Sports

Upon Further Review 2022: Offense vs UConn

FORMATION NOTES: UConn was a charting-friendly basic 4-3 two deep the whole game, give or take some line slides or exotic passing down items.

They would occasionally slide into an over or under front.

Note that I’m punting on something other than “pistol” for Michigan’s version of it, which is just a shotgun snap with a back directly behind the QB. Several years ago pistol meant the QB was closer to the LOS than he is in shotgun. No longer, at least for Michigan.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Aside from the late game blender, nothing out of the ordinary. JJ/Cade/Warren/Bowman your tentative QB depth chart. Stokes clearly #3 at RB with Isaiah Gash getting a lot of late run as a short yardage back. Max Bredeson probably your TE 4 behind All/Schoonmaker/Honigford. OL the same, with El-Hadi getting a lot of run after Keegan left on drive two.

[After THE JUMP: 100]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Gun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Out Henning 6
Henning motions across the formation and sets so we’ll call it 4-wide instead of trips. UConn shuffles a LB to him but speed out vs LB is a win. This ball is not in Henning’s facemask but it is high enough that it shouldn’t take him off his feet; Henning falls to the ground on the catch. (CA, +0.5, 3, protection 1/1, Henning -1)
M33 2 4 Gun trips 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Pass Bubble screen Wilson 39
UConn slot LB stares at McCarthy unmoving until ball is out, Hat -2. This is likely because McCarthy is staring him down the whole way and pulls, RPO+. Pretty torn about the results after the throw, as Wilson clearly has a lane inside of All, who gets driven back a tad by his blocker. Wilson(+2) is expecting to get outside and dances around; All(+1) gets some depth on his guy and Wilson can dash around to the outside now. Bell(+1) and Johnson(+1) both get excellent downfield blocks. (CA, +0.5, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O28 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Run Split zone Corum 8
Couple of fake snaps and then McCarthy flips Corum to his left. Split zone follows. Olu(+1) and Zinter(+1) double through a DT, with Olu getting a second level block and Zinter driving that DT after Olu leaves. Keegan(+0.5) and Hayes(+0.5) drive the other DT but Hayes does not see a LB popping around outside, ultimately irrelevant. Corum(+0.5) zips up the middle. Jones(+1) thumped a LB.
O20 2 2 Pistol TTB 1 2 2 4-3 over 8 Run Counter Corum 20
This is nice. Olu(+1) pulls around and EMLOS thinks split zone and is fighting to get inside. Olu walls him off and stalemates him. Schoon(+0.5) pulls across the formation and gets enough of a LB shooting inside of him to push him past Corum, who is now in a lot of space. Anthony(+0.5) gets a decent CB block and Corum(+1) uses to to get to the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M27 1 10 Gun double stacks 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Pass Bubble screen Bell 8
UConn remains heavy in the box relative to blockers here and has 2 v 2 on the outside for both stacks. Boundary guy is in press but All(+1) is the blocker out there so he wins against a DB. (CA, 3, screen). This is a presnap read so no RPO here and I’m trying to keep screen points relatively muted here so no half point.
M35 2 2 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Out Johnson Inc
Johnson(route-) falls down. Looked like a good decision and a good throw. (Not charted, 0, protection 1/1)
M35 3 2 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6.5 Run ZR Counter GT keep McCarthy -5
ZR wrinkle here as this is not split zone. UConn DE gets two yards in backfield, forms up, and is able to chase McCarthy down after he keeps. Great play by that guy but even if he misses the tackle he’s pushed JJ so wide that Schoon has no angle on a block and he’ll likely get shut down short of fhe sticks. ZR-, McCarthy -2. Zinter(+1) and Jones(+1) crushed their double but Keegan(-1) ate it on his pull so this was a bit questionable.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 10 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even SAM 7 Pass Bubble screen Wilson 14 (pen -1)
Another presnap decision as UConn is 2v2 to top of screen with a SAM LB clearly coming. UConn S at nine yards is charging at this, though. Wilson(+2) gives him the ole at the LOS and then rips off a first down. Usually unblocked guy at LOS is an RPS minus but this guy is coming from nine yards and is hammering down so fast that Wilson’s able to dodge and then it’s a free first down. I think this is a push. (CA, +0.5, 3, screen). Johnson gets a pretty weak holding call to bring this back. (Refs -1)
M45 1 11 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Counter Corum 2
