Upon Further Review: Defense vs Utah Comment Count

Brian September 5th, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Note: "player" has never been deployed for the defense; I tried it this week and the results are kinda weird. It's the player most responsible for the result of the play, if that makes any sense.

Also Note: if you want the swanky video popups, you’ll have to click through to the post page itself. Click the title of the post. Update: hey, it works. Nevermind.

I’m going to try to come up with a better solution for this next week.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass PA Flare Panter 8
Utah starts off with a perfect example of why I hate the 4-3 against the spread, running a zone read play action that freezes Panter. The slot runs a little bubble screen route as the outside WR runs off the coverage and Panter's on an island with the slot. He misses a tackle(-1), turning five yards into eight. (Cover –1)
O33 2 1 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read handoff Evans 3
M walks Ezeh and Evans right up to the center and blitzes them; poorly timed. Evans(-1) gets stood up and single blocked. Taylor gets a hand to slow down and the D converges but after the first down.
O36 1 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Stop Trent 14
Trent is giving an eight yard cushion and by the time this guy runs a four-yards stop route he's probably 15 yards downfield. This was a zone blitz with Ezeh and Evans coming, Evans from the slot, and Graham dropping off on the backside of the play. (Cover -2)
50 1 10 Shotgun Trips Bunch Base 4-3 Pass Stop Jamison 4 (Pen -10)
Tim Jamison(+2) beats the defensive end to the outside and is put in a headlock, drawing a holding flag. This allows a short checkdown for a few yards that comes back. (Pressure +1)
O40 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Flag Harrison Inc
Decent coverage from Harrison but not great; Johnson has a small window to lay this ball in and can't do it. Not much pressure (-1), as Michigan went with a straight four-man rush.
O40 2 20 Shotgun Trips Okie Run Zone read keeper Chambers 1
Our first taste of Okie action, with a 3-4 alignment and four guys in an umbrella behind it. Ezeh and Chambers blitz from the short side of the field; they're into the backfield immediately as the OL slants away from them on the zone read. Ezeh(+1) closes and tackles the RB immediately, leaving the QB to Chambers(+1), who closes and tackles for a minimal gain.
O41 3 19 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Post Brown 55
Warren is clearly expecting safety help over the middle and funnels the receiver there on his post route; Brown(-3) is late arriving and overruns the guy, opening up a ton of running room. Worth noting that Jamison is really beating up on this LT. (Cover -2)
M3 1 G Shotgun 3-wide tight Base 4-3 Pass Sack Johnson -5
Excellent coverage(+2) gives Will Johnson(+1) enough time to shuck a defender, then pursue Johnson up into a pocket designed to contain him. (Pressure +1)
M8 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie Run QB Sweep Chambers 8
Our rock, their paper, as they bring in the running quarterback—or something—to run a sort of zone read sweep. Play action to the running back except the backside guys here aren't unblocked. Utah allows them to run upfield as they sort of orbit around them and by the time it's clear the QB has the ball they're sealed. Chambers(-1) is engaged by a tackle and roughly escorted to the endzone; Trent(-1) reacts slowly and can't do anything to deal with the QB. Cool play.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-6, 7:45 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Johnson 2
Supposed to chunk Michigan right up the middle as both DTs absorb double teams. Taylor(+1) sloughs an OL off, he stumbles and can't block Ezeh; Johnson(+1) spins to the playside of his double. The result is a fouled hole with an unblocked Ezeh, an off-balance cutback, and a small gain.
O25 2 8 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Circle Panter 5
Stewart comes in as a safety in the nickel package and Harrison slides down to his familiar spot over the slot. No pressure(-1) allows Johnson to find a short receiver on a circle route that beat Panter(-1). Warren comes up an tackles well.
O30 3 3 Shotgun Empty Base 4-3 Pass In Evans 3
They throw a slant just as Evans is getting his bump on the slot receiver. Evans(-1) doesn't let go and gets a deserved PI flag.
O33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Run Jet sweep Ezeh 0
Hey, wow, Ezeh(+1) looks like David Harris on this play, instantly reading the handoff to the motioning slot man and shooting off in pursuit; he tackles for no gain. Graham(+1) and Panter(+1) helped string it out.
O33 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass TE Post Ezeh 19
Slick pitch and catch from Johnson and the TE there as Johnson lays it right between Ezeh and Stewart, in at safety. He was only open for a moment; credit to Utah on this one. (Cover -1)
M48 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Run Zone read handoff Taylor 4
Looks like we're misaligned here as we're in the 5-3-1-7 split we broke out against the zone read last year, but we're flipped the wrong way. (This is the 5-3-1-7 split last year; this year we’re shifted over the running back.) As a result Taylor has to fight a double team that has position on him and Ezeh must deal with a lineman moving to the second level pretty easily. Four yards is a good result given the screwup, IMO, and that was because Taylor(+1) did an admirable job of fighting through an adverse situation.
M44 2 6 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Throwaway Jamison Inc
Jamison(+1) bursts into the LT, then swims inside, coming clean on Johnson. Johnson rolls away from the pressure, avoiding the sack, and throws it away as Panter comes charging up for cleanup. (Pressure +2)
M44 3 6 Shotgun Trips Okie Pass Zag(?) Panter 6
Bleur. Michigan shows the mondo blitz as per usual, then backs out early, notifying Johnson he's not going to be under pressure. Panter(-1) again gets beaten by a double move from a slow white guy, giving up an out and in for first down yardage. (Cover -1)
M38 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Pass Flag Harrison 23
