Our coach has been around longer and we suck.
Babysitting: Michigan's roster compared to the big boys
This might be the worst t-shirt ever
I still remember the first time someone asked to see my ID. I was a junior in college, and walking into a casino. I proudly withdrew my Michigan driver's license and handed it to the bouncer. He looked at me, saw my beaming face, and chuckled. He knew what I didn't: that I would start to hate being asked for ID after it happened approximately twice more; by then I just wanted to get where I was going or buy what I was buying without having to reach into my pocket and pull my ID out of my wallet. Leave me alone, man. I'm old enough.
Of course, these days, I take more pleasure in being carded. It rarely happends, but when it does, I'm pleased to reveal that I have been older than 21 for...a long time.
This diary will examine the experience of our overall roster. I decided I wanted to go beyond the O-Line and look at the whole picture. This concept basically occurred to me when I realized I was no longer completely committed to BRADYHOKE4EVER. I love the guy, and think he can be successful, but our offense is approaching the ineptitude that our defense achieved under RR, and that is indefensible. But I want the facts before I judge.
I'm wading into some dark waters here. Some people are going to see this diary as an effort to indict (again) Rich Rodriguez. Right here it says that's not what I'm doing--in fact, RR is a great coach, and I wish he had succeeded at U-M. Others will see it as an apology for Al Borges; NO. Al Borges deserves no apologies. After Saturday, I am no longer in favor of giving AB another year. Don't get me wrong--I'm not calling for him to be fired, but I'm not against him being put out to pasture. If he's replaced, however, it better be with someone who has a similar philosophy, because, as this diary shows, transitions can SUCK.
Here are the raw numbers for Michigan:
|Yr||# of players||%||Walkons||Scholars||%|
On their own, these numbers seem almost self-evident: RR and The Process left us with a roster that is almost completely useless for Hoke's philosophical brand of football. But how do they compare with other schools, and how do they compare with other schools that have recently undergone a coaching staff transition?
Because I have a life and lots of work to do that I can only justify avoiding for so long, I only studied the data of five other schools (because they were easy to find with the Googles): Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Florida State. All of these programs have had coaching changes since 2008, and they are all relatively strong programs that compete for conference championships. Here are their breakdowns:
This is just for the scholarship players. While there is some variance across these five programs, there are some stark differences when comparing any of them to the Michigan roster. Only Texas A&M has a higher percentage of first-year players, but their second-year percentage is tiny. Ohio State is the only school to have more than two-fifths of their roster devoted to first and second year players, but at 54%, they are still 6.7 percentage points (12.4%) below Michigan. Here are the averages for the five, including the totals for players in their first two years and players and in their last three years:
|Yrs||Sample Five||2/3 totals|
Not surprisingly, players in their first and second years compose roughly 2/5 of the roster, with players in their third year or later accounting for about 60%. For Michigan, though, these numbers are drastically--and alarmingly--different. Over 60% of our roster is composed of guys who have been with the program for two years or less. Our roster is upside down. Here are the deltas for our roster versus the average:
|Yrs||Delta||% diff||2/3 delta||% diff|
Basically, we have almost 50% more youth and one-third less experience. We will require baby-sitting for another year.
What's even more striking is our dearth of experience on defense: we have just eight scholarship players in their fourth or fifth year in the program. Mattison has turned us into a competent defense despite lacking seasoned veterans, and next year he'll once again have just three fifth-year players.We have, on average, 28.4% more first-year players and 76.5% (!!!) more second-year players. The third year is the least significant difference, where we are about 19% behind the average. In years four and five the difference is vast, but nothing like year two.
Conclusions and Error Sources. We are ridiculously young. Our proportionally gigantic second-year class will be helping to even things out next year, but we'll still be real short on fiftth-year players.
For me, this gives me hope for Hoke. I like Brady; I think he's a genuine, good-hearted man with a teacher's heart. He's a strong recruiter, and he doesn't make the public misstatements that so often tripped-up his predecessor, but he must get this offense turned around or he'll face the same fate. To be honest, I'd rather have a good man as our head coach than a douche who can win games. The trick is finding both, and both you must be if you want to satisfy perhaps the most demanding fanbase in all of college football.
Obviously, youth alone is not enough to tell the story. But it obvious that Hoke inherited a roster that was ill-equipped to handle his demands. I belive that must be a factor when judging his performance.
