Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
[Update: I didn't realize commenting was off. Sorry for those who wanted to reply. You can now.]
Every man has his breaking point, when desperation overrides rationality and he's ready to start flinging excrement at the wall in the hope that it magically becomes a castle.
Mine came at 10:23 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.
Michigan at this point is down 31-17, Penn State is driving, and Renaldo Sagesse just picked up a ludicrous (re-watched it 5 times on slow-mo) defensive holding for being double-teamed on the backside of a running play that went to the opposite sideline. Nothing Sagesse did helps the result of the play, which sees Black slant into the backfield and get pushed passed the running back, Kovacs, the deep (!) safety because true freshman Kovacsgrit clone Ray Vinopal didn't stick to the wall, getting blasted by a lineman twice his size, and a bevy of other would-be tacklers overrunning the play or sealed.
Rich Rodriguez at this point is on a sideline in Beaver Stadium, nestled between State College, Pa., and University Park, Pa. in a middle-of-nowhere geographical formation named, presumably without foreknowledge of its tremendous future irony, "Happy" Valley. He is dressed like a Michigan football coach, with parka, M hat, and headset, and is screaming at whichever referee could let such a travesty stand. Starting defensive tackles Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen are standing beside him, the former trying to bounce up and down because he has two ankles that can't take lateral movement, the latter just sucking air from being the fulcrum point of PSU's slow onslaught for three periods.
I'm standing on a couch at a mostly evacuated Halloween party in Commerce, Mich., dressed in a t-shirt with a nametag that says "PETER" in large letters, and orange makeup and silly string bits smeared around my mouth, coller, and chest. Unlike my school's head coach, I still have two entire lung-fulls of air, but that air is building, compressing, to the point that its release could have dire repurcussions.
Misopogal, dressed as a pumpkin, has stayed by my side, and is watching me warily, at once ready to disapprove of whatever comes out on all of that air, and privately scared to death of it. I look at her, and the release comes:
I'm ready to throw shit at the wall and see what sticks, and apparently Rodriguez is right there with me. On the ensuing play, Michigan lines up with true freshman Cullen Christian (!) at deep safety, true freshman Terrence Talbott as the wide corner, and redshirt freshman and erstwhile receiver Cam Gordon as Bandit/nickelback. Fuck it. PSU's mite receiver immediately gets three steps on Gordon, and the mite's walk-on quarterback lays a nice one on the numbers during the enternity it takes for Christian to arrive. Fuck it. Penn State first down at the 10. Fuck it Fuck it Fuck it.
Tim grabbed the following nugget from RR's press conference after the game:
Terrence Talbott got some play at corner because the coaches were trying to see if they could find something to work.
It took three years, but we are there.
Where's the 'Paint'?
You were so loved, Don Schembechler. Why were you so loved, and I so feared?
At the beginning of this season I revisited the Decimated Defense thing again in hopes of finding hope. At the time I found small hope for the future, but not at all for this year. It included some breakdowns of our roster by position, recruiting profile, and time in the system, like so:
I was thinking about these charts last night when J.T. Floyd was on the ground, and I caught myself trying to explain to Misopogal that (after a night so terrible even she noticed) losing him would mean a huge dropoff to the next guy. The series discussed the attrition from transfers and graduation, but not injuries and busts, i.e. guys who just don't have what it takes to play Big Ten football. So I reworked them a bit, including positional transfers from Watson and Rogers, but then taking out the guys who either left the program, got injured, or were revealed to be upperclassmen for whom playing time would be a major liability.
Things that matter:
- Guys counted in charts above (c. 5/10/2010) no longer on roster: Justin Turner, Anthony LaLota, Vladimir Emilien, Demar Dorsey, Davion Rogers, Antonio Kinard
- Injuries: Mike Martin, Troy Woolfolk, Brandon Herron, Mike Williams (would probably have been a liability though)
- Upperclassman Liabilities: James Rogers, Adam Patterson, Renaldo Sagesse, Greg Banks, Steve Watson, Obi Ezeh, J.B. Fitzgerald?
Things that don't matter so much:
- Moved to Offense: William Campbell, Teric Jones
- Moved in from Offense: Quinton Washington (except remember this was like three days ago)
- Other moves since May: Carvin Johnson and Thomas Gordon to LB (Spur). Craig Roh to LB (SAM). Jake Ryan to DL (DE).
Click to enlarge.
As you can see, the troupe available for Penn State was ridiculously young.
This is a bit unfair to the senior D-Linemen, who on a better team probably wouldn't look as bad (I'm not at all sold on Greg Banks = Rondell Biggs). Rich Rod did what he could to limit the time of the senior defensive linemen, giving Black a lot of snaps at DE in place of Banks and platooning Patterson and Sagesse. But I saw these guys getting run over enough to start wondering if burning a redshirt for Talbott or Ash is a good idea; considering they're both project recruits, it's probably not.
Defensive back Sagesse/Banks/Patterson is James Rogers and...uh...yeah. Playing Cullen Christian at deep safety on a critical 1st and 10 is throwing crap against the wall, but look at the barrel: it's not like there's a lot else to throw out there:
When a true freshman whiffed on a PBU/possible pick-six on 3rd and 14, and the drive continued another 10 plays so that half the starters must rotate out, well, we're dipping into a lot of blue.
This is a really really bad defense that relies on a lot of 3-star freshmen and probably some guys who should have been 2-stars. UMass could tear us apart; why not Penn State with a walk-on quarterback?
The point is this: we already thought the defense would be bad in May. Since then, almost half of the possible defensive contributors either transferred, got injured, or proved themselves mostly useless. We aren't just the bottom of the Big Ten; without Martin, we're probably in the middle of the MAC.
