This Week’s Obsession: Defensive Trajectory
Heininger Certainty Principle passed its first two tests with QWash and Campbell (Upchurch)
It’s our weekly roundtable to talk about things that Michigan fans—and by Michigan fans I mean just me—are obsessing about. In honor of the family road trips you just got back from, this week’s it’s a great big “Are we there yet?” In the game:
PRESS AGENT #4
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR #89
STATISTICAL ANALYST/THERAPIST #58
In 2011 Michigan was 6th in scoring defense, 17th in total defense, and 16th in defensive FEI. In 2012 Michigan finished 19th in scoring defense, 13th in total D, and 26th in defensive FEI. Do you consider that treading water, an expected fall given the DL graduations and tougher schedule, or a veiled improvement? And where do you see this trend going in 2013?
Seth: I admit this topic was a little brought on by panic after getting persistently torched in NCAA 14, which could just mean that Desmond Morgan is way better at playing as Desmond Morgan than I am.
Michigan didn't take a significant step back in 2012, which I would consider a victory. Replace WMU, SDSU, and Virginia Tech with Air Force, Alabama, and South Carolina, and you're gonna have a bad time. Factor in a regression to the mean on the fumble recoveries and the lack of Mike Martin, and those defensive numbers look pretty good to me. They actually gave up about 3 ppg fewer in conference in 2012 despite a tougher road/away split (though obvious BIG TENNNNN caveat applies). 2012 also felt more repeatable, though I have no objective means to demonstrate this.
I don't think 2013 is the Great Leap Forward, but I think we'll see continued progress. The numbers will probably look shinier if for no other reason than the easier schedule, but I'd bet on the defense being 'better' as well. The secondary will be more athletic, which should go a long way toward helping combat the 2012 struggles with spread teams. Hopefully Dymonte Thomas can indeed be deployed as the spread neutralizer. The ILBs will probably still have some struggles with the learning curve (and the training table), but last year's experience should lessen the pain. The meat of the schedule doesn't arrive until November, by which point Jake Ryan will hopefully be settling back onto his throne of skulls and flow. Questions remain on the D-Line, but Will Heininger. /Offers a small running back as a sacrifice to the Mattison. Praise be unto the Mattison. May his swag reign for a hundred seasons.
Mathlete: When I was preparing my pre-season projections, I compared the the 2013 Michigan defense profile to teams from the last several years, the nearest comparison, 2012 Michigan. In terms of production returning, recruiting profile and prior year performance this year's defense looks a lot like last year's squad. The turnover randomness could swing things a bit and with a strong group of underclassmen and Greg Mattison, there is certainly potential for upside.
The schedule should help mitigate the statistical rank downside risk, but if there was going to be a year where things took a step back, this looks like the only candidate. With that said, I don't see that happening. Defenses are a lot more stable and predictable in performance than offenses. Look at experience, look at recruiting profile, check to see that there are no stuffed animals on the sidelines and you should have a pretty good idea where your defense will end up. I rank this year's defense as the 10th most talented (based on age and recruiting profiles) in the country and they return nearly three quarters of their production from last year's squad. It appears we caught a break with the schedule and the timing of Jake Ryan's ACL tear with a Tommy Rees led Notre Dame offense the only major game he should miss. There is always a chance things don't turn out, but I don't see anything that says this year will be a major step back and if anything a few areas that could be signs that 2013 could be a step forward.
Seth: You guys keep denigrating my skills at videogame defense, as if you're not just mashing the "plow" button with Quinton Washington every play while trusting Gibson to run your defensive backs. To answer my question above, I thought Washington's emergence was very significant. The drop-off from Martin and Van Bergen to not them was going to be steep, and it happened but the linebackers improved to such a degree as to make it null. I blame the schedule and losing Countess early to any discrepancy (J.T. Floyd wasn't as solid against the Kenny Bells as he had been in 2011 vs. the big leapers). I also blame offensive regression for the difference in scoring D.
Things are still coming along. Other than Air Force—blessedly we don't face one of those again—the defense didn't have any game where they performed significantly below expectations. Mattison didn't like the Nebraska game but raise of hands who thinks that was on the D? Northwestern is a legitimately good offense, even when Trevor Siemian isn't turning into an unstoppable throw god.
