Hoke left San Diego State and arrived at a Michigan program that had a full cupboard on offense. But the defense had been atrocious, and Hoke made a masterful hire at defensive coordinator when he snagged Greg Mattison away from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. The Wolverines’ offense isn’t as good as it was last season, but the defense made huge strides – and that improvement is why the Wolverines are in their first BCS bowl since the 2006 season. Hoke is a good fit at Michigan, and assuming his recruits pan out, the Wolverines will be back among the Big Ten’s elite for the foreseeable future.
There. Did you you catch it? The Great Offensive Myth of 2011:
The Wolverines’ offense isn’t as good as it was last season
Really? By what measure? Because I've seen this assertion made a couple other times in various places, but is it true? Is Michigan's 2011 offense "not as good" as the 2010 variety? Or is former coach Rich Rodriguez's reputation as an offensive guru and his introduction of the spread in A2 overshadowing the facts on the field from last year to this one?
According to cfbstats.com (which is a great site if you've never checked it out), Michigan's scoring offense (including its bowl game) for the 2010 season ranked 25th in the country, averaging 32.8 points per game.
So how does the 2011 squad stack up in that category? With its bowl game to go, Michigan ranks 22nd in scoring, averaging 34.2 points per game.
Now, I'm no math wiz, but I do believe that 22nd is better than 25th, and 34 is more than 32. Then again, I was just a liberal arts major at Michigan and didn't study the hard sciences.
Let's check out some other stats, shall we? Last year, Michigan's rushing offense averaged 238.54 ypg. This year, they have fallen waaaay off -- just 235.67 ypg. Almost 3 yards a game LESS than last year. Fucking Borges.
The big "advantage" for 2010? Passing yardage. Last year, U-M averaged 250.2 ypg through the air. In 2011, that number dipped to 187.4 ypg. Of course, it's hard to say how much Michigan being completely out of games such as MSU, Wisco, OSU and Mississippi State in the 4th quarter last year inflated that stat. No need to play tight when you're smoking the other team.
And yes, Denard also rushed for 1,702 yards last year vs. "only" 1,163 this season. But Michigan also established a second running threat in 2011 with Fitz Toussaint (1,011 yards) to lesson the load on Denard and make opposing defenses worry about another set of legs besides just those of the U-M QB.
2010: Offense averaged 6.8 yards per play
2011: Offense averaged 6.41 yards per play
2010: Team passer rating of 145.99
2011: Team passer rating of 141.19
2010: 3rd down conversions -- 44.77%
2011: 3rd down conversions -- 48.39%
I'll stop because I think you get the point -- which is that Michigan's offense didn't really take any measurable step back in 2011. In fact, with Denard taking less of a beating and the emergence of another running option in Fitz Toussaint creating a more balanced attack, I'd say they took a step forward.
Put it this way, if you were an opposing coach, which Michigan offense would you least like to face?