easy solution: give denard eligibility forever.
A Pit At The Bottom Of The World
Any theories as to why Michigan has been so mediocre/terrible except for Denard? Is it conservative play-calling? Running pro-style offenses?
Denard was ridiculously good at football?
Is there a possibility that you have a regression to the mean (or in this case a drift upward)? I recongize it is linear but scheme makes a difference, experience makes a difference, and running the ball in particular in the middle makes a difference. I guess same personnel is more likely to head to the mean than a personnel change but if you can regress downward aggressively or progress upward (changing from 19 to 70 or 83 to 2) then you would think that a 30 point upward drift would be feasible especially with a scheme change?
I think most of these stats rely on a consistency of variables and therefore on a population basis may have a definable end point. But statistics fail many times because though they normalize for populations, they don't factor variable changes in individual cohorts. I feel that the same can be said here. It also explains our defensive line (that and how experienced they were but again there you have a variablity in the cohort - Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen being older and wiser).
I would argue that it wasn't Denard that was responsible for that peak -- it was Molk. And, by extension, the previous coaching staff, with their ability to get linemen to meet or exceed their expectations.
I'm just... just about over my gif phase...
It can only get better then right?!?
"Barry, pay attention. Barry!! Goddammit, you gambling degenerate!"
Started reading and got to "offensive line." I just couldn't read any further.
Call me an optimist, but I have to think that next year may be a rising tide raises all ships type of situation. Yes, the line will be young, but perhaps it will be slightly better because most of those guys at least saw some field. And unlike I'm guessing most of the teams on that list, they were highly-regarded at some point or another. That's a situation unlike virtually every other team in that area save Florida at 102nd. So UM isn't going to roll out a bunch of upperclassmen, but at least these younger guys have the skills and potential to make that leap to competent, whereas if you are Tulane I'm not sure what is going to change for you year-to-year.
And maybe the Arizona jump is illustrative. Sure, Nuss isn't going to open this team up to a spread attack, but what RR's first year showed is that you can get better results with a change in philosophy even if the talent remains about the same. Maybe instead of slamming one's head into the line dozens of times, there will be enough flexibility with the offensive playcalling that some of the misdirection and "opportunity yards" you see with a different offensive system. I'm not expecting a massive jump, but net them 16-ish yards and you are MSU, which (sigh) would be a nice flow next year.
As bad as the season was, and as bad as these stats are, let's not forget how close we were to 11 wins. If Nuss' can improve these stats in a meaningful--even if it's not spectacular--way, then we could easily finish the season with 10 or 11 wins.
I don't think we'll be in the top 20 next year, but I think top 75 is realistic.
Nothing - NOTHING! - seemed to work. We couldn't run, our defense seemed to be OK, though not great, Devin was an interception machine for large portions of the year, the coaches were terrified of Devin being an interception machine for (different) large portions of the year and therefore limited Devin, Devin got hurt and couldn't run as well after MSU ...
It goes on, and on, and on. Yet, still, we were 11 points from 11 wins. I ... just ... how???? Other than Gardner, Funchess, Gallon, and a reasonable defense, what kept this team from "Wolverine-quest"?
I'm not saying we had a good year or that we were close to greatness. I'm saying that a respectable improvement could get us double-digit wins.
1 goal line stand away from losing to Akron
1 D Morgan INT away from losing to UConn.
9 points from a 5-7 record and no bowl game.
I'm generally a glass half-full kinda guy, but last season was a tire fire and no amount of mental gymnastics (other than simple, depressing math) gets me to see us as an 11 win team that just came up 11 points short at the wrong moments.
I think the 11 points from 11 wins thing, while factual, is silly. Saying Michigan was 9 points away from going 5-7 and missing a bowl is just as factual and I could argue was more representative of the season.
EDIT: Going to that two hour meeting before hitting save really makes this comment look stupid now that the other posts have...posted.
I just picture Brian pouring over these records while blasting Meat is Murder over the loudspeakers over and over while embracing a life-sized cutout of Hoke and saying "it's not your fault" like Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting.
