Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs BYU

Submitted by Brian on October 1st, 2015 at 3:52 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was super-heavy in this game. A plurality of plays were I-Form Big of some description, most commonly a 2FB lineup featuring Houma and Poggi.

iform-big-2fb

Michigan frequently targeted the bubbles a 3-4 leaves by running fullbacks up both gaps. That is BYU in its standard 3-4, which they only left on passing downs. They left 8 or 9 in the box all day.

When Michigan moved from a dual fullback set to something with a blocker right behind the OL…

fb-trap-1

…the setup was appended with an "H". Here you can see every BYU defender within six yards of the LOS. M hit its first easy big play off this kind of defense with a 41-yarder to Jake Butt.

Michigan came out in a wacky formation right here:

emory-3-wide-h

I dubbed this "Emory" since it's kind of what's usually dubbed "Emory and Henry". This didn't work so hot since it didn't seem like anyone to the bunch knew what the dang snap count was.

On passing downs BYU would lift all but one DL and throw an amorphous pile of dudes at the LOS. They call this "radar".

radar-two-pro-set

Michigan's in the pro set they used on the Khalid Hill stealth mode play.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Houma and Poggi got all of the FB snaps. Smith got the bulk of the RB snaps until his injury; when he was absent it was mostly Johnson and Green, with Ty Isaac only getting two carries. That was odd, but more about it later.

Butt saw just about every snap. With the two fullbacks on the field for most of the day there wasn't a whole lot of room for other TEs; Bunting, Williams, and Hill all played bit roles.

WR was mostly Darboh and Chesson. Moe Ways got a healthy amount of playing time and proved an effective blocker; Perry only made appearances in the rare three-wide sets.

OL was per usual. Braden got knocked out with an injury we are assured is minor; David Dawson came in to replace him.

