Mailbag!

Submitted by Brian on October 2nd, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Brian, it is very frustrating that here we are 3 games into the 2008 season and we have no idea what our future non-conference schedules look like.  Do you have sources that will give you and indication what they are thinking, at least for next season.  It frustrates me to no end that we signed to play ND for another 20 plus years when teams like OSU and Georgia are playing great intersectional matchups.

No, I don't have any sources, but that article that indicated Michigan was reaching out to bizarro Michigan—AKA Delaware—for a game should give you an indication of their overall thrust. It seems that whenever a blog fan talks to Bill Martin they bring up the lame-o scheduling and Martin tells them to expect the status quo: Notre Dame and the three guarantees.

You don't have to tell me: lame.

FWIW, National Champs.net fills in a few blanks, showing Michigan against Western in 2009 and 2011 and Eastern in 2010.

Why was Marcus Witherspoon cleared by the NCAA to play at Rutgers but not at UM?

There's some question as to whether or not he actually qualified. Multiple articles have indicated he's not eligible to play—not that he'd be playing much anyway as a guy who showed up on campus midway through the season—and I'm not sure if practicing is an option.

The easiest thing to believe is that Witherspoon didn't qualify and Rutgers just got him on campus to lock him in as a Scarlet Knight, which is a reasonable thing to do since the guy was apparently one class away. The proprietor of Bleed Scarlet posts in the comments from time to time, maybe he'll know more.

Hi Brain, [lulz –ed]

I've always known that recruiting exists, but until very recently didn't pay too much attention to it.  I just kind of assumed that top-tier schools got pretty much whoever they wanted within reason, and we moved on.  To a certain extent, I still believe that to be true, but it's clear that there is a whole other side of things that is quite simply lost on me.  I've been reading recently about some "class of 2010" recruits that Michigan has "gotten."

How much stock to you put in a kid who is making some sort of commitment this far in advance?  How often do these uber-early commits actually end up coming to their institution of early choice?

I'm reading all over the place about how Rich has gotten commits from the best WR and S from Florida in the 2010 class, and I'm not sure how much I buy it.  Also - where does the buck stop?  Are we looking at 2011 now as well?

My nephew (LB, IN - Carmel) looks really instinctual out there in pee-wee, swarming to the ball. 

Thanks for any insight.
B2

I put about as much stock into early commitments as I do any other commitment, which is a considerable amount until given reason to think otherwise. I actually think they're stronger than some others. The only reason you commit to a school that early is because you really want to go there, not to reserve a spot for yourself or because you were pressured or whatever.

In these particular cases, I can provide a 99% guarantee Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson, and Marvin Robinson end up at Michigan based on their personal stories and various quotes they've given, like "if I don't go to Michigan Fred Jackson will stop giving me the antidote to the two-part poison they slipped in my food at camp."

As far as how good they are and how reliable recruiting evaluations can be of these guys, keep in mind that all three of these kids have attended Michigan's camp at some point, providing the staff an extended look at their capabilities. They've also collected offers from a who's who of college football programs—Texas, Florida, Ohio State, USC—at this early juncture. And some kids you just know about early. I mean, the first time you saw Darren McFadden or Adrian Peterson you just knew they were top five NFL draft picks, right? There are certain kids in high school like that.

And, yes, Michigan is looking at 2011 kids at camp and in film and etc etc. I suggest getting someone in the athletic department your nephew's film.

Oh, and if you think 2010 commits are weird you should try following hockey recruiting. Jack Johnson committed when he was 14.

!!!

Brian,

I've heard talk of a new 'Big M' statue/object/giant letter on campus?  Does anyone have a picture of it for those of us unable to drop by and check it out?

Um… does anyone know what this guy is talking about? I don't.

Brian,

"The offense has to stay on the field to give the defense a rest".

I have heard this a lot in our games this year and also a LOT in NFL games. In my opinion this is a retarded statement. The defense is not out on the field by itself, the opposing offense is there too. Unless there is some weird reason playing defense is harder than offense, I call BS on this. Eventually the opposing offense is going to get tired too and things will even out in terms of TOP.

I am asking this question now because a lot of people seem to be giving undue credit to the conditioning aspect for our victory. I agree in principle that eeeee barwis! helped, but it does NOT apply only to the defense in my opinion.I think wiscy playing lloyd ball had more to do with our comeback.

Vijay [Not the one of IBFC –ed]

I do think there's something to the idea that a defense can get worn out faster than an offense. You can see it in the defensive line rotation virtually all teams now employ. They're trying to keep guys fresh. Offensive linemen, on the other hand, never rotate.

As to why this might be: the offense knows what it's going to do and the various members of that offense can dose their effort accordingly. Take a screen pass for example. Usually you'll get a couple offensive linemen sent out to block for it; The other guys let their guys through and maybe cut them and then they're done.

