Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs PSU

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2017 at 5:20 PM

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FORMATION NOTES. Michigan was mainly big sets early, except when forced into passing downs. That pattern changed a bit as the game went on and Michigan put more WRs on the field, more in an effort to see if something else worked. Answer: not really.

Penn State, meanwhile, put their safeties in Michigan's face the whole game, except for passing downs.

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Michigan will have to get used to this unless they discover a passing game.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. QB, OL, RB, and TE were about as they've been. Gentry and McKeon get the large bulk of the TE snaps. Higdon is the main RB with Evans and Isaac getting run behind him. WR saw Schoenle return and the debut of Nico Collins, who played a half dozen snaps, none of which he had a target on. Crawford, DPJ, and Perry remained the main targets.

[After THE JUMP: one guy]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8.5 Run Iso Higdon 0
PSU leaves a gap in their line and M goes right at it to start, Looks well blocked until Cole(-2) gets beat badly by a DE lined up outside of him. All he has to do is close this guy off with pre-snap leverage and he gets whipped. The rest of this play is great, with Onwenu(+2) driving a DT yards off the ball and Hill(+1) firing the playside LB inside, locking away his help. Gentry(+0.5) and JBB(+0.5) get solid kickouts and Schoenle gets to the safety, so without this Cole screwup this could go a long way.
M24 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Run Power O Higdon 3
Hill(-2) goes in the wrong gap. JBB(+1) fires in a DE and Bredeson(+1) pulls into the gap, again sealing the LB inside. Gentry(+0.5) gets another kick; playside LB is untouched because Hill goes outside of Gentry. Higdon cuts away from him and into the backside of the play, which gets shut down by both safeties, who sat at eight yards and are tackling at three. Onwenu(+1) got a jarring block as well. RPS -1.
M27 3 7 Shotgun empty 2 2 1 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -5
22 personnel on third and seven is nonsense but doesn’t really matter. Kugler(-2) beat clean; JBB(-1) loses his guy around the edge at 8-9 yards, Onwenu(-1) also struggles. O’Korn gets sacked. While this is a PR he does have Schoenle open for a few yards; contrast this with PSU’s first play. (PR, N/A, protection 0/4)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over 8 Run Delay Higdon 0
Collins in. Michigan runs a delay on a standard down with everyone within ten yards of the LOS. Okay. Poggi(-2) runs in the wrong gap. Cole(-1) stumbles coming out and overruns a LB; at least he made him go around and if Poggi gets a block here Higdon might spring outside? The delay did convince the secondary to back off. Kugler(+1) got a good kickout and Onwenu(+0.5) did okay as well. Gentry(+1) locks out an OLB with authority.
M43 2 10 I-Form Bigh 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Run Iso Higdon 3
NT drives between Onwenu and Kugler. Not a ton either can do; Onwenu is checking the LB he has to get to and eventually has to leave, sort of. He decides to stay on the guy eventually and does get him locked away. JBB does okay with his guy; he gets a little drive as the DE gives up some position to dive back inside for a tackle; LB fired hard at this so despite Poggi(+1) getting a thump he's there at the LOS. Safety comes up and hits at 3 yards. RPS -1.
M46 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass TE screen McKeon -6
S on McKeon slides down into the box presnap and there is zero chance for anyone to get out on him. He tackles on the catch. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-14, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 over 8 Pass PA FB flat Hill 8
Very basic PA dumpoff sees LB bite hard, nice gain on dink throw. (CA,3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M49 2 2 Ace FB 3-wide 2 1 2 Nickel over 6 Pass Scramble O’Korn 12
M doesn’t pick up a DT twist, but it’s a slow one that allows O’Korn a beat to find a WR. He does not. IMO he has time to find Perry or Gentry, who are open on 20-30 yard routes. Or Hill, open on a dump. O’Korn(+1) does find a hole up the middle and runs for the first down. Not sure what to do about the protection here; Kugler never comes off the twist guy so Onwenu has to take the first guy through the whole way. (SCR, N/A, protection ½)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back twins TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Pin and pull Evans 9
McDoom in the backfield, motioning out for a potential screen. M runs the other way. Gentry(+1) turns in the playside end. 230 pound OLB is in a SAM spot near the LOS. Onwenu(+2) pulls around and wipes him. He can’t set the edge. Kugler could go for the S now as the other LB is inside of this block but plays it safe and makes sure that LB is cut off. S forces out after a nice gain. RPS +1, Onwenu against a slight gent. Also safety held by the unusual motion.
O30 2 1 Ace 3TE 1 4 0 4-3 even 8.5 Run Inside zone Evans 3
Big doubles on the two DTs; PSU crashing their LBs hard. M does not have the blockers here with PSU pinched in tight. Wheatley has no angle to one LB. Cabinda is just firing downhill on the snap so it’s tough to get out on him. Evans(+1) runs through a tackle and converts. McKeon as the outside WR is odd and useless.
O27 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-4 even SAM 8 Pass PA dumpoff Higdon Inc
JBB(-1) beat but can keep pushing so O’Korn can step up with otherwise good protection. He checks down, and this is open for a good gain; he misses. (IN, 0, protection ½)
O27 2 10 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 11
Higdon(+2) initially threatens the interior gap and gets the LBs to commit; he then busts outside. Gentry(-1) allowed his guy to surge forward after Cole left for the LB level and Onwenu(-1) gets caught on this so no lead block. Higdon breaks the S tackle for a first down. Hill(+1) had a good kick. McKeon(+1) cut off the playside LB.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Flare screen McDoom 13
McDoom in orbit motion into that screen spot and Michigan throws it. Two blockers for two DBs who are backing out at the snap so this is close to a gimme. Perry(-2) even whiffs his block entirely and this still works. DPJ(+1) holds his guy up and McDoom(+1) takes a maximally efficient path to make that work. RPS +2. (CA, 3, screen)
O3 1 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Iso Higdon 2
PSU slants under the line and gets through. Onwenu(+1) stops momentarily to bang a guy that JBB(-1) lost; Gentry(-1) lets a guy through as well. Higdon(+1) can pound out a couple yards thanks in part to the hit Onwenu offered.
O1 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run FB dive Hill 0
Kugler(-1) fired back slightly and Hill runs into him. He does surge near the goal line towards the end of the run.
O1 3 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run FB dive Hill 0
Kugler(-1) again unable to get any movement forward; Hill bangs into him at the LOS. Rest of line surges into the endzone, but the Kugler holdup is enough.
O1 4 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Edge pitch Higdon 1
