landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
CCHA Tournament Picture Pages
The Clare shorthanded goal is excluded because of the of highlights length, but it was very cool to see him deke like Gordan Bombay.
Here we start with Merrill and Clare high, Brown is having his way in front. With only 12 seconds left Merrill just throws the puck to the net.
As you can see Brown has set a perfect screen. Hammond is still up because he can't see it, but the the shot is already on the way and it's low.
He tries to go for the tip, but it doesn't matter that he missed because the shot is already in the back of the net.
After a nice stick to keep the puck in, the Wolvereines gain control along the back boards. As illustrated each Bowling Green defender has his eyes locked onto the puck, not aware of any cutting forwards.
A beautiful pass from Moffatt across the crease finds a streaking David Wohlberg.
And the Wolvereines have the second goal of the night.
Another hustle play keeps the zone, with Treais gathering along the side boards.
Even with three defenders around him and a near trip, Treais still gets to the net.
This was one of the only mistakes Hammond made all night and it was the biggest. He was challenging way too high out in the first place, but A.J. gets him to drop and he has no chance to recover.
The stomach slide keeps him from dunking it, but with three Michigan forwards crashing there isn't much of a chance for BG to save it.
Moffatt continues his great weekend with the game winner.
This was a great goal for our powerplay unit and it really stood out to me after I watched it. This is the exact same play Michigan State ran against us earlier in the year, that I wished Red would draw up for us. Here it is.
Michigan has Merrill on point, Treais handing with Moffie opposite and Moffatt low. I can't see the screener and I'm to lazy to check the box score to see who it is.
Once Treais gives to Moffatt, he and Moffie and both going to come low. It makes Western have to choose quickly who to cover and who to leave open.
They make the right choice by covering the center, Treais and challenging Moffatt. It leaves us with the difficult play of trying to find Moffie across the crease, or pulling out and resetting.
Moffat picks the difficult route and slides the puck right through the crease, the only penalty killer who can attempt to break it up is a lefty.
Moffie slaps it in with a nice one timer and brings Michigan within one goal.
Altough they did score differently here is that MSU PP goal
Saturday’s championship (and 3rd place) games caused a couple of changes to the final Pairwise rankings. Michigan had already locked up the #2 overall seed, but there were still a few spots up for grabs entering play on Saturday, and in a couple instances, teams could have ended up as high as #3 overall, and as low as #10 or #11. Here are Saturday’s results:
CCHA championship: Western Michigan beat Michigan
CCHA 3rd place: Miami beat BG
Atlantic Hockey championship: Air Force beat RIT
ECAC championship: Union beat Harvard
ECAC 3rd place: Cornell beat Colgate
Hockey East championship: BC beat Maine
WCHA championship: North Dakota beat Denver
As a result of these…er...results, here are the final Pairwise rankings:
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Ferris State
- Boston University
- Western Michigan
- Michigan State
- Air Force
The bracketing starts by placing the top four teams in the closest regional, then doing the #2, #3, and #4 seeds so that there are no intraconference matchups in the first round, and to try and have “bracket integrity,” meaning the first round has 1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc. and the second round would have 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc. The two things that can draw things away from bracket integrity are 1) host schools, which in this case means Minnesota, which must be placed in St. Paul, and 2) attendance considerations, so that a couple of 2 or 3 seeds might be switched to ensure better attendance at regionals, and to prevent things like an Eastern regional from having mostly Western teams. With that in mind, here is the bracket I have come up with:
1. Boston College
16. Air Force
9. Boston University 10. Maine
St. Paul, MN
4. North Dakota
14. Western Michigan
10. Maine 9. Boston University
Green Bay, WI
6. Ferris State
15. Michigan State
EDIT: switched BU and Maine to keep the 8-9 and 7-10 matchups in the first round.
This is pretty much the bracket I posted yesterday, but with Western and State switched as a result of Western winning the CCHA. It is also possible that Michigan (along with Cornell) could get put in St. Paul for better bracket integrity. That would basically switch the Michigan-Cornell game with the North Dakota-Western game. I really don’t think this will happen though, since you’d be giving the #2 seed a more distant regional, a more difficult than expected first round game, and a host school in the second round. That’s a trifecta of screwing that I don’t think even the NCAA selection committee is capable of. Plus, the attendance setup is probably better with Michigan in Green Bay and North Dakota in St. Paul.
