I want you to think back, carefully, think back to the days of Coach Carr. What did you used to say, muttering to yourself grimly or shouting to others in the room angrily during the game? “A field goal will only put us up 6 and there’s plenty of time for another drive left. Go for it!” I shouted this at the TV on many 4th and 1’s from the opponent 14. “We’ve been blitzing successfully all day, and now we get down to the last minute, and you go to this totally ineffective Prevent? Play to Win!” You may have supported Coach Carr to the upmost, like I did, but you can’t deny that his choices infuriated you on occasion. He so often played not to lose. He so often did things ‘the old way’.
And so, we brought in Rodriguez to change all that. To finally do away with the run up the middle on third and 50, and the QB who couldn’t get out of the way of the world’s slowest developing pass rush. We brought him in, scary as it was, to reverse the field and have lightning quick snap counts and to play to win. And it didn’t work.
Monday night, a spread & shred offense as good as anything Rich Rodriguez at WVU ever put on the table played in the national championship game opposite Auburn, a team featuring a more traditional spread. True to form, the scoring in this game was quick and furious, featuring scoring drives of less than a minute in many cases. Full field reverses and lightning quick snap counts were the play du jour. At times, it was awesome to behold.
Keen observers may note one thing, however, about the game. With a final tally of 22-19 and scoring that included safeties, goal line stands and field goals from within the red zone, the battle was undeniably defensive. In a game where the question was expected to be, “How long can these good defenses stand up before these excellent offenses find a chink in the armor”, we instead found ourselves asking, “How many chinks in the armor before the offense runs out of little things to exploit and can’t make anything else happen?”
And we were left with one more question. Why did the Auburn defense not get tired, slow down, and slowly but surely give the game away in increasing chunks of yardage, as every MSM talking head had prognosticated for weeks?
Ladies and gentlemen – we brought in Rich Rodriguez to be our coach to lift us out of our mediocrity and to finally lift our sights higher than a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl berth. We brought him in to reinvigorate the program and bring speed, style and a modern flair to Saturday afternoons in the Big House. We brought him in to win National Championships. And we sent him on his way because while the speed was coming, the rest of it, so far, was frustratingly not. And now you question it?
No, don’t say, “He needed more time. He needed more time to install this and ready that and yadda yadda yadda.” No. We brought Rodriguez in to take us beyond dreams of Big Ten Championships and Rose Bowl berths where we were never really in the national picture. We brought him in to wake up from our dreams of Bo. And as I’ve already pointed out, that’s no guarantee, even if everything works perfectly. The best Spread & Shred in the history of Spread & Shreds just played in the national title game, and lost, in a DEFENSIVE BATTLE. I’m not saying that the spread doesn’t work. Obviously it does. But think back to Michigan/Florida in the Capital One Bowl. Just because it’s the spread doesn’t mean it’s a winner, either.
And we recognized this. And we fired our coach. And we were prepared once again to move on. Except now, the name we wanted – we couldn’t get. And people are lamenting, “If we couldn’t get Harbaugh, we shouldn’t have fired Rodriguez.” Well, I’ve got news for you people. “4th and 1 from the 14? We couldn’t get the TD, so lets just kick the field goal.” “1:15 left up by 6? I think it’s time to pull out that prevent defense.”
No, we may not have gotten exactly who we wanted. But who we had was not getting it done, and even if everything was optimal, it very well may not have been enough.Brian talks about how we sacrificed our chance at being national champs to be conference champs. Well me, I think that's a lot of bull. Rodriguez was a good coach, but we were still a million miles from becoming a national power, and the next flash in the pan wasn't any more likely to do it. And last I checked, winning the Big Ten goes a long way in your national perspective. Keep Rodriguez if we couldn’t get Harbaugh? Avoid the perilous situation we’re in now? You’ll excuse me if I don’t feel like kicking the field goal and playing prevent. It might cost me, but I’m a Michigan fan. I want to PLAY TO WIN.
For a number of years now, it has been a popular position that the time off between the end of the regular season and the beginning of bowl season is excessively long, and leads to poor play early in games. Certainly I have found this to be an attractive explaination for the prodigous quantities of DERP we saw this bowl season.
