Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Oregon State

Submitted by Brian on September 17th, 2015 at 4:27 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Michigan went heavier in this game. I did not this week but in the future I am going to start specifying H-backs like Butt in this shot:

ace twins h

While TEs lined up next to other TEs are often H-backs in the offense I'm going to reserve the H designation for either the above or instances where there is a tight end near the LOS but tucked inside the edges of the line.

Michigan also had an under-center version of the diamond formations that Oklahoma State and other spread teams started implementing a year or two ago:


Generally the diamond had a tailback with a tight end and the fullback in front of him. In fall camp there was the occasional rumble of these formations featuring all tailbacks. Not yet; that would be something they hold for a tenser outing, I think.

I had no idea what to call this goal line formation with the FB and RB next to each other.

goal line 2 back

And if I call something "tight bunch" this is generally what I mean:


That's a TE, FB, and WR in the bunch. Harbaugh loves throwing out buckets of formations with 2 RB, 1 TE personnel. In the Utah game this was very frequently a pitch sweep; Michigan broke that tendency in this game by running off-tackle- ish at the bunch.

FWIW, I am designating Houma and Kerridge as FBs and listing all other blocky catchy types as TEs.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL was the same as it was against Utah: Cole/Braden/Glasgow/Kalis/Magnuson. Braden got dinged and left for a play or two; David Dawson entered in his place. That's not a huge surprise but there were a couple rumbles that Blake Bars might be the first guy in the game. That may be the case if a tackle goes out; it's apparently not the case at guard.

QB Rudock; RB was Smith almost the whole way until the fourth quarter, when Isaac and Green got the stress-free time. Isaac did spot Smith at various times in the first three quarters.

WR was the same rotation between Darboh, Chesson, and Harris on the outside. Perry got less time but I think that was more an effect of playing a lot of tight ends than anything else. Moe Ways got scattered snaps as well.

At tight end, every available one played except Khalid Hill. No idea what's going on with him. Fullback was mostly Kerridge until late when Houma came in to impress us all with his running and hair; Kerridge reportedly had a stinger.

[After THE JUMP: we can has manballs?]

