UM v Alabama 2012 compared to Auburn V Alabama 2010

Submitted by davidhm on August 19th, 2012 at 7:20 PM

CBS Sports aired the 2010 Auburn v Alabama game the other day... the game in which Auburn trailed during the first half by three scores only to run roughshod over the Alabama D in the second half.  

It caused me to have the following questions to the general MGoBlog Community:

  1. How much of that game film do you think is being viewed by the Michigan Offensive staff?
  2. If you are an X and O guy, what plays shown on that game film best fit within the UM game plan/skill set?
  3. Now that Gus Mahlzan is no longer calling plays for an SEC team, do you think the UM coaching staff has hit him up for offensive and defensive strategy?


That game really was a tale of two halves and I don't believe Saban has changed his defensive or offensive strategy since 2010.  Just curious if any film-watchers/X and O'ers can compare and contrast and answer the above questions.


Thanks and Go Blue!


NOLA Wolverine

August 19th, 2012 at 7:27 PM ^

2. From a purely X's and O's point of view, when you need to make up three scores against Alabama you want to design the play in such a way (and adjust based on how Alabama lines up like 3 or 4 times before the snap to get in that perfect position) that Cam Newton gets the ball and does Cam Newton for the entire game. 


August 19th, 2012 at 7:58 PM ^

It seemed that running between the tackles was not productive. Outside runs worked well in the second half though.

In the passing game, it seemed as if AL played a lot of man or man-2? so routes that took advantage of that seem in order. The AL corners also seemed to over pursue the run, which helped when AL ran but hurt them when Newton rolled out and then passed.


August 19th, 2012 at 7:55 PM ^

First off, Alabama has containment down pat and doesn't get burned by the cute stuff Auburn tries to run early on.

We should definitely pull out the QB oh nooos! play.

Alabama sticks to their assignments and the inverted veers do not often end up in successful yardage. Auburn is more productive with the read option instead.

Probably won't see any bubble screens, but I think Michigan will eventually go to the throwback screen.

The QB isolations usually only gave Newton 2-5 yards, I don't think the pounding on Denard is worth the pay.

Hopefully we come out in the victory formation with less than a minute to go.

T-town Wolv

August 19th, 2012 at 7:56 PM ^

trick plays don't fool that defense very often. Pass plays against man coverage would be something to look at during the game. Safety check downs on Playaction are also useful against them. 


August 19th, 2012 at 8:24 PM ^

The 2011 defense that was #1 in every statistical category was almost the exact same roster as in 2010, except they replaced DE's Marcel Dareus and Luther Davis with Jesse Williams and Damion Square. In 2010 they lost to Auburn, LSU, and South Carolina, but even with losing Dareus the defense took the next step in 2011 and they only lost to LSU. 

With the 2012 defense it's easier to tell you who returns than who they lost because so many of them are gone. Returning starters DE Damion Square, Jesse Williams (moves to NT,) ILB Nico Johnson, and SS Robert Lester remain. They didn't just lose 2011 starters either, at half the positions on defense they lost the 2nd string as well. 1st choice backups at NT, SLB, ILB, SS, FS, and both CB spots are gone for 2012. In all I could count 19 departures from their 3 deep on defense from last year. 3 projected starters at FS, ILB, and SLB were 3rd string backups in 2011, and one of the starting CB's is a Juco transfer.

Alabama has a lot of top prospects and watchlist guys on their depth chart, and has some very talented kids, but they will take a step back on defense in 2012, and Michigan should be able to take advantage of that, and have a decent showing in week 1.


August 19th, 2012 at 8:54 PM ^

It's basically down to freshman TJ Yeldon for a good portion of Spring practice  now that Dee Hart is out and junior Eddie Lacy got injured in practice the other day. It doesnt sound serious, but I'm not as afraid of their run game as I was when Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson were carrying the rock.

Edit: apparently it's TJ Yeldon or nothing now that the injury may be season ending to Lacy.

Angry Alabama Running Back Hating God? or maybe Perry the torn ACLephant has a brother who lives in Tuscaloosa...


August 19th, 2012 at 9:11 PM ^

While Denard was absolutely spectacular that game, I'd actually rather have his performance vs OSU. While he wasn't as prolific yards wise, he was much more efficient throwing the ball and the offense put up 40 on OSU (I can't recall the last time UM put up more than that against OSU), 


August 19th, 2012 at 10:14 PM ^

That's why Borges must only run the spread read option. Same thing as last year. As long as Denard is under center, we must run that offense. For examples, watch the game film from last year. Against State, Iowa, Va. Tech (even though we won) we didn't run that offense. Against Nebraska, Ohio, etc. we scored 40+. Look at Denard's rushing numbers in games we have won since he been qb.


August 19th, 2012 at 9:05 PM ^

A cursory look at the box score for this game reveals that Auburn was getting 16.62 yards on average in the air versus 2.12 average yards per play in the rushing game. Looking at the video of their offensive plays, save for a few plays, Auburn didn't seem to get much of anywhere on the ground, but testing Alabama's pass coverage really was working - I think all three TDs were receiving TDs, in fact.

Several analyses of the Alabama defense  tend to echo the notion that the passing game might be key here, particularly in man-to-man coverage. Alabama definitely seemed to have some issues with that in the video posted above, so we can definitely test that,especially with a fairly young secondary in Alabama. 



August 19th, 2012 at 10:16 PM ^

I think the place to get them in the passing game is on the backside of Trips to the field with the threat of run.  They love to go 1-v-1 to the boundary and shift their attention to the field.

The extra safety spins down and takes away any jet motion/bubble action, the rest of the defense focuses on pinning the QB runs inside.

