Mattison and defense at the game

Submitted by caliblue on December 1st, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The most surprising thing about THE GAME yesterday was the complete reversal of what I and probably most of us assumed would be the story if we were in the game, that is we expected the defense to hold OSU while a sputtering offense scored just enough points to make it a game. But, of course we got a defense that could not stop Miller or Hyde, and an offense that matched OSU score for score. What happened to our defense ( keep it in mind I am not at all critical of Mattison ) ? I am hoping  for the usual thoughtful and honest analysis we get here on a regular basis.



December 1st, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

I was really scratching my head at those who thought our defense would slow down Ohio. Mattison hasn't been able to do it for the past 3 years. I shouldn't blame Mattison, we just don't have the horses up front to stop them. Our D-line is undersized/ineffective up front at stopping the run. Couple that with Braxton Miller is probably the best running qb in a long time, we were going to be in trouble. That being said, we did force some turnovers. However the biggest influence for us going for the win at the end was Ohio did whatever they wanted to  all day. I think the depth is coming, we just need that NT that gets the automatic double team, we don't have it yet.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

We did OK last year in Columbus.  Wasn't fantastic, but holding them under 400 yards and to two TDs when our offense couldn't do shit all day and turned it over 4 times is fine.  We just need the talent + experience, which is getting there.

Wool Vereen

December 2nd, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

Well, last year was actually a pretty good defensive effortn mainly in the second half.  Miller only had 57 yds rushing total, and they only scored 6 points in the 2nd half.  Offensively, we score one touchdown in the 2nd half, we win that game


December 1st, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

The simplest answer is 4 senior offensive linemen + Miller + Hyde vs. a youthful front 7 that hasn't been tested like that before this year and was missing some key parts.  And not enough speed in the secondary to feel safe playing the safeties at the line/cover the constraint plays (or just flat bombs) that Meyer runs.

I'm not 100% that Mattison really understands how to stop spread offenses, but I'm not sure that game is a great indicator for us to look at.  Their offense really is terrifying.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:40 PM ^

When does "youthful" front 7 excuse go away?  Let me know what year?

I count Black, Washington, Ash (who played quite a bit yesterday), Beyer, Ryan, Morgan, Clark.  That is 7 players in a rotation of about 11-12.  Will people stop calling it young front 7 when it is all seniors?  Because no team in the nation has a 2 deep of all seniors and juniors.


December 1st, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

We are partly youthful, but we are also partly just not very good. It's a talent deficit, not a coaching deficit. Morgan is not an elite athlete, Ash probably should have been a SDE instead of bulking up, Washington is limited athletically, Beyer has played three different positions this year, Black has gone from WDE to 3-tech to NT, etc. It's a group that's been in flux.


December 1st, 2013 at 9:44 PM ^

"We are partly youthful, but we are also partly just not very good." 

I agree - I don't think many UM fans see the reality though.  All I see is the "youth" meme.   They think it is all about youth when the evidence says no.   It is also troubling when Taco Charlon is bigger than guys 2-3 years older than him, as is Ben Gedeon.   We lack elite size and/or athleticism at these positions in the front 7.  Maybe it is coming in Wormley, Charlton, Pipkins, Henry, Gedeon, Winovich, et al.  Ross 15 lbs heavier would be another but he might not have the frame to do it. 

Blue Mike

December 1st, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

I think the youthful thing is less about who is playing, and more about where the talent is.  Of the guys you listed, probably only Ryan and Clark are out there because of talent.  I think, at least to some degree, the rest of those guys are playing a ton because the more talented guys, and the guys that fit what Mattison wants to do, are young.  

I think that if Mattison went with his guys, you'd see just how young the defense is.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

On of the other LBs playing hurt the last few weeks. JMFR cannot be 100% yet - especially speed-wise. Most of that showed in OSUs run game, and then there was poor Furman back there all by himself.

Wonder if they are having a pass defense catharsis over at 11 warriors.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

Right away the first comment is dickish. Look, either give some analysis or don't post.

