2008 vs. 2009 - By The Numbers

Submitted by heckdchi on November 9th, 2009 at 5:20 PM
This entry will list the raw numbers of Michigan's 2008 season versus the 2009 season thus far to demonstrate where the team has and has not improved in the Rich Rodriguez era.  All stats are from mgoblue.com.

OFFENSE (first number is 2008, second number is 2009)
  • Points per game: 20.2 to 32 = +12
  • Rushing yards per game: 147.6 to 208.3 = +61
  • Yards per carry: 3.9 to 4.8 = +0.9
  • Passing yards per game: 143.2 to 195.7 = +52
  • Yards per pass attempt: 5.1 to 7.6 = +2.5
  • Yards per completion: 10.4 to 13.7 = +3.3
  • Yards per play: 4,4 to 5.9 = +1.5
  • Yards per game: 290.8 to 404 = +113
  • Total Turnovers: 30 to 22 = -8
  • 3rd down conversions: 27% to 41% = +14%
  • Sacks against: 22 to 23 = -1
  • Total touchdowns: 31 to 42 = +11

DEFENSE (first number is 2008, second number is 2009)

  • Points per game: 28.9 to 26.4 = -2.5
  • Rushing yards per game: 137 to 158.3 = +21
  • Yards per carry: 3.6 to 4.3 = +0.7
  • Passing yards per game: 230 to 235 = +5
  • Yards per pass attempt: 7.4 to 7.3 = -0.1
  • Yards per completion: 12.8 to 12.1 = -0.7
  • Yards per play: 5.3 to 5.7 = +0.4
  • Yards per game: 367 to 393.3 = +26.3
  • Total Turnovers: 20 to 13 = -7
  • 3rd down conversions: 39% to 37% = -2%
  • Sacks: 29 to 17 = -12
  • Total touchdowns: 42 to 30 = -12

Based on this pure statistical break down the offense has made significant improvement while the defense has mostly regressed. 

My personal opinion:

  • While not unexpected, I think the improvement of the offense is pretty remarkable considering it has occured with two true freshman quarterbacks taking ALL of the significant snaps.
  • Presumably, the mental mistakes will decrease over time (es[ecially the quarterbacks since they are the only offensive players in year one of this system) and the offense will continue to improve.
  • The future of the offense is bright: both QBs back next year along with a heralded recruit, Shaw and Smith back at RB, all WRs back but for Matthews and Savoy, all TEs back, and almost all of the OL 2 deep returns.
  • The defense is in some ways a mystery (veteran linebackers that seem to be getting worse) and in other ways not at all surprising (two walk ons playing significant snaps/occasionally starting and the overall attrition picture, see: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/decimated-defense and http://mgoblog.com/diaries/decimated-defense-part-ii-statisticating )
  • Next year's defense could be some what better with a potential line up of: DEs Van Bergen and Roh, DTs Martin and Campbell, LBs Mouton, Fitzgerald, ?, CBs Warren and Turner, Safeties Woolfolk and Emilien.
  • Part of my hope for the defense's future is stability in the coordinator that MAY lead to more consistent play and fewer massive mistakes.
  • Even if the defense gets better, the depth chart still seems scary thin.  I don't know who the back ups will be at most spots other than next year's freshmen and freshmen who redshirted this year (some of whom may start next year).
  • Best case scenario: the offense is on its way to being a consistent beast and the defense is as well but a year or even two behind.




November 10th, 2009 at 11:02 AM ^

Against FBS teams scoring defense is unchanged. Against the Big Ten, and the Big Ten + ND, scoring defense has a slight improvement. In rematch games so far, the defense shows a dramatic improvement, while the offense remained unchanged. Actually in rematches, GERG is doing better than RR/Magee.


November 9th, 2009 at 5:57 PM ^

1. Is this all of 08 vs 09 to now? What happens if we remove the high lows and compare equal number of games?

2. What happens to offense if we removeDelaware State?


November 9th, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

The offensive numbers look pretty good at first glance. However, I'm not exactly sure that it's fair/balanced to include the Delaware State stats.

I reviewed the points scored against common opponents between 2008 and 2009 and this team has scored fewer points against all teams except ND.

2008 points first, 2009 points second.....

ND 17 38 (+21)
IL 20 13 (-7)
PSU 17 10 (-7)
MSU 21 20 (-1)
Pur 42 36 (-6)
Wisc 27 ?
OSU 7 ?

I'll go out on a limb and predict that they don't put up 27 against Wisky this weekend. Who knows what will happen against OSU.

I think we're all a little happier with the 2009 version of the offense (if for no other reason than the QB provides hope) but it looks to me like the improvement is fairly marginal.


November 9th, 2009 at 6:14 PM ^

Points scored is only one aspect of offensive performance. Also, how much of a factor should we place on turnovers? Points scored vs. PSU and Illinois were definately negatively impacted by TOs. Yards-per-play is an eye opener as is plays-per-possession. Also 3rd and 4th down conversion rates.


