Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Utah

Submitted by Brian on September 10th, 2015 at 3:29 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Where the defense alternated between basically two setups, the offense was a smorgasbord of stuff ranging from five wide…


…to unbalanced goal line packages…

goal line unbalanced

To this, which I called "offset Maryland I":

offset maryland i

FWIW, I filed Poggi as a tight end in the table.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Rudock your QB. Line was Cole/Braden/Glasgow/Kalis/Magnuson the whole way except for a few snaps on which Logan Tuley-Tillman came in to play tackle that used Mason Cole as an inline tight end (who can't go downfield).

Butt played almost every snap—maybe every single one. There was a lot of rotation aside from him. Henry Poggi got the most time as an H-back; Kerridge was your traditional fullback. Williams got the most time other than Butt as an inline TE. We saw a little bit of Hill and Bunting.

WR was mostly Darboh and Chesson on the outside, with Harris rotating in. Perry played in the slot, sometimes in twins formations in which there were two TEs.

Smith was the main back with Isaac getting maybe 20% of the snaps behind him. Green and Taylor-Douglas got a few snaps each.

[After THE JUMP: throwing guys in the wrong direction.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-5 even Run Iso Smith 1
Nowhere to go. Butt(-0.5) doesn't get any movement on the playside end and can't kick him out; Kalis(+0.5) does a decent job to get a little push; Smith can't go through the original gap. Braden(-1) lost his guy to the inside even after getting help from Glasgow; Smith gets nailed by an unblocked LB and that dude.
M26 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Flare Smith 6
Not a good decision from Rudock as he has Chesson open on a hitch and this is thoroughly covered. No pressure, Rudock just bails. Smith(+2) turns a minimal gain into a nice chunk by dodging one guy and then spinning through a chaotic tackle attempt from three different Utes. (BR, 3, protection 2/2)
M32 3 3 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Butt 4
Bunting, Harris, Perry, Smith and Butt your skill guys. Surprise: it goes to Butt. This is a tough conversion with a safety sitting right on the route but Rudock throws it low and Butt digs it out. (CA, 2, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
M36 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Hitch Butt Inc
Safety again comes down late and sets up in Butt's face as he sits down for a quick pitch and catch throw. Protection again fine; Rudock throws a dangerous pass that has very little upside. Isaac is coming open coming out of the backfield. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M36 2 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 3 1 4-3 even Run Sweep Isaac 5 + 15 pen
I'm filing Hill and Poggi as TEs FWIW. Michigan gets to the LOS quickly and snaps as Utah has some confusion in their alignment. They've got this for a nice gain. Nobody gets any blocks. Poggi(-1) and Cole get split by a guy neither tries to block; Isaac(+1) breaks that tackle. Hill(-0.5) and Butt(-1) get initial blocks but both get discarded. Glasgow(+1) has pulled around; he smartly picks one of those guys off. Second guy takes Isaac down. RPS +2; this should have been Isaac versus a safety for six points. Dumb PI tacks on 15.
O44 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Penalty False start Cole -5
Cole -1.
O49 1 15 I-Form 1 3 1 Nickel even Run Power O Smith -1
Motion from a diamond formation to a covered TE I-form. Utah with eight guys in the box; they slant away from the play. This is playing to “spill” power, or send the back into an unblocked guy on the outside. Poggi(-1) airballs on the slanting DE. Kalis(-1) futilely goes in the hole that does not exist. Smith gets buried. RPS -1.
50 2 16 Ace twins 1 3 1 ??? Pass Seam? Butt 24
I don't know what to call this route. It's an out-breaking seam-ish thing from Butt that sits down at about 15 yards on the opposite hash. Williams, lined up in the slot, is running a similar route a few yards outside; this opens up a small gap that Rudock nails. Kalis(-2) had gotten shed by a DE and Rudock took a big hit. (DO+, 3, protection 0/2)
O26 1 10 Offset Maryland I 1 2 1 4-3 under Run Power O Smith 4
LTT at LT, with Cole a highly nominal tight end on the other side of the line. Braden(+1) blows out the nose tackle and Kalis pulls just around him on a play headed direct for the A gap. LTT(-0.5) does an eh job, not getting any depth and allowing his blocker to shed and constrict space. This cuts off any outside hole as well; two guys with just Kalis on the interior. Smith(+0.5) gets hit at two and manages to anger out a couple more.
O22 2 6 Offset Maryland I 1 2 1 4-3 even Run Double Iso Smith 1
Ugly, ugly. Kalis(-2) gets submarined and ends up two yards in the backfield; Smith has to cut back. Braden loses his guy somewhat but keeps connected and keeps driving, so Smith has a cutback.. that gets pounded. LTT(-2) is pretty understandably expecting to kick out here and ends up whiffing entirely. If he gets even a meh block like Braden did, Smith gets the edge and is against a corner for a nice gain. Kerridge(+1) pancaked a LB, FWIW.
O21 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Perry INT
Isaac split, Perry at RB. Perry runs a route that really looks like an out until it suddenly isn't; Rudock throws the out. (not charted, 3, protection 2/2, Perry -2 route)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-3, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Off tackle zone? Smith 0
Another play that clearly should work and Michigan biffs most of the blocking. Kerridge(+1) gets an authoritative cut on a DE M lets go. Braden(+1) turns a DT inside well. Drake Harris(-1) gets a weak cut on a corner who pops right back up. Butt and Cole are leading out, with Butt ahead and to the outside; Cole(-2) completely airballs on a linebacker, who does what Peppers does to screens in the second half. Butt(-1) did not ID a second level defender to block. Glasgow(-0.5) also couldn't cut his guy, not that it mattered. He did at least bother him. RPS +1.
M45 2 10 Shotgun empty TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 Pass TE circle Butt 6
Rudock gets swamped at Braden(-1) and Cole(-1) both lose blocks; he's got to get rid of it. DB in decent coverage but bites slant and then can't quite recover; does tackle. Utah not really sure what to do with this formation. (CA+, 2, protection 0/2)
O49 3 4 Ace trips tight bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE flat Butt 3
Rudock is throwing this all the way off the snap after M motions Butt around into a spot where he's neither really an H back or a fullback. There's no bump or rub here; maybe Perry is open deeper but I think he has a safety coming over the top of him. I don't know what this seeks to accomplish. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-5 even Pass Out and up Chesson Inc
First biff, as Chesson (route +2) absolutely blows by the DB for a shoulda-touchdown. Live I thought this was real bad, on replay I thought this was real bad, in the presser on Monday an apparently entirely candid Jim Harbaugh said Chesson slowed up, and if you watch it in that context there is a moment or two in which he's cruising. I think he should cruise. He's torched this guy so badly that cruising keeps you away from the back of the endzone. It also takes this ball a yard past Chesson. But still, if you miss here miss short fergodsakes. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O41 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Flash screen Darboh 28
