Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Penn State

Submitted by Brian on September 28th, 2016 at 3:16 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Okay. Breaking things into front and cover look seems to be mostly functional. By "press" I mean that the two outside corners are in press. Usually the slots are still a number of yards off. This was a 4-2-5 package. The front is nickel over—Peppers is playing S and the line slides towards the run strength—and the cover look was press two high:

press two high

Goal line package was called 4-4 press zero:

press zero

When Michigan went to a dime package they had a couple of different approaches. This is a 3-man front like you'd see in a 3-4 with OLBs flanking it and just one ILB:

3-3 split

I called this front 3-3 split. They also did some wacky stuff, like putting all three DL to one side of the line:

heavy slide 3-3-5

"Heavy slide 3-3-5." Taco Charlton, the nominal nose tackle, will help tackle an outside run to the top of the field.

And as a reminder I'm lumping all fronts with a bunch of dudes at the LOS under "okie":

okie

BTW, "half press" or "off" looks are usually zone so far.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Just 57 defensive snaps and a ton of rotation on the DL. Charlton seems all the way back and in fact took the most of any DL(39); Godin, Glasgow, Hurst, Wormley, and Gary all had around 30. Winovich got 22.

The two ILBs got every snap until the final drive; McCray was lifted a few times when Michigan went to passing down packages. Furbush debuted for the final two drives. Stribling, Hill, Peppers, Thomas, and Lewis were near-omnipresent. Clark got just 15 snaps before his exit; Kinnel got 23.

[After THE JUMP: this is turning into the usual Penn State game.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun trips H 4-2-5 4-3 over ??? Pass 4 Sack Glasgow -2
Glasgow(+2) with a push-pull on the RG that gets him direct to the QB; RG grabs his ankles and tackles him. Flag thrown. This has still flushed McSorley, who runs into his own lineman and then Godin(+1, pressure +3), who sacks. No idea about downfield with another zoom-heavy director. FWIW, this had a covered WR who ran a silly screen route.
O7 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Middle TE screen Godin 1
McSorley’s throw is off and this helps disrupt the timing of the play and allows Godin(+1) to peel back and get a tackle in. Hill(+1) fired down at the snap and avoided an OL to also put himself in on the tackle.
O8 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Sack Wormley -7

Coverage(+1) good for a read, maybe two, and then McSorley is doomed as Wormley(+2) comes around the corner; Charlton(+1) had shoved the LT back and broken inside so the QB can’t move up in the pocket. Wormley comes around to sack(pressure +2).a

Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st 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 5 Flare Gedeon 17
Michigan RPSed here as McCray is lined up over Barkley and he blitzes. Gedeon has no shot at keeping up with Barkley when he’s lined up two or three yards behind him and has to break stride to get around a pick route. RPS -2.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Split zone Thomas 3
This time Thomas inserts into the box post-snap with Peppers dropping deep. Standard split zone. Godin(+1) stands up his guy and rips through to dissuade any frontside attempts; Charlton comes inside a bit too far and ends up giving up the corner, which is probably fine since Thomas(+1, tackling +1) is coming down as the force player. Barkley bounces it out and this is dangerous for a second because it’s Barkley. Thomas makes the open field tackle, albeit barely.
O45 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 under Off two high Run N/A Counter trey McCray 6
I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be America’s Double A Gap Twist Blitz, as Gedeon starts creeping presnap and McCray creeps back around him but only Gedeon fires hard, picking off the puller and forcing Barkley into a gap McCray(-2) should be filling. Instead he’s reading, which allows the center to get out to him and kick him past the gap. Gedeon(+1) does a good job to check both gaps and get to Barkley after he cut to the one he didn’t show in; he is the first to contact with an ankle tackle.
M49 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Godin 2
Not a big fan of six in the box on third and one. Not sure what Wormley(-1) is looking at here; he ends up kicked out and goes around to the outside like he’s thinking it’s a pass. This negates some good work by Godin(+1), who held his ground against a block, shed, and is able to initiate a tackle at the LOS. Since the OL is still pushing him and there’s no help Barkley manages to get over the line. I guess I’m not RPSing this but oddly conservative.
M47 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 RPO slant Thomas Inc
We never get a replay of this so I can’t tell if Thomas(+0.5, cover +1) is able to affect the WR here as he tries to dive for a ball thrown a bit too far in front of him. He’s in good position, right on the guy’s hip, and would have a shot at a PBU on anything that’s better thrown.
M47 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 6 Circle Lewis Inc
Six man blitz has Peppers(+1, pressure +2) delay his attack a half beat, which opens up a lane for him and once he gets a lane it’s trouble for the QB. Hurst(+1) opened it up with a highly effective stunt around the G—he’ll get a sack on this later—that pulled that guy all the way upfield; too much space for Barkley to shut down. McSorley is probably just dumping this to dump it, especially because Lewis(+1, cover +1) is on the back of the WR as he tries to convert his out route back to a circle; he falls and the ball is nowhere near; Lewis gets a cheap PBU by diving to get a hand on it.
M47 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Counter trey Thomas 5
Results based charting here: Charlton(+1) gives up the corner because he’s in pass-rush mode and spins inside the LT in an effort to get to the QB. This gets him in the intended run lane, and it delays Barkley, forcing him to bend his run around that traffic. This gives Thomas(+1, tackling +1) time to come up and make an open field tackle without too much damage. McCray(-1) read the back instead of the line and takes a couple false steps; he gets erased out of this play. Ditto Gedeon(-1) who never reads it or pursues. The guy who does pursue to help tackle despite lining up as the DE away from this play: Rashan Gary(+1).
M42 4 5 Shotgun 3-wide H four one Nickel even Press two high Pass N/A Tunnel screen Lewis -4
You can't run a tunnel screen against press coverage when your nearest blocker is eight yards away. Lewis +2, tackling +1, RPS +3. Gesicki may have blown this play by running at a safety instead of going to Lewis immediately but he’s not making this block either way.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Off two high Run N/A Edge pitch Lewis 3
Variant of the UCF long TD that tries to accomplish the same thing. McCray(+0.5) does a better job, getting his eyes to his blocker and forcing him back; he constricts some space and can be relevant. Doesn’t need to be as Lewis(+1) beats his blocker and forces it back. He misses the tackle; Barkley bangs into Lewis’s blocker, but the damage is done. Thomas coming down much faster, probably a different call.
O27 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A H iso Gedeon 1
Play uses Gesicki as a lead blocker up the gut as he dives in from his H-back spot. This works not so good. DOD and all but Gedeon(+2) hammers him back and gets off the block for a solo tackle at the LOS. Wasn’t going to get much more than this since Hill was inserting himself at the POA and Hurst(+0.5) fought back to the gap.
O28 3 6 Shotgun trips H 3-26 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Sack Winovich -8
Six guys threaten, four come. Wormley(+2, pressure +3) is the key as he slides outside and demands the C block him after chucking the RG aside.The LG is not looking for anything else and Barkley releases; Winovich(+1) loops around to finish the play. Charlton(+0.5) in good position to prevent flight. RPS +2. Two different blockers end up blocking air.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Split zone Glasgow 2
Glasgow(+1) controls his guy, extends his arms, checks both gaps, and gets to the one Barkley goes to. Wormley(-0.5) checked a gap but got upfield and couldn't come back; Gedeon(+1) wins a block against an OL and gets to the hole to assure the tackle.
M27 2 8 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 4-3 even ??? Pass 6 In Charlton 4
Charlton(+1) shoots inside two gaps and comes up the gut with McCray(+1) coming off the edge to overwhelm Barkley (pressure +3); McSorley dumps a hopeful ball out on a in in route that is complete; no YAC as he takes the guy off his feet. No idea about the coverage thanks to pore-o-vision. RPS +1.
M31 3 4 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Sack Wormley -4
This is on McSorley. Primary read is Barkley on a circle route against Gedeon(-2, cover -2) which is going to be wide open for a catch and run; instead he bugs out and gets sacked. Wormley(+1, pressure +1) comes around on a stunt to close off the gap McSorley thought he was hitting; Charlton(+0.5) pushed the pocket closed to give him no options.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Fly Clark Inc
PA buys a little time but Gary(+1, pressure +1) is about to hit McSorley as he throws. Ball is a bomb down the sideline that Clark(+0.5, cover +1) is in good position on but has no play because the pass is way high and back-shouldered. Godwin almost makes a ridiculous catch but cannot.
