After receiving a relatively favorable response, TMHGOTW is back, and with a vengeance. I am still up in the air as to whether this is a board subject or a Diary topic. Feedback on the matter is much appreciated.
WEEK ONE OUTCOME:
Most Hideous: W&M 26 - UVA 14
- How Al Grohl still has a job is beyond me. The guy has been on the hot seat every year for the past decade and he will need another miraculous turnaround to salvage his job. With how bad the ACC proved itself to be last week, he must be strangely confident still that his Wahoo's can win a few games.
WEEK 2 HEAVYWEIGHTS:
Colorado @ Toledo: Yikes. Colorado, fresh off any absolutely dismal effort against Colorado State, takes on a Toledo squad who was thoroughly curb stomped by the running game of Purdue. Coach Hawkins was pretty adamant that this would be the year the Buffs would circle the wagons, but once the THC wears off the AD might be telling Hawkins to "go coach intramurals brotha!" Side note, perhaps Toney Clemons will stop by Ann Arbor to grab some Mister Spots and catch up with his old pals....errrr not.
James Madison @ Maryland: Nothing gets me going like the atmosphere at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium, especially with JMU in town. If Maryland plays like they did against Cal, JMU could easily pull this one off. I'm no psychic so I won't make a prediction on who will win, however, I do predict enough loose skin for all in attendence.
Illinois State @ Illinois: The fighting Pierre Rembert's march into hideous Champaign to take on Zook and his underachieving all-stars. The Zooker has long proven to be one of the worst in game coaches in all of college football so the outcome of their game vs. Mizzou last weekend shouldn't have come of that big of a surprise...but it did. If the Illini shit the bed against the 1-AA Redbirds the Zooker and Al Grohl may become fishing buddies.
Texas @ Wyoming: See Michigan @ UConn in 20??. (yes I am aware that a BCS school is far different than Wyoming, so please don't bring it up.)
Duke @ Army: Should be plenty of Coach K references to take the focus off the quality of football being played. I am slightly bitter about Army depriving Coach English of victory #1 as HC of EMU.
Iowa @ Iowa State: Iowa is now going to try blocking kickoffs to get better field position. Iowa State still has some of the ugliest uniforms I've ever seen. People may try and call this a rivalry game but no one really cares, and for good reason. The phrases "blue collar" and "hard nosed" are sure to be used in excess by analysts covering the game.
Troy @ Florida: Come on Florida, someone is going to get hurt here.
As always I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on some of week 2's most hideous games. The schedule for week 2 is posted below.
After last week's win over WMU, Michigan has garnered some early respect from various locations. 2 of the 4 "experts" for Yahoo! pick Michigan to beat ND this weekend. Pat Forde graded Michigan's effort by the two-headed monster of Forcier and Robinson an "A" saying, "They produced 197 passing yards (three TDs by Forcier) and 111 rushing yards (one TD run of 43 yards by Robinson), combining to create the statistical body of work Pat White used to turn in by himself." Which brings me to this; after a convincing win Michigan has created some expectations for themselves. I know that I have them, I know that some "experts" have them, and I know that some of you have them now that we have seen the product on the field. In 1969 Bo beat OSU in what would become his "Michigan Moment." ND is not OSU, but I know I hate them, and after all that has gone on the past two weeks this weekend could be Rich Rod's "Michgan Moment." With that being said, here is some "fan opposition research" to prepare you for this weekends game.
Notre Dame Vital Stats
- Coaches- HC- Charlie Weis, DC- Jon Tunuta and Corwin Brown (Tunuta calls the plays starting this year), OC- Weiss calls the play, his assistant offensive coach is Ron Ianello
- Record (Last 4 yrs. under Weis)
- 2005: 9-3 (4-2 H, 5-0 A) @ #3 Mich (ND ranked #20) won 17-10
- 2006: 10-3 (6-1 H, 3-1 A) vs. #11 Mich (ND ranked #2) lost 47-21
- 2007: 3-9 (1-6 H, 2-3 A) @ Mich (both not ranked) lost 38-0
- 2008: 7-6 (4-2 H, 2-4 A) vs Mich (both not ranked) won 35-17
- Total: 29-21 (15-11 H, 12-8 A) 2-2 vs Mich
- 14-2 vs. Army, Navy, Air Force, Stanford, Syracuse, Washington, Duke, San Diego St.