Hill(+2) cuts the playside LB to the ground and that’s the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown (missed XP), 6-14, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 under 8 Pass Scramble O’Korn 3
S walks down and is just outside of the OLB, which just about always means slant away from that and a blitz; yep. M runs PA. Blitz picked up well. O’Korn does have to step up. He does, and starts looking, but finds no one. He can only get three. (TA, 0, protection 3/3)
M39 2 7 Ace twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Insert iso Higdon 4
Poggi lined up as a wing TE; he hops a gap further inside and acts as a lead blocker. Bredeson(+2) catches a DT unprepared and blows him out. Cole(-1) fires out free to the MLB and Cabinda manages to juke at the last moment to scrape over him. Poggi(+1) stands up the playside LB; McKeon(-1) can’t hold his kickout, getting tossed away as the back passes. This was otherwise blocked to the S as well.
M43 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Dumpoff Evans 2
Knee pump from O’Korn reveals a big ol blitz coming from PSU. Evans repositions. This is good tactically, or at least it should be, since O’Korn should be tipped off that the blitz is coming and go for the quick dump to Evans, which is open for the first down. He takes vastly too long to get to this despite the tip and Evans gets tackled on the catch as a result. (BR, 2, protection 0/2, team -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-14, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Pin and pull Higdon 1
Same orbit motion from McDoom and pin and pull opposite. This is blocked just fine. PSU stunts the playside DL. Gentry(+0.5) has a freebie but prevents penetration. JBB doesn’t really have a chance to make a block; his guy flows down the line. Kugler(+1) gets out and seals the MLB; Onwenu(+1) kicks the playside CB. Higdon hits the gap, and that DT and a safety starting at eight yards combine to tackle. RPS -2.
M34 2 9 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Scramble O’Korn 14
Two guys sent off the edge and Michigan just about picks this up. It’s chancy, with Higdon and Bredeson reacting a little late as they read different things but both guys get to their guys in time to start shoving. O’Korn has to step up and suddenly there’s a lot of grass in front of him. He takes off. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M48 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-4 even SAM 8 Pass PA Y cross DPJ 18
Play action, good protection, and DPJ running a crossing route against a guy with outside leverage as the PA sucks the LBs up. O’Korn finds him for a nice chunk. Open guy and clean pocket 15 yards downfield isn’t a DO, but this is a nice semblance of passing offense. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O34 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-4 under 8 Run Power O Isaac 4
M almost gets this slant right, with McKeon(+2) blowing his guy down the line and out of the picture to clear the path. Gentry(-2) mis-IDs and goes for the same LB Bredeson is going to. MLB left alone. Poggi(+1) doesn’t have much chance of cutting off a guy slanting behind him but does get a helmet on him and move him such that he’s unable to get to the POA until back is past it. Onwenu(+1) gets around and gives MLB a thwack so there’s a bit of room.
O30 2 6 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 8 Pass Post corner Perry Inc
Kugler(-1) reads a stunt late. He does get around to shove the guy after a 360 hole in the pocket as another DT goes down. O’Korn steps up and finds Perry 20 yards downfield… and juuuust misses high. Perry could have caught this; this was asking a lot of him. (MA+, 2, protection ½)
O30 3 6 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Stop and go Crawford 24
M borks their protection, with three rushers on the right side left to two blockers. O’Korn gets a free run up the middle and just horks one up to Crawford, who got open on a double move and makes a slick over the shoulder catch to convert. This ball was impressive considering the circumstances. (DO+, 1, protection 0/2, team -2, Crawford route +)
O6 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 over SAM 8 Run Inside zone Higdon 0
Backside DE is let go and doesn’t bother to check O’Korn at all. If this is a read it’s O’Korn, if it’s not it’s RPS. I have to assume this read is viable. O’Korn -2.
O6 2 G Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Run Power O Isaac 6
And then they just manball it in. Same slant away. McKeon(+2) drives the playside OLB into the endzone. Poggi(+1) gets a kick. PSU CB goes outside this kick. That means Onwenu(+0.5) is there to annoy the MLB, who Gentry(-0.5) targeted correctly but lost a bit. Cole(+1) fired a guy off the ball and Isaac(+0.5) ground through some arm tackles.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-14, 2 min 2nd Q. M gets ball back with 53 seconds.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Run Inside zone Higdon 1
This one is on Higdon(-3) as PSU leaves a gap in the line and M puts a hole there. Kugler(+2) reaches the NT and DE jets by Cole(+0.5) on pass rush. Bredeson misses a second level block mostly because the LB is running himself out of the play so this is either a nice gain or a big chunk if Higdon just does the obvious thing. Instead cuts into a mess.
M26 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Deep hitch Crawford 24 (Pen -10)
JBB(-2) beat clean and tackles his guy. O’Korn rolls out and finds Crawford for a big chunk, but for naught. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-21. Rest of this drive is give up and halftime.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 10 Pass PA FB flat Higdon Inc
Daring M to pass at any depth other than at the LOS. M does that. Instant pressure on a waggle, covered FB in the flat, O’Korn hurls it a zillion miles an hour at Hill, who can’t catch it, but it’s going to be a zero yard play anyway. (MA, 2, protection N/A, RPS -2)
M25 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Scramble O’Korn 6
Pocket entirely fine. O’Korn sees a big cavern in front of him and takes it but there’s no one threatening him, so a throw downfield is still very viable. O’Korn does get a reasonable number of yards but fumbles(-3) and M is lucky to recover. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M31 3 4 Shotgun trips tight bunch 2 1 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Scramble O’Korn 5
Close to identical to the previous play. Pocket holds, gap up the middle, O’Korn prefers it to throwing. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)
M36 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Jet sweep McDoom 8
Pointing; corner overhanging on McKeon(+1) fires up field and McKeon kicks with authority. McDoom(+1) cuts upfield of this smartly and outflanks; playside DE doesn’t widen and playside LB dives inside of a hypothetical Gentry block; Gentry(+1) goes and gets a safety. Cabinda just runs this down before McDoom breaks it big. RPS +1.
M44 2 2 Ace 4-wide tight 1 2 2 Goal line 11 Run Crack sweepp Isaac 7
M flips their tackles. Blocked well. Cole(+1) pulls outside of the two WRs and finds the playside LB. He’s the initial force guy. S comes up hard outside of this; Isaac cuts inside of Cole. Possible because DE sort of reached by Onwenu(+1) but he kind of transparently gives up halfway through the play. McDoom(+1) puts his CB to the ground and then gets off to annoy someone else.
