Upon Further Review: Defense vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian October 14th, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Video note: This week's torrent is in a format I can't figure out how to clip, so I'm converting it to something I know works. This process is currently scheduled to complete at around 9 PM. So no video today, unfortunately. I'll add it later. [UPDATE: Video added.]

Goofy new complicated metric note: I was convinced to try out a "Rock-Paper-Scissors" metric and tried but it didn't really work because I forgot about it 80% of the time. I will try again next week. Those will be the "RPS" +/- below; the general concept is that when Michigan's coaches get owned by someone else's playcall they get a minus and vice versa; Moeaki Disaster I, when Iowa released their TE into the seam after duping Williams into a blitz, was the inspiration for this.

Personnel notes: Woolfolk moved to corner and Williams re-entered the starting lineup as a safety; Kovacs was usually the guy in the box and Woolfolk the deep guy, but sometimes they switched. Michigan's rotation on the defensive line continued, but Will Campbell replaced Renaldo Sagesse as Mike Martin's primary backup. Not sure why, because Campbell proved he was not ready.

Michigan broke out a flat, aggressive package like so:


I think this is something USC runs from time to time called "double eagle".

You can see the NT head-up on the center and the two DTs in tight against a standard ace formation. Each guy is flanked by two linebacker-type players, Michigan is in man on the outside (see Woolfolk following the receiver in motion), and they're going to slant into the backfield. Suggestions as to what to call this welcome.

On with the show:

