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Thursday, September 06, 2007

note: a few complaints about not being able to see the video. These clips are generated directly from the MGoVideo download of the game and so may be using supersecret awesome compression. I know asking this for a few video clips is lame, but if you download VLC it will play them. VLC plays everything. I'll try to figure out how to make the clips more user-friendly in the future. If you can't play them, please email/comment and indicate what you're trying to play them with.


the end of Ron English, Weis-level super genius.

This post's official song of woe:

Wise Up - Aimee Mann


This post's official clarification of "emo" as it applies to these songs: you've already had a tough enough week without me heaping Dashboard Confessional on you; also this would require me to have some knowledge of actual emo bands to do this. I am proud to say that I do not, and must make do with the more depressing recesses of my musical library.

This post's official August Strindberg quote:
Sometimes not seeing things can be a blessing.
Anyway. On with the show:

O261104-wide shotgunNickelRun0Zone read handoff
At the snap Michigan has a man over each receiver, a single deep safety, and two linebackers behind a four-man DL containing Crable, who played all of this game at DE. Terrance Taylor(+1) can't be moved despite a double. The play is fouled and delayed; the linebackers can converge without harrassment.
O262105-wide shotgunNickelPass6Circle
Two outside receivers drive off zone coverage, allowing the third guy on that side to run the slant-pirouette-out combo commonly referred to as a circle route and utilize that open space. (CA, 3, cover -1) Michigan stunts, BTW, and Taylor ends up falling down. If Edwards wanted to take off the entire back side was open. This will be relevant soon.
O32345-wide shotgunNickelPass68Slant? (Replay)
Ugh. Johnny Sears(-1) turns his hips to the outside as this guy fakes going on a fade route and then cuts it back for a little slant designed to get the first down. Stevie Brown(-5) takes the worst angle in the history of angles, waving at this kid's ankles and turning an eight-yard first down into a touchdown. Welcome to Michigan Safety Hell. (CA, 3, cover -3)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 11 min 1st Q. Seriously, what the &#*!. We've rotated through like five secondary coaches since Marcus Ray left and each one of them has had safeties who were complete bollocks.
O161105-wide shotgunNickelRun9QB draw
Technically not Incredibly Surprising since it's the first time they've done it. Anyway, two deep safeties and our linebackers are in that half-split that indicates zone coverage. We stunt, opening up a big hole, and Ezeh (-1) is late reacting. Even if he's magically David Harris on this play the end result is likely the same, though: it's one linebacker in a sea of green versus this little nippy QB guy.
O25214-wide shotgunNickelPenalty-5False start
O20265-wide shotgunNickelPass-6Sack
Will Johnson(+2) defeats his block on a stunt and contains the QB; Crable(+1) comes up to help finish the play. Coverage caused the hestiation, this from Sears(+1). (Cover +1)
O143125-wide shotgunNickelPass6Scramble
Can't find anyone. Cover +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q. Containment + coverage = punt. Savor this drive.
O351104-wide shotgunNickelRun6Zone read handoff
Oh, the first of many, many, many of these that are infuriatingly successful. Corner blitz cuts off the outside but for some reason both of our DTs are slanting away from the LG-C gap. Johnny Thompson(-1) is hesitant and does not read the hole. And what the hell is Chris Graham(-1) thinking? He's setting up to take on a blocker, then decides that maybe the QB has the ball well after it's clear he does not and takes a couple steps upfield, running himself out of the play. Ugh.
O41244-wide shotgunNickelRun3Zone read handoff
Unclear what happens on this play -- sadly, the BTN is just as retarded about showing blonde sideline reporters when the play is going on as other networks -- but by the time we're back to the action there's a significant hole on the right side of the line (it looks like we've stunted again) and the RB is squeezing up into it. It's unclear who slows him up by getting an arm on him, but the delay is enough to hold this short of the first down.
O44313-wide shotgunNickelRun5Zone read handoff
They snap it quickly. Will Johnson(-1) slants up hard and collapses, opening up a hole. Our linebackers are tardy and allow blockers to get out on them; no chance we stop them here. A first indication we are totally unprepared on defense
O491103-wide shotgunNickelRun1Zone read handoff
Four times in a row might be a little much. Terrance Taylor(+1) fouls the intended hole and prevents the RB from attacking anywhere his linemen might have a good angle to block a linebacker. Thompson finishes. No stunt this time.