November 9th, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

Obviously any discussion of how potent an offense is must include points scored, but if that is all that's being considered, large chunks of meaningful information is being deliberately ignored. I suppose a drive that goes 3 plays for -8 yards is the same as a 10 play, 70 yard drive that ends in a blocked field goal, right?

There are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Rodriguez for; lack of offensive improvement is not one of them. Against the first 6 Big Ten opponents faced in 2008 (apparently Dewey has a hard on for that subset) , the offense had 40 drives that went 3 and out or worse; in 2009 the offense has done that 31 times. That's a fluke, right? And yes, drives stopped by the clock were excluded. There I go over un-simplifying things again.

If you guys want to be simpletons, that's your prerogative.

Dammit! Urge resistance FAIL!


November 10th, 2009 at 8:31 AM ^

Actually what I have a hard on for is wins. That is why in my world scoreboard matters most. That being said, if there has been a 22% decrease in 3 and outs against the Big Ten so far this year, that is great. Has it translated into more wins though? Not in the Big Ten so far. That is where stats like that go soft for me. Also, the Sagarin rating for our Big Ten schedule so far is lower than last year, so is that 22% better or worse than expected? Granular stats like that can turn into hair splitting.


November 10th, 2009 at 11:17 AM ^

I’ve got an analogy for you. It might be over your head given your previous comments but, whatever.

This is an investment decision-sell or hold? Now, unfortunately the company has significant problems and is not turning a profit right now. The cursory logic you’re using in terms of the offense is, “screw it they aren’t making any more revenue (offense) than they did last year…SELL!” The over un-simplified and granular inspection I’m using shows “they are not making more revenues, but the transactions are more effective, consistent, and dependable…HOLD.”

I never said points don’t matter. I said the offense is more sound (better) and to comprehend that you need to go beyond points scored. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Frankly, I don’t care what you do.

Winning depends on more than just how many points you score, but that discussion will probably be too over un-simple for your taste.


November 10th, 2009 at 3:10 PM ^


Why the put downs? I am actually enjoying the conversation part of this back and forth and your analogy is very apt, but please stop with the angry insults.

That being said, I was too smug in my "how they determine winners and losers..." post so I apologize.

Anyway, I never said sell. You have been reading that into my posts and I can't blame you, but I am not of the FIRE RR crowd. I know he will be here next year and I want him here next year.

As far as I can tell on this board, there are true believers, there are heretics, and there are agnostics. I am an agnostic. I am not trying to argue that he should be out, I am trying to argue that it is very hard to find positives so far. I think that that is pretty self evident and also the reason for so much rancor. What to the true believers are explanations quickly become excuses to everybody else.

You are correct with what your analogy implies - to improve scoring offense they first must improve X, Y, and Z, and there are instances where they have. I bet that you would agree though that that is small consolation and that it wouldn't matter at all had they beat Illinois and Purdue.

Let me ask you this. In the rematches, the defense has gone from 42 ppg to 34 ppg - an improvement. The offense has gone from 23 ppg to 23 ppg - static. What does that mean to you?


November 10th, 2009 at 8:05 PM ^

I am not angry. You lack the personal significance to me needed to do that.

I am not insulting you; I am restating your basic opinion, that points scored or allowed is all that matters, back to you in your own language (and/or that of your co-signers). Maybe there is a reason that offends you. Anyway, you seem to have backed off of that position so I’ll back off.

I never accused you of being a “seller” of Rich Rodriguez; though I must admit you have me fooled. You are selling the notion that the offense has materially improved from last year, but can only support that notion by saying, “they aren’t scoring more points” or “it hasn’t translated into wins.” The implication is that you see no improvement from year 1 to year 2 (even though there has been). Now you are saying that you want him back next year…wha??? I love to hear you reconcile that series of thoughts.

To answer your question, the phenomena you point out in regards to your pet statistic (points scored vs. Big Ten opponents) means that there is more to the offensive and defensive performances than is indicated by the final points scored and allowed, especially when averaged. This is exactly what I have been saying. Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, the defense has allowed less points because the offense has been more consistent and steady this year (more recovery time, better field position, etc)? Whoops…there I go again.

Finally, I am not trying to say that the demonstrable improvement we’ve seen is consolation for a winning record; you’re imagining that. All I have said is that points scored are not the whole picture of offensive performance. If people want to discount objective factual and provable information as an excuse, so be it. I really don’t care. Really.

As I said previously, there are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Rodriguez for; lack of offensive improvement is not one of them. If that makes me baptized in the Rich Rod fountain of ultimate awsomeness, then all I have to say is...halleluiah!


November 9th, 2009 at 6:58 PM ^

I have been preaching this all day - when you look at the rematches, that is where we fare the worst. That is also the most important because it shows that the opposition did more to prepare for our offense. Among rematches, no progress. And three out of the five had lower Sagarin ratings than last year.

We can talk about 3rd downs and yards and everything else, but at the end of the day, all that matters is the scoreboard. Here is that compariosn, Delaware State not included.

What this reveals is that the defense isn't as much of a regression as everybody thinks, and the offense hasn't progressed as much either.

