TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
"AD" for After Dave. Once the head coach has been hired, an athletic director, being so far removed from the day-to-day workings of a football team, should not be able to impact the success - or lack thereof - of the football team. A quick check of the boxscore does not show the athletic director's name (though this season I have hinted at it showing his finger prints.*) In fact, it does not even show the coaches' names, which makes this a less than perfect archive since I believe that the coaches do matter. (It does, however, list the officials.) So the boxscore is populated by people who set foot on the field and determine the outcome of the game. Did the resignation of Michigan's athletic director release a dam of pent-up frustration, stress, and ill-will that allowed the football team to perform to their highest potential, or is Indiana just really bad? I'm going to take this opportunity to focus on the positive and leave the rest of the nonsense for later in the season. For now, there's still a chance the team can become bowl eligible, earn another chance to put on the winged helmet and play for Michigan.
*I've referenced the advertisement placement that blocks some of the stats.
Boxscore Link: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/110114aaa.html
Burst of Impetus
* Michigan stopped Indiana on their first possession and responded with a decent drive that ended in a field goal. Michigan's drive was highlighted by a 34 yard Gardner to Darboh completion. On Indiana's next drive, Jake Ryan forced Tevin Coleman to fumble the ball and Bryan Mone was there to recover the ball. Given a short field, Michigan's offense responded, going 27 yards in 6 plays for a touchdown. Down 10-0, Indiana's coach benched his one great player for fumbling, allowing Michigan to extend our lead to 17-0. With Indiana sorely missing their QB, there was little to fear the rest of the way.
Love the Drake
* I thought the story of the running game this year was going to be the battle between Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith. With Green out for the year, and Smith dinged up in the first half, Michigan turned to Drake Johnson. Johnson carried 16 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Even subtracting his long run of 32 yards leaves him with 90 yards on 15 carries for an even 6.0 yards per carry. That was a solid performance.
* Smith and Hayes combined for 42 yards on 13 carries against the same Indiana defense, so I'm inclined to be optimistic that we may have stumbled on something positive in the running game. Time will tell.
I'm Having a Hard Time Coming up with Positive Section Headings. It's Been That Kind of Year.
* Devin Gardner completed 22 passes for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns.
* Even though he mostly targeted Darboh and Funchess, eight Michigan players caught passes, including Bo Dever, Joe Kerridge and A.J. Williams.
* Darboh had a career game with 9 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.
* Jake Ryan led the defense with 11 tackles, 2.5 TFLs and 2 forced fumbles.
* Michigan recorded 12 TFLs and had two sacks.
* The top four tacklers were all front-seven guys. Wilson and Hill each had 3 tackles. The starting CBs, Taylor and Lewis combined for one tackle.
The Glass is Half Full?
* Indiana did not earn a passing first down. I wonder when the last time was that happened. For the game, Michigan doubled Indiana's first down production, 20 to 10.
* Michigan ran 64 plays, of which, 61 ended in non-negative yards.
* In a near reversal of last week, Michigan more than doubled Indiana in total yardage, 404 to 191.
* Michigan won the time of possession, 33:35 to 26:25. Hey, it matters to Brady, so we'll record it as a positive for this week.
* We had twice as many third down conversions as Indiana, 6 to 3.
* Michigan was perfect in the red zone, going 6 for 6 with four touchdowns, and unlike previous weeks, we actually got there quite often this week.
* For the second week in a row, Michigan scored more points off turnovers than their opponents. This week it was 14-0.
Wow, I'm sorry guys. I'll admit this was far from my finest effort. It's going to take more than a new AD to rescue this program. I tried to put lipstick on this pig, but it's still a pig. On to the next one...
[ED: Normally, the judgement on diaries is left to others, but I think this might merit that status for length / presentation reasons if nothing else - LSA]
So I work in Columbus in the O.R. and unsurprisingly, most of the people here went to OSU. This week I was in an OR with the guy who is the blue jackets team doc and played college ball (not sure where, not exactly sure whether it was BB or FB, could have been either). I was asked what the shelf life of the football coach was and my response was that the AD was going to be fired and replaced before the FBHC was fired and replaced. The overwhelming response was that if the football team was winning, the AD wouldn't have been a problem,
My response was that there's a distinct difference between the health of the department, the program and the current team which it seemed people were unwilling to differentiate and I think the former players and some members here are already losing the distinction as well.
