I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
4 & 5-Star Recruiting Success
Brian’s feature on “How did we get here?” with OL and more recently with LB’s is one of my favorite new features on MGoBlog. It really puts in perspective the timeline of how we got to a decently talented backup playing as our starting OL/LB (pick a position.) It put me in an analytical frame of mind, and while I’m sure this has been done somewhere on the internet, I’ve never seen it.
So I grabbed all the 4 and 5 star recruits for us off of Rivals (Scout was incomplete, listing Ryan Mundy as “NR”. Clearly this is incorrect, so I avoided Scout.) I used the timeframe of 2002-2007. 2002 since that’s the earliest data they have, and 2007 since any later would be incomplete data. 2007 has 7 players, most of which we can assess for purposes of this exercise.
Then I divided this set into 3 groups: met expectations, kinda met expectations, didn’t meet expectations (or didn’t play much or at all.) Basically, the criteria is your excitement level if I described someone’s career to you. If you’d be excited, group A. Meh, group B. Nose wrinkle, group C. (EDIT: I am grading strictly for on-the-field result for Michigan.) Examples:
· Matt Gutierrez: “Great backup, only sees the field for mop-up duty.” Nose wrinkle, group C.
· Prescott Burgess is a prime example of group B. His career? “Plays sporadically and uninspiringly for three years and has a very solid senior season.” Meh. You want more than one good year from a 5-star.
· Steve Breaston, “average wideout, all-time yardage leader in returns” Sign me up!
I freely admit that I might have messed up on some players, and data isn’t all in on others, but the overall point is still valid. Don’t get ga-ga over an individual highly rated player, because less than four in ten amounts to what you think he will.
· 5-star successes (4) – Woodley, Henne, B Graham, Warren
· 5-star tweeners (2) – Burgess, Schilling
· 5-star misses (3) – Watson, Grady, Mallet
That’s 9 total, and counting the tweeners as one-half, a 55% rate on 5-star players.
· 4-star successes (16) – Avant, Breaston, Crable, Hall, Kraus, Long, Arrington, Branch, Jamison, Johnson, Trent, B Harrison, Manningham, T Taylor, Mathews, Van Bergen
· 4-star tweeners (8) –C Graham, Moosman, Zirbel, EDIT: B Minor, Mouton, Clemons, A Mitchell, M Williams
· 4-star misses (32) – Hood, Koloziej, C Tabb, Gutierrez, L Harrison, McCoy, Rembert, Van Alstyne, J Jackson, Mundy, W Paul, Presley, Richard, Zuttah, Dutch, Gallimore, Max Martin, C Rodgers, Bass, Germany, McKinney, Schifano, Slocum, Traitor Boren, Stevie Brown, Kates, EDIT C Brown, Mixon, Patterson, Panter, Webb, M Massey
That is 56 total, 36% hit rate.
Totals for 4 & 5-star combined is 65, 38% hit rate.
So we get 11 of these types, on average, every year. And only roughly 4 will work out the way we hope.
· DT 2/0/5 29% - Lot of total flameouts here
· DE 3/0/2 60% - Our best success rate, but low overall numbers
· LB 2/1/5 31% - Lots of DNP
· DB 4/3/3 55% - Better than I thought going in, frankly. I put Trent in this group though he was recruited as a WR.
· RB 0/1/6 7% - Yuck. This is a really bad track record. Doesn’t help with Mike Hart going for 4 years, but the truth is there wasn’t ever a truly worthy backup. Minor is a great runner, but unfortunately his hands leak warm butter. McGuffie will help this out a bit in the future I think. Whoever is evaluating these guys needs to step up. They’re missing something.
· QB 1/0/3 25% - This is the Henne effect more than anything. Oh, and Mallett being a complete candyass. Not that I’m bitter.
· WR 5/1/4 55% - Clearly a strength in predicting top-flight talent that will stick around. I stuck Breaston & Bass (ATH) in here as well.
· TE 0/0/1 0% - More than anything, this says we don’t recruit top-flight TE’s
· OL 3/4/6 39% - Average. Brian always says this is a tough one to project with ratings.
