Short Essay Question- compare and contrast the records of recent M Defensive Coordinators

Submitted by Blueto on January 19th, 2011 at 2:19 PM

            I have fond memories of Mattison as our DC so I wanted to see how he ranked against the performance of our other DCs in recent history. Starting with Gary Moeller’s first year at DC in 1982 I judged each DC by the simple metric of average points allowed per game over their tenure. It would be interesting to expand this into other statistics but like, you know, I have a job and family and stuff. Anyway I think points allowed is probably the most direct measure of a DC’s success or lack thereof. I also think 1982 is a good year to start as it roughly corresponds to the beginning of what you could call the “really modern” era of college football when passing offenses became more sophisticated.

 

Here are the results by season:

 

 

Season

DC

tot points

 

games

ppg

 

1982

Moeller

204

 

12

17

 

1983

Moeller

160

 

12

13.33

 

1984

Moeller

200

 

12

16.67

 

1985

Moeller

98

(!)

12

8.17

(!!)

1986

Moeller

203

 

13

15.62

 

1987

Carr

121

 

12

10.08

 

1988

Carr

167

 

12

13.92

 

1989

Carr

167

 

12

13.92

 

1990

Carr

161

 

12

13.42

 

1991

Carr

163

 

12

13.58

 

1992

Carr

127

 

12

10.58

 

1993

Carr

153

 

12

12.75

 

1994

Carr

232

 

12

19.33

 

1995

Mattison

157

 

13

12.08

 

1996

Mattison

184

 

12

15.33

 

1997

Herrmann

114

 

12

9.50

 

1998

Herrmann

235

 

13

18.08

 

1999

Herrmann

247

 

12

20.58

 

2000

Herrmann

229

 

12

19.08

 

2001

Herrmann

237

 

12

19.75

 

2002

Herrmann

265

 

13

20.38

 

2003

Herrmann

219

 

13

16.85

 

2004

Herrmann

279

 

12

23.25

 

2005

Herrmann

244

 

12

20.33

 

2006

English

207

 

13

15.92

 

2007

English

278

 

13

21.38

 

2008

Schaeffer

347

 

12

28.92

 

2009

Gerg

330

 

12

27.50

 

2010

Gerg

458

 

13

35.23

 

 

What a year Moeller had in 85! I’d like to look at that more closely. It is remarkable how consistent (and good) Carr’s defenses were over the years. I was surprised to see this because I was not a big fan of Lloyd as DC; I liked him better as head coach. I can’t remember specifically why I was not a fan, perhaps I thought he was too conservative, but you can’t argue with his results. It’s also interesting how much mileage Herrmann got out of 1997 as he was pretty consistently not so good in the following 8 seasons.

 

In order to use these stats to rate the DCs I have to make two major assumptions – (1) that the available talent on defense was spread equally through the years – this is obviously not true in a couple of outlying years (1997 vs. 2010 for example, agh!) but is probably mostly true, and (2) that the schedules were roughly equally difficult in all years – I haven’t attempted to analyze this I’m just going to go ahead with that assumption.

 

Ranking the Michigan DCs solely on their career points per game allowed looks like this:

 

 

Rank

DC

 

 

ppg

1

Carr

 

 

13.45

2

Mattison

 

 

13.64

3

Moeller

 

 

14.18

4

Herrmann

 

 

18.64

5

English

 

 

18.65

6

Herrmann w/o 97

 

19.75

7

Schaeffer

 

 

28.92

8

Gerg

 

 

31.52

 

Qualitatively, while Mattison is less than .2 ppg worse than Carr, I think he deserves at least a little bit of credit for the excellent ’97 defense that gave up only 9.5 ppg. Those were players that he had developed and in some cases recruited. Speaking of recruiting my recollection is that Mattison had an excellent reputation as a recruiter. Finally, looking at changes in ppg allowed from year to year, the 7.26 ppg improvement he achieved in his first year over the previous year is the best of any first year coach and best in the entire data set save the ridiculously good 85 defense that improved by 8.5 ppg. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he has an excellent chance of beating that record next year considering the large number of returning starters and truly awful 31.5 ppg benchmark.

