Will this be done before tomorrow? Should I mention it in Dear Diary is what I'm asking.
to play football, not to play trumpet
This diary takes a look at the spring roster data currently available from the schools’ home sites, Rivals recruiting profiles from 2008 to the present and depth charts from bloggers like you. I mash these up to share some data hopefully in an interesting way.
First the disclaimers… this is down and dirty. Like most of you there isn’t a ton of time to do this sort of thing. The data is broadly categorical and prone to errors on my part. The depth charts are just for comparison purposes and don’t mean much. The 1s look pretty solid to me though for both teams. Enough said… let’s do this…
Every team comes from the crucible of recruits who are signed and walk-ons who show up in the present and previous 5-6 years. Here is a table of the recruiting classes from Rivals for both schools.
Alabama averages 26.6, Michigan 23.6 . You can’t talk about this game without this elephant in the room. The way Alabama does football is different. This has been discussed openly here (long may Meechigan Dan run) , in the WSJ… and by everyone including recently the local media in Alabama but not by Saban (not openly) or the University of ******* (name redacted to protect it’s privacy.)
Here is a table of the players who are on the roster now by class…
Not quite accurate perhaps… one of the class of 2008 took a greyshirt and is currently a RS Sophomore. There are 4 JUCO players on the Alabama roster – 2 of whom will start on the defensive line in September. The other two are on the 2s but will probably see time. One them was a member of the 2010 class but was shunted to a JUCO for
roster school work. Suffice to say the charts above look relatively matched by class especially with the JUCO/Greyshirt disclaimer with respect to this years roster at least on the face of it.
College football is never the same at any school. Teams follow the rules of the NCAA (supposedly), their conference and their school. Northwestern is more severe on admissions than most all if not all B1G teams. Service academies have JV squads that follow different rules. BYU and other schools send athletes on 2 year missions…CFB is complex, varied and… freaking pretty great all together. So let’s not cry about the insanity that is Oversigning or discuss it further. There are better places for that.
In fact oversigning is only significant when the players who show up are good to begin with. How good are the players from each school?
Here’s the Rivals ratings of Alabama and Michigan for the crucible classes of 2008 up to and including 2012 class by school…including the current walk-ons.
The green diamonds are mean diamonds. When they don’t overlap in general the populations are demonstrably different. These do overlap.
Here’s the same analysis but just for the current roster plus 2012 class.
Note that Alabama will have 119 players (noted as observations in the lower right corner above). Some people will not be invited to Fall camp. Hmmm… that happens to the best of teams. Note also the crucible dataset is better than the actual roster. It hurts to lose people to the NFL – early or otherwise.
Let’s break this down by position.
I don’t have time or inclination to make this pretty. Notice the Defense is on average more highly rated for Michigan – but not at safety – which is a key position for Alabama and any team.
The “Adjusted” tick mark is to signify the positions have been normalized. How I did that is not worthy of discussion but suffice to say it wasn’t categorically fun – but I wanted to compare them head to head and it’s adequate IMO for this purpose.
Here’s a similar breakdown by body mass index (BMI) and straight weight.
BMI works for positional analysis and can yield interesting insight IMO. I did a diary last year that showed JR Hemmingway’s outlierish BMI. I seem to recall him pawning a few DBs on underthrown balls last year with said BMI. I’m going to say this just to get pissy comments… BMI even points to fitness wrt football. If you don’t think that is true then bring it on. There are few coaches in the game that don’t give a player a target weight to train toward. BMI points to stockiness good and bad and possible leverage advantages. It also kills more NFL players in retirement than PCS.
But I digress… back to the charty things….
Kenny Demens is the lone max outlier point at LB for either team. We are thin there and everywhere (pun intended.)
Here are the weight comparisons with the exact same analysis.
Our defensive ends, safeties and backers are statistically different (especially without Demens.) Bama’s safeties are tightly packed by weight. Most of this has to do with my normalization of position I think. I would have to look at this more closely.
The biggest complaint with this analysis (and yes I know there are many) is that it’s 11 on 11 not 119 on 102. Let’s look at depth chart’s and do a little more charting.
