Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Maryland

Submitted by Brian on November 15th, 2017 at 4:24 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

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Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. Slightly less heavy this week with 14 3-WR snaps, some of them on standard downs. Most, actually. There were 12 two-WR snaps, 17 one-WR snaps, and 7 beef machine snaps, one of which was the beefiest: a 7-OL, 3 TE formation on which Poggi scored. BEHOLD THE MAJESTY.


I called this simply BEEF, since brevity is the heart of our goal here.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. QB and OL were as expected. Per 24/7, Spanellis got ten snaps as a bonus OL and Runyan got two. Evans and Higdon got about 20 each, with Walker filling in for Higdon after his exit with 7 snaps. FB snaps were 2:1 Poggi.

DPJ and McDoom got the most run at WR, with Perry getting just 13 snaps coming off injury. Schoenle was at 12 and Ways 8. Gentry and McKeon continue to lead the way at TE; Bunting got 23 snaps, though, and Wheatley 12.

[After THE JUMP: run run run run, but more zone]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
Extended doubles from everyone to the right of Cole on the line move two DL; SDE type lined up inside of Gentry shoots inside and that’s real tough for him to do much with; he does harass the guy enough so that he’s not super relevant, but Higdon(-0.5) appears to bounce outside because of this threat. He probably shouldn’t do this since the blocking up the gut is good but tough ask. Cole(+0.5) gets a good kickout but the play flares so wide his guy and spin off and tackle. Bredeson gets a push block by getting about a yard of depth; Higdon’s bounce is a bit awkward. Interior looks okay, really, and may be another couple yards.
M21 2 7 Shotgun empty 2 2 1 Nickel over 6 Pass TE hitch Gentry 9
Quick pitch and catch over the middle converts with some help from the umpire(refs +1), who cannily blocks off the nearest zone defender and allows Gentry to get a few YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M30 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8.5 Run Power O Higdon 6
This starts as a shotgun empty twin TE and motions to I-Form Big. The reasons for this are outside the scope of this post. Michigan runs power and blocks it well, with Wheatley(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) getting good kicks and Ruiz and JBB(+1) caving in a DE. JBB gets off that double to shove the backside LB. Hill(+1) pins in the playside LB; Higdon(-0.5) doesn’t shoot outside this block and test the safety; instead he goes inside of it and grinds out 5.
M36 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8.5 Run Off tackle Evans 2
Poggi flares wide for a kickout block as Spanellis(+1) and Cole(+0.5) double and kill the playside DE. With a LB confused and not scraping outside immediately and a crack from DPJ that looks like it gets there Evans(-1) has a good shot at a first down if he runs what looks like the play design. Instead he cuts away from it into a mess.
M38 3 2 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 9 Run Off tackle Evans 3
Same play and Evans hits the intended gap. DPJ(+1) gets a key cut block on a charging S. Spanellis(+1) doesn’t get a ton of movement but does put his guy on the ground. Poggi(-0.5) is coming out too flat on short yardage and his guy is able to peel off after a hit and tackle.
M41 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-4 even 9 Pass PA comeback DPJ Inc
PA sucks up the front… uh… ten. Gentry releases and drives on the playside S so DPJ has pure man coverage. Doesn’t get great separation but has put himself in box-out position; throw from Peters is high-ish but well in the acceptable window; DB flagrantly interferes without a call. (Refs -2). (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
M41 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Pin and pull Walker 2
M blocks this well but play still ends up being meh as Maryland runs after it hard on the snap. Kugler ends up hitting a guy at the LOS and that’s bad news. Ruiz(+1) got another blasting kickout; his guy spins off but only after he’s given up a couple yards of position. McKeon(+0.5) hit a guy inside as MD was stunting. JBB holds the balls off the dude moving outside (refs +2) on an ultimately irrelevant block; Bredeson(+0.5) is impressive annoying on a LB he has little angle to. RPS -2.
M43 3 8 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Drag Perry Inc
This is a bad route from McKeon(-1) that does nothing to pick off man coverage on Perry. Peters should probably come off it and look deeper but a couple of guys are vaguely threatening and he just dumps it out. MD DB makes a stupid play by risking a PI flag with a wrap around the waist but gets away with it (refs -2) because every play has to feature a terrible call. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 9 Run Power O Higdon 2
Gentry(-2) loses his block definitively, with the DE standing him up and shoving him two yards in the backfield. Bredeson is trying to pull around and has zero room. Higdon(+0.5) prepares to burst outside, has no gap, and wisely cuts back into the interior. There Michigan has moved some guys, with Ruiz(+0.5) getting a little depth. Higdon’s late, enforced cut means he’s unable to cut again away from Ruiz’s guy, but at least he got something.
M35 2 8 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Pass Screen Higdon 14
Jet action and a screen the other way works very well. LBs are thinking waggle and freeze up and are mostly gone. DPJ(+1) flirts with a hold but does get away with it in a way I think is consistent; still, refs +1. Bredeson(+0.5) gets an okay block on a downfield guy but that’s the extent of the OL in space making it happen. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
M49 1 10 Ace 1 3 1 4-4 even 8 Run Counter Evans 9
DE trying to crash down inside of Bunting and doesn’t get any depth but does provide a bit of a quandary for McKeon, who is moving from a wing TE spot as the second puller. McKeon(+1) decides to pop the DE and pushes him outside; Evans(+1) takes a path that threatens outside and then cuts upfield, buying back the two for one the DE got. He can do so as Bredeson(+1) wins a one on one block against a DT and Cole(+1) gets a sustained second level block.
O42 2 1 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7.5 Run Inside zone Evans 13
CB blitz allows playside DE/OLB to shoot inside of his DT. Gentry(+2) is able to fire out at him and shove him past his spot. Kugler(+1) and Ruiz(+1) double through a DT, with Kugler securing the second level. Bredeson(+1) turns out the other DT, lane up the middle. Evans(+0.5) sets up a second level block from Cole(+1) with a shimmy that freezes the LB.
O29 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 9 Pass PA waggle Y cross McKeon Inc
Jet motion one way, fake handoff, rollout. Maryland does a great job to cover this despite the paving M has handed out on the last two plays. Flat is covered; deeper option covered. Peters tries to hit McKeon and throws it behind him, away from the DB. McKeon can’t make a tough grab as he’s being harassed. This is a throw into coverage but he only had two options and this was the only thing he could do on this play that might gain yards. (CA, 1, protection N/A, RPS -1.
O29 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 8.5 Run Split flow counter Higdon 3