The obvious error source is the small sample size of the average. That said, Wisconsin has a brand new coach, Ohio and A&M have second-year HCs, and Jimbo started at Florida State in 2010. Only Bo Pelini has more than four years on the job (started in '08). I suspect, if anything, these rosters are more youth-slanted than average, especially when you consider the impact of Ohio State's switch to the spread-no-huddle.
TL;DR - Michigan is extremely inexperienced, and only next year will we have a roster of normal proportions. Greg Mattison has made it work anyway. Hoke has a valid reason for under-performance so far, but starting next year that begins to fade. At this point, even accounting for youth, I can't stand behind Borges anymore.
We are quite a bit younger than OSU.
I won't argue that Hoke is nearly the scheme-and-execute coach that Urban Meyer is. I will say that Meyer inherited a much stronger roster, and that I don't want Urban Meyer to ever be the coach at Michigan.
You don't have to be patient; it's a free country. But impatience probably yields another painful transition. There aren't many coaches who can be immediately successful with a bad roster. I believe RR is one of the best scheme-and-execute coaches in college football, and look what happened with him.
I believe Hoke deserves at least another year. If he's replaced, it had better be with someone that is an absolute stud.
I just stated the obvious. At least he needs an entire new staff on the offense.
They also aren't trying to do a 180 in offensive philosophy for the second time in 6 years.
When Hoke's predecessor wanted to change the offense, he signed three 4+ star QBs in his first two full classes. One of them was the conference player of the year in the coach's third year. Taylor Lewan and Patrick Omameh were solid starters on the o-line.
When Jim Harbaugh (inheriting far less than Brady Hoke) wanted to build a different kind of offense than whatever Stanford ran before he got there, he signed Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin, and David DeCastro in his first class. All three were high quality players as RS freshmen.
If getting a different kind of player was so important, why did we sign Russell Bellomy (hardly an NFL prototype) in 2011 and then pass on QBs in 2012? Hoke has signed one 4+ star QB in 3+ classes. All our eggs are in the Shane Morris basket.
In 2011 we added Thomas Rawls at RB (seems unlikely at this point to make a big impact). Then signed Drake Johnson in 2012 and don't have a RB in the 2014 class at this late stage. Barring a position switch from Thomas or Peppers, all our eggs are in the Derrick Green basket (the only 4+ star guy in 3+ recruiting classes).
The tail end of the 2011 class and the 2012 class look like a total whiff when it comes to elite level players on the offensive line (virtually all of whom are capable of being at least competent when playing as RS freshman, as was the case with Martin/DeCastro, the two 2nd year guys at USC right now, Barrett Jones at Alabama, and guys like Long, Lewan, Molk, Backus, Hutchinson, Schilling, etc. who all played at that point here at UM).
Outside of Devin Funchess, no Hoke players are making a significant impact on the offense in year 3. That doesn't look like what Rodriguez or any other elite coach was getting out of his guys at the same stage (Clarett at OSU, Williams/Bush/White at USC under Carroll, Jones/Richardson/Lacy at Alabama, etc.). Unless Morris is as good as Denard Robinson or one of the young linemen is as good as Taylor Lewan, this team isn't going to magically get better on offense without those guys.
Yeah, I hate to agree but this is scary when you put it on paper. The offensive talent recruiting is obviously on the uptick given Green and Smith from last year as well as the kids coming in 2014, but the fact this team is basically Morris and bust after next year is pretty scary.
was to focus on the most glaring need - O-line. Bellomy is a decent player. And Morris is a stud. But again, you can focus all you want on the "skill" players, and to a degree there's a point in that, but as glaring as the depth problem is at skill positions (qb and rb and wr) it's twice as bad on the o-line. Brandon knew that when he got here, and Brady sure as heck could see it before he took the job. Of course, it's noteworthy that he's done a hell of a job in addressing that concern, but we should all realize that qb and o-lline are the toughest positions to play at young.
The o-line recruiting is subpar as well. Chris Bryant and the 2012 class are nowhere near as good as Lewan and Omameh were at the same point in their careers. Maybe you missed that part as well. The focus on the skill positions is merely to illustrate that using "We need to transition to a different system/style" as an excuse is bullshit when you are doing nothing to actually make that transition.
Saying Bellomy is a "decent player" (after seeing him put up one of the worst performances in school history as a RS freshman) and Morris is a "stud" (after seeing him complete a few passes and throw a pick against CMU) is just silly.
Don't forget the impact of Molk's injury in 2009.
