Upon Further Review: Defense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 16th, 2009 at 2:40 PM

A couple of notes: Michigan spent the entire game in its base formation and never once substituted at linebacker or in the secondary except when forced to by Mike Williams's injury. They rotated along the defensive line, with eight players (starters plus Heininger, Sagesse, Banks, and Herron) seeing time. The 4-3 under is just the base defense now and there's not a whole lot of surprise in what they're doing. The 30 front is a pass D 90% of the time. I think when you saw it on run plays it was actually what USC calls "double eagle" and was more of a 5-2, but I'm still a little rough on that.

Notre Dame went back to its 3-wide personnel as a base set and used Rudolph a lot like M uses Koger.

Also, make sure to check out Steve Sharik's defensive analysis. I haven't read it yet, so these opinions are not mingled with his.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace 4-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Martin 0
This appears to be targeted at the gap between Graham and Martin, but Martin(+0.5) slashes past the center and Graham(+0.5) holds up against a double team, forcing Allen to bounce it to Brown, who's held up on the outside(+0.5) and tackles with safety help.
O20 2 10 Ace 4-wide 4-3 under Run Draw RVB 25
Yikes, terrible play from two players opens up a huge hole. One: Van Bergen(-2) tries a cute pass-rush move around the RG and gets crushed; the guard gets under his pads and just drives him out of the hole. Two: Ezeh(-2) fails to read this or the direction of the play and actually moves into a block he didn't have to take. The center of the field is wide open.
O45 1 10 Shotgun Empty 4-3 under Pass TE Bubble screen Brown 6
Tough to defend for Michigan from the snap because they've only got two defenders in the area plus deep safeties shaded over. Brown(+1) actually does a good job to avoid a cut block and track down Rudolph, slowing him until help can arrive. (Cover -1)
M49 2 4 I-Form Base 4-3 Pass TE Post Woolfolk Inc
Clausen has all day(pressure -2) and finds an open Rudolph as he streaks past Woolfolk (cover -1); he throws it long. Both backs stayed in to help; Roh's guy has his hands way outside his shoulder pads but doesn't make a spin sort of move in an attempt to draw a hold, instead he just bull rushes to nowhere.
M49 3 4 Shotgun Empty 30 front Pass Slant Ezeh 24
I don't know if this is a bust or what but Michigan sends five and leaves the short middle wide open, so Rudolph runs a little slant that's wide, wide open (cover -2). Michigan, bizarrely, had Ezeh 10 yards off the LOS—safety depth—on third and four, which explains the wide open section of the field. WTF? Ezeh(-1) misses a tackle, turning ten yards into 25. Fail.
M25 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Bubble screen -- 10
Another bubble that's wide open from the snap, something that ND can apparently adjust to in ways OSU can't. With Brown pulled up to the LOS—Michigan is basically in an eight-man front against three-wide, this has no chance of not working. (Cover -2)
M15 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Brown 5
Michigan's linebacker alignment makes no sense here, with Ezeh and Mouton lined up almost on top of each other and Brown on the edge. Brown(+1) manages to get to the outside of Kamara and valiantly strings the play out, but with no linebackers in any spot to track Allen down he manages to fall forward as Mouton trips him from behind.
M10 2 5 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass PA corner Williams Inc
Williams(-1) blitzes off the corner into the running back, who doesn't have the ball, and ends up getting blocked by that guy. Clausen drops back about nine yards and has a ton of time (pressure -2) with the rest of the defense playing the run; he wings it wide of a sort of open Tate.
M10 3 5 Shotgun Empty 4-3 under Run QB draw Graham 0
Graham(+2) owns his guy to the inside and tackles Clausen for no gain despite having an ND OL's arm wrapped around his neck. Missed holding call #1.
Drive Notes: Missed FG (28), 0-0, 10 min 1st Q. A lot of structural deficiencies in the defense on this one: both bubbles were basically indefensible and the Rudolph slant was a WTF formation. Ezeh off to a poor, poor start.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O28 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Comeback Warren 5
Pressure(-2) is stoned and Clausen has a ton of time; downfield coverage(+1) is good and Clausen comes back to a short comeback route that Warren is in front on. Cissoko(-1) had totally lost Floyd on a dig, though, and if Clausen had seen it Floyd would have had 20 or 30 yards.
O33 2 5 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Graham 3
Defensive line does a great job on this, but the linebackers are nowhere. Graham(+1) drives his guy back, forcing a cutback, and Martin discards his blocker and just can quite tackle for loss. Mouton avoids a block but it slows him up and it's actually Van Bergen(+0.5) coming from behind who makes this play. I'm not sure if the linebackers should have done this better.
O36 3 2 Ace 3TE 30 front bear Pass PA Fly Williams Inc
Who saw this playcall coming? The entire stadium? Okay then. Williams(+2), on a blitz, shoots through two blockers and makes a bee-line to Clausen (pressure +2), who chucks it off his back foot and OOB. Inside the tackle box, this is intentional grounding, but it isn't called. Warren(-2), by the way, had gotten smoked by Floyd(cover -2) and without the pressure this was going to be a touchdown.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q. Dodged a bullet.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run Iso Ezeh 13
Michigan is pretty much boned on this from the snap as the defensive line slants away from a quick-hitting play and it's Stevie Brown and Ezeh trying to deal with a monster hole. Ezeh(-2) is pancaked by Rudolph, who sucked as a blocker against Nevada, and there's a huge hole into the secondary. Williams and Cissoko just barely keep this from being a long touchdown. I mean, this sucks from Ezeh. Michigan has a chance if he gets outside Rudolph and funnels the play back inside; he does not and it's very nearly six points.
O40 1 10 Ace Twin TE Empty 4-3 under Pass Hitch Cissoko 15
Ugh. This is painfully, bizarrely open as Cissoko(-2) spends his time staring at the QB instead of the receiver, leaves this wide open(-1), and misses a tackle to compound everything and give Notre Dame eight extra yards.
M45 1 10 I-Form Base 4-3 Run Draw Graham 5
Martin(+1) stands up to a double team and would hold this to no or little gain until Graham(-1) starts giving way against single blocking and a crease opens up. Mouton avoids a tackler and manages to wrap up but Ezeh(-0.5) has run himself into another blocker and can't help, thus allowing Allen to fall forward.
M40 2 5 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Screen -- 18
The overturned touchdown. This is just Michigan sending the house and getting caught. And yes, he's out of bounds, and they got it right.
M22 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Mouton 1
Williams at the line and gets picked off by Rudolph, leaving a fullback and a pulling guard against the Michigan linebacking corps on the edge. Mouton(+1) blazes out to the corner and submarines the fullback, forcing it back inside where Brown(+0.5) tackles.
