First look at Michigan

Like most of you, I suspect, I haven’t seen much of Georgia’s upcoming CFP opponent, so I’ve been scouring the Internet looking for some prelim insight into what Michigan does, scheme-wise.  Here’s one peek I found at the Georgia 247Sports site:


First, this ( is their base defense. Pretty standard stuff. They like to be the 4-2-5, 2-high structure that pretty much everyone is doing now. They’ll play with their nose at both a 1 and a 2i depending on what they want to do and what they want to stop, they’ll play their T as a 3T and two 5s. They’re a team that likes to set the edge with their defensive ends so when you get a TE, they’ll bump him out to a 9. Love to press with their corners and play their safeties pretty close. Their DC is a NFL guy, they run a NFL system and want to either man up or man-match everything. They’re not very blitz heavy, just some simple simulated pressure type stuff.

I thought it was very interesting that they really want their defensive ends to set the edge and they have them “Box” all pullers, that is hitting the puller on his outside shoulder and forcing everything to go inside like this ( That’s a bit different than most teams we see in the SEC and the opposite of what we try to do on defense which is attack everything on the inside and force it outside. They do this to keep everything in an alley and hopefully contain everything inside and let their LBs and Safeties come downhill and tackle. The positive of this is you don’t let stuff get outside but the negative is that Safeties have to tackle downhill and one good block or one missed tackle and there’s not much room for anyone to catch the guy so if we play well, we could bust some big runs. Just thought this was interesting cause it’s a bit different than what we’re used to.

As far as coverage, they really want to play Man and they want to play Quarters Man Match. Here ( is an example of them against Ohio State playing straight up 2 man, pressing, backer keying the back coming out. They will do this a lot, this is probably their #1 coverage (or the coverage they like the most, at least).

However, don’t confuse that with Man Match Quarters, like this ( Here, they are playing Quarters/Cover 4 but matching the routes. In this matching, if the receiver goes vertical or outside, the defender ahead of him will carry him.If the defender goes inside, the defender over him will sink vertically and pass him off to the next guy. This is a great example because we see guys carry vertically and then the corner at the top passes the guy who goes inside to the safety who comes down to cover him. Again a standard 4 man rush by the DL. This and the 2-man stuff are going to be their main coverages by far.

However, they will get out of their Even front and they will go down into an Odd front and they’ll go 1-high like this especially when they want to stop the run and feel comfortable about manning up the receivers. Take a look at this against Iowa, both the side and endzone copy. They go into an odd front with a 0 and two 4is (the same alignment as our Mint front) with two 9s. With them playing this and 1-high, they can get guys in every gap and get an extra hat in the box to stop the run. I expect we’ll see a lot of this until we go over the top and make them get out of it into their base defense again.

Like I said, they don’t blitz much. They have really two or three main blitzes they like to do. This ( is definitely the most popular blitz, just a super simple blitz where they bring two guys off the same edge. Sometimes one will go B and the other C, both off the edge, flip who’s going B-C, etc. but at the end of the day it’s two off the same edge. Here it’s a run play, but you see the alignment. Often times as well, they will drop the backside end into coverage so it’s still only a 4-man rush, like our simulated pressures.

This ( is essentially the same blitz. They bring their Star from the field, the backside end has the TE in man coverage, they get a nice deflection. Gotta be ready for this because it’s not something they use often but it is their most used blitz.

This ( is a really good look at another blitz they use. They like to just hammer one of their linebackers inside and try to get through, nice and simple. They drop that backside end as well again in that Fire Zone coverage here to keep those 4 man rush and 7 man coverage principles. It bites them here as the Bucks shift to empty, get their back on the end and get a huge gain. But just a look at another simple blitz they like to bring a lot.

And honestly, that’s it for defense! They like to mix up their looks and disguise a little (not as much as we do really) but at the end of the day, they want to man you up and force you to win 1on1s down the field and then rally to the ball to prevent big plays with those deep safeties. Sometimes they’ll bring a simple blitz but they’re not going to bring everybody and give you a chance to beat em. It’s very much the style of “you gotta beat us, we won’t beat us”. Sometimes when they’re man-matching they can get confused like everybody else but you won’t see them getting burnt often. They don’t deviate much from who they are and they’re gonna do what they do on defense.


