Goodbye, Ty Isaac

Goodbye, Ty Isaac


February 13, 2018

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HIGH SCHOOL

Isaac went to Joliet (IL) Catholic, where he was an Under Armour All-American in 2013. He was a 4-star recruit, the #2 all-purpose back, and #49 overall. He had 4,129 rushing yards and 64 rushing touchdowns over his final two seasons in high school. He turned down offers from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin, among others, to attend USC.

COLLEGE

Isaac was a backup at USC as a true freshman in 2013, rushing 40 times for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns; he also caught 4 passes for 57 yards. After the season he announced his intention to transfer and chose Michigan as the destination. He applied for a waiver to play immediately in 2014 due to a medical condition that did not allow his mother to fly from Illinois to California to see his games, but the waiver was denied, so he had to sit out the season. In 2015 he ran 30 times for 205 yards (6.8 YPC), including the longest run of the year, a 76-yard TD against UNLV. However, he fumbled 2 times in 6 carries in his lone start of the year against Maryland two weeks later, and he barely saw the field after that. He ran the ball 74 times for 411 yards (5.6 YPC) and 5 touchdowns in 2016, again as a backup. As a fifth year senior in 2017, he carried the ball a career-high 88 times for 548 yards (6.2 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. That included a stretch during the early part of the season when he earned the starting job, but a fumble against Michigan State seemingly caused the coaches to lose some trust in him. A lower leg injury later in the year caused him to miss the final few games of the season.

CAREER STATS

232 carries, 1406 yards, 6.1 YPC, 10 TD
11 catches, 127 yards, 11.5 YPC

AWARDS

None

SUMMARY

My affinity for Isaac’s abilities has been well documented over the years. I was high on him as a recruit in 2013, and I was excited for a talented runner to enter Michigan’s backfield in 2014/2015 when he transferred to Ann Arbor. For whatever reason, I don’t believe Isaac ever really got a fair shot at Michigan. The coaching staff that recruited him out of high school and then out of USC was shoved out the door following the 2014 season, and the new coaching staff did not seem to be as enamored with him. He and then running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley did not seem to see eye to eye, and De’Veon Smith dominated the carries despite averaging a mediocre 4.18 and 4.67 yards in those two seasons; his 361 carries dwarfed those of Isaac (104), Karan Higdon (83), and Derrick Green/Drake Johnson/Chris Evans (189 combined) in that stretch.

Isaac should have been benched in that Maryland game in 2015, but that doesn’t explain only getting 4 carries over the final eight games of the 2015 season. The 2016 season didn’t include any fumbles, but Isaac touched the ball just 12 times over the final six games of the year. The 2017 season saw a new running backs coach in Jay Harbaugh, and Isaac started off the year looking like I thought he would look all along. He had 114, 133, and 89 yards against Florida, Cincinnati, and Air Force, but the fumble against MSU seemed to tank his chances of getting a ton of playing time, and it didn’t help him that Higdon and Evans both played well during the second half of the season. Even so, Isaac amassed his career highs in carries and yards despite essentially missing the final five games of the year.

Of Michigan players with 100+ career carries, Isaac is tied for #4 all-time in yards per carry:

  • Jon Vaughn: 6.3 YPC
  • Denard Robinson/Kerry Smith: 6.2 YPC
  • Ty Isaac/Tyrone Wheatley: 6.1 YPC

Yep, on a per-carry basis, Isaac was just as good as his position coach, former 1st round draft pick and Michigan all-time great Tyrone Wheatley. (Full disclosure: Wheatley’s 688 carries are a great deal more than Isaac’s 192 in a Michigan uniform.)

This isn’t to argue that Isaac was a superstar or great player. He should have broken more tackles, and he was not good in pass protection. But he should have been given more playing time when Smith was averaging 4.18 yards per carry in 2015, and the Wolverines could have done a better job of utilizing Isaac’s receiving skills throughout his career. He only caught 7 passes in three years at Michigan, and 247 Sports gave him a “10” rating in the “Hands” category coming out of high school. Some even intimated during his recruitment that he should play tight end, H-back, or even wide receiver because his hands were so good.

Like him or not, it was a strange odyssey for the former #49 recruit in the country.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . . 

. . . representing a strange paradox. He was objectively very productive (6.1 YPC), but he was not well liked by fans. He was big, but he was not tough. He was a good receiver, but Michigan didn’t give him opportunities to catch the ball.

PROJECTION

I don’t think Isaac will get drafted. It’s rare that 3rd string running backs get drafted, and it’s supposed to be a fairly deep class of running backs. But if I’m an NFL team, I’ve got my eye on Isaac as an undrafted free agent. Running backs are being used more and more in the passing game, and Isaac has the ability to contribute in that phase of the game.

