After the spectacular play of the defense on Saturday the praise has been overwhelming from everyone including Brian, but I got to thinking of all the fortune blessed upon this defense and put together this post to point out some information that might give you some pause to take Mattison from Deity to simply a great D Coordinator.
1. Tempo- "Enjoy Life" just put together a terrific diary explaining how offensive tempo changes defensive stats. So I thought as a baseline to determine the defenses improvement we should look at per play stats because that would eliminate the offenses effect and turnovers effect on the defensive performance which we have learned the last few years has been massive. So last year we were 98th and this year we are 40th. Fantastic, but not as ridiculous as the 110th to 5th jump I've seen reported.
a. Returning Starters-From last years team to this year we have 6 returning players who we we can all assume would be better to varying degrees. RVB, Martin(plus injury), Roh, Demens, Kovacs, Floyd(half year)
b. Not Returning but Weird Circumstances Upgrade- Heininger missed most of last year with an injury and he has been a push to an upgrade over Banks, Patterson. Woolfolk was supposed to be a huge upgrade over J. Rogers but due to injuries and play he has actually moved over to Saftey where he has filled in as an upgrade over Cam and Vinopal.
c. More Freshmen WTF They are Killing Us!!!.... Wait What They are Good?- That leaves 3 more starters Ryan, Countess and Morgan. While Morgan/Ryan is a downgrade over Mouton these freshmen have actually upgraded their position because they had to beat out actual scholarship players and not air. Each man had to beat out at least 2 scholarship guys that weren't freshmen to earn their playing time.
This isn't exact because of the scheme difference and personal opinion being what it is, but I would say Michigan has a talent upgrade at every position save Mouton's LB spot that has nothing to do with coaching.
3. Schedule- When I was discussing this with my buddy yesterday it seemed like a big factor, but when you look at the numbers they don't seem to tell you a whole bunch. It's one of those situations where you could make your numbers fit your argument either way so I'll just leave it to you guys to discuss. It's pretty clear that in Big Ten play the offenses have been worse from last year..MSU, Ill, Iowa have all taken big steps back, Ind with Chapell was much better than Minn and NW and Pur were better than Penn St last year and Purdue last year. So it's 4-2 in BT play. One other note of how bad the BT is this year. Mich is currently 15th in total defense but 6th in the Big Ten. A lot of Big Ten defenses getting fat off of these offenses.
4. Trash Tornado- Not sure of the exact weather of every game last year, but the wind this year has been ridiculous. 4 games have been effected pretty significantly by the wind. Last year I can recall 2 Trash Tornado like games. Uconn(not bad but wind helped) and the d looked good and Purdue(which was a disaster from all accounts) and the d looked good as well. These tornado games timed well as they were against some of the better offenses if we can actually say that vs Minn and Purdue which were nice weather.
So in conclusion I'm not sure how to quantify the effect Mattison has had on this d from last year to this year, but it's definitely been positive and I would say it was far less than 102 spots from 107th to 5th in scoring defense and a little less than 58 spots in the yards per play of 40th vs 98th. It feels like to me like an upgrade of about 20 spots fro having Mattison. Last year a perfect storm of shit and this year a little friendlier storm with a big upgrade at D Coordinator, but not that big*
* Yes that is what she said. 98 98 lklgfh. se