- ND vs. Michigan Facts
- There have been 5 up-sets in the last 7 games
- ND is 3-9 in road openers since 1997
- Home team is 8-2 in the last 10
- Last 3 have been decided by 27 ppg (Mich 2-1 in those games)
- 185 combined pts. scored since Weis took over as coach
We all know what happened in last year's game. Michigan turned the ball over 6 times, and trailed 21-0 just over 10 minutes into the game. This led to a final score of 35-17 on a nasty, rainy day that would only be rivaled by the Northwestern game as the worst playing conditions of last year. Now we all agree it was nasty, but lets break it down a little and look for some positives. After the first 10 mins., Michigan out scored ND 17-14 the rest of the way. Michigan out gained ND on the ground 159-113 (3.8 to 3.3 ypc), and in the air 229-147. The more telling stat though is the completion percentage, Michigan was 19 of 28 (68%) ND was 10 of 21 (48%). This was the second best passing day of the year for Michigan, and one of the best for the OL as ND did not register a sack against Michigan. Michigan also held the edge in first downs 21-14, which was the highest Michigan had all year as they only had at least 20 first downs only twice last year (the other time was Minnesota, which they won 29-6). So while we can all agree that the ND game was a complete nightmare to watch, it can be said that there are some positives to take from the game.
Notre Dame vs. Nevada
People all week have been talking about how great the Notre Dame win was against Nevada, because they shut down such a prolific offense, while scoring 35. First of all Nevada, playing out of the run and shoot WAC, are not known for shutting down the opposition. They have given up under 20 pts only 6 times in there last 26 games. Now I understand that they did drop 35 pts on them, but it may have been more lucky than good. Clausen connected on 4 TD passes, but the shortest was from 19 yds out. The others were 24, 70, and 88. All of these to Michael Floyd (which begs the question how do you not cover this guy.) These TDs combine for 201 of the 500 total yards of offense ND had. Also, lets look at the situations for these TDs. The first 19 yd TD came on a 3rd&16. The 24 yd TD came on 3rd&9. Then the other 2 of 70 and 88 were bombs from the beginning of the drive. What I am trying to illustrate here, is that ND had only one TD from in the Red Zone. I know you have to execute on the field, but if Nevada executes two 3rd and long stops, or decides to cover Floyd on the go route, then ND does not score a TD, or maybe any points, on 4 of their 5 scoring drives. Michigan's secondary is vulnerable, but I feel confident that they are better than Nevada's.
Now for the fact that ND shutout the prolific offense of Nevada. The mistake here is that Nevada moved the football against ND. First Nevada missed a 38 yd FG on their first drive after driving 52 yds on 8 plays. Then while trailing 21-0 in the 2nd quarter, Nevada failed to convert on a 4th and 1 from the ND 19. This was their 2nd to the Red Zone in 4 possession. On their next possession Nevada took the ball down the the ND 35, before the half ended. In the 3rd Q, Nevada moved the ball down to the ND 5 before fumbling and turning it over. The 4th Q was basically run out by 2 ND possessions. For the day Nevada was 0 for 3 in the Red Zone with a missed FG, TO on downs, and a fumble. Again, I know Nevada has a great offense, but this is crazy. If they make a FG, convert a 4th and 1, and don't fumble on the 5 then they put up some points.
I am in no way calling this victory tainted by these stats, but I think that if you were to look deeper, like we did here, it shows that there are some positives going into this weeks game.
I know that ND is ranked now, and I know that all Michigan did last week was beat WMU. However, finding the holes in the opponent that you are playing, and making yourself believe that your team can win is what "fan opposition research" is all about.