But DERP is subjective, and the plural of anecdote is not data. Is there any substantial quantitative support to the notion that bowl games start off unusually sloppy? There are a great many factors at play; I chose to look at relevant statistics on a quarter-by-quarter basis. I don't have the massive database that seems popular around these here parts, and the typical box score doesn't give a per-quarter breakdown of anything but score. Bummer. Well, maybe if we go ahead and look anyway at a
chart of percent of total points scored per quarter, we can find something elucidating. All bowl games are included. Each team's per-quarter scoring is normalized by their total score in the game. Averages and standard deviations are then computed, based on the entire bowl team population. It seems plausible that excessive pre-bowl layoff will result in a substantially higher standard deviation in the early part of the game, when either offense or defense might be DERPerrific.
|U of A||70.00||0.00||30.00||0.00||10|
Well, hmm. We could weight the per-quarter score fractions by the total number of points scored per team (0-3-3-3 is less telling than 0-21-21-21), but we find that this makes little difference. In the unweighted case, we find that the first half standard deviation is 29% higher than the second half standard deviation. The first quarter standard deviation is about 16% higher than the average quarter.
This seems to lend mild support to the idea that bowl games start off unusually sloppy. How does this compare to regular-season results? I compared to games from weeks 12-15, but only if the game involved two teams that ended up bowl-eligible (I counted Arizona State, because I graduated from there and it was Wisconsin's/SJSU's fault anyway and if you don't like it then tough). I toyed with the idea of removing rivalry games, because rivalry games are weird, but I did not.
|U of A||48.28||17.24||10.34||24.14||29|
|Fresno||thanks for breaking the chart Fresno||0|
|U of A||0.00||0.00||70.00||30.00||20|
Stupid Fresno. Anyway, we continue to see elevated stdev for the first quarter of regular season games between bowl eligible teams, but by a lesser degree. For these regular season games, the first half standard deviation is 10.8% higher than that for the second half. The first quarter standard deviation is about 11% higher than the average quarter.
There are certainly some serious issues with this methodology. Does a sloppy defense give up more scores to a sloppy offense than when both are playing carefully? I don't know the best answer, but I'm sure it varies on a case-by-case basis. There are also many late-game effects for which I have not accounted - a prevent version of a dominant defense might give up the only score of the game in the 4th quarter when the game is out of reach (hi there Sparty!). This would give a large standard deviation value to the 4th quarter, erroneously implying sloppiness. I do not know how to account for these sorts of errors with the data set I have available. Further, I do not suggest that this is an all-inclusive list of methodological problems.
Still, 29% vs 10.8% seems vaguely compelling, give 70 bowl and 98 regular season scores. My statistical background has faded badly since undergrad, so I'm going to refrain from a hilariously misguided attempt at error bars. The sample size is large, but boy those data are noisy. Any time my standard deviation is as big as the average, I start to feel a little woozy...
There have been a lot of questions about where we're at, and what's happening so I'm going to do a mini update so everyone is caught up on where we're at. We obviously won't know some aspects of what will happen until Brady Hoke assembles his staff, and starts to actually make phone calls and visits.
- There's been a rumor that LB Kellen Jones decommitted, which is not true. I spoke with his dad today, and he told me that's not even close. If the Michigan coaches tell Kellen that they want him just as much as the previous coaching staff did then he will be in Ann Arbor. Kellen is visiting Colorado this weekend, because it's already set up, and it's just for fun. He is supposed to take a visit out to Miami, but they're not sure if that will even happen. Kellen still feels the same about Michigan, he's just covering himself for just in case.
- Kris Frost hasn't heard from Auburn yet. If they say no, there's a good chance he'll come to Michigan. If they say yes, then as far as I understand someone else will lose their spot.
- K Matt Goudis and DB Dallas Crawford are visiting Miami this weekend. Dallas knows that Michigan has hired a new coach, and has started to do research on him.
- WR Devin Lucien is a recruit that has been waiting for Michigan to make a hire so he can visit. He still wants to talk to the coaching staff to make sure his offer will be honored, but he was being recruited by San Diego State. Michigan has a great chance with Devin.
