yall be testing the sideline against this man? [Patrick Barron]

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2018 at 2:46 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: A couple of hints at packages Michigan has either kept under wraps or can't quite get right. There was a snap that looked like a 3-4 with Winovich and Uche as the OLBs and a three man front. There was a bit of a run-out for the 3-3-5 Brown clearly wants to have available as a changeup but can't get working against most opponents because Michigan doesn't really have the personnel for it.

But mostly just the same stuff, with maybe more of a zone approach…


two-high == usually zone for M

…since Rutgers was attacking the edges constantly. A cover two corner is a good antidote for that.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Just 54 snaps, and 15 of them were in garbage time. During the brief time the D had the starters on the field it was Gary, Winovich, Kemp, and Mone. Marshall rotated through for a dozen or so snaps. Solomon was left home with an illness. Paye didn't get much time; he was limited to the rush package mostly and left with a minor injury in the third Q.

Mostly the usual at LB, with Bush and Hudson near omnipresent as Ross and Gil rotated. Jordan Anthony got in for the last drive. Uche was limited to ~10 snaps; Furbush and Glasgow got about that many, mostly late.

In secondary, Hawkins replaced Metellus. Hill was knocked out relatively early, leaving Watson and Long to get the lion's share of CB snaps. Ambry Thomas got 20 or so snaps; J'Marick Woods and Vincent Gray got in late.

FWIW, the final drive saw all manner of guys get on the field. M traveled a selection of deep bench walk-ons, because Rutgers.

