There are a ridiculously large number of terms you left out of the equation and a lot are ridiculously hard to put a number on. Just to start...
Cohesion of the defense
Attitude of the players
Teams the defense are playing against
There are a ridiculously large number of terms you left out of the equation and a lot are ridiculously hard to put a number on. Just to start...
Cohesion of the defense
Attitude of the players
Teams the defense are playing against
sure, I was just trying to get a conversation started. I'm sure everyone has their own definition of this equation or inequality.
I think cohesion is what I meant by the carryover system on defense that we've not had for a few years now.
Also, I think attitidude will be a dynamic variable depending on how the season unfolds.
Plus, (hopefully)fewer turnovers on offense due to non-freshman QBs, leading to superior filed position and longer rests for defensive players.
This is truly what killed our season last year. We were 115th in the country in turnover margin (or maybe just turnovers, not sure which). I've said before that turnovers cost us at least 3 games last year (Iowa, Purdue, OSU) but it could be argued that number is higher (MSU, Illinois).
If we're going to succeed this year, we're going to win a lot of shootouts. As long as our offense is efficient and takes care of the ball, we will be fine.
> Cohesion of the defense
He already said "carryover of the system". Same thing
>Attitude of the players
Are you saying 2009 players had poor attitude?
>Teams the defense are playing against
This year's schedule is actually harder. More difficult road games, Cousins and TP are a year older.
Rich Rod was quoted before saying that frequently the team came out of halftime "flat." I guess that could be interpreted as having a bad attitude.
being overwhelmed by the changes made by the other team at half-time or just being damn tired since they were on the field a whole lot due to turn-overs.
I think our guys had great attitude and I would never question their effort unless I had SPECIFIC proof otherwise.
This pretty much backs it up:
SCORE BY QUARTERS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total -------------------- --- --- --- --- --- --- Michigan............ 128 101 48 77 0 - 354 Opponents........... 78 86 85 75 6 - 330
How about playing with half a playbook due to team (and QB youth), and therefore allowing other teams to be able to make half time adjustments?
Suh seems to claim Nebraska's D will be better this year, another year of the system, another year of Pelini's recruits....same thought process can be used for Michigan.
I disagree with it completely. We had 3 dynamic guys in SB, DW, and BG but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And more often than not, this link was Mike Williams.
Also, our linebacking was virtually non-existent. That will improve greatly this fall.
I'd rather take 11 so-so guys than 3 studs, a few decent guys, and a couple sieves.
but you beat me to it.
hopefully someone can step up to fill Williams' spot and that player's youth will not be too detrimental to a position that is so heady.
I don't like to single out any one player but Williams was IMO the hardest guy to watch last year. If he can step up this fall and deliver, then I will gladly take a swift kick in the proverbial nuts from him. I do believe he will lose his starting job, though.
Brian wrote a post to say this exact thing early in the off-season.
edit: I mean the "chain" part, not so much Williams.
typically for a defense to do well a couple superstars and the remainder being underperformers is a worse case when compared to a team full of average players with no major underperformers. It seems like a major weakness hurts you more than a major stud because there is so much ground to cover that O's can gameplan against the good player/unit. The problem is this 2010 defense could have a huge weakness in the secondary (man have we been saying that for a long time). If the back 4/5 can step up and prove to be average then 2010 should definitely be a step up.
I think Overall, the team will be better. The depth at secondary (as I read in HTTV!) is paper thin. In fact, the HTTVmagazine is thicker than our depth. Hey, have you all scooped up the new HTTV mag?
I think our LB play will be better this year, and thus will put us above and beyond 2009. (Hope I didn't jinx it!)
Roh, Martin and Van Bergen are all solid players and have played together. Campbell also played some last year and has spent a full year with the other three. So in terms of the defensive line I hope that the sum value veteran players on the line outweighs the loss of Graham.
Linebackers: Mouton and Ezeh (plus Roh when we only have 3 down linemen) can only get better. They have been under the tutelage of our DC personally (he handles LBs now) and have had two years in his system. I assume we will see improvement here.
