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Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This post's whiny music selection:

I Know It's Over, The Smiths


and this post's August Strindberg quote:
Happiness consumes itself like a flame. It cannot burn for ever, it must go out, and the presentiment of its end destroys it at its very peak.

M34110I-FormRun4HartZone left
Appalachian State has eight in the box, and not even a soft eight: three linebackers and five DL. We get a fullback shuffle (yay! It's back!) and then our traditional zone left. Good blocking from everyone up front but the App St middle linebacker manages to get off the zone block (Kraus has disengaged from a successful interior zone) and grab Hart as he passes. OL grades out OK here.
M3826DiamondPass4ManninghamDiamond screen
I've come to hate this playcall a little bit because it's yet another instance of something that's totally predictable. Anyway: Manningham manges to slip past the first guy, who attacked arrington, but Schilling fails to cut his guy and he comes out to help recover, holding the gain down. (CA, 3)
M4232Weak I-TightRun4HartZone left
Replay of the first play, basically: successfully executed Boren-Kraus zone block. This time Hart cuts back for the first.
M46110I-FormPass16MasseyPA TE Out
PA draw fake suckers the linebacker in coverage on Massey; they collide and Massey shucks him. Henne has time and finds him wide open for a nice gain. (CA, 3) Jesus... they're so intent on the run game that Massey is amazingly wide open.
O38110I-FormRun34HartZone right
FB takes a shuffle step right before the snap, this to the weakside of the formation. I know this play works, but Jesus. Let's just tell them we're going to run to the weakside? No matter. For some reason the App St DT on the playside is really late reacting, allowing the Boren-Ciulla zone block to blow him way off the ball. Ciulla peels onto a linebacker and Moundros has no one to block at all. Pure pwnage from Boren here. Hart passed him eight yards downfield.
O4110I-FormRun4HartZone left
Hole is between Long and Massey, again Moundros is decoration.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0 M, 12 min 1st Q. This is how this is supposed to go: these 230 pound “defensive linemen” get obliterated. I wonder what happens later. I can't wait to find out! The thrill of discovery!
M43110I-FormRun1HartZone left
Henne does his check-w-fingers thing, getting AppSt to reveal a strongside run blitz. So Michigan goes to the weakside, again shuffling the fullback that way. Clever. This time the playside DT is quick off the ball and gets to Kraus before he can get doubled. No problem, this is a zone play, Kraus just pilots him upfield. But also quick was the weakside DT, possibly because the FB shuffle tipped him off on the playside, who evades Ciulla's cut block (-1 Ciulla) and fills the hole. Hart's attempted cutback is swarmed under.
M4429Shotgun 4-widePass6MathewsCross
The panacea! Originally a five-wide look but Hart motions into the backfield to pass block. Henne gets some pressure from the outside, stepping up and hitting Mathews on a crossing route. (CA, 3)
5033Shotgun 4-widePass-10--Sack
Somebody completely busts a blitz pickup... probably Boren. There are six guys at the line, one for each of the OL plus a guy hanging to the outside over Hart. The linebacker, lined up over Boren, blitzes as the DE drops off into coverage, but Boren sets up to block this DT. End result: three Michigan OL are blocking one DT, Hart correctly picks up the linebacker coming right up the middle of the field, and the backside linebacker is totally free. (PR, Boren -2) BONUS! Illegal formation on Michigan, declined.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 9 min. Let's have a race. Inexcusable mental breakdowns: 2. Michigan failing because they're totally predictable: 1.
M48110Ace 3-wideRun0HartZone left
Kraus(-2) gets driven yards into the backfield. Unbelievable.
