Upon Further Review: Defense vs Purdue Comment Count

Brian November 11th, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Personnel notes: Leach started the game and got pulled after he busted an assignment on a third-and-five TE cross that turned into 56 yards and a backbreaking touchdown. Ezeh replaced him for the remainder of the game. Mouton started the game and got pulled after he busted an assignment on the first Purdue touchdown. Fitzgerald replaced him until he took a bad angle on a Bolden touchdown, at which point he was replaced by Mouton.

You might sense a theme here. It will be addressed later.

Other than that it was the usual: zero rotation in the secondary, Brown in on every play, regular rotation on the DL. Banks was out so Campbell was Martin's backup. I don't know if I saw RVB ever leave the game.

Formation notes: That thing where Michigan drops the MLB to safety depth, or near it, returned again. I'm calling this "Tampa Nickel":

what the hell

The dude in the deep middle is Kevin Leach; you can see Kovacs just off the edge of the screen at the 35. My best guess here is that this is an attempt to replicate a Tampa 2 defense with a walk-on linebacker or Obi Ezeh, which necessitates starting him well back of where a middle linebacker would normally end up.

Michigan's also running some even fronts—I think:

nickel even

Look at the alignment of the two DTs relative to the DTs in the shot above. In this defense, Brown acts as a nickelback and Michigan plays, or at least shows, two-deep with the safeties.

AAARGH Notes: argh.


Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun trips Tampa Nickel(?) Pass Jailbreak screen -- 9
What the hell? [Ed: see above] Michigan has five guys in the box with Brown split out over to the trips side and Williams walked up outside of Mouton, who's lined up over the tackle. Leach is playing nine yards deep. Kovacs is 15 yards deep. Purdue throws a jailbreak screen on which Roh, who's dropping into coverage, reacts to. With both DTs sucking upfield Michigan has no one else in the area because Leach is 10 yards downfield. Leach recovers to tackle—barely—after making up the ground he gave presnap. The way this aligned Michigan had little chance to defend it. (RPS -1)
O21 2 1 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under man Run Power O -- 30
Roh again dropping into coverage so he falls off the line of scrimmage attempting to cover the TE, who's moving out to block Leach. Leach is reading the play and manages to keep his feet as the TE dives at them, but is slowed and as a result the pulling guard gets an easy block on him. There's no one else on the corner. WTF? (RPS -1, Roh -1, as this must be some screwup on his part.) BTN says Troy Woolfolk is from “Suger Land, TX.” Really? Suger Land?
M49 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Woolfolk 14
Woolfolk(-1) is backing out into a deep zone and reacts slowly to the short hitch Purdue is going for. He then overruns the play and turns this from five yards into 14. (Cover –1, tackling -1)
M35 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass Wheel Mouton 35
Mouton(-4) is in man on the tailback and decides man coverage is for losers. (Cover -4) I assume this is his bust because he got yanked; Mike Williams was also coming up on the TE Mouton decided to cover, and cover pretty well, actually.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 13 min 1st Q. Somehow they won't score more than a FG for the rest of the half.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under zone Run Power O Fitzgerald 1
Michigan has flipped the line to the short side of the field, which happens to be the open side of the field, and is in zone coverage with Warren lined up over the TE. Purdue runs basically the same play they did on the last drive except with only one pulling guard. They double and down-block Graham. Warren hops out for contain and draws the pulling guard; Fitzgerald(+1) reads the play and shoots into the hole, tackling(+1) for a minimal gain.
O24 2 9 Shotgun Twins Twin TE 4-3 under man Pass Hitch Leach Inc
Yikes: looks to be a coverage bust with no one going with the TE hitting it up into the seam, but Elliot's already decided to come short. Ball is dropped; would have been six and an immediate tackle if caught.
O24 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Jailbreak screen Fitzgerald 17
Fitzgerald and Williams do a great job of reading the play and attacking the LOS, giving Purdue no chance to block them. WR heads inside, right into Fitzgerald, who's just coming through a block and has his hands down; they collide and the RB runs through the contact. (-1, tackling -1); Roh(-1) can't make a diving ankle tackle attempt despite the slowdown and Purdue makes an unlikely third down conversion.
O41 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Woolfolk 30
Cover two and Purdue runs a play that attacks it with an out underneath holding Woolfolk(-1) as a receiver goes over the top; Williams(-1) can't get over in time. Ball is well underthrown, which gives Michigan a chance to make a play on the ball; they don't. (Cover -1)
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Run Draw Leach 4
Leach in a tough spot because RVB(-1) is stood up by the RG and eventually driven back, conceding holes to both sides of him. Leach picks one that he thinks Bolden is hitting it up into and gets it right; Bolden has to cut, and Leach(+1) manages to trip him as he runs by. Bolden falls forward for a bunch after contact but Leach did well in a lot of space in a tough situation.
M25 2 6 Shotgun trips Tampa Nickel Pass Out Woolfolk Inc
This... thing again. Quick out open in front of Woolfolk(cover -1); dropped.
M25 3 6 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 stack Pass Scramble Graham 1
Michigan shows a 3-man front with threatened blitzes from the linebackers, then drops out of it. Graham(+2) immediately pwns the RT and forces the QB up in the pocket; good coverage(+1) from the eight guys downfield allows Graham to come around from the back and tackle, though it doesn't go down as a sack because Graham hits him across the LOS. (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: FG(41), 7-10, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Run Down G Leach 13 + 15 pen
Heininger doubled and removed from the play, leaving a pulling G and the FB on Leach and Brown. Brown heads outside for contain. Leach(-1) badly overruns the play, providing a quick cut-up for the RB when he could have slowed up, let Brown cut off the outside, and slowed the play down. I'm not sure what to make of Fitzgerald here, who might be a step slow, might have stumbled, but took on a block and shed it, but then couldn't make a tough tackle attempt at about five yards. This penalty is probably a bad one but definitely stupid... Williams(-1) knows he's right at the sideline and there's zero upside to hitting a guy who's running OOB.
O48 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run Rollout something Brown -4
This looks like a busted play as Elliott rolls out with a couple of lead blockers and his receiver goes to block some guys. Unless this is just a called bootleg run for Elliot without so much as a fake, which I find hard to believe. Brown(+1) does to a good job of containing, and Fitzgerald comes to tackle.
O44 2 14 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass Dig Brown 13
Brown(+1, cover +1) right there on the play and has a swat at the ball but misses it. He's still there to make a tackle, though the receiver drags him for a few yards. Excellent coverage; Michigan made it tough this time. Graham did tear through late, but this is a pressure -1... Elliot could stand and fire.
M43 3 1 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass Bubble screen Woolfolk 6
Tough to stop on third and one with Michigan loading the box and with only two guys on the edge here. Brown does a decent job getting out; Woolfolk(-0.5) was late reacting after the guy was clearly stalk-blocking him off the line; he does shed and force the player out of bounds.
M37 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run Draw Van Bergen 4
Campbell in; Michigan stunts through the line(RPS +1), with Van Bergen(-1) coming through clean only to overrun the play and let Bolden through the hole he just came through. Bolden ends up tripping over the guy blocking Campbell.
M33 2 6 Shotgun empty 2TE 4-3 under Pass TE Out Brown 3 (Pen -5)
Caught; Brown(+1, cover +1), in a cover-2 zone, lights up the TE as soon as he catches it. Illegal motion brings it back.
M38 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Wobbler Leach Int
Michigan gets a gift as Elliot gets time (pressure -1) against a three-man rush and finds someone to fire to. The ball flutters at it leaves his hand and is reeled in by Leach(+1).
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-10, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under Run Pin and pull zone Graham 5