"elite level players on the offensive line (virtually all of whom are capable of being at least competent when playing as RS freshman"
Tossing out a few names of quality second-year players over the last decade or two doesn't really make much of an argument, especially when the case you're trying to make is that "virtually all" can do it.
Absent UFRs for every team I'm not sure how to go about assessing the competency of offensive linemen, but most five-star linemen do not move to the top of their depth chart in their second year. About a third get double-digit starts that year, another third get one start or fewer, the rest are in between.
And we have exactly one of those guys. Kalis is the only five-star on the roster and he's in that middle-third group; the others are not "elite".
Every big time OL player at Michigan I can think of (award winners and 1st team all-conference) played as a 2nd year guy and wasn't a complete disaster. Baas didn't play until his RS sophomore season, but was 1st team All-Conference that year (so probably would have been something short of awful a year earlier).
Some times good guys don't play because the depth chart is strong, but can you name a guy who ended up being really good who was as bad as the current crop on our interior OL? USC is playing two class of 2012 guys on their line right now. They've had 4 different backs post a 100 yard game and Ty Isaac came pretty close as well.
I'm not going to sit here all day listing examples, but the best guys are ready if/when called upon in year two. I'm not going to do even more legwork when I've yet to hear anybody come up with a single counterexample (guy sucked terribly as a RS Frosh but went on to be an All-Conference type player).
The only thing I know for sure, because I've actually done the legwork to find out, is that teams with a lot of freshmen (redshirt or otherwise) on their line tend to badly underperform, and it's especially bad when the freshmen are on the inside. I think that probably means redshirt freshmen tend to not be good, but I don't have direct proof of that.
I'll let your main point stand for the moment because I don't have time to look into it and because Michigan, at least in my lifetime, hasn't often had to give a lot of playing time to linemen that "sucked" so I don't have any way to know if the guys we didn't see were good or not. Was Baas a good player his redshirt freshman year? Was Schofield, moving down from "elite" to "quality multi-year starter"? (I can't remember a single snap--I'm sure he never made a UFR that year.)
Which I think gets to an important point. It's great to find some stars, but to me that's a secondary goal in recruting. The primary goal, so obvious it doesn't usually even require mention, is to make sure you've always got competent players at every position. Which means having numbers, because everyone won't make it. And unless you get nothing but blue-chip recruits, which isn't the case for anyone really and certainly Michigan isn't at that point yet, it means always having some upperclassmen around, because mere mortals take a while to create the required body and master the position. If we eventually get two or three quality starters out of that class, it wasn't a whiff even if none turn out to be all-conference.
I think Hoke and Co. have done a very good job numbers wise on defense and the offensive line. They've also done a terrible job numbers wise at QB and RB (all our eggs in the Shane Morris and Derrick Green baskets).
Elite teams have elite players all over the place. Can you name an elite Michigan OL (or OL from another big school) who started as an underclassman and was atrocious? If you're argument is we'll be just okay when these guys grow up, then fine. I don't think that is good enough. It certainly isn't worth not giving one of the best coaches in college football a chance at a year with his first recruiting class as upperclassmen. What is the excuse next year if we aren't nearly as good as Stanford was in Harbaugh's 4th year?
Alabama won a national title in Saban's third year with Barrett Jones (RS freshman from his first class) and a JUCO transfer from his 2nd class starting on the OL. USC won a national title in 2004 with two second year guys on the OL (Kalil and Baker). USC has a competent to good run game this year with two class of 2012 guys starting on the OL (one a 3-star, 260 LB high school DE who was the definition of a project). Michigan had a not terrible offense in RichRod's third year with two of his recruits starting on the OL.
This team would be 10-1 AT A MINIMUM if Brady Hoke's recruiting was anywhere close to as good as it is believed to be based on Rivals rankings. If Funk was choosing between Lewan, Omameh (who is on an NFL active roster, BTW, despite people acting like he was short on talent last year), Washington/BWC, Barnum, and Schofield, would we be where we are right now? I don't think so.
Ever look at the Rivals ratings of the offensive talent Rodriguez had when he took over in '08?
His starters were about the same as the group we have now. If that's what matters, why did we go 3-9?
I didn't say a thing about Rivals rankings. If you think the 2008 offense should have been awesome then all I can say is I hope you don't bet on football games.
This team would be 10-1 AT A MINIMUM if Brady Hoke's recruiting was anywhere close to as good as it is believed to be based on Rivals rankings.