- OL Chris Bryant is announcing at the end of January, but this hire for Michigan also helps with him. Michigan is in the lead.
- The only current commits we need to monitor really are Dallas Crawford, Matt Goudis, and Jake Fisher. Blake Countess will just require a phone call to make sure everything is in order, and we should be good to go with everyone else.
If you have any other questions, or if I'm forgetting anything ask in the comments and I'll try to get it answered. It's going to be an ongoing update as the coaches start to reach out to commits and recruits.
Be forwarned, the following will not be pretty nor useful. (mods, feel free to delete or censor). If you don't want to read a rage filled post, please close this tab and move on with your lives.
ok, we good? Are the kids' eyes safely diverted? Then let the Fuuuuuuuuu machine engage:
Fuck it all.
Brian's not in a swearing mood. I am.
I'm not angry that Hoke is now the coach.
He may someday turn into a decent coach.
I'm pissed off at the state of College Football.
It's clearer than ever that the NCAA is full of a bunch of Cross Eyed Hypocrites.
It's painfully obvious that the newspapers are full of fucktards with their asses so far up their own asses that their noses are covered in their own shit and they can't smell the truth even if they were wearing ski masks without nose holes and they could pull off the ski masks and their noses wouldn't be covered in shit. IT WOULDN'T MATTER, THEY'RE STILL FUCKING ASSCLOWNS.
Cam Newton just showed he was worth the thousands of dollars that Auburn, FUCKING AUBURN, FUCKING CHEATING MOTHER FUCKERS AUBURN WHO HAVE BEEN CAUGHT REDHANDED MORE TIMES IN THE LAST 20 YEARS THAN ANY OTHER FUCKING SCHOOL I CAN THINK OF, got some booster to donate to Cam Newton's dirty motherfucking religious dirty, and probably pedophile supporting, motherfucking father's church.
So the story is that someone from UF tipped off the NCAA to Newton's dealings with MSU (NNTMSU, the MSU that kicked our fucking asses into oblvion because our defensive coaches quit sometime back in november since they didn't get any vote of confidence and knew they were all going to be out of jobs. well good luck assholes, may god have mercy on anyone that hires you). Gee, I wonder how they knew. It's not like anyone with Florida connections is at Mississippi State now. Oh, wait...
But Urban Meyer can't just come out and say that Florida paid for Newton too. No, then he would be a villian, he would be throwing HIS OWN program under the bus. Instead he can go on ESPN and blow sunshine up the WWL's asses while leaking left and right to try to hurt a rival school.
But is it surprising that Florida is shelling out the money? In today's game, that's the only way you can win on a consistent basis. Especially in the S.E.C. We know USC was paying, we now know that OSU is paying, the entire SEC thinks the rulebook is quaint. FUCK THEM ALL.
And I don't blame them. FUCK YOU, NCAA, FUCK YOU. Fuck your fucking hypocrisy. Fuck you making millions off the BCS and EASports and then claiming that football players are "amateurs". Fuck you punishing Michigan for an extra 20 minutes of stretching per week when the corrupt bastards down in Columbus are driving new cars every week. If there's any loyal Michigan fans in Ohio, they should camp outside every car dealership in that god-forsaken town and record every time an OSU player does a "test drive". Not that it would matter, the players could just use the "but I wasn't looking" defense and they'd be allowed to play in any meaningful (profitable) game. Fucking bullshit. Fuck you, OSU AD and your fucking lies.
And fuck you detroit free press. Fuck you for focusing on kids stretching when half of MSU's (YTMSU, the green and white thugs in ski masks) team is on probation, in jail, or randomly putting other students in the hospital. Fuck you. I don't care that Glenn Winston is a two time convict. I care that Dantonio would suit him up tomorrow if he had a chance, and you would still ignore it and write about how Richrod has a stupid accent and a "win at all costs" attitude. FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.
