Tennessee is not recruiting well just because they got 18 dudes
First thing's first, I think I did a pretty thorough job, but if you think any of my numbers need to be corrected, just say so in the comments. This can be a group effort.
One of the most common objections heard from Michigan fans with respect to the potential hiring of Les Miles is that he's demonstrated a penchant for oversigning. ESPN's Outside the Lines produced a segment about a month ago widely linked to on this board highlighting LSU's use of this practice under Miles. If it matters to you my take is that it's abhorrent that a head coach making a multimillion dollar salary and with tremendous institutional backing could go into some poor kid's home and sell the promise of a college degree and then spit the kid out when he becomes expendable. I would hate seeing someone who'd do that become the head coach at my alma mater both for the sake of the kids he'd recruit and for the fact that he'd be the most public face of my school. Game theory be damned.
I got into an argument with psychomatt earlier about whether LSU was set to oversign again this year. I cited http://www.oversigning.com which says LSU currently has 8 more commits than it will have a place for. Psychomatt disputed these numbers. So, fair enough. Let's take a closer look.
As chronicled by the OTL report LSU trimmed down right before fall camp to get down to 85 scholarship players to start the year. Since, one player was dismissed from the team and none have transferred. The player dismissed was fullback Dominique Allen. He had a scholarship, was dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and Miles noted interestingly at the press conference that walk on James Stampley was clearly the number 1 fullback anyway.
That gets us down to 84.
Now, to the roster analysis:
There are 9 outgoing scholarship seniors. They are: Terrence Tolliver, Lezerius Levingston, Josh Jasper, Derek Helton, Richard Murphy, Jai Eugene, Joseph Barksdale, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis.
All other seniors on LSUs website are either expressly denoted as walk ons or have completely blank bio pages and no varsity letters. Exception: Dan Graff, listed as a player-coach (?!) who joined the team as a sophomore walk on. I'm confident in counting on him still being a walk on.
Potential 5th year candidates
- Josh Dworaczyk- has started every game for them at left guard this year. Will almost certainly return.
- Will Blackwell- was the starter at the beginning of the year at right guard before injuring his ankle. He recovered to play in the final 3 games. Probably back.
- T-Bob Hebert- took over Blackwell's starting job when he went down and spent the previous year starting at center. As a multi year starter he'll be welcomed back.
- Stevan Ridley- LSU's top back this year getting 249 carries and 1,147 yards. If he wants to come back he can. And he probably will come back at least according to where he's currently projected to go in the draft and to general message board scuttlebutt.
- Stefoin Francois- Started every game at linebacker, will be welcomed back. Not thought to be a draft risk.
- Ron Brooks- backup cornerback/strong safety and contributor on special teams. Played all 12 games, but started none. Put up decent numbers, though, 28 tackles 5 tfls and 3 PBUs. With Peterson leaving on the one hand and the number crunch on the other let's give him a 50-50 chance of being back.
- Jarrett Lee- 2nd string qb. It might be conceivable they'd let him go, but because Miles in his infinite wisdom, put Russell Shepard at wide receiver (seriously if he comes RIP Dilithium), their current 3rd string option is a freshman walk on. Zac Mettenberger (highly touted Georgia castoff) is about to come aboard though. But still, who likes having a redshirt freshman walk on as your 3rd string? Lee's getting invited back.
- Jordan Jefferson- Starting qb. He's welcome back.
- Patrick Peterson- Thorpe winner. All world cb. NFL. Gone.
- Alex Russian- Cone like tight end turned backup snapper. It's a wonder he isn't gone already.
- Mitch Joseph- in LSU's 3 man tight end rotation. Started 4 games this year. Let's say it's 50-50.
Only case with any ambiguity is Dennis Johnson, but after going through message board stuff I'm 90% sure he's a walk on.
So giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves let's count the maybes as both out. So in total we'll say that's 4 RS juniors not coming back. Obviously that +9 seniors +1 free schollie = 14.
Potential 3rd year draft entrants
I couldn't find any 3rd year guys LSU fans seem worried about losing early to the draft. Correct me if I'm wrong.