Both Minor and Hart are in the backfield; Hart motions out. Why? Henne takes a straight drop and then tosses a screen to Minor. It's well set up, though I wonder why Minor attempts to seek out the tackler at the end of the run instead of cut behind a blocker for more yards. Vision questions? (CA, 3) Nice block from Kraus(+1).
Manningham gets a step or two on his guy and is open for a potential touchdown; Henne underthrows it and allows the DB to make a play on the ball. (IN, 1)
O42210Ace 3-widePassIncMathewsPA Waggle
AppSt blitzes right into this; Henne throws it away. (PR, 0)
O42310Ace 3-widePass17ArringtonOut
The 15-yard out that Henne can throw that makes him an NFL prospect if you ignore the other issues of today. A max-pro set with seven blockers held in; Arrington gets open and Henne lays it in there. (DO, 3)
O25110Ace Run-2HartZone right
Infuriating call: eight in the box, corners in Herrmann-soft coverage, and we just run it right at them. Totally unblocked linebacker submarines Hart.
O27212Shotgun 3-wideRun8HartDraw
Well blocked; DT just manages to get a hand on Hart and trip him a bit; he maintains his balance but is in no position to put a move on the safety.
O1934Ace 3-widePass9ManninghamStop
Excellent protection. Manningham sits in front of the corner and hauls it in. (CA, 3)
O101GI-FormRun0HartLead draw
Run right into a blitz and gets blown up. Their rock, our scissors.
O102GAce 3-widePass10MathewsCross
Touchdown. Easy. (CA, 3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7 M, 3 min 1st Q. IMBs: 2, FBTTP: 4
M20110Ace 3-wideRun4HartZone left
Unclear why this play doesn't work; think it's because the DT to the playside successfully holds near the POA and gets Hart to cut back. He dodges one tackler and makes a few yards by himself.
M2426I-FormPenalty-5MasseyFalse Start
Again with the Hart as fullback and then Incredibly Surprising Motion. This time the AppSt corner is lined up nose-to-nose with Manningham; Michigan goes at him. One hideously uncalled pass interference call later, third down. (IN? CA? I don't even want to chart this. 0, anyway.)
M19311Ace 3-widePassInc--Throwaway
AppSt rushes seven(!!!) guys and Henne freaks out. If he steps to his left a little bit he's got Jake Long blocking some dude and Hart picking up a guy coming through the middle. Instead he rolls out to the right, into one of the blitzers, and has to take a long orbital path before dumping the ball OOB. Textbook example of the pocket awareness criticism. Still: seven guys. (TA, 0)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-14, 12 min 2nd Q. Mmm, three and out versus Appalachian State. IMB: 3, FBTTP: 5.
Now starts the odd lack of Hart. This is sort of a zone play – double on a DT with a linebacker peel – but is definitely going nowhere but straight up the middle the whole way. Said double team works well; Moundros does okay and Minor goes N-S.
M2723I-FormRun4MinorZone left
FB-shuffle weakside == run weakside. It looks like there should be a hole at first but things get jammed up. Minor hurdles a fallen Kraus and manages to lurch forward for the first.
M31110???Pass12ManninghamSlip screen
Instead of seeing the first portion of this play we glance lovingly at Mike DeBord. It turns out to be a Manningham screen; he slips a guy and makes first down yardage. (CA, 3)
M43110Ace 3-widePass17MasseySeam
A dart. (DO, 2). Massey gets popped right afterwards.
O40110I-FormRun5MinorZone left
FB-shuffle to side play goes to. This time the double comes from Long and Massey; Moundros buries a blitzer and Minor has an alley. Extraordinarily quick-filling safety comes up and holds this down, otherwise this is a first down easy.
Eight in the box. Odd. FB lines up on the weakside then sort of shuffles strongside. This is supposed to be some sort of counter based on the vectors of the FB and Minor... or I don't know what it is. It is incoherent, though. The blocking's all messed up and there's an unblocked guy right where Minor chooses to go. I can't even begin to sort out what the intent was here.
