the white sea parts [Bryan Fuller]

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 8th, 2018 at 3:43 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thuSPONSOR 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 mixed it up a bit more this week, with 17 pistol snaps and 13 from under-center ace formations. The fullback has largely fallen out of the offense; just 6 snaps with two backs, and one of those featured Mason as a wing TE. Instead, thirteen three-TE snaps. These were almost all runs but the Collins deep shot and Gentry RPO TD were from three-TE sets.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL, except for a change at backup LT: Nolan Ulizio got in instead of Jalen Mayfield as they seek to preserve Mayfield's redshirt. An absolute ton of TE snaps, as mentioned above, saw Gentry and McKeon split snaps almost equally; between Eubanks spotting one of the starters and the 3 TE sets Eubanks saw maybe half of Michigan's snaps outside of clear passing downs.

Tarik Black was still pretty limited, with maybe a dozen snaps. Collins and Peoples-Jones maintained their starting roles. One thing to look out for going forward: DPJ in the slot with Black and Collins on the outside. Bell, Martin, and Perry all had a handful or two of snaps.

Evans returned full-go in this one, getting about a third of the RB snaps. Higdon got the rest except for a few from Mason. Wilson got in right at the end.

[After THE JUMP: deviously doing the stuff you're already doing]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Split zone Higdon 1
Backside DE dives inside of Gentry(-1) and gets penetration that picks off McKeon(-1). McKeon hits the guy, but glancingly, and bounces off to go around. DE is able to trip Higdon, who stumbles forward in space that’s too constricted to get anything done in. Ruiz(+0.5) and Onwenu(+0.5) did move a DT and Ruiz popped off on a LB to get Higdon past the LOS; if McKeon full on blasted the DE a cutback was there for a reasonable gain. RPS -1.
M25 2 9 Pistol twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon 9
Wide split on the front sees Ruiz and Bredeson pull. CB blitz and slant away but the MLB doesn’t fill, hypothetical -2 to that guy. Gentry(+1) and Runyan(+0.5) fire the slanting DL down the line and away. Bredeson(+0.5) sees the CB blitz and kicks him. McKeon(-1) gets hit by Farmer and loses that block to the inside but there’s so much room it doesn’t matter. Onwenu(+1) gets an extended block on the tardy MLB. Ruiz goes to the S but Higdon doesn’t have time to set that block up with McKeon’s guy chasing.
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Split zone Higdon 50
Another CB blitz, this one to the backside. Farmer utterly lost here. He’s checking gaps way away from the play when the CB should be covering all cutbacks. Onwenu(+2) moves a DT on a solo block, getting him a couple yards down the line and sealing. JBB(+1) finds and eliminates one LB. Gentry’s block is free as Patterson holds the guy outside with the mesh point. Higdon(+1) blasts through the gap at max speed. RPS +1, this is more of a PSU dorf than an amazing play but this gap is wide thanks in part to Patterson’s threat.
O15 1 10 Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 7.5 Run Zone read belly Evans 4
Twin TE side sees both TEs release downfield and that end get read. This is basically the arc approach without the split zone look. DE is off balance and not definitely crashing so it’s a give, but keep probably works too. Bredeson(+1) works his guy a yard or two downfield, with help from that guy as he doesn’t seem to read the cutback that’s coming. LB inserts; Runyan(+1) finds him and kicks him out. DE dives down for a tackle; free LB in the box gets to it as JBB was unable to get out, no fault of his own.
O11 2 6 Shotgun twins 1 2 2 Nickel even 6.5 Run Pin and pull Evans 3
Weird alignment for a team getting pounded on the ground. PSU gets away with it as both pullers hit the lead LB. Gentry(+1) clears the corner by winning against the playside DE and turning him in. Farmer flows hard. Bredeson(+1) hits him and will eventually put him on the ground. Ruiz(-1) wastes himself hitting Farmer instead of climbing over the top. Two guys are too many for Evans to dodge.
O8 3 3 Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 6-1 bear 7.5 Run Arc read keeper Patterson 4
LB lined up over Eubanks in man. Eubanks(+1) releases down the line and locks him up. DE outside of this crashes, pull. Patterson(+1) has the edge; probably should be a touchdown but McKeon(-1) doesn’t really arc, instead drifting inside and allowing a safety to get outside of him. He makes futile late contact. RPS +1.
O4 1 G Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 4-5 under 9 Run Zone read belly Higdon 2
PSU inserting a safety for the QB so not much of a keep opportunity. Give. Runyan(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) carve out some space with a double on a DT. Eubanks blocks down on a DE who’s diving inside and doesn’t have much chance to do much more than he does here; his guy is able to tackle
O2 2 G Pistol 3TE H 1 3 1 Goal line 10 Run Arc zone keeper Patterson 2
Mason probably scores this too, but Patterson(+1) sees the crash and pulls; McKeon(+0.5) is able to get around the DE plunging at him and harass the last guy. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass TE out Gentry 11
Simple, quick throw that exploits expected zone coverage; slant occupies the outside defender, perhaps inappropriately, and a dink to Gentry gets turned up for a first down. RPS +1. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M40 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Power O Evans 1
Edge gets set at McKeon(+1) fires in a standup DE on the end of the line. DPJ runs to the safety to block and this leaves all three guys on the LB level available to tackle here. This time they do get all their LBs to the point of attack. M has Bredeson(-1) and Eubanks(-1) leading this out. Bredeson gets around to hit the MLB, who gets turned inside. Eubanks follows Bredeson so tight that he can’t get to the kickout guy until way late; no gap between the two pullers and Evans has to cut upfield, where the MLB has defeated Bredeson’s block.
M41 2 9 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 6.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 3
Jet fake to the two TE side only holds a CB outside, buying M nothing. PSU slants way from the jet and has the LBs fill. Frontside jammed up. Higdon can cut back as Runyan(+1) drives his DE downfield, but the LB overhanging is there to clean up. RPS -1, this jet was counterproductive.
M44 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Slant DPJ 8
DPJ in the slot, Black and Collins outside. PSU zoning. Patterson looks off the MLB and comes back to DPJ after moving the MLB. Slick. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O48 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Pass Screen Higdon Inc
Fake handoff, fake end around, come back to the RB on a screen. Seven PSU players are gone either as rushers or going to the end around. Big play beckons. PSU DL is able to get in Patterson’s face and force a high looping throw. This is good enough to get the job done, but Higdon mistimes his jump and the ball floats over his outstretched hand. Rats. (MA, 2, screen, RPS +2)
O48 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Pin and pull Higdon 5
LB drifts to the backside and blitzes; M has two guys back there checking Patterson and has an opportunity but can’t quite make it work. Gentry's expecting to get a kickout but the DE dips inside of him. Onwenu(+2) makes that right by whapping him as he pulls around and Gentry’s able to restore that to a kickout; Onwenu gets to a LB who thinks he’s force. MLB is free as Bredeson(-1) pulls pretty slowly and gets caught up on what looks like a good block by JBB(+1), who seals his guy and doesn’t allow more than a yard of penetration. Higdon blows by Bredeson. He’s able to break the LB tackle but one of the backside guys took a good pursuit angle and can clean up.
