"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
I would assume that a certain percentage of us that would be sad to see RR go would also be very sad because it would mean Mike Barwis would leave. From the voice and attitude to the Brock story, he has been a huge positive at the University. One of the things that excites me about his program is the emphasis on replacing bad mass, fat, with good mass, muscle.
In interviews with him and players, it comes across that your first year with him is amazingly dificult. So I've always wondered, does the change take place? And, does this make playing young even more dificult? For a young player must not only learn to play the game at a higher rate with a higher level of sophistication, they must also do it while massively transforming their bodies. This could lead to big problems as seen by the defense this year.
So what follows is a big chart based on official team rosters 2008-2010. The % column is the percent body weight change, and the bottom is the overall % change for that position group that year.
I will preface my this by acknowledging that this is probably a terrible analysis. I once spent good time and money with someone with a doctorate trying to teach me an intro to stats. It did not go well, my future studies avoided stats classes.
In every position group besided WR, the overall % weight gain was larger in year 2 vs. year 1 under Barwis. Anecdotal evidence supports the first year being a mix of removing bad weight and putting on good weight.
Looking at the large changes taking place with OL, DL, and LB, it's obvious that these players should not be playing young. Or at least we should not be judging them so much based on performance in their first couple of years.
This also seems true with the smaller explosive athletes at RB and Slot. These players all underwent pretty massive changes. Shaw especially lost a good amount of weight and put it back on. I think he was noticeably a more powerful runner this year when healthy. This also goes for Vinnie, who not only had to recover from a massive injury, he put on a large amount of weight.
There is a lot more analysis to be done if this info was to be truly useful. I feel I need to adjust for age for example. But like I said, I'm pretty terrible at stats, so maybe someone else can use this info paint a clearer picture. Just wanted to share it and see what others thought about it and the idea of the dificulty of playing young under Barwis.
Since this is a cupcake game in the tradition of ESS EEE CEE schools only playing cupcakes in non-conference, there won't be a lot of to glean from this. And there might be a lot more random off topic comments
- I'm sick of these stupid text message polls. Polls are fun in and of themselves, but I hate that it says "message and data rates MAY apply". When it's more appropriate to say, "YOU DUMB BITCHES ARE GONNA GET CHARGED AT LEAST 400% ABOVE COST FOR EACH TEXT MWAHAHAHAH!"
- I think this is the first appearance of the wildcat with Relf split out and Bumphis taking the snap
- Relf can throw the 8 yard flat, but he often puts it on the wrong shoulder, if we had more experienced corners, we could get some tip drill type interceptions.
- On some passing downs, the 4 LB's are lined up in the gaps around the 3 DL. so all 7 players are in an alternating line of two point and three point rushers. So it becomes a guessing game for the O-line as to which 3,4, 5, or even 6! of them are actually rushing. Depending on where the backs are, the 2 guys who will take coverage actually start with a couple of rush steps before peeling off or dropping back.
- Russell is playing again after sitting the week before, looks pretty accurate but misread a quarters for a cover two and almost got picked off.
- SWEEEET, Alcorn's QB just broke a long one for a TD. #5 took a bad angle, #4 is not fast. That Alcorn kid can run. But so can Denard of course. (Dissected below)
- Alcorn is giving them soft corners, so MSU is throwing a lot of bubble screens.
- #8 WR, has good height, dropped an underthrown ball when he was wide open deep.
- When they bring heat, there will be people open, but we gotta be carefull about zone blitzes and dropping linemen. The hot routes probably need to be a little bit deeper to avoid interceptions.
- Ugh, Relf's passing seems to be improving, he threw a fastball in the redzone for their 3rd TD, and he threw a pretty good corner route on a double move, the guy was wide open tho'.
- #26 CB got beat on a deep fly, this could be good for us with the speed we have at that position. Have to see if we get much bump and run.
- #5 got beat deep when he was unsure where to lineup at and was in man coverage.
- #9 Berry WR, starting to have more of an impact. Good size, hard to bring down for a WR.
