It is early in Michigan's first drive of the game. Here, they will run an inverted veer option. This play is intended to get Denard running vertically, or the running back horizontally depending on how it's defended. Denard will read the weakside defensive end (highlighted).
As the ball is snapped, Michael Schofield and Patrick Omameh double team the weakside defensive tackle. The weakside defensive end was left unblocked. Notice also that Michigan's left guard Ricky Barnum is pulling across the formation to the weakside.
Denard is now reading the weakside defensive end (highlighted). Barnum (arrow) is pulling across the formation. Last year, Michigan used this play a lot against Ohio
Denard continues to read the defensive end. Barnum continues to the second level.
The defensive end gets too far upfield (probably; you'll see Denard just barely slips by him) so Denard pulls the ball and begins running upfield.
Denard is running by the weakside defensive end. Barnum (highlighted) is looking for someone to block downfield. He'll eventually block the man in front of him that Michael Schofield is currently engaged with.
Denard just barely sneaks by the defensive end. Schofield is losing his block (highlighted), and Barnum is moving to double downfield. Despite Schofield being unable to maintain his block any longer, it probably doesn't matter on this play. It would have been more beneficial if Barnum got downfield and blocked one of the UMass safeties.
Since Barnum didn't get to a free defender upfield, the UMass safety (highlighted) is left unblocked and able to eventually make the tackle on Denard.
Michigan ran the same play against Ohio
The way Michigan ran this play last year wasn't really an option at all. If you're blocking the player that you're supposed to be optioning, your QB is just taking longer to hand the ball off/run. This schematic tweak against UMass hopefully signals a change in philosophy where the offense will block defenders by optioning them.
However, it still wasn't run perfectly. Like against Ohio
This seems like a repetition issue. Neither Omameh or Schofield have practiced this blocking scheme as much as they probably should, and pulling across the formation and finding the right defender to block is probably one of those things that just takes getting used to.We'll see if this really is a repetition issue; it seems like it. With a new left guard, it may take time for Barnum to be able to quickly pick out his proper assignment. I'm just encouraged that Hoke and Borges have decided to actually option defenders.
That said ARGHHH. Block the right guy. I wonder what goes through Denard's mind during a play like this. "Yes, yes, got'em. Remember, take a knee. Troll Tebow. Chest bump. Hoke Point." Tackled.