Of couse, to do that, you have to have a WR who can beat their best corner.  That's often asking a lot, but there's stuff you can do.

Also: I bet if you take the sacks out, the running game looks a little better.  Still not great, but it was enough to get into makeable third downs and to make the play action stuff work.  The first quarter was truly disastrous, but they settled in and did okay after that.


August 19th, 2012 at 11:43 PM ^

I was really surprised to see how wide open Auburns receivers were on so many occasions. The pass attack seemed to be wide open, and even when a guy was covered the receiver either had a case of the dropsies, or Barron fell down. The DLine was explosive, stuffed the run, and was in the backfield on almost every play, but the secondary seemed rather exposed here for guys who would be taken in the first round one year later...


August 19th, 2012 at 10:10 PM ^

I went back and watched it pretty carefully and the difference in the first and second half seems to have a lot to do with execution.  In the second half, certain blocks got made that weren't in the first.  Newton didn't take terrible sacks for no good reason.

Another really notable bit was how many big Auburn runs came off the bounce out on inside zone/zone veer.  The pull blocking seemed to have less success.  I think that was specifically coached up and it made a huge difference.  

If you look at that Auburn offense, it was not incredibly talented.  Outside of Cam Newton, they had their two tackles selected in the draft, in the 4th and 7th rounds.  McCalebb and Dyer are obviously good, but it's not like their receivers are hot shit.  

Now, it's not like that Auburn team didn't get a little lucky, either.  The non-QB Oh Noes long TD pass was ugly, probably should have been picked.  It wasn't largely thanks to the clever play design...and luck.  But they stuck with their guns, mixed it up and had faith in the execution.  Their play calls weren't that much different than what we saw in our VaTech game, Auburn just executed much much better.

If Alabama is in more of a down-year talent-wise (i.e. very good rather than jaw dropping), we should have a pretty veteran group of guys with the ability to execute a fairly varied game plan.

Oh, and it'd be really nice to have Fitz.  The line has sunk from 11 to 12.5 pts.  I think a lot of that is probably Fitz being possibly/probably out.


August 20th, 2012 at 1:29 AM ^

I agree that the passing game seems to be the key to the game, and that the key to the passing game lies in the blocking.  If we can keep 'bama's D-line out of our backfield it seems that we should be able to pick apart their coverage to great effect. 

Sadly, I suspect that we'll come out trying to establish the run, which won't be the most effective.  However, from the 2010 Iron Bowl footage we can see that running outside toward the boundary picks up some solid yards now and again.  I expect a lot of zone-read looks to that side, and inverted-veer looks that are pretty much always "gives" or play-action passes.  An inverted-veer look into a play-action QB oh nooos would be wonderful, and I suspect:


The Alabama defensive backs tend to over-pursue, especially when it comes to the run, so the throwback screen should see another solid gain as well.  Personally I hope we come out throwing quick, "easy", slants, short posts, etc to force the Alabama defense to roll their safeties back before we try to really establish the run game.  It'd also be good to get Denard in a nice rhythm.

I think there's a decent chance that the Michigan offense has a surprisingly (to the rest of the country anyway) strong showing.  If the turnover bug doesn't bite us, I think we'll put up some solid yards and since Gibbons put it through the uprights with some consistancy last year I suspect we'll even get some points out of it.   Probably 20-30 of them.

I'm not certain; however, that that amount of offense will be enough to win the game.  If the D-line can't keep the linebackers clean of 300+ pound gaurds (without making TFL) we're going to be in for a long day of watching 'Bama run the ball 50+ times.  Their offensive line worries me regardless of who's running behind it.


August 20th, 2012 at 9:21 AM ^

I've watched all of our games from last year and bama's from last year plus the Newton Iron Bowl.

From my view, yards will be hard to come by unless Denard has an osu/nebraska level showing and we can establish a consistent run game getting at least 3 a pop. Not mind blowing but enough to keep us in short distance 3rd downs. Also, Denard is not Newton. Newton could take the beating as a 6-5 230+ QB. So, while that game film shows effective tactics the one we cannot use as much is the direct QB draw/dive. However, I think Borges needs to be (should be) intelligent enough to see that every team to show success against bama's defense ran a lot of wide sweep/read plays and/or wishbone. Misdirection is the best counter to their front 7 which is large, strong and fast.

Defensively, we need them to make mistakes. Period. Pray I'm wrong but do not see us getting pressure on the QB within 3 seconds or our DL even getting enough push to keep their OL off our LBs. I dont and wont trust BWC until he shows me otherwise.

I'll never forfeit a game but I stand by my prediction of this game getting ugly around the 3rd quarter. Think we lose by about 20. Not because we'll be a bad team but because bama/saban has had a head start and special benefits in the rebuilding of our programs. I really wish this game was played in 3 years as it would be a good one. Now, we're still not fully out of the RR regime as far as talent, experience and depth. This year, again, will take a pretty flawless showing from us and a poor showing from bama. We need them to overlook us and come out like they did psu last year. Week 1 is always crazy so you never know! Yet, having seen so much of both teams lately, even bama's second string last year (now starters aside from returning NFL picks) would have beat us on an average day on our end.

they arent unbeatable or superhuman but it's Denard or bust and I mean that in regard to his arm and decision making. Unless his accuracy and decisions under pressure suddenly gained 100xp over the last year, I dont like our chances. I think this game will simply show us where we're at compared to the top tier teams, where we used to be and will be again. How close are we? Do we get msu'd or do we show another huge step? We'll see but either way I see a loss and so does about 90% of America. Yet, GO BLUE and anything can happen. I hope Im wrong! Genuinely! I'd love to look back on this and feel like an ass!