Hooray for not being a damn idiot. M catches a slot blitz and the flash action gets them a big gain as Perry(+1) chops the dickens out of the outside CB and Darboh(+1) outruns a safety. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O13 1 10 Goal line unbalanced 2 2 0 Base 3-4 Run Power O Smith 1
Line, L to R: LTT, Cole, Mags, Braden, Glasgow, Kalis, Butt. OK. Kalis does another one of those pulls where he goes around and gets in the first hole shaped thing he sees. Doesn't work, as Butt(-1) mis-ided his man, blocking an end when there's an overhang LB he needs to hit. Kalis executes a tight pull that doesn't do anything except wad up some bodies; Smith cuts to an open bit that has unblocked guys in it; backside DE hews him down. Utah playing to spill consistently and M keeps thrusting OL away from that. RPS -1. Ok. Kalis(-1) must have screwed this up, as everyone on the OL is blasting guys on downblocks; there's no hint of a wedge inside.
O12 2 9 Goal line unbalanced 2 2 0 4-4 even Run Power O Smith 1
Same exact thing with an inverted line. Same result. More frustrating this time as it's the same thing that just failed to work. Cole(-1) gets ripped inside, but he's dealing with a guy who lined up inside of him and is already fighting to this A gap. I want Braden(-1) to see this and head another gap out because I've seen Harbaugh's Stanford teams execute this time and again; instead he just plows into a mass of bodies. Smith cuts outside into that gap and gets destroyed. Poggi(+1) got a nice kickout, though. RPS -1
O11 3 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Tunnel screen Cole -2
Zeo safeties, guy on the interior looking for this all the way, Cole no chance to get out on him. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: FG(30), 3-3, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 even Penalty Illegal snap Glasgow -5
Glasgow -1.
M20 1 15 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Smoke Chesson 8
Changing my terminology here because “smoke route” is shorter, more common, and cooler. DB lined up eight yards off on a hash, so Chesson has ample time to grab the ball and run outside for a bit for a free-ish eight yards. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M28 2 7 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 5
Glasgow(+1) gets a good extended sealing block on the backside that will become relevant since Williams(-1) fired out late and got pushed a yard into the backfield. Braden(+0.5) pulls but has to work around it; Williams's guy fills the hole. Smith(+1) cuts back behind and finds some yardage because Mags(+1) blew a DT off the ball with some help from Kalis.
M33 3 2 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Seam Williams Inc
This is ridiculously obvious PI that the refs ignore. Williams is running his route; DB sits on him and obstructs his route. Refs -2. (not charted, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-10, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Ace 4-wide 2 0 3 Nickel even Run FB dive Kerridge 5
No gap up the middle but Braden(+0.5) and Cole(+0.5) do end up battering a DT to the ground. It's just to the inside, is all. Kerridge(+0.5) has to cut in back of that. He gets chopped down by unblocked EMLOS.
M25 2 5 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Power O Smith 2
This is a bad cut by Smith. Butt's guy fights inside. Not much he can do about it. He goes down as Braden(+0.5) and Cole(+0.5) blow up a DT, with Cole taking out that guy's leg. Kalis(+0.5) manages to scrape over the top of this to end up in the right hole. Doesn't matter much, as Poggi(-1) flared wide and then turned around to go hit a linebacker that Kalis is also hitting. He should go get the overhang corner, probably. But the bigger problem is Smith(-1), who reacts way later than Kalis does to the traffic and runs right upfield too quick, exposing himself to backside pursuit. That pursuit happened because Glasgow got rolled up on from behind by the big blowout block. Not going to make a deal out of that; if Smith hits this hole as fast as Kalis does he probably bowls over the LB for near first down yardage.
M27 3 3 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass TE Out Butt 4
Rhythm pitch and catch. Williams blows up a guy trying to chuck him in what is probably the most physical moment of his career. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M31 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 under Pass Smoke Darboh 12
Eight guys in the box with CB 8 off: smoke. Darboh(+1) avoids a tackle for a first down. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M43 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Fly Chesson Inc
Excellent protection, both Chesson and Darboh are open; Rudock just misses. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M43 2 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Deep out Perry INT
This is open; Rudock airmails it to a DB. (INX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 3-10, 5 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under Run Inside zone Smith -1
Braden(-2) chucked away by the DT; he falls forward and DT has a free run at the backfield. Kalis(+0.5) got some push on the other guy but it's for naught; the backside cut was probably going to get some yards as M ran a zone read fake with Isaac and Rudock. I do kind of wish M would just double Braden's guy for a long time and hope to get enough movement to pick off a LB.
M30 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Slice IZ Green 2
Kalis(-3) picked up and literally hurled into the backfield. Green has to pick his side of this way too early and ends up going frontside when a backside cut again seems there, but hard to blame him. Braden does an eh job, getting no push but staying on his guy; Cole(-0.5) lost his kickout but after a long time. DE initiates a tackle.
M32 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under Pass Out Perry Inc (Pen +5)
Utah offsides. Rudock sits back and throws an out that's a yard in front of the sticks. It's not a good throw, dying as it gets there and taking Perry off his feet; Perry should still catch it but does not. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
M37 3 4 Shotguntwins twin TE 1 2 2 Nickel even press Pass TE out Williams Inc
LB in Williams's pocket, because AJ Williams can't cope with man coverage from a linebacker. All short routes, all covered, this is somehow Rudock's best option. (CA, 0, protection 1/1, Williams route -, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-10, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Run Power O Smith 0
Braden(-2) hurled to the ground by the playside DT. If this block gets made this may actually get some yards. Poggi(-1) got submarined by the DT, who makes life difficult for everyone else but Kerridge(+1) finds and blasts a DB who's coming in hot; Kalis finds a linebacker and makes contact somewhat gingerly because he has to tiptoe through a mess of limbs if he's not going to trip; push. Smith gets buried.
M25 2 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle TE flat Bunting 12
Gift from the WLB as he aimlessly tracks to the frontside of the play and leaves this wide open on second and ten. Utah UFR guy just gave him -2. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M37 1 10 I-Form 3-wide tight 2 1 2 4-3 even Run Pitch sweep Smith 7