The Athletic Director was fired, in part, for being an ASS. He was terrible at crisis management and damage control. He was instrumental in "Concussiongate" and was unable to recognize the issue with "Cokegate." Add into these the additional issues of "Emailgate" as well as the rumors of "Interfering with the coaching-gate" and "Watching film with the coordinators-gate." And we begin to see the issues which sealed the fate of the AD. The fact that the football team is a disaster is not as much a reflection of the AD as it is of the coaching staff. The Athletic Department as a whole was being viewed in a very negative light and it was due to the inability of the AD to manage the issues which occurred.
This brings me to the program. This is the other half of why the AD needed to go. Since Brandon took over, revenue has increased, but not significantly more than other top programs' per http://mgoblog.com/content/mailbag-qb-not-major-problem-revenue-increases-oregons-thing. However, student participation at the football games has plummeted and the wait list for season tickets has disappeared. It was anticipated that the game this past weekend, even though it was a homecoming, would be the first game in decades which did not have 100k+ in attendance. These are not the causes of the deteriorating health of the program, but the symptoms of the health of the program, which is a responsibility of the AD, not the coach, per se.
Finally we get to the health of the team. This is not something that should be specifically related to the atletic director unless there is some documented issue with dysfunction withing the football team itself or the coaching staff. We don't get to hear enough about the inner workings of the team and staff to know if these are going on, but we do get to see the results of the team management on the fielf. And its performance speaks for itself. It's a mess. The coach is obviously failing. He's had nothing but a significant rise in the amount of talent on the team, except for the possiblity of OL due to questions about OL youth and the slow development of OL in particular, yet basically all position groups continue to underperform related to their recruiting rankings. Yes, caveat re:STARZZ, but it has also been shown that high recruiting rankings and offer sheets from top tier programs correlate the best with success. Hoke has gotten many highly recruited players which have had offers from many other programs, but the results are not evident based on the results from the field. This should be criteria solely for judging the coach and the performance the past 3 years are what should be the nail in the coffin for Hoke.
The only thing that there is a crossover between the AD and the state of the football team is that there has been much chatter that non of the highly attractive coaches would come and coach at Michigan if Dave Brandon had still been the AD. His inability to hire the best coach for the job because none of them would accept the job from him is the only thing that should have tied his tenure to the production by the football team,
In short, the AD got canned for being an ass who is hated by many, the coach is going to be fired because he's obviously made some bad decisions. I'm not going to say Hoke couldn't fix the team, but he doesn't deserve a chance to do so. If he's hamstrung the team though retaining friends who could not handle the job in the first place, he is culpable and does not deserve the chance to put it right as he's already used 4 years to make this team unable to compete.
Well I tried to make this short enough for a forum entry but people prefer brevity there which I fail at in these type of analysis, so I decided to write a long form and will place in diary.
With the erasure of David Brandon from UM athletics and the scuttlebutt about a potential re-marriage with Jim Harbaugh (the guy who wears a crown says Harbaugh's reps will be in AA next week to meet with Schlissel, but MGo policy is not to link to the crowned one's site) I thought I'd present some data on Harbaugh's Stanford years. I've done a litany of reviews of most of the major coaching candidates (Mullen, Patterson, Graham, Jones, Mark Stoops) over the past month in a somewhat similar format but I am going to make this post more narrow, focusing mostly on statistics. (I also looked at how Strong & Franklin compared to this year's candidates)
I did break out Jim's data a lot more in detail - rather than simply looking at total offense/defense each year at Stanford, I went into rush & pass offense/defense and then went another step and looked at the advanced metrics of FEI and S&P+ utilizing Football Outsiders. Harbaugh coached from 07 to 10, so I've also listed the data for Stanford in the year before and year after he coached for comparison (please note there was no FEI data in 2006)
Here is Harbaugh's data - please note Andrew Luck was QB in 09/10/11:
|W/L||Tot Off||oFEI||oS&P+||Tot Def||dFEI||dS&P+|
Here is a deep dig into the data broken down by run / pass
|Rush O||Pass O||Rush D||Pass D|
TL;DR version - cool story bro, I dont care, statistics are for losers...give me Harbaugh. Stop reading here.
