Jimmystats: Projecting Patterson and Peters

Jimmystats: Projecting Patterson and Peters

Submitted by Seth on April 25th, 2018 at 12:27 PM

imageimage

How up is up? [Bryan Fuller/Patrick Barron]

In the last spring football bits, and then in the podcast, I mentioned that I’d pulled the sophomore/redshirt freshman stats of a couple decades of quarterbacks we know in order to put our two 2016 signal-callers’ 2017s in perspective. I figure I should show that work.

I was trying to answer two questions: where did Peters/Patterson rank among other QBs their age, and what’s a standard progression for a guy who started his second year upon entering his third?

1. Shea and Brandon vs Other 2nd year QBs

Bless Foxsports.com for keeping sack stats with quarterbacks. I wish I’d taken rushing stats too but alas I only grabbed the passing stuff.

There’s going to be a lot of noise in here so a few things as you peruse:

  1. Some of the weirder results were low sample sizes. I only counted 100 or more attempts, so like Tate Forcier 2010 didn’t make the cut and Peters just did barely. Still I shaded in red a few to beware.
  2. I have them ranked by “Efficiency Percentile,” a junk stat I made up that’s 49% sack-adjusted yards per attempt, 23% each touchdown and interception rate, and 5% completion rating, normalized as a percentile among all the QB seasons (about 500 of them) I grabbed. The QBs are Big Ten mostly plus ND and Stanford guys Harbaugh coached. Kenpom Christmas colors apply: green is good, red is bad.
  3. I also showed completion %, sack rate, and college quarterback ratings, though they’re not included in the rankings.

The Kizer comp for Patterson is pretty close—I’m hesitant to give him Russell Wilson because Wilson had an extremely low interception rate, a trait which seems to presage NFL success. Shea…does not. The good news is the sack rate is correlated with so many things it’s impossible to say if Shea’s higher than normal rate of going down behind the line was indicative of anything. Sometimes it’s just a bad OL.

It was very possible for two QBs on the same team to have dramatically different sack rates. But the stat doesn’t give the reason. Sometimes that really was about poise:

image

Sometimes however it’s about which part of the schedule you got:

image

And sometimes it’s completely counter-intuitive:

image

Other than Denard most running QBs had high sack rates like Shea’s. I can’t tell you why—maybe those guys try escaping instead of throwing it away when under pressure, or maybe being part of the run game gets them sacked because of play-action. The highest sack rating I tracked was Braxton Miller in 2011. Two of the top four are notoriously stoic T.J. Ostrander seasons, and two more in the  top ten are 2007 Notre Dame (bad OL). It’s too much to unpack.

[Hit THE JUMP for the Peters projection]

Spring Practice Presser 4-22-18: Pep Hamilton

Spring Practice Presser 4-22-18: Pep Hamilton

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 23rd, 2018 at 10:01 AM

38455820066_48ea09f518_z

[Fuller]

[Ed. A—Thanks to Orion Sang and The Michigan Daily crew for passing along audio]

“Well, I think we’re a tough group. I think we’re a tough group. Without a doubt, we’re still a work in progress. I think when you look at the group as a whole, we have some guys that actually have some game experience, and I feel good, really good about just the overall continuity of our staff and all the experience that we have and all the different ideas and how we were able to input the things that we feel like are going to be necessary for us to be a good offense next year.”

Tough how? More physical?

“I mea, physically tough, but a coach Harbaugh team, a Jim Harbaugh team, is always mentally tough as well. He likes to grind on guys. He likes to challenge guys to push past their threshold of comfort, and so we will be a tough group.”

With no designated offensive coordinator, how is the playcalling going to work?

“Coach Harbaugh, it’s his offense. Everything goes through Coach and it starts and ends with coach Harbaugh.”

Has your role in the offense changed? Are you taking on more responsibilities than last year?

“No. No, not at all.”

How do you and Jim McElwain process things together? Do you get some input from him?

“Yeah, we all work hard together. We all process things together, so to say coach McElwain, coach Warinner, Ron Prince, Ben McDaniels, along with Jay Harbaugh and Sherrone Moore, we work well together and it’s all a collaborative effort to present coach Harbaugh with some ideas of things that we like and he gives us the yes or no.”

So on gameday will there be somebody or will there be more than one person? Have you talked about that yet, who’s going to be talking to Coach?

“It’s always been that way.”