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run Zone left Mouton 1
RVB gets walled off by a double team but this was a double from a playside guy and there was no chance he was going to run through that. This allows LBs to flow to the hole unimpeded. Roh(+0.5) shoves a guy away and ends up off balance but in the hole and he delays the tailback with a missed tackle attempt. Meanwhile, it looks like Mouton has done something disastrous by heading inside of the tackle that was blocking Roh; Ezeh follows because that's his hole, and once the tailback escapes he's got a lot of green in front of him; he's thwarted by a desperate diving tackle from Mouton. Very, very fortunate. I can't minus Mouton here but I want to.
O35 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Yakety Sax Warren Int
Stanziball! I have no idea what the hell this was supposed to be, but it's chucked right at Warren(+1), who's not particularly near any Iowa receviers, and returned for a touchdown. Woo? Can I even cover + 1 this? I guess so.
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 7-0, 14 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Ace Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Run Zone right Martin 5
Note that for most of the game Michigan will run press man on the corners, something I bet they've wanted to do all year but could not. Here Martin(-0.5) gets sealed by a scoop block that gets a blocker with a great angle out on Mouton; this would be a -1 but for Martin fighting through the remaining blocker to tackle the RB as he shoots through the hole Martin ceded.
O48 2 5 I-Form 4-3 under Run Zone left Ezeh 0
Michigan slanting away from the play, which sees Roh shoot inside the OT upfield, dragging the tackle out of the play and leaving a pretty big hole occupied by Michigan's ILBs, the Iowa FB, and Wegher. Ezeh(+1) gets outside of the fullback, forcing the play back into Mouton(+0.5), who tackles(+1) at the LOS with help from a good fill from Kovacs(+0.5).
O48 3 5 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Warren 9
Warren is communicating something to Kovacs at the snap, which might make him flatfooted to start the play. In any case, Stanzi has plenty of time (pressure -1) to step and fire to a wide open McNutt on a simple hitch for the first (cover -1, Warren -1)
M43 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Williams Inc
Iowa trying to burn Warren on a stop and go, but a blitz from Williams(+1) shoves a tailback into Stanzi, forcing him to start scrambling(pressure +1). Graham then tears through the line, knocking everyone over except Stanzi; Ezeh misses to the outside (tackling –1) and as he and Martin converge Stanzi manages to get it away.
M43 2 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone left Brown 7
Stross motions in to make this a 3 TE look. This play appears to be meant to go inside from the RB's initial angle; he bounces it out as Martin(+1) tears through a double and can't be sealed. Brown(-1), however, is, giving up the edge for a big gain. He's getting held like hell, but even so he should not be a yard behind the LOS and unable to get outside to contain this. Kovacs makes a good fill tackle(+1).
M36 3 3 Ace(?) Empty Base 3-4 Pass Hitch -- 4
Hitch finds a little spot in the zone and picks up the first down. Immediate tackle. Question mark in the formation is because this is an empty set from under center and therefore not an "ace"—1 RB—set, but I don't know what to call it. Whatever.
M32 1 10 I-Form Base 4-3 Pass PA Cross Williams Inc
The first enormous bust of the night on this play action. Warren is headed forward at the snap so I assume this is a blitz with a zone behind it; Ezeh(-1), Williams(-1), and Mouton(-1) all bite like hell on the play action, opening this receiver up by yards and yards (cover -2). Possible touchdown, but a terrible throw and, eventually, an incompletion.
M32 2 10 Ace 4-3 under Run Inside zone Van Bergen -2
RVB(+0.5) gets playside of his guy and Martin(+0.5) does the same, so the RB goes for a cutback, which goes directly into Graham(+1), who avoided a cut and provides a thumping TFL.
M34 3 12 Ace 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass TE Short Seam Williams 34
Michigan sends the house; Williams(-3) is tasked with man coverage on Moeaki and when Moeaki looks like he's going to block he blitzes; Moeaki then passes his guy off and is wide open for a killer touchdown. (RPS -2, cover -3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 9 min 1st Q. Defended pretty well, one missed hold, one missed opportunity to sack, and one huge disaster where Williams blew it and Iowa smoked a playcall.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Out Brown 3
Michigan playing a zone; Brown fakes a blitz and then drops into the flat. The blitz fake does get the slot guy open, but a quick close from Warren(+0.5) and Brown(+0.5) prevents any YAC (cover +1, tackling +1)
M16 2 7 Ace Twins 4-3 under Pass TE Flat -- 5
Attacking that same area of the field; the WRs run off the corners and Stanzi uses the space to hit his TE releasing into the flat. Throw's a little off and the TE is clunky, so Michigan is able to react without much in the way of YAC.
M11 3 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Warren Inc
Iowa's first attempt at the fade they'll run a lot. Warren(+1, cover +1) runs to it, watches the receiver take the ball in, and rakes it out.
Drive Notes: FG(28), 7-10, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Waggle hitch Warren Inc
Dude, Michigan's linebackers blow this spectacularly, too, leaving guys wide open on crossing routes; Stanzi only looks for the outside receiver and ends up turfing it. Decent coverage by Warren. Good job by Heininger(+0.5) to get outside the edge blocker, cutting off the outside and forcing an awkward throw.
O35 2 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Scramble Mouton 5
Stanzi's looking for an out or a slant to the top of the screen and can't find it (cover +1). As he tries to come down to another receiver, Heininger(+1) splits two blockers and harasses him(pressure +1) into rolling out and scrambling. Mouton's got the contain and DL are charging back from inside; he blows it(-1) by clobbering himself into a blocker, allowing Stanzi outside of him and turning zero yards into five.
O40 3 5 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Sack Graham -7
Slot slant is covered(+1), giving Graham(+2) time to go right around Bulaga and crush Stanzi for a sack. Martin(+1) and Roh(+1) were also bursting through, preventing any attempt to move up in the pocket (pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-10, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Deep slant Mouton 22
Miscommunication of some variety as Williams flies out into the flat in a zone—it's cover three with both cornerbacks laying off and Mouton(-2) also zooming out into the flat, apparently in man on the tailback, on a play where everyone else is in zone. The vacated area is huge and it's an easy throw for Stanzi to a receiver breaking wide open. (Cover -2).
M24 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Out Brown Inc
Trying the out that they used a lot in an attempt to exploit our lack of a third corner; Brown is in decent position and can probably tackle on the catch if there is one; there isn't because of Stanzi's inaccuracy. (Cover +1)
M24 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Wheel Williams Inc
Stanzi gets some momentary time on a dropback until Graham(+0.5) pushes through to get late pressure and force a back-foot throw. Stanzi pumps and looks for a wheel route that's well covered by Williams (+1, cover +1) but way underthrown. If this was Texas Tech it would be an intentional back-shoulder throw they drill all the time; IMO, this is just plain lucky. Ball is too far underthrown to be caught despite a valiant attempt by the RB.
M24 3 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren Inc
Michigan again sends the house, forcing a quick throw; it's a slant that Warren(+1, cover +1) gets up on and maybe helps be incomplete. More helpful was a high and hard throw. A catch was going to be a couple yards short of the first, anyway.
Drive Notes: FG(41), 14-13, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Ace Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Run Zone right Ezeh 2
Ezeh(+1) is running downhill from the snap, busting into the backfield and forcing a cutback; RVB(+0.5) has avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle (+1).
O24 2 8 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Draw Martin 2
This looks like it's about to open up nicely as Martin has blasted to the left of the center, leaving a big gap between himself and Graham outside the tackle. Michigan has also blitzed to the outside, leaving no support downfield until you get to Kovacs. This looks dangerous, but Martin's(+1) terrific agility allows him to come around the C and tackle(+1) the RB as he crosses the LOS.
O26 3 6 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant & Go Warren 33
Again they're going after Warren on a double move; Warren recovers and is in great position on this but Stanzi chucks it anyway and just happens to get it in the only place it can go, allowing Stross to lay out to make a diving catch. Indefensible, a DO+ 1 from the opposition, and a (cover +1, Warren +1) from Michigan. What's more is Stanzi threw this with Williams in his face. Just one of those plays where you tip your cap.
M41 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff Mouton Inc
They again go after Warren on a slant and go, this stuff is crazy. I mean, its not like Warren has been weak the last few times he's been tested. It looks like Iowa went into this game with some sort of crazy gameplan to attack Warren. RVB(+0.5) and Graham push the line back, causing Stanzi to decide to roll out once he finds no one open (cover +1). He then throws across his body to a tailback on a little dumpoff route that Mouton(+1, cover +1) breaks on and breaks up; another step and he can intercept. Stanziball.
M41 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run Yakety Sax -- -14
Snap over the head.
O45 3 24 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Post Williams 47

Aaaaargggggghghghgh. One: it's third and twenty-four, the safeties should not be ten yards deep. They should be 15-20 or whatever. Two: there's not even anyone running sort of in between on Williams(-3), who has no excuse for not giving Warren the deep safety help he expects (cover -3); this is just a huge bust. Robinson on third and twenty-five:

“We got beat. A guy got beat,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “A guy in the middle should have been there. We had good coverage on that play other than where somebody should have been, so I have to look back at some of that stuff. And of course, any time they convert on third down I’m disappointed. We’re not there yet to where we’re going to be consistently shutting people down on third down yet. We’re just not there.”

