Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2017 at 4:35 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Boy it's a little depressing to play a team that brings nothing other than disinterested New Yorkers who mostly spend their time watching Guy Fieri instead of football. Rutgers purports to be an athletic program but it's really just a way to reach into someone's pockets. Unlike HomeSure Lending, which does exactly what it purports to: sure, lend for homes. It's in the name and everything. Like if Rutgers's mascot really was the Cable Subscribers.

That's truth in advertising, and quick excellent rates for you, the discerning Michigan fan.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan almost entirely shelved the 3-3-5 in this game. There were nine snaps with a three-man line, but eight of those were passing downs. The rest of the day Michigan played a 4-2-5. Usually that saw Michigan with two definite ILBs and Hudson following the tight end around, often a couple yards deeper than the LB crew:


You will be happy to know that Michigan did not put either ILB outside in coverage. When someone got pulled out of the box it was always Hudson. Here Rutgers puts their tight end out wide and he's the guy in man coverage to the bottom of the shot.


Rutgers didn't go empty, which would force one of the LBs out of the box if Michigan was going to play man.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Biggest change was a ton of second DT snaps, the vast majority of which went to Solomon. Michigan had 38 4-2-5 snaps and he got 30 of them, with Dwumfour getting five late and Mone getting just spot duty. The rest of the defense was as before, with the secondary the same five guys rotating through, McCray and Bush omnipresent, and Hurst, Gary, and Winovich the rest of the front.

Kemp, Jones, Dwumfour, and Paye got some snaps late on the line. Uche got in a little bit late, as did Gil.

