Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs UNLV

Submitted by Brian on September 24th, 2015 at 3:04 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: By this point the defense is pretty well established. We got a few glimpses at what Michigan intends to do against pro-style formations; this is a 4-4 with the line shifted over (to the strength of the formation), Ross at SAM, and Hill threatening off the weakside:

4-4 over

Wilson, the free safety, is about 20 yards downfield.

I'm calling the thing where they drop the buck off the line like so…

30 nickel buck

…"30 nickel buck" to distinguish it from an actual 3-3-5.

This is what I mean by "triple stack" on UNLV's part;  Michigan is in their standard nickel even:

triple stack

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Line was close to the first two games with Henry/Glasgow/Wormley backed by Charlton/Hurst/Godin except that you could replace Henry in the starting lineup with Godin based on snaps played. Henry got cut a bunch on the backside of zones and didn't see much time in the middle of the game.

WDE/buck was the usual 70/30 split between Ojemudia and RJS.

Lawrence Marshall got in on the last drive, as did Brady Pallante.

Linebacker was the same; a little more James Ross at SAM in this game; Gedeon and Ross also got a couple drives as ILBs in the nickel.

Secondary saw the same rotation as per usual (Lewis/Peppers/Wilson/Hill with Stribling or Clark in the nickel) except that Wayne Lyons was the dime back. Brandon Watson got in on the last drive as well.