I'm less concerned about who rotates in at 5-tech since there's a lot of meat for the meat god there, and Heitzman wasn't so bad last year. What worries me is what we'll look like early. Jibreel Black versus Notre Dame's offensive line, and Jarrod Wilson versus a Brian Kelly passing attack: those are what scare me. Wilson will be good one day but right now he appears to be a big dropoff from Kovacs and needs some starts in a bad way. Later in the year I think we'll have more faces appearing at the 3- and 5-tech rotations, with contributions from Wormley, Henry, Godin, Strobel, and backup options including a highly regarded true freshman, or the other Glasgow, or even some of that Washington-Pipkins action they keep denying. They'll be a much better defense when they face Ohio State than when Notre Dame comes to town; in the aggregate they’ll look better in yardage thanks to competition but tread water otherwise.
Blue in South Bend: I think having Countess back will be huge. I'd remind you that with him in the game, we held Alabama to a three-and-out (miniscule sample size National Champions wooooo). I do worry about whether Wilson can prevent the home run plays the way Kovacs did, but overall I do think the secondary will be a surprising strength of this team.
/Offers a second small running back to a dormant but extant Angry Michigan Secondary Hating God.
/Mashes "plow" button.
Anyway: I spent a large chunk of last offseason fretting about that fumble recovery rate and expecting something less than impressive as a result, and that was kind of borne out. Michigan did take a half-step back last season, because that's the kind of thing that happens when you go from Mike Martin to one guy with the vague hope of beating a blocker one on one (Jake Ryan). Michigan explored the outer limits of how good a defense can be when you have almost no natural pass rush or athleticism in the secondary. Turns out the answer is "actually not that bad, at least compared to the GERG years."
I think Michigan will get back that half-step this year. There appear to be two major upgrades in the personnel turnover: Countess replaces JT Floyd and James Ross functionally replaces Kenny Demens. While I spent the duration of Demens's career talking about his surprisingly good coverage, Ross should blow by him as a player right now. Floyd spent most of his career on the edge of getting bombed; though he managed to come through repeated targetings mostly okay the fact that every offensive coordinator on the schedule decided to spin that slot machine was indicative. Meanwhile, Frank Clark and Jake Ryan post-injury should adequately replace Jake Ryan.
I'm still not seeing a great defense what with no pass rush from the interior three guys unless Jibreel Black blows up in a way that would frankly shock me. I don't see how a 280 pound three-tech holds up in the Big Ten, don't see much production out of SDE, and while those spots were not exactly gangbusters last year, a lack of developed talent on the defensive line remains a problem.
2014 is when this can get nasty. Michigan returns 8 starters, losing only five guys off the entire two deep: Washington, Black, Cam Gordon, Avery, Thomas Gordon. They add Jabrill Peppers, and Hoke's first recruiting class will finally be ready to infiltrate the starting lineup in earnest. A senior will have--get this--been in the same system his entire career. Craig Roh just started weeping uncontrollably and doesn't know why. He suspects why, he always does, though.
LATE BREAKING Heiko: Well, I guess I'll put in my two cents.
/Doesn't receive change.
I love the defense. I get weirdly excited when Michigan's defense takes the field, because I love watching a well-executed stop take the air out of the other team. The comforting thing about the defense over the past couple years is that they always seem to get better as the game goes on. In Michigan's seven losses since 2011, how many of them can be blamed primarily on the defense (i.e. defense let the offense down)? Only one: the Outback bowl vs. South Carolina, where Michigan was playing without its top two corners and therefore got bombed by SC's receivers.
In fact I think watching the defense improve last year after losing Martin and Van Bergen was something I clung to after it became apparent that the offense was in for a season-long struggle against good teams.
Are we ready to expand the Heininger Certainty Principle to apply to the entire defense? I think so. In contrast to last year's interior OL and tailbacks, no part of the defense has failed to improve over the course of the season. We already know about the D-line, but the linebackers and secondary each had question marks about their viability also at one point or another. Remember when "linebacker hesitancy" was a thing? Or when everyone panicked after Countess's ACL injury? I mean, here we are in 2013, and it's like we knew all along about Quinton Washington and Desmond Morgan and Raymon Taylor. High five.
