Michigan Monday up at the Ozone: we know nothing about Michigan

Submitted by StephenRKass on September 17th, 2012 at 11:48 PM


Michigan Monday is up at the the Ozone. LINK:  http://theozone.net/football/2012/UAB/michiganmonday.html

There isn't a whole lot of analysis. But then again, that's where Brian is too after UMass. "I Got Jingos." or, from Brian's piece this morning, "I don't have anything incisive to say about Saturday's events. . . I started poking around previous events like this to figure out what you're supposed to say when the predictable thing that doesn't mean anything happens."

Nonetheless, a few bullets:

  • The UMass game means nothing, and is worthless for predicting the rest of the season.
  • ND is the first real game (Bama too good, AFA too unorthdox, and UMass too weak.)
  • Michigan is good enough to win the Legends Division. Which isn't saying much.
  • The passing game isn't as bad as previously thought, with Gallon and the Devin's play really standing out and making this a legit part of the offense.
  • Deep passing game and goal line play are areas of concern for Michigan.
  • Defense doesn't show much promise yet.
  • Only one sack is not good, esp. against UMass.
  • Frank Clark is pretty good, but not great.
  • Secondary is pretty scary (at least Ramon and Avery,) and will likely be exposed by the lack of a decent pass rush.
  • Can the DL rush the passer, stop inside runs, and contain the passing game? This determines how Michigan's season will go.

There was one thing Gerdeman noted which was new to me:  the QUADRUPLE option. This is the kind of play design I'm salivating about with Borges. When he has all the pieces he wants, the team will be awesome. (NOTE: if someone can embed clips of this play in the thread, that would be great.)  I quote:

The most interesting development for me was seeing the invention of the quasi-quadruple option. Basically, the play starts like a jet sweep, Dennis Norfleet comes through the backfield as the ball is being snapped, and as he is running to the quarterback, the tailback in the shotgun then follows right behind Norfleet like a pair of runners crossing home plate at the same time.

Robinson can give the ball to either player, but the defense has to respect both of them. I don't think this is a read play yet, and I don't know that it ever will be, but the defense still has to assume either player is live.

Michigan ran this play three times. Norfleet and the tailback carried the ball the first two times. The third time it was treated as a play-action pass and Robinson threw out of it. The quadruple part comes in when you consider the fact that Robinson could also take off with the ball if he wanted to.



September 18th, 2012 at 1:24 AM ^

Wait, so you are saying that, when a team has a running QB, you can run more than three or four plays that end up getting stopped by any defense with a pulse? The creativityand adaptability of Borges will never cease to amaze me.


September 18th, 2012 at 6:18 AM ^

He makes a good point, in noticing that Quad Option, or whatever you want to call it play.  I dont think Borges gets enough credit for some of his play designs.  He is not afraid to try new stuff and from what I gather in his interviews, he gets a kick out of seeing if they are going to work.  I think I remember reading Denard or maybe it was Fitz...calling Borges "The Mad Wizard"...and I think that is his style in a way, and I like it. 

Having these options such as Norfleet and Funchess is going to really open up even more options for nifty plays.  It was interesting to also see Russ Bellomy running alot of inside zone plays.  He seems to have a nack for the 5-8 yd gain and maybe more if he gets a chance to get out side the pocket.  If he ends up being an accurate passer, he really is going to be tough to deal with next year, with all of these options in the offense that they are building around him.  That is...if he does end up being the starter next year...which all signs are pointing to him being groomed for.

Louie C

September 18th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

This is why I don't understand the whole MANBALL thing. Is the offense going to be spread and shred? Probably only in certain situations, but due to Borges's innovative nature, I do not see the return to three yards and a cloud of dust that some people want to see.


September 18th, 2012 at 6:28 AM ^

Here is the one where Norfleet carries.  It really is not a Quadruple Option at all....The play is about 3:45 in.


There are 3 options there at Denard's disposal...which is true..but it also takes advantage of the old bunch em up philosphy which makes it hard for the defense to get a read on a key from.

Only this time, instead of bunching up the WRs on the outside or in a tight formation... its bunching the backs up in the backfield to create a similar disadvantage look to the defense.  Quite cool actually.

It also is an effective misdirection and/or cutback play, in addition to the ability to stretch the field as if it were an end around or reverse.


