That's a great fro
Hokepoints: The Mid-Season Snarkening (Offense)
It's almost mid-season, so it's time to check in on the Draft-o-Snark teams and see how this whole Big Ten(nnnnnnnN!) thing is shaping up so far. Spoiler: euh.
Who we drafted:
The sacks have been removed, and I've combined the rushing and passing totals.
*Heiko took Martinez as a running back, and Braxton Miller was turned into a fullback when he drafted Danny O'Brien. Andrew Maxwell was a backup option chosen in lieu of having a punter. Gray and Colter were taken strictly as wide receivers.
Who's winning: Heiko's running back, followed by Heiko's fullback. He is better off with either of those guys than his designated passer Danny O'Brien, who lost his job to Joel Stave (stah-VAY) after Week 2. The competition matters, but Taylor Martinez has been the conference's best quarterback so far, and Braxton Miller holds a strong second.
Denard looks really good in most stats but already has 8(!) interceptions. He's faced the hardest schedule so far (Alabama and Notre Dame) though nobody else threw 4 picks against Notre Dame, and guys like Miller have already faced MSU's DBs. Also Michigan has had a bye week, while most of the competition has played 6 games, so some of his totals are not quite comparable.
Of Brian's two guys, Scheelhaase has been barely productive. Weirdly he hasn't rushed much, just 160 yards on 34 carries for 4.7 YPC with sacks removed. So much for the new coach being a perfect fit. If you don't believe me when I say Denard's interceptions haven't all been that bad, watch a few of Scheelhaase's. His O-line isn't doing him any favors, FWIW. Maxwell has been a bit better than his worse-than-Vandenberg stats might tell you; those stats have been suppressed by awful receiver play, though he's sent his share and some to Tacopants and Nachoshorts as his offensive line deteriorated. I'm all this is Threet if Threet was in the right offense for his abilities.
Vandenberg isn't helping the Ace cause very much, failing to throw a touchdown the first three weeks against not-good secondaries; Iowa currently ranks 95th in pass offense nationally and last in the Big Ten. He had a decent game last week against the toughest defensive backfield he's faced yet, unfortunately that was Minnesota's.
Guy we should have drafted (?): Nobody, really. Joel Stave's YPA will come down when a 62-yard screen to James White isn't 1/10th of his yardage, but he's still been impressive since taking over for O'Brien. That pass which ended with (Illini CB) Terry Hawthorne in the hospital was floated directly into the palms of his tight end along the sideline, in stride, and between two defensive backs. OTOH he has had the new-guy struggles.
QB Standings: 1. Heiko, 2. Seth, 3. Brian, 4. Ace. Should I penalize Heiko for turning the best two QBs in the conference (thus far) into RBs?
[Bad receivers, terrible offensive linemen, and an exclusive, dramatic reenactment of AIRBHG being foiled by Jewish Vin Diesel, after THE JUMP]
|Quarterbacks (sacks removed):|
Who's winning: Well it depends if you like a few flashy carries at 9 yards a pop, or a dude who plods along at 4.5 but seldom breaks it long.
When I drafted this Heisman hopeful Brian called him boring. Rex Burkhead sends his gracious regards, and asks that you not consider it too quarrelsome of him to dispute your assertion, entering as evidence 50+ yard runs in three of the four games he's been in. QED. Burkhead was injured three plays into Nebraska's first game, and missed the next two. If we're not counting that against him, he's been the best in the league. Four games into the season he had just 11 carries…for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. That came down to a human 4.8 ypc against Wisconsin and then leapt to 8.5 against Ohio State, including a 73-yarder. The high totals in his stead by speedster Ameer Abdullah (514 yards, 7 TDs, 6 YPC), and Braylon Heard (208 yards, 2 TDs, 6.93 YPC) speak to Nebraska's system doing a lot of the work. If he stays healthy that system looks to push him ahead of the keyed-on Bell.
When Michigan State has an offense, it's gone through Le'Veon Bell. Carries: 171. Touchdowns: 7. Receiving: 23 catches for 132 yards. Fools hurdled: three.
