was "massive boner".
Here's The Averageball: A Correction
Yesterday I posted about Brady Hoke's offensive philosophy and how his actions haven't matched up with his words. Unfortunately, a large part of that post was based on a massive misunderstanding of the data at CFBStats. I thought first downs were first down playcalling. They were how first downs were acquired, which is a totally different stat.
I called upon the Mathlete to fix this massive boner and he rose to the occasion. Brady Hoke's first down playcalling versus the national average, according to these parameters…
Only 1st and 10s
Only between the 20's
Only in competitive time/score situations
Run PCT is Run/(Run + Pass) excluding penalties
National average from 2008-2010 was 56% Run
Hoke 2008: 55%
Hoke 2010: 54%
…not significantly different from the populace at large. This obliterates my argument that Hoke passed to set up the run. He's not neolithic but neither is he Secret Mike Leach.
Of course, with Denard Robinson and 6 YPC you could run on 70% of first downs and that would be a good idea. It's all about context.
rising to the occasion
I thought it was Brian's wife's job fix his massive boners.
I'm sorry - very sorry - but it had to said.
Especially in college football, I think that composite numbers can obscure interesting data. We know that coaches game plan differently based on the opponent. One would expect that the tomato cans would get different treatment than the 'real' teams and composite data like that presented here will obscure these differences.
In the Utah game, Borges clearly used the pass to set up the run. It goes w/o saying that sample size is an issue but there it is. Hoke will do it, at least, sometimes.
To be fair, Brian, Brady Hoke never said MANBALL. Nor did he say "TREMENDOUS VAN OUSTANDING RIVER" (although that would be my favorite quote of all time if it happens). He has preached physicality since he has become coach, but that doesn't necessarily translate to 3 yards and a cloud of dust as you and Mathlete have just illustrated.
That being said, I do think the post was informative if only in the last sentence. Even with the flawed data, you made the prediction that:
"When push comes to shove I think Michigan will go with what works, whatever that is."
And if Hoke says he's going to let Borges run the offense and he decides to incorporate elements of pro-style, thats fine by me. I think Hoke will hopefully allow the flexibility to do whatever works on offense, whether its an RR spread, a 5 WR spread, a pro-set, hell maybe let Denard run a Rick Leach-style option. Your conclusion was dead on despite the data.
Also, how do you block quote in plain text?
Also, how do you block quote in plain text?
Thanks. Also, sweet job fixing everyone's embeds and I checked out mgovideo.com today also. Are you mostly chronicling pressers etc. on the website or are you doing game footage too? I saw there's stuff going back to the 70s and beyond...
Just to add, you have to switch to plain text editor (just below the comment box) before you enter HTML. Clearly Boyz n da Pahokee knows this, but someone made this mistake yesterday so thought it would be benifical information.
I believe Brady Hoke does, in fact, say "TREMENDOUS VAN OUSTANDING RIVER". Hidden cameras captured the following on an in-home recruiting visit. It's definitely Hoke. Look how much he's pointing...
Good catch Brian, as others noted in the comments. Overall, though, I think this shows that Hoke isn't wed to the "manball" mantra that people have attached to him; he wants to win, and trusts his offensive coordinator to call the plays he feels give them the best chance of accomplishing that. I don't expect that Borges will look at thie offense and try to throw Vincent Smith at the A gap 30 times a game, and so right now I could care less what Hoke says to the blue hairs to keep them happy.
Brian is pretty much a one man crusade on the manball mantra, though he has picked up a few acolytes on MGo. Don't think most people give two shits about a Hoke throwaway comment from a while back.
I think this shows that Hoke isn't wed to the "manball" mantra that people have attached to him
I think his MANBALL mantra is more about how the game is played, not an offensive scheme. It goes along with his wanting to hear football, during the practices. He demands a tough physical game and expects that the players give it. I think this is his concept of MANBALL.
Nice catch on the stats and glad to see the mathlete back in action.
but that's mostly because I find the read option offense more asthetically appealing than any other offense, so I'm sad to see us go away from it (and I do think it's pretty clear we'll ultimately transition to something else that I find less awesome to watch).
Me too. But, I'm pretty sure that Borges != DeBord, so that makes me feel better.
