I must admit I have been critical of Mattison and what seems like really passive coverage schemes this season. After looking at some of the defensive statistics, I realize that although not my personal preference the schemes have been very effective. The numbers show Michigan is #13th nationally in total defense allowing 305 YPG. More surprisingly to me is that Michigan is #27th nationally in scoring defense at 19.4 YPG, which is nothing to be ashamed of but in actuality Michigan is even better than that. Because the NCAA includes all scoring against the defense, the 3 touchdowns allowed by the offense are dragging down the defensive numbers. If you remove those 3 touchdowns that were not scored against the defense, Michigan is only allowing 15.2 points a game, which would rank around #12th nationally. In addition, the defense has only allowed 7 touchdowns in 5 games! To put that in perspective consider that the muchly hyped (deservingly so) MSU defense has given up more touchdowns(8) than Michigan. Not too shabby for a defense playing without its best player.
The defense is surprisingly good
worried about the pass rush or lack there of.
The pass rush hasn't been that bad from the standpoint that while we usually don't get the sack, we seem to force the opposing quarterback to rush the throw a lot. On Saturday, I saw a lot of pressure that didn't get home but did force Leidner to release earlier than he wanted and force the throw to be inaccurate. Not as cathartic as a sack, but still pretty effective.
Still a lot to be concerned about when we face better quality offenses like Northwestern and Ohio, but I'm optimistic.
Considering that Greg Mattison is DC and the caliber of recruits that Hoke and Mattison have recruited since they came on board, it really shouldn't be that surprising. Especially in light of the job Mattison and Hoke did with RichRod's recruits in the 2011 season.
with 2012 and 2013 than 2011. '11 had much better players left over from the late Carr era that were poorly coached under RichRod. '12 and to a less extent '13 is a combination of making due with RR's defensive recruits/players, and relying on early contributions from the young players. Make it through this season at 10-2ish, and U-M's defense will be dominant in 2014. Hell, it could be dominant when Jake Ryan returns.
Won't be dominant in 2013 with Jake. Could be dominant in 2014 if the DL improves. The back 7 in 2014 I like, main losses will be the 2 Gordons. The front 4 loses some players but you hope some of those RS freshman are ready to be better in 2014. Without playmakers at DE and run stuffers at DT you dont have a dominant defense. There is no Graham or Martin I see in the current crop - maybe someone makes a gigantic leap year over year but usually great players pop as youngesters in between their mistakes - see Ryan, see Ross, see Blake. I have seen none of that in the DL.
That's not necessarily true. Willie Henry has definitely flashed some impressively dominate plays, but has also shown to be inconsistent and has been blown up more than once. Every thing I've seem from Ondre Pipkins has been pretty good but he hasn't got a time this year with us pulling the nose and he just got hurt last game. Either of those guys could be your Martin. As far as Graham the only end on the team I really love is Mario Ojemudia but idk how much he can hold up against power run teams (though how many are really left in the B1G), Frank Clark is just not on that level and I haven't been impressed by any of our SDE's and it's probably the weakest position on the team. So no Graham but we'll have a fantastic Linebacking core and all the DB's but Thomas Gordan return but we add Peppers so we could improve there. This will be a very good defense next year and if we get good receiver production and Tackles we could have an offense to match. With Ohio losing almost their entire OL we should be favorites to win the conference.
If he keeps playing the way that he is, he may be NFL bound.
RichRod gave us Kovacs, Ryan and a few other pretty good players (Roh, Lewan, Dileo. Gallon, Countess (was iffy once RR was fired, but recommitted to Hoke), Beyer). The guy had an eye for talent and could recruit, I'll give him that. Developing the talent on the defensive side of the ball, not so much.
RichRod brought in some good individual players, but in terms of both quality and quantity, his classes were not great by Michigan standards. Way too many of his recruits either never made it here or quickly left. The fact that we have only 24 juniors or seniors on scholarship says it all.
Jordan Kovacs was a walk-on (and not even a preferred walk-on) who basically willed himself into the starting lineup through hard work, persistence, and determination. GERG didn't even remember Kovacs' name the first time he called his number. The only one who should get credit for Jordan Kovacs is Jordan Kovacs.
Point taken on the others, though. For all his failings, Roch Rod did bring in some notable names.
