Upon Further Review: Defense vs Bowling Green 2010 Comment Count

Brian September 30th, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Formation notes: A couple new formations. One was a 3-2-6 dime package on which Banks and Ezeh were pulled for Avery and Talbott:

3-2-6 dime

Roh moves down to DE and Leach was usually in for Gordon for whatever reason. Sometimes this was a 4-1-6 with Mouton at DE, sometimes a 3-2-6 with Mouton a linebacker. Floyd would drop back to play safety when they went to this. The other was a nickel package where Avery would replace Gordon. This aligned just like Michigan's usual defense.

Substitution notes: plentiful. The usual rotation on the DL. Cullen Christian got a couple drives in place of Rogers (he struggled). Leach played a lot in place of Gordon; Fitzgerald and Demens saw some time at linebacker but less than I expected and neither did much of anything.

Charting note: I've changed up the points distribution to be more generous to CBs who make a play. Usually a zero-yard run will be +2 or +3 to the defense. When a CB breaks up a pass that's a zero yard play I've been giving a +1 to; I'm bumping that to at least +2 unless it's clear the offense is more responsible for the incompletion than the D.


Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Shotgun trips Base 4-3 Pass NA PA out T. Gordon Inc
Michigan sucks up on fake and Pankratz has two receivers running wide open (cover -2) as Mouton(-1) doesn't get anything resembling a zone drop. Could this be man to man? I don't know; Rogers is looking at the QB but hops up on the curl, leaving T. Gordon chasing a WR on an out that he lined up inside of. His guy is open but he really had no chance to cover this. I'm not sure which guys to individually minus since the coverage doesn't make sense to me. (RPS -1.) Oh, right: Pankratz chucks it wide.
O28 2 10 Shotgun heavy something Base 4-4 Run ? Dive Martin 1
BGSU deploys two H-backs directly in front of their tailback and goes right up the middle. Martin(+1) engages his blocker and then discards him behind, popping up in the hole the H-backs are hitting. He does this despite being lined up outside of the C. He takes out a second blocker. T. Gordon(+0.5) is rolled up to the line and is now free; he forms up to tackle with help from Kovacs(+0.5), who was free on a backside blitz and leaps on the RB's back after making sure the handoff was actually made.
O29 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 3 Dumpoff Van Bergen 4
DL: Roh, Martin, RVB. LB: Mouton, Leach. Normal DBs plus Avery and Talbott. This is kind of rushing two since Martin just sits at the LOS after taking two blockers. Screen coverage? M covers the first read(+1) and then RVB(+0.5) gets upfield and harasses the QB into moving. Martin starts charging the QB down as he rolls, forcing a dumpoff as downfield options are covered(+1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Mouton 3
Martin(+0.5) plowing through blocks to force a throw here; Kovacs(+0.5) covered the flat route, so the QB throws a hitch that Mouton(+0.5) was in position on, tacking immediately (cover +1)
O33 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass 3 Flanker screen T. Gordon 6
Major overload with a TE covered up and a WR in motion so everyone is to the right side of the field. They throw a screen out there. T. Gordon(-1) and Rogers(-1) are both cut to the ground but good flow from Mouton(+0.5) and Ezeh(+0.5) runs the play down before the WR can test Cam.
O39 3 1 Wildcat 3-3-5 stack Run ? QB lead draw Banks 4
Think the RB takes a bizarre cut here since it looks like the play design has the first easily. Banks(-1) was blown way out of the hole and Mouton(-0.5) took a weird angle right into Kovacs, giving BGSU a lot of space and blockers for everyone left over. So of course the RB cuts back behind everything, getting tackled by unblocked guys on the backside including Banks, who got really, really blocked. M fortunate to not give up more here.
O43 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Sack Mouton -10
WRs to the paired side are stacked, and Rogers(-1) starts covering the same guy Gordon is(cover -1), so this post should be open. Qb decides not to throw it, though, and rolls right into a very blocked Mouton(+1.5), who to his credit does get off that block, close the space quickly, and tackle for a sack. Maybe Cam had this covered but I couldn't see it; I really doubt it. Think M got lucky with the n00b QB here.
O33 2 20 Shotgun 2TE Nickel 4-3 Pass 4 Slant Avery Inc
Avery in for T. Gordon. TE motions well outside to be a flanker. Avery(+2) is in man on a receiver and looks like he's biting outside as the WR takes a step out then slants; Avery recovers to get a hand in and break the pass up (cover +2).
O33 3 20 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 3 Throwaway Roh Inc
No one open(cover +1) as M drops everyone deep; Roh(+1, pressure +1) comes around the corner and his held, drawing a flag. QB scrambles out and chucks it away.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Ace twins 3-3-5 stack Run ? Inside zone Martin 1 (pen -10)
Demens in for Ezeh on this drive. Martin(+1) again through the line before anyone can think of blocking him; Banks(-1) single blocked and easily sealed on the edge. Martin makes that irrelevant; Mouton(+1) gets into the lead-blocking TE at the line and erases any creases, forcing a bounce outside that Floyd(+1) has covered; he's held, giving the RB the corner, except for Kovacs(+1) roaring downhill and tackling at the LOS.
