this may be of some local interest
Updating projections as we go along and get material new info and changes. This will be version 3; future updates will happen on an as needed basis.
- Lorenz indicated Michigan has now signaled they have 27 spots (not 28 as we all assumed)
- 21 current commits.
- Various peeps with premium access say we will grayshirt here or there, so I made some projections with that in mind. I grayshirted 1 player. That knocked down class to 20* (*grayshirt is still part of class but doesnt count against scholarship until January).
- We will have attrition from our current recruits, so I took best guesses and knocked out 3 not named Viramontes. That knocked current class down to 17.
Changes since last update
- DT Jordan Elliott went from "projected in class" to "committment".
- ATH Victor Viramontes (sigh) went from "committment" to "projected out of class".
- CB Lavert Hill decommitted from Penn State.
- DL Keyshon Camp hates Michigan weather so went from "projected in class" to "he gone".
- Moved ATH Chris Evans from "likely decommit" back to "committment".
- Moved DL Rashad Weaver from "committment" to "likely decommit".
Section 1 deals with current commits - who is staying and who is going. And who is going to open a spot by grayshirting. I listed us with 17 immediate scholarships and 1 grayshirt - with 3 decommits. Will discuss below chart.
|Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk|
|OL||Ben Bredeson||37||Most Likely|
|QB||Brandon Peters||78||LB||David Reese||553|
|WR||Ahmir Mitchell||127||ATH||Kiante Enis||634|
|OL||Devery Hamilton||234||DT||Rashad Weaver||>1000|
|CB||Sir Patrick Scott||663|
|S / LB||Devin Gil||993|
- I took an educated guess with 3 decommits based on how many spots still seem in play.
- As for the 3 decommits, one seems clear unless UM misses on just about all other LB targets: David Reese. He wants early entry, crystal ballz have all changed for him, and we are recruiting a ton of LBs still. Hence he is "most likely".
- The other 2 decommits could come from just about any players ranked below 328, so I picked 2. I had Chris Evans as one as he visited Purdue a while back but basically he was just a guess. I've added him back this time around into the class and replaced him with Rashad Weaver who is sniffing around Temple so I assume this is the staff telling him to check out other options. I've kept Kiante Enis as a decommit solely based on Ace's story that UM was only contacting him once a month; that "feels" like what Harbaugh did to commits at Stanford as a way to push them in another direction. It's guesswork.
- Antwaine Richardon impressed coaches in a camp setting on a bum knee so I have him staying in the class; however maybe someone like he or Sir Patrick Scott could be bumped out of class if David Long, Lavert Hill and Chris Brown all want in as they all corners. But I have them both in the class at this point.
- Guessing on a grayshirt is hard to do. Half a year at UM for an out of state is still $12K or whatnot so I don't know how many kids families - esp in economically challenged spots - can afford this. Maybe they can financial aid. But a full ride elsewhere could always be the easier route. So I didn't want to put 2-3 grayshirts like some assume, so I am simply going with Josh Metellus as a guess.
Section 2 is who we will land and who we will miss on. This is based on trying to reverse engineer - obviously these things can change on a dime. I cheated here a bit by saying Quinn Nordin will be part of the class and decommit from PSU and go to UM despite having to pay out of pocket for a semester. Maybe a stretch but he is a Michigan kid and hey Harbaugh or Franklin for 4-5 years? So I have 11 commits which takes us to 29 total... 2 grayshirts.
|FUTURE YES||FUTURE NO|
|Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Projected||Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Projected|
|Most Likely||A Reasonable Shot?|
|DL||Rashan Gary||1||UM||TE||Isaac Nauta||9||GA|
|RB||Kareem Walker||34||UM||CB||David Long (Stanford)||66||Stanford|
|OL||Terrance Davis||62||UM||OL||Jean Delance||92||Texas?|
|CB||Lavert Hill||136||UM||LB||Dontavious Jackson||119||Texas?|
|WR||π Young||388||UM||ATH||Victor Viramontes||428|
|PK||Quinn Nordin* (PSU)||>1000||UM||Less Likely?|
|ATH||Mecole Hardman Jr||21||GA|
|Less Certainty||LB||Caleb Kelly||23||OK|
|LB||Devin Bush Jr||230||UM||LB||Jeffrey McCulloch||73||Texas?|
|DB||Chris Brown||710||UM||DT||Boss Tagaloa||82||UCLA|
|OPEN SPOT||WR||Dylan Crawford||94||Oregon|
|OPEN SPOT||WR||Donnie Corley||118||MSU|
|.||WR||Velus Jones (USC)||420||TN? Ore|
Comments on Projected "YES"
- 2 less sure names than in V2.0 as Camp is off the board entirely, and Elliott converted from yes to committment. So with the decommittment of Viramontes this still leaves 2 open slots in a world we get 3 more decommittments and grayshirt Metellus and Nordin. That "problem" can be easily solved by giving them both full scholarships and then that would be the class. I am hoping 1 of those "OPEN" spots gets refilled by Vicious Vic. I don't see any clear candidates from the projected "NO" column to fill into this area at this time so I've just left them as open slots.
- I've split the "YES" into 2 categories - one UM feels like a clear leader or flip candidate and then more foggy.
- Gary visits in January and this battle goes down to the wire due to SEC teams invovled but at this point he really seems like UM's to lose.
- Walker had an "excellent visit" to Auburn last weekend, per Webb which sucks but thus far no crystal ballz seemed to have flipped. But Webb seems to indicate its a bit less of a slam dunk than it was 5 days ago. If we start hearing about new offers to running backs in coming weeks, it's time to worry. Until then, keeping him firm.
