spoiler alert: i linked this
To all GO BLUE fans, "Hail to the Victors" will be heard more often in the next coming years. One year, one bad year will not hold back this great amazing football legacy that needs to continue til this world comes to an end. There will be more Tom Brady's, Mike Hart's, LaMarr Woodley's, Anthony Thomas', Braylon Edwards', Charles Woodson's, and Desmond Howard's so you get the idea. The 125 winning seasons, 11 Nat' Titles, 874 wins, and 25 undefeated seasons will grow and grow as the new years come and come. Don't worry UM fans stay in there and stay strong next to your victors and don't let what the OSU, ND, MSU, and other wussy ass fans get ya down for what they say, because no matter how much they try no other team will EVER mount up to the legacy and greatness the Univeristy of Michigan has and will bring in the future. Today, go out and cheer on your team of Wolves. Go out and show off your merchandise to those wussy fans that have no idea the greatness of the Wolves and let them see and talk their smack cuz they know the real truth.
So I decided I wanted to do an in-depth analysis of in-state recruiting to see if I could prove or disprove what people are saying about Dantonio dominating. For the sake of argument, I’m using Rivals rankings and considering 2008 a full year for Rich Rod because he did have to “re-recruit” kids. I’m only going to look at the Top 10 each year. NOTE: I wrote this intro before I started adding up the totals to try and avoid biases. I’m going 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, ect.
2008 Michigan: 10 for Cissoko, 9 for O’neill (even though he’s gone), 4 for Martin, 3 for Demens.
2008 Michigan State: 6 for Smith, 2 for Hoover, 1 for Burrell
2009 Michigan: 10 for Campbell, 5 for Gordon
2009 Michigan State: 9 for Baker, 8 for Norman, 7 for Maxwell, 4 for Caper, 3 for Sims, 2 for Treadwell, 1 for Gainer
This is 41 points for Michigan, 43 for Michigan State.
I think you can make a good argument as well that a lot of those 43 points Michigan State accumulated was due to kids Michigan did not recruit due to the new system. For instance, reports are that while RR offered Larry Caper, he did not recruit him very hard. The same goes for Dion Sims. As a disclaimer, this is not to say Dantonio isn’t getting some kids RR wanted. I’m sure Rich Rod wanted Baker and Norman, for example.
Now onto 2010 where Michigan is coming off a 3-9 season that is supposed to affect recruiting greatly.
1. William Ghoston, Michigan State: This one was gift wrapped for Dantonio. I would have loved to have him though.
2. Joe Boisture, Michigan State: This is not a kid who fits in Michigan’s system.
3. Dior Mathis, uncommitted: This is a kid we have a shot with, but at a position where it’s not urgent that we land him.
4. Max Bullough, Michigan State: Legacy recruit. This is 2 of the top 3 in-state recruits that are State commits that were gift-wrapped for MD.
5. Devin Gardner, Michigan: According to reports, I’d be surprised if he weren’t at least #2 in-state during the re-ranks.
Those are the only kids I see in the Rivals250. I don’t know what the order of in-state kids would be after that. What I believe will happen here is that we will land Mathis or he will go out-of-state. Gardner will be at least #2 in-state. Two of MSU’s recruits were locks. Yet, Michigan could still end up with 2 of the top 5 with Boisture being the swing guy (a pro style guy who we weren’t recruiting)
Needless to say, I’m not nearly as worried about in-state recruiting as others are. Like many have said over and over, Michigan can merely go out-of-state to get the rest of what we need. And ask yourself this. Did you ever think to yourself “that win over MSU would have been better if a Pennsylvania kid hadn’t thrown a touchdown to an Ohio kid, but rather it was two Michigan kids?” I doubt it.
Happy 4th everyone!!
P.S. for the record, I do think Dantonio is a good coach and that MSU is going to have a solid program...until he leaves for a better job like Saban did ;)
Recently…yesterday, I believe…there appeared little up and down arrows at the side of each post allowing you to vote on whether you like or dislike a particular post. On the surface, this might seem like a good idea; but there are two reasons that come to mind immediately for me as to why this is a bad idea.
I liked the idea of points [did not like that they were not retroactive…it was not fun starting over like a n00b when the 20 point minimum was suddenly imposed] as it forces you to earn your stripes before posting something more substantial.
I very much dislike the voting. The first reason is practical. There is no explanatory post and how it works does not seem altogether clear. It seems that if I write a blog entry, I am getting dinged for every negative vote given in the whole thread. Not cool. Why would I post a diary entry if that were the case? All it takes is one idiot to post a response and, wham, I am losing bunches of points. Or if a thread devolves, the “owner” of the thread bears the brunt of this. I am sure this is correctable, but it seems that this is how it is working at the moment. If this is how it is working, not a good way of doing it.
