Upon Further Review: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on November 24th, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Personnel notes: nothing unusual. Dorrestein was the RT, Omameh the RG. Roundtree played as the slot the whole game.

Video note: some of the cut points are a little odd this week; I was using a different file and was having some issues actually getting it cut.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Zone read veer (inverted) Robinson 0
Robinson the tailback here. Schofield gets out on this lightning fast but the linebackers aren't reading the line and are also flowing down at the play so a Forcier keep is no good either. With Schofield standing up outside the tackle here I think this is a play Forcier needs to check out of. Just a freshman. Excellent play by Schofield, too.
M40 2 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 2
This is open and looks like it will go for good yardage but Forcier throws it high and hard, necessitating a tough catch from Roundtree. Roundtree brings it in but the tough catch has put him off balance and he stumbles to the ground untouched. (MA, 2, screen)
M42 3 8 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB draw Forcier -3
I don't know if this is miscommunication or a bust or just a poor block from Brown. Omameh passes the playside DT off to Brown to go get a downfield block and though Brown bumps him it's as if he wasn't expecting this; if this was planned it's a cut block, you have to think... so the tentative verdict is Omameh busted. Virtually unblocked DT tackles.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M26 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Mathews 6
Wisconsin sitting on this and the DB is there to try and make a play on the ball or rake it out; he can't quite make it but does tackle. Wisconsin making it tough so far. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
M32 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 0
Dorrestein(-1) discarded by the DE and he closes a tiny hole down that wasn't big because a couple of Wisconsin DTs had closed down the hole and the MLB didn't get blocked because Koger had to take on an OLB before he could get to him. Minor buried at the line.
M32 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read veer Minor 14
Michigan catches Wisconsin here despite really tipping their run with Forcier well in front of Minor. UW is shifted away from the backside, which makes the DL an easy seal; Huyge(+1) gets a crushing block on the OLB as the DE runs too far upfield to contain the handoff that Forcier correctly makes (ZR +1); Minor shoots into the secondary without anyone coming close to him.
M46 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 ? Run Edge pitch Brown 0
Schofield again reads this instantly and gets out on the edge, killing the play. I don't know if Michigan was trying to do this but if they were that calculation backfired a little bit, eh? I'm not sure what, if anything, Michigan could have done on this play since BTN gets to it late.
M46 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Minor 2
Robinson at QB. Michigan seals the edge pretty well as the backside DE keeps contain and the playside DE spins inside, but Koger(-1) gets totally crushed by the OLB and Minor's forced inside for a minimal gain. Koger's blocking needs to improve.
M48 3 8 Shotgun trips bunch 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout deep hitch Mathews 17
Wisconsin anticipates this well, getting a guy on the edge and forcing Forcier upfield instead of letting him drift to the edge. Forcier finds Mathews open between about five guys and tosses it right as the LBs converge on him; the dart hits Mathews in the numbers for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)
O35 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Minor -4
Really terrible blocking from the OL, just awful. Wisconsin has like 5.5 guys in the box. This should be a win. Instead Moosman(-1) gets cut under badly and Ortmann(-1) gets smoked by the DE to the outside. One of these breakdowns you can deal with. Both and the RB gets smoked in the backfield.
O39 2 14 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Sack -- -10
Weird. The three guys at the bottom of the screen are blocking a WR screen for Roundtree. Brown's running a wheel that's covered at first and that's where Forcier is looking. Forcier doesn't have time to wait for the play to develop because Ortmann(-2) got beat to the inside and Schilling(-1) to the outside on a stunt Michigan did not anticipate or pick up, so again there are two guys in on Forcier at the same time and that always ends in doom. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)
O49 3 24 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Improv Roundtree 26
Michigan running a protection slide that sees Smith(-1) end up one-on-one with a DE; he attempts to cut the guy and gets bowled over. Odd that he's in on third and twenty-four, isn't it? Forcier(+1) sees the guy come inside and starts scrambling; Smith, to his credit, starts to get up and sort of trips the DE as Forcier rolls. This gives Forcier the edge, where he points Roundtree somewhere and hits him at the sticks; Roundtree brings in a tough pass and stumbles over the line. Wow. (DO, 2, protection 2/3, Smith -1)
O23 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Smith 2