OH WELL NOTES: The tape is missing four plays in the third Q. They are a five yard Rudock run that must have been a scramble, a 6 yard Smith run, a 14 yard completion to Chesson, and a one yard Smith run.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass PA Post Darboh Inc
Rudock takes a shot. He's got Kerridge open on a dumpoff but Darboh is running one on one for a large gain and this is what we want, right? Ball is right on the money 35 yards downfield; Darboh is interfered with; no call; refs -2. (DO, 0, protection 2/2)
M35 2 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Smith 6
OSU shifts right before the snap and then runs a stunt that Michigan handles really well. Cole(+1) blasts the end down the LOS; Braden(+0.5) gets a little lucky as Cole's block causes a guy going past him to stumble but he does redirect and get attached to the guy so Smith(+1) can squeeze through that crease and into the second level. Butt(-1) makes very little impact with a linebacker he got a free release at; Perry gets an okay cut block. These guys combine to tackle with Smith lurching forward for a solid gain.
M41 3 4 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack N/A -17
OSU takes advantage of the empty formation, sending a perfectly timed blitz that Michigan doesn't have much shot at picking up. With 25 seconds on the playclock before this snap(!) this feels like a situation where you should take a moment or two in the hopesyou can get them to tip their hand and adjust. Rudock's first read is not there and then he gets blown up, fumbling. He did have a hot read in Butt open but this guy is on him so fast I can't really blame him. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, team -3, Rudock -3 run)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-7, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Flash screen Darboh 22
Another DB who gives up the outside; Chesson(+1) gets a thorough cut block on the dude and Darboh is off to the races. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
O41 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Iso Smith 6
Bear with me as I figure out what the F Harbaugh is doing with his ground game. This looks like inside zone given the way the OL acts. I suspect it is a weakside iso that Michigan adapts to post-snap. OSU brings down a DB to the weakside of the play and blitzes him as they slant the line to the playside. Kerridge(+1) reads the slant and the fact that there will be no holes in the front and redirects to the backside. Mags(+1) stays attached to the guy slanting to him and shoves him. This should still be a win for OSU tactically as the slant has put Smith(+1) on the backside against an unblocked free hitter, but that guy is not attacking the back and there is a lot of space. Smith stiffarms him away; Chesson(-1) has missed a cut block on a defender that could draw the same flag Harris would get later in this game. That DB impacts Smith right in the chest. Smith stays upright; Graham Glasgow comes in and hurls him forward a couple more yards. RPS -1. Picture Paged.
O35 2 4 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Smith 3
This kind of looks like OZ but M is firing out more vertical than you generally see on OC. They get a playside edge blitz and a slant away. Glasgow(+0.5) seals away playside DT, who slanted away, not too hard. Playside DE slant catches left side of line a bit by surprise but Cole(+0.5) gets some depth and Braden(+0.5) does a good job to not release downfield at a guy running away from him he cannot catch. Instead he stays  connected with the DE and with Cole blows him to the sideline, creating a crease that Smith(-1) misses. With Kalis coming around to get to an LB this was either a backside DE making a shoestring tackle or a big gain. Instead Smith plonks into an unblocked LB. If you can make a sudden cut in zone running, diddly-dang do it.
O32 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Pass Waggle TE flat Butt 6
Rudock stumbles as he boots but stays on his feet and makes the easy completion to Butt. (CA, 3, protection N/A).
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 2 1 2 3-3-5 nickel Penalty False start Glasgow -5
Glasgow -1
O31 1 15 Ace 3-wide H tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Circle Harris 3
Live I thought this was a bad throw by Rudock but after looking at it I really don't like this route from Harris. He finds zone coverage and sits down on a hitch, then takes a step upfield, and then stops, and Rudock throws it a bit wide of him; he lunges and grabs it. I think Harris should be stepping away from the LB perpendicular to the LOS and then turning upfield. I am factoring in Harris being a freshman here, but this one is peanut gallery time. What say you? (MA, 2, protection 1/1, Harris route -)
O29 2 12 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Pitch sweep Smith 6
M catches a slant to the play, which makes things a little difficult, but they cope reasonably well. Chesson(+1) cracks down on a guy that Williams is just fending off thanks to the slant; he gets sealed away. Cole(+0.5) extends a hand to a linebacker trying to shoot up and then goes and hits the contain man. That LB is about to get hit by Kerridge and/or Braden when he freaks out and runs away? This looks insane. This is what he does, though. The playside ILB is now able to get outside of Kerridge; Kerridge was about to cut inside of Braden on the assumption this LB was going to contain and then when he bugs out he's a step slower than he would be otherwise. So this kind of worked? Football is weird. Smith(+0.5) almost runs through this tackle and gets a solid gain.
O22 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Drag Perry Inc
This miscommunication between WR and QB is on Rudock, as Perry sits down before he runs into a linebacker's zone and Rudock throws it like he's going to keep running. Perry had a decent chance to convert with OSU overplaying Butt. Magnuson and Smith miscommunicate about the blitz pickup and get moderate pressure on Rudock as a result. (IN, 0, protection ½, team -1)
Drive Notes: FG(39),3-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 Ace Diamond 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass FB flat Kerridge 3
Feel like Rudock checks down too early, as Butt is just breaking past the LB level and may be open for a chunk play as safeties start running with Michigan's WR's deep. Butt may have a safety coming to him, though. No downfield replay. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M35 2 7 I-form twins 2 2 1 4-3 split? Pass Scramble Rudock 8 (Pen -10)
This looks super goofy from Oregon State as the motion of Butt to a WR spot causes them to present 6.5 in the box against 7. It's a pass, unfortunately. Rudock has to move up as a corner blitz comes. Smith deals with it; Rudock sees open grass and takes off. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3) Poggi(-2) gets a legit, unnecessary holding flag that is no worse than the one Ross did not draw on Oregon State.
M25 2 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Screen Smith 4
Set up beautifully as M has blockers for the only two guys in a square mile; Cole(-2) just needs anything on his guy to spring Smith for a first down and ends up releasing late and airballing on the LB. Smith gets nailed, just about runs through the tackle, and then gets decked from behind, (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M29 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Improv Perry Inc
Stunt with a blitz and this opens up directly in front of Rudock; he steps up. He's still getting chased as Isaac(-2) got run over by a LB/DE type. Rudock doesn't have time to settle after moving up because this guy is free and has to keep running; he eventually tries a really hard pass to Perry up the sideline that floats because he's getting hit. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run FB dive Kerridge 2
This is the other half of that fake dive to edge pitch play that you basically never see. Oregon State has no one for the pitch, so when Kerridge cuts back to the intended hole the DE is right there to initiate a tackle. M didn't get the MLB blocked either, and those two combine to tackle. Braden(+1) ended up driving a DT well downfield; feel like Glasgow(-1) mis-IDed the second level guy he should have gone after. RPS -1.
M30 2 8 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Inside zone Johnson 4
Kalis(+0.5) gets slanted under but remains attached and just about wipes his guy out. Guy does barely get around to fling an arm at Johnson's feet; Johnson(-1) goes down at that light contact. Unfortunate because this play out of this formation baffled the Beavers and this was set up for a first down easy. Glasgow(+0.5) got movement on the other DT; Butt(+0.5) and Mags(+0.5) extended to second level blocks. RPS +1.
M34 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Butt Inc
OSU tips a blitz and M picks it up; Butt likely open for the first down; Rudock airmails it badly. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle scramble Rudock 7
OSU doesn't set the edge so Rudock just runs for it when they do cover Chesson in the flat. (SCR, N/A, protection N/A)
M38 2 3 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Run Down G sweep Smith 1
Bunting(-2) in motion to the short side, drawing a blocking assignment on a linebacker that he airballs. Blitzing CB draws Kalis; Perry gets enough of a cut block, but the guy who dodged Bunting makes a tackle. I don't think he had enough room to ding him for not making more out of this.
M39 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 3-3-5 nickel Pass Slant Darboh 9
Wide open as OSU bails to a zone and Perry draws coverage on a slant further inside. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Tunnel screen Darboh 4
Barely works for a lot of reasons. DE sits on the throw and almost knocks it down; attacking LBs barely get taken care of by Cole(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5). Darobh can't get vertical quickly and safeties shut him down before he can get too much. (CA, 3, screen). I'm not RPS minusing this but I thought about it.
O48 2 6 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 5
Hooray power that looks like it probably should. Butt(+0.5) doesn't do a great job here; he gets a little movement but he is spun off of. Movement is enough, I guess. Braden(+0.5) pulls through the hole really fast and makes indirect contact with a LB that allows the impending pile to lurch forward. Kerridge(+0.5) gets a kickout; Smith runs at the big gap. Poggi(+0.5) got a good second level block.
O43 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Iso Smith 10
