Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Offense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Offense Comment Count

Ace May 13th, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks, 2009 Offense

It's apparently that arbitrary down time in the offseason when I take a look back at Brian's recruiting profiles for the class that just finished their time at Michigan. In this case, that class is the infamous 2010 group, the last full class brought in by Rich Rodriguez during his time at Michigan.

So, uh, you've been forewarned.

I'll start with the nine offensive players in the class, five of whom were wide receivers. If that sounds like a strange and dangerous way to contruct a roster, you may be a longtime reader of this here blog. Or maybe you just watched the offensive line the last few years. Either/or, really.

We're Really Sorry About The Coaching Thing

As a Pioneer grad, I have no idea how Pioneer won this game.

By the time Brian wrote up Devin Gardner's profile, he'd already enrolled at Michigan and participated in the spring game. The comparison that came up the most in his profile—and, really, the most reasonable one to make at the time—is a pretty good indication of the level of expectation for Gardner's college career:

Why Vince Young? The combination of size, speed, a wonky throwing motion, and the multiple comparisons from gurus tips the balance over to Young, who redshirted despite being the top prospect in the country and didn't come into his own as a passer until he played Michigan in the Rose Bowl—awesome timing!

Guru Reliability: High. Ton of exposure to him. Elite 11 camp, UA game, all that stuff. 
General Excitement Level: Towering. Vast. Expansive. 

Gardner, of course, stayed on track—except for the cameo at wide receiver—by looking like a future star when he took the reins after Denard Robinson's injury in 2012, and while he had some disappointing outings in 2013, those were largely chalked up to the O-line and playcalling. It came off the rails last year for a host of reasons covered so thoroughly they're not worth bringing up again. Needless to say, reading through his profile leaves one with serious what-could've-been feels.

[Hit THE JUMP for Dramatic Cupcake Hopkins and, well, mostly disappointment.]

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Monday Presser 11-3-14: Players

Monday Presser 11-3-14: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 5th, 2014 at 9:02 AM

players 11-3

Jack Miller, Devin Gardner, Jake Ryan

Devin, we ask you every week but do you feel like you’re getting closer to 100%? It looks like every time you take a big hit it aggravates it a little bit. Is that just part of the game?

DG: “Yeah, sometimes but I fell like I’m getting healthier and healthier. I’m just doing everything I can to contribute as much as possible.”

 

Talk about your ability to read defenses. Have you made progress in Nussmeier’s system would you say?

DG: “Yeah, I think so.”

In what sense?

DG: “All of it. Making reads and getting us in the right plays, things like that.”

 

Devin, is it frustrating at all because there’s times where it seems like you want to put your foot down and run but it doesn’t seem like it’s there?

DG: “Yeah, it’s always frustrating because of the type of player I am and what I’m usually able to do but you’ve got to find a way.”

How limited would you say you are feet-wise with your ability to run?

DG:I’m getting better. I mean, I’ll see on Saturday.”

 

How much is that changing what’s called for you, because you can have audibles and you can make decisions but is it your decision that you’re maybe not going to push it in terms of getting out and scrambling or is it Nussmeier’s?

DG: “This past week I didn’t have to scramble much so luckily I didn’t need to.”

 

On that 10-yard run it looked like that was one you tried to take off on…

DG: “Yeah, I probably would have scored [last year] but I got the first down and that’s what the team needed and it kept the chains moving, so that’s the most important part.”

[More after THE JUMP]

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The Invention Of Voting

The Invention Of Voting Comment Count

Brian November 3rd, 2014 at 10:31 AM

11/1/2014 – Michigan 34, Indiana 10 – 4-5, 2-3 Big Ten

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This happened. The end. [Eric Upchurch]

Sometimes there's a game that does not have anything to say about it. This was that game. Michigan won 34-10, the same score they beat Miami (Not That Miami) by, and it felt a lot like a replay of that throwaway nonconference game.

