Scouting MSU at Wisconsin

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on October 1st, 2009 at 7:02 AM
A while ago someone asked for a UFR of MSU games, I haven't seen one yet, so here's my lousy first attempt. I've never done a complete one of these and didn't want to spend a gazillion hours on it.  So sorry if it's crap.  I haven't quite settled on a format or proper abbreviations.

1st quarter   
kickoff to the 19Winston looks a little thick to be a return man
MSU Ball   
1st n 10Ace1about as vanilla as can be, off tackle zone dive
2nd n 95W Trips rightincdropped on the crossing pattern
3rd n 9Shotgun slot rtincno one home, MSU got away with a hold
4th n 9Puntpenaltykick catch interference, must be that famous dantonio discipline
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10Doube Tight rt, slot leftincplayaction comeback, open but underthrown
2nd n 10 offset right3counter left
3rd n 7SG, 4W, Double FL leftincgreg jones with pressure
4th n 7puntto the 3nice hangtime
WTF?   torrent missing some gametime, must be a replay
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10offset rt, motion slot rt8rollout to the field, man open in the zone
2nd n 2offset lt, motion double TE-5corner blitz blew up the pitch sweep
3rd n 74w7crossing pattern, generous spot
1st n 10?? Split FB, RB is 9 yards deep5counter tre left. Almost like a power iso with a pulling guard
2nd n 5offset rt-4Worthy gets good penetration
3rd n 9SG,3w offset lt2crappy draw
4th n 7Punttouchbackreally slow to get the punt away
MSU Ball   
1st n 103WR, slot lt8White on the stop route on the rt into the boundary
2nd n 2I right1zone dive left, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla
   Welcome to the jungle being piped in…eeeewwwww
3rd n 1fuckyou espnQB sneekdidn't see the play
1st n 10AceincPA rt, bootleg left, underthrown out n up
2nd n 10 SG 4WR5Bubble screen rt, dell was shaken up on previous play
3rd n 5SG 5WR, near slotsinc, penaltymissed white over the middle, but PI called
1st n 103WR, slot lt21 step hook
2nd n 83WR, slot ltinterceptedwhoops, thrown right to him, complete misread
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10offset rt15QB naked boot run
1st n 103WR offset rt5offtackle rt
2nd n 5I slot left, motion I rt8offtackle rt
1st n 10Slot left13end around to the left
1st n goalI left, 3TE, motion right4Dive
2nd n goalDouble Tight lt, offset rightTD, penaltyplayaction to th TE at the endline on a slant, but negated
2nd n goal at 164WR, twins rightTDTE on the seam, PAT good
kickoffkickoffto the 36Winston has good speed once he gets going
MSU Ball   
1st n 104WR, trips right-1zone dive left, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla
2nd n 11SG, slot right14draw trap right, Caper bounces it outside
1st n 10I left125 step drop, comeback, vanilla

