Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 7th, 2018 at 4:31 PM

[Patrick Barron]

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FORMATION NOTES: Nothing particularly odd from Michigan. They were about 70% gun, which is obviously a huge uptick. A couple of hurry-up drives (-ish) at the end of the game were always going to be from the gun; even without those Michigan was almost two-thirds shotgun.

ND ran a very standard 4-2-5.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Patterson except for the extended cramping period in the second half when McCaffrey played. Runyan/Bredeson/Ruiz/Onwenu/JBB the whole way except one snap for Spanellis after Ruiz's helmet came off. Higdon got a large majority of the RB snaps, with Chris Evans the only other back to play.

At WR Collins, DPJ, and Martin got all the outside snaps with Perry getting all the slot snaps. McKeon and Gentry got almost all the TE snaps with the occasional contribution from Eubanks.

[After THE JUMP: it says something about expectations that I felt this could have been worse?]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Run Zone read belly Higdon 8
ND moves a LB down to blitz off the edge pre-snap; M blocking this to exploit the slant that implies. Bredeson(+1) gets to the MLB and erases him. Runyan(+1) has a shaky snap, leaning over when the DE tries to shed and almost losing his balance, but does get the job done. Higdon cuts behind that. LB gets an ankle tackle from the side that cedes a fair amount of yards. RPS +1.
M43 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Split zone Higdon 2
Extra guy in the box blitzes off the backside of the play and has no blocker because Gentry left to go hit the DE the zone read fake holds. He’s able to come around and get Higdon as he nears the LOS; they fall forwards. Relevant blocks are mediocre at best but don’t get tested. RPS -1.
M45 3 IN Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
Again a cut to the backside. Runyan(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) double and move a DT. Gentry is… present… against a DE. Higdon(+0.5) is quick through the gap and makes a yard or two after contact.
M49 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 Nickel over 6 Pass Flash screen Collins 8
Pin and pull action opposite a screen that’s 3 v 3. McKeon(+1) gets a good driving block on the corner. DPJ(-0.5) mostly takes a hit and gets shed; Collins(+1) runs through that tackle for a good gain. (CA, 3, screen)
O43 2 2 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 Nickel over 6.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon -1
Running the pin and pull they just showed, which seems like a bad thing to do. ND blitzes it to bits. Ruiz tries to block down on a DT behind the play and that guy bails to a gap further behind as the MLB inserts. Onwenu(-0.5) doesn’t have much chance but gets run through. Runyan(-1) gets stood up and shoved back. Gentry(-1) same. Blitzer makes it impossible to even test that weak gap. Higdon(+1) does work to get back to the LOS. RPS –2.
O44 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 2 2 Nickel under 7.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 0
Again with the ZR that options nobody. Bad awareness on Runyan’s part as ND is creeping down a linebacker to the boundary, where there are no eligible receivers, and is absolutely going to send him. That means his guy is jumping inside. Runyan’s guy jumps inside. Runyan(-2) whiffs. But even if he does pin him inside Higdon is exposed to the LB and is hoping to break a tackle to avoid a TFL. This is dumb Hoke era read nobody stuff. RPS -2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 10 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Jet sweep DPJ 7
Decent play off the ZR stuff they’ve been running as the end they leave unblocked is hesitant and DPJ is outside quickly. ND contains it well; Gentry(+0.5) gets decent contact; DPJ(+0.5) does the smart thing and turns it up inside of Gentry to get a decent gain instead of getting strung out to the sideline. RPS +1.
M34 2 3 Shotgun empty 1 2 2 Nickel under 6 Pass Hitch DPJ 4
Instant throw that Patterson knows is there with CB playing way off. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Waggle comeback DPJ 6
PA, rollout, deeper throw is open and hit. DPJ falls of his own volition on the catch, possibly costing M a few yards. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M44 2 4 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 6.5 Pass Post Collins Inc
PA jet, PA up the middle, drop back to throw. Onwenu(-2) does not do a good job of looking for work here as he drops and finds no one to block. A delayed blitzer is picked up by Ruiz but as he heads to the right out of Ruiz’s area, he gets by. Onwenu makes a late stab but not enough. Patterson’s taking a shot at Collins and the pressure affects it; Collins has broken inside on a post with no safety help and has a ton of space in which to hit a big play; ball is long and outside. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Onwenu -2)
M44 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie two 6 Pass TE Out Gentry 8
Quick strike as Gentry drifts outside a linebacker and Patterson hits him on the outside shoulder, away from coverage and naturally turning him upfield for YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O48 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even 6 Pass Smoke Martin 7
Doofy screen succeeds again. It’s not even a screen, really, just a zero yard route with no blocking. This is a real pass play on which Patterson appears to make a read so I’ll file it as downfield despite not actually being, you know, downfield. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
O41 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6.5 Pass Waggle out Perry 12
Pretty easy read with deep CB having to track a fly route and getting high-lowed to the rollout side. Patterson waits and then throws a strike. It does take Perry off his feet but I think that’s a Perry reaction to nearing the sideline and not about the throw. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
Onwenu(-1) goes to double a DT with Ruiz as he doesn’t read what’s likely to happen with an overhang LB with nothing to do but blitz. DE dives inside JBB, JBB picks up blitzer, blitzer jets under Onwenu. Higdon(+1) is vertical and fast so he can run by but now he’s only got one option, which is to run directly upfield into unblocked guys. Double on the DTs left two LBs untouched. Four yards isn’t the worst.
O25 2 6 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Batted N/A Inc
