Upon Further Review: Offense vs. Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on October 4th, 2006 at 4:24 PM

Highlights from IBFC and Dangerous Logic.

LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M20 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 10 Hart Zone Left
A major reason this works is that Minnesota is lined up with only seven in the box and the seventh guy is offset to drop into a zone coverage behind Arrington, the slot guy. Ecker(+1) and Long(+1) drive their men off the line; Breaston takes out the closing safety, and Hart(+1, 5 YAC) drags the late-filling corner another five yards after contact.
M30 1 10 Ace Run 13 Hart Zone Right
Outstanding job by Mike Massey(+2) to seal a defensive end lined up inside of him and open up a big cutback lane for Hart(3 YAC). Also Kraus and Bihl double-team the tackle to that side, pancaking him.
M43 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 4 Hart Zone Left
Steve Davis runs upfield at the snap, ceding a cutback lane. Riley has an easy job: push him in the direction he's going. No one gets out to the second level, allowing an unblocked linebacker to meet Hart a few yards downfield.
M47 2 6 Ace Run 2 Grady Zone Left
Minnesota's started creeping a safety up on the last two plays. He's not quite in the box but he's getting there. Grady's a little hesitant, taking a step towards the wrong hole before finding a crease between Long and Kraus. Unfortunately, Manningham(-1) whiffs a block on the safety, who fills. It's hard to judge but I think Hart does better with this.
M49 3 4 Ace 3-Wide Run 10 Hart Zone Left
Massey(+1) again does a great job one-on-one with the DE, allowing Long to get out on a linebacker and Hart to make the corner. This should be about a four-yard gain but Hart(+1, 6 YAC) pops out of a tackle and makes a few more yards.
O41 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 8 Hart Off Tackle
Massey(+1) seals the DE inside for the third time on this drive, opening up the corner. Hart busts through another tackle but steps out of bounds in the process of doing so. Todd Blackledge(+1) is on top of this Massey thing, which I thought was overstating things live but upon review is totally true.
O33 2 2 Ace Pass 16 Breaston PA Deep out (2)
Grady in. Henne looks off the Minnesota defense, coming to a wide open Breaston on a second read. Ball is catchable but certainly not an easy catch for Breaston with his feet on the very edge of the sideline (CA, 1)
O17 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 3 Hart Zone Left
Gophers stem late into a run-d look. Riley seals the backside DE, providing a cutback lane. The Minnesota DT to that side manages to get an arm on Hart, slowing him, and two unblocked players tackle him in the hole.
O14 2 7 Ace 3-Wide Run -2 Hart Zone Left
Corner blitz from Banks catches Arrington(-1) by surprise. He's in, unblocked, and tackles Hart in the backfield. Shame, too, because if Arrington makes that block it's a touchdown, as the rest of the defense was sealed inside.
O16 3 9 Ace 3-Wide Pass 16 Arrington Seam
Henne looks off the defense, causing the safety to slide left. Arrington is wide open as a result. (DO, 3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, ??? 1st Q. (No clock.) A clinic. Massey and Long abused the opposing DE the entire drive.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M16 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 4 Hart Zone Right
Away from the strength of the formation. Hart ends up cutting back; Mitchell(-1) doesn't get much push on the Minnesota linebacker on what could have been a big hole.
M20 2 6 Ace 3-Wide Run 7 Hart Zone Right
Carbon-copy of the last play except Mitchell(+1) meets his man farther downfield and gets good push, allowing Hart to take the intended hole. Should be stopped just before the first down marker but Hart limps forward a bit more (2 YAC). Of note on these last two plays: we've loaded the left side (the wide side) with players. Minnesota responds by splitting the DE to Riley's side ridiculously wide, essentially ceding this hole presnap.
