner. M runs a straight power play which is blocked fine but a safety at 9 yards is coming down so hard he makes contact at the LOS; Smith(+1) spins through a tackle to pick up the first down. Cole(+0.5) and Williams(+0.5) popped the end in with Williams doing okay on a linebacker; Kalis(+0.5) pulled and got a hit on a LB. RPS -1.
M27 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass TE flat Hill 12
All day, Gardner takes his time and checks down to Hill(+1), who runs through a tackle for a first down. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
M39 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 5-2 under Run Power O Smith 4
Rutgers blitzing with just one LB type behind the line. Rutgers slanting away; Braden(+1) puts his guy on the ground; Williams(+0.5) pushes his guy some; Butt(-1) ends up upfield of Williams instead of going to get a safety or LB; Glasgow(+0.5) gets an okay block on his pull; Smith runs upfield for an okay gain.
M43 2 6 Shotgun empty 1 2 2 Okie One Pass Slant Funchess 17
Man coverage, quick throw to Funchess, who got inside the DB but still has him on his back. Ball is pretty good but could be better; Funchess fends off a rake for a catch and some YAC. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-4 under Pass Fly Darboh Inc
Darboh has a step; protection is good; Gardner way, way overthrows it. Had Hill again for a nice gain on a dinky throw. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O40 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 1
If this is actually a read a keep looks like the move here as the DE is shuffling down too far. Gardner(-1). Braden(-1) gets rocked back and discarded; Kalis also kind of loses his guy but the guy gave a ton of room to do so so that actually opens up a hole. Norfleet(-1) is cracking down on a linebacker and has an opportunity to hit him but doesn't actually follow through with it. Those guys plus the backside end tackle.
O39 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one Pass Rollout out Darboh Inc
Everyone's rollout out avoids a seven man blitz from Rutgers and does get a first down until the refs derp it away. (CA, 3 (counted as completion), protection 1/1, RPS +1, refs -2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(55), 24-26, 3 min 4th Q. M does not get the ball back.

This was less totally pointless.

That it was, and it makes the Shane Morris start even more inexplicable—let alone the decision to go with Shane Morris until he literally could not be on the field any more. Devin Gardner's got problems, but he's the best Michigan has.

Can't you be even a little positive?

I totally can.


In situations that warrant such behavior.


Does this not?

I mean, it does, a bit. They moved the ball, some, they scored three touchdowns, they didn't look totally inept. There was a bit near the end there where Michigan was kind of plowing them.

We are still trying to get hype about putting up 338 yards on Rutgers.

Maybe not hype so much as non-despondent?

All that has migrated a level higher than the football team for me. So let's look at the



Devin Gardner 2013

Central Michigan 2 10(1)+ 1 1 2* - - 1 3 82%
Notre Dame 7+ 16(1)++ 4(1) 2 3* - 1 4 4 82%
Akron 3 14(2) - 5 3** 2 1 3 1 59%
UConn 2 13(1) 1 5*+ - 1 - 5 5 76%
Minnesota 4+ 7(1) 4 1 - - - 1 2 92%
Penn State 7+ 12(2) - 5+ 2** 3 1 4 4 66%
Indiana 5 18(3) 1 1 3 3 - - 5 78%
Michigan State 1 15(2) 1 5 4* 6 - 4 1 50%
Nebraska - 17(1) 1 4(1) 2* 5 - 6 - 62%
Northwestern 5 21(6) 3 5 6***** 1 2(1) 6 4 65%
Iowa 3 12(5)+ 2(1) 5(1) - 2 2 4 3 68%

Devin Gardner

App State 1 11(4) - 2(1)   1 - 1 1 82%
Notre Dame 3 17(3) 2 1 6(1)** 3 - 2 2 68%
Miami(NTM) 1 9(1) 1 3 2 - 1 2 2 65%
Utah 2 9(2) 5 5** 1* 1 1 4 3 60%
Rutgers 4 14(3) 1 3* 2 2*     4 73%

This is a strong performance, so what's with the offense stalling and the like? The WRs had three flat-out drops, the OL drew four holding calls, and Gardner had what I think is the first-ever TAX when he took a thirteen yard sack instead of dumping the ball off. Oh, and he threw a horrible interception.

Gardner did seem a lot better but that was probably just the Minnesota game coloring my viewpoint.