Defenders have to swarm to the ball. On that screen pass every defensive linemen runs upfield at the quarterback, then turns back downfield and runs full-bore at the guy with the ball. At some point on every running play the entire defense is running at the guy with the ball, and on passing plays the offensive linemen are basically taking a few steps while the defensive linemen are stunting and running around the corner and doing all sorts of high-intensity activities.

So, yeah, it was impressive that the defense managed to hold it together through the disastrous first 40 minutes of the game, and they did it with limited rotation. Only 15 players saw the field. I think there's some justified eeee-ing going on in the aftermath.

Comments

WolvinLA

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:18 PM ^

I think the non-conference scheduling complaints are a little unwarranted.  Most good teams use the same formula with their OOC games - one big game against a quality opponent, and three easy games against teams certainly outside the top 25, usually outside of the BCS conferences, sometimes outside of the FBS.  Although ND has had down years recently, they are our good team.  Look at the other big ten teams, OSU played USC and a bunch of nobodies, Penn State played Oregon State and bunch of nobodies, Illinois and Wisco were the same.  Michigan actually scheduled 2 hard teams in  Utah and ND this year, which can't be said for any other Big Ten team.  Last year we had Oregon and ND (we couldn't have known that it was going to be 3-8 ND).  I'd say we do as good a job as any major football program.  Take a look at who teams like Texas, Oklahoma, any of the Florida teams, or any of the SEC teams play and tell me if they had more than one challenging OOC game.

medals

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:41 PM ^

Wisconsin didn't schedule a a non-conference BCS team this year.  I may give them a slight pass on Fresno State (an away game at that), but if you want to be considered a legit team in the BigTen, you need to step it up a bit and schedule at least one game against what should be a legit non-conference foe. 

Wisconsin's ooc resume against BCS conference teams:

2004:  Arizona

2005: Temple (!)  & UNC

2006: none

2007:  Washington State (who hasn't been to a bowl game since 2003)

2008: none

Pathetic.  I give my Wisconsin buddies crap about this all of the time. 

baleedat

October 2nd, 2008 at 1:35 PM ^

I still wish we would have stayed with the 2 on 2 off deal with ND.  Then we could have scheduled a home and home with another big-time program on the "off" years, and mixed it up a little.  And the only problem with scheduling a team like Utah is that everyone expects UM to beat a team of their caliber.  That is, if we do beat them it's just UM beating up on another out-matched opponent. And if we lose...well, we lose.

Enjoy Life

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:26 PM ^

As long as the MNC is based on overall records (and even if a playoff system uses overall records as the basis), expect all non-conference games to be LAME!

If you want M to win a MNC you should be opposed to us even playing nd.

I agree with Brian, it stinks.

The only solution is a playoff system that is primarily based on conference records.

BarwisMMA4Life

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:31 PM ^

Pursuit to the ball requires significantly more effort than blocking until the ball carrier gets beyond me.  Also, the physiology/biomechanics advantage is in the offense's favor.  Resisting a force is more difficult for humans than exerting one.  For example, chart an offenses ypp in the 1st to the 2nd quarter and the 3rd to the 4th.  The Barwis effect is real and measurable.  Michigan improved ypp on offense through the game (for reasons beyond conditioning, but Koger's, Minor's, and Threet's big plays are not quite as effective/don't happen).  Wisconsin's ypp in the game remained more or less constant (no trend beyond the equilibrium).   

jamiemac

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:33 PM ^

Conventional wisdom has always been thats its harder physically to play D. Good offenses wear defenses out, they dont tire themselves out. I'd like to hear Gsimms weigh in on this.

Why do people contnue to denigrate our win by saying Wisco played Lloyd Ball. What did they do in the second half that was not part of their regular gameplan? I call BS on that.....our D created stops, its not because Wisco turtled and played whatever it is this mythical Lloyd Ball allegedly entails.

Besides, Lloyd Ball sure did win us a helluva lot of games. Hate that term.

ThWard

October 2nd, 2008 at 12:50 PM ^

Great explanation.

Both knowing where the ball is going pre-snap (and understanding your role, and how you have to use your energy, as opposed to defenders, who have an almost constant goal of "instant and constant pursuit to the ball") and the resistance/exertion point are dead on.

 

Particularly in pass blocking.  On pass plays, focus on the LT and RT, and the way they play the ends.  Actually, it's almost easier to watch the one-on-one drills you'll sometimes see linemen do on Rivals video.  The Dlinemen tries to either bull past, or run past the OL and get to the "QB", whereas the OL is merely trying to keep his arms extended, backpedal, and push the DE off the course. 