50295-wide shotgunNickelPass8Slip screen
Easy pickings as we have only two guys out here covering three wide receiver. Harrison gets blocked but does manage to force it inside, where Thompson can make a tackle downfield.
M42313-wide shotgunNickelPenalty-5False start
M47365-wide shotgun3-3-5 nickelPass11Slant
This guy is wide, wide open. Ridiculously so. (Cover -2). Jamar Adams pounds him after the catch but BFD.
M361104-wide shotgunNickelRun4Zone read handoff
We have an extra guy in the box this time, Jamar Adams. Another stunt just gets a DT out of position and Shawn Crable driven way downfield. The presence of Adams prevents this from becoming a large gain.
M32263-wide shotgunNickelRun9Zone read handoff
This is ridiculous. It's time to bring up the extra guy in the box and stuff the run, right? No. six guys and then a tenuous corner but he backs off to pay attention to the wide receiver. As result there's no one to fill when the guy cuts back (Thompson was blocked out of the play, -1) and squirts for a first down. I mean, seriously, let this noodle-armed kid try all the 40 yard bombs he wants, put a safety in the box.
M231103-wide shotgunNickelRun19Option reverse
Brown gets suckered in and is way out of position, but it's Crable(-2) who gives up contain instantly in a futile pursuit of a quarterback who isn't coming back his way. Senior... senior captain. AAAAAAARGH.
M4 1G3-wide shotgunNickelRun-1Zone read handoff
Blitz into it. Yay. They're swarmed under by three unblocked defenders.
M52G3-wide shotgunNickelPenalty-5False start
M102G5-wide shotgunNickelPass10Stop
What the #$%*. Seriously. This guy is sitting at the five yard line and he is open by five yards. There is no excuse for the coverage to be so loose against this team inside the ten yard line. Adams whiffs a tackle (-1, cover -3).
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 13 min 2nd Q. Completely inexcusable all around. Constant stunts when we should be able to run over their I-AA defenders, presnap position that leaves us dead and open to exploitation, complete irresponsibility by our senior captain, and then a coverage of OSU vintage that manages to leave a guy wide open inside the ten yard line.
M371103-wide shotgunNickelRun2Zone read handoff
Drive starts in Michigan territory after M -1 yard drive, crappy punt coverage, and incredibly weak late hit fifteen-yarder. Chris Graham(+1) reacts to this before the AppSt guy does and makes a tackle somewhat near the LOS, instead of getting blocked five yards downfield.
M35284-wide shotgunNickelPass7Middle screen
Graham(-1) fails to read this and since he's not slicing up to stop this as he releases he gets blocked and there's no one to recover.
M28313-wide shotgunNickelRun4Zone read handoff
Bit of a cutback here. Crable's useless as a DE against the run, just standing up most of the time, and this hole is between him and a crashing Taylor. Thompson(-1) decides to rush up into a wad of players and then wave his arms at the passing tailback.
M241105-wide shotgunNickelPass2Scramble
Coverage(+1) is good and QB can't find anyone. Crable(+1) chases him down after he decides to take off.
M22285-wide shotgunNickelPass22Slant
Pick play. This is again Stevie Brown(-3) completely failing to read the play and getting way out of position. There is no one to help. (Cover -2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-21, 10 min 2nd Q. Pretty sure this is Brown's last snap.
O351104-wide shotgunNickelRun2 + 15QB draw
Turns into five wide as the RB motions out. Tim Jamison(+1) does a good job of getting some push and filling a hole, tackling him and forcing him back into linebackers. Except for the 15 yard facemask. (-2)
M581103-wide shotgunNickelRun5Zone read handoff
Hey, you know what's a good way to get Brandon Harrison(-2) to overrun a play? Ask him to do anything at all! Crable slants inside right at the snap � stupidity? Run blitz? Dunno. That would be a good way to force the tailback into the waiting arms of Harrison if he ever did anything on a blitz other than run upfield really fast. He manages to recover, but only after turning what should have been a two yard loss into a five yard gain.
M43253-wide shotgunNickelRun9Zone read handoff
I mean, you'd think we'd wise up by this point: there is no deep passing game here. But our safeties remain way downfield holding their penises, or, in Stevie Brown's case, trying very hard to grab his penis but falling down and watching it score a touchdown. Anyway: Taylor slant towards the playside, guy comes off him (zone blocking!) to pop Grahaam and the RB finds a seam on the weakside. But by God, we hit these &#$#ers hard after they pick up 10 yards.
M341103-wide shotgunNickelRun3Zone read handoff
THEY KEEP RUNNING IT. A I-AA TEAM IS TREATING US LIKE MICHIGAN TREATS MAC TEAMS. WE ARE TOO STUPID TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. This is a virtual replay of the last play, down to the double in the hole, but Thompson(+1) actually does a pretty good job of standing up the blocker and collapsing.
