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Thursday, October 18, 2007

O39110Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass6Out
Warren is playing off; this is a simple throw and catch. (Cover -1)
O4524Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Johnson(+1) makes this play, subtly. They double him momentarily in an attempt to seal him; the guard peels off to go block Graham. But Johnson hasn't been sealed or given any ground and the running back cuts it back inside, where Taylor(+1) has beaten a guy and CGraham can fill, as the guard doesn't have an angle on him.
O4534Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPass5Improvisation
It appears Michigan is caught off guard, as both Crable and Graham are flat-footed at the snap and end up blitzing from five yards away. Purdue has plenty of time to read and adjust; they pick it up. Crable(+1) literally leaps over the running back who's trying to block him; BGraham(+1) comes around the corner to flush Painter; contain is lost with the linebackers crashing inside and rolls out, finding a guy in front of Trent. Painter's first read covered(+1); pressure -1 for blowing contain and not getting there on a blitz.
50110Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun-2Triple option dive
Slightly different formation than our usual nickel as Taylor is lined up right over the center's grill. Crable as a standup DE. They motion Bryant into a two-RB look, the run a triple option, handing it off to Dierking. Taylor(+2) busts through the line right into the path of the play, making an unassisted TFL.
O48212Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPass7Out
Quick rollout from Painter and an out throw in front of a soft Trent. (Cover -1).
M4535Shotgun TripsNickelPass1Scramble
Dierking motions out; empty look. Coverage(+1) is good; Painter can't find anyone as the pocket collapses around him. Jamison(+1) flushes; BGraham(+1) keeps his head up and reads that Painter's going to take it up the middle, collapsing on him as he nears the LOS. Stick him harder and you get a sack, BG.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. I kind of wish we weren't playing so soft on these little outs, but given Painter's inaccuracy I can see the strategy. I think we'll see similar stuff against Illinois. Zoltan's MIND BULLETS induce the ball to hit a Purdue player; turnover. Why can't these be returned?
O35110Shotgun 3-WideNickelPen5Offsides
O4015Shotgun 4-wideNickelPass3WR screen
This is a traditional screen with a couple jab steps from the WR, who then backs off and tries to pick up some blockers. CGraham(+1) reads this and attacks it, tripping up the ballcarrier. Johnson, tracking back, finishes the play.
O4322Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun2Zone read handoff
Very aggressive; third time already we've spread a linebacker out and brought up a safety to provide something of a 3-4 look. Corners playing very soft behind it. Adams backs off before the snap. We stunt our way past some zone blocking, forcing Sheets – just entered – to cut back into an unblocked Crable; he cuts up and Taylor(+1) disconnects to tackle. They just manage the first.
We're looking at a picture of Chimdi Chekwa instead of Purdue's first down, which is the third time we've missed a play in just six minutes of game action. As we come back Ezeh is slicing into the line to tackle Sheets amongst a host of Michigan defenders.
O4629Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPass-4Sack
BGraham(+2) comes around the corner lightning quick, raking the ball as Painter attempts to throw and forcing a panicked scramble. Crable(+1) tracks down for a sack more rightly BG's.
O42313Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPassIncDeep out
Crable lined up sort of over a slot receiver; both MLBs threaten blitz; Crable and Harrison come off the corners as the MLBs bail. Painter does get a pass off to a wide open Lymon(cover -2), but it's wide and a difficult catch which is not made. Pressure(+1) from Harrison may have helped painter screw up.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. Fortunate... that was catchable.
M51GShotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelRun5Zone read keeper
Crable(-2) gives up contain; easy touchdown once he does.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q.
O22110Ace 3-wideNickelRun2Draw
Taylor(+1), alert, pushes off his guy and forces him to change his path. Johnson(+1) has backed off and collapsed down into the hole the running back diverts into.
O2428Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelRun18Zone read handoff
No stunt; Crable lined up as a standup DT, Purdue runs right at him, doubling him. Yeah; that works. A zone block knocks Crable(-1) out and CGraham(-1) gets blocked downfield, diving at the RB's ankles but missing. Similar play to the NW gashers; this is not a run defense. Sheets fumbles at the end of the run... butt meet bench. Jamison(+1), tracking back downfield, caused the fumble.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-7, 2 min 1st Q. That 3-3-5 is not tenable except on obvious passing downs.
O38110Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPass10Stop
Michigan blitzes; good pickup by the RB and an open, short route prevent it from doing anything. I believe this is zone; Trent's been driven of by a deeper route and has to come up late. He misses the tackle(-1), turning this from five to ten yards. Adams bails him out. Pass caught by “Lywyn Selmon”... uh... (Cover -1)
