...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
There has been ongoing discussion regarding MSU's defensive strategy with regards to both football and basketball on this site. Whether on the gridiron or the hard court, their aggressive grabbing, pulling, hand checking, using the coach as an extra defender, jamming, neck twisting, throat punching, etc. has been well noted right down to their self proclaimed thuggery of "X minutes of unnecessary roughness". As frustrating as it has proven to be for opposing teams, it has been mostly effective for them. So when these antics occasionally backfire (see repeated floor slapping, Valentine's woofing, unleashing Russell Byrd in any capacity), it's nice to savor the moment.
My contribution to said meme is highlighting one of the strategies deployed in attempt to disrupt Stauskas's shot on Sunday. There were clearly a lot of extra curriculars targeted at Stauskas, as the numerous scrapes on his body throughout the course of the game would suggest, but the focus of this post is the Rick James approach.
As Stauskas was elevating and finishing over every defender Sparty put on him, I began to notice that MSU's players had more or less given up on trying to get a hand on the ball to block his shot. Nor were they satisfied with simply getting a hand straight up to impede his sight line or the trajectory of the ball. Instead they resorted to literal face slapping (also not a foul)...
Appling: "What did the five fingers say to the face?"
TL;DR summary - Sparty's defensive strategy:
Perhaps people with wrist boo boos should consider fewer slaps of the court, opponents faces, and what not.
Three questions about MSU defense.
1. Are they playing a version of Bear defense that Ryan ran in Chicago? I remember that they would load the box as well and would not give QBs any time to complete a pass down field.
2. Does one need elite CB to run the MSU/Bear defense? I suppose the answer is yes at pro level, but how about college level?
3. Are MSU's CBs and Safeties really fast and quick or is it the scheme and technique that let them play at high level? Pressure up front is a big help to them but it seemed to me that the pressure up front was not as much of a factor in shutting down the passing game last night (compared to what happened to us or OSU).
So this is something I pulled out of the presser with Mattison:
Tom Strobel is a guy we’re very very happy with at the end of spring because here’s a guy that plays the 5-technique and because of an injury, we moved him to the three.
I thought this was an interesting quote and bore further examination, since I hadn't heard anything about him being moved to three-tech prior to this.
For the uninitiated, the difference between Three Tech and Five Tech is as follows (Descriptions from Touch the Banner):
5-TECH DEFENSIVE END
Alignment: 5-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle
Gap responsibility: C gap (between offensive tackle and tight end)
What should he look like? It's only a matter of semantics, but head coach Brady Hoke and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison appear to be referring to this position as the 5-technique defensive tackle. Don't get caught up in the terminology - the term "5-tech" is more important than whatever comes after it. This player needs to be able to stand up to double-teams by the tight end and tackle, which will come with some regularity. He also needs to be able to rush the passer when the tight end releases or when the offense goes to the spread.
Best physical fit: Ryan Van Bergen (6'6", 283 lbs.)
3-TECH DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Alignment: 3-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the weakside guard
Gap responsibility: B gap (between weakside guard and tackle)
What should he look like? Rather than size, the key at this position is the ability to get penetration. Whether it's by brute strength or pure quickness, it doesn't really matter. Most running plays go to an offense's strength, which means the 3-tech is expected to play the B gap while simultaneously squeezing the A gap and trying to prevent cutbacks. In passing situations, the 3-tech ought to be able to beat a single block (typically the guard) and push the pocket. Because of the job description, players of various shapes and sizes can play the 3-tech. Albert Haynesworth was a great 3-tech at 6'6" and 335 lbs., but so was Warren Sapp at 6'2" and 300 lbs.
Best physical fits: Mike Martin (6'2", 299 lbs.) and William Campbell (6'5", 333 lbs.)
So, according to Mattison, because there was some form of injury (though I don't recall of hearing about any injury to a DT), Strobel came inside. Can Strobel play the 3-Tech? Does this move make any sense? Lets find out.
According to MGoBlue.com, Strobel is currently 262 and 6'6".vs. the ideal 6:2", 299 lbs Mike Martin or 6'5" 333 Lbs William Cambell, this id not particularly good. However, Albert Haynesworth played very, very well at 3-Tech at 6'6", 335 lbs, so if Strobel can add 40 lbs from last update by start of RS Frosh year, not an unreasonable goal for a 6'6" guy, he's got a chance to fit the right mold, more or less.
