Upon Further Review: Offense vs. Northwestern Comment Count

Brian November 2nd, 2006 at 4:29 PM
M48 1 10 Ace Twins Run 6 Hart Zone left
Double TEs to the short side; run there. Nice job by Butler(+1) to drive back the DE and give Hart the corner.
O46 2 4 I-Form Twins Run 9 Hart Zone right
NW spread out on the DL like Iowa was: three tight over the interior line, two wide of the tackles. Kraus(+1) cuts an interior lineman; Bihl pushes his guy away, and Oluigbo reads the hole, pounding the linebacker trying to fill.
O37 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 6 + 15 Hart Zone left
Plus personal foul facemask. We run away from the TE, towards the doubled Wrs. Hart again follows Obi, who cuts back behind Long – man not sealed – and into the well-paved interior, kicking out the guy trying to fill on the backside.
O16 1 10 Ace Twins Run 1 Grady Zone left
Boren beaten quickly; his guy gets Grady collared.
O15 2 9 I-Form Run 1 Hart Draw
Unsurprisingly, Northwestern is not surprised. Boren again not so useful, this time in space. Momentary double if followed up with a block of... no one. His man falls to Obi, and the filling safety bottles him up.
O14 3 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass 14 Arrington Corner
Arrington with a step on the DT... two steps. Henne lays it in there perfectly. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 10 min 1st Q. It all started so well...
M33 1 10 I-Form Run 2 Hart Zone left
Misread by Hart; outside is wide open if he pops it out there, as a safety is blitzing into the middle of the field at the snap. He cuts up into eight guys for a couple, but the backside DE isn't handled by Mitchell(-1).
M35 2 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Mathews Waggle
Henne has Mathews open but throws well behind him... and I'm not so sure this isn't a catch. (IN, 1, 2/2 protection)
M35 3 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Breaston Cross
Hits Breaston in the hands; easy first down if caught. (CA, 3, 2/2 protection)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. Can't blame DeBord for this one. Had the first on two consecutive downs but for execution errors. Hell, even first down was more a misread than a bad call.
M29 1 10 Ace 4-Wide Pass 5 Breaston Stop
Breaston gives back two or three trying to get more yards. Should have spun outside and picked up five or so more. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M34 2 5 Ace 3-Wide Run 4 Hart Zone right
Cutback fest. Hart jukes an unblocked DE out of his shorts on the backside, sliding up near a first down.
M38 3 1 I-Form 2TE Run 0 Hart Iso
Well, that's depressing. Blitzing linebacker is picked up by FB Will Paul; he grabs Hart as he passes; filling safety brings him down with no YAC.
M38 4 In I-Form Run 1 Henne QB Sneak
Fitzgerald thinks that it's a terrible spot. Note that when Henne recovers his own fumble, his knees aren't on the ground, Spielman.
M39 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 4 Hart Zone left
Slashes up through a nickel crease(? I wrote this, I know I did... but I have no idea what a "nickel crease" is) but is tripped up by a leg or an arm or something.
M43 2 6 Ace 3-Wide Pass 12 Mathews Waggle
Adjustment: we've had trouble on the waggle because backside DEs have been coming up and getting immediate pressure on Henne. This time Butler comes in motion to the waggle side of the field, blocking the backside DE and giving Henne time to find a wide receiver downfield. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O45 1 10 I-Form Run 9 Hart Zone left
Kraus gets out on a guy on the second level; Oluigbo kicks out the other linebacker and Hart has a major crease. The key to these plays is often how much the backside guard or tackle can bother a defensive lineman: Boren does a nice job on this play.
O36 2 1 I-Form Run -1 Hart Zone left
Ugh. Perimeter linebacker shoots upfield, forcing Oluigbo to block him immediately and shutting off the outside. No big deal on second and one against Northwestern? Not so much. Interior line getting driven back, forcing Hart to cut all the way behind him and into charging help.
O37 3 2 I-Form 2TE Run -3 Hart Zone left
I suppose you could blame Kraus or Bihl for letting a lineman through, but I think this is just plain old predictability: Northwestern shifts their line left moments before the snap, turning difficult playside blocks into impossible ones. Four Wildcat defenders are into the backfield.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 13 min 2nd Q. Another drive ends with a stretch play into an overloaded front on third and short.
O49 1 10 Ace Run 12 Hart Zone right
Hart ends up cutting between Butler and Long on the backside. A good read by Hart; a NW linebacker's hesitancy attack the backside opens up a lot of room.
O37 1 10 Ace Run 9 Hart Zone left
Bihl(+1) gets the key block here, sealing a guy lined up slightly playside of him and providing the lane Hart darts up through between him and Kraus.
O28 2 1 Ace Twins Run 3 Grady Zone right
Hurray, a short run conversion. This one isn't exactly wonderful blocking, but Grady does find a place to power through arm tackles.