Maybe it's because I've been primed to consider any defensive competency the best thing ever (I came to Michigan in 2008), but I think we're already at a place where we can count on Michigan smothering most opponents. Depending on how quickly guys like Chris Wormley, Dymonte Thomas, and Jarrod Wilson get up to starter speed, it'll be a question of whether Michigan ends up in the top 10 or top 20, and I think most of us will happily take that.
Furthermore, Dymonte Thomas is the only freshman mentioned at all by anyone, and I think it's a safe bet several freshman at least play if not start this year on defense.
But how many impact freshman does there tend to be?
Dymonte Thomas is mentioned because he's the rare freshman that's not just expected to play, but expected to make an impact. Other freshman will definitely get some PT, but how many will really make sizable contributions is the real question.
Especially on the line, I'd expect the majority of freshman minutes to be a "hold your own, don't blow your assignment, and maybe flash some future promise" situation.
I wasn't really around for last offseason, so I don't know how the hype machine was on Ross and Bolden, but I never expected the contributions from those guys last year. Ramon Taylor was a surprise as well (was he a RS Freshman?).
I think Dymonte will be a impact freshman for sure. Especially because he dethrowned a senior to take over the Nickel spot.
That being said, I think Taco is a legitimate threat to make an impact. We are in need of a pass rush, and I think he has the chance to seperate himself during fall ball.
Other positions seem like they are locked down. Which is nice. My longshot would be for Delano Hill to take the Safety spot from Wilson. Or at least spot him.
Both Ross and Bolden were massively hyped, as much as any LBs I can remember. And Taylor was a Soph last year, and only saw time because of an injury.
Outside of Dymonte, I certainly don't see any freshmen starting and I don't see many contributing at all outside of special teams (I'm referring to defense). Those of you who say you think a handful of freshmen will start or get significant minutes - who are they?
Taco Charlton is almost certainly in the mix because Mattison like rotating DL, and this puts Willie Henry in there as well, who I count as a freshman. There's no clear 5-tech unless Jibreel Black moves, so guys like Godin or Strobel could slide in there. I guess there's really only two TRUE freshman whom I see having a significant impact.
If we're including RS frosh then I agree, particularly regarding the DL. I'd certainly include Wormley as well. I thought you only meant true freshmen.
What is that, some fast food atrocity out of Taco Bell? I think the man deserves a photo of a quality, athentic taco truck taco:
thank you for making my dinner plans for tomorrow. If you're ever in Orlando, I owe you the best taco truck taco you will ever find.
Sidenote: Why dont taco buses know how to cut a damn lime?
are desgined for squeezing onto chips. They must only know one cut at the taco bus.
Interesting that no one thinks Pipkins will blow up this year. In fact he's barely mentioned. Are we no longer excited about him?
am very excited about Pipkins and think he will have a great year and help the D get some QB pressure...I think Michigan will be shaky early in the year, but come mid-season our D will start clicking and a BCS bowl will be in the horizon!
I've been kind of curious about this recently, too. There was so much excitement for him when he committed and leading into last season, but now he's hardly mentioned, if at all.
I guess he's still just a second year player who plays a position that generally would warrant a redshirt, so maybe expectations are just a bit tempered by him being a true sophomore playing an interior line position.
I don't know the answer to this, so it's more of a question, but I thought I had read somewhere that Washington and Pipkins were playing the same position (though many here thought they should play different ones).
If that is correct, maybe the lack of buzz is simlpy because they know Washington is ahead of him so the opportunity for Pipkins to make a significant impact is diminished? Again, I don't know for sure but I kinda thought that was what was happening.
Edit: should have scrolled down...BiSB verified what I suspected.
There has been a certain lack of 'buzz' I think and maybe that's why. We've heard nice things about guys like Daroh, Chesson, Taco, Dymonte, and a few other guys but I never hear anything about Pipkins. Not sure what that means, if anything
- He's technically a backup, even though he's obviously going to get a lot of run.
- He's a true sophomore on the interior of the DL, which tempers expectations.
- He's a true sophomore on the interior of the DL, which usually limits production.
I think Michigan's defense will be pretty good this year but not great. A year from now is when Michigan's defense will be getting back to 2006 form.
The use of rankings implies a bigger drop than what happened.
From 2011 to 2012 we allowed 1.3 more points per game and 6 fewer yards per game.
