Pioneers of The QB Position: Dennis Franklin & Cornelius Greene

Pioneers of The QB Position: Dennis Franklin & Cornelius Greene

Submitted by MgoViper on November 29th, 2010 at 12:33 AM

Just a good video done by the Big Ten Network. Enjoy

Edit: something isn't working correct. It shows embedded on edit,  and not on the thread. Mods explain please?

A different look at the importance of experience

A different look at the importance of experience

Submitted by 2014 on November 28th, 2010 at 11:00 PM

This isn't supposed to be a defense of RR or an indictment. This is just a simple way to look at the importance of experience in putting together a winning team.

I took the top 9 teams in the BCS standings (3x3 fit my screen nicely in excel, that's why 9...) and also looked at 3 under peforming classic power houses (Michigan, Texas, Florida). I pulled the depth charts from

  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 4 36% 2 18% 27%
Senior 5 45% 7 64% 55%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 3 27% 1 9% 18%
Junior 3 27% 4 36% 32%
Senior 5 45% 6 55% 50%
Junior/Senior 8 73% 10 91% 82%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 1 9% 5%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 2 18% 2 18% 18%
Senior 8 73% 8 73% 73%
Junior/Senior 10 91% 10 91% 91%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 4 36% 2 18% 27%
Junior 1 9% 5 45% 27%
Senior 6 55% 4 36% 45%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 9 82% 73%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 1 9% 5%
Sophomore 2 18% 1 9% 14%
Junior 4 36% 5 45% 41%
Senior 5 45% 4 36% 41%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 2 18% 2 18% 18%
Junior 5 45% 2 18% 32%
Senior 4 36% 7 64% 50%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 2 18% 1 9% 14%
Sophomore 1 9% 2 18% 14%
Junior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Senior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Junior/Senior 8 73% 8 73% 73%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 2 18% 4 36% 27%
Junior 3 27% 2 18% 23%
Senior 6 55% 5 45% 50%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 7 64% 73%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 3 27% 4 36% 32%
Junior 4 36% 3 27% 32%
Senior 3 27% 3 27% 27%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 6 55% 59%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 3 27% 18%
Sophomore 3 27% 3 27% 27%
Junior 5 45% 2 18% 32%
Senior 2 18% 3 27% 23%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 5 45% 55%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 0 0% 5%
Sophomore 4 36% 1 9% 23%
Junior 2 18% 6 55% 36%
Senior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Junior/Senior 6 55% 10 91% 73%


  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 5 45% 3 27% 36%
Senior 4 36% 6 55% 45%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%

A few takeaways:

  1. Every team in top 8 had 73% of their starters as either Juniors or Seniors. Bob Stoops should be coach of the year at #9 Oklahoma...the big difference with Oklahoma appears to be that the young guys are playing because they are just better than the vets. They have plenty of age on the two-deep.
  2. There are only 9 total freshmen starting for the top 9 teams.
  3. There are only 3 true freshmen (denoted by *) starting combined for the top 9 teams.
  4. As it stands today, 3 of our 5 losses have been to teams in the top 8 of the BCS. Those 3 teams only have 1 starting freshmen, and he's a redshirt.
  5. WTF with Texas and Florida? Especially Florida, they are an experienced team...I thought I would find that Florida and Texas are young, but not so much...

I didn't do the math for all of the BCS teams, but a quick look at the rest showed the same story, nobody outside of Oklahoma is even close to us in youth.

Feel free to do what you will with these numbers, IMO, it's more proof that the importance of experience can't be overstated. Conversely, the importance of roster management also can't be overstated so you don't end up in these kind of situations. That pretty much sums up the argument for/against firing RR. Yin/Yang and what not.

Traveling to the Bowl Game

Traveling to the Bowl Game

Submitted by mgoblue52 on November 28th, 2010 at 10:48 PM

I'm a recent graduate and I was in the MMB so when I did go to bowl games, it was on the University's dime.

Now that I'm a proud alum, I'm excited to go to the bowl game on my own!  Just one question for the more experienced bowl travelers:

I'm assuming they announce the invitations next Sunday, and mgoblue will have info regarding tickets.  Do people usually just buy through our athletic department?


Who else is going to Tempe (probably)?

Jim Harbaugh transition easier then you think?

Jim Harbaugh transition easier then you think?

Submitted by The program on November 28th, 2010 at 10:43 PM

QB - Michigan has a pro style QB in Devin Gardner (6-5, strong arm, will sit in the pocket) remember he turned Josh Johnson into a pro QB at San Diego.  If Tate transfers and Denard switches positions depth becomes an issue but other wise good.

