Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian October 21st, 2016 at 2:26 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: Rutgers's total yardage is like Matt's rates: absurdly low! Their general organization is like Matt's competition: disorganized beyond belief! Your pants after watching the Peppers punt return are like your pants when applying for a mortgage with Matt: optional but discouraged!

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt 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.

FORMATION NOTES: Rutgers was all gun and mostly three-wide. Michigan responded with two different approaches. One was their conventional 4-2-5. Here Thomas and Peppers are over the slot receivers with out of the picture as the free safety.


The other was a 3-3-5 package; since I consider Peppers a safety those were listed as 3-2-6. Similar packages with Furbush were labeled as a 3-3-5.


Michigan had this setup, which is close to a stack. They had others where a safety crept down to an OLB spot that were kind of a 3-4; I called those "faux 3-4." They had some 5-1 lineups with two LBs on the end of the LOS and the DL folded inside. This package comes in for much more discussion after the jump.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Obviously there was a massive pile of it. The starting line only got about 20 snaps each, with Hurst getting 26 to lead all DL. Gary, Charlton, Wormley, Winovich, and Glasgow all got around 20. Godin got just 12. Jones, Onwenu, and Kemp also got late snaps. Lawrence Marshall did not play and did not travel.

Starting LBs went the whole way until the starting D got lifted; backups were as expected with Furbush at SAM and Bush and Wroblewski at ILB. Wangler got in very late, as did Mbem-Bosse.

Secondary as per usual. Metellus, Hudson, and Kinnel split snaps at S with Kinnel getting more time since he plays on passing downs with the regular D. David Long got far fewer snaps than Lavert Hill... still affected by that injury?