M31273-wide shotgunNickelRun2Zone read keeper
Graham(+1) does a good job of reacting to this quickly, filling the hole with authorita and allowing Crable to tackle.
M29355-wide shotgunNickelRun21ISQD
Incredibly surprising quarterback draw. I hate Michigan football sometimes. Guess what we do on this play? Stunt our pretty little asses off. There are no linebackers within 10 yards of the guy when he crosses the LOS (really? Really this guy doesn't warrant a spy?) and he gets the easiest 20 yards of his life. Debacle.
M81G3-wide shotgunNickelPenalty-5False start
M131G3-wide shotgunNickelRun6Speed option
Hey, I've called this play in NCAA 08. Thompson(-2) idiotically blows up the QB instead of keeping contain. Adams(+1) does well to keep this down to the big gain it is.
M72G3-wide shotgunNickelRun2Zone read handoff
No hole on the frontside thanks to a good job from the DTs. Can't help but think this is a TD, though, if this guy cuts it to the backside. He doesn't.
M53G5-wide shotgunNickelRun5ISQD
I hate Michigan football. We're still stunting!
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-28, 2 min 2nd Q. Abomination.
O361103-wide shotgunNickelPass-4Screen
Brandent Englemon(+2) reads this and comes up to stop it in the backfield.
O322143-wide shotgunNickelPassInt???
One of two times in this game that Edwards just wings a ball directly to a Michigan defensive back. Trent(+1) is the recipient of an easy interception. Isn't this an indication we should have been daring this guy to throw? I guess that assumes that we would occasionally have a defensive back within ten yards of his intended receiver. Withdrawn.
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-28, 14 min 3rd Q.
O241103-wide shotgunNickelRun8Zone read handoff
Crable(-1) runs himself right out of the play. Both DTs hold their ground but do little else. Ezeh(-1) is hesitant and gets blocked downfield; Graham is keeping contain on the other side. Completely ridiculous. The last eleven plays: nine runs, a screen, and a horrible interception. Clearly we are not getting the job done with six guys in the box. Where is Adams?
O32223-wide shotgunNickelRun3???
TV misses this play entirely.
O351105-wide shotgunNickelRun11ISQD
I will note that the last two times AppSt was in this formation, they ran ISQD. This time: ISQD. What. The. Hell. Ezeh is on the line, covering another OL. Graham... I don't know where the hell Graham is going but it's away from the quarterback. Gaping holes. I mean, seriously, I beg you to watch this play and the other two ISQD. We're the stupidest team on the planet.
O461104-wide shotgunNickelPass13Slip screen
Same zone-read-fake to slip screen they ran earlier. This should be held down to a four yard gain but the runnerguy splits Graham(-1) and Harrison(-1) for a big gainer.
M411104-wide shotgunNickelPass-2Slip screen
Exact same playcall but this one to the other side of the field. AppSt coach-man, you are now the owner of our women and I know whenever you call ISQD it goes for like a million yards, but NOT THIS TIME!!! Trent(+1) blows by the block attempt and buries this in the backfield. Morgan Trent isn't out of San Diego. Is anyone on the team out of San Diego?
M432123-wide shotgunNickelRun2Speed option
I'll give Harrison(+1) this: he contains the option better than Thompson did. With nowhere to pitch and Tim Jamison(+2) blowing a guy into his path, he aborts and cuts back. He gets a couple before Jamison hunts him down. Crable(-1) should have had him in the backfield but overran it.
M413105-wide shotgun3-3-5 nickelPass27Flag
Chris Graham has proven himself a pretty shitty football player, but you have to feel sorry for him when he's tasked with covering a wide receiver lined up yards and yards outside of im. Michigan sends four guys around the outside and leaves Will Johnson as a spy; the blitz gets there but it doesn't really matter because of the world's most obvious read. I'm all for this playcall as long as the guy in question is not Chris Graham but a cornerback. WTF. Do we have a dime package? The replay shows this idea in all its aborted fetus glory.
M141103-wide shotgunNickelRun1Zone read handoff
No stunting this time, and no holes. Will Johnson(+1) pushes through and makes a tackle for a small gain.
M13293-wide shotgunNickelRun1Zone read keeper
Crable crashes in and forces the QB to pull it out, but does enough of a job delaying him so that he can't make much. Graham(+1) keeps contain, forcing him back up into Ezeh for minimal gain.
M12385-wide shotgun3-3-5 nickelPassIncSlant
Six guys cross the LOS; Edwards finds a completely wide open guy; he drops a sure touchdown. (Cover -3) How did this guy get so wide open? Adams(-2) and Sears(-2) both covered the same guy!!!
Drive Notes: FG(29), 20-31, 8 min 3rd Q.
M281103-wide shotgunNickelRun2Zone read handoff