The Cornell matchup is pretty much a given in the first round. I mentioned this in comments to another post this morning, but that is a pretty tough matchup. Cornell has six shutouts on the year (including their game Saturday), and simply don’t give up a lot of goals (only gave up more than three goals six times all year). They have also had 10 of their last 20 games go to overtime, so be prepared for a close, white-knuckle finish.
So there is my bracket prediction. We’ll find out how right I am tomorrow at noon on ESPNU when the brackets are announced. Go Blue!
|#3 Michigan (23-11-4) vs Bowling Green (14-23-5) at Joe Louis Arena|
|Friday, March 16 8:05pm (Fox Sports Detroit Plus)|
Another CCHA head scratcher, heres to hoping the B1G Hockey Conference can get games on TV the fans can actually watch.
As you can see this forward group is not the most dynamic unit in the league, up until the tournament they were one of the nations worst. Obviously regular season numbers meaning nothing anymore, as the Falcons have gotten hot enough offensively to take down Michigan, NMU and Ferris State.
Although Bowling Green has been winning games lately, they have been doing it in true underdog fashion. They do enough to hang around the entire game, before taking advantage of a breakdown or turnover late to win the game.
The key here is to play solid, mistake free hockey. With a team that is playing like this a conservative game may not be the best idea, look for an aggressive forecheck and pinching blueliners to try and get them down early. Hopefully they have run out of gas.
Not a good group at all, they do not do much on either side of the puck. It's never a good sign when your top defensmen is a -13.
Except for one game against NMU opposing teams have had no problem scoring on the Falcons in this strech, if our top two lines do what they usually do we should be fine.
I am a big fan of Andrew Hammond. He has respectable numbers on a really bad team, which makes you wonder what kind of stats he would put up on a good team.
When he gets hot he is the kind of goalie you can ride and BG has been doing that. The scoring chances will be there, Michigan just needs to take advantage of them.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||11-14-25||110||+23||18||21|
It would seem that our offense is starting to get even better. Wohlberg and Treais are heating up at the right time, which makes our top two lines scoring machines. The bottom two lines not so much, which has not been a problem to this point.
The scoring chances will be there, we just need to finish plays.
The defense is playing good enough to stop Bowling Green, there is no issue there. Merrill getting picked in OT is exactaly the kind of plays we need to avoid in this game to advance, the less we turn it over the better chance we win.
The numbers are starting to get legendary. Hunwick is putting up numbers similar to Ryan Miller in '02, the same year he was All-American and CCHA player of the year. For comparison here are those numbers.
*Shakes fist at CCHA
|Ryan Miller (01-02)||2412:00||71||1.71||.936||26-9-5|
I think Red will have the guys ready for tonight, somehow both NMU and Ferris fell asleep in their series this past week but Bowling Green isn't flying under the radar anymore. Depending on how much gas is left in the tank for these guys will depend on if Michigan wins a close game or a laugher, I'm not saying we are going to roll them but I like our chances to win.
Six Zero back with the latest installment of:
This monthly offseason feature highlights some of the more famous personalities
here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll
get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light
on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).
SIX QUESTIONS WITH HEIKO
Heiko Yang… the living, breathing “media availability” liason between the University
of Michigan and the online phenomenon/empire known as MGoBlog. I’ll admit, when the departures and subsequent replacements of Tim and Tom were announced, it was Heiko that cut under the radar the most. After all, he was some water polo guy, what could he offer, right? Well, we all learned quickly that Heiko took the press conference experience by storm, broadening the MGoBlog imprint in Schembechler and beyond, and ruffling some pretty big feathers in his own right.
I find it very impressive that despite all of the various outlets reporting weekly press conferences (especially Mattison’s), I always prefer to read Heiko’s first. What he injects and interpolates from the press room is one of a kind. And the fact that he makes it happen despite juggling some other imposing responsibilities makes it all
the more impressive. He somehow found the time to sit down for this
1. In your own words, explain to what it’s like to be THE MGoBlog representative among the rest of the media types during press opportunities?
My first day on the job was as frightening as: A third year medical student’s first day on surgery.
I’m just kidding. It wasn’t bad at all, especially since Tim was still there to hold my hand. Plus no one was actively trying to make me cry. Not that I know of, at least.
