Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Purdue Comment Count

Brian October 2nd, 2017 at 12:47 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTES. You know one thing I appreciate about HomeSure Lending is that Matt is not a song designed to draw the attention of a child, and has never gotten stuck in my head for days on end, relating banal facts about the world around me. This may be happening to my brain right now, and is not a very good advertisement.

If you'd like to think about something other than washing your hands for once in your life you could call Matt and get some quotes for a home loan. The problem with this strategy is that Matt will get you your quotes so quickly that your respite will be brief. But then you can talk to him about football, which helps.

FORMATION NOTES. Nothing particularly unusual except for one tackle over play that was a waggle pass to Poggi. Purdue alternated between a 3-4 and 4-3 front but was also not weird in any significant way.


SUBSTITUTION NOTES. OL was standard save for a healthy number of Runyan snaps at right guard; after the game Harbaugh said those were more about Onwenu's endurance than his performance. Speight got the first three drives and was knocked out before the fourth, whereupon O'Korn came in. Brandon Peters got the final, uncharted drive.

Isaac was limited with a ding sustained late in the Air Force game, so Higdon got a plurality of the work until his fumble. Evans got most of the carries after that. Kareem Walker saw his first live action late. Fullbacks were the usual rotation between the seniors with one snap for Mason.

With Black out it was Nate Schoenle and Grant Perry who got most of the additional snaps. Perry played both inside and out in this game; DPJ got his fair share but didn't get targeted as much as many folks want. Crawford was still the most-heavily deployed WR. TE saw McKeon and Gentry get almost all of the targets and a clear edge in snaps. For Ty Wheatley that means he's playing with a cast on his hand; for Ian Bunting that is bad news. Eubanks got scattered snaps as well.

