I agree, which is why "no one else has interior line as young as ours" argument is misleading. You can argue that three of our starting line is quite young. That is a better argument, though again, that is of our own choosing.
Let's Try This Again!!! - Is Our O-Line Really That Young?
I try to do something nice...
Let's face it. The biggest whine around here outside of Fire Borges! Fire Funk! is moaning about how young our offensive line is. But is our o-line really exceptionally young compare to others? In order to figure out exactly how young our offensive line is against other top programs, I went and created a list of all starting offensive line and their class designation.
Trusting fellow that I am, I went to the most prominent depth chart list online - Rivals. I took the info from their nicely formatted charts and posted it here.
Little did I know, Rivals does not have the journalistic integrity of New York Times. Their depth charts were of varying quality, fact-wise.
So, here I am again, starting from scratch and wasting 3 hours of my free time for all you ingrates. I hope you find it educational and somewhat useful.
This time, I went to every OFFICIAL school websites and got the class and high school graduation information from them. If I still have wrong info, well, thems the breaks.
One more thing, some of you on the other diary pointed out how no one else had as young players as we did between the tackles. I think this is a specious argument. Schofield is going to be a guard in NFL, it would be to his benefit to play guard during his senior year. However, the coaches have determined that it is in our best interest to have him outside. If having experience in the middle is more important, Schofield would be playing guard, not tackle.
One more one more thing. I am not implying that having one Frosh and One Junior is the same as having two Sophs. The average (median is useless with such small samples) is used because it gives the best indication of the overall experience level that you can use to compare. The actual class info is posted so you can determine whether or not ours is young in comparison to others in your own criteria.
I went and looked up bios of all 125 starting offensive linemen for AP top 25 teams. As I was browsing through, I noticed that quite a few of the headshots in the bios featured mad flow. Let me share a few of my favorites.
#3. Best Dreads - Cyril Richardson, Baylor
#2. Most Unlikely Flow - Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
#1. No Explanation Necessary - Max Copeland, Missouri
As before, Freshman = 1, Redshirt Freshman = 1.5, Sophmore = 2, and so on
The average experience for all top 25 teams combined: 3.3
The average experience for the top 10 teams combined: 3.46
The top three teams with OL experience: Ohio (3.9), Oklahoma State (3.9), Oklahoma (3.8)
The teams with average experience of 3.0 or less: Auburn (2.5), South Carolina (2.9), LSU (2.5), Texas A&M (2.8), UCLA (2.2), Notre Dame (3.0), Texas Tech (2.9)
Is Our O-Line Really That Young?
Not really. Yes, they are younger than average at 2.8, but would be 3.3 (exact average of Top 25) if you replace Bosch and Kalis with Bryant and Miller. Even as is, there are about 1/3 of the teams in Top 25 who have equivalent or younger (in a few cases, SIGNIFICANTLY younger) offensive lines. I really don't think lack of experience explains away how Akron and UConn DT's pushed our OL around.
Complete List of Offensive Line Starters in AP Top 25
|Michigan||LT||Taylor Lewan||2009||RS SR||4.5||2.8|
|Michigan||C||Graham Glasgow||2012||RS SO||2.5|
|Michigan||RG||Kyle Kalis||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Michigan||RT||Michael Schofield||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Alabama||LG||Arie Kouandjio||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Alabama||C||Ryan Kelly||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Alabama||RG||Anthony Steen||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Alabama||RT||Austin Shepherd||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|FSU||LT||Cameron Erving||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.4|
|FSU||C||Bryan Stork||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oregon||LT||Tyler Johnstone||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.4|
|Oregon||LG||Mana Greig||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oregon||C||Hroniss Grasu||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oregon||RG||Hamani Stevens||2008||RS JR||3.5|
|Ohio||LT||Jack Mewhort||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.9|
|Ohio||C||Corey Linsley||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Ohio||RG||Marcus Hall||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||LG||David Yankey||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Stanford||C||Khalil wilkes||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||RG||Kevin Danser||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||RT||Cameron Fleming||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Baylor||LT||Spencer Drango||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.7|
|Baylor||LG||Cyril Richardson||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Baylor||C||Stefan Huber||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Baylor||RG||Desmine Hilliard||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Baylor||RT||Kelvin Palmer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Clemson||LT||Brandon Thomas||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.5|
|Clemson||LG||Kalon Davis||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Clemson||C||Ryan Norton||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Clemson||RG||Tyler Shatley||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Clemson||RT||Shaq Anthony||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Missouri||LT||Justin Britt||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.4|