A statistical analysis of total failure.
Let's be clear: you cannot sugarcoat the disaster that has been Michigan's OL. It is not acceptable to say that the line is inexperienced, particularly since it was also pretty bad in 2012 with experienced guys in place. It is not acceptable to say that they are "building."
Incompetence on this level should NEVER occur at a program of this caliber.
That Hoke made the establishment of a tough, run-first identity a cornerstone of what he would do as Michigan coach only makes the failure worse. RR produced an awful defense, but at least nobody expected it to be his calling card; Hoke's entire philosophy is built around winning the trenches, and they cannot.
I'm glad Nuss is on board. I actually think they can make great leaps this year, since I believe the failure is almost entirely on the backs of the coaches (not just, or even mostly, Borges, but the change is nonetheless crucial).
But another year of this, with a lousy record, should be grounds for firing.
Frankly, unless things turn around, Michigan is looking at a second decade of mediocrity.
2 reasons. Our raw talent across the lines is too good to be mediocre in 2015. Assuming the powers that be allow Hoke to stay the course we are likely only a year away. You say we can't say we're building, but how else do you describe it? As stated ad nauseum it's a bunch of RS FR and SO and a former walk-on. The up-side of all these guys playing so young is, with luck, their excellence in 2016 going forward. None of us are that patient, but 2015 and 2016 will come and it is a bright future.
Also, I'm thinking Nibali has a chance to push Froome this year.
Look at Texas the last few years.
I hope you're right. Through all this optimism I still see potential gloom and doom. Us losing two of our most experienced linemen coupled with the fact that two potential starters will be missing spring practice because of shoulder surgery is not ideal.
is it possible that lewan and schofield weren't nearly as good at run blocking as we though. we all seem to believe that it was 2 good tackles and total mush in the middle. what if, as applies to the run, it was total mush in the middle surrouned by two ok run blocking tackles?
Lewan basically murdered people on run plays. On pass plays, the guy lined up on him tried about 25% of the time. As much as we like to make fun of NFL scouts, they know what they're talking about regarding offensive linemen. Lewan was an elite player for several years.
The actual physical strength of this team is currently lackiing.
RR's offense was not a complete failure. His offense was #6 in FEI +/- so it was excellent but the defense held them back because they don't get the ball much due to opposing offense holding onto the ball for a long period of time.
Check this out: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fplus2010
RR's record has improved from 3 wins to 5 wins to 7 wins which is a progression. Hoke went from 11 wins to 8 wins to 7 wins which is a regression.
Unfortunately, I have very little faith in this coaching staff anymore. The complete lack of development, well, pretty much anywhere except the DL is concerning. The fact that Funk was not even considered to be part of the problem (judging from Hoke's comments that any offensive staff changes when Nuss came aboard were not an option), is also scary. I just really really hope Borges was the offensive GERG.
Objectively, where have we "lacked development" anywhere besides the OL? Replace the 2013 OL with the 2011 OL and I think that we win 10 games in 2013. The rest of the team was competent to pretty darn good. The OL just overshadowed everything. We had a dangerous QB/WR combo that didnt always show through because of the OL. Our defense was pretty good until asked to stop drive after drive on short fields. If the OL last year is even average, Michigan is a top 15ish team in all likelihood.
Replace the 2013 OL with the 2011 OL...and you still get a sub-par offense. The 2011 OL couldn't do crap with the MANBALL type running game Borges wanted. It was only until after the MSU game, well really the Iowa game, that they went spread, and the cracked 100 yards. Fitz had 333 yard across the first 7 games; then post MSU he got the rest. Hell, post Iowa he averaged 150 in the half assed spread until VT destroyed said half-assed spread. So I don't think the 2011 OL would have helped unless Borges would have changed his entire offensive philosophy around (which he wouldn't).
