no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
unstoppable throw god trevor siemian
This was Northwestern's second completion beyond the sticks. It wasn't their day.
Northwestern took on Iowa and their top-25 FEI defense last weekend. Let's see how that went:
Holy hell, Northwestern. Turns out that Kain Colter guy was pretty valuable.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
I originally had center Brandon Vitabile as a dangerman, but removed that tag after watching the film—it wasn't a good day for the interior line.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. Northwestern took every non-goal line snap out of the gun in the first half, which was as much as I was willing or able to watch for this one.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? The Wildcats actually mixed in a couple power runs out of the gun, but for the most part they were running inside zone and zone stretch, the latter of which was marginally more successful.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Northwestern varied their tempo a bit, mostly staying at a relatively pedestrian pace. They can go no-huddle if they want, but it doesn't seem like that's a huge emphasis right now.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Nice job picking a QB, Ace. Here's your reward.
While re-watching the M-PSU punt-fest my brother made an interesting comment: "It's amazing what's happened to two of the best quarterbacks in the conference." If you ever again need to point to something to show that the offense means more than the quarterback, this Big Ten season has that in spades. What it doesn't have is an answer to the question: who IS the best QB in the conference?
I have no idea. Of guys I expected big things from, Braxton Miller (injury) and Tre Roberson (transfer) didn't make it out of the preseason, Gardner played his way behind a true sophomore who obviously couldn't play, Hackenberg's been a tackling dummy, and when I got down to Cook my Sparty slappy brother shook his head and declined the nomination.
Lower down, Sudfeld is now out for the season but he wasn't world-beating before. C.J. Brown, true to form, has been keeping pace just behind Gardner; a wrist injury against Indiana has ceded snaps to Caleb Rowe. Nebraska and Iowa aren't getting anything more than mediocre from their 2nd year guys. Trevor Siemian is not a throw deity of any sort. Etling hasn't been good enough for Boiler fans to stop mentioning that Michigan stole Bellomy(!). Wisconsin's QB situation has been awful. Illinois thought they had something when transfer Wes Lunt was picking apart bad defenses, but he broke his leg, which is apparently 4-6 weeks these days.
Everybody's played only a few real opponents, and everybody's been a product of his offense so stats are only a little useful. Last year ESPN's Dean Oliver rolled out his "QBR" metric which is based on Mathlete-like expected points on a 100-level scale; 50 is average. Mouseover the headers for clarification (explanation here):
|PLAYER||Pass EPA||RUN EPA||SACK EPA||PEN EPA||TOTAL EPA||ACT PLAYS||RAW QBR||TOTAL QBR|
I pulled the raw QBR in each game to plot it against Football Outsiders' S&P+ so you can see the individual performances in context. Gardner's games are labeled and Michigan's remaining opponents are shown.
[after the jump: trends, discussion]
This is an actual movie. See? There are worse things than Draftageddon
Draftageddon is complete, to the relief of many of you and the heartbreak of… well, some of you. Maybe. But there are still some non-terrible football players to be discussed, so to be properly prepared for the season, let’s take a look at some of the players who were not selected, but could have been if we’d Heiko’d just a little deeper. We’ll also review who WAS taken at various positions and take a quick gander at the position group as a whole. If you want to go back and read our snark, on any of the players, the hyperlinks on players' names will take you to the relevant articles.
Who was taken:
Joel Stave, Wisconsin – Threw for 7.4 YPA with 22 TDs, 13 INTs. He’s a game manager, though not a particularly inspiring one. Stave didn’t exceed 9 YPA in any game against a power conference team, despite a massively effective running game behind him. Wisconsin’s passing game stagnated last half of the season, and as a result, Stave is theoretically battling w/ Tanner McEvoy for the starting job. Stave will almost certainly win the job, but he’s returning to a gutted receiving corp: Wisconsin loses their four leading receivers, including Jared Abbrederis & Jacob Pederson. Their leading returning receiver had 127 yards. Way more red flags than green ones.
Jake Rudock, Iowa – Threw for 6.9 YPA with 18 TDs and 13 INTs. These are not inspiring numbers, especially for a quarterback with a solid running game behind him. Another game manager type, Rudock didn’t throw for more than 256 passing yards in any game, and didn’t crack 9 YPA against any non-Purdue opponent. Meh.
Trevor Siemian, Northwestern – Was a pretty stoppable Throw God last year, throwing for 7.2 YPA with 11 TDs and 9 INTs. In B1G play he went for 4 TDs and 0 INTs against Illinois… and 3 TDs and 7 INTs against the rest of the conference. He seemed to regress over the course of the year (along with Northwestern’s entire offense), and whether it is the result of missing Venric Mark (SIT DOWN, SETH) or just Northwestern not being that good, it’s hard to expect great things this year.
