Dilithium Quantified

Dilithium Quantified

Submitted by MCalibur on August 19th, 2014 at 4:39 PM

[Author note: This thing is long and pretty technical. That said, I think there will be  sufficient payoff and value for you the reader. Still, be ye warned.]

madscientist Have you ever wished there were a convenient way to rate rushers the same way we rate passers? Sure, passer rating has its weaknesses—all mathematical formulas do—but despite it's issues, I've come to appreciate passer rating as a very useful framework to evaluate a player/team when it comes to passing the ball. In the same way that finding a corner piece to a jigsaw puzzle helps you figure out it's entire quadrant, once you have an idea of what to expect from the passing game you can leap to other touchstones to determine what to expect from the running game. A rusher rating would be just the sort of touchstone needed to really start messing around for those of us who are so inclined. This diary lays out what I think should work for these purposes.

To recap some of my previous work: passer rating combines four important factors—completion percentage, yards per attempt, interception rate,  and touchdown rate—and blends them into one number. For rushing stats, important information for coming up with an analogous metric has been hard to come by until cfbstats.com came along. Tons of fascinating and useful data, for free. God bless the internet.

To come up with the rating, I looked only at positions that would be considered normal rushers (QB, RB, TB, FB, HB, SB, WR) that have an average YPC greater than zero. If you can’t meet those criterion, then you cant represent a normal rusher, thus sayeth the me. Other positions register rushing attempts but allowing the odd rush by a punter to color your view of what normal looks like would be dumb. See the chart below for more information. Also, if a guy averages negative YPC, uh, find something else to do, kthx. Other than that, no other filter was applied but some math wonk tricks were and I’ll talk about those as we go.

data discrimination

Parameter Mapping

Completion Percentage → Gain Percentage : Parsed play by play is necessary to generate a replacement for completion percentage. I opted to go for Gain Percentage: the percentage of attempts that resulted in more than zero yards. I figured the basic goal of a pass is to complete it (brilliant insight, I know) and the basic goal on a rush attempt is to gain positive yardage so…any gain of more than zero yards is mission accomplished. This parameter is as much about team skill as it is about player skill but the same can be said for Completion Percentage.

MikeHartYards Per Attempt: Direct analogue.

Interception Rate → Fumble Rate: The direct analogue would of course be fumbles lost per attempt but that’s not the right way to do it IMO.  The luck factor that influences whether or not the team actually loses possession has nothing to do with the fact that bringing possession into question is a terrible idea. So, all fumbles whether lost or not  are counted in the calculation.

There is also a bit of mathematical wonkiness deployed as well. Mike Hart is famous—at least around here—for his deftness at protecting the rock. It was awesome: 991 carries, 5 loose balls, 3 losses of possession. That was an aiight career, but these guys were kinda, sorta, maybe, better (!) at protecting the rock:

Player Team Att FMB
Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon State 789 1
Javon Ringer MSU 843 3
Montee Ball Wisconsin 924 4

OK, so the wonkiness…a lot of people who register meaningful rushing attempts do so at a pretty low level of opportunity. Even stud RBs often split carries with other backs: Eddie Lacy siphoned off carries from Mark Ingram before becoming the man, and T.J Yeldon  did the same to Eddie Lacie. So in order for fumbles to make sense for players that get meaningful carries in low doses,  we need to consider the question: at which point does a low fumble rate cross the threshold from wait-and-see to holy-crap-check-that-dude-for-stickem?

ABBACASTATS,BRUH!

P(Fumble)

What we have here is a chart comparing the observed percentage (red dots)  and the mathematical probability (blue line) that a player will have at least 1 fumble versus the number of carries he has registered. The red dots are binned in increments of 1 so the sample sizes out past 150 are pretty thin but if bigger bins are used, you’d see a scatter of points that more closely follow the mathematical fit, because… math. The blue line was derived using logistic regression.

The weirdness at zero for the mathematical expectation might be concerning as it suggests that there’s a 20% chance you’ve fumbled despite not having a single carry to your credit. However, that is just an artifact of the data. It is possible to fumble on your one and only carry as actual observations show. What the math does, though, is it considers the sample size of the observations and then finds the best fit possible to the overall dataset. There are ways of dealing with that issue, but…I rather talk about football. Also, KISS. This is good enough for my intended purpose.