O39 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 5 Middle TE screen Peppers 9
McCray has to run after a flare by Barkley; Gedeon(-1) blitzes and ends up inside of the RT, which doesn’t seem right. Peppers(-1, cover -1) is left reading in a short zone and since this is man all around he needs to track Gesicki across the formation. He sits, possibly because he thinks Gesicki will block, and turns this into a robber zone. He’s super fast and manages to blast the TE down short of the sticks once he does read the play but if he’s a couple yards closer to this PSU gets third and medium at best.
O48 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Run N/A Split zone Hurst -3
Hopeless. Hurst(+3) clubs the C back and sheds him two yards in the backfield. McCray(+2) blitzed and drove his man into Barkley, who gets hit shortly after the handoff. This makes him a sitting duck for Hurst, who gets the TFL. Winovich(+0.5) attacked to cut off Gesicki and constrict space. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 7 min 2nd Q. Next drive starts with 46 seconds on the clock.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Shovel screen Gedeon 30
Gedeon(-2, tackling -2) is unblocked on this and while he’s not going to shut Barkley down he loses leverage and doesn’t let anyone rally to help; that turns this from ten or 15 into 30.
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even slide Press two high Pass 4 Drag Godin Inc
Stunt gets through sort of; Godin(+1, pressure +1) gets between the RG and RT; RT does get attached and push him, so McSorley can scramble out. That’s probably fine in this situation since Michigan has guys in short zones. Peppers starts coming up to contain. McSorley tries a drag route that McCray(+1, cover +1) has covered.
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Fly Lewis Inc
Lewis actually set up outside as this looks like three deep coverage, not man; slot guy pulls the safety in the middle of the field and Lewis has to make a play. McSorley puts it inside, which is correct given the coverage; Lewis(+1, cover +2) catches up, gets his head around, and gets a rake in. He misses; it’s not actually a PBU, but he’s been futzing with the guy’s arms and is on his back so he does make this a very difficult catch.
M45 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Sack Hurst -5
Hurst(+3, pressure +3) is around the guard in a flash after starting out on the C and sacks. Peppers(+0.5) helped set it up by blitzing and knocking a couple OL back on contact.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Run N/A Edge read give McCray 33
Recycled from the UCF game, with Barkley just running to the edge as fast as possible as PSU pulls a lineman the other way and threatens a QB run. McCray(-2) again does not anticipate a crackback block and gets blown up, but it’s Stribling(-2) who is the main culprit here since he does not realize his WR is on a crackback and replace the LB. Thomas can do nothing but escort Barkley out of bounds; this is a situation where one high safety is a large detriment. RPS -2.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 5 PA hitch Stribling Inc
Quick throw; Stribling(+2, cover +2) lines up inside and stops when the WR does, getting his hand in for a PBU.
M40 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 5 Fly Stribling Inc (Pen +15)
McSorley just has time to release this; Hill is working his way through the RB on a blitz and may affect the throw(+1, pressure +1). Live I thought this was a good call but on replay it looks pretty trashy to me. Both guys are looking back for the ball. Godwin actually starts shoving Stribling first and there’s nothing egregious here, maybe a little hold, but again this is very mutual interference. Refs -2. Stribling +1, cover +1)
M25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Heavy slide 3-3-5 Off two high Pass 4 Flare screen Charlton -1
This weirdass formation has three Michigan DL over the C, RT, and then outside of the RT. Michigan’s playing off, which should indicate to the outside WR that he needs to block Stribling(+1), but he doesn’t. Charlton(+1), your nominal nose, drifts left at the snap, reads the play, and gets to the POA along with Stribling for a TFL.
M26 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide H 2-2-7 Okie Press two high Pass 3 Wheel N/A 19
This weirdass formation has the ILBs as nominal DTs with Taco and Wormley flanking. Both ILBs drop into coverage as M rushes three; picked up. McCray is trying to cover Barkley on a wheel and has little shot, and even less when the slant by the outside WR cuts him off. RPS -3.
M7 1 G Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Counter trey Hurst 5
Hurst(+1) shoots his guy back and disrupts a pull; Barkley bounces because of his threat. Charlton is held without a call (refs -2) and gives up the corner through little fault of his own; Barkley gets a chunk. Thomas(+1) has been doing yeoman work all game mitigating these Barkley runs and he gets a cumulative plus and tackling +1.
M2 2 G Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-4 over Press zero Pass 7 Improv Thomas Inc
More rushers than blockers so a free guy is inevitable. It’s Charlton, and that’s to the inside so that’s a win for M (Pressure +1). Everyone’s covered(+1), with Thomas checking Barkley; McSorley actually makes a brilliant throw here by just lobbing it to the back of the endzone. Barkley just about catches it for the TD but bobbles it, probably thanks in part to Thomas(+1, cover +1) sticking with it and grabbing various bits.
M2 3 G Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-4 over Press zero Pass 7 Fade Stribling Inc
Stribling(+2, cover +2) plays this about as well as you can, getting a hand in on a back shoulder throw that’s close to perfect and forcing the incompletion.
Drive Notes: FG(21), 28-3, 11 3rd M, functional EOG. Good job good effort James Franklin.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 ??? 4-2-5 ??? ??? Run N/A ??? ??? 2
TV misses this play almost entirely.
O30 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Pass 4 PA throwaway Hill Inc
Coverage(+2) is good as Hill(+1) gets around Stribling to avoid a rub route and gets under this route. Easy to see a pick get thrown here; McSorley aborts. Stunt now gets through as Wormley(+1) drives the LT inside and Hurst(+0.5) loops around. Rollout and chucked OOB.
O30 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Scramble N/A 7
