Ortmann-MSU "timing" the snap and beating us off the ball. What is the fix for this?

Submitted by wolverine1987 on October 6th, 2009 at 9:14 AM

In yesterday's presser Ortmann, quoted in the Detroit News here:


says that MSU did a nice job timing our snap count and beating our offensive line off of the ball. I'm not knowledgeable enough to understand how they did that (for the second year in a row, according to Ortmann) or what the fix for that is. Can anyone comment from a position of knowledge? Sharik, Magnus or other coaches?



October 6th, 2009 at 9:21 AM ^

I'd imagine they analyzed all the tape and found a time pattern between the last QB leg lift and the time to snapping the ball. It always seems to be roughly the same amount of time. There's obviously a fix for this - tell the center to snap it whenever he wants after the leg lift, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, whenever.

Now waiting for a coach to tell me I'm totally wrong ;)


October 6th, 2009 at 11:32 AM ^

perhaps Molk would've done that, which might explain why pressure on Tate was substantially lighter and why the run game was better in the first 3 games. But with Moosman, we needed emphasis to be "dear god, snap the ball correctly!" Timing will come around probably about the time Molk comes back...


October 6th, 2009 at 9:28 AM ^

This is the 2nd straight year that this has been an issue. I think it stems from Dantonio, to his credit, studying the hell out of Michigan game tape, but also having young/inexperienced O-lines/QBs who aren't sophisticated enough to vary the counts enough. I think this will be worked out as guys have more experience...I also think, on a slighly different note, that U of M is going to always have to be ready to shake things up a little against MSU, b/c MSU under Dantonio is willing to sacrifice other games for the sake of being super-prepared for Michigan...And, yes, I hate praising Dantonio.


October 6th, 2009 at 10:38 AM ^

If the goal is to build an overall good football team to compete for conference and national titles, then that is failure and should not be praised.

If the goal is to beat one specific team (which it seems like might be the case here) then he's been successful so far and can be praised for that.


October 6th, 2009 at 10:57 AM ^

...rivalry games count more, both in the eyes of recruits and the fan base. State for a long time has held that the definition of a good season consisted exclusively of beating Michigan, so if that is in fact MD's strategy, why not? John Cooper is a good example of what happens if you don't win rivalry games.

Given the relatively low expectations most people had for Michigan at the beginning of this season (and the rough time that we are going to have against The Ohio State), I wouldn't have minded if Coach Rodriguez had "overprepared" for State.


October 6th, 2009 at 6:42 PM ^

So, you would rather be 3-2 with losses to ND and Indiana than 4-1 and where we are today?

This is insane, and precisely why people are being critical of Dantonio.

On the other hand, MSU won and any rationalization about him being too focused on Michigan is probably just trying to ease the pain and make excuses.


October 6th, 2009 at 9:47 AM ^

With Moosman's snapping troubles, I think he's got into a rhythm of snapping the ball...rhythmically. When you're inexperienced at a position, it helps to get into a rhythm where you think, "Okay...the QB lifted his leg...one one thousand...two one thousand...SNAP." That probably helps Moosman feel comfortable.

A more experienced center (such as Molk or perhaps any non-guard) would alternate how quickly he snaps the ball when there's a silent count. Unfortunately, that description doesn't apply to Moosman.

Hopefully they'll work on that this week. But, as you probably recall, Molk had these same issues last year. As he got more comfortable in the second half of the year and at the beginning of this year, it seemed our offensive line was improving. Now that Moosman has stepped in and has timing issues, it seems our offensive line has deterioriated. I don't think that's a coincidence.


October 6th, 2009 at 4:33 PM ^

If they're doing a silent, timed snap anyway, why can't it be decided in the huddle when they go? Instead of "On 3," with a normal snapcount, it's "At 3." Same procedure, Molk/Moosman looks up, everyone counts to the number, then snap.


October 6th, 2009 at 9:47 AM ^

looks back at the QB between his legs and until he is ready to snap it. Once he's ready, he then looks up at the defense. I know last year the MSU defense was timing this. It will be interesting to see on the UFR if they were doing this again.


October 6th, 2009 at 10:30 AM ^

I'm not a coach, but I do know a little bit about gamesmanship. I would definitely make sure Dantonio thinks the same thing will happen next year, throw him a few bones early, and wait for a crucial situation to draw them offside or snap early. Then, I would vary things every play to throw them off.

If managed correctly, this could be used to keep MSU off balance the rest of the game and turn their "advantage" into a huge disadvantage. Since Dantonio has them working on UM from the start of camp, it would be pretty difficult for them to make an in-game adjustment because the behavior would be a reflex action by then.


October 6th, 2009 at 10:36 AM ^

That "gamesmanship" is silly for many reasons.

Hey, I've got an idea. Next year let's play Jeremy Gallon at quarterback every game leading up to MSU. Then when we play MSU again, let's play Forcier. It'll screw us for every previous game, but by golly, MSU will be surprised!


October 6th, 2009 at 11:29 AM ^

I think the best situation is to fix the problem completely(snapping issue). Thus, you take a way a crutch that Dantonio has had for @2 years now. You will make him have to coach better and analyze deeper into the game. I'm confident we would be victorious if we forced him to have to purely out-coach Rich Rod.

However, we should absolutely have a few packages or other "suprises" for our rivals compared to other games. None that could give us a decided disadvantage like a consistently timed snap for all prior games. But, a new variation or 2 on a staple play, new set, or new personnel packages.


October 6th, 2009 at 12:32 PM ^

It seems to me like MSU was vacating the middle...hard rush with the line and a LB or two, with the other LBs out in the flat to cover slot receivers, etc. I'm guessing this is a calculated risk based on the fact a lot of UM's plays are out on the edge (non-running). I'd love to see us do a few more quick hitting passes up the middle to the Tight End...seam routes, etc.


October 6th, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

I know we did this at least once in the game where Tate looked to his left like he was going to throw the bubble screen then quickly hit Koger wide open up the seam about 8 yards downfield. Of course the ball bounced off Koger's chest, but I agree with your ideas about it being a useful tool. We really have a chance to kill teams with our tight ends if teams overcommit on the perimeter and I'd like to see us do more of it to keep opponents off balance.


October 6th, 2009 at 1:07 PM ^

I recall at least two defensive offsides calls on MSU. This could have been Rich Rod making adjustments, or it could have been a random screw up by a team that's notorious for discipline problems.

Since Rich Rod "invented" the spread, he should be able to figure out a fix for this snap-timing problem. I'd like to see a lot more Spartan offsides next year at the Big House, and the crowd should be extra raucous when this happens -- it'll show off our awareness/IQ (as in: we're onto you, sucka) while getting under the skin of the defense.


October 6th, 2009 at 1:24 PM ^

MSU taking over as the state's elite program? That's not even worth addressing.

But there is a shift we could see happening: the Big House taking over as the loudest, most raucous college football stadium in The Great Mitten. Show Spartan fans that you really can be crazy-loud and classy at the same time. I'm liking what I experienced at Michigan Stadium during the ND game and what I've been hearing on TV. Let's double it!

The only shift this state is going to see is Michigan getting twice as dominant in every aspect. The rich shall get Rich-er in this case.