2008 Mich score opp score 2009 Mich score opp score
  UT 23 25 WMU 31 7
  Miami OH 16 6 ND 38 34
  ND 17 35 EMU 45 17
  Wisc 27 25 IU 36 33
  Ill 20 45 MSU 20 26
  Tol 10 13 IA 28 30
  PSU 17 46 PSU 10 35
  MSU 21 35 Ill 13 38
  Pur 42 48 Pur 36 38
  Minn 29 6      
  NW 14 21      
  tUoOS 7 42      
FBS avg   20 29   29 29
Big Ten avg   22 34   24 33
Big Ten + ND avg   22 34   26 33
Rematch avg   23 42   23 34


November 9th, 2009 at 7:02 PM ^

You really need to ignore the Delaware State game and not include it in your comparison.

Delaware State was so vastly inferior to Michigan that counting the stats makes no sense. Its like counting the stats of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and a community college baseball team from Battle Creek, MI.

The bottom line stat is wins/losses. That's the main focus. That's why football is played.

But the post by raleighwood is wild. I never thought to look at common opponents from the past 2 seasons. All Big Ten games we are actually scoring less points than last season. That, my friends, is not progress.


November 9th, 2009 at 7:15 PM ^

Looking at the stats is obviously just one view. Marginal improvment yea, yea whatever. This has been pointed out by many comments below.

But seriously guys, this offense often looks down right bad, or like a well-oiled machine. Last year was a fucking struggle to even watch the games. This year's offense has been impressive in many situations, but still takes massive "I'm a freshman run unit" shits. To try and say that there is minimal improvement based on the stats is garbage.

Tell me one game where you were impressed with the offense last year? Maybe first half against a Penn St. team half asleep? Lucky that Wisky made major mistakes against us (basically doing what we've done the last 2 games)? A horrible Minny defense who couldn't stop simple bubble screen after bubble screen?

This offense is a lot better stats aside. And Sagrin ratings are whatever, you can say what you want but all of these teams we've played have been competing for their post-season birth just as we are. It's a dogfight out there every week.


November 9th, 2009 at 7:29 PM ^

more than cancel out the additional TD's scored and fewer turnovers committed by the offense.

Now we can only wonder how different Michigan's season might have progressed had it not blasted a magnificently sized hole in it's own foot.

Probably not evident in the stats, but Michigan's defense has been a universal donor when it comes to big plays all season long this year.


November 9th, 2009 at 9:10 PM ^

you can throw out whatever stats you want,but if you cant see how much better this offense is compared to last year then I dont know what game you are watching. Last season was painfull to watch that offense. Yes this offense stutters from time to time but come on!! Atleast this season I dont have to do a shot every time I watch the offense come out onto the field like last year. let me guess,you dont think the offense will be any better next season either right??


November 9th, 2009 at 10:42 PM ^

Reminder: Many were disappointed in Chad Henne's sophomore campaign.

Does anyone know whether prior GERG defenses blitzed as much? We've been burned a number of times on all out blitzes. But if you're GERG, what do you do? Play it self and let the other team pick your inferior talent apart? Or do you risk rolling the dice with the all out blitz, knowing full well that a big play may result, but heck, better to die one death than a thousand.


November 10th, 2009 at 10:25 AM ^

GERG is taking the opposite approach that Shaffer took while dealing with the same roster deficiencies. Shaffer played the same base defense and let teams continually pick the defense apart (see 20 or 21 catches by the Toledo WR). I commend GERG for at least mixing things up and forcing the opponents offense to adjust on a play-by-play basis. The results aren't pretty right now, but at least he isn't just sitting back and letting the inevitable happen.

Things aren't going to get materially better until there is defensive depth. consistency in the coaching staff will assist in recruiting and the players learning the defensive schemes. the GERG experiment needs at least two more years.

double blue

November 10th, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

we can look at all the statistics we want, but in truth i think it comes down to the goal line stance at illinois. Until then we had lost a squeaker at MSU which bothered us all but we accepted. A 2 point loss to Iowa with a Tate concussion was also accepted (not necessarily meaning acceptable when i say accepted). PSU we were nowhere to be found, but again given the age of the team and we were still 5-3 i think the rage was subdued. Illinois we had beat until that stance - if roundtree scores i firmly believe that we win that game and the purdue game - because the purdue game, imho, turned on the onside kick/bomb td. that deflated the team like the goal line stance- it was a memory stick that got pushed into all the player's head slots.

So no goal line stance i think we are 7-3 thinking optimistically about winning one of the last 2 and being 8-4- everything is happy in rodville.

That did not happen and our team (and our fandom) is in the emotional/psychological shitter with a 5-5 record and a pestimistic outlook of thinking there's too great a chance we end up at 5-7.

And when looking at those statistics and the season i can't help but think where this team would be with a 100% healthy minor. defense be damned i think we are 7-3 maybe better.

Mole Man 78

November 14th, 2009 at 8:46 AM ^

The statistic that is most troubling is the points scored in the second half. PSU 0; ILL 0, PU 6. Penn State is a first rate defense that is understandable. But Illinois and Purdue are glorified High School teams, that completely shut Michigan down in the second half. The other defensive Coordinators are adjusting, Rich Rod is not. The spread FAD is dying.