Michigan Monday at O-Zone

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 4th, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Michigan Monday at O-Zone is up (http://www.the-ozone.net/football/2010/Indiana/michiganmonday.html.) I always enjoy reading what the enemy has to say. This week, I think I'm going to cross-reference his analysis with the UFR, to see if they match. Some highlights (or lowlights, if you will:)

  1. On Offense, Denard is very good, and we have a questionable running game beyond Denard. Oh, and Denard is finally going to face some defenses that hit hard.
  2. Kovacs is getting worse.
  3. The next seven games, we'll find out what Michigan is really made of.
  4. Chappell was only so so, and the defense will be eaten alive by an accurate QB.
  5. Roh is wasted in the 3-3-5 scheme.
  6. Special teams are still very, very bad.
  7. Against MSU, we'll find out if Michigan really has a defense against the run or not.

I'm feeling a bit anxious about the balance of the season. Really hoping that we don't crash and burn, but manage to at least split the balance of the season.

Comments

StephenRKass

October 4th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

According to Michigan Monday, he threw a bunch of bad passes, and could have done a lot more. If so, our defense is really toast. I guess, like I said, I'd like to see the UFR and match up to Michigan Monday's analysis.

PurpleStuff

October 4th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

As much as the defense has struggled, they are much better in the middle of the field than they were last year (not that this says a whole lot).  The three guys who played in the free safety spot last year (Kovacs, Williams, and Woolfolk) combined for one interception and two pass breakups last year through twelve games (even though those guys all saw significant time at other positions as well).  Cam Gordon has two picks and two pass breakups already this year and Vinopal added another pick in garbage time against BGSU.  Mouton also has two picks (matching last year's total), both of which came by dropping into a zone after play-action.

A good running team that can effectively implement play-action is going to give any defense trouble, but I don't think we're going to repeatedly see tight ends strolling unmolested into the end zone like we did a year ago against teams like Iowa and PSU.

BiSB

October 4th, 2010 at 5:32 PM ^

I don't know exactly what to expect from the Wolverines these coming weeks, but I do know that the first five weeks haven't been meaningless. This team has confidence. The offense knows that they can score enough to win, and the defense knows that the offense can never leave them for another defense.

Nice

Zone Left

October 4th, 2010 at 5:39 PM ^

That was a brilliant line.

I can't say I disagree with anything he wrote, especially about Roh being wasted in coverage (he looks really uncomfortable), except this: ..."teams experienced in competence and defense."  What does it mean to be experienced in competence?  Wouldn't you be experienced and competent?

Shop Smart Sho…

October 4th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

I've been wanting to ask all day about this.

 

If someone who knows more about defenses would be kind enough to answer, I would appreciate it.

 

If we accept that the strength of the Michigan defense is the personnel on the line, why do we limit the number of linemen in the game at one time?  I can understand wanting 5 DBs on the field to be able to play a zone becuase they aren't ready to play a tight coverage.  But why is there any need for 3 linebackers?  There is no depth there, and not a lot of good play. 

 

Can they play a 5-1-5?

 

But seriously, it really does seem like Roh isn't as effective in his current position.  I know there are problems because of injury, but it would only seem logical to have your most effective players in a position to get production, even if it means tweaking the scheme.

PurpleStuff

October 4th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

Teams like ND and Indiana run spread formations and look to throw the ball all game long (ND threw it 44 times despite the fact that Crist missed so much time).  I'm sure our defense will line up differently (in terms of alignment and personnel) when they face teams like Wisconsin that are trying to do different things against them.

PurpleStuff

October 4th, 2010 at 7:48 PM ^

Our secondary is not very good.  The coaches have decided that the benefit of having an extra DB in coverage outweighs the benefit of a fourth pass rusher a lot of the time against teams that intend to spread the field and throw the vast majority of the time (though the team did rush 4 and blitz on occasion).  This forces a quarterback to consistently make throws into traffic if the opposition is going to score and avoids the ridiciulously easy big-play touchdowns the defense gave up last year. 

In the second half against Indiana (when we really went with the rush three strategy) the defense stopped IU four times for zero points (not counting the last 12 second possession) and conceded two touchdown drives.  The same strategy got us four stops in a row against ND in the second half as we clung to a four point lead.