Pretty good play by DE to get skinny as he steps left and gets vertical; Jones(-1) cannot handle this and gives up penetration that knocks Olu off his pull. Zinter(-1) ends up running to the second level without touching either DT; Keegan cannot handle a guy slanting away from him and gets no help. Angles are now messed. Corum(+1) does well to zip inside a potential TFL and spin through another one to rescue this somewhat.
M47 2 9 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass PA Deep cross Bell 15
Old school business here with under center max pro with only two guys in the route and a couple of guys leaking out late. JJ has forever and when two guys pop up on Corum he fires in a dart to Bell to convert. (CA, +1, 3, protection 1/1)
O38 1 10 Gun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Out Henning 15
Eight yard out to the field against parking lot coverage. This ball is lower than the first one to Henning but this time Henning(+1) keeps his feet and dusts the CB for some YAC. (CA, +0.5, 3, protection 1/1)
O23 1 10 Pistol 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 even 7 Run Arc read keeper McCarthy 14
This time the end is not in the backfield, instead setting up at the LOS, possibly because the previous TD on the counter has other things in his head. JJ(ZR+) correctly pulls and a UConn LB shoots inside so Schoon barely has to do anything. Bredeson(+1) gets out in space and wipes a safety; Anthony(-0.5) has a questionable CB block. RPS +1. Hat +1.
O9 1 G Ace 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 over 8 Run Split zone Corum 3
I’m spitballing here but this seems like a targeting issue for Bredeson(-2), who decides to kick out a defensive end two yards upfield who got ole’d by Schoonmaker and is off balance. He should be targeting a filling LB and if the DE gets Corum well done. Unblocked guy at LOS. Corum still gets something because Zinter(+1) and Jones(+2) obliterate the relevant DT and Corum can cut up inside of unblocked LB.
O6 2 G Gun 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 under 9 Run Split zone Corum 5
These are two different run plays in the Michigan playbook but here they’re split zone, we can only get so deep in the weeds. Here Schoon engages the EMLOS and Bredeson(+0.5) is correct to get the guy flashing to force. Schoon(+1) gets a yard of depth on his guy and Zinter(+1) and Jones(+1) again clobberated a DT and a second guy, Corum(+0.5) gets a filling safety two yards downfield and is able to spin off to near the goal line.
O1 3 G Goal line 1 4 0 Goal line 11 Run Dive Corum 1
They get it.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 2 min 1st Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Flare screen Henning 12
Orbit motion from Henning and nobody goes with him; UConn rotating one safety down to the boundary and playing super soft to the field. Presnap decision from JJ to throw the screen because it’s glaringly open. Bell(+1) and Anthony(+1) get their blocks, first down, RPS +2. (CA, 3, screen)
O10 1 G Gun 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Power GT Henning 3
Not sure what to do with this one. Seth wants Hayes to cut inside of El-Hadi and block the last LB, because that’s a touchdown. I think that’s ambitious to ask and Henning(-2) doesn’t show any patience to see where Hayes is going, which is outside. Outside looks real good. Zinter(+0.5) washed his guy down to create a big hole here and El-Hadi(+1) stands up a DL. Can’t evaluate the other blocks on the outside because of the cut.
O7 2 G Pistol 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Pass Y Cross Bell Inc
El-Hadi(-2) thinks this is a run play and gives up a pressure because he does not pass set. Max pro, too. Two man route with Bell running across the formation having drawn man coverage; no separation. McCarthy gets off an incredible throw in the circumstances, a back-foot lofted ball that only Bell has a shot at. Bell can’t quite make the incredible catch. (DO+, +3, 1, protection 0/2)
O7 3 G Gun TTB 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass Improv Wilson inc
UConn covers everyone coming out of the bunch but can’t get any pass rush. McCarthy sits and then his timer goes off so he starts moving. A LB sucks up and McCarthy does find a window to Wilson for a TD but the LB is able to jump and bat the ball down. This was not really an interceptable throw since it’s hammered hard and the LB is only able to get one outstretched hand on it, and it does look like the best available option. (MA, +1, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(24), 17-0, EO1Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 even 8 Run Zone stretch Corum 6
Zinter(+1) able to get a cut in on a DT lined up well inside of him and slanting away from him after UConn brings down a LB to the backside edge. That guy does a good job to keep his feet and flow but it’s enough. El-Hadi(+0.5) gets a penetrator and escorts him upfield with some push; Olu(+1) stands up and controls a LB after realizing he’s got no DTs. Jones(-1) overruns a linebacker who is able to converge and tackle with the DT.