[After THE JUMP: my kingdom for an offensive line.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 10
Big split in the middle of the line; Michigan gets extended doubles on the two DTs. Kugler(+1) and Onwenu(+1) clobber; Bredeson(+1) and Cole(+1) are less emphatic but equally effective in the long run, with Bredeson getting a second level block well downfield. Higdon(+0.5) gets a couple grinding YAC.
M18 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 under 8 Pass Smoke Crawford 6
Free six yards taken. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M24 2 4 Shotgun trips 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -5
This is bad from Ulizio(-2), who redirects when the OLB dives inside and then falls off on a spin move. But Speight should still be able to get this out. Gentry’s open for a first down. There’s a guy in the flat who might get two or four. Crawford might be open on a deeper shot. Speight just eats the ball. (TA, N/A, protection 0/2). Contact here is more than three seconds after the snap; with dink routes should be able to get this out.
M29 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Hitch McDoom Inc
Bredeson(-2) fails to recognize a twist and the looper isn’t delayed at all before nailing Speight. I think this ball is out before the contact; as per usual when Speight doesn’t step in comfortably it sails. It’s nearly intercepted. I was harsh on him on the last event; this one we’ll give him the PR. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M34 1 10 Goal line H 2 3 0 4-4 over 9 Run Power O Higdon 3
Ruiz in as a jumbo TE; Ruiz(-1) gets slanted under such that his guy threatens the backfield and Bredeson(-1), the puller, hits him. This is fine as far as it goes; if he arcs around this block he’s going to be useless. Unfortunately he falls off the block. Higdon(+1) made a decisive cut upfield behind Bredeson and looks like he’s going to slash for a chunk of yards despite the change of plans when that DE yanks him back by the jersey, resulting in a disappointing gain. Onwenu(+1) had carved out the cutback opportunity by moving a DT; he got thrown to the ground later but by that time he’d already moved his dude a long way.
M37 2 7 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Smoke Perry 4
Perry(-1) heads inside before breaking out and gets whapped in the chest by a CB who had given up the inside, otherwise this is near a first down. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
M41 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 2 1 4-4 over 8.5 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Part of this is not on Speight. Schoenle(route -) is supposed to rub the playside LB on Hill and misses entirely. Guy runs out on Hill, Speight doesn’t want to throw it. But Speight then bugs out despite a clean pocket, entirely missing a wide open McKeon past the sticks. (BR, N/A, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Iso Isaac 2
Onwenu(+1) and Kugler(+1) combo through the NT, blowing him out as Onwenu reaches a linebacker. Ulizio(-1) gets stood up by his guy; three tech is hammering inside because there’s an extra guy in the box and he can have the gap outside Ulizio. Poggi(-1) runs up and hits the MLB but Isaac has nowhere to go except right into Poggi’s back. Poggi should have read the Ulizio block and re-gapped.  RPS –1. extra guy in box used effectively.
M25 2 8 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Iso counter Isaac 3
Jet motion from DPJ and a handoff to the backside of the formation. Michigan wants to get Purdue to widen out for the potential jet and then feel like the backside is threatened before Isaac cuts into the gaping open center of the field. They block it excellently. Ulizio(+2) controls and rips a DT outside. Onwenu(+0.5) and Kugler(+0.5) do enough to the other DT; Isaac's original backside flight path helps them as dude fights into that gap. There is a cavern up the gut as one LB went with DPJ and the other is flowing backside and will be whacked by Onwenu. Isaac(-3) doesn't make the cut, and farts out three yards. RPS +2.
M28 3 5 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -8
Another free run up the gut. This could be any of Isaac, Cole, or Bredeson. Cole(-3) looks at the LB jetting upfield and passes him off. Bredeson is blocking a guy who is slanting away; Kugler also shades right on the snap, which seems dumb because all the guys Purdue might send are to the left. But Isaac heads out to the LB and Cole passes up the most dangerous guy to also go out there. (PR, 0, protection 0/3). Speight knocked out on this play. Speight gets hurt on a pretty late hit that is helmet to helmet; refs -2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 4 min 1st Q. O’Korn the rest of the way.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Run Iso Higdon 1
Also RPS, as Purdue slants away from the play. Playside DE gets effectively shoved down the line by Gentry; Hill and McKeon get kickout blocks and Higdon shoots in that gap, where he’s thumped by Bentley. Ulizio released to him but Bentley knows there’s a slant and has the angle on Ulizio. Ulizio(-1) should do better here; he more or less bounces off Bentley. The rest of these blocks are fine; Michigan needs to combo through the DE so Gentry can pop off on Bentley with the proper angle. RPS -2.
M17 2 9 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass PA Hitch Schoenle 14
Nice pocket and a near-perfect throw. Schoenle drives the CB assigned to him, who flips his hips and is playing cover three. O’Korn knows Schoenle has the advantage and throws just as Schoenle gets into his break. This timing is critical as the CB actually plays this very well, hitting Schoenle immediately after the catch. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M31 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 7
Onwenu(+3) obliterates the backside tackle, driving him into a teammate and pancaking him. This gives Higdon a cutback lane despite a CB blitz and line slants that should force him frontside into a buncha nothing. Higdon(+1) makes the cut; Ulizio(-1) doesn’t expect a cutback and thinks he’s making a block on a certain kind of play; LB dodges him when Higdon cuts back and is able to make a hit and help tackle. I understand the whiff somewhat, but this is painful since a cut or something puts Higdon one on one with the safety for a TD. RPS –1, needed huge block.
M38 2 3 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8.5 Run Iso Higdon 9
LB level overcommits to the fullback and a big cutback lane opens as Bredeson(+2) stands up and drives his guy a couple yards downfield. Higdon(+2) sees and hits it for the first down and a bit more.
M47 1 10 Goal line 2 3 0 4-4 over 9.5 Pass PA FB flat Poggi 11
Ruiz in next to Cole. This isn’t tackle over but kind of feels like it with two inline TEs to one side of the line. Feels very run; PA boot and two options. O’Korn gets instant pressure and makes a deceptively tough throw. It’s a sidearm fling without setting up that is right where it needs to be. Poggi catches it and rumbles, running over a poor damn CB who has to tackle him. (CA+, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1.)
O42 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Inside zone Evans -1
No chance as Purdue blitzes off the corner—and tips it by the CB’s positioning; heavy line slants to the playside get two guys through deep enough that Evans’s attempted cutback is swamped. Onwenu(-1) has a tough job here with Kugler leaving immediately but he got beat so bad that Evans runs into him when he cuts back. Gentry(-1) also lost but not as badly. Ditto Bredeson(-1). RPS -2; even if these blocks are made better Evans is likely to be picking the CB out of his teeth. Michigan looks utterly unprepared for this approach.
O43 2 11 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 under 6.5 Pass TE stick McKeon 13
O’Korn checks to the trips side presnap and sees Purdue creepin’. Michigan has the perfect route package on for this blitz and executes it. McKeon breaks out against a LB who he had yards on presnap and is wide open. Pitch, catch, YAC, first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
O30 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Evans 5
One block from a big play. Runyan(+1), in for Onwenu, chips the NT and gets to a linebacker. Ulizio(+1) controls his guy and gets a yard or so of depth on him; he collapses inside and Evans cuts back outside. M is expecting the guy vulnerable to a crack block on their sweep to widen out here. Instead he shoots directly upfield. McKeon and Gentry deal with this as best they can but they have no real hope of comboing through him given their presnap alignments. It does look like McKeon tries to get off the block and hit a linebacker who almost rand himself out of the play but might be held? I can’t tell but the movement there is kind of unnatural. That guy tackles. If he’s not there Evans is gone. NFL teams sometimes run, like, routes into the flat with their TEs in these situations. Might be worth a try.
O25 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Iso? Higdon -4
Well, one: they’re running goal line at the 26, throw the dang ball. Two, everyone gets their ass kicked. Bredeson(-2) gets shed immediately. Kugler(-1) gets driven two yards in the backfield. Runyan(-1) and Ulizio(-1) both get hung up on one guy. McKeon(-1) runs by a kickout block. Cole(-1) expects a different line call and lets his guy through… although I might agree with him. This is crushed. RPS -2.
O29 3 9 Ace 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass TE out McKeon 11
Zone coverage on which the outside CB follows Crawford’s slant way too long. Ball is out about the instant Crawford breaks, caught, turned up for first down yardage. This looks like a Purdue dorf but O’Korn had no hesitation. Maybe something they saw on film? (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O18 1 10 Goal line H 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Duo Isaac 6
Hammering doubles almost split Purdue up the gut. Kugler(+2) shoves the NT until he’s outside of Bredeson and goes and gets a linebacker. Bredeson(-1) can’t hang on to that block; he gets ripped past and his man tackles. Still a nice gain as Runyan(+0.5) and Ulizio(+0.5) had gotten some movement on the other DT and caught up a LB in the wash. Not great; good.
O12 2 4 Goal line 2 3 0 4-5 even 10 Run Power O Isaac 0
Bunting(-1) almost airballs on a DE slanting away from him. He does stay attached and remains somewhat useful. Runyan(+1) banged that guy to make Bunting useful and then got around into the hole with little delay; the play is still on but Isaac(-1) is spooked and bounces into a bunch of junk. Up the gut probably sets up third and short. Eubanks(-1) didn’t help matters by overrunning a kickout block, which drew attention from Hill and made the outside very implausible.
O12 3 4 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 11 Pass TE cross Gentry 12
Mesh. Man coverage for Purdue and Gentry’s guy gets lost in the wash. An overhang CB is either busting an assignment or psychic since he leaves Eubanks super early and tries to track Gentry down. For naught. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Goal line 2 3 0 Base 3-4 10 Pass Scramble O’Korn 0
Some happy feet here. Only three guys in the route and McKeon is the second read. O’Korn comes off Gentry and focuses on him; he’s available for a five yard dink but O’Korn hesitates and is lost. He tries to scramble up in the pocket, gets cut off, and then breaks outside. He then fails to commit to the run despite not having any WRs to this side of the field and gets run out for zero when a few were available. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M25 2 10 Ace trips TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Crack sweep Higdon 0
Poggi motions out to a wing TE spot and this looks crack-sweep-ish, crack sweep. Playside OLB shoots upfield inside of Poggi, intent on picking off the puller. He does. LBs shift and the playside S attacks. Unblocked force and tough job for Kugler results in a zero yard gain. RPS -2.
