Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Colorado

Submitted by Brian on September 21st, 2016 at 4:06 PM

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IDIOT DIRECTOR NOTES: This goober zoomed in so close to almost everything and provided zero high-angle replays, so I'm doing a lot more guessing about coverages than I usually do. As a result some plays of interest aren't clipped because the interesting bits I remember from the game aren't actually on the screen.

FORMATION NOTES: Okay, I separated front and cover look, and am still not satisfied with the results. "Press" was anything with hard corners on guys on the LOS:

press 

Off was off. This was two high, and also the post TD.

One high version of same:

2016 Michigan vs Colorado 1st Half.wmv_snapshot_00.13.34_[2016.09.21_15.55.43]

Still a work in progress.

Michigan and Colorado didn't do anything too weird except for some offset three man lines I'm just piling in as "exotic."

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Again a tight rotation, which makes yet more burned redshirts puzzling. Wormley and Glasgow led the way on the DL with 53 of 71 snaps; Godin, Winovich, and Garry all got around 40. Hurst got 27 and since he played well I'm guessing they're trying to keep his workload light as he continues to recover from whatever held him out of the opener.

Linebacker was as you'd expect, with Starters getting the whole game minus some personnel package items. Gedeon is the guy who stays in when Michigan has just one true LB on the field.

Secondary was also low rotation, with Thomas, Stribling, and Clark playing every snap. Hill got dinged up and missed 16; Kinnel saw 20 snaps, most meaningful; Watson had 18.

WTF burned redshirt of the week goes to Carlo Kemp and his four snaps.

