there would have to be some to wash away
I didn't anticipate doing a wallpaper this week, but after Saturday's abismal outing I was inspired. This wallpaper is a take on The Dark Knight Rises movie poster. Michigan doesn't exactly need to crawl out of a giant hole in the ground, but they definately need to RISE up to be succesful this season. The photo of Devin Funchess is from Bryan Fuller's MGoBlog album on Flickr. Enjoy! Beat Miama (not that Miami)!
P.S. I didn't realize how much this looks like an Adidias ad.
[Ed-Seth: This is coming a bit late; he had it posted a week ago but I had a severe hangover on Sunday.]
Michigan kicked off the 2014 soccer season to mixed results last weekend. Michigan opened up their season on Friday, August 29th with a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to FIU but bounced back on Sunday afternoon with a 3-0 win over SMU at the Michigan Soccer Complex.
|Michigan Soccer 2014 Schedule|
|Aug 29||Home||FIU (L, 0-1)|
|Aug 31||Home||SMU (W, 3-0)|
|Sep 6||@||Columbia (L, 3-0)|
|Sep 12||Home||Maryland (5pm)|
|Sep 16||Home||Bowling Green|
|Sep 28||Home||Penn State|
|Oct 1||Home||Western Michigan|
|Oct 7||Home||Notre Dame|
|Nov 2||@||Michigan State|
|Nov 5||Home||Ohio State|
|Big Ten Tourney||Nov 8, 9, 14, 16|
|NCAA Tourney||Nov 20, 23, 29, Dec 5|
|College Cup||Dec 12, 14|
FIU 1 – Michigan 0
A 67th minute goal from FIU’s Donald Tomlinson proved to be the difference on Friday afternoon as Michigan’s season opened with a loss.
Despite controlling possession and pressure toward the end of the match, Michigan was unable to find the equalizer. FIU outshot Michigan 9-8 for the match and the home team only managed one shot on target, an effort by Rylee Woods.
Highly touted freshmen Ahinga Selemani and Billy Stevens both made their college debuts and transfer William Mellors-Blair went 90 minutes in the loss. Redshirt Senior Adam Grinwis started in goal for the Wolverines and made three saves.
Michigan 3 – SMU 0
Michigan bounced back Sunday afternoon to shutout the SMU Mustangs and notch their first win of the season. Goals from Marcos Ugarte and Colin McAtee in the first half gave Michigan a 2-0 lead going into halftime. McAtee added his second goal in the 76th minute when he cut inside from the right flank and sent a low shot past SMU keeper Michael Nelson from 23 yards out. McAtee, a speedy winger, doubled his 2013 output with the brace on Sunday afternoon.
Evan Louro made his first start in his Michigan career and came up with three saves to keep a clean sheet. Louro looked confident in goal coming off his line to punch several corner and free kicks and looked fearless in challenging two breakaway chances by SMU. Louro collided with an SMU player after saving one of those breakaway chances and left him wincing in pain and clutching his arm.
The middle portion of the contest took an ugly turn in the middle of the match, which saw a total of seven yellow cards and a red card for SMU defender Jacob Speed. Selemani got behind him and would have been all alone with only the goalkeeper to beat and Speed simply dragged him down for a clear yellow card foul. It was Speed’s second yellow and SMU finished the match a man down.
Urgarte looked confident and consistent playing in midfield and was probably the best player on the field for most of the match. His distribution to McAtee, Selemani and Mellors-Blair was solid going forward and paired well with James Murphy when needed to track back and defend. McCarthy also played well in supporting the back four and was a nuisance for SMU’s midfield all match.
The defense looked solid in the back and communicated well with one another. Stevens, Lars Eckenrode, Andre Morris, Ben Manko and Nick Lewin made up the back line as Chaka Daley shuffled substitutions to cover for Ben Manko’s yellow card. Manko, Lewin and Morris can all move between positions, which will be more important as the season progresses and Daley needs flexibility with that young back line.
On the difference between Friday and Sunday.
“I think our ball pressure was a lot better than it was on Friday. I think we were disjointed and all over the field on Friday and didn’t pass when we need to. They kind of cut through us way too easily in the first game and the pressure wasn’t good and we were facing our own goal way too much as opposed to having the game in front of us.”