O12 2 4 Gun 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Yo-yo flat Bell 11
Bell starts to motion from the field to the boundary, gets the indicative man to man chaser, and then stops right over Zinter and runs back the other way. DB glances at teammates as this happens and is a second late to realize what’s happening and Bell has the edge, getting down to the one with help from Johnson(+1). (CA, +0.5, 3, protection N/A, RPS +2)
O1 1 G Gun 2TE tight 1 2 2 Goal line 11 Run Dive Corum 1
Tempo(27) and Michigan surges into the endzone as a team.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-0, 12 min 2nd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Insert iso Stokes 11
All folds in to be the lead blocker. Zinter(+1) and Olu(+1) double through one DT and Olu crushes the MLB. El-Hadi(+1) controls the other DT and gets a yard or so of depth. All doesn’t really have anything to do. Stokes(+0.5) keeps his feet well to add some YAC.
M40 1 10 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Split zone Stokes -2
M motions Bell across and UConn has an auto-check on for the CB to blitz. This is tough for the OL to handle but Hayes(-2) makes a mistake by peeling off for the corner and letting the DE through. There is no way El-Hadi can see this blitz or react to it so you have to let the outside guy through and live with it. Stokes gets crunched. RPS -1. Honigford(-0.5) and Jones(-0.5) gave ground on their blocks; Olu(+0.5) and El-Hadi(+0.5) gave their double the business.
M38 2 12 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even LB slide 7 Run Power CH Stokes -2
This just gets clunked. Zinter(-1) and Hayes(-1) driven back. Olu(-1) gets shouldered through as he tries to kick the EMLOS. Stokes gets buried.
M36 3 14 Gun trips TE 1 1 3 3-2 dime 5 Pass Sack N/A -2
Three man rush, First read is Wilson on a Y cross, bracketed. A stunt almost gets a guy through before Zinter picks him up late, this causes a McCarthy flush. Scramble drill Fs for Johnson(route -) and Bell(route -); McCarthy ends up trying to extend the play and eats a sack. Maaaaybe he could have found Corum releasing upfield but this looks like the right play imo. (world’s unlikeliest PR, N/A, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-0, 8 min 2nd Q.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Flare screen Bell 28
Same as the Henning flare screen earlier. PA sucks in the entire front and press CB bails. M has two blockers for two DBs and there’s nobody else on the screen. Wilson(+1) and Johnson(+1) do their jobs and Bell(+1) breaks a tackle or two. (CA, +0.5, 3, screen, RPS +3). This has got to be the easiest 30 yards in Michigan history.
O32 1 10 Pistol twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Pass Waggle TE Y cross Schoonmaker 31
PA, rollout from McCarthy. He gets a DE flying up at his face but accelerates to get around him and then throws a rope to Schoonmaker on a dead run. The ball holds Schoonmaker up a bit but in the circumstances hell yeah. On the replay you can see him speed up to get to the spot. Not to beat the dead horse but McNamara isn’t making this play. (DO+, +2, 3, protection N/A)
O1 1 G I-Form Big 1 3 1 Goal line 11 Run Down G Corum 1
Ok I’ll issue some points since Corum is untouched. Honigford(+1) crushes his guy to the ground and Zinter(+0.5) gets a kick, from there academic.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 38-0, 3 min 2nd Q. McNamara gets the next drive type substance, which starts with 24 seconds on the clock.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M43 1 10 Gun trips 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Sack N/A -5
Combination of two things: Hayes(-1) gets bullrushed back into Cade’s lap, which probably prevents him from getting a throw off immediately, and Jones(-1) is beat around the corner at what’s usually okay but not great depth; McNamara moves backwards because of Hayes and gets crushed. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M38 2 15 Gun empty TE 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Deep comeback Bell 18
Corum is lined up in the slot just outside of Hayes and levels a DE before popping out in to the flat. Hayes(-1) then decides to sit on this guy just as El-Hadi’s guy loops around this mess. Olu(-1) is late recognizing another stunt so two guys are coming right at McNamara, who stands in and delivers to Bell. Ball is a bit high but I mean. (DO+, +2, 2, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Missed FG(62), 38-0, EOH. McCarthy back for one more drive.  
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M17 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Run Pin and pull Corum 2