[After THE JUMP: panic calibration.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over sam slide press one high Pass 4 Reverse flea flicker wheel McCray 14
Michigan fortunate here that the trickery doesn’t result in a touchdown because Thomas(-2, cover -2) has left the deep centerfield and the post route is wiiiiiide open. I would normally be harsher on this but applying some of this to RPS. Instead WR goes with the QB wheel, which is uncovered as QBs often are. McCray(+1) was able to apply relatively quick pressure and prevent the WR from seeing the big bust. RPS -2.
M35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even half press one high Run N/A Edge pitch Peppers -2
This doesn’t seem like a true option but it probably should be since there’s a lane up the middle. Anyway, this is an edge pitch to the side of the field Peppers(+2, tackling +1) is on that does not have a plan to block him. RPS +1.
M37 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press two high Pass 4 Post Peppers 37
Peppers(-3, cover -3) copped to this post game; he’s the deep third here and he sits flat footed reading the PA fake. By the time he breaks deep the WR is almost even with him and not ramping up from zero. Easy deep throw in the dead center of the field. Thomas(-1, cover –1) has a tough ask but can potentially cover this route, per Don Brown. He's not close enough to make contact.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 4 Flare screen Peppers 3
Slot WR cracks down on McCray, again leaving Peppers unblocked in space. He seems chagrined by the previous error and steps backwards; I think he can make this read a bit faster as the slot commits to the crackback block early. Nonetheless he’s Peppers(+1, tackling +1)so he makes a tackle in space against a scatback no problem.
O15 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 4 PA slant Gedeon 13
First blitheringly open slant. Peppers is in the area, but this has got to be at least partially on both linebackers overplaying run hard, with Gedeon(-1, cover -1) the guy who should be popping up under this slant. Peppers(-1, cover -1) does need to get to the receiver faster; he slips as he tries to change direction and close.
O28 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Run N/A Inside zone Godin 1
Straight up inside zone with not even momentary doubles, which works about as well as it usually does. Godin(+1) and Glasgow(+1) drive into the backfield. Godin cuts off outside gaps; Glasgow sheds his blocker and initiates a tackle at the LOS. Gedeon(+1) also got off his block to help and Wormley(+0.5) kept his head up and fought back to the ball; RB gets buried under many persons.
O29 2 9 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 4-3 over Off two deep Pass 4 Flare screen Clark 4
Watson in for Peppers. Back motions out and Michigan is two on three in space. Clark(+0.5) avoids a cut and initiates a tackle as Watson(+0.5) gives ground to get over the top of a WR. Meh gain sets up third and medium.
O33 3 5 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass Rollout out Hill Inc
Your traditional out route on which the goal is for the outside receivers to rub off coverage. Hill(+1, cover +1) is a safety at 12 yards depth and activates as soon as he sees the out route. Ball is thrown inside and dropped as Liufau has some of that scattershot crop up; Hill was likely to plaster the WR on the catch a yard short of the sticks on an accurate ball. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-14, 8 min 1st Q. Punt returned to sender, 7-14, defense right back out.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off one high Run N/A Inside zone Wormley 3
Hurst(+0.5) gets a heavy double and mostly stands up to it, which is progress from last year. Gedeon(+1) fills the gap hard, taking on the OL releasing off Hurst at the LOS. Wormley(+0.5) dominated the backside tackle and closes off that gap; he then sheds when the back pops outside, but the RB manages to spin through Wormley’s tackle(-1) and gain a few. Gedeon gets out of that interior gap to be the first to arrive.
O36 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off one high Pass 4 Scramble Glasgow 3
Coverage(+2) is good for a couple reads; pressure is mediocre but Glasgow(+0.5) does worm his way through to force the QB to move around. Hurst(-0.5) reads the scramble and moves up to sack but takes a bad angle and misses; Winovich(-0.5) can’t get off a block and only waves his arm at Liufau, who manages to squeeze up the gut for a few.
O39 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 3-2 dime press one high Pass 6 Out McCray 3 (Pen +5)
M loads up; McCray(-1) leaps offsides and offers up a free play. That play turns into an out that Stribling(+1, tackling +1) is up on, nailing the WR on the catch a yard short. All for naught. Pressure -1, this was a quick throw but six guys and nobody through is bad.
O44 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 Nickel even Off two deep Pass 4 Hitch Wormley 3
Initial read covered(+1) as Liufau doesn’t like whatever he’s looking at. Wormley(+1, pressure +1) comes around on a stunt and clubberates the center, forcing a flush. Quick hitch from the outside WR is open; Clark(+1, cover +1) nails the guy immediately.
O47 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Outside zone Hurst 10
M shows a blitz, CU check, no M check. CU then runs a play that attacks away from the aggressive LBs at the gap between Hurst and Winovich and hits it. RPS -1. As for the play itself, Winovich(-1) is force and gets kicked upfield as he’s too aggressive. Hurst(-1) fires directly upfield and doesn’t quite get reached but doesn’t delay the playside OL from releasing. LBs are in tough to do anything at all about this; McCray leaps a cut block and almost makes a spectacular play but misses the tackle because he’s way off balance; that was almost a +2 to rescue it; I’m not going to ding him for not making a super tough play. Thomas shows up to usher the back OOB.
M43 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Nickel even Off two high Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 3
Gary in for Wormley now. Again M meets an unbalanced formation with seemingly too many guys to the zero receiver side. LB alignment is a bit odd and suggests a blitz, which does indeed come. Gedeon’s up the gut and blocked but jamming a gap; Glasgow(-1) seems to fight to the same gap, leaving one behind him. He recovers somewhat but can’t shut it entirely and the back zips through it. Thomas(+0.5) is there to shut it down unblocked, because all the blockers are to the other side of the field. RPS +1, CU ran at 4 box players with just three blockers.
M40 2 7 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 4-3 over ??? Pass 4 PA slant McCray 18
No RPO here just regular PA, and I can’t tell you much because of the BTN’s absurd zoom levels and useless replay. Director -2. This features McCray over the slot and Peppers in the box and CU exploits that; McCray’s zone drop is easy to get a window against and both Peppers and Gedeon suck up to the LOS. Cover -2; McCray(-1) does appear to be the guy with primary responsibility here but it’s not hard to watch him chase this play and envision Peppers in that spot. RPS -1.
M22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even sam slide press one high Pass 5 Fade McCray Inc
McCray(+2, pressure +2) is sent on a blitz; RB tries to pick him up with a cut block that McCray slides around, hitting on the throw. Ball is still reasonably accurate but long; Stribling(+1, cover +1) in position to contest anything reasonable.
M22 2 10 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 3-2 dime press one high Pass 5 Drag Watson 16
Another blitz sees McCray(+1, pressure +2) loop around Gedeon(+1), who nailed the RG and drew his attention long enough for the other guy to get home. Liufau does have an option and hits it. It’s a drag route with Watson(-2, tackling -2) in pursuit that should be about five yards. Watson gets shook. He doesn’t even get a hand on the guy, and that’s a first and goal.
M6 1 G Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 4-4 over Press zero Run N/A QB iso Gedeon 0
Someone busts as M sends guys off the edge and someone isn’t filling the gap this run goes directly at. Could be Glasgow, could be Hurst, could be Gedeon. Doesn’t end up mattering as Thomas(+1) avoids the RB’s cut and stays vertical, forcing the QB back inside where Gedeon(+1) has impressively redirected from initial action directly upfield and tackles with a thud. Thomas contributes to the tackle.
M6 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 6-2 double bear Press zero Pass 7 Corner Thomas 6
M tells CU what it is and asks Liufau to hit a relatively tough corner route in the endzone. He does. Love this playcall if Jourdan Lewis is your slot corner. Thomas(-1, cover -1) not so much. He’s a step away and can’t impact the play. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-21, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two deep Pass 4 PA slant Clark 50
I don’t know if this is a lack of preparation or what but this is another covered TE play on which Michigan spends a corner and a safety on nowheresville; this is in fact the exact same setup UCF hit us with last week, and basically the same result. Clark(-2, tackling -2) compounds matters with a missed tackle, but this is just bad design. Hill(-1) overruns the play once Clark misses the tackle but difficult for him. RPS -2.
M30 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over sam slide press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon 2
Rather cold comfort here that M mans up on the trips and defends this run ably. Godin(-1) gets knocked over; he does delay an OL trying to release. Gedeon(+1) zooms up to the LOS and fills, making a tackle at the LOS that lurches forward thanks to that OL. Glasgow(+0.5) got moved a bit by a double but was disruptive enough that neither guy can get off of him for the duration; McCray(+0.5) takes the opportunity to scrape around and stop the momentum.
