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02/12/2019 - 12:53pm 1) Brown's playbook has tons…

1) Brown's playbook has tons of zone schemes. They ran zone during the OSU game. They didn't emphasize zone enough this season, but it's not about a) Brown not knowing it; b) Brown being unwilling to run it. Brown clearly needs to rep some new things, new coverage checks, tweak game planning and season planning. But for the love of everything, can this blog stop acting like Brown is unfamiliar with the concept of zone coverage.

2) You can't ask a college defense to do what the Patriots did. The Patriots are ridiculously multiple, more than even most NFL teams. You don't have the practice reps, film time, or talent to do that at the college level.

3) You can't just say "You have to be flexible". MSU had one of the best defenses in the last decade in 2013 and ran basically two coverages. Granted, within one of those coverages, they had lots of tags, but it wasn't an extremely multiple defense. Bama and Clemson are extremely multiple. Brown is somewhere in the middle, leaning toward more multiple. He can run Cover 3, Cover 2, Trap, Cover 1, Cover 0, Doubles, etc. He has a very flexible blitz package. He basically doesn't have Quarters and doesn't play a bunch of Rip/Liz (Cover 3 match) if you are looking for gaps in his playbook. But he has schemes that basically replicate those in certain situations, it's not like he's running out there calling "City" and calling it a day. What he needs is more emphasis on other parts of the playbook and self-scouting/modifications in-season to prevent him getting forced into known checks.

02/12/2019 - 12:45pm It wasn't about money. It…

It wasn't about money. It was about being the coordinator. Mattison doesn't go to OSU if they offer him a DL coach position for more money.

I hate the move because I liked Mattison and liked what he stood for in many ways. But I also don't blame him for doing it.

02/12/2019 - 12:42pm Just to be clear, Campanile…

Just to be clear, Campanile ran Brown's defense. So if you're talking about hiring Campanile to help teach a specific position group Brown's system, then I agree.

02/05/2019 - 5:09pm I tend to think all…

I tend to think all scapegoats are a bit overstated, and I don't think Hamilton is any different.

From my point of view, the reason Michigan ran a ton of long developing downfield plays is because Patterson isn't great at reading defenses, and the slow developing plays help make read keys more clear (it was a similar strategy Borges used with Denard and Gardner); those route structures, in my opinion, also fit the WR strengths for the most part. It's not that those types of plays were the primary concepts Michigan used, it's that Michigan didn't have enough single man reads to allow the ball to get out quicker.

They were limited in RPOs that can serve for this (the three Brian lists were downfield RPOs, they did run a few more with screens attached, but they failed to ever get creative with the structure), they were limited in some simple fade/back-shoulder type structures that allow Patterson to read a single defender as the rest of the coverage gets pushed off by window dressing. Those are the things that Gattis is supposedly strong in, if his background is any indication. 

Hamilton's primary problem as a playcaller, in my opinion, is that he wanted too much control of every situation. That generally pushed the offense back into tendencies, body blows, and route combinations, rather than letting guys make plays. At the college level, you can tend to give players a little more leeway, because technique of defensive players isn't yet good enough to mostly eliminate the 1v1 stuff. So you can rely more on just letting guys get the ball in space, or throwing a jump ball, etc. That's what I would look for from Gattis.

02/05/2019 - 5:01pm All this is good except for…

All this is good except for one spot that irks me:

Brown understands how to defend crossing routes. He knows how to run zone. He's ran tons of Cover 2 and Cover 3 throughout his career, he has a bunch of tools in his playbook to help defend crossing routes. He doesn't need an offensive mind to re-implement those things, or re-emphasize those things.

Where he can use an offensive mind to help him is in self-scouting; i.e. when I see you do this, this is how I will want to attack, or this is how I would help identify your check/tendency/etc. An offensive mind isn't going to tell a defensive mind new ways to defend, he's going to help them understand the flaws in their existing scheme/system that they would want to exploit, to help the defensive mind adjust better to account for those weaknesses.

01/16/2019 - 4:54pm Is another name for Counter…

Is another name for Counter OT because it typically has a "Trey" block on the frontside. That said, it's not an accurate description because that "Trey" block depends on the front, so it's really a poor name for the play.

