Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2007 O-line

On paper the 2007 offensive line should be better than the 2006 line. The main reasons it might not be would be:

1) If the coaches decide that Alex Mitchell is really an OT and move him to RT
2) Injury

#1 looks VERY doubtful as Mitchell is slower on his feet than Riley and honestly #2 would only be a huge blow if Jake Long was injured. All other positions have more depth than they did last year.

Thus, here is what the 2007 o-line should look like. The 'Key' explains things and the light yellow and bright yellow on LG and RT are my levels of worry for that position in 2007 (Nervous about RT for 2007 and a little nervous about LG in 2007, not worried about LT/C/RG, etc). Also, players that I don't expect to contribute are listed down below the main grouping.

LT: Long is a lock at LT and is really the only true 'lock'. Behind him would actually be Ortmann/Schilling instead of Zirbel as Zirbel has shown a lack of anything good (tripping during the Indiana game allowing a sack, allowing ND rushers right in, etc). I've listed Dorrestein in this column but he most likely won't see the field in 2007 thus he is down at the bottom.

LG: Boren looks to be the early favorite for this spot as he has more playing time than other potential candidates. Schifano would/could/should have been ahead of Boren IF not for his injury. I'm throwing Ciulla in here more just to put him in a slot as he might see slight time as a 3rd stringer.

C: Given Kraus's statements earlier about being more than open to moving to C in 2007 the most logical position for him is C. The only other slot would be LG but if your Carr wouldn't you rather have a 5-th year senior at C instead of a 3rd year soph with ~zero playing time? Especially since Kraus has ~8 starts at C already (2005). Behind him is the much hyped Moosman. When Jake Long talks about other o-linemen he talks about a) Ortmann and b) Moosman. The 3rd potential for C would be McAvoy but I'm moving him to RG.

RG: Mitchell looks to be a lock here but frankly I think he needs to re-earn a spot given his play late in 2006. Maybe that's being unfair but he looked either out of position or slow in a few 2006 games. I've put McAvoy behind him mostly because rivals current depth chart (updated 1/19/2007) lists him there.

LT: My opinion is that the RT position will again be a HUGE key for the Michigan offense. Riley at RT was good but not great. Well, I think a lot of folks would argue that Riley was horrible but he didn't do as bad as I expected. 2007 looks to be either Ortmann or Schilling. A lot of folks have Schilling as a lock for the RT position but I'm going with Rivals on this and putting Ortmann as the early favorite. Ortmann has generated a lot of buzz but nothing else and only saw a tiny bit of playing time in 2006. However, Schilling is still rehabbing from an injury and a few folks (including rivals it seems) have speculated that he won't be 100% by the time that the 2007 season rolls around. If, however, he rehabs 100% odds are that he takes the RT spot from Ortmann given his superior footwork and rumored ability to shutdown Woodley 1 on 1.

-Dorrestein will probably see backup time in 2008
-DeBenedictis is a rumored transfer possibility with odds of never seeing the field
-Gallimore is slightly better than DeBenedictis with a slight chance of seeing the field in 2007 unless I'm WAY off base
-Molk will redshirt and hopefully grow 2-3 inches ;)
-Huyge will DEFINITELY redshirt and hopefully hit the weight room hard

Thus we have 3 full starters returning plus a LG that started 1 game and had more than 4 additional quarters of full playing time.

Note: If anyone actually reads this blog anymore can you throw up a comment just to let me know? Thnx...

New recruiting/other posts on the way

FYI, will hopefully get at least 1 new post up today. I've got a couple ideas such as:

-Michigan recruiting 2003-2007 spreadsheet
-ND recruiting spreadsheet

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

2006 Defensive UFR through NW vs. 2005

Thursday, October 26, 2006

2006 UFR -> Iowa

In case anyone's interested, here is the UFR totals for defense through the IOWA game:

[The 2005 column represents the total points garnered by the defense in the 9 games that Brian charted. The 2006 column represents the total points garnered by the defense in all 8 games including the Iowa game.]