M28 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over sam slide press one high Run N/A Edge counter McCray 11
Similar again to what UCF did; M shows man and Colorado shoots a back outside of contain as fast as possible. They pull a lineman the opposite way and threaten a QB power but that doesn’t seem to affect much. What does is again having Peppers nonsensically line up to the boundary. McCray(-2) takes a bad angle and gets outrun, and it’s pretty easy to see Peppers running this down before the sticks. RPS -1; man tip and Peppers boundary.
M17 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 4-1 dime press one high Run N/A QB power Winovich 6
Winovich(-2) fights inside and gives up the edge. With no other games going on that’s just him goofing up. Hill(+1) discards a DB and tackles to help mitigate the damage.
M11 2 4 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 5-1 over press one high Pass 5 Sack Gedeon -6
Rollout to the field. CU’s hoping to get that out again but Michigan pattern-matches it out, with Stribling(+1) and Hill(+1) swapping guys and covering(+2) the first couple reads. QB hesitates. Peppers blitzed off the edge and got lost but his rush did put guys in the area and convince the QB to slow up. Gedeon is flowing, tracking the RB, and once he notices the gap in front of him he shoots it(+2, pressure +1) for a sack.
M17 3 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Tunnel screen Peppers -1
Peppers(+3, tackling +1) to the field, over the slot, doing Peppers things. Simply too explosive to handle, he blows into the WR and slings him down for a solo TFL. The delay he induces would have killed the play even without the tackle.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(35), 7-21, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 Off one high Run N/A Reverse Peppers -2
Peppers to the boundary is not the time to run a reverse. Nobody even tries to block him as CU busts rather immensely. It probably wouldn’t have mattered, sure. Peppers(+1, tackling +1) contains and then tackles. RPS +2.
O31 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 pinched press one high Pass 5 Slant Hill 14
Glasgow(+1, pressure +2) is up the gut as CU not prepared to block these guys with their PA, which pulls a guard. He hits on the throw, which is still complete as Hill(-1, cover -1) is beat in straight up man. Jourdan Lewis please come back.
O45 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-2-6 3-2 dime under Off two deep Run N/A Inside zone Peppers 3
Weird line with only three DL, one Winovich, shifted away from the strength of the formation. M blitzes Peppers(+0.5) off the edge. He reads and then crashes down to tackle. With McCray scraping over on some sort of exchange this isn’t getting much more without him.
O48 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over press one high Pass N/A Flare screen Hill -4
They keep running this despite it having no answer for the S to that side of the field. Hill(+2, tackling +2) gets a free run at the back and makes it count for a TFL. RPS +2.
O44 3 11 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even ??? Pass 4 Out Wormley Inc
Third and ten and I can see the damn pores on Liufau’s face. Director -3. Wormley(+2, pressure +2) is shifting inside as M stunts and grinds through three different guys at various points during this play. He gets a hit on the QB just as he throws and that’s something. QB is probably just dumping the ball because coverage(+2) is good, with Hill(+1) the relevant defender on an out just past the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Godin 0
Godin(+1) drives an OL back a yard or two and forces the guy outside him to relase into nothing; Gedeon(+1) is free and uses that opportunity to shoot a gap between Godin and Glasgow(-0.5), who again gave a bit of ground on a double. It doesn’t matter as Gary(+0.5) joins Gedeon and various persons subsume the back.
O18 2 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 30 nickel slide Off one high Pass 5 Flare Wormley Inc
Fake flare screen that attempts to hit M deep. Better from the weakside safety, who’s actually Stribling(+0.5); he and Gedeon(+0.5) bug out for the slant and make it unappealing. Thomas(+0.5, cover +1) is offscreen but appears to get over the top of the fade down the sideline. QB attempts to check down to a doomed flare and gets nailed by Wormley(+1, pressure +1); Godin(+1) drove into the backfield and got a hand up in the passing lane, dissuading a throw.
O18 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Off two deep Pass 4 Batted Gary Inc
Gary(+3, pressure +3) around the corner in a flash, a la Brandon Graham, and nails the QB as he tries to get the ball out.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-21, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 press one high Pass 4 PA slant Stribling 7
Comfortable pocket on a quick throw(pressure -1) and an easy hit in front of Stribling(-0.5, cover -1) for a moderate gain. Stribing did contain this guy to cut down YAC. Six yards isn’t the worst.
O27 2 3 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 3-2 dime press one high Run N/A Outside zone Gedeon 15
Five guys in the box with Peppers coming down late to offer some contain to the field. CU sees five on five and goes at it, with Michigan getting RPSed. Hurst goes straight upfield, which I think is his assignment as McCray blitzes and tucks right under him. He can’t get to the back. Gedeon(-1) and Gary(-1) don’t get to this gap, with Gary running himself too far upfield and not fighting back when the play comes; Gedeon is in tough but needs to hit the outside OL to force things back. As it is guy pops outside immediately and Peppers(+1, tackling +1) is called into action to hold this down with his speed. RPS -2.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 4 Hitch N/A Inc
No pressure(-3) on a four man rush, which eventually allows Liufau to find a WR open along the sideline. This is a third read and a long time, cover +2. Peppers comes up to tackle immediately; WR stepped OOB anyway.
O42 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 Nickel even press one high Pass 5 Slant Peppers Inc
Clever blitz gets Peppers through clean. M lines up Hill in a bear slot inside a DE. He backs out to go over the TE, who Gary inadvertently trips. Gedeon also threatens blitz but is only on a delayed one; he checks the back first. Peppers(+2, pressure +3), is let loose and cannons upfield, nailing the QB on the throw and forcing an incompletion. Watson(-1, cover -1) was beat again for a first down. RPS +1.
O42 3 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 4-1 dime Off two deep Pass 4 Circle Stribling Inc
Fortunate here. Someone busts as both Glasgow and Hurst go to the right with nobody looping back. Big hole opens up and Gary doesn’t get to see if his rush is going to get home. Liufau rolls up in the pocket, finds a WR who Stribling(-1, cover -1) has gotten beat by sufficiently to get first down YAC, and flat misses. Pressure -2, Hurst -2, Gary +0.5
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-21, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 4 Slant Hurst 21 (Pen -10)
Hurst(+1, pressure +1) draws a hold as he’s upfield too quickly for the OL; his buddy pulled to sell the PA and this was difficult. The rest of this play is difficult to decipher. Both LBs are gone to the PA and the middle of the field is wide open. Peppers initially goes with the crossing route that hits but peels off to undercut a hitch. That crossing route is now wide open. Peppers's peel looks very intentional and undercuts a hitch in a potentially INT-causing way so I assume this is could be Gedeon(-2, cover –2) way overplaying run and Peppers playing as intended. Thomas(-2 tackling -2) then tacks on a bunch more by missing a tackle such that the WR doesn’t even get touched or slowed.
O15 1 20 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie press one high Pass 4 Slant Stribling Inc
Peppers sent along with the three DL and others back out; CU tries to hit a quick slant that Stribling(+2, cover +2) gets a PBU on.
O15 2 20 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie press one high Run N/A Busted play Gedeon 3
Liufau thinks this is inside zone or at least PA off of it; RB runs a flare as Liufau holds the ball out for him. Liufau then takes off to get what he can. M backs everyone out and this causes confusion on the OL; Gary(+1) comes back to cut off space and tackle; Gedeon(+2) is facing three separate OL and somehow knifes through them all to get to the QB near the LOS.
O18 3 17 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 Okie press one high Run N/A QB power McCray 1
Threatened LB blitz; M backs both LBs out. Playside G runs at nobody as Gedeon has changed his location. Gedeon(+0.5) flows around that guy into the hole; McCray(+2) takes on the lead guard and discards him to tackle. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-21, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 4 Slant Hill 6
More PA sucks the LBs up and makes this an easy read for the QB; Hill(-0.5) is there to tackle on the catch but doesn’t make this difficult.
O26 2 4 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickle even press one high Run N/A Zone read keeper Wormley 4
This isn’t relevant since the QB pulls but Glasgow(+2) ejects the RG from the LOS to the point where he bangs into the back. Wormley(-0.5) is outflanked on the pull but can recover and string it out to the sideline, helping hold the gain down as Stribling and Thomas converge. Liufau is hurt on the tackle and this is the beginning of the end for CU.
O30 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two high Pass 4 PA Post Hill 70
Glasgow(+1, pressure +1) gets through to blast the QB and should affect his follow through. Despite this the ball is absolutely perfect. BTN’s dedication to exclusively show useless zoomed in replays(director -4) means I don’t really know what happens on the back end here. Michigan does send Clark at a hypothetical pop slant. Hill(-3, cover -3) is in tough against a slot receiver who turns him around and gets huge separation; Liufau nails him and that’s all she wrote. This could be a Clark bust or it could be as intended getting RPSed hard; given the previous events in the game I think the latter. RPS -2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-28, 14 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two deep Pass N/A Bubble screen Hill 3