He had 44 carries for 210 yards against Boise State, and 36 carries for 253 yards against Eastern Michigan. However Indiana kept him to just 3.3 YPC (121 yards on 37 carries), Ohio State limited him to 45 yards on 17 carries, and ND and CMU both managed to keep him around 4.0 on less than 20 carries. Bell is already nearing his 2011 touches (182 carries) but that YPC is down 0.7 with the tougher part of the schedule coming up. Without Cousins and a bunch of NFL receivers to take the pressure off, Bell is having a tougher go of it. Toussaint too has seen defenses keying on him, and the result has been a 3.2 YPC on just 53 carries. The sum effect has been to severely depress what should have been Brian's runaway best backfield's numbers to pedestrian or worse.
Montee Ball and James White haven't had the same escort service they rode to ridiculous numbers last year, though Ball—who missed part of a game with an apparent concussion—is still an automated touchdown vendor if placed within 2 yards of the goal line.
Guy(s) we should have drafted: Mark Weisman, who has thus far managed to convince AIRBHG he's just another walk-on fullback and not something Hephaestus fashioned out of spare Coker parts and Vin Diesel DNA. He's averaging almost 7 yards per carry and over 100 yards per game. Then again Iowa's so far faced the 30th, 51st, 89th, and 114th rush defenses and an FCS school; we'll see if he can keep trucking against the anti-tank missiles of Michigan State (rush D: 10th ). Northwestern's Venric Mark has been averaging over 5 YPC against slightly harder competition.
RB Standings: 1. Heiko (pick whichever QB isn't the QB), 2. Seth, 3. Brian, 4. Ace.
Receivers & Tight Ends:
Who we drafted:
Who's winning: Big Ten cornerbacks. Upshot:
Heiko's Mad Millen dash for WRs (11th, 19th, and 22nd overall picks) at the start of the draft has yielded little from Prater and nothing from Arnett, but he was right in calling the practice chatter of Garnder-to-WR more than chatter. Gardner's currently 18th in Big Ten receiving yards though missed chances could have doubled that output. The saving grace of his receiver core came with the late pickup of Dion Sims. The fourth TE taken leads the group with 313 yards and 4 TDs, however the big dude was hurt last week and it didn't look like the sort of thing he'll be back from right away.
The best receiving group we could pull together barely cracks 180 yards per game. That's because it has Jared Abbrederis on it. Brian also managed to pull in 2nd in tight ends with 172 yards on 15 catches by Fiedorowicz. Add that to little better than Jeremy Gallon production from Martin-Manley. He's getting nothing from injured, quarterbacking MarQueis Gray, but you wonder how good his receivers would look if Vandenberg could throw this year.
If you're sensing a theme with Nebraska players, that continues at my golden sophomore Kenny Bell, who's 3rd in the conference with 463 yards plus 4 TDs, and a ridiculous 23 ypc. Never doubt a fro. Kofi Hughes missed time and Cody Latimer seems to now be Indiana's top target instead. Gallon and Roundtree have been worked into Michigan's offense effectively, but Gardner and Funchess are taking away their targets. Pedersen has been yet another casualty of the Wisconsin offense getting moldy.
Ace took a gamble that Ohio State would have a receiver when it learned to pass again, and Devin Smith has been a nice piece of deep production. Keenan Davis has been a disappointment—no TDs, 11.9 YPC—though he's still on track for Avant-ian numbers. Northwestern did indeed use Kain Colter as an athlete but his effectiveness has been less than Gallon's.
Guys we should have drafted: Allen Robinson of Penn State. We avoided all PSU receivers because they all fled, but the sophomore has been putting up better numbers than even Abbrederis as McGloin's preferred target—524 yards, 41 receptions, 7 TDs. Cody Latimer of Indiana and Ryan Lankford of Illinois are 4th and 5th on the conference receiving charts with 363 and 362 yards respectively. Lankford has 5 TDs, though neither is all that scary. Really the great receivers so far have been Robinson, Abbrederis and Bell, and dipping much further gets you into the dink and dunk Purdue targets, which you know all about.
