...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
We all remember a Boren leaving Michigan for OSU, with criticism that the new staff lacked family values and used naughty language. For that reason, I was amused by this paragraph from Dr. Saturday:
Meet the new boss, swears more than the last boss. Ohio State players are already feeling the energy of a new, younger coaching staff, too, most notably in the language ("They might cuss a little bit more," according to tight end Jake Stoneburner) and the intensity level in general. "I don't think we'll change our offense one bit; I don't think we'll change our defense one bit," fullback Zach Boren told the Columbus Dispatch. "I just think what's going to change is our attitude. It's going to be a more exciting attitude. ... We're going to come out and wear our emotions on our sleeve and let it go."
I'm an adminstrator at a local preschool, and today our staff and I took all of our preschoolers on a field trip to Michigan Stadium.
The kids were very excited - some of them were up ridiculously early this morning in anticipation of the trip.
We met up with a really nice guy named Bill Austin from the AD's Events department, who took us up the east tower to see the club seats, then he took us to the west tower to see a suite and the press box, then he took us down to the locker room, and finally, the kids got to run the tunnel and play on the field. This was an amazing experience! On the way out, as is wise when dealing with preschoolers, everyone had to use the bathroom - so the kids all "went potty where the football players do!"
I have great pics of the kids on the field, but I need to get some persmission from parents before I post. In the meantime, I got a pic in front of Denard's locker.
A few interesting tidbits from our tour guide:
- The arrangement of stalls in the locker room has been changed by the current staff. Under RR the players were arranged by position. Under the Hokester the players are arranged in numerical order to send the message that they are one team, not units.
- The Hard Edge verbiage was still up in the tunnel, but it will be coming down.
We've seen the following trends in recruiting since Hoke (and Mattison) arrived:
- Heavy numbers at LB.
- Low numbers at DT.
- DE that project better to a 3-man front or as linebackers. (This is debatable but bear with me...)
Furthermore, Mattison is coming off successfuly running the Ravens' 3-4 [edit: really it was a hybrid with multiple looks] and is using that fact to sell recruits. Add it up and you see circumstantial evidence that could point towards Michigan moving to a base 3-4 defense within the next few seasons (obviously not yet).
LB: When Hoke was announced as head coach, the 2011 recruiting class added 2 more LB recruits (to the 2 already committed) - a surprising number given the quantity of players returning from the 2009 and 2010 classes.
For 2012, LB seemed to be a minor need, but the coaches have taken 4 more commitments anyway.
DT: The critical recruiting need for the 2012 defensive class seemed, at least to most fans, to be for several 'true' DTs to a) replace Mike Martin and b) provide a talent infusion where no proven players return. Despite the need, it's rumored that the coaching staff is only taking one player for the position in 2012.
DEs who might be DTs: The 2011 class included the late addition of Keith Heitzman, an SDE type who some project to DT. Chris Rock had a similar profile and was already committed to the class. Previous recruits like Wilkins and Black were also thought to be potential DTs at some point. In 2012 we've seen a number of similar DE recruits - larger players who could be moved inside like Strobel, Godin, and Wormley (who is not part of the class but remains a target and, to many, a likely commit). These type of versatile linemen are generally considered to be prototypical fits for a 3-4 DE (e.g. 6'6 290 lb JJ Watt).
DEs who might be LBs: DE recruiting under Hoke has included three players weighing in the neighborhood of 220 lbs (Ojemudia, Brown, and Beyer). This is light even for a LB at the college level. Brown and Beyer are tall, but Ojemudia is indisputably LB-sized and has been quoted as saying he's a linebacker. Some of the DL recruits have been told they're seen as a 'Terrell Suggs' type player. Suggs is a LB, at least technically.
. . One can easily make numerous arguments to rationalize all of the evidence above: The 4-3 under personnel isn't necessarily dissimilar from a 3-4 defenses; Mattison's run both defenses; staff wasn't impressed with the returning LB talent; the DT and SDE positions can be secured by a variety of players; the 4-3 WDE and 3-4 RLB are roughly the same thing (e.g. Woodley); etc. ...However, as the circumstantial evidence mounts, the hypothesis begins to look more feasible. The rumor that the staff will take only O'Brien or Pipkins, but not both, seems particularly curious if the plan is to stick with a 4-man front.
This was discussed before to some degree http://mgoblog.com/category/post-type/3-4-defense but we've seen a lot change in recruiting over the last couple months.
I've had a lot of questions about where Michigan's 2012 recruiting class will be ranked come February. This is almost impossible to predict since there are no constants in the recruiting world. Since that won't satisfy anyone though I figured I would give you a projection based off of past years, and what Michigan's class could potentially look like around signing day.
