Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian October 18th, 2017 at 4:36 PM

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FORMATION NOTES. It was a manball outing, with 31 one-or-zero WR snaps. There were 23 two-WR snaps and 15 three-WR snaps, many of those on obvious passing downs. When not forced into WRs Michigan had an extreme preference for tight ends and fullbacks.

IU kept their safeties increasingly close to the LOS as the day progressed for obvious reasons. They did one weird thing with this gap in the line:


Their front was multiple, as they like to say, bouncing between even, under, over, and even some 3-4 stuff. They also had a few plays with a five-man line when they were trying to slow down Michigan's heavy sets. Here's Indiana in an under front with the FLAG OF DOOM waving:


SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Thin rotation. O'Korn went the whole way at QB. OL was the new usual with Bushell-Beatty playing the whole way at RT. Hill and Poggi split FB snaps; no Mason. TE was mostly Gentry and McKeon, with a healthy number of Wheatley and Bunting snaps. Eubanks didn't play.

RB was mostly Higdon with Evans and Isaac making cameos; Walker got two snaps and one carry. WR was DPJ, Crawford, Perry, and some Ways. DPJ seemed to get more snaps this week.

[After THE JUMP: a unicorn!]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Offset I 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Pass Hitch Gentry 9
Gentry at outside WR and runs a pretty crisp hitch, getting the CB to turn his hips and then stopping. O’Korn hits him with good timing. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, Gentry route +)
M38 2 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 8.5 Run Power O Higdon 2
McKeon(+0.5) is set to block down on a DE but when he slants inside he passes him off and gets a kickout. Cole(+1) picks up that guy and folds him inside. Gap outside. Onwenu(+0.5) pulls around tight and hits one LB; Poggi(-2) misses the second and Higdon gets met at the LOS. He falls forward.
M40 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7.5 Pass PA Post DPJ Inc
This is a walk-in TD if it’s accurate and a probable chunk play if it’s reasonably short; instead it’s long; DPJ tracks this as well as you can and can’t even get a fingertip on it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +2, DPJ vs run focused S)
M40 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 2 1 2 Nickel even 6 Run Pin and pull Evans 4
IU runs a double A twist blitz to the backside; Bredeson(-1) gets beat by the NT’s sudden shift outside and that guy can run to the ball. Kugler(+1) IDs that guy and cuts him off and it looks like Evans can hit a gap for a second but that’s dodgy maybe. Evans(+1) is boxed in for a TFL when he reverses field and manages to get a few.
M44 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3 stack 6 Pass Slant Gentry 6
Cole(-1) and Bredeson(-1) unprepared for a twist and DE gets through up the gut. O’Korn stands in and fires a slick slant just in front of a defender to Gentry. Both Gentry and Perry were open here. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
50 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Split zone Isaac 8
IU covers both guards and slants away from this. Kugler(-1) doesn't read the slant away and never gets off the NT; LB shoots the gap behind. Isaac(+2) runs through this tackle and cuts behind, where Poggi(+0.5) got a good kick; Cole(+1) picked up a guy Wheatley(-1) missed on, and Bredeson(+2) gets his guy two yards downfield and sealed. Isaac picks through the second level, bashing a DB to the ground and pickup up a couple YAC.
O43 2 3 Ace 4-wide tight 1 3 1 Base 3-4? 6 Pass TE out Wheatley 4
IU trying to check on the snap as M’s formation surprises them. Easy flat read with a LB still getting into position on Wheatley. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O39 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even 8 Run Lead zone Walker 9
Another double A blitz with one of the LBs at the LOS. Second guy comes free and this looks bad for a moment; Onwenu(-1) driven into the backfield and Kugler stuck on a linebacker. Walker(+2) cuts away from the blitzer and high steps out of his tackle attempt. JBB(+1) is kicking a guy on the edge and maintains that block a long time. Hill(+1) made himself useful by hitting the guy who Onwenu was having trouble with. Hill has no chance at redirecting to the LB so it’s gotta be Bredeson(-1) who needs to get over here, but this guy was through the line so fast that I can’t really blame him too much. RPS -1. Walker is shorted a full two yards on this. By the time he steps out he’s got the first down by a yard. Refs -1.
O30 2 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Power O Higdon 10
JBB(+1) and Onwenu(+1) blow out their DT. Kugler(+1) turns his guy upfield, Big gap. Poggi(+0.5) and Bredeson(+1) get kickouts and Higdon(+1) is able to cut behind the big double team for a chunk run.
O20 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 8 Pass Tunnel screen DPJ 2
This looks like a bad throw but it’s either this or getting the ball batted down. It does delay DPJ as he has to leap for it. Wheatley(+0.5) comes out a bit too downfield but does recover to shove the DB past; DB barely trips up DPJ. Bredeson(-2) ran by the playside LB who bit on play action, to go to the safety… and just as he’s getting to the S he looks back at the LB, thinks ohcrap, feints back to that guy, and decides he’s gone. He is gone, but at least he blocked the S. (not charted, 3, screen). DPJ has to feint inside the LB and gets tackled by DL pursuit.
O18 2 8 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Evans -4
Bit frustrating here as IU puts a safety at the LOS and rather implies a slant away from the power. They slant away from it and M gets beat. Gentry(-1) gets beat; JBB(-1) gets beat. Bredeson is pulling and gets cut off by JBB’s guy. I kind of think he should be able to get around this but that’s a good play; this is tough. Bredeson gets spun around by the guy he hits and Evans runs into him. He’s doomed. Evans(-1) makes a bad situation worse by giving up three yards on a fruitless bounce.
O22 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Corner Perry Inc
This is open-ish but there’s a zone corner under it so throwing it high is understandable. Good timing, but the ball is too high for Perry… sort of. The ball goes through his hands at a height where it’s tough to tell how much of an opportunity he had to catch it. Tough, but makeable. If this is at Gentry no problem. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(40), 3-0, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Pocket is mostly okay; Onwenu does get driven back some but O’Korn just has to reposition a little if he wants to keep surveying after a first read. First read not there, he bugs out of pocket and throws it away. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O27 2 10 Ace 3-wide 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Crack sweep Higdon 8 (Pen -10)
Telegraphed crack sweep with Hill motioning out to a wing TE spot. M pulls Cole and lets Bredeson try to deal with the playside end, which is odd. There’s no actual crack here. Playside LB widens out and doesn’t want to get sealed; DPJ(-2) gives him the world’s most obvious bear-hug hold. Playside is flowing hard; Higdon(+2) cuts behind two guys and runs through a tackle to create eight yards out of nothing. RPS -2.
O37 2 20 Shotgun trips bunch TE 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Penalty False start JBB -5