That makes me sad, too. I legitimately loved last year's offense. I desperately hope we retain some of that explosiveness in the future.
I believe when people say Man Ball they are refering to a situation when we need to get a yard or two and we line up and run it right at them.
It's a situation when they know we are going to run it, and we still do what we want and get the couple yards.
The percentage of run plays called on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd down has a minimum influence on the Man Ball equation.
based on the misinterpretation. Also, the "...Secret Mike Leach" reference was tremendous.
Edit: Not much fixin' required actually.
This makes your next analysis even more credible - I've watched pretty well comped executives base a whole pitch to a CEO only to have the first question highlight all their cypherin' was wrong and they had the incorrect conclusions. The guys that took it and moved on were met with empathy and they eventually succeeded. Way to go.
having "rose to the ocassion" right after "massive boner"!
If you watch today's Countdown to Kickoff, when GERG 2.0 is talking about Denard Robinson, they cut to two plays run by Denard:
(1) Direct snap out of shotgun - Denard runs the ball.
(2) Direct snap out of shotgun - Denard runs the draw play.
Yesterday's hypothesis is correct - Borges isn't stupid, he knows he has the best running QB in the NCAA on his team, and he's going to use him.
Please don't try and get that nickname started. Just let GERG and his mane fade into history.
As others have said Manball is an invention of this blog. When Hoke talks he talks about letting Borges run the offense. Hoke's own lips keep saying "I'm not an offense guy" while Brian keeps typing "MANBALL!".
At SDSU Hoke and Borges had a second team all conference QB and put two WRs in the NFL. That right there are all the stats you really need. Clearly SDSU was kicking out enough receptions to get two WRs draft. That means Hoke wasn't just going twin TE heavy sets and running. Rather Borges was developing the QB and getting the recieving corps plenty of catches, to the point they got love from NFL scouts.
I think the problem is we need to come to a middle ground here. Late era Carr offenses were definitely paleolithic. Never was so little done with so much talent (Henne, Edwards, Avant. Manningham, Breaston, Arringtion). Look at the spread passing attack we pulled out in Carr's last game against Florida. I think 90% of the fanbase went "WTF? Why have we not been running that for the last few years?!".
On the flip side a lot of us have flound memories of MANBALL. Fourth and 1 against Northwestern. Northwestern is desperately loading up the defensive line. Yet I was sitting there smirking knowing it is futile because we're just running off left tackle and Jake Long is going to make sure Hart gets at least three yards.
End of the day Borges seems like a good mix here. He uses shotgun, he uses under center. He had a very productive running back and TE but he also put WRs in the NFL. End of the day we're getting a guy who makes productive offenses. They might not be flashy but they're productive and he's backed up by a Hoke and Mattison coached defense. That's a reciple for a good result.
It's fair criticism even if a little imprecise in it's deployment. As others have noted I think the term MANBALL is less about scheme/playcalling than it is about philosophy. When Hoke rails agaisnt spreads and whatnot, he comes off as very narrow minded; at least to me. I dont think anyone really believes he's that shortsighted, but shouldn't we take him at his word? As he says different things in different situations, he has used more flexible language.
No one accuses Tebow's Gators of being soft. Or Auburn. Nor Oregon. RR's Mountaineers. Clemson. and so on. It's a different philosophy, yes, but just as effective when it is, uh, effective. I think the logic that M's defense has been garbage because of the offensive philosophy it practiced against is straight bunk. Again, see those other examples.
Moreover, the current staff is lauding the players for thier speed, focus, and effort during practice so far...it was Coach Rodriguez that intilled that in these players.
Anyway, flexbility in practice is what matters and no one is arguing that Hoke will do anything less than that. But when he talks about MANBALL, he's pandering to some folks. Naturally, those that disagree will call him on that. And rightfully so.
So the blog has created a strawman, killed it, and then claimed that the strawman was wrong because it was made of straw. Its like the stages of loss and grief sports blog style.
I hope that having actual football to talk about will cure all.
Anyone else hoping that we run a fullback dive out of the I formation on the first play? It would just be too damn funny to imagine all the heads asploding.