In other words - we were almost exactly as good.
almost only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades, but yeah it was the same pretty much except for the mike martin pass rush and turnovers.
And we faced a more difficult schedule in 2012 than in 2011.
Defensive back 4 will still be very safe, a shell coverage. The front 4 will still probably struggle a bit. The fact that we can use those phrases and see a top 25 defense on the field is impressive. Once the athletes in the secondary and D-line grow up a bit, that's when I think Michigan starts stepping forward and becoming the top 15, top 10 defense people expect from Michigan.
Not trying to be a jerk but I am not a fan of these roundtables. I'd rather see stuff like a Mathlete article on his defensive profile comparisons. Just my opinion.
To each his own but do you have any suggestions for making it better? The article he mentioned is his full feature in HTTV--our staff puts more time and thought into our day to day articles than any other outlet but none of us have the time to make magazine features every week.
But I do kind of wonder what qualifies the contributors other than Brain and the Mathlete to have their off-the-cuff views taken seriously. Aren't you just generating random content a la Cold Pizza?
Out of curiosity, what qualifies Brian? If you put stock in his view, why not the others? If not the others, why him?
It seems they all have the same qualification.
It's an interesting discussion. The rip-on-Brian argument on the board (not accusing you of doing it now, to be clear) always strikes me as a weird one, given where that argument is being made. But to take a crack at your question:
There's something to be said for the shear amount of time Brian spends pouring over this stuff. Running a website dedicated to discussing and analyzing Michigan football has been his full time job for a while. That definitely lends some credibility to his opinions.
On the flip side, some of the others could be viewed as just as (un)informed as your typical board poster. One could get the sense that the other contributors don't have the track record or dedicated hours that Brian has to distinguish themselves from any other random on a message board or at your tailgate.
Personally, I'm happy to read whoever's thoughts. I just think it's kind of interesting to think through your point.
I don't really have a problem with Brian anymore the way I used to. He's really mellowed on the Hoke hire. But man, Brian ripped on Hoke hard from basically November 2010 - February 2011. Reading those posts was brutal.
"But man, those posts from basically November 2010 - February 2011 were brutal about the guy."
Dude, let it go. It's July of 2013 and just the fact that you had to throw that qoute in there suggests to me that you still aren't over it. You aren't Brady Hoke are you? Because I can't see someone holding a grudge that long when it is based on someojne saying something...about someone else. That's just crazy to me. I witnessed two of my best friends woirk through one of them sleeping with the others girlfriend in less time than that.
2 1/2 years is a long time to hold a grudge on behalf of someone else who most likely, you don't even know.
lol I'm definitely over it. I was just responding to the question "WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER RIP ON BRIAN??" The point was that was a time when
customer reader satisifaction was not exactly at an all-time high.
Brian puts a lot of work into this blog and believe me I appreciate it. I read this site daily so that should tell you something. I definitely value his opinion.
I definitely never asked "WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER RIP ON BRIAN??" (I know you're being hyperbolic, but you've exaggerated my comment to the point of totally missing my point). I was just commenting on the fact that there are more than a few posters who seem to think that Brian doesn't know anything and perpetually talk about him not knowing what he's talking about. Which is fine, everyone's entitled to their opinion. I just wonder why they're hanging out on the guy's site if he's so incompetent in their eyes.
Brian can obviously be wrong sometimes, no one would ever suggest otherwise. (I still maintain he's wrong about year-to-year TO rates being random; I just haven't done the leg work to assemble the data to run the numbers.)
I'm getting offended, but perhaps I just need to start being more obvious about the shit I do around here and the total tonnage time that goes into it. Brian's reached a place in his career and life where he's stablized his work with it; I'm building a career out of this and the books right now. As such he's passed on much of the "running a website" to me for a good year now. Like he doesn't read every article on MGoBlog's front page anymore, because there are too many; I still copyedit every word.