O43 3 5 Ace 3TE H 1 3 1 4-3 over 7.5 Run Split zone Mason 3
McKeon(-2) again blows his split zone assignment. Patterson holds the outside guy. McKeon runs at the outside guy until he realizes halfway through the play he’s screwing it up and then tries to go to the playside LB. Too late. JBB(+0.5) got enough of the relevant DT but may have gotten away with a hold(refs+1). Onwenu(+0.5) got to the MLB and stalled him. If Mason’s able to start his YAC process another yard or two downfield this is fourth and one.
O40 4 2 Shotgun 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 even 7 Pass TE hitch Gentry Inc
Patterson seems to read this wrong, as Eubanks is breaking out, away from a zone defender, and should be open. He still has an opportunity to zing this into Gentry but he hesitates for a beat, which is enough to close the gap. (BR, 0, protection 1/1). Patterson also threw it inside of Gentry, towards the LB.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 7–0, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M5 1 10 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon 3
Blocked just fine but PSU has a safety rolled up at eight yards who holds this down. Gentry(+1) fires in the playside end and buries him. Onwenu(+0.5) comes around for a kick. Bredeson(+1) clears into the hole and lights up a LB. McKeon(+1) seals in a LB. Runyan’s running around at nobody trying to find someone he has any angle to block. Nope. S at 8 comes down and hits Higdon(-1) two yards downfield. He gets no YAC as he’s slipping as he hits the LOS. Pressing outside a bit should be good for 4-5.
M8 2 7 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Pin and pull Higdon 8
Pretty similar but the CB does not emphatically hold the edge and when Onwenu(+1) gets to him he flings the CB downfield. No edge. Higdon(+1) bounces. S still at eight. He comes down, and Higdon is in space so he’s able to juke by him. S does make him fall. McKeon(+0.5) able to fire his guy inside; Bredeson didn’t have an angle to the playside LB after the bounce and that guy is able to finish the tackle on Higdon for insurance.
M16 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 7 Pass PA post Collins 47
Heavy PA, flat-footed safeties at eight yards get run by. Collins is the primary read and is open. Patterson loads up and bombs it to him; Collins slows up and then has to extend at the last second to bring it in. Panicking safety is in the area and tackles, but mostly Collins tackles himself. This is slightly underthrown and maybe too close to the S; Collins did have a chance to run under it more or less in stride he didn’t take. Still a big gain. (CA, 2, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 5
Double from Runyan(+1) and Bredeson(+1) blows out a DT, with Bredeson popping out on a LB as he attacks the LOS. PSU slides out a LB for contain so Gentry has a DE sliding inside. He stalls the guy out, push blocking; Higdon hits the stalled DE out and runs him over for some YAC.
O32 2 5 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Scramble Patterson 1
Would really like a skycam shot here as M again goes for a big one; Patterson has a token fake to Higdon as Higdon aborts to pick up a blitzer. Only three guys in the route; kind of seems like they’re all covered but dunno. Patterson takes off and gets a yard. (MA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O31 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Split zone Higdon 0
DT dives inside Onwenu; MLB replaces him. This is probably a new thing. Still, Ruiz(-2) runs right by here and there’s no double; DT direct to Higdon and splats him, RPS -1.
Drive Notes: Blocked FG(50), 7-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Pistol twins 1 2 2 ??? 7 Run Power O Mason 2
Gentry(-2) shot back, picking off Bredeson. Mason(+1) does well to fly directly upfield and run over a LB for a couple.
O46 2 8 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Down G Higdon 6
JBB(+1) puts down a DT; Onwenu(+0.5) pulls to kick the DE. TEs to the playside fan for the second level. Ruiz(+1) eliminates the MLB. Bredeson(-0.5) can’t quite get the DT shaded inside of him. He delays him; that guy is able to get a tackle attempt in. Gentry(+0.5) gets to a LB; without this DT play Higdon(+0.5) has a shot at juking this S for a big gain and probably gets near the first down. As it is he grinds out some YAC.
O40 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 3
PSU creeps a safety down to five yards and then inverts them, sending the creeper into a deep half just before the snap and dropping the other guy into the box. This just about works as the MLB charges on the snap and gets into the backfield. Onwenu(+1) is able to come off his double and fire the guy left. Higdon(+1) cuts behind this and runs over the inserting S to convert. JBB stalled out the DT Onwenu left just enough. McKeon(+0.5) got a good kick on another LB; Ruiz and Bredeson(+0.5 each) fired out another DT. RPS -1, S filling at 0 yards.
O37 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even 7 Pass PA post DPJ Inc
Safeties at 7 and 6, take a shot, shot taken. Safeties gone, DPJ wins the route(+), and Patterson leaves it 2-3 yards short. Still in the realm of catchable, but DB makes a nice play for the PBU. DPJ needs to wall this up and extend(route –) (CA, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
O37 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel over 5.5 Pass Scramble Patterson 3
Pocket is fine and Patterson has an opportunity to hit someone on a short route; Gentry seems open for 8-10. Patterson’s already taking off, scrambling for a meh gain. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O34 3 7 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 even 6.5 Penalty Offsides N/A 5
Bredeson(+1) has the awareness to pop up when the DT broaches the LOS.
O29 3 2 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even SAM 7 Run Inside zone Higdon 0
Very similar to the third down conversion earlier in the drive. MLB hammers down. Onwenu(+1) picks him off. Higdon darts behind this block. This time the S sticks Higdon cold at the LOS. Ruiz is releasing to no one, as PSU flips their apparent safety alignment. RPS -2.
O29 4 2 Pistol 3TE H 1 3 1 Goal line 10 Run Split zone Mason 3
Eubanks(+0.5) and Runyan(+0.5) fire a DE down the line. Bredeson(+1) moves a DT a yard or two by himself, giving Mason a direct line upfield for an easy conversion. McKeon did get around this time and pass up the edge guy to hit a linebacker, but that was not the block tested.
O26 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Split zone Evans 2
Onwenu(-1) gets stalemated and even gives up a little ground. Don’t see that too often. Mason, in as a wing TE, is coming hard and close to the line, which is necessary since PSU is gap exchanging; shuffle DE is right off Onwenu’s butt.Mason accidentally bangs into Onwenu and loses his momentum; Evans has to stop and the LB containing Patterson is free to tackle. RPS -1. Evans(+1) manages to grind out 3 YAC here.
O24 2 8 Pistol tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 8 Run Split zone Higdon 1
Could make the case for a keep here from Patterson as the DE has shuffled down a bit and Patterson can probably win to the outside. Handoff still looks fine but McKeon(-2) does not stick close to the backs of his OL and the edge DE Patterson is reading is able to dash inside of him, forcing Higdon into an unblocked LB. Ruiz does pop off a double that’s meh to hit this LB and would probably slow him enough for Higdon hit a backside gap as JBB(+1) and Onwenu(+1) shoot a DT out of the picture.
