The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
ludicrous photo illustration of Donnal via the Blade.
I'm trying as hard as I can to not go on a rage bender, so let's just move on to the implications for next year's basketball team. They are not good, obviously, but it is also not the end of the world. John Beilein won a Big Ten title with a 6'4" starting power forward; Michigan will live.
Jon Horford's ever-more inexplicable decision to exit as buckets of playing time beckon leaves Michigan with the following options for tall rebounding folks:
- Mark Donnal. Freshman coming off a redshirt; reputed to be highly skilled perimeter big who certainly could play the 4 in a Beilein offense but now slides down to the five. Has a back-to-the-basket game, not that such things are at all relevant in Ann Arbor. Can be a Pittsnogle pick and pop guy; defense questionable. Supposed to be a below the rim type, though Camp Sanderson has endeavored to change that.
- Ricky Doyle. Gangly three-star freshman out of Florida now standing next to Bacari Alexander in an effort to demonstrate that he's a legit 6'10", Doyle has a decent face up game and is reputed to be your standard hard-working blue-collar rebounder. Freshman bigs, though, are not fifth year senior bigs.
- Max Bielfeldt. If only Bielfeldt's body was as large as his calves. Since they're not, the 6'6"-ish Bielfeldt just gets swallowed by actual posts. The first half of the Big Ten Championship game is the most recent example. Will have a role off the bench against certain matchups.
- Random fifth year guy. Nobody on the radar and Michigan's contingency plan in the event of a McGary exit appears to be Cole Huff, who won't be eligible next year if he does end up transferring in and wouldn't be a post even if he got a waiver.
- Random freshman. See previous bullet: Michigan's late offers have been focused on the wing. If Dawkins or Huff does turn Michigan down they would have a spot to go fishing with. Finding someone this late who is both a fit and able to play basketball is doubtful.
So Michigan's going to have to roll with what they've got, it seems: a 6'9" redshirt freshman and a 6'10" freshman plus Max Bielfeldt.
What about the four?
Irvin is not an ideal option at the 4. [Fuller]
Any thought Donnal would spend significant minutes at the 4 is out the window. Michigan's options there:
- Zak Irvin. Irvin saw the occasional stretch at the four a year ago, always when Robinson was on the bench. It seems doubtful Irvin can provide anything more than a few minutes here and there against a decent matchup, as he's far more wing-shaped than Robinson. His DREB rate was the lowest on the team, yes behind even Spike. That's partially roles and whatnot; I think it's also Zak Irvin not being much of a rebounder. Even a Hardaway-like move there does not make him the best option, which means Michigan's in a different place than they were a few years ago. Also, Irvin is going to be needed at the 3 for about 30 minutes a game.
- Kam Chatman. Chatman measured in at 6'8" at the most recent camo basketball all star debacle, so he'd actually be an improvement over Robinson in the height department despite being widely regarded as a wing player. At around 200 pounds that's understandable. Chatman would probably get beat up worse than Robinson did as a freshman, as he's taller and skinnier—going to be a lot of times he gets shoved under the basket when rebound time kicks in.
- DJ Wilson. Chatman's fellow freshman is the truest stretch four Beilein's brought in during his time at Michigan. Depending on who you listen to and what time they scribbled his weight down, Wilson's either the same 200 pounds Chatman is or a skinny-but-survivable 215 at 6'8" or 6'9". Wilson finally had a healthy high school season and used that to shoot up almost fifty spots in the Rivals rankings.
- Guy who looks suspiciously like Zack Novak wearing a fake beard and stovepipe hat. It could happen.
That seems super young
Yep. For the third straight year, Michigan projects to be one of the youngest teams in the country, with a frontcourt that is handing probably 70 of its 80 minutes to freshmen, has no seniors, and will have only one starter who's even a junior. That junior is almost as young as you can be and still be a junior. Kentucky might be older. For real.
