Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 6th, 2018 at 4:23 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: Notre Dame was 90% shotgun/pistol with a tight end, with occasional forays under center to do something throwback-related. Michigan was split almost evenly between their 4-2-5 and a 3-3-5. FWIW, unless Michigan lined up without a true zero tech nose in the 3-3-5 I called it a stack even if the LBs were running around doing things. Depending on how dogmatic you want to be this is incorrect nomenclature. Example:

stack-ish

So that doesn't feel like a 3-4 since the DEs are real edge DEs spread out over the edge but the LBs are not, you know, stacked. This was distinguished from "nickel split," which was a pass rush defense where Bush would nominally fill at DT spot. 

nickel split

There were three snaps on which Michigan had two ILBs out there with Furbush.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: A lot of rotation. Winovich and Gary got most of the snaps at DE but both Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson got a drive or two worth. It was about the same ratio at DT with Marshall and Mone as starters and Dwumfour and Solomon backing up. Dwumfour got more run that Solomon; Kemp got a few snaps.

At LB Hudson and Bush were nearly omnipresent. Hudson was lifted for a few snaps where Michigan had three actual LBs on the field but was otherwise a constant presence. Bush had some cramps that knocked him out for a while. During those periods both Josh Ross and Devin Gil were on the field; they otherwise split snaps at WLB, with Ross seeming to have a slight edge. Josh Uche and Noah Furbush got scattered snaps.

In the secondary, Kinnel omnipresent. Metellus went out early with the targeting call. Hawkins got most of that work with J'Marick Woods getting a drive or two worth of snaps. Hill, Long, and Watson absorbed almost all the CB snaps. Thomas got in for a few. Maybe one?

