Upon Further Review: Defense vs Notre Dame

Submitted by Brian on September 20th, 2007 at 6:46 PM
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O18 1 10 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Run -17 Pratfall the first
The snap flies over Armando Allen's head. No doubt this was going to be an ISQD if Notre Dame could get the simplest aspects of football right.
O1 2 27 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run 4 End-around
Allen motions into the backfield; they fake a sweep to him and then hand it off to Tate on the end-around. Englemon(+1) follows Tate around on the fake and along with Trent(+1) contains this for a reasonable gain on second and forever. A stupid playcall that carries an enormous risk of a safety if Brandon Graham heads upfield instead of following Allen. Weis is the anti-Carr, making the same number of mistakes but they're completely different ones.
O5 3 22 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Inc Screen
Batted away by Crable(+1). Allen had already fallen down by tripping over his offensive lineman; Warren was going to crush this even if it was completed. (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run 2 Zone read handoff
Note that Brandon Graham is finally claiming his job as the starting DE for this game; Crable is not on the field at the moment. Taylor(+1) holds up well to a double team on this; ND runs the same play that's killed us for two straight weeks but fails to realize that it doesn't work that well when your quarterback isn't much of a runner. Jamison closes quickly to tackle near the LOS.
O37 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Fumble
Donovan Warren is sent on a corner blitz that is not picked up. At all. He overruns the play, basically, but manages to knock the ball from Clausen as he passes (+1). A scramble for the ball ensues that Michigan wins. It's Warren, actually, with the recovery.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 3-0, 10 min 1st Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O41 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run 5 Zone read handoff
Odd lineup here: Crable at DE, BGraham at DT. Johnson, the other DT, crashes inside on the snap(-1) as Crable rushes upfield, opening up a big hole for Allen. Thompson(+1) is forced to deal with a completely unfettered OT and actually does a good job standing him up, impeding Allen's progress and allowing Michigan tacklers to converge before this becomes too damaging.
O46 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run 2 Zone read handoff
Both DEs fly upfield, unblocked, at the snap... this one is up the middle all the way. Textbook example of DanK's theory about Des in a 4-2 running themselves into uselessness against shotgun run attacks. Fortunately for M, Johnson isn't handled well by the interior Irish line and no one ever gets out on Thompson, who fills, unblocked, for a minimal gain. No pluses here; think this is mostly Irish error. Still nice to see no one screw up.
O48 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 6 TE out
Pick play with the WR running a slant here against man cover; Jamar Adams is lined well off the ball at the snap and has no chance to recover on this. (Cover -1). Graham ends up blitzing way delayed and futilely; looks like they caught us off guard at the snap and we had not shifted into a position that would make our D call work.
M46 1 10 ??? ??? Run -14 Pratfall the second
Nice job, ESPN, allowing Matt Winer to tell us he's Matt Winer and thus missing this play entirely.
O40 2 24 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run 2 Zone read handoff
Give up and punt plays now. Good job by Johnson(+1) to fend off an attempted blocker and Graham(+1) to do likewise, closing after a minimal gain.
O42 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -7 Sack
Michigan zone blitzes, dropping off the DT with both middle linebackers, who also threatened blitz. Crable(+1) and Harrison(+1) blitz around the outside; ND tackles are late getting out. This is not a poised sack from Jimmah, who dropped way back and did not step up into a nice pocket the OL had carved for him. (pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 4 min 1st Q. A second drive killed by a bad ND snap.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass -5 Sack
It appears Clausen is locked on Warren's guy but must hesitate. (Warren +1, cover +1) Jamison impressively powers through Sam Young and buries Clausen. My god, the poise! (+2 Jamo, +1 pressure).
O20 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Run 6 Zone read handoff
This is pretty unsound at the snap, Jamison flying upfield and blitzes coming from the other side of the formation. As the ball is handed off this looks like a big gainer. Thompson is basically the only guy who can prevent this from being a gashing run that only a safety can stop... and he does, standing up a blocker, disengaging, and making a tackle with Brandon Harrison's help. +2 Thompson.
O26 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 11 Screen
ND has Michigan dead to rights here. Three blockers are in front of Allen with no defenders around as Michigan got caught blitzing a guy and this screen gets off. It is Thompson again who manages to avoid the wideout, slice through the ND blockers, and chop down Allen before this can go for a long gainer. +1 Thompson; Why didn't any ND guys peel off on him?
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Run 0 Zone read handoff
No offense to Chris Graham(+1), who speared the living hell out of Allen here, forcing a fumble and knocking him out of the game, but it's just not that hard when you're totally unblocked and Jamo funnels him right to you. +1 Johnson, I think, for causing this to go into the unblocked backside. Allen's fumble recovered by Michigan. PS: check out the bitchy little shove from Clausen after the play. What about the poise?
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-0, EO 1st Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O28 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 14 Slant
ND abandons the shotgun after a quarter of ineffective play. Morgan Trent
lets a 5'8" guy, George West, inside of him for an easy slant. This might be zone coverage, in which case Brandon Harrison is culpable for coming up on a short crossing route that Thompson had covered. (-1 cover... think this is zone; -1 Harrison)
O42 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run 1 Off tackle
ND pulls a guard around to the left side of the line; Aldridge just runs right. WTF? An unblocked Graham tackles.
O43 2 9 Empty set 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -6 Sack
The quadruple sack. This is on Clausen; the only reason four guys meet at the QB is that this is designed to be a really quick pass wherein the interior OL chop the DTs. Michigan covers(+1) the first option, Clausen freezes, and then he is lost. (Pressure +1). BGraham and Crable are the first to him. Uh... +1 BGraham for beating Young.
