Upon Further Review: Defense vs Notre Dame

Submitted by Brian on 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

travelingblue

September 16th, 2009 at 4:26 PM ^

Is it a bad sign that Fitzgerald isn't seeing the field even with Ezeh's performance to date? On defense is having two MIKE like having zero MIKE, akin to adage about QBs?

Also, watching Mouton struggle is where we insert curses to the clearinghouse re: Witherspoon.

ShockFX

September 16th, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

Wasn't Mouton an OLB last year? He also missed spring practice. So he's had like, what, 4 weeks to learn ILB? Seems to me that he's falling back on the safe options against a team like ND by keeping the play in front of him.

kauaigirl

September 16th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

Word on the street last year was that his Southern Belle wife was miserable in Ann Arbor and that he was looking to head back to the deep south asap. There was speculation that his lack of enthusiasm for life up north was affecting his ability to "sell" Michigan to southern recruits. Given our ILB play and the fact that, as far as I can tell, he's recruiting exactly no one this year, I kinda wish he had found another job.

Nickel

September 16th, 2009 at 4:57 PM ^

Is it possible that Cissoko's injury is limiting him more than we really know like with Warren last year?

We all know about our depth at corner, maybe on a normal team he'd sit for a few weeks to heal up but I wouldn't be surprised if Cissoko at 50% >>> our other alternatives right now. Hopefully Turner can get up to speed soon and provide a little depth at the position.

Kvothe

September 16th, 2009 at 5:09 PM ^

I was surprised that Campbell did not get to play much if any.(I don't remember seeing him) It seemed that ND's run game was killing us up the middle. I screamed a couple times to put Martin and Campbell in together to clog it up but never saw it. This could be a concern going forward, this is two games where we didn't really change up anything. How many times must Bobo get beat before we rotate him some help? Campbell played well in the opener and I hope to see him used more. He seems athletic for being so big.

me

September 16th, 2009 at 5:21 PM ^

He is responsible for three recruits this year: Drake and the Talbotts.

I don't think you can blame the Graves and Jones situation on Hopson. He had them committed but they were ultimately swayed to stay in the south. Going into this year, RR has re-tasked Hopson to parts of Ohio as part of his focus on the midwest. It has been somewhat successful as he's already landed two guys from there. Not the most top notch guys but it's at least a start.

mejunglechop

September 16th, 2009 at 6:39 PM ^

You can certainly blame Hopson for missing out on Jones and Graves. It was his job to convince them to come up north. If we were talking about trying to pry them away from LSU and Texas that would be one thing, but it's reasonable to expect better results when you're recruiting against Texas Tech and Arkansas.

me

September 16th, 2009 at 7:47 PM ^

I think I stated it poorly.

I certainly would hope that UM could out recruit Texas Tech and Arkansas and Hopson failed to do that. However, when you are trying to get kids out of the South, I think it becomes extra difficult. I am not talking about anything dirty, just culturally. I think at one point DeQuinta even said he wanted to play in the SEC while still committed to UM.

So did Hopson fail to get these kids to sign? Yes absolutely and that should be a mark against him. But I don't think that makes him a failure as a recruiter (not that that's what you're saying.) I think it's more of an indictment of RR's initial recruiting strategy as a whole and the staff's failure to recognize the probability of the kids actually signing.

The staff has recognized this and now Hopson is recruiting more in the midwest and not focusing as much on the deep south. And as I said, Rivals has him accounted for three current commits. Let's see if they stick.

I am just not ready to write off Hopson as a recruiter quite yet.

lager86

September 16th, 2009 at 5:29 PM ^

I don't know why, but Cissoko reminds me of Tom Cruise in "All the Right Moves." Am I losing it? The crossed arm pose made me sick to my stomach. you don't do that after you've been toasted on every other pass that came your way. My worry is that he never seems to know where the ball is, so even if he appears to have position, the pass gets completed anyway.

The Squid

September 16th, 2009 at 5:37 PM ^

The UFR pretty much confirmed my first impressions that the Mouton and, in particular, Ezeh are lost out there. They make poor decisions and are constantly out of position. Obi's particular specialty seems to be following Mouton into the same gap, which is just bewildering to me. I watched him do several times last year, including a few times on short yardage and goal to go situations. I keep waiting for the light to come on and for Obi to transform into a David Harris-like Steamroller of Death, but I'm beginning to have doubts that it will ever happen.

I also was mystified by Cissoko's stranding. After watching him get torched again and again by manbeast Michael Floyd, I finally assumed that the idea was to completely take away one of ND dynamic duo by committing all available resources to Golden Tate and hope that Floyd wouldn't be able to beat Michigan on his own. Which he almost did. Frankly, I thought that Floyd hurting himself was the 2nd most important play of the game for Michigan, after the Tate-to-Matthews winner.

mgoBrad

September 16th, 2009 at 5:37 PM ^

"And I don't think Cissoko is any good, injured shoulder or not."

I've gotta disagree with this, at least for now.
Question for you guys: When was the last time we had a highly talented, highly-sought-after corner who had a disappointing sophomore year while playing through an injury?

That would be Donovan Warren during last year. He of the "Heroes" section and "lock-down corner" status.

