Upon Further Review: Defense vs. Northwestern

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2006 at 7:59 PM

Highlights from Dangerous Logic; special thanks to IBFC for providing the second half for review. Mutter mutter roommates.

< td>Pass

O27 1 10 Nickel Pass Inc Stop
Ball is hopped a good five yards short of his man. (IN)
O27 2 10 Nickel Pass 18 Screen
First in a bevy. We blitz Burgess; Harris is sealed by a wide receiver coming down to block him... bad angle for him. Where's Harrison(-1)? I don't know. Harris does well to get as far outside as he can despite dealing with two blockers, but Harrison is really late, giving Sutton the sideline. (CA)
O45 1 10 Base 4-3 Pass Inc Slant
Open for about five, but Lane drops it. (CA, cover -1)
O45 2 10 Nickel Pass Inc Seam
Bacher's pass bounces harmlessly, as Herbert wasn't looking for the ball. Harris(+1, cover +1) is in outstanding coverage.
O45 3 10 Base 4-3 Penalty 5 Offsides
50 3 5 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 17 Stop and slant?
This route probably has a name but I don't know what it is. Herbert runs a hitch, gets Burgess to come up on him, then releases inside, finding a gap in the zone. Bacher gets off a nice pass despite getting killed by Woodley(+1, pressure +1, cover -1).
M33 1 10 Nickel Pass Inc Double screens
Fakes a screen out to Sutton, then comes back to Herbert on the other side of the field. Low and dropped... would have gone for a lot of yards otherwise. (IN)
M33 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Run -2 Zone read
Good god. Woodley(+1) penetrates into the backfield about three yards; Harris(+1) comes up behind him and pounds Sutton. If he didn't make the tackle Crable and Englemon were also right there.
M35 3 12 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -13 Sack
Woodley(+3) comes around the outside, swatting the ball out of Bacher's hands. Sack, FF, FR. Niiice. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q.
O20 1 10 Nickel Pass 23 Corner
Peterman wide open in front of Adams. Actual time to throw from Bacher (pressure -1, cover -1)
O43 1 10 Base 4-3 Pass 8 Cross
Play action with an end around fake. Bacher picks out a small hole in the zone; Herbert tackled immediately. (pressure -1)
M49 2 2 Nickel Pass Inc Slant
Taylor(+1) appears to be dropping into a short zone? No way. I guess. He gets a momentary push on the DL, then drops back. He's probably a screen spy on this play. He happens to be right in the throwing lane. (BA cover +1)
M49 3 2 Nickel Run 4 Off tackle
Sutton squeezes off tackle for the first down but is then popped by Adams(+1), jarring the ball loose. Hall scoops it up.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
O19 1 10 Nickel Run -2 Off tackle?
Hard to tell the play design since Woodley(+2) is chipped by the TE and then into the backfield, shedding the attempted block from the fullback like he is an impudent child. By the time the cavalry arrives Woodley is already bringing the RB down.
O17 2 12 Nickel Pass Inc Screen
Dropped. Took too long to set up, anyway, and a slashing Hall(+1) would have crushed this for a loss if caught.
O17 3 12 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 8 Screen
Woodley(+1) runs this down, coming from the other side of the field on a stunt, reading the play, and chasing down Sutton. Dang.
O25 4 4 Punt Return Penalty 5 Running into kicker
You know, if we aren't ever going to block a punt we could probably forgo this bit.
O30 1 10 Nickel Pass 8 Stop
Lane in a small gap in the zone; Harris CROOSHES him after the catch. (cover -1)
O38 2 2 Nickel Penalty -5 Illegal formation
Wipes out a nice Sutton gain.
O32 2 7 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Comeback
Play action fake suckers no one. Jeremy Van Alstyne (!, +1) gets a QB hurry, forcing an incompletion. (pressure +1)
O32 3 7 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 6 Stop
Bacher forced to come down to a receiver short of the sticks on this rollout; the two deeper guys are covered. Hall(+1) makes a stiff, sure tackle to prevent the first down. (cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 3 min 1st Q. Really two three-and-outs back to back because of the penalty, though one was penalty-aided.
O3 1 10 Base 4-3 Run -1 Off tackle
Yeesh. Branch(+1) burrows into the backfield, leaving Sutton to meet unblocked Burgess and Barringer.
O2 2 11 Base 4-3 Run -1 Off tackle
Jordan slips trying to make a cut away from a penetra ting Taylor(+1).
O1 3 12 Base 4-3 Pass Inc FB screen
Uh... yeah, that's not going to work. Taylor(+1) is on top of Bacher so fast that he throws off his back foot, wildly inaccurate. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
O26 1 10 Nickel Pass Inc Dumpoff
High and through Sutton's hands. Englemon(+1) in good coverage(+1).
O26 2 10 Nickel Run -1 Shotgun sweep
Biggs(+1) gets penetration, disrupting the play and stringing it out into the arms of Burgess(+1), et al.
O25 3 11 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 0 Screen
Harris(+1) dives between blockers, stripping them from Sutton and allowing a pursuing Englemon(+1) to make the tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 5 min 2nd Q.
O9 1 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc ???
Jamison is about six inches from another flyby strip job like the one that ended Northwestern's first possession. He misses, Bacher throws yards wide of his receiver. Miscommunication. Hall nearly picks it off.
O9 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Out
No idea why they're throwing at Hall. He jumps this, nearly intercepting the ball and knocking it down. (Hall +1, cover +2)
O9 3 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Out
Adams comes unblocked through the middle. Bacher throws a jump ball; Morgan Trent(+1) is there, breaking up the pass. (pressure +1, cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 2 min 2nd Q. Breaston fumbles the punt.
M44 1 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 0 Screen
The old play where they get someone to fake a block, fall down, and wander out to the other side of the field, wide open. This they do, but Hall(+1) comes up, laying a thumping blow on the receiver. (Hall +1, cover +1). This play doesn't work against zone.
M44 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 9 – 10 Screen
Adams(-1) misses a tackle, turning zero yards into seven. Too bad: we had this play nailed. Holding call downfield brings it back. On review: holding is horrifically weak and should not have been called.
