Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Maryland

Submitted by Brian on October 7th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

homesure-lending-logoUpon Further Review is sponsored.

You know, Matt was just like "if I sponsor this you have to do them all for the whole season" and I was like "okay but you know that was going to be likely since now I am not going to be overwhelmed with sadness two-thirds through" and then he made some sort of intimidating hand gesture. But his heart is in the right place?

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: At this point Michigan has few formation surprises. They're usually in a nickel. They alternate between three or four fronts. One is a three man line with the buck in a two point stance as a 3-4 OLB:


30 nickel slide

One splits the DEs a bit further and tucks the buck in behind the NT:


dime buck

And then they run a lot of standard four man fronts.


nickel even

Some of the four man lines will have the buck in a two point stance; I still denote those as four man lines based on the alignments of the DL.

Michigan swaps mostly between man under with one or two deep safeties and a cover three with a few different variants.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Standard rotation up front with Henry/Glasgow/Wormley in front of Charlton/Hurst/Godin. Henry got a lot of playing time after a couple weeks in which Godin was more prominent; Hurst probably played the best of anyone. Ojemudia got almost all the buck snaps until he was hurt, and from that point it was RJS.

LB was Morgan and Bolden with a scattering of 4-3 snaps that featured Ross. The secondary did not have Stribling so it was Clark/Peppers/Lewis/Wilson/Hill for the vast majority of the game. When in a 4-3, Clark left. When in a dime, Dymonte Thomas entered.

Michigan continued flipping Peppers and Lewis between outside corner and slot like they did last week.