It was surprising to find that the presser atmosphere was much more relaxed than I imagined it to be from watching the videos. It makes sense. Many of the reporters have worked together for quite a few years and know each other well. Game faces are on when someone like Hoke is in the room, but when they’re not peppering coaches with questions, the reporters turn around and talk about everything from their romantic lives to what they had for dinner last night. You can learn some interesting things by paying attention to the small talk.
If anything, I was nervous around the coaches and players since I hadn’t introduced myself to any of them. People like Angelique Chengelis from the Detroit News and Larry Lage from the Associated Press are on a first name basis with nearly all of them, and having that kind of rapport really helps when you ask an open ended question (“What do you think about _____?”) and expect to get a good quote.
The good thing about being a diligent MGoReader, however, was that I knew most of the pertinent storylines right off the bat and had no problem interjecting questions of my own. I settled in quickly after I popped my first one (“Are you playing more at 3-tech or 5-tech?” to Ryan Van Bergen). After that it was just a matter of not stuttering.
These days my job is as frightening as: Asking Al Borges about bubble screens, which (see below) is kind of fun! I like going to the press conferences, and I always feel incredibly lucky when I’m there. To be able to interact directly with the coaches and players on a daily basis is any Michigan fan’s dream, and the nature of my job -- transcribing quotes, as opposed to coming up with angles and writing stories on deadline -- doesn’t ruin the experience for me or dampen my fandom at all.
Who in the press has impressed you, perhaps by being welcoming to the blog guy, etc? Or has anyone in the mainstream media given you something of a cold shoulder?
I already knew Chantel Jennings and the kids from the Daily because I worked with them last year. They were immensely helpful last season whenever I got confused by protocol or my tape recorder didn’t work or I just needed a ride back to lab, which was often. I’m not terribly close with anyone else in the MSM, but I did also get to know Kyle Meinke from AnnArbor.com later in the season. He reads MGoBlog. Cool guy.
2. So you get to go behind the curtains inside Fort Schembechler and sit in the press box during games. What’s the best part about those opportunities? What’s the worst?
The best part is hearing the other members of the press, particularly the ones who have been around a while, talk about their experiences. I love listening to Angelique go on about what Brian Griese was like in person or how crotchety Lloyd Carr used to get when she’d get cheeky with him -- her memories are always entertaining. It’s not just the other writers, either. The staff, when they’re not in super serious official Michigan athletic department mode, gets in on the chatter sometimes, and they’ll occasionally drop little hints or make offhand remarks about things the coaches or players would never tell you. I guarantee that I learn more about Michigan football when my tape recorder is off than when it’s on.
Gamedays at the Big House are even better, when guys like John Bacon hang out in the press box and shoot the shit with you all afternoon. You’ll be having a coffee with him during halftime and -- hey, was that Mike Hart who just walked by? Wearing green and white? That’s ironic. Oh, and there’s Gene Smith talking to Eddie George, who’s still enormous and hate-inspiring.
I feel silly admitting this but I am a kid in a candy store every week during football season. I’m sure Ace feels the same way. Two more years of this and we will develop diabetes.
The worst part … if there is even a negative aspect of the job … would have to be the cheering prohibition in the press box. I have to make an active effort not to talk during movies, so trying not to react out loud during football games is extra tough. My knuckles ended up in my teeth pretty often last season. I also sort of miss tailgating with my friends and staggering into the student section in a jersey (on time, of course), but I’m okay taking the bad with the good. They get rained on; I get free cookies.
3. Let’s talk about the coaches (Borges, obviously, more on that in a second). We all read the words, watch the interviews… but what have you learned about these men as people sitting in that room with them week after week? Your favorite, or favorites?
I probably don’t know whole lot about the coaches that astute readers wouldn’t figure out for themselves from reading the transcripts and watching the videos, but I’m guessing not everyone reads every word of the transcripts nor watches every minute of presser film. Off camera and off record they’re all lighthearted guys. Rarely does a press conference start without a joke or witty remark of some sort with the media. I used to transcribe the jokes and use them as my photo captions until I realized they weren’t funny to anyone but me.
The coach I enjoy listening to most is Greg Mattison. You can tell there’s no bullshit when he says that his number one passion is for coaching his players and developing them into “Michigan Men.” He’s so eloquent when expressing his pride in his players that I regularly got chills last season just hearing him talk about it. Here’s another penny for the broken record bank: it’s easy to see how he is a fantastic recruiter. He could probably convince me to drop out of school and transcribe Michigan football pressers forever if he wanted to. Please don’t, though.