On True Freshman Goalkeeper Evan Louro:
“He’s good…as a young player; he’s extremely confident and brings a lot of experience. He’s not really like a true freshman; he’s more like a junior, which is great for the guys in the group because he brings a confidence about him, a maturity and can stretch the game. The two keepers we have we’re excited about and how they’ll push each other.”
On the starting starting goalie spot:
We’re continuing to evaluate the goalkeeping position. They’re both excellent goalkeepers so I think it may be subjective to the game, we might make a decision on who’s number one, we haven’t made that decision yet.
“I think he (Marcos) was disappointed with his performance last year but it was his fault. He was injured in an 8 week season, it’s difficult to get going. We’re excited about what he can offer.
On the painful save:
"It hurt a lot, I was trying not to show it and look tough, but it hurt (ED: Louro showed me the gnarly bright red bruise/welt/get that thing looked at on his arm at that point)."
On nerves ahead of his first college start:
"I don’t really get nervous, maybe before the game but not during the game. I’ve played a lot of games; I can just jump in and be comfortable."
On getting First save of the match
“It’s huge. The first shot and you get it and you’re good and get the confidence rolling…it’s a huge deal obviously. “
Michigan hosts No. 12 Maryland tomorrow at 5 p.m. in its Big Ten kickoff.
Follow @umichsoccer for live updates
Daley hopes senior midfielder TJ VanSlooten will be healthy this week. He missed the first two matches with a calf injury.
Michigan Assistant Coach Tommy McMenemy was an All-American at Columbia in 2003 and was on the coaching staff prior to joining Michigan. Columbia was 8-6-1 last season.
A couple of days ago I compiled Hoke's win-loss record, looking specifically at road v. home v. neutral site and the differences between the Vegas line and the actual win differential. I was curious, though -- and maybe this was prompted by a comment I saw somewhere -- how other successful coaches at our rivals had fared recently. That is, was Hoke's downward trend normal? Abnormal? Is there, in fact, a normal?
Here are the results (click to embiggen):
- Hoke is most like Meyer: a string of victories at the start with a slow (inevitable) decline, although Meyer was able to string together an amazing 24-0 start at Ohio State.
- Kelly and Dantonio are more similar: a difficult first year followed by a fairly consistent improvement in overall record.
- Rodriguez is a real outlier: he never really got about .500, so never showed the overall improvement that Kelly and Dantonio did.
Hoke's downward slide looks ominous. What if we look on the brighter side, however, and project a 9-3 season, with losses to Michigan State and Ohio State but victories against the rest of the schedule? We get something like this (I'm not projecting the other coaches' records here):
That looks significantly better: essentially Hoke would be neck-and-neck with Kelly at the end of his year four, with a better overall record than Danotio's first four years. That's not bad.
Even if we project an 8-4 season this year -- say we lose to Penn State under the lights -- the overall record ain't too shabby:
The question, then, may be: is Hoke better than a .700 career coach? The difference between .700 and .750 is pretty palpable. Lloyd's career record was .753, Moeller's was .758, Bo's was .796 (at Michigan only for the latter two coaches). The scene of college football is significantly different now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s, but it's probably fair to say that Michigan fans and alumni reasonably expect to win 3 out of every 4 games, even if we were never happy with Lloyd or Moeller's tendency to drop the occasional game to undermatched opponents (a loss at home to an unranked Illinois in 1993, my first year at Michigan, still stings a bit).
There's no doubt that the end of last year and this year is a bit of a trough for Michigan football: we're rebuliding, not reloading, despite the addition of Peppers. At least that has to be the positive take, anyway; the negative take would be that in the coming years the slide continues, and Hoke's line on the graph above will cross Dantonio's in 2015.
My overall take is more positive than I thought it would be when I started: if Hoke can hold serve this year with a 9-3 record and continue to bring in top talent, then there is a good case to be made that things will rebound. If those things happen, then on paper Hoke and Kelly look awfully similar, and I think that we probably think that whatever Kelly's many faults, he's got Notre Dame football on the right track in terms of the on-the-field performance.
