Matt Dudek on WTKA

Submitted by TK on December 20th, 2018 at 8:40 AM

Couple interesting highlights:

He is in the “stars don’t matter” club. He mentioned Sainristil as a guy who should not be a 3 star. Seems like a guy to keep an eye on, this isn’t the first time we have heard he is underrated. Wonder if he will play on offense or defense. 

Regarding Dax, he said they were blindsided by it. Sherrone Moore was calm and got him on the phone right away and they were able to go down and see his family the next day and talk about it but didn’t secure his verbal until later. Seems to be contradicting of his some stories that he flipped back on a phone call the next day. Seems like Dax just made an impulse decision and then reconsidered after talking to the coaches. Good job to the staff. 



December 20th, 2018 at 8:57 AM ^

I've defended Harbaugh a lot, but I don't know how anyone can defend him on time management. I'm fine not being a hurry-up team, but there have been numerous times where the offense really should be going as fast as possible and it takes them 30 seconds to snap the damn ball.

I think the playcalling complaints aren't usually warranted. I went back and checked the S&P+ preview for Michigan and they performed (20's) well beyond their projection (40s). I'll just mention again this offense is going to be really good next year. I'll be interested to see the S&P+ projection because I'm guessing it'll also be high given the returning talent.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

It's a fascinating yin-yang proposition always, this debate. But when you're running the offense by committee it's going to take a little more time. And there's something to be said for being very methodical, making sure everyone understands their role, etc. Add these to Harbaugh's clear desire to dominate TOP and the desire to keep the defense fresh and spending a lot of time setting up each offensive play doesn't look so bad.

That said, it would be interesting to be able to play hurry-up at times, and I would bet that next year the time is a little shorter. Shea will be super-comfortable with the system and calling more plays himself. We'll be leaning a little more on the offense, a little less on the D.


December 20th, 2018 at 8:59 AM ^

We really were

Remember this?

Congratulations on the purchase of your new Harbaugh!

Now we can look back and say: "Yeah, you were so right."

Especially this one:

Your Harbaugh has been designed for offense and will require many high-end parts to run said offense. Yet his defense will be better than his offense. This paradox has not been explained.


December 20th, 2018 at 9:12 AM ^

The simple explanation: Harbaugh's neolithic offense and poor time management keeps the defense off the field longer, even when drives stall early in the possession.


Less total defensive plays with longer rests between times on the field, compounded with heavy rotation (think Gil/Ross) really bolsters the defensive unit's overall freshness, performance, and stats.


December 20th, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

Why is this odd for you? Clemson and Alabama were more apt to big plays and explosive plays on offense. They didn't mind throwing a bomb, or have their running back take it the house on the 1st play from scrimmage. I think Harbaugh would tell our RB's to fall down so we could run 2 more plays before scoring. 


December 20th, 2018 at 11:43 AM ^

Highly suspect stat that I believe inverts the real relationship - sort of like Time of Possession.


Winning TOP doesn't win games. Winning games wins TOP.


Total number of plays per game will be artificially low for teams that are up big in games and run clock.

I'd be interested to see something like plays per minute of game time when the score is within 2 touchdowns.


December 20th, 2018 at 10:28 AM ^

I guess I disagree. Reading some of the more in depth analysis of his offense, it's not neolithic. It's complex, and apparently requires some settled seniors to run it, but it does work. If the O linemen coming in develop under Warinner (assuming we can keep him) I bet this offense looks pretty good. 

I'd like to see some more passing, some more spread sets to what they already have, but I like running the ball and controlling the clock too. 

His time management does need work. And I think his collective play calling style that he likes does preclude any kind of tempo offense. 


December 20th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

“Neolithic” accusations are invariably inaccurate. All it takes to refute them is to show some highlights of arc bluff zone reads, advanced passing concepts (the “Leak” route Shea hit Eubanks on against MSU, for example) and so on. 

The problem isn’t that he’s using an offense from the 80s. The problem is more elemental than that; Harbaugh’s philosophy favors complexity and setting up later drives with earlier drives. It puts a lot on the QB. It appears to need a lot of components to operate at optimal effectiveness to work well (or so I would gather from the fact that arguments in its favor always include the phrase “it will be fine once he gets a good QB/great receivers/quality TEs/a great OL” but never seems to arrive there). That complexity also increases the challenge for a QB running a tempo drill. 

Its possible that this offense can be great next year. It has, however, been four years so far and the offense has cost us at least a game or two each season. 

I’m not claiming I know all the answers, but this is a theory that seems to fit the facts. 


December 20th, 2018 at 11:37 AM ^

It requires an OL that is good at pass blocking and run blocking, like all elite offenses. 

In 2015 the pass pro was good, the run blocking was bad.  #38 Offense per S&P, #61 Rush and #17 Pass. 

In 2016, similar to 2015 pass pro was good-ish (except on standard passing downs; and remember Speight spin moves bailed them out continuously), run blocking bad.  #40 Offense, #49 Rush and #29 Pass. 

