I look forward to Wolverine Devotee posting his acceptance letter to the advisory council.
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
The big one. With Braxton Miller out for the year, Ohio State needs a new quarterback. It looks like it is going to be JT Barrett, a well-regarded but not elite recruit out of Texas. His OC talked about him when he was declared the #2 recently:
"Gets the ball out quickly. Very efficient. Smooth release. Very accurate. Extremely cerebral. Very magnetic leader. I think the kids kind of gravitate towards him."
"We've got to work on strengthening his arm. He's a distant third to Braxton and Cardale in terms of just rearing back and trying to throw it through a wall. But he makes up for it in his anticipation and his accuracy and all that. You don't have to have a howitzer to be successful in college football. I'm very pleased with his continuing growth."
He has sort of won the job by default, though. OSU has had surprising issues recruiting QBs. Cardale "I ain't come to play SCHOOL" Jones and middling true freshman Stephen Collier are OSU's other options.
Shaky QB play has not prevented OSU from beating Michigan lots in the recent past, unfortunately, and Meyer runs a system that's pretty forgiving to young guys because big chunks of it are "you: run".
Frank Clark profiled. Clark's background is highly improbable:
Frank Clark can't provide a last known address in Los Angeles. He and [his mother] Teneka, along with his two older siblings, were nomadic. They rambled around town, sleeping in a shelter one night, in a random friend’s house another night. Teneka had drug problems, Frank explains, and this was the fallout.
“I’d walk for hours with my mother, wondering where we were going next, what we were going to do next,” Clark said.
He was handed a plane ticket in 2003 and deposited with relatives in Cleveland, whereupon he grew large and went to Glenville:
“Frank wanted to do everything except what I wanted him to do,” Ginn said.
Ginn wanted Clark to play defensive end and the two locked horns.
“So I fought with Frank from his sophomore year to his senior year,” Ginn said. “In his senior year, he finally decided to listen.”
That is the flip side to Csont'e York. Clark had issues even at Michigan, stealing a laptop and getting a year of probation after being put in a diversionary program, but has come through them and stands on the verge of a Michigan degree and an NFL career. That is how you want it to work when you draw the NCAA up.
Making it work. The NFL has gone from dismissing Chip Kelly to imitating him, says Chris Brown at Grantland, and interestingly for Michigan fans he specifically cites a number of tackle over formations the Eagles went with a year ago as part of Kelly's success:
Why is this a component of Kelly's offensive genius and Borges's failure? Tempo. The Eagles run a high-paced no huddle system that only allows the defense to substitute when they do. The defense is under constant pressure to recognize and adjust to new formations on the fly. In this and another example the end result of going tackle over is confusion and blown assignments because of the pressure Philly's tempo puts on the opponents. Brown's key insight:
This breakdown occurred not because Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers doesn’t know how to match up against an unbalanced set. (He does. I think.) It happened because, against Kelly’s offense, it doesn’t matter what the other coaches know. The 11 defenders on the field need to be able to identify the unbalanced set and call the right adjustments, on the fly, at a super-fast tempo, while worrying about 50 other things.
When you go at Borges tempo, you get a different result:
4 DTs and an SDE with PSU's best player (Jones) lined up over your tackle over. Penn State did this only three or four times in that game but that they were able to do it at all is a condemnation; meanwhile there was absolutely no way that PSU was going to blow an assignment when Michigan was barely getting the play off before the clock expired.
High tempo takes defensive coordinators out of the game and puts the responsibilities they generally have on the players on the field—a big advantage at the NFL level and and even bigger one in college.
Meanwhile you hear dinosaur coach types talk about how the spread makes your defense soft, but you never hear them talk about how living at walking pace makes your defense unprepared to face teams like Indiana.
All of the shirts all of the shirts. Jared Shanker takes a look at how many kids redshirt at last year's conference champions, and comes back with the startling news that over the last three years all of seven MSU recruits have played as freshman—12%. Alabama and FSU are at 45%, with Oklahoma and Oregon at 33 and 35%, respectively. Other powers are closer to the FSU/Bama numbers than anything else, with only South Carolina coming anywhere near MSU—they play only a quarter of their freshmen.