[After THE JUMP: bah! gah! ah.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace trips tight 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 0
Bush(+1) blitzes off the trips side, splitting two guys. Both guys turn to deal with him. Gil(+1) knocks over an OL releasing to him; Gary(+0.5) slants to an interior gap and fills it with Gil. Cutback to a more or less unblocked Hudson(+0.5) and Metellus(+0.5). Marshall and Mone your DT package.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Fly Hill Inc
Attempted fade #1. Michigan is actually backing out into zone; max pro so only 3 guys in the route. Winovich(+2, pressure +1) rips through the LT in a flash and flushes. Gary(+0.5) is there to contain after getting doubled. Wimbush chucks a prayer up that Hill(+1, cover +1) could intercept but the WR plays defense. Maybe a window here since this guy is super tall but Metellus(+0.5) came over the top well and got a hit on the WR.
O25 3 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 5 Drag N/A 16
ND blows their pick up; Winovich(+1, pressure +3) gets a free run. Doesn’t matter as M gets RPSed hard here, with primary receiver motioning in presnap and two interior guys running downfield, creating a blockade Hill can’t get around. Hill looks to point out the guy as he motions, maybe he expects a switch here if his guy releases inside? Kinnel(-1, tackling -1) comes up hard and misses a tackle. Wouldn’t have stopped the conversion but would have saved some yards. (RPS –2, cover –2)
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Fade Hill 28
More or less an Ole Miss play from last year. Screen to one side, option to go after one on one coverage on the other. Hill (-2, cover -2) probably can’t do much about this because Wimbush hits the window perfectly, WR has to fall forward to catch the ball, but he turns his head too soon and loses contact, then pulls on the WR, drawing a flag.
M31 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-2-5 4-4 even Press one high Pass 5 Y-cross Hill Inc
Excellent time(pressure -2) before Mone pushes the pocket a little and Winovich spins through. Gary(-1) is easily locked out and shoved way upfield by the RT so Wimbush can casually move up in the gap he left. This ball is between two WRs and very badly thrown but I think he’s trying to hit the same WR on a crossing route that Hill(-1, cover -1) is way out of phase on after overplaying the fade. Long(+1, cover +1) is under the nearby corner route and would have a shot at a pick if it was actually thrown at him.
M31 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone read keeper Kinnel 5 +13 pen
Formation and M’s package ends up putting Watson, in for Hill, at FS, as Kinnel overhangs over the short side. M inserts Furbush(+0.5) and this works like it did last year, getting Bush through, but play is to the backside. Dwumfour(-2) is locked up and ejected. Winovich(-0.5) is shuffling down and doesn’t react to the pull as quickly as you’d like. Kinnel’s(-1) blocker doesn’t block him, instead running a route, and he’s able to fall off to hold the gain down, but he grabs a facemask to do so.
M13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone stretch Dwumfour 13
Wooooof. M lines Furbush and Hudson up to the backside of this play and sends them. Line is slanting away from this and wants to force it back to those blitzers. Except Dwumfour(-3), who fires upfield and gets buried. Academic from there. Kinnel misses a tackle at the 3 but this goes so vertical so quickly I don’t think many players make this play.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O4 1 10 ??? ??? ??? ??? Run N/A ??? N/A 2
Tape doesn’t have this play.
O6 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3-4 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Pin and pull Metellus -1
M blitzes Metellus(+1) right into this. He’s able to stay up on a cut attempt and force it back. Furbush(+0.5) read and flowed just as quickly, missing a tackle but constricting space. Gary(+0.5) is able to work over after defeating a block; Watson(+0.5) falls off his WR. Three guys meet at the LOS. RPS +1.
O5 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3-4 4-3 over Press one high Pass 5 Slot fade Furbush 26 + 15 pen
Leisurely post snap so seemingly no reason not to sub and get your 4-3 off the field. Instead it’s still on, on third and nine, and Furbush(+1, cover +1) draws man coverage on a slot fade. He honestly doesn’t do a bad job; ball is again placed in a spot where the WR has to fall away from the defender to catch it. Metellus(-2) rushes over and tries to separate the WR from the ball, drawing an obvious targeting call. If he hits this a little different and the ball comes out it’s a great play. Tough to ask him not to try this. Marshall(+0.5) and Winovich(+0.5) had broken through to pressure(+1).
O46 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Dash read Bush 2
Read play on which the line blocks IZ and the back immediately tries to flank the shuffle DE and get to the outside while the QB goes straight upfield. RB manages to flank Gary but Devin Bush(+2) is also on the field and you're trying to outflank that guy without a blocker. Instead you get blasted. (Tackling +1)
O48 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 RB flare Bush 2
TE motions over and runs a route that is very explicitly an attempt to block Bush. Bush goes around it, and around another pick, and is there on the catch(+1, cover +1) to put down the back for a minimal gain.
50 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 5 Scramble Ross 7
Pass rush exotic with the line slid to the bottom and Furbush as a standup end. Furbush(+1) gets around the corner at 7-8 yards but there’s a lane right inside him as Ross(-2) fires out directly upfield on his blitz. Marshall slants right to where he is. Gary goes around on a stunt. Ross is right next to Marshall, big gap. Bush(-1) is in man on the back and doesn’t read that he’s blocking fast enough to find Wimbush.
M43 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4–3-4 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Post Hawkins 43
Second team line in. PA, max pro, nobody comes through until late (pressure -2). Wimbush just chucks it into coverage and gets paid off when Hawkins(-3, cover +1) literally deflects the ball into Finke’s chest. This wasn’t the ball being taken away. Gah.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-14, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Gary -3
Bush and Hudson blitz up the gut, which feels pretty dangerous against a stretch; Gary(+2) rips through his blocker, gets outside, gets into a second blocker, and paves the way for Hawkins(+1), who’s a cover 2 safety here, to contain and TFL.
O17 2 13 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 Bubble screen N/A -1
Poorly thrown ball takes WR off his feet. Seems like Uche(+0.5) had beat a block to make this happen anyway.
O16 3 14 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Nickel split Press one high Pass 3 Y-cross Watson Inc
Speed rushes from both DEs and not much from the NT; Bush is in a spy role. Both DEs get around at 8 but with nothing else rushing Wimbush can step up easily and throw. Wimbush throws it in front of his guy and he can’t bring it. Watson(+0.5) in reasonable position and might have a play. Pressure -1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-14, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A QB dash keeper Gary 6
Zone stretch look with a keep from Wimbush as Gary shuffles down. Gary(-0.5) gets beat to the corner for a yard or two more than you’d like.
O31 2 4 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Zone read keeper Ross 2
Ross in overhang as M has a zone look, ND maybe not ready to deal with M zone looks yet. They’ve clearly put a lot of time into man to man beaters. Winovich shuffles down enough that Wimbush pulls. Ross(+1) fills, forcing a bend around him, and is able to tackle after that bend for a meh gain.
O33 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A QB crack sweep Kinnel 3
I don’t know what M’s defense is doing. Kinnel goes in motion with a TE that comes across the formation. On the snap Hudson bails out from the line and Bush runs the other way, taking himself out of the play. Hudson can’t respond in time. Kinnel(+1) does a good job to flow out and tackle, beating a block, but Wimbush runs him over because physics. RPS -1, whatever M was doing was bad news against this play.
O36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Counter speed option Winovich 12
Very common college play now where RB takes mesh step, DE goes into shuffle, and then DE gets edged badly on speed option. Winovich(-2) the victim and I’ll put this more on him instead of RPS because he’s seen this before. Ross(-1) hacked down by a cut block, outside guys in man, easy chunk. RPS -1; M showed man, ND check, big gain.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel under Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 2
Gary(+1) runs over a tight end and gets to the gap the RB is attacking. Marshall(+0.5) is vaguely in the area and the RB bangs into him to help.