As Brian explained here , outside Alabama, medical hardships aren't very common. In fact, between 2008 and 2010 SEC schools that don't love houndstooth on average gave out slightly more than one each.
Recruits who fail to enroll
LSU currently has 21 commitments and is still in on some prospects. Let's hypothesize they don't gain or lose any commits between now and signing day, although it's probably more likely they gain. From 2005-2010 (Les' tenure) LSU has signed 144 players of whom 135 qualified academically and enrolled.* That makes for a 93.75% matriculation rate. Obviously using this rate to project into the future has its limitations, Miles might have changed his recruiting philosophy and taken on more high risk kids this year, but given how much he oversigned by last year and that 28 of the 29 in that class enrolled, I doubt a huge variation is likely this year. Anyway, using that figure we can project that 1 player not qualifying is the most likely outcome, having 2 not qualify is the second most likely outcome and having none fail to qualify the 3rd most likely outcome. Let's go with taking one out since it's the most likely statistically and they might end up with more commitments anyway.
You don't really need me for this, it's simple math. But giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves this is what we get 84 - 9 - 4 + 20 = 91. Miles is looking at being 6 above the limit right now.
Is this really a big deal?
I can hear people say it now: But, but, that's not accounting for players who choose to transfer voluntarily or make boneheaded decisions in the offseason and get kicked out justifiably!
To reply: Yes
Any oversigning analysis shouldn't account for that. For a coach to take a kid's signature, or even a commitment, when he doesn't have a spot for him is fundamentally wrong. Even if he thinks it's more likely than not that the spot he needs will free up in time, he promised a player much younger than him, usually much poorer and less powerful the opportunity to get a degree and play the sport he loves and by accepting that signature or commitment he doesn't have a spot for he's putting that at risk. It's grossly reckless and highly irresponsible. No institution of higher learning should be associated with it. And really, if a football program ends up a few scholarship players short is it the worst thing in the world? Those scholarships would instead go to deserving walk ons. And what's wrong with that?
Assume, for the sake of conjecture, that Les Miles is announced as coach sometime in the next 96 hours. Does he bring his coordinators or is the next CC for coordinators?
[Ed.: Bumped for awesome.]
For pathos purposes only.
Rodriguez: Trouble at Schembechler!
Assistant: Oh no - what kind of trouble?
Rodriguez: One on't zone reed gone owt askew on spreadshred.
Rodriguez: One on't zone reed gone owt askew on spreadshred.
Assistant: I don't understand what you're saying.
Rodriguez: [slightly irritatedly and with exaggeratedly clear accent] One of the zone reads has gone out askew in the spread n’ shred.
Assistant: Well what on earth does that mean?
Rodriguez: I don't know – Mr. Magee just told me to come in here and say that there was trouble at Schembechler, that's all - I didn't expect a kind of Coaching Inquisition.
[The door flies open and Cardinal David Brandon of Domino’s enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Rosenberg has goggles pushed over his forehead. Cardinal Fatcatalumnus is just Cardinal Fatcatalumnus]
Brandon: NOBODY expects the Coaching Inquisition! Our chief Replacement Candidate is Hoke...Hoke and Miles...Miles and Hoke.... Our two Replacement Candidates are Miles and Hoke...and Patterson.... Our three Replacement Candidates are Miles, Hoke, and Patterson...and an almost fanatical devotion to Harbaugh.... Our four...no... Amongst our Replacement Candidates.... Amongst our Replacement Candidatery...are such candidates as Miles, Hoke.... I'll come in again.
[The Cardinals exit]
Rodriguez: I didn't expect a kind of Coaching Inquisition.
[The cardinals burst in]
Brandon: NOBODY expects the Coaching Inquisition! Amongst our Replacement Candidatery are such diverse candidates as: Miles, Hoke, Patterson, an almost fanatical devotion to Harbaugh, and nice red uniforms - Oh damn!
[To Cardinal Rosenberg] I can't say it - you'll have to say it.
Brandon: You'll have to say the bit about 'Our chief Replacement Candidates are ...'
Rosenberg: [rather horrified]: I couldn't do that...
[Brandon bundles the cardinals outside again]
Rodriguez: I didn't expect a kind of Coaching Inquisition.