- Davis comments post official to OSU were less than giddy - sounded like he did not get the attention he wanted and he seems less "all in on UM" vs what he once was. But at this point I still have him in the class. A few weeks ago Lorenz said UM would prefer a tackle (Delance) over a guard (Davis) but he changed that to either would work last week. Not sure if that means there is room for both or first come first serve. Maybe he should be in "less certainty" bucket after last visit.
- Hill decommitted from PSU since last update; he and Corley announce together on Dec 16 - most assume UM for Hill and MSU for Corley.
- Still have Young in class but wr recruiting seems very in flux. Lorenz expected him to commit during OSU weekend - main competition Bama and FSU but UM is only 1 of 3 that would accept a commitment today. Lorenz says maybe hhe wants to hear more from Miami with new coach now. UM is trying to juggle Corley, Crawford, McDoom, Jones, Young.
- Jones has had UM as a favorite seemingly as long as Davis; it appears to be down to UM vs ND and UM is putting a hard core press on him with multiple visits the past few weeks.
- I have Nordin as a grayshirt - he seems destined in the class as he has now removed PSU commit from twitter and seemingly lives in Ann Arbor on weekends.
- Bush Jr. seems 50/50 FSU v UM. Webb says UM staff feels very comfortable he is headed to Ann Arbor and he has also gotten a lot of attention by staff these past few weeks. We'll know mid December.
- Brown seems down to UM v Texas. Brown's dad seems to like UM.
[this photo has nothing to do with the piece but it needed more photos and Jessica would definitely tell me "no"]
Comments on Projected "No"
- I put the "no's" who at this time could maybe be a yes down the road at the top; then I put the rest of the masses lower. Will focus on guys at top in this section.
- To me Nauta wants to go to Georgia short of an ebola breakout hitting Athens. Every comment he makes leaves the door wide open to go to Georgia so I am quite pensive on any chance for UM here. We seem a clear second.
- UM is putting a full court press on flipping Long from Stanford; still seems 50/50.
- Delance visits this weekend, so we'll see if any crystal ballz - especially of the Wiltfong / Lorenz type budge. If not, he probably drops to not really interested category.
- Jackson seems like the LB UM likes most who has a legit chance of liking us back but seemed to be heavy with Durkin so that is not great. Also him tweeting stuff about Durkin being with him then getting egg on face a few days later may be a negative. A lot of big players are still involved here.
- Vicious Vic apparently got some snake oil sold to him as a lot of shade was thrown towards UM. Sounds like UM will try to get his mind changed so I'll put him in this category for now.
Of the rest of the "No"s
- Hardman visited, said some "generic" nice things per Brian but we seem in 3rd behind GA / TN. He loves Pruitt.
- No movement on Kelly since last update - for a high profile recruitment we supposedly have a decent chance on you don't hear much in UM's favor other than "under the table" stuff - all the ballz to OK.
- McCullouch seems more like a dream at this point.
- Crawford is really quiet so impossible to read - the longer he does not commit to Oregon which is his dream school, I suppose better for UM. UM was out to visit in past week.
- With Camp off the board due to weather, UM pressing on Daniels again but apparently he loves Oklahoma, and now says "distance matters" so seems like we are outside looking in there.
- Onwuzurike has been a mystery - starting to see some crystal ballz to Washington on him.
- Maybe Mathis is a backup plan for Nauta but his other main choice is UF which runs a very TE heavy offense too.
- McDoom seems to be getting Oregon attention as well. Webb says he likes that UM is interested but doesn't know much about the program other than its a historic program (that's what sucking for many of these kids lifetimes will do). Needs to schedule a visit to make this anything more than a distant fling.
- Jones was here for OSU game - seems to be in a category with Young.
- Hudson may be a backup plan if Bush / Jones fall through?
Periodically on this site and others like it someone will post with an update about how former Michigan players are doing in the NFL – such as the weekly feature over at Maize n Brew (LINK). For the most part, that NFL coverage has centered around the two GOAT guys from the 1990’s and a bunch of other players who are having modest seasons at this point…..plus Thomas Rawls (still shaking my head on that one).
Now that the football season is complete for our Wolverines, I wanted to take a look at the former Michigan players who are playing professional basketball instead. I’ve seen a post or two about this on MGoBlog in the past, but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to highlight not just the guys playing in the NBA, but elsewhere as well.
Below is a breakdown of all the former Michigan players (even those who transferred) that are still making their living by playing basketball. For more details, hit this LINK. Where I had something interesting to say I put a few bullet points. I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts and memories in the comments. (Stats shown for each player are PPG/RPG/APG.)
