Check The Tape – Wisconsin October 9, 2012
I only watched the first half. Because for 26 minutes and 20 seconds, we thoroughly dominated Wisconsin. And I wanted to live in this fantasy land where we’re all dominant and powerful. So I watched the first 26 minutes and 20 seconds, and then as soon as James White broke into the clear on the screen pass, I stopped the tape. No idea what happened after that. Was Justin Green able to run him down?
It’s pretty amazing how well we played in those 26 minutes. Completely shut down Wisconsin’s offense (what were they, 0-for-6 on third down before the screen pass?). We moved the ball fairly efficiently on offense with a few big plays. But then the Wisconsin interception, and then… well, I’m not sure what happened. Hope it was good for us.
So here’s some snippets from the first half.
That’s two first downs, right there. Our options are Scheelhaase 7 yard pass to Lankford, Young 2 yard loss, Scheelhaase 5 yard run, Scheelhaase 4 yard pass, Ferguson 2 yard run, Young 3 yard run…
… or just run forward and catch that punt, setting us up at the 40. Field position is football.
The result: a 15 yard gain. Love the play. And while I don’t want to see it again for a while (Michigan defenders are watching this play on film as I type), I’d like to see more play design like this.
OK, so I told myself I wouldn’t show the block in the back or the clear fumble or any other second half play that the officials missed. I don’t want to get all sour grapes-y. But that doesn’t mean I can’t point out their ineptitude on a Wisconsin penalty, does it?
Here’s the umpire getting together with the referee. His flag was for a chop block on Wisconsin. He thinks. Maybe. See his palms open? The camera catches him saying the following: “I don’t know… say that it was number… seventy two.”
The referee announces “chop block, Wisconsin, number seventy two”. And #72, in the middle here with the red gloves, gives a legitimate “what did I do?”. Because he didn’t do anything. But hey, you know, details….
Speaking of details, I received a couple emails saying “go watch how Scheelhaase was locked in on his receiver leading to the interception.” So I did go watch. And he was locked in. But the cornerback didn’t even look at him. He was locked in on the receiver, knowing exactly what route he was running and preparing to jump the route. Here’s the snap, and the Wisconsin cornerback (#10 Devin Smith) is staring down the receiver (Ryan Lankford).
Still staring right at him. Backpedaling a little, but mostly waiting for the break. He knows we’re throwing an out right at the first down marker. If Lankford goes deep here, he runs right past the corner. But Smith is just waiting and staring.
Lankford starts into his cut, and Smith is already breaking on the ball. Not because he saw the ball thrown – he’s been staring at Lankford the whole time. He breaks because he’s watched film and he knows exactly what we’re going to try on third and 10.
Great defensive coaching always predicts what the offense will do and prepares the defenders to read certain routes. That’s what Devin Smith did here, turning around the game.
If you guessed “the Wisconsin defender, holding Ashante Williams’ jersey and arm, allowing James White to get outside when STEVEHULL took away the inside lane”, you win! I’d think this would be the easiest of all holding calls to make. The blocker is turned backwards and pulling our linebacker away from the play. Once his body is turned like that, he has two options: either block him in the direction of making the tackle, or grab on and pull the defender away. He latched on and pulled, right in front of the official, and nothing.
But it wasn’t the officials that took this game away from us. We played 26 fantastic minutes, and then things started to turn on this next play.
I often think that offensive coordinators sit up in the booth and watch only the defense. They designed a few tricks into the play, and if we bite on all of them, the play will be wildly successful. So I’d guess that Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada watched for us to fall for each trick.
So they’re setting up the screen here, with two blockers ready to handle our weakside linebacker, but pay attention to Wisconsin WR Kenzel Doe (at about the 42 yard line). He was the man in motion, and he’s now PNY’s responsibility, so as the screen is setting up on the weakside, our weakside safety is following a receiver across the field.
And like that *poof* he’s gone. 62 yard touchdown, tie game, momentum shifted, and, eventually, ballgame.
At least I think that’s what happened. I shut off the tape and went to bed.