Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2016 at 3:24 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tagSPONSOR NOTES: Was talking with Matt at the Marlin tailgate on Saturday when he broached the idea of buying one of those tailgate trailers with TVs and whatnot for next year. I am strongly encouraging this idea in the sponsor notes of the game column because then I can watch more of the noon games. Do it for your country, Matt.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets and possibly a trailer, 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: Just a couple of oddities other than the train. This was "Ace 3-wide offset." As you can see, the back is... offset.

ace 3-wide offset

And Michigan lined up in that formation with Chesson at TE again. Here he is running down the middle of the field.

offset i wr hide

These formations get appended with "WR hide."

PERSONNEL NOTES: OL and QB as you would expect, with Bushell-Beatty replacing Newsome when he got hurt. Michigan went much more WR-heavy in this game, with around 60 snaps for both Chesson and Darboh out of 77 possible. Perry, Crawford, and McDoom combined for another 38; with Butt near-omnipresent that meant Michigan was without a fullback for about half the snaps.

Smith got about 50% of the RB snaps with Evans and Isaac splitting the rest; Peppers got five snaps, four as a wildcat QB and one as a slot. Asiasi got 23 snaps as the #2 TE with Bunting injured; Wheatley and Michael Jocz(!) got 3 and 2 snaps, respectively.

[After THE JUMP: come on ride the train.] 