[After THE JUMP: a defenestration]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 Pistol 3-wide FB Nickel 3-4 Pass 5 Pop slant Morgan 12
M sends Peppers and Wilson off the edge; Maryland runs a pop pass. Bolden(-1, cover -1) slides over a couple steps and then hesitates; since he's the middle guy in what looks like a 3-man underneath zone in cover 3 he's the guy who probably has this slant route at the same hash the play snapped from. Glasgow(+1, pressure +1) ripped through a run block to pressure immediately.
O22 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Penalty N/A Offsides Henry 5
Henry(-1) and Wormley both jump, but Henry makes contact so he takes the hit.
O27 1 5 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Pass 4 Flare screen Bolden -1
M a bit lucky here as the RB bobbles the ball and loses a couple steps of productive movement. Bolden(+1) reads and shoots upfield of the guy trying to cut him off; he bangs into an OL trying to release and allows Clark to flow free. This would probably result in a modest gain on which Clark tackled; because of the delay the RB runs OOB short of the LOS.
O26 2 6 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Slant Peppers 10
Morgan sent on a blitz; he's free but can't run directly at the QB because of the play action fake; he redirects but the ball is already gone. Peppers(-0.5, cover -1) is beat; he does recover to tackle after a six yard gain; he goes for a rip that had a pretty decent chance of dislodging the ball. RPS -1; M was very exposed on these slants.
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 over Run N/A Trap Hurst 18
This is going to happen a few times in this game: Maryland reacts to their inability to block the NT by letting him run upfield and trapping him. Hurst(-1) gets nailed and eliminated by the trap block. Godin(-1) is slanting to this play and does not delay the G's release even a bit. Morgan(-1) and Bolden(-1) are now in a bunch of space with blockers and in damage mitigation mode; both get cut to the ground and M gets creased. Peppers and Hill combine to limit the damage. RPS –1.
M46 1 10 Shotgun trips Dime Buck Pass 3 Bubble screen Clark -1
This is a packaged play with maybe three different options: a quick seam in the slot, a run, and a bubble. Hurst(+2, pressure +2) is in so fast that the seam has no chance to develop; QB barely gets a throw off. It's wide and dangerous, and also has no chance since Clark is sitting at the LOS and Lewis in man on the guy who got the screen. Clark(+0.5) forces it out to Lewis(+0.5), who tackles for loss. RPS +1.
M47 2 11 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA post Clark Inc
M a bit fortunate here as well; PA sees Rowe drop back into a totally clean pocket(pressure -3) on which he has the proverbial all day. M sends Wilson down in to a robber zone and appears to have man to man with one high else where; Rowe can sit and wait for Clark(-1, cover -1) get beat by a step. Rowe misses, kind of looks like his WR slowed up for some reason and then couldn't recover when Rowe threw the post he probably should have. Clark made it reasonably tough and probably tackles if complete; this was a long time to cover.
M47 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 6-0 Dime Pass 5 Fly Charlton Inc
M sends five with Charlton(+1) looping around a couple of guys to get pressure up the gut; Ojemudia(+1, pressure +2) drove through the center to open up the lane for Charlton. QB is just throwing a prayer to get rid of the ball at this point. It's long. Peppers(+0.5) and Wilson(+0.5, cover +2) look to bracket this and it would take an absolutely perfect throw to convert.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O1 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 over Pass 4 Post corner Lewis Inc
Glasgow(+0.5) does get reasonable pressure on Rowe as he chucks from his own endzone; post corner combo has gotten the WR a reasonable window for a completion between Lewis and Wilson; Rowe cannot hit. Coverage a push; this would have been a very nice throw to convert.
O1 2 10 I-Form Big Base 3-4 Run N/A Power O Ojemudia 0
Ojemudia(+2) steps down to a G who is releasing and then immediately, impressively redirects into the pulling G to stone him in the backfield and erase any idea of hitting the play design. Cutback is no good; Glasgow(+0.5) had gotten through on a swim move; he's on his knees but still in the backfield and erases anything but a cut all the way back that Ross(+0.5) has covered.
O1 3 10 I-Form Big 4-4 even Pass 4 PA FB flat Bolden 13
Bolden(-2, cover -2) very frustratingly bites on third and ten play action from the one and not only opens this FB flat pass up for a reasonable gain but cannot tackle on it. FB's path at no time indicates run and Bolden should read this; doubly frustrating since this DL is so badass you can basically ignore run on third and ten.
O14 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power O Hurst 3
Dunno what to do with Hurst here; he gets blown off the LOS. He also comes through the double to make a tackle after Bolden(+0.5) hits the pulling G to force it back. Morgan was scraping; that forced one of the guys blocking Hurst(+0.5) to pop off and then he surged through. A bit dodgy.
O17 2 7 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 4
MD spends an irrelevant blocker to the outside and M has an advantage to the interior; their RPO based offense still affords them some room. Hurst(+0.5) gets some depth to cut off the gap outside him and then rips inside to start a tackle; Morgan(+0.5) takes on a C who checked Hurst and then released almost free; Morgan hits and then gets to the RB to help finish the tackle.
O21 3 3 Pistol trips Nickel even Run N/A Naked boot Ojemudia -8
Lucky here, as Rowe rips off a nice gain despite falling over. Ojemudia(-2) is the unblocked backside guy and uncharacteristically blows it. Rowe slips on the wet turf and puts his knee down; without that this might be 20 yards.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 6 min 1st Q. Ty Isaac gets hit with a roughing PF on a punt that it's hard to see how he didn't block.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen Lewis 1
Another RPO type play on which a Bolden blitz threatens; if there are choices M's quick pressure erases them and the QB has to throw a bubble-type thing against man press. Does that ever go well? No. Lewis(+1, tackling +1) ends up in space against a very quick player and mirrors one move before extending to the sideline on a minimal gain. RPS +1.
O29 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 6-0 Nickel Pass 5 TE drag Wormley Inc
Stunt takes Wormley(+1, pressure +1) around two guys and directly up the middle, forcing a rollout. M didn't have much of an edge here since they were trying to use Glasgow as the contain from his NT spot; Glasgow does chase to help contain. Hill(+1, cover +1) has tracked a TE drag route through some traffic and is in the hip pocket of his guy; Rowe turfs it.
O29 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Dime even Pass 4 Corner Clark INT
Protection is okay this time; Wormley(+0.5) does push the pocket, causing Rowe to reset and helping induce a throw that's a miserable idea. Clark(+3, cover +3) is in trail coverage with a safety over the top and makes the interception when it is thrown directly to him. This is easier than a lot of PBUs. Lewis had gotten shoved away on a throw that got a WR open for a first down but this really could be OPI if tested so I'm punting on any minuses. Everyone else was very covered.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 I-Form 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Run N/A Split zone Hurst -1
Hurst(+3) manages to split a double; this already kills the play since Morgan is now sitting unblocked in the hole, but Hurst keeps going, getting around the RG to make the TFL himself. I be like dang.
O37 2 11 I-Form Big 4-3 over Run N/A Power O Wormley 3
