Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Oregon State

Submitted by Brian on September 16th, 2015 at 2:59 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Michigan stuck mostly with its nickel even against a run-oriented spread team. At times either Peppers or Hill would line up as a WLB:

nickel-4-3

My deeply unsatisfying nomenclature for this was "nickel 4-3." I know this is a nonsense thing to say, but this is the world we live in.

I also don't like calling this a "3-3-5 nickel" since it's really just taking a DE and having him run at the LOS:

3-3-5-nickel

I need better lingo for that if you've got it.

M did this some with Frank Clark last year and they're continuing to do it with Ojemudia. I kind of get the idea, but execution so far has been weak.

shotgun te H

Oregon State used a lot of H-backs and I designated those with "H" after whatever the formation is. This is Shotgun TE H for the Beavers. Michigan is an actual 4-3 here.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Much the same as the first game, with heavy rotation on the front that justifies the OR next to Matt Godin's name. He played both DE and DT and probably got as much time as either Henry or Wormley. Glasgow probably got the most snaps on the DL; Hurst appearances were infrequent. It was mostly Ojemudia at buck, with a reasonable number of RJS appearances.

Secondary was as in the first game: Lewis, Peppers, Hill, Wilson + Stribling/Clark. When they went to a 4-3 it was Stribling/Clark coming off the field instead of Hill. After Lewis went out it was Stribling and Clark. Dymonte Thomas got some snaps in the dime.

LBs were Morgan and Bolden with Ross coming in for 4-3 snaps; Gedeon and Ross both got a couple drives as ILBs.