This is the opposite of the 14 yard completion on the first drive, with Warren up tight on the guy running the stop and Evans in a short zone on the inside guy until the receiver breaks into the deep zone and heads to the corner. Harrison reads the coverage and throws a perfect pass Harrison has no chance on. (Pressure -1)
M15 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Cross Ezeh 9
Second team DL in the game now—may have been in the last few plays but I haven't noticed—and they get nowhere on a five-man rush(pressure -1). Panter(-1) and Ezeh(-1) victimized underneath (cover -1) as an easy four-yard completion is open enough to turn into nine.
M6 2 1 Unbalanced I-Form Base 4-3 Penalty False Start -- -5
M11 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Wheel Harrison 11 (Pen -10)
Attempted pick here as the two outside receivers cross with the outside guy running a wheel that Harrison(+1, cover +1) jumps on. With Warren(+1, cover +1) blanketing his guy and Evans lighting out that way, the left side of the field is a no-go zone. At this point Graham(+1) is held after fighting inside his guy; Johnson rolls out and finds a receiver crossing the endzone for a touchdown that won't count. Illegal formation, too.
M21 2 16 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Stop Ezeh 18
This must be a bust by Ezeh(-2), as his zone drop heads to the other side of the field from a slot receiver who has no one anywhere near him. (Cover -2)
M3 1 G Unbalanced I-Form Base 4-3 Run Dive Taylor 1
Jet sweep fake couple with a charge up the middle; Taylor(+1) stands up to a double team. When the linebackers come up to fill the holes and the running back cuts into him, he's there for the tackle. He doesn't get any help until it's too late, though, and the RB falls forward.
M2 2 G Goal line Goal line Pass Sack Evans -7
Play action coupled with two options for Johnson to the near side of the field; Evans(+1, cover +2) sits on the back on long enough for Warren to come over, then attacks the short one just as he begins looking for the ball. Penetration from Graham(+1) and Jamison(+1) combines to yield a Jamison sack.
M9 3 G Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Stack Pass Sack Van Bergen -2
Three man line with Graham the NT and Van Bergen and Jamison the ends. Utah rolls the pocket, cutting off one side of the field and cramming a lot of defenders into a small space; Johnson can't find anyone. (Cover +1) Van Bergen(+1) shoves his defender off balance once the pocket completes its roll and has a lane to the quarterback; a wild goose chase ensues and ends with Ezeh shoving Johnson OOB for a sack. Van Bergen is still running. His vaunted motor on display.
Drive Notes: FG(28), 10-9, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Pass Comeback Warren 9
Pocket is collapsing around Johnson and he just has enough time to get it into a well-covered receiver; five yards turns into nine with poor tackling from Warren(-1)
O35 2 1 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Pass Jailbreak screen -- Inc
Thrown too far in front of the receiver, and that's fortunate because this was set up for a big gainer.
O35 3 1 Pistol Trips Base 4-3 Penalty False Start -- -5
Looks like this was going to be a speed option or a pitch or something.
O30 3 6 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Flare Evans 39
Where is Marell Evans' first step going here? He takes one fatal step upfield before backing out and getting to his man, the tailback leaking out of the backfield. He then compounds his error by taking an upfield angle instead of heading straight to the sideline. Result: completion, long run, first down, swearin'. (Cover -1, Evans -3)
M31 1 10 Shotgun Trips Bunch Base 4-3 Pass Fly Brown Inc
Poor decision from Johnson, throwing a ball to a bracketed wide receiver (Cover +1). Brown(+1) has a better shot at this than the wideout, but can't reel it in. The pocket keeps collapsing around Johnson and forcing him to throw the ball, but it hasn't gotten irresponsible to the point where he breaks contain.
M31 2 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Triple option dive Panter 5
Mike Martin gets doubled and eventually shoved out of the hole a little bit; it's just a crease but it's enough. Ezeh doesn't quite make this play but he impressively reads it, attacks a guard, gets to the correct side of him, and almost makes a spectacular diving tackle for no gain. By this point I'm pretty sure Panter is tasked with spying the QB on most plays, so his initial steps away from the dive aren't surprising; wonder if a more experienced player fills more quickly here.
M26 3 5 Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Curl Harrison Inc
Think this is a straight drop by the wide receiver, but Harrison made it difficult by impacting him as the play arrived. Pressure decent, coverage decent, not great, no plus/minus.
Drive Notes: FG(43), 10-12, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun Empty Base 4-3 Pass Curl Ezeh 10
Plenty of time (pressure -1) and Ezeh(-1) is beaten in the zone.
O28 1 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Martin 11
Okay, when I theorized Michigan was misaligned earlier I was wrong. This is the third time this has happened where they line up inviting the zone read handoff by lining up shifted away from it, then ask the DT to that site to stand up a double. Mike Martin(-2) doesn't do this, getting bashed to the ground by the second guy's impact and opening up a gaping hole. Ezeh(-1) gets plowed by the same guy who crushed Martin, hell of a play from the Utah LG.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Ezeh 9
On each of the next three plays, Utah's lumbering power back lines up as the QB, fakes an end-around, and runs upfield. This is terrible, terrible from Ezeh(-2), who gets wholly sucked in by the end around fake and vacates the center of the field, allowing the RB-as-QB to shoot up into the hole. Martin(-1) turns in another play where he's blown out; Panter gets run over.
O48 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Evans 18
Low snap removes any threat of the end around and Michigan should have this contained; Ezeh reads it right this time and shoots into the hole; I think he's tripped to the ground by an OL and should draw a flag; he does not. Evans(-2) sits back, gets too close to an unblocked Graham, gets blasted by the FB, and opens up another gaping hole up the middle. Brown(-1) messes up a tackle and yields another ten yards.
