What happened? GT game vs. 2019

MGGopher

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Like many of us, I expected to see a greatly improved Gophers team this year that had built upon the successes from the end of last year and would come into this season kicking a$$ and taking names -- especially on the ground. I had a few minutes tonight, so I pulled up a condensed version of the GT game to see what changed in the offense. I expected to see BIG differences: a dozen formations, tons of motion, exotic plays, etc. What did I find? Very little difference. Here's a few things that stood out to me, in no particular order:

  • Especially early in that game, MN was stuffed quite a lot on the inside zone. It looked very similar to this year.
  • Formations looked basically the same. Probably more motioning across to kick out edge players, but we've seen some of that this year as well.
  • MN did seem to run a lot more outside zone/stretch plays...and the TEs dominated GTs DEs and OLBs, so Ibrahim frequently got the edge. Witham and Schlueter were especially effective. I'm starting to think this was just a general weakness identified in GTs scheme or personnel rather than something our coaches want to do a lot more of.
  • I did see a few screens and quick stop routes to our WRs. We haven't seen too much of that this year, and the one I remember against SDSU was a bust with Green whiffing on his block.
  • Morgan was under a lot of pressure in that game. He escaped much of it and made yards with his legs or kept his eyes downfield and found WRs. It looked really similar to this year.
  • Ibrahim found EVERY crease and must've made 150 yards after contact. The OL was not frequently dominating until very late in the game when it was out of reach. I saw a play in the 4th quarter where the GT DT pushed our guard 4 yards into the backfield, but Ibrahim just cut right underneath it and made a huge gain.

What does this tell us about this year? I have no idea. I just found it interesting that I'd built that game up in my head to be some kind of woodshed performance, when it was actually opportunistic passing (2 incredible plays to TJ and another long ball to CAB when Morgan eluded huge pressure), great defense that kept us in a positive game script, and a ton of hard and smart running by Ibrahim -- many times when it looked like there was nothing there. TOP was almost exactly even, and MN had two drives over 5 minutes -- both of which ended in FGs.

If somebody else wants to watch the full game (and perhaps the Wisc game as well), I'd be interested in your thoughts. For my money, I think I overrated how good our favorite team was at the end of last year, and therefore would be coming into this year. That said, I DO think they're capable of performances (and final scores) like that this year, and I wouldn't be surprised with 8 wins -- even after this shaky start. Just based on what I saw in the GT game, I think the biggest factors will be these:

  • RBs finding creases when it doesn't look like there's a crease...plus breaking tackles when 1-1. Smith started slow this year, but he looked much better Satruday before going out...something like 5 YPC. Ibrahim has looked equally as explosive (and hard to tackle) as last year, but I'm not wondering if he hasn't been battling a slight injury. In either case, the dropoff from healthy Smith and Ibrahim to Wiley to Williams was obvious, despite the OL being the same. I'm starting to think it takes time for the RBs to get back at game speed with finding holes in this zone scheme (esp with Smith coming off an injury...and esp with few obvious creases so far), so I can see big improvements coming in that area.
  • OL gel to the point where they at least get stalemates upfront -- or only one guy gets whipped. This year we've frequently seen two or more guys screw up on the same play which leads to a total breakdown.
  • OL learn to deal with basic stunts and blitzes so there isn't instant pressure (or from multiple places). Morgan is really good at eluding one man if he has a second to survey things. It's these multiple "jailbreak" scenarios this year where he's got no hope.
  • More quick hitting stuff to the WRs and stretching the D horizontally rather than just vertically -- both in the passing game and through stretch type running plays. Right now everybody is just coming straight downhill on our running and passing games at mesh point because every run (and many throws in RPO) is between the hashes. In the bowl game a lot more stuff went outside.
 
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touchdownvikings

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Great post. Well thought out and presented. Informative. You join rockford in my group of favorite posters.

My question about the OL learning to handle stunts and blitzes. Of course this is necessary. But can't we also punish teams for stunting or blitzing so much? There's a whole lot defensive linemen jumping out of gaps to stunt and a whole lot of LB's vacating pass coverage responsibility to blitz. Fast hitting runs (before stunts come to fruition) and screens to punish blitzes!

I think this is a big opportunity because every team will stunt - can't go through the massive OL, have to go around it. We need to work out an offensive philosophy to exploit teams that stunt and blitz, as well as learn to effectively handle it from a blocking scheme point of view.
 

WorkingMyTailOff

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Yes great post and it makes a lot of sense that our fan base was riding high even though maybe GT didn’t bring their a game or Wisconsin had poor qb play. I heard Derek Burns talking about this OLine is missing a little attitude right now. Both Greene and Weyler were old dudes and they both played very aggressively.
 

RememberMurray

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Yes great post and it makes a lot of sense that our fan base was riding high even though maybe GT didn’t bring their a game or Wisconsin had poor qb play. I heard Derek Burns talking about this OLine is missing a little attitude right now. Both Greene and Weyler were old dudes and they both played very aggressively.
No, no, no... you're going freelance here, and you're totally ignoring the Official Approved Excuse List For Gopher Opponents.

The correct answers are as follows:

Purdue: Bad weather, didn't want to be there.

Wisconsin: Caught them in a down year.

Georgia Tech: Felt disrespected by bowl committee slight, didn't want to be there.

Please stick to the approved list. If you can't remember the correct excuse, it is permissible to use the basic didn't want to be there excuse in most situations.

Thanks.
 
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WorkingMyTailOff

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No,no, no... you're going freelance and ignoring the Official Approved Excuse List For Gopher Opponents.

The correct answers are as follows:

Purdue: Bad weather, didn't want to be there.

Wisconsin: Caught them in a down year.

Georgia Tech: Felt disrespected by bowl committee slight, didn't want to be there.

Please stick to the approved list. If you can't remember the correct excuse, it is permissible to use didn't want to be there in most situations.

Thanks.
Haha you are right I went into that mode :)
 

Some guy

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Georgia tech was playing all man on the outside.
Any time Minnesota got the edge it was an explosive play. Georgia tech ran a terrible scheme to stop our run game and the coaching staff took advantage.

There were run plays where two receivers double cracked and because the GT secondary was in man they followed the crack blocks inside. Two wideouts blocked two linebackers and took the corner and safety away.

Was one of the worst instances of seeing a team get out-schemed I’ve seen.
 

PitinoFan

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Yeah, you’d never know this team is 6-1 in their last 7 games by reading Gopherhole.

I’ve watched that replay of the GT game, focusing mostly on Mo. He really is slippery and doesn’t need much of a crease. I also noticed he was hitting the holes very quick. I haven’t seen/focused enough on him this season to know whether anything is different. I do know he averaged 5.2 yards per carry (18 carries) against Fresno. IMO, he’s our best RB.


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scools12

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Something called the off season. Usually last about 6 months.


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