Yes. Gardner's capable but erratic, and that's not going to change. He can float perfect passes to Funchess; he can do the same to Chesson with his little hop step thing, and then he can try that on a deep ball to Darboh and miss by ten yards:

Oh and also… this:

Oy. That might not even be a bad decision, it might be an attempted punt to Funchess that has a decent chance of working. Whatever it is, it is probably 20 yards off target. This is why you have technique, to prevent things from going this badly.

Gardner's athleticism was deployed on purpose in this game, more than once even. The run to the pylon for his first touchdown looked doomed for almost the whole play and then at the end it's not even close:

He also scampered for a touchdown on a waggle that Rutgers had specifically deployed a defensive back to blow up. After, Hoke told his radio show that…

"As coaches, you look and you see 'well, maybe this is the kind of quarterback we need to have,' " Hoke said Wednesday night on his weekly radio show. "And do some things, maybe, a tad differently but still (within) the framework of the offense."

And I vomitclapped.

The run game looked functional, for the most part?


Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 5 5 0 I'll take it.
Glasgow 9 1 8 Blowing guys off the ball.
Miller 8 5.5 2.5 Also yes.
Kalis 12.5 3.5 9 Outside of an unnecessary holding call, wow.
Braden 4 4 0 Erred big when he erred but it wasn't often.
Magunson       DNP
Williams 2   2 Okay edge blocks mostly.
Kerridge       DNC
Hill 4 2 2 One plus here for a broken tackle, not in totals.
Butt 1 3.5 -2.5 Did not have a good day.
TOTAL 45.5 24.5 65% Just about hit the number.
Player + - T Notes
Gardner 7 1 6 Legs, useful.
Green 5 1 4 Just in time to get injured.
Smith 2 2.5 -0.5 Some tough YAC, some weird reads.
Hayes 2.5   2.5  
Johnson       DNP
Shallman - - - DNP
Kerridge N/A N/A N/A moved to TE for now
Houma       DNP
TOTAL 16.5 4.5 12 It's good when Gardner has numbers here.
Player + - T Notes
Funchess 1 1 0  
Chesson 1.5 2 -0.5 Got a screen blown up.
Norfleet 2 1 1  
Canteen   - - DNP
Dever - - - DNC
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 4.5 4 0.5  
Player + - T Notes
Protection 38 9 81% Braden 3, Miller 3, Kalis 1, Cole 1, Team 1
RPS 10 9 1


This was the best performance from a Michigan offensive line in a long time. That protection number against the guys leading the nation in sacks and a run game that was picking up handfuls of yards on the regular without having anything super long to distort stats mean Michigan just about hit the 2/3rds positive number you want to see in the blocking and put up an excellent protection mark.

I have no idea why this happened or if it is replicable. When we've seen this happen on this team for one particular unit, the next test generally sees the unit implode.

But Gardner had a ton of time and when he got sacked it was usually on him or the WRs; without those sacks Michigan went for 5.5 yards a carry. That's pretty freaking good when your long on the day is 26.

So the line was good and the QB was good and Michigan got 336 yards?

Here's how Michigan's non-touchdown drives ended:

  1. Third and two stuffed as OL fails to pick up slant.
  2. Gardner has no one open on third and short, with Darboh particularly blasted off a route. He gets sacked.
  3. Williams drops a pass on third and six.
  4. Gardner sacked after good protection when he can't find anyone open.
  5. Chesson hit before ball arrives on possible/probable conversion, no flag.
  6. Horrible INT
  7. Ref derp on Darboh conversion.

The wideouts did not help matters much, with three flat drops and those instances where nobody got open on third down, and the refs made some critical errors on third downs Michigan could have/did convert.

And they did get 24 points! I may be experiencing lowered expectations.

So… they ran?


A healthy chunk of this was some sort of structural issue in the Rutgers defense that saw Michigan pop outside the tackles frequently, with nothing approximating an edge set. One example:

That ended up with a holding call on Mason Cole but even without that Green is going to get a healthy chunk because no one forced him back to the rest of the defense. This was a theme.

Michigan ran this power counter a couple times, saw this, and then just started running straight-up power to similar effect. Rutgers DEs were either unprepared for this or playing it poorly. Continuing the themes: this was also called back for a totally unnecessary hold, this one on Kalis.

