Coaching Change / Offensive Philosophy Change: Time of Possession v. Defense
I originally wasn’t going to post this because I thought it was just a question in my own head, and I didn’t find a signficant result. However, given the top item in Brian’s mailbag today, and since I had already done the quick analysis, I thought it would be worthwhile to share.
The question had to do with whether Michigan’s struggles on defense were related to the fact that its offensive philosophy often results in short possessions, exposing the defense to being on the field for a longer period of time. So I decided to see if there was a correlation between a team’s offensive Time of Possession and its defense.
R-squared is 0.03 - not significant.
“Ok,” I thought, “maybe the way that DFEI is calculated already takes Time of Possession into account. What if we looked at Time of Possession versus Total Defense (yards)? Surely there would be a correlation, especially since defenses that force short possessions by the opponent (3-and-outs, turnovers, etc.) would result in more possessions by their team’s offense, and more Time of Possession.”
R-squared is 0.14 - still not really significant.
“Fine,” I said, “maybe I should look at Time of Possession versus Scoring Defense - because that’s what really counts. An offense that can control the ball can help protect its defense, and keep the score down."
R-squared is 0.06 - not significant.
Finally, I reached back into one of the motivations for looking at this question to begin with. Why would anyone talk about Time of Possession on offense as if it were an important factor on defense, especially with respect to Michigan? Could it be because Stanford leads the country in Time of Possession, and one might try to argue that a CC that shifts the offensive philosophy towards a more ball-control, time-of-possession system would be a good way to help Michigan’s defense?
So what if we looked at the Change in Time of Possession from last year to this year, and compared it to the Change in Total Defense (least insignificant result from above)?
R-squared is 0.14 - still not really significant.
What this says to me is that there are too many variables that influence how a defense performs; one cannot boil it down to a simple thing like Time of Possession (or experience on a depth chart, for that matter). All of those factors may play a part, but no one individual factor is significantly correlated to a team’s performance on defense. Football is just too complex to boil down into simplistic truisms.
***** ADDENDUM *****
A related question has been raised - whether there is a link between the number of possessions and the performance of the defense. I used cfbstats.com to add up the number of 4th down conversion attempts, punts, passing TDs, rushing TDs, FG attempts, Interceptions thrown, and Fumbles lost to calculate the total number of offensive possessions (this may exclude offensive possessions at the end of each half where time simply runs out, and does not differentiate between an offense trying to score v. trying to run out the clock).
Looking at Offensive Possessions versus Defensive FEI:
R-squared is 0.004 - not significant.
What about Offensive Possessions versus Total Defense?
R-squared is 0.13 - still not really significant.
Finally, what about Offensive Possessions versus Scoring Defense?
R-squared is 0.12 - again, still not really significant.
Obviously, if the underlying parameters of a model do not show correlation, one should not expect a calculated value based on those parameters to show a correlation. Nevertheless, for the sake of completion, here is the Average Time per Possession versus Total Defense:
R-squared, as expected, is still only 0.12 - not really significant.
I'm afraid even looking at number of possessions rather than simply time of possession doesn't change the analysis. This suggests to me that the style of offense does not have a significant impact on the performance of the defense.
There was a post earlier about a "curious M-Den item" in which many people speculated about whether this Michigan Robot could actually play football. Well, after some research, I found out more about our mechanized friend, and it appears that in all the buzz about Blake Countess(WOOOO!), people failed to realize that Michigan Robot also committed to play football for the University of Michigan. Therefore, to make up for this slight, I've compiled everything you need to know about this darkhorse athlete. Enjoy!
|5*, #1 CB, #5 Overall||6.0, #1 CB, #4 Overall||5*, 95, #2 CB|
Michigan Robot is a solid player who could contribute immediately in this defense. His size shouldn't be an issue, as Scout and Rivals have him listed at 11' 1" (ESPN, oddly, has him listed at just 10' 10"). He will also be playing in this year's U.S. Army All-Robotics Bowl. Here's is a breakdown of his game:
Michigan Robot is made of metal, he's indestructible, and he weighs the same as a truck. He literally destroys everything in his path. His speed could also be helpful in returns. He cannot kick, because he just obliterates the ball when he tries, which is a 5 yard penalty.
