Hokepoints: The 2012 Season, in Photos

Hokepoints: The 2012 Season, in Photos

Submitted by Seth on February 19th, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Two photos by Upchurch made into one.

I've been spending much of the last week going through last year's photos by Eric Upchuch (ChewerD on the site) to find the good stuff for this year's HTTV. Ninety-five percent just gets deleted, several hundred make it to folders I can access for various players and stuff. Then there's the shots and sequences that I can't, for whatever reason, use in the book but can't in good conscious throw out. So here you go.

NOTRE DAME:

jakeclose

You know those guys who stick their heads in lions' mouths? We've got a cameraman who'll stick his lens inches from Jake Ryan. Peer into the soul of the Viking.

[The rest after THE JUMP]

Opponent Watch: Finale

Opponent Watch: Finale

Submitted by Heiko on December 14th, 2012 at 3:25 PM

No. 2 Alabama (12-1 overall, 8-1 SEC)

Last game: Beat Georgia 32-28 in the SEC Championship after Georgia futzed a last-second goal line play.

As frightening as: Rome, ca. 450 A.D. Currently idling between sacks. Fear level = 9 but waning.

Superlative: Best cry after a win.

If Michigan could play them now: The humanity would overwhelm.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not scheduled them.

Bowl game: Will play No. 1 Notre Dame in a battle of which team Michigan fans want to cheer for less.

Prediction: It’s Notre Dame.

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Air Force (6-6 overall, 5-3 MWC)

Last game: Blown out by Fresno State 48-15. It’s like people know how to defend the triple option. Crazy.

As frightening as: Kryptonite. Ostensibly harmless, inert substance that glows green around Michigan players and makes them appear slow and weak. Fear level = 5.

Superlative: Most infuriating to root against due to nameplates bearing noble ideals.

If Michigan could play them now: Nobody needs that twice in one season.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Scheduled them later, as in not right after Alabama.

Bowl game: Will play Rice in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

Prediction: The ratings will be higher overseas.

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UMass (1-11, 1-7 MAC)

Last game: Lost to Central Michigan 42-41.

Mike Cox!: 17 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD.

As frightening as: A flap of a butterfly’s wings. Every once in a while it might trigger a tiny vortex that blows a nearby butterfly off course. In this case that other butterfly would be 1-11 Akron. Fear level = 0.

Superlative: Most likely to appear in highlight reels of other teams.

If Michigan could play them now: It would be a nice glamour photo shoot for Michigan’s tailbacks complete with dramatic lighting, airbrushing, and green space.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not scheduled them. This game didn’t do anything for Michigan other than show us that Denard can throw a pick-six to even the worst defenses.

Bowl game: There should be an anti-playoff to determine the worst team in Division I.

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No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0 overall)

Last game: Failed to lose to USC, 22-13.

As frightening as: MRSA. Fear level = 8.

Superlative: Most referees on payroll.

If Michigan could play them now: Michigan would probably find another way to lose again, which is fine. This year, as they say, is Not Ours.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Run the ball more, which sounds crazy now, but back then people had luxuries like ulnar nerves and tibias. This kind of thing worked.

Bowl game: Notre Dame is 60 minutes away from Returning to Glory. Agasp.

Prediction: Either way Ohio State won't end up No. 1 in the AP. 

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Purdue (6-6 overall, 3-5 B1G)

Last game: Won rivalry game against Indiana 56-35, fired coach.

Arithmetic: WALRUS minus STACHE equals MANATEE.

If Michigan could play them now: It would be a semifinal match for the title of “B1G Team with most season-altering injuries.” In the other bracket of this hypothetical tournament is Iowa, which has a bye because of its self-explanatory No. 1 seed.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Savored this win more.

Bowl game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Oklahoma State.

Prediction: Oklahoma State is 7-5. All five of its losses have been to teams that were ranked at one point or another during the season; Purdue lost to Minnesota. In conference play, Oklahoma State beat TCU, No. 24 Iowa State, West Virginia, and No. 23 Texas Tech by multiple scores; in conference play, Purdue beat Indiana by multiple scores.