[After THE JUMP: the usual]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Sack Hurst -8
This looks like it’s going to be a WR screen or maybe a fake-it-and-go-deep version, but Hurst(+3, pressure +3) gets an instasack up the middle. Tape missed this play and only has a bad angle replay, apologies to Hurst absurdity collectors.
O11 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Solomon 3
Solomon(+1) takes a double relatively well and is in position to come off of it when one of his blockers leaves for McCray. Bush(+1) ran up to thump the C once he read IZ and does so, putting his helmet on the back at the LOS. This guy is burly AF and can grind out some YAC. That’ll be a theme.
O14 3 15 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Bush -2
Hurst(+1) surges to the backfield, forcing a bend from the back. Gary gets sealed inside and edged but there’s a gap there to check and this works out fine so I guess that might be okay? Bush(+2) makes it fine by reading and flying out to shut the space down. He forces a cutback and also tackles, with Gary helping.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A QB power Gary 8
McCray blitzes to the backside and tries to redirect once he sees the play but Hurst(-1) gets moved by a double and McCray can’t scrape. Gary(-1) is left for the puller. He catches the block and gets sealed inside. Bush(+0.5) doesn’t read this super fast but he’s in trouble no matter what; he takes the fullback block and manages to get off it, extending away from his guy and getting out to tackle at about four yards. Kinnel(-1, tackling -1) comes up to hit and basically misses, so instead of stopping him cold after four yards play extends near the first down.
O39 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Solomon 9
Somewhat similar to the first one except Solomon(-2) takes his double and then doesn’t come through it, instead fighting inside into a gap that Bush is charging into. Missed run fit allows RU to salvage a play that otherwise is likely to be a Hurst(+2) TFL as he flashes through a double team and almost tackles. McCray(-1) takes on a lead block and gets off it to tackle(-1), sort of… Edwards runs right through him. Don’t see that often.
O48 1 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 4
Fake to the edge and then Grant keeps. Big opening up the gut as Bush(-2) bites on the fake and chases out of the center; Hudson has that more or less covered. Hurst(+2) drives his guy and is able to get off the block and shut down the space to tackle; this is a lot of space for a DT to shut down and he does so. Metellus filling but it never gets to him.
M48 2 6 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Sack McCray -3
Hooray for Hudson in man coverage against a TE sort of guy instead of a LB. They try to go to the slant here but McCray(+1, cover +1) undercuts it and forces the QB to wait, and that is very bad. Gary(+1) dodges a cut block and starts running; Winovich(+1, pressure +2) gets inside an RB block to flush the QB. McCray(+0.5) now comes up to contain and that’s Gary’s cue.
O49 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press one high Pass 5 Slant Metellus Inc
Five rushers get stalled out, but it’s clear Michigan is spending at least McCray on screen spy duty. Kinnel adds himself late but pocket is comfortable(pressure -2). Slant attempted for first down. It’s wide. Metellus(+1, cover +1) has his arm over the WR and in his breadbasket so completion here unlikely.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 4 Hitch Bush 6
M runs a trap coverage; Gary(+2, pressure +2) around the corner quickly but M’s zone is beaten on a 3 yard throw. Bush(-0.5, cover -1) can’t tackle immediately as he takes a bad path to the WR and it’s a decent gain.
O31 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 4
Hurst(+0.5) gets doubled and eventually shoved out but that double lets Bush(-1) flow free to hit the back. He hits the LOS and this back burls out a first down. Impressive. Mone(+0.5) also occupied a double to set up the one on one matchup.
O35 1 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A QB power Bush 65
Various things go wrong here, as they do. Gary(-2) is left alone. He’s playing the pullers. He finds his guy and dives inside, getting sealed away far too easily. Hudson is in man on the TE and manages to get outside to force it back. Bush(-3) bites on a fake that he does not need to cover; M has McCray out there; he sucks to the wrong side of a play with a pulling G and gets shoved past it when he tries to repair it. And Kinnel(-2) badly overruns the play to the outside and cannot get back when Grant cuts upfield.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Skinny post Kinnel Inc
Woof. Rough from both safeties as Kinnel(-2, cover -2) gets beat clean by Grant and Metellus(-1, cover -1) steps to the LOS at first before trying to get over. Free run from Hudson(+1, pressure +1) is pretty delayed since he’s coming from the LB level; ball gets out and I think Grant runs this too far back outside otherwise this could be a TD.
O28 2 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Half press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst -2
Hurst(+2) puts his dude two yards in the backfield and forces an early cutback. Solomon(+2) ran through the backside G and ensures a TFL.
O26 3 12 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-2 dime Press one high Pass 4 Drag Bush 29
Uche sent off the corner and gets a free run as M goes man free. Rutgers runs mesh against this and picks off Bush, who has to redirect twice to get through the traffic. No OPI here but enough to get Bush trailing definitively. (Cover -2, RPS -2)
M45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Hurst -1
M has a slant on that gets Hurst(+2) through almost clean; he tackles with help from Hudson(+0.5) and Gary(+0.5). RPS +1.
M46 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Scramble Winovich 3
Zone; coverage(+1) good for a beat and Winovich(+1, pressure +1) is threatening enough to get the QB moving. He runs for a couple.
M43 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 5-1 line split Press two high Pass 3 Throwaway Winovich Inc
M only rushes three, spying for a screen. Winovich(+3, pressure +3) still dips around the RT at eight yards and is going to sack the guy when he’s tackled. Refs call it. QB rolls out, contained, throws away.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Waggle throwaway Gary Inc
Gary(+1, pressure +1) not only pressures the edge but just knocks over the guy trying to show in the flat. Deeper guy is Metellus(+1, cover +1) and he’s toast; QB tosses it away.
O31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Split zone Hurst 14 (Pen -10)
Solid RPS play from Rutgers here as they make the split zone look a lot like an arc keeper. McCray and Bush switch as they’re reading first and they’re in man coverage. M has a blitz on with Hudson shooting outside; Gary(+1) pops up to force it back quickly but McCray(-2) is heading so far outside that he blocks himself, more or less. Solomon(-2) also locked out authoritatively; Bush can’t recover in time from a playfake he has to respect. M bailed out by a super weak holding call on Hurst’s blocker, refs +3. RPS -1.
O21 2 20 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even SAM Press two high Run N/A Counter trey Hudson 3
Hudson(+1) ends up playing ILB as M shades McCray to the field. He does well, taking on a lead block and shedding it to force the RB back. He almost tackles but dude can spin off. Hurst(+1), stunting from the inside, finishes it off.
O24 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press one high Pass 3 Screen McCray -5
Michigan drops McCray(+1) right into this screen. RPS +2. McCray can’t quite tackle but Gary(+0.5) recovers to finish the play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 2 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Iso McCray 2
Okay. Solomon(+0.5) gets some push to constrict. McCray(+1) stands up the FB and gets off to tackle with help from Metellus(+0.5), who was at eight yards presnap. RPS +1.
O27 2 8 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 Dime even Press one high Pass 5 Flat Hudson Inc
Attempted pick that Hudson(+1, cover +1) avoids and will tackle on the catch if there is one; dropped. Winovich(+2, pressure +2) through the line immediately to force a throw.
O27 3 8 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Dime line slide Press two high Pass 4 Sack Gary -6