This is not necessarily doom. The last two years Michigan has been 342nd and 330th in Kenpom's experience stat*. This did not matter much: no team in the country collected more NCAA tournament wins than Michigan whilst they were idling at the bottom of the table there.
It is something different to have freshman bigs who are not Mitch McGary, though. Bigs are long-term projects best eased into serious time lest they be overrun. Michigan can and will survive—I see Jane is tweeting out modified Forgot About Dre lyrics, which I second. "Surviving" is not what they did the last couple years, though, and we're probably in for a comedown from the highs of the last couple years.
*[Which is just an average of FR/SO/JR/SR weighted by playing time, so that a senior who plays five minutes a game doesn't throw you all out of whack.]
But I didn't want this to happen
Hey, at least the staggering hypocrisy of the NCAA chasing dudes out of school for an infraction that the legal system treats like whatever dude has a really good rationale behind it.
"Whereas the CSMAS rightly focused on the fact that marijuana and other street drugs are not performance enhancing, the committee also recognizes that the universe of sport is special, and the student-athlete is obliged to embrace the spirit of sport."
I'ma go build a lego Mark Emmert so I can hurl it off a building.
Well, dammit. McGary's out the door and in the end there wasn't even a decision to make:
The Michigan sophomore who turned down a prime opportunity to enter last year's NBA draft and paid a price has decided to declare for the 2014 draft, admitting that he failed an NCAA-administered drug test in March and faced a one-year suspension from college basketball.
The drug test he failed was for pot, which seems ludicrous. Since when does the NCAA even test for pot, let alone levy year-long suspensions? Especially of a player who didn't even play? The situation here is insane. If Michigan issues the test, they get to decide the punishment. If the NCAA does, it's pretty much a death penalty for your career:
By failing a test administered by the NCAA, rather than his school, McGary was subject to the draconian Bylaw 22.214.171.124.1, which calls for a player to be "ineligible for a minimum of one calendar year." A second offense, even for just marijuana, results in permanent banishment.
"If it had been a Michigan test, I would've been suspended three games and possibly thought about coming back," McGary said. "I don't have the greatest circumstances to leave right now [due to the injury]. I feel I'm ready, but this pushed it overboard.
"I don't think the penalty fits the crime. I think one year is overdoing it a little bit."
Michigan agreed, McGary said, and appealed the decision to the NCAA in early April. It was denied, however. Neither the university nor the NCAA would comment directly on the case or the appeal.
The NCAA is the worst organization in the world (that isn't FIFA). They just changed the penalty to a half-season—still ludicrously punitive for a substance that is heading towards legalization within a decade—and would still not relent, because think of the NCAA like a marching band full of assholes. Good on McGary for just talking about it. At least one party in this situation comes off like an adult.
Michigan's situation at the five is now pretty alarming. They've got true freshman Ricky Doyle and, now out of necessity, redshirt freshman Mark Donnal. Transfer Cole Huff now has a scholarship slot, though he would not be available next year.
This is my last post of the week, and I'll be taking next week off to do anything that doesn't involve sitting in front of a laptop. I just wanted to thank everyone for reading along through football and basketball season, and tease that I've got some fun content lined up for my return. (Think dunks. Lots and lots of dunks.) Have a great week, everyone.
Offer Bonanza! (Does Not Include QB)
Michigan's thrown out offers left and right over the last week, as Brandon has covered in detail in this mgoboard thread. In fact, they're going out so fast a couple more offers didn't make that list; since Tuesday, the coaches have extended offers to four-star VA OT Matthew Burrell, three-star GA OT Zach Giella, and five-star GA WR Preston Williams (Tennessee commit).
Burrell generated a lot of buzz when he visited for the Notre Dame game last season; he showed genuine interest, though we'll see how much that's changed given how long it took for U-M to decide to offer him. Giella's three-star ranking belies his impressive offer sheet, and he's currently got LSU as his leader with Ole Miss running second ($); just getting a visit from him would be an accomplishment. Williams, the top-ranked receiver in the class, is looking around at other schools but it's unclear if he'll take a visit to Michigan, per 247's Steve Lorenz.
