Unverified Voracity Bids Crystal Adieu

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2014 at 1:16 PM

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It's over. Hooray?

And lo, it ended. It ended for us before the new year, and now it's all over, all of it: the season, the BCS, the goofy bowl scheduling. Next year, there are three large games on New Year's Eve and three large games on New Year's Day, two of which are national semifinals leading to a final the next week.

The BCS itself was sent off with a grander finale than it deserved, a taut back-and-forth affair between Florida State and pretty-much-arbitrarily-chosen Auburn that worked out, unlike near-arbitrary matchups that ended up in one sided blowouts with another team with a near-identical resume looked on in disgust. With the playoff these outrages have been reduced in intensity and spread over a greater number of teams, which seems like progress.

How long this holds before expansion and realignment kicks in, I don't know. I tend to think we'll end up with an eight-team playoff sooner rather than later, and from there who knows what happens. Someone will say "but we can get more money," probably, and then things spiral on and on.

At the very least, a bunch of bad ideas have ceased to impact college football, like

  1. Coaches voting on teams they haven't seen and have a huge conflict of interest about
  2. Retired coaches voting based on what Oklahoma was like in 1975
  3. Computer polls that can't take margin of victory or anything else into account
  4. Richard Billingsley

Whether the new ideas are better is yet to be seen; they almost can't be worse.

OH GOOD. Penn State may have been an incestuous mockery of an athletic department for years, but by God did they turn that around quickly. Bill O'Brien goes so well that an NFL team scoops him up after two years and their sanction-riddled mess of a program heading for a crater is about hire away

...the guy who turned Vanderbilt from a 2-10 type outfit into a consistent bowl participant and all-around thorn in the side of the SEC. Ace and I are trying to come up with the last Big Ten coach to have 1) a job at the time of his hire and 2) a resume better than Franklin's, and, well…

[12:22 PM] Ace: is it bad that kevin wilson was the first name that came to mind?
[12:22 PM] Brian Cook: #ImitateAdam_Jacobi

…we're having some difficulty. Ace throws out Dantonio, but Dantonio's record in three years at Cincinnati was 18-17. Best we've got is Gary Andersen at Wisconsin, who implemented a hugely impressive build at Utah State. But I dunno man, Vandy is coming off back to back 9-4 years. Vandy. Which is in the SEC.

Not sure how good of a cultural fit the fiery, weird Franklin (remember that thing about how he only hires guys with hot wives?) will be at Penn State, but for a team in their situation to poach the hot up and coming SEC guy is impressive.

Unless this is all agents getting their dude a raise, but there's a lot of smoke here indicating he's the guy. Which will mean Michigan is in a division with Urban, Dantonio, and Franklin. Plus Randy Edsall. It's not all bad, I guess.

That was awesome, do it more. Twitter was agog about the ESPN News section of ESPN's BCS overkill broadcast, as it featured coaches (and Chris Spielman and Matt Millen) with instant off the cuff reactions to what was going on. I was with Twitter. Spielman's fervor for assignments came through clearly as he steamed about Auburn's screen touchdown, and then Kevin Sumlin jumped in to say that is what Auburn does, they put the eye candy in front of you for just those reasons, and everything was just terrific.

A few suggestions:

  1. Everyone do this all the time. Seriously, I would watch Glen Mason in a room just dying in disgust as he tries to watch Michigan run the ball. This may qualify as torture under the Geneva Convention; if it doesn't, do it.
  2. The game is the most important bit, so make it the whole screen, with the coaches popping in with small PIP boxes. The All-22 camera angle combined with the smaller box for the actual game was problematic, and I have a huge TV. Maximize the game size; no need to cut to visuals of Spielman, et al., when I can hear them talking.
  3. Cut two guys. One guy to run things, one D guy, one O guy, and Spielman.
  4. Send small electric shocks to anyone who talks in platitudes, like Paul Chryst did much of the night.

Thumbs up.

What I have been trying to express all year. Smart Football profiles Gus Malzahn for Grantland. This is the core of the offensive philosophy that brought Auburn from 0-8 in the SEC to the precipice of the national title in one year with a converted cornerback at QB:

Malzahn had never been in charge of an offense before. Searching for help, he turned to a book famous in coaching circles, The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football, by Harold "Tubby" Raymond, and followed it "word-for-word."