[After THE JUMP: defense crush]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Offset I 4-4 over Run N/A Inside zone Godin -1
Godin(+2) puts the LG three yards in the backfield and forces the back wide; Ross(+2) rushes up to the fullback, blows him back, and tackles the back; Godin comes over to help.
O24 2 11 Shotgun-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 0
They bring a guy in motion and run a zone read. Probably no read or this would be a pull. Glasgow(+2) sheds after an initial hit and surges to the backfield. He can't tackle but delays the back a long time,allowing the rest of the D to gang up. Godin(+1) held up to a long double without going anywhere. Ojemudia(+0.5) scraped down the line and tackled.
O24 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Scramble Godin 16
M runs man with two really deep safeties and leaves Ojemudia to spy. Coverage(+1) is good for a moment and then Godin(+1) comes around a stunt that's effective because Glasgow(+0.5) is burrowing through a double. Godin has a sack that turns into a first down since the QB never actually gets put on the ground, instead rolling over Glasgow and taking off as M celebrates. Morgan and Ojemudia start celebrating the sack... I thought about minusing them but this is such a fluke play that it doesn't seem representative of their actual abilities.
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel even Pass 4 Post Stribling INT
Almost certain this RT is far enough off the line to draw a flag; no call. Decker has enough time to get this off but just barely as Glasgow(+0.5) rips past a guy and hits on the throw. I don't think that affects the flight of the ball, but it can't help. Decker throws this a bit late and behind his WR; Stribling(+3, cover +2) undercuts and intercepts.
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Pistol 3-wide FB Nickel under Run N/A Outside zone Henry 7
Peppers(+1) takes up a SAM role with Wilson shifting down to the slot. He shoots to the backfield and hits the lead back about two yards deep, cutting to the inside and forcing a cutback. Hurst(+0.5) was driving playside and got some depth, cut behind; Henry(-2) got caught up on a cut block and is not there to end the play. Bolden(-1) did not read the play well and is not there for the cutback that is likely to come given that Peppers is forcing this so soon. Ojemudia and Bolden combine to tackle downfield.
O24 2 3 Pistol 4-wide 30 nickel buck Run N/A Outside zone Bolden 6
This sucks out loud from Bolden(-2). He catches a TE block coming from a dude in the slot. He's lined up inside of this guy significantly so it's a bit of a harder block to escape but one he gets locked up he half-heartedly goes upfield of the block and is never even a slight threat to impact the play. Henry gets sealed inside as well, though he eats a play-long double so it would be tough to do much with it. Morgan hauls to the sideline to meet the ballcarrier after a nice gain; Hill also shows to tackle. RPS -1.
O30 1 10 Pistol 3-wide FB Nickel even Run N/A Outside zone Hurst 1
RJS(+1) and Hurst(+1) drive their guys yards backwards, forcing a cutback. Henry(-2) got cut and is done with this play entirely, so there is a crease; Charlton(+1) is running it down quickly. Bolden(+1) does adjust to run upfield and fill; a guy trying to block him bangs into the RB and RJS can come back to tackle with Charlton.
O31 2 9 Shotgun triple stack TE Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly Morgan 2
Morgan(+1) is creeping playside on the snap and ends up taking a free releasing LT head on. He gets under the guy and fires him back. With Charlton(+0.5) crashing on this quickly back has to cut away from the hole belly wants to get to. Godin(+1) hasn't shed but he has read the play and ends up catching the RB while still getting blocked; short gain.
O33 3 7 Shotgun trips tight bunch Okie one Pass 4 Yakety snap N/A -7
Ojemudia(+1) murders a dude. It's not relevant, but it was entertaining.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O3 1 10 Offset I 4-4 over Run N/A Split zone Glasgow 1
Glasgow(+1) comes through a block and shows up to cut off any holes to the front. Ojemudia(+0.5) cuts under the fullback slicing back to prevent a hole up the middle. Morgan(+1) has an excellent scrape; he doesn't get blocked but to get to this spot is pretty good. Hill helps fill and tackle with Morgan.
O4 2 9 Offset I 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone Godin 7
This goes up the gut between Godin and Glasgow. I think this is on Godin(-2), as both LBs flow hard playside, implying a slant away, and each DL does step to the backside. If Godin does get under this guy the RB probably has to bounce to the LBs and this gets little. Instead the gap up the gut is enough for the tailback to get a nice chunk. Once the cut happens Morgan tries to fight back but gets held and can't tackle; Glasgow and Godin get slowing arm tackle attempts and Ross finishes it off. RPS +1; slant should have killed this.
O11 3 2 Offset I 4-4 over Run N/A Off tackle Ross 12
M slants away and this goes off tackle so it's up to the linebackers to deal with this one. Ross(-1) is coming off the edge hard and hits the fullback; he's too far inside and allows a bounce. This is bad; he's the force guy; Morgan(-1) is coming hard to the line but once the RB breaks outside he's got a much tougher job; he is getting yanked by an OL as he tries to tackle and cannot make it. Tough job; I still want him to slow the back more than he does. That won't prevent the first down but it would cut down on the surplus. Also think Morgan maybe should have read the bounce a bit earlier.
O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel 4-3 Pass 4 Slant Lewis Inc
This is behind the WR and makes it easy for Lewis(+2, cover +2) but he's right on the WR's back and there are very few slants he's not at least getting a rake at.
O23 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Midline zone read keeper Ojemudia 1
This should work better than it does as Hurst(-1) blows upfield at the handoff and the pull is bad on this play. A G pulls outside the RT in an effort to kick Ojemudia(+2). Ojemudia does not take the bait and stays near the LOS, driving this G back. Bolden(+0.5) does not take the very tasty bait on the frontside and redirects to the hole; Morgan(+0.5) also finds the ball; both LBs get to the QB, but he's already headed to the ground with Ojemudia pushing that G back into him.
O24 3 9 Shotgun trips 30 dime buck Pass 3 Drag Stribling Inc
Stribling(+2, cover +2) step for step on a drag route and gets a PBU. On replay he gets a tug or two in on the WR that makes this easier for him. It's subtle enough to avoid the flag. Refs +1. M only sent three. Those three guys collapsed the pocket such that Decker has to throw. Pressure +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 1 min1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Hitch Stribling 6
Standard five yard hitch with an immediate tackle.
O31 2 4 Pistol 3-wide FB 30 Nickel slide Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow -2
Stribling sent off the boundary. This means the line slants to the play; Glasgow(+2) rips past the center and blows into the backfield for a TFL. Wormley(+1) helped by shoving the LT back and constricting the space. Henry(-1) again got cut on the backside, but the Glasgow ownage means that's not relevant. RPS +1.
O29 3 6 Shotgun trips tight bunch Okie one Pass 5 Drag Wilson 2
Gedeon(+1, pressure +2) sent on a stunt blitz on which he gets upfield in a hurry. This is Ryan-esque. M has the routes blanketed (cover +2); Decker just tries to get something in case it works. Wilson(+2) is in man and takes a shot at the interception. He doesn't quite get it but he also tackles; really tough catch with minimal upside and potential disaster for UNLV. (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Outside zone Ojemudia 7
