Upon Further Review: Offense vs State Comment Count

Brian November 8th, 2007 at 7:00 PM

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Pass

Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M29 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 8 Hart Zone left
Kraus appears to be the permanent center, BTW. This is all Hart: there's a crease as Moundros and Kraus take out the playside DT – barely – and Long(+1) does his thing as Boren picks off a LB. A safety run blitzes at the snap and should have this at the LOS; Hart jukes him and heads for eight.
M37 2 2 I-Form Twins Run 5 (pen) Hart Zone left
Butler starts out wide; we motion him in. A commenter informed me that this "handoff" block I was searching for nomenclature on was actually a scoop block, so that's what we'll call it. Anyway, a scoop on the DT between Kraus and Ciulla doesn't go so well; the DT runs down the line and tackles. Rest of the play well done. Doesn't matter, as MSU is offsides.
M42 1 10 Ace Twins Pass 5 (pen) Arrington Waggle
Arrington starts out on the other side, motioning to Manningham as the play starts; we have a TE off the line on the side of the waggle tasked with blocking the DE who often shoots into the backfield. Arrington gets open on a circle route; Henne hits him but takes him off his feet doing so. A short gain is negated for another offsides penalty. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)
M47 1 5 Ace Twins Pass 15 (pen) Manningham Fly
Inverted TEs here, with the guy lined up off the line inside the one on it. Michigan drops back and bombs it for the first time; live I thought this was inadvisable but results-based and all that. (CA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O38 1 10 I-Form Run -4 Minor Zone right
Minor in. This is the stupid playcall I mentioned Monday where Arrington is covered up; Butler comes in motion and they run right. Schilling(-2) is owned by The Sackmaster; the DE is right through and tackles for loss. Might Hart break this tackle?
O42 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 1 Manningham Stop
Henne misses Butler busting wide open on a seam route, instead settling for a little dumpoff to Manningham that's covered. MSU blitzed; M picked it up. This should not be a one-yard completion. (BR, 3, protection 3/3)
O41 3 13 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Fly
Oh, this Henderson guy got owned by a double move and fell down; Henne whiffs badly on a potential touchdown. Announcers claim this could be a penalty, but it looked to me like Henderson was trying to commit one but couldn't manage it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M38 1 10 I-Form Twins Pass 10 Butler Stop
Inverted TEs; Arrington motions out of the twins. Henne looks at Manningham, then comes off him and has his pick of three wide open guys on little stop routes on the other side of the field. Maybe a decoy read? He picks Butler out; he rumbles for a first down. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
M48 1 10 I-Form Run 3 Hart Zone left
Motion Butler to the right side of the line and run left; both safeties fly up. By the time Hart gets the ball both are committed to the run. I always hate seeing this; where is our play action? Anyway, Hart should be thinking cutback and eventually does; Ciulla(-1) failed to cut the backside DT, who meets him at the LOS. Butler(-1) also completely whiffed on The Sackmaster. Not relevant to the play, but a really poor job of blocking.
O49 2 7 I-Form Twins Run 38 Hart Inside zone?
I'm not sure what this is, but I'm sure that this wasn't supposed to happen. It looks like Hart's supposed to pick a hole on the right side of the line; Boren is defeated by the weakside DE; Hart decides that the intended hole is not for him. On the backside, oddly, Long is blocking the DE as Butler just sort of wanders off downfield. Moundros ran up and plugged the MLB; the WLB, however, is unblocked and shooting through the hole. Hart hops around him as both safeties come up way too hard. Hart runs for a long while. Like the first play of the game this required Hart to make an awesome play to avoid a TFL. I have my doubts about the long-term viability of such a strategy.
O11 1 10 I-Form Run 0 Hart Zone left
Reach block for Ciulla on the backside DT just doesn't work; he flows down the line. No minus, as these are hard when the DT slants right away. Kraus gets no push on a Spartan linebacker on the second level; neither does Moundros.