What? See the Smart Football link. Basically any covered OL blocks down and anyone else pulls around. Graham(+1) shucks his blocker and gets playside of him, shooting into the hole and delaying the running back. And I thought I was going to give a big minus to one of the linebackers here but it turns out that JB Fitzgerald is held by a Purdue OL—like the guy grabs him from behind, this one is no question—and thus can't get out to the corner. That turns this from zero to five.
O44 2 5 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Triple option keeper Graham 1
Refs miss a Purdue false start. Elliott pulls it out when he doesn't like the dive fake, but Graham(+1) is not crashing and gets out on Elliott, forcing him back inside; Graham and Fitzgerald combine to tackle(+1) for minimal gain. Pitch guy was covered too, so Elliott didn't make the worst read possible.
O45 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Corner Brown 6
Line shifted as per usual but the LBs are off the line and tucked in; weird. Michigan blitzes; Graham tears around the corner and beats one blocker, forcing another to come out on him. Purdue is clearly trying to pick Warren and get the slant as a result; Warren(+1) does a fantastic job of coming under the pick and having this blanketed. Holding? Maybe, but not called. Brown(-1), however, reacts to that route when he's in man on the slot guy and leaves his little corner route open, so Elliot has another option other than “die because of Graham.” Tough leaping catch from the WR.
M49 1 10 Shotgun Twins Twin TE 4-4 under Run Zone read stretch Leach 6
Unfortunate for Michigan as Purdue gets an inadvertent chop on Graham, who they tried to double but did not seal, because the guy coming off Graham dives to cut Leach(-1) and Graham trips over the mess, opening up a crease just before the play reaches the sideline. Leach went down hard and heavy to the cut block, allowing his blocker to take out two guys.
M43 2 4 I-Form 4-4 under Run Inside zone Roh -2
Michigan's got a line slant on that murders this dead(RPS +1), as Roh(+1) is unblocked on the backside and blitzes right into the path of the tailback before the offset fullback has a chance to do anything about it.
M45 3 6 Shotgun empty 4-3 under split Pass Jailbreak screen Roh Inc
Roh(+1) is either spying on this or reads it because he does not pursue the QB but rather holds up and occupies the LT, which prevents him from getting out and allows Fitzgerald(+1) to flow unimpeded to the receiver. Ball is dropped anyway. (RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 11 min 3rd Q. What is this “punt” you speak of?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun trips bunch Nickel under Pass Swing Brown 3
Trips bunch set takes Brown out to them and he plays head-up on the guy on the LOS. Michigan drops into a zone; Purdue receivers attempt to run it off and hit the swing pass underneath; Brown(+1, tackling +1) makes a good open-field tackle to turn this into a meh play.
O27 2 7 I-Form Twins 4-4 under Pass Rollout Woolfolk 16
This will be annoying for the rest of the game. Michigan in what looks like man on the outside receivers, playing pretty far off. It's not man, as Warren drops off into a deep zone and Woolfolk(-1) is supposed to have an outside zone. He ends up getting run off and leaves a 15-yard out wide open(cover -1). Roh was chasing Elliott down but fell as he tried to avoid a desperate cut from an OL, so there's no pressure(-1) on this.
O41 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run Power O Martin 0
Martin(+2) darts between the center and an attempted down-block from the RG, coming under the pulling LG to tackle Bolden in the backfield with no help from anyone else. Bolden coughs the ball up but it falls right to him.
O41 2 10 Shotgun trips Tampa Nickel Pass Hitch Brown 5
Brown(cover +1, +1) is again right in the receiver's grill as he makes the catch and has a swipe at the ball for a PBU, but can't make it. He does tackle(+1) with help.
O46 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass TE cross Roh Int
Warren spends the run up to this play leaping up and down trying to get other secondary members' attention. He does. Michigan runs a crazy zone blitz with both Roh and RVB dropping off the right side of the line into short zones; this gets Brown, blitzing off the corner, in clean (pressure +1, RPS +1). The zone drops from the DT end up covering(+1) the short options but Elliott gets a crazy accurate pass off that manages to find his tight end despite the tight end taking a detour around Roh after the ball was thrown. Tight end gets his head around late to find the ball almost there already and can't bring it in; Warren(+1) picks off the deflection.
Drive Notes: Interception, 24-10, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 I-Form Twins 4-4 under Pass Rollout deep hitch Leach? 12
Part II of rollout extravaganza. No pressure(-1) on the corner and this seems like it's got to be a coverage bust from one of the linebackers because both Leach and Fitzgerald tear after the rollout, opening a lane for Elliott when Williams heads out for his flat zone. (Cover -1)
O30 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Twins 4-4 under Pass Bubble screen Warren 3
Michigan man up on the corners and Warren(+0.5, cover +1) reacts to the bubble very quickly, getting in on it basically as the catch is made. Unfortunately he gets stiffarmed(tackling -1). Roh also overruns the guy as he cuts inside of Warren but the delays mean there are now five other Wolverines in the area and he can only get three.
O33 2 7 Ace Twins Twin TE 4-4 under Pass Rollout TE Out Williams 7
TE pulls across with presnap motion and Purdue runs him into the flat, where he catches the ball in front of Williams for near first down yardage (cover -1, pressure -1, RPS -1).
O40 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Warren 9
Warren is bailing out into cover-three and Elliott finds the hitch his coverage leaves open (cover -1).
O49 2 1 I-Form Twins 4-4 under Pass Rollout scramble Brown 3
Still no one on the edge here (pressure -1) on the fourth rollout of the day. Leach does get a good chuck on the TE; he's covered; Brown has a guy in the flat(cover +1) so Elliot is forced to scramble up for the first down.
M48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass Fly Warren Inc
Warren(+1, cover +1) in great position. Ball is high and short so Warren doesn't have a play on the ball; leaping WR can only get one hand on it and it falls incomplete.
M48 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run Trap Roh 3
Roh(+1) responsible enough here to not fly upfield as Purdue leaves him unblocked and pulls two OL around attempting to trap Michigan up the middle. He gets into a blocker and when Bolden cuts up—Leach(+0.5) had contain—Roh fights playside of the blocker, gets held pretty badly, and sort of tackles Bolden with his back. Help came from RVB and Graham.
M45 3 7 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Penalty False start -- -5
50 3 12 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Penalty Delay -- -5
Oops. Why does the clock keep running after penalties like this?
O45 3 17 Shotgun 2-back Tampa Nickel Pass Hitch Warren 6
Whatever. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: EOH, 24-10.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run Power off tackle Brown 19
Ugh. Center actually pulls here as two guys double Roh and Purdue goes for the outside. Roh(-1) gets sealed really quickly and is both out of the play and not occupying a double. Brown(-1) comes down too far inside and gives up the corner; Leach(-1) is sliced to the ground by the TE coming off Roh, Williams(-1) overruns the play as it nears the sticks and turns it into a touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-17, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O9 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel under Pass Hitch -- 8