In 2017 this flipped, with the pass pro being atrocious and the run blocking good.  #85 Offense, #14 Rush and #86 Pass. 

In 2018 they were OK at pass pro (but atrocious against good defenses) and OK at run blocking.  #24 Offense, #33 Rush and #10 (!) Pass.  

Despite all the protestations, this was a good Offense.  ND is #26 as a comparable.  It was done with an OL that clearly had been protected all it could after the ND game, and really has no true tackles.  Warinner did an amazing job with them, but Runyan and JBB are poor pass blockers.  

Look at the S&P stats for OL for Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma this year, and you'll see where we stand in comparison.  When the OL can run and pass block, the offense will be elite, just like every other team.  Is it Harbaugh's job to get that in place by year 4?  Yes, but some extenuating circumstances (terrible OL recruiting preceding him, late start to recruiting in 2015 when hired, Newsome) contribute to that. 


December 20th, 2018 at 11:48 AM ^

" The problem isn’t that he’s using an offense from the 80s. "

Correct - the problem is that his philosophy on offense is from the 80's.

You could have an spread offense with every crazy bell and whistle - but if your philosophy is limit mistakes, limit total plays, and win by wearing the opponent down... you still have the problems our offense has.

Harbaugh seems to place too high of priority on method of achievement vs. results.



December 20th, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

"Harbaugh seems to place too high of priority on method of achievement vs. results."

I think we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm more than happy with an offense that limits mistakes and controls the clock; particularly when we've seen, in his tenure, blown games (last year) due to multiple turnovers. 

I agree that he maybe is too far along that pendulum, but I'd rather be more careful than crank up the offensive protomatter and hope we score more points than we give up with turnovers. 


December 20th, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

I have no philosophic hangups about how we win.

A 5-0 defensive win counts the same as a 62-57 shootout.

I want whatever leads to the most wins. I don't care about style points or "doing it the right way" outside of following the rules.


There is no "right way" to win - there is just winning and losing.


December 20th, 2018 at 4:53 PM ^

LOL Fair enough, and great point. 

I'd like to think I'm actually fairly scheme agnostic. I like controlling the clock and being careful with the ball, but if Coach decides next week he's going full on spread because he has the guys for it then I won't complain.  

I do bristle at the 'modern' vs. 'Old Fashioned' stuff. Both can work. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Maybe Harbaugh's is too complex, maybe we're just a bit away. But to just be 'We have to run this because OK does and it's 'modern' drives me nuts. 


December 20th, 2018 at 8:06 PM ^

"too far along the pendulum" is absolutely the issue. It's fine to have a clock-control, turnover-minimizing philosophy, but when it becomes detrimental to the functioning of the offense, it's a problem. That detriment isn't just the play at hand, either. I think Shea showed trouble with aspects of the passing offense because he didn't have enough in-game reps on it. If you don't throw deep much, you're going to have trouble with throwing deep. If you're not asked to read defenses in the mid-range pass game, you're going to struggle there. Overall, I see Shea's difficulties at the end of the year as partially stemming from a lack of use, especially in big games against talented defenses.

"Keeping the Ferrari in the garage" is a perfect analogy. It's gonna run a bit rough, unless you take out on the highway enough.


December 21st, 2018 at 1:28 AM ^

Blah, blah, blah, wait until next year.

Plain and simple:  Harbaugh's offense is not worth all the fuss.  What is it about it that's worth waiting years for all the Rubik's cube pieces to maybe, hopefully, someday, anytime now, line up? 

We can all stand here and be in awe of sophisticated zeppelin technology, but the damn thing doesn't perform.  We can trust our own eyes on this.

Our offense generated only 13 points on its own against Ohio State through 3 quarters.  That's it. 

When Maryland can score 50 on Ohio State, you are doing something wrong.

In the modern era, bad offense is a choice.



December 20th, 2018 at 8:52 AM ^

Accordingly my insider, Dax flipped back pretty quick. Maybe not the day after his de-commitment, but pretty close. 

Let me put it this way: many in Schembechler Hall were not surprised when he sent in his LOI yesterday. 


December 20th, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

Guys I heard from a pretty good source that Aubrey hated the winters here. I mean really hated them, and if you live around here last winter was bad, and this winter started in October, so he just had enough. I also heard he wasn't really close with a ton of guys on the team. Not sure where he'll end up, but it will definitely be a warm weather destination. 


December 20th, 2018 at 10:31 AM ^

"last winter was bad"

I have to admit, I don't understand this. I love winter. I love skiing. I love the snow. 

Spending any time in the South during the summer for me has been like sitting in a humid antechamber to hell, with extra bugs, snakes, and pollen to boot. 


December 20th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

Okay well I hate winters too, and I’ve dealt with them my whole life. Lots of Southern people are polarized by the snow, they either love it or absolutely hate it. I can deal with the winter and snow because I’ve dealt with it my whole life, just like Solomon can deal with the summers in the south because he’s lived with them for 20 years. Culture/weather shock is a real thing that can really screw someone up.