Tackling Technique: The Season In Review

Tackling Technique: The Season In Review

Submitted by maizedandconfused on January 21st, 2011 at 1:32 PM


2010. A Defensive Odyssey

So. The 2010 Defense. The general consensus is a solid “WTFWTHCWT” (What the F? Why the hell can’t we tackle?). I decided to look at tackling, mostly to deduce whether it was coaching or just us being small and getting run over. Good tackling technique can be outstripped by superior strength/athleticism, so it was a valid consideration to look at technique of tackling to ensure that our defensive woes were a parallel to youth and not the infamous GERG. Considering both the change in coaching situation (Mattison for Mayor of Smackmouth-Swaggerville), it now makes more sense to look at these numbers mostly for future reference, as progression of freshman is inevitable, and with the number we played on D our chances for a leap forward are large.

About the analysis:

1. I regarded made tackles as anytime a player made contact with the ballcarrier and that ball carrier ended up down by contact using solid tackling technique. I did not look at technique of made tackles, as after 1/2 of tape review most of the tackles that were made were of good technique. Any tackle that forced the ball-carrier out of bounds was counted as a made tackle.

2. I designated missed tackles as failing to make a tackle in space, taking an extremely bad angle on a tackle that should have been made, or simply just getting the hit but not bringing down the ballcarrier.

3. Bad Form takes into account any missed tackle that used any of the following:

  •        Head on the up-field side
  •        Arm/Jersey tackling
  •        Any hit at or above the numbers
  •        Getting "shook" in open field due to not breaking down or over pursuit.

The notable difference here is missed tackles sometimes come from being overpowered or stiff-armed, not a technique avenue. If the UM defender made the hit with the head on the right side and attempted to wrap up but the ball carrier just slipped through, I counted this as a missed tackle only. If, however, the same play happened with the UM defender coming in high and behind, this was counted as both a missed and bad form tackle.

To derive the "Tackling Efficiency" I used the following formulas as necessary:

Tackling Efficiency: (Made Tackles - Missed Tackles)/(Bad Form Missed Tackles+1)

This metric takes into account both total tackles made along with missed tackles. In my mind it should give a good representation of who is making the most tackles, while missing the least


Tackling Percentage (%):Made Tackles/Tackling Opportunities (Made + Missed)


This should just give a straight representation of “If I was in position to make a tackle, did I bring down the ball carrier?”

  • I included both metrics to allay the concern on a previous post that I was marginalizing the D-line due to limited numbers of tackles. As you can see, both metrics relatively correlate with one another, with both having one or two anomalous results.



Individual Players Tackling Efficiency:

A few notes from the individual analysis:

  • Our defensive studs are who you expected

Martin, Demens, Kovacs and RVB are monsters

  • Mouton was a beast outside of conference, but once we hit the B10 he dropped to about 3 tackles for ever 2 misses.
  • Ezeh really cannot tackle.
  • Roh was not as beast as he could have been
  • Underclassman tended to tackle less effectively in B10 play than upperclassman



Individual Players Tackling Percentage:

A few notes from the analysis

  • Our defensive studs are who you expected

Martin, Demens and RVB are monsters

  • Roh was a better tackler than it seemed with the efficiency index.
  • Upperclassman seem to tackle better in the B10 than underclassman, with less noticeable dropoff
  • Carvin Johnson has the potential to be a bad bad man. Dude can tackle. And more often than not, he puts the ball carrier down with authority.


A By-Class Anaylsis:

I stockpiled the numbers by year. 1st years are True Frosh and RS Fr, 2nd years are True Sophs and RS So’s etc.

(9 1st years, 4 2nd years, 3 3rd years and 6 4th years)

Tackling Efficiency:


Tackling %


This team is young (shocker). There were 9 players that were first year players, compared to 4 and 3 2nd and 3rd year players. Of the 6 seniors to play, only 3 had meaningful minutes (Ezeh, Mouton and Rogers). The trend is easily demonstrable, as you get older you get better at tackling. Ignore the 4th year numbers, as Rogers is absolutely terrible at tackling, something you would expect of a WR journeyman at CB. The most telling graph I feel is the tackling efficiency by class analysis. This clearly shows that, while there were less sophomores and juniors, they made more of the opportunities and made more tackles as a whole. Going forward, I think there are some players on D that are young that have the potential to be absolute stars. Carvin Johnson and Courtney Avery both flashed some absolutely astounding athleticism; however with a year in the weight room I think Avery could be a better tackler. Most of his missed tackles weren’t bad form, just simply not being strong enough to bring down the ball carrier.  


