Detroit 8, Jacksonville 9 (OT)

While the talking heads on ESPN and the like spout off about Lebron James “not being clutch” or the early-2000s New England Patriots “being clutch,” the numbers gurus stand in complete opposition. They say there is no such thing as “clutch.”

The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle (though far, far slanted toward those who don’t believe in the concept of “clutch”). There are some teams, players, etc. that just know how to win. There are others that seem to to not be capable, despite close calls time after time.

The 2013 Detroit Titans just don’t know how to win, how to finish a game. Is that why they lost against Jacksonville? No, but it was likely a contributing factor, too. The stagnation of a 1-6 record lost out to Jacksonville’s 4-3 mark.

The Dolphins know how to win. They’ve been there before.

Tempo Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Jacksonville 2013
Detroit Jacksonville
Faceoff Wins 9 Faceoff Wins 11
Clearing 17-19 Clearing 17-20
Possessions 31 Possessions 33
Goals 8 Goals 9
Offensive Efficiency .258 Offensive Efficiency .273

As expected, this was a moderately slow gane. The Titans were able to hold their own in possession despite a second straight game with the best faceoff specialist, Tyler Corcoran (and the top option in this game, Damien Hicks, won exactly 50%).

Everything was just about as close as can be, including the final score. One more possession in the other direction – had the Titans not failed a clear for just the second time all game in overtime, for example – would have flipped the result.


The Titans are still learning how to win in competitive games (VMI doesn’t count) and although they didn’t com up with the big moment in the clutch in this one, simply making it to overtime is actually progress for the 2013 edition of UDM lacrosse. Especially given that the best offensive player (Shayne Adams) and probably the third- or fourth-best defensive player (Nick Garippa) are out for the year, the Titans are really coming around.

That said, has there ever been an argument for “clutch” better than two failed clears all game, one in the fourth quarter – down just a couple goals – and one in overtime with the chance to get into the offensive box and set up a play for the win? The failed clear in OT decided the game.

Mike Birney was the offensive star in this one. He recorded two goals and two assists on the day to lead all scorers. However, he also had a bit of a turnover problem, committing four of them. Freshman Nick Melucci was the other offensive star, recording two goals and an assist.

On the other side of things, Alex Maini did not have his greatest day. Zero goals on three shots, zero assists and four turnovers. The load has shifted onto him with Adams’s injury, and that’s a new spotlight. Days like this are going to happen, and fortunately younger Titans have been able to step up and carry the load. Will Maini continue being a focal point of the offense going forward? Maybe not, and a balanced attack would probably be a good thing for this UDM squad.

Contrary to my expectations, Detroit did not force many turnovers in this one. Jacksonville committed 21 all game, and only six forced by UDM players. SSDM Joe MacLean was the team leader with only two CTs. Was the style of play compromised by the lack of Garippa? Was it simply a strategy decision against a Jacksonville team that has pretty good sticks? It certainly didn’t prevent JU from getting its share of good looks.

Based on the highlights (which pretty much only show goals, so take this with a grain of salt), it was not A.J. Levell’s best day. His defense was oddly slow to close out on shooters, but at least three of Jacksonville’s goals – including the OT winner – were simple high-to-high rips from outside 10 yards. Most of the time, those are saves that need to be made.

As mentioned above, Tyler Corcoran did not play in this game, and at this point the status of Detroit’s most successful faceoff specialist is unknown… but at this point it may not matter. After a really rough start to the year, Damien Hicks is rounding into form at the dot. He’s not exactly going to challenge for all-league honors, but given some time, he should be a good one.


The official boxscore. UDM Recap. Jacksonville Recap. Game highlights:

Up Next

Although UDM will be disappointed to not finish the job against Jacksonville, the second-most winnable game on the schedule (behind last week’s tilt against VMI) is up next. Hosting Manhattan is a must-win, not just for keeping MAAC tournament hopes alive – a post about which coming later this week – but for the simple sake of pride. You don’t lose to Manhattan at home.

It should be a great day in the Motor City, with nice weather expected and a bunch happening on campus. A big win for the Titans will bring them one step closer to a solid end to the season.