Kalis(-1) gets burrowed under an driven back, which is dangerous for this play in the extreme. That happens after Kerridge shoots up the gap he's headed for on the snap; Williams(+1) gets a little motion and stays attached to the end; end has fought down to the inside in the hopes of plugging the gap but he left the corner open and Smith(+1) bursts just outside of him for a nice gain.
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Flash screen Harris -3
Harris gets plastered on the catch as the outside CB is dropping off on the catch and reacts in a flash to the screen action. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -2). They dump this for the rest of the game, but once CBs start doing this you've got an opportunity to nail them deep.
O36 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass TE out Butt 8
Rhythm throw for a decent gain with your average immediate tackle afterwards. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O28 3 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Nickel even Pass TE drag Bunting 7 (Pen -15)
Chesson(route -2) gets an OPI here for cloberrating a LB. For one, just turn around and pretend you're on a hitch route and this doesn't happen. For two, this was not even necessary, as this LB was not going to make it out here in time. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O43 3 20 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel odd Pass Dig Darboh 15
Great pocket against a five man rush. Rudock can step up and does. Darboh comes open on some sort of dig or comeback route and Rudock nails him. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O28 4 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dumpoff Smith 20
Three man rush this time; plenty of time; Rudock waits for Butt to draw the attention of three separate Beavers and then calmly hits his checkdown for a conversion and a bunch more. Easy throw but this is Rudock's wheelhouse. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) Smith(+1) shows surprising nimbleness to dodge a tackler and pick up a bunch of YAC.
O8 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Run Power O Smith 5
M catches a blitz from the outside and runs under it; the puller does have to pick off one guy. This leaves Smith(+2) one on one with a linebacker who is free. Smith runs through that tackle; he takes another tackle at the five and spins around; two more Beavers come up but no one can get a solid grasp on him and he ends up lurching forward even further. Mansome.
O3 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Penalty Illegal Sub N/A 2
12 men for OSU.
O1 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Power O Smith 1
Playside EMLOS goes inside of Poggi(-1), who engages for a second and looks like he's going to push him into the inside; LB rips right back outside of him, which disrupts Braden's pull, allowing a S to attack unmolested. With Poggi's guy surging from the inside Smith(+1) has no choice but to bounce; he runs through the S's tackle. Kerridge(+1) crushed a corner to prevent any further resistance.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-7, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O3 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power O Smith 2
Cole(+0.5) and Butt(+0.5) get good push that allows Smith a couple goal line yards.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 back 2 3 0 Goal line Run FB dive Kerridge 0
Kerridge should bounce this; it's a TD. I get why he doesn't; he's a FB. Blocks are only adequate and a free hitter gets to the line. Kerridge manages to crunch forward to the inch line. Acceptable outcome. Refs mark it at the one, which is totally impossible. Refs -1.
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power O Smith 1
Easy conversion as Poggi(+1) gets a thunk that he maintains; Braden(+0.5) pulls around; Kerridge(+0.5) gets a solid kickout.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 I-Form 3-wide tight 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Counter lead zone Smith 1
Kind of an under center version of a belly play that is designed to go backside. Butt(-2) does not get any sort of block on the weakside end. Braden(+1) blows a DT down the line mostly by himself; Cole tries to help and then figures he should just go get a guy. Should be a lane but Butt's block means that Smith picks a lane and then gets nailed by this dude. Smith(-3) fumbles, his first as a Michigan player, I believe. M fortunate to recover.
M12 2 9 Ace twins 1 2 2 3-3-5 nickel Pass Waggle TE flat Butt 10
Rudock does a really good job to suck up the edge DE and flip it to Butt before he can get in the passing lane; afterward Butt has an avenue thanks to Darboh(+1) getting a good block and he plows out a first down. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M22 1 10 I-Form twins tackle over 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 9
Refs miss an illegal formation on M as neither WR is on the LOS. Refs +1; M flips Butt and Cole after they line up, leaving M in a tackle over; they run power at that two-tackle side. This doesn't really go that great. Cole(-1) gets driven into the backfield and this is awkward for everyone. OSU fails to have a force player, though, and Smith(+1) pops outside. Chesson(+1) gets a good downfield non-cut block; Kerridge(+0.5) winds up with no one to block for a while but does form up and pick off a linebacker. RPS +1; the tackle over flip moved two OSU players away from the play and let the bounce happen.
M31 2 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Pass PA TE Out Williams 23
LBs bite pretty hard on the play action. Smith releases then breaks out; great pocket; he steps up and nails Williams such that he can turn upfield. There was an earlier CA that was borderline DO, so I'll DO this. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O47 1 10 Ace twins H 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA Dumpoff Isaac 9
Handoff fake plus end around fake and then Rudock turns around. OSU has sent a LB off the edge; Bunting handles him but Rudock does have to start moving up in a fine pocket earlier than he wants to on a play that is designed to go long. As he steps up he finds Isaac for a productive little dump. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O38 2 1 Ace Diamond 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Dive trap Isaac 5
Almost a big play; Glasgow(-2) gets dismissed by the backside DT and he removes a bunch of yards. Braden(+1) absolutely clubs the other DT on a short trap pull. Kalis(+1) gets a good extended second level block. Magnuson(-0.5) gets stepped around but if this play goes as expected this is a block avoidance that is a problem and not an asset. Cole(+0.5) got a relatively easy cutoff block on a LB. Isaac(+0.5) got a nice YAC chunk. RPS +1.
O33 1 10 Ace Diamond 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Slant Harris Inc
This look like a good throw to an open guy that gets returned to sender at the LOS. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
O33 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 19
Playside OLB probably blows this, as he should be shooting inside and instead hesitates to get picked off by Kerridge(+1). Bunting(+1) releases downfield and gets an eliminating block on the far ILB. Mags(+1) gets a slant away from playside DE and erases him. Kalis(+0.5) releases and gets to another LB; Braden(+0.5) into the hole and gets enough of a hit on the last guy. Smith(+1) has a cavern and hits it hard. He runs through a S tackle and thunders for another ten.
O14 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 5
Mostly bad alignment from OSU as none of these blocks are great. Butt(-0.5) loses his guy and he gets into the hole. Braden(+1) pulls around, helps clean that up, and continues to drive. Poggi(+0.5) does a decent job downfield; Kerridge's kick is eluded upfield; that guy tackles from behind. That's a push, I think, as this guy is conceding YAC by doing this.
O9 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 over Run Counter off tackle Smith 3
Now this is a play I think is designed to go outside the end guy on the LOS for M. In this case that's Williams. Both backs immediately head backside. M eats a safety blitz here. W a slant away all these blocks are easy; Williams(+0.5) is the relevant playside guy. Kerridge has to attack the S; Darboh(-1) also goes to that guy and breaks Never Turn Upfield in spirit if not quite in letter, so Smith meets unblocked guys near the LOS. Again I feel like bad LB play from OSU helps M out. RPS -1.
O6 3 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under Penalty False start Glasgow -5
Glasgow -1.
O11 3 7 Shotgun trips bunch 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Fade Darboh Inc
Great back shoulder throw that results in the ridiculous PI that goes uncalled. Refs -3. (CA, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(29), 20-7, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Iso Smith 8
Iso weak that doesn't catch anything fancy from the D. Cole(+0.5) gets a kick that widens the running lane somewhat. Braden(+0.5) and Glasgow fire a DT out of the lane; Kerridge(+0.5) rocks a LB back but goes to his knees after; still decent. Chesson is coming down to block and ends up dragging a DB with him. Smith(+1) doesn't see this and ends up running into this block but makes up for it by bouncing off a S tackle and lurching forward for a bunch of YAC.
M20 2 2 Ace Diamond 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 4
Butt starts shuffling to the playside presnap, always hated that under Carr. M catches a slant away; Cole(+1) grabs the playside end and blows him out. Rest of the blocking is iffy. Playside OLB zooms in; Poggi fends him off for a second and then he gets inside. Kalis(+1) and Butt both end up targeting the same guy; I think that's just the D fouling the play and getting this right would be plusses for these guys. Smith(+1) does blast out a couple improbable yards after contact. RPS -1.
Tape does not have next four plays.
M49 2 9 Ace 3-wide H tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Reverse Chesson 4
This doesn't really work but neither does it not work. Poggi(-1) doesn't get a good cut at all on the playside end and he strings the play out; Rudock fends off a guy who is containing; Chesson takes the best path and gets hit by a S after a few yards. Sokay.
O47 3 5 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Fly Chesson Inc
Rudock takes a shot. Chesson does not get separation; the ball is short. I don't think it's short on purpose as Chesson's best shot is indeed over the top; neither do I think Chesson does a good job of adjusting to this ball in the air. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-7, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Ace trips 1 1 3 4-3 even Run Pitch sweep Smith 12