If our defense continues to hold teams scoreless on 2 out of every 3 drives, we will have a chance to win every game we play this year I think.  I also don't see how the current roster is going to produce results that are much if any better than that against decent offenses.

Zone Left

October 4th, 2010 at 8:00 PM ^

The question has merit, and there are probably a dozen threads asking the same question.  No one disputes that more rushers generally will result in more pressure on the QB and that watching Chappel and other quarterbacks pick apart Michigan while moving slowly downfield is excrutiating. 

What it boils down to (IMO) is a decision by the coaching staff.  Bear with me here, hopefully my explanation works--most teams in most games seem to run offense and defense separately.  In other words, the offense does its best to be effective and score points while the defense tries to shut down the other offense, nothing revolutionary.  Occasionally, teams will go with a "bunker mentality" when seriously overmatched (Tennessee vs Florida last year is a great example) and basically try to seriously limit the number of possessions to shorten the game and maximize the variance.  In other words, a game with, say, seven possessions per team means that single big plays and turnovers should have a greater impact on the aggregate game than a game with eleven possessions per team.  If the overmatched team can get a couple of huge plays in their favor, then they have a better chance of winning.  This requires the offense to seriously slow down the game and play field position, thus having a more integrated game plan between offense, defense, and special teams.  When it works, the score is probably lower and closer than expected, which may give the overmatched team a better chance for a last minute drive to win.

I think Michigan is doing something like that.  The basic assumptions for the staff are that the offense is awesome and can score with just about anyone and that the defense doesn't have the ability to shut anyone down completely.  Both have been true in the first five games.  However, there's one other assumption.  The staff assumes that almost no college quarterback can execute consistently to score enough points with this offense (the integration part) if he's only given 5-10 yard plays all game.  The strategy is to minimize big plays (variance) and expect 1-2 critical mistakes like fumbles and turnovers.  Those, plus the normal drops and some stops here and there are going to put Michigan in a position to win every game--if everything works out. 

Basically, the idea is that Michigan has Denard and can score enough points to beat anyone if the other team isn't given the long touchdowns that have become commonplace over the past two seasons.  Their playing that strategy because the secondary simply cannot man up with anyone and the staff feels the additional space with 6-7 men in zone is too much for this secondary.  What we don't know is what they'll do when facing a team like MSU that can both run and pass effectively and generally doesn't want to play a spread.  You can probably go back to UConn for some of that info, but their QB was so inaccurate that there's no way to tell how effectively a traditional offense will fare.

I hope I articulated my thoughts well enough to make sense, especially because I'm going against the current feeling of the board.

wolfman81

October 4th, 2010 at 8:14 PM ^

or a former football player, but the answer is obvious.  I'll just say this, if you think that Michigan gets shredded in the dink and dunk game, just wait until they implement this strategy.

Unless you mean it this way...Send the 3 DL on every play and then rush 2 LBs (say Mouton and Roh).  Effectively, this means blitz on every down...which is still vunerable to the dink and dunk passing attack.

Shop Smart Sho…

October 4th, 2010 at 9:02 PM ^

I was thinking about.

 

I'm just surprised that a team with a severe shortage of quality players at one position wouldn't run a defense that allows them to maximize their most talented position.

While anyone can say, "We don't see what the coaches see." I think it is pretty obvious that the people writing and reading here see a lot more than the casual fan.  Even the casual fan knows that our LB play is poor to good and our defensive line play is average to great. 

What I'm wondering is if there is any line of logic that promotes using a 3-3-5 over a 4-2-5, especially given the relative talents of some of our DE/LB.  Roh has shown that he will do a serviceable job when asked to drop into zone coverage, but it doesn't seem as though he is good enough at that to make up for the lack of production from him not being in a better position to rush the passer.  Also, it would seem that with 4 lineman, the front line would be eating more blocks, which would free up our LB.  As they sometimes seem incapable of shedding blockers, or choosing the right gap, you would think giving them less options would be a benefit.

 

Just my thoughts.

IanO

October 4th, 2010 at 8:16 PM ^

I lol'd:

Indiana ran 98 plays, and I think I've finally figured out defensive coordinator Greg Robinson's defensive strategy. Remember when Homer Simpson was a professional boxer and his sole strategy was to let his opponent punch himself to exhaustion? Clearly, Robinson is a fan of The Simpsons.