JBB -1.
O42 2 25 Shotgun trips bunch TE 1 1 3 Nickel over 5.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon 6
Some disrespect to the passing game here as there’s a safety at 9 yards moving forward on the snap here. Cole(+1) and Gentry(+1) turn in DL; Bredeson(+1) kicks out a force guy; Kugler(+1) cuts a linebacker, and S is able to close this down at five yards. RPS -1.
O36 3 19 Shotgun trips bunch TE 1 1 3 3-3 stack 6.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 16
IU shows blitz with LBs lined up over the Gs and then tries to pass blitz. M runs right at it. Onwenu(+2) clubs a LB at the LOS five yards downfield; Kugler(+1) cuts off a guy trying to stunt. JBB(-1) gets beat inside badly, gets away with a hold (refs +2), and lets go quickly enough to avoid a call and get a -2. Higdon is through the line and gets to the safety and gets cut down just before the first down. Had a little room to put a move on there.
Drive Notes: FG(38), 6-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Isaac 13
Isaac(+1) threatens frontside and then cuts back. JBB(+1) got an upfield kick of a DL slanting outside; Bunting(+1) got an extended block on an OLB that prevents anything but a diving ankle tackle near the sticks. Onwenu(+1) and Kugler(+1) shove a DT off the line to provide the gap, and the cutback ruins the LB level. Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) also hammer the other DT, perhaps making the LBs panic and rush frontside.
M33 1 10 ??? 1 2 2 ??? ? Run ? Isaac 3
TV misses this play so we can see IU’s QB put on a knee brace.
M36 2 7 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
PA. A two man route with Ways on some sort of hitch or comeback. And McKeon releasing on the other side. Playside S is at 8 yards, clearly creeping to the LOS presnap, and indeed bites on PA, but the route's not deep. O’Korn doesn’t think Ways is open. He doesn’t look at McKeon; he scrambles up in the pocket and throws it away. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
M36 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Improv DPJ 17
Initial four man rush becomes six as two guys come late. M slides the protection; JBB(-1) does not read the blitzes and come off, instead shuffling into oblivion. McKeon(-1) loses his guy to the inside; Higdon has to come up and hit him; two guys through. O’Korn avoids them, breaking a tackle and floating in a delicate, beautiful ball to DPJ. Okay then. (DO+, 2, protection 0/2)
O47 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 8 Pass Scramble O’Korn 4 + 15 pen
We never get a replay of this but it really really looks like DPJ is running a post against a CB he wins inside against with zero safety help. Both guys are at 8 yards and both guys bite up on PA. I have no idea why he would not throw this. He has all day, never throws, scrambles for a few yards, gets hit by Scales as he slides. Targeting overturned, late hit stands. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O28 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over gap 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 16
Bizarre formation that has nobody between a NT and a DE lined up outside of a TE. This creates a huge bubble that IU invites you to attack. Michigan gets the implications of this. Bredeson(+1) finds the NT slanting across his face and shoves him upfield. Kugler(+1) releases direct to second level and gets a block on the MLB. Onwenu(+1) has a hard charging guy that he puts on the ground. Higdon(+1) does an excellent job to take an efficient path through the first level and shallow-cut away from the crashing S to run through his tackle. JBB(+1) also clubbed a guy. RPS +2.
O12 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Iso Higdon 12
Iso weak isn’t going to be much as the playside LB comes up and hits Poggi(+1) about at the LOS, but Cole(+2) mashes his dude off the LOS and Higdon(+2) sees and takes the bounce. Crawford(+1) cracks down and takes out the S; CB does not replace.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-0, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 under 8 Pass PA waggle flat McKeon 2
Same action as last week’s successful crack sweeps featuring Wheatley, but M waggles out of it. O’Korn gets pressure, flat is the only thing open, immediate tackle. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M29 2 8 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 1
Whole line gets blown by on a slant/CB blitz combo. Kugler(-1) beaten across his face instantly and that guy is in Higdon’s cookies in the backfield. Bredeson(-1) didn’t check to see if he should help. Onwenu(-1) didn’t check to see if he should help JBB(-1), who has the same problem. Bredeson and Onwenu then fail to get second level blocks. This is ugly; RPS -1, as the CB blitz was effective.
M30 3 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under 8 Pass Fade McDoom INT (Pen +15)
Two man route, both fades, O’Korn throws at McDoom covered by Fant. WTF. McDoom gets dominated on the route and the ball is both too short and too far inside; intercepted. Michigan gets bailed out by a horrendous PI call(refs +5) that should send whoever threw that flag back to pee-wee. M pays for it later, though. (IN, 0, protection 1/1, McDoom route -)
M45 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 4-3 over SAM 6 Run End around McDoom 12 -15 pen
Here is how you McDoom. End around. M has McKeon(+1) flow backside and arc block a DE looking for split zone; he gets the job done. Backside LB does not bite on the Evans action and flows out hard. Cole(+0.5) manages to engage him but mostly chases to the back and then the guy trips. Own volition? Tangled feet? Shove? Dunno. McDoom(+1) manages to get around him and then cuts inside another tackler for an extra 3-4 yards. Crawford(-3) gets a dumb PF after the play.
M42 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 4-3 even 6.5 Run Counter trey Evans -5
Unless Michigan changed what they’re doing here this looks like O’Korn almost pitching the ball on a crack sweep and then remembering the play, which throws off Evans and then they run into each other. Previous counters just run the counter without any QB fake action. This is… not that. So O’Korn(-3) is the issue here, and that’s unfortunate since M blocked their way through the first level at least with Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) hammering a DL with Bredeson getting a second level block; Onwenu(+0.5) gets a good kick and Kugler(+1) seals out the NT. M is going to get at least 6 and maybe a chunk without this.
M37 2 15 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Isaac 0
Double A twist blitz. Cole(+1) sees it and picks up a guy headed outside. Bredeson(-1) and Kugler(-1) both mis-ID their guy, so the first twist guy splits both of them and the second guy is free. I got mad at Isaac about this live and that was unfair, dude is snowed under super quick. Onwenu(+1) did handle his slanter with aplomb. RPS –2.
M37 3 15 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 5-0 over 7 Pass Flash screen DPJ 13
Decent blocks by Perry(+0.5) and Gentry(+0.5) but mostly a give up and punt from M that IU accommodates. (CA, 3, screen).
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-0, 5 min 2nd Q. Next drive starts with 1:46 on clock and M is just going for the locker room.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-3 even 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 4
