Upon Further Review: Pass Offense vs OSU

Submitted by Brian on August 25th, 2013 at 11:16 AM


HEY KIDS: This is an overview of all of Michigan's passing plays against OSU, which is an important data point for Devin Gardner. I'm not doing the run offense, because it was Denard doing Denard things and Rawls doing Rawls things and no one getting blocked ever—ie, not relevant, really.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 0 3 Nickel over Pass Hitch Gallon 7
A little longer than a quick pitch and catch as Gardner resets in the pocket and hits Gallon, who's covered pretty well. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O24 1 10 Pistol Diamond 3 0 2 Nickel over Pass Throwback screen Gallon 2
Backside DE forms up and threatens to bat the pass down; Gardner pumps and then lofts it. This takes a long time to develop and busts up the play's timing; Omameh(-0.5) and Schofield(-1) don't get blocks and Gallon has to dance to squeeze out anything. (CA, 3, screen)
O22 2 8 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass Out Gallon Inc
Gallon runs this well and gets a couple yards of separation; Gardner steps up and fires but a little wide and high. Gallon can only get one hand on it. Protection was good off a blitz, though they held seven guys in. Borderline MA/IN. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
O22 3 8 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack N/A -8
Gardner is just about to step into this and throw when Washington comes around the back to strip/sack as Lewan(-3) gets beat clean. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, Lewan(-3). The worst thing is that Gallon was breaking open for a touchdown.
M17 1 10 Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 even Pass Fly Gallon Inc
Max pro, two man route going deep. Gallon gets a step and Gardner fires it out there; the throw is absolutely perfect but the OSU safety reaches out and grabs Gallon by the back of the shoulder pads, slowing him a hair. Ball is now just past his oustretched fingertips. Outrageous no-call. (DO, 0, protection 2/2, refs -3)
M25 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Rollout deep hitch Roundtree 75
M gets the edge easily and Gardner can survey; Michigan high-lows the corner, who sucks up on a Gallon hitch for about five. Roundtree behind is open; Gardner hits him. That's about 15 yards, then the safety who just almost got burned (CJ Barnett) takes a horrendous angle to Roundtree and turns it into a huge touchdown. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
M30 1 10 I-Form twins 1 2 2 5-2 bear Pass PA comeback Roundtree 12
Good protection but no one's really going for the QB because of play action, I guess. Gardner steps up and has a very strange no-step throw that floats a bit. Either terrible mechanics or a great improvisation to get it over a DE in the throwing lane who endeavors to bat the pass down. Accurate, though, and Roundtree can turn it up for a first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M48 2 4 Offset I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass PA rollout Hitch Reynolds Inc
Counter PA to Kerridge does not hold the backside end because obviously. He gets out on the edge to harrass. Denard is underneath and covered. Gardner goes deeper to an also-covered Reynolds and misses, but Reynolds is off balance and may have stumbled out of his break or gotten interfered with. Can't tell and no replay. He probably should have gone to Kwiatkowski further inside but not possible with the pressure. So... I want to punt. (MA, 0, protection N/A, RPS -1)
M48 3 4 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Cross Gallon 36 (Pen -15)
Initial protection is good but Smith(-1) doesn't perceive the late blitz coming and leaks out of the backfield; pocket opens up and Gardner steps forward just as the blitzer does. He's got little time but does have Gallon on a crossing route. It's time for an Uncannily Accurate Gardner Flick, which is off his back foot and has no impetus, but goes right to Gallon for big yards. (DO, 3, protection 1/2, Smith -1). It's wiped out by a dubious offensive PI on Roundtree. (Refs -3!)
M33 3 19 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Rollout Fly Dileo Inc
Another rollout; edge rusher gets too far inside and Smith chops him down well. Gardner has a lot of time and finds Dileo, but doesn't step into this one either, and that's bad. Dileo has two steps to the endzone and the throw is way short and inside. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +2). I may be harsh here because there's a shot of Gardner talking to Dileo that seems to be Dileo saying my bad just from the body language, but it really looked like a bomb into the endzone was six.
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass TE jailbreak screen Kwiatkowski 6
Fake flare screen to Denard followed by a dumpoff inside to Kwiatkowski. Accurate, but Kwiatkowski got bumped off his route and away from his blockers and gets chopped down after a moderate gain. (CA, 3, screen)
O19 2 4 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Dig Dileo Inc (Pen +10)
Another delayed blitz bothers Gardner, who feels he can't step up in the pocket because a guy beat Omameh(-1) and can't step into the throw because there's a guy flying at Smith. Gardner has another back foot fling that's a bit wobbly and a little behind Dileo, but Dileo still gets both hands on it and drops it. (CA+, 3, protection ½, Omameh -1). Roughing the passer bails M out.
M13 1 10 Ace FB motion 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Corner Gallon Inc