[After THE JUMP: De'Veon and the eleven dwarves]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Pass Waggle FB flat Poggi 2
The oh no here we go again play. M runs a waggle to start, Chesson's dude falls over, Rudock doesn't see it. To be fair the flat is probably his first read and it is open for a nice catch and run. Rudock puts it a little low and hard and Poggi falls over catching it. This is not an ideal throw but Poggi should be able to keep his feet here; the ball is barely below his waist. (MA, 2, protection N/A, Poggi route -1)
M27 2 8 I Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 2
Cole and Braden(-1) fire out at the playside end. End takes a big hit from Cole but Braden gets stuck on the backside of the DT. Looks like the DT has ahold of him but never getting that call unless you're Oklahoma State. Glasgow(+1) locks out the NT and Braden stays attached so Smith(-0.5) has a cutback opportunity behind Braden but does not take it. Instead he ends up running into a pile of guys with no crease because the end didn't get locked inside. Cole(+1) got a good hit on the DT and a second level block; Poggi(-1) hit a LB but bounced off, helping cram the hole full of bodies.
M29 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Radar one Pass Rollout comeback Darboh Inc
Just one guy in a three point stance with approximately five LBs on the field. M rolls the pocket and BYU does a good job flowing with it; Rudock can't find anyone open until very late when he tries a pretty covered Darboh and wings it high. Darboh gets a finger on it only. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Lead FB trap Smith 4
All BYU players within six yards of the LOS and in this case the two super aggressive safeties combine to tackle after Michigan blocks this very well. M motions Poggi to the short side and then runs a trap to the wide side with Poggi taking on the DT that was let go. Poggi(+1) cuts this guy with authority. Glasgow(+0.5) and Kalis(+1) combine to blow out the NT. Houma(+0.5) gets a nice lead block on the LB in the hole. Smith goes through a big lane, and here's a spot I wish he was a little more patient and maybe tried to sucker these safeties on the wrong side of a block. RPS -1; well blocked play but one that saw two unblocked guys make contact after a minimal gain.
M24 2 6 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso off tackle Smith 31
First big breakout carry. Cole(+1) and Braden(+1) club the playside end out of the hole with Cole getting a second level block on a linebacker trying to scrape over the top. Houma(+0.5) gets a little motion on his kick. Poggi(+0.5) is a little ginger with his hit but does set up to turn the other LB outside, which frees up a big swath of space. Moe Ways(+1) cracks down on the safety trying to prevent a big play and Smith(+1) reads the FB block and pops outside for a big gain. He had a little shimmy to get through a narrow hole. RPS +1. Crackback block from Ways was a 2 for one with WR in press man on him.
O45 1 10 Emory 3-wide H 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Flash screen Darboh Inc
Live I though this was BYU really sussing out the play; on replay it's obvious that Cole(-1) and Mags(-1) don't know the snap count and don't react post snap until the BYU CB is able to slip between Cole and Butt.(CA, 0, protection N/A)
O45 2 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Draw Johnson 5
Williams(+2) has a great block on a blitzing LB that he stands up and begins driving back; Mags(-1) has an initial hit on a DT but gets spun off of, closing off interior options. Houma(+1) gets a blasting kickout of a linebacker; Johnson hits upfield quickly and gets shut down by a safety who started at six yards. On the backside Glasgow(+1) got a pancake on the nose tackle.
O40 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Hitch and go Darboh 21
That play. You know, that one. This is a better throw than it appears since Darboh is getting held as he goes up the sideline (refs -1); Darboh makes it work anyway. I be like dang. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
O19 1 10 I-Form twins 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Pitch counter Johnson 0
Poggi motions to the short side slot. M runs a beautiful pitch counter that pulls both guards to the backside and spends the fullbacks selling the fake. BYU bites hard. Mags(+1) seals the playside end; end trips on Glasgow's block. Kalis(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) get second level blocks. Braden got kicked by a teammate as he pulled out from the line and has an awkward flight path. He still gets out on the end Butt has passed on after an initial hit and gets a pop on him; Johnson(-3) goes on the wrong side of this block. He has to bend around this defender set up to the outside of Braden and exposes himself to a safety who Kalis no longer has an angle on. Cutting upfield is one on one with a safety for a touchdown. (RPS +2)
O19 2 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Outside zone Smith -1
Another badly missed cut. BYU jams the frontside up; Glasgow(+2) feels that he can't seal the NT so instead he simply uses his momentum against him and buries him to the ground. BYU has shot a safety and a linebacker into any frontside gaps and Houma gets cut off in the backfield; there is nothing but an out of position end and blocks on the backside. Smith(-3) runs outside of a kickout block that's two yards in the backfield and gets what you get when you do that: tackled for loss.
O20 3 11 Pro set 1 2 2 Radar two Pass Double PA TE slip Hill 19
M motions from a pistol 2TE set to the pro and then executes a double fake screen that sees Khalid Hill screamingly wide open for a first down. Glasgow(-1) did get beat by a blitz to get Rudock somewhat pressured. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, RPS +3)
O1 1 G I-Form twins 3 1 1 Goal line Penalty False start Glasgow -5
These are unfortunately frequent so far this year. –1.
O6 1 G I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Goal line Run Power O Smith 3
Kalis(-1) blown through by the NT; NT falls but Smith no longer has the option of inside or outside the double to the playside. Houma(+0.5) went and scraped through a lot of traffic to find a guy to kick; Williams(+0.5) got some depth on his block; Braden(-1) picked the wrong side of Poggi's solid kickout block and ends up hitting the same guy, so there is no one in the hole to blunt the forward momentum of a linebacker. Smith(+1) gets hit hard at a yard and impressively cranks out another two.
O3 2 G I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Goal line Pass Scramble Rudock 3
Thoroughly illegal pick play on which Houma rips through the line and dives at the legs of a linebacker who is supposed to get out on Isaac. (Refs +2.) BYU's playside end does a great job to recognize what M is trying and drop back to cover Isaac, but in doing so he's left the corner open; Rudock saunters in. (SCR, N/A, protection 1/1) I guess I need to take back that Refs +2 because there's no OPI on a run. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. This f-ing drive, man. This was called so beautifully.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M10 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run ??? Smith 0
Director gets fancy and misses the critical bit of this play. When we come back Smith is about to get snowed under. There are a ton of problems here. The endzone buttcam reveals that Mags(-1) gets ripped through on a downblock; Butt(-1) also whiffs on a block; Kalis(-1) runs after a guy Houma is kicking out. Smith(+0.5) does well to break a tackle and lose fewer yards. I wish I had a better look at this play because I think some of these might be -2s.
M10 2 10 Ace empty TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Rudock 9 +15 Pen
Only a three man rush; Rudock gets immediate pressure as Cole(-1) and Braden(-1) don't communicate well and the DE heads right upfield between the two. If I had to guess this is more of a Braden problem since this DE is their best player and the NT isn't a pass rush threat. Rudock(+1) busts out of the pressure and escapes to the edge; Houma(+1) cuts inside to hit a linebacker and give Rudock the edge. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2) Rudock gets a slightly weak late hit call added on. Refs +1.
M34 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Stretch sweep? Canteen Inc
We don't get a good luck at what this is going to be since Rudock turfs an easy throw but it looks like the line is just blocking outside zone and Canteen is coming back for a screen that will probably go inside the two TEs and possibly much further. It's kind of a really tight tunnel screen. Supposed to be a pitch counter also. (IN, 0, screen)
M34 2 10 Offset I 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Pass PA Cross Butt 41
Poggi inline with Butt flanked just outside of him. Every BYU player is within 6 yards of the LOS and all bite on the power PA M runs; Butt is hand-wavingly wide open downfield with only a safety who ran up to a yard away from the LOS trying to recover. Rudock hits him for about 20 and there's a ton of YAC opportunity. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +3)
O25 1 10 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Double Iso Smith 4
Glasgow(+0.5) gives a bit of ground initially before anchoring and starting to drive. That initial give convinces Poggi(+0.5) to redirect from one side of Glasgow back to the other, which is fine. He gets a hit on a linebacker. Houma(+1) cuts the other guy to the ground. Smith has to cut back behind Poggi and Glasgow; Braden(-1) got pushed back and disconnected from by a DT who now threatens; Smith runs up the back of Glasgow for what he can get.
O21 2 6 Shotgun empty 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass TE seam Williams Inc
Cole flanked over the slot with Williams an eligible at "LT." BYU CB recognizes this or they just coincidentally call a corner blitz off this; bubble fake draws a linebacker that leaves Williams open for a first down; batted down. (BA, 0, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O21 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Radar one Pass In Chesson 5
This is not very Rudock. Chesson(route+) beats his man inside and has enough room for a catch and run; Rudock leaves it outside, necessitating a tough catch and leading to fourth and one after a questionable spot. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O16 4 1 Goal line 3 1 1 Goal line Penalty Offsides N/A 5
Kalis +1 for clearly jumping to draw the flag on a guy who Rudock had hard-counted across the line.
O11 1 10 Goal line 3 1 1 Goal line Run FB dive Houma 5
M lining up a WR at TE on these plays BTW. This is just a lurch forward by the world; Glasgow(+0.5), Kalis(+0.5), Cole(+0.5), Braden(+0.5). Mags didn't really have to hit anyone. Houma(+0.5) gets a half for a leap forward at the end. Five yards in this situation is pretty valuable.
O6 2 5 Ace diamond 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Double Iso Smith 1
Butt(-2) either trips or goes for a cut block way too early on a linebacker who is trying to shoot a gap and get to Smith. All he has to do is annoy this dude and M has a decent gain; instead Smith gets whacked in the backfield. Glasgow(+1) got excellent drive on the NT to make this a potentially successful play; wasn't a huge fan of the other blocks but they were okay.
O5 3 4 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Slant Darboh 5