RB- Mike Cox is a big back who can run and I think would do very well in a pro style system (I know he has not played much but has looked good when he has played and according to reports by rivals is the fastest of the RBs) not to mention that Denard might switch to RB and he would do well in any system.

WR - We are loaded with 3 guys that might play at the next level and would fit in any system (Roundtree, Stonum, Hemingway), plus lots of long term depth.

TE- We have two coming back (Koger and Moore) and given some time he might get get one or two Freshmen in this class not to mention that Watson might move back (if he is given a 5th year by the coaches) Overall they will be ok at this position next year but depth will be a major issue.

OL- The linemen are going to have to get bigger and stronger but there is a lot of experence coming back (4 guys with over a year of starting experience and by all accounts Barnum and Schofield are going to be good), though once again long term depth is a major issue.

DL- We return 3 starter that played in a 3-man front although Roh is undersized for a 3-man front.  Overall DL should be a strengh but  we have major depth issues. 

LB - We don't have a lot of 3-4 outside LB who have played but guys like Ken Wilkins, Jim Ryan, and Brandon Herron played similar rolls in High school and could transition well.  Guys like Kovacs and Cam Gordan may be asked to pay LB,  With Demens and Mike Jones I think we are ok up the middle but depth is a major problem at the two MLB spots

CB/S - We have a lot of expernece coming back given how many young players have gotten to play this year. Then with Troy and JT coming back I think this could be a position of strength. I could see Troy and JT at the corners (although I personally think the D is at its best when Troy is at FS) Ray at FS and Carvin at SS.  Depth at CB should be good although there could be a lack of depth at FS.

Special Teams - They have a really good punter, Stonum is a soild return guy and my hope would be that they let Odoms returns punts.  As far as the kicking game goes lets pray they get a good freshman; otherwise I think Ryan Van Bergen [Ed-M: RVB can kick?] gives us the best kicking option.

Offense overall- There is a lot to work with although building depth at both OL and QB will be very important to long term success.

Defense overall – Yes the D is bad but remember that Stanford’s D last year ranked 90thin the nation (not much better than ours) yet Vic Fangio (Stanford’s Defense Coordinator) has this years team ranked 24 and while there D is very disciplined  and tuff they do not have many athletes in the front 7 and still made major improvements.

InSight Bowl Opponent

InSight Bowl Opponent

Submitted by m83econ on November 28th, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Between ESPN & CBS, there are 3 possibilities for the opponent (yes, this assumes nothing strange happens and Michigan goes to the Gator Bowl):



Oklahoma State…

Not much hope for an easy opponent among those 3, but certainly 3 different styles.

OT: The Plymouth High kicker

OT: The Plymouth High kicker

Submitted by yossarians tree on November 28th, 2010 at 9:59 PM

I watched much of the Michigan high school football finals on TV over the weekend. I was extremely impressed with the competitiveness of most of the games in general and with a few players in particular. First and foremost:

The Plymouth kicker (Dan Brinza???). I don't know to what extent this guy was on Michigan's radar, but holy shit did we lose out on this kid. Here's a guy who can ride his bike to Michigan's campus, a school that is so desperate for a good kicker that we were going for it on 4th and 11 on the OSU 25 in the FIRST QUARTER!!!!

Anyway, the kid hit a couple field goals in the game, but the real story was his punting! I had to rewind my DVR at one point to make sure I was not delusional. The young man lined up to punt at his 17 yard line, his foot struck the ball at the 21, and FUCKING BALL NEXT LANDED ON THE GROUND AT THE GOAL LINE!!!

79 yards on the fly people. I saw in today's paper that he averaged 55 yards on 5 punts. Why is this kid not going to Michigan? Holy shite. The day bottomed out when I saw this.

In addition: A lot of Big 10 teams, us included, may end up rueing the day they did not go harder after the Ithaca QB, Niznak, a 6-3, 225 lb farm kid who hit 22-25 passes and ran for about 4 TDS. He is going to Central Mich.

Also, there is a sophomore for GR Catholic or somebody. 6 foot, 250 pounds already, a DL who was caving in the line all day, playing like a man possessed, and even blocked a FG. Who could use a guy like that in two years?

Experience vs defensive performance

Experience vs defensive performance

Submitted by ebv on November 28th, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Let me start this off by thanking all the players for their incredible efforts on the field this season.  Vincent Smith blocking JJ Watt is the defining image for me.  Vinopal stopping Leshoure for a loss on 3rd and 1 is right up there too.

So what is the purpose of this?

I want to explore how much of our defensive performance we can plausibly blame the coaches for, and what is an inevitable part of a young program.  Is there an uninterruptible progression in football ability from freshman to senior, or can good coaching get a kid to play like someone with 2 or more years of experience?  Everyone seems to have an opinion, but what does the data say?

How will you test that? 

I’ve scraped rosters for every FBS team from ESPN.  For each team, I calculate an experience score by assigning a value to each academic year (Senior = 4, Junior = 3, Sophomore = 2, Freshman = 1)  and summing over defensive players**.  High scores will go to big teams with lots of seniors.  Low scores will go to small teams with lots of freshman.  I then measured the correlation with the Football outsider’s defensive S&P+, an aggregate measure of defensive performance that does not (as far as I can tell) include experience.  If performance is predictable from experience, then there is not much the coaches can do aside from wait for the team to grow up.  However, if there is no correlation, then coaches can influence performance by increasing talent levels (recruiting) and ability (coaching).

What are the results?

The data takes on what appears to be a normal distribution with most teams in the middle in terms of both experience and performance, with just a few at the extremes.  Tulane is a major outlier in experience, with an experience score of 63.’s Tulane season preview starts by saying “Few units in America are greater coach killers than the Tulane D.”  More about them later.  The high end of experience features Navy, Nebraska, Army, Ohio, Kansas State, and Notre Dame, in that order.  Michigan has an experience score of 101 and an S&P+ score of 90.8, locating us near the peak of both distributions.

In the next figure, each point is a team, with its experience score on the x-axis and its defensive performance, as measured by Football Outsiders, on the y-axis.  The plot is roughly cone shaped: elite defenses are impossible without a certain level of experience, while at the same time, experienced defenses can be crappy.  It is interesting to note that the upper right is empty, indicating that a team can, somehow, be too experienced.  Could this be explained by the NFL draft?

There is a positive correlation with p = 0.026, indicating that it is not random.  Every year of experience leads to a gain of 0.2 S&P+ units.   In short, getting older makes the team (a little bit) better.

R2 is very small (0.042), meaning that experience can only explain about 4% of the variation in performance.  Most of a team’s defensive performance is not explained from its experience alone.

The red line shows the best fit linear regression model for the data.  Teams above the line are performing better than we would expect from experience alone, while teams below are worse.  The horizontal yellow line shows Michigan’s defensive performance. It is right about the same as Tulane’s (the leftmost point with an experience score of 63).  Coach Killer you say?  The vertical, yellow lines will be discussed after first covering some caveats.

Huge, conclusion altering caveats:

First, ESPN does not include data on redshirts, which would probably change the experience picture substantially.   Second, we can not separate the portions of a team’s defensive performance that are due to good coaching from those that result from raw talent / recruiting.  Third, ESPN does not give information about scholarships, so it is possible for the experience scores to be biased by players who will never see the field.  Fourth, the data does not reflect injuries so the team on the field may be much less experienced than the roster.  Finally, FO Data doesn’t include yesterday’s games yet, so if there were big suprises (cough, Iowa) thet might change this analysis somewhat.  Try to interpret the data with these limitations in mind (i.e. don’t take this analysis too seriously).

Ok, so what are the vertical, yellow lines?

The right one shows Michigan’s experience score.  Note the wide range of possible defensive performance scores at this level of experience.  Clearly, Michigan has suffered its share of injuries this year, so the vertical, yellow line on the left shows the experience score if we remove the defensive players from the OSU injury report (JT Floyd, Mike Jones, Jared Van Slyke, Mike Williams, Troy Woolfolk) and Vladmir Emilien.  Even removing these players, the defense is still playing below the expectation based on their experience.  Note that we are comparing Michigan with injuries to the rest of the FBS without injuries, essentially assuming that Michigan’s injury situation is a wild outlier – an assumption I’m not sure is true.  However, even making this assumption, the team is still performing below average.

Can now we draw some sweeping conclusions about the level of coaching at every football program in the country?

Finally, I wanted to look at who was doing well relative to their experience.  To do this I calculated an expected S&P+ from the regression model (the red line) and subtracted that value from the actual S&P+ score.  I then looked for teams with a large difference in performance and expectation.   If the difference is positive, it means the team is exceeding the performance expected given their experience.  If it is negative, then the team is underperforming expectations.

Who is doing well?

Top ten teams and the amount they’re exceeding expectations, in S&P+ units.