DBs: We will have up to 5 DBs on the field on some downs (3-3-5) and those DBs have all had two years on the team, either they played last year or they're coming off a redshirt. Dorsey was the only true freshman expected to start and he won't be wearing Maize and Blue. One again, players who have two years in the system here.
Now the 2010 Defense might not be earth shattering, but it if it is worse than the 2009 defense, i'm buying stock in Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork. Last year the defense was 2 amazing seniors and one solid senior. If we manage to degree despite the fact we return most of our players, we have a problem.
Give us some updates, bro.
If our safety play and LB play is even halfway-decent across the board ( meaning nobody does anything bone-headed but nothing spectacular either), it will be a HUGE improvement this year.
Can you even imagine what BG could have done if our secondary could have held water a second or two longer ?
Kovacs at deep safety limited us in a number of ways, it's the reason our corners played 10 yeards off the ball. But he could read the play. Much better fit where he's at now. CG will be tentative early, but will come around as the B10 season starts
Better Roh, Van Bergen, Campbell, and Martin collectively help to offset the enormous loss of BG. Sagesse, Banks, and Patterson will make their plays. And I am only able to sleep at night because I've convinced myself the LB's will know where to go this year. +1 for cohesion
I think JT Floyd can play. The other DBs have talent. And I hesitate to post this, but Warren wasn't quite the world beater everyone supposed. He was good, but teams avoided him only because everyone else was open (and some when right at him when they wished)
I think even Warren (and the NFL scouts) would agree that last year was very disappointing.
A defensive scheme but can't define it to a master level. Although, I can recognize and define Attitude on defense. That's what Im looking for in our defense 2010.
We lost 1 All American in Graham and he made plays in abundance, he will be greatly missed. Warren and Brown had good seasons but are not anywhere near the class of Brandon Graham, and I think can be reasonably replaced, without a huge dropoff
I think the argument can be made that the improvement of the other 8 starters plus improvements from the backups, can more than replace Graham, Brown and Warren.
I second the turnover thought. This team should commit less turnovers. And, hopefully, cause a few more as well. This alone will make the team vastly improved
Eleven guys that know their position and plays mistake free football,if this (2010) team can do that, then they should be in good shape.
Well that's my wish.
It pains me to say it, but if we are marginally better defensively this year it will be a major victory.
If the defense remains as epically bad as it was in 2009, but the offense improves from 2009 to 2010 the way it did from 2008 to 2009, Michigan will win 9 games this year.
It's unlikely the offense will improve that much again, although I think they'll be very good. I'm expecting 6-7 wins, anything more is gravy.
Not one, two, or three players will ever make or break this defense. Yes we are losing some solid playmakers on "D" but we have some good talent to fill those hole, all be it young talent.
As it has been posted on this thread already, better play will come with another year getting familiar with the system itself, which leads to more confidence and better attitude. LB's have no where to go but up.
Don't forget this is Michigan we are talking about, we will always have top level talent to fill holes as players graduate etc.... the problem came from 3 different D Coordinators in 3 years and a lack of depth.
Doesn't it feel good that we are finally walking out of the darkness into the light! The worst is behind us fellas, all thats left is to prove it on the field.
Sept 4th has never been closer!!!!
If you look at talent alone, our 2008 defense should have been pretty awesome. And there were parts of it that performed well.
Are we going to miss Brandon Graham? Absolutely, you lose a guy like that and you are going to feel it.
Are we going to miss Donovan Warren? Yes, our secondary no matter how you cut the cookie is going to be weak, and he would have been an improvement over what we'll see this year.
However, as a unit, these guys will play better.
First off, I give you the progression of the Michigan Defense under Rich Rodriguez.
Year 1 - Scott Shafer - nothing went right. We did pretty much everything wrong, save we had a dominant d-line with leftover talent that dominated up front while the back 7 let us down. As a unit, this was our worst defense. This unit consistently missed tackles, messed up assignments, and wasn't cohesive in any real fashion whatsoever.