A lot of this has to do with recruiting rankings. FSU and Bama tend to get freshmen who are physically ready to compete right away, and Bama in particular tends to toss guys out the door if they're not panning out. MSU has limited access* to high-level players and is trying to get the most out of each one. They've done so successfully.
What about Michigan? I went back and checked:
Michigan's numbers are skewed by the disastrous 2010 and sort of disastrous 2011 recruiting classes, but seriously about a third of those burned redshirts the last couple years were questionable at best: Dymonte Thomas, Da'Mario Jones, Csont'e York, Ben Gedeon, and Taco Charlton contributed little in 2013; Joe Bolden, Amara Darboh, Sione Houma, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Terry Richardson did little in 2012.
How much of that is down to recruiting promises is unknown, but it just seems silly not to give yourself a fifth year option. Hopefully Michigan can start upping their redshirt percentage now that they have stabilized the roster.
*[This is changing somewhat this year, but for the period covered in this study it was certainly true.]
They had a competition, and now they don't. Utah names Travis Wilson its starting QB. Wilson had a rocky 2013, throwing 16 interceptions to 16 touchdowns and losing his job after a 6 for 21 performance against Arizona State. He did have a nice YPA for the year (7.7), but he also threw a Demetrius Brown-like six interceptions in a 34-27 loss to UCLA. Woof.
Wilson beat out Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson, FWIW, so maybe he's improved.
I can't do better. Get The Picture nails the headline on this quote:
The NCAA has reached the point on unfavorable legal rulings that retiring University System of Maryland chancellor William Kirwan, co-chair of the reform-minded Knight Commission, said he now views Congress as “our last, best hope for getting anything right with intercollegiate athletics.”
Oh god the tedious Knight Commission, constantly seeking ways to divert the surplus of revenue athletes to the academic side of colleges, go away.
Etc.: Michigan's student advisory council rejection letter ain't come to play school either. Here's to hope, says the Hoover Street Rag. High school QBs now planning to graduate in three years so they can transfer without penalty if it doesn't work out at school #1. MSU loses OG Connor Kruse for a significant period of time, one that probably does not eliminate him from the M game.
Michigan crushes another Italian team.
I look forward to Wolverine Devotee posting his acceptance letter to the advisory council.
Apparently, WD does not go to Michigan. This came as a shock to me.
...but...but...isn't that only because fall classes haven't started yet?
Yes I asked him if he was going to be one of the 300 students on the field for the scrimmage and he said he was not a student.
Wow. That makes his devotion all the more impressive.
Does anyone know if Peppers is coached that way to have his back to the ball? Maybe it's the camera angle, but he looks to have pretty good position on the route. It also appears that if he turned around, he might have a good chance to use his athleticism and possibly intercept it.
I have noticed the last number of years that we have had DBs in position to make a play on the ball but their backs are turned. Does anyone who is a coach/more knowledgeable on DB play have any insight to this?
There are different techniques a DB can use on a fade like this.
One, obviously, is to turn to locate the ball. The advantage is that if the DB locates it, he can make a play on it. The disadvantage is that until he locates the ball, the DB will - for a brief moment - have no idea where either the ball or the receiver are, and if the ball isn't heading to where he expects, the DB will be out of position and will have to recover. I believe Mattison teaches DBs to do this if they're running step-for-step with the receiver, so that they have time to recover.
The other primary technique is for the DB to keep his eyes locked on the receiver, and when the receiver reaches up for the ball, swat or punch at his hands. I think that's what Mattison teaches DBs to do if they're a step or two behind the receiver, like Peppers is here, because if they take the time to turn and look they might fall even further behind. If executed properly, it makes it really difficult to catch the ball.
Generally, the DB should only turn and look for the ball if he is step for step with the WR and/or can use the sideline as a defender. Otherwise, you're asking to get juked if you take your eyes off the receiver. Also, if you're chasing down the receiver, you can run a lot faster with your head forward, and it's better to close the gap (trail technique).