O25 1 20 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out Mouton Inc
No pressure(-1) but no one open (cover +1) and the BG QB airmails a checkdown (cover +1) that wasn't going anywhere.
O25 2 20 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Floyd Inc
No pressure(-1) again; this time a 10-yard hitch is blanketed by Floyd(+2, cover +2) and broken up.
O25 3 20 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 3 Dumpoff ? 15
Again little pressure but Roh(+0.5) does come through quickly enough on a three man rush to prevent a minus; this forces a dumpoff(cover +1) in front of the coverage that Talbott and Mouton run down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 3 min 1st Q. On the next drive lots of backups. Patterson, Black, and Sagesse are the DL for most of this drive, with Demens and Leach playing LB and Christian coming in for Rogers.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Base 4-3 Run ? Inside zone Kovacs 2
Three guys block Patterson so Kovacs(+1) can come in and thump the ballcarrier (tackling +1) without anyone bothering him.
O38 2 8 I-form big 3-3-5 stack Run ? Counter Patterson 4
It's hard to tell how the linebackers actually did on this play because Patterson(-1) is ejected from the center of the defense like he's Kovacs and Sagesse(-1) doesn't read the pull. He goes down to cut the lead blocker and create a pile but starts moving upfield and gets pancaked. So Mouton and Demens have blockers all over them and can't possibly shut down all the space. Both get blocked and Mouton gets pancaked, though, so -1 for Mouton; Roh fought through blockers to slow the tailback a little bit but it's an authoritative fill from Cam Gordon(+1.5, tackling +1) that holds this down when it could have been ugly.
O42 3 4 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Out Kovacs 5
WR motions from trips side to create a 2x2 formation with two guys stacked, and then runs a pretty blatant pick on both M defenders, opening up an out. Kovacs(+0.5) is still right there to tackle, but just beyond the sticks. Blitz did not get there(pressure -1).
O47 1 10 Ace twins Base 4-3 Run   PA draw Sagesse 7
Screen fake to draw. DL slanting, getting Patterson(+1) in and disrupting anything up the middle. Problem on the backside is Sagesse(-2) getting way too far down the line and opening up a cutback lane. Mouton reacts and attempts to tackle but gets hit by a G peeling off Sagesse and has his tackle run through. I will -0.5 him but this is tough (tackling -1). Demens runs the guy down.
M46 2 3 Ace Base 4-3 Pass 4 Corner Christian Inc
Starting DL back. BG goes play action and finds a wide open receiver on a corner route because Christian(-2, cover -2) completely whiffed a chuck and got beat by yards. QB throws it long. Decent pressure and coverage everywhere else; coverage from Christian might force a sack.
M46 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Dime Pass 6 Slant Kovacs 20
This one is on Kovacs, who is in man on the second stacked receiver and gets smoked(-2, cover -2) to the inside so badly he can't even make a tackle on the catch. Mouton(+1) was flying over a cut block from an RB on the blitz(pressure +1) and hit the QB; an instant more coverage and this is end of drive. RPS -2 for getting Kovacs in single coverage for 20 yards.
M26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Martin 2
Christian exits for Rogers. Martin(+1) absorbs a double team without giving any ground, allowing Mouton(+1) to attack unmolested and tackle.
M24 2 8 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Rollout hitch ? 6
Ezeh back. Roh running out on the edge but the little hitch here is wide open; not sure why but it just looks like this is a hole in a cover three. (cover -1). BWS disagrees.
M18 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Post Fitzgerald 17
Ezeh gets sucked up to a little drag route which is understandable, but Fitzgerald(-1) doesn't get any depth on his drop despite not having anyone in front of him and C. Gordon(-1) reacts late and there's a monster hole in the zone that's easy to hit for first and goal. (Cover –2.)
M1 1 G Goal line Goal line Run   Power off tackle Van Bergen -2
Campbell(+1) drives his man backward, gets lower than him, and falls in the backfield. Van Bergen(+2) does the same, stalling the RB and allowing Demens to run downhill at him for the stop.
M3 2 G Wildcat 3-3-5 stack Penalty   False start ? -5
M8 2 G Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Scramble Van Bergen 7
House sent and gets there (pressure +2), with Leach(+1) immediately in the QB's feet after getting cut, forcing a scramble from a not-mobile QB that RVB(-2) badly overruns, turning a sack into a scramble down to the goal line.
M1 3 G I-form big Goal line Penalty   Offside Martin 0.5
Oh well.
M1 3 G Wildcat trips Goal line Run   QB draw Banks 0
QB motions out, no one covers him, it's a wildcat formation. Banks(+1) shoots past blockers into the center of the defense, eating blockers and creating a pile; Ezeh(+1) cleans up.
M1 4 G Wildcat trips Goal line Run   QB draw Campbell 1