Three on two on the edge; M holds it down. Hill(+1) rocks his blocker back and gets outside of him to tackle; Stribling(+0.5) helped out by holding the edge and not giving any ground.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over press one high Pass 4 Slant McCray Inc
McCray(+1, cover +1) does not suck up on the PA; instead he backs out and runs through the throwing lanes of both slants to the field. Liufau’s throw is high, possibly because he’s trying to get it over McCray, and beyond the WR. Clark(+1, cover +1) in good position to contest this and may get a hand on it. RPS +1.
O28 3 7 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickle even Half press two high 4 Sack Glasgow -7
Liufau has one read that he doesn’t like(cover +1) and then the walls start caving in. Gary(+1) comes around the edge and forces him up in the pocket. Before he can reset, McCray(+1), who is on a delayed blitz after the back stayed in, and Glasgow(+2), who push-pulled the center right off him, club Liufau for a sack. Pressure +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-28, 12 min 3rd Q. Liufau exits and does not return.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Half press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Gedeon 0
New QB, zone read. He decides on a keep as Gary and Peppers go after the outside guy; Glasgow(-2) ends up on the ground from a single block and there’s a big backside hole. Doesn’t end up mattering that much because CU’s puller runs by Gedeon(+1), who again pulled out of a blitz that wasn’t going well and scraped to the correct hole. His tendency to get buried in the line and then pop out elsewhere lends itself to these sorts of things. Godin(+1) also held up to play long double; gives ground but neither guy gets out on anyone else.
M44 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over sam slide press one high Pass 4 Fly Wormley Inc (Pen +15)
Wormley(+3, pressure +3) rips around the corner and plows the QB, who’s just throwing a ball up for grabs along the sideline. Miraculously, this is also a relatively well-thrown ball. WR and CB have to slow up but there’s a play; Clark(+2, cover +2) calmly gets a PBU reminiscent of a couple others he’s had this year. Godin(-1, refs -1) gets a tenuous hands to the face call.
M29 1 10 Pistol FB 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over ??? Pass 4 Flea flicker fly Thomas Inc
Michigan super lucky here as Thomas(-3, cover -3) is in great position to defend this but then turns around and completely loses the plot. Thomas was behind the WR and had zero business turning around like this. This was a shoryuken situation all the way. WR drops the ball.
M29 2 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 4-1 dime ??? Pass 5 Sack Peppers -11
Peppers(+3, pressure +3) waits until the C points out the protection, which he slides right, probably because Stribling is in a plausible CB blitz spot. C head down, Peppers starts creeping, and he’s moving forward at the snap just behind the DL. Bang, through in a flash and QB reacts like a rabid raccoon has been dropped on his face. RPS +2, CU set wrong against this blitz.
M40 3 21 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Half press two high Pass 4 Improv Thomas Inc
Coverage(+2) good for a couple beats; pressure(-2) late in arriving and does let Montez out of the pocket. He rolls and actually finds a pretty good idea throw five yards short of the sticks that Thomas(+2, cover +1) is able to break on and break up. Cover +1 because of the across-the-body, late developing nature of the throw.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-28, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 sam slide press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 4
Gary(-2) at DT with Peppers flanked outside of him and this is a great example of 1) freshman DTs and 2) why Gary’s mostly playing DE. He gets a one on one block and is put on skates, unable to get off that block and driven yards downfield. Peppers(+1) is the force guy and gets off his block to force the back away from the backside hole he wants. Glasgow(-0.5) drives his guy back but gets kicked out too far; he’s not in control. He does get off the block to pursue. Gedeon(+2) hits the OL coming out to him and gets off a block to provide a thumping no YAC tackle in difficult circumstances.
O29 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 stack press one high Run N/A Outside zone Gary 2
Hill comes down on the edge and is checking the TE man to man so he’s passive until it’s clear he’s getting blocked. That leaves Gary(+1) as the edge guy and he has a tough job as a 290 pound dude against a scatback. He gets into his blocker and disengages, then chases the scatback all the way to the sideline, where Hill(+1) is able to finish the job by pushing the guy out.
O31 3 4 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Half press two high Pass 5 Out N/A Inc
Double outs are open by alignment as Peppers is the only guy near the field flats and has to go with the outside one. Inside one is open for the first down and simply missed. RPS -1. Glasgow(+1, pressure +1) had driven through two guys as M stunts and is at the QB’s feet. Any delay here and a sack is likely.
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-28, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 5-1 nickel press one high Run N/A Outside zone Godin -2
Comprehensively doomed. Glasgow(+2) drives the C yards into the backfield and forces the back into a narrow lane to the outside. Godin(+2) does the same to the RG and engages the back in the backfield. Gedeon(+0.5) got a free run because of these things and shows up to prevent YAC.
O18 2 12 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-2-5 4-3 over ??? Pass 5 Throwaway Peppers Inc
Watson(+0.5, cover +1) in tight on the inside slant and may discourage a throw. Peppers(+1, pressure +1) then spooks the QB by splitting an OL and a RB, so he starts running around. Gedeon(+0.5) comes through to harass him and force him back; QB exposes himself to more pressure and just dumps it.
O18 3 12 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 4-0 bust Press two high Pass 4 Tunnel screen N/A Inc
M busts hard on this motion and gets lucky. When WR motion takes a guy from the boundary to the field, Michigan shifts all three linebackers over there, leaving just a CB and an S to the boundary; CU fakes a screen over there that is a billion yards and then throws it at the overshifted LBs. This goes how you might think. No one to block McCray(+1), who nearly intercepts as he bowls over the WR. I’m not RPSing this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-28, 11 min 4th Q. Peppers houses the punt.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-1-6 4-1 dime ??? Run N/A Inverted veer give Kinnel -2
This should be a keep; it’s not. Kinda get it since there’s an arc blocker but both Gary and Peppers pop outside. Anyway. Gary(+1) strings it out despite being huge and Kinnel(+1) shoots up, passing the lead blocker without getting much contact and containing. He forces it back to Gary, who tackles.
O34 2 12 Shotgun trips TE 4-1-6 Nickel bear Half press two high Run N/A Power O Peppers 10
Mostly RPS as M flanks Gary way outside and slides Peppers inside of him. Gedeon threatens a blitz up the gut and then pops back outside as Godin slants away from the POA. So you’ve got two LB/S types in a big hole, and things don’t go well. Peppers(-1) accelerates out of the hole and is easily dealt with by the RB; Gedeon is engulfed by two dudes as Godin(-1) gets blown out; RPS -2.
O44 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even press one high Pass 5 Flare McCray 1
Impressive range by McCray, as he’s lined up away from the back. Gedeon blitzes, back runs a flare, and he’s got to make it up. McCray(+1, tackling +1) does so, with an assist from Stribling(+1), who reads and comes up hard to force it back to McCray.
O45 4 1 Ace 4TE 4-2-5 Goal line N/A Pass N/A TE circle Gary Inc
This is pretty clever by CU, with three TE-type objects to the right. PA, two outside guys run into patterns as the inline guy appears to block down. He shoves Thomas away and breaks open to the flat. Gary(+1, pressure +1) feels the TE blowby and goes into rush mode. He hurries the throw, which is off.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 45-28, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-2-6 Base 3-4 Off one high Pass 4 Throwaway Hurst Inc
Hurst(+2, pressure +2) drives left at the snap; C comes with him; he rips away the C’s hands and bursts upfield; QB has no choice but to roll out and dump the ball.
O26 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3-5 exotic ??? Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
Oops
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O21 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-2 dime Half press two high Run N/A Inside zone Winovich 3
Clark sent off the corner, weird time to run this blitz you haven’t run all game. Winovich(+1) darts inside the LG and shoots into the backfield. He gets shoved past the play but forces it into the blitz. Clark(+0.5) comes down and tackles with help from Hurst(+1), who impressively comes through a double to the other side of the play and flows down the LOS to have an impact.
O24 3 12 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Nickel even ??? Pass 4 Sack Hurst -3
McCray lined up as a DE; he backs out. To the other side Peppers blitzes between Wormley on the edge and Hurst(+3, pressure +3) inside; Hurst sets up and then rips past the C, drives through half a guard who’s late to recognize, and then grab’s the QB’s firmly secured towel to bring him down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 45-28, 4 min 4th Q. Final snaps not charted.