Peppers is in good position here, but he's clearly in trail technique in that he's catching up (closing speed is a nice thing to have). Ideally, he's supposed to read the WR's hands and eyes and get his hands up, which he does. A great play would be to spin around at the last possible second, but that's asking a lot. Really this play is more about Funchess being 6'5" and the ball being thrown in the perfect spot than anything Peppers did wrong. Fades are pretty much drawn up that way... you take advantage of the arc of the ball and the height of your receiver to put the throw in a spot only your guy can get to.
The one thing I'd add is that DBs are taught to "lean & locate." If the DB doesn't lean toward the body of the WR, the ball over the outside shoulder of the WR or back shoulder fades are completed. The DB must lean and locate simultaneously.
In 2011, the team debuted the SHORYUKEN pass defense. Mattison appears to stress that staying in the receiver's shirt, faceguarding, and swatting at the hands are of more importance than going for the INT.
Also, if you think Peppers had any chance to defend that fade, you're fooling yourself. The execution was pretty much perfect. Some plays, when done correctly, are virtually indefensible.
Nuss will tempo the offense into competence this fall, hopefully.
And Michigan needs to take from the MSU school of player development...some kids are just good enough to leap after 3 years, but the payoff will be having a lot of solid, developed players with no weaknesses in their game
deferred gratification The ideological principle which encourages individuals and groups to postpone immediate consumption or pleasure in order to work, train, invest, or gain in some other way an enhanced return at a future date.
To me it's basically why some people (like my late Father) would always save 25% of his paycheck no matter what and thus had a signficant net worth in his later years while others (like me ex-wife) believed that if you had $100 that only meant you could borrow $1,000 right now.
Coaching is no different IMO. You can have a little bit now (like a blocked punt against CMU) or a lot later.
The counter point is the "hot seat" part of our fanbase. It's not Hoke that wants instant gratification, it's the fans. His predecessor decided to come in and install his system right away without regard for short term success and it did him in long before he could really realize the long term gains from that approach. I don't blame Hoke for playing freshman if he thought it would help. Burning redshirts is a huge, blind guess proposition based on flimsy data with plenty of chances to look stupid in hindsight.
The fact of the matter is that if you want to be a big boy in the recruiting game, you have to be willing to play kids early. If you want to be a heavy redshirting program like Northwestern, you are not going to attract top prospects. Recruits pay very close attention to this. In fact, they will ask recruiters point blank whether they will play as freshmen during the wooing process. Coaches really can't have it both ways in this day and age.
The thing about Meyer's offense is it usually relies on one or two elite (read: freak) athletes who workhorse the vast majority of the offense on their shoulders. It has been this way for the majority of his career. At Florida when it wasn't Tim Tebow it was Percy Harvin and at osu it has been primarily Miller and Hyde. I'm not saying they're going to suck but the offense seems to take a step back from elite when they don't have the workhorses.
"High tempo takes defensive coordinators out of the game and puts the responsibilities they generally have on the players on the field—a big advantage at the NFL level and and even bigger one in college."
would be nice to have a package and run this against staee
No not really, I remember an interview with AJ McCarron saying that they practice at a very high tempo, BUT they don't show it during games. It is just to prepare the team and get the most reps in practice. Of course as a result they will be able to go high tempo in a two minute drill and they will be prepared for it.
So, no. Nuss will practice them at a high tempo at all times, but in a game he will manage the clock. This will also mean the team should be really well conditioned and the defense should be ready for any high tempo type teams.
Expect to see an Alabama offense approach, with some of his old stuff from his Washington days mixed in. He will use Devin kinda like Keith Price and Locker.
There was a good post from I forget who that basically said that Nussmeier is a real person, with his own way of doing things... not just a blank canvas for us to project our hopes and dreams on because he's not Al Borges. I think a lot of people are going to be really disappointed, irratiaonally so, when we actually get into games and we find out that he isn't in fact going to run the offense of our dreams, whatever they might be.