M23 2 9 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass Checkdown Warren 4
Four-man rush against max pro is 7-on-4 and doesn't get much of anywhere (pressure -1), but the coverage is good (+1) and Clausen is forced to check down to Allen; Warren(+0.5) makes a solid tackle on the catch.
M18 3 5 Ace Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Graham Inc
Max pro again; three man rush. Graham(+1, pressure +1) is threatening to burst through (and is blatantly held) so Clausen decides to just chuck it because that's what he always does. Well out of the endzone. Cissoko(+1) gets praise from Millen for the coverage so OK. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: FG (34), 7-3, 1 min 1st Q. Ensuing kickoff is returned for a touchdown. This is good. It's seven points. But it also throws the defense right back on the field after they've been out for a seven play drive. What stoutness existed, which wasn't much, gets very wobbly for the rest of the half. For instance: Graham is out for most of this drive, replaced by walk-on Will Heiniger.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Wildcat 4-3 under Run End around Mouton 5
Jeez... ND overloads the short side and has two extra blockers over there, something Michigan does not react to. Mouton(-1) is ridiculously hesitant and gets blocked out of the play, leaving the safeties to come up and tackle after a good gain.
O29 2 5 I-Form 4-3 under Run Iso Heininger 4
Unsurprisingly, they run right at Heininger, who gives ground(-0.5). Ezeh(+0.5) does come up to cut off the outside and take out one of the doublers, allowing Heininger and Mike Martin to tackle slightly short of the sticks.
O33 3 1 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Ezeh
It's third and one and ND runs a no-deception pitch sweep and ND's no block tight end ends up blocking Ezeh six yards downfield. -2. Brown(-1) jumped inside on the snap and gave up the corner, too, but Roh's ability to get outside forced an Allen cut that might have been no gain if our MLB wasn't six yards away from the play facing 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
O38 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko 37
Ugh. Nothing at all from the line not named Graham and Graham is doubled by a FB and stalemated (pressure -2). Clausen has his choice of wide open receivers (cover -2) as neither linebacker(-1 each) bothers to get a pass drop and cover Rudolph and Cissoko(-1) gets no help over the top and gets burned badly by Floyd. Result is an easy long completion.
M23 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Dig -- 13
Max pro again but why bother when neither of your RBs has to bother picking anyone up? No one gets within five yards of Clausen (pressure -2) and Clausen has forever to find Tate on a dig; Williams tackles immediately. Can't blame the secondary here.
M10 1 G Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Inside zone Ezeh 6
Eight man front. Sagesse(+1) does a great job of driving the center, who's playside of him, back into the play and forcing a cutback. Tailback now has two gaps, one of which is filled by a charging Mouton, the other filled with... air because Obi Ezeh(-1) has also hit that gap. Gaaaah. Allen slams up into the hole and three guys are now shoving Roh and the pile moves; Allen does a good job of squirting for some extra yards but this should have been no gain.
M4 2 G Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Out Cissoko 4
Terrible coverage from Cissoko(-1, cover -1) makes this super easy. You're on the four, man.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-10, 12 min 2nd Q. Ezeh is killing us in the ground game and no one on the line can get any pressure.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Screen -- 13 (Pen -10)
Young gets a holding call for tackling Graham(+1) as he attempts to get to the QB. Notre Dame is constantly doing this. Stupid play on a screen. ND sets this up well and gets Ezeh blocked and a cutback safeties come up to tackle.
O21 1 20 Shotgun Empty 30 front Penalty Delay of Game -- Pen -5
Oops.
O16 1 25 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko 33
Well, that's one way to get out of first and twenty five. Again max protect again a four-man rush, again Graham gets doubled and the rest of the line does nothing, and Cissoko is on an island against Floyd and can't do anything about it. (Cover –2, pressure -1) It seems insane that Michigan is shading the safeties over Warren and selling Cissoko out to dry.
O49 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass Fly Warren Inc
Superior deep coverage as ND loads up and goes after Warren(+2, cover +1) this time one-on-one with Tate. Warren is a half-step behind and rakes the ball away as it arrives. No pressure(-2) at all again.
O49 2 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Brown 11
Ezeh(+0.5) actually does a good job of cutting off one inside gap and gets to the right side of a blocker to do so. Graham's flowed down the line and can make a tackle if this gets slowed at all but Brown(-1) attempts to cut back into a gap that's not his and falls, opening a lane for Allen.
M40 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Inside zone Herron 4
Kamara motions in to make this sort of a 2TE look. ND doubles and easily seals Herron(-1), opening up the outside, and with Brown trying to get inside of Kamara really what Gray should do is shoot it outside into huge space; he doesn't, instead cutting it up because of Brown's aggression. +0.5, I guess, for results-based charting. Ezeh's got sort of a tough job because Rudolph got a quick release, but he just sort of shoulder-blasts Rudolph and ends up on the wrong side of the play and Gray's error goes from zero yards to four. –0.5.
M36 2 6 Ace 3-wide 30 front Pass Out Cissoko 11 + 12 Pen
Michigan in a 3-4 look and what the hell is Herron doing? He's just sort of hopping around the LOS, not rushing or dropping. Screen protection? Michigan gets Ezeh in on a delayed blitz but it's too late as Tate comes open on a deep hitch against Warren, again on an island. (Cover -1) Rouging the passer on Ezeh(-2) provides 12 more.
M12 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Sagesse 1
Michigan stunting and Sagesse(+1) comes from the interior to the outside, shoving his guy back, holding his ground, and delaying the tailback long enough for a slashing Mouton(+1) blitz to come home. What... a positive play?
M11 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Warren 11
This is pretty close to indefensible. Cover -1, I guess.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-17, 7 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O42 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Delay Mouton 15
Terrible, terrible from Mouton(-3), who just turns his back and heads into a pass drop on a play that has a pulling guard. Hey... maybe that's a run. Yep. Meanwhile, Herron(-1) gets sealed inside and Allen has an easy time of getting to the secondary.
O27 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Delay Graham -1
Same play. Michigan's flipped their formation, though, and has Graham(+2) on the side the run goes to. He shucks a blocker, darts through the line and crushes the run with help from an aggressive Warren(+0.5). This time Mouton decides to see what the play is before reacting.