Maybe not big time, but started for first time as senior in 1997 and was all big ten. Didn't play as redshirt freshman
"but most five-star linemen do not move to the top of their depth chart in their second year. About a third get double-digit starts that year, another third get one start or fewer, the rest are in between."
Correct ...and most 5 star OL recruits NEVER become elite.
The ones that end up as ELITE OL... usually play, and play pretty competently, as RS Freshmen.
Let's look at last year's draft. First two rounds, for now. Here's what they were doing their second year. in draft order:
- Matt Kalil, USC, one start
- Riley Reiff, Iowa. Started 11 games, they moved him all over the place, LG, LT, RT.
- David DeCastro, Stanford. Started every game, honorable mention all-conference.
- Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin. Did not redshirt, was a starter his sophomore year.
- Mitchell Schwartz, California. Starter.
- Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State. Dominant player at a community college but only a two-star recruit coming out of juco. If he was a competent FBS-level player at that point, he apparently hadn't shown it yet.
- Cordy Glenn, Georgia. Starter.
- Jonathan Martin, Stanford, 11 starts.
- Jeff Allen, Illinois. Starter.
- Peter Konz, Wisconsin. 9 starts.
- Mike Adams, Ohio State, 4 starts.
- Keleche Osemele, Iowa State, 5 starts.
That's pretty convincing. The guy Kalil lost his competition to was also a first-round pick. When you get down towards the late second round, though, you start to see players only starting part-time that second year.
Kalis has 7 starts, Magnuson, 5. They're still in touch with this group, possibly, though maybe not the first-rounders. Bars and Braden are not.
It's maybe worth noting that almost all of these players were tackles (I should probably do this with just guards and centers, farther down the draft chart since that's where they all are. Maybe another day.). One of the more surprising things that came out of the various diaries was that inexperience at tackle doesn't seem to hurt as badly as on the interior. The data was really convincing on that point and I don't think anyone expected it.
"When you get down towards the late second round, though, you start to see players only starting part-time that second year."
I'd generally say any tackle not taken by the end of the first round wasn't an elite college tackle.
For guards/centers - if you last past the 2nd round, you weren't an elite college guard/center.
Fair enough, I should have asked for your definition of "elite".
There were only three elite guards and centers in last year's class and two elite tackles.
Chances are good you aren't going to get one of those guys in any given year. If getting one is our standard for adequate recruiting, I think it's the expectations that need adjusting.
One thing people keep missing is the involvement of seniors on the development of younger players, especially during the off-season. Effectively, more than half of all practices are lead by seniors. So when the senior class is decimated it really puts a damper on how much the younger players are going to learn.
Blaming the 2011 class on Hoke when he had, what? a week to hold together and close a crumbling class after RR was fired is ridiculous. Only slightly less ridiculous is writing off the guys who have had one year under their belt, many who spend that year redshirting.
Revealing, would be my adjective.
"Blaming the class" on Hoke is not the same as pointing out the fact that he didn't add a single OL who is capable of contributing to this team. Unlike his predecessor who found an unheralded kid who would go on to be 1st team All-Conference and make an NFL active roster (Omameh) and a 4-star recruit capable of staying in the starting lineup for more than 2 games (Barnum). In addition to the fact that the 2012 class is incapable of making a positive contribution at this point.
Nobody is writing off anybody. I'm pointing out that great players don't struggle like these guys are as RS Freshmen. Is any of these guys as good as Taylor Lewan was? NO! Jake Long? NO! Countless guys at Michigan and at other schools who excelled or were at least competent as 2nd year players? NO, AGAIN!
These guys will get better. No one is denying that. But there's no reason to suspect that anyone will be really good at football, no matter how many stars were next to their name coming out of high school. Without guys like that (especially when actual star players like Lewan aren't around any more), you aren't going to be anywhere near as good as the top teams in the country. Sorry for thinking that was our goal.
Most of those guys appeared compotent and to not struggle starting next to other veteran players. Schofield looks terrible this year and many people are saying Lewan actually isn't that great. How many times in Michigan history have we had this many young guys playing side by side on the OL/TE/FB positions?
Recruiting isn't like shopping at the grocery store. You don't just waltz in and pick up whatever you need. You need to build a relationship and make the kids feel comfortable with you and your staff. Again, Hoke had almost no time, and with the recruiting cycle these days, most quality kids, hell most kids period, are committed elsewhere by then. I'm not the one being "obtuse."
Also, picking out literally the two best LT's we've had in the past 20 years as the bar for what guys should do as RS FR OL is absurd.