The genius of Raymond's book is that it's not merely a collection of football plays, though there's still plenty of that. Instead, it's primarily a treatise on how to think about offensive football. "The Wing-T is more than a formation," Raymond wrote. "It is sequence football." The animating idea behind Raymond's "Delaware" wing-T was his belief that the best offenses were built around a tightly wound collection of plays that fit together so that defenses effectively dictated the next play; each time a team tries to stop one thing, it opens itself up to something else. Beginning in the 1950s and lasting into the early 2000s — first as an assistant under wing-T innovator David Nelson, then as head coach from the mid-1960s on — Raymond fielded teams that devastated defenses. If the opposition tried to stop his base plays, Raymond had counters to his counters, counters to his counters to his counters, and so on. He amplified this "sequential" approach by "utilizing the misdirection theme to its fullest." With a dizzying array of motions, backfield actions, and fakes, Raymond correctly determined that defenses wouldn't be able to stop his offense if they couldn't find the ball.

Auburn's offense is a modernized version of that. It's like Fritz Crisler, basically, except not as wacky. Michigan does not have a tightly wound collection of plays, partially because they can't execute basic runs and partially because that's just not how Al Borges rolls. Borges does have sets of plays that are interrelated, but instead of piling wrinkle on wrinkle like Malzahn does—his thing this year was double arc blocks…

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…Borges goes to a different package once his previous stuff has been figured out. And they dispense with the frippery. To me that's a philosophical thing on par with huddling.

How do you run the ball in college football? The top 25 teams in yards per carry this year, with offense type appended (note: distinction between spread to run teams and passing spread teams largely based on how many yards the QB had. Generally spread to run teams had 500+ QB rushing yards, and usually 700+).

RK Name Avg. Offense
1 Ohio State 6.8 Spread to run
2 Wisconsin 6.62 Pro-style
3 Northern Illinois 6.35 Spread to run
4 Auburn 6.3 Spread to run
5 Oregon 6.26 Spread to run
6 New Mexico 6.14 Spread to run
7 Toledo 5.99 Passing spread
8 Alabama 5.8 Pro-style
9 Missouri 5.66 Spread to run
10 Florida State 5.63 Passing spread
11 Navy 5.46 Flexbone
11 Georgia Tech 5.46 Flexbone
13 Baylor 5.37 Passing spread
14 Army 5.36 Flexbone
15 Arizona 5.32 Spread to run
16 Indiana 5.29 Passing spread
17 Boston College 5.28 Pro-style
17 Arkansas 5.28 Pro-style
19 BYU 5.23 Spread to run
20 Oklahoma 5.21 Spread to run
21 Texas A&M 5.17 Spread to run
22 Wyoming 5.1 Spread to run
23 Washington 5.09 Passing spread
24 Marshall 5.05 Passing spread
24 Western Kentucky 5.05 ???

Yeah, it's possible to have a good running game by going under center and grinding it out, but is it likely? Four of the top 25 teams are pro-style outfits, one of which is Alabama and their overwhelming talent. Is Michigan going to be Wisconsin? I hope so, because that's the only way we get on this list.

Dolla dolla bill. We have money. Some of it comes from the only incompetent Germans.

According to a study done by the Portland Business Journal, Michigan's contract with Adidas (which is currently set to expire in 2016) is the most lucrative apparel deal in the country. Yes, more than Oregon's flashy contractual arrangement with Nike.

Per the study, Michigan currently receives a total of $8.2 million annually from Adidas stemming from the contract signed in 2007 between the two parties.

Michigan receives $4.4 million in equipment and apparel, and $3.8 million in cash. That's more than twice as much as the next-highest school in the Big Ten, Nebraska, which makes a total of $4 million from Adidas.

Part of that is the fact that Michigan has so many sports, which drives up the equipment and apparel bit. I wonder what will happen in 2016; that Most Favored Nation status Martin acquired has long driven ND crazy and Michigan's national appeal has… uh… suffered in recent years. The brand, if you will. Maybe we'll run an ad campaign about how we know our football is terrible so we changed our football sauce.

#footballsauce

Etc.: Noah Spence got suspended for… ecstasy? See you at DEMF, bro. Bring your glowsticks. Here are the twitter jokes about this you need to read. Jake Butt makes Leno. Congrats? HAIL SPIELMAN.

Comments

Kermits Blue Key

January 7th, 2014 at 4:35 PM ^

#footballsauce is a great idea for brand development, but I'd also like to see something to show some fan appreciation. Given our recent offensive woes, maybe something along the lines of if the team doesn't deliver a TD in 30 minutes or less, the game is free.

pedro441

January 7th, 2014 at 1:41 PM ^

We don't want to know what fraction of good rushing offences are pro-style. Rather, we want to know what fraction of pro-style offense rush well. It's certainly harder to figure that latter one out, but the first one doesn't tell us much.