[After the JUMP: oh man]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 PA post Lewis Inc
Someone in the safety corps busts as this jet motion again gets the secondary looking at each other and unsure of what to do. Thomas goes with it the whole way but that’s hopeless; Peppers is creeping to the LOS in case he has to react to the jet. He ends up reading and then dropping but it’s unrealistic for him to cover the jet and a deep third, so I think Thomas(-2, cover -2) is supposed to swap responsibilities. Doesn’t matter as the throw is behind the WR and Lewis(+2, cover +2) can catch up and get a PBU. Clean pocket for Laviano(pressure -2).
O33 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Half press two deep Run N/A Jet sweep Charlton 6
This is a touch pass and therefore the only passing yards gained for Rutgers all night. McCray(+1) on the edge again; this time he gets his head around to the guy blocking him and blasts him, forcing a cutback away from his lead blocker. There’s room because Charlton(-2) freelanced and went inside of the LT, who tried to cut him; with the rest of the DL slanting to the field that can’t be right. Thomas(+0.5) fills well and tackles to set up third down.
O39 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 5 TE drag Charlton Inc
Charlton(+2, pressure +2) gets it back by going ole on the RT and jetting at Laviano, forcing him to give a ton of ground and turf the ball at his WR’s feet. This was intended as a drag route behind the OL and looked covered(+1) by a bevy of DBs.
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 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Half press two high Run N/A Trap Godin 8
This is actually a nice-looking run play. Rutgers whams both Wormley and Godin(-2), with Godin getting way upfield. Glasgow(-1) got comboed through and locked out; his guy can get to Gedeon. Peppers(+1) has an OL coming to him free. He extends his arms and then gets off that block once he sees where the RB has committed. He ends up giving up some YAC because he’s 210 and meeting this guy flat footed but this does not get to the S because of him.
O33 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O28 2 7 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 Dime even Press one high Pass 4 Out Charlton Inc
McCray motions out to cover the back. Not relevant; supposed to be a rub out against man coverage that doesn’t get the rub so Hill(+0.5, cover +1) will tackle on the catch. Charlton(+1, pressure +1) again bursts into Laviano to force a bad throw; pass sails.
O28 3 7 Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 Dime over Press one high Pass 4 Sack Charlton -8
Charlton(+3, pressure +3) with a speed rush that he dips around the corner at seven yards. He clobbers Laviano.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Okie Half press two deep Pass 5 Post Thomas Inc
Three man line with Charlton lined up as a nominal LB but this evolves into basically an okie look. M sends five and the pocket just holds up(pressure -1), but things are collapsing. Laviano takes a deep shot at a post that Thomas(+2, cover +2) is over the top of. Possible he has a chance if he throws it more to the edge of the field but as constituted this throw has no shot; Thomas gets a PBU.
O37 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Lead zone Glasgow 2
Glasgow(+2) hammers the LG back and disengages to tackle the back at the LOS. Back impressively grinds out a couple YAC in a very bad situation. Wormley(+0.5) chipped in by closing the hole.
O35 3 8 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 5 Rollout out Lewis Inc
This is generally a play you use to convert third and short but they might be thinking about going for it on fourth down. They don’t get any yards, so moot. Lewis(+1, cover +1) is so quick he can get around an attempted pick and still get in position to possibly intercept this ball; it’s well wide. Charlton(+0.5) did a good job to keep the QB in the pocket.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Iso Hurst -4
I guess this is two high but w/ Peppers at about eight yards he’s kind of in the box, given the fact that he is Peppers. Anyway. Jet sweep fake, trying to run back underneath it up the gut. Hurst(+3) blows past the guard, splitting a double team intended for him in a flash, and tackles almost on the handoff.
O7 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Half press two deep Pass N/A Throwaway Gary Inc
An attempt at a rollout, but Gary(+2, pressure +2) runs through the TE trying to block him and gets sufficient pressure to induce a throw to nobody in particular. WRs in the area, I guess.
O7 3 14 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Nickel standup DT Half press one high Pass 3 Dig Gary Inc
Reasonable amount of time as Gary can’t get around the corner until about ten yards. Hurst(+1) is clearly just reading and reacting to QB motion; QB moves up as the clock goes off and he nearly sacks. Laviano can find a receiver just short of the sticks but throws it wide. Cover -1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q. Rutgers switches QBs.
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 one high Run N/A Inverted veer give Peppers -2
RB here is actually the WR on a jet motion. M is running a blitz that sends Gedeon and loops McCray to the veer side. They have a lead blocker for Peppers so they’re probably reading Gedeon and once he dives in that’s the give. Peppers(+2) duly jumps around the blocker for a TFL with McCray(+1) getting to his spot and finishing the job. RPS +2.
O23 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3 stack Half press two deep Pass 5 Throwaway Thomas Inc
Thomas(+2, pressure +2) creeps down but is still six yards off the LOS on the snap. His blitz is still effective because of the long PA and his excellent speed. He’s in the QB’s face instantly and forces a throwaway. McCray(+1) was going to do the same if Thomas wasn’t there. RPS +2.
O23 3 12 Shotgun trips bunch 3-2-6 3-3 split Press one high Pass 5 Sack Gedeon -9
Peppers(+1) is sent off the edge and spooks the QB into moving around, which will not go well for him. Gedeon(+3, pressure +3) sent on a blitz and runs over the back impressively for a sack; Wormley(+0.5) had worked his way to the QB as well and helps clean up. Peppers draws a holding call as well.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 3 min 2nd Q. Allen punts his next punt one the one.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O1 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 3-2-6 Faux 3-4 Off two deep Run N/A Inside zone McCray 4
I don’t get this alignment. They’ve probably got a package they’re working through here but this is a time to go off script. Winovich(-1) gets blasted inside because he’s playing 3-4 DE, which is not his game, and that provides enough room for the back to evade McCray(+1), who blitzed and got inside the LT. Decent gain; Gedeon(+0.5) scrapes over and cleans up. RPS -1.