The opposing offense wasn't going anywhere unless Michigan busted something. Michigan's running game alternated between frustrating lack of holes and lanes so open you could drive a truck through. The defensive backs could have spent the entire afternoon reading The Economist and sipping Kermit tea and nothing would have changed. Indiana had eight attempts. This game was almost literally none of their business.

Michigan thudded out to a 17-0 lead with the help of a couple fumbles that somehow benched Tevin Coleman, and then the game was over. Indiana turned a Gardner interception that ended up inside the Michigan ten into a doinked field goal. Thereupon a giant pig descended from the sky to proclaim the game state.

warner-bros-thats-all-folks[1]

Brady Hoke knew it, so he ran the ball a couple times to end the first half instead of attempting to score.

I knew it, so I wasn't even a tiny bit peeved by that. Devin Gardner had just demonstrated the only way Indiana was going to get back in the game by not quite giftwrapping a pick six. Just before that Gardner had not quite giftwrapped another pick six. Michigan could have run the ball on every remaining down and won, and it was cold and I have to UFR these things. Run that clock down. Fine by me.

Everyone in the crowd knew it, so an awful lot of them left at halftime.

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Non-student areas weren't a whole lot better. [Bryan Fuller]

At this point I'm not blaming anyone. It was cold, Michigan is playing for a berth in the kind of bowl where the gift bags include broken Swatches from 1985, and the game was already decided. I stayed because I write these columns and your soapbox is a little higher if you stayed like a True Fan™. I am enjoying the extra centimeter right now. Mighty fine view it's providing.

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

The game being what it was, about the only thing of interest over the weekend was a smattering of pissy comments from current and former players.

Desmond Howard decried Michigan's "mob mentality" on Gameday. Taylor Lewan called the Daily's Alejandro Zuniga a "moron" after Zuniga's appearance on BTN. Drew Dileo used air quotes around 'loyal' en route to stating that Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke weren't the problem—causing responders to respectfully ask what, then, the problem might be. Elliot Mealer referred to "the muggles that attend the University of Michigan" suddenly knowing something about the athletic department. Shane Morris provided a shout-out to the few students that made it to the end of the game and helpfully informed the ones who didn't that Michigan won.

It's like they went to bed and universal suffrage happened overnight.

INT. HOUSE OF COMMONS

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A raucous scene, as a bill has just come up for vote. Enter AN ASSORTMENT OF LORDS.

EARL OF MEALER

Good heavens, what are they doing?

HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN

They seem to be voicing their opinions.

MARQUIS DI LEO

What-ever for?

EARL OF MEALER

Say, you, boy: what is all this ruckus?

ZEID EL-KILANI

The bill of attainder is up for vote; these are
final arguments before a decision is made.
Also, I don't think 'boy' is the preferred nomenclature.

HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN

You have the vote? What nonsense!

MARQUIS DI LEO

/frantically dips snuff

EARL OF MEALER

Disaster! Woe! Surely we will topple like saplings in a typhoon!

HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN

How long has… this been going on?

ZEID EL-KILANI

Approximately 600 years?

MARQUIS DI LEO

/faints

HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN

WHY WEREN'T WE TOLD?!

ZEID EL-KILANI

We assumed you knew.

EARL OF MEALER

Our doom is at hand! Flee! I'll die on the squash courts if I can make it!

/exit MEALER, HOWARD

MARQUIS DI LEO

/regains consciousness

COMMONS MEMBER

Aye!

MARQUIS DI LEO

/faints again

Michigan fans always had the vote; never before had they been pressed so hard as to think about using it. When there's an epic wait list you can find another team and the edifice doesn't notice. Not so much anymore.

The ironic thing about all of this is it's actually the students—sorry, "muggles"—leading the way towards positive change. Brandon implements the worst possible version of general admission; Mike Proppe's CSG negotiates a more sensible arrangement that provides better seats to better fans. Brandon blames the new policy for the drop in attendance instead of prices; Bobby Dishell's CSG negotiates a 40% slashing of ticket prices. El-Kilani's petition laid out the case against Brandon concisely and far more authoritatively than any defenses mounted by the House of Lords, which generally amount to "nuh-uh, you don't know."