This is all conjecture based off the assumption that nothing will change with Michigan's current commitments. It's more or less for fun. Don't take it too seriously.
Michigan currently has 19 commitments not counting greyshirt Jeremy Clark. There are 10 four star prospects committed and 9 three stars. We'll also assume that Michigan is going to take 25-26 prospects, just for argument sake meaning there are 6-7 spots left. In order to project where the class will be ranked let's first look at how the class could close out [For simplicity all star rankings are per Rivals].
|Jordan Diamond||Illinois||6'6", 289 lbs.||4|
|Josh Garnett||Washington||6'5", 275 lbs||4|
|Adam Bisnowaty||Pennsylvania||6'6", 275 lbs||4|
|Zach Banner||Washington||6'9", 310 lbs||4|
Michigan is only taking one more prospect from this group. I kept these names on because these are the most likely prospects to choose Michigan. We'll project Michigan will land one more 4 star prospect for the class from the offensive line.
|Aziz Shittu||California||6'3", 275 lbs||5|
|Ondre Pipkins||Missouri||6'3", 325 lbs||4|
|Danny O'Brien||Michigan||6'2", 293 lbs||
The coaches have told some of these prospects that they will only be taking one more interior lineman, but I still think there's a good chance they take two. We'll just assume for this exercise that they'll take two. The most likely from that group are Pipkins and O'Brien, so let's add two 4 star prospects to the list from the defensive tackle group.
|Adolphus Washington||Ohio||6'4", 230 lbs.||4|
|Chris Wormley||Ohio||6'4", 255 lbs.||3|
You're probably only looking at one prospect from this group if you want two defensive tackles. Until Adolphus Washington actually visits I'm not sure where he actually has Michigan ranked. We'll go with Wormley and say that Michigan adds one 3 star prospect to the commit list. [ed: It's worth noting that 247 and Scout both have Wormley in their top 100s.]
|Aaron Burbridge||Michigan||6'1", 175 lbs.||4|
|Dwayne Stanford||Ohio||6'5", 185 lbs.||4|
|Jordan Payton||California||6'2", 199 lbs.||4|
|Amara Darboh||Iowa||6'2", 190 lbs.||4|
|Jehu Chesson||Missouri||6'3", 182 lbs.||3|
There's likely three spots left in our scenario, so let's say the coaches will take two receivers from this group. There's a possibility that we could see other receivers earn offers if Michigan doesn't land anyone from this list. This group is a little tougher because Burbridge has grade issues. For our purposes though let's include Aaron Burbridge/ unnamed four star, and one other prospect.
Jehu Chesson, Jordan Payton, and Dwayne Stanford have shown the most interest from the rest of the group. I'll go on the conservative side here though and say Michigan lands a 3 star receiver. So we have one 4 star and one 3 star. It's too early to tell if that's likely, but like I said it's on the conservative side. The scenarios within this group are tough to predict.
|Bri'onte Dunn||Ohio||6'2", 215 lbs.||4|
|EJ Fatu||Texas||5'10", 235 lbs.||3|
|Juwan Lewis||Michigan||5'11", 208 lbs.||3|
|Sione Houma||Utah||6'0", 211 lbs.||2|
Given that we took two wide receivers we only have room for one from the running back position group. That was partially why I added a 4 star and a 3 star to the receivers, because the 3 star receiver could potentially be interchangeable with a fullback.
This is also a hard group to predict because of the uncertainty with Bri'onte Dunn. As I reported earlier in the week I don't think Dunn's recruitment is over. With Michigan landing Kyle Kalis that helps their chances. However, I'm going to go conservative again, and this time just take the average stars rating of 3. There's too many factors that could play into this and it's too hard to predict. I left Greg Garmon off this list because he still doesn't have Michigan as his leader even after a visit to Ann Arbor. He did tell me that he loves Michigan, but at this point I left him off. So Michigan adds a 3 star from this group.
The projected class above leaves Michigan with a total of 26 prospects. The new prospects that we've added to the list here are as follows:
- One 4 Star Offensive Lineman
- Two 4 Star Defensive Tackles
- One 3 Star Defensive End
- One 4 Star and One 3 Star Wide Receiver
- One 3 Star Running Back/Fullback
If you add these numbers to the current class, it looks something like this:
Just to reiterate, these projections are assuming there is no change in the current state of the recruiting world, there are no re-ranks, players don't move up or down, etc. We know that's not the case, so there is certainly a chance that a few Michigan commits could move up or down. Both Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson for example have been mentioned as potentially moving up to 5 stars. That would change things, but I can't predict if that happens.
In order to project a final ranking we'll have to look back at where previous teams were ranked after signing day that have similar classes to Michigan. For a somewhat realistic comparison I'll give a little leeway in the stars. I'll include classes that finished with one or two 5 stars and similar 4 stars, just to show a broad spectrum.
