Monday, October 5, 2009

How MSU (didn't) defended Michigan's spread

ED. Read first, how MSU defended Michigan's spread attack on Saturday when they were in a two-receiver set.

Now that we've seen what happens when Michigan played in a two-receiver set against MSU, let's take a look at what happens when Michigan spreads the field.

This it toward the end of the game. Michigan was in a pass-happy mood because they needed to drive 91 yards in about two minutes. That being said, MSU, whose secondary was shredded prior to playing Michigan, clearly has trouble playing against a set with this many WRs. More importantly, this look completely clears out the box and the amount of players able to spy Forcier. As you can see here, MSU has only five men in the box (Michigan has six blockers). It looks to be a cover-two zone otherwise.

After the snap, Forcier drops back into the pocket like he did on the previous play. MSU brings three defenders initially, and has the fourth defender coming around strongside edge (this defender will be blocked by the running back). As you can see, MSU, in an attempt to bring any pressure at all, has to bring four of their five box defenders at Forcier. The O-line easily handles the three lineman, and the linebacker blitz is picked up by the running back. Forcier now has to deal with a cover-two zone and the spy linebacker.

After sitting the pocket for a while, Forcier sees nothing downfield and feels the pressure of the strongside linebacker blitz. He reverses the direction of the play and comes back to his left. A cut block by Michigan's left guard leaves the MSU defensive end on the ground and Forcier can step over him. The MSU linebacker is now on the wrong side of the field (in the other play I broke down, having two linebackers spy Forcier made covering the whole field considerably easier). Forcier has open field and a blocker in front of him. He takes off for the near sideline.

The linebacker that was spying him now has to come halfway across the field to tackle Forcier who is sure to get out of bounds (with only 30 seconds left in the game when this started, this is crucial). When he comes over, Forcier spins away from the linebacker and picks up three or four more yards before an MSU safety can come back for support.

I understand that Rich Rodriguez may have no wanted to throw the ball too much because it had been raining and conditions were really not what you'd want for a pass-heavy game. But even running out of these sets opens things up for the Michigan offense against MSU. You can see how open the middle of the field is comparatively between the two plays, and Michigan likely could've gotten going earlier in the game had they ditched the two-WR sets and spread out a very suspect MSU defense.


DJB said...

Bad coaching son. Bad coaching on both sides.

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