Yet as I type those sentences about Michigan they seem awfully optimistic... far more optimistic than I currently feel.
EDIT: Per the suggestion by LandonC in the comments below, here is Hoke's ten
year game rolling win percentage vs. Kelly's, Dantonio's, and RR's:
I think that best practice in educational theory may offer some insight as to why we suck on the road.This will not be an exhaustive discussion on why we suck on the road, to be sure, but I hope to offer some insight.
I will preface the conversation with two points:
- Hoke talks about mental toughness and physical toughness a lot. My intention here is to call into question what our team's "mental toughness" looks like. Many have already done it; I attempt to offer some level of explanation based on how much I'm aware of Hoke's teaching/coaching styles and philosophies.
- Leadership, under Hoke, seems to be defined using an "active constructive," "positive psychology" method of team- and relationship-building. Hoke's players will run through a wall for him; it seems that they are not, however, able to play effectively in hostile environments (specifically the offense). I intend to draw comparisons between coaching styles/philosophies under Bo and under Hoke.
And a couple definitions, in case you are unfamiliar:
Positive Psychology: a movement of psychology, largely led by psych researchers at U-M and UPenn, which attempts to be constructive in developing students' awareness of their abilities and their willingness to persevere
Active Constructive response: A way of responding to a student that suggests either implicitly or explicitly that they can do something that they are trying to do
Active Destructive response: A way of responding to a student that suggests either implicitly or explicitly that they cannot do something that they are trying to do
My conclusion is drawn from having built an awareness of what practice looks like under Hoke. I have attended one or two practices, and I have read press conferences from players + coaches, and I have seen the released practice videos by MGoVideo. I have observed the following:
- The coaches have historically been very high energy, doing a lot of encouragement and pushing via yelling. Yelling is not, in itself, active destructive.
- The coaches have always seemed highly positive toward the players for doing a good job, and their responses to players who screw up has always seemed encouraging, constructive, etc. I recall one specific example where Hoke said to a player, "You came up like a big pincher bug. You don't wanna do that. Come on. You're better than that."
- Devin Gardner has spoken of fans that are difficult to tolerate when on the road, especially when he is on the sideline.
- The primary tactic for coaching to hostile environments has, it seems, been limited making the environment noisy and creating other neutral environmental factors.
These different points suggest two things:
- That positive psychology is the primary tactic used in coaching under Hoke.
- That our quarterback (a lynchpin to our offense, which is cited specifically to suck on the road) has made special note of the hostility of opposing fans.
Positive psych encourages relationship building between coaches and players, and ultimately is considered a more effective educational strategy. This makes sense considering the commitment that Hoke's players have to him, and the level of recruitment Hoke has been able to achieve.
Based off of reading some of Bo's work, my understanding is that the way that he coached was different. Bo tells stories of using active destructive responses routinely. Rather famously, he routinely called Jim Brandstatter "the worst tackle in intercollegiate football." Woody Hayes is described as coaching in a similar (albeit more physically abusive) way. Active destructive is in many ways the opposite of active constructive: It is designed, essentially, to make you feel that you can never accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. This differs sharply from the techniques that it seems Hoke and co. are using to teach, and I wonder if, specifically, it affects road performance. Bo, in contrast to Hoke, went 14-5 on the road in his first four years as coach. Compare this to Hoke's existing 7-13.
My hypothesis is this: Because our coaches spend their energy primarily building a psychologically positive environment, they have lost a valuable aspect of the otherwise ugly response form known as active destructive: put differently, they have lost the "mental toughness" built by working and growing through hostility. Away stadiums are entirely hostile environments; if the hostility is not noticeable from the crowd because of distance from the sideline, it will be noticeable from the opposing team. If a practice environment fails to produce hostility, it seems unlikely that its players will be able to keep their heads when they face real hostility.
Just to be clear: I fully embrace positive psych and believe strongly in its efficacy, educational and otherwise. But I suggest that simulating hostility--not just simulating a hostile environment--may be useful to develop what Hoke calls "mental toughness." Furthermore, I do not suggest that the verbally and physically aggressive tactics of Bo and Woody must necessarily remain relevant today in order to produce great football teams.