|Missouri||LG||Mitch Hall||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Missouri||RG||Max Copeland||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Missouri||RT||Mitch Morse||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Auburn||LT||Greg Robinson||2011||RS SO||2.5||2.5|
|Auburn||LG||Alex Kozan||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Auburn||RG||Chad Slade||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma||LT||Tyrus Thompson||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.8|
|Oklahoma||LG||Adam Shead||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma||C||Gabe Ikard||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oklahoma||RT||Daryl Williams||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Miami||LG||Jon Feliciano||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Miami||C||Shane McDermott||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||LT||Corey Robinson||2010||RS JR||3.5||2.9|
|South Carolina||LG||AJ Cann||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||C||Cody Waldrop||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|South Carolina||RG||Ronald Patrick||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||RT||Brandon Shell||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|LSU||C||Elliott Porter||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|LSU||RG||Trai Turner||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|LSU||RT||Jerald Hawkins||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Oklahoma State||LT||Parker Graham||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.9|
|Oklahoma State||LG||Brandon Webb||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oklahoma State||C||Jake Jenkins||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RG||Chris Grisbhy||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RT||Daniel Koenig||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||LT||Jake Matthews||2010||RS JR||3.5||2.8|
|Texas A&M||LG||Jarvis Harrison||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||C||Mike Matthews||2012||SO||2|
|Texas A&M||RG||Germain Ifedi||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Texas A&M||RT||Cedric Ogbuehi||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||LT||Austin Wentworth||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.4|
|Fresno State||LG||Alex Fifita||2012||SO||2|
|Fresno State||C||Lars Bramer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Fresno State||RG||Cody Wichmann||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||RT||Justin Northern||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Michigan State||LT||Donovan Clark||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.3|
|Michigan State||LG||Blake Treadwell||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||C||Travis Jackson||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Michigan State||RG||Dan France||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||RT||Jack Conklin||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Northern Illinois||LT||Tyler Loos||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.5|
|Northern Illinois||LG||Aidan Conlon||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||C||Andrew Ness||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||RG||Jeared Volk||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Northern Illinois||RT||Matt Krempel||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|UCLA||C||Jake Brendel||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCLA||RT||Torian White||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Louisville||C||Jake Smith||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Louisville||RG||Kmran Joyer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Louisville||RT||Ryan Mack||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCF||LT||Torrian Wilson||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.7|
|UCF||C||Joey Grant||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCF||RT||Chris Martin||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||LT||Evan Finkenberg||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.7|
|Arizona State||LG||Jamil Douglas||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Arizona State||C||Kody Koebensky||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||RG||Vi Teofilo||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Arizona State||RT||Tyler Sulka||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Notre Dame||LT||Zack Martin||2009||RS SR||4.5||3|
|Notre Dame||LG||Chris Watt||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Notre Dame||C||Nick Martin||2011||JR||3|
|Notre Dame||RG||Steve Elmer||2013||FR||1|
|Notre Dame||RT||Ronnie Stanley||2012||SO||2|
|Wisconsin||LT||Tyler Marz||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.5|
|Wisconsin||LG||Ryan Groy||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Wisconsin||C||Dallas Lewallen||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Wisconsin||RG||Kyle Costigan||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Wisconsin||RT||Rob Havenstein||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas Tech||LT||Le'Raven Clark||2011||RS SO||2.5||2.9|
|Texas Tech||LG||Alfredo Morales||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Texas Tech||C||Jared Kaster||2012||SO||2|
|Texas Tech||RG||Beau Carpenter||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas Tech||RT||Rashad Fortenberry||2009||SR||4|
Well it's not entirely of our own choosing. We have almost no upperclassmen. There are always going to be busts, and this, along with injuries, is why coaches recruit enough guys to have backups.
That was our choice too. I don't know why, but we chose not to recruit offensive linemen in numbers adequate to fill out a roster. Attrition at the position might have been a little higher than normal but even average attrition would have left a hole (and proper risk management means not simply assuming you're going to have average-or-better retention).
Are you talking about the Hoke staff? Hoke recruited MANY offensive linemen.
No, that was the prior regime. We responded appropriately by sending them packing.
