Nebraska vs. Michigan Defense

Submitted by Mich95 on December 19th, 2009 at 11:32 AM
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OK, this is my first diary post...be kind.  This is a bit dated, but still useful.  After watching the Big12 championship game, I took at look at Nebraska's defense and compared it to ours.  I sent it to Brian, and he suggested I post it as a diary.  So I did.


Brian -

First, I'm a big fan of your work. You have made me a more informed football fan.  Much appreciated. EDIT: SHAMELESS KISS-UP...

So, after watching the suffocating and dominating defensive performance by Nebraska last night, I thought I'd do a little research.  I was impressed that Bo Pellini could come in and turn around a team like he has (at least on the defensive side of the ball); the stat was given last night that they went from something like 107th in scoring D to 7th (those #s are probably a little off).

We know all too well from many posts on MGoBlog (esp from Misopogon) about the terrible attrition on D. But I was curious about how good the recruiting was for Nebraska that could give them such a phenomenal D. 

I went back and looked at the recruting classes from 2005-2009 as listed on Rivals (I know that those ratings can be misleading, but since that seems to be how we look at these things, I went with it. Here's each class (only D, since we know how awful the other side of the ball is), with position (note some are ATH and there's even an OT now playing D-line), and star rating; I've also listed each player on the current 2-deep.

2005 class

Zach PotterDE****

Justin TomerlinDE****

Starter Barry TurnerDE***

Barry CryerDT***

Ola DagunduroDT****

Starter Ndamukong SuhDT****

Nick CoveyLB***

Starter Phillip DillardLB****

Dontrell MooreLB***

Steve OctavienLB****

Jeff SouderLB 

Zackary BowmanDB*****

Robert RandsDB**

Bryan WilsonDB**

2* = 2; 3*=4; 4*=6; 5*=1

3 Starters

 

2006 class

Starter Pierre AllenDE***

Ben MartinDE**

Mike SmithDE***

Seth JensenDT***

Brandon JohnsonDT***

Steve  AllenLB***

Andre JonesDB*****

Corey YoungDB***

2* = 1; 3*=6; 4*=0; 5*=1

1 Starter

 

2007 class

Starter Jared CrickDE***

William YancyDE****

Shukree BarfieldDT***

Demetrious DavisDT***

Kevin DixonDT****

Backup Terrence MooreDT***

Joseph TownsendDT****

Blake LawrenceLB****

Austin StaffordLB***

Starter Larry AsanteDB****

Anthony BlueDB***

Armando MurilloDB****

Shawn SullivanDB***

Latravis WashingtonDB***

Backup S Eric Hagg, ATH***

Starter CB Prince Amukamara, ATH***

 

 2* = 0; 3*=10; 4*=6; 5*=0

3 Starters, 2 Backup

 

2008 class

 Backup Cameron MeredithDE***

Backup Josh WilliamsDE***

Quentin ToailoaDT***

Starter Sean FisherLB***

Micah KreikemeierLB**

Alonzo WhaleyLB***

Starter Alfonzo DennardDB***

Backup P.J. SmithDB***

Mason WaldDB**

David WhitmoreDB****

Starter LB Will Compton, ATH****

Backup S Courtney Osborne, ATH***

Backup DT Baker Steinkuhler, OL*****

 

 

2* = 2; 3*=9; 4*=2; 5*=1

5 Backups 3 Starters

 

2009 class

Jason AnkrahDE****

Cole PensickDT***

Thaddeus RandleDT***

Backup Eric MartinLB***

Chris WilliamsLB****

Starter Dejon GomesDB***

Andrew GreenDB***

Lazarri MiddletonDB***

Dijon WashingtonDB****

2* = 0; 3*=6; 4*=5; 5*=0

1 Starter, 1 Backup

 

Of their starters, 7 are 3*s and 4 are 4*s...

 

In total, there are 5 players on the 2-deep that aren’t on this list.

Backup LB Mathew May, So

Backup LB Colton Koehler, Sr

Starter S Matt O’Hanlon, Sr

Backup S Austin Cassidy, So

Backup CB Anthony West, Jr.

 

I'm not sure how to explain this....are they walkons, guys with no rating, something else?

