[Eric Upchurch]

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Maryland Comment Count

Brian October 10th, 2018 at 5:44 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[2]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). There are food trucks, beer, televisions, a giant colorful bus, and it's right next to Revelli so the band will march past. Check it out.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan added an entire bomber wing to the right side of their line for various snaps:


These were part of a larger 3TE package that also had some more balanced looks, one from the gun. These were almost all runs. The above package specifically was a way to use the Big Big Boys on dive plays without exposing the backs to interlopers from the outside.

The rest of the day was pretty much par for the course. There were a few more pistol snaps(7), a couple of which featured the biggest lineup Michigan can muster save for Oliver Martin's presence, which is RB Mason, FB Wangler, and two TEs.

I had 26 snaps from under center, 7 from the pistol, and 36 from the gun, FWIW.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Mostly the usual. Large uptick in Wangler snaps, possibly as middle finger to DJ Durkin. Higdon got the large bulk of the RB snaps, with a few going to Mason and Wilson. Bell and Martin have settled in as the backup outside WRs. Gentry barely left the field; McKeon also got a ton of snaps. Eubanks got maybe ten as Michigan used some 3TE sets.

OL was the usual.

[after THE JUMP: it's a Zentry(!) kind of day]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Zone stretch Higdon 18
A stretch works for the first time in a long time. Playside OLB steps down. Runyan(+2) hits him, allowing Bredeson(+1) to step around. Runyan then gets a LB block. Gentry(+1) passes up the OLB and moves to the ILB he’s exchanging with. CB goes from man look to zone just before the snap and DPJ is caught off guard when he jets for the backfield. That guy goes too hard and can’t redirect. Mason(-1) might be able to find this guy and block him; he doesn’t. No problem, but when Mason gets to the second level DPJ is already blocking the safety and he doesn’t turn inside to find a guy. DPJ(+0.5) does hit the S and allow Higdon(+1) to run to the edge for a nice gain; a little better job there and Higdon might beat the angle for six.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Waggle FB flat Mason 15
Playside LB attacks and the mesh here gets him to head upfield—advantage of running this from the gun. Patterson pops outside and hits a wide open Mason(+2). Mason hurdles(!) a guy at about six yards and runs through another tackle. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M48 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Zone stretch Higdon 1
MD blitzes two LBs inside the playside DE and DT, with that DE widening out. Ruiz(+1) passes up the NT as he slants away and gets one LB. Runyan(-2) can’t manage the same. He’s got Bredeson behind him but doesn’t know that; he stops and turns and both LG and LT are spending themselves on one LB. Higdon’s able to clear this to the outside as Gentry does just enough to give Higdon a lane. Higdon does have to bend. Mason(+0.5) kicks a safety who walked down. Higdon has one gap to attack and the weakside LB meets him in it. Almost had it.
M49 2 9 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 6.5 Pass Hitch Perry 6
Obvious zone for MD, quick hit between two LBs. This throw takes Perry off his feet and would normally be an MA , but it does so because Perry took a step away from the LB and Patterson’s throwing it to where Perry stopped, minus the step. I think this is more Perry than Patterson. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
O45 3 3 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 0
Patterson(-2) has to pull this and does not. Backside end crashes and TFLs. JBB(+1) and Ruiz(+1) both took and moved their guys, FWIW.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun empty 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Hitch Gentry 15
M motions from an I-form. This results in a lot of movement from MD and a terrible blitz where a LB starts well after the snap. Patterson looks off Gentry and then immediately comes to him and fires. He’s able to turn up for a chunk play. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M35 1 10 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Out and up DPJ Inc
Press coverage from MD; with Gentry absorbing the S to DPJ’s side he’s one on one. DPJ(route-) doesn’t sell his double move well and CB does a great job to dominate the route and get a PBU. Ball is more or less on point but there’s no window. Could have checked down; I don’t mind Patterson taking the shot. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
M35 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Pocket is solid but everyone on the trips side is blanketed. Patterson breaks the pocket to the other side, starts motioning people around, and throws it OOB when nobody is open. Usually I TA these throws but literally nobody is available. (MA, 0, protection 2/2)
M35 3 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass In Perry 12
Perry and Gentry stacked in the slot; Gentry runs a seam and Perry (route +) feints out and cuts back in just as Gentry clears the area. Patterson finds it and hits it. Throw is a bit in front of Perry, necessitating an out-of-frame catch, but does not hold up his momentum or prevent him from converting. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M47 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Ruiz(+1) and Onwenu(+1) blow out the NT as Onwenu climbs to a LB. Runyan(-0.5) and Bredeson(-0.5) get some drive but get split by their guy; Higdon’s cutting behind the other double anyway. JBB(-1) loses against Cowart, giving ground and getting controlled; Cowart comes off to tackle.
50 2 7 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Down G Higdon 4 (Pen +5)
MD jumps. Not relevant to the play. M runs a down G after a couple of stretches and is again one block from a thing; Runyan(-1) loses against a guy shaded inside of him. He steps inside on the start and Maryland DE stands him up and discards. Otherwise this was a nice gain. Ruiz, McKeon, and Gentry(+0.5) all find second level folks and at least harass; Bredeson kicks an OLB who mostly kicks himself. Higdon hits the gap but that DE tackles.
O45 2 2 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Down G Higdon 12
The other way this time. Playside OLB is lined up as a standup DE and chases McKeon as McKeon releases. Onwenu has no one to hit and MD has no edge. McKeon(+0.5) gets a bit grabby but doesn’t get called (refs +1); nothing else is really relevant. JBB(+0.5) does a solid job on a not that relevant block on the DE, I guess. RPS +2.
O33 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
Similar theme. NT slants to Ruiz(+1), who engages and fires him back. Onwenu(+1) picks it up too, hammering that guy. He’s three yards downfield; Ruiz gets out to a linebacker. Higdon’s running at the left side; Bredeson(-0.5) doesn’t offer much help against Cowart and Runyan(-1) is again controlled and discarded for Cowart to tackle as the back passes. Interior blowout provides M some yards. JBB(-0.5) didn’t provide much of a cutback lane.
O29 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Pass PA waggle TE flat Gentry Inc
Batted down at the line as MD blitzes right into this. Mesh point doesn’t help this time. (BA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O29 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass TE out McKeon 5
McKeon has a pretty good shot of getting the first down here as the DB on him has to run around Gentry first; Patterson wings it high. McKeon is able to bring it in and impressively keeps his feet; he’s stumbling and falls a yard short. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O24 4 1 Offset I Big 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run FB dive Mason 0
I have to assume this is a screwup but it’s also a bad playcall to offset Mason behind the weakside of the line and then give it to him. Runyan(-2) inexplicably blocks down on no one. DE outside of him slants in, no real chance for Gentry. Mason has to cut behind into no one. RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass PA TE Y cross Gentry 31
Excellent example of what PA can buy you when you time it right, as MD’s rushers are all run focused and Patterson has forever. That’s required as Gentry is running from one hash to the other numbers on a 20-yard route; FB flat, DPJ deep, and McKeon on a seam run off the zone defenders. Gentry’s wide open and hit. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
O24 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Split zone Higdon 3
MD CB blitz; things get mucked. Runyan(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) both get slanters across their face and handle them, can’t do much to prevent them from getting their gaps. Mason heads backside; Higdon cuts back there as the DL demands. Mason’s able to get a LB but the CB forces Higdon into him anyway. RPS -1.
O21 2 7 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-4 over 8 Pass Waggle throwaway N/A Inc
Patterson has absolutely nothing as the flat is covered and there are no other routes. I think Gentry gets jammed out of existence by a LB who may or may not be trying to do this. Martin’s offscreen, dunno what’s going on with him. Patterson dumps, it, another throwaway that I’m not filing in the negative bin (MA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -2)
O21 3 7 Shotgun trips bunch tight 1 2 2 Nickel even 6 Pass TE out McKeon 5
Exactly the same thing they ran on third and six on the previous drive. Maryland does better, unsurprisingly. McKeon is the obvious read, is hit, tackled. I don’t get this. (CA, 3, protection 1/1 RPS -1)
Drive Notes: FG(34), 3-0, 1 min 1st Q. Kick return TD, offense back out.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Down G Higdon 2
Cowart shades inside Runyan(-1) and steps inside; he’s able to redirect out and win that, stalemating Runyan and then ripping to the play. Bredeson(-0.5) gets an eh kick that he falls off as the defender tries to get back to the play; safety is coming down hard and doesn’t have to guess where Higdon will be.
M29 2 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Dime even 5 Pass Improv Gentry INT
Time for a second and then Bredeson(-2) gets ripped through. Patterson’s able to scramble out past this. He takes a shot at Gentry, who’s covered. He puts it in the #buttzone. DB makes a play, deflection, second DB peeling back gets a gift. I don’t mind this throw at all. Make plays. (CA, 1, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 3-7, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M5 1 10 Ace trip TE 1 3 1 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Mason 6
Three TEs in a bunch to the right. DL spread. Ruiz(+2) points out the overhang LB creeping and then understands the implications in a way I love. NT rips across his face. Ruiz knows this is coming and blasts the guy yards downfield and out of the picture. LB barely able to scrape over this but it’s a huge gap that Mason(+0.5) hits and gets some YAC on.
M11 2 4 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 even 8 Run Down C Higdon 3
Runyan(+1) steps around and seals a vertical DE; Ruiz(+1) is able to scrape around this smoothly and get to his man. LB is hammering for the gap on the snap so this is pretty decent. Wangler(+0.5) gets a decent kick. Higdon goes as N/S as possible on this run and ends up running into pursuit; that’s fine. Close to more. M defused a weird blitz pretty well here.
M14 3 1 I-Form Big Twin TE 2 2 1 Goal line 9 Run Down G Higdon 6
Down G to the right with both TEs over there. Onwenu(+0.5) gets a kick on a feinting OLB. JBB(+1) wins against DT. McKeon(+1) and Gentry(+1) both stand up their guys. Gentry’s guy is Cowart! That’s all she wrote for a first down.
M20 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Base 3-4 6.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Not a lot of movement either way. JBB(-0.5) gets shed a bit; stays attached and shoves. Higdon(-0.5) doesn’t cut behind this and instead runs directly into the DL, with some shoving getting 3. Bit of a tough cut but gotta try it.
M23 2 7 Ace 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass PA post Collins 51
This is Mills, a play Spurrier made famous, with a post behind a dig. Deep S sucks up on the dig, post is there. Patterson holds this ball a bit too long and leaves it short; this ball is still in the air for almost 60 yards. Collins is able to adjust and bring it in despite being interfered with. (CA, 2, protection 3/3). Patterson had ages here. Almost too much time.
O26 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Reverse pass McKeon 12
McKeon is wiiiide open and this is a TD if Perry doesn’t leave it way short. McKeon does a good job to dig it out. (not charted, 2, protection N/A, RPS +3)
O14 1 10 I-Form Big Twin Te 2 2 1 4-4 under 8 Run Down G Higdon 5
McKeon(+1) and Gentry(+1) seal their guys in; Bredeson(+0.5) with the short kick. MD flowing to this hard so no chance for Ruiz to get a second level block. Mason(+1) finds a LB and hits him. Higdon decides to cut into this since there’s an unblocked overhang guy; Mason basically shoves both guys three yards downfield.
O9 2 5 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under 8 Run Down G Higdon 4
Same play to the other side of the line. Gentry(+0.5) does a pretty good job to seal in the DE but loses him as the back passes; McKeon(+1) seals the playside LB with authority. Onwenu is able to mirror an OLB who threatens inside before becoming the force; Mason(+0.5) gets a piece of the playside S. Ruiz again w no chance, can’t even get out this time. Higdon’s spun down just short.
O5 3 1 Ace trip TE 1 3 1 4-4 under 8 Run Dive Higdon 4
Not an IZ, just a play on which Onwenu(+1) and JBB(+1) obliterate a DT and Higdon runs up their backs.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line 11 Run Down G Higdon 0
Gentry(+1) fires in a DE. McKeon(-0.5) gets to a LB but kind of catches him; he’s at risk of a hold(refs +1) and doesn’t move a LB. Mason(-1) appears to trip on his way through the hole; he falls and MD does a nice job to hit and stop Higdon.
O1 2 G Ace trip TE 1 3 1 Goal line 10 Run Dive Mason 1
Same deal with Onwenu(+0.5) and JBB(+0.5) moving their guy in to the endzone; Ruiz(-1) helps there, unnecessarily, allowing a LB through the gap. Mason(+1) don’t care.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-7, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Down G Higdon 7
JBB(+2) turns in the end with authority; Onwenu(+0.5) kicks. Gentry(+1) hits and moves a linebacker out of the lane. Ruiz(+0.5) is able to harass a LB this time; to do that he has to brush by the NT and that guy can flow. He’s able to shut down the distance and tackle.