ND goes full on zero here with six guys at the LOS. They threaten both LBs. One backs out. Michigan chooses poorly, sliding to the field and letting a DE through free. Patterson has to get this out faster or roll away from the pressure. He stands in and tries to get it away, gets nuked on the throw, and the ball is a punt up for anyone that falls to the ground. (PR, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O25 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie one 6 Pass Sack N/A -12
Ah, stunts, hooray. One: Patterson needs to get this out. He has dink routes at the line to gain and if thrown on the break he can get it. ND drops a LB into his first read, Gentry, and he doesn’t like Perry, but throw the ball. It’s Perry, give him a chance. Michigan does at least force the guy who gets through to be a NT looping all the way around Runyan, and while Runyan could maybe get out faster I think he needs to stay to try to control the guy coming inside of him because Bredeson(-1) has first steps inside, over Ruiz, opening a gap he can’t close quickly enough. (TA, 0, protection ½)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-14, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Power O Higdon 4
This ends up looking odd because of what ND’s doing. Ruiz(+0.5) and Onwenu(+1) clear out their guys. Playside DT then slants outside. M deals with this fairly well; Bredeson(+1) stops and pops a LB on a twist blitz. Higdon sees the gap and tries to hit it but just can’t quite change direction fast enough and trips over Bredeson’s feet, preventing a big chunk run.
O37 2 6 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 6.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 8
Same approach from ND, different play from Michigan. Onwenu(+0.5) is just able to get a shove on the MLB blitzing; Higdon(+2) cuts behind that. JBB(+0.5) kicks the DT slanting to him out, big gap. Safety is filling for the MLB. Higdon makes him miss.
O29 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even 8 Pass PA TE Out Gentry 3
Post is covered, checkdown. Both TEs are covered well by ND. Patterson hits the one that provides a few yards. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). Mansome blitz pickup from Higdon.
O26 2 7 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
M wants that DE they leave to widen out to chase the jet that worked earlier; ND has a safety coming down to check it so he doesn’t flare as much as they want. Bredeson(+2) blows out his guy to the point where Higdon has a lane. Runyan(+1) got a solid second level block. RPS -1.
O22 3 3 Shotgun twin TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 6.5 Pass Slant Collins 7
Ruiz out. Spanellis in. Patterson has to DEMAND the snap, and does, and gets it just in time. Then he tosses a quick slant to Collins. It’s wobbly but up in the air in a good way and hard to defend.(CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O15 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Waggle TE flat McKeon 8
Waggle, McKeon gets a step, Patterson aagain throws a wobbler but it’s on point. McKeon brings it in. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O7 2 2 Ace trips tight 1 2 2 4-4 under 8 Run Cutback iso Higdon 2
M attacking over the trips side, with McKeon(+0.5)kicking out and DPJ diving inside of him to provide a lead block, sort of not really. Gentry(+0.5) shoves a guy slanting away and Higdon has an easy couple yards to convert.
O5 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Run Down G Higdon 3
Runyan(+0.5) blocks down and gets the DT inside of him as he slants away; Bredeson(+0.5) pulls and kicks; Gentry(+1) drives his guy yards downfield. Ruiz isn’t able to get out on the MLB because it’s crowded; he gets Higdon down.
O2 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line 10 Pass Sack N/A -8
Ugh, you’re on the two run the dang ball. This PA sells nobody and nobody’s open. Patterson should get rid of the ball immediately. He doesn’t. Higdon only gets a bit of a LB on a cut JBB(-1) beat around the corner; Runyan(-2) turns in his worst play so far by lunging out at Tillery, who swipes him away and sacks.This is so so bad. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3)
O10 3 G Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-3-5 5.5 Pass Dig Gentry Inc
ND sitting back in a zone; Patterson makes the correct and more or less only choice to hit Gentry on a ten yard in. It’s maybe a little late and could be higher but it’s a pretty good throw; S breaks it up. Just a guy making a play. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(28), 3-14, 11 min 2nd Q. M does not get another possession until after half.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Penalty Delay N/A -5
M20 1 15 Ace 1 2 2 4-4 under 8 Pass Fly Collins 52
M leaves Gentry in and gets good protection all around. Patterson holds onto the ball for an extremely long time and then hits Collins on a deep shot where he ran past(!) an ND corner who’s supposed to be real good and gave him an eight yard cushion. Throw here does take Collins off his feet but is also 52 yards in the air. (DO, 2, protection 3/3, Collins route +)
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Waggle comeback DPJ 12
Wide open as DB slips but this was major cushion and probably at least 8 anyway. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O16 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Waggle out Perry Inc
Once too many times to the well. Patterson is rolling against his throwing arm here and gets immediate pressure from a DE who’s seen this a bit. He has to start backpedaling and his attempt to rescue it with a back foot throw is off. This was extremely difficult. (MA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
O16 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Tunnel screen Perry Inc
This gets batted back in Patterson’s face and that is deeply unfortunate because M is one up on blockers. Slight possibility Runyan was supposed to cut the DE? (BA, 0, screen)
O16 3 10 Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 Exotic 6 Pass Corner DPJ Inc
Patterson steps up a bit after his initial setup and this might be a bad idea but he’s got a reasonable pocket so that helps your OTs out. Runyan(-1) gets driven back by his guy into Patterson’s lap and I think someone makes contact w/ Patterson on the throw. His follow through is odd. Ball is a corner to DPJ that’s long. (IN, 0, protection ½)
Drive Notes: Botched FG, 10-21, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Ace trips tight 1 2 2 4-4 over 8 Run Crack sweep Higdon -4
Splat. Edge LB jets straight upfield, DPJ with no chance to do anything with him, picks off second blocker and forces Higdon to bend, TFL. Higdon(-1) should have put his foot in the ground and cut directly upfield instead of bend but that’s a tough ask. RPS -2.