NBA – "The Beilein bunch plus one"
- Trey Burke (PG, 2011-2012) – Still playing as the backup PG for the Jazz, which seems to be a role he will continue throughout what should be a solid if unspectacular career. The predictions about his size and athleticism seem to have been accurate, which means he needs to excel in other areas. Unfortunately his outside shot wasn’t very good his first two years and that limited his effectiveness. Things are looking up this year in his bench role as he’s shooting better than ever before at 42% from downtown so far through 18 games. [10.8/2.2/2.6]
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, 2010-2012) – The trade to Atlanta did not go well for him it seems. After being a significant contributor on some bad Knicks teams he’s buried on the bench in Atlanta, playing in just a handful of games this season. [2.5/1.3/0.5]
- Nik Stauskas (SG, 2012-2013) – Has the fate of playing on a horrific Sixers team, but is showing more upside this year than his limited time with the Kings. [8.4/2.4/1.9]
- Glenn Robinson III (SF, 2012-2013) – Has made a solid living with some guaranteed contracts despite very limited minutes played thus far in his career. He is with the Pacers now and seems to be earning about ten minutes per game as a back-up, which is a huge improvement for him. [5.0/1.5/0.3]
- Mitch McGary (C, 2012-2013) – Had hoped to parlay a strong summer season into more of a role this year, but continues to struggle with injuries and is buried in a deep front court. [1.5/1.5/0.3]
- Jamal Crawford (SG, 1999) – Often forgotten due to his short stint with Michigan, but has been the most successful NBA player to wear the Maize & Blue in decades outside of the Fab Five and the ’89 Champs. As his career is winding down he is still contributing as a sixth man for the Clippers. [13.3/1.9/2.3]
NBDL – "Waiting for their chance"
- Manny Harris (SG, 2007-2009) – Manny had a brief attempt at a European career but otherwise continues to give it a shot in the D-League with hopes of getting another chance to show he can be a Jamal Crawford type of spark off the bench. He can definitely fill a stat sheet. [23.4/6.8/4.1]
Foreign Leagues – "He’s still playing??"
- Graham Brown (C, 2002-2005) – Ricky Doyle’s doppelganger continues to play a meaningful role as an undersized center overseas. He’s currently playing in France and has put together a solid career. [4.5/3.5/0.6]
- Stu Douglas (SG, 2008-2011) – He has found his way to Israel and seems to be a regular contributor. [6.9/1.0/1.2]
- Jordan Morgan (PF, 2010-2013) – Morgan had enough valuable skills that he was going to make some money playing professionally if he was willing to travel. He’s having a solid season for a team in France’s B division. [8.0/6.1/1.1]
- Brent Petway (SF, 2003-2006) – Air Georgia never really translated his raw talent into success on the floor at Michigan, but he was always exciting. He seems to have grown as a player over the last decade as he’s currently playing in the Italian A-league…..and probably winning a dunk contest somewhere. [4.6/3.8/0.7]
- Courtney Sims (C, 2003-2006) – The frustrating but talented big man has taken his talents to Asia in the last few years and played well. He’s currently in Korea’s KBL. [15.3/10.0/0.6]
- Jevohn Shepherd (SF, 2005-2008) – He is without a doubt the most unlikely former player I found to have carved out a long pro career. He barely contributed while on some bad Michigan teams and yet here he is, all this time later, still playing professionally. He’s also in the A-league for Italy. This is a guy who averaged 2.5ppg in his four year Michigan career and attempted just 16 three point shots in that time. [5.0/2.7/1.1]
- Jordan Dumars (SF, 2009-2010) – The forgotten man when it comes to Michigan’s NBA offspring outreach program. Dumars was a walk-on briefly at UM before moving on elsewhere. He’s fmade a brief appearance in one professional game in Germany so far this season. [2.0/0.0/0.0]
Transfers – "We played there too!"
- Evan Smotrycz (PF, 2010-2011) – He spent two years at Michigan before leaving for Maryland. Things went south for him when he was forced to play out of position at center due to injuries. Things never worked out despite the fact that he seemed to be an ideal fit as a stretch4 for Beilein’s offense. He has played just one game overseas so far. [10/10/2]
- Ekpe Udoh (C, 2006-2007) – He lasted just one year after Beilein was hired before transferring to Baylor. I always wondered what the team would have been like had he stayed and provided a defensive presence in the middle. His stock took off while at Baylor, resulting in a solid draft pick. After a couple years in the league, he’s now in Turkey. [10.7/3.8/1.5]
Unknown - "Missing in Action?"
- Darius Morris (2009-2010) – He has played four years in the NBA but was cut during training camp this season and has yet to land somewhere that I could find. Other than his recent Twitter incident with Byron Scott there wasn’t much out there to be found. I suspect he’s waiting for a call from an NBA team for a 10-day contract to see if he can stick as a back-up PG.
- Deshawn Sims (2006-2009) – There was no information for him in the link at the top of this page, which implied that he wasn’t currently playing professionally. According to Wikipedia, however, he’s been playing in Lebanon on various teams for the past couple of years after a brief stint in the NBDL.
Is there anyone else you think I missed in my search? Let me know in the comments. If you would like to check out these players stats from their time at Michigan, use this LINK.
Finally, I would love for someone to do this for Hockey as well. That was beyond the scope of what I wanted to tackle here.
PS - Quick aside, I believe there are currently four former Michigan players in the MLB: Rich Hill (P), Ryan LaMarre (OF), Zach Putnam (P), and Clayton Richard (P).
With Barry Odom off the board, it's a good time to look at the other somewhat similar candidate. A bit older, quite a bit more experienced, and more East coast oriented we take a look at Todd Orlando.
Won't rehash the evaluation process but here is the post; won't rehash how Mattison and Durkin compare - go check it out on the Odom post if you missed it.
Todd is a bit off the radar in that he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page yet. He was born in Pittsburgh, and went to college at Wisconsin where he played ILB. However since then he has been off to other parts of the U.S. mostly on the East Coast. He is approx 45 (gradauted college in 94) After 2 years coaching at the HS level, he coached at Penn University then was a LB coach at UConn with sir Randy Edsall. Then he jumped to DC in 2006 and has held that job since at various places.
- UConn 2006-2010
- Florida Intl 2011-2012
- Utah State 2013-2014
- Houston 2015
Interesting to note that Utah State is starting to become a "cradle of coaches" the past 7-8 years - both HCs and coordinators. His precedessor at DC at Utah State was one Dave Aranda now at Wisconsin.