As for the rest of the team...ok, that is probably a bit of an overreaction on my part, but I still think it's somewhat true. The corners, while not bad, are still inconsistant despite, Taylor in his 3rd year starting, Countess in his second, and showing a ton of promise his freshman year (ACL tear big caveat). Furman still couldn't do anything at safety, the coaches seemed to not have a ton of confidence in either Gordon or Wilson, despite Wilson getting significan playing time last year, and Gordon being the most experienced defender on the field. Yes, safety is hard to play, and I don't think either were bad...but man, neither were apparently good enough to get aggresive in coverage. And the coaches clearly wanted Dymonte Thomas to play a significant role this year, and he couldn't see the field. None of the young corners difinitvely seized their opportunities during the season either.
Boldon plays like he's still in high school (despite also being an early enrollee), and neither he nor Ross can play pass coverage well. Morgan has exceeded expectations, but he's just athletically limited to being elite. The coaches have done a wonderful job with Ryan and also Cam Gordon to be fair.
The TE's still can't block anything. The RBs can't pick up blitzes, nor have we seen an RB actually develop in front of our eyes under Jackson in a long time. The WR's have been good in my opinion.
And to top it all off, the QBs have shown consistent regression under the staff (well specifically Borges).
So yeah, I think there are concenrs about development all around the team. Yes, the sample size is small, it's only year three (even Narduzzi had a terrible D in year three) and it's still an incredibly young team, but it's definately something I'm concerned about going forward.
List of opening-day starters who did not show improvement last season from September to January:
- Devin Gardner
- Fitzgerald Toussaint
- Drew Dileo
- Devin Funchess
- Taylor Lewan
- Michael Schofield
- Kyle Kalis
- Jack Miller
- Keith Heitzman
- Quentin Washington
- JIbreel Black
- James Ross
- Desmond Morgan
- Blake Countess
- Raymon Taylor
- Thomas Gordon
- Jarrod Wilson
I probably could've thrown Graham Glasgow (18), Frank Clark (19), Cameron Gordon (20), and Jeremy Gallon (21) on there, too, but I wanted to be fair. Jehu Chesson (22) seemed to get a little better as the season went on, though, I guess.
Disagree on any of these?
That was just off the top of my head. Would you argue that any of those guys got better over the course of the season?
he wasn't doing loop-de-loops in the backfield and throwing picks into his own endzone anymore.
Lewan and Schofield had already maxed their potential pretty much, so it would be hard for them to improve.
The others...pretty much stagnated. Especially the people on defense. I expected the secondary to be much better and they were pretty bad. I expected more from Thomas Gordon especially; huge dropoff from Kovacs. Quinton Washington -- I don't even know what happened to that guy, he just didn't play at the end of the season. The CBs weren't fantastic, maybe they had little faith in their safties and played tentative. People are rightfully harping on the offense, but it wasn't a banner year on defense, either.
Hoke had to publicly support Funk if he intended to keep him. That does not mean that he has not privately told Funk to get it right of get out.
We don't have the players in the position that takes the longest to develop players. A coaching change isn't going to make that fact one iota better.
UM had a bunch of upperclassmen and 5th year seniors in 2012. A lot of us, including me, thought that starting OL was good. It was so terrible that we were all saying "well it can't get any worse" about 2013. Even in 2011 with a Rimington winner at center the offense couldn't do crap on the ground (until they ditched the 'pro-style' late in the season), unless it was Denard being magical. This goes well beyond youth. I fully put Borges on exacerbating the issues to the worst they could be, but I have to put this on Funk as well. Where is the player development?
In 2011 both Denard AND Fitz broke 1000 yards, so there's that. 2012, in hindsight had all the makings for a bad OL, I'm kinda surprised people didn't see it coming. We didn't have a solidified starter line up until the first week, so no chemistry. Yes, they were all upper classmen, but Barnum and Mealer weren't exactly proven all stars. Neither had played much except in back up roles. Add in Schofield making a position change back to tackle and it wasn't pretty. This year was a wholesale change on the inside. Where's the player development? Well we didn't exactly have too many guys that had much time and opportunity to develop yet on the inside. It's been a revovling door for 3 years.