M43 2 3 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 2
CB blitz mucks with M assumptions. Ruiz(-0.5) takes too long to hit a DT and can't fully get out on a charging LB. He does get a thwack in to stall LB’s momentum. Gentry surprised by the OLB dipping inside but that’s more RPS than anything. JBB(+1) and Onwenu(+1) again blow out a DT to create the space. Higdon(+0.5) is able to run up their backs to near the first down. RPS –1.
M45 3 1 Ace trip TE 1 3 1 4-3 under 7 Run Dive Mason 2
LB runs up to prevent the double on that poor DL. No motion as JBB(-1) falls down after an initial push and it’s one on one. Mason(+0.5) is able to cut to open space between Onwenu(+0.5) and Ruiz(+0.5) who are fending dudes off adequately. Slightly uncomfortable conversion.
M47 1 10 Shotgun empty twin TE 1 2 2 Weak 3-4 7 Pass TE out Gentry 6
Good coverage by MD but ball is right in the spot it has to be. I don’t DO five yard throws much but if there’s another like this I might round up for that one. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
O47 2 4 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Wilson 3
LB runs at Bredeson on the snap and hammers him into the backfield. Guy cannot disconnect largely because Bredeson(-0.5) gets away with a shoulder-pad hold(refs +1). NT slants between Ruiz(-0.5) and Onwenu; neither of them can get off the LOS. LB is free to scrape and gets to the rather large gap the Bredeson encounter created. Wilson is able to grind out a yard after contact. Runyan(+0.5) did hit a LB to prevent him from doing anything, although the end of that block gets squirrelly as well.
O44 3 1 Pistol FB Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Run Split zone Mason 3
A Wangler/Mason backfield. Split zone; JBB(-1) doesn’t get depth or control his man; Ruiz(+0.5) and Onwenu(+0.5) eject the NT with a double that sees Onwenu get a LB but Mason(+0.5) has to cut away from this as Cowart sheds JBB to the inside. Wangler(+1) is able to pop a LB and create the gap.
O41 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7.5 Run PA TE screen Gentry 6
Four rushers all gone; ton of space and no pursuit. Runyan(+1) gets a good cut block on a LB; looks like M is three on two on the edge with the other two OL and DPJ. Gentry(-3) inexplicably runs away from his dudes. Run with your dudes! The strength of the screen is the pack! RPS +2.
O35 2 4 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Fake flash seam DPJ Inc
M fakes the flash screen and breaks DPJ open deeper. Like the earlier Perry play this looks like a missed connection between WR and QB based on what QB expects. Here I think DPJ is probably right because Perry’s got a wheel route behind him and post/wheel is a classic combination. (IN, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
O35 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 7 Run Zone belly Higdon 6
M gets Maryland anticipating a pass here. DE flies upfield on a pass rush and does not shuffle. LB over Gentry drops out when Gentry releases, because he’s in man coverage. JBB(+0.5) and Onwenu(+0.5) fire a DL down the line. Higdon(+1) makes a nice tight cut. RPS +1. Time starting to be a factor with around one minute left.
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Fade DPJ Inc
DPJ wins over the top just by running by his guy and has a step and a few yards to the outside. Patterson just misses by a hair wide. DPJ makes a tough basket catch but jumps and can’t get a foot down. Someone tell these guys to stop jumping near the sideline unless they absolutely have to. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O29 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Down G Higdon 7
JBB(+0.5) moves a DT who swims over the top but gives a ton of ground to do so. Ruiz(+1) smartly picks him up. Gentry(+0.5) gets a block and another LB is lost as he’s in coverage. Onwenu(+0.5) gets a kick. Good gap for Higdon. Michigan should obviously call a TO but instead take their sweet ass time, wasting 13 seconds before the next snap.
O22 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Cross Bell 22
And then they run a waggle on third and three, oookay. It works out! Because Patterson makes a tough throw across his body and a Maryland S slips as he tries to come back to the ball. (DO, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, EOH
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Zone stretch Higdon -3
Corner blitz again. Bell tries to convert to cracking the playside LB. Mason heads for the CB. Higdon’s headed off tackle; never gets there as Gentry(-2) lets the OLB go after hitting him briefly. He expects help that’s not coming and probably shouldn’t be expected. TFL. RPS -2, even if this doesn’t happen TFL is likely.
M31 2 13 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Seam Gentry 19
Difference between NW and MD here as the ILBs don’t get good depth on their drops and Patterson can fling it to Gentry as soon as he clears the first level. Throw is a dart that holds Gentry up and prevents him from getting obliterated by the S. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O40 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7.5 Pass Corner DPJ 40 (Pen -10)
DPJ in the slot, singled against the free safety. Token PA, max pro, three man route. Wilson(-1) gets beat to the inside and lunges out at the LB, bringing him to the ground. Flag. Patterson responds by throwing an inch-perfect dart TD off his back foot. Dang. (DO+, 3, protection ½, Wilson -1, DPJ route+)
50 1 20 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Improv Gentry 19
Mason(-1) sets up to pass block and shockingly gets run over; Patterson has to bug out. He does, and Mason recovers a point by tracking that LB and hitting him. Patterson free on the corner, hitting Gentry almost at the sticks. (CA+, 3, protection ½)
O31 2 1 Ace 3TE tight 1 3 1 4-3 under 8.5 Run Down T Higdon 4 + 14 pen
Here we go with the WHAT DO I CALL THIS plays. M lines up both TEs to the field and blocks down with them. C and playside T pull, with T going for a kickout and Ruiz heading through the gap. Down G-ish. But different. Down T? Ah hell. Okay. Gentry(+0.5) eliminates a guy slanting away. Runyan(+0.5) gets enough on a kick from an aggressive CB. McKeon(-0.5) gets a block but gets rocked back; Ruiz(+1) gets around and turns a LB in. Higdon tries to hit the gap between those two blocks but doesn’t quite have room. MD targets Higdon as he’s tackled.
O13 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Down G Higdon 3
McKeon(-1) moves to the second level and gets run through by a LB. OLB to playside is playing coy with Onwenu, who hits and moves him; I think that would be enough for the corner but Higdon has to bend because of the McKeon block. Higdon(+1) gets forced back and burrows for a decent gain.
O10 2 7 Shotgun 3TE 1 3 1 4-4 under 8 Penalty Illegal snap Ruiz -5
Ruiz -1.
O15 2 12 Shotgun twins twin TE tight 1 2 2 4-3 even 9 Pass Scramble Patterson 2
MD sends six against 5 and OLB gets in clean. Patterson is able to dodge him and roll out, but nothing presents itself to the short side. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, TEAM -2)
O13 3 10 Shotgun empty TE 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5.5 Pass Slant Collins Inc