Can’t really blame Wormley(+1) for his near replication of the Hurst sack(pressure +1). He drives and nearly sacks but Peppers can’t do the same thing he did last time and there’s enough of a gap to go. I’m not blaming Peppers to be clear. McSorley escapes and its tracked down just short of the sticks. In this situation that’s a push.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-3, 6 min 3rd Q. Waving the the white flag big time now.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-2-6 3-2 dime Half press three deep Run N/A Inside zone Peppers 4
M blitzes Peppers off the corner but this is just taunting PSU at this point with a five man box. Gary and Glasgow get doubled and blown back some but this is what happens when you have five guys on five blockers. They don’t get totally blown up and Peppers comes in from the side to tackle. All around push.
O29 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press two high Pass 5 Throwaway Lewis Inc
Lewis off the slot corner; McSorley sees it before Gesicki and rolls away from it, dumping it OOB. Pressure +1, cover +1.
O29 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Heavy slide 3-3-5 Off two high Pass 4 Screen Hill 5
Gedeon drops into a Tampa Two thing presnap. This leaves four and a half in the box; Peppers blitzes by Barkley and M gets screened. Hill(+3, tackling +1) gets blocked by Gesicki and convinces Barkley to cut outside, whereupon he sheds and tackles short of the sticks. Very nice. RPS -1.
O34 4 1 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-4 under Press zero Run N/A QB counter iso Godin 1
M blitzing to the backside and should have this stopped but both ILBs are hesitant since this is pure zero coverage and if Barkley zips past them it’s over. Gedeon(-1) gets it funnel to him and is late reacting; Godin(+2) almost makes a great play by spinning back to the POA and making a tackle that juuust about stops them short of the sticks; Refs(-1) give it to them. Harbaugh challenges but you know about challenging spots.
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over Off one high Run N/A Counter trey Gary -3
Peppers lined up over Gesicki, and Gesicki takes him. Guy lined up over Gary(+1) exits to pull and Gary hits the backfield without anyone trying to block him. Gary does a good job to contain and then TFL once he’s there; this is mostly a PSU biff.
O32 2 13 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Sack Charlton -1
Happy feet sack. Coverage(+2) is very good and the one possible opening is not seen; Gary(+0.5) threatens around the edge; Hurst(+0.5) contains; Charlton(+0.5) peels back and makes the tackle. Pressure +1.
O31 3 14 Shotgun trips 4-0-7 Quarter over Press two high Pass 4 Dig Stribling Inc (Pen +15)
Another iffy PI call as the WR appears to go down of his own volition, but Stribling(-1, cover -1) does get his arm around the waist of the guy, so once he falls there’s little chance this flag doesn’t get thrown. Pressure is getting there as Hurst(+1, pressure +1) gets into the QB’s feet and causes this ball to sail.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Half press two high Pass 5 Shovel screen Gedeon 6
Gedeon(+0.5) does contain Barkley this time and forces it back. Hurst(+0.5) comes back off a block to the outside—he stunted to the LT—and helps tackle. RPS -1; just Gedeon in a lot of space as McCray blitzed.
M48 2 4 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon -3
Gedeon(+2) times up a blitz well and shoots through a gap just as the RG engages Hurst for a double; he’s unblocked into the backfield and tackles for loss. RPS +2.
O49 3 7 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 6 Drag Hill 10
PSU runs mesh on a blitz that catches man to man; Hill(-1) and Clark(-1) run into each other and Gesicki is wide open(cover -2); M blitzed and McSorley escaped the pocket with guys breathing down his neck. Winovich(-1, pressure -1) falls and gives McSorley some time.
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 5-1 over Half press two high Pass 6 Flare screen Peppers 3
M in a bit of trouble here as they send six at a screen; Peppers(+2) does at terrific job to blast the slot WR back and then run upfield of him to contain Sanders almost at the hash. He ends up missing the tackle, but this is one of those Peppers missed tackles that is still an excellent play. Wormley(+0.5) recovers and finishes the play. RPS -1.
O36 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-1-6 3-3 split Press two high Pass 6 Fly Clark Inc (Pen +15)
One of those downfield heaves that ends up way short and causes the WR to slow up, whereupon the CB runs into the guy for a flag. M coming in hot and doesn’t get there but Godin(+0.5) is driving through guys and there’s enough in the area for a pressure push. As for the flag, I mean, yeah, they always call this. Clark -2, cover -2 but I hate this kind of play.
O21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-1-6 3-3 split Half press one high Pass 4 Slant Lewis 11
Push pull by Wormley(+1, pressure +1) gets him through and without a quick throw it’s scramble times; Lewis(-1, cover -1) must be rusty because he gets beat here. Thomas comes up for a solid tackle.
O10 1 G Shotgun trips TE 3-2-6 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Pin and Pull Charlton 2
Charlton(+1) just drives Gesicki backwards as they’re trying to seal him. He holds Barkley up as he tries to decide which side to attack and ends up shoving Gesicki into a Barkley a few yards in the backfield. Barkley reverses field and it’s scramble drill time. Clark(+0.5) and Lewis(+0.5) are aware and delay Barkley long enough that the cavalry can rally.
O8 2 G Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press zero Pass 5 Tunnel screen Clark 8
Glasgow actually reads screen here but thinks it’s to the back and goes to the wrong side. Gedeon(-1), too, heads to the wrong side of the field and allows an OL past him. He can’t recover; Clark(-1) gets nailed by the other OL. PSU now has a blocker for Kinnel and a ton of space. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-10, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 split Half press two high Pass 5 Middle TE screen Hurst -2
Furbush in. I’m designating him a linebacker, thus the first 3-LB package of the year. Hurst(+2) is either some sort of screen spy or is just stunting direct to the area; he sheds the C and levels Gesicki on the catch. RPS +2.
O23 2 12 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Off two high Run N/A Inverted veer give Gedeon -2
M gets a little lucky here as one of the slot WRs busts, leaving Gedeon(+1, tackling +1) free run this play down. He does an impressive job of it.
O21 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 Okie Off two high Pass 4 Scramble N/A 13
Big drops for Michigan as they start backing guys out presnap. Hurst(-2, pressure -2) gets out of his gap and there’s a lane up the gut for a chunk; Michigan shuts it down short of the sticks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-0, 4 min 4th Q. PSU’s remaining two plays not charted.