Anyway, the point of doing all that is it allows me to apply what I’ll call the Phantom Protocol. Basically, I take that curve, subtract it from 1, and add the resulting value to the player’s fumble total. As the number of carries increases, the effect of the phantom fumble recedes thus leveling the playing field and letting us evaluate players with low sample size as best we can. The result of this bit of data manipulation is that a guy with no fumbles in 16 carries is assigned an average fumble rate and by the time 100 carries are registered, the penalty is not perceivable. Below 16 carries, the assigned penalty is pretty stiff but this trick levels the playing field to let us look at guys with few carries and not just dismiss them with the low sample size red card. Sure, 16 carries is still a low sample but at least the rating self corrects for the fact that fumbles take time to manifest.

Most importantly though, the protocol adequately acknowledges players with low fumble rates even though they have a lot of carries. It’s easier to have a 1% fumble rate after 100 carries than it is to have the same rate after 789 carries.  That said, after a while the fumble rates should be allowed to speak for themselves. Quizz Rodgers and Mike Hart need their proper allocation of DAP; nothing more, nothing less. I think the ghost protocol concept accomplishes exactly that.

Touchdown Rate: This one is also directly analogous but here again I’ve deployed the ghost protocol to credit guys with low sample the expectation of an eventual TD. TDs come about much more freely than fumbles do with goal line attempts and the like so this credit vanishes very quickly. But fair is fair: the protocol giveth and it taketh away.

Those are the components directly analogous to the ones used in passer rating and these would be enough to go about the business at hand. However, whereas a passer’s job is to get the ball into the hands of a play maker, players that are given the ball whether by pass of handoff are called upon to be the playmaker. Certainly the scheme, play call RPS, and execution of the supporting cast all have major influence on the results of a play but the ball carrier can do things that elevate the call from good to great. I wanted to be all formal-like and call this the Impact Run Rate but this [stuff] is s’posed to be fun, man. Hence—

Another Dimension: the Dilithium Quotient

DenardGiveTeoStiffy

The 20 yard threshold is usually referenced as registering a play as a big play. That would certainly qualify as a big play by any standard but that threshold seems to have been established somewhat arbitrarily in my opinion. On average, a generic runner on a generic team in a generic game gains about 4 yards per attempt with a standard deviation of about 7.5. Its called the standard deviation for a reason as a huge swath of observations (about 2/3rds) occur within 1 SD of the mean, or between –3 and +11 (remember: discrete data). The other 1/3 of observations get split evenly with 1/6 below -3 yards and 1/6 above 12. I’ve used objective criterion, you know, math, to define Impact Runs as those that register 12 yards or more. To register one of these the player’s entire team has to execute the play correctly, then the carrier he has to do something special (i.e. juke a dude, break a tackle, be fast). This is the real life manifestation of the Madden Circle Button and its informative. It’s the difference between Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith.

Denard Robinson was great at this but it might be surprising to hear that he wasn’t the best. Percy Harvin in the spread option was ridiculous in this category. Percy had touched the ball a lot when he was a Gator and 27% of the time, he darted for an impact run. By Contrast, Denard’s DQ% was ‘only’ about 15%. Could you imagine Denard breaking loose almost twice as often? Of course, the scheme, the team’s execution of the scheme, and the player’s deployment within the scheme has a lot to do with this number. Florida circa Percy Harvin was galaxies away from Michigan circa Denard Robinson. Percy Harvin was the 3rd rushing option in Florida’s spread and shred, Denard Robinson was options 1-10. Also, being the QB in the spread-option means you are concern #1 for defenses: the cornerstone. That was triply the case when facing Michigan with Denard in the captain’s chair. Harvin was usually one-on-one with a guy 10 times slower than he was who was also probably pooping his pants.