Year 2 - Greg Robinson - Our defense wasn't much to write home about. Miraculously (yes, Graham counts as a miracle because he's such a beast) we won a lot of battles up front. We were torched in the seccondary and our LBs missed assignments and altogether you didn't see a lot of creativity in the defensive playcalling. However, you didn't see players fuck up the fundementals. We tackled very well when we were there to make the play.
If you look back to the press around last year's offseason, this was the big focus of that year is to go back to the fundementals and to keep us from missing tackles. When our Defense could get close enough to the play, they didn't miss too much, and notably rarely - if ever - missed easy tackles.
Now, let's take a big look at what was said about this offseason. The focus is now a lot more towards the mental - bringing that good performance to every play in the form of eliminating those mental errors and mistakes, getting everyone 100% on board with the playbook and bringing more of that book in.
The scheme is migrating to what is nominally a 3-3-5. While it is said this is not a defense particularly familiar to Greg Robinson, it IS the sort of thing he should do well with particularly given what we have available in terms of talent and where the players are really at. First, remember that Greg Robinson was known for specializing in the secondary - while we don't have a ton of on-paper listed talent in the secondary, I'm willing to bet that a lot of the guys will suprise a little this year. Second, by focusing more on the lighter guys, you have a lot more flexibility on your end, even if it can make you a bit weaker against a power front. Given that we look a lot more formidable with 3 big guys than 4 in terms of talent of the field, I think this is a good move. Finally, that flexibility lets you move your guys around more easily and try to set the tone as a defense and make the offense react to you rather than trying to play catchup with what a modern fast-paced college offense is trying to do.
Now, a little more on the scheme - as I touched on a bit earlier - I think this provides a good bit more adaptability given that a lot of the talent we have this year is more med-sized. This is how I imagine our defense based 100% on speculation:
Line: RVB, Will Campbell, Mike Martin - that's a pretty solid front given that it's safe to assume Will Campbell will up his game.
LBs: Leach, Ezeh, and Roh. Basically 2 bigger slots amd a faster slot. All 3 will be pretty involved in the pass rush, but especially Roh and Ezeh.
Now comes to the 5 - my guess is on a base set you'll see 2 true CBs, a free safety type and two strong safety types on a base set, with one or both of the strong safety types being the sort of guy that's not that much smaller than a quick linebacker. This basically gives you the 8 guys in the box if necessary with a bit more speed and flexibility, making you stronger against the pass game.
In essence, it will look a lot like a 3-4, where the 4th linebacker could be either one of those "safeties".
This can work very well in a college setting if you can win up front. If our D-Line has another fairly big year and can reasonably draw some double teams and create some real disruption, this can be tough to play against even if the individual players in the secondary aren't themselves too strong. If one of your guys even draws a double team up front, you are doing ok and are on basically even terms. If two manage to pull it off, your defense is in theory adaptable enough to blow up almost any play.
Still, I think our yards allowed total isn't going to be pretty. You don't have the outright power to shut down most Big Ten offenses. However, you should be able to play pretty agressively and still not give up too many big plays, enough such that your offense can win the game and you can eventually get a lot of opposing teams into bad enough situations that they can't get themselves out easily. In other words, this is a great third-and-long scheme. Just imagine where we would be last year if we could win on third and long.
So long story short I think as a unit you will see a better defense this year. Our guys up front should be setting up our LBs for a big breakout season, and while statistically our defense won't look like the world destroyers of 2006, they will win us a lot of games.
Holy shit, you join in November of last year, wait all this time to post and then produce a tome. That my friend, was at least 35 posts worth of words for me.
agreed. I don't "create content" often as of late but I guess my topic lit a fire under him. good stuff.
Did you really mean to type "Leach" at LB? Something happen to Mouton that people aren't aware of yet?
I'm hoping that Leach impresses enough to win the spot, having the third guy have a little bit of extra speed and learn to play some pass coverage would help out a lot.
Mouton may well get the nod depending on the "box" safeties, but Leach made it into the starting lineup before due to some bonus speed so it wouldn't shock me to see him slide in again.
