You Might Remember This Depth Chart from Such Former Players As... Comment Count

Seth October 18th, 2010 at 6:35 PM

So, about this defense:


Greg Banks (5th)

Mike Martin
Mike Martin (Jr)

Ryan Van Bergen
Ryan Van Bergen (Jr*)
Renaldo Sagesse (Sr) Adam Patterson (Sr) Jibreel Black (Fr)
Spinner MLB WLB Spur
Craig RohCraig Roh (So) Kenny DemensKen Demens (So*) Jonas Mouton
Jonas Mouton (Sr)
Thomas Gordon
Thomas Gordon (Fr*)
Brandon Herron (Jr*) Obi Ezeh (5th) Kevin Leach (Jr*) Carvin Johnson (Fr)
CB1 Bandit Hero CB2
J.T. Floyd
J.T. Floyd (So*)
Jordan Kovacs
Jordan Kovacs (So*)
Cameron Gordon
Cam Gordon (Fr*)
James Rogers
James Rogers (Sr)
Courtney Avery (Fr) Marvin Robinson (Fr) Ray Vinopal (Fr) Terrence Talbott (Fr)

That's our current defensive two-deep. Those of you watching this year know that they've been a bad, bad defensive two-deep. Among the many irksome memes floating around since this naughty two-deep had the unmitigated gall to lose two Big Ten games, is that they're not a "Michigan" two-deep, which is to say these are not the kinds of guys we normally would see getting playing time at Michigan.

So I went back through my memory, which for non-skill positions goes back to about 1996 with any "I watched all of his games" credibility, and tried to pick out the guys that our current D evoke.

This is an incomplete exercise; you are very welcome to suggest other analogues. My ultimate goal is to generate a two-deep of known quantities which, if I stare at it long enough, it will spark some sort of epiphany about the 2010 defense and what it portends for the rest of the year (and in so doing, beat Ohio State)...


For each, I've rated them on a 5-star scale, based on how you would expect him to perform on four typical linebackerish plays that come his way in a UFR:

Stars UFR/4 plays Description
1 star -2 or more Liability
2 stars -1 Not yet ready for D-I
3 stars even Usually competent
4 stars +1 All-Big Ten
5 stars +2 or more All-American/NFL ready

Remember that these ratings only apply to their contribution this year as a Michigan starter in that position, not their projected value in the future, or their recruiting ranking. If you want to convert it to recruit ranking, imagine what you would expect a player of that star rating to be playing at by their 3rd or 4th year at Michigan.

Defensive Tackle:

Greg Banks (Sr/5th)

Who: Will Paul 2007 (Sr/5th if he had come back)

Why: I mean, what else? Jake Frysinger? Pat Massey? Dan Rumishek? Eric Wilson? Will Paul was a fullback in '06 and graduated, but I'm going to ask you to imagine the 4-star bust who bounced around the D-Line depth chart had stayed there through his 5th year senior season. Like Banks, Paul was about 6'3/260 while on the D-line, good at not getting pushed out of the way, but bad about flowing down the line, or generating a pass rush.

2010 Value: **

Renaldo Sagesse (Sr/Sr)

Who: Jason Ptak 1999 (Sr/Sr)

Why: I thought about going with Jr/Sr Shawn Lazarus here, but Jason Ptak's existence is my personal little piece of Michigan trivia, and it fits perfectly. Ptak was a nobody recruit about the same size (6'3/290) as Sagesse who spelled Rob Renes (NT) and Eric Wilson (DT) from time to time. When he did this, he was perfectly "meh," but didn't ever look like he was getting run over. Sagesse was the last of the Montreal troupe (Kashama, Dubuc, Casseus) and like them was a nobody recruit who has been "meh" for four years.

Value: **

Nose Tackle:

Mike Martin (Jr/Jr)

Who: Alan Branch 2006 (Jr/Jr)

Why: Like I would pass up the opportunity...

