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11/04/2018 - 9:05am Michigan is No. 48…

Michigan is No. 48 nationally at 5.19 points per redzone opportunity ("scoring percentage" is the dumbest stat, because it implies three points and 7 points are the same thing). There's certainly room for improvement in it... but it's hardly a damning flaw.

Michigan State is "better" at scoring in the redzone, for example, with nine field goals and 19 touchdowns (87.5% to Michigan's 86.5%), but they've scored only 5.0 points per redzone opportunity: there's basically no way to slice that as better in any pragmatic way.

U-M's failed redzone trips are:

  • A bobbled field goal snap against Notre Dame (down 21-10 at the beginning of the third quarter, that certainly impacted the outcome of the game, though didn't decide it obviously)
  • Interception against SMU (tied 0-0 in the first quarter of an eventual 42-20 win)
  • Interception by the third-string quarterback against Nebraska (up 56-3 in the fourth quarter)
  • Kneeling out the clock on the final drive against Wisconsin (up 38-13)
  • Missed field goal against Michigan State (up 7-0 right before halftime. Felt scary at that point but didn't impact the outcome of the game).

So two out of five failures were deep, deep into garbage time and Michigan didn't particularly care about a "failed redzone trip" (certainly not the Wisconsin one). So, either the team doesn't bog down in the redzone that much, or your problem is that they kick too many field goals, rather than scoring touchdowns. 21.62% field goals in redzone trips is No. 66-highest nationally (i.e.: low). 

Again, anything less than perfect is an opportunity to improve, no doubt. But is redzone offense a problem (even disregarding the MGoHeuristic that "Redzone Offense" is not really a thing)? The data say otherwise, and pretty convincingly. 

(If you extend the scoring zone from like the 20 to the 40 or so, the numbers are certainly quite different, a probably a little less kind to Michigan. However, that's not easy stuff to look up - it's not tracked by an easily-accessible source - and is also not encompassed by the initial question).

10/18/2018 - 10:53pm A couple (completely…

A couple (completely unrelated) things:

1) Like 30% of Denard's high school rushing yards came on fake punts(!). Really athletic high school quarterbacks aren't always turned loose, for reasons both reasonable and not, which could explain some of the Milton stat thing. 

2) In response to the Pro Football Focus griping about Bushell-Beatty, they did indeed have him as Michigan's best OL in the run game (72.0) but had him as the worst pass-blocker in the game (54.7) behind the other four OL, both primary tight ends, and Higdon. Runyan was the best pass-blocker and second-best run-blocker. JBB's 71.0 overall would have been good enough at center or the second guard spot, but Hermanns had an extremely good pass-blocking day to beat him out.

07/20/2018 - 3:18pm The next competitive…

The next competitive tournament is the 2019 Gold Cup, beginning in the middle of next June.

07/20/2018 - 3:18pm It will not be an A-team…

It will not be an A-team roster, though it will have plenty of first-team regulars. No purpose in pulling guys away from Europe for a long-ass flight for two games when they're right at the beginning of their club seasons.

Pulisic almost certainly won't be there (barring a change in plans, obviously), and you'd likely only see a few others who play regularly for European clubs.

07/20/2018 - 3:16pm I'd say the compounding of…

I'd say the compounding of what was indeed a problem by an idiot coach who played Omar Gonzalez instead of Geoff Cameron, Matt Miazga, a trash can with legs, etc. was the more direct reason. Obviously the Brooks injury (which, let's not kid ourselves, is just a state of being nowadays) opened up the opportunity for that to happen.

07/20/2018 - 3:12pm Weah was definitely one who…

Weah was definitely one who I thought I'd include, but it'd be Arriola I'd replace, not Saief. (Of course that relies on Saief remaining healthy, which he hasn't for a little while now). I think you could also drop one of the more offense-minded central midfielders (cough cough Nagbe) for an additional winger, given the versatility of a guy like Pulisic to play multiple roles.

07/17/2018 - 10:33am It absolutely must be…

It absolutely must be somebody with an understanding of the US player pool and what (MLS/college/etc.) makes it unique vis-a-vis other countries, at least for the next hire. Somebody with Earnie Stewart familiarity (Berhalter played against him in the Eredivisie, they've crossed paths in other ways since then) is also pretty likely.

My top two choices - assuming Vermes is off the table for now - are Jesse Marsch and Berhalter. USSF can be a little more adventurous (not "Klinnsman-level adventurous") with the next hire.

07/17/2018 - 9:17am Maybe this Berhalter fellow…

Maybe this Berhalter fellow knows what he's doing. 🤔🤔

07/17/2018 - 8:33am If you're interested in more…

If you're interested in more, I'd recommend SB Nation's USMNT blog Stars ands Stripes FC. It's often very 1,000-foot view (and doesn't get a ton deeper often enough for my tastes), but certainly fills a niche for a given depth of analysis.

