Upon Further Review: Offense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian October 29th, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Personnel notes: Dorrestein actually started at right tackle and Huyge came in when Molk got hurt. Kelvin Grady got severely restricted playing time after the third-down drop early, so Roundtree got a lot of time and continued convincing quarterbacks to throw him the ball in situations where that's a terrible idea.

Other than that, not much to report.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M30 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Mathews 7
PSU LBs are pulling up to the LOS even without a playfake; this goes outside to Mathews, who's thoroughly open as PSU runs cover three. The short safety is actually the guy who reacts to this throw first. Throw is a little upfield and outside, which actually allows Mathews an opportunity to turn and get a couple YAC he otherwise wouldn't have gotten. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M37 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown 7
Michigan hurries to the line and ABC screws up; I think I see Molk(+1) get a great sealing reach block on the playside DT and Moosman get out on the MLB, which opens up a crease Brown hits for a first down.
M44 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Odoms 7
PSU a little late reacting to this and it's still Hull on the field, not Lee. Hull ends up charging upfield, which leaves Odoms enough of a crease behind Koger's effective block of Bowman; a filling safety comes up to tackle after a good gain. (CA, 3, screen.)
O49 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB zone stretch Forcier 2
AKA “that other play Denard runs.” PSU attacks the playside hard but Schilling(+1) has cut the backside DT to the ground and this provides Forcier a lane; he cuts up. I don't know if he falls here or is attempting to get to the turf so he doesn't get clocked. Molk tears his ACL on this play and is lost.
O47 3 1 I-Form Big 2 2 1 Base 4-3 Run Iso Minor 3
Schilling gets a decent block on the DT but not a superior one, so they're just hanging out around the LOS; not much of a crease. Michigan had an easy time doubling and sealing the other DT, though, as he was shifted away from the center, and Minor has an easy cutback up the middle behind Schilling's block that he takes for the first down.
O44 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read veer Minor 8
This was the play Minor crushed Penn State on last year with one small adjustment: Michigan is anticipating that the backside DE will crash down and blocking him. The WLB is headed out to the bubble and the other LBs are flowing in anticipation of the stretch, giving Minor a big hole to slam it up into; Hull reacts to attempt a tackle but Minor(+1) drags him six yards after first contact is made.
O36 2 2 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Forcier 8
Near identical play to the last one with a tweak or two: Dorrestein doesn't block the backside DE, instead getting out on Bowman, and Forcier keeps the ball after the DE crashes down. Forcier slides out into open space; Hemingway loses his block and the play ends up a bit shorter than it otherwise would have been. (ZR +1)
O28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown 6
Penn State shifted away from the direction the play goes in here and their linebackers don't shift correspondingly. Also, they appear to be slanting way from the play, which gives Schilling the opportunity to block the playside defensive end(this is the guard lined up backside of the DT!) and three blockers to release into the second level. Hull does an excellent job of fighting inside of Moosman's block and holding this down. As it is first contact is made four yards downfield and the pile lurches forward. (RPS +1)
O22 2 4 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Odoms 20
Penn State not covering this at all so far when Michigan goes to its trips set. They've got a safety and a corner to the WR side of the field but the linebacker over there doesn't even think of heading out on Odoms. The corner reacts too quickly for Mathews(-1) to get any sort of block on him, but Odoms(+1) avoids the tackle and picks up a good block from Hemingway(+1) to burst past the first line of defense; he jukes the last remaining safety to pick up another six or so. (CA, 3, screen) Odoms dinged up on the play. (RPS +1)
O2 1 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Zone stretch Minor 1
Michigan attacks what looks like a weak spot on the PSU DL and gets enough seal/push that I think this is a touchdown but for a poor block attempt by Ortmann on one LB and Koger(-1) getting blasted back by a DE; Ortmann's lack of a block means Grady has to get out on that guy and Minor is taken down by a couple guys therefore unblocked.
O1 2 G I-Form Big 2 2 1 Goal line Run Iso Minor 1
Right up the middle; good push from Moosman and Schilling. Minor runs through a couple of arm tackles from LBs blitzing from the outside to pick up the touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. That was fun. I bet we do that like eight more times.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout out Grady(19) Inc
Man, there are 7.5 guys in the box here and no one near the slot receiver; Michigan should just toss the bubble until they stop it. Instead they run play action, pulling Schilling around for some help on the backside. Penn State has scouted this and neither LB to the WR side bites much. I can't see the downfield routes but it seems like someone should be open deep; Forcier doesn't find anyone, eventually checking down to Grady late. Grady's open and may have some YAC for a decent gain; Forcier throws it too far inside, so he's got no shot. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M28 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 4
Moosman(-1) beat one-on-one by Ogbu, the playside DT. Ogbu is right in the hole that Minor tries to slam up into; he's getting blocked so Minor manages to run him over. Great second-level blocking from Schilling and Koger keeps defenders from finishing the play immediately; Koger eventually loses his guy as Minor cuts outside of him and the play is held to a meh gain.
M32 3 6 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout deep out Grady Inc