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

2006 1st game UFR

Wow, what a difference Ron English makes! 12 for Woodley which ties the all-time UFR high set by Branch back in the 2005 Wisc game.

Also note that we don't see any -7's (Mason) or -5's (Massey) with the only real negative being Stewart (-3)

Night and day difference.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

2005 4th quarter defense

The media has come up with countless articles pointing to Michigan’s 4th quarter defensive woes as being the main culprit for Michigan’s 7-5 2005 season. However, a closer look reveals something different:

Game #1 [NIU]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->7 4th quarter points

However, the 4th quarter points were scored with 3:06 left in the game when Michigan had 2nd stringers on defense. UFR from mgoblog shows at least Taylor and Thompson in so definitive 2nd stringers in. Touchdown in the 4th quarter is meaningless.

Game #2 [Notre Dame]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->0 4th quarter points

0 2nd half points. Period!

Game #3 [Eastern Michigan]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->0 4th quarter points

Shutout. Enough said.

Game #4 [Wisconsin]:
->3 3rd quarter points
->17 4th quarter points

17 4th quarter points. Wow, this is definitely proof that Michigan's 4th quarter defense is the real reason for the suckyness of Michigan's 2005 season. However, a closer look at the 4th quarter is in order here:

->Starting on Wisc's 27, Wisconsin scores a FG
->Michigan fumbles on the 2nd play, allowing Wisc to start on Michigan's 12 yard line!!!!
->Wisconsin scores
->Chad Henne throws an interception on the 2nd play, Wisc starts on Michigan's 35
->Wisc throws an interception, Michigan ball
->Michigan TD
->Wisc punts
->Michigan goes 3-out, punts
->Starting at the Wisc 48, Wisc scores

2 turnovers by Michigan's offense in the 4th quarter. The 2 TD's that Wisc scores are right after a) a Michigan fumble on their 12yard line and b) Michigan goes 3-out. Change any one of those 3 things (fumble, fumble, 3-out) by having Michigan's offense perform a tad bit better and the game is a W for Michigan. Period. OR, actually, more importantly, have Michigan capitalize on one more of their NUMEROUS offensive chances in the 1st 3 quarters and Michigan wins.

This game was lost by Michigan's offense, not by the play of Michigan's defense.

Game #5 [Michigan State]:
->3 3rd quarter points
->7 4th quarter points

This game was a win. Holding high-flying Drew Stanton and MSU to 10 2nd half points is great. MSU scored 21 in the 1st half and only 10 in the 2nd and 0 in OT. This is a good 2nd half defensive performance by Michigans D.

Game #6 [Minnesota]:
->10 3rd quarter points
->3 4th quarter points

Only 3 points in the 4th quarter.

Game #7 [Penn State]:
->3 3rd quarter points
->22 [14] 4th quarter points

This game was a W but was rather ugly in the 4th quarter. 22 points, wow you say. However, 8 of those were not given up by Michigan's defense so that narrows it down to 14 points scored on Michigan's D in the 4th quarter. This game definitely deserves a closer look at the 4th quarter:

->Michigan goes 5-out
->Tony Hunt has a 61-yard rush leading to a PSU TD
->Michigan's offense gives up a touchdown to PSU
->Michigan TD
->PSU punts
->Michigan FG
->Michigan interception by Leon Hall, Michigan ball
->Michigan goes 3-out, punts
->Starting at their own 19 PSU drives 81yards for a TD
->Michigan scores with 1 second left

This game would count more towards outing Michigan's 4th quarter defense than any other game aside from the OSU game. However, the game was a W for Michigan. As well, 8 of the 4th quarter points scored by PSU were given up by Michigan's offense. As well, Michigan's offense squanders yet another chance after Michigan's D comes up with an interception. Going 3-out after a great Michigan D play doesn't do much to inspire the folks who have to trot right back onto the field.

Again, a W for Michigan so this game doesn't count for all those 4th quarter naysayers.

Game #8 [Iowa]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->3 4th quarter points

Only 3 points scored in the 4th quarter and 3 points in OT. Nice D. Sure, some of this was Iowa trying to play LLLlloydball but solid D nonetheless. Breakout performance by John Thompson helping to stuff Iowa's run game in the 2nd half.

