I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Now seven practices in, the kids are "learning more with each practice." They're bringing energy to practice, but need to sustain that throughout to show they can compete late in games and in the season.
The team is healthy, and there's lots of competition
Two-a-days start tomorrow. The adversity of two-a-days can "teach you about who the leaders will be on the team."
On padded practice: "guys are willing, wanting." Need to see consistency between the morning and afternoon practices. Will be in full pads for 3 days of two-a-days this week. Guys are anxious to establish themselves. Want to prove to coaches and teammates how they've progressed since spring.
On kicker Matt Wile: "Obviously he's a San Diego guy. His dad was one of our orthopaedics at San Diego State." Lance Ortega was his kicking coach, the staff knew him. Matt is a 5th generation Michigan grad.
"He's doing well. I think this is a big stage. That mental part of going out there, until you get on Main Street and have 110,000, you've gotta see where the guy's at." He can do a good job coaching himself with fundamentals, etc. Doing punting, KOs, and FGs right now. "I'd be very comfortable" having a true freshman handle those duties.
On running backs: The young guys missed some time finishing up summer school. Rawls is talented, has done a good job. Backfield is unsettled. Need to show consistency from practice to practice. "We'd like to have one guy who could tote it 25 times." Maybe a couple situational guys, 7-10 carries for a secondary back.
"Our base run play will be the power play, and that's no secret." Denard's talents, and opposing defenses wil adjust what they do. 10-15 snaps running for Denard. "The objective is to win, and we've gotta do what it takes to help Michigan and this team win." He's fitting into the offensive system. "We're fortunate enough that he has some other things that he brings to the table."
Denard is a great kid. "Leadership qualities really start to stick out more and more [for upperclassmen]. That's what I've liked that he's done in camp."
On rooming, Koger: "Seniors are rooming with freshmen. Part of that is to get to know them. Set the example, set the expectation." Koger extensively praised for his demeanor and selflessness, the sacrifice he'll give for this team. "He's a tremendous guy. I'm talking about things not on the football field."
The offense question again: "You've got a system that you wanna run, but you're not going to be putting a square peg into a round hole either." Al Borges has a coaching pedigree that proves he can adapt to different personnel. He'll get playmakers the ball. "At the end of the day, we've still gotta block up front, and knock people off the football."
On Mattison: great coach, great integrity. Builds great relationships with players. "He's coached a lot of football, coached a lot of guys. He brings so much from a knowledge standpoint."
On captains: "They won't get picked for 2 more weeks. The team will vote."
On countdown clocks: "Those are important football games. Those are big rivalries."
On the defense and standouts: "I don't think we've played to the standard that's going to be acceptable, to this point. We need to be more physical at the point of attack."
"Tom Gordon has had a good summer. Kovacs has really taken ownership." Kovacs is one of the guys who shows urgency in getting to the football. Kenny Demens also mentioned as a standout. Nathan Brink shows toughness as a DT/DE. JB Fitzgerald: "you talk about another guy who stands out as far as his leadership goes, and selflessness."
On the two-deep: They'll start penciling that in by the end of the week. "We're gonna scimmage pretty good in six days on Saturday. We'll put them in a lot of situations and see how they respond."
On Woolfolk: Troy Woolfolk has progressed well. Has taken some senior ownership of the team. Had a minor hamstring injury yesterday, there's enough competition at that position that they could afford to rest him and be cautious. JT Floyd and Courtney Avery competing at CB. "We don't have the greatest competition everywhere. I wish we did, because that makes us better."
On McColgan: a tough guy. "When you look at it, he's one of the true fullback bodies that you have." TEs will get a chance to play H-back as well.
On this still being Michigan [tremendous van river]: "I think I've made this comment before: This is Michigan. There won't be any excuses. If we don't win the Big Ten Championship, we've failed these kids, as coaches."
On the offensive line: Elliott Mealer: "He's competing." The rest of the guys: "Our left side of our line with Taylor back, and I think Ricky Barnum's done a nice job. Molk's back." Omameh at right guard. "Patrick and Elliott and Mike Schofield and Huyge - I think that's great competition."