I doubt data exists on how many teams have incorporated positive psychology into their practices, and I doubt data exists on how many teams have incorporated active destructive responses into their practices. Therefore, my thoughts will remain a hypothesis. But I think it is worth considering whether one of the reasons we fail to compete on the road is because our coaches have failed to produce hostility in practice, thereby failing to prepare our players to encounter that hostility.
Obviously, there are many limitations on my hypothesis and the "data" (anecdotal information, really) supporting. This is likely not the only reason for our failures on the road, but may help to explain a part of why we fail when put in these situations. In fact, active destructive responses do not need to be the default as they were in Bo's practices. Simply, it is possible to create a hostile environment where coaches are emulating active destructive comments to players in order to adjust them to the reality of hostility.
Furthermore, I accept and acknowledge that this is not a comprehensive look at coaching tactics given that I am missing a lot of information. Much further investigation into the tactics used to build "mental toughness." Bo also pronounced that one should never yell at a player in a game, which seems to reflect more of a positive psychology.
I would be interested to see what research might yield about the numbers of our OL and QB would look like on the road.
An alternative (or supplementary) hypothesis might note that our record on the road against ranked teams features a greater disparity than against unranked teams. "Mental toughness" may go out the window when players feel unprepared or discouraged by being overpowered, overrun, and outperformed, which may be more resultant of poor development.
It is worth noting that Bo had many players quit when he became coach. This could be because of the seemingly "inhumane" treatment of the active destructive response. In addition, it is worth noting that Bo often failed in high profile away games (namely bowl games), and that Bo and Hoke are limited samples. There are also numerous confounding variables, such as scheme, development of talent, et al.
One thing remains certain: Many changes must happen if we hope to compete, and especially if we hope to compete on the road.
tl;dr I hypothesize that one reason for our road gaffs may be the apparent absence of simulated hostility in practice. I find this argument compelling, but acknowledge that defaulting to active destructive responses as in the days of yore are not necessary to make a good football team.
Hoke on the Road: The Depressing Numbers
So Michigan decided to one up ND by quitting the series 1 game earlier than ND. How did that work out for them, Cotton? The first shutout in 30 years, and an innovative new defensive scheme “And-run Coverage” [It’s like bump-and-run coverage, except you don’t bump them and you run after them after they catch the ball.]
Sadly, this is nothing new for Hoke on the road. He carries a shiny 20-2 record at home, and even excluding the baby and adolescent seals he still has a respectable 12-2 record. Once he gets away from the friendly confines of Michigan Stadium and its raucous library atmosphere, his record is not so pretty. 6-9 in True Road games and 1-3 in Neutral site games, a not so respectable 7-12.
What has been the problem? Simply, the offense. Below is a chart [and the crowd rejoices] that shows the depressing numbers [the crowd stops rejoicing]:
There isn’t a single statistic up there that isn’t significantly worse. 30-40% worse. Home field advantage is generally considered to be about 3 points. That should result in about 6 points (if it were solely focused on offense). There is a difference of 17 points between true road games and home. If home field only explains 6 points where are the 11 points going?
It is difficult to play on the road. Maybe our defense hasn’t played well either? Here is the same chart [the crowd resumes rejoicing] for the defense:
Home vs Power
Yards Per Game
Points Per Game
Yards Per Play
Yards Per Carry*
Yards Per Attempt*
Turnovers Per Game
If anything it looks like the defense plays slightly better, but only gives up a few more points because of the turnovers from the offense.
More troubling, this problem seems to be getting worse. Below is a
graph table of the Yards per play for Road and Neutral site games. I have thrown in a trendline to emphasize the point. Things aren’t getting better they are getting worse.
That is a negative slope of -.07
Is the offense deterioration solely on the road? Maybe. The first
graph table shows Yards per Play for Home games vs the Power Conferences (essentially just the B1G and Notre Dame).