O49 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-4 over SAM 8 Pass Tunnel screen DPJ Inc
Oh FFS. This is open and is going to be a chunk and DPJ just drops it. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2).
O49 2 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 7.5 Pass Sack N/A -6
Here’s the flipside of run all the time. O’Korn sets up in the pocket. Cole(-1) thinks he’s picking up the edge blitz and can’t redirect quite in time to pick the guy up as he slants in. OKorn has a beat. He gets around the issue. He’s sacked as Bredeson got shoved back and O’Korn doesn’t see it. (PR, 0, protection ½)
M45 3 16 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Drag DPJ 9
Nonsense read. Pocket’s fine, dumpoff is a punt, dumpoff. (TA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 2 2 4-4 over 8.5 Pass Hitch DPJ 16
Daring M to throw, M throws. DPJ hitches up at ten yards and gets enough respect from the S that he can catch this unmolested. DPJ(+1) then beats that tackle to add on 5-6. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M36 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Further nonsense. O’Korn pumps a screen M isn’t faking. He has an excellent pocket and it’s one read and run around. He runs around. He throws it away. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2) Two guys are open for nice gains short.
M36 2 10 Shotgun 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 even 7.5 Run Inside zone Isaac 4
This could work rather well as Onwenu(+1) and JBB(+1) clobber their guy and Isaac(+1) sells a LB on an inside run before cutting back outside. Wheatley(-2) mis-IDs. His LB tackles. RPS +1, bought a blocker with the zone read.
M40 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -11
O’Korn has all day. Three deep routes; it’s third and six and you’re down two touchdowns with a quarter to go. Throw the damn ball. It’s man, sure. Crawford has no safety help. Throw the damn ball. (TAX, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-28, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 8 Run Crack sweep Evans 0
Stunt by playside end so crack block is free. Set up for success. Hill(-2) whiffs his kickout block and that guy tackles. Schoenle(-1) only got a shove in on his guy and he’s closing this down as well. RPS +2, this needed like 1.5 blocks and it was going to break.
M26 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over SAM 8 Pass Dumpoff Hill Inc
Evans(-2) whiffs a cut block as Hill goes in a route. Maybe invert those? O’Korn has one read that’s not there and has to start moving. He gets contained and fires a high hard ball to Hill that he can’t bring in. This was getting two yards anyway. (PR, 2, protection 0/2)
M26 3 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 8 Pass Cross McKeon 12
Gentry is the inside TE and more or less blocks off the line; PSU is playing a switch man thing and a DB is taking whoever breaks in. DB reads it late so McKeon is open for the first down; O’Korn has a relatively comfortable pocket and steps and fires confidently. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M38 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 even 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 4
Playside line effectively bulled in. Gentry(+1) and McKeon(+1) both win blocks and give Bredeson(-2) a clear path. Bredeson gets there and meets Cabinda, sort of. Cabinda manages to slash through him upfield and get a tackle in. Pile lurches. Poggi(+1) got a much better block on the S.
M42 2 6 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8 Run Crack sweep Isaac 5 (Pen -15)
DE dives inside Gentry(-0.5); Gentry does okay with this but guy does bend Bredeson a bit. Cabinda charging; Poggi(+1) cuts him. Bredeson is caught up in this because of the bend. Cole(+1) mostly cuts an S on a tough block and Isaac has the corner. He could maybe turn this up for the first down. M hit with a chop block on the Poggi block, which… I mean, by the letter of the law yes. Bredeson does touch Cabinda as Poggi cuts him. I’m not minusing this, it’s just dumb luck.
M27 2 21 Ace FB 3-wide 2 1 2 Nickel over 6 Pass Corner Perry 22
It looks like offense. Perry(route+) runs a corner route against zone; S picks him up and CB is dealing with DPJ’s go route so it’s open. Good pocket and O’Korn puts it on him for a catch and run and first down. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
M49 1 10 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 9 Pass Sack N/A -5
Higdon(-1) picks up a blitzing CB for a second, enough for a rhythm throw, or more. O’Korn can’t find it and gets stripped. This is four seconds after the snap. Poor pocket awareness. (TAX, 0, protection ½)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 13-28, 13 min 4th Q. PSU scores a quick TD to basically end the game.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun 2-back twins TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Run Pin and pull Higdon 3
Blocked to S for the most part, S at ten and charging. Cole(+1) turns in his guy, gone. Gentry(+0.5) gets his guy turned in; he spins off but is late. Bredeson(+1) and Kugler(+1) both get good cuts on LBs; Higdon gets nailed at three yards. RPS -2.
M32 2 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Improv Perry Inc
Pocket solid for a read or two. JBB sees his guy spin off of him but he’s off balance and JBB re-engages. O’Korn leaves the pocket and tries a bomb down the sideline that’s push OOB by a DB. I don’t see anyone open here so no complaints. Ball is taking Perry OOB by itself though, so I’m punting. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
M32 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Cross Perry 24
JBB(-1) again sort of beat on an edge rush , allowing his guy to the QB just barely after a rhythm throw gets out; this one is a dart between two guys in zone under duress. (DO, 3, protection ½). -1 for JBB because his guy gets around at 9, which is the borderline zone.
O44 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Dime even 5 Pass Sack N/A -8
Another four-second sack as M gets beat by a DT stunt Bredeson(-1) and Kugler(-1) fail to pick up. I guess this is a PR but O’Korn has DPJ running on a drag for a few yards at least. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M48 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Run Inside zone Evans 5
Blocking is fine; play is beat because PSU pays no respect to the bubble. Overhang CB reads QB; outside CB at ten yards. So when Evans breaks to the second level that guy is there with no one to block him. Evans dodges him and gets a few before folks can rally. JBB(+1) with a big kick; Kugler(+1) gets his guy; Onwenu(+1) seals Cabinda. Crawford(-1) is cracking down on this guy and totally misses, but he’s got a tough job. RPS -2.
O47 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Drag McDoom 2
Onwenu(-2) blows a blitz pickup and a looper gets in free. O’Korn has no choice but to dump it to his hot read. (CA, 3, protection 0/2)
O45 2 11 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even 7 Pass Sack N/A -6
PA on fourth and eleven: did Mike DeBord stow away on the team plane and call this? Poggi(-2) runs up the middle of the field for a bit, possibly to sell the play fake, and then a looper gets around him for a sack. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 13-35, 9 min 4th Q. M goes on a 13 play drive against PSU backups that I’m not charting.