Denard’s DQ% was pretty stable around 15% (scheme be damned) but his utility rate (723 career carries) was second to none save minor conference QBs. His closest proxy Pat White (684 career carries) broke loose at a 19% clip in RichRod’s Scheme.  However, the Big EEEast sans Miami and Virginia Tech wasn’t quite the Big TEEEN. Denard went up against stout defenses way more often than Pat White did and did so without the benefit of Steve Slaton or Noel Devine and the benefit of a revolutionary offensive scheme. When Pat White lost RichRod is DQ% dropped to under 12%, Denard didn’t bat an eye. Everyone *knew* they had to stop Denard and only him on *every play* and they still had their hands full trying to actually do it. The fact that Michigan could never position itself for him to win the Heisman trophy will always be one of my sports fan laments. For ever and ever and ever.  He better get a Legends Jersey or I’m qui’in’. I don't care if that’s silly. You’re silly. Where’s my bourbon?

Blending It All Together

RBRatCoef Passer Rating was developed such that an average QB would end up with a rating of 100 according to the data set that was used to develop it, which was gathered two maybe three football eras ago when linemen couldn’t really block and scholarship limits weren’t so much. I’m not sure how they went about the process of pinning the rating to average==100 and I don’t have the data to try an replicate the results…so, I kinda, sorta, you know, pulled something outta my [hat]. That is to say: I did what I think is correct or at least valid. I normalized each parameter by it’s par value, summed them together, then forced resulting rating to equal 100. Ultimately the 100 thing is completely arbitrary, but negative numbers are weird, I guess. All said, a rating of 100 means the player was a solid runner but not special, below that you wonder if he should be running at all.

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego Mario Mendoza

mendoza Now that we have a calibrated formula its time to get down to business, application. I calibrated the rating so that 100 was a normal guy, but to figuring out what par should be is a little more complicated. I mentioned earlier that if you cant get to a rating of 100 I don't think you should be a primary running option and I also think we should only look at primary running options to establish our benchmark. But being a primary running option means different things depending on where you’re lining up.

When trying to crack a nut like this I often find that the data itself will help you figure out where to chop it. In the chart below I have plotted Average Rating vs. Amount of Carries. Obviously, the better runner you are, the more carries you should see but runners that are REALLY good are few and far between…this chart shows that dichotomy very nicely. I like to look for population gaps and/or inflection points in a performance curve. Those usually a good places to drop an anchor as far as I’m concerned. When they are near each other it’s a dead giveaway. Based on the data itself I’m using 115 for RBs, 70 for QBs, and 120 for WR as performance benchmarks.

RBMendoza

QBMendoza

WRMendoza

Laugh Test

So, this is all well and good but the real test is whether or not things make sense. Here the values for the B1G in 2013:

Team Name Player Name RB Rat Attempt Yds/ATT TD% FMB% Gain% Dillitium%
OSU C. Hyde 188.35 208 7.31 0.072 0.005 0.942 0.135
IND T. Coleman 182.49 131 7.31 0.092 0.015 0.832 0.137
WISC M. Gordon 172.71 206 7.81 0.058 0.015 0.888 0.150
WISC J. White 169.86 221 6.53 0.059 0.000 0.810 0.122
IND S.Houston 157.12 112 6.72 0.045 0.009 0.786 0.152
NW T. Green 146.27 138 5.33 0.058 0.000 0.841 0.087
ILL J.Ferguson 141.77 141 5.52 0.050 0.007 0.816 0.113
MSU J. Langford 129.16 292 4.87 0.062 0.007 0.849 0.065
NEB A. Abdullah 116.18 281 6.01 0.032 0.018 0.875 0.100
MICH F. Toussaint 114.60 185 3.50 0.070 0.011 0.676 0.070
MINN D. Cobb 112.55 237 5.07 0.030 0.008 0.827 0.084
PSU Z. Zwinak 109.68 210 4.71 0.057 0.014 0.867 0.052
IOWA M. Weisman 106.12 226 4.31 0.035 0.004 0.832 0.058
PSU B. Belton 99.05 157 5.11 0.032 0.019 0.854 0.083

This generally looks pretty reasonable to me in terms of an overall ranking as well as a relative ranking. The players/team you’d expect to be at the top and bottom of the list are where they are supposed to be. If anything I’d criticize the Mendoza line at 115 given how we all feel about Michigan’s running game last year. Maybe 115 is just the threshold of suicide and 130 or better is what we fans really want from our teams. But, even this jibes with what I think.

