Dr. Explosion

September 17th, 2013 at 10:54 PM ^

So the nose is being blocked by two guys. Kerridge has sealed him to the backside and Fitz cuts... to the backside.

Blocking perfect? No. But I prefer all my running backs not named Barry Sanders follow the play as designed and take what they can get.


September 17th, 2013 at 11:49 PM ^

That's nice, but Fitz still gains at most zero even if he squeezes through a barely-there hole untouched, because there is an Akron LB sliding off of a Lewan block waiting for him.

It sounds sophisticated to name drop Barry Sanders, but RBs are actually coached to make cutbacks in certain situations. In part this is to help account for over pursuit. The Terrell Davis/Olandis Gary/Mike Anderson Broncos were great at this. And it was part of the gameplan.

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2013 at 8:17 AM ^

The plan is to read outside in, he isn't taught to read his FB until he reaches the second level. The TE gets shoved back, edge is sealed. Reads next in line, which also hasn't sealed. Sees NT busting at him, he needs to cut back. It's the design of the play, this isn't Iso blocking, there are different rules for the QB.

Plus, actually watch the play full speed. The FB gets crushed back by the NT because the NT is large, has momentum, and has a better base. The hole is erased on contact. Sure, in a still frame it looks like "Hey, he sealed that NT, there's an easy hole that Fitz stupidly ignored", but that isn't the case.

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

He isn't cutting to take the play to the backside, he's cutting to get around the slanting NT who is essentially washing himself out of the play. If Kalis makes his block on the backside and Lewan actually latches onto his man, then this play goes for bigger yardage than sticking on the FB's butt or cutting it back. The big miss was Kalis, who over ran the person he was supposed to block.

But what Fitz didn't do was try to cut it backside, he was making a short quick side step to make his blocker right (as he's taught to do) and then trying to bring the play back playside, but the backside blocking failed him. Fitz is absolutely fine here.


September 18th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

Maybe I'm missing something, but when people say "there's a crease" that seems to presume literally nobody will touch him on his cut.  That tackle just blew up Miller and is closing in, and at best Fitz could push forward for a couple of yards as the LBs converge.  

I don't think Fitz has been great this year, but this line has been really bad blocking all year.  He may deserve some blame, but every time one of these reviews pops up people act like he left 100 yards on that field when, at best, he left a quarter of that.  And in addition, he skittered his way to some positive yards despite no blocking in front of him.


September 17th, 2013 at 10:22 PM ^

All Glasgow has to do is help briefly with a quick chip block on the NT.  Instead, he doesn't help out, and Miller gets driven back, and play is blown up.  That's on Glasgow for not helping, and also on Miller, because he still shouldn't get driven back so deep.  Damn, this has me even more concerned about our interior line.  I hope they can improve over the next few games.

Also, thanks for posting these.  I really like these.


September 18th, 2013 at 1:10 AM ^

On a stretch, I don't think its Glasgow's job to help on a 1. As tough as the block is, it's what Miller is required to do.

Of course, they could teach it another way, but I'd be very surprised. At the snap, every lineman steps playside on a zone. This would effectively take Glasgow away from that block. I think the beat case scenario would be for Gardner to check us into an inside zone, which would give Miller help on the nose and have Glasgow take a more direct route. But the play was probably a stretch check with me where Gardner calls right/left.

Also, the beauty of the stretch play is it gives the runner multiple lanes to choose from. His cutback is good, if not for Kalis completely whiffing on his backside block. I guarantee that Kalis heard the worst of it in the film room.


September 18th, 2013 at 3:56 AM ^

You may be right, they might expect Miller to make that block on the Nose all by himself...BUT, given the fact that Miller keeps getting worked over by D-linemen, the coaches might want to edit the blocking schemes to help Miller out, by having a guard give a quick chip block along with Miller, then the guard can scrape off to block a Linebacker.  At least that would give Miller a split second to get better leverage/positioning and footwork, before the guard scrapes off to block an LB.


September 18th, 2013 at 4:41 AM ^

Its tough though, because of the nature of zone plays. Zones, by definition, force the line to move in unison in one direction. Home and Borges want to get to a man blocking scheme eventually, but until then, well have plays like this.

