Offense vs. Illinois

Submitted by drexel on October 6th, 2008 at 11:47 PM

I think gsimmons has covered many of the problems of the defense in the comments section, so I'm just going to write about a few things I saw out of the offense.

  • I saw more man blocking on the O-line this game that what I noticed the last few weeks.  The counters with Moundrous coming across the line of scrimmage produced a couple big gains.  The line looked much better in the man scheme than the zone.  They were getting a decent push and getting to the second level.  The timing on the zone scheme just doesn't look quite right yet.  We may see more man blocking as the year progresses if the zone scheme continues to struggle.
  • Although they struggled more in the zone scheme, it was not always to the play side.  There were a few plays where I thought Threet should have kept the ball.  The DE had his shoulders completely turned, and Threet still handed the ball off.  The DE was then able to run down the play from the back side for minimal gain.  The corners were also pretty agressive on the running plays.  I thought the zone read where Threet has the wideout as a third option may have worked well in the game. 
  • One of the ways Illinois was defending the zone read was to immediately bring the backside linebacker to tackle the QB.  So you have an unblocked DE to take the RB, and an unblocked linebacker to take the QB.  In this case, the QB should immediately throw the bubble screen.  Against Illinois, Michigan already had an advantage by alignment with a safety 10 - 15 yards off the ball.  With a linebacker going after the QB, there is no inside out flow to the play.  If its a good throw, its probably a 6-7 yard gain every time. 
  • I thought we would see more bubble screens, but its probably better we did not.  The blocking by our wide recievers was probably the worst I've seen all year.  The basic idea behind stalk blocking as a wideout is to sell vertical until the DB stops his back pedal.  If if he starts to come up under control, you stay in front of him, hit him, get your hands on the breast plate of his shoulder pads, keep your feet moving and drive him back.  If he comes up hard, cut him and keep him on the ground.  The wideouts looked very tentative in their blocks, and you have to be aggressive but under control when blocking as a wideout.  If Matthews gets a block on the play that Minor fumbled, it probably goes for a big gain. 
  • The play in the first half where Threet threw it to the middle of the field was probably a mistake by Odoms.  Miller was running with him down the middle on his release, and thats a good mismatch for us.  Threet thought he was going to keep running, but he broke off over the middle.  Either he just ran the wrong play, or he thought Miller was going to stay over top of him.  Either way, I think Odoms was wrong on that play. 
  • I think we will see more shake up on the left side of the line.  Ortmann is a step slow at guard, and I thought Dorrestein was consistently standing up off the snap instead of driving out of his stance low.  He was blown backwards several times as a result.  This is a fundamental thing that should be fixed this week in practice. 

Overall, the offense did some good things, but they also did a lot of bad things.  If we hit on the long passes to Savoy and Odoms at the end of the first half, maybe that changes the game.  I don't want to beat a dead horse with things that have already been discussed, but I thought I'd point out a few things that I haven't seen in the comments section.

Comments

jamiemac

October 7th, 2008 at 7:44 AM ^

....about the run game and the blocking.

 Man blocking. Its basic. Fire off and hit the guy in front of you. Simplfying things for the blocker.

Also Moundros (and occasionally Minor) proved invaluable as a blocker. Michigan averaged over 5 ypc hen a lead blocker like that was involved in the play. Those counter looks worked virtually everytime and one time it did not it was because McGuffie tripped over his own feet.

The zone blocking and any play that goes horizontal have not worked all season. Takes too long to develop and our line cant stay on their blocks that long. The game vs Illinois, I thought, we saw a lot less of those plays than in prior games, and , as a result, the offense, looked more than serviceable.

Some of the wideouts just dont know how to make plays yet. Consider we knew the corps ould be green with Matthews leading the way and Hemingway, Stonum and Odoms. Thats how we felt the hieracrchy would be.....but on Saturday, Threet found himself having to rely on Savoy, Clemons and Babb to make plays. Yikes.

Magnus

October 8th, 2008 at 8:28 AM ^

The zone plays worked with some regularity against Notre Dame with McGuffie running the ball.  But...it was Notre Dame.

I like a vertical passing game, but it's not a bad idea to still throw a bubble screen or a running back screen.  I've been surprised by the lack of RB screens.  And that one pass to McGuffie - where he motions out to the flat and waits for a quick pass - was the same play he scored on against Notre Dame.

jamiemac

October 8th, 2008 at 9:26 AM ^

....about that pass to Sam, but the TD vs ND was the only time its really worked....again, perhaps, the ND D.

To my eye, it seems that screens into the flat, where Sam or anyone just flares out and turns around to catch the ball while standing are not going anywhere.....the WR blocking stinks and teams (other than ND) have been sniffing that sucker out.

I love passes to Sam or any back where they're already on the move....remember Sam's catch and run vs Utah, as an example, or wheel routes.....something where he is in space, yet already past the LOS

gsimmons85

October 7th, 2008 at 12:21 PM ^

free blocking zone is illegal in highschool, thats why you wont see many michigan WR's using it. A cut block in the open field is for wimps, and bailouts, and i hate it. all a stalk blocker has to do is stay between the ball carrier and the corner... Im more concerned with the fact that our wr's have a hard time even sealing on bubble plays... that is why you arent seeing that play called more... olb's and safties are not getting sealed.

jamiemac

October 7th, 2008 at 3:02 PM ^

....we're not seeing more bubble screens because we've been terrible at them all season, basically because of the reasons spelled out above.

also, and take this for what it is worth, but WVA fans always cried that RR's only play in the passing game was the bubble screen.

So, i like a passing game kinda, sorta developing without those plays.