Field rush update.
OSU last year, via the Blade
Got a number of emails detailing Michigan's field rush activities:
In response to your question, here are the only three I recall since the 1997 OSU game.
2003 OSU game (100th game)
2011 OSU game
2012 MSU game
But here's one that probably doesn't get remembered:
After the 2008 Wisconsin game, about 5-7 students attempted to rush the field and a few were lucky enough to out-juke the security and run around midfield. One was not: he got body slammed by a police officer right in front of the student section, which is probably the only thing that quelled a massive on-rush of students.
I have somehow forgotten the 2003 field rush entirely despite being in the student section for it. Conclusion: I must not have joined it. If you're more than a couple dozen rows up, which I probably was, rushing the field is an exercise in walking around, looking at other people walking around looking at people since no one's even going "WOO" anymore.
So that confirms the 2012 MSU rush: lamest, only non-OSU field rush in 20 years. I get it, I guess, but if they were going to do it at least they did it in the appropriate fashion by half-assing it and taking about 10 minutes for anyone to get down, then trickling out seemingly one by one because half of the students didn't care to bother. That's the right kind of MSU field rush.
What is next years QB looking like? I thought someone said Gardner would move back to QB in the spring and start in the fall. Is that the case or is Morris going to play in the spring and start in the fall or just show up in the fall and start?
I can't see Morris showing up in the fall and starting.
Gardner just about has to move back to QB as soon as the season's over. Morris won't be enrolling early—his high school does not allow it—and Michigan's not going into spring practice carrying one scholarship QB.
Also, there's an excellent chance Gardner ends up being Michigan's best option there. Morris will be a true freshman, one coming off a senior season partially lost to mono. Bellomy has the look of a game manager type (early, yeah, okay). Gardner's the best bet to MAKE PLAYS with his legs, and he'll have as much experience practicing at QB as Bellomy even with this year that's lost to WR.
Meta photobomb. I still have not seen one of these in the wild, but they exist.
[AFTER THE JUMP: game theory, Toledo style, TE play action on the goal line, some guy with a weird idea that Chip Kelly is going to do someday.]
Nerdy game theory bit.
As I was watching my Alma Mater run its record to 5-1 against ranked teams in the Glass Bowl last night, an interesting situation presented itself very late in the game. Unfortunately, I don't have any friends nerdy enough to discuss this with in person, so I'm forced to call upon my favorite tastefully-named-internet-game-theory-junkie to either confirm my mad rantings, or tell me I'm an idiot.
Toledo led 26-23 with 50 seconds left in the game, and faced fourth-and-goal from the Cincinnati 3 yard line. As they lined up to kick the field goal, I thought to myself "I'd go for it here." Obviously, a Rocket touchdown would ice it, with the downside of opening up an additional avenue of victory for the Bearcats if you don't make the end zone (drive, field goal, win in overtime). But, I think that even if you can't convert, the field position is such a huge advantage for your defense that going for it is the correct answer. It would be different if the Field Goal put you up 7 or 8, but in last night's situation, a Touchdown beats you either way.
What say you? Would you also display the testicular fortitude necessary to buck conventional wisdom in that situation, or did I take down a few too many Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ales in the aftermath of Brunette Girls, Part II?
Brian in Charlottesville
YEAH LET'S DO IT.
My seat of the pants take is that it's probably a push. Being up six with something like 45 seconds left is pretty good. Being up three with 45 seconds left and the ball on the opponent's three is pretty good, and being up ten is 100%. The difference in win probability there is between 96 and 98 percent, I'd bet.
I think I'd go for it since reasonable field goal range starts at the 25-30 yard line and you're gaining 22-24 yards in field position even if you fail.
KICK. Opponent needs to go 75 yards to win, assuming touchback.
GO FOR IT, FAIL. Opponent needs to go 65-ish yards for a shot at a tie, 97 to win. BONUS: you may not fail.