As with passer rating, this rating depends on player skill, surrounding support, and offensive scheme. Toussaint’s YPC and Gain%—components heavily influenced by surrounding support (i.e. the O-Line)—are way under par. So is his Dilitium % which is a skill/talent/speed thing but the dude had a bum knee and he’s not that far off of par there. Makes sense. So, he hit the Mendoza line even though he had bad support in front of him, sorta like Gardner. These numbers make sense to me.

Re: Smith Vs. Green

I mentioned in my last diary that it was interesting to hear grumblings about De'Veon Smith being ahead/competitive with Derrick Green because I think the numbers bear this out. Check this out:

Player Name Att TD Fum Gain % Yds/ATT TD% Fum% DIL% RB Rat
F. Toussaint 185 13 2 0.676 3.50 0.070 0.011 0.070 114.60
D. Green 83 2 0 0.723 3.25 0.025 0.004 0.048 83.42
D. Smith 26 0 0 0.769 4.50 0.015 0.023 0.077 73.05

These guys played with the same support and in the same system so the differentiators on display here are essentially Skill and Opportunity. Neither Green nor Smith actually registered a fumble but the Ghost Protocol affect Smith’s rating more because he has far fewer carries. Indeed, Smith’s rating is also bolstered by a phantom touchdown, but this effect dissipates faster because TDs occur more frequently. So the math is screwing Smith over here a bit. Meanwhile, Smith’s Gain % and YPC (hitting the right hole at the right time) and DIL% (juking, speed, whatever) were the highest on the team last season. Yep, Small samples yadda yadda. Just sayin’.

Anyway, that's a lot of words and I hope this was worth the read. Of course, I will be referring to this information in future diaries. Thanks for reading and let please provide and criticisms or comments you might have in, uh, the comments section.

11 Days.

Denard Ranked as the #3 Heisman Contender

Denard Ranked as the #3 Heisman Contender

Submitted by hart20 on June 9th, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Mike Huguenin of Yahoo! Sports put together a top 10 of this season's Heisman contenders and our Denard Robinson checks in at #3.

Here's what he had to say about Denard:

 

3. QB Denard Robinson, Michigan 
Buzz: This will be the final go-round for one of the most exciting players to ever wear the maize-and-blue. Robinson has 8,160 yards of total offense and has been responsible for 75 TDs in his career. At times last season, he didn't look entirely comfortable in coordinator Al Borges' offense, yet he still was responsible for 36 touchdowns. "Shoelace" is at his best as an improviser, which means he is going to have perhaps the best highlight package of any player in the nation this season.

 

I'd argue against his characterization as an improviser. Denard has a tendency to force throws when he should take off instead,  leading to a lot of picks. While he may have improved as the season went on, forcing throws isn't exactly a characteristic of improvisation in a QB who has Denard's ability to run. Anyways, if Denard is going to win the Heisman, the key is obviously going to be improving his passing. Hopefully a 2nd year in Borges' offense and no staph infection in his arm will help with that.

 

The top 10 Heisman contenders:

10. LB Larvis Jones, Georgia

9. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

8. WR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

7. QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma

6. QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

5. RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

4. QB Geno Smith, West Virgnia

3. QB Denard Robinson, Michigan

2. RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

1. QB Matt Barkley, USC

 

Bonus!:

 

Davey O'Brien (top quarterback)
1. Matt Barkley, USC 
2. Denard Robinson, Michigan 
3. Geno Smith, West Virginia

 

Link:http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf--it-s-never-too-early-to-talk-top-heisman-contenders.html;_ylt=AsTmrJmuoYSUZbJSz_cyG.0cvrYF

Watching The Game again on BTN open thread

Watching The Game again on BTN open thread

Submitted by Chunks the Hobo on November 27th, 2011 at 9:31 PM

This is probably a lame excuse to start a thread (OK, "definitely" not "probably"), but I'm still having that postgame warm and fuzzy feeling and hoping to keep it going by re-watching The Game on BTN right now, preferably virtually with other MGoBlog brethren with the same warm fuzzies.