My second and most important reason for disliking the voting, is its anonymity. It is one thing to disagree with or dislike something I have to say and then take the time to stand behind your opinion by posting a reply. Some people can be lightning rods, offering the contrarian opinion. Even if that contrary position is well thought out, a person can be blackballed without anyone having to stand up and own up to their dislike for the opinion. It also lends itself to a mob mentality and clique behaviour. The thought of someone being “punished” for something they say and never knowing who it was who voted against them, and those who give the “thumbs down” never having to own up to their negative opinion strikes me as a fundamentally bad idea. A person should have the right to face their accusers. I think there will also be the popularity vote, that is, the guys who are part of the “in” crowd getting undeserved positive votes.
Now, if you were to have positive votes only, in that you could add a “thumbs up” to a particularly good post, I might be in favour of that. But I believe that in the end, the best way to police abusive posters is to report them and if you have a critique you should man up and post it with your name behind it, report it to Brian for follow up and if you won’t do either of those two things, frankly you don’t deserve to have your opinion heard, let alone be give the opportunity to give an anonymous and repercussion free “thumbs down.”
For an attosecond, I thought the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire would make good raw material for the following Sparty discussion and a clever title to a diary entry. Then I instantly apologized to my computer screen. Rome fell because it was once great. The Spartan “fall” I am going to discuss is akin to drunk trying to pull himself up only to immediately face plant again.
We have a great pleasure before us, Wolverine fans: years of Sparty anguish.
Here is the Sparty problem in a nutshell: their frame of reference is that failure is an event measured in geological time. What they fail to understand is that Michigan failure will be measured in Planck time. They had an aberrant year or two in the 60s that they ferociously cling to, like an abused Lena clinging insanely to Thomas Covenant after she had grown old. Now, the Sparty faithful see Michigan reeling from the events of last season and, bolstered by an uptick in recruiting that is being hailed in the local press, believe in their heart of hearts that MSU an UM are in the process of trading places and that Michigan's fall will be long and low.
The problem is that they’ve ridden a dinosaur to a horse race. Not the freaky fast, velociraptor type of dinosaur, but a stegosaur, I think. (Given the brain size of the stegosaurus, I think the comparison is a double winner!) It actually is named a Dantoniosaur, and it fundamentally lacks the reflexes necessary to succeed in a Holocene football age. I actually think that Dantonio would have been a damn good coach about 20 years ago. He espouses smashmouth football and power running, but today he is a pale reflection of Jim Tressel; all the stodginess of Tressel without the periodic flash of creativity to keep everyone other than the SEC in a low state of fear. The only solution to his Dantoniosaur-ness is to recruit top ten talent, and that just ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s where Michigan sips from the cup of schadenfreude (it’s a shame such a cool word has become clichéd). The Dantoniosaur should bring enough to the game to stay around for a long time, a la John Cooper. And against Lloyd Carr, I think he would have had success, nipping just enough out of our 2 out of 3 winning rate to irritate. But Rodriguez is a whole different animal, and a warm-blooded one at that. Once he gets his wits and his system and his players fine tuned, cold-blooded MSU will represent at most a speed bump, and those extra four star players that have suddenly appeared in their Christmas stocking will melt away.
Each year, they’ll be good enough to thump the chest a bit. And 4 out of 5 times, RR will go Oklahoma on them. I can’t wait!
As we sit in the doldrums deep in the middle of the off-season, it is time to ask larger questions in regards to how our obsession with our team manifests itself.
To whit, my question:
What is the purpose, the meaning, of our fan obsession with trying to anticipate what the coaches [and AD/GM’s] are going to do in terms of recruiting, training, scheme, personal decisions and play calling; or after the fact, analyzing those same decisions to mete out praise or criticism?
To be blunt, I find much of this type of fan-based discussion is utterly meaningless, in that it has absolutely no impact on the program. Really, it does not matter what we think. Perhaps if criticism reaches a critical mass or we are a deep pocketed booster, it may affect changes in the program; but for the most part unless we are a player, coach, GM/athletic director, none of what we say has any impact on the program...zero. Let us say that your every opinion is correct in regards to every recruit [whether they will succeed or wash out], our recruiting needs, the recruiting process, in regards to every decision about coaching style, training, scheme and play calling were correct; other than your ability to perhaps make a descent living being an “analyst,” what difference does it make?
The answer is “none.” The vast preponderance of everything we say in regards to our team has absolutely zero impact on the outcome of how our team does. We effect no changes. We make no decisions that impact the future of the program. So even if we know better, even if we are smarter than every other fan out there, even if we are smarter than the coaches themselves, even if we can assert our opinions with flawless logic backed up with unimpeachable evidence and are consistently correct, what in the end is the point, the meaning, of those opinions if they make no difference to the actual program?
