those stupid predictions in a heartbeat.
I'm far less sanguine about the offense, but I, too, am hopeful of a slow transition to Manball, filled with plenty of zone blocking, shotgun, and OH NOES!
Borges has been talking about lots of wide receivers and lots of shotgun since people started him asking the obvious question of the offseason. This has not kept people from asking him "yeah, but how much?" The only thing Borges could have done to get people to cease and desist is present a signed contract guaranteeing a certain number of shotgun snaps and QB Draw Oh Noes.
He didn't quite do that in his interview with the BTN crew when they hit up Ann Arbor, but he came closer than he ever had before:
Point blank: Denard "is the priority." (Readers wishing to contrast with Rich Rodriguez are asked to focus on his obsession with a poorly-run 3-3-5, not his inability to squeeze maximum production out of the ragtag 2008 offense.)
The spring game disputes this version of reality:
They kept running the waggle and Denard could not get anything out of it. There was a guy in his face the whole time; the resulting throws were frequently incomplete due to inaccuracy. In the video above when Hoke references a couple of "drops" the best examples the BTN can dig up are Drew Dileo almost making a spectacular one-handed stab and Darryl Stonum almost making a spectacular sideline lay-out.
Maybe in a tackle football game he can escape that contain guy on the regular, but that seems like a high variance strategy with limited upside. Option 1: beats corner guy, is on corner, has shot at running some probably not immense distance or hitting a crossing route of some variety. Option 2: second and 20. There's a reason the waggle is strictly an occasional changeup—whenever you've got the ball and are spending time with your back to the defense there's a chance something awful is going to happen, like John Navarre getting blown up in that one MSU game.
But after the game Borges said Denard would run more "in the real world" and that's a long time ago now and every indication we've had since is that the offense isn't going to be a whole lot different than it was last year.
ONE: it suggests that Al Borges is awesome. His career has hinted from this as it rambled from scrambling Forcier-a-like Cade McNown to brutal play-action annihilation with Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, and Jason Campbell to a flexible multi-formation West Coast attack featuring Ryan Lindley in any formation you care to name. Now he's got the squarest peg he's ever run across and he's busily shaving his offense to match.
TWO: This is the way to go, especially now. In the NFL, shotgun formations are more efficient:
Shotgun formations are generally more efficient than formations with the quarterback under center.
Over the past three seasons, offenses have averaged 5.9 yards per play from Shotgun, but just 5.1 yards per play with the quarterback under center. This wide split exists even if you analyze the data to try to weed out biases like teams using Shotgun more often on third-and-long, or against prevent defenses in the fourth quarter. Shotgun offense is more efficient if you only look at the first half, on every down, and even if you only look at running back carries rather than passes and scrambles.
In college, running quarterbacks have a real advantage that the Mathlete stumbled across while trying to figure something else out:
In Denard's specific case the threat of a run from him is the reason he could surge to 20th in passer efficiency (Chad Henne 2006: 26th) one year after being totally incompetent.
Al Borges is going to do his damndest to keep Denard productive, upright, and beaming.
It is going to hurt somewhat. Pretty much the only thing Rodriguez was consistently awesome at was introducing wrinkles in the run game that consistently produced. Remember that dreamlike first half against Penn State in 2008 when Brandon Minor emerged from nowhere and raged his way down PSU's throat? Rodriguez was fantastic at that stuff.
It petered out in his first two years because he had nothing to go to—no constraints—when the defense started cheating on him. With Robinson the wrinkles not only to the run game but to the defense-crippling QB Draw Oh Noes resulted in either points or plays where the points were there for the taking if only the players could have executed. Maybe the fundamentals were lacking. I tend to think of these things as youth and bloody fate. Either way you could see the outline of something great and tentacled in Michigan's fumbling missteps and blown opportunities. Rodriguez's offense was gorgeous in how it gave defenses awful choices.
Al Borges can do that. In his first year at Auburn, Jason Campbell averaged 10 YPA. Ten! That is a great many yards per attempt.
I'm not sure he can do that with Denard. He'll give Denard a more sophisticated offense that he won't execute as well as Borges needs him to; he'll use Denard's legs but not quite as effectively as Rodriguez would have. These guys are good because they've spent a lot of time specializing in ways that make them successful. There is a necessary lack of efficiency once they get outside their comfort zones.
I think so. Injuries laid up Shaw and Toussaint last year; both are apparently healthy. It's also possible that Vincent Smith will be closer to his late freshman form now that he's almost two years removed from his ACL tear. Add in a sophomore Hopkins and a couple freshmen and there are a lot more bullets in the chamber than there were last year, when Michigan was down to Smith and a fumble-prone Hopkins most of the season.
