Hoke's 2011 benchmark = ND 2010

Submitted by West Texas Blue on January 12th, 2011 at 11:08 AM

With a new coach for Michigan for the 2011 season, so like any reasonable Michigan fan (who am I kidding; we all are unreasonable), I had to figure out my expectations for Hoke's first year.  Although our situation is still fluid (might have some transfers and still don't know DC and some position coaches), I think there is enough data for us to build a benchmark for Hoke to reach in his first year.  Looking at where we stand, I think the perfect benchmark for our 2011 season will be Notre Dame's 2010 season.  Let's breakdown the comparisions:

1) New coaches with different offensive philosophies - ND in 2009 was a pro-style offense with Weis, and ND in 2010 switched to a spread offense with Kelley.  Michigan in 2010 was a spread offense with Rod, and it looks we'll be switching to a West Coast offense with a power run game.  So both teams within first year of new coach had/will have radical change in the offense and philosophy.

2) Different defensive philosphies - ND in 2009 ran a 4-3 defense under Tenuta, and ND in 2010 ran a 3-4 defense under Diaco.  Michigan in 2010 ran a 3-3-5 defense under GERG, and it looks like we'll be switching to a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.  This is an assumption, but with the style of play common in the Big 10, I doubt Hoke will have a 3-3-5 defense and most likely will run a 4-3 or 3-4 (my guess is 4-3 since our DL is much better than our LBs). 

3) Returning number of starters.  In 2009, ND had 17 returning starters.  In 2010, they had 15 returning starters.  The key loss for them was Jimmy Clausen; Dayne Christ had minimal experience while playing garbage time in 2008.  In 2010, Michigan had 15 returning starters, and barring any attrition, Michigan will have 20 returning starters for 2011.  Michigan won't have a key loss if Denard stays.  Michigan should benefit with so many starters and experience returning.

So comparing the situations, both teams had/will have completely different offensive and defensive philosphies, and the number of returning starters decreased a little for ND but increased quite a bit for Michigan.  So next I thought I'd look at stats.

ND 2009
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 32

Total Defense - 86
Scoring Defense - 63

ND 2010
Total Offense - 61
Scoring Offense - 67

Total Defense - 50
Scoring Defense - 23

Analyzing the situation, the offense clearly dropped quite a bit but the defense actually improved quite well.  Kelly lost Crist for most of the season and had to play an assortment of freshmen QBs, and plus with a new offensive system, it was reasonable to see a drop off in offensive production.  On the D side of the ball, the switch to the 3-4 really paid off for ND as they really improved over the course of the season.  Let's look at Michigan this year and analyze from there:

Michigan 2010
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 25

Total Defense - 110
Scoring Defense - 108

With the offense, I'm sure everyone is expecting a drop since we'll be implementing a new system that's more conservative than the spread-n-shred.  For the D (ouch it hurts looking at those numbers), Hoke is defense first coach and will be focusing the most here, and plus a switch to a more conventional 4-3 (or possible 3-4) defense should help but we're still 2 years away from being an above average defense.  Aiming for 60-70s range is reasonable.

Conclusions

In 2009, ND finished 6-6 despite a highly prolific offense.  The defense was beyond terrible and ended Weis' career at ND.  In 2010, ND finished 8-5, beating a decent Miami team in the Sun Bowl.  ND started slowly in 2010 but finished off very strong.  The offense dropped off but within another year or two I expect Kelly to have the offense humming at a very high level.  Diaco did a good job with ND's defense in 2010 and should do well in the future.  Looking at ND's recruiting class, their first year under Kelly is pretty good.  Rivals has them ranked #18 in the nation; ND has done well in addressing their needs, especially in the trenches (ND was ranked #14 by Rivals in 2009).  They lost some good commitments during their mid season swoon but have recovered nicely.

Benchmark for 2011 for Michigan:

Record = 8-5

Recruiting class = Top 20

With the amount of starters and experience that we have coming back, a losing season will be a huge disappointment.  Yes, there will be changes in offensive and defensive philosophy, but ND underwent similiar changes as us and produced a solid season in 2010.  Kelly was also able to maintain good recruiting and I expect it to improve in the following years to come.  Michigan's 2010 class is decimated and Hoke will have to work hard to maintain our current commits and add a few, but in 2011 the Midwest will have a very strong talent pool (especially in the trenches), and if Hoke is to live up to his billing of an excellent recruiter, he must pull in a top 20 class that addresses needs for QB, RBs, LBs, DL, and OL.  ND 2010 set the mark for us in 2011, and it's upto to Hoke to reach this benchmark.  If he fails to do so, I fear Michigan is going to be in bad shape for many years to come.

Comments

Ziff72

January 12th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

We return 20 starters and our schedule is a joke.  7-5 is not going to cut it.   Brandon already told Denard they will be working in the spread.

Cope

January 12th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

Not with you, but with the ranking system.

We call it the 8th ranked offense if it scores the eighth best average of points against whatever competition it had that year.

That's regardless of competition, regardless of how the offense performed at different points of the game, or more importantly, regardless of how the team performed against difficult competition.