[After THE JUMP: a gameplan to lose slowly]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace 3-wide H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass N/A Waggle flat Hill 3
M in zone so Hill(+1, tackling +1) able to fall off his WR easily and come up to tackle for little. Winovich(+0.5) flows and gets out to help. RPS +1.
O28 2 7 Ace 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Crack sweep Hawkins 21
Hawkins(-2) and Long(-1) are the edge defenders. Both WRs crack down and nobody replaces. Hawkins gets the stink eye here because he’s got a TE motioning inside and should be suspicious of this. With no edge RB can just motor. Winovich(-1) got wiped by the crack block, doesn’t spin off it to flow or move up fast to pick off a puller. Bush(+0.5) read it and got out fast but isn’t a miracle worker.
O49 1 10 Offset I 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Iso Dwumfour 2
Dwumfour(+1) able to wedge himself between the two guys doubling him and goes nowhere. FB has to slow up to get around a teammate and the LBs can creep to the line. Bush(+0.5) and Hudson(+0.5) get to the gap and eventually get the guy down in a wad o’ bodies.
M49 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 5 Screen Hawkins Inc
Orbit motion from a WR to the boundary; M swaps with Kinnel moving down to the field. This again leaves Hawkins(-2) as the edge guy against a WR cracking down; he fails to replace. Gil(+1) rips through the WR and gets cut off by a LB; not much pursuit from the backside. Hawkins probably shuts this down after 10 or so if completed. Dropped. RPS -1, even if Hawkins plays this right this was a field side blitz and Rutgers has blockers for both guys in the area.
M49 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide Rush D Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Screen Dwumfour Inc
This one’s doomed even if complete. Bush(+1) runs over a TE cracking down on him and runs through an OL with no angle. Dwumfour(+1) is twisting and reads the screen; he’s right in the RB’s face and may be able to TFL; at the very least he’s going to delay the back and let people rally. Long’s coming up free if needed. He’s not.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Zone stretch Dwumfour 1
Dwumfour(+1) at NT; he shoots the C back as they try to scoop him. RB must bounce. Kinnel(+1) is run blitzing here, triggering on the PA and running direct to the LOS. He’s able to flow up and tackle at the LOS; Ross(+0.5) helps as he shed a blocker and scraped over.
O19 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 Drag Bush Inc
Kinnel(+0.5) and Bush(+0.5) time up blitzes that get Bush through free(pressure +2) but not quite quick enough for a thunder sack; QB has two yard drag route that he tries that goes way high. M in zone here so this was going to be corralled for little gain.
O19 3 9 Shotgun 2-back Rush D Nickel even Press two high Pass N/A Flare screen Hill 2
Hill(+1) anticipates and avoids the crack block; Watson(+0.5) is able to recognize it as well and fall off to the outside. Hill doesn’t have any support to make a tackle in the backfield but is able to force it back early and Watson and others rally.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Lead zone Winovich 80
The big one. Kinnel rotates down to take the orbit motion. Winovich(-3) chases the same guy; handoff is already made when he decides to run after the guy Kinnel has primary responsibility on. Gil(-2) also makes this way too easy; flowing hard to the frontside of a play that has two other LBs to it and not realizing the LT is aiming to wipe him. He gets wiped. Hawkins(-3) is pointing to Kinnel pre-snap and doesn’t get enough depth to be able to deal with this; then he gets outrun for the last 40 yards.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun trips H 4-2-5 4-3 under Press one high Run N/A Split zone Gary 2
Gary(+1) left for the TE coming back across; Gary dodges the attempted cut block. Cutback gone. Marshall(+1) able to drive across an attempted double and get to the gap inside. That delay is enough to bring the cavalry.
O29 2 8 Ace trips tight 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Flare Watson -7
Blackshear motions to the backfield, fake up the middle to the other RB, flare for Blackshear. This might be a screen but nobody seems to know it. M in zone so Watson(+2, tackling +1) unfettered and runs up for a big TFL. RPS +2.
O22 3 15 Shotgun trips Rush D Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Screen Bush -3
Bush(+2) beats a crack block from the WR and gets a solo TFL. Bad pass made this easier for him as he got to close as RB re-gathered himself. Dwumfour(+0.5) read this and was flowing back along with Paye(+0.5) so this is dead even if RB manages to pull a houdini. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Crack sweep Hawkins 2
Much better from the relevant guys. Winovich(+1) surges upfield and picks off the second puller. Both Long(+1) and Hawkins(+0.5) crack replace , with Long forcing it back quickly and Hawkins dipping inside to tackle with help from Bush(+0.5), who blitzed up the gut to start this play and was still able to scrape over.
