Don Brown’s “Pressure of the Week” – Ohio State

by Mark Edwards

Well…that sucked.  Actually, it sucked “big time.”  Michigan, a huge underdog, had Ohio State on the ropes.  I, along with much of the Michigan fan base, is going to feel the sting of that loss for the entire winter.  However, before all of our psychologist bills go up, let me bring you the good news.

Our defense was really good.  Not great…but really good.  Quite honestly, they’ve been really good for 11 games (sorry Penn State but you didn’t beat us with our “A” game).  With the knowledge that the defense would have to carry this team, I would say they held on for as long as they could.  The biggest encouraging thing was the start by this team.


SITUATION:  1st & 10, Ohio State ball on their own 17 yard line

TIME:  5:56 left in the first quarter

WHY THIS SERIES: With Michigan scoring the first touchdown of the game, the vaunted Buckeye offense took the field for their second series of the game.  After a three and out, this was the drive where all of America thought that J.T. Barrett would march down the field and put doubt into Michigan.

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OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Trio Flex Left (You have twin receivers to the boundary while the H back is aligned to the field)

OHIO STATE PERSONNEL: 11 (1 running back, 1 tight end)


MICHIGAN PERSONNEL NOTES:  This is the classic 4-2-5 alignment.  You have Rashan Gary (#3) to the H back side in a 7 technique.  Maurice Hurst (#73) is in a 3 technique to the H back side while Bryan Mone (#90) is is a 1 technique away from the H back.  Chase Winovich (#15) is in a 5 technique to the boundary.  Mike McCray (#9) is aligned outside of Winovich to keep leverage against the slot receiver.  Devin Bush Jr. (#10) is stacked behind Hurst.  Viper Khaleke Hudson (#7) is four yards from the line of scrimmage on the outside shoulder of the H back.  Cornerbacks David Long (#22) and Lavert Hill (#24) are in their customary press coverage.

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What has changed:  The ball still hasn’t snapped but OSU is running jet motion to the field.  Michigan’s defense has already adjusted to the motion with Hudson now on the line of scrimmage with McCray moving with the Buckeye slot receiver Paris Campbell.

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What is Ohio State doing here?  It is Jet Sweep to the field.  The running back Mike Weber and the H back are trying to double team Hudson (#7).  Notice the Buckeye offensive line has blocked a zone play to their left.

What has changed:  Michigan defensive line has matched their Buckeye counterparts.  Gary (#3) has squeezed it down and is playing the quarterback.

Michigan’s pressure:   Khaleke Hudson is the disruption here.  He is defeating the double team block while Lavert Hill has read jet sweep and is seemingly blitzing (it’s really just a reaction) while defeating the block of the OSU WR.  Devin Bush Jr. (#10) has flowed over the top of the jet.  Michigan has three players outside of the ball right now and all three are functionally unblocked.

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What is Ohio State doing here?  Two of their blockers have turned their backs to the line of scrimmage.   That’s never good for the offense.

What has changed:  Hudson is the key to the run pressure.  He already has his hands on the ball carrier and Hill is free from the WR as well.

Michigan’s pressure:  Hill is setting the edge with Gary and Bush Jr. are running inside out to tackle the jet.

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What is Ohio State doing here?  They are going to be tackled for a loss of 5 yards.

What has changed:  Hudson is parallel to the ground (how cool is this shot?) while Hill is engaging Campbell as well.

Michigan’s pressure:  It’s perfect execution of a pre-snap adjustment to motion and a great read by Hill to recognize jet sweep and immediately attack it from the outside.

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The epitome of the Don Brown defense has now shown up.  Attack your problems with pressure and aggressiveness.

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FINAL THOUGHT:  It’s been a joy to write this column and I look forward to one more “Bowl Edition” of the “Pressure of the Week.”  It’s so obvious to me that this defense will make another huge jump next year and that Captain Blitz is the right guy to lead this squad.











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