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Scramble Speight 2
Jocz(!) is your second TE here. Butt goes in motion and Speight immediately gets an unblocked DE up the gut because Newsome(-2) has an inexplicable pass protection bust. Speight(+1) manages to avoid the sack and turn a big loss into a minimal gain. (PR+, N/A, protection 0/2)
M13 2 8 Pistol twins 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass PA TE corner Butt 23
Token PA gets the OLB/DE guy on the LOS to bite a bit and he can’t get back into his drop in time. Butt runs a fifteen yard out and Speight puts in a very nice ball; great protection. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) RPS +1.
M36 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Out Chesson 6
First of a number of blitzes Wisconsin times up on Michigan’s snap count; this will get frustrating as M does not seem to have a cadence to counter this. It gets picked up just fine on this one and Speight hits an easy pitch and catch on first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M42 2 4 I-Form twins tight 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Lead zone Smith 1
Not a great start on the ground here as Cole(-2) is chucked away by the NT; Braden(-1) doesn’t get shed so dramatically but loses his block as well; his dude extends against him and then sheds to the hole, occupying Poggi. Smith gets nailed by two guys.
M43 3 3 Ace twin TE 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Pass Slant and go Darboh Inc
Poggi motions from an offset FB spot to WR. M going for a bunch here; Darboh runs a slant and go and torches the corner (route +). Speight throws this way late. He can still get a big gain by putting it to the outside but instead puts it right on Darboh; since it’s way late the safety got over and gets a PBU. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 0 4 Nickel even 6 Pass Drag Chesson 6
Good protection as UW shows a rush of four and sends it. Speight surveys and throws a short route to Chesson that’s a bit dodgy, as it’s behind him. Not awful but maybe cost a little bit of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M29 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Split zone Evans 22
UW sends what I think is a safety all the way around the outside at the snap. He ends up unblocked but can’t do anything about this as it hits directly up the gut. Braden(+2) and Cole(+1) both read the slant from the UW defense and adapt, with Cole kicking the DT coming to him down the line and Braden adjusting to pick off the guy trying to slant under Newsome. That’s a 2 for 1 but the blitzer cancels that. Kalis(+1) gets a second level block on the last LB and Evans(+1) can shoot past the line and get a chunk with his speed.
O49 1 10 Ace trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Zone stretch Evans 0
Another LB blitz at the snap is picked off ably by Braden(+1), who stops and cuts the blitzer off. Butt(+0.5) had a good kick. Newsome(-0.5) loses his block to the playside DE, but he stays attached and pushing. He provides a lane behind him. Evans(-2) has just this one block to read because everything else is so spread out and simply runs into the DE instead of cutting back and getting a slashing chunk of yards.
O49 2 10 Ace 3-wide offset 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Slant Darboh 12
Press coverage; Darboh beats the slot CB and Speight gets it out before a linebacker can undercut the route. Not sure what the offset was about, but Michigan got away with a false start by Evans. Refs +1. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, Darboh route +)
O37 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 ??? ??? Pass PA RB flat Evans 9
Jet fake and Evans into the flat. LB bites hard enough on the PA to provide an opportunity to catch and run. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O28 2 1 I-Form H 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Double Iso Smith 3
NT fights to one side of Cole’s block, which there’s not much he can do about one on one; Hill hits the NT. A lack of motion from Cole(-0.5) allows the LB to scrape around; Asiasi(+1) clunked the other one and Smith can go get the first down.
O25 1 10 Offset I WR hide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass TE post Chesson Inc
Michigan puts Chesson at TE and runs a post with him. Speight throws it a bit behind and at chest level for Chesson; S undercuts it and almost intercepts. I don’t have a problem with trying this. UW’s safety is 5-7. Chesson is eight inches taller and can jump out of the gym. Hold Chesson up and throw it high and this is probably a completion or PI; throw this ball and it’s a near INT. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O25 2 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass PA Corner Chesson 11
Speight corrects the issue from the last play. Play action doesn’t really get anyone open; Speight throws it high and Chesson goes to get it. (DO, 2, protection 1/1, RPS -1)
O14 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Jet sweep Chesson 8
Chesson slows up as if he’s going to sit just outside Butt and then continues his motion; playside end flows outside hard; Hill(+0.5) kicks him; Chesson(+1) cuts up. He can do this because Newsome(+1) reached and sealed a DE who was not reacting to the jet.
O6 2 2 TRAIN 2 3 0 Goal line Run Inside zone Smith 5
This ends up turning into a tackle over formation that M runs some sort of zone play at, with the FB shooting weakside and the back starting strongside. Anyone’s guess whether it’s an intended counter or not; Smith(+1) cuts back away from a DE who penetrated under Newsome(-1) and threatens; Newsome continues to annoy. This turns into a rugby scrum that Michigan drives to the one; half points for Poggi, Asiasi, Cole, Kalis, and Braden.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run FB dive Hill 1
Vulture gonna vulture. Kalis(+0.5) and Mags(+0.5) put their guy in the endzone for the space.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Pistol FB twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Slant Chesson Inc
Smith motions out just before the snap to a WR spot. Speight notices a very soft slot corner on Chesson and fires a quick slant that looks on the money until a DL bats it down. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)
M44 2 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 7 Pass Drag Perry 20
Corner blitz gets tipped and Michigan picks it up. Watt pays way too much attention to Butt and runs way out of his zone, opening up Perry for a big catch and run on a simple throw. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O36 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Crack sweep Smith 7
Newsome leads out to the corner and gets cut by a DB, ending his year. There’s no reason this should be legal. Get off your block, don’t dive at a guy’s knees. Anyway. Chesson(+0.5) gets thrown away eventually but delays playside pursuit. In addition to destroying Newsome’s knee this CB gives up the corner. Smith takes it. Hill(+1) blasts a LB that Butt had engaged but couldn’t do anything with; Smith(+1) makes a smart cut past the trash and gets a good chunk.
O29 2 3 Pistol FB 2 1 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Trap Isaac 4
Given the double on the NT to push him left and Kalis fanning out to deal with a DE this seems like an Asiasi(-2) bust on which he ends up trying to trap block the wrong DT. Other DT realizes what’s happening a bit late; Hill(+1) blasts one LB; Isaac(+1) does an excellent job to drive a very large man for significant YAC.
O25 1 10 Pep Pistol FB 2* 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Trap read Smith 6
Peppers your QB. He zone reads and hands off. Michigan traps again; Magnuson’s guy overplays the inside lane and Smith(+1) smartly cuts back outside of that after threatening the planned lane. Hill(+2) had a completely irrelevant but awesome block where he first nailed the trap guy, who was not fooled and Kalis (-0.5) was having difficulty with before plastering a LB. RPS +1.
O19 2 4 Pep Pistol FB 2* 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Inside zone read Smith 3
M seems to want this to go just behind the OLB checking Peppers but Smith turns it down. Close call. Hill ends up going behind Magnuson; Smith picks another gap so he has no blocking angle; Magnuson(-0.5) didn’t deal well with the DE and he kind of two gaps here. Kalis(+1) got some force on the NT, though he made it somewhat easy.
O16 3 1 Ace Diamond Big 2* 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run FB dive Hill 1
Michigan gets it. LB ran at this hard but not hard enough.
O15 1 10 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 6.5 Pass Out Perry Inc
Decent to good time; Butt(-1) eventually lets a delayed blitzer in. Speight seems to sense this and gets rid of it in the direction of a very covered Perry. Would have had to been a perfect throw to hit this. It’s not. He looked at this way too long and had Asiasi in the middle of the field or Smith on a dump down. (BR, 0, protection 1/2)
O15 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel under 7 Run Swap stretch Smith 2
This is basically a stretch except Kalis blocks down and Cole pulls right around him. Kalis(+1) does a good job, cutting the guy off and then forcing him to give ground to get around while shoving all the time. Mags(-2) gets whipped on the edge. OLB stands him up and then plays both sides of him so that when Smith makes a decision it’s very late. He could do nothing else and does well to get anything.
O13 3 8 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one 7 Pass Out Perry Inc
UW sends guys off both edges and drops out DTs. Evans picks a side and picks up a blitzer; same guy coming from the other side is free. Speight spins away from the unfettered blitzer and nearly throws an interception. (BR, 0, protection 0/3, team -3) RPS –2.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(31), 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Offset I twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass In Darboh 7
Quick in route that’s open as UW is playing soft. Darboh looks like he’s going to get close to the sticks when a LB hurls him down for no YAC rather impressively. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O32 2 3 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Split zone Evans 5