MD brings a safety down late and fires him off the edge on the backside. M ignores him as Gentry has another guy to block, but the timing of the blitz and the delay the counter action brings allows S to tackle from behind. Otherwise fairly well blocked, with Ruiz(+0.5) getting a good kick and Cole(+0.5) getting a little depth on the playside DT. Higdon had a shot at 6-7-8 if not for the blitz. RPS -1.
O26 3 7 Shotgun empty 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Drag Gentry 21
MD LB on Gentry is running zone. Everyone else is running man. Gentry wide open for a catch and run. Peters’s throw is a little bit high and inside but doesn’t prevent Gentry from turning it up; M did let a blitzer through free but he’s the outside guy and both dudes to the left have guys they’re dealing with. (CA, 3, protection ½, team -1.)
O5 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Power O Higdon 3
Higdon might miss a cut here since the intended POA looks like it might be a TD, but he did burrow out 3 yards from the 5 so no minus. FWIW, looked like Cole(+1) and Spanellis(+1) ground guys in and there was a lot of space to shut down for a LB/S.
O2 2 G BEEF 3 1 0 Goal line 11 Run Iso Poggi 2
7 OL, one of them in a TE number. Tackle over. Hill, Poggi, and Mason in the backfield. Maryland seems to focus their D on the Hill dive possibility and leaves a bubble over Mason Cole. M runs at that, easy TD. JBB(+1) clubs his guy inside. Mason(+0.5) flies into the hole and whacks a guy. Poggi easily in. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-4 even 8.5 Run Counter Higdon 5
Very similar to 9 yard Evans run on previous drive with backside TE hitting and kicking out a DE diving inside. With Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) comboing through playside DT there is the same gap inside. Higdon(-0.5) pops outside. Live I thought this was a TE error but I think it’s Higdon since M seemed to have a plan for this gap exchange on previous drive. Higdon still powers through an unblocked LB for five. Gentry(+0.5) and DPJ(+0.5) get good kickouts to enable that.
M35 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Higdon 3
Playside end gives ground on a double but manages to hold enough ground to come through it as Gentry(-0.5) leaves for the second level; JBB(-0.5) the other guy on the double. Bredeson(+0.5) gets around and hits the lead LB; Higdon has to go inside this, where he hits the DE. Modest gain.
M38 3 2 Ace trips tight bunch 2 3 0 4-4 over 8 Pass PA TE corner Wheatley Inc
Wrong route or wrong throw; don’t know which. Peters throws a corner route as Wheatley hitches up. The corner route here is a tough throw in the cover two gap that looks fairly well covered; meanwhile two underneath routes should be open for the first down. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Ace 4-wide tight 1 1 3 4-4 over 8 Pass Improv Higdon 35 + 15 pen
JBB bafflingly decides not to block a DE on a standard rush. Line appears to slide away from this so Higdon(-2) is probably the culprit. Peters dodges the rusher, whereupon Higdon converts into a receiver. Peters hits him, and Higdon(+3) breaks one tackle, dodges two more, and creates a big play. I think Hill did this last year where he turned a pass pro bust into a big catch. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2). Roughing the passer adds 15.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Evans 5
Ruiz(+0.5) and Kugler(+1) double and blow out a DT, with Kugler popping off on a LB. Ruiz can’t quite handle the dude as Kugler leaves; Evans(+0.5) tries to cut behind this and can’t. JBB(-0.5) stalemated at the line and his guy can pop off to tackle. Evans does pick up some yards because of his cut.
O11 2 5 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Split zone Evans 5
Very similar result here as Kugler(+1) and Ruiz(+1) blow a guy off the ball. They don’t lose him as much so Evans doesn’t have to make a cut. Cole(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) cut off a backside DT. Evans just runs up the back of everyone for five yards.
O6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 over 8.5 Run Inside zone Evans 5
Playside DE is set free and does not respect the QB at all. This should be a TFL but Evans(+2) WOOPS the DE in a flash and now gets to run the play as if he was the QB who kept. Evans then puts a move on a safety and nears the goal line. RPS -1.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Iso Evans 1
Only right that Evans finishes it off after fine work on the last play.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4- even 8 Pass TE seam Gentry 33
MD has been in an 8 man front when M goes big the whole game. Michigan has some frippery and then motions McKeon to a WR spot, safety follows. Nobody on Maryland’s front eight realizes the danger. Gentry runs straight downfield, is wide open, easy pitch and catch TD. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Crack sweep Higdon 16
Hill motions from an offset I FB spot to the opposite side of the line and crack time. Cole(+1) turns in playside DE. Bredeson(+0.5) pulls and gets an okay kickout. Hill gets to a LB and delays him a reasonable amount. Not great; ok. LB comes through. DPJ(-0.5) mis-ids and goes for that LB; he then realizes his error and goes for a safety. This blocks an S but the other, more dangerous guy gets through. Higdon(+2) runs through an arm tackle and then dodges both S and LB and is off. Schoenle(+1) got a good block to make this count.
O3 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Pass PA TE flat McKeon 3
Heavy bites by all; wide open; TD. RPS +1. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-0, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Split flow counter Higdon 2
M can’t get both guys in the same gap as Cole(-1) gets stood up by his guy, who is moving outside. Ruiz goes in that gap, not really enough time for him to change his mind. He’s blocking no one. Poggi(+0.5) inserts in the interior gap and gets a hit. Bredeson(+0.5) stands up his guy and turns him in a bit but doesn’t get much motion. LB can scrape over that block and get there to hold the play down. RPS -1.
O18 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 6 Run Power O Higdon 5
Delayed handoff, slightly, as M runs power from the gun. Ruiz(+1) and Kugler(+0.5) get depth on a DT; Ruiz pops off and hits a second level guy. Kugler cannot maintain the seal there. He does drive his man as dude rips back to the hole and Higdon can cut behind that block. Ruiz’s second level angle is ruined, though. Cole(+1) got a good seal to provide the lane. Bredeson(-0.5) pulled and got knocked back, making Higdon cut slightly in the backfield and maybe costing him a step or two. Higdon does something to his ankle on the tackle and exits for the game.
O13 3 3 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Exotic 5 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Peters has to roll out and throw the ball away; this is half him and half the protection. Bredeson passes off a DE to Cole and then has nobody; he is way too late figuring out that there’s someone coming from the inside and can only get a bare shove on him as he flies by. Kugler comes off on the guy but shouldn’t have had to. Even so, this takes a while to get home and Peters has a wide open Evans on a drag that will convert. He misses him. I am not at all forgiving about open dink routes on 3rd and 3 that are missed. This has to be read 1 or 2. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, Bredeson -2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(30), 28-0, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Inside zone Walker -2