I'm not saying Cissoko is going to be an all-american, and he certainly had a rough game, but until we know the extent of the injury and see him play at full health, I think the jury is still out. He was playing against a couple of stud receivers and a veteran QB as well. Just some food for thought.

Wolv54

September 16th, 2009 at 5:49 PM ^

it was just the 2nd game and a lot of what he percieved as player deficiences were really more related to the 4-3 Under and the 3 DL that are almost all out of position (except Graham). Couple that with ND keeping 37 guys in to block and I think the lack of pressure was attributable to that and the problems we have with personnel in key spots. Up til the ND game, this defense has only seen the UM spread offense and the WMU offense and they got a quick taste of why this scheme is at a disadvantage against heavy sets or power sets, especially with the current personnel. I think it should be said that the first play of the UFR is the exact design of the defense in action. You have BG and MM anchoring one side of the line and basically giving ND's run game a choice between running it at BG and MM or into numbers on the other side. If that instance it worked like it was supposed to work, but when you put bodies out there and block the quick and RVB, it gets tough to flow down the line.

I think Cissoko needed some help and I found it laughable that as soon as the play was over, the safety would show up without fail. Not one time on any of those deep balls did you see a safety breaking on the ball or making a play on the ball; not once. I think the secondary had a tough time becuase no corner, not even Charles Woodson can cover all day when we're getting no pressure on Clausen. In both games now, we've not been able to get pressure with our front 4, which is a huge problem insomuch as it think requires you bring a LB or a safety out of coverage and commit them to the blitz. That means that the more guys you bring the more risk you're taking on the backend. The D coordinator has to feel when it's time to blitz because if you just blitz all the time, they will eventually hit you for 6 every time downfield. (Okay, Claussen does tend to piss himself and run away like a little girl, but GERG still has to respect the dangers of blitzing too much.

I think this game has further allowed the coaches to identify some problems and scheme some new blitzes/packages. I would also like to think that someone else gets a little time at the Mike because if Ezeh hasn't gotten it by now, then he might just lack the raw instincts of an elite Mike. Experience is great, but instincts are better especially when we're playing essentially a 30 front the whole game. There is a term called the "Power Triangle" when talking 30 fronts and it relates to the NT and the two interior LBs in a 3-4 or 30 front. The strength of your "Power Triangle" really dictactes the strength of your entire defense, because if your weak in the middle, you've got no shot on the edges. Right now, they need to develop a package that puts a block eater like WC at the NT, and shore up the two interior LBs and maybe more MM down to the DT and let RVB play a traditional DE role on passing downs. I think this would open up more of a pass rush out of your front 4 as one of those guys won't be a 230LB going against a 300 tackle.

Or I could be wrong?

bryemye

September 17th, 2009 at 10:41 AM ^

"I think the secondary had a tough time becuase no corner, not even Charles Woodson can cover all day when we're getting no pressure on Clausen."

Never underestimate Charles Woodson. The man can fly. Did you watch that State game?

By the way, I agree that we should have blitzed a hell of a lot more. Though we did win.

chitownblue2

September 16th, 2009 at 5:56 PM ^

And I don't think Cissoko is any good, injured shoulder or not.

I'm going to keep saying this:

Cissoko is 5'9", 170 pounds (FAKE)
Michael Floyd is 6'3", 220 lbs.

Cissoko had no safety help, ever.

Floyd was being thrown to by a future NFL QB.

The Future NFL QB had no pressure.

The second Cissoko "gets more aggressive" on a receiver that is twice his size with no safety help is the second we see Clausen doing his ass-wiggle on his own 30 yard line because they just hit a 70 yard bomb.

I know we've temporarily lost Stevie Brown as our ceremonial scapegoat - we don't need to find another.

msoccer10

September 17th, 2009 at 12:38 PM ^

As bad as it looked for Cissoko, when I rewatched the game, I only found three plays where I felt he screwed up badly. Two missed tackles he allowed guys to break, one for a touchdown. (his size and injury has a lot to do with those) and the missed interception. Other than that, I thought he kept his receiver from getting the long touchdown, which appeared to be his main task as assigned by the coaches.

BlueJellow

September 16th, 2009 at 6:37 PM ^

I think the game plan was to allow underneath stuff all day. Let em run the ball. And let em throw the short routes. I think they hoped to get a shorter field to work with and then use press coverage. I think we were not prepared for Weis calling those screens, pretty excellent wrinkle to throw in there against our obvious blitzing. And sometimes Weis seemed to know what down we would blitz on and have the screen ready to go. Ezeh I cant condone because I noticed during the game him catching blocks all over the field. Seemed he doesnt have that sight aquire fire thing down just yet. Cissoko on the other hand faced an excellent reciever who had enough size and speed to win a head to head matchup. I dont know for sure but there seemed to be a devised plan for dealing with Cissoko in coverage. Floyd or Tate would burn and as soon as Cissoko started running after the deep ball, the reciever would cut and have position and make an easy catch. Cissoko generally closed well and made a tackle on a much larger reciever. To be fair to him, that hitch is maybe the hardest play to defend in the passing game when it is executed well. Overall I thought our defense got the stops they needed to get. We got pressure in desperate situations and managed to have the right scheme at work at the right time. This may have been a very good ND team. We got a few lucky breaks too, mainly for Clausen being a vagiseal cardholder.