At this point Michigan might be doing suboptimal things just to practice some stuff because this orbit flare is wide open but M isn’t throwing it. 38-0 with 25 minutes left so we’re gonna get lax here with the what-should-you-do stuff. Anyway. PNP here that’s blocked pretty well but the backside tackle slants left and cuts off El-Hadi. Hayes climbs to the second level but never has a chance against the MLB. Zinter(+0.5) gets a kickout; All(+1) gets a good downfield block; Jones(+1) turns in the DT. Olu kicks a DB downfield. RPS -1?
M19 2 8 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 even 7 Run Inside zone Corum 11
Bell motions in to be essentially a third TE to the field. IZ with UConn blitzing a corner who overruns it, heading to McCarthy. Corum threatens frontside and gets the MLB shooting through the gap; Hayes comes off on him, but he’s in the backfield. Corum(+1) shifts to the other side of the field and finds a gap. Olu(+1) controls and gets a yard of depth on a single block. Zinter(+1) gets a free release and deletes a LB; Jones(+1) kicks out a DE who was not supposed to be kicked out with the CB blitz.
M30 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Power CH Stokes 1
Late shift from UConn takes playside DT from head up on the G to shaded inside. This trips up Jones. He no longer needs to double, or if he does it can be very cursory since Zinter is downblocking on a guy he has a positional advantage on. Jones(-2) crunches that DT but a LB scrapes over him and when Jones looks to release downfield MLB is already gone. Olu(+1) does a good job to find and delete a guy trying to shoot inside of him. Bredeson(+0.5) gets a solid kickout. MLB thumps stokes at LOS.
M31 2 9 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6.5 Pass TE Hitch All 4
Not sure I love this but I don’t think anyone else is clearly open so I guess the four yard hitch is OK. Slightly questionable pass pro from Jones, who looked up potential blitzers on the outside and barely anchored against the DE. (CA, 3, +0.5, protection 2/2)
M35 3 5 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Out Bell 5
UConn sends five; mansome blitz pickup from Corum but El-Hadi(-1) gets got on a stunt; he does hit the guy but he’s surging through and McCarthy decides to bail. He bails with a purpose, shortening the distance to a throw he already wants to make, which is Bell at the sticks to convert. (CA, +0.5, 3, protection ½)
M40 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6.5 Pass Bubble screen Wilson 17
Uconn shows press and bails on fake snaps, check, no apparent check from UConn, bubble. Wilson(+1) can shoot up inside a good block from Johnson(+1) two yards downfield but violates protocol by going outside of that block; he does that so fast that it works. Wilson is then fast. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)
O43 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Run Jet sweep Henning 4
RPS for UConn as they rotate down a safety to an empty side of the field as M threatens jet. They get jet. S has force, so the DE to the playside who All expects to be force is not; he dives inside. All(+0.5) gets some chip on him and it’s enough as Henning(+0.5) runs through an ankle tackle. Jones and Zinter(+1) combo through a DT and then Jones extends to second level. Jones(-1) hits the same LB Stokes(+1) has handled and never gets off this to poke at someone else. Henning cuts inside that DE and gets buried. Nevermind the RPS, I guess.
O39 2 6 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Insert iso Stokes 5
UConn really firing at the run here so sledding is tougher. Makes for more interesting charting though. M has Jones pass set and All fold inside of him to lead out. All gets a charging LB at the LOS and stands him up; Stokes(+1) doesn’t like the straight ahead because that LB cut it off. He could bounce outside this and take his chances with an unblocked S who is charging but instead cuts back into a wee gap that barely exists, and squeezes through. Zinter(+0.5) got enough depth on his guy, I guess? Stokes breaks a couple arm tackles and gets a solid gain.
O34 3 1 Gun 3TE 1 3 1 4-3 under 7.5 Run Dive Gash 11
Jones(+1) and Honigford(+2) clobber the DE with Honigford getting off this block super fast and getting a charging LB. Bredeson(+1) plows the SAM. Gash gets a free pas
O23 1 10 Gun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 7 Pass Deep out Bell 12
Deep out to the field takes Bell off his feet to prevent some YAC. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O11 1 10 Pistol 2TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7.5 Run Split zone Corum 11
Jet motion from Anthony, handoff inside on split zone. All(+0.5) gets the kick and Honigford(+0.5) washes a guy down the line. LB shoots a gap uselessly; Hayes(+1) crunches a DT out of the gap. Two players follow the jet fake so when Corum(+1) cuts back he scores easily. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 45-0, 4 min 3rd Q. Here begins the QB Ferris Wheel. Charting ceases, though I pulled out a couple of Orji runs for season preview purposes.  

