a terrible blight on our fine country
"Whatever you need to make you feel, like you've been the one behind the wheel, the sunrise is just over that hill."
—Cursive, The Gentleman Caller, The Ugly Organ
How about some good news regarding Michigan's football team? One runaway success you can attribute to this coaching staff is they've managed to hold onto their players, especially the ones they recruited. Better news: the thing about a lot of the teams that finished in the Top 10 in 2013 were they had lots of upperclassmen starters. Experience is still a big deal, and the only way to get that is to go a lot of years in a row without losing half your roster. Better better news: Michigan is (likely) going to be one of those teams in the not-too-distant future. Let's go right to the table:
% of PLAYERS REMAINING AFTER X YEARS FROM RECRUITING CLASSES 1993-'13
|Class||Recruited by||Class Size||1 year||2 years||3 years||P.O.E.*||Usage**|
|Average for 1993-2010||21||92%||85%||74%||58%||77%|
*(Played out eligibility, i.e. nonredshirted Sr's who played 4 years + guys who played 5)
**(Eligible seasons the class netted divided by 4 x class size)
There will be attrition from Hoke's classes as the position battles shape out, but for awhile there Michigan was regularly coming into a recruiting class's redshirt sophomore season with a third of that class already departed. As of now the only guy from that awesome 2012 haul not on the roster is Kaleb Ringer. You have to go back to the class of 2000*, which didn't qualify Reggie Benton, to find a class to make it this far as intact. It was so long ago that a guy from that class is now one of Michigan's coaches.
Plot the retention of the 2012 class to this point with the state of the classes before it coming into their 3rd season. It's stunning:
Years after coaching changes seem to witness an exodus spike, followed by a return to normal, which is to be expected. The last few years though…
*Even better was 1998. Henson (Yankees), Terrell (early NFL), Fargas (transfer to USC) and fullback Dave Armstrong (unrenewed 5th) were the only losses, and that was just a year of eligibility from each of them. Considering they were recruited after the championship year that's astounding.
[Jump for lots more charty charts.]
Better, Still Ugly
When can Michigan enjoy a mostly intact senior class? Answer:
Note this is by eligibility not class so, e.g., the 2013 bar includes non-redshirted players from the class of 2011 plus the remaining guys from 2010. The fifteen guys from 2017 are just the 2013 recruits who redshirted.
Not this year, probably next year, but doo doo doo doo doo doo. Over half of the seniors who would have helped last year were gone. I also broke out types of attrition into "no fault" (Early NFL or medical reasons) and "bad" (everything else), and all that which affected last year's seniors was the bad stuff.
|Freshmen combined with questionable coaching don't make great OL either, but at least the days of Recycling Bin on the two-deep are over.|
Would-be 2013 seniors who didn't make it:
Would-be 2014 seniors who didn't make it:
The dark bars on the right are the attrition. The colors represent recruiting class, blue being the guys in their fourth year in the program or later. The 2013 team is another young one, dominated by sophomores of one type or another. Your 5th year seniors, provided all return, are Gardner, Ryan, Furman, Ash, and Paskorz.
Obviously the guys who've left also make themselves replaceable by opening up a scholarship, but what's not replaceable is their experience. I tried to capture that a few ways, finally settling on a simple average of years since high school of the non-redshirted players on each unit:
You know how people kept making diaries last November/December to try to show relative experience? Good news: I think I figured out the proper correlation. Bad news: it's very difficult to pull without an extensive database like I keep of Michigan players. The trick is to know which guys were redshirting and what year (for injury types). That allows things like Troy Woolfolk's non-availability to show through.
Anyway that big jump in 2011 isn't an error; it's the 2008 recruits all being on hand as well as Molk, Huyge, Hemingway and Steve Watson. That Team 132's offense wasn't any better than 2010's can probably be attributed to the coaching change. That Team 132's defense was so much better despite not being that much older than 2010's can probably be attributed to the coaching change. Absent a coaching change, it seems a roster getting older is a team getting better.
And there's your shred of hope for next season, since the effective age of the roster (figuring the obvious guys redshirt or not next year) will climb back from a nadir (to 2012 level) while the defense will be as old as any at Michigan since 2006.