Sounds like going for it is the pick. One thing I've always felt is that there's less value in extending a field goal lead with another field goal than you'd think. You're turning, say, fourth and one from the ten into an obvious go-for-it situation instead of a situation on which every coach in America would kick despite the fact that this would be a massive opportunity if presented to them in overtime. Coaches will make conservative decisions if they can possibly be justified, and being up six removes the possibility your opponent will do something suboptimal. Late up three I'm not kicking unless the situation turns into a third and lots.
My thinking here is influenced a great deal by Kirk Ferentz nutting up as soon as he'd gotten into field goal range in the 2005 Iowa game. At that point I was actually glad Michigan was up three instead of four, because Iowa had the advantage on offense all day and was willing to toss away the knife at Michigan's throat to play OT. (That game also influenced my thinking on Ferentz as a hopeless puntosaur, which he still is… at all times he is not playing Michigan, grrr.)
Hmmm, what does that Advanced NFL stats calculator say…
…wow. It says punting or missing the field goal is a better move than actually kicking it. It may not be in this situation because college rules are friendlier to frenetic last-second comebacks because the clock stops when you get a first down and secondaries are composed of things other than hardened assassins, but that's pretty stark.
Denard on kickoff.
Not sure if this has been talked about much, but did you notice Denard in the return team to start the 2nd half? He was lined up on the right side of the field in the 2nd line opposite Norfleet. Throwback? Reverse? Hopefully something we will see against Nebraska next week. This might have been our version of the fake punt if the kick hadn't gone through the endzone.
This was not a hallucination, as Brady Hoke addressed what the dickens was going on with that business. He was out there to "maybe return a kick or something." Wild guess: ostentatious fake reverse now that everyone has gone "ooooh."
Just a quick question. I love watching football, but in all honestly don't know too much about the technical stuff. I watch it for pure entertainment. Why is it, that that play State ran to score their touchdown (pass to the TE Lang) always seems to work? I've seen the play (or some similar variation) run many times over the years in college and the pros and it usually seems to succeed. Why is the TE so open? Is it the speed of the play? The proximity to the endzone? Aren't commentators usually saying how much easier it is for the defense the closer they get to the endzone because there's less field to cover? Who's suppose to cover that guy?
Obviously, I know it doesn't always work. It's probably that phenomenon where you think you always look at the clock at 11:11 but in reality you've looked at the clock numerous times before that but don't register it because 11:11 is a unique number. And there's probably some statistic or mathematical curvature that pinpoints where the defense is at its most and least vulnerable in terms of field position. But darn it if that play doesn't seem to be highly successful.
Confirmation bias is what you're looking for there, and that is a possibility. But the little flip to the tight end off play action is pretty effective yes; it's more effective when you're running it on first down, as MSU did, instead of second.
The fundamental problem for the defense is that they're trying to not give up a yard or two, which is really hard. It generally requires flinging your body into the guy who is blocking you with great force so that he stops moving or goes backwards, which means you need to run at him, and ideally avoid him, and when he goes WOOP and avoids you you get a big question mark over your head and he's generally an extremely open guy. In this specific case it was probably Desmond Morgan who got blown by, but once the offense gets down to the two the defense is either selling out on the run or not and hoping to get lucky. Michigan did not get lucky.
So: the speed of the play and the proximity of the endzone, yes. The linebacker is making a run or pass decision at great speed, generally biased towards run on first down.
With the shift towards faster offenses (and I suppose this question is somewhat relevant to D as well), is it possible for a team to roll with essentially two lineups? Particularly in large gain and hurry up situations where instead of having the entire lineup run 30-40 yards down the field, have a backup lineup (maybe at least the o-line) ready to run out on the field as soon as the whistle is blown? Is such a thing feasible and any more effective than your typical no-huddle offense?
Class of 2004
Um… if Chip Kelly hasn't tried this, probably not. You wouldn't be saving much distance by having guys in the center of the field run off it and vice versa, and how many teams of any variety have a solid two-deep of OL to just flip around? I am guessing the answer is nobody.
Generally, the starters are so much better than the backups—especially in college when the backups are often freshmen—that such a crazy switching scheme is not feasible. Skill position players, sure, but those get interchanged all the time anyway.
But even if he hasn't, Chip Kelly will definitely try this at some point.