Here’s what I will use…
|Alabama Offense||Michigan Offense|
|QB||AJ McCarron||Phillip Ely||Blake Sims||QB||D. Robinson||D. Gardner||R. Bellomy|
|TB||Eddie Lacy||Jalston Fowler||T.J. Yeldon||TB||F. Toussaint||V. Smith||T. Rawls|
|X||Kevin Norwood||Amari Cooper||Marvin Shinn||X||R. Roundtree||D. Gardner||J. Robinson|
|Y||Kenny Bell||Chris Black||Blake Sims||Y||D. Dileo||R. Miller||J. Hayes|
|Z||Christion Jones||DeAndrew White||Danny Woodson, Jr.||Z||J. Gallon||J. Jackson||A. Darboh|
|HB||Brian Vogler||Harrison Jones||Brent Calloway||HB||S. Hopkins||J. Kerridge||D. Funchess|
|TE||Michael Williams||Malcolm Faciane||Brian Vogler||TE||B. Moore||A.J. Williams||C. Eddins|
|LT||Cyrus Kouandjio||Barrett Jones||Kellen Williams||LT||T. Lewan||K. Kalis||E. Gunderson|
|LG||Chance Warmack||Chad Lindsay||Isaac Luatua||LG||E. Mealer||C. Bryant||J. Burzynski|
|C||Barrett Jones||Ryan Kelly||Chad Lindsay||C||R. Barnum||J. Miller||E. Mealer|
|RG||Anthony Steen||Isaac Luatua||Austin Shepherd||RG||P. Omameh||C. Bryant||G. Glasgow|
|RT||D.J. Fluker||Austin Shepherd||Barrett Jones||RT||M. Schofield||K. Kalis||B. Braden|
|Michigan Defense||Alabama Defense|
|SS||J. Kovacs||M. Robinson||T. Carter||SS||Vinnie Sunseri||Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||Jarrick Williams|
|FS||T. Gordon||J. Furman||J. Wilson||FS||Robert Lester||Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||Nick Perry|
|CB1||B. Countess||C. Avery||D. Hollowell||CB1||John Fulton||Bradley Sylve||Travell Dixon|
|WLB||D. Morgan||B. Hawthorne||J. Ross||WLB||C.J. Mosley||Tana Patrick||Dillon Lee|
|CB2||J. Floyd||R. Taylor||T. Talbott||CB2||DeMarcus Milliner||Deion Belue||Jabriel Washington|
|WDE||F. Clark||B. Beyer||M. Ojemudia||WDE||Xzavier Dickson||Adrian Hubbard||Ryan Anderson|
|DT||J. Black||Q. Washington||K. Wilkins||DT||Quinton Dial||Jeoffrey Pagan||LaMichael Fanning|
|MLB||K. Demens||J. Bolden||M. Jones||MLB||Nico Johnson||Trey DePriest||Dillon Lee|
|NT||W. Campbell||R. Ash||O. Pipkins||NT||Jesse Williams||Brandon Ivory||Jeoffrey Pagan|
|SLB||J. Ryan||C. Gordon||K. Ringer||SLB||Adrian Hubbard||Dillon Lee||Jonathan Atchison|
|SDE||C. Roh||N. Brink||K. Heitzman||SDE||Damion Square||Ed Stinson||D.J. Pettway|
|Alabama Special Teams||Michigan Special Teams|
|P||Cody Mandell||P||W. Hagerup||M. Wile|
|K||Jeremy Shelley||Cade Foster||K||B. Gibbons||M. Wile|
|PR||Christion Jones||Dee Hart||Deion Belue||PR||J. Gallon||B. Countess|
|KR||Christion Jones||Dee Milliner||Deion Belue||KR||J. Hayes||T. Rawls|
|H||D. Dileo||J. Gallon|
I followed the HB convention for Alabama and XYZ nomenclature subbing in FB and WR1, Slot and WR2 for Michigan with plenty of fudge. I used common Michigan terms on defense. It is what it is. I said I wasn’t going to get into the normalization of positions and I did… back to charts.
This is worse case for Michigan (barring injury - not to tempt the fates) and best case for Alabama. I don’t see any of the non EEs playing for the Tide from the 2012 class. I do see a strong possibility that some 2012 non EEs play for Michigan (though not well enough to start the first game – there is too much to learn. Glasgow will play when Mich goes up by 30 in the final five minutes of the game.) This is just to separate out the players from the scout team for comparison purposes anyway.
