Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian October 15th, 2015 at 4:22 PM

HomeSure Logo NMLS-1Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. I'm late today so I'm just going to tell you that Matt's a good guy and did my loan and Seth's loan and everything was easy and professional. We are associating our name with his and that is something we are very comfortable with.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: There was… nothing weird? Apparently not. Michigan did run different formations than they had much of the year, with a lot more ace sets and early-down gun. M was split about evenly between I-form of some type, ace, and shotgun.

Here is an offset I for some reason.


This has been your federally mandated pre-jump picture.

Oh, FWIW: this was NW's defense the whole day. 4-3 under for the most part with two rolled-up cover 4 safeties. The linebacker type guy to the bottom of the screen is actually a corner; NW has shifted the LBs to the field and are running an over on this snap.

PERSONNEL NOTES: OL and QB per usual the whole way. Kerridge returned at FB, getting most of the time in front of Houma. RB was a profusion of different guys. Smith early, then Higdon, Green, and a little bit of Isaac and Johnson. Those guys missed time for different reasons.

WR rotation was about as per usual except with more three-wide formations we saw significant amounts of Grant Perry for the first time since the opener. At this point it's clear the rotation this year is Darboh, Chesson, Ways, Harris, Canteen, and Perry. Canteen missed this game for an undisclosed reasons. (If Michigan is going six deep with three freshmen and no seniors, the writing is on the wall for guys not currently playing.)