Not TL;DR version
The perception of Stanford football today is tough a$$ defense. But that was not Harbaugh's defense, or it sure wasn't until his last year there. What struck me on looking at the data is how sucky the defense was in Harbaugh's first 3 years. I mean it was really bad, and yes let's allow for 1-11 Stanford but there should have been more tangible improvement by year 2-3. Jim doesn't seem to be a defensive coach. And yet we saw a massive improvement in his last year. So I looked closer and we can get an explanation from 2 words -> Vic Fangio.
Here are his D-coordinators by year
- 2007 - Scott Schafer (YTSS)
- 2008 - Andy Buh/Ron Lynn
- 2009 - ditto
- 2010 - Vic Fangio
So who is Vic Fangio and where is he now? Fangio is a long time NFL coach, who unfortunately was stuck coaching for 2 expansion teams, but had been a D Coordinator from 95 to 05. Colts management wanted him fired one year but Jim Mora (YTJM) famously refused to fire him since he didnt think he was a problem, and instead Mora got canned. Between 06-10, Fangio was a "special assistant" to first Billick and then John Harbaugh at the Ravens. (Ironically on the same staff as Gregg Mattison from 08-10... small world)
So obviously he got shuttled from 1 Harbaugh to another and his 1 year in college was his only year. He has been the DC of San Fran's excellent defense since 2011. At age 57 - and never being a HC - he does not seem like one to take over for Jim if he was to leave San Fran (hoping UM fans in San Fran could shed more light on this, I am speculating) but he seems like a NFL guy more than a college guy. I also could not find his salary with the google fergodsakes, but he did get an extension thru 2015 this past March.
If we are lucky enough to land Harbaugh, it will be interesting to see if Mr. Fangio comes along. (Nice article here on Fangio for those inclined; paints him as a cerebral, detail oriented coaching lifer)
If not, I would say it is imperitive Harbaugh finds an excellent D-coordinator (maybe Will Muschamp?) Just being blunt but his first 3 years (again allowing that Stanford sucked in 2006) on defense were pretty awful, like Kevin Sumlin's defense at Houston awful. Well like Kevin Sumlin everywhere he coaches awful on defense.
Unlike the defense, Jim's offense improved at a steady pace through his years at Stanford. Now again, and this is why I like diving into the data - the perception was this was mostly Andrew Luck. But as we slice the data we can see it was the rushing offense that carried the day. By the 2nd year Harbaugh had engineered a Mattison in 2011 turnaround of the rush offense from >100 to top 20. Now that is f***** manball sir. Somewhere Bo is shedding a tear. Luck did come around in 2009-2010 (and 2011 after Harbaugh left) and while the passing offense was very good in 2010, the rushing offense was the better unit even that year. So in terms of fit of style to current player personnel - I mean the shoe fits. Assuming Rivals was not wrong on every damn UM offensive recruit from 2012-2014. Harbaugh did what Hoke promised to do. And did it quickly. Interestingly the advanced stats (S&P+ and FEI) were kinder to Stanford then the NCAA's "Total Offense" all 4 years, which is probably a nod to the tough conference.
Looking at this data better helped me not only look deeper at Jim Harbaugh but better helped me couch all the other candidates I ran analysis on over the past month. It makes me appreciate the defensive prowess of Charlie Strong at Louisville and Patterson at TCU, and Graham / Sumlin offensively (and Graham defensively at ASU). Coming in and quickly turning around programs and getting "top 20" rankings at these schools without top 10-15 recruiting talent is NOT easy. Many people are critical of many other candidates I (or others) present for not winning big by year 2 at other programs (what?! 5 losses in any year? DO NOT WANT!) or having one side of the ball with sucky stats. Well Harbaugh evaluated after 2-3 years would have some of those same flags as well. Again - adjusted for taking over a 1-11 tire fire.
