Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Will Not Score Before It’s Time

"Just like we talked about at halftime, Tate!"

"Right coach. No more field goals. Only touchdowns"

The Michigan Wolverines football team in 2009 has so far proven to be a 1st and 4th quarter football team offensively. Here are Michigan’s points scored by game quarter so far this season*:

UM Offense '09

Game Quarter1st Qtr2nd Qtr3rd Qtr4th QtrtOTTotal
% of Total35%22%14%29%0%100%

This is actually kind of a good thing because it shows that Michigan typically starts out football games pretty strong, which can boost the confidence of the entire team.

The Wolverine defense has been spectacular in the 3rd quarter of football games this year while being consistently awful in the 2nd and 4th quarter. Below we see UM opponent points scored by game quarter*:

UM Defense '09

Game Quarter1st Qtr2nd Qtr3rd Qtr4th QtrtOTTotal
% of Total24%37%6%29%4%100%

On average Michigan is being significantly outscored in the 2nd quarter of games by their opponents.

Since the defense tends to “open up the floodgates” in the 2nd quarter (37% of opponent points scored), they probably garner the greatest attention by the UM coaching staff at halftime (Greg Robinson, Rich Rodriguez, etc.). What I'm imagining here is an appropriate level of woodshed conversation or ass-chewing followed by a team rally around the whiteboard.

If this is happening, and we look at the above numbers, we might be tempted to ask this question:

If UM opponents are scoring 61% of all of their points in the 1st half, then why wait until half-time for the talking to?

Well, whatever is being "changed" or said at half-time probably can’t be done before kickoff because the coaching staff doesn't know 100% what kind of crap the opponents are going to pull and what tactical adjustments or reversals need to take place. I guess we should just sit back and be grateful that whatever “it” is, is taking place at half-time in the Michigan locker room. I mean, feast your eyes on that 3rd quarter opponent scoring will you. Michigan has given up 9 points all year long in the 3rd quarter.

Come to think of it, judging from the team’s 3rd quarter performance, the Michigan staff might also wish to light a torch under the hineys of the Wolverine offensive players at halftime as well.

If there's a time for Rodriguez and Magee to break out the Howitzers offensively, it'd definitely be the 3rd quarter, not the 4th. This would certainly ease the pressure off of an already shaky defensive situation. Doing so would probably keep team confidence higher and for a longer duration, not to mention allow Michigan football fans to regrow their fingernails some.

* = The Delaware State numbers are removed above, because from a statistical point of view due to the low strength of the opponent, the numbers are not very indicative.

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