M45 2 14 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 5.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 0
ND stunts. JBB(+1) and Onwenu both stay attached to their guys and keep pushing. Higdon(-2) takes a false step once JBB’s guy presents himself; he needs to immediately cut behind JBB and see if he can hit the gap behind him. Instead he gets buried.
M45 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 6 Pass TE Flare Eubanks 10
Eubanks delays like he’s going to block and then leaks out in the flat; wide open. He’s not able to juke the DB he needs to to get the first down, or close to it. Still sets up a makeable fourth. (CA, 3, protection 0/2) Runyan(-1) run right through even as M tries to give him a chip that should allow him to concentrate on not getting run over. JBB(-1) driven so far back that Patterson has to dump.
O45 4 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass TE out Gentry Inc
Patterson pumps and then throws this; Gentry is well defended and the ball is in front anyway. Throw it up, let your guy box out; instead the ball is in an area the DB can get a PBU in. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 10-21, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Pin and pull Evans 2
Runyan(+1) pulls and gets a big kickout. Ruiz(+0.5) gets around and makes contact. Onwenu(-1) gets hung up and is late coming out but probably doesn’t have much shot on the MLB even he does get out. McKeon(+1) pins in the playside end. Evans(-1) takes a completely unnecessary false step in the backfield that slows him down and then doesn’t run away from the MLB, instead cutting up into him and getting tackled. RPS -1, this is a good example of a slant beating a block.
M22 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Flash screen DPJ 5
Easy as M has 2 vs 3 near the LOS. Collins(-0.5) doesn’t do great with his block and his guy starts a tackle that the S finishes; without that DPJ might be able to squeeze out a few more. RPS +1. (CA, 3, screen)
M27 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 3-4 7 Run Speed option Evans 0
No zone read step, so unblocked LB doesn’t shuffle, he just rips upfield. Patterson pitches; LB hasn’t formed up, he’s still ripping upfield. Patterson(-2) needs to fake it and cut up, but how many times have they repped this? Not much I bet. Downfield Bredeson and Runyan release into one guy as ND stunts; Ruiz(+1) does a really good job to get around a guy slanting to the play and reach him, but then runs by instead of stopping to seal. Doesn’t matter. RPS –1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-21, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Run Dash read Higdon 8
IZ one way, Higdon immediately trying to flank the shuffle end. He does. Higdon(+1) outruns a LB and runs through his ankle tackle; S gets him but gives up some YAC. RPS +2. M robbed of a yard and a half on the spot. Refs -1.
M33 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6.5 Pass Flash screen DPJ 6
Dink screen against off coverage. LB backing out doesn’t play this well, easy conversion, (CA, 3, screen) RPS +1.
M39 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Pass Scramble Patterson 9
Gentry(-2) whooped on the edge. Why is this not McKeon maybe? Patterson(+2) looks sacked all to hell but squirms out of it and busts into the open field. (SCR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M48 2 1 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass TE out Gentry INT
Ruiz releases right at first and then passes his guy off when he’s clearly sliding that way. LB comes up the gut. Hidgon(-2) lets the guy between him and Ruiz. Gah. Patterson backs up and throws off his back foot. This ball should be 20 yards into the sideline; it is not, and it is picked. (BRX, 0, protection 0/2). Snap count issue here maybe as LB does not tip his blitz at all and is still through maximally fast.
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-24, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M4 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 2
This is not a real read so Michigan is blocking 6 vs 7. MLB blitzes. Michigan does a pretty good job to pick him up and cover the DL slants, but Ruiz comes out on a DL and passes him off. This is correct and quick but now he resets his eyes to the overhang LB. This is the only guy he has a reasonable shot at; safety who started at 8 and is running at the LOS on the snap cuts down Higdon. RPS -2. Ruiz(+0.5), Onwenu(+0.5), Bredeson(+1).
M6 2 8 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 10
YES DO THIS. FFS. McKeon(+2) and JBB(+1) blast the playside end yards off the ball. JBB pops off on a LB. Easy. Onwenu(+1) turns in the DT. Bredeson(+0.5) pulls and gets a decent kick on a LB; lane for Higdon and a first down. This should be your base play.
M16 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-4 even 8 Run Power O Higdon 3
McCaffrey in. JBB(-2) doesn’t block down on the playside DT for reasons. Bredeson(+1) pulls super tight and gets around to block this guy(!), Higdon(-1) isn’t ready for that, though, and goes inside of this block when the gap further outside is looking promising.Gentry, Mason(+0.5 each) got free kickout/second level blocks that looks solid. DT JBB left grabs after a meh gain. This is dorfed and still their average run.
M19 2 7 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass Waggle TE flat McKeon 2
Patterson back. Waggle, he cramps up and starts falling, dumps to Gentry as he does. Gentry gets blasted immediately. Not RPSing this because kind of looks like downfield options are open and the cramp might make Patterson chuck it early. (not charted, 3, protection N/A)
M21 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Rollout out Perry 7
McCaffrey. Perry motions, America’s Rollout Out follows. ND cover guy busts a little; safety comes up screaming at him pre-snap and he starting moving out to cover ARO but is too late. Easy pitch and catch conversion. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M28 1 10 I-Form twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Power O Higdon 2
ND slants to this. JBB(-2) lunges and completely airballs. All he has to do is stay attached and push the guy the direction he’s going; instead a whiff. Onwenu(+1) adjusts, hitting the DT slanting to him and moving him after Ruiz set him up. This allows Higdon to cut behind that block and pick up a few.
M30 2 8 Ace trips tight 2 1 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass Scramble McCaffrey 2
Solid pocket and time for McCaffrey. He does have to move up a bit; he does not survey and find a guy but takes off. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