No spinny guys this week.

It decidedly so.

But I can't really get up about this, you know? I mean, it's just Penn State's offensive line. I saw last year. I saw this year. They're the same thing.

I feel you. That offense looked 0% different from Hawaii or UCF with the exception of a couple of skill players, and one of those skill players only almost did something awesome. This game falls under "necessary but not sufficient" for defensive hopes. On the other hand: no busts. No events where Barkley dances around and then guts you like a fish. No deep thirds unoccupied.

Shall we list the plays on which PSU got much of anything?

Sure, it's going to be a short list.

The list:

  • Gedeon lets a shovel screen outside of him and Barkley picks up 30.
  • Michigan gets RPSed on that edge give UCF used, with a combo of man coverage and one high safety plus McCray getting blown up for 33.
  • Michigan has fancy blitz on that gets RPSed by a Barkley wheel route for 19.
  • RPSed again on a flare route that Gedeon has to try to cover from a bad position for 17.
  • Lewis beat on a slant for 11.
  • Mesh catches man coverage for 10.

This is almost entirely Michigan losing at rock-paper-scissors. Lewis rust and one bad piece of leverage from Gedeon are the only non-RPS occurrences here, and these are the only ten-yard-plus plays Michigan gave up. (They also had three pass interference calls, about which more in a bit.) RPS negatives are going to happen, especially when you've got a mad scientist like Don Brown who will do slightly dubious things in an effort to create chaos. Here McCray's got to cover Barkley out of the backfield and it's just never going to happen:

I'm totally willing to give up those chunk plays in exchange for a defense that's #1 in havoc rate and finished this game with six sacks and 13 TFLs.

I mean, the pressure number in the

TO CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES

chart

TO SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU

uh

TO HEAR THE LAMENTATION OF THE 409ERS

All right.

[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 33 8.5 1.5 6 -0.2 1.8   1.7  
Glasgow 28 3 3 1.5 0.4   2.0
Hurst 30 13 2 11 4.1 2.2   6.4  
Charlton 39 6.5   6.5  1.1 1.3   2.5   
Gary 28 3.5 3.5 1.1 -0.1   1.1  
Mone                  
Godin 31 7.5 7.5 2..1 1.1   3.2
Marshall                
Winovich 22 1.5 1 0.5 0 -0.4   -0.4
TOTAL   43.5 4.5 39         That's an incredible beating.
LB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - TOT Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Peppers 50 3.5 1 2.5 0.2 -1 0.3 -0.4  
McCray 52 4.5 5 -0.5 0 -0.2 1.3 1.2
Gedeon 55 8.5 7 1.5 2.1 -0.6 -1.1 0.4  
Bush 2                
Furbush 0                
TOTAL   16.5 13 3.5        
DB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Lewis 55 6.5 1 5.5 0.2 -0.1 1.3 1.4  
Stribling 53 6 3 3 -1.4 1.3 -0.1  
Clark 15 1 3 -2 -0.5   -1.3 -1.8  
D. Hill 50 6 1 5 0.1 0.4 1.5 2.1  
Thomas 52 3.5 3.5 0.3 -0.1 0.1 0.4  
Watson 2    
Kinnel 23   1.7 -0.1 -0.3 1.4  
L. Hill                  
TOTAL   23 8 15          
Metrics
Pressure   35 3 +32 lol wut
Coverage   19 9 +10 PIs discussed before.
Tackling   5 2 +3 Solid job on Barkley.
RPS   11 11 0 Got hit a few times, hit back.

That is a beatdown for the ages by the defensive line.

Let's glory in the chaos.

It wasn't all Brown. Michigan opened the game with a couple of regular-ass rushes where there are no blitzes, stunts, or games, and got two sacks on the first series. The first was catalyzed by Glasgow tossing away the RG and flushing into Godin's contain:

The second we talked about in the game column:

Taco pushing the pocket closed. We've talked about keeping your rush lanes a lot the past couple weeks since UCF burned Michigan repeatedly on scrambles. This space projected that Taco Charlton would provide a big upgrade in that department and it was so: despite facing a slippery Tate Forcier-esque quarterback, Michigan allowed just two scrambles*, both of them on third down and short of the sticks.

