Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Hawaii Comment Count

Brian September 7th, 2016 at 2:50 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tagSPONSOR NOTES: Homesure Lending returns to sponsor this post, and as a bonus he's sent the blog to Iowa by finding us a block of five together. This will create glorious road trip content. (Matt has stipulated that I clarify he is not to blame if the Iowa game turns out like that stupid triple overtime Penn State game; we have agreed to collectively blame the first commenter on this post.)

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, he is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS NOTES: Good news, everybody: we've purchased PFF's Michigan and opponent data for the season, which will allow us to do a bunch of things previously impractical. We've got snap counts, for one, and their grades, and some drill-down stuff I'll reference when it seems relevant to what I'm saying.

One important disclaimer: I'm not looking at this stuff until I go over the game myself, to prevent confirmation bias.

FORMATION NOTES: Normal Brian is super happy Don Brown is Michigan's defensive coordinator. UFR Brian is frickin' pissed. I'm going to split the next UFR's "Formation" column into "personnel" and "formation" because I give up trying to jam that all into a few words. Even that figures to be insufficient.

About halfway through this game I decided that:

  1. Michigan is a 4-2-5 defense.
  2. Sometimes they run a 3-2-6.
  3. I need a "box" column denoting persons in said box with maybe a .5 for gray area guys.
  4. I need to stop bothering with even-odd stuff since that's not actually important for this level of analysis.

And then momentum carried me through. You improve the most between week one and week two; I'll endeavor to do so.

Anyway. I'm going to try to call out safeties and depth, insofar as this is possible. This is nickel one-high:

4-3 nickel

And this was 4-3 over two high:

base 4-3 over

These are the same personnel packages. Hill is the gray area guy kind of over the slot and Stribling has dropped to be the nominal second safety. Everyone in this secondary has to be able to play multiple roles.

Nickel two high:


And honestly I don't know what to term this:

peppers abort

That is two "safeties" at like six yards. Peppers would bail into a deep zone until he read run, FWIW. Nickel two low, I called it. /shakes fist at Don Brown.

I don't even want to get into the various fronts yet.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Deep breath. The back seven was pretty static and has a clear depth chart. Without Lewis, Stribling (45 snaps) and Clark(51) went just about the whole way until garbage time. Ditto Thomas(54), Hill(54), Peppers(54), McCray(44), and Gedeon(54). Brandon Watson (28 snaps but most of those late) had scattered snaps as a nickel corner on passing downs. Usually Michigan lifted a DL when this happened. Tyree Kinnel did get five snaps before the backups came in en masse.

The backups at all these spots are also clear: Kinnel and Hudson at safety, Long and Lavert Hill at corner, Devin Bush and Wroblewski at LB, File Not Found for Peppers.

The line started out with Wormley, Glasgow, Mone, and Charlton across it. Once Mone was out Michigan played a lot of Matt Godin, and they yanked Chris Wormley early. Gary actually got 32 snaps to Wormley's 27. Winovich went the whole way after Taco exited and actually racked up more DL snaps than anyone else with 40.

About midway through the third quarter Michigan unearthed Lawrence Marshall, Michael Dwumfour, Michael Onwenu, and redshirt junior walk-on Garrett Miller. Miller actually played 21 snaps and graded out well per PFF but at 271 on the roster it is highly unlikely he's going to be a contributor going forward unless things are in the darkest timeline. I didn't grade him well, FWIW.