Jet motion from McDoom draws a big response, pulling both safeties to the LOS. Michigan just runs IZ up the gut. Cole(+2) stands up the NT and keeps shoving as he tries to poke his head one way and then the other; he’ll end up six yards downfield still getting shoved. Braden(+1) locks out a DE. Kalis and Mags take on a LB who tipped a blitz and is at the LOS. They block him but neither guy gets out to the LB level. Butt(-1) gets driven back by his guy and that forces a cutback. Evans gets a solid gain because of the gap on the backside.
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Tunnel screen Darboh 2
Again Darboh(-2) turns down the play design to improvise to little effect. This is blocked well enough to get 4 or 5. JBB(+1) flares out and whacks Watt hard enough to knock his helmet off; Watt continues to play but doesn’t draw a flag. Refs -1. Cole(-1) failed to read that one of the LBs close to the LOS was backing out and that he should stop and cut him off instead of going to the safety. Darboh looks at a crease with some guys in it and turns it down. This is the equivalent of Smith bouncing out into traffic; Darboh is a burly guy who can get YAC. (CA, 3, screen)
O25 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Jet sweep Crawford 0
Blocked well enough for yardage. Butt(+2) flanks, steps around, and seals a DE who is very much trying to get outside. Asiasi(+0.5) kicks the corner. Smith(+0.5) is leading out and also kicks the playside S; Crawford(-3) absolutely has to cut back inside this block and get upfield , which will gain a slashing chunk and set up third and short. He continues running outside for zero.
O25 3 8 Offset I twins tight 2 1 2 Nickel over 6.5 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Smith(-2) is on the edge against Watt and gets beat around the corner way too quick. Speight bears some responsibility here as well since he drops to ten yards, giving the DE a better angle, and does not feel the pressure and step up into what is otherwise an excellent pocket . He does at least fend off Watt long enough to fire the ball at Butt’s feet to save a bunch of yardage. (TA+, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 7-0, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Skinny post Darboh Inc
Another timed blitz; Poggi picks it up with aplomb. Just a two man route and that helps suck up underneath defenders. Darboh breaks open underneath a guy who set up with outside leverage and Speight hits Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Run Split zone Evans 4
Doubles on the DTs and motion on both. Kalis(+1) and Mags(+1) blow out one guy definitively. The other comes through Cole(-0.5) and Braden(-0.5), though not so quickly he threatens the backfield. He does force a cut. Evans shoots backside and meets an unblocked linebacker; he just about gets around the guy until an ankle tackle brings him down.
M35 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack 6 Pass Out Perry Inc
Michigan does get their snap timed up here to their detriment, with the MLB shooting past the OL once he sees Perry’s motion and predicts the snap count. Cole(-2) does not see this and moves out to hit a DT while the LB comes right up the gut. Smith(-1) manages to hit the guy but not very effectively. Speight’s throwing off his back foot and at a covered Perry; ball is way inside and if the DB on Perry doesn’t slip this is an interceptable ball. (BRX, 0, protection 0/3) RPS -2. JBB(-1) got an illegal formation penalty for lining up too deep; Smith got called for a hold on the attempted blitz pickup. This play was not a winner.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 2 min 2nd Q. Next drive is a one minute drill.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Screen Smith 4
Not a bad idea but someone screws up as Butt and Braden(-2) go after the same guy. I assume that it’s Braden because it’s better to hit guys who aren’t looking at you; Butt cracks down on a safety and Braden should probably flare out to kick the corner, who’s now the force guy. As always, this is a guess. Force guy is free and Smith has to cut inside of him, which allows a recovering Watt to jump on his back. RPS +1. (CA, 3, screen)
O40 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Sack N/A -3
Magnuson(-2) changes his mind halfway through this play. Initially he flares for the OLB; he then decides to redirect to the blitzer. He cannot do this. If he decides either way and sticks with it Smith can probably pick up the other guy; even with the confusion he gets to the OLB. Speight sacked. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
O43 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Fly Chesson Inc
JBB gets flagged again for being in the backfield only this time he looks properly aligned. M just punts it deep; DB is naturally expecting this and is over the top; everyone gets tangled and Chesson gets an OPI call. It’s legit, but it’s also probably the smart play in this situation since you can’t get to this ball and an INT may be dangerous. Speight needs to see that the DB is over the top and hang this up for a jump ball. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Flash screen Darboh 5
Oh look it’s a median one of these. (CA, 3, screen)
M30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over split 8 Pass Hitch Perry 6
Odd formation on which the NT is one of their DEs and they’ve slid to the right with a huge gap between the NT and an OLB over the slot. JBB(-1) realizes late that he’s got that guy coming to him and lets him around the corner, sort of. He’s still pushing and the guy falls, allowing Speight to step up and hit Perry for a first down. Throw is high but not ridiculously so. (CA, 2, protection ½)
M36 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 3-4 over 7.5 Run Power O Smith 2
Kalis(+0.5) pulls and gets a good kick; Mags(+1) turns in and fends off the DE, though he’s giving some ground. Cole can’t do anything with the NT, who is shaded playside of him on the snap and just releases once he sees the pull. That guy gets to the hole and it counts in part because Poggi(-2) airballs on his block on the S. He gets a tackle in and Smith gets swarmed under. RPS -1.
M38 2 8 Offset I twins tight 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Evans -2
Nowhere to go as Poggi(-1) gets shoved back on his kickout and Mags(-1) loses a bunch of ground to the DE lined up on him. There’s no hole. Evans(-1) tries to bounce and gets swallowed up by Watt, which loses a couple more.
M36 3 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 3-3-5 stack 7 Pass Flare Smith 5
Asiasi(-2) gets run right around on the backside. Not sure if Speight feels that or just has nothing downfield and checks down to Smith. That gets only a few yards. (PR, 3, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: A Cavalcade Of Whimsical Punts Resulting In A Personal Foul On Wisconsin, 7-0, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 Pistol FB H 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Trap Evans 0
Mostly well blocked and yet. Asiasi(+1) picks off the NT that Cole left. Hill(+1) gets a good block on a linebacker. Kalis sees his end run away from him and end up outside of Mags and Watt. He follows that guy a while and then finally decides he should look for someone else; it is too late for that. I don’t blame him, this is pretty odd. UW sent down a safety just before the snap and had one of those timed up blitzes on the backside so he’s waiting at the LOS. Do feel that Smith gets some YAC here that Evans did not. RPS -2.
O49 2 10 I-Form twins 2* 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Wheel Chesson 24
UW safety busts as he bites on the dig Darboh is running; Chesson’s open for a first down. Throw is a little iffy but since Speight got blown up right after the ball is out by a delayed blitz from Watt we’ll let it slide. No clear culprit on the pressure; looks like Watt is going to take someone out of the backfield and then says nah. (CA, 3, protection 0/2, team -2). Chesson(+1) breaks a tackle for another ten.
O25 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 5 Run QB sweep Morris 5 (Pen -8)
Peppers in the backfield, motions out, Morris takes it the other way. Not great from M as Crawford(-2) is supposed to crack down and hesitates. DE blows up Braden as he tries to pull, removing him from the equation. JBB(-2) leads out and tackles the CB to that side, drawing a holding call.
O33 1 18 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over 8 Pass TE post Butt INT
PA, good pocket, PA does nothing to the linebacker level because of the down and distance. That plus the fact that Cichy is very good sees an otherwise terrific throw that likely sets up second and short batted into the air, and that deflection goes right to a DB. Results-based charting but I don’t necessarily mind this. (BR, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1) Replay.
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-0, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Ace 4-wide tight 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Waggle Hitch Chesson 5
UW LB does get the blitz timing wrong this time; tipped and picked up. M fakes a pitch to Evans and then waggles. DE directly into Speight’s face. Speight does what he can to get the ball out; it’s high but caught for an eh gain. (CA+, 2, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M19 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Smith 13
Blocking scheme is goofy, with JBB flaring out in case the slot guy comes down on a run right up the gut. Everyone else is running the same thing so it’s not on him. LB shoots the interior gap hard; Mags(+2) is already engaged with a DT and getting a little depth on that block; he peels off and hits the LB impressively; Smith(+1.5) cuts outside into a gap. Butt(+1) kicked out Watt and stuck with him; Chesson(+0.5) got a safety. Smith pounds out about 5 YAC. RPS –1.
M32 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Lead zone Smith 16 + 10 pen