M32 3 6 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Exotic 6.5 Pass Out DPJ 6
Good protection again, wobbly but fairly hard throw at DPJ that’s caught for first down yardage. Spot is again awful but this one is so bad it’s actually overturned. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Arc zone read keeper McCaffrey 5
Good idea and an iffy guy running the play. DE tears after Evans, pull. Gentry(+0.5) kickout on linebacker is okay. McCaffrey(-1) has daylight and is 1 v 1 vs safety, which safety wins with authority. RPS +1.
M43 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Rollout out Perry 10
ARO on second down. Evans comes across for a PA fake and then cuts a DE running right at him. McCaffrey rolls out and fires a high hard one that Perry brings in. (MA, 2, protection 1/1).
O47 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass TE wheel McKeon Inc
PA jet, PA up the middle, good protection. LB on McKeon gets smoke as he assumes flat and then McKeon turns it up. McCaffrey misses badly on a potential chunk play. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O47 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Flash screen Martin 1
Now alert to the danger, ND flowing up hard on this. DPJ(-1) in position but gets run over. Perry gets a kickout that’s okay; Martin has to dance and then gets the overhang LB in his face. (CA, 3, screen, RPS –1.)
O46 3 9 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel even 4 Pass Scramble McCaffrey 2
More a sack than a scramble as Runyan(-2) gets spun through like he’s not there. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
O44 4 7 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-3-5 4 Pass Improv Higdon Inc
Runyan(-2) smoked around the edge this time. McCaffrey sets up and then bails, appropriately. If he has time he can likely hit Collins coming across the face of a LB for the first down. Instead he rolls out and tries to hit Higdon. It’s way short. Higdon tries to adjust and can’t and makes a large number of flag gestures; unconvincing on replay. (IN, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 10-24, 7 min 4th Q. Still McCaffrey on next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc (Pen +15)
Another pocket that McCaffrey doesn’t trust. It looks like he bugs out early but also Runyan(-1) gets ripped upfield by the DE and if McCaffrey stays bad things will happen. JBB(-1) also pushed back and disengaged from. McCaffrey should probably still stay in the pocket and just dump to Evans but rolls and gets hit and throws to no one. (PR, 0, protection 0/2). M the beneficiary of a Very Horseshit PI call on a ball not within a galaxy of Gentry, refs +3.
M35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Screen Evans 13
Patterson back. Screen calls sees DL all gone after QB. Gentry(-1) set to harass LB and doesn’t do a very good job. No contact. Does force him to bend and that’s enough for Evans to get by. Evans gets the first down easily. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
M48 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Dumpoff Evans 24
Protection’s actually good here. Patterson surveys a couple reads and then goes, breaking through a gap in the line and dumping it to Evans(+2), who dusted Tranquill and can catch and run. M should do this stuff on purpose all the time. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Scramble Patterson 2
Pocket is barely there. Runyan does fend off the DE and force him around a little deep. Patterson is able to break through the pocket directly upfield. Usually that’s a good development. Here there’s a spy LB and Patterson isn’t able to realize he should hit Evans in time; instead he gets a minimal gain. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
O26 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Dumpoff Evans Inc
M burns 34 seconds here before snapping. FFS. Patterson has all day. Finds no one. Starts hopping backwards and harms his own throw to Evans, which is turfed. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O26 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Exotic 6 Pass Improv Martin 21
Four man rush picked up fairly well with main problem being guys giving a bit too much ground. Patterson breaks the pocket and starts pointing and stuff. His pointing draws attention to Higdon, opening up Martin on a dig for a chunk down to the 5. (DO+, 3, protection 2/2)
O5 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 2
Bredeson(-1) does the thing where you run by a guy you need to chip. More understandable near the goal line but Ruiz(+0.5)xc has little shot of containing his guy. He does stay attached and help Higdon’s momentum, which gets a couple.
O3 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 8 Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Better here as Onwenu(+1) does block down on the NT and move him; JBB(+0.5) and McKeon(+1) move guys.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-24, 2 min 4th Q. M gets the ball back with 1:48 and no timeouts.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass Rollout out Perry 4
Line slides right on PA and backside DE is let go. Evans(-2) has previously blocked this guy but now runs out of the backfield on a pattern. That guy gets into Patterson and makes his throw to Perry iffy. Instead of four plus YAC plus OOB it is now just four in-bounds. (PR, 2, protection 0/2)
M29 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass Improv Patterson 16
Protection again okay ish with Runyan maybe giving up too much depth. Three man rush so Gs find work and blow up those DEs. Patterson steps up and fires a slick dart to Perry. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M45 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 6 Pass TE out Gentry Inc
Pocket OK; Patterson throws a five yard TE out that will get tackled in bounds if Gentry doesn’t drop it, which he does. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass Sack N/A -5
Another big looping stunt that looks terrible for Runyan but isn’t really. LB dives inside and takes Bredeson out. Bredeson cannot come off that guy . Runyan cannot come off his guy. Ruiz is trying to track the looper after he can’t come off on Bredeson’s guy and when Ruiz comes over to Runyan, he disengages and tries to get that looper. Ruiz keeps tracking the looper, Original Runyan person now free so when Patterson steps up he gets strip sacked. To me this is more Bredeson and Ruiz? And Patterson needs to throw? (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Ruiz –1, Bredeson -1)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-24, EOG.