[Hit THE JUMP for impressions of each QB]

Outback Bowl Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Outback Bowl Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 2nd, 2018 at 9:00 AM

36449700853_4f13b33466_z

[Upchurch]

“I'd like to thank the Outback Bowl. [Ed. A—And I’d like to thank David Nasternak for being our guy on the ground in Tampa and getting audio of the presser] Great experience. Congratulations to South Carolina on their victory.”

Did you feel it slipping away at any time, or did they get better as the game went along?

“I think they did get better. I think probably a little bit of both those things. They got better as the game went on, no doubt, and made plays to win the football game, and we didn't get the knockout punch when we needed it. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that were there.”

Can you put your finger on why the defense was having a dominant performance and then it all changed? What did you see in terms of why it changed?

“Yeah, they made a really good throw, really good catch on the touchdown. Made another spectacular throw and catch on the second touchdown pass. Yeah, they executed well, really well, and then our errors, starting with the—really starting with the fumble by Sean McKeon, which was not Sean McKeon’s fault, that was our fault. That was a coaching error. We had the wrong personnel in there, and I should have called time out. And then the other miscues we had.”

Pat Kugler, was he banged up a little bit? Is that why you took him out of the game?

“Yeah, Pat had gotten rolled up on his ankle and gave it a go and was doing fine, but just felt like it was too much to overcome.”

When did you know about that Ben [Bredeson] wasn’t going to be able to play?

“About three weeks ago.”

[After THE JUMP: sifting through what went wrong in search of answers, shooting down NFL rumors (again), evaluating QB play and what it means for 2018]

South Carolina 26, Michigan 19

South Carolina 26, Michigan 19

Submitted by Ace on January 1st, 2018 at 4:31 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

New year, same Michigan.

In one of the uglier games of an aesthetically unpleasant season, the Wolverines never managed to cobble together a coherent offense, and five-second half turnovers beget 23 unanswered points for South Carolina.

Quarterback Brandon Peters, playing behind a line down three starters by halftime, never looked comfortable. Factoring in two sacks, Peters averaged only 3.7 yards per dropback and missed a number of throws, including two late interceptions to seal the loss. Michigan fared little better on the ground, gaining all of 2.9 yards per carry.

While the Jim Harbaugh takes will reach a level of scorching usually reserved for large celestial bodies, it's fair to criticize the playcalling, which didn't do much to take the pressure off Peters or Don Brown's futilely amazing defense. No single call was responsible for the loss, but the third-and-short handoff to tight end Sean McKeon, fumbled for a South Carolina recovery, defied explanation until Harbaugh, taking responsibility, said after the game that Michigan had the wrong personnel on the field.


[Campredon]

That play was just one in a series of mistakes that turned a 19-3 second-half lead into a 26-19 loss. Karan Higdon fumbled inside the South Carolina five-yard line with the Wolverines leading 16-3 and poised to blow the game wide open. After Michigan added a field goal and SC responded their first touchdown drive, McKeon's fumble gave the Gamecocks the ball on the M 21; they needed one play to score again, with Jake Bentley's pass to Bryan Edwards cutting the lead to 19-16.

Michigan's ensuing drive went nowhere, and the defense—as we've seen too many times this year—cracked under the pressure of supporting an inept offense. Bentley improbably converted a third-and-17 on a jump ball to tight end Hayden Hurst; three plays later, Shi Smith beat Tyree Kinnel clean to the pylon for a 53-yard score.

The comedy of errors continued unabated. After driving Michigan 75 yards in seven plays, Peters committed a cardinal sin of quarterbacking, throwing under pressure across his body to get intercepted in the end zone. When the defense held, SC's punt clanged off Donovan Peoples-Jones's facemask, setting up the Gamecocks with the ball in the red zone, where they'd get a critical field goal to take a two-possession advantage.

Down to one timeout in the waning minutes, Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-ten deep in his own territory, but Peters's deep shot to Kekoa Crawford wasn't anywhere close to a completion. The defense gave Michigan one last chance, pushing SC back to force a missed field goal. Another interception by Peters, forcing it to a well-covered Crawford, ended it.

Fair or not, this will be a long offseason. The mitigating factors, or excuses, or whatever you care to call them, go away in 2018, when the program will be loaded with talent recruited by Harbaugh. They'll certainly look better than this. They'd better look a whole lot better.