Glasgow(+1) is the playside DT and drives hard enough that his blocker hits the RB as he tries to get to the hole. That's a problem; he bounces. Ojemudia(-1) did a good job to start but on the RB dive he ends up fighting inside and does not get off his block; blocker shoves him downfield and RB can bounce. Lewis(-0.5) comes off a block and hits the RB after four or five; he tries for a strip and loses the guy for a bit of YAC.
O47 2 3 Offset I 4-4 even Run N/A Inside zone Godin 0
Godin(+2) flings the playside G into the backfield. That erases any playside hopes for the RB, who cuts back. Wormley(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) have come through blocks and help tackle with Godin.
O47 3 3 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel under Pass 4 Hitch Lewis Inc
Lewis(+2, cover +2) is in press man. He fights the release, and when the guy stops he's in his pocket for a PBU.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Pistol diamond twins Nickel even Run N/A Inverted veer keep Ojemudia -1
Slot covered, run implied. QB makes a major mistake keeping this as a give looks like it's there. Instead QB keeps and Ojemudia(+1) just reads it and tackles. Henry(+0.5) helped out by driving his guy back.
O17 2 11 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Rollout comeback Peppers 9
Good completion in a small window after M has no pressure(-2) on the roll. M looks like it's running a pattern matching concept to the roll, with Clark and Lewis checking the outside WR's route before deciding who's got him. Peppers tracks a wheel route from the slot and then flips around to stare at the QB. UNLV manages to get it to their guy open for a throw about an inch inside the field. Coverage push.
O26 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel under Run N/A Jet sweep Gedeon 3
I love it when people run plays outside at James Ross(+1). He destroys the tailback on this play, and then recovers to hit the WR on the sweep hard. Ross gets edged but Gedeon(-0.5) is given a free flight path to the ball as a result; he pushes it out wide. He cannot tackle, though, and I think he should be going slightly flatter. He imparts unexpected momentum to the back, allowing him to spin past Hill; Ross bashes him forward across the line. Conversion, but barely.
O29 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Ross 11
Man coverage on the receivers with Ross and Gedeon underneath. Back leaks out; Gedeon takes him. QB breaks the pocket(pressure -2) after a good pocket. QB is looking at Lewis(+1, cover +1) in tight coverage on a hitch that he does not like; opens up after Lewis gets shoved away. Ross(-2) turns his back to a QB who has already broken the pocket against man coverage in an effort to find a back who the other LB has covered. There is a lot of room.
O40 1 10 Shotgun trips Dime Pass 4 Fly Lewis Inc
Ojemudia(+1, pressure +1) swipes past the LT and forces a throw; it is at Lewis(+2, cover +2), who is step for step with the WR and gets a PBU.
O40 2 10 Shotgun trips Dime Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 2
Hurst(+1) blows up the backside G and forces a cutback to unblocked gentlemen. Charlton(+0.5) helps tackle.
O42 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide Okie one Pass 5 Fly Lewis Inc
Extra guy sent but the blitz doesn't really get the pressure, it's Ojemudia(+2, pressure +2) again going right by a tackle and almost getting a blindside sack. Charton(+0.5) also came through and got a hand on the QB. Decker gets an accurate deep ball out anyway; Lewis(+2, cover +2) gets a second textbook PBU in a row.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide TE Nickel over Run N/A Inverted veer keep Wormley -8
Wormley(+2) is the edge guy they want to option. Also they want to get it outside this time, I think. He's upfield so fast that he prevents that from happening; QB has to pull way late and ends up fumbling. Wormley cannot recover.
O27 2 18 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A QB draw Hurst 1
Hurst(+2) drives the guard back to the inside and then rips to the edge forcefully. He enters the run lane when the QB does and makes a tackle for loss.
O28 3 17 Shotgun trips Dime Run N/A Outside zone Morgan 8 (Pen +5)
Henry gets chop blocked. This opens up a cutback lane and with Michigan playing pass a chunk of yards. Morgan(+0.5) does a good job to find it and tackle, otherwise this could be big. Refs -2. Clark(-1) lined up offside, another play.
O33 3 12 Shotgun trips Dime Run N/A Outside zone Henry 17
Henry is rushing the passer and gets out of his lane, which is fine given the situation. Hurst(+1) may kill the play anyway gets held, drawing a call.
Drive Notes: EOH, 21-0.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Ace TE H 4-4 over Run N/A Split zone Godin 0
Godin(+2) rips through the line and grabs the back two yards in the backfield. Wormley(-0.5) got blown a little too far down the line to make good on the TFL here; Bolden does scrape unblocked to help finish the play.
O11 2 10 Offset I 4-4 over Run N/A Off tackle Ross -1
Ross(+1) again bashes back the lead blocker. He can't tackle; he does push this to the sideline. There Godin(+0.5) and Morgan(+0.5) come through blocks to punch the RB OOB.
O10 3 11 Offset I Nickel over Run N/A Power O Godin 1
Godin(+2) fires into a double team, preventing it from getting him downfield; he blows one specific guy two yards back. He impedes the release of an OL to the second level by doing this. Morgan(+1) takes on the lead FB block, hammering him. FB bounces back into the RB; Bolden(+0.5) scrapes to the hole to clean up.
Drive Notes: Punt, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Henry 2
Henry(+1) takes a double and goes nowhere. Godin(+1) is similarly immobile. No creases, no guys even getting to the LBs. RB does find a small crack; most of front seven tackles.
O39 2 8 Pistol 3-wide FB Base 3-4 Pass N/A Waggle FB flat Bolden 8
Bolden(-1, cover -1) doesn't read the FB leaking backside and can't tackle on the catch.
O47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Base 3-4 Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow -3
Glasgow(+3) absolutely wrecks this, blasting through an attempted double before anyone can react and making a TFL by himself.
O44 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-3 over Pass 4 PA TE flat Bolden 14
Bolden reads this reasonably well—still kind of want him to be more aware of this route since it is second and thirteen and the DL barely needs you around to defend the run. He is there for a tackle after about six yards... and then Bolden(-2, tackling -2) gets stiffarmed out of his shoes. Lewis comes up for a hit but can't prevent the TE from running him over for a first down.
M42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA Circle Peppers Inc
Nice to see the improvement here. Peppers stays farther away from the WR and is able to plant and drive on the ball when he sees the WR break from in to out. Ball is wide and dropped; Peppers(+0.5, cover +1) was likely to tackle for a minimal gain.
M42 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 30 Nickel slide Pass 5 Sack Godin -4
Lewis sent off the edge. He gets cut but recovers reasonably well. Immediate read not there (cover +1) and then the walls cave in. Godin(+2, pressure +3) slants past a guard and forces a flush; he also grabs the QB's foot and sets him up for Charlton(+1) to finsih him off after beating a block of his own.
M46 3 14 Shotgun 4-wide Dime Pass 4 Tunnel screen Hill 0
Got dang this defense is salty. This is a screen on which the QB gets destroyed on the throw and the WR gets clobbered on the catch. Henry(+1, pressure +1) is in faster than he should be and gets the hit. Hurst(+0.5) picks off guys trying to exit to get blocks. Hill(+0.5) and Lewis(+0.5) both read screen and converge to tackle the receiver on the catch. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Shotgun triple stack TE Nickel over Pass 4 Block and post Clark Inc (Pen +15)
I have to minus Clark here but I don't really mind. This is a clever play from UNLV. The guy at the to of the stack blocks Peppers. The guy at the back sets up for a screen. The guy in the middle releases as if he's going to block and then starts a route. Clark(-1, cover -1) gets beat and decides 15 yards isn't the worst thing. Ball well overthrown even without the PI, I think. Pocket was solid for the QB. (Pressure -2)