OVERALL – Braxton, then a few guys, then wheeeeeeeeeee. Despite the gap in draft rounds between the second and third quarterbacks taken, there is a solid tier just below Miller that includes Devin Gardner, Christian Hackenberg, and Connor Cook (and potentially Nate Sudfeld or CJ Brown, but probably not). Beyond that, you’re looking at uninspiring game manager-types, young guys prone to moments of WTF, and Gary Nova. Michigan is very much in the “haves” half of the draw in this respect, so be pleased.
[After THE JUMP: other positions, as you probably guessed.]
1994: when the universe was right-side up. Via Wolverine Historian:
This game featured a halftime interview with one Gerald Ford:
It's over. Everything is over. The FAKE 40 scale has been broken. They said that man could not claim a 40 time with more than five FAKES attached. They said a lot of things. Well, I present you with the first level eight (eight!) FAKE 40 time:
— Northwestern Sports (@NU_Sports) August 7, 2014
Unstoppable run-god Trevor Siemian? That does not sound right. Rodger Sherman figures that whether this is true or false this is the beginning of the end for Pat Fitzgerald. I agree. This has destabilized the entire structure of the sport.
IS IT MAIZE? This poster-type thing makes Michigan's uniforms look far less highlighter-y than they have in the recent past:
Delonte Hollowell front and center
All discussions about this inevitably center on the fact that you can make the same color look vastly different depending on lighting and various other photo doodadery, so let's just stipulate that. But maybe it'll look like a color instead of a fire truck this year.
I am intrigued by your newsletter. 2016 AL SG Josh Langford is arriving on campus today. It is possible there has not been enough chatter about this. Everyone's focused on Tyus Battle after Battle's camp appearance, but Langford is just as highly touted of a prospect, says highly positive things when asked about Michigan, and now 247's Jerry Meyer has put in a prediction for M on their Crystal Ball. He offers a brief explanation as to why:
Duke had been considered the leader in his recruitment but the Blue Devils have only showed minimal recruiting interest to this point.
Sources tell 247Sports that Michigan and Kansas are the two schools in the strongest position with Langford. … A physical guard at 200-pounds or more, Langford loves to attack the rim and also has a versatile and skilled game that would fit great into John Beilein's system of play.
Langford's quotes about Beilein are on the rapturous side, and apparently there's some substance to that.
Meanwhile, Michigan is asserted to be the leader($) for 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf by Scout analyst Evan Daniels. Asserted to be the "slight" leader. That is still an improvement over the perception that Indiana or UCLA was on top.
Leaf's Crystal Ball is a total mess, with five different schools listed—a recent Duke offer has caused a lot of picks for the Blue Devils to come in, there's a random CBS Sports writer projecting Florida, etc. Leaf just visited Arizona, as well. His recruitment could go any direction from here. Michigan probably needs another visit before Leaf's announcement in March or April to feel good. The current plan is for Leaf to take an official in February.
DRIII. Jeff Eisenberg has a rather lengthy article on the second-newest Wolverine, Duncan Robinson. How does a guy go from D-III to Michigan? Bad luck and hard work.
He stood only 5-foot-7 entering his freshman year at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Mass. He suffered an ill-timed back injury that hampered him during the all-important summer before his senior year at Exeter. And even after his growth spurt, he still needed to build the muscle necessary to absorb contact and finish at the rim. …
"His goal is to be an impact player," Tilton said. "He's not a kid looking to play a small role. He'll put the effort and energy in. I have not coached a kid with more passion for the game of basketball. He has a tremendous work ethic. He spends hours and hours on his craft. Basketball is his social life, and that's why he has been able to put himself in this position."
It'll be fascinating to see how this decision works out. Michigan passed on Nevada's Cole Huff when it looked for all the world like he would end up transferring in and seem ready to shut down 2015 recruiting entirely with Robinson in the fold. All Hail Infallible Beilein, of course, but 6'8" two-guards shooting 45% from three do not grow on trees.
Almost ready to shut down 2015 recruiting. 6'6" combo guard PJ Dozier just announced a top five and a plan to visit Michigan this fall, and if he has been shut out by the Robinson commitment he is not aware of this fact:
“Some people will say I like this school because they’re this type of school and I’ve watched them forever. But P.J. is selecting a school that is the correct way in what is going to be the best program and the best fit for him so Michigan is definitely a strong, strong possibility.”
Michigan does have a spot in the 2015 class, and if a guy on Dozier's level—#31 on the composite—wants to take it you probably let him even if it removes the possibility you get a similarly-ranked 2016 guy.
Well yeah. Listen to this man, he is a wizard.