07/17/2018 - 8:27am MLS academies are indeed a…

MLS academies are indeed a game-changer. I think even bigger is the growth of lower-level soccer. Good riddance to NASL, but the more opportunities there are to stay in the country (or to come here from abroad) and play competitive matches - whether USL, USL D3 (soon), NPSL, PDL - the more opportunities there are for guys to avoid slipping through the cracks. There's a lot more soccer, and a lot more good soccer for people at all age groups, and it's a big deal.

Oddly (or perhaps not oddly), some of the MLS sides with the best youth development setups - Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo, Sporting KC, and to a lesser extent New York Red Bulls - haven't been as successful on the pitch. When they find a way to bridge that gap (I think it's having a solid vertical progression of DA => PDL => USL => MLS for players to aspire to), things will really take off.

07/17/2018 - 8:21am Clint Dempsey and Landon…

Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan absolutely both had stretches of their careers where they were that sort of player (for Donovan, mostly international only, though Dempsey got it done for a solid half-dozen years or so in the Premier League). It's less about having the singular talent and more about having depth and quality around them. That's what we've had too infrequently in recent years.

07/17/2018 - 8:15am The problem with the US has…

The problem with the US has never (well not "never" in a literal sense, but in recent history) been lack of athleticism. Indeed, the USMNT has been known for having great athletes. It's been lack of technical development. 

I know it's en vogue to say "but what if our best athletes..." especially in the wake of not making the World Cup, but it's really not an accurate picture of what our country lacks. Is Luka Modric an elite athlete? Sergio Ramos? Robert Lewandowski? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Heck, I'd say there's a decent chance Christian Pulisic is a better athlete than Lionel Messi.

Sure, we've never had that Mbappé type, but there have been very few of those over the years. We've lacked the technical development far more than we've ever lacked athletes.

07/17/2018 - 8:09am Like I said, I'm very high…

Like I said, I'm very high on their potential. They will likely end up a much greater group. But to already say "there's no doubt" when basically zero of these guys but Pulisic are proven at a high level is still a massive overreach. Even he 

Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore are unquestionably the best trio the MNT has ever had, and they came out in the same generation.

07/16/2018 - 7:00pm Six of the top 11 goal…

Six of the top 11 goal-scorers all-time came up within seven years of each other... and three of them played in the last competitive match for the USMNT (so it's not like they're from ages ago and easily forgotten). I'm really high on this next generation, but that's some pretty significant over-anointing.

07/16/2018 - 6:57pm He's more of an 8 than a 10…

He's more of an 8 than a 10 to me at an international level (and unfortunately for him, that's a spot with a lot of depth, though many of them are a bit more defensive-minded).

07/16/2018 - 2:07pm The US hired the most…

The US hired the most expensive manager in the world like 6 years ago (Klinnsman). There's more to winning than comes with paying for a top manager. Quite honestly, there's value in a manager, but in the international game - where the team trains together only in camps before games - it's a bit of an overrated position. 

For the USMNT's specific position in the game, it makes more sense to hire a guy who has an understanding of the player pool and why college/MLS/etc. make the country unique than trying to find some tactical/development wizard.

07/16/2018 - 2:04pm You have to be in an academy…

You have to be in an academy in Europe by a certain age (if memory serves me correctly, it's 14) or be eligible for a European passport, or else you can't sign a professional contract until the transfer window in which you turn 18. Sargent was like a week too young to sign and play the second half of the Bundesliga season for Werder after developing in St. Louis.

07/16/2018 - 1:59pm I like Dwyer more than you…

I like Dwyer more than you do (barring a renaissance from Wood, I'd absolutely rather have Dwyer), and am glad as king of the Gyasi Zardes fanclub (non-haterz club?) that you've come around on him at his new position. I don't much care for Soto yet, and if Jozy can stay healthy (not likely! maybe not possible!) would rather have him as the holdover-y type from past WC squads.

Morris is all winger to me because he's 1) pacey 2) comically one-sided 3) meh as a pure finisher. If he retains his speed after coming back from injury, cool. For me, he's sort of on the downside of his tenure in the MNT picture.

Arriola is, uh, not for me. I'd rather have Julian Green, honestly. Winger is probably a spot where somebody we don't really know a ton about yet is going to be a major factor come 2022. Somebody like Efra Alvarez (pls) who could be a great finisher from the wing sounds pretty good to me.

05/07/2018 - 1:41pm FWIW, Vandy was better than

FWIW, Vandy was better than they felt this year, particularly on defense. Expectations were low coming into the year ("Derek Mason gets fired" low), and the Dores exceeded them thanks in large part to that D - though in the end the numbers didn't end up that pretty, anyway.

03/25/2018 - 3:50pm How is "Jordan Greenway" not

How is "Jordan Greenway" not a white running back for Iowa?