I think he'll be better attuned to our team's strengths, probably better attuned to defense's weaknesses than Borges was. But, he's still going to run 2TE sets, he's still going to call plays in the huddle, he's still going to run the back into a wall of people every once in a while. He's not going to run a Indiana/Chip Kelly style offense, we might as well get used to that now.
I'm Ok with 2 TE sets because we need extra blockers and extra gaps for the other team to defend
I don't mind a huddle per se, but they shouldn't use up the clock in the huddle like they did under Borges. Getting to the line more quickly can work wonders in reading the defense and limiting defensive substitutions even if you run down the play clock once you get there.
Nussmeier talked a lot about tempo. He doesn't believe that up tempo (like Indiana) is necessarily the key to success. He pointed out that if you look at the fastest teams in the country, sure there are some top teams on that list, but there are also some bottom teams as well. That being said, it did sound like he wanted to go faster than last year and definitely avoid delay of game issues as well as other offensive penalties.
Word is, he reps high and plays slow.
It's always easier to take a high pace and slow it down than speed up a slow pace. As a result Michigan's two-minute drills were a disaster under Borges, and the defense couldn't prep for high tempo. I predict this season's in-game offense will be a "measured" tempo that lines up with plenty of time to adjust without going Indiana's breakneck pace. But that extra gear will be there when they need it -- or as a changeup if Nuss catches the defense in a lull for an easy five yards.
Okay, but Space Coyote's 7.3 trillion words and 68,000 diagrams said that it should work. See those Xs? They counter those Os as long as the Xs follow that squiggly line. Then that X runs through with the Triangle and you get 7 yards. The only way it doesn't work is if that X does a dotted line instead of a squiggly line and that is of course player error. So tempo doesn't matter.
Actually, that's not what SC said at all, but if you wanna be a dick, go ahead
Maybe mLive would be a better place for you if you don't want to get into the nitty gritty, X's and O's.
Prepare for a really long answer (almost 2000 words, maybe this should be a diary; that didn't go over well last time either), because I'm going to talk actual football after a brief interlude because I want everyone to understand the advantages and disadvantes of implementing tempo into your offense so that, going forward, people understand why everyone, including Michigan, doesn't just run an up-tempo offense.
It's unsurprising that you would you would not only make unsolicited insults directed at me, but that you would also include strawman logic and completely misrepresent or fabricate anything I've ever said. It's been almost a year since you started doing this, and it's been allowed to simply slide, which, alright. But at this point it's clear, after repeatedly doing this, that you're either a troll or an idiot. I say that not because you have a different opinion on matters, but because you continue to insult me out of thin air, make up things I've never said, misrepresent things I've said even after I've replied to you directly with clarification, and used strawman logic.
Advantages of Tempo
There are certainly advantages to tempo, I don't think anyone, even the slowest of plodding defensive coaches, deny that. The thing is that implementing tempo takes away from implementing or working on other things, so there is a necessary tradeoff that must occur, which I'll get to momentarily.
1. Fast tempo forces the defense to maintain its personnel grouping. In the case of the PSU vs Michigan picture above, if Michigan was able to use the personnel grouping they had on the field in a way that they felt exploited PSU for having 4 DTs on the field, then they could potentially run a quick tempo and force them to stay in that personnel grouping.
2. Fast tempo forces defenses to limit their playbook because the communication is such that they can’t always allow for more complex calls.
3. Fast tempo at times causes problems with defensive communication because they are making a call and checks simultaneously; the biggest affect here is by far in the defensive backfield, as they are forced to make more checks based on the formation of those split out wide.
4. Differentiating tempo allows you to control the pace of the game and how you want to play it: if you’re defense is tired, you can slow down; if their defense is tired, you can speed it up.
5. Getting to the line of scrimmage faster allows you to assess the defense and make appropriate checks based on that assessment; the drawback, if the ball isn’t snapped immediately, it allows the defense to do the same, potentially leading to more confusion for the offense.
Disadvantages of Tempo
In a vacuum, there are no real disadvantages to implementing tempo. As I said, all coaches will admit that tempo in and of itself has benefits. This disadvantage comes from the fact the implementing tempo takes away from other aspects of your team.