This should go real well.

--------------------

Illinois (2-10 overall, 0-8 B1G)

Last game: Could not overcome five-score deficit; lost to Northwestern.

As frightening as: Someone else’s septic leak. Schadenfreude level = 4. It’s been a few years since they last beat Michigan, so it’s difficult to relish their misery.

Superlative: Most likely to develop oropharyngeal malignancy.

If Michigan could play them now: Be careful what you wish for, or Jim Delany might put them in Michigan’s division so Michigan can play them year after year after year until Fresno State joins the B1G and they have to redo the thing again. Playing Illinois every year doesn’t seem so bad, though. I just wish they could go back to being interesting rather than sad.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not injured Denard’s arm, since the arm issue would turn out to be kind of disastrous two games later. This is foreshadowing, for those of you who suffered from alcohol-induced retrograde amnesia after the OSU game and are now trying to piece the events of the season back together.

Bowl game: Ha. (By the way, what is with people typing “ha” over text or gchat? I normally have a two-“ha” minimum when I laugh electronically, unless I’m feeling derisive. Is being stingy with the “ha’s” a Michigan thing? I only ever notice this when communicating with people from Michigan.)

--------------------

Michigan State (6-6 overall, 3-5 B1G)

Last game: Beat Minnesota 26-10, avoided a losing record.

As frightening as: A rock.

Fear level = 5.

Superlative: Most likely to throw up on self en route to Disney World, ruining the trip for everyone.

If Michigan could play them now: Maybe Michigan could have some fake audibles. Like, okay, you don’t want to play chess with Narduzzi, but wouldn’t it be fun to pretend like you are? “Alert alert alert!” = base play. “Blue 42! Blue 42!” = base play. “We’re going to throw it to Dileo!” = We’re going to throw it to Dileo.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Anticipated the most obvious fake punt situation ever, which has only become more obvious in hindsight.

Bowl game: B-dubs vs. TCU. Should be fun to watch actually.

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No. 16 Nebraska (10-3 overall, 7-2 B1G)

Last game: Lost 70-31 to Alabamasconsin.

As frightening as: A teenager who finally gets his license after failing twice. Fear level = 7, to others and self.

If Michigan could play them now: Oh if only.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: I hate them so much.

Bowl game: It’s more loathing than hate. It’s how you would feel about someone who you let copy your homework and then gets both of you in trouble.

Prediction: Nebraska plays Georgia. Good luck!

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Minnesota (6-6 overall, 2-6 B1G)

Last game: Lost to Michigan State 26-10.

As frightening as: Anything that can be described as “scrappy.” Fear level = 3.

Superlative: Best tire fire mitigation effort.

If Michigan could play them now: Same story, different day.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Prepared Devin Gardner to play quarterback a week earlier. This is purely a hindsight thing, though.

Bowl game: Ritual gopher slaughter at Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas vs. Texas Tech.

Prediction: The gods will be pleased.

--------------------

All the better to play Monopoly with.

No. 20 Northwestern (9-3 overall, 5-3 B1G)

Last game: Managed to hold onto a five-score lead, beat Illinois 50-14.

As frightening as: Receiving an email with the subject line “Remove Me From This List!” Fear level = 7.

Superlative: Worst utilization of Kyle Prater.

If Michigan could play them now: I liked the screw-with-their-reads plan Mattison used late against Northwestern and Ohio State. Mattison knows how to play chess.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Michigan had a good game plan. Northwestern put up a good fight. Not much to change.

Bowl game: Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi State.

Prediction: No idea actually. This will be a good match, oddly.

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Iowa (4-8, 2-6 B1G)

Last game: Lost to Nebraska 13-7. What a tease.

As frightening as: Nomads indigenous to the Great Plains who believe most bright colors to be evil and think the best cure for a gangrenous running back situation is to sacrifice linemen to a deity named AIRBHG. Recently discovered fire and a vertical passing game, no idea how to use either. Fear level = 3.

Superlative: Most unexpectedly overrated. People thought I was being harsh when I predicted Iowa to go 6-6.