Like Branch, Mike Martin was a 4-star recruit who appeared like a 5-star immediately, becoming a plus to the defense his freshman year, bigger plus his sophomore year, and took the leap toward All-American as a junior. Branch split double-teams with aplomb. Martin might even be better than Branch, since Alan didn't have quite MM's agility. But it's still a strong comparison.

Value: *****

Adam Patterson (Sr/Sr)

Who: Patrick Kratus 1998 (Jr/Sr)

Who?!? Thought you'd say that.

Why: Well, I'm running out of DT/DE tweeners here, especially lower-Rivals 100 guys who were complete busts, and I'm not giving Patterson even the courtesy of a Pat Massey comparison, though that would be the other pick. Pat Kratus was an academic All-American who played a lot of special teams for four varsity years. Kratus was a forgettable recruit with a frame that he never filled. Patterson too was rated highly because of his "frame" but he never grew into the DT/NT he was expected to, and was never mobile enough to do anything outside.

Value: * (because NT in our 3-3-5 exposes bad play)

After break: more guys.

Defensive End:

Ryan Van Bergen (Jr/Sr)

Who: Juaquin Feazell 1997 (Jr/Sr)

Why: Feazell was an exciting defensive line recruit right about the time that people started paying attention to that kind of stuff. Like RVB, Feazell wasn't a major sack threat, but got the word "solid" applied to him throughout his career. In 1997 Juaquin didn't start, but rotated in at 3 of 4 defensive line positions (not NT) and was "solid" at all three. Feazell was a borderline NFL prospect after '98. The fit is pretty...uh..."solid."

Value: ****

Jibreel Black (Fr/Fr)

Who: James Hall 1996 (Fr/Fr)

Why: Hall was redshirted in 1996, actually, but he made that decision hard. Like Black, freshman Hall was too small to be anything other than a pass rush threat, but already generating lots of hype. In 1997, Hall leapfrogged a lot of older, more established guys to win a starting role, which he only relinquished to jump to the NFL (he went undrafted) after his redshirt junior season. Jibreel wants to be Brandon Graham, but I see him as a lot more of a James Hall before Hall was big enough to be an every-down lineman.

Value: **

Spinner (DE/OLB):

UM vs. Iowa

Craig Roh (So/So)

Who: Tim Jamison 2005 (So/So)

Why: I think this is a pretty strong comparison. Jamison got a lot of hype as a true freshman in 2004 before injury canceled that campaign (but too late to earn him a redshirt). As a sophomore, Jamison made the Freshman All-Big Ten team, mostly for his work as a DE/LB tweener. Like Roh, as a linebacker, Jamison was still a bit undersized and lost. Jamison got pushed back the following season by Biggs, but was finally large enough to play DE every down by '07, when he was a consistent backfield threat.

Value: ***

Brandon Herron (Jr/Sr)

Who: Emmanuel Casseus 2002 (Sr/Sr)

Why: I could also go with Grady Brooks, since both Brooks and Herron are Texas guys who were passed up by Texas because they would be major projects. But Herron is a lot more Casseus's size, and like Casseus is used primarily as a spell for the strongside OLB, and on special teams, not doing anything really distinguishing in that capacity.

Value: **

Middle Linebacker:

Carl Diggs photoKenny Demens (So/Jr)

Who: Carl Diggs 2001 (So/Jr)

Why: I beat around this bush and finally decided it fits too well. Carl Diggs is usually mentioned around these parts in conjunction with Old School-ism for being a mastadon-plunker "ILB." Back in his day, this was expressed as "can't stop running quarterbacks." Demens hasn't played enough against anything spread-y to show such a weakness, but the rest of the Diggs M.O. fits, right down to the sophomore growth spurt to 6'1,250 lbs. (where Demens is listed), but still kind of short. Diggs got a few starts in 4-4 looks as a redshirt freshman, but started his RS Soph. campaign behind Eric Brackins, passing him near the end of the year. Other than injury, Diggs was thereafter the starter -- and source of grumblement -- through '03. This may be a reasonable expectation for Demens.

