Defensive Adjustments By The Quarter

Submitted by brewandbluesaturdays on July 15th, 2011 at 10:54 AM

So, with the offseason,we all know comes plenty of time to ponder and think about the teams successes and short comings from last year and what next year will hold for us. Obviously everyone's biggest concern is the defense. In my homeristic mind, I want to believe the defense will be substantially better this season due to the changes on the coaching staff. Judging the skill of a coach in my mind, greatly depends on his ability to gameplan and make in-game adjustments. To some how quantify this, as our biggest problem last year, would a help provide me the assurance that our talent wasn't as bad as I know it to be, but rather GERG and his ineptitude to run a 3-3-5 and make adjustments. So what I did was break down the games last year into PTS Allowed per quarter, or to sound smart PAPQ

Obviously with a new DC, I wanted to see what his team looked like from the previous year on the same premise with PAPQ. I understand it's tough to compare and contrast NCAA to NFL, but what the hell, it's the offseason AMIRITE?


  1st qtr 2nd qtr 3rd qtr 4th qtr
UCONN 0 10 0 0
ND 14 7 0 7
Mass 3 14 0 20
BG 0 14 7 0
IU 7 14 7 7
MSU 0 17 14 3
IOWA 7 14 7 10
PENN ST. 14 14 10 3
ILLINOIS 6 25 0 14
PURDUE 3 10 3 0
WISCY 7 17 7 17
OSU 0 24 13 0
MISS ST. 10 21 14 7
Avg PTS. Allowed 5.5 15.5 6.3 6.7

Baltimore Ravens:

  1st qtr 2nd qtr 3rd qtr 4th qtr
JETS 3 3 0 3
PITT 7 0 0 7
DENVER 0 7 0 10
NEW ENGLAND 7 0 3 10
BUFFALO 10 14 0 10
MIAMI 7 3 0 0
ATLANTA 0 10 3 13
CAROLINA 0 3 3 7
TAMPA BAY 0 3 0 7
PITT 0 0 3 10
HOUSTON 0 7 6 15
Avg PTS. Allowed 3.185 4.56 1.5 7.44

What sticks out you say? 

1.) The first thing that jumps out to me was, Holy 2nd quarter Batman... Only once during the season did we not give up at least double digit points in the second quarter. Our second worst quarter, was the 4th, which makes sense as it takes the 1st and 3rd quarters to see what defense are doing and adjust their offensive gameplan.

 2.) Ironically, the same can basically be said for the Ravens defense. With their 2 worst quarters being 4th and the 2nd respectively.  But, their 3rd quarter speaks volumes to me. Only allowing 1.5 points coming out of the locker room, yes please? 

3.) Mattison's defense had skill yo. I am a little scared that they were giving up more points in the 4th quarter than any other quarter, But, if we can go into the 4th quarter only having allowed around 10 points like the Ravens did, I think most of us can live with that.

4.) What this means... I am not too sure, other than that, by the second quarter teams had figured out how to attack the 3-3-5 and took it to us.  M only has 1 PAPQ less than 6.  Which, I collectively blame on the gameplan and ingame adjustments. In comparison the Ravens also never had a PAPQ above 7.4

Is Mattison a better DC than GERG, I believe we all collectively believe that he is, and it looks like his gameplans and in-game adjustments exceed what GERG was able to do last season. How much of our problem was scheme and gameplan vs. talent deficencies? I think only time will tell.

I am no math whizz but thought it'd be it'd be an interesting topic to look at. So if you have any suggestions please, make them and I will work/edit this diary as suggestions come along to make it as informative and insightful as I possibly can. As always, Go blue.

Edit: realize I accidently put Michigan's box score in for IU during the initial post. Numbers have been reflected. First quarter slightly less bad, second quarter... GEESH...



July 15th, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

It would be interesting to compare the Raven's numbers with other NFL teams. I wonder if there is a general trend in the NFL of more points being scored in the 4th quarter (it always seems that way when I watch games). Defenses are more tired, offenses are taking more risks if they are behind, etc. If a similar trend of increased points allowed in the 4th quarter exists between many NFL teams (especially ones with good defenses last season), we shouldn't be as worried about that stat.