Slants from the WR side of the formation; DB in overhang first turns to DPJ, which seems to give Patterson the green light to hit Collins. DB flips his hips impressively to drive on the slant and nearly INT it. Collins is reaching out to catch it and runs the guy over as the ball arrives. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(31), 20-7, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 Base 3-4 7 Pass Dumpoff Higdon 29 (nvm)
Looks like an illegal formation from M with Bell covered and going downfield but whatever, nobody cares anymore. PA, eons of time for Patterson. Max pro against a three man rush will do that. Patterson checks down to Higdon(+2), who dodges a tackle to turn five yards into a big play. DPJ(-2) blocks in the back and then gets hammered; targeting means the penalties offset, bizarrely. I feel bad for this MD player, who is chasing Higdon and reacts instinctively when DPJ presents himself. I don’t think he even saw him until just before the collision. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O43 1 10 Shotgun 2TE tight 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Jet sweep Perry 6
Actually a touch pass but whatever. M inverts their usual thing here with a TE on the LOS and Perry tucked behind. No presnap motion but blocking is same as jet so jet. Gentry(-0.5) is game on the edge but gives up ground on initial contact and Perry(+1) has to bend. He threatens inside to gets Gentry’s guy to rip there, then bounces back out, then dips inside a DT pursuing from the inside. JBB(+1) got an extended downfield block to help.
O37 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Run Down G Higdon 3
JBB(+1) turns in and eliminates DT. Onwenu(+0.5) gets a kick. Gentry(+0.5) fires in a LB who made it easy. Ruiz gets out, LB buries himself in backside of line, he looks for more work, can’t really find any. MD safety starting at 6 yards is unblocked and tackles. I’d RPS this in many situations but this is a successful second down play so I won’t here. Three is fine.
O34 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 under 8.5 Run Power O Higdon 2
Runyan(+1) and Bredeson(+1) shove playside DT well downfield and catch a LB in their wake. Onwenu(-2) has a bad pull that doesn’t get tight enough to this block and ends up overrunning the hole and the LB; Mason(+1) kicks Cowart. Higdon(+0.5) is able to burrow under the tackler to convert.
O32 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 Base 3-4 7 Run Down G Wilson -2
I don’t really know what to do with this one; Ruiz gives the brush to the NT and moves on. This is as planned; Ruiz has done this all year. This time the NT is able to rip through it and blow up the play for a TFL. Ruiz meanwhile releases downfield into already blocked guys. I guess Ruiz -1, RPS -1, Onwenu -1 for releasing to a not useful guy instead of harassing the NT. McKeon(+1) got a good edge block on a guy Runyan had engaged.
O34 2 12 Shotgun empty TE 1 2 2 Nickel over 6 Pass Improv DPJ 34
MD gets a free blitzer as the standup end backs out and two LBs head to the bubble in the line. Free run for a LB; Patterson shakes him by going to the field and then spinning the other way. DPJ is wide open on a little crossing route. Patterson hits him, and then the dam breaks as the downfield blocking looks like a screen, perfectly executed. Gentry(+1), Eubanks(+1), and Wilson(+1) all block guys and DPJ is gone. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, TEAM -2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-7, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Power O Higdon 4
Everyone gets blocked up here but there isn’t quite enough force or vision. JBB(+0.5) doesn't get a ton of push or turn his guy in but he gets a yard. Bredeson(+0.5) pulls for a kick; Gentry(+0.5) get a LB;; McKeon(+0.5) does the same. Higdon(+0.5) hits the gap and may have the ability to cut behind Gentry but that is a tough ask.
M23 2 6 Shotgun 3TE 1 3 1 4-4 even 8 Pass RPO slant Gentry 16
Legitimate RPO here with blockers heading downfield. MD S at 7 converts to man coverage on Gentry and does a decent job. Not decent enough to prevent the completion as the RPO wipes out the front seven and Patterson has to concern himself only with the throw. This pays off the earlier almost DO. (DO, 2, protection N/A)
M39 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Scramble Patterson 8
The Wilson double-tap play. Wilson(+1) gets a blitzer and pancakes him, GOLD STAR for that. Patterson can’t find anyone downfield and starts moving. Wilson looks for work and knocks over a guy Onwenu has engaged. Patterson(+1) jukes a guy for a nice gain. (SCR, N/A, protection 3/3)
M47 2 2 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over SAM 7 Pass Out Bell 2
Wilson(-1) mostly whiffs on the edge LB; Patterson has to pull up and throw. He does. Sidearm throw to Bell is right on point to convert. (CA+, 3, protection 0/1)
M49 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Base 3-4 7 Run Down T Wilson 28
Kick from JBB(+0.5); McKeon(+1) hits the DL productively and gets to a LB. Ruiz(+1) covers a lot of ground and hits that LB as he threatens to close it off outside. Wilson(+1) darts through the gap and then eases outside; no edge, big play.
O23 1 10 Ace twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Split zone Wilson 0
Runyan(-2) runs outside Cowart and lets him in the backfield free; Cowart tackles. Play otherwise decently blocked with Onwenu(+1) moving a guy out of the gap; JBB(+0.5) does enough to let the back through minus Cowart. Wangler(-1) did fail to ID a LB until it was too late so he probably ends the play after a few yards.
O23 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel even 6.5 Run Split zone Wilson 3
Onwenu(+1) again moves his guy down the line a fair distance, nice gap; Wangler(+0.5) gets a kickout. Ruiz(-1) spends too long hitting a DT who is not likely to be relevant if this play cuts back, allowing LB through. He gets off at the last second and slows him up a bit but if he’s able to stall him this goes to the safety; JBB(+0.5) sticks with a DB trying to get around him decently.
O20 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Dumpoff Wilson 5 + 8 Pen
M has some trouble with a stunt. JBB(-1) doesn’t realize he’s got nobody outside and should help on Onwenu’s guy; he’s able to get through. Michigan's picked up the rest of it well enough to get Patterson a lane; Ruiz gets a gold star for putting the other stunter on the ground. Patterson scrambles and hits his dumpoff option. Wilson is a yard short but tackled by his facemask. Also Maryland called for holding on Martin. (CA+, 3, protection ½)
O7 1 G Goal line 2 2 1 4-4 over 9 Pass Waggle FB corner Wangler 7
PA rollout gets Wangler open; Patterson wings it a wee bit wide, possibly because there’s a LB between him and Wangler, but not too bad. Wangler is able to make a tough-ish catch going to the ground for the score. (CA, 2, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O3 2PT 2PT Pistol FB Big 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Split zone Mason 3
Again it looks like the TE is blocking one guy and a second one is focus on man coverage on him. Wangler(+0.5) gets an easy kickout. Runyan(+1) drives a guy slanting a way a long distance; Ruiz(+0.5) gets a hit on the second level. Mason is in the endzone before he’s touched. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown(2PT), 35-14, 6 min 4th Q. Final snaps are M running out the clock.