FUCK YOU MICHAEL ROSENBERG. I hope you go to jail and people bugger you till you bleed from the nose. Maybe that will clean your palate and you can smell your own fucking bias. If anyone in the athletic department had any balls they would sue you for libel and slander. HAVE YOU FINALLY LEARNED WHAT A FUCKING COUNTABLE HOUR IS, YOU DUMB BITCH? ARE YOU WILLING TO ADMIT IT, YOU FUCKING COWARD?
FUCK YOU DREW SHARP, BECAUSE FUCK YOU. YOU ARE THE WORST KIND OF FUCKING ASSCLOWN. YOU ARE THE REASON PEOPLE DON'T BUY THE FREEP ANYMORE. I HOPE WHEN YOU GET TO HELL, THAT GOD MAKES YOU SUCK HIS COCK FOR ALL ETERNITY. YOU'VE NEVER HAD ANYTHING NICE NOR CONSTRUCTIVE TO SAY ABOUT ANYTHING OR ANYONE, EVER. EVER! FUCK YOU.
Fuck you ESPN. FUCK YOU AND YOUR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. Fuck your "Sources". Fuck herbstreit, fuck corso, fuck anyone that had anything to say about the coaching search, because FUCK YOU, YOU ALL DIDN'T KNOW SHIT. FUCK JOE SCHAD, FUCK Andy who da fuck cares how to spell your fucking name. How many times did you all declare that 'XYZ' coach was coming to michigan? FUCK YOU.
And finally, fuck you whiny players and your sense of entitlement. I know you work hard, I know you deserve money. But I hate your fucking attitudes. I hate that you quit and transfer if you don't get your way. I hate that you bring in your jackass sportscasting fathers when you get disciplined. I hate that you think you can lie your way through life. I hate that you usually can. FUCK YOU KENYON RAMBO, FUCK TED GINN, SR AND JR. FUCK YOU TROY SMITH, FUCK YOU TERELLE PRYOR. AND FUCK ALL THE DIRTY BACKROOM DEALING BOOSTERS AND AGENTS WHO GAVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED.
FUCK ALL OF YOU. I was pretty good this season and kept my posting polite. Well it turns out that it was just building up until this release. And so if you have a problem with my post because you didn't heed the warning at the top, well then, fuck you too.
Here's to four more years of mediocrity. It's whiskey time.
as everyone knows, the most conspicuous thing about this blog during the past couple of weeks has been the absence of THE KNOWLEDGE
THE KNOWLEDGE is the primary source of information on these very pages, and elsewhere, whenever a coaching search comes up or other information about the future is needed
so why was THE KNOWLEDGE absent?
you all, of course, know the answer by now
to prevent the biggest meltdown in the history of sports fandom by announcing who the next coach was going to be even prior to the firing of Rodriguez
the vast majority of M fans are extremely unhappy about this hire and especially the way the firing and coaching search was mishandled by a clueless Brnadon. the rest of the fans are just mildly unhappy
however, THE KNOWLEDGE is not prone to such emotions
once you know what the future holds, there is no reason to be anxious
a few months ago, in the aftermath of the Iowa loss, THE KNOWLEDGE left this blog for the season and promised to return in the offseason to cover the coaching changes that were to occur in the Big Ten
at that point, most people assumed it will be just Robinson that will be fired. THE KNOWLEDGE did not reveal the future to prevent chaos, as mentioned earlier
now that Hoke has been hired, what does the future hold?
THE KNOWLEDGE will reveal what will happen two seasons hence
coacing changes will occur both in Ann Arbor and Columbus
Tressel will "retire" and will be replaced by Urban Meyer in Columbus
In Ann Arbor, the new coach will be one-time Meyer assistant, Dan Mullen
thence a new Ten Year War will commence, similar to the Bo-Woody years
in the aftermath of a Michigan Nationl Championship, which results in Brady Hoke moving onto the NFL to coach the Lions (Hoke knows to move on once the summit has been reached)
as usual, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and bask in glory
leaving every doubter in a trail of dust
the decade of THE KNOWLEDGE has started
With a new coach for Michigan for the 2011 season, so like any reasonable Michigan fan (who am I kidding; we all are unreasonable), I had to figure out my expectations for Hoke's first year. Although our situation is still fluid (might have some transfers and still don't know DC and some position coaches), I think there is enough data for us to build a benchmark for Hoke to reach in his first year. Looking at where we stand, I think the perfect benchmark for our 2011 season will be Notre Dame's 2010 season. Let's breakdown the comparisions:
1) New coaches with different offensive philosophies - ND in 2009 was a pro-style offense with Weis, and ND in 2010 switched to a spread offense with Kelley. Michigan in 2010 was a spread offense with Rod, and it looks we'll be switching to a West Coast offense with a power run game. So both teams within first year of new coach had/will have radical change in the offense and philosophy.