 

Given the above and my flimsy assumptions of evenly distributed talent and schedule strength, I feel there is a more than reasonable argument to assert that Greg Mattison has been our best performing Defensive Coordinator in “very modern” school history. Conveniently, this is what I set out to claim in the first place. Carr is a strong second place and Moeller a close third. I would give English the Nod for 4thplace as if we give Mattison some credit for 97 we have to take some away from Herrmann. As it is English is only .01 ppg behind Herrmann for his whole career but more than a full ppg better than Herrmann if we exclude 97 from his record.

 

Conclusion – we can look forward to considerable improvement in our defense next year and for the next few years in the future.  Hurrraaayy!!

Comments

wlubd

January 19th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

Yeah this is definitely more of a diary entry.

Regarding the essay question, can I get an extension? My step-nephew's cousin's funeral is this weekend and I'm really down about it.....

KrisGoBlue

January 19th, 2011 at 2:34 PM ^

I mean, the things he brings to the table, just excite me even thinking about them. I remember thinking, while I was watching the 07 national championship game, that the Buckeyes just got out coached. It's been a long time since I can justify saying Michigan out coached anyone. The argument can be made, that Florida was a more talented football team, but it was in the preparation, that Florida looked superior. I may be drinking the kool aid, and sampling the corn bread, but on paper, this is a "home run" hire. Plus, it always gives me goosebumps, when I hear coaches associate UM, with coming home. Can't really undervalue a man's desire to restore pride in something.

yostlovesme

January 19th, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

Take out the 42 that we somehow allowed against tsio in 06 and that was as just good as some of the rest.  However 1901-1904 I think they allowed on average .9 points per game so that might be the toughest to beat.

Ziff72

January 19th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

If you take away Hermans 97 don't you then have to give him back 06?   One of the big factors you need to look at is points scored per game.   The game is played differently than it was in 1985.   I would guess that the points per game has increased and the differential of the games has reduced.  For example Mich and Wisc in 1982 may have generated 60 pts but it was probably 57-3.   Now it would be 37-23 and the 13-7 type games are almost completely gone.

burtcomma

January 19th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

Better measure would be where we ranked in the country against all NCAA Division 1 teams in points per game allowed as that would take out the effect of the general increase in the number of points per game scored due to changes in the landscape of college football over the past 30 years or so....

M2NASA

January 19th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

Can we now just all agree that I was right all along and that GERG is the worst coach in the history of college football?

So, so many dead kittens.

saveferris

January 19th, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

Could be any number of reasons.  My guess is that his budget for a DC salary was limited and Gerg was the best candidate he could find for the price.  It's easy to look at the Mattison hire and criticize Rodriguez's staff management skills, but Brandon has been AD for less than a year and it's only with this latest coaching change that purse strings have opened for assistant coaches.  If Bill Martin opened up the wallet two years agao after we let Shafer go and told Rich, "anybody you want, money is no object", things might have turned out differently on the defensive side of the ball.

saveferris

January 19th, 2011 at 4:46 PM ^

Oh, I don't think it was all Gerg's fault.  My reply was more in trying to address what I think is the false meme that Rodriguez was bad at hiring coaches.  Brandon dangles a fat salary in front of Mattison and he comes back to Ann Arbor and Hoke is credited with some kind of master stroke.

Dave could've paid for Mattison's services and still kept Rodriguez on as head coach and there would be a lot less uncertainty surrounding the future of the program, in my opinion.

The treatment and support Brady Hoke is getting from all corners stand in stark contrast to Rich Rodriguez's experience, and I hope it pays dividends in the coming season, but it still doesn't sit well with me.

Schembo

January 19th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

Good stuff....some other factors to consider would be the dual threat quarterback postition that took off in early part of the 2000's and strength of schedules.

LSAClassOf2000

January 19th, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

Good information in this thread - the question is, based on the points per game, does this make GERG the Anti-Carr? Was this the problem all along? So long as the Anti-Carr was on campus, the land shall be filled with perturbation, despair and bad defense?

krish

January 19th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

 I added more data to the above. For people wondering about the state of the offense over the year. It seems but for a few years, offense seems to be doing fine.