M with Butt and Perry as slot receivers to the trips side who are close to the line. Butt(+2) motions in and pancakes the playside end. Braden(+1) turn in the playside DT. Ton of room. Cole(+0.5) gets a kickout; Kalis ends up a little late because he takes shrapnel from the Butt block. Not his fault, he stays on his feet and gets out there to be useful. He's not quick enough to get out on a S; Smith(+1) runs through him. That slows him up enough to let the OSU D rally and bring him down after a good gain.
O27 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 10 (Pen -8)
OSU with a 3-4 look with an overhang corner and when the snap comes the safety who is on the slot rips down into the box; lot of bodies. Harris(-2) ends up taking a 15 yard penalty by cutting the S from the side. Cole(+1) turns in a DE. Poggi gets an okay hit and doesn't hold; Braden(+0.5) gets outside and deals with the S getting back to his feet. Smith(+2) follows his block and bursts outside, meeting the FS about four yards downfield and blasting through his tackle. Another guy tries to jump on his back and misses; Smith rumbles for ten.
O35 1 18 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Circle Bunting 20
M blows a blitz pickup; believe this is Isaac(-2) again. Rest of the pocket is great; Rudock dodges the unblocked dude, but in doing so exposes himself to a DE. He feels this and dumps the ball out to Bunting, who is now open as one of the LBs is reacting to a potential scramble. Rudock fires as the DE comes down on him; Bunting(+2) runs through an ankle tackle and then trucks a DB for a first down. This is a short throw but the theatrics here are good enough for me. (DO+, 3, protection 1/3)
O15 1 10 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Green 6
M now thundering dudes off the line. Cole(+1) and Braden(+1) put the playside end five yards downfield. Glasgow(-1) has the NT for a second and then gets spun off of; he'll come underneath the mauling to tackle. Poggi(+1) got a good kick; Williams(+0.5) found some LBs, though by the time he gets to them they're getting swamped by the Cole/Braden block.
O9 2 4 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 9
Smith could be a little more patient here to see if anything develops playside but there is a small crease on the backside so I get his thinking. Mags(+1) hits the backside end and then pops off quickly to hit a hyperactive LB trying to shoot a gap; Butt(+2) will take a kickout block and eventually put his guy four yards downfield when he first tries to get into the gap Smith attacks and then tries to get back outside. Smith(+2) runs over the LB Mags has stopped, bounces outside the Butt block, and runs through another DB tackle to score.
O3 2PT 2PT Shotgun empty TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass Rollout improv Smith 3
Rudock misses a window to get it to Perry in the corner of the endzone; he makes up for this by waiting until the last second and putting it on Smith's face through a thicket of bodies. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown (2PT), 28-7, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even Pass Waggle TE flat Butt 1
OSU has a guy in Rudock's face immediately and one for Butt as he catches the ball. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M43 2 9 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run FB dive Houma 13
OSU DT right over the intended gap ends up slanting away from it bizarrely. I guess he got the wrong playcall? Either that or this play just baffles him, but probably the former. Kalis(+0.5) checks him and moves on as he keeps going right; Magnuson(+1) gets out on the only LB, as one blitzed and the other is checking the back outside, and Houma(+0.5) gets a free run for a first down. RPS +1? I guess?
O44 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 over Run Power O Green 10 (Pen -5)
Harris(-1) is off the LOS, drawing a penalty for illegal formation. The play is a blowout. Williams(+1) clubs the playside end inside and down field. Houma(+1) picks off a linbeacker and moves him; Braden(+1) blows another dude out. Those guys do contain; Green(+1) hits the right hole fast and grinds out some YAC.
O49 1 15 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 Pass TE hitch Butt INT
Rudock misreads this; the snag triangle is blanketed and he should be looking at a post by Harris. Instead he throws at a highly covered Butt. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 28-7, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Power O Green 2
Middling gain as Green cuts to the backside, and that was the right idea. Glasgow(-2) got chucked away by a DT he's just trying to wall off and that gets him tackles. On the frontside Williams(+1) again blows a guy down the line but Houma doesn't do much of anything with a SAM, creating an awkward decision for Braden and Green. Braden decides to go around to the outside, which is probably right, and Green cuts back in to what looks like a big damn hole minus the Glasgow block failing. Kalis(+0.5) and Mags(+0.5) also go a couple yards of depth to help out the potential cutback.
M29 2 8 Ace Diamond 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Power O Green 12
OSU slides the LBs away from the playside and brings a safety down for an 8 man front. Braden(+1) and Cole(+2) combine to blow the playside DT to smithereens, with Cole doing work on that dude and then getting a good second level block. Poggi feints at the playside end and then runs past him; end sets up to take that hit and then gets blindsided by Kalis(+0.5) on a pull. Butt(+0.5) leads through the hole behind Kalis. And gets enough. Glasgow(+1) locks out the other DT this time. Green has a big lane and uses it.
M41 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Lead zone Green 7
Kalis(+1) blasts a DT off the ball by himself. Braden(+0.5) and Cole(+0.5) don't quite seal the other guy away but do drive him well downfield. Glasgow(+1) gets a free release and plugs a LB. Poggi redirects inside the Kalis block and doesn't really have anyone to hit; wish he could pick off that DT who isn't quite sealed. Green straight upfield for what the blocking gets him.
M48 2 3 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Power O Green 2
This one pops outside the tackle. Strobel(+0.5) and Houma(+0.5) both turn their guys in and get a little motion; Braden(+1) gets around and gets a big hit on a LB, knocking him back. Green follows and cuts behind that block. M ends up with no one for the MLB because OSU adds an 8.5th guy to the box. I might RPS minus this in a competitive situation.
50 3 1 Ace diamond TE 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Power O Isaac 6
OSU leaves a big gap between their two DTs for reasons unknown. Michigan ends up surging between them. The odd alignment playside poses some issues; Braden isn't really downblocking. He gets shed to the hole Kalis is working to but given the alignment that works out fine as Glasgow(+0.5) gets the easy kickout and shoves that DT a few yards downfield when he tries to pursue. So Isaac(+0.5) just goes straight upfield . Cole(+1) slipped out between the playside guys and ends up pancaking a LB. I guess Braden(+0.5) for staying with it. RPS +1.
O44 1 10 I-Form 3-wide tight 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Power O Isaac 5
Cole(+1) and Braden(+1) blow out a DT; Glasgow(+1) doesn't get quite as much motion on the other one but he's by himself. Strobel and Kalis get mediocre kickout and pull blocks, respectively; Isaac just runs up the back of the OL plowing downfield.
O39 2 5 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 over Run Power O Isaac 6
Line slants away, LBs do not get message. Kalis(+0.5) wipes a DE already running away from him. Williams(+0.5) and Cole(+0.5) get good second level blocks. Houma(+0.5) gets a good thunk on the edge guy.
O33 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 Run Lead zone Green 2
Slant to the play gets Michigan a bit off guard; cutback is mandatory. This means Braden doesn't block anyone. Glasgow(+0.5) stays attached and pushes past the play; Kalis(-0.5) doesn't quite and lets a blitzing LB through, Poggi(+0.5) IDs what's happening and cuts back. Green doesn't really have time to do so because he's coming through later and the LBs are closer; he runs through an arm tackle but there are two unblocked guys to clunk him after he does so. Again, normal situation might be an RPS minus.
O31 2 8 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Trap? Green 2
Corner blitz and another slant to. OSU wins this one and I'm not sure exactly what's going on; Glasgow does some odd stuff to the backside of the play. I think he's pulling around the backside end on a trap block and this is supposed to cut back; Green(-1) is instead taking it all the way outside into lots of unblocked guys. I punt on most of the blocking here because if I'm right and this is the intent the frontside stuff isn't too relevant and I can't judge if the backside worked because Green didn't test it.
O29 3 6 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 3-3-5 nickel Pass TE drag Bunting 12 – 5 Pen
Man coverage and a ton of traffic for the guy on Bunting to get through. This time the WR picking off the DB does so by rerouting him instead of demolishing him; easy conversion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1). M gets an illegal sub before the next play.
O22 1 15 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run FB dive Houma 7
Odd formation for OSU; M splits the two DTs. Kalis(+1) seals and then pancakes one. Other kind of runs himself out with a LB able to fill behind. Braden(+0.5) just gets out on him. This allows Houma(+0.5) to drive him backwards for healthy YAC.
O15 2 8 Ace diamond TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Run Power O Isaac 12
Braden(-0.5) gets a slanter to him and seals him but the guy comes through to the inside and gets an arm on Isaac. Butt(+1) gets the end and hits him, stands him up and gets a couple yards of depth; Kalis(+0.5) gets around to a LB. Cole(+1) got a very good second level block to erase another. Ways(+1) blew up a safety; after Isaac(+0.5) runs through the arm tackle Braden's guy tries on him the outside is wide open.
O3 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Power O Isaac 1
OSU manages to seal gaps; Cole(-0.5) loses some ground. Poggi(+0.5) got motion on his guy so if there's a blocker headed outside this is probably six, but both Houma and Kalis bury themselves in the interior.
O2 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line Run Power O Green 2
Poggi(+0.5) gets enough on the edge guy; Houma does go outside this time; Butt(+0.5) gets a decent second level block, and Green can dart in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-7, 3 min 4th Q. Last two snaps not charted.