50 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Tackle power Mone 5
Weird thing. Power with the weakside tackle pulling. Zone read fake holds the DE to make this non suicidal, pretty cool. Mone(+0.5) holds up against a double that can’t really get off on anyone. Marshall(-0.5) kind of inert, not terrible not great, doesn’t fight to the gap. Bush and Ross take on blockers and make the tackle after fending them off.
M45 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 5 RB flare Ross Inc (Pen +10)
We never get a replay here but I think this penalty is garbage. Ross flows into the flat and blasts the running back. This is legal. I don’t see any grabbing by Ross, he just blasts the RB to the ground, and then after a pump the QB throws it and they throw a flag because it looks bad. Refs -3, this is a drive stopper. Winovich(+2, pressure +2) beat his guy and forced this throw to no one.
M35 1 10 Ace empty twin TE stack 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Throwback screen Kinnel 15 (Pen -5)
Wimbush hops under center and has two guys lined up behind the right tackle, weird. Motion from a WR like they’re going to jet and then one of the wing TE guys releases backside for a throwback screen. Winovich(+1) reads this and nobody else does. He forces it back inside the numbers. Kinnel(-1) does what he does and comes in super hot, getting pushed past by an OL and doing little useful. Chunk play gets called back because the other wing TE guy made a tiny step forward as the WR was in motion. RPS -2.
M40 1 15 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-2 dime Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Dwumfour 11
Paye(+2, pressure +2) around the corner at eight, forcing an immediate flush. Dwumfour(-2) is the relevant DT. He slants towards Paye, gets hit by a guard, does not drive guard, fights inside away from Paye, big hole, scramble, pressure -2. RPS –1, I guess? You're asking for this with a three man line asking Hutchinson and Dwumfour to fill the interior spaces? I don't want to have an 11 yard play that nets at zero.
M29 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Flash screen Hudson 9
M badly positioned to deal with this with Hudson in an overhang and coming to the center of the field on the snap. Watson(-1) is passive and locked out by the blocker; he fires upfield and removes himself. Hudson comes down to tackle after the first down. RPS -1.
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A QB power Woods 3
M lucks out here as Wimbush busts. his is a called QB run with a tackle pulling to the wide side on which M is cooked with Paye(-1) fighting inside and giving no thought to contain, though the pattern of the play might throw him off. M has nooobody to the play design except Gil but Wimbush takes so long to get there that Woods(+1) is able to fill and hold the gain down.
M17 2 7 I-Form 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Counter pitch Woods 1
Hudson(+1) in overhang; he comes hard and takes out the fullback, forcing a bend. Woods(+1, tackling +1) is coming on this very quickly, perhaps anticipating a run from under center; he makes a nice tackle for little gain. RPS +1.
M16 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A QB draw Bush? 5
QB draw; feels like someone busts as Dwumfour(+1) effectively dives inside his guy and gets penetration and no one loops around to replace him. I think it’s Bush(-2), who feints to it and then stops. With no replacement Gil gets whacked by a free releasing RB. Wimbush looks like he’s going to get it. Hawkins(+1) comes up with a productive missed tackle that forces Wimbush outside; Bush(+0.5) is able to recover and force him out. ND then gets a full extra yard on a horrible spot.
M11 4 1 Goal line Goal line Goal line Press one high Run N/A QB sneak N/A 2
This is actually fourth and an inch after the terrible spot. Wonder if Kelly’s going for it if it’s a long one like it should have been. They get it.
M9 1 G Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel under Press one high Pass 4 Sack Winovich -9
Wimbush has one covered(+1) read and then he’s snowed under, with Winovich(+2) beating his guy and getting there at the same instant Bush(+2) did, with a delayed Gil coming up the gut a step later to make this comprehensively doomed. (Pressure +4)
M18 2 G Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Okie one Press one high Pass 4 Throwback screen Hawkins 10
Not a lot of recognition here that it’s a screen. Hawkins(+0.5) alone in a ton of space and does okay, mostly beating an OL and forcing the WRs first few steps to be horizontal. This allows Winovich(-0.5) to flow out on it and while his motor is impressive he holds up for a second so he doesn’t get cut behind and allows the guy by on the sideline. Kinnel comes in to clean up.
M8 3 G Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 Nickel split Press two high Pass 3 Dig Hawkins Inc (Pen +4)
This is a garbage call as well, with Winovich hitting Wimbush in a non dangerous area a second, maybe, after the ball is out. The slow mo is two seconds tops. Garbage, garbage, garbage. Refs -3. The play is Michigan dropping eight and Wimbush missing a fairly well covered WR on a dig.
M4 1 G Goal line Goal line Goal line Press one high Run N/A Power O N/A 4
This may have worked anyway but it gets the corner because the pulling G latches onto Hill and tackles him, arms around the shoulder pads. Refs -3.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-21, 4 min 2nd Q. Thomas returns ensuing kickoff for TD.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Paye 8
Looks like a standard zone read in the backfield and then two guys pull around. This successfully options off Hudson on the back and gives ND a hat for every guy. Play must be made and is not. Paye(-2) comes in and hits one puller. He gets sealed without enough penetration to pick off the other guy, who goes and cuts Bush. Bush manages to force it back and it’s asking a ton for him to do much else. Ross(+0.5) does a nice job to come off his guy after a blitz and track tis down before it gets to the S. 
O30 2 2 Pistol 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Power O Marshall 2
Marshall(-1) can’t hold up to a double and gets pancaked. Gary(+1) squeezes down to fill that gap and sheds a TE to tackle as the back passes; Bush(+0.5) scrapes over to help.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Run N/A Insert iso Mone 2
Mone(+1) does a nice job to stand up and shed single blocking, forcing the back to go a bit more horizontal than he wants and giving LB level more time to rally. Bush(+0.5) and Ross(+0.5) get there to hold the damage down.
O34 2 8 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 4 Tunnel screen Ross 3
Ross(+2) is the primary defender here and does a great job to juke his way pass the free releasing C; WR assumes C will kick Ross out and when Ross shows up his attempted spin doesn’t work thanks to a nice open field tackle(+1). Third and short at best if this doesn’t happen but damage probably not severe thanks to cover 2 S in area.
O37 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel split Press two high Pass 6 Dig Long 13
Long(-2, cover -2) gets dusted here as he way overplays a potential fade and is nowhere in the area code when it turns into an in route. Winovich(+2, pressure +2) around at eight to hit just after the throw.
50 1 10 Pistol twin TE twins 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone read keeper Hawkins 0
Blitz up the gut results in a pull as it looks like Michigan has no edge. They’re in zone, though, so Hawkins(+0.5) and Hill(+0.5) are not run off by routes and can contain and then tackle. RPS +2.
50 2 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass N/A Throwback screen Hawkins Inc
Another blitz; ND runs a screen one way whoops screen the other play that Wimbush seems to flat out miss for no reason. Hawkins(+0.5) had put himself in a good spot to get a tackle if there’s a catch. Ball floats right to him but he cannot bring it in as he gets hit by an OL.
50 3 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Nickel split Press two high Pass 4 Fly Winovich Inc
Winovich(+2, pressure +2) around the edge and tackled, flag. This gives Wimbush time to load up and throw. It’s another bomb into double coverage. This one is long. Kinnel and Hill both behind the WR but have plays on many balls; push.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-21, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer give Kinnel 3
Kinnel(+1) creeps down presnap once the RB motions into the backfield and is 5 yards off the LOS. No apparent edge from M as Winovich shuffles; give. Kinnel comes up and tackles in space. Winovich with an assist. RPS +1.
O30 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 5 Fly Winovich INT
M gets caught off guard by tempo but Winovich(+3, pressure +3) is lined up and runs the RT over, hitting on the throw. That throw sails and is at Watson,(+2) who was 6-7 yards off the WR because he wasn’t lined up right so he’s two yards over the top and makes a tough over the shoulder INT.
