that makes one of us
Eye of the Tiger
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|1 day 5 hours ago||Because||
No matter what, Cole is in the 2-deep, which means he'll play a significant amount of time even if he doesn't start the majority of games. Now of course he may start all the games--I was just speculating. But Magnusen has played guard before, so if he is a better option at LG right now and Cole is good enough at LT, then it would make sense. But again, just speculating. I expect both Cole and Magnusen to get a lot of PT this year.
(Plus our coaches seem to like burning redshirts.)
|1 day 10 hours ago||With what we know now? No way||
...at the time, however,there were reasons to think our OL would be better than it was (2 NFL tackles and the supposedly "most college ready prospect," Kalis, at RG), and reasons to think Borges' offense would be more coherent than it was (the end of the 2012 season). I was also disappointed in our bend-but-don't-break approach to defense.
That said, it's also important to note that, as disappointing as last year was, we were 11 points away from being 10-2. It also works in the other direction, of course, but I think when you consider everything in balance we were most likely an 8-4 team that was more unfortunate than fortunate, and ended up 7-5 as a result. We collapsed in a couple games (Nebraska, Iowa), but positively threw that PSU game away.
I have deep and abiding concerns about the OL this year, in part because of last year and in part because we graduated those tackles to the NFL. Otherwise, though, we have a lot of promise--especially on defense, where we should be significantly better than last year.
And our schedule is quite different.
And I've changed the way I predict individual games a bit, bestowing the 1.00 "guaranteed win"**** status less often. Had I done that last year, the overall win prediction would have been a bit less generous.
|1 day 11 hours ago||I'm guessing||
...that Cole at LT and Magnusen at LG may have more to do with Glasgow's suspension than anything else. I suspect, given what we've heard about Miller, that the starting five for ND will be:
The other possibility is to flip Magnusen and Cole at LT and have Magnusen back up multiple positions. But I doubt Magnusen will start at LG after the first game. Just a feeling...
|1 day 11 hours ago||Structural problems||
There are long-term structural problems on the OL that are still being sorted out. I mean, OL take a long time to develop even in the best of times (when you have program stability and upperclassmen ahead of you). But ideally you want to never be forced to start a true freshman and only start redshirt freshmen when they are exceptionally ready (which is almost never). Ideally you replace upperclassmen (who have had time in the system and are now fully conditioned for the role) with new upperclassmen every year, a la Wisconsin.
The fact is that we are forced to start a young interior OL last year because of poor OL recruiting in 2010 and 2011. And they were forced to learn an extremely complex offensive system with 6 base run plays (some of which called for man blocking and others for zone). And that system kept changing week to week. And the starters on the OL kept changing week to week.
I don't have high hopes for the OL this year, but I do think that the shift in offensive scheme will produce improvement over the course of the year, and set us up nicely for next year, when those structural problems should mostly be worked out.
|1 day 22 hours ago||Alabama ran Power O as a changeup||
Make of that what you will.
We're still asking them to do fewer things this year...
|2 days 7 hours ago||"But we'll need to be 2011-lucky"||
That's a running theme in my diary: if the balance of intangibles runs even, we are a 9 win team. If they fall in our favor, we'll probably win 10; if they don't, 8. If they really don't, 7.
|2 days 7 hours ago||Love the optimism||
...but I can't quite buy into it. Not all the pieces are in place yet, and the OL could be a massive problem. A 3-4 loss season seems likeliest to me.
|2 days 11 hours ago||Nice!||
Looks like the normal distribution around 8.70 is moderately more optimistic than I am on winning 10+, and a tinkle more concerned about us failing to win 8 games. There are defensible arguments for that distribution, for sure.
Qualitatively speaking, however, it's hard for me to see the chances of winning 10 as equal to those of winning 8. The latter seems nearly as likely as winning 9, as I see it, while the former rests on a hell of a lot of things rolling the right way. But I wouldn't complain if we won 10 games :)
|2 days 11 hours ago||You missed the point||
It's not that zone is "simpler" than man (though Inside Zone is in fact simpler than Power O, which mixes man and zone blocking concepts). It's that we ran both man and zone blocking schemes last year, and apparently had 6 (6!) base run plays--some of which were man and others zone.
Nussmeier's Inside Zone-based blocking scheme is in fact simplified in comparison to that. But yes, zone blocking is highly technical and challenging to implement in its own right.
|2 days 11 hours ago||Borges sought forbidden knowledge||
That explains everything!