July 15th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

There are also rules difference in the 2nd and 4th quarter in the NFL.  The clock stops on out of bounds with 2 minutes left (IIRC) in the second quarter and 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  So you get some additional plays from that. 


July 15th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

I wasn't clear.  The clock restarts other than those two times:

  1. With the exception of the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half, the game clock will be restarted following a kickoff return, a player going out of bounds on a play from scrimmage, or after declined penalties when appropriate on the referee’s signal.


July 15th, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

I think another part of this equation is the fact that drives beginning in the 1st or 3rd quarters carry-over to the 2nd and 4th quarters.  Entering the 2nd and 4th quarters halfway into a drive gives the offense an opportunity to score earlier (and more often) in the quarter than when starting a drive (and quarter) with a kickoff.


July 15th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

The surprising thing would be if the 2nd and 4th quarters were not a teams two worst defensive quarters, wrt to scoring defense.


On M's 2nd quarter flops, I think opponents spent the first quarter deploying their general gameplan and found the one or two easiest ways to eat up massive yardage. Then, they spent the 2nd quarter just eating up the yardage while we were powerless to stop them.  RR/Gerg made some half time adjustments, and it was still bad but not as bad.

M2 in A2

July 15th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

Correct me if I am wrong but for the IU game I thought they only scored 35 points while your four quarter total has them at 42. Regardless, this post shows some interesting analysis.


July 15th, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Here is my take.  I believe it is a given that Mattison and his support staff is of a higher quality then GERG and his.  That all said I believe that coaching is a bit overrated.  Michigan's defense was inexperienced and undermaned.  In my opinion the explosions in the 2nd and 4th quarter were due to that.  Here is why.

If you are attempting to mask your team's defiencies by scheme it takes a couple series for the Ocoordinator to adjust and exploit the weakness's of the new scheme.  This happened a number of times to Michigan.  Michigan was less capable of adjusting to the counter adjustment of the offense because of so much inexperience, especially in the secondary.

Dline's usually require a two deep rotation to be effective.  Unless you have a massive clock possesion offense you have the choice of playing tired players or give the 2nd players a series or two in the 2nd quarter.  This issue became even more pronounced after Mike Martin had chronic ankle issues MSU game and later. 

I am of the opinion that if Mattison were the Dcoordinator last year and ran the defense of his choice, the defense would have stunk.  There are claims that UM ran a 3-3-5 because R^2 wanted to get fired.  I am of the opinion he knew he was doomed and had to panic.  UM was forced to scheme because there were not 4 functional down linemen on the entire team. 

We have a very interesting case study coming up this year.  We have a bomb in Campbell who totally failed his expectations.  If a coach who can teach really is important, we can expect to see Campbell not just be servicable, but dominant.  If Campbell sits deep in the depth chart, then it really does depend on the player.  If UM cannot turn around a player with one of the best Dcoordinators in college football and a head coach who was a former Dline coach, then he does not have it.

Campbell in my opinion is absolutely essential to end the 2nd and 4th quarter sieves.  Number one without him, you are limited on experimenting putting Martin on the edge.  Number two, Campbell gives UM 3 people to rotate at the tackle position.  Mattison has hope this year because Black should be good enough to man an end position.  You could go Black, RVH, Martin, Roh and do okay.  Then spell RVH and Martin with Campbell or even better start Campbell and float Martin around.  Maybe Ash will suprise, but I know nothing about him.

So between that and older players in the secondary, UM will do okay on defense next year.  The real square will be 2012 after Martin and RVH graduate.  If Campbell does not turn out, your looking at a very Weisien abyss.   With no Dtackles recruited last year and so far none really this year its like . . . . . .  oops.



July 16th, 2011 at 12:46 AM ^

I disagree with your coaching statement. "That all being said, coaching is a bit overrated" As inexperienced as our defense was this last year, they could have been monumentally better. Even with running the 3-3-5, this defense ahould have been twice as good as they were. Our players were consitently out of position to make plays from the start of plays. This is from interior allignment, all the way to how our corners positioned themselves to cover receivers. The defense got more stops from the other team making mistakes more than they made actuall stops. As sad as that was for me to type, it is a true statement.