[After THE JUMP: I drop bows on 'em? Ohhhhhhh probably short for elbows. Now I understand rapism.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Ace trips 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Dumpoff Smith 7
Poggi and Williams are slot WRs near each other to the field. Rudock doesn't like deeper options and checks down for a bit, may have had Ways on a drag but maybe not. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M48 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 18
Very odd play as both TEs go in pass routes. That does happen on RPO plays but Rudock turns his back to the D for the handoff so there is no possibility he'll pull up. NW shoots their SAM inside of Magnuson and should nail this in the backfield; Smith(+2) shifts just around the guy and powers through an arm tackle. Hart-esque. Glasgow(+1) picks up a guy slanting across his face and kicks him to the sideline; Kalis(+1) gets to and seals Walker; Braden(+1) finds a linebacker rather far away from his starting point; Smith sees the blocking and hits it. Cole(+0.5) was beat for a moment by the slant but did recover to get a hit in and cut off the possibility the backside guy would get him. RPS -2; should have been no gain, probably.
O34 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power O Smith 1
End around motion from Chesson. M runs a pretty standard power. Mags(+0.5) escorts a DE slanting away past the play. Braden(-1) is pulling to kick out the SAM and gets run around. Looks like he gets off balance as he starts running and can't redirect in time; all he needs is a little push and Smith is through; LB gets an ankle trip on Smith that brings him down. Okay so he doesn't break every ankle tackle ever. If Smith can get through this he's going to get a nice gain as Kerridge(+0.5) and Butt(+0.5) had found the ILBs and there was room.
O33 2 9 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Drag-corner Butt 32
Fake waggle action; Rudock pulls up and ends up in the dead center of the field. Route combo sees both WRs go to the endzone, dragging three guys with them; nobody checks Butt, with Smith's flat route occupying the last coverage guy with shot; PA fake sucked Walker all the way up past the LOS and by the time he tries to bail to what's probably his assignment it's way, way too late. Butt is wide open for a big chunk. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +3)
O1 1 G Goal line 3 2 0 Goal line Pass Sack N/A -1
NW does a great job of covering this. Rudock needs to just fling the ball out of the endzone, but he holds on to the ball too long and the walls cave in. (TA, N/A, protection ½, Cole -1).
O2 2 G Goal line 2FB 3 2 0 Goal line Run FB Dive Kerridge 1
Braden(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) are the POA guys and get good movement to put the ball back on the doorstep of the goal line.
O1 3 G Goal line 2FB 3 2 0 Goal line Run Iso Johnson 1
A literal pile of bodies in which it is impossible to distinguish anything that eventually lurches far enough forward to score. Johnson(+0.5) Wanted It More.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Inside zone Smith 7
Magnuson(+1) and Kalis(-1) blow out a DT but Kalis doesn't get off the block fast enough to do anything with a linebacker trying to shoot a gap. Braden's block is mediocre; not much space inside. That is in part because Butt(+0.5) saw his guy dive inside on the snap. He escorts the guy further than he wants to go; Smith(+1) appropriately bounces. Nobody on the edge as someone on NW busts; LB that Kalis let go comes around the block and initiates a tackle from behind; Chesson(-0.5) airballs a block on a safety but that's partially because the play is going in an unexpected direction; Glasgow(+0.5) got a good hit and then extension to the second level that was not relevant.
M32 2 3 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Inside zone Johnson 2
Similar to the last play, with M getting excellent movement on the DTs but LBs shooting the gaps get through. Glasgow(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) do a decent job, with Braden picking up one LB. Kalis(-1) again doesn't get off his block to even contact that LB; Mags(+1) ends up burying the DT they were working. Johnson runs into traffic away from the gap-shooting LB and goes down. RPS -1; the LB pickups are tough and can be exploited on PA. Interestingly, this is a zone read on which both LBs release to the second level. If the DE crashes here could be a big play; he did form up.
M34 3 1 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-4 under Run FB Dive Kerridge 34
Aaaaand Michigan burns the gap-shooting LBs. Both ILBs run hard to the frontside of the play where they presume the ball will go since Kerridge is lined up there; Rudock hands off and Kerridge heads to the backside B gap. Cole(+1) blows out and turns a DE slanting to him. Braden(+0.5) releases and redirects to one of the gap-shooting LBs. Glasgow(+0.5) gets enough of a hit on the NT, but Kerridge is through so fast he doesn't even know what he's looking for to disconnect; similarly, a DB hanging outside has no idea what's going on until Kerridge blazes past him. This suckered basically the entire D. RPS +3.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Drag Chesson 27
Kerridge is flanked as a WR. Chesson comes open on a dink drag; with an RB occupying the attention of a linebacker in the flat it's up to Walker to shut this down, he starts pointing at stuff and gets out of position by a yard or two and Chesson(+1) makes him pay by outrunning him to the corner and turning this up for a big gain. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O5 1 G I-Form H 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff Butt 3
Fake the FB dive into a pass. NW again covers it well. M has a backup plan on a weird route I don't think I've seen before where Butt blocks for a second or two and then just releases the guy to the RT and turns around at the LOS. With a flare route dragging coverage to the edge this nothing play is available and scratches out an important couple yards. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O2 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Goal line Run Zone read keeper Rudock 2
End dives down enough for Rudock(+1) to pull; he ends up in space with a safety and manages to juke in-out to break a tackle(!) and extends the ball over the goal line.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Lead zone Smith 5
Mixed results on the blocking here. Mags(-1) gets slanted under and loses his guy to the backfield; any delay will be a TFL. There isn't one. Glasgow(+1) gets a couple yards of depth on a DT. Braden(+0.5) kicks out a guy slanting away; Houma's block is adequate but a little dicey; while Smith(+0.5) doesn't have an opportunity to cut back to the open field he doesn't get hit until a couple yards and then Smiths out some more.
M13 2 5 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff Smith 11
Double PA like the stuff that led to the Butt screen against MD; M is apparently trying to hit this deep in the conventional way. Nobody open except Smith leaking out of the backfield, but he is pretty dang open. He'll have a shot at YAC and more hilarious De'Veon Smith loose in your secondary's china shop stuff, but the ball is deflected slightly at the line and he has to make a juggling one handed circus catch. I'm giving this a CA since the read was good and it wasn't quite deflected enough. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)
M24 1 10 Ace 4-wide tight 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Draw Higdon 1
Higdon doesn't have a lot of good choices here as Kalis(-1) gets thrust backwards and controlled by a DT; Braden(-0.5) does slightly better but not much; Higdon(-0.5) should probably try to hop between the two. Instead he runs outside of Kalis into the arms of the DT.
M25 2 9 Ace 1 2 2 ??? Pass Waggle TE flat Williams 13
NW busts here but M kind of induces it, as Williams blocks the relevant DE a long time. When Rudock breaks outside of the pocket a NW LB is already flying up at him; Williams's guy follows suit, I think partially because he got blocked so long. The PA and three other routes occupy the other defenders and Williams gets a big chunk of YAC. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M38 1 10 Pro Set Big H 3 1 1 4-4 under Run Double iso Green 1
This is tough for Braden(-2) as he gets tasked with a one on one block against a guy shaded inside of him, but he loses the block decisively. He gets stood up and DT disengages in the hole for a minimal gain. Kalis's guy buried himself to keep from losing ground and extends to the hole as well; possible green could cut further outside s M does send a lead blocker into the gap outside Kalis but that doesn't look great either. Poggi(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) had both gotten second level blocks that split the LBs so there was going to be a lane to the S if Braden can just get this block.
M39 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 4-3 even Run Screen Smith 2
Jet sweep fake to Chesson that is rather less than convincing because of bad timing. NW also plays this well. Glasgow(+0.5) releases the DT he's blocking only for that guy to immediately read and pursue; he has to re-engage. Kalis(+0.5) gets a DB but DB has gotten so close to Smith(-1) that he ends up leaping over the block and getting nailed by a LB who was not taken in by the jet motion. Smith probably had enough time to read what was going to happen and cut inside this block for a decent gain; by going airborne he removes his essential Smithness. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
M41 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Perry Inc