M8 1 G Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone right Campbell 5
Campbell(-1) in and showing why he's not playing more: he gets blown three yards off the ball and sealed by the center in a way that Martin just does not. [Editor's note: actually, Martin will get sealed like this a few times in the second half.] This opens it up, leaving the safeties to clean up.
M3 2 G Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Scramble -- 2
Stanzi looking for a slant that isn't there as M drops into a zone (cover +1); no pressure(-1) , though, and Stanzi gets outside of Heininger, breaking for the endzone. Mouton and Williams stop him just short. Herbstreit is right that the reason this opens up is Williams(-1) getting irresponsible and sinking inside to run with a receiver instead of passing him off to Mouton; this should be no gain or a loss but for that.
M1 3 G Goal line Goal line Run Power off tackle -- 1
Not enough penetration, so Wegher can leap in.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-20, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Sack Graham -9
Graham slides inside slightly with Williams outside of him; Williams blitzes, absorbing the TE. Graham(+3) smokes the tackle to the inside—shift!—and comes up the middle to sack Stanzi before any of his receivers can break open. (Pressure +2.)
O24 2 19 I-Form 4-3 under Run Zone right Graham 3
Martin(-1) gets scooped and sealed by a double, allowing Iowa OL downfield to seal Mouton. Graham(+0.5) bursts upfield to cut off the outside and makes a lunging tackle attempt at the RB that's unsuccessful, but it does slow the RB up enough for Roh(+0.5) to come from the backside and tackle as he nears the LOS. Without that contribution from the DEs this could be a big gainer. Kovacs was coming up but that was asking for a pretty good open-field tackle there.
O27 3 16 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Screen Ezeh 6
Mouton(+0.5) attempts to shoot up into this when he reads it but cannot because both OL releasing downfield come together to seal him off. He's out of the play but the attention he's drawn allows Ezeh(+0.5) to come unblocked, form up, and tackle with help from RVB. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-20, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run Zone left Ezeh -2
Big crease opens up as Roh(-1) gets sealed inside by Bulaga but Iowa can't get anyone through the line into the linebackers, for which credit goes to RVB(+0.5). Ezeh(+1) zooms up into the hole and crushes the fullback backwards, forcing the RB back inside to Mouton(+1, tackle +1), who meets the guy in the backfield for a loss. Excellent play by both linebackers; their eagerness to get to the hole will be something Iowa exploits later.
O29 2 12 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run Iso Ezeh 2
Bit of a counter here as the line slides as if it's another zone play; Ezeh(+1) takes a couple shuffle steps to the right and then reads the fullback coming backside. He charges downhill, meeting the FB at the LOS and standing him up, which allows Graham(+0.5) to come around the outside and tackle(+1).
O31 3 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass Out Woolfolk 11
This is just way too easy; Iowa drags a receiver across the formation and Woolfolk goes with him, but is playing soft(-1, cover -1) and way too far off to make a tackle before the sticks. Michigan only had one deep safety on third and ten? Were they expecting another run?
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass RB flat Williams 9
Michigan dropping off into deep zones, and Iowa runs off the guy underneath to one side and then throws a safe little pass in the flat that beats the coverage (cover -1, RPS -1)
M49 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Scramble Martin 1
Same deep zone, eight guys this time. Stanzi will have his tailback releasing for a few but for Martin(+2, pressure +2) splitting a double team, flushing Stanzi, and tracking him down as he attempts to scramble out of the pocket. He actually hurls him forward for the first down, unfortunately.
M48 1 10 Shotgun Trips 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff -- 14
Again Michigan drops very, very deep; by the time Stanzi rolls out of the pocket seven guys are ten or more yards downfield and dropping. This opens up plenty of room for Wegher's little dumpoff. (Cover -1). Roh(+0.5) was coming around the edge, forcing the throw.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(53), 14-20, EOH. I think the TO on third down here is a justifiable decision, but one with low upside.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Woolfolk Inc
Iowa's going after Michigan's press man here, throwing a fade that Woolfolk(+1, cover +1) runs stride-for-stride with and breaks up as the ball arrives. Good play for a guy who's been playing safety all year.
O14 2 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone right Kovacs 19
Martin(-1) gets scooped again, which ends up catching Mouton in the wash; Ezeh's responsibility is outside and he runs out of the play. Kovacs makes a great read and comes up to tackle for what would be a 3-4 yard gain, but misses it (-1, tackling -1), opening up a big gainer.
O33 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass TE Out Mouton 11
Man coverage(-1) that Mouton(-1) just gets beat on, and so badly that he can't make a tackle on the catch, turning this from five to ten.
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Scramble Graham 12
Backup DTs in, and they don't do well. Campbell ends up basically sitting at the LOS doing nothing. Graham(-1) is attempting to pass rush inside but gets stoned; he keeps running inside, giving up contain and allowing Stanzi plenty of room to run after he can't find anyone downfield (cover +1, pressure -2)
M44 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone right Campbell 15
Campbell(-2) is single-blocked and blown four yards downfield, opening up a cavernous cutback lane when RVB flows down the line as he's supposed to. No LB help because of a blitz from Mouton; wouldn't have helped much anyway.
M29 1 10 Ace Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Run Zone right Martin 6
Starting DTs back in, but Martin(-1) is again effectively scooped by Iowa. Mouton(-1) takes a cut block hard, going to the turf and getting blown out of the play; Kovacs(+1) is the last guy and makes a good open field tackle(+1).
M23 2 4 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Out Brown Inc
Brown(-1) appears to bust an assignment, dropping way too straight upfield to be any problem for an out route to Stross that's wide, wide open (cover -1). Stanzi's throw is errant.
M23 3 4 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Corner Brown Inc
Outside receiver sort of fakes a post and then goes to the corner, which may be covered OK by Kovacs. We'll never know because Stanzi left it way, way short, so short that Brown almost intercepts it. Roh(+1) gets the credit for spinning past Bulaga and hurrying a throw that came off Stanzi's back foot (pressure +1).
Drive Notes: FG(40), 14-23, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Woolfolk Inc
Again going after Woolfolk in man press; Woolfolk in decent, not unbeatable position. The throw is outside and long, glancing off Stross's fingertips.
O15 2 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass TE Out Martin Inc
Stanzi gets quick pressure from Martin(+1, pressure +1), who zipped past the center and threatened to sack. A Williams stumble gets the TE open with some potential to turn it up for YAC but the pressured Stanzi throw is high and incomplete.
O15 3 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass TE Out Warren Inc