Are you discounting the possibility that these OL recruits are in fact talented, but have really substandard OL coaching?
A good portion of the OL recruits Hoke has recruited were fairly highly-regarded by the various scouting services. What's more likely—that all of the scouting services were completely off the mark on all these guys, or that they have been horribly coached?
To be clear, I am not saying that having horrible OL coaching isn't a serious problem on its own. In fact, I think it's actually a more serious problem. Wisconsin's OL recruiting classes are annually in the 20s or 30s or worse nationally, yet they've been churning out road-grading beasts for almost 20 years now. That's got to be coaching and continuity of scheme.
And this completely ignores what I think it the elephant in the room that nobody is noticing: our S&C program might in fact suck.
When you have very large guys on the Michigan OL and DL getting repeatedly shoved backwards at the snap by opposing linemen on Akron or UConn or Iowa who aren't as highly ranked, I'm very skeptical it can be explained totally by poor OL technique. If you're going mano-a-mano and are never able to generate meaningful push, you're probably just not as strong as the other guy.
Remind me again, who chose to do a 180 in offensive philosophy for the second time in 6 years?
Youth can play on defense because you line up and go get someone basically
Youth struggles especially on offensive line because it is a highly technical position.
Thanks for putting this together - it definitely helps to quantify something we've known all along. It helps to further validate what Mattison has done while putting more fire on Borges. As Ohio has shown, good coaches can develop their players and overcome that youth gap. However, I think their players there in much better position for their offensive transition versus ours. I hope Hoke realizes that his job is tied to Borges. As a defensive-minded guy, he needs to have a top notch offensive coordinator that he can trust.
Another thing this data shows us: given the youth on the team and the caliber of talent Hoke has recruited, we should expect a massive leap up next year.
I have not seen any evidence on the offensive side.
True, but the situation on offense reminds me of the defensive transition from 2010 to 2011. Mattison deserves all the credit, but that defense likely would have taken a big step up no matter what given the youth on the roster. I see this offense doing the same thing. Frankly, I don't see how it could possibly get any worse than it is now.
We knew going into Hoke's tenure that "The Process" and the overall state of the depth chart at that time might put us in a position where we could regress this season. Unfortunately, that happened and this season has been extremely painful. Comparing this team to the stock market, I think we're approaching March 2009. Almost everyone is negative - we'll never get out of this: the sky is falling and we're destined for another ten years in the backseat to OSU and MSU. I don't see that happening - I think we're bottoming and we can expect sharp improvement from here. All the young talent that Hoke and company have brought in are set to improve dramatically with an offseason of experience, and I think Ron's data supports that.
Who are you talking about on the offensive side of the ball? Compare their production with other elite players at the same point in their respective careers and/or guys on the current team or who just graduated. Then explain to me how things get better when the All-American LT and the 2nd leading receiver in the B1G and our leading rusher, and the QB with the big arm who can also save the day with his feet aren't around any more.
I may be off, but I believe Gardner has another year. It isn't going to be great, but we don't walk right into Morris next year.
Gardner has another year, just talking longterm. Fans and even the coaching staff to some extent have acted like this group of players is the problem, but I am terrified thinking about a Borges offense that doesn't have Denard/Devin, Gallon/Hemingway/Roundtree saving our ass in multiple games (ND 2011, Sugar Bowl, Northwestern 2012, ND&Indiana 2013), Lewan/Omameh/Molk/Schofield.
I just don't see anywhere near enough young guys on this roster who look like those guys. Luckily the bar is pretty low (this team would be 10-1 at least with a just-competent offensive performance down the stretch), but the idea that we're headed for lofty heights seems pretty farfetched to me at this point.
Fair points, and I hope that we don't have to find out what a Borges offense looks like long-term. We've got a lot of young offensive line talent that will help us out long term. As nice as it is to have a Taylor Lewan emerge as a redshirt freshman, offensive linemen typically need more time to develop. The situation we have on the interior line where we have three underclassmen starting won't be happening two or three years from now. I'm with you on wide receiver concerns - I don't see anyone set to emerge there.
Long story short, with an adequate offense and a solid defense, I think we can be on MSU's level next year. OSU will take more time, but I think we can be there the year after that. A lot of the issues on offense are coaching related and hopefully they'll be addressed, but the youth points to the future direction of the program.