If Michigan could play them now: It would just be sad.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Saved some of the game plan for Ohio State. This was the annual “We wasted the good surprise on you” game.

Bowl game: Iowa is a proud people who do not believe in bowl games.

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Ohio State (12-0 overall, 8-0 B1G)

Last game: 1,000 newborns in the state of Ohio were named “Urban.”

As frightening as: VRSA. Fear level = 9.

Superlative: Worst thing ever.

If Michigan could play them now: By the end of the game, Braxton Miller will have sustained his tenth concussion (but still play anyway). Michigan will employ Denard and Devin in the same formation but hand it off to Vincent Smith anyway, because Ohio State would never expect it.

In hindsight, Michigan should have: Scored some points in the second half.

Bowl game: Gator Bowl vs. Florida, last year.

Opponent Watch: Week 11

Opponent Watch: Week 11

Submitted by Heiko on November 15th, 2012 at 3:05 PM

About Last Saturday:

A 10-point lead late in the third quarter - 31, Is not enough points when you are Northwestern - 38 (OT)

The best wide receiver in the B1G at right; My new favorite Northwestern player at left. (h/t @shane_heck)

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The Road Ahead:

Iowa (4-6 overall, 2-4 B1G)

Last game: Purdue 27, Iowa 24 (L)

Recap: You know things are pretty bad when you play the second-worst team in the conference (which is incidentally the second-worst conference in the BCS) and then all of a sudden you’re the second-worst team in the conference.

What is going on, Iowa? What’s the deal? Why do you have only one running play? Why do you refuse to throw a pass farther than five yards past the line of scrimmage? Why does your offensive coordinator still have a job? (Why did you hire him in the first place?) Why does your defense give up 500 yards of offense to an offense run by a guy who doesn’t have an ACL? How do you fail to beat a team when you’re plus 3 in turnover margin and have just two penalties for 16 yards to their 10 for 100?

These are the tough, existential questions I hope will never be asked about Michigan. /knocks on wood.

At this point, it seems like Iowa isn’t even trying. Let’s look at their season to date:

  • vs. Northern Illinois, 18-7 (W)
  • vs. Iowa State, 6-9 (L)
  • vs. Northern Iowa, 27-16 (W)
  • vs. Central Michigan, 31-32 (L)
  • vs. Minnesota, 31-13 (W)
  • BYE
  • @ Michigan State, 19-16 OT (W)
  • vs. Penn State, 14-38 (L)
  • @ Northwestern, 17-28 (L)
  • @ Indiana, 14-21 (L)
  • vs. Purdue, 24-27 (L)

That’s a couple of so-so games against randos, a couple of embarrassing close losses to Steele Jantz and Central Michigan, a close win against Michigan State that no one can really figure out, and then a bunch of games where they’ve gotten their asses handed to them, which have been disguised by final scores that belie reality.

Something isn’t working when Minnesota is the only convincing win of the season.

Okay, fine, there have been extenuating circumstances. The offensive line turned into a mess after the Penn State game when two linemen went out with injury, and then there’s AIRBHG, too, who wouldn’t even spare a fullback from his wrath. That shouldn’t be the end of the world, though. The Hawkeyes have a senior quarterback (best B1G pocket passer!), an All-conference caliber tight end, a bunch of fairly competent receivers, and a defense that … well, plays defense. Surely they could have mustered a better showing against Indiana.

Even more concerning: how will this team be any better next year? 

After the game, head coach Kirk Ferentz passionately defended his “dog crap” team. A few days later he dropped an F bomb. I’m half tempted to grab some popcorn to see what happens over the next two weeks -- Iowa plays Michigan and Nebraska. This promises to be more entertaining than an MGoBoard flamewar.

And I say “half” tempted only because, on the other hand, I don't want to support Nebraska’s economy. Not for another year, anyway.

/refuses to eat any food that contains corn.

/starves to death.*

This besmacks of: Societal failure.