Bit of a goof here on the second level. Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) hammer their guy. Cole keeps hammering him; Bredeson pops off on the backside LB. This means MLB is coming around that block. Onwenu(-1) gets to him. Onwenu leans into the block and gets put on the inside of it, LB into Higdon’s flight path. Poggi responds, hitting that LB; that allows a safety to come up and hit after modest gain. Wheatley(+1) pounded a guy on a kickout.
M29 2 6 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Power O Higdon 3
Run weak; Bunting(+1) does a good job to ID a DL slanting inside and seal him in, allowing two guys to the outside. Poggi(+1) hits the LB showing from the inside; Onwenu(-2) runs past a safety who is coming down as the force player, and that guy tackles.
Drive Notes: EOH, 13-3. M takes a delay on third down and everyone just decides to go to halftime.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Lead zone Higdon -1
Dorf. JBB(-2) leaves a guy shaded right outside of him and Gentry has zero shot at getting to him. He’s running down the line. On the frontside Bredeson(-2) gets more or less run directly through. For a moment he’s kicked the DT out but that guy just shoves him back and runs upfield, so there’s no gap. Those two guys converge to tackle.
M24 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 6.5 Pass Hitch Crawford 5
A standard pitch and catch for a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M29 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 1 3 Nickel even 7 Pass Flare Higdon Inc
Higdon motions out presnap and no one really goes with him. O’Korn decides to go to him since a guy comes off the corner and Michigan is… pulling Gentry across the formation to pick him up? What? I guess this is an ok decision since Higdon might break a tackle, but the ball is yards over his head. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-3, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 3-4 weak 7 Run Split zone Higdon 3
Onwenu(-2) leaves, DL slants inside of JBB, who has no chance. Gentry(+1) is coming backside to pick off the EMLOS guy but changes his mind when he sees the brewing disaster of that block and picks that DE off. That gives Higdon a lane through the line. Unblocked LB is now a problem; he tackles. Higdon scrapes out a few yards.
M28 2 7 Goal line 2 3 0 4-3 even SAM 8.5 Run Crack sweep Higdon 10
M manages to catch IU off guard for a crack. Gentry(+2) clobbers the playside end. McKeon(+1) passes off one LB and then gets in the way of a second; Poggi(+1) cuts the guy McKeon passed on. Cole(+0.5) kicks the edge guy. Kugler(+0.5) gets around and never really hits anyone but does provide a snow-plow-type service to Higdon(+1) who makes the right cut and burrows behind Kugler for a first down. RPS +1.
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Pin and pull Isaac 6
Bunting(+2) controls, drives, and seals the playside end. Cole(+1) gets a seal on a DT who’s not really going full bore. Bredeson(+1) gets a kick; Kugler(-1) gets out and annoys one LB but mostly misses; IU had an extra guy to this side of the field so those guys combine to tackle.
M44 2 4 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Run Inside zone Isaac 7
Playside end kicks himself in anticipation of the sweep; also there’s a couple guys way to the field here and not really relevant. Onwenu(+1) doesn’t move his guy but does put him to one side and doesn’t give ground; Bredeson(+1) effectively turns out his guy. JBB(+1) and Kugler(+1) get second level blocks; Isaac(+1) makes a good cut to get through the first level and then almost runs through an aggressive S tackle, but goes down, hogtied by the ankles. Gentry(-1) missed on the other S and that helps hold the gain down.
O49 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 5-3 over 8 Pass PA Post Crawford Inc
IU adds a DL and has everyone within eight yards of the LOS; PA. Michigan gets Gentry wide, wide open for a touchdown if he can catch and run; O’Korn throws at a double covered Crawford. You could definitely get Fant for PI here, as he grabs Crawford’s arm, preventing him from making any attempt on the ball. At least as bad as the Hill PI. Refs -2. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
O49 2 10 Shotgun twins 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over gap 7 Run Pin and pull Higdon 4
This is a disappointing read. IU leaves their huge gap again and M buys it. Cole(-1) pulls and Bredeson(-2) tries to seal an NT inside who’s screaming out to fill the gap he should probably already be in. Bredeson has a tough job but he gets knocked over. Not great. Higdon(+2) gets strung out and faces an avalanche of bodies but manages to turn a one yard TFL into a positive. RPS -1. Bunting(-1) lost his guy and forced Cole to block him as well.
O45 3 6 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass TE drag McKeon Inc
JBB(-1) lets a speed rush get around at nine or so yards. He can push his guy past O’Korn; O’Korn resets in the pocket and then throws a drag to McKeon. This is mesh and man coverage and not a bad read but DPJ (route -) didn’t even slightly bother the S on McKeon and he’s there to tackle. McKeon drops it anyway. (CA, 3, protection ½)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-0, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch 1 2 2 Nickel over 6 Pass Flash screen Crawford -2
Gentry(-2) does not come out nearly flat enough to assure a kickout of the CB, and he blows Crawford up. (CA, 3, screen)
M33 2 12 Shotgun trips bunch TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 5.5 Run Zone read keep O’Korn 4
Good pull decision with the crash, but unfortunately Gentry locks out his guy in a textbook fashion if this was handoff. That guy can close down the space; O’Korn cuts behind him and the DE recovers to tackle from behind.
M37 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Screen Higdon Inc
M has trouble getting out here; O’Korn has to roll away from some pressure but does get the pass off. I can’t tell if this is way behind Higdon or just sort of behind him and catchable. (MA, 2, screen) Had to dodge one safety and this might have been a first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Offset I Big H 2 2 1 4-3 under 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 2
Another telegraphed slant here. McKeon(-1) gets slanted under and his guy makes it to the backfield. I want Onwenu to get around this guy and to the outside at any cost but he goes up the middle, which is not ideal. Higdon follows him and gets little. Bredeson(-1) got shed and his guy hits from the side; Cole(+1) did bury his man.
M47 2 8 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7.5 Run Crack sweep Higdon 0
Given the pulls I assume McKeon(-2) busts here. He’s got to crack down on the playside DE. Instead he goes to the LB, who won’t get sealed, and falls off. Cole(+2) just about rescues this by aborting his pull and reaching the DE. This still creates an awkward path. Kugler(-2) mis-IDs and never looks back inside for a guy to block; everyone on the edge has a blocker. Playside S runs by unfettered. Higdon cuts back into McKeon’s guy and the S.
M47 3 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Penalty Delay N/A -5
The argh shovel pass. Evans motions out, fake screen to him, shovel back inside, this goes right to the S. O’Korn(-1) never shows any urgency to get the play off.
M42 3 13 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass PA TE deep out Gentry Inc
Three man route on third and thirteen. O’Korn throws it at Gentry; nearly intercepted. Replay shows S going with Gentry as O’Korn stares him down and he’s got a one on one shot on a bomb he does not take. Also potential interference on the DB. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Run Inside zone Evans 2