O23 3 7 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel under 6.5 Pass Corner DPJ 23
Tight bunch to the field with DPJ the outside WR. Four man rush is defeated; JBB gives up maybe a little too much ground but his guy is under control. Patterson decides to move; PSU busts a coverage and Patterson hits DPJ for six. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2).
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 6.5 Pass Hitch Collins 6
Press man look on Collins turns into bail as PSU blitzes off the slot and runs C3. Patterson hits the quick hitch this leaves open. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O32 2 4 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Throwaway N/A Inc
Pocket awareness lacking here. Runyan gets pushed back a little too far; the rest of the pocket is clean. Patterson can drift a step or two away from Runyan and find someone on a drag route, Black or Higdon, but instead does a full bug out and throws the ball away. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O32 3 4 Shotgun quads 1 1 3 Dime under 5.5 Run QB draw Patterson -3
DT twist jams up the middle so Patterson can’t quite go directly upfield. Big gap does appear and Patterson(-2) heads through it. He’s probably getting closed down a yard or two short of the first down; he decides to try to go around the slot LB. This goes very badly.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 3 min 2nd Q. M gets it back with just under a minute and no TOs thanks to the Frames Janklin event.
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 over 6 Pass Sack N/A -5
Attempted screen on which Evans gets lost in the middle of the field as a DT dives inside. Patterson doesn’t have time for Evans to clear and has to take off. The sack is probably a good idea given the clock situation. (MA, N/A, screen, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: EOH, 14-0.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon 1
Gentry(-1) driven by his man. Pullers can climb over him but there’s no gap between them and Higdon; LB is able to flash outside of Ruiz. Higdon(-0.5) has to cut. His cut is pretty awkward. That allows the backside DT to flow and tackle.
M24 2 9 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 4-3 over 5.5 Pass Flash screen Evans 5
Gentry(-1) releases to a slot LB, who runs inside of him and upfield. Gentry turns upfield. Never Turn Upfield. He’s futilely chasing the LB; Evans(+1) just runs by him. McKeon(+1) gave him the space to do so. Safety is able to fill unmolested. Evans spins by him and maybe another LB and might have something here when a DE lights him up. RPS -1, this S was not afraid of the two TEs like he would have been DPJ. (CA, 3, screen)
M29 3 4 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel over 6.5 Pass TE in McKeon Inc
Nice pickup from Higdon on a late shift from PSU that ends up blitzing a guy between JBB and Onwenu. Patterson tries to take the short route to the TE, which is pretty well covered. Ball is behind but catchable and not caught. (MA, 2, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Pistol FB twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Down G Higdon 1
Someone blows their blocking assignment. DPJ blocks the slot LB. Mason heads for the same guy. Bredeson pulls around and has to hit the playside LB, who he can’t get outside of through no fault of his own. Ruiz has not realistic shot at the MLB. If DPJ(-2) cracks this play makes way more sense, and that’s my guess. McKeon(+0.5) turned in his guy and so did Runyan(+0.5) so I kind of want Higdon to put his foot in the ground and go at this MLB. Gap is big enough he might be able to avoid the tackle.
M37 2 9 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Zone read keeper Patterson 7
Slot LB creeps down and crashes. Patterson(+1) pulls into a scrape exchange. JBB(+1) shoved the backside DE well out of the play so a ton of room for Patterson to cut past the MLB and get a nice gain.
M44 3 2 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over SAM 7.5 Run Zone read belly Higdon 1
McKeon(-2) doesn’t block down on the playside DE. There’s a LB outside this guy who is clearly the QB contain guy; he’s on the LOS; the DE is lined up shaded inside McKeon. McKeon runs by him and ends up blocking nobody. Patterson contained, give, Higdon runs directly into DE.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M10 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Dumpoff Evans 1
DE dives inside of McKeon; JBB(-1) doesn’t look this guy up and the DE’s able to get through. McKeon is shoving him, though, and there’s no edge once this happens so Patterson can leave the pocket easily. He’s got Evans on a flare basically right next to him but wants something deeper; he then gives up on the deeper route just as Perry gets deep enough that Patterson could flip it over the top. His throw to Evans stops him dead and lets the secondary rally to him; this was the worst of all choices as Patterson could get near a first down just by running. (BR, 3, protection ½)
M11 2 9 Ace trip TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 8.5 Run Inside zone Evans 3
This is really begging for a shot down the seams there’s one safety at 7 yards away from the TEs and the other guy rolls into the box. M almost carves it out anyway. Eubanks is on the edge; guy goes straight upfield hard and he’s able to pass him up and try to find someone else. He doesn’t but that’s smart anyway. Gentry(+2) buries the playside end. McKeon(+1) finds and stands up a LB after some initial indecision. JBB(-0.5) gets run around; he’s in decent enough position to force the guy to make a tough tackle attempt. Evans is able to run through it, but that safety at 7 yards is there to clean up. RPS -1.
M14 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Arc read keeper Patterson 11
DE dives, no exchange, easy keep from Patterson(+1). McKeon(+1) comes around the DE tight and finds the MLB. Perry(-1) has an easy crack on a LB not looking at him and mostly misses it. He’s able to delay the dude just enough for Patterson to run past him; Collins(+1) gets a good block on the CB, who contains and forces to the S. RPS +1.
M25 1 10 Ace trip TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 8 Run Inside zone Higdon 7
PSU sticks two guys at the end of the line opposite the trip TEs and one of those jets upfield and doesn’t have to be blocked. Big spread on the line allows doubles from M. Ruiz(+0.5) and Bredeson get enough of one DT but Bredeson could get more of a chip on his guy; he releases downfield with nobody to block. Onwenu(-0.5) gives up a wee bit too much penetration on a guy who’s always going to be diving inside of him and that guy’s able to spin Higdon around by grabbing his shoulder. Big gap though as Runyan(+1) moves a DE that Gentry(+0.5) finishes off; Runyan goes and gets the MLB. Higdon ends up spinning 180 and swan diving backwards.
M32 2 3 Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 even 7.5 Run Zone read belly Evans 4
Two TEs to the boundary, with both arcing out to threaten on a potential keep. DE gets upfield, give. He’s successfully optioned off. Runyan(+1) chips Bredeson’s(+1) guy, the backside DT; Runyan gets out to a LB who’s trying to replace here as PSU is sick of belly. Evans runs up their back for the first down.
M36 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Y cross DPJ Inc
Really don’t like changing your formation from the thing you’re running them over with and then going to PA. This is max pro, too, with just the outside WRs in a route and then Evans leaking out. PSU does not buy the PA at all. Still an opportunity for DPJ as he gets space against the DB on him, but Patterson’s throw is late. DB is able to get a finger tip on it; DPJ can’t catch it, and then he gets lit up. Not targeting, good overturn. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M36 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 4-3 over 5.5 Pass Improv DPJ 7