But it was self-inflicted--by the program, if not by the current staff. It wasn't some sort of natural disaster or terrible luck.
Here's a question: Why didn't Hoke recruit any linemen in 2011? I know he had only 3 weeks, BUT, he recruited 10 guys and none of them were on the offensive line. Looking at the depth chart, he had to see this year coming (and realistically, think it could be worse because Lewan might not be around) and yet he spent his time recruiting a bunch of guys who aren't here anymore. He couldn't have pulled some 3 star players from other schools as he did with guys like Bellomy, Carter or Heitzman?
I agree, this is partially/mainly on Rodriguez, but I'm curious: Did he try to do so and was rebuffed by everyone he contacted? Or did he just not think it would matter and decided to load up in the next two years?
I don't recall, but I'm not really gonna hold that three week period against him. I think you take what you can get at that point.
Thanks for the corrections. To me the data bears out the claim that many have been making that most Olinemen don't come into their own until about three years into whatever system they're playing in. Out of all those players listed for the top 25, there are a grand total of 2 true Freshmen starting and 5 RS Fresmen. So, 1.6% of starting Olinemen in the top 25 are true Freshmen and 4.0% are RS Frosh.
Michigan has one true Freshman and one RS Freshman starting. Nobody in the top 25 has two Freshmen (whether true or RS) starting on their Oline.
Still suffers from the same flaws - an average of class levels isn't a good comparison point. Pointing out a single team with perhaps comparable experience -UCLA! How has RB production gone since they started PAC-12 play? Awesome. And their record is 6-2.
The hope this year was that Jack Miller could be competent at center. So an online built around that assumption got most of the reps in fall camp and played the first few games. What we have now is a unit with limited experience and practice reps making mistakes as would be expected. The whiners are those who fail to recognize the reality for what it is and instead want unicorns and rainbows.
Can see why nits a good idea to stay away after a game like that
I am pleased by your quadruple post.
The data is nice. While I don't agree with the method as far as proving an accurate picture, I think it gets to a general theme. That general point is that Michigan is younger across the whole line, despite 2 RS-SRs, than everyone in the top 25 save 3 teams that also have pretty bad OLs.
I still think this is just raw data, which is pretty much what the OP intended without coming to a solid conclusion. He, to a degree, admits the flaws in his analysis, and this is good enough to a degree to get a feel for what is going on. What needs to be understood though is that this scale only goes from 1 to 4.5. So even if a team is a 3 compared to Michigan's 2.8, across the general curve that college football probably has using this logic, that's likely a significant difference. It's likely not accurate to say it's only 0.2 different, it's more accurate to say something like a percentile, and I bet Michigan is in the bottom 10th percentile within college football, even with regards to using the entire line and taking a simple mean value.
That being said, I stand by a statement I said in the last post. I think it's much easier to prove experience than it is inexperience one way or the other. It's easy to look at OSU and come to the conclusion that they have been around the block, it because more cloudy with inexperience because you're trying to take into account playing time, at what level did they come in, what's around them, etc.
A lot of people are saying average is not good, yet I have not seen any better alternative suggested. If there is one, I will use it. When it comes to sports stats, the simplest stat is usually the most useful.
I would say if you think there are only three other comparably young olines, you are biased against having experienced tackles. Which is interesting as every NFL coach's favorite complaint is about lack of experience/talent at the tackle position.
I'd propose that the reason tackles command big pay in the NFL is that they're a scarce commodity. It's not that the position is harder to learn, more demanding mentally, or even that it's more important--it's that it requires a physical presence that's very rare. Especially the weak-side tackle, there's more 1-1 responsibility and proportionally less combo work.
I think that's why Schofield is playing tackle even though he doesn't project to play there as a pro. It's not that the staff thinks RT is more important; it's that he has the most tackleish body of the available choices.
Put another way: the learning curve is steeper on the interior (especially at C where you're responsible for line calls) but the barriers to entry are higher on the outside.
I don't see the necessity of giving up a year of eligibility after saturday. Braden, Bars and Bryant couldn't earn their scholarships protecting his? Hindsight is 20/20 but it sure would be nice to have BWC with Pipkins out and Black getting reps inside. These sort of decisions are big. That is why the coaches get the money.
We could play a year or two older on the inside. We are not which makes these we are young arguments harder to swallow. Thanks go to Glasgow for keeping Kugler off the field.