M25 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 7 Pass Circle Perry INT
Perry runs one of his Perry routes, feinting slant and then breaking back out. This totally burns the DB, and then he fakes inside again before pivoting out when just breaking out means he’s open by yards. He undid his route. He is still open, although not by much, and O’Korn’s throw is low and to the inside; DB gets a deflection that goes up in the air to a teammate. The throw was marginal but that’s some bad luck. (MA, 0, protection 3/3, Perry route -)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-7, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace twins twin TE H 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Run Split zone Higdon 3
Frustrating play as M gets a couple great blocks for not much. Kugler(+2) turns out and hammers the NT. Cole(+1) controls and drives his DE. Higdon sees the Kugler block and decides to hammer it up and I think both Gs screw up their second level blocks. It’s split zone so Bunting his headed backside. He draws a linebacker. Bredeson(-2) chases that guy. Onwenu(-1) similarly gets to the second level, has a clear angle on one LB, and tries to chase a guy who he’s got little shot at. Bredeson’s guy tackles. There was a huge bounce here as Schoenle(+1) cut his guy and Bunting found his linebacker for an adequate block, but can’t blame Higdon for thinking the middle was open. It’s weird to see both Gs do this and I wonder if there was something goofy about the line call again.
M28 2 7 Goal line H 2 3 0 4-6 even 10 Run Lead zone Higdon 2
Also frustrating. Hill leads out to the 2TE site, and Purdue doesn’t seem to have sufficient bodies out there. A feint inside and then decisive burst outside might get a big play; Higdon does this, except a step too late. Kugler(-1) releases immediately as Bredeson blocks a DT and he has no angle to the MLB, who shoots the gap and ankle tackles. It still baffles why M is releasing a C behind a linebacker and expecting him to get anything done. Higdon does get to the right gap so fine; probably doesn’t matter much since Hill(-2) airballed on his kickout block. Cut off this LB and get the kickout and it’s to the safety. One of these years Michigan will hit like 50% of these opportunities. RPS -1?
M30 3 5 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Hitch and go Perry Inc
Argh. M goes for a bundle on third and medium, with Perry(route +) giving a cornerback the Dileo on a hitch and go that burns dude crispy. O’Korn just misses, with Perry making a one-handed dive he can’t bring in. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 4 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M48 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 3-4 strong 7 Pass Smoke Crawford 7
Crawford(+1) does well to juke out a few more yards. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O45 2 3 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 3-4 strong 7 Run Crack sweep Higdon -2
Crack actually happens on this one with Gentry(+1) getting a whack on the playside DE. CB roars upfield though and McKeon(-2) is caught off guard. That guy runs right past him and tackles. Another dude hammering at the crack sweep would also have been a problem. RPS -2.
O47 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Pass Sack N/A -10
Higdon(-2) whiffs on a blitz pickup and gets O’Korn sacked. Especially bad because he’s got a free Bredeson to his left and loses the guy to the right. Woof. Perry breaking open for the first down, too. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 2 min 2nd Q. Ensuing drive starts with 15 seconds but first two plays are worth doing.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Run Offset draw Evans 10
Ulizio(+1) doesn’t really get the hurl-upfield part of the draw block in because his guy his already gone but does get a good downfield cut on the playside LB. Onwenu gets a mostly free block on his guy, Evans free up the sideline until a safety comes down on him. Not sure what DPJ is doing here. Kind of expect him to crack the S because it’s harder for a CB to replace than for a safety to read run the whole play an tackle.
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Fly DPJ Inc
DPJ simply runs by a DB and gets over the top of him, mostly, and then the throw is okay and DPJ is just okay. Kind of want him to see the ball in the air and get in front of the DB, slowing up and grabbing the ball. Instead he runs down the sideline. The ball is about to hit him in the chest when the DB bats it away. (CA, 0, protection 2/2, DPJ route -)
Drive Notes: EOH, 7-10. M does run one more play but it’s a dumpoff against prevent.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass PA cross Schoenle 15
Schoenle motions in tighter; Michigan runs PA. Purdue’s moved a safety into the box and runs zone; that safety bites hard on the PA, which O’Korn recognizes. He tries to recover; Schoenle runs by him and O’Korn hits him right in stride so he can turn up and get a nice chunk of YAC. Maybe too short for a DO but a nice, polished, accurate throw. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M30 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Pass Fly Crawford Inc
O’Korn has to throw early here because he gets pressure up the middle immediately after Bredeson(-2) gets beat by the NT. His presnap read is that Crawford has press coverage so taking a shot is reasonable. Unfortunately that guy backed off presnap and is running cover 3 so he’s on top of this route the whole way. JOK doesn’t have enough time to come off the read; you’d like him to read the coverage post-snap and convert this to a back shoulder throw. Instead he throws it like Crawford’s over the top of the route. Throw is damn near inch perfect but the DB forces Crawford into a phone booth and gets a PBU. Uh. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
M30 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 under 8 Pass PA sack N/A -3
Pocket momentarily good. McKeon is getting jammed off the line and this does not look like it’ll be open, that’s read #1. Looper comes around up the middle and gets picked off by Kugler; JOK still has to move around. He pulls the ball down and goes into scramble mode, which is unfortunate since DPJ is breaking open deep and you’ve got a good shot there. JOK gets tackled from behind as he tries to exit the pocket. Kugler(-1) should really do better here. Guy he lets by is pointing for a false start at the snap and not actually going anywhere. (TA, 0, protection ½)
M27 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Slant and go Crawford Inc (Pen +10)
Unless the bottom of the screen has a guy running open this is JOK’s only route past the sticks so go for it. Crawford is trying to sell the DB that he’s going to run a post just past the sticks, with the intent of breaking out on a fly route downfield. His route(-) is bad. He takes one jab step inside and then two weird hedging steps that reveal his intent. The DB reads this and jams his face off. He gets hit with a terrible holding call (refs +3). JOK’s throw is 20 yards past this but that was probably where Crawford would have gotten to if he had not had his faced jammed off. (Not charted, 0, protection 2/2)
M37 1 10 Offset I Big TO 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Pass PA sack N/A 0
Tackle over play action; two man route. Short one is covered; Ways is the outside guy. He gets inside of the corner checking him and the safety doesn’t bite much, or at all, on the PA. He’s still almost on the other hash and JOK has to let this rip. He moves up in the pocket and starts looking around for receivers who are not in patterns and gets nailed at the LOS. (BR, 0, protection 2/2) RPS –1.
M37 2 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass TE out McKeon 5
Dink out much like an earlier conversion where the outside CB bites on a slant and McKeon can turn it up. Unlike earlier conversion this is to the boundary so he has to have some fancy feet just to pick up five. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M42 3 5 Shotgun empty quads tight bunch 1 1 3 Base 3-4 6 Pass Out Perry Inc
Bunch with a guy outside of it seems to baffle PU coverage and Perry breaks wide open. If he can catch and run here he’s getting 20 yards. JOK wings it wide and Perry can’t bring in a difficult diving fingertip catch. (IN, 1, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Inside zone Evans 3
DT stands up both Bredeson(-1) and Cole(-1), who are stuck at the LOS and almost split. Evans has a gap, with a safety in it. He cuts back. Nothing. Still cutting back. Still nothing. Kugler(-1) did not control his guy’s hands and when Onwenu blasts him he falls over too, and that guy gets up faster. That gap’s closed. Ulizio’s guy fights inside; Ulizio stays in contact and maybe drives him a little, push. Wheatley(+1), on the backside, gets a big kick and maintains it once he sees Evans coming his away, creating the minimal yardage Evans acquires.
M41 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Screen Higdon 7
This looks like another massive protection bust but happily it’s a screen. Good call against the D except the playside DE doesn’t get upfield much and can come back to attempt a tackle from behind. Higdon(+1) breaks that tackle and squeeze out the first down, whereupon he fumbles(-3). (CA, 3, screen)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-10, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Improv DPJ 23 (Pen -7)
Pocket is almost entirely fine; Poggi(-1) does get driven back into O’Korn’s lap just a beat or two before O’Korn can set up and throw deep or check down. O’Korn can move around because of the protection and does, breaking the pocket and finding DPJ for a chunk. DPJ takes a hit right after the catch but holds on. (CA+, 2, protection 2/5) Ulizio(-2) gets a holding call as O’Korn breaks the pocket, and it’s bad one, grabbing outside the shoulder pads.
M7 1 17 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Pass TE drag Gentry 11
This is not mesh but it’s mesh-ish as Perry(route +) is mainly tasked with disrupting the LB in a zone to his side without drawing a flag. This he accomplishes by cutting inside and then swimming outside, trying to make his rub look like Perry trying to escape coverage. This gives Gentry some room for YAC after the catch, which he does well with, extending outside for more yardage than I thought he could get. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M18 2 6 Shotgun trips 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass TE stick Gentry Inc
Zone, good presnap read by O’Korn, who has the ball out in a flash. Hits Gentry more or less in the numbers for a first down, dropped. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M18 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 stack 6 Pass Improv Perry 12
Protection terrible, as Ulizio(-2) redirects inside with his rusher, which only knocks Runyan over and gives the rusher an easy spin for pressure as Ulizio stumbles and falls. This is only the second worst block on the play as Isaac(-2) airballs further outside. O’Korn bails out just before can fire at DPJ on a dig. He dodges a tackler, sees that he has contain, forms up, and looks. Perry(route+) was on a crossing route the other way; he turns around and provides a target. Hit, conversion, let’s go. (DO+, 3, protection 0/4)
M30 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 4-3 LB strong 7.5 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Double A twist gets through clean and this is a line call issue as everyone executes their blocks reasonably well and a guy flies right up the gut untouched. O’Korn is able to dump it in the vicinity of Evans to avoid a sack. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, team -2, RPS -2)
M30 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 8.5 Run Iso Evans 4
Almost a big gain as Kugler(+1) turns the NT out and the other DT slants outside; Bredeson(+0.5) turns him out almost for free. Hill(+1) rocks one linebacker backwards. Runyan(-1) releases free into Bentley and trips, getting run over as he makes contact. The Kugler block looks great and the Runyan block terrible because Runyan and the NT mutually trip each other. Evans gets a few before Bentley shuts him down.
