Upon Further Review: Defense vs Wisconsin Comment Count

Brian November 19th, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Personnel notes: Smith replaced Williams for the whole game, and the linebackers were always Ezeh and Mouton. On (rare) obvious passing downs Floyd came in for Smith. I think there may have been a few plays where Floyd subbed in for Woolfolk, too.

Formation notes: Michigan spent the whole game in an eight-man front; late they moved up Kovacs for nine.

Video note: there was no HD torrent this week so the quality is poor.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Pass Dig Ezeh 27 + 15 pen
The first of a thousand of these. Wisconsin goes play action and sucks the linebackers up a little but the problem is that Ezeh(-1) and Mouton(-1) don't get deep enough drops (cover -2) and leave a wide receiver wide open on a two-man route. There is no one threatening either of those guys underneath as Wisconsin goes max protect. Graham had worked underneath and nailed Tolzien just as he throws and picks up a terrible roughing the passer call. Egregiously bad call.
M38 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Pass Scramble Brown 12
Aaand Graham(+1) owns the tackle and is blatantly held, which allows Tolzien to escape the pocket; Brown(-1) hesitates in case Tolzien decides to throw and gives up the corner, allowing a nice scramble.
M26 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Inside zone Martin 2
Martin(+1) takes on a double team and gives a little ground but not that much; Mouton(-1) is attacking the line of scrimmage and picks the wrong hole, which gives Clay an open cutback that he attempts to take; he trips over one of the offensive linemen trying to block Martin. Kovacs was filling strongly.
M24 2 8 I-Form Twins 4-4 under Run Inside zone Graham 1
Graham(+1) gets off the ball quickly and gets inside of his blocker, convincing Clay to attempt to cut it behind that mess; Martin(+1) is looping around after taking on a double team and the two of them meet Clay to nail him at the LOS. Pretty sure this was a stunt that worked. (RPS +1)
M23 3 7 Ace bunch Base 3-4 Pass Dig Ezeh 23
Three man rush gets no pressure(-1), partially because Graham is again blatantly held as he attempts to go around the corner. The Wisconsin OL has his hand outside Graham's shoulder pads and is hanging on for dear life; no call. This allows Tolzien to find his TE between Ezeh(-1) and Mouton(-1) wide open (cover -2); Mouton overruns the play, opening it up; Kovacs(-1) then misses a tackle(-1) to give him the last ten.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run Power O Martin -3
Martin(+3) blows past the down-block attempt from the playside guard and is into the backfield like a shot, destroying the play. Clay tries to cut back and is swallowed by Martin(tackling +1). Major TFL by one player = +3.
O17 2 13 I-Form 4-4 under Pass Out Smith Inc
Michigan tipping cover three and Wisconsin goes after the edge, which Smith cannot cover in time (cover -1). Throw is marginal but catchable; it is dropped, costing Wisconsin ten or so yards.
O17 3 13 Shotgun 2-back bunch 4-3 under Pass Sack Graham Inc (Pen -15)
Smith out, Floyd in. Wisconsin going with a screen that Michigan has killed because the DTs stunt and by the time Martin(+1) cuts through the trash it's obvious and he gets out on it, causing Tolzien to hesitate and Graham(+1) to hunt him down. Tolzien ends up turfing a ball five yards from the receiver and gets called for grounding.  RPS +1
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 5 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O8 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 3
Mouton(+0.5) is a little late but does scrape to the hole past a center coming through the middle and meets Clay there, tackling(+1) with help from Kovacs. Ezeh got outside the pulling guard and forced it back.
O11 2 7 Ace Twins Twin TE 4-4 under split Pass Sack Martin -1
I mean, really, what is it going to take for an official to throw a flag on the Wisconsin offensive line? Martin(+3) zips around the center and is instantly into the backfield on this play action; center then grabs his shoulder from behind and starts slowing him down; no flag. Tolzien tries to evade Martin and manages to do so at first but Martin is agile enough to change direction and drag him down from behind. (Pressure +2)
O10 3 8 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Interception Mouton Int
Good time (pressure -1) on a four man rush before Martin(+0.5) does work his way through a double and to the quarterback. Tolzien fires to a guy open between Ezeh and Brown, but before the ball can get there Mouton(+1) deflects it and Kovacs(+2) digs out a tough, low interception of the deflected ball. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-7, EO1Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Ace Twins Twin TE 4-4 under Pass Waggle hitch Roh 9
Absolutely no one on the corner (pressure -2) and Tolzien has epic time to wander towards the sideline in case someone gets open. Eventually, someone does. Roh(-1) got himself way far inside in anticipation of the stretch.
O34 2 1 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Iso Heininger 9
Martin(+1) gets playside of his blocker and cuts off the intended hole but Heininger(-1) has gotten upfield and gets crushed/sealed out of the play, opening up a cutback lane. Mouton(-1) overpursued to the front of the play, which might be understandable, but then he misses a tackle(-1) and cedes another five or six yards.
O43 1 10 I-Form Big Base 3-4 Run Power O Ezeh 11