However, if he's going to be Albert Haynesworth, we'd better ensure that he really does fit that mold. First of all, what does it take to be a three tech?
A: Ability to get penetration.
Unfortunately, according to scout, his areas for improvement before signing were strength and technique & moves. These are two key attributes that a player uses to get penetration. However, his highlight tape does reveal great speed for beating his man whenever not blocked properly or by design.
So, if he can add the necessary bulk to be a bull rusher, there is always the chance. Lets compare that with what he's leaving behind by leaving the 5-Tech spot.
Unfortunately, the 50 Tech sounds like a great fit for the Tom Strobel that is, a speed rusher, tall enough to take on most TE's, that can also speed rush whenever given the opportunity. There's not much to say here. Tom Strobel already really fit the role of 5-tech well, and I have trouble seeing moving a somewhat slight guy to 3-tech as a great option.
As a caveat, I came today from a funeral, and I am drunk. Perhaps there's something I'm missing. What do you guys think?
After seeing all of the recent analysis of what ails Michigan Basketball, it seems obvious that something needs to happen to shore up the defense. The team had a fair bit of success in the first half of the season running a man-to-man look, which JB said was taking advantage of the superior athletes on the team. Now the defense is looking slow and unable to stay in front of the players they are defending, or unable to recover and rotate when things begin to break down, resulting in easy lay-ups and a ballooning 2pt% given up on D.
So would it make sense for JB and staff to use some of the extra down time to bring out more zone looks on defense? As I understand it, a zone defense like a 2-3 can help clog the middle of the floor, making drives to the basket more difficult to execute, while tending to give up open 3pt looks. Since Michigan already gives up many wide-open 3s playing man, what would be the downside to more zone?
Offense and defense rankings based on total numbers and straight averages can be misleading at times. If a team plays opponents with strong rush offense but weak pass offense, the team's pass defense stats might look better than what they really should be. This is something Michigan was being accused of due to the fact that much of our "bad" defensive games came against strong rushing teams (Alabama and Air Force).
One way to mitigate this "effect" would be to not look at the totals and average numbers, but compare the game output against the average output the opponent has produced against all opponents. This produces numbers that show you how good your performance was compared to all other team that your opponent has played. It is more useful comparative method than using just total numbers.
So, exactly how does it work?
Here are the stats for Michigan so far this year:
|Opponents||Rush Net Total||Pass Yds Total||Total Yds||Pts||Avg Rush Total||Avg Pass Total||Avg Total Offense||Avg Scoring Offense|
|Average All Opp||145.1||145.9||291.0||17.3||196.0||194.7||390.7||27.5|
|Opponents||Avg Rush Off Diff||Avg Pass Off Diff||Avg Total Off Diff||Avg Scoring Off Diff|
|Average All Opp||-24%||-24%||-26%||-39%|
The first four columns of stats represent the actual stats from the game played against Michigan. The second set (of four) columns are the average output of that team against all opponents this year. The
last set (of four) columns second table are the differences in percentage of actual game stat versus the total year averages.
As you can see from the table, Alabama produced their average offensive output against Michigan while Purdue and Illinois barely produced about half of their normal offensive output.
By averaging all of the averages, we find that our defense is reducing our opponents' normal offensive output by about 25%, while only allowing only 61% of their normal scoring output.
Sounds pretty good, but how does that compare to rest of NCAA?
I didn't have enough time to calculate the differential averages for every team in NCAA, but I did the analysis for top 10 Pass/Rush/Total defensive teams and all of Big Ten (plus ND). I did not include stats against FCS opponents. Here it is ranked by total offense differential.
Few things that stand out:
- Alabama, LSU, and Florida St defense stand above the rest
- Michigan and Michigan St defenses stand above the rest of B1G
- Michigan is pretty good at both run and pass defense
- Ohio St pass defense is HORRIBLE!
- BYU defense is much better than I thought
- Many of the defenses highly ranked in one (pass or rush) only because they are so horrible at the other (I am looking at you Arizona St, Stanford, Nebraska and Oregon St!)
- Notre Dame is living on borrowed time - their scoring differential is MUCH higher than what rest of the defensive differentials would indicate
I do believe converting straight up numbers to percentages makes it much easier to compare between pass/rush and between different teams. I hope most of you find this useful. If I get enough upvotes, I will do the same analysis for offense as well.