Current salary is a staggering $500K which for a non P5 coordinator is amazing; I think a few MAC HC make less. Houston is really funnelling serious money into their football program with the reported $3M they want to pay Herman if he stays. To put that in perspective I believe Durkin was being paid $530K at Florida.
Chart? (channeling Brian)
Well before the chart - same caveats for Odom.
Now keep in mind you have to grade these people on a curve. The type of talent Florida and Michigan get is different from Wisconsin Minnesota Missouri which is also different then Utah State or Memphis. If you watch EPL it is like judging Manchester United vs Newcastle. If Newcastle finishes 7th its considered a near championship year since slots 1-5 in EPL are basically the same 5 teams annually. If Man U finishes 7th its a disaster. If you don't watch soccer that just made no sense but trust me, you have to grade on a curve. Also ACC and Big 10 defenses have it easier in general than the other 3 conferences due to quality of QBs and lack of spread offenses that put up big points.
Now chart. (Italics are years bracketed around his stay)
Notes - FEI didn't start until 2007, and I got tired of researching so didn't do his NCAA stats at UConn all the way back to 2006.... only went to 2009.
So what do we see above? Remember the more data you have the more bullet holes one can find. It is a lot like a backup QB - he is pretty sexy until you actually see him on the field most of the time. Likewise coordinators with 3-4 years of data have less holes than guys with 10. So keep that in mind.
For a Big East team UConn had excellent defenes in 2007-2008; his 2nd and 3rd year there. This was before the P5 conferences but the Big East was the ugly stepchild conference so it was partially a power conference and partially a basketball conference. So high rankings in advanced stats are pretty impressive considering this was the "6th best conference" and in today's terms was probably more like the AAC x 1.20. There was some pullback in 2009-2010 but still for UConn level talent this is not bad. UM had #s like this with way more talent in Mattison's 3rd year as DC. So 2 excellent years, 2 good years and his 1st year was meh.
Again, caveat it's FIU. If I see a MAC level school which is basically FIU with a defense ranked near 50 that is again like Everton finishing in the top 6 in EPL. He inherited a pretty solid defense (for that level of program)... and it remained steady at that solid level. Year after he left (2013) it turned into Indiana D.
During his two years at FIU, Orlando mentored five players who earned various all-Sun Belt Conference honors a total of seven times, including safety Jonathan Cyprien and defensive lineman Tourek Williams who both earned first-team all-league honors. Cyprien was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 33rd pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.
During his first year at Florida International in 2011, the Panthers' defense ranked 13th nationally in pass efficiency defense (111.98), 14th in scoring defense (19.46 ppg), tied for 15th in sacks (2.69 pg), 22nd in rushing defense (118.08 ypg) and 30th in total defense (344.69 ypg). In 2012, FIU ranked 36th nationally in rushing defense (140.83 ypg).
Utah State (2013-2014)
The state of Utah has some good defenses excluding BYU. Utah State had Andersen as HC in 2012 and Aranda as DC - both defensive guys and they had an elite defense for that sort of conference. Orlando came in under a new regime once Andersen left for Wisconsin and the defense remained elite in 2013. It fell a bit but within the context of Mountain West was still "quite good" in 2014. After he left (2015) Utah State remained "quite good"
Looking at 2014 Utah State the defense contained just about everyone except Boise State (50 pts) and Tennessee (38 pts). When facing peer group in MWC they generally gave up 7-14 pts with a few games of 20-21 pts.
His attacking defense was fourth nationally with 49 sacks on the year and second nationally with 114 tackles for loss as Utah State advanced to back-to-to-back bowl games during Orlando’s stay in Logan, Utah. In his two-year span with USU, Orlando’s defense ranked eighth nationally with 59 turnovers, ranking 10th nationally in 2014 with 30 turnovers including 19 interceptions, a number that ranked eighth-best nationally.
Orlando’s 2014 defense ranked 17th nationally and second in the Mountain West with a pass efficiency defense of 111.42 while its rushing defense led the league with an average of 130.7 yards per game. His total defense was second in the league with 356.1 yards per game, bolstered by a defensive group that led the conference with four First Team All-MWC selections, representing all three levels of the defense - defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.
2013 Utah State was similar in a lot of games with 14 or less given up, incl only 14 to USC. Exceptions were 30 to Utah, 31 to BYU, 34 to Boise State. Again, Utah State is not getting the talent those team do.
During his first season at Utah State, Orlando's Aggie defense ranked first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation in scoring allowing just 17.1 points per game, the second-fewest allowed by an Aggie defense since 1971. USU also ranked first in the Mountain West and eighth in the nation in rushing defense (106.7 ypg), its fewest allowed since 1968, first in the Mountain West and 12th in the nation in total defense (330.9 ypg), and first in the Mountain West and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (113.2).
Utah State's 2013 defense also ranked sixth in the nation in the red zone, allowing opponents to score just 68.9 percent of the time, including just 19 touchdowns, to rank second nationally. Furthermore, USU's defense ranked seventh in the nation in forcing three-and-outs with 5.6 per game, while its 7.6 tackles per loss per game ranked 10th nationally.
USU's defense also ranked 11th nationally in third-down conversions at 32.6 percent.Utah State was also the only team in the nation not to allow a touchdown run of 10 or more yards in 2013, and allowed just two 100-yard rushers, while limiting its opponents to just 13 points following 16 turnovers.
Utah State is actually a pretty good MWC program at this point.