Patterson appears to bug out for no reason here. He’s got a dink to Gentry but decides to run out of the pocket. He gets the edge, DPJ is open on a hitch, hit, okay, fine. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M43 3 3 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-4 over 8 Run Split zone Higdon 19
After a ton of split zone that hits backside this one goes off the front. S in man against McKeon vacates as McKeon heads backside. Bredeson(+1) turns out a DT and seals him out. Ruiz(+0.5) gets to the MLB and prevents him from getting a tackle in but could be more forceful. LB is able to get an ankle tackle in. Backside DT buries himself in JBB(+0.5) and Onwenu(+0.5), with Onwenu getting to a LB trying to shoot a gap. Higdon(+1) found the frontside gap. RPS +1, LB wrong place.
O38 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Power O Evans 3
JBB(+1) and Onwenu(+1) fire a DT down the line. LB tries to scrape and hits Onwenu, nope. Gentry(-1) hits a DE, gets spun off of, and falls. This guy flashes a white jersey in Evans’s peripheral vision and pushes him wide. Bredeson(+1) around for a block on the MLB; McKeon kind of gets run over but does enough. Evans(-1) then runs outside of Bredeson instead of cutting back inside of this block into a major crease. Missed opportunity.
O35 2 7 Pistol FB twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Split zone Evans 0
This one’s not great. Threatened slot blitz is backed out of; Gentry still fans to pick it up. Play goes to the other side but when you have a guy blocking no one that sets off a cascade. There is no read here; Patterson puts his back to the unblocked guy and the WRs are blocking. McKeon(-2) is in a FB spot and heads backside; he avoids a DE who is crashing but got a shoulder from Runyan(+0.5) to set him up. He’s running a different play, again. DE tackles. Runyan went to the overhang CB instead of finding the SAM so this wasn’t destined for greatness either way. RPS -1.
O35 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide tight 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Flare screen Evans 24
One LB blitzes, other in man on Evans. Flare. This is already going to be rough for PSU as their guy is two yards behind Evans laterally on the snap, and then Collins(+1) runs a slant that turns into an erasing block. Ball complete right at the LOS so OPI may not even be a consideration. Even if it is beyond the LOS this looks more like the LB ramming into a slant than a WR going out of his way to block a guy. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)
O11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over 7 Run Arc read keeper Patterson 4
DE dive, pull. McKeon(+1) comes tight over the DE and is able to get to a LB charging at the LOS. LB is able to fend him off but this needed to be precise and was. Runyan(-1) turns around and goes for that same LB; he turns back but it’s too late; other LB direct to Patterson(+1). Runyan did get an obliterating chip on Bredeson’s(+0.5) block so there’s a bunch of room. LB Runyan missed makes a tackle to prevent another 4-5 yards.
O7 2 6 Shotgun 3TE 1 3 1 Goal line 10 Pass RPO slant Gentry 7
Mesh point wipes the LB level, Gentry releases inside of a LB setting up to prevent an out cut. With no help inside he’s helpless. Patterson makes no mistake. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M47 1 10 Ace tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass PA dumpoff Higdon 5
This goes offscreen but Collins was screamingly wide open downfield. Patterson instead checks down. I have little evidence of this on the tape but S is at nine yards and takes a false step just as he goes offscreen. I grudgingly CA this because I don’t have enough evidence. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O48 2 5 Pistol FB twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Arc read keeper Patterson 7
DE crashes again, pull, McKeon(+0.5) can actually pass up the LB who dorfed it but doesn’t know that until it’s too late. Patterson(+1) on the edge against the CB, able to run through a tackle attempt for some YAC. RPS +1.
O41 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 over 8 Pass PA Fly Black 41 (Pen -10)
This is cover three but Black somehow runs right by the CB. No idea how. Patterson loads up and hits him dead in stride. Touchdown, but it comes back as Gentry(-2) held. (DO, 3, protection 0/2)
M49 1 20 Pistol twins 1 2 2 Nickel even 6.5 Run Split zone Evans 32
Another split zone goes off the front side. PSU puts six in the box with their slot WR on the opposite hash. Okay. False step from the playside LB makes this easy. JBB(+1) gets a good kick on a guy trying to scoot around him; he’s on the ground and gone. Onwenu(+2) and Ruiz(+1) combine to clobberate a DT with Onwenu getting out and sealing the false step LB. Evans(+2) runs around two tackles to make this a biggun. RPS +1.
O19 1 10 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Arc read keeper Patterson 13
I think this one is a dorf by Eubanks(-2), who goes and blocks the edge guy who should be held by the jet fake Black is running. Otherwise this is another arc keeper with a TE flaring and Mr Doofy The DE crashing down. Pull. Patterson(+2) gets a safety who inserted just before the snap near the LOS and jukes him to his knees. McKeon(+0.5) generally in the way of another LB; Bell(+1) does a good job on a corner. RPS +1.
O6 1 G Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 4-4 even 8 Run Trap Mason 2
Runyan(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) get Mason the gap, with Runyan blocking down and Bredeson coming around on the trap. Ruiz(-2) releases direct to the MLB and airballs. Otherwise this is probably a TD. Mason impressively stood up by this guy. Bredeson(+0.5 again) able to bang into Mason and help him fall forward. RPS +1.
O4 2 G Ace 3TE 1 3 1 Exotic 9 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
IZ that cuts back to all the TEs. Gentry(+2) again puts his guy on the deck, which is weird. McKeon(+0.5) gets just enough of a guy to kick him out and upfield. Runyan isn’t able to come off his guy to get to a LB after whacking a DT, which is a push I guess, but Gentry’s carved out so much room that Higdon(+0.5) just runs inside of the LB and manages to grind it into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-0, 9 min 4th Q. McCaffrey enters.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O12 1 10 Pistol twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Inside zone Evans 3
DE upfield, give. PSU able to stalemate the the M line, mostly. McKeon arcs out initially and then comes back when there’s no one out there. Probably as designed but would like to see some recognition earlier. PSU makes contact at two yards and Evans gets another. Push.
O9 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Evans 1
PSU adding guys to the playside here on the same IZ opposite arc that got M a couple bonus chunks. RPS is off but there’s a bonus guy here who makes life difficult. Also a DT able to hold up against Ruiz(-0.5) and Onwenu(-0.5) and dive into Evans’s feet at the LOS.
O8 3 6 Pistol twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Arc read keeper McCaffrey 7
Oh man the CB overhanging here is the guy left and he’s not ready for it. He lunges at McKeon trying to cut his legs out; McKeon(+0.5) passes him up for a LB. McCaffrey(+1) pulls and gets down to the one.
O1 1 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line 11 Run Down G Evans 1
PSU’s line is pinched tight and fires upfield for a sneak and once it’s not a sneak it’s over.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-0, 7 min 4th Q. M’s last drive is just running out the clock.

