Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2018 at 4:24 PM

[Eric Upchurch]


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FORMATION NOTES: About 50/50 between shotgun and other stuff, with an emphasis on TEs and WRs—just 12 fullback snaps for Mason. Nothing stood out as unusual. WMU responded with a four-man front on every play and some rolled up safeties... sometimes absurdly so.

This was less of a problem for the run game than you'd think but RBs did have to dodge these guys at the line from time to time. The flipside was the Nico Collins touchdown, which was super easy because a safety lined up at eight yards.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Same OL as the opener. Second team was Mayfield/Filiaga/Spanellis/Honigford/Hudson. QBs went Patterson, McCaffrey, Peters. Higdon and Evans got closer to equal reps with Wilson indeed the #3. WR rotation was pretty much the same as the opener, with DPJ and Collins clear-ish starters on the outside and Martin the only guy rotating in much. TEs were the same.

Muhammad, Schoonmaker, Turner, Milton, and Hayes not getting in strongly implies redshirts are coming for them.

[After THE JUMP: I am down with the G]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 2TE tight 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Pass TE out Gentry 10
CB blitz with Gentry running a two yard out right where the blitz came from. Patterson IDs and throws, nice catchable ball that Gentry turns up for a first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M38 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7.5 Penalty False Start JBB -5
JBB -1.
M33 1 15 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel over 6 Run Inside zone Higdon 2
Patterson(-2) has a clear keep read with the backside end crashing and gives instead. DE doesn’t screw it up. This is a solid gain and maybe a bust right to the second level if DE shuffles, with Bredeson(+1) driving his man about two yards downfield and Ruiz(+1) finding and kicking a blitzball LB. Higdon’s about to test that gap and either Bredeson’s guy gets him or he’s to the secondary when the DE tackles.
M35 2 13 Shotgun twin TE H twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Power O Higdon 2
Playside DE slanting and trying to stick as close to the releasing JBB as possible. McKeon(-1) is a beat slow realizing this and allows some penetration. This penetration picks off Bredeson(-1) but Bredeson should be able to get around this. Instead he stops and refocuses on the DE. Higdon(+0.5) cuts behind into this gap and is almost able to dodge the free LB but gets tripped up after juking him to the ground.
M37 3 11 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Flare screen Evans 0
Conservative, but at least it’s Evans-focused? McKeon(-2) is supposed to crack the playside LB and releases way too deep and waits for him to try to get outside. Instead he just runs upfield. WMU appears to leave NT in spy zone so he flows out in the midst of Ruiz and Bredeson. Those two guys have Evans bracketed and by the time he WOOPS the linebacker the cavalry has arrived. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun twin TE H 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Jet sweep Thomas 6
Technically a touch pass so delete one passing attempt for Patterson. WMU seems to feel this is coming and a S comes up to hit Eubanks at the LOS. Thomas goes around this to the edge, which is open as DPJ(+1) had a long long block on a CB who didn’t press the issue much. Thomas(+1) is both fast and able to fend off Eubanks’s guy.
M25 2 4 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 9 Pass Waggle comeback Martin 8
WMU blitzes into this but the LB initially checks inside run instead of running directly at Patterson. This gives Patterson a window, but not much of one. He’s rolling away from his throwing arm but manages to set up and fling a sideline dart to Martin for an inch perfect conversion. Dang. (DO+, 1, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M33 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
WMU exchanges on the backside. JBB(+1) does a good job to fend off the shuffling DE and then affect the LB once he reads the handoff and attacks. Ruiz can’t help Onwenu(-1) as he’s got a blitzball LB coming to him; Ruiz(+0.5) does handle him. Bredeson(+1) stays attached through an attempted rip and drives his guy upfield, creating the hole. Higdon(+0.5) finds it after a slight delay and hits it. Onwneu’s guy pops off and grabs him just as he’s about to break through.
M37 2 6 Ace 2TE tight 1 2 2 4-3 under 8.5 Run Inside zone Higdon 4
LB level is spread out by M’s formation and slants away. Bredeson(+1) and Ruiz(+1) pick up the NT and shove him four yards downfield. Runyan(-1) has a DE slant outside of him and passes him up. He then checks the second level and decides not to go get a safety creeping down. He also doesn’t stop and stall the DT now inside of McKeon, who’s trying but has no angle to do anything with this guy. Higdon cuts behind the huge blowout block and gets tackled from the side by DT.
M41 3 2 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under 8.5 Run Down G Higdon 43
Power with a playside guard pull and he kicks out as the FB jets through the gap. Onwenu(+1) pulls and gets a blitzer. Mason(+3) HAMMERS the playside LB back into an overhang corner. Gentry(+0.5) and McKeon(+0.5) both get relatively easy blocks done. JBB might hit his guy too hard? He nails the guy, and then that guy spins off, giving ground to get around, and JBB can only chase him to Higdon. Not really his fault. Higdon(+2) runs through that attempted arm tackle and then cuts back behind a safety, setting sail into the open field. S was able to slow him enough to prevent a TD.