Standard despairing preamble.

Yeah, it's about at that point.

But!

Oh come on there's no "but."

No, not really. But!

Fine.

So the offense sucks and the number one reason for that is the near-total lack of a passing game brought about by several factors we'll get into later. This is the original sin of the offense and one that will not be overcome this year. But at least the ground game is coming along.

Seriously?

I mean. Sort of? This was yet another game where Michigan had an excellent ability to get the first few yards, They got 3.5 line yards a carry (national average: 2.9) per Football Study Hall. Some of that was O'Korn scrambles, but the RBs combined for 3.4. Like the Michigan State game the overall numbers were held down because of two main factors. Number one was Safety With No Respect For Michigan's Passing Game. Here's Karan Higdon blowing through a safety tackle at two yards:

note that bad Gentry block prevents Onwenu from getting around and blocking him, but still!

If he doesn't do that it's another 3 yard gain on a play that Michigan blocked.

Number two was One Guy Per Play. I feel like I've been saying something along these lines since about 1500 AD, but on many of Michigan's unsuccessful plays they'd actually done a great job... except for one guy. It was never the same guy. It was a rotating guy momentarily possessed with the Spirit of Hoke. So a lot of runs ended up with a lot of +1s and a single play-wrecking –2 or -3.

Like, say, the first two plays of the game. Everyone hated them! They both would have worked but for One Guy! Michigan blocked its opening snap all the way to the safety for what should have been a chunk run, but Mason Cole got beat to the inside by a DE lined up with no leverage:

I always say that when a guy is futilely pushing a guy into the ballcarrier that someone left the first level too early, but not here. That's a block Cole has to make. Meanwhile:

image_thumb[7]

Either 7 gets off that block and it's five yards or it's a CB coming from the side versus Higdon for a lot. That's a whoopin'. The guy Onwenu is putting on the ground is the nose tackle.

On the second play Michigan again carves out a huge gap, but Hill doesn't go in it:

That one has less potential because problem #1 is rearing its head—the safety prep to tackle at three yards but the blocking there is quite good except for the –2 that destroys the play. This is a big gap between 48 and the guy JBB is giving the business to:

image_thumb[12]

The first play of the next drive saw Poggi go in the wrong gap:

This is maybe more of a two-guys play since Cole gets run around but there is the strong possibility that Poggi can ram Cabinda hard enough that Higdon hits the gap on a guy Gentry has definitively sealed out.

image_thumb[21]

Those are Michigan's first three run plays of the game. Each features a play-wrecking goof from a different guy and a massive gap in Penn State's front. Hooray. Do you want more? I have more. This time One Guy is Higdon, who doesn't see the massive gap right at the bubble in the PSU line:

Dude.

image_thumb[27]

If you can prevent yourself from running your mouse up and down in the gap despairingly you're better than I.

Also, Ty Wheatley runs by the playside LB on and a play that's otherwise a big chunk:

That's still four yards because Bushell-Beatty and Onwenu obliterate the right side of that play. Also: Hill whiffs a kickout on an RPS +2. Etc.

Tim Drevno said something along the lines of how the offense is so close to busting out, and while he's not correct—the pass protection is dire and will remain so—he's sort of correct. Michigan was one guy away from about a dozen plays.

And this is... good?

I don't know anymore. I guess it's good that errors on plays are usually one guy and often no guys. This feels very different than the late Hoke offenses, which were a frustrating mess to chart because the playcalling was terrible and there were huge errors on the regular because Michigan kept changing what they do. This is a bunch of stuff that almost works. I can see the idea. I can see that Michigan can execute these plays. I've seen the OL and TEs gradually improve their blocking. This isn't the same morass of hopelessness that Michigan suffered through a few years ago.

Michigan had plenty of plays where they looked physically dominant against the PSU line, none more so than the Isaac touchdown where they manballed it in from the six:

Michigan's tight ends didn't give up the sort of penetration they had in previous games; they grabbed slanters and blasted them down the line almost without exception. McKeon is the guy blowing a LB down the line and opening up the gap. This was a bonafide trend:

#84 TE off LOS

That's another One Guy play, as Gentry goes for the same LB Bredeson does; if Gentry gets a hat on Cabinda this is 8 instead of 4.

And Mike Onwenu was a capital-F Force. Two of the plays above feature him blasting PSU players, and when he pulled he was able to make edge-collapsing contact:

#50 RG

Another thing to note on this one is the safety who eventually tackled Evans: he is rotated back by the motion and spends a second or two reading the play out before barreling downfield. That makes for a good gain instead of good blocks and three yards. The difference between that nine yard gain and this three yard one is evident:

PSU safety to top of screen

PSU also got a DT out there on a stunt, but that's just a thing that happened. It's not a trend. The trend is the safeties firing at Michigan's ground game with impunity. PSU's safety froze on the first one because he didn't know what he was looking at. Once he saw the play once he was able to fire because nobody cares about Michigan's passing game. That's a version of what happened to early Rodriguez offenses where the new stuff would work for a bit and then when the defense had seen it they curled up and died, because they could only do one thing.