Gary(+1, pressure +3) around the corner in a flash and should sack but QB manages to dodge him. Bush(+1) gets a off a block to contain and chases QB back inside, where Winovich(+1) reads and helps tackle with the other two guys.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Half press one high Run N/A QB power Hudson -5
Hudson withdraws to about seven yards, parallel with Metellus, as TE motions away. M gets their fits right here, with Bush flowing to the QB and McCray on the back the opposite way. Gary(+1) and Hurst(+1) both push two guys; Hudson(+2, tackling +2) jets up on the edge and gets a tough customer on the ground. M was rallying but this is a big TFL instead of a 0 yard run. RPS +1.
O20 2 15 Pistol 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Pass 4 Tunnel screen Metellus Inc
Behind the WR and dropped but Metellus(+1) was driving hard on this and probably either tackles or delays the guy enough to allow the rest of the D to get there after a modest gain.
O20 3 15 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Dime line split Press two high Pass 3 TE seam Furbush 30
Gary(+3, pressure +3) around the corner in a flash and clobbers the QB; he can’t step into the throw and this looks like a prayer. Instead it’s a perfect shot at his TE. That TE’s covered by Furbush dropping out of a blitz threat up the middle and this is a super tough ask for him. He actually does a good job of bailing at the right moment and has a play on a lot of balls. This is just a perfect back shoulder throw under a ton of duress. Furbush +0.5, cover +1.
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 4
Hurst(-1) overpenetrates here and goes over in the backfield after the second guy in his double leaves. That provides a cutback lane. Bush(+1) ran up and hit the releaser at the LOS and forces a cutback; Gary(+1) shoved his guy back and gets to the back from the side; he falls forward.
M46 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch McCray 4
Hurst(+0.5) and Mone(+0.5) both dissuade frontside gaps; McCray also shoots past a blocker and forces a cutback. Winovich(-0.5) is maybe a bit tardy after checking the QB and burly RB can grab a few yards after taking a hit from the side.
M42 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Hudson 4
Hudson tracks the TE in man as he motions and ends up about seven yards off the LOS on the snap. TE dives inside to block and Hudson sort of follows? I don’t get this, it’s third and two and Hudson’s not really even in the box. M clobbers the IZ with Hurst(+1) doing his hurst things. Gary has to come down tight to prevent a gap up the middle, and there’s no edge because Hudson(-2) is nowhere in position. RPS -1.
M38 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel under Press one high Pass 4 Corner Kinnel 21
Pocket holds(pressure -1) on one of those quick corner routes. Kinnel(+1, cover +1) is in this guy’s breadbasket all the way and successfully takes one of the WR’s arms out of the equation. He only needs the one.
M17 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 4
Damn, dude. Hurst(+1, tackling -1) through the line in a flash and threatens TFL; 235 pound back just spins through it. Hudson can’t quite close it down and neither can Gary because this spin is perfectly placed between them. Hudson does tackle but from behind.
M13 2 6 Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 4-3 over Half press one high Pass N/A Frippery screen Bush 10
Same play MSU scored on. Hurst(+1, pressure +1) almost sacks on this after running through his guys. Bush gets blocked downfield by a TE; he gets around it but is delayed. Gary(-1) looks to be clearly checking screen or run or something and has an inkling of what to do but then goes in QB chase mode so he’s not there. M rallies to this but there’s a ton of traffic. Bush(+2) dodges through three guys to get contact short of the sticks; Metellus(-0.5, tackling -1) kind of shoulderblocks the guy and he gets a nice chunk of YAC. RPS -2, this was asking a ton of the guys who make this play.
M3 1 G Pistol twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-4 over Press zero Run N/A Inside zone Solomon 1
Solomon(+1) shoves his guy back and gets off; Bush(+1) buries himself in the C and this looks like a zero yard stuff but this dude grinds out a yard on his own.
M2 2 G Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Goal line Press zero Run N/A Inside zone McCray 2
McCray fires into his guy back and maybe gets a bit outside but when he tries to rip back he gets held by an OL, refs -2. RB has a head of steam and Bush gets hit by a C who turned in Solomon(-1) and got freed when Solomon was tripped from behind. No one’s stopping that meat train.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-14, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Run N/A Speed option Bush -1
IZ counter step to the speed option is no longer a thing M gets got on. Gary left and forces pitch; Bush(+1) gets on his horse and shuts this space down in a flash. Hudson(+1) helps out by beating a block to the outside and joining the tackle. RPS +1.
O19 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Wheel Kinnel Inc
Winovich(+1, pressure +1) gets around and forces a throw. So does Mone(+1!). Kinnel(+1, cover +1) again tested. He gets his hand into the chest of the WR and manages to rip the ball out as the two guys go to the ground. This is a PBU but it’s not a no-chancer so just one; significant shot the WR gets this.
O19 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line split Press two high Pass 3 Sack Winovich -3
Gary(+1) gets around in not-quite territory at 9 yards; he can get in a tackle attempt and flush largely because Hurst(+1) has driven the pocket almost as deep as Gary. QB in panic mode, understandably, and rolls out. Winovich(+1) got around too deep but enters relentless mode and blasts the QB from behind for a sack. He forces a fumble; QB recovers. (Pressure +3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-14, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel under Press one high Pass 4 PA waggle flat Hudson 3
Hudson(+1, cover +1) again dodges a potential pick and tackles on the catch. No real pressure opportunity.
O15 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Pass 5 Rollout out Hill Inc (Pen +15)
Hill in push-ish coverage on an out near the sticks that QB throws wide. Tough, at least, so (+0.5, cover +1). Hurst(-2) gets a slightly chintzy but mostly legit late hit.
O30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Okie one Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 2
Weird front with Metellus up on the LOS; he is in man on the TE and gets whipped on a run block but that’s obvious and likely accounted for. Rush exotic works out for M as Hurst(+0.5) drives a guy and the C looks after him, falling over. Bush(+1) fills; Winovich(+0.5) dives inside and gets to an inside run quickly. Bush tries to stand up Burl Burleson and gives up a couple.
O32 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Okie one Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Gary 2
This could be OZ but the paths of the OL make me think it’s a pin and pull on which nobody knows WTF is going on. Gary(+1) around the corner so fast that RB cuts up and barely anyone is actually blocked on the interior. Hurst(+1) peels back to tackle. RPS +1.
O34 3 6 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press one high Pass 4 Drag Gary Inc
McCray(+1) has a free run and Gary(+2, pressure +3) is around immediately and QB is just trying to make it to Sunday at this point. He hurls it sort of at a mesh guy way too early. Incomplete.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-14, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 4 Slant Bush 8
M goes pure man on the bunch set and this get Watson picked as Grant dives inside; both LBs in short zones as back stays in and Bush(-0.5) comes over to tackle; mostly misses it(tackling -1) but slows the WR down for cavalry. Cover -1.
O35 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Power O Uche 0
Uche(+2) in for Furbush. He’s sent off the edge and gets into a pulling lineman about two yards in the backfield; he gets of that block and tackles. Bush and Kemp in the area but unneeded.
O35 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O30 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Sack Dwumfour -5
Coverage(+1) good for a beat and then QB pumps a throw; is now lost. Kemp(+1) around the corner to force the QB up. Dwumfour(+1) has driven on a stunt. Solomon loops around and when a guy peels off the Dwumfour double he’s able to close the QB down. Pressure +1; sack but coverage-ish.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-14, 3 min 4th Q. Rutgers gets two snaps at the very end that aren’t charted.