In a more man blocking scheme, they could use the horn technique, where Glasgow would actually block down on the nose and Millet would pull around him and take the Mike. But that's a different play that wouldn't really offer as much of a cutback lane to Fitz and wouldn't offer the flexibility of the stretch play.

I'm more of a man blocking proponent, but it is more complicated and nuanced and relies more heavily on different line calls and basically is just harder to master, which is why most colleges are moving away from it.

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

No one busted their assignment on the play, besides maybe Butt who allowed the edge to be set deep rather than laterally, which made it so Fitz could press the edge. Other than that, every tried to do their assignment correctly. Glasgow wasn't supposed to help on a NT that is covering the C. You don't work backwards on outside zone. If he does that he can't get to the LB, who he either has to cut or scoop for this play to be successful as designed.

Akron simply slanted the NT playside, who was shaded playside, and had a scheme to stop the play. Sometimes that happens and there's nothing you can about it. If Miller makes the block, that's fantastic, it's a hell of a block. Glasgow did a great job reaching the LB. If Butt holds up on the edge and allows Fitz to press the edge, great, this is likely a gain. But no one on this play downright screwed up their assignment causing the play to fail.

Think of it this way, if Mattison had this play call on another defense, people would be saying Mattison schemed the play to put players in a position where the offense couldn't do anything. That's what happened here. It's what happened on 4th and 1 in overtime against Northwestern. It happens. Akron has a great defensive coordinator who really has no business being at Akron, he had a nice scheme to stop outside zone here.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

I have to disagree with you on Glasgow.  I explain why below, but basically Glasgow and Miller are together responsible for that NT 1st. Glasgow has to honor to possibility of the NT slanting into him and help Miller. The lineman does not have to step playside 100% of the time on a zone play. In an ideal world he would. But if the 1st level defender that he is partially responsible for is in his backside gap he can step into him. Is this the way Funk is teaching it? I can't know for sure. But this is the way I was taught it and the way Alex Gibbs taught it.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:32 AM ^

Yes in an ideal world you'd like all your lineman to be stepping playside with their first step but the defensive alignment doesn't always allow this. In a zone concept, whether its inside or outside, Glasgow and Miller are responsible for that NT and the MLB.  98% of the time Glasgow is going to work straight up to the second level to cut of that LB. But in the case that the NT does slant his way he has to know to give a quick chip to help Miller. Alex Gibbs who coached oline for the Denver Broncos in there prime said they don't teach the lineman to always step playside. If the 1st level defender is in their backside gap its okay to step into him first (that also can slow the flow of the LB reading the guard). OLineman must remember that the LB's have to come through them to get to the RB and make the play. So they don't need to be in such a hurry to get to the second level. The "horn" technique to also called "pin & pull" is really still a zone technique as well. Its just an adjustment that can be made. If they were dead set on running the stretch against that look you'd probably see them adjust to that.

Space Coyote

September 18th, 2013 at 8:57 AM ^

If the NT is shaded on Glasgow's backside shoulder then he is right to work through him and help Miller, because it's in his path. You are right about the pin and pull technique being a possible variant, but this is made difficult by the fact that there is no one lined up inside of the TE and OT, so you can only pin/pull the OG and Center, which is more in line with running an inside zone (where you would prefer to also pin/pull the TE and OT or both the OG and OC for outside zone.

Borges does have a varient that they run of pin/pull in the playbook (or as an adjustment to certain fronts), and I believe they actually did it at some point in this game between the TE and OT. But if they aren't running it on the interior, the most you would ask your OG to take out a center shaded NT would be an arm punch (essentially a stiff arm of the NT) while staying on track to the second level, particularly if you are running a wide variety of concepts, not almost exclusively zone as the Broncos did.

The main point is, if they aren't doing pin and pull with their interior players, the playside OG can't afford to backtrack here.


September 18th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

I stand corrected.  After posting I realized I was treating the NT as a 2i (shading Glasgows inside shoulder) and not a 1 tech. So I am wrong. That NT is actually Miller and Kalis 1st level player.

Its safe to say Michigan hadn't see this alignment on film. If so I'm almost positive they would tell Glasgow to help with a "chip" or "stiff arm".

Now as far as 1st steps go.  I still do believe the first step doesnt have to be playside 100% of the time. If Glasgow was dealing with a 2i that he knew would end up being Miller's guy he could step into that 2i a little bit to help Miller. Not too much because you don't want him to slant across your face into the b gap either.