I mean I guess by the end they were okay.

It was a bit of a rocky start. They got a lot better, and they got a lot better from week one.

But Oregon State. How much should we take from this?

This isn't the Miami (NTM) and Appalachian State walkovers from last year. Oregon State isn't going to be very good, but we're about to see a huge difference in strength of opponent when UNLV wobbles in here. There's not good and there's NOT GOOD; the Beavers are the former. UNLV is the latter; so were Michigan's two true tomato cans a year ago.

Neither is it time to sing from the rooftops. I mean:

The thought process that linebacker went through is a mystery to all.

I think there's something to what went down, though. By about midway through this game most runs featured at least one Beaver going for the proverbial "ride":

That didn't happen last year, at least not with such consistency, and Michigan played some very bad rush defenses.

But for real I mean Rudock is just…

I mean he's fine. Remember last year's Minnesota game?


Probably for the best. Trust me, then, that if this


chart is bad, I will take that.

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%

Rudock was rough to start. By the time he airmailed a third and medium conversion there was a palpable air of discontent in the stadium; just about the instant that happened he settled in and had a solid day. It's worth noting that he had two important potential completions stolen from him by uncalled and quite blatant pass interference. You and everyone else know about the endzone throw to Darboh; the first snap of the game was less obvious but still must-call PI:


the white on top of Darboh's shoulder pads is from two hands draped on him

That is the DB preventing Darboh from leaping for a perfectly-thrown ball.

Michigan's receivers were also spotty in this game. I kind of want to yell WHAT ARE THOOOOOSE at a few routes. Chesson did not adjust to an (possibly intentional) underthrown deep ball until it was way too late, and this one from Harris is just…

…well, they're not on the same page. Harris should probably be running perpendicular to the LOS so he can catch and turn upfield; with the zone guy outside of him chasing the flat route he's not running into danger.

OTOH, I thought this was Rudock's mistake on a good decision by Grant Perry to sit down:

Rudock's leading him into the flat defender and a monster hit; Perry has a shot to turn it up if he gets a YAC-friendly ball there.