While the Wolverines may be on the outside looking in for those three prospects, they're looking good for two recent offer recipients at wide receiver. IL four-star Miles Boykin is being recruited at both wide receiver and tight end due to his 6'3", 212-pound frame. Michigan sees him as a Funchess-type wideout, and per Tim Sullivan that's precisely how Boykin wants to play ($):
The 6-3, 212-pounder is open to both spots, but prefers to be out on the edge making plays in space. Fortunately, that's where Michigan would like to see him line up, should he choose to become a Wolverine.
"I'd rather play receiver, but if my body grows I can't really do anything about that so I'm open to playing tight end, too," Boykin said. "[Coach Mallory] said because of how difficult I am to cover, that's why they're offering me as a wide receiver, not a tight end."
Boykin visited Ann Arbor for the spring game-ish thing and told Tim he'd like to see Michigan again before a potential preseason decision. All of the major Midwest schools, among several others, are in on Boykin; Michigan looks to be among his top schools, and that return visit will obviously be key if he sticks to his current timeline.
Meanwhile, three-star FL WR Auden Tate told Scout's Amy Campbell that Michigan was his childhood favorite, and it's a "dream come true" to hold an offer from them—as you'd expect, this has the Wolverines in a very good spot ($):
Now that Michigan has offered, Tate says it’s easily his number one school. “They’re the top, I’m going to try to visit them soon,” he said.
Tate added an offer from his favorite’s rival, Ohio State, earlier this month. While he wasn’t as ecstatic about it as he was the Michigan offer, he was still very happy to add an offer from such a historic program.
Tate's offer sheet suggests he should eventually climb in the composite rankings, and he told Campbell he plans to make a decision "sometime after summer" once he's had the chance to visit his top schools, which also include the likes of Clemson, Miami, and South Carolina. While Michigan will have to sweat out those visits, they'll also get one of their own, and for now they're in a great position to land him.
One reported offer that's been refuted by multiple reporters, including Sam Webb($), is 2015 four-star dual-threat QB Deondre Francois. While Michigan watched him throw this week, no new QB offers have gone out recently, according to Webb.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Grant Newsome, Darian Roseboro, where Michigan stands for several top 2015 targets, and more.]
Familiar music. Michigan replay promo, 1983.
Via Wolverine Historian, of course. Also: the 1983 Washington State game.
JMFJ. Jack Johnson is a fascinating NHL player, because stats hate him. There's a thing called Corsi that is basically a shot attempt ratio* while you're on the ice that the hockey advanced stats guys like because it takes the randomness of goaltending out of the equation. Jack Johnson has been anomalously poor in this department. He's bad at Corsi. Very, very bad. It's to the point that a Google search for "Jack Johnson corsi" results in various bloggers calling him the worst player in the NHL:
Despite this, Johnson has been a heavy-minutes workhorse for the Blue Jackets since his arrival, leading the team in ice time for two and a half years now. The Jackets made the playoffs with a +15 goal differential with Johnson as their undisputed #1 D, thus spurring the flurry of articles that caused me to muse on Jack Johnson and Corsi. Por ejemplo:
"Jack has been very good down the stretch and these first three games," Richards said. "He plays like a man on the ice. He can log the big minutes. He played close to 40 minutes in the OT game in Game 2. And they're big, tough minutes. It's the opposition. He's playing against Crosby or Malkin most of the night. Penalty kill, he's one of the first guys over the boards and he plays power play."
ESPN also praises him:
"I would just say [he's a] machine. He's a different bird, man. On and off the ice, he's just a thoroughbred and he's always in the gym," Columbus forward Cam Atkinson told ESPN.com Tuesday. "You can tell he's elevated his game tremendously in this playoff series and he's been one of our best players, if not our best player. It's great to see and hopefully he can keep playing the way he's been playing."