Jet fake. SS runs with it and is gone. LB level is hesitant as Smith keeps his options open with a big backside hole. He eventually decides to go to the jet side and pops into the secondary because Butt(+1) got a chip and then got to the second level. JBB(+0.5) does enough to maintain the block on the DE, albeit barely; Poggi(+0.5) gets a kickout thanks to an OLB who checks the jet. On the backside Kalis(+1) put a guy on the ground and Braden(+1) and Cole(+1) blast the NT back, with a flag coming out at the NT tries to prevent Cole from getting to a LB. A cutback is also probably workable. Smith(+1) for popping through the right gap. RPS +1.
O42 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Double A pull Smith 2
Jet fake. Sooo both tackles pull around the guards into the A gaps. This is something I’ve never seen before. Wisconsin clogs the center and Smith blows this cut. Frustrating because the jet motion is there for a reason and it really widens out the OLB to that side. He backs off and Asiasi(+0.5) has an easy time of kicking him out. LB runs up to hit the puller in the A gap to the right. Kalis’s guy rips inside, which gets him to that gap and creates a massive hole outside of him. The exact same thing is happening on the other side of the line except Butt(-1) is dealing with a guy focused on getting inside, not out, and there’s no gap. He gets swallowed up. -2. Braden(+1) got good push and creates the little room that exists. RPS +1.
O40 2 8 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Isaac 5
Right up the gut somewhat effectively. Cole(+0.5) gets some push on the NT; Kalis kind of skips him and I’d rather he apply more force. Mags doesn’t get a great block but does get a yard or two, so Isaac(+0.5) pushes the pile a good distance once he hits it.
O35 3 3 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Isaac 8
Nowhere to go. JBB(-1) gets shoved back. Braden(-1) also loses his block; Isaac(+2) is about to get swallowed up when he bursts outside; Kalis(+1) helped pave the way by grabbing and shoving a linebacker who might have a path to him; under pressure from Kalis he falls. Isaac gets chopped down by the CB.
O27 1 10 Pep Pistol FB 2* 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Iso Isaac 10
Peppers should actually pull on this one, I think. OLB is shuffling to the run and almost gets his from behind. Give, and Isaac picks his way through impressively. Cole(+1) gets the NT two or three yards downfield, giving Isaac a lane to threaten in. He does; he draws an unblocked LB, and then shifts outside around him(+2); Braden(+1) got depth and stuck with his guy so Isaac’s cut counts. He gets to a corner and is again tackled.
O17 1 10 Pep Pistol FB 2* 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Iso Isaac 5
Again this should be a pull. It’s not. Mags(-0.5) lets his guy into the running lane. Guy has no force and is getting blocked so when contact comes he gets bowled over. Cole(+1) again gets the NT off the ball with a bit of help from Kalis(+0.5). Isaac right up the guy, again plowing over an OL for some YAC.
O17 2 5 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Power O Smith -1
JBB(-1) gets blown up. He and Asiasi(-1) block down on the DE and lose that block; DE got skinny and I don’t think Asiasi did much to hit him. He pops up in the hole. Smith(-1) has to improvise and opts for a bounce that turns zero or a few if he cuts backside into a loss.
O18 3 4 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Pass Sack N/A -11
Another timed blitz gets in as the OL does not realize they might need to pick up the ILB. Smith(-2) does and disappointingly just gets run through. Speight has to roll out. He has time to see he’s got nothing and dump the ball; he holds it and is sacked. (BR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(40), 7-7, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Evans 13 (Pen -10)
Jet motion, UW times up the snap. Not much you can do about this if you want to use the jet fake. Michigan needs more motion like this that doesn’t result in a snap. Anyway, Braden(-1) in a tough spot and tackles the blitzer. Call made, invalidating a nice Evans(+2) run where he breaks a couple tackles. RPS -2.
M25 1 20 Ace offset 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass TE screen Butt 5
More jet motion and another dangerous timed blitz. That’s kind of the idea on this one, though, as the blitzer takes a hit and is then let go as M dumps a screen out. Mags(+1) does a good job to prevent the nearest DL from getting to the ball and then the rest is whiffs. Chesson(-2) can’t get the CB, at all, and he runs upfield to force it back inside and into pursuit. Cole also didn’t touch his guy but I think that’s an artifact of the angles getting screwed up by the CB. RPS +1.
M30 2 15 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Nickel even 7 Pass PA Post Darboh Inc
Speight mentioned a play where he just bombed it past everyone as a throwaway and this has got to be it since nobody is even one percent open. PA on this passing down draws nobody. Backs are left in. Poggi(-1) gets beat by a rusher; Isaac redirects and picks the guy off but Speight’s already decided to get rid of it. (TA, 0, protection ½) RPS -1, three guys in the routes and all covered thanks in part to fruitless passing down PA.
M30 3 15 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 1 3 3-2-6 dime 5 Pass Sack N/A -11
Magnuson(-1) and Kalis(-1) straight up beat on a stunt; guy right up the middle and Speight can’t shake him. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run IZ counter Isaac 13
They ran this several times last week and here it is again. Looks like inside zone, intended to hit backside. Mags(+1) turns in the playside end. Hill(+0.5) kicks an OLB, but doesn’t get much movement. Chesson(+1) comes in as if it’s a crack sweep and picks off the S who came down; CB who is replacing is late and also a CB. Isaac(+1) squeezes through the gap and stiffarms that CB, momentarily losing the ball in a terrifying moment. Butt(+0.5) got to a LB and walled him off as well.
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 7 Run Inside zone Smith 3
Blocking’s not great here but the ZR aspect gets them a few yards anyway. Butt(-2) barely touches a guy coming off the corner and Mags(-1) and Cole(-1) both get slanted under. JBB(+1) gets a pretty good block to drive the backside DE and give Smith a small crease.
M23 2 7 Offset I 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass PA FB flat Poggi 5
Also a default one of these. UW successfully swaps their coverage to prevent the pick but can’t get out to tackle on the catch. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M28 3 2 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 9 Pass In Darboh Inc
Soft coverage on the outside and this is likely to be open; it is. Darboh flat drops the conversion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 ??? ??? Run Reverse Chesson 0
This feels like a tactical fail but it is blocking instead. Cole(-1) overruns his second level block, allowing his man to run under him productively. JBB(-2) lunges at his dude when just leisurely handfighting with him is a win. He loses that guy; he then turns upfield instead of finding a second option. That becomes relevant as Cole runs over his dude and Chesson can cut back, into guys that JBB isn’t blocking. Smith(+1) had an excellent, if irrelevant, block on a safety.
M36 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass TE hitch Butt 3
Blitz; good pickup from Braden. Speight dumps it short; Butt gets four yards. He’s given two on a horrendous spot from the refs(-1). (CA,3, protection 1/1)
M39 3 7 Shotgun empty 1 0 4 Okie one 6 Pass Slant Darboh 15
UW playing off so all about getting the ball there before the LB undercuts; success. Darboh catches the ball right in stride and grabs a nice chunk of YAC(+1) after breaking a tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS+1)
O46 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Fly Darboh 46
Darboh sells a fade route and gets Tindal to bite on it, then redirects inside, gets separation, and outruns the guy. He has to slow up a tiny bit to catch the ball but this is a pretty arced ball almost entirely in stride from Speight and a touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, Darboh route++)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 7 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Run IZ counter Isaac 0
Wisconsin puts this outside, as the playside end dives inside of Poggi. They’ve got a safety crashing down hard and Darboh(-2) doesn’t realize that. He runs by that guy; tackle at the line.
M28 2 10 Pistol FB 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Evans 4
Somewhat odd as Braden just passes a DE up. Kalis(+1) is pulling around and gets him, seals him in. Small crease with JBB(+0.5) getting enough of a kick and Poggi(+0.5) hitting a LB. NT gives a ton of ground and then gets off Cole four yards downfield; Braden(-1) tries to hit him and gets shed; Evans tackled by NT.
M32 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack 6 Pass Sack N/A -10
Magnuson(-2) beat around the corner clean. Woof. He’s focused on a DT coming out as well and anticipating a stunt. This is incorrect. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 4 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Down G Smith 0
Playside G pulls around to the outside; UW sends the unblocked backside end at the back, ignoring the possibility of a waggle, and he tackles. Doesn’t really matter since Braden(-1) is the puller and gets knocked back by Watt so there’ s no gap to speak of. RPS -1. Would be more but game situation.
O45 2 10 Ace 3-wide tight 2 1 2 Base 3-4 9 Run Crack sweep Isaac 3
UW does a good job to string this play out and force a cutback. Mags(+1) seals the playside end well enough to prevent him from tackling on the cutback but Watt is unblocked by design and he comes all the way to hit Isaac; Crawford(+1) had a good block on a LB that takes him past the play. Playside OLB is anticipating this sweep and Hill(-1) does get shoved back a bunch. Tough for him. RPS -1.
O45 3 7 Ace twins 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Crack sweep Isaac 1
Screw you, your offense doesn’t work, the play. Butt(-2) airballs on the playside LB, who runs upfield of him and gets to the back. Otherwise actually not that bad. JBB(+0.5) did enough on the playside end and Hill got his guy to widen out significantly.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 3 min 4th Q. Michigan gets the ball back with 2:15 and runs out the clock; not charted.