[After THE JUMP: short is good]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel even Run N/A Jet zone stretch Wilson 2
Wilson(+1) flies down from his S spot on the jet motion, cutting off the lead blocker and shedding to get in a tackle attempt in the backfield. Godin(+0.5) has flowed down the line and can also tackle thanks to the Wilson play; Wormley(-1) got cut and is out of position so there is a crease to fall forward in, albeit not much of one with Bolden(+0.5) rocking an OL back and bumping him into the back.
O23 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide H 30 nickel press Run N/A Inside zone Morgan 26
Michigan blitzes Peppers off the edge so they don't need a QB contain guy. Wormley is unblocked on the backside and shuffling down after hitting a tackle trying to release past him. He's watching cutback lanes. Glasgow(-1) does well to get a little depth against the C but he doesn't fight to a gap and when the running back gets to him there's a crease to the inside of him; given the backside blitz I believe he's got to get to the frontside of this gap. M now has a problem. Bolden(-1) takes on a downfield block from the guard and puts himself on one side of it, which means it's an easy read. He's trying to make a play here in a situation where mitigating the gain is probably the play. Morgan(-2) gets held outside too long by the read action; he should be more aggressive to the RB given the blitz. He compounds matters by going upfield of the block, and it's secondary time. This does allow us to watch Peppers(+0.5) run this down from behind because he's fast.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel over Pass 4 PA rollout out Stribling? Inc
Outside zone play action into a rollout to the field. Wormley(+1, pressure +1) maintains the edge and rushes up to hit the QB as he throws, causing the ball to sail. Nobody tried to block him, really, so just 1. Meanwhile downfield this guy is wide open after Peppers(-1) misses a jam and something happens downfield. No replay but my guess is Stribling(-1, cover -2) did not come off his guy when he should have passed him to Wilson.
O49 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 even Run N/A Jet inverted veer give Ross 21
James Ross gets held(refs -2) on a play that goes outside of him and would have been a minimal gain otherwise. This is very blatant, as the TE is grabbing the outside of Ross's shoulder pads right when he tries to disengage; Ross can only wave an arm. The unnatural way that Ross moves as he tries to disengage should be a dead giveaway but this is just the first of several refereeing disasters this crew will inflict on Michigan over the course of the day.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 5 Rollout hitch Stribling 12
Simple high low read of the corner that Stribling(-1, cover -1) first comes up on, then thinks he needs to drop back on. When the throw comes it is to the short guy and is a high-arcing armpunt that Stribling cannot redirect fast enough on to PBU or INT; missed opportunity. With Wilson lined up directly over the slot receiver running behind Stribling I think Stribling's first inclination was correct. Meanwhile, Hurst(+2, pressure +2) tore through a guard here and hit the QB on the throw, forcing a high looper that looked like an INT when released. Lewis(-1) leapt offside on a corner blitz.
M18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel even Run N/A QB counter zone Wormley -3
Split zone action with the RB coming back across the formation in the hope it will draw linebackers. It becomes irrelevant as Wormley(+3) and Henry(+2) both wreck their blockers, with Wormley coming under to TFL by himself. This was bad on both LBs part, as neither Bolden(-1) and Morgan(-1) read the line action and end up going directly upfield not particularly near either potential ballcarrier.
M21 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Pass N/A Wheel Lewis 21
WLB Peppers is “nickel 4-3” even though that makes no sense. PA fake with the two receivers to the field crossing mid play; Michigan switches up on those guys, with Lewis running after the wheel route and Wilson taking the post. Lewis(+0.5, cover +1) is trailing, finds the ball, takes a swat at it, and misses by maybe six inches. QB makes a perfect throw despite the fact that Godin(+0.5) and Wormley(+1) combined to get Godin through on a stunt to hit the QB as he throws (pressure +1), with Wormley driving the action by clubbing his blocker back so far that Godin has an easy angle to the QB.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 4-3 even Pass 4 QB throwback wheel Ojemudia Inc
Trick play attempt is nerfed by Ojemudia(+2, pressure +2), who shoves the TE back and disengages quickly, forcing the WR to make a wild throw off his back foot. Peppers(-1, cover -2) had abandoned the backside so without the Ojemudia play this was going to work.
M24 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Godin 4
Nowhere to go on the frontside as Ojemudia(+0.5) and Godin(+1) get depth as they flow down the line, with Godin taking on stiffer blocking. Glasgow is doing all right but ended up getting shoved a bit further down the line than is ideal; Charlton(+0.5) pursues from the backside to initiate a tackle; RB fumbles it into the air by running into his own OL; Bolden(+1) makes a nice one handed stab of it and has a nice return after.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel 4-3 zero press Run N/A Inside zone read Wormley 0
M seems to understand the TE is covered and gets super aggressive as a result, nice. This is probably the TFL Wormley got subtracted; it is a TFL by a few inches at least. By the way, Wormley(+2) shoots under that TE and nails the RB; Glasgow(+1) burrowed under a double team and forced the back to doomsville. Bolden(+0.5) on the scene in case any shenanigans occurred. RPS +1.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel under? Run N/A Inverted veer give Wormley 3
Come back from this late so guesses. Wormley(+1) is pushing the back well wide of desired path when we return; Peppers misses a tackle but does force the guy to bend out even further; Lewis(+0.5) shed a DB and comes up to tackle on the edge.
O28 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide Okie one Run N/A QB draw Morgan 6
Back zips out of the backfield right before the snap, drawing Ojemudia with him, in apparent man coverage. Glasgow(-1) gets clubbed to the ground, which is an issue. OL is able to get out on Morgan. Bolden(+0.5) has a pretty tough duty as he's running to the center of the field on the snap and gets this QB in all the space; he does form up and force it back, where Morgan (+1) is there after shedding the blocker who got out on him and taking the precise angle necessary to plunk the QB at the shortest distance. This results in fourth and a half yard and a punt. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 4-3 under Run N/A Jet counter Bolden 2
Jet action with a G pulling to the backside of the play and a zone read back there. Hurst(-1) is pushing to the front of the play and gets run over. Ojemudia(+0.5) forms up, induces a give, and then starts constricting space; his play in space convinces the puller to hit him, leaving Bolden(+1, tackling +1) in a healthy amount of space unblocked; he makes a solid tackle.
O24 2 8 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Clark 9
Pressure is decent as Hurst(+0.5) is driving to the QB and if he has to come off read one he's going to have to start moving. He doesn't as Clark(-1, cover -1) gets beat on a slant.
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel under Run N/A Zone read keeper Wormley -2
OSU bust, as Wormley is left alone when it looks like the QB expects the H back to block down on him so he can arc around. Wormley(+1, tackling +1) does do a good job to corral a fast QB in a bunch of space and tackle for loss one he contains. Glasgow(+0.5) also helped; check out Peppers(+1) again owning a block to the outside; even without the Wormley play this is likely in trouble.