M34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Johnson 2
Johnson(+1) returns to the field and becomes the white knight, standing up to a double, shucking a guy, and making contact at the LOS. Panter(+1) takes on the fullback effectively, discarding him to finish the job.
M32 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Slant Trent Inc
This is open, thrown on a three step drop but just behind the receiver. ( cover -1)
M32 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Scramble -- 6
Three man rush; Taylor and Jamison get enough of a push, I guess, to convince Johnson it's time to tuck and run. He didn't have to; mental error. Ezeh and Chambers manage to tackle before the sticks. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: FG(41), 10-15, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Flat Graham Inc
Slant coupled with a flat on one side functions as a pick and gets Harrison out of position (cover -1). However, Graham(+1) has beaten the RT and I believe he brushes or grabs or hits Johnson's arm as he throws. End result: turfed ball. (Pressure +1).
O11 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Taylor -3
Maybe this is the intent on these seemingly flipped plays: Taylor(+2) goes around the center away from the double team, blasting him back and penetrating into the path of the run. Graham(+1) has slanted inside, too, disconnecting and finishing the play.
O8 3 13 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Post Warren Inc
Five guys come with Panter sitting in a pretty useless spy/robber zone on third and thirteen; no one gets to Johnson(pressure -2). Fortunately, Warren(+2) has this post blanketed, breaking in front of the receiver and getting the PBU, nearly intercepting. (Cover +2) Brown also in good position; his bump of Warren may have caused the drop.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-15, 1:48 2nd Q. Finally a punt.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M37 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Jamison 5
Jamison(+1, pressure +1) fights his way around the corner again, causing Johnson to flush up into the pocket. Unfortunately, there's a crease and Panter isn't playing spy so Johnson can roll up a decent number of yards.
M32 2 5 Shotgun Trips Okie Pass Improv Stewart Inc (Pen -5
Five guys come; Johnson comes off his first read because it's covered(+1). After rolling out he finds a guy shooting to the sideline; Charles Stewart(+1, cover +1) is in great position and breaks it up. Illegal formation gives Utah another down; I think you turn this down, actually.
M37 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Jailbreak Screen Graham 8
Five rushers again and Utah has a good playcall for it, so good they can spend two blockers taking out Ezeh. Graham(+1) pursues from behind quicker than you'd think he could and manages to hold this down.
M29 3 2 Shotgun 2TE Base 4-3 Pass Out -- 10
Six blitzers this time; Utah rolls the pocket a bit and finds a wide open (cover -2) receiver for the first down.
M19 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Post Stewart(?) 19
Aw, come on. This guy is wide open between four Michigan defenders. I don't know who to blame but wow Charles Stewart(-1) is way away from this guy on a post. (Cover -2) Force even a tiny delay and Johnson's getting sacked here, too.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-22, EOH. And now for something completely different.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun Empty Base 4-3 Pass In Ezeh 11
Maybe not completely different: this Utah guy gets Ezeh(-1) to step the wrong way and comes open (cover -1) underneath for a nice gain.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Triple option pitch 4
Evans is blitzing and forces a quick pitch; there's no outside contain. Brown(+1) comes up, though, and gets to the outside of the blocker. When the runner decides to take it outside he disengages and tackles, holding this down.
M48 2 6 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Jailbreak Screen Van Bergen -11
RVB(+1) reads the tackles intent to cut him and avoids it, leaping in the path of the screen and forcing Johnson to hold the ball. As the unblocked defenders converge Johnson flings it into a defender, drawing a grounding penalty. (cover +1)
O41 3 17 Shotgun Empty 3-2-6 Dime Pass Out Stewart 10
Five rushers, one of whom is Chambers as an OLB. Johnson doesn't get immediate pressure but doesn't have all day either; he dumps it down to a guy on an out for what should be two yards. Stewart(-1) misses the tackle and turns it into ten. Cover +1 for not letting Johnson go downfield.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-22, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M9 1 G Shotgun 4-wide tight Base 4-3 Pass Sack Johnson -9
Johnson(+2) and Taylor stunt, which the center has a hard time reading. Johnson explodes into him, knocking him off balance, and roars upfield into the pocket. Johnson rolls out but... uh... Johnson tracks him down. Barwis! (Pressure +2) Illegal substitution follows.
M23 2 G Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Curl Trent 10
Trent playing in the parking lot on second and forever; Utah half-rolls his way and hits a guy underneath the coverage. I guess this makes sense in this down and distance. (Cover -1)
M13 3 G Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Post Brown Int
Hey, credit where due: Brown's had a couple howlers so far but on this play he breaks on the route and breaks up the pass, knocking the ball into the air where Ezeh can pick it off. (+2 Brown, cover +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-22, 11 min 3rd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Sack Jamison -5
Note that Chambers is the WLB in this package. Much better zone drop from Ezeh—HD is cool, I can see 20 yards downfield—provides coverage on the post (+1, cover +1) and time for Jamison(+1, pressure +1) to come around the corner and do a sack/strip job; Johnson falls on his own fumble.
M45 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Ezeh 8
Only six in the box on this play so Michigan is playing short. Jamison(+1) shucks the LT and Graham (the NT here) holds his ground pretty well; Ezeh(-1) fights to one side of a blocker, leaving a cutback lane behind him because Chambers(-1) has sat and passively accepted a block. Stewart comes up and makes a decent tackle. Take these +/- numbers somewhat lightly; I'm not sure exactly what's wrong on this play. This play is actually a great example of what I was talking about in HTTV about the backside DE, because without the threat of the QB here he would be closing this down for little gain.