Youth, I've heard, is not a valid excuse for M's struggles.
Actually rational people believe youth is a pretty valid excuse for some of Michigan's failures.
Its the sinking to levels no one has ever seen before when it comes to offensive production - despite having plenty of talent, certainly more than the majority of CFB teams - that makes reasonable people think that there might be something more than youth causing such woeful results (such as coaching).
Then there are irrational people who believe that youth excuses all poor results and that coaching, well, has zero to do with those poor results. If only those durn youngsters would execute Al's perfect gameplan we'd be sitting pretty!
If you need help, you fall in the latter group :).
Youth would be an excuse if young guys (especially on offense) were the team's best players. In RR's third year, the top three passers on the team, the #1 and #4 receiver, and the top 5 rushers (on a team that ran for 5.6 ypc, not 3.3) were all Rodriguez recruits. And Omameh and Lewan were solid starters on the o-line.
In Hoke's third year the QB, the (record setting) leading receiver, and the top 2 rushers were still Rodriguez recruits. And the only young OL who could stay in the lineup was former walk-on Graham Glasgow.
One group of young guys is much less productive than another group was. Outside of Devin Funchess, their impact has been minimal. Expecting them to not just get better (obviously age/experience will help individual players) but form an elite unit without an extra infusion of talent is just wishful thinking at this point.
I'm breaking one of my life rules ("Never argue with an attorney--or a comedian, or a professional writer--because it'll leave a mark"), but I think we should consider:
1) The top three passers in 2010 were RR guys because there was literally no one else. One was Devin, who played so sparingly, he got his medical redshirt.
2) Denard ran for more yards than the next 4 guys combined--by almost 200 yards. Obviously, he's a Rich recruit, but it shows his enormous impact and how the one man was vital to that offense. The overall RB crew was not elite.
3) Roundtree had a terrific year (almost 1000 yards) no doubt. Still, Hemingway proved to be a great talent and Stonum had a decent year in 2010, as well. Rich got some help from older guys there.
4) O-line had Molk (RS JR and future Rimington winner), Schilling (SR), Huyge (RS JR), in addition to Omameh (RS SO) and Lewan (RS FR). Back-ups included a fair number of upperclassmen. This year's line had the two senior tackles, two RS FR and a RS SO, with all of two older back-ups. Lewan drove us nuts with inconsistent play in 2010--and he's Taylor Lewan for godsakes. This year, UM's very best options at both guards were at the same stage of development, with the third interior position handled by a guy in his first year starting. Therefore, I'm not sure we can write off the group at this point of development.
5) We'll have to see about whether this offensive group can play at an elite level with experience. No way to prove it at this point either way. I'm quite the Pollyanna, though, and think you're selling short a few guys who will play at a high level when they get their chance.
Who has Hoke brought in who is as good as Denard Robinson was at the same point in his career? Taylor Lewan? Patrick Omameh?
Since the answer to that question is "no one", why do people keep saying the guy is a good recruiter and acting like we're going to be better when guys like Lewan, Gallon, etc. aren't on the team next year?
I'll try (qualifier: me=/=expert):
Denard: well, he is a special guy in a lot of ways, so pass. Based off one game, Shane looks like the real deal, though.
Lewan: Kalis and Magnuson are both starting and Kalis made the all-freshman B1G team. Future first rounders? We'll see. Hoke seemingly other viable options he's brought in (Bosch starts as a freshman) and at least it's not air behind the starters anymore.
Omameh: Glasgow has been SOLID at center, which is not his natural position.
In addition, there's James Ross, Jake Butt, Ben Gedeon and others who have been thrown into the fray pretty damn early and have done well.
We put up 6 meaningful points in the BWW Bowl, against a mediocre opponent. Shane has talent, but saying he's the "real deal" is ridiculously premature. Just like all the post-2011 Hoke love.
This is the major point of what I'm saying. If you have to discard the most productive offensive player in the history of Michigan football from the argument, what are we really talking about?
I'm not saying Brady Hoke is shitting his pants all day in Schembechler Hall and lighting sacred documents on fire. I'm not saying we can't be "not terrible" under his leadership. I'm saying there is no evidence that we'll be a team as good as the ones guys like Dantonio, Meyer, Harbaugh, Kelly, Carroll, Tressel, Richt, Miles, Saban, Stoops, etc. had once they got to put their imprint on a program.