O37 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Int Slant
Clausen guides Thompson right to the ball with his eyes; Thompson reads, reacts, and picks. (Cover +2, Thompson +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-0, 13 min 2nd Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O33 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass -8 Sack
We have BGraham lined up at DT here with Crable at DE, Taylor on the bench. Clausen drops, first option covered(cover +1), and then he flushes from the pocket, probably unnecessarily. Jamison(+1) rips at him from behind; BGraham(+1) comes up and finishes him off. Intentional grounding called.
O25 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run -2 Zone read handoff
Michigan's blitzing a corner late, so Crable slants inside and just knifes through the attempted block of the OT. (+2) Jabbie crushed in the backfield.
O23 3 20 Shotgun Big 3-3-5 Nickel Penalty -5 Delay
They do run a play here, and the poise of this swing pass is incredible.
O18 3 25 Shotgun Big 3-3-5 Nickel Pass 14 Wheel
ND fakes the long handoff and both Trent(-1) and Graham(-1) bite on it. It's third and twenty-five, guys. As a result, the wheel route of the slot receiver is wide open. Adams comes up to tackle. (Cover -2)
O34 4 11 Punt Punt Return Run 12 Fake
A quintessential Weis thing to do. It works but only because three Michigan players miss tackles.
O45 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass Inc Bomb
Overthrown. Trent in decent coverage, but there was a window here. (Pressure -1)
O45 2 10 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass -4 Screen
Crable does his missile thing on Allen. (+2)
O41 3 14 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass -3 Sack
Crable-DE-BG-DT setup. Clausen's first read is covered(cover +1) and then the roof falls in. A stunting Crable(+1) comes around the havoc created by a penetrating Johnson(+1) and sacks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-0, 8 min 2nd Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O9 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run 2 Counter
ND pulls a guard around to Adam Patterson's side of the line, hoping to catch him out. He's adequately blocked. The guard cannot get Graham contained – Graham pushes him back and sets up outside – forcing the play back inside to an unblocked Thompson. +1 Graham. Credit where due: this was a play against a bonafide blocker.
O11 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass 7 Slant
Oddly, we move Jamar Adams into the box pre-snap. He covers Carlson; Graham moves out of a zone in the middle of the field as Allen motions out – probably in man on him. By the time he backs out Clausen has an alley to fire a slant against Donovan Warren's guy. (Cover -1).
O18 3 1 I-Form Big 4-6 x Run 0 Iso
No push from the ND OL at all. This is Taylor's wheelhouse and he eats it up. (+1) BGraham also with a good job, and Thompson(+1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-0, 3 min 2nd Q.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O26 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass -6 Sack
Coverage(+1) is good, Clausen decides to bail and BGraham(+1) tracks him down. Crable had beaten his man but fallen, causing the rollout.
O20 2 16 Ace 3-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 4 Swing
Drive Notes: EOH, 31-0, EOH. Yes, I only charted this drive for the swing pass.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O26 1 10 I-Form Base 4-3 Pass 1 Long handoff
THE GODDAMN MAJESTY OF IT ALL. Warren (+1) reacts to this very quickly.
O27 2 9 Ace Base 4-3 Penalty -5 False start
O22 2 14 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 9 Long handoff
SHOULD HAVE SENT... A POET. Uh. Warren blows this pretty good, waving at a passing West. (-1 Warren.)
O31 3 5 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 7 TE out
Graham in coverage. (Cover -1)
O38 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass 1 Long handoff
Brandon Harrison(+1) attacks this smartly.
O39 2 9 I-Form Base 4-3 Run 4 Off tackle
Adams reveals a blitz before the snap. ND hands off anyway. Thompson(-1) puts himself on the wrong side of a blocker –
he should know better – and opens up a hole. Jamison, dropped into a zone, tackles after Aldridge picks up a few.
O43 3 5 Pro Seet Base 4-3 Pass -6 Sack
Englemon(+1) is unblocked on a blindside blitz. Nice job, #74.
Drive Notes: Punt, 9 min 3rd Q. Warren has been pretty good in coverage so far, but there has been a huge dropoff in tackling from Hall, who was outstanding.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
O37 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass Inc Seam
The one real opportunity ND has for a downfield completion all game because Chris Graham(-1) doesn't get anything approximating a pass drop. Overthrown and off the fingertips of Carlson. (Cover -2)
O37 2 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run 2 Off tackle
A blitz occupies all of the frontside blockers, forcing Allen back inside. Unblocked Chris Graham reads and tackles.(+1)
O39 3 8 Ace 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Inc + 15 Post
Incomplete as Clausen chooses to fire it into double coverage. Jamar Adams(+1) with the PBU. (Cover +2, pressure -1) Crable(-2) picks up a roughing penalty.
M45 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass Inc Throwaway
Another one of these sad little plays where the ND OL meekly cut-blocks and gets leapt over. Clausen can't find a receiver (Cover +1) and then he's got Jamison(+1) beating two guys to flush him; as the calvary comes after the cut blocks Clausen wings it OOB. (Pressure +1)
M45 2 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass -6 Sack
Some ND OL or another makes a little wussy dive at the feet of Patterson(+1), who avoids this and causes Clausen to start scrambling after his first read is covered(+1). Brandon Graham(+2) comes free and sack/strips Clausen; he manages to recover this one.
O49 3 16 I-Form Base 4-3 Pass Inc Bomb
Trent(+2) is better positioned to catch this ball than Tate; he trips at the end and can't pick it off.
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 2 min 3rd Q. Clausen leaves the game.
Line Down Dist Form Def Type Yards Brief
M47 1 10 I-Form Undershift 4-3 Pass Inc Out
Hilariously misfired to an open guy (cover -1, Trent -1). Trent can't make a pick.
M47 2 10 Ace Nickel Pass Inc Throwaway
More diving at the knees of Michigan defenders. Sharpley pumps on a little flare route and then fires it just before Jamison and Graham crush him. (Pressure +1, cover +1)
M47 3 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run -2 Off tackle
Thompson(+1) runs Allen down in the backfield. Not blocked.
Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 12 min 4th Q. Charting ceases as the rest of the game is run run run into the line against second stringers.