ESPN was the only site not to give Michigan Robot the nod as the #1 CB. Here's their reasoning:
Michigan Robot has great speed, size, and just about everything you'd want in a football player. He's a tremendous athlete, but there's a problem: he's not human. Thus, his talents are artificial and not natural. Seeing as how DeAnthony Thomas is a naturally-gifted athlete, he is our #1 rated CB.
Nevermind the fact that Michigan Robot has lasers for eyes, but moving on. Michigan Robot's tackling also seems to be superb, as to be expected when you were built for destruction. Scout breaks down his tackling:
His hips are always on a swivel: no seriously, his hips are welded to a swivel. As a result, Michigan Robot can allow his body to follow a tackle through to completion even if he doesn't get the initial stop on first contact, which never happens, so disregard that. How is this guy even legally eligible to play against humans?
Scout loves this kid, and made no attempt to hide it. Instead of quoting them, I'm simply provided the Scout page for you to observe yourself:
Michigan Robot is obviously a great athlete who loves to compete, and his performances at combines and scout camps have shown that time and time again. MI Robot's ability to cover receivers won't ever be questioned, because he's about the same height as a single-story ranch home.
Who didn't offer this kid? I mean, come on, he's a giant robot! Among the schools that Michigan beat out to land MI Robot were Florida, Alabama, Auburn, OSU, and MIT (YTMIT). The MIT offer seems odd since they haven't had a football team since...ever, but when you look at their offer, it becomes clear that they merely wanted to research how MI Robot functioned as a mechanized automaton.
MI Robot's final three came down to Michigan, Florida, and OSU, but ultimately picked Michigan because, as he put it:
During manufacturing my cranial shell was affixed with maize and blue wings, thus it seemed logical that I was meant to play for Michigan.
Scout's profile on Michigan Robot gave the following numbers:
Michigan robot didn't play football his senior year due to concern over "bodily harm to other, more human, players." However his junior year he recorded 35 interceptions, 235 tackles, 17 returns for touchdowns, and he successfully tied the goal posts into origami cranes after winning the state championship.
So, yea, he's pretty good. The only slight was in a game against Cass Tech when he got burned by a receiver for a touchdown because opposing fans yelled out a paradox in unison, thus confusing MI Robot (paradoxical statements have since been banned from all games in which MI Robot is playing in order to avoid self-destruction).
FAKE 40 TIME
ESPN and Rivals have MI Robot's speed at 4.43 even, but Scout tends to give his speed a little more credit, citing a 4.37 40 time. Since these times were timed by MI Robot's inner computer and then verified using statistical probability analysis on 1,000 hypothetical attempts, I'd say these times are pretty accurate.
Still, there's always error involved in statistical analysis, so I'll give these times a one-half FAKE out of five.
This is just a short clip, but it should tell you everything you need to know:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
When the only negative that scouts seem to give this kid is his "lack of humanity," you know you've got a good thing (as long as he's, well, not actually human). Still, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff at Michigan will keep this kid at CB or use him, well, everywhere [Ed-M: My votes for hybrid FS/Terminator]. He's got the gifts to play nearly any position except QB (he tends to put too much mustard behind his throws, and he isn't made of Dilithium) and we could easily see him playing both ways a la Charles Woodson.
Don't look for MI Robot to redshirt since he is an obvious lock to start at an abhorrently depleted position (e.g. - the entire defense). There doesn't seem to be much Barwisizing to do because MI Robot isn't made from flesh and muscle, but never underestimate the power of milk.
Even as an underclassman, MI Robot has the potential to do special things, and I look forward to him being on All-American lists by season's end. Also, he could give Denard a run for the Heisman next year (but not really).