I mean... I guess this was fine?

I guess?

You're supposed to tell me.

I mean. It was fine?

Was it?


Do that bullet point thing with the drives.


  • 11 play, 77-yard TD drive
  • 4 play, 64-yard TD drive
  • Two drives of about ten plays and 40 yards ending in missed short FGs.
  • Three drives of ~20 yards, two ending in punts and the third another missed FG.
  • Four three-and-outs, one of them the one-minute drill to end the first half.
  • One three and out that was entirely about draining UW's timeouts.

That's okay against a very good defense. I actually liked Michigan's ground game a lot.

Your opinion of the ground game is not justified by the stats.

Let's excise Wilton Speight and the six carries at the end of the game on which Michigan was running into ultra-stacked boxes with goals other than "gain yards." That's 11 of Michigan's 44 attempts that collectively went for –22 yards. The remaining 33 went for 4.6 yards an attempt. I'll take that against a fierce run defense currently 14th in S&P+, especially since Michigan didn't break any long ones that tend to puff stats up.

I'd go further and say that if you drop the two carries by Hill (both FB dives that converted short-yardage situations) and the three runs from the wideouts you're looking at 5.1 YPC from the primary tailbacks. Michigan had a shoulda-been-field goal drive that was eight straight runs bookended by passes. It felt rather good. Michigan frequently lurched Wisconsin off the ball en masse:

The OL didn't overwhelm like they did against Penn State but they mostly did their jobs, with several promising run plays cut down by aggressive safeties or goofy cuts. Let's check the--


I do that part later.


Offensive Line
Player Snaps + - Total PFF   Snaps Pass- Error% PFF
Bushell-Beatty 32 3.5 7 -3.5 -1.2   27 1 3% 0.3
Braden 40 7.5 7.5 0 -2.3   37 -0.2
Cole 40 7 6 1 -0.4   37 2 4% 0.7
Kalis 40 10 0.5 9.5 1.7   37 1 2% 1.5
Magnuson 40 7.5 5 2.5 -0.5   37 5 10% -0.6
Newsome 19 1 1.5 -0.5 -1.6   0.5
Butt 36 5 6 -1 -1.0   4 1 25% -1.3
Bunting 0   - -
Wheatley 2       1 - - 0
Asiasi 16 3.5 3 0.5 1   5 2 40% -0.9
Hill 11 6 1 5 -0.7   - -
Poggi 24 1.5 3 -1.5 -1.1   4 1 25% -0.8
TOTAL - 52.5 40.5 56%

No adjustments for run +/-.

Player + - T Notes
Protection 31 25 78% Team –5, Magnuson –5, Smith –5, Newsome –2, Cole –2, Asiasi –2, Poggi –1, Kalis –1, Bushell-Beatty –1, Butt –1
RPS 9 16 -7 Ton of timed up blitzes.

So,  yeah. This was a major struggle in all phases when it came to blocking.

Yikes on that Bushell-Beatty number.

Yeah. Michigan did tend to protect him on the edge, and when they did not he looked a bit shaky in pass protection:

That's not the worst thing I've ever seen. He does get the guy to fall and gets his hands off. It is still not great. It was his only minus, though, on a tough day for the line. It was much rougher on the ground. Also to the negative: he picked up a holding call on the Morris run by straight up tackling a dude and was twice flagged for illegal formations for lining up too far off the LOS. (The second was dubious.)

I did find him getting some motion from time to time. The rest of this play is borked but JBB gets enough movement on a DL to provide Smith some yards:

Even so I wouldn't be surprised to see Cole flip back out and Kugler draw in.

Meanwhile... what? How was Michigan's ground game okay with those numbers?

I put the PFF numbers in first, thought they were crazy negative given the production, and then... came up with close to the same thing. The main differences are that I thought Hill was very good and was even higher on Kalis than I think they were.

Magnuson had a rough game at first glance. In addition to a couple of sacks partially to entirely on him, various players managed to stand him up and play both sides of him in the run game. This from Watt is impressive and TJ Watt-like but also pretty ugly from Magnuson, who loses inside and then outside:

But Magnuson pulled himself back over even by the end. He hit 60%, which isn't our 66% goal but it could have been worse.

Meanwhile the rest of the line other than Bushell-Beatty managed to get to or scrape over zero. Braden showed excellent awareness here to perceive he had nobody at the second level and stop:

The guy Braden should be getting at the second level has ripped around the outside as UW slants. If he releases to nobody that DT either tackles or forces a cutback. Instead he cuts that guy off and Evans bursts to the safeties.

Kalis meanwhile got a lot of motion and didn't do anything that I thought was erroneous. He didn't have the kind of day where I clip something and say "wow"; he just executed. He's bizzaro world Kyle Kalis, and right now he looks like the one NFL draft pick on the line.

So, I don't really have an answer. I did like the running backs again? Mostly?

You did not. This is your week to hate them.

I have a chart and everything.

RB chart (WR grades are run only):

Player Rushes + - T   PFF   Notes
Speight 1 1 1   -0.1   I gave him a point for avoiding a sack and getting a little something on the first play.
Smith 17 7 3 4   0.1   -1.7 pass blocking : /
Isaac 8 6.5 6.5   1.0  
Evans 10 3 3 0   0.5    
Johnson               DNP
TOTAL 36 17.5 6 11.5   +1.5    
Player Blocks + - T   PFF G   Notes
Darboh 25 1 3 -4   -0.1   Again turned down tunnel play design.
Chesson 30 4 2  2   -0.2   Sweepin'
Perry 6     0.5  
McDoom 5              
Crawford 8 1 5 -4   -0.1 Did not crack on crack sweep, bad jet.
TOTAL - 7 5 2

I don't! I do wonder where Higdon went; Harbaugh says he wasn't hurt. Pass protection issues didn't prevent Evans from playing; have to imagine Higdon is at least as good as Evans at that.