O3535Ace 4-widePassIncManninghamFly
Corner does not bite on the pump or Manningham's route and makes this a very difficult ball to throw. Henne again a little short, allowing the corner to deflect it. (IN, 1)
O3545Shotgun 3-widePassIncArringtonDeep out
AppSt again rushes seven; Henne just chucks it past Arrington. How about a slant or something? Do all of our pass routes have to take eighteen years? AppSt knows that we have no hot reads. They blitz with impunity. (harsh, but IN, 0)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 14-21 AppSt, 6 min 2nd Q. IMB: still 3, FBTTP: still 4.
M33110Ace 3-widePass2MasseyTE out
A checkdown. (CA, 3). I tend to get less exercised about this than most. Sometimes you have to check down.
M3528Shotgun 3-widePass16ArringtonSlant
Easy throw and catch. (CA, 3). Coverage in prevent-y mode.
O49110Shotgun 3-widePass9ArringtonSlant
Same play. (CA, 3)
O4021Shotgun 3-widePassIncArringtonPost
Pump fake does not get the DB to bite as they go a little deeper here with a similar route. Henne throws it slightly behind, allowing the DB to get a hand on it. (Marginally CA, 1)
O4031Ace 3-wideRun5MinorZone right
Arrington comes in, acting as something of a second TE to the strongside. Boren-Ciulla block is very good and creates a hole for Minor to get the first.
O35110Shotgun 3-widePass24MathewsFlag
A little high but catchable; Mathews goes up and gets it. (CA, 2).
O11110Ace 3-wideRun-4MinorDraw
All out blitz into this draw. No chance.
O15214Ace 4-widePass10MathewsSlant
Mathews does appear to be pretty good, at least. (CA,3 )
O534Shotgun 3-widePassInc--Throwaway
No one open, I guess. (TA) Could have dumped down to Minor for a first down, maybe a touchdown.
Drive Notes: FG(22), 17-28, halftime. In a glimpse of the disaster to come, the FG team lines up with only ten guys. IMB: 3, FBTTP: 5.
O39110I-FormRun11MinorZone left
We actually run away from the strength of the formation after motioning the TE, catching their linebackers shifted away from the playside. This is very close to being no gain as Ciulla's guy hops over(-1 Ciulla) him when he goes for the chop block, but he can't quite get to Minor. Schilling and Boren (+1 each) both get second level blocks on linebackers, Minor cuts up smartly when the hole reveals itself, and it's ten yards.
O28110I-FormRun2MinorZone right
Eighth guy in the box. Massey(-1) is stalemated a couple yards behind the LOS, which forces Minor to decide whether to take it inside or outside of him. Dunno what inside held, but probably not much. Outside doesn't, either, as Minor stiffarms a linebacker to get a couple yards.
O2628Ace 3-widePassIncMinorScreen
Henne gets a blitzer, and though this is a screen he's completely unblocked and flies up the field. Still, rifling it 100 miles an hour at your tailback two feet in front of you is not good policy. It clangs off Minor's shoulder blades and ricochets into the air, but manages to get to the turf. (IN, 2)
O2638Ace 4-widePassIncMathewsSlant
Hits him right in the hands; dropped. Probable first down otherwise, definitely close enough to go. (CA, 3)
Drive Notes: FG(42), 20-28, 13 min 3rd Q. Execution errors. IMB: 5, FBTTP: 5.
M11110Ace 3-widePass1MoundrosFB flat
We call a TO before this play. Which is the first one of the drive. And then, the play itself... I have no idea why a fullback flat route is a good idea here. App St has eight in the box. The linebackers are rolled up tight to the LOS. All three of them step forward on the snap – despite no play action fake! -- and massey plows into one of them, then Henne throws it to Mark Moundros at the sidelines for a yard. So, in conclusion: seven of the App St defenders have just opted out of pass coverage and there is going to be no pass rush. Solution: one yard fullback flat. I captured this play just so you could all see it in its glory. It is wondrous. (CA, 2)
M1229Ace 3-widePass6ManninghamSlip screen
App St all over this; Manningham reverses his field and manages to turn this into six. Why have we not thrown downfield yet on either drive this half?