M45 2 11 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -1 Screen
DO YOU SENSE A PATTERN? Branch(+1) is spying on the play; Englemon(+1) comes up and helps blow the play up.
M46 3 12 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Deep post
Hall in better position to catch this ball than the receiver; he goes up but gets bumped. The pass skitters through his hands. Still (Hall +1, cover +1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0 EOH.
O46 1 10 Nickel Pass 8 Slant
Northwestern in this double stack formation with one WR lined up directly behind another on each side of the line. We press the first guy on the right side of the line; the other guy runs a slant under him. With the second DB on the play eight yards off the LOS, he's wide open. (Cover -1)
M46 2 2 Nickel Run -2 Off tackle
Biggs(+1) pushes the OT into the backfield, forcing Sutton to go around him. By the time he does, Burgess(+1) has discarded a WR – who was never going to be anything more than an irritation to him – and cut off the corner.
M48 3 4 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 8 Slant
Good throw and catch in front of Harrison(-1, cover -1)
M40 1 10 Nickel Run 4 Double reverse
No, seriously: not one of those silly end-around reverse things but an honest-to-god double reverse featuring four guys touching the football. Alan Branch(+1) gets out on the corner to hold the gain down.
M36 2 6 Base 4-3 Pass 25 + 6 Swing
Plus roughing the passer on Taylor(-1). Simple swing pass where Sutton beats Graham(-2) in coverage. (Cover -1)
M6 1 G Base 4-3 Pass Inc Cross
NW tries to get the ball to their fullback again... he has a couple steps on Crable but Bacher hesitates and eventually throws up a duck that is yards short of his man. (IN, pressure -1, cover -1)
M6 2 G Nickel Run 2 Off tackle
Jamison(+1) and Johnson(+1) are double-teamed but hold up, leaving both linebackers unblocked. Graham makes the play.
M40 3 6 Nickel Pass -2 Swing
Bacher pressured by Branch(+1) up the middle and is forced into a jumping, looped pass to Sutton that gives Michigan plenty of time to react and converge. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: FG, 10-3, 9 min 3rd Q.
O34 1 10 Nickel Pass Int Corner
Hall(+2) is in zone. He initially makes a move to the shorter or two routes designed to go against the zone, then backs off into the corner route, making the interception. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Int, 10-3, 6 min 3rd Q.
O33 1 10 Nickel 6 Hitch
Zone blitz doesn't get there on this three man drop. Hall is there to hold this down to about four but misses a tackle(-1). Jamison has dropped into a short zone and finishes the play.
O39 2 4 3-3-5 Nickel Run 0 – 10 Off tackle
Holding drawn by Shawn Crable(+1). Harris(+1) and Branch(+1) converge to hold this to no gain anyway.
O29 2 14 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 12 Hitch
Peterman sits down in front of Harris in the zone. Fine if this is a no-YAC route, but Harris(-1) doesn't react quickly enough and lets him pick up most of the yardage he needs. (cover -1)
O41 3 2 Nickel Pass Inc Panic
Empty backfield; Michigan sends two blitzers, leaving Woodley entirely unblocked. Bacher heaves it to avoid a sack. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-3, 1 min 3rd Q.
M24 1 10 Nickel Pass Inc Flat
Likely a screen to the fullback. Otherwise insane: why do teams continue to think that trying to block Woodley with a back is a good idea? Woodley(+1) steps around Sutton and gets a QB hurry, forcing the incompletion. (pressure +1)
M24 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Run -6 Off tackle
You know, Crable(+3) has this amazing knack for making plays from the interior of the line in the run game. He's lined up in the standup DT spot right over the center. He engages and goes right around him, getting to the handoff almost before the exchange is made. Outstanding play.
M30 3 16 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Int Fly
Pocket holds for a long, long time, giving Bacher time to take a shot... which is way underthrown and intercepted. Barringer(+1) makes the interception. Only +1 because Lane was open on this one. (IN, pressure -1, cover -1)
Drive Notes: Int, 17-3, 13 min 4th Q.
O11 1 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 23 Underthrown Fly
One of those balls that's hard to defend because it's hideously underthrown. Trent in good position – better position than Lane – but can't react quickly enough to the unexpectedly short ball. No blame assigned.
O34 1 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Seam
Overthrown; receiver was bracketed anyway. (+1 Harrison, +1 cover)
O34 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc Out
Hall(+1) jumps the route; I think he gets the PBU. In any case he makes the completion a really difficult one. (cover +1)
O34 3 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -8 Sack
Momentary hesitation/confusion plus a clever blitz that gets Harris(+1) unblocked == quarterback goo. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-3, 8 min 4th Q.
O23 1 10 Nickel Run 3 Off tackle
Backup DL in. Brandon Graham is momentarily sealed, creating a small crease. He disengages and makes the tackle.
O26 2 7 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 15 Out
Yeah... this is essentially garbage time. Soft stuff, won't penalize the coverage, especially with the backups (mostly) in.
O41 1 10 Base 4-3 Pass Inc Fly
Charles Stewart(+1) in excellent coverage deep.
O41 2 10 3-3-5 Nickel Run 2 Off tackle
NW has given up. Nice play by Crable, at DE, to stand up his guy and tackle at the appropriate moment. STOP RUNNING THE BALL. (+1 Crable)
O43 3 8 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 16 Out?
Jamison(+1) hits Bacher just as he releases the ball, forcing a popup that heads right for Lane... who's still really, really open. (+1 pressure, -2 cover).
M41 1 10 3-3-5 Nickel Run -6 Speed option
That's more like it. Nice job by Woodley(+1) to string the play out; Harrison(+1) to beat a block and get the TFL.
M47 2 16 Nickel Pass -6 Sack
Woodley(+2) around the outside. Croosh silly quarterback. (pressure +1)
O47 3 22 Nickel Run 12 QB Draw
Infuriating 12 yard run on third and 22. Damn you and your rush distortion.
M41 4 10 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Int Cross
Harris(+1) picks off a pass thrown right to him. (cover +1)
Drive Notes: Int, 17-3, EOG.