First of all, and perhaps the most important and noble reason, is that all of this analysis and opining about our beloved team has the effect of continually stoking our passion for the sport and the team we all love. In the end all of this talk is not really about the team, per se, it is about us and our love, our passion and our devotion for the team. In that sense it is a solipsist endeavor: it is us talking about ourselves and the things we are passionate about. The team is merely the vehicle for us to stoke our passions, it is incidental to the thing of real importance here: our passion(s).
Secondly, and this is the sad underside of this sort of passionate fan arena, is that outlets such as this are a way for us to bolster and puff our tender, fragile egos. He who can bluster the best and loudest, he who can put down the “idiots” and “n00bs” with the most style and panache, gains a “rep” and a following and by continually using bullying behaviors these blowhards can keep themselves at the top of this heap. They are often protected by the anonymity that the web provides and many, if not most, would never talk or behave in the way they do on these boards in real life. I do grant that for the most part the discussion boards on this web site do seem to bring a degree of civility not present on other boards, which should be commended. That said, there is a “hierarchy” even here and this blog readership has its petty tyrants.
In the end, whether you are here to stoke your passion for the team, or you are here to bolster your ego and build your “rep,” in the end all of this is really about us. The team is merely vehicle that we use feed our own needs, and this blog with its social network provides a convenient place for us “gather” and meet those needs.
Full disclosure - this meanders. I’m posting as a diary since, at it essence, this is a fans’ wrestling over how deeply coaches can/should engage in the ‘chess match’ of this sport. Coaches are praised or scored based on the ability to minimize weakness and accentuate strengths. A special ire defends in those situations where a weakness is obvious to all, and (to the casual or untrained observer at least) no schematic/personal adjustments are made in response.
And by chess match, I'm not thinking of the analysis of coaching moves and decisions with a more game theory approach that (oversimplification coming) evaluates from a statistical probability and risk reward perspective. I'm thinking more of how coaches more their pieces, or don't move them, around the board to create or react to match-ups and relative strength of personal.
M faces a common defensive conundrum this year, maximizing the impact of a talented pass rusher surrounded by an otherwise pedestrian unit. Conventional sportscasting wisdom is that you move him around so the defense can’t zero in with double teams. Despite what could be all evidence to the contrary, I promise we’ll see the BG graphic flashed during introductions, and an announcer will tell us, "Michigan is going to try and move him around and let him get after the quarter back."
In my personal football watching experience, this seemly obvious theory craps out more often than not. For every Lawrence Taylor there’s a handful of Jeon Kearses who follow a gangbusters season with a mediocre one, prompting promises to move him around so the offense can’t key on him, which quickly fail and are scraped by the by the coaching staff.
BG is the unquestioned lynch-pin of the defense. The good news is that you couldn’t ask for a better lynch-pin than a pass rushing DE who can hold the point against the run. But preview after preview will tell you that defenses will double and triple (seriously? Triple? Me thinks not) BG to contain him.
This spawned my original question, "So what’s the best way to exploit an offense doubling the DE on passing downs?" If teams are bound and determined to double BG it stands to reason that should create consistent blocking weaknesses such that proper exploitation of the doubles themselves would have equal or greater effect than a singled up BG.
After some thought I abandoned this question, as the obvious answer is, "Depends on how they’re doubling him." I assume most offensive coaches won’t go into the M game planning that they’re going to put a TE to his, slide protection, or keep a back in all day. They’ll get the tackle help in a variety of ways.
Its then up to Greg Robinson or whoever to adapt and adjust on the fly. That is what we expect, right? Watching film to ID how the opposition’s coaches deal with similar problems against past opponents, evaluating that against how he’s being attacked in-game out of certain personal groupings/down and distance, then calling whatever is appropriate to take advantage of the extra attention (rush straight up, run a stunt, bring a delayed blitz behind him or on the other side of the guard to BG’s side, flooding BG’s side with more rushers than they can defense, flooding the other side with rushers, etc.).
But to what degree can coaches make consistently accurate pre-snap forecasts based on that data, and do so fast enough to dial up the proper defensive call and deploy corresponding personal?
Should we expect coaches to be that good? I say “no.”
So we’re back to the alternatives of a) gambling on moving BG around and being aggressive (ARRRHHH) to force their hand, or b) leaving BG at his position, don’t fuck with it too much, and hope the players around him can be taught to identify how he’s being attacked in situations and take advantage accordingly.
For my money, I think you’ve got to leave him be and hope he plays well enough to force those doubles. You evaluate the opponents history and what they’re doing in game, then try to make that perfect call once or twice a half where you ID a tendency early in the play clock and sell out to attack it. I would also say that in certain games, you flip-flop sides with BG for a game or a second half to try and murder a weak tackle.
Wow, that was a lot of words to get to that suggestion.