There are holes with Lewan, Schofield, and Gallon gone - no doubt about that. Gardner is back, and Fitz isn't a huge loss. Fitz was put in a horrible position with this year's line, but he hasn't looked like the back we saw in 2011 this year or last year. The interior line will take a big step up, as should Jake Butt. The early playing experience will help them down the road. All the young lineman will have another year in the system too. I'm not saying the offense will be dynamic, but with a very good defense we don't need them to be great.
I know the young guys will get better. Jake Butt looks like he'll be a very solid player down the road.
The question is, Where are the guys who look like stars? Where is the Denard Robinson as a true sophomore? At RB or QB. Where is the Taylor Lewan as a RS freshman? Or the Molk/Long/Schilling/Hutchinson/Backus as a RS freshman?
Those guys just aren't here. Funchess should be able to replace Gallon, but then who replaces Funchess? If nobody on the line is as good as Taylor Lewan, how do we get better without him? And what is our ceiling at that point?
While I agree the offense doesn't have to be superb to improve our fortunes (that's what's so frustrating about this year, we'd be 10-1 at least with just a little bit of a running game), I still think our ceiling looks low at this point. And even that low ceiling is propped up by a lot of maybes (Morris being good, Green being a lot better than he looks now, etc.).
People seem to be selling Chesson short. Seems like a nice 1,2 punch with him and the funch. Not to mention Darboh coming back from injury. Butt is a high ceiling tight end that's playing at a high level as a true frosh. Canteen already runs better routes than most college kids. Throw in Drake Harris and his pure athletic ability. Baby you got a stew brewin.
The fact that you specifically wrote RS*** frosh Taylor Lewan makes one wonder. How do you know there isn't a player of that caliber waiting? The offensive line was trash when Taylor was a frosh and they felt it better to rs him anyway.
While attempting to grade Derrick this season, how can you write him off as the future go to back. Mike Hart wouldn't be averaging 3.5 behind this oline. Without the summer s&c training, I'd say he's doing quite well. Moving the pile, hitting the crease (not hole) hard and laying the boom. What more could you ask for in terms of ability? He's got the goods.
We need a young talented head coach in waiting type for OC. Somebody who is in their 30s maybe early 40s who can coach QBs while also be content to just be the OC for 10 years until Hoke retires and he can take his place. I officially nominate Scot Loeffler and I don't want to hear about how his offense at VaTech isn't performing well.
So, you want to fire Borges because his offense at Michigan isn't performing well, and you want to hire Loeffler but don't want to hear about how his offense at VaTech isn't performing well.
"I don't want to hear about how his offense at VaTech isn't performing well."
Nice. It's that type of thinking that will get Michigan to multi-year mediocrity faster. Get a Michigan Man in here STAT. Who gives a @#$% if he has any genuine talent?
Can we talk about his time at Auburn?
Yes, the DC has done more with his youthful players than the OC has. Not sure if OC deserves another year to prove he's not completely incompetent. If he goes, then Brady needs to find someone that can run an offense that can beat B1G defenses and I could care less if he has any prior connections to Michigan.
You fools this is not a question of "Manball sucks" vs. "Shred is awesome". There is no such thing. Spread offenses do tend to work better when the talent is lacking, but Pro offenses work extremely well when the talent is there (see the NFL). "Manball" in my opinion is the act of taking 9 scholarship OL players and telling them to mash Louis Nix and Noah Spence because they need to, instead of adapting to younger players until they get older. There's some hubris associated with the term.
If we're going to fire Borges, I hope we get an O-coordinator that runs a pro-style offense. You know, a REAL pro-style offense. The one where there are 3-step drops and quick slants and bubble screens and, yes, Power A.
I don't think you can make any statistically meaningful conclusion comparing Michigan to just five other teams.
I'm not sure it's even necessary to do a comparison at all. It's pretty evident, isn't it, that it would be unusual for a team to have more first-years than it has third- and fourth-years combined? Unless you're leaving scholarships on the table or you've been hit with very heavy sanctions, you're giving out roughly the same number each year--sure there's year-to-year fluctuations, but not like that, and not for two years in a row.
"RR and The Process left us with a roster that is almost completely useless for Hoke's philosophical brand of football."
That we've once again changed systems means we have players around that are difficult to fit into roles in the new offense. That's a given, every time you change systems.
But that doesn't explain the raw numbers. Unless there were a lot of outbound transfers because of the change, which I don't remember happening, there should be a more-or-less ordinary number of upperclassmen on the roster. They'd be misfits, perhaps, but they'd exist.
This isn't The Process. This is something else.