Coaching adjustments

Submitted by massblue on September 8th, 2014 at 11:02 AM

We all saw how ND adjusted both offensively and defensively to our game plan.

1.  WRs bubbles and screens stopped working right away

2.  ND gave up on running the ball and concentrated on short passes with occasional long ones when an unexperienced DB was involved.

I could not think of any adjustement on the defensive or offensive side of the ball that we made during the game.  Can you think of one adjustment we made during the game?

What does this tell you about our coaching philosphy?  Borges was accused of running into an 8-man box with no adjustment being made and we saw the same thing from Nuss.  Is this due to Hoke's influence?



September 8th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

Idk, man. It's hard saying who some of these calls actually fall on. I would like to think Hoke, since he is the head man. We just don't adjust EVER. I can't believe we never tried to stretch the field with Funchess or Chesson. The jump ball game, where did it go? I mean hopefully it went out with borges, but damn throw the ball up to 6' 5'' and let's see what happens. Your down 21-0 and you stay methodical? OPEN THE DAMN OFFENSE UP AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.


September 8th, 2014 at 12:08 PM ^

I think Nuss is DG's first actual QB coach and he's trying to work with DG to fix his issues. He wants him to stand in the pocket and go through his progressions and make good decisions.

Problem is, DG is severely shell shocked behind that o-line. Even when he gets time, he's a little skiddish. I don't buy the notion that he's not good enough because I've seen games in 2012 @ Minnesota, home against Iowa,2013 against ND, Indiana, and Ohio. He's played huge on the big stage. He has the talent. Even in the game on Saturday, he started 6-6 and made some big time throws in the pocket under duress. That throw he made from the opposite hash to Chesson was money, and the touch pass to Norfleet was beautiful. He's also regarded as a smart guy on and off the field, so I don't believe the "doesn't have it between the ears" crowd either.

If Shane was ready, he would play. Hoke didn't recruit DG and Nuss definitely has no ties to him. DG gives us the best chance to win.


September 8th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

It's the mythical back up QB thing. Nobody is more popular on a struggling team as far as fans go than the back up QB. That is until he goes in and stinks it up and people realize he's not playing for a reason. I'm sure Shane will play when it's his time.

Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 11:11 AM ^

On defense, Mattison started calling more blitzes, he also did some more stunts with the DL and pinched them, allowing Ryan to try to attack the edge. In coverage, he started off by attempting to mix in some Cover 3 to generate a new look (which is the standard reply when Cover 1 starts getting beat, because it initially looks like Cover 1). That had some mixed results early and then got exposed the more it was leaned on. He did mix in some zone drops that had some success at preventing some of the short pass game.

Thought he should have provided the NB with some inside help. Maybe he did, ND started attacking elsewhere after the first quarter and a half. The problem with any time you adjust away from base, you do it knowing that you are exposing something else. You become less sound in other areas as a way of trying to scheme in an advantage where the opponent is currently winning. Michigan wasn't good enough on the back end to successfully scheme much.

I think on offense Nuss had some wrinkles he was going to use, but then didn't when the game got out of hand. Thing is, Michigan moved the ball pretty well to start, so adjustments weren't going to be made right away in that case, just needed to execute some third downs. They went away from some of the DG extended handoff play after he miss-read that, and had a designed QB run at one point because ND didn't respect it. Overall though, I think in the offseason Michigan was so focused on becoming good at what they were trying to do, the simplification of the offense, that I'm not sure how many adjustments they have to go to. It's a limited offense, that's the drawback of trying to be good at your base scheme. It will likely help them more down the road, and make them more consistent eventually (and more consistent against lesser teams), but for now, it leaves them in a bad position against the better defenses when their base doesn't generate points.


September 8th, 2014 at 11:22 AM ^

What did you think of what Michigan's CBs were doing?  That was the thing that frustrated me the most, but I don't really know what I'm talking about.  Was Michigan not pressing (I couldn't bring myself to re-watch the game)?  Were they doing it and failing? 

The game seemed to me to break down like this on the defensive side:

Michigan - "We're going to blitz a lot."

ND - "Okay, we're going to get the ball out quickly."

Michigan - "Yeah, well...we aren't going to disrupt your short passes."

ND - "Works for us!"


Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

One way to switch up your coverage in Cover 1 is to go to switch up the coverage method. In general (there is more, but this is in general) there are 4 types of coverage-types, and I'm not talking zones, I'm talking how a man coverages a receiver. There is retreat, hang, engage, and jam. Engage is a tight man coverage (about 2-4 yards) while jam is press people are looking for. There are strengths and weaknesses to all of them, but Michigan tried to switch between retreat, engage, and jam. Receivers adjust to routes differently, QBs have to read this as well, they all have different strengths and weaknesses, etc.

Michigan didn't look great in jam. They didn't really look great in any. But they were getting beat pretty clean in jam, so I think they kind of went more to a philosphy that they were going to let the CBs read the QB and routes a bit more and make tackles and try to jump some routes, because they weren't playing well enough in their jam to be successful at it. Golson struggled a lot his FR year, and then even a bit against Rice, in methodically driving ND. He got benched against Michigan his first year because he struggled so much. He was a much different player on Saturday than that one. So then Michigan tried making some other adjustments outside of the coverage type.


September 8th, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

As far as the defense goes, if you've switched to this new, aggressive press style and it's not working, is it the right thing to bail on it since this is the new philosophy? It seemed like they started playing some off coverage again.

Also, either Countess has terrible technique or he's just not a press corner. He routinely gave up inside releases and never got his hand on the guy. IIRC, in press on the outside, the sideline is your friend and you absolutely cannot get beat inside. J.Lewis just has to get his head turned around and he'll be ok. We really missed Peppers and Taylor.

Maize and Blue…

September 8th, 2014 at 10:03 PM ^

1) DB's frequently missed their jams so they were beat right away. Other times they didn't even try to jam WRs which pretty much defeats the purpose of press coverage anyways unless you have incredibly fast DBs with loose hips.

2) ND WRs started outside and then would cross our DBs face.  This is just terrible DB play.  The sideline can be used as another defender.  I was taught this in HS and yet our DBs were unable to execute what should be basic coverage principles.  


SC Wolverine

September 8th, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

After the first two series, I thought we looked like the better team.  Then ND started ruthlessly exploiting Hollowell and we seemed to have no answer.  Then they started ruthlessly exploiting Countess and we seemed to have no answer.  Maybe that's just the reality, if Peppers and Taylor are out, but I would have preferred to see Lewis in for Countess and then maybe Countess to nickel in Delonte's place.  They did ratchet up the pressure in the second half, but the coverage problem stayed there as a glaring problem.  Meanwhile, on offense, the two missed field goals and the early ND lead seemed to take us completely out of our flow.

In other words, you seem to be right -- there just were any adjustments available to our coaches other than the ineffectual ones they made..  


September 8th, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

I was really expecting a fake bubble screen and go once the ND secondary was selling out on stopping them, but then the line decided to stop blocking so there probably wouldn't have been time anyway

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Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

But, with limited TV availability, it's difficult to tell what was behind that. Every time the showed a high level view or a view from the endzone, ND consistently had a guy playing over top of Funchess that I saw. So, I dunno. It may have been in the plan, maybe they didn't go to it because of score or because of what ND was showing, hard to say without all-22 footage.


September 8th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

The obvious adjustment to ND sitting on the short stuff is trying to throw over the top of the defense.  But that would require the OL to hold back ND's pass rush so that DG has time to get the ball out.  And there was good reason to believe that wasn't going to happen. 

Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

I think they likely rotated coverage to Funchess a bit, and I think both Michigan and ND know the limitations of the OL. Can't run double moves and attack deep and all that with a limited OL unless you max protect. Nuss doesn't like to max protect. Fans hated when Borges used max protection. It's kind of a trade off.


September 8th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

I'm beginning to think the offensive stuff is on Hoke, like the 3-3-5 was on RR. He wants us to be 90's Michigan at heart, but that's purely speculation on my part based on anecdotal evidence.


Thing that's the worst about this? I never ever thought after RR left, and with the staff that we have and quality of players we're bringing in now, that we would ever be the laughing stock of the B1G again... lo and behold here we are, even on one of the worse weekends in B1G history, we're the laughing stock of them all, we're the punchline. Whether true in reality or not is arguable, but that's the perception that's out there after this weekend, and that's completely inexcusable to me at this point.


September 8th, 2014 at 11:17 AM ^

There aren't enough adjustments a team can make (offensively and defensively) that mitigate poor game preperation.  

Hoke has shown throughout the years he does a poor job of preparing his team for road games.  This was just another example.  

The Baughz

September 8th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

Well I think you can argue some defensive adjustments were made. Michigan only gave up 10 points in the 2nd half as opposed to 21. Lol.

In all seriousness, this team was unprepared. Shocking, I know. Yeezus is right, this was just another example of how this team performs against quality road opponets under Hoke. Poorly.

Black Socks

September 8th, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

Why do we play tight ends and fullbacks that aren't quite up to high level?  I'm not knocking our players, but at this time we are better off going 4 wide.  When we play multiple tight ends we bring in superior athletes agains our front.  Our WRs are pretty good.

Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^

People constantly complain about our FBs and TEs. Hill had some good blocks and ran some clean routes. Kerridge was as good at his assignments as any WR was. Our WRs still make mistakes on their own as well. This won't be a 10 personnel team, it just won't. On top of that, this is still a below average OL. They need some help, they won't be 5-man blocking this year. That's why Michigan still uses TEs and FBs.