I don't really know what Rudock is thinking here; Perry is really not open, with a guy undercutting him and then a second guy that bats the ball down. Meanwhile a Chesson drag looks like it would the the first down if thrown on time and Smith has a good shot on a flare route. This is maybe a throw Mallett could make. Rudock not so much. Uncharacteristic in this game. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q. FWIW this was a 75 yard punt the endzone got in the way of.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 I-Form tight 3 1 1 4-3 over Run Edge pitch Higdon -2
Motion from Poggi gets NW to shift to the play significantly, which is a good idea. Poggi barely deals with a DE. Darboh(-2) cracks down on the playside LB and gets blown up; he falls over and the LB extends to the sideline. Cole(-2) pulls around Poggi and misIDs the guy he should get, as this appears to be a quarters look on which the S is crashing down super hard. Higdon gets tripped in the backfield.
M30 2 12 ??? 3 1 1 ??? Run ??? Higdon 9
M goes tempo here and BTN misses most of the play. When we come back Higdon is in a bunch of space for reasons unknown. Walker flies upfield of Poggi; want Poggi(-0.5) to at least get a shove in here but too much space for Walker to shut down; Higdon(+1) sets up his lead block from Mags(+0.5) very nice with an eye-opening slip cut past a guy who dove at his ankles.
M39 3 3 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass TE In Williams 13
Williams IDs zone as he breaks in and sits down in a gap that might be there anyway but is definitely there as the MLB overreacts to Butt. Rudock with the pitch and catch for a nice gain. FWIW, NW borked coverage on the outside and Chesson was wide open. But you can't look at everything at the same time. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O48 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run PA In Harris 13
M runs what looks like power on the front, which eliminates the front seven as they go nuts; slot WR almost but not quite OPI's here; Harris ducks under for a five yard throw that is easy to extend to a first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Run Inside zone Smith 2
Rudock(-1) should probably keep this with a DE shuffled down. I don't think he is in position to extend to Rudock if he keeps, and handing it up the middle with a guy this tight is hard to make work. NW slants to the play and Kalis(-1) loses his guy all the way around; Braden(+1) comes off the double team to pick up NW's still-very-aggressive linebackers. Cole(+0.5) continues driving the DT; Smith does not have much of a cutback option since the DE is just hanging out. He runs up Cole's back and gentlemen converge.
O33 2 8 Shotgun trips 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Flare Chesson -1
Odd looking play; jet motion for Chesson and a fake handoff that's not at all convincing. Butt pulls across the formation to pass block and end they left alone as it looks like M is trying a flood route on the sideline. No downfield shot but I think I see everyone get covered. Rudock checks down with a meh ball that makes Chesson leap; if this is more on a line he might have a shot at making a move. As it is the guy is on him immediately. (MA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O34 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Corner? Chesson Inc
Rudock's arm is hit as he tries to go deep-ish to Chesson. Mags(-1) responsible for the pressure. (PR, 0, protection ½)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 4 min 2nd Q. Fair caught at the six; refs put at at the 8, refs -1.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Run Zone read keeper Rudock 13
Rudock(+2) does pull this time once the DE shuffles down; he extends to the sideline and the DE turns his hips all the way to horizontal; Rudock slices upfield of him. Mags(+0.5) and Kalis(+0.5) got pretty easy blocks on guys running away from the play. Smith(+0.5) sees the cutback and cuts off the DE as he tries to redirect. Rudock slides down after a nice gain, temporary targeting reversed, refs -2.
O42 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass Circle Darboh Inc
This is open enough for a completion and maybe a couple yards after; Rudock throws it just slightly behind. I can't tell if that allows Walker to get a hand in or if Darboh just drops this so I'll split the difference. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under Pass Hitch Chesson Inc
Ball gets brushed by a fingertip at the line, which slows its trajectory enough that the DB can hit as the ball arrives on a dink. (BA, 1, protection 1/1)
O42 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Y cross Butt Inc
Very solid coverage by the NW linebacker, who gets in Butt's hip pocket and makes this a very difficult conversion. Rudock puts it on the money, maybe a little low but in a very small window; LB bats it away. (CA, 0, protection ½, Butt route minus) Mags(-1) got run around and Rudock had to get rid of it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 19
NW blitzes both LBs so a huge gap opens up on the backside of this play as DL shift away from the gap the LBs will attack. Cole(+0.5) kicks a DE; Williams(+0.5) gets to the second level on a pretty passive LB. Braden(+1) finds and buries one of the blitzers; Glasgow(+0.5) escorts an NT out of the play. This leaves the last LB in a ton of space with Smith; Smith bursts pasts him. Darboh(+0.5) gets a little piece of a DB. Smith runs through that. Van Hoose catches an off balance Smith at the 39 and 13(!!!) yards later Smith is still churning. Smith ends up taking seven different hits on this play of varying severity. +3. Bravo. OH also Chesson(+1) buried a safety to help Smith out. RPS –1. M did have this set up for something okay even if the LB makes the play.
O48 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 3
Kalis(+1 and Mags(+1) get good push on a DT, with Kalis taking out a LB trying to hit the gap; Butt(-0.5) lets his guy inside and there's not a ton of room for Smith(-0.5). I think Smith can slash outside after he gets in the hole and get a nice gain but he ends up trying to leap over the guy Mags has put on the ground and not getting a ton, but would have been a tough cut.
O45 2 7 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under Run End around Chesson 12
Not entirely sure about the blocking here. Braden pulls to the short side; Glasgow pulls the other way. Braden pull freezes all three LB. Cole(+0.5) doesn't try to seal the DE and extends to the nearest LB effectively Darboh(+1) cracks down on the safety who shooting down at the play, removing him. After a second where Glasgow looks like he's going to seal the end he extends out to the edge and rips through. Chesson(+1) zings inside of him with a quick upfield move. Glasgow(+1) then reacts by turning back upfield to hit the corner; his blocking was effective enough on one guy and the quick thinking is good; Chesson bursts outside; Cole did eventually lose that LB and he closes it down.
O33 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4- under Run Counter off tackle Higdon 1
Cole(-0.5) gets a good hit on the playside LB but offers no help to Braden(-0.5) on the way through; Braden loses his guy to the outside. Kerridge(-0.5) chases an end who gets really suckered by the counter action and spends himself chasing a guy who is going past the play. Darboh(-1) airballs his crack block on the S. Higdon has three guys to deal with and can't escape.
O32 2 9 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith 4
M again just running routes with a lot of their guys. NW blitzes two LBs and holds one back. One blitzer through as M has literally no one to block him. Smith(+0.5) has to cut away from him and does; he has a crease as Cole(+1) turned out a DT. Glasgow(+0.5) did a decent job with the NT. Braden lost his guy but that's because he actually got a good block for the play design that got ruined by the cut. RPS -1.
O28 3 5 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 5-2 even bear Pass Sack N/A -1
NW lines up a LB right over Butt in press man coverage, which looks weird since there's a DE outside of him. Good pocket, but something with Darboh and Butt gets messed up and both of them are in the same place; I think they were trying a rub route but hit each other or got messed up or something; Rudock has nobody even a tiny bit open and tries to scramble, getting sacked. Punt. (MA, N/A, protection 2/2, Butt, Darboh route -)
Drive Notes: FG(47), 31-0, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run PA sack N/A 0
This one is frustrating. M runs a PA that fakes a counter. Both S step to the LOS and are irrelevant. Rudock has Darboh going deep one on one. Throw the dang ball. Instead he ends up running and losing a fractional yard. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
M26 2 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Blocked pretty well and could be effective if the DE checks Rudock, but NW sends a CB blitz and the DE has eyes only for the back. Kalis(+1) gets good movement on a DT slanting away so Higdon can run right off his butt and take the DE hit from the side to get a few yards. RPS -1.
M29 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one Pass In Darboh 9
NW shows pressure and sends it; picked up well; Darboh(+1) gets just free enough on an in route that he ran against man press to get open. He powers through a tackle for enough yards to move the chains. (CA, 3, protection 3/3, Darboh route +)
M38 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Counter pitch Higdon -3
The SAM is set up away from this play and must be reading the G pull because as soon as he sees it he shoots the gap hard. With the other two OL on that side of the play busy with DL there is no one to pick him up and he shoots for a TFL. RPS -3. Making things worse, Harris(-1) missed his crack block and two more guys were in Higdon's business. Kalis gets hit with a terrible holding call, refs -2. Kalis hurled the guy to the ground with a hand inside the frame of the chest.