O31 2 12 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel under Run N/A Zone read keeper Bolden 17
The zone read bust. Ojemudia crashes down on the back hard; Bolden(-2), lined up just behind the NT, blitzes up the gut when I'm almost certain he should be exchanging behind Ojemudia. This is admittedly circumstantial but they lift Bolden for Ross after this play and leave Ojemudia in.
O48 1 10 Shotgun TE H Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Peppers Inc (Pen +15)
Peppers(-1, cover -1) does kind of run through the WR here; he gets his head around somewhat but I'm not surprised they called this except for the fact that they ignored a more blatant PI earlier on Darboh. It isn't super blatant so just -1. You could get away with this sometimes.
M37 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Down G Morgan 0
Frontside G pull and a bunch of tight ends. Ross(+1) rocks back a TE and creates an awkward situation for pullers. Glasgow(+1) rips away an OL and shows up a gap further inside so a bounce is required. Wilson came up and tried to shoot inside the WR; he gets held up a bit... kind of meh. Lewis is now an unblocked force guy; he comes down to set the edge and absorbs one of two pullers; Morgan(+1, tackling +1) almost ends up in the wrong gap but reads the RB cut and gets to the POA, where he has an impressive stick-em tackle that prevents YAC for a second before damn near everyone on the D joins in.
M37 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly RJS 4
Intended to go weakside. RJS(+0.5) forms up, forces give, and then constricts to help tackle. Bolden(+0.5) redirects to join RJS, with Morgan over the top in case things go wrong.
M33 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 5 In Morgan Inc
Morgan and Ojemudia as LB-ish guys; M sends both. Ojemudia draws an OL, leaving an RB on Morgan(+1, pressure +1). Morgan  sheds an attempted cut block. He's about to sack; Collins moves up in the pocket unwisely and tries a jump pass that's unsurprisingly nowhere near his target. Clark might have been beaten on a well thrown ball but hard to tell.
M33 4 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 5 Tunnel screen Peppers 6
Several commentators questioned what the WR was doing here since if he cuts outside he has a touchdown. The answer is: running a tunnel screen like you would normally. He never looks to the outside, which is not uncommon. Thomas(-3, cover -3) has completely blown his assignment and run at a guy screening off Hill from the outside WR and does open this up for a touchdown. WR does not see it though and Peppers(+1, tackling +1) comes from so far away at the snap that it is clear nobody even accounted for him. Michigan was in a lot of trouble here as they blitz and don't have anyone really even in the area. RPS -2.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 3-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Zone read keeper Bolden 7
Ojemudia a quasi LB who blitzes inside of Godin. Everyone is blocked on the front; QB thinks he has the edge and pulls. Godin(+1) reacts really well to that action and forces it back inside; he has no chance to make a tackle here but he does well just to contain. Peppers understandably thinks he's got to do the same and ends up chasing; M has no help from anyone else in the front seven. Bolden(-1) reads the pull really late. Ojemudia(-1) also fails to see the pull, ripping to a RB who does not have the ball. Secondary closes it down, with Collins trying to leap over Wilson and getting spectacularly flipped for his trouble.
O20 2 3 Shotgun TE H 4-3 over Run N/A QB counter Bolden 6
Jet action; backside G pulls and the H back and RB join. Michigan in trouble here. Ojemudia(-1) gets sealed inside; he will not string the play out at all. Peppers and Bolden will combine to tackle just past the first down marker but barely, and if they don't this could be a touchdown. Bolden(+1) fends off a TE block; Peppers(+1) explodes through a cut and both guys manage to latch on. RPS -2.
O26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-3 under Pass N/A PA rollout out Wilson 5
Standard five yard rollout out; Wilson there for immediate tackle; push.
O31 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel 4-3 Run N/A Split zone Peppers 2
Peppers at WLB again. With Wilson takes with the jet fake and no real zone read threat from this play's pattern this is six on seven in the box for M. They just have to feed the back to the free hitter. Bolden and Gedeon fill the backside hole okay. Glasgow(+0.5) drives his man back; Henry(+0.5) stands his up and sheds to help initiate a tackle ; Peppers(+0.5) reads and flows to hit. RPS +1.
O33 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 even Pass 5 Drag Hill 9
Michigan starts pumping fists in the air on the jet motion from the WR; Hill looks confused and never follows suit; Lewis drops out to be the free safety and everyone runs man under that except Hill(-2, cover -2), who camps out in a flat zone as a TE drags across the formation. This was probably a conversion anyway as M was throwing man coverage at a mesh route. RPS -1.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-3 even Run N/A Split zone give Glasgow 0
Glasgow(+2) hurls the left guard back into the H back. Then he tackles. Henry(+0.5) and Wormley(+0.5) also got drive; this was going nowhere.
O42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 3
M uses the LB/DE thing again, and this time you can see why it might work. Faced with an odd front the playside G releases downfield; Hurst(+1) drives to the gap he just vacated and cuts it off. RB cuts behind that and now the G has no angle to block Gedeon(+0.5), who sees the cut and attacks it for a decent tackle. Back can still fall forward; RJS(+0.5) ended up getting creased momentarily but did come off his block to help tackle. RPS +1.
O45 3 7 Shotgun 2-back 3-2-6 Dime Pass 5 Scramble Hill 0
Godin(-1) at DE allows the QB to escape the pocket too easily and for a moment this looks like it's going to be a sure first down and more with just Hill(+2, tackling +2) in space against a very fast and shifty QB. Hill manages to cut off the outside and then redirect to explode into the QB's legs, bringing him down for nothing.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 over Pass N/A Flash screen Lewis 16
Lewis(-2) makes the same mistake opposing CBs have generally made, giving up the edge and a first down instead of forcing it back to Ross. If you do this you'd better make the play; Lewis did not.
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 nickel Pass 4 Fade Stribling Inc
This is pretty odd: Wormley(+1, pressure +1) is cut by the LT on a pass play that goes well downfield. Wormley's barely delayed and forces a throw. It's at Stribling(+1, cover +1) who is step for step and gets his head around. Not sure this is a PBU but it would have been very difficult to complete this no matter how good the throw was.
O36 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide tight Nickel even Run N/A Jet sweep Lewis 3
Lewis(+0.5) backs out into a flat zone on the snap and is likely to contain this; with Wormley(+0.5) forming up and then pursuing outside there's not a lot of room; their Bolden tries to break it out and stumbles to the ground.
O39 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Dig Peppers Inc
Peppers(-1, cover -1) gets beat as he misses a jam while he's in man coverage and struggles to recover. Wormley(+1, pressure +1) drives through the LT and impacts Collins just after his throw, maybe causing it to sail and preventing a completion. Wormley is just killing these guys even when he's not making the tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-7, 3 min 1st Q. Rollout punt flag fiasco, M immediately back on D.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Shotgun TE H 4-3 even Pass 4 Out and up Lewis Inc