O11 2 10 Ace Pass 11 Manningham Fade
Manningham takes a couple of stutter steps off the line, then bursts outside Henderson. Henne lays it in perfectly. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-3, 4 min 1st Q. Hart's long run here reminiscent of one of the long ones the last time M played at Spartan stadium: some poor blocking that Hart makes do with and safeties who get way too aggressive.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M46 1 10 Ace Twins Run -1 Hart Zone right
MSU again swarming this at the snap. Ciulla and Kraus end up doubling a DT, but no one gets out on the LB, and since he's really selling out on the run he's at the LOS almost at the handoff. Long can't make a reach on the backside DE; Schilling doesn't get any push but doesn't get beat, either.
M45 2 11 Ace Pen 5 (pen) -- Offsides
you are so SMRT
50 2 6 Ace Pass Inc Arrington Deep out
A token draw fake as MSU blitzes; Michigan picks it up. Henne finds an open Arrington for 15 yards; he drops it. DB made a hit but this is a drop. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3)
50 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Out
Wide open; Henne has a 2005 flashback. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Butler(-2) gets an MSU-level personal foul afterwards.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-3, EO 1Q. A really crappy punt combines with the personal foul to change the field position..
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
O42 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 32 Hart Zone left
Again, this teeters on the edge of a TFL. MSU has shifted its defense to the left side of the line; the weakside DT is shaded well inside Mitchell (new to the game), so when Michigan shows zone left he shoots into the backfield. Mitchell has no realistic chance to block him; Hart runs through his tackle. On the frontside, Moundros, Kraus, and Long have all gotten crushing second-level blocks and Boren has sealed away the DT. Long's block also picks off a DE tracking back, Hart runs up into Moundros' back for a moment before popping outside and motoring downfield. +1s for all mentioned, +2 for Moundros, whose driving, extended block sprung Hart into the secondary.
O10 1 G I-Form Run -1 + 5 Hart Zone right
MSU swarms this; Mitchell(-1) blown back and Boren(-1) fails to do anything useful with the backside DT Moundros trips on fallen bodies as he gets to the hole; virtually no one is blocked and Hart is snowed under. A personal foul on MSU follows the play. Sparty, no!
O5 1 G Ace Twins Pen -5 Mitchell False start
woo
O10 1 G I-Form Run 5 Hart Zone left
We motion Butler away from the offset TE; perhaps as a result of this the backside DT does not flow down the line on the snap of the ball, instead taking his first step upfield and immediately putting himself behind Mitchell. A big hole results, as Long and Boren kick their guys out. Kraus takes out one LB, Moundros the other; Hart is taken down from behind by The Sackmaster, who got chopped but got up and made a good play; without it high probability of a cutback behind Butler and a TD.
O5 2 G I-Form Run 0 Hart Zone left
MSU blitzes a corner right into this; Hart has no option to cut it up as an MSU LB dashed inside of Long(-1). Maybe the -1 is harsh here, since Long has to expect the guy to attempt to keep contain. Without the corner blitz here this would be suicide on his part. Hart spectacularly leaps the CB, avoiding a loss, but the delay means he's swarmed under.
O5 3 G I-Form Pass 5 Butler TE Out
Yeah, MSU blitzes seven(!!!) guys. Michigan has Manningham on one side and runs three guys on different levels to the other side of the field. Henne lofts it to an open Butler. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3). Say goodbye to Good Chad. It's Evil Chad for the next two quarters plus.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-3, 12 min 2nd Q. If I can digress for a moment: I think the five-yard run on our second first-and-goal on this drive is an example of how Michigan's playcalling hurts them. To wit: we almost never see this sort of error out of a DL. The first step upfield was deadly and opened up an immediate, huge hole for Hart. This never happens: it's all slant slant slant as Michigan hardly ever runs misdirection. 80% of our run plays are zone stretches; how easy to defend is that? Quite.