01/16/2019 - 4:52pm It's a cop out answer, but I…

It's a cop out answer, but I can't really say anything regarding Patterson vs McCaffrey. I trust Harbaugh on that. McCaffrey certainly looked like he had promise, but sometimes with backup QBs defenses change a bit what they're doing because they haven't scouted a guy. Both obviously have their strengths and weaknesses, not sure we've seen enough one way or another to know how well Patterson really reads defenses.

01/16/2019 - 4:51pm It was one of his issues…

It was one of his issues coming in, and while it improved, it was still an issue. He locks on to guys too long and he often bails on his protection early, which causes some issues. And unless he has a single read (leverage of a specific defender) it can be challenging for him to effectively try to read and progress in the quick pass game. Another year as the guy working with these receivers and now Gattis and Co will hopefully help in that regard.

01/16/2019 - 4:13pm I’m not sure he was taught…

I’m not sure he was taught much previously on how to understand defenses and such, so to learn that plus understand play design well enough to know which plays to check into plus command O well enough to communicate audible and still get play off was likely too much to expect year one.

I’m guessing UM at least has capacity to tempo next year, but regardless understanding verbiage and playbook better should help get out of huddle faster and understanding D and playbook may help add some audibles. Or they could check with me or do more multiple huddle calls to help

01/16/2019 - 3:07pm My two cents on the offense:…

My two cents on the offense:

I think the overall design of the offense was mostly fine. Plays connected well together and mostly built off each other.

Michigan's OL was best built for interior runs, which they leaned on. When they went outside, they avoiding some of the weaknesses of the OL and TE blocking by running down G instead of stretch or pin and pull.

For the pass game, overall, the receivers/TEs are much better at the long developing plays, and so is Patterson. Patterson's biggest weakness is that he doesn't read defenses quickly enough, which makes quick passes difficult. Outside of DPJ, both Black and Collins are better downfield threats to help them gain separation through route structure, rather than just simple routes. 

Michigan's OL improved a ton, especially in pass pro, but they still weren't great at it, and required a bit of protection because of it. The multiple TE sets helped sell run and give the ability to utilize a lot of different protection combinations to avoid allowing the D simply attack (as you saw specifically against ND).

So, in whole, there was a reason Michigan's offense was shaped the way it was, and for the most part, it was pretty successful.

However, because of that shape, and possibly other reasons, it left Michigan reliant on the run to set up the offense. It didn't have a quick passing attack to stay balanced in terms of staying on track. People asked for more, but honestly, even when they ran it, it wasn't terribly effective (there are possible reasons for that, but this post will get long enough). It's my feeling that this is a major focus of the Gattis hire (and would have been the focus for the O going into next year regardless).

On top of that, Michigan was ineffective at executing their secondary plays. They had a strong number of them, and in my opinion, not too many or too few necessarily, but when they ran them, even when they got looks they wanted, they didn't really do well with them. So when opponents could stop the base plays, Michigan effectively struggled.

The goal for Michigan should be to develop that quick pass game/RPO over the offense to gain some balance on early downs without having to be so reliant on the run. Secondly, it should adjust some reps to have more confidence in those secondary plays off of the base. This doesn't take a drastic change in the offensive structure, some new wrinkles, new focus on reps, etc., but the overall structure isn't out of whack.

My two cents.

01/16/2019 - 2:56pm I've seen Patterson…

I've seen Patterson specifically "Kill" a few plays, but that most likely is a situation where they have a specific playcall that they are looking to go against a specific look (i.e. a play action deep shot vs single-high coverage; or even box numbers) that they "kill" (typically to a run play).

What I haven't personally seen is any actual audibles. It felt like they did more of that under Speight, and even "killed" more plays with him, particularly early in 2017. But Speight had also been in a pro-style type of offense for a while that knew what to look for in terms of coverages, rotations, etc., whereas Patterson I don't think learned too much of that outside the basics (number of safeties, box count, CB leverage; pick half the play based on one of those, but not switch plays). That may be something they include more this upcoming year (more RPOs can cover for some of that because theoretically the read makes you always right, but there are still some things defenses can do that would be better to check out of, particularly at the college level where post-snap adjustments are more difficult to execute due to limited practice reps).