I dunno people yell at me when I don't

pretty late though

I dunno I have existential issues when I do?


I feel insane saying this but I felt somewhat better after doing this. I expected Runyan to miss every block and for JBB to miss 80%. Instead their performances were merely horrible. First let me stick up for Runyan a bit, who PFF charged with all three sacks. I do not think two of those are mostly his fault. Both are stunts where the guy looping around is coming from the nose tackle position. On both he has a choice between going and getting the looper and letting a DE slanting inside direct to the QB. Example #1:

#74 LG and #75 LT

This is third and four. Patterson doesn't get the ball out because ND drops a linebacker directly into his first read. He has time to come off that and see DPJ or Perry...


ball has to be out now

...but instead holds it. By the time the looper gets all the way around the ball needs to be gone.

Meanwhile, what's Runyan supposed to do here? He does not have someone to pass his DE off to because Bredeson has set up too far from him and is late coming over. Once Bredeson recovers he does try to leave; he's late, but that's because Bredeson is late.

The game-ending sack-strip was an even more explicit occurrence of this. Bredeson gets driven far and fast and is unable to get off his DE at any point. Ruiz seems to realize what's happening and follows the looper, which is crazy and can never work but is at least recognizing that Bredeson's gone and someone has to do something. Runyan then feels Ruiz coming to his area, tries to pass his guy off to Ruiz, and does go materially impact the looper:

#51 C, #74 LG, #75 LT

But Ruiz is focused on the same guy the whole play and never picks up the guy Runyan leaves, and that's all she wrote.

When Runyan actually had the option to pass his guy off on a stunt, he did.

LT #75

This is slightly encouraging!

You are not seriously suggesting Runyan was okay.

Oh, God no. As Seth detailed earlier this week, Michigan's gameplan was based not around things they could do but the thing they knew they could not: pass block, like, at all. Michigan ran a ton of WR screens, quick game, and waggle stuff in a desperate bid to not involve their tackles whatsoever. By halftime I'd charted all of three plays on which Michigan risked enough of a dropback for me to rank protection as out of 2 instead of 1 or 0, and one of those was an 0/3 because multiple guys got pantsed.

With a bit better luck and a bit better defense it might have worked—it was a field goal hold and a few iffy calls away from going to overtime. But it was a gameplan all about mitigating your weakness instead of exploiting whatever strengths you might have.

And when those tackles inevitably got called into action things went about as badly as the gameplan implied they would. The second and goal from the two was the first really terrible incident, with Runyan lunging at Jerry Tillery like a wee baby Braden:

LT #75

I do not have a problem with Michigan's down to down playcalling in this game... except on this play. It's second and goal from the two and you have The Big Boys at your disposal. Run the damn ball, Bobo. Then run it again, and if necessary run it a third time. (The overall shape of the offense is another matter and another section.)

But anyway the above incident is redshirt-freshman-who-leans-on-people stuff and really really bad to see from a fourth-year player no matter who has been coaching him. A couple of later incidents added to his –2 pile:

LT #75

That's real bad, and given the gameplan and the quarterbacks' tendency to bug out at the drop of a hat it feels representative of what Michigan's seen in practice all offseason.

Runyan couldn't anchor effectively, got spun through with alarming ease...

...and, well, anyway here's a

i don't wanna


Offensive Line

Player + - Total Notes
Runyan 4 3 1 Could have been worse!
Bredeson 7.5 1 6.5 May be legit good
Ruiz 3   3 Weirdly irrelevant
Onwenu 5 2.5 2.5 I'll take it.
JBB 3 4 -1 Two big power dorfs.
Spanellis       DNC
McKeon 5.5   5.5 +2 on mashing power and other pickups here and there
Gentry 3 2 1 Did get beat badly on a pass drop.
Eubanks       DNC
Mason 0.5   0.5 Not used much.
TOTAL 31.5 12.5 72% ?!?!?
Player + - T Notes
Patterson 2 2 0 Bad speed option, one escape.
McCaffrey   1 -1 Awkward on zone read.
Higdon 5.5 4 1.5 Fast but missed a couple opportunities.
Evans 2 1 1 Barely used.
Samuels       DNP
Wilson       DNP
Turner       DNP
TOTAL 9.5 8 1.5 Make plays!
Player + - T Notes
DPJ 0.5 1.5 -1 Got run over once.
Collins 1 0.5 0.5  
Schoenle       DNP
McCurry       DNP
Black       DNP
TOTAL 1.5 2 -0.5 All screens, no downfield blocks.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 27 23 55% Runyan –9, JBB –3, Gentry, Higdon, Evans, Bredeson, Onwenu –2, Ruiz –1.
RPS 12 15 -3 Tough to get big RPS numbers when you can't throw deep.