Max pro against a four man rush gets Collins time. His only option is to test Lewis(+2, cover +2). The throw is there, Lewis battles and rakes it out and just got damn Jourdan Lewis. Both guys are hurt on this play; Lewis leaves for the day with a concussion.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide? Nickel even? Pass 4 Scramble Morgan 8
Director misses a chunk of this play. Jet fake to a waggle-ish rollout. Morgan(-1, cover -1) overreacts to the rollout motion that Lyons is moving out to cover and Ojemudia forces back inside. This opens up receivers but Collins just takes off when he sees the lane for a nice gain. Glasgow(+0.5) does a nice job to recover and tackle.
M38 3 2 Shotgun TE H 4-3 over Run N/A QB counter Ross -1
M all over this action. Bolden does a Morgan thing by whacking Wormley pre-snap to get him to widen out; feels like M expects this and has it dead to rights. Wormley(+0.5) and Bolden(+0.5) cut off the outside. Morgan(-0.5) eats a block; Ross(+1) knows what he's looking for and zips to the gap the QB is hitting; QB spins out of the tackle but the delay is enough to allow Ojemudia(+0.5) and Wormley to converge. RPS +2. No hesitation from the LBs here.
Drive Notes: Eventual yakety snap, 10-7, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Pistol 3-wide H 3-3-5 nickel Run N/A Split zone Godin? 8 +15 pen
I am not a fan of this 3-3-5 thing, as it seems to output bad results more frequently than not. This play has a jet fake and sends the H back to the backside, where M is clearly wary of a zone read arc keeper. Morgan(-0.5) and Bolden(-0.5) both eat blocks. Godin forms up on a zone read fake and cannot collapse inside fast enough to do anything about it; Glasgow got penetration but there's just enough of a crease. Ojemudia(-1) is never relevant but this is difficult for him and just run a dang 4-2. RPS -1. Bolden(-1) adds a facemask to the run.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-3 even Pass 4 Waggle TE flat Wormley Inc
Wormley(+0.5) gets the edge after running through the flat TE and closes really fast for a 300 pound dude. Dump to TE is going to be killed as 3 guys are converging (cover +2) and nothing else is open; dropped.
O46 2 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 even Run N/A Inside zone Ross 3
OSU borf more than anything else as both TEs flare out wide without anything resembling a threat to to the outside. Godin(+0.5) burrows to the frontside gap and when the cutback comes Ross is unblocked and Morgan(+0.5) scrapes to the hole to tackle.
O49 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Run 5 QB draw Ojemudia -1
QB draw meets a playcall designed to destroy it. OSU busts on the line and gives Henry a free run but it didn't really matter since Ojemudia(+1) stunts right into the running lane and tackles for a loss. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-7, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins Base 3-4 Pass 4 PA waggle out Morgan Inc
Think Wilson(-1, cover -1) is beat on this throw when the rollout should allow him to play it aggressively; Morgan(+1, pressure +1) did a great job to read the roll and attack the QB, so this is another errant jump pass by a hurried QB.
O15 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 under Run N/A Jet sweep Bolden 1
M looking for this with Bolden flared to the sideline; Bolden(+1) does have to take on a TE block from a guy with a free release; he pushes the guy back and sheds to the sideline. Peppers(+0.5) contains it at the numbers and Bolden tackles after a modest gain. RPS +1.
O16 3 9 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 Dime Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
whoops
O11 3 14 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 Dime Pass 3 Sack Wormley -9
Wormley(+3, pressure +3) gets his Brandon Graham on.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-7, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Pistol 3-wide H Nickel even Run N/A Power O Charlton 2
Charlton(+1) gets the H back and treats him like an impertinent child; he can go to either side here. He first cuts off the inside, forcing the back away from his puller, and then gets back outside to start a tackle. Bolden(+0.5), unblocked, comes up to finish the tackle. Godin(+1) surged through a double to also cut off the intended gap.
O18 2 8 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Clark Inc
Clark(+2, cover +2) gets beat to the inside for a moment but recovers to get a PBU thanks to his size. There was maybe a window for OSU to complete this but it was a small one.
O18 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 RB flat Henry Inc
This is not a screen. It kind of looks like one as Henry(+1) and Ojemudia(+1) both surge through blockers who seem confused about what they're doing (pressure +3) and force a quick inaccurate dump. Morgan had said dump.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-7, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Wheel Peppers Inc
The Ignominious Demise Of Oregon State Receiver At The Hands Of Jabrill Peppers. I think the culprit on the coverage here is Stribling(-2, cover -2), who is in three deep and doesn't pass a post route off to FS Hill. This is long enough that it should be in his purview. Peppers(+2) closes on a short popup of a throw and ends the WR, knocking the ball free. Popup nature of the throw thanks to Wormley(+1, pressure +1) blasting through a double and forcing a hurried rollout from the QB. Henry(+0.5) had also spun through and was going to help if this throw was not made.
O46 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 30 nickel off Pass 4 Screen Peppers 0
Peppers(+2) again is just too fast to effectively do anything with on the edge. A lineman pulls out to try to get him but Peppers runs past the block and forces the RB to jump past a tackle attempt barely outside the hash. This allows Glasgow(+0.5) to flow down the line and tackle. Morgan(+0.5) also beat a block to show up and would have helped finished a half-tackle.
O46 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Sack Morgan -8
Coverage(+3) sack as the line doesn't get quick pressure(-1). RJS does kind of bother the QB after a bit, but he rolls mostly because his clock goes off and not because there is immediate danger. Coverage is still good as he rolls; Morgan(+1) contains him and sacks when he can't pull the trigger.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-7, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel 4-3 Run N/A Power O keeper Ross 0
No idea what this is supposed to look like but probably not this. Hurst(+1) drives his guy back and two gaps him. Godin(-1) gets tackled and is out of the play. This takes a long time to develop after the pull; RJS(+0.5) contains and Ross(+1) gets past a blocker and shoots to tackle.
O25 2 10 Pistol 3-wide H Nickel 4-3 Run N/A Inside zone Ross 6
Godin(+1) rips to the hole and Ross(+1) again shoots past a blocker to show up in the hole; RB has to bounce outside, where Hill contains; RJS(-1) wasn't able to make an initial play on the bounce and then gets shoved out of his gap as he tries to react, so there's a gap inside. Ross tackles from behind.
O31 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Charlton 2
Charlton(+1) is supposed to run upfield and get cut by the back; back reveals his intentions to soon and Charlton slows up, leaping to bat a pass he assumes is on the way. It's not. Charlton then runs up to contain the QB, flushing him, and chases from behind. Coverage(+2) good downfield; Gedeon(+1) tracks the QB sideline to sideline and knocks him out before the marker.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-7, 2 min 4th Q. EOG for D.