Let’s get back to charts looking only at the players on the depth charts above. These are pretty busy…zoom your screens. I’m to lazy to break out the sides.
OK… I’m surprised more diaries don’t end like this. My wife just told me to get to bed. I must obey.
I can say a few things here but really it’s the data I want to share – not so much my opinion. But let me say this… so far not much new here. :-|
I have a ton more comparisons here as well as a novel way of looking at walk-on talent (nothing sexy but I think it’s interesting.) I hope you guys can make this out and that there aren’t too many errors in my data.
I will throw up other charts looking at the roster, rivals DB and depth charts at a later date if time allows.
Before I sign off though… let me leave you with 3 points as to why Saban is God’s gift to coaching. You can’t argue with these…
He’s the smartest guy in the room if you listen to the talking heads and hangers on. I can’t stand SEC hubris. Here are some counterpoints.
After looking at the teams and where they are at…I don’t think we are 10 points worse than Alabama. I say we win this game. If I could prove that then CFB wouldn’t be worth watching.
I must go. If I must… then I choose to Go Blue!
Edit: I screwed the pooch on the formatting - fixing a data error for Hasean - a five star...how could I miss that?
Will this be done before tomorrow? Should I mention it in Dear Diary is what I'm asking.
MS TSS finished it for me. Must sleep.
Seth... I screwed the pooch fixing a data error. Is there a better way to fix stuff in Live Writer than re-publishing (it apparently re-sets the posted date?)
I tried to edit from my phone first and that was my first mistake.
Any advice would be appreciated. Live Writer makes it so easy otherwise.
I can always re-set the posted date for you, not in Live Writer. I leave the Live Writer window open for the rest of the day after publishing something because I'll always flub something. It doesn't reset the time for me. Are you using on a Mac?
Never edit from your phone. Especially when you have access to the front page. That is a bad idea. It should never be done. Or thought of. In fact I don't know why anyone would mention such a terribly stupid horrible thing. Say there was a Heiko column one day with a tiny typo and you were in the bathroom with an iPhone... I mean you wouldn't think to fix it there right? Not that this has anything to do with why the site was down a bit ago. Nothing.
Content like this is why I love this blog.
Wow...great breakdown. Interesting to see the use of BMI in your analysis.
Is there a way we can get the 40 times for each of the players on each team, and compare that to their BMI and their weight? Should be interesting to see how we match up with Alabama on a speed basis. I know everyone says SEC is king but I remember them showing the average 40 time for Ohio State when they played LSU, and Ohio actually had a slightly faster average 40. (I think, someone will probably prove me wrong)
40 times are sparse and fakey in the Rivals DB (BMI is pretty fakey as well - I only do it because it's complete and easy. This diary isn't a referendum on BMI but the only correlate it might have to WR is for possession receivers in my mind. I don't think correlation of BMI to 40 or other numbers work other than height, weight and position wrt performance is warranted.)
Here's a quick look at Rivals 40 times...it doesn't mean much... but I do think their DBs and LBs are faster and our QB (duh!) and OL are faster. I'd rather have speed at DB than OL. 40 times have a history. I'd rather have squat, bench and cone drill numbers for OL. Some of that is available but again it's too sparse and fakey to put much time into.
True, and given the fact that we really haven't seen the two wide receivers (Darboh and Chesson) who will more then likely see playing time immediately, trying to judge speed of their secondary vs our recievers doesn't seem very meaningful. Although the speed difference of our OL to their DT vs our DT to their OL may actually be meaningful (i.e. games won in trenches, so more athletic line could be the tipping point)
All 40 times come from Rivals so Darboh and Chesson's are just as specious as the others. 40s are missing for half the linemen on Rivals. Jesse Williams runs pretty well from film.
If anything the tipping point is Cyrus Kouandjio on Roh and Black regardless of their speed. They are going to come at our DL. This puts a ton of pressure on BWC to step up. Demens is not going to do well if BWC doesn't.
Thought this .gif deserved a reply titled fit enough for such a witty response.
Well timed sir.