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel over Pass 4 Fly Clark INT
UNLV puts everyone to the short side and knows they are getting Clark in press on an island. They try to hit a big play; Clark(+4, cover +3) plays this perfectly, jamming the WR to the sideline and then getting his head around. Dang.
Drive Notes: Interception, 21-0, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull Ojemudia 4
M caught a bit off guard by this but recovers okay. Ross manages to cut off the edge somewhat. RB should probably test it but cuts back inside. Ojemudia(+0.5) fought to get there and makes a decent tackle with help from a rallying D.
O29 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide H Base 3-4 Pass 4 TE flat Gedeon 13
Gedeon(-2, cover -1, tackle -1) first doesn't widen out much at all against this route and cannot tackle on the catch. He runs the TE down, and then misses the tackle, offering up a few more yards. Charlton(+0.5) drove through and hit just after the throw.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 Nickel slide Pass 5 Post Hill 53
Clark tips corner blitz. Ojemudia(+1, pressure +3) goes right through a guard who isn't ready to pick him up as UNLV busts the pickup. QB lit up but not before he gets off a back foot toss that is a DO+ throw; Hill((-2,cover -2) got beat over the top by a couple steps and can't recover to tackle.
M5 1 G I-Form Goal line Run N/A Iso Gedeon 0
Gedeon(+1) reads the iso and runs up to blast the FB in the hole. He goes back, RB runs into FB. Ross(+0.5) also fought back through a block to tackle.
M5 2 G Shotgun 3-wide H Goal line Pass 5 Out Wilson 5
Blitz gets through with Glasgow(+0.5) and Ojemudia(+0.5) coming through immediately but Wilson(-1, cover -1) gets beat on the out and Decker floats a nice touch pass to take advantage. Pressure +2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-7, 9 min 4th Q.,
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Pin and pull Wilson 4
Ojemudia(+0.5) drives upfield and forces the RB to bend to get around him, buying a little time. Ross(-0.5) comes up and does his thing. As he tries to disengage to track the RB down the OL grabs the back of his jersey and pulls. He gets edged; Refs -1. Ross should still be taking an angle farther outside. Wilson(+0.5) dodges the other lead guy and Gedeon(+0.5) flows fast to meet at the guy after a modest gain.
O13 2 6 Pistol 3-wide FB Nickel even Pass 4 Waggle comeback Lewis Inc
Flat option blanketed; only shot is a comeback on Lewis(+2, cover +3); Lewis gets another PBU.
O13 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Flare screen Peppers 4
This is actually a good playcall for UNLV as they catch a LB blitz and the presnap motion from the RB does not get matched by M, giving them a 3 on 2 to the field. Peppers(+1, tackling -1) does his thing where he just bursts past blocking. He cannot get the RB down but does force him just about to the sideline and slow him enough for Wormley(+0.5) to recover and hit him just as he steps OOB anyway. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6 min 4th Q. I'm going to do the last drive because a lot of regular contributors are out there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Run N/A Outside zone Charlton 3
Pallante(-2) gets in at NT. His first snap is... not good. He ends up reached, and then the C anchors and drives him downfield for a pancake. If the back was doing this right he'd cut up behind this block. He doesn't partially because Charlton(+1) drives his guy deep into the backfield and threatens to come back inside; back has to bend around him. This screws up any blocking angles on Gedeon(+0.5), who flows down the line to tackle. Of note: Henry(+0.5) avoided the cut this time by giving a bunch of ground and was going to hold down the damage if Pallante getting reached became relevant.
O39 2 7 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass N/A Rollout scramble Ross 2
QB doesn't like any of his options (cover +2) despite getting outside the pocket with little resistance as M has not much support on the edge here and UNLV uses a TE flanked just outside the tackle to come down on the playside end, Charlton. M does a decent job in the circumstances, with Ross(+0.5) chasing the QB OOB after a minimal gain. Pressure –2.
O41 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass N/A Bubble screen Lyons 5
Don't know what the outside WR is thinking but he just runs inside, leaving Lyons(-2, tackling -2) unmolested. Lyons hits the WR in the backfield just after the catch but goes too high and gets his tackle spun out of. Clark(+0.5) actually does a good job to come off his guy and get what looks like a first-down-saving stick, but then a couple of guys in pursuit hit from behind and push the WR over the line to make.
O46 1 10 Pistol trips Nickel even Run N/A Outside zone Marshall 1
Pallante(-2) again gets reached and pancaked; the back again ignores this for reasons only he knows. This allows Gedeon(+1) to flow down the line and hit him when he inexplicably tries to bounce. RB spins off it but Gedeon still has his shirt tail and yanks him back with one arm.
O47 2 9 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Fly Watson Inc
Charlton(+1) and Hurst(+1) both beat blocks to meet at the QB(pressure +2); must throw. He tries a fly route at Watson's guy. Watson(-1) is in relatively good position but never fights with his hands and allows the WR to get a pushoff in on him that gives him a shot at the ball. He can't make the catch.
O47 3 9 Shotgun trips NIckel even Run N/A QB Draw Hurst 4
This looks dangerous for a second as Charlton flies upfield for pass rush; M is stunting their DTs and Hurst(+1) ends up driving his guy backwards to make the QB cut away from that gap. Still a lot of room. Henry(+0.5) helped fill a bunch of it; Gedeon flows to help tackle once the QB breaks past the LOS.
M49 4 5 Shotgun 4-wide NIckel even Pass 4 Slant Watson 9
Watson(-1, cover -1) beat easily.
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips NIckel even Pass 4 Dumpoff Gedeon 11
Ross goes with the slot TE; Gedeon(-2, cover -2) is waiting in a shorter zone and lets the RB go when he doesn't have other threats. Admittedly a guess as to who should have the back.
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Scramble Gedeon 15
Charlton(+2, pressure +2) gets in immediately with a sweet spin move. He can't finish the sack but does bust up the rhythm of th eplay and send the QB scrambling. Gedeon(-2, tackling -2) is in a short spy zone and comes up to tackle; he overplayed an initial roll the other way and ends up off balance as he tries to tackle; QB stiffarms him to the ground. That's a 20 yard missed tackle on Not Exactly Denard.
M14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H NIckel even Pass 4 Corner Lyons Inc
QB misses; Lyons(+1, cover +1) in this guy's pocket anyway.
M14 2 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Angle Wilson Inc
Hurst(-1) jumps offsides. This will offset with a hands to the face penalty after the play. QB gets minorly harassed on a three man rush, push; both Wilson(+2, cover +2) and Watson(+1, cover +1) are all over this throw, with Wilson jumping in front of it and almost picking it off.
M14 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Sack Hurst -9
Hurst(+2) swims through a guard who has no help to the outside because Gedeon faked a blitz and then left to go cover a hypothetical flare route. Charlton(+1) drives a double back and provides a barrier when the QB tries to roll out; Hurst sacks. Pressure +3.
M23 3 19 Pistol 3-wide H 30 Nickel slide Pass 3 Fly Clark Inc
Charlton(+1, pressure +1) again coming through this LT and is about a half step away from hitting the QB on the throw; QB tosses a pretty accurate fly route to the corner of the endzone; Clark(+2, cover +2) turns and plays trail technique after being in zone; he shoves his hand into the breadbasket of the WR for an excellent PBU.
Drive Notes: EOG, 28-7.