Value: ***

Obi Ezeh (Sr/5th)

Who: Scott McClintock 2005 (Sr/5th)

Why: There's really no comparison to Obi Ezeh, a 2-star fullback converted to linebacker who's now in his fourth year of starting...badly. The closest I can come is similarly sized, FB/LB Scott McClintock, a borderline 5-star recruit out of Belle Vernon, PA, who was always just next on the depth chart. In 2004, when MLB was a bench-emptying disaster zone, we saw why, as McClintock looked soft and lost. By 2005 David Harris and Chris Graham had displaced McClintock permanently, but names as eminent as Joey Sarantos accomplished the same feat. Ezeh has had a similar career of "would anyone please step up and replace this guy," with candidates from John Thompson, to Marrell Evans, to Austin Panter, to Kevin Leach, J.B. Fitzgerald and finally Kenny Demens getting their cracks at his job.

Value: **

Weakside Linebacker:

Jonas Mouton (Sr/Sr)

Who: Prescott Burgess '06

Why: The comparison fits so well that when I watch the 2006 Rose Bowl I feel like I'm watching '09 Mouton. Both were considered among the nation's best safeties (or skinny linebackers) coming out of high school, and both were nitroglycerine -- able to explode upon friend or foe at any time. By their respective senior seasons, the irresponsibility had lessened to the point that the good-to-awesome plays outweighed the reduced (but extant) mistakes.

Value: **** (and the four UFR-ed plays will probably be a -2, a -1, and two +2s).

Kevin Leach (Jr/Sr)

Who: Jeff Smokevitch 1998

Why: Smokevitch is listed at 6'0, which if he's 6'0 then I was definitely adding 2 inches to my height from 1998 to 2003 or something when I last ran into him at a Seaholm game and he was still 2 inches taller than my listed 6'0. But other than that, Smoke and Leach could be related. Smokevich played at Michigan at about 200 lbs., which is where the light Leach is at. Leach threatened to start last year when Mouton and Ezeh peaked at their incompetence, but I could see Smokevich doing that. Small and walk-on-y.

Value: *

Spur (S/OLB):

Thomas Gordon (Fr/So)

Who: Brandent Englemon '04

Why: Neither sniffed a fourth star (Englemon was a 2-star). Both are about 5'11 and 205. Englemon's thing was that he was able to spend long periods on the field without wracking up much in the way of UFR +/- and that's "Prison Abs" Gordon's thing, apparently -- or at least it is on the football field. In 2004, Englemon was, like Gordon, only a redshirt freshman. With Shazor and Mundy at safety, Englemon was safety stored away, learning the position after it was clear he wasn't a cornerback. We didn't see him until his sophomore year, when extended play at both safety positions looked a lot like T-Gord: you don't notice him except when he makes an easy tackle, and that's a good thing. Englemon would have liked Spur -- instead he bounced around on good defenses, mostly staying out of Jamar Adams's way.

Value: ***

Carvin Johnson (Fr/Fr)

Who: DeWayne Patmon '97

Why: Brian was predicting Jamar Adams here -- a big guy who's rangy and generates a lot of buzz out of practice. But I went with Patmon, another nowhere man who was a lot more Johnson's size, and as a youth in 1997 looked just as mistake-prone. Patmon got extended playing time in 1998 when Marcus Ray went down, and didn't make us want to kill him, except when we wanted to kill him. I came on Patmon when I was thinking about going with Tommy Hendricks (who would have loved Bandit). Patmon was the Englemon to Hendricks's Jamar Adams.