El Jeffe

January 7th, 2014 at 2:22 PM ^

Agreed. What I'd like to see is the relative risk (RR) of being a non-pro-style offense in the top-25; that is, relative to a pro-style. That would be

RR = (NPS25 / NPS) / (PS25 / PS)

where

  • NPS25 = Non-pro-style in top 25
  • NPS = All non-pro-style offenses
  • PS25 = Pro-style in top 25
  • PSN = All pro-style offenses

This would tell you how many times greater (or theoretically less) the probability of being in the top 25 for rushing would be for non-pro-style than for pro-style offenses. Now of course, you might not care so much about rushing, because perhaps pro-style offenses are still better for overall offensive efficiency. So you could do the same calculation with offensive FEI or something.

MI Expat NY

January 7th, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

At this point it's getting pretty hard to categorize by pro-style and non-pro-style.  I mean, aren't all passing spread offenses generally pro-style, if we define pro-style as merely being systems used in the NFL?  The NFL has generally done away with the fullback and put lots of pass catchers on the field and let the QB go to work, with lots of no-huddle, up-tempo and plays called at the line.  

If you want to limit pro-style to teams that use lots of under-center or lots of classic FB or two TE sets, you might be able to put together a formula.  Of course this would take a ton of effort and knowledge of each individual team.  I'm also not sure how useful it would be to still follow your formula.  I think there are lots of spread passing teams that aren't your classic pro-style that are not all that interested in running the ball efficiently.  To include them in the comparison would skew things, in my opinion.   

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2014 at 3:09 PM ^

On top of that, you get more and more teams that continue to make their teams more hybrid in nature, and teams are becoming much less distinguishable. For instance, OSU runs a mostly Power O base this year. Auburn runs a ton of 21 and 12 personnel, which isn't exactly spreading the field. Michigan is hardly what I would consider a straight under center team (probably closer to 50-50). Wisconsin is implementing more shotgun in their approach. Etc, etc.

And then, on top of that, you lump every team that runs under center into two groups (pro-style and option) and all teams that run mostly from shotgun into two groups (spread-to-run and spread-to-pass), despite the fact that there are fairly obvious sub-categories and very different styles of play. I would say Iowa is more like PSU than MSU for instance. But Iowa is "pro-style", PSU is spread, and MSU is "pro-style". But MSU utilizes "spread" concepts, as does Iowa. And PSU runs plenty of "pro-style" concepts.

And to add on that, most offenses are really just variants of a different offense. Auburn takes heavily from the Wing T. OSU takes heavily from the single wing (which is the presecessor to the Wing T in many ways). Spread-to-pass takes heavily after air raid, which takes after WCO. WCO takes after old I-form and split back sets. Spread in general takes a lot after split backs. Pistol combines spread and WCO to make it a closer interlocking. So on and so forth.

So is the distinction merely where the QB lines up? Is it the blocking scheme? Is it if the QB is a running threat? Or is it that they actually spread the field more often?

It's obvious that the trend is to the spread, which is fine. I think, in general, even teams that are considered "pro-style" are spreading it out on a more regular basis. But I also think spread teams are constricting the field on a more regular basis these days too, using a lot more TEs and FBs. They are meeting somewhere in the middle, where the new iteration in football will begin, and the constant change will continue.

Erik_in_Dayton

January 7th, 2014 at 3:40 PM ^

Spacing is the defining trait of the spread to me.  And it's hard to imagine that going out of style, just like it never has in basketball.  It seems to me that there will always be teams who say, "Why would we block those guys when we can just move them out of the way?" 

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

With the way that passing is being more emphasized, the rules are changing, the players are getting bigger and stronger, it doesn't make sense to go completely into 22 personnel and let it ride for the most part of the game. And I think even pro-style teams have changed to fit that. But you can space in football without necessarily putting 4 WRs on the field. Stanford, for instances, looks to hold safeties with a WR on each of the field and with TEs, and then they try to split the field in half. They space within a more confined area, but it's still about spacing in an area.