O16 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 5-3 under 9 Run Down G Higdon 0
Back to the well. To the other side. WMU has something on to defeat it this time, with a five-man line featuring a playside end who dives inside the puller and a double eagle front that allows the NT to split Ruiz(-2) and Onwenu; Ruiz leaves immediately without getting a brush on the NT and Onwenu can’t do anything with that. Ruiz then doesn’t get a second level block, targeting the guy Gentry is targeting. Runyan(+0.5) turns in a guy slanting away from him pretty well. Other blocks are push-ish and untested because of the WMU dive and the Ruiz issue. RPS -1.
O16 2 10 Ace 2TE tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Waggle TE flat McKeon 16
Man I don’t know how you let this happen on second and ten. PA fake sucks in the entire LB level and the backside S to the point where McKeon can turn up the standard TE flat route on a waggle for a TD. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Down G Higdon 67
Playside DT seems to bust hard. He jets outside. DE jets outside. Bredeson(+1) gets a good widening kick on the DT and the DE is gone too. Ruiz does the run-by on a nose tackle who dives inside of him; NT has occupied nobody and is run by immediately. Gentry(+1) gets a second level block and moves that guy out; Runyan and Onwenu both get the other LB. Ruiz has nobody to block. Higdon(+1) barely has to do anything but does show impressive long speed, beating the WMU safety to the corner and dusting him.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 4 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Split zone Higdon 19
RPS for M here as WMU splits out a linebacker and then blitzes him off the edge. He’s unable to shuffle because of his wide starting position. Backside DE and LB both slant to the IZ action. Gentry(+0.5) kicks the LB. JBB(+2) attaches and drives the backside DE two yards downfield, providing a great angle of attack for Higdon(+1). He takes it and runs through an arm tackle for YAC. RPS +1.
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Down G Evans 27
No bust here and a tighter lane for Evans to hit. It has a bonus S at eight-yards-and-charging, too. Evans(+2) gives him the business; S collapses in pile of viscera. Lane there because Runyan(+1) turned in a DT; Gentry(+1) sealed a LB inside; Ruiz(+1) got the other LB. Bredeson(+0.5) got just enough of a kick. This was real close to an RPS negative if that S splattered Evans in the hole.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 1 min 1st Q. Ensuing WMU punt blocked.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass TE wheel McKeon Inc
Bredeson(-1) takes on a guy diving inside of him; dude spins through. Bredeson is still attached and Patterson could move away from this if he wanted but he sees that he’s got McKeon for a TD and tries to get the throw out; hit on the release. Ball sails. Runyan was having some difficulties but his guy seems to trip. McKeon is wide open. (PR, 0, protection ½, RPS +2)
O24 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Run Split zone Higdon 9
I guess? This isn’t one of those isos where you insert a TE because Ruiz releases instead of doubling a DT, but JBB kicks a DE out instead of letting him go for the read. This is again a read nobody play. M just about blocks it, with JBB(+1) getting that kick and Ruiz(+0.5) getting around to a LB; looks like Higdon(+2) can attack that backside gap. He doesn’t trust it, understandably, since it look iffy. He then cuts to a frontside gap with an unblocked S in it. Onwenu’s block is just okay so he’s tripping over Onwenu’s legs when the safety hits him but he somehow stays up and goes and gets nine.
O15 3 1 Goal line 2 2 1 5-3 under 10 Run Down G Higdon 0
Bredeson(-1) trips coming out and falls right in the lane. McKeon(-1) rocked back by a DE. Runyan(-1) blocks down and is unable to hold his ground. By the time Higdon gets to the hole it’s been slammed shut.
O15 4 1 Goal line 2 2 1 5-3 under 10 Run Iso Higdon 1
M runs at a bubble in the WMU line. Martin and McKeon have a DE and move him a bit; Runyan and Bredeson double and bury a DT who’s firing out super low. This leaves Mason(+1) against the whole LB level. He wins the kamikaze battle against the first guy who shows and that’s just enough to get Higdon across the line. Too close for comfort.
O14 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight 1 2 2 4-3 even 9 Pass Drag DPJ 12
First read is Evans on a wheel but Collins can’t quite drive his defender into the path of a LB who hauls ass to get out on this. WMU sends six and one of them comes from LB depth so the line doesn’t pick him up. Patterson’s facing down that guy and is able to hit plan B, which is DPJ on mesh. His arm slot here is weird and he doesn’t step into it but job gets done. (CA+, 3, protection 0/1, TEAM -1)
O2 1 G Goal line 2 2 1 Goal line 11 Run Down G Evans 2
Evans bounces as McKeon(+1) and Gentry(+0.5) seal in their guys, with Gentry losing his a bit. Bredeson pulls around and is just able to get a shove in on a LB who’s attacking. Guy gets an ankle tackle in that Evans(+1) is able to power through into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-0, 9 min 2nd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O49 1 10 Ace 3-wide tight 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Penalty Illegal sub N/A 5
12 is too many
O44 1 5 Ace 3-wide tight 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Pass PA Post Collins 44