On the backfield again: "I think there's some guys back there who can do it. All of them have shown signs of being able to run the ball like we'd like."
Another big commit for Michigan, and we're back on the front page. A couple services should be revamping their rankings in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that as well. Action since last rankings:
8-7-1 Illinois gains commitment from Taylor Barton.
8-8-11 Michigan gains commitment from Ondre Pipkins. Indiana gains commitment from Shawn Heffern. Michigan State gains commitment from Kodi Kieler.
8-9-11 Indiana gains commitment from Sebastian Smith. Ohio State gains commitment from Roger Lewis. Minnesota "gains" commitment from Nick Rallis.
8-10-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Deion Jones. Penn State gains commitments from Eugene Lewis and Tommy Schutt.
8-12-11 Penn State gains commitment from Armani Reeves. Wisconsin gains commitment from Walker Williams.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average, Darius Stroud doesn't count against Indiana's average, and Steffon Martin is excluded from Purdue's.
On to the full data, after the jump.
standard APR picture lead now with more apropos-ness
[sportswriter impression] This time, they're serious. [/sportswriter impression]
No, seriously, they appear to be serious. The NCAA announced (and then quickly approved) a massive increase in the APR's toothiness by requiring a 930 for a sport to participate in postseason play, whether it's the NCAA tournament or bowl games.
That's good for Michigan, which has only brushed up against penalties due to the unprecedented transferfest that took place upon Rodriguez's arrival. Once coaching transitions are out of the way they'll be well clear of 930 in every sport. Meanwhile, teams like Purdue, Ohio State, and Indiana have all seen their basketball programs suffer sanctions for falling beneath the 925 mark. They'll have to be more careful about one-and-dones and academic risks, i.e. recruit more like John Beilein.
As far as football goes, if you're worried about the Rodriguez anchor (an 897 2008 APR), don't be. The Bylaw Blog says the 2014-2015 APR will be the first point at which the new regulation will go into effect. At that point the anchor will have rolled off. The only yearly APR number to count then will be last year's score, an okay 946. Michigan's attrition during this coaching search has been less extensive and more likely to get waived (three medical scholarships and just the one academic implosion). This year's class has a lot of 3.8 GPAs and no immediately apparent academic risks—they'll be fine.
The Bylaw Blog also says it's critical to get rid of the one year lag in the APR. Michigan won't find out its 2010-11 number until next summer. I'd also suggest the thing has to be more transparent. Right now we just get a number; in the future they have to show how they got that number, because it's serious now. It's not going to fly with people if Kentucky basketball can boot seven guys off the team and not even have its APR flinch. Each APR report should come with
- The number of players who got through the year.
- The number of players who left the team
- The number of players who left who the school got a pass for and why
Right now trying to figure out your APR is fraught with difficulty; it needs to be more transparent, within FERPA reason.
Other retreat items
Stewart Mandel highlights these three things as areas the NCAA will look to overhaul in the near future:
Based on comments made this week, and Thursday's evidence that these things really can come to fruition, we should expect major changes in three other areas over the next six to nine months:
• An overhaul of the current enforcement process. Emmert and the presidents spoke universally of a desire to cut down on the many "nuisance rules" (free lunches, text-message limits, etc.) that take up an inordinate amount of compliance officers' time while beefing up penalties for deliberate, egregious rules violations. This will likely include expanding the classifications for infractions from the current and vague duo of "major" and "secondary."
• Allowing individual conferences, if they so choose, to implement full cost-of-attendance scholarships (as Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany first pushed for last spring) and/or multiyear scholarships. The obvious implication is that only the richest conferences could afford to do so, which in traditional NCAA parlance represents dreaded "competitive equity" issues. But the presidents seem to be lock-step with the commissioners in believing said imbalance already exists.
• Raising initial academic eligibility standards both for high school seniors and juco transfers. No specifics were offered, but they could be along the lines of SEC commissioner Mike Slive's proposal to increase incoming students' minimum core GPA from 2.0 to 2.5.