It is true that we don't know the face Brandon showed to the student-athletes. I do know that one day he got in front of his department and quizzed them as to who their customers were. The answer: "student-athletes." So he probably acted like a human to them.

That's not enough when he is a six-foot phallus to everyone else. You just don't know that unless you're outside the program, looking at a 150-dollar ticket that you could have had for 20 bucks, watching grim quasi-football that means nothing in the freezing cold. Bon Jovi is playing, for some reason.

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

Here's the thing. This is a large group of people. Every large group of people is basically a bell curve. Michigan has pushed the prices up to the point where they're going to hit the downside of that bell curve without serious change.

That's a disaster that cannot be allowed to happen. Maybe it won't be for the people in the program right now, or the people who have been through it. It is one for the people who are thinking about 30 years from now, who are thinking about what it's going to be like for their kids.

Michigan, the program, can do little to change the group of people. They will remain the same people. They can only change themselves to fit the people. Step one is firing the coach, because the crushing blow to season ticket sales that results from his retention is unacceptable. Also he is not good at coaching.

Step two is not being dicks to people outside the program. I know y'all learned it from Brandon. Unlearn it. The next AD is going to be just as fantastic to increasingly pampered student-athletes without being loathed by everyone else on the planet. The Al Bundy patrol talking down to a fanbase on the edge of deserting in droves is hilariously out of touch. Michigan revenue vs Michigan performance. QED.

It's time to stop interpreting "The Team The Team The Team" as a moat between 115 players and 113,000 fans. 

[After THE JUMP: hawt babes, and why are you trying to be a fey English twit]

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Hokepoints: Go-To Receivers

Hokepoints: Go-To Receivers Comment Count

Seth April 23rd, 2014 at 3:49 PM

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Glanzman

More fun with stats! CFBStats helpfully grabs every play off the NCAA's box scores and turns lines like "Devin Gardner pass complete to Jeremy Gallon for 14 yards" into downloadable data on receiver targeting. Here's where Gardner's passes went last year by down:

Receiver Target(%) 1st Dn 2nd Dn 3rd Dn
Total passes 395 (n/a) 142 144 105
Jeremy Gallon 137 (35%) 43% 28% 34%
Devin Funchess 92 (23%) 25% 18% 28%
Drew Dileo 30 (8%) 6% 5% 12%
Jake Butt 27 (7%) 3% 13% 4%
Jehu Chesson 24 (6%) 4% 8% 6%
Jeremy Jackson 10 (3%) 3% 3% 1%
Joe Reynolds 7 (2%) 2% 3% -
A.J. Williams 2 (1%) - 1% -
Fitz Toussaint 20 (5%) 4% 8% 3%
Other backs 23 (6%) 6% 6% 6%
[nobody] 23 (6%) 5% 6% 8%

There were four passes on 4th down: two that Funchess converted and two that Dileo didn't. For our purposes I'm going to count them with 3rd downs because they're functionally the same (i.e. not converting is a failure). When every preview this year says defenses will be focused on taking away Funchess, you can see why: most every other target from last year is graduated or not immediately available (Butt). The data also show whether each reception ended up in a 1st down:

Receiver 1st/2nd Dn Conv% 3rd/4th Dn Conv%
Jeremy Gallon 45/101 45% 15/36 42%
Devin Funchess 21/61 34% 12/31 39%
Drew Dileo 5/15 33% 7/15 47%
Jake Butt 11/23 48% 2/4 50%
Jehu Chesson 6/18 33% 3/6 50%
Fitz Toussaint 7/17 41% 1/3 33%
Team 105/286 37% 44/109 40%

I don't know if the conversion rate for 1st and 2nd down will be that valuable except as a measure of team dink-and-dunk-iness. The numbers for conversion downs show tendency and success. Again, nothing surprising here. Gallon and Funchess remained equal targets, with Dileo the only other likely 3rd down destination.