Just a wad of bodies I can't make much out of; Campbell was right there but the guy managed to slam it up into his OL and fall forward into a massive pile of bodies that no one has a good view of. The refs eventually signal TD, but it's not like they have any idea.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Tunnel screen C. Gordon 71
The big bad thing from the day. I'm not actually that mad because this is kind of a freak thing. T. Gordon takes a good angle to the ballcarrier only to see the guy bang into one of his own OL and sort of get tossed upfield, which Gordon was not expecting; he ends up whiffing an attempted ankle tackle. I will give him a -1 here, but only 1 (tackling -1 as well). So now he's on a totally different vector than would otherwise be possible and there' no contain because Rogers is held and can't get outside and force it back into Cam Gordon. Cam gets a -2 for fighting to the ball too much when he had the other Gordon, Kovacs, Ezeh, and a billion other guys; he should never have been that eager to close down the space he tried to. So that's it. -3. The other -3 you can tack on the refs who missed the Rogers hold. I mean, the WR grabs the back of Rogers's jersey and pulls him four or five yards infield.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-14, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Mouton 0
Very slow developing. M only rushes three but Mouton is the only player in the area with Ezeh and the safeties very slow to read the play. Mouton(+2) evades a blocker and tackles the RB just as he catches the ball for nothing. Timing seemed off for BG so this is  only +2 because part of the screwup is on the QB.
O20 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Pass 5 Out Floyd 4
Avery in. M sends five and doesn't quite get there but does force a throw; this out is open just in front of Floyd(+0.5). He's there to tackle, which is good enough on a four-yard pass on second and ten.
O24 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Sack Van Bergen -7
The four man line with Mouton down. Martin and RVB stunt, with Martin(+1.5) driving the center back and threatening to sack as RVB(+1.5) comes around in the lane he's moving into to tackle(+1) for a big loss (pressure +2). Martin also draws a holding call.
Drive Notes: Safety (on terrible snap), 23-14, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 Ace Base 4-3 Run   Power off tackle Ezeh -2
This is completely obliterated by everyone, with about four M players in the backfield. Ezeh(+2) saw a gap and attacked it, blasting a pulling guard two yards in the backfield and slowing the RB, at which point he's dead meat. Banks(+1) was just behind cutting off any lanes to the back and Leach(+1) beat a tight end, almost getting held; those two combine to finish the TFL.
O8 2 8 Shotgun empty Nickel 4-3 Pass 3 Tunnel screen Kovacs 24
Guh, Ezeh(-1) gives it right back by dropping out of a threatened blitz into a short zone and then running well upfield and out of the play when he reads screen. There is room as a result. Floyd(+0.5) does a good job of forcing a cutback inside, but Kovacs(-2) doesn't have faith his CB will do this and ends up overrunning the play in an embarrassing fashion. (Tackling –2.)
O32 1 10 Ace Base 4-3 Pass 4 Waggle deep out Mouton Int
Mouton(+3) bites on the play action a bit but then gets a great, great drop, going from two steps towards the LOS to 12 yards deep before the route can develop. By the time the QB throws it's right to him. +0.5 to Martin for getting in on the QB and possibly forcing a bad throw. (Cover +2.)
Drive Notes: Interception, 37-14, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   TGDCD Mouton 16
Ezeh starts charging upfield to contain what looks like a rollout and Mouton(-1) sucks out of position to the frontside of the play; Martin(-1) is also handled and gives up a gap to the outside when Mouton may have had a chance if it was forced inside. This always works, I want us to run it so bad.
O47 1 10 Ace Base 4-3 Run   Quick pitch Black? 8
Floyd(+0.5) cuts off the outside well and Banks(+0.5) reads the play quickly enough to seemingly close down the hole; Geter pauses, then stumbles, then cuts back across the field—and I'm not sure who to blame. Roh(-1) definitely eased up when he thought the play was going away from him and I think Black(-1) took an angle too far downfield instead of a proper cutback pursuit one. But I'm really just guessing here. Gordon and Christian converge after a nice gain.
M45 2 2 Shotgun twins 2TE Base 4-3 Pass 4 Rollout scramble ? 5
Excellent coverage(+2) from Christian and Gordon(+1 each) forces the QB to pull it down; Black(-2) again gets out of his lane fruitlessly, giving the QB an alley when he was about to be sacked. He scrambles for the first.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Sack Banks -5
A quick look to one side is a feint and QB comes to the bottom of the screen where Mouton(+1, cover +1) has the first read covered, which gives the rush time to get home; Banks(+1) fights through a blocker and reaches out to grab the QB as the pocket collapses and Leach(+1) blitzed from the outside, coming around to finish the tackle.
M45 2 15 Ace Base 4-3 Pass 5 Waggle deep out Christian 12
Roh(+1) quick out to the edge, cutting the QB off and forcing a throw that's short and lofted (pressure +1), but Christian(-1, cover -1) is easily beaten in man coverage and should give up the first down. The BG player drops the ball, boots it skyward, and sees one of his teammates come down with it.