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
He's a freaking 11-foot robot who plays football, and he can play every position! Who cares? (Although it would still be nice to land a stud like
Walls Jernigan.) This could do wonders for our recruiting because, well, who the hell wouldn't want to play football with a football robot?
Alright... I've read enough of these posts and responses about the Big Ten logo and I was actually writing all of this as a response to the "Reconsider Division Names" thread when I finally decided to bump it into its own post. I'm not trying to come off as some logo elitist, a creative snoot or some kind of uppity know-it-all. It's just that there's several enormous parts of the iceberg regarding the creative process, decision-making, and ultimate implemenation of a big-time corporate logo that many of you aren't aware of, and so I'm trying to enlighten some people.
Personally, I'll own up and give you my own opinion of the official Big Ten logo at the end of this post.
In the meantime, it's no secret that most of the blog hates and loathes this thing like it came from Columbus. And that's awesome-- everyone has the right to respond to it however they'd like. BUT what's bothering me is that everyone, including Brian, is suggesting that we just have a contest and the people will fix what the king's court could not. And, my whole plumbing analogy notwithstanding, some of you are even suggesting that the Big Ten will save so much money by not having to hire some snooty art company type thing.
I couldn't disagree with you more. They'd still have to spend almost the same amount of money to get a design firm to adapt a 'contest winner' into a working branding concept and final production suite. Multi-venue solutions (line art, grayscale, full color, spot color), vector and raster images, RGB vs. CMYK files-- all of these things need to be prepared so that the logo can successfully depart for file management and implementation.
Let's say that Jim Delany saw the shield logo on our blog -- TScherne or Block M or whoever did it-- and decided that was the one he was going to run with. What would really happen? Chances are they'd write a little check and have the designer sign off ownership of the design about twenty times. THEN they'd go back to Pentagram or another design firm, and they'd essentially recreate it in vector format, tweaking it slightly to maximize production and reproduction. Then they'd create countless format options for the logo, some for web, some for print, some for line art solutions like one-color tees, etc. etc. And the work doesn't end there.
Perhaps very few of you realize that the design firm is also responsible for the production and publication of a proper creative brief, design manual, or reproduction requirement publication. Basically it's a manual that follows the logo wherever it goes throughout its shelf life, telling every prepress artist or web developer how it should, and more importantly, how it cannot be used. For example, the UM sports department probably issued a new brief last year telling everyone NOT to use the block M with 'MICHIGAN' through the middle, and not to use the one with the blue stroke, and instead use only the single color block M. It might also say you cannot add to the mark, rotate the mark, use different typography for the mark, etc etc. All of this has to be prepared, developed, and considered so that no handling or manipulation of the logo is open to interpretation. Many of these documents are small, but several can be up to 40-50 pages. I've worked with Bucknell's and few others, and have seen countless more. It's a very legitimate and binding document.
In other words, you just don't draw up a logo and send it in. Even if it's a contest winner, you're not saving any money, and chances are you're only setting yourself up for future complications. Let the experts do their job, man.
NOW, if you hate the logo, that's another thing-- but ultimately Delany and the Big Ten are responsible for choosing and approving that solution, not the design company. I'd bet Pentagram created at least a dozen other solutions that Delany and company passed over. This is not something that was just whipped up on a napkin, my friends.
If you think the design firm could have done better, chances are they did. It just wasn't chosen.
I don't think it's that bad. Seriously.
But I also think it's no home run. Yes, the Pac10's logo is so much sweeter. The new logo is to the point, the typography is relatively clean and is also current without being too trendy. I also think the whole B10 shortened mark could probably catch on, if it's handled the right way. Still, they could've done a much better job in promoting the personality and character of what we consider GGRRRRR BIG TEN FOOTBALL by choosing the right typeface. Typefaces are like voices-- they can all say the same words and yet the meanings can become completely different.