And if we're not that good, Hoke and Co. need to go. I hope he's one of those guys, but no one seems to be offering anything to prove he is. They are simply bitching about Rich Rodriguez and mildly praising a few dudes who have seen the field.
If you want to bet a dollar we go 10-2 next year, at minimum, I'll take that bet. Otherwise we're just expressing differing standards for the Michigan football program.
are talented. As has been proven many times, few players become stars as freshmen or sophomores so the jury is still out on his classes. Therefore, there is no evidence that he won't end up at that level either.
I don't know if we wil go 10-2 next year with the line still young. If you ask me about 2015, I think we will.
Denard was truly a special talent. Since you mentioned Jeremy Gallon, how would you have judged him after his first two years?
Denard was the only one of the three you mention who played as a true freshman. He was not good at all. Was Lewan great as a redshirt freshman? Not really, he showed potential. Omameh was in his third season after being a late add. Was he better than Frank Clark? Or Raymon Taylor?
Funchess and Ross have been far more productive right off the bat than anyone you mentioned. Jake Butt too. Plenty of others have gotten on the field early and shown some potential.
"Was Lewan great as a redshirt freshman? Not really, he showed potential."
Great - no, but I'd say as a 2nd team Freshmen All-American he did a little more than just "show potential".
I think Hoke like Rodriguez picked up some system guys to shore up the immediate threat--defense this time--and did a good job with that, for the most part. Remember RR had all of November to find Omameh and woo Barnum and Odoms, while Hoke had a few weeks, in which time he also needed to put his staff together. Just as RR whiffed on finding a QB his first year, Hoke/Borges REALLY wanted a tight end, and the best they could come up with in a pinch was Barnett, who's a guy these coaches probably don't pursue in any other circumstance.
But I agree, it's fair to assess the Year 2 (2009 and 2012) classes of both guys. Here they are:
|Pos||2009 Class||By Jan 8, 2011 he was...||2012 Class|
One of the best players in the game,
but weaknesses exposed
since Heisman moment.
|QB||Tate Forcier||Dismissed from the team|
|RB||Vincent Smith||Recovering from injury||Drake Johnson|
|RB||Fitzgerald Toussaint||Recovering from injury.||Sione Houma|
Still behind Odoms, Roundtree,
and Kelvin Grady at slot.
|WR||Je'Ron Stokes||Playing time transfer||Jehu Chesson|
On the Long track w/ a long way
to go. False start magnet.
Battling w/ Huyge.
The only backup OL on the team.
About where Magnusson is today.
|OG*||William Campbell||Looked like a bust, moved to G in 2010.||Kyle Kalis|
Swapped w/ Campbell. So far
no good but very recent
Transferred because he couldn't
crack the 2010 two-deep!
Begging the coaches to put
him back at DE
Moved to Spur after disastrous
stint at FS
|SAM||Thomas Gordon||Also a Spur|
The 7th man on a 7-man
spur depth chart
Behind walk-ons Moundros
and Leach at MLB
|WLB||Isaiah Bell||Ate his way off the depth chart.||Royce Jenkins-Stone|
Transferred because he couldn't
crack the 2010 two-deep!
Couldn't keep up with Rich Rod
on a treadmill. Already gone.
Bouncing weekly between bottom
of RB/CB depth charts
Mostly responsible for the
worst kicking year in M history.
What RR gains in the QBs (both of whom came to Michigan because there was an opportunity to be an instant starter) and better system RBs (Smith/Toussaint vs Johnson/Houma), and Lewan over Braden (Mags and Schofield are a wash) and Roh>Ojemudia are all lost twice over in the lack of a plausible interior OL, the receiver whiffs, and the total and absolute failure on defense.
Look at that defensive class and where those guys stood on the eve of Hoke's hire. They had Roh, a guy whose game is based on superior pad level, standing up at OLB. They had the Gordons mixed up. They had Will Campbell playing offensive guard, and Quintion Washington had just flipped to the d-line. All those guys who ended up being useful only did so under position changes and extensive coaching under Mattison. The rest--LaLota, Bell, Hawthorne, Jones, Vlad, JT Turner, Teric, and Witty--were not capable of competing on this level.