Michigan should worry about: Not beating up on Iowa too badly. Michigan needs them to be as intact as possible when they play Nebraska next week since they could be Michigan’s last hope to hand Nebraska another loss. Although right now I like Minnesota's chances better.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: This has to be the easiest week of film study. Like ever.

When they play Michigan: It's Senior Day.

Also, bring tissues. It's going to get dusty.

Next game: No. 21 Michigan

*Joke stolen from Ace.

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Opponent Watch: Week 10

Opponent Watch: Week 10

Submitted by Heiko on November 9th, 2012 at 10:41 AM

About Last Saturday:

Jug Half Full - 35, Jug Half Empty - 13

Tom Olmscheid / AP

Get well soon.

May I suggest a bacta tank?

/ runs away giggling.

---------------------------

The Road Ahead:

 

"This big?" / "No, THIS BIG."

No. 24 Northwestern (7-2 overall, 3-2 B1G)

Last week: Idlecats.

Recap: 

Mmm bokeh.

This team is as frightening as: A guy who shows up to a fight armed with only a Maglite. Except it's not a Maglite. It's a lightsaber. And he is Luke Skywalker. Fear level = 10

Michigan should worry about: Northwestern possesses the best wide receiver in the world. His name is Kyle Prater, and you don't know this because they have been keeping him a secret. They have been saving the surprise. Michigan has no idea what's coming. 

But I do.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: There is no shame in getting beaten by a player who is so elite that his presence at USC violated the laws of competitive fairness, which forced him to transfer to a small liberal arts school in Evanston and wear purple for the rest of his life.

When they play Michigan: Prater will have 12 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns. 

Next game: @ Michigan.

Unverified Voracity Quicklike

Unverified Voracity Quicklike

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I've got to get on a plane shortly so shortly the links will go.

OOP.

Brief thoughts on the first exhibition:

  • Albrecht is an extremely wise pickup; if he can hit threes and break the press and get M's offense in motion he'll be at least a solid backup for four years. Michigan needed some stability at that PG spot and he looks like he'll provide it.
  • Stauskas is going to be a lights out three point shooter and he has enough other game to contribute to the rest of the offense; D needs work.
  • McGary's FTs will probably be fine, his stroke looks good. Hopefully that leg injury clears up and he gets that extra 10% athleticism that made him a huge prospect after his AAU season.
  • GRIII is Branden Dawson-ish with more shooting and less rebounding but probably not much less rebounding.
  • Hardaway played a much more complete game than we're used to seeing. Thumbs up.

Predictorama.

  • Know Your Foe from the MZone says "must resist making little Brown Jugs" joke at picture of hot woman in brown bikini, predicts 28-10.
  • Who Are You And Why Do We Care exists, predicts on non-football factors, does so 38-13.
  • Maize and Go Blue goes with 37-10.
  • Maize and Blue Nation says 27-2, which I should have thought of.
  • The Daily Gopher can't even find a jug picture where it's being held by a Minnesota player—RVB is the man—and goes with 31-13.
  • I'm In Love With A Fringe Bowl Team has a mathematical model that says 33-23 and a non-gambler guy who picks Michigan to cover: "I would have loved to start this post recalling the last time the Gophers beat Michigan in Minnesota, but I don't remember it at all. This is mostly because it was five years before my birth."

Kovacs is a truthful dude. Post-Nebraska:

"A lot of it is the games we played," Kovacs said. "Air Force didn't necessarily throw the ball on us a lot, and Alabama didn't have to.

"There's some open receivers last game that (quarterback Taylor) Martinez didn't see. There were a couple blitzes we ran, and we had a guy running down the middle of the field wide open. Can't let that happen. We've been fortunate they haven't hit 'em yet."

So that means the secondary is playing at a high level, but maybe not its highest level?

"I don't know," Kovacs said. "I think we're playing all right. I think last game we didn't play well enough at all, specifically the defensive backs."

"I really don't groom that much," Gibbons said, smiling.