This out is going to get swallowed up for like five yards as Warren comes up in cover 2 (cover +1) but Stanzi way overthrows it, basically throwing it to Warren. Warren drops it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-23, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone left Mouton 5
Michigan slanting away from the play and sending the linebackers to fill the holes that open up. Mouton(+1) gets around the releasing TE and has an opportunity to tackle but cannot because he's being extremely blatantly held, but there's no call. As result, Robinson can bounce off Mouton's one-armed tackle attempt and spin inside. Martin meets him after about three yards and a big pile of folks falls forward.
O33 2 5 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone right Martin 8
Martin(-1) scooped a third time and blown out of the hole. Mouton has to deal with a guy coming off of Martin and ends up pushed past the play; Kovacs fills and makes an okay tackle, but one that gives up some YAC.
O41 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass In Woolfolk 4
Think Woolfolk is playing this too soft as the timing on this is off for Iowa and McNutt's sort of waiting for the ball for a second or two. However, general policy is not to ding corners for short routes on which there's no YAC and Woolfolk does come up quickly enough to grab McNutt and spin him around. This doesn't actually tackle him but it does stop him and set him up for a Graham killshot.
O45 2 6 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone left Van Bergen 1
Van Bergen(+1) drives the LG three yards back, opening up attack lanes for Mouton and forcing the play outside, where Michigan strings it out; Ezeh(+1) also avoided a blocker who'd released straight onto him and flew upfield to help the stringing-out process, though he couldn't tackle. On this play Martin does avoid a scoop and helps in the backfield.
O46 3 5 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass TE Out Kovacs 4
Brown comes free on a blitz (RPS +1, pressure +1), forcing an immediate throw. TE is open as he cuts to an out but Kovacs(+1, cover +1, tackle +1) reads it and is there to tackle as soon as the ball arrives, preventing the extra yard that makes this a conversion.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-23, 1 min 3rd Q. Mathews fumbles the punt and the D has to go right back on the field.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M16 1 10 Ace Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Pass Waggle TE Cross Brown 10
Brown(-1) gets beat in man-to-man by Moeaki, and there's no contain at Mouton(-1) gets sucked inside by the playfake, leaving Stanzi plenty of time to survey and find the open guy. (Pressure -1, cover -1)
M6 1 G Ace Twins Double Eagle? Pass Rollout out Herron Inc
Herron(-1) gets a free run at Stanzi (RPS +1), who's rolling out directly at him, and whiffs on a tackle(-1, pressure +1). This isn't even PA so it seems like either an Iowa bust, possibly because Michigan went with an unusual formation. Stanzi does get almost tackled by Herron and then another DL is closing in so he must throw, but it's to a guy standing OOB.
M6 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass RB flat Ezeh 3
A little play in the flat that seems designed to exploit the same coverage deficiencies as Michigan experienced on the last drive of the half. Ezeh(+1) gets out on this, tackling as the ball arrives and holding it down about as well as anyone can expect. (Tackling +1, cover +1.)
M3 3 G Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone right Van Bergen 1
RVB(+1) blows into the RG, shoving him back a couple yards and forcing the tailback inside of him, where Martin(+0.5 ) has disengaged from a double. Wegher ducks/spins under Martin, at which point three players converge to stop him.
M2 4 G Goal line Goal line Pass PA TE corner Brown Inc
Really selling out here to dupe Michigan, as Stanzi is given one and only one option; everyone else stays in to sell the run fake. Brown(+2) does not bite and gets out on the tight end, nearly intercepting. (Cover +1). Ezeh(+1) read the play and shot out on Stanzi, as well; he had a pulling tackle coming around to provide a run option that Ezeh erased.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-23, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M42 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass PA TE Cross EVERYONE 42
Well.... I don't know. Both ILBs and Kovacs freak out about the run fake as Williams pulls up to the line, leaving both tight ends wide, wide open. If Stanzi didn't throw it to Moeaki the other guy had a TD, too. Mouton -2, Ezeh -2, Brown -2, Kovacs -2, Cover -6.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-30, 12 min 4th Q. You know, if we didn't do this twice a game this would be a good defense.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Ace Twins 4-3 under Pass Rollout out Woolfolk 4
Kind of a weird way to start here but ok. Stross is slightly in front of Woolfolk and is escorted OOB immediately.
O28 2 6 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Woolfolk 5
Ezeh gets through on a twisting blitz, forcing a throw (pressure +1). Woolfolk(-0.5) is playing off a bit too far to do anything about this, but a low throw prevents any YAC.
O33 3 1 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run QB sneak -- 2
They get it.
O35 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone left Graham 9 (Pen -10)
Michigan looks misaligned, with Graham too far inside to reasonably keep contain, and indeed he gets doubled and shoved inside and this hops outside the tackles. Martin(+1) has busted into the backfield against single blocking, though, and is held all the way downfield, finally drawing the flag Iowa's avoided a few times tonight. Graham -1 for opening up the outside; this was obvious from the snap.
O25 1 20 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone counter dive Graham 15
An under-center version of the play we've run to good effect a lot; Graham(-2) attempts to go outside of the crackback TE block and ends up ceding a big hole; Ezeh(-1) ran himself out of the play anticipating a stretch and fell down when he tried to come back.
O40 2 5 Ace 3-wide Double Eagle? Run Zone left Van Bergen -3
Odd-man front this time with the three DL aligned up directly over the tackles/center. RVB(+1) blasts the sliding guard into the backfield; Martin(+1) does the same with the other guard, cutting off the play in the backfield and killing it for a loss.
O37 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Woolfolk Inc
Woolfolk in the area and might have a play on the ball if it's accurately thrown; it is not and he definitely has a play on the ball because it's coming right to him. The receiver goes for it too, the two guys knock into each other, and the ball falls harmlessly to the turf. Em... (+1, cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-30, 7 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run Inside zone Roh 2
Roh(+1) slants inside, bursting into the intended path of the runner and forcing a cutback. That cutback threatens to zip past Graham, crashing inside, and Woolfolk, blitzing form the outside, when Roh(+1 again) makes a diving shoestring tackle. Yeeek. (Tackling +1)
M43 2 8 I-Form Big 4-3 under Pass Scramble Graham 4
They run a waggle that Graham(+1, pressure +1) gets out on by crushing the tight end back. He can't make a tackle and Stanzi escapes, rolling out to run after the close call. Want to minus one of Woolfolk or Williams for running the same coverage on not coming up on Stanzi but won't.
M39 3 4 I-Form Big 4-3 under Run Zone left Mouton -1
ILBs, as they've been most of the game, are screaming downhill at this; both of them zip through the line and their intended blockers, with Mouton(+2) crushing Robinson in the backfield. +1 for Ezeh and tackling, as well.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-30, 2 min 4th Q.

