WTKA Roundtable 11/12: Craig's Referee Podcast

WTKA Roundtable 11/12: Craig's Referee Podcast


: (              [Bryan Fuller]


On the roundtable this week:

  • Sam enjoyed the "shot yourself in the leg" tweet I sent to Plaxico Burress. I defend Burress a little because I have respect for anyone who cares enough to go on an unhinged twitter rant.
  • Craig Ross told us all about the O'Neill crew and we listened but had no power to do anything about it.
  • Rutgers! Not good at football.
  • Indiana! Not good at defense.


Moving the (Stati)Sticks: Week Ten

Moving the (Stati)Sticks: Week Ten Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 13th, 2015 at 9:49 AM



Football’s what you make of it. If you want to watch for the big hit or the big pass, you can. If you want to watch because you’re hoping to get a glimpse of how pattern matching works on switch routes, you can. It’s a game of nuance that can be enjoyed without; you can guess which direction I lean considering this is a column predicated on the usual stats not providing enough information. Rarely, though, you see the same thing no matter what you intended to look for; sometimes watching a team get punched in the face is also a statistical drubbing regardless of the set of stats you use.

The Mathlete’s Four Factors:

Once again, a quick reminder of what the factors mean:

Conversion rate = [1st Downs gained]/[1st Down plays (including first play of drive)]. A three and out is 0/1. A one play touchdown is 1/1. Two first downs and then a stop is 2/3, etc.

Bonus Yards = [Yards gained beyond the first down line]/[Total plays from scrimmage]

This is an adjustment to how I have previously calculated, to account for the plays a team runs.

Field Position =  Expected team points based on starting field position. This accounts for all elements of field position: turnovers, special teams, drive penetration etc.

Red Zone: Points per red zone trip (TD’s counted as 7 regardless of PAT)


  Field Pos. Conv. Rate Bonus YPP Red Zone
Week 1 21.0 73 1.52 5.7
Rank 60 30 59 27
Week 2 25.0 68 1.63 5.8
Rank 77 70 95 30
Week 3 25.3 70 2.56 5.8
Rank (B1G Rk) 84 (12) 54 (6) 43 (6) 30 (5)
Week 4 24.5 72 2.92 5.8
Rank (B1G Rk) 91 (14) 30 (4) 31 (3) 27 (4)
Week 5 26.9 67 2.78 5.8
Rank (B1G Rk) 59 (10) 54 (3) 39 (3) 20 (2)
Week 6 28.2 68 2.93 5.8
Rank (B1G Rk) 41 (4) 39 (1) 25 (2) 21 (2)
Week 7 28.4 65 2.75 5.5
Rank (B1G Rk) 36 (4) 61 (5) 36 (3) 31 (2)
Week 9 27.6 65 2.59 6.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 45 (6) 51 (3) 44 (6) 3 (1)
Week 10 27.6 65 2.64 6.0
Rank (B1G Rk) 46 (6) 35 (2) 43 (5) 4 (1)


  Field Pos. Conv. Rate Bonus YPP Red Zone
Week 1 27.9 73 1.64 5.7
Rank 47 44 20 30
Week 2 25.1 67 1.60 6.1
Rank 51 58 23 88
Week 3 24.0 63 1.28 6.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 35 (4) 38 (6) 9 (3) 100 (13)
Week 4 23.1 59 1.23 6.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 29 (5) 17 (4) 4 (1) 110 (13)
Week 5 24.5 55 1.10 6.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 32 (4) 7 (2) 1 (1) 115 (13)
Week 6 23.6 54 1.01 6.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 21 (4) 6 (1) 1 (1) 115 (12)
Week 7 23.4 57 1.24 6.4
Rank (B1G Rk) 20 (3) 6 (1) 1 (1) 124 (13)
Week 9 23.4 60 1.54 4.6
Rank (B1G Rk) 17 (3) 7 (2) 6 (2) 42 (6)
Week 10 24.1 59 1.61 4.1
Rank (B1G Rk) 22 (4) 6 (1) 5 (2) 13 (2)

[After the JUMP: tables, attempted explanations, and scout-by-number]


Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian November 12th, 2015 at 2:07 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

HomeSure Logo NMLS-1

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. Hey man the feds are going to raid your meth lab. Or raise rates. I'm not sure which agency we're talking about. Unless they're the same one, which would be weird but again we are talking about an entity that thinks alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are pretty much the same thing. I disagree, feds.

What was I talking about again?

Oh, right: low rates won't be quite as low in the near future if you're on the fence.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: Nothing weird in this one. This will be a pattern, as Michigan put the toys away for the most part. The screens were not anything super clever; other than the fullback wheel this was almost all things already put on film.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Exceptions from the usual routine were few and far between in this one. Smith and Johnson were the main tailbacks; Houma got a couple carries that must have induced déjà vu in Rudock. Green and Shallman got in some in garbage time.