Mattison’s personality is reflected in how he coaches his defense to play. He’s not the complicated, scheming type, and it rarely seems like he’s trying to hide anything. He knows who he is, nothing tricky about it, and he doesn’t care if you know who he is. He earns his salary and his defense wins games the same way: through maximum effort and attention to detail.
If Mattison could be considered a dog person, Al Borges would be a cat person. Borges strikes me as a lot more cerebral and calculating, which are probably good traits to have if you’re an offensive coordinator, and more on guard.
The last bit might be a product of his environment. Compared with fans’ expectations for Mattison where anything he did would have been an improvement over the last few years, the expectations for Borges really put him in a hard spot. Where are you going to go but down when you inherit a NCAA-record setting 2500-yard passer/1500-yard rusher who played in a system you don’t believe in? Early in the season it seemed as if he was more sensitive to the pressure to use the spread and run Denard or not run Denard. He was defensive about his decisions and often said things like “everyone wants to kill the offensive coordinator when a play doesn’t work.” He eventually opened up once he got comfortable with the personnel. As with most things in sports, a successful record was instrumental to the survival of the Al Borges-Denard Robinson fusion cuisine.
Personally, I like Borges a lot (I know, I know, death stare, bubble screens, etc.). Whereas with Mattison I could sit in a seminar room and listen to him all day, with Borges I can totally imagine myself hanging out with him at a bar and having a couple beers and talk about, idunno, women or something. Speaking of women, his young daughter made occasional appearances at the pressers last season. I suspect baselessly that it was a ploy to lessen the wrath of the media after the Iowa game.
I have the least to say about Brady Hoke because to me, Brady Hoke is an enigma. The man is so much smarter than he lets on. He’s so adept at playing the media and parrying loaded questions with mollifying non-answers, and he’s so impressively diplomatic in the “foreign affairs” aspect of being a head football coach.
Ten bucks says that he makes up words on purpose.
Let’s get back to Borges and the bubble screen. Or Coach Hoke and the spread punt. Your ability to provoke tete a tete showdowns with the staff has quickly become the stuff of legend and a bona fide MGoMeme. How does this happen? Are you simply carrying out the orders of Brian, or are you pushing for something printworthy? Tell us about the experience of ruffling their feathers.
Man, you make it sound like I go to these things in a helmet and pads. Actually, you know what, I kind of like that image. Let’s go with it.
Before I head out to the press conferences I usually get online and check with Brian to see if there’s anything he wants me to ask. Brian’s questions are often about schematic nuances or game decisions, things that he notices while watching the game or doing the UFR that he can’t explain, e.g. assignments when defending the veer option, why Craig Roh crashed down inside the tight end instead of keeping contain outside, and what’s the point of sending Koger as a U-back across the formation when linebackers end up in Denard’s face anyway.
I started adding the “MGoQuestion” tag to these questions halfway through the season upon request but felt silly doing so because Brian’s questions are so obviously different from ones like “How did you feel about such and such position group last game?” Especially when juxtaposed with my own questions, which I come up with occasionally when Brian has nothing for me and I just want to satisfy my own curiosity. You can tell which MGoQuestions are mine by whether you can imagine an excitable dude wearing a No. 16 jersey shouting them from halfway up section 28.
Anyway, the spread punt question to Hoke falls into the Brian category, although if I remember correctly it may have been prompted by a reader email. On that note, if you have questions about Michigan football, ask Brian, and he’ll ask me to ask a coach, and the coach will likely stare at me impassively before giving me an answer from Monosyllabia. Yeah, I probably could have done better. Instead of asking “Have you considered using the spread punt?” I should have asked, “What do you feel is the advantage of using the traditional punt formation as opposed to the spread punt?” They teach us how to frame our questions strategically in medical school in a unit called “The Difficult Patient Interview.” Lesson learned: Brady Hoke is a difficult patient.
The bubble screen question to Borges was completely my own (un)doing. During the season I keep up with a bunch of other Michigan-related blogs. The day of the bubble screen question, I had just read BWS and what must have been his second or third rant on “Why no bubble screen?” when I decided, you know what, maybe I’ll just straight up ask Borges and see what he has to say about it.
