Dear Diary Avoids Nasty 4th Downses

Submitted by Seth on August 9th, 2013 at 9:43 AM


I meant to have a diary up on this already but SAVE THE DATE: FRIDAY, SEPT 6 at 7:00 P.M. we will be gathering logo2_03with Marlin Jackson and an assortment of his friends at the MGOPATIO across the street from the stadium. Details still being hammered out but it will at the very least include a Q&A session with Brian and Marlin and other luminaries. It'll be free to attend with a suggested donation to Marlin's Fight for Life Foundation, and an optional contribution to the food and beer.

Also reminder to New Yorkers that Brian and TomVH will be visiting you next Thursday, Aug. 15 at Professor Thom's between NYU and Stuyvesant Town.


It’s been a few weeks since I had cause to plop one of these on you; hopefully with the “There Are” posts now into backfield numbers that’ll be changing.

In the quiet time LSAClassof2000 has kept up with his charting, this time getting into 3rd and 4th down conversion success rate. The first look was pretty pedestrian, except when charting he added a percent of plays that were 1st down stat to them. I don’t think I’ve seen that stat used before, but come to think of it that’s a neat way to track offensive success, yes/no? Let’s try that:



Clickit to make it biggit.

My data are a little different than what you can pull from cfbstats or something because I left in things like plays that resulted in defensive pass interference or offsides (offensive penalties that caused a play to be wiped were removed). Anyway Michigan was sneaky good at avoiding 4th downs last year because of the high 3rd down conversion rate. The most efficient offenses in the conference were better at avoiding 3rd downs too; those were also the spread offenses.

LSA also took a second swing at the conversion stats but went the other way, tracking the differential between offensive and defensive 3rd down conversion rates, and how that tracks with win percentage and points per game. The Michigan difference:


Win your 3rd downs, win more games. My suggestion is to track this game-by-game against the opponents' average points for and against—smaller sample sizes but I bet you those swings make a huge difference in performance vs. expectation.

Bronxblue had a long "best and worst" diary to kind of preview this year's storylines. Things we'll be talking about:

  • Football (as opposed to Johnny Manziel)
  • Effect of non-Denardiness on offense
  • Running back stable no longer smurf variants
  • Less spread.
  • Where's the pass rush?
  • % less RichRodiness
  • All those four/five star kids emerging into favorites

Etc. UMass Lowell preview for hoops, will revisit when it's closer. Helpful database of Michigan's assistant coaches. MGoProfiles with gifmaker Purplestuff and ex-mod Profitgoblue.

[Jump: best of the board, moment of zen]

Best of the Board



Raoul is keeping us apprised of M's women's basketball team, with a roster overview plus commits and targets. It's really a diary but he asked for it to remain in the board for updating purposes. 


Penn State S&C coach Craig Fitzgerald gave his players "Burn the Ships" t-shirts and called it "Something from my bag of tricks." If it wasn't these:


Then Craig Fitzgerald probably likes motivational posters. Originality points equal whatever you get for everyone wearing white to the game after the Winnepeg Jets did it, except there are more people who read MGoBlog than who used to go to Jets games.

As a certified internet person known to go by a nickname for pre-Cortezian ship-burning motivator Julian the Apostate (say that 11 times fast), I have little patience for people who ignore the historicity of the great ship-burning tradition.


Did you know they couldn't even make a preview magazine without a Michigan guy stepping in to do it for them? I keed. They actually made a really great, really HTTV-like e-book. It's $6.50 and has zero DRM so you can grab the PDF and use in any way PDFs are used. Since I'm the publisher of the thing I made my Michigan preview the free preview for now. If you buy it there's another Michigan-centric article in there about PSU's entry into the Big Ten, with photos from Bentley and a great Bo story.

While trying out the system I also put HTTV2012 up for $3.00 if you're feeling nostalgic for last year's book, or you missed it, or you'd just like a digital copy.

Your Moment of Zen:

When trying to get Brian to choose anybody but the incomparable Mike Hart for his Deveon Smith YMRMFSPA, I pulled up a little Ricky Powers. Of course if you keep watching that then this happens:



August 9th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

Anybody who watched the Desmond return live, remember how they felt during that play?

I totally would have been bitching about him fielding a punt inside the 10 yard line, and then I would have been jumping up and down like a girl, claiming I wasn't just ragging on a guy seconds earlier. Did anyone actually have this exact reaction?

New Kid On The Blog

August 9th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

I'm a bit older so I do remember watching Desmond's famous return....sort of. We had gone to Fraser's Pub for eggs and kegs (actually, Bloody Mary's). It was a noon game (like they all used to be) and we started pretty early. It was during commercials so I got up to break the seal and it was going to be a long one. The next thing I know I hear the bar going nuts so I know something big is going on. I zip my fly and get out of there just in time for everyone high-fiving. So, truth be told even though I'm old enough and was watching The Game, I never saw the return live, just in replays like you.





August 9th, 2013 at 1:16 PM ^

After seeing his catch against ND and all of the other highlight plays that season, there was as the other poster said, "no concern". I wanted Desmond to have the ball always and I didn't care where on the field. For my lifetime he was the original electrifier of the stadium. I can remember feeling so much momentum in favor of Michigan that game building from the time they touched the banner. Everything just felt right. Of course I was ten so just being in the stadium was intensely overwhelming.

Six Zero

August 9th, 2013 at 10:05 AM ^

Saw Seth post the barcos art on Twitter last night, and looking at it again here, I must say... not my best work.  I'd take such a different approach if I were to tackle it again now.

I'm a believer of the thought that artists and creatives re-invent themselves about every 7 years... but that was only 4 years ago and doesn't even 'feel' like me.  Straaaaange.

Space Coyote

August 9th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Talking about efficiency of offenses, it would be interesting to see "success rate" (ie, pick up half first down distance on 1st and 2nd down, pick up first down on 3rd and 4th down). Obviously, 3rd down and 4th down could just be grabbed as those numbers are already usually obtained, but the first two aren't and would give a good idea of how teams are performing.

Then you could do various things with it as well, like success rate, but then also mean yards on each down (normalized for distance left to first down maybe?), median yards on each down, and perhaps a range to get an idea if they are hit or miss or something (say a team averages 5 yards on first down, but half the time they are getting 10 and the other half 0, that sort of thing would show efficiency in an interesting way).

Could probably do it with defenses too and it would make a couple interesting diaries/articles.

Ron Utah

August 9th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

Watching some of that glorious '91 video I saw two close comparisons:

  1. Ricky Powers to De'Veon Smith.  As Seth pointed out, that is actually a really good YMRMFSPA.  Powers was a strong back with subtle moves that ran for over 1,300 yards in '91.  The only thing that kept him from doing it again was Tyrone Wheatly running for about 2,500 yards in '92 and '93.
  2. Gary Moeller to Brady Hoke.  I have thought a lot about the coaches that compare most closely to Brady.  I guess I had Lloyd stuck in my head, but Moeller is probably closer.  Coach Moeller was more of a gambler than Lloyd, but had a very similar style strategically.  He also won the B1G three out of five years and was 4-1 in bowl games.


August 9th, 2013 at 12:11 PM ^

Re: Marlin Jackson event at MGOPATIO

Free entry? (donation requested)

Food and beer? (optional contribution)

I expect there will be a pretty large turnout.