Pre-snap motion/TE usage

Submitted by karpodiem on September 16th, 2017 at 10:09 PM
Ruminating about the game at the bar - pretty sure we haven't used nearly as much pre-snap motion this year (with Wheatley/Gentry) as last year. Also willing to wager that the number of throws to the tight ends is meaningfully lower through three games this year vs last year. Someone here has the data - go forth and confirm. I have a feeling we are saving this for a certain game in October. Yes.



September 16th, 2017 at 10:11 PM ^

Why don't you do a simple data check if you're interested? It would take 5 minutes of your time to compare the box scores of the first three games of 2016 compared to this year.


September 16th, 2017 at 10:13 PM ^

I think part of it has to do with Pep spreading it out in the Shotgun more.

The other thing is there's been a ton of TE help given to Ulizio that would factor into that as well.

I have no actual data for you tho.


September 17th, 2017 at 7:59 AM ^

Ugly it was, and we have every right to be critical of certain things, but we did win. I mean, if you would have preferred to lose, that's great, but I would argue that it is a sign of deeper problems which the blog is sadly not qualified to address. That, and we beat Florida - matter resolved, hopefully to the satisfaction of everyone at this point. 

Mr. Yost

September 16th, 2017 at 10:26 PM ^

There's not nearly the same motion or complexity/creativity in our scheme. Need more shifting, but with a young team, maybe they're concerned. That's not Darboh, Chesson, and Butt.

I also feel like we're running too many routes where we send 3 WRs out and they run those slow developing, pro style routes combos. And because it takes so long to develop we leave a TE in or we've got a FB in to help block with the weak right side of the OL.

Need more short throws, get Speight's confidence up and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers. Look at what happened with the DPJ throw today.

When's the last time we've thrown a screen pass to a RB?

When's the last time we've thrown a swing pass to a RB?

Think about that...why the fuck do we have Chris Evans if we're not going to get him involved in the pass game?

Mr. Yost

September 17th, 2017 at 7:39 AM ^

Which is my point...stop running these deep, pro route tree routes. We look like the Indianapolis Colts. That's not a good thing.

Get the ball out of Speight's hands quickly. This deep, you run a 15 yard in, you run a post corner, and you run 10 yard hitch on the back side shit is terrible.

Again, where's a swing pass to a RB? Where's a screen to a RB? Has a RB caught a pass all year? What about play action rollout and hit the FB or the TE crossing over the middle?

I feel like there are very elementary, safer, move the chains type plays that we just NEVER run.

Winchester Wolverine

September 16th, 2017 at 10:46 PM ^

I believe Speight is shell-shocked and afraid to make a mistake, therefore holds on to the ball too long and makes mistakes. Darboh and Chesson could get extremely open on a regular basis but these young guys are still learning, leading to closer coverage, further leading to delayed Speight decision making.

I'd also like to see those WR cut-block screens that worked so well a year ago. I think they're on the way soon.

Also, I've been drinking Not Your Father's Citrus Soda. Not bad.


September 17th, 2017 at 8:03 AM ^

I agree with you about these younger receivers- and it was even true of the younger Darboh and Chesson.  Younger receivers tend to give up a little to easily, thinking, "Oh shit, I'm covered" and just go through the motions. Better, more mature receivers continue to fight to get open and/or stress the defense through the whistle. They also fight for position and the ball on throws in a way that makes the QB pretty confident most 50/50 balls will end up going our way.


September 16th, 2017 at 10:56 PM ^

I promise you will see all of these things once Big 10 play starts, and not before. We have this conversation every year, because every year we put away all the exotic elements so they're not on film. We're not even putting our TEs on film (HA!). September is always vanilla pudding. We're busy working out the butterflies.

Last year, we saw an explosion of fancy at the perfect time (October). Wham plays, Peppers in the Wildcat, RB screens all over the place, the Train formation, the OL overloads, reverse handoff draws... am I missing anything? I promise we will see some flag routes to our TEs this year. No butterflies in September for Harbaugh.


September 17th, 2017 at 2:59 AM ^

It's accentuated this year due to freshman receivers and new OL who have a lot of work to do before they get to that stuff.

It could also be a step back from last year -- no Peppers and the theme this year is the work shirts and such -- Harbaugh seems as focused as I've ever seen him -- the Ohio State game last year was a crucible for him -- this year is about getting the job done. Burnt wood inside. No messing around.

I dumped the Dope

September 17th, 2017 at 4:05 AM ^

TEs have been non existent for the most part.

I think its mostly about getting the young OL a lot of practice run and pass blocking and trying to forge that unit in the fire, so they are functional when we need them.

And its been decent enough to win.  There have been derps and turnovers, a lot of Nordin.

But I don't think we are touching a good portion of the playbook in games (probably in practice tho).  Pep has got a lot more up his sleeve.


September 16th, 2017 at 11:39 PM ^

I have to agree with this take. First with your point about youth and concern with understanding and ingesting an offense that uses that much movement like we saw with three seniors last year. 

I also agree that I'd like to see some shorter passes... Lay-ups if you will that allow our QB to feel good. Plays to get the ball out of his hands and into the hands of a play-maker. We have far to many to not spread the ball around and just get guys in space. Screens, quick passes and then deep shots would be great. 

It makes me wonder if Speight struggles with throwing screen passes. I know that there are some QB's that struggle with those small toss passes and the timing to get the ball out while facing the rush. 

We do a ton of jet sweeps and reverses I don't see why we don't have the other side of the short offense. 

Perry, DPJ, Higdon, Evans, Issac, Gentry, Eubanks... None of these guys are getting enough touches. This offense needs to do a better job of getting playmakers the ball. 

Couzen Rick's

September 16th, 2017 at 10:34 PM ^

Remember we did try motion that very first series vs Florida, when the TD got called back for a ghost penalty.

I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of those shifts and other exotic looks (remember the train?) as the B1G season rolls on, and the young players gain more experience and the games start to mean more.


September 16th, 2017 at 10:49 PM ^

I always like to lay in bed and complain after sex. I especially make sure my wife knows exactly could've been better. It makes for a fun marriage.

Michigan won, I'm gonna enjoy it.


September 16th, 2017 at 11:16 PM ^

Right because it's not the entire new class of WRs, TEs, and right side of the line that is holding back the offensive play calling. It is for sure the 2nd yr starter that has shown complete understanding of the O but has just missed some throws.m, even though for some reason last year they had a wide open playbook with him and a senior-laden WR/TE corp.

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Woodstock Wolverine

September 16th, 2017 at 10:53 PM ^

Maybe. Unfortunately I think this is just the offense. It's not like they're not moving the ball, it's just that when they get close they fuck it up. This O is certainly less dynamic than last year. Maybe it's because Jedd is gone or maybe the young receivers? Who knows. Let's just hope it gets better quick.


September 16th, 2017 at 10:59 PM ^

everyone wants to blame speight, but the truth is there are multiple screwups per game by every single offensive group; speight has had a lot of catastrophic plays, wrs drop balls, oline forgets to block, and rbs picking the wrong hole or being too hesitant. that whole side of the ball is underperforming