Submitted by Brian on August 5th, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Hi Brian,

I am in the process of analyzing our numbers for 2009 and 2010 for a diary post, and I was wondering what you think the preferred number of scholarships should be by position.  Going through the allotment of 85 scholarships, I was actually surprised as to how many I had left over.  I felt that all positions had adequate depth, and still had about 10 left over.  In my opinion, I don't believe we need 5 quarterbacks, or 7 wide receivers and 4 slots, but the other positions seemed adequate, and it made more sense to me to give an extra scholarship to these positions than others.

My rough estimate is:

QB 5  
RB 7  
FB 1  
WR 7  
SWR 4  
TE 3  
OL 15 42
DE 7  
DT 7  
LB 12  
CB 7  
S 8 41
Special Teams    
K 1  
P 1 2
Total   85

What do you think?

Thanks for your help,


That appears to be an ideal scholarship breakdown; if so it seems heavy on the linebackers and light on DL and CB.

If you hold a couple scholarships apart for kickers you have 83 spots for 22 starting slots, or about 3.75 scholarship per starter. A breakdown based solely on that metric, with the numbers rounded to the nearest whole- or half-number that makes sense, gives you the following (chart?) chart*:

Offense Defense
Pos Slots Ideal 2009 2010 (Est) Pos Slots Ideal 2009 2010 (Est)
QB 1 4.0 4 4 DE 2 7.5 9 10
RB 1.5 5.5 8 8 or 9 DT 2 7.5 5 6 or 7
WR 2 7.5 8 10 MLB 1 3 2 3
Slot 1 4.0 4 5 OLB 1.5 5.5 7 8
TE 0.5 2.0 3 3 CB 2.5 9 5 8
OL 5 19.0 15 14 or 15 S 2 7 4 6
Totals 11 42 42 44 to 46 Totals 11 39.5 32 41

Impressions from the chart:

The offense isn't too far off ideal numbers now and won't push far above them next year. The biggest discrepancy between the "ideal" offense numbers and the existing team is about four offensive linemen who happen to be tailbacks. I don't think that's out of whack. Michigan's always carried six to eight running backs. They get injured lots. They get tired and platoon. They don't redshirt much. Meanwhile, with linemen their sheer number gives you more leeway. The proportions and numbers on Michigan's offense this year look about right to me.

You know, except for the fact that two of the quarterbacks are the Coner and Sheridan.

Next year Michigan will add three scholarships to the receiving corps at the expense of an offensive lineman (maybe) and/or a few defenders, but Jerald Robinson or Cameron Gordon or someone else could send up on the other side of the ball, which would bring the numbers in line with a reasonable distribution.

The defense, especially the secondary, is creepin' me out, man. I slanted the numbers a bit towards the offense and the current team still comes up about eight guys short, with the secondary alone accounting for seven of those folk. Great googly-moogly. If Justin Turner hadn't qualified I'd be freakin' out, man.

I'm not too worried about the low numbers at middle linebacker given the way college football is moving; you can see the disproportionate number of tweener guys in the OLB/DE numbers.

Next year the scary numbers should come up. I assume Michigan will take two more corners and at least one more safety; they graduate no one.

Michigan's operating at something like ten scholarships under the limit this year, and the defense has taken the entire hit. But said unit also graduates exactly two players, so even if this defensive class is only ten—less than half a class that will probably hit 22 or 23—the numbers should be a lot closer to even next year. And that's without taking possible position switches, all of which are likely to go from offense to defense, into account.

The upshot: yes, this class is a tad heavy on receivers—shock—but not to the point that it will be a major drag on available defenders going forward. This year's secondary, however, is last year's offensive line in terms of depth and huge scary dropoffs past the starters.

*(Notes on the numbers: in certain spots I moved players to positions other than the ones they occupy on the Depth Chart By Class. This mostly took OLBs to deathbacker, which for purposes of this chart I'm considering a DE. Herron and Evans were filed as DEs; Ryan Van Bergen was filed as a DT. You could probably move Banks or Patterson to DT, too. Also: Nick Sheridan was included in 2009 but not 2010; fullbacks are assumed to be walk-ons with one getting a slot at any one time.)

You can see in the pictures of the construction that the glass and brick structures that will be the club seats and suites in 2010 are almost complete (at least the exteriors). Do we think we'll see a huge change in noise level from this season to last?

Thanks, and Go Blue
Jordan, '06

This is a topic that comes up all the time and to which I can only say "I don't really know." Back in '07 some Russian guys ran out an oversized metallic dandelion-looking device at halftime of the Minnesota game and exhorted the stadium to cheer. "Taking measurements," they claimed. Either that's an elaborate coverup of a Russkie plot or it's true.