Nice block by Minor on this rollout gets Forcier time and space with which he finds a wide open Grady downfield. The throw is low-ish and will take Grady off his feet but still very catchable; Grady drops it. I have to call this a 2, but it's a borderline 2 and this is one of the first big drops that just kills Michigan's offense all day. (CA, 2, protection 2/2) Interesting side note: Koger(!) is running a bubble route here, which pulls a zone defender and opens up this space.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Odoms 7
Adjustment here on Michigan's part because they probably know that Penn State runs a cover three all the time: Stonum, the outside receiver, comes down to block the safety tasked with Odoms, allowing him outside where he goes one-on-one with the corner. Odoms, clearly dinged up, can't make Lynn miss, though he picks up good yardage. (CA, 3, screen)
M27 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Forcier 4
Forcier sees the DE crash inside of the backside tackle and the MLB also crash down, so he pulls it out. Bowman is charging right at him; he threatens to break it outside, then cuts it up for first down yardage. Brown could have blocked a prone Hull for some more, I guess.
M31 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown -1
Moosman(-1) shoved way too far back by Ogbu; Dorrestein(-1) blasted back by the playside DE, so there's no hole, and the cutback comes too late for Brown to do anything except get swarmed. Molk aigh.
M32 2 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Stonum Inc
Extremely crappy, almost nonexistent PA fake by Forcier doesn't hold anyone, but Minor wasn't exactly selling it either. The WLB just gets a zone drop—it's a zone blitz dropping off into that side right into the throwing lane. Forcier throws it anyway. WLB drops it. Bad decision on par with the Iowa INT. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
M32 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Sack -- -2
Good protection at first, but then a late stunt fools Dorrestein(-1) and forces Forcier to start running around. He can't find anyone and eats it for a sack. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Dorrestein -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 2 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M12 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read veer Brown 17
PSU's alignment here is asking for this; they've got a safety shaded over the trips WR side but only two guys covering three WRs, which means Bowman has to stay outside for contain/bubble purposes. With Hull heading out for the stretch this means there's huge lane between the LBs. With the backside end getting blocked Brown shoots into the secondary through a gaping hole. Safety fill ends it but not until many yards.
M29 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read veer Brown 5
Believe this is the exact same play but it's hard to tell because Michigan rushes to the line and gets the play off as ABC is showing a replay of the previous one. When we come back Brown is hitting the same hole he did on the last play but the LBs are playing it better, with Bowman crashing in and forcing Brown inside, where he meets Hull four or five yards downfield.
M34 2 5 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB zone stretch Forcier 2
Direction of this play fools the PSU DL and the DE steps the wrong way, getting sealed. Michigan now has three blockers on two LBs but one blocker is Roundtree. Forcier's got a lead blocker and maybe a crease if he hits it up but he decides to bounce it—reasonable. Bowman makes a great play to close the inside crease and then get out on Forcier's bounce, slowing it and allowing PSU to close after just a couple yards.
M36 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -7
PSU blitzing into this rollout, which picks off lead blocker Brown and gets Hull in unblocked. Forcier appears to have a shot at the first down with Roundtree, but Hull is in too quick and crushes him. On replay this is just a massive protection screwup from Ortmann(-2), who should know he has Brown helping and block Hull easily. He does not. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB zone stretch Robinson 7
Robinson in. PSU splits the linebackers in response to the empty set and Michigan runs at the gap up the middle, with Robinson slashing past Ogbu, who defeated an attempted reach block from Moosman. He's into the linebackers because Schilling(+1) has sealed Odrick. I think Ogbu's been a lot better in the ground game than Odrick so far. Robinson zips for good yardage before folks can converge.
M24 2 3 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Minor 7
This isn't quite the veer, which I believe is supposed to go between the backside tackle and guard, but because PSU slants hard it goes there, basically, with M shoving guys down the line and Minor cutting back behind everyone. A late-arriving Bowman, who was the contain, grabs Minor's ankle and holds on for dear life, but well after first down yardage.
M31 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 6
Michigan's favorite play with Robinson, by now rote: Michigan attacks the side of the line that has a big gap between the NT and DE, doubling and blowing out the DT, kicking out the DE, and shooting Minor at the MLB. Hull takes a pounding from Minor, but sheds and tackles. That's seven yards downfield, but he does tackle. Tough to stop this, I guess. No one's really done it consistently so far.
M37 2 4 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 14 (Pen -5)
This is such a crap call. PSU is slanting or something; they're not looking for the stretch, with the playside DT hitting it upfield immediately, allowing Moosman(+1) to seal him. Schilling gets a free release into the second level, where he blocks Hull out of the play; the SLB heads outside, where Koger blocks him; Minor has a big crease to shoot into, which he does. Bowman finally tracks him down. Play comes back because Dorrestein apparently lined up in the backfield. Is this a point of emphasis now or something? I've never seen this called before and this is the second time Michigan's gotten hit.
M32 2 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Robinson 0 (Pen +10)
