I posted a very similar diary last year that analyzed the defense during B10 games only. With the schematic changes made to the defense as a result of the new coaching staff, I thought it would be interesting to compare the 1st four games of 2010 vs. 2011.
I have never thought that using total yardage and/or points exclusively are necessarily the best measurements to evaluate our defensive performances. Those measurements fail to account for how quickly we score on offense, our special teams (or lack of in this case) play, turnovers, and starting field position for the opposition.
I decided to evaluate the defense in a more comprehensive manner, using several statistics to get a "big picture" view of the defense in 2011 vs. that of 2010, for the first four games only, to see if we can find any significant improvement statistically.
1.) Yards per Drive by opponent
2.) Points per Drive by opponent
3.) Stop % - defined as the percentage of non-scoring drives by the opponent
4.) Punt % - defined as the percentage of drives the opponent punts
5.) 3 & Out % - defined as the percentage of the opponents' drives that are 3 & Outs
6.) TO % - defined as the % of drives that the opposition turns the ball over
7.) Starting Field Position by the Opponent
** - there will be 2 stars placed next to the TO% column in some games to indicate that a portion of the TO% was created by a TO due to a loss of downs by the opponent
I constructed the following chart in a manner that allows me to "mirror" games vs. opponents based on the relative quality of the opposing team. Obviously, the 2010 Notre Dame game will be mirrored by the 2011 Notre Dame game. I think the 2010 Uconn game should be mirrored by the 2011 San Diego State game, the 2010 Umass game vs. the 2011 WMU game, and I think we'd all agree that both Bowling Green & EMU are horrible teams.
|Game||Yards/Drive||Points/Drive||Stop%||Punt%||3 & Out%||TO%||Starting Field Position|
|Uconn||38.1||1.1||78||33||33||33**||Uconn 36.9 Yard Line|
|SDSU||26.9||.5||93||36||21||43**||SDSU 28.4 Yard Line|
|ND(2010)||31.5||1.41||76.5||47||23.5||18||ND 22.4 Yard Line|
|ND(2011)||39.5||2.38||61.5||31||23||31||ND 30 Yard Line|
|Umass||36.6||3.1||50||25||8.3||16.7||Umass 38.2 Yard Line|
|WMU||35||1.25||75||25||12.5||37.5||WMU 34 Yard Line|
|B. Green||21.8||1.62||77||38.5||30.1||15.4||B. Green 28.2 Yard Line|
|EMU||23.6||.3||90||50||20||30**||EMU 38.1 Yard Line|
This chart reflects that the defense has not improved much(if at all), at least statistically speaking for most of the metrics above. Overall, we actually forced teams to punt more, and to go 3 & out more than we have this year through 4 games. In terms of yards per drive by the opponent, it is just above even, with a slight advantage for the 2011 defense.
The huge disparity comes in the points per drive metric, where the 2011 has a huge advantage. We can account this to the huge variation in the TO%, where the 2011 defense has essentially doubled that of the 2010 defense.
I have to agree with Brian that Turnovers are just too random to predict for any given season. In all honesty, our defense has just been lucky in terms of turnovers. There can be no doubt that the defense has forced turnovers with pressure, but a significant proportion of these turnovers are simply unforced errors by the opponent.
Taking that into account, the 2011 defense is very flawed, although I do believe they are slightly better than last year's version. However, I still believe the defense is not operating at competent level at this point, we've just had the fortune of being bailed out on many lengthy drives by the opponent.
Quite honestly, if you switch the TO%, or even make them even for that matter, the 2010 defense would most likely have a huge advantage.
That being said, if we're going with the "eye test", I do like some things from the 2011 defense. I certainly like Coach Mattison's emphasis on pressuring the QB(certainly the SDSU game), which I do think is improved, but not as much as I expected it to be. However, the run defense hasn't seemed to improve at all, while the secondary has improved slightly with Thomas Gordon in particular, and a sporadically healthy Woolfolk along with a seemingly pleasant surprise in Countess.
In sum, we're still getting nickle and dimed to death, but we're getting bailed out by the silly mistakes of the opposing offense. I think we've made slight improvements, and hopefully we're operating somewhere near average during the last 3 games of the year.