Gallon's got himself a window here and Gardner just misses by throwing it too far downfield. Good protection. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M19 3 4 Shotgun double stack 1 1 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Scramble Gardner 4 +15 pen
A ton of time as OSU only rushes three. Finally flushed out, Gardner evades a charging LB and tiptoes down the sideline for the first down. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2). Late hit adds on; it seems like they actually shorted Gardner a couple yards here, FWIW.
M38 1 10 Ace FB motion 1 2 2 Nickel over Pass Sack N/A -9
More max pro two man route stuff. OSU using delayed blitzes to get pressure after M OL commit. On this one Williams(-1) refuses to pass his guy off as he goes upfield and lets a LB in unmolested. However, this blitz is both delayed and slow, so Gardner should be able to do something. He pumps, hesitates, and is lost. (TA, N/A, protection ½, williams -1, RPS -1... both deep guys bracketed)
M29 2 19 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over Pass Waggle drag Roundtree 5
Instant pressure as end man is thinking QB first. Gardner makes another awkward-looking but effective throw and Roundtree has a step on the LB, but a hard corner prevents any sort of large gain. (CA, 3, protection N/A)
M34 3 14 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-3-5 nickel Pass Sack Smith -9
Robinson at RB, releasing immediately, just brushes a LB blitzing. Smith(-2) doesn't get over to block that guy for some reason, and Gardner gets chased and sacked. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2, Smith -2)
M31 2 4 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over Pass Hitch Gallon 9
Gardner looks to Roundtree first and then goes to the other side of the field for a short hitch that Gallon turns into a comeback, evading tacklers and grabbing some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M14 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 0 3 Nickel over Pass Post Gallon 30
A perfect downfield strike to Gallon, who is a shoestring tackle away from a touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +2)
M23 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Dileo 6
All hitches; Gardner finds the right one. Throw is a little bit off, so Dileo can't get YAC, but not quite MA territory. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M36 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass Out Gallon 8
OSU showing a three deep shell all the way so this is an easy pitch and catch. Gardner's throw is a little upfield and outside, safe, but if he didn't pull Gallon that far out he could have picked up the first. Still not quite an MA. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M8 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-4 over Pass PA hitch Gallon Inc (Pen +11)
OSU playing press and rolling safeties to the line for an aggressive look. Denard's looking for Gallon on a hitch and the ball ends up turfed in front of him... because Roby yanked Gallon all over the field before it got there. Looked like a good timing throw in the right spot without it. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)
M19 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over Pass PA sack N/A -15
Inverted veer look into a pop pass. OSU stunts and catches this play perfectly. LB immediately in Gardner's face with no hope of any one blocking the guy. Gardner spins away from that guy and starts scrambling, but fumbles as he gets banged from the side. (PR, N/A, protection 0/3, team -3, RPS -3)
M31 1 10 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even Pass PA crosss Roundtree Inc
Max pro, two man route, Gardner does have Roundtree if he leads him to the sideline but throws it inside and upfield, which is dangerously close to an interception. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
M31 2 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 even Pass Corner Gallon Inc
Gardner misses Roundtree wide, wide open on a dig and goes for Gallon on a corner route that is bracketed. He might have a tiny window but to get it over the guy sagging and there fast enough to beat the safety is a near-impossible task. The ball is a little late, too, and Bryant breaks it up. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
M31 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Hitch Gallon 10
Just a simple hitch; coverage is a step off; Gardner fortunate that the Buckeye CB stumbled because he put this too far upfield and if not for that he would have had a play on the ball. Gallon grabs it and gets the first down. (MA, 3, protection 2/2)
M41 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 1 2 2 Nickel even Pass Scramble Gardner 10 (Pen -10)
Schofield(-2) gets beat by an edge rusher and tackles the dude as he flies by, drawing a flag. Gardner gets flushed, notices a big lane, and takes off for near first down yardage that gets wiped out. (SCR, N/A, Protection 0/2, Schofield -2)
M31 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel over Pass Improv Funchess Inc
Blitz overloads the M edge and gets two guys through. Not much the linemen can do about this, the blocking scheme just got beat. Gardner spins out and gets the edge, then decides to chuck it up across his body way downfield to Funchess. That's way short and inside. He had the corner easy and would have picked up maybe ten yards if he took off. Frustrating. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)
M31 2 20 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even Pass Rollout corner Dileo INT
Tough as he's a righty rolling to his left and can't get set here. He does have Dileo on a corner if he can get it to the sideline, but it's way, way inside and picked off (INX, 0, protection ½, team -1)