That is a negative slope of -.11
That’s alarming, the slope is steeper (i.e. worse). That Nebraska game sure is an extreme outlier. If we exclude it (and I’m not so sure that we should), then the
graph table looks pretty flat:
The slope is still negative but barely so (less than .00)
What does it all mean? It means Hoke needs to figure out his road woes soon or we are looking at seasons capped at 8-5 and 7-6. Based on this:
This is I believe 0-4 against the big three rivals on the road over the last four years. What is this team missing? What does this team need to get over the hump?
“Winning. You win the game. You play. You don’t turn over the ball. You don’t give up big plays.”
That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that he knows how to fix it. I like Hoke, I think he recruits well, he makes the correct 4th down decisions, he does what I want a head coach to do. Except win games on the road. Right now, he isn’t. I think a coaching change would be disastrous for the program. 1) Who is out there that we could get that would immediately improve the team? 2) Another coaching transition would set us back another 3 years. I think we need to ride it out and hope that the results start catching up with the recruiting.
PS I can't get my pretty graphs to show up. So you are stuck with tables on the YPP and trendlines.
Well, Michigan lost in spectacular fashion propelling Notre Dame from 16th to 11th in the too early to really tell AP top 25. In a well predicted loss to Oregon, MSU dropped from 7th to 13th making them the highest ranked 1 loss team. Ohio in turn dropped from 8th to 22nd in a satisfying defeat by Virginia Tech who is now ranked 17th. The lesson we can take from this is beating Michigan isn’t nearly as profitable as losing to Virginia Tech is bad. I suppose that is good.
For those of you who can’t wait till Saturday, here is Thursday’s most interesting matchup:
HOU @ BYU:
Line: +18.5 O/U: 57
Power Rankings: BYU 34 HOU 112
BYU is coming off a huge win against Texas, 41-7, and have cracked the top 25. The last meeting against Houston, BYU left with a win 47-46. Houston’s power ranking dropped 60 points from the first week. Last year Houston only lost 4 games, this is not the same team as last year. BYU lost 4 games as well but they also return Taysom Hill. Hill has 489 passing yards and 196 rushing yard on the season. Oh, and he spreads the ball around. Houston defense is in for a surprise. If you can’t see where I’m going with this, let me help.
BYU to cover
A look around the Big Ten
IND @ BGSU:
Line: -6 O/U: 69.5
Power Rankings: IND 77 BGSU 116
Miami (Ohio) @ Michigan
Line: +29.5 O/U: 53.5
Power Rankings: MI 36 Miami 110
This line opened at -31.5. I expect it to move a little further down. So, if you like to bet on Michigan, I would wait to see where the line moves. Also, week three power rankings haven’t come in yet. When they do, expect to see some movement. Miami lost their first 2 games of the season against Eastern Kentucky (10-17) and Marshall (27-42). Remember how good you all felt after Michigan beat the pants of App State? You won’t feel that way after Michigan destroys Miami, well because… Still it looks like an easy win, especially coming off an embarrassing loss. I expect Michigan to take some of last week’s anger out on Miami. Disclaimer: I don’t bet on Michigan sports. I refuse to bet against them for one, and I am way too biased. Since I follow them so religiously, I can always find an insider reason to hype them up. So, take it for what it’s worth…
Michigan to Cover
Iowa state @ Iowa
Line: +12.5 O/U: 49
Power Rankings: Iowa 64 Iowa State 78
Iowa is 2-0 so far this year and 0-2 ATS. ISU is 0-2 and 1-1 ATS. ISU lost to K-State last week in a near comeback win. If the same team shows up against Iowa, I see ISU covering, if not winning outright. ISU lost in every offensive category against K-State, but managed to gain only 25 less yards through the air. Iowa has given up 509 passing yards this season.
Iowa State to Win
Minnesota @ TCU
Line: +10 O/U: 47.5
Power Rankings: MINN 41 TCU 31
Purdue Vs. Notre Dame (Neutral Site)
Line: +28 O/U: 55.5
Power Rankings: PUR 56 ND 17
Penn State @ Rutgers
Line: -3.5 O/U: 53
Power Rankings: PSU 22 Rutgers 62
This should be an interesting matchup. PSU is 2-0 ATS and Rutgers is 1-1 ATS. The last time these two teams met was in 1995 and PSU won 59-34. PSU is coming off a coin flip win against UCF. RUTG hasn’t played anyone significant this year and blew a -38 spread against HOW winning 38-25. I’m not sure Vegas has figured out what to do with this team yet. Last week they covered +10.5 beating Washington State 41-38. The line seamed to over react last week; this week Vegas is playing it safe. I like Rutgers for the outright win.