Speaking specifically to today's analysis, my thoughts on Jarrod are informed from last year's UFRs, attending a defensive back coaches clinic last February, meeting with a high school coach to learn safety coverage responsibilities when I was doing an article on it, watching extensive videos of Michigan safeties since '97 and those of every 5-star recruit since 2002 (for another article), and discussing Wilson specifically with Marlin Jackson after the spring game while we fought game traffic on the way to our event w/ him last spring. That's a small part of a pretty extensive last four years of studying defensive backs and what makes one good at football, and all experiences and findings which have been shared on this site. I'm not an "expert" but for a guy on the internet I've gotta be pretty established on this. Brian's done the UFRs, I've read them multiple times each and used them extensively to supplement my analyses. I feel like an asshole pointing that out now, and that's why I didn't feel the need to establish my credentials before saying I think Jarrod Wilson is going to go through some growing pains as he gains experience, and that he's likely to take the defense along with him.
I think since at least 2009 I should compare favorably to just about any other human on earth as far as time put toward discussing and analyzing Michigan football. I've got a weekly analysis piece that typically takes as long as a UFR, except I write about 50 of them per year to Brian's 11 to 13 (depending on how depressing the OSU/bowl games were). Most weeks during the offseason he spends on upkeep--responding to news that affects Michigan and saving research for short bouts that you should expect of any journalist. His big work comes in game analysis, the level of those rising to the moment.
That's fine. He's in a different place in his career than I am, and he hasn't dropped his attention any more than you could say Saban has over the same period. He gets vacations, his weekends are free, and he has workdays of single-digit hours. That's where I hope to get to. I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am without him, and the ability to throw his name around gets me in so many doors. To diminish what he does and how well he does it would be innacurate in addition to other mistakes. I just want it to be recognized that I'm going through a lot of doors.
I'm not going to compare myself to Brian's level of clarity, or my writing to his, because I fully acknowledge that he's both more intelligent and a better writer. And while I think that still leaves plenty of room for my conceits that I'm quite fair at both, those are subjective things. But if people don't recognize the effort level--especially on the week HTTV is shipping (Brian did a lot of writing but 99% of the editorship fell to me as well as all of the publishing)--either I've been wasting most of my life for the last four years, or, like now, maybe I just need to stick up for myself more.
/rare moment of non-humility.
I haven't gotten my HTTV yet. THE HELL, MAN?
Yo Seth - don't take it so hard. I, and many others, consider you and the rest of the MGoStaff to be relative experts in the field of Michigan sports. And while I didn't know fully about the transition of the day-to-day from Brian to you, the work you put in on the site is VERY noticeable. Keep up the good work.
I hope this was clear in my original comment, but I enjoy reading just about anyone's opinion. Especially people who's opinions end up on the front page for some reason. I was just playing devil's advocate, because I think the issue of credibility is an interesting one.
That said, my "the other guys" comment basically just meant BiSB. That guy doesn't know dick about shit.
You work here?
Speaking specifically to today's analysis, my thoughts on Jarrod are informed from last year's UFRs, attending a defensive back coaches clinic last February, meeting with a high school coach to learn safety coverage responsibilities when I was doing an article on it, watching extensive videos of Michigan safeties since '97 and those of every 5-star recruit since 2002 (for another article), and discussing Wilson specifically with Marlin Jackson after the spring game while we fought game traffic on the way to our event w/ him last spring.
I don't doubt the amount of work you do (copyediting is a laborious bitch), but I had no idea about the range of activities that helped develop your insights about Wilson. I've mentioned before that it's hard to track who does what around here. (BTW, I just noticed the opponent previews are Heiko's work. Is he going to be doing non-press conference-related content during the season?) Also, a lot of support work that seems like it falls to you just doesn't relate to football expertise. E.g., launching books for multiple schools makes it seem like you have technical/business/publishing expertise, and I would've guessed that you spend the vast majority of your time doing that. That you're also carrying on a range of football-related research activities as a second job is impressive. Something I was particularly unclear about was how independent your work is. It's easy for those of us without backstage passes or journalism experience to think Brian's basically a puppet master ("Heiko, ask about bubble screens" writ large) behind most of the football content. I'm sorry for offending you, though. I was just looking for this kind of background information about qualifications--clearly you've got them.
In the future, it would be better to pose this as "what kind of football expertise do the rest of you have?" instead of "it sounds like the rest of you don't have much football expertise."
People usually don't put words others didn't say in quotation marks as if they did say them.
"But I do kind of wonder what qualifies the contributors other than Brain and the Mathlete to have their off-the-cuff views taken seriously. Aren't you just generating random content a la Cold Pizza?"
"it sounds like the rest of you don't have much football expertise."