I mean?

Maybe some drive chartin'?

This might help.

Michigan drives aside from the excursions at the end of both halves:

  • TD drives of 76, 48, 90, 53, and 12 yards.
  • A 64-yard drive ending in a missed FG.
  • A 31-yard drive ending in a turnover on downs.
  • Three three-and-outs.

That is against S&P+'s #20 defense.

That seems good?

Pretty much?

Why do I enter these being like "ugh what's even going on" and then it's fine?

Michigan has a concentration of frustrating bits early in games that means the lead they're staked to isn't as big as it seems it should be. Here they had the opening GRRRAAHHH touchdown drive and then five of their next six drives were all their negative outcomes. This is a lot like the Wisconsin and Michigan State games, when Michigan's clear dominance didn't turn into sufficient points to exhale until late.

Does that mean anything?

Probably not? They've put up points quickly in many games and then fallen into a funk, but they're picking up yards on most drives before petering out. I think it's just some unfortunate clustering of Michigan's bad plays on an offense that is good but still has some holes.

One thing that may be meaningful: Michigan has become good at bashing teams late in games, possibly because the opposition is tired. The combination of three-and-out city on the other side of the ball and Michigan's ability to stay on the field (M is #5 in third down conversion percentage) creates scenarios where the fourth quarter is won before it even starts.

So this is a good offense?

It's a B, B+ offense that could take off if Patterson ever gets locked in.


Sure. Michigan's opening drive set the tone for a day featuring 3 runs for every Michigan pass. The first chunks were when Michigan anticipated and defeated a couple of corner blitzes on the second and third snaps from scrimmage… with a significant assist from Penn State linebackers. The PSU MLB here takes a false step left on a pin and pull:

The key item for Michigan is Bredeson seeing the CB and kicking him out, and then Gentry and Runyan fire guys slanting away from the play way down the line for the giant gap. M blocks that to the safety but McKeon didn't do much with Farmer so Higdon can't set the last block up.

The next play was split zone that busted for 50 yards. CB blitz again, which you'll see come in from the left. Once the line creases there's nobody:

That is largely Koa Farmer not really knowing what he's doing. He gets lost checking gaps that the CB should have and never considers scraping to the actual play. The rest is Onwenu with a crease-creating W and JBB getting the other LB kicked out.

From here it's belly and arc keepers on four of the next five plays, touchdown. Michigan seemed to anticipate that PSU would try to stymie the arc games with exchanges, so instead of running the tight end to the backside like it's split zone they lined up two TEs to the arc side and let the DE free anyway. PSU seemed baffled by this. First the DE wasn't ready to be unblocked:

PSU DE #99 to top

He's static, standing around, and Patterson gives.

The next time he tore at the RB, which he'd do most of the rest of the day. But without the split zone motion from the TE it didn't seem like the PSU defense was prepared to defend the arc. Patterson's first carry of the day sees him get a dead easy read as the DE crashes hard, and then nobody replaces him. McKeon can go to the safety and if he does a better job getting a block here this is a walk-in TD:

They'd get that later on the second keeper, which does have the split zone motion but still draws little response as PSU is in full-on goal-line mode:

Eight runs, seven points, ballgame. Pretty much.

To me the excellent bit of that drive was Michigan hammering it in from the 15 on runs of 4, 3, 4, 2, and 2 yards. That's not going to look impressive even on a fancystat box score but the regularity with which Michigan was able to put themselves in short yardage situations makes it feel like any four yard run is a win. Michigan is #1 in average third down distance nationally, and the five-yard series above kind of makes them feel like a triple option team where if you let them stay on schedule they're going to get in third and short and fourth and short and eventually your pets' heads fall off. See also: tired players late in games.

So this was a paving?

Yes, the headline numbers—5.2 yards a sack-adjusted carry—are barely above NCAA average but do not even approach the whole story here. That is a near-complete clobbering, as this

i have always been waiting for two weeks before designing a screen to exploit OSU linebackers

chart will demonstrate:

Offensive Line

Player + - Total Notes
Runyan 8 1 7 No pass pro minuses, legitimately good.
Bredeson 12 2.5 9.5 Finished a lot of doubles from Runyan.
Ruiz 4 5.5 -1.5 Two airballs on the LB level squashed plays.
Onwenu 14.5 2 12.5 Agile; mashing.
JBB 8 0.5 7.5 PSU DEs were not ready for this.
Stueber       DNC
McKeon 10 11 -1 Good blocks when in contact, too many mental errors.
Gentry 8 6 2 Fewer mental errors, got driven back more, two pancakes(!)
Eubanks 1.5 3 -1.5 Think he dorfed one late.
Mason 1   1 As a ballcarrier, not in total.
TOTAL 67 31.5 68% Again the TEs are the main wobbles.
Player + - T Notes
Patterson 8 2 6 6.8 YPC and made some of it himself.
McCaffrey 1   1 Get well soon
Higdon 5 1.5 3.5 Didn't have a ton he had to do himself.
Evans 4 1 3 Made the most of his open field opp
Samuels       DNP
Wilson       DNC
Turner       DNP
TOTAL 18 4.5 13.5 Patterson tooled up
Player + - T Notes
DPJ   2 -2 Think he needed to crack on one play.
Collins 2   2  
Perry   1 -1  
Bell 1   1  
TOTAL 3 3 0 Eh
Player + - T Notes
Protection 28 3 90% Gentry –2, JBB –1.
RPS 17 11 +6 With 75% rushes.

