Unverified Voracity Has Alligator Stadium Comment Count

Brian April 11th, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I wonder where fightin' bird guy is today. North Dakota may want to stop playing Frozen Four semifinals. First you've got the Life As A Vole Hunwick game…


…and then last night a Minnesota defenseman with zero goals on the season scored a shorthander with 0.6 seconds left to knock them out. Seriously.

North Dakota won their consolation game in the league playoffs to push Michigan out of the tournament, which I was mad about but maybe I should thank them because I would be waking up in a dumpster today if that had happened to Michigan. I would not feel well.

Minnesota plays Union for the title tomorrow at 7:30. Go Union, if only to see Mark Emmert's head explode. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE, MARK.

I mean why would you want to do that. An excellent article on Fox Sports about Derek Mason, former Stanford DC and new guy at Vanderbilt discusses how Mason came to prominence thanks to his ability to adapt to the hurry-up spread offenses that are kind of a big deal when you're in the same division as Oregon. Mason lays out the four things that up tempo does for your offense, and while they're really only three things if you can divide it's a good framework for understand why the spread keeps spreading, Danielson be damned:

1) Defenses get stuck in one call

While defensive coordinators enter a game with a long list of plays, the defenders on the field are often forced to play the same call repeatedly when the ball is being snapped every 14-18 seconds. The middle linebacker often looks to the sideline only to see the defensive signal-caller frantically gesturing to repeat the last call.

2) Defenses don’t get ready in time

Even when defensive players get their play call on time – some defenses will often call two or three plays in advance when facing an up-tempo team – you will often see the defenders unsuccessfully scurrying to get into their proper alignment before the ball is snapped.

3) One-on-one matchups

Tackling a skill player one-on-one in space is one of the most difficult tasks in football. Up-tempo offenses often operate out of a spread scheme that forces defenses to cover the entire width and length of the field, as Mason noted.

4) More snaps per game

I'm not clear on why more snaps are necessarily better, at least insofar as you get more snaps because you're moving faster. More snaps are obviously good because that means you didn't punt; outside of that the only thing I can think of there is that defenders tend to get tired more quickly than offensive players. Substitution patterns certainly indicate that's the case.

I would also add that a high tempo team is more flexible in its approach to the clock: for them slowing it down is a matter of hanging out at the line of scrimmage longer than they usually do. For a team that does not operate in a hurry-up environment, accelerating is considerably more difficult.

Mason's reacted to the above issues by having hybrid players who may not be the best at any one thing but can straddle the line between run support and pass coverage, having simple, quick playcalls, and training their defenders the way Oregon trains offense: relentless pace.

Anyway: Hoke talk about toughness is grating these days because he's content with an offense that doesn't try to make it tough on other people. Toughness is something Michigan has to have because things are being done to them. (It is also grating because Michigan finished dead last in tackles for loss allowed in year three of being a Tough Team that Runs Power.)

Excellent timing. You may find yourself suddenly more interested in this profile of Mark Donnal the Daily published five days ago. He's getting hype; let's hope it pans out.

Donnal’s not sure when exactly it was, just that it came around the middle of the regular season, but he turned a corner. He’d found success against Morgan and Horford enough in practice that he knew he belonged.

“I started to pick up everything, and my game started to come back to me, and I’m getting in the flow of the college game,” Donnal said.

If it wasn’t for the redshirt, Morgan and Horford might have had to worry about their job security.

“He’s becoming a force,” Morgan said. “He’s hard to guard down there in the post, and he’s definitely come a long way.

“Over the past couple months, he’s just become really good. Really dominates, shoots the ball well.”

Donnal is still just 18—he's young, like Caris—and has upside yet to tap.

Brace yourself! Someone at Penn State has been in the photoshop doin' the shrooms.

James Franklin being a great recruiter is a kids these days kind of thing.

At least we're not alone. On the one hand, Ohio State has a real spring game with a player draft and opens practices to students, and this makes me sad because it's clear their athletic department doesn't have quite the contempt for their fans that Michigan's does. On the other, they're not immune from Creating The Future either.

On a third, mutant hand, imagine a version of the Michigan spring game that anyone, dipshit or not, could believe was worth 20 dollars. OSU knocked the price down to 5, apparently. I wonder if there are punting drills.

Okay bro. I'll take this shot from a fan of any program but two:

Here's a hard and round number for you: 10 years. That's how long its been since Michigan has won a Big Ten championship. To locate a gap that pronounced in Michigan's storied and (schadenfreude alert) oppressively self-congratulatory history, you have to hearken back to the pre-Schembechler era.

Those programs are Notre Dame and especially—especially—Penn State, which author Michael Weinreb is a fan of. Until Sandusky blew everything all to hell, Penn State was recruiting kids by noting that they'd never been on probation.