I am not going to get excited about this.

A wise course of action. UNLV is not good and many tougher opponents await. But, you know…

I know what?

I'm just sayin…

WHAT ARE YOU JUST SAYIN'

UNLV is a much more functional team with Blake Decker available, and he played the bulk of this game. Decker finally showed his quality on the quick, late touchdown drive on which he was blasted as he threw two lovely touch passes for big chunks of yardage.

This was less the offense that got clubbed by UCLA and more the one that put up almost 500 yards against Northern Illinois. There might be a little bit of something to take away here. NIU just held OSU to under 300 yards, albeit with a lot of help from OSU's QBs.

I mean, don't go nuts, but even for a defense expected to be good this was an encouraging outing.

What was so encouraging?

For one, the cornerback play. Devonte Boyd is a real player and Michigan erased him until the two plays mentioned above, both of which came in telegraphed one-on-one matchups against Hill and Wilson, not Michigan's corners. Lewis, Stribling, and Clark were all tested repeatedly and came through with flying colors.

Lewis was literally unbeatable. Short: no. Medium: no. Long: no. Short again: NOPE.

I actually had him for 5 PBUs, not the 4 he was credited with. (I think the technical definition requires a hand on the ball; I am willing to offer one up when the DB makes it impossible to catch the ball even without a bat at it.) That was every time he was targeted.

!!!

Clark not only had a textbook interception once he found himself level with the WR…

…but a textbook SHORYUKEN trail technique on the final snap of the game. I didn't even mind the pass interference call he took before the interception too much. UNLV had a triple WR stack on which they showed screen, with the front WR blocking off the snap. Clark's guy released for a block and then went into a one-man route; Clark decided 15 yards was the better part of valor. That's the smart play, and the issue was less his ability to cover than a clever playcall that forced a response.

Stribling's interception saw him open up his hips as if he's going into a three deep coverage and then redirect underneath; the ball is behind, which allows for the interception; Stribling was still in good position to contest the catch on a well thrown ball. His play on this drag route is probably even better:

There is no window for a completion there. Stribling got a couple of subtle tugs in on that WR that helped him out there, the kind of thing that drives you crazy as an opponent but almost never gets flagged. I wonder if that kind of wily play is something we would see with last year's secondary coaches instead of a couple dudes who collectively spent two decades in the NFL.

Speaking of the secondary coaching, I enjoyed this edition of Peppers covering a circle route. Against Utah he got jerked around by their freshman slot receiver for an important conversion. Peppers played it looser against UNLV and was in position to tackle immediately if the throw was in fact completed:

Even Jarrod Wilson, usually the most boringly reliable guy on the team, got into the act a little bit with a near-INT on a flat route.

This was awesome all around. The technique from Stribling and Clark was very good, and that's opponent-independent. Their ability to stick with higher-caliber wideouts remains in question; this was a real step forward.

So this

THUNK

hey

/makes universal "no" arm motion

i was holding that

WOOOOOOO

this chart that was much less broken than it was before you got involved is bonkers in certain departments.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Henry 3.5 5 -1.5 Cut four times on backside of zone, but one was a penalty.
Glasgow 11 11 Two very impressive TFLs.
Wormley 4 0.5 3.5 Relatively quiet but still positive outing.
Ojemudia 10.5 1 9.5 Very good last two weeks after iffy start. Less LB mimicry.
Charlton 9.5 9.5 Got a lot of pass rush. Solid on run D.
Hurst 10 2 8 Sack and a lot of blown up interior OL.
Godin 14.5 2 12.5 Killed them dead. Serious player.
RJS 1 1
Marshall - - - DNC.
TOTAL 64 10.5 53.5 Pallante's –4 not counted in totals since he is unlikely to play competitive snaps this year. Enormous, enormous blowout.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 4.5 1 3.5 Barely needed, good when called on. No coverage instances.
Bolden 2 6 -4 Two –2 plays discussed below.
Ross 5 3.5 1.5 Hits people real hard but sometimes lets guys outside.
Gedeon 4 6.5 -2.5 Also had a couple –2s.
TOTAL 15.5 17 -1.5 Discussion below; would like to see more Ross in nickel.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Lewis 11.5 0.5 11 YOU SHALL NOT PASS /thunder!
Stribling 5 5 INT + PBU + 0 bad completions on him
Peppers 2.5 2.5 Not tested on the edge much. They fear him already?
Wilson 4.5 1 3.5 Near INT.
Hill 0.5 2 -1.5 Beat on one long completion UNLV had.
Clark 6.5 2 4.5 Great INT, another excellent PBU.
Lyons 1 2 -1 Missed tackle enabled final drive.
TOTAL 31.5 7.5 24 Almost certainly a UFR record.
Metrics
Pressure 23 8 +15 10 blitz, 13 organic
Coverage 32 9 23 Dominant.
Tackling 0 8 -8 Consistent drive-extending irritant.
RPS 4 2 +2 Not much RPS when it's a whoopin'.

I am almost sure a +24 in the secondary has never happened before and that DL number might be a record too. This was a colossal ass-kicking. UNLV left approximately zero yards on the field. They dropped no passes. They overthrew no significantly open receivers. They missed no cuts (until the last drive). Michigan gave them no quarter.

I'm not saying this is an elite defense, but this performance is what an elite defense does to a UNLV.

What is even going on with those DL numbers?

They are nuts. I know. But they are warranted when you have 9 TFLs and a bunch of other tackles for 0 or 1 yards plus some woulda-coulda-shoulda TFLs. The mere fact that the LB numbers are so low in amplitude is testament enough to how good the DL was.

After a couple games in which Chris Wormley was the star of the defense, another two guys on the line came to stake their claims. Ryan Glasgow was great. This explosive rip through of a double is one of the best plays of his career to date:

That does not feel like something many OL can deal with. That is outright explosive.

This was far from an isolated incident:

Glasgow is ripping past guys and extending to tackle with great range for a nose tackle. He is kind of reminding me of Mike Martin. I know that is a big ol' leap to make right now. But he is providing that unique pairing of disruption, endurance, and… uh sideline-to-sideline NT play(?) that was Martin's trademark.

Godin, meanwhile, knocked Willie Henry to the bench for large stretches of this game. Part of that was on Henry; part of it was Godin performing. The sack-that-wasn't on the first play featured another Godin stunt to QB pressure.

At this point that is something of a trademark for him. He is really good at sticking close to the hip of the guy he's exchanging with and then exploding past whatever out of position OL attempts to close him down.

He's also getting just plain ol' pass rush:

(I enjoyed the post sack leg-hold by Godin just to make sure this guy didn't escape. The flourish at the end is a bonus.) Godin's ability in this department is going a long way towards mitigating the pass rush issues we were all worried about before the season. Ojemudia seems improved; Wormley is doing great; Glasgow's added some pass rush himself—they probably aren't going to have a single standout star but nobody has been able to block these guys consistently. When they don't get there they tend to crush the pocket closed and force throws, which is a push in the "pressure" metric.