Wow. Watch Ezeh(-2) on this play. He watches and watches and waits and then he's got a center on him blocking him and he's about five yards downfield without having moved as this play develops and as a result there's no one at all to help after Brown forces the play upfield; Roh(-1) also looked pretty goofy as he goes to cut the FB at the wrong spot on this play, which allows a pulling guard to come around; he neither delays the RB nor takes out two-for-one.
M46 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Smith 8
Hey, same exact play, virtually identical result. Here Graham(-1) cuts inside and gets absorbed by single blocking; he's cutting out of the area in which he can help. Smith(-1) gives up the corner and no one can flow to the ball carrier.
M38 2 2 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Iso Graham 3
Graham(+1) zips around the tackle trying to block him and is in great position to potentially make a TFL if Martin(-1) can just hold up better against single blocking; he doesn't, getting banged inside and giving the RB a crease. Graham makes a diving tackle with help from Kovacs and Mouton, but not before the first down line.
M35 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass Out Smith Inc
Smith(+1) is blitzing from the edge and is in lighting quick, too quick for the RB to slide over to get much of a block. RB does get a cut; Smith ends up falling into Tolzien's knees as he throws. Resulting pass is inaccurate. (Pressure +1) Good thing, because out was wide open in front of Kovacs (cover -1)
M35 2 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run End around Brown 5 (Pen -9)
Brown(+1) is flowing down the line to string this out when the TE grabs him, holds him up, and then cuts him to the ground. Gilreath gets a crease for a few yards; comes back for the hold.
M44 2 19 Ace 4-wide 4-4 under Pass Corner Mouton Inc
Mouton(+1) gets a good zone drop as Wisconsin is running a couple of routes to the short side of the field, one a short out and the other a corner. Mouton does take a step to the out, which is not his responsibility, before recovering deep and getting enough depth to deflect the ball; TE catches it on the deflection but out of bounds. (Cover +1) Pocket was too clean: pressure -1.
M44 3 19 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Screen Graham -1
Graham(+1) is shooting inside his blocker and reads this screen, possibly because Tolzien is dropping too deep for it to be a real pass, so he peels off to tackle with help from Roh(+1), who also stopped in his tracks and recovered. (RPS +1, cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-7, 11 min 2nd Q. Roughing the kicker on Smith(-2) gives Wisconsin another opportunity. More about this later.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Heininger 4
RVB(-1) blown off the ball by a double; not a real surprise with that guy going up against the Wisconsin line. Heininger(+2), however, fights inside of his guy on the backside and gets inside quickly enough to make a diving tackle on Clay as he nears the LOS. Ankle tackle = YAC, but still a remarkable play; good thing, too, because Ezeh(-1) again sat around aimlessly near the hole and got blocked right out of it; Mouton(-1) had picked the backside of the line and without this play from Heininger Clay is probably scoring a touchdown.
M26 2 6 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Smith 7
Wheee they do the same thing to one side or the other over and over. On this one Smith(-1) shoots upfield instead of getting into the pulling guards and spilling the play, leaving Ezeh and Mouton one-on-one with two pullers; Mouton has to get outside of one and does; Ezeh(-1) is crushed by the other one and can only make a desperation tackle eight yards downfield.
M19 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run End Power O Smith 13
Em. Well, it's the same play except this time they hand it to the pulling TE instead of Clay. Smith(-2) again gives up the corner, getting crushed backwards and giving Kendricks acres of space to head out in; Clay had fallen and if this play got forced back inside it probably wasn't getting much. Smith is every bit as bad as Williams.
M6 1 G I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Graham -1
Graham(+2) ducks under the offensive lineman trying to down-block him and ends up in the backfield, where the pulling TE attempts to block him; too late, he's in the path of the play, and Clay goes down meekly.
M7 2 G Ace 4-4 under Pass Rollout corner Woolfolk? 7
Ezeh heading out for some contain if Michigan can get this covered, though he runs himself right into a cut block and falls. Doesn't really matter because Woolfolk(-1) got sucked out his zone by the outside receiver and opens up the corner. (Cover -1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-14, 8 min 2nd Q. Smith is not a panacea.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Pass PA TE Corner Brown Inc
Roh(+0.5) gets outside and avoids a cut to provide decent pressure on Tolzien, forcing a throw; Tolzien tries to hit his TE on the corner route that's killed M all year but on this one Brown(+2, cover +2) is running the TE's route for him and if this pass is accurate can intercept. It's not.
O25 2 10 Ace Twins Base 3-4 Pass Hitch Mouton Inc
Mouton(+1) blitzes through and does a good job avoiding the RB's block, forcing a throw (pressure +1) to a guy who looks like he's plenty covered(+1) downfield. Doesn't matter since Campbell(+1) bats the ball away.
O25 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Sack Graham -25!
Both LBs blitz, leaving Graham(+3) one-on-one with the backup RT, and Graham duly destroys the guy and then destroys Tolzien, sacking him and forcing a fumble that RVB(+1) sees, scoops up, and runs into the endzone. Replay.