But Rudock generally moved Michigan down the field, and now that Butt is drawing extra attention he's proving himself adept at looking for him, then tossing it to the open dude. Rudock's ability to move around in the pocket and find a useful completion was highlighted a few times in this game; this was the most impressive:

That is more along the lines of the guy I saw at Iowa.

And then the pick. Credit to Oregon State: they had this snag triangle dead to rights. Live I thought it was late and inside; on replay it is just a great play from the D. Rudock shouldn't have thrown it; he should have looked at Drake Harris on a post, as the Perry motion caused the safety over there to walk down.

That is the kind of stuff a young QB will fail to notice and is a cost of a new system with a new QB, even if he's old.

But that's not what this game was about.

Hit me. As Michigan was wont to do.

All right then.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 13.5 3.5 10 Much better in space.
Braden 15 0.5 14.5 I get why Spielman was on Team Starts For OSU now.
Glasgow 5.5 8 -2.5 Two false starts and two –2 blocks that nerfed otherwise big runs.
Kalis 8 1 7 Much better.
Magnuson 5 0.5 4.5 Not as involved as others but got his job done.
Butt 7.5 3.5 4 Up and down.
Williams 4.5   4.5 Consistent movement.
Kerridge 5   5 Hit the men he should hit.
Poggi 5.5 3 2.5 Major improvement.
Houma 3   3 One point as a runner. Running points not included in total, which strives to sum up line blocking.
Bunting 3 2 1 Two points here as runner.
TOTAL 73 25 74% Strobel also had +0.5. This is so good it worries me.
Player + - T Notes
Rudock   3 -3 Fumble.
Morris       DNP
Smith 15.5 4 11.5 Brutal Legend
Isaac 1.5   1.5 -4 as pass blocker as well.
Green 1 1 0  
Johnson   1 -1  
Taylor-Douglas       DNC
TOTAL 18 9 9 Gojira
Player + - T Notes
Darboh 1 1 0  
Chesson 3 1 2  
Harris   3 -3 15 yard penalty and another 5-yarder.
Cole       DNP?
Ways 1   1  
Jones   - - DNP
TOTAL 5 5 0  
Player + - T Notes
Protection 30 8 79% Team –4, Isaac –4.
RPS 10 7 3

Ain't matter much today.

So. No, I did not think Braden was racking up a near-perfect day on which he finished with Molk numbers. I mean, I didn't see him biff anything, but as I was counting it up I was like… oh. To be honest, I might have preferred it if these numbers were more, you know, sane.

We'll see how it holds up. Probably not as well as we hope.

It wasn't tested much, but with limited exceptions that were all messed up blitz pickups pass protection was great:

Note the perfect pass protection score from the line; "Team" protection minuses are handed out when the protection itself is broken; most of those came on the fumble. Spielman immediately pointed out that the protection slid the wrong way and that it was likely on Rudock. All other protection minuses were Isaac blocking the wrong guy on a blitz.

I don't have that much to say about individual line members below except Ben Braden, but I thought both tackles had very solid games. Cole was much better in space this week:

That bang-bang double block where you get both guys is A+ and usually a big gainer.  That has something to do with the opponent, no doubt. I bet there's significant, real improvement in there as well.

Could Braden start for OSU?

Dang it, Spielman, you gotta go and kill your cred with Michigan fans with that stuff? You're not helping me convince everyone you're the best, which you are.

No, he could not, at least not until we see him do these kind of things against big and mean guys. I do think I understand why Spielman thought that in this game, where Braden's size and ability to pull surprisingly fast made him look real good. Without Utah's DL stealing his lunch money you got a Tarzan-lookin' guy playing like Tarzan.

The missed Smith cut I cited above is an excellent example of Braden thinking on the fly; this game also featured a few pulls on which Braden had a decision to make because the edge wasn't set well. I thought he got it right every time. When things opened up to the interior he got to the POA really fast:

IIRC that was a lot quicker than anything we saw last year from anybody.

And nobody beat him up or put him in the backfield. This, too, is real progress. I can't tell you how many clips I had from early last year against real tomato cans in which Braden was getting blown past. It is entirely possible he has made a step forward that was obscured by the fact that he can't hang with Lotulelei types yet. That would be bad against OSU and MSU, but good against the rest of the schedule.

Next week hopefully won't tell us anything. BYU will be the test, especially if their NFL NT is still out. Otherwise it might be a bad time again.


This game is an example of why De'Veon Smith is the most Harbaugh-friendly back on the roster. He had a punishing, grinding day.

Two of his touchdowns featured him running through DBs' tackles as if he barely noticed them, as did multiple non-touchdowns. This was in fact the run I asked Ace for when I wanted a slice of Smith hyperviolence:

I wanted it because it was eerily similar to the GIF that symbolized what we were hyped up about when Smith was a recruit:


He started delivering on his Hart-but-angry promise in this game, by far the best of his career. I'm beginning to love the thing where someone grabs onto his back and Smith goes into high-stepping, this-is-why-I-run-with-a-parachute-on mode.

Smith's vision was good. There were a couple of big missed lanes against Utah* but other than that it was hard to tell much about his adaptation under Harbaugh and Wheatley because his options were limited. When you get guys dumped in your lap you generally have one direction to go: down.

This went in the opposite direction. On some plays he could have done just about anything and gotten a chunk. Where is the right way to go here?

Yes. Yes is the right way to go.

Still, I thought there were a number of plays on which he did encouraging things, starting from his first carry:

That's a bit awkward as Braden and Cole end up swapping spots to deal with a stunt; Smith doesn't take the bait outside and finds the crease inside the tackle, where he gets a nice gain that would be more if Butt—who didn't have a good day—gets much of anything on the closest linebacker.

Smith started popping outside the tackles some; when he did it was usually just outside and a good idea. Hey, man, if they give you the edge you gotta take it. What I'd like to see more of is Smith setting up his blocks when that's necessary. Great backs will make their own blocking by feinting one direction with a single step and then cutting hard just behind the block they've set up. Smith did a good job of that on the first snap of the spring game.