Godin(-1) takes a double and gives ground; he tries to anchor but his shoes just keep slipping on the turf. That provides an avenue for some yards. Wormley(+1) minimizes the damage by shooting the TE back and disconnecting to tackle near the LOS; Ojemudia has stunted into the gap as well. That closes down anything dangerous; with the double team still skidding downfield the back can grind out a moderate gain.
O40 3 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 30 nickel slide Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 4
M blitzes Peppers and slants to the play. Hurst(-0.5) ends up running up his gap a bit far; Godin can't get to his because the OL M wants to release into nobody realizes what's happening and slows up to cut him off. Back through the line and MD has blockers for both LBs; Morgan(+2) takes a hit, rocks his guy back, sheds, and tackles. Ross(+0.5) only had a WR but also hit his guy back and was ready to do something similar if the RB had hit a different gap.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Pass 4 Flare screen Bolden 4
Bolden(-1) tries the same trick he executed on the previous flare screen by going upfield of the TE who has arced out to cut him off. This time the TE hits him and stays attached; Bolden ends up knocking into Henry(+0.5) who read this and was doing a great job to cut off the outside; Henry falls over; Bolden gets pancaked. Clark(+0.5) comes up to cut off the outside but because the other two guys are on the ground Brown has a crease that Glasgow and Morgan get to; Glasgow(+0.5) got thrown to the ground here and still makes the tackle.
M24 2 6 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 4 Slant Wilson Inc
Wilson(-1, cover -1) in man on a TE; he gets beat to the slant. He tackles after nine yards but the ball was dropped anyway.
M23 3 6 Shotgun trips bunch Dime over Pass 4 Angle Peppers 9 (Pen -15)
M does not get aligned right as Maryland motions a WR to form a bunch; they recover okay but it's hard to tell exactly they want to run. Peppers is in the flat waiting for someone to get to his zone; WR breaks out and then back in on an angle route that is complete for the first down. It's called back since the TE spent the entire play blocking Wilson. Wilson may be the guy who is supposed to handle this route if they're not in pure man here. So I dunno man, punt. Pocket was very tight and without this throw Rowe was going to be in some trouble.
M38 3 20 Shotgun trips Dime over Pass 4 Screen Morgan INT
Henry(+1, pressure +1) in so fast on this screen that Rowe has to throw it early; RB has just turned around after giving Wormley an ole block and the ball is on is facemask, which it bounces off of. Morgan(+2) makes a tough diving interception for the TO.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 15 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Pistol 3-wide FB 30 nickel slide Run N/A Lead zone Godin 0
Corner blitz from the backside with a slant to the play. Glasgow(-2) gets sealed by a double in a way that looks dangerous for a moment. But Godin(+2) drives all the way from the backside of the play past the guys blocking Glasgow and gets to the POA for a tackle. Charlton(+0.5) held up well to help constrict space. Ojemudia(+0.5) also hammered down the line to get to the POA. RPS +1.
O29 2 10 Pistol 3-wide FB 30 nickel slide Pass 5 Throwaway Peppers Inc
Another corner blitz, this one from Peppers over the slot. PA from Maryland and then a half roll towards the blitz. Nobody is open; Lewis(+0.5), Wilson(+0.5), and Clark(+0.5) are all step for step; Peppers(+1, pressure +1) does his thing where he teleports around a blocker in space and gets in Rowe's face; Rowe chucks it OOB. Cover +3.
O29 3 10 Shotgun trips 5-0 dime Pass 5 Fly Thomas Inc
Nobody open again. M gets a blitz picked up as Morgan meets the tailback and tailback holds up against the hit, but Rowe is still convinced to get rid of the ball. He tries a fly route that Thomas(+1, cover +3) gets over on; he can't intercept it but gets both hands on it. Clark(+0.5) was trailing; very little room to make this throw.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 2
This feels like M has the snap count here as both Hurst(+0.5) and Henry(+0.5) fire off and get the Gs back, creating a difficult situation for the back. Morgan(+1) hits the C, rocking him back, after C tried to double Hurst for a second. Back has nowhere to go and ends up burying himself for a minimal gain.
O22 2 8 Shotgun trips 30 nickel slide Run N/A Draw Hurst 3
M only rushes three so the lanes are big and the prospective gain small. Hurst(+1) gets control of the C after driving him a yard or two and starts ensmallening said hole; he gets held (refs -2) without a call. Morgan(+0.5) sees the draw and runs past a guy releasing to him; this gets him through to help tackle with Hurst, who tracked it from behind.
O25 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide tight 5-0 dime Pass 3 Out Morgan Inc
M backs off the edge guys and thunders three dudes up the middle. This doesn't quite get there but it's not the worst for a three man rush. Morgan(+2, cover +2) is in some sort of contain blitz here. He's hanging out reading the QB four yards in the backfield, probably to clean up if the QB breaks the pocket. He reads the eyes of the QB and knocks the ball skyward, where Wormley nearly intercepts. Throw was headed towards Lewis's guy right at the sticks; Lewis had stumbled but then the WR stumbles as well.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Ace twins 4-4 over Run N/A Power O Hill -7
Difficult to tell what this is supposed to be because Glasgow(+2) is so fast that he's in the backfield and convinces a guy who is pulling that he needs to slow up to prevent a disaster. This does not prevent a disaster. Bolden(+0.5) flashes to the backfield and forces a bounce; Hill(+2, tackling +2) is unfettered on the edge and makes another nice open field tackle to secure a big loss.
O36 2 17 Shotgun 3-wide 30 nickel slide Pass 4 Tunnel screen Lewis Inc
Lewis(+2, cover +2) is in the WR's grill from the snap; he grabs the guy a bit and then just follows right behind him to prevent the completion. This could be PI maybe except there isn't any behind the LOS.
O36 3 17 Shotgun trips Nickel buck Pass 4 Hitch Ojemudia Inc
Stunt gets Ojemudia(+2) and Glasgow(+1, pressure +3) through directly up the gut, with Ojemudia splitting a double and Glasgow ripping through a late attempt to come off on him. Rowe turfs it just before he gets lit up.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 2 min 2nd Q. Ensuing drive starts with 53 seconds on clock after a botched squib by Allen.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel buck Pass 4 Post Clark Inc
Pocket solid; Henry does drive his guy to the QB but it's late(pressure -1). Rowe can step confidently at a guy running a post that's in between Clark and Morgan(-1, cover -2) in a gap in three deep zones that Rowe finds. Dropped.
O39 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 3 Circle Clark 10
Couple guys fake a rush and then drop out; Henry(+1, pressure +2) takes advantage to shoot up the middle of the field. Rowe has to throw and has a guy as Clark(-1, cover -1) has two minor slips that prevent him from getting to the spot he needs to get to.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 5-1 nickel Pass 5 Corner Peppers Inc
Five man rush doesn't really get through but Rowe does move and re-set because he's alarmed. This exposes him to Glasgow(+0.5), who knocks down two different OL's hands to get edge pressure; Rowe throws an inadvisable ball at Peppers(+2, cover +2), who is in the hip pocket and gets his head around for a PBU.
O49 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel buck Pass 4 Dumpoff Godin Inc
Ojemudia(+1) drives hard at a guard; Godin(+1, pressure +2) loops inside of that to get a run at the QB. He is about to sack when Rowe flings it in the general direction of his RB.
O49 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel buck Pass 4 Drag Morgan Inc
Another attempted stunt up the middle doesn't work as the two guys trying it bump each other. Again the two DEs bull rush the pocket constricted, but pressure -1. Rowe can't find anyone and has to take a dump underneath to his TE that Morgan(+2, cover +3) reads and breaks up.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power O Peppers 2
