Demens Vs. Ezeh

Submitted by tasnyder01 on October 19th, 2010 at 3:45 AM

There have been a lot of threads on this so I don't want to speculate.  All I want to do is show the statistical analysis to help elucidate arguments.

COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm excited about Greg Robinson taking over the linebackers. I think he probably prefers that position since he's coached that the majority of his career, whether it's in college or the NFL.”
-Brian’s Media Day coverage. August 2nd.
What this is trying to explain is that GERG might actually be a decent LB coach.  No other justifications.  You either believe his credentials or don’t.  However, I think that given time, our LB play might actually be good.  The one I want to single out (especially because everyone’s been clamoring about this) is Demens.
Here is my comparison of Demens and Ezeh:
Kenny Demens now has 19 tackles.  Obi Ezeh: 39 (through 10/16, not sure if before or after the game). That's about 1/2 the tackles in about 1/6 or less the PT.

The UFR on Obi/Demens through 6 games this season:
*I might be wrong on Demens’ playing time.  I tried my best, but he might have snuck in on a few plays here or there, which I did not notice.
UConn: Ezeh: -3.5
    Demens: DNP
ND:    Ezeh: +3
    Demens: DNP
Umass: Ezeh: -8
    Demens: DNP
BGSU: Ezeh: +2
    Demens +1
    Demens: 6 plays at the end of the game from what I can tell
Indiana: Ezeh +3
    Demens +1
    From what I could tell Demens only plays goal line.
MSU: Ezeh: -4.5
    Demens: +1
    I believe only goal line again.
Total: Ezeh -8
    Demens: +3 in limited action.

This is post is more to give us some stats on how well he’s doing compared to Obi with which we can quantify our thoughts.  Analysis instead of intuition.  I hope this helps any and all arguments.  



October 19th, 2010 at 4:27 AM ^

Nice analysis. Just makes me wonder why they didn't take the gamble a bit earlier. Could the fear of him playing worse have really been that bad??


October 19th, 2010 at 6:02 AM ^

who just cannot show up during games. Seriously, the players and coaches love this guy. You do not earn that love by not doing anything. I am sure that for 353 days a year, the guys brings its... leaving it all on the field. Unfortunately, the 12 days he does not all happen to be in the Fall... on Saturdays... typically some time after 12pm.

Some people are practicers. Others are gamers.


October 19th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

But then you have to acknowledge that the coaches may have made a mistake and that pisses off the RR can do no wrong crowd.



I think that this is exactly what happened here. This combined with Roundtree last year will make me wonder who else is buried on the depth chart that will make a big impact as soon as they see the field.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 19th, 2010 at 8:14 AM ^

That is the conclusion I came to a few weeks ago. I have coached multiple sports over the past few years (none of which were football however) and I figured Gerg's thinking was:

~I have a defense full of underclassmen, Ezeh and Demens are pretty equal where skill is concerned so I am going to play Ezeh to have a guy with experience on the field to help lead this young defense.~

Now it is easy for us to look back after the last game and say "but they are not equal in skill, Demens is better." This is true, but prior to Saturday nobody knew that. Now that it is known, Demens should be playing the rest of his career.

Also (and this isn't a knock on Demens in anyway) if what people thought about Demens prior to Saturday was true (good at playing the run, not so much against the pass) trying to get an accurate depiction of his play when he only played goalline is somewhat futile. That formation and where it is deployed on the field plays directly to his strength and all but eliminates his perceived weakness.

I am just excited the guy is finally on the field and hope he has a great career at UM, for his sake and all of ours! Good luck Demens!


October 19th, 2010 at 7:29 AM ^

1.  I think it's inappropriate to rag on a young man who is busting his butt for our school.

2.  It seems clear that Demens is the better choice for the position.

3.  Would the change have been made if there wasn't such a public outcry?  I'm getting the feeling that the constant harrangue on radio and in blogs contributed to the lineup change.  If this is right, then we have a huge problem with the coaching.  It's inconceivable that Demens wasn't ready up to and including the MSU game but became ready for Iowa.

Nosce Te Ipsum

October 19th, 2010 at 8:37 AM ^

You're right but look at how Iowa moved the ball down the field when Obi came in for Kenny. The defense had two stops in a row and then Obi came in and Iowa scores while he is getting knocked around like a rag doll. There is some correlation.


EDIT: The first play of Iowa's third drive they run right at Obi and he gets pancaked by the guard and it's a gain of 14. It was his fault on that play. Who knows what other players Gerg is keeping off the field that may help.


October 19th, 2010 at 8:42 AM ^

"Would the change be made if there wasn't such a public outcry???"

I chuckle at the notion that the coaches listen to outside influences when it comes to who plays.  Let's not flatter ourselves....the coaches flat out DO NOT listen to us.  They watch more film than you can possibly imagine (literally hours of it each day).  They see how ineffective Ezeh is.  They pulled the trigger on Demens because there simply wasn't any other choice. 

You give a 5th year guy who has started 3 years every possible opportunity to get the job done for a number of reasons, not the least of which is team unity.  Imagine the effect of a new young hire at your company coming in and taking over for a longtime salesman who has been a complete "company man", although his numbers have declined over the last few years.  The boss is risking alienating his entire office because A) aside from sliding sales numbers, the longtime employee has always supported the company and is a great person and B) if the young gun doesn't produce the boss loses a lot of credibility.  It's a tough choice to make for any boss....the health of the company hinges on him making the right choice, even if it's not popular initially.