Mostly well blocked but Perry(-2) runs right by the force guy and instead of an easy kickout M gets that guy tackling at two yards. Bunting(+1) gets inside and kicks out an end firing upfield. Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) blow a DT off the ball. He comes through after Cole leaves but if the force guy is kicked out he’s probably gone and Evans gets to the safety for a productive run.
M30 2 8 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even SAM 8.5 Run Power O Evans 4
Poggi(+2) does a great job to find and thunk a DE who is crashing inside, preserving a lane. Onwenu(+1) moves a slanting DT out of the hole. Bredeson(+1) pulls and JBB releases(+0.5) to find second level blocks. Evans(-1) doesn’t downshift through the hole and runs into his own guy, throwing him off balance and making him easy prey for the S coming down. RPS -1; S is hitting at like three yards here.
M34 3 4 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass In Perry Inc
God, I hate this director. It’s third and four with an empty set buddy, maybe show us the sticks. Instead we get a super blurry pan and no replay. This looks like O’Korn throwing directly into zone coverage and another near-INT. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 8
Bunting motions like he’s going to crack and M runs away from it. Onwenu(+3) obliterates one DT. He gone. Huge gap. That makes up for Bredeson(-0.5) getting only a piece of his guy and getting beaten to the interior. He almost closes it down, and would have but for the ass kicking Onwenu just handed out. Kugler(+1) gets a downfield block; Higdon(+0.5) gets a solid chunk of YAC.
M24 2 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Split flow counter Higdon 5
Counter version where FB feints to one side and then redirects. This wipes the LB level. JBB(+2) and Onwenu(+1) blow up the playside DE. Bredeson(+1) gets a good kick. Playside LB bites hard and then falls down as he tries to redirect, which I think convinces Hill(-1) that he’s not a threat and he can go to the S. Guy gets back up and manages to tackle. Rats. RPS +1.
M29 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 5-3 under 8.5 Run Iso Higdon 2
Kugler and Onwenu are trying to combo through the NT with Kugler(+1) getting out to the LB, which they sort of kind of do. Poggi(-2) mis IDs, hitting the same guy Kugler is getting to and letting the playside LB through free. Bredeson(+1) escorted an aggressive DE out of the picture so there was a fair amount of space here and this was probably 5ish if Poggi gets a hit.
M31 2 8 I-Form Big 2 2 1 5-3 under 8.5 Run Split flow counter Evans 10
Again LB level bites hard on the FB action. JBB(+1) and Onwenu(+1) wipe the playside DE with Onwenu getting to a LB. Wheatley(+1) chips a DE and gets to another LB. Bredeson(+0.5) cleans up that DE. Poggi(+1) hits the last LB and Evans is to the S. RPS +2.
M41 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Split flow counter Higdon 59
IU TO sees them change approach and it's a disaster. DT inside further so Onwenu(+1) seals him as JBB(+1) goes immediately to MLB and seals him. Poggi(+1) kicks the other LB, who is trying to funnel to help. Bredeson(+1) gets another kick. M has split the two LBs. One of the safeties charges at the LOS at the counter action. The second guy takes a false step and Higdon(+2) is gone with surprisingly excellent long speed. He’s pulling away from these guys easily. RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 20-10, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even SAM 8 Run Duo Higdon 1
Hill flares out to take a kickout guy to the run strength and M zones inside; double with Bredeson(-0.5) and Kugler(-0.5) doesn’t go anywhere and then that guy falls, creating an ugly pile. Hill(-1) caught off guard when his guy does not go for force and dives inside; Higdon tries to cut out and Hill guy whacks him.
M27 2 9 Offset I Big H 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Power O Isaac 2
Onwenu(+1) turns in and seals a DT. Bredeson(-2) still runs into his back. Onwenu isn’t giving much ground; this is on the puller getting way too close. M can still get this done with JBB(+1) getting a big kick; Gentry and Hill go after guys that they probably shouldn’t; I’m assuming this is IU doing something M didn’t expect. Gentry could definitely kick the playside LB; he goes fro the MLB. Hill goes for the guy Gentry could have kicked. He tackles because Gentry has no angle to him. RPS -2.
M29 3 7 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Tunnel screen DPJ 2
Tunnel against full out press coverage is about impossible and the CB on DPJ makes a tackle. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-10, 6 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Diamond TE 2 2 1 4-3 over 7 Run Power O Higdon -2
Big formation with two FBs, one of them McKeon. M runs power; Higdon(-2) simply falls over. This wasn’t going to go well otherwise. All three pullers go for the same dang dude. McKeon(-1) needs to kick as he’s the last guy; Onwenu(-1) needs to get around Hill’s sealing edge block and find someone.
M32 2 12 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 9 Penalty False start Wheatley -5
Wheatley -1.
M27 2 17 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over gap 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 7
Pretty much identical to earlier IZ against this front w/ more aggressive S. Onwenu(+1) kicks out slanting guy; Bredeson(+1) finds LB; Higdon(+1) sees and hits the cut. S at 7 yards hacks Higdon down.
M34 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Run Pin and pull Evans -7
M blows a pin and pull. Kugler(-3) makes this call, imagine, and he pulls despite having an NT shaded just behind him. He needs to block down. He does not. NT goes right to Evans with Onwenu hopelessly escorting him.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-10, 4 min 4th Q. M gets ball back with 3:25, up 3, no Indiana TOs.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even SAM 9 Run Power O Higdon 2
Playside LB firing at this and splits Bredeson(-0.5) and Hill(-0.5); S are coming down and this isn’t much more otherwise.
50 2 8 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Power O Higdon 2
Again M does not block the force guy at all. I don’t know how much this matters since all 11 guys are within five yards of the LOS. But M has no plan to block the overhang CB. Poggi runs by him, Onwenu runs by him. RPS -2.
O48 3 6 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Power O Higdon 4
Bunting(-1) gets slanted inside and his guy dives into Bredeson’s legs, he’s gone, two for one. I’m irritated that Bredeson(-1) stops for this guy before he even gets hit, sort of? Go. If you stop it’s screwed anyway. Go. Get around this trash and find a guy. Stripped of a lead blocker Higdon gets hit by an unblocked LB.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-17, 1 min 4th Q. Next drive is OT.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Split flow counter Higdon 25
Higdon(+4) does this himself. Kugler(-2) goes the wrong way on the snap and the NT gets through scot free. He hammers Poggi. Higdon also has a LB blitzing that Onwenu is kicking out. That guy is also in the backfield. Higdon cuts behind this mess after banging into Poggi. First missed tackle is one of those lucky "I hit my own guy and bounced" things; second is flat nasty and breaks the force guy’s ankles; TD.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-20, EO1OT. M D holds and that’s it.