[After THE JUMP: Viking raiders from across the sea / they've come to plunder you and me / oh no i've been stabbed / but our defense makes me glad]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 4-3 over Run N/A Split zone Peppers 0
Mone and Glasgow at DT to start. Glasgow(+1) drives on an extended double and pops through eventually on the frontside of the play. Wormley(+0.5) wins against a TE because obviously, and the H-back coming backside gets Hill as the force defender. This leaves Peppers(+1) free. He reads the cutback when the gap opens and WOOP he’s there in a flash.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even one high Pass 4 Slant Clark Inc
Thomas over the slot with Peppers to run strength and Hill deep. Clark(+2, cover +2) dominates a slant route and gets a PBU.
O25 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel two high Run N/A Counter McCray -2
Watson comes in as a nickel; M lifts Mone. Peppers and Thomas as deep S with Thomas attacking on run action while Peppers sits as a true S. M shoots both ILBs into the gap between NT and DE and sends them. Play is a power away from this blitz. LT is asked to block McCray to seal the back door and this is near impossible for him. McCray(+1) runs through that block and works to the back despite getting held; Glasgow(+1) rips through a downblock to get to the hole. Thomas(+0.5) is sent on a blitz and helps out with the tackle after coming through an off balance block from a guy Glasgow is trying to deal with. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 nickel one high Pass 4 Fade Stribling Inc
Bomb down the sideline on which Stribling(+2, cover +2) forces the WR to go out of bounds if he’s going to get around him. WR does that so this looks a little dangerous; in reality he’s no longer eligible. Wormley(+0.5, pressure +1) coming around the corner and QB must throw.
M38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 nickel two high Run N/A Pin and pull Hill -2
Peppers a S with Thomas over the slot. S at 8 yards; once there’s run action to the field side Peppers bails to a deep third and Hill activates against the run. Hawaii pulls their C and nobody else. McCray(+1) sucked up to threaten blitz and then hops outside a gap, surprising the TE, who he knifes by. C not expecting him so he gets through him as well; he forces a bounce; Hill(+2, tackling +1) flies up and gets one of his trademark open field tackles against the exposed RB.
M40 3 12 Shotgun trips 4-3 nickel two deep Pass 4 Y cross Gedeon Inc
Stunts between both DTs and DEs with some serious holding going on; Charlton gets an arm around his neck. Mone(-0.5) comes around and gets whacked by a RB, falling and providing a lane to throw through. McCray is on a delayed blitz so gotta throw. Ball is behind and way high and looks scary but on replay it’s clear that Gedeon(+1, cover +1) is step for step and will have a play on most well thrown balls.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel one high Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 4
Glasgow(+1) shoots his guy back and forces a cutback. Charlton(-0.5) cedes a little ground and provides an opportunity. Gedeon scrapes behind Taco and forces a bounce, and I’m conflicted about McCray here. He gets edged a little. He contacts the TE and shoves him back; RB trips over TE’s legs; gets outside; McCray manages to burst and grab the back. He falls off but he’s slowed the back enough for Gedeon to finish. On the one hand that’s a pretty good individual play; on the other he should be funneling back to Gedeon more decisively. I guess -0.5?
O24 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel two high Pass 5 Out Stribling 4
Kinnel is in as a deep FS; LBs shifted away from the run strength.Blitz picked up (pressure -1) and comfortable throw; Stribling(+0.5, cover +1) breaks on the ball and has a shot at a PBU he can’t make; he does tackle immediately.
O28 3 2 Shotgun trips bunch 4-3 nickel one high Pass 6 Sack Gedeon -8
Total chaos in the backfield; M sends both LBs. McCray(+1) gets a late reacting OL and blows through him; RB tries to pick him up as well and still comes through; he draws a holding call. Mone(+1) puts his guy on skates and drives him back to the QB; Charlton(+0.5) loops around and threatens; Gedeon(+0.5) got a free run on his stunt and gets the sack. Pressure +3.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even one high Run N/A Pin and pull Peppers -5
Gary(+1) takes on a TE and rips outside of him once the direction of the play is clear. This leaves a bit of danger still since Gedeon was blitzing and has to redirect outside once the in and pull happens. Two OL pull to the outside; Peppers(+3) picks his moment and blasts upfield. He gets low, shooting under an OL, and gets a bigtime TFL. Gedeon(+0.5) had impressive redirect and flow.
O20 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over one high Pass 5 Sack Glasgow -9
Glasgow(+2) feints inside for a step and then bursts upfield, ripping through the center and getting pressure directly up the gut. QB bails out into McCray(+1, pressure +3), who blitzed around the edge as Charlton fought back inside. He’s clean; he tackles. RPS +1.
O11 3 24 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel one high Run N/A Power O Hill 1
M plus one in the box and expecting give up and punt. They get it. Hill(+0.5) has the pulling G. He cuts off the outside and funnels to Gedeon(+0.5), who has an easy job but read the play well and got to the POA as well as you can: fast but under control. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 30 slide one high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O20 1 15 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 over Run N/A Inside zone read Peppers 5
Not sure whose issue this is. Both Winovich and Peppers overplay the outside and potential QB keeper, which understandable since both TEs arc block outside for it. It is a handoff and it gets a few yards because of the confusion. I think it’s Peppers(-0.5) who should be more aggressive to the RB since he can see Winovich, but this is a guess. McCray(+0.5) had a thumping hit on an OL to force a cutback; Gedeon gets to it after flinging himself into the line a gap further inside.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Pass 4 In Hill INT
Play action; Peppers starts at seven yards and bails deep as Hill activates against the run. After PA is read Hill checks the TE/RB, both stay in. At this point he’s free to read the QB and do whatever. He reads and steps in front of an in route that Thomas(+0.5, cover +1) has a good chance of breaking up if it gets there. It does not; Hill(+4, cover +3) intercepts and scores. Wormley(+1, pressure +1) shot into the backfield and would sack if this took any longer.
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 28-0, 10 min 2nd Q>
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under slide one high Run N/A Inside zone Wormley 2
Nothing frontside as Wormley, Godin, and Glasgow (+0.5 each) jam it up. Cutback; Charlton(+0.5) discards a tight end and tackles with help from McCray, who was in an overhang spot and came down once he read run.
O27 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even one high Pass 6 Out Stribling Inc
Hawaii cut blocking because it’s ND 38-0 time for them and this buys barely enough time; Stribling(+1, cover +1) is in press man and makes this completion very difficult if not entirely impossible even if I don’t think he actually gets a PBU.