So… they did okay?

Yeah, they did okay. They faced 15 possessions, all of which were meaningful—though one was the time-compressed drive at the end of the first half and the last couple were more concerned with killing the clock than scoring—and gave up 23 net points. Iowa started drives at the Michigan 19 and 16 and came away with 3 points from those drives. By the Mathlete's reckoning, the day was a positive one:

An average team given Iowa's field position would have averaged 37 points given where Iowa started on the day.  That's a +7 for the defense to go with a pick 6.

Of course, that pick six was decidedly unforced, as were an array of other Stanzi misthrows. Michigan was the recipient of a number of unforced errors. Not as many as Iowa was on the other side of the ball, but here we're just evaluating how the defense did against a pretty mediocre offense. They did a mediocre job.

What about that timeout?

Which timeout?

The one right before the half.

I liked it at the time but in retrospect the upside there was very low, since there were 27 seconds left and Iowa was on its 31. Even an incompletion followed by a punt leaves Michigan with 15-17 seconds and probably 40 yards to go for a long field goal attempt. And you know Michigan's not going to get a great return. About the only thing Michigan can hope for is a punt block.

Still, if you asked me to choose between that sort of error and the ones Carr made more regularly I'd go with that one. The instinct to wring another possession out of the first half is right, and usually Rodriguez is going to be calling that timeout with 1:30 or 2:00 on the clock, in which case the risk  you take is more than offset by the strong possibility you'll get the ball back.

What about the other timeout?

That was on offense.

I'm asking about it now.

Fine: obviously you want that timeout a lot more than the half-yard you save by expending it but it's really hard to expect players to break years of training and not call it when the play-clock ticks down.

Anything else?

You want me to say chart—



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 8.5 4 4.5 Had a couple issues on the ground and UFR is newly tough on vacating your lane when the QB scrambles out for good yardage, so those are the minuses. Still had two sacks.
Heininger 1.5 - 1.5 Split a double that contained Bulaga!
Patterson - - - DNP.
Roh 5.5 1 4.5 Had a couple hurries, used his athleticism well from the backside on a couple runs.
Herron - 1 -1 Did little except run by Stanzi once..
Martin 9 4.5 4.5 Demonstrated great agility several times and had a couple good pass rush moves but got crushed off the ball four times, too.
Van Bergen 5 - 5 Very competent against a day of single blocking, which got him a lot of half points.
Banks - - - Played less.
Sagesse - - - Also played little.
Campbell - 3 -3 At least people will stop asking about him now.
TOTAL 29.5 14.5 15 NT collectively got blown off the ball six times and the rushing stats were still pretty good.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 8.5 4 4.5 This looks like progress… now about play action?
Mouton 6 9 -3 Three weeks in a row: alternates great plays with killer mistakes.
Brown 3.5 5 -1.5 Some issues in coverage, took some of the hit for the second Moeaki TD.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP.
Leach - - - DNP.
TOTAL 18 18 0 Run filling = very good. Pass defense = very bad.
Player + - T Notes
Warren 3.5 1 2.5 Busy day; can't blame him for either long reception.
Cissoko - - - DNP.
Floyd - - - DNP.
Turner - - - DNP.
Woolfolk 2 1.5 0.5 Major win relative to the other guys Michigan's thrown out there. Why hasn't he been a corner all year?
Williams 2 8 -6 Oh.
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 2.5 3 -0.5 Missed one tackle, made another few, good downhill box safety.
TOTAL 10 13.5 -3.5 Ah, disastrous safeties. How I did not miss you.
Pressure 12 4 8 Three sacks and a lot of harassment.
Coverage 19 23 -4 Actually very good except for the three disaster plays that totaled -13.
Tackling 12 3 9 Another good day. Wish I had English numbers to compare it against; missed tackles do seem rare, don't they?

A step back from the DL, which was almost +30 against MSU. A step forward for the linebackers, albeit only to mediocrity, and a step back from the secondary mostly because of the return of safety doom.

So… um… delicately phrased question about Mike Williams?

Very tactful. It's hard to blame Williams for the first disastrous Moeaki touchdown. He was obviously coached to see if the TE was staying in to block and attack the QB if he did. When Moeaki set up and he reacted and Moeaki released, that was just Ken O'Keefe owning Robinson. That play caused the email that spurred the obviously goofy addition of RPS this week; these things are always goofy because I forget to track it 80% of the time I try something new. When these things occur it's not 100% on the player in question. O'Keefe noticed the tendency to blitz vast numbers sometimes (seven happened several times against MSU) and killed it dead.

I still gave him a –3, yeah. But I'm not 100% mad about it.

Third and twenty-five is a different story, there is the Robinson quote above and this still I grabbed:


You can see the TE bugging out to the sidelines and Kovacs in a deep seam zone with Warren in cover-three to the outside; Williams absolutely has to get deeper than this. There is nothing threatening him short and it's third and twenty-four. It was a huge mistake from a guy who was thrust into a new-ish position—Woolfolk was always the deep centerfield guy before—and speaks to why Michigan needed to move Woolfolk in the first place despite the evident lack of a second cornerback.