M picks up man coverage that they see with Butt's motion. Butt then releases outside; Canteen goes straight upfield; Butt's guy bangs into him and then bangs him into Darboh's man. He comes free. BYU does have an underneath defender making this difficult; Darboh smartly bends his route to the back of the endzone, giving Rudock more of a window to throw it away from this guy. He does; touchdown, (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run FB trap Houma 8
Another trap sees Poggi(+1) lined up as an H-back right over the guard, cut a DT. Glasgow(+1) kicks the other DT effectively; Kalis(+0.5) gets a hit on the MLB after his free release. Braden makes a tight pull around Glasgow and doesn't end up getting a hit as the other LB makes a desperate dive at Houma(+0.5), who runs through a weak arm tackle and gets a nice gain. M showing option on the outside here, BTW.
M40 2 2 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 60
Poggi(-1) trying to get a kick block on the playside OLB; ends up giving ground and almost falling over backwards as that guy pops him good. Cole(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) get a solid double on the playside end so there's a bit of a crease. Houma goes and buries himself in the middle of the gap that's not so much there to little effect; Kalis(+1) scrapes around the whole mess, pops to the exterior, and is set up to cut of anyone who will try to be a force player; Smith(-1) does not have the patience to see this develop and follow his block. A bounce here is probably a bunch of yards... and oh. Right. I just did the Smith touchdown like it was a one yard run. In addition to the above, Houma(+1) ends up shoving a LB well out of the hole eventually. Ways(+1) fights through a corner to get to the safety and seals him off. Smith(+2) somehow keeps his feet through the chaos and bursts into the open field and then fends off the cornerback at the 30(+1) and spins him off(+2) to finish the run. The minus stays though.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Corner Chesson Inc + 15 Pen
M eats a double A gap blitz.. Glasgow(-2) does not read it and goes to double the ineffectual NT. Smith(-1) gets hurdled over as he goes for a cut; minus there might be harsh since this is pretty spectacular by Langi. Rudock needs to get rid of the ball right now and tries to get it out to Chesson on a corner route that is open for a big chunk but he gets hit on the throw and it's errant, almost intercepted. BYU guy hit Rudock basically right in the knee and gets hit with the Tom Brady PI. (PR, 0, protection 0/3) This is a new rule this year.
O44 1 10 Ace twins H 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Counter trap. Smith 11
This gets jammed up on the playside and is gloriously ridiculously wide open on the backside. Glasgow is the guy releasing immediately and he has to go out to a guy lined up directly over a slot receiver to get a block. That's a trap pull behind Kalis. A cutback is a massive gain. Smith doesn't see that despite it being the play design but I still like what he does on this play. Hill can't get a seal on this because the DT is heading right at him inside; that's one reason the backside gap is so massive. Braden(+0.5) gets caught up; forms up, and cuts the guy off. Kalis(+1) doesn't have an angle unless this goes backside and still buries a linebacker into the mess w Braden and Hill. Cole(+1) gets a yard of depth; Smith(+1) spots the tiny crease and does a hard out-in cut. Three BYU players take a false step and Smith bursts upfield for near first down yardage. RPS +2.
O33 1 10 I-Form twins 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Pitch sweep Smith 1
BYU did prepare for this and we see the result. Butt's motion takes him to the slot and brings down a safety with it; OLB flares out to be right over him. Cole(-1) has a good step that promises he'll be able to seal the playside end but cannot maintain it and gets run through. BYU forces it back otherwise. Houma targets the safety who came down and can't help Cole as he doesn't see the problem. Smith has to cut behind the Cole block. This might actually go well since Glasgow(+1) stepped around his guy and removed him from contention but the backside LB did nothing but haul after the RB and he makes the play. RPS -1.
O32 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Waggle TE flat Bunting 10
BYU again way aggressive on the backside of the play; M immediately hits them back with the dumb little flat pass for a first down. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +2)
O22 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Rudock 3
Protection is good; BYU vacates a huge space in front of Rudock. He starts moving up into it, and decides to run too early; he's got Butt for a first down and more if he can just see it. Instead he scrapes out a few yards. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O19 2 7 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith 2
Glasgow(+1) and Braden(+1) double and seal one DL with Braden getting out to a LB. Houma(-1) gets his kick ripped through. Poggi(-1) runs in to the back of Cole, knocking him off balance and causing him to lose his block; Cole(-0.5) did contribute there by not controlling the DT enough to give Poggi a clear idea of where to go. Kalis(-0.5) also lost his man after an initial push; not much despite a solid looking hole from the one block that was real good here.
O17 3 5 Offset I 1 2 2 Radar one Pass Scramble Rudock 17
Only four sent and they get picked up. Again they leave a massive gap in front of Rudock. This time when Rudock breaks for it there is nobody there until the endzone; Chesson(+1) does get a probably unnecessary but quality block. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2). I thought he had Hill on a corner route but that's just me.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-0, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso off tackle Smith -1
Glasgow(-2) gets pushed back and the nose fights to the intended hole. Playside end got doubled by Mags and Kalis and did that 1960s thing where you just go down in a heap to create a pile. This is successful but it's just a push. There's nobody for the MLB so despite a big gap up the middle a cutback behind the Glasgow block seems doomed; if I'm picking a nit the Smith bounce might cost a yard or two.
M30 2 11 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Comeback Chesson 12
Infinite time as the line dominates a four man rush. Rudock can step up and nail Chesson on a comeback route to the far sideline. Takes a while to get there but Chesson(route+) got significant separation. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
M42 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Rudock 4
S blitz draws Smith; he makes the block but Rudock spooks. As he starts moving up. He scrambles for a few yards. I don't think there was an obvious better choice than this, but I don't want to issue a DSR-improving SCR for a three yard run so I'm punting. (N/A, N/A, protection 2/2)
M46 2 6 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Double Iso Johnson 9
M attacks both bubbles against a 3-4. Glasgow(+1) controls and gets a couple yards of depth on the NT. Kalis(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) get simple kickout-ish blocks on DEs lined up outside of them. Houma(+1) plugs and turns out a linebacker in the gap Johnson attacks; Poggi(+0.5) gets into the legs of the other guy; Johnson(+0.5) starts his run with an outside step that draws one safety well to the outside of the play and erases him; he ends up falling over. Just the tiniest subtle thing to screw with a key.
O45 1 10 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Dive Houma 0
Kalis(-1) goes for a double on the playside end that last too long; they end up burying that dude but an MLB shoots the gap and hits Houma for minimal gain. Other blocks on this play are adequate at best; contact, middling seals, that kind of thing. Williams(+1) did blow up his guy.
O45 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Improv Darboh 18
Protection is excellent; Rudock doesn't see anything he likes right away. Pocket starts to break down; Rudock moves up and fires a sidearm laser to Darboh for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O27 1 10 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Counter Power Johnson 1
BYU slants away and sends a LB on a blitz into the intended gap. This guy blasts Kalis(-0.5) and disconnects, but playcall is a factor here. On the edge Houma kind of bizarrely tries to get around a guy it really seems like he should kick out. I kind of get it, because by doing this he holds the attention of a CB so he's kind of getting a two for one but that does cut off the possibility that Johnson could bounce outside the Kalis block. Butt(+0.5) gets a good second level hit; Johnson tries to go inside of Kalis and his LB makes a nice play. Cole(+0.5) blew out the guy slanting away. RPS -2.
O26 2 9 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Dive Houma 4
Corner blitz and another slant. This wins as the NT gets through Glasgow(-1) but the quick hitting nature of the play means he has no time to tackle. Houma runs into a mass of bodies; Braden(+0.5) gave it much of its impetus; Cole(+0.5) had a good backside block that helped a bit.
O22 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Drag Butt Inc
I think M gets a bit of an unexpected coverage here; three man rush; DE peels off to the short side flat; CB is following Butt across the formation. He has to bend away from him to clear some traffic; he does. Once he does not get caught up this drag is not a good route. I don't think this is late from Rudock; I think it was never particularly open. Rudock throws it anyway; he should come off it to a Johnson angle route that is breaking open underneath. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(40), 31-0, 1 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 I-Form 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Fly Chesson Inc
This is about on point as far as length but the ball is several yards inside. I'm not charting this quasi-hail mary. But LOL your feelings.
Drive Notes: EOH, 31-0.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 I-Form Big 2FB 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Double Iso Smith 6
Glasgow(+0.5) doesn't get much depth but when the NT picks a side he stays with him and shoves him laterally; Smith cuts back behind that block. Poggi's block is mediocre; he kind of bounces off and doesn't really control him; Houma(+1) does a better job. Smith(+0.5) bounces off Poggi kind of awkwardly but this causes the LB Poggi's blocking to spin back outside at he cuts inside of that. Here Houma's block is important as it provides the crease. Many people tackle from the side shortly after the second cut.
M33 2 4 I-Form Big 3 1 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 3
Both Houma and Braden target the same OLB for a kickout. I know M will run this both ways so hard to tell who's at fault. I think Houma(-1) given the flight path of Smith. Braden does recover after the mixup to knock a LB who had scraped over a block from Williams(+0.5) and Mags(+0.5) that had gotten some depth. Smith(+0.5) has a small lane he can hit. He spins through a tackle to near the first down.
M36 3 1 Offset I twins 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso Green 6
Not much push but M does block everyone and create a crease. Magnuson(+0.5) gets a kickout on a DE. Kalis(+0.5) and Glasgow get nowhere with the NT but he doesn't make an impact on the play and Glasgow(+1) comes off on a LB trying to shoot a gap. Green(+0.5) hops through the crease.
