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 7:32 PM ^

"Won't be thrown at the rest of the year. Bring a book, kid."

aaand lets hope he has such a boring uneventful year that he wants to come back for his Senior year to pad his stats and improve his draft stock. Please?

(warning: WWL'esque nonsensical hyperbole forthcoming) Warren looks like a pro out there. I find myself checking to see what he is up to before every snap, dude is usually telling the safety or linebacker where to go and lining up calm and collected.


October 1st, 2009 at 9:06 AM ^

... with the extreme likelihood that the NFL is going to go w/ a Rookie salary cap in 2011 I think Warren might be gone since he'd probably make more as a 2nd rounder this year than he would as a top 20 pick in 2011 - damn :(


September 30th, 2009 at 8:16 PM ^

I re-watched the game last night and studied those two sweeps for touchdowns.

I believe the mistake was boubacar's. He didn't have WR on his side either play and got caught up in the middle on both sweeps for a touchdown.

If you notice that is when he is benched. I believe Boubacar was pulled not for his coverage skills (he did give up a long pass) but for his play against those two sweeps and leaving the left side wide open.

Watch those plays and let me know what you think.

Jeff H

September 30th, 2009 at 8:30 PM ^

Great word. Glad to see it used in connection with RVB's drive of atonement.

I'm more in favor of him missing a check in the pre-game warm-ups than during the first quarter.


October 1st, 2009 at 12:12 AM ^

I don't have time to read the rest of the responses right now so I apologize if this has been answered already, but IME the hybrid defense in the first picture looks like a modification of the old 5-3 monster defense. Or possibly an even easier explanation is that it is just a 3-4 variant with everyone in man coverage.


October 1st, 2009 at 7:31 AM ^

whoever has contain has to take the pitch man. It's a bigger sin to let that speedy guy go uncovered than to let the QB take it up and get killed by a safety. Ideally the LB is playing the QB on an inside out technique and can help close on the pitchman after he forces the QB to pitch.

If you're undermanned on that side, it kind of sucks, you have to split the difference between the qb and pitchman and hope you don't get caught in the middle of nowhere. But you should be aware of who the bigger threat is from film study and take away that guy first (in this case, doss)


October 1st, 2009 at 8:13 AM ^

Jonas Mouton had a very bad game. If the charts don't show it, then we may have found a hole in the UFR Charting services. He somehow avoided a minus for the second play of the game, with the explanation that the RB cut past him. I think the RB ran straight, and that Mouton had a perfect angle to tackle in the hole there.

I didn't go very far in organized football (complete and utter lack of talent), but I did do plenty of sports, and I think the one thing that every sport has in common is that bad play is cumulative. You make an error early, it gets inside you, and it's hard to shake off.

We see this played out in sailing all the time. Competitive sailing (we race an Express 27 on St. Clair) is a sport in which you have to make a ton of small adjustments all the time. At the start, when your class is all bunched up going for the same exact spot at the same exact time, this is in hyperdrive.

However, and I've found this very telling about sports psychology, for some reason whoever ends up with the best start usually wins or comes close to winning the entire race.

How is it that decisions made in a 5 minute period can affect a 3-hour competition? Because if you start well, you're feeling good. You're trusting your instincts. You're more inclined to get in that groove.

When you start badly, you're questioning yourself. What's more, you're fighting to get it back by making high-risk moves, like sailing to the opposite side of the course from everyone else during a Tacking leg to see if you can discover better wind (you never do).

I saw this all game from Mouton. He was trying to MAKE PLAYS rather than follow the program. This is how you end up with this. Mouton feels like he's in the doghouse. He's trying to Van Bergen his way back. But linebacking is much more assignment-based than defensive lining, where a dose of pure BRRRRAAAH!!! can get the job done.

Linebacking is instinctive, and requires a cool head. Remember David Harris: read, react, make the play. He was always in control. He would see the play, go to his spot, do his job. Great linebackers are workmanlike. Even Ray Lewis is a positional rock star first -- he makes those crushing plays only when they're available.