Now he's going to bleed on you, Baumgardner. Or more likely whoever wrote this headline:

Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Matt Vogrich could finally give John Beilein a consistent deep threat in Ann Arbor

Zack Novak shot 41% from three last year, and whenever he gets back from wrecking Belgium he's going to be ANGAR. Elsewhere, Spike Albrecht is called "mini Steve Nash," which is definitely not getting ahead of ourselves and headline guy is definitely going to put a "got" in between the first two words of this one after a loss at some point this year:

Youth served: Michigan's talented freshmen five show ability, poise in college debut

Falk on Jug. Not like that.

Whatever that might mean.

Seriously, they can do this? Whenver M plays at Northern I think the exact same thing Yost Built does:

Unlike SOME SCHOOLS THAT I KNOW OF, Northern offers streaming video of their games for $7. You can also buy a season pass for $75, and if you're reading this blog, don't have season tickets, and claim that you wouldn't fork out that much for a Michigan version of the same thing, I will call you a damn liar. It's 2012 and this is Michigan fergodsakes. We shouldn't have less access to video of games than Northern Michigan fans. Just saying.

I've watched three or four games at NMU the past few years, and M hockey fans outside of the local area can't get one.

Meanwhile, MHN highlights the scheduling thing we'll hear all season:

LAST TRIP TO MARQUETTE?
The Mining Journal’s Matt Wellens talked to NMU coach Walt Kyle about scheduling the Wolverines in the future.  Kyle is open to the idea, however it must be on “fair terms.”  By that he means a basic home-and-home series where the Wolverines would travel to NMU one year and NMU would return the favor the next year.  He is not open to two-for-ones and payout deals.

Honestly, good for NMU.

Etc.: Stuffing the Passer. Michigan expects lack of goalie ejections at Northern Michigan. Yost Built previews NMU. NCAA dooms Midwest regional to 20 people in stands for 13th year of 14 by giving it to Cincinnati, which has one program (Miami) within a four hour drive. Leitch should totally ditch the Knicks. Catching up with Hunwick.

Dear Diary, Two-Man QB Depth Charts are Really Spooky!

Dear Diary, Two-Man QB Depth Charts are Really Spooky!

Submitted by Seth on November 2nd, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Can you guess what was wrong with Herb? Also the copyright to this at the end says "U.M.&M."

Of all the things to despise about the new divisions—like the MSU game being technically more important every year than Ohio State—at least let's admit there's one wonderful benefit: Michigan-Minnesota is back to every year.

The historians like this one because there were some major powers with some major players who went on or ended some major streaks back in the day. But with more than enough annual powers on the schedule these days, I kind of like having this one historically poignant yet presently non-stressful mid-year contest with the people who invented cooking the cheese inside the actual hamburger.

After yet another Hallow's Eve scare, a nice jug of hot cider and Minnesota's safeties are just the thing. Alas, it is not Jug Saturday yet, and there's some things from last week that we need to over again. Like what happens when you lose your 5-star quarterback?

DON'T MISS THESE:

You Get This One Chance. Why is it every time we've got like THE MAN under center, the minute he goes out it's terror central? Not just Denard against Nebraska but the crater drewhensonwhen Mallett departed, or the black hole that formed when Henne's arm was removed from its socket against Oregon in 2007, or the feeling in the pit of your stomach when that Buckeye Steinbrenner bought off Drew Henson (right). Enter oakapple, who goes back through recent history to show how the uber recruit tends to both work out and scare off competition. Whyfore wast thou oppos'd to class, bygone son of Forcier?

He hits on some good questions—like the handling of Gardner. But if he looked back further, to the deep recruiting of the time after Bo, he might have seen a different magic.

Gameboy went back over Michigan's 2012 opponents past to pull up percentages for how much better our defense fared against them than their average opponents. Michigan got blown out by Alabama about exactly the same way everyone else did, and we beat UMass the same way everyone else beat on UMass. As for the rest, the defensive performances have one other outlier in Air Force (we did marginally better than Mountain West teams) and otherwise stand as "omigod that was a tough defense" in the memories of everyone else. I fixed his charts to make them more legible so the descriptions may be a bit off.