Anyway, both Smith and Isaac ripped off impressive weaving runs. Smith popped off a chunk by pressing the hole and then popping outside:

(Magnuson does excellent work here as well.) Isaac did it twice in one run:

Isaac also saved a stuffed third down conversion with a quick bounce outside. Evans's best run of the day was called back on a penalty; he tended to get tackled for no YAC, as well. I was a bit disappointed with him. Other than that, another strong day from the runners. They made up for some stalemate blocking, which I don't think I've said in a long time around these parts.

That said, there were a couple of plays on which I was like "for the love of god, cut off a block." This followed directly on the heels of the Evans 22 yarder and I'm just like... dot dot dot.


Newsome is the guy in the middle of the block M whose guy has declared outside. Evans is only reading this one block. He goes... outside, getting tackled for no yards. A cutback there is something, either four if that LB Braden is fending off can get to him or a bunch if he can't.

On first and ten in the second half Michigan ran a jet fake and got a huge gap to that side of the line since the OLB spread out to contain it. Smith cuts to the other side of the line, where Jake Butt is having a much tougher time with an OLB who isn't thinking about the jet at all. Butt is to the top of the screen, and he's dealing with a guy who doesn't have to be force since he's got a CB outside of him. Asiasi is to the bottom and has the world's easiest kickout:


This was going to be a big chunk unless the LBs can recover.

That's pretty frustrating since the goal of these jet fakes is to get that gap to exist. Smith's gotta press directly upfield and then pop into the wide open spaces there. If Wisconsin has that covered they've got it covered but when you cut away from the play design you'd better have a good reason. There doesn't appear to be one here.

Speight was a bit of a WILDCARD in this one.

Yes, he—

And what I mean by that is he threatened to cut the breaks and leap out of the car.

Right. It does show up:

[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
Penn State 1+ 17(2)++ 1   1 4   1(1) 2+ 8(1) -   68% 1.0
Wisconsin 3 16(3)+   5+   1 2+ 4 5*   57% -0.5

Not great, though he was under a ton of pressure. 6.8 YPA is not going to blow anyone's doors off and he did throw a number of questionable balls. But as I mentioned in the game column, the interception was more a great play by Wisconsin than anything else:

Also, Michigan's running play action on second and fifteen. Of all the throws that Wisconsin had an opportunity to get their hands on, that one bothers me the least.

One of the other near-interceptions was indeed a bad thing, but at least Speight immediately corrected his issue. Michigan hides Chesson at TE and has him run a post. He's kind of covered but also Chesson, so he is open if you put it up high. Speight puts it right on him, which allows the tiny safety to undercut the route:

The very next play another Chesson corner route would be nominally covered; Speight put it in the #buttzone:

So at least that shows some growth. Fitting the ball into tight windows is something any pro-style QB has to master, so I'd rather he tries these throws and gets good at them than just chucks the ball out to game-manage.

Still, there were far too many close calls in this game. The near-INT in the endzone was horrendous. So was a pressured throw on third and six that was way inside and upfield of Perry. Michigan was fortunate that the DB fell down.

Speight had a couple of very nice throws. Obviously the touchdown was near-perfect, and he opened with an excellent out route that floated over a defender's hand and allowed Butt to turn upfield:

He did offset that with a slant and go to Darboh that was open but broken up. He threw it late and didn't use a huge amount of room to the outside—Darboh's running on the numbers—so the safety was able to get over. It was just... bleah. Michigan got enough from him to win the game but this was an Early Rudock kind of performance, except more turnover-prone.

There's nothing for it except to hope that he can improve a great deal by the end of the season, like his predecessor. This level of QB play will not beat OSU.

Is Darboh fast again?

Uh, maybe? This Tindal guy kept up with Malachi Dupre pretty well and after Darboh beats him to the inside it's just a matter of sprinting to the goal line. Darboh increases his lead until the throw is a hair short and he has to slow up for it.

That is not a thing that I thought would happen. Darboh in fact had a terrific day aside from the dropped third down conversion:

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Darboh 3 5/6   11 1/3 1/1 21/23
Chesson 2   2/2 4/4   6 0/1 4/5 10/11
Perry 3   1/1 1/1   8 1/1 5/5
Ways                 1/1
McDoom             1/1   2/2
Crawford                 1/1
Butt 1   2/2   4 1/2   16/18
Bunting         1     2/2
Asiasi               1/1
Poggi       1/1         4/5
Hill           2/2 3/3
Smith 2/2   2 1/1 2/2 6/6
Evans     1/1   1 0/1   3/3
McKeon                 2/2
Hirsch                 1/1

ROUTES: Darboh ++++

Darboh's four route positives were all key, as Michigan capitalized on them. The drop was bad, and he needs to start running those tunnel screens as intended. He was still a major factor in the W.

Butt wasn't very involved after the big catch to start. What's the deal?

Opposing defenses have a tendency to overplay him. This is not by design, but there are a lot of underneath busts when some linebacker gets too enthusiastic about limiting him. Perry got 20 yards on a simple drag route largely because of Butt Derangement Syndrome:

That is a straight up zone run by everyone else while Watt is convinced he needs to check Butt the whole way. Butt's initial outside step may help that; Watt's got the flat and Butt steps to it on the snap. The other explanation for Butt's lack of involvement is Jack Cichy: he's excellent in coverage and Michigan got burned when they tested him once. They decided they'd rather go at the CBs, and that eventually paid off.

I think we've exhausted the jet sweep mine.

I think we aren't likely to have as much success on it as they've had to start the season since teams are now reacting to it heavily. Wisconsin would unbalance their entire secondary by firing down a safety and trying to rotate a corner back, and that plus various other guys widening out provides some opportunities to the interior.

Also, when WRs know what they're doing it's still productive. I negged Chesson last week for blindly running outside when he had a lane inside one of his blockers; this week Chesson read it and picked up a chunk:

Unfortunately, Kekoa Crawford was on week one of this progression. He got zero yards when a cut upfield behind an obvious kickout block gets him near a first down.

crawford jet

That's a point where you have to know to cut inside of Smith. Crawford did not.

Meanwhile the jet opened up gaps in Wisconsin's front and helped facilitate the ground game. The highlighted OLB here takes an unnatural step back and outside on the snap here, and that repositioning gives Michigan just enough room to shoot Smith through the line and into the secondary:

But didn't it let Wisconsin time up Michigan's snaps?

Okay yes that is a good point. It wasn't just the jet sweeps, and it wasn't always successful, but UW had a bunch of guys run at the line at almost exactly the right time. This severely hampered some plays:

That's a big gain nullified by a Braden holding call, and that hold is about 90% the LB timing the snap. You can't really do anything about that if you do have a jet on and they time it up. What you can do is run that motion without snapping the ball in the hopes that UW will declare a blitz that you can then pick up. Michigan did not seem to do this. It was very predictable that the WR motion at high speed across the formation would involve a snap at that particular moment.