Value: **

Bandit (SS):

Jordan Kovacs (So/Jr)

Who: Jon Shaw 2001 (So/Jr)

Why: There's nothing quite like Kovacs, but Shaw comes the closest. Shaw spent his freshman year at running back while Kovacs didn't even make the team, but I couldn't find a better safety who was resposible but not athletic enough to keep up. Really, 2002 was Shaw's best year, when the pint-sized safety filled in for injuries to Cato June and Julius Curry. Our annee celebre, 2001, was spent mostly on the bench. The thing about Shaw was he could tackle -- if he just could just get to the spot to make the tackle. Kovacs, right? Honestly, Kovacs has no allegory at Michigan -- maybe at Iowa or something. We haven't had a guy this instinctual since Dave Harris, and haven't played someone so un-athletic since the '50s. If you've got a better stand-in for Kovacs, I'm all ears.

Value: ***

Marvin Robinson (Fr/Fr)

Who: Stevie Brown 2006 (Fr/Fr)

Why: I wanted to go Cato June here, but the Brown comparison from M-Rob's recruiting profile is probably apt, right down to the burned redshirt. Though Marvelous Marvin is basically the backup bandit, his profile says he will fill out and isn't that great in coverage, so Brown-like Spur seems a likely enough future destination. Brown as a freshman was a big, extremely athletic safety who was completely lost in coverage, generating a boatload of bad press until settling down to be a rather good OLB/Safety. M-Rob is wearing Brown's post-freshman number, but he's still a freshman, and Kovacs seems to have a pretty good lock on that spot.

Value: **

Free Safety:

Cam Gordon (Fr/So)

Who: Poor Man's Ernest Shazor 2001(Fr/Fr)

Why: Do you remember Shazor as a freshman? Shazor came in with a lot more hype, but then had some off-field trouble and took a redshirt. That's where the comparison is bad. Where it's good is in his play, and style. Shazor was a 6'4 spear from the start, who took some time to figure out coverage, and how simply hitting a guy does not a tackle make. His ability to fill a hole made Shazor a well-remarked Big Ten player by his junior/senior year. Cam, meanwhile, seems to have Shazor's nose for hitting, and problems with speed, tackling and coverage. Now just imagine if Shazor had to play as a freshman (Cam's redshirt year was at receiver so it basically can be discounted). I think a poor man's freshman Shazor is a rather fair approximation of what we've got in Cam.

Value: *

Ray Vinopal

Who: Anton Campbell '03

Why: A low-rated recruit, Ray, like Anton, was a running back as well as safety in high school, and set a few local records in track. Anton started off as a running back before switching to safety, and has about an inch on Ray, but both are about 200 lbs., relatively fast, and projects at their positions. Ray would be better off with a redshirt, but depth chart issues being what they are, he's nominally No. 2 at free safety.

Value: *


J.T. Floyd (So/Jr)

Who: Brandon Williams 2001 (Jr/Jr)

(Obligatory 2001 Wisconsin TD relived):

Why: J.T. Floyd has about an inch on Williams, but they're similar players: cornerbacks with their heads in the game, but lacking top speed. They even wear the same numbers. But whereas Williams was buried on the depth chart until it was time to recover a key fumble on a Wisconsin touched punt, Floyd has been forced into the everyday lineup. With the corner position opposite him a disaster area, J.T. hasn't been tested much, but his tackling this year has left a lot to be desired. If you're wondering what Michigan would have looked like were junior Brandon Williams to be the best cornerback standing, this is what Michigan would have looked like. Note: Williams got a few starts in place of the 2000 dwarf tandem, about on par with Floyd's starts last year.

Value: **

James Rogers (Sr/Sr)

Who: Charles Stewart 2007 (Sr/Sr)

Why: Look, really there's nobody to have seen any amount of playing time in recent Michigan history that compares with James Rogers. He is a senior positional vagabond who moved to safety and cornerback from receiver because it would help the team, but he remains a very stiff, not very athletic guy who shouldn't be playing cornerback. I went with the senior Charles Stewart because, like Rogers, he started out at cornerback before it became obvious he shouldn't be there, and then was equally bad at free safety. Both are tallish, and very stiff players who are going to get beat in coverage and don't tackle all that well. Stewart was thrust into playing time in '07 after Johnny Sears was a primary HORROR culprit, and before Morgan Trent appeared.