12/19/2018 - 12:31pm I think they need to get him…

I think they need to get him reps at Safety, so that's where he'll play. Brown's playbook can utilize a third safety quite a bit when that's the strength of the personnel (you've seen a bit of it in recent years with Woods or JKP getting reps as the third safety). Some of that will end up with man coverage in the slot, but I think they want to keep his reps at that position for the future.

12/19/2018 - 11:22am Dinardo isn't my favorite,…

Dinardo isn't my favorite, but he isn't way off here. Yes, if you have just awful facilities, it makes a difference, but you get to a certain point where it doesn't make a drastic impact. Oh cool, you have a waterfall. Oh, you have TVs in the lockers. 90+% of major schools have very nice facilities, and it's diminishing returns for the vast majority of those schools when it comes to "better".

So on the list of things that are important to recruits, that is extremely low compared to many other items. It is important to the current players, because it's their daily life and routine, so that's why they continue to get updated. But it isn't a primary thing swaying recruits.

12/19/2018 - 11:17am Those are a little…

Those are a little situational though.

Moody burned his redshirt because he was the designated KO guy. Harbaugh seems to like to split them away from the primary FG kicker.

Bell burned his redshirt because the depth chart at WR was killed based on transfers and injuries.

Hutch burned his because 1) he was good and ready enough to; 2) there was a major chance he was going to have a potential starting role in 2019.

12/19/2018 - 11:13am I think the most likely to…

I think the most likely to start are Charbonnet and then Hill. I don't expect either to be regular starters (but I wouldn't be surprised if they got a few games). I fully expect Hill and Charbonnet to have significant roles right away, and Smith and Hinton being in the rotation (especially Smith) immediately. At least one of the slots should burn their redshirt, (Sainristil, Jackson, G. Johnson) and wouldn't be surprised if one of the LBs lost their redshirts (most likely to special teams) even with the relative depth there.

Safety, especially in Brown's system, is very difficult to step right in and be a starting safety. I think Hill will have a role, likely at a specific position as a third safety/nickel, but won't be the primary starter responsible for getting the whole defense aligned on a drive-to-drive basis (my personnel guess is Metellus and Woods, though the safe bet is Metellus and Hawkins, and if that's the case, I would be interested in Woods getting reps at Viper because I expect Hill to take Metellus's spot in 2020).

Charbonnet will likely be part of a platoon of at least three backs that includes Evans, Wilson, and himself. Wouldn't be surprised if it's another year before the current FR see their role significantly increase. I think most everyone else redshirts.

Props to the staff for getting a C. Johnson, G. Jackson, Q. Johnson, and G. Johnson all in one class though. All WR/ATH types. That won't be confusing at all.

12/17/2018 - 5:30pm One thing that likely skews…

One thing that likely skews the data is where recruits are rated. Typically, I think you are going to take a few more fliers and late adds from close to home. Those fliers help cement recruiting ties, and the late adds are typically possible because of the draw of being close to home. Those same things can also apply to areas where you are trying to build bridges (think NJ and Georgia for Michigan, where they have taken more reaches out of at different points).

All players have a reason to transfer, but I don't think most players transfer for one reason. It's a combination of reasons. And when you start thinking about it that way, you start to add additional "excuses" (for lack of a better word) to legitimize it. "Distance" becomes one of those things. And truthfully, if there are other issues, it's easier for "distance" to play a role, because you are further away from your support system and people of the same background.

So intuitively, I think distance matters, but it is rarely the primary matter.

12/13/2018 - 11:22am LL Cool J didn't get in. I…

LL Cool J didn't get in. I grew up on rap, and I dunno, he doesn't feel like he's at that level. Taking from a similar age (we are now looking at 80s into the early 90s given the other nominees and people that got in): Wu-Tang, NAS, Eric B. and Rakim, Juice Crew (Kool G Rap, Biz Markee, Kool G Rap), KRS-One, Outcast (maybe a little early) all seem better picks. I dunno LL was good, will probably end up getting in and it won't be terrible, but feel like there are other rap groups of that era equally or more influential (but maybe didn't have the cross over appeal of LL)

12/10/2018 - 3:11pm This is one of those plays…

This is one of those plays that a guy is a genius for when it works, but the same exact play that impacts the defense the same exact way but for whatever reason doesn't get executed and a coach is an idiot.