O22 2 8 Wildcat twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Arc zone keeper Gil 19
This could be Winovich but I think it’s Gil(-3) as Bush is right next to him; Bush takes on a lead block, reads the direction of the play, and flows to it. Gil runs at a free releasing OL and gets buried. Winovich meanwhile ducks inside of the arc player, which is a common tactic against potential split zone and needs to be replaced by a LB, which would almost certainly be Gil. Kinnel comes up to force it back; Winovich can’t redirect enough to close it down, and with nothing from the LB to the side this play attacks it’s a big chunk.
O41 1 10 Wildcat twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Arc zone keeper Gil 0
M shifts the LB level back and left here; Winovich again dives down. This time Gil(+1) runs hard for the arc guy and gets to him in the backfield. Winovich(+1) is able to shut down the smaller amount of space, awkward bounce from the back, Gil tackles. RPS +1.
O41 2 10 Wildcat twins twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A QB split zone Dwumfour 8
Uh so Dwumfour rips the guy blocking him past him and shows up in the backfield to wreck stuff and then gets juked out of his jock. I guess that’s -1, tackling -2. Winovich(-1) also takes the bait and can’t get in an ankle tackle. Gil(+0.5) is able to get off a block enough to hit Blackshear at about four yards but then a bunch of M players hit him from behind and the pile lurches forward.
O49 3 2 Shotgun 3TE 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Flare Bush Inc
Terrific play from Bush(+3, cover +1) as he’s able to smoothly go around a route designed to pick him and get out on the RB quickly enough to be relevant. RB makes the catch but Bush is able to punch it out the instant after the catch. RPS -1, this should have worked.
O49 4 2 Ace twin TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Scramble Gary 1
Attempted ARO (America’s Rollout Out) meets zone coverage. Marshall(+0.5) is able to get upfield and chase QB, who immediately tries to run for it. Gary(+0.5) and Bush(+0.5) are running and able to shut it down but QB gives himself up, mostly? Trips? I dunno, but he’s not really tackled here. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-7, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Offset I 3-wide 3-2-6 Base 3-4 Press one high Run N/A Lead zone Gary 2
Uche in and M shows a 3-man front flanked by him and Winovich. Gary(+1) and Uche(+1) both win and come back to tackle after the FB runs through the hole. Bush(-0.5) and Hudson(-0.5) weirdly overrun the play headed for the sideline; neither is able to help stall the back’s momentum.
O20 2 8 Ace tight 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 3 Out Watson 17
M so prepped for screens that Winovich doesn’t even rush, he just chucks a WR and waits for the RB. Gary gets a wicked chip and is stalled; DTs aren’t rushers, so a clean pocket(pressure -2) and QB finds a hole in the zone as Watson(-1, cover -1) gets stretched vertically and doesn’t get enough depth as he momentarily sucks up on a TE route underneath. This is their first dropback pass of the game?!
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 4 Dig Bush Inc
Winovich(+1, pressure +1) drives and gets inside his man, falling at the knees of the QB and maybe forcing a throw. Throw is at Blackshear running a dig at the sticks but never gets there as Bush(+2, cover +2) PBUs. If he goes up with two hands maybe he can get the INT.
O37 2 10 Ace trips tight Rush D Dime even Press two high Run N/A End around Winovich 5
Winovich(+0.5) is conservative as he is let go at the LOS and is able to redirect and pursue this. He hits the WR as he gets to the sideline and probably shoots him past Kinnel’s tackle, so this is a five yard gain with a couple yards of YAC.
O42 3 5 Shotgun trips Rush D Dime even Press one high Pass 5 Out and up Bush Inc (Pen +15)
M fortunate here. Confusion in the secondary between Thomas and Long as both guys come up on a dude running a screen route at the LOS. If this was pure man to man Long would not be looking at this guy at all so they have to have some pattern match going on that Thomas(-2, cover -2) does not run. He runs up on the screen guy, Long sees it and does an ohshit attempt to catch up with the WR. He’s not going to; Kinnel is over the top and should tackle but this is going to be a chunk. It’s not as Bush(+2, pressure +2) flew around the corner and lit up the QB, drawing a terrible PF for roughing (refs -3).
M43 1 10 Ace trips tight 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Crack sweep Paye -1
RB hesitant on the edge. Long(+1) set it and forces it back; still enough room to go get some yards if the RB cuts hard. He dithers. Paye(+1) shed a downblock in a flash and flows out; he’s the first M helmet to the ball. A very very held Hudson(+1, refs -2) is still able to drive to the ball and cut off any escape from Paye.
M44 2 11 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 5 Throwback screen Long Inc
Long(+1, cover +1) is very aware of having to replace here as his WR stops and tries to cut off Bush. When WR commits Long falls off and is likely to TFL if this screen is caught. Overthrown.