Here's what other teams have finished with star wise and where they ranked out according to Rivals:
|Year||Team||Total Commits||5 Stars||4 Stars||3 Stars||Rank|
It's important to note that these rankings aren't just factored in by star rankings. Rivals uses a number of different factors that includes class size and their individual scores as well. Again for simplicity will just compare classes off of somewhat similar size to Michigan's 2012 class and their star rankings.
As you can see from the chart the highest ranked classes that Michigan could potentially compare to are the 2011 Texas and 2009 Ohio state classes that were both ranked third. Texas had one 5 star and Ohio State had two, so in order for Michigan to get up to that type of ranking they would most likely need to either add a five star or have a few of their prospects reranked into that status. [Ed: if Kalis remains 18th he he will almost certainly grab a fifth star. Rivals averages around 35 per year and have only handed out half of those so far. Magnuson will also be on the cusp if he maintains his current status.] Another good comparison would be Tennessee's 2010 class which ranked number 9 overall. They have a similar number of total committed prospects and somewhat comparable number of stars.
Tennessee had an outstanding class in 2011 as well, ranked 13th overall. If nothing were to change then that's a pretty good comparison for the range that Michigan could be in. Since the Vols had around the same number of prospects committed with around the same number of 3 and 4 stars I'd be comfortable putting Michigan in that range. Since Michigan has two more 4 star prospects committed [in our hypothetical scenario] I would also feel safe moving them up to around the 10-11 range. That's based off of the assumption that Michigan does not add any five stars.
As of right now I would say that the class could finish out in the 7-13 range. If they get a little lucky with Dunn and some guys moving up when the class re-ranks (Ondre Pipkins seems due for a major surge) they'll crack the top five.
I hope this kind of analysis hasn't been done already; if so, my apologies. I was wondering, in light of Brian's analysis of the defense, if we could quantify the effect of having Mattison rather than GERG as our defensive coordinator. To that end, I have tried to quantify the effect of having Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator: the GERG effect. I looked up the scoring defense ranks of Michigan, Syracuse, and Texas for 2003-2010 (data from Rivals). They are as follows:
GERG was DC at Texas in 2004, HC at Syracuse in 2005-2008, and DC at Michigan in 2009-2010. We can therefore display the data graphically as follows (note that the Y axis is team defense scoring rank): We can also try to calculate a crude GERG effect by comparing the average rank of these defenses with and without GERG. This yields the following:
Note that positive is bad and negative is good. So GERG's Texas defense was 11 ranks better than the non-GERG average, whereas his Michigan defenses were 60 ranks worse than the non-GERG average.
To calculate the overall GERG effect, we simply multiple the differences in rank by the number of years at each school, divided by the total number of years (7), to arrive at our overall GERG effect of 29.77 [this figure has been updated]. That is, on average, GERG adversely affects the scoring rank of the defenses he is associated with by 30 positions.
If we take Brian's projection of Michigan's 2011 defense (82nd), and subtract 30 ranks to adjust for the GERG effect, we get to 52, a ranking that a number of commentators were predicting based on their "gut" feeling of player development and the new coaching staff's abilities (particularly Mattison).
Again, this is wild speculation, and incredibly simple -- hopefully it is not completely misguided. Other more advanced metrics should also be used. I am aware that there are far more variables at work that determine how good a defense is--and it is almost certain that GERG was not allowed to run his defense at Michigan. Also, it is likely that Mattison is an excellent DC, something that this analysis does not account for. I was still curious to see if anything could be done to account for the coaching change.
UPDATE: I made an arithmetical error which has been corrected. Also, I ran the same analysis with S&P+ play-by-play ratings from Football outsiders and got a GERG effect of 27.75 ranks (using only Syracuse and Michigan; S&P+ data are only available from 2005 and later).
[ed: We should be taking all of this, including my original post, with a grain of salt because of sample size issues.
That said, Michigan was an the extreme outlier because of its youth and trying to run two different schemes, one of which was something no one's ever tried before, and could expect to rebound further with Mattison--and more importantly, sanity--hanging around campus. The numbers offered here in the two posts (54 using S&P+ data and 82) seem like the ends of a range of reasonable expectations.
The moral of the story is the same one learned by the offenses of Notre Dame in 2008 and Michgian in 2009--you're going to be a lot better but still very far from good.]
Not a whole lot of new ground here, but Adam Rittenberg gets an interview with David Brandon about "branding" and the Michigan athletic department.
Money quote for me:
People want Michigan to be on the national stage. They want us to be innovative. They want us to embrace our traditions -- and I do, I'm a part of that tradition -- but I also believe there's a lot of people that want us to be fresh and to be competitive, not just on the field through performance but also in the way we present our program to the nation.