O5 2 6 Shotgun twins twin TE 3-2-6 Faux 3-4 Off two deep Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 1
LB level appears to get mixed up with McCray and Gedeon running different plays and into each other; doesn’t matter as Hurst(+1) ripped to a gap between two OL and then held up to a double; Gary(+1) helps push the hole close and set up a third down.
O6 3 4 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Mone 1
M stunting the DTs and Mone(-2, pressure -2) never gets around; he acts like a drive guy instead of a looper and I’m assuming Hurst is correct here. Mone then compounds matters by falling. W Gary(+1) threatening and forcing a move up in the pocket Mone would be in a good spot for a sack; instead it’s a scramble for a first down until Hill(+2, tackling +2) puts his helmet on the ball and forces a turnover.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 14-0, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Counter? Glasgow -1
RG pulls around the RT as the tight end dives the other way. This could be a counter. It could be a bust. It is not identifiable. Anyway, Glasgow(+1) is unblocked. He redirects impressively to get a tackle in. Godin(+1) shot back an OL and helps stack up the back so he can’t gain yards.
O17 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Godin 0
On the motion Hill shoots down and Thomas goes back to be centerfield; Gedeon fires upfield and finds himself blocked because he didn’t time it up right. QB keeps and this is unsuccessful. For one, he falls.For two, Godin(+1) held up to a double and Wormley(+0.5) shuffled down and the OL ran by him and those two can converge.
O17 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 4-1-6 Nickel even Press one high Pass 5 Throwaway Peppers Inc
Gedeon threatens blitz, backing out; Peppers(+1, pressure +3) nonchalantly moseys to the line and then blitzes; RU doesn’t pick it up, with the back hilariously ignoring Peppers. Peppers blasts the QB, who throws it at nobody. Close enough to avoid a grounding flag. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 3-2 Dime Half press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon 2
Blitz gets this with Peppers(+1) coming off the corner; he doesn’t tip it until just before the snap. WR points him out but too late. Gedeon(+1) sent as well. He feints outside and then jukes the RT, beating him to the inside and getting a tackle in, along with Peppers. Gary(+0.5) helped constrict space by driving his opponent back. Back manages to squeeze out some YAC. Gedeon probably could have taken him on more squarely.
O27 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3 stack Off two deep Run N/A Jet sweep Gedeon -6
M creeps Thomas down and threatens with McCray; Gedeon has slid to the field a bit. On the snap McCray and Thomas both head outside, with Thomas(+1) getting outside a WR and drawing both other lead block. McCray(+1) also extends around his blocker to the outside. Gedeon is clean; Gedeon(+2) is shot out of a cannon at the jet action and eats the dude for lunch in the backfield. RPS +3.
O21 3 14 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie Half press one high Pass 4 Post Gary Inc
This ends up well off target; WR is covered(+1) by Lewis(+0.5) but no play on the ball for either guy. Pocket just barely holds up but Gary(+1, pressure +1) gets around at 8 yards and may impact the accuracy here? No replay so dunno. Hurst(+1) also chucked his dude away and any delay is a crunching sack.
Drive Notes: Punt, 29-0, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Half press two high Run N/A Arc read give Charlton 5
Peppers backs out from a SAM spot to a nickel spot late as M swaps which safety is SS and which is FS. RU gets M in RPS here but then they blow it. Clear keep read for the QB. He gives. When Godin(+1) and Glasgow(+1) close the door on the inside zone, RB just runs the QB’s path,and this still works. Charlton(-2) gives up the edge here after shuffling on the zone read. Arc block gets Thomas; Lewis(+1, tackling +1) gets pancaked by the WR and then somehow gets up and gets a great tackle in.
O20 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Faux 3-4 Half press one high Run N/A Zone read keeper Lewis 3
Checks from both sides and M has a corner blitz on. Lewis(+0.5) is maybe a little conservative here as he comes in to take on the QB but he gets to him and tackles after a modest gain. RPS +1.
O23 3 2 Shotgun twins H 3-2-6 Faux 3-4 Press zero Run N/A Inside zone Godin -1
M loads up the front so the DL get single blocked and win. Godin(+2) is the NT and drives, discards, and tackles. Gedeon(+1) blitzes, sheds the C, gets to another OL, and holds up to him. Wormley(+1) drives into the backfield as well; Charlton holds up just fine. Pile of men. No room. Punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 36-0, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Run N/A Split zone Mone 0
Gary(+0.5) stands up the RT and shoves him back to constrict space; Mone(+1) rocks his guy back and flows down the line to the ball. Hurst(+1) shot his guy back at first and did get blown back by a double eventually but this took so much time the first guy he hit is still in the backfield when the cavalry arrives.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A QB counter Mone 3
Jet sweep fake with power getting run the other way. Looks like RU wants to hit the A gap; Mone(+2) dismisses the LG and then sets to take on the pulling G in the backfield, cutting off the intended flight path. QB tries to redirect around him; Mone impressively matches that and forces another backfield cut. He can’t get that one—nobody’s perfect—but has given the rest of the D time to rally. Hurst(-1) got sealed away and still hasn’t gotten back; McCray(+0.5) is free and manages to redirect from the fake to make a tackle. RPS -1; this probably works for a good gain if Mone doesn’t beast up here.
O28 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime even Press two high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O23 3 12 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone read keeper   1
A give up and punt. M sent America’s Double A Twist Blitz and is in pure man so there’s not much support here. Gary(+0.5) is able to bend the QB a little bit and buy some time. Peppers(+1) flows hard and gets there; Hill(+1) gets off a block to tackle with Peppers at the sideline.
Drive Notes: Punt, 43-0, EO1H.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 5 Rollout throwaway Gedeon Inc
Even though he barely gets touched this is impressive from Gedeon(+2). He’s blitzing at the C but aborts when he sees the rollout and ends up shooting the gap between the LT and LG, getting to the QB on a play specifically designed to avoid pressure(+2). QB has nothing as Lewis(+1) and Hill(+1) are on the short WRs(cover +2) and he punts it OOB.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3 split Press one high Run N/A QB zone stretch Wormley -4