- 35-16 at the half, Berry had a KO return TD
- #27 perkins also took a wildcat snap. Expect to see him take on most of bumphis's roles on trick plays.
- Relf will hold the ball longer than he should on passing plays if the coverage is good.
- Alcorn caused a fumble when the MSU left tackle picked up the blitzing OLB letting the DE get a free run and he hit the QB/HB right during the mesh
- Alcorn is having some success pressuring the left side of MSU's o-line, not sure if there're subs in the game.
- #90 DL is pretty quick off the ball.
- #34 with yet another batted ball on a blitz where he was dropping into coverage.
- #28 Ballard reminds me of MSU's rb's. Not a lot of change of direction, but if they bust through the second level, they're gone.
- 42-16 with 14 minutes to go, game over.
Alcorn's first TD
This is an encouraging play since it's something we run.
MSU is in a true 4-3 which they often do on 1st down or 2nd down if they expect a run. Usually they're in a 3-4, but with the way their DE's play, it's not much difference. Twin Flankers to the right, the safety is hanging back to invite the short pass or bubble screen. #10, the OLB is flexed out to take the TE.
But then they shift into a more aggressive defense to take that away. The safety rolls up even with the corner, and the OLB's shift into the line and now it looks more like a 5-2 with the blitzer in the left tackle/guard gap. They also have the short side corner in bump in run and the wide side playing softer as many teams do against the spread. The tackle picks it up and calls out the blitzer.
MSU likes to bring pressure off the edges. (We hope they will) And the blitzer is unblocked. The right tackle is pulling and he does an awesome job of getting just enough of the blitzer to put him down. This is a QB keeper all the way, even though there is the fake handoff.
Because the LG didn't pick up the blitzer, he's free to clean up the MLB. The Alcorn linemen are happy to let the DE's take themselves out of the play, and there's a huge lane inside of the pulling tackles block.
Once the QB gets past the line #50, and #4 have a chance to run him down, but they don't have the speed. #5 comes up at too sharp of an angle, gets juked, and gives up the outside.
And then he just outruns them all. It's nice to see that #50 and #4 don't give up on the play, but it's also interesting that they have about the same speed. #5 just could not recover or accelerate enough to stay with them.
The Big Chill was a success both on the ice and as a recruiting event for the football team. There were no commitments, but the overall feeling from the recruits was favorable for Michigan. Here's a few reactions from the visitors and some extras.
6'5", 320 lbs.
Chris has been on campus a few times now, but wanted to take an official visit to experience more of the social side of Michigan. He was hoping to get closer with the players and coaches, and see what it's like to be around them.
The visit was great. I got a chance to meet a lot of the players and really be around the coaches. Overall it was awesome. What stuck out the most to me was how cool the players were, and how highly they speak of the university.
Taylor Lewan and Patrick Omameh were Chris's hosts, and yes, Lewan did show off his mustache tattoo. Bryant brought along a few members of his family. They came away with the same impressions that he did.
My family liked the visit a lot, too. They really liked all the coaches and all the players.
Bryant is still unsure if he will take any more visits and hasn't planned out when he will make his final decision. It might be safe to say that he's just waiting to see what happens with the coaching situation to make those moves.
5'11", 180 lbs.
Richardson's name is a new one in Michigan recruiting. Though he's currently committed to SMU he wanted to check out what the Wolverines had to offer.
Overall the visit was great; they really laid out the red carpet for me. The coaching staff really stuck out to me. They seemed genuine when they were talking to me. They told me that playing time isn't guaranteed, but if I worked hard and did what I'm supposed to I could play. The hockey game was great. I've never been in an environment like that, and they said the football games get louder, so that's crazy.
James was accompanied by his mom and stepdad for the visit. While his stepdad wasn't worried about the distance, his Mom had some initial doubts about her son going to school so far away.
My mom was kind of nervous about it, but she fell in love with the place. She was worried about me being so far away, but she thinks the coaches would really take care of me up there. We were kind of worried about the weather too, because everyone told me to pack a bunch of layers of clothes. I wore five layers of clothes and I was sweating out there. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, so that's fine too.
