Monday, September 10, 2018

Inside the Playbook: Michigan's Down G Run Play

Against Notre Dame, when attempting to attack the edge, Michigan attempted to utilize their traditional pin and pull run scheme. In this scheme, they are traditionally trying to "reach" with the TE to set the edge and pull around and up from there. But against Western Michigan, they adjusted their attack by running a "Down" scheme, rather than attempting to reach at the point of attack. This can be a different play call altogether, or it can be a scouted aspect of the offense and a line call. Either way, let's take a look at how it works.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Film Review: "Bad Play Calls" Aren't Really Bad; and You Should Feel Bad About It.

If you've followed me elsewhere besides just my blog, you probably have an inkling that one of my biggest peeves is fans selecting specific play calls to complain about postmortem. It takes a conclusion - that a play was not successful - and applies no additional logic to apply a critique. Certainly, like wins, all that matters in the end is that you got one or you didn't; in the end it doesn't matter if it was close or it shoulda or coulda or woulda. But if you want to honestly evaluate anything, you need to dig deeper than that. You need to understand your own teams strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponent. You need to understand tendencies, again, both your own and your opponents. What have you practiced (and the success of what you practiced) and what haven't you. There are a lot of unknowns we can't glean, but if we take some time, we can better understand inputs and give a much more thoughtful, thorough, and accurate critique of "play calling" or some such vague thing. The internet went mad this weekend because "Michigan's play calling was awful". Sure, the offensive tackles performed terribly, but it isn't hard to scheme around that, is the thought. I've called plays on Madden, is the idea. I watched the game and it didn't work and therefore this thing that I have a vague notion about must be the culprit, is the conclusion. Meh. Let's take a look, I guess.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Inside the Playbook: Michigan Defending Flat-Back Alignment and OSU/PSU Response

One of my favorite types of articles is discussing what one team does, and does well, and then seeing how other teams adjust to take advantage of that thing. I did it previously in the chess match between Wisconsin and Iowa that we saw in one game. In the future, I want to touch on Wisconsin's offensive gameplan against Iowa to see it from a scouting perspective. But this post is about the Michigan defense and how they tend to play a flat-back formation, and then the different responses we saw from it from OSU and Penn State.

I love Don Brown. I want to run through a brick wall for Don Brown.

Ok, let's talk some football.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Inside the Playbook: Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan and the Use of False Blocks

As a defender, you are tasked with reading your keys in order to properly diagnose the play and fulfill your assignment. Gap responsibility and run fits and execution all start with properly seeing what is happening in front of you, and based on what the offensive line does, will change your path to success. But offenses know this. To a degree, and offense does what it does because that's the easiest and most efficient way of finding success. Other times, they find success with mind games, by showing something and doing another. This post is going to look at "False Blocks", the art of pass setting on runs and false pulls.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Let's Speak Technique - Blocking the Draw Play

The Draw play is one of the most effective run plays in any playbook. It's versatile. It works just as well on 1st and 10 as it does on 3rd and long. It presents a false read to the defense which sows seeds of doubt for the remainder of the game by looking initially like a pass play and then firing out and knocking some guys around. But it also allows an offensive line to get by without tons of movement. Sure, it's great when a DL gets into a pass rush and then you shotput him out of existence, but just as often you only need to utilize good footwork to position yourself between the ball carrier and the defender. In this post, I'm going to discuss the techniques employed on draw plays in a little more detail.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Written in Chalk - RPOs from Pro Personnel - Utilizing FBs/TEs in a Spread World

A lot of talk surrounding Michigan's supposed lean on more RPO schemes has had to do with what is at the base of Jim Harbaugh's scheme: lots of heavy personnel sets and a complex number of run concepts. Some have wondered how the two ideas can converge, despite the fact that Harbaugh himself had previously incorporated RPOs into his offense (albeit with a different type of QB). I've already discussed how Harbaugh can utilize many of his run concepts within an RPO framework, but the question still remains, how do you do that and utilize the bevy of TEs and FBs that are currently on the roster. This post is going to explore utilizing 12 and 21 personnel (pro personnel for short) within an RPO scheme.

Football Fundamentals - RPO Run Concepts

If you've been following along, we've offered up a lot of pass concepts that can be paired with a run play to make an "RPO". We looked at passes behind the LOS, quick passes, and even downfield reads. We've also looked at pass first RPOs, known here as PRO. And if you've been really paying attention, you'll have noticed that those RPOs were attached to pretty much every kind of run scheme. Here we are going to summarize those run schemes and discuss briefly the types of routes to look for given the type of run.