O28 2 11 Ace 3-wide 30 front Run Off tackle Woolfolk 1
Same play from an earlier drive with Kamara motioning in for the 2TE look. Michigan is in a man look, as Woolfolk moves with Kamara, and this allows him to attack as soon as he sees Kamara set up to run block. The quick reaction gets Woolfolk(+1) in; he sets up outside, forces the play back to help, and tackles on the cut. No one blocked Ezeh, so he helps out. That was because Graham(+0.5) took two blockers.
O27 3 10 Ace 3-wide 30 front Pass Screen Brown 18 (Pen -5)
This is a three man rush, and a screen gets Notre Dame down to the nine. Ugh. Brown(-2) and Ezeh(-1) are late reacting. Flags help out, though. Michigan turns down a downfield hold and accepts an illegal shift.
O32 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 30 front Pass Dumpoff Roh 7
Another three man rush works, forcing Clausen to check down(cover +1) and get within reasonable field goal range.
Drive Notes: FG(42), 14-20, 3 min 2nd Q. Very fortunate, again.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Scramble Graham 6 (Pen -10)
Williams rolled up for 8 in the box. Notre Dame goes play action and Graham(+1) is about to burst through until he gets collared by the LG, drawing a holding flag. Clausen scrambles out for a few yards. (Pressure +1)
O10 1 20 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Long handoff Cissoko 9
Cissoko, petrified, is ten yards deep and moving backwards at the snap; “duh” read for ND. (Cover -1, Cissoko -1)
O19 2 11 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren 12
Michigan sends five and drops into what looks like a very deep zone, opening up Floyd(cover -2) underneath for big yardage. This kind of looks a tiny bit like man but it's hard to tell; if so that would be a minus for Warren. Graham was closing here so no minus on the pressure.
O31 1 10 Ace 4-wide 4-3 under Run Draw Brown -5
Another five man rush gets Brown(+1) in unblocked; he reads the play correctly and attacks the tailback, which doesn't actually make the guy fumble—he just fumbled—but does prevent him from getting it back. Mouton(+1) recovers.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-20, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Run Draw Brown -1
Eight in the box. This seems like a screwed up read from Allen because Roh flies upfield and both linebackers get swallowed up, leaving a big lane to bounce outside in. Instead, Allen runs into the back of one of his OL so hard he falls over. +0.5 for RVB and Martin for holding up and preventing creases. After the bounce, Brown(+1) disengages from Rudolph and tracks Allen down for loss with help from Warren.
M46 2 11 Shotgun Empty 30 front Pass Throwaway Ezeh Inc
Michigan sends six against five blockers and math says they get someone through (pressure +1). They actually get two, one of whom is Ezeh(+0.5) and Clausen just wings it because that's what Clausen does immediately whenever anyone comes within five feet of him. Not that we have a whole lot of evidence for that assertion in this game.
M46 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide 30 front Pass Screen RVB Inc
Three man rush, which I hate except it ND throws a screen so we win RPS. RVB(+1), stunting, reads this and starts tracking Allen, slashing past a blocker, and Warren(+1) also attacks the ball effectively, causing Clausen to turf it. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-20, 6 min 3rd Q. Big stop after a long KO return from ND.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O4 1 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko Inc (Pen +15)
Who's surprised by this call? No one. Roh's held in the endzone, but no call, and Cissoko is running with Tate along the sideline, looking for the ball. It falls incomplete, and the guy staring right at it says incomplete. Five seconds later the back judge, who was 30 yards away, throws a flag. This is super ticky-tack, because Cissoko is arm-fighting with Tate. But I guess if you whine all day about it the backjudge gets misty. Results-based here (Cover -1, Cissoko -1)
O19 1 10 Ace Twin TE 4-3 under Pass PA Out Williams 71 (Pen -10)
Lot of eight man fronts in this half. On this one, ND runs play action that sucks the entire linebacking corps way up, leaving Rudolph unbelievably wide open ten yards downfield with no one even near him (cover -3, -1 Ezeh, -1 Wiliams). Woolfolk(-2) then misses a tackle 40 yards downfield and gives him the rest. Holding brings it back, as Young locked his arms into Roh's and wrestled him to the ground with another hand outside his shoulder pad. “Pancake blocks” don't happen on pass protection. Roh gets a +1. (Pressure +1)
O9 1 20 I-Form 4-3 under Pass PA Out Cissoko 12
I still fail to see why the coverage is shaded towards Warren all day and Cissoko is just left to rot against Floyd. This is way open but it's hard to blame a guy on an island with Mike Floyd. (Cover -1)
O21 2 8 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Bubble screen Inc
Dropped by Kamara. It seems like Woolfolk(+1) reacted quickly and would hold this down anyway. (Cover +1)
O21 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Graham Inc
Wow, Michigan loads up and sends seven(!), which gets Graham(+1), through unblocked (pressure +2) and Clausen, as always, just chucks it.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-20, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Bubble screen Woolfolk 6
Woolfolk(+0.5) reacts immediately, takes a blocker, and bounces off to tackle but Warren(-0.5) seems to react much more slowly, allowing Kamara five instead of just a couple.
O26 2 4 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Mouton 5
Excellent push from Martin(+0.5) and Graham(+0.5) forces a cutback but Mouton(-1) is tardy, and gets blocked downfield and cannot help Roh, who's crashing down from the backside to tackle. With nothing from the linebackers, everyone falls forward.
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Deep hitch Graham Inc
Graham(+1), finally single-blocked, smokes the RT and hits Clausen as he's throwing (pressure +1) to Tate, blanketed by Warren(+1, cover +1)
O31 2 10 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Fly Warren Inc
Michigan sends five; their big halftime adjustment to this point is to get more aggressive. Ezeh(+0.5) eventually splits two blockers and forces Clausen to launch at Tate, covered by Warren(+1), who recovers and rakes the ball away. This is not a drop. It's a PBU. (Cover +1)
O31 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 front Pass Dig -- 14
Argh backing out into a zone and rushing three here. Clausen, accordingly, has all day (pressure -2) and can even roll out at a leisurely pace and find Floyd cutting across the field. I absolutely do not understand a call like this when you can hardly stop these guys except when you get pressure. If you're worried about a screen leave a spy in. Mouton(-1) vacated his zone, opening up the throw.
O45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Woolfolk 12
Kovacs is in the game now... they never showed Williams go out, but he will play the rest of the fourth quarter. This was thrown in front of Woolfolk(-1, cover -1), and neither he or Ezeh can tackle immediately, giving up another five.
M43 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Cissoko Inc