GERG shouldn't be given the excuse about running a defense he wasn't accustomed to, because he should have learned about it the year before and had it down last year. There are many coaching clinics that he could have attended, or sent a subordinate to get more info on the defense. Or he could have just watched film, and determined what should have been done better. I haven't been truly impressed with a D-coordinator ever at Michigan.(Since I can remember truly paying attention. I know, '97! How much of that was talent?) But I have also never been truly underwhelmed with one either until the last two years!

I think that even if our talent level is terrible there are ways to coach around that. I truly belive that we will be better than most predict, mainly because we have competance in our defensive staff. Go Blue!

skunk bear

July 16th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

I also disagree about coaching not being that important. It is not an accident that the same coaches routinely do well.

To use Campbell as an exemplar is also misguided. What we don't know is how much Campbell wants it. The greatest coach ever can't get a player who wants to eat pizza and sit on the bench to do well. If Campbell is this kind of guy, it is hpoeless to try. If however Campbell excells, then you can chalk it up to coaching, because something had to make the difference.

Creedence Tapes

July 20th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

The only thing I want to add is that coaching is responsible for the talent on the team, so if you say we had no servicible defensive linemen, that is because the coach didn't recruit the right players, or developed the player in the system. The coach's priority was offense, and recruiting slot ninjas, so defensive recruiting suffered as a result. 


July 16th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

It probably won't change the overall data much, but the ND numbers aren't correct.  They scored seven points in the first quarter, none in the 2nd, 10 in the 3rd, and seven in the 4th.


July 16th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

 First off you have to look at the offenses they played against


New England

Pittsburgh X2

New orleans

Those are some really good offensive teams

Second NFL offensive cord. get paid to out think the Def. Cord. I don't think Michigan will be facing any offense that resembles any of these and Coach Mat won't be facing anything like the offensive co. he faced in the NFL. ( course he won't have nearly the same talent either).

 The defense will be ok next year (top 5 in the big ten, middle of the road nationally) for alot of reasons. The return of 2 Corners, proper coaching, a year older


July 17th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

The Raven's D gave up on average 7~8 points by the 4th Q came along according to this data.  So it makes sense that they gave up more points in 4Q since the opposing team will be going all out taking risks to score more points to win.


July 17th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

I don't know if you thought about doing this, but since we all agree that offenses are taking a bunch of risks to score points at the end of a game.  If you wanted to follow this up with a chart containing "Impact stats" such as sacks (interceptions and fumbles may be too random of events to also put in the chart).  We could see if there is an increase in these as well, because an offense risking more to gain more leaves itself quite open for negative plays.  It could be that Mattison's defense is making many of big plays, it just happened that the opposing offense is getting more chances and therefore scoring more.


July 18th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

At the end of last year, Michigan was playing a true freshmen at free saftey, a true freshmen at corner, a MAC player at the other corner, and two redshirt freshmen or true freshmen depending on the game at the strong safety and hybrid.  Compound that with a hobbled Mike Martin and no depth and this defense was going stink.  I'm not saying GERG was any good.  I really enjoyed some of the articles online pointing out the misallignment of our MLB's.  My point is even with the best of coaching this defense was going to stink last year.  You cannot have such short depth charts and be so young and have any success at winning.

Now I stated that in my opinion for UM to have any success beyond average, UM has to have depth aka a functioning Campbell or Washington.  Without either, UM is going to stink at defense again in my opinion.  Worse, in 2012 Martin and RVH graduate.  I still see no one tech tackles recruited yet this year and none were recruited last year.  Were going to find out in my opinion how important coaching is.  I'm not discouting it completely as folks have also mentioned on this board the suspicion that our former linebackers coach bordered on the incompetent.  We will know more in a couple years if Mounton is starting for San Diego.  That would be damning evidence that players were not properly developed.