An entertaining read on the recent rise of Stanford football, with a heaping helping of Harbaugh:
Many of the anecdotes have already been mentioned in various articles, but there are a few that I haven't seen elsewhere (you DO NOT want to play racquetball with Harbaugh). Worth the $10 in my opinion.
(And no, I am not one of the co-authors. I went to grad school at Berkeley).
Do you think it will be a close game or a blowout?
I think Oregon wins 31-27.
Here is a look at Mr. Wheatley's coaching history at Syracuse (2010-2012) as it is most applicable to his role here. This data comes with the caveats:
- It is impossible to separate the OL from the RB. Good OL makes most RBs look better than they are; poor OL makes most RBs look worse than they are. I did not dig too deep into Syracuse's OL but based on their overall OL stats they.. were challenged..
- I believe RBs are born more than made - in terms of vision, balance, will, sensing a hole, et al. See Mike Hart. That does not mean a RB cannot get better with coaching, nor that coaching is useless - especially in terms of pass protect role, improving blocking technique, football acumen, etc. But the pure running ability - I think RBs either have "it" or they don't. Others may disagree.
First, some data on Syracuse's offense at the 40,000 foot level - it sucked in 2010, 2011 and boomed in 2012. I've compared those 3 years to "2009 Syracuse" and "2014 Michigan" for comparison.
|Tot Off||Rush O||Pass O||oFEI||oS&P+||Rush S&P|
(Key - Tot Off, Rush Off, Pass O are just pulls out of NCAA website tables. oFEI, oS&P+ are 2 advanced metrics I prefer to measure teams; rush S&P is a subset of oS&P+).
In short, Syracuse's offense for the first 2 years of Wheatley's stay was not dissimilar to UM's poor 2014 offense other than the passing game of Ryan Nassib (who was the QB all 3 years) was superior to 2014 Devin Gardner. Then in year 3, Nassib surged (sigh) as a 5th year SR. The running game also improved that year - surely not unrelated. After which point the Bills hired the "local" college guy Marrone, and he took Wheatley with him to the NFL.
During these years, Syracuse always had a primary back who had 1000+ yards. And in 2 years a change of pace back who was the receiving threat. 2011 the change of pace back looked like he was forced to be the feature back and Syracuse suffered.
Year by Year
2010 - Wheatley inherited feature back 5th yr SR Delone Carter, a 3 star (55th ranked) RB. Carter was an undersized 5'9" back who would go on to get drafted in the 4th round. Carter had been productive as a RS JR in 2009, rushing for 1021 yards with a 4.3 average. Under Wheatley in 2010 that improved to 1233 yards with a 5.3 average but being realistic, as a true freshman Carter was "prime time" - he ran for 713 yards and a 4.6 average. So Carter was pretty damn good right out of HS and had 2 very productive years sans Wheatley so difficult to give much credit here to the coach.
His understudy was another small back, true JR Antwon Bailey who rushed for 554 yards and a 4.9 average. That average fell very much in line with what he did in 2009 sans Wheatley where he average 4.7 yards in a more limited role. Carter was not much of a receiving threat while Bailey was with 35 catches. We'll talk more about him in 2011.
2011 - Bailey moved from understudy to the feature role as a SR. The 2 star 5'7" scat back saw his production double to 1051 yards but his average dipped by half a yard to 4.4 per carry. His receiving production was quite similar to the prior year. But Syracuse did not develop any other option - the next two RBs (Smith and Gulley) combined had roughly 200 yards on the year; it was the Bailey show. As the table above shows this was the worst year for Syracuse rushing of the 3 Wheatley was there.
2012 - Nassib really took off this year (in a relative sense) and that combined with a 2 headed attack at RB with true JR Jerome Smith and RS SO Prince-Tyson Gulley. Smith was a 3 star out of Delaware with prototypical RB size (6'0, 220ish) while Gulley was a 2 star out of Ohio who again was smallish at 5'9 and sub 200 lbs.
Both RBs prospered in 2012, averaging over 5 yards per carry - Smith for 1171 yards (5.2 per) and Gulley for 830 (5.3 yards per). Much like in 2010 Smith was a feature back who rarely caught the ball while Gulley had 33 catches as your change of pace/3rd down back.
Summary: I don't really have any key takeaways - it's just data to review. 2012 was a nice year, 2011 was generally weak, and 2010 was below par at the 40,000 foot level but ok individually. But Wheatley inherited a pretty darn good college back his first year. That said we should not spit on 1000+ yard rushers - UM has only had 1 from the RB position since 2007 (Fitz 2011). There hasn't even been a 700+ yard rusher from the RB spot at UM since 2007, save for '11. Slaton under RR at WVU for comparison had 1000+ yds 3 years in a row, so it wasn't due to a non friendly RB system either.
Obviously the quality of players UM has in house are far different then the "5th rated RB out of Delaware". And one assumes the quality of OL coaching will be superior than what Syracuse has. It was time for a change at this coaching slot - hopefully Wheatley is a star recruiter and is able to develop young players in their pass blocking schemes quickly because after 2016 all the RBs but Isaac are gone and the new generation will be critical.
(Come after him! He's a man! He's 42!)
Ok, so since this is Back to the Future year, I figured I'd do a BTTF-themed work. I wanted to have some fun and not put WAAYYY too much time into this, but I did do my homework. Most of the expressions are near-perfect and I put a few Easter Eggs in the layout. I hope you enjoy it. This was mainly for fun, so I'm less worried about constructive criticism for this piece.
Bonus content, t-shirt idea art.
Enjoy! Go Blue!
Malzone seems to be recruiting awfully hard for the team. It sounds like we could make a serious run if we want him. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2015...