Fair enough. I complained in the game column about a couple of fancy plays emerging from the garage for no reason because this game was never in doubt; two of those plays were in the first half when Michigan was either losing or up three points. I also didn't really know how to feel about this game. (He is still slightly peeved about the RPO in the fourth quarter.)

In this situation let's check the drive chart:

  • Touchdown drives of 95, 81, 64, and 43 yards.
  • Four more drives of about 40 yards in length, two of which end in short FGs. A third is a punt; the last is a turnover on downs.
  • An interception after two plays.

Well, heck.

That's... very good?

It is. The wobbly feelings come because of yet another slow start. Slow-ish, anyway. At least in this game Michigan was moving the ball a bunch instead going three and out like the Northwestern game. But BPONE rather loomed when Michigan opened up with the punt, turnover on downs, and INT on three of their first four drives. From there it went TD, TD, FG, TD, TD.

In contrast to the Northwestern game, which felt short but was about average length in terms of possessions, this was a short game. Nine drives provides relatively fewer opportunities to put up whiz-bang buckets of yards. If there were 11, as there were in the Northwestern game, Michigan probably adds another 100 yards of offense and this game looks like the dominating performance it (mostly) was.

Does this mean anything?

I don't really know. As mentioned in the game preview, Maryland's D looks like it's taken a significant step forward this year. It's still not great—currently 57th on S&P+. But it's worth noting that fancystats think this is an absolute hammering. MD's D checked in with a 15% percentile performance, by far their worst of the year. Maryland did play Texas. Texas was significantly worse on offense than Michigan was against Maryland.

And we did get to see some developments we were hoping for.

Such as?

Shea Patterson confidently zinging the ball into pockets in a zone:

He comes off a WR to find Gentry there and the ball is out so fast it would be a surprise if that was not Patterson's intent from the beginning of the play. The quick, decisive throw allows Gentry to turn a five yard hitch into a 15-yard chunk. There's a similar look-off, bang feel to other Gentry catches:


More generally, Patterson had an excellent bounce-back game after a Northwestern outing that was gritty but middling— especially if you are just focusing on the throwing:


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Notre Dame 2+ 18(4)+ 1   5 1   1(1) 2 2 1*   77% -
WMU 3++ 9(2)++     2 1     1 2     77% -
SMU 3+ 9(1)+ 3     1     2 1 2*   74% -
Nebraska 2 11(2)+     1         2 1   79% -
Northwestern 2 12(2)+ 3   1 3     3* 4     68% -
Maryland 3 17(1) 1   1 4   1   1 1   87% -

That's a nice chart. A very nice chart. There were some borderline MA/CA or MA/IN throws so YMMV a little. If you wanted to move the McKeon throw that should have been a first down but was high into the IN category I wouldn't yell at you. That doesn't change the overall picture much: a hamblasting.

Patterson went over 10 YPA by dodging blitzers...

...and threading various needles. This could have been bad, but instead it was good:

Right in stride for a TD, rescuing a rather baffling time management sequence. If the safety doesn't slip is that a disaster? Maybe! But also maybe not. Patterson's best throw was another somewhat awkward body position that didn't matter; here he is throwing off his back foot and hits DPJ perfectly:

That kind of stuff is why Patterson is the #1 QB in the Big Ten on deep balls, per PFF.

Michigan even broke out an RPO for him:

That's well covered but it's also a safety one on one with Gentry with no LB level intervening. Patterson puts it in exactly the right spot; there are many other situations that Michigan could run similar plays and find them far more open. It's a little weird they haven't incorporated more of these into the offense—the only person this really changes anything for is the QB, and Patterson just came from an offense with a heavy dose of RPO.

Errors were relatively few and benign. Patterson had a couple wobbles that  seemed more like communication/expectation issues than inaccurate balls. On an early hitch to Perry he throws it right where Perry is; Perry is taking a step away from the zone LB and has to leave his feet to catch the pass.

I thought that was more Perry than Patterson since he doesn't have to drift away from the LB; on the other hand that's probably good policy whenever you hitch up against a zone. Something to work on, but miscommunication rather than an errant throw.

The miss to DPJ was similar. DPJ starts to drift inside on his route; Patterson throws it as if he's going to continue straight up the field.