WR Standings: 1. Brian, 2/3 tie. Ace & Seth, … 4. The Detroit Lions 2001-'08
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Who we drafted:
Number in parentheses is overall draft position:
(15) - WIS
(5) - MICH
(86) - NW
(17) - MICH
(47) - NEB
|Chris McDonald (44) - MSU||Patrick Omameh
(67) - MICH
(56) - MICH
|C||Travis Frederick (42) - WIS||Matt Stankiewitch
(76) - PSU
|Brandon Vitabile (91) - NW||James Ferentz
(64) - IOWA
(71) - NW
(85) - WIS
(70) - MSU
(49) - ILL
|RT||Rob Havenstein (87) - WIS||Jack Mewhort
(45) - OSU
|(Steinkuhler both ways)||Jeremiah Sirles (88) – NEB|
Who's winning: When we drafted I thought Brian had built the left-heavy Michigan 2007 line, while Ace swept up by putting the best two spread guards between three Badger towers. I settled for purely spread-tastic dudes and two Wolverines I figured would be leaping up the UFR charts. And then…?
And then Wisconsin's offensive line was so bad they fired the offensive line coach, and MSU linemen began breaking in descending order of importance. Those left with Red and Green pieces on the board are now sticking most of their respective wads in the bank (or the middle if you like me never read the rules of Monopoly). The casualty list:
Ricky Wagner was supposed to be the next sure NFL road-grader, but he struggled mightily against the blitz vs. Oregon State. Havenstein, who's fighting a foot injury, has waffled between okay (vs. Illinois) and 2008 Michigan (vs. Nebraska). Travis Frederick doesn't look like the problem on film, though he's the guy taking public responsibility. His thing is a stiff neck. Those three were the less likely fail points, so if the problem is indeed the guards Ace is off the hook. Spencer Long has been hands-down the best guard in the conference this year, joining with my guy to account for much of Nebraska's offensive success. Brian Mulroe has been a Spencer Long lite for Northwestern.
Fortunately nobody drafted Matthias, Wisconsin's left guard who sat on the bench because he was a worse option than a 2-star sophomore playing on one leg. Bielema's ire seems more directed at Ryan Groy, who is stinkin' up Brian's place. Jack Mewhort hasn't been the turnstile I said he'd be, though neither is he OSU's best offensive lineman. I don't know what to do with Matt Stankiewitch, who owned Illinois and is getting hyped, but I've watched a few of their games and I keep seeing McGloin running away from some guy who stunted past Stanky. Chris McDonald has been good on pulls—only times I ever saw him get straight-beat this year was by OSU's Hankins, which is understandable.
Heiko didn't draft a right tackle, but maybe his four dudes can do the work of five? Ward: pass blocking has been not so good. Fonoti: wasn't good even before he was injured. Omameh: improvement. Vitable: solid center.
As for me, the Sirles pick is turning out to be as genius as I gave myself credit for about three times already—pick a Husker highlight reel, watch Sirles, and you'll see why Martinez and the backs seem to be running through so much space. The Pocic pick is not; he's been banged up and sat out last week. At least when he comes back they'll be moving him to OT, where he should have been all along. If that goes as NFL scouts expect, there's some upside for my line (Schofield can play guard). James Ferentz is the bright spot of Iowa's o-line (one of the reasons a walk-on fullback is getting big yardage), I'm happy with that one. Barnum and Schofield have both been okay but disappointing thus far.
Who we should have drafted: Elliott Mealer (!!!) Reid Fragel for Ohio State has either been pretty good or really good depending on how much you value completely shutting down Gholston. Marcus Hall, their right guard, has been pretty good as well. I thought about other Husker O-linemen but there's a reason Ohio State had four sacks last week—they are even more thin than Michigan out there. Walk-on Seung Hoon Choi, their other guard, is kind of an Omameh—great downfield blocking, got perpetually caved by Johnathan Hankins. Lot of that going around. I bet I get to do the defense soon…
OL Standings: 1.) Brian, [sizeable drop], 2.) Ace, 3.) Seth, 4.) Heiko
|1. Brian||2. Seth||3. Heiko||4. Ace|