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-21, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O45 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Pin and pull Ross 0
Same P&P from earlier. Gil(+1) blitzes off edge and stands up one puller to restrict space. Ross(+1) finds the play and hits the other guy, rocking him back. Winovich(+1) sheds his guy to tackle in the phonebooth the LBs provided.
O45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 5 Throwback wheel Gary Inc
Another throwback, this one trying to get the RB out on single LB coverage. RB does have a step on Ross down the sideline but Ross is booking and has a play on various balls. Ball never gets there as Gary(+1) and Winovich(+1) get in QB’s face too fast for him to set. Pressure +2.
O45 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 Fade Winovich Inc
Winovich(+1) dives inside and gets through the LT; Gary(+1) gets around the RT; Hudson(+1) goes through the RB. All three guys meet at Wimbush(pressure +3). Wimbush throws a fade that’s well beyond Hill and his man. Hill(+0.5) in his hip pocket.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-21, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Zone read keeper Hawkins 2
Zone read with the TE running in the flat as a third option. Wimbush thinks about it but nah. Hawkins(+1) safety to the hash; he reads it and flows up fast with some help from Gary(+0.5) chasing him wide. Hawkins makes an authoritative tackle. RPS +1.
O30 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 Sack Bush -10
Bush(+3) and Hudson blitz; Bush shoots by the LG before he can react and is in on Wimbush for a rabid squirrel sack(pressure +3). Jumps on his back and everything.
O20 3 18 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A QB draw Ross 22
Very bad when QB can go straight upfield. Dwumfour rips through his guy and gets aggressive. He at least absorbs the RB but he’s out of his lane. Solomon(-1) gets turned upfield and locked out. Downfield Bush is in all the space and has a blocker. Ross(-2) is dropping; he checks outside and then goes back to the QB, reacting really really slowly to this. Bush chases him but has too much space to shut down. Hawkins(-1) reacts slowly as well; if he ‘s as fast as Kinnel this is probably a yard or two short.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Hudson 3
Hudson(+1) cuts off the outside, jarring one puller back. Bush has the other puller and redirects when the RB cuts upfield, does ok. Hutchinson(+0.5) fends off his blocker with an arm and then gets around him as he stumbles; Dwumfour(+0.5) gave ground to get around and gets to the POA.
O45 2 7 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone read belly Uche 11
Hutchinson(-1) blown too far down the line by a double; Uche(-2) can’t shut all that space down and then misses his tackle attempt. With Bush blitzing to the edge he has QB contain; Uche should be flying directly to back for TFL. RPS +1.
M44 1 10 Ace H 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Pass 5 Improv Gil 19
PA sees M blitz backside so Gil(-2, tackling -2) gets a free run. He comes in super hot and tries to tackle up high and gets spun off of. Poor damn Don Brown. Now that Wimbush is out of the pocket he can hit the wide open Y cross guy, who Woods(-3, cover -3) has completely busted on as he sucks up on the play action. RPS +2, Pressure +2.
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Dwumfour -4
This is Hurst-ish. Big help as ND busts a pin and pull, pulling C to RT. One of those guys has to stay for Dwumfour or this happens. Dwumfour(+2) does jet into the backfield fast and make it count.
M29 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Pin and pull Hawkins 3
Winovich(+1) penetrates upfield inside of a TE block to pick off one puller. Back heads outside as it’s a mess inside. Hawkins(+0.5) is pulled up to the LOS and moving forward at the snap so he’s easily able to fill on the edge. Watson(+0.5) falls off his guy to help tackle. RPS +1.
M26 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 4 Fade Watson 26 (Pen -5)
Watson clearly singled up as he’s playing off a bit and the safety is shaded to the two WR side. Watson (-2, cover -2) gets smoked. WR feints out and then bursts upfield of him to the inside, two steps. Wimbush’s throw isn’t great and is also perfect? He’s got a big window and instead throws a pass that would be complete against any coverage. Enormous DOD and proabbly not what was intended but it works. And it gets called back for illegal man downfield as Boykin covered up a TE. Pocket comfortable(-1) on a quick throw.
M31 3 16 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Run N/A QB draw Winovich 0
Winovich(+0.5) loops inside and slows Wimbush; Dwumfour(+0.5) chips in there too, as does Hudson(+0.5). Gil(+0.5) cleans up a stumbling Wimbush just past the LOS.
Drive Notes: FG(48), 10-24, 3 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Split zone Gil 5
M goes light and stunts and ND catches it with a good call. Winovich vacates the POA. Gil(-0.5) fills it and gets beat up by an OL. He’s line up on the LOS so this is real tough. Hudson kicked; Kinnel(+1, tackling +1) comes down and makes a nice tackle. RPS -1.
O41 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass N/A Flash screen Uche 4
Uche(+1) in overhang. He reads the non-mesh and focuses on the WR, getting out in time to make a tackle after a couple yards.
O45 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary 1
Ross(+0.5) inserts at velocity and rocks his guy back. Gets buried but resets part of the LOS. Kemp(-1) surges upfield and gets knocked over, giving RB a critical bit of space that Gary(+2) fills but cannot quite prevent the first down. Except… uh… it kind of looks like he does. It’s too close to overturn and not as egregious as some other spots in this game.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Pin and pull Winovich -3
Winovich(+3) fires into the first puller and rocks him back deep in the backfield. RB tries to go inside. Winovich is also there. RB tries to go back outside. Grab, TFL.
O43 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-2 dime Press two high Pass 5 TE seam Uche Inc
Five man rush stoned(pressure -2). Uche(+1) in trail on a TE seam and could do better on this but replay shows that he grabs the TE’s hand just as the ball arrives and forces the incompletion. He then lets go of the hand and gets his hands up, uselessly, but the deed is shakily done already. Cover +1.
O43 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Okie one Press one high Run N/A Down G Uche -3
Uche(+1) off the edge as M shows pass rush exotic; he gets blocked but forces RB inside where Winovich cleans up for TFL.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-24, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O44 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 4-2-5 ??? Press two high Run N/A Zone read belly Dwumfour 10
Dwumfour(-2) blown out by the double on the backside, like blown out blown out. Winovich has to contain the QB and does, handoff, Gil(-1) gets lost on the inside, RB to safety. S is actually Thomas, iffy tackle.
M46 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Zone read belly Winovich 0
Same play. Should definitely hand off. Dwumfour(-1) blown out but less badly; Gil(-1) buries self. Winovich(+1) splits the difference better this time and induces a keep he can flow out on. Kinnel(+0.5) help clean it up on the sideline.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 2TE 3-3-5 3-3 over Press two high Run N/A Power O Uche 3
Exotic line. M slants away from the play and Winovich loops further away; LBs fill. Ross(+1) rocks his guy back and forces inside. Uche(+0.5) benefits from not actually being blocked and finishes the play after a few.
M43 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass 5 In Winovich Inc
Winovich(+1, pressure +2) runs by the RG and gets quick pressure that forces a wide throw. Long got rubbed legally and was behind this (cover -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-24, 5 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun twin TE twins 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Dwumfour 2
Probably Dwumfour’s(+2) best play of the night as he gets a bonafide double and rips the outside guy by him. He then surges up in the gap the RB is attacking; RB manages to slip a tough tackle attempt but Watson can finish. Gary(-1) got blown back when he tried to shed and that helps ND gain a couple.
O27 2 8 Shotgun 2TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A QB power Mone 2
Mone(+1) shoves his guy back, impeding the puller. This allows Gil(+1) to get to the POA unmolested. Puller does get around to him but late. Hawkins(+0.5) comes down to help finish.
O29 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keep Ross 3
Puller loses himself in the line for no apparent reason. Ross(+1) anticipates and whacks the WR crack block and forces Wimbush to bend around him. Gil(+0.5) comes back from the RB contain to tackle with help from Winovich(+0.5).
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-24, 2 min 4th Q. Kneels not charted, EOG.