Ruiz(-0.5) and JBB(-0.5) have a double on which they get a little depth but only a little. Guy comes through as Ruiz leaves and Walker runs into this, about to get a yard or two. Circumstances conspire and he bounces off this mess without getting tackled. He moves backside and tries a full bounce, which looks like a good idea until he falls, untouched. -2.
O49 2 12 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Screen Evans Inc
Peters gets sped up for no apparent reason and whips a ball at Evans that he can barely get a hand on. Probably wasn’t amazing if Evans does catch it but third and six maybe? (IN, 0, screen)
O49 3 12 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 even 7 Pass PA scramble Peters 6
Max pro play action on third and twelve is dumb but M is up 28-0 so whatever. It’s not open, I assume, with safeties bailing on the snap and just two guys in a route. Peters takes off for about half the yards. (Not charted, N/A, protection 2/2, RPS -1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Offset I Big H 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Walker 16
Michigan blocks the POA fairly well here but those blocks don’t get tested as Walker(+2) zips in a backside crack in the line created as Cole(+1) and Bredeson(+1) double a DL, shoving him three yards off the LOS; Cole pops off on a LB. Kugler(+1) seals out the other DT and Walker hits that gap instead of the intended one, which looks like it might be open for five or so. Walker runs through a CB’s tackle attempt from the side and breaks off a chunk.
M42 1 10 Offset I Big H 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Walker 2
Same thing. Playside tested. Bunting(+1) gets a good, tough kickout on a charging LB. Spanellis(+2) buries the playside end and pancakes him. Ruiz(+1) gets out to a LB and rocks him. Both pullers go for the same guy though. Hill’s guy dives inside of him and Bredeson has already committed inside. He also hits that guy. This is still enough for a successful play but Walker(-2) decides to bounce it out where a safety at eight yards hacks him down. A little more patience would give Walker time to see that the cut directly upfield is still there
M44 2 8 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Counter Evans -3
This is probably a weird decision by McKeon(-2) to stop pulling outside and dive upfield in the A gap, but there is room there and it could be a tweak that Evans didn’t get the memo on. FWIW. My assumption is that Michigan isn’t bringing out tweaks up 28-0 deep into the third Q. So. McKeon dives inside and there’s an unblocked guy. Cole(-1) gets shed quickly and there’s another guy. Spanellis(+0.5) got somoe depth on his guy before losing him and that’s a third guy, albeit one that would probably be tackling after five yards if this play was not borked. Evans(-1) makes a bad decision to try to reverse field that costs about 3 yards.
M41 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Dumpoff Poggi Inc
Bredeson(-2) with a bad whiff on a DT that nearly gets Peters sacked. Attempted dump to Poggi hits the turf. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Post DPJ Inc
Flatfooted S doesn’t even try to get back so this is one on one with DPJ against the corner to the outside in the middle of the field. That means there’s a huge area where DPJ is first to the ball; Peters badly overthrows this area. Guh. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M25 2 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-4 even 8 Pass Tunnel screen McDoom 3
Gentry(-2) the guy tasked with blocking the dude in man coverage and stumbles, largely because he comes out too far downfield and has to react. McDoom shoe-string tackled on a play that was 50/50 a first down. (CA, 3, screen)
M28 3 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Rollout throwaway N/A Inc
No idea if anyone’s open. Doesn’t really look like it. Peters holds the ball until he gets pressure and then dumps it. (TA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-3, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Run Iso Walker 3
Full nine man box here and an iffy result as Poggi(-2) fails to get through the hole to the backside LB. CB comes down and blitzes off the edge here; Cole(+1) moves his guy enough to give Walker a lane past. Bredeson(-0.5) annoys a LB but that guy is able to come under him and help tackle with unblocked guy.
M38 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Run Pin and pull Evans -5
Evans buried in the backfield as MD again blitzes off the edge and a LB flies at this on the snap. Gentry(-2) beat clean to the inside and his guy gets through; Evans buried. RPS -2.
M33 3 12 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Dumpoff Evans 20
Just a doofy little checkdown that finds Evans(+1) all alone except for one guy, who he jukes easily. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O47 1 10 Goal line H 2 3 0 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Evans 2
Bunting(-1) can’t maintain a kickout; Cole(-1) doubles a guy off the line with Spanellis; when Spanellis leaves that guy is somehow able to shove Cole into the backfield; this doesn’t do a ton for him but clears the way for a DT to the interior. Those guys converge for not much. Ruiz(+1) banged a guy on his pull to create the small amount of space there is.
O45 2 8 Goal line 2 3 0 4-4 even 10 Run Crack sweep Evans -3
Crack sweep anticipated by MD. Gentry(-1) can’t get his guy, who is jetting for the sweep on the snap. LB to playside also hauling ass and makes it to the pullers two yards in the backfield. Kugler cuts that guy but dude is so close to Evans already that he can make a diving tackle attempt. Evans is surrounded and clobbered. RPS -2.
O48 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 7 Pass Fly DPJ Inc (Pen+15)
Good protection as M picks up a twist; Peters loads up and fires a good ball deep that DPJ has a play on. CB hits DPJ early and gets flagged. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 ??? ? Run ? Walker 2
TV misses half of this play. When we come back Walker(-1) is in a lot of space against a DB and instead of cutting past him he tries to lower the boom and falls over.
O31 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 4-4 even 8 Run Split zone Evans 14
Ruiz(+1) and JBB(+1) blow out a DT; McKeon(+0.5) gets a good kick. Gentry(+1) has a CB diving inside of him; he stays attached and pushes, opening up the corner. Evans(+1) has a huge lane and takes it, bursting outside. He then spectacularly leaps a guy… for two yards. Woo!
O17 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Inside zone Evans 17
Play isn’t actually blocked that well but the previous play and a little backfield shimmy from Evans makes a gap. Gentry flares to kick out a guy blitzing off the corner; OLB type inside of him is unblocked. ZR threat does not hold him and he threatens to TFL. Evans(+2) gives that shimmy, he holds up, Evans then wins on acceleration to the hole. Kugler(+1) fired a slanting guy well out of said hole. Ruiz and JBB attempt same double; DT fights to hole but because of Kugler block Evans has room. Ruiz(+0.5) stays attached and harasses the guy into a falling arm tackle. Shimmy and last play also delays relevant LB who JBB has no angle on. Evans can burst past anyway. Bredeson(+0.5) got a near-free downfield block but does execute it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-10, 4 min 4th Q. Final drive not charted. Here’s that Evans(+1) back juke though.