[After the jump, more spooky things]

Opponent Watch: Week 9

Opponent Watch: Week 9

Submitted by Heiko on November 1st, 2012 at 6:46 PM

About Last Saturday:

Funny bone 9, Serious bone 23.

Upchurch

Denard suffered an ulnar nerve compression. [UPDATE: Mgoreader drbogue suggests that it is more likely classified as a traumatic neuropraxia of the ulnar nerve, and I think that's accurate. The following explanations still apply because tomato tomato. 90% of you just tuned out anyway.]

Whence the ulnar nerve? Brace yourself for the fancy artwork below. Please direct your attention to the stringy yellow thing.

As you can see, the ulnar nerve innervates the interosseous muscles that are primarily responsible for grip. It also innervates the skin covering the pinky and half of the ring finger. When the ulnar nerve gets injured, the symptoms therefore manifest as loss of strength and coordination while gripping and a tingly burning sensation in the pinky and ring finger.

How long does such an injury typically take to heal? The internet suggests anything from "immediately" to "weeks" depending on severity, i.e. I don't really know. UPDATE: I just found a journal article that says that if there is "compression of a sufficient magnitude to sever axons," recovery will require several weeks during which even normal physical stress on the nerve should be avoided. Yikes. Let's hope it's not that.

Why is it sometimes called a funny bone injury? Usually the ulnar nerve is compressed at the elbow. It gets banged into the humerus. Now if you look closely at the humerus ...

You can see that it is indeed a funny bone.

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Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Nebraska

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Formation notes: Most of the game was in the under:

4-4-even

On certain passing downs Michigan did this weird thing with one of the DEs pulled up in a two point stance between the two NTs:

3-3-5-offset

M dropped eight on this and got quick pressure when Roh beat the T around the edge one on one.

Here it is again:

f-weird-thing

May see that a little more going forward, but it's obviously a gimmicky passing down defense only.

Substitution notes: Back seven was the established starters the whole way with two exceptions: Cam Gordon got a fair number of snaps in place of Jake Ryan and Bolden came in for Demens on the last drive. I don't think Morgan came off for even a snap.

On the line, all spots got a dose of rotation. Roh got the most time; Heitzman backed him up and got a couple spots at three-tech. Washington was also heavily deployed; Pipkins backed him up. Campbell had the edge on Black at three tech but Black got more snaps than he has in the recent past. Beyer went most of the way at WDE with Ojemudia backing.

[AFTER THE JUMP: charts and stuff.]

The Weekly Maths: One Man Band

The Weekly Maths: One Man Band

Submitted by The Mathlete on November 1st, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Denard is Michigan and Michigan is Denard. The defense has stepped up to mitigate that statement on the team front, but it's more true than ever for the offense. More true than last year, definitely.

One fine gentleman on the internet, known only as @jemather prompted me to look into how true it was for Michigan and how the Wolverine reliance on Denard matched up against other one-man shows.

For methodology I looked at every player who has at least 50 combined rushes and passes this season, that got me a group of 313 players. I then compared what the EV (not opponent adjusted) was for each of the plays where they passed or carried the ball. That number was then compared to the per-play average for every play their team ran that they didn’t pass or rush. Based on this route, Dri Archer of Kent State is college football’s most valuable player on a per-play basis. On 71 plays, Archer averaged 0.54 pts/play while the rest of his teammates averaged 0.04 pts/play on other plays. Coming in second, Denard Xavier Robinson. With a significantly higher 247 plays, Denard has average 0.23 pts/play while the non-Denard portion is a mirrored –0.23 pts/play. The only other major conference player over 0.35 is Kansas State’s Collin Klein at a 0.42 difference.

The concept of team replacement value is probably more true when you combine the per play average with number of plays for a total points added. By this measure, Denard still comes in second to a small college player. This time its quarterback Kolton Browning from Louisiana -Monroe. Browning’s 385 plays push his total value to the Warhawks for the season to 129 points, followed by Robinson’s 114 point contribution to Michigan. Here is your major college top 10.