Without a similar plague of injuries, whoever emerges from those six guys is going to be better than the one who emerged from two. That's still going to hold true even when the grim reaper scythes one of Shaw or Toussaint down in the Big Ten opener. (Don't even think this isn't happening.) Getting production out of the tailback is key. If they can do that they can approximate last year's offense without putting undue pressure on Denard's bones.
In the passing game the #1 candidate to turn incompletions and short gains into longer ones is Junior Hemingway. He averaged 18.5 yards a catch last year and showed signs of being a guy you can just chuck it to because he'll come down with it. A fully healthy, senior Hemingway is a potential breakout performer.
Las year's offensive line was a B+. They didn't get an A because of a zillion Taylor Lewan penalties and mediocre play at right tackle. The interior line was very good. This year everyone is back save Steve Schilling and Perry Dorrestein. Dorrestein was a replacement level starter and Schilling has a touted, capable backup entering his redshirt junior year. Four starters return.
If this is not a great offensive line it will be because of a mismatch between what they were recruited to do and what they've been asked to do. Of late there has been a surge in OL skepticism from the premium practice reports on the message boards; I interpret this as a bunch of power being run not very effectively by a crew that should be running primarily zone.
If "this" is old-school MANBALL running, the answer is no. If it's a hybrid between last year and MANBALL, they'll get by. If they're making people cheat on the zone they will kill.
Michigan will backslide. But let's set the point from which they will backslide: I believe the advanced metrics. Michigan's field position was terrible, field goals were terrible, turnovers were terrible, and so forth and so on. We would have gotten a better picture of this offense if the field position they gained was honored either by the special teams or the defense. What happened last year was a lot of excellent play marred by turnovers from a true sophomore first-year starter with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
If Michigan did not have the #2 offense in the country last year, they weren't far off. What we had going last year was both explosive on the ground (5.6 YPC exceeded Carr's best effort this decade by almost a yard and a half) and in the air:
Last season, his first as a full-time starter in former coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense, Robinson had 16 runs that covered at least 20 yards and seven that exceeded 30 yards. He had at least one 20-yard gain in nine of the Wolverines' 13 games last season. He scored touchdowns on runs of 87, 72, 47, 32 and 32 yards. He also had 12 pass completions of more than 40 yards. That's more than Stanford's Andrew Luck.
Criticisms about Michigan's inability to score points against elite defenses mostly boil down to inopportune turnovers and bad defense. In games against Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State, Michigan averaged nearly 440 yards. Because of the defense, special teams, and Denard's high turnover rate they didn't turn those yards into enough points—and they still scored 28 or more in three of those games. The bowl game was the only real clunker.
It was for real and it returns everyone save Steve Schilling, Martell Webb, and Darryl Stonum. Those three guys have upperclass replacements that should do just fine. The main issues with maintaining last year's level of productivity are:
#2 is the biggest problem. The most efficient version of the offense is also the one most likely to get Denard knocked
up out. They'll move away from that when they can, which will mean a hit. This is some version of #4: not screwing it up. I don't think they will. We will get some symbolic MANBALL—the first play against WMU is probably going to be power out of the I-form that goes for three yards—to please the Great Tradition and then Borges will get down to the business of being a coordinator instead of Mike DeBord.
Let's hit shift and comma!
Michigan 2010 finishes atop the rush YPC chart above without considering the UMass game and by a considerable margin.
Gardner ends up burning his redshirt in very, very frustrating fashion, because…
Check-ish. Michigan is trying to un-burn that redshirt.
Denard is pretty much your starting quarterback all year, but…
…Forcier plays in every game, bailing Michigan out in one critical fourth quarter.
Not quite every game but lots of them. Forcier did bail Michigan out against Illinois and came damn near doing so against Iowa.
Vincent Smith gets the most touches amongst the running backs. Second: Shaw. Third: Toussaint. Fourth: Hopkins.
Pretty close. Toussaint's injuries knocked him out.
Robinson is Michigan's leading rusher.
All too easy.
Darryl Stonum does not exactly go Chris Henry on the planet but does greatly increase production via a series of big plays: 30 catches, 650 yards, 6 touchdowns.
Stonum did see his production increase to 633 yards but it took him 49 catches to get there. The Chris Henry lite of the offense was Junior Hemingway, who had 593 yards on 32 catches.