Michigan trying to scoop the playside DT, who is lined up nearly over Moosman, and just about does it thanks to Omameh(+1) making a spectacular play to overtake a guy not particularly delayed by Moosman(-1). This has forced Smith outside a bit, unfortunately, where Schilling(-1) can't get a block on an OLB and he tears through to tackle Smith. He manages to cut up behind Schilling to fall forward for a couple.
O21 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass RB wheel Smith 21
OLB in the flat on Smith delays a bit for reasons unknown, opening up the wheel; Forcier hits it right in stride, and Smith(+1) jukes a safety, keeping his feet into the endzone. Kid is pretty good. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read veer Minor 3
Michigan should be able to kill on this as Wisconsin has only 5.5 in the box again. This time the DE stays home and Forcier should pull, but he gives it off and Minor runs right into said DE. (ZR -1)
O34 2 7 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Flare screen Smith 18
Dubbing this a screen because Roundtree is not running a route, he's blocking. Roundtree(+2), by the way, manages to get outside of a linebacker on this play, sealing him to the inside and giving Smith the edge. Great, great block. Smith has about eight yards until resistance, at which point Smith runs through a tackle, keeps his balance along the sideline, and zips for like ten bonus yards. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O16 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Smith 6
Looks like a stretch from the positioning of the tailbacks but the linemen head straight upfield and this is no stretch. Moosman(+1) blows the NT off the ball and two or three yards downfield and Omameh(+1) kicks out the other defensive tackle, giving Smith a big cutback lane. He makes that initial cut but his vision fails him as he should then cut it behind Koger to get himself past the linebacker level and possibly into the endzone. Instead he meets a linebacker who chucked Schilling to the ground.
O10 2 4 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Smith 3
Same exact play and it blocks the same way with Smith hitting it up between Moosman and Omameh. Smith should again cut it outside behind Roundtree's block but takes the sure yards; Moosman did not do quite as good a job on his guy this time and he comes free to tackle with help from the OLB.
O7 3 1 I-Form 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run QB sneak Forcier 2
Bush-pushed forward by Grady.
O6 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 3
Moosman(-1) and Omameh cannot seal the Wisconsin NT on the scoop and he, along with a crashing OLB, meet Minor just past the LOS as he cuts up; Minor manages to fall forward. On plays like this I'd really prefer it if the lead blocker was told to bash that DT and leave Minor one on one with a linebacker or whatever.
O3 2 G Shotgun 2-back 2TE 2 2 1 Goal line Run Zone read stretch Minor 2
Um... the hell? Michigan runs the play where they fake the RB handoff while the FB heads into the flat that everyone's got scouted by now, except this time they hand it off. The NT is totally unblocked but running upfield so fast that Minor can run by him. This leaves four blockers on three DL near the goal line; Moosman and Schilling get split by the playside DT, and Koger(-1) got smoked by the DE, so guys meet Minor at the LOS and fall forward. Good playcall submarined by poor execution. (RPS +1)
O1 3 G Shotgun 3TE 2 2 1 Goal line Run QB stretch Forcier -2
Really obvious playcall in this situation that Wisconsin consumes alive by slanting into the play. They've moved the LBs playside and are clearly anticipating this. No one has a chance to block their guys here. (RPS -1)
Drive Notes: Blocked FG(21), 7-7, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read veer Minor 3
Backside DE is standing up and just waiting for this call; Forcier gives it off and I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not since Schofield can probably deal with either option. No ZR. Michigan's shoving the Wisconsin DL down the line and Minor has a little room to hit behind Ortmann but Schofield closes him down after a couple yards. After the first big run Michigan got off this they've adjusted.
O22 2 7 ? ? ? ? ? Pass Out Roundtree Inc
Missed play #4; as we come back Forcier is throwing an out that's behind Roundtree; Roundtree can't adjust to make the catch. Maybe had something for a first down here if accurate; since the throw is behind Roundtree a safety is going to tackle immediately for just three even if caught. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)
O22 3 7 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Dumpoff Smith 3
I think this pressure is mostly on Forcier, who drops way back and sits there despite both DEs tearing around the edge and into him; if he was more aware he could step up into the pocket, which is big and clean. DE blowing past Grady(-1) makes contact as Forcier belatedly realizes his error and begins to sack, at which point Forcier flips the ball to Smith, turning a major loss into a meh gain. What the hell to file this as... CA? TA? PR? Um. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Grady -1, screen)
Drive Notes: FG(36), 10-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M23 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Brown 2
Webb(-1) doesn't block the DE, which okay, but also doesn't bother to block the WLB, instead heading outside as if he's expecting a stretch. It's not a stretch. Forcier correctly hands it off(ZR +1) as the DE is far enough outside that Brown can get by him, but that unblocked WLB is sort of there, causing problems.