M32 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 4-1-6 dime Pass 6 Slant Floyd 11
Blitz picked up (pressure -2) and Floyd(-1, cover -1) gets beaten on a slant for the first.
M21 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass NA Flanker screen Leach 20
Michigan is misaligned with no one shifted to the trips side. Given earlier formations this is on Leach(-1), who compounds his error by getting cut(-1) to the ground; Cam Gordon(-0.5) has to take on a blocker and attempt to make a diving tackle off of it and can't, allowing the WR to get down to the one. (RPS –2.)
M1 1 G I-form big Goal line Run   Iso Campbell 0
Campbell(+1) runs over his guy, essentially pancaking the OL(!) and ending up two yards in the backfield, forcing a cutback since Martin(+0.5) and Banks(+0.5) clogged the middle; Mouton(+0.5) fills unblocked and tackles with help.
M1 2 G I-form big Goal line Pass NA Fade Floyd Inc
Overthrown; Floyd doing okay enough I guess.
M1 3 G I-form big Goal line Pass NA      
RVB(+1) is lurking on the edge of the line and shoots out on the QB when he sees the roll, forcing a quick pass that ends up being inaccurate. It would have had to be just right with C. Gordon(+0.5) sitting there in proximity to the target. (Pressure +1, RPS +1)
M1 4 G Wildcat twin TE Goal line Run   Power off tackle ?- 1
Michigan totally stuffs this, with RVB(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) driving blockers backwards and Mouton(-1) giving the thump that ends his forward momentum but not wrapping up. RB bounces backwards, rolls out, cuts inside of a block, and scores. C'est la vie.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-21, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass NA Rollout out T. Gordon 5
Starters still out there; weird. M not fooled by the PA and has good coverage on both these receivers from T. Gordon(+0.5) and Roh(+0.5, cover +1), who converge to tackle the receiver immediately.
O40 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Mouton 4
Mouton(+1) hops in the hole before any one can peel off on him, which is good because he ends up cutting off the hole and drawing two blockers as Ezeh(-1) was dropping into coverage without so much as reading a key. RB cuts back where Kovacs(+0.5) fills quickly, causing the RB to delay and allowing Banks(+0.5) to come off a blocker and help tackle.
O44 3 1 Ace twins Base 4-3 Run   Power off tackle Ezeh -2
QB stumbles and this throws off the RB but this was dead anyway with T. Gordon(+1) setting up his blocker with the right shoulder and Ezeh(+1) clubbing the pulling guard in the hole, leaving nowhere to go; Banks(+1) takes the opportunity from the stumble and the jammed up front to tackle(+1) in the backfield.
Drive Notes: Punt, 51-21, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 TE out Moundros 6
Scroobs finally come in with the score 58-21. At this point I'm just looking for individual performances and will discontinue metrics. Here pressure is poor but coverage is right there to tackle on the catch, with Moundros(+0.5) there. Campbell is not exactly Martin when it comes to pass rush. He just kind of sits at the line.
O33 2 4 Shotgun 2TE twins Base 4-3 Pass 6 Batted Campbell Inc
Rush is picked up as BG leaves a couple extra guys in to block. Campbell(+1) gets a hand up to bat the ball down.
O33 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Out Avery Inc
Moundros(+1) does bash the tailback and get to the QB but Avery(-1) has been beaten in coverage and this should be a first down. Pass is too far upfield and bobbled, allowing Avery time to close and break it up. This bobble was super-slow-mo extended, which is why no plus.
Drive Notes: Punt, 58-21, 6 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Demens 0
I'd love it if Demens did something awesome here but no one even thinks about coming out to block him so it's pretty easy for him to step up and tackle. +1 for the hell of it, and +0.5 for Black, who came around a tackle and helped.
O31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Out Anderson 6
Good coverage, quick tackle.
O37 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   Out Moundros 13
Moundros is actually in pretty good coverage here for an out ten yards downfield but the throw is low and to the outside where he can't do anything about it. Campbell did beat a blocker and then sort of lumber in at the QB.
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel 4-3 Run   Inside zone Campbell 7
Campbell(-1) sealed as two guys release downfield into Demens, so he can't do anything about it; Marvin Robinson comes up to make a good open field tackle.
M43 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Robinson 5
Moundros(+1) shoots upfield into a blocker as he tries to disengage from Campbell and delays the RB, allowing Robinson to come up and tackle, but the RB pops off and manages to drag Robinson forward past the sticks.
M38 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA post Vinopal Int
Play action leaves seven blockers against three rushers so the QB has all day; he fires a post that Vinopal(+3) steps in front of and intercepts, immediately sending everyone back to videos of Michigan safeties of the last 20 years to find out the last time that happened. Vinopal fumbles, of course, but whatever.
Drive Notes: Interception, 65-21, EOG. There is one more play but I can't believe I stuck around this long.