In addition to the jet stuff, any sort of motion from a wide receiver appeared to be the trigger for these blitzes. Here Speight gets pressured by a perfectly-timed blitz and nearly throws an INT. The WR motion is just an outside repositioning.

There are 13 seconds on the playclock when this is snapped. Michigan has time to vary their counts and get some of these linebackers to declare early. That did not seem to happen. On the one hand, that's a worry since MSU has timed Michigan snap counts forever. On the other, that did not happen last year and Michigan can use this game as a wake-up call about their cadences.

Stanfordizations of the week?

Well I mean obviously TRAIN.

Michigan popped out of that into a tackle over formation, had Newsome—the over tackle—not do a great job on his block, and then just rugby scrummed that ball to the one. Did TRAIN have anything to do with that? Maybe? I don't know. What I do know is that it was bizarre and I liked it.

Michigan's other very obvious wrinkle were four snaps with Peppers as a spread option QB. He handed off every time to his frustration and everyone else's, but the results were positive. The only time Michigan gained fewer than five yards was a three yard gain on second and four. That could have gone better but Magnuson's block was iffy and Hill and Smith went in different gaps.

Peppers's addition to the backfield naturally draws a lot of attention. This cutback lane is super-wide because the DE is thinking about Peppers:

Meanwhile... man, I think some of these were pull reads. This DE looks like he's shuffling and disciplined but his momentum is to the interior.

I would have at least tested that guy once.

There were a couple more subtle things. Michigan ran what looked exactly like a stretch play except for one thing: Kalis blocked down on the NT and Cole pulled right around him. That didn't go anywhere because of the Watt play against Magnuson mentioned above, but I would have liked to see how that developed. It's a stretch where you have a very high probability of reaching the NT, and usually when that happens you're getting a chunk. 

Michigan also brought back the inside zone counter at a critical moment; UW slanted inside it and Chesson picked up the key block:

That's an extremely subtle alteration that should remain effective because it looks so much like the base play.

But you had a rather large negative RPS number?

A healthy portion of that is Michigan closing up shop after the interception, which allowed UW safeties to get involved without Michigan getting back over the top. I'll RPS minus a play that doesn't have a good explanation for not gaining yards otherwise even if it's probably the right decision to eat a bunch of no gains and punt the ball back.


Kalis was Michigan's most consistent player, which is really a thing. Smith and Isaac made a lot of yards for themselves. Darboh broke the game open. Chesson also had a strong outing that I've somehow failed to mention so far.

Maybe not so heroic?

Speight's got to get better if Michigan is going to live up to expectations. Poggi consistently comes in with meh grades. Big chunks of the line had struggles in pass protection.

What does it mean for Rutgers and the future?

The tailbacks had a second straight positive outing, this in a much tougher environment. I'm not saying they've turned a corner just yet. I will allow my hopes to get up a wee bit.

Blitz pickups and pass protection are big sore spots. Michigan didn't know what they were looking at and ate far too many blitzes on which they did not attempt to suss out where they might be coming from. Varied cadences and offensive rhythm will help. Various flat out busts are concerning at this point in the season, especially with the line in flux.

Speight must get better. Too many bad decisions and iffy throws here.

Hill seems like the better FB option by some distance. Wonder if we'll start seeing that in the playing time.

Kalis might be genuinely good. No mistakes and the same level of physical performance.



October 5th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

Only 0.5 pts for Kalis and Magnuson on the first TD? The whole line comprehensively destroys the Wisc DL. C'mon, man. 

Seriously though, it was nice to see some push up front against a quality opponent.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:15 PM ^

The guy fired off very low and it didn't matter because they own his ass. Look at the drag marks in the turf as he's sliding back. He ends up 5 yards back from where he started. By the time the LBs get around that mess, Hill is already in the endzone. The other side of the line is more of what you expect on an extended double, but still gets good movement. Cole ends up laying on top of the NT away from where the play is going, so that's a win. I dunno, that's pretty good.  

El Tostador

October 5th, 2016 at 7:07 PM ^

To me they rather comprehensively kick his ass.  They push him so far back on initial contact the nearest middle backer (#53) has to try to come through Kalis to get to Hill, and never even leaves the endzone, and the near outside backer (#43) has to try to come through Mags, and also never really leaves the endzone.  Hill has to deal with one awkardly angled tackler to get into the endzone.


October 6th, 2016 at 9:30 AM ^

That double-team helped limit the LBs crashing in at the last second to stop Hill at the line. If they don't get that push, you've got 2 more big bodies that would add to the already 300lb. pile. The play could've ended in a minor gain and no score without that push.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:08 PM ^

If anything, Kalis should've gotten a +1...   at least more than Mags.

Ive been the loudest complainer of Kalis' play the past few years, however he deserved a higher grade than anyone, on that play, by a mile. He pancakes AND drives his guy three yards back.  


October 5th, 2016 at 6:18 PM ^

no doubt, wheatley must be quicker (and lower) off the ball and try to get his helmet across.  thats a decent example of some areas he needs to improve.  asiasi obviously moved up but likely more to do with how good he is (and will be) than a huge knock on wheatley - wheatley is still a redshirt frosh and has plenty of time and room to develop and asiasi is not a typical frosh.

asiasi is a unique talent.  hes incredibly athletic and smooth for someone that size and has a good understanding of leverage, angles, etc at this point in his career.  ive been impressived so far.  theyve got quite a few pro prospects throughout the roster and asiasi is near the top - pro scouts will be all over that dude, even if he never ends up posting crazy receiving #s


October 5th, 2016 at 3:46 PM ^

if I am reading this correctly, the line was pretty bad, and the running backs not much better, but we ran the ball...... pretty well?

Everyone Murders

October 5th, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

In Darboh's game-winning touchdown, I see ABC put in the green "field goal range" stripe video overlay on the field.  Right about at the 32 yard line.

Apparently someone in production had still not noticed that this "field goal range" concept did not apply to Michigan on Saturday.


October 5th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

guess is that Allen gets that fixed up on Saturday.  I don't know the kid and what the deal is but I would be willing to bet that it will do him some good to kick in different surroundings.  It seemed as though there was becomming a notable "groan" from the crowd when he went out for a field goal and I have to guess that doesn't do good things for his confidence level.  I think a road trip will probably work some things out.



October 5th, 2016 at 4:06 PM ^

My guess is that Allen doesn't kick a field goal on Saturday, unless they decide to use him exclusively for longer field goals due to leg strength.  I think Tice has a 3 week/2 game audition before we play State to show he can do the job.

I know Brian said as much in the podcast, but there is a reason that teams have different players punting, kicking field goals, and kicking off.  It's too much to practice and too much wear and tear on the leg.  Kenny Allen didn't kick extra points in the second half of Hawaii and UCF, not sure about Colorado.  I'm sure the coaches were trying to limit what they were asking of him and kicking an extra point is just as much wear as kicking a field goal.  Switching kickers in a tie ball game to me signals the coaches acknowledging that the do it all experiment was failing, and they were probably doing Allen a disservice by asking too much.  