Space Coyote

September 18th, 2013 at 9:15 AM ^

This could very easily be just different ways that we've both been taught or just a slight miscommunication in the words we're using, because basically, we are in agreement. From my understanding, he doesn't need to step playside if the defender is in a 2i. I've always been taught (outside of down blocking on a pin and pull) that you don't step back. His first step would still be with his playside foot, but it would be more vertical than horizontal. That helps him essentially shield the 2i with his shoulder and body while the center works to replace, once the center is in a position to replace, his "normal" path will resume and he'll get horizontal depth off his release.

So I do agree, with maybe a slight difference on what that first step is allowed to be. But again, lots of ways to skin a cat in football when it comes down to that type of technique.


September 18th, 2013 at 9:23 AM ^

Many ways to run the same concept. I've listened to many coaches who all run inside and outside and they all have slightly different rules they use.

I used to get caught up on have all 5 lineman stepping playside together. While I would still love to have it be executed in that manner I've realized putting yourself in the best position to execute the block is what matters. And yes when I say step into that 2i I'm not referring to blocking down on him like a pin and pull. But the step can be a vertical step with your backside foot in my opinion. And this can also screw with the LB who is reading the guard and mess with his flow on the outside zone.

I see this Michigan OL just in too much of hurry to get to the second level on zone plays. Even if ND's linebackers were aggressive they still have to come to you.  Picking up a LB on zone doesnt have to be a great block. You have to basically get in his way/change his path. Its up to the RB to make the right choice. The play is going nowhere if you can't get the first level moved. So picking up a LB while the nose is crushing you RB for a 2 yard loss does no good.


September 18th, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

I said they all take a first step playside on a stretch and I'm standing by that. Like we've said, the nose is a true 1, so Glasgow isn't going to block him. Tough block for Miller, but all he has to do is drive him all the way. At some point, the scoop is off and you just take the defender where he wants to go. Because its a zone, the back should be able to find a crease somewhere. In this play, he would have had Kalis not busted. He doesn't get an MA by not blocking the right guy, but he gets an MM for missing his guy. I guess I shouldn't call it a bust, but I stand by my assertion that he is more responsible for the failure of this play than anyone. Great teaching moment here: backside blocking isn't time for loafing. Young guys often think its a play off.


September 18th, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

There a different ways to run the outside zone/stretch/bounce play or whatever you want to call it. I am not saying you are wrong at all. I'm sure we were taught different things. Some want to go all out to the edge and then cut up field when that crease opens. Here i would agree that all the lineman are moving hard to the playside no matter the alignment of the defense. The back and the line are basically turning their chest to the sideline and are in a "race" to cut off the defenders, forcing them to flow hard and then the cutback opens. I think I recall the Indy Colts doing a lot of this when Peyton was there.  The other way, which I am more familar with is what we called the "bounce". The footwork and the angles of the back are almost identical to inside zone but the back is now reading the end man on the line of scrimmage first not the first DL playside of the center. Here we still want some "vertical" movement at the line of scrimmmage. We called the technique the "rip reach, pull overtake. The covered man "rips" through the 1st level player and onto reaching the LB. The uncovered man gets depth on his first step and pulls around to overtake the playside shoulder of the 1st level player. So it is acceptable to step into a guy in your backside gap IF that guy is apart your combo. If you allow that guy to get up field without be touched it makes it impossible for the uncovered guy to make this block. Now we aren't hanging around here with the 1st level guy, just going through him.  The "bounce" version as I know it is still an off tackle play and really you suck the linebackers up to the line by the back pressing the line of scrimmage and bounce out it as long as the TE or T are able to seal the DE. But like you said the backside guys have to be ready because if the end man is not sealed the back is going to look to the next down lineman. And if that guy is slanting hard to the playside this thing is going to slip all the way out the back door. Backside G and T have to prepared for this.


September 18th, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

I know the horn is a zone technique, which is why I brought it up here. I played on some teams that were similar to this one, ie we used both. But because we ran a lot of power and trap, we were used to pulling, which made us very comfortable using the horn on stretches. Other coaches might not be so comfortable adding that wrinkle or giving his line that option. I don't think we did much of it during RR's time, as we were never much for pulling. Just a coaching preference.