I also really liked Godin play on this zone read belly:

You see DTs get washed down the line with their own momentum constantly on this little quick-hitting backside play. To fight back and not only constrict space but get in a tackle is very good—and something that is somewhat opponent independent.

Godin also displayed surprising amounts of raw power.

Of all the things he did in this game that is probably the least reproducible. He has performed to the level where you can maybe hope or even expect he is also a very good player against Big Ten teams. He has been as much of a revelation as Wormley.

What was the part of Godin's playing time that was on Henry?

UNLV kept running zone away from him and cutting him.

This happened three or four times and then Henry was absent for a long stretch of time. At least he came back on the last drive and showed he'd spent that time getting coached up: when UNLV ran a stretch away from him he ceded ground vertically to run around the cut block and would have been helpful if the RB had cut into the massive gap he had.

Henry was fine otherwise. He had a couple impressive plays. He anchored against a full-on double team and then disconnected to tackle; that's nice to see for a guy who go blown up from time to time last year.

But everyone else was good? 

Yes. Wormley wasn't as impactful as he'd been in previous games but was still good; both Hurst and Charlton demonstrated that against an OL like UNLV they are just as dominant as the starters. Hurst blew guys into the backfield repeatedly:

(Charlton demonstrates his athleticism on that play as well, running the back down from behind on a potentially dangerous play.) I like Hurst's ability to drive guys back and then rip to where he's supposed to be. He ended a QB draw by himself towards the end of the first half, and took advantage of a blitz fake to get a sack towards the end of the game.

Charlton also showed well. He got drive consistently and on the last drive he had a sweet spin move for a shoulda-been sack.

He could be an asset against better teams if Henry isn't getting much rush.

FWIW, Brady Pallante got in on the last drive. He got reached and pancaked twice. He's still an undersized redshirt freshman, so I wouldn't write him off. I can confirm he's a long way away.

Okay so like nine positions were awesome, and then linebacker. What gives?

The linebackers were not heavily involved in this game. Michigan's coverage schemes largely insulate them from tests when the opponent is avoiding the middle of the field, and the DL was so dominant it rarely gave them the opportunity to do anything except hop on a pile.

When they did get tested I didn't go well. Bolden had a couple of plays in this one that were alarming. Here he reverts back to freshman form when he tries to take on a tight end block:

I think he's in trouble no matter what on this play since Michigan is not well aligned to stop this, but you can hardly do worse than he did. The contrast between this and James Ross's decidedly more Viking approach to hitting guys in the open field is striking.

Later, Bolden would get stiffarmed on a long conversion by the UNLV tight end:

On second and thirteen with an absolutely rampant defensive line it seems like Bolden should be in position to tackle on the catch, which erases the possibility you will get tossed to the ground.

There's been a lot of complaining about the linebackers' athleticism on message boards and even occasionally from analyst types. I don't think the problems they're having have much to do with that. To me, problems arise from a lack of precision. Gedeon has issues trusting that the rest of the D will do his job and overruns things. When he's put in a situation where he can just run at something he demonstrates he is fast as hell:

That is Jake Ryan-esque.

But when Gedeon has to track someone down in space it doesn't go well too often. The final UNLV drive saw this 20-yard swing as Gedeon got stiffarmed by a QB:

That is more a product of positioning and angles than a lack of mean toughness, because physics. A version of Gedeon hitting the QB square knocks him into next week.

Bolden doesn't know what he's looking at too often. Gedeon doesn't always play his responsibility. As a result they put themselves in positions where they appear to lack "physicality" but are really more about the fact that they're a step or two slow. Bolden is in fact more than capable of laying out a blocker. He barely does it because he doesn't react fast enough to do so.

Meanwhile James Ross, a much smaller dude, is compiling a highlight reel of the crumpled in his wake:

I kind of wish he'd widen out a little bit since a couple times in this game he was busy wrecking a guy while the ball got outside of him. I think maybe that's okay because h was providing a clear flight path for the other linebacker and there was no sense that he was doing something wrong like we got from Henry's playing time. The plays that got outside of him went for three and four yards, with the first one barely getting there thanks in part to Ross hammering the ballcarrier from behind.

Also: wreckage. If you ask me which error I'm picking, I pick Ross's every day of the week. (Ross did have one costly error when he failed to contain the QB once he broke the pocket.)

Morgan also demonstrates how anticipation is 90% of linebacker play. Here he thunks a free releasing LT back to constrict space:

His instinct is that block is coming; he creeps to the line before the play. Then he hops outside that block in case the RB wants to bounce; he knows what he wants to do and how to go about it; RB ends up running into unblocked guys he can't dodge.

We'll see if Ross starts getting some time next to Morgan in the near future. I will no longer predict that since I've been wanting to see it forever. I will say that with this DL performing the way it is the linebackers get to flow free a lot and that is a situation in which Ross is very good.

So how is the hybrid space playerization going?

UNLV is a spread offense with an anemic run game whose best player on offense is a wide receiver. They did not attempt an edge screen until deep in the fourth quarter. On that screen they won on RPS by motioning out the back without a corresponding response from the Michigan D—they in fact sent both LBs up the middle—and had a 3 on 2 advantage for a big chunk of yards.

Peppers did not make the tackle, but he made the play.

That's a punt instead of a big gain, and again it is Peppers just deciding when he's going to blow past the guy trying to block him. This ability changes your defense. It erases a ton of easy yards for the opposition and allows you to play whatever coverage games you want—not something you can do when Jake Ryan is your screen obliterator of choice.

We didn't see much else from Peppers on the day. That was more fear than coincidence, I think.

Heroes?

Glasgow, Godin, Ojemudia, Hurst. All cornerbacks, so hard.

Maybe not so heroic?

Henry, Bolden, Gedeon. All of these guys were fine or slightly below fine; it's only in context that they're not so heroic. Michigan has had much weaker weak points for most of the last 20 years.

What does it mean for BYU and beyond?

