The rockford file: Notes on the Nebraska game

Iceland12

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Interesting stuff.

Just out of curiosity, I checked the top 10 QBs. 3 SRs, 4 JRs and 3 SO. Couldn't immediately tell if any had the benefit of a RS season.

(And no, I'm not trying to compare ZA to the top 10 QBs in the country. :D)

JTG
:drink:
 

Gophers_4life

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• Anyone who thinks ZA should have been replaced based on his first-half performance is a knucklehead. He was 9-for-20 for 135 yards. Give him the two drops by Johnson and he's over 150 yards passing at the half. BTN had a graphic at the start of the game, pointing out that since 2000, only seven B1G freshman QBs have passed for more than 1,100 yards. ZA is one of them. Anyone calling for him to be benched is likely named Morgan.
11 for 20 is 55% completion percentage. Not garbage, but hardly jaw dropping.

I don't think ZA is a bad passer, on short to medium routes. I don't think he gets much zip on the ball, but as long as he's accurate and timely ... good enough.

He can't do anything running ... because he's hurt. He's been hurt since the Miami game. If PJ wasn't such a stubborn mule, he would've taken him out much earlier. Who knows what happens if he actually gets a chance to heal. He's never had that chance, the entire season, save the bye week before Iowa, which clearly wasn't enough. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to find out that he reaggrivates the injury in every, single, game. Why? Simple: he gets smashed, every, single, game.

And that brings me to my final point: he isn't decisive enough. And he, for mind boggling reasons, seems to drift towards the DL! I'm telling you, watch the first half against Nebraska again. There were at least two, maybe three dropbacks where he started drifting towards the DL, and got eaten because of it. It's like .... dude, no!! Don't do that!! I guess, he's can feel/hear the edge rushers coming around the tackles and is trying not to get sack lunched, so it's scaring him towards the front of the pocket.



To my eye, Morgan didn't suffer from ANY of that. And, again in my worthless opinion, was every bit equal a passer as ZA. In fact, he even made a great throw while he was getting smashed, on the flea flicker play I believe it was. Still got the ball off, at the last instant, and it still went for a big gain.


I rest my case. TM *should* be the starter against Indiana. Won't surprise me if he isn't. And then it won't surprise me again to ZA have to be benched again, either because of reaggrivated injury or because of poor performance outright (probably because of injuries).
 
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Gophers_4life

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The first touchdown is cover 3 (3 deep...corners and FS have deep 1/3). Durr doesn't have contain on cover 3!

It would be the DE or OLB depending on the call. It appears it'd be the DE based on his location (outside shoulder of OT) and the OLB's agrressiveness sucking inside on the ride.

True, Durr missed the tackle, but he for sure doesn't have contain.
Regardless, the defense absolutely failed the team on those two big runs for Neb's first two TDs in the first half. Maybe it shouldn't have been the DB's tackle to make ... but it was, and the DB whiffed. Badly. Poor, poor tackling. Equals long TD runs. Same thing in Maryland.
 

OddStack

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Regardless, the defense absolutely failed the team on those two big runs for Neb's first two TDs in the first half. Maybe it shouldn't have been the DB's tackle to make ... but it was, and the DB whiffed. Badly. Poor, poor tackling. Equals long TD runs. Same thing in Maryland.
Word
 

Pompous Elitist

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In this thread, several have made the case that ZA shouldn't play for health reasons. They may be right. I don't know. A person would have to be at practice every day and talk to the medical staff to know for sure.

But ... I do know that several posters wanted him dumped earlier in the season, and health had nothing to do with it. That's why I wrote the "perception and projection" post.

JTG
He was injured very early in the Miami game, struggled through most of that, and was literally playing on one good leg at Maryland. It was a disaster. He hasn’t been 100% since. He had green grass numerous times vs Neb and was too slow to take advantage. It’s a major liability.

He may be better than Morgan despite being one dimensional, yes. Jury is out as far as I’m concerned.

The other QB stats you listed played partial seasons, yes?
 

PMWinSTP

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People are not saying bench Annexstad because he's no good. They're saying he can't play up to his potential because he's injured, and they would rather see a healthy QB over an injured QB - especially if the healthy QB gives the team another offensive option as a running threat.