When you ask why Michigan needed to immediately replenish the OL depth chart and completely rebuild the defense, it starts with the 2009 class.
MUCH better and more comprehensive than my stab at it while I ate my Corn Chex. This is great work (and representative of Hokepoints generally. Thanks for the analysis you've provided all year!)
Michael Schofield started pretty much the entire 2011 season at guard (when we were pretty good and had two guys rush for over 1,000 yards). Will Campbell got drafted to play guard (where RR's staff wanted him to play) by the NFL and has been on the Jets active roster all year. Patrick Omameh, who was brought in just a year earlier than those guys, is on the Bucs active roster and was 1st team all-conference as a senior.
I get you're mad about what Rich Rod did with a defense full of freshmen and sophomores, but that has nothing to do with where we are going. The question remains, how does that 2012 class Hoke brought in turn into an elite team (like that 2009 class did)? Is Shane Morris going to be our Jameis Winston? Luck? Tebow? Manziel? Denard? Are the 2013 linemen the ones who are going to play at the level of Lewan/Molk? Is Jabrill Peppers going to play 8 positions?
If you're answer has anything to do with bitching about Rich Rodriguez, that isn't a good sign.
I'm having trouble understanding what you're asking, other than "where are the instant stars?"
You asked me to compare Rodriguez's early classes to Hoke's. I pointed out that 2009/2012 are a fair comparison, and then showed that while Hoke's 2012 class has fewer early performers, it appears to be on its way toward being a better class than that in the aggregate.
Schofield in 2011 actually was behind Barnum until Barnum (played two goal line plays then...) got hurt. Before that he was the 6th OL.
We don't have any data on the 2012 guys' NFL careers. We have seen what they are as freshmen and sophomores. Ultimately what we're judging on is whether the class won Michigan Big Ten championships and games versus Ohio State, not how many guys go to the NFL from it. And in the aggregate, I think the 2012 class will get Michigan closer to that goal than the 2009 one, which had a few stars on offense but NEVER turned into an elite team because it left such massive holes on defense. The best that class saw was 2011, a very good offense opposite a defense that attacked like crazy to cover up major flaws and major youth, and got away with it on luck (see: highest fumble recovery rate in the country) and a pair of very good senior DL (Martin and RVB) plus safeties who could always give them a place to stand. That wasn't an elite team; it was a rickety one that finished exactly as high as it possible could.
To avoid lying with statistics, it's essential to pay attention to denominators and make sure they are comparable. I.e. one must avoid cherry picking data and compare the same number of passers (no more than two, because in 2013 there were only two), the top four receivers, the top five rushers, the starting linemen, etc.
It's also important to point out possible sources of bias. For example, one could say that in Rodriguez's third year, the top two passers were his own recruits; whereas in Hoke's third year, only one was his recruit, then point out biases (small numbers), and potential biases such as attrition, retention and injury.
I also disagree with this point.
The OL is the toughest place to have young guys, and in 2010 we had fewer than we do now. The youth on the OL alone impacted our entire offense, regardless of the age of guys like Fitz or Gallon or Gardner. And I would argue the only RR guys on offense who are true talents are Gallon, DG and Lewan. Guys like Schofield, Fitz and Dileo are solid players and played because they were one of few at their position with experience, but not because they were great players.
So although the young guys might not be the "best" players like was the case in 2010 (where we still weren't good, remember) they are still the majority of the players. Every interior OL, every non-Fitz RB, and every TE that saw the field are Hoke recruits (young). And Gallon may have been relied on less if our best Hoke-recruit WR (Darboh) wasn't out all year.
As I'm sure you know, UCLA started three TRUE freshmen on the offensive line against USC. And won by a lot of points. And they've gotten other major contributions from first and second year players across the board (Jack, Vanderdoes, Payton, etc.). SC started two second year guys on their offensive line and won 10 games, they had a 2nd year DT post 6 sacks and 13.5 TFL. And a 2nd year receiver put up nearly 1,000 yards. And Ty Isaac and Justin Davis both looked infinitely better than our young RBs. FSU started five 1st and 2nd year players on defense and had a RS freshman QB who won the Heisman Trophy. How do we end up as good or better than them with young guys doing way less, despite (supposedly) way more opportunity to see the field.