Bonus Comment: I love Max Copeland. Awesome is as awesome does.
Thanks for the hard work.
UCLA's line experience this year looks like what we will probably be fielding next year. That provides a glimmer of hope, especially when you consider how much of a veteran defense we will have.
Thank you for your work, unfortunately there is no single indicator. Maybe it's been hashed and re-hashed but when you aggregate your entire OL (including Lewan) that brings the entire OL average up, yes, but ignores that our interior OL is young (and where we've experienced most of our problems). The OL really is 5 positions.
Second, when looking at youth alone, that ignores factors such as: are we starting a freshman walk-on at center or are we starting a freshman 5-star recruit? If recruiting services are to be believed, then the latter should be significantly better than the former.
Finally, how many of the young OLs in the Top 25 are currently on a team with a stable coaching staff and style? We have not been stable since 2007 and I wonder if that contributes. Someone asserted previously that our current OL coach has busted because he didn't develop the linemen from the Rich Rod era, but completely ignore that they were recruited for an entirely different style of play, blocking, etc.
All in all, I feel there are a ridiculous amount of variables and interactions between those variables. I'll be curious to see if there is marked improvement next season (or even in the bowl game, hopefully).
Man, people need to calm down a bit. He put the raw data up there, and there are way too many responses that smack of sticking fingers in ears and screaming "I DISAGREE! YOUR METHODS ARE FLAWED!" All the info is there for anyone else to take a crack at it, if you so vehemently disagree with what he did with it.
People can disagree with his methods and conclusions, but there is a lot of dismissing pretty straightforward, basic information simply because they don't want to agree with it.
Apropos of nothing, anyone else getting Depends ads with Tony Siragusa on here? What have I been Googling?
I at least hope you weren't doing it at work.
Of course! I do all my best Googling at work.
I posted this in your other diary but I was way late to the party
"1. Averaging isn't the metric I would use. You don't put 5 guys in a blender and pore the puree into molds to make 5 identical guys. OL is a weakest link scenario, so it should really be number of freshman and RS Fr or first year starters.
2. Even if you averaged, there should be a pretty significant leap from FR to RS FR, slightly smaller from RS FR to RS SO, etc where RS JR and RS SR are pretty close. In other words the learning curve for OL is steep at first and tapers off.
That said, youth doesn't look to be the only issue with our line. I don't have any insider info, but Funk hasn't really shown much of anything as far as developing players, and the sample size is getting pretty large.
3. I would also argue you need to look at a larger sample size and look at the correlation between age/experience and success. Just examining the top programs is kind of like saying some of the forbes richest list never graduated HS and drawing the conclusion that not having a diploma is irrelevant to success. <You somewhat addressed this in the new diary>
That said, youth doesn't look to be the only issue with our line. I don't have any insider info, but Funk hasn't really shown much of anything as far as developing players, and the sample size is getting pretty large."
Anyway, thanks for taking the time, the data is always interesting even if I don't completely agree with the method.
Thanks for using your free 3 hours to collect all this information.
Did anyone look at ohio's list and grin knowing that only one offensive lineman will be returning next year.
I took the liberty of looking at your data from a slightly different persective. As I noted earlier, having a SR guy is great, but it doesn't really help that much if the guy next to him busts and/or gets beat. As has been pointed out several times, all it takes is one guy to blow up a play.
So, what I did was went through and added number of guys on the line younger than SO, and again for guys younger than JR. I also added a feelingsballish number rating for percentage likelihood one guy blowing an assignment or getting beat. The admittedly handwaving methodology is this:
FR=40% gets beat or misses assignment
SO or RS SO=20%
JR = 15%
>JR = 10%
They're multiplied together for the aggregate percentage of bust (technically the inverses were multiplied and then inversed).