Value: *

Courtney Avery (Fr/Fr)

Who: Chris Richards 2005 (Fr/Fr)

Why: The comparison works in a "what if we had to play Chris Richards in 2005" kind of way. Like Richards, Avery was a quarterback in high school who needed at least a redshirt year to learn defensive back. They're both about the same size: 5'11/175, and both are 3-star athlete fliers who, if they work out, would be considered sleepers. Richards, like Avery, came to campus without even a whiff of bad behavior, and a great academic record. Chris turned out to be either a bad seed, or too impressionable when hanging out with Carson Butler, but either way was sent off to finish his career at Stony Brook. Avery doesn't seem to have those troubles, but looks like what you would expect a smallish high school quarterback who never played CB and is expected to redshirt then provide kickoff coverage would look like if played right out of high school.

Value: *

Terrence Talbott (Fr/Fr)

Who: Zia Combs 2000 (Fr/Fr)

Why: What Michigan fans remember about Zia Combs was that he was this suddenly effective cornerback when we were still shellshocked from Whitley and LeSueur wasn't available and we didn't trust Markus Curry at all and it looked for all the world like Brandon Williams (see J.T. Floyd, above) was going to start. That was Zia as a junior in 2002. In 2000, Zia Combs was a 5'11/160 3-star freshman who might play wide receiver and wasn't at all a threat to the carnage wrought by Whitley and Howard. This is Terrence Talbott, or the closest I can come to it. He does not yet know what zone coverage is, but might be good one day. Not yet.

Value: *

Cullen Christian (Fr/Fr)

Who: Todd Howard 1998 (Fr/Fr)

Why: Because Cullen was a 4-star recruit and we thought he would come in and be awesome immediately (because he's got long arms, see?), but showed up obviously shorter than advertised, and not nearly, not NEARLY ready to play. Howard was also a 4-star recruit, part of the Great Big Haul of 1998 that turned out to not be as great as the season that preceded it. Howard wasn't expected to start right away -- with Woodson gone there was still Andre Weathers, James Whitley and William Peterson, but Howard would step in by '99, beginning the reign of a backfield that I once thought would be the worst in my lifetime. Howard eventually got pulled together and became an asset starting opposite Marlin by his senior year.

Value: *


So now imagine our defensive line is a platoon of fictional 5th yr senior Will Paul and Ptak, Alan Branch as a junior, and Feazell in his '97 form. The linebackers feature a sophomore Tim Jamison as Spinner, sophomore Carl Diggs and  senior Prescott Burgess in the middle, and freshman Brandent Englemon just spreading his 1-0-1 Englemon-wings for the first freshmany time at Spur. In the backfield, it's sophomore Brandon Williams giving it his all on one corner, Charles Stewart '07 hanging in there opposite him, with sophomore Jon Shaw in the box and a true freshman version of Ernest Shazor trying to jam his helmet into the turf and hoping an opposing player will be there to cushion him.

Final score:

** ***** ****
** * **
Spinner MLB WLB Spur
** *** **** ***
** ** * **
CB1 Bandit Hero CB2
** *** * *
* ** * *

Bad. However, as to whether it's not the kinds of guys that Michigan plays, I only noted three backfield spots and one defensive line position where there wasn't an anologue with significant playing time to compare with current starters. There's small hope in that, by simply getting older, this might be a mediocre, bordering on "okay" defense next year.



October 18th, 2010 at 7:38 PM ^

defer to his wisdom and knowledge of the team. But in addition to shining a light on some of these hard-working kids as failures, I don't find it in any way productive. What does it tell us that one failure is like another (past) failure? Sweet F all, from the evidence assembled here. 

It helps to remember that--while we may have our own skills--none or almost none of us can do what these kids do every day: try to make Michigan a winner on the field. For that they are all winners to me. 


October 19th, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

an edit, but that didn't quite get it. Had you punched up that notion that some of the players in question went on to productive careers, the whole thing would have been easier (for me, anyway) to consider. There's a fine line we tread here; sometimes the players just come off as so much meat. Have admired your posts, though, and should have been more careful in my comments.