How did this defense get so bad? Brian took a look at the upperclassmen this week, noting blame based off of who recruited whom. Next week, I'll try to do something similar, but more like a shoulda-woulda-coulda depth chart that puts a bit more on RR for some of the fellas who left and didn't pan out. At the moment, I'm inclined to say he shoulders a lot of the blame, but not all.
Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork
What's wrong, guy?
This morning I woke up to a bevy of new diaries, most of which were basically two paragraphs of telling everyone how done the diarists were with our current coaching staff. One guy wrote "Fire Richard Rodriguez" and then seemingly slammed his head against his keyboard for several minutes. This, I guess, could be construed as high art. If so, it's now high art on the board, along with some other emo pieces that didn't really say much more than "Hi, I'm a Michigan fan, last night sucked, when can we fire this guy?"
Unfortunately, nobody thought to write an actually useful case for firing our head coach. However, if you're way off the bandwagon, either recently or from long before, you can take solace from a number of Rich Rod supporters who now admit they (we) got little argument left. For example, in his diary I've got nothing left," fredsaysbtdabks admits that he's got nothing left to say to irksome bandwagonners; he's just hoping we see a postseason. Meanwhile, in his diary Searching for something to hold onto, Drakeep is searching for something to hold onto:
I've always been in the "youthy defense" and not the "coaches blow" camp. But after last night I finally had a few moments where I just went, "well maybe coaching..."
A Plea for Patience from cbuswolverine compares the experience of starting secondaries among the best and worst defenses and -- surprise! -- finds that having mostly freshmen is not a good thing. We also got some Rational Venting from jsquigg, who awoke the spirit of the Great Otter of Soul-Crushing Ennui:
As the game ended against Penn State and I drov e home from BW3 where I was watching the game, I felt surprisingly unemotional. Usually I feel strongly one way or the other, but tonight it was like I knew what was going to happen even though it seems like Michigan should have an advantage on the field given the circumstances going into the game (Penn State injuries, walk on QB, etc.). I feel like I've seen this movie played out for the last 2.5 years.
If you're waiting for the standard Henri pic, dollars to donuts he'll be there for you tomorrow. As for an official MGoTake on Michigan's coaching staff, you'll have to wait for Brian; my advice is to think long and hard about what would make us the best possible team in 2012-2022. Nobody's getting fired this week.
Can We Talk About Something Else?
Okay. Here's a quandary. Say you are tasked with shipping a football to the opposite endzone across 100 yards of dangerous late-'90s Big Ten defense. You have a bunch of big uglies up front who can get your vehicle to the 2nd level, but from there, your choice of transportation is going to have to do the rest of the carrying on his own. Do you want:
a.) a Train, or b.) a Truck?
That's the question posed by Maceo24 in his epic Who Ya Got? diary. I went with A-Train, since for three of my university year falls he was my favorite player. I don't remember Ron Dayne being all that great, but I guess that's cause I only saw him play against Michigan in 1998:
Michigan had two tailbacks, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Thomas, each rush for more than 100 yards against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Playing its first game against a ranked opponent, UW couldn't clinch a Rose Bowl trip as its offense featured season lows in points, first downs, rushing yards, third-down conversions and time of possession. Dayne went the wrong way on three audible calls, saying he was bothered by an ear infection and crowd noise, and was held to a season-low average of 3.3 yards a carry.
After scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run, Dayne finished the first half with 88 yards on 14 carries. But eight more carries in the second half produced no net yards as Michigan's defense swarmed against the run and quarterback Scott Kavanagh was unable to make enough plays in the passing game.
The '99 recap also mentions Brooks Bollinger. Seriously, that guy was already around back then. Also: it's funny because Ron Dayne never beat Michigan.
This week witnessed the birth of a new MGoFeature, a video-ized version of Brian's picture pages, and the best thing in moving pictures since they told the drunk with the piano to take it to the parlor. Chris of Danger simply put the moment-by-moment analysis of these two plays right into the video. So far he's done Losing Contain, Again Again (above) and (More) Freshman DB Doom.
For facing down the horrors of videography and Youtube, and because we should all encourage him to keep it up, Chris (of Danger) is your Diarist of the Week.
We also had a great diary from Enjoy Life which took another look at The Mathlete's Master's Thesis on going for it on 4th down, but tried to apply a more practical cut-off for when to go:
This is probably better taken as "a conservative coach who doesn't want to lose his job should be calling it like this." I took his data, punched in some of my own numbers, and came up with a more specific chart, using Michigan's offensive and defensive statistics from Penn State, that we should use for the rest of the 2010 season:
Grid of Expectation
We had the usual bout of prognosticators again this week, although I fear this is the last we will see this season of one of them:
|Our Defense, Their Offense - Judgment Call||mistersuits||Normalized PPG and YPG||M, 28-24|
|Penn St Preview||The Mathlete||PAN||M, 35-24|
|A Halloween Statistical Look at Saturday's Game||Mr. McBlue and RR Too||RR's history on Halloween||M, 31-26|
|Post Week 8: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||Yardage-Score||M, 35-24|
|Things to think about this week+small PSU preview||tasnyder01||Bored||PSU < 350yds|
|Gray's Sports Almanac Volume II (2001-2050)||Metro Publishing||Dust-repellant paper||Cubs win 2015 World Series|
|Farewell to the season||THE_KNOWLEDGE||Is from Future||Went Back to the Future|
* Would the plural of "JoePa" be "JoePae" under the original Latin declension?
Fantasy football fan myrtlebeachmaizenblue put together an All-Michigan fantasy football team, and a bunch of responders came back with fantasy teams from other schools. The NFL Wolverines have a vicious passing offense behind Tom Brady behind Jake Long, David Baas, and the 2000 boys, and passing to Navarre's receiver trio (plus Super Mario). We have like no safeties unless you want to count Marlin (but you knew that). RB is Hart.