Weird LB/secondary config. Purdue runs a three-step drop that finds a hole in the zone(cover -1) between Williams and Leach. Fitz got a free run, but it didn't matter. (Pressure +1)
O17 2 2 Ace Twins 4-4 under Pass Rollout throwaway Graham Inc
Graham(+1) tears through the line and is fast enough to get in on Elliott, forcing a throwaway. Good flat coverage from Brown(+1, cover +1)
O17 3 2 Shotgun Twins Twin TE 4-4 under Pass Hitch Fitzgerald 6
Guy comes open underneath a zone and Elliott hits him quickly; immediate tackle. Excellent catch on a poorly thrown ball by the TE.
O23 1 10 Ace 4-3 under Pass Rollout hitch Warren 6
Quick throw, not a long rollout, and Warren is there to escort out of bounds immediately. I'm not negging these quick throws with immediate tackles but I am getting cranky.
O29 2 4 Shotgun 2-back TE 4-4 under Run Zone read stretch Martin -2
Martin(+1) blows the center back, forcing Bolden to delay a bit to get around the disruption. Graham(+1) blows into the backfield as well, cutting off the outside and taking out two blockers. and Fitzgerald(+1, tackling +1) uses the delay and the lack of blockers to dart into the backfield and make a solid TFL.
O27 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Fitzgerald 9
Four man rush is stoned (pressure -1) to the point where Elliot doesn't even have to worry about any issues, and Fitzgerald(-1, cover -1) sucks out of his zone, opening up a slant. Leach had the slot receiver; Fitz is busting a coverage here.
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Run Zone read stretch Brown 16
Purdue motions in a slot WR to act as a second TE and Michigan does not react (RPS -1); Brown(-1) fails to get outside the slot guy and gives up the corner; Roh(-1) ends up spinning inside of the OT despite this run obviously going outside; Leach(-1) is indecisive and ends up getting blocked into oblivion. Bolden gets the corner and a bunch of yards.
M46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass Rollout corner Kovacs Inc
Kovacs(-1, cover -2, RPS -1) in man on this and that is a terrible matchup against a good Purdue receiver lined up in the slot. Elliott has the guy for at least 20 but throws it too far in front of him and the receiver can't make a tough catch.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under Pass Rollout deep hitch -- 14
This is more of a half-roll and there's max protect, but Michigan is still not getting anywhere near this guy (pressure -2) on a deep drop. Elliott has plenty of time to come to a second receiver, wait for him to get open, and fire in a pass to a tight window in front of Brown. Lot of time, still pretty covered receiver, no cover minuses. These rollouts are killing me.
M32 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Quick out Brown 8
Brown(-1) has the flat here and instead attempts to cover a TE that is running into Leach's zone; Warren has a deep half and is not responsible. (Cover -1)
M24 2 2 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run Zone read keeper Herron 6
Herron(-1) dives too far inside and gives up the corner. Pretty sure this isn't a scrape exchange; if it was Herron would not even think about responsibility.
M18 1 10 Ace Twins Twin TE 4-3 under Run Draw Leach 3
Plays off the rollout stuff with it looking like a rollout and then the counter draw coming. Martin seems like he's about to come around his guy and make a tackle at the LOS but a hold prevents him; OL then gives the “I ain't doin' nothing” hands up thing and lets him go, preventing a penalty. Borderline; can see letting it go. Leach(+0.5) slices between a couple OL to make a diving, face-first, sketchy tackle attempt; Roh(+0.5) loops around on what is probably a stunt to provide enough Michigan jersey to cut off the hole.
M15 2 7 I-Form 4-3 under Pass Rollout FB Flat Williams 5
Williams takes a step inside, biting on the run fake, but then gets out quickly to cover and tackle the FB flat immediately. No plus, no minus, eh.
M10 3 2 Shotgun trips TE 4-3 under Run Zone read stretch Fitzgerald 10
Ugh. This is a game-losing play. Martin(+1) does great, slanting from the backside and taking two blockers directly into the path of Bolden. This play has to be dead now; a guy has occupied two blockers and delayed the RB. It's over, except Fitzgerald(-2) takes an angle way too far upfield and can only make a diving arm-tackle attempt on Bolden, which misses (tackle -1). Roh's stunted himself out of the area and the resulting mess prevents RVB from flowing; Ditto Kovacs, so Bolden gets into the endzone. Really, really should have been a TFL and a FG attempt.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 30-24, 5 min 3rd Q. Onside kick gives it right back to Purdue. Spectacular execution by the kicker.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 Shotgun trips Tampa Nickel Pass Fly Kovacs 54
Four man rush, a zone blitz, gets nowhere near Elliott (pressure -2) and so he can half-roll a bit and look deep, where Kovacs(-4) has completely busted on the only deep receiver on his side of the field; guy is so wide open that even a terribly underthrown pass doesn't prevent him from scoring. (Cover -4). Enormous bust. Walk-on freshman safety.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, FML, 30-31, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-4 under Pass Bubble screen Woolfolk 6
Michigan in a zone; Woolfolk(-0.5) is unblocked but reads it a little late and almost misses a tackle, allowing the receiver to make some YAC.
O48 2 4 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Run Pitch sweep Graham -3
Graham(+1) slants inside, meeting the playside G a couple yards in the backfield as he pulls; he drives the G back, forcing Bolden outside. Graham gets stiffarmed but his interior play has allowed Brown(+1) to finish the TFL after he got outside his blocker effectively.
O45 3 7 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 split Pass Hitch Graham Inc
Graham(+1) tears around the RT, flushing Elliott up into the pocket on a three-man rush (pressure +1) and forcing him to throw as he knows Graham is coming up for EXTREME VENGANCE behind him. Mouton(-1, cover –1) vacates his zone to chase Elliott, opening up a receiver for a first down; RVB(+1) is looping around and bats it down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 30-31, 1 min 3rd Q. You can tell what the coaches' reaction was to that Bolden touchdown: Fitzgerald out, Mouton in.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Pass Jailbreak screen Roh 1
Kind of a similar deal to a failed Michigan version of this earlier: Roh(+1) actually hooks the playside tackle, which prevents him from getting out to get a block; three Wolverines, including Roh, come in to crush the play. (RPS +1)
O32 2 9 Shotgun empty Tampa Nickel Pass Scramble Brown 4
Fake bubble to the slant Michigan likes to run except Brown(+1, cover +1) is not biting and Elliott has to look elsewhere, at which point Graham(+1) tears through on a three man rush and flushes him out of the pocket. Coverage remains good downfield so Elliot has to scramble; lot of short routes mean no one can peel off until he crosses the LOS. (Cover +1)
O36 3 5 Shotgun 2TE Base 4-3 Pass TE cross Leach 56
Michigan sends six and plays man behind it; Leach(-4) is looking in the backfield and covering the wrong tight end because he's playing zone. This opens the tight end up wide open, and he grabs a short cross and turns it up for a huge gain. (Cover -4)
M8 1 G I-Form 4-4 under Pass Scramble Roh? 8

