On turnovers

On turnovers

Submitted by jmblue on October 17th, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Rival camps have been formed on the issue of turnovers, with one arguing that turnovers are essentially random, and the other arguing that they're a sign of poor coaching.  Both camps are wrong. 

Turnovers aren't random.  Not in the big-picture standpoint.  I expected us to lose the turnover battle yesterday.  I didn't know how we would, but I figured it would happen.  It's not because we're "worse coached" than Iowa.  It's because we're a younger team - particularly at QB, but also on defense.  Here is the thing: young teams commit more turnovers than more experienced teams, and get fewer takeaways.  The reason Phil Steele expects teams with lousy TO margins to improve the next year is not because of "regression to the mean," but because it usually means that they'll be more experienced the next season.

Young QBs throw more interceptions than experienced ones do.  Almost any QB not named Reggie Ball will cut down on INTs as he gains experience, as the speed of the game slows down for him and he realizes that he doesn't have to force a play that isn't there.  A year ago, Stanzi threw interceptions in every game he started, several of them returned for TDs.  This year he's thrown two in seven games.  It's not random variance, and it's not because Kirk Ferentz suddenly figured out how to coach quarterbacks.  It's because Stanzi has matured and doesn't make as many bad reads as he once did.

So why are we throwing as many INTs as last year?  Because we aren't really any more experienced at QB.  In all three of RR's seasons, he's started a first-year QB.  This is the first season in which he had the opportunity to start a returning starter, but that player (Forcier) was not the best fit for the offense, and lost his job.  It's frustrating to see our QBs make bad reads, throw passes behind WRs, and so on.  But that is likely a consequence of them not being experienced, and not some coaching deficiency on the part of RR, Magee, or Rod Smith.  We can expect, in 2011, Denard to throw fewer interceptions than he does this season.  (And yes, I agree that it's frustrating that in year three, we have to say, "Next year it'll be better."  But that is how it's worked out.)

The other side of things is defense.  Young defenders don't get many takeaways.  They frequently find themselves out of position and blow more assignments than veterans who have been playing longer, watched more film, and can anticipate their opponents' moves more easily.  A case in point is MSU.  A year ago they ranked last in the conference in takeaways, with just 14.  This year, with a lineup dominated by upperclassmen (especially in the back seven, which is responsible for pass coverage), they're getting a couple every game.  Iowa, another team with a veteran defense, regularly gets a lot of interceptions.  We get considerably fewer.  The ones we have gotten have mostly come against - you guessed it - young QBs.  We got three INTs against ND's three young guys, and a pair against BGSU's 2nd and 3rd-stringers.  We're less likely to get them against experienced QBs like Cousins and Stanzi.  The next three weeks, against three new QBs, we might have more of a chance.

In sum: when an experienced team goes up against an young team, expect the former to win the turnover battle.  This is particularly true if the former has a veteran QB.  If your team is young, expect to lose the TO battle regularly.  That's how it goes.

Penn State

Penn State

Submitted by wildbackdunesman on October 17th, 2010 at 4:43 PM

So, we have 2 weeks to prepare for Penn State - road game, at night, white out and an electric PSU student section.

PSU seems beatable and I think we will win.

Would it be wise to use Tate?  Start Denard, but if the offense becomes stagnant put in Tate with his slightly different style and skill set.  I felt that we should have done that against MSU and it will be hard for opponents to prepare for both Denard and Tate.

PSU has young QBs, try to stop the run and force him to beat us in the air...maybe a few ints?

Maybe this will make people feel a little bit better ...

Maybe this will make people feel a little bit better ...

Submitted by IUandUofM on October 17th, 2010 at 4:37 PM

I meant to post this earlier, but just now got around to it.  I just had to get it ... so far my car has not been damaged here in Columbus!  A few fans noticed it at the game yesterday and made me feel it was worth the risk :)

OT - SDSU and Hoke

OT - SDSU and Hoke

Submitted by gobluesasquatch on October 17th, 2010 at 4:34 PM

This is not an anti-Rich Rod post. but rather just an observation. 

The man that was given a profile in cronyism is in the midst of his second reclamation project, this time at San Diego State (first time at Ball State, which has promptly returned to the gutter). Yep, that's the same San Diego State that Chuck Long ran hard and fast into the ground. 

Perhaps we were a bit to hard on him and the AD when he got an interview at Michigan. However, I'm not saying that he should have gotten the Michigan job or that we made a bad hire. 


More Demens porn

More Demens porn

Submitted by iawolve on October 17th, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Now if I can stop saying his first name like Cartman...

Something that has not been noted regarding some of the passes over the middle that he could not cover is that DJK caught some of not all (I need to go back and check) of those passes. We are talking about the all-time receptions leader at Iowa making those catches. I doubt we have people in our secondary that could have covered those drag patterns. With that being said, he also did not get the chance to warm up with pre-conference schedule so I anticipate more improvement in this area with additional playing time.

Why you should be rooting for Iowa.

Why you should be rooting for Iowa.

Submitted by joeyb on October 17th, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Before yesterday's set of games, it looked like MSU and OSU had the opportunity to go undefeated through the season. OSU would have won the bid to the Rose Bowl because of the 3rd tiebreaker in the conference (BCS). OSU lost last night, so now it looks like MSU is in position to go to the Rose Bowl. Even if they have a Sparty, No! game against a lesser opponent, tie breakers give them the go ahead for the Rose Bowl.

Here are the rules for determining the Rose Bowl bid:
1. Conference record
2. Head-to-Head
3. Overall record
4. BCS rank in final poll.

Here are the teams that could still potentially win the Big Ten, i.e. they have 1 loss are undefeated in the Big Ten:
MSU 3-0 (7-0)
Iowa 2-0 (5-1)
Purdue 2-0 (4-2)
Wisconsin 2-1 (6-1)
OSU 2-1 (6-1)
NW 1-1 (5-1)

I don't think anyone would argue against taking Purdue and NW out of the discussion. One looks horrible and the other lost to the first one. This isn't to say they can't have an effect on the other teams, but that they are unlikely to win the rest of their games in the conference.

So, now we have MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and OSU. For the purposes of this post, let's assume that none of them lose to any teams not in this list. Obviously, this can happen, but it is unlikely and has a small probability of happening.

Between these 4 teams, there are 6 possible matchups. 2 have been played (MSU vs. Wisconsin, Wisconsin vs. OSU), 1 will not be played (MSU vs. OSU), and 3 are still to come (Iowa vs. MSU, Iowa vs. OSU, Iowa vs. Wisconsin). As you may have noticed Iowa has not played any of the other 3 teams, therefore, they can essentially decide who goes to the Rose Bowl with which games they win and lose.

If Iowa loses to MSU, MSU goes to the Rose Bowl. MSU would have Head-to-Head advantage over the other 3 teams, not to mention a 1 game lead.

If Iowa beats MSU, there are 4 possibilities:

Beat OSU, Beat Wisconsin: Iowa is the only undefeated team in the Big Ten. They are in the same situation that MSU is if MSU wins their matchup.

Beat OSU, Lose to Wisconsin: Three-way tie between MSU, Wisconsin, and Iowa in conference record and Head-to-Head. Iowa gets eliminated for their loss to Arizona. MSU wins the Head-to-Head against Wisconsin.

Lose to OSU, Beat Wisconsin: 3-way tie between OSU, MSU, and Iowa. OSU wins the Head-to-Head round.

Lose to OSU, Lose to Wisconsin: 3-way tie between MSU, OSU, Wisconsin. MSU wins the Head-to-Head round.

In 6 of 8 scenarios, MSU wins the Big Ten. If Iowa beats MSU, the only way they win the Big Ten is if Wisconsin beats Iowa. OSU is hoping for the perfect storm where Iowa takes down MSU and Wisconsin for them and also bends over for them. Wisconsin's only hope right now is for MSU to Sparty, No! this season. Ironically, Wisconsin's Big Ten hopes were probably over before they started.

OT: Thanks and update on my youth team

OT: Thanks and update on my youth team

Submitted by Topher on October 17th, 2010 at 1:59 PM

I posted this to thank everybody who gave me tips a couple weeks ago, when I posted "my youth FB team stinks." We lost yesterday 7-0, but we played by far our best game of the year, following up the week before when we scored our first touchdown. We have struggled against a ridiculously tough schedule which hasn't helped the kids get confident but we were sharp yesterday.

-Most of the tips involved making practice more fun for the kids. We have a lot of fun built in to the practice already so it was good to see that was a universal, but what really helped us was getting more serious with discipline. We now deliver five unconditional up downs to the team in the event of a false start, offsides or fumble in practice. Maybe I've been reading too much Rick Reilly, but I didn't like the idea of being the coach who calls for running or pushups or whatnot for mistakes...I don't want to lead through fear. But I've found the kids really improve when that kind of threat is on the line, and it's not scarring them (in fact I think they like knowing we are serious about our boundaries. As Bo said, they WANT you to coach them).

-I'm also sort of a demanding hardass in my regular life, so I wanted to dial it back while coaching the kids. As it is, I've found that being demanding works if it's fair and consistent and I don't give any sign that I'm emotionally invested. We also NEVER, ever punish kids for poor performance - only for practice mental mistakes or disrespecting (e.g. not paying attention, screwing around or walking when they should be running).

-We only have 15 players so scrimmaging is impossible. However, on the advice of a friend, I started running mini-football games, six or seven men to a side on a shrunken field with down and distance and everything. THAT really helped them understand that you have to go to the whistle, you can't just stop once you've made your block, how to compete each play, etc. Plus it's easier to keep an eye on everybody's technique when it's not 22 players at a time.

-We've also made some strategic moves - we've figured out who's really able to tackle on defense, so we put those kids in position to contain and to make plays, and we put two of our most aggressive kids at running back beacuse that way we can sometimes get yards even if the blocking doesn't pan out. We may have a shot at a win before the year is out, but at any rate I think our kids are starting to get the game of football. I appreciate the support.

To All RR Haters...

To All RR Haters...

Submitted by hausoian on October 17th, 2010 at 1:58 PM


After reading some of the posts around here, I am shocked by what people are saying about RR. I don't post here often, but I do read the forums quite a bit. What I see is people mistaking game-specific mistakes and lack of execution for deep-rooted issues with the program. I mean, really, the overreaction is getting a little much. It's childish.

First let's start with the offense over the past two games (since everyone can agree it was basically Denard being a man among boys in the first five games). We have had SEVEN turnovers in the past two games. As RR says, we are not good enough to win games with that many turnovers. Then again, who is? And keep in mind we are playing with sophomore quarterbacks, one of whom wasn't able to hit the broad side of a barn last year. These guys are still developing and are going to make boneheaded mistakes. By the way, most teams with sophomore quarterbacks not meant to be first-round NFL draft picks are going to struggle. That's just how it is.

With that said, what more do you want offensively after watching yesterday? 300 yards passing, 100 rushing? Over 500 yards against THAT defense? This is a defense with a top-10 draft pick, virtually all seniors or upperclassmen, with Norm Parker who has been there a long time. We have been yelling and screaming for a more diverse and active offense all those years under LC and we finally got it. Don't complain.

Okay, the defense blows. We can all agree with that. Now, look at the depth chart. Our seniors are role players, not dominators, save for Mouton. At some points we are literally throwing backups on the field and hoping that we don't give up six. That is how little depth we have. Just look at when we sub in Patterson. The secondary is a mess with a host of true freshmen or guys not cut out to be premier corners. And don't even start to blame GERG--I guarantee he is a better DC than most. Starting a former WR at FS as a frosh is not a start to a good defense. 

Okay, you knew all that. But then you start to play the blame game and say that RR should be fired (or at least on a tight leash) since he hasn't been able to put together even a Northwestern-level defense. Yes, maybe RR should have never gone after Demar Dorsey because of grades, but are you going to fault a guy because he thought he could get a guy who would help us immediately? Turner, Cissoko, Warren, and Woolfolk were definitely not his fault. Not to mention the guys in the 2008 class (whose slots in the recruiting charts should mean that they would be our starters now) who barely made it to campus before leaving. 

So, who do I blame? I blame Cissoko for making bad decisions, Warren for leaving early, Turner for never stepping up, Woolfolk's ankle for exploding, and, yes, RR for recruiting Dorsey. Oh, and the fact that Lloyd crapped the bed on the 2007 and 2008 classes. 

But you have heard all of this before. So why do you refuse to listen? Probably because, naturally, we live in a society of instant gratification and we see MSU and OSU in the national headlines (for good reasons), not to mention beating us. But hey, let MSU have their moment in the sun once every 20 years, and let OSU's empire come crumbling down just like ours did. It will take time. Deal with it. Frosh will be sophomores, sophs will be juniors, and juniors will be seniors. 


So, stop whining.



Plz stop with the: "we lost to top 15 teams"

Plz stop with the: "we lost to top 15 teams"

Submitted by FingerMustache on October 17th, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I cant even count how many posts iv seen that are some derivative of: "smile...both of the teams we lost to are ranked in the top 12."

Thank you...we know.

We all came into these season with the expectation of losing a few. An 8-4 finish, which is still very much a possibility, would exceed most preseason expectations.

But the issue isnt that we lost, its how we lost:

     - Three turnovers

     - one missed FG

     - needless penalties (the face masks need to stop)

     - two kickoffs out of bounds

     - missed tackles

     - failure to cover on the blocked kick

     - missed interception opportunities.

     - questionable personnel decisions

We didnt lose to two top opponents...we lost to ourselves, and two top 15 opponents just happened to be on the field with us.

So stop trying to convince everyone that they are stupid for being frustrated. Yes, im frustrated, and i think it is justified