Let's get to it.



2011 through MSU 13 66(12) 11(1) 34(1) 17 2 3 10 4 55%
2011 after MSU 9 77(9) 7 17 9 6(1) 5(2) 9 5 69%
Alabama 4 15(2) 1 4 3* - - 3(1) 1 71%
Air Force 1 14 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 75%
UMass 1 16(4) - 4 - 1 1 1 3 68%
Notre Dame 4 10(1) 2 4(1)* 2** 1 1 3 1 65%
Purdue 3 7(2) - 1(1) - 1 2 - - 73%
Illinois 3 6(2) - - 2 - - - - 78%
MSU 4 9(2) 3(1) 4 2* 1 5 2 - 48%
Nebraska 2 9(2) 1 1 - - - 1 1 90%


Nebraska 1 4(1) 2 7* 1* - 1 4 1 31%

And Gardner:

Minnesota 3 7(1) 4 2(1) 2* 2 - 3 4 64%
Northwestern 4 16(2) 2 1 3* 2(1) 2(1) 2 5 75%
Iowa 3 16(4) - 2(1) 2 1 - 1 4 79%
Ohio State (pending) 3 11(1) 2 5* 2 1 - 3 2 62%
South Carolina 4 16(2) 2 8 3 4 - 2 2 55%

Like the South Carolina game, Gardner's accuracy let him down at points. This was mostly late, when Michigan was forced to abandon the run entirely with six minutes left in the game and Gardner was making deep throws outside the pocket by reason of rollout or pressure. It is rarely Gardner's mind that lets him down, but rather his feet. While his ability to get velocity and accuracy when he's not even stepping into throws is hugely useful in short-area flips, when his mechanics break down on deeper throws bad times result:

This was most apparent on the (eventually) game-ending interception, where a rollout to Gardner's left resulted in pressure and an awkward throw that sailed for days:

When Gardner does make a wrong read it usually results in a pass that's difficult to complete but not, say, a horrendous interception. In this one, he avoided serious mistakes entirely. This, however, was painful:


That was first and twenty and Gardner ended up trying to bomb it to Funchess way short and wide of the target. Runnnnn.

For 2013, it's all about getting set and throwing with good mechanics, because then this happens:

Gardner's relatively pedestrian numbers (11 of 20, ) are a bit harsh on his game. When you throw a perfect deep ball only for OSU's very crappy CJ Barnett to yank Gallon back the foot he needs to catch in stride, you have been robbed:

And when you have one of those little short-area flicks that turns into 36 yards but gets wiped out by a dubious penalty on the other side of the field, ditto:

That is the area where Gardner's ability to pull throws out of nowhere with terrible mechanics is a great asset. That broom-wielding chaos theory quarterback guru was probably like "whoah" about the guy, because when things break down he can get crazy throws off.


