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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hart ends up cutting this almost all the way back, slicing past Alex Mitchell(+1), who's driving CMU supahstar Dan Bazuin downfield on the first play of the game. Hart(-1) fumbles, Manningham recovers.
Something I've noticed: Henne does have the proverbial “command of the offense”. On this play and several others he saves Michigan from confusion or penalty by correcting presnap alignments. Here he reminds Breaston to get up to the LOS after a TE goes in motion. The play? Easy as pie stop route to Manningham with the Central corners playing in East Herrmannistan. (CA) Would prefer he not stare down Manningham, though.
Dan Bazuin is from McBain, Michigan. It all seems so obvious in retrospect. This play is joined in progress and is thus hard to understand. Jake Long appears to miss a block on a filling linebacker, but as the play was going away from his side of the line I don't think you can blame him too much.
O3927Ace 3-Wide
Pass10BreastonWR screen
We motion Breaston over to a stationary pair of Arrington and Manningham. I tell my cousin “screen” as the motion comes. I am so right. May have been a bit hasty on declaring the WR screen dead last week. This time Arrington(+1) gets a nice block to spring Breaston. Manningham(-1) is angry with himself after the play; he attempted to cut the corner and whiffed, preventing this from going a bit farther. (CA)
PassIncHartThwarted PA
Bring in Oluigbo and fake an ISO. Henne starts looking deep but is rudely interrupted by Bazuin, who went around Riley(-2) like he wasn't there. Henne scrambles away from pressure nicely and hurls it in the general direction of Hart. (TA)
Play probably wasn't going anywhere anyway but it's notable that Riley(-1) got beat to the inside, and his man makes the tackle on a play run to the left side of the line. Oluigbo(+1) with another pounding block.
O2637Ace 3-Wide
PassIncArrington?Med. Out?
Bazuin again. This time he feints going outside, gets Riley(-1) moving that way, and swims back inside. Hart's staying in to help but Bazuin's right in the passing lane. Henne throws, he jumps and bats the pass. (BA)
O2647Ace 3-Wide
Hart's again tasked with doubling Bazuin. McBain does essentially the same thing he did the play before, but the throw goes to the other side. Henne rifles it in a small spot in the zone for the first. (DO)
O18110Ace 3-Wide
Er. Ecker lines up on the left side of the line, then motions to the right. We zone to the left side of the line. So either Kraus has to somehow seal the defensive end by himself or Long has to momentarily scoop w/ Kraus and then get out on the outside linebacker. Neither of these things happen... the DE is upfield immediately, forcing Long to pivot and get a glancing block on him. The OLB is thus free. Hart does some dancing for a couple yards. Weird play design? An attempt to catch them off guard? I dunno. I think this is Long(-1) but don't quote me on it.
Again we run away from the strength of the formation – 2 TE on the right side. It looks like this particular zone play is actually designed for a cutback behind the RG, but Ecker(-1) can't block guess who and he's forced to run behind his OL... which works out pretty well as the left side has blown CMU yards off the ball. (Long, Kraus +1)
O1032Ace 3-Wide
Good lord. We motion Ecker to the side we run to this time but he's window dressing. Long and Kraus KILL the CMU d-line with an assist from Bihl. (+1 for everyone!)
O51GOffset I-2 TE
Touchdown. Couldn't ask for a better exemplar of Mike Hart's(+2) zone goodness than this play, in which Bazuin ends up penetrating into the backfield. Past Long(!, -1). A potential TFL goes bye when Hart zips upfield. Outstanding work on the backside by Riley and Mitchell.(+1 each)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q. Riley's inability to block Bazuin almost terminates this drive but everyone else on the O was picture-perfect.
Riley(-1) is blown into the backfield, forcing Hart to cut back into the heart of the defense. I really, really hope this Bazuin guy is a top five pick in the NFL draft.
O4928Ace 3-Wide
Good protection this time, as Central stunts Bazuin into a Mitchell-Bihl double team. (WTF?) This might provide some evidence for the crowd who declare Henne coached into timidity, as he has plenty of time but just dumps it down to Hart for a meh gain. (CA and I really wish I could see what was going on downfield.)
O4433Ace 3-Wide