Rutgers to Win
Nebraska @ Fresno State
Line: -10 O/U: 62.5
Power Rankings: NEB 12 Fresno State 124
I’m not sure why this line is so close. Does the Big Ten really have that low of a perception? I’ll take Nebraska to cover!
Nebraska to Cover
WVU @ Maryland
Line: +3 O/U: 57.5
Power Rankings: MD 81 WVU 108
Kent @ Ohio
Line: +32 O/U: 50.5
Power Rankings: OSU 20 Kent 101
Last time these teams met was in 2007 and Ohio destroyed them 48-3. Unfortunately for Kent, It looks like this might happen again. Kent is 0-2 and 0-2 ATS. Their losses include South Alabama and Ohio (not State). Also they have been under the last 2 games on the O/U putting up only 13 and 14 points respectively. Defensively they are ranked 75th and 94th in total yards and rushing yards respectively. Ohio doesn’t even need to do anything in the passing game, but it will open up after the first drive as a result of huge rushing gains. I would avoid any O/U bets on this one and just take Ohio as a shutout seems likely. I hate to bet on Ohio, but there is a 72% consensus on this game. The line is steadily rising as a result, so I wouldn’t wait on this one.
Ohio to Cover
Illinois @ Washington
Line: +13.5 O/U: 64.5
Power Rankings: ILL 76 WASH 42
This week’s top ranked matchup:
Georgia(6) @ South Carolina(23)
Line: -5.5 O/U: 60
Power Rankings: Georgia 5(damn) South Carolina 24
To put this into perspective, MSU had a power ranking of 4 last week. Georgia has played a grand total of 1 game this year, but they’re Georgia so… Georgia is 1-0 and 1-0 ATS. South Carolina is 1-1 and 0-2 ATS. Georgia has won 6 of 10 of the last meetings, winning last year 41-30. Georgia put up 536 TOT yards to the Game Cocks’ 454. Here is a look at South Carolina’s offense and Defense. It’s not pretty. http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/ncf/teams/team161.html
As you can see, this explains why the line has already moved a whole point from yesterday. Since this is the best matchup of the week, there should be a lot of betting on this one. The line will probably settle around -6.5. so get in on this early if you plan on taking Georgia.
Georgia to Cover
Now, your surefire win of the week, guaranteed to make you look stupid and lose you 50 dollars in the office pool:
UL Lafayette @ Mississippi
Line: +27 O/U: 55.5
Power Ranikings: MISS 11 ULL 43
Coming in today with a 78% consensus, Ole Miss is a 27 point favorite. MISS is 2-0 and 2-0 ATS. They destroyed Vanderbilt 41-3 at -17.5 and beat Boise 35-13 at -9.5. MISS is ranked 27th def and 33rd offensively. The only place they have struggled is on the ground, being ranked 101st. ULLis 1-1 and 1-1 ATS. They are ranked 83rd defensively and 51 offensively. ULL only makes 50% of their field goals. So, if this were to be a close game (it won’t be) I would pay attention to this.
Under is 4-0 in Ragin' Cajuns last 4 road games.
Over is 6-0 in Ragin' Cajuns last 6 games in September.
Over is 5-0 in Ragin' Cajuns last 5 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. Under is 5-0 in Rebels last 5 games overall.
Rebels are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Rebels are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
This line is on the move. For some reason Vegas wants people to bet on both sides. Get in at -27 if you want the action.
Ole Miss to cover
My favorite tidbit about OLE MISS…Sammie Epps was suspended indefinitely because he likes to smoke pot and drive without a license. He had Funchess potential, but prefered the thug life.
So, what are your picks?
Ill update the weekend games o/u as they come out.
· This was my first go at this. So any input would be appreciated. Also, next week will include a recap and appropriate shout outs and mockery for those who choose to pick games with me. I would like to do this as a weekly if I get enough responses.