More Visualization: Defensive UFRs

Submitted by Swayze Howell Sheen on October 21st, 2009 at 12:16 AM
OK, I have to admit: the silly thrill of having a diary bumped got me thinking about what other aspects of all the numbers Brian produces could be visualized. So, next up: the defensive UFR. Or, at least, some piece of it.

For each player, Brian assigns a plus/minus total, and thus, an opportunity for a simple visualization of each player's performance over the course of the year. Ignored for now: the pressure/coverage/tackling metrics. Just player performance, pure and simple.

So, you think this calls for a ... hmm ... graph?


A little explanation. Each game's defensive per-player ratings are shown. For a particular game (say, "Eastern"), each player's plus/minus is shown as a simple bar graph. Blue (to the right) shows a player's positive rating for the game, and Yellow (to the left) shows their negative rating. A single red dot shows the "net" rating for a player for a particular game (i.e., plus - minus); you want these to be right of the center axis!  Per Brian's charts (Western, Notre Dame, Eastern, Indiana, MSU, Iowa), the players are grouped into three sets: Defensive Line, Linebackers, and Defensive Backs. Finally, within each grouping, players are ordered by the total number of positive plays they have made on the year (somewhat arbitrarily).

I'm not going to do much/any analysis of the data, but some obvious things do stand out. First (no surprise), Graham is a beast. That MSU performance is ridiculous! Second, the D-Line is a strength of the D and seemingly getting better, which bodes well. Third, linebacker play: ouch. But nice to see Ezeh with a net positive (red dot to the right) in the Iowa game; Stevie Brown has also done reasonably. Finally, D-backs: also some ouch, particularly against ND and Indiana (Cissoko unfortunately a big part of that). Now if we could just get Williams to shore up a bit...

Anyhow, that's it. Not too fancy, but I think a nice way to look at Brian's overall player grading. Now I'm sure you want to give some ... feedback?


(you fill this part in, or not)



October 21st, 2009 at 12:36 AM ^

Maybe too ridiculous. He's obviously Michigan's best/and most polished defensive player but he grades out almost flawless...? Methinks that Brian loves him some 55 and maybe gives him a little more benefit of the doubt than others get. Don't get me wrong though, I loves me some 55 too.

Mouton is the anti Graham, but he does have his issues. The position he plays makes is mistakes cataclysmic especially when safety help isn't. Also, his inconsistency is maddening an maybe makes Brian ding him a touch harder than the others. Maybe he just hates snowmen...

Finally, cool chart.

Sextus Empiricus

October 21st, 2009 at 12:51 AM ^

To critique that would be silly. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Alright, here's the silliness: I can't see the dots very well - larger?; I'm concerned that we are 1/2 way through and already the graphs are very tiny for the Drupal relegated spacing; maybe you could present each position grouping with the players on the bottom and the games going up -this would put the "Schianographs" vertical - which is the preferred orientation; alternately you coud just rotate the graphs so they are vertical and increase the spacing player to player - that would allow a whole season's worth of info in one column.

This will be bumped no doubt.


October 21st, 2009 at 12:46 AM ^

The chart is sweet and easy to use so good job. That being said, is there any way you could also make a bar chart for each player's season totals and/or how each unit did collectively per game? You might need to scale them down a little to get them to fit but it would be cool to see the net statistics.


October 21st, 2009 at 12:49 AM ^

I like the Maize-n-Blue theme you have, but it's a bit hard to see the yellow on the white background... maybe you could consider red bars for the negatives - keeping in line with the color formatting of the hennecharts - (although you would then have to change the color of the dot for the net points).

this is just a minor suggestion....overall, IME, this is yet another diary post worthy of a bump to the front page

Keep up the good work!


October 21st, 2009 at 1:23 AM ^

I think the next logical step to take from here is...wait for Offensive UFR graph!!! I don't have the time or know-how to make this happen, just be sure to mention me if you decide to roll this idea out.

Great graphing, Grahm is a beast. Keep it up!


October 21st, 2009 at 3:12 AM ^

I took a stab at a way of visualizing offensive stats by downs (inspired by some other diary posts). Check it out here.

Basically it shows the "success" or "failure" of a play and if it was run or pass. Also shows if it results in a First Down (FD), Touchdown or Turnover.

If it branches "up" it's success. Down is "failure"

Success is defined as:
1/3 of required yards on 1st down (since you have 3 attempts)
1/2 of required yards on 2nd down (since you have 2 attempts)
all of required yards on 3rd down (since you have 1 attempt)
all of required yards on 4th down (do or die!)
*all turnovers are "failures" since they are drive killers.

I experimented with this for Iowa. I think it shows a lot of interesting trends such as what we do on each down, and what works or doesn't work. But it also shows our tendencies on 2nd and third down and how they are dependent on the previous downs (for example, look at first down. Our run to pass ratio is 5:1. We were successful 60% of the time. Now look at the successes (top brackets). Our tendency to run again on 2nd down is MUCH higher after we have successfully ran on 1st down...and the success rate is even higher!

You can draw many conclusions from this chart...I don't know how useful it is...I just found it interesting. I wanted to map a sort of "timeline" that attempted to show the coaching decisions and execution when it comes to the dependencies of the previous down.


October 21st, 2009 at 6:50 AM ^

Great information thanks for sharing this with us.In fact in all posts of this blog their is something to learn . your work is very good and i appreciate your work and hopping for some more informative posts . Again thanks for sharing.

Cosmic Blue

October 21st, 2009 at 10:03 AM ^

Could you put together two pie charts for pos/neg plays and divide it based on player contributions. Obvs graham would have the largest slice, but it would be cool to see who else is pitching in game changing (for good or bad) performances

mgm 05

October 21st, 2009 at 10:22 AM ^

One thing I'd say is make the positive plays go to the left to be consistent with the hennechart.

Thanks for the visualization, great for tracking player progress game to game.

Uncle Rico

October 21st, 2009 at 11:05 AM ^

Negative to positive, left to right just seem intuitive to me.

I saw some requests for vertical (top=pos, bottom=neg), but that would be tough given the variable number of players within each group, and I like seeing everyone together...

Overall, I love the visual-UFR. Brilliant work this week. You should take Thurs and Friday off!


October 21st, 2009 at 11:02 AM ^

Thanks for sharing. Definitely a great way of visualizing each player's performance for each.

How would it look to have a separate chart for each player showing each game's stats, which would allow you to see their progression throughout the season? (i.e. especially for our LBs, maybe a good way to see Ezeh and Mouton's development)? Not sure if it makes sense to use a vertical or horizontal chart to see the progression.

I agree though.... worthy of a front page bump!!


October 21st, 2009 at 11:50 PM ^

Very Solid Work.

What I take from this...

1. Visuals like this are cool to help envision and get an overall grasp or "snapshot" - just the way we think - it helps a lot having this. I'm not really gonna point out anything aesthetically cuz I can't make it much better than it already is.

2. I love you, Mr. Graham.

3. How did we beat Notre Dame? (I was there and i know how we beat them but you know what I mean)

4. I would love to see one of these charts for a season like '97 or '06. Hello, Mr. Woodley.

5. Bump it. That's a lock.

6. We should have a "Bump It" vote box like we do for points, with Brian determining certain thresholds.... maybe

7. Thank your for your time and hard work.