That seems bad.

It is bad!

That kind of seems like the same problem Michigan is having on defense.

And don't forget special teams. It is the same kind of imprecision seemingly resulting from a lack of focus. Field a punt on the four, airball a tackle on a tight end, hold when there's no need to even risk it… it's just kind of a holistic badness.

Improvement, though? Michigan did run effectively.

You are getting blips and bloops of increased understanding. When Green ripped off a big gain on Michigan's first drive it came on an aggressive slant that Kalis felt and stopped for:

That one was maybe a bit easier than some other decisions like that you might have to make because Kalis wasn't presented with a second level player. It seem like he sees he doesn't have linebacker and then the uh-oh clicks on. Can he deal with this slant if he sees a target? I'm a little dubious about that, but he did have more of a decision to make in the fourth quarter when he again anticipated a slant and sprung Green for a nice gain.

That's one step forward; here's one step back. It's a little hard to see with the zoom out here but Kalis gets put in a bad situation when his guy slants hard and Braden does not make the adjustment Kalis did in the clip above:

Often when a guy gets dumped in the backfield it's not his fault but the guy next to him who didn't perceive that his pre-snap read—I'm not covered—is invalidated by a slant.

Still, they were better, and when they did not elect to hold uselessly those runs popping to the outside were nice.

Well, since we're going with Smith now, how was Smith?

About how he's been. He pounded out some tough yards; I still think he needs to make more rapid decisions to go north and south. In the play linked just above he's probably doomed either way but once Kalis ends up in the running lane his only hope is to cut right behind that and try to bull his way through. This is is definitely a cumong man:

They gave him the first down but man Michigan blocked that better than two yards.

Is Khalid Hill emerging?

A bit. He had that block on Michigan's final touchdown drive that put a pretty good linebacker on his butt, and he had a similar, if less difficult, play earlier:

He also had a nice catch and run to pick up a first down. He seems to be cutting into AJ Williams's time, but that can only go so far since Hill doesn't seem to be the inline blocking type and Michigan is running a ton of 2 TE sets.

Meanwhile, Jake Butt should be more prominent perhaps.

I know he dropped one just before this. Shhh. We're being positive.


[0 = uncatchable, 1 = circus catch, 2 = moderate difficulty, 3 = routine]

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Funchess 1   2/2 2/2   7 1/2 5/7 18/18
Chesson 1   1/1 1/1   4 0/3 2/3 8/8
Darboh 2     2/2   5 2/3   9/9
Norfleet       2/3     0/2 0/1 10/11
Canteen           2   1/1 2/2
Butt   1/2   0/1     3/4   3/4
Hill       1/1   2 0/1 0/1 3/3
Williams       0/1         2/3
Heitzman                 1/2
Jones           1   1/1  
Green             1/2   1/1
Smith             0/1    
Hayes       1/1   1     2/2
Kerridge             0/1   1/1

ROUTES: Darboh –2, Chesson –1.

There was some stuff that I felt was route sloppiness. The Darboh PI-type-substance was one; I also thought that Chesson was some yards away from where he should be on this play:

Having two guys in close proximity is usually not good, and here it allows the guy tracking Darboh deeper to fall off him and make a play on the ball. It seem like Chesson needs to get to the sideline five or so yards further upfield so that no one can make up the separation between the WRs while the ball is in the air.


Kalis, Glasgow, Gardner

Maybe not so heroic?

The tackles, the receivers.

What does it mean for Penn State and beyond?

Here's a sliver of hope. It is trying to destroy you.



October 9th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

[Khalid Hill] seems to be cutting into AJ Williams's time, but that can only go so far since Hill doesn't seem to be the inline blocking type and Michigan is running a ton of 2 TE sets.

So we have a seemingly great TE in Butt and a great TE/U-back in Hill and the coaches insist on playing Williams over and over and over again. What are they seeing in AJ Williams that causes them to say "Yes, let's continue to play this TE who can't catch or block and leave our great catching TEs on the bench"


October 9th, 2014 at 5:28 PM ^

Our standards have really sunk if we're calling Butt great.  Thusfar he is...averageish.  Which is pretty good for a freshman and good for a recovering-from-injury sophomore, but still far from great. Maybe he gets there as an upperclassmen...