2nd Quarter   
1st n 10double tight, I left14offtackle rt, vanilla
1st n 10I left8hook on the right, cousins does a good job of lookin left at snap
2nd n 2I slot left3offtackle right, vanilla
1st n 10motion, slot leftincbadly overthrown
2nd n 10 offset left, near WRincbadly overthrown, should have ran it, the flood had taken everyone away
3rd n 10SG, slot leftTDjump ball fade to dell who made a nice adjustment, PAT good
kickoffkickoffto the 31looked like there was a lane, but he got tripped up
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10shift, offset rightpenaltyPlayaction, post man caught the ball, but negated
1st n 10offset rt, twins left5FB in the flat
2nd n 5one back, strong left18MSU blitzed, picked up, playaction TE in left flat
1st n 10offset right, slot rightincunderthrown on the out route
2nd n 10 1 back, 3WR, twins right17Trap right, Clay bounces it for a big gain
1st n 101 back, motion, offset left8counter trap left
2nd n 2I slot left, motion rt0QB boot, is stuffed
3rd n 21 back, twins left16comeback on the outside, #9 for MSU missed tackle
1st n goal at 64 WR, trips rightTDTE hooked at the goal line, low ball, nice catch, PAT good
kickoffkickoffto the 24 
MSU Ball   
1st n 10I left0Nichol, power option left, nicely defended
2nd n 10 I right128 yard hook to the left boundary, Dell
1st n 10I right (looks illegal)interceptedjump ball on a fly to the right sideline, terrible throw, safety in position
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 101 back, 3WR, motion strong rtincboot right, field side, good coverage
2nd n 10 Shift, oneback, h-back leftpenaltyencroachment, more dantonio discipline
2nd n 5motion offset right7TE (lined up at FB) in the flat, same play as before
1st n 10motion, offset left4offtackle trap left
2nd n 6flanker rightpenaltybad formation, illegal motion
2nd n 11SG 3WR, twins rightpenaltymissed on the comeback, but sparty got PI, held the jersey
1st n 10motion offset right1offtackle trap rt, MSU finally adjusts and shuts this down
2nd n 91 back, 3WR, flanker leftincball batted on what was going to be another comeback route
3rd n 9SG, 3WR, twins left15rub route cross to the left
1st n 10fuckyou espn, twins right?5rollout to the right (field), comeback was wide open
2nd n 5twins leftincfly route was wide open, overthrown
3rd n 54WR6hook to the boundary slot
1st n 103WR, twins left17In to the boundary side (right) and a facemask
1st n goal at 1I 3TEincplay action, overthrown, both crossing TE were wide open
2nd n goal at 1I, 3TETDInside Trap, clay just bowls in, PAT good
kickoffkickoffto the 21 
MSU Ball   
1st n 10SG, Slot left1draw trap left, Wisc DT's blow it up with penetration
2nd n 9SG, slot left-7Cousins sacked, had the flat left, but didn't see it.
3rd n 17SG, slot rightpenaltyDell went out, and caught the ball for an apparent first, but negated
4th and 17Puntto the 47punter went down, no flag, hit by own man
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10SG, trips leftincball dropped, a little low, to the left, nickle blitz was picked up
2nd n 10 SG, split, flanker leftincanother blitz, another pickup, and another drop
3rd n 10SG, split, flanker leftincpressure, overthrown, anderson beat the right tackle
4th and 10puntat the 15fair caught
MSU Ball   
1st n 105WR, trips left17Dell on the out
1st n 10slot left, confusionincthrew inside of the slot on the cross out
2nd n 10 5WR, trips left3boundary slot ran a flat
3rd and 74WRinccommenters ripping on the sparty offense, haha, overthrown
4th n 7Puntto the 28low kick,made two men miss, but the first came back to make tackle
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10twins right4Dive left

3rd Quarter21-7 wisconsin leads  
kickoffkickoffto the 15nice coverage
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10I, double tight right13offtackle trap right
1st n 10I tight, left6Iso left
2nd n 4I doulbe tight leftfumblepitch sweep, bad hands by the RB
MSU Ball   
1st n 10Ace2Zone dive left, cutback right, vanilla
2nd n 8I left15counter trap left, winston busts through some arm tackles
1st n 10I slot left4Iso right
2nd n 6I right,-2Sweep right, run blitz blew it up
3rd n 8split, flanker leftincoverthrown to the right, white was wide open on the far side
4th n 8FGFG 
kickoffkickoffto the 26short kick
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10Double Tight left, motion6counter dive, nice cutback
2nd n 4Offset left2inside trap
3rd n 2I tight right5counter play action, TE flat
1st n 10I tight right2Trap right
2nd n 81 back, twins left6trap left, the DT whose guy pulled just missed a TFL
3rd n 2Offset, strong left4student body left
1st n 10Double tight left, offset right3counter tre right
2nd n 7I doulbe tight left3counter tre left
3rd n 4strong I rightpenaltyPA to TB in the flat, but negated by downfield block
3rd n 3? Uhh..wingbacks?3counter trap left
1st n 10Strong I, double tight left5Dive left
2nd n 5Strong I, double tight left0Counter trap left
3rd n 5SG, 4WR, Left side near stacked7just a simple out
1st n 10I left, shift, I right0Offtackle right
2nd n 10 1 back, twins leftincdeflected at the line
3rd n 10SG twins leftincpressure, overthrown, both tackles were beaten
4th n 10FGFG 
kickoffkickoffto the 30Winston is a load, but he doesn't have the acceleration
MSU Ball   
1st n 101 back, double tight left9PA Zone left, TE moved like he was pulling but went to the flat, first non vanilla play
2nd n 1slot left, motion ace,12Dive left, weak play, but roken arm tackles
1st n 10Strong I right,27PA TE on the seam, nice pass, nice catch
1st n 10Offset right3Trap left, play was stuffed, but winston falls forward for a couple
2nd n 7slot rightTDplay action post, amazing catch by cunningham, PAT good
kickoffkickoffto the 31hesitated coming out of the endzone
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10motion, offset right45PA fly, nice pass, stutter and go
1st n 10strong I left1counter tre left
2nd n 9strong I right, motion left3offtackle right