James is a three star corner with some smaller offers, but he's being compared to last year's sleeper from Louisiana—Carvin Johnson. It's probably not a coincidence that Carvin was the player host for James this past weekend. The players were a big part of why he enjoyed his trip.
I had so much fun with the players. I was with Carvin (Johnson), Denard (Robinson), and the corner they call Buc (Cullen Christian). I watched Denard all year, I thought he was going to win the Heisman, so it was cool to be around him like that. He's a really cool guy, really humble.
James plans to wait until after Michigan's bowl game to make his final decision, sometime in early January. He said he'll weigh out his options for SMU and Michigan, and also noted that Michigan has a better chance if Rich Rodriguez is still the head coach.
5'10", 170 lbs.
It was kind of a surprising when slot receiver Darius Patton said he would be going up to Ann Arbor this weekend. He does fit with Michigan's offense, but with Justice Hayes now in the class it doesn't seem like there's room for another slot receiver. Patton did come away impressed with Michigan, but maintains that everyone is equal.
There isn't too much you can't say about Michigan. Everybody knows that they pack the Big House, and their academic prestige. We all know what Michigan is about when it comes to academics and athletics, and their tradition. It was a great visit, they fit me offensively just like my other schools do. Everyone is equal right now with Michigan, West Virginia, and Cincinnati.
I got the impression from Darius that he was impressed, but may realize the depth chart at Michigan isn't in his favor. He may not have a commitable offer at the moment.
- JUCO DB Anthony Baskin will be at Michigan's practice this Friday. Originally from South Lyon high school in Michigan, Baskin said, "It's always been a dream to play in the Big House." Baskin has offers from Cincinnati, MSU, Texas A&M, NIU, Illinois, and Bowling Green.
- DT Darian Cooper told me yesterday that he has scheduled his official visit to Michigan on January 7th. I get the feeling from Darian that Michigan may be behind right now with his other schools. He will also visit Penn State and Iowa.
- S Roderick Ryles had his offer pulled from Arkansas, where he was committed. There's conflicting reports as to why the offer was pulled. I mentioned it in this thread, but I spoke with Chris Hayes from the Orlando Sentinel about this last night. Ryles told Hayes that it had nothing to do with grades, but he also said that Michigan is not in the running for him. I haven't confirmed this with Roderick myself, and this could change once the coaches talk to him about everything, so we'll see how that plays out.
This is the second in a series of wallpapers leading up to the 2011 Gator Bowl. According to the Mississippi State University official athletic web site, "the most unique and certainly the most resounding symbol of Mississippi State University tradition is the cowbell. Despite decades of attempts by opponents and authorities to banish it from scenes of competition, diehard State fans still celebrate Bulldog victories loudly and proudly with the distinctive sound of ringing cowbells."
Bulldogs fans have been bringing their answer to the Vuvuzela to football games since the late 1930s and you can bet that the world's second most annoying noisemakers will be freshly painted and nerve-gratingly loud at the Gator Bowl. Tip: if you're planning on attending the game, halt your New Year's Eve celebration a few glasses shy of a next-day headache.
On the spectrum of college football tradition awesomeness, the Mississippi State cowbell lands somewhere between "not at all awesome" and "yeah, right - what is your REAL most resounding traditional symbol?" This tradition deficiency is extra glaring in a conference that boasts 'Between the Hedges' (Georgia) and 'War Eagle' (Auburn) among others.
There are few things in this world which I genuinely hate; among them are people who hurt kids, wisdom tooth extraction and cowbells. A cowbell-themed wallpaper was a foregone conclusion, but I just couldn't get my heart into anything that involved showing an actual cowbell. So in the spirit of maximizing opponent mockingness, I offer a visual pun of dubious humor by combining the pillar of Mississippi State football tradition with the symbol of Southern beauty and femininity: the Southern Belle. This also reveals the range of my comedic abilities. On the spectrum of humor awesomeness, I land somewhere between "not at all humorously awesome" and "wait - are puns of dubious humor REALLY your only comedic angle?"