I'm so confused. Was that good or not?

I kind of think it was, though extreme caution should be read into that given the epic suck of the backup BG QB. I saw a number of missed opportunities that I duly minused; there were probably a half-dozen more I could not see or did not notice. Here's one; watch the two receivers at the top of the screen…

…and also the guy on the drag there. Problems: we haz them.

Even so, BG tailbacks combined for 21 carries and averaged 2.8 YPC on them. Part of that was their inability to slam it into the endzone from the one, but stopping tailbacks for no gain or a loss five times on the goal line is a good thing.

Meanwhile, Spankratz had one screen pass for 71 yards and 27 other attempts on which he netted 5.9 YPA. That screen should have been about 20 yards, IME, as on replay the holding committed against Rogers is both flagrant and the main reason the play broke very long instead of sort of long:

Also the pinball game with the OL was a fortunate thing. Cam Gordon did screw up by fighting inside and not having faith that his teammates would deal, and then was outrun to the endzone, and these things add to the Hill of Cam Gordon Worry founded in the Notre Dame game.

That isn't exactly reassuring.

No, but at least this year our safeties are getting outrun by an actual wide receiver instead of a thumping Indiana tailback. So far. Still, the—


--is decent. Also chart.


Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 5.5 2 3.5 Decent impact in little opportunity.
Martin 7 1 6 Quick passing offenses reduce DL impact; still did well when called upon.
Banks 5.5 2 3.5 Totally adequate.
Sagesse - 3 -3 Seems I was wrong about him.
Patterson 1 1 0 Occasionally blasted to moon.
Black 0.5 3 -2.5 Got out of rush lanes a couple times.
Campbell 3.5 1 2.5 Impact in short yardage.
TOTAL 23 13 10 Three step drop city.
Player + - T Notes
Mouton 13 5 8 Sacks, TFLs, INTs.
Roh 4.5 1 3.5 Impact waning?
Johnson - - - DNP.
T. Gordon 1.5 2 -0.5 Banks at linebacker, except a freshman.
Leach 3 2 1 Bounceback.
Moundros 1.5 - 1.5 Only played in garbage time.
Demens 1 - 1 And that +1 is generous.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald - 1 -1 Eh.
TOTAL 29 13 16 Much, much better.
Player + - T Notes
Floyd 4.5 1 3.5 Been solid except for run support issues vs UMass.
Rogers - 2 -2 Eh, fine.
Kovacs 4 4 0 Burned in man coverage a couple times.
C. Gordon 3 3.5 -0.5 I feel like these numbers do not give him enough credit for not screwing up on run angles.
Talbott - - - Did play, did not register good or bad, which is probably good.
Christian 1 3 -2 Seems like the other two are ahead.
M. Robinson - - - Scant time.
Ray Vinopal 3 - 3 Go, Spinal Tap Drummer. Go.
TOTAL 15.5 13.5 2 Did what they should against a team like BG.
Pressure 9 5 4 Revenge of the three man rush.
Coverage 18 12 6 Could be an artifact of confused QB.
Tackling 4 4 0 Okay.
RPS - 5 -5 One misalignment, no free rushers.

[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

Looks about right to me. The line didn't have much impact except when good coverage downfield allowed them to get to the QB or it was time to man up around the goal line. The linebackers made few errors, though part of that is no doubt BG's reluctance to test them in coverage with the backup QB. Mouton had an impact day and didn't do much to criticize, nor did Ezeh. And the secondary made about as many plays as they did errors.