Who's with me?!?!

EDIT: Is the guide lying again? Unfortunately I'm getting Mike Hall talking about basketball instead. Sigh BTN. Neg away, errbody.

EDIT2: As noted, it's on now, at least in Ann Arbor.

Another Northwestern Wallpaper

Another Northwestern Wallpaper

Submitted by cjm on October 3rd, 2011 at 5:39 PM

I was pretty certain Blue Indy would, once again, have his act together before me.  He has his weekly wallpaper up for the Northwestern game and you can see it just a couple diaries below (or click here.)  I was thinking he would do something cool with a cat-like theme and I was leaning towards a different direction so it should provide some good variety.

Northwestern is the only private institution in the B1G and well known as a top level research university. Their many areas of research include Astrophysics, Solar Energy, Nanotechnology, and they have done a lot of work with epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

What many do not know is that there is a secret laboratory on campus that is solely designed to study the element known as, Dilithium.  They desire to harness this element in hopes to use it in making their football program better.  The process is inspired by the poster hanging on the wall and gives them hope that this can be accomplished.

I created two different looks because I just was not sure if I wanted a darker or lighter pallete.

The darker one first:

Widescreen here

4:3 here

iPad here

 

And now the lighter version which I think I like best:

Widescreen here

4:3 here

iPad here

ONE MORE WEEK till monuMental shows his greatness in a rivalry wallpaper vs MSU.

Second Half: Please Pass Persistently

Second Half: Please Pass Persistently

Submitted by 1464 on September 24th, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Anybody else feel that Al should have Denard throw the ball a lot in the second half?  Three touchdown lead.  Get him more looks in the passing game.  Take the lumps if they come, but I would love to see him get comfortable enough to fall back into the rhythm he had last year.  I haven't checked, but I'd assume he has 100-150 more rushing yards than passing yards at this point of the season...

The Offense: Fandom, Confirmation Bias, And Why It's Probably Better Than You Or Brian Think

The Offense: Fandom, Confirmation Bias, And Why It's Probably Better Than You Or Brian Think

Submitted by mejunglechop on September 13th, 2011 at 7:44 AM

As anyone who has ever moderated a liveblog can tell you, the psychology of fans is a curious thing. Here are some submissions that seemed sane enough to publish in the first quarter (no usernames, that would be cruel):

  • So what if we get pounded, we're still 2-0 against them the past 2 years
  • our offense has been downgraded from AAA to "Greece".
  • If Denard don't get his shit together next series, I would entertain the thought of putting Gardner in.
  • How come ND bounced back from a couple sucky seasons so much faster than us?
  • I would suggest Michigan drop ND from the schedule until the team gets better
  • Good thing we didn't pay $300 a ticket for this, eh?
  • Enough is enough. Denard needs to consider calling his own plays in open rebellion if that's what it takes to win.
  • now we have a bad defense AND a bad offense
  • ...we are completely overmatched. No getting around that.

Small samples. We jump in it. The feelings fans get in their guts is so strong they can’t help but make bold public proclamations after less than a quarter when they know it’s dangerous to read too much into the result of an entire game. Sometimes USC loses as a 41 point favorite and goes on to win everything else. Sometimes James Madison beats that season’s ACC champ. Sometimes The Horror, then Tebow Smash. Everyone knows this. It’s at least partially why Brian felt compelled to protest the strictures and conventions of sportswriting when making his prediction Friday.

As you might be able to tell from the title, this diary is a reaction to Denard After Dentist. The title choice is apt, at least in some ways. My buzz didn’t wear off until Sunday evening. Brian’s as big a Michigan fan as there is, and between the muppets and the “that happened” post, I’m sure he got a great glow himself. But Denard After Dentist came from a guy whose trip took him some places he’d rather not go. Don’t take my word for it:

But I hope I'm not the only one who felt a sense of foreboding in the midst of the joy and relief. We've seen this script the last two years, and never has it been as rickety.

Rodriguez was hired on the promise of bringing our offense into the space age. Zone left, run, run, pass on third and long: gone. Dreadlocks, speed, Barwisbeasts, fuse blowing scoreboards, modernity: in. That’s what we were promised. One of Bo’s players came back to lead the program and pretty soon Rodriguez was gone. Dan Mullen was quickly ruled out, and when Hoke was introduced at that press conference he conflated Michigan football primarily with toughness and that seemed like the day Dilithium died. 