Drive Notes: Fumble + defensive touchdown, 17-14, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Ace 3-wide tight 4-4 under Pass Counter pitch Brown 6
Brown(-1) bites on the counter action, stepping inside. Roh(-1) gets blasted down the line and tries a futile spin move past the UW TE as three OL pull around. This wastes a good play from Banks(+1) who gets out, avoids a cut block, and is flowing down the line to tackle if only someone can force the play back to him. Not possible.
O32 2 4 Ace 4-4 under Pass Hitch -- 6
No pressure(-1), allowing Tolzien to step and fire to a TE underneath the zone.
O38 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Pass PA Dig Various 35
Incredibly open dig #3. Ezeh(-1), Mouton(-1), and Kovacs(-1) are the nearest players(cover -2); no one anywhere near Tolzien(pressure -2). I mostly blame Ezeh: he's just sitting there with no one in front of him. He should be drifting back the whole time and in position to do something about this.
M27 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Pass PA TE Seam Ezeh 24
Incredibly open dig/seam #4. Partially on Roh(-1), who doesn't get an effective chuck on the TE; partially again on Ezeh(-1), who has no one in front of him and still doesn't get a good zone drop (cover -2). No pressure(-1) again.
M3 1 G Goal line Goal line Run Power O ? 2
Wide angle on this makes it really hard to tell what happens; I'm using an SD torrent this week... so I can't really tell you much other than it looks fairly well defended and Clay pops outside where he's met by a couple tacklers and John Clays his way for two yards.
M1 2 G Goal line Goal line Run Power O -- 1
Clay leaps over the top and is thumped back by Graham, but apparently not before he got the ball over the line. It's reviewed and stands; I think this is one of those plays that's so inconclusive that the call on the field will stand whichever way it's called.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-21, 1 min 2nd Q. RR should have called time out after the first and goal play.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run End around Graham 3
Fake the power O and use the TE coming around on the end-around. Graham(+1) tears through the line and into the backfield; he can't make a tackle but does delay the TE. Smith(+0.5) gets deeper into the backfield this time and manages to occupy two blockers but does let a crease develop between himself and Mouton, which the TE hits; delay allows Ezeh and others to close it down. Runner fumbles; Wisconsin recovers but loses a couple yards. Kovacs(+1) forced it.
O23 2 7 Ace Twins 4-4 under Run Down G Smith 21
Man, Smith(-2) just sits at the LOS with no idea what to do here instead of coming up to the line and forcing the play inside. He gets nailed by a G and driven literally ten yards downfield, which allows the RB the corner; Warren(-1) comes up to whiff a tackle(-1) that was made hard by the Smith crushage.
O44 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Martin -2
Smith does attack on this one as Wisconsin goes back to the power O scheme. I think they spent halftime coaching him up on this but he failed to recognize the down G scheme. Not much a hole as a result but it doesn't matter because Martin(+2) ripped through the line and tackles(+1) in the backfield, crushing the play by himself. I think Michigan was misaligned here because there are two guys on the backside who end up unblocked; this could have broken for a lot without Martin's play.
O42 2 12 Ace 4-4 under Pass Out -- Inc
Tolzien has time for a quick throw and finds a receiver moderately open in front of Woolfolk but the pass is poor and not caught.
O42 3 12 Ace 4-wide bunch 4-3 under Pass Post Mouton? 21
Graham(+1) tears around the corner and hits Tolzien in the back with one arm as he throws; a half-second more in coverage and this is a sack. But... no. This has got to be a huge zone bust by someone... it's third and freaking twelve and three players to that side of the field are short; I get Roh and RVB since it's a zone blitz but Mouton is covering no one. (Cover -2) ARGH. Is this Warren? How the hell do you cover this?
M37 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Run Down G Smith 2 (Pen -10)
Smith(+1) does get upfield on this one, taking a blocker and forcing the play inside. Ezeh and Warren are there; two guys on one blocker, and they get a stop. Smith draws a holding call. Not that it will matter.
M47 1 20 I-Form 4-4 under Pass Dig Brown? 18
Incredibly open dig #4. I don't know what the coverage is here, but it looks like man, which would make Brown(-1, cover -2) the culprit. Or maybe it's zone? I have no damn idea. If it's zone it's Ezeh again getting ridiculously dragged out of position and opening this up. All these can't be on Ezeh, right? They'd pull him, right?
M29 2 2 Ace 4-4 under Pass Waggle comeback Woolfolk? 14
Waggle gets Tolzien forever(pressure -2) and allows him time to set and fire to a receiver on a comeback (cover -1) in front of Woolfolk.
M15 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 0
Linebackers read the play direction and are all flowing into the hole; Ezeh's headed outside in case it spills. Line creases because RVB is slanting away from the hole and he gets down-blocked; Mouton(+2) makes a really nice play to dodge the pulling guard and tackle(+1) at the RB's knees.
M15 2 10 Ace Twins 4-4 under Pass Waggle throwaway Roh Inc
Michigan better prepared for this as Roh(+0.5) does not get sealed inside by the tackle and eventually shakes free, drawing Tolzien's lead blocker and allowing Ezeh(+0.5) to shoot into the backfield, forcing Tolzien to chuck it. (Pressure +1) Graham was, of course, coming hell for leather from the backside. Whatever hell for leather means.