68 comments

  1. Comments: 879
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 13, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    If Lanknows is around, this could get good…
    If not, I’ll start is off: those fumbles–two against Maryland on the road (before Rudock took off), and sparty this year, were AWFUL. Then consider he almost refused to pass block, would rather run out of bounds than take a hit, and went down on first contact… I think Ty did get his chance, but did enough to show he wasn’t the kind of guy we needed
    Now if you want to blame the choice of “Manball” offense Harbaugh prefers, that’s another story

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 13, 2018 at 10:03 AM

      No fumbles are good. Michigan won that Maryland game, 28-0, so it didn’t affect the outcome (and only 1 was recovered by Maryland). I agree that the MSU fumble was bad and probably changed the momentum of that game, but a fumble is a fumble. If it happens against Minnesota and not MSU, then it’s not so devastating. When it comes to RB fumbles, I think there’s a lot of randomness involved.

      As for pass pro and running out of bounds, our pass pro in general has been poor from running backs, and many running backs run out of bounds these days. It’s a business decision, both for coaches and players. Nobody wants RBs to shorten their careers by taking 50 extra hits per season by cutting back toward the field if it’s not necessary. That includes some coaches, who would rather have their RB healthy than gain an extra yard, unless there’s a wide-open field available.

      As for going down on first contact, I’ll say the same thing that I said to Lanknows a while back: When you’re gaining 6.2 yards/carry, it doesn’t matter whether you broke 4 tackles on the way, whether you just made 10 people whiff like Barry Sanders, or whether you were able to find the hole that other running backs can’t. In general, a speedy running back, a bowling ball of a running back, and a shifty running back who all gain 6.2 yards/carry are all doing very well. There are times to prefer one over the other (for example, on the goal line), but I want guys who make yards rather than guys who gain fewer yards but run over people while being less productive.

      • GKblue
        Comments: 285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Feb 13, 2018 at 1:03 PM

        I’m not sure Isaac’s ypc would have been as impressive had he been the primary ball carrier. I do know that if the team needs you to block, block, or don’t bitch about not getting on the field.

        Can’t help it, whenever he ran out of bounds instead of going for the extra yards he reminded me of Franco Harris. I can still see Jim Brown shaking his head.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2584
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 13, 2018 at 1:25 PM

          I agree with you, but the same criticism can be applied to Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. Neither one is a very good blocker.

          The only time I’ve seen Franco Harris run is on the Immaculate Reception, so I’ll take your word for it.

        • Comments: 879
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Feb 13, 2018 at 7:31 PM

          Exactly. It’s not just that he wasn’t a good blocker, he didn’t seem willing most of the time. And I don’t expect him to be Marshawn Lynch, but jeez–fight through the arm tackles!

          • Thunder
            Comments: 2584
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Feb 13, 2018 at 9:42 PM

            Regarding fighting through arm tackles:

            Even if we assume he couldn’t break ANY tackles, Isaac was at 6.23 YPC for the season. Of qualified running backs, that would be tied for #4 in the Big Ten behind JK Dobbins (7.23), Jonathan Taylor (6.61), and Ty Johnson (6.39), and tied with D.J. Knox. If you add 0.5 yards per carry for being an arm-tackle-breaking machine, he’s the #2 back in the conference, ahead of Taylor. Nationally, he would be tied for #36 in the country, even without breaking any additional tackles for extra yardage.

            This is what I’m talking about in the comments above. The expectations are so high for Isaac, for whatever reason, that they become unreasonable. The guy has the 4th-best rushing yards per carry in the conference, and people can only talk about the negatives. Several people have commented in this thread already, and NOBODY has said anything positive about this player except for me.

            If Isaac were a 3-star recruit averaging 6.23 YPC and tied with Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. for #4 all-time at Michigan on a per-carry basis, I think Michigan fans would be singing his praises overall (admittedly with some gripes about the fumbles/pass pro). I’ve seen more positive post-career vibes about Vincent Smith (4.7 YPC for his career) and De’Veon Smith (4.5 YPC) than Isaac. For some perspective, check out last year’s senior profile on De’Veon Smith, which features positive comments from the likes of Lanknows, je93, MgoDude, and crazyjoedavola.

            http://touch-the-banner.com/goodbye-deveon-smith/

            I’ve been accused of holding onto old perceptions, but I would argue that some people are so dismayed about a high 4-star recruit not turning into a superstar that they look more negatively on Isaac’s career than they should.

