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The place for discussion on the Michigan Wolverines


Isaac vs Smith

  • I mentioned in the above post that I view Ty Isaac as a 1C runner. I'll expound on this.

    What kind of RBs get drafted high and early for the NFL? What is it that separates a great RB talent from a mediocre one? You've all heard the usual: speed, elusiveness, vision, size, power, etc. But I want to share a thought I've had these past few days. Obviously an every-down back is preferable to two-down backs and third-down backs. And you'd want them to be able to run both between-the-tackles(BTT) and outside. This may be just my opinion, but to me the truly elite RBs show great BTT running ability, as well as other abilities. A lot of smaller RBs that have good speed seem to be good at running outside, but not many are known for BTT runners. On the opposite spectrum a lot of big RBs are known as short-yardage backs, regardless if they have speed or not. I forgot where I saw this, but somewhere somebody said a true BTT RB has to have a good combination of power, footwork and juke-and-wiggle. If you want an example of a smaller RB being a successful BTT runner, just picture of Emmitt Smith who was one of the best in history.

    What does this RB talent talk have to do with Ty Isaac? Well, in the post above I said that I viewed Isaac as a 1C runner. And if you read the link I posted above, you'll see that the qualities of a 1C runner doesn't really overlap that much with the elite, BTT RB talent that I mentioned above. OK, can you read between the lines? I'll give you two more hints. Terrell Davis, and Arian Foster. What is it then? Yeah, Davis was drafted in the 6th round and Foster wasn't drafted at all. And these guys led the NFL in rushing running in a ZBS, both under Alex Gibbs. Davis and Foster, if you've watched them, have basically no juke-and-wiggle, close quarters footwork at all. As classic 1C runners though, they are and were a terror running decisively with cutbacks. Does this sound like a certain recruit many, many maize and blue fans are interested in?

    I'll continue in part III.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Nutcracker 2 years ago

  • Now, back to Ty Isaac.

    If you take a look at Isaac's highlight film, you'll have to agree that most, if not all of his runs result from cutbacks. Now, his highschool team employs a funky scheme that starts out from a split formation and begins with Isaac running sideways. I don't know if his HS used this for years or if it is a design by his coach to fit Isaac's unique talent. What you can't argue with is the results. Isaac is able to cut on a dime almost without losing any speed, and given the level of competition the kids on the other side have no chance at tackling him once he finds a lane and cuts. The momentum is carrying them sideways, and the size and speed of Isaac makes it virtually impossible to tackle him unless they are covering the gap perfectly. All Isaac has to do is find a gap where a defender isn't covering perfectly and blast through it. So you could make an argument that his highlights of cutting is a product of his HS scheme. I say that it is a product of his talent, namely 1C runner talent, and that his HS coach probably schemed around Isaac's talents.

    So if you're following the breadcrumbs, you'll know that what I'm saying is Isaac is a phenomenal 1C runner tailor-made for a ZBS. That's not to say Isaac can't run BTT. In fact I think Isaac will be pretty good at this because of his superior talent level overall. But it is my opinion that Isaac will absolutely tear college football apart with his running in a ZBS if he can stay healthy(one of the concerns surrounding Issac).

    OK, if I'm Ty Isaac and I'm choosing a college, what do I look for? Yeah I said early on that I want to be in a pro-style offense because I want to get to the NFL. But then I went to this Catholic school close to home(relatively) that runs a spread. I met the HC there, and while he got hot a couple times during the meeting and berated his assistants, what he said got me thinking. He said that I'm an ideal fit for ZBS that he'll employ. He said he hired a guy from Iowa as his OL coach, and that the Iowa guys under Ferentz are the real gurus of the ZBS.(link below) And he said it doesn't matter that they run spread, since plenty of pro teams use ZBS as well. Hmmmm........

    OK, now I visit this guy with chest pain. I didn't like him, he seemed pompous and everything, and the depth chart issues pretty much decided for me that I won't go to his school. But something this guy said got me thinking again. He asked if TSUN was high on my list, and I replied WTF, what's TSUN? He then ordered his assistant to whisper in my ear, "Michigan". Oh. OK then. I said yes. He said, it doesn't matter if it's spread or not. It's the blocking system that matters. We use ZBS, and TSUN uses man blocking. You're a perfect fit for THE O... What followed was endless propaganda so I just tuned him out after that.

    Now, another guy calls me at home. This west coast guy kept saying something about tailback U. That got my interest somewhat. And he kept saying if I didn't believe him he'll let me talk with his Daddy. I said no thanks. And you know what? Again this guy mentions that they use ZBS. What is it with this ZBS bullxxxx? Why is every spread guy(the west coast guy said he'll have to ask his dad about it) in college keeps coming after me with this ZBS stuff?

    On to part IV...

    Notre Dame Announces Official Coaching Change

    Your best source for quality Notre Dame Fighting Irish news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.


    Alex Gibbs teaches the outside zone/wide zone

    This unbelievable set of videos is courtesy of Brophy. I don't know what he had to do to obtain these (nor do I want to know), but you're all the beneficiaries


    This post has been edited 5 times, most recently by Nutcracker 2 years ago

  • Michigan runs both man blocking schemes and zone blocking schemes. DeVeon Smith and Ty Issac would both be a perfect fit for Michigan's offense.

  • I'll conclude before you get too bored, if you're not already. Just one bit about Michigan.