This appears to be on Floyd for being a wuss, as Michigan drops Mouton into a zone over the slant and he just pulls up on it instead of take a chance of getting lit up. As a result, it goes directly to Cissoko, who drops it. I won't minus him but here's a stern look. (Cover +1)
M43 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 30 front Penalty Delay -- -5
This batty formation with Ezeh at safety depth, but it's delay of game.
M48 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Comeback Cissoko 10
Well-executed in front of Cissoko and behind Herron in what looks like zone. (Cover -1) This is the “headless Graham” play, which does not get flagged. CONSPIRACY
M38 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Mouton 6
Michigan appears to be blitzing Ezeh away from the direction of the play, which makes this tough to stop. But what is Mouton(-1) doing? He's flowing down the line and is determined to get outside when he's the only linebacker to the inside and this is a third and five. So he cedes ground voluntarily, actually ending up seven yards downfield, before finally cutting up when he sees that Graham(+0.5) has forced a cut up. Martin tackles from behind but again: with no linebacker help the tailback just heads forward. This has been a constant theme over the last two weeks.
M32 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko Inc
Just a straight fly Cissoko(-2, cover -2) gets smoked on. Tate catches it but it pops out when he hits the ground for an incompletion. Roh(+1) would have gotten to Clausen on the backside if not for the LT holding him around the corner. On replay it looks like Cissoko may have had some small impact on the drop so I'll bump him up to -1, -1.
M32 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 30 front Pass Hitch Cissoko 8
Easy pitch and catch in front of that guy again(cover -1, Cissoko -1), and this time it's not even one of the big stars, it's a freshman. Blitz came but Clausen was clean (pressure -1)
M24 3 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Delay Roh 2
This is actually a play from Ezeh(+2), who slashes up into the backfield, takes on the outside shoulder of a blocker, and delays Allen, almost tackling him for loss. He gets no help, though, with Roh(-1) blasted off the ball and Cissoko in press against Floyd, and Allen manages to get the corner... sort of. He's pushed OOB about a half yard shy of the first.
M22 4 In Ace 4-3 under Run QB sneak -- 1
They get it.
M21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Cissoko 21
All, all, all day as Michigan rushes three and drops a couple DEs, including Graham, into coverage. Doesn't matter. Tate gets Cissoko to turn his hips and then breaks off a hitch just past the sticks; Cissoko recovers and actually makes his best break on the ball of the day, coming an inch away from getting a PBU. He doesn't, and he doesn't make a tackle, and Tate walks into the endzone. (Cover -1, Cissoko -1.) Results-based charting but hey, at least he had a shot at it this time. Pressure -2, by the way.
M3 2pt 2pt Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Rollout flat Brown Inc
Allen is offset, which tips no run and indicates a rollout, which happens. Michigan covers everyone(+1) and Kovacs(+1!) zips through the line on a blitz, forcing Clausen to get rid of the ball earlier than he might otherwise. Pass is broken up. (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown (2pt failed), 31-26, 9 min 4th Q. At this point I just don't understand not blitzing the hell out of Clausen. He's just going to torch the secondary if no one gets to him and when someone's gotten to him he hasn't made one play. He just chucks it.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass TE out Rudolph 8
Supposed to be a quick pass as ND chops all the linemen, and Rudolph comes open as ND high-lows a zone. (Cover -1)
M28 2 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko Inc
Just chuckin' it deep on Cissoko again; this time he's actually got good position and can get himself between Floyd and his route, which he does... and then flagrantly bumps him, drawing a flag (-1, cover -1) that's deserved, then waved off because the throw was yards out of bounds. Michigan sent a blitz and this is another Jimmah chuck special. (Pressure +1)
M28 3 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Draw Ezeh 3
Martin slices through the line and could be in line for a plus here but doesn't make his tackle attempt, or even slow Allen down, so nothing. Ezeh(+1), on the other hand, reads, sets up the downfield blocker, and then slashes past him to tackle, though not before Allen picks up a first. Good play; tough to stop a third and two run when you have six guys in the box.
M25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko Inc
Blitz gets Ezeh through clean and Graham(+1) beats his guy. Jimmah: chuck. (Pressure +1). Cissoko is in good position (+1, cover +1); the ball drags Floyd out of the endzone with help from Cissoko. We should just be sending guys in waves.
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Warren 8
Sending the house again (seven), no one clean through but Clausen has to fire quick. Warren(-1) gets turned and allows an eight-yard hitch(cover -1).
M17 3 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Graham 9
Graham(-2) does not maintain outside contain, moving inside and getting sealed by the ND LT, which provides a massive cutback lane no one can do anything about. Martin actually tracks him down from behind, saving a touchdown. For now.
M8 1 G Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch RVB 8
Same play flipped. RVB(-1) gets crushed out of the hole; Martin avoids a cut but cannot close down the hole because RVB's been so hammered and Ezeh(-1) just sort of waits for the play to come to him. It does. In the endzone.
M3 2pt 2pt Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Statue of liberty -- 3
Michigan is sending the house and just runs by it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown (2pt), 31-34, 5 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch Ezeh 13
Michigan draws up and blitzes from the string side of the field, away from where the run goes. Roh(-2) just sets up way too deep, giving Ezeh a choice between trying to fill a hole between he and RVB or bouncing outside; he picks inside and lets it bounce. Wrong answer(-1 Ezeh). Allen just jets outside for a first down. Roh is dragged to the ground on a hold... sort of.
O29 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone stretch RVB 0
RVB(+1) gets under Stewart and blows him back, forcing a cutback that's swarmed by Graham, Ezeh, and Kovacs. +0.5 for Ezeh for taking on a block and cutting off the gap; the other guys were pursuit.
O29 2 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Fly Warren Inc
Hey, that's a good idea. Warren(+2) running stride for stride with Tate, looks for the ball, and has an equal chance of getting this. (Cover +2). If this is interference, DBs have no right to the ball ever.
O29 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Cissoko Inc
Bring the house and Clausen throws it wide. This one, I think, is on Jimmah. (Pressure +1) Cissoko(-1, cover -1) beat... on third and ten in this situation when you know Michigan is bringing the house. That's just dumb.
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-34, 2 min 4th Q. Final play is academic and not charted.