That's... what?

We can agree that the pass protection number is about what was expected. 55% is a debacle. Runyan's –9 is half a season for a quality tackle.

71% run grade?

Most of the RPS positives above are for dink screens that did well and some other stuff. Very little of it is on the ground. Many of the RPS negatives are on the ground, in part for the same reason that pattern popped up last year—garbage passing game—and in part because it felt like Michigan was running a training wheels offense.

Oh no, this sounds like a TACTICS COMPLAINT

There's been some grumbling about the grumbling about the offense, but... uh... I think I agree with the complainers. Playcalling is often a hobby horse of people who can't get more detailed. I think we can manage some detailed critiques.  There was no discernible run tweak or much misdirection. They ran just one RB screen, which worked really well. They ran one crack sweep, which worked not at all:

You ran that to death last year and then had to stop doing it because the above kept happening; I don't think you can run out there in the obvious "this is a crack sweep" formation and run a crack sweep anymore.

In general I'm not a fan of the early script trope where you run a play that has something else attached and then immediately run the other half of it. Michigan did this on their fist drive: after a successful WR screen where the line showed a pin and pull the other way, the next play was that pin and pull. ND blitzed it to death:

Why would you prime the team to expect a play and then run that play?

Those are kind of nitty though.

Okay, how about the return of a bad old Hoke thing: read option nobody. Who is being read here?



This isn't an RPO. It isn't a play where the QB is a legitimate run threat who holds an unblocked DE. It's just a spread play where you're at a numbers disadvantage. Runyan gets whooped here but even if he doesn't Higdon is cutting behind him into an unblocked LB who knows the QB isn't keeping it. Because he's not even looking at him.

Who are you optioning?



If you're going to do this put in a fullback and run from under center. Running plays six versus seven is dumb. The very least you should do here is send Gentry in a pattern and hold the guy he's blocking, maybe nail him for a nice gain.

Michigan's lack of a credible read option game bit them when they tried that MSU staple, a speed option:

This stood in contrast to ND's speed option, which featured a DE shuffling to contain a read option because 1) ND actually does that and 2) they threatened it. Here the DE runs directly upfield and takes both guys.

When Michigan ran a play that actually looked enough like read option to induce a DE shuffle they were able to get outside of it for some cheap yards:

Too much of the offense did not achieve this or even bother to try. Rookie spread stuff. Not even an RPO in the bunch. What did they spend the offseason doing?

Practicing zone?

I guess? There weren't many successes in this game but they weren't comically bad at it. It was still frustrating that when Michigan went under center and went back to the We Have The Big Boys stuff from last year it immediately popped off a first down:

ND DE #9 to top goes on a ride

Of course they tried it twice more on that drive; JBB got –2s on both, once for running by a guy he needs to down block (on power!)...

RT #76

...and once for airballing on a guy slanting outside of him. Ashes, ashes.

There's a big MAKE PLAYS in the chart?

Michigan's backs offered little of that this game, and that was almost all Higdon. The power above almost breaks big; it does not. On other plays Higdon's vision was an issue, like this zone. ND stunts it. JBB stays attached and shoves. There is only one thing to do when this happens, a decisive cut off JBB's butt, but Higdon takes a false step and then runs into a bunch of cruft:

RT #76


This was a common feature of Higdon's running early last year and is cropping up again. This is a solid block by JBB that deserves better and has the potential to split ND right up the gut if Onwenu can do the same, which it looks like he might.

I also thought the pressure on the interception was mostly Higdon:

That's also a snap count thing. That LB tips nothing at all and is still off like a flash on the snap. This isn't even a shotgun snap where you have a silent count. It's under center.

Evans only got two carries and I thought one of them was subpar but can also do this stuff in the open field:

Unfortunately any thought they'd put together a package to take advantage of this on something other than an improv dumpoff seems to have fled.

Is there any good news?

Blips and blops. The WRs and TEs weren't involved much downfield but I thought they brought in everything they could. If Nico Collins can run by Julian Love like this...

...and also still be 6'5" that is a hell of a thing. A Funchess kind of thing. FWIW, Collins beat Love to the inside on a post route where there was no safety help but pressure put the throw off.

As a whole, the WR group seemed much better. There was only one drop, that a five-yard out route to Gentry on Michigan's final drive that they were better off dropping. The rest was unchallenging but accomplished:

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
DPJ 1     6/6   1     6/6
Collins     1/1 2/2       1/1 2/2
Martin       2/2         2/2
Perry     2/2 3/3       2/2 3/3
McKeon       2/2         2/2
Gentry 3     2/3   3     2/3
Eubanks       1/1         1/1
Evans       2/2         2/2

ROUTES: Collins +

Part of that is the lack of downfield passing providing tougher balls to catch. There were no notable errors, though a lack of big-picture replays of passing downs may have obscured some more subtle issues.