Also, put on your ugly hats, folks.

Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M6 1 10 I-Form Run 2 Hart Zone right
Butler spread out wide to start; he motions in. The MSU DT times the snap perfectly – tipped by the Butler motion? -- and drives Mitchell back instantly; Hart has to cut up, powering through arm tackles for a couple yards. No minus; excellent play from MSU.
M8 2 8 I-Form Twins Run 5 Hart Lead draw
MSU gets split immediately as the defensive tackles slant, anticipating a stretch. On the second level, Moundros(+1) effectively cuts the MLB; Butler(-1) whiffs on an OLB, forcing Hart to leap over the FB detritus and turning a potential first down into five yards.
M13 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 2 -- Scramble
Hart(-1) left to take on a DE; he cuts him but not that well and he gets up; Henne decides to scramble out. The ball's punched loose and there's a scramble for it; a Michigan OL falls on it. (PR, 0, protection 1/2, Hart)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 10 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M7 1 10 I-Form Big Run 1 Hart Zone left
Butler(-1) blown back and controlled by the DE, causing Hart to cut back up into a mess of bodies when otherwise it looked like he could shoot into a gap between Butler and Long and maybe beat a safety for a nice gain. As it is, he's tracked down by the backside DT, who Mitchell(-1) could not do much with.
M8 2 9 I-Form Big Run 6 Hart Zone left
Frontisde completely jammed by Spartan jumping the play, but the extra TE in this formation allows Michigan to block the backside DE and there's a cutback lane Hart takes for a decent gain. Hart limps off.
M14 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Minor Flare
Schilling owned by the Sackmaster and shoved aside as he comes up inside, forcing Henne to get rid of it early. He does find an open Minor leaking out of the backfield, but throws off his back foot and sends it wide. (IN, 0, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M20 1 10 I-Form Run 0 Brown Zone right
Mitchell(-1) and Boren(-1) both get beaten by DTs, and when that happens your play dies.
M20 2 10 Ace 3-wide Pass Inc Arrington Skinny post
Butler(-2) gone right around by Saint-Dic, forcing Henne to get off a hurried throw on a skinny post to Arrington. This is actually excellent given the situation, a tough catch for Arrington with great coverage from the DB, who knocks it loose. (CA+, 1, protection 0/2, Butler -2) If Henne had more time he could have come down to Manningham on a wide open stop for the first.
M20 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Stop and go
Saint Dic goes right around Butler again, who should probably be flagged for holding; as it is Henne's forced into a quick throw to Manningham on an stop and go. There's room to make this completion, though not much, and a MSU DB leaps up and just gets a hand on it. Maybe a little bit harsh, but (IN, 0, protection 0/2, Butler -2) On review, no... this is just way short and the IN is not harsh.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 3 min 2nd Q. Mesko launches one.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
O41 1 10 Ace 3-wide Pass 6 Mathews Out
Mathews comes in motion, revealing zone as no one follows him; Arrington driv
es off the CB with a deep route and Michigan hits Mathews on a short out with decent room in front of him. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O35 2 4 Ace 3-wide Pass -2 Arrington Long handoff
I mean, seriously, can we block the frickin' DT on a WR screen? This has to be the only WR screen in history to be broken up because of pressure. Kraus(-2) just ignores the man lined up directly over him, causing the throw to be low and forcing Arrington to his knee to make the catch. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, Kraus -2)
O37 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 3 Manningham Circle
This is open for the first down but Henne's throw is upfield, forcing Manningham to come back and allowing the Spartan DB to close him down before the sticks. (IN, 3, protection 1/1)
O34 4 3 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Int Manningham Slant
Excellent play by the DB to chuck Arrington, then start watching Manningham; when he moves to the slant he jumps it and finds the ball, intercepting. Poor decision. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 14-3, 1 min 2nd Q. IMO, two clock errors on the 4th down play. 1) why wouldn't Michigan run the clock down all the way? 2) why would MSU, which will have a minute and field position at the 35 if they stop Michigan, waste a TO?
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M31 1 10 ??? Run 0 Minor ???
ABC screwup.
M31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Run 7 Minor Draw
A stunt gets a DE in unblocked and Minor has to cut it outside. He does so – Long(+1) has stoned his guy and driven him back – and gets a decent gain out of it.
M38 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Arrington Out
Henne throws it wide; a potential completion, otherwise. Butler was holding anyway. (IN, 0, 1/2 Butler -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M35 1 10 I-Form Twins Pass Inc Manningham Fly
A 65 yard touchdown waiting to happen; Henne overthrows it but only just. Manningham needs to lay out for this ball. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
M35 2 10 I-Form Twins Run 1 Hart Draw
Ah, the incredibly surprising second and ten draw. MSU blitzes right into it. Also, Boren(-1) lets his guy inside of him.
M36 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Pass -3 -- Sack
Protection is fine, but Henne can't find anyone. Saint Dic eventually gets loose and sacks. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-10, 5 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M1 1 10 I-Form Big Run 1 Hart Iso
