Upon Further Review: Offense vs Utah Comment Count

Brian September 4th, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Hello! If you’re new here, UFR is a play by play breakdown of each Michigan game. I try to grade out players, give an overall impression of their performance, and tell you just what happened on that play or that other play. As always, this is the work of a dedicated amateur, may occasionally be flat wrong, and does not constitute legal advice.

Video added gradually.

Update: Sigh. Video erratic. I know how the team feels: you try to do something cool-looking and it just blows up in your face. Suggest you click the title and go directly the post page if you want the cool doohickeys.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Shovel counter Odoms 3
This fools the cameraman but not the Utah defense as Odoms comes in motion in the slot and takes a shovel pass; a speed option is faked to the other side of the field. The eighth guy in the box is just sitting, waiting on Odoms, and makes a tackle as Odoms attempt to use Butler as a blocker.
M32 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Flare McGuffie -1
I'm not sure if I agree with Rodriguez's policework on this one, or maybe it's Odoms'. A simple flare pass to McGuffie (CA, 3) is a little upfield, slightly delaying the play. The outside receiver takes his man, but Odoms peels back to take a pursuing defensive end, leaving the slot corner one-on-one with McGuffie, who spins out of a tackle deftly (MCGUFFIE!). Problem: Odoms vs. Defensive End did not go well and he spins into a prone Odoms and an unblocked defensive end.
M31 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide Dime Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Relatively safe throw, but a low percentage one. It's wildly overthrown; Mathews was blanketed anyway. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, though McAvoy gets Sheridan plowed.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Yakety Sax Sheridan -6
I believe this is going to be a reverse—a true reverse since Sheridan again goes in motion like it's a speed option—to Odoms, but McGuffie bumps into him and the play turns into a mess.
O32 2 16 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Slant Mathews 7
This play looks downright professional. No problems from the OL, well timed slant, gain of seven. (CA, 3, protection 1/1). Let's take a picture.
O25 3 9 Shotgun Trips Nickel Pass Wheel McGuffie Int (Pen +15)
NICK SHERIDAN... IMPACT PLAYER. THUNDERSTRUCK. Uh. This play seems like a good idea: get McGuffie isolated on a linebacker, but there are multiple problems. 1) Mathews' route doesn't dig far enough inside to pick the LB. 2) Sheridan's throw is a hideous floating duck the safety picks off. McGuffie had a ton of room on the sideline; Sheridan puts it way inside. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Extremely questionable pass interference call bails Michigan out.
O9 1 G Shotgun 2-back TE Base 4-3 Run Zone read handoff McGuffie 1
Creepy how similar the blocking looks, though I'm no doubt failing to pick up on some technical differences. McGuffie stumbles in the backfield after receiving the handoff, which doesn't help. Schilling's attempted chop fails to get his man on the ground; McAvoy's peel off on a Utah player is a complete whiff. The rest of the blocking was actually pretty good: Ortmann, Molk, Moosman, Moundros, all get good push or seal.
O8 2 G Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass PA counter flat Shaw 8
Hurray TD. This is a zone read fake to Minor; the line blocks it like a run play. This suckers the backside linebacker in just enough to get shaw out into the flat, where Sheridan hits him for the touchdown. Outside receivers had run off their guys. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. ALL HAIL GLORIOUS NEW ERA
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Yakety Sax Mathews Inc
Sheridan's ball fakes are really terrible; on this one McGuffie isn't within two yards of him. As a result, the blitzing linebacker lined up over the slot doesn't have to think for one second about who to go after. Sheridan actually deftly avoids him... and throws a ridiculous duck that should be intercepted. Mathews breaks it up. The kicker: I'm 100% sure the primary read on this was Carson Butler on a little TE flare route not five yards from Sheridan's face, which is wide open and a sure first down and exactly where the blitzer came from. (BR, 0, protection N/A)
50 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide tight 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Out Odoms 4 (Pen -5)
Rollout cuts off half the field—must not like the OL in pass pro much—and Sheridan throws the ball late so Odoms has no room to turn upfield. Stonum(-1) lined up off the LOS. (CA-, 1, protection 1/1)
M45 2 15 Shotgun Trips Nickel Pass Middle Screen McGuffie 23
Well executed play sees Molk and Ortmann get downfield blocks as McGuffie dummies a defensive end into believing he's trying to block him. The middle of the field is wide open for ten or so yards; McGuffie cuts behind a safety for a few more. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O32 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass Bubble Screen Odoms -3