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Uhhhhh…

JJ MCCARTHY

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr   Reads
Game DO CA SCR   PR MA   BA TA IN BR   DSR GRADE!   RPOs ZRs
Colorado State   4+                     100% oops   0/0 4/4
Hawaii 4 8(1)+                     100% +14   1/1 3/3
UConn 2++ 5(6)     1 2             100% +11   1/1 1/2

(The run minuses are in the other chart; the above is solely a passing grade.)

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I think I’m supposed to say “that boy nice.” So, nice?

McCarthy was not literally perfect in this game but close enough. He made one bad pull read and he took a couple guys off their feet on outs; he also had a sack suffered and a pass batted down. We’ll look at all of that in a second. First here’s a beautifully lofted ball from McCarthy, off his back foot, while getting hit, to a very covered receiver, that only his guy can get:

I am even more disappointed that Bell did not actually catch this because that it was even more rad than it first appeared.

Also in wow, McCarthy accelerates past a DE just so his throwing lane is completely open:

This is all the wow we got because there were a total of 11 non-screen attempts, one of which didn’t make the chart because Johnson fell down.

But the things that were not perfect?

Now, let me absolve McCarthy of a couple potential sins. I did not think either the batted down pass or the sack were bad plays. Here’s the bat down:

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This is what he’s looking at when he decides to break the pocket:

image_thumb7

Wilson and All are covered, and Bell is somewhere in the back of the endzone near the C. He could probably hit All to set up fourth and two, but why? So he bugs out and Wilson does come open. And he fires it in:

image_thumb13

Wilson’s open. The linebacker is at full stretch trying to get to this ball. It’s not really interceptable. Maybe you get the ball batted up and bad stuff happens, but also seven points are four more points than three points. Are we here to kick field goals? No.

Meanwhile, the sack:

He doesn’t have anything useful here. He’s got Schoonmaker for fourth and four. He’s out of the pocket. Someone needs to get open for him; no one does. Could he boot the ball out of bounds to save two yards? Yeah, I guess, but who cares? So far we’ve seen McCarthy make a lot of good, subtle decisions, so unless he starts doing this on first and ten I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt here. If Johnson breaks long this is a potential touchdown. Hang in and see what happens.

Pshaw, you have been taken in by his wiles! This is puffery that will be exposed by the first competent defense to encounter our young squire.

Maybe? I don’t think so but boy howdy am I going to be nervous the next couple weeks as McCarthy attempts Don’t Be Weird against 1) a Big Ten defense and 2) an actually excellent Big Ten defense. In my defense, I am apparently not alone when I hand-wave the above two plays away:

My reaction to that is “what about the zone read pull,” but maybe they’re only considering throws (or attempted throws). Leaving aside the one TFL suffered, all McCarthy complaints to date are the veritable definition of nitpicking. For some godforsaken reason I clipped a six-yard out to Henning, probably because I was going to have a paragraph about how I thought the ball—while slightly low—did not actually need to take Henning off his feet and maybe this is why Henning hasn’t featured downfield much. But, like: dude. This is what we’re talking about when it comes to McCarthy negatives.

Surely! Surely there is something unambiguously negative!

Fine, this 15-yard out to the field was a bit short.

HAPPY

We’re gonna lose to Rutgers.

Oh so you’re one of those, are you.

Well, combine it with what I imagine this blog will darkly call “The Pull” for the next decade and I can’t see any hope at all.

Yes, fine, The Pull. It was not good, but it was also Ojemudia-level zone read D. Boyer-Randle gets two yards in the backfield, never turns his shoulders, squares up, and makes a play:

If you’re Denard you get away with it, but McCarthy is not Denard and should live with the “if it’s a tie, hand it off” mantra. Here it’s a tie, at best. Tap chest, move on.

Man, that’s a lot of screens.

Six bubble/flare screens averaging 19.6 yards(!!!) an attempt, though one got erased by a dubious holding call.