M34 3 6 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Exotic 5 Pass Y cross McKeon 29
Great protection as M stonewalls 5 guys one on one. Given a clean pocket O’Korn finds McKeon(route+), who simply ran away from the LB in man on him. O’Korn hits him in stride so that he can turn this 15 yard catch into a chunk play. (DO, 3, protection 3/3)
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 6.5 Pass PA cross Eubanks Inc (Pen +15)
Play action and Michigan runs a flood route on which Eubanks is a very late crosser and the last guy added to the flood. O’Korn really has no throw here and airmails it as he tries to get it over a linebacker who dropped very well. Well over Eubanks’s head and incomplete but he has no one open. Maybe just boot it OOB? Eubanks gets targeted here. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)
O22 1 10 Ace 1 3 1 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Dumpoff Evans 4
McKeon Motions out wide and runs a deep route; M seems to be looking for something underneath. Nothing is open downfield; Evans leaps up because he is. O’Korn comes to him for a few yards; could maybe have seen this earlier. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O18 2 6 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 8 Run Power O Evans 5
Decision to cut back here is oddly successful. Cole(-1) has a downblock on a DE that he loses, getting ripped through to the hole. He stays attached. Runyan(+1) has an efficient, effective pull that ends up irrelevant as Evans(+1) decides to go on the other side of the Cole block. He’s able to hop through a crease that Kugler(+0.5) and Ulizio(+0.5) kind of make but not really. Ulizio’s guy is pretty clearly taking a play off since there’s little chance this will come back to him. Oops. Bredeson(+1) did get an excellent second level block to help clear the way.
O13 3 1 Goal line H 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Iso Evans 3
This is mostly Hill(+2) shattering a DB who’s lined up as an extra LB. That lead block puts him on the ground. McKeon(+1) gets a good kick on an aggressive LB; Bunting and Cole to an eh job on a double of the playside end.
O10 1 G Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 4-3 under 8.5 Run Crack pitch counter Evans 10
Hot dang. I imagine Michigan wanted to hang onto this one until at least MSU because it’s nasty. McKeon leaves backside, which is what he’s done on the counter stuff Michigan’s done to date; this could also be split zone. ILBs react like it’s the counter and evaporate. On the outside the designated "shoot upfield" guy does that immediately; Ulizio(+1) kicks him out. Gentry(+0.5) sees his guy fight outside in anticipation of a sweep. Gentry locks him out. CB erases self outside when he sees the pitch, and Evans is scoring from literally anywhere on the field. RPS +3.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-10, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass Improv Perry 24
Protection middling as a CB blitzes. This looks scary for a moment and then Evans cuts him off and forces him upfield; O’Korn still starts moving. Maybe it wasn’t the CB but Ulizio(-1) losing his guy to the interior after one hit that caused him to go. O’Korn does have time to bug out. He bugs out, gets a LB to commit to him as he nears the LOS, and then nails Perry for a first down and bonus YAC. (DO+, 3, protection ½)
O42 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 9 Run Split zone Evans 3
Meh. Backside handoff and Poggi fires out to the OLB, he’s force. Two Purdue LBs show in the hole Evans threatens first; Evans cuts away from this. When he makes his decision Wheatley is still on the DE with Cole; he pops off on one linebacker and kicks him out so it looks like there’s a gap just inside, but Evans didn’t know that was going to happen. Further inside Kugler(-1) has kicked and sealed the NT momentarily; that guy paws Kugler away and is able to tackle. If Evans(-1) cuts behind Kugler he’s got a big lane just behind there; feels like he needed just a little more patience on this run. Onwenu(+1) had driven his guy and Ulizio(+1) got a good cut on a second level guy; Evans is to the S if he gets to the hole.
O39 2 7 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over SAM 7 Run Split zone Evans -1
Purdue splits their LBs and sends them, leaving just the MLB at LB depth. Line pinches inside and successfully jams it up, with three OL on two DL. Bentley is free. Evans(-2) runs right into him. Woof. Cutback here looks available. Gotta change direction at some point. I don’t really know what to do about the blocking here. The pinch does a good job of preventing anyone from getting out.
O40 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Out DPJ 8
Wide open as Purdue zones and nobody can contest once the cover 3 corner gets run off. DPJ doesn’t run the best route here and makes this tougher than it probably should be to get to the sticks but he does get there. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Run Split zone Isaac 3 – 5 Pen
Onwenu and Ulizio(-1) try to combo through a DT, with Onwenu offering a good hit before going to the second level. Ulizio doesn’t get around him or shove very much and that guy heads into the gap; forced cutback by Isaac and he gets hit as he makes it, slowing him. Gentry(-0.5) has a mediocre kickout that lets his guy back inside and the seventh guy in the box is free and hits. No contain for O’Korn on this. Meanwhile on the frontside Bredeson(+0.5) and Kugler(+0.5) do seem to combo through the NT and an Isaac cut out there could be more productive. M picks up an illegal sub before the next play.
O34 2 12 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Penalty False start McKeon -5
McKeon -1.
O39 2 17 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Hitch McKeon 23
PA does hold both ILBs near the LOS until the fake is clearly fake, and by then McKeon is settling down in his route. O’Korn is a little late on this despite wanting it the whole way; he still fits it in between the two LBs, throwing it upfield, which both gets it away from one of the LBs and set McKeon up for YAC. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O16 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Run Crack sweep Isaac -2 (Pen -15)
Could be Gentry or Bredeson. Bredeson reaches the playside end; Gentry cracks down on him. That leaves Bentley free to run at Isaac and string the play out for a loss. I haven’t seen M try to reach a DE on this so I think it’s Bredeson(-2), which is real bad. DPJ(-2) then gets a penalty for a below the waist crack block.
O31 1 25 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass TE fade Gentry 25 + 3 Pen
Purdue shows zero and runs it. O’Korn is going to get hit and just has to get something off before he does. That is a punt in the general direction of Gentry that is 1) a good idea and 2) good enough for Gentry to adjust midair and bring it in. (DO+, 2, protection N/A). O’Korn is then targeted.
O3 1 G Ace 1 2 2 Goal line 9 Run Inside zone Isaac 2
Slant, trying to force Isaac outside into unblocked guys. This works. Bunting(+1) manages to put his guy inside and on the ground so Isaac can scrape out one yard and change.
O1 2 G Ace trips tight bunch 1 2 2 Goal line 9 Run Inside zone Isaac 1
Onwenu(+1) gets enough of his guy to open up a crack despite Ulizio(-1) getting slanted under pretty badly; Isaac(+1) runs through the tackle attempt to score.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-10, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 Base 3-4 8 Pass Improv Evans Inc
DPJ(-1) covers up Gentry and spurs an illegal man downfield call. PA, dropback, Onwenu(-1) kind of loses his guy up the middle. Stays attached, keeps pushing, O’Korn can step up. He starts moving to LOS and tries to flip it to Evans; Evans has just decided O’Korn is running and starts looking for a block. Uh. (MA, 0, protection ½)
M19 1 15 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 Base 3-4 9 Run Power O Evans 4
Another almost. Ulizio(+1) gets a chip from Gentry and fires his DT down the line, sealing. Hill(+1) stands up an edge guy. Bredeson gets through the gap and starts looking for work because there’s no one obvious to hit; doesn’t come off as McKeon(-1) thought he was firing an OLB inside and then that guy stops and McKeon is trying some sort of reach-kickout block now. This doesn’t go well. Guy gets to the hole and gets an ankle tackle in.
M23 2 11 Offset I Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 over 7.5 Run Naked boot O’Korn 12
Looks like power and then O’Korn keeps. Damn shame because this looks like the best blocked power of the game, and I don’t think any of it is because of the fake. O’Korn(+2) gets out on the edge against the playside LB. O’Korn jukes that guy like a boss, and then puts his shoulder down to run over a DB to get to the sticks, also like a boss.
M35 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 8 Run Inside zone Isaac 0 + 15 Pen
Kugler(-2) and Onwenu(-1) totally fail to handle the NT. By the time Onwenu comes over to whack the guy Kugler has already been tossed past. NT can surge through. Onwenu has no angle. Still maybe hope he can beef the guy some and provide a cutback lane instead of more or less bouncing off. Isaac(+1) bounces to avoid a TFL and gets back to the LOS. This saves about 3 yards. Bredeson(+1) and Cole(+0.5) had blown the other guy off the LOS. M gets lucky with a late hit.
50 1 10 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 under 8 Run Split zone Isaac 1
Illegal formation by M they get away with(refs +1) as Perry(-1) lines up off the LOS. He even checks that he’s off with the ref. Jet motion from DPJ, run. Big hole up the middle as the NT puts himself on one side of Kugler(+1) who duly locks him out and shoves him upfield. Double on the other DT does not go as well as he manages to lock on to Ulizio(-1) and again rip him away. Onwenu is preparing to leave for the LB and suddenly has to stay because he’s the only one on the DT. Ulizio has no angle to the MLB, and Isaac runs directly into him. Hole is big enough that you’d hope Isaac(-0.5) could at least get to the side of the LB and make some YAC but he goes down immediately. This is not his specialty.
O49 2 9 Goal line 2 3 0 Goal line 10 Run Power O Evans 49
Cole(+2) controls and drives the playside end. Wheatley(+1) peels out and whacks a linebacker, taking a DB with him because this looks exactly like mesh. Now it’s trouble for Purdue. Poggi(+2) lights up the MLB, forcing him back into a DB who cannot get back to the play; Onwenu pulls and targets that guy but ends up without a block to make. Evans through to the S clean; tough job for last man to fill and Evans(+2) just shifts by him. Goodbye. RPS +2. Oh, McKeon(+1) got a good kick.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, 6 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Goal line 2 3 0 Base 3-4 10 Run Power O Evans 2
Evans decides to cut this back and that’s not a bad idea since there’s a gaping cutback lane. Kugler(+1) blew the backside guy out. Bredeson(+0.5) sort of loses the block but keeps on it and pushes the gap further open. Evans(-1) has an unblocked CB in a bunch of space and loses that battle. His juke doesn’t work and he turns this from a pretty good gain into little.
M19 2 8 Goal line 2 3 0 Base 3-4 10 Run Power O Evans 3
Bunting(-1) lets a guy slant under him and doesn’t get much push; that guy ends up in the backfield and Poggi has to hit him. Still a nice gap as Cole(+1) drives a DT and Gentry(+1) gets a second level book. Ruiz(-2) releases free and lunges at the MLB, missing; that guy gets over to tackle.
M22 3 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 even 9 Run Iso Isaac 1
Onwenu(-1) and Kugler(-1) get stood up by the NT, getting no motion and not getting to the second level. Mason(+1) comes in and thumps one LB. Free guy comes in and hammers Isaac.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 2 min 4th Q. Final drive not charted.