M27 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 10 Hart Zone Right
Massey's lined up next to Riley this time. Minnesota brings an eighth guy up late, but Hart(+2) squeezes through no hole and about three Gophers for six, then cuts it outside for additional yardage. Uh... 6 YAC. Riley gets a good pop on a Minnesota linebacker, opening up some space earlier in the play. Hart on pace for 80 carries.
M37 1 10 I-Form Run 3 Grady Zone Right
Eight guys in the box. Grady(-2) makes a ridiculously bad decision to cut up into two Minnesota tacklers when the backside is WIDE OPEN.
M40 2 7 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Manningham PA Deep Post
Henne misses this bomb. Uh, I think we forgive him. (IN, 0)
M40 3 7 Ace 3-Wide Pass -2 -- Sack
This skycam thing is awesome. A replay from it shows that Henne had nowhere to go with the ball and instead took a coverage sack. I do think that if he had stepped up in the pocket earlier he could have gotten enough time to hit someone. (TA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 4 min 1st Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M23 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Pass 7 Breaston Slip screen
This play is a guaranteed eight yards against this defense: Minnesota in their base formation, a linebacker shaded over to Breasto n but only slightly, Gophers obviously in a deep zone. Would like to see more of it when our opponents try to cover two wide WRs with a single DB and a linebacker shaded inside of the slot guy. Also, the line blocks like it's going to be good old Zone Right again, causing the linebacker's first step to be inside. (CA, 3)
M31 2 3 Ace Pass 14 Manningham Stop
Three step drop and fire with Manningham's guy playing way off him. Henne's excellent arm strength allows him to get this ball out there in time to provide about 9 YAC. (CA, 3)
M45 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 2 Hart Zone Right
Same setup as the first two plays on our second drive, but Mitchell(-1) can't seal the linebacker and the hole between him and Riley never materializes.
M47 2 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Breaston Waggle
Er... this is a slant that turns into an out, which has a name. Circle, maybe? Anyway, Breaston's wide open on this and could run for days but Henne drops it at his feet. (IN, 0)
M47 3 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass 7 Massey Cross
Another three-yard throw on third and long, but it's well timed and gives Massey a step on a linebacker coming up in the zone. Massey turns upfield for the first but is tripped by his shoe, coming up just short. (CA, 3)
O45 4 1 I-Form 2TE Run 8 Hart Off Tackle
Wow... designed to go outside. Oluigbo gets submarined by a blitzing corner. No problem for Hart(+1), as he bounces around the minor inconvenience and up the sideline.
O37 1 10 I-Form 3-Wide Pass 37 Arrington Post
Goddamn. Henne again looks off until come back to a wide open Arrington. Throw between the numbers means six points. (DO, 2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M18 1 10 I-Form 3-Wide Run 5 Hart Zone Right
Nice job by Bihl, Mitchell and Riley to single block their guys effectively. The Minnesota MLB is unblocked and makes the play a few yards downfield. (2 YAC)
M23 2 5 Ace Run 3 Hart Zone Left
Henne checks into this with seven men in the box versus a 2TE set. Corner blitz and a missed block by Massey(-1) close off the backside... Hart follows the surge in the middle of the line for a few.
M26 3 2 Ace 3-Wide Pass 7 Breaston Slip screen
Again taking advantage of the shaded linebacker thing. Arrington(+1) gets a nice block and Breaston heads outside of him for the first. (CA, 3)
M33 1 10 I-Form Pass 14 Breaston PA Stop
Henne drops back and fires to an open Breaston. (CA, 3)
M47 1 10 I-Form 3-Wide Run 0 Hart Zone Left
Long can't seal the Minn DE Massey was owning, forcing a cutback into a mess.
M47 2 10 Ace Pass 6 Massey Waggle
Designed to hit Massey in the flat, as Breaston starts blocking before the ball is even thrown. (CA, 3)
O47 3 4 Ace 3-Wide Pass 6 Arrington Cross