Odoms starts stumbling as he runs the bubble screen route; Sheridan's throw ends up a little behind him. These items combine to cause Odoms to fall as he catches the ball. Otherwise this would likely have been a nice gainer. (CA-, 2, protection N/A)
O35 2 13 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Actually an excellent route by Mathews as he gets the DB as step behind him and to the inside while provide himself plenty of room to the sideline. Sheridan overthrows it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2.) I do question the choice of receiver here: Mathews is not exactly a burner and it's hard to lay it up there for him. Stonum maybe?
O35 3 13 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 Nickel Run Draw Shaw 2
IMO, McAvoy blocks the wrong dude here, picking on a DE stunting around the NT when Schilling's already got him. This leaves Ortmann to try and block the wild-haired Samoan MLB; he has no angle to do this. Shaw stumbles—what's with all the stumbling?--which prevents him from cutting away from the guy into a wide open sideline.
Drive Notes: FG(51), 10-6, 6 min 1st Q. I mean... you can see this offense becoming somewhat effective if they can just do the screens and not stumble and not be completely stupid. The remarkable thing about this drive is that just about all of these plays should work, and by “should work” I mean “have caught Utah in an unfavorable position.” There's just no execution.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read handoff McGuffie -5
This is our first real glimpse into the issues on the OL and particularly at center: David Molk gets crushed into the backfield spectacularly, actually bumping McGuffie and causing an inadvisable field reversal. Disturbingly, Schilling wasn't doing much better with his guy.
M15 2 15 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Throwback screen Mathews 11
A misdirection play that works to good effect. Sheridan starts rolling one way on what looks like a bubble screen, then pivots and throw back to Mathews. McGuffie walls off a corner; Moosman and Schilling head downfield, where Schilling whiffs a block or Mathews sets it up poorly; the Utah defense is still out of position enough that Mathews can fend off the diving tackler and pick up a bundle. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M26 3 4 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Run Triple option Sheridan 3
Fake belly handoff to Shaw; Minor is the pitchman. Sheridan makes a pitch fake—I never figured out what button that was—and deftly cuts up past a linebacker only to stumble short of first down yardage.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-9, 12 min 2nd Q. A costly stumble, that, and Michigan's third of the day. WTF? Thanks for the WVU-Nova highlight, ESPN.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Yakety Sax Sheridan 1
Fumbled snap.
M21 2 9 Shotgun Trips Bunch Base 4-3 Run ISQD Brown 4
Utah linebacker does a good job of getting outside of Schilling's block; Minor hops over the mess and Brown follows, tripping forward for a few yards. Probably should have cut back behind the Schilling block.
M25 3 5 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Slant Hemingway 8
Sheridan looks off to the left for a moment before coming back to Hemingway on the slant; good job not to stare his guy down. When the linebacker underneath starts clearing out to cover the flare Sheridan flings another accurate slant; Hemingway makes a tough catch with the Utah DB coming up to bang him as he reels it in. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 0
Ortmann(-1) and McAvoy(-1) get split, allowing penetration on a double team; this leaves an interior lineman unblocked. He flows down the line and tackles.
M33 2 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Flare Butler 2
I'm not sure how this is supposed to pick up yards. Half-roll by Sheridan and then he just tosses one to Butler as the rest of the receivers take off downfield. Butler's swarmed by defenders. A lot of the plays in this game have looked like potential big gainers the players screwed up. This is not one of them. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M35 3 8 Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Curl Odoms 4
Utah rushes three; Sheridan could step up into the pocket or run around or something, instead he just tosses a checkdown to Odoms, who has no chance for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-12, 7 min 2nd Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 Ace 3-wide Nickel Pass Weird Fly Mathews 35
I don't get it. So Sheridan does the normal hand-slap thing to indicate he wants the ball but this time there's a pause before Molk snaps it. In the interim, Utah jumps offside because they've been timing the snap. Okay, super. Then Sheridan rolls out as the offensive line remains motionless and heaves one downfield to a blanketed Mathews, who leaps and makes the catch. Why not just run a play there? More later. (DO, 1, protection N/A)