O482InAce Base 4-3Pass2Long handoff
Don't mind playing off here; the rewards of playing tight are little and the risks unpleasant. Warren just barely gets a hand on this guy's leg, slowing him up and allowing others to converge. He's still a very dodgy tackler, which may be relevant against Illinois.
50110Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass7Zone read PA
Fake handoff and a Painter rollout finds Bryant downfield open in front of Ezeh and Adams. (Cover -1). CGraham shot into the backfield on some sort of delayed blitz, but the coverage couldn't give it time to matter.
M4323Shotgun 3-WideNickelPassIncQuick out
If there was ever a throw that proved Curtis Painter was a poor fit for this offense, this is it. He has a small window to fit this short pass in and wings it wide. Harrison made this kinda difficult; no coverage +/-.
M4333Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun3Zone read handoff
Blitzing heavy from the outside. BG, at DT, does a pretty good job of cutting off the intended POA and forcing a cutback, where Englemon tackles. Dierking just stretches out and makes it, as the tackle was from the side. CGraham blown out of the play by a guard, FWIW.
M39110Ace 3-wideNickelRun-3Zone right(!!!)
This looks like Tecmo Super Bowl when you call the same play as the offense. Why would Purdue ever run this? Previous opponents (ND and PSU) have foolishly tried to shoehorn their offenses into something they were not in order to exploit Michigan's apparent weakness against a shotgun run game; Purdue decides to shoehorn their offense into something Michigan sees every week in practice. Weird. Anyway, Adams(+1) blitzes into this but maintains control; Jamo(+1) slices into the backfield through befuddled zone blockers, and CGraham follows up. Three more Wolverines get there for the dogpile.
M42213Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPassIncThrowaway
BGraham(+1) gets around the corner, forcing Painter to chuck it OOB. (Pressure +2). This guy is a terror.
M42313Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass5Cross
Adams(+1) is a bad position at the snap after faking a blitz and pulling out late; he's quickly outside of Dustin Keller's crossing route and has no chance to make a play on the ball. he realizes this, bails out a little deeper, and focuses on making a tackle, which he does authoritatively.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 13 min 2nd Q. Zoltan's mind bullets force the punt, which lands at the five, to bounce all the way out to the 20.
O22110Shotgun 4-wideNickelRun4Triple option dive
Bryant agains motions into the backfield and Purdue gives a triple option look while handing off to Dierking. Johnson is doubled for a long time and starts giving ground, but the long double lets Ezeh fill unmolested. A cutback behind the late-peeling OL yields a moderate gain.
O2626Shotgun 3-WideBase 4-3PassIncOut
They roll the pocket to buy time; BGraham(+1) works free of the OT and gets a little pressure as Painter approaches the sideline; the throw to Lymon is wide. (Pressure +1)
O2636Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPassIncCross
Ezeh(+1) blitzes and harries Painter into a quick throw (pressure +1) that's either horribly behind Bryant or horribly in front of Orton.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 9 min 2nd Q.
O37110Ace Base 4-3Pen-5False Start
O32115Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPass4Screen
The jab-step screen to Bryant Purdue ran earlier. Englemon(+1) fills immediately, forcing Bryant to delay and allowing the defensive line to recover.
O36211Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPass9Zone read PA
Goes to Keller, who runs the “fake-block-run-out” route favored by TEs everywhere. CGraham(-1) lets him get open (cover -1); Warren comes up to tackle after a five yard again but whiffs(-1); CGraham whiffs, too, Englemon pushed back and Keller nears first down yardage.
O4532Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun1Zone read handoff
Excellent job by Johnson(+1) to get some penetration and cut off the hole, forcing a cutback away from the intended POA. Ezeh(+1) shoots past a potential blocker, combining to tackle with Crable and force a punt.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 4 min 2nd Q.
O10110Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun-1Zone read handoff
Well, I guess this is the upside of Crable occasionally being way irresponsible on these: this time they hand it off and he tracks it down in the backfield from the backside. A grudging +1.
O9211Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass4Out
Meh, if they want four yards here they can have them. They attempted to block Crable with a RB... this is not a good idea.
O1337Shotgun 3-WideNickelPassIntPost
Painter's throw is not good but would probably have been catchable if Adams(+2) hadn't come up and popped Bryant as the ball arrived. The ball pops up into the air; Harrison flags it down and starts running. Recommendation: watch Jamison clock Bryant right at the beginning of the return. He must be thinking “#&*!, didn't that guy get stoned and enter the NFL draft three years ago?” (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 24-7, 1 min 2nd Q.