MSU, as you might expect, jumps all over this. There are just too many to block; Boren(-1) didn't do a good job on a Spartan DT.
M2 2 9 I-Form Pass 47 Manningham Fly
Arrgh, stay on your feet! Uh... yeah, other than that a perfect pitch and catch. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M49 1 10 I-Form Twins Pass Inc Manningham Fly
Manningham wide open again; Henne overthrows him. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M49 2 10 I-Form Run 3 Minor Zone left
Mitchell(-1) blown back into the backfield on what might be a designed cutback... we again motion the TE to the backside of the play and block the DE out there; Minor hops out there but the penetration slows him up enough to make this a short gain.
O48 3 7 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc -- ???
Saint Dic stunts around two other defenders, getting in clean. He hits Henne as he throws, the resulting pass is to no one. Don't know how you pick this up, but someone busted. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, team)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-10, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M27 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run -1 Brown Zone left
Long passes Saint Dic off to Butler(-1); Saint Dic just splits the pair and forces Brown up into bodies.
M26 2 11 Ace Twins Pass Inc Manningham Fly
State in a four deep coverage with cornerbacks bailing at the snap; Henne bombs away despite the DB having yards on Manningham and it falls incomplete. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M26 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide Pass -7 -- Sack
Boren(-1) gets fooled on a stunt between a DT and a linebacker, picking up the DT and allowing the LB in unfettered; Minor(-1) attempts to chop the guy and does a crappy job of it; Henne sees the pressure and sets up to throw but is sacked by the LB; corner coming unblocked meant he had to get rid of it right away anyway. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-17, 13 min 4th Q. Another bad punt from Mesko.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 12 Arrington Out
Arrington wide open on the sidelines, catching it nine yards downfield and running up for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) Henne limps off.
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 11 Hart Fumble
Wooo Hart! Can't really blame Mallett for this, as the corner is totally unblocked as there's a protection screwup and he's looking at the other side of the field. Hart scoops the ball up and motors. (PR (not charted), N/A, protection 0/2, team)
M44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 12 Manningham Out
Manningham this time; same play to the other side of the field. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 4 + 15 Mathews Quick out
Henne throws this little out late, so Mathews can't turn it upfield. The play's over by like ten seconds when MSU pops him. Sparty, no! (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 12 Arrington Out
Virtual replay of the first catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Arrington Flare
Our second time out. Debord, you only have two plays, please get one of them in. Henne misses Arrington largely because Arrington was shoved with the ball in the air 15 yards downfield. No call. I'm not charting this one. (N/A, N/A, protection 2/2)
O13 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 13 Mathews Wheel
Henne loops it over the DB's head; a perfect throw that needed to be. A stunt got a DE in unblocked again. (DO, 3, protection 1/2, team)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-24, 6 min 4th Q. Good Henne.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 9 Arrington Out
And it's wide open again. Henne throws it upfield, forcing a tough diving catch from Arrington. (CA-, 1, protection 2/2)
M44 2 1 Ace 3-wide Run 1 Minor Zone left
MSU's trying to stunt here; Boren(-1) can't seal the DT and no-one bothers blocking the stunting DE; all Butler(-1) had to do was step inside and he was auto-sealed; the DE is free to track Minor down. Minor manages to reach out near the first-down marker and gets it.
M45 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Fly
Way long; Henne complains for a flag afterwards; ABC shows a replay of Mathews, so his complaint goes unevaluated. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 9 Manningham Out
Jesus Christ, Mario, get the first down! Aaaaigh! (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O46 3 1 Ace 3-wide Run -10 (pen) Minor Zone right
Butler(-1) driven back and holds as Mitchell and Schilling double the DT, driving him back; Minor manages to squeeze through the MSU tackle.
M44 3 11 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 12 Arrington Drag
And it's a long, long drag as MSU rushes three and gets no pressure. Henne puts it just past the outstretched arms of the LB to Arrington, who has room up the sideline for the first. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
O44 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 15 Manningham Drag
MSU sends the house; Manningham's drag route is wide open. Henne hits him. Good pickup from the OL. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)
O29 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run -2 Manningham Draw
Kraus(-2) driven way back by Baldwin, lined up as an NT; Minor has to bounce it out. Manningham(-1) doesn't even bother blocking the CB opposite him.
O31 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Out
Manningham falls down. (N/A, 0, protection 2/2)
O31 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 31 Manningham Fly
Well... goddamn, son. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-24, 2 min 4th Q.

