This series is a work-in-progress glossary of football concepts we tend to talk about in these pages. Previously:
Defensive concepts: Contain & lane integrity, force player, hybrid space player, no YOU’RE a 3-4!, scrape exchange, Tampa 2, Saban-style pattern-matching, match quarters, Dantonio’s quarters, Don Brown’s 4-DL packages and 3-DL packages, Bear
Special Teams: Spread punt vs NFL-style
So today we’re going to get into a play that we’ve discussed a ton on this site: The Inverted Veer, also called a Power Read. From 2011-2013 it was the Michigan offense’s best play (even if Borges might have run it incorrectly). Since 2012 it’s also been the staple play of Ohio State’s offense. If you close your eyes and think of a collegiate Tim Tebow or Cam Newton or Cardale Jones play where they fake handoff to the running back before a QB plunged straight ahead for an unstoppable 6-8 yards, that was probably an Inverted Veer.
WHAT IS IT?
The best way to think of it is the reverse of the zone-read option. Whereas Rich Rodriguez’s option play was all about reading the backside edge defender, Inverted Veer is about optioning a frontside guy.
Basically the QB and RB will option a frontside EMLOS (end man on the line of scrimmage) by having the RB jetting outside while the QB reads the unblocked end and decides to give it to his buddy as he passes, or if the DE leaves enough space, charging downfield.
That’s it. I showed power on the diagram because that’s probably the best way to block it, but you can run this successfully with a variety of blocking so long as the DL are all secured on the backside. Major variations on it are whether you go inside or outside of the last DT you blocked, and how you want your TEs and receivers and whatever other material to execute various stalk blocks, kickouts and cracks.
It’s also a sort of personnel reversal from a zone read. On ZR the running back ends up reading his blocks and finding an interior gap, while a QB keep puts the quarterback out in space. With Inverted Veer the RB is the one threatening to edge the defense while the quarterback is charging headlong into it. That last bit is why it’s such a great play for all of those truckstick quarterbacks I mentioned: Once the defense converges that big QB will have a lot of downhill momentum.
Course a jitterbug with ridiculous change of direction is cool too.
[Hit the JUMP for some good ol’fashioned bedreaded one fun]
- Losers cry while winners go to Italy: Jealousy or clickbait: 100% of the people bitching about this have 0% credibility. Michigan’s academic schedule gives them an advantage in this. Should Big Ten batsports leave the NCAA?
- News from Rome: Brandon Peters throws a good ball, Tarik Black’s a guy, and other things we already know.
- NFL Draft: Absurdity of the league of morally bankrupt idiot sons testing for weed.
- Melcome: Sometimes the obvious choice is the right one. M’s decline started when Pearson left. Being old is a downer—Craig wishes he was still just 2,987. Billy Muckalt, whether he’s here or an HC elsewhere, gives Mel a Mel; USA Hockey should take a look. Shields needs to stay.
- The fall of ESPN and the dying world of cable bundling. It rankles that they could have kept 20-30 actual journalists instead of Steven A Smith. They had Grantland and the Podcast network and had no idea how to monetize them. The changing media landscape is not the place for suits who can’t see past the next quarter.
- Scream shows don’t get watched.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
Chris Evans acquiring highlight yards [Bryan Fuller]
Football Study Hall published an array of stats on running backs nationwide, so let's drill a little bit deeper to see what they might tell us about the state of Big Ten running games in 2017. There are a ton of caveats involving offensive lines and sample sizes, so let's just take those as read. These are rough metrics.
Bill Connelly has two main RB-related stats above and beyond plain old YPC: "opportunity rate," which is the number of rushes that get you five yards and presumably allow you to flash your skills instead of grind into the line, and "highlight yards per opportunity," which is the number of yards you gain after the 5 yard benchmark is cleared. Here are a couple tables of these stats for returning Big Ten players with at least 40 rushes to their name. There are 28 of these gents in the league. I left in De'Veon Smith for comparison's sake. Also I did not realize that Ke'Shawn Vaughn had transferred to Vandy, so ignore him.