Also, I did feel like the OL was more organized. There were occasional plays where someone would make a big, obvious mistake; there weren't any where it looked like half the folks were doing one thing and half were doing another thing. ND did a lot of moving around and had some unusual slant-both-ways-and-fill sorts of things; Michigan handled those pretty well. This early power play was about a foot away from breaking big, and it features Bredeson reading the play in front of him and redirecting to pick off a blitzing LB:

#74 LG

Bredeson in general looked very good when not being a bit late on stunts. This level of sheer grinding power was not a frequent occurrence last year, and it gets Michigan a solid gain even though ND's DE doesn't take the jet sweep bait:

LG #74

Patterson... mixed bag.

But my beautiful special son!


  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Notre Dame 2+ 18(4)+ 1   5 1   1(1) 2 2 1*   77% -

Don't get me wrong, Patterson was a clear upgrade from everything last year and radiates a level of polish that should pay off down the road. His accuracy leapt out. In this game he alternated between polished, harried, and indecisive. Indecisive we covered above in our tepid and qualified defensive of Runyan. Polished:

Outside shoulder ball placement limits PBU possibilities and naturally turns WR upfield for YAC. Also:

Just a dumb screen but that throw takes Collins upfield and allows him to catch the ball with forward momentum.

Patterson didn't get to display his improv chops much because the blocking was not-in-the-face bad instead of break-the-pocket-bad. But a flash here and there:

The main issues were a couple of instances where he didn't have the ability to come off a guy and make a quick decision, as discussed above, and the interception. The interception was very very bad.

There was another subset of events in which Patterson did not use Gentry correctly. The PBU in the endzone was an example; so is this:

There is no reason to wing the ball wide of your 6'8" tight end. Overthrow that man, and see that he still catches it. Allow him to box out. Find the #buttzone. Patterson did throw a #buttzone throw to Collins for an early conversion, so it's there. Just need to hammer it in.

How did McCaffrey do?

I wouldn't read anything into it. I was confused by a couple of twitter calls to leave him in.

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Notre Dame   2     2 1     1 2     40% -

He was fine on some short stuff. Michigan ran a few copies of America's Rollout Out to convert third downs. Grant Perry was open, because Grant Perry, and McCaffrey found him.

He missed badly once and his wobbly passes didn't inspire a ton of confidence. Calm, though. Needs to amp up that arm strength insofar as he can.


Patterson, except for the terrible INT. Bredeson. Starting WR group was very good.

Maybe not so heroic?


What does it mean for WMU and the future?

Might as well roll with a youngster or two at tackle. It should be over. It probably won't be unless one of the starters gets Patterson atomized a couple times against Western, but I don't see the point in continuing on with the older generation.

WRs are no longer freshmen and might not suck. Would love to see them downfield more than once a game. Nico Collins opened some eyes on that one though. Yowza.

Probably should have hired someone who knows how to run spread stuff instead of McElwain. Michigan's gameplan here was uninspired. No RPOs, few runs that gained much because they'd confused the defense, read option stuff that doesn't read or option anyone or even threaten to, almost no attempt to use Chris Evans as a spread weapon until it was hurry-up time.

Patterson did about as well as could be expected. Except for the terrible INT.

Not feeling the Onwenu heat. He seemed fine.

It's tough to run offense when you're petrified of your tackles. But we know this, hooray.



September 7th, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

I'm just guessing here, but if you watch Patterson's eyes on the "zone read" plays, especially on the first couple drives, he seems to be looking at the slot defender. Are these possibly RPO plays that were read as run vs "reading no one."


EDIT: Also, WTF was up with the pre-snap flag on the INT? Did we ever get an explanation on that? I wonder how much that played into Patterson just chucking it up since it looked like a free play.


September 7th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

It's NBC, so very little useful info that doesn't pertain to how they keep the dome shiny or the legend of Rudy.

But I agree, there may be things that the M offense is considering RPO that aren't what we traditionally track as such. Harbaugh just being contrarian, possibly to the detriment of reason?

Moar Evans, more packages with a rolling pocket that appear to be runs. In other words, what other teams call RPO... PLEASE! 

Snake Eyes

September 7th, 2018 at 7:08 PM ^

WRONG! Harbaugh is so dumb he just has his quarterback stare off into space to pretend he is reading somebody when handing off.  This is apparently to trick the other team into thinking we are running option plays?

I love the UFRs because of their granular look at plays, but making definitive statements like "This is not an RPO" when it pretty clearly is forces me to look at them a little more skeptically.




September 7th, 2018 at 9:54 PM ^

And this is why UFRs should not be treated as gospel. They're an in-depth review from a guy who has no actual football playing or coaching experience trying to guess what actual players and coaches are doing.

Don't get me wrong, Brian is pretty good at what he does, but his analysis should be taken with a grain of salt at basically all times 

Space Coyote

September 7th, 2018 at 11:20 PM ^

You're correct on the one near the goal line, which is almost certainly just a weakside Inside Zone (TE blocks backside; if TE was aligned strong, it would be split zone). 

But most of the game Patterson was reading OLBs. They ran an RPO with some hitches where he was doing it. They ran the little Now screen on most plays where he was looking for it. They may still mix in some traditional run calls where they don't want to allow the defense to dictate who gets the ball. I would expect this sort of thing inside the 20s where they are less apt to want a "read" to potentially put the O in a bad spot for a turnover or something.