Which is why judging a guy like Mark Stoops in year 2 is so difficult - in many ways he is well ahead of where Jim was in year 2 both in W/L and offensive and defensive statistics - taking over a similar 2-10 tire fire. Of course we'd prefer to see year 3 for him as well!
Looking at this data, if I removed the name Harbaugh and changed it to Smith and he had played at Nebraska rather than Michigan, "Coach Smith" would not be such a slam dunk based on comments I've seen in many of the CC threads for guys with - frankly - some better data in year 1-3 of their respective stops.
All that said, of course I am not suggessting Jim Harbaugh should not be UM's coach - I would be sent to Bolivia for even the suggestion. The history, the Michigan roots, the hate for Ohio, the intensity, the intangibles - very few coaches in the country have those. And he has proven himself even more so at the NFL level than the NCAA. But he is an offensive minded person who built a manball team and found and tutored a great QB. Things I am sure he could do here. But his defensive coordinator hire may be his biggest decision if he does make his way to Ann Arbor.
Yeesh! Bundle up if you'll be out early! Low 30s throughout the morning, edging into the mid 30s around lunch. Winds are out of the north at 15mph, gusting to the mid 20s (small trees sway) - it doesn't sound like much compared to Friday, but it's enough to put our wind chills into the 20s! We begin the day with a lot of cloud cover, but see more sunshine heading into the later morning and afternoon. Anyone bringing chili to the tailgate?
It's a 3:30 start, so we'll hit the high here - just don't expect the actual temperature reading to be high! 39 degrees for the beginning of the game. A mix of sun and clouds, so it'll help for those of you that get to be in the sun a bit. Winds remain out of the north at a steady 15mph, and we may see a few gusts here and there around 20mph, but they'll start to die out during the first half. Wind chill will keep it feeling more like 30.
Temperature at 38 degrees, and it'll continue to fall during the second half of the game. We get rid of the gusts, but winds will stay at 15mph out of the north - dropping that wind chill back into the upper 20s. We'll continue to see less and less clouds, so especially as the sun sets, expect it to really get chilly.
High pressure finally starting to take over the mitten - giving us partly cloudy skies and a north wind at 10mph ending the game. It's still enough to give us a wind chill, so that temp of 35 will feel more like the mid 20s. Staying out late (because yes-this is that night where it's closing time and then you get another hour to celebrate a win!) - bundle up! Temps fall to the upper 20s in the late night and 25 degrees by last call. Winds will start to shift NNE at become light with mostly clear skies. You got this, blue!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for ABC in Flint, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
On October 14, 2014 m1jjb00 presented a statistical analysis examining the relative incidence of football injuries: "Comparing injuries across the Big Ten". According to his calculations, Michigan had the second highest rate of injuries among fourteen teams. Since I have 24 years of professional experience in the health and fitness field (also worked as an addiction counselor), I thought it was time to speak up. I put together a diary titled, "Reason for so many injuries".
In summary it said: When a human being trains to get bigger and stronger, in the process their neuro-muscular system, the kinetic chain, becomes tighter and less flexible. For optimum athletic performance, training must include various compensating modalities to regain and increase freedom of movement, such as stretching, yoga, myofascial release, massage, etc. The various types of resistance training (i.e. weights, cables, elastic bands, body weight, etc.) must be taken into consideration.
Multi-planar activity incorporating twisting movements (Transverse Plane) develop coordination and support joint stabilization. Flexibility, mobility, agility are central components of a complete, integrative training program. These areas are often undervalued or neglected, not only in gyms around the world, but even in the most sophisticated professional environments.
Some people's comments noted that I did not make an airtight case to support the conclusion which I reached. I agree that's a legitimate question. However, athletic training is a complex, evolving field. When you study practices such as Olympic training, body building, power lifting, martial arts and yoga, just to name a few, you find tremendous diversity in methods people use to improve physical performance. There's a lot of disagreement, even among top professionals in the upper echelon of sports science. This is far from a mature, exact science. So then, was "Reason for so many injuries" an overstatement?
No, it is not.