Also: Steve Brown's interception.

If you had to describe Jimmah's performance via the medium of embeddable flash video, how would you do so?


Chart. It's even respectable.

Player + - T Notes
Jamison 4 - - Doesn't have the best score of the day but probably turned in the two best plays. Will need a big game from him versus ND.
Johnson 3 1 2
Taylor 2 - 2 Maybe underrated his day; was sometimes pulled for the pass-rush DL.
Gallimore - - -
Ferrara - - -
Crable 7 7 Much better as a blitzing linebacker.
B. Graham 7 - 7 Hard to tell if he's awesome or just benefiting from the worst OL ever.
Patterson 1 - 1
Thompson 7 1 6 Much, much, much better. Some of that was just being unblocked, but a few plays were impressive: the pick, a couple run plays where he stood up to OL and made plays.
Ezeh - - -
C. Graham 3 2 1 Still immensely skeptical. Looked good when allowed to flow to the ball unimpeded.
Trent 3 2 1
Harrison 2 1 1
Warren 3 1 2 Long handoff whiff was disappointing; rest of it was pretty okay.
Adams 1 - 1 Not like they really had to do anything at safety.
Englemon 2 - 2
"Pressure" 6 2 4 What? Well... I chalked a lot of this up to inept offensive line play and there were a lot of three-step drops with weak little chops.
"Coverage" 12 9 3 Better. Meaningfulnessosity? Disputed.

There's some saying about popsicles and the mutual sucking-upon of?

Yes. Let's not just yet. Anyone who watched that game could tell you that it
said more about Notre Dame's offense than the Michigan defense, especially after the Oregon debacle. We are not "back" or whatever yet.

So, then, what can we take from Eastern Michigan-equivalent?

I am heartened by a couple of very nice plays by Tim Jamison against Sam Young, including one where he split a double to sack Clausen. Also, Thompson may be a middle linebacker suited to banging heads with PSU's between-the-tackles running style. He made a couple nice plays against actual blocking this game and looked much better in general; his interception is something I could totally see Morelli doing and very heartening in the face of an excellent Nittany Lion tight end. Donovan Warren continues to be competent but a shady tackler -- might want to keep him away from Derrick Williams.

But the big hope is in the person of Brandon Graham, he of the 3.5 sacks and burly defensive presence capable of sliding over to defensive tackle and resting Terrance Taylor. When he is a defensive end Crable can slide back to linebacker and fill the role he had a year ago as a blitzing, harassing nightmare for opponents instead of an undersized defensive end with no hope of leverage. It's impossible to tell if he is for real... let's hope he is.


The Notre Dame offensive line.


None. It was 38-0.

What does it mean for Penn State?

Who can say? I wish there was all sorts of useful information to pull out here but there is not. There is the suggestion that Michigan can have its way with a non-running quarterback and a weak offensive line. Brandent Englemon seems unlikely to screw up -- love you, Brandent -- and the Nittany Lion offense remains thoroughly untested. But when the Michigan defense has been tested, it fails. I have no idea what will happen.