Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Colorado Comment Count

Brian September 22nd, 2016 at 2:36 PM


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FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was very heavy in this game, with only a quarter of their snaps featuring 3 or more wideouts. 27 of them had 0 or 1. CU was very consistent with their formations, running a pure 3-4 on all non-passing downs:

base CU D

They ran a standard nickel on passing downs.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL the expected starting five with the exception of one drive for Bredeson in the first half. Smith got about half the snaps at RB with Evans and Isaac getting the rest; FB once again split just about down the middle between Hill and Poggi.

Butt and Darboh were just about omnipresent; Chesson only got slightly more than half the snaps since Darboh was preferred in one-WR formations. Bunting got about half the snaps; Perry and Asiasi both got about a dozen. Various other guys got 1-5 snaps.

[After THE JUMP: I'm fretting.] 

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Iso Smith 12
Good cut and a little fortune. Smith doesn’t like the designated hole since Kalis(-0.5) gets stood up by a DE one on one and there’s no natural gap for Poggi to attack. Smith(+1) cuts backside, where there’s a gap; Braden(+1) and Cole doubled the nose tackle and got him a few yards off the LOS. NT chucks Cole downfield impressively but because of the drive from the double Smith is able to hit a crease outside of this dude. Cole gets a pass since he did provide the crease but got dang. Braden got to the second level and locked out a LB; Butt(+1) had an extended second level kickout that provided the gap.
M38 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass PA comeback Darboh Inc
Good pass protection that breaks down slightly at the end as Butt gets driven back by a hefty DE. Still plenty of time for Speight to find Darboh, who’s popped open on a comeback route in front of Witherspoon; he drops it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M38 2 10 Offset I tackle over twin TE tight 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Pitch sweep Peppers 7
CU slides their DL towards the tackle over. Pitch sweep the other way with Morris hustling to lead block. Braden(+1) steps around and seals the playside DE. Easy reach-ish blcok but effective. Asiasi(+1) meets playside LB and blows him towards the sideline. Ways(-2) should almost certainly be cracking back on the MLB but checks the force guy and then looks outside; he has barely moved by the time the action gets to him. Good cut on the edge by Poggi(+0.5). Cole(+1) comes around and picks up the slack by hammering the MLB but he should be heading to a safety. Morris airballs entirely, and I’m not going to neg him for that because he’s a QB but neither does the weird twist get an RPS as a result. RPS +1 for the tackle over drawing a shift M exploited.
M45 3 3 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Drag Chesson Inc
Happy feet from Speight as CU sends six and then backs a guy out as a spy after he crosses the LOS. This draws Kalis’s attention and results in single blocking across the rest of the line. Smith and Cole are giving ground but have this under control long enough for Speight to get the ball out; instead he runs up and gets himself into big trouble. He tries to hit Chesson dragging across the field against man coverage but gets hit on the throw and leaves it well short and nearly intercepted. I guess this is a BR? (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 6 Pass Bubble screen Evans 3
Outside CB is sitting at 7 yards and once Darboh breaks in he’s got a relatively easy job to come up and tackle to the short side of the field. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1) Also it’s Awuzie. Why do this?
M28 2 7 Offset I 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Corner Butt Inc
Newsome(-2) leaves the guy he’s blocking to pick up a blitzer who does not exist. Meanwhile downfield, Butt(route -1) gets redirected and bangs into Darboh. He can’t get to his corner route in due time. Speight tosses it off his back foot at the version of Jake Butt who is running his route at full speed, and probably hits him. This version of Butt is far away. This looks terrible but is the right read and probably right on the money if CU hadn’t blown up the timing. (MA, 0, protection 0/2)
M28 3 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -8
Sack/strip/fumble/TD. Competing theories here: it’s Hill for running out into a route, or it’s Smith for doing the same. I’m going with the guy closer to the edge Michigan shifts its line away from, which is Hill(-2). YMMV. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 0-14, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 3 Run Jet sweep Peppers 17
Peppers motion sends LB screaming at jet sweep attack point; Chesson(+2) steps in, takes a hit from a bigger guy, keeps his feet, and eventually steps around him to seal out. Dang. Cole(+1) sheds the NT, who’s trying to hold him, and gets in front of the other LB. Playside OLB, who’s more of a DE type, is dropping on the snap here; Darboh(+1) hits him and moves him. He gets shed eventually but the drive gives Peppers(+1) enough room to shoot by him and into the secondary. RPS +1.
M42 1 10 Ace empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 3 Run Jet sweep McDoom 10
Other side of the defense, with Chesson(+1) getting a cut block on that OLB type who doesn’t really know what he’s looking at. Darboh(+0.5) gets an okay block; it’s kind of a cut; it doesn’t get the CB down but it does send him backwards four yards and help turn this into a first down. RPS +1.
O48 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Base 3-4 4 Pass Fade Darboh Inc
This isn’t a great idea but again Speight is under pressure and just trying to make a play. Braden(-2) completely blows a blitz pickup from a guy who starts six yards deep. He’s absolutely got to see this guy and pick him up; instead he’s through scot free. Speight throws at Darboh, who’s running a go route at a guy eight yards deep. No double move, just go, and CB is over the top of the route, dominating it. Darboh has to PBU an INT. While Speight’s getting pressure he should have written this route off presnap. (BR, 0, protection 0/2)
O48 2 10 Offset I 1 4 0 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Iso Hill 2
Four tight ends and Hill with O’Korn the QB. No idea why. M runs an iso because sure why not; Hill(-1) robotically runs into defensive linemen as Braden’s guy gets to the hole and Newsome(-1) gets shed. I don’t actually mind Braden’s block here despite his guy getting to the iso gap since he put that guy to one side and moved him after he declared a gap; Hill has an opportunity to cut off his butt for a better gain since a double on the nose probably delays him sufficiently to prevent him from getting a tackle in. RPS -1.
O46 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 7 Pass Out Perry Inc
This is the first terrible-looking pass that’s actually that terrible. CU tips and sends a corner blitz that Newsome picks up. It’s just a four man rush and M has it stoned; Speight throws at a very covered Perry and airmails it yards over his head. Nervous, jittery throw by a guy who doesn’t trust his protection. BR/IN combo special. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-14, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Smith 10
Smith(+1) again passes up the iso gap and finds daylight elsewhere. This is to the weakside of the formation and CU has slid its LB level heavily to the strongside. Only LB equipped to deal with this slashes Poggi down at the LOS in an attempt to create a pile; Smith shifts outside. That’s still hard to do because Kalis and Mags both got eh blocks not worth a minus or a plus; force guy comes off Mags and threatens to tackle for a 4 or 5 yard gain. Smith runs through it. He spins through a CB’s shoulder block and gets hewed down with authority by a S. Darboh(+1) came in to pop a LB and helped once the play shifted outside. Cole(-1) lost Tupou one on one.
M35 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Trap Smith 1
Two FB/HB types to the left; M traps right. Cole(-2) gets stood up by the NT and shoved back; Poggi(+1) gets a disabling cut on the trapped DL. There is almost a promising crease here until the NT shoves it closed; Smith runs into the back of Cole and falls forward for a minimal gain. This isn’t really the DL to trap against. RPS –1.