... Any way you can provide some sort of statistical analysis of the athletic profiles of athletes who lost scholarships / had scholarships withdrawn / gray shirted? Is that info even available?
Thanks again for the article. Fascinating stuff.
BG - I'm in a tent with my family getting pelted by what sounds like hail. Extended cell phone somehow reaches here...but alas my number crunching desktop does not. It's not as interesting wrt to the 2008 diaspora as OS. Com makes it out IMO but I have some data to show. As you would expect the better / bigger talent didn't get hurt but the exception is this RS So who apparently took one for the team.
I will get back to this in a couple weeks. There are still issues here but there are always issues it seems. Until then Hail!
Justin Taylor of North Atlanta High School has been committed to Alabama for nearly a year, last February becoming the No. 7 pledge for this year's class. The 5-foot-11, 208-pounder missed his senior season with a knee injury.
A couple of weeks ago, Taylor and his high school coach, former NFL RB Stanley Pritchett, both said they were informed by Alabama assistant Chris Rumph that it was likely that Taylor would not be able to sign with the Crimson Tide this February.
No one is crying a river here. Just acknowledging the pachyderms in the room or signed and "placed" or... yes ... pushed out for medical scholarship at a rate 12 times that of other schools.
It's not in anyone's interest to bad mouth a school when you are trying to get scholarships from other schools who might be interested.
Thanks for the comment. I don't really know the particulars of Alabama's 2008 class. I'm really just trying to look at the roster - but I have more to say on this - just by looking at the roster data alone.
You've got your back up because you feel your school is being targeted. Okay, that's cool. But there's a major major major major hole in your logic, and we're not going to be able to communicate on this issue at all unless it's addressed. Everybody wants to believe their school is the best of the bunch.
Everything you're talking about is HOW Alabama whittled down its numbers to meet the 85 scholarship limit. Oversiging isn't about how, but WHY they HAD to whittle the numbers down. In that the number 28 for 2008 isn't only important in context of another number: 15, which is the number of scholarships he had open. These coaches put themselves in a position where they had to cut players from the roster.
Saban was the most egregious example, over five years, of putting himself in a position where he had to cut players in order to get the 85-man limit. Because of that he's working with almost twice the recruiting pool as most of the schools he plays. Les Miles is almost right there with him, and is notable because he got more burned than Saban did when he was forced to yank a scholarship from a kid after that guy was already on campus. I don't think it's fair for him to be characterized as "our" guy, since the general reaction around here to Les Miles is "glad we dodged that bullet."
I'm pretty sure I didn't count the walk-ons, since my database is cross-referenced with Scout and Rivals and ESPN recruiting databases. It can't tell from grayshirts but I know I'm accurate from 2009 on. I do count the "know they're going to JUCO" kids who sign on NSD and then don't make grades. "Because it's common practice in the SEC" does not justify a thing. In fact if you were a South Carolina fan I was having this conversation with I could provide a whole speech about Spurrier and why it's common practice today. Suffice to say, the kids aren't told they're headed for JUCO up front--they find out after they've signed. Another way to say "establish a relationship" is "cut them off from other opportunities." A school that wasn't oversigning would be invested in the kid's future, not just what the kid can offer Alabama.
Say Saban has 20 spots available from graduation and last year's normal attrition. Figuring 1/2 of the kids he recruits won't be able to meet academic standards he recruits 40 kids for those spots. Now it's not a math question anymore: in February he suddenly has 105 kids and 20 of them NEED to be gone, one way or another. Had he recruited 20 kids, Saban would be heavily invested in each one of them--instead he can wait for a handful to fail out, then make up the difference by pushing the players who don't make his two-deep out.
He has gotten himself in that position to varying degrees almost every year at Alabama, and the cumulative effect of that is that he's been able to field a team from a much larger pool than the competition by nature of caring less than the competition about the welfare of his players.
Oversigning.com has done the heavy research on this. They don't have a great search function but read through the Alabama tag (http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/tag/alabama/) and see what you can refute there.
Since NCAA now allows 4-year scholarships I think this particular loophole is going to be closed and in 4 years from now the effect will be the guys who did it will have established programs but not rosters built from substantially larger pools. The source has been cut off; it's just too bad Michigan this year will have to join the ranks of programs to directly face the lingering stench.