What I really dislike is the color. That icy blue doesn't have enough contrast to really pop off a white background, and on a black background it'll probably be unappealing in a Carolina Panthers kinda way. I also don't like how they did the whole black "B" with the blue "10" concept-- looks very bleh, and too NFL on FOX. I'd have probably done something that combines current with tradition, but that may not have been what the Big Ten as an organization asked for. We'll never know what the customer requested prior to design.
As far as contests and my uppity opinions, etc., someone has already asked me 'hey why don't you whip something up?' I will not. And I'm not ripping on anyone who had the scrotum to work something up and post it here on mgoblog-- more power to all of you and I'm certainly willing to recognize some strong efforts. If someone were to commission me to create a logo then perhaps I might-- but technically none of you have the right to hire me to create a Big Ten logo-- that would be a conflict of ownership with the Big Ten. So yes, I have some ideas, but until the miraculous day that I get a call from Jim Delany asking me to knock something out, I'm going to keep my concepts to myself.
Go Blue and Merry Christmas everybody.
Game 9 (no torrent, but Brian looked at their offense)
Game 6 (couldn't find a torrent)
Be careful about anything that seems encouraging from this game since Alabama doesn't really do anything that we do and has great athletes all over the place. Here we go:
- Haven't really mentioned it until now, but MSU Kickoff coverage has been pretty solid all year. The gunners seem to make solid tackles.
- The zen of blitz pickups, if we can just get a body on their blitzers and let their momentum take them upfield, good things should happen.
- Ballard caught a pass after faking the run, he was wide open, guess Bama has been watching the same tapes as me. He hadn't really done that all year up til now
- Relf with another bad INT. No pressure, he just made a bad decision, throwing it right to the safety.
- #90 Mcphee LE got some pressure with a speed rush
- Perkins looks good on that counter sweep
- Bama's QB is finding some openings against MSU's zone. Hit a comeback against #13 Banks who was playing pretty far off, they came right back to it and #5 was much closer on the play. #5 is a more aggressive player in coverage from that safety spot.
- #25 CB will come up hard on run support
- #50 white doesn't seem to get tired, he's sideline to sideline throughout the game.
- #94 RE made a nice play in the backfield when the pulling linemen couldn't get to him in time
- #3 gets a nice gain on a WR screen on 2nd and a mile
- Wow, Marquis Maze just made 3 people miss tackles for a long TD. #25 put a hit on up high, but Maze is too strong for that.
- Maze returns a punt for a TD, called back on a penalty, so Mark Ingram takes a hitch and just outruns everyone to the endzone
- 20-3 Bama at the half
- #61 got beat for another sack
- Julio Jones takes the jet sweep for another long TD, broke an arm tackle by #36 and #5 took a bad angle. He's done that a bit against guys with real speed.
- #86 Carr, speedy freshman screwed up the kick return, mullen gave him an earful on the sideline, wonder if he's gonna be in the doghouse the next couple weeks.
- Guess not since carr is getting involved in the run game on that drive.
- down 27-3 MSU punts on 4th and inches from it's own 30 with 8 minutes to go in the 3rd. game over.
- #50 white gets a nice INT getting good depth in his zone, looks like he pulled his groin on the play
- 8 in the box is definitely the way to go aginst MSU's run game. Take your chances with relf's accuracy and MSU WR's don't have great hands.
- Can someone shoot Bob Davie with a tranquilizer, or something to just shut him up. Cam newton plays for neither alabama nor MSU, move on.
- Ballard showing more patience this week. Earlier in the year he would just slam into the hole. But he's got enough of a burst and acceleration to be more patient and look for the openings.
- Relf takes a sack holding the ball too long
- FUCKING STOP TALKING ABOUT NEWTON FOR PETE'S SAKE!
- Ingram runs right over #5
- HOLY CHRIST! BOB DAVIE HAS SPENT THE ENTIRE 2ND HALF TALKING ABOUT AUBURN, meanwhile #42 for bama is spinning off tacklers who like to hit but haven't been wrapping up that well this game.