|Team||Position||Class||Value||AVG||No. <SO||No.<JR||Bust %|
|South Carolina||LT||RS JR||3.5||2.9||1||2||62%|
|South Carolina||LG||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||C||RS FR||1.5|
|South Carolina||RG||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||RT||RS SO||2.5|
|Oklahoma State||LT||RS SR||4.5||3.9||0||0||41%|
|Oklahoma State||LG||RS SR||4.5|
|Oklahoma State||C||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RG||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RT||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||LT||RS JR||3.5||2.8||1||2||62%|
|Texas A&M||LG||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||RG||RS FR||1.5|
|Texas A&M||RT||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||LT||RS SR||4.5||3.4||0||2||53%|
|Fresno State||C||RS SR||4.5|
|Fresno State||RG||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||RT||RS SO||2.5|
|Michigan State||LT||RS SO||2.5||3.3||1||2||62%|
|Michigan State||LG||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||C||RS JR||3.5|
|Michigan State||RG||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||RT||RS FR||1.5|
|Northern Illinois||LT||RS JR||3.5||3.5||0||2||53%|
|Northern Illinois||LG||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||C||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||RG||RS SR||4.5|
|Northern Illinois||RT||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||LT||RS SR||4.5||3.7||0||1||48%|
|Arizona State||LG||RS JR||3.5|
|Arizona State||C||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||RG||RS SO||2.5|
|Arizona State||RT||RS JR||3.5|
|Notre Dame||LT||RS SR||4.5||3||1||2||67%|
|Notre Dame||LG||RS SR||4.5|
|Texas Tech||LT||RS SO||2.5||2.9||0||3||59%|
|Texas Tech||LG||RS SO||2.5|
|Texas Tech||RG||RS JR||3.5|
Though I do like your methodology better. And what this shows is that you can relatively easily use this same data to conclude that Michigan is in the company of one (UCLA). And I'd argue, even with an "objective" methodology that was used by the OP, Michigan is still considerably young by any statistical measure based on the data set.
So to conclude, Michigan is likely very young on the OL relative to other teams, youth is probably a realistic issue for this team (especially considering the lack of other options), and yet they are placed very near the other outlier by most advanced metrics that calculate the ability of an offense. That's not saying that youth is the only factor, I just honestly don't understand how there are people here actually claiming that youth isn't an issue at all, looking at this data, and saying "see, I told you!"
It's like they claimed mixing blue and yellow paint would make red, then mixed the paints together, it turned green, and they said "see, it's red!"
Most people I see recognize it as an issue, but think that it can't possibly by the only one. Game planning and player development play a major part in it as well, and we've certainly seen enough evidence to question both of those things with the current offensive staff.
It seems everyone who staunchly defenders Hoke believes that the people questioning him and Borges think that youth has no impact on the offensive line, and that the people questioning Hoke and Borges think that his supporters believe he's doing nothing wrong and can't help but be screwed over by the previous regime.
And who's claiming coaching isn't an issue? Almost everyone (except for a few on either extreme) is acknowleding both youtufulness and coaching are part of the problem. The distinction is in trying to place which seems to be most important, something this data cannot provide.
This is the best blend of raw statistical nerdness and honest to goodness football that I have ever seen. And its true. Busts ruin plays. Inexperience leads to more busts. I'd still rather tie this in to starts rather than years, though. Nothing makes you better at playing in games than playing in games.
"It only takes one bust to blow up a play" is an important truth, I suppose, but it misses something important as well, which is that often the guy next to you is able to pick up your half-bust. I don't think the weakest-link theory is quite right. It's a lot harder to isolate and target a single weak lineman. But three of them side by side? You can attack that, and State did.
Starts by OL position prior to 2013 (going from left-to-right across line)
UCLA: 13, 27, 14, 0 14
Michigan: 35, 0, 0, 0, 23
and you didn't even need charts. Well done.
Then how do you explain the fact that UCLA running backs averaged 5.5 yards per carry LAST YEAR??? Our RB's are averaging 3.8.
I think Michigan's line last year is an interesting comparison to this year.
From what I can tell, Lewan and Schofield are more or less the same players they were last year. All you've done is swap out the three interior spots, essentially trading age for (perceived) talent.
There is the question of whether a very young interior line negates the possibility of having a successful offense. You've shown that it does not.
There is, though, also the question of whether having a very young interior line makes having a successful offense unlikely.
So we're very young (compartively) on the OL, and that highly correlates with not being good. It's helpful to see that laid out, though we basically knew this. But Hoke also knew this -- what did he do to fix it?
The OL "should" have been RS SR, RS SO, RS SO, RS FR, RS SR. That's not bad, esp since that RS FR was supposedly (and hopefully will be) a super stud, so that "should" have worked. A main backup was also a RS SO (not counting a RS JR, who got hurt)
But instead, the staff missed (at least as of now) on the ability and readiness of ALL of the RS SO and RS FR (super stud or otherwise).