M15 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Fade Warren 15
Warren(-1) has great position but doesn't get his head around and ends up allowing Toon to make a spectacular catch; Warren also gets flagged for PI. I've made my opinion on PI known. No cover +/-.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-28, 10 min 3rd Q. Aaaaaaaaaaargh
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Ace 4-4 under Pass Deep out -- 25 (Pen -10)
Tolzien has a zillion years (pressure -1) as Wisconsin max protects and Graham is getting a breather. He eventually finds a receiver wide open (cover -1); can't blame the secondary too much because of the protection but maybe a little bit. One reason for the time: Roh(+1) is getting held by the LT like whoah. It comes back, not that it will matter.
O24 1 20 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Ezeh 33
Nine frigging guys in the box and this still happens. Jesus. Heininger(-1) gets crushed inside and pancaked by the down-block. Kovacs(-2) totally misreads the play and actually tries to tackle the TE, and Ezeh(-2) hits inside of the Kovacs mess, leaving no one in the secondary. I can't believe he hasn't gotten pulled yet.
M43 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Ezeh 6
Ezeh does a good job of banging into the lead blockers right at the LOS, cutting off the hole, but then inexplicably starts spinning, which allows an OL to start driving him downfield. Brown(-1) then eats a block passively, allowing Clay to lurch forward.
M37 2 4 Ace Big 4-4 under Pass Waggle cross Floyd 13
Floyd(-1) in man on the outside WR and is nowhere near the route; no pressure(-1) on the edge. (Cover -1)
M24 1 10 I-Form 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 4
Mouton(+0.5) does a good job of getting into a lead blocker behind the LOS, forcing Clay behind him; he trips over his OL. Graham(-0.5) had gotten caught by the snap count and blown off the line, ceding the room that Graham uses to pick up the yardage he gets.
M20 2 6 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Naked boot Kovacs 1
Odd. Fortunate, too, as Graham had torn into the backfield and would have tackled this for a four yard loss. Instead Tolzien takes it himself and gets on the edge one-on-one with Kovacs(+1, tackling +1), who forms up and takes him down.
M19 3 5 Ace 4-4 under Pass TE Hitch -- 12
Brown(pressure +1) gets a free run at Tolzien on a blitz but Tolzien impressively stands in an nails a tight end (cover -1) in between like four guys. At this point, I am swearing like a sailor. ARGH
M7 1 G I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Graham 0
Graham(+1) is just a beast, tearing through the backside(!!!) tackle and pancaking him(!!!) en route to the tailback, who runs into Graham's side and slows, allowing Roh(+0.5) and Ezeh(+0.5) to converge and tackle for no gain.
M7 2 G Ace Twins 4-3 under Pass TE flat -- 7
Wisconsin basically blocks Kovacs(cover -1), who's got coverage on the flat, and gets away with an obvious offensive PI. Touchdown. Anger.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-35, 2 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O40 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Martin 7
Actually well defended at the POA with linebackers rushing to the FB and taking out the hole right there but Martin(-1) attempted to come inside of the center and got sealed out of the play, opening a cutback lane.
O47 2 3 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 3
To the other side of the line. Kovacs is rolled up so this is a true nine-man front. He takes out a lead blocker, allowing Mouton(+0.5) to scrape to the hole and meet Clay there; Clay pops through a tackle somewhat and manages to fall forward for the first down.
50 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 13
Mouton(-2) gets lost in the middle of the field and there is no one to take on the tailback after Ezeh gets outside of the lead blocker. He's supposed to be there, unblocked, on this play and he's not, so it's a huge run.
M37 1 10 I-Form Big 4-4 under Run Power O Mouton 3
Mouton(-1) manages to get it right this time and shows up in the hole but misses the tackle(-1) and allows the RB to fall forward; Roh(+0.5) had peeled off to help.
M34 2 7 Ace 4-4 under Run Counter pitch Brown 16
Roh(-1) gets crushed inside and Brown(-2) gives up the corner, then gets escorted almost 20 yards downfield by a pulling UW OL.
M18 1 10 Ace Twins 4-4 under Run Power O? Smith -2
Maybe? I think the center is pulling but he gets delayed because Graham(+0.5) blew into him, allowing a blitzing Smith(+1) a free run at the tailback, which he uses to tackle.
M20 2 12 Ace Twins 4-4 under Pass Waggle flat Ezeh 6
I can't help but notice both Mouton and Ezeh are two feet from each other as the rollout begins, which opens up the little flat route as Ezeh(-1) slowly chases. Quick fill from Brown(+1, tackling +1) ends up as a solid tackle to keep the gain down.
M14 3 6 Ace Twins 4-3 under Run Down G Mouton 14
Both the C and the playside G pull around to the short side as UW overloads the wide side and there's no one except Roh and a couple of quasi- or actual defensive backs over there. Roh(-1) gets crushed back, and Mouton(-2) overruns the play, giving the RB a crease between Roh and Warren when if he had just taken the inside gap this is little or no gain.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-42, 12 min 4th Q. Wisconsin gets the ball back up three scores with nine minutes left and chokes out the rest of the game. Charting ceases.