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23 Responses to Detroit 8, Jacksonville 9 (OT)

  1. sirlaxalot says:

    A really tough game to lose… Titans played maybe their most complete game of the year… Even though they were outscored 3-0 in the 3rd Q, they played hard. Offense is inconsistent at times, that can either mean your getting worse or getting better… I think they are getting better…. but they confound you… have some great possessions and end it with an incredibly weak shot or TO… It looked like the Titans had a chance to win in regulation on the last posession, but Drummond did not get everything on the shot he wanted… Maini needs to relax and let the game come to him… he’s trying to carry the team, and it’s not appening for him… He’s very good but needs to stay within himself… other guys are rounding into form out there so he does not need to be the go to guy… Shayne Adams is missed… Garrippa is a fine player but I think they miss him only from a depth perspective, because Sible and MCLean are very servicable in there…Your evaluation of AJ was spot on… He played well, but needed to come up big late… I thought the Titans battled, the change in weather was extreme.. last week they played in 28 degree temps, in Jax it was 80. If the Titans get to Buffalo for the tourney, they will handle Jax, the weather was a factor… Notice also Jax wears white at home… Kudo’s to the Jacksonville University Broadcast team for the outstanding job on the game VS Detroit… It was first rate, the play by play man was outstanding, and the color man knew what he was talking about… they let the pictures project what was happening, and they did not talk too much. They were very complimentary of Detroit as well as their own team. They had more than one camera shooting the game which was nice also. By far the best I have seen, and it was FREE!!!! Titans will be glad to be home and will need to take care of business vs the Jaspers…

  2. Blake Ready says:

    So what’s the shelf life on the rest of coach Holtzs tenure at Detroit? Another season? End of this season if they don’t win? What about Kolon? What about the new O guy? At what point is there accountability for his abysmal record?

    • Tim says:

      My guess would be that Kolon is safe no matter what. The Titans’ D has been consistently good since the team has even had the slightest bit of talent. My understanding is that he’s also the recruiting coordinator.

      This is two brutal offensive coordinator hires in a row, though, and you have to do better than that when your previous guy goes on to be Notre Dame’s (pretty good) offensive coordinator. Does that mean Holtz is fired, or does he get another shot? Well, one thing to definitely keep in mind is that UDM only has an interim athletic director right now, so I doubt you’ll see any head coaching calls soon.

      The Titans still have nearly half the season to turn things around – and it’s not like they’ve been hit by upsets, just playing teams better than themselves – and I would bet that a MAAC Tournament bid would be enough to salvage the season.

      • Reg Hartner says:

        Ouch. Brutal hires?

        I’ll agree with you that Tully was a bad hire. Karweck was a great coach and the players loved him. Tully was 0 for 2 there and was a huge step back from what they lost.

        It’s too early and terribly unfair to call Zimmerman a bad hire. By this point in the season last year Tully still had a healthy Matthew and Adams and benefited from the schedule with a few guaranteed wins against new teams like Mercer and Michigan. Karl’s had none of that.

        The players like him, they are getting more contributions out of the midfield and should have more winnable games coming up. Again, too soon to make a judgement on him.

  3. CKLaxalum says:

    Agreed, too early to call Zimmerman a bad hire. UDM needs to tweak their recruiting philosophy. Given the stagnant nature of Michigan high school lacrosse (and the fact that they don’t get the top tier of instate kids)…instead of 60% instate and 40% non-residents, how about 60% non-residents and 40% Michigan players. That would still be plenty of Michigan representation, but would give the Titans a more level playing field against national competition.

  4. AndyD says:

    On paper Zimmerman is only a “brutal” hire because of such limited experience. That doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of growing into the job. If Reg is right and the players like and respect him, there’s no reason he can’t do the job.

    Detroit has a pretty limited recruiting reach. Honestly, they probably have a limited coaching search reach as well. Holtz was not a well known guy in varsity circles. Detroit is not a hot job destination. I doubt there’s much salary available there. Camp income opportunities are limited. I doubt there was a big pile of glowing resumes that needed to be sorted.

    Holtz’s future depends on expectations. I comment a lot on the Michigan topics, and anyone wondering about JP’s future there is correct that the expectations there are very, very high. So are the resources given to reach those expectations. He will need to win within whatever timeline their AD considers reasonable. But is that case at Detroit? What does the school want lacrosse to be? I assume they want to compete for MAAC titles, at least every couple of years. Are they providing comparable resources to the top MAAC schools? Seriously, if they want to compete they probably need to provide more resources than their competition since the school is way out here in Michigan. It comes down to expectations vs results. For all we know Holtz has the team right where the school expects it to be.

    • Tim says:

      The brutality comes from the results. Even when Adams was in the lineup, it was easily one of the worst offenses in the country. Even last year’s coordinator (one that pretty much everybody agrees was awful) ran a significantly better offense than that. I have no reason to believe that Zimmerman can’t grow into the job, but the early returns were nothing short of brutal. This is big boy lacrosse, “growing into the job” is a tough sell when your unit immediately gets a lot worse, with very comparable talent to the previous year.

      As for what the school wants lacrosse to be… they’re billing it as second-biggest men’s sport on campus (possibly second-biggest sport overall, depending on where you think women’s basketball falls). That raises expectations a notch, no doubt. Do they want to compete for MAAC titles? I should hope so, they were one Shayne Adams knee injury away from seriously contending two years ago. The team has gotten progressively worse since. Regression inherently leads to expectations (even low ones) not being met.