And I know UM traditionally has taken very few JC OLs, but they have occasionally taken JCs. If this OL was an area of such concern, then it would have been worthwhile to expend the energy to find a 21-year old or two who could step in & get through the academic process. But we didn't do that,; Hoke must have thought we would be OK.
So Hoke & co had a plan, and it didn't work. That's on them, and unless the player development gets better (e.g., those RS SOs who currently aren't working finally do work as RS JRs), it won't be much better next year.
The youth of Michigan's interior line stands out far more than than anything in his past (at least as far as his career with Hoke). The youth of Michigan's interior line is very likely a big problem. Is it the only cause of Michigan's failures? I don't know, but (again) it is likely a big problem and likely the most significant problem.
But I would mention that even it is the most significant problem, we should be better than we are, and that ultimately falls on the coaches.
But I'd say that while coaching is certainly in for some blame, there is no way this line was even going to be average. No hindsight either, I said this a year ago. But, no, we should not be incapable of running a single play well.
Let's not forget that the 1997 team had Chris Floyd in the backfield to help pick up blitzes. I think it's safe to assume that Michigan may see a steady diet of Blitzes. I think it may be unfair to put all the blame on the O-Line. They are also rebuilding the FB and TE positions after the R-Rod years.
When Kalis commited to Michigan the analysis was "college football ready". There were descriptions of Kalis the Detroyer who already had a belt of DT scalps. I also heard in fall practice that the staff felt he could have played last year. So a guy who was determined physcially ready 2 years ago is buried on the bench after increasing levels of catastrophic failure.
Is it possible that Borges is demanding a level of detail that is only possible by players who have been in the system for several years? Could Kalis succeed if the zone, combo blocks, and 2nd level decisions were replaced with "HULK DESTROY MAN IN FRONT OF ME!!!"
Borges appears to me to be an inflexible arrogant man who does things his way. We see the insanity of play calling as he keeps to his orthodoxy. Perhaps the same thing is happening at the line level where he is insisting young linemen do things they are not prepared to do.
I find it hard to believe that Kalis is not physically ready to root out a DT from Akron if you told him to kill the guy in front of him. The stats from the big picture are very useful. But the stats of our most talented young linemen might also shed light.
So, your logic is this:
1) You heard (probably from people on the internet) that Kalis was College Ready. Therefore, he must be.
2) Kalis hasn't played as well as the folks on the internet told you he would.
3) That proves that Borgess has done a poor job.
I agree that if you told Kalis to kill someone in front of him, and the dude tired to go one on one, he might do OK. (Probably did well in the one on one drills in camp. Espcially since our DL isn't lights out.) The problem is that DL don't just stand there. They twist and they stunt. Or, the guy in front of you at the snap drops and the outside LB is now the guy you have to hit. Not to mention that the center makes line checks that change what you have to do from the huddle to the line to the snap. You have to find the right guy and block him the right way. It is wicked hard and if you goof up, the whole play is probably shot to hell.
It is not just a question of physical skill - it is being able to see, hear, process and move without thinking. This takes time and, more than anything else, experience. Kalis will be fine, but not right now.
You can blame Borges for a lot, but not for the OL not being able to stop blitzes from Max Bullough (a senior who has tons of starts and will be playing on Sunday next fall.)
Kalis was touted pretty highly as close to college ready, and he's had a year and 8 games to improve....and he's a mess. That's not exactly encouraging. It's not like I don't think he'll ever be good, he certainly could be, but he was scouted by people who do that for a living, they all thought he could be succesful rather early. They may have been wrong, but with everything said about him by just about every scout out there, it's ridiculous to say that his play this year is anything but a dissapointment.
Second, yeah, you kinda can put some blame on Borges. Not all of it, he's not in an optimal situation, but 8 games into the season and you don't know how to deal with a blitz? If it was a few mistakes, sure, it happens when the O-line is young, but they weren't making mistakes, they looked like they didn't have a clue. Part of that is on the guy whose supposed to teach them what to do.
Sadly, the number for our OL next year will be even lower, despite the experience the interior linemen are getting this year, when we swap out Lewan and Schofield for (likely) Braden and Magnuson. It isn't very realistic to expect a plus O-line until 2015.
Never mind -- beaten.