Rank Player Team Plays Value (Pts)
1 Denard Robinson Michigan 247 114
2 Collin Klein Kansas St 213 90
3 Nick Florence Baylor 259 90
4 Matt McGloin Penn St 318 86
5 Logan Thomas Virginia Tech 275 77
6 Matt Barkley USC 259 70
7 Taylor Kelly Arizona St 220 64
8 Tyler Wilson Arkansas 193 59
9 Tajh Boyd Clemson 300 52
10 Ryan Nassib Syracuse 299 51

All quarterbacks leading the way. In fact, the top 32 spots all go to quarterbacks, reinforcing my belief that running backs are overrated. Dri Archer is the top running back at 35 points above team average. Venric Mark is the top major college running back at +30 for Northwestern.

The bottom line is that so far this season no player has been more crucial to his team’s success than Denard Robinson. His play hasn’t been perfect but when one player is responsible for half of his team’s points, its probably better to have him in the lineup. I am not looking forward to next year. I am too scared to look at what the best seasons by true freshman quarterbacks have been, but that still might be better than the alternative.

LVP’s

The same concept of most valuable player can be flipped to look at least valuable players. [Ed-S: In baseball they call this the Neifi Perez Factor. e-fact!] These are the players who keeping the ball in their hand is doing the most damage to their own team. It’s not just theoretical, these are the players who on a per play basis are doing less than their teammates are.

Rank Player Team Plays Value (Pts)
1 James Vandenberg Iowa 232 -56
2 Keith Price Washington 239 -55
3 Zach Mettenberger LSU 173 -49
4 Bryn Renner North Carolina 294 -39
5 Dayne Crist Kansas 162 -38

Again, all quarterbacks. Hope you are enjoying the Vandenberg/Davis era Hawkeyes!

Game Recap

image

Biggest swing plays

+9%: Gibbons is good from 52 yards to put Michigan on the board

+11%: Martinez fumbles setting up Michigan with a chance for points before the half

+9%: Ojemudia intercepts Martinez

-8%: Martinez to Bell for the opening score

-22%: Bellomy intercepted by Smith and returned 53 yards

-10%: Maher hits from 51 yards

-8%: Bellomy intercepted by Stafford

-All the percents: Denard leaves the game

Game Scores

Denard Robinson: –1, +2%

Russell Bellomy: –12, –40%

Fitzgerald Toussaint: –3, –3%

Defense: +5, +18%

Wins Projection

image

Michigan went into Lincoln as the underdog so the loss doesn’t alter the 8-win most likely projection. The performance did knock the expected win chances for the next three games from the 80’s to the 70’s, along with making Ohio a longer shot. The net effect is that although eight wins is still most likely, the odds of hitting nine wins is greatly reduced and seven wins is very much in play. The model assumes Denard plays the rest of the season but there is a negative portion from the Nebraska game for the time he was out.

Dumb Punt

Norm Chow is considered an offensive genius but he is apparently still a conventional decision maker when it comes to fourth down. With about six and a half minutes left, Hawaii trailed Colorado State by 8 and faced fourth and six at the Colorado State 39. Rather than push the field position and try to tie the game, Chow elected to punt, ultimately gaining 26 yards of field position. The Rams would take three minutes off the clock and give the Warriors back the ball at their own eight. Hawaii would not go on to win the game. Norm Chow is your Ron Zook Memorial Dumb Punt of the Week Award Winner.

Honorable mention for the week in dumb game theory is a joint award for Charlie Weis and Mack Brown who were simultaneously trying to shoot themselves in the foot at the end of the Kansas’s failed upset bid over Texas.