The 1 year at Houston shows very wonky data. The FEI data showed a huge improvement; I tend to lean to FEI myself. (Michigan 2015 was #19 in FEI). The S&P+ data showed no improvement (Michigan 2015 was #2 in S&P+). The NCAA data which is nothing more than yards given up per game showed a regression. Now that could be due to the Houston offense scoring so much vs 2014 and the defense being on the field much more and thus giving up more drives, and more yards. I havent' done the homework of Houston 2014 O vs Houston 2015 O but let's just say the Houston 2014 coach (Levine) was fired and the 2015 coach was Herman. A quick look shows Houston scored 35+ in 11 of its 12 games. So it's a safe assumption the offense was much better and the D was on the field more. So only looking at advanced stats it was either a great improvement (FEI) or flattish (S&P+).
In terms of P5 opponents Houston won 34-31 vs a meh Louisville, and won 34-0 vs a bad offensive team in Vandy. In terms of solid teams they beat Memphis 35-34 and Navy 52-31. So they gave up points but again, it's Houston.
So what are you telling me?
He doesn't have a wikipedia page yet, someone really should start that up for him.
Yes besides that though.
Good question. His #s are generally good - honestly it's hard to go into a situation in 1 year and turn it around, especially if you are not sitting around on a pile of under coached 4* talent like Mattison walked into.
We were a bit giddy about Odom but Odom's 1st year at Memphis was very meh - worse than any year Orlando had in 10 years. But he was taking over a crap defense at Memphis. Odon's 2nd year at Memphis showed improvement was about equal with some of Orlando's lower end years. His 3rd year was similar to a lot of Orlando's good year. So what I am saying is Orlando has had a lot of years better than Odom.
Why am I comparing the 2? Because Odom had a small sample size and again it's easy to look at just the 2 good years of Odom, 1 at a P5 with an established NFL pipeline of defensive players @ Missouri. Orlando has never had such a luxury. The closest thing he had was UConn (!) where excluding year 1 (again this was 10 years ago and he knows a lot more now than he did then) he had 2 excellent years and 2 good years. At Utah State he continued the fine tradition of Aranda. (and don't discount that - sometimes a new coach comes in and torpedos a hell of a good situation) So he "feels" like he could give you a very good Aranda type progression at a P5 blueblood.
And Tom Herman likes him.
Stick around factor?
He is likely to stick around a while. By a while I mean more than 2 years. But without a lot of info out on him, difficult to tell his eventual aspirations. I imagine if he is not plucked up by a P5 team soon he would just follow Herman around for a while as Herman progresses up the food chain into a P5 conference.
Knows the midwest as a kid and as a young adult; knows the Big 10 as a player. Doesn't have that knowledge as a coach (HS coach relations) - he would be mostly an East coast guy who could help in that New Jersey area and maybe help you get a Polynesian or two out of Utah.
Various reference articles and snippets (not many on this guy):
With Oregon apparently hiring from within, Cal seems to have the inside track to hiring the best available defensive coordinator candidate out here. One of the potential candidates that's been floated out there is Utah State defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, who is attracting a bit of attention after an impressive season.
You can see pretty consistent production in all facets for Orlando's units. They were strong against either the run or the pass and sometimes both. They were solid in pushing offenses behind the line of scrimmage, which is particularly impressive in the MWC. What's most impressive is how Orlando kept opposing offenses out of the end zone--almost every year he would produce a top 50 scoring defense.
For those not happy about the 4-3, Orlando generally manages to find success with his own 4-3.
Orlando stepped into a pretty ideal situation in Utah State. Dave Aranda left for Wisconsin along with Gary Andersen, but left Orlando with a lot of impressive talent, particularly four of the team's five leading tacklers and three top linebackers (who were the top three tacklers this season). Seven of Utah State's eleven top tacklers were seniors.
The anomalous data point is his final year at Florida International in 2012, where Orlando returned most of his defense but saw the team regress defensively, costing the Panthers several chances at victories and another return bowl berth. It's a bit concerning, but then you realize it's Florida International and winning seasons don't come around all that often (two in 12 years).
What's most concerning is the level of competition. Mid-decade Big East wasn't exactly a cauldron of college football seismic activity. His record against the best teams wasn't exactly sterling.
The nice news is that Utah State did provide Orlando with a set of decent to impressive offenses to work against in the Mountain West.
He sounds like a football coach.... who would "relate to the kids.
I did a piece on the main MGoBoard screening defensive performance over the last 3 years via FEI defense rank (an advanced measure I find much better than NCAA rankings). I then did a bevy of gymnastics to screen out coordinators for various reasons and it left me with 8 DC names. I am going to do an in depth look at 2 of the younger names of the list - Barry Odom and Tony Orlando as they have a good age profile and are somewhat available and Midwest / Eastish in profile.
Young Guy Pool
Kwiatkowski of Washington (Boise earlier) is the guy with the best metrics and I'd take him in a heartbeat even if his career has been in the West, but I am assuming he won't be on the radar for some reason. Aranda of Wisconsin I discussed quite a bit in last year's CC: Gary Andersen piece; he is a guy from the "West" footprint who now has 4 years in the Midwest and knows the conference. Tony Gibson is hated so won't discuss him. So those are 3 of the 6 "young guys" - of the remaining 3, Boise's Marcel Yates is interesting as he has bounced between the SEC and Boise with good results 3 of the past 4 years. (co-DC at A&M with Snyder who got fired and went to MSU)
So just for mental gymnastics let's look at the other 2 candidates. Harbaugh is going to pick his guy and I am confident he will do well - he and Meyer have a great eye for coaching talent which is an under appreciated skill; position coaching is critical to footbawl as we saw with the Hoke regime and great HCs pick great staff members (and jettison mistakes quickly).