Very, very bad zone coverage by the two guys with deep responsibilities here. Both are way too casual out of their backpedals and the deep S gets run by like he’s not there. Patterson makes no mistake. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2). Collins route +, I guess. But this was too easy.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-0, 7 min 2nd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M14 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Pin and pull Higdon 1
McKeon(-0.5) gets ripped through and playside DE flows down the line. McKeon stays attached and manages to keep pushing. Higdon tries the outside but WMU players reacted quickly and have contained the edge. Higdon(-2) cuts back, way slow for my taste, and manages to get behind the McKeon block. Bredeson(+1) eliminated playside DT to help create the space. Ruiz(+0.5) cut off a LB to help. Onwenu is harassing a DT who has the ability to get over if Higdon does try to hit it fast.
M15 2 9 Shotgun twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Power O Higdon 5
Thomas in, fake jet with action underneath it. WMU run blitzes and has a safety at 6 and one at 8, so heavy sledding. Onwenu(+1) finds his guy and moves him out; JBB(+1) steps around a DT and locks him out so there’s a lane up the gut. Bredeson(-2) pulls and neither hits the unblocked EMLOS who is widening out for Thomas or goes in that gap. Instead he hits the guy JBB has locked out. Higdon(+0.5) does find this gap and hits it. Unblocked S and unblocked DE converge to hold it down. Ruiz(+0.5) did a good job to ID and cut off a blitzer.
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 1 3 Exotic 7 Pass Rollout comeback DPJ 14
Patterson rolls out directly into an edge blitz. He’s able to run around that dude and survey downfield. DPJ(route+) is running an out that a zone defender is going to be underneath so he converts it to a comeback and runs himself open. Patterson hits him in the number. (DO+, 3, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M34 1 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Pin and pull Evans -1
Another pin and pull on which WMU cuts off the outside but leaves a lane inside that RB does not see. In this case it’s Evans(-2). McKeon(+1) turns in a relevant DE and Onwenu(+0.5) is able to climb to the backside LB, delaying him significantly. Two LBs flow hard outside and get outside Ruiz and Runyan, who both get adequate kicks. Evans misses the cut and by the time he takes it it’s filled.
M33 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass TE out McKeon 6
This may get out too fast as McKeon and Collins are crossing right next to each other when the catch is made. Man coverage so not a huge deal but Collins’s guy is able to fall off and tackle when it looked like Collins was going to rub the S on McKeon and open up a nice chunk of YAC. Still a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M39 3 5 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Waggle throwaway N/A Inc
Rollout against his body. McKeon very covered; DPJ offscreen but probably covered as well. Feel like Patterson does have a shot at Perry on a crossing route but he’s getting pressure and may not be comfortable getting his shoulders around for a throw that could be dangerous. (TA, N/A, protection N/A, RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 35-0, EO1H  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O47 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Inside zone Evans 5
LBs are blitzballing so there’s a lot of momentum to stall at the line. M does, neither letting a LB through or a DL, and now they just have to get a crack. They cannot quite do this. Onwenu(+1) is able to move a LB out and Evans hops through the gap behind him. JBB can’t quite drive or lock out the other DT but doesn’t exactly lose the block either. Evans(+0.5) plows into him and is able to blast him back because JBB is still leaning on him.
O42 2 5 Ace trips tight 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Counter Evans 18
Very crack sweep formation, counter step and then run away from the crack sweep look. Runyan(+1) and Bredeson(+1) eliminate guys they’re blocking down on. Onwenu’s guy on the edge tries to dive inside of him; Onwenu(+1) handles that well and seals him away. Playside LB is coming right behind this guy to the outside; Gentry runs by him. S shows to fill for the gap the LB is vacating; Gentry does block him. Good Never Turn Upfield. Evans(+3) hops outside the LB; LB falls. He then cuts inside the Gentry block. DPJ (+1) blasts a LB by him. Evans then WOOPS another safety and stiffarms a DL for a chunk.
O24 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 8 Run Counter Evans 0
Similar play from a different formation. Runyan(-2) gets surged through. Onwenu(+1) is pulling; he gets met by that guy and runs through him to still get his kickout. Runyan then really really appears to hold the guy (refs +2) but gets away with it; Mason(+1) runs up and blasts him. Evans is trying to cut inside the kickout when blitzer from the backside gets him. Gentry(-2) appears to bust here as he hits a LB further inside who JBB is setting up to wall off. JBB chases the outside guy and gets to look bad because of someone else’s block. Didn’t matter much as free LB because of Runyan stuff was also there.
O24 2 10 Shotgun 2TE twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Pass Rollout out Perry Inc
Man they just do not want to pass block from the pocket at all. WMU is expecting this stuff now. Perry’s going to get whomped for three or four yards if this is complete; it’s high. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
O24 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie two 7 Pass Dumpoff Wilson 2