Let's just get to the chart.

Before we get to this, I should say that I might have lost my mind at some point in the third quarter and started shooting out minuses to particularly incensing players on particularly incensing plays and some of the numbers may be exaggerated. It's tough to say that given the end result of the game, but I kept attempting to check my desire to throw out huge negative numbers; some rage probably slipped through into the numbers.

But, yes, chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 13.5 1.5 12 Poor pressure metric should slightly degrade your opinion here, though he did get two sacks and forced a defensive TD.
Heininger 2 2 0 One impressive play, a couple not so impressive ones.
Watson - - - DNP.
Roh 4 6 -2 Wisconsin was always going to be the team to own him.
Herron - - - DNP?
Martin 12.5 2 10.5 Huge day, especially early.
Van Bergen 1 1 0 Not a major factor.
Banks 1 - - One nice play for naught.
Sagesse - - - DNP
Campbell 1 - - Batted a pass.
TOTAL 35 12.5 22.5 21 tackles from the big two… you should have a great day against the run with that contribution.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 1 11 -10 I can't believe he didn't get pulled.
Mouton 6.5 11 -4.5 Jonas Mouton: big positive, bigger negative.
Brown 4 6 -2 Gave up the edge a few times.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP
Leach - - - DNP
TOTAL 11.5 28 -16.5 ARRRGH
Player + - T Notes
Warren - 2 -2 Had no work, basically.
Smith 3.5 7 -3.5 This should actually be filed under LB, maybe.
Floyd - 1 -1 Eh.
Turner - - - DNP.
Woolfolk - 1 -1 Also mostly a non-factor
Williams - - - DNP
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 4 4 0 Did pretty okay. No idea why they moved him to deep safety; he's pretty effective in the box.
TOTAL 7.5 15 -7.5 Not much to do.
Pressure 6 13 -7 Poor BG.
Coverage 7 19 -12 Ratio is awful.
Tackling 6 4 2 Still need to definite this more precisely.
RPS 3 0 3 Small number because UW just did the same thing over and over.

[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.]

If I'd charted Wisconsin's last grinding drive that ended in a field goal and game over, man, the numbers here would have been even worse but general policy is not to chart stuff after the game is effectively over, and down three scores when the other guy has the ball with nine minutes left is over.

You rage, contrary to the above statement, seems particularly well-focused.

Yes. Most of the poor performances on the chart that can be explained by size or youth or confusion or all three. Roh was always going to get pwned by beef machine OL 100 pounds bigger than him. Brown is basically a safety playing LB. And poor Brandon Smith is a redshirt freshman with no playing experience who has flipped positions twice this year.

What positions can't be explained by talent or youth or whatever… well, you know the story: Mouton and Ezeh. Wisconsin's passing game was almost exclusively zingers over the middle to incredibly open receivers 20 or even 30 yards downfield. On every damn one both MLBs were vastly out of position and the throws were easy. The pair was also very poor in run support: Graham and Martin combined for 21 tackles. They combined for eight!

These are returning starters and redshirt juniors. They have gotten so much worse this year, and it's obvious to everyone from Bret Bielema to stupid bloggers with charts. There is not quite enough data to outright support the ouster of a coach but I find it hard to believe that Jay Hopson could be any good. Maybe he just got stuck with mugs, but Jesus these guys can't even scrape to the right hole when Wisconsin is literally running the same play to different sides of the line four times in a row. Is this a defensive scheme change? I don't think so. Run to the damn hole.

The only possible mitigating factor is that maybe I'm not perceiving some errors by the defensive line that make it really difficult for guys to play linebacker. If one of the coaches who hangs around these parts thinks this is the case, please let me know and I'll post something about it. But I don't think that is.

Q: where were Leach and Fitzgerald? They busted a couple times against Purdue but good lord at some point I think you have to put them in just in case they do better. I thought they were okay.

Is Brandon Smith better than Mike Williams?

No. His contributions were on a couple of unblocked blitzes; he was very hesitant in the run game and often got blocked into the next county. He looked like a freshman in his first game in a new system, which he is. He's still got a lot of time to get better, but having Williams on the field was a necessary evil.

Is there anything we can take out of this for next year?

Well, Mike Martin probably turned in the best game of his career. He was in the backfield a ton, picking up a sack and a couple other TFLs amongst double-digit tackles, and nearly matched Graham's typically Graham-like performance. It's just one game and Martin fell off after a gangbusters first quarter, so it's possible that Wisconsin was just not prepared for his quickness, but if he can do something half (maybe two-thirds) as good against Ohio State that will be a step towards Martin turning into the death beast everyone thinks he can be and Michigan will need with Graham off to terrorize people in the NFL.

The rest? Bupkis.


Graham and Martin.


MLBs. See above.

What does this mean for Ohio State and next year?

See above about Martin. For Ohio State: doom.



November 19th, 2009 at 3:08 PM ^

I once heard Michael Irvin in an interview describe the value of experience and familiarity within a given system/playcall. He said (paraphrase) "it's the difference between knowing what to do, and how to do it."

Brandon Smith is probably trying like hell just to know what to do. In the years to come he'll hopefully polish his game to the point that he'll get beyond that and work on how to do it. There is physical talent there, and so there should be room for improvement. Be patient.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:14 PM ^

I wonder if Hopson is going to end up as the sacrificial lamb in the offseason? A think a lot of alumns are going to want someone's head and it isn't quite time to give them the D-Coord yet.

Hopson was supposed to recruit well out of Mississippi, he didn't. He was supposed to coach our LBs, he hasn't. I wonder what the odds are he'll be offered up?

While I'm dreaming, we grab Mike Trgovac, match his salary at GB and bring him in to coach the LBs. I know he's primarily a line coach, but he also had a decent run as a DC. Match Green Bay's pay and keep him around as a possible DC in waiting if Greg Robinson flames out. If we have to change DCs again I'd rather we promote from within for stability purposes.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:17 PM ^

Is that he comes off as a pretty bright guy in interviews. I obviously have no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but he seems like a guy who would be quick to understand things...Makes me also lean toward thinking Hopson isn't all that good.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:22 PM ^

i think with hopson, you either fire him and bring in a real LB coach or you move him to DBs (his natural coaching position apparently) and have g-rob coach all of the LBs instead of just stevie's position


November 19th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

The problem with Obi Ezeh being so infuriating to watch is that his name is so great, everyone just wants to yell "OBBBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII" when he does something good but he so rarely does good things and so often does bad things where you have to look down and mutter "obi" like a sad anime character with huge tears welling out of your huger eyes and it just sucks, damn it, this year's defense is more depressing than last year I think.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

Some of what you're tagging as 4-4 under or 4-4 under split looks a lot like a take on the old 46 made famous by Buddy Ryan and the 85 Bears.

