Don Brown “Pressure of the Week” – Rutgers

by Mark Edwards

The “pressure” felt by the Michigan Football team this week had everything to do with the other side of the ball.  But in this week’s installment of the “Pressure of the Week,” we are going to look at a great individual effort that was mirrored by the discipline of his teammates.


SITUATION:  3rd & 8, Rutgers ball on Rutger’s 27 yard line

TIME:  14:11 left in the third quarter

WHY THIS SERIES:  There certainly wasn’t the influx of sacks and pressures that we saw in 2016 but this series, which was Rutgers first of the third quarter, saw a chance to cut the lead to 7 points if they could put it into the end zone.


OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Empty Left (it is a 3×2 formation with three receivers to the field and the Janarion Grant into the boundary.)

RUTGERS PERSONNEL: 00 (0 running backs, 0 tight ends, 5 wide receivers)


MICHIGAN PERSONNEL NOTES:  Michigan’s defensive line is occupying the left side of Rutgers’s offensive line.  Chase Winovich (#15) is lined up over the nose while Maurice Hurst (#73) is in a 3-technique (outside shoulder of the guard).  Defensive end Rashan Gary (#3) is in a 5-technique (outside shoulder of the tackle).  Backup viper Noah Furbush (#59) is in a 5-technique to the bottom of the screen.  Cornerbacks David Long (#22) and Lavert Hill (#24) are in their normal press alignments.  Linebackers Devin Bush Jr. (#10) and Mike McCray (#9) are aligned in stacked positions on Gary and Winovich (they are already moving in the screen shot above).  Viper Khaleke Hudson (#7) is splitting the difference  between the #2 and #3 receivers to the top of th screen.  Safeties Josh Metellus (#14) and Tyree Kinnel (#23) are getting to a cover 2 depth (meaning they are responsible for the deep halves of the field).


What is Rutgers doing here?  Rutgers is running a five-man route which means that the offensive line should be able to handle the four-man pressure.  The Rutgers line has slid their protection to the defensive front.

What has changed:  Two things of note here.  First, Furbush (#59) has dropped to race back to the #3 receiver to the field who is running a vertical stem.  Secondly but most importantly, Gary has already defeated the left tackle.

Michigan’s pressure: With the bail into coverage by Furbush, it has been accompanied by Devin Bush Jr.’s blitzing through the B gap.  Hurst (#73) has ripped into the A-gap.  Winovich (#15) has worked from the center and is responsible for the contain of the pocket to the bottom of the screen.


What is Rutgers doing here?  Forget the pass route.  It’s not going to work.  The Rutgers left tackle has been “run by.”  The rest of the Rutgers line is in good shape here.  Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno is in the grasp of Rashan Gary.

What has changed:  A sack seemingly is imminent.

Michigan’s pressure:  Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno is in the grasp of Rashan Gary.  Notice the eye discipline of Winovich and Bush Jr.  They know what they are responsible for doing in this pressure.


What is Rutgers doing here? Surviving…barely.

What has changed:  Rescigno has escaped the Gary “sack” attempt.   He is going to attempt to escape to his left.

Michigan’s pressure:  Gary has missed the sack attempt.  Notice that Devin Bush Jr. (top of the screen rusher) has the escape attempt contained.  Hurst and Winovich are starting to mirror the quarterback’s movement.  Gary, while stunned he didn’t get the sack, is already up and in pursuit.  That’s a sign of fanatical effort.


What is Rutgers doing here? The scramble attempt continues.

What has changed:  Rescigno now has a bigger problem that Gary.  He is being forced back into the middle of the pocket because Devin Bush Jr. has defeated the left guard is now on a dead run into the quarterback..  Hurst and Winovich are waiting for him.

Michigan’s pressure:   I can’t think of a worse place to be than between Gary and Bush Jr. with both of them sprinting at me.  Winovich is slightly out of position because he’s right on top of Hurst.


What is Rutgers doing here? This is a sack.  There is no escape.

What has changed:  Rescigno has entered Don Brown’s “Bermuda Triangle” where quarterbacks rarely survive.

Michigan’s pressure:  Winovich, who was out of position, has now accelerated into the middle of the pocket while Bush and Gary are within a step.



FINAL THOUGHT: While some teams look like they think they have nothing to play for, it’s the opposite of the effort shown here by the Michigan defense.  It’s the second week in a row that a four-man pressure has been featured.  Once again, it’s a great sign to get home with four rushers…even if it’s just against the Big Ten’s JV team-Rutgers.

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