I did assign that one to Patterson since post/wheel is a classic route combination and fly/wheel is not; I'd expect DPJ to move to the middle of the field. Also that's a high hard fastball. It is also an expectations conflict between WR and QB. Must polish.

A couple other throws were a wee bit off. One was benign, as Grant Perry was able to snag a ball a bit in front of him and still get the first down. The other was less so, as Sean McKeon has an easy first down here if Patterson allows him to catch and turn upfield:

The failed fourth and one was the next play.

The interception I don't mind at all. He finds his TE, throws it up high, and Maryland makes a play:

Brian Griese's inner Lloyd Carr was on display for most of this broadcast, but I am unswayed! Take that shot every time, especially when you are dealing in all other respects. This was a quarterback performance that's going to win a lot of games.

The other major thing?

The other thing that jumped out was another week where Patterson was rarely under pressure. TEAM gathered a plurality of the protection minuses; as mentioned in the game column that's where I prefer they cluster since it's relatively easy to fix protection decisions, last year notwithstanding. When your tackles are the Black Knight biting at opponent's knees that's harder to fix.

Like the Northwestern game this does come with some caveats: early-down play action was extremely effective at converting edge rushers into run defenders and Maryland didn't blitz a ton. But Patterson was more comfortable sitting and waiting for things to develop. He in fact waited too long on the shot to Collins, because nobody was getting home.  Another chunk play was a crossing route to Gentry that took a long-ass time to pop open:

The only tackle minus went to Bushell-Beatty, and that was for not recognizing a stunt rather than getting whooped up on.

This has a distinct aura of "too good to be true," but Maryland has a legit edge rusher and it's getting easier to believe that Notre Dame was a crazy outlier instead of the truth. Wisconsin won't actually be the final exam they would normally be—they're 115th in sack rate and have just one from a DL/OLB. That's from their planet NT Olive Sagapolu.

So that's the OL settled then.

Mostly? Maybe? But not entirely. Here is a

i have been photoshopped onto your children's hearts


Offensive Line

Player + - Total Notes
Runyan 7.5 9.5 -2 Another tough outing against Cowart.
Bredeson 3.5 2 1.5 Oddly low grading events kind of a thing.
Ruiz 12.5 5 7.5 Moving guys, recognizing things.
Onwenu 10 3 7 Excellent aside from a missed regap on power.
JBB 12 4 8 The Big Big Boys.
Wangler 2.5 1 1.5 DJ can get bent apparently
McKeon 6.5 2 4.5 Fairly good but Harbaugh praise a little bit of a surprise.
Gentry 8 5.5 2.5 -3 for screen dorf not included in total.
Eubanks 1   1 Block on DPJ TD.
Mason 7.5 2 5.5 +3.5 for hurdle, YAC not in total.
TOTAL 66.5 31 68% Nth consecutive solid day; this one not great.
Player + - T Notes
Patterson 1 2 -1 One nice scramble, one missed pull
McCaffrey       DNC
Higdon 6.5 0.5 6 Mostly just grinding some extra yards here and here.
Evans       DNP
Samuels       DNC
Wilson 3   3 double tap
Turner       DNP
TOTAL 10.5 2.5 8 Not much to see here.
Player + - T Notes
DPJ 0.5 2 -1.5 Block in the back.
Perry 1   1 Decent job on jet.
TOTAL 1.5 2 -0.5 Eh
Player + - T Notes
Protection 23 10 70% TEAM –4, Wilson –2, Bredeson –2, Mason –1, JBB -1
RPS 16 10 +6 3-4 wide open things based on call.

So that's the new normal, at least based on the past couple weeks. Runyan gets a tough matchup and comes in slightly negative; I have a weird lack of numbers for Bredeson; the Big Big Boys all come in with numbers that are highly encouraging.

Runyan is not an offense destroying black-hole but this is the second straight week he's been a bit of an issue on the ground. He was erratic with his decisions on the ground—see the stretch section below—and had some difficulties against Cowart. Here Cowart's able to control and shed him:

#75 LT

That was fairly consistent. Cowart is a former five-star and looked impressive; I'd bet he's an upper-echelon Big Ten player. Runyan's come a long way since Notre Dame but probably isn't an upper-echelon Big Ten player. I would expect similar struggles when he runs across Cowart-level players.

On the other hand, Gentry is usually in the right spot and doesn't do a whole lot of moving people but he did win decisively against Cowart once:

#83 inline TE second from top

That takes second place in the "most unlikely block of the day" category, behind Tru Wilson.

I thought you said they couldn't make the whole plane out of Down G? Seemed like there was a lot of it again.

More than last week, yes. Less than against Nebraska. Michigan is doing the Harbaugh thing where they diversify their ground game over the course of the season. This week's innovation was an honest to God stretch play on the first snap, and it worked:

#75 LT Runyan seals first level defender, passes off, gets LB

Michigan hasn't been able to run a stretch since David Molk was here. This one isn't an old RR style stretch, or at least it doesn't work out quite like one. Those usually got chunks when the C was able to reach block a guy. Here Michigan plays on the expectation of Down G and is able to beat a corner blitz.

Michigan ran that a few times early, then mixed in some inside zone, and then down G came back out, to both sides of the line. Once Michigan had established a couple other things they were able to go back to Down G fairly heavily: Michigan's first TD drive featured four down G plays that went for 6, 5, 4, and 0 yards. (The last one was from the one.) They also mixed in some other stuff, including what for lack of real terminology I'm calling "down C"—same thing, pull the C to kick out—and "down T"—twin TEs block down, T pulls for kickout, C leads through the hole.

They are barely running power. One of just two instances in this game was a third and one conversion that worked out but looked real hairy as Onwenu overran the gap:

#50 RG pulling

Michigan continues to run plays in weird directions, IMO. Instead of having Onwenu grind a DL into dust and pulling the more agile Bredeson around, this goes to the left. Maybe opponents are overplaying the Big Big Boys.

So we can run a stretch now?