[The cardinals enter]
Rosenberg: Er.... Nobody...um....
Rosenberg: Expects... Nobody expects the...um...the Coaching...um...
Brandon: Coaching Inquisition...
Rosenberg: I know, I know! Nobody expects the Coaching Inquisition. In fact, those who do expect -
Brandon: Our chief Replacement Candidates are...
Rosenberg: Our chief Replacement Candidates are...um...er...
Rosenberg: Hoke and --
Brandon: Okay, stop. Stop. Stop there - stop there. Stop. Phew! Ah! ... our chief Replacement Candidates are Hoke...blah blah blah. Cardinal, read the charges.
Fatcatalumnus: You are hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the House of Bo. 'My old Michigan Man said follow the--'
Rosenberg: That's enough.
[To Rodriguez] Now, how do you plead?
Rodriguez: I’m innocent.
Brandon: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Rosenberg: We'll soon change your mind about that!
Brandon: Miles, Hoke, and a most fanatical -- [controls himself with a supreme effort] Ooooh! Now, Cardinal -- the MAJOR VIOLATIONS!
[Rosenberg produces a ONE-PAGE LIST OF NCAA MAJOR VIOLATIONS. Brandon looks at it and clenches his teeth in an effort not to lose control. He hums heavily to cover his anger]
Brandon: You....Right! Tie him down.
[Fatcatalumnus and Rosenberg make a pathetic attempt to tie Rodriguez to the sheet of NCAA Major Violations]
Brandon: Right! How do you plead?
Brandon: Ha! Right! Cardinal, make the public [oh dear] make the public believe the violations.
[Rosenberg stands there awkwardly and shrugs his shoulders]
Brandon: [gritting his teeth] I know, I know you can't. I didn't want to say anything. I just wanted to try and ignore your crass mistake.
Brandon: It makes it all seem so stupid.
Rosenberg: Shall I...?
Brandon: No, just pretend for God's sake. Ha! Ha! Ha!
[Rosenberg pretends to publish the violations in the Free Press using a plastic coated dish rack as a printing press]
[Cut to them torturing Rodriguez]
Brandon: Now, Rodriguez -- you are accused of heresy on three counts -- heresy by Game Captains, heresy by Hick Accent, heresy by Not Understanding the Rivalry, and heresy by the Number One Jersey -- four counts. Do you confess?
Rodriguez: I don't understand what I'm accused of.
Brandon: Ha! Then we'll make you understand! Rosenberg! Fetch...THE INFLATABLE MICHIGAN MAN SEX DOLL!
[Rosenberg holds out an INFLATABLE MICHIGAN MAN SEX DOLL]
Rosenberg: Here it is, Lord.
Brandon: Now, Rodriguez -- you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of Tiny Slot Ninjas, reject the works of Casteel -- two last chances. And you shall be free -- three last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.
Rodriguez: I don't know what you're talking about.
Brandon: Right! If that's the way you want it -- Cardinal! Poke him with the Inflatable Michigan Man Sex Doll!
[Rosenberg carries out this rather pathetic torture]
Brandon: Confess! Confess! Confess!
Rosenberg: It doesn't seem to be hurting him, Lord.
Brandon: Have you got all the air in the schlong?
Rosenberg: Yes, Lord.
Brandon [angrily hurling away the Inflatable Michigan Man Sex Doll]: Hmm! He is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fatcatalumnus! Fetch...THE $2.5 MILLION BUYOUT!
[Zoom into Fatcatalumnus's horrified face]
Fatcatalumnus [terrified]: The...$2.5 million buyout?
[Rosenberg pushes in a GIANT PILE OF MONEY]
Brandon: So you think you are strong because you can survive the Inflatable Michigan Man Sex Doll. Well, we shall see. Rosenberg! Put him in the Giant Pile of Money!
[They roughly push him into the Giant Pile of Money]
Brandon [with a cruel leer]: Now -- you will stay in the Giant Pile of Money until another coaching job opens up, with only a year-long break on ESPN as an analyst. [Aside, to Rosenberg] Is that really all it is?
Rosenberg: Yes, Lord.