I'm not sure why this lane opens up. Martin is slanting and slants from one side of the line to the left, coming around as if he's the DE on the opposite side of the line and dragging the RG with him; Graham does his usual tear-upfield-speed rush thing. Roh and RVB are slanting away from Martin; this results in a big pocket opening up and a major cutback lane no one is in because they're trying to cover receivers. I think Roh -1, RVB -1. Maybe Martin. Not sure. BTN analyst calls out Mouton, but he's in pass coverage on a guy who would otherwise be open, right? I dunno.

Hmmm. Official call: minus halves for the DLs, minus one for Mouton. Help here?

Drive Notes: Touchdown, 30-38, 10 min 4th Q. Aaand exeunt Leach.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-3 under Run Zone read inside Roh 4
Martin(+0.5) holds up decently well, which causes a slowdown and allows Roh(+0.5), who's crashing from the backside, to come from behind and snuff this out. Pile then falls way forward. Martin holds up a little better and this can be 0.
O15 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff -- Inc
Graham(+1) starts the tear-around-corner-business and it looks like Elliott can step up into a pocket but I think he's spooked and decides to dump it off to the releasing RB, who drops an iffy pass. (pressure +1)
O15 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 split Pass Hitch Warren 5
Wow, close to a chop block as a guy Martin isn't expecting gets into his knees. C was not engaged but it was close. The chop indicates a pass that must get thrown immediately and indeed, Elliott chucks it in between Kovacs(+1) and Warren(+1)—very dangerous. Cover +1. Ball is caught but the TE is falling back upfield because of the tight coverage and ends up short of the first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 30-38, 7 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun Twins 2TE 4-4 under Penalty False start -- -5
O13 1 15 Shotgun Twins 2TE 4-4 under Run Down G Graham 4 (Pen -7)
Graham(+2) tears through a TE trying to down-block him and heads out to the edge, where he gets into both pulling blockers and is tackled to the ground, drawing a holding call. The result is a strung out play that Ezeh and Brown end up overrunning, allowing Bolden to pick up a few.
O6 1 22 I-Form Twins 4-3 under Pass Rollout comeback Woolfolk Inc
Elliott wants to go to the TE but Brown(+1, cover +1) has him covered and Elliott keeps rolling and rolling. He's late; as he reaches the sideline he chucks it to the other receiver, who Woolfolk(+1) has under control and makes a pass breakup on. (Pressure -1, cover +1)
O6 2 22 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run Trap Roh 4
Roh(+1) slants inside the attempted trap block and gets in the lane, meeting the RB at the LOS. Bolden powers through for a decent gain, though... Roh needs some more weight.
O10 3 18 ? ? Pass Sack Van Bergen -4
Tape does not have this play. Abbreviated replay shows RVB(+1) the beneficiary of a coverage sack(cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 30-38, 3 min 4th Q. Final drive for Purdue is not charted since it's an extreme run situation and not representative.

How's the ichor?

Don't I ask the questions?

Just talk before I dispel you.

The ichor is dry and rubbery. If I attempt to stroke my luxurious goatee it comes off in little gooey balls that are faintly warm to the touch and smell like an oil slick with an otter drowning in it.

Dude, you are evil.

Not as evil as Michigan's linebackers. ZING!

Sigh. How about a special mailbag question?

Sure, what the hell, I just want to talk Cowherd.

Defensively, I don't understand.  My biggest concern is not the big plays, but how they look.  I understand we have three walk-ons playing significant time, as well as a freshman D-lineman. Mistakes will happen. What I am worried about is the ease of which we are beaten.  I don't have a problem with Kovacs being outrun or Leach getting blocked. That is expected. I have a problem with completely blown assignments.  To get beat on a fly pattern by a guy who is faster - acceptable.  To get beat on a fly pattern because you were tackling the fullback when the wideout was your responsibility - unacceptable. That is where we are. It can't all be Rock-Paper-Scissors playcalling.  It is coaching.  They have got to get these kids in the right position.  Williams total disregard for Juice responsibility is a perfect example.  The coaches have got to figure a way to get through to him. Then if Juice breaks his tackle or fakes him out of his shoes, good job Juice.  We don't even challenge our opponent to out execute us. 
In a nutshell, I can be patient with the offense. Improvement, youth, blah blah blah.   I can't be patient with this defense, and I believe it is on the staff.  Coach Rod will have some tough decisions to make this offseason.  Don't know if Gerg is the answer, but position coaches should be feeling the heat.
Just needed to vent.  I want Rod here 5 years minimum.  I hope his delegation of defensive authority doesn't doom him sooner.
Go Blue!
Jim Cunningham
Well, first, let's look at the—



Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 12 - 12 Killed all runs to his side; somewhat culpable for poor pressure metric but those were rollouts.
Heininger - - - Didn't record anything.
Watson - - - DNP.
Roh 6 4.5 1.5 Extensive discussion below.
Herron - 1 -1 Only contribution was blowing contain once.
Martin 4.5 0.5 4 Relatively quiet; not getting much pass rush this year.
Van Bergen 2 2 0 Not a major factor.
Banks - - - DNP, I think.
Sagesse - - - Also DNP, I think.
Campbell - - - Didn't do anything of note but did play.
TOTAL 24.5 8 16.5 Step back from usual effort, especially given the pressure metric below.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh - - - Nothing particularly good or bad on late cameo.
Mouton - 6 -6 Did this in like a quarter of playing time.
Brown 9 4 5 Built to play his position against a team like Purdue.
Fitzgerald 3 4 -1 I am actually encouraged by his play.
Leach 3 8 -5 Basically even except for the monster bust.
TOTAL 15 22 -7 Is it a positive that this is positive but for the –8 on huge coverage busts? No?
Player + - T Notes
Warren 4.5 - 4.5 The NFL wants you to stay in school.
Cissoko - - - Happy trails.
Floyd - - - DNP.
Turner - - - DNP.
Woolfolk - 4 -4 Rough day in zones.
Williams - 3 -3 I'll take it.
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 1 5 -4 Enormous bust #3.
TOTAL 5.5 12 -6.5 Better than against Illinois, I  guess.
Pressure 5 12 -7 Poor BG.
Coverage 15 24 -9 Did a good job when they remembered at all where they were supposed to be.
Tackling 5 5 0 I really need to definite this more precisely.
RPS 5 5 0 Still working on this, too.

[A reminder: RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

It's basically the usual: pretty decent on the DL, Graham destroys, Brown does well or okay, other linebackers and people in the secondary who aren't Warren make graves. Hidden in the raw numbers is the distribution: –12 in coverage and the above numbers goes to three separate enormous busts. If Michigan does not make those busts it seems reasonable to assume they hold Purdue to something like 10-14 fewer points. If they don't bust, there is the talent, it seems, to have an average defensive performance against Purdue.

The emailer is correct that it's the busted coverages and disaster that makes this defense a disastrous disaster of disastrous proportions. Is this "acceptable"? Well… let's rephrase that into something that's less vague and standoffish. How much of this is a reflection on poor coaching by position coaches on up to Rodriguez? How much should this deflate expectations about how well this team can play on defense going forward?

I can point you to any number of metrics that suggest there are plenty of reasons that Michigan sucks on defense for reasons other than coaching. Here's a new one:

Comparing Michigan's defensive upperclassmen [ed: 3rd, 4th, 5th year players; RVB counts] not only to Ohio State, Penn State, and Notre Dame, but to the rest of the conference as well...

Ohio State - 22
Northwestern - 21
Indiana - 19
Illinois - 19
Michigan State - 19
Penn State - 19
Iowa - 18
Wisconsin - 18
Minnesota - 17
Purdue - 15
Notre Dame - 15
Michigan - 12

The rest of the Big Ten averages 50% more upperclassmen on defense.  We are dead last in the conference by a wide margin in terms of experienced defensive players.

Then you add in the defensive coordinator carousel—three in three years—and the wholesale changeover of position coaches last year and, like, doy: this just about has to be a bad defense. If it was even average it would be a miracle. The emailer dismisses the idea of youth being a factor; again, I have no idea how you can do that. The raw numbers defy you.

So it's bad and it should be bad. Is it worse than it should be considering the incredible paucity of not even talent but mere bodies on the team? I don't know. Assuming that a busted coverage is necessarily on a coach not getting his guys to go to the right spots is dodgy. It could just be that the guys they have to start are either not ready or just not that bright when it comes to football and would be mediocre backups on another team. Sometimes people just can't hack the mental side of the game no matter what.

So maybe it's on the coaches. That is a blindingly obvious possibility. But there are plenty of mitigating factors that suggest it is not necessarily the case. The only way we will find out is with more time. They've got to be a lot better next year or things will get ugly.

[Note: the criticism that Rodriguez forced various kids to get R-U-N-N-O-F-T is another show. Presumably, attrition will be normal in the future. Rodriguez's previous stop did not experience undue attrition after his transition. Going forward, Michigan can expect to get its numbers back into the pack here.]

On to specifics, maybe?

So what was with the rollouts?

Purdue was very clever. Remember this thirty-yard run?

That's run directly at Roh and RVB and linebackers because Michigan's aligning based on the hash these days and not the formation. So they've got a lot of open space if they can blow Roh off the line, which is pretty easy right now because he's a 220-230 pound true freshman. Here he's not blown off the line, he's tasked with coverage. and gives up the corner. Okay, that's not going to work. RPS –1 was born for this.