Wellllll... I wouldn't say they're great at it. A few plays later they ran another and a gap exchange to the front side got Michigan blocking all the wrong guys. Runyan hit and kept going on the first play. Here he hits and stops, which means there's nobody trying to harass the LB who eventually makes the play:

He's got Bredeson back there but doesn't trust that fact, which is a symptom of unfamiliarity with one of the most rep-dependent plays in football. I'm not sure how effective they can be with it. We'll see. Ruiz is uncommonly agile for a center and could get some things done.

Ruiz is grading out pretty well these days.

He is, and he did a thing I very much enjoyed in this game. You may have heard me complain about knowing the implications of certain defensive alignments, and reacting based on those implications. This usually means that there's an almost-certain blitzer out there who implies a DL slant away from the blitz. Notre Dame was able to get some stops by bringing a linebacker down in an area with no eligible WRs; I felt like someone should be able to see that and read the implied slant.

Well, here's a Maryland linebacker creeping down, and Cesar Ruiz pointing it out:

#51 C

Then he goes and whoops the NT he knows is going to slant to him, creating a giant gap for Mason. That guy doesn't know what hit him.

Ruiz did have an error or two; I'm not sure what to do with this Down G on which he brushes by a guy who will TFL:

That looks bad. It's also something Ruiz has been doing all year.

Presumably that's as intended, but better opponents who have seen this approach before can exploit it. On this play in particular it seemed like Michigan had the blocks even if Ruiz took a more conservative approach and just locked this guy out after successfully reaching him. I split the damage there between Ruiz and RPS.

Blips were rare and plays on which it looked like Michigan was completely lost were nonexistent. When a run play failed it had specific causes; it was not an issue where a bad read of the D caused everything to go higgeldy-piggeldy. I don't know how much of that is Warinner and how much is Ruiz but it's certainly both of them having an impact.

You said to use Mason until they stopped it!

Well, okay, hear me out—


I don't know if I explicitly stated that the thing that should happen until someone figures out a way to defy physics was Mason running behind the Big Big Boys on the right. This continued to work just fine. Michigan pounded the ball in from the 5 for their first touchdown with a couple of BBB dives assisted by that 3TE formation (the zero-yard down G is between these plays):

#50 RG and friends

In contrast the failed dive is veritably nude, with just Runyan and Gentry at the point of attack. Runyan's recovered from a rough start but is no Onwenu when it comes to picking large men up and throwing them in a swimming pool; Gentry is a 6'8" TE who's game but necessarily meh as a blocker. With Mason offset behind them there's no mystery, either:

That looks broken, as Runyan is blocking down on nobody while Gentry tries to deal with the DE. Does this work if Gentry and Runyan double this guy? Eh, probably.

I'm still a little confused by this. If you're going to break tendencies and run it weak, why on earth offset the fullback and indicate that is your plan? I dunno. The trip TE formation worked so well because it didn't actually involve any mission-critical TE blocking. It did successfully spread the front so that it was easy for Onwenu and JBB to double team a DT into the endzone. The above is asking Gentry to do a lot, far more than the BBB dives ask of the OL.

Do we have some Concerns About The Receivers?

are you Todd McShay

Sir, I have never once suggested that a mid-tier Big Ten quarterback is a first round talent.

Fair enough. The announcers for this game spent a lot of time talking about how Michigan's WR corps is a sore spot. This was very much the case last year. This year... you could look at it in a few different ways. They're thin, it's true. They're young, with sophomores backed by sophomores and a freshman. And there are some issues with polish.

For the second straight week it felt like a Michigan WR gave up an important completion because he jumped for a ball that he didn't have to. Last week it was Collins on a quick out. This one is DPJ in a more difficult situation:

Tough over the shoulder catch but also one where extending your arms probably does what the jump does and gives you a better chance of staying on the field. Add in a few different Collins issues from last week and you could make the case.

On the other hand, they're making all the routine catches and a fair number of tougher ones. DPJ keeps scoring. Collins shook a Northwestern safety for a coulda-shoulda TD last week and brought in a tough downfield catch this week.

DPJ had a 40-yard TD called back, and while this wasn't apparent on TV from the stadium it was clear that DPJ had to adjust his route to get to the ball, which he did. Not a huge thing, but DPJ does not have Stonum disease.

They're not clearly awesome but that is in large part an artifact of Michigan's offense, which is close to dead last in tempo and runs 65% of the time on standard downs. Data is still relatively thin. The catching data:

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
DPJ   0/1 0/1 2/2   2 0/2 1/2 17/17
Collins 1   1/1       0/1 4/5 8/9
Martin           2 1/3   4/4
Perry     2/2     2 0/2 2/2 6/6
Bell       2/2       1/1 2/2
McCurry               1/1 1/1
McKeon     2/2 1/1   1   3/3 6/7
Gentry 1 0/1 2/2 5/5   4 0/1 5/5 15/17
Eubanks           1   1/1 2/2
Mason       1/1          1/1
Evans                 4/4
Higdon        1/1          3/3
Wilson       1/1         2/2
Thomas                    0/1

Where's the damn hurdle?

Well, okay then:

In addition to the very flashy Mason things—HELLO LINEBACKER GET ON MY BACK AND LET'S GO TO THE ENDZONE—there were a couple other items worth noting. Mason was able to shove a Higdon-defender package about four yards downfield on one important redzone carry:

#42 FB

And he displayed a little change of direction on his single carry outside of short yardage. People are uttering Toby Gerhardt's name, which is silly. But a little less silly than last week.


Patterson was dealing. Gentry was receiving many of said deals. The Big Big Boys all checked in with excellent days.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody stood out as actively bad. Runyan did take a solid L on the ground, but didn't give up a pass pro minus.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and beyond?

Time to open it up. Michigan's entering a stretch of critical games against some extremely mediocre pass defenses. Mediocre pass defenses without the kind of DEs who could cause an OT reversion to form. Wisconsin: 115th in sack rate. MSU: 77th. PSU: 45th. The best efficiency D of that bunch against the pass is PSU at 47th. With Patterson hitting the groove and Gentry fully weaponized, Michigan should take their passing offense out of the garage and do... shifty things. I don't know, I'm not a car guy. This metaphor was a bad idea.

One more data point about tackle survival. Six more and we have a season.