· 2002 2/0/8 20% – That flat stunk. Don’t do that again. I’m amazed they didn’t go re-recruit Kelley Baraka this season.
· 2003 5/1/7 42% – Much better
· 2004 6/2/5 54% - Best year by a long shot. Branch, Jamison, Johnson, Trent, Henne, Arrington. Great class.
· 2005 3/2/6 36% – Back to reality
· 2006 2/3/6 32% – Reality gets a little worse.
· 2007 2/2/3 43% – Still a bit indeterminate. Looking good from a % standpoint, but not great from a total numbers standpoint.
· If Will Campbell comes here, plays here, and has success here, it’ll be a miracle.
· I don’t know what other schools are at for a success rate, but I think 39% is lower than I expected. These are the cream of your classes, the foundation of everything you want to do. Kinda surprising that so many names on that list never really even saw the field, much less achieve great things. Even getting to 50% would have been another 6-7 players. That’s a lot of on the field difference-making.
· Volume, volume, volume. Make sense now why the SEC teams recruit 30 players a year? I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand why they do. Guy doesn’t pan out quite right? Next!
· Think of all the great players not on this list. Harris, Adams, Hart. Hmmm. OK, point made, but at least we got many, many serviceable starters from the 3-stars. The top of the rest: Bihl, Barringer, Riley, Rivas, Stewart, Butler, Mesko, Englemon (2*), and a lot of guys on the team right now.
· What the hell are we doing with our RB recruiting? We got lucky with Hart, no mistake. If not for him, we’d have been in deep doo. 7 guys and only 1 was/is serviceable? 6 total no-shows? I’ll say it again, someone is a crappy judge of RB talent.
· Replay the years 2004-2007 in your head without Mike Hart. Here’s an icebag for your headache.
· Damn Bass’ treacherous knee.
· The 2-year span in which we got 11 total players living up to their potential, 2003-4, set the stage for our biggest success on the field over this timeframe. 2006. In the equation recruiting + coaching + motivation = success, it’s probably in that order.
(Warning, I am a historian by trade, not a statistician,
so I may have made some incorrect conclusions, which is why I included
all of the data.)
Michigan's fatal flaw Saturday, literally, was third down
defense. While there were some positives, including two Brandon Graham
sacks, the big plays on third down were the difference in the game.
I've made a chart, because, well, I needed a chart. Basically, I wanted to see if the stats backed up up on this, and certainly, they bore me out. I also hope the formatting remains.
|Quarter||To Go||Result||Pos. Yards||Neg. Yards||Play||Notes|
|1st||16||Converted||23||23 yard pass|
|1st||5||Converted||61||61 yard pass||TOUCHDOWN|
|1st||6||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|1st||9||Converted||12||12 yard pass|
|2nd||1||Converted||2||2 yard rush|
|2nd||1||Not Converted||-3||(3 yard rush)|
|2nd||10||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|2nd||8||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|3rd||12||Not Converted||-7||(7 yard sack)|
|3rd||6||Converted||50||50 yard pass|
|3rd||6||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|3rd||6||Converted||12||12 yard pass|
|3rd||12||Converted||44||44 yard pass|
|4th||19||Not Converted||-8||(8 yard sack)|
|4th||6||Converted||17||17 yard pass|
|4th||1||Not Converted||0||0 yard rush||Converted on 4th|
|4th||7||Converted||7||7 yard pass||TOUCHDOWN|
|4th||14||Not Converted||-2||(2 yard rush)||Clock Drain|
Basically, Michigan had MSU in an
average of 3rd and 8 and allowed an average of 11.56 yards on all plays,
or 20.73 yards on the positive plays. Two of these plays were actual
So, to show this was not a fluke, I went back and looked at Penn State and Illinois. (I could have looked at Toledo, but that portended doom)
Penn State numbers, average to go 5.93, average gain on all plays 9.75, average gain on positive plays, 18.29 yards.