October 5th, 2016 at 7:35 PM ^

First, Baxter re-worked the kickers from scratch and eventually settled on. . . a converted punter?  Allen turned out to be very consistent.  Guy knows what he's doing, and his resume indicates he always has.

Also, this is a personal take, but I think Baxter was the yang to Harbaugh's yin in terms of temperment.  I don't think kickers do well under hyper-intense guys.  Note that RichRod was terrible with kickers, then in comes oversized teddy bear Hoke and while he was a bad HC and a good D-line coach, he also fixed the kicker.

Kicking is hugely a mental game, kind of a zen thing, so stuff like "we'll have a competition" just amps them up, gets them wound up, and their accuracy goes to shit.  "All competition, all the time" doesn't work in every case.  I speculate that Baxter insulated ST from Harbaugh to good effect.


October 5th, 2016 at 11:08 PM ^

USC's kicker is 8-11, granted one miss over 50 and another over 40.  He didn't attempt one last year.

  So not sure about the "insulating' part.


Its also not like the 3 kicks saturday were missed horribly like shanks or pulls, he hit both his misses well, just off line, and the other guys was also a good solid kick, just offline.


October 5th, 2016 at 3:58 PM ^

O'Korn strikes me as the aggressive, risk-taking type.  I think Harbaugh has been aiming for the consistent, ball-control - emphasis lately.  Seems like O'Korn could be doing more than Speight with his movement and running ability, but I think Speight has him beat in game management and turnover ratio.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:17 PM ^

People keep bringing up O'Korn as this super high ceiling guy because of what? Practice hype?  If practice hype were real Joe Bolden would have been a first round nfl draft pick, Freddy Canteen wouldn't be getting looked at as a transfer candidate, Ben Bredeson would be our starting LT, etc.  The guy had 6 tds to 8 interceptions as  sophmore in the American conference and looked like Hackenberg throwing a screen before getting benched for a guy playing wr.  Maybe he could be good, there is literally zero proof he is good enough to be a big ten qb.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

He wasn't better in the spring game.  His 3,000 yard freshman season is great and all until you realize the only time that offense put up more than 20 points against a team that finished with a winning record was in a 24-41 loss in the bowl game and that in only one of those games did he throw more td's than interceptions.  Plenty of people have seen O'Korn play football before and the fans who watched him the most at Houston weren't sad to see him benched.  Of course improvement can happen but practice hype doesn't mean it has.


October 5th, 2016 at 6:36 PM ^

There's more to being an effective QB than just how many yards you throw for. If you are in a passing offense, you're going to throw for a lot of yards. If you play for Air Force, you aren't. O'Korn's '13 season saw him post a 133 QB rating, good for 66th place. Speight is around 146 QB rating this season good for 50th place. It's very possible that O'Korn's stats could be better under Harbaugh, but they could also be worse if Jim calls a more balanced attack than Houston did. O'Korn's 28:10 TD:INT ratio is good, but Speight is at 10:2, and how many chances for TDs has Hill vultured from Speight. I'll take a 5:1 TD:INT ratio any day.


October 5th, 2016 at 10:40 PM ^

because he can't take care of the ball whether if it's INT or fumble.  He was very spotty in accuracy. 

3000+ yards is nothing in a spread offense system where average to meh QB can throw for that many yards with success.

I Want To Believe

October 6th, 2016 at 5:51 AM ^

Idiots like you are laughable. If John O'FuckingKorn was as good or better than Speight he would be the starting QB at Michigan. What part about that can you not get through your head? If O'korn has better accuracy why did he barely even play in garbage time? Jim Harbaugh has forgotten more about QB's than you'll ever know about the position. I'm pretty sure Harbaughs track record speaks for itself...

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Blue in PA

October 5th, 2016 at 4:57 PM ^

Not sure why we'd expect to see O'Korn, Wilt beat him out for the starting job and has pretty much won games ever since.


Trent Dilfer won a superbowl behind a dominating Baltimore defense and he didn't lose games for them.   If Wilt continues to avoid turnovers, complete 62%+ of his passes, extend plays with his feet, etc...    We'll be good.  Dude's QB rating is like 148.


If his backup didn't suck he'd surely be benched by now. 



October 5th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

That Kalis number has me so happy. I really hope he continues to progress as the year continues. Seeing him do that against MSU and Iowa will give me lots of hope for the The Game. I'm concerned about the Kugler/Cole swap; but I'm sure if it is a thing, the coaches have already begun working on it. Having Rutgers as the litmus test and then a bye week, I'm not concerned it will cause too many issues.

This UFR graded out pretty close to where I expected it to. The running game didn't have flashy numbers, but they had positive numbers. That's encouraging considering the competition.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:04 PM ^

Obviously, it's great for the team that he's playing well, but good for him personally as well.  There was a lot of not very nice directed at him a few months ago, including many on this board saying he shouldn't get a fifth year.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:00 PM ^

Wisconsin puts this outside, as the playside end dives inside of Poggi. They’ve got a safety crashing down hard and Darboh(-2) doesn’t realize that. He runs by that guy; tackle at the line.


To me it seems like Wisconsin forgot to cover Darboh and he didn't want to go in motion.  He was pointing in the hopes that Speight would realize this, snap the ball, and throw it to him so he can run 72 yards for the TD.  Once coverage finally shows up he decides to motion in and misses the block badly.  He then returns to the huddle quite distraught. 



October 5th, 2016 at 6:30 PM ^

saw that and was yelling to snap the ball.  I was in my section telling everyone to shut up so Wisconsin doesn't notice!  I have to think that's a very, very easy thing for Speight to hurry up, make sure everyone is set and tap the center to give him the ball and throw it out to Darboh.  Gotta be looking around a bit more.  5th start ever.  He'll start to be more aware, I would think.


October 5th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

I obviously don't know as much as you do and haven't rewatched the game at all but I really thought the playcalling did Speight and the offense zero favors, esepecially getting towards the red zone.  Michigan moved the ball pretty well but just ate blitzes and stacked boxes in the red zone with zero counters, no screens, no throwback stuff, no shotgun draws after spreading the d out, nothing out of the ordinary against a defense that was clearly good enough to stop ordinary.

Obviously need to get better by OSU but I would have loved to see more attempts at taking advantage of the agressivness of Wisconsin.   Easily the most annoying play of the game for me Wisconsin wasn't covering Darboh at all on the outside for a solid 6 seconds and the cb was still running out there on the snap and there was zero recognition to just take free yards and instead ran into a stacked box.