M37 3 8 Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Scramble Van Bergen 1
Stewart's sitting in a robber zone(cover +1), which makes Johnson's first read, a slant, inadvisable. Meanwhile, confusion on the Utah OL has gotten Van Bergen in unblocked. (Pressure +1) Johnson scrambles out and tackled after a one-yard gain.
Drive Notes: FG(54), 10-25, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Panter 6
Mouton replaces Evans. Same thing as in the first half. This one isn't that poorly defended, as the “QB” just manages to hop through a hole that forms momentarily between Panter and Sagesse. I think Panter gets a -1 for getting cranked by the FB and falling uselessly. If he stays on his feet this hole doesn't develop.
M38 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Banks 3
Banks(+1) beats his man to the inside, forcing the pulling guard to block him and leaving Ezeh a free shot at the RB. Harris would have clubbed this guy dead; Ezeh loses the battle of momentum and allows the RB to fall forward.
M35 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD -- 2
Camerawork lingers too long on a close shot so it's hard to tell what happens on this play. Panter and Ezeh combine to take the “QB” down after a first down.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run ISQD Taylor 5
Taylor(-1) attempts to spin his single blocker and gets caught. He ends up shoved downfield, his back to the play. Ezeh(-1) reads this wrong despite it being the same play they've run four times in a row.
M28 2 5 Ace Twins Base 4-3 Run Off tackle Jamison 3
Jamison(+1) shoots inside his blocker and dives at the feet of the RB, tripping him a couple yards in the backfield. He starts falling forward, managing to keep his feet for a decent gain.
M25 3 2 Shotgun 2-TE Base 4-3 Pass Sack Ezeh -12
Rollout to the side with two wide receivers; Trent(+1) and Warren(+1) blanket their two guys in man; no safety help. Those are the only guys in the pattern. Johnson continues the roll until Ezeh(+1) shoots up impressively and sacks—or almost sacks and forces an intentional grounding. Whatever. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 3 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Nickel Run Zone read dive Thompson 5
Thompson in for Ezeh. He does a pretty decent job of engaging the blocker, then pushing him away and attacking the ball carrier, but it looks like he gets his arm hooked by the OL and falls because of it—after the play he does the “throw a flag” motion. Banks peels back to tackle.
O35 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Post Stewart Inc
Pass is well overthrown; Johnson(+1) impacts... er... Johnson just as he throws. Didn't affect the throw but he was out of time right then. (pressure +1)
O35 3 5 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass Sack Jamison -9
Well timed blitz from Mouton gets him in and he absorbs the fullback; Jamison(+1), meanwhile, has beaten his guy again and forces Johnson to flush out of the pocket, where Graham(+1) sacks. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 2-TE Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive Thompson 2
Blocking is basically the same as the ISQDs earlier but Johnson is the quarterback and he hands off up the gut. Good play by Thompson(+1) to avoid a downfield block and explode to the edge, catching Asiata as he cuts up.
O28 2 8 Shotgun Empty Base 4-3 Pass Sack Panter -6
Well timed blitz from Panter(+1) gets him in unblocked; with an empty backfield there's no one to take him. Snap is low; Johnson has no chance to avoid the pressure and goes down. (Pressure +1)
O22 3 14 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Jailbreak Screen -- 6
Pretty much a give-up-and-punt; ball is a little in front of the receiver and starts a stumbling chain reaction that ends with him falling to the ground untouched.
Drive Notes: Punt(blocked!), 10-25, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Triple option dive Taylor 1
Taylor(+1) stands up to a double; no peeling LBs. Mouton attacks the intended POA, forcing the RB outside where Warren(+1) is unblocked and tackles. Utah picks up an unsportsmanlike after the play.
O19 2 24 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Out Brown 9
Rolling pocket and a quick throw to the sidelines; its open and a decent gain; Brown tackles immediately. Perfectly fine in this D&D.
O28 3 15 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Sack Patterson -3
Six guys come; Johnson's first read is covered(+1) and he decides to bug out, scrambling forward in the pocket. Adam Patterson(+1) spins off a block and strips from behind. Panter recovers.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-25, 8 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Pass Flare Trent Inc
Probably fortunate for Utah that this is dropped, as Trent read the eff out of this and was preparing to TFL if caught. (Cover +1, Trent +1)
O25 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Run Zone read dive Ezeh 1
Graham(+1), the NT, holds up and disengages just as Ezeh(+1) shoots into the hole and tackles; great anticipation by Ezeh.
O26 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Dumpoff Trent Inc
This Okie backs out early and massively, ending up with just two rushers and Graham a spy in the middle of the field. Johnson decides to dump it off to the TB; it's incomplete anyway (cover +1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 23-25, 5 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Stop Trent 7
Johnson does a good job of finding the open guy against a four-man rush; Trent lowers the boom immediately.
O37 2 3 Shotgun Empty Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- 0
Good coverage (+1) causes Johnson to head out after a first read; Mouton(+1) comes up rapidly to cut off any possible advancement; help from Jamison.
O37 3 3 Pistol 2TE Okie(?) Run Broken play Warren 2
Miscommunication results in Johnson with the ball wondering WTF to do; he plows ahead and almost has the first down before Warren cuts him down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 23-25, 2 min 4th Q. Utah's last drive is academic and not charted.