HHW

September 16th, 2009 at 6:49 PM ^

That is an ugly UFR. Are you sure we didn't lose!! It's great to win a game when the defense didn't play all that well. If this were last year...we get crushed.

wiscwood

September 16th, 2009 at 7:16 PM ^

Boubacar Cissoko is not that bad. Clausen, Floyd and Tate are that good. Michigan fans don't like giving ND their due, but they are good. The Wolverines beat a good ND team!

I think one needs to know that Greg Robinson didn't let ND beat them for too many big plays. Last year UM got bombed. They contained Clausen, Floyd and Tate. They could not stop them. Even though Michigan barely won, the strategy was very sound.

ND made the errors that eventually caused them to lose. Taunting, missed passes, and play calling - Weis not calling run plays- contributed to ND's downfall. Michigan proved they belonged on the field with ND and did not back down from them.

ND may have been more "seasoned", but Michigan was caliente!!!

mendrygal

September 17th, 2009 at 3:54 AM ^

I felt the same way the UFR confirmed watching the game, namely Cissoko got beat up, and Ezeh did nothing. I guess the best points made were, it's his second game as an undersized freshman against a big time WR talent, and at least he didn't get beat for the 40,50,60 yard bombs that killed us all last year. Bend, don't break will break a few times this year, though.
I thought I remember Ezeh being pretty decent the last 2 years. Am I making that up?

No.9 Hamburgers

September 17th, 2009 at 7:36 AM ^

Brian,

I have been reading your blog for quite a while now. Although I don’t post much, I like to keep informed of what’s going on with our team. I just read your entire UFR for the first time...like actually read it...and with all jokes in the corner..Damn...that made my head hurt...in a good way. You really know your stuff. I think what I like the most about your post is that you are BRUTALLY HONEST!!!!
Stay on point..you’re doing a great job and this is a great service.

Michigan Arrogance

September 17th, 2009 at 8:38 AM ^

yeah, i don't think there's a more talented offensive team inthe big ten than ND. their OL seems to have (finally) improved. they go max-pro a lot, tho so maybe bore teams will see that as a weakness for the M defense. of course, no one else has the WRs that can punish you line ND has. we'll be OK on D until injuries hit any of the following position groups: DL, LB, DB.

jg2112

September 17th, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

sacks in 1998.

I'm not sure why we're all surprised we couldn't get pressure on them considering most if not all of the O-line came back to the team. That, and the team max protects. Why is anyone surprised that Clausen, with usually no pressure and CBs on islands that were instructed to not give up the long pass, was able to have such a successful passing day?

jamiemac

September 17th, 2009 at 11:01 AM ^

We won this game, right? I had to double check after re-reading about the defense's performance. I wonder what an ND defense UFR would reveal. Probably at least as many negatives. Maybe do that instead of the UM Offense UFR in order to quell some of the fears that our defense blows.

Regardless, excellent work, dont give up on Cissoko as he's still going to be a player and looking forward to the seeing the Offense review to help improve the mood.

Eye of the Tiger

September 17th, 2009 at 11:58 AM ^

...but this is pretty much the best offense we play all year, and we still managed to stuff them enough times to win. That's something.

Looking at the schedule, there's really only four offenses that might cause us problems: Illinois, Iowa, PSU and OSU. None have Tate and Floyd, but PSU and OSU, at least, are better defensively than ND.

surroundedincolumbus

September 17th, 2009 at 4:58 PM ^

but they don't always tell the whole story, either.

i am surprised at Brian's overall negative pronouncement, "this is not a good defense even when healthy", given the fairly significant differences between the first half & second.

ND has 300+ yds of offense in the first half, scored 20 pts, and maybe could have scored more w/ better execution.

2nd half? about 180 yds (and only about 30 yds or so in the 3rd quarter) & 2 TDs, one of which on a short field following an INT return. if you consider that ND had about 25-30 yds on the last play of the game, their O production in the 2nd half was greatly reduced- one, long TD drive, a short TD following the pick, and nothing else.

my point being is that i don't think we really have enough data to really grasp how good or bad the D is yet. the D that played the first half against WMU and second half against ND, averaging the two, may not have been "great", but i wouldn't call it "bad" either.

i think we're going to have to wait a few weeks (at least) to know.

dundee

September 17th, 2009 at 5:27 PM ^

but i'm not real sure i understand the purpose of UFR. i mean with every positive play of the opponents offense doesn't that mean that someone on our defense has a negative? if our dl get's a sack that's a positive, but if there is no sack or pressure does the negative automatically go on the db's? same thing with positive runs, if the dl fills the gaps then the lb don't get dinged right? i guess maybe i don't like all the negatives associated with UFR, didn't we just win and in the end isn't that what we all want.

fleetwood

September 17th, 2009 at 5:47 PM ^

This doesn't factor in all of the holding non calls which, like, yeah. As BlueSeoul pointed out in his diary the holding came early and often. It was also quite obvious.