Ruiz didn't get a lot of opportunities to rack up positives for whatever reason; he did airball on two LBs. I wouldn't worry too much about that. Off day, almost no discernible bad line calls, no pressures allowed, he's fine.

The "mostly" bit is the tight ends, I imagine?

Yes. The sheer quantity of grading both guys came in for is remarkable. I don't know if I've ever had 21 total points for a single TE before and there's no way 35 between two TEs has ever happened. There was a ton on their plate as Michigan continually attacked PSU's DEs, who were very bad against the run, and did all that split zone and arc frippery.

This is about to be a bunch of complaints about McKeon's decisions but before we get to that let's put it in perspective. I believe that Michigan altered its run game considerably mid-season. The person that has fallen most heavily upon is McKeon. He's the guy trying to execute three different flavors of split zone block, probably without the benefit of doing much of it in fall camp.

Unfortunately that showed in several different ways in this game. There were a number of –2 mental issues that stalled Michigan drives. Michigan's odd choice to run Mason on third and five might have worked, but McKeon has one of those whoops-changing-target mid play 90 degree turns as he goes for a kickout when none is needed:

#84 TE to top

That LB is able to hit Mason unfettered and stand him up. A mere annoyance block from McKeon likely gives Mason a decisive momentum W there and sets up a fourth and one even if it doesn't convert.

A second third and short was stuffed; here McKeon doesn't block a DE lined up inside of him. There's an OLB right outside that guy who will clearly be the QB contain:

#84 TE to bottom

That's a bit frustrating. At least it reinforces how infrequently these kinds of errors are being made this season. I rarely see something that's so "what are you DOING" anymore.

And here McKeon arcs around the backside DE on a play with no read. Patterson isn't even looking this direction:

When he was able to get a hit on the right guy things went fine, mostly. He did have +10 worth of good blocks, and the large majority of his minuses were not gained in the act of blocking but rather the act of not blocking. It is something that needs to get cleaned up—he had a similarly rough day against Michigan State for similar reasons.


I keep pumping Ben Mason as an option here and he did get a shot at a split zone block. Due to circumstances outside of his control it didn't go well. Onwenu gets shoved back here and he's coming tight to the line, seeking the playside end:

That's a tough ask on an RPS minus and probably what you want to see even if it's not working out on that exact play. The number of times Onwenu gives ground is miniscule. The very next play saw McKeon go for the same kickout; Onwenu and JBB trundled a guy downfield and McKeon airballed the block. This is again a mental issue since he's coming out at an angle that's too far upfield:

But since McKeon's issues are largely about what happens before contact is made (if contact is made) it doesn't seem likely that Mason would be a big improvement on that—he'd just be McKeon a month ago. I do think they should be seeking ways to get him on the field more. I had one graded play for him and that was a carry. Giving him a subset of the wing TE playbook helps spread the load.

Onwenu really gave it to 'em.

This was always going to be a matchup for the two guards, as most of Michigan's runs featured them taking on the pass-rush oriented Penn State DL. Onwenu did what he should do.


Onwenu's reputed mobility issues are overstated, I think. Here he pulls with Bredeson on a pin and pull; he's able to cover a lot of ground, make Gentry's kickout block right, and then extend to the LB level:

RG #50

Bredeson isn't covering more ground and ends up caught on the hip of JBB.

Onwenu, like the rest of the line, is light years ahead of where he was last year when it comes to post-snap decision making. It is extremely doubtful he would have managed to come off this block and get the linebacker last year:

RG #50

That feels like something he's prepped for, and then he's 350* pounds so the LB just bounces right off of him.

Speaking of Onwenu, how's that assertion Michigan's playbook had not yet been plumbed going?

Excellently. Michigan has the pin and pull stuff above, their arc/belly series, regular split zone, and oh hey there's a down G that looks more like a trap play than any of the stretch G stuff they'd been running earlier this year:

RG #50 pulls for the kickout as Ruiz goes direct to LB

They tossed in a couple power plays—still not working great—and then put three tight ends on the field to run inside zone behind a big giant forest of gaps.

Then you start moving guys around and running the same concepts from different formations that muck with the opposition's intended counters to your moves. After getting burned by crashing their DE 3-4 times, PSU had to go back to using him as contain and belly once again became an easy four yards:

PSU DE to bottom

This is a lot to deal with, and it fits together really well. Split zone, arc stuff, and belly look a lot alike. Pin and pull and the trap stuff look a lot alike. Linebackers are confused.

They're so confused Michigan's now getting some chunks off opposition over-plays. Higdon had a 19-yard run and Evans a 34-yard run in the second half on split zone. Unlike almost all of Michigan's split zone to date these went off the frontside. It did so because on both the middle linebacker was so concerned about all the nonsense going on to the backside of Michigan runs that he took a step or two back there and Michigan's second level block was an easy one:


This isn't actually a constraint play, it's just the same play, but one dollar says Harbaugh and Warinner prepped their backs to hit this hole at some point, a la that video of Harbaugh on the sidelines in the VT-Stanford Orange Bowl telling his RB that "the back door is open" right before a cutback run that ripped off 50 yards. (This video has unfortunately disappeared from Vimeo, if anyone knows a place on the internet where it lives now please tell me.)

Penn State had a couple of things they responded with that got them RPS wins, like a couple of third downs where they blitzed a linebacker and ended up with a safety-vs-RB matchup at the LOS. One of these saw Higdon run the guy over to convert; the second did not:

This helped a little but PSU stopped running it, possibly because it was stunt casting that could burn them once downloaded. These jabs did nothing to stop Michigan from landing body blow after body blow.

To get big plays on the ground you need that false step. Otherwise you don't have the angles. Michigan got some false steps early in the year with some frippery—Mason heading backside on down G, that kind of stuff. These false steps are on basic plays, but Michigan's assembled and executed their offense well enough that opponents feel they need to cheat. And once that happens, the chunks start coming.

And there's more in the barn. Patterson's open-field juke came on a play that I think Michigan ran wrong, with Eubanks going to a guy that should be held outside by the jet sweep fake:

Would have preferred that one to stay in the barn, too, but the hamblastings of Wisconsin, MSU, and Penn State probably let Michigan store away some of their surprises. A virtual bye week against Rutgers gives Michigan another opportunity to add to what's hopefully the We Have A Quarterback This Time version of the 2017 game plan.

I liked that gameplan.

I liked it too. I think it's going to happen. All of the above adds up to an offense that now feels very solid tactically. They're even getting some RPS wins in the passing game, which have been a rarity this year. When it came time to put the nail in the coffin, Michigan hauled out a flare screen that was a bucket of yards for free…

…and two plays later an RPO was all she wrote. 21-0.