Brandon: I see. I suppose we make it worse by shouting a lot, do we? Confess, man. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess!
Rosenberg: I confess!
Brandon: Not you!
Last week, there was a thread about an alleged “MGoBubble” (thread ref)- and that led to a side discussion about the perceived level of support for Rich Rodriguez among various groups of people. In my quest to find some real data (rather than forum posts or polls on Detnews), I came across an organization called Public Policy Polling that conducts state-level polls about voter perceptions of political candidates. In May of 2010, they included questions about Rich Rodriguez for their Michigan poll. They repeated those questions in their Michigan poll this past week. The results, both from May and from December, are very interesting and may be surprising to some.
First of all, the usual caveats:
- I am not affiliated in any way with Public Policy Polling (site)
- I am not advocating one way or another anything about “CC” - I am trying to bring some accurate data (and new information) into the discussion
- The survey does not go very deep - it simply asks some basic questions about favorable or unfavorable opinions about RR, and about allowing RR to continue or having him replaced
- The survey does not claim to be representative of any particular subgroup other than the categories it specifically asks about. In other words, this poll is not representative of the UofM student body, nor of alumni. nor of former players, etc. It is representative of registered voters in Michigan who identify themselves as UofM fans, and of those fans as broken down by political ideology, party affiliation, age, ethnicity, and gender.
- The May Michigan survey was conducted May 25-27, polled 890 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% (source)
- The December Michigan survey was conducted December 3-6, polled 1224 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8% (source)
- One of the questions specifically asks whether the respondent is a fan of UofM, MSU, or neither. The questions about RR were only asked to those who identified themselves as UofM fans. This also means that the margin of error for questions about RR is higher, because the sample size is smaller.
May 2010 Results
First of all, let’s look at the May results, after a 3-9 and 5-7 season, and concurrent with the announcement by Michigan of the self-imposed penalties for the NCAA violations (UofM announced those penalties on May 25).
1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Rich Rodriguez? Based on the May results, it appears that there is a small group of people (20%) who had a favorable view of RR, and a slightly larger but still fairly small group of people (26%) who had an unfavorable view of RR. The majority (54%) were unsure.
The polling organization noted that this is a low favorable rating for one’s own coach. They compared it to the favorable rating that North Carolina fans have for their arch-rival Duke’s basketball coach (46%). For RR to have such a low favorable rating from his own fan base is “exceptionally bad,” according to the polling organization. (source)
2. Would you like to see Rich Rodriguez continue to be Michigan’s football coach this season or would you like to see him replaced? This is a very interesting result - a majority (51%) of people wanted RR to continue for the 2010 season, which implies that a majority of Michigan fans who were “Not sure” of their opinion on RR still wanted him to be the coach. In fact, there was a smaller percentage of fans who wanted him replaced (20%) than who had an unfavorable opinion of him (26%), which implies that even some of his detractors either wanted him to continue as coach this year or were unsure.
Digging a little bit deeper, although this poll doesn’t say anything specifically about UofM students, alumni, current players, or former players, it is possible to address whether age has anything to do with one’s positions on RR. A claim that I have heard on this blog is that RR’s detractors are probably older fans who are more comfortable with traditional power football, and not inclined to support a coach who brings a modern offensive philosophy to the table. In fact, this data appears to show just the opposite - the older the fan, the stronger the support for RR in May. It is the group of fans in the youngest category (18-29) who are the most polarized and who have the strongest negative views on RR.
Why is that? One possible explanation is that the idea of keeping something the same or making a change may be related to one’s political ideology - and that as of May 2010, having RR as the coach was already seen as the status quo. Assuming (the polling organization didn’t publish this specific data) that older fans tend to be conservative, and further assuming that conservatives prefer to keep the status quo, that might partially explain why older fans preferred to keep RR as coach back in May. In that sense, one could argue (although the data doesn’t necessarily say this) that RR was already accepted by those older fans as “a Michigan man” in the sense that his status as football coach was seen as the status quo.
One final interesting result from the May survey. There does appear to be a significant divide in support for RR based on ethnicity. The polling organization didn’t put forward any possible explanation for this ethnicity gap, and I honestly can’t come up with a rationale myself. It is what it is.