The Ugly Game of the Week by stubob went with mascots this time. Lesson: don't be a rebel.
On MSU, I figured I'd put this here, though it aint a diary: if you're wondering why Rucker's suspension is not like other 2nd time offenders' DUIs, here's a nifty chart of recent DUIs and the punishments faced. Findings: don't drink and drive, but if you're going to, it's best you have a scholarship to Ohio State.
Yooper tracked Big Ten blogs, a chance for MGoBlog, captain of M-Lore, to show its quality (the very highest). The Quantcast stats are a bit wacky, else RCMB would beat us, but they're not really a blog, so I'm cueing the Yay! girl and calling it a night.
First, a quick note: For all of you diarists who wanted a better way to get at old UFRs, I've added an Upon Further Review Archives to the User-Curated Hall of Fame page. Go forth and discover. Now on with the show...
I tried going without Michigan football this week, and I got a little crazy. I'm ready to admit I have a problem...
I tried to get some football in, heading to my high school alma mater on Friday to watch future Wolverine Shawn Conway not get a ball thrown to him in the Seaholm Maples' 21-7 victory over my Groves Falcons. Stat of the day: current high school girls had on almost as much makeup (2,798 lbs.) as clothing (2,856 lbs.) I'm not complaining out of fuddy-duddyness but envy: I went to high school during the tail end of the grunge era, when about the raciest thing girls would wear to class were inside-out Coed Naked [Professional Occupation] t-shirts.
Which leads me to the real theme of Michigan football this week:
To see why, scroll down to find Six Zero's absolutely epic Wife Day Preview:
- Ann Taylor has coupons of any kind.
- She brings an early Christmas Shopping List
- New stores, with a Grand Opening Sale.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- My wife says “Wow, those surround sound units are amazing.”
- The words “Go ahead and I’ll catch up with you later” are even whispered.
- Live football is being displayed on any television in my basic vicinity.
The post, which instantly made the User-Curated Hall of Fame, has already spawned an Opponent's Press Conference, a post-game flame war on the boards, and a movie! Unfortunately there was no liveblog, but chance of a UFR is 80 percent. To wit: we MGoHusbands didn't spend the weekend with our wives, but we did spend it on a Michigan football blog talking about spending time with our wives, which for those of us in some form of obsession therapy is major progress.
For leaving his credit rating and not a few man cards at a Pennsylvania outlet mall, Six Zero wins Diarist of the Week, which trophy is going in the garage.
Did You Say Michigan Football?
Yes, and let's talk about that...
Little bro is having a good time at our expense, and we're not really sure what year it is, and all of this is really hard to deal with, but it's okay because thanks to BlockM we are now seeing a therapist:
Older Man: Hey kid, I don't know a lot... but you see this? All this shit. It's not your fault.
The older man steps toward the young man and opens the manila envelope. It's full of freep articles and newspaper clippings. The one on top declares the 3-9 season to be the worst of all time. Another can be seen proclaiming the exact number of hours since Michigan beat Ohio State.
Young Man: Yeah, I know that. It's all those stupid injuries.
Older Man: Look at me son. It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know, the recruiting has been bad.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
We also go to Drakeep for a second opinion.
What if I'm Just Afraid of Lions?
LOLZ. No, the ones who wear neckerchiefs and pasted us the last two years.
Oh, those. Don't worry about those...
Fortunately, all things Nittany aren't nearly as terrifying this year, partly because they were Michigan 2008 at quarterback to begin with, and because since then their roster reads like an OSHA report.
If you want more (of course you do -- you're obsessed, right?) MGoDiarists have provided.
User kb starts us off with a predictive win model (which--SPOILER--predicts WIN!) using a combination of tempo-free stats. Our PREDSCORE is 1.21, good for fifth (behind OSU, MSU, Iowa and Wisconsin) in the Big Ten. Penn State (-0.88) is 8th.
Nonnair also noticed something interesting: Penn State seems to do most of its passing on 1st down:
Based on these stats, occasional watching of PSU games, and poring over their play-by-play sheets this year, this Penn State team throws deep almost exclusively on first down, and has found success that way for TDs in three of the past four games.
- Daryll Clark (Half-Brady/Half-Duck?) is gone.
- If it's gonna happen, it'll happen quickly.
Quit the Psychobabble and Give Me Statistics!
With the bye week things were a little light in the MGoMath department, but some of the usual suspects came on with post-Iowa updates.
Enjoy Life came in with his excellent updates using national rankings that actually mean something (stern look, BCS), where he shows us the Michigan who lost to MSU and Iowa is still pretty much the same Michigan that torched Bowling Green:
... Based on these rankings, M maintains a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season.
As for what's different now than three weeks ago, Enjoy Life has you covered on that too. In a single word: "turnovers." In a thousand words:
Throw ball to wrong team = please return expectations to 7-5.
But We're Gonna Be Awesome in the Future, Right?
Well, that depends on a lot of things. There was a really good board discussion this week by cypress on a best-case scenario for next year's defense. It wasn't bumped to Diary, but when you include all the responses it's about on that level, and includes several responses that could have been diaries themselves. Read so you know what to be rooting for.
Usually I don't bother sharing things written by the MGoStaff, and this will get covered again in Tim's Wednesday Recruiting, but I would be remiss if I didn't bring up TomVH's best-guess diary. For those of you who have just a passing (i.e. healthy) level of interest in the next crop, this is for you, since it gives a general overview of the guys Michigan is likely to add next year. Short-short version, the 2011 class will be something kinda like this:
In meta-recruiting, MGoBlog has great luck in finding All American diarists, but because we're college football fans, of course we're always on the lookout for the next big thing. My bold prediction: this guy tasnyder01, who created his account just 8 days ago, will one day join the ranks of the Great, Bored, and Need to Share Our Thoughts. He made his diaretic debut this week when I bumped his UFR of Kenny Demens from the board, and he posted that just two hours after a comprehensive rundown of secondary losses that I almost bumped as well. He's still really raw, but if our coaches can teach tasnyder01 to use a WYSIWYG editor we might have a future Diary All Star on our hands. You heard it here first.