This is closer to a third and two and an instance similar to that at the end of the Vandy game where we were merrily zoning away against a defense that was going to come hell-bent against us on a fairly obvious run down. Here, as there, our running is ineffective. A downside of the zone game? I think I'd prefer bringing Obi in and dropping the hammer. Anyway, the play: motion Ecker to the left side, zone there, safety on that side blitzes, Ecker's(-1) block is fey, and the timing is busted.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 5 min 1st, I put all the analysis in the third down play. Drat! So, uh... this Dunkin Donuts commercial with the “beard of bees”... that has to be They Might Be Giants, right? (TMBG +1)
Run5HartOff tackle
Breaston comes in motion to the left (and short) side of the field; Michigan zones that way. His block (-1) is mediocre but enough to delay the safety such that Hart makes the corner. If he does a bit better Hart gets ten.
O3825Ace 3-Wide
Run6HartOff tackle
Good lord part six or whatever: Riley(-1) again blown into the backfield by Bazuin; Hart's path is fortunately not disrupted. Everyone on the outside gets good seal blocks except Arrington(-1), allowing Hart to reach the corner. (Ecker +1 for the block.)
O32110Offset I slot
Henne(-1) makes this a much tougher catch than it has to be, throwing it really hard and about a yard inside. Still hits him in the hands and could be caught. (very nominally CA)
O32110Ace Twins
Grady(+1) does well to power through a a tackler and stumble forward for a good chunk of yards. Could have been stopped for two yards.
Again with the zone-short-yardage I mentioned earlier and a similar, disappointing result. Mitchell(-1) got driven back a bit.
O2341Offset I 2TE
Extremely fortunate for us, as the man offsides was not on the playside as was thus completely irrelevant. Otherwise we turn the ball over on downs. Don't like running to the weak side of this formation when they've overloaded said side. Henne(-1) has to get us out of that.
Run18HartIso Draw
Right up the gut for a touchdown. Presnap Henne corrects Oluigbo's position – he had moved to an offset. Postsnap, Oluigbo(+1) crushes a blocker, allowing Hart a hole between the last linebacker and the endzone. A blitz from the outside linebackers anticipating another zone opens up all the space. Our rock to their scissors.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 1 min 1st. I'd rather have Oluigbo in there on these short yardage plays.
O33110Ace 3-Wide
They're playing way, way off Manningham. He stops after five yards, catches the pass, and has plenty of room for more. (CA)
Grady(+1) cuts back and is momentarily caught in an ankle tackle by Bazuin, but breaks it and plows ahead for a nice gain.
O1121Offset I 2TE
Awful camera angle. Grady(-1) cuts this to the backside, too, and unnecessarily. He risks a TFL here when the hole ahead was clearly sufficient to pick up the first down. Another good stick from Oluigbo(+1), though it was moot.
Dagnabit. I like my heroes and goats clear. On this play the POA is clogged by a ton of CMU players. There would be a wide open cutback lane between Kraus and someone if Kraus(-1) hadn't been ripped to the ground by the DT and free to close on Minor. Touchdown if Kraus makes the block and Minor makes the cut.
O62GAce 3-Wide
Bihl takes a little too long on his double-team at the line. When Grady cuts up the MLB is still unengaged, making a cutback unpalatable, so heads to the right of Bihl for a few yards. Made a couple after contact.
O3 3GAce
Long(+1) ends up burying his man five yards into the endzone. A nice, solid cut by Grady(+1) splits two converging defenders. Touchdown.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q. Grind grind grind grind.
M37110Ace 3-Wide
Lots of time. Henne gets to his second or third read, which is Hart, lined up at WR, on a six yard stop. Hart(-1) drops the ball. (CA)
M37210Ace Twins
Massive cutback lane as Central gets caught stemming into another defense right at the snap, one with only three DL. Since Riley is getting blown back again Hart cuts it up for a first down. CMU safety Curtis Cutts tatoos Hart.
Penalty-5ButlerFalse start
Massey wiiiide open on the waggle. Excellent throw on the run. (DO, Henne +1)
Thompson at fullback. He decides to flail at a player already on the ground(-1), thus allowing a couple linebackers to fill.
O3528I-Form Twins
Pass16BreastonPA deep cross
Breaston wide open after play action on the sideline about 12 yards downfield. Manningham's go route has run off the player originally in that zone. Henne puts it right on the money. (DO, Henne +1)
O19110Ace 3-Wide
The play where Curtis Cutts comes up and goes Batman (POW!) on Minor. Great job by Bihl and Kraus to open up the cavern he runs through. (+1 for both)
O1324Ace 3-Wide
Goofball in seat near me says “he's running tentative because of that hit,” which draws muttered snark from me. It's hard to run anywhere when a defensive end is entirely unblocked. I'm pretty sure this is on Long(-2).