Here is an individual game breakdown of the 2010 and 2011 defenses(1st 4 games only)
1.) 343 yards on 9 drives = 38.1 yards per drive
2.) 10 points on 9 drives = 1.1 points per drive
3.) 7 stops on 9 drives = 78%
4.) 3 punts on 9 drives = 33%
5.) 3 Three & Outs on 9 drives = 33%
6.) 3 TO’s(2 counted on loss of downs) on 9 drives = 33%
7.) 332 yards on 9 drives = Uconn 36.9 yard line
Game 2(Notre Dame)
1.) 535 yards on 16 drives = 33.25 yards per drive
2.) 24 points on 16 drives = 1.5 yards per drive
3.) 13 stops on 17 drives = 76.5
4.) 8 punts on 17 drives = 47%
5.) 4 Three & Outs on 17 drives = 23.5%
6.) 3 TO’s on 17 drives = 18%
7.) 381 yards on 17 drives = ND 22.4 Yard Line
1.) 439 yards on 12 drives = 36.6 yards per drive
2.) 37 points on 12 drives = 3.1 points per drive
3.) 6 stops on 12 drives = 50%
4.) 3 punts on 12 drives = 25%
5.) 1 Three & Out on 12 drives = 8.3%
6.) 2 TO’s on 12 drives = 16.7%
7.) 458 yards on 12 drives = Umass 38.2 yard line
Game 4(Bowling Green)
1.) 283 yards on 13 drives = 21.8 yards per drive
2.) 21 points on 13 drives = 1.62 points per drive
3.) 10 stops on 13 drives = 77%
4.) 5 punts on 13 drives = 38.5%
5.) 4 Three & Outs on 13 drives = 30.1%
6.) 2 TO’s on 13 drives = 15.4%
7.) 367 yards on 13 drives = B. Green 28.2 yard line
1.) 279 yards on 8 drives = 35 yards per drive
2.) 10 points on 8 drives = 1.25 points per drive
3.) 6 stops on 8 drives = 75%
4.) 2 punts on 8 drives = 25%
5.) 1 Three & Out on 8 drives = 12.5 %
6.) 3 TO’s on 8 drives = 37.5%
7.) 272 yards on 8 drives = 34 yard line
1.) 513 yards on 13 drives = 39.5 yards per drive
2.) 31 points on 13 drives = 2.38 points per drive
3.) 8 stops on 13 drives = 61.5 %
4.) 4 punts on 13 drives = 31%
5.) 3 Three & Outs on 13 drives = 23%
6.) 4 TO’s on 13 drives = 31%
7.) 388 yards on 13 drives = 30 yard line
1.) 236 yards on 10 drives = 23.6 yards per drive
2.) 3 points on 10 drives = .3 points per drive
3.) 9 stops on 10 drives = 90%
4.) 5 stops on 10 drives = 50%
5.) 2 Three & Outs on 10 drives = 20%
6.) 3 TO’s(1 counted on loss of downs) on 10 drives = 30%**
7.) 381 yards on 10 drives = 38.1 yard line
1.) 376 yards on 14 drives = 26.9 yards per drive
2.) 7 points on 14 drives = .5 points per drive
3.) 13 stops on 14 drives = 93%
4.) 5 punts on 14 drives = 36%
5.) 3 Three & Outs on 14 drives = 21%
6.) 6 TO’s(3 counted on loss of downs) = 43%
7.) 397 yards on 14 drives = SDSU 28.4 Yard Line
MGoBlue Highlights (Y U No Denard 53 Yard TD?):
Postgame Press Conference (Hoke and players):
I didn't have internet for the past week, so I'm getting to this diary pretty late. Almost everything that occurred to me has already been said. But here's a few things that stood out and could use repeating if you have already heard it.
This is why you don't teach players to only play strongside or only play weakside.
A single shift into an unbalanced line made 6 of our guys change position. I feel like this calls for some joke about Chinese fire drills, but it's too easy. If the motion man hadn't taken the jet sweep and actually realigned on the other side, I wonder if those 6 guys would have been thinking about flopping back. Ugh... ...
Our defense is still young and has a lot to learn. We're a year or two (or three) away from being able to shut down serious opponents.
Vincent looked good, I still worry about his durability. There are some indications that ND's D-line and scheme are legitimately good against the run. So this might not be as bad as we fear. My hopes are still on Fitz to be the main workhorse until someone younger distinguishes himself. Looks like we'll be RB by committee for the rest of this year.
What about Denard?
Good thing: Denard is still awesome running the ball against weaker competition
Bad thing: We were forced to run Denard against a middling' MAC team
Good thing: Denard is getting better at getting out of bounds without taking a big hit
Bad thing: Several times he ran into a NT, DT sandwich
Good thing: The return of QB dive TROLOLOLOLO!!!! (Brian "QB draw-OH NOES!" is a great name, but it's not a draw fake, it's a dive fake.)
Bad thing: Bubble screens still MIA
MSU @ ND notes
- The game was closer than the score reflected. MSU failed a fake FG and got intercepted in the redzone, ND had a kickoff return TD. ND still wins handedly, but probably only by one score or 10 points instead of 18.
- MSU's O-line has big problems. This is not news to anyone. But I think it's showing up in some of their playcalling.
For example, they used this weird formation
And then they pitched the ball around the short side TE/Guard. It's like they don't trust their interior linemen, so they might as well try to run away from the muck. (sometimes with a pulling lineman)
There's a reason why people don't normally line up like this. It's not usually effective.
- Wood's first TD was not a TD.
First of all, there was a blatant holding at the point of attack,
And he was down at the 1 yard line anyway.
- Bawk! Bawk! Dantonio.
It's 4th and 17 at midfield, down two touchdowns with 4 and half minutes left in the game. And he decided to PUNT. C'mon, after last (last) week, we know that 4 minutes against ND is time enough for at least 6 touchdowns.
- Nick Hill on Kick Returns
He looked good at finding the hole and they had some designed returns to break off to one side of the wedge. This dishearteningly matches up with one of our weaknesses.