This is going to be the high water mark for bubble screens this season and that’s fine. Most of them were clear pre-snap reads that didn’t have a lot of intrigue outside of JESUS CHRIST UCONN HAVE SOME SELF RESPECT, but there were a couple incidents of note. The first one was not a pre-snap read but a bonafide RPO, as this has a real mesh point and McCarthy’s eyes hold the linebacker in place, entranced:

Others were clear presnap decisions, but they were not ones that came with a check to the sideline. McCarthy was making those decisions himself, which is great if he can do it because one of a defense’s favorite things to do when you check is check themselves. These are much more likely to get the look you want.

UConn did blitz one of them and could have had Wilson at or near the line of scrimmage, but Wilson went WOOP and that was that.

Potentially notable item: Henning, Bell, and Wilson all caught these, so they’re not tipping anything by formation or personnel, especially with Henning getting some downfield looks here.

How about the ground?

Here is a chart. It’s good.

Offensive Line
Player + T Notes
Hayes 1.5 3 -1.5 Two pass pro minuses on the two McNamara throws. Not a lot of opp on the ground, one mistake.
Keegan 0.5 1 -0.5 Went out early.
Oluwatimi 6.5 1 +5.5 Moving people on doubles.
Zinter 10 2 +8 Oh there you are Peter
Jones 8 5.5 +2.5 One targeting issue, got beat a couple times, still good.
Barnhart       DNP
El-Hadi 3 0 +3 One run block on a passing down and another off == –3 pass pro
Anderson       DNC
Persi       DNC
All 4   +4 Mostly on those screens.
Schoonmaker 1.5   +1.5 Much more 3-wide in this game.
Honigford 3.5 0.5 +3 Crunching at goal line.
Hibner       DNC
Bredeson 3 2 +1 Targeting issue for –2 but otherwise good.
Loveland       DNC
TOTAL 40.5 15 73% It’s fine! It’s good!
Backs
Player + T Notes
McCarthy 1 2 -1 Two arc reads, one good, one bad.
McNamara       N/A
Warren       DNC
Corum 5 0 +5 On twelve carries
Edwards       DNP
Stokes 2.5   +2.5 Ghosted through nonexistent hole.
Dunlap 0 0 0 DNC
TOTAL 8.5 2 +6.5 Corum short yardage activate.
Receivers
Player + T Notes
Johnson 4 0 +4  
Bell 3   +3 Fumble
Henning 1.5 3 -1.5  
Wilson 6 0 +6 Fast.
Anthony 1.5 1 +0.5 Cut off a CB blitz.
Clemons       DNC
TOTAL 16 6 +10 Screens!
Metrics
Player + T Notes
Protection 12 6 66% -3 El-Hadi, –2 Hayes, –1 Jones, –1 Oluwatimi. All non-El-Hadi minuses on the two Cade plays.
RPS 11 2 +9 Screens!

So Michigan was 0/4 on pass pro when McNamara was in the game and 12/14 when McCarthy was. Poor Damn Cade McNamara. Table, for the record:

CADE MCNAMARA

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr   Reads
Game DO CA SCR   PR MA   BA TA IN BR   DSR GRADE!   RPOs ZRs
Colorado State   5(2)+     2 1     2 3 2   42% oops   0/0 0/0
Hawaii   3+     3         1*     75% -1.5   0/0 0/0
UConn 1+       1               100% +2   0/0 0/0

Back to the run chart. It has a ton of WR points, a 100% day from the two main RBs, and a very right handed ground game.

What’s this about Corum being the short yardage guy?

Well, one, we actually got some short yardage plays in this game; also UConn put up somewhat better resistance so we got to see what happens when Blake Corum has to take on guys in short spaces. His best run from a “maybe this guy is the short yardage back” perspective was actually on first and 11:

That’s four yards after contact and a spin through a direct hit. He also scored a brazillion short touchdowns.

In tangentially related news, here’s Corum lowering the boom on an unsuspecting DE:

RB #2 inner slot to bottom

And here’s a Hart-worthy blitz pickup:

RB #2

Offseason chatter held that pass pro from the backs was a problem, so that’s good to see. This also figures into our calculations of Corum’s overall physicality-ness-ism and whether he can grind out a key yard or two.

I’d still rather have anyone but Corum step forward for short yardage since I’d rather keep the miles off his legs, but if he’s the best option he’s the best option. It’s not like he’s been a bell cow so far.