M36 2 9 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Outside zone Evans 1
Wooof. Cole(-2) elects to not even touch the NT, who is shaded playside of him. Bredeson has no hope and that guy runs to close off gaps. Kalis(-2) does the same thing with a DE, who ends up splitting him and Cole. Either Poggi or Mags blows something as Poggi(-1) heads outside for the force guy Mags(-1) is already blocking. Three guys tackle Evans at the LOS.
M37 3 8 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Nickel even 7 Pass Drag Butt 13
Newsome(-1) gets ripped around by a DE; he manages to shove/hold/whatever him to the ground but that’s dodgy. Doesn’t matter since CU elects to not cover Jake Butt on a drag route. RPS +2, I guess? (CA, 3, protection ½)
50 1 10 Ace trips 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Hitch Darboh Inc
Awuzie gets matched on Darboh and kicks his ass on his route(--); Speight throws it anyway. Awuzie nearly intercepts this. Butt seemed open on a flat route to the other side; Speight at the very least has to throw this away. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
50 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Outside zone Smith 0
M tips this with fullback motion; LBs see it, move presnap, and fire hard on the run action. Cole(-1) at least sticks his hand out at the NT on this one but mostly just ole blocks again. He can’t get to the LBs anyway. Kalis(+2) turns and buries a DE but it doesn’t matter since those LBs are hammering so hard. An ineffectual cut block from Poggi(-1) doesn’t help matters RPS -2.
50 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Bredeson(-2) fails to ID a blitz that CU waved a huge damn flag was coming. Smith stands up and erases the DB that comes; LB is scot free because freshman. Speight scrambles up and throws a wild ball as he’s getting tackled. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass FB out Hill 9
Plenty of time. Speight doesn’t like deep options, moves up in the pocket a little bit, and hits Hill on a checkdown route for a nice gain. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M29 2 1 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Inside zone Smith 2
Cole(-1) gets significant help from Kalis with a bump that moves the NT and still can’t get him sealed away. He rips through to the hole. The other interior zone block sees Butt(-1) fail to lock out a guy Mags hit hard in the same fashion. Smith has to cut and can cut to either side; he probably picks the wrong hole but any cut is good. There’s a gap thanks to a good Braden(+1) block that moved one of the DE’s a couple yards; Smith gets hit by a LB who is free because Kalis no longer has an angle for him.
M31 1 10 I-Form BIg H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Back shoulder Darboh Inc
M has Butt as an H back and slings him out into an out after he fakes an iso block. He threatens vertical, turns around a S, and is breaking open near the sticks. Speight instead throws it at Darboh, who has Witherspoon stride for stride. He’s also on the numbers, so there’s a ton of territory Speight can put it in that Darboh has an advantage. He leaves it short and to the inside. Darboh could still do better here and get a play on the ball, but this was both inaccurate and at the wrong guy. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M31 2 10 Power I 3 1 1 Base 3-4 7 Run Split zone Isaac 1
Michigan has everyone in tight and CU has two deep safeties, which should be a dead giveaway for this CB blitz. It’s not. M runs right up the gut and Awuzie, the short-side corner lined up inside the numbers, has an easy time of nerfing it. RPS -2. Rest of the blocking gets submarined by the slants and M’s unpreparedness for this blitz. Cole(-1) again gets put in the backfield.
M32 3 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Fly Darboh Inc
Newsome(-2) beat around the corner instantly; Speight rolls away from it and sets up to throw at Darboh, who is again dominated by the CB over the top (Route-) and this ball is yards long, not even an attempted arm punt that gives your guy a chance. (IN, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-21, 11 min 2nd Q. I cannot believe we won this game.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Drag Butt 21
CU again elects not to cover this. There aren’t even any picks. They’re just not covering this drag in an extreme fashion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
O17 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Jet sweep Chesson 17
Playside end flies upfield and is gone, and then it’s just Hill and Chesson in space. Hill(+1) does a good job to get to the right spot, at which point the relevant corner falls or bugs out or converts to a pacifist religion or something, backing out and tripping a teammate. Chesson(+1) is fast. Touchdown. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-21, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Delay TE drag Butt 2
Michigan’s put this double fake screen thing on film a couple times and this time the CU LBs stay home, tackling for a minimal gain. RPS -1. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O35 2 8 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass TE out Butt 12
Excellent protection; Speight hitches up a couple times and hits butt as he breaks open towards the sideline. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O23 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Smith 2
This is tough for Smith as the NT takes a shot from Kalis and just doesn’t move. When Kalis moves on Cole is unable to do anything with the guy. The two just stand there and when NT threatens the intended hole Smith cuts back. He’s probably better off going in that original hole but I understand the decision. I almost don’t want to neg these guys because this NT seems pretty freaking good right about now, but Kalis -1, Cole -1. Mags(+1) and Butt(+1) effectively comboed through a DE and Kalis did get out to the next level but the cut ruins his blocking angle.
O21 2 8 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Scramble Speight 2
CU sends two guys off the edge. Interior guy gets blocked by Mags. Nobody for the corner. Speight definitely has Butt on another drag that gains something, but he doesn’t pull the trigger and instead steps up in the pocket, at which point Kalis’s guy has had enough time to improvise a stunt that Kalis can’t do anything about; Speight rolls out and manages to get a few yards. Still should have thrown the hot route. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)
O19 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel bear 6 Pass Fly Chesson Inc
Blitz, pickup, Speight again goes deep when he’s got an underneath option that is highly plausible; M likely converts if Speight throws an open circle route Perry’s running. Instead they challenge Witherspoon again; ball is actually right on point and Chesson catches it, but he can’t get a foot in bounds. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(36), 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Base 3-4 7 Run Jet sweep Chesson 6
CU now reacting heavily to this. Butt(+2) catches a guy pointing things out on the snap and steps around him for a seal. Asiasi(+1) gets a kickout block that puts a DB on the sideline. Chesson avoids one guy and then hesitates at that kickout despite its very obvious nature; he could probably get close to the sticks if he just puts a foot in the ground and goes right behind it. Instead some dancing and a few yards spurned. With the guy-avoidance, a push.
M44 2 4 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass TE drag Butt 11
CU sends the OLB to the area Butt is going to run into. He gets picked up and Darboh runs into the MLB’s area. No actual contact but the proximity does slow up the LB and give Butt the edge. Butt(-3) fumbles a hair before his elbow goes down; ball goes OOB. CU picks up a sideline infraction penalty. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O30 1 10 Ace diamond TE 3 1 1 Base 3-4 7 Run Double iso Smith 4
