Passing game strategy - the enemy of my enemy is my friend

Submitted by karpodiem on September 2nd, 2018 at 4:27 PM

I watched both the Utah State vs. MSU & App. State vs. Penn State games. I downloaded both games from YouTube and will be cutting up the relevant passing plays and making an 'Every Snap' video for how App State / Utah State moved the ball in the air. I think there's something to be learned from watching that tape, hence the enemy of the my enemy is my friend thread title.

Prior to watching the Michigan game, I commented to myself (in both games) - "if Michigan can move the ball in the air like either team, they will be a vastly improved team." I still believe that can be true, but the play calling needs to get way better.  A pass on 2nd and 1 for an INT and running on 2nd and 14 killed two drives from ever really starting. I really threw my phone after those calls.

Shea should only be dropping back one out of every three throws he makes. Neither the Utah State / App. State OL could hang with the opposition DL. Here's the difference though - they only needed to hang in there for two seconds, not five!

Quick passes to the wide receiver on the outside should be getting called way more frequently. Spread the damn ball out, immediate passes can bail out a crappy/outmatched OL. We need to change the play calling to at lest mask some of these OL issues.

As I mentioned, I strongly believe there are some cues in the Utah State / App. State film we can learn from that will help us with a challenged offensive line. I'll update the post once I'm finished, I'm taking the train back to Detroit from Chicago so I have about six hours to kill/cut up the tape.



September 2nd, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

Yeah, we did a lot better on those 2 minute drives because there is less time for the dl to get to Shea and D Caff. There is a stubbornness of this staff to try to out manball everybody.


September 2nd, 2018 at 4:51 PM ^

Nico Collins is raw, I think DPJ might be a bust, and Perry is good possession guy but not a game breaker


I think losing Tarik was huge. We cannot stretch the field without him.


Not impressed by our receivers and trying to convert tight ends to wide outs is the coaching staffs way of saying so


September 2nd, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

DPJ isn't a bust but he lacks polish.  As a matter of fact most of our receivers do.  With the exception of Martin and Perry everyone else needs work.  The routes are sloppy.  That includes the tight ends too.  Gentry looked like he was waddling and drifting on his routes.  

They also didn't seem to push the ball up the field to that 10 to 15 yd passing range.  Everything was within 3 to 8 yds of the LOS. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 7:38 PM ^

DPJ lacks polish.  Martin and Perry performances were in reference to last game.  He did what was asked of him.  Got open, caught the ball when it was thrown his way.  Of course he is a freshman with room to improve.  They all have room to improve.  Yesterday aside from those two guys the WR and TE were not good.  Did you watch the game?  You thought DPJ and Gentry played well?  


September 2nd, 2018 at 7:43 PM ^

DJP led the team in receptions and I didn't make a comment on any players polish or lack thereof, you did. I'm just curious how you came to such a conclusion without seeing positional game film? I don't know what plays were called and without that knowledge you don't know if they broke off routes, ran bad routes, or if the oline didn't give the time needed for routes to develop. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 6:07 PM ^

DPJ is not a bust he’s playing his ass off and he’s only a sophomore. What I don’t understand is why did all these receivers transfer and did Harbaugh do anything to stop it? We are paper thin at that position even with black. Injuries happen with WR all the time. There’s no way Oliver Martin beat out Crawford and McDoom. Why would they leaving knowing they would be on the field every other play 

carolina blue

September 2nd, 2018 at 5:27 PM ^

I honestly thing well wind up being mostly spread in a few games. It takes a while to install that type of offense, and I think that’s why we saw spread for only about 1/3 of the game. I really think we’ll be about 2/3 spread by the time we hit Wisconsin. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 5:40 PM ^

Big problem last night.... when ND brought pressure and time was scarce they didn't hit the hot routes.  There was one play early in the game where they went empty.  ND brought heat up the middle and left an outside guy uncovered.  Would have been a big play off a quick pass.  

I also think if you want to get the passing game going you need the run, screen, draw game to compliment.  Meaning if you are operating out of the gun mostly, then you need to be able to run it out of the gun to set up your play action.  You need to have screens and draws to keep them from peeling back and you.  That wasn't happening.  They were mixing it up between and gun and under center and never developed any rhythm or pace and weren't running plays to set up the upcoming plays.  Everything seemed so poorly conceived.  


September 2nd, 2018 at 5:47 PM ^

Sidenote: Shea was 20/30 last night: 66 percent.  That's not bad.  He actually outplayed Wimbush, and while I realize this doesn't win us the game, it does indicate that Shea's passing game is strong enough to be a serious threat for other teams.


September 2nd, 2018 at 6:13 PM ^

Yeah, that short passing game really is hard for the MSU cover 4 to defend, but what really hurt MSU was the tempo.  I really don't think Shea can do tempo yet. 



September 2nd, 2018 at 7:01 PM ^

Funny, the play action pass on 2nd and 1 elicited a "FINALLY!" for me when the play was happening


I thought it was a great call. 


Don't confuse outcomes with strategies