IMO, no matter how many points a team racks up against inferior competition, an offense's ability, and therefore rank, should be based also, if not primarily, no how well it performs against top-level competition.

Without intending any slight to this year's explosive offense (and it was impressive), the ranking statistics shouldn't bear all weight. Much as a highly respected quarterback's regard isn't determined by his statistics as much as his ability to win games, so a team's offensive respect should be also based on the ability to score in the clutch to win games and score against top teams like OSU and Miss St (which we did against Wisconsin) and not just on statistics.

I am not saying our offense wasn't phenomenal this year. I just take a little issue with the weight we put on rankings. 

Cope

January 12th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

Not with you, but with the ranking system.

We call it the 8th ranked offense if it scores the eighth best average of points against whatever competition it had that year.

That's regardless of competition, regardless of how the offense performed at different points of the game, or more importantly, regardless of how the team performed against difficult competition.

IMO, no matter how many points a team racks up against inferior competition, an offense's ability, and therefore rank, should be based also, if not primarily, no how well it performs against top-level competition.

Without intending any slight to this year's explosive offense (and it was impressive), the ranking statistics shouldn't bear all weight. Much as a highly respected quarterback's regard isn't determined by his statistics as much as his ability to win games, so a team's offensive respect should be also based on the ability to score in the clutch to win games and score against top teams like OSU and Miss St (which we did against Wisconsin) and not just on statistics.

I am not saying our offense wasn't phenomenal this year. I just take a little issue with the weight we put on rankings. 

Cope

January 12th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

Not with you, but with the ranking system.

We call it the 8th ranked offense if it scores the eighth best average of points against whatever competition it had that year.

That's regardless of competition, regardless of how the offense performed at different points of the game, or more importantly, regardless of how the team performed against difficult competition.

IMO, no matter how many points a team racks up against inferior competition, an offense's ability, and therefore rank, should be based also, if not primarily, on how well it performs against top-level competition.

Without intending any slight to this year's explosive offense (and it was impressive), the ranking statistics shouldn't bear all weight. Much as a highly respected quarterback's regard isn't determined by his statistics as much as his ability to win games, so a team's offensive respect should be also based on the ability to score in the clutch to win games and score against top teams like OSU and Miss St (which we did against Wisconsin) and not just on statistics.

I am not saying our offense wasn't phenomenal this year. I just take a little issue with the weight we put on rankings. 

Cope

January 12th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

Not with you, but with the ranking system.

We call it the 8th ranked offense if it scores the eighth best average of points against whatever competition it had that year.

That's regardless of competition, regardless of how the offense performed at different points of the game, or more importantly, regardless of how the team performed against difficult competition.

IMO, no matter how many points a team racks up against inferior competition, an offense's ability, and therefore rank, should be based also, if not primarily, on how well it performs against top-level competition.

Without intending any slight to this year's explosive offense (and it was impressive), the ranking statistics shouldn't bear all weight. Much as a highly respected quarterback's regard isn't determined by his statistics as much as his ability to win games, so a team's offensive respect should be also based on the ability to score in the clutch to win games and score against top teams like OSU and Miss St (which we did against Wisconsin) and not just on statistics.

I am not saying our offense wasn't phenomenal this year. I just take a little issue with the weight we put on rankings. 

MoonlightGraham

January 12th, 2011 at 12:23 PM ^

Suggest either changing back to the original MGoBlog banner now, or shift to something better for the MBrand. The CC'11 banners were awesome but now I think it's time to get behind our coach and not make him look like an idiot alongside Chuck and kittens while we continue the usual pos/neg discourse. 

AnthonyThomas

January 12th, 2011 at 3:39 PM ^

I doubt Hoke will go straight to a pro-style, especially I-formation looks. Chryst is a dual-threat QB. Putting him into a spread automatically enhances his skill set. Putting Denard under center with two backs behind him won't utilize his skill set. Hoke likely (more like definitely) realizes this.

Blue in Seattle

January 12th, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

And the discussion can only involve history of Hoke's records, etc. until the Spring Game.  So until then I'm hoping for more BBall content driving to the forefront.

whether the press conference was contrived or not, I felt like I was watching the clone of Bo talking at that podium.  Until the Spring Game I will be comforted by these thoughts, and there really isn't any point in trying to make myself feel negative until the next data point.

jmblue

January 12th, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

I don't know how applicable this comparison is.  Remember, after 2009 ND lost Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate.  Even if Weis had stayed, they almost certainly would have fared worse offensively in 2010.

Maize and Blue…

January 12th, 2011 at 6:36 PM ^

They missed Michael Floyd for at least half the season.  Floyd is far superior to Gloden Tate.  Randolph and the other returners back with another years experience.  The only major change would be at QB where he lost an experienced 5 star sissy for an inexperienced tough 5 star (Jimmah would have never came back in against us).

Even with the coaching switch to BK the philosophy didn't change much as they still lined up 3 wide in shot gun and threw the ball all over the place with Charlie Tuna.

Dewnya

January 12th, 2011 at 6:15 PM ^

Hoke will rise to the challenge and (fingers crossed) beat Ohio State. I definitely think that our rivalry games need to be a benchmark as well, OSU and MSU.