Perhaps the most surprising element of Denard After Dentist wasn’t anything Brian wrote, but that no one in the comments challenged the central premise: that Dilithium is dying. Certainly, it feels that way, it has since January. But that’s not enough. Not on MGoBlog. This is a data driven place. Where’s the evidence? WHERE ARE THE CHARTS?

 

Michigan 2010

Michigan 2011

total drives

16

14

avg. starting field position

MICH 31.6

MICH 22.5

total plays

83

50

points

28

35

yards

532

452

yards per drive

33.25

32.28

yards per play

6.41

9.04

points per drive

1.75

2.5

points per play

0.337

0.7

punts

10

5

giveaways

0

3

3rd down efficiency

3 of 16

3 of 9

net penalties (on offense)*

-54

11

**

Again, this is silly. Drawing conclusions from one game is a fool’s errand. But last year’s offensive performance against Notre Dame sure doesn’t look as good as you remember it, does it? If Brian wants us to accept that our offense is worse than it was, it’s inconvenient that our offensive performance this year was actually much better. 

This is an aside, but here’s what Brian had to say about last year’s win:

I was going to let my skepticism overwhelm, to wait until it was obvious that 2010 was not going to be 2009, but I lasted two games. I'm in the tank again...

I've got an answer for the Courant now: Michigan is receivers blocking like tiny mountain goats 40 yards downfield because it matters, because if you set Denard free he'll go "AHHHH" at you afterwards. He'll smile and it will seem like the sun is poking through dark clouds, scattering colors in a circle all around you.

It’s a jarring contrast to the quote about the script never having been as rickety. And this:

All the reasons it left you with your finger between your teeth are reasons to wonder about the smoothness of this transition (not very), the repeatability of such miracles (even less).

Another aside: what a strange turn of phrase. Reasons to wonder? If Brian were wondering those parentheticals wouldn’t be there.

The smoothness of the transition is still an open question. As I showed above the statistics of the only real test so far this year don’t indicate anything is amiss. 

Turning to how repeatable our road to victory was***

I think any reasonable observer would answer that we got at least fairly lucky. But I don’t think we were as lucky as Brian seems to think or nearly lucky as last year. We had two big factors going for us last year that were not replicable with any sort of consistency.

First, if your recall, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback was knocked out of most of the first half (his backups and Brian Kelly’s ethics were of such quality that he returned and played for the second half with what was almost certainly a concussion).

Secondly, while this year we were the beneficiaries of two gift fumbles (certainly quite lucky), that’s outweighed by the fact last year we were +3 in turnover margin with a defense that was absolutely abysmal at creating turnovers and an offense and special teams that gave gifts freely.

Possible items that one might argue are not replicable from this year’s game:

  • Denard completed a couple jump balls to Junior Hemingway, who has a knack for catching those sorts of things . I guess that’s kind of lucky, but not particularly when you consider he missed a couple long shots downfield too.
  • Denard also threw a couple jump balls to Gallon. Both got completed in the end zone, but one to the other team. Tell me if I’m being cavalier in counting that as a wash.
  • The Denard fumble recovery score- How lucky is something when it mainly cancels out catastrophic unluckiness? I guess it depends on your perspective, but, of course, it registers.
  • Gallon being invisible isn’t any more lucky than the blown coverage we had that allowed the go-ahead score two plays before. 

Conclusions:

  1. Making bold conclusions from a single quarter or game is silly (remind yourself)

  2. We should be conscious that even minor failures in this year’s offense feed into our confirmation bias that a MANBALL head coach won’t hire someone who can handle Dilithium nearly as well as Rodriguez
  3. Michigan’s offense performed significantly better against Notre Dame statistically than it did last year
  4. (remind yourself of the first thing)
  5. We were at least fairly lucky to win this year
  6. We were luckier last year
  7. BONUS: The luck we had last year didn’t suppress our optimism. Maybe it should have a little, but the idea that there’s a script and if we let optimism creep in we’re doomed to follow it is silly.