To me, we just aren't experienced enough up front to deal with that pounding style. This is the game we missed Pee Wee the most. Needed that depth and size. Had to cheat in to deal with that, made us vulnerable to Miller taking off when he had space at the tackles.


December 1st, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

I was not surprised.  We gave up 47 a month ago to Indiana, after all, and got run over by Iowa a week ago.  The D has never been all that great at stopping either the run or the pass this season.  The pass rush has been minimal, the DL has struggled to get a push up front, and the DBs have struggled to stay with their men in deep coverage.   Not a recipe to stop the OSU offense.




December 1st, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

I think their ability to to run was pretty predictable. We struggle bringing down bigger backs like Weisman and Hyde. I obviously wouldn't have predicted giving up 400 yards rushing but gotta give osu's offense credit. They are pretty lethal when they get Hyde rollin


December 1st, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

although I thought Ben Gedeon did okay. I guess at this point Furman is a better option than Dymonte, (hopefully that changes soon). OSU picked on Furman all day long. In regards to Hyde, he is a train, no question, in the end though, I think #5 makes him who he is.


December 1st, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

And why wouldn't we basically have Jake Ryan shadowing Hyde?  Realize he isn't a middle LB but I would think he could try and shadow him, on one side. 

In some ways, it is more embarrassing to get dominated like this on the ground.  A passing attack over the top of our D might have scored the points too - but it also might have left Miller injured!  Instead, we seemed to play a soft zone, and 6 man fronts and this became a dominant effort by OSU. 

I remember one 4-play drive they literally scored in 1:16 - on 4 runs!  LOL.  Embarrassing.


December 1st, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

thought the biggest thing was their tackles dominated us.  I think we should have been blitzing Ryan off the edge every dam play, he was the only one that disrupted anything in the backfield.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:37 PM ^

i really don't think BIG refs call holding anymore unless you literally tackle someone.  osu actually did this once and the ref reluctantly threw a flag.  however, they did call a BS holding on norfleets long return.  go figure it was the ref standing near Urbs.  probably the same ref that threw the 15 yarder on clark too.


December 1st, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

Avery sealed our win 2 years ago with INT.  He is a solid nickel corner playing our of position.  Furman hasn't seen much time at all and looked lost.  Is that his fault or coaching?  Maybe both.  I don't think these guys "suck" at all.

I do think the inability / unwillingness to play 7-8 in box or throw some run blitzes hurt.  And I am not sure but I think Jenkins-Stone getting ejected hurt too - though I hadn't heard him in game prior?


December 1st, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

terrible post. Avery, we have much better options than him. Just because he is a senior and had an interception a couple years ago doesn't mean anything. He is out of position a lot of times, takes poor angles, and even when he is in position he gets out of position because of lack of speed. He does nothing well. 

And how does losing RJS hurt us? We lost a special teamer compared to a starting guard for Ohio and another player who is a key offensive contributor. RJS probably will never start while at Michigan. He isn't even on our 2 deep and it isn't too far fetched to think he never will be. 


December 1st, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

I am not defending Avery's overall performance as a safety - but in 2011 he WAS a decent nickel corner who came up big in key situations.  Doesn't that count for something?  Maybe as a safety he is out of position, and not physically suited to play it - but then who makes the decision to throw him out there?  Um, coaches?  Why is a 5-10 corner our best option at back-up safety?  What the heck is going on there?  Why do we always seem to have questions about safety depth?

I am not sure if losing RJS hurt us - hence my "?".  Because the announcers said it would hurt us - which didn't seem right - so I was checking.  We were out what, 2 LBs though right?  So it could have conceivably hurt us had we lost another in the game due to injury.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

Were just not good enough in the middle of the DL. Pipkins was a massive loss this season and QWASH hasn't seemed to be healthy all year long.