Corner blitz from the boundary. Peppers(+1) reads the G pull very quickly and shoots to the backfield, drawing the lead block and the attentions of the slot WR. Wormley heads inside to force a bounce into Morgan(+0.5) who scraped and tackled with help from Glasgow and Ojemudia. RPS +1.
M43 2 8 Ace 3-wide Base 3-4 Run N/A Pin and pull Ojemudia -2
Henry(+1) drives the TE back as he tries to down block and significantly disrupts the C's pull; he'll never get where he wants to go. Ojemudia(+2) takes on a lead block from a G, sheds it, and tackles; Morgan(+0.5) used the free run provided by Henry to force the back into Ojemudia's arms.
M45 3 10 Shotgun trips bunch 6-0 dime Pass 5 Angle Lewis Inc
Motion a WR to the bunch behind a couple guys and hope to get him open after the traffic clears; Lewis(+2, cover +2) bites outside but hot damn he's quick and he gets back to the WR for a PBU. Did grab around the waist and may draw a flag here in certain situations but rubbin's racin'. Refs +1. Five man rush had Morgan(+1, pressure +2) through for a hit.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips 30 nickel slide Pass 3 Screen Morgan Inc
M only sends three and drops Ojemudia right into this screen. They only release one OL so he's going to be free; Morgan(+1) beats that OL in space such that he's barely impeded. Eventually irrelevant as Rowe turfs it. RPS +1.
O29 2 10 Ace twins 4-4 over Run N/A Trap Godin 3
Another trap gets the NT as Glasgow(-1) gets crushed to the ground. I kind of want to let this slide since that quickness upfield so so useful but gotta minus it. Godin(+1) holds up to a double well; Morgan(+0.5) surges forward to pop free releasing OL; Ojemudia(+1) rips around a kickout and gets to the RB's feet. Nowhere much to go despite the trap working excellently.
O32 3 7 Shotgun trips Dime buck Pass 5 In Lewis INT
Wormley(+1) surges upfield of a G who hopes he has help from the T; with a rusher out there he does not. Godin is checking screen unnecessarily(?) and there's a big pocket opening up; Hurst backed off in a short spy zone and cuts off some of it; Ojemudia(+1, pressure +2) spins off a block and cuts Rowe off has he tries to scramble. Now it's panic time. He throws it to an in route that Lewis(+4, cover +3) has killed; it's actually so far behind his WR that it's also behind Lewis and a tough catch; he makes it after a bobble.
Drive Notes: Interception, 6-0, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 30 nickel slide Penalty N/A Delay N/A -5
O20 1 15 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 3-4 Run N/A Speed option Hurst 3
Daxx Garman in FWIW. Garman decides to bail on the playside as Hurst(+2) plows through the C and drives a G back into the QB's face (holy pants). He cuts back into RJS and Bolden.
O23 2 12 Shotgun trips Dime over Pass 3 Dumpoff Morgan 22
Man across the board with a three man rush and Hurst spying in case the QB takes off; Morgan(-2, cover-2) gets the RB and ends up a step or two outside of him; RB cuts and Morgan cannot make up the ground. With everyone else way downfield Morgan's inability to tackle here creates a big chunk.
O45 1 10 Shotgun trips Dime even Pass 4 Pop slant Henry Inc
Henry(+1, pressure +1) gets a hand up and bats it down. Slants looked well covered, FWIW.
O45 2 10 Ace 3-wide 30 nickel slide Run N/A Inside zone Wormley 1
Wormley(+1) drives the LT back, bending the RB around him; he sheds and is relevant on the tackle. Bolden(+0.5) comes up and hits a lead blocker and helps; Peppers(+0.5) ran around a block and is the third guy on the tackle.
O46 3 9 Shotgun trips Dime buck Pass 5 Sack Godin -7
Glasgow(+0.5) is just faking a rush before retreating to that short spy zone thing; both the C and the LG are so concerned with him that they do nothing else on the play. That's respect. Godin(+1) drives the LT and then comes under him as LT leaves to block Peppers, sent from the boundary. Wormley(+1) drives the LG way back; Ojemudia(+1) cuts under it; Godin and Ojemudia bury the QB. Pressure +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 nickel slide Pass 3 Sack Hurst -6
Hurst(+3) with his second solo TFL on a three man line of the game. This time he blows through the MD C and Wormley(+0.5) draws the attention of the G. Garman goes down immediately. Pressure +3.
O25 2 16 Shotgun trips Dime under Run N/A Draw Ojemudia 14
Difficult for M with just five guys in the box. Ojemudia(-1) gets way too far upfield and the gap here is huge. Morgan is trying to check all of the gaps and ends up reacting after the RB picks; not much he can do about that. Godin(-0.5) gets hung up as he tries to make a move and eats a double; Morgan(-0.5) does have his lack of NFL wow athleticism exposed a bit here. RB to the outside for a big chunk. RPS -2.
O39 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Sack Henry -7
MD going for all cut blocks on the front, the last resort of a desperate OL. M shoots Bolden to blitz; he gets chopped but both Hurst(+0.5) and Wormley(+0.5) keep their feet and dissuade a throw at a guy Peppers(+1, cover +1) is all over. Henry(+1, pressure +3) takes advantage of the Bolden blitz and consume Garman's soul. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 32 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Improv ??? Inc
Charlton(+2) drives the LT back into the QB; hit as he throws and ball goes wherever. Morgan(+0.5) was sent on a blitz and shot the RB backwards as he tried to block; Henry(+0.5, pressure +2) also pressed. This is the play that Ojemudia is hurt on, which is crazy: this is basically a non-contact injury.
O37 2 10 ??? ??? Pass ??? ??? ??? Inc
Most of this play missed as we see a replay of Ojemudia carried off the field.
O37 3 10 Shotgun trips Dime 6-0 Pass 5 Fly Peppers Inc
Maryland picks up the blitz(pressure -1); Garman throws a just about perfect pass on the fly route that Peppers(+1, cover +1) has just about perfect trail technique on. WR throws out a hand, Peppers does the same, WR would need a spectacular one handed stab to bring this in. Nope.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O5 1 10 Shotgun trips 30 nickel slide Pass 4 Hitch Lewis Inc
Lewis(+1, cover +1) in man press; he is in the WR's grill the whole way. This ends up trying to be a back shoulder throw that ends up wide; many more accurate passes get broken up.
O5 2 10 Shotgun trips 30 nickel slide Pass 3 Slant Morgan Inc
Hurst(+2, pressure +2) is just too quick and runs through an attempted cut block. He hits the QB just after the throw; this is another drop. Morgan(-1, cover -2) took a false step and doesn't widen out enough to get under this; Lewis is in a deep third and reacts such that he may or may not tackle after 10-15.
O5 3 10 Shotgun trips 30 dime slide Pass 5 Scramble RJS 2
Henry(+0.5) drives two guys on his stunt outside; RJS(+0.5) loops around to hit the lane inside. He ends up getting tripped by a guy who fell over trying to block Hurst but Garman is already moving out of the pocket as a result. Morgan(+0.5) tracks him down. Pressure +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Godin 2
Glasgow is moderately blocked by the C; RB has to go inside, where Godin(+1) wins his block and gets to the hole; Morgan(+1) hits a G backwards and gets that guy to fall over. Those two meet at the RB.
O27 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel buck Pass 4 Tunnel screen Clark 7
Peppers(+0.5) draws the attention of two blockers; he can't get through but that should be enough for someone else to; Clark(-1) ends up that guy; he arrives late and tackles up high, allowing the WR to scrape out some YAC.
O34 3 1 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Bolden -1
Bolden(+1) shoots a gap as Glasgow(+1) hits a G and won't let him release to the LB. QB has pulled; RJS(+1) formed up as the optioned guy and the two combine to TFL.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 5 min 4th Q. Mostly backups next drive; not charted.