People are basing their hopes on young players and recruiting, but our young players aren't as productive as those at other elite programs or as productive as recent Michigan greats (Name me a really good UM offensive lineman who looked terrible as a RS freshman or true sophomore?)
Are our guys not as good or is our coaching staff not up to snuff? Either way, thinking we're going to win 10+ games next year (and if we don't Hoke pretty much needs to go) is, once again, wishful thinking. I have the same wish, but I don't see it happening.
Re: great Michigan OL looking lost as freshmen.
The vast majority of Michigan linemen did not play as freshmen. The very few who have generally didn't look lost, which is why they were playing. It is also why they are "Michigan greats".
You also shifted the metric from "improvement" to "greats". I don't think we expect these guys to be Long, Hutch, Payne, Baas, and Janson. But we could be looking at something like Stenavich, Lentz, Pearson, Krause, and Riley. That would be a fine OL. And we would win a lot of games behind it.
Our guys played because there was no one else. In fact, we tried to have Miller start over the freshmen and we saw he was just incapable. We needed these guys.
UCLA and USC got good results from freshmen. We didn't. Neither do most.
So Hoke is building a team that is just like the latter Carr years but without guys like Long and Baas? Or Hart/Perry?
That sounds like a recipe for mediocre at best. If you're okay with that, cool. But I'm certainly not.
on similar note - auburn had 3-4 freshmen DL in their rotation this season and they did pretty darn well holding up in the sec...some of freshmen made some big plays and sacks on winston in bsc title game. and other recent bowl games provide countless examples of numerous freshmen and RS frosh not only playing but making significant impacts on DL and OL
Auburn was 85th in total defense, 41st in points allowed. UM's offsense was 84th in total offense and 39th in points scored. It kind of proves the point that youth is the main cause.
Know what you're talking about before mentioning the 120th in FBS in penalties per game, 107th in sacks, and 112th in TFLs. They did okay in rushing, but we were basially the same as UCLA as far as OL goes. The differnce is UCLA went 9-3 instead of 7-5 but you give me a simple 33 yard FG in 3OT against PSU and a two point conversion vs Ohio then we have the same record. Also NEVER compare QB's to OL totally different positions asked to do totally different things mentally and especially physically. And lay off the defense this year outside of the last two game in which we gave up almost 400 yards of rushing to the best rushing offense in the country which is bad but Ohio did that to everybody including Sparty. And the bowl game where it just looked like our team didn't show up to play, out statistic look pretty similar to last years. We were about a B- defense that brings all but 4 players from the two deep back along with adding in the RS. We didn't look great last year but the defense should improve by virtue of experience (though I'm really worried about DT and S) and if we can look forward to the fact that unless someone leaves, we only lose 1 contributing OL from 2014-2016 to graduation unless Chris Bryant breaks into the line up (0 faith in Jack Miller). People don't want to hear the RR excuse but the fact is his recruiting, along with attrition, destroyed both sides of the line of scrimmage. We are going to get better we just have to be patient, which is the worst thing to ask of a sports fan.
...was #2 of 120 FBS teams in offensive FEI; they were #109 out of 120 in defensive FEI.
A post "rationally comparing" that 2010 team to 2013 and referring exclusively to offensive personnel is tendentious to the point of comedy.
I don't feel the need to twist someone's argument. I'm not sure why you do.
I'm not a "nothing is to be blamed on the coaches" guy. I've come to believe Funk should probably be fired. I certainly blame Coach Rod for offensive line recruiting. I blame Borges for a few bad game plans.
My main contention has always been that this line was going to be poor, and so creating a cohesive offense was going to be near impossible. Because of this, I cut Borges a lot of slack. Look at the bowl game; Brian said that was a pretty good game plan considering considering what we had to work with. In my estimation, Borges has had a ton of similar games this year because of the line. That's not hard to follow.
Contrast my nuanced view (right or wrong, there's some thought behind it and I am capable of defending it) with the view that, "youth is no excuse". We've all read that a lot lately. But it is kind of an excuse. Young linemen are usually poor. Its hard to have a good offense with a poor line.