CU slants and both FBs redirect to the new gaps. Mags(+1) picks up a blitzing LB, stalls him, and drives him off the ball. Kalis(+1) takes a slanter and shoves him well out of the gap he wants to hit. The only negative here is that this block ends up getting into Mason Cole’s feet and he loses the NT as he leaps the mess. Not his fault. Smith cuts backside into this gap and then bounces outside as Tupou threatens. This takes him to an unblocked safety. He spins through that guy but blocking angles blown, etc., and the cavalry arrives. Large reason this play gets held down is safeties at 7 yards. RPS -1. Butt(+0.5) got a good kickout.
O26 2 6 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Dumpoff Hill 7
Corner sent; Smith picks him up ably. Speight maddens himself into pressure here by dropping back in the pocket continually; rest of the blocking is excellent and there’s a good pocket. He picks a dumpoff as it doesn’t look like his other options are any good—Chesson and Butt may be running too close to each other. CU should hack this down for zlich but Hill(+1) breaks a tackle and picks it up. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O19 1 10 Ace diamond TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Run Power O Isaac -1
Isaac(-2) bangs into Speight as he’s got the wrong play in his head. The intended play is pretty well blocked but CU is so tight to the LOS and overloaded that there’s a free hitter anyway. Cole(+1) seals away the NT; Braden(+1) sees that and redirects to lock out a LB. Newsome(+0.5) gets a couple yards of depth even if he can’t seal out the other DL and he either makes a tackle for about four or five or Isaac shoots through into the secondary. Instead Isaac runs around in a panic until he loses a yard.
O18 2 11 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7 Pass PA post Darboh Inc
Excellent protection, with Cole coming off the NT to pick up a LB. Michigan runs play action and Speight is again throwing at the wrong guy. Darboh is bracketed. Meanwhile he’s got Butt on a lone corner he can probably box out or out leap and Hill popping very open on a checkdown. But this is open enough for a TD, with Darboh a step in front of Awuzie; he simply misses and nearly ends up throwing a pick. (IN, 0, protection 3/3)
O18 3 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Fly Darboh Inc
Speight doesn’t even give Darboh a slight chance at making a play on this. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Also there’s a CU coverage bust just like the first TD M gave up with zero safeties in the middle of the field and Chesson running open. Ugh.
Drive Notes: FG(35), 17-21, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Tunnel screen Darboh 45
Take a bow, Grant Perry. Perry’s assigned to cut the corner on Darboh, which he does a crappy job of. Newsome(+1) has to adjust and kick that guy out and Michigan is now down a blocker, except Perry gets back up and gets Awuzie, blasting him back a few yards; Awuzie discards him but Darboh’s already past. Perry then starts running for the safeties and gets a shove in on the last guy to help Darboh break that tackle. +3 even with the biff. Meanwhile Kalis(+1) and Cole(+2) get out in space and get their guys, with Cole burying a DB. Darboh(+2) does have to run through an arm tackle at the sticks and stiffarm that last guy Perry hit. (CA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-21, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Pass Waggle scramble Speight 3
I have no idea if anyone’s open downfield. Butt isn’t in the flat. Speight doesn’t think he's got a throw and gets a few yards. (SCR, N/A, protection 1/1) Director -2.
O42 2 7 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Pitch sweep Smith 42
Pitch sweep that goes the distance without Smith having to do much at all. Darboh(+1) takes a corner blitz and locks the guy up long enough for Michigan to get around him. Newsome(+0.5) pulls for the force guy and watches him power slide away. Playside end shoots inside and is gone of his own volition. Only guys left are the playside ILB and various members of the secondary. Hill(+4) gets an unprecedented blocking plus for something I haven’t seen in all my years of charting this stuff. He hammers through the playside ILB and just keeps going; he’s not slowed at all and agile enough to get out in front of a safety, who cut blocks Hill for reasons known only to himself. Hill had leverage on him, I think, and that’s a bonafide edge two for one. Smith just runs until the five, where he picks up a block from Butt(+1) for the final few yards. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-28, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Dumpoff Smith 2
Good protection. Kalis’s guy is getting through at the end here but Speight’s had time to survey. He ends up checking down to a covered Smith and almost turfing it. Smith has to scoop it off his shoetops and has no shot at YAC. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
M31 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Penalty False start Kalis -5
Kalis -1
M26 2 13 Offset I twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Flare screen Smith -5
Deflected as it passes the DE. Smith makes a spectacular catch that he definitely should not make, as he’s in no position to deal with a linebacker shooting for him. Chesson(-1) runs a bubble and that’s gotta be a bust, you’d think; he’s probably supposed to go crack that LB. (BA, 1, screen.)
M21 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Tunnel screen Chesson Inc
Batted down. (BA, 0, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-28, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Pro 3-wide 2 0 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Jet sweep Chesson 2 (pen -9)
Michigan zoning these DL, which they almost do well except for the fact that Kalis(-2) goes low on the NT and gets an obvious chop block penalty. Smith(-1) falls as the playside LB goes inside of him; if that happens he’s gone and you just keep going. Instead he uses himself and gets in Braden’s way as he tries to pull outside. Chesson gets outside of that back but nobody can get to a playside OLB hammering to the play and Chesson can’t cut back in time; he gets run OOB after a minimal gain.
M11 1 19 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 5.5 Pass Screen Isaac 21
Most of the OL way late getting out because of the way the DL attack them; Braden(+1) does get out and get to a LB. CU dropped their most DE-ish LB into this space; Isaac(+2) jukes him and bursts to the outside; Darboh(+1) gets a hit in to help him get the last few yards before the marker.
M32 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Penalty Offsides N/A 5
M37 1 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Pitch sweep Evans 1
My least favorite thing to watch in a block is an outside run on which an OL simply ignores the DL over him and leaves his buddy to futilely chase a guy. Happens here as Magnuson just runs outside and gives Kalis an impossible job trying to deal with a DE shaded just inside of Mags(-2). This guy will chase to the sideline and make the tackle. Mags ends up blocking nobody at all as he runs outside for a force player who isn’t there. Asiasi(+1) kicked out the playside OLB huge and turns him into an accidental force. M does combo through the NT (waves tiny punt flag) with Cole(+1) and Braden(+1) getting around him, getting a seal, and hitting a second level defender. Darboh(+1) thunks playside ILB. Evans gets tackled by aforementioned DE and the CB who ducked inside the Asiasi block that Mags did not.
M38 2 4 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Smith 5
Jet fake with Smith going up the gut. Tupou fights to the jet side and Cole(+1) locks him out. Newsome(-1) lets his guy under his pads and gets shoved back and controlled; that guy fights to the gap and tackles Smith near the LOS. Smith(+1) being Smith he carries this dude to the sticks. RPS +1; this also distracted the LB level.
M43 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Split trap Smith 4
Odd play where the two sides of the line both go towards opposite sites of the field, leaving a huge gap in the middle. Poggi comes in to wham the NT from the side, which has almost no discernible effect. Backside(?) DE swims outside of Mags but that’s probably fine since this is directly up the gut; he can’t make a play. Kalis(-2) redirects away from this guy to the LB level, and just falls over. That’s two LBs and zero blockers. Smith runs directly upfield for a few yards. Someone busted, and if I had to guess it’s either Newsome or Braden who’s supposed to pull around up the gut. Braden(-2) is the likely culprit. RPS +2, if these LB blocks get made this is a cavern in the front.