Well, this again.

Yep. Blasting of an overmatched opponent. This UFR is short because Rutgers had relatively few plays and most of the stuff I have to say is the same stuff I've said about three or four opponents already. This time the opponent got 14 points because virtually all their yards came on two drives.


  • 5 three-and-outs.
  • 3 first-down-ish and out.
  • 75 yard TD drive that's mostly the long Grant run.
  • 11 play, 75 yard TD drive.

Rutgers looked about like what we expected going in, unable to block Michigan's front but in possession of Janarion Grant and a burly De'Veon Smith-esque back.

This wasn't playing Penn State.

Nope, although Rutgers tried a fair amount of the same stuff, including wildcat with Janarion Grant, that same speed option off a counter step, and corner routes to the slot receiver. With two notable exceptions, those attempts to replicate the evisceration in Happy Valley did not come off.

I guess we're back to OH NO WHAT HAPPENED THAT ONE TIME, then.

Two times in this game, but yeah. The first Rutgers touchdown was mostly Bush going the wrong way.

#10 MLB

There is action that way but Michigan and McCray have it covered. Gary also contributes there by getting sealed away too easily, and then Kinnel is in no position to respond since he's booking it outside when Hudson has successfully become the force guy. Rutgers would return to this later and Bush had corrected the mistake, flowing to the QB side. Ball didn't get to him; error was repaired.

The legitimate touchdown drive by Rutgers featured a third and 15 conversion where Gary got around the corner instantly and the QB hurled up what looked like a prayer and turned into a perfect back-shoulder throw to his tight end, with Furbush in decent-for-a-LB-dropping-out-of-a-pass-rush position:

Rutgers then ground out another first down on three consecutive four-yard runs and got another 21-yard chunk on a spectacular one-handed catch vs Kinnel. Once in the redzone they got down to the three with the same misdirection screen MSU scored on and Gus Edwards bulled it in from there. That's a good drive; Rutgers made a couple of very unlikely plays to get 50 of their yards there. Tip of the cap; doesn't say much about the defense other than it's comprised of mortals. And Mo Hurst.

Did he...?

No, Hurst didn't have enough time on the field or enough time to get to the passer to rack up truly silly stats. He did thunderously sack on the first play—something my copy of the tape only had a field-level replay of, apologies to Hurst absurdity collectors—and continued to be Mo Hurst, but to get a +30 or whatever you have to be a top ten pick and catch a bunch of breaks.

Still, the...

I guess we can have two RICK THE CHARTS this week

...chart is more or less what you'd expect.


Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 16 4 12 RT had no chance in hell
Hurst 20.5 4 16.5 Ditto the C. –2 for PF so in game stuff 90% good.
Mone 2   2 Few snaps but a bounce back.
Winovich 10.5 0.5 10 Relentless rush.
Kemp 1
Solomon 4.5 5 -0.5 First extended time kind of looked like it.
Dwumfour 1 1 Sack got the people fired up
Paye DNC
Marshall   DNC
TOTAL 55.5 13.5 42 Welcome back, rabid Kotter
Player + - T Notes
Furbush 0.5 0.5 Only 7 snaps.
Bush 10.5 7 3.5 Two busted run fits, one he got away with. One he did not. Otherwise v good.
McCray 4.5 3 1.5 Burled; got burled a little.
Uche 2   2 Nice play late.
TOTAL 17.5 10 7.5 Bush is learning but still, you know, learning.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 7.5 2 5.5 Quietly a very good day.
Metellus 3.5 1.5 2 Mostly untested.
Kinnel 2 5 -3 Two good corner coverages, one very bad one and then the long TD.
Hill 0.5 0.5 There was a rollout completion on which he made it tough.
Long   DNC!
Watson   DNC!
Thomas   DNP
TOTAL 12.5 7.5 5 I was crushed that Hill picked up a half point.
Pressure 27 3 +24 LOL
Coverage 11 7 +4 Mostly irrelevant.
Tackling 2 5 -3 Again this leaks a fair number of yards.
RPS 7 6 1 Mostly just mano a mano; Rutgers probably saving the tricks for MD.

They're back. Hurst was "just" +16.5. We almost had the first cornerback shutout in UFR history, but Hill picked up a half point in the fourth quarter. Teams are avoiding Michigan CBs at all costs.

Other bits of note: that pressure number, that Gary number, and up-and-down days for Bush and Kinnel.

That Gary number though. Comin'?

The headline news from another walkover of an overmatched offense was Rashan Gary's continued emergence into a terror. The Rutgers right tackle is probably bad but he had zero shot at containing him. This was the whole day for poor damn Rutgers RT:

#3 DE to bottom

Dude had no chance on basically every rush. This is a cut block on what's supposed to be a quick slant that's mostly interesting as a demonstration of Gary's raw speed:

Rutgers only had three pressure minuses all day, largely because this kind of stuff kept happening.

Gary also blew by Rutgers's left tackle, who's supposed to be an NFL prospect, on a number of occasions. I'm dubious of that and his numbers since the Rutgers passing game is a dink production, but he must be half-decent. Gary made him look silly before another one of his almost-sacks:

I think we can expect this going forward against the bottom-feeders in the league; next step is seeing him translate it to the Wisconsins and Ohio States of the world.

Winovich also chipped in his usual relentlessness. He would have had a thunderous edge rush sack if his guy hadn't tackled him, and this thunk from behind is a very Chase Winovich play:

As the man himself said, his name is "Chase." Like Gary he was going through the right tackle like a knife through butter.

How did Solomon do in his first extended playing time?

He was Brandon Peters on defense: good-ish, not amazing, clearly promising. He's not blasting guys like Hurst or teleporting into the backfield. The things he did were more prosaic. But still good. Here he takes a double well and is able to come off of it when one of his blockers leaves for the LB level:

#5 DT to bottom

This did get a +2 as he blows through a backside guard and gets a TFL with help from Hurst's usual play:

#5 DT to top

He had the occasional freshman dorf, as you'd expect. Here he ends up in the same gap as Bush, allowing Rutgers to convert on a play that is otherwise destined to end up in Mo Hurst's belly.

#5 DT to bottom

He didn't have a ton of impact; when not making mental errors he was there physically. Freshmen DTs rarely aspire to anything better.

FWIW, Mone had a few nice plays in scanty snaps. I don't think he's out of the picture just yet. Solomon getting the lion's share of the playing time has to be a wake up call.

Are we dialing back the Bush hype a bit here?

I mean, not really. He's made a number of errors the past couple weeks because he's being exposed to stuff he hasn't seen before and getting bitten on misdirection. That will happen to a new starter, especially one that hasn't seen a ton of spread stuff in practice. Bush isn't repeating his mistakes, and that's more important than what happens the first time.

When Bush's head is on straight he remains the definition of a sideline to sideline linebacker. Rutgers tried to edge him a couple times and that wasn't happening. This OL has no shot at getting to Bush before he reads and flows here:

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And now that he's had that speed option drilled into his head it, too, is a dead play.

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Ditto the misdirection screen, at least for Bush. As he's reading the backfield action he gets plowed by a tight end (which is legal since the throw is behind the LOS); he gets off that and then slaloms through two OL leading out to initiate a tackle after four yards. This is asking everything from your MLB:

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Michigan was in an RPS hole on that play and Bush about rescued it if he could just have gotten some more help from Metellus on the tackle.

Since he's not the biggest linebacker in the world he usually needs a head of steam if he's going to win a block against a free releasing OL, but even when he finds himself in a tough situation he usually does well with it. The first Rutgers play breaks outside the tackles and he gets a blocker but he's able to bring enough force to hit his opponent and get around that block to tackle.

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The result there isn't ideal but that's more about the players around him than his part in the play. Kinnel in particular comes up and just runs by the play. If he delivers a pop there that's probably four yards.

Bush did have some trouble with Gus Edwards, who is a hoss. You youngin's don't know the significance with which I apply this term, but thanks to Dr Sap you can get an inkling:

Edwards is a dump truck of a back who ran through a Mike McCray tackle, and that's barely ever happened. Bush also had his issues trying to stall him out.