O41110Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPass-4Sack
Uh... they decide not to block Crable(+1). Unwise. He comes in under control and gets a hand on Painter, forcing him up in the pocket. Taylor's(+1) dropped into a spy zone type thing, reads, attacks, and sacks.
Drive Notes: EOH, 31-7, EOH.
O25110Shotgun TripsNickelPassIncThrowaway
Harrison(-1) in unblocked but overruns the QB; he scrambles outside, finding no one and tossing it OOB. (Pressure +1, cover +1)
O25210Shotgun 3-WideNickelPassIncCross
CGraham(-1) gets sucked out of his zone on the middle of the field, leaving this pass to Lymon wide open; Lymon drops it. Another instance where Graham's crappy pass coverage gets bailed out by the opponent failing to execute. (Cover -2) One more second and Crable smashes painter from behind.
O25310Shotgun Trips3-3-5 NickelPassIncCross?
Harrison(+1) in unblocked again – nice blitz pickups, Purdue – as the RB motions out of the backfield. This time he keeps under control, allowing Painter a moment to fire but way inaccurate; BGraham(+1) also got pressure, beating the LT. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-7, 11 min 3rd Q.
O20110Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun4Zone read handoff
This portly guy named Halliburton now in the game. CGraham(+1) does a good job to fend off a block and close the hole he picks; his momentum and a shot from a Michigan DL closing from behind push him forward for a moderate gain.
O2426Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPen-5Delay
O19211Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass-9 (pen)Bomb
Ezeh, blitzing, gets around the LT and is tackled. Painter steps up and lofts a bomb to Lymon, who's beaten Trent(-1) and Adams(-1), but drops it. Moot point with the penalty. (Pressure +1, Cover -2)
O10220Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass2WR screen
Same jab-step screen, this one to Lymon. CGraham(+1) does an excellent job of getting off the downfield block of Sester, the LT, and tackling with help from a backtracking Jamison.
O12318Shotgun 3-Wide3-3-5 NickelPass21Post
Michigan gets cute here, with seven guys at or around the LOS and four guys in an umbrella. Two linebackers threaten blitz, then back out after the snap; their zone drops are necessarily pretty shallow given their starting positions and the middle of the field is wide open for a Bryant post. Adams(-1) beaten. (Cover -2)
O33110Shotgun 3-WideNickelRun6Zone read handoff
Very AppSt-esque, this play. Crable flies upfield, taking himself out of the play. Will Johnson(-1) does what we've seen a lot of DTs do against us by ducking behind the block in an attempt to get penetration; he doesn't get to the RB in the backfield. Ezeh(+1) jukes out a guard who got to move to the second level immediately;. his tackle attempt is less than great but he still helped hold this down. A slowed Halliburton is buried after a moderate gain.
O3924Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass2Long handoff
Warren(+1) reacts to this quickly and just manages to not screw up the tackle. I'm still pretty leery about his tackling ability, and frankly, this play, but we are a results-based charting service. (Cover +1)
O4132Shotgun 4-wideNickelPass4Slant
Orton open for the first; immediate tackle from Warren.
O45110Shotgun TripsNickelPass18PA TE Flag
A zone read fake gets Warren(-1) to bite; Keller's flag is open at the sidelines. (Cover -1). Stevie Brown in the game.
M37110Shotgun TripsNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Taylor(+1) bursts through the line; a blitzing CGraham(+1) shoots pasts the center before he can get out on him; Ezeh comes in unblocked. Halliburton manages to get back to the LOS.
M37210Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPass3Hitch
Brown(+1) makes a solid tackle to prevent any YAC after this short completion. (Cover +1)
M3437Shotgun 4-wide3-3-5 NickelPass2Scramble
BGraham(+1) around the corner and would have a sack if not for a befuddled Purdue tackle who's been blown back into the pocket turning around and picking him off. Painter takes off. Jamo(+1) keeps him from running upfield long enough for Trent to come up and tackle. (Pressure +1)
M3245Shotgun 4-wideNickelPassIncHitch
Purdue stacks wide receivers on both sides of the line. A quick hitch to Orton is open in front of Warren (cover -1); Painter throws it into the turf.
Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 34-7, 3 min 3rd Q.
O31110Shotgun 3-WideNickelPassIntPost
Johnson(+2) busts through the line, beating the guard, and hits Painter as he throws. The ball sails right to Adams(+1). (Pressure +1)
Drive Notes: Interception, 41-7, 14 min 4th Q.
O38110Shotgun 3-WideNickelPass-4 (pen)Zone read PA
Elliot in the game... and he's a little confused. He keeps it after some play action, looks like he's going to scramble for good yardage, and then throws it to Orton after he crosses the LOS. Crable -1 for giving up contain.
O34214Shotgun TripsNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Slocum(+1) finally in; he sheds a blocker and tackles with the help of a collapsing Patterson.
O34314Shotgun 4-wideNickelPass7Flare
Elliot comes down to a little flare route with no chance for the first. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 48-7, 8 min 4th Q. Garbage time starts now; charting stops.