STILL SPINNING IN CIRCLES AHHHH

Are you going to put the little dude up?

panicpanicpanicpanicpanic

Now I feel I can proceed.

AHHHH

As per usual, let's do a drive overview of this bonkers game.

  • 50 yard TD drive consisting of flea flicker and Peppers post bust
  • 67 yard sustained TD drive
  • 80 yard TD drive that is a first down and then the 70 yard bomb.
  • Missed FG drive that is one 50 yard play, one 11 yard play, and then a stop.
  • three three-and-outs
  • three first-down-and-outs

That's Liufau's portion of the game. Without him:

  • four three-and-outs, one of them a four-and-out turnover on downs
  • one three-and-out preceded by a dubious hands to the face call on Godin

How does that strike you in the cold light of dawn?

Actually… not that badly.

Colorado's forward motion consisted of a couple of outside zones against five-man boxes, the two bombs, and the pile of wide open slants in the middle of the field. The first bomb was one of the busts we braced ourselves for preseason in the hopes that Michigan would be better and more diverse once crunch time came.

The busts are unfortunately frequent and on occasion ludicrously severe. The worst one in this game was in fact an incomplete pass on which CU faked a screen that would have picked up a ton of yards since Michigan vacated every linebacker they had on some simple motion:

I have a feeling one or two of the zone runs may have featured a Michigan player in the wrong gap as well, and a couple of the slants had a similar feel.

The second bomb was Michigan adjusting to the slants just in time to get hit by some damn good offensive coordinatin'.

Wait, what?

Remember this from last week?

I didn't like Michigan's reaction to the various covered TE sets they showed. Something about their approach just seemed off. The clearest example I have is a pop slant that McCray deflected; despite the successful outcome of the play that dude is wide open:

He's wide open because Michigan's spending Clark and Thomas covering nobody in particular. There are no WRs to that side of the field. Once the play starts both backs commit to the other side. It feels like a team prepared for this pop slant is going to send Thomas at it as soon as they read run action.

Virtually this exact same play transpired against Colorado, except McCray wasn't in the passing lane:

That should have been 15 instead of 50 but Clark misses a tackle. Is what it is.

When CU comes back to this in the second half Michigan finally has that backside S (who is actually Clark, a CB) sliding to the potential slant on the snap. It is not a slant, as you may remember. Clark's to the top right and is briefly on the screen as Idiot Director takes over:

Michigan gets torn up on the slants, goes back to the locker room to make adjustments, does so, and right out of the gate Colorado banks on that backside S not dropping deep. I was impressed with CU's new offensive coordinator against CSU and am equally impressed after this game.

I don't know what you do about that other than get better coverage from your safety and maybe blow up the QB; Michigan, of course, did blow up the QB. Glasgow gets pressure such that Liufau's throw looks like a back-foot prayer. I was shocked to see it end up a picture-perfect throw.

BUT SLANTS SLANTS SLANTS SLANTS

Yeah, I'm still pretty frustrated by how easy those were. I haven't seen Michigan defend these well yet so I don't actually know what the idea is. On the first one, CU runs play action—none of these were RPOs and that's another level of frustration—that pulls a guard across rather unconvincingly. Both LBs bite hard, and then Peppers slips:

Brown might expect his corner to cover that; he might expect a LB to come under it. Until we get more data I'm not 100% sure. I do think both guys can do better and negged both Gedeon and Peppers.

The second was frustrating because Peppers ended up in the box and McCray over the slot, an event that should happen 0.0% of the time in your correspondent's opinion. McCray drops into a zone and tries to read and react to the QB but is too slow to do so:

Again possible that the ILBs need to have someone drop back in coverage.

A third that got called back for an obvious hold was a bust from either Peppers or Gedeon:

I'm guessing Gedeon since Peppers pressing the eject button on that route puts him right under a hitch that is a potential INT if thrown. That doesn't look like a bust, it looks like an attempt to bait the QB into a pick. Therefore it's Gedeon getting way too hyped up to stop the run, which was something of a theme.

Things did get better as the game went along. Gedeon held up and covered a slant in the second quarter; McCray undercut a couple in the second half:

This is a combination of iffy slot coverage, LBs getting way upfield on PA, busts, and Michigan's safeties or safety-type players playing passively.

How does this get fixed? Does it?

Big chunks should get fixed. Jourdan Lewis will be a huge upgrade in this area, and yes, I'd expect him to get a ton of snaps as a slot corner. He'll eat up all of Brandon Watson's snaps and I won't be surprised to see Michigan lift either Hill or Thomas frequently when opponents go four-wide. Watson seems like a third corner from a previous era when it was a win if that guy tackled after the catch. CU's one sustained TD drive was greatly assisted by Watson missing a tackle for five yards on a play that gained 18:

He also got beat on another slant that ended up inaccurate for Peppers-related reasons.

Meanwhile Peppers got pressed into duty as a slot cover guy in off coverage, which has never been a strength. He should improve as the season goes along. Lewis will be in the grill of any of these throws he's asked to defend.

Meanwhile the busts and safety passivity should get better as well. You never know this will happen, of course. It's reasonable to expect some growing pains and adaptations to address those.

Nonetheless, I am now terrified about our safeties.

Well, let's check the ol'—

You're supposed to say chart.

I must have busted that assignment.

