Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian September 30th, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Personnel notes: More of the same. Every DL has a backup who sees considerable time; the back seven does not substitute ever except when it's benching one corner for the other.

I did offer a new thing in the "D form" column, something I'm calling 4-4 under:


Here Michigan's in it's standard undershift but the SLB is Jordan Kovacs and Michigan's aligned three linebackers as you'd see in a normal 4-3.  You could call it a 3-3-5 stack except the LBs aren't stacked (lined up right behind the corresponding DL) and you don't have the right personnel (in a stack Herron would be a safety sort) so it's not. If someone's got better lingo for this let me know and I'll switch.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol Twin TE 4-3 under Pass TE out Roh 7
Back motions out so this is then an empty look. Michigan zone blitzing and dropping Roh off; he takes off after a TE releasing downfield that Mouton is also taking, which leaves the other TE wide open (cover -1). Roh(-1) gets the minus one since it would be strange for his guy to be the inside TE. Cissoko yaps after making a tackle seven yards downfield. WTF, man.
O27 2 3 Ace 4-3 under Run Down G Ezeh 4
Roh(+1) slants inside, knocking his defender back and picking off the pulling guard. Mouton and Ezeh are both unblocked in the hole. Back cuts inside Mouton into Ezeh(-1), who meets the TB at the LOS and ends up making an ankle tackle that gives Indiana a first down. (Tackling –1.)
O31 1 10 Pistol 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Cissoko 6
Open in front of Cissoko (cover -1); Cissoko does an adequate job of escorting him out of bounds.
O37 2 4 Pistol Twin TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Woolfolk 11
Michigan blitzing and though this run appears to be headed to the other side of the line the gaping hole opened up by Brown and Ezeh flying upfield is too tempting and the RB cuts back into a ton of space. I don't know if Brown or Ezeh could have done anything given their assignments; I think Woolfolk(-1) is actually late reacting here as he's charging up to the LOS to provide the contain neither Ezeh or Brown will. He ends up arriving late, missing a tackle(-1) and yielding a bunch more yards. Kovacs does make a good open-field tackle on Willis, but after ten.
O48 1 10 Ace Big Base 3-4 Run Inside Zone Kovacs 0
Kovacs(+1) sent on the outside blitz he'll be sent on lots. He ends up right in the RBs face and tackles; Martin(+1) had also broken through the line and assists. Won't + the tackle because Kovacs gave up three after contact.
O48 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass PA Seam Ezeh 14
Two play action fakes on this as there is an end-around fake followed by a fake to the RB; Ezeh(-1, cover -2) sucks up and opens a crossing route behind him. RVB(+0.5) was getting some delayed pressure(+1); if the receiver here was covered a sack may have ensued. Good tackle(+1) from Woolfolk (+0.5).
M38 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Off tackle Ezeh 6
Backups now in on DL: Heininger and Herron. Indiana running at Michigan's tendency to slant here; Heininger(-0.5) slants inside and gets sealed. Ezeh(-0.5) gets stood up by a tackle, getting bowled over as the RB gets to the line and falling backwards.
M32 2 4 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Mouton 2
Heininger pinches in before the snap and this allows him to get playside of his guy(+1), forcing an important cutback since Sagesse(-0.5) had gotten blown back by a double team. An unblocked Mouton(-1) bizarrely decides that maybe Chappel has the ball just as the RB is cutting back into him and steps away from the tailback; fortunately he falls to the ground. Still picks up two that should be zero.
M30 3 2 Ace 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Graham 0
Graham(+1) and Banks(+1) burst past blockers and two yards into the backfield. Banks removes any possibility for the RB to avoid Graham's tackle.
M30 4 2 Ace Big 4-3 under Pass Flat Brown 4
They run a pick route and get man coverage; the pick delays Brown enough to open up the little flat route for first down yardage. (Cover -1)
M26 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-3 under Run Triple option pitch Kovacs 26

Michigan has no idea what it's doing against this formation, which has three guys lined up tight to the wide side of the field, one of whom is a covered tight end. Cissoko and Kovacs are pointing various places and Cissoko ends up running inside as the play snaps, apparently because he's just found out he's supposed to be in man coverage against the wideout to the near side of the field. He doesn't get there before the snap, ending up marooned midway.

This should actually be an advantage(!) since the WR is coming around on an end-around so he can act as a pitchman for Chappell. Roh comes inside of the dive fake; Mouton(+1) sees that the RB doesn't have the ball and does a good job of getting out on Chappell, forcing a pitch. I don't think that was his responsibility, I think that was just a good play. Kovacs(-2) fails to read this, sets up on the QB, and then fails to have the speed to get out on the corner. Cissoko(-2), meanwhile, has bit on the dive fake(!!!) that is definitely not his responsibility, which means once Kovacs can't get him no one can. Step one towards a benching. Replay.

Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Penalty False Start -- -5
O14 1 15 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Martin 0
Martin(+1) slants into a lineman, driving him back two yards. Graham(+1) does the same, cutting off the outside. And Mouton(+1) cuts through traffic, slicing past a blocker to meet the cutback in the backfield and tackling(+1). This was the kind of stuff Mouton was doing at the end of last year and hasn't been doing so far this year.
O14 2 15 Shotgun empty Base 3-3-5 Pass Hitch Cissoko Inc
Three man rush sees Chappell get plenty of time (pressure -1); he throws a hitch well behind the receiver; Cissoko(+1, cover +1) was in tight coverage and may have had a play even if accurate.
O14 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff Roh 11
Four rushers this time; Roh(+1) gets outside of the Indiana RT and is thrown to the ground, drawing a holding call (pressure +1). Coverage is good(+1) downfield, forcing a checkdown that come up well short of the sticks. Also an offensive PI but it had no effect on the play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-3 under Run Zone counter? Banks -1
Indiana shoots the H-back into the backside like Michigan does but the running back doesn't attack there. Instead he heads to the frontside of the play, where Banks(+1) has knifed through the line, forcing the running back into a slanting Graham(+1) and going nowhere.
M41 2 11 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Penalty Illegal snap -- -5
M46 2 16 Pistol 2TE Base 3-4 Run Inside Zone Brown 0
Graham(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) drive blockers backwards, slanting at angles I'm betting Sharik likes better and forcing a cutback into Brown(+1, tackling +1), who's read the cutback and zipped past a potential blocker to tackle at the LOS.
M46 3 16 Shotgun empty Base 3-3-5 Pass Throwaway Banks Inc
Michigan backs out into a three man rush and Chappell.. rolls out? On third and 15? What? Compounding things: Banks(+1) shot past a blocker thanks to the rollout and pressured(+1) Chappel, causing a throwaway. This looks insane.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko 56
Ugh, max protect sees eight guys stay in to block against a four-man rush, so everyone's doubled and there is no pressure, though it's hard to blame 'em. Cissoko(-4) just gets run right by by an Indiana receiver, giving up a huge play without the guy so much as offering up a head fake. JT Floyd time. (Cover -3).
M11 1 10 Pistol Twins H-Back 4-3 under Run Dive Mouton 11
Weird formation where they use what looks like a WR as a sort of H-back, which has the strange effect of drawing Cissoko in as a sort of extra linebacker since he's in man coverage. Graham(+1) immediately sheds his blocker, however, blowing up the intended play and forcing a cutback. Mouton(-3) is on the backside and totally unblocked. He inexplicably sets up way inside, giving up the corner, and turning a zero-yard play into a touchdown (tackling -2).
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 2 min 1st Q. Mouton's severe regression is the most disturbing development of the season.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Run QB Draw Ezeh 1
Motion out in to an empty set. IU blocks down on Graham and Martin, pulling two OL around that Ezeh(+2) shoots through, avoiding a cut block, staying on his feet, and tackling(+1) for little gain. Brown(+0.5) had cut off the outside, too, and Graham had fought through an initial seal to be useful.
O25 2 9 Pistol Twin TE Base 4-3 Pass Long handoff Floyd 13
Way, way too easy for IU here as Floyd is playing nine yards off the wideout and gets crushed backwards by the wideout, who bowls him over for a whopping eight yards after contact. (Cover -1, tackling -1, Floyd -1).
O38 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Fly Floyd Inc
Stunt gets Graham(+1) in past the interior line; he levels Chappell as he throws. They're going after Floyd(+1, cover +1) on a fly; he's got good coverage and the ball is off target because of the pressure(+1).
O38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Flare Mouton 9
Kovacs is blitzing and does read this. He turns to run, at which point an Indiana OL rolls over the back of his legs. That's a clip, but it's uncalled. Mouton is in man coverage on this but gets clipped by a pick (not an illegal one) from a receiver; IU's exploited man coverage a couple times and is late getting out. (Cover -1) They're in man so Mouton(-1) should be quicker to this.
M47 3 1 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass TE out Ezeh Inc
This is open and Chappell gets it to the receiver in a tight space—impressive timing—but Ezeh(+2) gets there and wrests the ball out. Could have been ruled a fumble, actually, though Michigan was lucky it wasn't: IU recovered. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-14, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd 9
Wide open against a timid corner. (Cover -1, Floyd -1) Floyd not anywhere near this to tackle on the catch.
50 2 1 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Triple option pitch Ezeh 9
Same play as the earlier TD. Kovacs blitzing and takes out the dive fake. Floyd(-1) in man over the WR who will be the pitch man and doesn't go with him. This is basic, right? Then: Ezeh(-1) sucks in on the dive fake and Mouton(-1) does force a pitch but he should be the outside guy given the Kovacs blitz and he again gives up the edge.
M41 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-4-under Run Inside Zone Martin 3
Given the way the blockers on the second level attack the M linebackers I believe this was supposed to go to the other side of the LOS and was forced to a backside cut by Martin(+1). Mouton(+0.5) is unblocked on the backside in a moderately sized hole, which he fills; Graham helps tackle. IU RB did a good job of fighting for some YAC.
M38 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Cross Ezeh 11
Ezeh(-1) sucked too far one way by a crossing route, leaving the other cross wide open. (Cover -1)
M27 1 10 Crazy thing Crazy response Pass Out -- 14
Michigan gets confused by this formation and doesn't understand where the receivers they have to cover are lined up, so they leave a guy wide open and he runs for a bit. I'm not going to chart this because it's a trick play. I do think M should have used a TO.
M13 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Inside Zone Brown 0
Kovacs(+1) on the backside blitz. He times it well and gets an arm around the ankle of the tailback. Meanwhile, Brown(+1) sidesteps the H-back's attempted block and zips into the hole he came from, arriving to finish the job. (Tackling +1)
M13 2 10 Pistol Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Pass Flat Herron 5
Motion to empty. This seems like the exact same issue Michigan had on the first play of the game: the deathbacker drops off into coverage on the tight end on the line, leaving no one to cover the H-back in the flat. (Cover -1) Does this coverage make sense?