Offensively, they’re actually very similar to us. They want to run the ball and take their deep shots off play action. They also are heavily invested in RPOs and the RB Swing game. They do a lot more quick game than us whereas we are more comfortable attacking the intermediate areas of the field. But it’s no secret they want to run the ball and they’re pretty creative on how they do it.

Their number one run concept is Iso ( Just a simple gap scheme play, get a TE inserting on a Linebacker and trying to run to the races. It’s a very tough physical run and it requires your LBs to come down hill and thump that TE that’s inserting. They run this more than any other play so the Backers better be ready to headbutt some guys.

Their second run concept is another Gap Scheme run, Counter ( Counter is just two pullers, most often the Guard and the Tight end/H Back (it’s actually a common misconception that Counter involves some kind of trickery like a reverse! It’s *just* two pullers). They’ll run this a ton of different ways from different formations and different kinds of motions, this is the play they really want to get going to get some big gashes, they’ll come to this from tempo as well. We run counter just as often and it’s all about getting a good hit on that first pulling guard and squeezing everything back down so there’s no space inside.

This ( is really the most creative run they have. They love the Pin-Pull series. Basically on this, if you’re an offensive lineman and someone is “touching” you (lined up over you or your back shoulder), you block them. If not, you pull around. Most of the time you’ll get two pullers here and you’re trying to get all the way outside — like an old school Buck Sweep if you’re familiar. Here OSU actually blows it up but it gives you a great idea of what they’re trying to do. This one is so interesting because they’ll do so much different stuff off of it — RPOs, QB reads and keeps, jet sweeps to the backside, you name it and they’ve done it. This is where they get really creative and can hurt you.

They really want to avoid throwing the ball, but when they do, they try to make it as easy as possible for the QB. This ( is something they do often, just like us, the little RB Flair. They get to a bunch of different ways, motions, formations, etc but really they just toss it out to the back in space and let him work. Here they do it to the field out of a Bunch, very similar to something we’d do or our Toss play we run out of the Bunch. They’ll also RPO this — Flair the QB out and read a linebacker, if the LB runs, the QB will actually keep it. They also will pump fake it and throw it a guy who was pretending to block. This is really the staple of their passing game.

One thing that makes them a lot different than us is their investment in the quick game. This ( is just a little Spacing concept. A 3 man concept to the field, it should be an easy completion. But something they do on all of their quick game is they look at their 1on1 matchup, and if the QB likes it, he takes it. This is actually how they get a lot of their vertical passing game — a lot of times that guy is running a Post or a Go route or something. Here it’s a hitch he likes, not a completion, but make no mistake they do this often with a ton of different routes (technically, they could tag anything!). If we want to man them up a lot, they’re not afraid to challenge us.

And finally, one thing to note is that on a lot of their quick game, they want to get easy completions but they also are not afraid to try to stretch the field when it’s there, like this Hitch Seam concept ( This is a very simple read for the QB, he has mirrored concepts (both sides of the field are running the same thing) so he can pre-determine which side of the field he wants to look at and then it’s just one read. If he gets the read he wants he can throw to the Seam route downfield and if not, he throws the hitch or tucks it and runs. Here they actually catch him good with the Firezone and confuse him a bit, make him throw into coverage instead of to the field where it’d be a bigger gain, but you see the concept play out. They love these concepts where they combine a vertical and horizontal shot and have hit a few of these for big gains.

Not clipped are three things that are key — play action for one. They love to play action off of pulling guards and take shots so it’s going to take a lot of discipline on those. They also love to Jet Sweep, give it to the guy, throw swings to him, play action, so again a lot of eye discipline. And finally, the Flea Flicker. It sounds stupid but they’ve tried a Flea Flicker in at least 3 of their past 4 games and have hit big shots twice on those. We’ve definitely got to be prepared to see it.