Unverified Voracity Bought You A Turtleneck

Unverified Voracity Bought You A Turtleneck

Submitted by Brian on December 12th, 2017 at 12:23 PM

Words fail. Holiday greetings from Patrick Kugler, Henry Poggi, and Chris Petzold.

image

If anyone knows what to do with their hands after seeing this please let me know.

Peters transfer: nope. The lingering concern about Shea Patterson's transfer is that it would cause Brandon Peters to transfer out, thus leaving Michigan just as thin at quarterback and reliant on an NCAA waiver for their presumed starter. That does not appear to be happening. Sam Webb talked to Peters's father; you can listen to a WTKA segment on that conversation—helpfully summarized here—or read his take on The Michigan Insider:

“That's good,” Mr. Peters said of Patterson’s transfer. “Iron sharpens iron. Brandon is up for a good fight. Put the gloves on, (get) both fists up, (and) let's go! Brandon said, ‘bring in 30 QBs. I'm going to my job at hand and work.’

“Coach Harbaugh said it’s going to be a competition and we believe him.”

Webb also cleared up the strange yes-no-yes Patterson saga: Michigan was content to go into 2018 with three quarterbacks, but once Speight decided to grad transfer they wanted to add a guy and Patterson wanted to come, so... yeah.

The grad transfer rule might also be helping Michigan keep Peters around, BTW. He will compete for the job this year. If he doesn't get it he will be the backup; if Patterson's one and done then he's in line for the job again in 2018. If he's not, Peters can almost certainly graduate in 3.5 years and have two to play two, a la Alex Malzone. He doesn't lose anything by staying, and he will be a serious candidate for the job. I'd tentatively give him the edge given his familiarity with the offense.

Not quite crootin' visits of note. JaRaymond Hall took a visit to CMU this weekend, which seems like a significant step towards a transfer. Hall is on the fence after receiving his release earlier this month.

Also: potential Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson visited Louisville yesterday. As of Monday, Jefferson was the only one of the three guys who had not told a recruiting reporter that he was at least virtually committed, and it appears that there is a genuine race on for his services. Louisville is closer to home since Shawn Jefferson is the Titans' WR coach. If this is a backup plan because of transcripts thing expect that to get resolved almost immediately—all three guys want to be on someone else's campus for the winter semester.

Doesn't sound great for Newsome. This is reading between the lines, admittedly, but that's all we've got here. And if Grant Newsome isn't cleared for spring it's probably not good news for his career:

Michigan left tackle Grant Newsome still holds the goal of being medically cleared to return to football by the start of the 2018 season.

"Before then hopefully," Newsome said Sunday night. "As soon as possible." ...

"Trying to get back on the field as soon as possible," said Newsome, who was honored with the Pete Schmidt Courage Award at the National Football Foundation/Free Press All-State Dream Team banquet in Dearborn on Sunday. "I want to play right now. But it's up to the doctors when they'll let me go."

Not being cleared more than a year removed from his injury is fairly ominous.

Shooter. Adrien Nunez is the who-dat afterthought in Michigan's 2018 basketball recruiting class, at least if you go by rankings. If you go by the ability to make threes off the dribble, though:

That's one game and thus fairly representative. Nunez ventured inside the three point line once; he makes multiple off the dribble threes; he also catches and shoots. Nunez doesn't look like the kind of athlete who gets the shiny rankings, but he looks like a guy who can get his shot in a variety of ways. That shot is always a three pointer. Beilein kind of kid.

A disastrous nonconference schedule. Michigan isn't the only Big Ten team to suffer through a disappointing basketball stretch here. The conference has imploded:

image

This looks like a four bid league. Northwestern, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, and Wisconsin have all badly undershot preseason expectations. Michigan really needs this game against Texas tonight and then will have to go... uh... 11-7 in conference play to be on the bubble? Is it that bad? I think it might be.

Etc.: There's an early signing period now. Weird. Jourdan Lewis doing Jourdan Lewis things. Scorekeepers is the most popular Uber destination in Michigan: opposing ridesharing in a college town is tantamount to endorsing drunk driving. Somehow, Michigan—Michigan!—is 335th in FT shooting. FFS.

A reminder that Amani Toomer has a history of yellin' about stuff that seems ridiculous. Mo Hurst, All American.

Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 4th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

38590576846_ccff50ddfd_z

[Fuller]

“Yeah, on behalf of the 2017 Michigan Wolverines football team and the University of Michigan, we’re excited as heck to be coming down to the Outback Bowl. We all have—most of us, anyway, on the team—friends and family in Florida. We are excited about the competition in South Carolina and… hard football team. Been watching them a little bit and they’re tough. They’re really well coached.

“We’re excited about the New Year’s Day game on January 1st. I think it’s gonna be one of the most exciting January 1st lineup of bowl games that I’ve ever seen, so excited to be part of it and can’t wait. Know it’s going to be a lot of preparation our team will take up, get underway here this week.

“We know we’ve got to be better and that starts today and having a great matchup against South Carolina really helps motivate us to do that.”

What’s your reaction to the Big Ten getting shut out of the playoff this year and the decision to go with Alabama over Ohio State?

“My reaction is there should be more than four teams in the playoffs. Again, just to reiterate, eight teams, 12 teams, 16 teams—16 would ideal to be in the playoffs. It would make us more like every other spot, every other collegiate sport that has a playoff, every league in sports that has a playoff and a championship that does it through a playoff format.
“FCS, I mean, they have that format. It’s been in place. I think it’s up to 24 teams now and at that level I think it’s the ideal way to do it, so that’s my first reaction.”

I know you always talk about bowl practices as a way to catapult the team into next season but how much are you guys looking at this bowl game as more of maybe a way to validate the season for yourselves? There were a lot of variables this year: some injuries, three quarterbacks. How much are you looking at this game as kind of more just a validation of this season rather so much than catapulting into next season?

“I’d say both, Adam. Really building and attacking at the same time. This season and next season all at the same time. It’s both.”

If I could follow up real quick, just a few weeks or actually about a month or so of bowl preparation. How much more are you looking to see out of you team going into this bowl game. Is there another level that you feel you can reach that you haven’t reached in the regular season?

“Absolutely. We look at it right now, we’re not good enough. Not good enough to win all our games and we need to be better. We need to be good enough, and that starts now. That starts now, today. That started—well, really started last week, you know, as we go forward building and attacking, using our meeting time, using our training time, using our practice time, [and] this next ball game all to motivate us and improve as a football team.”

[After THE JUMP: Peters’ status (wrt the concussion and otherwise), Speight’s transfer, a Tarik Black update, and a discussion about better redshirt rules]

Ohio State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Ohio State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 26th, 2017 at 11:14 AM

37752231325_d12c537421_z

[Upchurch]

Do you regret not going for it or—excuse me, let me rephrase this. Do you regret not punting on 4th and 4 in the fourth quarter instead of going for it and possibly pinning the Buckeyes deep in their own territory?

“We had a good play called. Wish we could have executed it better but wanted to be aggressive, wanted to attack there. Now, we don’t pick it up, easy to say wish we would have punted it, but… I felt good with the call. Felt good with the decision.”

John [was] real emotional just a minute ago talking about how much this game meant for the senior class and not being able to get it done. Can you assess his performance and the emotions that go into this game as well?

“Yeah, emotional game played by emotional guys. I have the same regret. Wish the seniors could have gone out with the win.”

You had it rolling at 14-0. What, in your mind, changed after that?

“Think both teams played well. They made plays, we made plays. They made—that was their part of the ballgame where they cracked a few runs and the quarterback got out and made a play. We had a few mistakes offensively, we had a few mistakes defensively and… think we had a few more than they did.”

[After THE JUMP: what happened on the interception; DPJ: do-stuff-right guy; how close Peters was to going]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on November 23rd, 2017 at 10:09 AM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

MGoBlog and HomeSure Lending are having a tailgate before The Game at The North End Zone tailgate space, 1011 S. Main Street (map) from 9 a.m. to a little before noon, with food from Scratch Barbecue and beer donated from Wolverine State Brewing, and proceeds going to the T. Wall Foundation.

  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
  • Tickets (just beer at the door): $10 suggested donation just to come hang out on your way to the game.
  • Watch/Afterparty: Your ticket for the tailgate also gets you a round at Wolverine Brewing. If you don’t have a ticket for The Game but want to come, you won’t be alone; there’s a Lyft pickup spot across the street so when people go into the game a handful of us (I’m still in the market) are gonna go back to Wolverine State Brewing to watch it together, and more are planning to come back there (and park there) after.

Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. THERE WERE DEFINITELY SOME FORMATIONS, BACK TO YOU JOHN.

vlcsnap-2017-11-21-19h17m13s422

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Same QB and OL as the previous few games until Peters was knocked out. Onwenu did get a couple snaps as a RG in a jumbo formation, with Ruiz popping out to a TE-ish spot. Still mostly Gentry/McKeon at TE, with a number of 3 TE formations that also had Bunting. DPJ the main WR, with Perry, Crawford, and McDoom filling out the snaps.

Evans, Higdon, and Walker at RB, with an Isaac cameo on which he got hurt again.

[After THE JUMP: meh]

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Pep Hamilton

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Pep Hamilton

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 22nd, 2017 at 5:11 PM

38455820066_48ea09f518_z

[Fuller]

How we doin’?

“Working at it. [/looks at SID] Give me the updates. What do I need to know? What’s my man’s name? No. 1 from our defense, he spilled some—Ambry. See, I didn’t even remember his name, so you know he’s not in the gameplan.”

Is this a double fake kind of thing?

“Alright, here we go.”

Is Brandon cleared for any kind of activity yet?

“He’s progressively getting better. He’s still in the protocol and we’ll know—it’s on an hour-to-hour and day-to-day basis where he stands, but, you know, he seems to be a lot better than what he was after Saturday.”

Is there a cutoff time where if he’s not cleared by a certain point then he won’t play Saturday?

“That’s coach Harbaugh’s decision.”

Any update on Wilton?

“Wilton, he’s been back out on the practice field and he’s looked good. Once again, that’s the head coach’s decision.”

Is it still a red jersey [non-contact] thing for Wilton?

“Yes.”

If it is John that has to play on Saturday, how do you feel that he’s—do you feel that he’ll be ready for that challenge?

“Yeah, I think he’ll be ready. It’s not like this is his first time playing. We’ve still got a lot of practice in front of us and it’s important that we go out and we have a few good days of practice and we’ll see where we stand.”

[After THE JUMP: the tea leaves, they are read]

Unverified Voracity Enloosens Turkeys

Unverified Voracity Enloosens Turkeys

Submitted by Brian on November 21st, 2017 at 3:56 PM

hoeglaw_thumb[1]

Sponsor Note. Had ol' Richard Hoeg on the podcast a couple weeks back, whereupon he both gave us an excellent Gimmicky Top Five topic and executed it well. It was about restoring the credibility of the NCAA with some rule changes, and he impressed with the depth of his thought. "Probity," I thought. "This person would be a good lawyer to have." And he can be your lawyer too, if you're starting up a small business and have a need for founding documents, contracts, and the like.

Also he had no preference between Rich, Richard, Rick, Ricky, and Dick, so if you're picky about names that's five options right there.

Turkeys on the loose. Via Bakers and Best, The Great Markley Turkey Hunt Of 1967:

In January I came across these two photos while browsing through the Bentley Historical Library image bank (the Bentley serves as the historical library and archive for the university).  In the past ten months I have told anyone who will listen (and then some) about these pictures. Each time I find myself incapable of fully describing my thoughts on them. Most people react in the way that Ben Wyatt did to Li’l Sebastian. I fear the same will happen here, but I have to try anyways.

I mean, how ridiculous are these? Perhaps it was the fact that it was 4 AM and I had long since given up on falling back asleep, but all I could do when I first saw these was laugh. I was scrolling through a collection of photos from The Michigan Daily, and juxtaposed against campus protests and national conventions they became even more absurd. This feeling of delight and joy quickly moved into deep curiosity. I suddenly had to know everything I could about the story behind these pictures.

Someone had, presumably intentionally, released several turkeys for students to catch in the muddied Markley courtyard. Why? Who sponsored it? Whose idea was it? How many students participated? Where did they get the turkeys from? Was this an annual event?

Some 30 students…celebrated Thanksgiving early yesterday with an Interhouse Assembly-sponsored turkey hunt in the Markley courtyard. Winners were awarded four complementary Thanksgiving dinners – turkey of course – and a splendid time was had by all. – The Michigan Daily, 11/18/1967

From the Bentley Library I knew that both photos were taken by student photographer James Forsyth of The Michigan Daily. Scrolling through several years worth of microfilm turned up an advertisement on November 15th (at right) and a front page photo and description (quoted above) on November 18th. I found no other record in the five years before or after, leading me to believe this was a one-off event.