M47 2 6 Offset I Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Pass Sack N/A -8
Mags(-2) checks the DE and then lets him pass by, which gets Speight pressured immediately; with short options covered he eats a sack. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M39 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Improv Perry 54
DE pulls out and tries to get around two gaps to blitz. Butt’s route gets in his way and delays him some. Braden has nothing in his zone and does get his head around in time to get a shove in on the looper. That coupled with his delay means big gap in the front and Speight rolls up into it, still looking downfield. Awuzie vacates his zone in a move hypothetical CU UFR guy is steamed about since it’s 3rd and 14 vs Wilton Speight; Speight hits Perry at the sticks and then he keeps running a long way. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2, Perry +1 run)
O7 1 G Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 9 Run Outside zone Smith 4
Director(-3) run this play from an oblique near field-level angle. I hate him. Near as I can tell, Mags(+1) and Kalis(+1) combo through the playside DE with Mags getting out to a LB. Butt(+0.5) gets an okay second level block.
O3 2 G Offset I Big H 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Iso Isaac 2
Pinched DE shoots inside of Mags(+0.5) and doesn’t really get anywhere. Poggi(-1) does not shift outside a gap and just runs into this so he spends his momentum doing little. Isaac does hit the hole outside of this but with Butt(-1) seeing his lead block submarined and worked through Isaac(+1) meets a lot of meat. He does well to get two.
O1 3 G Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Pitch sweep Isaac 1
Oh man Michigan gets away with one here. Bunting(-2) immediately loses his guy outside and recovers by holding the guy and then blasting him in the back. Neither gets called, refs +4. Woo refs. Butt(+1) gets a good extended block on a DB and Hill(+1) deftly shifts inside Newsome as he gets a kick and manages to get a shoulder into the last guy.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-28, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run WR wham? Isaac 3
Bizarre play where the playside OLB is let free by Butt and Chesson tries to crack back on him while he’s in the backfield? Kalis(-1) and Cole(-1) don’t do anything with the NT, who’s just waiting in the hole as if nobody even tried to block him. Poggi’s running into a huge mess of bodies because of the weirdness described above. Isaac(+1) is able to pick his way through extreme amounts of traffic for a minimal gain; Mags(+0.5) had a decent block that helped.
M24 2 7 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Pass Drag Butt 15
Braden(-1) beat up the gut by a DE.He stays attached and shoves him past Speight; the rest of the protection is good, so Speight can move around and float a ball to Butt for a solid gain, (CA+, 3, protection ½) Butt(+1) gets a chunk of YAC by cutting back.
M39 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Isaac 5
Not quite jet motion from Chesson as he goes behind Poggi and could actually get called for illegal motion since he’s moving towards the LOS at the snap; refs +1. Just a power play the other way. Probably meant to go further inside but adaptations are made. Poggi(+1) fires in the playside OLB and removes him. Isaac(+0.5) reads the shift outside and goes there. Braden(+0.5) comes around and leads the way, getting a hit on one LB; CB comes down from the side and tackle; Isaac drags him for a few yards.
M44 2 5 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Naked boot Speight 3
This is the yep Navarre play where Speight(-1) ends up in space against a DE and just takes a tackle like he’s a sled, getting hammered OOB.
M47 3 2 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Out Darboh 6
Really really iffy pass from Speight that’s upfield of Darboh and almost a PBU. Not hard to see a slightly different situation where this is picked. Darboh manages to dig it off the ground while getting heavy contact from the CB. This throw is so short and so off I can’t MA it. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
O47 1 10 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Isaac 1
Playside OLB dives inside Hill looking to spill the play. Hill cant do much here a the dude just cuts him. Kalis(+0.5) shifts outside upon seeing this. Isaac(-1) does not make the same read and shoots up the gut minus his pulling G. This still has a reasonable shot to work since Braden(+1) actually cuts off this NT and Mags(+0.5) gets a yard or so of depth on a DE; Newsome(-2) airballs on a linebacker. Stuff.
O46 2 9 Ace diamond TE 3 1 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Double iso Evans 5
Similar to the Smith version of this double iso I complained about last week; this is what I wanted Smith to do, except the blocking is worse all around. Kalis(-0.5) doesn’t really move one end. Cole(+0.5) does move the NT back a couple yards but he’s still getting two-gapped. Evans’s initial motion takes him to a frontside gap and both LBs eventually insert themselves in it; Evans(+1) cuts backside and manages to get some yards by running over(!) the NT. That’s the first time I’ve seen him respond to someone contacting him. Didn’t end up relevant but Braden(+1) got a good kick in the other gap. Both FBs made contact on iffy blocks.
O41 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Out Butt Inc
Butt picks up a safety moving with him after a corner blitz from Awuzie, nominally on him, is picked up. Speight throws a terrible, terrible idea of a ball that has just one positive: it’s too far upfield and therefore not a pick six. Bunting open right in front of his face for the conversion. JFC. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-28, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Isaac 0
Cole(-1) and Kalis(-1) both get stood up by their guys and give up a little groundqq; Isaac blindly runs at the iso gap despite a solid shot at yards on a cutback thanks to Newsome(+1) driving his man off the ball. Braden even shoves Tupou towards that hole, oddly, not that Tupou responds to external impacts.
O44 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Pin and pull Evans 4
Butt(+1) motions around a bit and settles just outside of an H-back spot; he seals the playside OLB away. Corner opts out so Mags doesn’t really have to do anything on the edge. Playside ILB charges do the pullers and cuts both of them down, which isn’t really their fault, just a clever play. Evans(+1) manages to hop the trash and get a solid gain, although I do want him to try to juke past the S instead of running to the sideline and getting popped OOB.
O40 3 6 Ace 3-wide 1 2 2 Base 3-4 6.5 Pass Improv Butt 12
Pretty miserable pass protection here as CU sends a double A gap blitz. Cole(-2) runs after Tupou despite his clear path outside and lets a guy through untouched. Evans(-2) gets run over by the other guy. Speight rolls away from it and finds Butt for a conversion. (CA+, 3, protection 0/4)
O28 1 10 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Outside zone Isaac 5
M gets the edge as Poggi(+2) first whacks the playside OLB and gives M the edge, then proceeds down the sideline to cut off a linebacker flowing. Other ILB is free and runs Isaac out after a good gain. Another zone play on which Michigan players simply run by DL and give the guy running behind an impossible job. If Michigan does not get the edge here they get nothing.
O23 2 5 Offset I Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Outside zone Isaac 1
Okay… this is so consistent that it seems intentional and that baffles me. Once again this outside zone run features zero persons actually getting blocked, let alone comboes through. Isaac bounces it outside again because I guess that’s his best option.
O22 3 4 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Sack N/A -4
Newsome(-2) beat around the corner at eight yards. Speight steps up; he does have Darboh open for the first down but doesn’t see him and as he steps up he has to slow because CU has good lane discipline and the OLB who got past Newsome sacks. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(44), 6 min 4th Q. Final three plays not charted.