O41 1 10 ??? ??? Pass Out Clemons Inc
They come back to this play late, but IIRC Michigan did the same thing again, didn't get a flag, and Sheridan threw into double coverage, nearly getting intercepted. (BR, 0, protection N/A)
O41 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Penalty False Start Butler -5
Guess who?
O46 2 15 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Max protection with three guys running routes, two on flies and the other on a post; all are covered. Sheridan wickedly overthrows Mathews and didn't appear to be throwing it away; he was bracketed. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
O46 3 15 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Seam Minor Inc
Well, at least he made a read and found a guy open downfield. This is the seam pass Sheridan throws high. Minor gets a hand on it but can't bring it in; this a touchdown if accurate. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-15, 3 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Sack Moosman -4
Pretty ugly when a defensive tackle goes right around a guard. Sheridan scrambles up into the pocket and is eventually sacked. A dumpoff to Minor probably would have picked up nice yardage but it's tough to criticize here. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Moosman -2)
M36 2 14 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Middle Screen McGuffie Inc
Same play that went for 23 earlier; here the DE reads it and nearly intercepts. (BR, 0, protection N/A)
M36 3 14 Shotgun Trips 3-3-5 Nickel Pass WTF? ??? Int
This is way, way worse than I remember. Utah rushes two(!) and there's no pressure; Sheridan just wings up a duck directly to a Utah defender. I don't even know who he was throwing to. (BR, 0, protection 0/0)
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-15, 1 min 2nd Q. Worst interception I've ever seen? Maybe.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun 2TE Base 4-3 Run Zone read dive McGuffie 2
Moosman is blown back and ends up with his man to the playside of him a yard behind the LOS. McGuffie cuts back, but an extra Utah player allows the nominal QB contain guy to collapse down and Schilling can't get playside of the DE. McGuffie manages to fall forward.
M13 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run Zone read handoff McGuffie -4
Sheridan tries to take the ball back from McGuffie, who ends up fumbling because of it.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-22, 12 min 3rd Q. Can I give him a BR here? Can I? Please?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Shaw -1
Threet in the game. Anyone wondering why Michigan didn't run more can have this play for an example: both Molk and Moosman get battered backwards, allowing their guys to come underneath(!) them and into the backfield. It's ugly out there.
M19 2 11 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Scramble -- 6
I don't know if Schilling's any better this year. Here he gets clubbed backwards, falling into the path of Shaw. Shaw's running that same flare route to the backside of the play he scored on; a Schilling in his way is not helpful. The play's timing disrupted, Threet takes off for a few yards.
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Nickel Pass Freeze play Stonum Inc
Michigan gets Utah again here, except the refs don't call the obvious offsides. Thanks, guys. Threet hurls the usual sideline route to Stonum. It's accurate but well-covered and broken up. (CA+, 1, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-22, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Base 4-3 Pass Curl Mathews Inc
Mathews drops an accurate, open pass, then gets injured. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M20 2 10 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 6 (Pen -10)
Molk again has trouble with the DT, so Minor decides to head outside, where he... gets the corner? Oh, Mark Ortmann yanked his man to the ground. That explains it.
M10 2 20 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Fly Hemingway Inc
Your standard hopeful fly route downfield. Decently thrown; Hemingway lays out but it's just a foot too long. (IN, 0, protection 1/2, Ortmann -1)
M10 3 20 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Sack -- -2
Utah rushes two, Michigan leaves seven in to block. No one open, surprisingly, so Threet sort of ambles to the sideline and is sacked. (TA, 0, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Triple option dive Minor 21
Don't know if this is a stunt or a slant or what but both Utah DTs slant outside, creating a cavernous gap up the middle. Molk(+1) gets out to the second level and thumps the WLB; the option threat has held the other linebackers to the outside.
M41 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 0
No respect for the idea of a keeper, FWIW. Molk beaten by allowing his man inside of him and upfield too quickly; Moosman fails to cut his guy. Ortmann is driven back, cutting off the outside, which is where Shaw is headed as a lead blocker. Minor's forced to cut up into the guy Moosman didn't cut and the MLB, who Shaw isn't blocking.