M42 1 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Waggle scramble Rudock 0
DE attacks Butt and then specifically goes after Poggi as he tries to release in the flat. Poggi does not get in the flat; Chesson is bracketed. Rudock has no choice but to run OOB for what he can get, which is no yards. Not charting. (N/A, N/A, N/A, RPS -1)
M42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Sack N/A -9
Another double A blitz that sees a free guy up the middle. This time it's Smith(-2) who blows it, as Glasgow starts to the outside to the guy he's never going to get but then redirects to the guy coming to him; Smith never sees this and lets the first guy through untouched; Rudock goes down. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M33 3 19 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Tunnel screen Darboh 14
Pretty decent playcall since the rushers sell out and are gone; Cole(+1) and Glasgow(+1) get blocks in space and Darboh's off. Safety shuts him down. No RPS since BYU did force a punt. (CA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Just a two man route; BYU is reacting better to it, hard to tell if anyone is open, looks like one on one at worst just let it rip man. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
M41 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith -1
Braden(-2) fires out way too flat and ends up barely applying force to the NT; NT chucks him aside and shoots up the middle of the play. Smith has no choice but to bounce; Poggi(-0.5) gets a block spun off of and his guy plus the S, an eighth in the box, and the DT combine to TFL.
M40 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Sack N/A -5
Smith injured on previous play and will not return. Protection here is okay at first; Butt eventually lets his guy around the corner(-1); Rudock had already hitched up like three times and this isn't the worst. Rudock gets nailed for the sack. Camera angle super tight and director has ignored skycam for most of the day for whatever reason so no idea if this was covered guys or bad decisions. (TA, N/A, protection 1/2)
Drive Notes: Aussie Going Rogue, 31-0, 6 min 3rd Q. This drive ends with the Blake O'Neill sojourn.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M4 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso off tackle Isaac 8
Glasgow(-0.5) gets rocked back but does stay attached and pushes the NT upfield; not the worst. Cole(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) erase the playside end; neither gets out on a LB. Hill(+0.5) loses a little ground on his block, stays with it, and ends up moving the guy a lot when Isaac(+2) moves him with his ability. Isaac first threatens inside before a quick bounce out; Poggi also sets up outside but then kind of waits for a guy to hit instead of finding a gent; Isaac stiffarms a DB at two yards and nears a first down.
M12 2 2 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Isaac 1
Cole(+0.5) blows in a DE slanting away from the play. BYU puts LBs in the gap fast. Hill(-1) tries to kick an OLB; he lunges and gets beat. Poggi(-0.5) gets a hit in; guy gets inside and meh. Kalis(+0.5) does get a good sealing hit on a pull. RPS -1; LBs were heading downhill on this and it made it hard to execute.
M13 3 1 I-Form Big 2FB 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Double Iso Green 4
Butt(+1) is one of the lead guys; he gets into the legs of the relevant MLB and seriously delays him. Kalis(-1) gets stood up and ripped through, which is dangerous; Glasgow(+0.5) does get his block but it's not a drive or anything, he just occupies a guy. Green(+0.5) makes the cut behind and picks it up.
M17 1 10 Ace 3TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
This is bad from Rudock. He flips around and Butt is wide open on a corner route but he does not throw it, afraid apparently of an OLB yards away dropping into it. This whole play is designed to get this one route open and he doesn't throw it when it works. (BRX, N/A, protection 1/1)
M17 2 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Smoke Darboh 3 (offset pen)
Solid tackle from the DB holds this down. Kalis(-2) gets a completely inane clipping penalty at the end of the play; it's offset by a face mask.
M17 2 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Rudock 8
M runs all slants and there's nothing there; Rudock bails after two or three reads. He breaks the pocket and cuts up after Johnson gets discarded by a LB; picking up a quality gain, (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
M25 3 2 Goal line 2FB 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass PA RB flat Green 7
Dubiously legal but they never call this; Poggi cuts the playside LB and Green leaks out into the exposed space; easy conversion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M32 1 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Iso off tackle Green 3
This ends up cutting back. Glasgow(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) get movement on the NT; Poggi(-0.5) is not assertive getting to the hole and gets fired back by the LB charging; Green(+0.5) cuts back. That's a good idea; Kalis(-0.5) got a little depth but does get ripped past by his guy as Green approaches.
M35 2 7 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Flare Johnson 14
Playside end rushes; LBs chase the TEs; Johnson wide open. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
M49 1 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Green 1
Hill(-1) hits the playside end but gets upright and run through as soon as the end tries to shed. Now this guy is in the play; Green has to cut up behind him. He gets nailed from behind by a backside end tearing after the play. Would RPS but situation.
50 2 9 Offset I 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass Out Butt Inc
Odd set from Kalis(-2) that is way too deep on a three step drop that is just trying to get the ball out quick to Butt. That lets another double A right up the gut and gets Rudock blown up on a play that should never get him touched. Ball is short of Butt. Should still get caught for a few. (PR, 2, protection 0/2)
50 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Reasonable protection but Glasgow(-1) doesn't redirect even when the NT goes way out of his zone and a guy gets inside Dawson for some pressure up the gut. Rudock decides to take off; he has plenty of time to move and reset and throw but he does not do this; he takes it down and the chucks it once a spy LB comes up on him. Too many times to the well for a guy who is only okay at running.Just throw the dang thing downfield. (TA, N/A, protection 1/2, Glasgow -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-0, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Offset I 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Counter Power Green 6
Somewhat dubious bounce here; Kalis(-1) bounces off on his pull to the OLB but Cole(+1) erased the playside end so there's plenty of room; Dawson(+0.5) got out to a LB who was taken by the counter action; Glasgow(+1) seals the nose. Hill(+0.5) leads through the hole; hard to tell how quality his block is because the LB is now trying to get to Green's bounce. The corner is open after Green(+0.5) makes the bounce and stiffarms the OLB; he cuts past the corner containing and runs into the guy who left Hill.
M35 2 4 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Run Pitch sweep Green 1
Not good from the guys in the bunch. Hill(-1) lets the playside ILB outside of him by taking an angle that's too tight to the LOS; he does stay with the guy and annoy him but that's suboptimal. Perry(-2) lets the playside corner by without hitting him; he doesn't turn upfield at least, but he ends up sitting still for about half of this play; when he does try to go find someone he runs outside instead of hitting anybody in front of him. Kalis can't get to the unmolested corner but does at least target him. He goes around; Green cuts up, running through an arm tackle. Hill's guy then tackles.
M36 3 3 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass PA TE drag Williams 7
Houma stumbles out of the backfield and is going to be covered anyway; Poggi is also bracketed; M leaks Williams out to run to the other side; he would be wide open but for an OLB who ran into the OL and then backed out. Rudock makes the read and throw for the first down; kind of wish they kept this under wraps. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Power O Johnson 3
Dawson(-1) doesn't ID the fact that an OLB has come down from the slot until really late. He basically runs by the guy with a bump; that gent comes down to tackle. Mags(+0.5) got lateral movement but was getting spun off of. Offense had no one for the MLB anyway. Would RPS this in competitive situation.
M46 2 7 Ace 3-wide H 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Power O Green -1
Dawson(-1) fires out wide, oddly; linebacker shoots the gap behind him and picks off Bunting. Glasgow(-1) saw his down block slant away; he's not prepared for this and the guy goes around untouched. That's fast enough for him to get a tackle in on Green's ankles in the backfield.
M45 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Hill 20
BYU sends a blitz off the corner that M does not block effectively because their protection is off; Dawson ends up with nobody to hit while a guy comes free. Hill leaks out into a little hitch that Rudock sees as a hot route and fires. DE was dropping here but not well enough; Hill turns upfield for a solid chunk of YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, Team -2)
O35 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Off tackle Johnson 11
Williams motions to the short side and goes out into what might look like a route for a second; his motion drew a S down to about four yards; Williams(+1) latches on and stays on until the S just runs away from him in pursuit. Cole(+1) releases to a linebacker and seals him inside; Dawson(+1) sees a guy slant inside of him and adjusts to seal him off; Hill(+1) gets a good driving kick. Johnson(+1) bursts past the first level and hits the corner.
O24 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Scramble Rudock 3
Plenty of time as BYU only sends three. TE mesh underneath covered; only thing that might be open is Perry on a deep route I can't see. Rudock decides to take off for a few. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O21 2 7 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Off tackle Green 6
Similar play but slightly tweaked with Williams targeting a LB instead of releasing outside. Cole(+1) drives the end in; Hill(+0.5) gets a good kick; Williams(+1) seals the LB.
O15 3 1 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Off tackle Green -1
Well blocked; couple BYU playside linemen surge to the backfield but both get stepped around and sealed by Dawson(+1) and Cole(+1). Williams(+1) gets a big kick. Hill(+0.5) gets a LB; only thing left is a safety who is running hard at the point of a attack. Green(-2) makes a late decision to try to bounce it outside and gets tackled for not an inch of YAC. Impossible to see this happening to Smith.
O16 4 2 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Pass Waggle WR flat Canteen Inc
Canteen gets into the flat and is open and Rudock pumps it to him; he is not looking. Rudock runs out of time and throw it to him; he is still not looking. This seems suboptimal if you are trying to catch a pass. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 31-0, 3 min 4th Q. Last drive not charted.

