Extrapolating Team Gardner

Extrapolating Team Gardner

Submitted by Brian on November 29th, 2012 at 12:53 PM


ahhhhhh berlerve ir can fler (Upchurch)

Michigan sits at the end of the regular season with a lot better idea of what they'll do without Denard Robinson than they did before he got injured at Nebraska. This is what they call a silver lining. Yeah, the Cornspiracy is playing a 7-5 team they already beat to go to the Rose Bowl, but what are they doing at quarterback next year?

[offstage whisper]

It seems they are still playing Taylor Martinez. Screw them!

Anyway, Michigan's offense before and after the Gardner injury was vastly different, so let's take a look at some rough outlines.

Schedule Check

Gardner played games against Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and Ohio State. These were the 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th defenses in the Big Ten in terms of yardage. In terms of pass efficiency D they were 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 10th. (Oddly, Minnesota is the top team in both those categories.) This is a slightly worse sample than a random one, but if we're projecting overall stats to next year that's fair-ish since Michigan will play three non-BCS teams in their four nonconference games. It's ballpark, but the ballpark should be in the ballpark.

Obviously this is all very rough. We're projecting season to date, so aiming for 12 games.

Hypothetical Individual Stats

Hypothetical Gardner:

171 completions on 270 attempts, 63% completions, 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 3015 yards, 11.1 YPA(!). This would place him first in the Big Ten in passer efficiency by a mile and would in fact be #1 nationally. That's not happening, but if he can be in the top 20 that would be awesome.

Also he would have 105 rushes for 231 yards, which is depressed by sack yardage and Michigan avoiding called runs with him since the alternative seemed to be Jack Kennedy.

Hypothetical Receivers:

  • Gallon: 66 catches for 1098 yards(!)
  • Roundtree: 45 catches for 1134 yards(!)
  • Drew Dileo: remains criminally underused
  • Devin Funchess: 9 catches for 132 yards. Hmm, bad.

That seems swell. Except…

Hypothetical Tailbacks:

  • Fitzgerald Toussaint: 34 carries for 191 yards, 5.6 YPC
  • Thomas Rawls: 32 carries for 68 yards, 2.1 YPC.
  • Vincent Smith: 8 carries for 21 yards, 2.6 YPC
  • TOTAL: 3.8 YPC.

Denard is of course the wildcard, as he averaged 8.2 yards a carry in conference and 7.6(!) overall, which is the best YPC season at Michigan since at least 1949 (minimum 100 carries). I mean:

Runner Att Yards YPC
Denard 154 1166 7.6
Et Al 303 1082 3.6

I left sacks on both QBs in, FWIW. Not that it matters. Denard averaged 9.3 YPC on 23 carries against Iowa and OSU but we don't really need to extrapolate with him, we have all the data. He was four yards per carry better than any other option available. Stupid elbow.

Hypothetical Team Stats

These are difficult to parse out because of the Denard complication. But, yeah, #1 in passer efficiency. In yards, an even 400, which would be 64th. Rush offense slides to 148 a game, which puts them below Michigan state, well into the 70s. Pass offense goes from 95th to 49th.

Michigan going so slow all the time hurts them in these raw stats, of course. The efficiency is extremely promising as long as they can run block at all. Which, maybe?