Michigan has two defensive backs and one feisty walk-on mini-linebacker. It's pick your poison.

But moving Woolfolk seemed to work out, right?

Yeah. He was tested a couple times on fade routes, breaking one up and seeing the other one glance off the WR's fingertips because his coverage was good. There were a couple errors on outs. Despite that, it was by far the best performance Michigan's gotten out of that spot all year. The Woolfolk move allowed Michigan to play the press cover man Robinson said he wanted to play in August for the first time all year, and they played it well. Michigan's going to have to hope Williams makes a quick adjustment because Woolfolk isn't moving back.

And how about Will Campbell?

Campbell got crushed backwards on two separate zone plays and basically sat at the LOS on a passing down. He was poor, and I assume we'll see Sagesse again next week. Campbell was not ready to play.

You gave a collective –8 and a cover –6 on the second Moeaki TD. Overreact much?

Hey, man, Stanzi had his choice of two different tight ends wide open for easy touchdowns. –6 coverage each, and –4 for one disastrously open receiver x 2 = –8. It's time to get serious about big negative plays. UFR is going tough love. Or something.

Ezeh… good?

So I really wish I had the video for this and will revisit it tomorrow when I do. For now I'll just have to use my words: Michigan appears to have changed their style here. Early in the year, linebackers were sitting back and waiting for stuff to develop. Here's Ezeh and Mouton sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting, against Notre Dame:

Against Iowa the linebackers were screaming downhill at the first sign of zone blocking, which accounts for the +2s and TFLs and times that Ezeh smashed a FB at the LOS and closed down a hole for no gain. I think it also accounts for a large number of wide open waggle plays, amongst them Moeaki Disaster II. I'll come back to this when I have more evidence.


Delicately phrased comment about Mike Williams. Also: Mouton's got to stop making big errors. Will Campbell was extremely ineffective in limited time. Mike Martin showed a propensity to get blown back for the first time all year.


A first: I won't mention Warren or Graham first. Ryan Van Bergen's crazy hulk up after the 85-yard Indiana touchdown has now extended itself to three games. Hes only got a +5 above but when you don't get to the QB much and end up with a bunch of half-points, +5 from a DT is a good day. I no longer think of him as a weakness on the line.

Elsewhere, yes, Graham had two sacks and though he was less beastly than usual he is still a beast. And the two corners had a good day.

What does it mean for Delaware Penn State and beyond?

Michigan's new glaring hole to attack again and again is free safety, which says things about Woolfolk and the fellows trying to replace Woolfolk. The corner play should be improved; Williams should just start playing afraid of letting anything behind him forever.

The defensive line continued being functional to good, but the disturbing ability of Iowa to blow NTs off the ball on their zone stretch plays was a new development. By my count it happened six times and was the only reason Iowa got more than 2 YPC on the ground. Penn State's shambles of an offensive line has really struggled with the stretch play this year—Iowa eviscerated them, and Michigan's just-ok OL did very well—and probably won't be able to duplicate that, but if they do look out. Royster remains dangerous when he can get past the LOS. Which he cannot regularly. That matchup will be one to watch early.

I've been saying this for a few weeks now: if Michigan can just stop making huge freaking errors this defense can be okay. They made some huge freaking errors against Iowa and were still okay, but Iowa's offense was a participant in that. Penn State and Ohio State look to also be participating-type offenses, though, and Illinois definitely is. It'll be hairy. On the podcast this week I called the defense "competition-invariant": they have talent and do well when they use it but when they make an error is so huge that even Indiana can exploit it ruthlessly, so the defense kind of plays the same against everyone.



October 14th, 2009 at 2:54 PM ^

I am not sure that you should ding the play call on the first Moeaki TD. It seems it was Williams' fault, and he should've watched his man disengage from "blocking" and then gone into coverage. If you say the call was just to watch the TE to see if he blocks initially, and blitz if so, then yeah, Robinson takes the hit. If Williams' assignment is to watch the TE to see if he blocks, and blitz if so, then it's Williams' overeagerness and forgetting that he still has the TE.


October 14th, 2009 at 7:13 PM ^

This is called a hug technique. When the DB/LB is in man coverage and sees his man block, the DB/LB blitzes. He's not watching the offensive player the entire time - if he reads block, he goes. He can't blitz AND keep an eye on the tight end at the same time.

Ken O'Keiff caught Robinson in a bad play call. It happens. There's an offensive play to beat every defensive call, and there's a defensive play to thwart every offensive play. It's probably just good scouting on Iowa's part. They saw that in certain situations or against certain formations, Robinson likes to blitz or run this play call. So O'Keiff called somethiing to beat it and it worked.

Better luck next time.

steve sharik

October 15th, 2009 at 12:01 AM ^

...I have my cover guys line up inside shade of the TE right on the LOS. That way the TE will most likely block him and the defender is taught, as Mangus said, to "hug him up."

What also can be done (and may have been done so it's hard to know on whom to pin the blame) is to tell the two defenders, "okay, whoever this guy goes to block, you hug him up," so it could very well have been Stevie Brown's assignment to hug up Moeaki once Moeaki blocked him.


October 14th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

I was camping this weekend and thus unable to get a TV signal, though we were able to listen to the game on the radio. The UM announcing crew was equally mystified as to why Iowa would target Warren so frequently.

By the second half Brandstader had a theory. He watched Stanzi repeatedly throw poorly to his left but look reasonably accurate to his right. Warren was most often positioned on that right side. Therefore the theory was that Iowa frequently asked Stanzi to throw to his more comfortable side whether Warren was there or not. Given how erratic Stanzi looked, this might be correct.