End results matter, but fans should be smarter when evaluating coaching.

By the way, love the single wing, so I'm all for the play

12/03/2018 - 11:36am Carolina was 6th in the NFL…

Carolina was 6th in the NFL in YPG rushing, 8th in YPA rushing, but in the 20s for sacks. All that matches pretty well with how Hoke coaches, which puts a strong emphasis on how to defend the run but isn't as great at coaching up the pass rush. Football Outsiders says Carolina has the 2nd best DL in the NFL (though I've always found those advanced metrics with position specific should take a little grain of salt).

I haven't watched the Panthers much this year, but find it hard to believe he was the primary problem. Panthers had a solid DL last year, so Hoke didn't make drastic improvements or anything. But this seems more like the HC in Carolina trying to salvage his own job after a bad loss (and a guy that was on the hot seat heading into the year).


11/26/2018 - 4:13pm Problem is most of the…

Problem is most of the crossers are coming from off the LOS, and many times it's with another receiver also in breaking (hurting any combo coverage). I would like to see Michigan get much better at walling off crossers. They don't do that much in their coverage, but that would help break up the timing/spacing on some of those routes (it's something MSU is great at)

11/26/2018 - 4:01pm No good answer on this one…

No good answer on this one. There are a combination of predictable answers

UM rush was leaking through on a couple of the mesh routes, but Haskins was able to release at the end of his drop to his first read, so that didn't help. Those were also 5 man protections, so pressure is going to leak if you can just hold up long enough on the back end. I don't think people are as concerned about it though if the coverage holds up at all, because they would get home.

But the ball was out quick almost all day, and that really mitigated the 5 man pressures that Michigan started with and any stunts from having time to get home. Then Michigan struggled to get them behind the chains. Once that happened, Michigan mostly rushed 4 and kept it mostly simple, and OSU countered with well blocked half-rolls and some max protect schemes. And frankly, OSU just executed really well on their pickups. DTs were a problem from a push standpoint, think the DEs weren't great but did enough but Haskins could step into every pocket.

So not a great answer, admittedly. A few things though

11/26/2018 - 3:43pm They all do it, and the…

They all do it, and the analysts should be doing it to some extent in season. How much is a question, because how much are you going to change in season? But certainly before the bowl and especially over the off-season they'll look a lot into it.

11/26/2018 - 3:43pm Started out with a ton of 5…

Started out with a ton of 5 man pressures. Most of these weren't getting home because those mesh routes and crossers were hitting on time, which means three step drop and out. Based on a rewatch, I don't think the pressure would be as concerning for most people if Michigan had at all forced OSU to go through a progression. A few of OSU's half rolls had all day, but for the most part they were getting the ball out quick because they identified a matchup and attacked it quickly.

I addressed the Thomas issue I think. He's more athletic, but still needs to clean up technique/assignments, IMO

11/26/2018 - 3:40pm I think the number of runs…

I think the number of runs in the A gaps is exaggerated based on perception. The majority of runs were outside runs (C gap or outside), and maybe half the inside runs had some form of misdirection (fake sweep, false pull, read element). They had a lot of success running to the boundary, and probably should have gone that way more. As I said in the post, would have liked to have seen the actual give on the sweep as well.

So agree on not doing enough to to get Harrison and the other LBs out of gaps, because they aren't disciplined. Too many runs as well straight into the edge without enough of an inside threat to force that issue. You're not going to just out athlete them. Michigan did a few things, but not enough of it.

11/26/2018 - 2:58pm I didn't like it because…

I didn't like it because there was still a high likelihood that OSU was going to be kicking FGs (which they ended up doing). More than that, UM hasn't been exactly great in those sorts of situations near the goal line this year (though they have been great in those situations on 3rd/4th downs, so I dunno).

The second time going for 2 was the correct call.

11/26/2018 - 2:29pm They used him more on man…

They used him more on man coverage against TEs than they did as a blitzer. Think that's the majority of it.