First, opportunity rate:
|1||John Moten IV||Northwestern||50.9%|
|10||Mike Weber||Ohio State||42.9%|
|12||LJ Scott||Michigan State||40.8%|
|13||Demario McCall||Ohio State||40.8%|
|21||Saquon Barkley||Penn State||35.3%|
|24||Gerald Holmes||Michigan State||33.0%|
This is not entirely fair to Smith because his heavy usage means he was light on carries against the Rutgerses of the world. There's a distinct tendency towards workhorses at the bottom of this list: Devine Redding, Saquon Barkley, and Justin Jackson got more touches than anyone else in the league and they're 18, 21, and 25 here.
|3||Saquon Barkley||Penn State||8.24|
|11||Gerald Holmes||Michigan State||6.31|
|13||Mike Weber||Ohio State||5.59|
|15||LJ Scott||Michigan State||5.3|
|17||John Moten IV||Northwestern||4.87|
|23||Demario McCall||Ohio State||4.18|
It should be noted that Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Lankford-Johnson are working with very small sample sizes here. That's about 16 Vaughn attempts and 20 Lankford-Johnson attempts.
This is more evidence in Chris Evans's favor here: he, Isaac, and Higdon all got about the same ratio of legit carries to second-half-against-Rutgers carries, and Evans grades out better in both metrics than his other competitors. Isaac is well behind Smith in highlight yards, which is a bad place to be when you're competing with two guys significantly above him. Evans's combination of many successful runs and not-quite top-tier explosiveness is highly encouraging. Multiply these two items together to get a "highlight yards per run" (as opposed to opportunity) and he's third in the league behind only the two little Maryland lightning bolts. This metric is essentially a measure of your ability to get chunk runs, and the high rankings of Barkley and Akrum Wadley are a good sanity check for the measure:
|6||Saquon Barkley||Penn State||2.9|
|11||John Moten IV||Northwestern||2.5|
|12||Mike Weber||Ohio State||2.4|
|14||LJ Scott||Michigan State||2.2|
|16||Gerald Holmes||Michigan State||2.1|
|21||Demario McCall||Ohio State||1.7|
Takeaways: Maryland's running game is majorly underrated because they split carries so heavily, OSU is going to miss Curtis Samuel immensely unless Damario McCall steps up big (survey says: he probably will), and we should be optimistic about Chris Evans and Karan Higdon going into 2017. Also, Justin Jackson is back?! How many PhDs they gonna give that guy before his eligibility expires?
Most old posts are embarrassing. My takeaway in reading through old work for research purposes is usually some stupid line that I wish I had framed a different way or a dumb joke that I forgot I made and spend the rest of the day regretting. Occasionally, though, I’ll read something that makes me feel exactly what I was feeling when I wrote it.
When I dug through old Goal-by-Goal Analyses featuring Michigan Tech I came across the mini-column I wrote at the bottom of this year’s Great Lakes Invitational post and felt the still-too-familiar raging bewilderment that marked much of the 2016-17 Michigan hockey season. The piece ended with boiled-over frustration about Michigan’s offense and their inability to get the puck in the zone; there’s a mention of how badly Michigan was out-attempted, but the Corsi hamblasting from Tech wasn’t unusual enough to garner anything more than an unfeeling, fleeting mention.
furthest right column is Tech’s Corsi For %
That’s Warner Bros. DC movie-level destruction; that’s also reflective of how difficult to stomach the 2016-17 Wolverines could be. If Mel Pearson’s Michigan Tech teams are any evidence, however, Michigan fans are in for a rebalancing in their squad’s putrid possession numbers. College Hockey News has some advanced stats available from 2013-14 on, including Corsi. Remember that Corsi is every shot attempted: shots on goal, shots that missed the net, blocked shots. (There’s a more complete primer at the bottomr of the post.) The general idea behind this is that a team has to have the puck to shoot it, so Corsi is a puck-possession proxy.
Generally speaking, Pearson’s teams were good against very good teams and great against bad teams, at least in terms of possession. You can see from the trend line that they did exactly what you’d want a team to do against teams outside the PairWise top 16; the trendline drops below 50% on the doorstep of teams that would make the tournament.
[After THE JUMP: looking for surprises in Tech’s possession numbers]
[Comments temporarily turned off while we fix an issue]
What's the Future of Sports Media like?
BiSB: Very Professional Podcasts.
David: Visual podcasts.
