Don Brown’s “Pressure of the Week” – Indiana

by Mark Edwards

When you heard that Indiana was going to start a redshirt QB against a Michigan defense that was coming off of a loss, this was all entirely too predictable.  Don Brown was going to throw the “kitchen sink” at that kid.  While Hoosier QB Peyton Ramsey played admirably, even IU coach Tom Allen acknowledged that his signal caller was going to face a “different beast.”  He probably should’ve made that plural and call them “beasts.”


SITUATION:  1st & 10, State ball on Indiana’s 25 yard line

TIME:  14:54 left in the second quarter

WHY THIS SERIES:  With Michigan holding a 6-0 lead, this series was another example of the Michigan defense’s belief that pressure is paramount.  They weren’t going to let Ramsey get comfortable in the pocket as the Michigan offense was settling for field goals.  You often hear commentators say that the defense “met each other at the quarterback.”  Well, here you go…

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OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Trips Right (it is a 3×1 formation with three receivers to the field)

INDIANA PERSONNEL: 10 (1 running back, 4 wide receivers)


MICHIGAN PERSONNEL NOTES:  Michigan chose to defend Indiana’s “four wide” package with this base alignment.  YOU can see that Chase Winovich (#15) is in a five-technique to the bottom of the screen while Maurice Hurst Jr. (#73) in head up on the center and Rashan Gary (#3) is aligned in a 4I technique (inside shoulder of the offensive tackle) to the top of the screen.  Michigan only has two linebackers, which are Devin Bush #10 and Devin Gil (#36).  Michigan is showing a “two shell”, which means that there are two safeties, which will not remain in a two shell after the snap.  Michigan linebacker Josh Uche (#35) is splitting the difference between the #2 and #3 receivers.  Notice Michigan cornerback David Long is in the “standard” press coverage technique.

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What is Indiana doing here?  Thy are dropping back to pass as you can see their offensive line vertically pass set, which is a sign of a man-on-man protection.  The running back is viewing the boundary side defenders as pressure is imminent.

What has changed:  Long (#22), safety Tyree Kinnel (#23) and Gil (#36) all appear to be in the pressure called.  Bush (#10) is appearing to “wall off” the #3 receiver, which means that he does not want him to cross the middle of the field.

Michigan’s pressure:  First, notice how quick Hurst (#73) is off of the ball.  Gary and Winovich almost look delayed in their rush due to Hurst’s burst.  Long is blitzing off of the corner and the Indiana RB sees it coming.  Gil is going to blitz outside of Winovich, who has occupied the B Gap.  Kinnel has rolled down to take away the hot route slant by the boundary receiver.

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What is Indiana doing here?  The boundary receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. (#1) has run a sight-adjusted stop route.  The pocket protection has been aided by the RB stepping into the B gap as the left tackle has identified the blitzing David Long.

What has changed:  Indiana appears to be ready to handle this pressure.

Michigan’s pressure:  Maurice Hurst has defeated his blocker as he has ripped to the field B gap.  Gil and Long are presently accounted for.

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What is Indiana doing here?  Quarterback Peyton Ramsey has realized that the pocket is collapsing from the middle, which is just the worst possible thing on a man protection passing scheme.

What has changed:  Gary and Long have both set the pocket so that the inevitable escape attempt will force Ramsey to bubble backwards.

Michigan’s pressure:  Long has beaten the left tackle, who just doesn’t know it yet.  Gil’s gap integrity isn’t great as he has been run into the A gap leaving a potential escape  route if Ramsey was more experienced.

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What is Indiana doing here?  Ramsey’s escape attempt is about to end as Long and Gary are both one step from taking him down.

What has changed:  IMPENDING SACK ALERT.

Michigan’s pressure:  This five man pressure is now home.  David Long and Gary’s discipline has led them to a shared sack.

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As Don Brown has started to use the 3-3 base against spread teams, the evolution of the pressure package is really interesting.  Studying the Michigan defense on film makes one marvel at how disciplined they are.  Now everyone uses the term “discipline” but I’m talking about how they know their role in the pressure and the possible offensive reaction as seen here in Rashan Gary not trying to just “get his” but to play team defense.  This team is going to be tested next week in Happy Valley but to doubt them at this point is just goofy.



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