At the risk of brownnosing, I believe Brian specifically cited his position change heuristic with respect to the Mealer/Barnum switcheroo the week before the season opener as reason to believe the interior line was going to be a major concern.
I don't think it took hindsight to see that one coming.
And in the preseason podcast before the position switch, Brian also said he thought the starting 5 was going to flat out good. The main concern was that if anyone got a 'hangnail', as Brian put it, then it was doom.
What could we have seen coming in 2012? The entire offseason up until game week the coaches were running with a certain OL. And then the switch it because it wasn't working. How does that not fall in the lack if development category? Besides, Barnum was supposed to be at center, which was supposedly his natural position. And Schofield was switching to his natural position from a quite productive year at guard (of which saw the non-Denard running game actually work after Schofield entered and UM went more spready). If anything Schofield is probably one of the few feathers the coaching staff can put in their cap as far as OL development. I just fail to see how 'the OL configuration that we've been working on doesn't work' is NOT a player development issue. And then they didn't even get better as the season went on. But, this is just my opinion land there's still time for the staff to come through. I'm certainly hoping for the best.
Their inability to determine who the best OL players are and then put them on the field together to promote cohesion has led to avoidable failure.
My sandwich just wasn't as tasty as it should be reading through that pile of misery.
I vote that Borges was the "offensive GERG-ru" of complete blocking incompetence and Nussmeier pulls a Mattison out of his hat. I am sure the blocking innovation known as "tackle over" is dead, right?
Yeah, that's the ticket!
1) Kalis was likely more injured than was publicly known last season and we may see a significant improvement.
2) The entire line will be young, but not Freshman-young. We may expect to see greater individual improvement jumps than we would expect from 4th or 5th year guys like the recently departing seniors.
3) Nussmeier's zone blocking system may be better adapted to the size and strength we've been recruiting and may cover for some of our technical weakness.
4) Of all these guys we've recruited, it strikes me as at least reasonable to assume that we have a young All America or two who may play well above his class designation. LTT? Kugler?
5) There are always the general prayers from the MGoBlog community - be they to God, gods, or Jobu.
i'll have what he's ^^^ having.
I think a big part of the problem in 2013 was the lineup shifting, not to mention the tackle-over crap. Starting Miller, trying Bryant, going with Bosch late in the season, these were coaching decisions that were akin to building a wood deck without measuring anything. The thing gets built eventually, but it takes longer and costs more to get there.
You said it. How can anyone think for a moment that Borges' "coaching malpractice" wasn't at least Gerg-equal?
The biggest thing I will watch for this upcoming season is how often these guys get beat. There were so many times when individuals on the O line just flat out got manhandled and blown back something like 4 yards.
I'm hoping another year of a college level strength and conditioning program can help increase the physicality of the line.
I will say that one good thing about Nuss is that he's an inside zone guy, and Funk is a zone guy as well (from what I've read here). Comments from other players about Nuss is that they rep the inside zone over and over again until they can so it in their sleep. For a young line, picking a philosophy the whole staff is in line with, repping it into oblivion, and sticking with it is probably the best thing that can happen for the young line.
That Michigan's OL would probably suck in 2013, despite having two experienced and good tackles. That guy is normally way wrong, but this time he got it.
So I get why FIU's OL played like crap, but Michigan with several bluechip players in the lineup had fewer excuses to play that bad.
Now Michigan loses that critical tackle experience and goes back to an OL of proverbial infants, I guess.
This is the part where it doesn't matter so much, and nothing in the world makes sense anymore after Michigan finishes 9-3 in 2014, 9-4 after bowl game. Improved play overall from the year prior, but still pretty freaking far from championship level.
Also, Greg Mattison turns 65 this November. Does he coach into his 70s at UM? Who is his prodigy/replacement?
phil steele is normally right.
Having 2 NFL OTs on the line and still producing these results is more of an idictment of coaching than anything regarding talent.