Later Michigan flips the line so that Graham is to the open side of the field:

That play picks up one because two guys have to take on Graham and Michigan is using someone else. On the first play of Purdue's third drive they run an outside zone like the 30-yarder to start, and Graham tears through it; a hold from Purdue gives them five yards but the play is basically blown up. Purdue picks up a big run later with Heininger in in an I-Form twins; it's clear that BG is the only thing keeping Purdue away from major gains outside the tackle. So it's the strong side for him.

Now Graham is away from the receiver side of the field on the formations above and the rollouts can take advantage of Roh not being Brandon Graham; the one rollout on which Michigan did get pressure was from Graham. Later in the game, Roh gets sealed away on a 19-yard touchdown by Bolden when Michigan puts Graham on the weakside and gets another excellent run when Roh comes inside a TE. (Plenty other folk—three—picked up minuses on that play but if that's run at Graham they are not likely to have much success.) Purdue made Michigan pick its poison.

Roh did some good stuff on slants and was responsible when he had an opportunity to overrun plays, which gives him that modest positive score above, but big minuses in pressure fall mostly on the shoulders of the DEs and when one of the DEs is Brandon Graham they fall mostly on the shoulders of the DE who isn't Brandon Graham. So if you apply a chunk of that pressure metric to Roh, you get a solidly negative day. I think that's a realistic take on is game and am going to incredible lengths to justify that assessment because apparently Roh's dad reads UFR, which is something I'd really rather not know. The eyebrow furrowing!


Shut up, imaginary Cowherd. Anyway, Purdue did a really good job of exploiting the true freshman defensive end in this game. I think Danny Hope has shown that he was an excellent choice for Purdue's coaching transition; he will be a success. Probably.

Aaaaargh linebackers.

I know, man. Mouton busts huge on the first drive and gets yanked. Ezeh has already been yanked and so you've got a couple sophomores out there and you're thinking 'hey, maybe this is where they show their mettle, they're gamers' and then by the end of the game they've both busted huge and the nominal starters are back in and if you go back and chalk up the number of Purdue points that came directly from the linebackers not knowing WTF they are supposed to do you get something like 14. They are terrible, and it's all mental.

This is one spot on the field where I lean towards the torch and pitchfork crowd. It could just be a couple busts and no depth with any experience, but Mouton was better last year and the vast improvement from Stevie Brown stands in stark contrast… since he's coached by Greg Robinson.


Brandon Graham remains Brandon Graham. Also, Stevie Brown's short coverage was excellent all day and though he missed on a couple opportunities to get PBUs he made it very tough and was a sure tackler. I'm so happy we blew his redshirt on kickoff coverage.

Warren also turned in a good day; I know it looked like he was leaving a lot of guys open during the game but I am pretty confident that those were not his issues because he was a deep half in cover-two.

Goat-type substances?

Pick an enormous busty guy: Mouton, Kovacs, Leach. And as discussed above, Purdue's game plan other than "hey throw it to that wide open guy" was focused on exploiting Roh's lack of size and experience.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and beyond?

Despite the re-insertion of the nominal starting linebackers at the end of the  game I assume that the linebacker question is an open one for Saturday and probably until the UConn game next fall. I graded Fitzgerald out at a –1 despite the crippling poor angle on that Bolden run and he looked physically capable; I'm pulling for him because he's younger, seems less prone to implode, and hasn't made me want to die more than once or twice.

At middle linebacker, I think Leach is seriously mediocre at this instant but so is Ezeh; there are no good options there. He, too, is a sophomore with a lack of on-field experience, so he seems more likely to have a light go on than Ezeh.

At this point the line is basically status quo, as is the secondary. I thought Williams did okay after a monstrously poor day against Illinois. So there's that.


Clarence Beeks

November 11th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

The Cowherd references reminded me that I heard him be extremely positive today on the radio about RR's future at Michigan and where the program is going. He really laid into the end of the Carr era (e.g. Michigan was a sinking ship to anyone who was actually paying attention, and the end of the Carr era resulted in a lot of untalented players). Given his prior history with our program I thought this was rather interesting. He also laid into Drew Sharp (e.g. Sharp's comments are 1983 sports talk radio), which made me extremely happy.

matty blue

November 11th, 2009 at 4:12 PM ^


"Stevie Brown's short coverage was excellent all day and though he missed on a couple opportunities to get PBUs he made it very tough and was a sure tackler. I'm so happy we blew his redshirt on kickoff coverage."

wait, what? the scapegoat for every single one of our defensive problems last season (like mundy and massey before him) has become, not only functional and maybe even good, but the source of an "arrgh burned redshirt" comment?

two things: first, if you put talented players in position to succeed, they often do, eventually. just don't ask them to do things outside their skill set. stevie could always hit and work in traffic. in open space, not so much. second, maybe some of the hate for williams is, if not unwarranted, a bit premature? obviously he's not, you know, good. but it might be a bit early to write him off.

