Michigan 7, Hobart 11

This was really a game Michigan should have won. The Wolverines dug themselves into a hole a couple times, and couldn’t recover. The wounds were mostly self-inflicted, and now the window for picking up victories this year is closing.

Tempo Free

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

Hobart 2013
Michigan Hobart
Faceoff Wins 11 Faceoff Wins 11
Clearing 16-18 Clearing 18-22
Possessions 33 Possessions 35
Goals 7 Goals 11
Offensive Efficiency .212 Offensive Efficiency .314

Despite the absence of starting faceoff specialist Brad Lott, Michigan managed to draw even on faceoffs. By clearing slightly better than Hobart, they got back to their early-season form on the clear, and managed to come close in total possessions.

The U-M offense was a little down – not expected playing against pretty good teams, but Hobart’s D had also shown some vulnerabile moments – and the defense was about as expected. All things considered, this game played out as we might have expected without…

Notes

Michigan was playing serious short-handed. Starting faceoff specialist Brad Lott, starting poles Charlie Keady and Chase Brown, and reserve midfielder Evan Glaser were among those who I noticed didn’t see the field for Michigan. Thomas Paras was once again really limited by his hamstring injury, and J.D. Johnson didn’t see the field. Michigan was as short-handed as they’ve been all year (and they have less depth to deal with that than most teams in the country), and they still performed pretty well against a decent Hobart team.

I’ve pointed out that, after the High Point loss, there is no such thing as a “moral victory” for this team, but hanging with Hobart into the fourth while dealing with that level of personnel shortage is as close as it comes. No word on whether those who did not play yesterday will be back for Thursday’s Fairfield game.

As for those who did play, my prediction of a U-M player picking up his first goal of the year held true. Doug Bryant found the back of the net for the first time this season (after coming fourth on the team in goals last year with 13).

The leading offensive players, however, have become pretty familiar by this point. Freshmen midfielders Kyle Jackson (2G, 3A) and Mike Hernandez (2A) were right at the top of the chart, with sophomore attack David McCormack right there with one of each. Hernandez committed three turnovers, so he’s still struggling a bit in that phase of the game, but he’s really turned things up – especially since he made up for that a bit by causing two TOs – and the more comfortable he gets in the lineup, the more he looks like a star (along with Jackson, who is already on that stardom track).

Defensively, Michigan was without several top contributors, so the mediocre performance on that side of the ball is actually surprising and positive (especially since Hobart has two really significant weapons in Alex Love and Cam Stone, who still had five and four points, respectively). From a stat standpoint, nobody stood out (nobody even had multiple ground balls).

One player who didn’t have his best day was goalie Gerald Logan. Without seeing the game live, I would guess that his defense wasn’t doing him a whole lot of favors, especially given the concentration of Hobart points among two players. Still, that a .542 day can be considered “bad” for him speaks a lot to Logan’s ability.

I already mentioned the offensive standouts for Hobart, but props to Peter Zonino for outdueling Logan in the cage (albeit facing a much worse offense), and to defenseman Sean Regan for setting the Hobart record in career caused turnovers.

Props to Kevin Wylie for doing a great job on faceoffs in a tough situation. Winning half the draws with a backup FOGO and a backup LSM on the field is excellent. Given that Wylie picked up five GBs on the day, he did a lot of it himself. Good work.

The Michigan EMO was very solid, going 3-of-9 on the day. That was another area in which I expected the Wolverines to do well, so it’s good to see my predictions vindicated. A team like Michigan – which has some troubles otherwise scoring goals – needs to do very well with the extra man.

Elsewhere

I initially hated this boxscore format, and there’s still a lot to be improved on it, but it’s grown on me. Hobart recap. Michigan recap.

Up Next

I hope the Michigan team has grown comfortable on the road… after a few days in Ann Arbor for some R&R (and preparation), it’s back to the East Coast to take on Fairfield. The Stags are in the lower tier of the ECAC, but that’s obviously no guarantee of anything for this Michigan team.

The fun doesn’t stop there, as U-M has a two-day break before taking on Colgate at Citi Field (home turf of the New York Mets) Sunday afternoon. That will finally bring an end to this brutal road stretch.

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16 Responses to Michigan 7, Hobart 11

  1. AndyD says:

    If most of those missing players were due to suspension, it’s good to see that Michigan is emphasizing culture first right now. That’s what JP always talks about, and that’s what will make it possible to maximize their talent when it gets there.