Some sort of screen. Roundtree comes up to block Bowman and Michigan really has the angles here to get a good gain with Brown flaring out, but Robinson doesn't bother to throw it, probably because Moosman(-2) got smoked by Odrick and this was slower developing; yes, this screen got blown up by pass pressure. Robinson tries to scramble and gets hacked down for no gain. Bowman gets a holding call for attempting to avoid Roundtree's block... very dodgy. Potential missed horsecollar on Robinson, I guess. Really weird, though I can see what the referee was calling on replay since Bowman did grab him and throw him to the ground. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Moosman -2)
M42 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB zone stretch Robinson 2
Wish we had Minor in on this, as PSU is slanting under this play and there's plenty of room on the outside but for Bowman, who avoids a terrible attempt at a block by Roundtree, gets out on Brown's attempt at a lead block, sets up, cuts off the outside, and still makes the tackle as Robinson tries to duck inside. A +3 play if Bowman was playing for Michigan; we should offer Vanderlinden one million dollars to coach here. Also wish we had Odoms here, despite his dwarf status he'd at least screw with Bowman, I think.
M44 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Koger Inc
Part one of doom. Michigan just runs Koger into the slot, gets him wide open, and Robinson hits him, only to have it dropped. This is a solid 2 on the catch scale; Robinson fired it hard and high and Koger couldn't get his hands up in time. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
M44 3 8 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout out Roundtree Int
Bowman undercuts Roundtree and has him blanketed; everyone's covered, actually. Robinson throws it anyway and it's intercepted. Terrible. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-10, 6 min 2nd Q. And now commences the Worst Drive Ever.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown -3
This is so Brown's fault in every way imaginable. Moosman turns and pancakes the playside DT, providing a huge(!) hole to cut up into, but Brown doesn't take it, instead attempting to get outside a tackle who's given two yards of ground. He's just seen the playside DT die in a fire and his immediate instinct should be to hit it upfield. Instead he continues to head outside where Ortmann loses control of Crawford and ends up drawing a holding call. PSU declines it because Brown lost three anyway.
M5 2 13 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Penalty False start Ortmann Pen -5
M3 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Throwaway -- Inc
Terrible by Ortmann(-2), who attempts to block down on Odrick and actually loses the guy to the outside, which bully for Odrick but Christ. Forcier, meanwhile, gives a brief look to one side of the field, which is open, then comes to the covered bits(?). I'm not sure I understand. Maybe that was just a decoy and if given some time he'd find Mathews hand-wavingly open on the other side of the field. He doesn't have time. (TA, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann)
M3 3 15 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Penalty Delay -- -1
M3 3 15 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Yakety Sax -- -3
Drive Notes: Safety, 7-12, 4 min 2nd Q. At least we've perfected the take-a-delay-penalty play when backed up on our goal line. I'm not even joking.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone counter dive Minor 3
The backside DE gets momentarily delayed by the OT to that side, but it's not really a block, it's just an OL moving through and getting in the way a bit. It's Koger who's supposed to provide that block; the DE is ready for it and crashing inside so that there's no hole between himself and the DT. Meanwhile, Hull is watching for the TE pull and avoids the stretch block, popping Minor in the hole. The thing should end there for no gain but Minor spins out of the tackle and grinds for a few. Penn State clearly prepared for this . First time Michigan's run it this game.
M36 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Scramble Forcier -1
Forcier gets good protection and has Mathews open on a hitch on one side of the field. Instead of coming off his first read, which is Koger on a seam, he starts running around, eventually getting chopped down for no gain. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M35 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Koger Inc
Penn State running with this, basically, but Koger is faster than Hull and Forcier finds the tiny window he's got between the LB and safety, hitting Koger in the hands. Koger's already dropped the ball by the time the safety closes to hit. Hearing footsteps or whatever, but this is a straight drop. 1 if he gets the ball knocked loose by the safety, but a 3 since it's already gone. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-19, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree Inc
Forcier throws it high and Roundtree drops it; the poor throw doomed it anyway. (IN, 2, screen)
O39 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Skinny post Mathews 18
Slot out draws a safety up and provides a small window Forcier uses, threading it above a linebacker and in front of pretty decent coverage from Penn State, hitting Mathews as he slides to the turf to dig it out. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)
O21 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read veer Minor 7
DE crashes inside so Minor hits it up outside of him; Bowman and Hull do read it eventually and manage to grab Minor by the legs, slowing him and dragging him to the turf after 7.
O14 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 7
Here Minor makes the cut Brown failed to on the last drive, feeling the playside DT attempt to come around the center and fail. When that happens he immediately knows to slam directly upfield, which he does for the first down before getting double teamed and taken down.
O7 1 G Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 5
Playside DT isn't as eager to get sealed this time but he does end up on the wrong side of a reach block. PSU DTs love to get upfield and with them it seems to be boom or bust. Minor runs past him but with the space constricted he runs into problems. Ortmann(-1) didn't get a cut on the backside DT, so Minor can't cut behind the downfield block of Huyge. Still a good gain, though the time remaining makes this somewhat questionable. Refs stop the clock for some reason.
O2 2 G Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Yakety Sax -- -4
Forcier just fumbles the snap. This is on him.
O6 3 G Whatevs 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Spike -- --