I mean this is okay.

It's pretty good, actually. 31 points and 450 yards against a real defense is good. That's more than UCLA got, more than Boise State got, more than Nebraska got. None of those teams project to have an awesome offense but we're just looking for the defense's competent sidekick here.

But if you leave out the 60 yard…

Let me stop you there. De'Veon Smith's ridiculous run did tack on a pile of YAC that could distort how good the blocking actually was… if the running backs hadn't given that much yardage back on poor decisions elsewhere. It is a fact of life that Michigan's backs will give up these yards; it's also a fact of life that sometimes De'Veon Smith will keep his feet and then mount a defensive back's head on his wall. The overall rushing performance is a fair reflection of the blocking. It says 254 yards on 51 carries, 5.0 a pop, in a game where Michigan ran two-thirds of the time.

Not quite Stanford's Harbaugh heyday; an obvious step forward. This leads to a

chart

run chart that's part promise and part coping.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 11 2.5 8.5 Moving guys. Not like Lewan did, but consistently.
Braden 5.5 5 0.5 Back to reality against strong DE, but reality still OK.
Glasgow 15.5 5.5 10 Would have been interesting against Tuiloma. Beat up this NT.
Kalis 7 8.5 -1.5 Had some meh pulls.
Magnuson 2.5 3 -0.5 M clearly left-handed when it wants to rely on tackles.
Butt 1.5 3 -1.5 One bad block got Smith nailed at the goal line.
Williams 6.5   6.5 Yup.
Kerridge       DNP
Poggi 3.5 4 -0.5 Weaker FB.
Houma 8.5 2 6.5 Thought he was mostly terrific.
Hill 3 3 0 Up and down.
TOTAL 64.5 36.5 64% Hair short of two thirds, solid outing against a solid team. Dawson's +2.5-2=+0.5 omitted, FWIW.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
Rudock 1   1 Run positives mostly stored in the decision to go.
Morris       DNP
Smith 9.5 4.5 5 Beast mode.
Isaac 2   2 Lack of time confusing
Green 2 2 0 Attempted third and one conversion baffling
Johnson 1.5 3 -1.5 One real bad cut.
Taylor-Douglas       DNC
TOTAL 16 9.5 6.5 Up and down.
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Darboh        
Chesson 1   1  
Harris        
Perry   2 -2  
Cole       DNP
Ways 2   2 Chessonesque.
Canteen 0.5 1 -0.5  
TOTAL 4 1 3  
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 30 14 68% Glasgow –4, Smith –3, Kalis –2, Team –2, Cole –1, Braden –1, Butt -1
RPS 20 8 12

First touchdown drive was pure sex.

Some notes not addressed elsewhere:

  • The protection comedown is worth an eyebrow cock, but it was mostly failed blitz pickups. Michigan couldn't pick up double A twist blitzes… so, like, let's work on that the next couple weeks.
  • Moe Ways paved the way for a couple long pickups with safety pickoffs.
  • Braden is coping. He is much improved but still just okay. In general, the offensive line is two very good players (Cole, Glasgow) and three guys who are decent.

The blocky catchy stuff is also worth addressing; I thought Houma was excellent and Poggi just okay; Williams didn't actually get much time but killed it when he was in. I think the rampant 2FB stuff was a matchup thing against the 3-4; I expect more of Williams down the road, especially since this coaching staff discovered you can throw it at him.

Khalid Hill's relative lack of playing time was explained a bit. He had some nice catches; he fell off more blocks than his H-back compatriots.

You seem to be exceptionally generous about RPS given the fact that Michigan is running into stacked boxes all the time with middling success.

I haven't seen a whole lot of plays that get downloaded and overrun, so RPS minuses are only popping up when defenses can apply unblocked guys to defenders because they're playing their safeties closer than ten yards. That's been offset by a bunch of cheap yards when DBs play off, Harbaugh scheming his way to free blocks, and—finally—tight ends roaming the open plains of the American Midwest, wondering where all the people went.

I know I said I wanted to cosplay a pre-Columbian bison but this is a little much

JURASSIC WORLD WAS REAL

That latter is the first of many hilariously wide open downfield passes to tight ends the Harbaugh era will contain. We have not seen plays that wide open since Denard Robinson was putting the fear of God into every safety from Champaign to Timbuktu.

So anyway I think part of my manball hate was the fact that I never saw anyone who was actually good at running it. Let's go back to those smoke screens. They are literally the easiest and dumbest thing in football. Throw ball to guy. Guy runs. Anyone can do it. Michigan refused to for years for some damn reason; Harbaugh runs a pile of 'em. So what does BYU do? They roll up to the line of scrimmage and play press man. No more smoke screens.

That is not the end of it, though:

That is two for one on a wide receiver block. That does not happen to a corner playing off.

Even something as neolithic as an iso gets a boost from being under Harbaugh's wing. In this game Michigan faced a 3-4; they ran double isos at it, single-blocking the nose tackle and kicking the ends. This was difficult to defend.

That turns an iso from a play that's easy to constrict into something of a mini-zone run. Whichever way the NT goes is wrong. The LBs have to play it straight unless they've got a game on, and who the hell games for an iso? And do you really want to game an interior run against Michigan when they will trap you from any angle? 

Meanwhile this is so stupidly easy to execute. Michigan can do all this stuff because not much of it is that hard to get your head around. It is a system that works, and the RPS numbers reflect it. So do the results. The main downside is that UFR takes forever now because I have to try to figure everything out every week. I'd rather deal with that and quotes like "that was not what we prepared for" than the alternative.

I thought this offense was going to be boring. It is fascinating.

(I've also eschewed RPS minuses for big chunks of the season so far because Michigan is up four scores and is in scrimmage mode.)

But a lot of the frippery didn't work.

Some bad luck and some bad execution. On the Emory and Henry play the two tackles didn't seem to know the ball had been snapped until the play was over. That is the kind of thing that would irritate me if Michigan was bad at executing because it had no identity but it seems like an outlier.  The slot-tackle play was probably a first down for AJ Williams but the pass was batted down.

The pitch counter was Jared Leto in Fight Club. A beautiful thing destroyed too early.

image

AAARGH CUT UPFIELD

There is a safety offscreen… who took two false steps and was going to be hard pressed to prevent a touchdown.

Why did Ty Isaac get marginalized this week?

No idea. He only had two carries; he couldn't do much with one but the other was a very nice bounce and stiffarm:

You know me: I love it when backs take enough of a step inside or outside to get the defense moving and then cut decisively the other direction. That bounce is quality, as is the stiffarm that follows.

Instead we got a bunch of Derrick Green. I can only assume it was for team harmony reasons, because there wasn't anything about Green's play that suggested he'd passed the other guys. Particularly bad was the third and one right before Michigan turned it over on downs. Michigan blocks this play well, leaving Green at the LOS with a charging safety:

Woof. I'm usually not a fan of plays that see the 11th guy on a defense make contact at the LOS but on third and one I'll give it a pass because that should be an automatic first down as the back plows through the DB. Instead Green tries to bounce at the very last second before contract and goes down without a whisper of YAC. Impossible to see this happen to De'Veon Smith.

I would not be surprised if that was something of a last hurrah for him; over the past year and a half the other three guys on the roster have all outperformed him except when Michigan overwhelmed Appalachian State and Miami (Not That Miami) last year. At this point the data is fairly compelling.

I don't know why we are even talking about this after Smith went beastmode. He's the guy.

He probably is the guy but I don't think that's necessarily carved in stone. His vision remains an issue. On the snap after Drake Johnson botched the pitch counter, Smith missed a cavern of a cutback lane:

image

Instead he tried to go around a force player who shot outside of Houma and got bottled up for no gain. I don't mind that much when Smith misses a bounce since he is De'Veon Smith and should look to grind people under his treads whenever possible. Smith choosing a crappy bounce over an opportunity to run right at nobody in particular is an "oof" moment. The worst that happens there is the DE hits you from behind and you Smith your way forward for five yards.

A  bit later he picked up eleven yards on a play that was simultaneously really nice and a bit of a facepalm.

Love that cut. Have been asking for that cut every week since Mike Hart graduated. The one hard step outside that you plant off and change direction is the hallmark of great north-south backs. Like that cut so much I want you to see it over and over again.

Smith ruins three second level defenders with that cut. That is a new development from him and it's great.

On the other hand…

image

…holy hell that is a truck lane on the backside. By the point I grabbed this screenshot it was not realistic for Smith to hit it, but this was a trap play on which Hill was hitting the DL furthest in the backfield; Smith's path took him directly to that block. In fact, this is a counter designed to hit the truck lane. Hill fires off directly into the NT and Kalis makes no attempt to get across the LB, instead burying him into the line. Glasgow makes a short trap pull around Kalis. There he has to go all the way out to a slot corner to find anyone to block. Hooray eleven yards on a nice cut; WTF follow the play design. I gave him a plus one anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hell, even on the beastmode touchdown he decided to plunge into the interior of the line when Kyle Kalis had correctly decided to bounce his pull to the edge. He was sitting there waiting to give Smith the corner when Smith decided to use the teleporter instead. Good on yer, I guess. I did just say I'm not too peeved when he does not bounce. I'm even less peeved when he does not bounce and grabs 60 yards. I'm just sayin', though.

This has been your weekly book about De'Veon Smith.

Man, we run the fullback a lot.

It's funny. After years in which Michigan ran that edge pitch play after faking a fullback dive they never ran, Michigan is now running the dive while faking the edge pitch they never run. I assume Michigan will come back to it at some point. They showed a triple option look off the dive at some point—Bo would have loved that. In fact, that was not a dive at all but another of the infinite trap varieties they run.

Michigan is lulling opponents to sleep with these dives, and will hit a monster play off a counter to it some time this season.

For now the dives themselves are working just fine. Houma had 4.2 a pop in this game, and if you can do this when you near the goal line you are going to have a good redzone percentage:

I hope they call that play "blob."

Jake Rudock hives cases took a sharp dive… until the second half.

Jeez, you're a grinch.

Jake Rudock 2014

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Maryland 2 38++(2) 4(1) 2 2* 6 3 7 1 75%
Northwestern 5+ 7+(1) 3(1) 3 - 1 1 - 1 71%
Illinois 3 13(2)+ - 2 1 2 - - 3 77%
Wisconsin 5+ 16(3)++ 7 1 1 3 1 2 2 80%
Nebraska 3 20(1) 2 5 4** 2* 1 5 1 66%

Jake Rudock 2015

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Utah 5+ 18+++ 2 4* 4* 4 - 1 1 71%
Oregon State 3+ 17(3) 2 2 1* - 1 2 2 76%
UNLV - 13(4) 2 5** 2 2 - - - 50%
BYU 1 12(2) 2 1 2* 5 1 2 4 63%

Rudock was much better in this game. We finally saw him use his legs effectively. This has always been a part of his game—he had a few hundred rushing yards a year at Iowa once you remove sacks. He had two touchdowns, one a play on which a BYU defensive end faced a Hobson's choice between leaving the corner or Ty Isaac wide open, the other a decisive scramble to the other side of the field from most of the wide receivers. The latter was a good example of Rudock's pocket awareness. He is scanning downfield away from the big ol' gap but still feels it open with his peripheral vision or spidey sense or something and then he's off. 

He was also much better with the actual throwing of the ball. This time when a guy came hand-wavingly wide open in the endzone he threw it to him.

Even here though you get the impression things are moving too fast for him. He is still a little late, necessitating the throw behind and away from a defender. Several times in this game he avoided throws that were reasonably open, and some that were wide open:

That one was especially grating because without anyone in the flat that had to be his primary read.

In the second half he looked gunshy. We didn't get a downfield replay of this but from what we can see on the screen this is one on one coverage on a deep ball:

You've got the time. Throw your guy open. Rudock piled up the Throwaways in this game and that dragged his DSR down. It was very Iowa Rudock there, and that is understandable given the came context.