WMU has six guys at the LOS and starts backing a couple out presnap as the overhang LB threatens; this looks like nobody accounted for him. JBB is picking which guy to let through and picks the outside one. That guy is about to sack when Patterson gets off an under hand chuck to Wilson, who released after finding no one to block and may be you pass pro culprit. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2, TEAM -2)

Drive Notes: Missed FG(40), 35-0, 10 min 3rd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M49 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Tunnel screen DPJ 0
WMU OLB right in the throwing lane as Gentry(-1) seems to block him there. Patterson still throws this but the ball has to avoid that guy and that takes DPJ away from his blocks and fouls the play up. (CA, 3, screen, RPS -1)
M49 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Run Split zone Evans 27
Big gap up the gut as Onwenu(+1) and JBB(+1) blow out a DT. M catches an exchange so Gentry(+1) blocks a guy charging down and LB containing Patterson eliminates himself. Ruiz(+0.5) and Bredeson(+0.5) move the other guy and Evans(+2) is through before the LB level can get back to him. Evans then sets up a Collins(+1) block and bursts outside to turn a chunk into two chunks. RPS +1, split zone vs exchange.
O24 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7.5 Pass Fade DPJ Inc (Pen +15)
Quick fade with no other read, really. DPJ and DB seem to have some mutual arm-fighting and DPJ is reduced to diving at this ball with one hand. He can’t make the spectacular catch. He does draw a PI call as DB clearly grabs his jersey and impedes his dive at the ball. (CA, 0, protection N/A)
O9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7.5 Run Split zone Evans 3
Another exchange. DE is prepared for split zone this time and dives under Gentry, no fault of his, to force a cutback into the LB coming behind. Evans(+0.5) makes the cut he has to and manages to grind out a few. JBB(+1) gave him the lane with a driving block. RPS -1, back to the well.
O6 2 G Ace trips tight TE 1 3 1 Goal line 10 Run Inside zone Evans 2
Playside DE takes a double from Runyan and Bredeson(-1), splitting it once Runyan has to peel off for a charging LB. Bredeson is not in position to finish or seal the guy and he surges upfield. Eubanks(-1) lets his guy under him and he chases to Evans to help tackle.
O4 3 G Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 9 Pass Corner DPJ 4
Not a super route that gets DPJ open, tight window, nailed. (DO, 3, protection 1/1). Collins slant was probably easier and also six but man wants a DO.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-0, 6 min 3rd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under 9 Run Power O Evans 5
This is encouraging. WMU shoves a LB to the LOS and inserts him; M adapts well. Onwenu(+0.5) walls off a DL slanting away. JBB(+1) takes the LB and kicks him out after he jets outside. Bredeson(+0.5) gets inside of this instead of heading outside where his initial flight path took him. He’s able to whack a LB and create some space for Evans. Unfortunately for the TEs they blew their guy right back into the RB’s path because they’re expecting the ball to go outside of them. Various folks converge. Evans(+0.5) did a good job to follow Bredeson.
M37 2 5 Goal line H 2 2 1 5-3 under 9 Pass PA drag Martin Inc
PA from a big formation, Patterson looks at McKeon and doesn’t like it. Comes off it, finds Martin on a drag but throws it well behind him, Martin can’t quite make the spinning catch. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M37 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Run Zone read keeper Patterson 16
Split zone action induces crash from backside end as WMU’s been burned on this a couple times before. Patterson(+1) reads, keeps, and gets the edge easy. RPS +2.
O47 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 8 Run Off tackle Wilson 2
WMU brings a safety down and also blitzes a linebacker, which jams up the front and picks off Mason. Wilson heads off tackle and eats an unblocked LB. RPS -1. Still got 2.
O45 2 8 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 under 9 Pass Waggle sack N/A -16
Big ol formation, waggle, this time a WMU guy is hell for leather for Patterson from the drop and he cannot escape. (PR, N/A, protection N/A, RPS -2). Patterson makes a bad decision to try to get rid of the ball purposelessly but his knee’s down.
M39 3 24 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie two 6 Pass Post Perry Inc
Pass pro tested and it’s excellent, giving Patterson time to survey and fire downfield. He finds Perry for the first down but puts it in the #buttzone. Perry is not Butt and he can only get a hand on it. (MA, 1, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 42-0, EO3Q. McCaffrey and second string OL enter.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 7.5 Run Inside zone Wilson 13
Honigford(+2) blasts his DT well out of the hole. Hudson(+2) kicks the other DT, staying attached on a rip and driving. Wilson hits a cavern.
O43 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 even 8 Run Inside zone Wilson 9
Good decisive cutback from Wilson(+1), who finds a backside gap. Gentry(+0.5) got a kick; Hudson(+2) buries a DT. Honigford had to pop off a double almost immediately to try and hit a LB, which he barely does; Hudson does this on his own. To a MAC backup, probably. But still! Wilson(+0.5) is then able to run through a safety tackle for a nice gain.
O34 2 1 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Sack N/A -2
PA and they’re hoping to hit FB in the flat. That FB is Eubanks and covered. Covered ish. McCaffrey should throw this. Or he should throw it to Gentry, wide open further inside. Wilson cuts the hell out of a DE but once McCaffrey doesn’t throw it this play isn’t designed for a lot of pass pro. Scramble, sack. (TAX, N/A, protection 2/2)
O36 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Wilson 8
Unblocked DE fires straight upfield like it’s 2008. Easy give read. Honigford(+1) again gets off a double to block a blitzing LB, this time he whacks and moves him out. Hudson(+1) moves the DT, who spins out but removes himself from the play as Wilson jets directly upfield.
O28 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Run Arc read keeper McCaffrey 10
DE crashes, pull. Eubanks(+0.5) arcs and harasses gray area LB. McCaffrey(+1) threatens outside and then cuts upfield for a solid gain. RPS is over, but RPS!
O18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Waggle deep out McCurry 18
McCurry(route +) drives vertical on a safety and then breaks out just as that guy has flipped his hips completely. He’s wide open. McCaffrey seems to expect this and hits him in rhythm. McCurry(+1) then dodges the poor bastard he just nuked with his route and scores. Not bad! (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 49-0, 9 min 4th Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M18 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Wilson 17
Yes okay people Mayfield(+2) takes a WMU linebacker and puts him ten yards downfield before he can get off the block. Wilson(+1) hits the big hole that results and smartly threatens out before cutting in on a WR block to maximize his yardage.
Drive Notes: EOG, 49-3. M’s final three plays aren’t worth clipping.  