What disasters do you bring us now?!


Woe and perfidy!

i mean

Failure and defeat!

Michigan's offense improved slightly in the fancystat realm after this game. It's true. Drives:

  • Extended TD drives of 67, 66, and 65 yards.
  • Short field TD drives of 33 and 19 yards.
  • Four three-and-out or first-down-and-out drives, one of which is a short field ending in a missed FG.
  • One eight play 27 yard drive cut short by two obvious missed PI calls.

That's not setting the opposition on fire; it is about what we expect with this year's offense. Which is bad. But we knew that. At least the blocking—

destroyed, all gone

--remained quite good despite the step back in YPC. Chart:

Offensive Line

Player + - Total Notes
Cole 9 2 7 Also had a great offset draw block that didn't get charted, FWIW.
Bredeson 8 2 6 Less volume, same ratio.
Kugler 5.5 5.5 Lot of help on mashing doubles.
Ruiz 9 0.5 8.5 Harbaugh said he'd still play if Onwenu came back, which... uh? Probably not? But maybe?
JBB 3 1.5 1.5 Somewhat quiet.
Runyan DNC
Spanellis 5 5 In just ten snaps.
McKeon 2.5   2.5 
Bunting 1 1 0
Gentry 3.5 7.5 -4 Rough outing is a regression to early season.
Eubanks   DNP
Wheatley DNC
Hill 1 1
Poggi 0.5 2.5  -2
Mason 0.5   0.5 
TOTAL 41.5 17 71% A step back, but only to "quite good."
Player + - T Notes
O'Korn   DNP
Isaac DNP
Evans 9 1 8 Excellent in short spaces when given even eh blocking.
Higdon 5.5 1.5 Couple of big plays on broken tackles.
Walker 2 5 -3 One good slashing run but fell over once and had a couple of bad cuts.
Samuels     DNC
TOTAL 16.5 7.5 9 Evans coming on.
Player + - T Notes
Crawford DNP
Black DNP
DPJ 2.5   2.5 
Perry DNP
Schoenle 1 1
TOTAL 3.5 3.5 I have nothing to say about this.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 18 7 72% Bredeson –4, Higdon –2, Team –1.
RPS 8 12 -4 Heavy run/pass RPS split. Also second half DGAF.