M8 3 5 Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Flat Herron 0
Kovacs rolls up to the LOS and Brown used as a nickelback. Ezeh(+1) times a blitz well and apparently did not tip it because Indiana's pickup is confused, leaving Herron a virtually free shot at Chappell. (Pressure +1) Chappell just gets rid of it high; his receiver brings it in but falls as he was doing so. Michigan had this snuffed out anyway because of the disrupted timing. Oh, hell. +0.5 to Floyd.
Drive Notes: Field Goal(24), 14-17, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd 26
Much chaos and confusion in the D on this one, with people pointing and stuff as the ball is snapped. Hate the pointing. Slide protection picks up what looks like a stunt and gives Chappell a ton of time (pressure -1) to find a deep hitch that's open(cover -1) and Floyd(-1) overplays, unsuccessfully diving past the ball and turning 12 yards into 26. He did get a hand on it and could have had a PBU with some better luck, and I feel bad for giving him a minus when he actually made a sort of good play, but results-based charting.
M3 1 G Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Pass Rollout scramble Mouton 0
Not actually Chappell, but WR Mitchell Evans, the wildcat QB. I actually think Mouton again got suckered and left the TE open on this for a potential touchdown but Evans disagrees, probably because he's a WR, pulling the ball down. When he does that Mouton reacts immediately and attacks him, preventing him from running it in. Dodgy on the coverage but the reaction to Evans bringing it down was good. +1. And a tenuous cover +1.
M3 2 G Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Pass Out Floyd Inc
Graham discards a blocker after a brief delay and is coming in on Chappell, forcing a throw. Not a + pressure but avoids a minus. Receiver is open for a probable TD on Floyd (cover -1); throw is high and hard and deflected OOB by the receiver.
M3 3 G Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Hitch Brown Inc
Crazy zone blitz gets Mouton(+1) in (pressure +1), forcing an immediate throw to a guy in between Van Bergen(+0.5) and Brown(+1) in a short zone. Three players come together and Brown rakes the ball out. Diving stab by an Indiana receiver on the deflection is for naught. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Field Goal(20), 14-20, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O42 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren Inc
Warren in good, not great position, on a play that will become important later. Chapel throws it behind his receiver.
O42 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Bubble screen -- Inc
Trying to exploit Michigan's tendency to not directly cover the slot, but here Brown backs out and probably has a good chance of holding this to a few yards. Throw is low and dropped anyway.
O42 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Flare screen Mouton 3
Our rock their scissors as Michigan overloads one side of the line on a zone blitz. This means Mouton and RVB back out into short zones on the other side of the field and are excellently positioned to snuff this out after a few yards. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-20, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Floyd 14 (Pen -10)
Floyd(-1) playing way, way off (cover -1) and this is wide open, which ruins a protection screwup on IU's part that gets Herron in unblocked (pressure +1). Graham(+1) is basically tackled by the LT, drawing a holding call.
M31 1 20 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd Inc
Wow, Indiana slides protection and ends up with a RB one-on-one with Graham; this goes about as well as you'd expect but Chappell is chucking a short hitch anyway that Floyd is is good-not-great position on (cover +1, +0.5). Irrelevant since it's airmailed.
M31 2 20 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run Draw Brown 1
Linebackers dropping into zones and there's no one coming out to block them so it's a simple matter for them to contain it; Brown(+0.5) makes a good tackle(+1) to finish the play.
M30 3 19 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass Slant Brown 14
Michigan sends a zone blitz, sending all three linebackers and dropping the DEs into short zones. This gets Mouton(+1) through unblocked (pressure +1), but the coverage behind it is faulty with Brown(-1) getting lost to the outside of a guy he appears to be in man in (cover -1), which opens up a bunch of space that allows Indiana dangerously close to the first down before Floyd(+1) makes an authoritative tackle(+1). Minuses on a third down stop because this greatly improves IU's FG chances.
Drive Notes: Field Goal(30), 21-23, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O2 1 10 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Graham 1
Oooh, Graham(+1) knifes past the RT and almost has an angle to crush this for a safety, but the back manages to cut just past him. The disruption causes him to fall for little gain; Ezeh was there unblocked to provide some variety of resistance if he didn't fall.
O3 2 9 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Martin 3
Why are they running at Martin(+0.5) and Graham(+0.5)? Both stand up their blockers, with Martin delaying the second level block of the RG; the RB has a tiny crease to slam up into, where he's surrounded by those two and Ezeh. The pile lurches a couple yards.
O6 3 6 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Rollout sack Brown -1
Chappell gets outside the pocket on a designed roll (pressure -1) and has time to survey but can't find anyone for a long time (cover +2). Running out of time, he tries to cut it up and in swarmed under, with Brown the primary tackler(+1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-23, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O13 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run Dive Roh 4
Roh zips into the backfield after what looks like a bust by Indiana, but can't tackle(-1) for loss. He does force the tailback to cut into the backside, away from the blocking on the play, and this allows Ezeh(+0.5) to avoid any potential blockers, read the cutback, change direction, and tackle.
O17 2 6 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Corner Graham Inc
Again Indiana is sliding the protection to leave an RB on Graham. Graham(+0.5) is delayed but not taken out by a cut block and Chappell has to throw quicker than he'd like (pressure +1); he airmails a ball to a covered(+1) receiver.
O17 3 6 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass Skinny post Mouton 18
Linebackers back out and it's just a three-man rush. Graham(+1, pressure +1) is actually coming around to hit Chappell as he finds a receiver, who's cut inside of Mouton(-1, cover -2) for a 15-yard gain. This is where not having even one nickelback kills you.
O35 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Pass Fly Floyd Inc (Pen +15)