By the way after this research I do believe Michigan will win this week, and that it will be Rich Rod's "Michigan Moment."
I just spoke to Aramide Olaniyan, and he told me he will be taking an unofficial visit to Michigan this weekend, for the Notre Dame game. He sounded VERY excited about coming up, he told me, "I owe it to myself to come see Michigan now, and also in the winter."
He'll be using one of his official visits to Michigan as well in the second week of December. "I am definitely considering Michigan right now, it's a great school, and I'm just really excited to go up there," he said.
He's excited to see the atmosphere, and the crowd at the Big House. After speaking with him, I could sense some very real excitement from him. I will have a follow up with him after his visit, to see where he's at with his recruitment.
This weekend could potentially be a huge weekend for recruiting. If all goes well, this could turn the thought process of Olaniyan, and possibly push some other recruits to commit.
Among the other recruits coming are:
- Bobby Swigert
- Josh Furman
- Delante Hollowell
- DeAnthony Arnett - I also spoke to him tonight, and he is definitely excited to see the game. He told me that Michigan was his first offer, but he doesn't plan on making a decision any time soon.
- There will be a good amount of 2011 recruits, I'm just not sure of all of them yet.
But we like numbers also. You can crunch numbers and analyze them. With that in mind I've come up with the OfferScore (I've put some effort into this and that calls for a cheesy name, deal with it) to help quantify the value of a prospect's offer list. I had planned on deploying this on my own blog first with UVa's own prospects and then also doing a diary for Michigan's, but the idea needs at the very least some fine-tuning, so I turn to the audience of zillions as opposed to the audience of hundreds for assistance.
The basic methodology is this: Scout and Rivals have a mathematical formula for ranking each school's class from 1 to 120. So:
- I averaged each school's Rivals class ranking for the years 2005-2009 (five years worth).
- I did the same for Scout's, then took the two averages and averaged again for a final list. The result is a list from 1-120. Each school's "value" is their ranking.
- Then, for an individual player, I took their top five best offers and averaged them, leaving out the offer from the school they actually committed to. (The reason for this is because if you were to ever use this method to rank classes against one another, schools like USC would have an built-in advantage over the rest of the conference even if that particular year they did nothing but poach FIU's recruits. In other words if I didn't do that, a ranking would be heavily biased towards the already-highly-ranked schools.)
- Right now, the result for each player is a number between 1 and 120, with stars (because this is recruiting) semi-arbitrarily assigned as follows: ***** = 1-12, **** = 13-30, *** = 31-60, ** = 61-90, * = 91-120. This also means that offers from the top 12 schools (USC, Georgia, Florida, LSU, OSU, Alabama, Michigan, OU, Texas, FSU, Miami, Auburn) are considered "five-star offers" though that really has no bearing on the final product.
Sample: Tate Forcier had like 33 offers. "Top five" non-Michigan offers were Florida (3rd), LSU (4th), Auburn (12th), Tennessee (14th), and Texas A&M (16th). That averages out to 9.8, so that's his score, and it makes him a five-star recruit according to this.
I've done that for all the players in Michigan's 2009 (technically, 2009 should use the 2004-2008 classes to rank the schools, but I'm not going back and recalculating that) and 2010 recruiting classes. Here's how that shakes out:
William Campbell (6)
Denard Robinson (6.4)
Je'Ron Stokes (9.2)
Tate Forcier (9.8)
Anthony LaLota (16.6)
Craig Roh (16.8)
Quinton Washington (18)
Taylor Lewan (22.8)
J.T. Turner (26.2)
Vlad Emelien (27.8)
Michael Schofield (33.6)
Brandin Hawthorne (33.8)
Mike Jones (39.4)
Vincent Smith (44.6)
Jeremy Gallon (46)
Fitzgerald Toussaint (47.6)
Isaiah Bell (68.67)
Cameron Gordon (73.4)
Adrian Witty (80.5)
Thomas Gordon (81.25)
Marvin Robinson (3.2)
Christian Pace (23.2)
Devin Gardner (25.4)
Kenny Wilkins (27.8)
Terry Talbot (29.4)
Austin White (30.6)
Jeremy Jackson (32.2)
Ricardo Miller (33.2)
Stephen Hopkins (48.6)
Terrence Talbot (51.6)
Cornelius Jones (52.33)
Jordan Paskorz (54.75)
Courtney Avery (62.4)
Drew Dileo (67.5)
As you can see, one of the major problems and something I'd like to find a way to work around is that guys who have no other offers don't get a score. As a corollary, it tends to bias against guys who committed early in the process. Another thing I've wondered is if that's the right way to display the results. It seems to work OK, but who knows.