Their mantra of "Success With Honor" implies that most places having success don't have honor. Michigan's is just about winning football games. Penn State was stuck so far up its own butt smelling roses that they allowed the worst thing in the history of college football to happen. You might not want to claim Michigan's history is "oppressively self-congratulatory" in that context.

Ok, bro. Get The Picture finds this assertion in Northwestern's appeal to the national NLRB:

Contrary to the Regional Director’s findings, Northwestern scholarship football student-athletes are not “initially sought out, recruited and ultimately granted scholarships because of their athletic prowess on the football field.”

I would have believed this in the 1980s. Nowadays the only school that can claim that with a straight face is Purdue.

Wow. Bursaspor's new stadium is… it's this.


Orson says he'd trade the Swamp for this as long as the interior was searing orange, and… yeah, you'd have to do it. I await Spencer's longform piece on Turkish soccer with bated breath, and not just because I once pretend-managed a Turkish third-division team to the Champions League title despite Turkey's restrictive rules on foreign soccer players. Also because in Turkey things like this happen:

The club switched names with crosstown club Kayseri Erciyesspor in 2004.

YANKEES: "We're sick of being the Yankees. Would you like to be the Yankees?"
METS: "Jolly good. Here's Mr. Met and a legacy of crippling failure."

Also they have doner kebab. They are probably the origin of doner kebab. Go Turkey.

The usual. Kam Chatman is up to #38 on ESPN's final recruit rankings and draws mention as one of their top risers:

Kameron Chatman, Michigan: He’s a classic late bloomer who has continued to improve at a rapid rate and yet very clearly still has his best basketball in front of him. A highly skilled southpaw with excellent size on the wing, Chatman’s frame has now started to fill out at a much more rapid rate, giving him the versatility not just to splash 3s over contesting defenders but also to diversify his offensive game around the rim. He’s also a deceptively good ball handler and very good passer, all of which will be utilized in Michigan’s offensive system. The bottom line is that it was clear he was still trending up, so he jumped 13 spots.

A palpable fit.

Etc.: I'm here for the sex… ual misconduct investigation. Breaking down the best offenses of the Kenpom era. The 1995 Virginia game on the tubes. Basketball would like to add another quality home game to next year's schedule. Magnus on the spring game. Stapleton on Michigan's sophomores-to-be. The state of Michigan basketball.



April 11th, 2014 at 1:20 PM ^

It's partially just a percentages thing. Let's imagine that ever play has a 1 percent chance of being a broken coverage, RPS++++++, explosive touchdown (this number falls to -200 if it's last season's Michigan run game). In actuality, that number fluctuates constantly, based on defensive alignment, stamina, point in the game, effective establishment of base plays and their counters, etc. But it basically winds up meaning that every incremental play you have is an incremental opportunity for an explosive play.

Couple that with the limited play-calling, exhaustion, and misalignments that tempo creates means that you get more opportunities for explosive plays at a higher likelihood of success. This was one reason Niners fans were so irate about a couple of play calls against the Seahawks in the NFC championship game. They made several stops, then an erroneous call meant they had to make another stop, which often led to a touchdown for Seattle. Same principle.

Ali G Bomaye

April 11th, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

Other than factors 1, 2, and 3, though, "more plays" shouldn't be an advantage in and of itself.  If you go fast, you get more plays, but so does your opponent, so they get the same advantages/disadvantages you do.  The value in going fast lies in confusing/exhausting the defense, not just in getting more plays per game.

Ghost of BCook…

April 11th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Who did Stanford lose to in the Rose Bowl and what type of offense did they run? Point being that there are different ways to win football games. While Mason had success against speed it up teams he did struggle against power. Foolish to say one is better than the other or that talk of toughness is grating considering...


April 11th, 2014 at 1:24 PM ^

What is this adding quality home games concept?  I am confused.

And Weinreb is an idiot, but at least his idiocy and inability to cover college football forced Grantland to hire Holly Anderson.  Which is the closest thing to something nice I can say about him.


April 11th, 2014 at 1:29 PM ^

At the risk of sounding like it's okay to have low expectations, I think Michigan fans are going to have to come to the realization that it's tougher to win Big Ten championships now than it used to be. In Michigan's long, storied history, the Big Ten didn't have 11 or 12 or 14 teams until relatively recently. Penn State and Nebraska are both threats to win the Big Ten, and the introduction of the Big Ten Championship game makes it impossible to share a Big Ten title.

All things being equal - which they're not because of Indiana, Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland, etc. but play along - teams are only going to be conference champions every 14 years instead of every 10.


April 11th, 2014 at 2:49 PM ^

I believe we were in contention for the Big Ten title in two of the last three years (2011, 2012) into November. Hoke doesn't really have anything to do with the years prior to that. So roughly 67% of the time, Hoke has delivered on that expectation.


April 11th, 2014 at 4:02 PM ^

I'm talking about Michigan football in general, not just under Hoke.

As for being in contention, I think it's yes and no. We might have been contending both years, but we never controlled our own destiny in November.

