A look at our D's experience compared to 2000 and 2006

Submitted by brose on October 6th, 2010 at 11:08 AM

OK - I have been terrified (as have many of you) by our defense.  I feel as though I keep hearing versions of the following: "be patient, it is going to get better, we are so young"


So in a very unscientific way I decided to look at our Defense's experience as opposed to two teams that I fondly remember: the 2000 Drew Henson led squad that beat Auburn in the Citrus or Outback bowl and the 2006 juggernaught (when playing non OSU/USC's).  Why did I pick them? to gauge our teams experience against a standard Llloyd U of M "D" and against the non-1997 gold standard "D."  So first off I make no distinction about Redshirts...so a Redshirt Junior will show as a Senior, a Redshirt Sophomore - a Junior, etc.  The reason is they have been in the system for X number of years.  I looked only at the top 16 tacklers for each team - my thinking that this will cover most all defensive contributor.

So on with the numbers:

The 2000 squad had 3 seniors (4th or 5th year players), 5 Juniors (inclused RS Sophs), 7 Sophomores, and 1 Freshmen.

The 2006 squad had 9 Seniors, 5 Juniors, 2 Sophomores, and 0 frosh

This years team has 8 Seniors, 4 Juniors, 3 sophomores, and 1 frosh.

My takeaway: wow-our current D has way more experience than I thought...and if the future is as bright as we hope, the bench better have a lot of future quality sitting on it.

In case you are wondering the 8 "seniors" are Moundros, Herron, Leach, Van Bergen, Rogers, Banks, Ezeh, Mouton.

I was actually expecting that looking into this experience would make me feel a lot better for the future of our "D", but it really didn't.  Here's to hope.

Go Blue.



October 6th, 2010 at 11:17 AM ^

...will certainly need to play above their pay grade to get us to the 8 to 9 wins I've been forecasting. 

What I can't determine is to what extent our defensive players are sub-par vis-a-vis poor coaching and schemes? I just don't know.


October 6th, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

The problem with your analysis is that only 5 of the "seniors" you list are starters and we only lose 4 of them. Moreover, there are backups to Rogers and Banks that have already shown flashes of being really good players(Avery and Black). I think there is some analysis that can be done and lead to a conclusion other than OMG TOP 5 DEFENSE IN 2012, but I don't think this is it.


October 6th, 2010 at 11:36 AM ^

I know it is not all that scientific, but the only way I could do apples to apples across three teams was to look at the Top 16 tacklers (maybe should have done 18?) for each squad via mgoblue.com.  I was hoping this would show how young we are, but it didn't.  Of course there are other pieces of info that would have been Great, but hey its the best I could do.  The list of all 16 players in case anyone was wondering who was left off are: Avery, Moundros, Herron, Leach, Van Bergen, Demens, Gordon (2), Rogers, Martin, Banks, Roh, Ezeh, Mouton, Kovacs, Floyd. 

I agree analysis is flawed, but it still is a comparison of the experience of 16 of the top 17 or 18 defensive players on each of those teams...take it for what its worth.

Nosce Te Ipsum

October 6th, 2010 at 11:19 AM ^

Experience is a great determining factor but you also could've looked at, at least for '06, their rankings coming out of high school and their accolades such as First Team All BigTen. Your list has two walk-ons for this year (maybe they have schollies now but not when they arrived).


October 6th, 2010 at 11:19 AM ^

Other than freshmen, hasn't everyone on this team been in the same system for 2 seasons? Or only 1 if you count the switch to 3-3-5? I don't think that your count of number of years in a system (by class) reflects that.


October 6th, 2010 at 11:20 AM ^

if a starter has no tackles (because he is frosh and not very good) he doesn't show up on the stats.

If a pass defender doesn't tackle anyone - but instead bats the ball away (or in our case watches the receiver catch it) then there is no tackle and he is not on the stats.

Your study would be heavy with linemen and LBs and light on the secondary pass defenders I think.


October 6th, 2010 at 11:22 AM ^

Appreciate the effort but this is severely flawed. Experience isnt defined by grade, but by # of starts and plays. Moundros cant count as experienced LB. And i dont have access to the roster but are those numbers correct anyway?


October 6th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

We're getting carved up in large part due to our young corners and safeties.  You do remember the 95 yard TD pass for ND?  No tight end should get behind our safeties 40 yards downfield.  Our entire front 7 may not be star studded, but it's average.  We are just limited in how much we blitz because it leaves our secondary vulnerable if the blitz doesn't get home.

So feel better about our future because by time the OSU and bowl games (fingers crossed) come around, these guys will be experienced enough to be considered 2nd year or 3rd year guys.  Trust me, if we go bowling in late December or Jan 1, you will see a totally different, more aggressive defense than you see now.


October 6th, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

Moundros and Rogers both switched positions late in their Michigan careers, so counting them amongst the "seniors" in terms of defensive experience is a bit misleading.  Leach is a walk-on, so while technically a 4 year player, I don't think he would be a major contributor under normal circumstances (i.e. personnel depleted by attrition).  So your count is really closer to 5 "seniors" who were recruited and expected to be contributors on the defensive side of the ball, which explains why our performance is closer to 2000 than 2006.

The bad news is that we're going to be counting on underclassmen for the next 2-3 years to make major contributions on defense and so success on the level of 2006 may be a ways off. 


October 6th, 2010 at 3:51 PM ^

I'm pretty sure Demens is ahead of Moundros, and possibly also Fitzgerald.  Some of the younger guys may not be physically mature enough to play the position yet.  Moundros, who goes like 250, is more than big enough.

As for Rogers, there's not much of a mystery there.  At corner we have two non-freshmen on scholarship, and both start.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

This scheme has taken  the fight out of our guys. We are in RETREAT rather then in ATTACK mode. How do you instill fanatical agressiveness when you are retreating on your heels most of the time.


October 6th, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

My takeaway: wow-our current D has way more experience than I thought...

What?  Have you even looked at our secondary?  At corner we start a guy who was playing WR last year (Rogers) and a sophomore (Floyd).  At safety we start a sophomore (Kovacs) and redshirt freshman (Cam Gordon).  At spur we start either a redshirt freshman (Thomas Gordon) or a true freshman (Carvin Johnson).  Our top reserves in the secondary are a freshman (Avery), a freshman (Talbott), a freshman (Christian) and a freshman (M. Robinson).

Where is the experience there?