Tight end was mostly Butt and Williams; Hill got a few snaps. Bunting may have gotten in once or twice, his playing time has dipped significantly. Wouldn't read too much into that since Williams is doing well.

WR was Darboh, Chesson, and Perry. I don't think Ways played. Newsome got a half-dozen snaps as an extra OL.

[After THE JUMP: accurate Iowa Rudock is a good thing.]


Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian November 11th, 2015 at 2:55 PM

HomeSure-Logo-NMLS-14_thumb_thumb_thUpon Further Review has a sponsor.

Matt says the Fed may raise rates pretty soon here, and a cursory googling confirms that some dude says there is a "very strong case" to do so. Lifehacker says this will make the "notoriously low rates" of recent years less notoriously low. If you're on the fence and hate pants, Matt can help. I need one more sentence to get past the logo.

He's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: A few new things. I'm using "heavy" to denote lineups on which Michigan plays four true DL. Without Godin those are almost always both NTs with Henry and Wormley. This was 6-2 heavy:

6-2 heavy

For a period late in the first half Michigan ran a dime package on which the NT split out. This was a pass rush package without much pass rush and didn't return; I called it "3-2-6 dime split":

dime split

And Michigan has been running this one-high nickel package with eight guys in the box enough that I thought I should note it. This is "nickel even 8":

nickel even one high

It is frequent on passing downs that feature some run threat.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Injuries biting into the DL a bit now. Michigan was rotating Hurst and Glasgow until Glasgow went out, at which point Hurst had to go the rest of the way himself. I do think they bought him a little rest by inserting Henry at the nose. Wormley and Henry played most of the game as well; Godin got one snap shortly after Glasgow exited. He must be close, but not close enough.

RJS returned to buck. Ross spotted him in passing downs. I called those dime packages; YMMV. With Gedeon out Morgan and Bolden got all the ILB snaps.

Secondary saw a shift as Dymonte Thomas got significantly more time than he has before; I would say he displaced Delano Hill as the starter. Hill played a fair share as well, both in nickel and dime. Second corner rotation was as per usual with an edge to Clark in snaps. Brandon Watson saw maybe a half dozen snaps at nickelback as Michigan tried to save Peppers a bit.

[After THE JUMP: are you disappointed yeah kinda is that rational nah]


Wednesday Presser 11-11-15: Jedd Fisch

Wednesday Presser 11-11-15: Jedd Fisch Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 11th, 2015 at 2:21 PM


“What’s happening today? Anything good? Who’s got a good question?”

/Siri goes off on someone’s phone; “I’m not sure what you said there.”

“Obviously Siri does not have a good question.”

MGoQuestion: You guys threw a fullback wheel route to Sione Houma, and it looked like it had some similar elements to the one Michigan State ran against you earlier this year. How often do you guys look at something an opponent ran, take similar elements, tweak it, and put it in the playbook?

“Well, I think that you are constantly looking at what other teams do. You’re looking at what defenses you’re going to see and how they compare to the defense that either you play or other teams play. Sometimes there’s just times where you’re gonna go look and you’re gonna say, ‘Hey, are they in this coverage during this time?’ or ‘Is this a team that runs similar type looks?’ Ball plays are stolen all the time from everybody and everywhere.

“You’ll see very often you can turn on plenty of games and say, ‘Boy, didn’t they just run this?’ or ‘Didn’t Michigan just run that?’ or ‘Didn’t Seattle just run that?’ or whoever it might be. It’s just constantly- you’re always looking and watching film and when good ideas or things that look like we could use, you always try to use them.”

Is Jake [Rudock] getting more freedom from you guys to make decisions in terms of plays than he had earlier in the year?

“No, I think he’s really just getting more aware of the entire system rather than half of it or three-quarters of it, so the more he’s aware of what we’re trying to do, the more he can get to certain guys faster or maybe where he can get rid of the ball quicker. He can hold the ball longer knowing that something’s picked up where maybe early on in the season he might have thought the protection scheme might not have known that it was picked up, so checked it down quick.

“There’s, I think, more just knowledge base, and as knowledge base grows you become more comfortable, and when you become more comfortable maybe it feels like you’re getting to different things but you’re really just going through and maybe early in your career as a rookie quarterback or first year in our system quarterback you can go 1-2-checkdown. Now maybe he feels good enough to 1-2-3-checkdown or 1-2-3-4-checkdown. I think you see it in the NFL with rookies to their second year. I think you [also] see it with guys throughout the season.”

Jim credited you with the screen game. Can you talk about how that’s coming along and how pleased you are with it?

