A benefit to Minor over Brown (recalibrated)

Submitted by uniqenam on October 9th, 2009 at 10:41 AM

As our games this year can attest, we have been losing the time of possession battle too much, which is probably not a good thing. The first time it ever came back to bite us, though, was in the MSU game, where we simply didn't have enough drives in the first half. However, I think throughout the year the shortness of our drives can be attributed to Carlos Brown in the back field.

Brown has a unique style of running, where he usually gets 1 yard, -1 yard, 15 yards, and then 60 yards, seemingly on most drives. Though this does lead to good scoring, it also hampers our ability to give the defense a blow and lowers our time of possession.

However, we all know Minor is a bull-moose when healthy, and seemingly on every run gets 4,5, or 6 yards, with the rare 20 yard scamper. What this does is lengthen the time and number of plays on a drive, but I would venture to say that it doesn't make our offense any less potent than when Brown is in the game. So, this is all to say that with Brown out and Minor completely healthy, I think we may have a chance of a little bit more grinding on Saturday and a little bit better TOP, regardless of if we improve significantly.



October 9th, 2009 at 10:46 AM ^

Completely agree. Although, I think if Minor gets into the open field - he can be damn fast - not as fast as Brown, but he would definitely run away from people.

mr. arbor

October 9th, 2009 at 1:58 PM ^

I know I have asked this question before, but does anyone also think that Minor could have been given lighter duty (not because he was still injured) but because we wanted to preserve the health and strength of our best back for second half of the schedule - Iowa, PSU, Wisco, and OSU.

I think its fair to say that no starting back can really stay 100% healthy/injury-free if taking most of the snaps for 12 games. I guess what im saying is I would have though about doing the same w/ Minor if i was the coach (why risk him getting hurt during first half of schedule)?!

And, lastly, i hate that carlos is injured, i woudl have liked to see him back Brandon up... but we play the cards were dealt.


October 9th, 2009 at 10:48 AM ^

Although I still would want Brown to play, I agree with you that Minor is the more physical back and will do better against a more physical d-line (as Iowa's is). Without Brown, it will be interesting to see how Shaw and the other change of pace backs do in that environment. Should be a good game.


October 9th, 2009 at 10:48 AM ^

Did you really think that title sounded like a good idea? Why not something like, "An extra benefit to Minor being primary RB." That describes your post perfectly and doesn't say that it's a good thing one of our players is hurt.


October 9th, 2009 at 10:52 AM ^

Two identical topics on this:

And no, I'm not trying to be forum police. I just can't believe how many times we have to hear about how it's great to lose our (so far this year) best RB.

It's called silver lining: It's not good, but I hope the team finds a way to learn from and overcome it.

And no, TOP does not help if the offense doesn't score (and Carlos Brown is good at that, again so far this year).


October 9th, 2009 at 10:53 AM ^

No the topics aren't identical, this is about TOP, the other was about backup backs. And TOP does help our offense, it gives many more plays, but more importantly helps our defense. I know TOP is way overrated, but when the other team has the ball at a 2:1 rate, you're not going to do well regardless.


October 9th, 2009 at 10:58 AM ^

I agree that Brown has more potential to break long runs, but I disagree with your premise that Minor is a more reliable runner, particularly when he is not necessarily 100%.

Brown is currently averaging 7.6 ypc, Minor 5.1. Brown is averaging 50% more ypc than Minor. That's a significant enough difference that if you eliminated Brown's long runs (which are not freak accidents), Brown likely averages at least as much as Minor on shorter carries.

Our problems maintaining drives in the MSU game had nothing to do with Brown being handed the ball instead of Minor. Improve the blocking by the line and our drives will be longer, period.

Using TOP here when you really mean # of possessions is sort of confusing, as well.


October 9th, 2009 at 11:53 AM ^

RR also said himself that TOP is the most overrated stat that people talk about. He said if you have a team that scores in 30 seconds using the spread vs a team that grinds it out then obviously the other team will have a higher TOP. While having a few long drives gives the defense a rest there is no other benefit to having a high TOP. If you are going to quote RR and coach speak on one matter then know what he thinks about this topic. TOP means nothing if you do not score.


October 9th, 2009 at 11:31 AM ^

It's neither. It's points. If we're scoring in 30 seconds, great. If we're scoring in 8 minutes, great. If we're getting five possessions a game, but holding the opposing offense on their possessions and capitalizing on ours, great.