With limited exceptions this was an excellent gameplan, their third in three games during this critical stretch. Now go run the same thing 70 straight times at Rutgers.

What was the other thing you can do with a football?


Right. That. And that went… in some direction.

It went in a generally positive one. Patterson's DSR didn't pop back up to early season levels but his mistakes were generally benign—no interceptable throws—and the sample size here is small enough that moving one bad thing to a good category gets him back to the low 70s:


  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% -
Wisconsin   15(2)     2 3     4** 1 1*   68% -
MSU 2 9(1)+ 1   2 3   1 3* 4** 1   55% -
Penn State 1 11(2)+       3     2   3   66% -

Also he was +6 on the ground.

We didn't get the post-bye Rudock takeoff, in part because Patterson's been playing much better and has less room to take off in. But there were some flashes. That slant to DPJ was slick and confident, with Patterson looking off the MLB and knowing that he's got a conversion the other way:

Yeah buddy. Unfortunately the next opportunity like this was the failed fourth and two, when he did not look anyone off:

He can fit that in there if he's more decisive; he could come off of it and find Higdon; he could note Eubanks's advantageous position relative to the SAM pre-snap. Any of these probably converts.

Every QB is going to have plays like this; Patterson's rate is the only thing holding him back from being a fire-breather. The weird dump to Evans when he could have run or thrown it more productively stands out. So does the play where DPJ got lit up. That was another incident where it seems like Patterson's just a hair slow at seeing the field. DPJ's got a window early that closes by the time Patterson gets to it:

The throw is inch perfect, but late.

Patterson's pocket awareness is getting better as his protection becomes more consistent. He's still leaving clean pockets on occasion. Sometimes this results in TDs to Donovan Peoples-Jones; more often it results in throwaways:

That's a clean-ish pocket in which he can drift right a step or two and find one of his short routes for something. Too often Patterson goes for the full bug-out instead of repostioning. The above notwithstanding, Patterson's doing a much better job of hanging in the pocket for his guys to get open.

He coupled this with a day on which I charted zero inaccurate passes and only one that was filed "marginal" because it was a bad downfield throw—that was a little behind McKeon. And these weren't dinks. Patterson's deep ball was a little bit off early in the game, when it was a little gusty and unpredictable. Nico Collins's deep catch seems like a play where the wind caught it a little, this resulting in the stutter-step that prevented Collins from trying to break a TD-saving tackle:

A bit later DPJ would get open but the throw ended up a hair short:

This is the pattern for almost all of Patterson's deep throws that aren't directly on point. If he misses, it's short and his guy still has a chance to make a play on the ball. DPJ, meanwhile, will learn how to do the Manningham bump-and-extend when faced with a situation like this; gotta box your man out when it's short.

A bit later the wind died down and Patterson hit Black perfectly in stride:

That's just what he does with open receivers downfield. Hopefully he sees them more often—a five yard checkdown to Higdon saw Collins burst wide open down field. Take the shot!

You mentioned he was +6 on the ground? Maybe they spent the bye week trying to turn him into Denard?

This was Patterson's best game on the ground by some distance. The only negative was a QB draw on which he got ambitious and turned 3 yards into a loss. Otherwise he was on point with all his reads and aggressive when on the move.

As late as the Wisconsin game it felt like Michigan's zone read wasn't a read at all and that would hamper Michigan's attempt to be a shotgun offense; Patterson sort of came off like Dwayne Haskins, who… uh…

…well, that.

That is emphatically not the case. In a game where Trace McSorley slid short of a first down for seemingly no reason, Patterson was getting after it.

No sliding here; instead Patterson was able to drive through tackles for some YAC…

…and on one play where a safety presented himself at the LOS he got dusted:

This is now the optimal level of Shea Patterson runs in a competitive game. He had eight purposeful runs, enough to force the defense to play 11 on 11 and also pick up 6.8 yards a pop. That's the right balance. It's opened up Michigan's ground game without exposing him to too many hits, and the stress it puts on defenses should open up some big plays in the important games down the stretch.


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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
DPJ 2     3/3   3 1/4 1/2 23/23
Collins     1/1 1/1   1 1/3 6/7 15/16
Martin           2 1/3   4/4
Perry           4 0/2 2/3 9/9
Bell               1/1 2/2
McCurry               1/1 1/1
McKeon     0/1     1   3/4 8/9
Gentry 1     2/2   5 0/1 6/6 18/20
Eubanks           1 0/1 1/1 3/3
Mason                  1/1
Evans       3/3   1     9/9
Higdon        0/1 1/1     1/1    0/1 5/5
Wilson                 2/2
Thomas                    0/1

Routes: DPJ – +.

Not a lot of action for obvious reasons. DPJ got the route plus and minus on the same play: plus for winning over the top easily, minus for not walling the DB off.


Bredeson and Onwenu. Both tackles to a slightly lesser extent. Patterson, mostly.

Maybe not so heroic?

The tight ends didn't have much to do in the passing game and were very up and down as blockers. Not terrible, but a lot of yards got left on the field due to lack of kaiju.

What does it mean for Rutgers and the future?

Jon Runyan Jr: legit good. The lack of passing didn't prevent Michigan from racking up 31 pass pro opportunities, 28 of which were positive. JBB has had some issues against guys like Willekes and is probably a half step behind. Runyan seems legitimately good, full stop.

Fully operational. The emergence of Patterson as a legitimate run threat and increased diversity of the ground game makes this a bear of a run game to deal with. It feels like just a matter of time before opponents miss a fit and then goodbye.

…except for tight end blocking. McKeon very well could improve rapidly over the course of the next couple weeks because he's probably got a bunch of new stuff on his plate every week; let's hope that transpires.

Patterson's inching towards it. Ground game is on point; pocket awareness is much better; reading the field is still a work in progress. If he gets that together there's nothing holding the offense back.

Ed Warinner for president (of Michigan's offensive line and run game and nothing else ever). Probably goes without saying at this point.



November 8th, 2018 at 4:18 PM ^

When McKeon is not an inline blocker, and sometimes when he is, he has a tendency to not breakdown before making contact.  This results in a lot of whiffs.  Some of that might be him not being sure which guy is his. 

As Brian mentioned he takes some bad angles too where he runs to the spot his man is at instead of where his man will be given the flow of the play.  These are all pretty easy fixes. 

He does seem a touch slow out there which could be him just not being confident on who he is supposed to block on a given play.


November 8th, 2018 at 4:23 PM ^

On the year, the offense has run 606 plays (67 per game) to the opponents 522 (58 per game.) That's not as large as I expected, but still significant. What motivated me to check that is all the talk from last year about Onwenu's conditioning and his ability to stay on the field. With the defense getting so many three and outs, his conditioning has been more of a factor this year. I don't recall seeing him dragging or laboring once this year. For a guy that weighs more than the max the scale can register, that's impressive.