And, although Michigan has more talent than most FBS opponents, they also have a near-median record. Lets say their talent should be good for 10 wins. They had 7. Those 3 games are what we are arguing about. I think youth is responsible for 2 of those losses and coaching for the other. You seem to think youth is responsible for 0-1. We're not that far apart.
Oh please, your snarky, sarcastic initial comment twists many arguments pushed by people who post here. I'm just calling you out specifically since you felt the need to make the initial comment AND I don't think I'm misrepresenting your stance by much, since you feel the need to tirelessly defend Al Borges against any and all criticism (or so it would appear given your board history).
But here's what's funny about that last part of my paragraph from above when tied into this: " I blame Borges for a few bad game plans."
You're also on record saying that Borges is an "average" OC. Not good, not pretty good, but average. I remember this because it astounded me that someone would put so much time and effort into defending someone...when they agree with the position they are arguing against.
I think very few rational people on this board think that Al Borges is completely incompetent (though in anger after a sub-200 yard performance the opinion may have been voiced). I think most people believe what you believe: That he is average and that he costs the team a game or two each year with a bad gameplan (or at the very least, lessens our chances at victory). Given that he is paid at a level that almost no other OC receives, why on earth would anyone defend keeping him here? Why would anyone pay top dollar for a service that is not premium?
Let's delve into this further: Why was Rich Rodriguez fired? The on-field reason is simple: His defenses were terrible, especially in 2010. There is no way around it. But wait...that 2010 defense was incredibly youthful. The secondary was as young or younger (and not as highly regarded) as the current OL. So why not just roll forward with what we had because we KNOW young players get better with age and that the defense would have to improve over time? Oh right, because there's no way the defense should have been THAT BAD.
When you have two problems, youth and coaching, what can you - say you're the AD or head coach - change? Well, youth is going to take care of itself because of Father Time. But what you CAN do is fix the coaching problem. That's what Michigan did in 2010 because it was obvious the problems extended beyond being young (Seth documents this above). But this year? Nope, we're just standing pat after a year in which the offense put up bombs against UConn, MSU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and Kansas State (and you could probably throw Akron and Penn State in there as shaky performances). That's a full 6 games you can't question as being horrible performances.
Look, I really get the youth excuse. Everyone gets it. We don't need 10000 charts and posts explaining it because its common sense. But youth shouldn't translate to almost HALF the season (and possible almost two thirds if you include Akron and Penn State) being the utter bottom of the barrel for a unit. Youth explains a false start or a missed assignment here and there. It doesn't explain 2013. It didn't explain 2010. And because of that, the blame falls on the coaches and that means Brandon and Hoke should be looking to improve that area...and they aren't. So now we're stuck with an average OC who will get credit for the offense improving because it has to while Michigan always performs a game or two below expectations because he's not the 3rd best OC in the country even though he's paid like it.
My comment was snarky, for sure, bit doesn't twist anyone's argument. I am too lazy to search, but I read at least 10 times that, "we can't use the youth excuse anymore." That's what my snarky comment was about.
I do think Borges is an average OC. I thought Mike Debord was a below-average OC. Debord won an MNC. How? Because a football team is not just an offense. I like the direction of this team, and Borges and the offense is just part of it. I do not want another coaching change, I'd prefer not to have a new offensive shakeup.
I defend Borges a lot on here based less on his merits and more on the stupid criticisms. Yesterday, someone said Borges fails to get our receivers open. This is a stupid criticism. This is what I take umbrage to. Blame him for the running game, which is shit. But don't blame him for the passing game, which has produced wide open guys pretty regularly and was the only way we gained yards or scored points.
Small comment on Coach Rod: he was fired not only because his defenses were terrible but because he was stigmatized by the results of his first two years and the NCAA investigation. Not to mention a lot of power players simply hated him. Its not fair, but it happened.