Charlton didn't take long to demonstrate his proficiency, as he was an unheralded reason that Wormley got a near safety on Penn State's opening drive:

2016 Michigan vs Penn State 1st Quarter.mp4_snapshot_05.50_[2016.09.25_23.50.55]

This play started on the eight and Wormley gets around the corner at maybe 9 yards, which isn't quite enough to get to a QB who can step up. McSorley cannot because of the way Taco tends to rush the QB:

2016 Michigan vs Penn State 1st Quarter.mp4_snapshot_05.50_[2016.09.25_23.51.56]

Taco bulls a guy back and then pushes inside, as he usually does, and Wormley now has an environment where his edge rush can pay off. McSorley took off a ton in this game and Michigan was able to get sacks most of the time that happened. I think we can put that issue from the UCF game to rest.

Michigan's DL straight-up dominated this OL even when Brown wasn't scheming his way to free rushers up the gut.

But he also did that:

That's the flipside of the RPS plays noted above. That weird, slightly dubious blitz has guys backing out from the LOS on the snap, so they're in poor position to cover various routes. Doesn't matter since Winovich has a free path to the QB's chest.

Hurst. Dang.

Yeah, any concerns that he'd have lingering effects from the injury that held him out of the opener are kaput. He crushed Gesicki on a TE screen; this sack is full-on teleporting Maurice Hurst:

And he retains the OL-crushing burst that he displayed last year. This third and short stop rivals some of the whoopings he handed out in last year's edition of this game.

His ability and the frequent blitzing by Brown are a good combo. On that Gedeon TFL discussed above it felt like PSU was really worried about what Hurst might do and that helped open up Gedeon's path to the backfield. Michigan gets a lot of guys through because DL are freaking the OL out.

I see your linebacker numbers came back to earth.

To some extent. Gedeon did rack up a number minuses for issues against Barkley. McCray got clubbed by a wide receiver on another play that burst outside of him.

On the other hand, Gedeon clubbed Gesicki some:

Everyone clubs Gesicki, who is an awful blocker. I'm still liable to hand out a +2 whenever a guy gets off a block and makes an authoritative tackle. Later Gedeon would cue up a blitz and get a TFL.

 

His timing on that blitz was excellent, and that's been a theme so far this year. Michigan's been very good at holding their blitzes until the OL makes a call and commits to it. While part of this is an artifact of the spreads they're going up against—which generally indicate when they're snapping the ball by the center's look down and then back up—they've done a good job of waiting out the sideline checks and then going after it. One dollar Don Brown's LB coaching has a special emphasis on reading when the snap will be and timing those blitzes up.

How was Lewis on his return?

He got beat on a slant and was otherwise Jourdan Lewis. His "I'm back" play was a combination bust/terrible playcall; he ends up unblocked on a tunnel screen and makes a fourth-down TFL:

1) Gesicki probably busts here as he's the only guy with vague shot at Lewis; 2) you can't run a tunnel screen at a guy lined up two yards from the LOS; 3) Lewis doesn't back off an inch before the WR breaks to the tunnel because he ain't scurred of this dude accelerating past him.

Lewis's follow-up was equally impressive, as an edge pitch threatens the bit of the Michigan run defense that's been a little shaky so far. He zips past his blocker and shuts the thing down:

Want him to tackle, of course, but that's still an excellent play. Don Brown said Lewis was the best run-D corner he'd been around, and early returns are good.

Lewis remains Lewis downfield:

He said he was rusty and holding on this play, but rubbin's racin'.

Are we worried about these pass interference calls at all?

No. The only one that was kind of bad was Clark's. That was a standard vastly-underthrown-ball-causes-CB-to-hit-WR-as-he-slows call. Just about everyone is susceptible to those. Also, Clark's injury renders that sadly moot.

The two on Stribling were not egregious. The first was extremely dubious:

Both guys are handfighting. Both guys are looking for the ball. If you were to look at stills once the two make contact you'd have no idea who was the WR and who was the CB. Then Godwin shoves Stribling behind him. I don't think it's OPI. It's not PI. I have no problem with Stribling playing this route like this for the rest of time.

The second he probably gets away with and gets in some sort of PBU except for some bad luck: the receiver falls down.

Stribling does have that arm around him at the crucial moment and you have to throw the flag, but that strikes me as bad luck more than anything else.

More important than the two sketchy flags was Stribling's overall performance, which was excellent. He did blow a "crack replace"* on one of PSU's big chunk runs; in coverage he was impeccable. He broke up a hitch, and he was the catalyst for the sad field goal with a great contest on a well-thrown fade:

Godwin is highly legit—CBS has him a top ten WR prospect for next year's draft—and couldn't do much of anything. That was largely Stribling. PFF had him the top CB in the Big Ten prior to this game and he's probably still that. Preseason hype gets one point for Stribling; he's rounded into the excellent corner he's always almost been.