A Frame of Reference
I am going to put Greg Mattison and DJ Durkin's data points in both these posts so people have a frame of reference. Now keep in mind you have to grade these people on a curve. The type of talent Florida and Michigan get is different from Wisconsin Minnesota Missouri which is also different then Utah State or Memphis. If you watch EPL it is like judging Manchester United vs Newcastle. If Newcastle finishes 7th its considered a near championship year since slots 1-5 in EPL are basically the same 5 teams annually. If Man U finishes 7th its a disaster. If you don't watch soccer that just made no sense but trust me, you have to grade on a curve. Also ACC and Big 10 defenses have it easier in general than the other 3 conferences due to quality of QBs and lack of spread offenses that put up big points.
I put the year before arrival in italics so you see prior regime - Greg had a very easy D to improve on as 2010 Michigan was Indiana level and just pathetic. I didn't put Greg's data for Florida because I am not doing a DCC for Greg, I just want readers to have some perspective on his performance at Michigan to give a framework. I consider Greg's Um defenses (save 2013) to be "good not great". Durkin had an elite D he was handed at Florida and also had what was considered an elite D coordinator in Muschamp as his HC so caveats apply.
I put the columns in order of what I think are the best measures: FEI, S&P+, then total defense. (all total defense is, is a NCAA measure that ranks defenses by yds given up - a measure that benefits ACC and Big 10 defenses greatly due to the general sad offenses in those conferences)
On to Barry Odom
Who is Barry Odom?
Odom is a "Missouri Man" through and through. Played there as a MLB. Was a football admin and then defensive coach there (safeties). Then he had to leave to be a defensive coordinator as Missouri had a long term one there on Pinkel's staff. Age 39.
He went to Memphis for 3 years and took an awful D and built it up year after year - by year 3 it had excellent metrics for a non P5. Again let me emphasize with these spread offenses today you can go to a non P5 and make a top 20 offense. You can do it at the bottom of the P5 too (seee Indiana or Washington State) Schemes help offense a lot more than defense. Building a top 20 defense or near it without elite athletes is damn hard as scheme can only take you so far - you need the horses. So his annual progress at Memphis and his final product in 2014 both impress. I also like that Memphis defense fell dramatically this year when he left - it shows me the defense suffered without him.
Then he took over a Missouri defense this year which had metrics similar to GMatt UM and kept is steady despite a steady outflow of NFL draft picks from the front 4 especially (and front 7 in general) in recent years. This despite coaching a 3-4 at Memphis and converting to a 4-3 at Missouri.
One other caveat this year - Missouri's offense was horrible so the defense was on the field a ton. Missouri lost to UConn 9-6. They lost to Georgia 9-6. They lost to Vanderbilt 10-3. They beat BYU 20-16 (woo hoo offensive explosion). So Odom got little help from the offense this year.
Is it moot to consider Barry Odom?
In a perfect world Pinkel would have stuck around a few more years to give the still relatively green (only 4 yrs coordinating incl only 1 in a P5) some time to grow into an eventual replacement. But with Pinkel's health issues Missouri doesn't have that option. From all accounts their AD is really hitting the pavement and meeting with many established head coaches, especially in Western regions and even Cal's coach has recently entered the mix.
Meanwhile Memphis lost Justin Fuente (who identified Odom - so if you believe Fuente is a good coach and good coaches find coaching talent, another feather in Odom's hat) so Odom was target #1. But Odom is trying to do a delicate dance - obviously the Mizzou job would be his dream job - he could be their Pat Fitzgerald. But he is not option #1 for Mizzou as he has no HC experience.... while he was for Memphis. So that whole thing has been going on while most of the rest of the world is caught up in Kirby Smart and Mark Richt.
As of yesterday it appears Memphis got tired of waiting and closed the door on Odom as he slow played them too long. But until Memphis gets a coach hired it's not "over" in my eyes. So maybe Odom will be a moot point ...or maybe not. The next few days should tell the tale with the main domino being Missouri.
I find it impossible to really judge 1 guy in isolation on 'crooting because the school matters, the head coach matters, the conference matters. You are not getting bad a$$ talent to Memphis no matter what. I did find this snippet but take it for what it's worth:
He is well-regarded as a tactician, a recruiter, and potential administrator. He was seen by some as Mizzou's best recruiter during his first Pinkel stint, and he was generally thought of as a steady, organized position coach.
Stick around factor?
No I don't see him sticking around for 4-5 years. UM fans have to get used to this, we will lose coaches often in 2-3 year snippets. I don't think any coordinator under Harbaugh under the age of 55 will be around long term as they will be in demand elsewhere. And Odom is at an age that a few years of success at UM would make him highly coveted. He is also very driven to be a HC one day. If he was hired at UM you might however get 4 years out of him if he wants the Mizzou job.... if the new Mizzou HC hire looks like he could be in trouble in year 3/4.
As mentioned above Odom ran a 3-4 at Memphis (out of necessity due to lack of DL) but shifted to a 4-3 at Missouri. Football geeks can read all about it here. If it makes your eyes roll into the back of your head skip ahead.
Steckel's (prior Missouri DC) methods included both under- and over-shifted fronts, with the over defining more of the philosophy. He had the DEs lining up as right or left no matter the strength of the offensive formation, thus changing whether Mizzou was playing a strongside or weakside technique. They'd set the better pass rusher to the right so that he could take more blindside shots at right-handed QBs.