M44 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide Rush D Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Post Uche Inc
Uche(+1, pressure +1) able to drive through the pocket and induce a throw at a bracketed WR that Kinnel(+0.5) and Thomas(+0.5, cover +2 ) have coming and going. Ball is errant.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-7, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Ace trip TE 4-2-5 4-4 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Gary -1
Hawkins moves down as a SAM here against a heavy formation. Gary(+2) fires into the backfield and wipes out the back; Hawkins(+1) able to come through his guy as well and help finish the play. Kemp(-2) blown out by a double so this could have been a decent gain if Gary doesn’t wipe out every interior gap. Mone(+1) held up to his double.
O11 2 11 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Screen Bush Inc
Gil blitzes, RU WR violates Never Turn Upfield and chases after him instead of re-targeting. This does nothing, and then he accidentally takes out the RB. Bush(+0.5) and Winovich(+0.5) flowing out and this isn’t going anywhere anyway. RPS +1.
O11 3 11 Shotgun trips H Rush D Dime even Press two high Run N/A Split zone Uche 17
Uche(-2) doesn’t hold the edge; his initial push upfield is stoned by the RT and then he tries to dip inside. Dwumfour(-1) gives ground on a double and one OL is able to extend to Bush; Bush gets around this but the delay is enough with M playing man to man despite another covered slot. RPS -2.
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Jet sweep Hudson 1
Hudson(+1) up the edge of the field as the WR comes across and takes a touch pass. He holds the edge and draws a second blocker as an RU TE screws up. With no RB fake to hold folks inside everyone meets at the ballcarrier. Bush(+0.5) and Gary(+0.5) are first.
O29 2 9 Ace trips tight 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A QB throwback N/A 19
If there’s anyone with this assignment it’s probably Gil, the backside LB. QB open; Winovich(+1) does a nice job to see it and run the guy down. Kinnel came over to help tackle as well.
O48 1 10 Wildcat trips TE 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Yakety sax N/A -5
Exchange fumbled. Winovich hits the guy trying to recover it; Marshall gets it.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 28-7, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 Drag Ross 5
Rush mostly picked up but Kinnel(+1, pressure +1) does get around the corner to force a throw. TE drag against zone; Ross(+0.5) lays a heavy hit that has a decent shot to dislodge the ball.
O24 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 5 Flat Long 1
QB just wants this out as fast as possible so he hits an RB in the flat against a hard cover two corner in Long(+1, tackling +1), who duly attacks and tackles.
O25 3 4 Shotgun trips tight 3-2-6 Dime even Press one high Pass 5 Out Watson 14
RU able to pop a WR open as they get a rub on Watson; Thomas is jamming one guy in the bunch and that’s a natural roadblock. Watson(-1, tackling -1) has given up the first down, that’ll happen; he then misses the tackle.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Split zone Bush 2
Marshall(+1) able to prevent a release downfield by ramming into the guy trying to scoop him and not giving any ground. This leaves Bush(+1) free in a slightly tricky situation since the back got to go straight upfield; he is able to scrape over and stick him.
O41 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 5 TE out Watson 3
Again just firing as quickly as possible; another TE on a three yard route against zone gets an immediate tackle from Watson(+0.5).
O44 3 5 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Exotic Press one high Pass N/A Fade Watson Inc
Gary(+1) goes speed to power and runs over the LT; Dwumfour(+1) around his man in a flash; Hudson(+1) runs over the RB and all three guys(pressure +3) are about to sack when a panicked throw comes out. Watson(+2, cover +2) dominated the fade over the top and pushed the WR OOB; he can’t intercept due to the wild throw but if anyone’s catching it he is.
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-7, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Pass 4 Drag Ross Inc
Winovich(+0.5) tries to dip inside and gets some penetration; he goes down but he’s caused the QB to drift back a bit and probably triggers the throw. That is to a WR dragging across the field who gets lit up by Ross(+2, cover +2) for a PBU.
O24 2 10 Shotgun trips tight 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Kemp 0
Kemp(+1) drives and controls his guy; few options. Thomas(+1) sent on a CB blitz and tackles thanks to the Kemp disruption.
O24 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Flare screen Watson 1
Watson(+1) climbs over the block of his WR and contains; Kinnel(+1) flows up to tackle on a throw he seemed to anticipate.
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-7, 10 min 4th Q. Final drive is almost all backups and is not charted. Here is the Thomas INT though.