I do chalk this up largely to the competition and expect that we'll be looking at some tattered numbers after Chappell gets done with Michigan's back seven.

Did we learn anything about new players?

Despite contrary indicators from the passing skeleton in the pregame, your #3 corner appears to Courtney Avery, a part of both the nickel and dime packages. Avery had an impressive recovery and PBU early:

We still don't know much about him but that's a good start. He seems obviously ahead of Cullen Christian, who did not have much to the good Saturday. Terrence Talbott was not tested.

Campbell was the other guy who leapt out as potentially useful. Though his strategy in the pass rush is "sit at the line of scrimmage and maybe raise your arms," he was a major reason that Michigan's goal line defense was so stiff, consistently driving his guy in the backfield and falling over. He's never going to be Mike Martin and has a long way to go if he's even going to be Gabe Watson, but for the first time he looked useful.

What about the so fresh, so clean linebackers?

Yeah… I've heard a lot of people talking up Kenny Demens after the game but I didn't see him do anything of note until the last drive when he was able to stroll into the BG backfield and make a tackle since three Falcon OL decided to block the same guy. It's possible I got 25 and 45 mixed up on a couple plays but since whenever Ezeh did something aggressive and successful I said "is that Ezeh?!" and double-checked, I don't think so. Talking up Demens seems to be a case of hoping something is true instead of thinking it.

And the old hands did have a good day. Mouton got an easy pick on a great pass drop after play action for the second time, and at no point did I get frustrated with Ezeh.

Hey, how about a special teams digression?

Yeah, I never ever cover special teams and so haven't systematically quantified how much additional suck there is this year in the unit. There is lots, obviously, but by virtue of not kicking anything but a point after and deploying that three-man punt return formation Michigan had its best week of the season. We heard all about how Drew Dileo was being recruited mostly as a returner, thus justifying yet another slot receiver, and the early… uh… returns are good. This is slick:

That's a punt a lot of guys would fair catch; Dileo WOOPs two gunners and then a third guy before getting taken down. That's a twelve yard return and potentially a 20- or even 30-yard swing in field position compared to a single returner like Gallon watching that thing bounce. Dileo is not that fast but he's got some skills.

Dileo === PR win.

Suck on that, low-rated-white-guy-offer complainers!

Yeah! And we totally weren't those guys. As long as we're on the topic of low rated white guys who the internet wasn't happy to see commit, how about Ray Vinopal?

Enormous disclaimers apply since by that point BG was down to their third-string walk-on but damn if that isn't the best play I've seen a Michigan safety make in a long time. This caused everyone to get way ahead of themselves about moving Gordon to bandit or linebacker in 2011; while I'm still keeping my hopes for an anonymous two-star in check that was about as good a start as you could hope for minus getting clocked and fumbling.

Maybe these guys really do have a knack for unearthing uncut gems.


Jonas Mouton was the most productive Wolverine on the day, notching a sack, an interception, and failing to notch any Mouton brain meltdowns.


No one stands out as a huge problem. The backups on the DL made some crappy plays, but that's to be expected, and some of the freshmen in the secondary had issues. Those guys aren't likely to play unless injury strikes, however. If I had to pick someone it would be Cam Gordon, who was one of three reasons Bowling Green hit the big play. That's weak, though, on a day when you hold the opponent under 300 total yards.

What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?

Not much, I'm afraid. Spankratz (in his first start, no less) is likely to be by far the worst quarterback on the schedule at year's end. Even second stringers or freshmen like Nathan ReallyDutchLastName at Illinois or Robert "Rob" Henry at Purdue will have way more experience when Michigan rolls into town, and there's no comparison between that guy and Indiana's Ben Chappell, who was genuinely impressive against Western Kentucky even when you take the opponent into account.

At least Michigan seems comfortable enough with the freshmen corners that they can throw them out there on passing downs—which will be most of them against IU—and get guys like Banks and Ezeh off the field. Avery showed well and the rest of the secondary kept it safe. I can see Michigan trying to get to Chappell with a four-man rush of Roh, RVB, Martin, and Mouton all day, content to take their chances when IU runs and bleed yardage until Michigan gets a sack or a couple incompletions, and I can see this working somewhat frequently. This year's IU team is far less of a threat on the ground than last year's, which still wasn't much of a threat.

UMass will probably be Michigan's worst defensive performance of the year; if the linebackers just play it safe and Michigan makes Indiana kick some field goals—probable once the field compresses and IU's total inability to run block comes to the fore—Denard and company should get a comfortable distance by game's end.

As far as beyond… not much. Indiana will give us way more information.