Counterpoint: when your first five opponents are CMU, Notre Dame, Akron, UConn and Minnesota, shouldn't your defense be expected to do very well? There is only one remotely good offense (ND) in that group. Most of the rest are downright poor.
counter-counterpoint: Ranking UM means its being looked at relative to other teams. With the exception of a few outliers, most teams are just getting into their tough schedules, and until now have also mostly played cupcakes. Put more succinctly, its all relative.
For the most part, yes - but giving up 17 to Akron was still pretty bad.
Not scoring a boat load of points on Akron is bad
Both are bad. Ohio U held Akron to 3 points and Central Florida held them to 7. I think we have more defensive talent than either of those teams, even without Ryan.
counter point, after 5 games with the exception of Georgia what teams have face multiple good teams this year. I'm concerned about the defense but, I was after two games last year also and then it just clicked. I'm waiting for it to just click again and confident it will. I have two bets with my cousin one is on the Game for 100 and the other is on total defense for another 100.
It's not just that we haven't played a lot of good teams; we've played three absolutely horrible teams (Akron, UConn, CMU), and one cellar-dwelling B1G team (Minnesota). Take away ND and our strength of schedule rating would probably be in the 100+ range in the country.
Against ND, the only remotely competent offense we've faced, we gave up 23 points and 411 yards. That's not exactly a bad performance, but it's nothing to write home about either.
I don't know what you expected. Most of our defense are freshman and sophmores. We wheren't going to be competing for a national championship but, we can still compete for a big ten championship. We run 4 upper classman in our defense with Beyer, Washington, Black and Gordon so I think they are playing fairly well. Oops 5 upper classmen dont know how i forgot Courtney Avery
That's not accurate. Washington, Black, and both Gordons are seniors. Avery is also a senior. Then there are a number of juniors playing, including Morgan, Taylor, Clark, Beyer, and Hollowell. Jake Ryan is another junior, and Countess would be a junior too if he hadn't gotten a medical redshirt for 2012.
Again - I'm not saying we're bad defensively, or that I'm disappointed. I just wouldn't go so far as to say "surprisingly good." We've played pretty much how I've expected. Our run defense is decent, but we generate very little pass rush and also don't cover particularly well, which is a dangerous combination. Because we've played four bad offensive teams out of five, our statistics look really good, but I don't know how confident people can really be about this unit given our schedule to come. Our pass D has not yet been exploited that much (except by Akron, of all teams, and ND) but our next two opponents pass pretty well, which makes me wary. And then we get into the NW/Nebraska/Ohio stretch, where we're going to have to massively step it up.
One thing we are pretty good at is tackling, and that's helped prevent giving up too many big plays. But aside from that, we have a ton of room for improvement. We need Ryan back ASAP.
Unlike Alabama who had their big Georgia State game yesterday
and ghosts can't see clearly
Have we only given up 3 defensive TD's this year?
What's the cumulative record of the schools we've played thus far? Stats not that impressive...no pressure on qb, difficulty tackling, can't contain draw
Except bad teams, who play the good teams.
Not that this changes your point in any way.
we've played just one middling-good team. We're going to lose 3-4 games.
Can we do something about people like this?
6-7 years. A) I am always very optimistic generally about the team and B) my predictions, as Brian has noted, have always been spot on as W-Ls are concerned. I don't know what yours have been, but I have seen your name around enough not to just diss you on general, wafer-thin principle.
Anyone who watches us in the afternoon and the SEC at night, with half a freaking brain, can see two losses in the regular season and one in a bowl.
Somewhat Conscious and Not Named After Some Shitbird Star of the 80s
He wasn't responding to you. As an aside, Thomas Sullivan Magnum is in rarified air with the likes of Columbo so show some respect.
always thought he was an idiot. Probably some latent, ancient jealousy rising to the surface. Compared to Miley Cyrus, even bad 80s TV starts to look good.
I like you and was defending you.
Here is a more comprehensive set of rankings as tabulated by TeamRankings.com:
|Opp Points/Game||19.4 (#21)|
|Opp Yards/Game||305.0 (#10)|
|Opp Points/Play||0.288 (#28)|
|Opp Yards/Play||4.5 (#19)|
|Opp 3D Conv %||41.10% (#71)|
|Opp 4D Conv %||20.00% (#14)|
|Opp RZ Scoring %||73.33% (#25)|
|Opp Rush Play %||42.73% (#10)|
|Opp Yards/Rush||3.1 (#17)|
|Opp Rushes/Game||28.8 (#6)|
|Opp Rush Yards/Game||90.4 (#7)|
|Opp Pass Play %||57.27% (#116)|
|Opp Completion %||53.01% (#20)|
|Opp Yards/Pass||5.9 (#18)|
|Opp Passes/Game||36.6 (#87)|
|Opp Pass Yards/Game||214.6 (#41)|
|Opp Int Thrown %||3.83% (#38)|
|Sack %||5.18% (#69)|
Minnesota were atrocious on offense. Talk about it after Northwestern, heck I am alone but I worry about Indiana.