11/26/2018 - 1:46pm If they hired Space Coyote,…

If they hired Space Coyote, be prepared for a much, much worse ass-kicking.

11/26/2018 - 1:45pm Agree, when the DEs were…

Agree, when the DEs were able to get around, Haskins was very comfortable and good stepping up into voids because the interior pressure failed.

It's also a good point about Bush. Michigan started putting him outside (as many said would fix coverage problems), he got picked on a little out there as well, but that opened things up in the middle. Unfortunately, you can't just have two of Devin Bush, so you pick your poison (move him out or keep him in).

11/26/2018 - 1:43pm FWIW, I still think 2015 was…

FWIW, I still think 2015 was worse. Now, that was Harbaugh's first year and a more talented OSU team, IMO. Both were asskickings though.

11/26/2018 - 1:41pm They were pretty similar to…

They were pretty similar to when Haskins entered last year (although they were still more run heavy at that point because JT was getting the majority of the reps, but pass concepts similar). To be fair to Michigan, it wasn't really known how they were going to play with him at that point last year. This year they had tape.

Brown has made a lot of good adjustments in game and week-to-week. They've done some creative things to stop the slants (LINK) and they adjusted a bit in-game vs OSU. But OSU seemed to have the adjustments and checks downloaded, so it usually limited the effectiveness to a few snaps. Your playbook only goes so deep, so you can't do everything, this one just really snowballed on Michigan, especially when they could never get the pass rush home (and that's on the rush and the coverage)

11/26/2018 - 1:38pm Outside of what I wrote, I…

Outside of what I wrote, I didn't see much in terms of why there were problems getting home. OSU executed, I don't know, man.

11/26/2018 - 1:38pm They played some zone, it…

They played some zone, it got burnt too. He has a lot of it in his playbook. One of the biggest issues is they couldn't get pass rush, and that limits a big chunk of the playbook on standard downs with getting burned so badly on those short crossing routes. Need to add some adjustments to defend those in different ways I think is the primary takeaway, and then the rest will fall into place.

11/26/2018 - 1:36pm I was surprised Brown was…

I was surprised Brown was that comfortable rolling out Cover 1 early. He clearly knew there was a high likelihood he was going to need to adjust, as he did right away to zone, but I think it was a poor judgement to start the game and they really didn't have the wrinkles or self-scout needed to surprise OSU with anything. Rough game to watch defensively.

11/26/2018 - 1:30pm Because it splits reps in…

Because it splits reps in practice. Peters was quite obviously the primary backup, and was potentially needed in this game, yet Michigan is splitting those reps. On top of that, you are throwing Milton into a terrible position with little upside. I don't disagree the game was mostly out of reach at that point, but either Milton is your backup or not, and if he's not, then don't throw him in that situation (where he promptly threw an INT into double coverage behind protection that was getting beat most of the day).

11/26/2018 - 12:00pm Athletically Ambry matches…

Athletically Ambry matches up better, but technically he still struggles a lot. May have been worth a shot, but that became even harder when Long got hurt.

11/26/2018 - 11:47am Fades to Perry - You're…

Fades to Perry - You're acting like it's a staple of the offense. It's not. It's a tendency breaker. And go back and watch the Northwestern film (or read Brian's UFR). Perry was open by a step or two. They missed the pass. 

McCray Covering Brakley - The argument is that you can't just change a defense willy nilly. There are rules. There are assignments. There are play calls. You can check out of playcalls and then that leaves you exposed elsewhere. Michigan got burned in a bad play call by the defense and a good one by the offense. It sucks. But you can't prevent everything with every play call.

WIlson Trying to Get the Edge - Read about Stretch Zone. Look at who has been most successful running stretch for Michigan this year. Speed to the edge is not even close to the most important part of stretch. Iowa ran stretch for years with Moose Backs. Contrary to what you keep repeating, outside zone is not a sweep play. Wilson has been value added for a handful of snaps a game, and the stretch is probably his best play. So no, Evans or Higdon may not be the best option all the time, and this time specifically.

Playing Over Peters - This is a valid criticism. I agree with Magnus's take on the coaches handling of Peters. He's likely their nominal backup at this point. I don't think that's the best way of handling it but there is some rationale.