Wow, so you really want to start the UFR with a downer this week, eh?

It's time to get your pie-in-the-sky ideas about winning the conference out of your head, bolded alter-ego.

Who says I have those?

Everyone.

That bad, was it?

Yes, basically. I was hoping that the tape would show a huge array of awesome plays by Notre Dame that valiant Michigan defenders just could not stop because Tate and Floyd are future NFL receivers and Rudolph is awesome and so forth and so on. I didn't, really, especially in the run game, I just saw a ton of horrible play by Michigan.

Sounds like something you'd explain with a chart?

Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 12 3 9 Generous, IMO, since a few pluses came when he came free when Michigan sent the house, but he was the main source of pressure and was doubled on almost every play..
Heininger - 0.5 -0.5 His play responsible for a big chunk of the negative pressures in the second half.
Patterson - - - DNP
Roh 2 3 -1 Drew a key hold but mostly neutralized. Looked like a freshman.
Herron - 2 -2 Nonfactor.
Martin 2.5 - 2.5 Decent tracking down the run but zero pass rush.
Van Bergen 2.5 3 -0.5 Looked a lot like an out of position DE.
Sagesse 2 - 2 Actually did pretty well. I wonder if Michigan might think of moving Martin over and starting Sagesse? That would also give Graham a backup.
TOTAL 20 11.5 8.5 Seriously mitigated by the –8 pressure number; front four could not get to the QB. Poor overall performance.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 5.5 14 -8.5 That is the biggest number in the minus column in UFR history.
Mouton 3 8 -5 Major regression from last year; often went into pass drops without bothering to see if it was a run.
Brown 4.5 4 0.5 One eyed man in the land of no tackles.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP
Demens - - - Don't think he played.
TOTAL 13 26 -13 An outright disaster. 
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Warren 8 1.5 6.5 Excellent day against tough customers. Good run support.
Cissoko 2 12 -10 The biggest negative day from a DB in UFR history.
Floyd - - - DNP
Turner - - - DNP
Woolfolk 2 3.5 -1.5 Was not tested often with M in cover one much of the day.
Williams - 2 -2 Merph.
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 1 - 1 Nice story.
TOTAL 13 19 -6 Warren, and then nothing, coverage to compound.
Metrics
Pressure 11 19 -8 No pressure from front four, blitzes in second half got M its few stops.
Coverage 15 31 -16 Blearghhhhhhh

Recall that as you move away from the ball UFR tends towards negative numbers, so the worst position group on the day were the linebackers, who were a disaster, and that the DL's mildly positive performance is nothing to get excited about. No one other than Graham, Warren, and the rotating NT had anything approximating a decent day.

Aaaaaargh aaargh my eyes.

Words cannot describe how bad Obi Ezeh was in this game. It was a disaster, and this is a guy who's in his third year starting. Maybe the double switch of defensive coordinators has him behind the times for a third-year starter but that doesn't go much towards explaining a –8.5 that would have been worse if he hadn't been turned loose on a couple blitzes. Meanwhile, Jonas Mouton has been negative in both games so far after a promising finish to last year.

Is it Ezeh? Is it Mouton? A lack of depth? A scheme change? I know none of these things, but I look at Stevie Brown, who also switched positions and schemes, in his case more severely than either of the inside linebackers. He's doing okay. He came out of this game slightly positive, which made him the third-best player on the field. He is the property of Greg Robinson.

Mouton and Ezeh belong to Jay Hopson, and the inside backers are the only guys who belong to Jay Hopson, and they're playing terribly. As far as recruiting goes, Hopson got shut out of Mississippi last year and was the guy responsible for recruiting both defensive tackles who bolted on Signing Day. Michigan got shut out, and I don't recall any recruit mentioning Hopson this year. This blog's even got a tag about Mississippi because of it, and this year Michigan has shifted its focus away from all the places Hopson has connections. The number of kids they're recruiting in Mississippi is zero, and I can't recall anyone they're seriously involved with who's in the deep south.