" O11 2 7 Ace Twins Twin TE 4-4 under split Pass Sack Martin -1 I mean, really, what is it going to take for an official to throw a flag on the Wisconsin offensive line? Martin(+3) zips around the center and is instantly into the backfield on this play action; center then grabs his shoulder from behind and starts slowing him down; no flag. Tolzien tries to evade Martin and manages to do so at first but Martin is agile enough to change direction and drag him down from behind. (Pressure +2)


is one such example. The 46 generally refers to an alignment with the center and both guards covered and two standup players, usually 2 LB's, here a LB and a Safety playing LB. UM stands up the "DE" away from the 2 LB's, but it looks similar schematically. Any of coaches around here, please let me know if I'm off base. I don't remember seeing much of this previously this year.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

In the drive notes, you say "More on this later," but I see no more. We got a rare stop, we lead, the ball is near midfield. I didn't love the play call.


November 19th, 2009 at 3:30 PM ^

I don't really buy that - I understand that Rich Rod is aggressive, and that's great, but he has to understand the situation and pick his spots. He has a defense that he knows is terrible that has just successfully held Wisconsin's offense. Why send someone after the punter? The odds of blocking the punt are, under any circumstances, unlikely, and the risk of running into/roughing the kicker is exacerbated given the fact that if the defense has to go back on the field, they're unlikely to stop them again.

I'm fine with Rich Rod being aggressive, but if he isn't conducting some risk/reward analysis prior to making his coaching decisions, he isn't doing a good job. Blind aggression is not a good attribute in any coach.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:34 PM ^

Didn't Obi and Jonas improve as the year went on last year? Why such a decline in their play this year? Is Gerg's system asking them to do something they can't, like read and react? Neither one was recruited to play linebacker. It's probably not a natural position for them. I just wish we had better options to throw out there.

steve sharik

November 19th, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

As for JB and Leach not playing (or even Demens), I don't get it either, especially given Rich saying earlier in the week that this was a game that demanded more people play to prevent being worn out.

But I want to focus on a play in which Brian embedded video:

Here we are in under with the 3 technique (Banks) to the weak side, Roh in a stand-up wide 5 techniuqe, Martin in a strong shade on the center (A gap defender) and Heininger in a 4 or 5 technique to the strong side. Smith is up on the line playing a hybrid OLB and is essentially a stand-up wide 9 technique.

Mouton is blitzing the strong side A gap, Heininger is stunting into the strong side B gap, and Smith is off the edge (D gap). Kovacs settles into C gap/cutback responsibility late. Smith's angle is poor. When you blitz you read your keys on the fly. His key is the EMLOS to the near back. They both show run away, so Smith should turn flat down the line. He doesn't, so he is too late to make the play. Kovacs made a couple big plays against MSU in this role.

Roh does his job, in spilling the ball, but he needs to work on his spill technique. Watch him get inside the blocker, but he turns his shoulder down and gives himself up. What he should do is hit the puller with that same shoulder, but then rip and work upfield. This deepens the puller (making the RB go deeper and wider) and also takes away a cutback lane.

As for Ezeh, he has no gap responsibility in front of him. Martin is sparking into the weak side A gap, Banks has B gap, and Roh has C gap. He has run to his side and no open window in front of him. He should be downhill off Roh's ass right now. If he does, we have a 2-on-1 in the hole with Ezeh and Brown against the puller. Either the puller blocks Ezeh and Clay bounces into the unblocked Brown, or the puller kicks out Brown and Clay turns up right into the unblocked Ezeh. Very poor read, technique, and execution by Ezeh. I am at a loss on his play this season.


November 19th, 2009 at 3:04 PM ^

I appreciate the breakdown of the who and what went wrong on this play, but I'm interested to see the why as well. Ezeh seems tentative and indecisive...why? What's the hangup here?

I'd be really interested to hear a coach talk about how they communicate with defensive players to get them be more "instinctive" and decisive on plays. What could be going on behind the scenes that has Ezeh possibly cowed?

steve sharik

November 19th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

...unless you know how ILBs fit into GRob's package. Yes, they were ILBs last year, but Shafer never had them shuffle at all. They were always to sprint to the ball (which may explain Mouton overrunning everything this year). Some coaches have guys always attacking. Some guys have them shuffle depending on their position in the defense. For example, some 5-2 defensive guys have "shuffle," "scrape," or "fast flow" LBs.

If I had to guess, GRob's package is more complex for the ILBs and Shafer's was much more simple for them. I think all they had to do last year was attack, and this year their technique changes depending on the alignment of the DL in front of them. I personally think this way is more fundamentally sound, but it takes more thinking, practice, and repetition. And since Hop isn't an old LB guru, this way may be hindering him as a coach.

If what I've read at other sites from "insiders" is true, perhaps a move of Gibson to recruiting coordinator, Hopson to DBs, and a new LB coach from outside is in the future. Of course, if Hopson gets heavily criticized by Rich in post-season evaluation and if Hopson still misses the south, he could be on his way out.