I can't decide if I should be mad or thrilled. I hate Henne! I love Henne! I hate Manningham! I love Manningham!

Yes. God willing, any ESPN Classic replays of this game will excise the vast majority of the second quarter. I've never seen such a schizophrenic performance. We should just head right to the--

Charts?

Charts.

Mallett
Team DO CA IN BR TA BA PR
Oregon (1/2) 3 7 2 3 1 1 2
ND 2 7 4 1 0 2 0
PSU 3 12 6 3 6 1 2
NW (1/2) 2 5 4 1 1 1 1
Illinois (1/3) 0 4 2 2 0 1 0
Minnesota 3 9 7 1 3 2 1
Henne
Team DO CA IN BR TA BA PR
The Horror 2 22 8 2 1 0 2
Oregon (1/2) 1 13 6 3 1 0 3
NW (1/2) 1 19 4 1 1 1 0
EMU 4 16 1 0 1 2 1
Purdue 3 20 1 1 1 1 2
Illinois (2/3) 5 15 4 0 1 1 3
MSU 5 14 9 3 1 1 3

(Hennemallettchart Legend)

That's a tough day. Making it weirder is the breakdown (Good Henne == up until the second touchdown; Robot Henne == final two drives; Evil Henne == everything in-between):

Team DO CA IN BR TA BA PR
Good Henne 1 5 2 1 0 0 0
Evil Henne 1 2 6 2 1 1 3
Robot Henne 3 7 1 0 0 0 0

There is some mitigation here: there were a lot of bombs into a swirling wind, Henne was playing hurt, and it's no coincidence that the three PRs came when Henne was in Evil Henne mode. During the middle of the game, Henne got pounded time and again.

In fact, to fully appreciate Henne's day we should check...

PROTECTION: 58/74, Hart -1, Schilling -1, Butler -5, Kraus -2, Minor -1, Boren -1, Team -5.

Minuses assigned to "team" were generally stunts that got MSU players through.

Ugly, ugly, ugly, especially on the part of Butler, not only complete fail in pass protection but also the culprit on several run plays that went nowhere and the recipient of two critical penalties, one a stupid personal foul and the other a comically inept holding call on Michigan's final drive.

We can break this down further, as well. The final two drives were 26/29, and one of the minuses was on Henne's touchdown throw to Mathews. The rest of the day was 32/45. That's a failure rate of 29%, well into the completely unacceptable range.

A glimpse at the Hart Chart tells a similar story in the run game. For the first time all year the totals are negative, and that's only charting Hart's 15 carries. The numbers would undoubtedly be uglier if Minor and Brown's collective eight carries for -4 yards were included. Our line got straight up owned.

What happened in the shotgun offense?

Part of it was the exceptional generosity of the MSU corners. Time and again they got driven off and receivers were wide open. I don't think Henne had to find a second read on either drive; if I was, god forbid, an MSU blogger the D UFR on the the last drives would be something like:

AAAAARGH they're running the same out for the FIFTH STRAIGHT TIME and no one is even in the same ZIP CODE as these guys. (Cover -2) Someone give me a kitten to strangle.

#*$#!!!!! What are you thinking, Kendall Davis-Moron? I hate you! I hate you so much! I hate you so much I am giving up on saying anything clever about you and just calling you Davis-Moron! Where is my whiskey? I drank it during the Northwestern game? AAAARGGGHHHH

When kids are that open it's hard to get to the QB. Also, MSU started dropping eight guys into coverage, which was something they actually did to good effect earlier in the game, as the faked blitzes often would end up getting The Sackmaster one-on-one on Butler anyway, resulting in pressure against an eight-man zone. Michigan managed to fix that protection somehow and the same three-man rushes were just invitations to give up yards. It was an outstanding performance that pushed the final protection numbers up to mediocrity. Football is so weird sometimes.

Receivers?

Oh, yeah. Ye receive:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Manningham 8 0/1 2/2 6/6 24 3/15 13/16 48/51
Arrington 1 1/2 1/1 3/4 8 5/12 15/18 30/32
Mathews - - - 2/2 4 0/4 2/6 24/26
Hemingway - - - - 3 - - 2/2
Massey - - - - 2 0/3 1/1 3/3
Butler - - - 2/2 1 0/2 - 13/13
Webb - - - - 2 - - -
Hart - - - - 4 - - 9/9
Minor 1 - - - 1 - 0/1 3/3
Moundros - - - - - 0/1 1/1 1/1

Nothing of particular note except the "8" in Manningham's uncatchable column, which was 50% of his season total before this game.

REHFGHERARG DEBORD.