O27 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel one high Pass 5 Scramble Wormley 11
M sends Peppers off the corner. Wormley(-1) drives his guy hard and back into the QB but gets outside of his man and that’s a rush lane vacated; QB can step up and the only DL resistance left is Glasgow getting doubled; lots of room for him to take off. He does. (Pressure -2). qMcCray aborts coverage as he sees a scramble but falls(-1) and can’t even slow Woolsey down much. M is fortunate his dive comes up a little short. Interestingly, Kinnel is at S, and when he comes up he just jumps over the QB so as to not draw a flag.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun empty Nickel press one high Pass 4 Out McCray 2
McCray(+1, cover +1) is in good position to force this OOB immediately.
O28 2 8 Shotgun empty Nickel press one high Pass 4 Angle McCray 6
Similar setup; WR breaks back in after the out and McCray has to adjust and tackle. He does this on the catch and sets up third down but he’s not able to threaten this throw at all; push. RPS -1.
O34 3 2 Shogun twin TE twins 4-5 bear zero Run N/A Inside zone Thomas 8
This is mostly RPS as M oddly sets up Thomas against the inline TE instead of a LB. Thomas(-1) gets blown up because he’s 40 pounds lighter than this dude and there’s no other help. M played this like a passing down. Suspect that Gary(-1) was supposed to fire inside instead of doing a typical pass rushing move; once he’s upfield and the rest of the line is slanting away this is academic. RPS -2.
O42 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 under one high Run N/A Power O McCray 0 (Pen -15)
Hawaii doubles Charlton and blows him out since he’s slanting away anyway. Peppers slants inside, gets clocked; one pulling G in space with three defenders from M: Thomas as an overhang corner and both LBs, who are clean. McCray(+0.5) shoots inside the puller, which I’m not sure how I feel about. With help outside this is fine and probably saves a yard or two as RB has to bend around and Thomas(+0.5) and Gedeon(+0.5) combine to tackle for nothing. Both LBs did a good job to get to the relevant spot. UH is hit with a chop block on Glasgow.
O27 1 25 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime one high Pass 6 Post Stribling 28
M sends both LBs and walks Thomas up on a delayed blitz once the back stays in. Mostly picked up but Thomas(+0.5) is through to make it uncomfortable; pressure -1 since this is 6 men coming. QB gets a post off and we never get a replay so I don’t know what happened; Stribling(-2, cover -2) got beat in man to man and is so far away he can’t tackle.
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Stribling 12
OTOH this is super tough on Stribling(+0.5), as he’s right there on the back shoulder and gets a rake in. He forced the WR to body catch and could have gotten an INC from that; no problem with this coverage(+1). Comfortable pocket(pressure -1)
M33 1 10 Shotgun empty 5-0 dime Pass 4 Circle Peppers 18
Peppers(-2, cover -2) way overplays an out and is unable to challenge or tackle on the catch. This is pretty disappointing. Four man pressure got McCray(+0.5) free up the gut at Winovich(+0.5) thunks the C and Wormley(+0.5) drives through a double. Pressure +1.
M15 1 10 Shotgun empty 5-0 dime Pass 5 Out Peppers 3 (Pen-15)
LBs in the center of the line stunt with McCray(+0.5) driving to occupy two guys and Gedeon(+0.5, pressure +1) getting up the gut unfettered as a result. Must throw; go back to the slot again. This time Peppers(+0.5) is able to tackle the one-way route immediately. UH called for a hands to the face on Winovich. Charlton leaves for the duration after this play. Mone is also gone now.
M30 1 25 Shotgun trips 4-1 dime Pass 5 Hitch McCray 13
Big coverage bust sees nobody in the middle of the field, like, at all. A simple five yard dump turns into a big play as Thomas(-1, tackling -1) misses a tackle; Stribling is in the area here but I can’t imagine he’s being asked to cover(-3) all this space. I gotta think that McCray(-2) is the main issue here since he ends up in the same area Peppers does.
M12 2 7 Shotgun twins 2TE Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone McCray 9
Michigan gets caught in a very weird formation with Stribling your nominal SAM and Peppers out over the slot. It’s a run the other way, and another assignment that’s not right. I can’t tell if it’s Winovich who ducks inside when he should widen or McCray who isn’t ready to replace him as the force player. The rest of the line provides no hints. I’m guessing McCray(-1) as Gedeon starts booking for the sideline but it’s a guess. Thomas(-1) is over here but looks flat footed to start the play as M is trying to get their call right; he shoves out but only after the first down.
M3 1 G Shotgun twins twin TE Goal line Run N/A Yakety snap N/A -4
A gift.
M7 2 G Shotgun trips 5-1 dime zero Pass 6 Sack McCray -9
M drops Gary into a flare route and sends the other five guys on the LOS. Hawaii crumbles as their assignments fall apart; Wormley(+1) surges up the heart of the defense; McCray(+1, pressure +3) is faster through the gap because he’s untouched; he tackles. RPS +3.
M16 3 G Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Stribling Inc (Pen +8)
Pocket is collapsing and there’s an urgency to throw; pressure push. Woolsey tries a difficult fade that Stribling(+1, cover +1) has blanketed even if it was accurate. It’s not. Gary(-2) picks up a hands to the face call.
M8 1 G Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under split Pass 5 Rollout out N/A Inc
Pick route with WR to the inside running his route and sticking his butt out to pick off Watson. Watson has to bend around that, WR open and it’s 50/50 whether he can get in on a catch. QB airmails it. RPS -1; this had potential.
M8 2 G Shotgun trips 5-1 dime one Pass 5 Sack Gary -12
Gary(+1, pressure +2) loops around Glasgow(+1) on a stunt; Glasgow drives well; C does come off on Gary and flagrantly holds him; no call. This is a guy reaching all the way across Gary’s chest and yanking his shoulder pad. Impossible to miss, and yet(refs -3). Peppers(+1) is there to contain once the QB thinks about bugging out and forces the throwaway that is declared a grounding penalty about two months after it occurs.
Drive Notes: EOH, 35-0.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel two low Run N/A Inside zone Winovich 1
IZ looks very familiar as Glasgow(+0.5), Gary(+0.5) and Godin(+0.5) stand up single blocks and force a cutback into traffic. Winovich(+0.5) finishes it by playing both sides of a TE block but back wasn’t going anywhere.
O27 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel one high Pass 5 Flare Winovich INT (Pen +15)
Gary(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT and gets in on the QB, who’s already throwing as a result.Gary leaps but can’t bat it down; Stribling(+2) is the recipient of an errant ball that he makes a tough diving catch on. Play comes back because Winovich(-2) gets a roughing call. It’s not roughing since the hit came almost the same instant as the ball was released; it is targeting that should have gotten Winovich booted. Refs +2.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 2
Hole again close to minimal as Glasgow(+2) simply shoves his man to the ground and attacks. Godin(-0.5) gets moved a little bit further than he wants and this opens up a gap backside for a minimal gain; Gary(+0.5) played both ends of the option effectively.
O44 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 over Run N/A Split zone Glasgow 3