#10 MLB

That's a weakness if Michigan runs up against a dump truck type. I don't think there's one on the schedule. Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor has been impressive this year but he's not the kind of 235-pound brick Edwards is. Maybe Minnesota's Rodney Smith this weekend. But probably not.

*Weekly owlish glances at Kinnel*?

That's not a question

Time for *weekly owlish glances at Kinnel*?

Kinnel, by virtue of being a not-at-all-boring safety, has come in for extensive discussion in this space the last couple weeks and that's not changing this week. He did well on the two plays he was most visible on—the two corner routes. He was victimized by a one-handed catch on the first, but I don't know how you can criticize this coverage:

That's a dead on throw and Kinnel's eliminated one of the WR's arms. If he can do that he gets a gold star and Kinnel still gets a plus. The incompletion was actually dodgier but Kinnel has his hand in the WR's stomach and that gives him a platform to rake the ball out, which he does:

Penn State made those corner routes look easier than they are.

Unfortunately Kinnel had a couple of plays on which he gave those positives back. Michigan got away with one. Janarion Grant is screaming "ya burnt son!" as he runs downfield here, but he arcs his route back outside and away from the ball:

That was damn near a 14-7 deficit and a long indigestion-filled day, because Michigan did not get away with the other one. That is the Grant touchdown described above; he booked it for the sideline and couldn't even get a tackle attempt in. He was not primarily responsible but he coulda should held that to 20.

On the other hand, Hudson? I didn't notice him doing anything?

Hudson didn't seem like he had a ton to do t since he was mostly following around a TE who didn't get targeted much, but when I added the numbers up he'd put up one of the better days of his season. This was a nice play. He has to take on a lead block and does so productively. Edwards spins out of the tackle but he's done his job:

#7 LB-ish to top

Rutgers sees zone and motions into a situation where Hudson is the other LB in the box and Hudson holds up. That's begging to be RPS minused if Hudson gets blasted; instead, that.

He also managed to not get picked on this incompletion that wasn't going to be much either way:

#7 S on TE in slot

And on a third quarter wildcat run he was able to jet up on the corner and get Grant on the ground in space.

#7 LB/S to bottom

I did find it a bit baffling that on the next drive Michigan was faced with a third and two and Hudson did not execute a similar jet upfield. Instead he sat fairly motionless for too long and the Rutgers back had an easy bounce read that picked it up. Given how hossy this guy was Hudson would have had to fire hard and get lucky to stop this. No resistance at all was disappointing.

That was about the only negative I had for him, though. Hudson has not been a spectacular wrecker of worlds this year, but a large part of that is Bush doing most of that lifting himself. When he does blitz he gets very good results, as he did against PSU. Those blitzes come with a McCray-in-coverage cost, though, and so Hudson's been limited to being a consistent, somewhat boring presence. We'll see if his impact plays pick up next year if someone like Jordan Anthony draws into the lineup.

Anything... else?

Not really. Rutgers was a 3-wide spread and Michigan played a ton of man; Rutgers couldn't protect at all or run unless Michigan busted or their hossback was hossin' out four yards after contact. It was the same approach Michigan's had all season with the same level of success.


Hurst, Winovich, and Gary were all dominant. The cornerbacks get a nod here for being so terrifying one does not throw at them ever except sort of once. Hudson had a nice day.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody really; Kinnel did have a couple of large-seeming errors. Bush vacated his spot on the big play and got away with another missed read, but made up for that with the rest of his play.

What does it mean for Minnesota and the future?

The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to shut out some rubes. Seriously, the Minnesota game is going to look exactly like this.

Not much else. We know how this story plays out against the Rutgerses.

Solomon throws his hat in the ring. Michigan has three options for DL-ish person #4 right now: Mone, Furbush, and now Solomon. Solomon's audition was intermittently promising and could be a useful item in the future; I will not be surprised if the other two guys get more run going forward. He was okay.

Bush is vulnerable because he runs at things he hasn't seen before sometimes. As he adds more stuff to his database he will do this less often. His track record with things he's seen before is excellent; lest we forget, true sophomore.

Gary is getting there. This RT was terrible, but it's another game where he looks unblockable.



November 2nd, 2017 at 5:14 PM ^

Let's face it, we know what is happening against Minnesota and Maryland, and to a lesser extent Wisconsin where our offense will be the major question. 

What matters is what any of this means for you-know-who.

Good to see Solomon get serious play, both for the micro view of him getting experience and contributing at a good level, and the macro "you can come in and compete for time right away" recruiting-and-roster view. Not terribly impressive, but ok. We have three dominant DLs and a rotating crop of guys that are fine.

What's more curious to me is the gradual move toward 4 down linemen again. Was the stack an adaptation to a DL that was good but thin? Are they dissatisfied with the pressure the DLs get when there are only three to worry about? Did Furbush's role as the fourth lineman basically cease to be deceptive, since McCray and Bush are the only guys that we are comfortable assigning LB-type things to? Does Brown feel singed by how things went against PSU, and goes with this look to limit the coverage exposure of McCray?