I see we're delaying the OL bit as long as possible

shut up

This was also unpleasant

why are you the way you are

Michigan football?

Fair, fair.

ok, WHA HAPPEN MY BEAUTIFUL DEFENSE

Drive chart overview thing:

  • TD drives of 75, 96, and 75* yards.
  • 41 yard FG drive
  • 28 yard drive ends in punt
  • 3 three and outs, including an INT, two first-down-and-outs.

ND did pack it in for their last two drives as they tried to four-minute drill the rest of the game away. M gave up one first down between those two drives.

Not to last year's standard. Not awful, though?

The asterisk?

ND's third touchdown drive was real real frustrating. ND got a holding call on Josh Ross that looks bogus, a friendly spot that led to a fourth and inches conversion that should have been fourth and 1.5, a very tenuous roughing call, and then held the bejeezus out of Hill on their TD.

But still fairly meh.

I mean. Given the nature of many of ND's yards it's sort of okay? There were three main issues. One was Notre Dame attacking Michigan's man coverage early. Live I thought someone had busted a coverage on ND's first third down, but it was an RPS play where Hill gets (legally) rubbed off. There were a couple more early pass patterns that picked or sought to pick off M.

Another version of this attacked Michigan's tendency to go single high. Here Hawkins is the free safety; ND runs one of those zone-read-to-speed-option plays that are becoming the rage against shuffling DEs. Winovich gets edged here and that's all she wrote:

DE #15 to bottom, also #20 FS

You can defend that from single high but you have to get a good play from your DE and that'll weaken your ability to defend zone read belly stuff, which ND ran with some frequency. That's a luxury Michigan had last year with Mo Hurst. Less so this year.

Several other ND plays attempted to attack this same area, but after Michigan had moved to two high looks they got about three yards each. The RPS in this game started out like –7 but after Michigan went to more zone/two high looks it got back to balanced by the end of the game.

Okay but all the bombs? What happened to my precious secondary?

Issue number two. A couple of those were concerning. The first one saw Hill beaten over the top and lose contact in a way we didn't see all of last year:

 

Watson also got toasted crispy on the called-back touchdown:

That looks like the world's most badass throw from Wimbush but is probably errant. The coverage does not demand that degree of difficulty on the throw or from the WR. It also gives Watson zero chance to recover because it's (accidentally) unguardable. The deep shot at Furbush was similar:

I was cranky about this in the immediate post game, but Furbush is in excellent position. He just has no play because Wimbush puts it just over the outside shoulder of his WR. If the offense gets it exactly right you lose. Wimbush does, despite having to back up because of quick pressure. And FFS:

image_thumb8

That's a back-foot completion. Football! What a terrible thing.

There are many acceptable throws on which a defender can do something, as Uche did on another deep shot:

Because that ball is not undefendable Uche's able to grab the TE's hand at the critical moment and induce the drop. Three of Wimbush's four deep hits in this game were two instances of iffy coverage and three throws that were unguardable in any circumstances.

On various other punts Wimbush was just chucking it and hoping. One of these was of course a touchdown. Was it brutally painful to go over the tape in detail and discover that Brad Hawkins hadn't had the ball ripped away but had more or less pushed the ball directly into the chest of the WR?

Yes. Yep. Yes. What happens if the WR is not there is Hawkins deflects the ball upwards behind him instead of intercepting. Unfortunately there is a Finke in the way.

Other chucks were full Rex Grossman, like his first pass, a flushed rollout into a bracketed WR that Hill almost intercepted...

...and the actual interception.

He was hit on that but he's also throwing a fade at a WR who is two steps behind a DB who was (accidentally) playing off. Given Wimbush's general level of polish, I doubt that was an attempted back-shoulder that got disrupted.

Wimbush had a lot of success bombing it downfield last year and ND has a fleet of 6'5" guys, so some of this was to be expected. It still feels if we replay the game 100 times the average Wimbush performance is unlikely to feature strikes quite so unguardable and tosses up another turnover or two. Which he did. Except not quite.

Thing the third?