So that was pretty okay.

Yes, after some initial shakiness Michigan was a three-and-out machine. If you count the drive with the running into the kicker penalty as two separate three-and-outs, then Northwestern's drives had this many plays: 8, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 8, 1, 3, 3, 4. One eight-play drive ended with a Woodley sack/strip/recover, the other a field goal. The rest of the day featured two first downs. Northwestern's hideous rushing totals were not due to a ton of sacks but rather a complete inability to even get back to the line of scrimmage when they ran the ball. It was a dominant performance.

Northwestern's a bad team but they were much worse earlier in the season when they were trying to pretend Brewer and Kafka were quarterbacks instead of getting Bacher in there after a fall camp injury. They actually have a passing game with him around, so this game might mean a tiny bit. Not much but a tiny bit.



Two sacks, another TFL, a FF, a FR, and several other plays where he either caused an incompletion or strung a running play out so that someone else could get the TFL.

Player + - T Notes
Woodley 12   12
Biggs 2   2  
Taylor 3 2 1 Both minuses were stupid penalties, one offsides and one roughing the passer. Becoming a bad habit.
Branch 5   5 Relatively quiet.
Johnson 1   1  
Germany - - -  
Jamison 2 - 2  
B. Graham - - -  
Crable 5 - 5 Relatively quiet in the pass game. Created a 6-yard TFL by himself, though.
Harris 6 1 5 Solid day.
C. Graham - 2 -2 Was beaten on the Sutton swing that led to NW's only points.
Burgess 2   2  
Hall 8 1 7 Northwestern kept going after him, oddly, and paid the price.
Harrison 2 2 0  
Stewart 1 - 1 So he's faster than Ross Lane.
Sears - - - DNP.
Adams 1 1 0  
Englemon 3 - 3 Nice day against screens.
Barringer 1 - 1  
Mundy - - - DNP?
Trent 1 - 1  
"Pressure" 11 4 7 Ton of short drops and screens kept these numbers down.
"Coverage" 13 12 -1 Decent day.

Any worries about OSU pop up in this game?

Not really. Michigan got a whole lot of work on that screen thing and did well save for the first one, which went for 18 yards. The defensive line was as dominant as you might expect against Northwestern's OL. The running? Eh... not so much. The complete bludgeoning of the NW run game is heartening, since a capable outside runner deployed from the spread was the last Pokemon waiting to be collected before the Ohio State game. Obviously the OSU offensive line is vastly superior to Northwestern's, but we've faced good tackles and bad, good guards and bad, inside pounders and shifty outside guys and pounded them all into paste. Ohio State's probably the best running offense we'll see this year (Wisconsin could potentially be better), but I have no worries about the defense shutting down the ground game. Troy Smith running around willy-nilly is another matter.

Anything else of note?

Not really. It was Northwestern; we crushed them; next.

Ball State?

Uh... has three wins over teams who collectively have three wins. They'll go splat.