M25 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB stretch Robinson 0
Robinson in and this isn't going to work against Wisconsin. Moosman(-1) releases to the second level immediately, giving Omameh no chance to block the NT lined up way playside of him, and Schilling(-1) just flat-out loses against the playside DT. No room for Robinson.
M25 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Hemingway 11
Forcier with a deep drop and Michigan max-protects; plenty of time for Forcier and he nails Hemingway on a hitch; good timing. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) Smith again the tailback in a pass-pro situation. I know Minor's hurt but that's weird. Hemingway's route was excellent.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Shaw -1
Good blocking from the line this time as Wisconsin gets sealed; UW OLB is blitzing into the gap, though, and the lead blocker, Grady, totally whiffs on him, leaving him right in Shaw's path. I wonder if Wisconsin is slanting one way and having their linebacker shoot the other way all the time when they see the line slants. I think this is what Michigan was doing against Iowa, to far less excellent effect.
M35 2 11 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Flare screen Smith 8
Wisconsin's line pretty good about recognizing this and getting back but Smith's too much of a jackrabbit to be caught; he steps through some waving arms. Good block from Roundtree(+1) kicks out the OLB; Huyge(+1) and Omameh(+1) both get good-enough open-field cuts on their guys. Smith's one-on-one with a linebacker with lots of green in front of him and totally jukes the guy, leaping past him... and the guy gets an arm out, grabbing Smith's foot and tripping him mid-air. Rats. (CA, 3, screen)
M43 3 3 Shotgun trips bunch 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Out Roundtree 5
Ends up wide open as Michigan's formation just beats the Wisconsin coverage; part of that was UW blitzing a linebacker off the edge. Forcier finds Roundtree and flips a weird, high-arcing ball that seems like trouble, but it's accurate enough and there's no coverage so it works out. (CA, 3, protection NA, RPS +1)
M48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read inside Smith 4
Eerily like what seemed like every Mike Hart run against Wisconsin in the Debord stretch era: totally unblocked mofo into the backfield, Smith jukes him out of his jock with a sweet spin, four yards out of nothing. Moosman(-1) and Omameh(-1) got split; the spin destroyed blocking angles and allowed linebackers to show up.
O48 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Deep drop and good protection; Mathews sails past a Wisconsin defensive back and Forcier chucks it. It's well outside; Mathews makes a great adjustment and reels it in but his front foot hits out of bounds microseconds before his back toe drags in bounds and it's ruled incomplete. Forcier had this if accurate, and Mathews did all he could. I want to give him credit for a 1 here, but can't. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
O48 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Sack -- -8
Great protection but part of that is that Michigan is resorting to max-pro a lot and Forcier can't find anyone open since he's got three receivers against seven in coverage. He moves up in the pocket, then a linebacker starts running at him and he rolls out, where he gets sacked. He fumbles; Michigan falls on it. I don't mind the scramble and sack here; I'd rather take a chance at getting a first down here than have a throwaway that saves you eight yards on a Zoltan punt. Would like to see Smith slip out for a dumpoff, though. (TA, 0, protection 3/3)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 4 min 2nd Q. Next drive happens with one minute left. They do try to score, so I'll chart it.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Mathews 6
Simple and something that Wisconsin does a good job of defending considering the situation; Mathews(+1) does a good job to get out of bounds. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M26 2 4 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Short bubble Roundtree 4
Big umbrella zone here so Michigan has an opportunity to take a screen for the first time today. They do so; Roundtree manages to pick up the first. (CA, 3, screen)
M30 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Forcier 5
Hitches again; they're covered; what's with the short stuff? I don't know. Forcier takes off and makes what he can out of the play. Not charted. Protection 1/1.
M35 2 5 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Roundtree 7
Very tight spot here for both WR and QB; Roundtree does a good job of running to the open spot and Forcier hits him just as he gets there. These two are developing serious move-the-chains chemistry. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)
M42 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Dumpoff Smith 1
Smith(-1) whiffs a cut block and his guy gets in on Forcier; Forcier does the flip thing to Smith again, with results not very thrilling since a linebacker is racing to cover Forcier and can adjust his flight path. (TA, 3, protection 1/2, Smith -1) Eventful play for Smith.
M43 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout throwaway -- Inc
Rollout gets Forcier some time until a guy Dorrestein(-1) inexplicably let around him without bothering to block heads out and forces Forcier to chuck it. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Dorrestein -1)