Worries about very game now. Penn state scares me
... but's it like you are actually trying to squeeze in as many errors into a 14 word sentence as possible.
Re-read it in "Yoda" voice.
IU will put up points on us
Gonna be tragic when IU could be the first team to beat us at Home under hoke..
Plus they are going to come off being pounded on by MSU.
Pass first teams like IU are susceptible to the blitz. I have to believe that Mattison's will get come a few times.
This isn't GERG folks. Mattison will at least slow them down. I don't see IU being able to slow down UM with inferior athletes. Their defense isn't even as good as Minnesota's.
Akrons's, UConn's, or IU's?
as they did against UCONN and Akron.
Also, IU lost to Navy who has average athletes.
Indiana has not played a road game yet; they already lost two home games. Let's see what they can do on the road, since it is a whole different ballgame going on the road in the B1G.
The question I have is, how do our weekly points/yardage totals surrendered compare to what our oppnents are averaging?
|Yards Per Play (Defense)||Points Allowed|
No, I mean, what are our opponents averaging in ppg and ypg? How does that compare to what we surrendered to them?
I have the average yards we allowed per snap handy for our games:
Against CMU - 3.68 yards
Against ND - 5.69 yards
Against Akron - 5.29 yards
Against UConn - 3.61 yards
Against Minnesota - 4.53 yards
Here's the offensive side for each team:
|Yards Per Play (Offense)||Points|
looms as a serious-a** breakdown there on D, but the rest. . . fairly in line with expectation(s)?
Looking at the offense, then, it might also be possible to conjecture that Borges and co. were determined to run, and remained determined to run even when the run wasn't working through the first part of those games, thus diluting our stats against Akron and UConn. . .
That's how I read it. Akron outperformed their season avg. against us, but everyone else was below average.
Plus the D generally plays a bend-don't-break style. They may give up some yards here and there but they've been very good at keeping people out of the endzone. They still haven't given up a rushing TD on the season, I don't know how many other teams can say that...
they hit two long passes, without those our D probably held them under their season avg.
The defensive play-calling has been very vanilla. More than likely, this was on purpose due to the competition. It also likely played a part in the team "playing down to the competition".
If you think we roll out a 4-man rush with virtually no stunting for the rest of the year, you're insane. The coaches have called this type of game to keep the ball in front and not give up huge plays. Mattison is a smart guy. He'll shake things up.
I agree, I'm sure Mattison will have some this in store for the conference season.
Against Akron all we did was stunt. Totally ineffective
I've noticed that we usually give up a drive early on...very often the opponent's FIRST drive goes for at least a FG. We usually adjust and are stingier after that.
Also (obvious), the D tightens up pretty well in the red zone. Mattison seems bent on no big plays, hence dropping into coverage and allowing short completions vs. big plays. Tighter coverage and blitzing when the opponent gets in the RZ. Working okay so far but NERVE racking for us fans.
the first few series, work hard to surprise, etcetera. . . A lot of college football games start with the underdog scoring.
haven't given up a rushing TD this year! Even with terrible opponents....that's a pretty good stat.
my only gripe with the defense is there arent enough negative plays. I much prefer an aggresive attacking style defense..college teams struggle with it.
Blake the snake leads the nation in int's and int return yards.
I'm pretty sure it's a law that you must be named "Jake" to be called "The Snake".
Why is everyone acting like we are the only team in America who has played lesser opponents in the first 5 games? Mostly all of the big schools have played one decent team and a few scrubs. So why should our stats not count for anything?
Cannot wait to see JMFR back and more blitzes.
Also teams are still taking advantage of the middle of the field with slant routes.
Mattison knows how to make a defense effective, even if it's not pretty.
He has the intelligence and experience to create a game plan around his defenseive personnel's strengths and weaknesses that works.
I'm confident that he'll know when it's OK to dial things up, but right now I believe that his main priority is to put his players in a position to learn the basics as they play, hence the vanilla calls.