Game #9 [Northwestern]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->0 4th quarter points

2nd half shutout. AGAIN. Where is this 4th quarter D dribble coming from?

Game #10 [Indiana]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->7 4th quarter points

Indiana touchdown with the score 41-7 Michigan. How many 3rd stringers were there on Michigan's defense at that point. Meaningless touchdown.

Game #11 [Ohio State]:
->0 3rd quarter points
->13 4th quarter points

OSU scored 12 in the 1st half and 13 in the 2nd with all 13 coming in the 4th quarter. This is against a very good OSU offense with Troy Smith firmly at the helm where he wasn't in previous games. A closer look reveals:

->OSU misses a FG try
->Michigan scores a FG
->OSU starts on their own 33 and goes 67 yards for the touchdown
->Michigan goes 5-out
->OSU goes 88 yards for a TD

The Ohio State game really is the only game that can even come close to counting towards any notion of Michigan having a bad 4th quarter defense. Taking a look at mgoblog's UFR of Michigan's defensive effort against OSU goes more towards showing what Troy Smith can do against a soft zone than anything else. Saying that Michigan lost the OSU game as a result of Michigan's 4th quarter defense would probably be 50% true.

Game #12 [Nebraska]:
->3 3rd quarter points
->15 4th quarter points

Wow, another 4th quarter meltdown by Michigan's D? 2 in a row you say? Let's take a closer look at the 4th quarter:

->Michigan scores a TD
->Nebraska punts on their ensuing posession
->Michigan goes 3-out and punts
->Nebraska returns the kick to Michigan's 38.
->Cory Ross scores on a 31yd TD on the 2nd play
->Michigan fumbles on the 1st play of the next posession
->Michigan's D forces Nebraska to a 3-out, Nebraska punts
->Chad Henne fumbles on the 2nd(?) play, Nebraska ball
->Deep in Michigan territory Nebraska scores

Nebraska's 1st TD came when they started already at Michigan's 38 yard line and Michigan's D was coming off an EXTREMELY short sit as Michigan just went 3-out prior to that series. Nebraska scored with Michigan already forced to defend in their territory with almost zero rest. Then add onto that the momentum of Michigan's offense fumbling RIGHT AWAY deep in Michigan territory. Singling out Michigan's 4th quarter defense here is the wrong thing to do. So aside from Michigan's 4th quarter Defense you have:

1) Michigan's offense fumbling deep in their territory allowing Nebraska to start their last scoring drive in the redzone
2) Michgan's offense fumbling in Michgan's territory
3) Michigan going 3-out right before Nebraska's 1st 4th quarter TD
4) Michigan's special teams allowing Nebraska to return the ball all the way to the Michigan 38 giving Nebraska a SHORT field to work with

Honestly, Michigan's D put up a tough fight but when your offense just flutters the ball away 3x in the 4th quarter holding Nebraska to 2 short-field TD's is pretty darn good. If Michigan's offense would've performed minutely better Nebraska doesn't score more than 1 TD in the 4th quarter and Michigan wins. Period.

Thus, there is only 1 game out of 5 (OSU game) that Michigan's 4th quarter defense can bear a decent chunk of the blame for the loss. Michigan going 11-1 with only a loss to OSU would've earned a top5 AP poll spot and no mention of problems with Michigan's D regardless of quarter. If, for some reason, you still need more proof that Michigan's D was not the problem last year see the post below.

Comments, flames, and/or contrary opinions on this subject matter are more than welcome.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Real problem

The real problem last year was Michigan's offense not the defense as so widely stated by the media. Why?:

-> Held Notre Dame to it's LOWEST point total for all of 2005 at 17.
-> ND was pretty consistently high scoring before/after us aside from the Fiesta Bowl.
-> ND offensive average was 38.18 pts/game, we held them to 17.

-> Only allowed 23pts against high flying Wisconsin (yes Wisconsin)
-> Wisc's offensive average was 35.33 pts/game, we held them to 23.