They did not get any yards.

No. Oregon State drives:

  • 79-yard TD drive
  • 50 yard drive that ends on downs
  • 31 yards and punt
  • ~20 yard drive before Tacopunts
  • 5 three and outs
  • four and out
  • two play fumble drive

That's thoroughly dominant.

So then what happened on that one drive?

That drive came in four big chunks. On the first one Oregon State busted a big run up the middle:

That is a corner blitz on which a couple of players don't react to the fact that they've got Peppers roaring to the back of the play; Glasgow and Godin get creased and Morgan is way too concerned with the QB or RB popping out the backside given the D playcall. (Also check out how much ground Peppers makes up on this dude as he chases from behind.)

James Ross is held blatantly on the second:

You can see that Ross wins that block and gets outside of it, but then he cannot release because the tight end is grabbing the outside of his shoulder pads. The way Ross moves after he gets outside the block is completely unnatural and should have been a dead giveaway, but this was only the start of a largely incompetent day from the refereeing crew.

Stribling played a hitch badly on a ball that could have been intercepted for 12 yards; the rest came on the touchdown:

Lewis ends up trailing there but that's an NFL window that Oregon State hit. Here is a cookie.

CHART

You didn't even interrupt me.

I thought I would follow the example of the defense in the second half and just cut you off before you even get started. 

Ah so. This was 53 plays; a pretty short game.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Henry 4.5 4.5 Slightly quiet day.
Glasgow 6 2 4 Partially culpable on first big run, otherwise good.
Wormley 16 1 15 Monster day that may presage national stardom.
Ojemudia 5.5 3 2.5 Recovery from last week.
Charlton 2.5 2.5 Solid late.
Hurst 4.5 1 3.5 Got some good push.
Godin 5.5 2 3.5 Lot of snaps at end and tackle.
RJS 1.5 1 0.5
Marshall - - - DNP
TOTAL 46 10 36 Nobody got moved off the ball. Wormley killed 'em.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 6 5 1 Had some issues IDing guy with ball, still solid.
Bolden 7 6.5 0.5 Couple biffs, otherwise good.
Ross 4 4 Would like to see more.
Gedeon 1.5 1.5 Just a couple drives.
TOTAL 18.5 11.5 7 Coped with a tricky offense.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Lewis 4 3 1 One badass PBU, one screen biff.
Stribling 1 4 -3 Assigned a couple coverage issues to him.
Peppers 8.5 3 5.5 Hybrid space player; coverage a work in progress.
Wilson 1 1 0 Throwing deep over the middle not on the docket.
Hill 2 2 0 Great open field tackle; one coverage bust.
Clark 2 1 1 Could have gone worse for him.
Thomas 3 -3 Inexplicable tunnel screen bust could have cost M a TD.
TOTAL 18.5 17 1.5 Another light day against a short-throwin' QB.
Metrics
Pressure 16 1 +15 No chance for OSU OL. All organic!
Coverage 13 16 -3 Beavers did leave some yards on the field.
Tackling 6 0 6 Don't recall a single meaningful broken tackle.
RPS 8 7 +1 Not a major factor.

Themes include bouncebacks from Bolden and Ojemudia, Ross pressing for PT, the continued excellent performance of a deep DL, and Wormley blowing up.

The chart is very encouraging for the six men who are rotating on the defensive line. Even when the backups are in Michigan is getting plays like this from Godin and Charlton:

And Wormley, I mean.

ooh kill 'em

Yep. Wormley was again terrific. This play is a TFL that he gets by coming under a blocker:

If he does not get that it's… well, it might be okay because Willie Henry is similarly destructive. But if it gets past both those guys there are no linebackers for miles. Wormley is surprisingly good in space for a large man. Here he cuts off the outside and recovers to tackle:

That's the kind of thing I'm impressed by when a 250-pound guy like Ojemudia does it. At 300 pounds I be like dang.

Also:

It's not just the swim move, it's the timing of it. He waits just long enough to get the guard looking elsewhere and the tackle moving to kick him out.

Wormley was not just making these plays, either. His Utah performance was slightly hollow in that he was either doing something spectacular or not doing much; here he stressed the Oregon State offense play in and play out. That's how you get to +15, which is a Mike Martin/Brandon Graham number. He's hit the exponential bit of his growth curve.

Meanwhile Bolden did not draw ire again?