There’s a lot there, but, generally speaking, this is a different team than Alabama, especially on offense.  That’s not to say they won’t present a challenge — in particular, their offensive line has played much more consistently this season than has Alabama’s — but one big difference is that Cade McNamara is no Bryce Young, either passing or running.

On defense, I expect they’ll try to do what everyone else has and scheme to make Stetson Bennett beat them.  That’s a much easier task if they can jump out to a lead and force Georgia to chase.  Only one team so far has had success with that approach.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

34 responses to “First look at Michigan

  1. Definitely will be a challenge, but Michigan is a much better match-up for our defense than Bama is.

    If we can limit turnovers (which I’m not sure we can trust the QB to do), I like the Dawgs to win.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Your line about McNamara being no Young is true…our defense gets back to their true form and is able to pressure McNamara much more effectively than the last game we played…we’re up at the half and put it away during the 3rd quarter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Russ

    I just feel like this game will be tight. Seems like everyone is still talking Bama and Michigan is playing with house money. We’ll need to play our A game for sure to have a good shot.

    BTW, I enjoyed reading about the last time we played Michigan (in their Big House). This link will also take you to a pdf of the actual issue so you can read it like it was over 50 years ago.

    Liked by 6 people

    • whb209

      Thanks Russ,
      That article was great. I was a freshman in 1966 and all of those guys were back the next year. I have not thought of them in many years. The article made it sound as if they were all small and slow, well that is BS. They all had good size and could fly. They refused to be beaten. They lost a few games but were never beaten. I practiced against these grown men as a 206 pound D lineman, so I know that they were anything but small and slow.
      Thanks again

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        Opened the season beating Bama in Athens (they were a 3 TD underdog!), then went to Ann Arbor and beat Michigan. Went from unranked to top 10, but then injuries hit the team and they struggled down the line to a 6-4 record. But yeah, the core of that team won the SEC the next season and beat SMU in the Cotton Bowl. Woof!


  4. We need to establish a consistent running game. That will give us huge mismatch’s for our TEs and…Pickens?! They want to backyard brawl but team speed kills.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ASEF

    Michigan’s offense pretty much plays into Georgia’s hands, and Georgia’s offense pretty much plays into Michigan’s. Those match-ups will come down to which OC finds favorable match ups in the passing game that his QB can actually hit. On paper, Bowers seems a good candidate for game MVP. Bennett can get him the ball quickly, and he’s both an efficiency and explosives nightmare. And the moment the safety says, “Enough of this nonsense,” hopefully Pickens is sprinting down the sideline a step and half ahead of the CB. This assumes Pickens is healthy enough to have a full arsenal of press-beater moves. I’m wondering on that front.

    Also key: which coach succumbs to the temptation to trust his defense more than his offense. Game is going to be kind of old school in the sense that turnovers and field position will feel magnified. Smart and Harbaugh both love to win games that way. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At this point I would not be surprised if either Alabama or Michigan win the NC. I will only be surprised if Georgia or Cincy win it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dawgphan34

    I am worried about Hutchinson. He is a problem.

    I would give the edge to their RB as well.

    I guess I would also give them the edge in coaching.

    Overall my takeaway from the Bama game and what I will carry into this game is that college football is still about the dudes and, on offense especially, this team needs someone to play at an elite level.


    • ASEF

      Edge on coaching?

      Harbaugh has exactly one signature W under his belt as a Michigan head coach. Maybe he’s turned the corner. And maybe that particular pig finally found a truffle.

      Michigan heading into a huge game with a jazzed “we’re back, baby!’ fan base and seemingly loads of momentum? Has that ever turned out poorly for Khaki-Man before? 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    • “college football is still about the dudes” …

      Well, to that point, their dudes over the past 5 years in recruiting are on Par with Texas and Oregon, 1.6 positions ahead of Auburn, and 9.6 behind UGA.

      Now, that doesn’t factor in transfers… but we have the Jimmies and Joes over them. Of course, so did Ohio State – but Michigan was a matchup nightmare for what OSU does.

      I’m not sure the same holds true for them against UGA.

      Go Dawgs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawgphan34

        Right now Michigan has 2 studs on their team. We dont have 1.