Also those TAS were mixed in with confident throws to the sideline from the opposite hash and that sidearm zing to Darboh after Rudock avoided a rush and stepped into the pocket productively.

Todd McShay said he looked like a "different human" and that was not wrong.

Rudock gave some of that back in the second half when he reverted to excessive conservatism. Overall still an encouraging and necessary step back towards the Iowa Rudock. And at this point Michigan just needs Iowa Rudock.

I think you've covered the Stanfordizations of the week already.

Mostly. Michigan did some ostentatiously different things in this game, particularly on the opening touchdown drive—the Hill pass, the Emory and Henry formation, the eligible-LT play.

They also continued their series of tweaks and adjustments to their base run plays. In previous weeks we'd seen Michigan run traps by pulling a guard around for a quick hit. This one sees Henri Poggi tasked as the trapper. Watch the ILB to the top of the screen bury himself well away from the play:

BYU saw the trap on film and probably prepared for it by keying on the OL pulling; Harbaugh switched the scheme and got a freebie. It took both safeties lining up six yards deep to prevent this from being a big gain, and if Smith sets up his blocks like he did in the 11-yarder above he could bust outside for a sizeable again.

They also came back with a variant of the ol' run-play-action-and-hit-the-flat play on third and short:

That was one OLB aborting an attempted run defense that had taken him past the LOS significantly from being a big play.

Receivers!

I be like dang.

This does up my frustration that Rudock has not hung more punts up for Darboh, who looks like he'll have a major advantage against most defensive backs when it comes to mutually leaping for a ball. Stop overthrowing deep balls.

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

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Darboh 1 1/2 3/3   6 1/3 16/18
Chesson     1/1 1/1   1/2 6/6
Perry       1 1/2 2/3
Harris         2 1/1 2/2
Ways           1/1
Cole         1/1
Butt 0/1 1/1   5 1/1 2/3 11/11
Williams 1     1/1   2 1/1   2/2
Bunting       2/2         6/6
Hill       2/2     2/2
Poggi     1/1         1/1  
Smith     1/1   1   5/6
Isaac         2/2
Green   1/1     1/1
Johnson     1/1   1     1/1
Kerridge         1/1 3/3
Houma                 1/1

Canteen got a drop on a 3.

Routes: Poggi –1, Chesson +1.

Lookit all the blocky/catchy targets.

Heroes?

Cole and Glasgow. Mostly Smith. Darboh. Harbaugh/offensive brain trust.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody stuck out as particularly bad. There were some indifferent performances but nothing that consistently hurt the offense.

What does it mean for Maryland and the future?

"The expectation is for the position" extends to the coaches. This was a stellar gameplan until it didn't need to be anymore. Michigan hit BYU with counters to stuff they'd prepped and hit them with things they'd never seen. It should have gone better than it in fact did except for some bad luck and bad cuts.

Meanwhile, Harbaugh keeps tweaking and tweaking. The Stanford stuff will happen again; it was a product of his diverse offensive mind and college football is not catching up to it because barely anyone runs it.

Cole and Glasgow are legit. Those guys can go toe to toe with just about anyone. The other guys are okay.

Houma and Williams are making the case for more playing time. In Houma's case that would be an opportunity to stay on the field more when Kerridge gets back and knock Poggi out of the second FB spot. Jay Harbaugh should go around with a big sign with a picture of AJ Williams that reads MAYBE IT'S NOT NEPOTISM.

The tailbacks could still use some coaching up. Progress; too many missed cuts still. I think we'll see Isaac re-emerge as the #2.

Rudock is still working towards comfort in the offense. Improvement. Safety. If we want the big flashing goals that are suddenly feasible he needs to have big games at the right time.

Comments

vdiddy24

October 1st, 2015 at 4:00 PM ^

This actually aligns with exactly with how I felt his performance went. I think his overall improvement is tremendous but a lot of people are talking about him living up to his 5 Star potential like he's a dominant linemen now. He frequenlty misses assignments on pulls and I was surprised you even gave him a +1 on Smith's long TD run. At some point you have to find someone to block. 

Erik_in_Dayton

October 1st, 2015 at 4:06 PM ^

He reminded me in that game of Craig Krenzel, QB for the 2002 OSU national championship team.  He wasn't going to win the game by himself, but he helped move the ball in various ways while never giving BYU an easy path back into the game.  I'll gladly take that version of Rudock. 

RE: the second half play when he failed to throw to Butt, I didn't mind that too much.  The underneath guy is screaming into the play - so there's a bit of risk - and not turning the ball over at that point was much more important than a first down.

Moonlight Graham

October 1st, 2015 at 4:20 PM ^

And beat Ken Dorsey. And look at other recent national championship quarterbacks: For every Tebow, Young, Newton and Winston there was also Mauck, Leinart, McElroy, McCarron and Flynn. I'm not by any means comparing our team to those Alabama juggernauts and all the talent McElroy and McCarron had to work behind, but I could see Harbaugh & Co. continue to get Rudock to that level of game management efficiency. And O'Korn next year. We'll see what happens.  

Bertello NC

October 1st, 2015 at 11:31 PM ^

That's exactly what I thought of as the game was ending. I remember krenzel that year just putting the ball where it needed to be, handing it off to clarett(deveon) and they'd occasionally call a QB draw that would pick up 7-8 yards. It was very similar. Tressel was more spread but still it was similar in watching it.

ggoodness56

October 1st, 2015 at 4:03 PM ^

The Glasgow brothers are feasting and flourishing in the middle. Not sure what to make of it. System guys who are older? New coaching? Lived in the weight room? Whatever it is or all of it, I am really enjoying watching them both play and make a huge impact. 

 

A tip of the cap to the beef duo. 

Yinka Double Dare

October 1st, 2015 at 5:03 PM ^

They were both actually already good last year. More coaching, another year of training, and they're even better. 

Too bad the younger brother isn't another Glasgow beef machine, instead he's a 6'1" 200 lb. guy currently listed as a safety on the roster. Wonder if he'll make the 3rd Glasgow walkon to end up contributing eventually.

Also, thank god Tressel lost his job when he did, because Graham was originally going to walk on at Ohio State and not Michigan. If he had gone there, Ryan may have followed.

turtleboy

October 1st, 2015 at 4:09 PM ^

We ran into a lot of loaded boxes in this game, amazed at the success we had doing it in the first half. This game felt very much like a scrimmage, where the coaches were trying crazy difficult things just to see what we could do, like FB dives into 9 man boxes, or playing dime defense the entire game, and still dominating, lol

dragonchild

October 1st, 2015 at 7:15 PM ^

The dime defense was a gamble on our D-line and they came through; that was impressive.  But the FB dives weren't a dare.  They attacked BYU's backup nose tackle.