You are team Stokes as well. You have been kidnapped by aliens and have had your brain trans-reversed.

Maybe, maybe. Anyway: we didn’t see a whole lot from Stokes in this game because his runs were either buried in the backfield or Buy One Yard, Get The Next Ten Free. He did make a cut that I’m still not sure is there, but it was there:

It would be completely reasonable to pop outside on this and take your chances with the safety:

image_thumb18

Instead he slips between 90 and 99, which is almost alarmingly mature. Guy who goes around saying he’s not happy, he’s never happy. That kind of cut.

In Angry Michigan Running Back Hating Blogger mode defense, Henning’s carry ended up being a –2 despite some protests from Seth that Hayes should have read the blocks in front of him and cut up into the same hole. Maybe so, but Henning just goes meep meep and runs straight ahead; even if Hayes does change his path Henning’s probably going to run past him into the LB anyway:

That’s being a no-cut runner. You have to threaten and redirect.

Is it weird that I feel a certain level of unease about the offensive line?

This is probably just Michigan fan brain. There is a TFL against UConn and the walls are caving in.

Michigan graded out well and put up good numbers when Corum (5.9 YPC) was out there but had some hiccups, and since they were playing UConn any two yard run, let alone a two yard loss, has people heading for the hills with tinfoil tents. I will submit that this run defense was reasonably good against Syracuse and that they’re probably a step up from the first two games.

But there were blips of concern. There was only one play where Michigan got crunched comprehensively—the second and twelve TFL:

pretty much everybody

This play was Not Good, but I include it to note that it’s an outlier. Failed Michigan run plays have looked like this once this season. Opponents, yes, but also the mistake rate is already pretty low and should improve as we go along, particularly if and when Keegan is fully recovered.

Most other issues were targeting problems. In general you want to take the most dangerous guy when there’s a choice between two, and that’s almost always the guy to the interior. Twice Michigan didn’t pick that guy. Once was a decent run inside the nine that is maybe a touchdown if Bredeson moves past a linebacker sucking up towards McCarthy:

Wing TE #82 to top

If that DE Bredeson blocks is able to redirect and make a play 1) wow, 2) he’s hitting Corum from the side at best and it’s YAC time.

The second was a UConn auto-check to a corner blitz. Hayes chases that corner and a DE gets a free run:

LT #76 to bottom

I don’t think it’s reasonable to think El-Hadi can anticipate that and get to it, and even if he does you’ve just created an unblocked linebacker at the LOS. Here the corner is way more likely to make a play than the DE in the first clip but even so he’s the less dangerous guy.

I screwed up the clip for our last targeting issue, so let me preface this by saying that UConn has just shifted from an even front to an over the instant before this clip begins. This takes the DT above the hash from a guy Trente Jones has to double through to a guy he should ignore and climb to the LB. Jones doubles and by the time he pops to the LB level the LBs are gone:

RT #53

This is a good kind of problem to have, because it’s a tricky thing—having an assignment and then having a late shift change it—and it’s just one guy not getting a block. Olu and Bredeson clear the path on their pulls, so there’s an easy way to see this working.

Outside of those hiccups, guys got moved. If we can go back to the Bredeson targeting issue play above, check out Trente Jones:

RT #53 second from bottom

That was not an isolated incident. Michigan was moving guys long distances. Like Jones on the next play:

RT #53 second from bottom

This was pretty much the whole day. I wish UConn’s star DE played but one guy doesn’t make a defense.

Zinter, meanwhile, had a very strong bounce-back performance. He’s the other half of those crushing doubles from Jones and he showed both agility and wisdom on a couple of other plays. Michigan’s running a stretch to the bottom of the screen here; UConn drops down a linebacker late to become the EMLOS to the top of the line. This is a blinking “we are going to slant away from this LB” sign most of the time. Zinter is already trying to deal with a guy lined up inside of him. This should be a disaster.

RG #65 just above C

I don’t know if Zinter saw it out of the corner of his eye or just defaulted to that as soon as the guy stepped right, but that cut is the only way this play doesn’t end in a TFL.

He also teamed up with Oluwatimi on more crushing doubles:

RG #65 and C #55

He graded out as Michigan’s best OL around these parts. Hopefully last week was just one of those things.

Did I see some new stuff on the ground?