I am still suffused with the ennui from last week

/false start


/two yard run


/two yard run


/failed screen


/many touchdowns

okay I guess

any less ennui'd?

The man... who threw good? Gives me the tiniest ember of hope within my black, cynical heart?

Sure, let's start there. Michigan didn't turn to Patterson frequently. When they did he did very well:


  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% -

3 DOs and four pressure-affected throws in the good column is a hell of a lot in 13 throws, with nothing serious in the negative column. Those pressured throws were almost all waggles that WMU was rushing out on because it was predictable that Michigan would try to avoid, you know, blocking. And this is an eye-opener:

Doing more or less that again later in in the game doubly so. This awkward arm-slot no-step dump to DPJ is also an eye opener in a slightly different manner:

And sure, do this, I like it.

He's got the slant there but man wants a DO on his chart, I guess.

Patterson had a couple of misses but they were narrow. His deep post to Grant Perry was about six inches too high for him and would have been just fine for Zach Gentry; an out to Oliver Martin was well behind him. Everything else was on point, and he got to display his ability to not dorf it when the easy opportunity presents itself:

You never know for sure but given what I saw last year that seems like Patterson intentionally leaving it a bit short because he'd rather do that than try the perfect in-stride pass and increase his chances of blowing it.

Also I guess the running many yards was slightly encouraging.

Yes, I thought that was all right.

Offensive Line

Player + - Total Notes
Runyan 2.5 4 -1.5 Couple of –2s and clear right handed bias for run game.
Bredeson 7.5 5 2.5 Couple of dorfs.
Ruiz 5.5 2 3.5 Helped move some guys. No fancy reaches or pulls yet.
Onwenu 7 1 6 Digging people out.
JBB 8 1 7 Pounded face.
Spanellis       DNC
McKeon 2.5 4.5 -2 Blew a screen pretty badly.
Gentry 5 3 2 Solid kickouts on those split zones.
Eubanks 0.5 1 -0.5  
Mason 5   5 THUNK
TOTAL 43.5 21.5 67% Mendoza hit.
Player + - T Notes
Patterson 1 2 -1 One good pull, one bad non-pull.
McCaffrey 1   1 Better zone read opp this week.
Higdon 7.5 2 5.5 Broke several tackles, only one missed opp
Evans 9.5 2 7.5 WOOP
Samuels       DNC
Wilson 2.5   2.5 Promising.
Turner       DNP
TOTAL 21.5 6 15.5 Made plays.
Player + - T Notes
DPJ 2   2 Helped Evans out once.
Thomas 1   1 Jet on which he got a tough corner. 
Black       DNP
TOTAL 3   3 Eh.
Player + - T Notes
Protection 10 4 71% Bredeson –1, TEAM -3
RPS 10 10 0 Waggles on which M needed heroic throws to get 8 yards significant negative component.


Run blocking dipped a bit relative to ND's surprisingly good number but remained above the Mendoza line of 66% that we want to hit for a real good day on the ground. Michigan's much better ground game has a lot to do with the level of competition—a giant DL bust paved the way for a 67-yard touchdown on which Cesar Ruiz released and had no one to block—and a lot to do with the running backs, who made the most of the opportunities provided them.

Pass protection gets a big ol' incomplete. It was clear Michigan did not want to do much, if any of it. Pass pro opportunities were incredibly rare. When they risked it at all it was often on a relatively quick throw. The only extended incidents were the overthrow to McKeon where Bredeson got spun through and the near-conversion on third and twenty four where Michigan stoned WMU:

Hooray for that but running a zillion rollouts against WMU probably says more than the above about Michigan's trust in their pass protection.




Because I knew you would demand backup taeks, you maniac, I reviewed Michigan's last couple drives. Wilson and McCaffrey's scores are in the chart above. Only three of the backup OL drew numbers on the five plays I charted. Honigford was +3, Hudson +5, Mayfield +2. That's a lot in a short amount of time.