ShockFX

October 2nd, 2008 at 3:17 PM ^

I do hate EA, but I was kidding about the fatigue.  I still play 2004 since I like the Gamecube controller and 2004 was pretty solid.  I'm also assuming most people here play with fatigue off.  However, if you leave it on, the defense does tire faster than the offense, with the exception of a RB or WR you make a long catch/run with.  I think fatigue is one of the few things EA gets right (at least it was accurate in 2004).

littlebrownjug

October 2nd, 2008 at 1:14 PM ^

The M that I think of (the one which is sacred) is right outside the Grad School library, and I remember being told that I was not supposed to walk on it.

As far as scheduling in the future goes, I think that we ought to do a home and home with Tennessee right now, since they are so bad. The attendance figures would be great, and we could beat up on the SEC in the preseason.

Beauford Bixel

October 2nd, 2008 at 1:16 PM ^

as soon as I hit "send" I knew that I had typed "Brian" in too quickly, and called him brain. 

And now I've got "pinky and the brain" stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

 

Lulz indeed.

Enjoy Life

October 2nd, 2008 at 1:22 PM ^

Only thing to add is that we should be talking Number of Plays (NOP) NOT TOP.

Does anyone know why TOP is used?

It is actually easier to count NOP. And, players get tired during the play, not standing around in between plays.

A team that passes more will usually have a lower TOP due to incomplete passes.

For example, in the Wisky game TOP = 1.5 in favor of W, but NOP = 1.25 in favor of W.

J. Lichty

October 2nd, 2008 at 1:51 PM ^

The other issue with the non-conference cupcakes is $.  So long as M makes more money from playing against EMU that it does from having to do a home and home with a major school, there is little incentive to do so.  How much did Wisconsin lose by going to play at Fresno?

I read an article that the Sun Belt (home of non-con sacrificial lambs) is urging their schools to up the ransom to be the Washington Generals of the early college football season.  Until the price for Florida Atlantic becomes too high however, expect to see more of it.

UM has actually done a better job than most, and our non ND non-con games are often against the MAC, which despite being a non-BCS conference has teams that are often as good or better than half the Big Ten and Big 12.   But until those teams beat us on a semi regular basis or at least as often as we lost to Minnesota or Indiana, I would not expect much deviation from the MAC, ND, MAC, MAC formula.

Enjoy Life

October 2nd, 2008 at 2:04 PM ^

If osu had not played USC and ended up indefeated, the odds are extremely high they would go to the MNC. Now, they are virtually toast (unless everyone else looses 2).

That is also worth more $$$$$$.

The only time an undefeated team is going to be penalized for a weak schedule is if 3 or more teams are undefeated. 

mjv

October 2nd, 2008 at 2:14 PM ^

Enjoy Life -- My guess as to why TOP is used instead of plays is that until maybe 10-15 years ago, everyone ran with the same basic offensive tempo -- huddle, line up, snap with less than 7 seconds on the play clock.  It made TOP a very credible proxy for snaps.  Obviously, incomplete passes make the proxy less accurate, but still decent.

Also, there are a defined 60 minutes in a game, making it easy for the viewer to grasp the ratio of TOP of one team versus another.  With snaps, the total number can very much more widely, making the simple math more challenging to the beer induced couch potato on the other end of the TV.

baorao

October 2nd, 2008 at 3:02 PM ^

which sounds weird considering they beat us. But if ND can somehow win a bowl game at some point in the near future our non-conference schedule will be tougher, even if it lacks the sex appeal that comes with variety.

Michigan Arrogance

October 2nd, 2008 at 4:04 PM ^

I've heard talk of a new 'Big M' statue/object/giant letter on campus? 
Does anyone have a picture of it for those of us unable to drop by and
check it out?

The only new M was the M in the student section.

Enjoy Life

October 2nd, 2008 at 4:00 PM ^

At what point should a team like M (playing up tempo and hiking the ball with 15 seconds on the clock to wear out the defense) start to slow it down and use more clock?

Never?

With a 14 point lead in the 4th?

bleedscarlet

October 2nd, 2008 at 5:35 PM ^

He's not eligible as per NCAA transfer rules. He did finally pass the clearinghouse. His story is that there was a snafu recognizing credits from an online class he took, but it was finally taken care of.

He would not be allowed to enroll without fully qualifying. He's on the roster, so he's qualified.

mjv

October 2nd, 2008 at 5:39 PM ^

Enjoy Life -- The appropriate time to take the foot off of the opponents throat when the clock reads 0:00.  Just ask Spartan Bob.

ish

October 2nd, 2008 at 8:43 PM ^

it does take more energy to play defense.  it is like a game of tag.  it is always harder to chase someone.  there is less effort when you know where you're going.