But hey, the blocking was good on that. And I mean that. It's meaningful that Onwenu and Gentry get positives there. I mean, the chart is okay to good? Numbers are low because I charted just 24 runs, but they're better than you'd expect given the results.

Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 4.5 4 0.5 Flanked by TEs a lot and those blocks don't usually get evaluated. One Guy play on opener.
Bredeson 4 2 2 Okay.
Kugler 6 2 4 Pass pro was a struggle.
Onwenu 12 1 11 The monster mash.
JBB 3.5 1 2.5 Moved a few peoples.
Runyan DNP
Ruiz DNP
McKeon 7 1 A few mashers on the edge.
Bunting   DNP?
Gentry 5.5 5 0.5 A mis-ID hurt.
Eubanks   DNP
Wheatley 2 -2 Sole charted block saw him run by his guy. 
Hill 3 4 -1 Two –2 One Guy plays, but got M a TD.
Poggi 6 6 Very good except for the play he blew up.
Mason     DNP
TOTAL 51.5 24 68% Matches MSU number.
Backs
Player + - T Notes
O'Korn 1 5 -4 Fumble and blown zone read.
Isaac 1.5 1.5
Evans 1 1
Higdon 3 Missed huge cut.
Walker  
Samuels     DNP
TOTAL 6.5 8 -1.5 Not many plays made.
Receivers
Player + - T Notes
Crawford 1 -1
Black DNP
DPJ 1    
Perry -2 Whiff on McDoom screen.
Schoenle 1 -1
Ways        
McDoom 3   3 More touches please.
TOTAL 4 4 0
Metrics
Player + - T Notes
Protection 30 24 56% JBB –5, Kugler –4, Onwenu –3, Evans –2, Poggi –2, Higdon –1, Bredeson –1, Cole –1 TEAM –5.
RPS 11 13 -2 Most of the minuses were safeties who couldn't be held back.

So that's pretty encouraging on the ground and a disaster in pass protection. I handed out five TEAM minuses that feel like mental errors in the call; those probably go back to Kugler, who had some live-fire issues of his own, and maybe O'Korn. But probably Kugler.

SEVEN SACKS WHAT THE BALLS

Well... I mean. It is what it is. My modest hopes for Juwann Bushell-Beatty's pass protection remain modest indeed. Michigan coulda should had a late-clock drive in response to PSUs but for JBB getting beat very easily to the inside and just tackling the dude.

There are holds, and there's that. He was beat clean for a second sack on the last Michigan drive I didn't bother to chart, as was Mason Cole. Michigan has no tackles. They're playing a center at tackle and they tried to insert Nolan Ulizio instead of Bushell-Beatty earlier this year. There's no way this was going to be at all acceptable.

More frustrating than the incidents where tackles get beat one on one is Michigan's persistent inability to pick up anything resembling a stunt. But many of those stunts were only sort of pressure.

Sort of pressure?

I mean... pressure. Sort of.

Michigan's pass protection is bad. O'Korn is exacerbating that because he can't reliably read defenses. His scrambles were moderately effective in the first half but degenerated into some problems he ran himself into, and even at their best they're only ways to mitigate his primary flaw. O'Korn ripped off a first down here, hooray. Also Grant Perry should be his primary read on this and he's wide open. If he's surveying the right side, either an up-high shot at Gentry or the wide open dumpoff to Hill are acceptable options:

#88 slot to left

please don't make noise about the OLB Perry is 15 yards past

Michigan would come back to this route later and O'Korn would throw a dart to convert on second and 21, so bully for that, and bully for the first down. But you can't build an offense out of improvisation, and while O'Korn was improved in this game from his last two outings he's still a long way from even average. The dump to Hill may pick up fewer yards but a QB who throws that is part of a more sustainable offense than hoping a hole opens up in front of your face.

A more frustrating example was this third and short on which a false snap from Michigan triggered PSU defense into tipping a blitz. There's no check, O'Korn should know that the OLB is coming. Michigan either manages to screw up the protection or Evans leaves the backfield immediately because he should be the hot read; I think it's the latter, but O'Korn doesn't throw it until he's dodged the blitzer and it's too late:

That looks like a should-be RPS plus that's a quick conversion to Evans with potential for YAC but for O'Korn's slow information processing. I mean:

Pick one of the two open guys, if not some more of the other potentially open guys downfield.

image_thumb[33]

And there were some complaints about the route set on the O'Korn ultrasack where he sat in the pocket long enough to grow a beard. They are bad complaints.

image_thumb[38]

All of these guys are in pure man coverage. They're already in their breaks. The safety is to the hash to the bottom and can't get to Crawford. Literally everyone is open enough to throw. The guys are 30 yards downfield, it's 3rd and six, you're down two TDs in the fourth quarter. Throw one of the shorter guys open or go at Crawford, who has a step on his guy. Eating a sack is totally unacceptable.

The capper:

O'Korn feels the pressure there as Higdon doesn't get a ton of his man. He gets enough to provide a lane to step into. O'Korn steps up. And then he waits. The ball is in his hands four seconds after the snap, and that's the game-sealing turnover. Yes, the protection wasn't great. This is still at least 50% on O'Korn.

So we're doomed.

Mostly. But! Here's a chart:

JOHN O'KORN

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Game DO CA SCR   PR MA   BA TA IN BR   DSR PFF
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% -
PSU 3+ 9(3)+ 4 5 3+   5** 1 1   65% -

O'Korn was improved over the last two games, when dropbacks were almost invariably pain. He had a fair selection of downfield throws that looked polished, including the aforementioned long conversion to Perry. This to DPJ was also a nice reminder of how it feels to get a downfield chunk:

That's a two man route and max protection with PSU's entire front biting hard so this is very basic. It's still progress from last week. There were other blips and bloops in there: a nice first-down hitch to DPJ; a shot between guys in the zone to Perry. The latter was instructive because far more of the pressure events PSU faced—their line wasn't a whole lot better than Michigan's in pass protection—ended with events like this instead of sacks:

QBs who know where they're going with the ball paper over a lot of pressure. This stunt gets through but super-slowly and I think most quarterbacks get the ball out on this little drag route to DPJ to set up second and medium:

That looks like pressure. It is, sort of. It's sort of not. Sorry, sorry, that's the other section.