*[When a receiver goes and blocks a linebacker you have to come off him and get to the outside run that's coming your way.]

Rashan Gary didn't do a ton. I am disappoint.

I mean no but any individual DL in this game only got about 30 snaps, and they weren't just competing against Penn State for stats but their own teammates. Also, Gary did this terrifying thing:

You know how we're impressed when the nose tackle gets outside to help make tackles? Yeah, that's a guy three further gaps away getting there.

Same with Peppers. No TFLs! Overrated!

That was the one bad thing about this game. I was irritated on the Winovich sack because Peppers was coming around the outside clean. Can we all agree to let Peppers get all the stats please?

Anyway, Peppers's influence was more subtle in this game. You'll note that the guys getting edged on those outside runs are not him; he's moving around and Penn State's sideline checks refused to test him on the edge except once:

Michigan sends a big blitz and catches a flare screen that should be a problem until Peppers wrecks his guy and contains. Keep in mind what's happening to the Penn State offensive line in this game and their clear need to do anything that does not involve them; Peppers is just as dominant a matchup on the edge.

I want the punt return. It will make me feel better.

Fine:

That's just easy with a huge kick from a backed-up punt formation. Stribling and I think Hill both kick out their guys; you can see from the endzone cam that Washington manages to put his dude on the ground not ten yards from the LOS. Peppers has a lane direct up the gut, just like his TD.

No safety busts! /waves tiny punt flag

No, and while they weren't tested much because of the line's dominance, when they were they did well. Thomas was called into duty three or four times to shut down Barkley in space. Once he made a tackle:

And the other couple of times he just escorted him out of bounds. This doesn't look like much of a play, but any time you get a guy that dangerous all alone you're doing well to get him out after his chunk and live to fight another day:

Thomas looks coached to give up an extra ten or fifteen yards as long as Barkley is forced out of bounds. He does so.

I mostly clipped this because it's a brilliant throw by McSorley that almost pays off, but Thomas does stay with one of the quickest guys in the country and has an impact on the eventual incompletion:

Thomas showed up where he was supposed to and did the things he was supposed to. With some of last week's issues on Peppers his early season trajectory now seems much less scary.

Hill was less visible but did make a badass stop on a screen:

That's Gesicki again so degree of difficulty is lower than it looks. Any play in space on Barkley while being blocked is a damn good play.

I also liked this  bit of coverage where he is aware enough to get around a pick and runs right under the intended route:

Easy to see an INT there. As it is, McSorley has to bug out against the rush and doinks a ref as he throws it away.

This was another game where a lot of tight camera angles obscured the safeties, so I don't have much other than vague impressions and the above clips. All I can say is that there didn't appear to be a single issue with either guy all game. Easy outing, yes. Still important to cut down on that bust rate as we go along here; this was encouraging after the Colorado game.

Heroes?

Pick a DL. I thought everyone in the secondary save Clark had a great day.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nope.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and the future?

Lewis, Taco, and Hurst are all full go. Good luck with this (almost) fully operational battle station.

The DL is living up to expectations. Incredibly deep with Godin's emergence as a senior.

Clark's loss is mostly going to be felt on passing downs. I'm surprised that he only got 15 snaps before his injury; they basically shuffled him to the Watson snaps and had both other guys full time. So he was certainly third in the pecking order. Still, Ioved the possibility of having Lewis as a slot corner. Now that's not happening unless one of the freshman starts to blow up.

Michigan had their assignments down. I mean, probably. They might have busted a few things that we didn't see because McSorley was running away from the Mongol hordes. But nothing was blitheringly open aside from some RPS stuff.

Gedeon had some issues with Barkley in space. Inevitable, I'd imagine. Curtis Samuel could provide similar issues.

Comments

Big Boutros

September 28th, 2016 at 3:25 PM ^

I think Mike Gesicki is playing the wrong sport. 6'6", strong, agile, great leaping ability, runs like a gazelle. He could probably start at SF for Penn State's basketball team. As a football player he is the single worst blocker I have ever witnessed. Snap after snap he was either crushed into the mantle of the earth or he wandered away from the play looking for blueberries.

superstringer

September 28th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

How many future NFL players are on this D?  Maybe 6 on the line almost for sure.  Peppers.  Lewis for sure; probably Stribling.  That's 9, and if they are joined by WInovich, either safety, either other backer, Clark, etc., it could exceed a dozen.  Easily.  And not even counting the young guys like Long who aren't even playing much at all right now.

I picture the Badger offensive braintrust this week watching film, and shaking their head going, uh oh WTF are we going to do against THAT.  That is not an offense with the tools to break down a defense with speed or talent (a la Louisville).  They want to truck you, but... a truck dont pull a Death Star, as the old Southern saying goes.