“Everybody gets credit for that. It’s really- the whole screen game, I believe that you can get a lot of yards in the screen game, and if everybody is on the same page with it we can get different ways of doing it, different formations, different guys catching screens. I think you go get some gimmee yards at times, but then there’s also times when screens are called and they don’t look good [and] it’s just a ball thrown right at the dirt, so you gotta be careful about that with screens. But, nah, I mean, I know he said that but it’s everybody has everything to do with our screen game and it’s just one of those deals that we ran a lot of them at different places where I’ve been and have really enjoyed the different aspects of it. You know, you can be real creative in the screen game. It’s not always just a straight drop-back deal.”

[After THE JUMP: Jake Rudock might be 53 years old, no one really knows]


MGoRadio 1.8: Random Celebrity Match

MGoRadio 1.8: Random Celebrity Match

1 hour 57 minutes


[Patrick Barron]

A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out 100years.moe for the rich history of Michigan's oldest apparel store.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Liz Crowe, Tailgaterconcierge.com, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, and Draft Kings.

Rutgers Recap

Not much of a game, which is a nice change of pace. A lot of callers this week so this segment has less podcast overlap than normal.

Gimmicky Top Five: Celebrities On The Sideline

Kevin Woodard of the Alumni Association joins us for this segment. We talk the folks who we would be the most delighted to see randomly appear on the sideline of Michigan Stadium. Despite this being an incredibly open gimmicky top five, Ace and I have the exact same person at #3. Kevin wins with his #1.

Kevin sticks around to talk about the Alumni Association's Bowl Tour, which will happen this year since Michigan will go to a bowl (high five), and wants you to know about Giving Blue Day, which is December 1st. This is an especially good year to give to signal your approval with the general direction of things.

Steve Lorenz of 247

New commit CO DE Carlo Kemp discussed; Steve believe his ranking is held down by his location. TX DT Chris Daniels was the lone official visitor for the Rutgers game and Michigan is very much in the mix for him. A colleague of Lorenz crystal ballzd FL LB Devin Bush to FSU; so did a couple of Oregon guys in re: Dylan Crawford. Steve ain't scurred.

We also talk Michigan's new focus on a serious preferred walk-on program as another way for Harbaugh to acquire any edge he can. In the segment I refer to a PWO offer who impressed me on HUDL; I can't remember his name. He is Tyler Lamica, a LB/RB out of Grand Rapids, and he seems like a Harbaugh type of guy on film.

Exhibition Basketball Chatter

Stock up: Walton, Robinson, Wagner. Stock maybe not so much: Donnal, MAAR (through no fault of his own).

Catch us Mondays 5-7 on 1050 WTKA.


Monday Presser 11-9-15: Players

Monday Presser 11-9-15: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 10th, 2015 at 9:09 AM



Joe Bolden and Taco Charlton

Opponents only scored six touchdowns in the red zone on sixteen chances this year. What do you guys attribute your success in the red zone to?

JB: “Yeah, I mean, obviously as you get backed up- you never want to allow a team in the red zone- but when you get backed up it finally hits you and you can’t break. Ultimately when they’re in the red zone you want to hold them to three points. I think our mindset, our defensive mindset, is we don’t want them to have even three points. So, you line up to kick a field goal, we want to block it. I would say just the mindset we have when the ball gets down to the red zone.”

TC: “Yeah, to contribute to Joe, just give us a place to stand. That’s all we need. We just need a place to stand and we’ll make that stop. We have the confidence in ourselves. We know we have the coach in coach Durkin and all the coaches on the staff. They gave us all the abilities and we know we can get a stop if we get down there.”

Joe, your coach just got done talking about you guys playing the top three rated quarterbacks in the league the next three weeks. I know you’re focused on this one, but how much of an extra challenge do you take it when you face a guy who’s very efficient behind center?

“Yeah, a guy who knows how to manage a game, knows how to win football games, and having his ability playing- I think other guys on offense, when you have a good quarterback you have other guys playing off your quarterback, and it’s almost like a driving force for your team. Having guys behind the center and taking snaps with that ability, with that efficiency, I believe boosts your whole team: special teams, defense, offense. But really, when you look at all three of them and you look at especially Sudfeld, they’re all great players. Like I said, they manage the game of football very well.”

Talk about how the Michigan State loss opens the door for your Big Ten title hopes, and will you be rooting for Ohio State to give Michigan State a second loss because you need that to control your own destiny?

JB: “Yeah, it obviously helps us out. At the same time, not too worried about that. We’re worried about Indiana. Rooting for Ohio State is a very bad- I would say not a very good phrase. Obviously we want to get in the Big Ten championship, and for them to win that game here in a couple weeks would be awesome, but at the same time I don’t really care what happens there. All we care about is Saturday. We can’t get there without continuously winning.”

TC: “Yeah, we can’t control what Ohio State does or Michigan State does. We just control what we do, so we make sure that we gotta win to make sure we control our own destiny. Everything else we hope will take care of itself. Rooting for Ohio State? I don’t know if we can go that far with it.”