It was actually a lot funnier than a lot of readers made it out to be. Because of that incident and that I’ve been bugging him about it off camera ever since, Borges now knows my name. At least, I think he does. He recognized me at the NSD presser and asked me my name.
Over the course of last season, I’ve definitely asked my share of annoying questions, but I don’t think the coaches really care. They understand that the media are there to increase exposure to the program, which is usually a good thing. They’re just not thrilled when their methods are questioned by people who have never played or coached a single down at this level. I have to give them a lot of credit for their patience and humility -- especially Mattison and Borges, who are willing to explain their thoughts with such honesty and such detail that no MSM reporter would ever be able to use the quote in a 500-word story. To us, however, and to the readers, those quotes are gold because they truly enhance how we watch and appreciate Michigan football.
4. On top of all of this, you’re pursuing an MD/PhD?? First of all, how do you make all that happen? What sort of unique perspectives does your medical pursuits give you with regards to following Michigan sports? And finally, where would you like this unique skill set take you in the future?
It sounds impressive, but the secret is that the MD and the PhD don’t happen at the same time. It’s two years of med school, four years of thesis work, and then two more years of med school. It’s an eight year slog, and right now I’m somewhere between year four and five overall. For all you math majors that have been keeping track, it means I’ve been working in a lab for two years now.
Being in the PhD phase of my training is what makes all of this possible. My project is independent and my hours are fairly flexible, so I can duck out of lab for an hour or two a few times a week during football season to hang out in Schembechler Hall. They feed us on Mondays, which is nice.
I’m not sure whether my medical/science background offers anything unique per se regarding Michigan athletics. I recognized Denard’s staph infection the minute I saw it on his hand and made the connection to the abscess on his elbow when that news broke, but that’s about it. I certainly don’t know enough to even begin to discuss sports injuries (except for concussions, but only because I had one recently). That kind of stuff isn’t cool to talk about without actual expertise, nor is it cool to talk about until they officially release it anyway because private health issues are supposed to be private.
This is where I’m going to sound like a job application essay or a self-help book: While there aren’t many obvious parallels between science, medicine, and sportswriting, an important connection that I’ve drawn is that the people who are most successful in any of these fields all possess the ability to ask the right questions. Of course, a lot of effort goes into finding out what the right questions are -- that’s why it takes so long to train doctors, why the best scientists often spend more time reading papers than doing experiments, and why Brian has his own UFR -- but it seems to be a winning formula. (/end PSA)
I’m not sure what specialty I want to go into yet, so I can predict even less how the sports aspect will fit in with my future. Check back with me in four years. I’m keeping an open mind as to how everything plays out, but I’m perfectly okay if this ends up just being “That sweet hobby I had for a few years through which I got to meet Denard Robinson.”
Crazy. I’m sure you are no stranger to hard work.
So what do you like to do for fun?
I play a bunch of intramural sports with other med students, and I play music. In fact the reason I’ve been AWOL the last month was because I was spending all my waking hours in the pit band for the annual musical that the med school puts on at the Mendelssohn Theater.
On that note, recently I acquired a didgeridoo. Does anyone know how to play a didgeridoo? I’m having trouble learning how to breathe circularly.
5. Well... I know there are rules against cowbells and airhorns in the stadium, but to my knowledge there are no such restrictions in place concerning the preeminent Aboriginal instrument of Australia. Why are you a Michigan fan?
I went to high school in Ohio but was oblivious to the rivalry until one day I showed up to class wearing a Michigan shirt. It was pretty easy to pick sides after that. And now I go here, so I mean, duh.
6. And finally, who is your all-time favorite Wolverine?
It would be difficult not to say Denard, but there is a special place in my heart reserved for former Michigan volleyball player Lexi Zimmerman. Anyone who has ever written for Daily Sports knows that you will never forget the first time you deploy the Massive Profile Machine. For me it was Lexi.
Imagine yourself, ten or fifteen years from now, having to visit the doctor.
Perhaps you need your cholesterol checked, or maybe it’s even the dreaded prostate examination that becomes more and more terrifying as I get older. But either way, you’re led into the doc’s office and find yourself looking back at a small shrine of Michigan lore. Pics of your doctor shaking hands with Denard, or being held in a headlock by the offensive coordinator. You see all those framed diplomas, adorned with that famous golden seal with the magic lamp. And, as he walks into the room, either in block M-bedecked scrubs or sporting a striped maize and blue tie under his crisp lab coat, you hear the song in your head. By the time you get to the part
that says, “Leaders and Best,” it all fits perfectly.