Man. Kids, Dan Bazuin is for real. On this play he starts out on the left, then has a delayed stunt inside Long. Kraus is trying to deal with the stunter and Bihl(-1) whiffs, forcing Henne to scramble and eventually take a sack. Can't blame Henne here: Michigan went max-pro, keeping 2 TEs in to block. The routes weren't ready by the time Bazuin was on him. (PR)
Drive Notes: Field Goal, 24-7, 6 min 2nd Q. A couple of breakdowns on the left side of the line terminate this drive.
M3 110I-Form 2TE
Oluigbo(-1) does not do the job here. I hate this playcall: there are nine men in the box. Nine.
M6 27I-Form 2TE
Ditto. Nine guys in the box. Arrington single covered out to the right with his man eight yards off him. Stupidly conservative.
M736Ace 3-Wide
Penalty-4ButlerFalse start
Butler(-1). His second of the day.
M4 310Ace 3-Wide
Well, clearly you don't want to hover in the pocket all day when you're in your own endzone, but Henne should be able to find someone. There's an out just offscreen that looks open. (BR)
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 2 min 2nd Q. Hate this drive for its predictability and clear indication that the idea of a “scoring offense” is alive and well. Tactically it's saying “we don't want you to get a cheap touchdown before the half,” which I dislike mucho because the best way to prevent a cheap touchdown before the half is to get a first down here and kill their drive dead before they even start it.
M49110Ace 3-Wide
Pass26BreastonSlip screen
Nice block from Arrington(+1), Breaston(+2) does his “I'm Steve Breaston” thing. (CA)
Very nice job by Bihl(+1) to seal off the DT. Mitchell and Riley(+1 each) create a gaping hole between themselves and Bihl. Hart(+1) makes another five or eight with a nice cutback once he gets through the hole.
O10110Ace 3-Wide Bunch
Excellent blocking by the line. Hart is tackled by his shoes and falls forward.
Cuts up between Long(+1) and Kraus(+1). Just pushing them back, glacier-style.
O1 31Goalline
Run1HartOff tackle
Oluigbo(+1) pounds the outside linebacker, freeing Hart to waltz in to the outside. Michigan motioned a tight end to the left and ran right.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-10 10 min 3rd Q.
Cut is right up the gut.
Tight ends are open by five yards when we run this. Throw is right on the money (DO, Henne +1); Butler cartwheels to the turf after the catch.
O46110Ace Twins
Time to throw. Henne(-1) checks down to Massey, who's covered, and throws it well wide anyway. This could be evidence for those who think Henne has been coached into timidity. (IN)
There's a massive hole here but Grady makes a terrible decision, running back into the defense.(-1) Kudos to Kraus(+1) and Bihl(+1) for the blocking.
O4135Ace 3-Wide
Kraus(-1) gets lost on a stunt, allowing his man to come in unblocked on Henne. He had just enough time to get it away but missed Manningham. (IN, though perhaps harsh.)
Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 7 min 3rd Q
M46110Ace 3-Wide
A promising hole off tackle is closed just enough when Carson Butler(-1) can't hold his position and bumps into Grady as he passes. Grady(+1) digs for extra yards after contact for a decent gain anyway.
5026Ace 3-Wide
Works to perfection this time: Long(+1) shoves his man over enough for Kraus to seal then gets to the second level. Massey kicks out a linebacker, and Minor finds the gap behind Long for the first down. Minor finishes this run by delivering the pop this time.
Run15MinorOff tackle
Carson Butler(+1) dismembers the linebacker to the play side on this snap. Arrington(+1) dominates the cornerback; Minor gets the corner with ease. He finishes the run with powah!
O28110Ace 3-Wide
Butler can't handle Bazuin on this play. There's nothing to the outside so Minor cuts it up into a bunch of bodies to get what he can.
O2628Ace 3-Wide
Riley(-1) killed by Bazuin again. Jackson is out of options and, much like the last play, a Michigan running play ends in a mass of flailing limbs. Oh, and a fumble.
O29311Ace 3-Wide
Time to throw ends abruptly when Bazuin stunts past Mitchell(-1) and into Henne's chest. Henne does manage to get a pass off to Butler for a few yards. (CA)
Drive Notes: Field Goal, 34-10, 1 min 3rd Q
Run15HartOff tackle
POA jammed up so Hart cuts back. Dodges an arm tackle. Dodges another arm tackle, and now he's got the whole right side of the field, which he starts running up. NO NO NO NO CHAD IT'S 34-10 DOOOON'T. (+2 for Hart.)
M29110Ace 3-Wide
Time, checkdown, timidity. (CA)
CMU blitzes into it... the guy up the middle is blowed up by Oluigbo, but too much traffic in the middle.
M3534Ace 3-Wide
Flag is picked up. The contact was indeed before the ball was thrown, but this still seems like it should be a penalty. No justice no peace. Not charted since Manningham's fall makes it impossible to judge the throw.
Drive Notes: Punt, 34-10, 12 min 4th Q. Garbage time ensues, though the first team gets another drive.