It's all a balancing act at this point.
Ummm what? The goal of the defense is to not get scored on. Check. Period.
Otherwise awful teams. ND also put up a lot of yardage on us.
Statistics before the end of the season are not meaningful for us, since out good competition is in November.
Next we have PSU and Indiana. Don't tell me either of those teams are any good.
Oh yeeeah. Sorry I forgot this year they changed the tie breaker to least yardage given up.
So when they play a great offense and give up more yards, that means they're not good? Do you not see the logical flaw there?
You sound like the two guys who sat behind me yesterday. They said nothing positive.
Gotta love that.
This is a weird argument. Have you watched every other defense play? If so, then provide your analysis of all those other defenses that are 'good' and why UMs is not good. In general, when one can't watch every single team's defense, stats are a great resource.
Other than ND ( who is not a top 25 team), Michigan has put up their numbers against CMU, Akron, UConn, and Minnesota...all totally bullshit teams. Slow down NW and Ohio St and I will buy in to your current Kool-Aid statistics.
Outside of Georgia, Bama,and Notre Dame, few top 20 teams have played multiple top 20 opponents.
Michigan is 5-0. Yes, two of those games were ugly. No doubt about that. But as Lewan said, no one has to apologize for being 5-0.
multiple Top 20 opponents but Akron, UConn and CMU are awful. Minnesota isn't that good either. There's a good amount of teams that maybe haven't played multiple Top 20 opponents but haven't played the majority of games against god awful teams.
#27 Notre Dame
#147 Central Michigan
Note that 2008 Toledo finished at #134. (Michigan finished at #95 in the final 2008 Sagarin ratings.)
I'm still choosing to believe that we have a young team that has the raw athletic talent to improve in leaps and bounds (literally). But there's no denying that the UConn & Akron games were atrocious performances.
It is not surprising. They are good and we have good coaches. Nothing surprising about that.
it's become apparent the roster lacks playmakers other than Blake, and he is still more opportunistic than shutdown CB.
Hope Jake is healthy as we desperately need his ability to cause match-up issues and make plays behind the LOS.
People love saying "he was just in the right place" like that's not a skill. Then why aren't other players in the right place as often? Or some that are who don't make the play and he does? He deserves credit.
Precisely. Two of his receptions that I can recall resulted from him reading the QB and collapsing to help with the target receiver, including the one yesterday.
Need to see what happens against Indiana first.
There's nothing wrong with being technically sound and giving up yards between the 20s. Mattison sells out when necessary. if you watched State, they got burned for a TD on a hot route when they brought a corner blitz.
Every team has an identity. Ours is "inside and in front", which leads to less big plays while yielding more yards.
Marcus Ray has said that Mattison ha the exact same mantra when he was here in the 90s, and that team had plenty of playmakers. He's not being conservative because we lack playmakers, he's just demanding sound fundamentals. If you are good against the run and don't give up big plays that pretty much leaves little dink and dunk passes, and that's where teams have hurt us, but I think that will get cleaned up with the return of JMFR.
Although I hate allowing a freebie pass completion just for the sake of not getting beat deep, I have a feeling that as two things happen we will appear more aggressive without actually changing our defensive style/schems. One, when we get/develop good pass rushers whether that be Ryan back from injury, a guy like Wormley, Ojemudua, or Pipkins develop, or a guy like Mone, Hand, or Charlton gets in/here. There's a lot of potential there. Two, we get more talented/aggressive DBs like Peppers. My hunch is Peppers won't let people burn him deep or short because his talent level, speed, and ability will just be that much greater than the reciever he covers. So, once you combine some guys on the d-line that can get to the QB and DBs on the back end that can match up better in coverage we will stop giving up so many short passes in an effort to keep from getting beat deep. We should be able to do both at the same time as the talent level increases...or at least that's my hope.
but it is obvious that Mattison knows he does not have the experiencd athletes along the front and CB's to be Sir Blitz-a-Lot. This year is a learning year for many of UM's defenders.
Isn't it funny that our d-line looked so good in spring and summer camp and now it appears to be our weakness.
Guys shit canning the stats have to think about the 10 turnovers (3 of which are scores held against the defense) that have put the D in a sudden change/hole situation. I thing given those liabilities, the D doing very well.