This has no doubt set Corsi-fiends on edge, which is a lot like David Berri holding up whatever metric he's regressed into his butt and declaring subject matter experts to be idiots. You'd think something as rough as relative shot attempts would bring with it the humility to look at why a player with a bad Corsi might still be good at hockey.
#CBJ with Jack Johnson on ice Corsi: -11 (2-13) with Johnson off ice Corsi: +7 (20-13) But, he does have a goal.
— Scott Cullen (@tsnscottcullen) April 22, 2014
*[It's shots on goal + missed shots + blocked shots for and against, expressed as a percentage. So a 50% Corsi means you're even and a 45% is pretty terrible.]
They may know what they're doing. Kam Chatman sees a significant ratings bump from another service, as Rivals flings him up the board to #25, one spot away from five-star status. Measuring in at 6'8" at that camo Jordan thing is kind of a big deal to these gents. All around him are coulda-beens, though: #22 James Blackmon, #26 Keita Bates-Diop, #29 Devin Booker.
On the other hand, DJ Wilson cracks the top 100 at #86 and grabs a fourth star, which isn't bad for a guy who seemed like the consolation prize's consolation prize when he committed over offers from Columbia and Gonzaga. They may know what they're doing, these guys.
Also they may acquire this other guy. It seems like Michigan's interest in Nevada transfer Cole Huff is genuine:
Huff met with Michigan assistant coach LaVall Jordan on Tuesday in Reno, Nev., and is now waiting for some scholarship dominoes to fall.
"The meeting was good," Huff told MLive. "It was nice of him to come out here and we had a good conversation. He talked about the opportunities they can offer, but really, when it comes to Michigan, you don't need a coach to talk to you too much because of all that tradition. It was just an added bonus to have coach Jordan come out here and give me the specifics."
Those specifics are: Michigan is waiting on Aubrey Dawkins, who has an offer and is following through on a promised visit to Dayton this weekend. If Dawkins takes the Michigan offer, they are out of room unless Mitch McGary declares for the draft. Yes, even though Austin Hatch etc., etc.
If Michigan does have room it doesn't sound like the "I want to play small forward" thing is going to be much of a barrier:
"It was more about how I was being used (in the system)," Huff said of his decision to transfer. "Nevada did a great job using me as a pick-and-pop player and putting me down low with my back to the basket, but that's not all of who I am. I think I can be used for more than that.”
Huff won't have to worry about playing with his back to the basket in Ann Arbor. Posting up is a foreign concept in a Beilein offense. Michigan has a couple of connections with Huff, one a team manager, the other his AAU coach, and it sounds like there is strong mutual interest. Huff would have to sit out next year and then would have two to play; as a 6'8" guy who hit 40% from three he is filed under DO WANT.
Huff won't have to wait long, as McGary will be in or out of the draft by the end of Sunday and it sounds like Dawkins is not going to extend the process much longer than it takes to visit Dayton. Via Sam Webb($):
"I knew I wasn’t going to commit on the visit. I already have a visit to Dayton (set up), so I knew that was going to happen too. I knew I wasn’t going to commit on the visit. I wanted to come back and talk to (my parents) and see what they thought and things like that.”
The rest of that article makes it sound like he wants to jump on the Michigan offer but has to fulfill a promise made to Dayton; that's just my speculation.
Schofield will be a middle-round selection. [Fuller]
Draft status (DON'T PANIC, NFL). Mel Kiper is bullish on Taylor Lewan, saying he could go as high as #2 overall and projecting him sixth to the Falcons. A couple of other grads are in line to get picked as well:
"Gallon ran better than I thought he would (at the combine), he made a lot of clutch catches, does a lot after the catch as a slot guy, to me he's worth a fifth round-type pick," Kiper said. "Schofield was a little underrated. He was solid pretty much all year at tackle, he could be a third- or fourth-round pick."
I'm happy that Schofield is going to get picked as he had a solid year that may have gotten overlooked what with the chaos around him. It's nice when the UFR process seems accurate about a player who doesn't have stats.
I'm less happy that Michigan had two NFL-worthy tackles last year and still looked like that, and is now trying to not look like that without them.
Ticket details. Take it FWIW, but an MGoUser asked the department how sales were going and got a number in response:
After I renewed my season tickets this year I contacted the Athletic Development Office and specifically asked what the renewal rates were compared to last year. Whether or not you view it as half full or half empty, the 8% difference from a year ago is down about 8,792 seats. Then there was the student renewal discussion which amounted to about another 1,200 - 1,500 seat renewal drop off. I know some of these will be picked up by new buyers but, I doubt they all go to new buyers. I think we will see the return of the ticket packs. Losing roughly 10,000 fans at the Big House is going to be very noticeable unless the AD gets creative. Having said that, I still think we see a sellout for most every game. I am hoping it is not as bad as it sounds.
An eight percent drop in one year is huge. How many will come back next year when the schedule has some actual attractions on it? This realignment went as poorly as possible for 1000 S. State Street.
Union vote tomorrow. Northwestern still telling their kids that a union will get them fired and strangle their grandma.
“Understand that by voting to have a union, you would be transferring your trust from those you know — me, your coaches and the administrators here — to what you don’t know — a third party who may or may not have the team’s best interests in mind,” Fitzgerald wrote to the team in an email.
"If you have a union that is comprised of you, you may not have your best interests in mind." That's some 1984 business up in there. I mean:
Players have heard warnings that the formation of a union would make it harder for them to land jobs after graduation; that Fitzgerald might leave; that alumni donations would dry up; that Northwestern’s planned $225 million athletic center could be scrapped.
All because the players want to negotiate about medical benefits and likeness rights. Andy Staples lays out a case that even if Northwestern's current players vote a union down, it doesn't really matter:
Also, if athletes are employees, some team at a private school somewhere will eventually vote to unionize. Not all coaches are as beloved as Fitzgerald. Not all schools treat their athletes as well as Northwestern does. Because of numbers, the chances are much greater that it will be a men's basketball team instead of a football team. On a basketball team, only seven of 13 scholarship players would have to agree to form a union. A galvanizing event such as the firing of a popular coach or the hiring of an unpopular one could easily tip the scales in favor of a union.
What matters is the NLRB's decision on appeal.
Etc.: Private Joe Paterno statue planned for downtown State College. Anyone want to see Spencer Hall vomit? AAAAAAAARGH. MLB cam is fascinating, vertigo-inducing. Talking with MAAR. How MAAR got to Michigan.
There are no more opponents to watch, and the Twitterverse is a sad, scary place these days. As such, I am a man without a column. Anyone with ideas should tell me what to write about. In the meantime, I shall snark upon whatever suits my fancy. Today, that topic is Microeconomics.
So, as you may have heard, season ticket sales are really, really not going well for the University of Michigan men’s American Football teamsquad. Now, some might see this as an opportunity for a hearty I-told-you-so. Or to remind certain people that you can shear a sheep many times, but skin him only once. Or to recite The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs in a somewhat condescending manner (I do a really good goose voice). But we try to be solution-oriented here at MGoBlog, and Aesop doesn’t know crap about marketing, so instead I’d like to offer a few suggestions for improving ticket sales:
Play Someone Interesting – This may seem counterintuitive, but some fans have suggested that the quality of the opponent bears some relationship to their willingness to pay to witness them in action. Now, I question the premise here, as those Twilight movies made a metric crap-ton of money despite that actress being the theatrical equivalent of a botox injection, but nevertheless the program might want to consider a few more intriguing foes:
- Kansas Jayhawks – Kansas is a power conference team, which makes them automatically a big name, and a chance to watch Michigan beat up on a Charlie Weis team is almost always worth the price of admission. Also, reminding people about the Trey Burke things doesn’t hurt either.
- Arizona Wildcats – A matchup against a former head coach? What is there to NOT like about this? Think of all the plotlines. The game practically markets itself.