- Communist Football continued his regular series, tracking Michigan, Big Ten, and NCAA records likely to get Denarded.
- Your weekly Week in Pillow Fights by stubob is back this..uh...week.
- Wereverine reminds us that Sweatervest locking up Ohio talent is probably more worrisome for Michigan than anything happening in-state.
Stay sane, people, or else end up like Penn State fans; you'll get to meet them this week.
Pic note for Buckeye fans: I see your non sequitur and raise it to allegory.
Are all my troubles here to stay?
Paul McCartney woke up one morning with 90 percent of Yesterday playing in his head. He sat down at a piano, worked out the chords and the melody, and before lunch had created one of the seminal musical achievements of his generation. Then he started tinkering with it. And tinkering. And tinkering.
As told in Yesterday's revisitation by the Beatles on Ukulele project:
Just about everyone around Paul became sick and tired of Yesterday before it was finished. While he was finessing it on the set of “Hard Days Night”, director Richard Lester got so bored of McCartney’s endless fussing that he lost his temper and told Paul to “finish the bloody thing or I’ll have the piano removed from the set.”
It's been 1,035 days since Rich Rodriguez joined the Michigan football program. It's been considerably longer since that morning in 1989 or 1990 when he awoke with an epiphany:
"If they have to defend the QB, I can run from the spread,"
... scribbled some lines on a play sheet, and by lunch had created his generation's seminal football achievement. Then he tinkered.
Like Lester, the Michigan faithful are getting antsy for a finished product. We've seen the spread 'n shred run by Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. We've gotten used to it, so much so that imperfections, e.g. sophomore quarterbacks throwing interceptions while being chased by Adrian Clayborn, stand out. But this thing is happening. It just tagged the 4th best defense in the nation for 522 yards.
I'm sure every section has their "Unacceptable" person. Section 37's is a shrill lady who yells "You're pissing me off!" whenever something pisses her off. Things that pissed her off yesterday:
- Taylor Lewan false starts.
- Not converting on 3rd and 16 in the redzone, then missing the field goal
- Steve Schilling false starts while standing next to Taylor Lewan
- Iowa converting on 3rd and 16 from about the same spot on a give-up-and-kick HB draw
- Iowa converting on 3rd and long
- Denard throwing up an interceptable duck
- Forcier throwing up an interceptable duck
- Missing field goals (in general)
- Vincent Smith fumbling
- Kickoffs going out of bounds at the 3 yard line (this she blamed on RR for not teaching his kickers the rules)
- Lots of other stuff that was Rich Rod's fault.
Later in the evening I found myself on a grimy, uncomfortable couch in the backyard of my sister's boyfriend's place in Commerce, filled with far more rum & apple cider than the human digestive system was ever designed for, and trapped between my sister's friend and Misopogal, while they attempted to fill the space I was clearly occupying with natter about earrings and piercings.
So I sent out drunk texts: about Kenny Demens's apparent middle linebacker competence, and 522 yards, and making coaches prepare for both Forcier and Denard, and improbability drives. (Side note: sending the same drunktext to multiple friends is not advised, unless you are prepared to have six text conversations at once about the same topic.)
I'm still not sure how to take these last two games, Diary. Right about the same time in 1990, when the now-ratty couch was probably some respectable couple's living room, MTV was voting Paul's opus the greatest pop song in history, and Rich Rodriguez was scribbling the first zone-read play, Michigan under Year One of Moeller had also just lost two home games to Michigan State and Iowa in quick succession, falling to 3-3 (1-2). That team ultimately won out and finished No. 7 in the AP poll. It also had Tripp Welborne.
Do I long for yesterday? I remember when, not too long ago, we were Iowa, sitting the safeties back, betting on Woodley et al. to force the offense into mistakes, getting a two-score lead, then shifting to a zone-left neutral while "that spread team" created a far-too-interesting 4th quarter. Then we won (except when we didn't).
But I woke this morning with as much hope as hangover. Sure this looks like last year (I just made Brian's naughty list): the comeback over Notre Dame, the slaying of MACrifices, the defensive-exposing Big Ten opener against Indiana, and losing to MSU and Iowa after three quarters of getting dominated followed by a just-short comeback, right down to the excuse of the Heisman candidate QB's bum shoulder.
The difference: when Denard gets hurt, there's Tate behind him. We didn't put up 522 yards against the No. 4 defense in the country because we have Denard, nor because we have Tate, but because we have both of them. The genius of the Beatles wasn't in John Lennon or Paul McCartney, but in Lennon & McCartney.
So I don't want yesterday. I want collaboration. Start each game with Denard, and after a few series, assess. If he's gashing them for big yards so that the opponent has to bring their safeties into the box to open up the "freakout" plays, Robinson stays in. If, like with Iowa and MSU, they're generally keeping Denard to 3- to 5-yard runs without sacrificing coverage, in comes Tate, our "improbability drive," who will either score spectacularly or flame out spectacularly -- hey, if we're losing, changing the game dynamic is a good thing. If, by luck/Forcier-Moxie, we even it back up, back goes Denard and long QB-Iso drives that may or may not flame out around the opponent's 25 -- like Lloyd ball except it gets 5.5 yards per carry and doesn't turn the ball over.
This is only if Denard's passing struggles against good defenses continues. If he regains his accuracy from the Notre Dame game, then on with the Dread Show.