(Looks like at least four people agreed to some degree w my criticism, FWIW. . . )

Blue in Seattle

October 19th, 2010 at 3:12 PM ^

They weren't all on the field at the same time and not at the same age as the present defense.

so yes, the analysis of the defense this year will continue to revolve on these items;

1 - bare cupboard + new coach regime alienation + poor 2008/2009 win/loss performance

2 - departure of DC and LB coach in sequential years,

So in a perfect world there never would have been a drop off in recruiting and keeping talent and then developing that talent.  Clearly the Head Coach is hired to solve these items and manage them.

The value in discussing these things is multifaceted.  It gives people a place to focus their emotions.  It does provide some indication that Rich Rodriguez and staff are not completely incompetent and thus their resume built on sheer luck.

But in the scheme of things, we're not going to decide how many years the coach gets. The players are going to play the way they play, in general they want to win I would think.

What we get to do is watch.  We can bitch or cheer, that choice is ours.


October 18th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

Since that was really long I'm just going to assume you said everyone on the d-line becomes Brandon Graham and everyone in the secondary becomes Charles Woodson.  Acceptable.

(seriously though, facinating post, thanks).


October 18th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

The first guy who comes to mind for Greg Banks is Rondell Biggs (Will Paul seemed like more of just a thumping DT who shuffled between that spot and FB). Obviously, Biggs played on a FAR better defense, but they seem similar overall.

And there's an easy one for James Rogers: Doug Dutch, who spent most of his career at receiver and never did much of note after switching to cornerback.


October 18th, 2010 at 7:51 PM ^

I did think about Dutch for Rogers, because of the position switch. But Dutch was a speedster; Rogers is never going to look like that. Dutch should have been a cornerback from day one, and would have taken a long time to "get" the position. Rogers is a different kind of player. He's smart but not intuitive, and he is very limited by his physical gifts, or lack thereof. Dutch had the gifts, not the head.

03 Blue 07

October 18th, 2010 at 8:30 PM ^

I seem to recall Dutch as a high 4 star from DC, who was supposedly quick but not a burner, which I think is a little different than Rogers- Rogers seems to have decent straight-line speed, but lacks the shiftiness/quickness/change of direction. I remember Dutch being one of our first big recruits in that class, coming out as a WR, and being all stoked about him, but then him actually being 5'11 and 185 (as opposed to 6'1 and 190, which he supposedly was. . . as a 17 year old), and him generally never living up to the hype. I feel like he was a higher-rated recruit than JR. Although, obviously, this is all from memory, and we're talking what- 6 years ago when Dutch signed?


October 18th, 2010 at 10:11 PM ^

have the straight line speed, he's plenty fast.  If I recall, I'm pretty sure that he won the Skillet Award at Michigan football camp.  He looks slow on the field because he's unable to flip his hips and run with WRs stride for stride.  It doesn't matter how fast you are but if you can't flip your hips to run with WRs, you will not catch up to the WRs.

To say that he's limited athletically is wrong.


October 18th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

to your impressive encyclopedic brain. 

I remember almost none of those guys, which I guess is the point - most of our current starters would be obscure bench-riders in just about any other year.

Thank you for the very graphic reminder of just how talent-thin we are at the moment, and here's hoping that time will heal our wounds.


October 18th, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

Will Paul looks a lot like Brendan Gibbons. Could it be the number? Maybe if Gibbons did put on that much weight he could kick better. Anything is worth a shot at this point.


October 18th, 2010 at 7:14 PM ^

Stewart was thrust into playing time in '07 after Johnny Sears was a primary HORROR culprit, and before Morgan Trent appeared.


I believe the appearance you're after was not Trent (who was, after all, a returning starter) but Donovan Warren.


October 18th, 2010 at 7:40 PM ^

When your defensive recruiting absorbs unrelenting attrition for going on 6 years--which you've so ably described in the past---this is what you get for a two-deep.