Of note: Michigan's RPS positives were almost all passing plays and the negatives almost all running plays. That'll happen when you have a more than two-to-one run-pass ratio, especially when you attempt two deep balls all game. Line yards did come down but a big part of that was Kareem Walker's erratic day. Higdon and Evans averaged a very respectable 3.4 line yards per carry; Walker dragged that down with just 2 LYPC on his 7 carries.

Michigan's run blocking remained very good when the top two backs were in; like some earlier games they found it hard to break off long runs.

Did I detect that thing where people don't pull and mash face?

Yes. Michigan got back to running a chunk of inside zone after all but abandoning it last week. It once again was about 40% of runs inside the tackles:

  • Edge runs: 4 for 10 yards. This was one successful Higdon crack sweep where he broke a couple tackles and then ugly Maryland overplays.
  • Inside or split zone: 10 for 66 yards. Evans helped out a lot at the end of Michigan's final TD drive with two carries for 31 yards where he did some work to pick those yards up. Even so: IZ was consistently effective.
  • Gap blocked plays: 16 for 56 yards.

Michigan has to incorporate a second base run play in their offense unless they want to get hammered every time they run a base play, and IZ is going to be it.

Michigan heavily tipped gap or zone by formation. Every zone was from the shotgun. Not great going into tougher opposition. Hopefully they break that tendency. Similarly, three of the four outside runs were heavily overplayed and chopped down. This Walker pin and pull is doomed because one of the pullers is cutting a LB a yard in the backfield.

Maryland LB #1 to bottom

When Maryland wasn't able to fling linebackers at the problem Michigan did well. They did a much better job of hitting defensive tackles for extended double teams than they had in the past. Michigan did not have guys releasing downfield on these plays without first doing some mashing. Here Higdon picks up five as he bounces out past a DT who's given ground to a double:

Maryland made this somewhat easy by showing the same even front for most of the game—and then when they shifted they shifted to a 3-4 that was fairly consistent. They didn't give Michigan a bunch of different looks that could have confused their first level assignments. The result was the output you see above. This was most encouraging on a series starting from the 16 where two mashing zone runs got Michigan down to the 6. On both the interior OL clubbed their opposition off the line. The second was slightly more impressive than the first:

#52, #74, #57, #51 –uh everyone on the line save JBB

There's clearly a philosophical difference going on here between these kind of hammering runs that don't always have a lot of upside and the instant-leave stuff Michigan was trying and failing to execute earlier in the season; this suits Michigan better since they seem to be a power team first and foremost. Crushing a guy on a double and popping off to get a linebacker is now what Michigan's doing on most zone-ish plays.

I'm enjoying this thing where the running backs rip off big plays multiple times per game.

Both Evans and Higdon had good games, though Higdon's biggest play was probably also his biggest error. This looks like a slide protection on which he goes to the wrong side of the line:

He then converts into a wide receiver and makes up for it by running through one guy and around a couple more, so good job. I wonder if he picked up that one weird trick from Khalid Hill, who had a notable third down conversion last year on which he completely blew a pass protection but then bailed out his QB.

Higdon's other eye-opening play was a crack sweep on which he broke two tackles at the same time.

This was the only successful edge run Michigan had, and even then it required some intervention from the RB to make it a chunk play.

While Higdon did have the two big plays that provided some 50 yards I was thrice slightly annoyed at his decisions on the interior. This is five yards on first down, which is fine, but it really seemed like he could have hit it outside of Hill and gotten some more:

And note the different approach on two very similar power runs. Here Evans feints outside and slides inside, leaving an unblocked guy in the wrong gap and ripping off nine yards.

Michigan would get the same DE dive and see the TE dip inside it to lock the guy out, and Higdon bounced it into that unblocked guy. His path is more vertical and allows the linebacker to get there because he didn't have momentum pulling him the other way.

Ran him over for five yards, but 9 > 5. These nits didn't overturn the two big plays when the numbers tallied up; I bring it up to note that Maryland's approach here seemed to throw the backs off on power plays a bit, resulting in some well-blocked plays that didn't go as far as they might have otherwise.

Meanwhile Evans was terrific both in space and tight quarters. Twice in this game he froze players with little backfield shimmies that didn't slow him down much but did cause the opposition to gear down in uncertainty and either get blocked or fail to keep up with Evans's acceleration as a result. The first was fairly subtle, as he helped make Cole's second level block count with that shimmy on a 13 yard run; the second was the final touchdown and a really good job of making the most of meh blocking and a blitz that coulda shoulda created a TFL:

That little shift 1) holds the unblocked DE charging at him, 2) freezes a linebacker trying to decide if he should run at Evans's face, and 3) gives Kugler a little bit more time to widen his guy. His acceleration out of it causes the unblocked guy to unsuccessfully dive at his feet and allows him to shoot through a forest of arm tackles to the endzone. That is a Good Ass Run.

Twice he juked guys out of their jock with back jukes. The first turned first and goal from the six into a gimme from the one inch line:

Not only does he put a move on the first guy but his feint step outside on the safety holds him and probably gets him an important yard or two. Michigan gave him the short yardage TD on the next play because he'd earned it. #2 was Michigan's final non-kneel snap:

Finally, flair.

Evans 2017 == Rudock 2015, at least in the realm of MGoBlog predictions that look absolutely terrible for half the season and then recover.