"So the blog has created a strawman, killed it, and then claimed that the strawman was wrong because it was made of straw. Its like the stages of loss and grief sports blog style."
I'm not sure why everyone is so vexed by this. Brian interpreted some of Hoke's early comments as indicating a very conservative style of football, and coined a funny term for it. However, as he's had a chance to evaluate the evidence more deeply, by looking at past behavior, etc., he has revised his opinion. This is what responsible commentators do.
Ok, let me explain - Brian's creation of the MANBALL meme was part of his pro-spread, anti-Hoke position. If you look back at the hire, Brian hated it. Really, really hard. He wanted a spread guy to be hired - not Hoke. (He had some good reasons for his position, and it is waaaay to early to tell if Hoke is going to work out or not. So far so good and all.)
My point is that Brian then took one comment (that frankly doesn't say what people think it did) and built a strawman - that Hoke was going to run I formation all the time and try to turn Denard into John Navare. He did a post about this and concluded that Denard-as-Navare would be a bad idea. (Duh!) The implication was that he was right all along about the Hoke hire and that we were all doomed. There may have been pictures of kittens.
The problem of course was that Brian was attacking a strawman. There was very little to show that Hoke was going to go I-form all the time, and years of history at SDSU that shows he wasn't. The great thing about this blog is that people pushed back right away and cited the same kind of stuff that Brian is talking about now. It looks like he is becoming aware that that strawman is made of straw.
I agree that this is to his credit - a lot of bloggers never back away from any position ever. I am just having a bit of a laugh over the death of his strawman.
Brian didn't give a rat's ass about the hire being a spread guy. He wanted Harbaugh just like everyone else. The criticism of the Process of hiring Hoke was in the the national search was an effing charade, especially when the Les Miles was the only other belle at the ball. I think Brian's point, and I agree, is that Michigan could have attracted someone with more accomplishments than Hoke. Problem is that the "national" search consisted of 3 people, and the first filter was having ties to Michigan. Hoke could have and should have been hired 5 minutes after Harbaugh declined. Instead we had to put up with some disingenuous bullshit on Brandon's part. Give me a beak.
The MANBALL thing is an admittedly oversimplified summary of Hoke's own words from a time when there weren't many to scrutinize. Brian is a prominent commentator on Michigan Athletics and he did his job. As more information has come out, he's revised his commentary.
I think the level of grief Brian still gets about this is dumb.
Funny typo aside, if you go back and look at Brian's list of preferred candidates, after OMG Harbaugh, I think you'll find most of them are spread guys (spread option guys at that), either head coaches or coordinators.
That list was constructed under the false assumption* that Brandon was indeed conducting a national search for someone with head coaching experience that didn't necessarily have ties to Michigan. Once the real criterion were apparent (definite Michigan ties with head coaching experience) there was only 1 person who made any sense at all: Brady Hoke. Dan Mullen was the only guy that was spread-option.
The list Brian put together is a list that any big time program (other than Michigan) would take a serious look at save for Pat Fitzgerald (maybe). The fact that they were open-minded to non-MANBALL football philosophies is secondary to the fact that all of them are demonstrably excellent coaches. It is also indicative of the fact that the modern football thinking doesn't think that MANBALL is the only way to have a tough team (like Brady Hoke preaches).
*said assumption was based on Brandon's own words so, you know, flimsy assumption.
Easy for me to say, but I actually suspected the data really meant how the 1stdown was acquired, rather than 1stdown play calling… The tip off was the presence of “penalty” in the chart, which makes no sense related to play calling. It is a perfect example of cherry picking a stat that backs up your opinion, rather than letting the stats help to form your opinion. i.e. if the data had shown that Hoke liked to run on first down, we would never have seen it on this blog. Of course I was too lazy to actually research it myself…
I still don’t understand why the RR faction is so anti-Hoke. Any moron can admit, myself included, that the RR offense was flourishing… it was going to be magnificent in a couple more years. As a skeptic from the beginning I can be Manball enough to admit that the “Spread offense can work in the Big 10” is settled law. No more debate. But as great as the offense was, or was going t be, the defense was so pathetic that its remarkable crappiness actually more than offset the offense’s success.