  • Cam Gordon is best suited to be a down-hill blitz type LB, as when he played in the box is when he was most effective.
  • Ray Vinopal should have been red shirted, however we did not have that luxury. He is definetly the gritty player we expected, just simply not big/strong enough to make the plays in run support we needed.
  • Mike Martin gets held. A lot. So does RVB.
  • Demens has the potential to be an All Big-Ten LB. He is that dominate. Once he starts learning some passing coverage and his reads are more instinctive, his tackles for loss will go up. He greets the runner with violence, and is all over the field shedding blockers and enforcing his will.
  • Carvin Johnson should be the freshman people are most excited to see next year. That kid has an absolute nose for the football, and plays with good energy.
  • Roh at the weak D end is a potential good fit, however he really needs to work on breaking down and containing the QB. Against OSU he continually broke contain and TP just stepped up and downfield he went.
  • Jibreel Black needs work, but he could be a good one. Really good moves and solid hand use

Carvin Johnson to Deep Safety

Carvin Johnson to Deep Safety

Submitted by whyyoumadtho on October 29th, 2010 at 12:41 PM


Something small that I just saw that must have slipped through the cracks. I am not sure if this means anything about tomorrow but Rivals is saying Carvin Johnson moved to FS and Cam Gordon is working spur.

Other small note from article: Marvin Robinson could play LB in some Nickel situations.

carvin johnson and deep safety question

carvin johnson and deep safety question

Submitted by Elwood on October 18th, 2010 at 5:39 PM

It seems pretty clear the coaches really like carvin johnson. Does anyone else see him swapping positions with cam gordon after the season? I think carvin is a better fit at deep safety than spur and visa versa with cam. I think spur was the easiest way for him to see the field as a freshman and deep safety is a complicated position to walk into from fall camp for a true freshman. Again, I think Cam is a better fit at spur or OLB (if he can add weight). Discuss...

Carvin in leg brace, crutches

Carvin in leg brace, crutches

Submitted by derpDerpDerp on September 6th, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Saw Carvin Johnson and Richard Ash walking along South U. yesterday (heading east; right in front of the president's house).

Ash was easily identifiable (was wearing a #54 shirt). Carvin was a bit more difficult; face looked exactly like him, and his general build matched.

Anyway, the point of this post was in the subject line: Carvin was in a full leg brace, and was on crutches. I don't think this is cause for great concern or anything - as a precautionary measure it matches with what we know of his injury.

Still, I thought I'd pass it along.

Carvin Johnson Starting in the Scondary. Devin Gardner likely won't redshirt.

Carvin Johnson Starting in the Scondary. Devin Gardner likely won't redshirt.

Submitted by whyyoumadtho on August 30th, 2010 at 11:11 AM

My twitter is blowing up this morning. Two true freshmen starters, according to the first official depth chart, Carvin Johnson at a hybrid saftey spot. And Will Hagerup at punter.

And according to Varsity Blue "Rich Rod: Devin Gardner probably won't redshirt."

http://mgofootball.com/ This is the best link I have found this morning to the new depth chart.

Carvin Johnson Update

Carvin Johnson Update

Submitted by TomVH on December 9th, 2009 at 9:26 PM

I spoke with Carvin Johnson tonight. I don't have 200 words, so I just put it here.

- He doesn't have an LSU offer yet. He said he's not really sure if they will offer, but if they do it won't change his commitment to Michigan.

- He also said that he didn't think the fans liked him because he didn't have enough stars. That was pretty much verbatim, and unprovoked. I didn't mention it, or bring it up, he did.

I hate to keep harping on that, but it's obviously starting to effect the recruits themselves, which is outrageous. I'm not saying it's only here, just relaying how he felt.

Creating a pipeline

Creating a pipeline

Submitted by brewandbluesaturdays on December 9th, 2009 at 5:12 PM

So Finals are looming and the work is mounting. Which, in turn makes me hate school more and daydream/speculate about Michigan Football. Today in Wednesday Recruitin' there was a small tidbit on the idea of Ray Vinopal having success at M and starting a pipeline with Cardinal Mooney. But with additional guys like Tony Drake, the Pahokee boys, and Carvin Johnson are we potentially forming some sort of a super pipeline with all of their respective D-1 pumping high schools as well? All of these lower-rated guys from powerhouse programs could be our way in. I think it speaks well for a program like M to take a chance on guys from power programs that, didn't get looked at by the big in state schools. I see these guys becoming great ambassadors for the program at their high schools, giving us a better chance to bring in the higher rated guys from their programs. Could this be part of RR's strategy when goin for these lower-rated guys? Just fun speculation, I just liked the idea of 2 years from now being back on top and having a connection with all the studs from, Rummel, Skyline, Pahokee, and Cardinal Mooney. What do you guys think?

Scout upgrades Carvin Johnson, Saftey

Scout upgrades Carvin Johnson, Saftey

Submitted by spam and beans on December 2nd, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Scout has just upgraded Carvin Johnson. He was previously almost non-existent in their rankings. Now they have him as a three star. Did he really improve that much? Or did the "gurus" just mess up on this one in the first place? Could it be that they didn't rank him higher now is that it would be too embarrassing to admit not noticing a four star recruit? Maybe. Time will tell.