Butt lined up a couple yards away from the end of the line as a slot WR; Utah slides its linebackers over. This is a sweep type formation with a WR barely outside of Butt; it's a sweep. Cole(-1) gets ripped under; Glasgow(+0.5) makes an adjustment to blow that guy up. Butt(+1) gets an initial block on the DE that he spins away from chaotically; Butt follows and bumps him, helping opening up the hole that does develop. Braden(+0.5) kicks a DT; DT helped. Poggi(-1) airballs on a linebacker who changes direction as Smith(+1) cuts inside; Smith runs through that leg tackle and spins through another one for a nice chunk of YAC. Darboh(+1) didn't take the slant bait and went and found a guy as well.
M44 2 3 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 even Pass Scramble Rudock 4
Very token PA fake to nobody doesn't get anyone to bite because it is to nobody. DE briefly flashes by Cole but Kerridge is there to cut him off; Rudock starts moving up in the pocket. It's a good pocket, probably because this is a two man route; Rudock is immediately thinking run and gets a first down. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)\
M48 1 10 I-Form twins 2 2 1 4-3 even Run Iso Isaac 4
Butt your slot. M doubles the NT for a while, getting movement with Braden(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5). Kerridge(+0.5) gets a good pop on a LB; Cole(-0.5) had a meh kick and Kalis(-0.5) doesn't do much to delay the other DT; he's neither setting up to deal with that guy exclusively or moving to the second level. Isaac(-0.5) should hammer it straight up where the play wants him to go but instead bounces it a gap outside into Cole's dude. He pounds out some YAC but I think he cost himself a couple yards.
O48 2 6 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle TE flat Williams 1
This is open; Williams delays the DE for a bit and then gets in his route. DE runs at Rudock; Rudock gets cut off. He tries a jump pass that Williams digs out for a yard. (IN, 1, protection N/A)
O47 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Drag Darboh 16
I can't tell if this pump fake from Rudock was indecision or a productive decision to move a linebacker. It does move a linebacker; Rudock reloads and nails Darboh for a a first down. With linebackers moving to what looked like a hitch on the sideline Darboh now has opportunity for YAC and a chunk play. Braden(-1) got dumped in Rudock's lap as he throws this, but at least he's still connected. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O31 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under Pass Smoke Chesson 5
This one is a bit upfield and that probably costs M a yard or two, but not severe enough to MA. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O26 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even Pass Wheel Smith Inc
Poggi(-2) motions to the backside and sets up to block the DE who normally gets in the waggle's face. He does this very badly. Rudock gets immediate pressure when getting the edge here means he's got two excellent options downfield or could just run it; he tries a bad idea shot at a wheel throwback to Smith that was a potential winner if given time. This is not a good idea; throw it away. (BR, 0, protection 0/2)
O26 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie zero Pass Slant Darboh Inc
Good route from Darboh(+) gets him open. Rudock hits him tiny bit low but not that difficult, Darboh can't bring it in. Big drop. (CA, 3, protection 1/1).
Drive Notes: Missed FG(44), 3-10, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass Waggle circle Darboh 5
Waggle; Butt the lone blocker on DE pressure guy. Darboh open short. Utah makes an immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Power O Smith 5
There is a pretty big-ass cutback lane here as the backside DE blows upfield. Glasgow is down-blocking, though, and this DT could blow upfield if Smith tries it. Frontside is jammed all to hell as Butt(-1) gets blown back. Braden doesn't even have an option to go around. Smith(+1) should almost certainly cut back now but instead heads around that into unblocked dudes. But he runs through one tackle and stiffarms the face off a second dude to plow forward to the first down. Glasgow(+1); Magnuson(+0.5); Kalis(+0.5).
M35 3 IN I-Form Big 2 2 1 6-2 tight Run QB sneak Rudock 1
They get it.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Improv Perry Inc
Decent pocket until Butt(-1) gets shed and Rudock has to flush out of the pocket. He's running away from his throwing arm so he has to throw across his body. He finds Perry about 20 yards downfield but can't quite get it there. Tough, tough throw. (MA, 0, protection ½). Braden gets an illegal man downfield call for barely getting downfield. I guess it's good they're calling it tight?
M36 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Power O Smith 5
Hey this actually looks kind of like it should. Kalis(+1) and Magnuson(+1) club playside DT with Magnuson getting out to a linebacker. Braden pulls to the other LB and hits him; he lined up right on the LOS, though, and he is able to close it down. Braden's block is a stalemate that's okay but does let the LB to he back from the side. Smith drags it a bit.
M41 3 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 4-3 under Pass Comeback Darboh 13
Utah gets super aggressive here and it's unfortunate Michigan doesn't have something else on. This is man press with both safeties six yards off the LOS; Utah sends the house and Darboh first gets on top of the DB and then runs a comeback route. Shruggie. Excellent blitz pickup and Darboh manages to box out the DB to make a tough catch on an excellent throw. (DO, 2, protection 3/3, Darboh route -)
O46 1 10 Ace twins 1 3 1 4-3 even Run Pitch sweep Smith 7
This works despite a Utah blitz shooting inside of Poggi and knocking a pulling Glasgow out of the play. Nothing Poggi could do. Butt(+1) does a good job to shove and stay connected to his dude; Cole(+1) gets out on a linebacker in space; a safety comes down to hit Smith. Smith is not good at dodging these guys; he does grind out a few yards after contact. RPS +1. Catching the blitz provided a lot of room.
O39 2 3 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Run Power O Isaac 4
Williams(+2) blasts the playside end off the ball by himself. Kalis(+1) gets a good sealing pull. Isaac is on the edge on the short side against an overhang corner, but he can't make anything of it.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Out and up Butt Inc
Isaac(-2) blows a blitz pickup entirely, running after Cole's guy while a linebacker shoots up the middle. Rudock has to get rid of it way early ,which is a shame because Butt has just run over a LB as he breaks vertically after faking an out. If this gets one more second he's going to be wide open for 20 yards. Rudock has to get rid of it so fast that the ball is about three yards from Butt when he looks for the ball. It's basically on the money but for naught. (CA+, 0, protection 0/2)
O35 2 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 6-2 tight Pass Fly Darboh Inc
Braden(-2) gets whipped instantly and Rudock gets blasted as he throws. The ball is about a yard too long; hard to blame him. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
O35 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Scramble Rudock 1 + 15 Pen
This is pretty bad. Rudock, already in the gun, drops back another six yards for some reason, then bugs out despite no one being within eight yards of him.He gets a few yards on a scramble. (TA, N/A, protection 1/1). Utah bails M out with a dumb PI.