Jonas plays very young. You realize this guy is the same age as Brandon Graham, Steve Brown, Carlos Brown, Greg Mathews, Steve Schilling, and Brandon Minor? He plays like a true sophomore, doesn't he? He was a defensive back in high school, but that was a long time ago. This guy is a redshirt junior. He is way behind.

My hope is that he's just getting bad starts, and that this is leading to games of overcompensation thinking, rather than looking for his groove.

As for the cornerback position -- Cissoko made some dumb plays early, but I'm sticking with the Todd Howard thing. Howard did come around to serviceability eventually, but we would have to make it to 2011 first (God I pray Warren sticks around next year!!!) Floyd doesn't have the stakes. Turner came in behind, and even though it's an instinctive position, you gotta trust the coaches to know what they're doing there. So it's Cissoko. He's the guy with the talent. He, like Mouton, needs to get his head in the game.

When you're facing a bad Big Ten team in miserable drizzle, and they're beating you, of course, this is easier said than done. But a crisp fall day in a stadium full of people who hate you isn't much better.


October 1st, 2009 at 8:50 AM ^

If he's too slow for Safety, and we have a need at LB, might he wind up taking over for Brown at the hybrid spot next season?
[edit]Sorry if this was brought up before, just now finished reading through the comments


October 1st, 2009 at 9:52 AM ^

I'm not sure that pro-rating stats by possessions per game is the best way to evaluate it. I would compare yards per possession. The Big Twelve might have fewer possessions per game because they average much longer, more time consuming possessions.

There is something interesting here. RR talks about wanting to get at least three 3 and outs per game from the defense. Against Indiana they easily did that. There's also the weird stat that Indiana had 23 points but was 0-9 on third down at one point. And then one has to wonder why Indiana had so many possessions.

Michigan is doing something that many of us are unaccustomed to seeing. They hurry each play and use very little of the play clock. This is a point of emphasis. This helps explain why both teams have so many possessions. If Michigan was unhappy with this they could change it easily--just hike the ball with less time on the play clock. But Michigan continues to do this and not 'protect their defense' unlike the previous coaches. What we see is both offenses out preforming expectation (according Mathlete's voodoo) but Michigan outpreforming more than the opponent. Michigan's advantage being especially evident as the game progresses.

One hopes that soon the defense will catch up with the offense with regards to handling the higher tempo. However, we may still see large yardage numbers and probably scores because Michigan is using its offense to exhaust the other team at the 'expense' of the defense.

MGoBlog Fan

October 1st, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

From the summary of rules changes (http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/rules/football/2009/2009RulesCmteChanges…):

"7-1-3-b-1 Offensive Team Formation
b. When the snap starts: The offensive team must be in a formation that meets these requirements:
1. All players must be either on their scrimmage line or legally positioned as a back. At least five players wearing jerseys numbered 50 through 79 must be legally on their scrimmage line, and no more than four players may be in the backfield.

RATIONALE: Ease of officiating in counting players. Also eliminates penalizing Team A for only 10 players: six on the line and four in the backfield."

From the rules explanation by Rogers Reedding, Rules Committee Secretary - Rules Editor:

"Offensive Scrimmage Formation (Rules 1-1-1-b-2 and 7-1-3-b) The requirement for having at least seven offensive players on the line of scrimmage has been re-stated to allow no more than four players in the backfield. This is not a rule change but merely a different way of writing the same requirement. It does eliminate the foul for a team having ten players when there are only six on the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, the requirements for scrimmage formations remain the same." (http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/ncaa/college+football+officiating/r…)

Definition of a back appears in Rule 2-27-4-b: "A back is any Team A player whose head or body does not break the
plane of the line drawn through the rear-most part, other than the legs or feet, of the nearest Team A player (except the snapper) on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. A lineman becomes a back before the snap when he moves to a position as a back and stops." (http://www.ncaapublications.com/Uploads/PDF/Football_Rules_5_2204c0005d…)

I assume that this has become a point of emphasis because of the rule change, either directed (I can't access the videos on the CFO central hub to verify) or unintentionally (addressed in the rules changes at referee annual certification, so they are more aware of the rule).


October 2nd, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

The play that was described as "Crazy" looked like an A-11 formation (All 11). It's fairly common high school formation / offense in some places. Florida ran it on LSU a couple years ago without any success.