The McCaffrey-led TD drive did most of its work behind the right side of the line, where James Hudson and Joel Honigford did good work. Wilson's first chunk run was mostly those two guys getting blasting single blocks:

#59 RG and #55 RT

The next play featured a Hudson pancake that Wilson decisively cut behind:

#55 RT

A little bit later the gap is again between those guys, with Honigford reading the play in front of him and popping off on a charging LB effectively:

#59 RG and #55 RT

Pile on all the degree of difficulty caveats you want, they're all true. But all they can do is maul the dudes in front of them and Hudson and Honigford were 3/3 on opportunities to do so, with a little bit of "I know what I'm doing" thrown in there. Hudson's gotten a lot of talk and could push through into a starting job this year so you might expect that. Honigford hasn't generated word one from practice chatterers, though, so that's more meaningful for him. If he'd done that in a spring game against the second string people would have been saying his name all offseason.

Finally, the only play of relative note on the final drive was Jalen Mayfield depositing a WMU LB ten yards downfield:

LT #75

This might be a backup and it's definitely a guy who's out of give-a-damn but remember the straws and the clutching thereof: we do it because it feels good. There's your Jalen Mayfield straw.

Can I talk about the actual starters now?

No. While we're here, Tru Wilson takes?

I liked him. He's not Karan Higdon-sized in any way—lies, damn lies, and rosters—but in the clips above he's quick and decisive with his cuts and has a little wiggle. He set up his block in the Mayfield clip above very well, threatening outside and then cutting off his teammate's butt.

His one pass protection incident was the kind of cut block that flips a dude on his head:

#13 RB

If I had to guess I'd say that more than anything is the reason he's the #3 back.

His role isn't likely to be large if Michigan's not taking full advantage of Chris Evans, especially since he seems like Evans minus the top gear and nasty open-field moves. Early progress towards becoming a Kovacs Memorial Non-Walk-On, though.

Speaking of, Jake McCurry:

Nice route, nice dodge. Very much a slot only, but he's got a shot.

NOW can I talk about the starters?


I just did him.


So. Yeah. Any questions.



The thing they were doing, thing?

I called it dart in the game column but that was me getting it mixed up. Michigan ran "down G" on many of their successful plays. Down G is a power variant that pulls the playside guard—power pulls the backside guard—and tries to attack off tackle. The backside of the line runs inside zone; the playside tackle and whatever TEs you're using block down. The idea is to bash the edge of the DL inside while that pulling G pops whoever the force player is wide enough to jet through that gap. Seth has more detail.

It worked pretty well. Higdon's 67-yard TD and Evans's 27-yard TD were both Down G, and while the Evans one required some fancy footwork by the running back, you can see what Down G was buying Michigan in the WMU linebacker level:

WMU MLB over Onwenu

If Onwenu pulls that guy knows it's power and runs his ass off to get there. Since he doesn't and the C, RG, and RT look like they're running IZ he plays it like IZ, which threatens various gaps and backside cuts. He does not haul ass for the POA. By the time the RB jets for the gap off tackle, Ruiz is out there cutting the LB off.

This is good: it's a coherent running game. Down G fits with inside zone and power and won some blocks for Michigan by confusing the opposition. It is nice that sometimes they are confused and Michigan is not.

I'm confused: we're not confused?

Well... this is still a work in progress. One of the early Higdon runs that culminated in the 13-minutes-left-in-the-first-quarter booing was plain old power on which McKeon gave up a little penetration. I still think the puller should be able to get around it. Bredeson doesn't quite manage it:

LG #74 pulling

Instead he hits McKeon's guy, which doesn't help Higdon since he's cutting back like the blocking tells him to. When this happened to Onwenu later he handled it in a very Onwenu way: just running through whatever gnat appears in his windshield. One of the 500-level things about running the ball on a power play is being able to re-gap when the defense runs slants that do stuff like the above: not quite.

But it is a work in progress, emphasis on progress. Michigan's faced a wide array of stunts and blitzes and while they've been less than perfect I don't think I've seen anyone get a free run on an obviously doomed play, iffy zone read stuff aside. From time to time I'll see someone doing something that seems pretty advanced, awareness-wise. Here Bredeson is able to redirect inside when WMU's defensive approach creates a big canyon in there:

#74 LG pulling

That's a re-gap. Hooray.

There are other hints that things are coming together. Bushell-Beatty's block here isn't all that relevant to the four yards Michigan gets but he's able to fend off a DE outside of him for a bit while keeping an eye on a linebacker the whole time and getting him, too, when he charges:

RT #76

That's a guy who seems to know that once the DE is delayed even a bit he's not relevant and he should be alert for someone trying to shoot a gap. I like that. It seems good. And, you know, aware.

The very next play was almost there but after Runyan passes up a guy slanting outside of him he starts checking around for dudes. This is okay, but when he finds none he doesn't look for work and McKeon ends up escorting the guy who slanted to Higdon:

LT #75


Still four yards because Ruiz and Bredeson ejected the NT. Going forward the mental stuff is more important than blasting various MAC DL off the ball because that's all about you and not the opposition. And it's better, way better. It isn't a machine.