I actually like the potential of most of the youth we have on the current two deep, but just about everyone should be redshirting under normal circumstances. So many guys on the field two years before being ready to wear.

Good stuff. Might have been nice to break this up into parts, its a lot to absorb. But i loved the historic element. I wont lie. Some of the names were hard for me to remember.

Can we get a fun offensive depth chart one at some point?


October 19th, 2010 at 9:37 AM ^

Written by Fred Jackson? Because I hear that Denard is the combination of Chad Henne's Arm (only more accurate), Desmond Howard's Legs (only faster and shiftier), Mike Hart's ball security (only more securitier) etc. etc.


October 18th, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

Shows promise 2 years down the line.  Unfortunately we have to wait those 2 years.  2012 Michigan's defense should be pretty rockin'.  Heck, next year things will be good... but man this year is gonna be painful.


October 18th, 2010 at 10:54 PM ^

All of the defensive linemen on the Two Deep except J. Black will be gone by 2012.  Who's going to replace them (and are they on the roster now).  I guess that Will Campbell will be one guy.  Anybody else?  I think that the team is really missing DaQuinta Jones and Pearlie Graves right about now.

I'm sort of worried about the defense going forward.  There will be a ton of people in the secondary with experience but not much depth at DL or LB.


October 18th, 2010 at 8:13 PM ^

Love the work. It's nice to think about some of the growing pains these individuals had rather than watch a whole field of growing pains like last Saturday. (Growing Pains, the sitcom, OTOH, rules always anywhere).


October 18th, 2010 at 8:35 PM ^

What I don't get and I am new to this board but Rich should have not kepted Greg Robinson.  I know that Jeff Casteel wanted to stay at West Virginia and everybody looks at how Jeff Casteel runs the 3-3-5 but Casteel didn't not invent the Defense.  Rich should have hired the guy who invented the 3-3-5 and that was JOE LEE DUNN to be Michigans defense cordinator.  Rich invented the Spread option wouldn't have been better if he hired the guy who invented the 3-3-5?  Joe Lee Dunn is the most feared Defense cordinators in all of college football and if you google Joe Lee Dunn talk about the 3-3-5 you would understand why Rich likes that Defense. 


October 18th, 2010 at 9:12 PM ^

career seems to have flamed out.  He may have invented the 3-3-5, but he seems unable to adapt it to keep up with current offenses.  His defenses would be great for a couple years, but then collapsed as opposing offenses adapted.

Joe's been bouncing down to lower and lower levels throughout the last decade, currently at a Div III school.  I don't think he's the solution to our current defensive problems.


October 18th, 2010 at 8:44 PM ^

I think this is an interesting exercise, and I want to thank Misopogon for putting in the time to think through this.  However, it seems that his ratings are too pessimistic (especially in the secondary), given the UFR-equivalent definition he chose for each star and Brian's defensive UFRs.

As a rough approximation I assumed an 80-20 playing time split between starters and backups, and I counted Ezeh as the starter.  Using a 70-30 or 60-40 split wouldn't change things much.  Based on the definition of -2 for a one star to +2 for a five star every four plays, we should expect the following totals for each unit:

DL: +0.8 per four plays

LB: -1.6 per four plays

DB: -5.4 per four plays.

Total: -6.2 per four plays

If we add up Brian's UFR ratings, we get the following:

  DL LB DB Overall
U Conn 14 3 7 24
ND 13 21 -11 23
U Mass 29.5 -14.5 -8 7
BGSU 10 16 2 28
Indiana 32 3 -20.5 14.5
MSU 8 8.5 -9.5 7
Total 106.5 37 -40 103.5
Total 2 (Iowa = MSU) 114.5 45.5 -49.5 110.5
Total / 4 Plays 0.98 0.34 -0.37 0.95
Total 2 / 4 Plays 0.92 0.37 -0.40 0.89

Because Brian hasn't done the Iowa game yet, the first total ignores it, and the second total assumes it'll be the same as the MSU rating (imperfect, but the best I could do).  Our defense has faced 496 plays (436 if you don't count Iowa).