I believe Brian mentioned in a mailbag recently - or maybe some other column - that the defense is unimpeachable. He's right. This bellyaching about a 5-0 defense with excellent stats (except for 3rd down conversion percentage) is silly. They're good, they're relatively young and inexperienced, they're well-coached, the results are not surprising.
I also hate the idea that 'we don't know anything about a team' until it's November, or until it plays Team X, or until it gets player Y back, or until its conference season, or until the opponents stop being spread teams, or whatever. We've played five freaking games already. We know that they're good. We know that they can beat decent football teams. We know that they can struggle against bad football teams. We know that they've gone through growing pains and that they've had to work very hard to limit turnovers, especially from the QB. We know that their ground game is anemic, at least compared to where they want it to be. We know that line play on both sides of the ball is often questionable. We know a lot.
Lots of petulant demeanor, even following a turnover-free 29 point win. I'm not sure if we'll ever get over Akron or UConn, at least not this year, we'll always come back to it.
Exactly. Negativity is hard to shake. 3-4 years ago people would have killed for a 5-0 start no matter how the team got there.
Except we had two 4-0 starts under rich rod.
Actually 3 years ago we were 5-0 to start the year. I should have said 4-5.
I think it's still left over from years of the end of the Carr years and the RR years, not just the Akron/UConn games. It like the fan base has just been so conditioned to disappointment, underperforming, and waiting for the 'other shoe to drop'. It'll take years of high level performance for the fan base to not expect everything will turn out poorly.
Our defense seems the be the bend but don't break variety where we only bring pressure in the red zone and on 3rd and long. But, unfortunately we give up way too many yards on 1st & 2nd down. Are we running this defense because we have to due to a lack of talent and/or experience or just because it's the best strategy? In years to come when we are playing predominately 4 &5-star defensive talent like Charlton, Pipkins, Mone, Hand, McCray, Ferns, Ross, Peppers, Wilson, Thomas, and Countess will be more aggressive with an assumed higher talent level or will we still be playing this same style 2 years down the road?
but this isn't a good defense. Good defenses don't let a team without its head coach, a brand new starter at QB, and that just got crushed by Iowa to throw for 66.7% completion and go 8/15 on 3rd down conversions.
Opportunistic? Yes. Coach who knows how to defend the red zone? Yes. Good? No.
That said, the reason is b/c we're playing a crap-ton of young guys. We'll be a good-to-great D, but it'll take some time...maybe good in 2014, great in 2015.
You can't cherry pick two stats to say its not a good defense. It's a good defense. It's not an elite defense. And Leidner was not a first time stater.
Leidner is a RS freshman, so he's definitely a first-year starter. I don't know if he'd started before Saturday, but he threw only 20 passes combined in the first five games of the season.
Leidner started against San Jose St. 2 weeks ago and rushed for 154 yards and 4 TDs. It was a surprise to see that Minnesota gave the keys back to Nelson against Iowa. Leidner has shown more than Nelson IMO.
Once we can get home with 4 we will go from good to great. We will get better as the year goes on.
Pardon the skepticism, but when exactly do you think we will begin to "get home with 4?" That's a pretty big condition. There is no evidence that it will ever happen with this group.
The d-line seems to be not so good. Seems like no one has a problem running through it. Also, that pass rush is going to be much more important once we get into the heart of the schedule.
Yet the stats don't support that -- D is 6th in rush yards allowed.
The defense is what has kept Michigan undefeated this season thus far. As I said above, they've been into numerous bad spots by the turnover happy offense, and yet they've held teams to FG's repeatedly. I'd be interested to see the stats if the turnovers were half as many, or none at all. The pass rush is troubling, and is directly related to the secondary's performance.
With what he's got. They are young in the secondary, so keeping things inside and in front makes sense. He doesn't have a pure pass rusher other than Jake Ryan. He doesn't have a double team eating, run stuffing tackle. He's got a bunch of good young players that hopefully can get to elite level over time. They had issues with third downs this week. This was the first decent running QB they faced and they got better as the game rolled on. They missed tackles, too. On way play, Desmond Morgan was spying the QB, filled the lane, and missed the tackle. These things can happen.
Countess is a returning starter. Gordon's a returning starter. Taylor is a returning starter. Now that Avery is back, he has a bunch of starts and experience. They might be young in regards to what class they're in, but they have a ton of combined starts.
this season is that we've faced terrible competition and played to such varying degrees of success. There is no reliable performance to turn to and say that we will be able to do that consistently against the meat of our schedule.
