"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
[FA Edit: Bumped ahead of coaching kerfluffle due to value.]
So for the past few weeks, we all have noticed the abysmal performances by our defense. There has been lots of ideas tossed around, from GERG being a Defensive Jenius to poor coaching to bad luck/loss of concentration on a few critical plays. One thing that has struck me has been the absolutely atrocious tackling, namely our inability to make one.
Time and again, we have the ball player wrapped up, and then 3 yards later they have picked up the 1st down on 3rd and forever. I thought it was about time to look at tackling, both who is making/missing them and why.
About the analysis:
1. I regarded made tackles as anytime a player made contact with the ballcarrier and that ballcarrier ended up down by contact using solid tackling technique. I did not look at technique of made tackles, as after 1/2 of tape review most of the tackles that were made were of good technique.
2. I classified OOB as out-of-bounds tackles, which could have been a solid tackle out of bounds or a bump out (couldn't find a reasonable way to quantify the difference so they are tackles, but not quite).
3. I designated missed tackles as failing to make a tackle in space, taking an extremely bad angle on a tackle that should have been made, or simply just getting the hit but not bringing down the ballcarrier.
4. Bad Form takes into account any missed tackle that used any of the following:
- Head on the upfield side
- Arm/Jersey tackling
- Any hit at or above the numbers
- Getting "shook" in open field due to not breaking down or overpursuit.
The difference here is missed tackles in my mind sometimes come from being literally overpowered or stiff-armed, not a technique avenue. If the UM defender made the hit with the head on the right side and attempted to wrap up but the ballcarrier just slipped through, I counted this as a missed tackle only.
I reviewed the "every defensive snap" from the MSU and Iowa games and the results are as follows:
|MSU||Total Plays||57||4 TDs|
|Player||Tackles||OOB||Missed Tackles||Bad Form|
So. MSU only, we cant tackle at all.
|Made tackles||OOB||Missed Tackles||Bad Form|
Totals 33 7 18 11
|Plays||Missed Tackles/Bad Form||Missed Tackles/Play||Missed Tackles by Bad Form/Play|
Versus our Offense:
|Tackles||Missed/Bad Form||Missed Tackle/PLay||Missed Tackle from Bad Form/Play|
The numbers in this case really demonstrate how bad we actually are at tackling, and that it is a technique thing.
Solid to great defenses, while they might miss tackles, don't do so using bad technique.
Upon watching again, specifically focusing on tackling, the difference between our D and a Big Ten D is that ours seems to lack that killer instict, getting the ballcarrier to the ground regardless. We don't attack downhill, and we consistently have the head of our tacklers on the wrong side to impede forward progress. This could also be a good reason that we haven't seen a ton of fumbles this year as well, as the most common cause of a fumble is a good ol' helmet on the ball.
While the issue might stem from second-guessing assignments and being a half-second late to the hole, the number of times we went high and behind the ballcarrier in these games its simply shocking. Technique is something you can coach, and something you can keep coaching week in and week out.
Preface: I am not Brian. I am not Magnus. I am not “dear lord baby Jesus”. But, and I say this with great happiness, I am not Matt Millen either. Seriously tho, If you don’t like what I say please tell me why and discuss rationally. Thank you. I will appreciate all the tips on how to not D*^P up. (read: “DERP up”) Also, I am negative by nature. I like Demens, but will overly criticize him because of Jinx paranoia/trying not to be a homer in analysis.
Thoughts on Demens:
I. Why he wasn’t playing early in the year:
“[I want to know if the attorney general] is preparing "criminal negligence" charges against Gerg and Co for playing Ezeh over Demens ?”
-In_Rod_I_Trust (no offense to you there, I actually thought this a funny way to sum most thoughts. Neg me if you don’t like the reference.)
While quotes like the one above were funny, everyone who thought GERG was stupid for not playing Demens needs to see this link
That sums up everything very well; no need to say more.
II. Whether he will help Mouton (and the D as a whole) this year:
My idea for this thread was partially started here. It’s an interesting thread. To analyze I want to :
- 1.) Take a UFR chart from all games and make a differential between Ezeh and Demens playing, and how well Mouton does with Demens in. (Before I even do this I will note that it will most likely be inconclusive.)
- 2.) Make a wild-ass assumption based on my thoughts on Demens.
- 3.) Wonder if there is really any better way to figure this out before Demens 2nd start.