A lot has happened in Michigan since May, both in football and in politics. Michigan elected a Republican governor by a large majority, and the UofM football team experienced a winning season under Coach Rodriguez, but suffered double-digit losses to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and OSU.
So how did the events of the past 6 months affect RR’s favorable rating among UofM fans?
There remains a small core of people (20%, just as in May) who continue to have a favorable opinion of RR, while the group that has an unfavorable opinion has increased (from 26% in May to 38% in December), apparently almost completely from the “Not sure” camp in May (down from 54% in May to 42% in December). The surprising result, for me, is that the largest group (42%) is still “Not sure” about their opinion of RR.
Given that many “Not sure” fans in May still wanted RR to continue, and even some of the fans who viewed RR unfavorably in May didn't necessarily want him replaced, do fans want RR to continue as they look forward to 2011?
Again, there has been a shift in opinion away from a majority of people who wanted RR to continue back in May, to a statistically even split among those who want him to continue (32%), those who want him replaced (35%), and those who are unsure (33%). As in May, there may be some people who have an unfavorable view of RR but do not necessarily want him replaced (38% v. 35%).
Attempting to tease out where those unsure of their opinion of RR stand with respect to having him keep his job, I made a couple of admittedly invalid assumptions:
- All those who want RR to continue have a favorable opinion of him
- The difference between the larger group of those who want RR to continue v. the smaller group of those who have a favorable opinion of him consist completely of those who are unsure of their opinion of him. In other words, if 20% have a favorable opinion, but 32% want him to continue being the coach, that extra 12% of people who want to keep RR is coming from those who are unsure of their opinion of him.
Not sure of their opinion of RR but want him to continue
Again, this is probably a stretch in terms of interpreting the published data, but it appears that RR’s support for keeping his job among “neutral” UofM fans has eroded significantly.
Digging a little deeper, the May results suggested that the youngest fans (18-29) were the most strongly divided and had the highest percentage of people wanting to replace RR. By contrast, the oldest fans (65+) wanted to keep RR back in May, by a large margin. Has this age profile of support for RR changed in December?
This is a significant change. Not only has RR’s overall support eroded, his support among the “blue hairs” has completely flipped, where more of the oldest respondents (65+) want him replaced than want to keep him.
Respondents age 65+
What about the youngest respondents, who were the most divided back in May? It appears that they are now very unsure of whether they want RR to continue being Michigan's coach.
Respondents age 18-29
What about political ideology? Do even conservative fans, who theoretically would prefer to keep the status quo, still want to keep RR in his position?
Again, this shows almost a complete inversion of the results in May. Back in May, liberals tended to want to replace RR while conservatives tended to want to keep him; now in December, it’s the opposite.
And for the sake of completion, do we still see a dramatic gap in support for RR based on ethnicity?
Although there is still an ethnicity gap, it has narrowed significantly to the point where it appears that one either wants RR to continue, to be replaced, or is unsure - regardless of one’s ethnicity.
Finally, one additional question was asked in the December poll, about who the respondents would like to see as a replacement. No surprise about who leads the pack, but I should point out that Brady Hoke is running a distant third, behind even an “unnamed” candidate.
I’ll be the first to say that it is dangerous, even maliciously deceptive, to extrapolate into the future using data that is not intended to be used that way. So I believe it would be inappropriate to say anything like, “if current trends continue...”, or “another season like this one would probably result in favorable ratings of...”, or “if we lose to MSU and OSU again next year, the percentage of fans who would want to keep RR would probably be...” The data makes no claim to predict the future - it is simply 2 snapshots in time that reveal how opinions have changed since May.
I hope this diary qualifies as “bringing new information” to the table, and also brings forward some reasonably accurate opinion survey data that we can talk about, rather than statements made in a vacuum claiming that “98% of former M football players still alive despise RR” or the idea that “players that played 40-70 years ago...are not a fan of the spread offense...” (thread ref)
Hilarious - cant wait for the grass eating song
Les Miles has inspired an app - really making the phrase "there's an app for that" so true! Now you too can live your life in the mold of the Mad Hatter!