Bolden was better in this game. He said he made a couple mistakes on the opening drive but I didn't catch anything that was material to the plays on which Oregon State actually gained yards; I'm pretty sure he's conflating that zone read keeper a bit later with the Wormley TFL on the opening drive that saw neither LB anywhere near a ballcarrier. If he's not then whatever he messed up was too subtle for me to catch without knowing the playcall.

Bolden did get to just about the sideline on one of the most dangerous plays Oregon State had:

I kind of wish he went to the sideline slightly flatter and didn't make this as hairy as it was but he took on a block and got off it to make a play that saved Michigan 20+ yards, with help from Peppers. That was looking bad. Also the fumble was a bit of luck but Bolden did make a nice one handed grab on it.

I thought Morgan made a couple of mistakes as well; on the other hand, bang:

A lot of linebackers allow the back to squeeze out a few yards there. Morgan also showed a bit as a blitzer, running through some cut blocks and flying up to sack on a delayed attack. That has not been a major part of his game to date.

I liked Ross in this game. When he was in he was decisive. He does not take a block here but it's not uncommon to see linebackers sit on fakes like these, unsure of where to go. Ross does not. His flash to the hole cuts the QB off and boots OSU off the field when the D rallies:

Both the starting ILBs had instances where they did not do this, like on the first clip in this column where Morgan gets caught outside. If Michigan ever plays a pro-style outfit he'll be an asset.

Pepper done killed that man.

He needed killin'.

At this instant Peppers is a bad cover guy and the best tiny linebacker. Heck, Michigan lined him up as the latter in this game and that went fine.

He didn't have to take on a block from an OL but I mean all right.

Blocking someone with his explosiveness on the edge is a futile task. This is a screen that he turns in barely outside the hash and still gets a tackle in on, because he can wait until the proper moment and just explode past the guy who drew the short straw:

Peppers gets places fast and brings a pop when he gets there. Sometimes he makes the play himself and sometimes he allows others to rally to make it, because he's constricting space that other guys cannot.

Even on plays where he's not making the tackle because the rest of Michigan's defense has it on lockdown he's proving himself close to unblockable. His raw speed is ridiculous…

…and he's able to cover tons of ground in desperate situations while still remaining balanced and able to tackle. He bounces up from cuts to help tackle. The Hybrid Space Player stuff is fire 100 fire 100 fire.

As far as coverage…

…it's a bit rougher. When you are Peppers and at boundary you can just line up with inside leverage and refuse all routes to the inside and then run down the sideline with the guy until you get a questionable PI call on you; at nickel it's a different world. Peppers was a high school safety, remember, so he's being asked to do the toughest bits of coverage without much experience. I expect improvement over the year; it is not good right now.

FWIW, I don't think the guy who was open during the Ignominous Murder Of That One Dude was Pepper's guy but a missed swap by the cover three gents. Also, Peppers did this to a person:

I can hear the "OOH OOH AHAHAH" from that "Down With The Sickness" dude already on some 14-year-old's highlight video.

I hear that we're missing Bryan Mone?

Mone got a lot of hype in the offseason and there are still consistent moans from a couple places about his absence hurting the defense. I'd like to have him, to be sure, but the idea he'd be displacing Ryan Glasgow much is fanciful to me. Maybe if Glasgow ends up not able to stand up to the MSU/OSU lines I'll feel that loss more acutely.

Right now not so much. Glasgow has built on a promising first year as a starter and is now a highly consistent, disruptive interior DL. He's got a great feel for the game. Here he catches a downblock and rips through it almost automatically:

I don't think he even bothered to look at that guy.

Glasgow is capable of blowing guys up with raw power as well:

He has terrific endurance and has even added a little pass rush this year. Michigan is lucky to have him.

The magic eight ball said "ask again later" about the second corner last week. What does it say this week?

Ask again later.

For the second straight week we didn't get much information here. What we got was decidedly mixed. Clark had one nice pass breakup, but it he was a step off on a slant and the QB helped him out a little there:

That's still a quality play. Ideally he stays a step closer to the WR.

He got beat on a similar route earlier, and sometimes it looked like QB incompetence and Michigan's pass rush helped him out when his change of direction was not sufficient to keep up with short routes.

Stribling had top notch coverage on one attempted fade…

…and misplayed a poorly thrown hitch earlier in the game. On that play he was torn between playing the short guy tight or dropping into a deeper route; he ended up allowing the short WR to attack the ball while he leapt straight up.

Lewis only got targeted twice. One was the Oregon State TD; the other was the badass PBU that knocked him out.

He also blew leverage on a screen, but he's still really good. If I was Michigan I'd hold him out against UNLV. That'll be a blowout either way and he's too valuable to risk even a little bit.

Do we even have opinions on safeties yet?

No, not really. As a team and defense they are doing well. Michigan's coped well with all the jet action, shooting playside S down as they remove a backside guy or a corner to free safety depth. Hill had a bust in this game where he played zone while everyone else was in man; on the other hand, this is our first on-field glimmer of why certain insiders were so gung-ho about him over the offseason:

That is an impressive open field tackle on a shifty dude.

Thomas is only getting on the field in the dime package right now. It's clear they like him, as they could just keep their nickel on the field without much dropoff—M will rotate Hill or Lewis down to man coverage happily. But the mistakes we've seen from him in the past cropped up again on the tunnel screen that could have broken for a touchdown if the wide receiver perceived that Thomas had done something so deeply weird:

I don't know how much indication that WR had to give Thomas that he was blocking for a screen before Thomas realized it. The whole play he ends up shadowing a guy who is in no way a threat to get the ball.