The entire front would play aggressive, looking to get into the backfield and relying on the zone eyes of the defenders behind them to clean up anything that got through. This style made them vulnerable to giving up ground, but as long as they didn't allow big gains, the disruption could kill drives. Kuligowski did a great job finding athletes to develop, then unchaining them in aggressive schemes.
Odom's Memphis 3-4 was not the kind of two-gapping style that would make for a polar opposite to Steckel's 4-3, but there will be some degree of shift from one scheme to another. While Steckel would set his defensive ends as left or right, Odom's Memphis played only one true pass-rushing DE on the field at a time, at a weakside end/linebacker hybrid position. He lined up a true linebacker as the strongside on the opposite end.
The positions are different than the 4-3 over style that Missouri has been playing, but the difference is essentially the difference between the under and over schools of defense. Odom's players still used single-gap techniques.
Various reference articles and snippets:
We are already aware of his black and gold steeped past, but an unknown quantity still remains. Come August, Odom will be charged with keeping Mizzou’s streak of nasty defenses alive. So just how the hell is he going to do it?
To answer that question, I watched all of the game-film that I could get my hands on from Memphis’ 2014 campaign. That included the entirety of the Miami Beach Bowl, which pitted Odom’s former Tigers against the Cougars of BYU, and... nothing else. Try as I might, that was the only full game of Memphis’ that I could locate.
SPOILER: This defense is going to be fun as hell to watch.
Gone will be the Missouri staple of relying on only the defensive line to create pressure. In it’s place, a new style of havoc will emerge; one that isn’t afraid to send any and all of its players hurtling towards the opposing quarterback. Linebackers and cornerbacks alike will abandon their posts and blitz – yes, blitz – with regularity, which will be quite the departure from the blitz-starved defenses that Tiger fans became accustomed to under Steckel.
At Memphis, versatile meant lots of blitzes from lots of positions with lots of different paths for the blitzing player to take to the quarterback. Creativity was the name of the game. Taking into considering how often Odom blitzed, it had to be. Keep sending the linebacker barreling through the outermost gap and the offense is bound to see a pattern eventually.
To avoid this, Odom was constantly mixing things up. One play, a linebacker would crash the edge. The next, that same player would start outside, only to have an end cut underneath him while he stunted inside.
It's a defense that isn't afraid of risk. One that aims to smack you square in the mouth from every direction. Odom will have an incredibly active defense. He's going to blitz the hell out of teams (which I'm sure has Kentrell Brothers' mouth watering), and he's going to do so in a wide variety of ways. It's a departure from previous Missouri defenses, but one that I think fans will come to welcome. Maybe even adore.
Now that the regular season is over, let’s take a look at Mizzou’s final defensive numbers under Barry Odom.
- The Tigers are second nationally in tackles for loss at 8.83 per game.
- They are seventh in scoring defense, allowing 16.2 points per game.
- They are seventh in pass defense, allowing 169.3 yards per game.
- They are ninth in total defense, allowing 302.0 yards per game.
That’s a top-10 finish in every important statistical category except for turnovers.
By the way, Missouri finished 117th in time of possession this season. That means that only 11 defenses were on the field longer than the Tigers.
The 2015 Mizzou defense was better than the 2014 unit in just about every statistical category except for turnovers; the ’14 Tigers caused 22 and the ’15 caused 16.
What makes these improvements even more remarkable? Last season’s defense was led by Shane Ray, the SEC defensive player of the year and a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos. Markus Golden was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals. Braylon Webb, who was a three-year starter and arguably Missouri’s best safety since William Moore, was lost to graduation. And Harold Brantley, who is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the country, didn’t play this because of an offseason car accident.
I’ve mentioned this before, but when Odom took over as defensive coordinator, he also took over the linebackers. During that time, he took Kentrell Brothers from relative obscurity and turned him into arguably the best linebacker in the country.
Odom’s brand will come in the form of some wrinkles to a Missouri defense that for 15 years under coach Gary Pinkel has operated with a four-man defensive front. At Memphis, Odom inherited a roster with ample linebackers and few readymade linemen. He cooked up a 3-4 defense that improved statistically each season, peaking last year when Memphis allowed just 19.5 points a game. Odom won’t dismantle Mizzou’s 4-3 system — the Tigers have been recruiting linemen and linebackers to fit that scheme for years — but he’ll mix in some three-man looks this fall.
When spring practices begin March 10, he’ll inherit a defense that returns seven starters. Odom joked that his first tasks were finding departed defensive end Markus Golden another year of eligibility and convincing SEC defensive player of the year Shane Ray to stay for his senior season. Instead, he’ll be without both star linemen.
The first question on everyone’s mind, including someone who stopped Odom at the grocery store on Tuesday: Will the Tigers run a 4-3 defense or a 3-4? Missouri has always used a base four-man front under Pinkel. Odom ran a 3-4 base defense at Memphis (three linemen, four linebackers) the last three seasons.
Memphis’ defensive roster was thin when Odom joined Justin Fuentes’ staff for the 2012 season. The Tigers were especially short on readymade defensive linemen. “We had more linebacker body types when I started there and we didn't have many defensive linemen,” he said. “Number one, structurally that’s why we went to what we did. And then had some success my first year and said, ‘Hey, let’s really piece this together and start recruiting those body types and continue to build it that way.’”
When Missouri hired Odom on Dec. 23, it made the 38-year-old the youngest defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, beating out Kentucky’s D.J. Eliot by about three months. He’s the sixth-youngest defensive coordinator among a group of 69 at the Power 5 schools and Notre Dame, a coach only six years removed from landing his first on-field job at the collegiate level.