Give me the bad news, doc.

It's bad. Are you ready?

As I'll ever be.

Rutgers's addiction to long-yardage screens saw Michigan's passing down sack rate drop more than a point to 17.7%.

I thought you were going to talk about the various plays where Rutgers got yards?

Oh. Yeah, I can do that. Before I do so I would like to emphasize that this was a very silly game in which Rutgers did not attempt a pass more than three yards downfield until the second half. Michigan got no pass rush on it because Chase Winovich was alerting for a screen:

Flush with success, Rutgers went with a dropback on the next snap.

And that was about that for actual passes downfield.

Rutgers just wanted to get out of this game without getting their quarterback killed. Except for their very first screen attempt, none of this misdirection had a prayer of working. More screens? No.

Maybe throw a flare against a hard cover two corner with nobody blocking him? No. 

CB #28 to top


As a result the grades look very little like they usually do. Rutgers avoided huge chunks of the stuff football teams usually try to do. Here is a

i have always something something rutger


Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 6   6 Back to good grades, few stats.
Kemp 1 2 -1 Blowout ended up inconsequential.
Mone 1   1 Interior untested.
Winovich 6 5 1 Primarily responsible on TD, not a lot of pass rush opp
Paye 1.5   1.5 Scraps for snaps.
Dwumfour 4.5 2 2.5 Couple of encouraging double team battles.
Solomon       DNP
Uche 2 2 0 Failed to hold edge on Incident #4.
Marshall 2.5   2.5 Scrapping along.
TOTAL 24.5 11 13.5 RU gameplan to avoid these guys at all costs.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 3.5 0.5 3 Drove a couple of guys in run D.
Glasgow       DNC
Furbush       DNC
Bush 13.5 0.5 13 Rutgers asked him to run to the sideline a ton
Gil 2 5 -3 Had a hand in two of four Incidents.
Ross 3   3 Pass breakup was walloping, could have had another.
Anthony       DNC
TOTAL 22 6 16 Rutgers's game plan was Bush's wheelhouse.
Player + - T Notes
Metellus       DNP
Kinnel 4   4 Various run supports.
Hawkins 1.5 7 -5.5 Crack replace, crack replace, crack replace, don't get outrun by Pacheco
Hill 2   2 Left early.
Long 4 1 3 Also various run supports.
Watson 6 2 4 More run supports.
Kelly-Powell       DNP
TOTAL 17.5 10 7.5 CBs more tested than in 3 previous games combined!
Pressure 7 2 +5 9 total. Wow.
Coverage 11 3 +8 14 total. Wow.
Tackling 2 3 -1 One Blackshear WOOP on Dwumfour.
RPS 7 4 +3 One screen would have worked. The others not so much.

There you go: 9 pressure items, 14 cover items in what purported to be a football game. Ironically, Rutgers managed to test Michigan's cornerbacks more than Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan State combined. They did this by throwing a bunch of short sideline stuff and making the CBs tackle. They did.

Okay but the yards? I should be running around like little panic guy?

I mean… nah. Let's set aside the QB throwback and the two other successful passes. Even when you are bad sometimes you successfully pass; that rate of success is still horrible. When Rutgers needs a QB throwback to avoid a passing Rutger, the two successful passes they had in the game can be overlooked.

The Rutgers plays you might get exercised about follow.

The first is a crack sweep on which Brad Hawkins and David Long fail to crack replace, with Hawkins the most egregious offender:

#20 S to top

Once Michigan remembered that they'd defended zillions of these in practice last year that success did not recur. The DBs read the cracks and fell off of them; Winovich shot to the backfield to pick off a puller; minimal yardage.

S #20 to bottom

That's a one-off on which a backup safety is tested early and dorfs it.

Incident #2 is the touchdown, which was extensively discussed earlier this week. I don't have much to add that wasn't in the game column:

Four different guys bore some responsibility for the Rutgers touchdown. Chase Winovich and Tyree Kinnel both booked for the end-around fake. Devin Gil overpursued the play to the frontside. And Brad Hawkins was not able to shut it down after it broke through.

I think Winovich and Gil are the guys with the biggest oofs. Kinnel and Hawkins swapped duties on the WR's motion and Michigan has consistently used that swap to address jet/end-around action. Kinnel hauling to the sideline was expected. So: Winovich shouldn't have been that far upfield and at worst should have been able to slow the back down so that folks could rally. Gil meanwhile was booking hard to the frontside of a play where he wasn't needed; he failed to anticipate the cutback run that these jet/orbit motions often try to get, and got washed down the line by a blocker.

The two safeties got split and could not recover but they were put in a bad situation because a back was allowed to run directly upfield untouched. You'd still expect Hawkins to be able to chase down Isaih Pacheco before the endzone. Alas.

Kinnel seemed the least responsible to me because he's executing his assignment to go wreck the end-around so everyone else can do their jobs, but he recognized the handoff a lot later than Winovich and I kind of wanted him to be able to come off the WR earlier and maybe bend the back to where Hawkins could make a tackle.

I do think that Hawkins's inability to catch up looks worse now that I've noticed David Long almost making up the distance despite a much much worse starting spot.