The image below is a preview only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was made
I captured the creation of this artwork and sped up the footage to condense a little over 3 hours of design time into a little under 2 minutes of video. If you're looking to improve your consumptive ratio of "time wasting garbage" to "meaningful and enlightening" media, you should not for any reason watch this video.
All of the 2010 Wallpapers
Action since last rankings:
12-5-10 Indiana loses commitment from Raymon Taylor.
12-6-10 Purdue gains commitment from Akeem Shavers. Michigan State gains commitment from Damon Knox. Wisconsin loses commitment from Bennett Okotcha, Notre Dame gains commitment from Bennett Okotcha. Nebraska gains commitment from Givens Price. Michigan loses commitment from Shawn Conway.
12-8-10 Penn State gains commitment from Ben Kline.
12-12-10 Illinois gains commitment from Jordan Frysinger.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 18 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 19 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||4||79|
Irish steal Bennett Okotcha from Wisconsin.
|#3 Nebraska - 18 Commits|
Givens Price switches from the Rice Owls to the Huskers.
|#4 Michigan State - 17 Commits|
|#5 Wisconsin - 20 Commits|
Badgers lose Bennett Okotcha to Notre Dame.
The hits keep coming, as Shawn Conway will not qualify and instead is going to Grand Rapids CC next season.
|#7 Indiana - 19 Commits|
Hoosiers lose their top commit in corner Raymon Taylor.
|#8 Iowa - 15 Commits|
|#9 Northwestern - 11 Commits|
|#10 Minnesota - 15 Commits|
|#11 Illinois - 19 Commits|
Jordan Frysinger, an unranked wideout (who chose football at Illinois over lacrosse at Johns Hopkins, which is an... interesting choice) picks the Illini.
|#12 Penn State - 8 Commits|
Lions pick up Ben Kline, capitalizing on Pitt's coaching change. Zanellato picks up a ranking of 76 from ESPN.
|#13 Purdue - 11 Commits|
If you recall, before the potential coaching change engulfed the world of Michigan fans (myself included), we were interested in whether or not the 3-3-5 defense could stop Big Ten-style run offenses. There were various football people who insisted that it could if run properly and those, like Chris Spielman, who thought that it had too many “bubbles” (I fell into the latter camp, fwiw). This diary is intended to address that issue. Obviously, the issue is more likely to be relevant if RR is retained (the wisdom of which I don’t mean to comment on here).
By "Big Ten-style" run offense, I mean, perhaps sloppily, any offense that does not primarily run out of the spread. A majority of Big Ten teams now run out of the spread, of course, but the idea floating around toward the end of Michigan's regular season was that the 3-3-5 could not stop traditional Big Ten-style rushing attacks. I accordingly looked for results from the 3-3-5 against run offenses similar to those used by Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.
[Edit: I may not have been clear enough in defining "traditional Big Ten-style rushing attack." I'll try to be more specific: A running attack that mostly involves a QB under center and mostly involves the use of a fullback or at least one tight end on running plays. Why am I using that definition? I'm using it because it because I think that's what people mean when they say that the 3-3-5 can't stop Big Ten-style rushing attacks. This criticism tends not to be very specific, so it is difficult to address it with a great deal of specificity. It is difficult to catch the boogie man.]
For obvious reasons, WVU offers the best and most relevant example of a team that uses the 3-3-5. I decided to look at WVU's success (or lack of it) against Pitt, Rutgers, and UConn from 2005-2009 as a measurement of the effectiveness of the 3-3-5 against Big Ten-style run offenses. I think we can agree that those teams run using offenses that are similar to traditional Big Ten-style offenses or, at least, that they generally do not run out of the spread (or some exotic non-spread offense like the triple-option, wing-T, or lonely antelope*).