Glasgow(+1) again rips through the C, although less authoritatively. Cutback mandatory. There’s a tiny hole between Marshall and McCray who blitzed around and sets the edge. Back manages to squeeze through it but hits Marshall’s guy; Hill(-0.5, tackling -1) flies up from his safety spot nd misses a tackle. That delays the back but he does squeeze out an extra yard before Peppers(+0.5) thumps him. Side note: M lined up Peppers at six yards with the intention of using him as a deep S.
O47 3 5 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 dime split Pass 4 Out Glasgow INT
Glasgow(+2, pressure +3) zips through the RG and is up the gut for instant pressure. Peppers(+0.5) also sent around the corner and Gary(+0.5) is coming; QB panics and throws a ball directly to Stribling(+1), who duly catches it and returns it for six.
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 49-0, 11 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass 5 Slant Watson 10
Watson(-1, cover -1) beaten easily on a slant.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone read keeper Gary 9
Gary(-2) bites down on interior run action despite the FB arcing outside of him and the pull is very clear and advantageous. Then he turns around and runs this QB down from behind like a dang fictional beast. Gary yanked for Wormley after this play as he gets coached up some.
O41 2 1 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 even one high Run N/A Inside zone Glasgow 1
Glasgow(+2) thumps the LG into the backfield and discards him. He rips to the cutback and gets a tackle in. Winovich(+1) didn’t get as much penetration but impressively chucks his blocker away and also helps tackle. Glasgow’s momentum from behind pushes the RB over the line.
O42 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3 even one high Run N/A Split zone Godin -1
Godin(+2) fights through a double and does not get sealed when one guy leaves for the LB level. He surges up the gut and forces a bounce. That bounce is to Gedeon(+0.5) and McCray(+0.5), who are both untouched and have an easy job they do well.
O41 2 11 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Scramble Godin 12
Glasgow lifted so the front four is three third stringers and Winovich, so scale your horror downwards. Huge gap opens up in the line as M stunts. Godin(-2) is the main culprit as he does not drive anyone effectively and gets bashed back to the looper, walk-on Garrett Miller. Big hole; Winovich tries to fill it and is then yanked back by his man for a missed holding call (refs -2). M in man, big gain for QB results. (Pressure -3, RPS -1)
M47 1 10 Shotgun empty Nickel over Pass 4 Deep hitch Long 13
Long(-2, cover -2) appears to blow whatever pattern match is on and this dude is wide open. Pass out too quickly for rush but Winovich(+1) put on a slick in-out move to get a run at QB’s backside. Without the coverage bust could be a blindside sack.
M34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA fade Hill Inc
Hill(+2, cover +2) doesn’t bite on a post fake and then jams the WR so comprehensively that the ball is ten yards long. Marshall(+1, pressure +1) had discarded a TE and is getting pressure after reading run.
M34 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 5-1 nickel one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 2
Godin(+0.5) fires his guy back and cuts off the front. Gary(+1) works through the LTE to get to the last remaining gap as a LB shoots free behind him. Pile lurches slightly.
M32 3 8 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 dime one high Pass 5 Throwaway Winovich Inc (Pen -10)
Winovich(+2, pressure +2) sets the RT up outside and then ole’, he’s inside and up the gut at the QB. He’s yanked from behind by the guy he just beat, no call(refs-2), and this prevents the sack. QB starts scrambling around, Godin(+0.5) cuts off the outside so he spins back. Gary(+1) draws a hold; Winovich and McCray end up forcing the throwaway.
M42 3 18 Shotgun empty 5-0 dime Pass 5 Scramble Gary 17
To some extent this is fine on third and eighteen but it does get hairy here and set up a FGA; Gary(-1) gets too far upfield and cannot fight back when the QB steps up. Godin(-1) is the other guy who is unable to slow the QB through the hole (pressure -2).
M25 4 1 Shotgun twins 2TE 4-5 bear zero Run N/A Counter zone Winovich 0
Looks like split zone except one of the Gs pulls backside. He ends up kicking out Peppers and then the backside of this play is just flooded with M dudes. Winovich(+2) crumples a TE to the ground and that’s most of it. With Hill shooting in behind the crunched TE is directly in RBs path; Winovich, Hill(+0.5), and Gedeon(+0.5) combine to punch UH off the field.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 49-0, 5 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Arc read keeper Winovich 0
Winovich(+2) does a really nice job to play both ends of a read option, forcing the QB so wide that two secondary members are going to nail him and then making a near TFL when he slows up.
O25 2 10 Shotgun empty 4-1 dime Pass 5 Scramble Miller 11
Gedeon sent on a blitz around the corner that induces a flight response from the QB despite the fact he gets cut off. DT Miller has stunted outside and is the force; QB bends around him at first, but 1) he is way too aggressive upfield instead of taking a properly conservative pursuit angle and 2) he is slow and falls over(-2) so he can get the edge and pick up a chunk against man.
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel over Pass 5 Back shoulder fade Watson 25
Straight up blitz is easily picked up (pressure -2) and Watson(-2, cover -1) isn’t able to contest a well thrown back shoulder fade that the WR high points. Good position; can’t do anything with it.
M39 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone read belly Miller 4
M lines up late; Miller(-1) dives inside and is picked off by the G. He doesn’t threaten enough to even absorb a second blocker; so there’s a cutback. Marshall(+0.5) plays it reasonably well and tackles after a solid gain.
M35 2 6 Shotgun twin TE 4-3 over bear Pass 7 Seam Hill Inc
M sends the house with Winovich(+0.5, pressure +1) getting through. Pure zero coverage; QB tries to hit slot matched on Hill(+2, cover +2); Hill gets his head around and gets a very calm PBU. Hill got the sneaky jersey tug in. (Refs +1)
M35 3 6 Shotgun twin TE twins Okie zero Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon -2
M again blitzes the world. Gedeon(+2) knifes through an OL who tries to pick him up and cannot; he tackles almost at the mesh point. Peppers was jetting around the edge unfettered and would have cleaned up a missed tackle. RPS +3.
Drive Notes: FG(55), 56-3, 12 min 4th Q. Piles of backups in on last drive but some points of interest. I’ll highlight a few; this is not a complete drive chart.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickle even Pass 4 Throwaway Gary Inc
Gary(+2, pressure +2) rips around the edge like he’s BG and barely misses a sack; QB flushed. M should get another sack but Miller is tackled; Wroblewski steps up and forces the throwaway.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 even one high Run N/A Inside zone Dwumfour -1
Dwumfour(+2) has looked far from ready on this drive, blown out a ton, but this is a Glasgow-like flash as he swims by a guard, gets in the backfield, and gets a TFL.
M34 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Comeback L. Hill Inc
Lavert Hill(+2, cover +2) with a Lewis-like PBU.
Drive Notes: 63-3, EOG.