[NOTE: PFF grading works out differently than mine. In UFR zero is bad for DL; it's average in PFF. Their scale seems to be about a third or a half of mine. PFF has a "penalty" section that I've elected to omit for space's sake, which is why the individual components might not add up to the "overall." number. I'll note when it's a big discrepancy.]

DL UFR grade PFF grade
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Over Notes
Wormley 53 8 0.5 7.5 0.1 2.5   2.7
Glasgow 53 11 4 7 -2.5 0.5 -1.9 Dunno, man. Had one bad play vs run.
Hurst 27 7.5 3.5 4 0 2.9 2.9
Charlton      
Gary 43 9 3 6 3.5 1.2 4.8
Mone
Godin 40 6 3 3 1.5 -0.7 -0.1 Hands to the face PF
Marshall 3
Winovich 42 1 3.5 -2.5 0.9 -1.1 -0.2
TOTAL 42.5 17.5 25 More competitive but not close.
LB UFR grade PFF grade
Player Snaps + - TOT Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Peppers 65 15.5 6 9.5 1.8 1.3 -0.4 2.8
McCray 61 11 4 7 -0.3 0.5 -0.5 -1.3 -0.9 for offside
Gedeon 68 14.5 4 10.5 3.3 0.4 -0.3 3.4
Bush 3
Furbush 0
TOTAL 41 14 27 Maybe I'm super generous to LBs?
DB UFR grade PFF grade
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Lewis 0
Stribling 71 7 1.5 5.5 0.3 -0.1 2.5 2.8
Clark 71 5 2 3 -0.2 1.8 1.6 
D. Hill 55 8 5.5 2.5 0.8 -0.1 -0.4 0.4
Thomas 71 4 9 -5 1.7 -0.1 -2.3 -0.7
Watson 18 1 3 -2 0.1 -0.8 -0.7
Kinnel 19 1   1 0.7 0.1 0.8
L. Hill  
TOTAL 26 21 5
Metrics
Pressure 35 9 +26 No scrambles, four sacks, ton of pressure.
Coverage 24 23 +1 Slants wide open, everything else closed.
Tackling 8 7 +1 Lot of yards ceded here.
RPS 12 14 -2 Slaaaants.

So. The safeties. I'm kind of with you and kind of not. Ditto PFF. They're certainly more interesting than Jarrod Wilson. (OTOH, Wilson may have been more interesting in this system.) Each of the three ended up making an alarming play for a huge chunk of yards:

  • Peppers stood flat-footed and did not get to the opening post TD.
  • Hill got torched on the 70-yarder.
  • Thomas got lost on the second flea-flicker and was bailed out by a routine drop from the CU receiver.

Thomas also got beat on the corner route TD, which doesn't bother me because Jourdan Lewis will get that assignment going forward, an ugly missed tackle, and a couple of other issues. Those latter do other me.

To the positive, all the Peppers things, a Hill TFL, and a Thomas PBU in a scramble situation. The former two got above zero in both systems, with Peppers considerably above the Mendoza line. Thomas not so much; I had him worse than PFF given the way the two systems come out.

I've been disappointed with Thomas so far after he had an excellent run to finish the season. He took a long time to develop under the previous regime and I wonder if things are once again moving too fast for him in a different system. I think that might be a problem that persists.

So… I'm not freakin' out. I am dialing back some expectations.

They did bust a couple runs.

I mean, kind of but not really. Amongst much sadness in the CU run game there were four runs of 10-15 yards. The longest was against a five man box and featured a blitz to what ended up being the backside of the play and is largely RPS. Another was outside the tackles immediately with no blocks relevant except WRs, RPS. Michigan had some blitzes on that left them exposed, RPS.

None of this had anything to do with Glasgow—

and now you're going to defend his honor

--and now I'm going to point out some Glasgow things and wonder how that PFF score came about.

He had an off day by his standards but still did this:

He also combined with Gary and McCray to get a sack on Liufau that was his last participation:

That's the push-pull thing we talked about in the season preview. He also was a major contributor to a Godin TFL. I did catch him getting blown out by a one on one block on one occasion and offered up a –2, but I don't get the PFF grade. There was virtually nothing up the middle for CU all day and Glasgow was a major driver of that. He wasn't even on the field or at all relevant for the vanishingly few successful plays they managed. So, I dunno, man.

Just last week you were wondering if you were harsh to the LBs and now they've all got huge numbers. Did you change anything?

I don't think so? I was a bit more generous offering up +0.5 to a LB who flowed to the right spot without contact, and I may have missed some minuses I should have issued when the LBs were not relevant in coverage after play action. But mostly they were just good.

When not erasing himself as a potential cover guy on play action, I thought Gedeon had an excellent game. Along with the sack he had a number of other plays on which his ability to scrape to the hole was useful. Gedeon will shoot up into the LOS hard and then redirect. With Michigan's DL holding up for the most part he's able to play inside out with effectiveness.

Here Gedeon shoots up into a gap and forces the ball back into Wormley for what probably should have been a TFL. Back spins through the tackle and heads downfield, where he meets… Gedeon:

If Gedeon had just closed that gap and forced the RB away from the play design he gets a sticker from me. To that and then be useful later in the play is pretty good. To contribute after he shoots up into an OL he needs other guys to funnel it back to him, so he's usually the cherry on top of a tackle sundae. That's still a valuable thing to be. You prevent missed tackles and yards after contact.

Gedeon did this a lot. Here he's blitzing up the gut and redirects to get outside and shut down a dangerous-looking QB run:

He scrapes to the hole better than either of Michigan's ILBs from a year ago.

While he doesn't seem to be quite in Morgan's class as a guy taking on an OL, he did have one impressive stick where he got off a block and prevented YAC that seemed all but certain:

By midseason I hope his lack of playing time over the past few years is even more inexplicable.

I didn't have much clipped from McCray, but his ability to catch up to this flare route despite being disadvantaged by his position pre-snap was impressive:

PFF didn't like him for reasons that remain obscure to me. They may have given him a negative for a missed tackle on one of the few successful runs; to me dude jumped over a cut and almost got to a spot that was really hard to get to; I'm going to let that go and shove the minuses in RPS.

And?

And?

THE OTHER LINEBACKER, MAYBE?

Right. Before you throw a shoe: while Peppers was without question Michigan's player of the game it was by no means a clean performance from him. We talked about the post touchdown that opened Colorado's scoring earlier this week, and there were other biffs scattered throughout the day, including a couple of those slants discussed above.

On the other hand, I just… why would you do this?

You don't even have a plan to block him!