M35 2 13 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass PA In Harris 12
Another quick in, this one with a bit tighter coverage; that immediately bails. When Harris turns in the guy has to flip his hips. Ball already out by the time slot guy gets to the S; Harris makes the catch and slides upfield for a few YAC. (CA+, 3, protection N/A). M pulled a lineman and ran PA; caught a blitz from the SAM that got in free but nothing to be done about it and the pass worked. RPS +1.
M47 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Run FB Dive Houma 4
Slant gets blasted off the line. Cole(+0.5) plugs a guy; Poggi(+0.5) picks him up. Braden(+0.5) gets a second level hit. Glasgow(+0.5) nails the NT. Houma runs at all this.
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Another zone read look. DE shuffles down, Rudock gives. Braden(-0.5) gives some ground to the DT; he turns him to one side but that side is away from the DE; Higdon has to cut behind it and again gets hit from the side for a meh gain. I don't think Rudock should keep this one but DE still makes the play. Been a long time since I saw a lot of ZR. This does get three yards anyway, so no RPS.
O46 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass PA rollout drag Darboh 3
WR drags across the formation after a playfake. Rudock rolls to it and throws it. He's got immediate pressure so not much choice; DB was dropping to Butt's route so pretty much gotta throw short; DB adjusts and nails Darobh right after the catch. Throw was significantly behind and difficult but didn't make much difference to yardage gained. (MA, 2, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O43 3 4 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Sack N/A -2
I can't see most of these routes. Rudock doesn't have much time to get the throw out as Cole(-2) gets shed inside after he tried to cover a speed rush and Rudock has to start moving. Two LBs start close to the LOS; Isaac picks one up but the other is free and Rudock goes down. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-0, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass TE flat Butt 5
Rudock looking for a slant here that a LB undercuts. He should probably stick with it another half second so he clears since he's in a zone, but he does find Butt, who turned a flat route into a short hitch for a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M20 2 5 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power O Green 10
Jet motion from Chesson. This brings a safety down and flares out one LB to make it easier to block; RPS +1. Mags(+1) erases a DE slanting away, big hole. Houma(-0.5) is danced around; he gets just enough to prevent a tackle. Glasgow(+1) should have a DT but that guy slants away; he reads it and gets out on a DE dropping out on a fold, which becomes quite relevant. Butt(+1) nails a LB at the second level and ends up driving him as he tries to get a tackle in. Braden(+0.5) pulls around to hit another guy. Kalis(+0.5) kicks a guy away from the play.
M30 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Lead zone Green 6
Textbook doubles from the interior OL as Kalis(+1) and Glasgow(+1) work to hit two guys; bot h get ot the hole but to do so end up getting shoved well downfield. Braden(+1) and Cole(+1) do the same; Green(+1) finds the hole as Braden's guy fights to where the lead block is. Green cuts behind that and rumbles out some YAC.
M36 2 4 Ace twins H 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Power O Green -2
Butt(-1) gets shot back by a DE. LB shoots a gap; Braden works around the butt block. Braden(+0.5) finds this guy and his him. Poggi(-1) gets an initial hit on the edge guy; edge guy extends and sheds around Poggi to hit as Green comes to the correct hole.
M34 3 6 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-4 bear Pass TE flare Williams 6
Mags(-2) flat beat by Odenigbo; Rudock has to abort grand plans and dump to Williams in the flat. He is open, as Chesson either drew attention or picked off a DB; Williams can rumble for the first down. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
M40 1 10 I-Form Big 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Counter off tackle Green 9
Slant away. Green counter step; no pull. Williams(+2) immediately pancakes the most relevant DL; Cole(+1) seals the guy just a bit further inside. Poggi(-1) does not adjust to the slant. Instead of trying to find a guy downfield who is coming to him he chases DL for the play and ends up blocking no one. Kerridge ends up trying to hit the guy Poggi leaves; Green(+1) can alter path and run past him since the DL blocks were so good. He gets chopped down by an ankle tackle just as things start to get exciting.
M49 2 1 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Green 2
Braden(+1) and Glasgow(+1) blow out one DT, with Glasgow getting to a linebacker Other DT burrows inside of Kalis and Mags. Both guys contact their defenders and to okay; not great. Butt does enough with a DE. Green bounces it outside and gets hit by a safety who came down really quick. Short yardage so I won't RPS it but RPS is mostly why this gets defeated.
O49 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 under Run End around Chesson -6
Backside end is just sitting there and extends upfield when the ball comes back to him; Cole moves to the second level. Chesson runs around that guy but that safety is banging down again and tackles in the backfield. RPS -2. Chesson(-1) probably should have just cut upfield of the DE and tried to get back to the LOS.
M45 2 16 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Rudock has all day, sees nothing, throws it away. Probably has one on one on a deep route, just throw it. (TA, N/A, protection 3/3)
M45 3 16 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Isaac 6
M gives up and punts.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-0, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 I-Form Big 3 1 1 4-3 under Run Power O Green 6
Williams(+1) and Poggi blow up the playside end. Poggi should come off the guy and hit a linebackerbut instead focuses on that dude the whole play. Kerridge(+1) plows a LB. Kalis(+1) pulls and bowls over a safety; LB who Cole is trying to chase from the backside who Poggi probably should have hit impacts Green(+0.5) at two yards; he gets some YAC.
M40 2 4 Ace trips tight bunch 3 1 1 4-3 under Run Counter pitch Isaac 7
Kalis(+1) pulls around and neutralizes the playside end. Kerridge(-0.5) tries a cut that does impact the defender and move him back but doesn't put him on the ground. Poggi(+1) gets it on the second try. In the meantime a LB has gone inside of the guy they're trying to cut so Isaac gets the corner.
M47 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Waggle Y cross Williams 16
PA suckers most of the NW D. There's one corner in the flat; he checks Butt so Williams is wide open; Rudock hits him. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +2)
O37 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Lack of patience here from Higdon as he just runs hard right up the middle. Braden(-0.5) doesn't get movement; his guy fights inside a little; With Cole(+1) beating up the end if he can hop a gap out he'll get a nice gain. Instead into the meat grinder. LB shooting gap gets to Kalis before he can do much other than slow him; Higdon(-1) is engulfed.
O34 2 7 I-Form Big 3 1 1 4-3 under Run Power O Green 2
Overhang corner and an six yards off LOS. Houma(+2) blows up a LB; Braden(-1) heads inside here instead of getting around it and ends up finding nobody to hit. Williams(+0.5) escorts and end out; Poggi(-0.5) gets beat, albeit upfield by a guy who can't do much with what's going on. Green gets tripped by the overhang corner.
O32 3 5 I-Form Big H 3 1 1 4-3 over Run Iso Green 4
Backside DT slides inside, which might still work out fine for M as Kalis(+0.5) and Glasgow(+1) gets good blocks and Poggi(+1) nails that guy to the ground. Green(+1) cuts back, though, and that's good since the DT vacated a gap. Cole(+0.5) locks out and steps to seal an end, LB cannot redirect in time, and it's another super aggressive S holding the gain down. Notional RPS minus again.
O28 4 1 I-Form Big 3 1 1 4-3 under Run FB Dive Houma 4
But of course. Glasgow(+1) and Kalis(+1) blow up the NT, like put him on the ground two yards downfield immediately, and that's that. Braden(+0.5) got a good second level block and Houma(+0.5) slipped a tackle.
O24 1 10 I-Form Big 3 1 1 4-3 under Run Power O Green 2
This is stopped by the extra guys in a ten man box. Poggi(+0.5) and Butt(+0.5) did well to carve out a small space to gain something. Notional RPS minus.
O22 2 8 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass In Ways 9
PA with a pull; no LBs in coverage except the slot guy, who gets all messed up, easy pitch and catch and YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, notional RPS +)
O13 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Lead zone Green 4
Cole(+1) and Braden, but mostly Cole, bury one DT. Williams(+0.5) gets a yard or two of depth on a DE, FB and Green both go outside Williams. Poggi(+1) got a good, tough kick on a guy who didn't want to get kicked; he rips him out and seals. Houma(-1) just needs to pop the CB and Green can probably explode to the sideline for six; he ends up falling for mysterious reasons.
O9 2 6 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run FB Dive Houma 5
Slanting to this play; Cole(+0.5) just kind of runs past a DT but flings an arm out to knock him over. Glasgow(+1) gets three or so yards of push on the other one by the end of the play. Braden(+0.5) goes and hits a linebacker; Houma(+0.5) squeezes forward.
O4 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Lead zone Green 4
Kalis(+1) Mags(+1) and Williams(+1) cave in the left side of the NW line. Houma(+0.5) kicks a LB; Green(+1) carries a safety to the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-0, 2 min 4th Q.