But Walker not so much?

Walker had an adventurous day once Higdon went out. He had one excellent carry, a backside cut on power on which he ran through a tackle for a chunk.

The rest of his day was three bounces of varying wisdom. On one he fell over untouched just as it looked like was going to break it. Two others saw him get hacked down immediately. Here he exposes himself to a charging safety; a little more patience would allow him to get that guy to commit and then fire upfield into the gap that does develop.

The other bounce was in a similar vein. Walker is still adjusting to live fire carries and should progress as we go along here; he left a lot of yards on the field in this one.

Tight end blocking took a step back?

Mostly Gentry, yes. Gentry had one excellent block on a successful inside zone that caught a corner blitz. His guy is looping into the gap Evans hits, but Gentry is able to adjust and shove that guy all the way past.

That's really good. Most run plays that catch a CB blitz do not go well because it's tough to adjust when an edge guy goes into a different, non-kickout gap.

Unfortunately the rest of his day was poor. I failed to clip any of it, unfortunately. He was unable to get McDoom's CB on a tunnel screen otherwise set up for success, and he let a couple of guys through him on the edge stuff in very bad ways.

One "tight end" who didn't take a step back: Stephen Spanellis. For the second straight week Spanellis managed to put up a significant number of positives in scanty snaps. Evans cuts away from the gap here, which is unfortunate because Spanellis (and Cole) clobberate the DE, with Spanellis eventually pancaking him:

#94 TE to top of screen

Spanellis also mauled a DE en route to a pancake on that unsuccessful Walker run embedded above. Maybe the running backs aren't comprehending the difference between Spanellis and the actual tight ends just yet. Spanellis is moving people consistently as the 6th OL. Run behind him, it'll work.

The guy... with the throwy parts? Bill? Bill Don? Peter?

Brandon Peters was once again an occasional sidelight on offense. The consistency with which he's charting verges on eerie.


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Rutgers 10++     1   2 1*   77% -
Minnesota 9(3)+     3 2   2   75% -
Maryland 11(2)+     1 1   1 2(1) 2   69% -

Another typical Peters day where he's extremely sheltered and does well enough on the array of simple throws he gets. I am dubious about CFB Film Room's accuracy, but I figure they're probably able to count to 20 so this is an illuminating graph of what Michigan is asking Peters to do:

Not much. This is partially because of the pass protection, which is always an adventure...

...and partially because he's a redshirt freshman. But he's making relatively few and benign errors. Both of the bad reads in this game weren't throws into coverage but rather a failure to take seemingly open short stuff on third and short. The one time he did throw into coverage, 1) he had no other choice, and 2) he seemed to know what he was about to do and put it in a spot only his guy could get it. This is a CA to me:

Those two short yardage biffs did grate, especially the first. This is third and two; check Ben Mason in the flat.

#42 "TE" in motion

He literally runs over his cover guy and is wide open for the conversion; Peters tries a speculative downfield throw at Wheatley. Wheatley's not running the route he's throwing, but surely you should be reading low to high in this situation.

The second one saw Peters get pressure but of the sort that shouldn't prevent you from getting out a quick throw, and Michigan's running a bunch of quick routes. Evans is wide open on his, and also directly in front of the QB; you'd think that that has to be read #2 at the latest, after McDoom appears covered.

#12 slot to top

He also missed DPJ deep and had a screen that he threw wide of Evans; these are about 30% of his output. The other 70% is good stuff. If he could maintain this level of productivity over 30 throws that would be enough to really open it up on the ground, but every time you drop back you're asking for some comical pass protection to bring a drive to a screeching halt. So you can't.

Anything... like, interesting? Scheme-wise?

Like last week, a couple of things early and then nothing after Michigan took control of the game. There was little new or notable in Michigan's offense except for the Gentry TD, which remains a masterpiece of futzing with formations to your advantage:

Given the sideline's reaction I think Michigan knew they could get that.

The only other thing Michigan hadn't put on film before was the BEEF formation, and that was more novelty than anything. I did find it interesting that Maryland put a bubble over Mason freakin' Cole here:

Only thing I can think is that the Hill dive threat was the main thing Maryland was concerned about. Given the packed in D to the weak side of the formation, that's probably it.

Receivers? Why am I even asking?

I don't know. Another chart of absolutely no notability.

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Crawford      2/5   0/2  10/12 
Black       1   0/1 10/11 
Perry   9 1/3 4/6   15/15
DPJ 3     8 0/1 2/5 11/12 
Schoenle       1   1/1 2/2 
McDoom     1/1   5 0/1   9/10
Ways       2      3/3
Collins         1/1   
Wheatley 1       0/1 3/3 
McKeon 0/1 1/1   1/2 1/1 22/23
Gentry   3/3   1    0/1 1/1 11/12 
Eubanks         1/1 1/1 
Bunting                   1/1
Hill     1 0/2   1/2 1/2   
Poggi                     2/3
Evans 1   1/1    2       2/2 4/4  
Isaac               3/3
Higdon     2/2   3       0/2 6/6

ROUTES: McKeon –.

One catchable throw at a wide receiver, and four total. Not exactly Texas Tech up in here. Poor damn DPJ, man:

Poor damn DPJ.

No safeties, CB with outside leverage, acres in which DPJ gets to the ball... bupkis. Maybe they'll hit him four times in the OSU game. That's the ticket.


The OL run blocking was once again very good. Both veteran backs had excellent days.