Also the pushing.

Yes, there was a fair amount of pushing people off the ball. JBB was able to cave guys in with some regularity; this split zone is going to have a gap either way because of WMU's approach but JBB's able to plow his guy so Higdon's able to get vertical quickly and eat up yards:

RT #76

Blowouts were common, especially on that right side:

RG #50 and RT #76

There too you see a bit of awareness from JBB, who's got his head up and is checking the LB, then pops out on him when he scrapes outside.

The right side of the line was reminiscent of last year during the mauling phase. I don't know exactly what PFF's seeing but I'm very surprised that they rated the tight ends higher than Michigan's right side after this game. The TEs had some moments good and bad; I thought Onwenu and Bushell-Beatty were excellent on the ground. The passing game probably doesn't make up for that gap since there was hardly any pass blocking (and I had no protection minuses for either guy) while McKeon and Gentry had just three simple catches between them. YMMV.

On the other hand they were gonzo about Chris Evans.

That I get. Evans gave a couple of guys The Business, most spectacularly on his 27-yard touchdown, where he's able to dust an unblocked safety who started at eight yards:

He had two more guys flail uselessly at him a bit later:

If Michigan can get Evans to the second level or into space he will do this stuff more often than not. Dink and dunk with this dude.

Higdon's 67 yarder was maybe his easiest run of the day but the ability to outrun that safety angle should further put to rest questions about his long speed. The 43-yard chunk was another matter, as he ran through an arm tackle and dusted a safety before the necessity to zig-zag allowed various Broncos to catch up. He also displayed his ability to bounce off tackles:

MAKE PLAYS, this space says all the time. Plays were made.

I had only one complaint in this department and it was the same one for both RBs. I thought both guys had opportunities to cut up when WMU successfully held the edge on a couple of pin and pulls. On both WMU gets guys outside of the two pullers quickly but leaves a lane just inside them that is at least a decent gain on. Higdon even seemed to sense his, slowing up and lookin' at the dang thing:


Alas, he then continued outside for a couple steps and spurned the opportunity. Evans's lane was less obvious but there:

I'm sure that'll be an area they get coached up in this week; I bet we see some more pin and pulls against SMU as they try to test their improvement in this department.

Other than that they were very good.


the guy who can't modulate his voice?


Ben Mason. Woo! Let's get out that +3:

That is a blowout block that catches another player in its wake. Mason's other major contribution was collapsing the first man through on a fourth and one Michigan barely converted:

Not bad for twelve snaps. I'm not saying I want to see more Mason because Michigan has a lot of options when it comes to blocky catchy sorts but I have confidence that Mason snaps will be a good time.

Did you have any further tactical complaints?

I mean, no. The down G stuff is a good addition but it's nothing mindblowing, and with Michigan jumping out to a big lead just running plays it would have been dumb to put anything else new on tape. There were a couple of wrinkles, albeit ones more in the "we need to be able to do this to have a functional offense that isn't predictable" mode.

One was a bonafide zone read that played on a couple of earlier split zones. Michigan got a chunk play on split zone when they caught a scrape exchange, which led to a second play where that guy buried himself in the line. So on a third split zone when that happened again a Patterson pull was easy yardage.

This was an improvement from the past week and earlier in the game. Michigan lets the backside end go here; he crashes hard but Patterson doesn't pull. The end result is a meh gain on a play that otherwise had a shot at getting to the secondary:

I understand that Michigan doesn't want to expose Patterson to hits but if that's not a real read that's asking for the above to happen. If Michigan wants DEs to shuffle they're going to have to give Patterson the green light or Patterson's going to have to read it better. Against real opponents he should be getting a few carries a game to keep folks honest.


No drops from my POV. Incompletions that Martin and Perry got hands to were 1) very far behind a guy on a drag and 2) high and hard and un-spearable with one hand and got filed as potential circus catches. I gave Martin's sideline catch a 1.

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

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
DPJ 1     4/4   1     10/10
Collins       1/1       1/1 3/3
Martin   1/2         1/2   2/2
Perry   0/2         0/2   3/3
McCurry       1/1         1/1
McKeon       2/2         4/4
Gentry       1/1   3     3/4
Eubanks                 1/1
Evans                 2/2

ROUTES: Collins +, DPJ +, McCurry +


Patterson, right side of the OL, both main running backs.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody really. McKeon had an iffy blocking game. Pass protection implications are bad.

What does it mean for SMU and beyond?

They're probably going to have to pull the ripcord at tackle still. 14 points of pass pro grading is unbelievably low even for a blowout and that says somethin' about somethin'. JBB does bring something on the ground but Hudson is more ready than Mayfield, so there might be a reshuffle on the way.

Chris Evans in space. Make it happen. Force it.

Ol' Murderface. Fullback looks to be in good hands for the next three years.