So this was rath—



Pretty good.

d'awwww /kicks dirt

So as I was saying this was a rather efficient performance.

Yes. Michigan's offense was shorted two opportunities by return touchdowns (not that we are complaining) and spent most of the game with an unimpressive yardage total, but a glance at the drive chart is evidence enough that Michigan significantly outperformed any Northwestern opponent to date:

  • TD drives of 59, 75, and 66 yards
  • Six drives between 29 and 38 yards, one of them ending in a field goal
  • 13-yard four-and-out at the end of the first half

Aside from the two minute drill Michigan at least shifted field position on every drive. A break here or there, a little better play, and Michigan looks dominant in all three phases. Against a team that had been very tough to score against, that is significant progress.

I enjoyed this version of Jake Rudock more than other versions of Jake Rudock.

Yes, sir.

Jake Rudock 2014

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

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%
Maryland 2 13(3)+ 3 4 4 5* 1 3 2 50%
Northwestern - 16(1)++ 4   1* 3 1 2   75%

Rudock was 17/23 and 7.8 YPA without a truly big play against a pass defense that is still 14th in S&P+ passing defense metric even afterwards. He had no excellent balls and no completely inaccurate ones. He had only one throw that was a seriously bad idea. That  is the kind of efficient game manager stuff we were hoping for preseason, and opposite this defense that kind of production is going to win a ton of games.

Sustaining it? We'll see. At the very least it's a leap forward.

Anyway, this is the kind of stuff I want Jake Rudock doing.

ID guy, hit guy in chest, see what happens after. Chesson is establishing himself a guy with elite speed, so putting it in a spot where he can try to use it is going to be profitable.

Good decisions to open guys short was his whole day. I am slightly bitter that the De'Veon Smith circus catch got deflected at the LOS, because we were almost treated to another Choo Choo All Aboard The De'Veon Smith Express moment:

But man yeah that checkdown stuff is where it's at sometimes and Rudock is very good at squeezing out those yards. Or at least he was at Iowa. This year, eh.

Pass protection had a lot to do with Rudock's day. Guys within a city block of him were rare. This Williams completion sees him hitch up twice and fire; even by the time he's done there's nobody even threatening.

[Yes, Chesson was arm-wavingly wide open on a wheel route on this throw. C'est la vie.]

If there was a frustration it was a lack of aggression. All of that lack came after Michigan had sprinted out to an almost certainly insurmountable lead, so it is somewhat understandable. Rudock seems to be trying to avoid turnovers. This is generally good. Sometimes it does manifest itself in excessive paranoia about negative outcomes. There were multiple plays in the second half where 1) I don't know exactly what the coverage looks like but 2) I do know that at worst there is a receiver way downfield with one guy trying to check him. Here it's Darboh.

Throw the dang ball man. You are far more likely to get a catch or a PI out of that than an interception, and even in the worst-case scenario it's not that bad since you just punted. A later second and sixteen was less obviously single coverage but it was also second and sixteen on which Rudock ended up throwing the ball away.

Meanwhile, the run game…

I don't think I can CHART you since you BANGED me


We're not still doing that.

d'awwww /kicks dirt.

So the run chart overstates things because I think the last two drives saw a lot of backup Northwestern DL get in the game while Michigan was playing their starters, and that was 22 snaps—a large portion of the total. I didn't really know what to do about this since M was still playing the starters, so I just charted it anyway. You should mentally round these down somewhat.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 9.5 2.5 7 PFF's number 2 run blocking OT. I see it.
Braden 9.5 6 3.5 One game away from erasing most preseason fears.
Glasgow 13.5   13.5 Second straight no-neg day. I'm sure I'm missing stuff but dang.
Kalis 10 4 6 Started slow, came on strong.
Magnuson 6.5 1 5.5 End of game was pretty.
Butt 2.5 1.5 1  
Williams 5.5   5.5 Williams for Mackey?
Kerridge 1.5 1 0.5  
Poggi 4.5 3 1.5 Some discussion below.
Houma 3.5 1.5 2  
Hill       DNC
TOTAL 66.5 20.5 76% See discussion below; M crushed the line and ate the RPS because it didn't matter.
Player + - T Notes
Rudock 3 1 2 Denard 2.0?
Morris       DNP
Smith 7.5 1.5 6 On just 8 carries.
Isaac       DNC
Green 4.5   4.5 A flicker.
Johnson 0.5   0.5  
Higdon 1 1.5 -0.5 DNC
TOTAL 16.5 4 12.5 Nice week for the ballcarriers.
Player + - T Notes
Darboh 2.5 3 -0.5  
Chesson 3 1.5 1.5  
Harris   1 -1  
Cole       DNP
TOTAL 5.5 5.5 0  
Player + - T Notes
Protection 32 7 82% -4 Mags, –3 Cole
RPS 12 14 -2

Was running 2:1 in M's favor until 28-0 up.