Kelvin Sampson and his quivering upper lip are listening to "Killing Me Softly" on repeat. It's time for more Selfish Homer Perspective!
- Overhaul enforcement to cut down on nuisance rules + hamsandwiching real violators: Can we retroactively de-major our stretching/GA violations? No? Bollocks. Good for Michigan and its general lack of "deliberate, egregious rules violations."
- Full cost of attendance: Not relevant in football and basketball since anyone Michigan is recruiting against will implement FCOA. I guess we won't lose QB recruits to Tulsa. Good to very good in smaller sports: some elite hockey programs are D-II and may not be able to afford a system-wide FCOA; 3-5k per year can't hurt when it comes to battling OHL teams; a lot of equivalency sports do recruit against MAC-type schools that happen to be very good in some smaller sports (Akron soccer, various baseball schools) and this is basically extra scholarships for them.
- Raising initial standards. I will believe this one when I see it but clearly good for Michigan, which is attractive to high-academic kids and never takes JUCOs.
And now the Student Welfare Gadfly perspective:
- Enforcement overhaul: Meh.
- FCOA: obviously good as it actually funnels some of the insane buckets of cash to the kids making those—and apparently all the ones spending it, but I'd rather it goes there than a coach or administrator.
- Initial standards: Tricky. Slive's proposal didn't prohibit kids who fell under the standards from attending, I believe, it just prevented them from playing. Kids in school taking up roster space having to learn is good; shuffling more of them off to dubious JUCOs is not so much.
Mandel is gobsmacked by how sensible everything sounds and how quickly they made a huge structural change with the APR stuff and it's hard to argue. The NCAA seems serious this time around. Seriously.
[Ed: this marks the debut of the Mathlete in an official capcity for the site.]
I guess when I was born and my parents named me Brett they know that I wouldn’t ever mean it if I said I was retired. An unwillingness to stay out of the game comes with the birth certificate.
When I last left we had no coach, no momentum and the school formerly known as Ohio State was coming off a big win over the SEC after avoiding serious repercussins from a minor tattoo incident. Today Hoke-a-mania rules all, a probable top 5 recruiting class is just about wrapped up and Ohio is staring into a great unknown with a new QB and head coach.
When I ran down the prospects from a host of candidates in January, Brady Hoke provided two nice charts about which I had this to say about his time at Ball State:
Better than I expected, actually. Slow steady growth taking the program from terrible to average over four years and then a big leap forward. The team obviously fell apart in two years under Parrish. The good news is that the team progressed well over a long period of time, the bad news is that during all the period at the helm, Hoke only produced one above average team.
Then at San Diego State:
San Diego St has shown nice improvement during Hoke’s time there. The Aztecs have improved by over 7 points each of the last two seasons. The big jump has been repairing a terrible defense (-11 in two preceding years) and turning them into an above average group by year 2. The offense has improved as well, but the majority of change has been driven by the defense.
So we have a track record for Coach Hoke at turning bad teams into good teams, what do the first year prospects look like for a new coach inheriting a team with a season like Michigan just put in the books.
The numbers you saw above and most you will see from me are based on my Points Above Normal (PAN) metric. It is a simple number that is exactly what the descriptor indicates; it tells you how many points above an average team a team or unit is. It adjusts for quality of opponent, excludes 1AA cupcake games and any plays where the lead is 17+ in the second half. +7 will probably get you in the top 25. +14 should put you in a BCS bowl and +21 is typically good enough for a title shot.
Last year Michigan finished +2 with a +10 on offense and a –6 on defense (the remaining gap comes from special teams). Because the offense/defense spread was the one of the ten biggest over the last 8 years, it will make more specific comparisons difficult and we’ll restrict the study to teams around +2 overall.