O25 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run -1 Minor Zone left
Seven guys in the box versus three-wide. Real problem, unfortunately, is Boren, who can't even bother the playside DT. Tou gh block to ask him to make. DT cuts off the backside; there's nowhere for Minor to go.
O26 2 11 Ace 3-Wide Pass 10 Hart Screen
Finally an effective screen. Good block by Bihl to prevent a DT from getting out; Mitchell gets a DB on the ground in space. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O16 3 1 I-Form 2TE Run 3 Grady Zone left
NW tightens up the line presnap, expecting something inside (why?), we run the stretch again, though we do give Grady a lead blocker this time.
O13 1 10 Ace Run 2 Minor Zone right
Ugly play. Bihl overwhelmed, and his man shoots over his prone body to grab Minor's ankle. He steps through it and stumbles through a small hole.
O11 2 8 I-Form Run -10* Hart Zone left
Holding on what's otherwise a good gain, on Bihl(-1). Well... he may have ripped him to the ground, but I don't pretend to have any idea what the Big Ten thinks holding is anymore. Seems this is let go often enough.
O20 2 17 Ace 3-Wide Pass 10 Hart Screen
Draw fake to Hart followed by a screen to him. Kraus does well in space, chopping a guy mercilessly. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O7 3 4 Ace Penalty -5 -- Delay
First of the year.
O12 3 9 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Mathews Corner
Similar route to the one that got Arrington a touchdown. This one is better covered, causing Henne to lob it high, but too high. (IN, 0, protection 2/2).
Drive Notes: FG, 10-0, 7 min 2nd Q.
M40 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 5 Grady Zone left
Momentary stop, cuts upfield behind the OL vanguard. Boren(+1) got the backside DE chopped to provide the opening.
M45 2 5 Ace 3-Wide Run 8 Grady Zone right
Grady cuts back all the way behind Butler, as everyone gets to the frontside of their blocker, leaving a huge hole open. Nice read.
O47 1 10 Ace Pass Inc Butler Seam
Would have gone for 25... hit Butler right in the hands. A tiny bit behind him, but still eminently catchable. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O47 2 10 Ace 3-Wide Pass 7 Grady Screen
Nice room; would have gone for the first if Mathews coul have gotten a decent block. Where have these been this year? (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O40 3 3 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Breaston Out
I don't know WTF Henne's looking at, because he's got Arrington wide open for the first down on a slant. Henne double-clutches, rolls out, and chucks an incompletion wide of Breaston while on the run. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 2 min 2nd Q.
M20 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 1 Grady Zone left
Defensive end gets inside of Butler, which would seem like a very good thing for Michigan, but Grady inexplicably doesn't take the corner, which is wide, wide open, instead cutting it up into a mess of bodies for little gain.
M21 2 9 I-Form Twins Pass 3* -- Scramble
Only three guys in this pattern. Henne steps up, can't find anyone, and takes off. (TA)
M24 3 6 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Breaston Out
I think this is tipped by the DE, causing the ball to float into the air and nearly be intercepted. (BA, 0)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 13 min 3rd Q.
M20 1 10 I-Form Twins Pass? 13 -- Scramble
Henne out on the waggle. He sees no one with an angle to stop him anywhere downfield and so just runs for a while.
M33 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 3 Grady Zone right
This isn't actually a fumble; the ball comes out after he's down. Play was blocked well save for one guy getting inside of Oluigbo(-1) and tripping Grady as he tried to get through the hole.
M36 2 7 Ace 3-Wide Pass 3 Breaston WR screen
Oluigbo, lined up as an H-back, motions out to join Breaston and Arrington at the top of the formation and I think "screen." So does Northwestern; they close it down. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M39 3 4 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Butler Cross
Three man rush yields a ton of time. Henne surveys and eventually tries to rifle it into a covered Butler. A linebacker deflects the ball. Henne had two guys short with a shot at the first down. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-3, 7 min 3rd Q.
O36 1 10 Ace Run 5 Hart Zone right
Running versus eight guys in the box. Butler gets a cut, Kraus manages to shove a DT towards the frontside, and Hart hurdles for a decent gain anyway.
O31 2 5 I-Form Twins Run 2 Hart Zone left
Yick. Think Henne has to get us out of this play. They're showing a zone with a linebacker shaded over to Breaston's side and a corner rolled up over the TE on the short side. We run to the wide side of the field; the linebacker, who is huger than Breaston and lined up inside of him, gets position easily. Oluigbo comes along to pop him and does, but a safety is moving up just before the snap to provide the eighth guy in the box, filling the hole unblocked.
O29 3 3 I-Form 2TE Run 1 Hart Zone left
Neither Kraus nor Brian Thompson can do much with their blocks. Thompson's is especially damaging, as he gets blown back, removing any possibility Oluigbo will be useful on this play and forcing Hart up into bodies.
O28 4 2 Ace 3-Wide Run 22 Hart Zone left
NW backs off the run aggressiveness on the wrong down. They've only go six in the box – one liebacker is lined up about a yard from a DB over Breaston, probably preparing for some sort of robber zone to cut off slants. Michigan has a guy for every defender. There's a crease beween Long and Kraus. Hart breaks a diving tackle from Kraus' man, obliterates the linebacker who discarded Bihl and goes for a chunk of yards.
O6 1 G I-Form 2TE Run 3 Hart Zone left
Hart goes off of Long. Well blocked, but safety comes up as an extra man. Hart plows through him for a few.
O3 2 G I-Form 2TE Run 3 Hart Iso
Touchdown. Zone blocking but this looks designed to go up the middle. One DT is doubled by Bihl and Kraus and sealed. The other's first step is upfield past Boren as if he expects a zone to his side. Crease right up the middle. Oluigbo gets a Dudley-worthy block in the hole, opening up the easy touchdown for Hart.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-3, 4 min 3rd Q.
M16 1 10 I-Form Run 1 Minor Zone left
Eight guys in the box. Bihl driven back, Kraus loses control of his man; nowhere for Minor to run.
M17 2 9 I-Form Run 7 Minor Zone left
Seven in the box. We run against the strength of the formation, creasing the line between Kraus and Bihl. Minor explodes up through the line.
M25 3 2 I-Form Run 2 Minor Zone left
Fumbles the ball after picking up the first down... probably. Just seems to drop the ball.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-3, 14 min 4th Q.
M20 1 10 Ace Twins Run 7 Jackson Zone left
I think this is what a playside DT block is supposed to look like. Bihl fires out to the left, disrupting the path of the DT until Boren can pick him up and seal. Bihl then releases downfield. Kraus gets a great block on the second level, opening up a crease that Jackson makes the most of.
M27 2 3 Ace Twins Run 0 Jackson Zone left
Defensive end unblocked and makes a tackle for no gain. Bust.
M27 3 3 Ace 3-Wide Pass 18 Breaston Out
This is going to sound crazy: we should have run a draw here. NW has five(!) guys in the box plus a linebacker shaded inside Arrington. Anyway: three man rush; we choose to leave Mitchell's guy single blocked. WTF? He gets around the corner, forcing Henne to step up and roll out. Looks like another one of Henne's adventures in useless scrambling but at the last moment he finds Breaston wide open on the sidelines and slings it out to him. (DO, 2, protection 1/2, Mitchell )
M45 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Pass 11 Breaston Slip screen
What is this throw on first down? Is it legal? Anyway: Arrington(-1) whiffs his block completely, but Breaston(+2) dodges the tackle and turns this into a first down anyway. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O44 1 10 I-Form Run 1 Jackson Draw
Kraus's man fights inside of him, closing down the hole on the interior. A better read from Jackson takes him outside of Kraus and finds a lot of open space.
O43 2 9 I-Form Twins Pass 4 Butler Out
Mitchell's man spins past him, forcing Henne to bail out of the pocket. He finds Butler for a few yards... good to make anything out of this play. (CA, 3, protection 0/2, Mitchell)
O39 3 5 Ace 3-Wide Pass -5 -- Scramble
Mitchell again pwned. Henne forced to scramble immediately and eventually run out of bounds for a sack. (protection 0/2, Mitchell)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-3, 9 min 4th Q.
M37 1 10 Ace 3-Wide Run 2 Jackson Zone left
Kraus driven back; morass in the middle; passing plays are so much easier to chart.
M39 2 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc ??? Batted
Eaton gets right into Henne's face. (BA, protection 1/2, Butler)
M39 3 8 Ace 3-Wide Pass 22 Mathews Post
Henne's best throw of the day is a post between five Northwestern defenders that finds Mathews. A little behind him but that's a quibble. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O39 1 10 Ace Run 5 Jackson Zone left
Seemingly nowhere to go. Jackson halts, lets a defender overrun his position a little bit, and cuts up into the vacated space. Nice patience.
O34 2 5 Ace 3-Wide Run 6 Jackson Zone left
Nice push from the OL, but cute video package reduces the viewing area so I can't really get a good read on what happened.
O28 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 5 Jackson Zone left
Northwestern fading... now guys are getting blown off the ball.
O23 2 5 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Mathews Fly
Excellent protection. Mathews clearly bumped but the ball was uncatchable. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O23 3 5 Ace 3-Wide Pass Inc Breaston Slant
Bihl beaten, forcing Oluigbo to pick up his man and allowing a delayed blitzer to come free. Henne gets a good pass off anyway, hitting Breaston on the slant... dropped. (CA, 3, protection 1 /2, Bihl)
Drive Notes: Missed FG (blocked), 17-3, 5 min 4th Q.