Brian Thompson(!) runs a seam that opens up a little space underneath the Minnesota zone for Arrington on the shallow cross. (CA, 3)
O41 1 10 Pass Pass 41 Manningham PA Deep Post
Duuude. Henne's not even putting air under these. He's just throwing it right to Michigan's WRs 40 yards downfield. (DO, 2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 3 min 2nd Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M13 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Penalty -5 Massey False Start
Massey(-1).
M8 1 15 Ace 3-Wide Run 9 Hart Draw
Key blocks from Mitchell(+1) and Massey(+1) spring Hart downfield.
M17 2 6 Ace 3-Wide Run 3 Hart Draw
Less room on the identical play. Mitchell(-1) misses a block, cutting off a potential cutback lane.
M20 3 3 I-Form 2TE Run 5 Hart Zone Right
Riley(+1) and Massey(+1) cave in the right side of the line. By the time Hart meets resistance he's already at the sticks.
M25 1 10 Ace Run 6 Grady Zone Right
By the time Grady reaches them, Bihl(+1) and Mitchell(+1) are four yards downfield. Last couple plays the Minnesota DL is getting blown off the ball.
M31 2 4 Ace 3-Wide Pass 12 Manningham Stop
Easy pitch and catch for the first down becomes a bigger chunk when the Minnesota DB whiffs his tackle, allowing Manningham(+1) 7 more. (CA, 3)
M43 1 10 Ace Run 0 Hart Zone Right
Greg Mathews in == run. POA jammed up, Hart tries a cutback, they've blitzed a corner past Mathews == no gain.
M43 2 10 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Manningham Out
Rifled unnecessarily low and hard. Manningham gets a hand on it but can't bring it in. (IN, 1)
M43 3 10 Ace 3-Wide Pass 27 Manningham Cross < /a>
Ton of time. Manningham comes wide open in the zone and Henne fires it right to him. (DO, 3)
O30 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run -5 Grady Zone Right
The Grady fumble. Breaston comes in motion tight and tries to get a block. This doesn't work so well, as his man shoves him off then pops Grady(-2), who fumbles the hell out of the ball. Breaston alertly picks it up and mitigates the damage.
O35 2 15 Ace 3-Wide Run 1 Hart Draw
I think if Hart(-1) cuts this back to the left right away he's got a hole. He delays, eventually getting caught behind Mitchell and Riley.
O34 3 14 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Massey Deep out
Delayed blitz fools Riley. Hart cuts the guy to the outside; another guy coming inside delays long enough for Riley(-1) to decide to double team the DE. Linebacker runs right by him and plows Henne, forcing a barely incomplete throw to a wide open Massey. (PR, 0, protection breakdown 1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 5 min 3rd Q. First time all game Henne gets pressure. Almost pulls off the conversion anyway... we punt from the 34. Ewwww, but 4th and 14.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M47 1 10 I-Form 3-Wide Pass 9 Breaston Slip screen
Breaston cuts inside of Arrington's block and gets everything he can. (CA, 3)
O44 2 1 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc -- Throwaway
I believe this is an attempt to go deep. We fake a zone left but do not run the true waggle – Henne sets up in the pocket. Pressure comes eventually, before he can throw, and he manages to toss the ball away before the sack. (TA, protection breakdown 3)
O44 3 1 I-Form 2TE Run 13 Hart Zone Left
Massive cutback lane after he picks up the first, which he takes. If he was faster he could do a lot more with this... but he's not. Nice cut block from Mitchell.
O31 1 10 Ace Run 1 Hart Zone Left
Another corner blitz. Banks comes in unblocked and should have Hart for a four-yard loss, but he bounces off the tackle attempt and manages to crawl past the LOS despite the disruption in the play. Backside, where the blitz came from, wouldn't have been nearly as relevant if the Minnesota DE opposite Long(-1) hadn't shot upfield, forcing a cutback. (Hart +1, 4 YAC)
O30 2 9 Ace Pass -10 Riley Penalty
Time for Henne, but no one open. Eventually he throws it away. Before he did, Riley(-1) got beaten (eventually) by Steve Davis, who draws a holding call. (TA)
