Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Coaches Corner: Keys to Victory
There were many things that were important, but these were the critical ones.
1. Stopping Wisconsin in the first half and holding them to three field goals on three sudden change situations which were the result of two turnovers in Michigan territory and one long kick off return was crucial to the win. Had Wisconsin scored touchdowns on even two of these situations, the win probably would not have happened.
2. Throughout most of the first and early part of the second quarters, Michigan was kicking the defense to the quick side away from the tight end and Wisconsin had great success to the tight end wing formation. They were able to outman UM at the point of attack. Michigan must have shown some sort of tendency that Wisconsin noticed, and they attacked the quick side of the formation. However, UM started stemming the defense back to the formation, and that shut down both the stretch and the inside zone series. It was a very nice adjustment.
3. Over last few years we have been very critical of the old regime for not rolling defensive backs into the box when the opposing offense was primarily a running team. Yesterday, the defensive staff did just that. Warren, Brown, and Harrison all made plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, and even Trent was at the line of scrimmage at times. This not only helped slow Wisconsin’s running game, but provided a extra player on contain. Both Harrison and Warren were in position to maintain contain when UM’s defensive ends either stunted or bit.
4. Best job in some time maintaining contain. Defensive ends, outside linebackers, and defensive backs did not give up outside leverage. Three times I saw DB’s refuse to duck inside instead of trying to make a play by giving up leverage. Harrison and Warren both made Badger running backs cut inside and prevented potential big plays.
5. The defense scored! And what was most impressive to me was that there were nine blue jerseys leading the way. That does not happen by accident. It is obviously emphasized and practiced.
1. Michigan’s use of the tight end was evident both in the passing game and in max protection. Max protection was a huge key. It allowed UM to do some different things, as in point number two.
2. Michigan used split ends in the vertical passing game. This was directly due to point number one. The max protection allowed UM to use the split ends. Using SE’s caused Wisconsin to play safeties differently and get them out of the box. In part of the third and all of the fourth quarters, safeties were backed up and actually outside the hash marks quite a bit. Even to the short side of the field, the safety was lined up just to inside of the hash. And in trips, Wisconsin moved outside linebacker, cornerback and safety over the formation.
3. Michigan staff got more players involved in the offense. They used four running backs in the second half and all provided key plays in this victory, as well as giving a different look for Wisconsin’s defense to deal with. For example, Grady had just a few touches, but picked up three first downs.
4. Michigan finally did away with those nagging negative plays, especially on first down. We have been ranting about this for 3 weeks know. All offenses will have problems converting if they are consistently in second and long yardage situations. This offense maybe more so than most. Props to the offensive line and Threet here
5. Offensive line play improved in the second half. Not only were there no negative plays, but they were actually moving the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter and getting to the linebackers—the second level! On Minor’s touchdown, Shilling collapsed the entire side of Wisconsin’s defensive line and helped pick up blitzing linebackers. And did you see their feet pounding the earth? Good stuff. They still have a long way too go IMHO, but this was a nice first step.
6. Turnovers stopped! Many times due to Wisconsin gaffes, but we do not care; they disappeared.
7. Threet is not the most talented QB in UM history and is struggling with the spread offense much of the time, but you have to love and respect this kid’s heart and toughness. He provided key leadership as well as a spark when it was needed. There is no quit in him. When your QB has that kind of attitude it spreads through the rest of the offense. It can even lead to, dare we say it…swagger.
Long way to go also, but in the fourth quarter punting and kickoff coverage did outstanding jobs of making Wisconsin drive the field instead of the short field they had been giving opponents most of the season. Huge!
written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine