I will trust Hoke's judgment over yours, m'okay?
Run/Pass balance on 1st down
I agree about Borges, he costs too much money for the types of gameplans and playcalling he executes every Saturday. I think if he has a bad game versus Ohio State again at the end of the year, then I think he should go, three years is enough, he hasn't done too many flashy things, and has had way too much bad playcalling/gameplans.
and hoping the kids could do it. Those were the games that he was hoping would be the proving ground for a line that could overpower other lesser teams' defenses. Dunno why this is so hard to understand. You can condemn or question this from various perspectives, but at least acknowledge that this was the plan.
And when the plan doesn't work maybe you should adjust at least a freaking tad.
david from wyoming - aren't you a longtime member? why does your profile say you just joined today?
Against Akron and UConn you should expect to be able to run every 1st down for more than -2 yards per carry.
i agree...which would explain Al's calls...but when they are stacking 8-10 in the box, it's hard to run against any D-1 team, especially when they kow it's coming.
Wisconsin runs the ball even though everyone knows they are going to. So does Stanford. Our players should be able to do the same.
While I agree that Borges was stubborn (particularly in the UConn game), I also believe that we should be able to execute against UConn.
When we have Stanford and Wisconsin's size and experience, maybe this is feasible. We don't, and even Stanford and Wisconsin have counters to their base plays to keep defenses from cheating like they are against Michigan. Borges keeps running the damn ball even against defenses that out number his blockers in the box. That is stupid against anyone when you do have the personnel.
and yet it's a hell of a lot more than everyone on this board, including you.
was pretty de rigueur then, too.
It's pretty amazing then that we've won 77% of the games Borges has coordinated, if his football knowledge is 20 years out of date. Come on man. We're only three weeks removed from his O dropping 41 points on Notre Dame. When we stop turning it over four times a game, we'll score more.
a few posters who have sadly gone by the boards in recent days.
Let's just throw out how good the defense has been during Borges' reign. I guess we should never criticize a guy who called an absolute shitty game against our biggest rival and who is squeaking past some of the worst teams in FBS. This is Michigan fergodsakes, and what I'm seeing offensively isn't good enough.
It's kind of funny that you complain about Borges being untouchable while making Mattison to be above criticism. Both of them have had good and bad games as coordinators. 2011 ND, 2011 OSU, 2012 South Carolina and 2013 ND are a few games where our O certainly outperformed our D.
If we stop throwing to the other team 4 times a game, our offense will score a lot more points.
I know the staff would like to run to set up the pass, but it seems like this team needs to do the reverse. I also wonder if DG will loosen up some if he's given the chance to throw on first down rather than on second or third and long.
yea..it seems like maybe his confidence is being rattled by the fact that he knows he's going to have to convert on 2nd and 3rd and long almost every set of downs. Obviously Al wants to set up 2nd and medium so Devin can make some confident shorter throws for 1st downs and also it will set the defense on its heels. But it's obvious right now the team just cannot generate half the push on first down with the way Bama, Stanford or Wisconsin could, and then combine that with predictability.
I want manball as much as anyone, but I hope they try and mix it up more on first down with this bunch so the defense has to respect both run and pass. I think they will, but it is whatever the coaches feel is best for the team obviously.
Also, Devin has to stop throwing picks for any of this to work...I trust him more than Denard.
I don't care what the run/pass balance is as long as we move the ball down the field without turnovers.
Against Akron, we were just discovering that our line couldn't hold up, let alone open holes, against an weaker opponent. Up to that point, we did well against Central (probably surprising them by running zone) and game planned against ND assuming we wouldn't be able to run up the middle.
Against UConn, Gardner was more or less crippled, if only mentally, and couldn't hit a pass no matter how easy or open.
So, I'm not that surprised really that we didn't have any balance on 1st down.
Someone alert Borges!!!!!!!! He should be giving Gardner more chances to throw interceptions on Michigan's first play of a drive.
I think we should throw the football more.
haha with you username
We really should be able to run on 100% of the plays against Uconn and Akron and still win the game easily. Take a look at OSU last week, they ran the ball on every down in the 2nd half and still scored 21 points. The much bigger issue is that against Uconn and Akron it shouldn't matter if we run mostly on 1st down, we should be getting at least 4 yards from that run. Don't worry about play calling, it will be fine against our conference opponents, it won't be 95% run on first down. What is worrisome is that the runs were not effective...
I looked up Fitz's and Devin's splits. Fitz is averaging 3.3 ypc on 1st down and while that is the most common running down and there are first and goals that may skew those numbers, Devin is much better on first down than any other.
At this point in this season, DG is completeing 63% of his passes on 1st down for 10.2 ypa. It goes down to 60% on 2nd down then drops to 46% on third down. He also has 4 ints on third down, all when the distance was 6+yds.
I would think passing to setup the run would be a better tendency at this point, especially with so many defenses playing the run.
Interesting to note: Devin is at his best running on third down, averaging 6.5 ypc, so as the down increases, Devin has been a better runner and worse passer.
Per CFBStats, here are the first down splits by game. These numbers are different than those mentioned in the OP, so I could very well have drawn from the wrong game log, but this sounds about right:
I think that's the extremely useless stat that tells you how the team achieved its first downs, not play distribution on first down.