The preposterous PI call. This ball lands three yards out of bounds and six yards past the receiver; uncatchable as hell. CONSPIRACY. If catchable, a penalty. So: -1, cover -1.
50 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-4 even Pass Hitch Van Bergen Inc
Kovacs sent on a blitz that absorbs the RB, leaving RVB alone in the passing lane uncut; he leaps to bat the ball(+1, pressure +1). Downfield coverage looked decent.
50 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run End-around Warren 7
Wildcat QB. Michigan strings this out pretty well, with Roh(+1) forcing this to go almost to the sideline, but there is zero outside support with Floyd(-1) getting crushed back and Warren(-1) appearing to let up instead of really run the play down, as he was in man coverage on the guy who ended up with the ball.
M43 3 3 Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Circle -- 7
Ugh, they send four and drop into a zone on third and three and manage to not have anyone within five yards of a guy running a little route at the sticks (cover -2).
M36 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Zone counter dive Mouton 4
Wildcat QB. This is a version of Michigan's counterpunch, with zone blocking on the frontside of the play and a pulling H-back coming down to kick out someone on the backside. Heininger(-1) is in for Graham and gets crushed down the line, opening up a lot of space; Kovacs occupies the H-back, leaving Mouton(-1) all alone with a tailback; he misses a tackle(-1). Brown(+1) does a good job of scraping over and standing up the RB in his tracks, holding this down.
M32 2 6 Ace Big 4-3 under Pass PA TE Corner Woolfolk 18
Woolfolk(-1) and Ezeh(-1) both sucked up by the play action, leaving the TE wide open (cover -2). Plenty of time, too. (pressure -1). On replay it's obvious that Indiana had the post for a wide open touchdown.
M14 1 10 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Graham -1
Graham back in; Indiana rushes to the line in an attempt to catch Michigan napping and basically do, but only in the secondary. Graham(+1) and Sagesse(+1) both blow into the backfield, forcing a cutback into nothing.
M15 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Mouton Inc
Michigan sends the house: seven guys without any zone blitz droops. Mouton(+1) in free, gets his hands up and gets in quick enough to hit Chappell as he's attempting to get it away. (Pressure +2)
M15 3 11 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Brown Inc
Zone blitz sees both DTs drop out and Brown(+1) sent from the backside; Brown is in free and Chappell is just trying to get out of the pocket so he can get rid of it. He does. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Field Goal(32), 21-26, 5 min 3rd Q. Nice couple of blitzes drawn up by Robinson to kill the drive; Indiana could have, should have had a touchdown on that PA corner, as both safeties bit like whoah and Floyd had no chance.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Martin 1
Martin(+0.5) drives the opposing center back; Graham(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) also slant into the play. No creases; so a cutback where Mouton(+0.5) and Herron(+0.5) are waiting to tackle(+1) at the LOS.
O25 2 29 Pistol 2TE Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Warren 14
Michigan sends the house, leaving the corners isolated, and Indiana actually goes after Warren. Warren's in decent coverage and has an opportunity to make a tackle after a five yard catch but misses it (-1, tackle -1), giving Indiana another ten yards and a first down.
O39 1 10 Pistol Twins 4-3 under Pass PA Rollout Throwaway -- Inc
Rollout gets Chappel plenty of time (pressure -1), but all his receivers are blanketed (cover +2), with Warren(+1) and Woolfolk(+1) providing the primary cover on the receivers. Chappel chucks it away.
O39 2 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Down G Mouton 24
Indiana line blocks down and pulls two guards around into the weakside of the defense, which is Floyd and Mouton. Yikes. Herron slants himself out of the play, and Mouton(-1) attacks upfield too quickly when he's got unblocked help in the form of Ezeh inside; Mouton should be aiming to get the RB inside of him at all costs but he doesn't, and then Floyd(-0.5) is crushed by an OL but you can't blame him too much for that. Ezeh pursues downfield and has an opportnity to tackle after eight or ten but misses it(-1, tackling -1). Kovacs finally cleans up.
M37 1 10 Ace Big 4-4 under Run Dive Sagesse 5
Simple straight-ahead run at Sagesse(-1), who gets down-blocked and kicked out of the hole by the LG as the RG pulls around. Heininger(-0.5) gets blown off the line by a double. Plowing ahead goes for good yardage.
M32 2 5 Ace Big 4-4 under Pass PA Flat throwaway Warren Inc
I dislike it when Michigan does not make the obvious matchup when Indiana is in their tight formation and leaves Floyd on the WR and Warren on the H-back. But they do; it's man as the H-back pulls across the formation; this time Michigan's linebackers ride the TEs downfield, jamming them all the way and preventing Chappell from hitting them. Both short guys are covered and Chappell just throws it away. (Cover +2, +1 for Mouton, Herron; +0.5 Floyd, Warren).
M32 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass Cross Mouton 6
Indiana running crossing routes underneath; Mouton(-1) goes too far out of his zone getting a bump on a TE and opens it up for the guy dragging the other way across the formation (cover -1); Chappel hits him for a first down.
M26 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Scramble -- 1
Indiana goes max protect and sends two guys on fly routes; Michigan has bracketed both those guys with safeties (cover +1) and there's nowhere to go. Chappell rolls out and then attempts to get what he can; a bunch of guys tackle at the LOS.
M25 2 9 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Off tackle Van Bergen 1
Trying to run at the not-good side of the line; Michigan is slanting that way, though, and RVB(+1) gets playside of his guy, driving him into the backfield and picking off one of the pulling guards. Ezeh takes out the other one and RVB and Herron(+0.5) combine to tackle(+1) for no gain.
M24 3 8 Shotgun Trips Bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass Fly Floyd Inc
Michigan actually makes a late shift to a four man line; Graham is attempting to spin inside his guy, but he's getting doubled; he notices Sagesse's push and runs what looks like an impromptu stunt, shooting up the middle of the pocket and forcing a throw (+1, pressure +1) to a receiver in the endzone. Floyd(+1) is in excellent (coverage +1), forcing his guy to the sidelines. Guy makes the catch but it's well out of bounds, the only place it could be given the defense.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(42), 21-26, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Down G Van Bergen 85