As a side note, I'm happy that the staff put in two new packages (the dime and the punt return) this week that are creative ways to address deficiencies. Minus punt fumbles, special teams has been a strength at Michigan under RR; moving towards a rugby-aware punt return system is another way in which Michigan's current coaching staff displays their willingness to adapt on a year-to-year basis. (The most powerful example this year is the near-shelving of the zone stretch in favor of QB lead draws and a lot of inside zone).



September 30th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

Good job, Brian, as always.  I would suggest that someone create a letter grade system for UFR by position given that a +4 from a linebacker is much different than a +4 from a defensive back.  Perhaps, someone could analyze past grades and come up with the appropriate curve for each position?

Example J.T. Floyd's +3.5 is much more impressive than Banks/Van Bergen's +3.5.

Potentially, Floyd would receive an A/A-, while Banks/Van Bergen would receive a B.

Blue in sec country

September 30th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

Just from how I view it compare the number of -/+ and you can see if they played well. If Floyd would have had +12 and -8.5 then I wouldn't count that as an A, but if he had +3.5 and -0 then that would probably get an A. So base the grade on the number of negative plays no the overall.

Sextus Empiricus

September 30th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

I am firmly in the get ahead of myself crowd.  Glad to see this showing in Brian's take.  More Ray please...

Dileo gets my applause too for that matter.  Campbell!  Let see him do that vs. Indiana (when the score gets comfy.)

I can't wait to have Herron back to put Roh in position to put Chappell on his hindquarters.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

I have noticed that almost every time Big Will is in there he manages to knock down a pass or two. Is this because he's not very aggressive in trying to rush to the QB and stays back and visualizes or is he just blindly lucky? Might be worth putting him in on obvious passing third downs of the 6-12 yard variety where short passes are usually the norm. Obvioulsy he's not Taco pants of the defense who is going to knock down longer throws but he manages to get a hand on those hitches quite often.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

" Is this because he's not very aggressive in trying to rush to the QB and stays back and visualizes or is he just blindly lucky?"

I think he probably doesn't have any pass rush moves...Knocking down passes shows a certain amount of awareness and timing, so I don't think it's just luck. 


September 30th, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

it's because "he's an extremely large individual".

we were in the south side end zone when he came in at the end of the game and he just towered over everyone else. He's quite a bit taller than the other line men, so he might set the bar of the height of the pass higher than what was happening for the rest of hte game.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

Brian, this play seemed very TGDCD-ish to me, at least with the QB-RB exchange. Are the lineman just not blocking the same way other teams do on that counter draw?

EDIT: Awwww, screw you lightbox. Go to 3:15 of the video.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

I think Shaw needed to hit the seam on the right side of the line.   I think we need to roll Denard to the right(more dangerous roll) and then hit it back to the left with Shaw and maybe an H back to clean up any linebackers thinkin they are any good.   


September 30th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Huge fan of Dileo on the punt returns. In the interest of getting it right though, it looks like the WOOPS of the gunners was due more to Gallon (I think?) looking like he was getting ready to field the punt and the gunners focusing on him. That it made it very easy for Dileo to sidestep them and do something useful.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:26 PM ^

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add one, going forward. Over time, it would be useful to see patterns emerge, as has happened with the offensive and defensive UFRs.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:32 PM ^

No, but at least this year our safeties are getting outrun by an actual wide receiver instead of a thumping Indiana tailback.

Let nobody mention the 265 pound tight end.  Shhh.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^

Campbell blew up at least a couple of plays in the OSU game last year.  This isn't the first time that he has done something.  I think that a 4-man line with VB, Martin, Roh and Campbell would be pretty sweet.

Watch how at 1:15 he prison-rapes Ohio State's Brewster (play still went for big yardage because of terrible fill by back seven.  On Ohio State's big runs, they either ran away from him or he wasn't on the field.


I guess I just don't understand the Will Campbell hate. 


September 30th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

On Defense generally speaking the idea is to get past a block and move to the next level to the ball. Campbell often seems to do the opposite, moving a blocker out of space, but then pancaking them as if he were driving forward on an offensive line. Martin, in comparison, pushes through blocks; his threat is in constantly breaking free to the ball.

It's not hate; it's just that he doesn't seem to understand how to be mobile as a defender. Falling down after knocking someone back a few yards or just holding a space is less valuable than it might seem.

Still he's a lot better than last year. He just needs to work on making a move past his blocks. There's no denying his significant physical gifts (sooooo....BIG)

Tha Quiet Storm

September 30th, 2010 at 2:45 PM ^

is that Ray Vinopal's career turns out to be reminiscent of Jim Leonhard (former walk-on at safety for Wisconsin who now plays for the NY Jets).  I know this is an obvious comparison because they are both white (just like the Dileo-Wes Welker thing), but RV seems to be an undersized guy with good athleticism and a good awareness of his spot on the field.  I can defnintely see now why he wasn't redshirted.