- It's all about stopping Cunningham
They still have the triplets at RB. But with the issues they have with the O-line, Cunningham becomes the key to stopping MSU.
- Cousins is still a good QB, but I feel like we can trick him into a couple of INT's.
He likes to throw the crossing routes to the WR. And in the hurry-up, they seemed to favor square-ins and slants. ND stepped in front for a couple of picks and tips. Cousins is very good at throwing the checkdown and hitting late leakers from the backfield. And all the backs seemed to be good at making them selves available after scraping past the rushers.
MSU likes to call a fair number of screens and draws, but these are hard to do well for inexperienced linemen.
A noon game means early-rising for tailgaters! Give yourself a couple extra minutes heading out the door as there will be quite a lot of fog around. In some areas it could be pretty dense, so be careful driving! Temperatures will be around the 50 degree mark and you'll definitely see fog until the sunrises at 7:22am. Once we start getting some sun, the fog will begin to burn off and we'll start warming up. We'll be up to the mid 50s by 10am, and continue to see that thermometer rise during the day. A good amount of clouds will hang around, and I wouldn't rule out a light shower. Southeast winds are between 5-10mph, so you'll feel a light breeze on your skin, leaves will rustle around.
By noon we'll have a little more of that sun peeking through the clouds and have warmed up to the low 60s. Wind's still coming out of the southeast at around 5mph, just a gentle breeze. Still seeing a good amount of cloud cover, and there is a slight chance of a sprinkle.
Halftime won't bring us much warmer air, still sitting in the low 60s. Clouds are mixed with sun. Some models are keeping us dry, others are beginning to roll in some showers around this time. With pop-up showers' exact location being unpredictable 12 hours out, and considering there's a chance of rain the entire day tomorrow, I wouldn't rule out getting a light shower.
We'll reach the high for the day late in the afternoon/early evening hours, hitting the upper 60s. We're also going to see the winds shift from the southeast to come out of the east, staying calm until after midnight, when they'll slowly increase for a windy Sunday. Those clouds that have been hanging around all day? Yep, sticking around for the evening hours too. Our chance of rain does diminish however, so if you're walking from one place to another tonight you should be fine. By 8pm temps will be down to 60, and keep dropping to the low 50s by closing time.
Enjoy the game, and Go Blue!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
(EMLOS == End Man on the Line of Scrimmage, in this case Jake Ryan).
The ability to make my lower case letters actually be lower case continues to elude me.
Setup: EMU is on its second drive of the day. They have a counter bootleg called; Michigan will blitz Jake Ryan off the right side.
Wha'hoppon: Ryan reads the pulling OL coming at him and turns up the line to face him instead of blasting straight upfield (vice Brennen Beyer in the WMU game, captured in http://mgoblog.com/diaries/moving-picture-pages-how-not-defend-power-part-i), stepping inside the OL to clog the lane for the runner... who doesn't have the ball. This forces him to disengage the OL to the inside instead of to the outside, allowing the QB to roll out without having Ryan in his face the moment he turns around. One of the three receivers crossing right-to-left finds the seam behind the LBs and Gillett throws an on-target pass for an 18-yard gain.
The counter play-action froze the other linebackers long enough that they couldn't drop to the depth necessary to take away all the passing lanes. Ironically, if Ryan had blitzed on this play the same way Beyer blitzed in the aforementioned play (straight up the field at maximum afterburners), he would most likely have beaten the pulling lineman through the spot and dined on Gillett's soul, or at least forced an off-balance throw.
Analysis courtesy Brian, as usual. Original Picture Pages is at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-emlos-keys-are-hard.
I took in the Twinsburg vs. Brush game tonight and thought I’d share my observations on Pharaoh Brown. It’s obvious he’s a great athlete with a lot of potential. At 6’6”, 220lbs he wears #2 and physically looks like several 6’6” college QBs that have worn #2 in recent years. He’s a very smooth athlete with a lot of speed. When I left the game after the 3rd quarter, he had around 6 tackles (1 sack) and 3 catches for around 100 yds and a TD. Most of those yards came on an 85 yd TD reception where he broke one tackle on a post pattern and outran everyone on the field. Defensively he showed excellent closing speed and some good burst on the line.
Unfortunately, like many high school studs, he relied too heavily on his speed and athleticism. He was often single blocked by a very well coached O-line and neutralized by good technique and a physically stronger OT. His pad level was consistently high, and it really hurt him at times. When double teamed he didn’t show the physicality I expected, often standing up and chasing plays rather than occupying blockers. On the goal line he made several nice plays on outside runs to his side, but struggled against physical MANBALL directly at him. There were times when he looked gassed, but he played all but 4 snaps on offense and defense so that’s to be expected.
What I took away from the game was that the things he needs to work on (technique, size) are correctable (and somewhat expected) issues. He’s got a good frame with lots of room to put on weight, and was receptive to coaching he received on the sideline. The things you can’t coach (speed, athleticism) he’s clearly got. It’s pretty easy to see a future B1G football player when you watch him play, and I’m excited to see him wear the winged helmet. Go Blue!