Take the ND game: the defense played bend-don't-break and it worked to an extent. But that strategy only succeeded because the offense could consistently move the ball and score and only had 1 (egregious) TO--something that hasn't been reliable since then.
If you go off the eye test, do you think bend-don't-break will work against Northwestern? Or do you think they'd shred the soft zone, no pass rush? Do you think the defense that was getting juked out of their shoes will be able to put a finger on Miller? Do you think STAEE is gonna STAEE against us? Or will we completely alter our gameplan once Jake Ryan is back--or regardless just to change it up?
In conclusion, there is not much to conclude about our defense other than it's done enough, hasn't been remarkbly good or bad, and hasn't shown anything that merits panic or ease.
Bend but don't break worked for OSU against NW. Bend don't break usually works when you have reasonable chance of scoring on most of your possessions.
because they had the ability to generate a monster pass rush in the redzone when the field was too crowded for northwestern's dink passing
OSU's front four actually looked pretty good. In the second half the NU QB was under a lot of pressure even if it didn't result in a sack.
We've only played 2 real teams. Let's check back in 5 games. The defense is not bad, not great but somewhere above average. Other than Blake only 1 playmaker and he is injured. Its a decent bend dont break but not a stellar defense and if it played some high power offenses it would take some water on in a serious way - if it holds up against Nebraska, NW and OSU (heck Indiana) I will change my tune but it is what it is. I think Mattison's defenses always improve as the season progresses which is a plus - not so much with Borges.
Off topic, but any of the coaching/expert types on the board have initial impressions of the new OL?
By the way in total defense (MSU #1)
Wisconsin is #6
Ohio St #19
That's 6 of our 12 in the top 20.
So either the Big 10 has entered a golden era of defense, or the MAC and Big 10 offenses sorta suck. I am pretty sure I can figure out which one it is.
Those that's show you right there that people are being hyper critical of the D. OSU and PSUs Ds have looked far worse than UMs this season.
For the record, I think our defense is getting better, but they still aren't generating enough negative plays to be viable against the Northwesterns and Ohios of the world.
But, for those who calim everyone plays terrible teams, so our defense rankings are legit: our SOS is #108 (via TeamRankings.com) out of 125. The only worse ranking in the B1G is Minnesota.
So, while everyone plays cupcakes at the beginning of the year, we're playing CUPCAKES to start the year.
However, it is important to note that if we are attributing points against our defense only, and not considering points given up by the offense and bad field position then it is important to do the same across the board. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that by taking away points given up by the offense it would automatically make our defense statistically better than other defenses before measuring it against other defenses under the same conditions. Gardner isn't the only QB to have thrown pick-six's this year. In addition, let's call it what it is and say there's been too small a sample size to predict how it will perform in Big Ten play. Finally, shabby defense or not, all we really want for Christmas is a Big Ten title at the expense of Ohio!
you have to act the part of a dominant program. I think I was suprised by some of the numbers mentioned about the defense during the broadcast Saturday.
I think if you've watched enough football over time, you understand that certain times of the game and circumstances impact point totals, momentum, ability and the appearance of control and/ or domination. Teams typically score early on their first or second possession based on a variety of factors. They also frequently score after momentum plays occur, turnovers or great special teams plays that change field position.
Michigan allowed what seemed like an incredibly frustrating TD to tie the game on the Gophers second possession after scoring quickly following a great defensive play. I mean if you going to discount what the defense does numbers wise against certain teams, then you must credit the fact that on Saturday, it produced two turnovers leading directly to 14 points.
And the one TD Minnesota scored was its only TD of the day. The fact that the Gophers bled the clock and their resilient qb kept finding ways to convert on third down was disconerting and seems to deny defensive achievement. But if all you're interested in doing is making your team seem more competitive by running clock wihtout producing any points just to stay close, then what's the point?
Michigan defended 65 plays and they scored 42 points on 52 plays, which means their play efficiency per point was outstanding.
Minnesota made some plays. And it does have some pretty decent athletes, especially at tight end. If the other team executes, the fact that your team doesn't pitch a shutout, deosn't mean your necessarily not effective or bad or even not dominant. It just means the other team executed better, which happens in every game.
The season is a process, you build on it game by game, and you learn by doing, which explains why the staff treated the preseason in terms of defensive rotations and vanilla looks and wanted to see how effective the pass rush is. Basically, they just wanted to see how things are shaping up now. Each team presents a new challenge and matchup issues, and Michigan will not always be suited to dealing with every team's offense and speed.