Harbaugh is so my kind of coach it's getting creepy.  I've honestly wondered for years why FB dives aren't run more.  It doesn't have to be a base play, just test their front FFS!  Defenses typically key on the FB as a blocker while the tailback takes a second to build up some momentum.  For run D, that second matters, and they expect to have it.  The FB is often closer to the LoS so while he can't get a head of steam, neither can the D.  It's hike, handoff, bam!  It's like a boxer's jab; it's almost never a KO punch but it's so quick it's like a free slap to the face.  The downsides are that lumbering FBs can give back that extra second and the RB is useless, but against a 3-4 you still have the numbers advantage where you need it; it's not like the OLBs are gonna matter either.  Unless the defense is sitting on it (which defenses REALLY hate to do because it's FB dive FFS) or has a solid NT, it's hard to prevent that play from gaining 3-4 yards.  Against BYU's backup nose it often went for 5 or more.

I like the FB dive more than I probably should, but I don't expect Harbaugh to run it nearly as often against beefier lines.  BYU's an undersized 3-8 so I was screaming "FB dive!!" in my head and lo, they ran it right at 'em to good effect.

Space Coyote

October 2nd, 2015 at 9:50 AM ^

Both of which Michigan is running. But the reason it is effective is not just in the play itself, it's also highly effective in what it forces the defense to do.

The base run is Power O in Harbaugh's offense. That is a bit of a slower developing run play as you need the FB to kick (which should happen fast), and the OG to pull around. Yes, defenses key the FB a lot of the time (which is why Michigan also runs split zone, to run the FB away and make it look like Power O on the opposite side), and as soon as they see the FB move they break immediately for the gaps Power O is trying to attack. They need to get there and get there fast, and form a wall, or else the offense has too much power at the point of attack.

So they see the FB go and they take off, but it's a dive, not Power O. Now the defense has overrun the play and the FB can crease it for a decent gain (typically the backside LB will catch him if he's flowing over the top). You get a nice gain, but you also delay the defense the next time you run your base play. They need to make sure it isn't dive before moving on to the Power O, which gives the pulling OG that extra second to get in front of the LBs and set up his blocking.

It all works within the scheme, which is nice. I like the trap better because I think it gives the FB a little better blocking and also pulls an OG, but it takes a little longer to develop and great DTs can kill it really quick.

Smoothitron

October 1st, 2015 at 4:12 PM ^

O16 4 1 Goal line 3 1 1 Goal line Penalty Offsides N/A 5
Kalis +1 for clearly jumping to draw the flag on a guy who Rudock had hard-counted across the line.

 

marti221

October 1st, 2015 at 7:02 PM ^

Idk why offenses don't have some sort of automatic "go" call when the D jumps off sides. If the QB sees it, I'd love to see him hike it quick and toss it deep. See it a lot with Aaron Rodgers. I'm sure it's something that would take some time getting everyone on the same page, and you definitely wouldn't want to risk a fumble obviously. Offense is getting to be really exciting either way. REAL MANBAWL!!!!

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LJ

October 1st, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

My favorite part of all this is that now we're the weird offense that most college defenses don't see much of during the year.  That used to be the advantage of the spread; now it's the advantage of Harbaugh's weirdo manball.

marti221

October 1st, 2015 at 6:54 PM ^

Can you imagine trying to prepare for a Harbaugh offense? You do kinda have to have some sympathy for opposing coaches (NOT). Has to be quite the guessing game. Think you've got all the basses covered, and he pulls out another wrinkle to fool you.

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g_reaper3

October 1st, 2015 at 8:06 PM ^

But I guess it only makes sense. He was a successful NFL coach. Even guys like Saban failed there. It's probably why no one in the media thought Harbaugh would return to Michigan. Not many successful NFL coaches do. The only one I can think of is Bill Walsh and he only stayed at Stanford for a little while I believe.

g_reaper3

October 1st, 2015 at 4:28 PM ^

Especially from the 80's when Harbaugh was QB.  If so, are there similarities to what we are running now?  If not similarities, is it fascinating or boring?

Gr1mlock

October 1st, 2015 at 4:29 PM ^

My theory for why no Issac is that, after Smith went down with an injury of (at that time) indeterminate severity and we were already up a million, Harbaugh wanted to keep some horses in the barn.  Better to save our #2 who may need to be a #1 soon from any risk of injury, and use our #3 and later guys.

Lanknows

October 1st, 2015 at 5:08 PM ^

I believe Johnson has come into the game first in the last two weeks. (?)  The "keep the horses in the barn" argument makes sense re: Green (#4) but not Johnson (#2).

Isaac seems to be #3 at least in part because Johnson offerd a better counter to Smith (i.e., they work better as an inside/outside duo).  Isaac's more in between the two.

Asgardian

October 1st, 2015 at 4:30 PM ^

Take what the Defense gives you.  If they don't want to defend the inside run... easiest 5 yards you'll ever get.  The ILBs that are going to win in that situation against Poggi (273lbs) or Houma (243lbs) are few and far between.  It forces you to slant your 3-4 DEs inside the tackle, which opens up the edge.

Also that would be a heck of a play action look.  Here comes the run... "oh noes"!

Asgardian

October 1st, 2015 at 4:31 PM ^

I think it was over at Touch the Banner somebody (Magnus?) said they saw Isaac getting chewed out after he took one of his carries out of bounds instead of running to contact.

Smoothitron

October 1st, 2015 at 4:40 PM ^

I don't know if it was the object of the play or just a weakness in the defense picked out by Rudock, but I think he knew he was running the whole time on his second TD.

 

Watching his eyes it looks like he's hanging out in the pocket just long enough to get #16 going the wrong way before he takes off, but I'm no football strategeristologist.

StephenRKass

October 1st, 2015 at 4:45 PM ^

I'm watching the OL. If the light really has gone on for Kalis, we move to 3 excellent linemen. And if Braden and Magnuson bring it up a notch, we've then got a very good line, instead of just good. With a very good line, Rudock has more time, the RB's have more lanes, the receivers can get more free, lots of good things happen.

I actually think the season lines up very well for us. The OL has 2 games to gell more, then MSU. I think they can beat State if things go right. That gives us 4 more games after that to get better yet. And then the final and hardest test, OSU. If we played OSU now, I think we would lose. Playing them at the end of the season? I think Michigan has more time and room to improve and catch up to OSU. And if we run the table, that Jim Harbaugh is coach of the year, and we're in the National Playoff picture. I could not have believed that was a possibility in the preseason, in my wildest dreams.

jbibiza

October 1st, 2015 at 4:49 PM ^

Another victim of the wasted Hoke red shirt. Would be a great 5th year FB coming back next year.

The good news is that this staff appears to be totally sane when it comes to red shirting freshmen... 

Reader71

October 1st, 2015 at 6:37 PM ^

No. He was the only non-Kerridge fullback on the roster.

You dont always redshirt to get a fifth year out of a guy. Most guys redshirt because they aren't good enough to make the two-deep. Houma was, by default. Sucks, maybe, but this isn't an example of Hoke's wasted redshirts. Price of going to an offense that featured fullbacks.

getsome

October 1st, 2015 at 9:11 PM ^

theyre also great at identifying where guys can best help the team even if it means position switches, repping at multiple spots, repping both ways, etc - this staff aims to put together the most complete and efficient lineups / gameplans and best utilize all available talent which is a breath of fresh air for both players and fans