Does Albania still have kings?

uh... they had one from 1914 to 1946 under, get this, KING ZOG THE FIRST

So not anymore.

King Zog was also President, Prime Minister, and Marshal of the Royal Albanian Army. Quite a guy!

Can we talk about football now?

oh okay Mr. Post This UFR More Than A Wee—

Anyway, O'Korn's day held up after a fine-toothed comb review. Speight's did not improve. A chart:

[Hennechart orientation: mouse over column headers for explanations of the categories. + is handed out for a good throw under duress. * is handed out for a very bad version of a bad thing. Numbers in parens are screens. DSR is an attempt to compress the numbers into one overall number.]


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
2016 avg 2.4 13.3 0.5   2.4 2.5   0.5 0.8   3.8 1.8   70% -
Florida 4+ 11 1   2 3   4 5**   64% -
Cincinnati 4+ 11(1) -   2 4   1 3 5(1)*   64% -
Air Force 2+ 13(6)+++ 1   3 1   3 3**   63% -
Purdue 2(2)   2   1 1   N/A -

In Speight's defense, the offensive line was 3/10 in pass protection when he was on the field. But while he got a lot of pressure he also wilted in the face of it. I don't think any of his passes actually saw him hit while the ball was in his throwing motion so events like "overthrows McDoom so badly it's almost an INT" are partially on him.

While his teammates continually let him down, Speight did not pick them up by doing something even moderately tough. He continued to look like a guy who had regressed from last season. The early failed third and short conversion is an excellent example. Nate Schoenle is supposed to rub a linebacker and fails. Speight sees this and correctly decides not to throw, but he starts drifting left when that is not strictly necessary and never comes off Hill to see a wide open McKeon:

That should be an easy conversion as Michigan catches man coverage on a rub route and if Schoenle executes nobody gets peeved at Speight; if you're a redshirt junior and one of the few guys with experience you're going to have to pull some plays out of the fire. Speight has not done this much, if at all, after doing it quite a lot a year ago.

O'Korn, meanwhile, had a day.


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Indiana 2016   6(1) 1   2 3   1 1 3* 2   46% -2.5
Florida 1     1     1*   50% -
Purdue 6+++ 14(2)++   3 2   1 3 2   75% -

DSR is not a weighted metric so it does not encapsulate six DOs and five + throws versus no asterisks. 75% is a good number; the performance exceeded that by some distance, in no small part because of Michigan's pass protection. But more about that later, with "womp womp" sounds. This bit is about the QBs.

So. After a year and change of Speight starting off terribly about half the time it was nice for O'Korn's first throw to be a deep hitch to Schoenle that was confident and on the money:

And after a year of excellent pocket presence followed by... not that, O'Korn's ability to move and find guys downfield was a drive-saver, repeatedly. This chunk play got erased by a penalty...

...and O'Korn just followed that up with the chunk play after which everyone thought maybe it's gonna be all right:

A third improv chunk to Perry brought his total up to 60-some yards upon breaking the pocket. (Also, the first one that got wiped out almost perfectly offsets the cheap 24-yarder Evans got at the end of the first half, so O'Korn's 270 yards on 26 attempts is both factually and spiritually correct.) O'Korn had a couple of wobbly moments where he vacated too early when he had someone coming open. These did not come close to offsetting the big chunks he picked up when forced into scramble mode. Notably, all of these were plays on which he looked downfield.

When not forced into improvisation mode, a lot of the stuff O'Korn did was simple. Here Purdue tips a blitz; Michigan has a route headed right to the vacated area. Second and long into an easy conversion:

Basic stuff... that felt like a revelation. O'Korn's quick, open throws stood in contrast to Speight's struggles to identify open guys the last few games. Twice Michigan picked up catch-and-run conversions on outs that had to be thrown with accuracy and timing to provide YAC. They were. Ditto Gentry's mesh touchdown, which O'Korn knew was open before he even turned around off of play action. This is basic quarterbacking being executed very well. That's huge progress for O'Korn, and apparently the offense. 

And then he got dialed in. I gave him 6 DOs in this game, which is a lot on just 26 throws, and I shorted him one on his scramble escapades. The others were no-doubters. This throw is not only between two guys in a tight window but leads Gentry upfield and cannot be better placed for a catch and run:

One 15 yard penalty later, Michigan faces first and 25 with Purdue breathing down O'Korn's neck. O'Korn stands in, takes the hit, and gives Gentry a chance to make a play.

1) Yes, throw it at the Ent. 2) He even puts this outside of the defender. Given the circumstances this about as good as it gets.

Michigan punched the ball in after that throw, and then the next first down they got was this:

That was the only called QB run in the game; O'Korn displayed the kind of ability that makes him a viable threat, the kind of guy you have to check on zone reads and the like. Going forward expect him to be incorporated as a traditional Harbaugh running threat who gets 4-6 carries on purpose.

Meanwhile a rewatch didn't change my opinion that O'Korn's errors were relatively few and benign. The interception was low and behind Perry, but I thought Perry won that route decisively and then gave it back with some unnecessary Route Artisanship; if he doesn't do that he's probably digging out a difficult completion. As it was he got hit by a DB and the deflection went to the wrong place. That's not a great throw but 90% of the time that ball hits the ground harmlessly, and a lot of the time it's complete. 

Other incompletions included:

  • barely missing Perry for chunk plays twice, once on the third-and-short hitch and go down the sideline, once on an out route that would have featured a ton of YAC
  • a bomb to DPJ that was acceptable; DPJ didn't play it well
  • thinking he had press coverage on Crawford and throwing a fade route against cover three; he got instant pressure and didn't have time to come off his read
  • throwing it away with instant pressure up the middle
  • badly missing Eubanks on the play he got lit up on
  • Evans thinks O'Korn is going to run, goes to block just as O'Korn tries to flip it to him

He missed some throws; he didn't miss them by much, and bad decisions were minimal. Some of that was Michigan giving him a lot of throws on which his first read was all but guaranteed to be open, about which more later. It was still an outstanding performance no matter which caveats you want to throw at it. And if you have those caveats, let me present... whatever the opposite of a caveat is. A vista-on. Or whatever.

I don't want to look at this.


/is sacked


Offensive Line
Player + - Total Notes
Cole 5.5 3 2.5 Another minimally impactful day.
Bredeson 6.5 10 -3.5 Hammered repeatedly.
Kugler 10.5 7 3.5 Moved some guys; some big errors.
Onwenu 8.5 4 4.5 Best OL on a per snap basis but this is not a great thing.
Ulizio 8.5 7 1.5 I'll take it, except pass pro.
Runyan 3.5 2 1.5 Make the whole plane out of RGs?
Ruiz 3 -3 Sixth OL is bad idea.
McKeon 2 4 -2 
Bunting 1 2 -1
Gentry 2.5 1.5 1
Eubanks   1
Wheatley 2 2
Hill 4 2 2 One CB hammer.
Poggi 2 1
Mason 1   Another thump on single snap.
TOTAL 57.5 47 55% Substandard but not quite dismal performance on the ground.
Player + - T Notes
O'Korn 2   2 Made it happen on his sole run.
Isaac 2 4.5 -2.5 Missed a huge opportunity.
Evans 3 4 -1 Meh
Higdon 5.5 2.5  Did well except for fumble, but fumble.
Walker       DNC
Samuels     DNP
TOTAL 12.5 11.5 1 Reminder that RB is a MAKE PLAYS position and 0 sucks.
Player + - T Notes
Crawford 1   1
Black DNP
DPJ -3  Illegal block penalty. One other issue.
Perry -2  Penalty refs missed and bad run on a smoke. 
Schoenle 1  
McDoom       Evaporated for some reason.
TOTAL 2 5 -3 Woof.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 43 23 65% Ulizio –7, Bredeson –4, Cole –3, Higdon –2, Isaac –2, TEAM –2, Poggi –1, Onwenu –1, Kugler –1.
RPS 23 17 +6 Passing game had a lot of open guys by design. Also Evans TDs.

That protection number isn't a whole lot worse than Michigan's two iffier days this season but the opponent gives pause. Purdue entered this game with one sack; they left it with five. Ulizio got worked one on one for a couple pressures; everything else was systematic.

The scary thing is this is not a problem localized to any one person. The right side of the line got the bulk of the blame in the Cincinnati game. Here it was Ulizio... and also the left side. Speight got knocked out on a blitz up the middle that either Cole or Bredeson or Isaac or Kugler or some combination of the four made a horrendous mistake on:

Your guess is as good as mine. I guessed Cole because he's looking right at the guy and decides to pass him up. Meanwhile Bredeson cannot get off his block because Kugler slides right the whole play, doing nothing. I don't know what he's looking at. If it's Onwenu's guy he should see that he's slanted outside and anticipate pressure from the other side, which he does not do.