O19 1 10 I-Form twins 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Post Butt 19
I don't know if Rudock even sees the other safety here but sometimes you gotta live mas, man, and this is put in a spot where only his TE can make the catch. He does despite a rake. (DO, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-17, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Flash screen Darboh 16
Perry(+1) gets a cut block that the Utah CB plays really badly, leaping over it and taking himself out of the play. Darboh then runs up the sideline. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M45 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Run Inside zone Smith 7
Glasgow(+1) and Kalis(+1) blow out a DT. Glasgow extends to a linebacker; Kalis turns and finishes for a pancake. Braden(+0.5) does enough on a single block on the other DT to make that matter; he doesn't give ground but neither does he gain it. Cole(+0.5) got a reasonable second level block; Smith runs straight upfield at the big hole.
O48 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 Run Slice IZ Smith 0
Smith(-3) with a derf reminiscent of last year. Playside OLB rushes way upfield, taking himself out of the play. There is a big ass gap Smith can hit; maybe the DE set up on Braden blows him up, maybe not. Running directly into the entire OL and DL does nothing. Heck, cut to the backside where Butt is carving out a tiny bit of a lane. This is setting 30, 40 yards on fire.
O48 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Circle Perry INT
The pick six. Picture-paged. Perry runs a very bad no good route that doesn't sell the slant, so the nickel corner is all over it; Rudock cannot throw this ball. (BRX, 0, protection 1/1, Perry route -2)
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 10-24, 8 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under Run Iso Smith 3
I kind of feel like this is also a missed opportunity, as the playside DT ends up hammering it outside and into the designated gap. He's off balance; Smith could cut behind that when he sees a drive to the playside, and then he's got a lot of space and just Braden and his guy; he could pick a side. Maybe that's unrealistic? I go back to Harbaugh screaming WATCH THE BACK DOOR in that Orange Bowl video; nobody's watching the back door here. In any case. M gets a decent gain; Kerridge gets submarined in the hole by a LB playing this very well, nothing he can do. Kalis(-0.5) barely hangs on to this block and with the LB blowing the lane up that means Smith stumbles through a very narrow gap and falls over. I'm not minusing the lack of a cutback here but I wonder what Drake Johnson does with this.
M39 2 7 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 4-3 even Pass Hitch Smith Inc
Utah elects not to cover Smith, lined up at flanker. Rudock puts it on his hands; drop. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
M39 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE out Butt 17
Easy pitch and catch for the first down as M catches zone and Rudock hits Butt in a moderate window. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) Butt(+1) grabs some YAC.
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Rudock 5 (Pen +5)
Utah jumps offsides. Not entirely clear this is a free play though so don't get huffy about that. Looks like Rudock makes a bad read pre snap as the field side has a guy who should be open, but I hate all hitch anyway so whatever. Rudock doesn't like anything and scrambles for a few yards. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O39 1 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Flare Isaac 3
Braden(-2) and Magnuson(-1) both get run through easily here, with Braden having it worse since he's a G letting a DT through without even slowing him.Rudock has no choice but to dump it fast for a reasonable gain and OOB. (CA, 3, protection 0/3)
O36 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Flash screen Darboh 1
Utah loads up the LBs and sends them and M pulls a guard here so this is definitely a live read at the LOS. It's a good idea; the corner finally plays this like a sane person and holds the edge. Darboh(-1) has the first down easily if he just sees what side of the block the defender is on and goes on the other side, which would be straight upfield. Instead he dances around to the outside and only gets a yard. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O35 3 1 Ace 1 1 3 Nickel even Run QB sneak Rudock 0
Braden(-2) blown two yards into the backfield and into a heap. This moonwalk catches Rudock's leg and robs him of any shot to get forward momentum.
O35 4 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 6-2 tight Run Power O Smith 0
Infamous fourth down play. I can't tell you which of Kalis or Smith is wrong. I can tell you that if Smith follows Kalis outside the guys roaring up the gap have no shot at him and it's a big gain. I can also tell you that Poggi is kicking a DE so that would be weird if M was trying to go outside. But then again, Kerridge heads outside from the drop. I'm going with Kalis is correct since two lead blockers head outside and Smith(-3) does not. YMMV. Cole(+1) totally buried his dude, FWIW.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 10-24, 5 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR DForm Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Out Perry 6
Protection basically fine. Can't tell if anyone's open downfield; Utah does a good job to tackle this in bounds. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M26 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Chesson 9
Kalis(-1) goes after and chases a DT stunting around, so when Magnuson(-1) sees his guy jet inside there's no one to help. Rudock gets blown up on the throw, but it's accurate and moves the chains. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass TE post Butt 16
Utah telegraphs a double A gap blitz; M picks it up. Rudock has a lot of space that a dropping DE can't cover and fires an accurate ball for a chunk. Butt double catches this but does bring it in. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Dig Darboh Inc
Hard to tell but I think this is coming out before anybody touches Darboh and is just a flat drop. It was a dig at the sticks in a relatively tight window. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
This pressure is on Rudock, who has a pocket that is just fine but keeps dropping and dropping. He's eventually eleven yards deep and Cole can no longer keep an angle. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O49 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Scramble Rudock 4
Rudock again bugs out after taking way too much drop. This is max pro and has a fine pocket. Throw the ball. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O45 4 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Perry 10
Perry breaks open as the zone DB doesn't know which way to go; Rudock fires it in slightly behind and low but still in the CA range. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Seam Perry 25
Probably Rudock's best throw of the night, as he steps into a 25 yard seam right on Perry and just in front of the safety. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O10 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Slant Darboh 10
Telegraphed cover zero from Utah, protection is good enough, Darboh busts open on a slant, pitch and catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-24 ,1 min 4th Q. Onside kick fails, EOG.