4th Quarterwisconis 24-17  
3rd n 64WR,TDslot guy beat man coverage and a nice pass in front of the safety, PAT good
kickoffkickoffpenaltyreturned to the 34, penalty to the 7
1st n 103 WR, split flanker right10FB in motion, ran an 8 yard hook
1st n 10SG, 3WR slot rightincunderthrown on the seam
2nd n 10 4WR13hot slant to the slot
1st n 10I leftfumbleIso to the right, more penetration by the wisc DL
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10Strong I right2off tackle left, MSU got penetration
2nd n 8I right, shift, offset left7Off tackle right, nice cutback, great blocking on the backside
3rd n 1Strong I right,TDPA, blitz was picked up, no one coverd the TE, PAT good
   That's his third TD!
MSU Ball   
1st n 10Ace5Zone dive left, vanilla
2nd n 5split, flanker rightincoverthrow
3rd n 5 penaltyfalse start
3rd n 10SG, 3WR, slot right35nice pass beating the deep zone
1st n 10SG, 3WR, slot left5TE ran an out
2nd n 5SG, 3WR, slot leftinctipped, nearly intercepted
3rd n 5SG, 3WR, slot leftincheld the ball too long, good coverage, overthrown
4th n 5SG, 3WR, slot left8boundary WR ran a slant, took a big hit but held on
1st n 10?? Fuespn, SG slot right?incbarely overthrown cunningham on the deep post
2nd n 10 SG, aceincwhite dropped the 5 yard hook
3rd n 10SG, 4WR, trips leftincwanted the screen to the left (boundary)
4th n 10SG, 4WRsackedthat's the ball game.
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10Strong offset right5missed handoff, QB kept for positive yards
2nd n 5offset right17Clay just running through arm tackles
1st n 10Strong offset left2just grinding the clock
2nd n 8Twins left7counter trap left
3rd n 1Strong I right4off tackle left
1st n 10Strong I left2counter tre left, wisconsin is starting to look as vanilla as MSU
   The difference is that they have a 21 point lead
2nd n 8Offset right, motion0QB kept it, maybe a busted play
3rdn n 84WR, stacked right7rollout right, hit the out route, good tackle to prevent the first down
4th n 2Strong offset left0pitch sweep left
1st n 105WR trips rightpenaltyfalse start
1st n 155WR trips right27Dell, Wisc is in umbrella
1st n 103WR, slot left6slot out
2nd n 4F .U. espn ??25Nichols runs a QB keeper for a nice pickup,
   Looked like max protect, 3 men in the pattern
1st n 104WRinctipped
2nd n 10 SG 3WR slot rightincjump ball to dell, hung up in the air
3rd n 10SG 4WRinterceptedjump ball to the endzone, msu got away with more holding
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10Strong I1run left
2nd n 9offset right6run right
3rd n 3??1QB boot, held it, just killing clock here
4th n 2puntto the 37 
MSU Ball   
1st n 10SG slot left20?Sims is wide open against the prevent zone
1st n 10SG ?incoverthrow on the flag route
2nd n 10 SG 4WR20?deep out is open
1st n 10SG 3WRTDSoft zone and missed tackle, WR dove over the pylon, 2pt no good, sacked
kickoffonside kick wisconsin recovers
Wisconsin Ball   
1st n 10  run
2nd n 14  run
who cares  run
who cares  punt to the 9 yard line
MSU ball   
1st n 10SG 5 WR91 TDhow the hell does that happen?
   What was the point spread?
kickoffonside kick wisconsin recovers
Wisconsin ball  kneeldown

  • Which was strange since I saw them run several trick plays against CMU (CMU!)
  • Winston is a bruiser, but not very nimble.
  • Caper has good strength and speed and likes to bounce it outside
  • Blair white had a horrible day, but he looked pretty acrobatic against CMU
  • Their TE Sims looks like a decent pass catching threat
  • Their offensive tackles were getting pushed around all day
  • Dell is a pretty good jumper, but he seemed to be suffering from the same landing problems as the ND receivers.  Nearly broke his own collarbone.
  • Cunningham is a fairly athletic receiver too
  • Cousins did not have a good day.  Way too many overthrows.
  • My impression is that he's not really that good at reading defenses.
  • Of course he is just a sophomore (but tate's a frosh!)
  • If they only run zone stretches and dives at us all day, ezeh and mouton might actually end up with plusses in brian's UFR
  • Nichols is not much of a passing threat.  He's got a decent arm, but his instinct is to run. And let's just say he doesn't have Denard's speed.
  • He also didn't look that great on the one option play they ran, but maybe Wisc just had it defended well.
  • Greg jones was causing havok all day, but Wisc did a good job neutralizing him with short passes and extra TE's to block.  
  • This is a trap running team.  There is almost always a pulling lineman
  • They have about 5 running plays but 
  • they run them from about a hundred different formations
  • And they use a ton of motion and shifts, so it's hard to determine what formation they're in until late
  • Which is important, because they run to strength nearly 90% of the time (estimate)
  • Their TE graham had a great day.
  • Toon looked like a very serviceable receiver.
  • This will be a "line em up and smack em in the face" game when we play them.  I'm hoping will campbell is ready for some major minutes by that time.
  • so, worry if we've got defenders running around looking like they're lost before the snap. 
I didn't really pay much attention to their defenses, because well, we should put up 35 points on just about anyone. 

So what's it mean for this week?

I've seen 3 of sparty's games and they looked worse than normal against Wisconsin.  They seemed emotionally lethargic.  It wasn't really as close as the final score.  Wisconsin made them pay for silly turnovers.  Even the play calling was ridiculously vanilla.  It was like watching a game from 1993. 

Sparty will be up for us this week.  Expect them to play much better.  Expect them to have special trick plays, that they were saving for us.  I think our front 7 will be able to slow down their run game "enough", but yes, I'm worried about the corner-not-named-warren. 

What worries me most is that it's in east lansing, where nefarious shenanigans have been known to take place.  I forsee a pretty high scoring game.  But with the good guys coming out on top thanks to Tate's general awesomeness, and Denard's teleportation powers. 

I say Michigan 41- Sparty 34



October 1st, 2009 at 8:06 AM ^

Over at The Only Colors (the only MSU blog Brian links to on the left) they've been attempting to do UFRs for MSU. They aren't of top quality, but may be worth looking at.

U of M in TX

October 1st, 2009 at 11:13 AM ^

I was actually going to say something about that site. The scoring of the DL, LB and Secondary is nothing like what Brian does here, so don't go skipping to the charts and expect it to match up to Brian's UFRs here.

As for the actual UFR, it is definately worth looking at. It should give some insight into how MSU is faring on the offensiv and defensive sides of the ball.

oriental andrew

October 1st, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

Completely understand about not wanting (or being able) to spend too much time on this stuff. Still, could I ask for some more player names and yard lines so we know where they are on the field? Thanks...


October 1st, 2009 at 9:38 AM ^

Nice breakdown. I think MSU fans are realizing that while Brian Hoyer certainly was not a great QB, he brought some stability to the position that neither Cousins nor Nichols have provided.


October 1st, 2009 at 10:11 AM ^ is a good blog i read daily. They modeled (and named) their UFR after Brian's and include a lot of the same metrics. Worth checking out:

MSUFR Defense at Wisconsin…

MSUFR Offense at Wisconsin…

Whatever you read, thanks goes to BlueSeoul for taking the time to create his own UFR.

MGoBlog Fan

October 1st, 2009 at 11:03 AM ^

I write the Offense UFRs. (Signup glitch prevented me from using CPT Hoolie here; long story). One thing I've learned is that they are more difficult to do correctly than it appears. I put about 10-12 hours into the reviews and I haven't even enabled videos yet. Coming up with worthwhile metrics is tough as well. Most difficult, as you can see from the above, is remaining objective (viz. "Must be that Dantonio discipline").