Plays like this make me wonder if Kugler's screwing up a bunch of line calls. Michigan's in a tight bunch here and slides their line away from the bunch, where all the Purdue guys are lined up. There are other times when the thing Michigan is trying to do is a complete mystery to me.

And this in particular bodes unwell for MSU. Purdue tips a double A twist blitz and Michigan misses it entirely, giving a Boiler a free run up the gut:

Michigan ate that blitz up last year with Cole at center, FWIW.

Why are your run grades mostly positive? This showing was dismal, I say! Dismal!

As always, it takes one bad block to blow up a play and several to make it work. We're looking for 66% positives for an average-ish to good day; Michigan came nowhere near that. The run grades are bad grades.

It all started so well, with Michigan plowing up the gut for ten yards. Watch the two Purdue DTs get hammered off the ball:

That has been rare this year. Michigan got good doubles in and then two guys got to the second level.

Much of the rest of the day Michigan spent their day getting wrecked by slants. This is a basic anti-zone strategy that Michigan sucks at dealing with. Evans gets swallowed here on a corner blitz. Onwenu does poorly here; what if he does well?

RG #50, also the rest of the OL

Evans gets swallowed by of the other two guys who shot into the backfield, or he cuts it all the way back to the free cornerback. (If he does really, really well he carves out a lane for Higdon for six yards.) I don't think I've seen Michigan recognize these slants and adjust once this year. Michigan makes a presnap read and then they are done. They did that against Florida, when Ulizio kept leaving tight ends with assignments they could not handle, and they did it here. At no point do they stop to help based on a post-snap read. I keep expecting Michigan do to something like this Kyle Kalis thing against Rutgers in 2014:

They don't do this. They eat slants instead. The clip above sees three different guys rip into the backfield.

It's brutal at times. This embarrassing TFL sees 1) a guy set entirely free by Cole and/or Bredeson, 2) Bredeson whipped by the NT, 3) Kugler whipped by a DT, and 4) Runyan and Ulizio stalemated on a double by another DE.

Oh, and McKeon runs right by a guy. But, hey, good kickout by Gentry.

This again makes me wonder about Michigan's line calls. Cole is clearly expecting Bredeson to pop out on the DE who flies by him. When the four-year starter expects something that does not happen, and the rest of the blocking is such a disaster, and a version of this play where everyone blocks a gap further to the backside does seem way more likely to work, I feel like this might go back to Kugler (and/or O'Korn, I guess) mis-identifying who should block who.

Another example in this vein follows. Check out both guards chasing guys they can't get to.

#50 RG and #74 LG

This is split zone, with Bunting headed to the backside, and that means some Purdue guy has to go out there lest they give up the edge. A LB is clearly doing this; Bredeson follows him instead of hitting the guy who tackles. Onwenu, a gap behind, is doing the same thing. (Also yes the bounce is wide open; I can't blame Higdon because the middle looked like he was getting delivered to the safety until this happened.) That feels like a mis-identified MIKE.

And then there's just crappy blocking. I was willing to write some hall passes after the Florida game when Taven Bryan repeatedly stuffed double teams; four games in against Not Taven Bryan it's time to get worried. This Evans run ends up cutting all the way back mostly because Bredeson and Cole nearly get split at the LOS:

#74 LG and #52 LT

On the other side of the line, a woof moment from Kugler and (to a lesser extent) Onwenu:

Only Onwenu is moving people on a semi-regular basis. You can get away with that if you are precise and metronomically efficient against all the games opposition defense will throw at you. Michigan is not. There's little separating this performance from various Hoke debacles—other than the 49-yarder Michigan had 99 yards on 33 carries against a team that was in the 120s in fancystat rush defense last year. They are 119th in tackles for loss allowed. It is time to start glaring at Tim Drevno.

The running backs didn't exactly cover themselves in glory either.

Higdon did well, I thought, except for the fumble. Big "except," yes. Both Isaac and Evans were frustrating.

Too frequently Michigan guys are running straight the whole play. When the opposition has put an extra guy in the box you need to get someone to waste themselves without occupying a blocker, and misdirection is the way to do that. There's play-level misdirection that gets filed under Rock Paper Scissors, and then there's an in-play misdirection where you threaten one gap and then show up in another. There's a reason you hear a lot about "great one-cut runners" and not great zero-cut runners, because unless you are physically dominant on a play zero-cut running results in this:

Michigan actually does a great job to blow out and combo through the NT and the don't get anything because Ulizio's guy slides inside. He can do this because of the extra guy in the box—the gap behind him is covered. How does this work for anything other than two yards? Poggi reads that Ulizio block and pops behind him, and Isaac follows. I've seen Michigan do this before and have to think that is an option on first and ten, when you're swinging for more than two yards.

This was never more frustrating than on this Ty Isaac run that should have been the pretty sibling of the Evans touchdown. Both that play and this one have Purdue committing to the outside and creating a cavernous gap inside. Isaac ignores his:

Like one of the frustrating Higdon cuts early in the year he's actually shading towards the correct side of the first level block when he decides to run right into the bad side.

Later Higdon would turn in an example of almost getting this done. He commits both linebackers to an interior gap and then bounces out, but a hair too slow, allowing one of those guys to get an ankle tackle in:

If he keeps his feet (or Michigan doesn't try to block that guy by free releasing on the wrong side of him) Michigan's one Hill kickout block from a big play.

One final one from Evans, who just runs directly into Bentley here:


Cut. You are 210 pounds; he is 260. You have the advantage when he changes direction. Purdue has pinched their line here to get this exact thing, but the risks are clear: on either side of the Great Wad in the middle of the play are big pockets. Don't take their bait.

Onwenu kept getting pulled but he's got your best grade?

Michigan named him their OL of the week and it was deserved. He wasn't responsible for much of the pass rush with just one minus there, and he opened up some of Michigan's infrequent rushing lanes. Here he creates a crease for Higdon by driving a slanting OL across the formation and pancaking him:

Purdue is trying to induce a cutback there but Onwenu carved out a hole so big the Boilers can't shut it down in time. Onwenu isn't amazing but when he gets you he gets you.

Any random destruction that might make me feel better?

Yes. I have no larger point here. I just want you to see this.

#80 FB

Hammer panda.

Anything... like... good, personnel wise?

Other than O'Korn, I'm sure you mean. Yes: both McKeon and Gentry flashed the athleticism they're purported to have as they emerged into frequent targets in the passing game. McKeon drew one on one coverage with a linebacker on his big catch and run; it was no contest:

#84 standup TE to bottom of line

That guy was done before the stumble. Their other contributions are embedded above in the O'Korn section. Gentry did have one drop; aside from that it looks like Michigan's tight end pecking order has resolved itself with those two guys on top, with Wheatley likely to feature more prominently as a blocker when he gets healthy.

Boy, I'd hate to have to manufacture an opinion about the wide receivers.

It was a routine day for them. DPJ hung on to the ball on O'Korn's first scramble completion despite taking a heavy hit; Schoenle had  one tough-ish catch, and everything else was routine. Perry did make himself available a couple times when O'Korn was moving around.

Crawford didn't do much other than catch a couple smoke screens. His other two targets were both deep balls. On one he was trying to run a go route against cover three and the DB did a very good job; not much he could do about that. He drew a flag on the second but it was unwarranted*, and the route was weak. This is not a double move that fools anyone:

Black's targets went to Schoenle and the tight ends. Crawford's disappointed so far.

*[I think I saw a commenter assert that the DB was getting in an illegal jam past five yards. That's an NFL rule, not a college one.]

Here's the WR chart, for what it's worth:

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

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

ROUTES: Crawford –, Perry ++-, Schoenle –, McKeon +, DPJ -

Schoenle's route minus was the failed rub; DPJs was the bomb at the end of the first half he didn't try to high-point.

You mentioned the pretty Evans touchdown?

Yes, the one to put Michigan ahead was a play I bet they wanted to save for later, because whenever the busted it out the first time it was going to break. Michigan has done a few things from the Very Sweep tight bunch formations, but mostly they've run the crack sweep or a counter trey the other way. Here they fake both at the same time:

#84 TE to bottom of bunch, also other TEs in bunch

Pulling McKeon across the formation takes the entire linebacker level and the free safety out of the play. The pitch convinces the other half of the Purdue lineup it's a sweep. Purdue was playing the crack sweep by having a linebacker shoot upfield fast enough to pick off a puller. He duly executes his assignment; with no puller this just runs him out of the play. Another DB fights outside to string out a sweep, as does another CB, and Evans has the easiest touchdown of his career.