Was it common for teams to be so focused on a few guys? Well those 3rd down targeting numbers are high. Gallon was the recipient of just over a third of Michigan's 3rd/4th down attempts; that's 7th in the nation at go-to-guyness. The rest:

Receiver School Tm Att Tgts Conv %
Alex Amidon Boston College 106 43 (41%) 42%
Jordan Matthews Vanderbilt 104 39 (38%) 38%
Shaun Joplin Bowling Green 114 41 (36%) 49%
Willie Snead Ball State 131 47 (36%) 55%
Allen Robinson Penn State 129 46 (36%) 43%
Ryan Grant Tulane 133 46 (35%) 46%
Jeremy Gallon Michigan 109 36 (33%) 42%
Ty Montgomery Stanford 100 33 (33%) 55%
Titus Davis Central Michigan 98 32 (33%) 56%
Quincy Enunwa Nebraska 112 36 (32%) 33%

Gallon was as important of a chain-mover for Michigan as A-Rob was to Penn State. What's weird is Michigan's 2nd guy was also really high on the list. Funchess (29% of 3rd/4th down targets, 39% conversion rate) also appears on the national leaderboard, at 19th, right behind Jared Abbrederis.

[After the jump: Michigan was the most obvious team in the country, finding Dileo-like objects, target types.]

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One Frame At A Time: Best Of 2013

One Frame At A Time: Best Of 2013 Comment Count

Ace December 31st, 2013 at 4:14 PM

2013 may have ended on a sour note (or several), but that doesn't mean it's not worth looking back at some of the highlights of the calendar year—especially, say, a few choice moments from March and April. While I've almost certainly omitted several worthy candidates, here are my picks for the 20 best (unedited) MGoGIFs of 2013.

If you'd like to peruse all of this year's GIFs, here are links to my Flickr sets for the 2012-13 basketball season, 2013 football season, and 2013-14 basketball season. Since Flickr is pretty cumbersome, you must click on each still frame, then right-click on the still frame and hit "view original" to see the actual animation. Alternatively, you can journey through the "one frame at a time" tag on this here blog.

Since it was difficult enough just to narrow this down to a list of 20, these GIFs are presented in chronological order, and you can vote for your favorite at the end of the post.

DANCIN' DENNIS NORFLEET (January 1st)

Because no MGoAnything is complete without some Norfleet.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the GIFs]

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This Week's Obsession: Filling Shoes

This Week's Obsession: Filling Shoes Comment Count

Seth December 4th, 2013 at 5:48 PM

BLF_2284

[Fuller]

In HTTV last year we made a strange assertion: that given the relative drop-off to their replacements, Kovacs would probably be missed more than Denard Robinson. I thought I'd pose the question now concerning this year's seniors, except there's one guy who could have gone 1st overall in the NFL draft LAST YEAR, and he's being replaced by either a member of the worst interior offensive line in Michigan memory or a guy who couldn't beat out one of those guys for playing time.

1V - LEAD and DOMINATE THE FIRST PAGE- Upchurch -8646512992_e3c0ba6d0a_o
Actually, #2 Taylor Lewan's twosie and #3 Taylor Lewan's pet pig are also out of the running. [Upchurch]

So, OTHER than that guy,

Which senior will Michigan miss most next season?

Ace: I'll leave a couple very strong candidates aside—namely, Jeremy Gallon and Thomas Gordon—and go to the other bookend of the offensive line, Michael Schofield. Michigan already needs to get much (much) better play out of the interior of the line next year, not to mention a major step up in blocking from the backs and tight ends. Losing not just one, but two NFL-quality tackles means the Wolverines once again head into a new season with major uncertainty up front.

I expect the interior line to be better, especially since some of the true freshmen who weren't viable options this season—especially Patrick Kugler and David Dawson—should at least be ready to compete for a spot on the two-deep. Losing Schofield along with Lewan, however, means that there's almost no margin for error with the new tackles; Michigan needs to find two decent starters out of Ben Braden, Erik Magnuson, and... that's about it.