In any case, I enjoyed the fundamentally flawed analysis. Keep up the (99.9% accurate) good work
I'll bite. First of all,
I still don’t understand why the RR faction is so anti-Hoke.
On a thread that mocks straw man arguments, this is deliciously ironic. I can't think of a single person on this board who is "anti-Hoke." If you're a Michigan fan, you're pro-Hoke. So the whole "RR faction" and "anti-Hokeness" of that faction to me are just as much whole-cloth constructions as MANBALL, about which more in a minute.
To me, there are two reasons why people, myself included, have been SKEPTICAL of Hoke. Not ANTI Hoke but SKEPTICAL of Hoke. The first is pure snobbery. We felt like Michigan deserved a bigger name coach than humble lunchpail Brady. I might even say that we felt like Michigan deserved the head coaching equivalent of Greg Mattison. Well, 1 out of 2 ain't bad.
The second is, and here I feel like I'm speaking more for myself than anyone else, we felt like Hoke represented a full-scale return to the past, and a kowtowing to the down in front blue hairs who didn't like anything about that mean Rich Rod and his cussin' and recruitin' of sketchy looking kids from Florida when there were so many apple cheeked Michiganders left wanting.
Here's where MANBALL comes in. Brady made several pronouncements (none of which used the term MANBALL, of course. That was what do you call it a synechdoche of Brian's making) that suggested that, just as he himself represented a return to the past (in the "RR faction"'s eyes), his offensive philosophy might follow suit. For those of us who have developed a nearly unprecedented love for all things Denard, including his ability to shred defenses with his feet, that seemed, well, idiotic.
As it happens, I think, the "RR faction" was wrong about most things thus far in the Brady Hoke regime, I don't mind admitting, MANBALL included. But Brian's point was never "Brady Hoke will absolutely insist on A-gap runs to Vincent Smith omigod the sky is falling," it was a question, such as "will Brady Hoke be willing to use the weapon he has in Denard in a way that will be aesthetically pleasing and effective offensively?" I think the answer to that question, which maybe Brian arrived at slower than the rest of us in the "RR faction" is "yes." Hence, his posts that seemed a bit moldy by the time they arrived.
Oh, and one more thing, when you say:
Any moron can admit, myself included, that the RR offense was flourishing… it was going to be magnificent in a couple more years.
I say, "puh-huh." Just search for "Wisconsin game FEI" and see what comes up. I daresay that those of us in the "RR faction" suspect that people in the "Hoke faction," for some unfathomable reason, need so badly to justify the firing of RR that they aren't even willing to admit that the offense was pretty damn good, and probably would have been well-nigh unstoppable this year and next, with an experienced Denard.
Beautifully stated and well written.
I want Wolverine Football to succeed. Therfore, I wanted RR to succeed. I want to see the team win, and when they lose, I would prefer it to NOT BE EMBARASSING. Now Coach Hoke is at the helm. I want Wolverine Football to succeed. Therefore, I want Brady Hoke to succeed. Championships are desirable.
Starting last to first. I was a skeptic, but by the time RR got fired I was 101% in agreement that the offense completely kicks a$$. Spectacularly good. I would accept your description of " unstoppable this year and next" completely. Not a teensy bit of argument from me. If RR had made even marginal progress on developing a defense that could, on occasion, stop somebody on 3rd and 5, I was in favor of keeping him on. He just never did. The Robinson hiring and subsequent forcefeeding of the 3-3-5 scheme to him was the tipping point and sent the RR regime circling the drain.
What I was trying to communicate, apparently ineffectively, was fairly simple:
- Even a slightly critical look at the 1st down play chart that was in the original post should have raised an eyebrow about what the stats actually meant, but when you only out to confirm your beliefs rather than develop new ones, you don't look at it that way. Which is why Brian missed it..
- Anyone who is honest (even anti RR faction, myself included) has to admit that the offense under RR was better than most people expected.
- Similarly the pro-RR faction has to admit that the defense was a 2 on a 10 point scale and was moving daily closer to nil. There was no progress whatsoever.
- Only looking at statistics that support your hypothesis and none others is just as intellectually dishonest as a tea partier only watching FoxNews or a moveon.org person only watching MSNBC and pointing at those "news" sources as "evidence" in support of their opinions.