A few days later the Daily made this remarkable assertion:

When Navvab and his team took measurements during Saturday's halftime, they found that the sound - almost exclusively from the student section - was 100 decibels, or the equivalent of a chainsaw.

With the skyboxes, which will stand about 10 feet higher than the scoreboards and further enclose the stadium, the sound level of the stadium would reach 110 or 111 decibels, about the noise level of a loud rock concert, Navvab said.

Decibels are a logarithmic scale; moving ten decibels up is equivalent to doubling the perceived loudness, a jump too preposterous to believe. On the other hand, I've been high up in upper decks—it's like being in another world; all the noise just goes straight up—and I've long thought Ohio Stadium's relatively vertical construction helped them hold in sound. And Michigan's boxes are both very tall and angled in towards the field.

It'll definitely get better. How much only the Russians can tell you, and we evidently don't believe them anyway. One thing it's not going to do is replace a bunch of crabby down-in-fronters with drunk Cajuns. Michigan fans will remain Michigan fans, and with that comes a certain level of posh. Michigan Stadium doesn't get fired up much. When it does, though, it does a credible job.

The proof will be at next year's Big Ten Media Days; MGoBlog will seek out visitors from any and all close home games and ask if they thought the stadium had gotten noticeably louder.



August 5th, 2009 at 12:57 PM ^

I'm encouraged about the glass covering the new suites and think its effect will be noticeable. Even last year, I could already hear Carl's voice echoing off them across the stadium.


August 5th, 2009 at 1:21 PM ^

will always be imbalanced, even moreso than 42 Offense:39 Defense. Considering the hybrid defenders and the number of offensive sets requiring different positions on the field at different times, this ratio under RR will be more like 45:36, with four slots for special teams or positionless athletes.

Either way, the numbers in the defensive backfield are clearly too low, but I would argue by only three or four because that is not counting the Steve Brown position.


August 5th, 2009 at 4:22 PM ^

is so the defense will have 11 distinct positions, and they will of course each be on the field at the same time. If a 5th db is needed sometime, Stevie Brown is it. If they need more or fewer linebackers or DE-types, the hybrids stay on the field but play a slightly different position.

The offense has more like 14 distinct positions: QB, 5 OL, 2 WR, 2 Slot, 2 RB, 1 TE and sometimes a fullback. Even though they cant all take the field simultaneously, the offense is designed to use them all extensively.

So, to get a three-deep at each position, you end up with just 33 defenders because of the hybrids and 42 on offense. Another three on each side takes care of injury-prone or highly important positions, such as QB, RB and CB, where you may want more than a three deep.

So, that's how I get to 45:36. The current roster more or less reflects that, except for a deficiency of a few DB's.


August 5th, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

I think the offense will always have more than the defense under RichRod because of all the running backs and wide recievers we have to have. I am concerned about defensive back this year though. At corner we will have Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko with J.T. Floyd probally being the third corner. After those three though it looks dicey. At safety I couldn't even tell you who is going to start. We could either have Brandon Smith, Mike Williams, Troy Woolfolk, or Vladimir Emilien start there. That's not taking into account Justin Turner who I think will probaly end up at corner in my opinion.


August 5th, 2009 at 6:51 PM ^

Couple things. First, I doubt Brandon Smith will start at safety since he's now a linebacker. Second, Turner will probably be our third corner, and I think Witty will challenge Floyd for the 4th corner spot. I've heard good things about this Witty fellow (Magnus disagrees with me, though. But what does he know).


August 5th, 2009 at 3:01 PM ^

I was thinking about this the other day but it seems we are overlooking another advantage of the skyboxes. Stereotypically, wealthy fans don't get very loud. I have no proof of this but I've noticed they tend to come to the games for the networking and stature of it, not the actual game. The skyboxes will hold somewhere around 5,000 fans (right?) and I assume they will all be pretty wealthy and therefore quiet. Putting quiet fans behind glass and selling the outside seats to other fans can only help the cause. I just hope the "replacements" will be louder...


August 5th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

Stephan Y: Since Brian "stole your thunder", perhaps you can compare/contrast RR's numbers while @ WVU. That we can see if the # of scholies has been slanted towards the O.


August 6th, 2009 at 8:21 AM ^

I think I am channeling my inner nerd here but if I remember correctly the 10 dB increase in sound will be percieved to be roughly twice as loud (as you stated) but I think that the "power" required to reach that level is more than 8 times as great. 3dB is where the double of the power occurs. Just something I think I remember but I could be wrong it is early today. Anyway that is a significant gain in power of the sound from the added structure, could be very cool.