Here, we can imagine the protest that WVU's 3-3-5 may work in the Big East but would not work in the Big Ten, as the Big East is inferior. To this I have two responses: First, WVU plays against Big East-caliber players when it plays the above teams but it does this with more-or-less that same caliber of player on its own side. Off the top of my head, I'm fairly sure that Pitt, for one, nearly always out-recruits WVU, so WVU likely does not have a talent advantage in that match-up. As to UConn and Rutgers, I believe that WVU typically out-recruits those schools, but certainly not to the degree that Michigan or any other top-echelon Big Ten School does. I might be wrong on these assumptions and, frankly, I don't feel like looking it up. The motivated reader is welcome to shed light here. In any event, I hope we can agree that WVU does not have a significant talent advantage over Pitt, UConn, and Rutgers and so the “But it’s the Big East!” argument fails on that count.
Second, it is possible that Big East coaches are inferior to Big Ten coaches so that Big Ten run offenses are more nuanced and difficult to defend than are Big East run offenses. I have no answer to this objection. I don't have the time or expertise to offer a meaningful reply. WVU's 3-3-5 offers us the most relevant example of that defense, though, so we have to work with what we have.
With those issues addressed, below are the yards per carry (ypc) of Rutgers, UConn, and Pitt from '05-'09 for their entire seasons, not including their ypc against WVU in those years. Below also are the ypc for each team against WVU (WVU ypc) for each of the relevant years and the difference between the teams' season ypc and WVU ypc for each year.
The average difference in ypc between Rutgers’ season ypc and its ypc against WVU was -0.9 ypc for '05-'09.
The average difference in ypc between UConn's season ypc and its ypc against WVU was -1.3 ypc for '05-'09.
The average difference in ypc between Pitt’s season ypc and its ypc against WVU was -0.6 ypc for '05-'09.
Further Thoughts and Conclusion:
I realized as I was compiling these statistics that I did not account for sacks. WVU averaged roughly 31 sacks per year from ’05-’09, a seemingly middling amount (and roughly what Michigan averaged for those years). A brief review of the rest of the Big East’s sack totals for those years suggests that WVU was not a stand-out sack-wise in the conference for our time period. It is none-the-less possible that, despite WVU’s average performance as a pass rushing defense, WVU had a disproportionate amount of sacks against UConn, Pitt, and Rutgers and that these sacks artificially lowered those teams’ ypc against WVU. WVU recorded seven sacks for 50 yards in one of the games listed above.
I am not inclined, half out of laziness, to go back and pick through the sacks-against totals for UConn, Pitt, and Rutgers against all non-WVU teams and then against WVU. It strikes me as unlikely that those teams’ ypc were lowered by sacks against WVU any more than they were lowered by sacks against all other teams. Again, though, the motivated reader is welcome to illuminate this issue.
UConn, Rutgers, and Pitt rushed for an average of 0.9 ypc less against WVU during our time period than they did against all other teams. WVU’s worst performances were against Pitt in 2005 and 2008, when Pitt increased its ypc by 0.8 and 0.7 against WVU. Other than that, WVU routinely held teams to their average ypc or less. Twice (UConn 2005 and Pitt 2006), WVU stoned teams to the tune of a decrease of at least -3.9 ypc.
As a comparison (and here my laziness shows up again), Alabama’s very strong rush defense of 2009 held its Division I opponents to 1.6 ypc less than those teams rushed for during their entire seasons (here, though, I did not subtract those teams' ypc against Alabama from their total ypc, so the above number is artificially deflated). The fact that WVU’s performance against UConn, Rutgers, and Pitt does not match Alabama’s (deflated) performance of 2009 shows us that WVU was not dominant. Despite this, I am inclined to say that WVU’s performance was pretty good or, if you like, A-okay.
Despite the imperfections in the above analysis, I now believe that the 3-3-5 can succeed against traditional Big Ten offenses. Of course, replicating WVU’s success would require recruiting appropriate players for the 3-3-5, developing them, and then using the 3-3-5 at least as well as Jeff Casteel does at WVU.
*There is, of course, no such offense as the wing-T.