So, I agree, like basketball, spacing is always key. But you have teams that space the floor like Beilein and teams that space the floor like a Princton offense. Are you pick and roll, back cuts, off ball screens, 4 high, 4 low, motion, etc. It's all about spacing, but spacing to do different things. Some rely more on putting each man in an individual space to work individually, some focus on putting 2 on 2 in a certain area to work that way. Football isn't much different, just with different numbers.

uminks

January 7th, 2014 at 6:03 PM ^

spread teams, they look a lot different from these modern day spread offenses. Space is correct that you cannot really label offenses in Today's college football, thye all seem to be variances of every style. Though, I like the total manball that Alabama uses against weaker opponents inside the redzone. I wonder is we will ever see the old Big 8 wishbone offenses make a comeback?

Michigan Difference

January 7th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

"Ace and I are trying to come up with the last Big Ten coach to have 1) a job at the time of his hire and 2) a resume better than Franklin's, and, well…"

Wouldn't it actually be Rodriguez? 32-5 his last three years at West Virginia and experience as Clemson's OC?

Former_DC_Buck

January 8th, 2014 at 9:21 AM ^

Bowl Ban: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 which might disuade a few kids. 
 

As for scholarship limits, these are the new modified limits.

2014 February Letter of intent: 20 scholarship players can be signed; 2014 Season: 75 total players on scholarship
2015 February Letter of intent: 25 scholarship players can be signed; 2015 Season: 80 total players on scholarship
2016 February Letter of intent: 25 scholarship players can be signed; 2016 Season: 85 total players on scholarship

Figure a few years of full signings to get depth. Depending on how they handle the coaching change, that may add to their woes.   

JeepinBen

January 7th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

Got fired up at a form tackle, it was awesome how little filter was on the guys in the film room. I agree, room would have been better minus Chryst and Millen, but it made for good watching.

Also, loved Spielman on the Neckroll

TheNema

January 7th, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

Which will mean Michigan is in a division with Urban, Dantonio, and Franklin. 

And Michigan has more money than all those schools but hired Hoke because of cultural issues.

Kinda Blue

January 7th, 2014 at 2:17 PM ^

Franklin is a good coach with a bright future.  But there is an ongoing rape investigation at Vandy involving football players.  In all likelihood, Franklin will emerge free from any legitimate criticism or stain.  But, it's not closed yet.

If you were PSU, would you want to risk hiring him only to find out in a few months that he knew, said or did something that reflected badly on him?  Seems like an unnecessary risk when there are other good candidates unconnected to any similar investigation.

Seemingly hits too close to home for PSU at this point.

stephenrjking

January 7th, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

On intelligent TV broadcasts:

I also really liked the all-22 coaches room channel, and watched most of the game on that. I echo several of Brian's complaints; the all-22 angle was small, which made it harder to see. In fairness, though, keeping a small window on the main broadcast helped me see what was happening on the field at times when the coaches were analyzing a play. With a little more production effort, they could flip on that window only when needed and keep it off the rest of the time.

Chryst seemed to be a bit challenged by the whole format; some guys just aren't cut out for certain television jobs, and he seemed to be one of them. Early on in particular he wasn't quick enough on the draw to really get some analysis out, and the "hosts" had to ask him questions to get him air time. I don't hold that against Chryst; Sumlin, Spielman, and Millen are all very forceful television personalities (Millen was initially too talkative, but toned things down, probably upon request).

The quality analysis did demonstrate, pretty convincingly, how hard it is to be a color commentator. There is a certain rhythm to what you say, and you simply can't use everything you know, because there is not enough time and the audience is not knowledgeable enough to digest all of it. Even there I think guys like Spielman were leaving some of the deeper "inside football" stuff on the table.

Adazzio was also quite good, by the way. Nobody is talking about him, but I thought he was smart and worked well. 

On Borges and gameplans:

I don't think the problem with the way Borges gameplans is his philosophy of using different sets and base plays. That philosophy has won Super Bowls at places like Denver and St. Louis. New and strange formations, different personnel groupings, all of that stuff comes right from successful NFL thinking.

The problem is that the limitations of college football prevent him from actually doing what it takes to make it successful. He cannot install enough formations and plays to make every down a challenge for the defense to understand--he runs out of new stuff by the second half. In an ideal world he would still be unleashing new concepts or second-time-only runs of concepts introduced in the first half well into the fourth quarter.

Instead, he's left with taking stuff that worked in the first half and trying it over and over again.

Nonetheless, it takes a lot of time to install all of this stuff in 20 hours of practice every week. And that leads to the second problem--the players spend less time getting good at running the plays they run. Devin doesn't get to learn the subtleties of how different coverages respond to base formations and personnel groups, because the formations and personnel are different every time. That makes it harder for him to make reads.