Dude, there's like numbers and stuff.

Yes, we're trying out a very experimental +/- similar to that seen weekly for the defense. I forsee some problems:
  • OL never get credit for good pass blocking but do get slammed for bad pass blocking.
  • It's impossible to see if receivers are running good routes.
  • A zone running game sometimes makes it difficult to assign blame or credit.
  • Mike Hart got shorted.
But we'll try anyway. I added some +/- to Henne but I don't think that practice will continue since he's been the subject of much finer-grained analysis for a while.

Anyway, chart:
Still missing a few blocks.
Excellent player.
No longer concerned about center.

Plain murdered by Bazuin, who didn't even confine his damage to Riley.
-2Stop false-starting, kid.




Able blocker.

Actually want to see more fullback. Who would have ever predicted that?






At first glance, this might need significant work. Michigan crushed Central on the ground but the numbers don't really reflect it, though that was due almost entirely to Bazuin playing like Lawrence Taylor. And I have a feeling wide receivers are going to have mostly negative scores for dropping balls. We'll see.



IMO, a good game. There were a couple throws on the CA/IN border; one got dropped in each bin. The bullet to Breaston that was a yard off is the kind of pass that gets caught by Avant. So: a couple wobbly throws, one plain bad one, and then good results. Two tough-ish waggle throws made on the run hit TEs between the numbers. That deep cross to Breaston was perfectly placed and not a difficult catch. The BA wasn't his fault at all.

There wasn't much evidence to go on, but he came through when he was asked to throw. I do have some concerns about his tendency to check down when he has a lot of time, but with the umbrella CMU was putting around the deep receivers it's understandable. He should have some opportunities to go deep against Notre Dame.

If he is in rhythm at all. WTF haven't we thrown more?

I think the usual reasons trotted out (working on the zone game, DeBord and Carr treat the forward pass like apes encountering the Monolith) are probably part of it, but consider this: Michigan has essentially no backup quarterback. David Cone is a true freshman from a veer option team. Jason Forcier is a redshirt freshman who is not at all ready, if rumors are to be believed. So it might make some sense to keep your quarterback protected against teams that have very little chance of winning, especially when your right tackle is more door than wall and double especially when McBain is coming to kill you.

Speaking of McBain, good Lord.

No kidding. The word "unblockable" gets thrown around way too often -- I've heard people describe Woodley's first two games as "unblockable" when a better adjective would be "unblocked" -- but goddamn, that kid is unblockable. It wasn't just Riley, either. He blew past interior linemen on a couple stunts and would have ended Hart's first touchdown for a four-yard loss after shucking none other than Jake Long if not for Hart's unbearable awesomeness of being. I think he might be the best defensive end in the country. I know that I really want him to be the best defensive end in the country.

We'll find out when Abiamiri lines up versus Riley. I'm pulling for you, McBain.

And what does it mean for Notre Dame?

As previously discussed in the PSU tape review, Abiamiri is going to be a major problem. His matchup versus Riley is the key one for the Michigan offense, period. I expect him to get beat a lot. Just how much will determine the fate of the universe. Michigan will chip and offer RB support but when ND blitzes his help will be stripped away, leaving him one on one with the beast. I expect screens-a-plenty.

Michigan's run game is very good. Everyone on the line is capable of drive-blocking well. Oluigbo has established himself as a punishing blocker. Hart, Minor, and Grady are all good backs. Given what I've seen I think Michigan will be able to run on Notre Dame when they have seven in the box. Eight will work sometimes but not frequently enough for Michigan to go into a shell the entire game and come out with a win. Variety will be key.

We don't really know much about Michigan's passing game other than Riley's scary and the tight ends are heavily featured. I expect the TEs to remain heavily featured in an attempt to keep ND's linebackers from crashing the LOS. Waggles and seam routes should feature. Also, WR screens should be effective if the GT game is any indication of the open-field tackling ability possesed by ND's cornerbacks. Breaston and Manningham can make these guys miss. Ndukwe and Zbikowski might dislodge their fillings ten yards downfield, but ten yards is ten yards.

I'm still not sure what to expect except a lot of zone blocking and panicked scrambles from Henne when Riley whiffs. We could grind up and down the field on them, or we could succumb to an avalanche of tiny mistakes like we did last year. I think we score in the 24-27 point range.