The time is way overdue for someone to speak up for the well being of these young athletes, who put their health on the line for our football team. The University of Michigan is a world leader in many areas; I expect nothing less from our strength and conditioning program. John Bacon recently reported that NFL scouts find U of M football players lacking in key parameters of physical conditioning. When you take a look at the work of people like Paul Chek, Kelly Starrett, Gray Cook, Naudi Aguilar and Shannon Turley, you see we lag behind.
Making a convincing case that details the deficiencies of our current training regimen, and mapping out a comprehensive program that would help prevent injuries and improve athletic performance is not really practical in the parameters of a football blog. In this context, I can only summarize and indicate directions where we can move forward.
So moving forward, I propose we begin a conversation which will consider some of the methods our football team can use to improve their athletic performance. Of course, this applies to all sports in general, and your own personal health and fitness as well. Please note: I'm not a statistician. I study this field intensively, including human performance in general, work with amateurs and professionals, and speak from personal experience. I would like to invite you to contribute any information you think is relevant, or personal experience you feel is interesting. I'm not expecting to avoid controversy, but prefer to engage it in a respectful, courteous way.
Let's begin by considering a comment from Blueinsconsin. He noted there's "incompetence at the top of the program", and made a really good, if somewhat unlikely suggestion, that we "steal Shannon Turley from Stanford". Bluesnu provided this informative link to an article about Turley: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/31/sports/ncaafootball/stanfords-distinct...
Shannon Turley at Stanford is one of the tops in his field. Some of his innovations are now being practiced at all levels, even well received by the NFL. He employs dynamic, multi-planar methods of training, and utilizes a functional movement metric (that is, he monitors and tests for flexibility and range of motion) to gauge the progress of his players.
I've seen many indications that such progressive training methods are lacking with our football S&C training. They may well be being employed for other sports at the University of Michigan. I'm curious about that, and welcome any information on this subject.
In a conversation with Bluesnu, we discussed the relative merits of Hypertrophy training (getting bigger) versus training for Power (generating force with speed). I presented this analogy: "Would you rather have a 300 lb lineman who is carrying all sorts of dysfunctional, neuro-muscular internal restrictions, lumbering around like a water buffalo? Or would it be better to have a 285 lb lineman who has been trained to move and "deliver a blow" (quote from Greg Mattison) with the speed and agility of Chuck Norris?"
Now of course bigger and stronger is necessary. But take a look at this video which demonstrates combined functional and martial arts training. Then you decide if these methods would make our football players more athletically powerful, efficient, and less susceptible to injury.
If the topic of health, fitness, and S&C training generates an interesting dialogue without too much kneejerk negativity, we might continue this conversation further.
OUR (ESTIMATED) PROSPECTS IN A HANDY GRAPHIC FORMAT
Just a brief diary this week about what the statistical crystal ball might hold for the remainder of the season.
For those of you who regularly check Massey and Sagarin and other sites which calculate ratings and/or projected win probabilities, you may have already figured this out, but for those of you that aren’t in the habit or have not yet dared to dream (a terrible dream, of course) at looking through these stats, here’s the current estimate.
In all seriousness, of course, we’re not quite doomed yet, although it would be fair to say that our chances at redemption grow fainter by the game, and by redemption, I mean at least gaining a berth in a certain bowl which, if you live in Metro Detroit, is within rather convenient driving distance. Actually, that’s probably not a conventional definition of the term “redemption”, so we’ll just keep it at “bowl eligible” and leave it for now.
Here’s the matrix – blue indicates a hypothetical win, with each number being the Massey estimate of this occurring (numbers current as of yesterday mid-morning). The estimated probability of each of the remaining possible combinations of wins and losses is in the final column:
So, yeah, the most likely single combinations of events is beating Indiana and then cruising to a cool 4-8 mark on the year, followed by losing out and going 3-9. After that, the next most likely combination would put us at 5-7 with wins against Indiana and Maryland. You can see where this is going, of course. Our collective chances of winning X number of games are below:
Bowl eligibility – 3 or 4 wins – currently sits at 12.18%. Hypothetically, if we beat Indiana, the chances at becoming bowl eligible rise to 20.06% if no other numbers change. If we lose on Saturday, the estimate on bowl eligibility would fall to a very manageable (if you want to call it that) 1.73% - if we don’t change any of the other probabilities in the matrix.