I am ready for this. I am not panicking. I am serene.

So, before we start, Colorado NT Josh Tupou is a beast. I know we didn't go into this game expecting that, necessarily, and it's always questionable in the aftermath of a disappointing game when a partisan says "no seriously, that guy was legit." But take it from a guy who picked out future NFL second round draft pick Jason Jones back in 2007 in a game against Eastern Michigan(!!!): Tupou is going to be drafted and probably pretty high.

I suspected this from the first snap, when Tupou chucked Mason Cole aside like he was Willie Henry encountering some balsa wood. I converted to the church of Tupou on this play, when he engaged with Cole and took everything Kyle Kalis could muster:

That dude doesn't even notice a 300-pound man hitting him hard from the side.  Later in the game Michigan would run a trap; Henry Poggi would thud into a stationary Tupou not expecting contact from the side and simply bounce off.

Outside of (probably) Malik McDowell this was the best DT Michigan will face this year, by some distance.

It's just that…


I have to.

I will feel bad about the season. I am feeling less serene.

This game made me legitimately panicpanicpanicpanic about the offensive line. They were a wreck.

You don't think "wreck" overstates things?

No. This game made me very depressed as I charted it, to the point where I grabbed both of Michigan's outside zone plays deep into garbage time because FFS both of them saw nobody except Henry Poggi block anyone. I mean, look at the

no i don't want to


Offensive Line
Player Snaps + - Total PFF Snaps Pass- Error% PFF
Newsome 36 3 4 -1 -1.3 35 7 10% -2.4
Braden 32 8.5 2 6.5 -0.6 32 3 4% -1.2
Cole 36 7.5 11 -3.5 -4.9 35 2 3% -0.2
Kalis 36 5.5 11 -5.5 -3.4 35 - - 1.1
Magnuson 36 4.5 3 1.5 -0.1 35 2 3% 0.5
Bredeson 4 0 0 3 2 33% 0.6
Butt 27 9 5 6* 1.0 2 - - 0.1
Bunting 20 2 -2 0.3 3 - - 0.1
Wheatley 2 0 0 - - -
Asiasi 9 3 3 -1.2 0 - - -
Hill 13 7 1 5* 2.4 2 2 50% 0.1
Poggi 20 4.5 3 1.5 -0.2 1 - - 0.1
TOTAL - 52.5 42 55%

*[Butt got +1 for running and –3 for a fumble. Those are not included in the blocking total. Hill got +1 on a catch, also not included.]

Player + - T Notes
Protection 34 22 61% Newsome –7, Braden –3, Hill –2, Bredeson –2, Magnuson –2, Cole –2, Evans –2, Team -2
RPS 14 9 +5 Good job mitigating above issues.

So! That's real bad. I more or less agreed with PFF on the line except Braden, who I thought was good, and Butt/Asiasi/Poggi, who I thought were major assets overall.

As far as the OL, woof. I clipped four or five stretch plays on which the entire line ignored guys they have to block only for those guys to meet at the running back.

There are five defenders across the LOS on this play. I'd argue that zero of them are effectively blocked. Even the force guy who has to accept a kickout block both draws a two-for-one and gets back to the ballcarrier. This is one of the worst zone stretch plays I've seen in a decade of doing this, and for five years in there that was one of Michigan's staple plays.

The two late ones are just baffling. Isaac gets the edge on the first and the result is a nominally successful run, but that doesn't mean the guys on the interior shouldn't be seeking to cut guys off at the pass. Instead they run by without exception:

Next play, same thing. I expect Cole to chip Tupou so Braden can step around. Instead he runs directly downfield and once again not a single CU DL is effectively blocked:

This was so consistent I almost assume it has to be as intended, except not once did any playside CU DL get blocked, at all, on plays that should exploit a hypothetical mobility weakness. On every single one the guy I expect to chip just ran by the guy and the guy behind couldn't do jack. Except that one time they took a chop block. If it's as intended, maybe stop intending to do things that don't get anyone blocked.

This was a trend even on nominally gap-blocked runs. My least favorite thing to see on a run play is when an OL gets hung out to dry by a teammate and ends up chasing a guy to the play, because it's always the dude who got screwed over who people get on afterwards. Here Kyle Kalis is asked to reach a guy a gap outside of him without any help because Magnuson pulls:

Nobody makes that block. (And of course further inside Cole and Braden successfully scoop Tupou for like the only time in the game on a play that he's irrelevant on. I may have sighed expansively while watching this play.) I have to assume that's a busted assignment because the alternative is bad design; ditto that second Tupou play embedded above Kyle Kalis falls down, and that's bad, but even if he was upright Michigan has one blocker for two LBs. Someone, probably Braden, did not pull around into the gap.

Meanwhile, in pass protection Michigan chased ghosts. Blitzers got through scot free over and over again, even in situations where the only reasonable interpretation appears to be a mild stroke:

I have no idea how a left tackle abandons a guy shooting outside of him. Magnuson did the same thing later:

This, meanwhile, was even more alarming since it's the continuation of a trend:

Three man line, only one plausible blitzer in the area, and Braden somehow manages to miss the blindingly obvious blitz coming straight at his face. Not one but two guys shoot through the line untouched on this one; Smith gets an excellent pickup on one of them.

Soooooo, yeah. These are the reason I was alarmed about the OL performance.




This did not look like the same quarterback. The early sack/strip may have had something to do with it. (Please, please, please have everything to do with it.)

It's one thing for Speight to get sped up into bad decisions because he's afraid of pressure, and it's another for various passes to be wildly off. The giant ice pack he wore to the post-game presser may indicate a physical reason on top of whatever footsteps he was hearing, or the first couple weeks might have been a mirage. The only thing that will clarify is more data.

Here's what we have so far:

[Hennechart orientation: mouse over column headers for explanations of the categories. + is handed out for a good throw under duress. * is handed out for a very bad version of a bad thing. Numbers in parens are screens. DSR is an attempt to compress the numbers into one overall number. PFF is PFF's grade.]

Good Neutral Bad Ovr
Hawaii 1 8(1)+ 1(1) 1* 2* 73% -1.0
UCF 3 21(1) 5 2 2 2(1) 2 82% 1.0
Colorado - 14(2)++++ 1 4 3 2 - 5 6** 50% -3.5

So that's Early Rudock Except Crazy.

A fair portion of the negative things that happened were not on him. Michigan's protection broke down repeatedly in this game, and sometimes when it did this was compounded by guys not getting open. On one early prayer to nowhere Butt actually gets redirected into Darboh; the resulting Speight throw is actually a damn good one in a hypothetical universe where Butt can get to his spot with minimal delay.