So what changed at halftime?

My initial theory was they junked the 4-3 zone that Johnson was shredding in the first half in favor of more 3-3-5 and more man, but as you can see above, not really. Any increased prevalence of three-man lines has more to do with the preposterous down and distance situations Utah found themselves in than any schematic adjustment. When it was first and ten in the second half, Michigan was in a 3-3-5 twice and a 4-3 all other times.

My new theory: the second half performance is close to baseline unless someone on Michigan makes a huge error. First half drives in capsule form:

  • Jamison draws a holding penalty and Utah finds itself in third and nineteen; Brown screws up badly, allowing a 55 yards pass and first and goal. (TD)
  • Johnson makes two NFL-quality throws that pick up 40-some yards; Ezeh busts a coverage and allows a second and sixteen to become a first down. (FG)
  • Evans blows a simple flare route in every way you can and turns a checkoff into a 40 yard play. (FG)
  • Utah completes a pass against Ezeh in zone and pounds down the field, exploiting freshman Mike Martin and getting some poor play from Evans and Ezeh. (FG)
  • Three-and-out.
  • Short field touchdown helped by poor coverage. (TD)

On each of the first three drives, simple errors from Michigan players turn long yardage down and distance situations into enormous plays; on the last Sheridan’s interception reduces the margin for error.