 

In summary, the star ratings for Nebraska:

2005  2* = 2; 3*=4; 4*=6; 5*=1

2006  2* = 1; 3*=6; 4*=0; 5*=1

2007  2* = 0; 3*=10; 4*=6; 5*=0

2008  2* = 2; 3*=9; 4*=2; 5*=1

2009  2* = 0; 3*=6; 4*=5; 5*=0

Total 2* = 5; 3*=35; 4*=19; 5*=3

On the flip side, the summary ratings for Michigan (also only on D):

2005  2* = 0; 3*=5; 4*=4; 5*=0

2006  2* = 0; 3*=5; 4*=5; 5*=1

2007  2* = 1; 3*=4; 4*=3; 5*=1

2008  2* = 0; 3*=1; 4*=7; 5*=0

2009  2* = 1; 3*=5; 4*=4; 5*=1

Total 2* = 2; 3*=20; 4*=23; 5*=2

 

I guess this shows what we already know:

1) our recruting has been good but not great.  We've gotten some good players, but there are many fewer 3*s on the defensive side of the ball in our classes than even Nebraska.

2) the attrition has really been a killer

And some other stuff

3) maybe Callihan just couldn't "coach 'em up"  

4) the right coach (Pellini) can take a group that has underperformed and make them great.

 

I guess I was expecting some other things to jump out at me from the Nebraska classes...  I thought I might see some terrible recruiting and then a miracle turnaround by a great coach.  I was hoping for that actually since I hope beyond hope that Robinson is a good coach and he can take some mediocre (at best) talent and produce a good D.  That's not what we see here.  Nebraska has some studs AND a great coach who gets the best from his players.

 

I'd love to hear what you think.

Thanks.

 

 

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Comments

UNCWolverine

December 19th, 2009 at 11:50 AM ^

For some reason over the past few years we seem to have more Moutons (highly rated recruit "busts") and fewer David Harris's (pleasant surprises) than most teams.

This could be a result of a few things:

1. Bad luck.

2. Inconsistency in D coordinators/coaches.

3. Players playing out of position (Stevie B?).

4. Players just flat out not developing/improving once they get to college.

5. Poor schemes/coaching, etc.

I have no idea what the answer is but I think we can all agree that recruiting has not been the issue.

Simi Maquoketa

December 19th, 2009 at 12:21 PM ^

I love these kinds of comparisons. The differences appear minimal, though.

One thing I can tell you is that Nebraska's defense SUCKED under Callahan/Kevin Cosgrove. In Callahan's last game at Nebraska, the Huskers gave up 65 points to Colorado--and Cody Hawkins. That was the SECOND most points they gave up that year (I've posted this before).

And our attrition was mostly on the O side of the ball.

Callahan brought in a ton of Juco's as well--boosting their ratings, and many didn't work out.

We'll see how they do next year without Suh. Just ask us how we've done without Woodson.

Edit: You state that of their starters, four were 4*, with 7 being 3* (and NO 5*). How about our starters' ratings?

If just four of their starters were 4*, that doesn't sound like a lot of "studs"--it sounds like they're being coached up. Of course, that's just using your formula, star ratings. We all KNOW the numbers there can be arbitrary. But at least we have this base to go from.

Great work.

Mich95

December 19th, 2009 at 12:33 PM ^

Yeah, I don't like using the * ratings, but that's pretty much all we've got to go on...

I didn't do our starters, b/c I thought it might be biased by all the attrition since we have walkons starting. Of course, you could look at it the other way too and say that the summary ratings from the past years are skewed b/c of all the attrition and they don't reflect what's on the team right now.

Slinginsam

December 19th, 2009 at 12:06 PM ^

I think you stumbled onto something here. It's all about numbers.

Comparing 2007-2009, Nebraska has recruited a combined 38 three and four star defensive recruits. Michigan has recruited 24 over the same period.

If you get enough men competing for positions and playing time, with the proper coaching, something good will happen.

Hopefully M will get both quantity and quality to fill the ranks on our D.

Good job.

modaddy21

December 19th, 2009 at 12:16 PM ^

Nice research, looks like 07', and 08' Nebraska hit defense recruiting hard while Michigan did not, that did help things either.
Neb
2007 2* = 0; 3*=10; 4*=6; 5*=0
2008 2* = 2; 3*=9; 4*=2; 5*=1 total=30

Mich
2007 2* = 1; 3*=4; 4*=3; 5*=1
2008 2* = 0; 3*=1; 4*=7; 5*=0 total=17

pretty big difference

slblue

December 19th, 2009 at 5:39 PM ^

This is a nice analysis of a team whose defense we covet. I was wondering if anyone has considered doing this same kind of thing for Iowa - a team that seamingly always is lower in the recruiting rankings, but is well coached and has been quite a bit better, if I am not mistaken, on the defensive side of the ball. I would be very interested to see how this shakes out.

slblue

December 21st, 2009 at 10:49 PM ^

Two things. Ian is a great name. And thanks for the Iowa info - confirms my suspicions. Unfortunately, it worries me even more about our scheme and/or coaching. I want our defense to be as well coached and disciplined as Iowa's. There is no reason it can't be next year. No more excuses. I think a better defense this year and we are clearly bowl bound, even with turnovers. Thanks again.