Or are we simply repping a dozen different unique looks for you-know-who?



November 2nd, 2017 at 5:47 PM ^

Good questions and I agree. At this point, after seeing what OSU did against PSU, I'm left sitting here thinking there is no way to stop their offense if JT plays like that. 

I know we can trust in Don Brown and this defense, but can we seriously believe that JT and Urban Meyer aren't licking their chops seeing Bush overreact to new things, Kinnel continuing the be the weakest link in the secondary, and questionable contain ability due to the aggressiveness of Gary and Winovich. Throw in the fact that McCray has been exposed in space, and Meyer being an A+ coach, there are seemingly a lot of ways for them to attack our defense. 

Thankfully I'm not in charge of figuring out how to stop OSU's offense. 


November 2nd, 2017 at 6:51 PM ^

I don't think there's a team in the country (outside the NFL) that would "lick its chops" to face our D. Yes, it's comprised of humans (and Hurst), but it seems you're taking nits/minor issues and blowing them up into major flaws. These things may buy you a decent play or two, but UM's D doesn't give up much that's easy.


November 2nd, 2017 at 8:19 PM ^

I'm usually not a pessimistic guy, but knowing what PSU did to us, knowing what JT and Urban have done to us in the past, and knowing that Don Brown is kinda stubborn (and rightfully so), do we really think we can win if somehow Dobbins is matched up against Kinnel or McCray 1v1 in space? Or if McCray and Bush can contain a RPO vs JT?

I mean, I know our defense is legit, but when teams find a weakness, that's usally what they attack. And we know Urban saves his best game for Michigan. It's going to be a tall order to ask our defense to hold OSU to under 24, which I assume is the maximum we can expect to score against their defense. 



November 3rd, 2017 at 4:27 PM ^

I think facing OSU will be difficult, and I expect we will give up a good number of points. You've pointed out some relative weaknesses, and they are there. My only point is that there's a big difference between exploiting weaknesses and "licking chops".

I expect that Dobbins would win that matchup, but that also assumes that JT has time to find him, and that Brown hasn't found a way to avoid that matchup. I expect we'll get had on those a couple times, and that we'll get to JT before he can get it off a couple times. Likewise, Bush is young and is likely to make a couple great plays and miss a couple plays as well. 

My prediction: we hold OSU to one of their lowest offensive outputs of the year, but they still get more points than we would like.


November 2nd, 2017 at 10:30 PM ^

For the most part UM has played a bunch of teams with bad offenses.  Below are the FEI and S&P rankings of the offenses they have had.

Penn St FEI 9 S&P 22

Air Force FEI 14  S&P 29

MSU FEI 74 S&P 95

Purdue FEI 63 S&P 69

IU FEI 81 S&P 102

Florida FEI 75 S&P 98

Rutgers FEI 105 S&P 115

Cincy FEI 66 S&P 107

PSU amassed over 500 yds of offense and 42 points against the defense.  OSU might not be licking their chops to face the UM defense but I don't think they're shaking in their shoes either.



November 2nd, 2017 at 10:39 PM ^

is starting to gel, and that's a scary thought.  In the last 3 games Barrett has gone:

Maryland, 20/31, 261 yds, 3 TDs, 0 int

Nebraska, 27/33, 325 yds, 5 TDs, 0 int

PSU, 33/39, 328 yds, 4 TDs, 0 int

The last two games he's:  60/72 (80%), 653 yds, 9 TDs and 0 ints.


November 3rd, 2017 at 12:28 AM ^

with the reverse jinxes. Smart man.

I do think you're correct.  Our D line won't give him as much time at home, but I do think Wilson is going to have a good gameplan to exploit matchup weeknesses, get the ball out quickly, and of course, confuse the LBs with the run game.

If UM only allows 20-29 points, it would be a success.  Offense has a long way to go to turn that into a win.

Of course, if the Nov 25 weather is like the MSU-OSU game, all bets are off.  That seems like a good way to slow down Barrett.


November 3rd, 2017 at 6:03 PM ^

I wish we'd play OSU start of the year instead of end.

Every season OSU looks vulnerable or even bad in the beginning of the year and then they're world-beaters at the end.


Every season we look great in September and then look worse as the season goes on and 9 times out of 10 have our QB or someone else super important injured at the end.

GoBlue in IA

November 2nd, 2017 at 6:22 PM ^

Reading this weeks UFR also had me thinking about depth along the D-line was potentially the cause for all the 3-3-5 stuff.  Perhaps Solomon, et al. finally gave Don Brown the confidence he can return to more 4-2-5 base?  Mo Hurst certainly seems to benefit from the move.

Great coaches have the ability to take what they have and make it work.  After watching the disaster 3-3-5 under RichRod, it seemed like this defense would never work in the B1G, but Brown has managed to take the pieces he had to work with and somehow keep the D near elite status.  