[Passes are rated by how tough they are to catch. 0 == impossible. 1 == wow he caught that, 2 == moderate difficulty, 3 == routine. The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Gardner           12 0/5 2/5 14/15
Roundtree 1     3/3   13 2/9 5/7 24/25
Gallon 4 0/1   7/7   16 3/7 7/12 41/43
J. Robinson           1 0/1 1/4 2/2
Dileo 2     1/2   5 2/5 4/4 14/15
Jackson           5   0/1 5/7
D. Robinson           1     4/4
Reynolds 1         2     3/3
Kwiatkowski       1/1   1     4/4
Funchess 1         8 2/5 2/4 11/11
Hopkins             0/1    
Toussaint           1 0/2 1/2 5/5
Smith             0/1 1/2 9/9
Kerridge             0/1   1/1

Feast or famine here, as Gardner either put it right where it needed to be or missed completely. Except for the third-down drop by Dileo that was repaired by a roughing the passer, the wideouts did as expected.

This is every pass worth charting this year now, and you can see that Gallon, Funchess, and Dileo are extremely reliable options who drop balls rarely and have an excellent bail-out rate on tough throws. In years previous to this one a 20% hit rate on 1s would maybe be the best on the team; the three main returners were at 41%. That is somewhat mitigated by Gallon and Dileo's stature, which tends to move throws into harder categories. There are passes that are zeroes if thrown at them that would be 3s to Funchess. On the other hand, the percentage of balls marked uncatchable to Gallon is much lower than those to Roundtree and Funchess. Gallon's quickness means hitch after hitch is open, and it's easy to hit those. The stature, it gives and takes.

Upshot: Michigan returns a sure-handed and potentially prolific wide receiver corps, even without Darboh potentially emerging to replace Roundtree. Chesson and Reynolds should be able to at least keep Michigan even at the 'Tree spot, and then the Big One And Little Two should all improve, Funchess vastly.



August 25th, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

This is the first time I have seen any footage of the OSU game. Did they call Roundtree for a "pick" on the PI flag? If so...total horesh*t call. That call is only made when it is Michigan playing at OSU with OSU playing for an undefeated season.

Additionally, what is up with the ref NOT calling the obvious jersey-grab by the OSU CB when Gallon had a step on him? That dude was staring right at the freakin' play. Is he a narcoleptic who just happened to fall asleep on his feet right when contact was made?

I am glad I didn't watch the game live because UM lost, but am annoyed now that I have seen these "highlights" (...in botched officiating).

UM better get some "makeup" calls in AA this year.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

Phew, thanks for talking me off the ledge with the WRs.

As for this game, Borges blew it. That will not change. When the defense starts keying in on personnel you F'D UP. 

Hell, even Mike DeBord brought it against OSU.

Zone Left

August 25th, 2013 at 9:44 PM ^

He definitely blew our shot at the win. I'm never going to get over watching Denard run over and over into the line without a counter off it. I understand he couldn't throw, but Gardner could have at least handed the ball to him. Then they could have, you know, not let everyone know what the play was 30 seconds before the ball was snapped.

If Michigan throws off some of the Denard run formations, maybe we win, maybe we don't, but at least it would have bee the best possible effort. It felt like Hoke, Borges, and company just wilted for the first time that game.

Space Coyote

August 26th, 2013 at 9:17 AM ^

How bad it was gets blown way, way out of proportion. Execution was completely lacking in that second half. Gardner missed easy passes, guys like Lewan missed basic blocks (not to mention the interior guys whiffing on simple things like down blocks or double teams). If a touch better execution and perhaps Borges gets into the things you're talking about. I've said it time and time again, but the OC is the easiest scapegoat in all of sports. In this case it's no different. Just a smidge better execution and no one is talking about Borges's bad second half. Players execute simple blocks or complete easy passes and it's a completely different outlook of that second half.