    Did not watch the game. This team is not deep and is weak in some key areas. The freshmen are getting a lot of time (when they aren’t suspended), which is important. They have games they could win, but I don’t expect it to happen this season now that I’ve seen where they really are. It would be nice, but you can’t expect it yet. Every other new team has a roster full of D1 recruits, half of which have been with them for two years. They don’t even have their own facilities yet. You have to assume the AD knows that and is looking at the big picture. How are they building the program? How is recruiting going? If they are at or above .500 and competing with the top half of D1 five years in (which is four years into recruiting the way they’ve done it), then that’s a success. If they are competing regularly in the post-season 8-10 years in, similar to Notre Dame’s arc once they started fully funding and supporting the program, then the program will have made it. Considering ND made their climb after already having D1 lacrosse for 20 years, it would be even more impressive.

    Question Tim. Maybe you’ve answered it already. How have the new rules affected UM? Last year they were one of the best riding teams in the nation, and they could slow the game down offensively. This year it’s almost impossible to get into their 10 man ride because of the quick restarts, and the clock gets put on you if you hold it on offense. A young team with no depth is not built for a fast paced game. I say it’s a major factor this year, but I don’t look at data like you do.

  2. Michlaxfan says:

    Culture can never be substituted for fundamental ignorance of the game at the top.
    We need to be realistic and move on to someone who understands D1. On the job training is not fair to the players and recruits will see this and just say no to the “culture” of embarrassment.

    • Tim says:

      The offensive coordinator is a D-1 vet who has coached at that level for several years. The defensive coordinator is a three-time D-2 All-American. John Paul has been coaching lacrosse (and been close friends with several D-1 coaches, including some of the top coaches in the game) for more than a decade.

      You can bitch/troll all you want, but your complaining is falling on deaf ears.

  3. Ben Singer says:

    @Andy D: The ride is worse, but on the flip side their clears have been better. I have only seen one game so far, so I don’t know how much the shot clock is affecting them this year. We’re behind so often, they probably don’t put the clock on us very often. I bet the rules haven’t really affected us very much. We would struggle regardless.

    @Michlaxfan: You can keep beating that drum, but you’re going to have to wait a while before JP is going to be on the hot seat, I’m sorry. I also have wondered if his lack of exposure to elite-level lacrosse in the past will be a problem. However, considering that his first recruiting class was pretty good, that we’re going to have sweet facilities in the near future, and that he dominated his competition at the MCLA level, it seems premature to want him out. Do you really think he hasn’t taken it upon himself to learn about how D-1 programs are run?

    • Freddy says:

      Tim – Actually, Logan had a good game. The Hobart play-by-play announcers were very complimentary of his performance, saying he’s “standing on his head today”, and “this kid is the real deal”. Without him, the game is much worse…plus they hit the post 4-5 times. The Michigan defense continues to give up a ton of shots in every game and many are uncontested. They also continue to lose the gound ball game. Many times, they look confused out there. Not sure who the defensive coordinator is, but something is just not right on the defensive end.

      • Tim says:

        I didn’t mean to imply Logan didn’t have a good game. I meant that it wasn’t the statistical monster he’s been having lately, and that was most likely on account of the inability of his defense to shut down two good attackmen (as has been and will continue to be the case this season).

    • Tim says:

      @Andy D: The ride is worse, but on the flip side their clears have been better. I have only seen one game so far, so I don’t know how much the shot clock is affecting them this year. We’re behind so often, they probably don’t put the clock on us very often. I bet the rules haven’t really affected us very much. We would struggle regardless.

      I would say the ride has been worse because of less use of the 10-man, and to a certain degree a de-emphasis of that phase of the game. They won’t give it up, but it’s not going to be the program’s identity (like it was for the club team), at least until they have more D-1 horses. The positive tradeoff has been that transition goals have been fewer.

      The shot clock rules really haven’t had a big effect either way. I can think of only a handful of times that either Michigan or the opponent has has the warning put on, and only one instance off the top of my head that the shot clock has expired (it went against Michigan, fwiw).

      • AndyD says:

        Even with the horses in a couple of years, can they get into a 10 man consistently with the quick restarts? Last year they did in most games. This year they seem to have abandoned it.

        I agree that the clock hasn’t been thrown on them much, but has the game sped up because of the threat of the clock? A 30 second shot clock is basically a turnover most of the time. You have one chance to quickly set up a good scoring opportunity, then you have maybe less than 10 seconds left and you lose the ball. I would have to imagine that coaches desperately want to avoid having the clock put on them, thus they have sped up their offenses.