Warinner effect: detectable. Michigan is more organized on the ground, seems to learn from mistakes, and keeps their head on a swivel. Good start. Unfortunate about the tackles he was handed.

The backup OL can pound either tired MAC players or MAC backups. Encouraging start for Hudson and, relative to expectations, especially Honigford.

Tru Wilson: not bad. Solid debut, doesn't necessarily feel like a walk-on. Decisive, good cuts.



September 12th, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

I know the coaches are smarter than me, but I'm having flashbacks to O'korn last year and their extreme loyalty to veterans.  I want to see one of the young kids (Hudson) at tackle.  At least it looks like we could be much better on the o-line next season and I have reason for optimism this season.


September 12th, 2018 at 5:12 PM ^

I'm with you that I'd like to see more of Hudson and Mayfield but be careful what you wish for.  We may think it can't get worse, but it can. 

It's also not a terrible idea to work someone who is inexperienced in slowly so they can have success and gain confidence vs. throwing them to the wolves before they're ready and have them lose confidence.  

I hope Hudson and/or Mayfield will come in and be an upgrade at tackle, but we're still lacking data.


September 12th, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

Simple: playbook knowledge. It is impossible for us to know how well the players show their knowledge of the playbook @ practice. If player A is less talented then player B, but knows the plays and the assignments better.... player A plays. Talent just means potential. The guys have to be able to put all the pieces together, not just have raw athleticism 


September 13th, 2018 at 9:07 AM ^

Remember when people were calling for JOK over Speight before his injury?... Pepperidge Farms remembers.

For some reason people always assume the backups are better, and the coaches aren't playing them for some reason. The coaches are the only ones that get to see those backups play, so I'm going to trust their opinion. I want younger guys to push out the starters, because they should be developing quicker and have a higher ceiling, but I also trust the opinions of the coaching staff that they weren't ready yet for ND/WMU.

I don't think the coaches are saying "Hey JBB, you've been here for 5 years, and even though you were suspended for the bowl game, we feel like we owe you the starting position."


September 12th, 2018 at 6:13 PM ^

Strongly agree. A game like this is a good chance to work on things like pass pro. That they were unwilling to do so is a very bad sign. Yeah, I know you want to be cautious--the only way the day is bad is if a guy is hurt or you make a bunch of big mistakes--but by the second quarter the game was in hand and they seem basically unwilling to call straight dropbacks.

And straight dropbacks are how you're really going to maximize the receiving talent this team has. 



September 12th, 2018 at 11:21 PM ^

What would be the point if we know Runyan and JBB are permanently lacking in that area? If Mayfield and Hudson are playing I get it.  They need reps and can improve.  Messing around in this game with the vets would just be putting Shea at risk for no reason.  And he is the most important player on this team.


September 12th, 2018 at 10:11 PM ^

The funny thing to me is that I think the waggles and roll outs with PA actually exposed Shea to more pressure.  Let him face the defense in the gun so he can see the pressure coming.  I hate plays where the QB turns his back to the LOS, and yes I know that plays off the under center run blocking, but WMU was blitzing with no regard all day.

Watching From Afar

September 13th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

The roll outs to Shea's left side are going to get him killed if OSU/Wisconsin/MSU/PSU either send a LB from the backside or the DEs don't chase the PA. Almost happened against WMU but the LB (I think) followed the PA just a second too long. Had he not, Shea would have turned right into his face and gotten destroyed.


September 12th, 2018 at 6:16 PM ^

That pull failure by Shea is unfortunate, but Higdon was able to make a plus play out of that thanks to the good block and his own fire into the hole. 

If you watch, Michigan is running bubble screen action out to the left and the defenders are all crashing hard--there's no way we aren't going to see Michigan exploit this later on if teams like Wisconsin or MSU are charging in this aggressively. Good chance that a team like that will play the run more cautiously, actually, which will open up space for the run action. It's a nice play. 

Michigan seems really committed to running from the spread looks. They're even doing it reasonably well. I'm pleased to see it. 


September 12th, 2018 at 6:49 PM ^

Seems like we over-recruit RBs..... and then have guys like Wilson who are very serviceable.. he has passed Samuels, Taylor, Turner,  and we have more RBs coming in in Charbonnet and Gray, along with Haskins....   

Wish we would over-recruit proper body type OTs


September 12th, 2018 at 8:33 PM ^

Appreciate the way you creat a unique story for each game while still providing in depth content. Well done. 

Do Team like MSU, PSU and WIsco have the outside speed to nagate the rollout? 


September 12th, 2018 at 8:46 PM ^

I agree with the critique of the play-calling after things were well in hand. Michigan should have worked in more straight drops just to see how they handled it. I was happy with the game, but it’s nit unfair to wonder why they were so reluctant to work on pass pro in this game. I mean, in less ita so bad that they were worried shea would get hurt. In which case, yikes and another vote for New tackles 


September 13th, 2018 at 7:00 AM ^

Muhammad, Schoonmaker, Turner, Milton, and Hayes not getting in strongly implies redshirts are coming for them.

Those damn Brits!  Bully on Harbaugh for protecting these boys from the scourge of the Crown!