/silence while the microphones are redistributed

JB: “Nobody’s very talkative today. Used all your questions with coach Harbaugh.”

[After THE JUMP: De’Veon Smith and Ben Braden]


Monday Presser 11-9-15: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-9-15: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2015 at 6:00 PM



Is having a little bit more of a window to playing for the Big Ten championship something you even address with your team?

“I’m sure they’re aware of that, and…if not we’ll make them aware of it, but I’m sure they are.”

Just looking at some defensive stats: nine offensive touchdowns given up this year, twelve total. Can you talk about the evolution of this defense and the way it’s bounced back after those last two games?

“Yeah, doing some things that are great. But in terms of like answering the question of the evolution or how we got here or where we’re at and being in that position, we feel like we’re still asking questions. How can we get better? What can we improve? What else can we do to help our team improve? So, not so much the answering questions, more asking them about how to get better.”

Is there any one area specifically you feel like you guys want to improve more?

“No, not that list for you either. In all phases, in all areas. We’re constantly asking ourselves those questions.”

You weren’t happy about the intent to deceive call. Did you get anything that clarifies it more for you and how it’s going to be called in this league going forward?

“Yes. They said it wasn’t intent to deceive, it was intent to confuse. That was the own language that the official used. It’s…I take the rules very seriously, and understanding the rules, understanding the consistency, the clarity of rules, and not just the rules but the spirit of the rules and doing everything that we can to follow the rules, so yeah, I said I was offended after the game to have an unsportsmanlike conduct called on us and the language that they used…that’s offensive because we take it very seriously to know what to teach our players and tell our team.

“No, there’s still no rule in the rulebook that you can go back to and say that we broke. In fact, we asked for interpretation weeks ago and followed it to the best of our ability and…it needs specifics. What was it about it that made it an illegal play versus what would make it a legal play? I mean, everything else in the rulebook is specific, but this one seems to fall in a category that was left to judgment whether the other team’s trying to confuse the opponent, and that’s an awesome responsibility for anybody.

“And why have it? Why not specifically write it? How far can you be from the boundary, your widest eligible receiver during a substitution, after a substitution occurs? Is it in the bench area; has to be closer in the field to the numbers; outside of the bench area it can be closer to the sideline? But really there needs to be some specifics because that’s…that interpretation- we’ve put a lot of work into making sure we follow the rules and not just the letter but the spirit of them.

“Then you start thinking, playing the scenarios. I mean, what else could be deemed trying to confuse the defense? What would be next? Skipping the ball off the turf, if it were a backward pass where you skip it off the turf? Defense thinks that’s an incomplete pass, everybody stops, they pick it up, throw it, etc. I mean, those…need to have specifics on it. So that’s my feeling, yeah. Still remain offended by it.

“And I need some clarity and consistency on another thing I’m offended by: We’ve got a defenseless player covering a punt and he gets hit in the back, in our opinion, in the back of the head, which gets called a targeting foul. They go up to the booth and they say it’s not targeting, but no foul is incurred. It’s a…player, lines up a player- looks like he made a decision to hit him, hit him high, hit him in the back. At least should be a block in the back. Should be unsportsmanlike for making that play, so I’m offended for our defenseless player, so you can put that on the list of things. Top five.”

[After THE JUMP: “I love football, I love the University of Michigan, and I love coaching, and you can do all three of those. As my dad would say, ‘Who’s got it better than us?’ Nooobody.]


Rutgers Postgame Presser: Players

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2015 at 3:00 PM



Rudock, you seemed really comfortable today. You weren’t 100% this week. Can you talk about your mindset out there?

“I’d say at this point in the season nobody’s feeling 100%. I felt good enough to go, which is all you need; the confidence to go out there and perform. Training staff did a great job of getting me ready to play.”

What did you guys see in looking at Rutgers this week to know that you were going to be able to throw the ball as well as you were able to today?

JB: “They run a lot of middle field open, like Cover 2 and stuff, and that’s one of our strong suits, attacking that kind of a defense. Kind of just liked our matchups against some of their secondary and linebackers and we were able to exploit that and kind of click on some of those balls today.”

Rudock, your rhythm tonight seemed to just have that in-the-zone look. Could you just explain it a little bit? I mean, this is a career high for you. Was this just one of those games where you felt it particularly?

“I think you get those games, as you were saying, but also kind of just getting into a rhythm. Whenever you see the ball get completed and completed you’re seeing the field well. That’s a big thing, and also I think that’s a big tribute to our coaches and really good scheme. All 11 guys on offense really understood and really took [inaudible].”

Jake Butt, take us through the intent to deceive play, like where were you and what did you think of the call?

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if there was an intent to deceive. I came off the field late. Got the sub call-in late and lined up. Got the look we wanted and completed the pass. I guess there was a flag. We weren’t really ready for the flag to be thrown but, you know, it happens.”

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest]