Gary and Onwenu at the snap

Submitted by CarrIsMyHomeboy on September 3rd, 2017 at 5:57 PM
[Preface: I'll accept it if I'm deemed too much of a tyro to be trustworthy when it comes to game analysis; even still, I'm rewatching the game and noticing a pattern that is odd and noteworthy]

I think Onwenu had a consistently impactful game. Gary's positives were even more-so. But, in rewatching right now, something strange keeps happening. They are consistently the last on their line to move after the snap. I want to give the benefit of the doubt because it's so frequent as to seem deliberate. Is there any good football reason for one to "read his opponent's 1st move" before taking one's first step? The canons I thought I knew say no, but I'm open to being wrong.

I'm not, however, open to the possibility that chronology is meaningless and Gary's and Onwenu's games versus Florida should be called fast-off-the-line. They were unmistakably the last to move on the majority of snaps. The paradox is that I think they played great despite it.



September 3rd, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

I've noticed it with the SDE in Brown's system. Gary did it a lot last year amd Kemp did it this game too. Gary won the fastest way off the snap competition in camp when the BTN crew were at practice so it's not an ability thing. It might be a reading the opponent thing.

I can't think of a reason Onwenu wouldn't fire off the snap immediately, knowing the snap count is one of the OL's big advantages.


September 3rd, 2017 at 6:03 PM ^

I said the same exact thing about Onwenu. I thought on run blocking he was very solid, but the slow first step seemed to really hurt him in pass pro. It was unmistakable if you kept an eye on it.


September 3rd, 2017 at 6:23 PM ^

A couple thought on Onwenu:

1. He's the biggest OL, by kind of a lot. This may be part of it.

2. On plays where he pulls, this may play a roll. You don't "fire off" when you pull and you need the center to move forward a bit before you head left.


September 3rd, 2017 at 6:29 PM ^

if Gary shoots off the ball the opponent can guess correctly and negate him. If he pauses and sees what his opponent does, then he can use his talent advantage to counter.

However, I do have lots of theories that don't pan out.


September 3rd, 2017 at 7:21 PM ^

I have to agree that I think this was purposeful on the defensive side of the ball. Gary being the anchor, it would make sense that he take an extra half second to ensure that he will be winning his trench battle and setting the edge appropriately. Not to mention his ability to make up for that slight hesitation. Seems to me that this would make some sense, though I agree I have never really noticed anything like it before and didn't pay much attention during the game to his pre-snap. Seems like it would allow him to do a little diagnosing and kind of force the hat across from him to make a decision. He is definitely not the type to take plays off and loaf, so I wouldn't ever look at something like this as anything less than what he SHOULD be doing/was asked to do.

With Onwenu, the only reason that I can think that he would be coming off the ball slowly on purpose is, as mentioned, to pull and give the center a half second to clear so he can come down the LOS. Other than that, you negate your advantage of knowing the snap count and the play direction with hesitation


September 3rd, 2017 at 6:30 PM ^

A bunch of shithead quips and shitty jokes responding to an interesting topic.. I noticed this as well. Gary seemed like he would pause just enough to let his lineman stand up a bit, then bull rush him under his pads. He might be using this technique to get levrage, as he immediately drove his guy backwards on almost every play.


September 3rd, 2017 at 9:14 PM ^

Even if you want the player to shoot hands first you still want that to happen in the backfield so you can make one move and get to the QB.

I just think hurst has special get off, and Gary is farther from the ball.

His Dudeness

September 3rd, 2017 at 6:45 PM ^

I noticed Onwenu do this numerous times. I thought it was that he didn't get or understand what they were going on from the call in the huddle. I don't think he had a great game honestly. The right side of the line was not great. The "get off" should be fixed by next week. Gary on the other hand might be more strategic.


September 3rd, 2017 at 8:09 PM ^

I couldn't tell about how loud it was in there, but it's possible they coached Onwenu to make sure on the snap count to avoid false start penalties. New line, but a very disciplined start for a non-home game in a dome. Also, a lot could probably be chalked up to their inexperience.


September 3rd, 2017 at 8:08 PM ^

I find it hard to believe that they decided to negate Gary's speed and go against every known football technique to try playing intentionally slow off the snap. Somebody has to be last to move and Hurst is very quick off the ball. Winovich is nearly 40 lbs lighter. Makes some sense actually. He was still in the backfield a lot an played a good game. He just wasn't super man as expected. Yet.


September 3rd, 2017 at 10:12 PM ^

Can't make a thread, so I'm stealing yours. There have been a lot of people commenting on Gary's performance. I have seen several posts saying that Gary was dominant because he was fighting off double or even triple teams every play. I didn't see this during the game, so rewatched the game, focused exclusively on Gary, and recorded what happened to him every play.


Some quick obervations: 

Gary was doubleteamed 6 times. Twice he had no opportunity to make a play due to it being run away from him or it being a quick pass. Twice he was blown off the ball by the double. And twice he pushed the doubleteam into the backfield.

Florida did not really have anyone chipping him all game. I only saw it once.

Florida only did 13 designed runs while Gary was in the game. 3 were toward Gary's side, 4 were away, and 3 were inside. They ran 3 read option plays. Gary was the read man twice and played with proper technique both times. He made the play one time and was juked by Zaire the other time. That data does not indicate that Florida was purposely running away from Gary's side of the field.

Gary lined up on the strong side of the field (by my own analysis, I don't know how Michigan defines strong side) 25 plays. He lined up on the weak side for 15 plays. They are obviously trying to avoid being predictable with their alignments.

Gary sat out only 9 plays before garbage time. I wasn't specifically watching for Winovich, but I don't ever remember seeing him be taken out.

My conclusion? He played fine. He was not the weapon of mass destruction that many people who watched the game claimed he was, but he was a productive role player who did his job and contributed to the win.

If you are interested in seeing my play by play notes, let me know. I would be happy to post them. I also did this same thing for Ulizio. If you would like my breakdown on him as well, also let me know.

Edit: Also, Jim was right when he complained that the clock was wrong when Michigan received a delay of game call. There were only 29 seconds between the end of the previous play and the clock hitting zero.

JWG Wolverine

September 4th, 2017 at 12:51 AM ^

I vividly remember observing Rashan Gary doing this when I was at the Maryland game last year. Glad you brought it to attention again because it is an interesting question!

I think it's simply is a combination of Gary wanting to get a quick read, and the fact that he has such a fast d-line around him.


Gucci Mane

September 4th, 2017 at 1:49 AM ^

It is possible Hurst and Winovich are just faster off the snap than Gary. WE know Hurst as elite quick twich ability, and winovich is very quick as well. I know people observed Gary being slow off the ball last year as well.