Wolverine In Exile

November 11th, 2009 at 4:14 PM ^

after seeing how much Stevie Brown has improved and given Brian's reference to Stevie's redshirt burning... question for football types. Granted he's a little small, but Stevie seems to be picking up the nuances of LB play relatively fast and succeeding, so my question is:

If Stevie Brown had another year and we continued to suck at ILB, would Stevie have a chance at playing ILB in a kind of Derrick Brooks type? Seems like he can hit and can run the proverbial "sideline to sideline", my concern would be the holding up against the occasional OG or C he'd have to take on in the hole of a running play.


November 12th, 2009 at 11:28 AM ^

Well, undersized MLB's have succeeded in a Tampa-2 type scheme (see Brooks, and even a younger Urlacher) in the NFL. That's not what Michigan is playing. Frankly, not many college teams are using one of the NFL's more common D's because it requires a freakish athlete at MLB, and a really good D-line that gets penetration at all 4 spots.

A guy like Brown might do fine against spread teams, but I don't think I want a safety-sized MLB against the MSU's and Wisco's of the Big Ten.

IMO, Brown's real value is that he let's you play nickle with your base personnel while also playing a base D against formations and personnel that dictate a more traditional (7 in box) look.


November 11th, 2009 at 4:19 PM ^

if he only had one responsibility, the RB. Tell him the RB is his only responsibility and turn him loose. His cover skills aren't great and his speed is minimal, but running downhill at a RB would simplify things for him. The for JB or Jonas make their sole responsibility the QB. If it's a pass let them blitz like crazy. If it's a run they can help contain by still spying the QB. On a read play, both the QB and the RB would be accounted for and Stevie B could cover the TE like he's been doing. Get this defense back to basics, right now it seems like they're trying to think about to many things at once. Simplify it for the LB's and make their responsibilities easier to understand.


November 11th, 2009 at 4:20 PM ^

O36 3 5 Shotgun 2TE Base 4-3 Pass TE cross Leach 56
Michigan sends six and plays man behind it; Leach(-4) is looking in the backfield and covering the wrong tight end because he's playing zone. This opens the tight end up wide open, and he grabs a short cross and turns it up for a huge gain. (Cover -4)

This play should have been wiped out -- RVB was in on the QB and got yanked back. Without the hold, it's a sack. This was a theme murmuring through the stands all day...our defense sucked, but the stripes were good for at least 10 Purdue points.


November 11th, 2009 at 4:54 PM ^

If that was the one where a "legal" block is apparently grabbing a defender about to sack your QB by his ankle, I was pissed and yelling for a hold too ...

Then there was the Purdue TD when the defender was apparently "legally" blocked by wrapping arms around him front and back and pushing him aside ...


November 11th, 2009 at 4:20 PM ^

I dont understand why our secondary is consitenly playing so far off of the recievers? could someone explain this concept?
Isnt it easier to disguise say a CB blitz when the Corner is play a top the reciever....we cant do any bump and runs playing far off....

is this an effort to try to avoid the deep ball at ALL COSTS?

los barcos

November 11th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

i know coaches play who they think are the best at the position, but after seeing poor-to-average lb play from leach and (deep) safety play from kovacs, im still left wondering why some of the younger guys havent gotten in there yet.

leach and kovacs have done well for walk ons, but at this point, the coaches cannot think they're the "future" at their respective positions. it seems to me, at this point in the year, with the way things have gone anyway, why not just put out the young guys (ie emilien) and get them baptized by fire.

at the very least they get some very valuable game reps for the future, and maybe might be a (slight) step up than what we've already seen.


November 11th, 2009 at 4:45 PM ^

I believe Mouton was to blame on that play where BTN called him out. He ran with the TE who was running into extended help from leach I believe. Mouton is awful with assignments, its so dissapointing


November 12th, 2009 at 8:15 AM ^

Mouton keeps flowing to the left on the play, but he vacates the zone he is supposed to be covering. He should be passing Purdue85 onto the other linebacker.

If you stop the video at the 9 second mark you can see a WR coming in from the right. Since Mouton left his zone, this WR is actually open underneath. At that point Mouton is still continuing to the left and out of his zone. The only person in the zone is the Umpire. I doubt he'd make a play on the ball if it was thrown.


November 11th, 2009 at 5:06 PM ^

"Oops. Why does the clock keep running after penalties like this?"

I was thinking the same thing during the game. Is this supposed to happen? If so, I guess I never paid attention.

This would be a great way to run out the clock before the half if you were on offense and just wanted to "get into the locker room". Just keep purposely false starting and the clock would keep running with a new play clock. At the very least it would force your opponent to burn a timeout they would have been able to use on offense.


November 12th, 2009 at 8:07 AM ^

Whenever a penalty is called when the clock is running, after the ball is reset the clock will re-start. This ensures that teams won't committ a penalty just to stop the clock.

I believe this is only for pre-snap penalties like the two that were issued. For a holding penalty, I think the clock is based on the result of the play, ie incomplete pass stops the clock but a tackle in bounds the clock re-starts.


November 11th, 2009 at 5:10 PM ^

makes me think we need more Powder-Puff football in Michigan Stadium. That would have made the past two seasons a little less painful, at least. Thanks for doing this - it'd be eye-gouging to have to chart every defensive play.


November 11th, 2009 at 10:45 PM ^

Williams got the ding, but he and Kovacs were holding hands by the sideline after wildly outrunning that play. I don't see how you punish one without the other.