None of this happened in the second half, and while Utah managed the occasional first down with a number of runs up the middle or pass against the linebackers, their offensive line couldn’t handle the Michigan DL consistently enough to keep Utah out of third and long.

This is kind of the opposite of what’s going on with the offense. The offense has severe physical limitations and execution issues, so it can get better but will always have a low ceiling. The defense looks like a physically dominant monster with occasional execution issues.

Execution issues don’t just go away, of course, but they do go down as the weeks progress.


Wow, like. Wow, man. I don’t know if I want to show you this thing.

For newcomers: the defense chart attempts to quantify positive and negative contributions from defensive players. Routine things like being the guy to clean up and tackle after someone else disrupted the play don’t show up. This does a pretty decent job in the run game but is inadequate for the pass game, so there are two metrics—“pressure” and “coverage”—devoted to that. In general, DL get the highest scores, LBs are in between, and DBs try to stay around zero.

Usually, this thing aligns pretty closely with the opinions I had watching the game live and on tape. This one is weird.

Anyway, chart.

Player + - T Notes
Jamison 9 - 9 IMO, Michigan’s best player on the day. Totally dominant, picked up TFLs and sacks, caused others.
Johnson 6 - 6 Also thought he was excellent, night and day from his meh junior season. Barwisized.
Taylor 6 1 5 Stood up to Utah double teams consistently, only blown back once.
B. Graham 8 - 8 Wha?
Patterson 1 - 1 Forced a critical fumble, but that was after someone else had forced a rollout.
Banks 1 - 1  
VanBergen 2 - 2 Legendary motor was on display on a couple plays; promising debut.
Martin - 3 -3 Had a couple bad plays where he couldn’t hold up against interior runs, but he cycled in quite a bit and had a number of other plays where he was adequate.
Ezeh 5 10 -5 So… right. I gave the Big Ten DPOW a –5 after a 15 tackle performance. More later.
Thompson 1 - 1 Will probably get more time this week.
Panter 3 7 -4 Bad.
Evans 2 5 -3 Critical failure on that 40-yard flare.
Mouton 1 - 1 Will see more time next week.
Trent 2 1 1 Couple completions on him were due to zone, IMO.
Harrison 1 - 1  
Warren 5 1 4 Better tackling, rarely challenged.
Stewart 1 2 -1  
Brown 4 4 0 One big play for, one against.
Chambers 1 2 -1 Minus was because he was playing linebacker.
"Pressure" 14 7 7 Monster day.
"Coverage" 25 18 7 This is a really good number, actually.

Okay, my issues with my own damn chart:

  • I thought Graham had a disappointing day, as he only got to the quarterback every once in a while. All the mentions above are from nice plays in run defense.
  • Jamison and Johnson were great, IMO, and I have no problems with their numbers. Taylor checks out, too.
  • The linebackers were obviously a problem, and the outside linebackers especially.
  • Ezeh… well. Something like –6 was on pass coverage, where I think you’ll agree Michigan linebackers had serious issues. There were another couple plays in the run game where he just flipped out and went completely the wrong direction, and that’s how you get to –5.

I still don’t agree with the Ezeh thing, but when Johnson is tearing up the linebackers underneath and Utah racks up a billion yards in the first half because of it, someone has to suffer.

Barwis SMASH?

Well, he couldn’t do much with the patchwork offensive line but holy crap this DL looks like it’s from another planet this year. Tim Jamison was crushing a guy who was second-team All Mountain West last year; this is not conclusive but it's certainly encouraging. Will Johnson turned in more plays in that game than he did in half of last year. And Johnson got run down from behind more than once on plays we’ve all seen end in tragedy before.

All hail.

What’s with the linebackers and the suck?

They’re clearly scrambling for answers here, with Evans and Panter scheduled to sit for Mouton and Thompson next week. This should not be particularly surprising. Panter became Michigan’s first JUCO recruit in ten years for a reason, and it wasn’t “boy we’re so deep at linebacker.”