Drive Notes: FG(23), 10-19, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Slant Mathews Inc
Had it open, but the unblocked backside DE reads it and leaps in the air to bat it down. Good play; I think Michigan is expecting him to crash, which would open up a lane here. (BA, 0, protection NA)
M28 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Swing Brown Inc
Swing pass is too far in front of Brown. I wonder if this is Forcier's fault or Brown's. (IN, 1, protection N/A)
M28 3 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -6
Not Forcier's fault at all; a DE is coming around Dorrestein(-1), forcing him to scramble up in the pocket, where a stunt from Crawford gets him past Moosman(-1) and Schilling(-1), resulting in a sack. No protection. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Minor 0
Robinson in. Penn State slanting away from where a stretch would go and into this play , which naturally opens up the area where a stretch would go. Minor's angle is right upfield, though, and he bounces into the traffic. When he tries to bounce out a couple of guys grab him by the jersey and haul him down.
M17 2 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB lead draw Robinson 6
No real creases but still fairly effective as the MLB is taking the momentum of both Robinson and an OL a couple yards downfield, so the pile keeps moving until it's six yards downfield, whereupon Robinson fumbles.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-25, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M39 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Koger Inc
Straight dropped. Would have been six-ish. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M39 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Brown 20 (Pen -10)
Odrick gets penetration but a double from Schilling and Moosman sees Moosman shove Odrick as he engages with Schilling, at which point Odrick falls to the ground; Schilling goes with him. This is flagged, which is ridiculous. Forcier move up in the pocket, cuts back against the grain when a DE starts to close him down, breaks the pocket, and floats a perfect pass to Brown as Brown nears the sideline. Caught, first down, wiped out. (DO, 2, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)
M29 2 20 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB draw Forcier 12
PSU stunting, which eventually sees a crease open up between the DT twist; Forcier reads it and smartly cuts up, using his block from Brown well and picking up most of it afterwards.
M41 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout corner Odoms Inc
This is covered and should not be thrown, and inaccurate anyway. Michigan's just leaving two receivers to the backside on these plays, not even bringing them across on a crossing route or something, so Forcier's got basically one option on this play. Given the situation it's not a terrible decision, but it's not a good one, either. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-32, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone counter dive Brown 7
Variation on this play with the C and backside G doubling the backside DT and blowing him out of the hole; this is different than they did it before because DEs have adjusted to the play. Frontside DT shoots upfield and there's a crease for Brown.
O17 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown -3
Huyge(-1) and Moosman(-1) totally fail to reach Ogbu despite a momentary double, and Ogbu shoots directly into the play. This is the cardinal thing you cannot do on a stretch. Brown's in a bunch of trouble, forced outside; when he tries to cut back a PSU LB rakes the ball free and PSU falls on it. Yay.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-32, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout hitch Roundtree Inc
LB flowing out on the deep outside hitch to Mathews, so Forcier attempts to come inside to Roundtree, who's sort of open but doesn't have great separation. Forcier turfs it anyway. (IN, 0, protection NA)
M28 2 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Jailbreak screen Mathews 9
PSU dropping into deep zones and Michigan catches them (RPS +1) with a play they haven't shown yet today. Schilling gets a good block on Lee, who's come in in semi-garbage time, and Mathews can run up for near first-down yardage. (CA, 3, screen)
M37 3 1 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Power O Minor 2
Penn State does a pretty good job of fighting this off, with Odrick fighting playside of a down-block and double. He ends up falling and a blitzing Bowman can't quite get to Minor before he leaps over the mess for a first down.
M39 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Wheel Shaw 12
Jeez, Forcier should probably not throw this since the zone coverage PSU is in has one of their corners against Shaw on a wheel route—basically your route loses—and the corner's in great position. Forcier threads the needle, though, putting the pass in the only spot it can go, and Shaw hauls it in with a sideline one-foot grab. Results-based (DO, 1, protection 2/2)
O49 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass TE cross Webb Inc
Forcier stands in and finds Webb wide open—underneath zone guy fell. He hits him. Not a great throw but an okay one, with it hitting Webb in the midsection only a little behind him; drop. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O49 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Webb Inc
Serious protection bust or something because the playside DE comes free on this play and Shaw runs past him, though he's carrying out a fake. I think the line slid the protection the wrong way. As a result, Forcier has to scramble around immediately. He actually finds Webb for what looks like it will be a decent gain (assuming Webb catches the damn ball), but a linebacker bats it down. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, team)
O49 3 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Seam Shaw Inc
This is double-covered and could be intercepted; very poor decision. (BR, 0, protection 2/2) Maybe had a little hitch to Roundtree for 5-8, which would have set up a fourth and makeable.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-32, 1 min 3rd Q. Penn State goes on an epic drive with aid from a bad roughing the punter penalty and when M gets it back its 35-10 with five minutes left. PSU backups and prevent D make the last drive more deceiving than anything and I won't chart it.

