You, Michigan fan, might hate former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, but you have to admit, even if begrudgingly: the man knows football.
Now an analyst for FOX Sports and BTN, Meyer has sung Michiganâ€™s praises (though not mentioning them by name) quite often this season, even through some of the struggling periods â€” though he has acknowledged the offensive issues, while noting it takes time for a new system to jell.
In a segment with BTN host Gerry DiNardo, Meyer was absolutely enthusiastic about Michiganâ€™s defense as it played against Iowa this past Saturday.
He broke down a few plays and shared what made the Wolverines defense so stout against the Hawkeyes.
First run play breakdown
â€œWhen the Wolverines are playing great defense, theyâ€™re very sound,â€ Meyer said. â€œObviously, they have very good players. But they also play single gap defense.
â€œFor the viewer here, the A-gaps are on each side of the center. So your A-gap is the interior. As you move out, the B-gap is outside the guard and C-gap is outside the tackle. The D-gap is outside the tight end. In a single gap defense, everybody has got a responsibility.
â€œNow Iowa is kinda playing into their hands right here. Theyâ€™re playing in I-formation â€“ you donâ€™t see that very often. Thereâ€™s a fullback, and whenever you enter or add a player into the gap, the linebacker has to spill it or box it.
â€œLetâ€™s just talk about that for a second: so depending on the coverage â€” they actually had a terrible mistake against Wisconsin â€“ they spilled it, thereâ€™s no defender there, and it was a 75-yard touchdown. It all has to be coordinated to the coverage.
â€œYou can see 29 here (Jordan Glasgow) is gonna spill the ball to (Ambry) Thomas, No. 1, the (cornerback) â€“ and does an excellent job. Heâ€™s taking him on with his right shoulder. This is not by accident â€“ this is very well-coordinated. Thomas knows that heâ€™s the free player.
â€œFor the viewer, this is well done. Itâ€™s well-defended.â€
Second run play breakdown
â€œHereâ€™s another play by Iowa â€“ theyâ€™re kind of playing right into the teeth of the Wolverine defense,â€ Meyer said. â€œTheyâ€™re obviously in the redzone, get some plus yardage. You know thereâ€™s gonna be a free hat. But Iâ€™m always intrigued, and I think the viewer is, too. You see the linebacker, No. 29, take on the fullback, with a big-time collision â€“ thatâ€™s a big hit. But heâ€™s taking him on with his left shoulder, because he understands No. 14 (Josh Metellus) is the free player. Heâ€™s the free hat. He spills it to him.
â€œWell-coordinated defense, good coverage on the outside by No. 24 (Lavert Hill) and the defensive end. Thereâ€™s nowhere to go, and No. 2 (Carlo Kemp) just has a great effort. Great effort. He actually beats a double-team block there.
â€œ(Metellus) is staring at the tight end. When he sees the tight end go block, he knows heâ€™s the free hat.â€
Pass play breakdown
â€œWhenever you play one of the top defenses in the country â€” as they usually have, because they have very good personnel and are obviously well-coached â€“ you want to keep them off-schedule. You talk about keeping an offense off-schedule, we would always try to do our best to keep a defense off-schedule. For example, itâ€™s second and ten here. You know Iowa is gonna kinda be forced into a throwing situation. And you donâ€™t want to this against a great defense. Look at the stances of the D-linemen. You can just tell the elongated stances â€“ this is much different than anything you saw. Now theyâ€™re just teeing off because they know what itâ€™s gonna be, plus itâ€™s an empty set â€“ you can see thereâ€™s no threat of run. So what does that mean? These guys just come screaming off the ball. Iowa really has no chance. As hard as theyâ€™re pouring off the ball, watch Nate Stanley â€“ by the time he sets his feet, 1-2-3, heâ€™s already getting pressure.
â€œPeople talk about keeping the offense off-balance, when you face a great defense, youâ€™ve gotta break your tendencies. If youâ€™re just gonna go run-run-pass, or run and then a long-yardage pass, you donâ€™t want to do that against great personnel.â€
Thereâ€™s a few more plays that Meyer broke down, and you can see the actual plays heâ€™s breaking down in real-time in the video.
Watch the whole video below: