Unverified Voracity Reminisces About Defenses Past

Submitted by Brian on October 28th, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Podcasting. No podcast this week due to a fiasco involving a flight to Ireland out of Chicago and the MGoFiancee's unwise decision to leave her passport in Ann Arbor, but I do appear on the latest edition of the Solid Verbal. My bit is at around the 23 minute mark.

Blood Battle. Michigan's annual contest against Ohio State to see which school can donate more pints of blood* is awwwwn. Hit up their website for details. Michigan won 2449-2350 last year—I should put up a ticker that says 1343 DAYS SINCE OHIO STATE BEAT MICHIGAN AT BLEEDING. Ain't got no other tickers to put up.

BONUS: There's an organ donor challenge going on too, and Michigan is winning that too.

*(Attention OSU fans: cutting yourself with a broken bottle in a bar fight and oozing all over your Busch Light totally counts this year.)

Penn State past. MGoVideo's put together every snap videos from the '97 Judgment Day demolition:

There's also the 2006 defense. WARNING: watching these videos may make you powerfully nostalgic for defenses that have people on them who play football.

Lack of Cox explained. If you've been wondering why Michael Cox can't get a snap this helps explain it:

Rodriguez disclosed Wednesday that running back Michael Cox has had “a knee issue” for the past few weeks, and that his growth and practice has been limited.

He probably won't play much the rest of the year since he was a guy who really needed the practice reps for mental sharpness—Rodriguez said something about him needing to know the whole playbook before he sees the field. Also there are three guys in front of him. With Mike Shaw healthy and Stephen Hopkins easing into more playing time snaps are going to be fought for tooth and nail.

Also, Devin Gardner's back injury is still hampering him but they will bring him to Penn State in case there is an emergency.

Bolden yes no question? Robert Bolden was go, then he was no go, and now he's go?

Penn State freshman starting quarterback Rob Bolden has passed his Wednesday test intended to determine whether he is over effects from an apparent concussion suffered on Saturday at Minnesota.

Probably not. Penn State insider types (and Bolden's dad) are saying that Bolden has not practiced since the Minnesota game. There's little chance a guy who can't practice Wednesday will be ready to go Saturday, or prepared even if he is. Bolden's mom:

"He really wants to play against Michigan -- his heart is just going to be really broken since he can't," Williams said from her home in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Mich. "He failed that concussion test Sunday, which is not good.

"I think it's best for him if they sit him down this week. Hopefully, he can play next week [Nov. 6 against Northwestern]."

Beating Penn State without Bolden would cheapen the victory but right now the program needs a win of any variety, cheap or not. Also, did I mention that DE Jack Crawford is still out? That leaves Penn State starting either that freshman DT or a really bad veteran or stuffing lightweight pass rusher and doghouse resident Sean Stanley into the starting lineup. If Penn State goes with the DT Michigan should tell Robinson to keep it every time he tries to keep contain.

At least one thing has not gone horribly disastrously wrong. FO's Brian Fremeau has finally done the thing that I always thought should be done with punting stats: measured the average result of punts from every yard line on the field and ranked teams by how much above or below they are that break-even line. Michigan's standing in that advanced measure:

Punt Efficiency Top-10 Punt Return Efficiency Top-10
Rank Team PE Punts Rank Team PE Punts
1 Oregon -.192 19 1 Utah .528 41
2 Middle Tennessee -.136 37 2 Maryland .340 27
3 Missouri -.135 28 3 Oregon .336 29
4 Michigan -.132 22 4 UNLV .335 22
5 Florida State -.129 22 5 Michigan State .270 37
6 Nebraska -.116 20 6 Northern Illinois .260 27
7 LSU -.109 30 7 Texas Tech .248 35
8 UTEP -.098 23 8 Boise State .243 28
9 Alabama -.097 18 9 Kent State .237 35
10 South Carolina -.095 19 10 Fresno State .233 33

Fremeau doesn't provide a link to a list of all I-A teams so we can't find out exactly how terrible the punt returns have been but… dang. Fourth nationally is a huge difference from the conventional net yardage measure, in which M has dragged itself up to 44th after starting the year in triple digits thanks to Will Hagerup's nervy start. 

I wish Fremeau would provide an alternate measure that assumed an average number of punts per game and approximated how many points per game being 13% better than average is worth—my slightly educated guess is it's around a field goal. Net punting average is about 37 yards. 13% of 37 yards is about five yards, and this Advanced NFL Stats post estimates that a season-long four yard advantage in field position is worth 2.8 points per game. Michigan's yardage difference is bigger but punts are less frequent, so… yeah. Will Hagerup is worth two or three points a game.

Meanwhile, Michigan is a shiny 120th in field goal efficiency, which is bad.

Ufer. A couple days ago was the anniversary of Bob Ufer's death in 1981.

Etc.: If you need a photo of the band, or six billion of them, there is an official site dedicated to doing so. Hey, Michigan Hockey Scheduler guy: don't put a home hockey game smack dab in the middle of a football game, thanks. This MZone post about college fooball coaches's Halloween costumes is horrifying. MNB compares Michigan players to characters in the Wire. Demerit: somehow gives Snoop to someone other than Jeremy Gallon. Merit: members of the secondary are Namond, Randy, Michael, and Dookie.



October 28th, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^

Defense: You don't you what you have until it is gone, and you don't remember what you had until you watch video clips you shouldn't have watched.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

*(Attention OSU fans: cutting yourself with a broken bottle in a bar fight and oozing all over your Busch Light totally counts this year.)

But chipping your tooth again on those pesky twist off bottle caps and bleeding all over your chaw doesnt.

The Mathlete

October 28th, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

My special teams numbers do the same thing and have Michigan 5th on the season. Unfortunately 2-3 points a game seems high. I have Michigan's punt team worth 5.6 points above average total on the season. The national leader is at +7.0. About a point a game seems to be as good as it gets by my calculation.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

I think 2.8 pts is way high.  My simple math example.  Let's say the avg team gains 400 yds per game and scores 25 pts per game.  Ignoring defensive and special teams TDs, that would yield 16 yds per point scored.

So if a good punter nets you 5 yds per punt and averages 5 punts per game, that would yield 25 yds - or about 1.6 pts.  I think this # is actually a little less if you factor in the defensive and special teams TDs.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

...MZone post about college fooball coaches's Halloween costumes is horrifying super fantastic. Maybe it's time for RichRod to switch things up a bit on the sideline.  You know, go with a different look to help change his tenure's trajectory mid-flight.  The Lombardi look just might do it, but the fedora would probably have to have some M/adidas adornment (contractually speaking, that is).  Also: blue overcoat.  The Jim/Bo photoshop is solid gold.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

I remember having a sinking feeling in my stomach the week we played Purdue and Siller was announced as their starting QB. They were horrible, and it was a winnable game for us. He then proved me right and went all Donovan McNabb/Troy Smith/Dennis Dixon/Juice Williams on us. I hope this week is different (Mcgloin is not as mobile), and we don't make this guy look amazing.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

I know the feeling you're having well.  It sure seems like whenever a team is forced to play some 4th string guy, completely out of position, he steps up and has his "one shining moment" against us......never to be heard from again.

My feelings may not be grounded in anything looking like a fact but boy it sure feels that happens to us more than any other team.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

I understand the fear, and I expect whomever is PSU's QB to put up good numbers, but this team has had two weeks to prepare and will absolutely be geeked to win one more game and become bowl eligible.  I'm actually more worried about Illinois and Purdue because those QBs could possibly hurt the defense; PSU is so lost at the position I wouldn't expect them to pull it out irrespective of how bad this defense may be.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

I don't know what Siller would look like as a QB nowadays, but I can assure you McGloin is awful.  Against Minneahaha he went 6 for 13 for a paltry 76 yards.  42 of those yards came on one pass to Moye. 


October 28th, 2010 at 1:54 PM ^

given that a) he missed all of 2009 due to some pesky little issue with the academic policy at Purdue (the issue itself is unknown), b) he's been playing WR most of the season, and c) Angry Purdue Offense-Hating God detected that he may still have QB ability and struck him down with a sprained foot, rendering him "out indefinitely".

At this point, Purdue might be better off running some direct-snap offense if for no other reason than there simply aren't many players left who've played QB before. The current depth chart at QB is Some Guy and Some Other Guy.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

My favorite Ufer memory was the 79 Indiana Carter-catch game.  I had gone up to CMU that Friday and was on my way back to campus during the game.  We were expected to crush Indiana as we were 6-1 at the time and rolling so I didnt think I'd miss much (I was a sophmore and football had yet to become my life as it is now).  I remember distinctly driving on 23 in fairly heavy traffic when the play unfolded and ALL you could make out was Ufer screaming, yelling and honking his Patton horn.  So I started honking my horn in the car as I knew something good had happened, I just didn't know what.  And the cars around me started honking too so pretty soon 23 was filled with honking, happy drivers who had NO idea what had just happend.

We just knew it must've been awesome based on Bob's reaction.

Yard Dog

October 28th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

Ufe has been my pic for a couple of weeks.  I absolutely loved the guy growing up.  I actually sent him a fan letter when I was 12, and he sent back an autographed copy of his first album, which happened to be narrated by Paul W. Smith.  Needless to say, this album is prominently displayed among Yard Dog's memorabilia.

And please watch the video.  It gave me goosebumps.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

There's a great Ufer picture of him speaking before the 1/1/81 Rose Bowl--I think it was the last Michigan game he broadcasted (and Bo's first Rose Bowl win).  He's standing in the sun in shirtsleeves, everyone knew he was sick, and it was very touching.  Does anyone have a copy?


October 28th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

This makes two times now that some sort of female intervention has screwed the mgopodcast.  Your fiancee owes us big time.

What's the line on the Penn State game now? 


October 28th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

Hahaha, "the last time Griese ran that far he was being chased by his daddy with a stick."

Is it just me, or do all the hits seem significantly harder back then? Also, that big hit in the first half of the '97 PSU game is eerily similar to the hit that paralyzed Rutgers' DL Eric LeGrand this year.


October 28th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

WARNING: watching these videos may make you powerfully nostalgic for defenses that have people on them who play football.

Thank you so much for the warning, situation avoided!!!!


October 28th, 2010 at 3:49 PM ^

Beating Penn State without Bolden would cheapen the victory

I completely disagree.  Or at least, it wouldn't for me.  M wouldn't be any less bowl-eligible and we'd get to avoid a lot of 2010 = 2009 talk, which is the whole point of a victory.  You can't cheapen a win unless the point of the win is to beat that specific team.  It would cheapen the win if all of Ohio State's two-deep was injured in an unfortunate hotel collapse the night before the game and we got to play all their walk-ons.  I don't care about PSU's myriad injury issues.


October 28th, 2010 at 3:58 PM ^

Vid-Staff is a bunch of volunteer who work in their free time to capture the history of the band. Pretty cool group of people. Most importantly they know where to stand on the field during the shows as to not get in the way because they are old band members (espn or abc always end up being the wrong place at the wrong time. I remember having to kick a few camera-men during my time) I highly encourage going through them if you want some video or pictures of the band.

If you are looking for older photos check out Dick Gaskill's website.
He has been taking pictures of the band for over 50 years. He is also a great guy and really funny if you get the chance to talk to him.