Peyton Manning can do it, of course, because Manning might spend 20 hours a week just studying and watching film.

Devin Gardner graduated in three years and is pursuing a master's degree. He doesn't have the time.

The problem with Borges is that he wants to run an offense that is unrealistic given the constraints of a college program, especially one that takes practice hours and academics somewhat seriously. Coaches like Gus and Chip deliberately run stuff in college that is manageable for their players, and their players learn to get good at it.

User -not THAT user

January 7th, 2014 at 3:50 PM ^

...and this was mentioned by the CBS crew (Danielson, probably) during the SEC championship game...they are not a TRUE option team based on the understanding of the nature of the option offense.  Any play that they run is designed specifically to be executed by the guy who ends up with the ball...Nick Marshall keeping the ball is not because the read to give the ball to Tre Mason didn't look good; it was because Marshall was supposed to keep the ball.  Tre Mason getting the ball means that the QB keeper of FB dive (not that AU HAS fullbacks) was never in play.

A true option offense is like improvised jazz; no one (including the QB) knows the play until the formation lines up.  It's what I love about that style of offense.  And when it clicks, you have, as Brian would say, 1975 Oklahoma.  Or 1995 Nebraska.

Of course, when it doesn't click you have 2013 Ga. Tech and your starting QB transferring to another school.

ish

January 7th, 2014 at 2:29 PM ^

i very much agree with your take on borges and his gameplans.  i also don't think that your take is incompatible with brian's.  yours is an additional reason that borges' philosophy is difficult to implement/use with success.

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2014 at 3:29 PM ^

Borges talks about using a lot of formations but they are honestly only small varients on one another. It's lining up a WR tight instead of wide, etc. I bet Auburn and FSU ran just as many formations last night as Michigan tends to run (watch the splits by the WRs, the motions, etc, and the different formations add up quickly). Michigan probably has slightly more plays, but honestly most of it is window dressing. The formations themselves are really just window dressing, and Borges is running the same plays he always has out of various formations. It's certainly not unique to Borges.

Besides the base set of plays and general schematic differences, I really don't believe Borges is that different. Are they the same? Absolutely not. But they aren't differing by leaps and bounds, because no OC is. They all understand the limitations of practice time, what can possibly done and what can't be, and how in general you become successful at running a unit. He wants his four to six base plays and window dressing and to build on those plays just like every other OC. Hoke has said as much. The problem with Michigan was they couldn't always run the base plays and were left with trying new stuff that might work or burning downs running what they work on most. As seen this year alone, neither was a great option, which you expect when your OL is struggling.

I think sometimes people get enamored with the spread because they can see what is happening more easily. That's understandable. But I think all schemes are much more hybrid and similar than people make them out to be. This isn't even a defense of Borges as much as it is just how coordinating a side of the ball works. The fact is that the team that runs their base plays more effectively tends to be more consistent, efficient, and better overall. Michigan was awful at running their base stuff for the most part of this year.

The Geek

January 7th, 2014 at 2:36 PM ^

Can't remember who the Tigers were playing this season, but the audio feed was lost for an extended period of time. The guys "back in the studio" were filling in, and it was just plain awful. IIRC, it was Craig Monroe and the younger guy (not John Keating/Mickey York).

umchicago

January 7th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

i agree with almost everything you wrote there about borges, which is precisely why he has to be fired.  his offense is unlikely to ever work consistently.  it's much tougher to defend multiple options out of a single formation (auburn) than to continually try to install new formations (borges).  i pray his is gone after signing day.

MI Expat NY

January 7th, 2014 at 3:26 PM ^

I don't know if I'd want to regularly watch something like what ESPN did with Spielman, et al., but if it was being broadcast in parallel, I think I'd be likely to at least occasionally switch over to get a general feel for what some other supposedly impartial football guys felt was going on.  And I'd probably be much more inclined to watch a replay of that version than the traditional play-by-play and color man broadcast.  

Swayze Howell Sheen

January 7th, 2014 at 3:27 PM ^

I'm not sure whether this is true of Borges or not, but definitely you are on the money when it comes to thinking about how to install a working offense that can be properly practiced enough to work well given the limits of practice time. Read about Leach's QB practices at Texas Tech for fascinating info on how he gets reps and reps for his QBs, and how dumbed down all the blocking is to enable repetition. It's clear that the innovators at the college level have to do things differently than the pros, who are much less limited practice-wise and have much less turnover to deal with. I'm sure Borges understands this at some level, but perhaps not to the extent that the best college coaches do.