There may be some correlation between TOP and wins, but it all comes down to execution. If we're executing well, we'll win games.

Maize and Blue…

October 9th, 2009 at 11:04 AM ^

It certainly wasn't when we 4-0. One loss and lets hit the panic button. This offense is designed to score and a lot of times score quickly. If we would have punched that first TO against State into the endzone instead of settling for a FG we probably would not be having this conversation.
Bottom line- if Molk's healthy IMHO we are 5-0.

The King of Belch

October 9th, 2009 at 11:18 AM ^

In TOP. Not for just pure minutes sake, but for being able to keep the ball away from the other team--expecially if they have a good or great offense.

Also, if weather is a factor--I think you want to be able to possess the ball if limited by said weather in the passing game or the spread game.

You will need to protect leads--you are not always going to be able to score 50 points per game, and you may suffer injuries. That's why I wish Minor was healthy THIS year (and of course, for $%$^%#@^#% sake, Molk)--with them two, MSU is a WIN. Even if the offense isn't firing--when you get the ball you can hold it, move the chains, and yes, do some scoring by getting the O into a flow.

I don't agree with the new "TOP doesn't matter" meme--but I also don't think you need to dominate TOP--but the defense does need a rest and you DO need to control the game.


October 9th, 2009 at 12:23 PM ^

I agree with you. When TOP is as lopsided as it was in the 1st half of the Michigan/MSU game, TOP does matter. We hadn't had many opportunities offensively to score. Yes, in other games TOP didn't matter because we scored quickly. In this game it mattered because we weren't doing anything with the football.

Maize and Blue…

October 9th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

Kind of like having your cake and eating it to. If we hadn't dropped so many passes our time of possesion would have been better. If the D would have stopped them on some of those third and longs our TOP would have been better. The bottom line is the game was tied 20-20 at the end of regulation despite us having an extremely young team playing their first road game against a team that marks us as their #1 target. We only had three possesions in the first half yet we were only down 10-6 at the half.
If you remember EMU dominated us in TOP but final score 45-17.

matt D

October 9th, 2009 at 11:37 AM ^

Minor comes to work against top tier teams, Brown on the other hand.....not so much. I love Carlos' speed and ability to break open for the big run, but he's not able to do that against teams that have talent that is comparable to our own, not that I recall anyway. As mentioned before, I think Carlos is best utilized as a slot. Minor not only improves TOP, he's our best blocker at the RB position.


October 9th, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

I don't care which back is in as long as they are getting yards. Who cares if Carlos is chewing up yards on the ground. We should be thankful. I know we are trying to find the silver lining of the situation but just let whoever is productive play if they are both healthy.


October 9th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

"Brown has a unique style of running, where he usually gets 1 yard, -1 yard, 15 yards, and then 60 yards, seemingly on most drives."

Actually, I think this has more to do with the plays being called than the running back style. All those stretch plays and sweeps and what not depend on one or two critical blocks that either free you up for big yardage or kill you at the point of attack.

Tha Stunna

October 9th, 2009 at 1:31 PM ^

Well, top-end speed + inability to break tackles = small or no gains mixed with big runs. Slow + ability to get yards after contact = moderate gains but few big runs. I don't think it's just the play calling, although that does accentuate the effect.

Anyways, I'd say time of possession only really matters independently of scoring near the end of the game to protect a lead. Losing yardage on offense is bad regardless of the number of drives you have in a quarter. At a certain point, time of possession is worth a tradeoff in ypc or whatever metric you like, but I'd say that certain point is rather late in the game.


October 9th, 2009 at 1:27 PM ^

This is a tough one. Fans and certainly the offensive coaches love to see big plays and fast scores, but there is certainly a downside to it -- the defense is on the field longer.

Ball control is great if you can consistently get 5 or 6 yards per play which burns the clock. Of course, the offense can only take what the defense gives them, which may mean longer, downfield plays and more rapid offensive series'.

The Lions had this problem some time back when Scott Mitchell, Barry Sanders and Herman Moore were lighting up the scoreboard quickly, but the defense couldn't recover sufficiently.

Forced to choose, I guess I'd rather put the points on the board quickly and put the defense out there longer.