Yeah… I wish I could tell you different.


Butt Chart?

Or that.

I'm getting to this early so we can just set the table for what I saw on the ground. What I saw was Michigan getting destroyed, for the most part.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 3.5 6 -2.5 Edge whiffs hurt badly.
Braden 5 8 -3 Did okay when not being repeatedly destroyed?
Glasgow 5 1.5 3.5 Same as always, one man in a storm.
Kalis 5 8 -3 Very disappointing.
Magnuson 2.5 - 2.5 Hooray?
Butt 2 4.5 -2.5 Not a great outing as a blocker.
Williams 2 1 1 One big ol block.
Kerridge 3 - 3 Wish they could make him relevant.
Poggi 1 5 -4 Also disappointing.
Hill - 0.5 -0.5 Played little after early pitch biff.
Bunting       DNC
TOTAL 29 34.5 46% Brutal start.
Player + - T Notes
Rudock       DNC
Morris       DNP
Smith 5.5 7 -1.5 Cuts late let M down.
Isaac 1 0.5 0.5 Also one very bad blitz pickup.
Green       DNC
Johnson       DNP
Taylor-Douglas - - - DNC
TOTAL 6.5 7.5 -1 Paging Drake Johnson?
Player + - T Notes
Darboh 3 1 2 Flash screens
Perry 2   2 Ditto
Ways - - - DNP
Jones - - - DNP
TOTAL 5 1 4 Eh.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 46 16 74% Braden –5, Kalis –3, Magnuson –2, Isaac –2, Poggi –2, Cole –1, Butt –1
RPS 12 6 6

Free screen yards; multiple pitch plays that should have worked but for multiple blocking fails.

Both guards were huge issues, and Cole struggled on the ground. 85% is usually the cutoff for a "protection" metric that I think is good, so let that affect your opinion of Rudock. It wasn't as clean a day as it seemed live.

Sigh. Let's talk about power.

Michigan doesn't know what the hell it's doing on it. Earlier this week, MLive beat guy Nick Baumgardner and SI college football writer Andy Staples, a former walk-on OL at Florida, got into an argument about just what was wrong with this play, Michigan's second from a goofy and quickly abandoned six OL set:

Baumgardner asserted that the pulling G has to find someone to hit instead of blindly running up in a gap with a big flashing NO VACANCY sign; Staples retorted that the fault was really the guys who weren't moving/kicking the defender out of the playside A gap. I kind of agree with both guys: obviously life is much easier for you if the gap you think you're going in exists, as it did here:

But that's not always going to happen, and you need a plan B. Stanford's offenses under Harbaugh were great at finding a plan B. Michigan's not so much.

I agree with Baumgardner a bit more. The previous play saw Kalis burn himself on the first gap type thing he saw; the rest of the line blocked down as Utah played to "spill" this power, and Utah had an unblocked guy chasing from the backside. Smith ended up in an outside gap because that's where the hole was; he got destroyed because he had no lead  block.

I mean, there's a reason you never see anyone run "A gap power" like this consistently. The vast majority of power plays attack off tackle, because you get more time to react to what the defense is doing. "A gap power" had better be a trap that catches people off guard, because trying to run it consistently is begging to get stuffed with any line slant. Also it's just way easier to move ends and tight ends and DBs than DTs.

When you are more patient you get opportunities to make decisions after the snap. Here Braden's presented with a crappy situation as Williams gets blown back. M gets a big block from a double on the interior, but if Braden tries to cut up behind that he's probably going to run into Williams's guy, creating a furball and little gain. So he goes outside.

Watch that a second time if you will and see what Braden's pull—and Smith's decision to follow it—does to the linebackers. The unblocked guy gets held up, unsure of where to go. Smith gets to run at him instead of vice versa.

This ends up looking like a good outside zone run: Smith follows his lead block until he gets to just outside the tackle box, and then he cuts back to find a lane. This is using a block in a way that we have very rarely seen any of Michigan's current backs properly execute. It is not necessarily the block Braden gets that opens it up; it's the threat of it. This is Teddy Roosevelt diplomacy: run softly and carry a big stick.

1) This is a decision Braden makes.
2) The back has to respect that decision and use it, otherwise he eats unblocked guys.
3) If the back cannot respect that decision because it is a furball, the OL has failed.

By halfway through the second quarter Kalis was adapting to changing situations in front of him. Here he gets around a bad block from Butt and finds a guy to hit:

But Smith doesn't wait for that. He is running as hard as he can straight at the line of scrimmage, so when circumstances change he has to make a near 90-degree cut and then try to regain momentum. Smith is not good at that. As a result he ends up taking an arm tackle from behind (Glasgow got rolled up on) and does not hit the linebacker with the crunching force that will get him the YAC he is capable of.

On the previous play he "sets up his blocks," as you hear people say so often. On this one he just runs.

This stuff is, I think, the root of the failed fourth and one conversion. Kalis has pulled and pulled and put himself in a nothing gap over and over again and then gets told to maybe chill out and read the play for a second before flinging himself into a pile. Smith has been bouncing power outside because that's what Utah is playing Michigan to do and has had little success. On fourth and one Kalis runs outside with Kerridge; Smith goes up the gut at unblocked guys.

Even if Kalis is wrong, Smith has to go with him. If you abandon him you are doomed. But Smith just runs and hopes it works out.

So: Michigan is not good at moving big DTs. They are not good at adjusting post-snap. And they are not good at using their blocks when they in fact happen. That about covers it.

So the random running again then.

Yeah. If the Wheatley transition is going to help it evidently isn't going to do so right away. Smith still mostly runs at random. The cutback lanes he missed in the second half were truly vast. This one I kind of get because it's power with a reasonable lane where he should go. This one, woof:

A fatcat carpetbagger could light a cigar with the yards just left on the field. But it's not just about missing the holes; it's about creating them. Good backs will run with an idea of the hole they will make and then make a cut. That's what NFL scouts mean but a "one cut" back: he runs until the appropriate time to cut behind his blocks and then does so.

If Michigan has that guy it is Drake Johnson or maybe Ty Isaac.

I can hear the caterwauls for a replacement even from the nether space I exist in.

Yes, bolded alter-ego, they are part of the cosmic background radiation. I'd like to see more of Isaac, who didn't exactly impress but is at least fresh meat for the grinder. His one real chance to bust one ended with a meek tackle at the hands of a CB…

…and he blew a blitz pickup on a play that otherwise was likely to be a big chunk. This is why Smith was in for most of the third down stuff, and why Smith was dropping the ball on that play Utah elected not to cover him at all.