On the other hand, you might as well not have a plan.

Everyone has a plan until a rabid raccoon jumps on their face.

In addition to his various edge maestro plays, Peppers was deployed to devastating effect as a blitzer. He of course had the lightning-quick sack. This was not his only withering shot on Liufau:

That's clever design by Brown. Hill is there to draw attention. When he backs out the defense naturally looks elsewhere for blitzers, whereupon Peppers jets from considerable depth into the midsection of the QB. Without Peppers, though, this is a step or two slower and correspondingly less effective.

The sack was also good design and execution. Peppers is in a gray area that doesn't seem that threatening. The C has four DL and five OL; he shifts the protection right because Stribling is in press on a slot guy and could easily come off the corner. Then he puts his head down. Peppers waits two, three beats, and then starts creepin'. At this point the CU LT and LG are picking which guy gets in scot free. They choose… poorly.

Peppers has done a good job of picking his moment on these blitzes, holding his water long enough to be excluded from the protection call but timing it so that he's moving forward on the snap.

I mentioned this above but I'm at a loss to explain why Peppers is ever put to the boundary. This chunk run that ended the first quarter (and thus Colorado's offensive production) sees McCray outrun. Does Peppers get outrun?

Probably not. I know there's a tight end over there and maybe Peppers will cover him better than the ILBs, but all Peppers edge destruction all the time, is what I say. McCray can cover a tight end.

AND THE OTHER GUY?

what other guy

/throws shoe

Probably Rashan Gary then.

The most interesting bit of this game on the DL was Gary getting in opposite Wormley and displaying a WDE skillset. His first major contribution was a near-sack on third and ten during a critical portion of the game:

That dip around the corner is not something many people have, let alone 290 pound guys. There's a certain depth at which your edge rush is effective and a certain depth where it's just opening up big lanes like we saw against UCF. Eight yards is about that cutoff, and Gary was productively getting around the corner at eight yards with frequency:

And when you can combine that with the ability to string out a running back all the way to the sideline, well:

He also got upfield on a quick hitting run play to Michigan's detriment; he contributed more than Winovich did by some distance.

He also gets MGoBonus points for demonstrating why even firebreathing five star recruits usually can't get much playing time at defensive tackle. Tackle is a wrestling match you need to have certain skills to win. End is much more of hair-on-fire, I'm-290-pounds-and-can-throw-a-car spot, and Gary got put on skates on his one DT run D snap:

He's probably a tackle, long term. For now the edge is where he should be except when it's time for pass-rush exotics.

The rest of the defensive line seemed less rampant.

They were, although keep in mind that Michigan lifted one of them for chunks of the game and some of their positives migrated to the LBs. Colorado's OL was a major step up from UCF; while they still got thunked this wasn't laughable on every snap.

We haven't talked about Wormley much because he's less prone to do spectacular things than some of his compatriots, and he's established. I didn't clip anything for him despite his huge positive number against UCF and didn't talk about him as much as Chase Winovich because Winovich is new. Well, here's an effort to repair that:

That is Wormley getting a relevant hit on the QB despite drawing the attention of three different guys. He bowls over the middle one, and that's enough.

Wormley also got some legit edge pass rush, often of the painful-looking variety:

Godin was good, again a rangy and penetrating sort of defensive tackle. He got some organic pass rush and blew through a guard for a TFL:

He sort of held up to some doubles, too.

Hurst didn't do a ton until late, when he singlehandedly ended a Colorado drive in the desultory portion of the game. He did stand up to a couple double teams, something he was not very good at a year ago. He also got edged on some outside zone runs, but it's possible someone else missed an assignment and he was supposed to do that.

The one downer was Winovich, who got out of some lanes and didn't make anywhere near the number of plays that he did last week. Charlton's pending return is going to eat up someone's snaps, and despite the fact that Gary didn't get into the game until the second quarter I don't think they'll be his.

Was there anything, like, good, about the stuff Brown did? You seem to be complaining about all the things.

You mean other than the fact Michigan has four of the top ten TFL guys in the league?

Yeah, other than that.

Michigan's much better prepped to stop those out routes that everyone uses to convert third and short-ish, usually with a rollout. You've seen it a hundred times: three WRs to one side of the field, outside guys run slants to pick off coverage, outside guy pops open. Michigan got stops on these plays twice. The first was partially a bad throw from Liufau, but that throw was the main reason the WR didn't get lit up by Hill:

Accurate throw and that guy is getting hammered a yard short of the line to gain as he turns upfield.

Later they'd get that critical Gedeon sack by pattern matching it. Again, this is a situation where a sensible camera angle or actual replay would have been useful but watch Stribling to the verrrry bottom of the screen first check the outside receiver and then leap up on the out Hill can't cover:

Hill picks up the slack on the hitch route inside; Liufau hesitates because Michigan covered all three of his options and then Gedeon blasts him. That's some good pattern matching and something we did not see last year.

And we still know close to nothing about the corners?

We're getting more data that suggests they're pretty good, albeit slowly. Another game, another excellent Clark PBU on a mostly hopeless deep ball:

He seems to have changed his trail technique this year in a way that makes back shoulder stuff much harder. He's right behind the WR. This would normally increase the window to hit him over the top but he is 6'4", so good luck with that.

And more solid play from Stribling on shorter stuff. He got hit on one slant for about six yards and broke another up…

…he also got a stop on an out (but not one of the rub-off rollout variety) that would have ended the second CU touchdown drive early if not for McCray jumping offsides. Stribling only got straight up beat once, on a circle route that Liufau missed on, and was a constant bother when targeted. Between this and Hawaii we've got a relatively solid set of data that he's legit.

Heroes?

Peppers, obviously. Gedeon was excellent. The DL had an all-around good performance without any one mindblowing performance. Stribling was near impeccable against some guys who can move.

Maybe not so heroic?

Thomas was the only safety who didn't do enough to make up for his large mistakes. Watson was iffy as a slot corner. Winovich didn't produce much.

What does it mean for Penn State and the future?

Michigan needs Jourdan Lewis back. Not so much on the outside or against manball teams—although he will be very welcome—but as a third corner to play in the slot. Nobody else on the team can touch him in that department. His return will shore up the middle big-time.

Busts are happening and will continue to happen. The goal is to have them attenuate as the season rolls along. Big hunks of the yards Michigan gives up weekly are due to those busts, and that's good, in a sense. If the rate doesn't slow down, not so much.

The safeties seem vulnerable in man to man coverage. Peppers less so than the other guys, probably. Hill got turned around and Thomas got shook, although Thomas had a pretty solid resume last year. I am concerned these are not excellent fits for what Brown wants to do at S.