Another potential positive: O'Korn seems to have something a little like McSorley's ability to loft balls down the sideline effectively. He hit Black in the opener, had that deep shot to Gentry against Purdue, and then set up Michigan's second touchdown by standing in against a blitz and giving Crawford a chance:

Crawford converted, and will now be Braylon Edwards.

O'Korn looks good when he knows where he's going. He looked good against Purdue on a bunch of open stuff, and at times against Penn State he looked excellent. Those times were interspersed with large plains of indecision and error. There's a possibility that Michigan finds a set of things that the opposition defense is consistently giving up and O'Korn might have a replay of his Purdue game. The hope you should probably be holding onto is that Michigan can stop having so many One Guy plays and turn into an efficient rushing offense, whereupon O'Korn can keep the opposition honest with plays like that crossing route to DPJ: two man routes on play action.

Any... like, ideas?

I would be down for some heavier involvement for McDoom. He got two cracks at the ball in this one and on both he did well. The first was a screen pass that saw his speed and running instincts turn into a first down despite a whiffed block:

And the second was a jet sweep that he turned up smartly and got maximum yardage on.

There's a limit to the number of things you can get him without eating a 5 yard TFL because the defense is overplaying it but when he gets the ball in his hands he does good things with it. I'd like to see McDoom get up to a half-dozen touches a game instead of the 2 or 3 he's gotten so far. Nothing crazy.

Other than that not really? Michigan's plays are almost working so just keep working at that.

Receivers?

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

  THIS WEEK   SEASON
Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Crawford 1/1 1/1     2/5   0/2  10/12 
Black       1   0/1 10/11 
Perry 0/1 2/2   8 1/3 4/6   14/14
DPJ   3/4    4 0/1 2/4 9/10 
Schoenle           1/1 1/1 
McDoom     2/2   4   5/6
Ways       2      2/2
Wheatley                   2/2 
McKeon       2/2           17/18  
Gentry     1    0/1   1/1 7/8 
Eubanks           1/1 1/1 
Bunting                   1/1
Hill   0/1 1/1     0/2   1/2 1/2   
Poggi                     1/2
Evans   1/1      1       1/1 2/2  
Isaac                  2/2
Higdon   0/1   3       0/2 3/3

ROUTES: Perry +.

A brief and rudimentary day save for Crawford's catch.

Heroes?

Mike Onwenu was a bulldozer, as was McKeon. Run blocking in general was good.

Maybe not so heroic?

Everyone who thought about pass blocking except Bredeson. Also O'Korn was responsible for about half the sacks himself.

What does it mean for Rutgers and beyond?

The run game is close to putting it together. Unless they don't in which case I said none of this. But seriously folks: PSU was an average-ish P5 run defense and Michigan's blocking was pretty good, with gains held down by the nonexistent passing game and one guy blowing way too many plays.

Pass protection is a disaster. Surprise.

I'd like to get a look at Brandon Peters. Just in case.

Comments

Cali's Goin' Blue

October 26th, 2017 at 7:35 PM ^

He said a week ago that he was just starting to understand the Drevno hate, yet this weekend has shown that he is happy with the overall run blocking and has consistently been defending the overall staff, especially those of whom have a good track record. Drevno would be in that category. IIRC the year before he came to UM, he coached at USC with 3 true/RS freshman starting and pulled out an average offenseive line. I think it is pretty obvious that Brian isn't on the FIRE DREVNO train but also understands some of the frsutration and is feeling it himself. But that's just me reading way into a few comments and Brian's overall take on these sorts of things. Honestly, I believe that Brian doesn't want any coach fired midseason from a Harbaugh staff, he wants to trust them because Harbaugh is much smarter than we are when it comes to football(I agree with that premise for what it's worth). In the offseason, it's fair game. 

wahooverine

October 27th, 2017 at 10:25 AM ^

I agree with that.  I think it's reasonable to expect more given Drevno's successful tenure as the architect of Harbaugh's previously successly OL's at Stanford and 49ers (and USC). 

But at the same time, I really think it's a personnel issue and we're expecting these coaches to turn water into wine.  As Brian mentioned were starting an A- center at tackle and he's a B- tackle. The guards are promising/ascending but just sophmores. Kugler should probably be the backup center and LT is a black hole. 

The narrative, (and likely results) would different in a universe where Newsome doesnt get his leg nearly chopped off and Devery Hamilton doesn't flip to Stanford.  Newsome-Bredeson-Cole-Onweu-Hamilton sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Alas we're fated to this universe.  It is what is it what is etc. etc.

I think the coaches are trying to make the best of a bad personnel situation, whose root cause is horrid Hoke OL recruiting, excacerbated significantly by injury luck and recruiting misses. Some of it is on the current staff for not optimimally plugging the holes.

 

bamf16

October 27th, 2017 at 5:35 PM ^

I was one of the guys hating on the deep routes on 3rd and 6, and watching live, plenty of reason to think it was a bad call. 

 

I just couldn't go back and rewatch that game; I work with too many PSU fans to want to subject myself to this.

 

But the still shot confirms what you saw and what many complain about with O'Korn. He's not a pro-style passing QB. He doesn't throw the ball where receivers are going as NFL route trees mandate. He just never developed the comfort with throwing the ball before the receiver breaks like a true pro-style passer needs to do.

 

My desire to see Peters in the game (and maybe the hesitancy on this is due to Speight's possible return, who knows) isn't necessarily the "it can't be any worse" argument, but rather I've seen enough of O'Korn to completely disqualify him as being anything close to a fit for what the other 10 guys are doing on the field with this offense.  He's Steven Threet in the Rich Rodriguez offense all over again.