This is where the defense starts to turn effective until the game-losing drive. No stunt; Line remains tight; no holes. Jamison(+1) does the most work; both DTs absorb double teams and do not flinch.
M26285-wide shotgunNickelRun2ISQD
Will Johnson(+1) discards his blocker as the ISQD approaches and grabs Edwards' leg; this slows him long enough for Thompson to get there and hold the gain down. Still: without this very good play from our DT, this goes for a first down.
M24365-wide shotgunNickelPass-4Sack
No stunts; four receivers to the top side of the screen. Edwards' first read is covered (cover +1), and Jamison(+1) and Crable(+1) come in and sack him before any others can present themselves.
Drive Notes: Missed FG (45), 20-31, 5 min 3rd Q.
O161103-wide shotgunNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Linebackers now reacting more quickly. RB runs right up his OL's back. Graham(+1) had held up well to the block attempt. No stunting.
O162103-wide shotgunNickelRun15Zone read handoff
Something we haven't seen before: pulling linemen. Both RG and RT pull around the center as both Dts get sealed immediately. Graham(-1) runs himself too far outside and puts himself in line to get smashed by the pulling guard. There's a major hole right up the middle. Again: where is the extra guy in the box? Look at this play selecton! The only downfield passes on third and long since forever ago!
O311103-wide shotgunNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Will Johnson(+1) and Terrance Taylor(+1) win the battle inside; no room.
O312105-wide shotgunNickelPass-3Scramble
One blitzer, no stunts, and no pocket. Freaked out, Edwards starts to scramble; Crable(+2) disconnects and punches the ball loose. Thompson recovers.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-31, 2 min 3rd Q.
O261103-wide shotgunNickelPass6Slant
Behind the receiver; he makes a nice catch. Graham hits him soon after. (Cover -1).
O3224???NickelRun-1Zone read handoff
...probably. I don't remember and TV doesn't show this play. Crable +1?
O31355-wide shotgunNickelPenalty-5Delay
O263105-wide shotgunNickelPassIncSlant
AppSt catches M off guard and gets a guy wide, wide open as the D isn't set. Edwards chucks it behind him. (Cover -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 14 min 4th Q.
O411103-wide shotgunNickelRun0Zone read handoff
Adams drawn up for an extra guy in the box. They bring a WR in motion like they're going to run a speed option here but go with the same old standby. Taylor(+1) discards his blocker and makes a tackle at the LOS.
O412105-wide shotgunNickelPassIncSlant
Thrown horribly wide. Missed route? Many of these receivers are young; the QB is a sophomore.
O413104-wide shotgunNickelPassIncSeam
Receiver bracketed. (Cover +2) Edwards can't fit it in the tiny hole available.
Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 11 min 4th Q.
O331104-wide shotgunNickelPass2Slip screen
Same play they ran earler; would go for five or six but the player slips to the turf.
O35285-wide shotgunNickelPass-3Sack
Coverage(+1) is good; Jamison forces Edwards up and Taylor(+1) and Crable(+1) converge.
O323115-wide shotgunNickelPass-5Sack
Six guys cross the LOS and this time no one is wide, wide open. Unblocked Crable(+1) keeps contain and sacks.
Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 4 min 4th Q.
O261105-wide shotgunNickelPassIntPost
Another horribly misthrown ball directly to a Michigan defender. Englemon(+1) this time.
Drive Notes: Int, 32-31, 4 min 4th Q.
O261104-wide shotgunNickelPass18Scramble
Corner blitz from Harrison is picked up; I believe they snapped this quickly to catch us off guard and it worked. Terrance Taylor(-2) is tasked as a spy on Edwards but ends up way too far off the line, sitting in nowheresville as a big hole develops. Insanely, he even steps well away from the obvious lane for Edwards to run up into. Thus enormous yards.
O441104-wide shotgunNickelPass-4Double pass
Motions into five wide; supposed to be a trick play double throw here but the first throw is wobbly and by the time it's hauled in the receiver is swarmed under by Michigan defenders. He manages to gain a few yards and hold this loss down. +1 Ezeh, I guess, for reacting quickly.
O402145-wide shotgunNickelPass20Short out
Two blitzers and this is just a short dumpoff that should be six yards except Jamar Adams(-2) overruns the play and slips to the turf. Result: 20 yards.
M401105-wide shotgun3-3-5 nickelPass7Slant
Again blitzing; again no short coverage. Ezeh(-1) misses a tackle; Johnson manages to clean up from behind.
M33235-wide shotgunNickelPass4Stop
This has to be some sort of sick joke. Again the blitz and again it's no use because there's no coverage(-2). Everyone is playing soft as if a touchdown is a bad thing at this point. More on this later.
M291105-wide shotgunNickelPass24
Coverage is good for a moment; Edwards rolls out to avoid Jamison, and as he nears the sideline finds a guy abandoned by Ezeh(-2) for the dagger.
Drive Notes: FG, 34-32, 30 sec 4th Q. Oh, if only I could be surprised by this.