Also, it's a smidge unfair to guys who have not a hell of a lot of offers, and one especially "low-ranked" offer. Best example in that list is Paskorz, who had four other offers: Minnesota, Pitt, UVA, and Bowling Green. Nobody would call BGSU a major factor in his recruiting - it was Pitt and UVA that Michigan beat. The BGSU offer is a major anchor - take it out and he goes from a very low three-star to a pretty high one. Then again, you could say that if he was a better prospect, he'd have earned another good offer somewhere.
Obviously there are advantages to this, though. It passes the smell test. It wouldn't stand well on its own, but then again, neither do any of the guru rankings, really. Ranking schools against each other like this would prevent things happening like Will Hagerup dragging someone's ranking down. Whoever gets him is going to be dinged in the Rivals/Scout rankings because he's a punter and therefore not highly ranked. I do think it's likely to be more predictive of college success than any individual guru site's ratings. And I think it'd be a better way to rack and stack schools against each other in recruiting rankings, because it's less based on subjective measurements. As a side bonus, it created a list of schools from most to least "valuable," which to me is worthwhile because it is purely reflective of the schools' relative attractiveness to recruits.
So, what I need is critique. Good idea/stupid idea? Where can it improve?
Playing against a WAC defense must be every OC's wet dream. Nevada's DB's were small, and slow, and timid. ND seemed concerned about Nevada's DE's who managed to make a few plays, and so they ran a lot of screens and draws and even some QB zone read from the wildcat. Nearly every deep pass was off of playaction. The running game looked better than it had in recent memory, but against a pretty soft defense. Most of the runs were off tackle or outside.
QB: Clausen did look pretty sharp. But he's still not very mobile and was taken down by the shoelaces on several occasions. He was making good decisions and was very accurate on the deep balls. Has a good playfake. His confidence seemed pretty high (as it should be vs. last year's 119th ranked pass defense) and was putting the ball on guys even when they were covered. Against our more athletic DB's this should result in more tipped balls and hopefully an interception or two. He was continually throwing high to his taller wideouts and TE's. Lucky for him that his receivers are tall and strong. Cryst looked like a real QB (not some gay balding emu) but very inexperienced. If Clausen goes down, there is a big drop off.
RB: Armando Allen was the featured back, and he has good speed. Likes to cut to the outside. Not a real strong runner and doesn't break very many tackles. Was used in a wildcat formation several times. Jonas Gray (who we remember as the guy that Carr and staff passed over for Mike Cox) has pretty thick legs and good speed. He's more of a straight line runner who can run through arm tackles but doesn't have much wiggle. Their third back Riddick or something showed off some good hurdling ability but not much else.
TE: Rudolph (i think) looks like a good pass catcher who is pretty nimble for being so tall, but he's a bit skinny to be an effective run blocker.
WR: Floyd and Tate are the real deal. Floyd is a bit taller and stronger at 6'4". His two long catches came on a jump ball where he out muscled the defender and kept his feet and the second was on a simple buble screen where tate got a great block and Floyd used his speed around the outside.
OL: This unit was not very exceptional in speed, size, or strength, but they seemed much more technically sound than in the past two years when they couldn't block anyone. They executed pretty well on screens and did a fairly good job of giving clausen time.