|Quarter||To Go||Result||Pos. Yards||Neg. Yards||Play||Notes|
|1st||11||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|2nd||7||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|2nd||2||Converted||2||2 yard rush|
|2nd||1||Not Converted||-1||Fumble, -1 yard|
|2nd||7||Not Converted||6||6 yard pass|
|2nd||3||Converted||3||3 yard pass||TOUCHDOWN|
|3rd||6||Converted||9||9 yard rush|
|3rd||10||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|3rd||2||Not Converted||1||1 yard rush|
|3rd||7||Converted||15||15 yard pass|
|4th||10||Converted||11||11 yard pass|
|4th||6||Converted||8||8 yard pass|
|4th||1||Not Converted||0||0 yard rush|
|4th||10||Converted||80||80 yard pass||TOUCHDOWN|
Illinois: Average to go: 7.28. Average yards on
all third down plays (including penalty yards): 10.94. Average yards
gained on conversions: 20.22
|Quarter||To Go||Result||Pos. Yards||Neg. Yards||Play||Notes|
|1st||10||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|1st||6||Not Converted||6||6 yard pass||After ILL holding|
|2nd||2||Converted||3||3 yard rush|
|2nd||3||Converted||9||9 yard pass|
|2nd||1||Not Converted||-1||(1 yard rush)|
|2nd||10||Not Converted||4||4 yard rush|
|2nd||16||Not Converted||-6||(6 yard rush)|
|3rd||9||Converted||9||9 yard pass||ILL Hold Accepted|
|3rd||10||Converted||77||77 yard pass||TOUCHDOWN|
|3rd||8||Converted||15||15 yard penalty||PI on Harrison|
|3rd||15||Not Converted||4||4 yard pass|
|3rd||12||Converted||14||14 yard pass|
|3rd||6||Not Converted||0||Inc. Pass|
|4th||5||Converted||4||4 yard penalty||PI on Ezeh|
|4th||2||Converted||50||50 yard rush|
|4th||1||Converted||1||1 yard rush||TOUCHDOWN|
|4th||8||Not Converted||3||3 yard rush|
|4th||7||Not Converted||5||5 yard rush|
So, in my mind, the stats bear it out. Michigan is
solid at getting teams into third down situations, only to have them
explode in their face on third down. Six touchdowns, and five plays
over 40 yards. I lack the historical data to know if this is an
all-time low, but it doesn't exactly look good and it certainly at least makes me feel better that I'm not just percieving things this way.
Maybe it's a sickness or just an obsession but I had to crunch some #'s after watching the game on Saturday. The offensive coordinator from UM couldn't have been deceiving anyone from MSU because even my wife knew when a running play was going to be ran vs. a passing play. This is also the same woman who thinks she can predict who will win the game by the color of their uniforms. She told me in the 2nd quarter, "it seems like UM always runs on 1st down". After I got home I watched the game on DVR and she's right. Check out these stats.
UM ran the ball 65% of the time when it was 1st down. If you subtract the plays that were ran after UM was down by 2 TD's that # jumps to 71%.
UM only passed the ball 35% of the time when it was 1st down. If you subtract the plays that were ran after UM was down by 2 TD'S that # falls to only 29%
UM passed the ball 84% of the time when it was 3rd down.
MSU convereted 56% of their 3rd downs
It doesn't matter how well UM executes when the other team already knows what play is about to be run against them. Can you imagine how well the UM defense would play if they knew what play the oher team was going to run? The coaching staff needs to put these kids in a position to succeed and they need to mix up the play calling. If my wife knows what play UM is going to run surely someone from the MSU can figure out the UM play calling.
Those #'s don't lie and neither does my wife
#1 - The absolutely most frustrating thing about this team has been the pass "defense". Any team that can make Hoyer look above average must be pretty bad. I have no idea if it's the scheme or the execution, but it's probably both. The 1st half of the Utah game was no aberration. When opponents have 3rd and 8, 10, or 16 (16!!!), conversions have looked easy unless there is a sack or intense pressure on the QB. My hats off to teams if they make heroic plays to move the chains, but taking 15-20 yards at will is ridiculous.
#2 - I'd recommend that when opponents have 3rd and long that UM fans remember the Seinfeld phrase "SERENITY NOW!!"
#3 - I expected the offense to be pretty rough this year, and Threet's elbow problems don't help, but I never expected UM's defense to be ranked 10th in the conference.
