Attacking Alabama

Submitted by SCarolinaMaize on July 10th, 2012 at 7:10 AM

The local radio personality (Walt Deptula) was previewing Alabama for this season during my ride home last night.  He was stating that they could be starting 3, count them, 3 RS-frosh at the LB position.  So I decided to ask the board, if you were Gorgeous, how would you attack them? 

I realize they are very gifted players, but they are young, and could make some mistakes in their reads, first step, etc..  So, can you read option keying on the LBs, use slants with a clear out, counters?  What would you use to take advantage of the inexperience at LB?



July 10th, 2012 at 7:32 AM ^

Sprint draw counter. A lot. We only saw it the beginning of last year, and it's a great constraint play to the speed option. You can't take Alabama on up the middle anyway so there will be plenty of perimeter running to set it up.


July 10th, 2012 at 7:33 AM ^

Without having really perused Alabama's blogs and such, I assumed that both Mosley and Johnson would be starting for them at LB.  Neither one is a redshirt freshman.

Space Coyote

July 10th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

When we did probably a couple times a game.  The reason people are probably not seeing it is because it isn't going for as big of yards as it was to start off 2010.  But what people forget is that even RR had to change the play as defenses were catching on to it.  Rather than the slot running the seam, against OSU that year he had them running out routes or dig routes, and the play wasn't as successful.  Teams have caught on a bit and adjusted, so you can only run it 1-2 times a game successfully at this point.


July 10th, 2012 at 8:14 AM ^

I would think you would want to give Denard some space with bootlegs and play action. Also keep a back in to block on pass plays


July 10th, 2012 at 8:31 AM ^

As a fellow Upstate South Carolinian, I'm still trying to figure out how you were able to listen to Walt Deptula or anything for that matter on WCCP. That has to be the worst station in radio history.


July 10th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

I just can't handle anything on that station. The producer, Ramona, makes that show unbearable. I do appreciate Walt's unbiased approach to the show but he spends more time talking about his knowledge of sports than anything else. I started using the TunedIn radio app on my phone for sports talk in the car.

As far as 'Bama goes, I'm fearful for our receivers. If we can't get a running game going, we'll be relying on small receivers and unproven freshmen; that scares me. I'm hoping Denard and Fitz find a way to tear it up on the ground.


July 10th, 2012 at 8:40 AM ^

If our O line can dominate and Denard makes good decisions, our options will be limitless. Bama's D is young everywhere, and if Denard makes that year 2 "Borges Leap" like we all expect, on Sept 2nd Bama will be left wondering what happened...


July 10th, 2012 at 9:19 AM ^

Is exactly what I am insinuating my man. Bama loses key players tothe draft every year, its bound to catch up with them. Why not this year, and the best time to take advantage of a young team is early in the season. Bama's D is ripe for the picking if you ask me...


July 10th, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

for the majority of the game, according to one of the players (RVB, I believe).  We made no adjustments.

Mattison will not let you run on him.  He'll bring everybody up if needed.  McCarron  is the scary one.  If he's taken a step forward, then it's trouble. 

Sten Carlson

July 10th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

Comparing a Robinson coached defense to a Mattison coached defense is no comparison at all. 

I agree that Mattison will never allow Bama to just pound the rock without making adjustments to counter.  But, as you said, that opens us up to the play action pass.  From the information coming out of the program and the pundits, it seems that Michigan's defensive secondary is expected to be a very strong unit.  Perhaps Mattison comes out putting the pressure on the most experienced and talented portion of the defense, and minimize the exposure of the least experienced -- i.e., come out with an aggressive run-stop scheme, forcing Bama to throw, and hoping that the secondary can hold it's own.  I'd much rather see Bama try to beat us through the air than just wear us down with manball all game long.  If they're passing, they're not playing to their strength, they open themselves up to more turnovers, and they're playing into the strength of the Michigan defense.

It's certainly going to be a chess match.  I am glad that both of Michigan's coordinators have coached against Alabama in the not so distant past.  They're going to have a solid understanding what Bama wants to do on both sides of the ball -- I don't think the same can be said for the Alabama coordinators.


July 10th, 2012 at 9:07 AM ^

I was watching RG3 in the bowl game against Illinois in 2010.  RG3 looked horrble.  The next year, he makes night and day improvements to his game, and wins the heisman.  I don't see why Denard can't make the same strides this year. 


July 10th, 2012 at 9:26 AM ^

Borges already has this in the arsenal and most of Denards big runs against ohio were from this play. Qb keys the line backer flow on the mesh with the tailback. Qb shuffle steps during the mesh while reading lbs flow. If they commit to the outside run qb pulls up the gut. If lbs stay the qb gives to the tb who has a pulling guard for a lead blocker. This is a common play used by dual threat qb teams but very effective against even experienced lbs as long as the qb makes the right read.


July 10th, 2012 at 9:35 AM ^

I believe you're referring to the "Inverted veer" that Cam Newton used to terrorize the SEC for a year.

We also ran it quite a bit last year, most notably against OSU I believe. Denard's long touchdown run, and second touchdown run near the goalline were both off the inverted veer.


July 10th, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

I suggest using the wildcat formation every single play.  Imagine the possibilities.  Direct snap to Gardner then he throws a screen pass to Denard who then throws a bomb to Roundtree for a TD.  Come on Borges you can do it!


July 10th, 2012 at 10:04 AM ^

In all seriousness I could see Alabama being very conservative on offense.  Saban doesn't mind playing the field position game and generating a turnover into a field goal.  I just hope Michigan doesn't fall into that trap because I don’t think that they have the horses yet to win that type of game.  Hopefully Borges learned his lesson from Iowa last season.



July 10th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

From what I've read, there are some questions still about pass coverage in their backfield, mainly due to the overall lack of experience, so that might be key. As others have mentioned, I don't think you just dominate Alabama, but good O-line play gives Denard time to find some receivers and maybe exploit a young secondary for some first downs here and there.


July 10th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

We have to complete some downfield passes very early on in the game.  Even the greatest linebackers in the NFL bite on play-action.  If we cannot susccesfuly set up play action passes, it will be a very long day.

I expect to see Denard to Gardner early on.  Complete one or two of those, and Saban has to make some serious adjustments.  Gardner demands double coverage.  I seriously cannot wait to watch him.

Sten Carlson

July 10th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

I think the key to moving the ball on Alabama is going to be "freezing" the QB spy LB's.  To achieve this "freezing" effect Borges has to dial up QB "oh-no's", and Denard has to be able to move up in the pocket while in profile -- even when he knows that he's going take off an run.  Further, I think Borges is going to have to come out swinging, and calling plays that Alabama has not seen on film more often than not -- Borges has to keep Bama's defense off balance.

The timing of the game favors the Michigan offense, IMO.  Borges is going to have significantly more time to prepare and coach the offensive game plan than he would as it's the first game.  I think this is huge in regards to implimenting as many "unfilmed" plays a possible.  Bama's DC has no choice but to scheme based upon last season's film.  If Denard has made a significant jump, I think he and Borges can really keep the Bama defense guessing.