What do you call that poem


Are you in fact Adam Jacobi


Or what



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Henry 7 1 6 Beast sack was facilitated by D called, but dang.
Glasgow 7.5 3 4.5 Slightly off day.
Wormley 6.5 6.5 No negs in three weeks.
Ojemudia 11.5 3 8.5 Good night, sweet prince.
Charlton 3.5 3.5 M's second favorite stunt loop guy.
Hurst 15 2 13 This week's monster performance.
Godin 6 2 4 Bounced back from a slightly negative performance last week.
RJS 1.5 1.5 Don't think I saw him until the Ojemudia injury.
Marshall - - - DNC.
TOTAL 58.5 11 47.5 They might be good.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 15.5 5.5 10 Three PBU/INTs, all of them impressive, plus Morgan stuff.
Bolden 3.5 5 -1.5 Biffed a FB coverage early, otherwise about even.
Ross 1 1 Scattered snaps only.
Gedeon Did not play until final drive.
TOTAL 20 10.5 9.5 Par for the course.
Player + - T Notes
Lewis 11 11 Sonnnnn
Stribling DNP
Peppers 8 0.5 7.5 Coverage improving by the week.
Wilson 1 1 0 Opponents can't get to him.
Hill 3 3 Another excellent tackle in space.
Clark 4.5 3 1.5 Mostly good.
Thomas 1 1 Could have had an INT but Peppers PR was better option.
TOTAL 28.5 4.5 24 Coverage metric a bit more competitive this week, though.
Pressure 35 6 +29 16 organic, 12(!) stunt, 7 blitz
Coverage 27 13 14 Maryland found some spots they could attack.
Tackling 3 3 Hill.
RPS 8 4 +4 Again no big stuff.

At this point this is basically what we expect. Everyone on the DL is at least good, with maybe one guy having an iffy day. At least one player goes beastmode. Morgan plays well; Bolden is somewhat shaky but not too bad. The secondary is lights out, with maybe a hint of things that better opponents could exploit.

They did find a weak spot or two.

Yeah, this was a bit different than BYU. BYU could find nothing; Maryland had a series of slants that generally worked. When they did not work it was usually the Maryland WRs dropping passes without the intervention of the Michigan D. (Or the QBs dying in a lake of fire.)

Maryland's first snap was a run/pass option (or RPO) that found a soft spot between the linebackers:

That's tough to defend, what with OL releasing at you on a pass. There's a reason everyone's running it these days. The solution here might be to abandon your run responsibilities since you might not have any with this DL; Michigan inserts like three guys in the backfield here, and this wasn't the cut blocking Maryland later resorted to.

Maryland also found Michigan's safeties and corners to be less than immortal colossi astride the universe when their quickness was tested. Peppers got beat here:

Wilso was also beat; later Maryland would hit that tight end for a first down, except the tight end dropped it.

Michigan's ability to drive on these slants and make them difficult throws has been iffy this year. Poor play by opponents has obscured that.

Surely you aren't alarmed by this.

Not "alarmed," but the pregame assertions in this space that Maryland had a better matchup with the Michigan secondary than BYU did were accurate. The results from BYU were an outlier even for this defense. This performance was closer to their true talent level—which is still really damn good. They aren't invincible.

Yes, this is the clarification I am making: Michigan's DBs are not literally unkillable.

I hear you. I have totally lost perspective to the point where any first down makes me upset. I should keep in mind that football teams tend to go forward.

It's true. Our last couple years have maybe made us forget that.

Any other reasons that opponents might in fact go forward?

There was one other thing I expect to be a bugaboo going forward: traps. Maryland clearly spent some time prepping for Michigan traps. They were effective defending them, and once they'd practiced it a bunch it seems like they were like "hell, let's put 'em in." This was a very good idea for them since Michigan's nose tackles spent the game getting shot out of bat-hell cannons and were vulnerable to getting knocked around when hit from an unexpected angle:

Glasgow would later get clobberated on a play that Michigan stuffed anyway.

This is going to keep happening. It's on film as something that works, at least in the narrow context of actually blocking Hurst and/or Glasgow. It is something Michigan will gladly exchange for having their nose tackles in the backfield on every play, but I expect to see Michigan get gashed every once in a while because the opponent called a trap at the right time.

But, I mean… if that's the tradeoff for multiple plays on which the opponent can barely get a screen out because a defensive lineman is already in his chest, I'll take it. This was the snap immediately following the trap that gashed Michigan:

There are non-screen options on that play that could end up dangerous; they never get the chance to develop and Maryland throws a screen that they basically know cannot work.

Got dang, Maurice Hurst.

For real. Maurice Hurst is obviously the story here. He's been good—very good—so far this year. This game was his turn to hit double digits and draw comparisons to the beasts of UFR past. He had a sack on a three man rush (again) and a solo TFL against a double team:

I don't even know how that happens. He'd already created a TFL for Desmond Morgan there, and then he took it back. Later he'd force a speed option all the way to the backside by surging past OL, Mike Martin style:

He is just as disruptive as the starter, and that's saying something.