A better way of looking at it, is what the defense didn't give up, which was many big plays over 20 yards. It was on the field longer and it stuffed the run game, which is all Minnesota really does well on offense. And they won going away in their conference opener. All is well in my book, save for potential injuries to Pippens and Kalis.
The defense might be better than we're giving them credit for, but it still does not account for the comically obvious lack of a pass rush. I trust Mattison and the man knows what he's doing. He's got a national championship ring and an NFL resume to prove it. But it is a little unsettling that we're three years into his system and we're just flat out not getting to the QB. Even against inferior teams. When the QBs of Akron and UConn have all day to sit in the pocket and make their reads, that's a problem. I don't care how you slice it.
Maybe we're just too young right now. Maybe our older guys, at the end of the day, just aren't that good. I really don't want to call it a coaching problem because Hoke and Mattison are D-Line specialists. But this is a problem that needs to be addressed. And addressed quickly. As Hoke always says, winning football always starts in the trenches, and if you can't get to the QB, whether its Akron scrubs or Braxton Miller, they will shred you all day.
The defense has not been a problem this season. At all.
Akron scored 17 points offensively. UConn scored 14. Minnesota scored 13. Notre Dame scored 23. What are we complaining about, yards? If so, only Akron performed over their season average in Yards Per Play. So, even if these teams are bad, they've been worse against our defense than they usually are.
We've had 3 close games (Akron, UConn, ND), but each of those teams was spotted 7 points by our offense.
The defense has been good, but this hasn't been surprising. We've been good for the past two seasons. We have a good coordinator. We have a defensive minded head coach. We have some good players. Why would we be surprised? Is it because we get upset at times they don't get off the field on third down in tight games? I think that's it, and that's a pretty bad way to judge a defense. We have metrics hat are much more truthful than our gut feelings.
The defense was pretty atrocious agains Akron, IMO. The rest of the time, I agree with you.
Akron passed for 6.3 YPP and ran for 3.6 YPR.
Can we agree that our offense was terrible in that game? We passed for 8.3 YPP and ran for 5.5 YPR. That's right, our dreadful offense was actually considerably better than theirs.
Of course, we should be better, but these numbers show that our defense was fine. The big problem, the one that hits us emotionally as we watch and leaves a bitter taste in our mouth is they made some big third downs to keep drives going. They were 50%, we were only 30%. But this is an emotional phenomenon. We were actually fine. Especially when you consider the defense allowed 17 points. I have would have loved a shutout, but are we really saying that a performance was terrible when we allowed under 20 points?
Also, we came up with an enormous goal line stand to end the game. If that happens against Ohio, that defense is lionized and that stand goes down in history. I know we want to beat Akron more handily, but the defense wasn't the reason we didn't.
Statistically you may be correct, and yes the offense was also bad. But the defense gave up the lead twice on long scoring drives in the second half, and the goal line stand at the end came after Akron had driven 70+ yards.
This is exactly my point. We always contextualize the games as they happen. But we made stops. They scored 17 points offensively. We came up huge at the end. These are good things.
Had Akron scored 17 points on their first three drives and Devin had gifted them a pick-six for a 24-0 lead, after which we scored 28 unanswered (same exact outcome, just changing the order of things), wed be talking about how great the defense played after early struggles. We'd be talking about how resilient they were and how they held up when it mattered and gave the offense a chance to win it.
In the end, statistics are the truth. I'd love for the D to have not given up the leads, but if our complaints are that the performance did not please us on a play-to-play temporal level, we should have no complaints. We've been fine. That's all I'm saying. We've been fine. And its not surprising at all.
Holding most teams to 17 points would be a good performance, but Akron is the #148 team in the country per Sagarin. Central Florida gave up 7 to them and Ohio U. gave up 3. Moreover, it took two huge redzone stops in the 4th quarter to even hold them to just 17. We really can't defend that performance.
I have defended that performance. I think I've got a compelling case. Mind you, I'm not saying we stifled them, merely that the defense was fine. The offense was the reason that game was close. More specifically, the turnovers that our offense game up was the reason.
And who made those huge red zone stops if not our defense. Come on guys. A stop is a stop, no matter how far we are on the edge of our seats at home. The defense made them. Under a lot of pressure. This is a good thing, not a bad one.