*fffrzzzzz* hello *fffrzzzzz*

Why do you sound like you're calling from a bomb shelter in Fallout?

*zzzrff* we will emerge in a thousand years when Michigan's QB situation is resolved goodbye *zzzrff*

Get out of that bunker right now, young man.

Fine. Why am I young now?

I don't know! Moving on! Ask me things!

Any hope I shouldn't go back in the bunker after going over things in detail?

I mean... maybe a little. Michigan's plan in this game was to get pass protection by leaving a lot of guys in, which simultaneously hacked down O'Korn's options to one or two. They ran a huge number of two-man routes, a few of which were almost one-man routes until a guy released late. Here Ways checks up just past the sticks and may have a safety between him and O'Korn, and at that point what is O'Korn supposed to do?

That, basically.

O'Korn mixed in a few competent short passes, including the opening play, a doofy little out to Wheatley on second and four, and the like. The physical ability to be a decent quarterback is there. Also this is going to happen a couple times a game:

So he's got that going for him. If you close your eyes and hope really hard it is possible to see O'Korn hit some deep shots, as long as they aren't at McDoom, and keep it together enough to move the ball against PSU as Michigan grinds out a low-scoring win.

I can feel the mother of all buts coming.

But when it's third and seven in the first half and you are running two sideline fades and nothing else that says somethin' about something.

It would be difficult to overstate how little faith it seemed like Michigan had in O'Korn by this point midway through the second quarter. And... I mean, he's got two near-identical options. One of them is against Rashard Fant. The other is against a backup. And you pick Fant? So you can throw to McDoom? I dunno, man.

Michigan would get bailed out by a terrible call on that INT, and two plays later O'Korn would run into Evans on a counter; I'm pretty sure that's on him because he almost pitched the ball on the crack sweep and was then very upset with himself afterwards.

From then on it was grim.


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Indiana 2016   6(1) 1   2 3   1 1 3* 2   46% -2.5
Florida 1     1     1*   50% -
Purdue 6++ 14(2)+++   3 2   1 3 2   75% -
MSU 3 16(4) 2   4 5   2 4*(1) 6*   60% -
Indiana 1+ 9(3)+   2(1)   3 3 3***   44% -

The rest of O'Korn's attempts were about half screens. Those that weren't: a five yard hitch to Crawford, the Gentry misread everyone was up in arms about, a near INT at Gentry, another near-INT at Perry, and a two yard drag McKeon dropped. Two of those are okay decisions, and three are events with an X in them. After Michigan went up 20-10 they faced third and seven with six minutes and change left. Michigan ran a tunnel screen against flat-out press coverage, which is hard to do when that CB is 100% sure you're not doing anything even vaguely risky.

One of the more frustrating things about this game was O'Korn setting up for max-pro deep shots several times and turning them down. Poor damn DPJ could have had a touchdown but was overthrown on one of the two they did throw:

I'd go back to that; I think Michigan did.

Michigan seemed to have a few other opportunities to hit deep strikes that I can't be entirely sure of because this director was no Rick Who Works For Fox. Downfield replays were rare and the camera was super tight, so I'm only guessing at some of these things. This one looks like a pretty good guess, though:

Two safeties at eight yards and they are moving upfield on that play action; WR gets inside of the CB as he leaves the screen. That's a post, right? So... how do you not throw that? This happened last week, where heavy bites on play action seemingly opened up deep shots that O'Korn didn't take.

Here a corner blitz gets DPJ one on one with a safety. Those guys roll off the screen; I can't be sure that DPJ is actually open here, but surely this is what you want when you dial this play up?

That could be a route minus from DPJ and the right decision. But... probably not.

I really wish we'd gotten more insight into goings-on downfield to clear this stuff up. It's clear that the wide receiver corps is a problem. How much of one I don't know. It does make O'Korn look worse. That dump to McKeon that he dropped looked like a dumb bad pass, but it's really just mesh on which DPJ doesn't do anything to disrupt the guy in man coverage on the TE:

#9 WR to bottom of screen

Mesh versus man is a good play and this is a good decision if DPJ just gets his rub right. He doesn't and he O'Korn looks like a dork through no fault of his own.

But that was rare. Michigan's extreme turtling in this game should be evidence enough of the coaching staff's opinion of their QB play.

Okay but there was something that didn't make me want to buy mashed potatoes in a box?

Yes, the ground game.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 15 1 14 Mashing block sprung Higdon for first TD.
Bredeson 17.5 15.5 2 Very up and down. –2 on screen not included below.
Kugler 10.5 11.5 -2 Had a good day going until –5 on last two offensive plays
Onwenu 16 9 7 PFF ABT two weeks in a row.
JBB 10.5 6 4.5 Moves people.
Runyan DNP
Ruiz DNP
McKeon 2.5 4 -1.5  Busted on a crack sweep probably.
Bunting 5 2 3 One impressive seal.
Gentry 4.5 4 0.5 -2 on a screen left out of reckoning below, also a +0.5.
Eubanks   DNP
Wheatley 2.5 2 0.5  
Hill 1 2.5 -1.5
Poggi 8 4 Hill losing PT to him.
Mason     DNP
TOTAL 92 58 61%
Player + - T Notes
O'Korn 4 -4 Dorf on counter turned 6 into –5.
Isaac 4 4 Effective on limited carries.
Evans 1 2 -1 Most of his carries got buried.
Higdon 16.5 14.5  Monster day.
Walker 2   2 Something out of nothing.
Samuels     DNP
TOTAL 23.5 8 15.5 Higdon made it happen.
Player + - T Notes
Crawford 1 3 -2 PF after Higdon run.
Black DNP
DPJ 2 -2  Blatant hold.
Perry 0.5 -1.5 Failed to block the edge guy.
Schoenle   DNP
McDoom 1   1 End around was nice.
TOTAL 2 7 -5
Player + - T Notes
Protection 19 7 73% JBB –2, McKeon –1, Bredeson –1, Cole –1, TEAM –2.
RPS 14 16 -2 Miracle this is close to zero given QB play.