It's tough to play that guy at safety if he's going to do something like that.

What is with this 3-3-5 thing where the DE is hanging out near the NT?

I think the idea is to surprise the OL with the destination of the DE and get some additional push since he gets a running start, but it's not really working out. Ojemudia is uncomfortable with it and doesn't get the kind of hits I think Michigan wants him to get, and then there are huge bubbles on the DL that allow second level blocks to get out easily.

Here Ojemudia gets ripped out of the hole and blown back; easy release for the other guy on the double:

Things are going very well when Michigan just plays it straight. This seems like unnecessary frippery that you don't even need.

Heroes?

Wormley. Tiny linebacker Peppers. Most of the defensive line to some degree.

Not so heroic?

The weakest part of the D was the second CB; Thomas could have cost M a touchdown.

What does it mean for UNLV and the future?

UNLV gonna die. Think last year's Indiana game minus Tevin Coleman.

Wormley comin'. I hope he's whistling the Farmer In The Dell. A few more weeks of this and it'll be time to start mentioning him with Calhoun and Bosa and so forth and so on.

The rest of the DL is going to whip just about everyone they play, too. MSU and OSU and everyone else is very, very tractable.

Jabrill Peppers is not an All American yet. Coverage issues are consistent so far. He's great at the HSP stuff. He should get better at the coverage; he's got more room for error than most.

The linebackers are fine. Neither great nor terrible; they are B+ guys.

I am slightly worried about that second corner spot. Early indicators are not great.

Comments

Lanknows

September 16th, 2015 at 6:12 PM ^

If the coaches were really worried about the CB2 situation they could slide Lyons back there.

Keep in mind he started on the #11 defense (according to FEI) last year. It's possible Lyons isn't very good (something alum96 raised this offseason), but it's unlikely he is BAD. You also have Brandon Watson, who looked OK in Spring and came in for decent offseason buzz, not even in the playing time picture...

It's possible that whatever Lyons did at fall camp was a full-on disaster - so awful that they decided to swap him and Clark around despite their respective experience at their old positions to alleviate the issue. There were rumors to support of this.

The alternative hypothesis is that they felt/feel good enough about CB and just think Clark's a better fit there over the next two years.  Good enough that they thought Lyons was more useful as insurance at safety. (Personally, I think Lyons move to safety says more about their confidence in Thomas as full-time replacement if Wilson or Hill are hurt and the value they place in Peppers at nickel than it does about cornerback).

All of this makes me think that whatever negatives are being perceived at CB2 are probably overstated. Stribling and Clark have made a few errors, to be sure, but so have Peppers, Hill, Thomas, Lewis, and the LBs.  It's early in the year with a new coaching staff so it'll take a little time to iron out the wrinkles.  Meanwhile you have Stribling and Clark making good plays on a very good defense, and sometimes totally locking guys down (like the blanket by Stribling in the above videos). The knocks against them are mostly speculative.

Stribling and Clark are two big, fast, physically gifted juniors. They lack experience, and maybe they aren't making the perfect read every play. However, they can cover and have tackled well enough so far. They'll ramp up and get better as the season goes on.  If teams try to exploit matchups there, I expect they'll be unsuccessful.

I view CB2 as a position with an open competion, but one where it's very likely Michigan ends up with a quality player. Color me interested, but not concerned. 

The UNLV game should be a decent opportunity for both to get extended playing time and then BYU will be a real test to see if my optimism is warranted, or not.

alum96

September 16th, 2015 at 3:19 PM ^

Have you had a +15 before on the DL?  i.e. Brandon Graham days?

Monsterous.

Will be interested to see Peppers in coverage v BYU.

UNLV game will tell us nothing unfort due  to quality if opponent - hopefully Clark and Stribling get more experience and Lewis is back by BYU.  Godin has been a nice rotation player coming into his own as we expected that to be the Hurst role.

ChiCityWolverine

September 16th, 2015 at 3:36 PM ^

From what I watched of the two BYU games, their passing game is more focused on using their side advantage on the outside than attacking with slot ninjas. They've got two 6'5''ish guys, so it will be a big test for our CB2s, and even though I think Lewis will hold up well, it will be a challenge for him as well. 

alum96

September 16th, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

Yes they like to throw outside to large men.  But safeties are responsible for over the top coverage too, and I dont expect sideline throws all day.  So Peppers, Hill, and Wilson should all have good tests. Will also be a good test for our LBs in space after the not so great Utah experience. 

BYU will be the only real aerial attack before MSU as NW has a newbie Qb out there and Maryland already demoted their starter to 3rd string 2 weeks in.  Honestly BYU,MSU, Indiana and OSU are going to be the only real aerial attacks the rest of the way.  Unless Hack returns from PTSD by then. So our potential shortcomings will be masked a bit by lack of good QBs we face.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 16th, 2015 at 3:20 PM ^

Hooray, defensive adjustments!

Refs should be required to get their eyes checked before the season and show they're wearing current prescription.

Terminology: how about 4-3(P), where P = Peppers acting as LB?

alum96

September 16th, 2015 at 3:37 PM ^

Ozone guy compared Peppers to Mike Doss.  Doss likewise went thru a coaching change from Cooper to Tressel and was on some of OSU's less prestigous teams early in his career.