Mercy. /fans self


But didn't you say in UV…

I said Michigan didn't blitz 90% of the time. They did blitz 53% of the time, with four snaps on which they sent six and one where they sent seven. (Note: I only track rushers on passing downs because run blitzes are often difficult to discern with linebackers and safeties aborting to flow with the run play. Blitz numbers on those plays are probably about the same.)

More than half the time is a lot.

Other Don Brown first impressions?

As I mentioned above I'm confused as hell, so I love it. Also I hate it. But I mostly love it because I can't remember even one incident last year in which Michigan came up with an interception of the "oops I didn't see that guy" variety. Delano Hill provided one in this game:

I also enjoyed the coverage that never got tested: Thomas and Stribling swap guys when Hawaii runs a route designed to rub man coverage and even if Hill doesn't pop up in the passing lane Thomas has a good shot at a PBU. Michigan struggled with these concepts a year ago.

You'll probably have to wait a few games before I can give you anything definitive when it comes to themes, but I do have an early one if you'll just ask the thing you want to ask anyway.

So how is this Peppers linebacker thing going to work out?

I don't even know how to answer that.

Use your words.

Yes, great advice, thank you. Words: as the personnel notes, uh, noted, Peppers spent a ton of time in this game as a an honest-to-God safety, and several snaps featured him in a safety/LB gray area I've never seen before because it would be suicide with almost anyone else. On both these snaps Peppers is six yards deep and Michigan appears to expect him to cover a deep third:

peppers abort 2_thumb[1]_thumb

peppers abort_thumb[1]_thumb

His first steps are backwards on each of these plays. Is that linebacker? Is it safety? Yes. No.

They could of course activate him against the run or blitz or whatever. They kept a bunch of things in the garage this week for obvious reasons. What they did demonstrate is that they're going to make you guess which direction he's going on almost every snap.