Some things can't improve. Jordan Kovacs isn't going to get fast enough to pick off that Rick-Six, nor is James Rogers ever going to be able to recover from a stop-and-go in time to cover the back of the end zone.
But Gordon will probably learn how to tackle, and I wasn't imagining that MLB competence. Our defense, while missing its best player, was making 2 out of 3 plays, which is a big improvement from the 1 in 3 earlier this year. Next year the sophomore offense will be a junior offense, and the freshman defense will be a sophomore defense. Take away a third of the mistakes in Yesterday and we make big.
Like you, I'm impatient to witness the final cut of Rich Rod's supposed masterpiece at the end of Help! But I wasn't impatient when I was sitting on that couch. I was messed up and thinking crazy thoughts like "How can a coach plan for both Tate and Denard?" -- and a collaboration that might produce the football equivalent of Rubber Soul and Revolver before these two guys graduate....and how that stuff was way cooler than Yesterday. This isn't the end of the line; this is a 4-loss team, like the ones that pissed Section 37 Lady off in 1996, except the four losses will be because of youth and talent deficiency instead of complacency. This is a young, mistake-prone team who can't kick field goals, but whose best days are still ahead of them.
Those are just my thoughts this week. Here's some much more reasonable ones...
After yesterday's game, bronxblue went ahead and provided a little perspective, telling his story in the only way such a tale could be told: Bruce Willis Movie Posters.
User mi93 created a diary called -- stop me if you've heard this before -- "Dear Diary," where things like the following are said:
What matters is this – this is your team, to encourage, to cheer, and to support. These are young men who appear to be representing the university with far greater class than some of us. And this team deserves our passion for them to succeed, without our inflated expectations for what we think they should be.
The sentiment is a good reminder for...uh...mostly people who don't read MGoBlog. As for the name, our lawyers have been in contact with mi93; we want the pants!
|Post Week 6: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||YPG||35-28 Iowa|
|Tempo-Free Offense and Defense Points-Per-Posession: Iowa||bigmc6000||Tempo-free stats||30-21 Iowa|
|Historic Comparison: Penalties in the Michigan vs. Iowa Game||profitgoblue||Recent penalty history||M can handle 4 penalties, not lots|
|Week #6 National Rankings, Fremeau Efficiency Index, and Sagarin Predictor for Iowa||Enjoy Life||Sagarin, Fremeau, etc.||Iowa by 1 to 3 pts.|
|Iowa Preview||The Mathlete||PAN||28-27 M|
|THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE: 5||The_Knowledge||Is from future||M win|
|Our Defense, Their Offense - Ostrich Strategem||mistersuits||Normalized PPG and YPG||38-28 Iowa|
|Prevew: Iowa 2010||Brian||cubist lolcat||34-28 Iowa|
Wowzers - mistersuits totally nailed it (FTR I said 38-28 too -- and for those of you familiar with BHGP regulars, is Bellanca like their version of me, or a contrarian dufflepud chief..uh...like me?), and everyone was so close that the most inaccurate prognosticator was the guy from the future. Nobody said nuffin' about 522 yards and an extended Tate Experience, but when you know the final score of Saturday's game on Friday morning, you gotta leave some surprise for the viewers.
For pinpointing the final score, and because his weekly work deserves some recognition, I'm naming mistersuits your Eric Crouch Memorial Career-Reward for Another Good Season Diarist of the Week (FTR I would have given that one to Randel El).
Michigan at the Midway
After six games, MGoDiarists took the opportunity to assess Michigan's season at its half-way point (not counting bowls...natch).
Let's start with that by shorts, which is actually an Interactive Mid-Season Recap. Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, Best play, "Clutch-est" play, Best freshman, Unsung hero, Biggest disappointment, and Best moment all have nominations. He updates as he goes.
Regular diary hero The Mathlete put Michigan's first six matches into his PAN and fried up a little season projection:
As he notes in the diary, this is a full game and a half behind where we were after Indiana, largely because MSU was supposed to be close and wasn't, but also because Michigan's remaining opponents improved their competence at the same time. In case "written by The Mathlete" wasn't enough, I reiterate: go read.
Communist Football again updated his Denard records book after MSU, though I'm sure the Iowa numbers have put some dampness on the projections.
Our favorite background artist monuMental is back in business after his legal snafu got sorted out a bit -- you saw his latest on the main page late last week.
The this week in pillowfights column of stubob continued with a short week (and I spiced it up a bit for fun).
Some other M sports got mentions. The first to highlight is the bumped-from-the-boards collection of cagers notes from mgoblue.com junky MGoShoe, which started as a note about there being no midnight basketball this year, and turned into a press conf. recap with all sorts of good stuff, including the news that Evan (gonna try to spell this from memory here) [Smotcrycz]...dammit, it's Smotrycz. S-M-O-T-R-Y-C-Z. I'm gonna get that right eventually. Golden something goes to whoever can come up with the best mnenomic to remember it.
Meanwhile, if you think it's time to start paying attention to the volleyball squad, then 1) you're absolutely correct, since they're awesome this year, and 2) Tom from AA has you covered.
Lourdfoul learned some things about this year's team after the Michigan State game, such as:
Denard Robinson is not an Ice-in-his-veins gunslinger. His throws have great zip and are largely accurate, especially so when the throw is shortish or his target is stationary. Against Indiana (and the rest of the schedule so far) his receivers have been so open that a slightly inaccurate ball wasn't noticeable. Against Michigan St the receivers were covered much better, and the picks in the end zone were the result.
Other Lordfoul lessons: Obi Ezeh is to blame, Kovacs is not, Cullen Christian should be moved to...linebacker?!? I stopped reading there and moved on to fisk in the comments (then didn't fisk). But others did, and the discussion is enlightening with regards to what happened this week.