I guess Dawson could play right tackle, as could Kyle Kalis, but both are more natural fits inside. Chris Fox, coming off a major knee injury that delayed his freshman progress, and Logan Tuley-Tillman, a raw-upside prospect with a heavy emphasis on raw, probably won't be ready to step in and be very effective.

Losing Lewan hurts the most, of course; that's compounded by the absence of Schofield—who really came into his own this year—leaving Michigan with, at best, four relatively unproven players competing for two open tackle spots while the interior of the line is still very much a question mark.

[After the jump: Pining for (Scho)fields]

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Hokepoints Wins a Medal for Participation

Hokepoints Wins a Medal for Participation Comment Count

Seth November 19th, 2013 at 8:53 AM

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Fuller didn't get a shot of Dileo that he put on Flickr, but he got this 6-yard catch by Butt on 2nd and 5, when Dileo was busy running off two defenders.

The primary complaint with Michigan's offense, rightly, has been with the blocking dudes' problems with blocking dudes. While gathering data on personnel changes throughout the Northwestern game I got an opportunity to look hard enough to have an idea where the UFR will lay blame for 9 points in regulation. Preview: Bosch didn't have a good game. However the freshman guards are a problem solved mostly by experience, i.e. we can't fix it this year.

But if Michigan is looking for an offensive boost it might find one by improving which parts they deploy among the five eligible receiver positions. Which personnel and how they're aligned come with various strengths. Generally the smaller and more spread out, the better to make space for you to operate; conversely the larger and tighter the better to block dudes. I put forth that our blocking dudes are currently pretty bad at blocking dudes, thus it's worth moving some of their snaps to 3rd and 4th receivers.

MANBALL isn't Borgesian

Here's Borges's offense being run at UCLA in 1998, a time when the spread offense was something that won games at Tulane:

Note the 3WR sets pop up plenty. I believe the goal here is to be multifarious, not just very large and good at something. He wants to be impossible to prepare for because at any moment you might put in your 4-4 personnel when you see him trotting out 3 tight ends, and then he'll spread them out and put a 6'6 monster on your tiniest cornerback. This is why they're recruiting Fifty Shades of Shea.

But That's a Long Way Away

Today, they have precious few developed parts to play these "skill" positions. The running backs can't block, either because they're really spread nutrinos (Toussaint, Hayes, Norfleet) or true freshmen (Green, Smith) who didn't need blocking lessons to run over high school fools. The fullbacks are a walk-on they've been developing for awhile but who still misses 1 in 5 blocking assignments, and a RS freshman they recruited out of Utah who needs work.

Off. Performance vs. NW'ern When Player is On Field
(Only normal downs counted)
Player Pos Snaps YPA Run%
Gallon WR 60 5.45 48%
Funchess WR 54 5.74 46%
Williams Y 41 5.46 54%
Green RB 40 5.45 53%
Butt TE/WR 39 4.69 49%
Kerridge FB/RB 23 4.52 43%
Dileo WR 10 9.00 20%
Smith RB 9 5.22 78%
Hayes RB 8 5.63 13%
Chesson WR 7 5.00 29%
Paskorz TE 6 5.33 67%
Houma FB/TE 4 4.50 100%
(Total) n/a 60 5.43 48%

From a Borgesian perspective, the tight ends are in even worse shape. Funchess became a receiver because despite all that size he's not much of a blocker. That leaves his classmate A.J. Williams at the top of the depth chart despite the fact that he's not been a very good blocker, and his threat as a passing target fizzles out about three yards downfield. They've got Jake Butt, who like Funchess is more of a receiver at this stage in his career. And just so they have another body there, positional vagaband Jordan Paskorz has been getting a few drives here and there; after him it's burning a redshirt and air.

It would make sense, then, for the receivers to pick up the slack. If you can't block a guy with Williams, you can get that same block by putting a receiver far away from the play, so long as you threaten to go out there if a defender doesn't follow. But there's another problem with the receivers: Gallon is great but tiny, Funchess is great but still raw. Chesson is coming along. Dileo is himself.