Blue in sec country

October 19th, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

You really think that the coaches give 2 shits about who we, as fans, think should play? You've got to be kidding. I think, as posted above, it's more about the leadership obi brings. If in practice they are equal but one has more of a leadership quality than the other you go with the leader. But there comes a point where that isn't enough and you have to try the other guy. In this case from what it looks like demens skill translates to field better than obi. But don't for one minute think we had anything to do with the change.


October 19th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

But I don't think that Brady would have gotten the hook for Henson so easily if the fans had not all wanted Henson in the game. Brady was always the outsider while Henson was the local kid that everyone wanted to see play and I think this did change the way that the coaching staff treated Brady while he was here.

His Dudeness

October 19th, 2010 at 8:33 AM ^

Not to poo poo the party, but don't be surprised in Demens makes a few boners himself in the next few games. The kid is young. Having Obi-like expectations would be advantageous for us as fans at this time, IME.


October 19th, 2010 at 11:28 AM ^

...crying out for a table.



Ezeh UFR

Demens UFR





Demens DNP Defense




Demens DNP Defense




Demens DNP Defense




Demens 6 plays at the end of the game




Demens only plays goal line




Demens only plays goal line

Total UFR



Ezeh 39 tackles; Demens 19 tackles; Demens has ~ 1/2 the tackles in ~1/6 of Ezeh's PT




Small sample size for Demens play limits ability to draw significant conclusions


October 19th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

I 100% like this better than what I put down.  Question time: I=suck at computers.  How do I do this?  (if there's a quick link or something please just post that and I'll figure it out from there...I don't want to waste your time.)

Thank you tho.

Nosce Te Ipsum

October 19th, 2010 at 9:12 AM ^

After watching all the defensive plays it is obvious that Kenny is a better LB than Jonas and Obi (at least in the Iowa game). Jonas played horribly and couldn't get off a block.


October 19th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

You can't base this on one game or one drive.  Demens played well, and I'm more optimistic about the future but its kind of ridiculous to say that he is better than Mouton after seeing him play only one game.  Mouton may have some WTF moments but he has generally made more good plays than bad plays and is considered to be our best LB for a reason; also Mouton may have been hurt last game.

Also, Iowa's 1st touchdown was a direct result of Demens being overly aggressive on the TE to his side and not picking up the receiver dragging across the field.  Not saying that Ezeh wouldn't have made the same mistake but keep in mind that Iowa's offense plays better into Demen's reported strengths (i.e. stopping the run); let's see how he he does against teams that feature more passing.


October 19th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

Our remaining opponents are all run-first teams with the exception of Penn State which can't do anything right. OSU has a run/pass yardage split similar to MSU, but Tressel always prefers to run. The other 3 teams all run much more than they pass.

I'd expect Demens to get most of the snaps. 


October 19th, 2010 at 10:32 AM ^

With Ezeh, we have the final product - he is where we is going to be for his college career. However, Demens is still young and has several years of college football left in him. He will benefit from experience and coaching - and if (pls God almighty!) he turns out to be consistently good - then we will get a good defensive boost for next couple of years.

So - Demens over Ezeh - the decision is clear.


October 19th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

This.  There's no way that after 3 1/2 seasons that the light magically turns on for Ezeh.  It sucks, I'm sure he works really hard and is a good guy but it's not just happening. 

Even if playing Demens this year is a wash (which I doubt it will be), he's getting valuable experience for the coming seasons when he will be relied on as a major contributor. 


October 19th, 2010 at 12:17 PM ^

I think it is a little early to be declaring Demens the better player, although I realize that at this level it can't get a whole lot worse.

This is what I am wondering, though:  In a 3-3-5 with a freshman playing the spur, wouldn't the immovable object style of ILB that Demens apparently has be a perfect fit?

M_Born M_Believer

October 19th, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

Coaches could care less about blogs / message boards / sports radio.  What they do care about is what they see live and on the film.  Film in practice and film in games.  I have coached for several years and I recently made a key switch on my team.  A kid that I recently had a low expectation for, started to perform well in practice so I gave him a shot in the next game.  He excelled.  All I take out of it is that he gets to play again in the next game.

My point is, no one knows when a "light turns on" in a kid's head or when that "magical moment" happens for a player.  If anyone could master it or clearly predict it, they would be very rich and suscessful.  You just keep coaching and watching and when you think there is an opportunity, you give the kid a shot.  Sometimes you nail it and a good career starts, sometimes you whiff and you go back to the drawing board.

Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves with respect to Demens, I think he played ok, but I also think he missed a few assignments / plays.  But he certainly earned enough to start against PSU in 11 days.


October 19th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

but I think the UFR will show at least in part that Iowa gameplanned to get Mouton out of position and did that very successfully.  He may be more responsible than we'd like to think for our suck against the run.


October 19th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

Right now this isn't a fair comparison.  Demens, until Iowa, was asked to do one thing - stop the run on the goal line.  Now he's being asked to play MLB.  Any plusses or minuses he received prior to Iowa are not very relevant.  We have to revisit this in a couple weeks.