Michigan's blocking fell off a bit, landing at 61% instead of 68%; they had a much better day statistically because their running backs were collectively +19.5, which is a lot. Higdon singlehandedly shifted three or four runs from TFLs into solid gains or, in overtime, a touchdown. Meanwhile OL negatives tended to be bunched on a few very bad plays. Bredeson picked up –2s for:

  • running past a linebacker on a screen, then reconsidering too late
  • getting run over on a –1 yard run
  • getting run over on a crack sweep that Higdon had to rescue for four yards, and
  • running into Onwenu's back on a pull.

That's half of his minuses on four plays; the rest of the game he was hitting our Mendoza line easily. Similarly, Kugler picked up half his minuses on two plays, the first the –7 yard pin and pull that ended Michigan's final drive of regulation, the second the Higdon touchdown on which he went the wrong way and his guy fired into the backfield.

But Michigan just flat out won a lot of blocks, whether it was Bredeson knocking a guy two yards off the LOS and sealing or Onwenu getting a rare +3 for this ass kicking of a guy who is not slanting away from him:

#50 RG

Higdon's first touchdown was mostly Mason Cole thundering his guy off the line and opening up a bounce:

I was a little surprised the numbers came out that low. When not dorfing Michigan ran both zone and gap schemes effectively. Run plays by approximate grouping:

  • Sweeps: 8 for 31 yards, 3.9 YPC
  • Inside zone-ish: 14 for 90 yards, 6.4 YPC
  • Gap: 18 for 142 yards, 7.2 YPC
  • Exotics: 2 for 16 (McDoom end around, one zone read on which O'Korn kept).
  • Yakety snap: 1 for –5 when O'Korn ran into Evans.

Michigan's pin-and-pull style sweeps feel like a separate category to me and so there they are. Amongst plays between the tackles, another ~60/40 edge for gap-blocked plays.

IZ was actually their most consistent play. Eight of their 12 IZ and IZ-ish plays went for at least seven yards, with only a third unsuccessful. The gap blocked plays provided two huge chunks and a lot of two-to-four yard runs.

Wait, so now we can run inside zone?

I'd give it another couple weeks. Indiana did not put a ton of pressure on Michigan to get off blocks with aggressive linebackers, and that helped considerably.

But they're making some progress. Michigan did some work running zone from 2TE formations. IU's more passive approach with their linebackers meant that Michigan could get some extended doubles. Here Kugler and Onwenu get to double a DT off the ball and get off on a linebacker, and that's the cutback lane:

#57 C and #50 RG

Meanwhile next to those guys Cole and Bredeson are doing the same to the other DT. Adding those TEs to the line allowed those doubles, with the other three guys on the LOS fairly easy kickout blocks.

While Michigan's zone identification was improved it was not so improved that there weren't a number of frustrating breakdowns. Slants did semi-frequently see guys jet into the backfield unmolested, chased by a guy who had little shot.

I don't understand why the first play has extended doubles and the second is everyone heading to the second level immediately. LBs seem to be playing it the same way. DL is aligned differently but you'd think that would just change who gets tasked with the double. It feels like Michigan is betting on "not slant," and when "not slant" happens they can get away with immediate releases. Like so:

#74 LG and #50 RG

IU plays that straight up and Michigan's guards put those DTs on one side of them at the LOS; successful play. But they get slanted so much that I'd rather bet on slant.

Even so: progress.

Was this just Frey knowing what IU wanted to run?

Impossible to answer definitively but probably not. Michigan was beat on slants and weird alignments frequently; they did not seem like a team that knew what was coming all the time. I'm sure Allen put in a bunch of curveballs, anticipating Frey's experience against him.

One example jumped out at me. IU occasionally ran this defense with a large gap in a nominally four-man front:


Now, Indiana isn't going to just give you this gap. They're going to fill it, and so you have to expect someone re-gapping. Sure enough, on Michigan's first snap against this the DT pops outside. Michigan reads it, blocks it, and rips off a chunk:

Later in the game on a doomed pin and pull Indiana would return to this. The positioning of the DT gets Michigan in the wrong line call, because while the nose tackle is technically a nose tackle he's spiritually a gap over. Bredeson thinks he's blocking down and gets a nasty surprise (that probably shouldn't be much of a surprise):

I gave Bredeson most of the minuses there because he got pancaked by that guy but to me the core failure was not blocking down with Cole and pulling Bredeson like IU wasn't doing this goofy thing.

Anyway, I don't think M had seen this before. They blocked one instance of it well and a second one poorly. This didn't seem like a run game heavily dependent on preparing specifically for this defense.

Instead they were heavily dependent on their running backs.

Yeah. I don't think I saw a missed opportunity; I was cranky on twitter about one Isaac run but that turned out to be totally unfair to him. Michigan running backs were consistently finding the cutback lane I'd been complaining about them missing all year.

In addition to taking close to maximum advantage of their opportunities, the RBs were also to repair some blocking mistakes, most notably on Higdon's overtime touchdown. That wasn't even his most impressive run. That didn't look like much on the stat sheet but here he breaks about five tackles to rescue a loss:

Isaac also got in on this action, running through tackles from the side:

Kugler doesn't get off his block there, allowing a linebacker to shoot the gap, but it doesn't matter since Isaac's sheer bulk allows him to shake off an arm tackle.

Heck, Kareem Walker's lone carry was a good one that rescued a play featuring an unblocked LB in the backfield:

That high step after the cut to prevent an ankle tackle is a good, instinctual decision, and his burst on the edge is pretty good. (Note that he gets shorted a full two yards on this run.) I'm assuming he'll get a couple shots a game going forward.

I've been doing this long enough to realize that running back is a high variance spot from week to week, so they're not totally repaired. They collectively had their best game of the year by a great distance.

Except Chris Evans, rabble rabble.

I know he had a 12 yard carry and –4 yards the rest of the day but Evans continues to draw the short stick with Michigan's blocking. Twice in this game Michigan ran a pin and pull with him only to see defensive tackles hop a gap over and get right in his face. Once he managed to turn it into four yards by reversing field. Once he was not so lucky:

A second and eight power play rather summed his day up.