Nobody is knocking Annexstad's ability or toughness. but when you're hurt, you're hurt. at least give him a week off to rest and heal up.

if you're arguing that it's better to play an injured player over a healthy player, then that injured player had better be a LOT better than the healthy player. I don't think that's the case.
I fully expect Morgan to start Friday and most likely at Illinois. His game performance gives the staff a level of comfort for Zack to have the time to more fully recover.
 

rockford

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They are in cover 3. Never, ever, ever will a CB have primary contain (the first one to turn a play in) cover 3. (In some cases, they may become a football player and make a tackle on a sweep for no gain while in cover 3, but that's not by design.) He will have secodary contain (contain when primary contain doesn't do his job and the ball is to the CB....what happened on the first TD) in cover 3.

Yes, cover 2 could be called or cover 6 in which cases a CB can and will have primary contain, but that is not the call on the first play.
You may be right. Thing is, I'm always afraid of absolutes. :D So I base my assumptions on what it appears the players are trying to do. Regardless of the coverage called, everybody has a role in run support. Durr hesitates on the periphery before getting sucked inside.

OTOH, if you're right, Martin's performance on the play is probably even more egregious.

JTG
 

rockford

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Something I forgot to mention: Saw some fine blocking from TEs junior Colton Beebe and RS freshman Jake Paulson in the first half. On one play, Paulson went out and locked up with a LB and drove him back four yards and over onto his back.

JTG
 

OddStack

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You may be right. Thing is, I'm always afraid of absolutes. :D So I base my assumptions on what it appears the players are trying to do. Regardless of the coverage called, everybody has a role in run support. Durr hesitates on the periphery before getting sucked inside.

OTOH, if you're right, Martin's performance on the play is probably even more egregious.

JTG
I'm wrong; I just looked at the location of Durr (top CB) and Huff (FS) and assumed it was cover 3 b/c the other option based on their location is man free (cover 1 which imo is ludicrous!!!!!! (I should've known better after we got toasted in cover 2 inside the 25 last week...against trips no less!!!:mad: However, after looking at the play more closely and the dead give away bottom corner it is in fact cover 1 man free! DE has contain and everyone is rallying for secondary contain. I'll upload pics soon. I'll lay this on scheme. It's hard to know what they saw prior to the game on film; however, I would not want to play man against tight doubles. It screams run and try to get a ball carrier isolated on the secondary, or crossing and pick routes to free somebody up for pass.

Now, they may have seen something different on tape. If they did, I can't totally blame the staff for this, but I would give all the credit to Frost and company for knowing their own tendencies and breaking them for an advantage if that was the case. That being said, I'd have an automatic call that gets us out of man against this formation!!!!!
 
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OddStack

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thumbnail.jpgthumbnail-1.jpgthumbnail-2.jpg
photo 1 shows you who everyone has (the FS is free to help and ILBs would have the TB
photo 2 shows why KM21 was so quick to go inside (that's where his read/man takes him) the bottom corner is starting to turn his back to the ball with his man, and the SS is beginning to widen with his man
photo 3 bottom corner is clearly in man (back to ball); SS is still widening and will start to press; KM21 is aggressively chasing his circled man, and Durr is closing on his man. (all of them are forced to do this and are correct in doing so)

DE should have had contain....everyone else should have secondary if needed, but ILBs and possibly the FS (depending on what they're coached and down and distance) should be there way quicker than anybody else. ILBs got caught up in wash and Free followed the QB.
 
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GFBfan

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View attachment 5817View attachment 5818View attachment 5819
photo 1 shows you who everyone has (the FS is free to help and ILBs would have the TB
photo 2 shows why KM21 was so quick to go inside (that's where his read/man takes him) the bottom corner is starting to turn his back to the ball with his man, and the SS is beginning to widen with his man
photo 3 bottom corner is clearly in man (back to ball); SS is still widening and will start to press; KM21 is aggressively chasing his circled man, and Durr is closing on his man.