As you can see, our DL has performed in line with your ratings, but our LBs and DBs have done much better.  The DB rating is clearly an order of magnitude too negative.  Averaging -5.4 per four plays means that in a 60 play game they should have a total UFR of -81.... four times worse than the Chappel-bombing.

Now, we could instead ask whether the stars are fine in a relative sense, but that the pluses and minuses associated are too extreme.  I think that is part of it, but on the other hand according to Brian's UFRs the LBs have been a net positive, as has the team, and the DBs have been half as negative as the DLs have been positive.  By contrast in Misopogon's ratings the LBs are rated as negatives, and the DBs are rated as almost 7 times more negative than the DLs are positive.  Again, this suggests that the linebackers and (especially) the defensive backs aren't as bad as Misopogon's ratings would suggest.


October 18th, 2010 at 8:52 PM ^

Have you watched this secondary? If anything Mispogon is giving them too much credit. I think you're thinking about this too analytically with the whole seven times negative thing, but the fact is the UFR is inexact, Mispogon's definition of stars is inexact and this secondary is not good at all. Which ratings do you oppose?


October 18th, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

Oh, I absolutely agree that the secondary is quite bad, and I grant that the UFR is inexact.  However, Misopogon's two benchmarks for the star ratings were a UFR-equivalent (which I was speaking too), and qualitative adjectives like "all Big Ten".  The player analogues are probably the most useful in terms of benchmarking a player's ability, though I must admit my familiarity with historical players isn't good enough to assess their validity.

I guess the issue I was grappling with is that we have not just one weak player, but several, and the UFR statistic seemed the best way to think about how all the players might fit together.  We all know that the d-line has been pretty good, the linebackers have been up and down, and the defensive backs have been pretty terrible.  My point was not to dispute that, or to trash Misopogon's ratings (which I quite enjoyed reading) - I just wanted to suggest that the defensive backs are bad but not "commit a huge blunder every three or four plays" bad.


October 19th, 2010 at 8:16 AM ^

Fantastic work!

What I was trying to do was normalize the negs. In a game, there are going to be a lot more chances for the D-Line to earn positives or negatives.

Remember, though, the starters are going to be wracking up most of the numbers. So after 16 plays, the LBs will finish even, after 12 the D-Line is +1, and in 16 plays the DBs are a net -5. I see what you mean. Perhaps Banks and Sagesse need upgrading to 3? That would give us a "perfect" game (where every player is hit 4 times) of:

DL: +3 (12 plays)

LBs: +0 (16 plays)

DBs: -5 (16 plays)

It would seem to me the DL's low numbers are based mostly in them having much fewer trials than normal. If we go to 36 plays, they're a net +9. Hmmmm.


October 18th, 2010 at 8:50 PM ^

I've seen the players that you feel they compare to now, but it's a little unfair to the freshman starters (redshirt or not). I would like to see what you feel these very green players could become.

For instance, the way that Floyd was playing the run this week reminded me of Warren. I have seen a lot of growth in that young player this year.

I also think Vinopal will be much better than projections. He was a true two-way player in HS, and a very good DB. His instincts will show, once he gets the chance.

I would like to see you do this for the O as well. Very cool...


October 18th, 2010 at 8:51 PM ^

That Alan Branch picture is one of maybe three things that could have cheered me up about Michigan football. Thank you.

Good work. My girlfriend is annoyed with me for laughing out loud repeatedly while reading this post (in a coffee shop while she does work).


October 18th, 2010 at 9:53 PM ^

I think Demens will be better than what you gave him credit for.  We should only play maybe 5 spread teams (not talking about MAC/FCS teams which will be so bad it shouldn't matter) in his carreer.  IU, and ND are going to be the only teams we'll regularly face that play spread, and we've beaten them already two years in a row.  I don't see him being a bad player if his only weakness is an offensive scheme we're not likely to see a lot of.