What "gadget" plays would you like to see this year?

Submitted by UMfan21 on August 5th, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Maybe not a single "play" but maybe a package or theme...

It seems to me, Harbaugh tends to put in a wrinkle each year, for one year only.  In 2015 it was the heavy use of fullbacks.  Kerridge and Houma really excelled.  Yes, last year the hammering panda was used heavily at the goal line, but wasnt' featured nearly as much as Kerridge and Houma.

In 2016 we saw "the train" debut.  Extremely effective early on, it didn't really fool Ohio State. 

If our offense is truly moving to more of a 4 wide set, I'm curious what types of wrinkles you guys think we might see.   Personally, I'd still love the train.  I think it could give us significant advantage if we had 4 WR or 3WR/1TE lined up in that formation, and look how the defense lines up and throw trips at the side where we have a numbers advantage.

What other plays do you guys have? 4 verts? double crosses?  Do we see the tunnel screen make a resurgence?



August 5th, 2017 at 4:47 PM ^

There was a play I recall from 2015 where Ruddock faked a bubble screen on each side and I think it was Jake Butt that ran a straight route right down the middle. It was executed beautifully, and I feel like splitting Kekoa and Black/DPJ out wide would open up a ton of space for Bunting or TWJ to run right down the middle for a big play.


August 5th, 2017 at 4:48 PM ^

Mcdoom throw it on 1 of his jet sweep plays. Not sure how well he throws but if he can I think it would be a huge game changing play....


August 5th, 2017 at 4:49 PM ^

Evans playing some slot/WR.  Scouting on him out of HS thought his future was at WR, not RB, and he hasn't really used that skill set yet.  Would be nice to see them break the huddle and line up 5 wide with 3 WRs, 1 RB, and a TE, while the defense has 2 or 3 LBs on the field.  Or as a hurry up play after getting a short yardage 1st down, and spread out Hill, Evans, Wheatley and 2 WRs against the opponents goal line package.


August 5th, 2017 at 5:09 PM ^

I want to be surprised against OSU. More than that, I want OSU to be surprised. My frustration with gadget plays is that other teams can game plan against them if they see them. Hold your gadget plays closely, and you have the element of surprise.

So, here's what I want.

  1. A ton of different gadget plays all season long. Making it more difficult for other teams to game plan against any one play.
  2. A gadget play that is used regularly all season . . . then not used against OSU.
  3. Solid running game, setting up vert passing against OSU that catches them cheating for the run.
  4. A brand new gadget play that no one has seen, least of all OSU, that completely befuddles them. IIRC, MSU ran a wheel route or something with a FB against UM two years ago, and we weren't prepared. It was a great call. It surprised Michigan. And iirc, I think Harbaugh might have adapted it and used it last year. I want a gadget play that is never used against anyone until OSU. Here's an example (which I'm not recommending . . . just an example.) Suppose that Gentry is used in a TE set all season long, and is passed to once or twice or thrice a game. Suppose that formation is used against OSU, but Gentry slides back, the QB throws BACK to Gentry, and he throws downfield to DPJ or Tariq or Martin or Collins, for a touchdown reception, against OSU.
  5. A gadget play on defense. Assuming JT Barrett is weak against the pass, maybe you have a gadget 5 or 6 on the DL, sacking Barrett at a critical time in the game.


August 5th, 2017 at 6:54 PM ^

Ditto to all of this. IiRC, somebody said last week that Harbaugh told the team that the last 15 minutes of every practice this season they'd be focusing exclusively on Ohio State. All the players hooted & hollered & were pumped up.

Hopefully this means not just super advanced scouting, but also a few pure trick/gadget plays that NOBODY has seen Michigan out on film. That would be good for maybe 1-2 huge momentum flipper opportunities (or possibly back breakers if we are already well ahead).

Plus ideally, practicing packages of maybe 8-12 plays that all are somewhat related to each other (variations off of a theme) that exploit some type of defensive weakness that our analysts have caught OSU doing over the season.

I guess this last part might just fall under "scout OSU and find their weaknesses", but what I'm talking about is not just scouting weakness & deploying the standard Michigan responses to that defensive look (which OSU will have likely scouted too). I'm saying develop a whole different capability that we just don't show all year. Like a hurry up offense, or some other offensive scheme that basically lets us march down the field 2-3 drives to score TDs because OSU is just totally caught on their heels & need time to adjust & instruct their players.


August 5th, 2017 at 5:08 PM ^

so we should probably just stop.  Here's what you want to see:


1.  The ability to run the Power play for 4 yds/play.

2.  A passing game that vertically and horizontally stretches defenses beyond their comfort zone.


And besides, gadget plays are only the result of a playcaller setting those plays up.  For example, the gadeget play should make a defender's key proven to be wrong.  So a TE screen where both RBs flare and take both "box" linebackers with them , therefore, vacating the middile of level 2 (BYU 2015 to Khalid Hil).


August 5th, 2017 at 5:21 PM ^

The "Win the Game" play.  That ones a favorite of mine.  

It's also one we could have definitely used in the last drive of both the Iowa and OSU games last year (regular time).


August 5th, 2017 at 6:06 PM ^

Wheel route is a good one.  Whether we have 1 or 2 backs, we could make that work if our RBs have excellent hands.  I want to say we've tried a few times last year and Speight either led the RB too far, or threw behind him.  You really have to get a precision throw so the RB doesn't have to break speed.  I think that may be why we've moved away from it.


August 5th, 2017 at 5:27 PM ^

Moving away from trick plays on offense for a moment ...

I'd like to see Devin Bush / Joshua Uche / anyone whack J.T. Barrett when he takes off on the type of run that has been largely successful against Michigan in past years.


August 5th, 2017 at 5:30 PM ^

For a td against the buckeyes, followed by a pick 6, followed by a fumbled kickoff returned for a td, followed by a penalty on Urbs for losing his shit, culminating in a 45 point beat down. That'll be all the gadgets I need to see for the season