DE should have had contain....everyone else should have secondary if needed, but ILBs and possibly the FS (depending on what they're coached and down and distance) should be there way quicker than anybody else. ILBs got caught up in wash and Free followed the QB.
Poor scheme on this play and poor execution by many, which leads to the long TD run. With it being man Durr has to honor the inside move of the WR/TE as it could be a crossing route. Once he recognizes run, he's too far inside to get up the field and slow the RB down. He also doesn't take a good angle to the ball carrier. The DE doesn't hold his ground and force the RB inside to a waiting LB and once RB sees the DE start movement inside he made a good cut to outside to outrun everyone.
 

OddStack

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Poor scheme on this play and poor execution by many, which leads to the long TD run. With it being man Durr has to honor the inside move of the WR/TE as it could be a crossing route. Once he recognizes run, he's too far inside to get up the field and slow the RB down. He also doesn't take a good angle to the ball carrier. The DE doesn't hold his ground and force the RB inside to a waiting LB and once RB sees the DE start movement inside he made a good cut to outside to outrun everyone.
Yep. That's why I said there should be an auto check out of this call vs. this formation just as the offense has automatics vs. certain d alignments.
 

caliGopher

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If Durr makes the two plays I mentioned, it's likely 14-7 or 14-8 at the half.

JTG
That’s a pretty big assumption. The RB would have had positive yards on those plays, just not long TD runs. It’s possible it would have been 28-0 because the drives took longer, still resulted in TDs and we would not have had time to score at the end of the half.

It’s not like we were stopping them and they got lucky. There were moving ball well. Just got luckier on those two plays.


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Some Day...Maybe

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I didn't bother to read through this whole thread, but in Fleck's press conference, did it sound like he was saying, forget it, we're not going to try and protect these guys on defense anymore. We're going to play our defense and what happens, happens. It seemed to me he was saying that. That we're going to do what we know and play defense how we would if we had the personnel we want. In other words, stop trying to overthink, over scheme things, and just let the guys play and develop. I kind of hope that's the case.
 

Spoofin

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So if Adam Weber isn't the Gophers' all-time top QB, who is? Cuz he has 3,500 more yards than the No. 2 guy, and 17 more TDs.

Few stats provide perfect measure. In this case, the point is simply that he's doing something few have achieved at his age.

JTG
Yards and TDs are as much a factor of attempts as they are skill. AW8 threw way more passes then other Gopher QBs and so he has more yards. To say him having the most yards makes him the best would be like saying having the most INTs makes him the worst. I’m not here to knock AW8, just to ask for context on the arbitrary stat you used to support ZA5. I hope ZA5 resumes his starting role when healthy.


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touchdownvikings

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Rockford, thank you for the informational and thoughtful post. Notes on a play-by-play basis? Wow! You're doing your homework, and we're all more accurately informed for it. It's odd that sometimes we need someone to tell us what it is we really saw, but that's the case in football. Thank you. It's subject matter like this that make this board worth reading.

For the record, I did NOT see the Nebraska game at all - first game I missed (I had an obligation). That said, my general impression is that when offenses spread us out and test our gap discipline and solo play-making abilities on an individual-by-individual basis, we fail because there are some limitations we are trying to hide. But when an offense spreads everything out, a defense usually can't hide much. So it's not that it's all bad. It's that there are a few weaknesses. That's the game of football: it's better to have no weaknesses than to be brilliantly strong in a number of facets but have a couple of visible weaknesses. Your weaknesses will usually negate the potency of your strengths - even if they're brilliant.
 

Gophers_4life

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I didn't bother to read through this whole thread, but in Fleck's press conference, did it sound like he was saying, forget it, we're not going to try and protect these guys on defense anymore. We're going to play our defense and what happens, happens. It seemed to me he was saying that. That we're going to do what we know and play defense how we would if we had the personnel we want. In other words, stop trying to overthink, over scheme things, and just let the guys play and develop. I kind of hope that's the case.
I did not get that sense from what he said.

There is a good reason they're "over-scheming" as you put it ... because they're trying to guard against exactly these types of big plays. And it clearly is not working.

So I don't know what they need to do different. Maybe play more base (as you say), or maybe blitz a lot more. Maybe it's time to just try different guys at different positions. Something needs to change ...
 

Gophers_4life

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Rockford, thank you for the informational and thoughtful post. Notes on a play-by-play basis? Wow! You're doing your homework, and we're all more accurately informed for it. It's odd that sometimes we need someone to tell us what it is we really saw, but that's the case in football. Thank you. It's subject matter like this that make this board worth reading.

For the record, I did NOT see the Nebraska game at all - first game I missed (I had an obligation). That said, my general impression is that when offenses spread us out and test our gap discipline and solo play-making abilities on an individual-by-individual basis, we fail because there are some limitations we are trying to hide. But when an offense spreads everything out, a defense usually can't hide much. So it's not that it's all bad. It's that there are a few weaknesses. That's the game of football: it's better to have no weaknesses than to be brilliantly strong in a number of facets but have a couple of visible weaknesses. Your weaknesses will usually negate the potency of your strengths - even if they're brilliant.
But on the play we've been discussing, it actually wasn't a spread formation. It was the opposite, a bunch formation. I guess it depends on what you mean by "spread". If you're just using that term to mean a lot of WR type guys on the field, then yes they were running a spread offense.

What they did was bunch all the WR (4 of them) near the OL, and then ran the RB sprinting out to the side. We lost our edge containment, which put our corner in a position to make a solo tackle on their RB, and he whiffed very badly. That was more or less the same on both big TD runs in the first half, I believe.


We can't over-correct, though. We can't like up with a bunch of guys to the outside trying to guard against that ... because then they'll just gash us up the middle or between the guard and tackle.

Defense is about plugging 3 holes in a dam with 2 fingers. As a DC, your job is to dial up the correct two holes to plug on every play.
 

WoodburyTim

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Breaking down games by play is fun, but a breakdown like this is really dependent on the perspective of the person watching. Every game in the history of football can be looked at through the lens of "if this happens or that tackle is made" then the score would be this. But the truth is that it can be done from the other side just as easily. I am sure there is a guy on the Nebraska board who broke down the film and said if so and so doesn't drop this pass or this guy makes a tackle then we actually win 65-8, and you know depending which plays you pick they could be right too.
 

rockford

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Breaking down games by play is fun, but a breakdown like this is really dependent on the perspective of the person watching. Every game in the history of football can be looked at through the lens of "if this happens or that tackle is made" then the score would be this. But the truth is that it can be done from the other side just as easily. I am sure there is a guy on the Nebraska board who broke down the film and said if so and so doesn't drop this pass or this guy makes a tackle then we actually win 65-8, and you know depending which plays you pick they could be right too.
True, but my purpose in breaking down the tape is to both measure the performance of particular players (Faalele and Andries) and to get some idea of what's going wrong elsewhere (and occasionally get a glimpse of something going right). I'm not trying to make excuses for the team, coach or any players, just trying to get a closer look at what's happening.

And I'm not saying, "We make these plays and we win the game." The only time that could possibly be true is when it comes down to one play, at the end of the game.

Remember, I missed this game live, and started reviewing it knowing little more than was posted here. I was expecting an unmitigated disaster. I didn't feel that way after watching it. Yes, our defense is a train wreck right now, and I don't have any answers there. But I saw a team that -- despite the early defensive gaffes that put 'em behind the eight-ball -- battled throughout, and was in the game midway through the fourth quarter. (And yeah, I get that's not the goal when it's a game we had every right to expect to win.)

It's possible for a team to disgust me to the point where I quit paying attention. (Anyone hear of the Minnesota Twins? Me either.) But I'm still a long way from that with this team. There are plenty of exciting players to watch (and watch grow).

If we're 0-fer at this point in the B1G season next year, I'll be singing a different tune.

JTG
 

MGGopher

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Remember, I missed this game live, and started reviewing it knowing little more than was posted here. I was expecting an unmitigated disaster. I didn't feel that way after watching it.
JTG
Ditto. I actually DVRd the game as well and wasn't even going to watch it until I started reading this thread. I'm through the first half right now and don't feel nearly as bad as I expected. The result was obviously hugely disappointing -- especially in a game I thought we could win -- but I saw some flashes of really good play on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, those were surrounded by 1 or 2 really bad plays (usually made by 1 or 2 players) that completely changed the game. On O, a really bad drop, a big penalty, a missed block. On D, some missed tackles and a DE that gets sucked inside twice (and his backup does the same thing once).
 
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