 

I've seen enough of O'Korn to know that I've seen too much.

ijohnb

October 26th, 2017 at 8:11 PM ^

all honestly, I think it is a tough call at this point. I would love to see what he is trying to do to come together, but it just looks a loooong way from it actually happening. If there is not very notable improvement by the end of the year I don’t know how much more time you can waste. Despite a tough game against PSU, our defense is going to be a wrecking crew of death in 2 years. We can’t keep wasting monster defenses with a mediocre to poor offense. We would have been in the playoff last year if the offense did not fall flat on its face. There is something to be said for continuity, something we haven’t had in a long time, but it pretty close to “show me” time for Drevno.

Reader71

October 26th, 2017 at 9:40 PM ^

Caveat — I tend to give position coaches less credit and blame than most.

I think he’s done a nice job with the line. I think he got everything he could out of Glasgow, Kalis, Magnuson, and Braden, and I think what he did with Braden was extraordinary. This year, it looks like Onwenu is coming along nicely. I don’t know of any OL coach who could do much with Ulizio or JBB as currently constituted. Newsome was coming along nicely last season.

People will disagree with those assessments, but I believe most of that is based on recruiting stars, and I’ve not been impressed with recruiting services’ rankings of OL. I have predicted with something approaching 100% which Michigan linemen would work out and which wouldn’t after one or two practices, recruiting rankings be damned. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a practice in a few years, so I don’t have any insight on the current crop.

I also like him as OC. I love his playcalling tendencies — he’s completely unpredictable on early downs. It’s ugly now because we can’t pass, but with a QB, this offense will stay ahead of the chains. I also don’t deal in individual playcalls — I find that the stupidest thing about football fandom.

One thing I will say is that I hate having the OL coach in the box on game days. Having Frey down there helps, but he’s tasked with watching 7-8 guys between TE and OL on some plays. Can’t give great feedback that way. And a huge part of an OL coach’s job is feedback in between drives.

Gulogulo37

October 27th, 2017 at 2:47 AM ^

Related to OL looking at film. A current or recently retired NFL offensive lineman talks about film stuff on Twitter (IIRC he played for the Titans? Forget his name) and he talked about how NFL teams are far too in love with size and athletic potential and not worried enough about whether a guy can kick step well into pass pro and other technical stuff. He said it can be taught, but it often just takes too much time and isn't a given whether a player can learn to do those things well or not. Guessing Reader71 does something similar. He probably looks at their instincts and basic fundamentals more than recruiting services, relatively speaking anyway.

Reader71

October 27th, 2017 at 7:50 AM ^

I’ve never been able to get much from high school film. The competition level varies way too much and it’s filmed from the sideline, so watching technique is hard. I can’t pretend I have a better than random track record with it.

I also don’t mean to suggest I know how good a guy is going to be from watching practice. I can just tell if he will ever be good enough to play. More accurately, I can almost always pick out the guys who will never play almost immediately. I don’t want to knock the young men, but I once turned to the person with me at one practice and told him Bars and Fox would never play — during the first drill I’d ever seen them run.

I can’t articulate what it is at the moment. It’s the way guys move.

Reader71

October 27th, 2017 at 11:02 AM ^

Not that simple.

Kalis was a stiff guy. Nothing fluid about his motion. And he never became the phenom his recruiting profile suggested, but he was a player. I think Newsome is also this type of guy. Heavy feet, but he can play.

Some guys are good athletes but not great linemen (this is rare, but happens). I liked Braden as an athlete. But it took him a long time to get to decent.

Technique can be taught, but it’s not that simple. Some guys take to it right away, and they will be good. That’s usually what I’m judging — how natural they look in their technique. Some guys seemingly have to fight against their own bodies to get the technique right. They might learn it eventually, but they’ll never be very good.

TrueBlue2003

October 27th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

and tend to agree.  I've not been sure why he's come in for so much blame around here when his unit (interior line) and his OC responsibilities (run game) have been pretty good. And you bring up excellent points about his work with some of the guys the last two years.

We obviously have a severe passing problem, but I thought that was the responsibility of Pep and the boss and I believe (hope) is largely a result of having an injured QB, freshmen WRs and struggling OTs.

Gulogulo37

October 27th, 2017 at 2:56 AM ^

But the running game hasn't been that good. I'm not saying I'm on the Fire Drevno train/bus/ferry/5-person bicycle, but we've been treading water at mediocre so I understand the frustration. Also doesn't seem fair to credit him for the interior line only. It's not Frey's fault we have no good options at RT. I think our main problem is like we've talked about on this board, personnel. Hoke's offensive recruiting was abysmal and the current staff didn't take as many OL as they needed to. That's also why I'm not that worried about the line next year. Yes, the OL will be pretty young still, but we'll be choosing from more options and most of those options will have an additional year in the system compared to now. I'm confident the OL will be better next year. It will probably take until 2019 to get a dominant line though.

Space Coyote

October 27th, 2017 at 8:50 AM ^

That 1) I couldn't agree more about your individual playcalling complaint; 2) And with needing an OL coach on the sideline (I think that was a big reason for hiring Frey); 3) I'm more concerned that, as far as position coaches go, that we have one coach split between QBs and WRs and another split between TEs and OTs. I know there is a GA that works closely with the WRs, but TE blocking has been a big struggle this year and I think routes have been inconsistent from TEs and WRs. Not to mention, I at least wonder if a chunk of why stunts work so well against UM is the split in OL coaching.

Also, in general, I think people are way too quick on the fire train in general. As soon as problems arise, they immediately think the best solution is to fire people. I don't think that's how it really works, and I think it actually sets a lot of programs back. Yes, there is a time and a place to fire people and sometimes it needs to be done. But I think there is way more to it than what fans see every Saturday and that limited viewpoint is a clouded perseption without enough information to actually know if firing someone is the correct move. 

I have trust Harbaugh will make the correct decision, and trust that Harbaugh and this AD won't cave into fan pressure in this regard.

Reader71

October 27th, 2017 at 9:55 AM ^

The stunts and having two coaches is interesting, and I have absolutely zero insight into how this staff runs a practice. But I’ve been on a team that had the nominal TE/T and OG/OC coach split. In truth, the OL had one meeting room, the TE had another. In practice, there was one OL coach and a TE coach. And on game day, the OL coach worked with all the OL. The title was just a title.