User schmakj wants to head off any "West Virginians are X" memes among the Michigan fanbase, because: Fielding Yost. I mention it only to let other diarists know what is my absolute maximum tolerance for diary topics. This has some redeeming discussions on the ties between West Virginia and the Michigan football program, which as FYI are enough to keep in on the board. As to whether a state's contribution to Michigan football can redeem it for general douchebaggery, here's the place that gave us Bo, Desmond, and Woodson:
HeismanPose has up his post-Iowa Sunday Morning Stats, (e.g. Michigan is 3rd in total offense, 17th in scoring), which you should memorize every week.
Also in statistics, Enjoy Life gives us our weekly update on turnovers and special teams, where in just two short weeks, the 2010 season has gone from from YES! to HELP! and has a Chart? chart that perpetuates the hateful "2010 = 2009" meme:
Last week's came after I posted Dear Diary, but it's here, and basically says that turnovers are going to play a huge role in Michigan's fortunes this year (after one week: uh huh). The upside: if Michigan manages to get in and out of Happy Valley without crapping any beds, and everyones' dongs survive Illinois, we can get off that track. Until this happens, however, I advise an extra pair of sheets and Everlast undergarmentry.
Not THIS dong!
My financial consultant generally is pretty good about predicting markets, knowing when to buy, when to hold, etc., so I invited him to join Misopogal and I as we hopped from tailgate to tailgate in our quest to procure tickets for Michigan vs. Michigan State.
On the way up, my consultant and I had agreed on a plan: We would spend pre-game trying to run into people we know, asking if they had singles with them. If not, we would wait until just after kickoff, when sellers were cursing their greed and desperate to pocket something before heading in. We had another ride lined up just in case not everyone got a ticket, our pockets were full of $10s and $5s, and we were ready – just in case – to bail for my consultant's 62-inch HDTV, where the DVR was running. I trusted this plan; my consultant has a degree in economics from Michigan State University, which I hear is a pretty good school.
At 1:30 p.m. my consultant started getting jittery. He wasn't accepting beers. He was muttering. At 2:00 p.m. he made a call: "We're not going to find tickets," and started toward the car.
I had dreamt of a Great Denardening, the exorcising of rebuilding demons against a pesky in-state rival, a victory to mark the nadir of the Dantonio era and give the local papers the loss they need to expose the program that put Glenn Winston back on the field.
Instead, I found myself in a lightless basement in front of a Matt Millen broadcast, muttering about "execution" in a room full of eight people educated by Mike Valenti, and my financial consultant - my little brother - calmly denying that holding ever occurs at Michigan State because Dantonio coaches them so well.
Whatever tickets actually cost outside the stadium at 3:35 p.m. yesterday, I would have paid it to be there instead of surrounded by people bent on extracting every juicy drop of Schadenfreude.* Sigh. Perhaps in two years…
Where We Went So Wrong
Though not so on purpose, there were an awful lot of bad prognosticators out there, as MGoDiarists spent most of the week predicting scores for the Michigan State game. Most thought it would be Michigan by 3 or 4 with scores in the 30s, suggesting we probably thought MSU was a slightly better Indiana. See:
|Week #5 National Rankings, Fremeau Efficiency Index, and Sagarin Predictor for MSU||Enjoy Life||Sagarin, FEI, etc.||M, 30-22|
|Over/Under: Michigan State at Michigan||jamiemac||betting savvy||MSU to cover 5|
|Michigan St Preview: Now with more charts!||The Mathlete||PAN||M, 35-32|
|Anxiety Time Machine||Meeechigan Dan||"Résumé"||M Wins|
|Tempo-Free Defense Points Per Posession Update: Includes Offense PPP as well||bigmc6000||Pts.-per-Poss.||M, 38-35|
|Our Defense Their Offense - tipping point!||mistersuits||Normalized PPG||M, 42-38|
|Denard/UM Offense Effect: Factored out of Opponents Past||myrtlebeachmaizenblue||Rush/Pass Stats||"Run all over Sparty"|
|Scouting the MSU Offense (vs. WIS)||AAL||Scoutin' v Wis.||MSU is predictable|
|Say What? Defensive Optimism||Meeechigan Dan||Score/Possession||Sparty won't score 40|
|Fear and Paranoia in Ann Arbor||Ryano||Fear, Paranoia and Desperation||F/P was 6/10 ftr.|
|Preview: Michigan State 2010||Brian||tingly bits||35-30|
He Picture-Paged My Life
There's little more I can add to BlueSeoul's epic picture-pages journey through the Indiana game, since Brian has used shots from it on virtually every front-page post this week. If you haven't read the whole thing yet, do so, because it's the one with lots of this:
On this play Roh is in a more traditional stack look.
But he doesn't see Doss coming in motion.
And because he doesn't go with Doss, it makes for an easy blocking assignment for the bubble screen.
Blueseoul has already won the Internet for this post, but he may now add Diarist of the Week honors. Also: now accepting ideas for Diarist of the Week trophies, preferably not something you probably picked up at Forwards in West Branch.
Our resident logoist (and sometime interviewer) Six Zero offered a new shirt design this week, honoring Phil Brabbs' fight against Multiple Myeloma (and his fight against Washington). How cool is it? LaMarr Woodley was seen in the stands yesterday with one of these bad boys on.
MGoCoach steve sharik also made pretty pictures for us this week. These break down the zone read "midline" play, which should have been useful against Michigan State (I thought I saw it twice, one on the dropped TD by Rountree, but I'm notoriously bad at picking this stuff out so don't trust me.).
Some 4-3 teams like to put their 3-technique away from the back. If they do this, then the Mike is the backside B-gap defender.
If the defense puts the 3-technique to the back, then the 3-tech is the backside B-gap defender.
