Film Review: Michigan at Nebraska, 2021 Part 1

I breakdown interesting plays - schematically, technically, and from an execution standpoint - from the 2021 Michigan at Nebraska football game. Due to length, it has been broken into two parts.

Part 2 here.

First, some general thoughts:

Michigan Strengths:

  • The run blocking continues to improve, even with the run game diversity continuing to grow. It puts a lot of pressure on defensive fronts. 
  • Michigan found a way to generate a few explosives in the run game, something that has been missing the few weeks before this game. They have been highly efficient, but if they can get explosives too, the ground game really takes off
  • They have found a comfort zone with matchups out of empty. I expect they continue to emphasize that on passing downs
  • The DL really, really showed up. Nebraska's front struggles, but Michigan really dominated the 1 on 1 blocks.
Michigan Weaknesses:
  • Too many missed shot plays. You have opportunities to convert TDs and pull away, have to execute those when you get the chance. Overall, it still feels like the pass offense is overly reliant on scheming guys open.
  • The WILL LB position has regularly been aggressive, and overall a surprise, but we are starting to see some teams put them in conflict and do tougher jobs. The MIKE is also having tough assignments put on him. Overall, especially in zone coverage, the communication and eye discipline needs to continue to improve
  • I thought we saw some break downs in technique and confidence at times on the outside. It is still just flashing, and not a consistent issue, but something to watch for.

Nebraska Strengths:

  • Frost had some really well designed plays, motions, formations, execution. He threw the kitchen sink, sequenced a bunch, and really made life hard for the Michigan LBs.
  • I thought Nebraska blocked Outside Zone fairly well. Overall, I like the way their OL moves, and they've shown improvement in pass pro over the last couple of weeks.
  • This DL is legit. I feel like I'm saying that about a lot of B1G teams, but I came away really impressed with the DL again after being similarly impressed vs MSU.
  • I thought CB5 had a really, really nice game. His ability on an island allows Nebraska to do a lot more defensively because he can be trusted to cover his man.
Nebraska Weaknesses:
  • Blocking the 1st level was really hard to watch this game. Pass pro still is inconsistent, but I think the biggest issue is they don't sustain combos well, they rarely don't get movement up front, but also, they fall off blocks too easily. It forces the offense to scheme their way down field.
  • Martinez is what he is at this point. He gets rattled under pressure, gets sped up, and it forces him to work outside the scheme. Now, he's pretty good at that, but when scheme is a team strength, it's not necessarily the path to sustained success.
  • The safety level and LBs in coverage are a weak spot. Michigan targeted those things, and found some success in that way. 



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