Yes... yes. I do hate to be That Guy, and plead guilty to some That Guy pessimism earlier in the year, but one of my bedrock beliefs about football is that it's stupid to be as predictable as Michigan is and this game was a good exemplar of that.

Simply-titled Michigan blog Blue, run by oft-cantankerous commenter Meechigan Dan, helpfully points out Michigan's first down playcalling, which was... not particularly creative. Here's the first half:

First Quarter

1-10-MI29 (11:14) Mike Hart rushed for 8 yards.
1-10-MIST38 (9:00) Brandon Minor lost 4 yards.
1-10-MI28 (5:45) Chad Henne passed to Carson Butler for 10 yards.
1-10-MI48 (5:27) Mike Hart rushed for 3 yards.
1-10-MIST11 (4:35) Mike Hart rushed for no gain.
1-10-MI44 (1:31) Mike Hart lost 1 yard.

Second Quarter

1-10-MIST42 (14:40) Mike Hart rushed for 32 yards.
1-10-MIST10 (14:04) Mike Hart rushed for 5 yards.
1-10-MI6 (11:15) Mike Hart rushed for 2 yards.
1-10-MI8 (6:50) Mike Hart rushed for 1 yard.
1-10-MI20 (4:17) Mike Hart rushed for no gain.
1-10-MIST41 (1:57) Mike Hart rushed for 6 yards.
1-10-MI18 (0:16) Chad Henne lost 1 yard.

The last one is a kneeldown and doesn't count, but that's 11 runs out of twelve opportunities. Things got slightly better in the second half; before the dual de
speration drives started Michigan had three runs and two passes. Total: 14 runs, 3 passes. I don't care how much confidence Michigan has in its ground game, that ain't right.

Exemplar: I had an odd moment whilst reviewing the game for UFR. Michigan was on its final touchdown drive and had just gotten down to the MSU 29. They went under center and ran Brandon Minor on a zone left. MSU's defensive end bizarrely cut inside the DT and I couldn't understand what in the hell he was doing; for a moment it looked like he had lost his mind. Then it occurred to me: they were stunting. Why was it so hard to identify this? I mean, look at the above. Many of the mentions of pressure on Henne involve a stunt. MSU stunted all the time when Michigan found itself in obvious passing downs. But not once did they ever stunt when Michigan was running the ball until they were in, yes, an obvious passing down.

If Carson Butler had just decided to block the DE Minor would have had a nice gain, but he did not and it was a TFL. So... didn't work out so well, but MSU put itself in a bad position. By my estimation they did this all of once the rest of the day, that on Hart's run from the MSU 10 to the 5 on Michigan's second touchdown drive. Michigan opponents make very few mental errors because Michigan hardly ever puts them in a position where they can make a mental error. Scant misdirection; limited play action; low variety in the run game. This thinking belongs to another era of football.

Caveats can be extended for this game: the pass blocking was bad -- though no worse than the run blocking -- Henne seemed dinged, and the wind was nasty. But this is no one-game trend.

I'm sorry, I know: beating a dead horse. Or dying horse. Or retiring. Whatever. Beating a very tired and old but not quite dead horse over and over again. I'm obviously never going to stop or I would have by now, but please accept my profuse apologies.

Heroes?

Robot Henne, Mike Hart's one good leg, and Mario. And Long, always Long.

Goats?

Evil Henne, Mike Hart's one bad leg, and Mario. And OH MY GOD CARSON BUTLER BLOCK SOMEBODY. Seriously, I would not be surprised to see a lot of Criswell coming up. We don't really need a dynamic receiver at TE. We do need someone who can block.

What does it mean for Wisconsin?

There's a VEQ coming up; in it Bruce Ciskie says the UW safeties have been atrocious and Ikegwuonu pretty average; second starting corner Allen Langford is also out. Ciskie also says the run defense has been atrocious; starting DT Jason Chapman is also out. So all right we run them the hell over yay!

Uh... probably not. Wisconsin is likely to note Michigan's difficulties on the right side of the line, which only get worse when Carson Butler is put over there, as the expectation of nonexistent help is worse than the cold knowledge of your infinite loneliness versus The Sackmaster, and blitz like hell. The return of Alex Mitchell probably says more about the situation at right guard than Mitchell's health and motivation -- dude looks way out of shape -- and Debord... well... if he ever sat down at a poker table I was at I'd get tingly. It'll probably be MOTS: ugliness interspersed with good and 20-something points.

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