How many profanities did you delete/change into $#&#! in this?

Three hundred fifty-two.

How did Michigan give up 34 points to a I-AA team?

Sheer wanton stupidity, lack of preparation, and an inability to adjust until it was too late. By late in the game it became clear that Edwards, while a fast little bugger, was as much of a danger to his own team as he was to Michigan when he sat back in the pocket and threw. This should be no surprise: he is a fast little bugger, a true sophomore, at a I-AA school. When Michigan deigned to have a man within ten yards of his intended target, he was often inaccurate and sometimes disastrously so. His only downfield (defined as 10+ yards) completions all day were the flag when Chris Graham was put in an impossible position and the final improvised dagger. Everything else was short.

And yet Michigan played a scaredy-cat zone with two-deep coverage most of the day when AppSt was grinding ahead with the same damn zone read handoff, which they ran 21 times. Twenty-one! They took what Michigan gave them. While the players bear a large portion of the blame here, the coaching preparation for this game was nonexistent. Even the "we were preparing for Oregon" excuse doesn't fly: Oregon runs nearly the same damn offense. I guarantee they line up in five wides and have Dennis Dixon run an ISQD three or four times. Defending a spread option draw or a zone read is absolutely basic. Appalachian State did not fool Michigan into a ton of broken coverages and missed assignments (though Michigan provided many of those on its own), it mostly just lined up and ran the same play over and over until Michigan proved it could stop it. Eventually, when the stunting stopped, the defense started chopping these down. By then they had given up four first half touchdowns.