I don't think Leach cracked the line-up last year because of bonus speed. He started in Ezeh's spot because Ezeh wasn't making plays. Mouton was still out there and I have to think Mouton, despite poor play at times last year, would be a better option than Leach at that spot - he has better blitzing abilities (one of the primary responsibilities for this spot) and he is faster than Leach.
Welcome to MGoBlog!
Keep this kind of content coming. +1
Tl;dr, but still +1
the ONLY major concern I have is the kicking game. It's underappreciated by most....until you miss a chip shot fg in the 4th qtr, or shank a punt. Hagerup is regarded as a good prospect, so I hope I'm pleasantly surprised there. As for the defense?? An average, opportunistic defense will be ok in my book, given the question marks (perceived or not) that we have on that unit...
All in all, I'm ready for some redemption.... Go Blue!!
It's not very sexy, but it should account for a lot of points and field position. I am very concerned here as we have not a clue what's going to happen here. I remember several shanked punts at the Spring Game, and haven't been able to sleep soundly since.
Hope springs eternal. I hope I am wrong...
was not on campus at the spring game. All reports say he's the real deal, and reliability on kickers and punters is usually top-notch.
I was just thinking to myself last night that if we could just make a few extra stops (compared to last year) to either force punts or force field goal attempts, and have a more opportunistic defense (force more turnovers, be a threat to score on defense) that would help immensely.
Take the 4 spots on the DL, including Roh because I assume his role won't be changed too much even though he may line up with his hand down less often:
Nose tackle: Soph Campbell v. Soph Martin playing out of position - minor improvement
3-tech tackle: Jr Martin v. Soph Van Bergen playing out of position - huge improvement
End: Jr Van Bergen v. Graham - obvious decline, but Van Bergen is not a weak link
Hybrid end/LB: Soph bulked-up Roh v. Fr too-small Roh - improvement
With improvement likely at 3 of the 4 slots and a decent starter at the other, the DL should be better overall, especially against the run where opponents won't find it so easy to run at Roh's side of the field.
At LB, I don't expect either box safety to be as effective as Brown was, but the rest of the group returns and should be better under Robinson's coaching.
At DB, losing Warren obviously hurts, but with everyone else back and greater overall numbers (including freshmen) the chances are better than last year that the eventual starters will at least be mediocre as opposed to hopelessly outmatched. Ultimately I think we'll have more than 2.5 passable starters. (Kovacs is the 0.5, as he could play the run but not the pass.)
The 09 defense had two great strengths (Graham and Warren) and several glaring weaknesses: the rest of the DL was undersized, the non-Brown LBs struggled, DBs other than Warren and Woolfolk had all kinds of trouble. This year's defense should be more "balanced" in that it has no big names, but its weaknesses are likely to be much less pronounced than they were last year. I think we'll still struggle against the pass, but the run defense should be above average.
well said. +1
We've had to start a true freshman on the defensive line each of the last two seasons. This year we have three quality returning starters, a 5-star prospect with tons of natural ability who enrolled early and is now going into his second full season, three seniors in Banks, Patterson, and Sagesse as fairly talented back-ups, and a group of six pretty talented freshmen. This group is far deeper, stronger, and more experienced than last year's and should be better at 3 out of 4 starting spots. D-line as a whole should be better as a result.
Ezeh, Mouton, Demens, and Fitzgerald should all be improved and will be battling for two starting spots. They have lots of talent and experience and are finally getting consistent, quality coaching. Linebackers should be much better as a result.
Woolfolk is solid at one corner spot (I don't see why he can't be as good as Warren) and we have six guys to choose from at the other spot. They are inexperienced but there is talent in the group and we have options, unlike last year. I think it is safe to assume that one of those guys can be better than Floyd/Cissoko last year and the number of options will actually allow us to play a nickle defense from time to time.
Does anyone think the safeties can be worse than Williams/Kovacs last year with Vlad, Cam Gordon, and some talented freshmen being added to the mix? I see Kovacs moving down to replace Brown as more of an outside linebacker (a role I think he is very capable of filling) while the last line of defense gets a huge infusion of talent and depth (even if it is inexperienced).