In 2011, by the time November rolled around we were tied with MSU, but they had the tiebreaker. So we were relying on Minny (2-6), Iowa (6-3), Indiana (1-9), or Northwestern (6-5) to do our dirty work for us.

Same with 2012. We were tied for first with Nebraska, but lost the tiebreaker. So we needed MSU (5-4), PSU (6-3), Minny (6-4), or Iowa (4-7) to do our dirty work.


April 11th, 2014 at 4:14 PM ^

Okay, but now you're changing the bar. You said we need to be in contention in November, which Hoke was in 2011 and 2012. Now you're saying that we need to be controlling our own destiny, which is a totally different story.

Any team that loses a single conference game is dependent on other teams to help them win the conference. It would be great if Michigan could be undefeated going into November every single year, but if you set your expectations at that level, you're going to be disappointed the vast majority of the time. It's just not really a feasible thing to expect when teams are playing 12 games and in an expanded conference.


April 11th, 2014 at 7:00 PM ^

Which is why I said it's a yes and no.

And no, I don't think it's unfeasible to expect a program of Michigan's stature to be undefeated going into November more times than not.

Yes the conference has expanded, and there more teams, but it's not like we've added Alabama and FSU. We're gonna be playing Maryland and Rutgers on a regular basis, plus a PSU team that has yet to experience the full severity of their scholarship losses. Michigan should be able to go 4-0 through October more often than not


April 11th, 2014 at 2:25 PM ^

Consider Recent Pac-12 football Champions
3 Oregon
2 Stanford
1 Cal
The numbers are conference football titles within the past ten years including crowns shared.  Only a handful of Pac-12 programs have a shot at the title and within this subset certain programs should expect more titles than even the other dominant programs.  So extrapolating to the B1G and Michigan, I will expect that we should win, at a minimum, ten unshared conference titles within any given ten-year period.


April 11th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

No one is expecting a title every other year like in the Bo days (at least I hope not).

But people have a right to be upset about none in a decade and never winning the Legends. When you look at the financial resources Michigan Football has, the program's futility in this department is logic-defying.

A Big Ten title every five years, a title game appearance every three years and an invitation to the national semis every 7-8 years should not be unrealistic ratios.

The expectations are not all a fan issue. Hoke set them by talking big and Brandon continues to set them with his ticket-pricing.

oriental andrew

April 11th, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

Glad to see Kam Chatman rising in the ranks, but man...  Duke and UK both have four 5 stars??  and UNC with 3, and KU, osu and UNLV (!) with 2 each.  I be like dang.  

03 Blue 07

April 11th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

Another clear benefit of running more plays: Regression to the mean. If you believe you have the superior team, then you want more possessions because that would theoretically lower the variance, thus shifting the odds in your favor. If you're the team that is a heavy underdog, though, this strategy could easily backfire. Seems like the best method would be to push the tempo until such time as you no longer feel it is necessary and then go into super slow mode to let the clock play out in your favor if you're a team like Oregon, for example, who usually has more talent on the field than their opponent. 


April 11th, 2014 at 4:08 PM ^

Donnal. Is the Beilein second year leap? Hope so.

Penn State fans suck. Especially now that they are walking around on broken glass in homes no longer protected from the elements.


April 11th, 2014 at 4:30 PM ^

I think if that had happened to Michigan that I would have to quit watching hockey. UMD's goal was bad enough and every other time we've lost in OT, but to lose on a SHG with under a second left in regulation in a period you dominated is soul crushing


April 11th, 2014 at 6:42 PM ^

I went to two frozen fours.

one we lost to Minnesota in minnesota.  we were down 3-0, got to 3-2 and I flipped off all of america on ESPN2.  So that was cool...

the other was in buffalo wherein we lost to minnesota in overtime. I remember sitting in my seat for like half an hour too depressed to move... losing in hockey hurts.




April 11th, 2014 at 6:59 PM ^

It seems to me that you want to run as many plays as possible. If you can keep your offense on the field and have a fast tempo you will still get more plays than the team that plays slower, whats worse is your defense running around with a fast paced team will tire faster. Then compond that with their defense waiting around for another play getting plenty of rest. I don't believe there is any doubt this would work......BUT if your fast paced offence can't move the ball the opposing team will have their offense on the field longer which in turn would tire out the fast teams defense much faster...


Wow "coach McQueary" of all people writing a We are Penn State and we have never been hit with NCAA sanctions letter to potential recruits is so ironic. He had to have his fingers crossed knowing what he knew about Jerry Sandusky and the kids in the shower, probably another good, er, bad reason to keep this very very dark secret to himself.


April 13th, 2014 at 1:36 PM ^

I have a vague unverified memory of a lot of fast pace three and outs under R*** R** that didn't work out too well. The 'fast pace' advantage is really a 'maintain possession' advantage, which isn't an actual feature of the the spread, it's just assuming that the dang thing works.