What's with "protection"?

It's an attempt to measure Michigan's pass protection. Most medium or deep throws are graded out of two points. Whenever a play doesn't get 2/2 someone is assigned responsibility for the breakdown. Some hurries, forced scrambles, and batted passes are also filed as breakdowns, but when a quarterback gets into trouble of his own making the OL is exonerated.

Results for NW: 23/30. -5 Mitchell, -1 Butler, -1 Bihl. Mitchell is not a right tac kle, but you probably had an inkling of that already.



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
Michigan State 2 9 5 0 0 0 1
Penn State 3 16 6 1 3 4 1
Iowa 1 26 2 4 1 1 2
Northwestern 4 10 3 2 1 2 0

Par for the course for Henne. Was victimized by three drops, each of which would have turned a punt into at least a field goal attempt in all probability. He's getting better at finding guys on the run, but I still think he's a little too jumpy in the pocket.

  This Game   Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Breaston 2 0 1/1 3/5 3 1/4 2/2 23/26
Manningham - - - - 2 0/2 3/3 4/7
Arrington 0 0 0 1/1 4 2/5 1/3 15/15
Massey - - - - 1 0 0/2 4/4
Butler 0 0 0 1/2 5 0 0/1 7/8
Mathews 2 0/1 1/1 1/1 2 0/1 2/2 4/4
Hart 0 0 0 2/2 0 0 0 7/7
Grady 0 0 0 1/1 0 0 0 1/1

Two painful drops from Breaston and if you reclassify all his screens into some other category that 23/26 gets a lot uglier. He is what he is, though, and I think people are still overreacting.

Those wondering whether or not Arrington was suspended at all: he was targeted all of once. That targeting happened to be an extremely visible touchdown catch, but it's also a major comedown from the past couple weeks when he got double-digit looks.

Greg Mathews is the new Jason Avant until he drops something.

Yeah, how about that Greg Mathews, anyway?

He's leapt ahead of several guys with more experience and has taken advantage of the time provided him, but what are the alternatives? Doug Dutch? Carl Tabb? (No offense, Carl, but something's got to be wrong with you if the coaches are terrified of letting you even run a pattern.) Superstardom probably does not beckon, especially with Manningham and Arrington only sophomores.

However: he looks smooth and sure-handed. We have only a little data on him, but we do know he's not much for outrunning NW's secondary and has caught everything thrown to him save one ball impossibly behind him which he may have grabbed anyway. Jason Avant, perhaps?

Alex Mitchell?

Is not a tackle. He did fine for most of the game but was victimized on a few consecutive plays towards the end.

Justin Boren?

Is kind of struggling. Not a shock -- true freshman and all -- but I'd be much more comfortable with Riley back in the lineup versus Ohio State. Given his valiant (but ill-advised) attempt to come back at the start of the second half versus Iowa, I expect his injury is minor enough to heal in a couple weeks. We'll need him.

Are you going to continue your vicious attacks on Mike Debord?

Well, not so much. Many of Michigan's problems against Northwestern were execution errors: dropped passes, inaccurate balls, missed cuts, and the like. Drive by drive:

  1. Touchdown.
  2. Hart missses a cut on first down. Henne throws it behind Mathews on second down. Breaston drops it on third.
  3. Second and one turns into fourth and five when two consecutive stretch plays are sniffed out and stoned. (Blame DeBord here for his insistence on using these plays on third and short despite clear evidence that they don't work.)
  4. FG. Holding and a delay penalty on the last set of downs; a somewhat open third-down pass is overthrown.
  5. Butler drops a 25-yard seam route; Henne ignores open receivers on third and short.
  6. Grady misses a cut on first down; ball tipped on third.

Etc, etc, etc. Now a lot of the execution errors that caused punts were due to DeBord's run run run run giving us little room for error and the weather vastly increasing the chances of said error. I think it was just a bad day and all the OMG OSU stuff going on from fans and Herbstreit and such fails to take Michigan's historic lack of respect for teams like Northwestern in to account. Most years it would have caused us to drop a game we shouldn't have, but this year we have that defense so we can get away with it. I don't expect the same stuff against Ohio State.

Right: Ohio State.

We need Manningham back, obviously. He may play this weekend and should definitely be back for Indiana. All reports from medical guru-types say that this type of injury completely heals in a month... he'll be fine. (I notice a consistent theme in OSU slappy predictions: "they need Manningham back or we'll kill them and Manningham is out and may not be totally healthy and so forth and so on." Combines hope that he misses the game with ignorance of reality with an ironclad backdoor in case you're wrong with amazing overconfidence. Add in beer and urine and it encapsulates the OSU fan experience.) Without a quick-strike capability we are unlikely to drive the field against OSU given the lack of explosion in our run game, our inability to consistently convert third and short, and our tendency to drop passes.