Ron English no longer seems fit to coach a Pop Warner team. I mean, those guys can run the same play over and over again, too.

And the players?

Obviously Stevie Brown was not ready for prime time. He should call Sam Bernstein and get a lawsuit going against the Michigan Stadium turf -- he's proably got severe whiplash from two separate slip and fall accidents. Heck, Berstein's kid is already suing about the stadium edifice itself, why not go for the whole enchilada? Anyway, if you slapped a "21" on Brown, no one would be able to tell the difference between him and Ryan Mundy.

Johnny Sears was also culpable on the first Appalachian State touchdown, getting beaten by yards and giving up the inside in a snap. He wasn't even in a position to slow his opponent down on a five yard slant. The preseason hype on him is officially Grady Brooks.

Both were replaced. Brown got yanked after giving up his second touchdown in favor of Brandent Engelmon; Donovan Warren came in for Sears.

The other major culprits were the linebackers, all of whom were terrible. This is potentially forgivable for Ezeh, a freshman in his first game, but any hopes that Chris Graham doesn't suck go out the window. Johnny Thompson also had a bad day; Michigan's refusal to take David Harris off the field for even a moment last year now seems clear, as does the recruitment of Austin Panter.

Did anyone not soil themselves?

I don't know what to make of the defensive line. They sacked Edwards four times and harassed him frequently otherwise. Their performance against the run left something to be desired, though. art of that wasn't their fault, as they were often asked to stunt themselves out of position when an ISQD was coming, but there was a clear step down from last year. (Obviously.) I am unclear if the DTs or Jamison were responsible for any of the issues in the video above. It looks to me like both DTs took double teams on every play and mostly held up. Quick-reacting linebackers could have filled the holes in the line and held the gains down considerably, but I invite anyone with more experience/knowledge on the field to offer up their own opinions.

Also, Morgan Trent didn't do anything bad.

Where was Brandon Graham?

Graham had a lingering ankle issue that limited his time. He did come on periodically in the second half.


The emblem of stupidity, Crable had a good day with a bunch of tackles and a FF and a sack and a half but also was culpable on a number of plays, most egregiously the field goal of doom, upon which he blocked an outside guy instead of an inside guy... but I'm not entirely sure that's his fault. I'll expound on this more later.

What about this: "Everyone is playing soft as if a touchdown is a bad thing at this point. More on this later."

Ah, yes, Michigan's fundamental inability to understand game theory. It wasn't quite as bad as the Appalachian State coach nearly immortalizing himself with one of the all-time great blunders in college football history by kicking his winning field goal on first down with 30 seconds left, but it was pretty bad. On that play in question, the opponent is on the 33 yard line facing a second and three. There is approximately a minute left. In order, you fear:
  • A moderate-length first down that puts them in chip-shot range
  • A first down of any sort that puts them in makable FG range with the potential for another 10 or 13 yards
  • The remote possibility this Edwards kid can bomb something down the field for a long touchdown.
Michigan blitzes six and then sets up a gentle umbrella zone that has no one anywhere near the simple out that gets AppSt the short first down and sets them up for the dagger. Michigan did a similar thing on the 20-yarder on second and fourteen, blitzing a ton of players but making it irrelevant because of soft coverage behind it. If Edwards has to hold the ball one second longer on either of those plays, he is buried under winged helmets. But combining a noodle-armed QB with a blitz and then "coverage" nowhere near the receiver in question is idiotic.*

*(Note that this is a great strategy on third or fourth down and long, when the picket-fence zone plus blitz usually results in a dumpoff that ends up short of the sticks. Using it on second down is dumb.)


Will shred us. Our linebackers are clueless, we're going to spend the entire game in a nickel against four and five receiver sets, and the Ducks' talent level is vastly higher than Appalachian State's. Only errors from Dixon will keep us from playing Purdue 2006 opposite them; thankfully Dixon is the kind of guy who makes tons of errors. I figure the preparation levels will be better, but I also don't buy that Michigan can not be prepared to defend 21 instances of a basic running play. The defense sucks.