Unless the two inside guys get radically better over the rest of the season, I wouldn't be surprised if Hopson was replaced.

Cissoko: the second coming of Markus Curry?

Man, he was bad, but on review I saw some of the things people were talking about. Michigan appeared to play field/boundary with Warren the boundary guy—ie, the guy who lines up to the short side of the field—and Cissoko the field guy. Then they shaded the safeties over Warren. So Warren got a good bit of help and Cissoko was often just one-on-one with death receivers.

This was really weird to me since Warren is the veteran at full health you'd expect to get stuck on an island and Cissoko the dinged n00b dwarf attempting to check Mike Floyd. That went horribly. And it can't be blamed entirely on Cissoko. But… yeah, it went horribly and there were flags and many, many completions and Cissoko looked like a guy who's going to get picked on all year. And there's nothing M can do about it, probably, with the corner depth as impossibly low as it is.

So this Sagesse guy is okay?

He hasn't seen much time but I have him down for +5 in that time with no minuses. Given the depth situation at DE and RVB's seeming inability to hold up—not surprising at 6'5" 270 something—doesn't it make sense to try Sagesse out as a starting NT and slide Martin over to the 3-tech? RVB can then back up the 3-tech and Graham. The line adds 30-40 pounds and doesn't have to roll out a walk-on when Graham needs a blow.

This is dependent on Sagesse's play not being a mirage based on small sample size, but he's looked at least functional to date, and as Will Campbell comes on line there will be some depth at DT.

Man you were wrong about Notre Dame, weren't you?

In some ways, yes. I underestimated how competent their offensive line was badly, and in retrospect expecting Notre Dame to forge ahead with I-form sets when Michigan basically can't go to a nickel and the starting fullback is out was idiotic. But, man, every time Clausen got the slightest bit of pressure he just chucked the ball, usually off his back foot, and never accurately. Future ND opponents should spy for screens and send the house again and again.

I do have some questions about what the hell Michigan was doing schematically. No help for Cissoko, a lot of cover one that made those fly routes available, erratic blitzing that didn't really get in gear until the second half… at least they adjusted somewhat, but I think Robinson had a subpar game. Not that he was working with gold here.

Heroes?

Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren performed like the 1st or 2nd round NFL draft picks they're likely to be. After two games you should feel free to upgrade your opinion of Warren to near-lockdown corner. Brandon Graham should remain Brandon Graham in your estimation.

Goats?

Basically everyone else. But Ezeh, Cissoko, and Mouton come in for special approbation.

What does it mean for Eastern Michigan and the future?

This is not a good defense even at full health. I don't think anyone on the schedule will be able to take advantage of its specific deficiencies quite as easily as Notre Dame did, but much of ND's day was just easy. The lack of depth on the defensive line will be a constant problem as Michigan will be rotating to walk-ons and poor replacements. The inside linebackers look completely lost. And power running teams are probably going to be able to blast Michigan off the ball. And I don't think Cissoko is any good, injured shoulder or not.

Michigan had better hope that Notre Dame's defensive line has gone from subpar to outstanding with the OL coach switch, because if the DL's performance looks more like the ND game than the Western game going forward Michigan is going to be in a lot of shootouts.

Comments

Durham Blue

September 16th, 2009 at 3:01 PM ^

I'm not surprised they're doing as well as they are now. They were both 5-star recruits, they are healthy (huge knock on wood), they are "all in" and they work hard.

Very dissapointed in Cissoko's huge negative UFR. Hopefully that can be attributed to a combination of the shoulder injury and lack of pressure up front (which is a problem on its own). But let's remember that Cissoko is a true sophomore with only a few starts under his belt. He saw limited PT last year. I have no doubt that he'll get much better as the season progresses.

BrokePhD

September 16th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

I remember last year Cissoko seemed much more aggressive. It was often that he would just stick to the receiver and make him earn any space he got. Often he would lock down the receiver before the play developed. I didn't think he was aggressive enough against ND, though, that may have been part of the game plan for whatever reason. Nonetheless, I miss the aggressive Cissoko.

miller

September 16th, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

The corners were giving 10 yards to the receivers off the line seemingly on every down. As Brian mentioned, Warren got the best of it with the safety help; but I also think Warren was consistently keeping up with his man, while Cissoko looked lost on many of his drops and turned the wrong direction more than a few times. I was yelling at the screen all day for Cissoko to get more safety help or at least be allowed to press his man off the line more.

chitownblue2

September 16th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

He had no safety help and was covering MICHAEL FUCKING FLOYD. Of course he played soft. If Cissoko "played aggressively" all game with no safety help, there would have been at least 4 plays where Brian would be figuring out who to blame a 45+ yard TD pass. Corners can be aggressive when they have safety help - much less so when they're on an island.

jg2112

September 16th, 2009 at 9:33 PM ^

or was this Cissoko's third start in college, and he was guarding an NFL caliber wideout, and he had a bum shoulder? And, he had him one on one all game?

What should we do, put Justin Turner in there?

Good grief, considering the circumstances, well played Boubacar. I'm not going to give up on you 120 minutes into your true sophomore season.

The King of Belch

September 16th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

Based soley on your thought that Hopson just may have to go. This means you and I are soul-mates. This guy hasn't been earning his keep.
He just may be the worst recruiter and worst coach on the staff. It's another sign that made me wonder whether Rodriguez really took defense seriously enough. Robinson: Good. Nowgive him an assistant to work wth (who can fucking recruit) at a VERY VERY important position.

M-stache

September 16th, 2009 at 4:46 PM ^

Love, love UFR. But yeah, man, buzzkill.