M1833Shotgun 3-widePass8MathewsStop
Lots of time; Henne finds his second read. (CA, 3).
M26110I-Form TwinsRun6MinorZone left
Ciulla (+1) blows his guy way off the ball; Schilling (-1) falls at his feet uselessly. Moundros does okay on a filling linebacker as the gap to the backside opens up. Unblocked DE closes and gets enough of Minor to slow his progress. Minor does a good job of fighting for YAC.
M3224Ace 3-wideRun0MinorZone left
Fumbles; never really got the handoff. One note... the App St linebackers are ridiculously overshifted to the strong side of the formation. We run there anyway. Henne clearly frustrated.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-31, 7 min 3rd Q. IMB: 6, FBTTP 5.
M28110Ace 3-widePassIncManninghamBomb
Has him; overthrows him. (IN, 0)
M28210Shotgun 3-widePassIncMasseyTE out
Henne forced to step up in the pocket as Ciulla(-1) is beaten but not enough for his man to come in and sack him. Henne's grabbed, steps up, starts running, and finds an open guy in Massey; throw is behind him. (IN, 1)
M28310Ace 3-widePassIncMasseyFlag
Pretty good coverage by this linebacker but there's a spot for Henne if he can hit it; he can't. Marginally CA... but (IN, 1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-31, 4 min 3rd Q. IMB: 6, FBTTP: 5.
O31110Ace 4-widePassIncArringtonSlant
Open; accurate; dropped. (CA, 3)
O31210Ace 4-widePass8ArringtonSlant
Same play. (CA, 3)
App St run blitzing hard to strong side, expecting a stretch. Instead it goes right up the middle. Kraus(+2) completely crushes his guy, just obliterates him. Moundros gets enough of a blitzer and Minor does a fine job of picking his way through traffic for the first down.
O15110I-FormRun5HartZone left
Straight eight in the box. Massey gets out on a guy; long has his guy under control; a charging linebacker comes up and meets Moundros. I'm not a huge fan of him yet. He submarines guys but rarely buries them. Again here he does this; Hart cuts back behind him. One chasing guy has been cut well by Schilling but another is still up. Hart does as well as he can, making two and then doing his Hart thing for a final three.
O1025I-FormRun6HartZone right
Hole this time shows between Schilling and Ciulla. At this point the Michigan line is really just mashing these guys. Schilling blows his man six yards downfield and by the time this play ends there's just a wad of players at the four with Hart sticking out one end.
O41GI-FormRun4HartZone left
This is just Hart being Hart. A guy gets playside of a guard and has him, but does not have him.
O3 ConvGAce 4-widePass0--Fumbled
Hart offset; pass all the way. Henne fumbles the snap.
Drive Notes: Touchdown (PAT failed), 26-31, EO 3rd. IMB: 8, FBTTP: 5. Pulling away.
O34110I-FormRun7HartZone left
Drive starts way in AppSt territory after bad punt and 15 yard facemask. Eight in the box; FB shuffle strong side; zone left. Front side is pretty jammed up here but1) Ciulla (+1) flat kills his guy and 2) we actually block the backside DE with Schilling; is this intended to go backside?
O2723I-FormRun7HartZone left
This time a FB shuffle to the weakside, where we run. Moundros gets a good pop on a LB right up the middle, where Hart follows, leaping a defender who's getting cut.
O20110Ace 3-widePenalty-5KrausFalse Start
O25115Ace 3-widePassIntArringtonWaggle
Only the second time we run the waggle all game and it's the second time they blitz right into it. Are we tipping this? I dunno. Anyway, Henne gets chased and then throws the most inexcusable interception of his career. Throw it away. Awful. (BR, 0)
Drive Notes: Interception, 26-31, 12 min 3rd. IMB: 10, FBTTP: 6. I count the interception as both.
M24110I-Form WeakRun5HartZone left
No shuffle; we run FB side. Kraus(-1) gets beaten by a second level defender, who hits Hart a couple yards behind the LOS. Hart powers through the tackle attempt and that of another player for five yards that should have been a loss.
M2925I-FormRun21HartZone left