Michigan breaks out the triple option with regularity, using Hopkins as the dive back and Shaw/Smith the pitch guy. They also dig out those WVU formations where the slot motions into the backfield, with Grady the man beneficiary.
those stupid predictions in a heartbeat.
I'm far less sanguine about the offense, but I, too, am hopeful of a slow transition to Manball, filled with plenty of zone blocking, shotgun, and OH NOES!
Wow. So you've come around re Borges? Early on, after he was hired, you suggested that he was a meh, journeyman-type OC. So this seems like a surprising turnabout -- in a good way.
We're about 23 hours from kickoff.
I'm calling it. 14-0, National Title. Heisman, Everything.
He is as advertised: a veteran, pro-style, pass-first West Coast disciple. But there's a reason he's that veteran, namely that he's a whip-smart, clever, above-all solid offensive coordinator.
Here's the link to the article, dated January 19th.
I missed that one. But he also wrote this, in the conclusion section of his "Al Borges File":
"Borges looks like just a guy by the numbers, and he's just a guy who seems like the worst possible fit with Denard."
about the fit between the schemes Borges preferred and Michigan's current personnel. The more Borges makes noises about being flexible, keeping spread elements, moving Denard outside the pocket, the more comfortable Brian seems to be with the offense this year.
If all of your predictions come true on both sides of the ball, we'll probably go 11-2 with a loss in the B10 title game.
Your prediction for the season later this PM will be interesting. I'm still betting on 8-4, but these last 2 posts make he think we can get to 9-3 and really content for a spot in the title game.
With the 15th scoring offense and the 50th total defense, we should have a hell of a season. I think Brian's predictions are reasonable but I think our scoring offense will go down, not up.
I agree his predictions would suggest 10-2 regular season. Of course, even that might not get us into the Big 10 championship if both losses came to teams in our division.
This concept keeps re-appearing on the blog. Some can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is exactly as relevant to an event as that event is random. Football is not very random, so regression to the mean is not very applicable to a prediction of Michigan's offensive production.
I don't think football is all that random, at least not at the college level. (The NFL, with its hard salary cap, is a different animal.) If someone were to ask you to name 10 of the top 20 teams over the next ten years, you could probably do it easily - heck ,you could probably name 15 of them. Occasionally you will get the outlier season like Texas's 5-7 year last year (or that one year Indiana went to a bowl), but you can generally assume which teams will be good, which teams will be mediocre, and which teams will be bad.
Likewise, I don't think it was some random fluke that we committed a lot of turnovers the last three seasons. We had young QBs, young punt returners, called some running plays (e.g. zone read option) that probably have a heightened chance of a fumble, and had QBs who had trouble with decision-making and/or pinpoint accuracy. You could have looked at our roster and overall scheme and predicted a crappy turnover margin. (And it perhaps shouldn't have been surprising that our red-zone offense wasn't very efficient last year. The fundamental advantage of a spread offense - that it creates more room for the skilled players to operate in - is reduced in the redzone. The open receivers Denard had at midfield became covered inside the 20, forcing him to thread the needle, which he couldn't always do.)
With respect to these statistics, though, there are a lot more opportunities for randomness. For example, much of an offense's output will depend on the particular game situations it faces (score, field position, confidence in its own defense, effectiveness of the kicking game, etc.), and there will be fluctuations facing an offense from year to year that have nothing to do with the quality of that offense.
That's why I wasn't that confident in what I was saying. It says the following:
Consider a simple example: a class of students takes a 100-item true/false test on a subject. Suppose that all students choose randomly on all questions. Then, each student’s score would be a realization of one of a set of independent and identically distributed random variables, with a mean of 50. Naturally, some students will score substantially above 50 and some substantially below 50 just by chance. If one takes only the top scoring 10% of the students and gives them a second test on which they again choose randomly on all items, the mean score would again be expected to be close to 50. Thus the mean of these students would “regress” all the way back to the mean of all students who took the original test. No matter what a student scores on the original test, the best prediction of his score on the second test is 50. """ "
This is very much unlike a football game, where the stronger, faster opponent wins out over the weaker, slower one most every time. Top-tier football teams rarely lose to lower-tier teams (I realize that we could argue about what "top-tier" and "lower-tier" mean, but just work with me on this). In contrast, top-tier baseball teams lose a number of games each year to lower-tier teams. A given baseball game has much more luck involved than does a given football game.
We're talking about offensive statistics. Brian's talking about regression toward the mean in terms of Michigan's offensive performance using advanced metrics.