NOTE #1 - Without watching the game I might have confused the left/right directions in the above comment, but the idea is the same.

NOTE #2 - Is Iowa really the best Big Ten team? Wow.....maybe all of those ESPN droids are correct that our conference sucks.


October 14th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

I always thought that Cissoko would be great in the nickel role that Brandon Harrison played well at for a couple of years. It would be sort of like a hybrid Safety/Corner position. But it doesn't seem like such a position exists anymore.

My theory on the defensive player depth chart is that you're seeing the coaches realize that intelligence (or instincts) is far more important than athletic ability. That's why you're seeing walk ons play and freshmen like Vlad or Big Will sit on the bench. I think they can obtain that intelligence in time, at least to some extent, but right now they aren't mentally prepared to be on the field.

JT Floyd seems to have the intelligence and make reasonable decisions out there, but he just lacks the physical tools to be effective (i.e. too slow). Cissoko seems to have some of the tools (speed, ball skills) but doesn't seem to know what he should be doing on a given play. You crave for a physical talent like Vlad at safety, Turner at corner, or Will in the middle but I think they're just not confident in what they are supposed to do. And when you don't know what you should be doing, it doesn't matter how strong or fast you are because you'll be victimized. Kovacs (and even Leach to a lesser extent) seem to know where they are supposed to be.

I think you can get away with raw ability somewhat on offense where a guy may need to only know his assignment but on defense you have to make decisions based on what you see in front of you. I don't think we can write off any of these young guys. In an ideal world you're not supposed to play true freshmen big minutes. But a look at the depth chart for safety reveals no one but Williams as an upper-classman.


October 14th, 2009 at 7:06 PM ^

That position isn't needed anymore. Brown can cover slot guys, and both Kovacs and Williams can blitz.

I do think Cissoko would be playing Harrison's old role if Ron English were still around, though.


October 15th, 2009 at 11:03 AM ^

and would add that while Turner, Emilien and Campbell are physically dominant against people their age, they probably aren't dominant against guys 3-4 years older than them. So even though they should be better athletes than the lower ranked guys who are starting ahead of them, they aren't as physically or mentally ready to play.


October 14th, 2009 at 3:19 PM ^

Stanzi read Cover 3 and keyed the linebacker, who he thought would be the flat defender. The WR saw what it was, Cover 2, and settled down where he expected the gap in the zone to be. So when Stanzi threw, Warren was the only one in the flat. TD.


October 14th, 2009 at 7:34 PM ^

in previous weeks. Making him responsible for plays where he has to run with someone is a serious risk. GERG generally uses him as robber if anything in coverage. It worked in this particular case, I think, because it played off our tendency and Stanzi isn't the best reader of defenses.


October 14th, 2009 at 7:44 PM ^

Well, specifically, I wanted to see that look against Notre Dame. I know that's tough because they have two deep threats and you wouldn't want to see Williams (who was healthy until late in that game) matched up with either, and perhaps not even Woolfolk. But with all those hitches they kept running that were wide open, I just wanted to see Robinson toss a Cover 2 look in there to catch Clausen off guard.


October 14th, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

Everyone make sure to look at the play type description on Warren's INT. Made me LOL at my desk.

Although I think the formation is actually a Benny Hill 3-wide, which looks quite similar to Ace 3-wide. Other than that, good UFR.


October 14th, 2009 at 3:47 PM ^

Nice work, as always. Thanks for repeating Competition Invariant for me. Like I said yesterday, fancy words I cant remember.

I like the way the D has come around. Four close games and each time the D stepped up late to get the ball back. We've has so much shuffling on the Back 4, that I feel once a cinsistent lineup can roll out there week after week, you will see those big plays further minmiized.

I think we beat Penn State. People seem to think it is a bad matchup, but I dont see that. They dont run the football as well as Iowa, dont have as strong an offensive line and Moeki, DJK and McNutt are a better set of catching threats than anything Penn State has. And, this D can force Clark into mistakes.


October 14th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

It was valuable to get him in there and get some game experience, however humbling it was. He knows very well now that size alone won't get it done. If nothing else, it ought to lead to increased focus during practice on technique and fundamentals.

And Brian, it was only a few weeks ago during one of your WTKA appearances that you expressed an interest in seeing Campbell line up next to Mike Martin, so I don't know why you're now so dismissive of those who have been curious about Campbell themselves. You got your answer as well as the rest of us.


October 14th, 2009 at 4:00 PM ^

Our D lists two Rivals' Five Star(Warren, Graham)and six Four Star(Williams, Martin, van Bergen, Roh, Martin, Brown) players. I understand how Rivals' is a flawed system; a lot more goes into recruiting than this metric. Nonetheless, this group has been playing at a consistent level all season: they are bad. And they don't appear to be improving at all.

Wisconsin's D held tOSU's O to 184 yds, held Pryor to 5-13 for 84 yds, and gave up 10 points. Their offense surrendered two INTs for TDs, plus a kickoff return for a TD.

The Badgers D consists of Rivals three, two and NO star players. While they are not world beaters, this defense is at least respectable.

Is it our players? Our coaches? I cannot believe a school like Wisconsin can out-recruit and out-coach a school like M.


October 14th, 2009 at 4:07 PM ^

I like Wisco. I think their team is pretty good. But, I would caution making any judgements by looking at one box score from one game

They may have put some good stats up against OSU, but it should be pointed out that Fresno, particularily the Bulldog WRs, dominated the Badgers. Teams with a competent passing attack should do well against this team because of that. Also, had the Spartans just stuck with Cousins, instead of Nichol, that game might have been different since he is the better passer.

A defense is not about collecting 'recruiting stars' but rather molding a unit that thinks and acts as one brick wall against the offense. Wisco has had a lot more coaching staff cohesion on that end and they have not had to constantly reshuffle their lineup either this year, both of which have been problems for Michigan.