As far as Minnesota is concerned, here's my argument: over the past 32 meetings, we are 30-2 against them. We've won the last 6, including years when we were bad (2008, 29-6) and they were not bad (2013, 42-13). I suspect they are dazzled by our winged helmets. Regardless, the regularity and typical scoreline of wins makes it very hard for me to see much uncertainty there--especially considering this is about the time when our offense should start to show improvement.
But even if we reduced the probability to .75, it doesn't really affect the season prediction all that much (8.70 wins to 8.55).
|2 days 12 hours ago||Well||
I said we have a 1.00 probability of beating Rutgers and a .90 probability of beating Minnesota, so no.
As for App State and Minnesota, please read the text.
|3 days 6 hours ago||You're right about Utah 2013||
I'll add a strikethrough edit.
However, I'm not sure it changes all that much in terms of probability. A .75 probability of a win still contains a significant level of uncertainty. Yet we still *should* win the game, especially since it's at home. Maybe .67? If it were on the road, I'd definitely have it in the .50-.60 range.
|3 days 6 hours ago||NFL||
A whole lot of starters for Michigan in THE HORROR ended up in the NFL.
|3 days 9 hours ago||I believe||
...it had the highest composite recruiting profile. Could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I saw that somewhere. That's one way of measuring "talent."
There are of course many reasons why the 2008 team was such a disaster, including massive attrition on offense, a difficult transition to a new offensive scheme and coaching philosophy, and some serious human resources problems on defense (i.e. seniors, DC and coach all not on same page). We lost a huge number of guys to the NFL, had our QB-in-waiting transfer and then had a lot of guys underperform/be poorly utilized on defense. Plus griping about RR's practices/approach from upperclassmen and all the well documented issues between RR/position coaches and Scott Schafer (apologies if I misspelled his name).
|7 weeks 5 days ago||English football||
...is structurally terrible. They have poor-quality youth programs and an insular culture of entitlement and vilification that destroys any progress they do, from time-to-time, make.
I was just saying that the long-derided English tactics (emphasis on running, long crosses, etc.) are quite prevalent now, mostly thanks to the influence of Jose Mourinho. England just happen to be bad at their own preferred style of play.
|8 weeks 21 hours ago||As much as I enjoyed reading this...||
...given my dislike of the English National Team (sense of entitlement + no rational reason to feel entitled), I don't think it's quite an accurate assessment. The style of play you see the English use is actually quite widespread in European and South American football, and much more common that the possession game employed by Barcelona and Spain.
The difference between England and, say, the Netherlands, isn't so much of tactics, but of effectiveness. England is just bad and Holland is just, well, better.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||Winning the group is now on the table||
I don't think anyone ratioanlly thought this possible, but it is now.
First off, if we beat Portugal we are through. If we draw with Portugal, we'd need a draw with Germany to go through (or for Portugal to beat Ghana and then us to go through on GD, etc.).
But if we beat Portugal and tie or beat Germany, we win the group. That would set us up in the Round of 16, most likely, against mediocre South Korean or Russian teams--rather than very talented and dangerous Belgium. This is obviously the draw we want.
Obviously a lot has to happen for that to come to pass, and I imagine both Portugal and Germany will play with a lot of desperation at this point. But it's no longer a pipe dream.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Brazil||
They are very skilled and athletic, and use space really well on attack, but are very unimpressive in defense. Mexico is solid-to-good, and certainly well-coached. But this is the second time we've seen Brazil struggle against middling opposition--what happens when they face an elite team, like Argentina, Germany or the Netherlands? Germany is bigger and more physical than Brazil, but just as skilled and athletic, and I can't help but think Messi, Robben and van Persie would all run circles around the Brazilian back four.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||The whole Brazilian team should be booked||
...for being terrible actors.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||It's atrocious||
...bad memories of 2002.
|15 weeks 9 hours ago||FYI: Amendola = injury prone||
Amendola has only played one full season in the NFL, in 2010. He played 12 games last year, 11 the year before, and 1 the year before that.
When I heard about the Gallon pick, I assumed that the Patriots coaching staff wanted someone to fill in during the inevitable periods when Amendola is on IR, and who might end up a cheaper alternative if Amendola continues to have injury problems past this year.
So yeah, I doubt they're cutting him and I believe he will get significant PT this year.
|17 weeks 6 days ago||If our number of wins in 2014...||
<6, Hoke is gone.
=6, Hoke is probably gone.
=7, Hoke is on the hot seat.
=8, Hoke gets a little bit of "space," but not a lot.