Akron, UConn and to some extent PSU were on DG (half on Devin, half on Borges), you can't turn the football over like that and expect to beat ANYBODY. With all of that 2 of those games were wins and the third was a 33 yard FG away from becoming a win. Next bad performance was at MSU in which we were absolutely and totally outclassed, we had 0 chance in that game. Nebraska was 100% Borges there is no excuse on Earth for losing that game, that was coaching. He had too many of those games and probably deserved to be let go. NW lived in our back field which is on the gaurds and that is the youth coming in, I'll put 25% on Borges and 75% on youth and the opposite for Iowa. Thats 2 1/2 losses on the season I put solely on Al and 1 loss on the youth and inexperiece and 1/2 a loss to DG. Ohio isn't anybodys fault and the Bowl game looked like no one even wanted to play so ill put it on everybody. While I think Borges is mostly to blame for the losses, I think that youth played a bigger part in our overall ineptitude and less into our overall Win-Loss record. We should have been at least 8-4 if not 9-3 this year if we had better play calling. Bottom line is that we needed a change and we got one
"My main contention has always been that this line was going to be poor, and so creating a cohesive offense was going to be near impossible."
Please quantify "near impossible" objectively.
Please comment specifically on the fact that the number of teams in D1 football in similar situations who achieved the "near impossible" exceeds zero.
"Near impossible" is subjective, so I can't help you. I guess I'd say that there's a very high probability that this line would torpedo even Oregon and Auburn's offenses. This is a hunch, of course.
There was a diary on here comparing M's youth to other lines and only UCLAs compared. Their FEI was 11th, ours was 44th. I'd imagine that they are the outlier.
UCLA was the only comparable among successful teams. There were several teams with comparable age problems. Purdue had the most similar profile of all--fifth-years at the tackles, frosh and sophs in the interior. Wake Forest, Idaho, Cal were comparable, and all were tire fires. None of those are Michigan-level programs either, obviously. This doesn't ordinarily happen to good programs.
rational to exclude games where the offense was very productive and wallow in the worse parts of the season?
Because the worst parts of the season (UConn, MSU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Kansas State) take up almost half the season. And in those games we performed close to the worst - if not the worst - that any team did against those teams. Throw in further mishaps (Akron and Penn State), you're looking at 5 games where Michigan's offense met or exceeded expectations.
CMU: Did what they were supposed to do.
Notre Dame: Probably the best performance of the year.
Minnesota: Exceeded expectations in hindsight.
Indiana: Overrated and did what a talented offense like ours should do. The only reason we put up the numbers we did is because the defense had a bad game. Almost everyone smoked Indiana's defense for obscene numbers.
OSU: Exceeded really low expectations by a long ways, but like Minnesota, hindsight tells us a different story about Ohio State.
So you're looking at maybe 3-4 games where Michigan exceeded expectations in a 13 game season and 8 where they were below them.
I expect holding penalties, some mental lapses, false starts. I don't expect to see what I saw this year with the O-line.
With all the playing time, practice time, bowl practices this year, how is it possible that they weren't any better whatsoever in that bowl game?
While hardly stellar the line did seem to block better in the last two game than during the middle of the season. My expertise in assessing line play is pretty suspect, but do you think that saying they "weren't any better whatsoever" is accurate?
We can agree that they failed to make sufficient progress to turn the season around, but the notion that zero progress was made seems to ring false.
I also believe that the pass protection improved at the end of the season, run blocking did not, but pass protection did.