Memphis’ defense ranked 117th in the FBS in yards allowed per game the year before Odom arrived. He left it 28th. “I think he’s done a good job of tweaking or adjusting his scheme to fit his personnel,” Fuente said. “That’s one of the most important things you can do as a coach: try and hide guys that put you at a little bit of a disadvantage, try not to put those guys in bad situations. “I think it speaks to his versatility to switch those things up and develop a system with terminology that they could build. It’s easy to understand yet looks complicated.”
Turns out grozzy isn't the only mgoblogger trying to visualize football statistics.
After a few months of on and off effort I finally put together a website with my first visualization of the top 200 rushers. Please have a look and let me know if you have ideas for other things you would like to see in future iterations. I intend to fiddle with it and make improvements over time and maybe some time I'll make it more interactive like grozzy's MGoUFRVisualization.
I'm still exploring the data but some things I found interesting were how players like Ron Johnson and Tony Boles cranked out a ton of yards in relatively few games. I also don't see any obvious pattern of yards per game going up over a players career. The patterns look pretty random to me. What do you see?
EDIT - I wrote a long diary on Barry Odom here if interested. I will do one on Todd Orlando as well in near future.
I know you don't have time to read MGoBlog with an Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind. But maybe someone you know does. I also know you most likely will pick someone you have a connection with personally - only Zordich came to you sight unseen (I think John helped you).
I don't do much well Jim - but I do analyze sh** like no other.
I've made a list Jim. A fine list. A list of potential guys to kick the tires on. Maybe a staffer can slip this under your desk. You can call your contacts in the business and see what they think of these people. I only go by the numbers Jim. The numbers tell me these guys are worth at least asking about to see if they are worthy.
Caveats - 3 cool guys I'd like
- Terryl Austin is potential NFL HC and not coming to be a DC in the NCAA.
- Jeremy Pruitt has never been north of Mason Dixon but his agent will have the media (and Alabama AD) believe he wants to wear a winter jacket
- Bob Shoop is perfect for UM - Yale guy in his 40s who is a PA kid. But not sure we can swipe him from PSU. Maybe in 12 months.
- Not from a blue blood program i.e. too difficult to swipe / lateral move
- A defensive coordinator during past 3 years
- Top 40 defense in 2015 NCAA
- Check out his defense in 13/14 to make sure not 1 year wonder
- Must have been at same school in 2014; if not I checked how they did at 2014 at previous stop.
- Not old as dirt like NW and Utah DCs.
Here are my results - I found 6 young guys sub 50 who will probably last at UM 2 years before a P5 HC job comes calling and the board will accuse them of treachery.... and 2 old guys who can get us through a few years ..or until Shoop is available. 2 are Michigan Men.
|School||Name||15 FEI||14 FEI||13 FEI||Coach >1 yr?||Footprint||Age|
|Washington||Pete Kwiatkowski||1||6||Yes (14)||West||mid 40s|
|West Virginia||Tony Gibson (YTTG)||6||24||55||Yes (13)||East||43|
|Wisconsin||Dave Aranda||15||33||13||Yes (13)||Midwest/West||late 30s|
|Mizzou||Barry Odom||22||31*||69*||No (Memphis)||Midwest||39|
|Boise||Marcel Yates||24||20||Yes (13)||West/South||38|
|Houston||Todd Orlando||31||15*||9*||No (Utah State)||East||mid 40s|
|School||15 FEI||14 FEI||13 FEI||Coach >1 yr?||Footprint||Age|
|Temple||Phil Snow||20||18||112||Yes (13)||Mostly West +||59|
|Det Lions !|
|Marshall||Chuck Heater||26||23||73||Yes (13)||West/South||63|
* FEI defensive rank came at a school other than current one.
I'll make some quick notes about these guys below but might write a diary about a few as well and why I like 'em.
- Pete Kwiatowski of Washington has been incredible against quite a few potent P12 passing attacks the past 2 years. His footprint sucks for UM football but damn impressive considering the passing attacks and quality of QB in that conference. He was at Boise State before Washington.
- Tony Gibson (yes that Tony Gibson - I know some will mock it) has been doing good things vs scary B12 spread / Air Raid offenses. I want a guy who can defend a spread for once. He has mostly an East Coast flavor but had a quick cup of coffee at Michigan.
- Dave Aranda was a guy I was hoping Harbaugh would swipe from Wisconsin before we got Durkin. When not playing OSU in a Big 10 championship game he has a bunch of overachievers and finds jewels in the rough(Joe Schobert) without the type of talent OSU or UM get. I'd love to see with the 4* talent UM gets.
- Barry Odom just got turned down for the Memphis HC job in the past hour. Mizzou sucked this year but had a very good D. He had Memphis with a good D in 2014. Midwest footprint - very interesting.
- Marcel Yates footprint doesn't fit well as he is at Boise now and before that was at Texas A&M co-DC with Snyder. But he has had 3 very good years out of 4 (2013 A&M the 1 exception)
- Todd Orlando is very interesting. Swiping him from Herman would be cool. His Utah State defenses were bad f**** ass and in 1 season at Houston has turned around that sad sack defense #73). He was at FIU and UConn earlier in his career so I put "East" as his region but he has been around.
- Phil Snow had a rough 1st year at Temple but put together 2 excellent ones for a AAC level school (very hard to be top 20 at a non P5 in FEI). His footprint is not a great fit but he coached LBs for the Lions?!
- Michigan Man Chuck Heater might be a guy who can be here for a few years. He has Marshall humming the past 2 years and bleeds blue I am sure. He was at Colorado for a long time.