|O29||1||10||I-Form Twins||Pass||10||Mathews||Slip Screen|
|What, no zone left? This game of all games? My world... crumbles! (CA, 3) Okay... this is the second week in a row this has been called a bubble screen. I think I may have to change the lingo here.|
|O19||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Zone right|
|(U) == unbalanced line. Michigan lines up the TE on the same side of the field as its WR on the line, which makes him an ineligible receiver. Boren(-1) is blown back into the backfield; Ortmann(-1) blown back. Hart submerged under three Eagles... I think maybe we need ways to punish DL who slant so heavily on the snap.|
|I can't believe teams still jump when our QBs do the finger thing.|
|O13||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU overshifted with two linebackers threatening blitz on the weakside and the line shifted heavily to the strongside. This time, Boren getes out in front of the EMU defender and gets him moving downfield; when Schilling comes to help out the guy gets blown back. A guy from the backside comes to tackle, but Hart is already moving forward and downfield; first down.|
|O8||1||G||I-Form Big||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Away from the two TEs. Again the EMU NT just sort of runs downfield, avoiding contact, until Hart decides to cut up the middle, at which point he's doubled and his momentum is moving in the wrong direction and he can't possibly halt anyone's advance. Didn't even have to block him.|
|O4||2||G||I-Form Big||Run||-2||Hart||Zone left|
|This time the NT shoots into the backfield between Boren and Schilling(-1), who was asked to make a very difficult block. Kraus(-1) is beaten on the frontside; his man tackles for loss.|
|O6||3||G||Ace 3-wide Tight||Pass||-9||--||Sack|
|Schilling(-3) schooled by Jason Jones, the NT we've been talking about all drive; Henne with no chance. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Schilling -3)|
|Drive Notes: FG(31), 3-0, 9 min 1st Q. Weird drive from that NT guy, either getting immediate penetration or screwing around. Schilling has proven himself not quite ready for prime time the past few weeks, but he's young.|
|M1||1||10||I-Form Big||Run||20||Hart||Zone left|
|Yikes. This turns into a big gainer but was perilously close to disaster. Kraus gets drive backwards by his guy, cutting off the outside; Hart cuts behind. Fortunately, Boren(+1) has gotten the other DT sealed and Jake Long comes out to the second level, sees a linebacker fly up into the hole, and seals him as well. Hart just squeezes through. Then he's off.|
|I-Form personnel with Hart split wide. Mathews runs a simple little out against obvious zone. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) So weird that we pass on first down, which we do very rarely, and tip it by sending Hart out wide.|
|M26||2||5||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||14||Hart||Lead Draw|
|Again EMU loads the backside and run blitzes; we run a draw into it that should never, ever work. Outside blitzer slips and Hart dodges the other guy, is into the second level, and makes the most of the blocking there. This breaks the record; it's nice that he schooled some guy on it.|
|Same tactic from EMU with six on the LOS and two more near it, this against three wides. The corners are playing very soft; Henne takes advantage with a simple stop route; Arrington picks up plenty of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O44||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|McLaurin instead of Moundros. EMU with a straight eight in the box, showing man. EMU NT Jones blows into the backfield past Schilling much like PSU's Ollie Ogbu did a couple weeks ago, but he can't quite reach Hart. Butler(+1) does a good job on the DE; Ortmann smacks a DB, and this could be a big gainer but for Boren(-1) falling at the feet of his second-level block, the MLB. Why go fo the cut here?|
|O38||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-1) beaten by the EMU DT, causing Hart to cut back. Don't know why, though; he should have kept going to the frontside, IMO. Hart manages to escape the DT; unblocked backside DE closes and tackles.|
|EMU drops seven into a picket-fence zone around the first down line, then drops off further as the routes develop. Protection is very good, so Hart jogs out of the backfield for an outlet; Henne hits him for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O31||1||10||I-Form||Pass||31||Arrington||PA Out & Up|
|I love this: after the completion, Hart comes off for a breather, so we break out the double-fullback backfield and run our first straight non-waggle play action of the year off of it. Uh... okay. It works, I guess, as Arrington has a step or two on his guy. He leaps to catch a slightly overthrown ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-0, 2 min 1st Q. Wow, horrible coverage from EMU on replay. I don't know why we aren't going deep to Arrington more often... he may not have the breakaway speed Manningham does but he's not bad and he can do that Braylon thing where he just takes balls a way from well-positioned defenders.|
|Arrington hit on an out against the same deep-ball terrified coverage. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). Arrington(-1) lined up off the line, however. It comes back.|
|Butler sits down in a hole in the zone, and Henne fires it in there. Smooth; excellent protection. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Henne scans downfield, comes down to McLaurin (maybe), and pumps but thinks better of it; Hart's snuck out of the backfield again; Henne dumps it off for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M45||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Long handoff|
