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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Great Offensive Myth of 2011

In a column called Grading the First-Year College Football Coaches, Yahoo sports editor  Mike Huguenin graded all 22 new head coaches (not including interim coaches) on their initial campaigns.  After guiding the Wolverines out of The Dark Period to a 10-2 record and BCS bowl berth, Michigan's Brady Hoke received an "A" with Huguenin stating:

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?

So let's take a look.

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?


Mikoyan said...

Well everyone said that Borges was predominantly a pro-style guy and that Denard wouldn't do well in a pro-style offense. So rather than admitting that they were wrong, it's easier to just say, "La la la, Michigan's offense is bad". Never mind that Borges ended up running a hybrid offense.

Ramona said...

According to the WSJ, we have the best uniforms! Hope this link works.:


Ramona said...

So we lost a little in passing (don't care)and a hair in rushing. But we improved in 3rd down conversions which is huge. Saying that the offense isn't "as good" as last year is really just taking a few stats out of context. Yost gives a more accurate "big picture."

Thomas Beindit said...

Things like raw yardage and scoring are not that reliable. Sure, it's important to score, but remember how much better field position, etc. the team had this year than last.

The offense is roughly as good, but not as lethal as last year. Advanced stats by Football Outsiders has us as #4 this year and #2 last year. http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fei

Mikoyan said...

If your defense is better, you don't need the offense to be as lethal. I think that took alot of pressure off Denard as well. He didn't have to carry the team as much this year.

Bigasshammm said...

What would be even more interesting would be if you just used Big Ten games as the measurements. I bet this year's offense is drastically better than last year in just the Big Ten games.

bigGexpress said...

No kidding BAH! How many points did the offense score last year against Wisky, Ohio, anyone with a pulse, etc. A 67 pt quadruple OT game against Illinois and a 60+ point game against Bowling Green skewed that stat terribly.

Clemdog said...

The defense is better because they are not on the field for 45 minutes a game. That means the offense is in control of the ball and not trying to see how quick they can score. The offense helped make the defense better so who cares what the numbers say.

phil said...

Here's some interesting stats compiled about Phil in 2010 vs. 2011

2010: Mental Depression increased 12% after each Michigan game.
2011: Mental Depression actually decreased 15% after each Michigan game.

2010: Threw an average 10 beer cans at TV set per Michigan game.
2011: Cheered an average 18 times at TV set per Michigan game.

2010: 4 sleepless nights a week during football season
2011: Sex life improved 400% and regularly wore Michigan gear around town.

GoBlueBob said...

The only stat I care about is 10-2. With Yost keeping us informed regarding the real stats for offense and defense I will just choose not to listen to anything else, but I am curious about how Phil calculated that 400%.

Yost said...

Yeah, I'm with Bob: Phil's 400% could be the most impressive stat by a Michigan Man this season.

Dennis said...

(Lights the Yost Signal)*


Rumors of The Game moving and an announcement today from the B1G.

For the love of football and all that is holy will you stop taking vacations, annnouncing slow times or whatever the hell it is that you do that causes stuff like this to happen.




*I'm not sure how I picture the Yost symbol. Probably a sylized Block M, where the Y shape under the M is more pronounced.

Ramona said...

Dennis, you can't drop a bomb like this just before it's time to leave for work!
Phil, LOL!!

I'm expecting more details tonight!
(Not you Phil... about the game!)

asmilefixer said...

"Fucking Borges!" haha

More importantly, how do I achieve the 400% increase in sex life? What are your stats? Going from 1 to 4 times in a season is better, but if you went from 5 to 20, I need schematics! Was it the switch from a "spread style" to "pro style"?

Bigasshammm said...

If they're going to move the Ohio game it should be the first game of the year. Or at least first game of the Big Ten schedule. Having it at a random point on October is meaningless. Who cares about MSU now that Cousins is gone I don't see any way they keep playing well. Thy won't battle for another Big Ten title for many seasons to come. I would have rather Nebraska always the last game of the year.

Yost said...


Where did you hear this?

James said...

Great post Yost. I'd add one thing - last year's team played three overtimes (gaining 75 yards and 22 points), while this year's team not only never played in OT, but also didn't even play a 4th quarter in the opener. We played only 11.75 games.

So if you calculate the season averages based on regulation time only, and divide this year's numbers by 11.75 instead of 12, any gap in production disappears, and the most important stat - points per game - is further in 2011's favor.

In 13 games of regulation time, the 2010 team scored 31.1 points per game.

In 11.75 games of regulation time, the 2011 team scored 34.9 points per game.

GoBlueBob said...

SmileFixer.... Regarding Phil, I was wondering if the 400% was due more to having more than one person involved this year vs last year.

Yost said...

Good point, James.

Excellent question, Bob.


phil said...

Let's just say that I'm not calling all Notre Dame cheerleaders sluts, but.......

Dennis said...

Yost, it was over at MGoBlog and at an OSU site, they might have been fedding off each other. I'm guessing it was the PAC12 thing, which is good news. Not usre how the idea of moving the Game got thrown into that. Sorry for the scare.