So, if you look at the top 10 offenses in 2009 (using S&P+) and their 2010 ranks:
1. Cincinnati > #22
2. VA Tech > #12
3. Arkansas > #6
4. GA Tech > #48
5. Florida > #41
6. TCU > #14
7. Alabama > #3
8. Stanford > #2
9. Florida State > #8
10. Oregon > #24
The major difference between Brian's use of the phrase and what I understand to be its normal use is that things change A LOT in college football from year to year. Players graduate, players get kicked off the team, players improve, coaches shuffle around, etc. As I understand it, regression to the mean refers to a repeated experiment where nothing major changes.
Regression to the mean is basically in an experiment that repeats itself with no changes of variables (outside of luck) that subsequent runs of the experiment will have values that approach towards the mean. This is because luck is the determining factor of the value when everything else is held present and the average of luck over an experiment's lifetime is 0.
I don't think Brian is going with the full Statistical definition here because so much changes in football, but I think he is trying to extract the base of the definition in that we probably will have a slight loss of overall offense as last year could be viewed as an outlier. At least that is what I think he is going for.
Brian makes reference to these factors:
I understand 2-5. Obviously a team's health, field position, and execution (screwing up or not screwing up) will greatly affect its offensive production. Regression to the mean strikes me as not like 2-5 given that football isn't very random, i.e., given that the ability of Team X to move the ball on Team Y (or stop team Y, or return a kick against Team Y, etc.) doesn't have much to do with chance...Maybe I'm just confused by the order in which he put those factors.
I presume that by "Regression to the mean" he means that the offense is unlikely to rack up as many yards in 2011 because the 2010 numbers were so gaudy.
My only guess as to what he is going for in that, since regression to the mean involves luck, is that in plays where we did extremely well due to a lucky break those might not happen again. I think he basically means the Michigan Hating Gods will erase some of that luck thus setting back the offensive numbers somewhat.
Otherwise I am just as confused to because its a term that is all about luck's influence when other factors are held constant which in football is impossible.
using baseball as an example is Austin Jackson and his BABIP of over .390 last year. This year, he has regressed to .326.
I struggle with the repeated use of this term also. The strict definition references the inherent variablity of repeats of trials or experiments. The wiggle room betwixt your data points. So in a sense, his use is correct.
I think common understanding of the term gives the idea that it means "Michigan was lucky/unlucky and will not be so lucky/unlucky next time." Sometimes, this is exactly what I think Brain means as with TO margin and red zone efficiency which he views as greatly variable and difficult to predict from past performance. This is based on Football Outsiders data that there is little correlation from year to year in these stats. I do not agree with his belief, with regards to college football, but I think that's what he means.
Other times, it appears to me regressing to the mean means "Michigan was good at this last season and therefore will not be as good this season." I do not think there is any reason that Michigans offense cannot be better this season. Good teams do not always 'regress to the mean' sometimes they get better.
If we are talking FEI, then I think everyone agrees it is likely that Michigans FEI number from last season was inflated over what they 'deserved' and therefore Michigans FEI will regress. First of all, because there's not much room for improvement from #2. Second, does anyone think that Michigan had the #2 offense in the country last season? As an estimation, I'd put the number more in the teens.
This term is a bit of a pet peave for me because its lack of clarity.
I think that example in Wikipedia isn't a particularly good one because it focuses on an experiment that is based entirely on luck. Here's another example:
Regression toward the mean is frequently present in sports performance. A good example is provided by Schall and Smith (2000) who analyzed many aspects of baseball statistics including the batting averages of players in 1998. They chose the 10 players with the highest batting averages (BAs) in 1998 and checked to see how well they did in 1999. According to what would be expected based on regression toward the mean, these players should, on average, have lower batting averages in 1999 than they did in 1998. As can be seen in Table 1, 7/10 of the players had lower batting averages in 1999 than they did in 1998. Moreover, those who had higher averages in 1999 were only slightly higher whereas those who were lower were much lower. The average decrease from 1998 to 1999 was 33 points.
This is exactly right.
There is, judging by historical data, about a 90 percent chance that this year's leading home run hitter in MLB, whomever that turns out to be, will hit fewer home runs in 2012. This is true of just about any major statistical category. This is not because the leading home run hitter gets worse (or gets injured) 90 percent of the time, it is true because of the statistical phenomenon known as "regression towards the mean." If there were no such phenomenon, you would expect the league leader to get better 50 percent of the time, not 10 percent. Just the same, a 10-2 college football team is much more likely to go 9-3 the next year than they are to go 11-1.
Let's hear more.
I whole-heartedly disagee.
Tomorrow can't get here quickly enough.