It's a work in progress. Brian is several years ahead of us in development and even he tinkers with the feature. Brian has been great and has provided us with assistance and encouragement.

On the MSU offense: Yes, it's boring. [Anything is boring compared to the UM Crazy Ninja Offense, which, speaking as a college football fan in general, is highly entertaining.] But it works: MSU is currently first in the league in total offense. But it's not been good enough to overcome the defense's inability to stop anyone.


October 1st, 2009 at 12:20 PM ^

Your blog is amazingly refreshing to read compared to other blogs out there -keep it up. but while you're here, I've got two questions for you:

1. How do you think your UFR will compare with Brian's (post MSU-UM game)? I'm not trying to insinuate that one is better, but rather I'm curious to see how much bias will show through from each side. While neither UFR grades out opposing players, I wonder if both sides will have more/less the same notes on the game despite the blinding fan goggles we all wear.
2. What's your honest-to-god prediction for the game?

MGoBlog Fan

October 1st, 2009 at 3:46 PM ^

Let me caveat by saying that I'm not one of the principals of The Only Colors, I just post there a lot. I like TOC because its tone is a lot more reasonable and hopefully more intelligent than the ES or SpartyMSU. (RCMB: hochhhhhhptooey.)

I am equally interested in seeing how my "MSUFR: Offense vs UM" differs from Brian's "UFR: Defense vs MSU", not only because he's a lot better at it than I am, but also to see how we view the same play from two different perspectives. I believe that in the UFR methodology there is an inherent observer bias, in that (for example) I am evaluating how MSU's offense executed (or failed to execute) the play while knowing already what the outcome of the play, and game, are. But it's all from the perspective of rating what the offense did. It would be a lot more work to hand out pluses and minuses to the other team's defense. I suppose at some point in the future you could have one commentator from each side both evaluating the same play simultaneously, but I wouldn't want to tackle that until more blogs started doing UFRs.

My honest-to-god prediction? Ugh. Both defenses are so porous, I could just as easily see 42-28 UM as I could see 37-27 MSU. What's interesting to me is the movement in the line: started at OFF, then UM -1, then MSU -2. As of noon today it's MSU -3. Wooooo direction of the line being right 67% of the time! (Or whatever it is).

That said, I'm very afraid of UM's Crazy Ninja Highly Entertaining offense gashing MSU repeatedly. Ok, 3 opportunities ((c) Brian):

*Over 1000 yards total offense combined.
*Last team with possession wins in another controversial finish.
*34-31, Michigan.

My heart says "Go State". My head says "Michigan is going to run around, and over, MSU's defense". My wallet says "take the over."


October 1st, 2009 at 10:35 AM ^

Thanks for the write up, informative and enjoyable to read. I fear the worst in East Lansing as well; The Wiscy game was their 'letdown' game and they will be full bore prepared for us this Saturday. Teams tend to take on the character of their coach and this one seems full of spite! It's gonna be a slobber knocker.
Basing my prediction on the Indy game, I feel it will be a high scoring affair but if you had asked me before that game I would of said that we would win something like 45-21; now I'm thinking it will be closer, say 45-35. Both scores dependent upon Tate's health; Denard has improved but there is still a significant difference between the two. If Tate is knocked out, can Denard lead us to victory? Who knows, if could be Denard's breakout game too; he isn't anywhere near his ceiling. I think it's going to be an exciting game, could be a classic.


October 1st, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

defense is really bad. Other than Greg Jones, they are horrible. They tend to overpursue, take bad angles or are slow which is a good thing for Michigan because their offense will kill them IMO.


October 1st, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

one of the ancillary benefits of beating ND was that msu had to watch that footage all week before they later lost to ND. My biggest concern is turnovers. I thought msu defense had some pretty good blitzes but Wisc had an answer most of the time.

The King of Belch

October 2nd, 2009 at 12:12 PM ^

Can be up for this game all they want, and UM fans can be scaredy-cats and rationalize for Sparty all they want.

Bottom line is: the are just not very good, and are probably leaning towards being a bad team due to lack of talent; (gasp) youth and inexperience; and a so-so coaching staff.