Michigan's DT play was a disappointment. Marshall and Mone started, which is bad news since those are low-upside seniors and not the guys we were told are the hotness through the offseason. I did not clip a single Marshall thing. He was all but invisible. While Mone was his solid and generally unmovable self he offers no pass rush. What he did chip in was some decent stuff against the run that let other people make plays:

#90 NT

That's all right in the context of the Michigan D, but we were hoping for more. Nobody was in the same solar system as even early versions of Hurst, or, like, Ryan Glasgow. How about a

churt

churt?

cant be bothere to spell no more

All right. The chart is not like the last couple years of charts:

Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 10.5 2.5 8 Not dominant, not bad.
Marshall 1 1.5 -0.5 This is our concern.
Mone 2.5   2.5 I'll take it?
Winovich 25 3 22 3.5 TFLs and almost two forced INTs, constantly disruptive.
Paye 2 3 -1 Good edge rush, some youngin' stuff.
Dwumfour 6 10 -4 Blown out way too much.
Solomon   1 -1 Barely played. Gotta be a health issue?
Hutchinson 0.5 1 -0.5 Looked promising for down the road.
Kemp   1 -1  
TOTAL 46.5 22 24.5 Someone needs to step up and help the DEs.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Furbush 3   3 Edge rush and good coverage that got beat.
Bush 10.5 3 7.5 Still bush.
Gil 4 4.5 -0.5 Not bad for first start.
Ross 7.5 5 2.5 Liked him a bit better though.
Uche 4 2 2 Not a ton of impact but functional.
TOTAL 29 14.5 14.5 Very acceptable.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 4   4 Somewhat muted but still fine.
Metellus 2 2 0 Doing well until axed.
Kinnel 3.5 3 0.5 Eh.
Hill 2 3 -1 Didn't get tested much after the long reception.
Long 1 2 -1 Beat badly once and not targeted much.
Watson 3.5 3 0.5 Beat very badly on called back TD.
Thomas       DNC
Hawkins 5.5 4 1.5 One bad thing, lots of little good ones
TOTAL 21.5 17 4.5 Coverage metric ungood.
Metrics
Pressure 32 13 +19 Couldn't make it count.
Coverage 7 10 -3 : /
Tackling 4 3 +1 Safeties did good work.
RPS 10 9 +1 Started off ugly, recovered.

Ugh? I mean?

It's not exactly bad, with giant net positives for the front seven. There are some major spots of concern, most clearly everyone on the DL except the starting DEs.

WHY NO DWUMFOUR SNAPS HE GOTS THE HYPES?

Well, you know what they say about offseason hype.

LIES

This one is especially painful given how much hype has been hyped and Michigan's clear need for a disruptive DT to run Don Brown's stuff. Dwumfour was not up for this game, especially early. He got in late on the first drive and got his ass kicked on his first two plays. This one wasn't super relevant but wooooooof:

NT #50

This didn't get better when Dwumfour met double teams. He got ejected a couple times.

On the next play Michigan is slanting to a zone stretch. Dwumfour does not slant, instead going directly upfield and getting sat upon:

NT #50

He disappeared for a long while after that. The first play I noted after that was a standout example of Michigan's DTs making sure their DEs didn't get paid off. Here Kwity Paye gets an impressive edge rush; Dwumfour is unable to push the pocket closed and then gets lost as he assumes an upfield move. Scramble:

Paye though? Silver lining? /kicks dirt

Dwumfour did have a couple plays late. His TFL was, unfortunately, a bust by ND as all three guys to the backside of a pin and pull pulled. You have to leave one back there otherwise you get TFLed. Dwumfour did show excellent get off to make it count. His shed on ND's final drive was important, as it set up second and long, and is a block beaten:

#50 DT to bottom

There's your niblet of hope.

Let's try not to overreact. Dwumfour is a redshirt sophomore who got his first start against a Harry Hiestand OL in its Wile E Coyote year. This might be the second-toughest outfit he faces all year (Wisconsin). But even if we're taking it easy with the conclusions, you can dump 80% of that "bigger Mo Hurst" stuff in the trash. And Michigan knew it! They started Lawrence Marshall over him, and probably should have. Ugh, offseason talk. The disturbing prospect is that Dwumfour looked good because he was playing Michigan's interior line.

Expectations should revise downward sharply here; hopefully Dwumfour can stabilize himself as an average Big Ten player over the course of the year and aspire towards more down the road. Let-down city.

Similarly: what happened to all that Uche talk?

Uche did have the PBU-ish activity above and a couple other decent plays. He was otherwise not impactful. He did have one pretty bad play. Here Bush loops around for the QB so Uche doesn't have edge contain; he should be free to go clobber the back at the mesh point. Instead he shuffles and then misses a tackle:

Hutchinson got blown out by a double but that shouldn't matter.

Paye though?

Paye was the most obviously promising debutant on D. He got around the corner a couple times. He looks like he'll be a player. He had his bad moments, too, albeit in situations that are understandable. Here ND runs a pin and pull for the first time; it looks just like zone read in the backfield so when Paye is let go he shuffles. He ends up sealed inside:

That didn't recur. He'll have some bumps; he's the backup DL I'm most pleased to see.

Okay then how do we get this DE rush to pay off?

I'm not sayin', I'm just saying:

#3 DE to bottom

That blitz turns Gary into a DT, more or less, and he drives his man. Gil loops around. Wimbush doesn't have a clear path to step up and gets buried by two guys. Gary's ability to put the tackle here...

image_thumb15

...makes a huge difference. With Winovich killing it and Paye flashing potential, Gary at DT on passing downs appeals.

Full time is probably out of the question. I don't know if they've repped him at 3-tech at all and that might have some bad results if they try it on run downs; they don't have much depth past Paye unless you want to count a true freshman. But I'll trade whatever edge rush M gives up by sliding Gary down for the ability to pay Paye and Winovich off better.

Also this might sound dumb but Mone might help if he can just push his guy back a few yards and do nothing else. And Solomon's playing time was all but nonexistent, which almost has to be an injury issue given that he'd already passed Mone by midseason last year.

That coverage number is... what do you call it... negative. WTF?

It's also tiny. A total of 17 points issued is miniscule, so this is small sample size. It's not great sample size. The CBs were indeed off. Hill got toasted on a Y-cross shortly after that first fade where he's not close enough to make a play. Wimbush just misses here:

CB #24 to bottom

We have a season worth of data that says Hill is an NFL-level corner. This was a poor game. Long, too, ate it on a similar route:

I'm just not used to seeing guys this open against Michigan cornerbacks. The early bombs might have had an effect here. If Wimbush misses on those early fades maybe the Michigan cornerbacks aren't so worried about a repeat that this happens.