12/20/2017 - 12:46pm FWIW on Doyle

His teammate Cam Goode is as rock-solid to Virginia Tech as it gets (probably doesn't have any other realistic options at this point anyway), and doesn't intend to sign during the early period, either. It's just a weird thing with kids at that school - though I expect VT to try to lean on Goode to sign anyway, just no ceremony.

Of course, regardless of whether or not a kid intends to decommit after not signing in this early period, remaining on the market while a ton of schools now know their needs (or have new needs after losing a kid who signed with someone else, etc.) certainly opens wiggle-room if and when new suitors suddenly come calling.

11/29/2017 - 6:57pm The abortive FailJail swap

...for Ford Field has almost certainly cost Detroit an MLS team this time around. I would imagine they'll get that hammered out (with more time to deal with the beaurocracy) and be one of the selections in the next round of expansion.

It's a bummer; I was looking forward to the Detroit City douches being really upset. (Not so bummer-y because I'd like to see Nashville get one of the franchises, and they're probably going to).

11/16/2017 - 4:23pm Brian if it makes you feel any better

When I was charting the Virginia Tech game, there were broadcast angles on empty formations that showed zero of the receivers in the frame. The ACC Network (which consists of ESPN's F-minus personnel) is the worst of all television options. A completely Rick-free environment.

11/06/2017 - 1:08pm came for the football talk,

came for the football talk, stayed for the ripping on the worst board game ever created

10/17/2017 - 1:36pm Michigan didn't pass on

Michigan didn't pass on Terrance Davis. They got straight-up beaten for him (because he didn't want to go too far from home and his single mom - DeMatha is almost adjacent to Maryland's campus).

10/14/2017 - 12:40pm I do what I can

I do what I can

10/13/2017 - 10:18pm fyi you're commenting on a

fyi you're commenting on a post that is the answer to your question

10/13/2017 - 9:32pm I came to the comments for

I came to the comments for this specific point. He is not eligible since he's covered by the wide receiver. That is a missed call, and a very obvious one.

It's illegal touching, should have been a five yard penalty and loss of down.

08/08/2017 - 5:07pm I can tell you now that

I can tell you now that Michigan doesn't have an issue with the Belleville coaches being upset with them. Jim Harbaugh could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn't have an issue with the Belleville coaches.

07/21/2017 - 12:33pm A funny Freeze slappy Twitter anecdote

Here's a story about when peak stupid on the internet was reached (I'm paraphrasing because trying to find a Twitter mention from a year ago is not worth the story, as long as I relay the gist of it):

At some point last Summer (oddly, after I was covering Virginia Tech, and when I certainly hadn't chimed in about the stupid Freeze-satellite camp imbroglio), some Ole Miss moron quote-tweeted Jim Harbaugh doing something with his kids - one must assume hanging out at Camp Michigania or something like that - and told me it was hypocritical.

I found this tweet to be time consuming and boring, yet educational. It was a little ridiculous to indulge "idiot with internet connection" with my interaction, but I continued to read on.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I asked this intrepid Ole Miss fan.

"Jim Harbaugh is a hypocrite because he is hanging out with his family when he always prioritizes satellite camps over his kids," Einstein responded.

Just sit back in awe of how stupid this man could be: Jim Harbaugh is out proving that Hugh Freeze was lying about not being able to spend time with his family being the reason he was against satellite camps (at the time, I responded something something golf course, not knowing he was out seeking Tampa's finest sex workers instead), and yet somehow in his twisted mind morphed that into a guy who was very honest about loving work - but also loving his family - being the hypocrite.

It was very strange.

07/13/2017 - 3:10pm Selfishly, I'd love to see

Selfishly, I'd love to see Detroit and Nashville get two of the bids (aside from Sacramento, which looks all-but guaranteed, they also seem to have two of the strongest cases, along with Cincinnati). 

The fail jail thing is always so strange to me. Where's the resistance? Outside of a few politicians who have obviously held up the matter incessantly, it seems like everyone is in favor of there not being a jail there, and most are in favor of a stadium. Living downtown for three years before I moved to Nashville, I met literally zero citizens who wanted a jail there, or thought it was a good idea. Selection bias, sure, but there's got to be something to that. Even as someone really leery of Dan Gilbert ("gobble up all property for personal gain, be painted as hero of city" sits a little uncomfortably with me), it seems like a win-win here.

05/30/2017 - 2:08pm They aren't hiring a coach to

They aren't hiring a coach to "win a couple conference games." That would be stupid. They're hiring a coach to compete for national championships. To pretend otherwise is pointless.

05/30/2017 - 2:05pm Fisher also played TE at TC

Fisher also played TE at TC West under Wooer (though IIRC he was a bit heavier in high school). They like to have a really good blocker out there, since they are a run-heavy offense, and then of course the play action can be deadly as long as that sixth lineman-type can run at least a little bit.