September 18th, 2013 at 7:27 AM ^

technical with this. At the end of the day Miller just got his ass whooped even if it is zone and he doesn't have a specific man. If he could at least stalemate the nose tackle, that's a positive play. His play at C is going to be concerning the rest of the year as competition will only get stiffer. Hopefully the coaches get something figured out.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

I've been arguing that Glasgow should have chipped the nose to help Miller. Maybe Funk isnt teaching it this way. If not thats a tough play for Miller and at the very least he should try to run the nose out of the play using his momentum from slanting against him. Then Fitz can cut behind him because after the DE sealed the edge Fitz should be reading the nose.


September 18th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

Miller to make with the NT shaded and slanting play side. You make a good point about Miller running the NT out of the play since he was already slanting that way. None of us are sure which way Funk is teaching this zone scheme, but the coaches need to protect Miller the best way they can so the team can be successful, or make change.

We also have to remember that all three interior lineman are just getting started and have a long way to go. Its just hard to see poor play against MAC level competition and expect things to get better by B10 season.


September 18th, 2013 at 10:07 AM ^

Thats the most important thing people need to remember here.  These interior guys have 9 combined starts. I've played on and coached some very good running teams that struggled big time to run the ball in the first 4 weeks of the season. A new line needs to gel. They need time to figure out what they need to and dont need to do to help the guy next to them.  Its like when people talk about Gardner and Gallon being on the same page with the back shoulder throws. Same thing with the oline. And the RB for that matter. Fitz needs to get a feel for how things will play out when the defense lines up a certain way or a linebacker walks up into the gap. Thats why although i'd like to see someone like Bryant get a shot, as this point lets not mess with these guys getting the chemisty going. With that said if a change is going to be made I think this week is the last chance to do it.


September 18th, 2013 at 10:55 AM ^

I'll disagree on two counts. First, Miller doesn't really het his ass whooped. He's got a very difficult block to accomplish. He doesn't do great, and he should have changed from trying to scoop him to just driving him across the face of the play. Its not a great block, but he doesn't miss and let him free. This is one reason why I think Miller has been a lot better than Glasgow and about as good as Kalis (need to improve, but I'm not panicked). Second, he does have an assigned man. Nothing more clear than the C blocking a play side 1 on a stretch. The only way he doesn't block him is if he slants backside, which isn't happening in this alignment.


September 18th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

another thing we don't seem to be doing much of any longer is the persuasion blocking,  leading oncoming rushers to a certain area.  Both of these techniques should be utilized a lot with a younger, weaker, less experienced front line.

Dr. Explosion

September 18th, 2013 at 10:03 AM ^

... then that linebacker has to go through Kalis to get to Fitz.  However, when Fitz freelances, the linebacker's path to the ballcarrier changes.  There's no way Kalis could have known this as he released, because he was expecting Fitz to be off to his left. 


September 18th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

is a 5th year guy out of Florida State. He had injury issues, but here is an experienced guy on a last ditch redemption tour. The dude was big and good.

Here we had Chuck Amato (former NC State HC), and Terry Bowdin (former Auburn HC) coaching, I am sure with a lot of film room advice from Jim Tressel. Coach Hoke said there were a lot of good Juco and other transfers on the team.

We (me included) just suckled on the thought of a tire fire / baby seal all week -- dreaming of watching Morris and the second string for future insights -- rather than really considering who the individuals were we were up against, and how much of a trap game this was.

You'd a thunk we all would have learned our lesson in 2007. Guess not ...


September 18th, 2013 at 7:56 PM ^

Glassgow didn't help chip, push the nt, Miller was beat at the snap by the nt, the de gets upfield and holds contain forcing the play to stay inside.  Kalis is lost and doesn't know wtf to do and doesn't block anyone....  If Kalis sets the backside block there is a cutback for Fitz and a good lane there as well. 

If Glassgow helps chip on the nt and gets the nt flowing without penetration then he can scrape to the lber. 

If Kalis blocks his lber or finds someone to block there is a cut back. 

If the TE gets to the de and doesn't let him penetrate the hole to go through is either much bigger or there is room for Fitz to bounce. 

No matter what, this play was blown up from the snap!


This happened all game long!