Thompson, of course, had that wowza Iowa game in 2005, then disappeared to the bench until the early stages of last year, when he started for a bit then lost his job to injuries and Ezeh. Maybe he’s not good against the pass, but if he turns out to be good against the run he’s got something on Panter. Mouton made a play or two last game, but he’s been AWOL behind players who are bad for the duration of his career. I’m not expecting miracles.

As for Ezeh, live I thought he was awesome; on tape I thought he was pretty good; in the harsh number-thing above he checked in about as ugly as it gets. He’s clearly still working towards the lofty standard set by David Harris. He’s obviously much closer this year and I think he might approach it as a junior. There will still be growing pains this fall.


Defensive line, Barwis, Warren.


Linebackers, somewhat Steve Brown.

What does it mean for next week and the season?

I was more encouraged by the defense after review, since a lot of the plays Johnson made had little margin for error—little holes in a zone or a defensive lineman just about to put a facemask in his chest—and some others seemed first game jitters from young players. Iron out the n00bs to the point where they’re the defensive equivalent of Wisconsin quarterbacks—just don’t lose the game for us, kid—and let the defensive line go to work and this defense should just about live up to its hype.

Watch out for: veteran quarterbacks who operate out of a spread or have excellent underneath options. Tight ends could be problematic all year.



September 5th, 2008 at 12:46 PM ^

that was so much more fun to read than the offense UFR yesterday.

And, I guess we'll be debating about Brown all season. I hardly think he is a goat and despite the UFR breakdown, I still dont think he was 100% culpable on that play on Utah's first drive.

Did you see Chambers let his guy just streak up the sideline? I think Brown was caught between a rock and a hard plave on that one. Between Chambers, Warren and Brown, I think the whole play was mass confusion on whose assginment it was. They must have got it figured out as Utah was not able to exploit that again during the game.

If Warren wraps up after the guy catches it, they get nowehere close to first and goal on that play. Plus, he missed a tackled on the infamous swing pass that Evans screwed up on. It gave Utah another 10 yards or so. I still think D-War played a solid game, but I also appreciated Brown's effort more than most did.


September 5th, 2008 at 12:56 PM ^

It was a zone blitz,  three deep three under...    you can expect some help from underneith,  but brown is responsible for the deep middle, and is expected to jump on the first deep middle threat.  That was it, and he missed it.     it was a great zone blitz and it was executed very well, except for brown...

 the biggest thing that changed in the 2nd half was execution...

STW P. Brabbs

September 5th, 2008 at 12:59 PM ^

I agree that there were a couple plays where Chambers' bad read made either Brown or Warren look bad as they scrambled to cover.  I think Brown will be fine - he hasn't had a ton of experience, and it seems safety is not the easiest position to excel at without time on the field.


September 5th, 2008 at 1:04 PM ^

I have the same problem.  Yesterday's offensive UFR is the same, although at one point the video in the play title was working, but usually showed the wrong play.  I reloaded a few times to see if it would switch to the right play, and eventually all the links in the play title just disappeared.


September 5th, 2008 at 3:57 PM ^

It is good, I like the new video popups, I was just confused since some of the plays from the offensive UFR had videos in the title that disappeared sometime yesterday (didn't both the Yakety Sax plays have video links at some time?).  Now that I know the links in the description are all there is, I am happy.


September 5th, 2008 at 1:03 PM ^

the linebackers simply have to hold the inside vertical edge of number 2 better... it is correctable, its not about being mismatched.  They dont have to cover him, they just hve to be on his edge....    there are several different coverages going on there, from the 2 drop to the 4 spy,   dicatating how long they hold the vertical, whether or not thy drive on out cuts or not, and if the safeties are  Q-1-2 players  (ie deep quarter)  or 2 read players....        but there are also the three deep three under zone blitz schemes there as well.....     but one thing is for sure,  olb's have to have at least a little bit of hold on a vertical release of number 2, and ilb on number 3


September 5th, 2008 at 1:18 PM ^


I know what you're saying, but Chambers clearly lets a WR go right by him and up the sideline as if it were a zone and he expects someone to pick up the guy. When I watch the replay, it looks like Brown is trying to go over and pick up that guy. As a result, he gets stuck in no man's land. I say stuck, but really he was baited into no man's land.

Is what you're saying that Warren should pick that guy up and Brown stay in the middle? Or, should Chambers have stayed on that guy......after all, when you watch he kind of wheels around a second afterwards to catch up with him......or should Brown have been more patient, stayed home and let the QB play his hand before reacting to one of those WRs?

Like I said, the whole play (which many of us have now rewatched countless times) just looks like three players confused over what their true roles are on that play.