September 30th, 2010 at 3:12 PM ^

Not to be a total told you so geek, but there were plenty of folks who supported the Dileo and Vinopal signings as they happened.

The Hello! posts for both will show I said Vinopal comes from a football factory where they eat, drink and sleep the sport and that he'll bring smarts, instincts and hard hitting to the table and that Dileo would have been the best PR on the roster if we could have made him eligible the day he signed in April, 2009.

I guess I'll never understand why all you recruting heads cry to the hills  when good kids with successful high school careers want to play for Michigan just because they're not obvious studs you can brag about to your State friends about or whatever.


September 30th, 2010 at 5:55 PM ^

Vinopal picked off BGSU's backup quarterback late in a blowout game and promptly fumbled the ball because he wasn't aware that there was a WR running right next to him.

He made a nice play to pick off the pass, but it's probably too early for any "I told you so" posts.


September 30th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

Hey Magnus,

I told you Denard would become a good quarterback. I'd dig up the threads, but I'm not that bored tonight.

Hope it isnt too early to mention that.

But, by the by, if its OK for you to think that Mike Cox should get more carries based on garbage time runs against Delaware State and Eastern Michigan, then it certainly isnt too early to say Vinopal can be a factor based on his INT against BG the other day. Cox is in his third year. It'll be interesting to see if Vinopal has had more of an impact by Game 27 of his career.

Anyway, looking forward to your game preview at TTB. I'm using Cox's rushing yards as an O/U in my diary this week. Feel free to throw out a starting point for what number I should use. I'm thinking at least 10 carries.


September 30th, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

It's not too early to say that Vinopal can be a factor.  But is it too early to say "I told you that he would be good"?  Yeah, probably.

It will be interesting to see if Vinopal has more of an impact by Game 27 than Cox . . . and yet, Cox had Minor and Brown ahead of him, as well as guys like Fitzgerald Toussaint, Vincent Smith, and Michael Shaw with whom to compete.

Vinopal is literally the ONLY backup free safety.

Anyway, in Cox's eight carries against FBS opponents, he has 87 yards.  8 carries for 87 yards equals 10.7 yards per carry, so if you think he'll get 10 carries...well...I guess you should expect 107 yards.  :o)


October 1st, 2010 at 8:36 AM ^

Come on, dont put words into my mouth. If you're going to put quotes around something and attribute it, at least make sure they said it.

All I said above on Vinopal was that from the get go I said he would bring smarts, instincts and hard hitting to the tables. All of those have been missing for several seasons from the Michigan secondary. And guess what? In his first real appearance, he flashes two of those qualities on a play that everybody is saying they havent seen a Michigan safety make in years.

And you could at least be more up front about who those carries by Cox came against. I'll repeat, all his carries have come in garbage time runs against BGSU, DSU and EMU. I dont ding him for that, but I hope the MGoCommunity when they read this pick up the needless hypocrisy and sour pussiness out of you for tsk taking me about bringing up Vinopal's play because of who it was against, even though you're doing to exact same thing time and time again when you denigrate Vincent Smith in favor of another player.

The difference is I dont feel I know more than the coaches, unlike you. And, I want all our players to succeed. You seem to want the guys you've predetermined as no good to stay no good. Meaning, I want you to be right about Cox. You would probably prefer I be wrong about guys like Smith, Dileo and Vinopal.

Just an observation. Hopefully I am incorrect, but sometimes your tenor makes me wonder if you really like the direction the team is headed.


October 1st, 2010 at 11:26 AM ^

I wrote a long reply that got erased...

In essence, you're wrong about your assessment of my thoughts/observations.

Vinopal made half a good play (he made the INT and then promptly fumbled because he lacked awareness).  That was in garbage time against BGSU and Cox has played mostly in garbage time, too, but Cox at least has about 15 decent runs to his credit.  There's a mounting pile of evidence in Cox's corner.

I root for the team.  I was wrong about Denard Robinson, and now he's plastered all over my blog.  Because he's actually good.  I would LOVE it if Vincent Smith or Ray Vinopal were good, but Smith ISN'T and the jury is out on Vinopal.

I don't think I know more than the coaches.  I think they're wrong.  You know that feeling, too, I'm sure.  The next time you question a fourth down decision, a personnel decision, handling of a timeout or a challenge, etc., ask yourself: Do I think I know more than the coaches, or do I just think they're wrong?

The answer will likely be "I just think they're wrong"...and that feeling will be exactly how I feel about Smith.