Since 2005, 18 BCS conference schools have undergone a coaching change after a season between +0 and +4.
|Team||Season||Conf||Change||New Coach||Old Coach|
|Arizona St||2007||PAC 10||7||7||1|
|Kansas St||2006||Big XII||0||1||1|
|S Florida||2010||Big East||0||2||2|
|Oklahoma St||2005||Big XII||-7||-3||4|
Dennis Erickson, Gene Chizik, Jimbo Fisher and Brian Kelly all pushed their new teams ahead by at least five points in their first seasons while Dan Hawkins, Turner Gill, Ed Orgeron and Mike Gundy all saw their teams take the biggest dips in year one.
On average, teams regressed by about a point per game in the first year of a new coach versus the previous year under the departed coach.
In general, a new coach coming into a BCS program coming off a season similar to Michigan’s don’t trend toward major changes in either direction, but some big swings have come under similar situations.
The Offense and the Defense
Regression to the mean will be the friend and foe of Michigan this year. The offense will be hard pressed to maintain the high levels of success and the defense will almost certainly make a step forward. The question is how much in each direction.
In my database of the last 8 years, there have been 58 BCS teams that had defenses within 2 points of Michigan’s lowly –6 from last year. Across those teams, the following year saw teams improve on the defensive side by about 4 points. 21 of the 58 teams showed improvements of a touchdown or more.
The offensive side shows similar numbers. Only 35 teams over the timeframe were within two points of Michigan’s +10 last season. Of those 35, 8 improved from there and the other 27 declined. The average change mirrored the defense at 4 points to average. The teams who were able to buck the trend were truly elite offenses. Of the four teams to go from Michigan’s range and improve by more than 2 points, two were the 2005 finalists Texas and USC, Oklahoma’s basketball on grass of 2008 and Florida in Tebow’s Heisman winning season of 2007.
Between a coaching change and where the offense and defense landed from last season, the strongest indicator that Michigan will move forward is in the success that Brady Hoke has had taking mid- and low-level programs, and consistently moving them forward. Beyond that, the optimistic scenario is ride the Hoke wave, Mattison gets a returner-heavy defense to make the leap and finding a combination of new and old on offense to hold on to all the success we can. A realistically optimistic outcome is probably a 5-point improvement generated on the back of the defense, a top 25 finish and the table set for 2012. The historical mean points to a worse offense, better defense but ultimately similar 7-8 wins.
No team in my database history has lost a coach after the kind of season (+16) that Ohio had in 2010. Five schools have been at least +10 and gone through a coaching change.
|Team||Season||Conf||Change||New Coach||Old Coach|
|W Virginia||2008||Big East||-11||1||12|
Of those five, Chip Kelly is the only one to push the team forward. Les Miles was able to keep LSU at a very high level while the successors to Brian Kelly, Rich Rodriguez and Bobby Petrino all saw significant drops in their first seasons on the job. A quick look says Ohio is most likely to fall somewhere between Miles and the Big East schools.
An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
EPIC. Thujone's latest paint opus has panels for Tate Forcier, Big Ten expansion, and Les Miles, but this is where it's at:
As always, Thujone comes with a CARTOON PENIS warning. Do not click if you are in a situation where being caught looking at a cartoon penis would be compromising.
Epic in the other direction. Chris Brown's latest at Smart Football is one of those posts that instantly illuminates a part of football that was murky before, and this one even comes with locally-relevant content. He describes the "snag" and "y-stick" plays you may have seen in your copy of NCAA 12 (or any year since '08 since they haven't changed it since). They incorporate stretches both vertical (i.e., making a cover two cornerback pick between a high guy and a low guy) and horizontal (i.e., making a flat defender pick between an outside guy and an inside guy) with routes that do well against man coverage.
Presenting that concept taking candy from a baby:
The snag is so synonymous with the triangle concept that some teams simply call it “triangle.” The basic concept involves one receiver in the deep third on a corner route (good by itself against man-to-man), one receiver in the flat, often a runningback or inside receiver (which can also be good against man from a bunch-set), and a third receiver on the “snag” route, sometimes also known as a “slant-settle” or a “mini-curl.”