Michigan got up huge and put away all the RPS stuff they hadn't put on film already, so most of those RPS negatives hit the run game and obscured the fact that this was pretty much an asskicking up front. I also stopped tracking RPS at all late. This was Michigan hitting it hard at very stacked fronts and more or less succeeding.

This Northwestern defense is a pretty good proxy for Michigan State. Northwestern never left a 4-3 look and ran a ton of quarters. That's MSU's blueprint. That blueprint means hyperactive linebackers and safeties lined up at eight yards; when you run to one side the safety to that side rips down immediately.

Michigan's results against this  were erratic: Michigan got stuffed some and had otherwise successful runs held down by a safety who started at 8 yards and blazed to the LOS as soon as he saw run action his way. The difference is that when Michigan got stuffed it was for 2 or 3 yards, not –2 or –3.

Sometimes the gap-shooting tendencies blew up Michigan plays in the backfield and I couldn't see a way Michigan could do anything about it:

Here's where I'd say "you have to punish that" and other imprecations generally directed at Borges over the past few years, except Michigan did a pretty good job of doing just that. Oh and also Michigan is up 31-0 in the third quarter with the nation's most lethal defense and you don't have to do anything. Especially if the things you might do are things that will come in handy against a very similar defense this week.

On the other hand, if someone took a bad angle or Michigan duped Northwestern's itchy-trigger-finger linebackers, there wasn't much resistance until the safeties.

Nate Williams, a former Northwestern linebacker, described the Wildcat LB play as "blitz ball" on Inside NU:

There is no "read", only reaction. I've seen all the linebackers do it through the first six games, I do not mean to single Walker out. This is how they played against Stanford and Duke, but they were making plays. When they're not, it will cripple a defense versus efficient offenses.

A frustrated Williams spent much of his time bashing this mentality, but as he states above it's served Northwestern well thus far. It frustrated Michigan pretty regularly.

In what ways did Michigan exploit those linebackers?


Ah. Yes. Stanfordization of the week?

Relatively light on the wacky formations this time out. We saw another pro set. That's about it. Michigan ran a lot more three-wide stuff than they had previously and put most of the fancy cows back in the barn after they got up 21-0. Oddly, they ran a ton of inside zone from both shotgun formations and plain old ace. Just six of their carries were Power O.

I did appreciate the Kerridge fullback dive. Here is the play just before it. Watch the linebackers.

Here is the dive. Linebackers again.

That play exploited the blitz-ball mentality to spring a big gain. It also gave us a brilliant still shot demonstrating how weird this offense is to players born and raised on the spread:


"Wait… he's got the ball? Can they even DO that?"

And as I mentioned in the game column, this week's the most obvious coaching wins were in the passing game. There was of course the fake waggle on which Jake Butt was wide open on a corner route:

Walker, the middle linebacker, is probably the guy who has to drop into that route. His blitz-ball mentality carries him past the line of scrimmage before he bails.

I also think the in routes mentioned in the game column exploited that tendency. Each saw Michigan pull a guard. That sent NW LBs thundering to the LOS; when Michigan ran simple in routes behind those linebackers the Northwestern zone was unprepared for them.

Rudock got each of those out confidently and in rhythm because he was 100% sure that there would be nobody undercutting that route. He was 4/4 for 43 yards on those plays. It is in these ways and also De'Veon Smith yodeling past linebackers who show unblocked that Michigan gashed Northwestern's aggressive linebackers.

Finally, Michigan added the zone read. Northwestern was relatively responsible an Rudock conservative with his decisions; it still got Michigan a short yardage touchdown* and a nice Forcier-style run when Rudock exploited a DE who'd overcommitted.

That is an excellent example of Rudock's ability on the ground. He's a guy you have to account for a bit.

*[I remember being irritated that M was in shotgun so close to the goal line instead of manballin' it. It was super weird.]

It's probably time for you to yell at me about tailbacks now.

It was tough to get a read on any one player when the rotation was so extensive, but overall this game felt like real progress. In this it's like Jake Rudock's performance. It's encouraging, but it'll be a few games before we can declare the paradigm shifted.

That said, Michigan bounced when they should bounce for the most part, and ran where they should run on the interior for the most part. Here a blitz-ball LB gets the better of Kalis's reaction time; Smith shifts outside for a solid gain:

This Smith run will go on his highlight reel for all time, as he meets a CB and 13(!!!) yards later he is still churning his legs through contact from four players. Before that he found himself in a ton of space on the backside of a zone play, one on which a double A blitz had successfully got an OL to block air. Smith made him miss with another one of those hard step cuts:

Those are mostly his yards. (The OL did help by making the crater on the backside so wide even if someone was trying to fill it.)

Higdon didn't get many opportunities to make things happen in his eight carries. A lot of them were edge plays on which the quarters safeties crashed down super hard.

He is not the kind of guy who is going to blow through those tackles. At other times he had no choice but to run into an unblocked zone read DE. I did like the slick cut on his one successful run.

I am a little less excited about Green's performance late than I was live. It was good, don't get me wrong, but a lot of the production there was from the blocking.

That said, I did like his awareness to cut away from his fullback on this play. He appears to be reading Braden and when the DL declares a side he goes to the other:

That looks purposeful to me, neither running at random nor dourly executing the play design no matter what the reality is. And while I think the eventual results of this cut were about the same as just ramming it up the middle, this is still Derrick Green seeing the blocking develop and using that information:

That is not something we saw from him consistently—or, like, at all?—last year. With all the stuff Michigan throws at their tailbacks there is still a plausible route to "Ty Wheatley is a meaningful upgrade on Fred Jackson".

And the tight ends are generally killing people? Why is Poggi picking up so many more negatives than the other guys?

Poggi has improved as the season has gone along; identifying what's happening remains a problem. That's not a surprise since he was playing defense until spring ball, but a couple times a game he'll submarine a promising play by failing to find someone to hit on the second level.