They are ready to take on BYU's crew of monster WRs. Lewis shut down Villamin on a fade last week and everyone tested in this game did a great job against them this week. They may hit a couple due to sheer size but Michigan has corners who are either legit All Big Ten guys (Lewis) or promising guys with size (Stribling and Clark) who just showed excellent ability to make plays on the ball.

Ojemudia's your guy at buck. Michigan stopped putting him in space after that went poorly in game one and he's responded by being the best version of Ojemudia: smart, more active than you might give him credit for, durable. I don't think he'll be a super impact guy against better OLs but he won't be a non-entity, either.

Lawrence Marshall's return answers the last question about how the depth chart is going to fall out: Ojemudia is at the top, and it's not as much of a platoon as you might have expected.

That two-deep at pure DL is still lights out. BONUS: zero seniors. /self high five!

(Seriously, if someone hires Brady Hoke as their DL coach I will praise that hire up and down.)

Peppers is improving. We have just that circle route as evidence but roll with it.

James Ross is hitting people very hard consistently. I would like to see more of him, whether it's as a SAM against manballers or the WLB against spreads. Bolden and Gedeon are more prone to large errors right now.

They might have enough pass rush. No star but no dead weight either.

Henry has to learn to avoid cut blocks. You know people will try it now that it's on film, and these RBs will be looking for it.

Comments

dragonchild

September 24th, 2015 at 7:13 PM ^

That says more about UNLV than Lewis.  Not that they were dumb or that Lewis was anything short of dominant; they had no choice.  Offenses tend to stop targeting lockdown corners after a while, when it becomes apparent the CB has definitively won his matchup with the WR.  But what else could UNLV do?  Stribling and Clark also played very well, and the DL had shut down the run game.  They had to keep firing at their #1 receiver, because it gave them the best chance to move the ball.  Which is so delicious, because that means they were THAT cornered.

But yeah, it won't happen often.  It's a conflation of UM's strengths almost completely matching UNLV's weaknesses (dominant DL vs. weak OL, Peppers vs. the screen, the other CBs outplaying their assignments, etc.).  When throwing at Lewis is your best option, you're screwed.

alum96

September 24th, 2015 at 3:18 PM ^

The curse of the lemons live.

Didn't like that # next to Gedeon either as I thought he'd be pushing starters at some pt this year and uhh...our only experienced LB next yr.

Godin emergence key with Mone out.

Henry should have been dominating the last 2 weeks so have to say while thrilled with Wormley, if Henry had come on as expected that would be a terrible twosome.  I am hoping the Henry issues are position switch related.

I was big on Lewis this offseason and will be very curious how he shakes out vs the trees of BYU. I assume he sits on Juergens as that is BYU's big play guy.  If Stribling or Clark can have a similar perf vs BYU we might have something here.  Peppers in space will also be interesting.  Nice to see the technique things from the corners.

Can't take too much out of this game due to level of comp but would it be possible Decker (with time from a decent OL ala what UM gives rudock) would be better than 60% of Big 10 QBs? 

marti221

September 24th, 2015 at 4:16 PM ^

Lewis is a big wildcard for next year's defense. He is IMO a first round talent, so we're going to have a tough time keeping him another year. If he comes back though, they will definitely be scary good. I think in that case, we finally see that step into the elite category of defense.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

AZBlue

September 24th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

than CB even if Lewis goes.  I am torn between having him back and the program recognition a 1st of 2nd round pick would bring.....Oh what the F am I saying, "Come back for one more JL!"

Looking like outside of JL - Bolden, Ross, and Glasgow are the best bests to keep the streak of players drafted going.  May need Mr. Ross to step in and influence a last round pick at Miami.

Ziff72

September 24th, 2015 at 3:30 PM ^

I've been pumping up this DL for 8 months.   What this means is clear.  Look for the 5-1-5 next year.

 

Taco, Worm, Godin, Glasgow, Henry

Gedeon

Lewis, Strib, Clark, Peppers, Hill

Ziff72

September 24th, 2015 at 3:36 PM ^

Kinda joking at 1st but man we could have 12 impactful seniors on defense next year + Peppers.   Next years defense will be insanely talented and experienced then poof it will be Mone and Hurst and ghosts.   Let's get those impact defensive recruits in asap!!! 

Mr. Gary come on down.

carlos spicywiener

September 24th, 2015 at 3:37 PM ^

The LB position over the next couple of years is slightly alarming.

please move Winovich back to defense, see if any of the safeties on the team can bulk up and play the position, and start recruiting like mad for HS players who know the position inside out, and can contribute right away, even if they aren't high level recruits. 

Basically guys like Des Morgan.

I hope Dytarious Johnson & David Reese are ready to contribute asap

AZBlue

September 24th, 2015 at 3:58 PM ^

next year.  No big reason to keep him there this year as he wasn't going to get any PT with 3 SRs plus Gedeon for 2.5 spots.

We will need McCray and Winovich to step up next year to help Gedeon - and Gant IF he gets a 5th.

I would also guess we might see more of Pep as "tiny LB" in non-nickel sets if enough others don't step up.

Makes it more depressing to see Kirkland already showing out at Tenn.

Baugh so hard

September 24th, 2015 at 5:33 PM ^

It seems to me that part of Harbaugh's player development strategy is to have people learn the position on the other side of offense/defense. This lets them feel more intuitively what the opposing players are trying to do to them. So, his time spent on O might just be the coach's opinion of the best way to further develop him at linebacker. 

M-Dog

September 24th, 2015 at 3:46 PM ^

So, given all of this . . . how many points do you think it will take to beat BYU?  And can our Offense generate that many?

I was leaning toward 25:  1 point more than (3 TDs + a field goal).  

But now I'm not so sure.  A couple of those TDs could be held to just field goals.

If our O can score 3 TDs, they can win it.  

If.

DonAZ

September 24th, 2015 at 3:43 PM ^

So the D-Line is better than last year.

How much of that is attributable to age, maturity, and more reps?

And how much of it is because now it's only Mattison, not Mattison+Hoke?

I'm not ripping on Hoke ... just curious whether the HC doing duty on the D-Line might have been a distraction.

alum96

September 24th, 2015 at 5:03 PM ^

A 21 yr old who is good is always better than a 20 year old who is good.