Still, Brian is pretty spot-on. Ezeh sucked eggs. I could tell just watching the game live from the stands and suspected a review would magnify the horribleness.
But I think it's a little early to declare Booboo not good. He had the toughest assignment he'll face all year.

darkstrk

September 16th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

... my suspicion and confusion throughout the game: Cissoko is not given much help over the top. This weird overconfidence in Cissoko's ability and the consistent inability to generate pressure on Clausen in the first half suggest that the defensive staff (read: Greg Robinson) is still learning about the personnel available at its (his) disposal. The halftime adjustments seem to suggest that he's learning fast. I think this game will prove to be useful going forward.

The failures of inside LB's to tackle, shed blockers and read plays, on the other hand, are very disconcerting. I'm not sure what can be done to fix this since both Ezeh and Mouton do not really lack experience.

Erik_in_Dayton

September 16th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

He got worked, yes. But, as noted, he was isolated all game long and was facing two of the best receivers in college football (Floyd might be the best period) and (though I hate to say it) a very good passer who was rarely pressured. Not a lot of corners would have looked good on Saturday...What Cissoko did not do was hang his head. You could tell he was fighting all the way through and, while this is admittedly speculation, U of M would have been in worse shape if we wasn't on the field...Playing CB has a lot to do with making the best out of an inherently bad situation, namely being on an island and not knowing what the offense will do on any given play...Cissoko had a bad day, to be sure, but I respectfully disagree with the statement that he's not any good.

"Is he a fighter?"

"Yes."

"Then that's the best chance we've got."

- The Royal Tenenbaums

ColoradoBlue

September 16th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

I recall scuttlebut (perhaps only in my mind) that the Hopson clan wasn't very happy in union territory and was probably quietly searching for a position somewhere down south. Anyone else have this same recollection?

Whatever the case, I don't have the sense Mr Hopson is "all in." I hope we're not paying him a very large pile of cash.

chitownblue2

September 16th, 2009 at 5:30 PM ^

Did anyone, Brian included, make any claim to the contrary? Brian does this because a similar breakdown doesn't exist for public consumption for idiots on football websites (like you an me). I'm sure Brian would be the first to admit that he hopes the coaches aren't eagerly awaiting UFR every week to find out what worked and what didn't.

Dave

September 16th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

This, too, was my great fear.

The LB play needs to get better, but I'm beginning to think that what we see is what we'll get.

Cissoko...I'm hoping his shoulder injury is more than was let on.

If switching RVB for Segasse (via Martin) is viable, it needs to be done. We need more weight on the DL, stat.

enlightenedbum

September 16th, 2009 at 4:04 PM ^

I noticed he sucked while I was (EDIT: dunno where that wasn't came from) watching the game live, in particular that first 20+ yard draw. But ugh, that was even worse for him than I expected.

msoccer10

September 16th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

I agree with most of what you said but like the commenters above, I have hope for Booboo. Sadly, we really need some (more) of our true freshman to contribute this year. I am looking at you Turner, Jones, Emelien and Campbell. Also, why aren't we seeing more of Fitzgerald and Demens?

Cameron

September 16th, 2009 at 4:19 PM ^

I got the sense that Cissoko was being asked to keep his receiver in front of him at all costs. He was breaking back -- even given his 10 yard cushions -- immediately at the snap.

Given his size, I hope BooBoo can morph into an Antoine Winfield type. Winfield got burned by a very few big receivers on jump balls. But for the most part he was always in position to play the ball; was strong enough for press coverage; and he hit like a mini-Marcus Ray.

But Cissoko has a way to go before he matches Winfield, even when comparing soph seasons.

jg2112

September 16th, 2009 at 9:44 PM ^

Cissoko's third start as a collegiate. He was playing with an injured shoulder, playing against an NFL-caliber wide receiver. He had no support all day.

Absolutely - we definitely need to bench him. Put JT Floyd, JT Turner or Teric Jones in there instead.

I believe he was doing exactly what Gerg was telling him to. I applaud his effort through injury. Most importantly, we won the flipping game, so I really hope he gets either rest, or 2 INTs, against Eastern this week.

Tha Stunna

September 16th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

If you told me at the start of the year that Stevie Brown would be our best linebacker, I'd probably have punched myself in the face. Still, the fact that he has looked non-horrible so far is slightly reassuring. Thank you for the reality check.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

September 16th, 2009 at 4:08 PM ^

I had a feeling UFR would not be kind to Ezeh and Cissoko. Yowch.

Oh - this: "Woolfolk(-2) then misses a tackle 40 yards downfield and gives him the rest."

Does he get -1 for not tackling the ballcarrier and another -1 for instead tackling the guy who was tackling the ballcarrier? I LOL'ed at that, couldn't help myself. Think it was Brown or Mouton who sort of had the guy wrapped up when Woolfolk came flying in there to make the un-tackle.

Also - how many offenses better than Notre Dame's will we see this year? PSU, sure. OSU, probably, though their line isn't as big and their fans worry about it and their quarterback thinks everyone's killing everyone. Any others? Based on the small two-week sample size, I don't see much. Maybe we're not destined to give up 34 points every game, just because most offenses aren't as good as that one.

03 Blue 07

September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 PM ^

As I was watching this game, I couldn't help but think "what the HELL happened to Obi Ezeh?" As a freshman, he looked promising- I thought at that point, he was very likely going to be a strong ILB by this, his third year starting. I even had dreams of a David Harris-like progression in my head. However, after this ND game, and the UFR which confirms it, I dare say he has regressed. He has certainly not improved since last year. What could be the problem? He has the size, enough athleticism, and seems to be an intelligent guy. I just don't get it. It is either coaching (Hopson) or maybe Ezeh's just one of those guys who isn't "football smart," for lack of a better term. "Football smart" is hard to define, really, but I guess my definition of it would be a combination of spatial and temporal analysis being done in a split-second based upon experience and "instinct," with "instinct" being akin to the Malcolm Gladwell definition of "thinslicing" in his book "Blink." As in, the ability to sense something or recognize something instantly, and being able to go back and explain it ex post facto. I remember when I played football, it was interesting that there were some players who were very academically intelligent, but did not possess this "football" intelligence, and vice-versa. It was even striking at times. And this trait is very important in an ILB/MLB.