|John Beilein! Woo. Git ur Izz on. This long handoff is thrown a bit in front of Mathews, but why has Mathews stepped back from the line? I don't know who to peg this on. I go with Mathews since I've seen Henne throw a billion WR screens and they're all on the money. (CA-, 2)|
|M45||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Out & Up|
|Don't think Mathews really sells this route, as his cut into the out is really shallow and his man stays step for step. Henne has no short options and decides to bomb it anyway, keeping it away from the safety and to the outside. Mathews almost makes a great circus catch, but the EMU guy manages to rake it out. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Henne finds the open guy as a Mathews in drags one of the zone defenders out of a spot that Arrington occupies. Ball is behind the receiver and ends up a tough-ish spinning grab; Arrington makes it. (CA, 1 (I'm loosening my catch guidelines), protection 2/2).|
|Ugly all around from the right side of the line; Schilling(-1) gets beat to the inside by the DT and can't help outside; Ortmann(-1) takes the outside guy instead of the inside guy. An untouched Eagle hits Henne as he throws; the resulting throw is a duck into double coverage. Tentatively BA, but this doesn't seem like the world's greatest read. (BA, 0, protection 0/2) This could have been open if Henne put it outside of Hemingway. Would have been tight... but doable.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 10-3, 13 min 2nd Q.|
|M26||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||15||Hart||Zone right|
|Excellent job by Long(+1) to cut the backside DT to the ground. Hart uses the opening created by this and Boren again having some trouble with the DT. Moundros(+1) pounds the linebacker out of the picture, Hart reads it and flies up into the secondary for excellent yardage.|
|M41||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||11||Hart||Zone left|
|Can't decide if Carson Butler is supposed to let his guy inside of him or just does a lousy job; think the latter given Hart's vector. Hart sees the block there, and bounces it out. Moundros(+1) kicks out the linebacker; both other linebackers are engulfed by second-level blockers, Hart again into the secondary.|
|O48||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone right|
|Ortmann(-1) and Boren(-1) both let their guys penetrate; Hart can usually get away from one guy in the backfield but not two.|
|O49||2||11||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Mathews||Long handoff|
|Decent gain; this ball a little behind the receiver. (CA-, 3)|
|Welcome to the offense, kid. Henne stands in and fires just as Boren(-1) is getting driven back into him... this is a mildly tough throw. Hemingway has broken open on his route; he ball lays in perfectly for him. As Hemingway turns up, he slips, otherwise another two or three was possible. (DO, 3, protection 1/2)|
|O20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone right|
|Jordan forces Schilling back, cutting off the frontside; Hart decides to cut back as he sees a hole behind it. Long has again cut a guy out of the play, providing the hole; Hart batters his way into a couple linebackers for a decent gain.|
|O16||2||6||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||12||Hart||Zone left|
|Caught 'em slanting the wrong way. DE heads inside, LB blitzes and seals himself as Butler moves out to the second level; Moundros cuts the outside linebacker, Hart has no problem making it to the second level.|
|O4||1||G||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||4||Hart||Iso|
|No zone blocking here, just a straight-ahead fire off the ball. Butler stalemates his guy, the DE, and Moundros seals his guy to the inside. Hart has a walk into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (XP blocked and returned), 16-5, 7 min 2nd Q. I swear this PBP guy has given a line and yards gained that are contradictory like three times on this drive. Michigan is on the twenty: “Hart to the fifteen for a gain of four.” Aaaaargh. Meanwhile, at one point in this drive they get to talking about some Eagle from Oklahoma and Mason launches into a recounting of the various schools in the area... is it any wonder the first one out of his mouth is Tulsa? BTW: It's this Jones kid who blocks the XP, too.|
|Two-minute drill before halftime. Henne takes a short stop that's sort of ill-timed and poorly thrown, removing YAC potential. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Jones shoots past Schilling(-1), the other EMU DT moves around Boren(-1), and Henne has two guys breathing down his neck from the center of the field. (TA, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Plenty of time; Henne comes down to the drag route and throws it imprecisely, preventing Mathews from picking up much after the catch. (IN, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 16-8, EOH.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU leaves a big gap between the strongside DT and DE; both Kraus and Long move to the second level immediately. Boren just barely gets across said DT, who's driving him into the backfield but falls, perhaps because of an assist from Moundros. Hart manages to squeeze through.|