At least there were good bits?

Michigan's stars were stars. Winovich was dominant. In all ways. He was able to edge rush with impunity, and he ran over the RT on the interception:

#15 DE to top

He was able to stand up and rock back OL pulling to him even though they're considerably bigger:

#15 DE to bottom

He nearly forced another INT by flushing Wimbush on his first throw, but the WR broke it up. He did get edged on that speed option above. Almost everything else involving him was Winovich wreaking havoc. An AA level performance against a good OL.

Gary wasn't quite as rampant but often got around at about the same time as Winovich did on plays that didn't end in sacks for reasons. On outside runs to his side he was typically excellent, able to shed guys and flow outside:

#3 DE to top

He and Winovich met at the QB a few times, or rather bashed into each other as the QB flew up in the pocket. Feels like Gary should be speed-to-powering with the assumption Winovich is going to flush some QBs into him if he takes his lane further inside.

Finally: Devin Bush is still real good! Notre Dame had a two play sequence where they wondered if Devin Bush is fast. Turns out he's still fast.

MLB #10

MLB #10

He was his usual squirrel self as a blitzer, most prominently on his sack, which has a rabid squirrel leap on your back and everything:

I have a clip for this.

Bush split two blockers on the first snap of the game, drawing play-long attention from both and still getting an initial hit in on the running back.

MLB #10 moving to trips side presnap

Periodic reminder that Bush's grading is David Harris-level grading and those two guys stand alone as the best Michigan LBs since this column has existed. LBs at zero I'm okay with.

Speaking of LBs at zero?

Both Ross and Gil got meaningful playing time, slightly under a quarter of it together when Bush went out. They were pretty all right. Neither announced themselves Bush-style; neither made a series of glaring errors that made me despair about the whole idea of offseason football talk. Both brought a fair amount of wood. Here they combine to clobber a pin and pull wsg Winovich:

MLB #12 and OLB #36 to bottom

They looked the part, for the most part, except when they were making big errors. Gil had the biggest and most frustrating, when Don Brown dialed him up a free run and he Harrison'd it:

Don't come in so hot.

Meanwhile it was actually Ross, not a defensive tackle, who let Wimbush out on his first scramble. It is never good when you have two pass rushers right on top of each other, and given the shape of this play it's gotta be Ross who needs to be a gap further over so Furbush can pay off his rush:

If a DE is around at eight yards and something bad happens that's not on the DE. Ten? Could be the DE. Probably is.

I will stick up for Ross on his penalty, which did not draw a replay from NBC—possibly for Reasons. This does not look like a hold of any variety. Ross simply blasts the running back to the ground, which is perfectly legal. Ball is nowhere close to being out:

LB #12 to bottom of line

Rubbin's racin'. We know this. It is known. Cumong.

Both Gil and Ross knew what they were doing. They reacted late and/or too eagerly a couple times; each flashed some upside. The fact both played even before Bush went out is a good thing: Michigan has three guys for two spots.

Harbaugh seemed to like Hawkins? Is this like saying we're going to run the same OL out there next week?

No. Hawkins was solid. When not doing that, Hawkins looked fine. After ND started hammering on man coverage Michigan switched to a lot of two high looks and zone. On many of those Hawkins was the designated edge defender, and he looked extremely comfortable coming up to end plays.

#20 S to top

He had four or five of these. On each he was unblocked, got a runner in a decent amount of space, and shut it down after at most a few yards. Maybe not the most challenging aspect of safety play but he did it well.

Heroes?

Winovich, Bush, and Gary.

Maybe not so heroic?

All DTs. Less so Mone and more so Dwumfour. Secondary issues were too spread out to indicate any one person here but as a whole this was not up to their 2017 standard.

What does it mean for WMU and the future?

Major DT expectations downgrade. Best case scenario is that Solomon was hurt or sick and comes through. Dwumfour expectations need to be dialed back a bunch. Marshall is indeed JAG.

The stars are stars. Full speed ahead on three AAs.

Hawkins did a big bad thing but otherwise looked comfortable. Run support is checked. Coverage is an open question. Just our luck that the safety who was a crazy high-pointing maniac in high school got done like that.

Zordich: stop being nice about the corners. Yell at them in pressers. Yell at those dortin' nipple crisps.

WLB should be fine to good. Neither Ross or Gil looked like an immediate star; both looked like they should round into B or B+ Big Ten linebackers by midseason.

Gonna have to run more zone this year. Michigan can't get away with the single high safety stuff so much without a Hurst covering up some issues; also people are going to keep attacking that look. Would like Michigan to start showing one thing and then shifting to another presnap.

Comments

Chaco

September 6th, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

thank you for your service to humanity Brian in spite of the pain.  I still find these very enlightening and appreciate the effort that goes into them.

 

BIGBLUEWORLD

September 7th, 2018 at 12:52 AM ^

There were some homer calls, but nothing like the 2016 Ohio game.

Cheating skunk refs destroyed the integrity of athletic competition.

Interference, holding calls all one way. Refs patting Ohio players on the butt. National sports correspondents said that cheat-fest was bad as they ever saw.

Major setback. Harbaugh looked shell shocked. Worst cheating I ever saw.

Justice is coming.

Bones032

September 6th, 2018 at 4:57 PM ^

Can we agree that 3-3-5 does not work if you do not have a Hurst level player in the middle? Which we clearly do not, sooooo why are we still running that formation? Stubbornness? You are just asking to get gashed up the middle, like their first TD. 

ijohnb

September 7th, 2018 at 9:22 AM ^

What I can't figure out is how a guy like Soloman comes in looking the part and then regresses to the extent that he is passed by a Senior JAG.  How does that happen?  I know he has the surgical procedure and maybe there are complications or something.  Aside from that, that just does not compute.

