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Inside the Play: Illinois Screen

The Situation
Michigan leads Illinois 14-10 with about 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Illini have the ball in a 2nd-and-10 situation on their own 43 yard line. Michigan's offense has been clicking early in the game, and a big stop on Illinois's potential go-ahead drive would sustain the Wolverine momentum, and possibly springboard another Michigan scoring drive.

The Personnel and Formation

Illinois comes out in a 3-wide spread set, with a tight end on the right side of the line. Two wideouts are to the left. Isiah Williams is in the shotgun, with Daniel Dufrene lined up as the running back to his left. Michigan is running out of its 3-4 Okie nickel package. The corners are playing off, and Charles Stewart is the high safety along with Brandon Harrison. Stevie Brown, Jonas Mouton, Obi Ezeh, and John Thompson are the linebackers. Mike Martin is the pass-rushing DT.

The Play

Michigan is in a cover-3, with both OLBs blitzing. At the snap, John Thompson blitzes, allowing Daniel Dufrene to run right by him. This is unfortunate for Thompson and the Michigan defense at large, as this play is a designed screen (not quite a swing pass, as The Davids - ESPN's shittiest new announce team - state). Williams lofts the ball over Thompson's head, and Dufrene makes the catch. He follows his screen blockers, breaks a couple early tackle attempts, and outruns the Wolverines to the endzone.



Why it Worked
John Thompson is the major culpable party in Illinois's success on this play. In Shafer's scheme, he is designated to blitz on this play, but has the responsibility to "hug up" on Dufrene if he leaks out of the backfield. It is plain to see Thompson realizes his mistake, as he has an "oh shit" moment, and turns around when he realizes Dufrene has passed him.

This was an effective play call against a blitz, and of course the responsibilities of the blitzers are supposed to compensate for this. Thompson's fuckup amplified the effectiveness of the playcall.

It's hard to fault him too much, since he was making sure there weren't huge cutback lanes in the secondary, but Donovan Warren starts off this play taking a terrible angle. He almost manages to still catch up with Dufrene, and had he taken a better angle, might have stopped this 5-10 yards short of the endzone.


Now you know what it was like Inside the Play.

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“Inside the Play: Illinois Screen”

  1. Blogger adderpole Says:

    love this style of analysis that you do!! Keep up the great work!!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I second that! great diagram ! but your leaving out the fact that Illinois actually ran a screen on the back side with the wide receiver which locked in Jonas and Donavon ! It was a great call! Honestly I wonder why the Michigan coaches played mouton extensively at Sam instead of will! he's a former safety he would have fared better uncovered and matched up on Benn!

  3. Blogger gsimmons85 Says:

    its really not a tough thing to do, i sometimes have ends hugging up, all u have to do is discourage the throw, its not like he has to run with him down the filed, its a zone blitz....