      • Reg Hartner says:

        I know it’s “just Manhattan” but good to see the UDM offense put up 14 goals Saturday with their top Midfield line scoring 7 times. Birney (4), Hebden (2) and Drummond (1) really are starting to click and fill in for the missing Adams.

        Other teams are starting to focus on Maini with Shane out and the Middies are taking advantage of it.

        • Tim says:

          Mahattan is bad, but Detroit did just about exactly what they needed to do: Pour in a ton of goals, and find some guys (outside of Maini) who can be the “top option” in any given game.

          Honestly, it could have been even bigger a blowout but for the stick check on Damien Hicks (wiped a goal off the board and Manhattan scored on the unreleasable penalty) and the momentum that resulted, and the Titans just sort of letting of the gas in the second half.

          • Reg Hartner says:

            Yeah, that was a tough one. There are 3 unwritten rules about stick checks for refs and 2 of them are don’t check the FOGO and don’t check the goal scorer. The refs were even teasing each other about that one.

            They went to the bench a lot less and had to make some changes. With Garippa out they moved Troy Dennis to SSDM and he had a great game. His best as a Titan I thought.

    • Tim says:

      And don’t get me wrong based on a throwaway comment – I don’t think Holtz’s job is in jeopardy. Just that he’s entering the “hot seat” phase of his career, finally, the phase where it’s even an option. That took five years (though if the boom-type substance in the 2010 and 2011 seasons hadn’t happened, maybe this discussion would be in a different place).

      And interesting timeline to apply to the program just down the road, which is starting from even further behind the 8-ball, but will certainly have infinitely higher resource availability.

    • Jason says:

      UDM has a lacrosse program because it can be a way to recruit students from local Detroit area schools to attend near home, while hardly costing anything extra to have one extra student in the classroom since they only typically get a 1/4 scholarship. Additionally, those students have friends at local Detroit area high schools who may be considering going to UDM and this may help attract some additional students who may be friends of the lacrosse players. It also probably doesn’t hurt that many of those students come from private schools and could afford the tuition and may not need to rely on financial aid.

      So for these financial reasons UDM has a team. So the recruiting strategy does need to consider that when deciding to recruit local or out of state kids. I don’t think much would change there going forward.

      As for what they expect from the coach in terms of results, they probably aren’t funding a team to win championships and increase the brand of the athletic department like Michigan. So who knows what the competitive expectations are for the coaching staff. I would guess that given the local recuiting requirements and unfortunate injuries, coach Holtz is given more leeway than someone like JP would get.

  5. Blake Reedy says:

    In regards to resources:

    Until this past year, they were the only MAAC school with the full amount of men’s athletic scholarships available. That has to be a huge advantage over your in-conference competition for a coach, don’t you think?

  6. SirLaxalot says:

    UDM has to figure out what it wants to be… The AD situation has to get fixed asap… they missed a golden chance to get in with the Catholic 7, and they couldn’t do anything about that… they went and got Butler and Creighton?!… I think the Detroit Media Market is still solid, and that would have helped fill the cash coffers for the rest of the UDM athletic program…UDM has picked up some nice kids from Canada in Adams and Houtby… Solid guys who are good team guys and solid players… I would like to see that pipeline continue… Michigan Lax has to pick up… I know they have tried hard to get Rice kids, but were uncuccessful… Birney at CC, and the ND Prep kids have been solid additions as well… They were so fouled up on offense last year, it’s taken a while to get all the bad habits washed out… making slow progress here… None of the Coaches will have anything happen until the AD Situation gets fixed… I’d like to see Detroit keep competing hard, against Michigan and the midwest schools… Would like to see them move out of the MAAC and into the B1G conference that is coming with Mich, OSU, Penn St, Rutgers, Maryland etc…. Saw them play ND and they were competitive… cut down on travel would be good for them… as well as playing big time competition…

    • Tim says:

      Valid points on undoing the damage from Tully. He was an absolute trainwreck last year, and it may be unfair to blame all of the struggles this year on Zimmerman, but it also shouldn’t take most of the season for the offense to do something, anything (though it does appear to be trending in that direction).

      As for the quality of high school lacrosse in the state improving, hopefully we’ll see that happen soon. There are far more programs than ever before, from the Division-1 level through Division-3 into the MCLA. That means more guys who attend college in-state, and are more likely to stay in-state afterwards (especially with the economy rebounding) and be potential coaches for youth and high school levels. See Jake Marmul from Notre Dame holding faceoff clinics last summer, etc.

      It’s not an easy transition to make – and it’s clear from all angles that MHSAA sanctioning did unbelievable damage to the quality of high school play in the state – and it will take time, but that will definitely help.

    • AndyD says:

      B1G won’t be an option for Detroit. Catholic 7 might have been a good fit. Maybe the ECAC once Michigan and Ohio State leave?

