Yesterday I broke down a QB stretch against EMU that utilized gap blocking and power principles. Specifically, the playside tackle and center both individually pulled to the first gap playside of them. This... well, it didn't work. It took too long for the linemen to pull playside and EMU was able to stretch the play to the boundary where the pursuit defenders could tackle Denard. I concluded with NO MOAR GAP BLOCKING, which isn't entirely accurate. It should have read don't block like this anymore because it totally sucks. Early in the second half, Michigan ran some more basic power runs with Denard in the shotgun that were more effective and, more importantly, set up the blogosphere-coined QB Oh Noes. This is the setup; the Oh Noes will come later today (UPDATE: Part 2).
Michigan just received the ball to begin the 3rd quarter. This is their first play from scrimmage of the second half. Michigan comes out in a three-wide set with Toussaint in the backfield and a tight end on the line of scrimmage. Eastern Michigan is in a basic 4-3.
As the ball is snapped, Mark Huyge's first step is away from the line of scrimmage as he pulls across the formation to the weakside of the field. A pulling lineman is often a key to the opposing linebackers of what direction the play is headed.
Toussaint crosses Denard and fakes a handoff (this was never a zone read). Denard keeps the ball as Huyge pulls across the formation. Ricky Barnum seals the playside DT to the inside while Taylor Lewan punishes EMU's playside defensive end, kicking him out to the sideline and opening a huge hole for Denard to run through.
Huyge is now Denard's lead blocker and about to pancake an EMU linebacker.
EMU linebacker: nullified. Denard has turf and a free safety ahead of him and will pick up eight yards on the play.
All power schemes are not created equal. The one we saw yesterday nullified Denard's most dangerous weapon (his explosiveness) and allowed EMU to stretch the play to the outside. This is a more traditional power play, except that it's run from the shotgun. This is a deadly offense. A defense has to protect against a handoff, zone read, QB keeper (like here), and the threat of a pass, all with power blocking schemes. With the talent of Michigan's linemen, this kind of playcall should be a staple of the offense.
Later today (UPDATE: Part 2), we'll see Al Borges doing his best Rich Rodriguez impression with a QB Oh Noes that unfortunately falls incomplete, but at this stage, it's more important that we see Borges tinkering with his systems and looking for ways to exploit a defense. In any case, this is proof that power running schemes can be effective with Denard in the shotgun.