Minnesota State Screaming Eagles – Not a traditional powerhouse, but they made a surprising national championship run a few years back. It would probably produce a win, too, as the Screaming Eagles are still in a transition phase after losing head coach Hayden Fox to the Orlando Breakers in a move that didn’t make a damn bit of sense to anyone.
But Jerry Van Dyke was still awesome.
- Harlem Globetrotters – Another tradition-heavy program, and bring the WOW Factor Michigan needs in an opponent. Again, this one should produce a win, as the Globetrotters style of play lacks discipline and they are limited by a 28-man roster, only two of whom are over 225 pounds.
- Appalachian State Mountaineers – How about a rematch that reminds people of one of the lowest moments in the history of the stadium you are trying to fill? Wait, never mind. That sounds terrible. Don’t do that. And whatever you do, don’t LEAD with that.
Move Michigan Stadium closer to the fans – Dave the Brandon recently opined that he wants to improve the “driveway to driveway” experience for fans. And I know my experience would be a lot better if my driveway was closer to the stadium.
Move the fans closer to Michigan Stadium – Related to the previous point, a fan relocation/resettlement program could get people closer to the stadium, and therefore make them more willing to buy tickets. But given real estate prices in the Ann Arbor area, moving an 87-year-old football stadium in every direction simultaneously might be the more feasible and cost-effective solution.
Everyone who attends home games should receive the following:
- App State – A hand-held memory-erasing device (a la Men In Black), or, if that technology isn’t developed in the next four months, a handful of forget-me-nows and a flask of moonshine.
Miami (Ohio) – A free iTunes download of a replay of Michigan beating someone good. Presumably those can be uploaded from 8mm tape somehow.
- Utah – A Joe Pesci bobblehead
- Minnesota – Smelling salts.
- Penn State – A copy of the award-winning documentary “27 for 27”
- Indiana – Three catches for 41 yards against the Indiana secondary
- Maryland – 38 pounds of pointy scrap iron.
Name a Starting Quarterback – Okay, this one is unrelated. It would just make us all a lot happier. It’s Gardner. We all know it’s Gardner. Just say it.
Cooler Game Monikers – "Under The Lights" was cool. So was the "Big Chill." And "Under The Lights II." And "Michigan vs. Notre Dame." No one gives a crap about Michigan vs. Miami (Ohio), but who wouldn’t want to attend the Battle of Bo? Or “App State 2: The Revengening”? Or the “Footprint Classic” against Maryland?
Hashtags – Like game monikers, everyone loves hashtags. Fortunately, Jim Delany had the foresight to bring in a couple of schools who really get this whole social media internet thing. There is much genius to be gleaned from #BlackoutSparty and #ChopMichigan.
Fan Involvement – Give season ticket holders the chance to win some cool prizes. For example, have a randomly selected student be a “Player for a Day.” They would basically be an honorary member of the team, and do everything the team does on game day. They would dress with the team, run out of the tunnel, warm up, and then play sixty snaps at left guard. Or they could bring Score-O to the football field; have a couple of adults try to throw a football through a hoop from 20 yards, and then have a young kid try from like 5 yards and then the kid plays sixty snaps at left guard. Or stage an alumni golf tournament where your handicap is 100 x how much your name is Steve Hutchinson, and the winner gets to play left guard.
|Tell me you wouldn’t pay a PSL for this.|
Better use of the Jumbotron – Michigan is overlooking a huge and largely untapped asset: the two giant-ass televisions in the stadium. At this point, between plays they are mostly wasting those screens with the occasional replay and a bunch of videos of players telling me to get up get up I can’t hear you get up. They could be showing other, probably better games. They could be showing reruns of The Big Bang Theory (surely the stadium must have TBS). They could hook them up to an old school Nintendo, and then let people play huge games of Contra; if no one uses any cheat codes, all 112,000 should be able to play a turn. The possibilities are endless.
Monkey Rodeo – Obvious.