Weakside run. Intended POA is jammed with players; Hart manages to cut behind an awkwardly positioned Ciulla (actually facing away from the guy he's quasi-blocking). Schilling (+1) shoves a guy from behind, blocking off pursuit and eliminating both that guy and another trying to get to the ball; result is Hart in the secondary.
FB shuffle weakside. AppSt DE cuts up past Long and Kraus; Moundros has to take him in the backfield. He does, but the guy gets set up outside and prevents Minor from breaking contain. He cuts up into an unblocked linebacker. Ciulla is injured on this play; Ortmann enters and Schilling slides in to guard.
Boren(-1) gets beaten by the DT; Hart has to deal with him in the backfield. He gets around him and manages to burrow for a few.
O4434Ace 3-widePass6MathewsCross
Excellent protection; Mathews is covered very well on the cross but not well enough. (CA, 3)
O38110I-FormPenalty-5OrtmannFalse Start
O43115I-FormRun6HartZone left
FB shuffle weakside again; we run there. Hole is up the middle – eight in the box – and is pretty decent. Moundros' guy gets up off the block and makes contact three yards downfield; Hart drags him for three more. I don't like the way Moundros just sort of throws himself in the general direction of his targets.
O3729I-FormPenalty-5ArringtonIllegal procedure
Arrington lines up off the LOS.
O42214Shotgun 3-widePassIncMathewsComeback
Henne throws to a covered Mathews and has to force it in a tiny spot. Even if this is a catch it's for all of three yards. With time and only four rushers, he has to find someone else. (BR, 1)
O42314Ace 3-widePass9HenneScramble
Fine given the result, I guess.
O3345Shotgun 3-widePassIncMasseyPost
Tries to fit this in a tiny spot between two guys. Massey is bumped before the ball gets there; this is interference as by the time the ball gets to Massey he's been spun 90 degrees. Mostly I'm focusing on a wide open slant for Arrington. (CA, 1)
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 26-31, 7 min 4th Q. IMB: 12, FBTTP: 6. This one's over.
M46110I-Form TwinsRun54HartZone left
Kraus(+1) gets his guy sealed to the inside by himself, leaving Moundros and Long to block two Mountanieers, which they do. There's a gaping hole. Hart does the rest.
O3 Conv3Ace 3-wideRun1MinorZone right
Minor slips; not that it matters much since this was getting overrun from the start.
Drive Notes: Touchdown (PAT failed), 32-31, 4 min 4th Q.
O43110I-Form StrongRun6MinorZone left
Kraus and Massey and Long create a solid crease for Minor, who runs through an arm tackle for a solid gain.
O3724I-Form StrongRun6HartZone left
Same play. Michigan gashing their line; Boren with a key block.
O30110I-Form StrongRun0HartZone left
Ortmann is given a tough assignment: block the DT inside of him. Instead he escorts him to Hart. Kraus has been beaten by the DT to his side; these two converge in the backfield and swallow this play.
O30210I-Form WeakRun5HartZone left
Massey lined up on the other side now. This is a stalemate on the frontside. Moundros comes in and plows a guy that Schilling is blocking, which takes out a linebacker in the wash, and opens up a hole on the backside for Hart to scoot into.
O2535Shotgun 3-widePenalty-5--Delay
Completely inexcusable! You lead by one with 2:17 left and have two timeouts. Use one. There is no reason not to take a timeout here, and guess who can call them? Coaches. Inexcusable.
O30310Shotgun 3-widePass4MathewsStop
An uninspiring result, but there are only three receivers in the pattern and no indication of the availability of the others is made. There are good reasons to make this throw instead of chucking something questionable – keep the clock running, get in better FG position, put yourself in a more makable first down. (CA, 3)
Drive Notes: Blocked FG, 32-31, 2 min 4th Q. IMB +1.
M34110Ace 3-widePassIncMathewsFlag
Overthrows Mathews on a semi-open flag. (IN, 1)
M34210Ace 3-widePass46ManninghamPrayer
Lofts up a punt Manningham runs under. (CA, 2)
Drive Notes: Blocked FG, 32-34, EOG.