Regardless, we need to get our players executing. I think the best way to do that is to give GRob all the keys to the defensive kingdom.

The Original C

November 20th, 2009 at 2:23 AM ^

Wiscy has three players leading Clay, the FB, the ROG (no.70??) and the TE/HB (no.84)we have Roh taking on the FB, Brown on the pulling OL, but who is supposed to take the TE/HB?? In this particular play the HB sorta doubles Brown (who is already engaged effectively by the pulling guard) but looks like he will be the lead blocker if Clay takes its outside. So even if Ezeh was flowing like everyone expects him to he has a good chance of being blocked by the HB (assuming Clay sees Ezeh near the E gap hole with a chance to plug it and decides to take it outside behind the HB).

The only player who is unblocked is Smith and he has to flow all the way from the backside to tackle. IS this a "their rock to our scissors" type where we are not in a sound formation to defend this?? OR can Smith, with his speed, actually close in faster and make a play since the RB needs time to make his read and decide on the hole? Warren, who is the deep guy, eventually makes a stop after 10/11 yards. Thanks.


November 19th, 2009 at 2:59 PM ^

that the light we saw at the end of the tunnel was actually a freight train?

Well, in that case, can I just express how utterly relieved I am that Michigan successfully recruited 11 wide receivers/slots since 2008 for Mr. Tony Dews to work with and only 3 linebackers (Fitzgerald, Demens, Hawthorne) for Mr. Hopson to work with. That's special.

Do the Michigan coaches want an abacus to figure out the number of gaping holes they have at LB? Can some of the local UM math grads lend them a hand? You know, since it's so damn difficult?

Since Michigan football going into year 3 is now Overstock.com for such wideouts, can any of these 5-10, 170 lbs ninja dudes morph to play linebacker?


November 19th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

He completely ignored the holes that he obviously knew that we had at LB and instead decided to pursue shit tons of slot WRs because he doesn't like winning...

OOOORRRR maybe he figured hey here is our 2008 class:

LB Demens 4*
LB Fitzgerald 4*
LB Witherspoon 4*

And said "Hey we recruited 3 guys at LB that year that's pretty good" and then in 2009 when he did realize "hey we don't have anyone wow this sucks" did this:

LB Bell 3*
LB Hawthorne 3*
Ath Gordon 3*
DB Mike Jones 3*

Nah he just completely ignored that whole side of the ball. Actually all he recruited was Slot dots...

This is ridiculous use facts, use your head, stop spewing this bs.


November 19th, 2009 at 4:44 PM ^

Your contribution with this post is very good. Would you like to refute anything that I said? Would you like to explain how we were not put in this mess by poor recruiting.

In sum I hate your GD sig.

los barcos

November 19th, 2009 at 5:02 PM ^

seeing what we've seen with this defense, maybe its not so egregious to think, "hmm maybe we Shouldnt go after 11 slots/wr". at least, not egregious enough to tell the original poster to quit "spewing this bs".

and i know you must hate my sig because you were apparently one of the fans calling for lloyds head, which is ironic and all seeing as how you are the one leading the charge to support the new coach at all cost.


November 19th, 2009 at 5:24 PM ^

Show me where we have 11 slot WRs? Yes it is BS look at the damn depth chart. We have 5 slots/6 if you count Roundtree for 1 spot if we play with a TE or for 2 spots if we go 4/5 wide.

So yes it is spewing bs to say "we've recruited 11 slot WRs." It's COMPLETELY fallacious and wrong to state that.


November 19th, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

He left the game with some leg cramps. He was out for a good bit, with Kovacs, Smith, Floyd and Warren being the DBs. Maybe they didn't show the injury on the TV (I was in Madison at the game).


November 19th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

Mouton and Ezeh live together, play next to each other and should have a good idea as to what is going on simply due to familiarity. You would talk it, live it and "know" where the other guy is from just being around each other so much. They look like the other just transferred from a different school and speaks a different language. With the obvious regression, I wonder if they have simply quit. Maybe Hopson has been bitter from not getting the DC job, maybe he is incompetent, maybe he is simply an ass. I have no idea, nothing else beyond a give up to get rid of him seems to explain our LBs anymore.


November 19th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

Brian you forgot to address the roughing the punter later like you promised. I'll address it for you as I think I know what you were going to write as you are... um... I think sane. Feel free to clarify if you have a differing view.

When your defense blows and they actually get a stop, no one should rush the punter. Anyone within 20 yards of him should be taken off scholarship. The D has no depth and needs rest and time on the sidleines with coaches. We have the lead on the road with the ball and momentum, what in sam hell are we doing??. When you have a great d and little O or are behind and desperate that is when you rush the punter not then not ever for this defense.


Fill in Brian


November 20th, 2009 at 9:54 AM ^

Are we that ready to condemn all of our players and not allow them to make plays? This is the same stuff I heard about the Zoltan run. Just because the coach calls a punt block does not mean that its his fault if his players fuck up and rough the punter. The coach should be able to make a call and expect his players not to do something stupid. When the player does something stupid, its the player's fault. Yes, Rodriguez could never allow his players any chance of making a play, but that isn't what he is like, and I don't want him to change.