You can’t really even run drills with one coach working TE/T and the other running OG/OC. There are too many OG/OT combos to work. I can’t imagine Frey is doing much with the tackles. Or he and Drevno are both working with the line and a GA is working with the TE. I can’t imagine an actual split.

pescadero

October 27th, 2017 at 11:45 AM ^

I think he’s done a reasonable job with the line - not amazing, but certainly competent - in terms of on field coaching.

 

The other part of college coaching - identifying talent and recruiting that talent, I don't think he has done an especially good job.

 

I don't hat his playcalling given the offense they run - but the choice of offense is one where the "one guy" problem is much more impactful than it would be in other offenses, thus requiring better execution to achieve similar results.

 

Reader71

October 27th, 2017 at 7:23 PM ^

I think they’ve been OK in IDing talent, not as good at closing the deal and bringing them in. We’ve had some guys flip who turn out to be OK. I think they found good pieces in Bredeson and Newsome.

As far as the one guy problem, I disagree. The reason those one guy mistakes are killing us is because we’re unable to throw the ball. We theoretically get guys out of the box by throwing deep balls. And if they choose to stack the box, we beat them over top. Instead of spreading out wide and taking defenders out of the box, we spread them vertically. That’s the principle, anyways.

The Iron Jock

October 26th, 2017 at 9:32 PM ^

Oh, you mean the other Brian. Oh, well. 

As for me, I'm not real impressed with the offense. I also was not impressed by Drevno's answers on the Jamie and Stoney show  Wednesday morning, though I think he got a raw deal, being rolled out there instead of the head coach after getting rolled up on Saturday. I had the pleasure of hearing that interview twice (they played it again today) while driving out to Ann Arbor to see my dad at the VA hospial.

We heard lots statements like, "It's a process," and things about O'Korn being the right guy for the job, and how a change at QB is "one snap away." Well, Drevno was asked in a variety of round about ways about the performance of the offense, and even the methodology of the playcalling, and he basically said nothing of consequence. It was just more canned copy about being excited about the opportunity to win the next game (at home, vs. Rutgers, go figure). We need some fire, and some answers.  This is not normal. It's not OK. 

But seriously, these guys have been under siege all week, and it's been a long week for me. I'm getting awnry, looking for pleasant distractions, bordering on lashing out, so I'll just stop now.

Go Blue. Beat Rutgers. Move forward. Make it more than a cliche. Turn it around, boys.  

 

 

Mick53

October 27th, 2017 at 8:58 AM ^

Really the issues from the begining of the season stemmed from the teams insistance on trying to run inside zone, and poor pass protection. The gap blocking schemes have been either effective or close to it since the begining. I cannot imagine that the adjustment to more zone running early on came from Drevno, but instead likely came from Frey. So when you look at the entirety of our offense and the information we have, I put very little responsibility on Drevno. The problems have been with the passing game (Hamilton) the zone running scheme (Frey) and the tackles pass pro (Frey) as well as the overall management of the offense (Harbaugh). Just my guess without knowing the ins and outs of what is going on in schembechler hall, or who is actually calling what on the sideline. 

Thread Jack

October 26th, 2017 at 5:45 PM ^

for the optimism!  I am definitely a Kool-Aid drinker!  If only they could figure out who the One Guy is *before* each play and substitute him out!

Here's hoping for more improvement in the OL and run game, and each man improving.  They will get it!  Tasting success over these next games (one at a time, of course) may be just what the doctor ordered to get all 11 men hitting on all pistons.  Football choreography!

And also hoping that JH whispering in JOK's ear will yield dividends wrt progressions.

I've got my Maize and Blue glasses on!

Night_King

October 26th, 2017 at 5:46 PM ^

Is it fair to say Onwenu has been the most impressive of the 5 linemen this year? Obviously Cole is most valuable, but feel like Onwenu has charted better in more games. 

Hail Harbo

October 26th, 2017 at 8:52 PM ^

Mason Cole has taken a couple steps backward, to my eye he was a far better LT in 2015 than now.  If 2014 was inspite of being coached by Funk and 2015 was all about being Harbaughnized, then you're left to wonder what happened in 2017 that he looks as lost, or more so, at LT in 2017 as he did in 2014.

TrueBlue2003

October 27th, 2017 at 12:23 AM ^

and it's his first year doing that, so maybe that's your answer.  I actually disagree that Cole's been worse than 2015.  He got beat pretty badly sometimes that year.  He's given up a couple head scratchers this year, but I think he's been better overall (just my gut feel, haven't tallied the UFR's or anything).

Everyone Murders

October 26th, 2017 at 5:57 PM ^

The "One Guy Per Play" is a great observation.  In my quest to continue my blind, bleeding optimism, I think this is symptomatic of a young team.  Players making occasional mistakes indicates that they're not fully getting it.  But they're getting better in the crucible of games.  Which isn't ideal, but is cause for optimism looking forward.

I know Brian's first example is of Cole, who is not a youngster.  But he is back at left tackle because of youth, so in a way even his struggles on this play fit the bill.

Oh, and Rutgers gunna get killed.

#RememberTheAcrostic

Erik_in_Dayton

October 26th, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

I try to remember this: if you told me before any given Michigan season that they'd lost seven offensive starters to graduation, that they'd lost their wildcat QB to the NFL, and that they'd lose their starting QB and best WR to injury in the first four games, I'd say, "Damn, that is not going to be a very good offense." 

 

TrueBlue2003

October 27th, 2017 at 2:06 AM ^

Wheatley as much or more often than the younger guys. That doesn't instill confidence that this is something that youth is responsible for.

When you bunch everyone so tightly, put three TEs and a RB in the game and have 9 blocks within 5 yards of the POA that all have to be executed, the chances of that going well with college players is unlikely.  That's why this has been happening for 5 years since we went back to this offense.  That's why it isn't even the young guys that are more often the One Guy.

The play in which we actually got McDoom out in space and he was still able to gain 13  despite a missed block says it all.  Run an offense that gives you a margin for error.  Let players make plays.  Option defenders out of plays (which we did a tiny bit of here). Spread things out.  Get more speed on the field.  I anticipate there will be a new OC next year.