We improved over the course of the year, there has been player development over the course of not only this year but through out Hoke's tenure. I can't blame Funk for not doing much with the little he was given. While Taylor Lewan was recruited by RR, the majority of his time in AA was under Funk's tutelage, the same with Michael Schofield. That two NFL caliber tackles right there. Then you go to the interior and look at Patrick Omameh, who wasn't bad while he was here, he just could pull to save his life because he was so slow. He is on Tampa's active roster right now. That's three OL in the NFL. After that you have the C/LG combo from last year. Ricky Barnum was habitually injured during his time at Michigan and as a result, didn't get the work he probably should have, Elliot Mealer could pass block and snap and that's about it. It doesn't help that he was switched to center after years practicing guard because Barnum couldn't get the snap right, probably a result of missing practice due to injury. Center is not a position you just learn on the fly and Elliot Mealer probably didn't do a half bad job for never having played or practiced the position until just days before the Alabama game. Then you have this year's interior. Graham Glasgow I can all but guarantee has benefited from Funk's coaching. This is a walk-on with one year of High School football experience who has played his entire career under Funk and was developed into our best interior lineman who can play all 3 positions and was a solid contributer this year. He didn't walk in looking like he does now. Chris Bryant is about the same story as Barnum, always hurt, never practicinge and therefore can never get right. Jack Miller is undersized, not something Funk can control, and while I get the feeling he has a grasp on the position mentally, he needs near perfect technique to be effective and it's rare to see a RS SO with those kind of skills. I'm not going to blame Funk for not making a guy perfect. After that you get to the freshman who belong no where near the football field because freshman. While our offensive line has look awful at times, when Funk has been given a body that he can actually mold, he has done a good job in my opinion. The jury is still out on Funk but to me the signs show that he is a good coach. Over the course of the year I can tell you Kalis looked much better than he did against say Akron. Kalis needs to be at the very least our 2nd best lineman next year if we have any chance. Hopefully if Kugler can crack the center spot and be solid and move Graham back to LG and our tackles could just not suck on every snap then we might be able to move the ball on the ground and put together a semblance of an offense next year under Nussmeier. Anyway thats my two cents...
Great diary, great info, and well-packaged. There may be some attrition yet, but the fact is we're going to have an experienced, talented defense next year and an offense that is still young, but is at least experienced.
Hoke and his staff MUST achieve big things in 2014, or they will be looking Brandon's waving hand. Defense must be very good or great, and offense must be at least good. Time to find out if we have Dantonio or Chizik...
Holy shit, a Cursive reference? That takes me back.
The Ugly Organ is my all-time favorite album. I work it in whenever I can. I can't stand the Smiths.
My gf saw them do a secret show at Mac's Bar in Lansing some years back where they billed under the name Jazz Hessian. I'm jealous of that experience because Mac's a very small venue and doesn't normally pull acts of that caliber.
Link to the poster from the show if interested:
"Maybe figure a Terry Richardson or Chris Bryant or Jack Miller if they don't get on the field this year; every other junior has already played extensively and should again next year unless there's an injury or an early NFL departure among them, which doesn't seem very likely."
Speculating about players transferring is a big no-no on the board and now this gets posted on the front page? Names could easily be redacted and the message be the same. I'm disappointed.
He was using them as an example of a player who has been here a little while, hasn't seen too much playing time, and is being seemingly passed by younger players.
Like saying Wilton Speight's doesn't have Denard's mobility, but he isn't a Nivarre-type either.
I'm the guy who made that rule, and set the guidelines for its enforcement.
I felt in context it was fair. I'm not saying "hey these guys are leaving!" I'm pointing out that they're the only upcoming juniors who haven't yet cracked the depth chart.
What I strongly discourage on the board is speculation when discussing the scholarship crunch of who the coaches already know isn't coming back. The reason is because the players do read the blog, and I don't want--to use an obviously-not example--Devin Gardner coming on here and reading that MGoBloggers want him to transfer to Cincinnati so Michigan can grab O'Connor from Penn State.
In the context of an article that's basically saying attrition=bad, it's a given that nobody's calling for a current player to give up his scholarship; in fact it's just the opposite.
I sincerely appreciate the criticism, though. No harm in bringing it up; I hope you accept my reasoning.
I understand what you are saying, however I would simply disagree.
My epinion: very little benefit in listing the names, and on a first casual glance it would seem to be against that rule.
Saying "a Jr who hasn't seen the field yet (and there aren't many) could transfer" would acomplish the same thing.
I do agree that it is completely different then looking at it from a scholarship crunch perspective/ I did not even come close to thinking you were saying they should leave.
But a slight disclaimer/explanation like you offer here couldn't hurt next time numbers like this come up. It's good of you to read the comments and respond to critism as well. I really liked the graphical representation, shows how young a team we really still are.
is describing the situation that might cause someone to leave without naming names.
It would also be nice if the NCAA allowed practice squad only scholarships for scholarship players who may find themselves buried, but want to continue to contribute and earn their degree.
Come on Seth, lead by example man! :-)
You're absolutely correct. If that had been posted by a non-insider they would be ripped to pieces.