M41 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Throwback screen Stonum 5
Zone read stretch look followed by a throwback screen to Stonum. Fairly open but a Utah DE comes back to make a shoestring tackle after a few yards. Timing issue or location issue maybe, one that holds this play down. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M46 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Miracle improv Butler 15
Yeesh, I don't know if Threet can't read coverages or what, but both outside WRs are wide open on little stop routes that would pick up the first down. I guess the first read is Butler on a slant; this looks covered and Threet holds the ball. Since the line decided to cut block everyone Threet is now surrounded by Utes; he scrambles out and throws up a duck that Butler makes a circus catch on. (CA, 1, protection N/A)
O39 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass Bubble Screen Odoms 4
This is the one playcalling issue I've had so far: not enough of these. This one's horribly blocked and looks like it will fall apart; Odoms turns it into positive yardage. Note: this may have looked like a horsecollar to some live, but I'm pretty sure that's a legal tackle. You're allowed to grab a player and ride him to the ground. You can't violently fling him down in the hopes that his head cracks open like a coconut. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
O35 2 6 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 Nickel Run Triple option dive Minor 0
I wonder if this is a read issue or if Threet doesn't actually have an option on this play, because Utah's slanted to this side of the field. If they actually run the option here they've got Shaw headed to the corner with only DBs blocked by WRs for a while. Anyway: McAvoy gets pounded backwards and the extra guy to that slide shoots through a gap in the line. Minor jumps outside, gets tackled at the LOS, and fumbles. FTR: I don't think it's a fumble, as the ball appears to be in his hand when his elbow bangs the ground, but it would be hard to overturn this.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-25, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Ace 3-wide Base 4-3 Run Dive McGuffie 4
End-around fake to Odoms; good block by Ortmann on the DT, who steps upfield and allows himself to get sealed. Other DT is doubled; McAvoy heads to the second level. There's a crease that McGuffie heads into for a few.
M19 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch McGuffie 5
Possibly the best-blocked play of the day, and a subtle demonstration how Threet/Sheridan kills this running game. Okay, the good: McAvoy drives his man downfield and kicks him out, a real ass-kicking block. Molk fends off the other DT, and gets him to flow down the line and cede ground a bit. So there's this mess of players, the LOS has moved downfield a couple yards, and McGuffie can get some steam. The downside: the backside DE did his due diligence on Threet, then crashed down on the play. McGuffie takes the best path, running into the flailing DT as the DE converges. If that guy is a yard farther away, a second more hesitant, this breaks into the secondary. As it is it's just a decent gain.
M24 3 1 Shotgun Big Base 3-4 Run Zone read dive McGuffie 2
Moundros in as a lead blocker for McGuffie; this goes straight up the gut. Molk and Moosman double the DT at the POA and drive him back; Schilling does just okay with the DE, letting him get around him to the outside and reach his arm out, impeding his progress. The LB Moundros has on an iso block dives to the ground. McGuffie hurdles him. And they said it wouldn't work.
M26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Curl Babb Inc
Babb is open and Threet finds him; pass batted down. McGuffie's block was a real ole job, BTW, and got Threet hit on an otherwise well-blocked play. (BA, 0, protection 1/ 2, McGuffie –1)
M26 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Wheel Odoms Inc (Pen +15)
I think this is actually a nickel corner but he kind of looks like a linebacker in comparison to Odoms. This probably says more about Odoms than the corner. Anyway: rollout, good blocking, no pressure, Threet lofts a ball as Odoms is on a wheel route and the corner isn't looking for the ball and runs over Odoms—easy to do but still a penalty. (CA, 0, protection 2/2) On replay, Odoms makes it look good. Kid's a technician.
M41 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass PA flare Shaw 2
Third time we've run this; first two times it was good, this time there's a corner waiting for it in short cover two and the tackle is made immediately. Our rock, their paper. Actually, screw that. We call scissors now. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M43 2 8 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass ??? ??? Inc
Max protection with three guys in the route again; Utah rushes four. Threet finds someone, either Odoms or Savoy, but Ortmann got beat one-on-one and the Utah player hits him as he throws. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2)
M43 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Jailbreak screen Odoms -2