I think our D is respectable, we just give up too big plays, but if we can ever roll out a secondary lineup that isnt always in flux for a few weeks, I think those will close down.


October 14th, 2009 at 4:09 PM ^

Why not? You mean just because they're up in Madison and not in Ann Arbor they're automatically inferior?

Perhaps it might be because the Wisky defensive system has not changed several times in the last few years (just speculating; maybe they have...)

Besides, I think our defense has been making strides the last few weeks.

STW P. Brabbs

October 15th, 2009 at 8:46 AM ^

Aside from Williams (who was a fringe 4-star, IIRC) who had a rough time in his first experience as a deep safety, you just listed the bright spots of the defense. I thought your post was a defense of Rivals rankings at first.

Not listed in the group of players above: Walk-on, unrated SS Jordan Kovacs; 3-star DB Troy Woolfolk who had just moved back to CB; 3-star RB Obi Ezeh, starting MLB.

So yeah, you can ding our recruiting for the last few seasons for not giving us better talent on defense. But it's hard to criticize the coaching, especially since the current DC has been on the job for a grand total of 6 games.

And we haven't played OSU yet, so I don't understand the UW comparison whatsoever.

Lameness all around.


October 14th, 2009 at 5:35 PM ^

In high school at least, Cissoko was rated a pure corner with all the tools (speed, hips, confidence) except for height. If he comes back on the team, I don't see him being moved away from his natural position, especially when (1) Warren may not be here next year; and (2) even if Warren is back, both corners will be seniors.

North Star

October 14th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

I don't see our defensive issues as lack of talent issues - it is mental not physical - it comes down to knowing the situation and your assignment, and sticking w/ your assignment - the first Moleaki TD is the perfect example - if you are man to man on the TE, you simply cannot abandon the TE, even if the TE starts to block.

I'd like to believe that a majority of the Defense's mistakes are a function of the discontinuity on the D-coordinator side, and that they disappear over time. But I'm having a hard time convincing myself that's the case - it is simply inexplicable how a deep safety lets a receiver run by him on 3rd and 24 - why do you need top college coaching to avoid this type of mistake?


October 14th, 2009 at 5:15 PM ^

While the blunder by Williams on this play was huge, the time it took to make it was very small. He really just stopped moving his feet for a split-second and that is all it takes for a receiver going full speed to get behind you. For a guy playing deep/free safety for the first time it isn't that surprising.

I think Robinson should take some blame for the first TE touchdown if only for the fact that he put the kid in a difficult situation on a third and long. Bringing the house and forcing a young kid who is new to the position to make a split second decision like that just seems to be asking for trouble, especially when he is the last line of defense.


October 14th, 2009 at 5:09 PM ^

For a defense with so many young/inexperienced players, they are doing a wonderful job. Williams was definitely not good on Saturday, but he was also playing a new position for the first time and is only a sophomore.

This team was absolutely ravaged by defections/transfers and has only two senior players on the defensive side of the ball. Guys are not getting a chance to watch and learn, so mistakes have to be expected. We have a true freshman starting at DE/OLB, a RS freshman walk-on starting at strong safety, a true sophomore playing a new position at the free safety spot, a true sophomore DT, and another RS sophomore starting on the d-line. The backups are even younger and less experienced. No matter how much talent a kid has (star ratings and what have you), expecting him to contribute right away at the D-I level is ridiculous.

All that being said, they took State to overtime on the road in a game where the offense played horribly for 3.5 quarters and they lost by two at Iowa (a ranked, undefeated team) in a game where the offense turned it over 5 times.

This defense deserves a lot of credit for what they've accomplished and is only going to get better as they mature and add reinforcements in the next few recruiting classes.

2 Walter Smith

October 14th, 2009 at 5:56 PM ^

I have a whole new appreciation for the need for technique on the defensive line. I could not believe how Campbell was manhandled every time he was out there. I realize he is young and inexperienced, but I thought his sheer talent would prevent him from being dominated like that. Wow.

It gives me even more appreciation for what Mike Martin did last year. Go Hulk!

Guys with wrestling backgrounds are ideal for the D-line (i.e. Rob Renes, Terrance Taylor).


October 14th, 2009 at 9:12 PM ^

On Williams' seeming backstep, I think his problem boils down to, literally, his back-step.

i.e. his back-peddling.

The guy had an ankle injury, and that was keeping him out for large chunks of the early season, nay?

Is it possible that his problem in getting back into coverage on the third and twenty-thousand-million was simply an angry ankle? He was back-pedaling really slowly for a defensive back IIRC. I'm thinking perhaps that leg is just, you know, still smarting.


October 14th, 2009 at 9:23 PM ^

I'm re-watching the game and I think we had at least 3 almost-INT's. I mean where our DB's are just a few inches away from picking off the Hawkeyes. Just brining this up because I think Brian's comment is correct, this defense is pretty good, as long as they aren't making catastrophic mistakes.... sounds silly but it is true.

I have to believe these mistakes are due to relative inexperience on the D and as has been oft repeated, 3rd D coordinator in 3 years.

It also seems like our LB's and DB's were biting hard on play action, hopefully this won't be quite so bad in the coming games, it lead to some of Iowa's big gainers.

The D will be better next season. If we can pray to the Angry Michigan DB Hating God and have him keep Warren here for one more year, we'll be pretty good on D.


October 15th, 2009 at 7:09 AM ^

i thought he played well overall, but he deserves some (-) for the second moeaki TD. he's creeping towards the LOS, then when the ball is snapped, he does nothing. he doesn't cover anyone. he doesn't rush the passer even though there is nobody there to block him. he basically just sits there guarding air.

overall though, i was happy with the defense considering how many times the offense put them in a bad position.