#4 - The zone stretch play hasn't really worked since the Notre Dame game. I looks like UM runs the ball better out of the good old-fashioned I formation. Minor doesn't seem suited for the zone stretch - he's more of a north-south runner.
#5 - While criticism is warranted, the flaming and booing of the players is disgusting. These are just kids after all, and most of them won't be going on to NFL riches. They are playing hard, so give them a break.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD LOSE HIS JOB
Steve Brown, FS. For God's sake, Steve Brown. For God's sake. For. God's. Sake. I had high hopes for Steve Brown. I really did. I watch him run and he's fast. I see him body slam people to the ground on special teams and I cringe. The kid has some sort of mental block or confidence loss when he's at free safety. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to fix it. I feel bad for him, because I always hear good things about him and I honestly think he tries hard and feels bad when he screws up. But the screw-ups are mounting too quickly for the coaching staff to ignore anymore. I was watching the game at the bar yesterday, so I was distracted a little more than I wanted to be. But he missed an easy tackle on former walk-on Blair White that led to a 61-yard TD pass. He was also the one targeted on the long pass down the left sideline (to Mark Dell, if I remember correctly) where he was in position but just failed to find the ball and make a play. Brown isn't completely useless, since he did make a sack and force a fumble. However, his shortcomings are too significant. I don't care who they put in there. Normally, I'd say Michael Williams, but Williams got a concussion in yesterday's game. Charles Stewart. Move Morgan Trent to free safety and plug in Cissoko at corner (Trent was benched for stretches, anyway). Artis Chambers. Insert Mouton at SS and move Harrison to FS. Hell, burn JT Floyd's redshirt and plug him in there. Something. Anything. But if Brown isn't going to improve (and at this point in his career, I have a hard time picturing significant improvement), the coaches need to start grooming someone to take over the position. The offense will improve in 2009 with every significant player returning. But the defense will have a maximum of two seniors in 2009, and both of those guys are defensive ends (Brandon Graham, if he doesn't declare for the NFL, and Adam Patterson). On such an inexperienced defense, we can't afford to have such horrible safety play. Get a youngster some experience now.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
So here we are, the morning after. Unlike your midnight romp with that cute girl wearing the nicely fitting Brady jersey that one night, there is no pill to fix what happened yesterday. This morning's pill maybe harder to swallow than that one as well, seeing as how it's been a while since Sparty beat us. But here is my point, it's going to be alright.
I will not say anything to try and excuse what happened yesterday. We got beat, everyone from the coaches to the players made bad decisions, hell even the refs had a questionable call in our favor. But it's not the end of the world or the program.
Many Michigan haters are having a field day, and it sucks. I hate trying to go to a message board about college football and constantly seeing everyone from East Lansing down to South Bend over to Columbus talking shit about how bad we have been this year. Let it go, everyone is entitled to a bad season, unfortunately our last one was 41 years ago, so everyone that has been quiet for all those years has recently found a voice.
It hurts to lose to a team that, to be honest, I hardly remember the last time we lost to (not because of age, but because it was 7 years ago). It happens, we couldn't go on for the rest of existence without losing to MSU. It doesn't help that Mike Hart (God love him) made some inflammatory (yet hilarious) comments last year, and that Brandon Graham (played like a monster yesterday) guaranteed a win. It also hurts that Dantonio has become a harbinger of anger for many UofM fans because of his pissing match with a 5'9" player.
This season has been tough, and it won't get any easier. But some of the namecalling and pissing and moaning about the system and the coaches and players needs to stop. It's not the coaches fault that they don't have players for their system, and it's not the fault of the players that their ability doesn't fit the system. Calling for the heads of 18-19 year olds because they made a bad decision is low class and Columbus-esque. It needs to stop. Criticizing the coaches is funny to me, Rich Rodriquez makes millions of dollars to do what he does, you eat pretzels and drink beer while neglecting the lawn work.
The end result will pay off, if you can bear with the means. Give it time, and for the time being, take deep breaths, and remember that no matter what, it will always be great to be a Michigan Wolverine.