M43 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Flare screen Smith 2
Damn, O'Brien Schofield is good. This should just work given the situation but the dude recognizes the play and manages to track down jackrabbit Vincent Smith from behind just as he bursts upfield to pick up first down yardage and maybe more. (CA, 3, screen)
M45 4 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hail Mary -- Inc
Whatever. Robinson does throw this, and it is sad that Ortmann(-2) lets him get hit as he throws it. Not charted.
Drive Notes: EOH, 17-21.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA short seam Mathews 25
Zone read dive fake; Roundtree runs a bubble and Mathews heads upfield into the open space the bubble reaction creates. Forcier nails him. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O35 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Flare screen Smith -1
Should be open but Roundtree(-1) fails to cut the LB lined up over him and Forcier's pass is a little behind Smith, forcing him to spin around and delay. Not much, because Vincent Smith pirouettes like a mofo. The Roundtree block was the real issue. (MA, 3, screen)
O36 2 11 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Smith 1
Dorrestein(-2) gets smoked inside and Smith has to cut back past Schofield, who is just a killer DE. He manages to cut back but Ortmann(-1) has also lost his backside DE—they blocked him, sort of—and Smith gets run down from the other side. Still... Smith does a lot with what he's given.
O35 3 10 Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Jailbreak screen Roundtree 1
Excellent play call catches Wisconsin blitzing both MLBs and should work if Michigan can just get the last LB blocked. Schilling(-1) doesn't even whiff, he just runs in totally the wrong direction as Moosman(-1) got caught up blocking guys on the line for no reason. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O34 4 9 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Skinny post Hemingway 14
Max protect and the line keeps Forcier totally clean. Excellent job. Forcier waits for Hemingway to clear the first level and then zings a pass in a seriously tight window that Hemingway leaps and hauls in in traffic. Henne-like throw, Avant-like catch. Coverage was very good and forced Michigan to make an excellent play to convert. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Iso Smith 4
No stretch blocking here: Michigan blocks down and this works as the linemen's instinct is to flow; this leaves Smith and Grady with a good hole and one LB; Grady does okay on his block. Unfortunately, UW is run-blitzing a safety who shows in the hole right after and is there to pop Smith. Smith gets under him and manages to fall forward.
O16 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Smith 6
Non-Schofield DE slants inside of Ortmann but Ortmann(+1) goes with him and walls him off; good block. This opens up the edge a bit; Smith starts to go outside and draws that safety out there, then cuts up behind Koger's block on the LB. Koger's guy reads it and manages to hop inside to make a tough low tackle; Smith runs through it and picks up the first down. I really, really like this kid.
O10 1 G Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Roundtree 10
Excellent read or playcall by whoever: all game UW has had a guy on the slot to prevent the bubble; now they roll the OLB inside and Michigan immediately hits them. Also note the adjustment on the blocking here: outside WR blocks down on the crashing safety, springing Roundtree for an easy touchdown. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-28, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M15 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Excellent protection and Michigan goes deep. Mathews is inside the guy in coverage, but has no separation; Forcier throws it well long instead of at least giving Mathews a shot at a jump ball. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M15 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Forcier 1
Michigan goes with the PA bubble fake to a seam that Mathews picked up a bunch on earlier; Forcier doesn't throw it. It looks like it's open underneath but maybe a safety is jumping it or something. Forcier scrambles out and picks up a couple yards. Schilling lost his guy, robbing Forcier of the time needed. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)
M16 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Forcier 13 (Pen -8)
Smith(-1) chops he knees out from under a guy engaged with Dorrestein; call is totally legit. Omameh(-1) fails to pick up a stunt and lets a guy in on Forcier; Forcier jukes the guy and starts running around, picking up good downfield blocks from Omameh and Schilling en route to the first down. Penalty brings it back. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -1, Omameh -1)
M8 3 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Stonum Int
Excellent protection and Wisconsin is letting guys deep, I guess, so Stonum has a step and some room to the sideline here, but Forcier waits a bit too long or doesn't have the arm strength to get there, or both, and his ball is short and to the inside. Still think Stonum could do a better job adjusting here but this is not a good throw, and it gets picked off. It's a 52 yard punt, though, so not exactly a disaster. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 24-35, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards

M26

1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Smith Inc

Bad combo of coverage and receiver here: ball has to be thrown high because of the good coverage and Forcier ends up overthrowing Smith when virtually anyone else on the team might have had a shot. I have to file this the way I do, though. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)

M26 2 10 Ace 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone stretch Smith 2

Impossible to tell anything with this wide shot.

M28 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Scramble Forcier 1

Forcier's first read is covered and he bugs out upfield into linebackers. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)

Drive Notes: Punt, 24-42, 9 min 4th Q. No more charts.

Ah, let's just get to it. Charts?

Charts.

[Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.]

TATE FORCIER

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR
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
Illinois 2 13 (6) 2 3(1) 2 2 - 2
Purdue 2 13 (6) 1 2 1 4 1 (1) 5
Wisconsin 3 14 (6) 3(2) 4 - 4 - 2

The zone read metric was 2 – 1 = 1.

DENARD ROBINSON

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR
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 did not throw. As far as Forcier goes: he had a good day against one of the better overall defenses in the big ten. His downfield success rate is 11 / 19 = 58%, which is better than okay and maybe a tiny bit worse than good, but if you drill a little further into the numbers there were no bad reads and four TAs, a couple of which were effective scrambles or flips to tailbacks as he was getting sacked. The huge, mind-destroying errors that plagued him against Ohio State did not exist against Wisconsin.

Most of Forcier's inaccurate throws were long: he drew Mathews out of bounds on a late bomb that Mathews almost caught. He wildly overthrew a covered Mathews on another. And the last was a ball to Stonum that was short and to the inside when Stonum had a step and plenty of room to the outside. It seems like he's not recognizing his coverages fast enough and getting the ball out to his deep receivers in time for his arm strength to get it there. There were a couple of similar instances against Ohio State, where a throw against cover-two was late enough for OSU to get a safety over for a pass breakup or interception. The lack of accuracy can be interpreted as another form of a BR where he makes the right read but too late and ends up leaving a ball short.