"It's no longer about education," Snyder said. "We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics -- that's it. It's sold out."
I am skeptical it was ever really about education but yes probably more so than now; "sold out" is correct.
I would be okay with this. Stunningly, a plurality of coaches in the Power 5 support doing away with cupcakes entirely:
Of the 65 Power Five coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame, 46 percent (30 coaches) favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents while 35 percent (23 coaches) were opposed. About 18.5 percent (12 coaches) were undecided.
"About 18.5." Significant digits, man.
Anyway, they did away with the requirement that you have to win six games to go to a bowl, significantly greasing the skids towards a "yes" vote. Pac-12 coaches were the most gung-ho in favor, with only Rich Rodriguez opposed; the ACC was the only conference where more coaches were opposed to the idea than in favor; The Big Ten split down the middle. Hoke was not quoted but was listed as in favor.
Joe Dumars' last transaction. Brendan Quinn notes that the DRIII transfer saga was kicked off by none other than Joe Dumars's firing:
After the Pistons fired general manager Joe Dumars in mid-April, a six-week search for his replacement finally landed on Marist College head coach Jeff Bower.
Bower accepted the position, vaulting from a low-major college coach to an NBA GM.
That left Marist scrambling for a new coach as the summer churned toward key recruiting periods. The coaching search in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ultimately landed on Mike Maker, a 48-year-old who had led tiny Williams College to a 147-32 record and two national championship game appearances in six years.
With Maker gone, Robinson started looking around. May this transaction be more in the 'Sheed department instead of the "everything after the Billups trade oh and also the Billups trade" department.
Etc.: Thanks, Landon. Autonomy passes. No one knows what that means yet. Impact figures to be minimal in basketball. Scrimmage details. You have to register, because you need to be bombarded by emails. The NFL is suddenly open.
In an effort to makes these posts easier to digest in one read, FFFFs will be broken into separate offense and defense posts from now on. Once again, I find myself watching Nebraska-Northwestern, which is really the only useful game film I can find of the Wildcats given the considerable number of injuries they've suffered. The short summary: Northwestern ran the ball well, couldn't throw or convert a third down to save their life, failed to fully capitalize on four Nebraska interceptions, and lost on a hail mary.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. Even in goal-line situations, Northwestern is either in the shotgun or the pistol. They didn't take a snap from under center in this game.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Mostly zone blocking concepts, though Northwestern pulled their backside guard—and on a couple occasions, also their backside tackle—on some read option plays that will be covered in more detail later in the post.
Hurry it up or grind it out? No-huddle all the way; Northwestern doesn't play at Indiana's tempo, especially when they're swapping QBs mid-drive, but they keep the pace pretty high.
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Once again, Michigan faces a team that will alternate quarterbacks. Kain Colter is the starter and will get the majority of the snaps; he's a very impressive runner:
I be like dang. He gets a strong 8.
Trevor Siemian, meanwhile, is your classic pocket-passing statue; Northwestern did run a read option with him on a third and very long and he shocked the Nebraska defense by keeping it—with lots of space in front of him, he... tripped and fell on his face. He did have one successful—albeit lumbering—scramble in this game, so he merits a 3, I guess.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
About last week:
The road ahead:
Wait, we haven’t gotten there yet. We go in chronological order around here.
Oh, c’mon. Let me just talk about State first, then I’ll talk about the other dreck that comes between here and there.
DID YOU EVEN SEE THE STATE GAME? We need a real lede here. Throw some red meat up front. No one come here for my take on Akron
This isn’t Columbus. There are rules.
I hate you so much, disembodied bolded alter-ego. FINE, we’ll talk about…
Akron (1-1, 0-0 MAC)
Last game: Akron 35, James Madison 33 (W)
Recap: Michigan’s next opponent is, shall we say, not coming into the game riding a high. Despite not actually fielding a football team, James Madison took Akron to the absolute wire. The Fightin’ Dolleys scored with five minutes left, but missed the two point conversion. They then got the ball back with 1:19 left, and went on a 12 play drive to the Akron 27 before time expired. James Madison outgained Akron 498-356. Again, this was James Madison. Confirmed: Akron remains not good at football.
This team is as frightening as: I refuse to be That Guy who jinxes the upcoming game by labeling it a fear level = 1. Therefore, fear level = 1.07.
Michigan should worry about: Third-world hunger is a problem still, right?
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Akron football.
When they play Michigan: This game is a bit of a palate cleanser following the Notre Dame game. Which is fitting, because Akron has the defensive cohesiveness and overall consistency of a fine sorbet. PREPARE THE FRESHMEN.
Next game: vs. #11 Michigan
[AFTER THE JUMP: more dreck, then Sparty]