RVB, again:

"I made the wrong check," Van Bergen said. "It doesn't happen very often, but it was independently on me. It almost cost the team a big loss, and I would have blamed that completely on myself." …

"We were supposed to be running blitz to the boundary and I checked to field," he said. "It's something very basic, and I shouldn't have made that mistake."

Michigan's shifted their line away from the short side of the field, and their linebackers; the short side of the field ends up with two TEs. This is not good.So this play is just about doomed from the start, but the degree of doomage is because of further errors from a couple players. Graham gets downblocked and a TE pulls around, leaving zero in the way of linebackers to that side of the field. Floyd(-1) just gets outrun, which is disturbing, and Kovacs(-2) takes a bad angle, getting outrun himself. I don't minus for alignment errors because unless someone comes out and says "my bad" in the aftermath, who's to know who's to blame?

Drive Notes: Touchdown, 33-29, 8 min 4th Q. God, Pam Ward is horrible.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Run Off tackle Van Bergen -1
Kovacs sent on the backside blitz as per usual. Van Bergen(+1) surges into the backfield, occupying blockers and getting in the way long enough for Kovacs(+1) to tackle from behind.
O23 2 11 Ace Big 4-4 under Pass Sack Van Bergen -12

Play action that sort of looks well-covered short but it's Floyd 1-on-1 with a receiver going deep and that's dodgy. It's not relevant since Van Bergen(+3) again slices through two blockers, gets his hands up, and then sacks Chappell for a huge loss. (Pressure +1, cover +1)

O11 3 23 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Run Inside Zone Van Bergen 2
Dude. Van Bergen(+1) again through the line, slanting into the backfield and destroying the play. Cutback sees the tailback pick up a couple.
Drive Notes: Punt, 29-33, 5 min 4th Q. That's as atoned as you can get right there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren Int
Why would you throw this? I don't know. Note: Graham(+1) was coming in on Chappell(pressure +1), forcing him to throw the ball and maybe not reconsider this decision. Warren(+4) meanwhile, breaks on the ball and picks it off, killing Indiana's potential gamewinning drive before it starts. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 36-33, 2 min 4th Q.

Do you know what I did when Indiana had that 85 yard run?


I thought to myself "I bet Ryan Van Bergen missed a check and will spend the rest of the game personally destroying the Indiana offense."


No. I threw the cat at the TV and vowed to find Jim Herrmann and find a way to blame it on him.

Ah so.

Ah so. Chart?