Has a chance of working if Massey can just make any sort of block on this linebacker. He can't. Possibilities: Massey screws up, Odoms doesn' take it far enough outside, the timing is screwed up. I suggest, tentatively, that it's A. Play had a great chance of working if not for this. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Pass Fly(?) Hemingway 33
And they're rolled up in press man cover one. Though they bail at the snap, Hemingway somehow manages to get behind the guy and reels in a picture-perfect touchdown. Henne to Manningham there. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Max pro again, BTW. Not one replay shows the route.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-25, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -12 (Pen +15)
A corner blitz gets said corner in unblocked and Threet doesn't read it and go to Odoms, open on a circle route. Result: sack. Result: major facemask penalty. Result: first down. Threet is AWESOME at drawing facemask penalties. Call that again. (BR, 0, protection 2/2) Also: they mark this off as a 17 yard penalty, then fix it. I'm just sayin'.
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2-back Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Threet -2
This is the correct read: the DE does indeed say “f-it” to the idea of contain. Unfortunately, the MLB is a ninja or psychic or something and reads this insane play from the get go, tackling. Maybe this is a sucker job, get the noob to keep it so you can tackle him like whoah.
O18 2 12 Shotgun Trips Base 4-3 Pass Slant(?) Odoms Inc
Utah sends the house; Threet doesn't pick up on it and throw either of two safe routes (Butler bubble screen(!) and McGuffie flare) that would pick up decent yardage, instead hanging in and getting battered as he tries to throw a slant to a covered receiver. PR? BA? BR? Who knows. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, team)
O18 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Fly Hemingway Inc (Pen +15)
I think SMQ thinks this is questionable, but IMO this is a totally legit flag where the DB is specifically trying to impede Hemingway's route, does so, and gets the flag. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
O3 1 G Shotgun 2TE Goal line Pass PA FB Out Moundros Inc
Zone read fake into a rollout into a questionable pass to a debatably open Moundros as Threet is getting swarmed. Eh... (IN, 0, protection N/A)
O3 2 G Shotgun 2TE Goal line Run Zone read dive McGuffie 3
Play is made by the DE getting over-aggressive on his flow down the line and opening a crease behind him; McGuffie reads the lane opening and exploits it for a touchdown and the SLB is way, way slow.
O3 2pt 2pt Shotgun 3-wide Base 3-4 Pass PA Post Clemons Inc
Threet really wings this one. He might have to, as there are a lot of bodies in a small space and there are unblocked guys converging, but that requires a poise an accuracy that's beyond him. Henne makes this throw, maybe. Not Threet. (IN, 0, protection 1/1) Clemons does get up impressively, FWIW. Best play would have been to go back to McGuffie after the PA fake; dude was wide open.
Drive Notes: Touchdown(2pt failed), 23-25, 6 min 4th Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Slant Stonum Inc
Open slant is way, way behind Stonum. Bleah. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
M27 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Scramble -- -1
I have no idea what happens downfield here, just that there's a good pocket for Threet he can step up into; instead he takes of hoofin' with predicable results. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
M26 3 11 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 Nickel Pass ??? ??? Inc
Corner and an OLB blitz as the DE stunts around; this fools Ortmann and Threet is under instant pressure. Hit as he throws, the ball flutters harmlessly to the turf. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann.) Nice blitz pickup from McGuffie.
Drive Notes: Punt, 23-25, 4 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Bubble Screen Minor 4
Except there's no real blocking from the other guy and Utah is in zone and they converge right quick. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M15 2 6 Shotgun Empty Nickel Pass Slant Stonum Inc
Oh ha. Same route combo by the guys on the outside does not fool Utah; Stonum is well covered and the LB makes a great play to break the pass up without, IMO, interfering. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)
M15 3 6 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Sack -- -1
Protection fine for a first read; covered; Threet starts scrambling. Moosman is spun off of and his guy is the first to really cause serious issues; he sacks. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Moosman -1) Believe the first read was Minor on a wheel.
M14 4 7 Shotgun Empty 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Curl Stonum Inc
Outside corner—guy on Stonum—blitzes. Stonum shoots his hand in the air to say “OPEN!” and Threet locks on. Throws... Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 23-25, 2 min 4th Q. EOG.