I have a feeling that Koger's production will increase more than this. Partly, that's having a coach/OC who probably tend to use TEs more than the previous staff. Partly, that's because one way to reduce Denard's turnovers is to encourage him to make safer throws, which often is easier with a good tight end. Finally, and I'm reaching beyond what I know with this, but I suspect that a TE can be a major weapon for a Denard-led offense, because once Denard slips out of the pocket, it seems like many of the same guys who become responsible for hunting down a scrambling QB are the ones responsible for keeping one eye on the TE. Also, Koger's good.
Generally, I like the predictions. One (probably unavoidable) problem with these predictions is that we know who was banged up last year but don't know who will be banged up this year. A couple of returning players probably will get knocked from "Better" to "Push" or "Worse" just because Player X in Year t <= Injured Player X in Year t+1. We just don't know who that will be.
agree completely with this. i think koger comes up with between 40-50 catches.
Re: predictions, the elephant in the room is Denard's health. How many of our 12 regular-season games will he be healthy enough to finish? Let's hope it's all 12.
I think there should be a couple things that can help us in this favor:
1) I am sure the coaches have told him that running out of bounds/sliding to avoid tackles is perfectly fine.
2) Hopefully if the running backs can have a slightly better bill of health then they should see the ball more thus lessening the burden on his shoulders.
3) Denard seems really deadly in the broken down play and I have a feeling he will be told he can run if a play breaks down (which can lead to running out of bounds/sliding). I feel that the designed QB run straight ahead into a pile and get murdered plays will be called fewer and most of his carries will come on broken passing plays.
If all of those come together hopefully Denard can stay healthly all 12 games. However those should help him out slightly in some way on their own.
I don't think it is a question of being told to slide, per se. I'm pretty sure Rich Rod and crew told him the same thing but he wouldn't when given the opportunity. Hopefully a year of maturity and the understanding he holds our offense in his hands will mean he gets OOB or slides more frequently.
#2 is the key. He need to trust his RB's and actually hand off on occasion.
Denard did last year. After one or two games in the Big Ten, opposing teams told their d'ends to stay at home and force Denard to hand off, which he did. Most of Denard's running plays in the second half of the year were designed runs for Denard. They weren't zone reads where Denard keep the ball.
and I'm an atheist. That being said, I think the best backup we have on the entire team is Gardner. He isn't Denard, but I think he is pretty good. If Denard goes down, I think he will be able to run the show if we can get production out of our running backs, which I think we can.
Is we've probably got 8 days before we can make any real assessment of the offense anyway. Because if they can handoff 40 times, and dink and dunk WMU all day long and win by more than a couple of towndowns while avoiding having Denard get hit even once, I'm sure they'd be good with that. And then save the wear and tear and show what they really plan on doing vs. the Irish.
everyone wants manball but I bet we get beige-ball and vanilla-ball on saturday
borges does everything on saturday making Notre Dame practice and prepare for 50 different formations and a quadruple reverse out of a fumble-a-rooskie
Borges won't reveal his whole playbook, because even though it would be more for ND to prepare for, it eliminates all elements of surprise. I am sure we might see glimpses of what could occur during the ND game, but every single option, especially trick plays, will remain secret.
I could see borges running a I-Form Iso play from double tight end / 2 wide / 3 wide
just to hint at ND at we could do
Also, throw in a couple of end arounds
That they have no intention to use against ND, just to make them practice it.
"The most efficient version of the offense is also the one most likely to get Denard knocked up."
Does anyone else wonder how playing football will make Denard pregnant? Is there some other meaning to "MANBALL" of which I'm unaware?
Boy, I do love that "It's a Trap" picture, does anyone know where I can get the full size version of it? :)
I would also add Gardner < Forcier, who went into last season with far more experience than Gardner has now. Hopefully this will not matter much.
Forcier had much more game experience but he also had much less upside and an equal amount of time in college. I think sophomore Devin, if given a game or two to aclimate himself, would be greater than or equal to sophomore Forcier. But like you said, I'd rather not find out, except in garbage time.
It would be fantastic if everyone expected the first play to be power and it was instead QB OH NOES! for a TD. I hope that play is in our repertoire forever.
"I gotta tell ya Jim, this Gorgeous Borges is for real. He comes out in the 9th, and really puts it to the Hawkeyes. Just when you think he's done for the night, he gets up off the canvas and brings it like no body's business. It just goes to show you that Hoke's really got the kid motivated. I think Michigan's back and is a contender in the division."
a prediction of what is to come, I believe they are tailoring their offense around Denard's skills.