1. There is a difference, and Nuss would agree with this, on practices with tempo and practicing tempo. Michigan, under Nussmeier, is practicing with tempo. My guess is they are also practicing tempo to some limited degree, which I can get to later, but for the most part that are practicing with tempo. But it takes actual practice on tempo to be like Indiana, Oregon, or Chip Kelly’s Eagles. That’s because there are requirements of it that force other concessions (more about in a second) to line up correctly and quickly, to transition from one play to the next, to adequately get play calls into the team, etc. This is actually harder at the college level than at the NFL level, as communication must mostly be done non-verbally (no earphone in the QB’s helmet).
2. Other concessions are made to work on tempo, usually requiring simplification in other aspects of the game. For WRs, often times that means a more limited route structure, and also often times means playing only one single receiver position. Gallon could play X, Y, Z, W in Michigan’s offense. In Meyer’s offense you are an X, or you are a Z, or you are an H, and that is it. In Meyer’s offense it’s simplified route structures, concepts, and reads, in other offenses it isn’t. With the benefit of tempo you get the drawbacks in other areas, with the benefit for other areas, you are forced to drawback in other places, perhaps tempo is one of those things.
3. It limits face-to-face interaction with players when they make mistakes, both in practice and in games (communication in the huddle as well as on the sideline). This can be mitigated by good depth (you can rotate guys out without losing a lot), but becomes harder without it. You make up for it by talking about it later, often in film room, which often doesn’t then connect as quickly with players and takes away from another aspect (some of time spend with the self-scouting aspects).
Finding the Balance
The key to this whole thing is defining what you are and the proper balance of what you want to work on. West Viriginia’s Dana Holgorsen, one of the first and biggest proponents of fast tempo, said recently something along the lines of “when you have a bad offense that plays really quickly, then what you have for an offense is just really bad really quickly.” Meaning, fast tempo in itself does not make you good. Fast tempo and changing tempo is an aspect of an offense, an aspect of an identity, but it isn’t an offense or an identity. In Holgorson’s case, he believes that tempo adds a certain amount to his offense and takes away other parts of his offense to compensate, but if it comes down to learning to block someone and getting to the LOS quickly, he’ll spend time learning to block someone.
Borges, in fact, liked tempo. He utilized it at SDSU. He utilized it the first drive against South Carolina I believe. He installed it for the first drive against CMU in 2013. He wanted it to be a part of the offense. The difference is, that he put more emphasis on other things, and when Michigan saw other things breaking down, they believed those things were more important to address than tempo. It’s the difference between desiring having tempo be a part of your offense, and having tempo as a part of your offense. Again, you make concessions one way or another, and there isn’t necessarily a better approach. Obviously, ability to control tempo is an advantage, the difference in approach is if it’s an advantage significant enough to sacrifice other parts of your offense.
The Play Above
And this is where I’ll get in trouble because I’ll disagree with Brian partially. The difference between the Eagle’s thing and Michigan’s thing doesn’t have to do with tempo. Case and point, Minnesota lined up incorrectly against tackle over several times as well. Why? Because, while Michigan was slow to break the huddle, they were relatively quick (similar to up-tempo teams) from the point they got to the LOS and snapped the ball. That was their way of not allowing defenses to make pre-snap adjustments after they lined up.
In Michigan’s case, if the defense aligned incorrectly, the DC still couldn’t get the defense aligned correctly. He doesn’t have the means of communicating that into the players, particularly the interior DL. The most he can do is call a TO. That’s inflated in the college game, again, where there is no one on the defense with an earphone to hear from the DC. It is the MIKE’s job to get the DL lined up correctly; the Redskin’s MIKE blew it in the Eagle’s game, the Minnesota MIKE blew it in that game.