Peppers over the slot and Kinnel as your nominal SAM. Wormley(+3) shaded just inside the LT; he goes right under the LG as they try to reach him and gets a thundering TFL. Glasgow(+1) looped behind as Wormley and Glasgow stunted; Peppers(+1) shot to the backfield to constrict space. RPS +1.
O19 3 14 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Dime standup DT Off two deep Pass 4 Sack Charlton -7
Charlton(+3, pressure +3) again zips around the RT and sacks the QB almost before he has a shot to survey the field. Crazy thing is that Wormley(+1) had also driven to nearly sack.
Drive Notes: Punt, 43-0, 13 min 3rd Q. Furbush gets in on the next drive and I’m considering him LB. Thus 3-3-5 instead of 3-2-6.
O29 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 Faux 3-4 Off two deep Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 4
Mostly backups except Stribling and Thomas are still in. Same blitz M has been running with the slot guy (now Furbush) coming along with a LB. RU G does a good job to feel the air he’s about to release to and stop to pick off Gary. This is just enough to get the back through a crack in the line. Hurst(+1) is able to get off a block and get an ankle tackle attempt anyway to hold it down. RPS -1.
O33 2 6 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 Faux 3-4 Off two deep Pass 4 PA throwaway Furbush Inc
PA that wants to hit a slant right behind the LB level; Furbush(+1, cover +1) backs out into the lane and then continues to an in route as Wroblewski picks up the slant. QB starts scrambling . Gary(+0.5) is able to make up the ground and force a throwaway at the sideline.
O33 3 6 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Nickel over Off two deep Pass 4 Rollout throwaway Gary Inc
Cover 2 works great here as Hudson(+1) undercuts a slant and Hill is right there for a flat route that never comes(cover +2). Gary(+1, pressure +1) doesn’t get cut off and again makes a hit just after the QB dumps the ball.
Drive Notes: Punt, 50-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-3-4 4-3 even Off one high Run N/A Lead zone Wroblewski 6
Wroblewski(-1) blitzes and gets caught as the TE finds him and hits him. RB ably cuts behind this and that’s one more gap than M has a guy for on the backside. RPS -1.
O29 2 4 Shotgun trips TE 4-3-4 4-3 under Press one high Run N/A Midline zone read Hurst 2
Gary(+1) is left alone and forms up to prevent a pull and the QB running for a nice gain; Hurst(+2) fires under the OL and makes the back stop yards behind the LOS. He cuts behind Hurst and his blocker, getting swallowed by both guys. Good job by him just to get anything.
O31 3 3 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 split Press zero Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O26 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel over Off two deep Pass 4 Scramble Metellus 1
Bush(-1) tips a blitz and then loses the plot on the rush, giving up the edge. Little less of a problem on third and medium when M is playing zone behind it. Good time (pressure -2) but better coverage(+3); Hurst eventually comes around the corner to force a scramble. Metellus(+1) roars up from out of the picture to thwack the QB near the LOS.
Drive Notes: Punt, 57-0, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 Nickel over Off two deep Pass 5 Dumpoff Furbush -1
Furbush(+2, pressure +2) moves down late and comes off the edge, juking the TE and getting in on the QB fast. Bubble action is supposed to open up deeper routes; it doesn’t (cover +2); QB dumps it to the bubble fake guy, who is quickly swarmed. This is the other Rutgers completion.
O23 2 11 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-2 Dime Half press two deep Pass 5 Scramble Winovich 7
Corner blitz and Bush comes as well; QB decides to take off up the middle and gets a good chunk as Winovich(-2) gets controlled by his guy and can’t get off the block to slow the QB down. This isn’t a lane issue, it’s a Winovich dragooned into being a virtual DT issue. RPS -1.
O30 3 4 Shotgun twins twin TE 4-3-4 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A QB lead zone Winovich 2
Entire right side of the line gets out and this will be a first down except for Winovich(+2), who takes on the RB block and comes back off off it to get an ankle tackle. This feels like a bust from someone as M is massively outnumbered but with mostly backups on the field I could not hazard a guess as to who it might be.
Drive Notes: Punt, 57-0, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Half press one high Run N/A Split zone Winovich -1
Michigan moves some guys late and Hudson comes off the edge clean as RU busts on the pickup. Gary(+1) shoots inside the LG and forces a cutback; Winovich(+2) shoves and then sheds the TE to TFL.
O18 2 11 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Off one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary -1
Furbush comes down off the corner on a blitz and is untouched; he’s the backside end, basically, with Gary(+1) slanting between two OL and Wroblewski(+1) timing up a blitz well to help tackle at the LOS.
O17 3 11 Shotgun trips bunch TE 3-3-5 Nickel over Off two deep Pass 5 Sack Hurst -4
LG tries to pass Hurst off to the LT as he goes a gap outside where he’d usually go; Hurst(+2, pressure +2) powers through him after reading the LG’s intentions and pressures up the gut. QB flushed; Metellus(+1) finishes the play with a big hit. Gotta wrap up though.
Drive Notes: Punt, 64-0, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack Half press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 12
This feels like a bust from Bush(-2). Blitz from the field and the line slants to that blitz so there’s a ton of dudes on the backside. Bush patrols… on the backside. If he’s to the other side of this play he’s reading and reacting totally unblocked for a minimal gain. Since he’s not, a first down. Fie! Shame!
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Half press one high Run N/A Down G Metellus 0
That run was not a trend. Metellus(+1) blitzes off the edge and dips his shoulder to get around the G who popped out on him; he’ll tackle at the LOS. Aiding is Jones(+1), who dove under the LT and picks off a pulling G, forcing a cutback and allowing Metellus time to rally from behind. Onwenu(+0.5) was generally unmovable in the center.
O32 2 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-4 stack Off one high Pass 4 Bubble screen Hudson Inc
Hudson(+1, pressure +1) is sent into the box to play SAM, basically. He blitzes and deflects a screen sent over his head.
O32 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 split Press one high Pass 4 Slant Furbush Inc
Fancy blitz package has a couple of guys back off and Furbush gets in more or less clean; Kinnel(-1, cover -1) gets beat on a slant and QB just misses.
Drive Notes: Punt, 71-0, 7 min 4th Q. Last drive is just stunt casting of Dawson and Onwenu as DL on a three man line with a WDE on which blitzes either get home or don’t, so goes uncharted.