Receivers:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - 1/1 2/2 4 - 2/3 10/10
Mathews 1 0/1 1/1 3/3 8 1/6 3/4 12/12
Stonum - 0/1 - - 7 1/3 3/4 10/11
Savoy - - - - 2 - 1/2 6/6
Odoms - - - - 5 1/3 4/6 16/17
Grady-19 - - - - 2 - 2/3 9/12
Roundtree - - 3/4 3/3 5 1/1 4/8 16/16
Stokes - - - - - - 1/1 1/1
Koger - - - - - 3/4 4/6 7/11
Webb - - - - 1 - - 3/5
Minor - - - - - - - 1/1
Brown - - - - 1/4 2/4 6/7
Shaw - - - - - 1/1 0/1 -
Smith - 0/1 - 7/7 - 0/1 - 7/7
Grady-24 - - - - - - - 1/1

Another indicator of how well Forcier played in this game: there is but one ball filed uncatchable.

About the receivers themselves: an excellent day with only one ball filed less than "circus" not brought in. Vincent Smith had one game as the quasi-starter and was targeted more than any other player. Though two of those were accidental targets as Forcier looked to avoid a sack, it's clear that we can expect Smith to be considerably more involved in the passing game than any of the backs were this year except maybe Brown, and in this one game Smith ended up with eight attempts to get him the ball to Brown's season-long total of 13.

The tight ends are falling off after a strong start because they're dropping a lot of easy balls. Grady and the tight ends have 9 of Michigan's 12 routine drops between them and with Roundtree's emergence into a totally reliable option in the same general area of the field their usage has dropped considerably.

The one complaint I have about the receivers is the same old one about Stonum: on the deep bomb that was intercepted, he failed to make a play on the ball, got undercut, and allowed an interception that should have been an incompletion at worst. It would have been a difficult catch but that seemed like another example of Stonum not adjusting well to balls thrown deep downfield.

Protection metric:

PROTECTION METRIC: 31/41, Ortmann –2, Schilling –2, Smith –3, Grady –1, Dorrestein –1, Omameh –1.

Probably the line's best day in a while given the level of competition they were going up against. 76% isn't great but four of the minuses go to tailbacks, three of them to tiny freshman Vincent Smith. The line did a pretty good job holding Schofield and company out of the backfield and the results were considerably improved passing from Forcier. Forcier still has to get used to the idea that  the line will do this for him; there were a couple of instances where he had a big pocket to step into but did not.

And our RPS: 5 – 1 = +4. Good day strategically—

Then why couldn't we run?

The flipside of the better than usual pass blocking was Michigan getting owned in the run game by the Wisconsin line. That stretch gap that opens up between the playside tackle and center was never there as one of the best rushing defenses in the country refused to let themselves get sealed. Michigan was running a lot of inside zone, too, so what happened a lot was Moosman not getting enough of a delay on a DT and one of the guards futilely attempting to seal a guy who was slanting directly into the play; Michigan didn't have an effective counter to that with Minor's rage severely limited.

Talent, experience, and injury: though Michigan's ground game took a step forward this year it was clear that when it came up against truly excellent run defenses there was something lacking. That's probably talent since Minor was largely absent against Ohio State and Wisconsin and Molk missed the portion of the season in which the run game alternated between okay and poor.

Vincent Smith!

Yeah, pretty much. The last time I broke out the Vincent Smith praise a commenter said he's not Mike Hart, but he might kind of be Mike Hart:

How many times did Hart do exactly that against Wisconsin to turn a three yard loss into a moderate gain? It seems like a thousand times. He will not grind piles forward like Hart did but I don't recall Hart having this sort of instant acceleration:

I will not be dissuaded on this: Smith performed pretty well in his first two quasi-starts against Wisconsin and Ohio State, scoring receiving touchdowns in each game and grinding out respectable YPC numbers against two of the country's best rushing defenses. He is probably going to start next year and he is going to be good.