Gil over Ross - I agree to an extent. I also said last week the likely reasons Michigan is doing it. It likely helps Ross play better by being on the sideline sometimes, likely keeps him fresh and lets him see what's happening. I don't mind them splitting. I think the split should be about 3:1 at this point though.

Watson in Single Coverage -The argument is he's the best they have for it. Do you want Michigan to put out worse players because Watson isn't good enough? 

11/26/2018 - 10:38am Fades to Perry: The only …

Fades to Perry: The only "fade" that has been run to Perry, was rub routes. Michigan's base way of utilizing Perry is to run rub routes into the flat or in the short/intermediate area of the field. Those "fades" are designed to get the defense to go underneath the rub in order to defend the tendency and hit over the top. Never once has Michigan lined up Perry outside and run a fade. It's a tendency breaker

McCray Covering Barkley: Michigan knows that's a mismatch, because any LB on Barkley is a mismatch. But you pull Bush out of the box and you get one of the best QB draw teams in the nation without the threat of Bush on the spy/blitz. Everyone here loved press man coverage until they didn't. But when the RB moves out of the box, someone has to follow, it's part of the deal.

Wilson Trying to Get the Edge: How many stretch plays actually try to reach the edge? This comment is in this post twice and is stupid both times. A stretch play rarely gets the edge, if it did, it's because the defense played it terribly. Stretch plays are much more about vision (Hart basically only ran stretch at Michigan), and Wilson is maybe Michigan's best back in that regard. Talk about "stars", but if he's a walk-on and he's the best one at executing it, then I really don't give a damn about stars.

Playing Over Peters: There were obvious signs (and I believe acknowledgements) that Peters checked out when he didn't win the starting role last year. If that's the case, that's why JOK was above him as the backup, because you can't have your backup checked out. When he checked back in and got up to speed, he was the guy. It's also pretty obvious at this point that he won't be back. I hated playing Milton against OSU, but the game was out of reach at that point, and it's clear the coaching staff wanted to give him some reps at that point.

Gil over Ross: I like Ross much better and wish they didn't rotate as much against OSU, but let's not act like there is no reason to rotate. There are benefits to both players for doing so, and both guys will likely play next year.

Watson in Single Coverage: Then where do you want him. Like it or not, he's Michigan's third best CB. He isn't good in the slot. They were playing 3 CBs. When they switched to zone (and they did switch to zone contrary to what people are saying) OSU adjusted and started baiting the trap coverage. He's the best player Michigan had for the spot. It wasn't good enough. But "not understanding personnel" isn't why he was out there. He was out there because they understood their personnel and that was their best option.

I get people are pissed with how the game turned out. Half these takes really, really suck though. This lose happens and it's time to scrap the whole offense and defense, everything is bad, the coaches don't know crap, every little thing they do is wrong. These takes are stupid.

11/13/2018 - 1:36pm I don't think Brown really…

I don't disagree in theory, but I don't think Brown really emphasizes shuffling.

Typically, what we've seen, is one or two read steps and then attack. I haven't at all worked with Brown or heard him talk on this, but based on what other players have done on film, Gil should be taking probably one read step right and forward, and then attacking, but not attacking direct down the LOS (instead attacking at about 45 degrees to maintain his gap and leverage). Different technique, but same idea with regards to maintaining leverage.

11/13/2018 - 1:24pm Seth describes it pretty…

Seth describes it pretty well. Gil's responsibility is the backside B gap. He's trying to get playside of the OT, who is releasing directly out to him. He's also putting himself in a position to scrape over the top if something happens further playside. The problem is he gets a little over aggressive on the backside trying to avoid the OT from cutting him off (because that's just as much of a killer) where he should probably be using that speed to get down hill a bit more instead of scraping.

11/13/2018 - 1:22pm Great write up here. Good…

Great write up here. Good catch from the end zone view that Gil got too far playside. He's trying to run around the LB, but in doing so, opens up a gap wider. This combined with Winovich really makes life extremely hard on the third level because the RB is able to get immediately vertical with no one in his way.

