Michigan Monday vs. Purdue at the Ozone

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 9th, 2012 at 5:28 PM

This week's iteration of "Michigan Monday" went up yesterday at Ohio website "The Ozone." LINK:  http://theozone.net/football/2012/Indiana/MichiganMonday.html

A few quotes and highlights:

Any time you can rush for over 300 yards like the Wolverines did (304), and you're not an undermanned triple-option team, it means that you are in complete control of a game.

Regarding Denard and the rest of the running game:

They were even in position to stop Robinson on his big plays, but he was just too good.  What wasn't "just too good", however, was the rest of the running game. Fitzgerald Toussaint carried the ball 17 times for 19 yards, and Vincent Smith carried it three times for eight yards.

Thomas Rawls came in when the game was well over and looked very impressive, running for 33 yards on four carries, and leaving a wake of brutalized Boilermakers in his path. Whether his play would translate while the game is still in doubt is hard to say, but it's probably time to at least let him try.

Regarding Jake Ryan's play:

I know I say this every week, but strongside linebacker Jake Ryan is so good at his job. He does a few things in every game that stands out, and they are all in different spots on the field.

For instance, there's no reason that a guy who is strong and bullish enough to rush the passer with his hand on the ground should also be able to defend slot receivers, but he does it. Granted, it's for a short period of time, but he doesn't look out of place in the open field.

A few bullets summarizing content:

  • The first drive was a microcosm of the game, ruthlessly driving down the field.
  • Michigan completely controlled the game on both sides of the ball.
  • It is incredible that 235 yards for Denard isn't remarkable, and not a career high.
  • While the OL isn't opening huge holes, the lack of running yardage is partly on the running backs.
  • Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon are doing a good job receiving, and both could get more looks and do well.
  • The entire defense was impressive, and tackled well in space.
  • Mattison has the defense well prepared to overachieve again this year.
  • The front seven controlled the line of scrimmage, important because:
  • The secondary is still suspect, with Taylor beaten badly on his interception.

Final quote:

Opponents will actually have to work hard to move the ball on this defense. The cute stuff that Purdue likes was useless . . . I want to see how this defense does against a team that is devoted to seeing how soft Michigan's middle is by running a power game. . . .To say that I'm excited to see how the Wolverines perform against Michigan State and Nebraska this month would be an understatement.



October 9th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

I wouldn't call Taylor beat 'badly'.  If the guy catches it like he should, he gets tackled for a 5 yard gain.  Annoying, especially with the seemingly soft coverage, but not beaten'badly'.

And does he expect that MSU or Neb's OL to be any better?  Both are not looking very good right now, no matter what style they run.  Thus is the state of the B1G right now.


October 10th, 2012 at 1:20 AM ^

I think the idea is that he was "beaten badly [in the context of down and distance]."  If I recall it was a 4th and short, and the receiver's route was a quick out to the sticks.  Allowing a full 5 yards if TerBush throws to anyone other than Tacopants in that scenario probably qualifies as being beaten badly in FBS conference competition.


October 10th, 2012 at 10:25 AM ^

Well, the key there is that it was a VERY easy first down catch (believe it was like 3rd and 5 or so on that play) which was extremely annoying to play that soft on that play and give up such an easy 1st down.  I remember initially for a second yelling at the defensive guy for giving up sucn an easy play, and then a second later thinking how lucky he was.

In short, beaten badly under the scenario it was is not far off.


October 10th, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

I'm not sure, but he may have been in his normal place in that coverage.  The job of a corner is not always to jump a short route.  On that play he may have been instructed to concede the  quick out and sit on a longer route.  Against a team that is showing little success moving the ball, it's not uncommon to play conservatively in coverage. The way things were going, it seemed like the only way Purdue would score was on a busted play (like a corner jumping a route and getting caught out of position).