We also have some bad news in the picture department. monuMental's awesome (e.g. the now-I-can't-show-you Denard Action Figure) weekly backgrounds have had to cease because U-M and the Heisman Trust have lawyers on retainer with too little to do (that's just my opinion, not the blog's). This ends your weekly scheduled wallpaper for the foreseeable future. If, dear diary, your daddy was one of those stacks of legal papers used to shut down all things that don't make money, then I totally apologize, and please put (non-harmful) soap in his coffee.
Great Moments in Statistication
Meanwhile, Communist Football won a great victory for the proletariat over the evil capitalist empire, by ripping various offensive records from hoarding private databases, and sharing them in one common, Denard-celebrating central repository. Read it now before the numbers get updated with MSU stats and everything (note: not everything) goes to shit.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Season
Denard currently has 905 rushing yards in 5 games. This projects to 2,172 over a 12-game schedule (yes, I am aware that stiffer competition is ahead). He has already destroyed the previous Michigan record for QB rushing yards in a season: 674 by Steve Smith in 1981.
And if you think Smith's 674 yards are shabby, at 56.2 yards per game—back in the days before Communist Football—keep in mind that Comrade Pryor, the second-most-heralded dual-threat QB in the country today, has rushed for 373 yards, or 74.6 yards per game. Denard is at 181.0 yards per game.
The Big Ten record is 1,270 by Antwaan Randle El of Indiana in 2000; the NCAA FBS record is 1,494 by Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1996. Both of these records are easily within reach. Denard only has to average 84.2 rushing yards a game over the rest of the regular season to break the NCAA FBS record.
The Mathlete was at it again with his PAN, trying to soothe our fears about this year being like last year (gee, why should I have such fears?). The Mathlete says that Michigan's offense is a lot better this year than it was last year. How much? I make chart, in PAN:
Based on the sets of numbers, Michigan initially has been 7 to 11 points-per-game better than year’s offensive unit. This represents a very high level of play.
The Mathlete won't go there, so I will: if Michigan's 2010 offense replaced last year's kind-of-capable offense, here's our 2009 season with 9 points more offense per game:
Ed (Miso): Woo 8-4! Thanks comments section for the catch.
This exercise is fruitless, but The Mathlete's really is not.
Laveranues did some analysis on something we brought up during the Indiana liveblog: when should Michigan try onside kicking? Answer: never? I get the feeling like this would be a great thing. Brian mentioned on the main page that he thinks there's 0% chance of this happening since the kickers have enough trouble just kicking field goals, but I'm with Laveranues: let's have one guy who practices nothing but perfectly placed onside kicks, and then do this 1/2 of the time.
If you're a chart fan, though, try out mistersuits's It means everything to them diary. We all agree that his "why" is baseless – Brian called him out too and you can see my response in the article - but the "what" is really interesting stuff about Michigan opponents and their tendency to go for it against us on 4th down.
After break, no more good Diary stuff, but you can read my bid for TWIS
Hello, I'm Misopogon. You may remember me from such entries as "The Decimated Defense," "Tate's a Quarterback, Yo!," and "Can I Get a Hero Up in Here?" It is my intention, Diary, to each week give you the latest and greatest in user-generated content from MGoBlog's Diaries section.
Tim used to do this feature, but with his permission, and because I'm the guy editing them anyway, I am taking over. This will again be a regular feature, probably on the weekends. They will also be shorter – this one's an extended edition to fill in everything that's happened since the last Dear Diary.
So - ahem - Dear Diary,
Sorry I Haven't Written Since July.
Allow me to catch you up on all of the history that's happened in the interim:
Back in late July, mankind was entering the 2010 season with a sense of wonder as his technology went from the Stone Age (when man could only throw rock), to the Bronze Age, then the Iron Age, The Steel Age, and finally that fateful day that MCalibur announced we had entered a true Dilithium Age.
In these kind days, the world was writ in poetry, and Rich Rod was building a new civilization (Blazefire). But whenever we seemed about to return from our long Odyssey (Mustaches4Michigan), some Angry Michigan [Position]-Hating deity or another would strike man down again (via – who else? - Shredder):
Aye, Rome fell, but thanks to MGauxBleu, it will not be forgotten.
(way more after the jump)
It's been a while, so let's hop right in to the Diaries.
Shockingly, MCalibur had never been the Diarist of the Week [-type period -ed]... until now. I'll start with his chart-heavy "Judging Play Success" diary:
That chart breaks down the likelihood of achieving first down on a given series, given the down-and distance breakdowns. MCalibur is a lot better at explaining it than I am, so check out the diary for the full details. El Jeffe did some similar work focusing on 1st-down yardage.
MCalibur's other diaries in this time period are concerned with quarterback performance, how to measure it, how to predict improvement from one year to the next (and looking at a couple quarterbacks of note for next year). This all culminated with the outstanding "Dilithium Bloom," which discussed what we might be able to expect out of one Denard Xavier Robinson in the 2010 season:
The average player in this cohort went from being off-the-charts bad to exactly average; not only did the group get out of the hole,they caught up to the pack. In the prism categories [click through to the diary to understand this], about half of the players met or exceeded the 2nd Yr threshold for completion percentage, yard per attempt, and interception rate; the touchdown rate threshold was met or exceeded less often. IF HE STICKS, there is a good chance that Denard improves to a point where he’s as good this year as Tate Forcier was last year; if he sticks. That plus Dilithium. Anyone else have goose bumps?
For killin' it on a regular basis, MCalibur, you are this edition's Featured Diarist.
Six Zero continued MGoProfiling members of the community, starting with Magnus in Volume 7:
I've been on and coached some teams with all kinds of talent but poor leadership, and the results have been less than satisfactory. I learn way more about a kid by how he practices, how he treats his teammates, how he responds to coaching, and how he reacts to pressure than seeing him in class every day.