1.) UFR CHARTING
I racked up from the data that says: My prediction was right! Inconclusive after limited PT. Mouton is a combined +4.5 with Demens in. His overall standing is at around +40-50. (My maths is bad, and I did it in Da Head.) This states to me that we don’t have enough information. However, we will still make predictions because that’s what bored fans do. I applaud this. I do this. I like this.
2.) ASSUMPTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Demens really should make this D better. For those who said that Mouton would not do as well with a LB who actually played (read: will continue to over-run plays when unnecessary now that Demens is in) here's Da Responze:
a.) Demens>Obi. Defense with Demen>D with Obi.
b.) No chemistry issues. Why would there be?
c.) If in doubt return to "a.)"
3.) IS THERE A WAY TO MAKE THIS MORE RELIABLE?
Still wondering. Failing. Getting mad at failing. Moving on.
III. His strengths and weaknesses:
As has been well quoted on here: He is a run stuffer and not a pass protector. However, as per my Diary about his Iowa game and my Thread about his previous games’ PT, I believe I can shed more light on the subject. (No, I haven’t been stalking him on face book or tweeter….but can anyone give me the link?)
- 1.) He is WAY better than Obi on the run D. He hits holes, can actually read the plays, and will tackle. Oh, I almost forgot….he doesn’t get pancaked. Listen to the commentators laugh at Obi. Then *cackle with knowing glee* when you never have to see this crap again
- 2.) From my perspective he bites a lot. I only played HS, but our team never bit like him. My data says he bit 8 times. This is based of my UFR and not Brian’s. I am not sure how much the average man bites, but I would suspect that the young, run-stuffer is biting more than most.
3.) He is slow when guarding WRs. But who the hell isn’t? Like we’re saying with the whole defense, give him time to figure this crap out. BUT….I don’t like him in zone. Either he’s bad at zone or I suck at analyzing. Me:Brian comparison comes to mind.
IV. How he (and the D will look next year):
Insert: The_Knowledge. Not working?!?!?! WTF? Ok, here’s my idea. Just Kidding. Oh, you’re hopes weren’t up?
V. My prediction for the rest of the year/WTF does this all mean:
Based on my assumptions I believe we will end up a top 90 team in overall D. (#90 is USC at 402 YPG.) This includes that we went against 5 bad teams, and includes the “TURRIBLE” that is PSU. It is also aware of Illinois’ “Ill” offense. It is also aware of OSU’s decent offense. (Oh, and Wiscy….I like whiskey.) However, we let up 388 against Iowa’s mediocre offense. Part of that was based on TOP (which we slightly won). Part of the TOP was how our O was slowed down. I think our O will be slowed down, and we will have more TOP. I think that our D will play better because Demens is better than Obi. These two points should be obvious. I also think that PSU and Purdon’t will give us a stats boost. Possibly we hold Illinois…I just don’t know enough about them. For better or worse, I’m predicting we jump in to the top 90 over the latter half of the season.
Ugh. I HOPE it is simply a misunderstanding. Ignore Lee's headline that add's an extra 0, as it is only $10k not $100k.
Not to be a rumor monger, but maybe this has something to do with the PT issue?
There have been a lot of threads on this so I don't want to speculate. All I want to do is show the statistical analysis to help elucidate arguments.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm excited about Greg Robinson taking over the linebackers. I think he probably prefers that position since he's coached that the majority of his career, whether it's in college or the NFL.”
-Brian’s Media Day coverage. August 2nd.
What this is trying to explain is that GERG might actually be a decent LB coach. No other justifications. You either believe his credentials or don’t. However, I think that given time, our LB play might actually be good. The one I want to single out (especially because everyone’s been clamoring about this) is Demens.
Here is my comparison of Demens and Ezeh:
Kenny Demens now has 19 tackles. Obi Ezeh: 39 (through 10/16, not sure if before or after the game). That's about 1/2 the tackles in about 1/6 or less the PT.
The UFR on Obi/Demens through 6 games this season:
*I might be wrong on Demens’ playing time. I tried my best, but he might have snuck in on a few plays here or there, which I did not notice.
UConn: Ezeh: -3.5
ND: Ezeh: +3
Umass: Ezeh: -8
BGSU: Ezeh: +2
Demens: 6 plays at the end of the game from what I can tell
Indiana: Ezeh +3
From what I could tell Demens only plays goal line.
MSU: Ezeh: -4.5
I believe only goal line again.
Total: Ezeh -8
Demens: +3 in limited action.
This is post is more to give us some stats on how well he’s doing compared to Obi with which we can quantify our thoughts. Analysis instead of intuition. I hope this helps any and all arguments.