In my copy of the game I replaced all of Michigan's drives with copies of the first one.

Dude, I bet we win that game.

Yeah, by lots. It's awesome.

Sweet. I bet this is a clever way to get me to address the vast dropoff from a slick 11-play touchdown drive to whatever the rest of the day was.

No, it is the literal truth. I do not wish to discuss the rest of the day at all.

Ah so.

What is your opinion of game one? Do you think it counts? I just heard Colin Cowherd go on a ten-minute rant about how he "doesn't want to hear" that game one of the World Series "doesn't mean anything."


Yes. Your opinion? I have to admit, Cowherd made a strong case that the first game of the World Series is not a crazy exhibition that has no effect on the outcome.

Um. David Molk's injury obviously had something to do with it. And then it was just a lot of Michigan incompetence. Subsequent drive ends:

  • Kelvin Grady is wide open for first down, Forcier throws it a little low, Grady drops it.
  • Penn State stuffs a run, nearly intercepts a bad pass, and gets pressure on Forcier.
  • Ortmann decides not to block Josh Hull, who sacks Forcier. Protection bust on third and three.
  • Koger drop followed by Robinson INT.
  • Yakety sax safety.
  • Koger drops seam.
  • Forcier fumbles snap, spikes ball.
  • Batted pass, inaccurate swing, three guys screw up in protection and get Forcier killed.
  • Robinson fumble
  • Terrible holding call, 12 yard QB draw, throw into double coverage.
  • Brown fumble
  • Drop, bad protection, throw into double coverage.

Penn State had a lot to do with all of this; teams do not exist in a vacuum and having guys covered and whatnot is a thing secondaries other than Michigan do from time to time. But, man: drop, drop, drop, fumble, fumble, fumble, vomit. This is a pattern that's been going on for a while now. There are some talent problems with the offense, but a lot of it is just playing poorly. Bad coaching, bad luck, young kids, you take your pick as to the reason. The ideas behind Michigan's offense still seem good; the execution is lacking.

I mean, all the pressure is on the Yankees, he said. He said the Phillies aren't afraid.

Yes, the bubble screen did make a triumphant return, albeit briefly. Having Odoms dinged up on the first drive didn't help matters, either. Rodriguez is clearly skeptical of Kelvin Grady's ability to catch the ball—with good reason—and the bubbles they attempted subsequent to the first one didn't do that well, with Roundtree getting overthrown on one. It was part of a day on which the quarterbacks were bad, but not as bad as you might think, but to discuss that I'll need some—

I find his ability to condescend while expressing opinions that are either moronic or obvious fascinating.


(Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.)


Western Michigan 2 14 1 2 1 2 - 3
Notre Dame 5 20 (6) 2 4 3 3 - 4
Eastern Michigan 1 8 (2) 1 1 (1) 1 4 (1) - -
Indiana 3 13 (3) 1 (1) 2 5 3 - 2
Michigan State 5 19 (3) 2 4 3 3 - 5
Iowa 1 8(1) 1 3 (2) 2 3 2 2
Delaware State - 2 (1) - - - - - -
Penn State 3 9 (3) - 4 (2) 4 2 1 1


Western Michigan - 1 1 1 2 - - -
Eastern Michigan - 1 1 (1) 2 (1) - - - -
Indiana - 1 1 (1) - - - - -
Michigan State - - - - - 2 - -
Iowa 1 2 - - 1 1 - -
Delaware State - 2 2 - - - - -
Penn State - - 1 - 1 1 - -

Robinson is throwing too many interceptions and fumbling too much to play consistently, except the other quarterback isn't doing that hot because he's also a freshman. Things should get better against Illinois and Purdue; Penn State has a bear of a defense and it's understandable Michigan's kid QBs would struggle.

Forcier would tag on some meaningless completions and an even more meaningless interception on Michigan's final drive, but garbage time doesn't get counted. This week's downfield success rate is 9 / 18 = 50%, which is bad. It's not nearly as bad as Forcier's final numbers, though, and there's a major reason why:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - - - 3 - 1/2 7/7
Mathews 1 - 1/1 2/2 8 1/4 2/3 9/9
Stonum 1 - - - 3 1/3 3/4 10/10
Savoy - - - - 2 - 1/2 4/4
Odoms 1 - - 3/3 5 1/3 4/6 16/17
Grady-19 1 - 0/1 - 2 - 2/3 9/12
Roundtree 2 - 0/1 - 5 - 1/4 -
Stokes - - - - - - 1/1 1/1
Koger - - 0/1 0/2 - 3/4 3/5 6/9
Webb - - - 0/1 1 - - 3/5
Minor - - - - - - - 1/1
Brown - 0/1 1/1 - - 1/4 2/2 5/6
Shaw - 1/1 - - - 1/1 0/1 -
Smith - - - - - - - -
Grady-24 - - - - - - - 1/1

Obviously an ugly day, with three flat drops and three more passes that could have been catches (could have been critical first downs) not getting reeled in. Koger's great start came to a clunky halt with and 0/3 day, and no one really helped out except for the running backs. Forcier's day wasn't good, but it wasn't as bad as the numbers suggest.

Also, will someone throw Roundtree an easy ball, please? When he's not triple-covered by Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson, and Champ Bailey, kthx.

And the protection metric:

PROTECTION: 19/32, Ortmann –4, Moosman –3, Schilling –2, Dorrestein –2, Team –2.

Another extremely shaky performance from the offensive line. Molk re-injuring himself has something to do with it, but Huyge—the guy who came in for Molk—isn't anywhere on this list. Michigan's been severely restricted from a downfield passing game because the receivers aren't threats in and of themselves and the line can't pass block consistently enough to give them time to get open, or Forcier time to throw. I think they've been pretty decent in the run game; as pass defenders they're very poor.