Perhaps one of the descendants of these unfortunate fowls became the Insane Killer North Campus Turkey of 2015, thus restoring his family honor. The moral of the story is that turkeys should be loosed upon campus more frequently than once every 48 years.

Going long. There have been rumblings about Michigan doing something to tamp down the Harbaugh Goes Somewhere rumors for a year or so now, and... uh...

...yeah, now seems like an amazing time for such a thing. So naturally it's former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn who first broaches the possibility of a conversation-stopper:

What that would look like is unknown. How much oomph it would have depends on the buyout, and all that, but since the yammering about Harbaugh's job is invariably done by dim bulbs a LIFETIME CONTRACT(!!!) should be fairly effective at silencing the noise even if it isn't absolutely ironclad. Those people ain't reading the fine print.

Going deep. Hopefully this Smart Football post will be relevant to our interests going forward. It's about the post route, which we've seen Donovan Peoples-Jones wide open on a ton without results until last week:

The trick to throwing the ball deep down the middle past all eleven defenders is (a) find a way to bring up the defense’s deepest defenders so you can throw the post behind them and (b) if those defenders stay deep, don’t throw the post. The way to accomplish both of those goals is to construct a sound concept around the deep post that can provide answers versus a variety of coverages — and strike like lightning whenever the opportunity is right. And for my money, there’s no better way of accomplishing those goals than the Mills concept.

...

The basics of the play are straightforward:

  • the outside receiver runs a post route, breaking towards the near goalpost (hence the name “post”) somewhere between 12 and 15 yards;
  • the inside receiver runs to a depth of 10 to 12 yards and either breaks inside (known as a “dig” or “square-in”) or runs a hook or curl back to the quarterback;
  • the backside receiver runs some sort of route to draw away the coverage, such a corner route, a fade or “go” route or a hook; and
  • the remaining eligible receivers (runningbacks, tight-ends or slot receivers) run underneath routes to be checkdown options if the defense covers everyone else.

Together, the play is typically run with play-action to further pull up the linebackers and safeties. And, as the Fun ‘n Gun heyday era clips below show, Mills could be as beautiful as it was devastating.

Michigan's currently getting DPJ open by being very very bad at passing, but if you see DPJ on a post while a TE runs a dig or 12 yard hitch under him, that's Mills.

Getting rid of it. One of these things is not like the other, from PFF via 24/7:

1. Brandon Peters: 5-8 for 112 yards and zero turnovers when blitzed

Before the redshirt freshman went down with an injury on Saturday, he was excelling when Wisconsin would bring pressure, hitting plays to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Zach Gentry down the field among others and had a strong feel for the pocket throughout the game.

By comparison? John O'Korn went 0-5 in similar situations and looked like he has most of the season when the pressure starts to collapse the pocket a bit.

Small sample sizes but the larger picture looks much the same unless O'Korn is able to break the pocket.

Oh. Right. Cease panic. Bill Connelly once again futilely attempts to calm the raging waters with his logic, stats, and whatnot.

S&P+ projected Michigan to win, on average, about 8.9 games in 2017. If I had taken returning starting quarterback Wilton Speight — lost for the season with injury back in September — out of the equation, their projected wins probably would have fallen to about 8.5.

They are currently 8-3 following a loss to Wisconsin, and they will probably be 8-4 after Ohio State leaves town this coming Saturday evening.

Oh, the horror. Oh, the crushing disappointment.

When I wrote, “From a narrative perspective, though, 2017 will be interesting,” this is almost exactly what I meant. When we peer into the future, we can stomach some disappointments in the name of long-term success. When we’re living through those disappointments in the present tense, however, it feels like the sky is falling.

The defense is performing almost exactly as projected; Michigan was projected fifth in Def. S&P+ and is eighth. The offense has been a bit worse than expected (projected 40th, currently 69th), and Speight’s injury hasn’t been the only cause. But it hasn’t helped, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that the Wolverines’ hopes of an upset in Madison ended virtually the moment that emerging QB Brandon Peters also went down.

Good luck, Mr. Connelly. Let's just check the ol' comments to see how it's going. And...

Do we really expect Michigan fans to want to hear context when they're about to be 1-5 in 3 years vs MSU and Ohio State?

...why type anything ever?

Etc.: Jake Butt has music opinions. Larry Prout profiled. Preseason basketball tournaments are a racket, and here's the worst one. Nobody coaches kickers. That seems fine since they're all super good in the NFL? Braylon Edwards remains Braylon Edwards.