- Subs are in, game is really over, the start of the 4th
- Isn't that cute, Julio Jones has pigtails.
- Why were people getting on Bo Pelini's case? $aban just ripped his backup QB a new one, looked much worse than anything Pelini did. He even spanks him pretty violently on the arse. That's just what football coaches do.
- Russell in at QB, hits #35 in the flat for a 1st down. something new.
- #3 drops a pass.
- #19 makes a nice catch in traffic
- Bumphis closes out the scoring by getting behind the safeties.
Game 6 (couldn't find a torrent)
After the emotional last second win against florida, MSU had a bit of a letdown vs. UAB. And don't go thinking that UAB was a decent team from a smaller confernce, they were 4-8 vs a bunch of also rans. They are squarely in the bottom quarter of FBS schools. You could probably equate this to our game against Umass, sorta.
- #61 LG got beat on a rusher crossing his face
- #74 RG is a backup playing because of inuries, got a false start
- #4 safety is having a better game coming up to make the big hit on receivers after they catch short passes against the zone
- UAB plays with 3 WR most of the time, so MSU was in their 4-2-5 or the two outside guys can stand up to make it look like like a 2-4-5
- (UAB's kicker is named Josh Zahn, I wonder if he's related to Steve Zahn, really, how many Zahns could there be in the states?)
- #35 FB, not much of a ball carrier, but I like the way he blocks. He has good timing and is an excellent lead blocker.
- #27 perkins, listed at 5'10", I doubt he's that tall, doesn't really run through tackles, his legs stop on contact. Lots of speed, more dangerous on outside runs than inside.
- Berry is out for the season so #19 WR is playing more
- Perkins in the wildcat
- #10 OLB plays a lot as a DB lined up over the slot receiver.
- Seems like you can get outside of the DE's. They're either not very good at maintaining outside leverage or they're coached not to...? On many passing plays, there is pressure from the outside, so the tackles can just let those guys go upfield. But on other plays, it seems like they're just not that concernerd about outside plays. Maybe they think the relative speed of their linebackers and the corners playing zone will be able to string out sweeps and such. #34 and #50 definitely have above average quicks for LBs and #10 is a bit of a tweener (OLB/SS)
- MSU's line is not looking impressive this game, maybe it's because of the subs playing
- Ballard is dinged up this game, #2 is not very impressive, Perkins is a little hesitant on inside runs. His O line isn't helping much
- RT # 62 looks like he's on rollerskates.
- In the 2 min drill, MSU played soft until UAB got to about the 30, then they started bringing the house. UAB's kicker is god awful, just like us and Florida, probably a factor.
- Herman edwards was so busy mumbling that he didn't notice that the refs just screwed UAB out of a time out. But UAB scored a TD on the next play anyway. Busted coverage, looked like #25 (who has been pretty solid) was either blitzing or thinking run all the way.
- 10-10 at the half
- Relf is not real good at feeling the blitzer. He doesn't shuffle around in the pocket.
- Mullen is pissed, nice interview, HA!
- As bad as MSU's O-line backups are looking is how good FB #35 is looking. You could close your eyes and still hear how good his blocks are.
- With Ballard out, the WR are playing a bigger part in the run game, both 3 and 86 have taken part in sweeps, and bumphis has been in on option plays.
- A new wrinkle for this week is bringing bumphis in motion from the far side of the formation and throwing it to him in what turns into a bubble screen, except they're not lined up in trips formation to start.
- When the WR are in the triangle (middle WR is on the line) the inside slot man often runs a flat after the two outside guys clear out.
- (UAB "Blazers" hahahah, how many 420 jokes are told on that campus?)
- UAB hits the tunnel screen for about 20, #7 backup SS does a good job of keeping it out of the endzone. haven't seen as much of #5 this week.
- MSU is very lackadaziacal on defense this week, more missed tackles than I've seen from them. Probably just a focus issue. We'll see how they bounce back in the next couple of weeks.