Ok. Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 12 - 12 How does this man not have a sack? Poor coverage.
Heininger 1 2.5 -1.5 Has a tendency to get exploded.
Patterson - - - DNP.
Roh 3 1 2 Not really in on much.
Herron 3 - 3 Some good run defense.
Martin 4.5 - 4.5 Indiana could not move him.
Van Bergen 8 1 7 Did virtually nothing until the 85-yard run, then single-handedly killed the next drive.
Banks 2 - 2 Had a couple plays.
Sagesse 1 1.5 -0.5 Quiet.
TOTAL 34.5 6 28.5 I actually think this might be a decent DL. MSU will be interesting.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 5.5 5.5 0 Had a couple of key plays… both ways.
Mouton 7 8 -1 Surprised he came out this close to even. Major culprit on a few big plays.
Brown 6 1 5 Cutting through traffic to make plays and tackling with authority.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP.
Leach - - -- DNP.
TOTAL 18.5 14.5 4 Progress? 
Player + - T Notes
Warren 4.5 2 2.5 Won't be thrown at the rest of the year. Bring a book, kid.
Cissoko 1 6 -5 Yeesh.
Floyd 4.5 8 -3.5 Tries hard. Clearly physically deficient.
Turner - - - DNP
Woolfolk 0.5 3 -2.5 Lucky he wasn't a goat on play action.
Williams - - - DNP
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 3 4 -1 Hardy, but slow.
TOTAL 13.5 23 -9.5 If we only had a second corner.
Pressure 17 4 13 Even when they went deep Chappell was eating linemen all day.
Coverage 18 25 -7 Not horrible, actually.
Tackling 10 7 3 Major step back from inagural week.

So, yeah, them's the numbers.

Shouldn't those numbers be considerably more horrible?

Well, from one perspective, yes: Michigan gave up 33 points and almost 500 yards to Indiana. From another… maybe not? Diarist The Mathlete maintains some cool statistics that take drive starts and quantity into account, and they have an interesting story:

Run Defense vs Indiana

Another win for Indiana here, obviously.  Despite Michigan poor job in previous games against the run, the Hoosiers still "beat the spread" going +2 against the Wolverine rush D while the D was 3 points worse against Indiana than the average team. …

Pass Defense vs Indiana

Indiana was actually below average passing against Michigan, with a -1 while Michigan was +4 vs the Indiana passing game. …

Field Position

Based solely on drive starts, Michigan should have lost the game 30-27, indicating that the offense overachieved by 9 points and the defense underachieved by 3.

If you go back to those pace statistics from Barking Carnival that I've referenced in the past you find that the offense-mad Big 12 averaged 11.4 possessions per game last year; Indiana got 15 cracks, three of which started in Michigan territory. All of those were legit scoring opportunities. This calculation is overly simplistic, but 11.4/15 is 76%. 76% of Indiana's yards in the last game is 355, which would have been almost exactly average last year*. You can do the same for the points.

*(This year's stats are inflated by a prevalence of cupcakes early.)

Even if I do believe your statistical witchery, is it good to give Indiana a national-average number of yards?

Well, no. Underachieving by three points based solely on drive starts against a team that was 3-9 last year is not good. But all I'm trying to do here is explain the numbers above, which are really positive for the DL, meh (meh-minus when you account for the LB-caused negs in the coverage metric) for the linebackers, and terrible in the secondary. It was close to an average day given the number of drives against and the spots on the field those started and the numbers reflect that.

Through a less defensive prism: I think the circumstances mitigate but do not excuse the performance turned in by the defense. It's a bad defense with some glaring holes and a maddening propensity to let tailbacks break contain. I don't think it's quite as horrible as 467 yards by Indiana suggest.

Was it actually a pick?

I don't know, man. I've seen the stills at Maize 'n' Brew and here are a couple high quality ones from UMGoBlog, and they seem to make a case, but nothing I saw in the video was particularly conclusive either way. My initial reaction live was "that's too bad, simultaneous possession" and my initial reaction when they reviewed it was "that's too bad, they'll overturn it if they can," which they could not. The only thing I can offer is that the referee who made the call had an angle no one else did, as he was running right at the play from the most advantageous viewpoint, so there's a possibility he saw what the stills suggest: Warren had possession first, at which point Belcher came in to grab the ball but only after Warren had established possession.

If you ask me, though: Bill Lynch was right to toss his gum. I'd be livid if that happened to Michigan.


Okay, even if it is a bad call let's not get all crazy with weird conspiracy theories. (What's that, Penn State fans? I'm ten years too late? Oh.) Michigan got called for an illegal formation on this:

illegal formation WTF

This knocked out a 20-yard third down conversion and is something I've never seen called ever. Also, Michigan pissed off the pass interference fairy something fierce this offseason. So save the CONSPIRACY theories.

What is the deal with all the outside runs?

I don't know. We saw this last week with JB Fitzgerald and thought "that's why he doesn't play" but here's Jonas Mouton doing virtually the exact same thing:

Indiana also got a 24-yarder when Mouton did not get outside of the Indiana tailback. Here he's got a blocker but he's got to know his #1 priority is to get that RB inside of him so that Ezeh can flow to him and tackle.