Can you say blitz? Can you say blitz 47 times? (estimate). ND's front seven was pretty unexceptional in every way. The only time they looked good was when they brought 6 guys and someone came through unblocked. But that was frequent enough to kill drives after Nevada had marched into ND territory.
This was one of the least impressive shutouts I've ever seen. Nevada missed a FG, had an unforced fumble in the redzone, and pretty much marched up and down the field on ND until something flukey happened to keep the from scoring. It was 28-0 at the half but could have easily been 28-17. ND got some help from its crowd which caused a couple false starts and delays of game once nevada got to the closed ends of the field. The only play that really made you stand up and say "Now that's good D!" was when they got penetration on 4th and inches to stop another scoring threat.
Dline: Nothing to really note here. They didn't fight through blocks very well and were not much of a factor in the game. Nevada's Oline was opening up running seams left and right to the tune of 150+ yards and over a 5 yard per carry average.
LB: Showed good speed on the blitz, and the blitzes came from all over. But they didn't seem very strong or smart. Nevada's QB (who is a pretty good runner, and kind of looks like a cross between vince young and Gumar, but sadly Whitecastle is not in Korea) managed to get away from them several times. Their best player is a true frosh from Hawaii who doesn't start. He has good instincts and brings the hammer, but can probably be tricked into a bad play or two.
DB's: Hard to evaluate here. They seemed to tackle well, but they weren't pushed very hard as Nevada was missing their best receivers from last year and the Nevada QB had a problem with slippery balls (No giggling!) This probably means that the DB's have gotten better since the days of Manningham getting "OH, WIDE OPEN!". Not being mentioned much is a vast improvement over the toastings they used to get with regularity. But, with so much blitzing it was strange to see the DB's playing so far back at the snap.
ND definitely looks better, but they're vulnerable on both sides of the ball. I like the way we match up with them. We seem to have faster and stronger athletes along both lines. And with home field advantage and barring any major injuries we should be able to answer anything they throw at us.
When we have the ball:
Our RB's against their front seven looks like a definite advantage for us. We should be able to control the pace of the game with our rushing attack and put together lots of long drives. The key in the passing game will be all about our ability to pick up the blitz. We need a big day from the TE's are RB's and good communication along the line. But I expect our QB's to run for over 100 yards and our RB's to combine for 150. So here's to hoping that Koger, Webb, Brown, Minor, and Grady (24) have a great week of practice.
When they have the ball:
If we can get pressure with our Dline, we should be able to shut down their offense pretty well. Graham and Roh should be able to get around their tackles, and Martin shouldn't have much problem with their centers and guards. Donovan should be glued to Floyd all day and Bouboucar on Tate if he's healthy. Stevie can take their TE. That just leaves our other LB's vs. their RB's on screens and zone options. This looks like a push or a slight ND advantage. The one thing we cannot do is fall for their excellent playaction. We need a big game from our safeties.
I expect we'll be able to move the ball with ease. I'm just not sure how our 3rd, 4th, and 5th DB's will hold up. I expect ND will gain decent yardage on screens and a few runs, but we might give up a huge play every now and then. I think the game will be shortened due to long drives and we'll pull out a squaker in the 34-30 range as we control the clock and their D gets tired.
Or if we can knock out Clausen it'll be 38-0.
Intro is same as offense version here, http://mgoblog.com/diaries/my-nd-preview-um-offense
All right so I am going to start this off by saying 2 things #1 UM’s win over WMU is great for everyone. ND fans are more excited about this game than before, obviously the entire stadium was rocking with support of UM and the coaching staff and the entire team looked like they were having a great time. Although everyone on the team didn’t experience last year, it looked like they all came together to put any fears of that repeating fully to bed. I fully congratulate UM on their win and I mostly wish them success in the future.
Before we move on to #2 I want to put up this disclaimer: You probably will not like what I am going to post, and I won’t hold it against anyone if it results in some lashing out, I was prepared for that long before I registered. Also remember that quite a few posters actually requested this write up so here it goes….