Meanwhile, Glasgow did not have a day that was spectacular statistically (just one tackle) but contributed to the general defenestration of the Maryland offensive line. We talked about his crazy ability to pursue on that Delano Hill TFL. There was a also a screen on which he made a tackle outside the numbers after getting knocked over. His range and endurance are major assets.

We did see Glasgow take a couple hits in this one. On one particular play he got blown out and sealed by a double team.

That kind of thing was the concern entering this year; it took five games to see any hint of it.

They come from everywhere.

Yeah, I think I say this every week but it's incredible how each game sees a different guy blow up. We've seen monster games from Hurst, Glasgow, Godin, and Wormley now, with Henry and Charlton not that far behind. When guys screw up, which is rarely, often another dude will make a terrific play to cover up for that mistake.

That play where Glasgow gets blown up sees Godin get all the way over to fill the hole. That's a slant helping him, sure. It is also another demonstration of Godin's range. When Glasgow got trapped a bit later in the game Maryland got nothing because Michigan won the rest of the blocks. They are rampant.

How bad will losing Ojemudia be?

Losing a starter, and the starter who was getting the most playing time, is a blow. Ojemudia struggled in the opener largely because Michigan kept putting him in space and he did poorly. Once Michigan dumped that he was putting up consistently good numbers both in traditional counting stats and UFR. This game was one of his best; aside from losing contain on a QB boot he was terrific. There will be a dropoff.

I mean, probably. RJS has seen a significant number of snaps so far this year and has done well enough with them. I bet he blows a couple contains that Ojemudia wouldn't, but with this style of pass rush he doesn't need to be blowing to the quarterback all by himself.

I also wonder if Michigan will sacrifice some flexibility to put the best guys on the field by playing four of their true DL. Charlton is the most obvious guy to move; a line with Wormley or Godin at "WDE"—in that case just DE—is enormous and threatening and maybe a little predictable. If Michigan doesn't want to risk putting Marshall on the field for extended periods you could see RJS switch off with beefier folks.

Or maybe Marshall is actually pretty good and just ended up behind a couple of seniors who were part of a dominant unit. Either way Michigan has a couple of reasonable options. They won't drop off significantly as a result of the injury.

Maryland did a lot of cut blocking?

Yes: the ultimate sign of desperation. Remember this?

That was a play on which the Notre Dame line cut blocked. Clausen didn't have the throw; the result was inevitable. When OLs start cut blocking en masse in pass protection they are waving the white flag. Maryland did a lot of it in the second half, because they thought it couldn't go worse than playing Michigan straight up.

Sometimes it went worse.

But I get it. Michigan's now-pretty-standard series of stunts is proving very difficult to block. Michigan has three incredibly quick 300-pounders on the line at almost all times, so when they drive a gap between two OL they take both guys with them. They're a threat to get to the QB themselves and they have the POWAHHHHHHH to drive both gentlemen yards backwards. Guys looping around almost always find excellent angles to attack, and nobody even trying to block them:

The end result is a pass rush that is far greater than the sum of its parts. They don't have anyone like Ngakoue who can go one on one with an offensive tackle and beat him with his sick moves, but their ability to push the pocket and stay in their lanes has created despair in opposing quarterbacks.

The Ojemudia/Godin sack was a perfect example. Wormley draws 100% of the attention of this guard, who cannot prevent him from driving the pocket. When Ojemudia dives inside the tackle has no chance at him and the guard is choosing how he'd like his QB's ribs to implode. He chooses DE.

Godin is a bonus on this play; having that kind of bonus is how you get the consistent pressure Michigan has gotten all year. The numbers don't do it justice. Michigan has 11 sacks, which is respectable but not dominant. Ask the quarterbacks who have faced them how safe they felt in the pocket and you'll get a different answer than "eh, they were about 34th nationally."

Meanwhile Michigan has a 320 pound guy who can get upfield fast enough to force an early throw on a screen.

He is a defensive end. He is maybe the fourth best player Michigan has on the defensive line. Cut blocking or cowering in terror; same thing in this game.

I am normally skeptical about Morgan, who seems like your binkie, because I like clichés about getting sideline to sideline, but after this game's unsubtle good plays you have a small window to convince me that he's actually good.

The funny thing is that we've barely seen Morgan get to do the linebacker things he's really good at because blockers—hell, plays—barely get to him. This game did provide a couple of exceptions. Michigan got creased on a third and eight run that could have converted; Morgan took on a blocker and made a tackle in space:

He knows what he wants to do there before he makes contact, and then he does it. He's Spring Bolden during the actual season. After the game he mentioned that his interception was facilitated by the fact that he told the rest of the D that Maryland liked to screen in the situation they were in, and his two PBUs were both highly aware plays where he read the QB and got to the passing lane.

So that's all very good hooray and +10.

But fine okay, he is not Brian Urlacher. There were a couple plays on which Morgan's lack of NFL athleticism did get exposed. I don't think the long draw play Maryland managed was much on him since he was the sole linebacker in a five man box and the RB had two huge gaps on either side of the guards. It was just too much space for anyone who is not superhuman to shut down.

Morgan did get beat on a little dump pass for a significant gain, and here I think he does need* to do better:

Get beat, fine. Football is hard. Get beat such that you can't get a hand on the guy and you're going to give up a big chunk. The number of times this has come up in games is so limited.

*[for an incredibly strict definition of need]

You're again on Bolden.

I mean… he's fine. He did some nice things in this game, he did some not so nice things. Getting beat by a fullback on third and ten is a not very nice thing:

Bolden shouldn't be getting flanked no matter what there because he should be funneling to Morgan; to not only get beat for the catch but be in no position to tackle is a bad time.

I don't have much hope it's suddenly going to come together for him anymore, but he's fine. It's likely that on an average defense we wouldn't talk about him much because he'd fit in with the guys around him. On this defense he sticks out because he's not a rampaging cyborg.

Speaking of rampaging cyborgs, Jabrill Peppers!

Excellent segue.