I don't mind Hawkins not getting all the way to the center of the field because of the flow of the zone run. But with the RB not being slowed at all, he needs to take a much better angle. He's taking an angle like he probably usually does when the ball carrier actually has to maneuver a little bit, and that leaves him completely burned. Would like to see a little more make up speed out of him, but that wasn't his strength as a recruit either. 

With Kinnel, he's fluctuated between great and bad plays this year, and overall has probably been the weakest link in the defense, but this isn't his problem here. You note a few key things: 1) the late communication in the motion coming back; 2) his starting angle in the center of the field makes it very difficult for him to read the backfield handoff; 3) the reaction needed to cut off Rutger's best player should be noted in his pursuit; 4) that he is likely also influenced by Winovich who should have a good view of the backfield. 

I know not as many people like "what went wrong" articles, but I really enjoyed this one. Good level of detail and shows the issues, what needs to be cleaned up, but why it can be cleaned up going forward.

11/12/2018 - 5:10pm Just to be clear in case it…

Just to be clear in case it isn’t, because I’ve been accused of doing it, this is far from a critique of Brian alone. I first tweeted yesterday about this play when JDue did his Sunday recap because I saw complaints about it then and during the game. And look at it from the end zone view, it looks bad to the layman. I get it.

 I had a discussion with a blog analyst earlier this year (an LSU one) that talked specifically about learning just how bad most of these freeze frame takes were. He specifically talked about learning just how awful people in the Internet were at critiquing zone runs were once he heard Joe Gibbs coaching clinic on zone running.

It’s a very very common critique of Internet fandom of all football teams. It’s just that these things gain legs and become repeated and sometimes are wrong. In this case, Higdon is following his read (that’s not to say it’s not a play that can’t be made, but it is a play outside of what he’s taught to do; and what he’s taught will lead him correctly 9/10 times)

11/12/2018 - 4:13pm This is my take as well…

This is my take as well. Chase got pulled out of his assignment by reacting before finding the ball

11/12/2018 - 2:25pm I’m going to agree with…

I’m going to agree with Brian. It’s pretty crazy to put the most blame on the guy that’s actually doing his job - specifically so those other guys can do there’s - only to watch them fail in their assignment and blame the guy that did his job. You say he can redirect if he reads the play faster, but if his assignment has the ball then it’s Rutger’s most dangerous player with the ball in his hands on an end around with Kinnel hesitating and getting out of position to complete his assignment because he doesn’t trust his teammates to do theirs. 

11/12/2018 - 2:16pm That may be part of it but…

That may be part of it but would be handled to a greater extent in practice if that were all of it. They wouldn’t be splitting reps just to play both. If it were mostly that, some of the other younger LBs would also be getting additional reps.

More than likely they like the idea of keeping both fresh. Also, both have strengths and weaknesses, and this avoids the O keying on them as much (though they aren’t drastically different players). More than anything, it gives both a shot to see action then come to the sideline and get coached and see things from a different perspective. In that way, along with being fresh, it helps the WILL spot be much stronger on a down to down basis.

11/12/2018 - 2:10pm Higdon does miss some holes,…

Higdon does miss some holes, mostly when to get vertical when bounces. The play above looks bad because the right side opens a hole, but to complain about Higdon’s vision in the play you have to understand his read.

It was a Duo play, his read is the MIKE. If the MIKE inserts himself vertical he works playside. If the MIKE scrapes, the RB goes vertical. The MIKE immediately shot to the backside A/B gap area. Higdon bounces playside. He did what he is supposed to do on that play call. The CB made a great play, literally the only way he could get a tackle and prevent a first down and not give up a broken tackle in space for a whole lot more.

This, by the way, is a common flaw when complaining about vision; you see it all the time on twitter. Freeze frame a throw and show a guy open who is opposite the QB’s progression; this isn’t the QB’s fault, this isn’t Madden, he isn’t seeing the whole field. Complain about zone runs where ‘this hole is open’ but not understanding the first read that sends the RB opposite. It’s missed context because something looks open - and might be - but a RB has keys for a reason: because the majority of the time it puts them to the right spot and they can’t see everything because it’s physically impossible

Regarding Uche and Furbush, they have different roles. Both those roles come from the SAM position, but note Furbush still gets the majority of snaps in SAM coverage, which is mostly what the coaches were utilizing the SAM for until Gary got hurt. The biggest takeaway at LB in this game was that when the backups started rolling in they moved Ross to MIKE. Likely you see Gil and Ross together at ILB next year