What is exciting is a guy like Godin who was a serviceable piece last year and now is a good piece.

The DL should continue to be the strength of the team but against let's hold our horses a bit - 2 of the 3 games were a bad OSU team and UNLV.  Not saying they wont have success vs other teams but it will be a different level of opponent.

 

getsome

September 24th, 2015 at 3:49 PM ^

wow, that 1st snap looked great in real time and even better upon review.  as impressive as godin looked on that play, james ross started the game with a real bang man.  

ross read his keys and diagnosed quickly and then got downhill in a hurry and with bad intentions.  he destroyed the FB / HB and still made the stop.  coaches would typically be happy with him stoning the lead block and forcing a cut which is his job but he made a heck of a play.  ross has struggled at times with taking on blocks at appropriate point and while maintaining leverage but not that play.

its only 1 play but hell of a job.  always great to see guys not only doing their jobs but making impact plays - thats what this D and team in general needs more of and not just vs lesser opponents.  hopefully the fellas keep it up this weekend.  and as always solid work

Big Blaze

September 24th, 2015 at 3:52 PM ^

Simply put, UFR's are my favorite material.

I am certain they are painstaking to create but they are PURE GOLD to us Michigan Junkies!

Thanks and GO BLUE

 

 

Mr. Yost

September 24th, 2015 at 3:58 PM ^

Didn't realize how dominate this defense was...that was an elite performance, a Bama/MSU/LSU/(now Ole Miss) elite level performance.

Very excited to see how this shakes out versus BYU. I thought Utah was a perfect gauge and we stood with them toe-to-toe. I think we're ready for the next big challenge.

I want to see these guys impose their will on BYU and then I'll be ready to claim them elite - also hopefully if that happens we can start scaling these guys backs on drives when they're not needed and develop the talent behind them.

Not worried about DL, still have youth and returning players - LB is worrisome, although I think Gedeon and McCray will be fine after an offseason with the 1's. DB, would like to see some of the younger guys get some snaps there just to get experience.

But guys like Marshall, McCray, Furbush, Wangler, Watson and Thomas...would like to see those players get some real snaps in games where we can get up 14+, and get snaps with the 1's where they're not playing with a bunch of other backups who aren't as good. Just sprinkled in here and there.

This defense is one game versus BYU away from making me a believer. Do that and let's develop the youth and inexperience as we continue to dominate.

Rabbit21

September 24th, 2015 at 4:30 PM ^

Not sure you learn much more from putting them in during games than you would by continuing to have them rep out at their positions during practice.  There are 4 very good players in front of them for depth and I'd rather have Gedeon and Ross get the late game snaps this year as those two will be more relevant for the team this year.  The bowl practices and Spring practices can be used to give the Furbush's and Wangler's of the world more run.

Mr. Yost

September 24th, 2015 at 4:41 PM ^

But you do get something out of meaningful game experience with the starters. Playing garbage time agaisnt the backups and with your team's backups is vastly overrated when it comes to experience.

Being inserted with the ones and playing against the ones is a real indicator, IMO.

You're 100% going to get better over the offseason, especially when you're getting real reps with the 1s. I mentioned that above in reference to Gedeon and McCray. But I do think during the year you can get a little big of experience playing in games if it's meaningful snaps that you can learn from.

I'm not saying we need to start experimenting...but just inserting one or two new faces in we feel comfortable, but the game isn't over.

alum96

September 24th, 2015 at 5:07 PM ^

I expect a ton of 4-2-5 next year

You lose Wilson and replace with Hill.  You need to find another DB - or Clark and Stribling play at same time with Lewis.

Then you have one of the better DLs in the past 15 years as everyone comes back.

You just have to find a 2nd guy next to Gedeon and then pray no one gets injured.  I am not as "solid" on McCray as you as he has done nothing yet other than be one of the older guys on the roster. 

That LB from GA we missed on late in the last cycle really hurt - he could have come in and started in year 2.  And right now with Caleb Kelly trending elsewhere and our LBs "developmental" in 2016 the opportunity sits for a bad ass 2016 LB to step in and be a starter from day 1 ala Jaylon Smith at Notre Dame.  Not sure why we are not landing some bigger fish on D with all these opportunities.

 

GoBlue C4

September 24th, 2015 at 9:50 PM ^

I agree with the 4-2-5 next year and probably even 2017. I think Winovich and Wheatley switch to D, Wheatley plays at the 5 tech SDE behind Henry and Charleton learning the postion to eventually start in 2017. Winovich will have a chance to start next to Gedeon next year battling with McCray for that second spot.

LBer IMO isnt as bad as it seems, 1. Gedeon, 2. McCray, 3. Winovich, 4. Wrangler (rs So. W/ offers from psu and lsu) 5. 4* Freshman. Pretty solid if you ask me, especially as a "weak" spot on the team.

funkywolve

September 24th, 2015 at 6:15 PM ^

from putting them in during games.  

I do.  As much as coaches can try to replicate a game situation in practice, they can't.  When there's butt's in the seats, the bands playing, coaches are barking stuff out, the refs blowing his whistle - it's a whole different animal.  

I played basketball through college and there were guys who were solid players in practice, but could never replicate that in the game.  Whether it was our team or the other team, you could tell by the look in a young players eyes how comfortable he was being on the floor.

It's no different in football.  When you're thrown in a game, you aren't lining up against the same guy(s) you do 5 days a week in practice.  You don't know the guy(s) across from you - you don't know how good he really is, how fast, quick or strong he is.  If you make a mistake, the coach isn't blowing the whistle and correcting you.  The ref is spotting the ball and starting the play clock.  You need to put the last play behind you, get the offensive/defensive call and get ready to go again.

Coming in for a series where it's just victory formation isn't going to help much, but if a player can get in there and get some good reps in a game, it's big.

UMForLife

September 24th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

Thanks Brian. If it is instincts the issue for LBs, hope they get comfortable as the season goes on. Hope that position is solidified in the next couple of weeks.

His Dudeness

September 24th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

This makes me happy. It means we are getting better every week. Wasn't DL kind of  a question mark after the Utah game ? And now we are all "awesome high five." These are good things.