Meanwhile, slightly removing Peppers from the LOS is strategically excellent because it gives him more time to read, react, and build up momentum. Here he's just cleanup but the thump he lands on the running back is something:

Pulling him back a bit makes life tougher on anyone who would think to block him and allows him to jet through trash at full speed. Whatever it sacrifices in positioning it makes up for by playing into his strengths as a massively fast tiny linebacker. That's in addition to the uncertainty it creates on pre-snap reads when you don't know what the hell his assignment actually is.

Hill was actually preferred as a run defender; Peppers would generally drop and Hill attack:

But sometimes it was Hill on the slot with Thomas dropping and Peppers attacking. They'll throw these guys in a blender all year. It's going to be fascinating.

As for the actual performance, data about the safety stuff is necessarily limited by the fact that Hawaii couldn't block Michigan to save their lives. Early returns are excellent, with the caveat that he was kept entirely clean. The first snap was enticing because Peppers goes from read and react to in the backfield in a flash:

That's the LB version of the explosion that turned him into a screen eraser all last year. He'd follow that up with an awesome solo TFL from that gray-area safety spot:

That ends relevant linebacker-ish clips. He ended up being the second or third guy to the quarterback on a lot of blitzes that turned into jailbreak situations. If future opponents end up blocking McCray and Gedeon, like, at all, his super quick loops will have an impact.

There was one downer, that flashback to early last year when he got lost on a circle route for a chunk play:

He recovered to defend the out route that is the above play's natural counterpart for just a few yards; the above was a little too close to 2015 Utah for my tastes. We saw Peppers improve on two way go stuff over the course of last year, so this is just one play to add to our pile of evidence. It looks like a potential weakness in an otherwise ridiculously good player.


chart that is buried in linebackers

--yes rather LB-heavy chart is also a Don Brown thing:

[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 27 4 1 3 0.4 3.3 0 3.8
Glasgow 36 14 14 4 2.9 7.0
Hurst 0
Charlton 20 1 0.5 0.5 0.1 -1 -0.9
Gary 32 9.5 6 3.5 1.0 1.6 1.8 Hands to face pen
Mone 8 1 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.2
Godin 26 4 2.5 1.5 1.1 -0.7 0.5
Marshall 16 1.5 1.5 -0.5 0.5 0
Winovich 40 9.5 2 7.5 1.2 2.2 2.5 Roughing pen
TOTAL 44.5 12.5 32 Miller –3, others not graded. Miller not in total.
LB UFR grade PFF grade
Player Snaps + - TOT Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Peppers 54 6.5 2.5 4 1.3 -0.5 -0.1 0.8
McCray 44 8.5 4.5 4 0.6 3.6 0.7 5.0 I credited blitz/Brown w/ much of the rush.
Gedeon 54 7 7 2.3 0.3 0.3 3.0 Hello.
Bush 16 -0.1 0.3 0.8 0.8
Furbush 0
TOTAL 22 7 15 Dang, Gedeon.
DB UFR grade PFF grade
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Lewis 0
Stribling 45 8 2 6 0.3 2.6 2.9 NVM, was good.
Clark 51 2 2 0.2 1.6 1.8 Targeted once
D. Hill 54 11 11 0.3 -0.1 4.0 4.2 PBU, INT, TFL
Thomas 54 4 3 1 0.6 -0.4 -0.6 -0.3
Watson 28 3 -3 0.2 -0.7 -0.5 Looked not so hot.
Long 16 2 -2 0.2 0.2 One bust.
L. Hill 11 2 2 1.1 1.1 So far so good w/ Lewis comparisons
TOTAL 27 10 17 .
Pressure 18 12 6 Busted pockets led to couple big scrambles after big guns went out
Coverage 21 11 10 Minus Lewis and w backups in.
Tackling 1 2 -1
RPS 11 5 6 No answers for blitzes.

PFF and I disagreed on McCray, who got an awesome number from them and a solid one from me; I chalked up some of his positives to RPS and the pressure metric; often when you come free I'll offer up a relatively paltry +1. They also thought Wormley was a bunch better than I did, but it's pretty close.

I'd caution you to take the metrics with a grain of salt since Michigan substituted so heavily. Three of those coverage minuses went to Watson, for one.

I thought Stribling "got worked"?

Happily, I was wrong about that. For whatever reason Stribling had a Jourdan Lewis game where targeting him is a bad idea and happens anyway.

I was excessively harsh on Stribling because it seemed like he was the guy in the vicinity when Hawaii got yards, ever. Given how frequently he was targeted his performance was quite good, especially because a couple of the things that were bad weren't actually on him. I think he lingered in my memory because he got smoked on first and 25 on that one drive Hawaii had. That is not great Bob.

The rest of it was quite good. When tested Stribling was generally in the receiver's grill:

He had a couple of back shoulder fades he played really well, one of which was a completion. How good his play in those situation was reinforced when Brandon Watson got beat on one later; Watson was in good position and just ran past the WR when he slowed up. Consistently existing on back shoulder throws is capital-H Hard.

On the other hand, after Clark dominated a slant…

…he was literally not targeted again. While that's some excellent coverage I found that odd.

In any case, solid start for Michigan's #2 and #3 corners.


Yes, that is a monster number for Glasgow in just 36 snaps. The PFF number is even more monster given how they grade.