You're right, I went back through the Akron UFR just to make sure and I pulled the wrong stat. For the Akron game, it comes out to 10 pass plays to 19 rush plays for the first downs. For ND, if I counted right, we still ran it about 20 times on first down to 12 passing first downs. There's no good way to tally it, so treat these as approximate.
If we don't run on 1st and 10, when do we? 3rd and long? Sure, it wouldn't be "predictable", but it might be overly "conservative". Shucks.
If you can't see the fact that most teams run the ball on 1st down, I don't know what to tell you. They do this because successful runs give them 2nd and manageables. These are good. They allow for just about any call, even some that might surprise the defense.
You also assume passes will be complete. I refuse to do that, seeing as how Gardner has been outright bad in the past two games and has a penchant for turning the ball over, so much so that he leads the country in turnovers. If he throws incomplete 40% of the time, we are still in 2nd and long where he will have to be "heroic".
Running also has ancillary benefits, such as a lower probability of turnovers (and fuck if we aren't battling that a bit), and physically wearing down a defense.
Also, "hiding"? You serious? Bo must have been "hiding" his good plays every time he ran the ball to the tune of 300 yards and 50 points against the Little 8. Running the ball is not just a wasted play. It is half of offensive football. We aren't doing it well enough for my taste, but does this mean we should throw it all the time? No, because that is stupid, will not help us win, will destroy our own damn good defense, and IT TOTALLY IGNORES THE FACT THAT OUR POOR QUARTERBACK PLAY IS WHAT HAS ALL OF US UP IN ARMS OVER CLOSER-THAN-EXPECTED VICTORIES OVER POOR TEAMS.
The solution to our bad offense is not having our poorly-playing QB throw the ball more.
With a 3.3 average on first down, that makes it statistically possible to run on every down and get 9.9 yards
These teams being Akron and UConn, you should be able to run on them with relative ease. So why not run on first down the majority of the time? Against better opponents, yes, you're going to mix it up more.
We'd still be complaining about the line after these last two games but we wouldn't have had to experience the scare of our lives both times if not for the turnovers. Devin stops that, and we're breathing much easier.
with reader 7, that was one of the best damn posts i have seen in a long time. oline/blocking must execute a helluva lot better on first down or any down for that matter. that is the only way to help settle gardner down. of course against the b1g, i think we'll see a little more mix, but again, if we can't run it and devin is still struggling, it won't matter. and honestly, imo, this staff is just counting the minutes until Shane Morris can take the helm so they can fling it around and become more balanced.
Mike Leach is a weird dude. But he is pretty insightful about offense. And in his book, Leach talks about the idea that offensive balance isn't really about how often you run versus how often you pass. Instead, Leach argues that balance is really about how well you make the defense cover the entire field and respect all of your playmakers. If Leach is correct, then run/pass splits don't tell us much--but the high number of targets to Gallon relative to other receivers might.
Mike Leach has an offense that does a few things well. On top of that a lot of the success of his offense is based on exploiting a defense after the snap. Borges is almost the complete opposite. Let's huddle for half the play clock and run the play as scripted. Borges plans all his deception with different formations while running scripted plays. Leach runs his offense almost exclusively from the shotgun with the deception coming after the snap. Leach also calls the play with his offense going no huddle giving the coaches a chance to see what the defense is aligning in.
To me, Borges has been painfully predictable on first down, and in this case, given the lack of success on average when running on first down, I'd say the splits prove contrary to the point you're trying to make. When you are predictable and unsuccessful on first down, the predictability of the next downs goes up as well.
I wasn't trying to compare Borges to Mike Leach. I was just saying that Leach has a more sophisticated way of assessing offensive balance, and that we might get a better idea of how balanced or imbalanced Borges has been if we look deeper into whether he has tried to spread the ball around rather than just run/pass splits.
I agree with coach Leach 100%. I think balance is about much more than run/pass. I wouldn't care at all if our splits were 70/30 or 30/70.
The problem is that if your playmakers are in the passing game, you have to get the ball to them. Gardner has been bad. Likewise, if your best playmaker is a runner (rb/qb), you have to block for him. The line has been bad.
This is what I'm trying to say: we can't be truly balanced with a poor line, ever. But we can't just abandon the running game either, because Gardner has been dreadful. Throwing more on first downs will effectively do that to us, as well be in 2nd and long just as much (40% of the time if Gardner is good), with the occasional sack killing us and the occasional interception killing us as well.
My biggest beef with Borges is that he has almost completely eschewed a running game that hummed in the previous regime. You can keep what works as you transition without being no huddle. I, for one, believe that play calling has a huge impact on execution, and with a few exceptions Michigan simply hasn't surprised many teams offensively. Michigan has no staple play or base offense. If you can run the different plays well, this can make for a dangerous offense. When you don't, you establish no rythm and have no established plays to fall back on. Michigan is a disjointed mess on offense, period.
on first down vs UConn. In the fourth quarter we had seven first downs. The first two were incomplete passes. The next 4 were runs by Fitz; 12 yd TD, 14 yd, 6 yd, 1 yd (he fumbled 3 yards backwards). The last was the victory formation. For all of the hyperbole about the constant 2nd and 12s, (no doubt there were too many negative plays), there were a number of decent gains. Even though we were so predictable that UConn could overplay the run, we were in a poor position every single time we passed on first down. I think Borges would like to pass a lot more on first down, as we did vs ND. Perhaps the reason we didn't is something other than his being a stupid dinosaur who likes to butt his head into walls.