Yep. Can I point something out?

I assume this is what you're going to do for the rest of this post.

This play was the only Rutgers completion to gain yards.

You'll note it's not actually a passing play. This was the other completion.

Michigan literally gave up –1 passing yards.

Was there anything of interest other than the various staggering numbers that you can throw out?

Yes. Rutgers is a homeless man's Ohio State and a lot of the concepts Michigan saw are parts of the OSU offense. Michigan was particularly effective at defending various iterations of the inverted veer. They spent large parts of the game in a 3-3-5 (that's really a 3-2-6 with Peppers on the field) deploying various anti-spread blitzes. Here the two linebackers exchange their expected responsibilities:

McCray ends up the player tasked with the gap just inside Peppers, and he gets through free because two guys go for Gedeon. Better teams are more likely to pick this up, but giving the opposition an opportunity to screw up like this is a Don Brown staple. The exchange causes one guy to block air, and it also induces the wrong read from the QB since he sees the playside backer dive in. (Also Peppers doesn't need the help after hopping around a RB trying to lead out.)

And sometimes it feels like Don Brown has downloaded you. On the next play after this the jet motion is met with Thomas blitzing from the backside, which is the perfect response to what Rutgers has on:

Don Brown feels that play action coming since it's the next part of the script.

Later the 3-3-5 would dial up a blitz against the jet sweep on which Peppers and Thomas occupied three guys to the outside and Gedeon was the spectacular beneficiary:

I watched this game and I was like "huh... so that's how the stack is supposed to work." Michigan's blitz packages from it bought them free hitters a ton. The Rutgers caveat is only applies so much when I'm not sure how the offense makes their play work if they eat this blitz.

Similarly, Michigan got both guys who stunted to the QB on a QB lead outside zone—another OSU staple. Here Michigan has tucked the DEs inside for a "double eagle" formation, and that alignment adjustment gets Wormley through. The loop around is also good for Glasgow, but unnecessary:

OSU will be better than Rutgers at all these things. They are starting a freshman guard, though, and the panoply of different looks should remain effective.