|This might be a designed counter, as Moundros heads to the nominal backside to block the defensive end, who's usually left to his own devices on these plays. Hart takes what looks like a stretch handoff, then cuts back behind the penetration of the backside DT. Butler(-1) whiffs his block, Hart makes the guy miss, sort of, but said guy grabs his jersey and starts dragging. EMU converges.|
|M32||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones splits the double team of Schilling(-1) and Ortmann(-1), meeeting Hart in the hole.|
|I believe this was tipped at the line. (BA, 0, protection 1/2)|
|M33||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||16||Arrington||Deep out|
|The NFL throw, right on the money 15 yards downfield. Good pocket. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M49||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) beaten again, right off the snap. Hart runs past the DT, but his momentum stops. he decides to cut past the backside DE, and pops out for four.|
|Eastern's linebacker does a great job reading thins and attacking, allowing the defense time to recover and tackle. (CA, 3)|
|Arrington gets bumped, but pushes off to get separation and inside position; Henne hits him. (CA, 2, protection 2/2) Ortmann(-1) beaten by Jones, getting Henne hit.|
|By the way, Moundros has been our “running back” the past few plays with Hart getting a breather. We run play action that probably doesn't fool anyone. Hemingway's circle route gets him a step on a DB biting on the slant; Henne lays it in smoothly. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1) This time we keep a TE in to block so the backside DE doesn't get a free shot at the QB. This might have been a bad read, as live it looked like he had a guy open deep.|
|O24||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||24||Hart||Zone left|
|Kraus(+1) and Long(+1) crease the front side of the defense; EMU has blitzed the linebackers so once he's through there's n one on the second level. One “woop” on the safety and it's a coast to the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 23-14, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Virtually the same play as the 7 yarder on the second drive, except this time they're running to the strong side of the formation. Hart again cuts behind an aggressive slant from Jones. Moundros cuts the backside DE out of the play. Long seals the backside DT; Kraus the MLB. Second level blocks from Schilling and Butler are excellent. +1s for all! (We are finally punishing a team for excessive slanting to the playside, BTW.|
|O11||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||4||Brown||Inside zone|
|Brown runs into a wad of people, pushing the pile forward. No real creases.|
|O7||2||6||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||3||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones beats Schilling(-1), eliminating the possibility of going inside; Hart cuts out, where mountros and Butler have gotten Hart the corner. An eastern safety reads this and fills immediately, holding the gain down.|
|O4||3||3||Ace Twins||Pass||-15 (pen)||Mathews||Pick play|
|Hart offset; obvious pass. Henne hits a wide open Mathews; the reason he was wide open was a blatant pick from Arrington. There are ways to do this legally; this was not one of them. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|This is actually a perfect throw right to the front corner of the endzone but Arrington slows up on his route, misjudging the flight of the ball, and makes this too tall for himself. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(36), 26-14, 3 min 3rd Q. EMU fumbles the ensuing kickoff.|
|O17||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||17||Hart||Zone right|
|Jones again into the frontside of the play but there's no one on the backside with long cutting that DT just enough. Kraus(+1) gets a great second level block, as does Schilling; Hart waltzes. Another “woop” move on the same safety.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 33-14, 3 min 3rd Q. Michigan. Charting ceases, as the rest of the game is Carlos Brown thudding into the line. This does miss one bad Henne INT.|
Where were all the points?
16 first half points against a team like EMU is not a bounty, but if you check the drive chart above, please note that Michigan only had five possessions in the first half, and one of those was a (failed) two-minute drill. That, some bad luck, and terrible special teams play had Eastern within 8 at the half. I just bring this up to reinforce the idea that playing a style of offense that relies on lots of long drives reduces the number of possessions in a game and exposes you to the vagaries of fate more than, say, Texas Tech.
Not that Texas Tech is the end all and be all of programs, or that we should follow their example. But by God whoever wins or loses a TT game does so thoroughly.
So, a ton of penetration against us when we play EMU. We're doomed.
Yeah, maybe. One thing: I think we ran into this year's Dan Bazuin in the personage of EMU's Jason Jones. That kid is just good. He blocked an extra point, sacked Henne, and got tons of penetration on running play, and generally terrorized Michigan. He screwed up a bit and would occasionally slant himself out of a play, but I'd take him on my team any day. (We're thinking of cobbling together a ragtag crew of losers, calling ourselves the University of Phoenix Phoenixes (We're From Phoenix!), and claiming that we're the local rivals of every I-A school since the Internet is everywhere. Viola: 12 crushings at the hands of actual teams for six figures each and early retirement. He can play with us. Or on Michigan.)