Every position group on the defense can/should be better so I don't know why we shouldn't be optimistic about the overall performance improving markedly in 2010.
2009 defensive rankings
Total yards, 82d
Rush yards, 91
Pass yards, 67
Turnovers Gained (all 16 of them), 105
With 120 FBS teams, this places last year's team squarely in the fourth quintile.
I see them moving up into the third quintile (49th-72nd) for a few reasons:
Number one change from 2009 to 2010?
Attitude. You heard it.
elab on that? Mad interesting approach to this thread
it's going to win us 4 more games and we're going to be a shutdown defense. Problem is, we're very thin in the secondary, unproven or mediocre at linebacker, and replacing the star on our defense with a solid but (how good?) defensive line.
The players are sick of being piled on by the media and everyone else.. they don't want a second half collapse like last season to happen. Lots of chippy attitudes on that side of the ball.
I may be way off-base here, but I'll give it a go.
Yes, we will miss BG immensely. Extraordinarily immensely.
However, I submit that his greatness caused us some serious heart-ache last year. Hear me out on this: without his many TFL, we wouldn't have surrendered so many 3rd and 17ish conversions last year. Sure, we would've given up more 3rd and 7 conversions, but I feel much less like throwing myself off of a cliff after a 3rd and 7 conversion.
So, here's to a bunch of 3rd and mid to long on which the opposing O has to figure out how to block 4 - 6 rushers instead of 1 - 3. And may the Iggles lead the NFL in TFL due to the sublime efforts of everybody's favorite rook.
I recognize that this is not even remotely on-topic, but I thought it was a good mood-lightener.
Hopefully the run defense will improve with a more balanced D-line and a healthy Ezeh, but I just don't see how in the hell this secondary is gonna be able to stop ANYBODY through the air.
All I'm hoping for from the secondary this year is that the best young players emerge and we have our 2011 starters cemented by the end of the year. Even that is probably expecting too much though.
Playing defense is a mental game as much as a physical game. I don't have to tell anyone here who watched botched assignments turn two good downs into a 20 yard gain all last season.
However, it runs a bit more deeper than the technical level.
As with any strategic situation, in football there also exists the concept of 'initiative' - either the offense has it, or the defense has it. In other words, you are either reacting to a hostile offense, or they are reacting to you.
Let's take some examples to illustrate a point.
Example one could be say, Texas last season vs. anyone. Most defenses are wary of Colt McCoy (as well they should be) and spend the entire game reacting to what he wants to do. Like any good QB, he finds holes in strategies and forces the Defense to act depending on what he wants to do. Nonshocker, quality players may be on the field but Texas runs up and down the field.
Example two would be the Big 12 Championship game, where suddenly Suh is crashing through the center of the O-line on every other play. Now, the offense needs to, if nothing else, always be reacting to the fact that Suh is unstoppable and tries to work around that. Surprise surprise, they stop Suh sometimes but their offense is still anemic. They can't run on the sort of tempo that they want to operate on and can't get anything done, even against what really is not an all-star Nebraska secondary.
Now, obviously you have a bit of direct pressure on the QB in that case that directly wrecks a lot of plays, but the big difference is that the Texas offense was always in reaction mode. They never got into 'rythm' the entire game.
Ultimately this is why you see defenses completely shut down certain levels of opponents but at a certain level of opposing offense start giving up surprising numbers of points and yards. Dare I say it, but look at the 2006 season for a perfect example of this.
The part where attitude fits in to all of this is in the ability for a defense to come back after a setback and try to regain that initiative. A defense with confidence can come back and blow up a play and put an offense back on their heels. We have the physical tools to have the staying power to be in a game for 60 minutes - our conditioning program is pretty much second to none and even what we've seen so far, even from day 1 of richrod's program you haven't seen many cases where players are gassed at the end of a game. So, if they can mentally complete a game and have the confidence they need to stick with their assignments and run some more aggressive plays, then you should see a dramatic improvement.