Footnotes

*It should be noted that the yardage numbers don’t include the net yardage changes incurred by penalties for/against the offense. Last year’s game featured a lot of drive killing penalties and Notre Dame’s defense incurred none. Whereas last year our offense had a net of 54 yards of penalties against it, this year the offense gained a net of 11 yards from penalties. Again these aren’t reflected in any other yardage numbers.

**Caveats: ND has 8 defensive starters back, it’s fair to assume they’re better defensively this year… Last year’s game featured two missed Brendan Gibbons field goals from 39 and 40 yards, take your wild guess as to what the chances are of either going in this year and adjust your assessment of the offense’s performance accordingly.

***Given that Brian’s preceding sentences gave examples from both sides of the ball, I’m fairly certain I’m on safe ground including defensive play in my response.

POSITIVE Quick Hits - Wiscy

POSITIVE Quick Hits - Wiscy

Submitted by ATLWolverine on November 20th, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Well, we just lost convincingly to the best team in the Big Ten. That being said, I noticed a lot of positive/neutral things in this game and I'd be curious to know what you all think as well. Please save bitching, sarcasm and FIRE RROD for other threads. This thread is meant to be a change of pace from the tsunami of negativity otherwise on the board.

 

That being said:

 

- Denard broke 2 NCAA records today: He is the first 1500/1500 NCAA QB in history, and now holds the NCAA major college single-season rushing record for a QB

 

- Michigan scored 28 pts in a half against Wisconsin-- perhaps we were more warmed up by then, or Denard's deep ball was finally falling? Either way, hopefully we can carry some momentum forward to next week

 

- The defense forced 2 turnovers against a team with 7 on the season (!)

 

- Drew Dileo and Darryl Stonum were returning kickoffs more so than Gallon. Following the injury to Stonum I think we see why he doesn't regularly return them, but after seeing Gallon's fumble, I think we might be seeing a turn towards the safer and more reliable Dileo.

 

- No disastrous picks from Denard in this game; his balls batted by Watt were unfortunate, but not dangerously thrown. The facepalm underthrown balls of the past few weeks were greatly cut down this week.

 

- Denard did a better job with QB draws and otherwise attempting to run when everyone was covered this week. It was a refreshing positive to see the coaching staff notice and presumably address his poor (non) running habits during designed pass plays this week.

 

- We were in a horrifying position at the end of the first half following Gallon's fumble inside our 30, but James Rogers baited Tolzien to throw and then picked off the pass, preventing a sure TD. Nice to see some mindgames being played by our secondary for a change; bodes well for the development. Also, way to respond! Our defense has heart/swagger this year even when things are going badly.

 

What else did y'all notice about the game in the positive/neutral category?

DRob wins Capital One Performance of the week; Herbstreit: Top performer of CFB so far

DRob wins Capital One Performance of the week; Herbstreit: Top performer of CFB so far

Submitted by dr eng1ish on September 15th, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Edited:

Just now on Sportscenter, Kirk Herbstreit shared a few thoughts on our QB.

Kirk:  In terms of actual performance against quality opponents, he is on top.  Most impressive over 2 weeks, long way to go though.  

Denard also won the Capital One Cup Performance of the Week with 65% of the vote, Landry Jones of Oklahoma was second with 15%.

 

When I made this topic, I was hoping for something more interesting, but there it is.  I guess that's why you wait til after these segments to make it =p

Question about how far past the line of scrimmage linemen can be on pass plays

Question about how far past the line of scrimmage linemen can be on pass plays

Submitted by Phoenix on September 14th, 2010 at 5:48 PM

I love the play Michigan is running where Denard fakes a run to the left, which draws in the DBs, and instead throws the ball downfield while still on the run. Roundtree scored on this vs. Notre Dame - it keeps the defense guessing even more.

Question to the more informed: how far can offensive lineman advance past the line of scrimmage during pass plays? I thought they weren't allowed to at all; am I way off? Because on these plays where Denard fakes the sweep, the linemen have been advancing at least a couple of yards downfield. How far can they go downfield and block before the ball is thrown?

Thanks in advance guys.