At this juncture, I don't care what he uses against you-know-who, we just need a win. 


November 3rd, 2017 at 1:12 AM ^

but I'll take a shot:

- Partially

- Probably not

- I think so

- I think so

I like how to decided on the random separate paragraph for the last question annnd maybe? I don't think it's so much us showing different looks to OSU as us trying to figure out what we have and what's the best way to stop a spread that utilizes a QBs legs with read-option, speed option, inverted veer, etc.

The 3-3-5 was great for sending 5 rushers (3 DL, Furbush, then Bush following) but I think we're trying to rush four and let Bush read plays instead of simply projectile himself into the QB.  He's actually had some trouble doing that, but if he's learning and cutting the mistakes by OSU this is DB's bread and butter defense and the one that wrecked OSU last year.

Just my completely uneducated guess.

EDIT: tah15 said it much better below and I agree with him (or her!).


November 2nd, 2017 at 7:06 PM ^

Obviously he has made a big jump this year and continues to be excellent. What’s the most likely-off to the draft or return for a 5th year?

Bigly yuge

November 2nd, 2017 at 8:13 PM ^

To see how nasty this defense is, with how young we are, I'm blown away. Imagine this defense next year and beyond!!! Once our offense gets their shit together we are going to be a very dangerous team that nobody will want to face. Don Brown for president


November 3rd, 2017 at 1:09 AM ^

have a pulse, it's been cold and rotting for while.  They're 102nd in S&P+ (not much better at 81st in FEI).

Air Force is the only offense aside from PSU that is ranked in the top 50 (!!) that we've faced.  And DB admitted that we spent a huge amount of time working on that offense in the spring and fall.  And I have to say, if I'm going to criticize defensive coaching somehow that disappoints me a bit. 

We had a lot more margin for error against Air Force (at home, we're going to put up numbers against them).  It seems like a waste of time to work hard enough to keep them to 13 when we could have given up a lot more.

Kind of annoying that we got completely outschemed and owned by PSU's OC and his heisman trophy candidate but we're deathly afraid of a team that has little chance of beating us even if their offense does a lot better than it did.

The Denarding

November 2nd, 2017 at 8:45 PM ^

Not sure how you stop the OSU RPO if the QB is straight dealing in the passing game. I mean JT is throwing seam routes. That game has ugly all over it. But the narrative in terms of close vs blow out never follows script in this match up.

Durham Blue

November 2nd, 2017 at 8:48 PM ^

Man, this D is going to be really good next year.  Losing Hurst will hurt but the guys coming back up front and in the back seven are currently good to great and will only improve.  Scary good next season is the phrase that comes to mind.


November 2nd, 2017 at 8:58 PM ^

Kinnel must keep the big plays in check. Give them 15 or 20, but the 65 yds to Grant or 72 yds to Barkley or 50 yds to London are signs of safety mistakes.

Safety issues aside, the defense should terrorize if/when Peters and the O are effective enough to give them a 17-21 pt lead.


November 2nd, 2017 at 9:04 PM ^

The fourth lineman allows Gary to play further out at a 7-tech (or wide-9) instead of a heads up 5-tech, which is a poorer angle to the QB. It also prevents both Gary and Hurst from getting doubled on the same play, and allows the strength of our D (the line!) to wreck plays AT THE POINT OF ATTACK! The Bush/Furbush pick play in the 3-3-5 was nifty at the beginning, but expecting Bush to read every play well from distance while neutering the d-line strength was not a recipe for long term success. That our D has played this well without Brown's bread-and-butter 4-2-5 is a testament to both Brown and the talent of this D. But mercy! A little macro-level analysis: Gary, Hurst, and Chase feast in the backfield far more with the NT in there. To say that Gary has been "coming on" or that he got really "into it" on certain plays misses the fact that his "beast mode" moments always come with the NT in the game. By contrast, Bush gets his more when Furbush is setting "screens" for him. But if I had to choose, I'd go with Gary/Hurst/Winovich blowing things up at the point of attack with a NT, rather than Bush (fingers crossed) taking the right pursuit angle from 5 yards deep. Anyway, the 4-2-5 shut down Penn State and Ohio State last year because we owned the line of scrimmage. I like us going back to that. 


November 4th, 2017 at 9:40 AM ^

He ran a 3-3-5 for the most part against Penn State and they were running power spread all over us. He also ran a 3-3-5 against Air Force, which, while technically not power (or spread), had a million blockers up front in a run heavy offense. As well as we defended AF, I thought we could have shaved a 100 yards off their total with a 4 man front. The backers played great, limiting most gains to 4 yards, but a four man line would have blown most of that up in the backfield. Anyway, I expect a totally different (that is, last year's) approach against OSU. 

My basic point is that all of us (including the coaches) fell in love with Bush in the 3-3-5, but now that teams have adjusted, I'm much more in love with Gary in the 4-2-5. As good as our D has been, I think we've hardly seen our best defense yet, which is the 4-2-5.