Many were definitely on him. His reaction to an ugly blitz pickup early was instructive. Darboh lined up with a CB eight yards off him and ran a fly route. That should immediately disqualify his route or at least invite a back shoulder throw; Speight got pressure and threw it such that Darboh had to break up an INT. This led into a series of throws that were into coverage or nowhere near their targets or both. This one is late at a receiver who's dominated by a future NFL player:

A later fly down the sideline would see Darboh give himself a ton of room for a back shoulder throw; Speight literally hits the DB's foot:

That uncanny accuracy we talked about after the UCF game inverted itself into spray passing. A third and short conversion to Darboh was left way upfield and exposed to a DB;

On top of that there were a number of throws where he was both inaccurate and probably throwing to the wrong guy. Darboh has a window here that Speight misses, and Jake Butt is one on one with a CB, which veritably cries out for a #buttzone throw:

I probably don't notice Butt if that throw is on point; it's not.

Then there was the grand-bull-moose of WTF throws, an out to Jake Butt that was nearly a pick-six:


I'm going to dip myself in bleach.

I mean…

Okay you're going to talk me off the ledge okay it's going to be okay

…just make sure you have your affairs in order first?

: (

Fine, fine. Here is a positive thing. It seems paradoxical that a jumpy Speight would be at his best once he got pressured, but, lo, it was so. When afforded the opportunity to move around in the pocket he seemed to forget about the men chasing him—or at least knew what direction they were coming from now—and hit various guys who popped open. The big catch and run to Perry was the moment when the game went from a coin flip to a win to close out, and it only happened because Speight drew the attention of Awuzie and took advantage of it:

That asset carried over from the first couple games and can be regarded as fact now; even as he lost near everything else he maintained it.

No quarterback and no OL, how does Michigan put up 38 points and 400 yards?

Michigan's blocky/catchy guys and wide receivers came to play. It's no exaggeration to state that Michigan picked up more yards because of peripheral blockers than the actual offensive line. Between the Smith and Darboh touchdowns, a screen to Isaac, the two Peppers runs, a bubble, the weird Speight bootleg, and four jet sweeps Michigan picked up 166 yards—almost half their total. All of that hits to the outside of the field and involves the OL blocking in space, if they block at all.

Some of those numbers are in that chart above: I thought Butt and Hill were excellent on the ground, with Asiasi chipping in as well. The WR/RB ground chart also has a ton of positives:

RB chart (WR grades are run only):

Player Rushes + - T PFF Notes
Speight 0 1 -1 0.2 Navarre.
Smith 12 3 1 2 0.7
Isaac 10 3 2 1 -1.1 Juke offset the backfield biff.
Evans 5 2 2 -0.8
Peppers 2 1   1 0.4
Johnson       DNP
TOTAL 36 9 4 5 -1.2
Player Blocks + - T PFF G Notes
Darboh 26 7.5 7.5 1.2  
Chesson 11 4 1  3 1.5
Perry 3 4     -0.1 WTF?
Ways 7 2 -2 -0.1  
TOTAL - 15.5 3 12.5

The skill position players and their blocking are the main reason Michigan's offense remained even barely functional.

On the one hand, excellent job to rescue Michigan after finding themselves down 21-7 after the first quarter without having to have a functional inside running game or effective quarterback. On the other hand, also that last sentence.

Anyway. The good bits. Khalid Hill's already become an internet fave-rave after his 7-10 split of a block on the Smith touchdown, but it's too pretty not to embed again:

Hill also squeezed out a first down conversion by bouncing off a cornerback and deftly cut through some traffic on the Isaac touchdown to get a whack on a guy many fullbacks don't get to.

Jehu Chesson was the primary engine for the second Peppers run:

Darboh was the other important block. Grant Perry was the main motive force on Darboh's touchdown, and Michigan's jet sweeps were consistent gainers until very late.

Jake Butt had a second consecutive excellent week on the ground; he was consistently able to step around guys and seal them off:

Also featured on this play: Devin Asiasi putting a DB on the sideline. Asiasi seems to have moved past Wheatley as Michigan's go-to blocking tight end, and early returns are good. He had a rough outing last week; this week he latched on and ejected guys from the premises. Meanwhile,  Butt had a similar block on Isaac's touchdown and helped Smith get the last five yards on his 42-yarder.

Running back crabbing, you crab?

Says something about the blocking that I have only a few nits not worth mentioning after that game. On the contrary, Smith looked something like his decisive Citrus self when provided any opportunity. Here he cuts away from the intended iso hole just after getting the second level to commit:

He'd shift a gap in the other direction for ten yards a bit later. Other runs had similar cuts and met worse fates because of blocking issues.

And one MGoPoint to Chris Evans for making the cut last week's De'Veon Smith Vision Controversy Of The Week was about. He gets both LBs to commit to one iso gap and then cuts away from them… directly into Tupou. The blocking was a little worse this week.

Tupou falls over after a featherweight freshman hits him because of course he does. Anyway: if Michigan is able to block either DL there that's a nice gain into the secondary because of the backfield cut. Five yards isn't bad considering the game and the situation.

(Side note: Evans's pass blocking is currently very bad.)

The only other item of note was Isaac juking his way past a DE/OLB type and bailing Michigan out on first and 19:

Here's some analysis: yes good do that more.


Only two runs in this game, both successful but not particularly illuminating for anyone familiar with his work last year.

Boo! /throws shoe

none of these even match
do you go around wearing two different shoes all the time

Catch chart?

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

Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Darboh 5 1/2 1/2 7 1/3 9/10
Chesson 3   3 0/1 2/2 5/5
Perry 1 1/1   2 2/2
Ways   1/1
McDoom   1/1 2/2
Crawford   1/1
Butt 1 1/1 6/6   2 1/1 14/16
Bunting   2/2
Poggi   2/3
Hill 2/2   1/1 3/3
Smith 1/1 1/1   1 1/1 1/1 2/2
Evans 1/1   1 2/2
McKeon   2/2
Hirsch   1/1

ROUTES: Darboh –3, Butt –1.

Rough week, with a large proportion of total attempts filed completely uncatchable. Darboh struggled against CU's CBs; "Darboh might be fast" is tabled this week.


I ended up somewhat frustrated by the lack of big plays that seemed related to playcalling. In retrospect this is a function of an erratic QB and even more erratic OL. As we all learned during the Rodriguez years, to get big plays you have to do something well. I don't think Michigan did anything well enough to demand a response here.

There were a couple wrinkles I picked up.  The first Peppers run saw Michigan align in a tackle over formation. CU slid their DL to that side of the field and the resulting seals were easy:

Ways completely biffs his assignment and it's still seven yards because the alignment almost buys you that at the snap.

OTOH, sometimes your shuffling fullback takes the LB level directly to your back with no reasonable blocking response.

Michigan didn't have the opportunity to counter that because of circumstance.