Next year as much as I hate using that word should be better, while young hopefully the younger Redshirted guys like Poggi/Hurst can put on some weight to help in the middle.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

Frankly, the most disappointing aspect of this year have been the respective lines. Both need to make huge strides for their to be drastic improvement in 2014. I think Hoke and co understand that which is why I believe a huge emphasis will be placed upon improving the offensive and defensive lines.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:09 PM ^

I said earlier in the year that we should play two DT and not a NT and a 3T against the power teams and am not sure how much we used that against OHIO. With Pipkins out I wanted Henry and Washington all game with Black and Wormley used more as ends for contain. Thought i saw more typical 3T used and their larger experienced line manhandled smaller UM DL players all game. I guess you could say pick your poison as the pass was contained and Meyer would have done more spread passing if we did use a stouter line to load up on the run. I thought people say make Miller beat you with his arm so a lot of blitzing with lane discipline ala MSU approach may have worked if tried and we had the right people doing it. Borges may have saved his job and likely did but Special teams were a disappointment again and still. How does the rest of the B10 seem to have better than average kickers and UM struggles..I hope to see more ST focus and teaching and a QB coach under Borges at least for better results. Hart can replace Fred Jackson if he retires also. Hecklinski safe and a lhelluva recruiting coordinator.Poor tackling was again evident yesterday and stark compared to OHIO tackling. How good the LB coach (Smith) is versus Manning I question. Maybe red Deer antler spray like the other teams use is the answer?


December 1st, 2013 at 1:11 PM ^

Most of our starters/upperclassmen on defense are not the same level of athlete that they were facing.  Also OSU's offensive line is better (way better) than any we have faced this year, and our d-line is still young.  They dominated the line of scrimmage.  I actually was surprised how few opportunities our secondary gave them to make plays in the passing game.  


December 1st, 2013 at 2:43 PM ^

"Most of our starters/upperclassmen on defense are not the same level of athlete that they were facing."

It sure seemed that way - it seemed like men vs boys at some level.  In fact Gedeon who was a freshman seemed to be bigger than most of our upperclassmen which either says a lot about Gedeon or a lot about the other players on the team.   Morgan seemed to get run over constantly. 


December 1st, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

Well, Pipkins was out and so were James Ross and Jarrod Wilson. We started a freshman (Gedeon) at WILL, and their running back was bigger than our inside linebackers. We were down to playing a third-string nose tackle (Richard Ash). And a lot of our talent is very young.

There are lots of reasons. I'm not really sure why anyone would have expected Michigan to stop their offense. They have pretty good players everywhere. Heck, my prediction was one of the most optimistic ones I saw, and it said that Ohio State was going to score 31. They ended up scoring 7 fewer points than their season average, so that's not a bad day for our defense.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

Our defensive ends, I don't think any of them scare anyone as a pass rushing threat. Our tackles are either small, Black, or young, Henry, or injured, Washington. We still have yet to get that recruit that is a DE that will give us 6 or 7 sacks in a year. Wormley and Beyer are not those kinds of guys, Hand would have been that guy.....

I think Henry will be great next year as he improves his leverage and gets stronger. Hopefully Pipkins is back and healthy as he can be a space eater. 


Mone will be a huge key to the difference in a couple years as I believe he will eat up two blockers. I don't know what impact he could have next year as DL is typically a very tough position for Freshman and DTs tend to develop a lot slower.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:20 PM ^

1. DT needs more power to hold the POA.
2. dEs need more explosiveness to generate pressure.
3.ILBs need more size (Ross might be 220 lbs, Bolden is just over 220 and Morgan is 228) although true frosh Gedeon is already 236.
4. Safeties need more lean mass to tackle effectively.

Lots of youth and large frames to mold. S&C program must step up if we're going to play "big boy" football.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

"S&C program must step up if we're going to play "big boy" football."


Agree.  A lot of guys seem about 10 lb underweight on the defense - either they don't have the frames to hold the weight or something is amiss in the S&C.  I am not talking about the underclassmen but the older guys.  I am hoping it is a case it is mostly body frame as a guy like Charlton is already as big as most of our older ends...Gedeon bigger than our older LBs.

I love your point #1 thru #3 but I think that is the blueprint for every defense in America ,save for apparently Rich Rods.