Glasgow was Michigan's best defensive player, both in quantity and quality. Dude is all the way back, just as smart, and powerful as he blasts to the backfield. One of McCray's sacks was about 70% him. Check out the feint on this play:

OL steps right, Glasgow blasts him, game over man.

The Stribling pick six was about 70% him. This is as fast as pressure comes without a guy coming through unblocked:

He just destroys people. He bursts into them or he just tosses them away:

This is Just Hawaii territory but since Glasgow did this to half the folks he saw last year and was good against the other half I am eagerly awaiting what the senior version looks like. Yee haw.

Also, like gotdang Delano Hill.

Hill was terrific. In addition to the pick six he had a PBU on a deep seam route with zero safety help—Michigan sent the house—on which he got in another one of those subtle jersey pulls we mentioned last year after BYU:

He also crushed a similar route so badly that the ball was ten yards overthrown:

He slashed down a tailback for a TFL; add in a blitz or two and he's a three phases safety just like Peppers. Except not Peppers, of course, but he looked the part of a hybrid space player himself.

Hill was really good a year ago when not making huge mental mistakes and compounding them with efforts to punch the ball out from behind; this was a great start to a senior year that could be eye-opening.

What is your deal with the Big Ten defensive player of the week and your terrible no good grade for him?

Okay, for one, linebacking is hard and I generally shrug my shoulders at a guy coming in at or around zero. +4.5 is legit. I did not grade him as well as PFF did and others seem to have because I assigned the big zone bust on the one real Hawaii drive to him (which is admittedly a guess) and I am conservative when it comes to handing out individual positives on jailbreak blitzes. McCray benefited from a number of those.


McCray looked really good. We haven't seen him take on blocks like Morgan yet, but his athleticism, ability to redirect, and tendency to slash through surprised opposition were all promising. Even when I thought he may have screwed up he was aggressive, shoving guys back and active as he sought to take down the ballcarrier. This is McCray getting edged and it's still kind of all right:

Ideally he has faith to funnel that to Gedeon and this is a couple yards shorter, but the instinct to whack a blocker and get off that block will serve him well.

His slashing blitzes were really effective as well. This angle on a sack he wasn't involved in is probably the clearest example I have:

He's not trying to go around the guy, he's "attacking half a man," as the scouting types say, running at a brutally difficult point for the OL to react to. He slices through, he sucks in the running back, he draws a holding call, and Gedeon dashes in for the glory. That's the kind of blitz I'll issue big positives for.

This was consistent. While Glasgow drove one of his sacks, I loved McCray's efficient path to the backfield on it. He took advantage of a Charlton spin move and went just far enough outside an OL attempting to redirect to get by; that economy of motion made the sack more likely.

Gedeon's day was less spectacular but I liked him a lot too. His ability to flow felt very athletic and smooth, and he got in some slashing of his own:

Both ILBs had a hand in this one:

And I dunno man maybe this is a mirage because they were kept clean but I didn't get even slightly frustrated about either guy mentally, which was not the case last year. They got to their spots without fail. There weren't any of those issues where the line slants and the LBs don't understand what that means presnap.

I think I need a new contributor lightning round.

That actually makes a lot of sense. Go.

Rashan Gary.

Gary wasn't immediately a demon, but he was consistently productive. As expected, tight ends were mere flies to swat away. Michigan was confident enough in his athleticism to have him go cover a flare route. And my initial impression was right: he did get held a lot during the mercy-rule bit of the game. Even though he gets an arm across his entire body here this was a great example of his freaky acceleration at 290:

Probably the most encouraging thing Gary did was repeatedly get around the edge against Hawaii tackles:

Obviously a long way from those guys to Big Ten OL even in a down year, but early returns on "Gary is Chris Wormley with the edge rushing add-on pack" look good.

He did do some freshman stuff. A successful zone read keeper was entirely on him, and he took an illegal hands to the face penalty. Still, dude is a rotation DE on this line even now and will get a ton better as the year goes on.

Bryan Mone.

Barely a dozen snaps so hard to tell. Did drive a Hawaii OL into QB's lap on a Gedeon sack.

Chase Winovich.

Winovich should have been ejected for targeting at the beginning of the second half. Fortunately for Michigan, it's targeting, so nobody noticed and he stayed on.

After scattered first half snaps on which he didn't make much impact, Winovich was terrific in the second half. He shed guys with authority generally reserved for guys a lot bigger than him. And he flashed that pass rush ability folks had been attributing him:

The fourth down stop was largely Winovich plowing a tight end into the run lane:

He played both ends of a read option well, in contrast to a biff by Gary on the previous drive:

He looks pretty light compared to the rest of the line, but this is an artifact of Michigan's DL being frickin' huge and may not be a huge problem. We did not see him take the brunt of a run play against a DL, so holding up could be an issue. Still a productive and encouraging debut. Some of those pass rush moves are going to get OL much better than Hawaii's.

Matt Godin.

Lived up to his MGoScouting report. Very good when a secondary consideration and not so hot when sent out there with walk-ons and freshmen. Did have one very good flow and contest against a double.

David Long.

