The Tape, The Tape, The Tape – Michigan 41 Illinois 8– A Cornucopia of Manball

Michigan served notice to Illinois on the opening drive that there would be no rust or dawdling on Saturday.  The offense marched the field in 10 plays for an opening touchdown and never looked back.  The drive included three different quarterbacks, and oh yes, a formation that featured no less than five tight ends to serve as the perfect finale to an authoritative opening possession.

Have you ever seen a five Tight End formation?  No, you haven’t.  At least you hadn’t until Saturday.  The play started off with the second appearance of Michigan’s new “train” formation this year:

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Let’s go ahead and circle the tight ends:

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Yep, that’s five: Asiasi, Butt, Hill, Jocz, and Wheatley Jr.  All of the action of this play headed towards the bottom of the screen, save for Jake Butt.  Tyrone Wheatley Jr ran a perfect rub route that left Jake Butt uncovered coming across the field.

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Unlike Michigan State’s receivers against Maryland, Wheatley Jr did not engage in a block on the defensive player and avoided an offensive pass interference flag for a pick play.

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M FOOTBALL 2016: SUPERB DEFENSIVE EFFORT THROTTLES BADGERS: 14-7.

2016-wisc-042Finally the fans in Michigan Stadium got to evaluate this year’s edition of their Wolverine’s against a well-coached and ranked team with talent, grit, a physical capability and aggressive attitude. At game time, M was ranked 4th in the nation.

Wisconsin’s Badgers entered the Stadium as the eighth ranked team in the nation, undefeated in four games. The Badgers held notable victories over LSU at home, and Saturday before last Spartan Stadium rang with the Badger’s victory cheers. The tough Badger’s defense swarmed and smashed the Spartans 30-6, displaying unexpected excellence.

Badger LB, J.W. Watt was outstanding in that game, making 6 tackles, and nailing 2.5 sacks plus 2 QB hurries, again Saturday. Week before last he was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He was outstanding against the Wolverines Saturday, too.

Wisconsin unveiled a Freshman QB in his first start at MSU. He was up to the occasion, tossing for 195-yards and a TD. He was named Big Ten Offensive player of the Week for facing down the Spartans. He did not produce as well against the Wolverines. He threw for 88-yards on 9 completions. He also threw 3 interceptions, with no TDs.

THE REMARLKABLE JOURDAN LEWIS INTERCEPTION: The Wolverines got three interceptions, one of which was by Jourdan Lewis.  That interception was “Woodsonesque” in the difficulty and improbability of its execution. Much like Woodson’s storied side line grab against MSU in 1997, which helped pave his way to a Heisman Trophy. This Woodson catch still radiates and is recalled with awe.

The Lewis effort came as he was airborne and falling backwards and leaping upwards with the intended receiver close behind him, he stretched one arm up and filled his hand with football, caught it against his thigh, and hung on. Harbaugh indicated that he thought Lewis had jumped a tad early, but he hung at the top of the leap long enough to make the grab. Jourdan’s catch will have a similar half- life to Woodson’s.

Continue reading “M FOOTBALL 2016: SUPERB DEFENSIVE EFFORT THROTTLES BADGERS: 14-7.”

Previewing 6 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

Brady Hoke enters his fourth season with a roster finally stocked with his own recruits. Looking to erase last season’s 7-6 finish, Hoke can eagerly expect a defense that is deep, talented and about to get better with the addition of top recruit Jabrill Peppers.

The offense is another story—graduation has taken a heavy toll, and key players need to be replaced as Doug Nussmeier looks to install his new system.

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