Well, how did that go?

Not. well. Let’s do a rundown of position groups relative to preseason expectations:

Quarterback: no one expected they’d be good but the performance was close to the lower bound of the feasible.

Running back: I’m tempted to give them an incomplete because they had so little opportunity to do anything. McGuffie did okay; so did Shaw; Minor was Minor.

Receivers: possibly a bit better than we expected if Hemingway can continue his impressive performance. He got behind a Utah defensive back who was bailing out into a cover three for the touchdown, caught a tough slant, and generally looked big, fast, and good. Everyone else was okay; Mathews is always going to be a step or two slow on the deep balls. Odoms didn’t get much of a chance.

Offensive line: their overall suck was obviously part of the gameplan in a huge way; I expect that will seriously impinge on Michigan’s attempts to forge an offense all year. Like 2005 except worse.

Can you make up a word to describe the Sheridan interception?

Putreficent. It was putrescent but sort of magnificently so. There are two rushers. Neither of them is anywhere near me. I know! I’ll throw off my back foot. I will aim it such that the ball comes down amongst no fewer than three Utah players. It is in this way we will achieve victory.

In away, You have to respect that sort of spectacular failure. If you’re going to screw up, go for the gusto, son.

Shouldn’t we have Lloydballed it there?

Well, maybe. Before the play I thought the most logical thing was to hurl it down the sideline in the hopes of picking up 30 or so yards but mostly just resigning yourself to a punt. Throwing a fly route is a safe thing you can ask your n00b quarterback to do without much risk, as we saw a half-dozen other times during the game.

With Michigan in max protect and two guys running fly routes and the third on a post, this is what they called, only to see the quarterback do that putreficent thing. You’re weighing the chances of that happening against the chances of something good happening… eh, it may have been a better idea to run a draw and punt. But I think Carr would have made the same call; I’ve seen him do it.


Are you sure?

I can take it, it’s Thursday, I hardly remember what happened.

Fine. Charts, jerkwad.

If you’re new, the following chart—dubbed the “Hennechart” for the duration of this blog’s existence—is explained here. It is now the Threetsheridammit chart, and here it is in all its non-glory:

Sheridan 1 11 4 5 - - 1
Threet 1 11 5 1 3 2 1

This is ugly, as it should be.

In general, a positive-negative ratio (DO + CA / IN + BR + TA + BA+ PR) of 50% was just above Mallett performances last year, and that was in an offense that did a lot more than throw a wide variety of screens and the occasional downfield hurl.

Threet’s advantage over Sheridan was simple: when things went to hell he trundled about for a bit and took a sack instead of throwing the ball directly to players wearing Utah colors. These are the TAs—throwaways—you see above. Threet has some; Sheridan went with BRs—bad reads, the worst, worst thing on the chart—instead.

Unstable protection metric?

This is also not good:

PROTECTION: 21/32. Schilling –1, Moosman –3, Ortmann –3, McGuffie –1, Team -3

In general you’re looking for 75%. This did not happen. Note also the tiny total number here: 32 is less than half a typical Carr score. This is partially just the Rodriguez offense with all the screens and whatnot.

But IMO it’s mostly an extreme lack of faith in the line. Max protect was a common occurrence, at times leaving as many as nine(!) Utah players covering three Michigan receivers.

And the receivers:

(a brief legend:

  • 0: totally uncatchable, just here to indicate targeting
  • 1: extremely difficult catch.
  • 2: moderately difficult catch.
  • 3: routine catch.


This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Clemons 2 - - - 2 - - -
Stonum 3 0/2 - 1/1 3 0/2 - 1/1
Mathews 3 1/1 - 3/4 3 1/1 - 3/4
Hemingway 1 - 2/2 - 1 - 2/2 -
Odoms 1 - 1/1 4/4 1 - 1/1 4/4
Massey - - - - - - - -
Butler - 1/1 - 1/1 - 1/1 - 1/1
Webb - - - - - - - -
McGuffie 2 - - 2/2 2 - - 2/2
Shaw - - - 2/2 - - - 2/2
Minor 1 - - 1/1 1 - - 1/1
Moundros 1 - - - 1 - - -

When they were called on they were good, with the Mathews drop being the only one of the day. Two 1s got hauled in, too.

I don’t do run grading, but Genuinely Sarcastic does: here’s the no-longer “Hart Chart.” I think they should have been a bit harsher on the OL on various plays, particularly the McGuffie field-reversal forced by the presence of Molk’s butt mere inches from the handoff, but it’s their chart so they can do what they want.

We should play Minor more!

Not seeing it. He did have Michigan’s one nice run of the day, upon which he had to run directly upfield into a gaping hole. Hey, great, that’s completely adequate. He then fumbled on his next carry. (-Ish.) He may be a better pass blocker, but McGuffie had all of one whiff job on the day and was completely adequate outside of that.