So the mis-alignment to the tackle over formation had little to nothing to do with tempo from one snap to the other. It did have something to do with the tempo between aligning and snapping the football. The significant difference between how the Eagles utilized the tackle over formation was that they were able to use it with their typical spread personnel. PSU did not put 4 DTs on the field because they knew tackle over was coming. They didn’t know if it was tackle over pre-Michigan-aligning or not, they didn’t care. They put 4 DTs in the game based on Michigan subbing in heavy personnel. And PSU’s reaction, to that heavy personnel (21 or 22 personnel) in this down and distance (1st and 10) was to put 4 DTs on the field rather than put 8 men in the box. It was essentially their way of addressing heavy personnel, so that their LBs and secondary didn’t have to change how they typically played the formation. They said: we don’t believe you can pass on us 3x2 on the outside, and if we put 5 DL in the game and maintain our LBs, we don’t believe you can run on us either.
One of the things that Ferrigno stated recently was that they didn’t feel like that had TEs on the roster that weren’t “flags” for the defense until they had Butt. Meaning, they knew defenses were keying a bit on their TEs. That’s likely what PSU was doing. Borges could have mitigated that a bit by going against tendency more, but the reason you have a tendency is because that’s the strength in that case. So it’s a balance between playing your strength and breaking tendency, a balance that we can argue Borges didn’t find. I tend to think he was fairly close in-game, and that the major issues from Borges perspective was some of the lack-of play preparation pre-game. Essentially, he didn’t rep some of the important plays/counter type things enough to use them in the game, and that left him caught in-game.
That's not to say, again, that tempo isn't a benefit. If Michigan was in a similar personnel grouping the play before, PSU couldn't have put in 4 DTs. If PSU reacts to this personnel grouping in this down and distance with certain blitzes or stunts, up-tempo would limit some of that. That's some of the stress that up-tempo adds that Brown mentions, and Brian points to. But the misalignment isn't about tempo between snaps as much as it is tempo between alignment and snap, and a lack of recognition from the defenders.
What this Means Going Forward
Not wanting to leave this on Borges, but rather focus ahead as we should be wont to do, how does this affect Nuss’s offense. Well, we know Nuss practices with tempo. It is my understanding that he also practices tempo a bit. For the most part, I believe he’ll agree with Holgorsen. He knows his offense isn’t ready yet, particularly on the line, and he doesn’t want to be a bad offense that just gives the ball back really fast. So he’ll tend to play slower, because he wants to help the defense and he wants to make sure everyone is on the same page. He’ll limit practice reps on tempo in favor of more reps focusing on other things. You may see it a couple times a game, to switch it up, most likely after the first first downs when the offense has some momentum (some successful drives under their belt). It will become more likely as the season goes on, and more likely in future seasons if everyone is still around. But to start this season, don’t expect it much if at all. And it’s because the balance that I addressed early.
2. Fast tempo forces defenses to limit their playbook because the communication is such that they can’t always allow for more complex calls.
Does fast tempo limit the offensive playbook because complex calls can't be made? No. Offenses have a complex signaling system. There's no reason a defense can't do the same.
And if the defense knows before the season that stopping a fast-tempo attack or five is going to happen during the season, part of the defensive scheme is defending against tempo, as well. This is a lot easier if your team's offense is fast tempo, because of familiarity.
If you said something like this further down, I apologize (tl; js = just skimmed).
But I still think it limits some of the more complex calls. It's not simply a duration to get the playcall in though. Most "complex" defenses tend to require quite a bit of checks, adjustments, or outs against certain looks. If an offense is going up-tempo, or if they call two plays at one time and don't make a playcall between plays, then the defense can't both call a complex defense and make the checks, reads, and adjustments it needs to. So more often than not they go to a more base defense that defends most things relatively equally regardless of the offense.
...I used to have two defenses called. We would line up in one call, then stem to the other during the cadence. If the QB audibled, we'd stem back to the original call.
Another thing a defense can do is what Mississippi State would do during the original 3-3 Joe Lee Dunn years. During the cadence, his DL had freedom to stem one gap to each side of his assignment, LBs had freedom to prowl into gaps and out, showing blitzes, and the DBs had the freedom to diguise coverages, with corners pressing/bailing and safeties rolling down and back, from a 2 high to a 1 high look.
And defenses can do some combination of the two.
These tactics helped accelerate the use of zone schemes, b/c the QB/OC had no idea what the D was doing, they figured, "let's just zone up and block our gaps."