And then the guards?

There's really no sugarcoating it: they were very bad. Braden nosed ahead of Kalis in that department. On the first snap from scrimmage he got serious help from Glasgow on an iso away from him. Should be an easy seal away and a gap if Smith ends up cutting a gap away from the fullback. Smith does, wisely, and meets Braden's guy:

Step around and anchor. Smith is likely to plow out YAC if he is dealing with one tackler. Two not so much.

That was the start of a day that only got worse from there. This is an otherwise well blocked inside zone that he does his lunge/shed/stumble combo on:

He makes me think of Willie Henry a lot, and not in a pleasant way. Because he's on DL highlight films as the dude who gets hurled:

Pass protection was not as bad but neither was it great. This in particular was wince-worthy, as even a vaguely acceptable block may result in a touchdown:

And then the prelude to disaster:

I think everyone was alarmed when Braden was moved back to guard. He tried it a couple years ago and looked so out of place they put him at tackle during 2013's interior OL armageddon and never even considered playing him. That decision looked very justified on Saturday. Unfortunately, I don't know how much better this can get. Options behind Braden are Blake Bars and David Dawson, neither of whom has ever played or even looked plausible in a spring game. Dawson was getting some buzz late in fall camp, so let's try that I guess? Honestly, I don't expect that to stick. Otherwise it already would have. There are no preconceived notions here and both guys were healthy the whole way through camp: Braden probably just played better.

Meanwhile we've discussed a lot of the pulling issues Kalis had. Also, this…

…I have never seen before.

We're probably done talking about bad blocking by now.

Unfortunately, Michigan is still in a state where asking more than the absolute minimum number of people to block is asking for someone to blow up your play.

Or not.

This pitch sweep should really, really work, it is a clear RPS +2 on which Utah is immediately in deep water, and all Michigan gets is a modest gain:

First a dude runs directly between Poggi and Cole, then Butt and Hill both lose blocks quickly. If either gets effectively blocked Glasgow picks the other off and Isaac is one on one with a saftey; if both do Glasgow is one on one with a safety.

This looks similarly promising until 1) Harris's weak cut block is leapt over, 2) Cole whiffs on a linebacker coming inside out and 3) Butt does not realize he is needed to deal with guys coming from the inside and tries to go get the safety:

Michigan's forays outside in this game all looked super promising until nobody got a block. I almost mean that literally.

Meanwhile, adding Tuley-Tillman did not put pressure on the opponent to deal with big power sets with defensive backs, because Tuley-Tillman did not get blocks. Here even a dodgy block on which he stays connected and pushes the guy somewhere probably opens up a cutback lane for Smith. Instead it is an airball and a tackle for nothing:

[ED: But nevermind that, I guess.]

The main problem is the same problem: Michigan sucks at blocking. This was really disappointing, as Michigan was pretty decent to end last year. Transition costs and the loss of Jack Miller—much bigger than it appeared at the time since the LG spot looks like a huge dropoff—explain part of it. Michigan looked at least okay at the double-and-go-get-LB thing.

We have to hope that Utah's defensive line explains much of the rest. Otherwise we're in for another very long year. Transitions suck so much. Here's another one. Hooray!

Why are they throwing at AJ Williams?

I mean… they have to. If Williams is going to play they have to throw him the ball sometimes. And only one of the things that happened when he was targeted was really his fault. He was interfered with on one play; on his lone catch he dug out a very inaccurate ball from Rudock for a single yard.

But you have to throw it to him sometimes or he can't play. If the answer to that is "well then stop playing him" I hear you, but given Poggi's performance in this game it is going to be tougher to displace him than we might have thought during fall practice.

Can we now dump on Rudock?

Serenity now, man.

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%

I did give him an IN for the first two long throws that were off; the third got a PR. I did not chart the first INT; the second two were an INX and a BRX (the X is for XTREME!). You'll note that aside from the huge disasters he was pretty accurate. So we've got that going for us.

The interceptions have been discussed to death. A final recap: number one was 100% Perry screwing up his route, number two was 100% Rudock throwing a wildly inaccurate ball, number three was a combination of Perry running a bad route and Rudock throwing it anyway.

Meanwhile, the deep balls follow the same pattern: on number one Rudock threw an accurate ball if Chesson was running flat out. Number two was on him, as he threw a ball that was way too flat and gave his WR no chance. Number three was a combo that's pretty forgivable since he got plastered a nanosecond after he got rid of the ball. 

I was actually more concerned about the stuff nobody is talking about. Rudock looked extremely uncomfortable at times, to the point where he's not coming off his receivers like he used to. This is early:

That's super dangerous and for a five yard out. Meanwhile Isaac is open for some number of yards greater than zero right in front of him. Late he started dropping ridiculously deep and created pressure for himself in excellent pockets. That was very weird.

Some of this wasn't on him. The three yard pass to Butt on third and four that set Iowa twitter aflame looked a lot like an Iowa play because Rudock had his choice of covered guys downfield or a throw short of the sticks. Michigan ran a lot of all curls and the like. All curls sucks when the opponent is happily bringing another guy into the box and your QB doesn't have the kind of gun he needs to confidently throw a five yard hitch from the opposite hash to the sideline. Also it just kind of sucks, as anyone who's watched Iowa's offense over the past five years could tell you.

And there were a number of throws in there that were pretty, usually when he could probe spaces between the levels of a zone.

First game with a new team at night on the road with a big wind; he will improve and be okay.

RPS positive? Can that happen?

They did not hit any big plays but they had excellent opportunities to with the pitches that they just collossally screwed up. And they took free yards when offered them. A lot of them.

Michigan's flash screens and "smoke" routes* picked up five to 25 yards every time with the solitary exception of a one-yard gain late. That was on Darboh expecting Utah to continue doing the dumb stuff above; when they played it right Darboh still tried to break it outside. Otherwise it was an easy second and short conversion.


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

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Darboh 5/7   5/7
Chesson         3/3
Perry   1/2 2/3   1/2 2/3
Cole         1/1
Butt 2 1/1 1/2 4/4   2 1/1 2/2 4/4
Williams 2 1/1       2 1/1  
Bunting       1/1         1/1
Smith 1     1/2   1   1/2
Isaac     1/1     1/1

Jake Butt is good.