2) Different defensive philosphies - ND in 2009 ran a 4-3 defense under Tenuta, and ND in 2010 ran a 3-4 defense under Diaco. Michigan in 2010 ran a 3-3-5 defense under GERG, and it looks like we'll be switching to a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. This is an assumption, but with the style of play common in the Big 10, I doubt Hoke will have a 3-3-5 defense and most likely will run a 4-3 or 3-4 (my guess is 4-3 since our DL is much better than our LBs).
3) Returning number of starters. In 2009, ND had 17 returning starters. In 2010, they had 15 returning starters. The key loss for them was Jimmy Clausen; Dayne Christ had minimal experience while playing garbage time in 2008. In 2010, Michigan had 15 returning starters, and barring any attrition, Michigan will have 20 returning starters for 2011. Michigan won't have a key loss if Denard stays. Michigan should benefit with so many starters and experience returning.
So comparing the situations, both teams had/will have completely different offensive and defensive philosphies, and the number of returning starters decreased a little for ND but increased quite a bit for Michigan. So next I thought I'd look at stats.
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 32
Total Defense - 86
Scoring Defense - 63
Total Offense - 61
Scoring Offense - 67
Total Defense - 50
Scoring Defense - 23
Analyzing the situation, the offense clearly dropped quite a bit but the defense actually improved quite well. Kelly lost Crist for most of the season and had to play an assortment of freshmen QBs, and plus with a new offensive system, it was reasonable to see a drop off in offensive production. On the D side of the ball, the switch to the 3-4 really paid off for ND as they really improved over the course of the season. Let's look at Michigan this year and analyze from there:
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 25
Total Defense - 110
Scoring Defense - 108
With the offense, I'm sure everyone is expecting a drop since we'll be implementing a new system that's more conservative than the spread-n-shred. For the D (ouch it hurts looking at those numbers), Hoke is defense first coach and will be focusing the most here, and plus a switch to a more conventional 4-3 (or possible 3-4) defense should help but we're still 2 years away from being an above average defense. Aiming for 60-70s range is reasonable.
In 2009, ND finished 6-6 despite a highly prolific offense. The defense was beyond terrible and ended Weis' career at ND. In 2010, ND finished 8-5, beating a decent Miami team in the Sun Bowl. ND started slowly in 2010 but finished off very strong. The offense dropped off but within another year or two I expect Kelly to have the offense humming at a very high level. Diaco did a good job with ND's defense in 2010 and should do well in the future. Looking at ND's recruiting class, their first year under Kelly is pretty good. Rivals has them ranked #18 in the nation; ND has done well in addressing their needs, especially in the trenches (ND was ranked #14 by Rivals in 2009). They lost some good commitments during their mid season swoon but have recovered nicely.
Benchmark for 2011 for Michigan:
Record = 8-5
Recruiting class = Top 20
With the amount of starters and experience that we have coming back, a losing season will be a huge disappointment. Yes, there will be changes in offensive and defensive philosophy, but ND underwent similiar changes as us and produced a solid season in 2010. Kelly was also able to maintain good recruiting and I expect it to improve in the following years to come. Michigan's 2010 class is decimated and Hoke will have to work hard to maintain our current commits and add a few, but in 2011 the Midwest will have a very strong talent pool (especially in the trenches), and if Hoke is to live up to his billing of an excellent recruiter, he must pull in a top 20 class that addresses needs for QB, RBs, LBs, DL, and OL. ND 2010 set the mark for us in 2011, and it's upto to Hoke to reach this benchmark. If he fails to do so, I fear Michigan is going to be in bad shape for many years to come.