    Michigan uses a man-blocking scheme. Man-ball, Power O, big strong linemen, does this sound familiar? We've heard countless times from Hoke and the coaches that they want to play Michigan style. Knock 'em off the ball. Move the pile. Wear 'em down. I have zero problems with this, and with the OLs we're recruiting, it's quite exciting. But if you want to see a college team that least employs the ZBS principles, I'll bet that Michigan is it.

    So here are my main points so far.

    - It doesn't matter if you run spread or pro-style, you can use either man blocking or zone blocking for your running game.
    - Plenty of pro teams use zone blocking.
    - IMO, Isaac is a great cutback runner, which is an ideal fit for a zone blocking system.
    - Michigan doesn't use zone blocking, at least not as its bread-and-butter. Ohio uses it prominently, and ND intends to do so. USC seems to be a mixture.

    This is pure speculation, but I get the feeling that Brian Kelly is really selling this hard on Isaac. In the early stages of his recruiting Isaac mentioned comfort with the teammates and coaching staff as being important for his decision. Then starting a couple months ago he started talking about the depth chart. Michigan, ND, and USC all are in good shape in this regard, Ohio not so much. But starting last month, Isaac seemed to talk more about how he fits into an offense. And that seemed to be the main talking point when he visited ND and also his return visit to A2. If my wild guesses with these four long posts have any kind of credence, ND, Ohio, and USC have a distinct advantage over Michigan in this regard.

    So, will he come to Michigan or not? I don't know. For all I've said, Isaac may still turn out to be a phenomenal between-the-tackles runner. Maybe he's just such a superior athlete it doesn't matter if it's zone blocking or man blocking. And it's true that Michigan is on the upswing and our recruiting is just plain killing it. But there's also been a lot of talk that Michigan's pro-style offense and big OL gives them an enormous advantage over ND and Ohio. What I'm saying is, maybe not so much.

    Thanks for reading.

    This post has been edited 7 times, most recently by Nutcracker 2 years ago

  • I could be wrong, but from what I read you have to be really dedicated to run zone blocking. And it seems that Hoke has an aversion to zone blocking.

    “Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared.

    “I think there’s a toughness level (required in college football). I still believe you win with defense. That’s been beaten into my head a long time, but I really believe that. The toughness of your team has to be the offensive front and your defensive front.”


    Hoke against zone blocking and the spread | m

    Hoke has said that he is against zone blocking being an offenses main blocking scheme. I hope he realizes that that you can run power football out of spread formations. Nevada does it out of the pistol and Auburns base running plays are the power and counter, which are used by all pro style teams.


    This post was edited by Nutcracker 2 years ago

  • Ty's highschool runs a wing T formation. That when you have A wing on one side then QB another wing and a FB behind the QB. Those four player make a T. Ty is really considered a wing in is highschool stystem. Colleges dont really run this formation. They use there Te and FB to run block simular to how the Wing Formation is run. Is high school runs what you called it man blocking. which has assignments for each lineman to block. if you make your first block you try hold that block or move on to block the next level. Zone blocking a line man does have a certain assignment the block who ever crosses there face in the direction the play is going. the blocking scemes more have to deal with the hole the RB is going to through. Man blocking the running back follows the lineman to the hole and then make his cuts or he can follow is lineman but decide to cut back if he sees something. In zoneblocking the running back looks for a hole but it wont be in the same spot or have any lineman follow like man blocking sceme. In Zoneblocking A RB look for a hole or crease and cut and go. Michigan runs both man and zone blocking. All RB's need to be able to cut have vision, power, speed, tackle breaking ability. Ty's is a back that has the most of all the things I listed. He is not just a one cut back because if that is all he could do he wouldnt be considered elite. A RB has to be able to adjust to certain situations on the fly. Ty's is really good at that.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by 1michiganman755 2 years ago

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  • Thanks for the information on his HS offense. I didn't know that and about the Wing T. But I didn't argue in my posts that his HS team used zone blocking. Also I didn't say that all Isaac can do is make one cut, but that doesn't change my opinion that Isaac is a better fit for zone blocking. Of course Isaac is an elite back, just as Arian foster is.

  • Maybe I dont understand what your getting at but the blocking sceme does not really matter you just need good lineman in either sceme to make holes for the RB so he can work is magic. I think Ty can be effective in both scemes. Michigan runs both scemes depending on what play is called. i think Michigan was better at zone block play since they ran that scemes only in RR era and Michigan didnt have big and strong enough line for man blocking last year. You kind want lineman that can to the best of both worlds and i think the lineman Michigan is going to bring in the 2012 and 2013 and so on will be able to do that.

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  • Too...many...words

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  • Yes, Hoke likes man blocking. But watch game tape from last year, we ran both. Borges likes both and ran both at SDSU and everywhere else he has been. This season I would be surprised if we weren't mainly a zone blocking team. That'll likely change to more man blocking in the future but zone blocking isn't going away.

  • Well done, Nutcracker. Nice dissertation. clap

  • Well, DeVeon Smith is a Wolverine. Just commited per Sam Webb on twitter. Hope we can still get Issac.

  • Seriously?

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  • Looks like Deveon read Nutcracker's analysis. clap

  • Yes. Go Blue!

  • Thanks a lot. Writing isn't my strongest suit, so I was afraid nobody would read it.

    I see we got DeVeon. Haha, FWIW I said I'd prefer Isaac by the slightest of margins but I'm stoked we got DeVeon.

    Hope we can get both. goblue

  • I won't sit here and bs but I'm so happy we have a game closing power back in thre fold. We need one. With that said getting TY too would be outstanding.