I wonder if Ezeh inherently lacks this component, or if he is playing tentative because of 3 DC's in 3 years, or what the problem is. Perhaps my little mini-treatise about "football intelligence" is going to sound like Greek to my MGoBrethren, but I can't seem to come up with any other reason. Hopefully it is something that can be coached? Or someone can pick up? Or maybe it's not the problem at all. But regardless, Ezeh just looks like he doesn't understand how to play his position properly, or knows what to do and just can't figure out how to do it. Either way, it is really a bad sign for us. And Mouton...Man, I had (and still have) such high hopes for him. Here's hoping these guys figure it out. There just seems to be something "off" with both of them this year.

Also, please don't take my comment to mean that I am calling Ezeh unintelligent or anything of the like. I am not trying to suggest that. Seriously. I'm talking about a different concept. We called it "football smart" when I was playing, but perhaps that's not the best term for it, as it might have a negative connotation in the minds of some, as if I'm calling the guy dumb. Quite the contrary, from what I have seen, heard, and read, he's a bright guy and is very intelligent and a good student. I'm just talking about this aspect of what it takes to be a good football player, especially on defense- this "thinslicing" or whatever you want to call it- and it just seems to be lacking in him.

03 Blue 07

September 16th, 2009 at 8:04 PM ^

Me: PostFAIL. I guess I was reaching a little with that reference. I don't fancy myself any sort of dude who reads super-obscure books or anything, and Gladwell's pretty famous, so I thought maybe people here would know what I was referring to(?). Anyway, "thinslicing," he describes in the book. It's like when lifelong art historians look at an incredible replica of a real work of art, and immediately know it's fake. It takes them awhile to quantify WHY, but they always get it right (or something like that). He explains it with a bunch of other examples, etc. Basically, it's using "feel" instead of having to think through each step. Like when a linebacker has a "feeling" that a play is going to be X, or that a screen is coming, or that, even though the linemen are flowing one way, the play is likely going the other way (like on a bootleg or counter, etc). If you gave him the time to explain WHY he felt that way, he could tell you. But in the moment, all of these calculations have to happen almost subconsciously and in a millisecond. That's why the best athletes aren't always the best players on defense. Film study, repetition, and just being able to figure shit out without having to THINK about it because your subconscious has done it for you faster than your conscious mind ever could've...yeah, I guess that's what I'm saying.

Also, Charlie Weis does NOT like thinslicing. He doesn't like any slicing at all. He'll take that whole ham. With the bone in it. And two loaves of bread. And some mayo. No excuses.

Jesus, I must sound like I'm stoned. (I'm not. I'm just flailing here trying to explain this, I guess).

The Squid

September 16th, 2009 at 5:45 PM ^

Yeah, I didn't anything in the USC game that led me to believe that OSU is anywhere near ND's offensive proficiency. In particular, Pryor looked awful. Part of that was definitely OSU's bizarre play-calling, but Pryor is also horribly inaccurate and has all sorts of trouble getting it to receivers who aren't standing still and wide open.

imafreak1

September 16th, 2009 at 4:13 PM ^

The postives.

The front four couldn't get in but ND was also doing lots of max protect.

When Michigan did blitz they were largely effective.

I have no answer for the run defense.

However, I think many are still underestimating this ND offense. It is very, very good and will have a field day with any defense that cannot rush the passer very well or has a shut down secondary. Michigan State this is not you. But neither does that describe Michigan.

I think Robinson wanted to be unpredictable to force Clausen to make decisions rather than Weis. This, at times, gave the impression that the defense made a suboptimal call. Michigan's defense is not good enough to just always blitz and be successful. If they blitzed too frequently or obviously they would have been torched. Possibly, this is why Cissoko didn't have safety help as much as might be expected. Robinson wanted to mix coverages up. Clausen was excellent at finding the guy with single coverage. He was much better than I ever expected at doing that.

On that note, I think you are much too hard on Cissoko. He was frequently left alone against an NFL WR with an NFL (in some form) QB with no help from a safety or a pass rush. Both Clausen and Tate have more experience to boot. Cissoko didn't give up the 'ooops I fell down' or 'he just beat me' 60 yard TD and that is a victory of sorts--until the end, and Brian might have mentioned on that play Tate could easily have been flagged for taunting.

In contrast, I thought Robinson had a good game. He kept the game close with his weaker unit against the opponent's much stronger unit (lol unit.) It looked easy when ND scored but there were just enough stops for the win (even after the offense handed ND the apparent winning score.)

username

September 16th, 2009 at 4:20 PM ^

Cissoko's -10 further justifies me yelling at the TV everytime he would cross his arms and do some sort of I Dream of Jeanie pose after an incomplete pass in his direction. There were at least 3 instances when he was flat out beat but a poorly thrown ball led to an incompletion, yet he still struck the pose. I don't mind player celebrations, but for god's sake, use some commons sense when flaunting your talents. Because Jimmah threw off his backfoot to Catholic Tacopants doesn't mean you're the baddest CB in the stadium.

As a previous poster mentioned, a positive spin is that he remained aggressive in a tough situation. My take is he has no self awareness and vastly overestimates his abilities. I hope I'm wrong.

imafreak1

September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 PM ^

Golly gee, it's not like Cissoko morphed into the love child of Ocho Cinco and TO. Give the kid a break. A great deal was asked of him and responded with a great deal of mental toughness. A less confident Cissoko is only helping the opponent.

It almost seems as if you'd rather have him sulking and debasing himself. The defense is in trouble if that happens.

username

September 16th, 2009 at 4:34 PM ^

You make a good point on better to have him over confident than sulking. It's just a huge a pet peeve of mine when guys celebrate good plays that they actually didn't make. It means they either 1) have no idea of reality or 2) they're supremely confident in themselves. For everyone's sake, I hope it's #2 in this instance.