If you follow me or more likely Brian on twitter, you know that the blog’s current pet peeve is not using your timeouts on defense when the other team is about to score late, even if you lead. Kansas was leading by 3 and Texas had 1st and Goal at the 3 with 1:16 left on the clock. Texas only had one timeout left so there were two possible outcomes, Texas scores or is stopped. If Texas is stopped, Kansas can run out the clock, there is no downside to Kansas keeping more time on the clock. If Texas scored, the time becomes valuable to Kansas, not Texas. With 1:16 left on the clock and one timeout. Texas has plenty of time to make whatever play calls they want and an incentive to burn the clock. Kansas responds to this situation by not using their timeouts, not after a first down rush and not after a second down rush. Texas responds by rushing to the line each time. The good news for Longhorn fans is they scored a touchdown with only 8 seconds left. The bad news is that they shouldn’t have had to rush, especially with a timeout in their pocket. Kansas should have received the ball with just under a minute left instead of 8 seconds. The good news is that Kanas had two timeouts to use when they took over at their own 27 with 8 seconds left.

Prediction

A game that seemed like a laugher not that long ago is all of the sudden close enough to be nervous. What does Michigan get out of its quarterback? If it's anything close to regular Denard the offense should be fine this week. If not, then who knows. After losing two quarterbacks, Minnesota has found two solid starts from Phillip Nelson, the only Gopher QB to post two positive games this season. The Michigan defense controls the game but the offense is unable to blow the game open.

Michigan 21 Minnesota 15

Picture Pages: Peeling Back

Picture Pages: Peeling Back

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Yesterday's Picture Pages covered extensive confusion on Michigan's part as they tried to run basic isos against a basic defense but couldn't get the ILBs blocked, with a side of playcalls that leave guys alone in the hopes that accounting for end-around motion or the threat of an option play will draw players away from the actual threat.

A second major reason Nebraska had unblocked guys all over the place was blockers seeing a player shoot past them quickly and reacting. I've been doing this for a while now and this sort of thing has become one of my pet peeves. A blocker will see a defensive player run past them clean. They now have two options:

  • Turn around and get that guy.
  • Know—or at least hope—that wasn't your guy and find someone else to block.

Door A never works. They don't block the guy they missed, and they don't block anyone further downfield. When another blocker takes care of the aggressive player or the ballcarrier outruns him, the play is still screwed up because another defender is coming free.

This happened to Michigan on consecutive plays at the end of the first quarter. On the first, Michigan runs the veer from a 4-wide formation. Nebraska responds with two safeties at about ten yards and 5.5 guys in the box, as was their wont:

dileo-peel-1

You can see the nickelback cheating off Dileo presnap, and he will come.

Remember earlier in the year when I was complaining that the linebackers didn't seem to understand that when the line slanted one way they should be moving against it since that is where the ball is likely to end up? This is an offensive version of that.

Dileo should know these things when the corner comes:

  1. Michigan is running the inverted veer.
  2. A blitzing corner is invariably the defense's force player—he contains and forces the runner inside.
  3. On an inverted veer the force player will be optioned off by the running back. The quarterback will have the ball going vertically.

So does he need to block the corner? No. Will he block the corner? Well, this post exists, so deduct for yourself.

Michigan snaps the ball and runs the veer. Barnum pulls. Here's the mesh point:

dileo-peel-2

45 degrees from downhill—okay

The playside end is hugging the back of the tackle who's ignoring him. This is normally a give by Robinson, and Michigan has picked up some decent chunks early by giving. Denard pulls this time, which is good because that corner is coming to make the give a likely TFL. Nebraska made it easy by tipping that the nickelback was coming presnap.

Dileo should move to the next level, but he turns and starts pursuing the nickelback.

dileo-peel-3

90 degrees! alert!

Argh. At this point the guy is gone, and even if Dileo makes contact there's a good chance he'll pick up a block in the back call. To add insult to injury, trying to block this guy you can't block is purposeless—he's already going to be optioned off.

Elsewhere:

  1. Barnum picks up the end.
  2. Schofield gets his free release and engages the MLB.

The coast is clear!

dileo-peel-4

turned around: dead

Tantalizing!

dileo-peel-5

Dawwwww, unblocked safety. Unblocked safeties.

dileo-peel-6dileo-peel-7

Five yards, and Dileo comes back in at the end to go "dawwwwww."

Video

If Dileo can cut that safety like Joe Reynolds did against State, that is six points. Even if the safety keeps his feet and contains, that's likely a first down.

[AFTER THE JUMP: dawwwww not again.]