Maybe not so heroic?

Bredeson had a couple of bad pass pro incidents in not many attempts. Walker left a bunch of yards on the field; Gentry had a number of struggles blocking.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and the future?

This is still the same offense it's been for a while. Good to excellent run blocking that isn't good enough to offset Michigan's near total lack of a passing attack. QB that gets taken out for a spin only occasionally. Bad to horrible pass protection.

Ruiz is a player. Like... now. Another excellent day from him, this time without a QB destruction that's his fault. Onwenu's obviously earned the right to his starting job but I don't think center is going to be a problem next year.

Also maybe Spanellis? Hard to tell how viable he is as a starting OL because his job doesn't require him to move DTs or pass protect but as the bonus OL he is pancaking guys with frequency.

Evans did have a bunch of bad luck early in the year. Now do you believe me?!? I'm not crazy?!? They're all crazy?!?!

Michigan has a bunch of stuff they've salted away. The last three weeks have been grinding walkovers during which Michigan almost never puts something on tape that they haven't already once they go up two or three TDs. Expect some RPS fireworks these last two weeks.


snarling wolverine

November 15th, 2017 at 4:34 PM ^

Maryland made this somewhat easy by showing the same even front for most of the game—and then when they shifted they shifted to a 3-4 that was fairly consistent.

Shocked that this could be said of a DJ Durkin defense.


November 15th, 2017 at 5:51 PM ^

Bredesons pass blocking is atrocious as a guard. Doubt they move him to tackle unless there is absolutely no other viable candidate and that would bode ill for the offense again next year. 

JBB stays on the right side with Hudson or Newsome at LT.  Spanellis or one of the true freshmen as a dark horse.

Bertello NC

November 15th, 2017 at 10:04 PM ^

Ya aesthetically I️ think an OL like this would look good in theory;

LT- Newsome, Filiaga, Stueber

LG- Bredeson, Spanellis,

C- Ruiz, Spanellis

RG- Onwenu, Ulizio, Runyan

RT- JBB, Stueber, Filiaga, Hudson

I️ think Spanellis could supplant JBB, but we haven’t seen enough yet. I️m desperately hoping that one out of the two between Filiaga and Stueber makes some strides and can develop into a solid all around tackle. But depth all around looks to be getting much better. Obviously pass protection is an area of focus.


November 15th, 2017 at 9:44 PM ^

Yeah, I actually think Ruiz looks  better than Bredeson now, though too small a sample size. He and Onwenu pulling and murdering on double teams is too much to pass up.  Spanellis has played well, and if he's as smart as they say then center is a natural choice.  Need JBB to improve in pass pro and I'd bet we can a LT from the young guys 


November 15th, 2017 at 6:04 PM ^

Wow. That's just speculation, and it's waaaay out of character for the staff thus far this year, which has done its best to lock down the other four OL spots with regular guys. 

Ruiz hasn't been practicing at center, so there's no way he's taking that over. And I'm skeptical they'd toss Bredeson outside after a solid year working only at guard. 

But... it's not impossible. And if Bredeson can pass block out there right now (EDIT: it occurs to me that Bredeson is having trouble pass blocking from the G position already, so, uh, yeah), and Speight is healthy, and we get Perry and Crawford back, things suddenly look a whole lot different...


November 15th, 2017 at 5:53 PM ^

My guess knowing nothing inside nor being particularly good at assessing OL measurables is Spanellis. First, he isn't established as a beefy interior guy the same way the other guys are. Second, he is currently backing up Kugler as a center, a position that can occasionally lend itself to playing tackle. Third, he is spending time as an extra tackle, which maybe maybe means he is physically able to do that on the regular.

But I could be way wrong. 

The only reason we have to believe that Bredeson would be a guy to kick outside is that he apparently was competing with Newsome for the starting job early in camp last year. That's not nothing, but it is also "camp chatter" and when Newsome went down Bredeson was playing at guard, not tackle. I mean, it could be that the coaches just knew guard was his best spot and wanted to maximise his success as a young guy, and that moving outside next year is a no-brainer. Or it could be that he is ill-suited to playing tackle and offers no upgrade on other questionable options like Ulizio outside.

I really hope at least one young guy, Hudson or Spanellis for example, emerges as a quality tackle option ready to go next year. That leaves us with one tackle spot to fill, a spot that could be filled by Newsome if he's healthy, Bredeson if he can move outside, JBB whom we can cross our fingers and hope learns to pass block, or Ulizio whom we can cross our fingers and hope generally improves in a big way year-over-year.

But a young guy that we're not yet seeing there would be a huge asset.

Cranky Dave

November 15th, 2017 at 8:01 PM ^

With you. If Spanellis isn’t a center I think he’s a tackle. Seems to be better suited there than guard. We don’t seems to have a LT in waiting (assuming Newsome doesn’t come back). If Newsome comes back as a starter then I think the line would be Newsome-Bredeson-Ruiz/Spanellis-Onwenu-JBB


November 15th, 2017 at 6:25 PM ^

I hear they are going with a John Beilein-style offense: 1 center and 4 guards.

You want a long-armed guy with quick feet to be your left tackle. I haven't seen one of those rare athletes play for us this year. Cole is a good LT, but it would be nice if he was a couple inches taller and his arms were 3 inches longer. They may be hiding a future LT who is getting a redshirt this year. I sure hope so.


November 15th, 2017 at 4:58 PM ^

You're not crazy!  Harbaugh himself said that Evans was getting unlucky earlier in the year with the blocking seemingly always going haywire when it was his turn to carry the rock.