Smith was not perfect, and this showed up a bit more on zone stuff. Here Michigan catches a slant away that disrupts Braden's ability to even release, let alone get to a linebacker. Here it is in SloMo SatanVision:

This could probably be its own Picture Pages, but in brief: if this DL was in this gap pre-snap you would want the OL to "scoop" him. Basically, Cole would hit him inside and Braden would step around and then you could hit that LB with Cole. Since this is a slant and M isn't running a stretch that's not realistic.

Braden does a good job here to not run aimlessly at a guy he cannot get to; instead he helps laterally displace the slanting DE. There's a crease for Smith on the interior that is a big chunk run; he misses it. It's not the worst result—three yards on second and four—but it is a missed opportunity. It's possible he grows into that as we go along here with Wheatley; it's possible he never gets particularly good at that, in part because Michigan isn't going to be giving him a ton of zone reps.


There wasn't much of note from running backs other than Smith. Isaac blew a pass protection or two and had that one nice run on which an arm tackle slowed him up enough to notice the gaping hole to his left. Green mostly got what his blocking provided him. Drake Johnson just had the one carry, and while you don't want to overstate its impact it was a contrast with Smith:

There is a 1% chance that brings Smith down. If you can deliver him three yards downfield… you're gonna have a good time.

*[I pointed a couple of these out in last week's offensive UFR and got some pushback in the comments. If you don't believe me, believe De'Veon Smith:

"I know one of those plays I missed a hole that a bus could drive through," he said Tuesday. "That was one of the bigger ones that kind of stuck with me — got under my skin."

But if the last few years have proven anything it's that literally any criticism will have black knights quixotically defending against it. C'est la vie.]

You were a little overhyped about AJ Williams on Monday.

I was, but he still had a good outing. Many of the blocky/catchy guys matched it. I think the sentimental thumbs up is metaphysically warranted.

This was perhaps the area of biggest improvement. Poggi looked pretty good a week after standing out as a guy who struggled; Williams was consistently moving guys. This third and one conversion is salvaged by Williams banging a guy back and staying attached:

You can say that's "just Oregon State" all you want and I won't listen. Against anyone, that is progress. Williams even caught a pass well downfield. It is probably too early to be thinking about what could have been if he'd been with Harbaugh for four years, but… I mean…

As mentioned above, Butt was the most inconsistent guy on the day by some distance. His second level blocks were poor against guys that Cole and Magnuson were engulfing; you expect some issues since he is not an OL, sure. He should at least annoy dudes. This in particular was disappointing:

Two point stance, guy moving inside him, difficult to do that much there. But rule #2 in the MGoBlog Layman's Rules Of Blocking is "stay attached at all costs."* Smith is cutting backside; if Butt is even annoying this DE there's a good chance Smith can cut again and then get loose. Butt's expecting a kick and does not get it; the difference between the Picture-Paged iso that goes for six yards and Smith getting obliterated in the backfield is staying attached. Run at him, cut him in the midsection: do something, anything.

He's still a lot better than Funchess. He had multiple blocks on which he moved guys who ended up relevant to the play.

He also got an extended block on the backside of Smith's TD run that opened it up:

He's usually plausible; sometimes he is worse and sometimes he is better. With the pass threat he brings it's enough. Would still like to see him improve as we go along here.

He also opens things up for everyone else. That fourth down conversion opened up because three Oregon State guys freaked out about Jake Butt:

This was a theme.

*[#1 is, of course, "never turn upfield."]

Any hints of the coming Stanfordization?

Moreso in this game than in previous ones. We saw more pre-snap frippery, including a post-lineup tackle over flip:

I'd feel a little better about proclaiming that a win if Cole had gone forward on his block, but the OSU D ends up in a weird alignment that provides Joe Kerridge nobody to block once the play pops outside, so chalk one up for Harbaugh.

We also saw a few traps. The blocking was borked on a couple but this one was a block away from blowing up big:

It is mandatory that when football coaches talk about the trap they sigh wistfully about how it's a lost art. Harbaugh loves him some traps. They're the manball equivalent of those midline options where a DT is set free up the middle and gets read. These days DEs are very suspicious when nobody tries to kill them; DTs are more susceptible to the innocent joy of "oh boy I'm gonna sack em".

It is a lost art. I can count the number of trap plays I've seen Michigan run on one hand even after this game.

Michigan also incorporated fullback dives, one of which saw OSU bust directly in the hole:

Probably just that guy screwing up, but the meme after the game that Michigan's fatality of a final drive was just power over and over again wasn't quite right. It was a lot of power; it mixed in things to keep the opponent off balance.

And finally, we saw a sizeable amount of an under-center version of that "diamond" set a lot of Big 12 spread teams like Oklahoma State have been deploying.

The diamond gives no indication as to where your run strength is and lets you apply three new blockers (the two lead guys and a puller), two of whom can build up a nice head of steam before they impact anyone. It also lets you do spread-like hijinks where you set guys up for easy blocks. Check the rearmost highlight there. That's Poggi; Poggi sets up as if he's going to block that end and then jets by him; end lunges and Kalis is now hitting a sitting duck.

Early yet but I like that Michigan is setting out to confuse guys, and that we've seen them diversify in week two.


A mundane day. Nothing even close to a circus catch, only two passes even filed as moderately difficult, and no drops. A couple route minuses were significant: Chesson's OPI was salvaged but frustrating at the time, and the Harris issue mentioned in the Rudock discussion above contributed to early offensive sputters.

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

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Darboh 2 4/4   2 9/11
Chesson     0/1 1/1   0/1 4/4
Perry 1       1 1/2 2/3
Harris 1   1/1 1/1   1 1/1 1/1
Cole         1/1
Butt 2 4/4   4 1/1 2/2 8/8
Williams     1/1   2 1/1   1/1
Bunting       3/3         4/4
Smith     3/3   1   4/5
Isaac     1/1     2/2
Kerridge       1/1       1/1

Worth a short discussion: Jehu Chesson. He's a consistently good blocker, but the inability to adjust to the deep ball and the OPI give you an indication of why he's struggled to become a major target despite his evident speed. He's just not consistent enough.


All OL minus Glasgow, but especially Cole and Braden. Smith.

Maybe not so heroic?

Chesson. The refs. Rudock was iffy early, and Glasgow had an off game.