        When its about the dudes, its about those dudes, not the recruiting rankings.


        • Russ

          Did you mean we don’t have “just one”? I’m sure Dean, Smith, Davis, Wyatt, or Carter would challenge that assertion.

          Liked by 2 people

        • miltondawg

          Georgia doesn’t have any studs? Is this satire?

          Nakobe Dean won the Butkus Award (best LB in the nation), is a first team All American, and is a projected first round draft pick. Jordan Davis won the Outland Tropy (best interior lineman in football) and the Bednarik Award (best overall defensive player in all of college football), is a first team All American, and is a projected first round draft pick. Brock Bowers should have been a finalist for the Mackey Award based on his numbers alone and was SEC Freshman of the Year. George Pickens and Derion Kendrick are projected first round NFL picks as well. Georgia has studs and plenty of them.

          Liked by 3 people

          • dawgphan34

            Those awards are awesome. Those guys had great seasons and I am sure all of them will have great NFL careers.

            But my opinion is that you need guys who show up in big moments in big ways. Haskins had 5 TDs against Ohio State. Hutchinson had 3 sacks.

            Those guys played the biggest games and were unstoppable.

            Against UGA Young, Metchie, and Williams were unstoppable.

            UGA has been a great team all season, but it seems to take the next step you need 2-3 guys who are simply a step better than everyone else and produce results on he field.

            Looking at Michigan I see two of those guys. Looking at UGA I havent seen that guy yet. Bowers was almost there and if you wanted to say he was, it would be hard to argue.


            • miltondawg

              I consider Will Anderson, Jr. a stud. In Bama’s loss to Texas A&M, Anderson had 1 tackle and 0 sacks. Is that the stat line you expect to see from the most ferocious pass rusher in college football? Of course not. Sometimes players just don’t have their best games. It happens. Sometimes the coaches don’t put their players, even their studs, in the best position to be big in big moments. That happens, too.

              Liked by 1 person

              • dawgphan34

                It doesnt have to be the same guy every game and yeah sometimes none of your studs show up, and you lose those games.

                If White had 168 yards and 3 TD does anyone think we lose to Bama, I dont. Do I think that White is capable of that type of game against a Bama or a Michigan or whoever, absolutely.

                Right now I feel pretty sure that Hutichson and Haskins are going to bring their best game. Which UGA player is going to answer the call?


    • miltondawg

      Hutchison is a football terrorist. But don’t sleep on Ojabo on the other side either. Hutchison is third in the nation in sacks behind Will Anderson and some dude from Army. Ojabo is fifteenth in the nation. When both are in the game, it presents a huge problem. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a whole lot of 12 and 13 personnel groups to try to keep Hutchison and Ojabo out of Stetson’s grill.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dawg in Austin

    I don’t make $9M a year coaching but to me this seems like a great game for Stetson designed runs, and for him to have an internal 3 second clock to escape when nothing is there. They drop a lot in coverage and there seems to frequently be 8-9 yards to gain underneath. Also, James Cook agains their LBs seems like a mismatch. And of course, Bowers. I’m really not concerned defensively though. We have thumping LBs and lane-clogging DLs. Make McNamara beat us, since they really only have one good receiver and a TE. Just need to come with our minds right this time to get the win.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    tl;dnr version:
    They are mostly like us but not exactly.
    We are probably more athletic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. csmoore2021

    I’m predicting Michigan to win the Joe Moore award.


  11. mg4life0331

    “Only one team so far has had success with that approach”

    This year.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. uga97

    So Stetson it is. Get it into everyone else’s hands as fast as possible.


  13. theoriginalspike

    Michigan is getting stronger as the season rolls on it seems. Our defense better play better than the did against the Tide. I don’t think it will be the cakewalk lots of us think it will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 69Dawg

    If we play like we played against Bama we get beat, period end of statement. For whatever reason the defense was either reading their press clippings or just gassed early. If Munson ever wanted a game it would have been the Bama game and he would have been devastated the way we played on both sides of the ball. Stetson had better run for his life quicker than he did against Bama. If a pass is called he needs to have the Spider sense to not get sacked.

    Liked by 2 people