Incident #3 is an arc zone keeper on which Gil buries himself in a blocker and is gone. Michigan was aligned in a way that may have made this tough to hold for no gain, but Devin Bush helpfully provides an example of what to do right next to Gil providing an example of what not to:

LB #36 to bottom, also LB #10 to top

This is similar to the TD, with Gil overcommitting and more or less blocking himself out of the play. I'm pretty sure he's not even supposed to be messing with that OL at all; if he is going to do so that's not a good way to approach it. If he plays it like Bush Michigan holds this down to maybe 6, maybe 8 yards.

Rutgers did us a solid by running the same play on the next down. Michigan shifted its linebackers over, pulling Hudson off the LOS, and Gil went where he was supposed to:

LB #36

I think that Gil was supposed to do this on the previous play as well: Michigan slides down Winovich on both plays; backside gaps are going to be non-starters so Gil should have zero inclination to go hit an OL whose block is always going to be irrelevant.

Incident #4 is the rush package getting tested on the ground and failing to hold up. Our Uche full-time weakside end dreams have a little work to do:

#6 DE to top

Also Dwumfour wasn't able to keep Bush clean. I have a tactical beef with this one as Michigan is facing Yet Another Covered Slot play and goes straight man to man against it. These plays are almost always runs and you should be biasing your calls towards zones on which DBs have their eyes towards the backfield and can help out in instances like this one.

This concludes our survey of the times Rutgers got yards.

This does make me slightly panicky about next year?

Fair enough. Hawkins, Gil, and Uche are guys who are presumably in line to start next year and they each flashed some deficiencies on these long runs. Uche's is the least surprising and hopefully the most addressable.

Hawkins, on the other hand, has built up a fairly sizeable list of regrettable plays in his time so far. He again failed to crack replace on the one screen that was not comprehensively doomed:

S #20 to top

In addition to the above there was a giant bust on an SMU touchdown and the incident against Notre Dame when he essentially batted a bad deep ball directly to an ND WR. He's offset that with the occasional competent open field tackle. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about replacing Kinnel.

Gil's had a bunch more playing time than the other two guys so assertions about him can be less speculative. The TD was another play on which he read one thing and ran way too hard to it; I know Winovich is the primary guy at fault here but the endzone cam shows just how hard Gil commits frontside:

#36 LB to left

What gap does he think he's covering there? I don't think the LT even needs to block him, really, he's just gone. If he takes a more responsible tack he can do a lot of good even if he doesn't come close to making a tackle. Just bending Pacheco away from straight upfield likely allows Michigan to rally and tackle after 15 yards.

I'd rather have Ross out there. Not just because he hammers people. But a little bit because he hammers people.

I'm sure Gil must be grading out okay to warrant the continued snaps.


He never went away, but opponents ceased trying to test him. Remember that two play sequence where Notre Dame tried to edge him on the ground and then pick him on a route and he swallowed both? With limited exceptions that kind of stuff dropped out of everyone's Michigan game plan.

Rutgers decided it had no choice. Despite the lack of rush opportunities the goofy nature of the Rutgers offense gave him a lot of opportunities to make plays from an underneath zone or in man to man coverage. He lit up an early screen by beating a crack block and was able to get around some traffic and punch this ball loose to prevent a third down conversion:

That was no accident. Bush specifically entered that tackle attempt with the intent to punch the ball loose and did so.

His personal foul for roughing the passer was ridiculous. College does have an extremely vague version of the NFL's "tackle this guy without landing on him" rule, and I guess that must be the call?

I'm not factoring in the NCAA's inability to understand physics into my grading. +2. Would thunderously smack again.

Bush has been avoided insofar as opponents can manage it this year. Here he was not avoided; +13.

Why didn't Gary eat everyone?

I mean, what was he supposed to do on a bunch of stuff that was away from him? The rare times he did get tested he was dominant:

DE #3 to top

He also went speed to power through the LT on a play where the world was collapsing around Sitkowski:

#3 DE to top

Gary's attempt to gather shiny stats has been hampered post-return because he's not in the rush package; in this game he wasn't out there on passing downs and passing downs were screen downs. He's fine. He had ten tackles, 3 TFLs, and two sacks against OSU last year.

Dwumfour was the only other DL to really register. Any bits of hope peeking through there?