He should play, he should get carries, but shoving him on the field more wasn’t going to change Michigan’s run game.

What does it mean for Miami and the rest of the season?

It means we’re in for a long year. We knew the offensive line and quarterbacks would be bad. We didn’t know how bad. In the Utah game the answer appeared to be at or near the bottom of the scale of realistic possibilities. You can get away with either your OL or your quarterback sucking, but not both.

There were some positives. You could see the outline of a rudimentarily effective offense in the guys running open underneath and sometimes past the secondary. The execution issues that plagued Michigan can and should get fixed over time; when (if?) that happens the offense will be ugly but functional.

There are some problems that will not go away: the offensive line is bad for reasons other than execution. It is bad because the players on it are small or underpowered or just plain bad. The quarterbacks can’t make the zone read fake worth defending. Also they cannot find open receivers. Also sometimes their brains asplode.



September 4th, 2008 at 2:21 PM ^

McGuffie was overwhelmed at pass blocking.  Not only do I remember the whiff, but I remember two other times where he lazily got in front a defensive end, only to be tossed aside without much effort.

Overall, I thought the QB and RB play were very much affected by the offensive line.  Some people are probably going to say that the freshmen should play because they can't be any worse.  That's what scares me.  Some of these starters have three years of college behind them - including 9 months of Barwis - and they still can't block a 260 lb. Utah DT.


September 4th, 2008 at 2:22 PM ^

I pretty much agree with the assessment, Brian.  I pose this question to you though:

Utah is as good as some people are making them out to be, and we at
least made it a game, then even if our offense is that bad (read: OL
& QB), what does it say for the rest of the season, wins-wise?

are definitely teams on our schedule with a lot less talent than Utah,
in my opinion.  After seeing one game, what's your updated prediction
on number of wins?

West Texas Blue

September 4th, 2008 at 2:30 PM ^

Good job on UFR.  I love the embedded video player link-popup; great to read your analysis and then see how the play unfolded.  That really helps me understand better how things worked.

Jim Harbaugh S…

September 4th, 2008 at 2:33 PM ^

didn't seem as bad as I remember it being - seems like there were a lot of plays that could have been decent gainers if the execution was slightly better. 

 They say that a team does the most growing from the first game to the second game - I think on saturday we'll see an improved offense.

I'm not sure when the offense will get all willy-nilly and putt-putt - but Mich should score at least 4  TDs against Miami.

My guess is that Threet starts and if he can avoid making any boneheaded plays he will probably play the vast majority of the game.  He seemed just as mobile as Sheridan, has a live arm and didn't make a Scott Mitchell-esque pick.  I hope RR understands that his best chance of winning is with Threet.


September 4th, 2008 at 3:01 PM ^

i told you guys, most of the mistakes are execution/lack of experience/freshman, stuff...  most can be fixed,   the only real worrie of mine is the ol.   You are never really as bad as you thought you were, or as good as you thought you were.


September 4th, 2008 at 2:44 PM ^

Great stuff as always.  FWIW, I was sitting in the North endzone, and that throwback screen to Mathews was right in front of me.  From behind the play, it looked like one of the linemen (Moosman?) had his man locked up and Schilling got enough of his man to seal him to the inside. It looked like Mathews made the bad read, as he should have split the defenders and ran for a long time.  Before the ball left Sheridan's hand I was standing up waiting for a huge play.  Schilling didn't do great, but he did enough on that one. 

New Kid On The Blog

September 4th, 2008 at 2:45 PM ^

Nice to see Brian touch on the last possession of the first half. I really think RR blew it big time. I'm glad to see the conservative play calling of Carr gone but you still have to manage the game. With a 1:34 left and a struggling offence you run the ball three times and end the half. RR's decision to throw the ball was a disaster. This isn't Monday morning QBing either. I said to my son "let's go get something to eat because he's just going to run the clock out". I couldn't believe it when the first play was a PA pass. A 5 point deficit is much more manageable than a 12 point deficit. Maybe I've just watched too much Bo, Mo and Carr but that seemed like a no brainer to me.