Other RPS items?

Michigan did a lot of work with their routes in this game. Mesh's contribution to the whole was obvious. Michigan had a couple of plays in the same drag-with-a-rub family, notably this 11 yard gain by Gentry. Check out Grant Perry's route, which is a subtle and effective rub:

#88 slot receiver

Gentry danced a bit and ended up getting more or less what he would have if he just went hard to he outside: 11 yards. They'd also clearly identified a weakness in Purdue's zone coverages where the outside CB would follow a slant too long; that opened up a couple of third down YAC conversions. All of these catch-and-run events were easy throws with clear reads that O'Korn executed confidently; they were a perfect way to break in a backup quarterback.

Mesh also helped Michigan on the ground. As mentioned in the game column, on the 49-yard Evans TD Wheatley's route to a linebacker looked just like a mesh drag and therefore took another Boilermaker with him:

#17 TE to right of screen, also Purdue #21

That's a nifty two for one and Evans got to the safety untouched, which was bad news for him.

Finally, this was a very good idea that didn't quite come off:

O'Korn hit a bunch of similar throws in the spring game and then hit Black for 37 yards in the opener; I'd imagine we see more plays like this since it's a relatively safe throw that O'Korn seems to have down.


O'Korn, McKeon, and Gentry were an efficient combination.

Maybe not so heroic?

Pass protection was alarmingly bad against a team with no rush coming into this game. The run game is a mess in general.

What does it mean for MSU and beyond?

Inside zone is a wasted down against MSU. It will look like the Iowa game. MSU will slant heavily and the linebackers will fire downhill incredibly fast. Michigan is going to have to pass to force the MSU defense to look more like they did against ND—a passive cover-3-heavy unit—than what they looked like against Iowa. MSU got to run their hyper-aggressive Narduzzi defense against Iowa, and if Michigan tries the same crap they'll have the same results.

Ulizio can't pass protect. He got whooped twice in this game by a guy who's not very good. Four games in we've accumulated plenty of evidence. This was his second consecutive –7 day.

O'Korn looks like a different guy. That performance was close to great. Michigan did scheme him a lot of easy looks; whether he can go through his progressions remains an open question.

I still don't know what they're trying to do on the ground. There's a lot of stuff that looks like nonsense, whether it's a ton of mental errors or consistently screwed up line calls. Hope your buns off that Michigan gets radically better over the bye week, but I don't think it will.

Michigan's top receivers are Perry and two tight ends. Hopefully DPJ can round into five-star form pretty soon here; I'm not expecting Crawford to bust out in the second half.


Hugh White

October 2nd, 2017 at 12:56 PM ^

Is it possible that the current year's version of O'Korn is better at dealing with LIVE pressure than the current year's version of Speight, and since our D and our scout-D would never really go full LIVE on our own quarterbacks, the difference between the two Q's never showed up during weekday competition? 


In other words, Speight was perhaps consistently winning the competitition against O'Korn, but under circumstances that, by their nature, erased the factor of LIVE hitting that would have revealed O'Korn's strength.

Wolverine In Iowa 68

October 2nd, 2017 at 1:50 PM ^

and add to it, after the back-to-back pick-sixes in the Florida game, Speight was probably over-compensating on his throws to not have a third one, hence the over-throws to out-of-bounds, not throwing much over the middle, etc.  He was looking rattled and needed some time (bye week) to get himself back to "good Speight" form, but the injury happened first.

O'Korn came in and needed a couple of sessions to get settled, plus he was playing with a LOT of emotion to show up the coach who had benched him at Houston, so he had two dogs in the race.

The big question going forward is, can O'Korn continue to improve from that performance?

Followed closely by, can our O-Line figure out what the hell is going on?




October 2nd, 2017 at 2:27 PM ^

pass pro is really off. I would have thought facing a Don Brown defense would give great reps for pass blocking an aggressive scheme. Rather it looks like our unit has never seen a blitz before in its life. I mean no one can pick it up and slow it down at least? Cole looks very frustrated which indicates to me folks are missing assignments or the line call is wrong.


October 2nd, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

First, Speight was good against live pressure last year (JOK was most decidedly not in his small sample size).  This is a regression we've seen from Speight, plain and simple.  Whether he hasn't been put in live situations in practice is sort of irrelevant since he showed a great pocket presence last year.

It seems like this O line is so bad (it really is) that Speight has gone into full Devin Gardner shell-of-his-former-self mode.  When he had to deal with pressure only a fraction of the time, he calmly handled it.  But when it's basically every play, it's understandable to start to get frantic. You start to look for where the pain is coming from rather than your reads.

One of the first plays clipped here when he starts moving to his left a bit before necessary has been a fairly common theme this year.  Instead of being confident the blitz will be picked up reasonably well and stepping into the pocket, it's like he's anticipating the pressure even before it comes (and it usually does come, of course).

My fear is that JOK just had his Devin Gardner 2013 Notre Dame game but all the hits and pressures will start adding up (how many shots to the helmet can you take?) and he'll move into frantic Devin Gardner mode as well.  This was Purdue applying pressure fergodsakes! Here's hoping the coaching staff figures out some ways to mitigate the O line's deficiencies better than the last staff.

I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2017 at 4:36 PM ^

Can't remember the exact game, but during one of last year's games I definitely remember Todd McShay gushing over Speight's ability to avoid pressure and then find receivers down field.  Might have been the Penn State game. And the whole reason Speight got the Roethlisberger comparisons was because he was fat and because he had a freaky ability to avoid pressure and shrug guys off.

He hasn't been close to any of that this year.


October 2nd, 2017 at 6:36 PM ^

I commented before the season that I was baffled he lost weight (20 lbs!).  It's not like he was going to get more mobile, and I feared he'd lose the Rothlisbergability, i.e. penchant for having guys bounce off him/hang off him while he still made throws. 

Not sure if the lighter Speight has become less willing to take contact, but yeah, maybe more burgers are the key (but probably not, because woof, it's really the protection that's the bigger problem).


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:07 PM ^

It's getting depressing to watch the OL continue to make mental errors in year 3. I don't know what or who is the problem, but I'm surprised and disappointed to see a Harbaugh offense in year 3 have so much trouble doing basic run blocking things.

Leaders And Best

October 2nd, 2017 at 1:31 PM ^

Alaric Jackson and Mekhi Becton are both starting at OT as RS or true freshmen. Devery Hamilton has had some struggles at Stanford, but he is only a RS freshman.

OT recruiting the last 2 years has not been great. Especially with losing Grant Newsome, I would have thought the staff would have put a priority on getting someone who could play by now.


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:50 PM ^

I'm still 100% on the Harbaugh train, don't get me wrong. I've just wanted that OL fix now for like 10 years. Hopefully Frey can get us on the right track but man; I miss the stud OL's that were there when I was in college (early 90's). IMHO a stud OL can make a meh QB and RB at least proficient. A bad OL can make a great QB just decent as he runs for his life. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

we took 0 OTs in the entire 28 man 2016 class.  For a position that requires 2 on the field, and which is arguably the second most important position on the field, that's as bad a mistake as not taking a single QB in a class, and it's even worse considering how small the 2014 and 2015 classes already were.

People talk about the Henderson decommit, which like yes, but as dire as the situation was, you gotta have a backup plan.  Granted, the backup plan probably wouldn't have helped this year, but next year, we're going to be looking for possibly two OTs again with only RS freshmen as options...yikes.


October 2nd, 2017 at 2:18 PM ^

We've gone from Power in 2013 to Zone in 2014 to Power in 2015 and 2016 back to Zone in 2017. I kinda feel like that's screwing with OL development. Coupled with the fact that we absolutely sucked at Zone last year, I don't really get the change again even if we did get Frey. 

Also, I have the same complaint as with Hoke's play calling. If your guys can't execute complex assignments the answer is not to pull even more defenders close to the line with heavy sets, but to get those guys out of the box by alignment. Adding even more guys that aren't particularly good to the line is just more opportunities to blow up plays. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 6:43 PM ^

Eh. I played with a few All-Americans and many guys who had at least a cup of coffee in the NFL. Won two conference championships. Couldn’t run a stretch for shit.