On this one AJ Williams puts a relevant DL into the turf, creating a big hole, and Poggi runs by a linebacker coming over the top. That's bad. Then he sits for the rest of the play waiting for a linebacker who will never come:

Blocking is hard and defenses will game you for this reason. The only guy who is really, really consistent at identifying "opponent is slanting so I should do this" is Glasgow. Surprise—he and AJ Williams are the only seniors on the front. Poggi is behind.

Meanwhile that block is a pretty dang good one from Williams. Other than one pitch sweep he failed to seal the end on there hasn't been anything particularly bad on his end, and quite a lot of good.

That Glasgow number?

Glasgow sharpens Glasgow I guess? I haven't seen him truly miss a block in two weeks, and he's identifying who he should block really well. Next week is obviously the real test.

And the rest of the line?

An excellent bounce-back for Cole after a rough day trying to check Ngakoue. Pass protection was excellent all day, albeit against a team that does not get a ton of rush. And then they just put it on 'em in the second half, albeit very gradually.

It was heartening to end up in short yardage late in the game, expect the fullback dive, get the fullback dive, and have the fullback dive pick up the yards easily.

While Northwestern's run defense is not the elite unit people were talking about going into the game, before Saturday they'd done very well against pro-style offenses. And they are still very solid overall. Michigan controlled the line of scrimmage pretty emphatically, leaving Northwestern to make up the difference with hyper aggressive linebackers and safeties.

The final touchdown was the OL putting their exclamation point on the day. Watch the entire right side of the line cave Northwestern in.

We would take that if it was "just Northwestern" but you can't even say that about this team. And while I think last year's line stats don't take the RB issues into account, every available statistical indicator says this line is much improved.

Braden is okay. I think we can say this now. He is not coming off an okay game, he is pretty decent overall. I do worry about what's going to happen when he comes up against a guy like Malik McDowell, who may be a bit wild but is also powerful. Braden still turns in the occasional frustrating play. This one in particular was well blocked otherwise.

I still think Michigan can win against this MSU DL, which is pretty up and down.

Are we bothered about four Michigan punts in plus territory, including one from the 34?

We are not. Even though all were fourth and six or worse, math based on a hypothetical average team would say that a couple of those punts were expectation-scorning.

Michigan is not an average team. They have a punter who has one touchback from pooch range this year (I'm not dinging him for a 59-yard bomb that goes into the endzone). They have a ravenous defense. Both of those things swing decision-making towards punting. The punt from the 34 was fair-caught at the 6 (and oddly placed on the eight); Michigan punched Northwestern off the field and got the ball back on their 45.

Most previous complaining about punting in this space was because Michigan was playing 1950s football with a 1990s team (during the aughts). This team plays 1950s football and can make decisions like 1950s football teams.

I don't understand the WR table.

Whoops! Let me clarify:

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

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Darboh 1/2   7 1/3 3/4 19/21
Chesson 0/1 2/2   6 0/2 3/5 8/8
Perry 1       2 1/2 2/3
Harris   1/1   2 0/1 2/2 3/3
Ways       1/1     2/2
Canteen       1   1/2
Butt 3/3   6 1/1 3/4 17/17
Williams     4/4   2 1/1   6/6
Bunting         1     6/6
Hill       1/1     4/4
Poggi             1/1  
Smith 1/1       1 1/1   5/6
Isaac         2/2
Green       1/1
Johnson     1     2/2
Kerridge         1/1 3/3
Houma               3/4

If we can go back to that Williams catch over the middle, check out Butt's crossing route underneath opening it up as Walker overreacts to his presence. Northwestern fans were all NOT GREAT BOB about that, and yeah, but it's nice that Michigan has a guy with the potential to distort defenses and an offense that leads Rudock to find the guy who was left open as a result. Last year Williams on a route like that would be a laughable decoy.

That whole Chesson-as-Breaston thing… I think that's dubious.

It is not nearly as close a comparison as Ryan Glasgow as Mike Martin, I agree. I'm not saying that Chesson is anywhere close to Breaston as a weapon… at least not yet. In addition to the kickoff TD, Chesson had that drag route on which he exploded past one of the fastest linebackers in the Big Ten and an end around on which he once again demonstrated his ability to glide cut past guys who cannot match his acceleration:

The second end around wasn't as good. He tried to get around a DE further upfield than this guy and had to bend; one of those aggressive safeties was in his face afterwards. But nobody's perfect and Chesson is turning in two or three plays a game on which his blazing speed gets Michigan big chunks of yards.

Chesson isn't as shifty as Breaston, but I don't think Breaston was as fast as Chesson.

Now if someone can just hit him downfield.


Rudock, Smith, all offensive linemen? I guess so?

Maybe not so heroic?

I don't really have anyone who I thought had a bad day. M moved the ball very consistently against a previously suffocating defense and was held down by circumstances (just nine possessions) and a lack of GAF (up 28+).

What does it mean for Michigan State and beyond?

This Rudock wins things. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come. Michigan State is massively exploitable in their secondary; everyone keeps saying that Rudock cannot take advantage of it. If he plays like this, he will.

Smith is still the man. Despite the dinged foot he was authoritative. He's going to get the call against MSU.

The offensive line is improving weekly. Cole and Glasgow are verging on stardom. Braden's stabilized himself. Kalis and Magnuson are okay.

Michigan got to practice against basically MSU's defense. And they didn't have to spend many of their gotcha plays.

AJ Williams for Mackey. Half-serious.

Green's not dead yet. His showing in this game means he might have further opportunities.

Chesson is fast. Fast.


Everyone Murders

October 15th, 2015 at 4:36 PM ^


[After THE JUMP:  I drop bows on 'em?  Ohhhhhh, probably short for elbows.  Now I understand rapism.]

I read that as "rape-ism" even though I enormously suspect that it is meant as "rap-ism".  I.e., dropping the final "e", as in changing "escape" to "escapism".  I had to read it three times to figure it out.

Probably a PEBKAC issue, but ugggh.  Love the UFR, though.


October 15th, 2015 at 4:36 PM ^

Hi Iowa 2014 Jake.  It was nice to see you for a full 60 minutes last Saturday.  I was hoping you would not mind just sticking around with no break for 3 more months. 

Ok we'll give you a half off vs rutgers to be ghost of sad Jake.  Otherwise NW Jake the rest of the way? K. Cool.

Thanks for your compliance.