I think Wangler to Carter from Homecoming 1979 is probably the most iconic video clip of Michigan football. I was born 4 months after that game was played so I obviously have no personal memories of it. But the video speaks for itself. One last play, Carter dancing into the end zone, the crowd going insane, Bo jumping up and down, Bob Ufer screaming, “Oh my GOD!!! Carter scored!!!” and Lee Corso having a stroke on the Indiana sideline. There is nothing that is not perfect about that clip.
Volume 9 was an interview with newshound extraordinaire MGoShoe:
I consume all things Michigan so I’m always on the lookout for a good story in the MSM or one of the many fine Michigan sports blogs. There are a ton of guys doing a heck of a job giving us insights into Michigan sports that just weren’t available even a few years ago. I pick the most interesting and relevant things and mine them for repackaging on mgoblog.com.
Blue in South Bend broke down what it's like to reside in enemy territory:
I lived in East Lansing a little over 3 years after I graduated from Michigan in '05, and the Irish are far more hospitable than the Spartans. To a certain extent, I think it reflects the different complexes of the two fan bases. Where the Sparties evince an inferiority complex that would make Canada blush, the locals are more worried about how to defend their next National Championship.
BlazeFire was featured in Volume 11:
Biakabutuka was Michigan right about the time I truly started developing an interest in following Michigan in earnest, and not just on Saturdays during the season. That, and to this day, my mom still laughs saying his name.’
...and Volume 12 was an interview with yours truly:
My favorite press conference answer came from Denard Robinson, when a reporter asked him following the Eastern Michigan game if he really liked running into the South endzone (he scored going that way in the Western game too, as you may recall). His response?: "I think I scored one going this way, too [points North]." If he can live up to his tremendous physical potential, there's a good chance that he goes down in Michigan fan lore as well.
Yes, I included that portion of the interview just because I love that quote so freakin' much.
The Mathlete's frontpaged diary takes a look at good offenses, and how close Michigan is to being there. The moneyshot:
It looks like framework of what Rodriguez wants to do is in place after two rough years, but the execution is still behind his days at West Virginia. The offensive line now has two years in the system and for the first time there is a quarterback (in fact two!) who have both experience and talent. As I noted in a previous diary, a jump from average in 2009 to good in 2010 is certainly a good possibility and with a break or two and improved quarterback play, it could go from average to great.
There are charts and much more analysis, so be sure to check it out.
Expansion and the alignment of a 12-team Big Ten were huge topics over the month of June (and into July). Texas was still an option early in the month, as oakapple pointed out, and MGauxBleu said that Notre Dame's hand could be forced by Pac-10 and Big Ten threats. Hail-Storm looked at a few options for a 12-16 team conference, and stubob examined the differences in travel distance for several options.
After expansion shook out with just Nebraska joining the Big Ten, a number of people took a look at the Huskers while others tried their hands at picking division alignments in the conference. Wolverbean studied Nebraska's record against Big Ten teams, backusduo examined why they defected to the Big Ten, and M-dog told them who to hate in their new conference. stubob previewed the Huskers for Michigan fans unfamiliar with their new conference foe.
In Alignment Central, kb9704 looked at a 4-division setup, and a North-South split, before finally settling on an East-West split that he likes. oakapple (who also argued against a 9th conference game) and MaizeAndBlueWahoo looked at the importance of various conference rivalries in order to come up with some divisional suggestions. formerlyanonymous proposed pod-based divisions, Misopogon looked at divisions AND scheduling, and UMFootballCrazy insisted that geography would reign supreme in forming divisions.
lfj75 looks at how UConn performed against spread offenses last year. The verdict... not so good:
From this I conclude: yeah, UConn kind of stinks against the pass no matter what offensive scheme they're up against. But they really struggle to stop the run against teams that run from spread formations. Spread teams averaged 65 more yards per game on six fewer carries against UConn than did their old timey non-spread counterparts. That turns out to be over 2 and ½ more yards per carry on average.
That's an encouraging sign for September 4th, but the Huskies have all summer to prepare for the Spread 'n' Shred.
MGoShoe is trying to make a run at Featured Diarist for the next edition of this series, posting a number of newsbits in the diaries, including breakdowns of the Leaders and Best in 50 States series going on over at MGoBlue, the Alumni Association's upcoming behind the scenes tours of the Big House, the upcoming coverage of Big Ten Media Days (on top of what I'll be providing here, of course), the Summer Hockey Showcase, and a pair of Michigan Rowers taking home a gold medal. He also brought our attention to the fantastic 2010 schedule images available over at Spawn of MZone (Darryl Stonum pictured below).
PhillipFulmersPants looks at how Michigan's decommitments and transfers from the Classes of 2005-09 performed at their new homes this year (allow me to shamelessly plug my series on Varsity Blue last summer about some of these gentlemen). Justin Boren, Marquis Maze, Ryan Mallett, and DeQuinta Jones seem to be the biggest losses for the Wolverines.
Misopogon gave his argument for Detroit as The Ultimate Sporting City. Blazefire compares Rich Rodriguez to... John D. Rockefeller? THE_KNOWLEDGE returned to say exactly nothing. Irish filled us in on Notre Dame's personnel. JLo looks at whether student-athletes should be paid. Brhino looks at Big Ten home field advantage. HartFan explains why this is an important year for RichRod (besides "duh"). PhillipFulmersPants looks at the personnel for Big Ten passing attacks. Lordfoul gave a Father's Day ode to his dad for instilling Michigan fandom in him. Geaux_Blue shares a few photos of the stadium tours a couple weeks back.
airvipermb looked at USC's scholarship numbers, while Fearless Leader looked at all the Trojans who could transfer without penalty. It looks like those guys probably won't end up being relevant to Michigan.