Ticket Prices – Maybe, and only if all of the above items fail, just MAYBE the Athletic Department should look at ticket prices, and whether it is a great business idea to double or triple ticket prices over the last decade, especially when the product on the field has gone to shit and the best games are shipped off to Dallas and you allowed the Big Ten to give you alternating years without either of your rivalry games at home and people can’t even bring a goddamn bottle of water into the stadium and the band has been largely replaced by BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP and you just implemented and then rescinded a disastrous attempt at the FREEKING EASY concept that is General Admission seating and you implemented a “dynamic pricing” scheme that acts as a one-way ratchet on single game tickets and Athletic Department revenue is soaring as is the Athletic Department’s spending on the Athletic Department and you have otherwise done just about everything imaginable to milk every possible nickel out of our brand loyalty. Just a thought.
WiFi – Never mind, just get some free WiFi working in the stadium. That’ll fix it.
More fun with stats! CFBStats helpfully grabs every play off the NCAA's box scores and turns lines like "Devin Gardner pass complete to Jeremy Gallon for 14 yards" into downloadable data on receiver targeting. Here's where Gardner's passes went last year by down:
|Receiver||Target(%)||1st Dn||2nd Dn||3rd Dn|
|Total passes||395 (n/a)||142||144||105|
|Jeremy Gallon||137 (35%)||43%||28%||34%|
|Devin Funchess||92 (23%)||25%||18%||28%|
|Drew Dileo||30 (8%)||6%||5%||12%|
|Jake Butt||27 (7%)||3%||13%||4%|
|Jehu Chesson||24 (6%)||4%||8%||6%|
|Jeremy Jackson||10 (3%)||3%||3%||1%|
|Joe Reynolds||7 (2%)||2%||3%||-|
|A.J. Williams||2 (1%)||-||1%||-|
|Fitz Toussaint||20 (5%)||4%||8%||3%|
|Other backs||23 (6%)||6%||6%||6%|
There were four passes on 4th down: two that Funchess converted and two that Dileo didn't. For our purposes I'm going to count them with 3rd downs because they're functionally the same (i.e. not converting is a failure). When every preview this year says defenses will be focused on taking away Funchess, you can see why: most every other target from last year is graduated or not immediately available (Butt). The data also show whether each reception ended up in a 1st down:
|Receiver||1st/2nd Dn||Conv%||3rd/4th Dn||Conv%|
I don't know if the conversion rate for 1st and 2nd down will be that valuable except as a measure of team dink-and-dunk-iness. The numbers for conversion downs show tendency and success. Again, nothing surprising here. Gallon and Funchess remained equal targets, with Dileo the only other likely 3rd down destination.
Was it common for teams to be so focused on a few guys? Well those 3rd down targeting numbers are high. Gallon was the recipient of just over a third of Michigan's 3rd/4th down attempts; that's 7th in the nation at go-to-guyness. The rest:
|Receiver||School||Tm Att||Tgts||Conv %|
|Alex Amidon||Boston College||106||43 (41%)||42%|
|Jordan Matthews||Vanderbilt||104||39 (38%)||38%|
|Shaun Joplin||Bowling Green||114||41 (36%)||49%|
|Willie Snead||Ball State||131||47 (36%)||55%|
|Allen Robinson||Penn State||129||46 (36%)||43%|
|Ryan Grant||Tulane||133||46 (35%)||46%|
|Jeremy Gallon||Michigan||109||36 (33%)||42%|
|Ty Montgomery||Stanford||100||33 (33%)||55%|
|Titus Davis||Central Michigan||98||32 (33%)||56%|
|Quincy Enunwa||Nebraska||112||36 (32%)||33%|
Gallon was as important of a chain-mover for Michigan as A-Rob was to Penn State. What's weird is Michigan's 2nd guy was also really high on the list. Funchess (29% of 3rd/4th down targets, 39% conversion rate) also appears on the national leaderboard, at 19th, right behind Jared Abbrederis.
[After the jump: Michigan was the most obvious team in the country, finding Dileo-like objects, target types.]