Ace: A vast web of two-minute autoplay videos with 30-second ad lead-ins.
Brian: Why is autoplay even an option? Why have you forsaken us, computer scientists?
Seth: Ask the legions of ad network peddlers who got my email when I joined the IAB newsletter. Someone saw on a spreadsheet that videos get incrementally higher ad rates and took this to all the board rooms in America.
Brian: It can't be incremental, can it? It has to be vastly different for the level of effort everyone is putting into video nobody watches
Seth: Rates are so dependent on so many factors that any generalization is necessarily incremental.
Brian: Anyway, it seems to me like there are a few different models for sports content that are viable. I would like you guys to guess at the models.
Ace: Grantland. RIP.
Seth: /giphy pours one out
Brian: Boutique prestige content is indeed one.
- PROS: good content written by people who don't feel like monkeys in the click factory.
- CONS: apparently doesn't make money? I kind of dispute that Grantland didn't make money because it couldn't, especially given the immediate and huge success of Simmons's podcast.
Seth: Obviously we’re rooting for this one. It depends on the media environment. The market of people who want to think long and hard about anything is so small I spent most of my life not knowing we were even a demographic. In a consolidated market like cable TV, the easy numbers favor the lowest intellectual demographic, so that becomes the ONLY market served (Hi TV news!). The internet is an open environment, so boutiques can find their market.
But they have to grow from the bottom-up. Grantland could be making money, but ESPN was structurally incapable of understanding how or why it did. Nobody who thinks putting Skip Bayless or Steven A. Smith on TV is a good idea knows the first thing about marketing to people who fire off braincells for fun. The best thing for everybody would have been to spin it off.
Ace: The other issue with those prestige sites is writers tend to get snatched up. Grantland was a pretty unbelievable collection of talent that The Ringer has had a hard time replicating.
Brian: Yeah, a lot of them want to move on to doing other things because they can. This is not so much an issue with Graham Couch.
The ringer is also stuck on Medium, which is a terrible decision because it feels like a part of something instead of its own thing. That's fine if you're yet another Gannett site but bad if you're trying to be bougie.
Other boutique prestige shops include VICE Sports, The New York Times, Sports on Earth, and The Classical. The former two are parts of much larger organizations, the latter two basically died and live on as husks that don't pay many people.
So this is a dodgy and ephemeral way to live.
[Hit the JUMP for other ideas, like not paying for trash, more diagrams, or embracing “Embrace Debate.”]
Jaaron Simmons: How Does He Fit?
Simmons gets a lot of tough buckets at the basket.
Michigan added a significant piece to the roster late last night in Ohio grad transfer Jaaron Simmons, who's in line to be the starting point guard provided he doesn't jump to the NBA. While that seems unlikely given his draft stock—he's unranked on DraftExpress and listed as "likely undrafted" on NBADraftNet's rundown of potential early entrants—Simmons told MLive's Brendan Quinn he's discussing that possibility with John Beilein:
In a phone interview with MLive on Tuesday, Simmons said he is indeed transferring to Michigan and has accepted the program's lone available scholarship. However, having previously declared for the NBA Draft, he does not yet know if he will withdraw [and] spend next season in college basketball.
"I haven't decided yet," Jaaron Simmons said (pronounced "Juh-Ron"). "Me and coach (John) have been talking about that, but I haven't decided."
Simmons said he'll continue to talk to his family and Beilein about the choice to stay in the draft or withdraw and "come up with the decision that's best for me."
Simmons said whether he receives an invitation to the Draft Combine or not will not weigh in that decision. He said he does not have a timeline for his final decision, but does not plan on waiting until the NCAA's May 24 withdraw deadline.
Beilein can't comment on Simmons until he's officially added to the roster, but I can't imagine he'd accept a commitment for the last open 2017-18 scholarship without a pretty good idea that Simmons would withdraw from the draft. Unless his projection changes dramatically, it's hard to imagine Simmons would want to stay in the draft anyway.
Brian covered the basics on Simmons when news of his commitment broke last night. He's first and foremost a pick-and-roll creator, and he took on a huge usage load at Ohio, where his efficiency was hurt by having to create the vast majority of his shots. After the jump, I'll explore how he fits into the projected lineup for 2017-18.
[Hit THE JUMP]