Boise State




Ohio State


South Carolina




Texas A&M




Mississippi State




West Virginia


Who is doing badly?

Bottom eleven teams, and the amount they’re underperforming expectations, in S&P+ units.









New Mexico State






Ball State


Middle Tennessee




Eastern Michigan


How’s the Big 10 doing?

Big 10 teams + ND and Nebraska and the amount they’re exceeding or underperforming expectations, in S&P+ units.

Ohio State






Notre Dame




Michigan State




Penn State












How about Michigan?

Michigan is ranked 93, below expectations by about 11 S&P+ units, even when removing the injured players listed above.  That is nearly a full standard deviation (sd = 13.3).  We’re barely outperforming Bowling Green, Baylor and Virginia, and are being narrowly outperformed by Rice, Florida International and Arkansas State.

And our friends at Tulane?



Actually, about what you’d expect, given their dismal experience score.  They're ranked 56th.


The correlation between experience and defensive performance is poor, which means the coaches should be able to have a great deal of influence over performance.  Michigan is a young team, but plenty of teams that are just as young are outperforming us defensively.  Even if we assume that Michigan’s is the only FBS team with injuries, the performance is still below expectations.  This points to an issue with coaching.

There is the possibility is that Michigan’s experience score is an illusion, and consists mostly of non-scholarship players who will never see the field.  If you know of a data source that has up-to-date rosters and lists which athletes have scholarships, I’d be happy to rerun the analysis, but as it is the numbers make it look like we’re being outcoached, at least defensively, by Tulane.


* Since Tulane is an outlier, I reran this analysis without that datapoint.  There was not a substantial impact on the best-fit model.

** Edit 11/29/2010 - When I originally posted this I said "and summing over the whole team".  Actually, the experience scores are only counted for players at defensive positions.

Lessons from the Year of Infinite Pain?

Lessons from the Year of Infinite Pain?

Submitted by Brady2Terrell on November 28th, 2010 at 8:32 PM

In an effort to stay out of the "RichRod sucks/Harbaugh is God" or "Harbaugh is a hack traitor/RichRod will win 20 MNCs" camps, I decided to refocus my attention on a possibly relevant topic: given the completed 2010 season, what should our expectations for 2011 be?  More specifically, is there hope in recent Michigan history?

I began by comparing Michigan's results from 2010 with those from another recent 7-5 year, the 2005 Year of Infinite Pain (little did we know), a season that was widely heralded as Michigan's "once per score years down-year."

  2005 2010
Win #1 NIU, 33-17 UConn, 30-10
Win #2 EMU, 55-0 ND, 28-24
Win #3 MSU, 34-31 UMass, 42-37
Win #4 PSU, 27-25 BG, 65-21
Win #5 Iowa, 23-20 Indiana, 42-35
Win #6 Northwestern, 33-17 Illinois, 67-65
Win #7 Indiana, 41-14 Purdue, 27-16
Loss #1 ND, 10-17 MSU, 17-34
Loss #2 Wisconsin, 20-23 Iowa, 28-38
Loss #3 Minnesota, 20-23 PSU, 31-41
Loss #4 OSU, 21-25 Wisconsin, 28-48
Loss #5 Nebraska, 21-25 OSU, 7-37














While at first glance I want to be able to look at this and say "we followed that 2005 season with a 2006 season led by a beast of a defense and a powerful offense, and came within a late-hit penalty of playing for the national championship," I can't see a similar turn-around for 2011.  Outside of the records, these teams were night-and-day.

It's true that the 2011 team will be bringing back more guys than we did in 2006, but that's where the comparison ends.  The 2005 team didn't lose a game by more than seven points, and lost their five games by a combined 21 points while outscoring their opponents in their wins by 122.  The 2010 team suffered each loss by at least ten points and lost the five by a combined 87 points, while only outscoring their opponents by 83 in the wins.  For those of you keeping track at home, that's a +101 scoring differential versus a -4.

So if we can't learn from 2005, what does progress really look like year-on-year from 2009?

  2009 2010
Win #1 WMU, 31-7 UConn, 30-10
Win #2 ND, 38-34 ND, 28-24
Win #3 EMU, 45-17 UMass, 42-37
Win #4 Delaware St., 63-6 BG, 65-21
Win #5 Indiana, 36-33 Indiana, 42-35
Loss/Win Illinois, 13-38 Illinois, 67-65
Loss/Win Purdue, 36-38 Purdue, 27-16
Loss #3/1 MSU, 20-26 MSU, 17-34
Loss #4/2 Iowa, 28-30 Iowa, 28-38
Loss #5/3 PSU, 10-35 PSU, 31-41
Loss #6/4 Wisconsin, 24-45 Wisconsin, 28-48
Loss #7/5 Ohio State, 10-21 OSU, 7-37














Other than UConn being a marginally tougher opponent than WMU, we ran the table against ND and some cupcakes in the non-conference schedule.  In both years we beat Indiana close and lost to Wisconsin by about 20.