O40 2 19 Ace 3-Wide Pass 1 Breaston Flat checkdown
Breaston runs a little stop route clearly intended as only a last option. Henne eventually comes down to him, but there's no YAC here as Minnesota closes quickly. (CA, 3)
O39 3 18 Ace 3-Wide Pass 35 Manningham Ridiculous Flag
Henne's best throw of the night fits in a teeny hole in the zone and drops right into Manningham's hands for a third and long conversion. (DO, 2)
O4 1 G Goal line Run 1 Hart Zone Right
Rare instance where Hart just sort of goes down when he should, gaining but a yard. Seemed well blocked enough for a play from the four.
O3 2 G Goal line Pass Inc Arrington Fade
Arrington pushed out of bounds and can't get a foot down. Excellent job by the CB. (CA, 1)
O3 3 G Goal line Run -2 Hart Zone Right
Davis pantsed Massey(-1), got penetration, and ended the play before it started.
Drive Notes: Missed FG (22), 21-7 14 min 4th Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M40 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 5 Hart Zone Left
Nothing to the playside, but there's a huge cutback lane. Steve Davis isn't even bothering to read the play before heading upfield. As a result, all Riley has to do is engage him and he's done. Mitchell drives his man down the line of scrimmage, opening up a major lane that Hart uses to get five before the safeties close him down.
M45 2 5 Ace Run 7 Hart Zone Right
Hart ends up taking this one right up the middle. Long and Kraus (+1 each) both drive their men off the ball, creasing the Minnesota line. Hart breaks a tackle for about four YAC.
O48 1 10 Ace Run 6 Grady Zone Left
Backside opens up again, though this time Davis is blocked down the line by Thompson. Grady takes the lane, then meets the undersized Minnesota safety and goes down immediately.
O42 2 4 Ace 3-Wide Run 1 Minor Zone Left
Note: we start Breaston on one of those slip-screen routes where he runs parallel to the LOS in the hopes it'll freeze that corner to his side. This basically works: he stops, confused, and Arrington plows him. Unfortunately, the left side of the line can't provide Minor any lanes to run through. Long doesn't get a seal on the DE or push him wide enough to allow him to go through the T-G gap; Kraus is also stuffed at the LOS.
O41 3 3 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Manningham Slant
Slant is right there but goes through Manningham's hands. I mean, sure, it's a tiny bit high, but come on. (CA, 3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 10 min 4th Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
O40 1 10 Ace Pass 3 Manningham Waggle
Same play as before where Breaston starts blocking before the ball is thrown. This block is weak (Breaston -1) and Massey has no opportunity to run after the catch. (CA, 3)
O37 2 7 Ace 3-Wide Run 0 Hart Delay
Riley fakes a pass block momentarily, then attempts to get out on a linebacker. Davis, unblocked, does not take the edge-rush bait and closes Hart down.
O37 3 7 I-Form Pass 33 Hart Stop
Hart motions out wide, taking a linebacker in man coverage with him. Henne looks left, comes to Breaston, then finds Hart – his third read – open at the sticks. Hart cuts outside of the bewildered linebacker for mucho YAC. Incidental face mask on Henne is half the distance. Patrick's assertion on the face mask replay that the Minn DE is being held is ridiculous... Long is pushing the guy and doesn't have ahold of him at all. (CA, 3)
O3 1 G Ace Run 2 Grady Off Tackle
Two Minnesota defenders come through the line. Grady(+1) does very well to split them and turn this into a two-yard gain.
O1 2 G Ace Run 1 Grady Off Tackle
A replay of the last play, down to the two guys who should have him. Grady(+1) spins off the first tackler and into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-7, 5 min 4th Q. Excellent work by Grady on the goal line. Probably could have been stopped for a loss on both plays.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
M8 1 10 Ace Run 2 Hart Zone Left
They're stacking the box, obviously.
M10 2 8 Ace Run 4 Hart Zone Left
Run run run.
M13 3 4 Ace Run 54 Hart Zone Left
Ballgame.