Curious how they track, albeit Peppers lost bulk of Fr season so I'd consider him "half way thru Fr" year right now.

Fr

Doss worked his way into the two-deep quickly, but like most freshmen, he didn’t see much action. That changed over the final two games of the season, when Doss stepped in as a starter against Illinois and Michigan, and never relinquished the position. When he did see the field, Doss contributed, posting 43 tackles (33 solo), including five tackles for loss and two passes defensed.

So

Right from the start of his second season, Doss was a star. A sure tackler and a hard hitter, the Canton native led the Buckeyes with 94 tackles and recorded 13 tackles for loss, with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He scored on two of his three fumble recoveries, including a 73-yard return for a touchdown.

He scored the team’s first touchdown of the season by recovering a ball in the end zone against Fresno State in a 43-10 victory. The 73-yarder came in a 27-13 win over Michigan State. By the end of the season, Doss had made The Sporting News All-America team.

Jr

Doss continued to make plays on defense. He led the team with 87 tackles (57 solo) and 10 TFLs. He chipped in three sacks, three interceptions and four fumble recoveries—scoring his third career fumble recovery touchdown with a 30-yarder against Northwestern. He also blocked punts in consecutive weeks against UCLA and Indiana. Again he made The Sporting News All-America Team.

Buckeye fans were already in love with Doss for his hustle, hitting and penchant for big plays, but he truly became a legend when he bypassed the NFL to return to Columbus for his senior season.

Sr

He finished with a career-high 107 tackles, finishing behind only Matt Wilhelm’s 121. Doss recorded five tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery en route to the national title.  He scored another defensive touchdown, too, but this time on an interception return—a 45-yarder in a 51-17 drubbing of Kent State. He capped his career in style, with a nine-tackle performance against the Hurricanes, adding a half TFL and an interception

Wolverine In Iowa

September 16th, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

I am definitely starting to not be worried about the secondary anymore.  Shit's going to happen, but these guys seem pretty decent.  Bolden has got to step up further - I love the guy, and he's a captain, but we need him badly to be a beast.  Morgan is fine playing like he does.  DL - what can you say?  Wormley is at an All-American level right now, and the rest of the guys are kicking ass.

Were there two or three plays that Peppers saved by pure athleticism?  That first track-down by him was just fantastic.  My wife was astonished by it.

Red is Blue

September 16th, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

On kickoff coverage it (I think right before the half) it looked like Thomas pulled up lame and then I did not see him the rest of the game.  It looked like a hammy.  Any word?

mGrowOld

September 16th, 2015 at 3:48 PM ^

Granted I'm biased as Hell given that the kid is from my hometown but for the life of me I dont get why he doesnt get more PT instead of Bolden.  I don't see, I guess, what the coaches see in Bolden that makes it so hard for Gedeon to get on the field.  I understand he's not usually brought in for Bolden but can somebody tell me why they think he plays so little?

Lanknows

September 16th, 2015 at 4:43 PM ^

This is a place where fans are probably wise to admit ignorance and defer to two very good defensive coaching staffs who have reached the same conclusion. Not only have they played Bolden extensively but named him a captain (at least Harbaugh did).  Brian's taking a good stab at evaluating game performance here, but he has admitted many times that reading LBs is hard without knowing the playcalls.

I'm intrigued and excited about Gedeon, and I like Ross too -- but I think this staff knows what it is doing.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 16th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

Well Wormley is currently 2nd in the nation in TFLs...sure hope he can keep it up.  And when comparing to Bosa and Calhoun, well Calhoun only had 10 solo TFLs each of the last two years (and only once had 2 or more in a game) and Wormley is credited with 6 already this year...

Fezzik

September 16th, 2015 at 4:11 PM ^

what is preventing them from being great? I know they aren't the most athletic but I believe they are athletic enough. I think they are slow to read or slow to commit after they make a read. It seems as if O linemen reach them at the second level more often than they should.

Any mgoLinebackers care to chime in?

Hugh White

September 16th, 2015 at 4:37 PM ^

Peppers is terrific.

However, in the video clip known as "tons of ground in desperate situations", the individual highlighted at the beginning of the play and the individual who made the tackle are in fact two different human beings.  The former exits the frame off the bottom of the screen, and the later makes the tackle just after having entered the frame from the top.

...Unless you are suggsting that Peppers has modified the Gallon-Stribling Cloaking/Phase-Out technology into an all-out teleport-mode...

mikegros

September 16th, 2015 at 4:57 PM ^

Bolden and his mistakes still concern me quite a bit. Coming out even with some big minuses is not a good day for him and those big mistakes are much more costly against more competitive opponents, as they were against Utah. Obviously the coaches see something there, but it's not clear at all to me why Ross isn't getting more action over him. 

Richard75

September 16th, 2015 at 7:32 PM ^

Agree. I think Bolden is always going to struggle in space.

It's too bad for Ross that we moved Ryan inside last year. That threw away the two years we'd invested in Ross's development, and I'm not sure it helped Michigan either. Ryan piled up a ton of tackles but we lost a playmaker on the edge.

The logic of it was always head-scratching. We wanted to stop teams from scheming around Ryan on the edge...so we did it for them.

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