After perusing some of the matchup results for the upcoming MSU @ UM game available on the new CFB Matchup Tool site, I found that it includes results for Special Teams based on the FEI Model (which we know FBO won't post anything until next week). The results are quite stunning, while at the same time giving some measure of validation to the general consensus in these parts that the UM Special Teams are indeed "special" (e.g. coffin-corner punts, only 2 punt touchbacks, fair-catches or returns on everything, and returning KO's for TD's), and the MSU Special Teams are just plain poo-stinky (check out Q1 of the Rutgers game and you'll get an idea).
Anyway, I give you the overall STE chart which aggregates all of the ST factors (kickoffs & returns, punts & returns, field goals) into an equivalent points-based metric, along with rankings. The raw numbers indicate a +10.5 point differential in UM's favor, with adjusted numbers citing a more modest +6.2 point edge.
I'm thinking if the offense doesn't get anything going, maybe we should just punt on 1st down, let the defense turn around a 3 & out, and kick field goals all day long.
4th and 7, Oregon State Ball with ~3:05 remaing:
Oregon State long-snapper snaps high, Nick Porebski is able to bring it in, gets the punt off and is clobbered. Incorrect roughing the kicker is called, giving Oregon State a first down and prompting Jim Harbaugh to call a timeout. 2:57 remaining.
1st and 10, Oregon State Ball
Incomplete pass to Jordan Villamin
2nd and 10, Oregon State Ball
Seth Collins 8 yard run to Michigan 38
3rd and 2, Oregon State Ball
Seth Collins -1 yard run to Michigan 39
Now, this is was some bad coaching by Oregon State. They have two options:
1) Go for the first down
There are no other possibilities here. At the very least, you want to see your team line up for the punt (or even better, like you are attempting to score), try to draw the defense offsides and take the delay of game if not. If you are going to punt anyway, the difference between punting from the 39 and punting from the 44 is going to be marginal (both have a 95% chance of being a touchback*). But we see Oregon State take the delay of game without attempting to draw Michigan offsides. Michigan then calls a timeout (I don't understand why, the clock should have been stopped here with the delay of game).
Oregon State then lines up for the punt, punts it, and gets an Illegal formation call. Another five yards.
We all know what happened next.
Anyway, I guess I don't have a major point to make here, it is just interesting to list a couple of things that could have drastically changed the end of the first half:
1) No roughing the punter call. Michigan ball, chance to score with about 3 minutes remaining, but they have to go 70 yards.
2) Oregon State attempts to convert the 4th and 3 (the obvious choice if you are playing to win, especially on the road) and fails. Michigan Ball, 60 yards to score and roughly 1:30 remaining.
3) Oregon State picks up the first down, is able to kick a field goal to end the half. Teams tied 10-10 at half.
4) No illegal formation on the 1st (2nd?) punt attempt. Michigan ball, I believe this one went out at the 2 or 3 yard line, not much chance of scoring, with only 90 seconds and at least one rushing play just to escape the goal line
*--totally made this statistic up.
EDIT: Adding a major point to squash the haters:
My major point is, if your drive could be extended by a roughing the kicker call that shouldn't have been a roughing the kicker call, you should decline the penalty and avoid football Karma
This dude is a breath of fresh air man:
“Obviously if I feel like I couldn’t make an impact then I shouldn’t have this job,” Baxter said. “I do feel like we can make an impact.”
“It’s upsetting to me the last time we’ve returned a kick or a punt (for a touchdown) was 2007 or 2008,” Baxter said. “Last time we returned a field goal for a score was 2003. That’s way too long. I can just tell you this, we are going to approach this football team and this camp with some tremendous urgency.”
“When those things happen, it’s when they happen,” Baxter said. “But I’ll tell you what, my expectations is that it happens tomorrow.”
The first step in fixing a problem is realizing you have a problem. Coach Baxter seems to be horrified by Michigan's special teams play and aims to fix it.
Didn't see this on the board. Posted mainly because we don't hear much from Baxter or about special teams in general.
Look for Michigan to hire an assistant that will coach special teams exclusively. No position— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 7, 2015
This is thread-worthy, I think, because I'm pretty sure that this is Sam's way of saying something without revealing the name of the person who is going to take the job...
EDIT: Balas seems to be indicating that Ty Wheatley is our new RB coach:
Tyrone Wheatley officially in as Michigan's RB coach? Sounds like it ($): https://t.co/6VzBjjy9BA— Chris Balas (@Balas_Wolverine) January 7, 2015
Shop Smart Shop pointed out in a thread that there were only 10 players on the field during a punt against Rutgers but I didn't see any definitive screen shots on that thread so I thought that I'd use MGoVideo's video to grab some for the benefit of the board (GoBLUinTX usefully pointed out the key moment).
Here's the key image, labelled (click all images to embiggen in a new window). Norfleet is off the screen (I don't think that the ref is Dennis Norfleet).
Here are two shots from the end zone immediately before the punt (the clock isn't running because Michigan had called a time-out):
Just before the punt, the camera angle changes:
and with labels:
Just before the punt, Delonte Hollowell (#24, my number 3) moves to help out with the gunner on the top of the screen (the boundary) and Rutgers punts:
With labels (numbers are the same as above):
And here's the 11th player running onto the field late just before the punt, early in the 3rd quarter (the ball was punted at 12:58):