In the positive column, we turned a 25 point Illinois loss into a 2 point win, and turned a 2 point Purdue loss into an 11 point win.  We closed the gap with PSU from 25 points to 10 points.

On the negative, however, our three conference losses against the better Big Ten teams got much worse.  Instead of losing in OT to MSU, we lost by 17.  Instead of losing by 2 to Iowa, we lost by 10.  Instead of an 11 point loss to OSU with five Tate Forcier turnovers, we lost by 30 in a game wherein OSU ran the ball on the final 16 plays and didn't attempt a pass in the 4th quarter (mimicking Wisconsin's performance the week before).

A sad stat for those arguing that 2010 was a strong step forward - the 2009 team was actually a +24 in scoring differential, which is four touchdowns favorable to the 2010 team that supposedly took a big step forward.  If David Brandon keeps Rich Rodriguez on for a fourth year I'm rooting hard for him to succeed and for us to compete for a championship, but it appears he'll be doing it without the benefit of recent trends or history.

Go Blue!

Tate's Decision to Stay a Wolverine: The Backstory

Tate's Decision to Stay a Wolverine: The Backstory

Submitted by MGoShoe on November 28th, 2010 at 7:09 PM

What made Tate Foricer decide not to transfer when so many were telling him to pull the trigger? Loyaly, and the realization that even though he was no longer the starter, there would be opportunities to play.  In a telephone interview with his hometown San Diego-Tribune, Foricer was frank and open.

“It’s hard to go from starting to backing up. A lot of people told me to leave. I wanted to leave. But it was just too hard. I didn’t want to leave the (coaching) staff or these players. I felt I was going to be a part of something great.”

“Two quarterbacks have to play in this offense. It might not happen every game, but you’re going to get your chance. I’m not banking on Denard getting injured. Nothing like that. But in this offense, you never know what can happen.”

“A lot of people would think me and Denard would have something against each other because he starts, but Denard is a good guy. We hang out. And he works hard. What’s hard for me is he’s having so much success and there’s nothing you can do about it except stay ready.”

“I’ve learned to be way more humble. I look back at freshman year, and I was a little cocky. I was getting too caught up in seeing myself on TV every week. I think that would happen to anybody who would go from being a regular kid in high school to a national stage like that. It was crazy.”

The headline "Forcier Found Michigan Ties too Strong" and the closing tell the story:

This season has brought Forcier a new reality and a new perspective. If he is not yet part of something great, he continues to grow.

Let's hope this continues to be the case. 

How long does it take to Rebuild a college power?

How long does it take to Rebuild a college power?

Submitted by ChicagoB1GRed on November 28th, 2010 at 6:36 PM
Every major CF power has had down periods and their fans went through the same conflict---no one wants to be the next Notre Dame, wandering in the wilderness not giving the new coach enough time and changing coaches every few years. All of these teams turned it around and were back to their winning ways.
Started me thinking about how fast the turnaround took. I looked at only the top teams for all-time for wins who in modern times had a major downturn and brought in a new coach: NU, UT, OK, 'Bama,  ND, USC; and a few newer ones like FL, FSU, GA.
One common thread--they all won right away (at worst had a middling 1st  year except Sabin) , and won at a high level every year thereafter. I recognize that every program is different and there's a lot of parity these days. I just couldn't find any examples of big-time programs that needed several years for the new coach to turn things around. But coaches like RR and Brian Kelly do have a strong track record of success as CFB head coaches---maybe they'll start a new trend.
Here's the programs, with coach's first year and all-time record at that school: 
OKLAHOMA Bob Stoops 7-5, 127-31
NEBRASKA Bo PelinI 9-4, 30-10 and Bob Devaney 9-2, 101-20
TEXAS Mack Brown 9-3, 132-34
ALABAMA Nick Sabin 2-6, 37-11
FLORIDA Urban Mayer 9-3, 64-15
NOTRE DAME Lou Holtz 5-6, 100-30
GEORGIA Vince Dooley 7-3, 201-77
USC Pete Carroll 6-6, 77-12
FLORIDA ST Bobby Bowden 5-6, 304-97