But, if Brown keeps middle contain on this play, wont Brian Johnson just toss the ball to the guy streaking down the sideline wide open for a TD?

Looks like D-War misses a tackle as well which would have prevented pretty much all of the R.A.C.


September 5th, 2008 at 1:43 PM ^

is responsible for that wheel route up the sideline,   he has two in his zone, so he zone reads it,  staying over top of both, his eyes are on qb. leaning on the sideline threat more.  The sideline is not open,  you see it after the ball is thrown, and warren is trying to help on the inside vertical....    We dont care who is open after the ball is thrown, we care who is open When the ball is thrown...  ITs a zone blitz, it would be nice to get a bump on number two, im at school i cant see the play, but if i remember correct number 2 goes out first,  in that case the olb should be sinking looking for work....but the ONLY read for brown is that inside threat,  there is no way it is not his mess up.   I could say the lb's could have made it a tougher throw,  but Brown has to make that play....  

Later its more on the lb's... but this play, its all about the safety...


September 6th, 2008 at 3:17 PM ^

If anyone is still doubting that the big play was Brown's fault, there was a play in the Miami game that was a good example of why.  On the play where Warren tried to make the Woodson-esque interception, Miami ran a player on a post through Warren's zone, followed by a player on a wheel route.  The play was designed to get the outside zone coverage to follow the post, leaving the wheel open.  But Warren released the post to the middle zone, and recovered to break up the pass to the wheel route.  This is why Warren didn't follow the Utah player on the post, and why Brown was supposed to pick him up.


September 5th, 2008 at 1:14 PM ^

but the problems in the first half against the pass were largely on vertical seams (as gsims noted and I checked and saw) and ins where the LB drop didn't close the window for that pass.  Considering how big a deal it is to get picked apart over the middle, I think serious blame needs to go there.

That said, Ezeh was learning.  I saw him adapt and change and figure things out.  A couple times early in the game he allowed himself to passively accept a blocker or he made moves too early toward the line that drew one.  Later he was more patient, read the play more accurately and made decisive moves once it happened.  And that play on the jet sweep was beautiful.  Watching it live, I decided I'd watch him the whole play and it was truly impressive.  


September 5th, 2008 at 1:48 PM ^

Watching a play a thousand times can be counter productive, if you dont know what the defense is suppose to be doing...     During film sessions, a coach will call out the play, stunt, blitz, coverage etc.   becasue without that info,  its impossible to tell exactly who is doing their jobs and who isnt.  Often times we think,  oh well its got to be this kids fault becasue he is chassin that guy now.... sometimes yeah a guy got burnt... but sometimes there is a guy on the other side of the field that was suppose to make a check, a call, a jam, or a roll,  and he didnt and that messes up everything...


September 5th, 2008 at 3:49 PM ^

im not saying that.  I take UFR for what it is, and its great.  Good job.

ill put some clips up this weekend comparing our defense to michigans, if i have time and can figure out the clip thing. 

yes game tonight,  top 10 team in the sate in some polls,  we shall see....

whats happening with the live chat? 



September 5th, 2008 at 3:42 PM ^

Well, i was not trying to absolve Brown of anything......just looking for more clarification on what I was seeing on that play. GSimms, do you think that play is an example of a green starter not trusting his teammates? Brown sees the guy go up the sideline and rather than trusting his teammates have it, he panics to get over there and be a star. And, well, we all know the result. Young players always have a hard time staying home and fighting the urge to "cover" for their teammate when they think a mistake is being made.

I just think S. Brown is getting ripped for one play. I think he more than made up for it as the game went on, so when I said we're going to be having the Steve Brown discussion all year, I meant long view, not just this specific play. I'd hardly call him the goat of the day as others have suggested.

I am sure you have a game tonight, so kick a little ass tonight. We'll all be pulling for you!!!!


September 5th, 2008 at 3:50 PM ^

in that half of the field and warren and brown are the defenders.  warren is the outside defender and brown is inside.  when the pass goes to the in-receiver, it's on brown.  it looks like indecision and a lack of recognition when you see how weakly he commits to the tackle.


September 5th, 2008 at 2:46 PM ^

After watching the first half a couple of times (and certain plays from your video pop-ups even more), it seems to me that the first half defense wasn't as bad as it originally seemed during the game.  Rather, they would play well with the exception of one or two blown plays per drive, and then...Sakoda.  The exception to this was the Ute possession from around the 5min mark in the 2Q, where Asiata (and potentially others) kept ripping off longer run after longer run.  Otherwise, the second half defense kept away from the blown plays and thus seemed (with numbers to back up) to be the polar opposite.