 

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2014 at 3:39 PM ^

I would say even more than Malzahn. In Leech's system, even if you're a WR, you come in at one WR position and stay there a career. You play the W-receiver, you learn those routes, you learn those reads, and you learn nothing else. It's really an interesting way of running a system. Leach was also great when at TTU because he was very open with his coaching methods, so there is a lot out there to learn about his system. I've spent quite a bit of time going through a lot of his stuff, and it's very interesting.

Now, there are certain pitfalls. Teams really know tendancies (because you only do a certain amount of things and the same people do them). You have to execute at a very high level the things you do because if you can't, you can't turn to anything else, and to some level you have to look at actually learning the game of football.

One of the things that has held back the perception of spread schemes in the NFL is this very concept of learning a very limited amount of things. The reason is because NFL teams want you prepared for their team, but if you can't run a lot of the things they like to run (which have to be more complex by nature, as the athlete and amount of practice time goes way up), then you are way behind the curve. Then they have to spend extra time on you, teaching you things others don't have to be taught, etc. Because of that, NFL teams won't take the same risk in later rounds (all else being equal), top level players may slip a little, etc. And then that effects recruiting to some degree. Things are starting to change as college programs have built more success with it and NFL teams have started to understand it a bit more (as well as the spread becoming more of the norm, so NFL teams can't go away from it like they used to be able to), but it is what it is.

In life in general, at some points it's better to have a broad base of knowledge with less depth, sometimes more depth with less width. Finding a balance that fits your system, scheme, etc is essential to success though, and not being wishy-washy with what that goal balance is is important as well (goal is a key word there, because obviously you can't always handle things the same way, sometimes you have to dumb down to a degree to be better in the present, but you must always strive for the same long-term goal, IMO).

His Dudeness

January 7th, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

5. Can we always have the zoom out so that we can see the wideouts/corners  through the entire route??

I also loved it. Millen needed to shut up (obvs)  and yea that Pitt coach sounded like a complete moron in that room. Spielman was amazing, Sumlin was great. Lungbill was the driver, which is needed but doesnt have to be Lungbill. I would love this exact thing with your 4 points and the zoom out. Perfect way to watch a game.

The other thing ESPN2 was doing with Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer trying not to kill the other people in the room? Not so much.

Pinto1987

January 7th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

I might be wrong, but I think you'll find that Tubby Raymond and Dave Nelson are both Michigan grads who played for Fritz Crisler in Ann Arbor.  Crisler had his "Mad Magicians", Nelson became the father of the Wing T, and Raymond developed it further. 

Also, I think that just as Crisler brought the winged helmet from Princeton to Michigan, it was Nelson who took Michigan's winged helmet to Delaware.  My, how our reputation for innovation has suffered recently. 

 

ish

January 7th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

after the maddening difference in philosophies that we saw last night (btwn M and national title contenders), the next most upsetting thing was S&C differences.  put jernigan aside for the moment (and musberger's obsession with him).  the players on that field looked stronger, faster, more flexible and more difficult to tire than ours.  obviously better players (let's say higher rated recruits) are in large measure responsible for that.  but neither team was actually loaded with 5 star talent across the board.  it seemed like those guys were just in better shape an ours.

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

Those things you listed are much more about technique and comfort in executing techniques than the S&C program. None of the strength and conditioning programs are doing anything markedly different than Michigan's staff is, trust me when I say that. They aren't doing something magical to make their players bigger, stronger, faster, and more flexible than Michigan is.

They did look faster and stronger, I agree with that. But that's technique and comfort executing techniques and schemes by the players. All of these guys are high caliber athletes getting very similar strength and conditioning coaching. It's the other things than make them play faster and stronger.

Note: this isn't to say that the S&C program is pointless, or that Michigan players are all where they need to be optimally in terms of strength and speed. The players will continue to grow to that with age. But outside of players taking PEDs, nothing is making them markedly faster or stronger at one program compared to another due to the S&C programs that they are being put through.

maize-blue

January 7th, 2014 at 2:36 PM ^

I kind of felt like this after watching the Alabama & Oklahoma game. I saw a guy like Cyrus Kouandjio and felt he would be good for 2 positions on our offensive line.

Kouandjio is a unique player and probably starts in the NFL from day 1 but their lineman just looked bigger.