I expect to see this package against OSU. Not full-time, since flipping between fronts will help Michigan keep OSU off balance. Ross Fulton discussed this in the aftermath of the Wisconsin game, where OSU struggled early against the 3-4 but downloaded it in the second half:

The odd front limits Ohio State’s ability to create double teams and attack the A-gap bubble with its base tight zone run play. The Badgers frequently blitzed the inside linebacker to the halfback side to further constrict inside running lanes....

But following halftime, Ohio State had 100-percent drive efficiency for the remainder of the contest – meaning that every Buckeye drive created a scoring opportunity. Like every other scheme, cover 6 has weaknesses – particularly in field side force support.

Wisconsin had minimized this weakness with its overhang outside linebackers. But Meyer and offensive coordinator Ed Warinner solved this puzzle with Bash– Ohio State’s primary run play for the remainder of the game. Bash stands for backside sweep, and consists of tight zone read to the quarterback with the halfback running a sweep away from the offensive line action.

As we saw last year, if you keep running the same thing against OSU they will adjust and find your weak spot. I expect Michigan to alternate fronts extensively; this game was a proving ground for their stack, and it's off to a good start.

It's not that this particular approach is going to win against the spread every time, it's that the ever-shifting pile of looks is difficult to block correctly. You'll note the difference between Brown and Durkin here. Durkin picked his thing and stuck with it despite the warning sign versus Indiana; Brown is already diversifying with a spread-run oriented defense that Michigan will continue to refine for the next month.

As for the individual player grades, the






one for each first down


The chart is pretty much like you'd expect:

[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 21 7.5   7.5 1.0 1.9   3.3 Big PFF number in tiny number of snaps.
Glasgow 17 5 1 4 2.0 0.5   2.6 Same
Hurst 26 11 1 10 0.9 2.9   3.9 Same
Charlton 21 9.5 4 5.5 -0.4 3.3   3.0 Gave up the edge twice, but two insta-sacks
Gary 24 11   11 1.4 1.3   2.8 Did a lot of subtle things well without having a huge impact play.
Mone 8 3 2 1 1.0 0.4   1.4 Coming along.
Godin 12 5   5 0.5 -0.3   0.3  
Winovich 28 4 3 1 1.0 -0.8   0.3  
Jones 6 1   1 0.5 -0.1   0.4
TOTAL   57 11 46         Weekly absurd blowout.
LB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - TOT Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Peppers 33 8   8 1.7 1.1 0.2 3.1 Edge terror returns.
McCray 32 4.5   4.5 0.9 -0.1 0.2 0.9  
Gedeon 33 9.5   9.5 3.0 1.3 0.2 4.5 Crushing sack, lightning TFL.
Bush 15   3 -3 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.5 Assigned him the minus for The First Down.
Furbush 20 3   3 0.1 0.7   0.8 Decent debut
TOTAL   25 3 22         Certainly first time a starting LB crew hasn't picked up a minus in a game.
DB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Lewis 33 5.5   5.5 0.6   1.8 2.4 Once again close to impregnable.
Stribling 36       0.1 -0.1 0.3 0.3 Literally untested.
D. Hill 33 4.5   4.5 0.7   1.8 2.6 They must have seen something I missed.
Thomas 36 5.5 2 3.5 -0.3 0.4 1.2 1.3  
Watson 11       0.2   0.1 0.2  
Kinnel 29   1 -1 0.3   0.1 0.5  
Long 8                
L. Hill 21       0.1   0.1 0.2  
TOTAL   15.5 3 12.5          
Pressure   28 7 +21 Snowed under.
Coverage   18 3 +15 Covered a lot of dink routes that M2M usually has trouble with.
Tackling   3   +3 Vanishingly few opportunities for open field tackles.
RPS   10 5 +5 3-3-5 was effective against spread run game.

This was the most absurd blowout in the history of Rutgers and this column. Remove the –3 from Bush, who I don't think will see a non-garbage time snap this season, and you have a total of 14 minuses across the whole team, with zero(!!!) minuses for starting linebackers. Never seen that, or anything close to it, and probably won't ever see anything like it again.

You mentioned that Gareon Conley was giving up 0.0 passer rating when targeted, and that this matched Lewis. So he'll all the way back?

I don't think there can be any question about it. He had that deep PBU to bail his safeties out on the first play but this was probably the best and most Jourdan Lewis play of the day. He's on the slot here and Rutgers is trying to pick up half of a third and eight so they can go for it on fourth down:

That looks simple but how many times do you see that open for four or five yards? All the time. The motion is supposed to put him behind since he has to react to the opposition, and he casually catches up to the point where the QB has to throw the ball away on a dink pass.