We own spread offenses!

If it's Purdue's, yes. I wish I had stuck to my guns in the preview; after saying we would hold down the Boilers in last week's defensive UFR I backed off and predicted 27 points. As it turned out that was close to right, but only by the letter of the law, not the spirit.

How did we do so badly against our first two opponents and then crush Purdue?

Purdue can't run well even normally; in this game they were missing starting RB Jaycen Taylor, benched Korey Sheets for fumbling all the time, brought him in for about two carries, one of which he fumbled, and benched him again. The leftovers were true freshman Dan Dierking (he's white! Think Sam McGuffie without the hurdling, yards, and touchdowns) and some bowling-ball type named Halliburton. Michigan has always played boa constrictor against one-dimensional offenses, and this was one.

But there are obvious improvements: Taylor and Johnson were much more effective in this game than they were against Appalachian State; this is unlikely to be an effect of playing against weaker competition, no offense to the Apps. Brandon Graham has returned from injury/suspension to become the best player on the defense. Englemon is good, Sears is gone, and the coverage is improving. They are getting better; this is not a mirage.

Does Shawn Crable have to give up contain on the zone read twice a game? I mean, is it in a contract or something? My theory is this: Jim Tressel kidnapped him and wouldn't let him go unless he promised to never, ever make sure if the quarterback has the ball before motoring after the running back.

Uh. My theory is that Michigan defensive ends might be coached to do this. Adam Patterson did it on the last drive I charted, too. That seems crazy, and Crable has kept contain a couple times, but it would seem to be the easiest thing in the world to get down: "if you are unblocked on the backside of a shotgun running play, check to see if the QB has the ball before freaking out and collapsing." And yet. The only two touchdowns the Michigan first string have given up in the past two weeks have come off of QB keepers that Crable freaked out about and lost contain on.

Suggestion for Illinois: STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT.

I mean, look at the--




Got a nice interior pass rush, forcing a pick.
Much more effective against a spread run game than earlier in the year.
B. Graham
Didn't actually pick up a sack but caused a lot of incompletions and generally owned Purdue tackles all day. Gooooood.
More crashing down, giving up contain... twice today. Cannot do that against Illinois.






Much better day than against EMU; made a couple plays and didn't blow anything in particular.
C. Graham
Hey! It's positive! I'll take it. Blew up a couple screens. Still not so hot in zone drops.
Got beat deep by Lymon, though it didn't matter in the end.


Our safeties seem okay of late. Knock on wood.

Had some extensive troubles in garbage time, IIRC.
Combined with the run numbers an indication that Michigan dominated what was supposed to be a pretty good offensive line.
Strategy was probably to lay back and watch Purdue eff it up; it worked.

Crable is the only guy in the front seven -- though we play a base nickel these days we rotate four guys on the DL -- to have a non-positive score and the only DL to have a non wildly positive score, mostly because he lost three points on this contain stuff. Go figure.

The rest of it: the defensive line crushed a fairly veteran and supposedly pretty good Purdue OL; the linebackers were a positive, too. And while the secondary took a step back from the past couple weeks that may have been a tactical decision. Aside from the Lymon bomb, a Keller flag and that disappointing third and eighteen conversion, anything Purdue wanted was in the Jimmah Clausen wheelhouse: four yards downfield. Given Painter's inaccuracy and the lack of a Purdue run game, Michigan could play off, cut off the big play, and wait for the Boilers to screw up or a defensive lineman to tear Painter's head off. This is the kind of team bend-but-don't-break works on: a crappy one.


Purdue's left tackle is still looking for Brandon Graham. The rest of the DL, save Crable, also goes here. They were unstoppable.


No one was outright bad today; even Chris Graham hopped above 0.

What does it mean for Illinois?

To reiterate the above: for the love of God, Crable/whoever, maintain contain on the quarterback.

Past that, Iowa shut Illinois down by sitting in their base 4-3, playing zone, and getting excellent contributions from the cornerbacks against the option. Result: 6 points for the Illini. We seem married to this nickel against the spread and will probably not mimic that style of play exactly but I would expect something similar: bend, don't break, get Illinois in long yardage situations, and get them off the field. I would rather keep two safeties deep and play the corners tight with an eye on defending the option than bring up another guy in the box and play soft.