There is no meaningful distinction between these two statements. Whining about the second because it's not a literal repetition of your own sneering condescension is rich.
And here I thought he was trying to paraphrase this:
Also, a lot of support work that seems like it falls to you just doesn't relate to football expertise.
without noticing that it's in the middle of a post recognizing Seth's previously unrecognized (at least by me) football expertise. Maybe in the future he'll help me figure out which thing I didn't say he's falsely reporting I said.
Brian is really hands-off to be honest. He feeds Heiko questions because he's doing UFR and we have this astounding opportunity to ask the coordinator exactly what he was thinking and he gchats Heiko and says "While you're there can you ask him about ____?" It's not like we're sending some random med student in there with a list of questions, and we've done a bad job for portraying it like that. Heiko is good at what he does and Brian gives him questions about specific plays because Heiko being good at journalism gives us the opportunity to ask coordinators about the things the rest of us are trying to write about.
With regard to the books, part of the idea is it's my football knowledge that sets HTTV or We ARE apart from other previews. Between you me and the internet there's a lot more that I've put in there that I didn't take credit for because I was improving on or expanding someone else's work.
To throw out a recent example, the Penn State book has an article on their kicker's 2012 season and how it started off miserably but ended Gibbons-ian. The author wrote just 1200 words for 4 pages. I souped it up with another 600 words of prose, copying the author's style, and also developed three tables and an epic chart for the article that tell the story of kicking in great depth. My Hokepoints article re-used some of the information I got that from. It wasn't just knowing football enough to know how to properly evaluate field goal kicking and kickers' psyches, but also going through the play by play data on ncaa.org to pull out the situational data and turn that into information that informs about Penn State's kicker better than any other outlet has with their traditional stat boxes.
If you go through HTTV, every chart was me. I selected every photo for every page and wrote every caption. For the team previews I wrote the depth charts and updated them as information leaked out over the spring. Depending on the article, a lot of times I was reaching out to my connections to doublecheck assertions and improve the information (I say depending on the article because Dooley and Kryk's stuff is 99% untouched). Brian's thing is to let authors write whatever they want so there isn't much direction in telling Mathlete to do his thing again, or telling Craig Ross whom to talk to. But when they had those ideas I was emailing back and forth with them to flesh them out and offer what suggestions I could. I was even more active, weirdly, with the PSU book, since they weren't used to coming up with article topics and their authors wanted more "write this please." There are a couple of sidebars in there that I either wrote or assigned, and I don't think you'll ever see the publisher of a Scout book tell an author "Dude, you can't use Cam Newton as a comparable example for a JuCo quarterback" and then suggest four JuCo QBs from recent years.
The administrative work is, as you say, good experience for publishing. But the cornerstone of this nascent business for me, other than the blogs retaining ownership of their work, is the publisher can provide editorial connections to authors and a base of expertise in the subject that guarantees a higher level of content quality.
That's all pretty cool. I have what I hope is a constructively critical reaction to part of it, which I'll put here because I think you will make use of the criticism in a way that makes MGoBlog more rewarding for me (and hopefully others). But all due respect is intended, and I hope you recognize that even though I continue to be a terrible cheerleader.
To throw out a recent example, the Penn State book has an article on their kicker's 2012 season and how it started off miserably but ended Gibbons-ian. The author wrote just 1200 words for 4 pages. I souped it up with another 600 words of prose, copying the author's style, and also developed three tables and an epic chart for the article that tell the story of kicking in great depth. My Hokepoints article re-used some of the information I got that from.
This sort of background is far more interesting than what you published, which was this:
I got into an argument with a Michigan State fan—yes, right there is the problem—about our respective kickers last year. In true Michigan-Michigan State fashion the Spartan was making points using selective data (Dan Conroy has a better leg!) and the Michigan fan spent way too much time building data and constructing charts to demonstrate a nuanced and supportable conclusion (Dan Conroy has a better leg but Gibbons was money inside the 40).
You should tell us the interesting background (although probably without saying anything that'd make the other guy feel thrown under the bus--only people like me do stuff like that on the regular). As it stood, the introduction to that piece read like the introduction to a refutation of a know-nothing Spartan by some guy with a lot of time on his hands and access to Google.