November 8th, 2018 at 5:24 PM ^

I’ve been beating that drum, but he has looked good even late in games. Then again, his weakness has always been in protection and we haven’t trailed late and been in passing mode. That’s where I’m afraid his feet might get a bit heavy, and misses in protection are usually worse than misses in blocking.

But I’ll also disagree with Brian on his movement in general. Yes, he moves well; very well for his size. But that just means he would move even better AND he would keep his power as a drive blocker at, say, 320.

4th and Go For It

November 8th, 2018 at 4:23 PM ^

Hopeful that Patterson is going to go to some pass heavy drives against OSU as something they've been saving all year. We schemed up some beautiful plays against them last year that JOK just couldn't hit. 

This year the run game seems on point, the QB run option is effective and keeping the D honest, the deep ball works when we use it. Only thing left is for Shea to go nuts in a game hitting his newly restored WR crew and Tight "Ents" for some 15-30 yard plays on the regular and this offense will be fully Harbaughinized. 

Diagonal Blue

November 8th, 2018 at 4:38 PM ^

Man, as good as the offense is playing I can't help but wonder what this offense would look like if guys like Newsome, Asiasi, and Wheatley were all on the field. Still, JBB and Runyan have improved so much and the TE's are doing pretty good too. Onward!


November 8th, 2018 at 5:05 PM ^

Hopefully this offensive unit continues to improve over the next two weeks, and becomes fully operational in time to vaporize OSU like Alderaan.  

Durham Blue

November 8th, 2018 at 5:20 PM ^

On the Black TD catch that was called back on the Gentry hold, it appeared to me that Shea could've thrown the ball at least a second earlier because Black had his man easily beat.  And throwing a second earlier may have avoided the holding call and Michigan would've been granted the TD.  This is another instance that gets filed into the "let it rip, Shea!" category.


November 8th, 2018 at 5:25 PM ^

Thank you again, and it shows how a little curiosity helps - linking the video to the descriptions is amazing. I wonder what the "official" team video break downs look like.


November 9th, 2018 at 11:06 AM ^

I have the same issue on a handful of videos and it's been going on for a few weeks. I think there is one video that is accidentally repeated and then after that, every video is one spot further down in the post vs. where it should be based on the commentary.  Given the lack of comments on it, I assumed the issue was somehow on my end, but glad to see I'm not the only one.


November 8th, 2018 at 5:36 PM ^

Warinner appears to be key. He has been at 10 different schools over 34 years. (Akron, MSU, Army, Air Force, Kansas, Illinois, ND, OSU, Minnesota, and Michigan.) The longest stint was Army for 13 years, after that, Kansas and OSU were both 4 years. That means he averaged less than 2 years at the remaining schools. I would really love to see Warinner finish his career at Michigan, or at least have a solid 4 - 5 year run. Please, open the checkbook, open the vault, back up the Brinks truck, and give him the money. The other thing about Warinner is that having no OC is kind of ideal. Give him responsibility for the OL and the running game. Whatever title is needed. I just don't want too see him jump ship soon, especially to a rival. As an aside, seeing that he worked for MSU, OSU, and ND, Warriner is a perfect example of the way that coaches will go to different "rivals" when the opportunity presents itself. I am just glad he is no longer at OSU, and that he is not at MSU.


November 8th, 2018 at 6:00 PM ^

Agree with others that UFRs are amazing and much, much appreciated.  Though I do think Brian has actually stepped his UFR game up this season from years past.  There seem to be more links, more embedded videos, more analysis.  Just great.

Anyway, this is probably the most encouraged I can ever recall being after an offensive UFR.  Maybe 2010 ND but that was a different set of circumstances entirely.  I just can't see OSU's shaky linebackers coping with this running game as is--let alone what it will look like in The Game.  Pretty exciting stuff.


November 8th, 2018 at 6:32 PM ^

I'm curious how long it takes Brian to produce a UFR.  It's a huge effort, and much, much appreciated.  I know I've learned so much about the finer points of football from reading these over the years. 

As for the extra content, you might be right.  But I'm guessing that's because games like this one are much more enjoyable to UFR as opposed to the games when Gorgeous Al Borges was calling the plays.

Red is Blue

November 8th, 2018 at 7:08 PM ^

One of the videos posted a few days ago had the ability to go in slow motion.  I don't know what it takes to do that, but it really added another dimension.  Nonetheless, UFRs are awesome.


November 8th, 2018 at 7:20 PM ^

I really thought Grant Perry would have been a lot more involved and productive this season than he has been. I understand we are rolling out some seriously heavy personnel, but I would like to see his route ninja skills open up the interior of OSU's secondary.


November 8th, 2018 at 7:29 PM ^

I disagree on the Mason vs McKeon discussion.  I would like to see more Mason   

McKeon has been very frustrating this year. One great block for every two that look like he doesn’t really like or know how to make contact.  

Mason sees someone in front of him and smashes him.  That to me is better than indecision. Curses we don’t have Devin Asiasi this year. 


November 8th, 2018 at 7:47 PM ^

Gentry, Collins, DPJ stats starting to look at lot like Butt, Jehu, Darboh circa 2015. The distribution similarities of Shea :: Rudock to top three targets certainly seems system-y these days. Harbaugh is getting the receiver and QB play he wants.


November 8th, 2018 at 9:20 PM ^

Hey Brian, I have no idea how to imbed it, but on YouTube there is a video titled “Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh mic up at the orange bowl 2011”. It has the part about him yelling “back door now, back door”.  Just a great watch all around. 




Did that work?


November 8th, 2018 at 11:27 PM ^

I feel like Higdon's speed doesn't get properly recognized. I think we were all shocked when he turned in a 4.4 at that combine they did a couple of years ago, but it has certainly proven to be speed he brings to the field. That 50 yard run on the split zone that PSU busted, for example: The corner #4 has a great angle as Higdon charges into the defensive backfield.

um psu 27.PNG

But Higdon is so fast that #4 can't make the play until he pushes Higdon OOB 38 yards later.

Higdon's speed does all of that. Deveon Smith gets tackled at the 50 (maybe earlier). Evans might make a guy miss, but he can't outrun guys like that. Higdon's speed turns mistakes into BIG mistakes with some regularity.

As fast RBs do. But he's not just a speed back. He's an all-around quality back who blocks, makes tough YAC plays, and runs well between the tackles. His speed is just a part of his toolbox, but it has been significant this year. And, I would suggest, underappreciated.