As a general matter, against a Cover Two defense the quarterback will have a high/low read of the cornerback; if he sinks back he can throw it to the inside receiver in the flat; if the cornerback drops he will throw it to the corner route behind the cornerback, as shown in the clip below.
Against a Cover Three defense, the cornerback should take away the corner route by dropping into the deep third, but the snag/mini-curl and the flat should put a horizontal stretch on the flat defender and one of the two should be open.
At times like this I think to myself "boy, I hope I got that right." Drumroll…
NFW Michigan can defend this as aligned, as Rogers(-1) has a nasty choice between giving up the corner or the flat and chooses poorly by not sinking into the corner. (Cover -2, RPS -2); Gordon has no prayer of getting over in time and can only hope to tackle. Also, Avery(-1) appears to be abandoning his zone to ride the WR on a little hitch farther, which means the flat is wide open; Michigan is putting lots of guys in the same areas on their zone drops
Not bad. Michigan didn't even make that snag hard; by the time the ball is gone Mouton and Ezeh are within a yard of each other and Avery isn't much farther away. I still don't think there was any way for Michigan to defend this staple play as aligned, which points to the incoherence of the defense. Everything from last year points to the incoherence of the defense, sure.
Outdoor hockey is go. The on-again-off-again outdoor game in Cleveland is on again, this time officially. It's January 15th.
I wonder what the fan breakdown will be. This one's a bit farther than the Big House but still an easy drive and Ohio State fans don't usually turn out for hockey. They do make an exception for Michigan, though, and they'll probably make a larger one for the outdoor game PR stunt. 50-50?
Let's be friends. Dimitri Martin has a one-liner about bumper stickers: "to me, all bumper stickers say the same thing: 'let's not be friends.' This is one of two exceptions:
You know what happened in 1973, I'm sure. If not MVictors has you covered.
The other exception: once I saw a guy with a black bumper sticker that read CASH, as in Johnny.
I'm surprised it took this long. Greg Mattison has declared his team a "blitzing" team:
Very aggressive. I'll take anything more than three guys this year. Also, feel the soothing reassurance of Greg Mattison talking vis a vis Greg Robinson.
Euroleague says thanks. Someone credible enough to get retweeted by Pete Thamel says he "keeps hearing" NBA owners are pushing for an eligibility structure similar to the NFL. I.E.: you can't enter the draft until you're three years out of high school.
At that point wouldn't a lot of kids scheduled to be one-and-done GTFO? It's one thing when you've got to cool your heels for a year nailing cheerleaders and maybe taking a few classes. Three years is a totally different matter. The money will be bigger overseas since they can expect some high-level performances when the #1 pick in the NBA draft is 21.
Football can get away with their structure because there's nowhere else to play and they're almost always right: you should not be playing in the NFL less than three years after prom because you will die. The Adrian Petersons of the world are exceedingly rare. In basketball there are a dozen guys coming out of high school every year who can be all right NBA players right away.
Etc.: NCAA may or may not have sent a second "we're investigating you, buddy" letter to OSU. Wholly unreliable local radio host "The Torg" says "Ellis" from the SI story has talked to the NCAA, so take that for what it's worth.
Yesterday I posted about Brady Hoke's offensive philosophy and how his actions haven't matched up with his words. Unfortunately, a large part of that post was based on a massive misunderstanding of the data at CFBStats. I thought first downs were first down playcalling. They were how first downs were acquired, which is a totally different stat.
I called upon the Mathlete to fix this massive boner and he rose to the occasion. Brady Hoke's first down playcalling versus the national average, according to these parameters…
Only 1st and 10s
Only between the 20's
Only in competitive time/score situations
Run PCT is Run/(Run + Pass) excluding penalties
National average from 2008-2010 was 56% Run
Hoke 2008: 55%
Hoke 2010: 54%
…not significantly different from the populace at large. This obliterates my argument that Hoke passed to set up the run. He's not neolithic but neither is he Secret Mike Leach.
Of course, with Denard Robinson and 6 YPC you could run on 70% of first downs and that would be a good idea. It's all about context.