October 15th, 2015 at 4:43 PM ^

Really enjoyed how you showed the play before on the Kerridge dive. I loved that play and felt like a veteran offensive coordinator after seeing them back to back. ( I actually understood the play calling)

In some ways that play reminds me of the spread with Denard, where he forced the DE to committ then he would blow by him.  The player took himself out of the play.  Friggin brilliant.

As always thanks for the time you put into this.

Look forward to  next week when  we can celebrate our bowl qualifying 6th victory!!!!  (someplace warm!!)


Go Blue!!


October 15th, 2015 at 4:56 PM ^

Is it so clear that having a great defense tips punt-go for it decisions towards punts? A great defense is better at stopping a team from their own goal line and from midfield. Of course in this game Michigan could do whatever they wanted and it didn't matter.

Phil Brickma

October 15th, 2015 at 4:57 PM ^

You forgot to sign off with "Bring it on."

Between the UFRs and FFFF I am supremely confident heading into Saturday. MSU is a good not great team that we are catching at a good time because of their injury issues at key spots. But Michigan is starting to look like a great team. A statement win Saturday and playoff talk is absolutely justified.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 15th, 2015 at 5:07 PM ^

I would love for Green to suddenly blow up go off for 150 yards on Saturday.  Because 1) obviously and 2) all those Sparties who always point to Green when they say "recruiting rankings mean nothing"


October 15th, 2015 at 5:19 PM ^

One of the things I expect the Australian punters to change is the calculation on when to punt. Aussie-rules kicking is about passing the ball accurately to a teammate. We're used to punters who just whale on the ball; when you can hit a spot 50 yards downfield to within a yard or two, it opens up some possibilities.

The marginal value of field position is pretty high when the offense is backed up inside their five--your pass pro is setting up in the endzone, you're handing off in the endzone, your punter can't take his full drop. The field-position value chart we've seen here occasionally bears this out--there's a definite upturn in the slope near the goal line (this is the reason I hate the field goal when you're down there and it isn't late in the half--giving them the ball at the goal line is almost as good as the field goal, and it's the worst possibility compared to the best). When your punter can drop the ball on a waiting teammate around the 2 or 3 yard line it starts to be an attractive option.

Wolverine fan …

October 15th, 2015 at 5:17 PM ^

The aggressive Sparty D will be jamming the box (giggity) and doing their best to take away the run all day. Harbaugh will unleash at least a couple new plays as well as tailored variations of the plays he's run so far this year. As Sparty adjusts, so will Harbaugh and staff, and in what has become a wonderful thing to watch, Michigan's adjustments will prove to be more effective than those of the opposition.

McDowell and Calhoun can be gameplanned against, and Calhoun can be taken care of with a double, as proven by Rutgers. As long as Rudock can keep them honest up front, the offense should at the very least flip the field and put up 4 or more scores. That defense does the rest. Connor Cook disappears into Canada at halftime.


October 15th, 2015 at 6:09 PM ^

I think the key to our losses against Sparty (in addition to flat out not being as good in several years) is that Michigan has been predictable, and therefore susceptible to game planning.

But the Harbaughfense is not merely resistant to game planning, but straight up designed to exploit it. In some ways, the more prepared you are, the more vulnerable you are, because cheating into an unsound defense to beat something you saw in film is liable to result in a big play the other way when Harbaugh deploys a wrinkle designed to exploit the overplay.

I think in order to beat a Harbaugh offense, you need an elite, highly sound base defense. MSU's success has relied on a very good, but also very aggressive defense.

This should be a hell of a chess match, and we'll probably see a lot of boom-bust on offense. But I think chess always favors the offense eventually.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 15th, 2015 at 7:26 PM ^

funny thing when i looked back at the last 7 games against msu the feeling is we were always dominated. but last year was the first game michigan wasnt ahead or within one score at half time. the problem is they get out played and pushed around after half time. that wont ever happen with harbaugh. so msu jumping on us the first half is very unlikely.

Mr. Yost

October 15th, 2015 at 5:24 PM ^

(If Michigan is going six deep with three freshmen and no seniors, the writing is on the wall for guys not currently play.)

Has Dukes played all year? I think I may have seen Da"mario Jones once.

Did either enroll early where they're on track to graduate this year?


October 15th, 2015 at 8:10 PM ^

I think Jones did not redshirt and Dukes did correct?  Damn that another donut hole class - 0 for wr....the 3rd guy kicked off the team.  Was thinking they would be "trying out" for their 5th year but that would just be Dukes and not until 2 yrs from now. 


October 15th, 2015 at 5:28 PM ^

This was really the key.  NW has been wrecking havoc by letting it's guys go for TFLs on every play.  This got Stanford by surprise and has been blowing up drives for other teams offenses all year.  The value of a strong coaching staff is Harbaugh identified this and punished it on the 4th play from scrimmage w/ the PA Jake Butt pass.  That's also what Fitz was talking about when he said he thought Michigan had the advantage because they had the Stanford v NW tape.

Remarkable then that we had no three and outs.  Offense really won the field position battle every time they didn't score, which helped contribute to the shut out.

NW drive starting points (non-kickoffs after Michigan scores): the 20 yard line, the 8, the 10, the 13 and the 18.  




Mr. Yost

October 15th, 2015 at 5:33 PM ^

Even on drives that ended in a punt...there were a decent amount of plays run.

I never realized how important this was until Rudock said it earlier in the year about the 2nd half of the BYU game.

We control field position, time of possession, we give our defense a rest and a time to get together, teach/learn/refocus for the next domination.

A big reason the defense is doing what it's doing...is because of this offense and they don't get enough credit for simply driving the ball a little bit even when it doesn't result in points.

Obviously you can't do this forever. But do it long enough and the defense is going to put you in a great spot OR hell, they may score themselves.


October 15th, 2015 at 5:37 PM ^

You guys are the genius in this regard. How many different sets (and kind) does M run and same for passing. What formations are run/pass option? I know you break all this down in previous sessions. But I can't see the diagrams.


October 15th, 2015 at 5:39 PM ^


Which offense do you enjoy grading more, this one or Coach Rod's? I wont ask about Borges'.

I've always preferred to watch gap blocking over zone. Not for any dogmatic reason, and not claiming one is "better" than the other. I just think gap is much more aesthetically pleasing (assuming equal quality of blocking).