Dwumfour did get some regular snaps and had a play or two that hinted he might be able to raise his run defense to "solid" at some point in the future. Here he takes a double but is able to wedge himself between the two guys and go nowhere:

NT #50

This attempted stretch must bounce because Dwumfour shoots the C back:

NT #50

He did get moved a bit on the third-down run that converted but he was expecting to rush there; when Rutgers tried to move him on standard downs it didn't go well for them. If he can do that against Indiana that might mean a little bit for next year—I'm not holding out much hope he'll be able to hack it against OSU's ground game, wonky though it is.


Bush. CB run support, collectively. Gary, sneaky-style. Kinnel.

Maybe not so heroic?

Hawkins had a rough first half and was one screen completion from playing a major hand in three chunk plays for Rutgers. Winovich bounced back a bit from the big mistake but was most directly responsible for the 80 yard TD. Gil also showed up more than once on Rutgers Incidents.

What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?

Michigan's pretty good at tackling in space. Just one tackling minus from a back seven player, that Watson on an out he couldn't quite corral. There were many opportunities to miss tackles. This will be very relevant the next two weeks as both Indiana and OSU have a blizzard of short throws that hope to gain YAC.

Bush: still Bush. This is what happens when he's not gameplanned around.

Hawkins: a work in progress. Missing crack replaces and getting outrun by three star Rutgers freshmen is worrying, especially in context. Metellus: good at stuff.

It would seem to be Ross time. I've said this at least six times and it doesn't happen so it's probably not Ross time. But it would seem to be!

Not much else. The Cable Subscriber gameplan was extremely limited.



November 14th, 2018 at 3:18 PM ^

I'm confused. From the previous breakdown of the scoring run, my takeaway was that Gil was primarily responsible by getting himself washed out of the play.  From this it sounds like Winovich should get some blame?  

In any event, I appreciate having these as a guide for further football education. 


November 14th, 2018 at 3:40 PM ^

Winovich is pulled out because of the jet sweep action by Blackshear; however, Kinnel is responsible for that and is already heading that way. If Winovich had ignored that, then he could've slowed down Pacheco by being in the area (or, most likely, made the tackle). 

Since Winovich is way outside of his gap and Gil buried himself on the front side, there is a huge gap Pacheco can hit unimpeded. The play is on both, but Winovich was the major contributor since he was trying to take someone else's job. Gil appears to be trying to make a huge play by doing something technically unsound.

Both at fault, how to assign blame is up to the individual grading. 

The Maizer

November 14th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

I love Watson's reaction to the pass that he wasn't expecting hitting him in the numbers. He shrugs to the sideline, then celebrates with an incomplete signal jokingly. Hilarious.


November 14th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

Several chunk runs, so that's not good. But it's not clear to me from this rundown that there's some exploitable flaw that Ohio State could use. Just a combination of lesser-used players and a game that is... not a point of emphasis. 

ex dx dy

November 14th, 2018 at 3:27 PM ^

I think a lot of them gaining yards is just that it's really really really hard to get up for a game against Rutger. Probably a bit of sloppy prep and a lack of focus. That doesn't seem like it'll be a recurring problem for the team that had laser-like focus through the meat of the schedule. My overall take was "eh, whatever".


November 14th, 2018 at 5:09 PM ^

That was my takeaway too. Everyone was bored and trying to do interesting things. Ben Mason coming out of a 3rd FB dive to try to bounce it outside was QED. Everyone was out of their element. I don't think this game has any bearing on anything other than that Hawkins didn't do great


November 14th, 2018 at 3:35 PM ^

Hawkins's inability to catch up - 

Long is undoubtedly faster, but in defense of Hawkins, don't overlook that Hawkins was directly behind the runner so he had to follow the weaving. Long was able to run straight line to a spot.

Just trying to help Brad out a little.... :)


But yeah, other than that and a couple other plays...pretty good outing by the defense!

Reggie Dunlop

November 14th, 2018 at 3:57 PM ^

I agree. If you drew those paths on the turf in chalk and had two guys race, the Long route will win that 10 out of 10. Hawkins was weaving all over the field.

I love UFRs and I don't like disagreeing with Brian because anybody who puts out as many opinions as he does is bound to have people disagree. But every week there's one thing where I'm like "What are you looking at?"  Criticizing Hawkins' speed wins this week.

Diagonal Blue

November 14th, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

I was hoping Gil and Hawkins getting PT meant they were on their way to outplaying their recruiting rankings, but seeing these dorfs against Rutgers of all people is frightening for next year. Give me Josh Ross and Daxton Hill please.


November 14th, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

Pretty fascinating to watch Rutgers’ game plan just be “please don’t kill me”. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a team come out waving the white flag quite like that

Killer Khakis

November 14th, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

The more he's out there, the more nervous I am about Hawkins playing safety. He hasn't showcased quality play yet, I understand he's still young but big play after big play he has been giving up to opponents. Defense is getting me a little nervous for next year won't lie.

Diagonal Blue

November 14th, 2018 at 4:28 PM ^

People are generally nervous about things they have no control over so not sure why that's such a surprise to you. I think everyone here trusts the coaches but I don't think you should conflate that with the idea they are perfect or don't make mistakes. Good players make million dollar coaches look good, bad players make million dollar coaches look bad. Look no further than JOK and Shea Patterson for evidence of that.


November 14th, 2018 at 6:03 PM ^

It's also 9 months away. These guys have a lot of practice and training to go before they play meaningful starter snaps next year.

I'm not worried about next year at all. We've got the guys we've seen, it seems like 20 backups that have got scattered snaps this year, half a redshirt class that we've never seen in uniform and 25-30 Freshmen who will arrive between now and next fall. Worrying about any starter right now is pointless. Even corners (I keep saying to myself if both Long and Hill leave early).


November 14th, 2018 at 4:09 PM ^

Someone in the postgame thread said that this game was a perfect mix: we were good enough to win a blow out, but juuuuust bad enough that guys will get chewed out in practice this week.

And it looks like, every so often, an opponent is going to ask "are they really THAT quick to the sidelines??" ....and pay the price big time

Moonlight Graham

November 14th, 2018 at 4:28 PM ^

The whole Ross/Gil playing time thing reminds me of how Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi split snaps down the middle the last couple years when Hill was clearly the better option of the two. 


November 14th, 2018 at 4:38 PM ^

Defense will take a step back in ‘19. It is bound to with the loss of so many good players. 

But it still should be a top 20 defense. Hawkins is a true sophomore. He’s got a whole offseason to get better.


Is Ron Johnson ever going to play?


November 14th, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

A crack block is when a WR (or sometimes a TE) split wide on the LOS comes down to block a LB or DE. If you're in man coverage you'll be following that guy because it looks like a drag or slant; when it becomes clear that the guy is blocking you need to replace the guy who got cut off. Thus "crack replace." 


November 14th, 2018 at 5:07 PM ^

Dax Hill will start at Kinnel’s spot next year if he enrolls early. With the schedule light the first few games he can get a nice feel for the college level game and then he will be ready for the rest of the season. Would he probably have a few goofs? Sure, but Kinnel has a goof every couple games too and he’s a senior. Dax is the protypical, perfect single high safety in that he has 4.3 speed and hits like Mack truck. 3 year starter and drafted in the first round after his junior year. Absolute stud.


November 15th, 2018 at 7:43 AM ^

4.3 speed and hitting ability are nice.  But safety is a very difficult position to learn, and mistakes often lead to TDs.  I can’t remember Michigan ever having a true freshman at safety, other than during the terrible GERG years when M was just tossing whoever they could find onto the field and hoping for a miracle.  Jarrod Wilson was ready to go as a sophomore, as was Kinnel. Dymonte Thomas wasn’t a playable safety until his junior year.

If Hill turns out to be some phenom who can play safety at a high level from day one, that would be amazing.  But M has more experienced options, and that’s a good thing.  Hill looks like he’ll be a great player at M but I think we need to slow the roll a bit.


November 14th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

Surprising that Rutgers exposed a few cracks in our armor. Well maybe the lessons learned will help us against OSU, because they will be running a lot of counter motion action, along with all the slants and screens that Haskins specializes in.