Thank you.

We saw progress from Peppers for the second straight week. While he's still a bit vulnerable on short stuff, he's too fast to beat for long. Nobody got past him when he went into trail coverage on the outside.

He's not even close to running full speed there. He's just on a leisurely jog with the WR and then gets his head around. A later attempt to test his coverage went almost as well as it could and still didn't come close to a completion:

That's about as good as you can throw that; WR can only get a hand on the ball because the window here is measured in inches.

And while teams have basically abandoned the idea of testing him on screens we did get to see his ability to run around a blocker to the "wrong" side and make it work because he's an incredible athlete.

There was also a punt return that should have been 40 yards but Peppers stepped OOB. He's an impact player.

He is not as much of a cyborg as Jourdan Lewis, though.I don't know if he's going to get the recognition because usually they just grab the guys with the most interceptions but I think he's an All-American. He got beat from time to time here because he is human, but I mean:

That should work. Lewis should not even be in position to get a little bit of hand on the waist and then extend through for a PBU. He is set up outside and has to make up a ton of ground in not much time. He does. On his interception he dominated the drag route to the point where his biggest problem was the fact that the ball was behind him:

In this game he seemed to follow around Levern Jacobs, one of the quickest guys in the Big Ten, and matched him stride for stride. Sometimes literally:

He blew up a tunnel screen by getting in and remaining in that dude's hip pocket. The stats on his season match the unprecedented UFR numbers he's racking up:

Your mission for the next eight months is to tranquilize any NFL scouts you see at Michigan Stadium.

Finally, while Clark's interception was a bit of a gift it's very nice that Michigan can effectively bracket receivers 15 yards downfield. Trail works for him because he is fast and tall. If he's a step behind he's even, because he's 6'4". Trying to put it over him is dangerous. The worst he's looked this year was when he got beat on a couple slants against Oregon State, and he still recovered to get a PBU on one of those. Michigan's put him in a situation where he can succeed despite his unusual frame for a corner.

Anything on safeties?

I mean… no. They are mostly off screen preventing long passes. This is good. It doesn't lend itself to talking.

Cumong man, give me something.

Delano Hill hasn't shown up on our screens too much yet; that means he's good at dissuading throws to a deep half, probably. We don't know too much else, but this game provided a second indicator Hill is good at tackling in space:

There are a lot of ways that can go that end up with a 3 yard or 1 yard TFL; to get seven on that is a big swing even if Maryland is definitely going to be in second and long either way. Add that to the tackle on Oregon State's QB and we're one away from a trend.

(Hill left after that play but returned on the next series; he should be fine.)

Can we revisit the punt return?


Is there a penalty on it?

Maybe? Check Jarrod Wilson after Peppers escapes the first two guys and encounters the last gentleman between him and the sideline:

That's a little shove in the back, which isn't enough to draw a flag but does throw the Maryland player off just enough for Peppers to squeeze by. Michigan's did an excellent job of not drawing a flag on that return, and I wonder if that little nudge is a coincidence or coaching. These days you have to think it might be the latter.

Oh also

punt idiot punt[2]

This was after a 59 yard punt. I am so happy.


Just about everybody. Hurst, Morgan, Lewis, and Peppers nosed above the field.

Maybe no so heroic?

Again, Bolden is fine, but he does kind of stand out as the not-also-excellent spot.

What does it mean for Northwestern and beyond?

Wildcats gon' die. Clayton Thorson had under 200 yards of passing combined against Duke and Stanford. He's their best chance.

Replacing Ojemudia is doable. Charlton and RJS both promise to bring the kind of stunting that has been so effective for Michigan thus far. Neither is likely to execute their assignments as consistently; I don't expect the dropoff to be huge here. It will be noticeable, though.

Peppers is getting better in coverage. He's applying his athleticism more effectively.

There are spots underneath that you can make some headway in if you're quick enough. At some point there are going to be a couple of frustrating long scoring drives against Michigan on which the opponent hits a bunch of YAC-y throws from 5 to 15 yards.

Hurst is also All Big Ten level. Michigan's DL depth is insaaaaane.



October 7th, 2015 at 4:21 PM ^

The drives you are suggesting being the Achilles of the defense are going to be very difficult for offenses to consistently replicate without making mistakes or not executing and stall their drives.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 8th, 2015 at 6:41 AM ^

Teams do not like throwing slants over the middle of the field because they are very high risk.  You only see this with the GREAT passing attacks and usually the throws are very low because anything thrown above waist level runs the risk of being tipped up in the air either by the offensive or defensive player, and then picked off.  I don't think we have many teams on the schedule who have NFL caliber QB & slot WR combos.  Maybe MSU

Ron Utah

October 7th, 2015 at 4:39 PM ^

You were right: Morgan is the better LB.  He has been lights out this season and will get drafted.  He reminds me of a Patriots ILB: smart, good tackler, lacks measurables.  He is sort of like Brandon Spikes in this regard.

Bolden has been a disappointment.  I thought with this coaching he would be a star.  To be fair, we don't even need him on the field all that often, and he hasn't been awful, but I was thinking/hoping we'd see blitzes and TFLs from him.

I will put some lemon juice in my pasta tonight to atone.


October 7th, 2015 at 4:48 PM ^

After you say "Peppers got beat here:" the video is just a replay of the video before, where Peppers is in fact not getting beat but rather rushing the passer. The video that is supposed to be the play after the trap that gashed us is, instead, the trap that gashed us, though I think the next video is the doomed screen.

ETA: Two more video repeats after the cutblocking video moving everything there off as well. Going to wait to read the rest of it until these are fixed.


October 7th, 2015 at 4:42 PM ^

the game I was literall LOL'n when Henry busted past the Maryland line cut blocking.



fwiw, following the game by phone made me a little frustrated at the first half.  I just assumed they were struggling.  When I got home I started at the beginning and was pleasantly surprised to see the defense completely dominant.