<9, Hoke is safe.
|21 weeks 1 day ago||Relax, everyone||
This is a position coachspeak for "I want to draw attention to how well this freshman is playing and I want to use that to push my older players to practice harder."
|24 weeks 1 day ago||This was a pretty cool piece on the show's importance||
Two views, both quite positive.
|25 weeks 2 days ago||Personal vs. Institutional Racism||
I notice some people think racism is just personal sentiment, i.e. prejudice against another individual or group based on skin color/phenotype. That's a kind of racism, for sure, and it's one that can go in any "direction."
But what your post highlights is a "deeper" form of racism is institutional in nature, and can exist and reproduce itself even in the absence of personal racism. I think the NCAA and NFL have come a long way over the past few decades, but even still most of the reins of power remain "white." Black athletes still have fewer opportunities to become coaches, ADs, etc., even though they certainly have more of those opportunities than before, and football is fairly progressive and egalitarian when compared to, say, congress or most private industries.
This context of institutional racism makes "black on white" personal racism inherently less damaging than "white on black."
|25 weeks 3 days ago||I'm a little late to this party, but...||
...I generally agree with you. The problem on offense last year wasn't personnel/inexperience and it wasn't schematic--it was the intersection of the two.
Nussmeier's system (or what we can infer of it from his stops in Tuscaloose and Seattle) promises to be easier to learn, more consistent in its application and should put less pressure on the weak points of the roster. It's not a silver bullet, and we will probably still have trouble with Michigan State's and Ohio's defensive lines. But I expect us to:
A) be more consistent
B) run more effectively from the RB position
C) produce fewer TFLs
D) face fewer 3rd and 8+ downs
E) improve over the course of the year, rather than regress
On the other hand, Borges was pretty good at designing vertical pass plays, and there's always a chance (esp considering we lose both tackles to the NFL) that we regress in the one department that bailed us out in the close wins. Nevertheless, I expect us on balance to be moderately better on offense than we were in 2013--and if we had been moderately better on offense in 2013, we probably would have won 9/10 games instead of 7.
As far as the defense is concerned...I just don't know. On paper we should improve, but I'm not sure how I feel about the moves at LB. Ryan might be better than Morgan or Ross in the middle, but he wasn't just our most consistent pass rusher (in 2012), he was also the most consistent in stopping outside runs. OTOH, we were terrible at covering crossing patterns. Had we been better at that...well...everyone who beat us or threatened to beat us (Ohio excepted) did it with crossing patterns.
|26 weeks 1 day ago||This comment is messed up||
FYI. Not funny.
|26 weeks 3 days ago||Last year's team||
...probably deserved its 7-5 record (in the set schedule), but was 11 pts from being 10-2 and 7 pts from being 5-7. That is in part due to internal factors, but it also reflects the state of our competition--with the exception of MSU and Ohio, more "iffy" than "scary." This contrasts to 2012, when we pretty much beat everyone we were supposed to beat and lost to everyone we were supposed to lose to (Nebraska excepted).
2014 looks to be another high-variance year where there are a lot of iffy games (more than in 2013, actually), but none that look as scary as MSU or Ohio did last year. 8 or 9 wins would be a solid prediction, but, really, the range of plausible outcomes is quite wide.
|31 weeks 4 days ago||MSU and Ohio||
MSU is going to be pretty good, but #5? Really? After losing 6 starting defenders and 3 OL? That I have a hard time understanding. Of course, MSU gets a fairly easy schedule AGAIN. They play at Oregon (likely loss), but then the only other tough road game is at PSU. Even if they lose that, the rest of the potential losses are at home (us, Nebraska and Ohio), where I think it's unlikely they lose more than 1/3 of those. That gives them 9-10 wins. Probably end up ranked somewhere in the 10-20 range.
#13 for Ohio is argubaly even less rational: they are losing 4 OL, Carlos Hyde and the good part of their not-good secondary. And then there's the schedule: Virginia Tech (home) will not be easy, nor really will Navy (away) or even Cincinatti (home). I bet they lose 1/3 of those--and maybe 2/3. Then they play at MUS, at PSU and at Minnesota, which won't be a pushover. I bet they lose 2/3 of those. And then us to finish--a tossup, as usual. That gives them 7-9 wins. They may end up somewhere in the 20-25 range, or even unranked.
|31 weeks 5 days ago||Reading the Tea Leaves isn't dead...||
...it's just on hiatus until after the Spring Game, by which time I will have dried the tea and meditated sufficiently in the presence of their intoxicating, truth-revealing, nerdy-stuff-ranking smoke.