It would be nice to run both, but to say you should is wrong. It’s not necessary and it’s not common.


October 2nd, 2017 at 3:57 PM ^

+1 on your second paragraph. Forcing a defender to cover you in a route is easier than executing a block (especially if the line calls are iffy) and if they don't cover you, hey, free yards. If we can't consistently block gaps, adding more gaps seems counterproductive.


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:09 PM ^

The hammering panda block on the 3rd and 1 was incredible. I didn't catch that while watching the game live. Him and Poggi have been solid. 

I recall Hill destroying Chris Frey last season on one of our rushing touchdowns. We're going to need some more of that on Saturday. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:11 PM ^

Based on Ulizio's pass protection grades each week, is there any chance we see Onwenu at RG and Runyan coming in at RT for some snaps? Or is that too risky?


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:20 PM ^

Drevno is a problem at this point.  Other teams are executing more consistently with less talented players. Michigan is only starting one guy who hasn't had over a year in the system and they are only starting that one guy because of a failure to develop other lineman on the roster and recruiting misses.

I also am worried that the younger harbaugh complete lack of rb experience is hurting our ability to coach the rb's up into better blitz pick ups. Just basically a little worried about the offensive side of the coaching staff, not like fire people burn it all down worried but worried enough where I don't think we will see improvement this year which you would expect from an elite level coaching staff.  If the only answer is to bring in more talent than that means the coaches aren't as good at coaching people up as everyone liked to claim. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 2:11 PM ^

Drevno is not the problem. An NFL line coach.... C'mon....
The problem is all of Hokes misses. All the guys who washed out, would be playing now....
Fox, LTT, who else.... There are many more.

Drevno has to play sophomores like Bredeson, Onwenu, Ulizio, and start Cole out of position.


October 2nd, 2017 at 5:39 PM ^

Drevno does have credentials. But he's not just an OL coach here and we know it.

And I think Harbaugh knows it, because they brough it another OL coach in the offseason. This is a key difference from Hoke's staff management, when he just stuck with Funk for four miserable, declining years. It's no insult to Drevno's coaching ability to suggest that something has been substandard in line play, because Drevno isn't just a line coach here. Frey, I think, was brought in to shore up what was already understood to be a problem.

Unfortunately, things haven't improved. Granted, though, these guys are really young. And the guys that aren't, especially Kugler, hadn't been able to beat mediocre guys prior to this year. So we're looking at suboptimal personnel at this point.

But basic stuff isn't happening. It's a big boy business and hard decisions may need to be made. At the very least, assignments may need to be juggled. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 2:25 PM ^

The number one offense in the country last year (Oklahoma) had a OL younger than ours, with less starts.


The national champions last year (Clemson) had a OL as young as ours, with less starts.


LT -

Michigan: 2.5 years with coaches, 42 starts, 4* (0.9408) recruit

Oklahoma: 2 years with coaches, 13 starts, 3* (0.8731) recruit

LG -

Michigan: 1 year with coaches, 12 starts, 4* (0.9790) recruit

Oklahoma: 1 year with coaches, 0 starts, 3* (0.8674) recruit

C -

Michigan: 2.5 years with coaches, 1 start, 4* (0.9696) recruit

Oklahoma: 2 years with coaches, 11 starts, 2* (0.7783) recruit

RG -

Michigan: 1 year with coaches, 0 starts, 4* (0.9459) recruit

Oklahoma: 2 years with coaches, 0 starts, 3* (0.8775) recruit

RT -

Michigan: 2 years with coaches, 0 starts, 3* (0.8342) recruit

Oklahoma: 1 year with coaches, 9 starts, 4* (0.8986) recruit

I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2017 at 6:20 PM ^

Explained more in my post below but this is a bad comparision. It conveniently ignores that Oklahoma started the season 1-2 last year, and that they had Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook, and Baker Mayfield: three NFL players and a Heisman finalist.

So the comparison is basically "this Ferrari and Ford Taurus are the same because they both have wheels, doors, and some windows."

I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2017 at 4:49 PM ^

But you're also ignoring the fact that both of those teams had two of the very best QBs in the game, some excellent WRs, and good OCs.  Oklahoma had two NFLers at RB.  That keeps a defense honest and the QBs, WRs, and RBs can bail out the OL with skill. 

But you'll also remember that despite all of that, Oklahoma got wrecked by Ohio State to start the season last year and Mayfield was running for his life frequently because of pressure.  It took Oklahoma a little bit to get going -- they started the year 1-2 before winning their final 10.

Michigan's problem is they don't have a good QB, and they don't have good WRs or RBs.  So defenses don't have to respect that and can just tee off on the OL.  And Michigan can't do fuck all about it because they don't have the players at the skill positions to take advantage and they don't have an offensive coaching staff to scheme up ways to help themselves.

So yes, the age of the OL is similar. But absolutely everything else around that is different.  Oh, and your case study was 2-2 through 4 games and Michigan is 4-0. So maybe things will get better.


October 2nd, 2017 at 2:56 PM ^

He was never a coordinator in the NFL or at Stanford. I got flamed for this last year but I just think he has not managed the dual responsabilities of OC and OL coach well, I think Harbaugh has recognised this now and brought in Frey to help. We will be much better next year I think, with Newsome back potentially and the 3 freshman tackles we got this year we should be able to field a better group. 


October 2nd, 2017 at 4:58 PM ^

Something's amiss,

OL coaching, play calling?

Not fealing great right now. Competition hasn't been performing great, save Florida near misses.

Purdue looked like a beast on defense, really?? Maybe that was just the DC head shots!

I'm counting on a wake up. Not necessarily O'Korn, just better offense. Please please OL.


Still...M by 20? I'll take 10.....Ok I'll take a win :-)

F... sake!

814 East U

October 2nd, 2017 at 1:20 PM ^

It cuts even deeper when I am seeing Becton at Louisville and Jackson at Iowa playing. I do not know if they are any good, but those were guys we went after late and whiffed on. RT is a black hole.


October 2nd, 2017 at 4:19 PM ^

because those guys aren't super talented and they're also inexperienced.

One can lament the fact we failed to get an elite OT that year and had we taken even some three stars, the Plan Bs or others, they might be ready to go for next year (which is going to be a huge question mark again after Cole leaves).



October 2nd, 2017 at 1:26 PM ^

It's getting weird that offensive line is not progressing. Drevno has an excellent record of producing great offensive lines, and so does Harbaugh. Now they have brought in one of the better assistants in college football at that position.

I'm really hoping that the explanation is simply that Kugler has never been able to get the line calls correct. It might explain why he hasn't been able to see the field until now, but that seems like such a coachable skill that I'm having a hard time buying it.


October 2nd, 2017 at 2:18 PM ^

"Drevno has an excellent record of producing great offensive lines"


Not really... Outside Stanford it isn't really the case (well, maybe the 49ers - but he was the co-OL coach there with Mike Solari)


Comparing Drevno years vs. the average of 2 years before and 2 years after Drevno:



Before/after: 4.1 yards per carry

Drevno: 3.6 yards per carry



Before/after: 4.0 yards per carry

Drevno: 3.6 yards per carry



Before/after: 4.4 yards per carry

Drevno: 5.3 yards per carry



Before/after: 4.8 yards per carry

Drevno: 4.0 yards per carry


October 2nd, 2017 at 1:30 PM ^

By far the most alarming thing about Harbaugh's tenure at UM, amoung the many many positives, is the utter lack at improved OL play.  Drevno has had success with OL in the past, but I gotta start looking at him now.  This unit over the last three years has been the most underperforming, and lease improving one so far.  It's probably the reason UM doesn't have any hardward yet.  And this year looks to be the same.  

Also, I didn't watch Purdue's other games, but against Louisville, they did get a bunch of pressure on the QB, but Lamar Jackson Houdini'd Louisville out of quite a few sacks.  At least from what I could remember.

I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2017 at 6:26 PM ^

Its crazy too because outside of the QB, that was the one thing we all assumed would get fixed instantly when he got hired.  I think we all underestimated the complete hot mess left behind by Hoke, and some recruiting misses on the OL hasn't helped at all.

But hey, going into the year I thought the basic theme of the offense would be "work in progress" due to the youth and everything would be heading towards a great 2018.  I still feel that way. The offense has only played 4 games, they'll get better after the bye week, and will continue to get better as the year goes on.