So how do you like me now?

Uh... Mike? DeBord?

Darn tootin'.

Much, much better? There were very few instances where we tried to rush into stacked fronts until it got late and that was the sensible thing to do. We played off our screen tendencies on a couple plays. We abused the Minnesota safeties so badly they woke up Sunday screaming about Henne's lying eyes.

All told, the offense was stupidly efficient. Michigan only got eight possessions. (A ninth was strictly run-out-the-clock.) Four of those ended in touchdowns and a fifth ended at the five. The other three all covered at least twenty-five yards. Only one didn't end up in Minnesota territory. The touchdown drives went 80, 77, 82, and 40 yards. Another drive ended with a missed 22-yard field goal. The offense went three-and-out zero times.

Uh, yeah... any criticism directed towards the offensive braintrust is going to have to wait a week. Happy?

Si, si.

All right then. Just one thing: if you could throw the ball some when Greg Mathews is in the game, that would be great. There was one throw to him -- the waggle that nearly got him killed versus ND -- but the rest have been runs. Charlie Weis has created this thing called "self scouting" that w

Hennechart?

Certainly. Now with explanatory legend.

Team DO CA IN BR TA BA PR
Vandy 4 9 5 4 0 0 5
CMU 4 8 2 1 1 1 1
Notre Dame 6 10 2 2 0 1 3
Wisconsin 5 16 2 1 3 1 1
Minnesota 5 13 2 0 3 0 1

Commenters questioned whether or not that was the best performance of Henne's career and waited for chart to decide. Chart says? Probably, and it would say "almost definitely" if it could accurately reflect how ridiculous every one of those DOs was and remind you that one of the INs was another bomb.

The delightful thing is: it's not all that different from his performances over the past three weeks. He had a rough game against Vandy, but since then he's been insane. It would be one thing if the Minnesota game was an aberration, but Henne's been laying it in between his WR's numbers for three weeks now. The deep ball has gone from a high-risk maneuver to a staple of the offense.

This puts the offense in a tremendously advantageous situation. No one's stopped the Michigan rushing game without bringing guys in the box; no one has been able to put their safeties on the line of scrimmage without Henne lighting them up. Pick your poison.

What's with the numbers after all the passes?

They're rated on a degree of catch difficulty, which is then charted for receivers.

  • 0: totally uncatchable. Charted only to give an indication of who is being targeted.
  • 1: extremely difficult catches.
  • 2: moderately difficult catches.
  • 3: easy catches.

Note that even though Henne's bullets downfield were as accurate as possible, most of those got filed as 2s because they're moving at a high rate of speed. Table format is Caches / Opportunities. "Catches" is omitted for the zero category. By definition those are uncatchable.

Player 0 1 2 3
Breaston 0 1/1 0 5/5
Manningham 1 0/1 2/2 2/3
Arrington 0 0/1 1/1 2/2
Massey 1 0 0 3/3
Hart 0 0 0 1/1

A good day for the WRs as well with only one Manningham drop, although that was a drive killer. Arrington got open deep -- good -- but couldn't haul in his second fade of the year -- bad.

And the rest of the numbers?

Still working on those. I hope to roll out something for run and pass blocking next week.

Heroes?

Henne, obviously, and Hart, obviously. And Manningham and Arrington and Breaston and Mike Massey for his crushing blocking on the first drive. Also, the line gave Henne a ton of time. He was hit twice, and one of those was a coverage sack.

Goats?

Uh... Riley, I guess? He had a blown blitz pickup, took a holding penalty, and was beaten once. But that's stretching.

Also, Kevin Grady fumbled and missed an opportunity for thirty yards when he cut back into a Minnesota linebacker instead of cutting to the wide open side of the field. His two goal-line carries we re both impressive, but at this point I'm a little leery of having him come in unless its short yardage. And the ball has been taped to his arms.

What does it mean for Michigan State?

We should kill them. I mean, you saw their corners in the Notre Dame game, right? Think "Minnesota, only crappier." They don't have the beef up front to stop our running game straight up and I think Michigan has shown that putting anyone not named Breaston in one-on-one coverage with a cornerback is going to end badly for the opponent. Now that Henne is looking of safeties like a pro, even cover-one looks like a dodgy proposition.

Michigan is still susceptible to execution breakdowns -- drops, Riley whiffs, the occasional wrong cut from a running back -- and Michigan State should hope to score, so expect the Spartans to come out in bend-don't-break mode, hoping to slow down Michigan long enough for Stanton et al to decide whether or not they're going to be able to move the ball. Hart's gone for 200 on MSU both previous times he's faced them and will approach that again. WR screens for everyone, too, and potentially nasty red-zone breakdowns.

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