Mike Lantry, 1972
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hoke
Since it’s the offseason and there’s not much going on, I thought I’d take a look at last season’s team production, offensively and defensively. All the data is from either NCAA.org or ESPN’s drive charts, except for the Air Force and New Mexico games, where I had to extrapolate the drive data from the box score. That’s what’s known as foreshadowing. Offensive and defensive stats are broken out individually, to try to handle those phases of the game on their own.
All Spreadsheeted-up and no place to go
I started out planning to show that the offensive effectiveness remained somewhat consistent through the season, and that only the number of drives per game decreased into the meat of the Big Ten season caused the downturn in scoring. The data did not support that. The number of drives did vary between UConn’s 8 and the Illinois 19-drive trackmeet. But the numbers did not coincide with strength of opponent, final score, or much of anything. You need look no further than the Wisconsin game vs. the OSU game for proof. Against Wisconsin we scored 28 points on 10 drives, compared to 7 points on 12 drives against OSU. The chart doesn’t show any correlation between drives and points:
|Opponent||Yards||Drives||Pts.||YPD||PPD||D-Yds||D-Drvs||D-Pts||D-YPD||D-PPD||Net YPD||Net PPD|
So I need to look a little deeper, namely at typical markers of yard and points. The basic idea is straightforward: good yards per drive equals good “effectiveness” and good points per drive equals good “finishing.” First up: YPD. Offensively, YPD varies from unstoppable against weak competition (UConn, BG, and UMass) to not-very-good against MSU, the other MSU and OSU. Defense, on the other hand, was great in the rain against Purdue, better-than-average against ND and Illinois (per drive, remember), and shelled by MSU, the other MSU and Wisconsin. This should not be news.
Alright, so now we know we couldn’t stop anyone. How about scoring, PPD? Because we’re dealing with a smaller range, I think the data is clearer. Offensively, after throwing out the Bowling Green anomaly (seriously, 6 points per drive?), most of the games turned out be between 2 and 3 PPD, with OSU being a lowly 0.5. Defense tells the rest of the story. The season started out well enough, holding ND to 1.4 PPD, but the number crept up from there, 3 PPD to Indiana, up to 4 PPD to PSU and Wisconsin. Even Tressel-ball managed to score almost 3 PPD. And that chart just looks worse and worse as the season goes on. This is also the point where I get to mention 4-for-14 on field goals and lament.
So what does any of this say? I’d like to be able to adjust some of those values for strength of opponent, so that the 27 points against Iowa’s #7-ranked defense look a little more in line, but I can’t decide on a formula to adjust expected versus actual points. Someone wake up the Mathlete for me, if you don’t mind.
I think that all I can say at this point is that the defense was bad across the board last season, and performed worse against good opposition. The offense was at-best inconsistent, ranging from good to average from game-to-game. With a team consisting of mostly true sophomores at skill positions, I don't that should come as a big surprise.
Coming tomorrow: the same analysis for SDSU's season, and comparisons to what Michigan did.
More Michigan commits, and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
4-22-11 Michigan gains commitments from AJ Williams and Devin Funchess.
4-23-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from Vince Biegel. Minnesota loses commitment from Nick Rallis.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
As I said, it looks pretty incomplete. I'm considering switching all rankings to 5-star scale, instead of using the RR ratings for rivals, and the numeric ratings for ESPN (which I did last year). I also might add 24/7 Sports' rankings to the chart.
|#1 Ohio State - 5 Commits|
The greatest number of commits, and the only team with multiple 5-stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 5 Commits|
Irish had a pretty big weekend with a couple commits.
|#3 Penn State - 6 Commits|
Nittany Lions start strong after having a poor beginning to the 2011 recruiting class. Jarron Jones is listed as a soft commit.
|#4 Michigan - 6 Commits|
A pair of linemen and a pair of linebackers for Brady Hoke's first full class.
|#5 Wisconsin - 3 Commits|
Badgers have an excellent offensive lineman and a nondescript runner to start the class of 2012.
|#6 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
A couple commits for Northwestern.
|#7 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
I'll be the first to admit I may be underrating the Gophers' class to date. We'll see what happens when some of the other sites have rated their prospects.
|#8 Nebraska - 1 Commit|
Ho-hum to start the class for the Huskers.
|#9 Iowa - 1 Commit|
An offensive lineman kicks off Iowa's class.
|#9 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Unrated WR starts Illinois's class.
|#9 Purdue - 1 Commit|
In-state commit for the Boilers.
Indiana and Michigan State are tied for last with 0 commits.
[I wrote this a while back for a blog ran by some friends and myself. That blog seems to be losing some momentum, so I thought I would bring this post over here. Unfortunately, now there is even more to be said about the matter with Darius' potential looming draft entrance. Oh well, Enjoy.]
Coach Hoke and his staff have been very active on the recruiting trail this year and even though we've still got ten months until signing day our top prospects for the class are taking shape. I thought since many of us follow this pretty closely we might, as a group, be able to effectively handicap the candidates for the remaining spots.