Fielding Yost and Frtiz Crisler are the men who built The Michigan Tradition of being Michigan. Both big name coaches from outside of the family when they were hired.
Bo wasn't a big name but that is an artifact of the media environment of 1969. He is exactly the type of guy that would be a hot commodity in todays envrionment. His resume was stacked with 6 out of 6 winning seasons as head coach, 2 conference titles, and a .667 win percentage. Coach Hoke's numbers are nowhere near that: 3 for 8 winning seasons, no conference championships, .485 win pct.
All the "Michigan Men" head coaches take a back seat to the non-"Michigan Men" hires (Yost, Crisler, Schembechler).
Look, I really want Hoke to do well. He has been great so far. But, Michigan is the only big time program that hires him.
I think there are three things that created this ManBall discussion:
- Hoke openly saying he hates zone blocking and spread offenses, which have been very good to us in the past and which our current roster is suited to play.
- Fear of a Carr-era conservative play-call that sees us rushing off-tackle time and again as the defense cackles with glee.
- Fear of a Carr-era clock management style that sees us go into a shell when we have a 3-point lead or sees us punt from the opponent's 35 yard line.
Those three things have blended together and have resulted in a fear that the offensive progress and optimism born the last two years will go back to the late-era Carr style. I'm not sure the data supports that no matter how you slice it while looking at Borges' resume.
The only thing that really concerns me at this point is Hoke's obvious disdain for zone blocking when it has been proven to be a successful approach in many different types of offenses. I'd much rather hear him say "our base offense will not use a lot of zone blocking, but there is a time and place for everything and I expect Borges to determine when to use each type of technique based on situation and personnel."
Other than that comment, the only remaining concern won't be settled until we see the players on the field. Coaches are definitely stubborn and creatures of habit. Carr refused to unleash his NFL talent until that final bowl game. Rodriguez refused to let his defensive coaches do their thing and insisted upon a system that we had neither the players or coaches to run. The best coach/leader is one who knows his limitations and trusts his subordinates to do their jobs. Let's Hope the early evidence is correct and Hoke will leave Borges to do what he thinks is best.
He didn't say I hate zone blocking and spread offenses. What he said was
“Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared. "
Let's assume that 1) he was quoted correctly and 2) he wasn't just telling media and/or the fans what they wanted to hear.
His comment was actually that practicing against the spread and zone blocking "all the time" doesn't prepare the defense for Wisconsin. That might or might be true, but it doesn't equate to openly stating that he hated the spread and zone blocking. When you look at his quotes about his offense, he basically says that Borges runs it. When you look at Borge's statements, you hear him say shot-gun half the time, and that he will use what he has to the greatest effect. This is also backed up by his past-offenses with Brady Hoke. So, I don't think the quote should be a concern for anyone at this point.
Some people had a very negative reaction to Hoke. They took his quote above and built the "MANBALL" strawman and argued that he is a bad hire b/c he will not use Denard and will run I formations all the time with a fullback lead as the only play. In the process, Hoke's actual quote was beaten into "the I openly hate zone blocking and will never do it ever" meme that has become some sort of quasi-fact.
What is frustrating (and concerning) about this is that we have been here before. For example, RR gave the No. 1 jersy to a DB and that was turned into "RR dosen't care about Michigan traditions and told Braylon to go to hell" meme that lasts until this day. In reality, he took the No. 1 away from the DB as soon as he found out about it. He also said he was sorry to all who would listen. Still, that meme is still referenced as evidence the RR didn't get the Michigan tradition to this day.
I'm not so sure a near 50-50 distibution sheds any light on the question at hand. I bet game theory principals would show that having a strong lean in either direction would only be justified if you had a vast talent advantage or were extremely good at one thing (a la Wisconsin). Tipping your hand is never sound strategy when the opponents are evenly matched. Ball St and SDSU were never in any other circumstance.
The other instance I could see having a particular bias is justified is if your scheme has sufficient inherent misdirection or flexibilty that it doesn't matter if the opponent knows whether you are going to run or pass (Tom Osbourne, Georgia Tech, Mike Leech).
I guess the final instance would be back in the day when the rules made passing a questionable idea.