Blew a coverage on his first(?) snap. Otherwise not tested.

Lavert Hill.

One Lewis-like PBU:

Garrett Miller.

Is not Glasgow. Got blown out a lot by poor competition. Michigan in deep trouble if he has to play.

Michael Dwumfour.

Flashed a little Glasgow-like ability to swim his way into the backfield late:

But the emphasis is on "flashed." Pulling his redshirt makes some sense given the Mone injury but I'm extremely dubious he's going to help this year.

Lawrence Marshall.

Didn't do much of note. Looked plausible, I guess?

Not enough data on for even a vague gesture?

Kinnel, Hudson, Devin Bush, Mike Wroblewski, Reuben Jones, Michael Onwenu.

But Onwenu?

Didn't see him do anything of note.


Glasgow. McCray and Gedeon had A+ debuts. Delano Hill was impeccable. Stribling was close here.

Maybe not so heroic?

I mean nobody really but I was slightly disappointed that Charlton didn't make more impact in his 20 snaps. Brandon Watson did not look like a potential contributor at CB.

What does it mean for UCF and the future?

This is going to be fun. The defensive version of the Harbauffense is in town and it's got more than one LB/S hybrid. We are going to see all kinds of crazy stuff from Brown as he flings dudes at the QB from everywhere. Aaargh, did that guy come out of a HELICOPTER?!, says Wes Lunt.

Gary is operational now. Not a surprise but until you see it you don't know.

Glasgow is still a beast. Missed you big guy xoxo.

Michigan has a cliff after the top five DTs. They are very very deep and then they are not deep at all, if you get my meaning. Health will be critical. One guy going down is probably not much dropoff. Two really starts to bite.

The linebackers might be a big upgrade. McCray's debut could hardly have gone better and Gedeon displayed some very nice attributes himself. 

Stribling or Clark doesn't matter. Both look very good.

We may have underrated how Delano Hill would benefit from Brown's defense. Super active, playing to his strengths, and never looked better.

Giggity. Giggity.



September 7th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

I'm sure you've thought about this, but does purchasing the PFF data permit you to repost those data publicly on your site?  Just wanted to check, though I'm guessing you guys had a talk with PFF about this.


September 7th, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

Shut the hell up already.  No one cares about your stupid, grammatically incorrect Wikipedia edit.

EDIT: The post that OMG Shirtless and I responded to has been caved, which is why it now looks like we are angrily responding to a post completely out of context.


September 7th, 2016 at 3:27 PM ^

I like adding the PFF information. Sounds like it will be useful for Michigan analysis and very useful for opponent analysis.

May I suggest a blank column between their numbers and yours, to simplify reading?


September 7th, 2016 at 8:46 PM ^

Brian, do you look at the PFF ratings before you UFR? Don't want to let that bias your scores.

Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see what you thought of our left guards.


September 7th, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

Brian -

I emailed PFF and asked if player grades were in their college package and they said no. Is this something special that you worked out with them that's not available to end-users?


September 7th, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

"Michigan has a cliff after the top five DTs. They are very very deep and then they are not deep at all, if you get my meaning"


I don't get your meaning. We want everyone certainly to stay healthy, but we seem to be way deeper than most other teams? Am I right to be way more worried about O line depth?


September 7th, 2016 at 3:25 PM ^

It means the top 5 guys are all great, but that the sixth guy is a guy who we don't want to see the field at all under any circumstances other than blowouts. So there's little or no drop-off when a backup comes in, which is depth. But when the third string comes in, Indiana is going to blow holes through him all day.


September 8th, 2016 at 1:11 PM ^

I am guessing he is more advanced than most true freshman and they are looking at the depth chart for next year. Harbaugh is building depth fast right now. It will be interesting to see how he handles Freshman as he builds the program. The best will play but the luxury of the RS is not a bad thing.


September 7th, 2016 at 3:22 PM ^

Dude. Wow. Speed and athletes and monsters all over the field. 

We aren't the ones that have to look at "scary" defenses. We have the defense that scares people now. Flat loaded. Couldn't be more encouraged by the LB debuts, and Peppers somehow wasn't even the biggest contributor in a game in which he was everywhere.


September 7th, 2016 at 3:24 PM ^

Man, hope Taco fully activates into his late season 2015 form.  I wonder with all the blitzing if he'll eat more blocks on slants and such to open stuff for LBs; will he get much chance to do a clean backside edge rush in this defense?

Monocle Smile

September 7th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

Given the offense they faced and the very limited snap counts for the starters, it's probably difficult to assess a number of players...especially Charlton and the corners.

Also, there was quite a bit of pressure, but there would have been more if the refs didn't feel bad for Hawaii or something. We'll probably see more death this weekend or whenever games are competitive in the future.

The Maizer

September 7th, 2016 at 3:39 PM ^


They did blitz 53% of the time, with four snaps on which they sent six and one where they sent seven.

The Delano Hill PBU right at the beginning of the gotdang Delano Hill section looks like UM sent 8 players.


September 7th, 2016 at 3:46 PM ^

though the new table format broke my scraping tool for the UFR visualizations. I'll fix it soon and look forward to adding some new features given the snap data.

Awesome writeup as always!