Of course, like you said, it's hard to get players to remember two calls, and has to be repped a lot. This rarely happened in HS, so I didn't have to worry about it much. Of course, our offense did it, and we didn't platoon, so it was easier to teach defending it.
Space Coyote - thanks for the in- depth explanation of the pros and cons of the up-tempo offense. Very helpful, as always, for those of us who don't understand all the Xs and Os.
Barrett had the redshirt year to study the playbook but with the injury he might have only slightly more reps than a true freshman. They're probably going to lose a couple of games as a result. Even in a Meyer offense there's still decisionmaking that you can't reproduce in film study.
Of course, by the last game of the season he'll have had plenty of reps (barring injury) or he'll have been bad enough that they've already made a switch.
I think there are still openings for Smile Ambassadors, however.
Pretty hilarious letter. I'm interested why there needs to be a student board for The Zone. Typical Athletics, taking something organic and trying to turn it into a formal organization.
I was there when The Zone started, and it was spectacular. Still have some of the packets of opposing team Facebook profiles they handed out during the first couple seasons.
"he also threw a Demetrius Brown-like six interceptions"
One of my favorite Michigan players of all time, once he learned to distinguish uniform colors. He beat Ohio State and USC back-to-back in 1988 as a result.
Enjoyed the article and especially glad to hear about Frank Clark's rise above adversity.
You mentioned the fast tempo offense and the advantages it has over the defense. You gave the example of Indiana and yes they did hang 47 on our defense but they also lost the game by 16 points. The downside in the college game of a fast tempo is you automatically default on the time of possession battle. Your defense must have great conditioning. Indiana's defense is bad. OSU's defense let something to be desired. Neither of their offenses produced this HUGE advantage against Michigan on the scoreboard.
Regarding notes on the NCAA, count me in favor of a compromise that would allow athletes to declare out of high school. I am not in favor of paying players thus essentially turning our Universities into minor league athletic institutions. The emphasis must remain on players being student-athletes. I wouldn't mind the salary level of coaches returning to earth and the revenues actually moved into the school's general budget.
The plodding tempo of our offense last year was maddening. No real time to check into different plays at the line. Up-tempo teams have always given us fits (See: Indiana 2013). I could never understand why we haven't consistently tried to run an up-tempo offense. Hopefully, Nuss will get us there.
See my post above.
The MSU news is not "startling" in terms of freshman being redshirted. They have copied Wisconsin - if you look at the 2 deeps of MSU and Wisconsin they are near carbon copies - a ton of RS SR and RS JRs. UM and OSU are at the opposite end of the spectrum, UM more by need lately due to the 2010/2011 crap. Just for kicks (I did this 3-4 months ago) I looked at Nebraska and they fell right about in the middle of what MSU/Wiscy does versus UM/OSU.
When MSU gets "UM type" talent they don't redshirt - those are the McDowells and Burbridges. Having a bunch of 21-22 year old "high 3 stars/low 4 stars" versus a bunch of 19-20 year old "mid/high 4 stars" helps alleviate your "talent gap". Especially if that talent is coached very well. And the talent evaluation is done when these guys are 16-17 years old.
You also need a coach willing to bite the bullet one year early in your tenure because when you first get into a program your instinct is to play "your players" early, especially if you change styles from the previous coaching regime. So you don't sit on your first class (or second class) - you throw them out there into the fire. But if you bite that bullet and hoard them all you then set the precedent and have everyone on a similar clock... i.e. the next class coming in will have a crowded 2 deep in front of them.
Bottom line - if you have very good coaching, and can coach them up you can build up a very nice program. It is not as easy as redshirting everyone and getting results - if that was the case every coach walking into a mediocre program would redshirt everyone in year 1, have 1 horrific year, and then go onto great success in year 4-5. But combining this idea with very good coaching leads to good things. I'd like to see us redshirt a lot more and I expect we will go forward with the depth finally rebuilt.
I agree with this, but I wish we redshirted studs who weren't necessarily contributing like Dymonte, Taco, Gedeon (although Gedeon came on strong against ohio state), etc.