September 7th, 2018 at 11:50 PM ^

That's one play that definitely isn't. Look at the first drive though. There are 4 or 5 zone read looks where Michigan isn't optioning a DE, but Shea is staring right at the slot defender as he gives. Maybe he's 100% going to hand off presnap and is just using his eyes to hold that defender off, or maybe it's a read post snap. 

I Like Burgers

September 7th, 2018 at 4:52 PM ^

This team's offense is DOA until Harbaugh cedes offensive play calling duties.  Get a real OC and quit trying to do impressions of other offenses.

Unlike someone like Saban who adapted his offense to the way CFB changed, Harbaugh hasn't and also hasn't show any desire to do so.

So.....I guess this is just how it is for the foreseeable future. [shrug emoji]


September 7th, 2018 at 5:18 PM ^

Oh, c'mon. There's a lot to disagree with here, but as Seth's article also points out, there's also a lot of game planning around your weaknesses in a coherent way. When your hands are that tied, sometimes you eat bad RPSs. The guy's managed a bunch of brilliant games that managed to keep Michigan in games we had no business to be in too. 


September 7th, 2018 at 5:29 PM ^

We took OSU, in the toilet bowl, to OT and were a bad spot from winning it. All with a QB dealing with a shoulder injury he needed surgery for.

I mean, what's the more likely explanation here, Harbaugh suddenly and inexplicably forgets how to call a football game, or there was a massive step down in talent and step up in OL dysfunction that makes any play calling look bad?



September 7th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

I distinctly said that the offense has been crap for a season and a week. Yes, the 2016 team was very good. They should have challenged OSU and they did. In what world did Michigan have no business being in that game? It didn't take miracle scheming to make that a close game. 

I'm not suggesting Hoke and Harbaugh are even in the same galaxy. But this absolutely looks like an offense that has no creative solution to any of its problems and has for a while minus the 2017 OSU game. They repeat the same mistakes and have failed to scheme around their weaknesses. Other teams inevitably have these problems, but we don't notice them nearly as much because they do a better job of avoiding their weaknesses. You know, instead of running zone again and again when there's endless amounts of proof that you can't do it. Or sort of acting like a spread team but without the coaches or personnel to actually make it work. 


September 8th, 2018 at 2:32 AM ^

Do you realize by acknowledging osu 2017 you answered your own question  of  what game did harbaugh manage to keep them in a game they had no business being in, right?

I would say that MSU last year counts as well. Not from a talent perspective, but because they had a 5 turnover disadvantage.  You have zero business being in a game where you are -5 in turnover margin. 


September 7th, 2018 at 11:43 PM ^

The 2016 M defense was the second best defense any team has had in any of the last four seasons.  Seven players from the defense were drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL draft, immediately following that season.

The defense effectively gave up 3 points in regulation.  You're going to give Harbaugh and company credit for losing that game?  They had to score a net 4 f-ing points on offense!

That is absolutely not an example of him/his offenses keeping M in a game they had no business being in.  They were three point underdogs, with the injury to Speight.

The only example in 3+ of the offense actually playing well in a game in which it was necessary was the 2015 IU game when the D was getting gashed and Rudock answered every drive.  But to say we had no business being in a game against IU would be incorrect, of course.  To say we didn't have any business being in any game of the Harbaugh era would be incorrect because of how good the defenses have been.

2017 OSU was a great game plan, the coaches deserve a lo of credit for that, but since Okorn couldn't hit the broad side of a barn anyway, it wasn't the offense that kept Michigan in the game.  It was the defense and special teams (kept OSU to 21 points in the first three quarters and set up a 6 yard TD "drive").


September 7th, 2018 at 9:58 PM ^

Hoke had a lot more games where we had no business being in them....and weren't.  Hoke lost to Rutgers (so at least they have a game they can show as a BTN Classic, anyway).  As close as the 2016 team was to beating OSU, Hoke was that close to losing to Akron.  So let's cool it with the Harbaugh-Hoke comparisons.


September 7th, 2018 at 5:39 PM ^

I don't agree he hasn't shown any desire to do so, that's kind of the issue though, he's not fully committed to any one thing. He doesn't go full-on modern spread, it's like a cheap knockoff that once teams figure out what it is it's going to fail completely because you're not doing the stuff you need to do to make it really work.

I Like Burgers

September 7th, 2018 at 6:49 PM ^

That’s my issue too, and that’s why I said doing impersonations of other offenses. They are full *anything* but try and throw in their interpretation of others offenses.

Like in my world at work — and I think this applies to football too — there are some people that are creative and have a great design background and there are some that are not, but are technically sound enough to know what the other person is doing and do a knockoff/reaction/interpretation. But it’s never as good as the original and always behind the trends as a result of their deficiencies. To me, from what I’ve seen the last four years Harbaugh is the later. 


September 7th, 2018 at 7:17 PM ^

I think the first two years Harbaugh ran what he is good at.  Then he recruited a bunch of WRs and brought in Pep to do more a spread passing attack but without the QB to really pull it off. Then Shea comes in and he is trying to change everything again to fit a running QB. 

I think we would see the offense improve greatly if he went back to what he knows best. 12 personnel (I think that is what it is called) with the shifts and using the TEs and fullbacks.