#2 ND is going to tear UM’s defense apart, still too harsh? :) So if you’re still with me, you would probably ask why is that? The passing threats are self evident, Tate and Floyd are constant play makers and if a secondary focuses on them with coverage then Rudolph or the Kamara coming out of the slot will burn teams up the middle. A team sells out to the pass and the running game will kick in. The running game will probably never be the shoulders this offense rides on but it began to show its teeth in week 1. The new additions to the staff have already proven their worth in regards to the running game. If your still still reading you shouldn't take that #2 statement too literally, it was just meant to weed out the undesirables.
WMU did not challenge UM’s defense and their short pass play calling allowed the secondary to play close to the line of scrimmage and support the run. The UM secondary was challenged maybe a total of 4 times with passes attempted over 15 yards.
One was knocked down, and another fell incomplete when Hiller had 4 defenders break through his Oline causing him to throw early. The last 2 completions both came late in the 2nd quarter on the last drive when WMU actually looked like they had a decent offense, though it stalled out a few plays later. There were 2-3 drives that WMU was able to move the ball and they did it with a balanced attack by going with 10yardsish passes which pulled back the secondary and allowed for some respectable runs up front. The only pass that took advantage of UM crowding the LOS was the 73 yard TD pass which was about a 30 yard pass and 43 YAC, that should worry UM fans more than anything.
That type of attack is what you will see from ND though the ratio might be more like 2:1. UM’s run support will not be able to rely on help from a secondary, they will have their hands full with our WRs. ND will stretch the field, unlike anything WMU did.
Also where did all the excitement over Donovan Warren come from? He did lead the team in tackles with 6.5 but he also generated 45 yards in penalties with 2 Pass interception penalties and a personal foul, which was away from the ball and the camera. I would not be surprised one bit if he gets picked on next week by the play calling. Especially if he still doesn’t think that he deserved those penalties on those particular plays; it could be a long game for him.
UM’s front 7 really took apart WMU’s line repeatedly. The Oline was confused and lost, letting rushers through unchallenged. They too got out of position and it led to the defense being able to drop the backs and QB for losses. Overall UM tackled well, and didn’t let up really at all during the game. Those front 7 will be looking across at an upgraded Oline this week though. Nevada’s pass rush last year was no slouch and they got pressure on clausen a couple times, they returned 2 DEs who totaled 23 sacks last season* and 15 tackles for loss. [EDIT]> The ND line did a great job giving Clausen time, he did feel the pressure a couple times, and Nevada did get one sack. There is no doubt Clausen will feel a strong pass rush this week, Brandon Graham will be a strong force on the outside and the ND Oline will need to have to slow him down in order to give Clausen time to pass. The ND rushing attack was nowhere near amazing last week but it was a respectable 172 yards with 4.3 yds/c. I am excited to see how physical they will be against the UM front, who showed their teeth against the WMU front regularly
[*EDIT: both DE's sack totals came from less than stellar competition and were probably not good indicators of NDs Oline strength]
Overall though the UM front 7 showed they can bring pressure regularly and that the Oline has to be ready for it to come from anyone. The secondary probably had one of their easiest games of the season, and came away with just as many questions as a week ago, IMO. The ND Oline will not tire as easily as WMU’s did and when they do, we again have depth to rotate them out.
Looking at how both teams match up against each other, you have to give ND the advantage. ND’s passing attack vs an inexperienced UM secondary with little depth. If you can’t stop the pass in the secondary that pass rush upfront will become even more important. And with the way the ND Oline shut down the 2 Nevada DEs I can’t see it being enough to stop the passing attack. Then you have the true freshman QBs under regular pressure from whatever blitz has been dialed up, and a secondary that doesn’t give an inch anywhere on the field and I still see ND having the advantage.
With that all said, ND is playing at UM, in front of 108,000 anti-fans who are going to be loud the entire game, angry the entire game and ready to win again. If UM can come out strong early and continue the same type of play they had against WMU, it will be a close game till the end no matter what advantage I may think ND has.