And…? The coaches seem to have put every other receiver on the shelf: they've played Jeremy Jackson a lot and gotten little returns. Joe Reynolds seems to be not an option. So every time they go 4-wide, effectively the whole depth chart is out there. Exhaust those guys and the passing game goes away. Or at least this is the best reason I can imagine.

I'm not sure it's a good reason. It seems to me that they're pretty effective the more they spread 'em out, because you're essentially replacing a mediocre-to-bad FB or TE with a slot receiver who is pretty good at that job.

Did You See Dileo's Number in that Chart?

I spent much of yesterday and all night last night charting the personnel moves during last Saturday's game to be able to pull those numbers. The whole thing is here:

There's no way I can go back and do the whole season, unless Brian has a secret code hidden in the UFRs or something. Anyway: 9 YPA when Dileo is out there, and 4.5 to 5.5 when he's not. Here's some other things I found in there.

[After the Jump: What We've Learned]

Comments

Monday Presser Transcript 11-4-13: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 11-4-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko November 4th, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Offense bullets: 

  • Devin Gardner is still "beat up." He'll probably practice tomorrow, though. 
  • The offensive line is young. Reacted poorly to the environment and didn't play their technique well in pass protection.
  • Running back needed to protect better, too. Fitz is the best pass protector on the team, so it looks like they're out of options. This-may-or-may-not-be-significant-alert: De'Veon Smith was removed from the travel squad for vague reasons.
  • AJ Williams will be back Saturday. Drew Dileo should be back as well.
  • Hoke doesn't think Taylor Lewan should be suspended for the facemask thing. Says it's "unacceptable" but if it were suspension-worthy he'd have suspended him already. 

Defense bullets:

  • Keith Heitzman injured his hand last week in practice, so he didn't travel. He may take a while to come back.
  • Willie Henry played a good game. He'll probably get more playing time moving forward.
  • The last two long busts were because of a mismatch in personnel, which got them run over.

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

Podium

Opening remarks:

“You know, coming off not the way you want to start the five-game stretch, the meat of your schedule, Saturday is something we’re all disappointed with and everything that we have to do from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint. Obviously it was evaluated and we all need to do a better job, and that’s just a part of it. We had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of during the course of the football game, and that’s a credit to them. We’ve got to do a better job. Offensively, we have to get Devin a little more of an opportunity because there were plenty of them down the field. Execution’s a part of that. Always is. When you’re sliding protections or whatever it might be. Defensively, I think our defense kept us in the football game for a long time with bad field position. Needed to make some stops more in the second half. Didn’t get that accomplished. Some third downs. The score right before the half is never a good score. And then them taking the ball for six minutes or five minutes to start the second half even though they got the field goal. Again, it’s posessions. Trying to get possessions. We had a really good day yesterday, which is a really good thing. The attitude of our team, they came in and worked like heck on the evaluation part of it, and we’ll work like heck out in practice. That being said … ”

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Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-30-13: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-30-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko October 30th, 2013 at 2:49 PM

[I'm behind on the Mattison presser transcript. It will be posted this evening.]

Bullets: 

  • Drew Dileo is still questionable to return this week.
  • No turnovers.
  • Stop the run.
  • Be physical.
  • Don't commit penalties.
  • Yarrrrr.

Toledo Blade

Opening remarks:

“Good practices so far this week. Gonna have a really good one today. Got outside, did a little more crowd noise, trying to recreate the atmosphere, which you never can totally. You play on the road in this league, especially at certain places, it’s a hostile environment. Communication’s going to be particularly important on both sides of the ball.”

If you were granted a wish on both sides of the ball, what two things would they be?

“Taking care of the ball from an offensive perspective. That’s something high up there that is something that is important. You just look at games during the year, you look at NFL games, the turnover margin is so critical. Defensively, I think the transition – we’ve got to stop the run. Langford’s had three very good weeks. Overall with him and the other backs, they are 100-and-some yards a game. Might be close to 150 with the way they’ve been playing.”

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