A couple weeks ago he ranted about how baseball wouldn't put a little spiderweb on the bases for Spiderman 3, made fun of baseball for being old fashioned, lauded the NFL for participating in this thing where everyone wears pink stuff for breast cancer awareness, said that's why the NFL is so much more popular—it's forward thinking!—and never once mentioned that one act was blatantly commercial and the other was for charity.

Yeah… super.


Many things to choose from on this day but tight ends and Denard Robinson stood out as the items that damaged Michigan's chances the most.


Brandon Minor needs the ball more.


Illinois has a terrible run defense so Michigan should be able to plow them over despite the Molk injury and the issues Michigan's had so far against high level defenses. Illinois is emphatically not a high-level defense. Penn State rushed for almost 340 yards against them. Michigan should be able to move the ball effectively by putting it in the hands of Minor and Brown, using the passing game as a sidelight to keep people honest.

As for the future, the turnovers have to stop. It's one thing for Robinson to throw an interception every four throws or whatever, but he can't fumble it, too. Both senior tailbacks have coughed up critical fumbles in the last two real games, and while I don't think turnovers are that predictable, they're not totally random. Turnovers cost Michigan the Iowa game and prevented the Penn State game from being competitive; the lurking danger is that Michigan will end the Illinois or Purdue game seriously in the hole in TO margin and therefore on the scoreboard. Just Lloydball it when you can the rest of the year, I guess.



October 29th, 2009 at 2:05 PM ^

Something that I was hoping to get from the UFR, but can't tell: was the difference between our first drive and the rest of the game simply due to mistakes, or did PSU do anything schematically that made a difference?

I couldn't tell during the game from my vantage point, and I definitely did not rewatch the game to try and figure it out.

I'm still hoping that the answer isn't the turnovers and drops, although it may be.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

Mostly poor execution. Penn State had a couple instances where their scheme was very good for a particular running play -- when M ran "zone counter dive" for the one and only time against PSU, PSU was ready and the play picked up four because Minor got some YAC -- but Michigan gashed Penn State frequently with stuff they weren't quite expecting, and then screwed it up later.

Losing Molk hurt a lot, I think, as Ogbu was all over the place and the pass protection was poor. PSU didn't have to do any exotic scheme changes because they're way ahead of Michigan in terms of experience and talent.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:06 PM ^

I note that Illinois only has 7 sacks so far this season, which means they likely end with 12 to 15 for the year. Surely, that means a pass rush that is far less potent than they had in 2008 when they had 32 sacks.

More time for Tate to throw and wield his magic wand? I certainly hope so.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:13 PM ^

So, Odoms is hurt and Grady(19) can't catch and Denard can't play QB. So, how about using Denard as Slot Receiver? Is that so frickin' far fetched? Isn't that what we all expected him to do in the end anyway?

Wolverine In Exile

October 29th, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

Can't determine which is more depressing... thinking about Colin Cowherd continuing to have a job, or that people still think RichRod should just move DRob to slot since he's SOOOO FAST! ZOOM ZOOM!

I do think in the category of "irony's a bitch", Brian calling for us to "Just Lloydball it when you can the rest of the year, I guess." is funny on some level to me.

Let's not look at it as "Lloydball" again, let's call it the "Revitalization of the General Patton Victory Horn March offense!"


October 29th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

He also didn't mention that MLB did a breast cancer thing a couple seasons ago in which Magglio Ordonez was hitting with a pink bat. That was so forward thinking that it was before the NFL forward thought.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

This might have been the funniest UFR ever. You had me laughing with the Cowherd stuff. Nice work turning a dismal performance by UM's offense into a UFR which made me chuckle.

Cowherd remains d-bag, btw.


October 29th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

"I find his ability to condescend while expressing opinions that are either moronic or obvious fascinating".

Takes some effort to make people laugh after reading that fail fest of a UFR.

Wolverine In Exile

October 29th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

based on the whole "more plays reduces variance" strategy documented so frequently in the football blogosphere... do you think we're at enough of a talent/coaching advantage over Illinois to go with a MORE PLAYS GOOD strategy, or should we go slow plays to minimize talent differential?