      • Tim says:

        Forgot to reply to that aspect of the previous post. UDM will not leave the MAAC as long as they’re still welcome in the league, barring enormous, landscape-altering changes in college athletics and conference affiliation (yes, including a potential Big Ten conference that includes Hopkins).

  7. CKLaxalum says:

    “The Lost Decade” (of Michigan’s economy) did far more damage than MHSAA sanctioning. Likewise, mismanagement (of lacrosse programs) at several top and mid-tier Michigan high schools did more damage than MHSAA sanctioning. I’d put MHSAA sanctioning at a distant third on the depth chart of reasons for Michigan’s lacrosse stagnation. As I’ve said before, sanctioning hasn’t been perfect (mainly the travel restrictions), but given some of the ‘characters’ involved with the sport here in Michigan, there’s no way I’d want it to be a self-governing body without any oversight.

  8. sirlaxalot says:

    Who will take Jacksonville’s spot in the MAAC? Being in a better league forces you to be better…Again, Detroit has to figure out where they are going from a big picture athletic department POV…It can pay off for them… The MAAC has done them no favors…If you want to be the best, you have to play the best… with that said, I think Holtz has done a nice job scheduling tough teams for their non-conference games…for the most part, Detroit competes well…Nobody looks at them and says they are a blow out win, teams have to earn it…

  9. shackleton says:

    Having both worked and been around the Michigan and Detroit coaching staffs for a while now, I firmly believe that JP is a more knowledgeable coach than Holtz, but Kolon has a much better philosophy, style, and system than the defensive coordinator at Michigan, Broschart has.

    • Tim says:

      I can’t speak too much to what they’re teaching (especially Michigan, since the talent just isn’t there to execute, no matter what the scheme is), but there’s no denying Kolon’s a great defensive coach. I do know that if he could recruit all the talent he wanted, he wouldn’t be playing the type of scheme Detroit is now, either.

      • AndyD says:

        I don’t know much about either staff on a personal level. Only what I observe. Holtz is one of only two CCLA coaches who ever beat a JP coached UM club team. (The other was Dwayne Hicks.) Not sure what that says, but I don’t think it’s insignificant.

        But now I’m curious Shackleton. I can’t find anyone listed who has worked for both the UM and Detroit staffs. I also haven’t really watched either team in enough detail to dissect the strategies they are using. At a basic level Detroit is much more aggressive defensively on-ball while Michigan is much more conservative. This goes back to the purpose question. If Detroit’s purpose is to compete for MAAC titles, then an aggressive style may be a very good tactic. They are usually not going to be significantly less talented than the other teams in their conference and on good years may often be more talented. But they will never be as talented as the typical top-20 team, and against those teams an aggressive style may backfire (or in rare instances it may pay off and provide enough turnovers for an upset chance). But if they are building to win the MAAC, I love the aggressive style. It sets them apart and makes them hard to be ready for.

        UM on the other hand will eventually have the horses to go toe to toe with the big boys (key word eventually). At that point they can decide to be whatever they want to be. Right now they seem to be very detail oriented with more complex slide packages. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing for a young team wanting to win now, but it may be right to learn complexities now and sacrifice some opportunities for a possible payoff in the future as they mature. Time will tell. Or I may be completely wrong about what they are doing.

        Either way both teams are currently dealing with less talent and/or experience than most (or all) of their opponents. Detroit, as the established program, obviously has winning as their priority by now. UM, as the upstart, has building as the priority for another year or maybe two (but then it has to shift to win first).

        By the way – I don’t ever mean to pit UM against UDM in these comments. I try to comment on each one separately on their own merits. I think a lot of people do that. They get lumped together in these discussions because they are the only two D1 programs in the state.

  10. ncaalaxnut says:

    Wow u guys are funny. First trying to pit Michigan against Detroit now trying to pit Coach Holtz against Coach Kolon. Give it a break yes Kolon’s a good coach but the core of the group AJ, Houtby,Hebden are studs and were brought in by Holtz. Theres no doubt that down the road Michigan (because of money & facilities) will get the better recruits but i fully expect Detroit to always be completive as long as long as their AD gives the team the same support. As for Tim saying the Jacksonville game was Detroit’s 2nd most winnable game well that’s just a joke!!! Michigan has won exactly 1 game out of 24 (Mercer) in the first 2 seasons while in Detroit’s first 2 seasons they produced a 3 and 23 record. Michigan is beatable even without Shayne Adams and Nick Garripa although nothing is guaranteed. And Tim what do you mean if Coach Kolon could recruit all the talent he wanted, he wouldn’t be playing the type of scheme Detroit is now? Are you talking offence? Thats a pretty safe assumption unfortunately the 60 plus other Division 1 teams may have a say of who you end up getting as opposed to who you wanted! Unlike some people l want both Detroit and Michigan teams to thrive and get respect and happen to think they are both on the right track.

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