October 9th, 2012 at 7:15 PM ^

After five games last year, Fitz had only 27.3% of the carries he would ultimately get, and for only 33.6% of the total yardage. Even if he doesn't make the 2011 totals, as has been discussed to death in other threads, the playcalls involving  Fitz  are different this year and he is being planned for by other DCs. He is being used slightly differently overall (and the numbers bear this out), but it doesn't make him less  effective in the numbers - he does have to his credit one-third of our rushing touchdowns to date. 


October 9th, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

How was Taylor beaten badly on the pick?  He has the outside man, the furthest from the quarterback.  With 3 receivers to that side and 4th and 2, the obvious offensive play call is slants, and we got them.  Gordon is back deep to help anything that gets by the defenders, as the two inside receivers run into coverage quickly.  This forces an outside read, which is the hardest throw.

It's not clear to me if Taylor can expect help from Gordon if his man starts inside and cuts back out and runs down the sideline.  I don't think he can, he has to stay back.  Therefore he can't jump the route like the other defenders do. 

And the defense worked.  You force the third read, a longer throw, and with a poor QB you get a bad pass.  The interception was icing, sure.  But I don't think a catch and tackle there would have been horrible.  Sometimes the point of defense is to force the O to execute  

Blue In NC

October 9th, 2012 at 6:10 PM ^

Surprised you didn't highlight the MSU reference in this one:

"It was a bizarre game to watch because Purdue seemed detached from what was actually going on. Like they weren't really paying attention. Like they had been knocked silly by that opening 17 minutes.

Or maybe they just had the wind knocked out of them."


October 9th, 2012 at 6:11 PM ^

Per regards to the last quote and the defense versus a power running game, I think Alabama showed how vulnerable it CAN be. There's a very big difference between Alabama running Power and State running Power, but it does say something.


October 9th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

I wouldn't say Raymon Taylor was "beat badly", however I do agree he got a lucky break.  Credit though to him for making the play.  To me beat badly implies he was beaten deep, when in reality, he was conceding a first down, but keeping the receiver in front of him.  


October 9th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

I liked the "stop us if you can" thing.  The game plan might have looked paleolithic, but if the other team can't stop you when you run, you really have no reason to do anything different.  

My guess is that Illinois will watch this film and stack against the run, causing Michigan to actually have to pass the ball this week.  


October 9th, 2012 at 6:41 PM ^

Exactly this.

I'm sure Purdue also came into the game with this same plan considering what we did against them last year and Denard's performance against ND. It didn't help, even with a "solid" defensive line.

Illinois will certainly stack up against the run, as will MSU, Nebraska, etc. The difference is that Illinois simply does not have the personnel to stop us. We'll see about those other teams.

I expect to see a similar result to last week, with our RBs taking some of the prodcution away from Denard. Against this team, everyone should have holes to run through. 

the unsilent m…

October 9th, 2012 at 9:37 PM ^

I have to beleive that its just a vision/timing issue. I'm sure he hasn't gotten slower, he hasn't lost any strength, etc.  We're not talking about a 30 something year old running back in physical decline.  Although I'm also eager to see Rawls get in there, I think the staff is doing the right thing by sticking with Fitz. The o-line seems to have turned the corner, and I think he will too, and in short order. 


October 9th, 2012 at 11:32 PM ^

For the first time in a long time, I look at Michigan's defensive statistics and I don't think twice about them being highly-ranked.

The Mattison-effect is really impressive, I must say. 


October 10th, 2012 at 11:02 AM ^

For all the criticism leveled at Rodriguez for the quality of talent he recruited on defense during his time here, the fact that Mattison has gotten so much our of Rich's guys is really an indictment of the defensive coaching from 2008-2010.  Tony Gibson minus all of the points.  GERG minus all of the points.


October 10th, 2012 at 12:07 AM ^

Fitz is a runner who overuses lateral movement, they are starting him lateral to open things up for Denard. It isn't to Fitz strength. He needs to be forced vertical and use his lateral agility to avoid. Frankly he's being a good teammate sacrificing his own stats for the good of the whole. I commend him.


October 10th, 2012 at 7:32 AM ^

Mattison has the defense in position to overachieve again this year?

What does this D have to do to change people's perception from "overachieving" to "meeting expectations"?