October 7th, 2015 at 5:03 PM ^

Achilles injuries are weird and freakish. Anecdote from personal experience:  Playing IM flag football a couple years ago my friend ruptured his Achilles simply running a route.  He had surgery, then was on crutches for months, rehab, etc. One year later he's at full health. IM flag football season starts up again. First game, the same friend runs a route and collapses... ruptures achilles on the opposite foot.  Bizarre in it's timing.  Anyone with medical knowledge know how this generally happens?


October 7th, 2015 at 4:50 PM ^

Remember watching how horrendously awful we were in 2009 and 2010? Guys with literally no clue what to do. Coaches with no idea what to do. That sinking feeling every time the other team had 3rd & 15 that they would convert anyway...and they would.

The chief complaint right now is "Joe Bolden is a fairly average linebacker"...AND THATS IT. Watching defensive highlights of this season is football porn and also probably illegal in 22 states

Clayton Thorson is indeed going to die. I see no way in which Northwestern's offense isn't getting seriously pwned this weekend


October 7th, 2015 at 4:50 PM ^

I really like this comparison. Morgan is a very good "2 Down" NFL Linebacker - someone who would probably be lifted for the nickel. Urlacher was a "3 Down" guy. And a freak. 6'4", 260, ran a 4.4 ish 40, yeah. Freak. For proof look at how Mike Vick did against the Bears - Urlacher matched up with him very well.

Morgan is not that guy. With worse DL/DBs he might get exposed more. In this defense he's a great fit and very good at 95% of what he's asked to do. The 5% requires perfect execution by the opponent, including the DL not killing the QB.


October 7th, 2015 at 5:02 PM ^

I will never tire of that Willie Henry sack.  Garman takes the snap and instantly finds Henry blocking out the sun with his outstretched arms - and then get tossed like a sock in the dryer.  Amazing.


October 7th, 2015 at 6:56 PM ^

Such a smart play by Henry. Putting your hands up to prevent a throwing lane is a great move. So often guys get sack happy and dive and miss, or dive and have a pass zing right past them. The only option he gave that QB was to turn blindly to scramble and pray that no one was flying in off the edge to kill him. Instead, he did nothing and got Donkey Kong'd.


October 7th, 2015 at 5:03 PM ^

It's mind bottling that we can run 5-6 guys in the box all game and dominate the L.O.S. Even stopping the run, getting consistent pressure, and multiple sacks rushing only 3. Where did this come from?


October 7th, 2015 at 5:05 PM ^

Thorsen threw for just 70 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs. He rushed for 21 yrds on 11 attempts.

And Northwestern still won the game because:

a. a Duke fumble at their 24 resulted in an easy Northwestern FG and

b. Wildcats returned the second half kick off for a TD.

Game over? Well, Duke outgained NU 327 - 271 and for some inexplicable reason despite a 5.1 ypc rushing average the Blue Demons decided  it best to abandon the running game in the second half.  Dumb.

Duke had 3 turnovers, but Northwestern could capitalize on only one of them and only with 3 pts.

70% of the Northwestern offense is Clayton Thorsen.

If Michigan's defense can successfully harrass that young man like they did to Oregon St, UNLV, BYU and Maryland QB, then yeesh!  I think this could be another version of M00N.

However, If Michigan commits turnovers, and let's fact it, they probably will, I'm not confident NW can convert them to easy points.

What Michigan has to watch out for kick returns and punt returns vs. NW. Wildcats have scored I think 2 or 3 TDs this year, and gained lots of yards and big plays on special teams.

Space Coyote

October 7th, 2015 at 5:11 PM ^

Michigan needs to bottle up Jackson and force Thorson to beat them. I like Thorson going forward, I think he'll be a good player, but Jackson is the danger man and the guy that the offense as a whole is based around (runs, run fakes, and play action set up a ton of their offense).

You take away the threat of Jackson without selling out on it (read: still playing sound around it), Northwestern's offense isn't designed in a way to get a lot of yards. The pass game is conservative and simple, Thorson isn't a great runner (though he's mobile enough to keep a D honest), and so they'd have to consistently and methodically work their way down the field against a very good defense, which is a tough task for a RS FR QB on the road that's completing 56% of his passes for 6.3 YPA.

Take away Jackson, the rest will fall into place for the defense.


October 7th, 2015 at 6:01 PM ^

NW actually has 3 decent running backs with 4.0 ypc+ (Jackson, Warren Long and Solomon Vault) plus QB Thorson.

As a spread option team, that read option exchange is going to be real interesting, particularly with a new face at Michigan's DE spot trying to react.  Michigan's defense did a decent job of limiting Utah's Devontae Booker (69 yrds on 22 carries, 1 TD) at the cost of letting Travis Wilson rush for 51 and score an easy TD run.  That's what worries me about Thorson. He's not that fast, but he did a 42 yard touchdown run earlier this year.

NW appears to be 60% run team: 1244 yards rushing vs. 711 passing.

Thorson had a rough outing at Duke earlier this year (NW's only away game) in Wallace Wade Stadium in front of about 35,000 fans.  But he seems to be in a much better rhythm the last two weeks (vs. Ball St., vs Minnesota). 

Hopefully Michigan Stadium will be unusually loud this Saturday.




October 7th, 2015 at 9:15 PM ^

Yes I am not sure where you get the idea that a freshman QB is the key to the NW offense or the dominant part of it.  You try to make life simple for him.

Jackson is their stud but they have other decent backs too.  You win by taking away their run game, limit turnovers and dont look dumb on special teams.  NW has very good defense, and run offense and special teams (best punt return defense in the country and some dangerous return men) - a great recipe to win a lot of games.  They are a QB away from actually being quite dangerous - a lot like UM.

Thru 5 games they ave 80 plays a game and 57 of those are runs or 71%.  That is not a Thorson dominant offense.  It's Tressel of Chicago style.