It wasn't just knowing football enough to know how to properly evaluate field goal kicking and kickers' psyches, but also going through the play by play data on ncaa.org to pull out the situational data
Of course this is just grunt work. (Brian, hire this man an intern!)
and turn that into information that informs about Penn State's kicker better than any other outlet has with their traditional stat boxes.
It was clear to me from the piece that you liked your charts, but I'm not sure their comparative virtues came through. I actually thought the redundancy in the x-axis and size both representing distance made them a bit misleading at a glance, because I tended to pay more attention to the bigger bubbles even though, after a certain distance, those are the kicks we should probably care little about in an overall analysis. I'll take your word for it that they're better than the competition--I haven't looked at kicker stats enough to have an opinion there, although I suspect the usual stat boxes are pretty spare and would be useless for the kind of analysis you did.
"You should tell us the interesting background (although probably without saying anything that'd make the other guy feel thrown under the bus--only people like me do stuff like that on the regular). As it stood, the introduction to that piece read like the introduction to a refutation of a know-nothing Spartan by some guy with a lot of time on his hands and access to Google."
I personally liked the narrative as it was, so to each their own. I guess part of that though is me just being a lazy internet reader assuming the guy had the "credentials" to write up the piece (and the many others done and to come).
It's like you started off as just a normal guy. But then you got attitude. What that means is that I then pictured you with sunglasses. Then in a little more of a hip-hop context. Then you got a nice schmere of a surfer, got Rasta-fied about 10% or so, and BOOM! New Seth was to old Seth was like Poochie the talking dog to a normal dog.
Kidding aside, I knew you did all the edits, management, etc. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't realize how in-depth you were in learning more about football (as far as coaching clinics, talking to high school coaches, etc). I actually think it's nice to see you a little less humble and defend yourself a little bit. Obviously, you should take pride in what you've done on this blog and the things you've learned. But I think it would also help if you - maybe not rubbed it in everyone's face - but expressed the amount of football knowledge you've developed and how. I guess just a suggestion going forward in some of your writing.
As far as this series goes. I can see people not loving it like they love Unverified Voracity or a UFR, but it's not really supposed to be that. There have been times when I would have loved Brian, you, etc to join the fray of the message board a bit more (but I understand that's probably not priority number 1). I think this at least gives a jumping off point for others to debate about what is at least relatively topical as far as Michigan football. Maybe a "jump" would be beneficial as it's not a cornerstone type piece? I always read this series and the debate, mostly because I like the debate; the old lady in my life tells me often that I like the debate too much at times... Maybe it's a problem, but I think it's a problem a lot of us have, and seeing as, at worst, it's a fairly safe drug, I think that's acceptable for a once-a-week front page post.
i have never laughed at something on mgo as much as i have laughed at this
Well, people have trusted Brian to some extent for several years or the blog wouldn't have taken off like it did. Plus, UFRs. Dude does UFRs.
You're right. But the question was qualification. "Because he's been writing on the internet for several years" doesn't make him right. He may be writing wrong things on the internet for several years to an audience that isn't qualified to know he's wrong.
I'm not saying this is the case, mind you. But if people , 6 or 7 years ago, were willing to give a random dude pounding the keyboard at MGoBlog the benefit of the doubt, it seems weird to rankle at these other guys.
Isn't your argument basically the same thing as the "been in the arena" (or whatever it was recently termed) argument?
Your basic assertion could be made about any sports writer/commentator/analyst ever who didn't have some kind of background as a former player or coach.
I absolutely agree.
I'm not saying it's correct. I'm saying I'm not sure why it's being levelled specifically at Seth, Ace, and BiSB.
The simple fact is that anyone can write words about sports, and many of them won't know what the hell they're talking about. Choose the ones you think do and move on.
But talking of qualifications in this arena seems silly. Nobody has them.
My point was that it's not restricted to this arena, though. Radio commentators, newspaper columnists, TV analysts, etc and so on are all in the same boat as your typical blogger; unless they're former players or coaches, they all lack credentialed credibility.
This is why I thought it was an interesting point to bring up. It seems obvious in the blogosphere that writers lack some kind of concrete credibility, but the reality is that that is true of a lot of people outside the blogosphere as well. Obviously that's a much bigger discussion.
In the end, people like who they like, and tend to gravitate towards outlets that agree with them (either in content, style, or some other quality).