But they didn't. Michigan lost and struggled to move the ball. Michigan's game plan is to blame. Blame is on the wrong thing for the most part IMO, though. Blame should be on failing to prepare the guys properly to execute if you want to blame the coaching staff. Not on the game plan itself.

I really wish Brian would have touched upon it to some degree in this post. Again, I'm not saying it was a great game plan by any means, but actually watching it from a technical stand point you see just how bad the execution really was, particularly in the run game, in that second half. Too much blame on Borges's game plan and play calling in this one.

One Inch Woody…

August 25th, 2013 at 12:45 PM ^

Ughhh I was in the buckeye student section during this game and that 2nd to last play was the paramount of frustration... There was nobody in the stadium shouting louder than me and my friend for Gardner to run for the first down there.

With 4 more downs, who knows, maybe Funchess gets open again for a TD and our OL actually pass protects and we win the game.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

. . . is always dangerous, but I've been reading everything I could get my hands on about Devin Gardner, because what I have read indicates he's been going nuts preparing for this upcoming season on the mental side -- texting Borges daily, watching film, studying the game.  That QB camp was just a small slice.  This UFR is certainly appreciated and helpful, but I daresay it could already be obsolete.  Last time I saw a QB this hungry to improve was a guy named Tom Brady.

That's not to say Devin will be Tom Brady, but if there's one thing that made me sure everyone in the NFL was absolutely nuts for looking him over, it's that Brady was both very intelligent and singularly motivated to be the best he could possibly be -- and I don't mean in the Tim Tebow "I'll do what the coach tells me to win" sort of way.  I mean in the sense of a man who's his own nastiest coach -- the guy with that sort of relentless internal critic who can throw a pass from a collapsing pocket right into a wideout's fingertips 40 yards away and still spend ten minutes telling you all the things he did wrong.  When a QB has those qualities, there's a monster in the making.

I'm usually a man of lowered expectations beause I hate being disappointed, but I also consider myself a pretty good judge of character.  I don't think we've seen the real Devin Gardner yet.  I really, REALLY hate to get excited about a guy, but the character judge in me is itching to get this out -- I don't think the B1G is gonna know what hit them.  They're going to watch these same plays, and target what they think are Gardner's weaknesses, and they'll crap their pants when they find out he's eliminated them.

Space Coyote

August 26th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

The +1/-1 thing are pretty much saying that someone is responsible for a good play (+1) or bad play (-1). The numbers become more extreme depending on how good or bad the play was (such as a great play that springs a TD might get +2 or something).

RPS - Rock Paper Scissors - basically looking at how the two coordinators are playing the chess game, such as if Borges tries to suck in the other team with play action and hit over the top, but the other team doesn't bite on play action and is playing cover 4, then that would be RPS -1 for Borges.

Passing abbreviations would be dead on (DO), Catchable (CA), Marginal (MA), Inaccurate (In), Bad read (BR), Scramble (Scr), Downfield Success Rate (DSR). I believe BA is batted. Can't say I recall the rest. Might be helpful to have the UFR FAQ page updated and posted at the start of UFRs for newcomers. Brian? Seth? Someone with free time?

Here's the FAQ for what it's worth


August 26th, 2013 at 8:18 AM ^

It must be very difficult to make time to do this, particularly at this time of year.  I thoroughly enjoy all your UFRs and breakdown/insight.  Even when it means dredging up my marginally suprressed rage over officiating and play calling, your verification and validation is strangely soothing.  Go Blue!


August 26th, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

While Brian says that "Michigan was forced to abandon the run entirely with six minutes left in the game," that doesn't explain why any sort of workable running game had been abandoned throughout the second half.  Sure, problems in interior OL blocking and all that, but Michigan (and particularly Denard) managed to gain some pretty good yardage on the ground in the first half despite the OL problems.  I don't think Michigan needed to abandon the running game even with six minutes left on the clock, but if your best offensive weapon happens to be a runner, you sure as heck should try to mix things up to get your running game on track in the second half, rather than saying f-it and just asking Devin to keep chucking it.