Diagonal Blue

September 6th, 2018 at 5:05 PM ^

Uche > Furbush

Ross > Gil

Ambry > Watson

Hawkins > Kinnel

Time to play the kids with the athletic upside.  Also, I'm terrified what this DL is going to look like when Winovich and Gary leave. Not a lot there behind them. 

stephenrjking

September 6th, 2018 at 5:56 PM ^

Your point was that three players that got lots of playing time should get playing time? Very decisive. Your inequalities? Unsupported by evidence, for or against. Your point about Watson in particular seems a stretch, but perhaps if you can identify all of the plays upon which he kept "getting beat" it would make more sense, and when you explain exactly how Ambry is better (has Ambry fixed that issue it was suggested that he has with deep passes?) I would be more willing to accept your premise.

FWIW we're basically in agreement about the DL.

Franz Schubert

September 6th, 2018 at 7:05 PM ^

Ambry Thomas is maybe the best athlete on the entire team. It’s true we don’t have much evidence because he has not played much, but it’s also true Watson gives up plays every game. I think it’s fair to at least question why some of the younger talents are not getting more playing time. Development is important, which is why imho the young offensive tackles should be playing and developing. As for Ambry, I would like to see him on offense as this team has a dearth of playmakers.

Gulogulo37

September 6th, 2018 at 10:46 PM ^

"Watson keeps getting beat for huge gains in every game he plays"

Not true. It happened once in a while. Michigan finished last year with the 3rd best passing defense according to S&P+. That doesn't happen when teams are dropping bombs on you repeatedly. Brian said the same in his season preview. And when did that happen in this game? The only bomb I remember being completed on Watson was the one HE caught for an interception.

GoBucks11

September 6th, 2018 at 5:20 PM ^

On the Ross penalty. Got to disagree with ya. Both arms around the running back. Goes down with him. Away from the ball. It's a bad look. That's probably holding. Practically tackled him out of the backfield. Now, I don't remember the actual call. Was it pass interference or holding?

GoBucks11

September 7th, 2018 at 3:51 PM ^

Well, we can't really see where his left arm is in that shot. Haven't really looked for a different angle of the play. But with his arm coming in front of him on the play, it looks like he could have tackled him.

And a lot of my assumption comes from him going down with the back. Usually when a player jams someone, they don't fall down with them. Well, I say fall, but it was more like he went through him. Could have just slipped and made it look worse than it was. But at that angle, I can see why they called holding.

Vasav

September 6th, 2018 at 5:22 PM ^

We all knew Mo Hurst was a big deal, I guess we're seeing just how big of a deal in this game. Another good OL this week should give the younger guys another challenge, I'm sure they'll step up.

stephenrjking

September 6th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

Wow, that DT performance (and personnel rotation) is a disappointment. Insert here my steady drumbeat complaint about the DL's situation next year.

Also worth watching: It could be that Long and Hill both had uncharacteristic bad games. Time will tell. I could be wrong on this, and am a long way from saying it's the case, but: What if they bulked up under Herbert and lost some agility? I'm not saying, but it would be something to watch. I can say that I was focused on other things during the game and thought maybe Bush would have this issue and the rundown shows pretty conclusively that he remains as great as ever.

Except for that one play I was really pleased with how Hawkins stepped in. Bodes well for other run-heavy teams.

I Like Burgers

September 7th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

As soon as Michigan gets their OL squared away, we're going to have to start doing all the customary lookback posts of "why is the DL bad?"  All of the issues that made the OL the way it is -- ignoring the position in recruiting, ill-timed transfers, lack of development -- its all there on the DL.  We just don't know it yet because they still have Gary and Winovich.

I Like Burgers

September 7th, 2018 at 4:15 PM ^

Here are the DT's they've recruited the last four classes.

2019: Chris Hinton

2018: Decided to take this year off from recruiting DTs, I guess.

2017: Solomon, Irving-Bey (transferred to CMU), Jeter (transferred to CMU), Paea (moved to OL)

2016: Dwumfor, Kemp (currently a SDE)

 

Which, yes, if Hinton makes it into the class leaves them with three whole DTs on the whole roster.  Solomon, Dwumfor, and Hinton.  Maybe four if Kemp moves inside.

Soooo....no.  No they are not.  In 2019 or 2020 when there are cries of WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DL, this is your answer.  Just print this off and hang it on your fridge for later reference.

I Like Burgers

September 7th, 2018 at 11:25 AM ^

Have you looked at the (lack of) depth chart recently?

A lack of recruiting, transfers, iffy development...lot of similarities between the DL now and the OL from a few years ago.  Like all of the people that were saying in 2015 and 2016 "hey should't we be recruiting some OTs?"...yeah been a lot of those people the last few years when it comes to DL recruiting.  Especially recruiting DTs.

dragonchild

September 7th, 2018 at 6:36 AM ^

Dial it down.  Mo Hurst was arguably -- and it would be a very sincere argument -- the best 3-tech in Michigan football history.  You can't just replace that kind of playmaking.  The guys we have are fine, if we don't expect them to play like All-Americans.  The Dwumfour hype was always an eyebrow-raiser; this is more what we should've expected.

I and a few others were more concerned that Michigan & fans were acting like we wouldn't miss Hurst, and for a while the team actually played like it.  Credit to Brown for adjusting (and having adjustments ready!), but I'm left wondering why they didn't play like they just lost an All-American DT from the drop.  My guess is that they expected Solomon to provide at least some of Hurst's gashing ability, and he's hurt.

dragonchild

September 7th, 2018 at 6:42 AM ^

What Brown likes to do -- and he has said as much in pressers -- is give his best players very difficult jobs which allow others to do easier things.  It kind of hurts their draft stock, but it makes the defense more effective overall.

I can't speak for this game but generally, Gary frequently takes on double teams, which frees up the viper or other blitzer.  "Anchor" is also a keystone of Brown's D-line.  Winovich is a terror, make no mistake, but he's making the most of a somewhat easier job.

reshp1

September 6th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

FWIW, Zordich said the long 3rd down conversion on the crossing route on the first drive was a switch that was missed, so your initial reaction that it was a bust was correct.