It seems to me we have the following positions to fill:
QB - 1
RB - 1
FB - 0 to 1
WR - 1 to 2
TE - Devin Funchess, A.J. Williams, and 0 to 1 more
OL - Ben Braden, Caleb Stacey, and 2 to 4 more
DE - 2 to 3
DT - 2 to 3
LB - Kaleb Ringer, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and 0 to 2 more
CB - 1 to 2
S - 1 to 2
With this in mind, I've created a poll where the amateur recruiting experts on this board can vote for their best guesses. Maybe collectively we can identify our next class.
If you choose other in the poll, please identify your other player in the comments section.
[Ed-M: We've been waiting for you Obi-Jim. The write-up is now complete: bumped]
Evening, folks. Last night I had the honor of meeting and having a pleasant conversation with Lloyd Carr, so I thought I would share the story. Nothing too exciting but some of you may find it interesting.
One of my friends, who is a prominent athlete from Windsor (prominent to Windsor people, probably not to you guys) was up for an award at the Wespys. So i went with him without even knowing that Lloyd was the keynote speaker. When I found out, excitement ran over me. After the awards, we went to his table and he told us to sit down as he congratulated my friend for being nominated, although he didn't win. I should mention at this point that when one meets Lloyd Carr, he exudes class and sincerity even before he begins to speak. He then asked me if I was up for any awards, to which I replied that I was simply a spectator and am currently in law school. His reaction to this was to ask what I studied as an undergrad. When I mentioned philosophy, he said "Wow, that's excellent, you must be a heavy reader."
As a Michigan football fan of gargantuan proportions and a boy who became a man during the Lloyd Carr era, my first reaction upon hearing that Coach Carr would be speaking at the event was to behave like a child meeting Santa Claus and ask him a million football related questions. However, as someone who intends to become a hockey agent after law school and who knows a few athletes, I understand that these people receive the same questions ad nauseum from the general public. It is understandable, but at some point they develop pre-packaged, often repeated, and extremely generic answers to these encounters after hearing them constantly. Thus, I decided to refrain from asking any football questions at all and just enjoy his company.
The conversation was about 8-10 minutes long and we mostly discussed literature and philosophy. There was a great point in the conversation when we talked about writers who make their work inaccessible to most people by unnecessarily writing in complex schemes just for complexity's sake. I said I prefered the simple, classic, and understated genius of writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, whose complexities come from the depth of their characters. He agreed.
When it was time to go, I shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to meet him, to which he responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "You're a very charismatic young man and I'm sure you will go far." This, to say the least, made me feel like a million dollars well into today, and probably beyond.
So, I have nothing new for you guys, no inside knowledge about about his opinions on Hoke, Denard, or Rodriguez. Just a very enjoyable evening with a world-class human being and someone we should all be proud to say coached our football team. Thanks for reading.
There was recently some confusion about whether or not Illinois DB Anthony Standifer (6'1", 178 lbs) had actually received a Michigan offer or not. At first his coach had told him he did receive the offer, but it was later found that there was a miscommunication. Anthony told me that he spoke with the Michigan coaches today and they got everything cleared up. He says that the coaches have told him his offer is pending on his camp performance, and they will also be out to see him in the next two weeks.
By the sound of that it seems like he could very well have an offer soon. Here's a look at his highlight film and how he feels about Michigan.
TOM: Were you surprised to hear from Michigan this early on?
ANTHONY: Yeah I was very shocked and surpised when my coach told me. There are a lot of schools that are telling me they want to offer me once they see me in person at camp.
TOM: What other offers do you have right now?
ANTHONY: Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Akron right now. I'm also hearing from Boise State, I just got an email from Oregon, and Iowa.
TOM: You're from the midwest so I'm assuming you are familiar with Michigan?
ANTHONY: Oh yes, I'm a fan of Michigan. My favorite corner Charles Woodson went there. The atmosphere at the stadium is crazy.
TOM: WIth Michigan contacting you so soon, does that mean anything to you? Does a school have a better chance if they start recruiting you earlier?
ANTHONY: Yeah, it shows that they have a high level of interest in me which is nice. They told me that they're going to be coming out to the school in the next two weeks so they're serious about it. I'm going to go visit the campus and meet the coaching staff sometime in May, probably the first week.
TOM: I know it's all really early, but where would Michigan stand with you if you were to get that offer
ANTHONY: Very high. Michigan is the best school to me. I look at it as an honor to wear a Michigan jersey.
TOM: You've been called a sleeper prospect, and for anyone that doesn't know a lot about you what kind of corner are you?
ANTHONY: I have good size, I'm fast for my size, good at finding the ball, I have good enough hands to be a receiver if I wanted to be, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.
TOM: Do you know how your recruitment is going to play out yet?
ANTHONY: I haven't decided yet, I'm just going to take it day by day for now.