Son Of Zoltan

November 19th, 2009 at 3:52 PM ^

in regard to the roughing the kicker call, I think it is best explained by the neo-classic television show theme song from the mid 80's, with a plot based around an all girls school run by a matronly red headed woman. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, UM Football 2009.


November 19th, 2009 at 3:57 PM ^

It seems like we have a 40 yard soft spot in our zone and I will never understand how we can be beaten consistently by the exact same play time and time again.


November 19th, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

I want to see Kenny Demens and J.B Fitzgerald get a lot more playing time against Ohio State just so we can see what they can do. I know it is a lot to ask to play a lot for the first time against Ohio State but they couldn't possibly be any worse than Mouton or Ezeh could they?


November 19th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

I think Smith is best suited for Brown's role where he can take advantage of his physical abilities rather than worry about instincts and decision making as much.

As for Ezeh, I think you start the move to DE right now. Get him some snaps there in garbage time or something and play Fitzgerald or maybe Leach. I suspect he's lost right now. He's probably confused as to what to do and thinking way to much. On top of that he's probably terrified of making another mistake because he's sick of looking like an idiot in film study and as a 4th year junior. So instead of being instinctive and aggressive he's confused and afraid of screwing up. You can't fix that until the off-season. Put someone else in. Then move him to DE where he doesn't have to think as much and where we need bodies next year.

I know the last drive wasn't charted, but it would have been nice to know how Wisconsin could run 100% of the time against our 9-man front and march down the field like we were a JV team.


November 19th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

After a lot of these depressing games I play a painful game of "could we have won" with myself. Against Iowa, MSU, Purdue and even Illinois I can see how a couple of plays could have resulted in a win and the difference between the misery we're living in now and some sort of feeling of content.

Obviously we know the margin for error is miniscule, so it would take a perfect game against a good team like WI. So what if we had a perfect game?

-- All of those blatant holding calls and the pick play would have been called in our favor.
-- We get a first down instead of missing a chip shot FG.
-- Either we block the punt or we at least get an extra possession that results in a score.
-- Warren makes a play on the one play where they truly tested him in man coverage for what seems like the first time since the Iowa game.
-- Forcier completes one of the three deep balls.

Even with all of that I don't think we win. WI was able to move the ball too easy. We forced two punts and two turnovers the entire day and one of those punts was erased on the penalty.

There are too many holes and now there is too much film out there on how to exploit them and the coaches don't have any tricks left to mask the issues.


November 19th, 2009 at 5:24 PM ^

Our starting LBs are not freshmen. They are not sophomores. They are not walk-ons. They had the same coach last year. And yet they continue to be clueless liabilities.

Old School

November 19th, 2009 at 6:30 PM ^

The AD is retiring. The President of the University has twice signalled her 100% confidence in RR. However, RR and his agent recently met with Ms. Coleman. There has been nothing but controversy since he took over. He broke with Michigan tradition by firing everyone but one coach, there has been nothing but unfavorable publicity, during the game the coaches look like a fight will break out amongst them at any minute, good players have transferred, the team has utterly collapsed in the second half of the last four games, his new systemsn (offense and defense) have created numerous self mistakes by the entire team, the rotation of players in and out of new positions makes your head spin, and the team seems utterly lacking in the self confidence needed to endure a bad game. In short, the head coach is the problem and is likely toast after the recruiting season.


November 19th, 2009 at 6:42 PM ^

RR is not "toast after the recruiting season." IF UM is going to fire RR it is best to do it now or within the next week not in March. Can you imagine how many players from this recruiting class would transfer or sign elsewhere? At the very least, doing it within 2 weeks and having a replacement soon would allow us to recruit players to fill the recruiting class.

Either way Old Guard, RR is not going anywhere this year. You should jump aboard or get out of the way.

Old School

November 19th, 2009 at 6:52 PM ^

Bump Elliott has mediocre teams for at least three years. In Bo's first year, he took those players and molded them into a team. He motivated, and he was a great leader. He beat what was then called Ohio States "team of the century." Now, after two years, we continue to break records, but at the wrong end of the scale, as in Michigan loses for the second year in a row to nobodies. I don't need to get on board the ghost ship, you need to get a dose of reality.


November 19th, 2009 at 7:11 PM ^

Just out of curiosity did you read anything I wrote besides get on board or get out of the way? My major beef with your post came with the timing of the fire.

Now with this current post you need to quit living in the past and look towards the future. Misopogon did some great diaries a while back explaining why we are where we are. Read through these:


The offense has been much improved from year 1 to year 2. The defense is the culprit. I would also argue that you comparing the transition from Elliot-Bo to Carr-RR is irrelevant. You cannot possibly make that case because the schemes for Elliot and Bo were very similar and the schemes from Carr to RR could not have been more different which makes this transition much tougher than the one you mentioned.


November 19th, 2009 at 7:19 PM ^

Michigan actually scored MORE points in Big Ten games last year than they did this year. Michigan's "great" statistical progress on offense is a product of scoring 108 points on hapless Delaware State and Eastern Michigan. Michigan scored 66 points in non-conference games last year versus 177 points in non-con games this year. There hasn't been enough progress on either side of the ball.
We gotta turn the corner next year... please?


November 19th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

Caup those are good points. However, the offense that we see on the field has been noticeably better than the one we put out last year. The quarterback play is better and everything looks smoother.

I realize my argument is as subjective as it gets but thats the way I see the offense from yr 1 to yr 2.