Final Tally?

13 Inexcusable Mental Breakdowns, 6 Failures Because They're Predictable. And the worst, the absolute worst, was the delay of game right at the end. Mindboggling. Not one player or coach thought that calling a timeout there would be a good idea. Without that penalty, the weak four-yard Mathews route turns that into fourth and one. Michigan likely goes for it, plows over AppSt for a first down, and escapes.


I know. Be strong.


Yeah. Brief check on Michigan's drives and why they failed:
  1. Touchdown.
  2. Boren protection screwup leads to third and short sack.
  3. Touchdown.
  4. False start, uncalled PI on Manningham, Henne freaks out as App St blitzes seven.
  5. App St blitzes seven on fourth and five; we have no hot read.
  6. Field goal. They blitz into a draw on first down; on third down Henne throws it away. Could have tried Hart if he wanted.
  7. Field goal. Henne rifles a screen into Minor's shoulderpads on second down; on third down a slant is dropped by Mathews.
  8. Three straight inaccurate passes by Henne.
  9. Touchdown.
  10. Henne throws awful interception on first and fifteen.
  11. Illegal procedure, decent Hart run, throw to a covered Mathews for what would have been three yards, scramble, potential PI on a deep Massey post that could have been an open Arrington slant.
  12. Hart touchdown.
  13. Blocked FG as we attempt to run out the clock.
  14. Blocked FG after prayer.
There are four touchdowns and the two blocked FG drives weren't really anyone's fault. Other culprits are Justin Boren(1), Greg Mathews(1), and then some combination of Debord/Loeffler/Henne on six drives. I don't really blame Henne for either of the blitz-seven instances because the play design had no answer for that. When you have three receivers, all of whom are running long routes, you're screwed. But the rest of it is on his shoulders. He completed 50% of his passes and averaged 6.2 YPA against Appalachian State, and he didn't even get that much pressure.


Awful. Michigan tried one non-waggle play action pass all day against a team with eight guys in the box constantly; on a few plays the linebackers actually started moving towards the line of scrimmage on a pass play without the assistance of a playfake. Massey should have been wide open on seams all day, but this was never explored but once. The one time Massey did get targeted after play action he was immensely wide open and Michigan gained almost 20 yards. But who needs play action against Appalachian State? Whoops.

Also, whenever Michigan shuffled the fullback they ran to that side. Without exception. And whenever Junior Hemingway was in the game, they ran. Without exception. If every Michigan fan can tell you certain things obviously tip Michigan's plays, what are the chances opposing coaches don't know this? Zero. Everyone knows what Michigan is going to do. This is something we've heard every time a bowl opponent is asked about us for the past half-decade and probably longer. It's an arrogant waste of expectation because you expect that you won't need to fool the other team. It's like playing poker without ever bluffing.

Given Appalachian State's blitz directly into Henne both times we tried a waggle and irresponsible seven-man blitzes that worked, it's safe to say that Michigan's predictability goes beyond the really blindingly obvious crap we've been observing for years and into the realm of deep exploitability.


Sigh. Chart(s).

Endless Fiasco2

(Legend for this one.)Way too many INs, but many of those were bombs that were just off. One of the BRs should be worth like six points, though, as it was the horrible interception that killed a Michigan drive.

This Game

A lot of items in the "1" category, which is a ball that would be a circus catch if hauled in. That's not good.

What, if anything, can we take from this game that is positive?

Michigan did perform as expected in the run game, grinding Appalachian State for 246 yards at 6.2 per despite continually facing eight guys in the box. Guys were getting blown off the ball consistently and it was only on occasion anyone could step forth and attempt to deal with it. And this was with Michigan virtually ignoring play action and tipping the direction of their runs half the time. Aside from one bust on the first drive, Boren did very well. Schilling was also decent. It remains to be seen whether this means anything against a I-A rush defense, but given Oregon's performance against Houston last week it also remains to be seen whether Oregon actually has one. And that goes for Notre Dame, too.

Greg Mathews looks like he's comfortable with Henne; Massey also was involved in the offense a lot.

What does it mean for Oregon?

We should be able to score points on them given their initial performance against Houston -- and that was no fluke given last year's crumble and the many problems they had in the offseason -- pending Henne's accuracy returning. He had Manningham four or five times and never hit him until the second to last play of the game. You can't always expect bombs to find their targets, but Henne proved more accurate than that last year.