In looking at the Penn St game in retrospect, I'm thinking we should have went more running to reduce the plays and take advantage of the underdog & big variance strategy??

matty blue

October 29th, 2009 at 2:31 PM ^

...is a pretty remarkable thing.

my human brain has a memory of saturday in which the offense did absolutely nothing right, similar to so many of the saturdays in 2008...reading this ufr reminds me that that was not the case - we did do a few things right and had some legitimately fine plays in between the massive, debilitating, knife-in-the-heart screwups and w.t.f. screwjobs from the stripes.

if we can just cut down on the mistakes...if only all of life was rainbows, unicorns and frolicking puppies.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

I don't mean to state the obvious, and might follow my observation with a research diary, but I think Michigan's offense relies on rhythm quite a bit. If we don't get 3 or more yards on first down our offense seems incompetent at times. I know this affects every team, but with Molk out and the struggles we have throwing down field because of protection/drops, there is more pressure to execute on first down than there is with teams that have a more balanced offense.
Because we run hurry up the whole game our offense needs positive things to happen. It seems like whatever happens on the first play of a drive sets the tone for the whole drive.
I've been a Richrod supporter and I've always loved the spread offense in any form it has taken. My only criticism of Rich is that I think he could establish a more complex passing game for certain downs, but I know some of this has to do with our struggles in protection.
I also know that some of the things I observe about the Michigan offense can be said about many offenses, so try not to misunderstand my point. When we get this machine running on all cylinders Michigan will, IMO, return to national prominence. I just hope we can win our next couple to get the train back on the tracks.


October 29th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

Does Michigan regularly practice outside when the weather is crappy?

They seem to struggle more than other teams in poor weather conditions.


October 29th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

And giving Minor/Brown the ball 30-40 times in the Illinois game might not be such a bad idea. Never thought I would clamor for the days of Tressel/Lloyd/Ferentz ball, but here I am, on my knees, hoping for 7-5 and a pair of ugly wins against Purdue and Illinois. I fear another hopeless thanksgiving on the horizon.


October 29th, 2009 at 3:51 PM ^

is that RRod is too stubborn to do that. So far he seems more concerned with getting the system in place than calling vanilla plays that would probably work, but leads to delays in getting the full system in place.

Either way, I think this year we take our lumps and next year give them out in spades just from having a fully healthy Forcier in his 2nd year as starter and with another 10lbs of muscle added to his frame. I think next year is the leap.


October 29th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

It may be unanswerable conclusively but WTF? Most of them were highly recruited types that lots of top teams wanted besides M, but for some increasingly frustrating reason they can't get open, can't come back to help when Forcier scrambles, and can't catch. Is this a combo of poor execution and perhaps poor coaching?


October 29th, 2009 at 5:46 PM ^

1. A bunch of them are dinged up. Odoms, Hemingway, Stonum all are/have been injured this season.

2. Poor pass protection means even if guys get open, Forcier doesn't have time to get it to them. Forcier does make better reads than most freshmen, but he's not getting it right every time. That makes our receivers look worse than they are.

3. They are good at some things. No one keeps statistics on missed blocks, so this is impossible to quantify, but my general sense is that our receivers this year are doing a much better job blocking in the run game than we've seen from receivers on past Michigan teams (e.g. the late Carr era).

I don't know if that answers your question, or if your question is answerable, but it's food for thought.


October 29th, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

Minor and Brown need to each get around 20 carries apiece in this game. We need to pound them with the run and hopefully Odoms is good to go Saturday so we can get our bubble screen passing game going as well.


October 29th, 2009 at 9:14 PM ^

when watching the game the one thing I couldn't figure out is why we didn't go back to the Bubble Screen and Hitch more, they worked great on the first scripted drive and then we just forgot that we do that. I tshould we tried the hitch 2 more times and Roundtree didn't catch either and ran the BS once after that for 7 more yards. RR's inability or refusal (haven't figured it out for sure yet) to adjust the gameplan as the game goes on is getting old quick. The only time I remember then altering anything was the second half against notre dame and the 4th quarter against MSU. Both those times worked out well.


October 30th, 2009 at 2:42 PM ^

I was listening to WTKA around 5 PM yesterday. And they had a guy that was saying that our signals are too predictable. I tuned in late, but I think he was saying that for the last 3 weeks he knew what some or most of the plays were going to be based on the signal. I'm not sure if anyone can expand on that...

From this UFR there a few times that Brian says that PSU is ready for the play. And some of that tighter coverage could have been because the DBs knew where to be. Obviously, PSU didn't need that much help to beat us when M is on offense with the fumbles, drops, and INT.