  4. AndyD says:

    I think he knows how D1 programs are run. He ran a club program that was organizationally better than many D1 programs. He has been around UM athletics a long time. It’s not like he was in a vacuum. I’m sure he’s picked up a lot. He had incredible success. The question is, can he teach and coach the game and recruit at this level. That’s a fair question. A huge part of their success will be through recruiting. By all accounts, Michigan is doing very well there. Even without their own facilities yet. So check that box. Not every D1 coach is a great recruiter. It appears he is at least very good, and that might be the biggest difference between what he was doing before and what he’s doing now.

    Next it comes down to his ability to hire the right staff and all of them to work together well to gameplan and teach. It’s also about being able to communicate his vision and motivate his staff and players to buy into it. That’s all leadership 101. I have seen no evidence that he can’t do that. He’s a very easy target for those who want to rip him since he has not been a D1 coach before. That’s obviously either agenda driven or just mean at this point. It’s simply too early to know.

    The ground ball discrepancy in most of these games, even against bottom half D1 teams, is the clearest indication that they are just not working with equal athletes yet. Until they are, it’s hard to judge them much. This first recruiting class has a handful of very good athletes, but it’s not like any of them were viewed as blue chippers. On most established teams they would probably not be playing much yet, except for maybe Logan and Jackson. Hernandez would probably be a D mid right now on a top 20 team.

    Ben, my question about the new rules was more about being forced into a more up and down game. The quick restarts are probably a bigger deal than the clock, but they are definitely playing faster on offense than they did last year. They are also clearing faster. All of that adds up to more total possessions. Last year JP talked a lot about keeping total possessions down and said they were doing all kinds of things to help make that happen (which is good coaching, by the way). If they are still trying to do that, I suspect the new rules must make it harder.

    • Ben Singer says:

      Andy, it’s true the rules are designed to make a faster game with more shots taken, but the shot clock rule, in theory, should specifically help a team like us. Other teams aren’t allowed to just sit on their lead and run out the clock for a half. They have to shoot. That is also what is leading to the extra possessions in our games, because we get the ball back.

      As for the quick restarts, I’m sure those don’t help us, I just don’t think they necessarily hurt us that much.

      • Jason says:

        I think the new rules are leading to more transition and that is somewhere we are struggling. We may not have the stick skills yet to cash in on transition opportunities regularly while our opponents do.

    • Tim says:

      Ben, my question about the new rules was more about being forced into a more up and down game. The quick restarts are probably a bigger deal than the clock, but they are definitely playing faster on offense than they did last year. They are also clearing faster

      They’re just better overall. They still don’t want to get into a track meet, but they can clear better because they have better athletes (and in my mind, the scheme behind the clear seems to make a whole lot more sense – though that’s a comment for another day).

  5. AndyD says:

    I disagree with some of that Ben. Teams weren’t sitting on the ball against UM last year. Fast teams play fast. UM is now being forced to play faster than they want to. In my mind that’s a huge adjustment for a team with limited talent, experience and depth. It wasn’t about other teams sitting on the ball. It’s about Michigan’s ability to sit on the ball. Weaker teams have to slow the game down. If you can’t do that, and you’re not good enough to play up-tempo, you’re in trouble.

    The quick restarts, in my mind, are a huge deal. No more 10 man ride means one of the only ways Michigan had to swing the possession battle back a little bit is gone.

    Of course if you’re getting killed on GBs every game you’re almost always going to lose the possession battle. That’s athletes. But these other things make a difference over 60 minutes.

    • DCLaxFan says:

      Key question: how can I watch UM lax without subscribing to some school’s video feed? I could watch Bellarmine and some other school’s feeds with no problem, but the last two games the video stream was only available from High Point and Hobart if you signed up for their video service. What’s up with that?

      • Tim says:

        There really aren’t any good ways for most games. That’s kind of the point of team sites’ pay systems. If you can go somewhere else for free, you won’t pay. (The concept of enough people paying to stream a Hobart College athletic event of any variety to outweigh the brand awareness increase – from zero – that could result from streaming it for free seems… unlikely, but that’s not my decision).

        The Michigan-Ohio state game April 13 will be on Big Ten Network. The Colgate game Sunday will be on ESPNU. Those will probably be your only chances to watch the team for free this year.

        Come March 23 – depending on how badly you want to see the team play – it may not be a bad idea to shell out the 9 bucks or whatever it is for a month-long pass to mgoblue.com video, assuming the games will be on there.

        • DCLaxFan says:

          Nine bucks is way cheaper than me trekking to Delaware (two hours away from my house). I’m hoping the Loyola game will be on local t.v. in Maryland.

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