I had a couple minor dings for him but mostly he got buried through no fault of his own. He's going to have to claw his way back into contention if Higdon and Isaac continue to play like they did in this game... but they probably won't, so he'll get his at bats.

How did Bushell-Beatty do? Was he clearly better than Ulizio?

I think so. Bushell-Beatty did give up a couple things in pass protection, but they were I-lose-this-block-but-stay-attached kind of things that allow the QB to get around a potential sack, not ugly blow-bys. IU's DEs provide very little rush and Michigan's pass protection approach was max pro all day, so I wouldn't start banking on a –1 or –2 day from JBB going forward. This was more of an incomplete than anything else.

More happily, he was a bonafide presence on the ground. Onwenu and JBB featured on a number of clobbering double-teams. Here they shoot a DT off the LOS so fast he goes in to panic spin mode:

#50 RG and #76 RT

They were the point of attack on those split flow counters, and on each they clobbered real good. This was the first; JBB is the prime mover as Michigan deposits a DE three or four yards away from where he wants to be:

#76  RT

That fails to break big because the playside LB fell down and convinced Hill that he was not a threat, erroneously. Otherwise you can't do it better. On both of the subsequent counters JBB washed his guy well out of the play. The final one saw him read a slant away and immediately head for the MLB, who he authoritatively seals with help from the counter action:

There are reasons Michigan was rolling with Ulizio for the first four and a half games and they will crop up. So far JBB looks like a real plus on the ground, which Ulizio was not.

Not to bring up any sore spots but I see that Stanford's Bryce Love is averaging ten yards a carry? When does that happen here? You kept saying it would happen? I want it now? These aren't questions?

It's going to take some more time. I was struck by this Ian Boyd article on Bryce Love and his absurd numbers mostly because of the... well... Stanfordization of that offense. When I went over Harbaugh's Stanford offense one of the things that impressed me the most was their blockers' ability to adjust to slants and various messes in front of their face and get to the point of attack no matter what. That's still the case:

Herbig is a great puller in his own right and clearly a cornerstone. Here he is pulling from left to right (before Bright took over the LG spot):

[ed: this gif was too enormous to embed, sorry, read the article]

Their ability to stay square to the line and read the kick-out block for the cue on whether to lead outside or plow straight ahead makes the difference on a lot of Cardinal runs. Here, Rice is able to spill the kick-out outside, where they have a help defender ... to the misfortunate of that help defender. Herbig gets outside and pancakes him while Love follows him to paydirt.

Michigan is not there yet. Their pullers get caught up on trash they don't have to handle and probably can't, anyway. Michigan gives up a lot of minor penetration on slants that should slow up but not eliminate pullers; too often it eliminates pullers. It feels like this amount of penetration should not destroy Bredeson's pull like it does here:

#74 left guard pulling

And I want Onwenu to get around this McKeon block to the outside:

#50 RG pulling

Maybe that's asking too much from a 350 pound guy. I also want McKeon to push and not be pushed so this is easier, as well. (FWIW, I didn't minus Onwenu but did minus McKeon here.) This from Bredeson is more definitively Not Good; Onwenu has his guy at the LOS and hasn't given ground. Bredeson should not be banging into him:

#74 LG pulling

You don't see the Gs popping outside against these slants much for Michigan. Stanford is making it happen. With fifth year seniors, granted. This is an Area For Improvement.

The receivers did technically play.

Yes, and sometimes they were even on the screen.

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Crawford   2/2     1/4   0/2  9/11 
Black       1   0/1 10/11 
Perry 1 0/1   8 1/3 4/5   12/12
DPJ 1 1/1 3/3    4 0/1 2/4 6/6 
Schoenle           1/1 1/1 
McDoom 1       4   3/4
Ways       2      2/2
Wheatley       1/1             2/2 
McKeon       1/2           15/16  
Gentry 1 2/2   1    0/1   1/1 7/8 
Eubanks           1/1 1/1 
Bunting         1/1           1/1
Hill   0/1 1/1 0/1     0/2   1/1 0/1   
Poggi       0/1               1/2
Evans     1/1    1           2/2  
Isaac                  2/2
Higdon   0/1     2        0/1 3/3

ROUTES: Gentry +, DPJ +-, McDoom -.

I feel bad for McDoom because he should be running slants and little underneath stick routes in addition to the fun stuff on the ground:

People (read: I) get very hand-clap-tweet about his deployment now, but it really is just about his deployment. He's a good player in his Steve Breaston way; now stop pretending he's someone else.

Gentry played the first snap as a wide receiver, and that went well enough:

That's the flex bit of flex tight end. He'd probably have numbers warranting regional attention if Michigan's passing game was more functional. Gentry's also a functional blocker. Here he gave a DE the business, opening up a crack sweep:

#83 TE to top of screen

While we're on tight ends, Ian Bunting has fallen to third on the depth chart, at best, and we haven't talked about him much. He did get an impressive block on this pin and pull, driving and sealing a defensive end:

#89 TE to top of screen

Gentry dorfed a screen and McKeon appear to do the same on a crack sweep. They are still young; they are still very tantalizing for the future.


Higdon made the most of his opportunities and then some. Cole was terrific on the ground. Onwenu and JBB had their ups and downs but were the motive force behind the second-half TD drive.

Maybe not so heroic?

There is no passing game and Michigan told you how much they think O'Korn can handle with their playcalling.

What does it mean for PSU and the future?

If they're going to eliminate half the playbook anyway... Michigan gave O'Korn a freshman gameplan. Might as well see if a freshman can execute it better. Probably not to start on Saturday but if they're down in the third quarter I'd guess they have to try it. It probably won't go great, but it probably won't go worse.

JBB can move people, and Onwenu is getting good rapidly. Those guys were a solid asset and look to be one going forward. JBB's probably-still-very-bad pass protection will limit the offense. At least this pairing forces opponents to respect it and can maybe buy some RPS positives as a result.

It's Higdon's job until further notice. File under "duh."

Still an IZ/gap split. Second straight week they've gone close to down the middle between IZ and gap stuff.

They burned a real good play and will have to come up with something else. That counter was not going to be a huge gain even against IU for the fourth time—that was the call in OT and it looked like IU was all over it. I don't think they can expect it to do anything against PSU. Shelve it for a couple weeks and mix it in later.

One day someone is going to throw a catchable pass to DPJ downfield. I will enjoy that day.

It's hard to have other opinions on the WRs. They weren't on the screen, or targeted.



October 18th, 2017 at 4:52 PM ^

It's kinda encouraging at least to see that JBB might've made big strides from last year and looks like a sometimes competent right tackle.  At least in this sample size.  O'Korn's main asset right now is extending plays if a receiver helps him out sufficiently and Ulizio gave him absolutely no chance to even do that.

Mr. Yost

October 18th, 2017 at 6:21 PM ^

My thing is...JBB last year was better than a lot what we saw from Ulizio this year. And the whole scouting report on JBB out of high school was "potential"...if his last year is better than Ulizio's 2017...put JBB in and let him start reaching that potential.

IMO he's a guy that's going to go from below average (last year), to average (this year), to decent (next year)...if he had one more year after that I think he'd go to "solid" and that's where he was projected.

But I'll take a decent JBB in 2018. I just want to know what's coming up behind him. We can't keep saying this line isn't there yet.

My guess is when Bredeson and Onwenu are seniors is when we'll finally be hitting. That's 2019. Ruiz/Stuber/Filiaga will all be RS Sophs (unless Ruiz burns his RS this year). Hayes, Mayfield and hopefully Ekiyor will be RS Fr or Sophomores. Then all of the underrated guys I didn't mention...I'm sure at least one of them will be a surprise.


October 18th, 2017 at 4:53 PM ^

Give the ball to Higdon and hope O'Korn can finally connect with DPJ on a deep ball. For all O'Korn does bad, which is a lot, I can't get that beautiful pass to DPJ on the run out of my head. I hope he can figure something out and just be a solid game manager, but I'm not holding my breath. Hopefully we can establish the running game and have at least an even time of possession battle so our defense doesn't wear out.


October 18th, 2017 at 5:45 PM ^

His wheels aren't that good. He's not a statue, but he won't be outrunning DBs or anything, and he's not a bruiser like Tim Tebow that can plow over guys. The one zone read they ran with him picked up a couple of yards, but was well defended. 

O'Korn is not enough of a gamebreaker to incorporate regular QB runs into the gameplan. That sort of package involves a lot of repetition and plays, and the benefit you get is... maybe a first down or two at best. It would be a waste of effort to build an entire package around his legs. 



October 18th, 2017 at 5:10 PM ^

On second series, you say:  "Telegraphed crack sweep with Hill motioning out to a wing TE spot. M pulls Cole and lets Bredeson try to deal with the playside end, which is odd. There’s no actual crack here. Playside LB widens out and doesn’t want to get sealed; DPJ(-2) gives him the world’s most obvious bear-hug hold." When I was watching the game (and the replay), it looked to me like the LB grabbed DPJ to keep him from releasing and that all DPJ was trying to do was to get away from his hold, not be holding the LB.  From your commentary, I gather you saw it differently?

814 East U

October 18th, 2017 at 5:10 PM ^

I wish they would at least give Peters 10-12 plays and have him practice them a ton so we could use him as a change up if we desperately needed a drive in the second half or something. Not practical and not really seen but our QB situation is dire.


October 18th, 2017 at 5:16 PM ^

Man after reading through this and see the refs -# scoring, can we do a ref's UFR like we've added the special teams this year? It would be interesting to me anyways to have someone do an analysis of just how good or bad the officiating, both for and against Michigan this year.


October 18th, 2017 at 5:19 PM ^

This is ugly. Really ugly. Higdon did well though. 

I don't know what to take from our rushing explosion. 

Does it translate to PSU at night without a passing game?

Yinka Double Dare

October 18th, 2017 at 5:29 PM ^

PSU's rush D is not as good as their pass D (per S&P+, the run defense is in the 40s while pass is a top 10 outfit), so there's a chance. But who knows what it looks like if they just simply ignore the pass, put basically everyone possible in the box, and dare us to try to throw it downfield?


October 18th, 2017 at 5:36 PM ^

I like seeing the running game work, and work from both zone and gap schemes. That can create yards (see the long Higdon TD and helps eliminate extra defenders that are in the box.

So, despite the hiccups and flaws, it's exciting to see a multiple front scheme start to gel. With some guys that seem to be able to move people. 

It would be really nice to hit some PA passes.


October 18th, 2017 at 5:40 PM ^

but the so called experts had Onwenu....what gives?!?!..

are the so called experts not actually experts?!.....

..arent the pro's using their data and not yours?

Ron Utah

October 18th, 2017 at 5:44 PM ^

Disagree that IU had it dead-to-rights.  If Kugler hadn't gone the wrong way, that play is setting-up for a nice gain.  Probably not a TD, but another nice gain.

It's a genuis play that takes advantage of aggressive LBs, which LBs should always be against Michigan, since the passing threat is not there.  All you need to do is put those LBs on the wrong side of blocks, and you're off to the races.


October 18th, 2017 at 5:45 PM ^

Penn State outgained Iowa 579 to 273 with lots of Saquon Barkley heroics, but still only had 14 points to show for it until the very final seconds.

Iowa TB Akrum Wadley had 80 yards on 19 carries and 1 TD.

I can see Michigan's TB Karan Higdon achieving a similar effort against Penn State on teh ground. Perhaps a little better.

The biggest difference will be O'Korn's output throwing. Michigan has to throw the ball Saturday night to beat Penn State and to stay balanced, and they cannot turn the ball over at all. This is very unlikely given O'Korn's track record.

Iowa's QB Nathan Stanley actually had a decent game vs. PSU: 13 of 22 for 191 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.

I cannot imagine John O'Korn playing that well against #2 ranked Penn State in Beaver Stadium.

I'm predicting more of the same from Michigan this weekend -, e.g. lots of turnovers, lots of missed scoring opportunities, lots of penalties, lots of three and outs and punts and a defense that is on the field too long, but somehow manages to keep the score closer than it should be. 

I think Penn State is overrated as a football team. Michigan's defense should expose this fact for all to see.  PSU is not a final four caliber team in my view. And they are not going to be defeat Ohio State in Columbus.

Michigan has a chance to win this game. But it would need an otherworldly and flawless performance at both QB and WR to pull off an upset win. 






October 18th, 2017 at 5:58 PM ^

I predict:

A) Penn State will have less than 579 yards of offense.

B) Penn State's Yards Gained:Points Scored ratio will be lower than the ~30:1 ratio it was against Iowa (that has to be some kind of record for games when a team gains 500+ yds).

C) Michigan will score between 14-24 points, barring a non-offensive TD.

So, to win, Michigan needs to hold PSU to about 3 scoring drives.  If Michigan can shorten the game, that's possible.