They want a blocking TE. There really is no other option than Williams that fits what they want.  They should be more flexible, yes, but I don't think our coaches even seriously think of putting the guys they view as H-backs into the Williams role.



October 10th, 2014 at 2:41 PM ^

"They want a blocking TE" -- yes -- "There is really no other option than Williams that fits what they want." What about Keith Heitzman? What the heck happened to him? Wasn't the whole point of moving him from DE back to TE to provide some much need depth and competition for Williams for the "hands of stone, only there to block TE" role? I don't think he's hurt -- the team website has him participating in all six games (presumably just special teams). I'd like to see if he could do a better job blocking than Williams, if the coaches insist on having a non-catching threat TE on the field so much. 


October 9th, 2014 at 6:32 PM ^

This is precisely why so many people are confused. I really wish someone would ask the coaches this directly.  Why aren't they putting more speed and competence on the field? Williams has not proven he should be on the field but Hill has.  So guess who gets all the PT?

I'd also like to see why Moe Ways or Canteen are not getting on the field isince the receiver corps needs a real boost. Canteen had all the hype in spring but is getting about 1 play per game (if any) it seems.


October 9th, 2014 at 5:16 PM ^

I really like reading the UFRs. I am always happy to read them, even if we lose, and bummed when they aren't done for whatever reason.

Good stuff.

Ron Utah

October 9th, 2014 at 5:34 PM ^

The offense was good enough to win this game.  The missed PI on Chesson on a 3rd down and the DERP on Darboh's conversion at the end of the game cost us some probable points, but hey, that stuff happens.

It's still not smooth: the receivers are not getting open and the QB is not accurate.  The running game appears to have taken a step forward, and did so without a gimmick.  Hooray?!

We need improvement in both the running and passing game if we want to have a chance against PSU (and a shot at a bowl game).


October 9th, 2014 at 5:43 PM ^

What I noticed this year is the almost complete loss of big plays when playing Power 5 conferences.  Even when we were derp derp derp last year we had big plays from Devin thru the air - Gallon was catching 40 yard bombs on the regular v Indiana and we had some big ones v ND and OSU.

Has Devin thrown more than 1-2 balls over 30 yards this year vs Utah, ND or Rutgers? (Minn he was mostly not playing but again Shane didnt even try to test the deep secondary). 

The total lack of big plays requires an offense which cannot put together 7-8 good plays in a row very often, to do that all game.


October 9th, 2014 at 6:24 PM ^

Coach, why haven't you had more big plays of 20 yards or more this season?

"Welllll.... at Michigan we have a tremendous tradition in terms of expectations of physical execution.  We're constantly evaluating our kids and their toughness, and we're never going to be a team that's going to accept freely given yardage.  We're going to earn yards and work hard for them because that's the tremendous tradtiion we have at Michigan."


October 9th, 2014 at 6:27 PM ^

Have gone down steadily as Rich Rod's talent has been replaced with Hoke's.

I think this is an intentional tradeoff. Hoke wants consistency, grinding, moving froward the sticks. "They know it's coming, but we'll succeed anyway."  Rodriguez wanted to score on every play he could. Probe, probe, probe, till you find the weak spot or mistake. 

Borges tried to walk a line between the talent's explosiveness and a system he viewed as more reliable. Obviously, we're not there yet with Hoke's guys.  But this goes back to the Borges thing and everyone's gripe about his inconsistent "hodge-podge" offense.  He traded reliability for unpredictability.  He was fired for it.

Be careful what you wish for.  When your offense is not very good there can be a tradeoff for consistency.


October 9th, 2014 at 9:23 PM ^

Ding, ding, ding, ding!  I've been saying this since Notre Dame.  This is the main issue I have with Nussmeier's offense so far:  It depends entirely on being able to string together long, nearly mistake free drives. Badly losing not one, but two, games where we outgained the opposing team in yardage should have been a clue.  Some took this a sign of hopefulness, but it should have been a tip off for the problems with this sort of offensive design.

This kind of offense might be great if we were a senior laden Alabama team with an experienced OL and an accurate game manager QB that could control the ball and dominate TOP.  But with what we have today its a recipe for lots of stalled drives and padding your yardarge total with superflous yards on your own side of the field that rarely turn into points.

We dont attempt big plays.  We don't even do it enough to threaten other teams with the possibility of a big play.  As a result defenses can simply pin their ears back and come after us with little fear of getting burned.  