Elsewhere in questionable linebacker play, twice Michigan was sitting in zones that should be well-equipped to thwart or at least hold down Indiana crossing routes and overreacted to the first one coming through their zone. Here's one:

Mouton did a similar thing later.

It wasn't all bad, though. Ezeh ripped out what would have been a third down completion and also sliced up into a play to stone it for no gain; Mouton had a couple moments of slithering attack. They ended up near zero today, which isn't great against Indiana but it could have been worse. Can I suggest that there are the briefest embers of hope here? We're stuck with these guys for the next two years, so their improvement will be critical.


The two-headed non-Warren cornerback is a big obvious glaring hole, the biggest on the team. And Van Bergen's missed check was damaging, almost disastrous.


After the missed check, Van Bergen personally destroyed Indiana's penultimate drive, slanting into the backfield twice to crush running plays and then getting a critical second-down sack. It was a drive of atonement. Also, Graham and Martin were consistently excellent; Stevie Brown should always have been a linebacker; Donovan Warren missed one tackle but… uh… well… you know.

What does it mean for Michigan State and the remainder of the season?

Whatever lingering hopes you had that the corner spot opposite Warren could turn into a non-liability should be put in the corner and told to  be quiet for a while. JT Floyd did better than I thought he did live but still remains a timid redshirt freshman who transparently lacks the speed to be an elite corner. Michigan is going to have to cover up for him. Kovacs is okay but really slow.

Elsewhere… I'm coming around on the defensive line, at least the starters. Graham has had the quietest dominating performances ever, Martin is proving solid, and Van Bergen went all HULK SMASH after the missed check. Earlier in the year, Steve Sharik was complaining about the terrible angles Michigan was taking on its slants; I think that's something that's gotten repaired, as Michigan is slanting its ass off and leaving little in the way of creases for the opponents. When the back seven doesn't screw up magnificently, Michigan stoned Indiana all day. Yeah, yeah, just Indiana, but I'm happier with dominance interspersed with huge errors than the steady drip-drip-drip of physical inadequacy. Fix the errors and you could be okay.

Of course, physical dominance is easy against Indiana and will be tougher against most of the rest of the schedule, so this could just be a mirage. Michigan State will be a big test.

The linebackers are at least making some plays to go with their massive errors, Stevie Brown(!) excluded since he's not making massive errors.

Bizarrely, I have some hope yet for this thing to be mediocre once Michigan gets a better idea of what it's doing. The improved slanting is one step in the right direction and an indication that the defense is getting less confused as the season goes along. Like last year's offense, the youth and uncertainty of the group means they should improve more than the average unit as we go along; they could be functional against not great offenses. By my count, that's the entire league.

What did I just say? God help me.



September 30th, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

which wiped out the 3rd down conversion; the ESPN2 color doofus analyst said "the guards and tackles must line up so that their helmets are within the center's numbers". Otherwise, it's a "Pre-Snap Penalty", a phrase which I only heard about a million times on Saturday.


September 30th, 2009 at 7:19 PM ^

RichRod said at one point that the refs had indeed been warning the UM Tackles that they're lining up too far off the line. I felt like the team pretty much knew that penalty was coming, but kept pushing their luck.

Obviously the point is that an OT needs to be on the line, and can't cheat by lining up too far back.

That brings me to an interesting idea, though: How about deliberately lining the OT up off the line (obviously another player will need to be added to the line) and then releasing the OT to receive a short pass?

Hey, it works in flag football!


September 30th, 2009 at 8:15 PM ^

Or if you have another wide receiver up on the line and do this, it gives the tackle an advantage with pass blocking. By giving the tackle more space between him and the defensive end it would negate more of the speed advantage of the defensive end. That would seem more logical to me than to throw the ball to a 6'7" 300 pound mountain of a man.


September 30th, 2009 at 4:53 PM ^

Four, count 'em four sacks this year.

Are we too young/small/whatever to start rolling this number up? Small is out - Roh is the smallest at 238. Leader VanBergen is 271. Most men on the line are between 260-280.

'splaination? Is Greg Robinson not blitzing as much as I seem to remember in those halcyon days of yore? What do we do to create better opportunities to get to the quarterback?


September 30th, 2009 at 5:47 PM ^

I think Brian was spot on when referring to Graham's lack of sacks. I think it applies to the entire D-Line, they're getting good penetration but there just plain isn't enough time to get to the QB before he fires one off to a wide open man. This is especially compounded against teams that use shotgun or pistol frequently. I think once the DB's not named Warren get their shit together we'll start seeing more sacks.


October 1st, 2009 at 9:58 AM ^

Is it just me or does it seem like every team we've gone against has a decent enough QB to know that you just chuck it when you're about to take a sack? It really does seem like so many times last year the QBs would try to make a play and we'd get a sack and now this year it's like they being coached to say eff it and just chuck it at the first sign of a possible sack.

So am I just wearing Maize 'n' Blue glasses or has someone else spotted this?


September 30th, 2009 at 4:59 PM ^

23 points allowed on ZERO successful third down conversions in the first half. (OK, so IU converted a fourth and short.) That is a bit... unsettling. Maybe the source of a new "getting gashed" metric?!