-> Held Minnesota to it's 2nd lowest point total of the year.
-> Minnesota's offensive average was 36.18 pts/game, we held them to 23.
-> Minnesota scored 31 points against the tough OSU defense.

-> Held PSU to it's 3rd lowest point total of the year.
-> PSU's offensive average was 35.18 pts/game, we held them to 25.

-> Held high-flying Northwestern to it's 2nd highest point total of the year. They were averaging 37.14 pts/game BEFORE they played us.
-> Northwestern scored 29 points against the tough PSU defense, we held them to 17.

-> Held OSU to it's 3rd lowest point total of the year behind 2 stalwart defenses, PSU and Texas

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

2006 Questions

I'd like to take a quick interruption of my 'What makes a good X' posts to throw out what I believe are the top questions for the Wolverine team that will take the field in 2006:

1) Which Chad Henne will show up?
  • Simple question but the biggest. This has been asked earlier and is the biggest factor for the Wolverines in 2006.
2) Will the offensive line be better than last year? This question has to be broken down into multiple parts:
  1. How will the line function as a whole? Will it gel?
  • This question has a lot to do with how Henne does this year. If the o-line has another rocky year then Henne will most likely follow suit.
  1. Who will be the RT and how well will that person do?
  • I can't help but think that this is the biggest position question mark on the whole team. Kolo? Riley? Zirbel/Ortmann?
  1. Can Bihl be more than just a filler at center?
  • Sure he "had a good spring" but can he bring that to game day?
  1. Why does the formatting on blogger suck? Argh!!!
3) How much will our LB play improve this year?
  • It will be interesting to see the change between Herrmann and Szabo and what results that has on the field. Throw English into the equation here as well. We should field a good to decent front 4 and our defensive backfield should be good-great with only 1 unproven CB to get up to speed. That leaves LB play as the only real question for the 2006 defense. Even a small improvement over last year should reap big overall rewards in terms of defensive performance.
4) What impact will Ron English have on our Defense?
  • English will be scrutinized fiercely this year and hopefully there won't be any bloggers using the excuse "well, he did have to work within Loyd's framework" by the end of the year.
Honestly those are the main questions. The other positions seem to be taken care of:

-RB's: We should field a good stable of RB's that will be great if Hart stays healthy.
-WR's: Same thing. Mario, Arrington (my bet this year for a breakout season), Breaston, Tabb, Savoy, Dutch...
-TE's: Ecker, Massey, freakazoid Butler should equate to a good year.
-S: 5 returning starters.
-DB's: 1 good starter with 1 nickel-db with experience and 2 other good potential DB's (Stewart/Sears)
-DE's: Woodley, Jamison, Biggs (rumored to be much improved) should be good.
-DT's: Taylor/Branch should hold down the fort with Walton/McKinney/Johnson and possibly Slocum adding to the mix. This one could be tenuous if injury strikes but fingers crossed.

OG/C follow-up

Taking a look at the 'What makes a good OG/C' post below, the end result was that for recruiting purposes there isn't a magic bullet based on recruiting stats. In a previous post, I stated that there didn't seem to be a single OG/C headed our way in 2007 but things have changed. There now appears to be at least 1 in that category: David Molk.

My impressions are that it will come down to West Virginia or Michigan for Molk and he looks to be deciding in the next few weeks. Hopefully he will stay closer to home and pick Michigan.

Molk is ~6'1" and 270lbs running a 5 in the 40. Overall he would fall into the first category of less than 300lbs and mobile. He looks to have a mean streak which is another trait that seems to come in handy for offensive lineman. He also blew up the Michigan camp and was seemingly the best offensive lineman there.

All-in-all I will be EXTREMELY happy if we can pick up Molk plus a decent OT. It would be even better if we can add John Elliott to the mix as well but I haven't heard much at all about him which isn't a good thing as there are usually at least whispers on folks looking to head to Michigan.

Updating my previous skepticism, it looks like we might be getting at least one of the Schwartz/Ziemba OT pair heading our way. Fingers crossed on that.