Got dang, Ben Gedeon.

The mystery of Ben Gedeon's playing time in previous continues to deepen, as he was terrific in this game. This sack is mansome indeed:

PFF has him the #2 run D linebacker in the nation(!), which is part Don Brown activating these guys for the thunder TFLs discussed above, but also part Gedeon being able to execute these, and tackle once he arrives.

I thought this was equally impressive. He's supposed to blitz up the gut; Rutgers rolls the pocket. He reads this, redirects, and then has the burst to shoot through a gap and hurry the QB:

I spent a lot of time defending Desmond Morgan last year but he does not make that play.

Gedeon's emerging. Going into the season we would have been delighted with a replacement-level linebacker who didn't make plays and didn't vacate gaps; Gedeon has not only been that but he's also got excellent range and Jake-Ryan-like backfield burst. Brown and Partridge have done a ton of work this year; I wonder if the transition from Durkin to those guys is helping the LB corps.

Charlton had the most yin to his yang, it appears.

We've talked a lot about how Charlton is a power rusher, which is good for keeping a coherent pocket but doesn't result in the insta-sacks you see from top-end edge rushers. Charlton had a couple of those in this game:

Just Rutgers, but sacks are hard against anyone. If Charlton can do that semi-regularly to decent opponents that's a new level of pass rusher.

On the negative side, Charlton did seem to give up the edge on the one successful pass-type substance Rutgers had. Ditto a zone read handoff on which he was the unblocked edge guy:

I think that's an artifact of the various blitzes Michigan's running. He might have gotten the wrong playcall. Those stood out because they were almost the only yards Rutgers gained in the first half that weren't a result of using Winovich on a three-man line.

Was there like, anything wrong?

I'm pretty sure Michigan busted on their first play. WR goes in motion here; Peppers signals to Thomas that he's got it and seems to pass off a deep centerfield assignment to Thomas. Both guys then go after that WR in motion, leaving Lewis, who set up with outside leverage, alone against a guy running a post:

Lewis being Lewis he gets a PBU; Laviano being Laviano he didn't throw this away from the DB, where even Lewis was not likely to get to it.

Oh, and Godin got trapped once for a solid gain.

Any new contributors worth talking about?

A couple. Bryan Mone made a couple of plays; he's still having a tough time carving out snaps for himself. Since this game was this game and Hurst ended up playing significant second-half snaps I assume Michigan is still bringing him back slowly from his injury; with the bye week my guess is that he'll be back to a full-fledged rotation member versus Illinois, with extended second-half run.

Here he drives down the line to get a tackle at the LOS:

Pretty good, that. On the next play he chucked an OL past him and then was able to redirect when the QB wanted to go outside of him:

That delay helped the rest of the D rally.

I don't know if you can get Mone a ton of snaps with how everyone else is performing, but he's showing flashes of the guy who's been hyped for two solid years now.

The other guy who announced his presence was Josh Metellus. Since Rutgers barely attempted a pass downfield and this director was from the pore-o-vision school Metellus mostly announced himself by flashing in from offscreen and hammering the QB in the ribs.

This one is reckless, as he doesn't wrap up, but it does get the job done.

His closing speed is impressive and dude is not afraid to lay a lick on someone. He also dipped his shoulder to get under a an OL when sent on a run blitz and tackled from behind:

Coverage? Ask again later. Nonetheless, Metellus is a step closer to validating Devin Bush Sr.'s opinion and defying his (non-ESPN) recruiting rankings.

I feel like we are missing various good plays that are just expected at this point.

Ryan Glasgow: still Ryan Glasgow.

Maurice Hurst: still Maurice Hurst.

Matt Godin: new Matt Godin, with standing up to double teams a thing.

Godin in general continues to be a thing. On Michigan's critical third and two stop in the second quarter it was Godin who was first to the ball, after he shot off the LOS and shed his guy:

Each game serves further notice that he's legit.

Are you just putting the various Peppers punt returns in UFR because you want to make sure you have them for future purposes?


You ain't complaining, though.

So... I mean... I don't want to be negative, but how did they get their first first down at 9:07 of the fourth quarter?

I'm pretty sure Devin Bush busted his assignment. The line slanted right, and Michigan blitzed from that side of the field; Bush also slid to the right.