I gave Darboh a routine drop for the third down conversion. It was close between a 2 and a 3 but nobody hit him. I will give Darboh some rad prop-dap-bumps for this block (he's the uppermost WR):

Way to not break the cardinal rule of blocking—never turn upfield—and find a guy.

*[I used to call them "long handoffs" when they were just WRs with no blockers but that is closer to offical lingo, and it's shorter and cooler.]


Pass phase Jake Butt. Darboh mostly? Graham Glasgow.

Maybe not so heroic?

The rest of the OL, and kind of Rudock, and all the TE blocking.

What does it mean for Oregon State and the future?

They have a bigass hole to dig out of. I'm betting Utah's DL is top notch; even so Michigan had so many problems with them and the second level that I can't be particularly optimistic about the ground game. Both guards got physically dominated in a way I have not seen before.

Running back competition is open. Smith did little to secure his place.

The wide receivers might be a pleasant surprise? Once Perry irons out the kinks and Chesson actually gets the ball on his hands this unit might be a lot better than anticipated.

Rudock wasn't great but he wasn't as bad as all that. This will probably be one of his worst performances of the year.

Hooray taking what they give you. This would have been truly ugly if Michigan didn't take advantage of the opportunity to grab 50 or so yards with dumb little WR screens.



September 10th, 2015 at 3:43 PM ^

Wow Kalis wow


“We definitely have more of a grasp on how to play the offensive line,” Kalis said. “How to get a rhythm. Technique. Footwork. Stuff we would never really practice or have a knowledge of before.”


September 11th, 2015 at 1:21 AM ^

neither do i.

if 5 guys struggle to cohesively and consistently sustain blocks and function as marginal OL, its only logical to add another 1-2 OL along with numerous TEs, backs, etc to ensure the D further stacks the box and really allows those 8-9 blockers to demonstrate their dominance.  even if they reach the 2nd level, sustain blocks and bust open holes, none of current RBs have quickness and/or vision to exploit those holes. 

feels too much like hokes O all over again.  maybe circle back and try again when the OL consists of numerous 315 lb competent and athletic future pros.  but for now, 5 OL at a time will suffice.  please spread the field


September 11th, 2015 at 2:03 AM ^

Early thoughts say that Kalis was blaming the previous staff for his utter ineptitude when, in fact, he needs to look in the fucking mirror, pull his head out of his ass, and start to face reality.  He came to Michigan because he wanted to play football in the NFL.  He was a 5-star recruit.  You can't tell me he didn't see himself, in 5 years time, playing in the NFL.  That dream is slipping away.  This is getting dire for him, yes?  He needs to stop going through the motions and get serious.  There's no excuse for these kinds of mental errors.  He's not physically incapable of being an NFL caliber offensive lineman.  He just needs to discipline himself.  Otherwise, he's going to end up as a used-car salesman.  It's ultimately up to him, but he needs to face the fucking facts now, before it's too fucking late.

And btw, Harbaugh needs to be drug testing our offensive line every week.  I'm not fucking around.  Kyle Bosch was just a symptom.  We need a cure.


September 11th, 2015 at 2:33 AM ^

"Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are."


September 10th, 2015 at 5:40 PM ^

Braden I get.  He is like Taco - a physical specimen who you hope turns into a football player.  If he whiffs he whiffs - it is what it is.  People are in love with their measurables more than them as football players.

Kalis on the other hand was supposed to be "the most college ready guard in years" bs.  The fact he is lost in year 4 in the program says a lot.  Drevno is a good coach and he has had all spring and fall camp to be competent.  Not great.  Competent. 

Depressing, esp in light of so few options to replace. 


September 11th, 2015 at 2:17 AM ^

Kyle Kalis is a fucking moron.  I've heard it time and time again form "special teams" players in practice.  He listens to coaches, responds saying he understands, and then literally doesn't implement anything they just said.  He's incredibly uncoachable.  And the fact that nobody has stepped up to replace him indicates a problem with the offensive line culture, more than anything.  Harbaugh needs to monitor their every move.  He needs to babysit the shit out of our offensive linemen because they're acting a fucking fool.


September 10th, 2015 at 3:42 PM ^

Brian, does Chesson really get a +2 for the route on which Rudock missed the easy TD bomb?  It looked to me like this was a clear bust in the Utah secondary -- the corner thought he had safety help, and he didn't.  What did Chesson do that was out of the ordinary?


September 11th, 2015 at 2:20 AM ^

Brian is an amateur at best at diagnosing game film, and should petition Sam Webb to try and get Marcus Ray to help him with UFRs so that it's not so fucking terrible.

Marcus Ray watches all of the game film anyway, and they could bounce thoughts off eachother, as if it were a study group, and both would benefit from the excercise.


September 10th, 2015 at 5:45 PM ^

We didn't.  We didn't recover the onside kick hence never had the ball with a chance to tie the game.  Also Utah is going to be a 7 or 8 win team - look at their conf schedule, it is brutal.  They dont blow out teams - they win with defense and special teams.  Which at 24-10 late was a typical Utah win before they gave up the garbage time TD.


September 11th, 2015 at 3:50 AM ^

We had a chance because Utah always plays tight close defenseive games.  Uath kept it close, we didn't.  We went 2/3 of the game only scoring 3 points.  

Another team may have blown us out by then.  We are not going to make a living on scoring in the single digits for most of the game and hope the D holds off the opponent until we figure things out.  This is not 1972.


September 10th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

So Smith got a -3 for not bouncing a play to the outside when there was a DE who clearly had outside leverage on Braden?  Instead, he went up the middle, where he would have had a big gain if Glasgow hadn't completely blown his block and let the DT beat him to the playside. How in the hell does he not get a minus on that play?


September 10th, 2015 at 4:04 PM ^

I think I agree with you.  Live I thought this was a missed read by Smith for sure, but looking at it again, I think it's pretty likely that the DE blows this up.  Smith is not the kind of back you want to have an instant bounce instinct either; even if the DE doesn't make this play, he might delay Smith long enough to allow help to arrive.


September 10th, 2015 at 4:34 PM ^

Perhaps, but he doesn't seem to kick the guy out so much as he doesn't get pushed too far back into B Gap.

The tackle had to maintain the edge with the end flying into the backfield, but Braden did nothing to keep him honest.  He really could have been nonexistent because the tackle wasn't crashing the hole, and Braden wasn't engaged enough to do anything if he tried.