05/30/2017 - 11:37am Those are reasonable

Those are reasonable expectations. The bar is high. Of course, coming off a disappointing year or two to end the John Paul era, the new coach won't be held to a "make the Final Four or get fired" standard by any stretch of the imagination. But with Michigan's resources, facilities (will be better than any other school from the first day the new coach hits campus), and recruiting footprint, they should be able to break into consistent tournament contention extremely quickly if they get the caliber of coach they think they'll be able to hire. It's not even a hot take, just the truth.

05/30/2017 - 11:35am JP was making 114k from the

JP was making 114k from the university (probably more from other sources of income, like camps, as is typical in non-revenue sports). 

John Tillman at Maryland makes 115k in university compensation, and 248k total (including plenty directly from Under Armour). Nick Myers at Ohio State makes 305k, but I believe that number includes the external sources of payment.

05/29/2017 - 5:24pm Shouldn't take that long if

Shouldn't take that long if they get the caliber of coach they expect/should be able to get.

05/29/2017 - 5:20pm They're already reeling in

They're already reeling in top-15 classes or so (very good, but not elite with only 70 programs compared to 125 in FBS football). Recruiting hasn't been and won't be an issue, almost regardless of who is the coach.

The talent returning would probably make U-M a top-25 team next Spring, without taking into account the bump from a very good coach. The rising senior class was the second full D-1 class, IIRC.

05/29/2017 - 5:16pm He's only 50. People are out

He's only 50. People are out here suggesting 70-year olds.

05/29/2017 - 5:15pm Though his wife runs the

Though his wife runs the Wolverine War camp still, there's probably a bit of bad blood with him that would make it a little surprising (though given that bad blood would be mostly with JP, who knows).

05/29/2017 - 5:10pm They will pay top dollar (or

They will pay top dollar (or they wouldn't have bothered firing John Paul). They'll get a top coach - and there's a specific one out there that I think most folks consider the leader in the clubhouse.

05/23/2017 - 3:49pm It's pronounced "St. Just."

It's pronounced "St. Just." He thinks it's very weird that everyone says "Joost" (and this is where the "juice" nickname came from - mispronunciations of his name).

05/17/2017 - 4:47pm Lewis was always an absolute

Lewis was always an absolute technician (no pun intended, I guess) from the first time I saw him as a sophomore. Sure, most things technique-wise can be taught, but there's also a natural ability to internalize and apply technique that I doubt I'll ever see anyone have to the degree Lewis did. So from that perspective "maximized his potential" seemed more likely for JD than it does for Thomas - of corse with the benefit of hindsight that we know Lewis pulled it off and have no idea if Thomas will. I think the run support will follow in a similar vein - not that Thomas won't get there, but seems like less a guarantee to than Lewis did

What Thomas has is a better physical package overall. Perhaps not as exciting with the ball in his hands, but just as quick 0-60 and with better overall speed, and of course another inch or two of height. King kids tend to start a little farther behind build-wise than Cass kids, but that can also mean even more long-term upside than expected in Thomas's frame in the long run (at least inasmuch as we're comparing him directly to Lewis).

03/15/2017 - 12:40pm

01/31/2017 - 5:41pm The MSU experience metric...

Is an interesting one, albeit in the feelingsball department more than anything. If you lose a star upperclassman, that's bad. If said player picked your school (over his childhood favorite and the one he thought was a better football fit) primarily because he was told there would be no repurcussions for not bothering to go to his classes... there's an Ewing Theory On Steroids situation possible.

01/23/2017 - 5:10pm Benny's is on the overrated

Benny's is on the overrated list for me (though I do like it - it's just not remotely special). Its reputation primarily comes from people geeking out over seeing athletes there because it's close to the area where many of them live.

01/23/2017 - 4:59pm Dissing Leopold's is

Dissing Leopold's is capital-N capital-O (also capital-K) Not OK.

01/17/2017 - 8:36pm I would say especially NTs.

I would say especially NTs. Less height can mean better leverage, and they don't need as much arm length as the guys on the edge do to fight with lengthier, more athletic liinemen.

01/17/2017 - 1:49pm One should not drop bananas

One should not drop bananas unless absolutely necessary (or you get the multi-banana box). One must hold it behind you to prevent being hit from behind by a shell. 

This rule is of course no longer applicable when approaching a new set of mystery boxes, because you don't want to miss out on a new mystery box when the worst thing you can get from it is another solitary banana.

12/23/2016 - 5:23pm And most importantly, Zaxby's

And most importantly, Zaxby's is awesome. I maintain that their marketing campaign should be "zaxby's: actually as good as all the idiots say Chik fil a is."

12/21/2016 - 6:02pm I cheated. It is.

I cheated. It is.