The right side of the line will move people. Hopefully M can figure out some power/counter stuff to do with that. Keep running behind them in short yardage please.

Ben Mason is a dude. This is the obvious portion of our program.

Throwing it to the ent is a good idea. Keep it going.

RPOs are a good idea. Hopefully the late one here was just a test drive; there were rumors that Michigan was working on them a ton in the offseason.



October 10th, 2018 at 6:24 PM ^

Receivers in the air: 

Keep in mind that Braylon didn't start really getting good in the air until the middle of his junior season, and he wasn't a monster at mid-air body control until he was a senior. DPJ and company are just sophomores, still. I would like them to get better at body control when off of the ground; they've shown some improvements in that category already. Routes need work, too, but obviously those have been progressing. I love seeing the Mills concept in action.

I like it when the interior grinds straight forward. I'm a bit worried about the line elsewhere. Shea seems to be adapting to what he has, though, and when he knows where a free runner would come from he can dodge that guy, unlike earlier in the year.

Keep chucking it downfield. Michigan can be a Corvette in the passing game if it wants to be. Agree with Brian's muddled car analogy there. 

Watching From Afar

October 10th, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

I was by no means an elite athlete, but when a ball was over my head and I knew I could get it, I jumped higher than I expected and often wasn't prepared for it (blew out my knee thinking I was landing before I did).

That happens to athletes who are a lot more athletic than us. You see the "roll the windows down" type situation when guys get too high. Brain shuts off and they know they can get that ball, jump for it/sprint full speed without thinking RUN FASTER and they get too high or over run the ball a bit. Dial it in and you get Edwards.


October 10th, 2018 at 6:58 PM ^

Be careful what you wish for. Against elite teams it is critical to control TOP with your offense...keep your defense fresh and wear theirs  down. This is why the high octane Big 12 offenses cannot hang with the big boys-Texas couldn't even deal with Maryland for gods sake. Here, the best defense is a good offense-that controls TOP. Among other things, this is what Alabama does.


October 10th, 2018 at 9:28 PM ^

This is just false, false, false.  Alabama runs a no huddle spread now.  Oklahoma is air raid.  Clemson is no huddle up tempo spread.  Ohio State is up tempo no huddle spread.  The only exception is Georgia and they are bag manning their way to relevancy.  It's not popular because it's not true.


October 10th, 2018 at 10:52 PM ^

Let's look at the recent National Championship games:

2017: Bama (spread option) vs. Georgia (pro-style)

2016: Bama (spread option) vs. Clemson (spread option)

2015: Bama (spread option) vs. Clemson (spread option)

2014: Oregon (spread option) vs. OSU (spread option)

2013: FSU (spread pro style) vs. Auburn (spread option)

2012: Alabama (pro style) vs. ND (spread)

2011: Alabama (pro style) vs. LSU (pro style)

2010: Auburn (spread option) vs. Oregon (spread option)

In this decade, 5 out of 14 teams are pro style and the rest are spread offense. The current top 4 teams are all spread offense except for Georgia.


October 11th, 2018 at 10:23 PM ^

Want to go with tempo instead?

2017: Bama (normal) vs. Georgia (normal)

2016: Bama (normal) vs. Clemson (tempo)

2015: Bama (normal) vs. Clemson (tempo)

2014: Oregon (tempo) vs. OSU (tempo)

2013: FSU (normal) vs. Auburn (tempo)

2012: Alabama (normal) vs. ND (normalish/tempoish)

2011: Alabama (normal) vs. LSU (normal)

2010: Auburn (tempo) vs. Oregon (tempo)

That's basically half of the teams playing in the championship in this decade. Current top 4 teams have two teams who play tempo.

I'm not sure I'm seeing your point because huddled pro-style offensive certainly isn't the best way to contend for the championship

The Man Down T…

October 10th, 2018 at 6:27 PM ^

Is that TD to Bell really a bad call on the throw?  Looking at all the incredible passes he made that game, this looked to me to be just another perfect throw.  He saw exactly where it was supposed to go and put it there.  Bell was hit in stride.  Just perfect.  Am I wrong on that?


October 10th, 2018 at 6:34 PM ^

It seemed like in Michigan's first series they had a lot more pre-snap motion than normal.  Very similar to what we were told Matt Canada likes to use.

Was that just me or was it something Harbaugh was doing to mess with Maryland?

Space Coyote

October 10th, 2018 at 8:01 PM ^

Noticed this too and it's something Michigan did more of earlier in the Harbaugh era and that Harbaugh has done a lot elsewhere. It appears it's another aspect of the O they're growing. I will add on those early snaps it shows a lot of what the defense is doing (how they plan to align vs various formations, react to motion, etc) that help guide your gameplan throughout the game. Nice touch


October 10th, 2018 at 6:36 PM ^

Ben Mason is my favorite player on offense by a pretty wide margin. That makes me happy

Also: I love the Big Big Boys. I think people will understand what I mean when I say this offense is starting to look like Michigan again


October 10th, 2018 at 6:52 PM ^

Haven't even read this yet but out of that bomber wing formation....split Gentry out wide to the right, and...let's watch magic happen.  Slant or even a sluggo fade to the back corner if thinking the DB would bite on the slant.


October 10th, 2018 at 10:49 PM ^

Good point but I'd sure as hell hope he's attempted in practice and see how he does.  He's 6'7.  We don't need some amazing body controlled jump and catch...chuck it up and over a DB and let him reach up (over him) and secure it.  Or use that burly body on the slant and see if a DB can do much to interfere with him hauling it in.

Space Coyote

October 10th, 2018 at 7:57 PM ^

He did a little in the NFL, I just don't think installing it is a high priority to him compared to other things to spend limited practice time on. There are a lot of calls and tags in this offense that you don't get with a lot of the one word play calls that he prioritized over the benefit of pace. Maybe we get it for a series or two with a script or two calls in one huddle, but right not its not the priority over other things


October 10th, 2018 at 8:03 PM ^

I agree about the overall pace decision.  My guess is we'll see a number of two-play calls in high-leverage situations in short yardage if he feels like he's got a personnel matchup advantage.  I do wonder if he'll start letting Patterson call more plays/audibles as the season progresses.  It feels like that is the next logical progression.