Also here's a WR with a crackback block on an OLB on a play that makes no sense.

Your guess is as good as mine.


Your collection of perimeter blockers: Hill, Perry, Chesson, Darboh, Butt, and Asiasi. Butt was also the only consistently effective bit of the passing game.

Maybe not so heroic?

Cole and Kalis couldn't do anything with Tupou; Grant Newsome gave up a ton of pressure. Speight looked broken after the big hit.

What does it mean for Penn State and beyond?

Speight was rattled and hurt? And this is going to be a blip? That's the ticket.

Seriously, though: given the ice pack and the talk from Harbaugh afterward it's likely that Speight sustained some sort of bruise or stinger that crippled his accuracy. Meanwhile getting blown up like that had a major impact on his reads. Michigan had more guys open than it seemed at first blush; Speight did not find them.

I'm punting on whether this means anything until we see him against Penn State.

Michigan's wide receivers are terrific assets on the ground. I think we already knew this but this was a game they pulled out of the fire based on that skill.

Blitz pickups need serious, serious work. Early season hiccups, you'd hope. About half the pressures in this game came from either guys jetting through the line untouched or players freaking out about blitzes that either didn't come or they didn't have to get to.

Braden had a bounce-back. He blew one early blitz pickup but was otherwise good; Bredeson got just seven snaps and I assume Braden's very bad week from UCF was injury and rust related.

Jake Butt: back to being real good. Opening week blocking issues seem like a blip and he didn't drop anything here. /waves tiny flag

Interior line issues are partially Tupou-related… dude is the truth and Cole and Kalis won't have games that bad all season. Terrible matchup.

…but they can't run a stretch to save their lives. Woof! Woof woof woof!

Khalid Hill: impact fullback? Strange world. Possibly true.



September 22nd, 2016 at 2:51 PM ^

We blocked like shit.  Both individually and as a unit.  Our scheme makes little sense as we leave obvious targets untended while we chase ghosts and block no one in particular.

Our QB, who had been playing lights out, reverted back to what we feared at the end of last season he would be.  Made bad decisons and had happy feet all game.  Might be injured.

Our RBs, with a few notable exceptions cant find holes consistently and turn big plays into three yard gains.

And we scored 45 points.

Imagine how many points we're going to score once we stop being so bad at so many things.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:01 PM ^

short fields and two touchdowns from special teams are really propping up the offense. They accounted for 31 of those points and I think had 3 scoring drives of under 50 yards?  So that would mean two scoring drives the offense showed anything on?


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

But do special teams and short field touchdowns not count the same?  My only point is that the team is comprised of three unique units: offense, defense and special teams and at the end of the day all any of us give two shits about is how points are on the scoreboard.  Not how they got there.  No "style points" in football.

Did the O and our QB & Line shit the bed on Saturday?  Sure seems so.

Did we still put up 45 points?  I'm pretty sure we did that too.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:23 PM ^

Our blocky/catchy guys, which were awful against UCF are now good in this game. On the flipside, our OL was in beast mode against UCF suddenly has turned into a tire fire.

All that and we still managed a lot of points on a decent defense.




September 22nd, 2016 at 3:57 PM ^

Special teams is only slightly behind fumble luck in the category of flukey things you shouldn't be relying on to win though. Things like Peppers finding hidden yards in the punt return game, maybe, but we're not going to be blocking multiple kicks every game. Definitely not after people have film of what we're doing to get those blocks.


September 22nd, 2016 at 5:51 PM ^

if blocked punts for TDs and punt return TDs were a sustainable way to score points, but they're high variable events.

In games when those things aren't happening (most or all of the rest of them), we'll need to score points with that offense and we'll need to do it against better competition.

Beating CU was and has been a given since the game was scheduled.  So how the points got there does matter because it's indicative of our ability to score in future games.

The OL was pretty bad last year run blocking and seemed to have turned the corner for the bowl game and we all thought, Drevno!  Now, dunno, but I'm optimistic that now that the full line seems healthy they'll get on the same page to be above average.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:28 PM ^

Not to be that other guy, but we also will face defenses that range from better to WAY better than Colorado's. And, our offense has a few very hostile environments to play in, they won't get the comfort of Ann Arbor all year. 


I am not that worried about Speight. I think he will rebound and progress throughout the season like Rudock did. 


I am worried about our run game. OL and RBs. I'm not looking forward to trying to run the ball against Wisconsin and (especially) Michigan State. 


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

Our offense didn't score all those points though.  Our punt-return team directly scored 14 and set up a few more scores with blocks/good returns.  Whether we can consistently count on ST heroics remains to be seen.




September 22nd, 2016 at 3:25 PM ^

Not to mention, why is it that our OL is blowing all of these assignments or doing things that make no sense? I get the idea that, yeah, if we clean this stuff up, watch out. But this year two now and with very experienced players. That begs the question, will it get cleaned up this year? I imagine this game is a bit of a blip, especially considering it's Leavitt, but I'm not going to just assume major improvement at this point.


September 22nd, 2016 at 2:59 PM ^

This game was a mess from everyone, coaches included.  The team didn't look prepared coming out for that game to actually play a team.  If it weren't for short fields and Peppers I don't think our offense scores over 30.  Thank you special teams, they deserve a ufr this week.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

Blerg.  Well, good teams improve over the course of the season.  We saw it last year, hopefully we see it this year.  This a couple of weeks before the real teeth and critical section of the schedule hits.  And honestly, I think the hit on Speight was an issue.  It wasn't any old hit to the rib protector.  He took a helmet straight to his arm when it was just about to come forward into a throw.  So it was all folded up and contorted weird.  Speight didn't immediately get up after that hit, and was apprently shaking his arm out after like every throw for a while after that hit.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

"Between the Smith and Darboh touchdowns, a screen to Isaac, the two Peppers runs, a bubble, the weird Speight bootleg, and four jet sweeps Michigan picked up 166 yards—almost half their total"

I don't know whether to be impressed at the cultivated offense with no QB/OL or absolutely terrified. My instincts for how that plays out against good defenses are probably the ladder. HAS to improve.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:26 PM ^

Given the issues the OL has with blocking it seems clear that Michigan is deliberately gameplanning to get perimeter blocking involved. Stretch plays, pitchouts, jet sweeps, bubble and tunnel screens, etc. They're a huge part of the gameplan. 

Which shows that the coaches know where their strength is. It also shows that there is a real weakness they have to work around. All things being equal, I'd prefer our bread and butter to be down the middle, not outside where there's higher variance play-to-play.


September 22nd, 2016 at 4:28 PM ^

They are stout up the middle with an NFL bound monster nose tackle and they played their linebackers close to the line, not quite run blitzing like UCF but clearly trying to plug up the middle.  On top of that they have two NFL corners that covered our outside receivers well and Michigan had a rattled, injured QB that had accuracy issues.  Credit the staff for seeing this and getting our play makers to the edge where they could be successful and dialing up plays to get Butt open for 7 catches and 87 yards. 