- 24-23 UAB with 10 minutes to play
- and then UAB kills themselves by popping up the kickoff short and then they get a penalty for ignoring the fair catch and MSU is 5 yards from field goal range. Folks around here would be gathering the pitchforks if our coaches did that.
- #13 Banks did a good job of squeezing down his zone and stepping in front of a pass to bat it down on a huge 3rd down play.
- #62 just got his lunch handed to him again (hope we see him against us!)
- Perkins gets his best run of the year so far on a counter sweep to the right.for 50 yards
- Gotta love that Mullen calls the exact same play back to back for another 8 yards
- Relf looks to be over his aversion to pitching when running left.
- And once again MSU makes more FG's in this game (5) than we did all year (4).
- UAB fumbled the Kickoff otherwise they would have had a chance to drive the field for the win. 29-24 is the final.
Game 6 (couldn't find a torrent)
This game is a little bit different because the two coaches involved are offensive guys and they know each other pretty well. Florida had a bit of an off year on O with a new starter at QB (they couldn't break 20 points against any team that finished in the top 25#). Florida's best win was against a down Georgia team.
- Fla. QB brantly looked pretty inaccurate on his first series, nothing in particular MSU was doing.
- Florida brings pressure from the trips side, this seemed effective. The OLB either gets in the passing lane or can chase the option from behind.
- Fla was ready for the option, good job keeping assignments and covering the pitch man.
- Miss St. reacts to the bad Fla QB play by bringing all kinds of blitzers from everywhere.
- MSU continues to bring up their safeties late
- #50 white MLB can be beaten to the edge on sweeps, need to get around the DE's tho'
- The DB's in general have been pretty solid tacklers. Not really a lot of missed tackles.
- Companion pass to their sweep play is the quick hitch to the backside WR
- MSU's only TD of the day came on a drvie full of inside iso's and traps
- 10-0 at the end of the 1st quarter and there's only one more TD scored by Fla. the rest of the game...
- Nice missed tackle by #54 LB, haven't seen much of him before.
- Fla having a little success running from their wildcat.
- MSU showing a 2-4 nickle. #99 did a good job shedding his blocker
- 7 games in and Relf is starting to lock in to Bumphis, wonder who he focuses on now that bumphis is out...
- Florida's choice is to blitz Relf on 3rd and long, i think this should be our course of action too.
- #54 is getting more playing time, looks decent against the run, good when he's coming forward.
- Pretty impressed with #50's pass drops, moves pretty well in a backpeddle for a LB. Demps from Fla has made him miss a couple times on wide plays, but Demps is crazy fast, even with a gimpy ankle.
- DB's #25 and #13 haven't really been singled out for bad plays yet this season.
- Relf is killing them on QB keepers to the uncovered tackle's side.
- #50 just did a good job of running down brantly on a scramble, no idea how fast brantly is, but we know denard is faster.
- Fla. having a little success running up the middle against the 2 man line, getting a hat on #50
- Fla. running option, late pitches. Gets them their only points. Hopefully RR is putting in the option with the extra 15 practices, we haven't shown it much this year, so maybe MSU won't be ready for it.
- Ballard took a wildcat snap in the redzone, didn't get much.
- Fla perfectly defended the option/shovel play, corner keeps contain, and then goes with the pitch man, LB takes the shovel. Relf shoved too early, led to a missed FG
- Turnovers, missed FG's and a lot of running plays is what kept the score down.
- If ballard takes the snap, it'll be a run, I serously doubt he can throw it more than 15 yards.
- MSU is playing a pretty soft zone with 2 minutes to play and Fla driving for the win or tie. A couple of blitzes, but more 3 man rush. Fla place kicker ain't that great, like ours, so that may be factoring into the decision.
- On 3rd and 2 and 4th and 2, MSU rushed 5 to try to end the game.
- MSU threw it 9 times the whole game, none in the 2nd half!
- Howz that season going, Florida?