Needs

September 28th, 2016 at 4:07 PM ^

They're going to try to do what they did against LSU. Try to keep it close, hold the ball, rely on their D, and win a tight game. 

They've got probably the second best TE in the league (Fumigali) and two decent possession WRs, including Wheelwright, who's giant. They almost have to win by passing, though, because their running attack's been mediocre. 

Plus M's D makes it really hard to stay on schedule. Think we'll see a lot of first down passing from Wisconsin and a lot of punts. If M can get an early lead, the D should be able to salt this game away fairly comfortably. 

dragonchild

September 28th, 2016 at 4:50 PM ^

Wiscy has a good back 7 so I think they like their odds with their defense on the field.  The problem is that they may not be able to keep their offense ON the field.  If they're realistic they'll know that, so they'll try to drag UM into the sludgefart.

The tough thing is getting a read on the relative competition.  It looks like Colorado's better than people thought and LSU was worse, but outside those Michigan hasn't really played anybody and MSU isn't a slouch.  This is the sort of game I'd never ever bet on.

Brhino

September 28th, 2016 at 3:44 PM ^

Brian I think you've messed up the last drive a little bit.  You show PSU picking up 13 yards on 3rd and 14, and then you declare punt.  But they went for it on fourth down, got it, ran one more play, and then the interception.

Brhino

September 28th, 2016 at 5:19 PM ^

Their actual last drive was two plays, and resulted in a fumble.  I assume this is what he's referring to as "PSU’s remaining two plays not charted."

However, the drive that he IS charting, ending with the 13-yard gain on 3rd and 14, did not end with a punt as labelled.  It's missing a 3 yard pass on 4th and 1, then a rush for no gain, then the interception.

At a minimum there's a minor labelling error, if he decided to stop charting mid-drive.  Not sure why you wouldn't finish the drive though.

 

The Man Down T…

September 28th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

The dude can fly and make moves.  What the defense did to him is no small feat.  He's the kind of runner that can turn a game and by and large the Michigan Defense shut him down and rendered him harmless.  Well, mostly harmless..  :)  

Needs

September 28th, 2016 at 4:10 PM ^

The PSU OL is bad and their offense seemed to be really slow running the zone-read (if those were actually reads ... I never remember their QB keeping). That meant that they never really got a chance to option the DE because the DTs and LBs were already in the backfield.

Kevin13

September 28th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

Have been hearing good things about him and that the coaches are high on him.  What I did see he didn't look very good and seemed a little lost. Most of that could be just first game action and needing to get into the flow.

Kind of wish the coaches would work backups in a little earlier and get them a little more playing time in these blowouts. We loose a lot of guys next year and would like to see the backups getting a little more experience.

DutchWolverine

September 28th, 2016 at 4:10 PM ^

Good write up.  While watching the game, I kept thinking that Peppers was having a relatively quiet game.  Didn't seem to be at the line of scrimmage as much, and certainly wasn't blitzing up the middle as much.  This helps to explain why it seemed that way.

J.

September 28th, 2016 at 4:42 PM ^

Yes, it's offensive pass interference, but it's almost never called provided that the receiver makes at least a token attempt to disengage and continue running his "route."  In this case, the design of the play drew the PSU receiver directly into McCray, but he then disengaged and continued running his route.  This will almost never be called.

Goggles Paisano

September 28th, 2016 at 5:59 PM ^

Yeah he could really get rattled early in this one.  I can't see them being able to throw downfield.  It will be a lot of dink and dunk and trying to get the run game going.  They need to hit Hornibrook early and keep on hammering him all game long.  I really like the way we matchup against them.  

harmon98

September 28th, 2016 at 4:37 PM ^

An embarrassment of riches on the DL. And it sounds like Mone and L. Marshall are becoming ready to roll as well. Goodness.

A point I'd noticed on that play Dymonte made on Barkley was on the previous play he'd tweaked something in his leg/knee/ankle and tapped his helmet as he wanted a blow. He doesn't get that respite and gets locked up with Speedy Gonzalez one-on-one and makes the play. 

Hats off to Thomas as he sucked it up and delivered.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

September 28th, 2016 at 5:13 PM ^

That first fourth-down stop, Lewis on the tunnel screen, I think Lewis's situational smarts are being underrated here.  I don't think he merely wasn't scared of the guy outrunning him, I think he knows very well that a fourth-down play is likely to be a high-percentage throw - that is, a screen of some kind, not a downfield post route kind of thing.  The receiver's first steps are clearly to try and back off the corner, and Lewis doesn't bite because he knows that.

Also, I don't think it's a bust by Gesicki.  Gesicki is the faster guy - I think he's going downfield to block the safety on purpose.  Maybe he should've recognized that Lewis didn't bite, and bump him off or something, but I think his assignment clearly is downfield.  #59 is supposed to get over and block Lewis, but Lewis screwed that up by not biting on the downfield steps and being at the receiver before 59 could make it.