Could be Carlo Kemp but usually when a LB moves the same direction as the rest of the line he's in the wrong.


Everybody! Literally everybody!

Not so heroic?

Nobody! Literally nobody!

What does it mean for Illinois and the future?

Not much. I mean...

Brown will have a diverse and blitz-laden package for OSU. This was a test run of a package aimed at the Buckeyes. It looked excellent, and you know Brown will have various other things up his sleeve.

McCray and Gedeon continue to exceed expectations. Both had good games; Gedeon's was more spectacular. At this point they are exceeding even reasonable best-case scenarios from the preseason.

Metellus expectations: upgraded. Guy looked like a missile and excellent hybrid space piece. Returns are obviously very early; this was a first step towards addressing low hype levels.


swan flu

October 21st, 2016 at 2:29 PM ^

I've been twiddling my thumbs all day and this is posted five minutes before my exit interview. Weak timing. (not seriously upset, thank you for the content)


October 21st, 2016 at 2:43 PM ^

Very happy you mentioned Metellus as he really stood out to me in the 2nd half and I've mentioned this in a number of forums after the game 2 weeks ago. Kid was just putting the hurt on anyone that ran in his direction. Him and Khaleke Hudson are thumpers. 


October 21st, 2016 at 3:49 PM ^

Going to need all three of Kinnel, Hudson, and Metellus to play a ton next year. Good to see Metellus pass his first audition (albeit against Rutgers). Can see a future where Hudson/Metellus line up all over the field like we've seen out of Peppers and Delano Hill with Kinnel the deep man stepping in for Thomas. 


October 21st, 2016 at 2:46 PM ^

Said it before but it bears repeating - we have no idea just how close Ben was to transferring after 2014.  Saw his brother a couple of weeks ago at a Browns game and when I told him how great Ben was playing he said "he's so glad he stayed."

Under Hoke Gedeon had zero, none, nada idea when he would play, for how long and why he'd get pulled.  He was beyond frustrated and ready to leave before Hoke was let go.  I still cant believe we burned his redshirt the way we did and then wasted him for the first two years.



October 21st, 2016 at 2:59 PM ^

The demolitions are becoming so consistent and complete that I'm not sure how to process them.  It's expected that Michigan would "take care of business" but you don't even see this happen that often when it's expected to happen.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I don't think the game was as close as the score.  Yes, I mean that.  As noted in MGoPodcast, Michigan actually wasn't trying very hard.  They kind of SLUDGEFARTed around for half a quarter when it was raining and it was mostly backups from the 3rd quarter.  I doubt the offense could've threatened Georgia Tech's absurd record even if they went full throttle, but at least on defense they didn't start subbing heavily with the intention of keeping Rutgers under 0 net yards.

I wonder what they put on tape in the 2nd half with OSU in mind.


October 21st, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

Would've liked to hear a bit more about how Gary got to plus 11 without making a huge play. Very interesting and awesome that he can do that when he's not getting the sacks or crazy plays

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 21st, 2016 at 3:15 PM ^

Rutgers is that first Mon Calamari cruiser after the Emperor says, "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station."

And the second. And that Nebulon B frigate later.


October 21st, 2016 at 3:16 PM ^

The bit about Don Brown tinkering and providing different looks is just so, so, so very encouraging. Meyer is obviously very good at adjustments mid-game, so having someone playing on the same chessboard is imperative to slowing OSU down.

Also curious why Hurst didn't get an additional +1 for his post TFL belly rub?


October 21st, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

My negative nancy take is this: Rutgers can't block very well, so...

But still. This is the defensive performance we will tell our grandkids about someday. Yeah, Rutgers is awful, but Michigan didn't give up a first down till the fourth quarter and held them under 40 (!!!!) total yards. 

Had to wait all two weeks for this, but of course it is worth it for the payoff.

This is fun. This is really, really fun.

SC Wolverine

October 21st, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

Metellus looks pretty good for a freshman getting his first playing time.  It's nice having awesome veterans we love teamed with talented youngsters we are excited about.  Sure is nice having a Harbaugh...


October 21st, 2016 at 8:20 PM ^

had the look of a team that watched a lot of game film and also possibly knew Rutgers sideline signals.

That jet sweep Gedeon blows up is one of the most obvious examples of a team knowing whats coming I've ever seen.


I also think it hasn't been talked enough about how hard and how fast this defense played in this game.  I  know its Rutgers but damn they took it to a different level, a very exciting level.