After a couple of games where the run game was extremely vanilla we’re getting some additional items filtering in. Corum’s first touchdown was  a full-on no-read counter that isn’t exactly rocket science but does add to the things Michigan is doing:

On the successful McCarthy keeper you do see the UConn DE to the top slide down way inside, because UConn is playing these gap runs to spill:

The LB is screwing up here but it doesn’t really matter because Schoonmaker’s going to do something with him and there’s way too much space to shut down. Incorporating plays that look like split/arc but are not is just going to make things more complicated for the opposition, and that’s why there’s a bunch of plays in the chart I labeled “Power CH”—the center and the H tight end are pulling across the formation.

In further H-back misdirection, let’s fold that guy in for an iso:

UConn LB and safety to top of screen

That H starts coming across and both guys to the top of the screen are thinking Oh God Here It Comes Again, and then it goes three gaps away from them. I don’t think we’re done adding new stuff.

Speaking of, how do we feel about the new offensive coordinator?

I’m considering a schtick where we add more S’s to Weiss’s name, to further distance him from Charlie Weis, when he does something evil and effective. The Extra S play of the day was what I dubbed the “yo-yo flat” to Ronnie Bell:

That CB glances at his linebackers to make sure he’s not going to run into one of them and by the time he looks back at Bell, Bell is already halfway turned around. Ballgame.

In addition to this and the run game wrinkles, Weiss was ruthless at taking the WR screens UConn was handing out like candy. It wasn’t until the third quarter, when things were already 38-0, that we started seeing Michigan go into “let’s rep this” mode.

Any examples of much-needed rules changes that may have brought a tear to the eye of a Michigan position coach?

The weird penalty on the Orji chunk run may as well be named the Grant Newsome rule:

UConn CB to bottom

You can no longer cut block pullers on the outside.

Receivers?

Another relatively unremarkable day. I do enjoy Bell racking up more targets and catches to distance himself from a couple early drops.

  THIS WEEK   THIS YEAR
Player Uncb Circus Tough Routine   Uncb Circus Tough Routine
Johnson 1       1 0/1 1/2 3/3
Bell   0/1 2/2 4/4   0/1 2/2 11/13
Wilson 1     3/3 1     6/6
Anthony               1/1
Henning       4/4       5/5
Clemons                
Walker   0/1            
All       1/1 1 1/1   2/2
Schoonmaker       1/1 1     3/3
Honigford                
Hibner                
Bredeson               2/2
Loveland               2/2
Corum               2/2
Edwards             1/1 1/1
Stokes               1/2

Routes: Johnson –, –. Bell –.

I got slightly persnickety about the 3rd and 14 sack, and Johnson fell over on that out. Again we have a huge concentration of attempts in the routine category, with the low out to Bell, the McNamara throw to Bell, and the near-circus catch the only deviations. Even one of the uncatchables was Bell falling over.

What about Mr. Worldwide?

Since we’re doing the UFRs separately and the schtick is probably played out, we’re retiring Mr. Worldwide. To keep the gimmick level high, though, I’ll be tracking The Hammer Panda, which is an award for block of the year. We have one qualifying block that sits atop the leaderboard:

  1. Olu Oluwatimi, yo-yo end-around against Hawaii.

We did not get a contender in this game.

Heroes?

McCarthy, wide receivers blocking for screens, Corum, Zinter.

Maybe not so heroic?

Pass blocking for McNamara.

What does it mean for Maryland and beyond?

Giggity. McCarthy adds more sample size, stays at 100% DSR. That’s going to end next week. Probably.

I concede to Corum, short yardage back. He’s grinding through tackles better than last year and he’s certainly going to exploit open holes better than anyone else.

OL issues are relatively minor and should improve over the course of the season. Not moving guys is a long-term problem. Not IDing guys is fixable. Most of the time.

Bubble screens are good with a mobile QB in an integrated system. Hidden benefit of Ravens-associated OC is that the Ravens have Lamar Jackson, so if there’s any NFL team that knows what to do with legs it’s them.

El-Hadi still tracking fairly well. Set aside the pass protection dorf and he had another solid game.

Wide receivers can dang block I tellya. Ka-pew.

Oluwatimi: that dude. Rimington winner? Ah Georgia or Alabama probably have a cyborg or something, but he’s a repeat finalist at least. Someone get Bronco Mendenhall another job.

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