September 18th, 2012 at 6:34 AM ^

One other thing...I know it was only U Mass...but Elliott Mealer looks very good at center in those highlights.  He is generally locking up and moving his guys out and often times he is the one lineman who is leading Denard down the field on a big run.  Very impressive in his first year as a center.  He was very Molkish vs. U Mass.


September 18th, 2012 at 9:58 AM ^

It seems to me that Gallon and Gardner are definitely tranding to be the preferred receivers - indeed, they account for 43% of Michigan receiving yards to date this season. Another 36% of the receiving yards belong to Devin Funchess and Drew Dileo, with all four of them essentially dominating the receiving statistics. Robinson, Toussaint, Smith and Rawls are 90% of the rushing game, which I would say probably lies within most everyone's preseason prediction for who would get the lion's share of the rushing yardage.


September 18th, 2012 at 10:37 AM ^

We know there was a severe change in Roundtree's receptions from 2010 to 2011. However, I expected at least some rebound in 2012, and that really hasn't happened. Sometimes, it just is the case that there are only so many passes to go around. Beyond that, Gardner has speed, size, and athleticism, and Funchess has great size and a fair amount of speed and athleticism as well. I would think this allow them to get more separation. We also are all aware of the ridiculous play versus Alabama (that knocked Roundtree out of bounds and off his route.) But why isn't Roundtree having more passes go his way, and catching more of them? Possibilities:

  • His number is being called less by Borges,
  • He isn't getting separation, or
  • Gardner and / or Funchess are getting BETTER separation,
  • His route running isn't crisp

I don't know if the UFR will help figure this out. That is to say, the UFR is great for looking at whether or not you catch a pass thrown your way, and whether or not the pass was on the money and catchable or meant for Tacopants. However, I don't think the UFR has any way to analyze how many times a receiver runs routes, and how well those routes are run, and and how well those routes are covered.  IIRC, Roundtree hasn't been targeted by Denard all that much, and I'm not sure how many routes he's run.

To be fair, if Gallon and Dileo are doing a good job and getting separation, I think it is right and appropriate that passes come their way.

Regardless who would have thought at the beginning of the season that we had

  • two go-to receivers:  Gardner & Funchess
  • three solid receivers:  Gallon, Dileo, and Roundtree
  • four more receivers:  Jerald Robinson, Jeremy Jackson, Chesson and Darboh

Looking at this, receiving options, especially with Denard's improvement in passing, does not seem to be an issue at all. Now if only the OL improves with opening lanes for running backs and giving Denard time to throw, our offense will be clicking on all cylinders and be able to produce against just about anyone. I'd like to see them obliterate MSU's defense, in particular.



September 18th, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

Roy Roundtree is probably the person who suffers most from the transition to the downfield one-on-one matchups that Borges seems to prefer. I would tend to believe that it was mainly the start of the transition on offense, not so much Roundtree's ability as he can definitely make things happen out there. In 2010, he had 72 catches for 935 yards, and this fell to all of 19 catches for 355 yards last year. To date this season, 5 catches for 42 yards. Last year, it was pretty clear that Hemingway was just the preferred target for those sorts of plays, at least to me, but Roundtree has similar play-making ability, in my estimation, and I think if Robinson is getting time to make reads and find open guys, Roundtree gets targeted more than he has been lately.

snarling wolverine

September 18th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

Roundtree seems to be going through the same thing Odoms did earlier: he's been overtaken in the slot.  Odoms was our starting slot receiver in 2008 and caught 49 passes as a freshman, but later on, Roundtree took over the position.  Odoms was moved outside and while he still was a key contributer all four years, he never matched his freshman receiving totals.  (Injuries did not help his cause either.)  

Roundtree was our starting slot receiver in 2010 and racked up pretty big numbers, but then last year Gallon overtook him.  Roundtree increasingly plays outside, where he isn't quite as well-suited, and his receiving totals are down.  He's still capable of producing when we target him, of course, but he's got a lot of competition.  To his credit, he seems to be keeping a great attitude.



September 18th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

Is it possible that 'Tree was the Checkdown in the RR offense and his number of receptions then were simply because he was Denard's main option other than running the ball?  As I recall, the offense was in a lot of ways, Denard running around to pull the safety up and then sometimes hit wide open guys.  Seemed like Tree benefited from that.  Also IMO he always was a possession type of WR not much of a main target or field stretcher.