I think this UFR's take is a little too sky is falling. Certainly much to improve on but give CO credit as well.


September 22nd, 2016 at 4:23 PM ^

What do you consider normal quality dline?  If UM is going to make a run at the 'magical' year we're all hoping for, the oline has to at least hold their own, if not win some battles, against the better quality dlines.  Sure they'll probably have success against Illinois, Rutgers, etc. but the season is going to hinge upon how they do against MSU, OSU, probably Iowa and maybe to a lesser extent Wisky.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

are we all pretty much completely sold on the "Florida did not want to be there" theory?

Honestly though, I do wonder if the offense is practicing quite a few packages that we haven't seen yet.  These guys had at least acheived "technically competent" standards last year, and many even before that, and right now that even looks questionable.  They look distracted, and I wonder if we are going to see why later in the season.  Something tells me that Shane Morris/Peppers look was more than meets the eye.


September 22nd, 2016 at 5:49 PM ^

A lot of UM's offensive success against Florida I attribute to Harbaugh.  Week in and week out he has an offensive game plan that attacks the weak points of the opponents defense and usually minimizes the weaknesses of the UM offense.  Give him a month to prepare like he had for the bowl game, and he's going to be surgical with his offensive game plan.  Now the players need to execute it, and the players did a fabulous job of executing against Florida.

Harbaugh's coached in 3 bowl games, and two of them were blow outs - the Citrus Bowl last year and the Orange Bowl with Stanford when they won 40-12.  The other bowl game was a 31-27 loss to Oklahoma.  However, Andrew Luck wasn't able to play in the game and their back up QB was making his first start.

Stringer Bell

September 22nd, 2016 at 3:16 PM ^

I really think Colorado's D is legit this year. Massive NT, 1st round draft pick at CB, overall very good secondary, and a highly-regarded and aggressive DC. I think this was a tough matchup for our offense this early in the season, and we still managed 31 points on offense. Things will (hopefully) get better, as they did last year.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:24 PM ^

suspected this from the first snap, when Tupou chucked Mason Cole aside like he was Willie Henry encountering some balsa wood.

On the plus side, "balsa wood" is always a good comedic term. Definitely one of the funnier types of wood.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:22 PM ^

Is this where we look back at the trouble we had against UCF, and the lack of total dominance against Hawaii, and conclude that we have a real trend of OL shakiness? 

I realize this isn't the Hoke era anymore, but there is a familiar pattern: We optimistically write one or two bad games off as flukes. But when issues crop up week after week, it's time to stop writing them off. I think our OL is a serious liability, one that I did not expect, and this is going to be a problem. OSU may not have a titanic DT, but they have athletes on the DL. And it's going to be hard to do anything against McDowell if Cole is so easily demolished against good DTs.

Brian's "I can't believe we won this game" comment seems accurate. And things felt that bad when it was happening.

I guess what we can hang our hat on is the fact that the team managed to find plays that worked and produce enough offense to win even when things went badly. "Guts" and all. But I have no idea if this is even a good defense we were playing against.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:28 PM ^

It's obviously concerning; feels like we've been waiting for it to 'click' on the OL ever since Molk left. But, the one thing UM has right now is (presumably) great coaching. Look at MSU in the last few years. OSU in the earlier Meyer years and especially 2013. All are teams that we wrote off to varying degrees because of big issues early in the season. All mitigated and corrected those deficiencies as the season went on. That's what great coaching gets you. While the OL may not be world beaters, we just need incremental improvement through the year until the meat of the schedule. I'll be looking for this against PSU.

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September 22nd, 2016 at 4:19 PM ^

but at this point how much improvement can we expect out of Kalis, Mags and Braden?  Second yr with the oline coach, 3+ yrs starting...  I don't think too many of us expected this to be a dominant oline but the concern is they still don't seem to have a great grasp of oline play.  Newsome would be the one that you'd think could really improve as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable. 


September 22nd, 2016 at 4:41 PM ^

Cole is new at his position (a position that makes the line calls, btw). Braden has been hurt and the LG position has been a rotation of at least 3 guys, probably more in practice, so some rust/confusion can be expected. Kalis has never been that great in the mental aspects of the game, looks like maybe that's just what he is. Magnuson has been ok and probably continues to be. 

So, I think there's some reasons to expect some growing pains despite most of them being returning starters and therefore some hope for improvement as the season goes on. 


September 22nd, 2016 at 4:04 PM ^

OL is hard and weird. So you have to be both good and smart and have good coaching.

I say with 100% certainty that the play Brian clipped in which Newsome lets a guy over him run right by him is Newsome's brain fart. It's a full slide protection, so he is responsible for the gap inside, but he cannot let the guy lined up over him run free unless he's actually going to block someone. He knows he has outside help via an RB, tthat's what the protection is. But he doesn't know the protection well enough to realize what letting that guy go means for the rest of the protection. This is hopefully a youth thing -- as you grow to really understand the plays and get to know more than just your responsibility, you make better decisions.

The play that confuses me most is the one in which Mags pulls and leaves Kalis with a very difficult play side scoop. I suspect it's a bad call by Mags, but it could be that coaches don't want to have him block down and have Kalis pull around. From where I'm sitting, that looks like such a mundane routine call that I have a hard time believing Mags just missed it.


September 22nd, 2016 at 5:50 PM ^

I'm sure there is some of that. Any uncommon front makes coaches nervous.

But I think the majority of it is guys just not seeing the bigger picture, not understanding the plays from a conceptual standpoint. Back to that play with Newsome -- he knows he has outside help. He is correct in that regard. But he doesn't know exactly what that means, and he doesn't realize that he is also the RBs inside help. And he has to balance that with the first rule of blocking he has heard since he was in junior high: don't get beat inside. So he makes a very stupid, very simple mistake.

Being a young lineman: You're afraid of literally everything. There are so many rules to follow and your technique to always be mindful of, and meanwhile the other guy is trying to kill you and the QB, who you like. And even our older guys might suffer from some of that -- they've never known what it's like to be the hammer, to have success, to be a bad motherfucker.

I still think we will be OK. If Braden plays well, our interior will be strong against most teams. We knew tackles weren't going to be a strength.

Space Coyote

September 22nd, 2016 at 6:04 PM ^

Mags is either thinking the guy is in a 3-tech rather than a 4i and therefore easier to reach. I've seen Harbaugh reach with that block because he wants the Tackle to be the lead puller to the outside, that's his preference. It seems that in a lot of these schemes guys had trouble dealing with inside shades.


September 22nd, 2016 at 3:23 PM ^

I was pretty down on the WRs as actual receivers this game. I know it was a big step up in competition level, but they seemed very passive going up for balls. Everytime there was a contested throw, they were fall away from the ball and the CU defender was attacking back to the ball. I'd like to see them help Speight out more by beating the defender to the ball considering they have the advantage of knowing where the throw is supposed to go.