Also, Hart kinda ran for 10 yards per carry. So things weren't that grim.
But both Boren and Schilling are struggling to keep guys in front of them. Part of that is the predictability of the offense: we've run stretch play after stretch play, allowing DTs to slant with impunity as soon as an offensive lineman steps to one side or the other. We need to incorporate more counter action into the run game, as we did with great success against Oregon, to keep from ending up in second and third and long with frequency. If you sell out to stop the zone game you can get to it in the backfield and throw guys for losses. Hart lost 39 yards all of last year; halfway through this year he's already reached that number. Did our offensive line get worse? Probably not appreciably... there were plenty of issues last year, too. Did Hart get worse? No. It appears teams have started to figure out Michigan's rushing attack and are content to roll the dice risking a 10-12 yard chunk for the chance of a TFL and long yardage situations for a team that hasn't handled them well so far.
I don't think it's a coincidence that Michigan had great success the few times they deigned to run a sort of counter by stepping the line to one side or the other but shooting Moundros at the backside DE, opening up big cutback lanes when the EMU DTs slanted. Hart's 61 yard run came on one of these plays.
We do this all the time, though.
Right, we do. Even today, when we broke one tendency -- zone left first play of every game -- we introduced a new one, the unbalanced line. Michigan ran every time they covered up the TE. This worked, but we were playing Eastern Michigan, so it had damn well better.
Rope-a-dope seems to be a key aspect of Michigan's offensive philosophy. It's the only way to explain many of the trends we see in playcalling. Vijay of IBFC astutely observed that Debord appears obsessed with setting up tendencies so he can break them later. Thus the fullback shuffle. Thus the 100% run with an unbalanced line: he's setting up foes down the road by actively trying to look like a predictable idiot. Then Michigan ditches the staid stuff in the big games. This might explain both Michigan's tendency to play down to its opponent and its typically better than expected results against top competition. (At least when the entire Carr era is considered; not so much the past few years.)
This is a slightly different critique than the one put forth when people mention the "scoring offense"; the results are often the same. There was quite a contrast between watching the Michigan offense I know and love-hate and watching EMUs. The difference, as pithily as I can construct it: EMU hopes to confuse opponents into not knowing what the play is; Michigan hopes to convince opponents they're doing something else.
|Oregon - Henne||1||13||6||3||1||0||3|
|Oregon - Mallett||3||7||2||3||1||1||2|
|ND - Mallett||2||7||4||1||0||2||0|
|PSU - Mallett||3||12||6||3||6||1||2|
|NW - Mallett||2||5||4||1||1||1||1|
|NW - Henne||1||19||4||1||1||1||0|
That's slightly generous, as Henne had six further attempts in the game, going 3/6 and throwing a bad interception. Also, the first INT was filed as BA when it didn't seem to be a good idea to throw even if you didn't end up with a guy draped all over you. Even considering that, Henne had a very good day with few unforced errors. If he plays like that versus Purdue (minus the ugly INT) we win.
Another week of no drops, though Arrington misjudged a flag that should have been a TD.
Protection is a bit uglier: 28/37. Schilling -5, Ortmann -1, Boren -2, Team -1. Schilling was the culprit when Jones beat him silly on the sack that killed Michigan's first drive. Youth, playing out of position, etc. Plenty of excuses; would like him to play better.
As close as you can get to heroes playing Eastern?
Hart and Henne. Moundros also had his most effective game to date. None of those flops at the defender's feet.
Schilling; Boren had trouble containing Jones as well. Arrington did turn a TD into a FG by getting too aggressive on a pick, then misjudging that flag, but he's kind of good anyway. Also: he sounds just like Carlton Banks. I swear to god.
What does it mean for Purdue?
There is still little data on Purdue's defense. They gave up a ton of yards to Minnesota, but I believe that was mostly garbage time. Notre Dame managed 377 passing yards... so, like, wow. They must seriously suck? Dunno. Boeckman threw three picks amongst two TDs and 200 yards passing; WellsX2 rattled off around five YPC but got stuffed in some critical situations. I don't think they're going to be a pushover. Still, given the ND game, in which they only got two sacks, one of them from a safety, it seems safe to say that Michigan's passing game, if unleashed, should shred the Purdue secondary. Pending, of course, Henne playing like he did in this game instead of his frightening Year of Infinite Pain reversion in the first couple weeks.