Of course the goal line stand came after a drive. That does nothing to diminish the fact that the defense came up huge. They literally won us the game, and we're complaining.
I guess this has just been a very long diatribe advocating he removal of emotion from judgment. I would love nothing more than a defense that gave up few yards and few points. Hell, we might need that to won some games if we don't get better offensively. But the defense just simply has not been this team's problem. In any game. Period.
Look, any way you slice it, the defense did not play well against Akron. If you use the "eye test," you would have seen that our front four failed to get pressure on their QB the whole game, while our back seven left receivers open all day. We couldn't get off the field on third downs, and repeatedly failed to get stops when we needed them in the second half.
If you want to go by statistics, we gave up eleven plays of 10+ yards (including four plays for more than 20 yards) and over 400 yards of total offense to one of the worst teams in college football. Akron also converted 9 of 18 third downs. Yes, they only scored 24 points, including 7 on a defenstive TD. But they also missed a FG, and got no points from their final drive (which ended inside the M five yard-line).
And, I don't think it's really true that the defense was more responsible for winning that game than the offense. The defense gave up the lead twice in the second half--both times the offense got it back. Even after Gardner's pick-six, Michigan was still ahead. It wasn't until Akron went on an 11-play, 67-yard TD drive on their next possession that we fell behind--and again, the offense then got the ball and took the lead back.
If our defense had been playing well that day, Akron would never had taken the lead in the second half. Akron would certainly not have taken the lead back in the fourth quarter. And they damn well would not have reached our 1 yard-line with a chance to win at the end.
We gave up 400 yards, but we did it at a very low clip per play. That means they were dinking and dunking us, which led to long drives and made us worry at home on the couch. But the performance was fine.
I'm not saying were a great defense, man. I'm just saying that even with all of the tension and lead changes and so on, our defense was not to blame. The offense was a fucking disaster, giving them 7 points and a short field multiple other times. We turned it over 4 times. The old eyeball test shows that the reason that game was close was because of our awful offense. The offense that the stats show was actually better at moving the ball than Akron's.
Well, I'm not saying "the defense is bad." I'm saying "the defense played badly against Akron." As I stated in my reply to your first comment above, I agree with you that the defense has played well in all the other games. But against Akron I thought the defense played terribly--far worse than they are capable of.
Both of Akron's offensive TDs came on long drives (67 and 75 yards) and their final drive started at their 25, so those scores were not exactly set up by turnovers.
Anyway, it seems we are going around in circcles now so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about that game.
I'll do you one better. You win. I am wrong.
Hopefully we will have a good enough D to beat the likes of MSU, NU, NE and OSU. IA could be tough. We should take PSU and IU!
not enough ballers on the roster yet, just a bunch of guys who will likely remain competitive in a weak big ten this year but far from excell. mattison has to play soft keeping everything underneath since he does not have enough athletes to get too aggressive or stray too much against good teams. if you watched the osu / nw game (not too mention most sec games as well) the talent differential bw those teams and UM should be pretty obvious. guys like shazier and the 9 randoms on OSUs DL are just a tad quicker and more athletic when attacking the qb and closing on the ball. while far from elite, mattison has some decent athletes and he does the best job possible with his schemes and calls to make it happen. not his fault if he doesnt have a DL that can consistently get home (unless youre blaming the recruiter, not the coach), and not his fault he sets up perfect calls on 3rd down for morgan and ross to miss tackles on qb or wilson to get turned around in soft zone coverage, etc... mattison has done an incredible job....cant wait to see his D in future years with athletes like peppers and hopefully hand, etc. unfortunately 2013 team does not have the DL or the overall talent and speed to fully exploit his great schemes and timely calls - i wish it did but im a realist
Agree on your point about the OSU and UM dlines. The frustrating thing to me is that most of OSU's dline is made up of sophomores. They look a good bit better and more advanced than UM's sophomores on the dline.
But you look at the rankings and they're not that bad.
Part of the reason is the rules have just made defense tough, and you're not going to get too many 14-7 games anymore. The Broncos scored 51 points yesterday.....and won by 3 points. The horrible offensive/defensive struggle of Iowa-MSU was 26-14. Twenty years ago that would have been 7-3.
Between tv wanting points, not being able to touch receivers or the QB, and the protections necessarily to avoid head hits no one is going to put up '85 or '97 numbers again. It's all relative to other teams playing today.