Tangent: I think the threat of Smith on these screens and wheels may have had some impact on the line's ability to pass block. When there's a guy out there who can punish you for getting too far upfield, you adjust so that you are not useless when they screen it out.

Heroes?

Roundtree, Smith, and Forcier.

Goats?

There were a lot of minuses in the interior line on run plays, and not a lot of positives.

What does it mean for 2010?

It's an encouraging day for Forcier, an indication that Roundtree has a death grip on one starting slot job and an invitation for the tight ends to step it up lest they be displaced by a Roundtree/Odoms pairing, and maybe a sobering look at the maximum talent level of the line. Omameh did play okay, showing outstanding mobility on a couple plays, but it seems clear that Schilling is not going to live up to the five-star hype and will top out at "decent"; the prospect of starting Dorrestein next year isn't horrifying or anything, but he also seems like a low ceiling sort.

Comments

QVIST

November 24th, 2009 at 12:25 PM ^

Vincent Smith is the future. Poor line play can definitely be neutralized once Michigan gets more consistent with the screens. I can't wait to see Smith with another 10lbs from the offseason.

gmbblue

November 24th, 2009 at 12:56 PM ^

I have read constant knock of his play, this before the OSU game

Very Solid games - Western, ND, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue

Solid games - MSU, Eastern,

OK games - Iowa, OSU, Indiana

Poor game - PSU?

I would argue with a defense that got the ball back from time to time, a rushing offense that held up in the red zone, he would have led us to 3 more wins easily.

wolverine1987

November 24th, 2009 at 3:41 PM ^

Everything we saw this year from him on the negative side was expected in a true freshman--it would have been fantastic and way out of the norm if he hadn't done those things (fumbles, INT's, some poor games). And on the plus side we saw things that indicate, much more than the average true freshman QB IMO, an ability to make plays, rally a team, and importantly, be accurate.

caup

November 24th, 2009 at 1:03 PM ^

5 turnovers are never okay. ND and WMU were great games by him. I agree with you about the D not being able to generate enough turnovers this year.

Q: Was this year's turnover margin better or worse than last year's?

ShockFX

November 24th, 2009 at 1:08 PM ^

Also on Smith: While he doesn't have massive size to block, that doesn't stop him from throwing himself at a rampaging DE to try and cut him. I've seen much larger players shy away from blocking big men.

QVIST

November 24th, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

Tate's issue seems like it's always been protecting the football. He runs like he's still in high school sometimes with the ball a foot or more away from his side and slightly behind him. That's not okay. Most scramblers will usually pull that ball up and hold it like Deion Sanders with two hands until they choose to throw...Tate's gotta learn that and he will be significantly better. The 5 interceptions should decrease to 1 or 2 from year one to year two I'd imagine. I know for a fact he lofts that ball over the defender instead of throwing it directly to the defender next year against OSU, hah.

evilempire

November 24th, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

Brian you hit on something that has been nagging me all year. while it is obvious that michigan has expericne/talent issues in the back 7.....I'm starting to wonder about the line, specifically the guys who came before the 2008 class. In fact, I think it negates the arguments of "if lloyd stayed", or "if one of lloyd's assistants were hired", or "if we hired someone who didn't run a gimmick offense". In fact, someone was flapping their gums about Mallet head in another forum, ie. "if he stayed" and I said "yeah...but who was going to block for him"?

Blue in Seattle

November 24th, 2009 at 4:27 PM ^

and maybe it should wait for the OSU UFR on the offense, but how many of the "heroes" at the end of the seasons are Rich Rod picked and developed talent, versus the "heroes" at the beginning,

could this be a metric for progess on "developing talent"?

could I possible use more "quotations" without grammatical reasons?