I also agree. And Hoke has a penchant for using guys early in career on special teams and wasting a season of eligiblity. I don't get it. Couldn't Jeremy Jackson or Josh Furman or equivalent done what Jones did last year and saved him for a year? I am worried we are going to waste a whole year of eligibility on someone like Michael Ferns this year so he can run down the field on kickoffs when Id rather have 5th year senior Ferns causing hell down the road.
I think Taco was necessary last year due to depth issues. We had Mario, Heitzman, Frank Clark and I dont know who else at DEs last year - we were rotating in guys like Wormley there. Thomas I think the staff thought he was going to get it, and it didnt work out. Gedeon I am not sure - he didnt seem to play much at all until OSU.
I think right now we are done with this "throw RS out the door since we are in dire need" on defense. And 2014 should be the last year it happens on offense. You may see a Ways thrown in there maybe or a Cole thrown in there out of need. Or Bunting I suppose. But on defense we no longer have this issue. If Mone is going to play , it means he beat out a guy like Godin or Glasgow for the 5th/6th DT. If Watson is going to play he beat out Clark, Thomas, Hill etc. There should be absolutely no reason a LB has a RS wasted when we go 7 deep (our 6 deep plus McCray) etc.
In the case of Taco, there was no way on earth he was agreeing to RS, especially after coming in early. The kid wanted to play right away. If Hoke would have tried to RS him last year, he would not be playing for UM this year.
When it comes to recruiting, you cannot heavily redshirt guys and still expect to get top prospects. Early playing time is the #1 issue for most prospects. And they pay very close attention to which schools give younger players a shot. This may be a reason that Dantonio is not cashing in on his recent success on the field in the area of high profile recruits.
RR did this too—Will Campbell's first year was spent in spot ST play. We sure as hell could have used him last year, and it would have potentially been far more valuable than what little he did in 2009.
While there may have been instances of "promised playing time", I think more likely it's that the coaches truly believed that those players would make an impact on the defenses that year.
Michigan was weak at DT Campbell's first year, not necessarily at starter, but lacked depth badly. Campbell received playing time in game (limited) and with the first and second group in practice in an effort to adequately prep for the game and try to accelerate his progress as a player so he'd more quickly be able to have an impact in games.
The same is true for Thomas. I've said several times with Hoke and Co saying "Peppers is a NB". The reason Peppers is a NB is because they've been looking for that kind of athlete at that position since they arrived. Thomas is that type of athlete as well, he just couldn't get a grasp on the coverage aspect along with prepping at his eventual position. But they burned his RS in an effort to accelerate his progress because they really did want him to slide into that spot and make an impact last season.
That is the case with most burned RSs. It comes down to getting some playing time, and just as much about getting real reps in practice to get them up to speed quicker. In the meantime, you still need ST players so they fit there as well.
I wonder what MSU's redshirt percentage was back in Dantonio's first few years. It's one thing to redshirt most of your freshmen when almost your entire two-deep is filled with known-quantity upperclassmen you personally recruited and spent a few years developing. It's another when you're hoping the new guys might be better than the leftovers of the previous coach's classes. I doubt Dantonio started off redshirting 12% of the freshman right off the bat, but I have been wrong before.
That's a key point. Looking at their redshirts after the team was good the last couple years is just a snapshot. But a lot of their key upperclassmen from 2013 played as true freshmen.
"Gets the ball out quickly. Very efficient. Smooth release. Very accurate. Extremely cerebral. Very magnetic leader. I think the (players) kind of gravitate towards him."
"He's a distant third to (the other QBs) in terms of just rearing back and trying to throw it through a wall. But he makes up for it in his anticipation and his accuracy and all that."
Now, who does that sound like? That's like Brady with Henson and Kapsner on the roster. The thing going against Ohio is that he's a RS frosh who's never played. But if he's that cerebral, by the time we play them, he'll be close to locked in.
Now, don't take it as an equivalent comparison; i.e., I'm not saying this kid is the next Brady or anywhere in the same galaxy. I'm saying that the qualities described above are what composes good QBs.