You spend a little time interacting with Heiko and one thing immediately makes
itself clear: this dude is going places. Ambitious, well-written, yet without any presumptions about how people should treat him. He’s a fan, and he’s one of us—but at the same time you can’t help but feel that’s not all he is, or is capable of or will become. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll be Al Borges telling stories of the time
he was interviewed by Dr. Yang.
Believe it or not, Michigan lacrosse is halfway through Season One. Seven games in the books, seven games in front. That makes it a good time to do math-things with the sport.
I've developed - well, developed is a strong word as it's not totally finished - I'm developing a KenPomish O-rating system for lacrosse. It's not totally finished because it doesn't yet account for strength of opponent, but I'm working on that. If you want a full rundown of how it works, you can click here. [/semi-shameless hit whoring]
The basic gist is that the eventual O-rating number represents a team's scoring in a 100-possession game of lacrosse, and that the D-rating is the defensive mirror image. It's based on three efficiency stats:
-- faceoff win percentage
-- clearing percentage (how good you are at getting the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end)
-- scoring efficiency (how good you are at converting offensive possessions into goals)
Michigan's offensive efficiency numbers so far this season, and the D-I averages, are as follows:
And the same for the defense:
|Opp. Faceoff %||56.4%||50%|
|Opp. clearing %||74.6%||82.9%|
|Opp. conversion %||39.2%||32.2%|
There are 61 D-I teams; Michigan is 52nd on offense and 53rd on defense. They're roughly a standard deviation below average on offense and slightly more than one below (above?) average on defense.
None of this comes as much surprise. The bright spot? Michigan's ride. They're allowing opponents to successfully clear the ball less than three-quarters of the the time. The ride is ranked 4th in the country, behind only Hopkins, Denver, and Army.
The worst two stats I see: probably clearing, and defensive conversion rate. The latter has slightly improved of late, I would say partly due to a change in net from Westerhold to Emil Weiss, and partly due to the competition (Mercer.) Clearing remains a big problem. Michigan simply has trouble with this. Only Mount St. Mary's and Wagner are worse. This is an issue regardless of opponent; Michigan only cleared 2/3 of chances against Mercer. It's likely the most obvious manifestation of club athletes vs. D-I athletes, since clearing is lacrosse's "open-field" game.
For reference and posterity, here are the O and D ratings of the teams on Michigan's schedule. I've bolded those numbers which are above (or below, on D) the D-I average of 14.48.
|Mount St. Mary's||14.93||15.12|
Keep in mind that since these numbers are unadjusted for strength of schedule, they're not 100% reliable as to who's actually the toughest opponent. But they do reflect reality regarding who's played the best.
The most beatable remaining opponent? Rutgers. They have a similar profile to Jacksonville - slightly worse, in fact - and the Dolphins were thisclose to being Michigan's first victim this season. Mount St. Mary's is also a possibility, and then - surprisingly - Ohio, who's been disappointing this year. A loss to Robert Morris is the Buckeyes' low point so far. They knocked off Denver, but have been in a major offensive slump since. Still, it's unlikely (as we knew) that we'll end up with more than two wins.
I'll update this as the season goes on, and I expect by the end of the year I'll have figured out a decent way to adjust this for strength of schedule. Also on the project list: finding the best exponent for a Pythagorean calculation.
Evaluating coaches is a tricky thing. Ultimately it comes down to wins and losses but even comparing one situation to another in the unbalanced world of college football is a tricky proposition. Mike Shula has a higher career winning percentage as a head coach than Brady Hoke. However Hoke has spent all but the last year at non-BCS schools where Shula was at Alabama. School prestige, resources and recruiting all play major roles in team success along with coaching. Many of them often go hand in hand but I think I am finding some ways to parse out different pieces of the puzzle independently. This is my first of hopefully many off-season looks at coaches, and who at excels at what parts of coaching.
To evaluate how coaches develop and evaluate talent I needed a way to separate out better inputs (recruits) from the output (team success and draft placement). Team success is a viable way to look at it and at some point I would like to circle back to compare PAN and recruiting for a comparison, but for today’s exercise I am going to look at recruiting ranking to draft position.