MI Expat NY

October 10th, 2014 at 9:56 AM ^

I'm not sure it's fair to use the Indiana game as proof of anything.  It was like they purposefully tried not to cover Gallon.  

Successful shots down the field were basically non-existent over the last of half of last season.  Most big plays were screnes that broke open, such as Gallon's long TD against OSU.  I don't think the problem is offensive philosophy as much as just that we broke Gardner somewhere along the line last season.  Took away his confidence to make big plays in the name of protecting the ball, and as a result we no longer take our shots.  


October 9th, 2014 at 6:06 PM ^

Brian, as always, thanks for the UFR. I noticed on the replay of DG's first TD that Cole was lined up on the right end, outside of Braden, and Williams was lined up at the traditional LT spot. I did not get to see the game so I was wondering if this was a one time occurance, or did we run it multiple times in this game?


October 9th, 2014 at 6:11 PM ^

does he have a boo boo?  i wish they would start him at RT over braden.  i think that OL would have a more promising future.  or do the unthinkable and play him over williams at TE.


October 9th, 2014 at 6:23 PM ^

Brian, you write stuff like this:

"This was the best performance from a Michigan offensive line in a long time.

I have no idea why this happened or if it is replicable. When we've seen this happen on this team for one particular unit, the next test generally sees the unit implode."

And based on what you've written the last week+, my take away is that you blame it on incompetent coaching and Dave Brandon.

However....Seth wrote a diary back in Jan 13 where he analyzed when the O line, where many knowledgable football people believe an effective offense begins, could expect to be ready.

The starting line last Sat consisted of 3 star Miller and 2 star Glasgow class of '16; 3 star Braden and 4.7 star Kalis class of '17, and 4 or 5 star Cole, class of '18. (Classes from MGo depth chart.Walk-ons assumed to be 2 stars.)

Seth's analysis projects that a 2 or 3 star Jr/Sr has a 23% chance of being a "solid starter," a 4 star So/Jr has a 31% chance and a 3* So/Jr has a 14% chance of being a "solid starter, " and a 5 star freshman has a 19% chance of being a "solid starter." 

Looks to me that expectations are unreasonable for the current Oline given its age and star rankings.

2014 Penn State's Oline seems to be a good cross check for 2013 Michigan's Oline performance, with both lines suffering from a lack of stars and upperclassmen - Penn State due to the severe scholarship reductions (65 scholarships total) and Michigan due to prior unbalanced recruiting, and Seth's analysis.

I believe that it is prudent for the AD to be putting together a short list of coaching candidates since, even when taking the above into account, it seems for some reason that the wheels have fallen off this year. But the truth on Hoke & Cos. performance probably lies somewhere between 2011's hero and this year's goat.  And thus isn't deservng of the vitriole reflected on the blog.

For 2015 and beyond it would probably be more beneficial to try to understand why/how a year like this happens. But hey, it's your blog, so as you were.







October 9th, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

So why didn't Hoke recruit more OLmen in '11 and '12?  OK, 2011 you get a pass because of time, but once you hit campus and you see what you have it is criminal to take only 4 OLmen in the 2012 class and expect that 3 of them will be ready to start within 2 years. In 2012 you KNEW you were in trouble within the next few years (especially if Lewan left early) but you chose not to address it.

Last year's OL had two NFL tackles, Glasgow, Miller, and then a bunch of well-regarded RS Freshman. Not perfect, but most teams do more with a lot less.



October 10th, 2014 at 12:08 AM ^

You missed that part.

Still, he could have gotten some bodies in there when he failed to retain Jake Fisher. He did so at LB, DB, TE, QB, RB.  Let's not act like it was impossible.

Probably weren't going to be great players, but neither is Miller.

Mr Miggle

October 10th, 2014 at 1:10 AM ^

chose Stanford over us near signing day. We were in the mix for Kozan at the end too. Recruiting is always a bit of a gamble or guessing game. Do you take a sure commitment from a lesser prospect instead of saving a spot for a 5* like Garnett? There's no way to be right every time. I disagree about taking 7 OL in a class. Not only did we have a lot of other needs to address, but I would never assume OL recruits want to be part of a 7 player class. As a practical matter it may just not be feasible. The 2013 group had a little revolt when they thought our long snapper was going to be the 6th OL in the class.