October 1st, 2009 at 9:37 AM ^

23 points while not converting a third down might suggest the defense wasn't even getting them to third down. But, Indiana was 0-9 on third downs at halftime. So, something strange was happening because Michigan was getting them to 3rd down and then holding.


October 1st, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

evidence of how much yardage our D was giving up on 1st and 2nd down, on several of their scoring drives. More than 5 yards per play, consistently.

I am also glad Bill Lynch didn't get more aggressive on the handful of opportunities where he had 4th-and-5 (or less) in the red zone during that first half. He went for the field goal each time. Hard to say whether Indiana would have ended up with more points or fewer overall with that approach, but I'm guessing they could have gotten one more TD in place of a FG.

Lynch's risk profile in this game was interesting. Lots of trick plays and formations and wildcat stuff, which were by-and-large successful against us, but they really tended to play it safe on 4th down in the red zone.


September 30th, 2009 at 5:00 PM ^

I only watched replays of these plays a few times, but:

On the first option that went for the TD, it seemed like Michigan lacked 1 person in order to effectively defend the option - Kovacs helped force the pitch, but there should have been someone outside of him - right? Considering that Cissoko was "covering" Doss on the play, and Doss scored, it seems like you rightly blame Cissoko for not getting all the way over - but I wonder why Mouton and Kovacs pick up minuses on the play? It seems like they did what they should have.

On the second option, it again seemed like we were missing a player - Mouton was out there with the QB and pitch-man by himself. I thought that keeping that situation (him to guard 2 guys by himself) to under 10 yards was a relative success - he forced the QB to pitch AND made the tackle on the pitch-man.

On the 85 yard touchdown, I'm not sure Kovacs even took a bad angle - I'm not sure the angle exists that would have allowed him to catch Willis before the end-zone. I think he's just physically limited (freshman walk-on, no off-season S&C program yet probably doesn't help this).


September 30th, 2009 at 6:36 PM ^

The option look was new. Indiana had not been running it during their first three games. And, very little run action with Doss. This was something that caught UM clearly off guard.

I agree about Kovacs. I didnt think his angle was all that poor there, just that he had little chance because he isnt even close to Willis in the speed category. I thought Floyd was a big culprit here, looked like a half (or at least tentative) effort on the pursuit.

I like this Willis kid. In a couple of years, when he's competing for first team all big 10 honors, let's remember this run.


September 30th, 2009 at 5:21 PM ^

they seem to make adjustments during the game and play better during the second half; only 3 pts given up in 2nd half (ignoring the 85 TD yd run).

It's discouraging that 467 yds were given up, but the red zone D was pretty good, 1 TD and 4 FGs in 6 trips.

Tha Stunna

September 30th, 2009 at 5:25 PM ^

Aargh, the defense is so frustrating. We fix several of our problems from last year, and new ones pop right up. It's just like in a cartoon where every time you plug a leak, another one pops up...


September 30th, 2009 at 6:01 PM ^

Stevie Brown should always have been a linebacker.

But I for one am glad to see him still contributing on special teams too, where he has consistently excelled since his earliest games at UM. He made a difference in that area against IU.

I think it has been advanced before, but who's for "Special Teams UFR?" As Brian has already explained elsewhere, STs were a big part of the story on Saturday, for field position and hidden yardage.


September 30th, 2009 at 6:20 PM ^

Throwing it out there:

It seems like Tandon Doss was Indiana's #1 WR. We can agree that Michael Floyd was ND's. It seems like Juan Nunez was WMU's top receiver. Whoever was EMU's seems to be irrelevant.

Why were all these players largely being covered by our #2 CB instead of Warren?


September 30th, 2009 at 6:36 PM ^

theres probably a lot of answers, but i dont often see teams really lock certain dbs on certain players at the college level. it probably greatly increases the amount of stuff you have to teach the players because they have to be able to flip their responsibilities depending on which wr comes out where. easy to do for pros, but not college.

they arent playing a lot of straight man out on the corners anyway


October 1st, 2009 at 10:29 AM ^

Our #2 corner covers their #1 receiver (and in the case of Floyd, possibly the best receiver in the nation) without any safety help. Our #1 corner covers their #2 receiver with safety help. The defensive coaching has to be held more accountable for this, instead of putting it all on BC


September 30th, 2009 at 6:44 PM ^

One problem with the defense against Indiana is that when mistakes were made, they were big. The 85 yard TD was the biggest example of this, but the first TD and the second TD were also pretty bad. Four plays (first TD, second TD drive, and final TD) accounted for 21 points (out of 33) and 178 yards (out of 472). Each of these plays were terrible, and the first two were the fault of Cissoko.

Blue boy johnson

September 30th, 2009 at 7:19 PM ^

I thought the D improved in the Indiana game. 1 td allowed after the first quarter, and that on an 85 yard run. Many of our defensive players are seeing things at game speed for the first time. I expect to see more improvement come Saturday.

Players learning a new system, players learning each other, players getting their first taste of big time college football, patience please.