What does it mean for UNLV and the future?

UNLV gon' die. Sometimes they play a 230 pound guy at NT.

Maybe the Utah struggles were partially new system stuff. No idea which is the more realistic picture; probably we end up somewhere in the middle, steadily ticking towards competence.

Ben Braden doesn't want to go on the cart. Let's see him against BYU. Will be fascinating.

Outside WR is weak past Darboh. Consistent routes are rare. Wouldn't mind some flanker Butt.

De'Veon Smith is a HarBack. For real though. Get this man to a place where a DB is supposed to tackle him and watch the limbs fly. As he develops in the system his vision should improve. The fumble is currently not a high priority issue.

Blocky/catch could be an asset. They were good all around, and deep.

Rudock is settling down a bit. The last three quarters he was pretty good.



September 17th, 2015 at 5:40 PM ^

Well to be fair Chubb is probably the best back in CFB.  If he played in OSU's offense he might have 4000 yards.

I know it is unfashionable to draft RBs high nowadays but he should be the rare top 5 pick.  And that was if he was allowed to leave this year as a SO.


September 17th, 2015 at 9:49 PM ^

chubb is special though (as im sure you realize if you watch uga with your girl), most backs cannot do those things.  todd gurley looked like he could win the heisman after like 5 games but chubb made everyone forget gurley soon after his injury.

itd be great to routinely see plays like that from m backs but it really is textbook stuff from 1st rounder.  m has not had a back like that in quite some time, an essentially fault-free game changer (though thats always the hope with recruits, hitting that homerun)


September 17th, 2015 at 7:48 PM ^

In old Tubby Raymond Wing-T terminology, that formation is called "Tight 300". Tight means the split end moves in to become another tight end. 300 is a formation that tells the tailback to line up to the same side as the wing back. Typically in 100/900 formations (typical formation associated with Wing-T) the tail back lines up away from the wing back.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 17th, 2015 at 8:15 PM ^

Although NFL teams no longer use it, two backs in the backfield spread and next to each other traditionally was called a pro set backfield. Back in the day, most college teams ran wishbone or i form and NFL teams ran split backs or, pro set.

carlos spicywiener

September 17th, 2015 at 5:25 PM ^

With a 42-21 lead and 10:29 to play, most teams would be content to just run out the clock. The Cardinal stuck to the ground the rest of the way against USC — but not because it was done playing football. Stanford had exhausted its rival’s defense, and the Cardinal was going to take advantage with its trademark: power.

On first down, sophomore right guard David DeCastro pulled as senior running back Toby Gerhart crashed for 2 yards on the left side. On second down it was DeCastro pulling again, paving the way for a 7-yard Gerhart gain. That’s when, as the Cardinal lined up for third-and-1, a Trojan defensive lineman spoke up to senior center Chase Beeler.
“If you guys run power one more time, I’m done,” he said. “I’m subbing myself out.”

“As a player, that’s something that you kind of dream about,” Beeler says, “when your opponent is literally begging you to relent, and just throwing in the towel.”




September 17th, 2015 at 5:26 PM ^

Brian, I have to disagree with you on what you see from Drake Johnson's only carry of the game. Yes, the defender trips him up by barely touching him, but Drake is already stumbling as soon as he gets the ball, he would easily break that tackle otherwise. I'm not saying he's gonna take Smith's job by next game, but I still believe he could challenge Smith for big time carries.


September 17th, 2015 at 5:55 PM ^

Braden was excellent pulling all day. I had predicted he would struggle against a 3-4 that left him uncovered and free to lean at LBs and miss. I suspect Harbaugh might have had a similar thought and decided to just run power to the right all game.

Pulled with good speed and technique, but most importantly, I think Brian is right. He picked the right guy every time!


September 17th, 2015 at 6:13 PM ^

He was out blocking on the 20 yard gain by Bunting...and is now listed ahead of Perry on the official depth chart.  Might be more to Perry's diminshed role than TE-use.


September 17th, 2015 at 6:30 PM ^

Especially by a center? If we lose 5 yards on a play, I'd bet the net total would much worse than -1. And how does a center false start? The TV replays were not obvious to me.


September 17th, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

Going with a -2 on "Spielman is the best". He ain't. He's at best an average ohio homer. And he's rarely at his best. The best TV announcers I've heard call an M game in ages were the two I'd never heard of who called the Utah game. Play by play was that. Color was interesting, well-dosed and NEUTRAL.


September 17th, 2015 at 6:53 PM ^

for the time when Brian would write glowingly of our, beloved, Wolverines running the fullback dive.


It is a thing of simplicity, beauty, tradition and grandeur. It understands our culture and our team.


September 17th, 2015 at 9:08 PM ^

DeVeon killed those guys. Killed them dead. I love watching that guy run when he gets a clean start, just pure RAGE. Better than MINOR RAGE, even, I think. Maybe it's just been too long. 

Monocle Smile

September 17th, 2015 at 9:08 PM ^

OL started okay, but then they started destroying dudes later on. It's been a while.

Smith's very good at what he does, but I still think we need a change-of-pace back. There will be times when an offense can't stay consistent and crank out 14-play drives every time, and it's nice to have big plays to offset that.


September 17th, 2015 at 9:21 PM ^

Can someone explain why its legal for our WRs to take out the defender's legs on the hitch route to the left but Drake Harris gets called for a chop block for doing the same thing in the middle of the field? What's the difference?


September 17th, 2015 at 11:19 PM ^

If you go low, you have to come from straight on.

On the hitch, the defender is looking at the ballcarrier and the cut blocker is between the two.

On the run, the cut blocker is coming from the outside, not from between the ball and the defender.

Gotta give defenders a chance to protect themselves. Cuts from the side are really bad on the knees. Cuts from the front cam be as well, but the guy can adjust to just being blocked instead of crippled.


September 17th, 2015 at 9:40 PM ^

on Spielman. It was clear that he called a fair game and really showed his deep understanding of the nuances of the game, no question. That being said, nothing will ever make up for the disgraceful performance he turned in a few years ago during the OSU game, continue lol saying it's been 8 or 9 years since UM had won, it was unprofessional and he should have been banned from ever doing another UM game, imo. How soon some of you forget, I can't .