Wasn't that RR class of 6 put together right after Elliott Mealer had just suffered a serious injury? At the time his playing future was in doubt.


October 9th, 2014 at 6:39 PM ^

Like a totally reasoned argument. What no torch and pitchfork?

I agree. Just this morning I was thinking the O is struggling because Nuss has a new playbook that stifles DGs athleticism (loosened last week). and the D has a new D that has transformed our best 2 d players (in my mind) into average (or worse).

So there are reasons. Can we live with a 2-4 win year and reasonably keep a HC in year 4? I think not but I can see positives for the future.


October 9th, 2014 at 6:52 PM ^

While it's totally understandable that the offensive line wouldn't be good, it still shouldn't be this bad. And it was bad last year too, even when we had two tackles that went on to get drafted by the third round. It wasn't particularly good the year before either. And it's not like the offensive line is the only problem - none of the skill position players are distinguishing themselves (and Devin Gardner seems to be getting worse), and the defense seems to be getting worse every year.

Expectations for the O-line should be lowered because of the issues you mentioned. But all the vitriol on the blog is due to the many, many issues the team has beyond the O-line. If the only issue was the offensive line being subpar, people on this blog would be a lot happier.


October 9th, 2014 at 8:01 PM ^

That's kind of the key. Yes, there are reasons why this outfit shouldn't be expected to be elite. But are there reasons why it can't be more competent (such that <350 yards against Rutgers doesn't count as a veritable offensive explosion)?

Certainly there are coaches that have done more with less. I think its reasonable to expect more, given elite coaching. No one can turn a high schooler into an all conference lineman, but a great coach ought to be able to turn a 4 or 5 star guy in his second or third year into at least a reasonably consistent performer. That we aren't doing better in year 4 suggests that we are not getting elite coaching - yet we are (arguably) an elite program and (inarguably) paying elite coach money. "Rebuilding year" at Michigan should mean 8-4, not 4-8. We need better.

I dumped the Dope

October 9th, 2014 at 6:55 PM ^

did a remarkable job of getting out of the penalty situations.  They fought back from a lot of 1st and 20s.  Which...obviously is undesirable and must be stopped but they had a good approach to this that would have never been seen last year.

I am encouraged by the OL, with consideration for the meh of Rutgers.  Get this week in and week out and we are going to go places.  It was nice to see Kalis and Glasgow have good games and Miller is playing better than I've ever seen before.

I like what Hill brings to the TE game, he has had a few blocks where he stopped a guy cold with his shoulder vs ND and blew the linebacker back in this one.  I think Butt is having a good year for a guy who had ACL surgery this calendar year. His ability to draw passes from the sky is still untouched tho.

I am hopeful that the shotgun will continue to be heavily used as long as Gardner is here.  He has so much more rhythm and is much more comfortable throwing from that set.  Having to drop back, set and analyze doesn't fit with him as an athlete.  I can't quantify it but its what I see over and over.

And Green...such a poor time to lose him.  It looked like he was finally starting to get mad and run with some authority.  If Drake or Justice get loose the way Green has a few times this year I think that's going to go the distance.  They have the speed to get there.  Green and Smith had done a remarkable job in my opinion of not fumbling the football up to this point so I'd surely want that to continue.


October 9th, 2014 at 7:01 PM ^

Would it be possible to add a play index for each play, so when I disagree with you I can say you are totally wrong on play 7 where you gave Smith a -1, instead of saying that one play?

Just kidding about disagreeing with you, but it would help when asking questions about the UFR. Just a thought.


October 9th, 2014 at 10:18 PM ^

hes still a Big Big Meh for me.  H-PaS is gonna be an interesting situation.  Fundamentally--  its whether The Nuss-O can put together TWO good games.


PaS is on BYE for @-Mch.  So they are pouring over The Film, just like Brian.


In the Old Days--  most MICHIGAN fans would have said, well--  yeah, the Mch-OC will do a good enough job from Game-to-Game.


But Nuss as a Mch-OC has No Record Of This.  For me--  hes got a Long LONG Way To Go, to reach The Level of Former MICHIGAN-OCs.  Including Schembechler--  who ALWAYS had a Major-Hand in Ocall sequencing.


But on Saturday--  we will see it, We Will Know  . . .