The main challenge with this method is that draft placement is such a lagging indicator from recruiting. Since only some of the 2007 recruits and most from 2008 on have yet to be drafted, I am only looking at recruiting classes from 2002-2006.
I have now been able to add all four recruiting services to my database. Since we are only looking at classes up until 2006, that means just Scout and Rivals for all years except 2006 when ESPN came on board, as well. Recruits are given a number value based on national rank, position rank and stars. Each year has 25,000 points assigned across all players so the early years with fewer players have their individual ceilings a bit higher. Consensus 5 star players are typically 50-60 pts. Generic three stars are in the low teens and below. Anyone without a position rank or less than 3 stars is zero points.
Here is Michigan’s 2012 class for reference.
Evaluating Draft Picks
Because of the much higher value to higher draft picks, the draft pick evaluations are fitted using an exponential formula.
This works out to about 500 for the first pick and then each round is half of the same pick in the previous round (1st pick in second round about 250, 1st pick in the third about 125, etc.). This puts the total points for a 255 player draft at 24,600, almost identical to the total for a year’s worth of recruits.
Players are counted towards the coach that recruited them. This will only be somewhat an evaluation of player development since the coach gets “credit” for the player they recruited even if they leave the next year. I have also restricted the search to coaches with at least 1,000 total recruiting points over the five year period. This is about equal to two top 15 classes or five top 50 classes. This gives us 43 qualifying coaches to review.
First thing I did was look at each coach and how many recruiting points they accumulated versus how many draft points they had.
|Rank||Coach||Recruit Pts||Draft Pts||Ratio|
|41||John L Smith||1,187||273||0.23|
The first thing that jumped out at me was that there seemed to be a strong correlation between total recruit points and total draft points. This is going to be true to some extent, but it seemed that ability for the top schools to load up wasn’t properly accounted for. So I plotted the two versus each other and found a very strong correlation was present.
Since we are looking for more on talent evaluators and developers than MOAR 5 stars, I used the correlation between the two to adjust recruiting points to give a more fair comparison between the lower end and the top end. This allows for a more common evaluation tool between elite programs/recruiters and the rest.
|Rank||Coach||Adj Recruit Pts||Draft Pts||Adj Multiplier|
|35||John L Smith||474||273||0.57|
Now we have something to talk about.
One thing that jumped out at me was that NFL guys did seem to have a bit more success. Maybe their buddies were just doing them favors, but there are a lot more guys with NFL experience at the top than the bottom. Oh, except for the big guy coming in last at #43. Weis’s monster class of 2006 (934 team points, my #7 class of the last 11 years) yielded two 6th round draft picks. His first class which was much less regarded still only yielded a single fourth round draft pick. In the words of our fearless leader, #MissYouBigGuyXOXO.
Lloyd Carr comes in just below average on the adjusted scale. Barry Alvarez checks in at #1 among Big Ten coaches and #2 overall. Wisconsin’s lineman machine is real. The evil genius Nick Saban is #3 based on his last three classes at LSU. Ohio coaches new and old round out the top ten.
Of the nine elite recruiters (3,000 or more adjusted recruiting points) Pete Carroll and Jim Tressell come out on top, with Phillip Fulmer close behind. The bottom three are all southern coaches: Bobby Bowden, Larry Coker and Mark Richt. Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Lloyd Carr make up the middle third.
Ted Roof takes home the prize for most recruiting prize without a single draft pick with 515 points and nothing to show for it. Top performers who missed the cutoff included Dan Hawkins, Bret Beliema’s first class, Ed Orgeron, Mike Stoops and Greg Schiano.
Many thanks to all who have helped populate the recruit database. We are 25% of the way done.
Still have lots of ideas for future posts including the final post on how to use game theory to maximize success based on the overvalued running back and success rates. If there is interest, I would like to do a retrospective on previous seasons through the eyes of advanced analytics and throw up some of the best WPA graphs of the season. Hopefully I can start with 2003 in the next month. I am open to any ideas you have out there, as well.
If you are on the twitters follow me at @the_mathlete. I am trying to post little snippets that aren’t quite column worthy there. Recently I have tweets about which state’s recruits stay in-state the most (Utah and Arkansas) and least (NY/NJ and Hawaii) and used my recruiting points ranking to list the top 4 Michigan high schools in producing 3* or better talent (Cass Tech, OLSM, Detroit Renaissance & FHH), correctly guessed by @Joshua_Block.