Gedeon is legit. Perhaps overaggressive, but a guy who can get to the POA even when disadvantaged, and a sure tackler.

Stribling and Clark are probably very good. Stribling is PFF's top-graded corner in the league right now; Clark is #2. That seems about right. Aside from the one issue before halftime against Hawaii Stribling's been a very tough customer. Clark's been targeted almost exclusively on fly routes that he's wrecked; he's probably got change of direction deficiencies we'll see as the year goes along but I liked him then and like him now.

What was that movie where things evolve very quickly? David Duchovny vehicle? Hopefully not literally titled "Evolution" because then not remembering the title would be dumb? That's Rashan Gary. Scary phase approaching rapidly.

Good God, Peppers may break the TFL record. Whatever it is.

Comments

expatriate

September 21st, 2016 at 6:20 PM ^

I never skip commercials on podcasts... except that one. For one, I can't stand small children, but that's on me. More importantly, it is all so painfully awkward. I love the work Matt does but it's nails on chalkboard to hear that. Yes, please re-record something a bit more professional. That feels so cruel to type but it's coming from a good place. 

 

stephenrjking

September 21st, 2016 at 5:57 PM ^

It seems we have to cross our fingers and hope that Brown adapts in ways that Durkin and previous regimes seemed incapable of. The promising thing here is that I have been under the impression that his ability to adapt is part of why he was good enough to get hired in the first place.

If we start with a double premise that teams tend to take some time to learn Brown's defense and that the healing of certain guys like Lewis will shore up some of the slot coverage issues, it is not unreasonable to think that some of the stuff that has been exploited early in the season will simply not be available to teams later in our schedule.

I think Lewis in the slot alone could have defended two of the TDs we gave up, for example.

markp

September 21st, 2016 at 4:51 PM ^

Here are the TFL records:

---

Single-Season
Michigan: 28 - Shawn Crable (2007)
NCAA: 32 - George Selvie (USF; 2007)
Peppers pace: 40+ (2016 avg x 13 games)

Career
Michigan: 56 - Brandon Graham (2006-2009)
NCAA: 74 - Khalil Mack (Buffalo; 2010-2013)
Peppers pace: 85+ (2015 + 2016ᴾᴿᴼᴶ + 2016ᴾᴿᴼᴶ again)

Yes, I'm projecting a long way out with relatively few data points, but that guy's insane.

reshp1

September 21st, 2016 at 5:03 PM ^

I don't get the Glasgow number at all. I did a rewatch of the defensive every snap cut up just watching him (I like seeing OL getting chucked). Either he fought double teams to a draw, getting a 2 for 1, or he ragdolled the guy across from him. He was working that push-pull technique and the other guy was either totally off balance or outright thrown to the ground on most plays. The snap you mentioned where he gets knocked down is the only real negative play I saw from him. 

reshp1

September 22nd, 2016 at 9:47 AM ^

I guess what I'm saying is I don't understand how anyone could watch that game and think he wasn't at least good, let alone give him a negative grade. I'm guessing it's a proprietary thing that can't be shared, but I would love to see PFF's grades on a down to down charting basis like what Brian does to see where the negatives come from.

lhglrkwg

September 21st, 2016 at 6:11 PM ^

which gives me a little pause about our policy of redshirt incineration this year. I get that it's probably because they're good enough to play and we'll need em next year but there's going to be a lot of great but not quite NFL-level seniors graduating in 2020 that we'll wish had eligibility again in the fall

Or Harbaugh just recruits and coaches his khakis off and it doesn't matter like we're OSU or Alabama

mgobleu

September 21st, 2016 at 6:53 PM ^

I'll go with the latter please. But I also think most of these guys think their time is limited anyway, and if they're good enough to do their learning at game speed, you may as well use them while you've got them. They'll be battle tested when we're a little thinner next year.

That, or you could use the Ken Holland method and let them sit and stew until they're good and ripe and then maaayyybe they'll eek out a couple shifts...

ak47

September 21st, 2016 at 5:26 PM ^

I think OSU and Bama show why redshirting while bringing in elite talent doesn't make a ton of sense.  The chances of a redshirt senior being better than a sophmore when you recruit at the top is pretty slim because you would expect the best players to be in the nfl in 3-4 years.  Of course its nice to not waste a redshirt for 4 plays but the hope is that they will either be in the nfl in 3 years or get beat out for playing time by younger guys with higher ceilings.  I'm not to worried about it, especially for any non-oline player.

I do think teams are taking advantage of Don Brown's hyper aggressive linebacker play knowing the middle of the field is likely to be vacated pretty frequently.  Hope he can adjust or our lb's get a lot better at reading PA or games against good spread run to pass teams are going to shred us.  Lol at expecting Hill or Thomas being able to come down from 10 yards off to guard curtis samuel coming over the middle with zero underneath help, or Peppers getting back to the deep third before noah brown can get there if his first steps aren't immediatley back.

jdemille9

September 22nd, 2016 at 12:41 PM ^

As much as I'd love to have guys like Thomas, Hill and Geden back next year that is not on Harbaugh. As for Harbaugh's redshirt fire, meh, he's said OL and QB are pretty much the ones where he feels they need to sit at least a year so it's not concerning. Not to mention he's a far better recruiter and developer of talent than Hoke wishes he was. We'll be fine and I doubt we're in a situation like 2017 under Harbaugh, where we wish some guys were redshirted. 

Brown said there's a learning curve and these guys have only had three actual games in this system. It will get better as the season wears on. Brown is also known for his adjustments, look at the last three quarters versus the first against CU. 

I think a lot of us just came in with the expectation of elite defense from day 1, given the level they played at last year and what Don Brown can do. That's just not realistic but the schedule has set up nicely for these guys to come in and get all their mistakes out of the way before the meat of the schedule comes (MSU, OSU) so I think they'll be just fine come the second half of the season. 

Maison Bleue

September 21st, 2016 at 5:48 PM ^

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Again a tight rotation, which makes yet more burned redshirts puzzling. Wormley and Glasgow led the way on the DL with 53 of 71 snaps; Godin, Winovich, and Garry all got around 40.

Who's Garry and why's he have so many R's in his name?

Mr. Yost

September 21st, 2016 at 6:44 PM ^

That's huge, McCray has shown he can be effective as well.

Preseason I liked this group better than last year's bunch because of potential...looks like we're finally getting some guys who can make plays at LB*.

Very nice.

*Not including Jabrill, because if he plays LB last year of course he makes plays...talking about everyone else.