Mich OC

September 10th, 2015 at 9:12 PM ^

I initially thought the same thing live, but the DE is engaged with Braden with his back to the outside..  Smith is already moving in that direction and there is no way a DE should be able to turn completely around and accelerate to catch Smith if he bounces it outside.  Braden has his hands into his chest so the DE shouldn't be able to disengage without some trouble.  

It also seems like when Smith takes a half step to the right, before fully committing to turning the run inside, the DE crashes a bit more and Braden is actually able to get a little outside leverage, which I think would have been more than enough.  

There is no way he would have the acceleration to catch a RB already moving when he's at a standstill with his back to the direction he wants to go.  That being said...it is Smith, so the DE might have similar speed.  But regardless, Smith instead chooses to run directly into the defense with no plan.  


September 10th, 2015 at 5:02 PM ^

This whole "Smith runs away from open holes" thing seems to have been propagated by the will of board, and not by reality.  Also, Smith's effort to get extra yards after contact goes unacknowledged.  I think Smith showed excellent promise in this game.  I just don't understand the vendetta against him.  His speed is a legit criticism, but everything else sounds like whining to me.


September 11th, 2015 at 6:10 AM ^

"Smith's effort to get extra yards after contact goes unacknowledged."

Seriously? What site have you been reading? Brian has mentioned that a lot. It's also basically THE reason he thought Smith would be the featured back under Harbaugh.


September 10th, 2015 at 4:09 PM ^

Well poop

Also, I think Kalis just needs to lay down on the guy when he's getting rag-dolled like that.  He clearly lost leverage badly to a strong guy.  But the DT is in no way trying to keep his own feet.  He's leveraging all his weight forward into and under Kalis to throw him backwards.  If you lose leverage that bad and the DT is that far under you, just lay down on him so he doesn't move you back more.  Don't they tell DT's to do that if an OL is doing that to you?  Just lay down and cause congestion?

Wolverine fan …

September 10th, 2015 at 4:57 PM ^

The DT (#90 I think for the worst play) was man-handling Kalis, but it was a delayed movement. He seemed to be waiting for Kalis to engage, then exploded upwards, knocking him off balance. Bad pad level has a lot to do with it, but if the defender isn't exploding and trying to knock the G off-balance, the odds of the DT blowing up a run that's going to the other side of the line are not good. Stalemate is a win. Plus, you don't have to get called out for getting pancaked in the film room...


September 10th, 2015 at 4:09 PM ^

On the fourth and 2, I completely disagree that Smith can get away from the guy in the A-Gap if he just follows Kalis.  That backer is behind Kalis's pull while Kalis is still 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage.  That is a loss of yardage whether Smith follows Kalis or cuts up as he did.  One way he is running at the tackler, the other way he is getting pulled down from behind.

On the next clip where he misses the outside cut, I think you have to look at how badly Braden is getting blown up and losing the edge to the Utah lineman.  That lineman can disengage and string that run out at any point because Braden simply didn't get a bit of leverage.


September 10th, 2015 at 4:19 PM ^

I was also surprised that the awful pull by Kalis wasn't mentioned. Shouldn't he stay flatter to the line there? If he does he would at least ran into one of those guys. (unless he lets them cross his face, possible) I still think Kalis is more at fault. Hard to tell though, can we ask Drevno?


September 10th, 2015 at 4:10 PM ^

OMG. Reading that was truly depressing. I long for a good ol' UM offensive line performance. If there was one thing we ALWAYS used to be able to hang our hats on...it was toughness and execution with the OLine ;and D for that matter). Sigh. We supposedly had "great oline recruiting" the last few years too.
Would rather kick myself in the dong than read another review like that....:/

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 10th, 2015 at 4:11 PM ^

Some of the blocking is just mind numbingly bad.  I hope the coaching staff goes to town on the line.  On some of the pitch plays you literally see 3-4 lead blockers who all whiff blocks.  Makes you wonder what these guys are thinking.....


September 11th, 2015 at 3:57 AM ^

They are looking to far downfield.  They are passing uip blocks right in front of them, thinking that someone else has that guy, and instead are charging downfield to engage somebody 15 yards from the LOS.

Even if they would have just blindly blocked the first guy they saw, those pitches would have gotten results.  

If you are not sure what to do, at least do something.

Space Coyote

September 10th, 2015 at 4:27 PM ^

To help out in the future, this is how Harbaugh runs Power O:

Pulling OG: Cut through the LOS at the first clear path to the defender you're tasked with blocking; be that playside A gap, B gap, C gap, D gap, E gap, whatever. Pick up loose change if it passes along the way. MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET TO YOUR BLOCK!

RB: Read playside A gap to D gap, then bounce or ram it home if no hole opens. Watch LB for over pursuit and potential cutback.

TEs/H-Backs: You are down blocking unless there is no FB behind you responsible for a kick. H-backs don't kick unless there is no FB.

It's an inside-out run. It isn't an inside run or an outside run by design. It's designed to run to where you have blockers for every defender on teh playside. The down blocks and combo blocks from the OL make it so that it nominally hits the C gap, but it doesn't always work out that way. If an OG goes through a gap, he better get to his block, if he doesn't than he shouldn't cut up yet, the first priority is get to your block.

This is the cost of transistion. Inside zone takes some feel and time to get used to, but it's nominally much easier to run, which is why a lot of college teams prefer it. It's my opinion that man/gap schemes are more powerful once improved upon because they do get you numbers to the point of attack no matter what. But it's more difficult to get to that point with man/gap schemes because so many people have to make correct reads based on formations and movement and all that good stuff, and when someone doesn't, it sometimes gets blown up. And when there is poor blocking, well, it all gets blown up no matter the play call. But it's harder to block Power O well than Zone well. 

So when Braden tries to cut up the A-gap and gets stonewalled, it's because the A-gap wasn't open for him to burst through. When Kalis runs outside he doesn't "pick up loose change along the way". When Smith cuts it inside the pull, it likely means a gap opened up due to over pursuit of the LBs (the openings for the BSG and RB can be different; which is a nice reaction to over pursuit from the backside).

For the record, MSU does a bit of A/B gap fold blocks that are essentially an inside Power O from a one-back set, where they kick out with the OT and the BSG pulls through the first opening he sees on his fold/pull.