November 15th, 2017 at 5:01 PM ^

Expect some RPS fireworks these last two weeks.

Man, I hope you're right, but I feel like we spent the last few weeks of last season expecting the coaching staff to pull something crazy out of the PepCat formation.  It never did.  I'm worried that what we're seeing is what we're getting from here on out.  


November 15th, 2017 at 6:00 PM ^

I agree, the lack of any variety in the Pepcat was disappointing.

But RPS fireworks doesn't mean wild and crazy quadruple-reverse type stuff, necessarily. Rather additional counters and constraints to existing running plays, passing route combos that play off of tendencies. Running gap-blocked runs from the shotgun (Brian notes that it was all zone here), that sort of thing. 


November 16th, 2017 at 2:20 AM ^

They have always came up with new wrinkles. We have seen it this year too in the run game and passing game. People just look at the Pepcat being bland and forget when they brake out shit that is a wrinkle (or just flat out new) that destroys. The Evens td in the Indy game and the gentry td are good examples of this happening this year. So, is the fake toss bootleg, and the throwback screen that scored last week. 

Just because the Pepcat was bland and was only Peppers keeping, and like 2 attempted passes, does not mean then never come up with new wrinkles or plays/ formations that break tendencies. 


November 15th, 2017 at 5:02 PM ^

On the Gentry long pass TD:

1) Why wasn't Mckeon called for a false start since he jumps, then goes in motion.

2) The Maryland defender tried to go all 'Flyin' Brian Dawkins' on his tackle attempt, which was hilarious.


November 15th, 2017 at 5:30 PM ^

On 1, the answer is, "the comicly bad refs." But I think the penalty is illegal shift/motion, two men in motion, since he starts to go in motion before Bunting (who repositions from FB to an in-line TE) is set for a full count. It doesn't look like his jump is toward the line, but parallel to it, which he's allowed to do, as long as there's no one else in motion.


Yinka Double Dare

November 15th, 2017 at 5:50 PM ^

I think by pausing for the beat (he jumps, stops when he likely realizes he shouldn't have gone yet because Bunting hadn't set, then starts full-on motion after Bunting has actually stopped) maybe the refs let it slide. If he had kept going immediately after the "jump" they probably throw the flag 

kevin holt

November 15th, 2017 at 6:30 PM ^

That's my theory too. It satisfies the spirit/intent of the rule much like a WR pointing to the ref to ensure he's lined up properly. When he pauses it takes away any kind of unfair advantage you'd get from deception (as opposed to a fair advantage gained by deception, which was the play design of course). Throwing the flag would be very tight enforcement against the point of the rules and then you might as well start calling everything ticky-tack or not.


November 16th, 2017 at 4:06 AM ^

You can have two men in motion at the same time. Its called a shift.

You can also start a motion, reset and start again. Which is what Mckeon did, making him go from a shift (an undesigned one), to set, to motioning.  Pro style teams shift a TE and FB from one side of the line to the other, the motion the FB (or power spread teams do it with a HB instead of a fb) it just looks better because it is by design and not because you started your motion a bit too early and need to reset because of that.


November 16th, 2017 at 3:59 AM ^

Illegal shift is when the motion man goes towards the line of scrimage when he is motioning across the formation. Therefore, that is clearly out.

You can motion 2 or guys at once, it is called a shift.  Michigan does this quite often this year. For instance, when going from a spread with big personel and a TE out wide and Hill in the slot, then shifting and bringing everyone in at once to a big set.  To avoid an illegal shift you must have all the shifting guys reset before the snap and not be in motion.

Although, this really is not that. Mckeon is about to motion right before Bunting gets set, which would be a shift that would mean Mckeon would need to get set for one second before the ball is snapped and not be in motion at the snap like the play is designed.  Therefore, it is good he stops his motion and briefly resets before going on motion because he effectively shifted with Bunting, then motioned after the shift. If he did not stop his motion and reset befre motioning again, they could have called illegal shift.

I think it would be a bit ticky tack because his first attempt to motion was as Bunting was getting in the three point stance. But it could have been called if he did not stop. However, if they called that an illegal shift it would have been a bad call here.


November 15th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

"Extreme Heavy Equipment Driving Skill Oversize Truck Hauling Logs" sounds like a good nickname for the the BEEF formation if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

Everyone Murders

November 15th, 2017 at 5:11 PM ^

BP's passes to TEs bode well in one respect.  To my eye, Ohio State has struggled in its losses (and in close wins) defending passes to a tight end.  That's not to say that I don't wish Black was healthy and that Peters was hitting WRs on downfield looks.  I think that if Black was playing, it would have a great effect on the overall passing game.

But it is nice to see BP's good at one thing in the air that OSU does not seem particularly good at (from the bits I've seen of OSU) - short to mid-range passes to TEs.  If we're one-dimensional against the Buckeyes we gonna die. 

Year of Revenge II

November 15th, 2017 at 5:22 PM ^

Peters's decision-making, mobility, and accuracy virtually instantly changed our offense.  I suspect the coaches had him slated for time in that game for a long time, regardless of injury or performance situations.

His ability to find his tights has been nothing short of excellent.  

We cannot afford to be one-dimensional in either game.  We are not going to push either WI or OSU around.  

If we keep it balanced, with good line play, the receivers hang onto balls, the backs perform as expected, and the moment is not too big for Peters, I like our chances in both games left.