September 4th, 2008 at 2:59 PM ^

dont throw the ball if he is not open.... I have a hard time blaming a coach for an int.  you work your hurry up offense end of half/game stuff all the time...   ant blame the coaches for trying to give the offense a chance on every play.  After all, its about reps and getting better, this team needs experience,  why throw away another chance to run 5 or 6 more plays...   its about the war not the battle.

U of M in TX

September 4th, 2008 at 3:14 PM ^

I will have to disagree with Brian about that being the worst interception. IMO, Stan Jackson from OSU throwing the interception to Andre Weathers in the 1997 UM v OSU game was by far a worse decision.


September 4th, 2008 at 3:17 PM ^

Brian, love the UFR, especially the cool video bits....don't worry about the teething issues, if the tidbits that are working are a hint of what is to come..."awesome" is the word that comes to mind.

For those of use somewhat newer to the blog, perhaps you can provide a complete key to the shorthand.  Thanks


September 4th, 2008 at 3:31 PM ^

Looking at the video again, it may not be the worst interception ever, but given the amount of discussion it has generated, it will certainly live on for a long time.  Maybe there will be a time when we look back and think to ourselves after winning our Nth national title with Coach Rodriguez..."remember how bad we were that first year" and laugh...a lot.


September 4th, 2008 at 3:57 PM ^

I made on genuinely sarcastic about cut blocks...

cut blocking is an art, and has to be taught at game speed.  Lots of unerdeveloped ofensive linemen will be asked to cut block, untill the can be counted on to hold a block.  The problem is that in procatice, you dont want your dl to get cut very much so its hard to practice at full speed.  As the games progress i expect to see the ol have better technique  (ie head up, face across the thighpad) and be able to execute cut blocks better.....

and yes the typos are on purpose...


September 4th, 2008 at 3:54 PM ^

Although I hate him for saying it first, I have to agree with M in Tx. Stanley Jackson's hilarious pick 6 was worse than Sheridammit's INT.

If the QBs cannot adequately run the zone read then I why does Magee (shouldn't his name be McGee? I certainly think so) call it. I realize it is a 'base' play but that doesn't mean you need to call it. Just a minor irritation, for now, though.


September 4th, 2008 at 4:10 PM ^

My guess is that they are hoping with a few thousand more reps in practice/games throughout the season that they will become adequate at it. God willing, they are right. But I don't think you want to completely junk anything yet, since the process is so young.


September 4th, 2008 at 4:17 PM ^

Magee should NEVER have the QB as a run threat other than dives for a yard or less. C'mon, Rich/Calvin! Making the QB roll to draw defenders (like on the 1st TD) is great, but asking these QBs to be a run threat with our terrible blocking is assinine.

Also, if Threet can't throw accurate slants we're in trouble. That's going to have to be a bread 'n butter play with our personnel.  Slant, slant, bubble screen, PA draw, deep ball.

New Kid On The Blog

September 4th, 2008 at 4:23 PM ^

I recorded the game and watched it after the Cal vs. MSU game. The Play-by-Play guy for ABC just couldn't stop commenting on the lack of crowd noise. Were we really that bad? I know it got quiet during the 2nd and 3rd but I thought the 1st and 4th were rockin'.

contra mundum

September 4th, 2008 at 4:26 PM ^

Mostly technique, guys getting too far "over" their target. If you make the proper read step, and put your helmet on target you'll get alot of this fixed. I remember seeing both Molk and Moose get too far out and have to come back to the guy they needed to block..by then, their target was a yard into the backfield.


September 4th, 2008 at 4:59 PM ^

So, you mentioned 'more later,' but did anyone
have any idea what happened with that play where "Sheridan rolls out as
the offensive line remains motionless"? That was approximately the
strangest thing I'd ever seen. It looked like it happened again later
in the game as well, but I couldn't find mention of it here.

Coach D

September 5th, 2008 at 3:50 PM ^

It was the end of the half...3rd & 14(!)  Only 2 men rushing.


No way around it:
Besides poor decision, poor execution, most of all it was a poor call. Poorly coached, poor coaching- on that play, at least.


September 6th, 2008 at 10:50 AM ^

did not impress me.

He fell down trying to run a bubble screen.  he doesn't make sharp cuts, he doesn't seem to block well, and he's short.  BUT HEY AT LEAST HE'S FAST!

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like he has very good acceleration for being such a small guy. Steve Breaston he ain't.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't he one of those guys on the 2-deep by default? (since we had no slot receivers last year)