11/07/2018 - 4:37pm My understanding was that it…

My understanding was that it had something to do with the women's basketball team but then basically the story fell through for various reasons. But there was something in the works at one time

11/07/2018 - 6:56am Yoder isn't right most of…

Yoder isn't right most of the time unless: A) it's stolen; B) it's Occum's Razor

A few examples:

1) Claims he was the first to say Walker was transferring. Occum's Razor and common knowledge was that Walker was in the dog house and had work to do. He wasn't kicked off the team when Yoder claimed he was, he was still trying to work his way out of the dog house. I think most people (which included tons of rumors) understood that there was a decent chance Walker wasn't going to make. Eventually he didn't. Just because Yoder knew a guy was on thin-ice, like just about everyone else, doesn't mean he had any real info.

2) Yoder claims something of his own, represents it as his own, and then when it's later proven wrong, claims he got it from the pay sites (which he doesn't pay for, he says) and it was them that was wrong. He would have had a case if he originally attributed to them the first time, because in this case (it was something over the summer) they did get it wrong. But you can't use that later to demonstrate "see, I was always right and these pay sites are wrong". Basically all that it showed is that he steals info and represents it as his own (for the record, I don't pay for any of the pay sites, so I can't confirm other instances, but this one stood out).

3) Yoder claimed the starting tackles would be the two young guys which disagreed with most insiders but leaned toward plausable take eventually given what people knew about the veteran OTs. This site, for instance, I think guessed the young guys would take over at some point in the season. But they admitted it was a guess, based on the best available evidence to them, and never claimed it as fact. That is the proper way of doing it. This is one of those "it seems like a hot take but is pretty safe" given what the casual fan knew. If he's right, he claims he had inside info (which he did not), and gets more followers. If he's wrong, it's likely be when and not if. But even that didn't happen. So it was a relatively low-risk claim that he could have been "first" to improve his credibility. But it was wrong, so just ignore it. These are the kind of claims he generally makes. I'm sure there were people 1.5 years ago claiming Kurt Taylor was going to transfer. There were some pretty obvious signs, after all. It doesn't mean they had inside info, but saying it 1.5 years ago gives you the option of being "first" with very low risk.

11/06/2018 - 3:23pm It's not traditional pin and…

It's not traditional pin and pull. In that scenario, the Wing would be responsible for the edge player. This is still a down scheme, but the "covered"/"uncovered" applies to the front side of the play still the same, just the first puller always kicks the defensive EMOL and the second one pulls up and through.

11/06/2018 - 2:01pm It's a form of pin and pull…

It's a form of pin and pull but it's effectively still the "Down scheme", or what some people call a "G scheme", kind of like there are various ways to run Counter or Power or Iso, or a bunch of other gap/man schemes. But it's about getting a frontside player to kick out and down blocking where possible.

11/02/2018 - 11:49am I have a different way of…

I have a different way of looking at it, they are charging the MIKE because of the undersized front. I really think their run defense is designed around the fact that they cannot hold up at DT enough to be a read and react defense, they need to shoot gaps and form a wall. Read/react puts OL in LB's laps down field, essentially.

So the result is similar to what you said, but my interpretation based on limited film is that they are getting to that result as more a function of DT play than MIKE play. My two cents.

Like you said (and the PSU fan said), the key here for Michigan is really latching and driving that DL. PSU is very undersized. But Michigan's OL has tended to have more issues with these sorts of fronts, that shoot gaps and crash the LOS. They aren't the type of OL that just pins and opens holes, so they have to meet these slants and run blitzes with aggression much better than they did earlier in the season. If they can, they can get a lot of success on the ground for the reasons you said. Otherwise, like you also noted, it might be a long day up front running into a wall because PSU was able to get their head in the gap and create a pile of bodies.

The other concern I have, that plays into PSU's hands, is that Michigan generally struggles to attack that middle intermediate part of the field that is available through the air because of the way the LBs crash in the run but safeties play deep. Will be an interesting match up overall, and will really show just how much Michigan has or hasn't improved overall.