            • Comments: 879
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Feb 13, 2018 at 10:30 PM

              You are 99% correct that a lot of the negativity comes from his high recruiting potential not being realized. The part that’s not though, is when
              a) an argument is made on his behalf, using garbage time/cupcake opponent stats
              or
              b) we forget to mention he had a RB/OC/HC at USC that didn’t think much of him, and then two RB coaches and OC/RGC at MICHIGAN that didn’t trust him in big moments

              I’ll concede that Isaac did well for a 3*, but that doesn’t mean I thought he deserved more carries. He had chances, but didn’t deliver. I wish him nothing but the best going forward, like all WOLVERINES

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2584
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Feb 14, 2018 at 7:39 AM

                I’ve never made an argument for Isaac that included garbage time/cupcake opponent stats, at least not that others didn’t also get to take advantage of. I’ve repeatedly removed the cupcakes from the argument to compare apples to apples, and those numbers are never refuted with anything more substantial than, “Well, that was only 1 carry against Iowa! And that was only 6 carries against Wisconsin!”

                Which is exactly my point.

                PLAYER A VS. RANKED TEAMS IN 2016: 89 carries, 384 yards, 4.31 YPC
                PLAYER B VS. RANKED TEAMS IN 2016: 20 carries, 94 yards, 4.7 YPC
                PLAYER C VS. RANKED TEAMS IN 2016: 30 carries, 147 yards, 4.9 YPC
                PLAYER D VS. RANKED TEAMS IN 2016: 42 carries, 219 yards, 5.21 YPC

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3727
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:22 PM

                  It’s funny that you love YPC … except in the case of Mike Cox who supposedly proves your RB evaluation prowess.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:26 PM

                  Uhhh…what? The Mike Cox who averaged 8.9 YPC at Michigan?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3727
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:32 PM

                  what was his YPC when he got a full workload at UMass?

                  did it decrease, like almost every back’s do when they get a full workload?

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:45 PM

                  It decreased when he got a full workload…on a 1-11 team with a terrible offensive line. That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison like Michigan players within the same season or the same game. You’re grasping at straws.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3727
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:41 PM

                  Michael Cox average 8 and 9 YPC in limited snaps in low leverage situations at Michigan. Thunder loved him.

                  He went to UMass and ran for 3.6 ypc as a starter.

                  He was drafted late (as a kick returner) and through an avalanche of injuries ended up getting some NFL carriers. He averaged 2.9 ypc in the NFL.

                  You see YPC really matters when it proves Thunder’s point but it’s irrelevant and dumb to point out YPC when it doesn’t.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:50 PM

                  *sigh* Going from Michigan to UMass is going to have an effect on RB production. If you can’t understand that, then I don’t know what to tell you. A productive RB at the MAC level won’t necessarily have the same level of success at Ohio State. These things are simple to understand.

                  I’ve got some bad news for you. You claim that the backups have an easier time with a lighter workload, but Cox’s backups in 2012 averaged 2.7, 2.8, and 1.4 yards per carry. How strange…

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3727
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 19, 2018 at 2:26 PM

                The OL wasn’t as good – neither were the defenses he was facing. Weird to argue such an underrated talent would struggle at a lower level of competition.

                Again – the point here is that YPC isn’t everything. You’ll quibble over details all day if it doesn’t support your narrative. But if it does it’s another story.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3727
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Feb 15, 2018 at 6:42 PM

              The point about expectations vs appreciation is dead-on. It’s even more apparent in basketball IMO.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3727
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Feb 16, 2018 at 8:18 PM

              Smith was a 4-star recruit with offers from OSU and PSU.

              He produced more than twice as many yards and nearly 3x the TDs in a Michigan uniform.

              You gave Smith a ranking of 63.
              http://touch-the-banner.com/deveon-smith-wolverine/

              You consistently begrudged him those yards and called for his benching over and over again.

              You pined for Issac, said he was better than Smith as a recruit, and your preseason ranks put Isaac higher than he deserved every year.

              You clung to your predictions from 5, 4, 3 years ago because you wanted them to be true. You were wrong. You were wrong when you wanted Isaac over Smith. You were wrong when you wanted Isaac over Higdon. Multiple coaches have made it clear that you were wrong. Stop making excuses for Isaac. Admit you were wrong and move on.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2584
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Feb 16, 2018 at 8:38 PM

                “You consistently begrudged him those yards and called for his benching over and over again.”

                a) I’m not sure that I ever called him to get benched. I called for other guys to get more carries than they were getting.
                b) If our starting RB is averaging 4.18 YPC, then I’m probably going to call for someone else to get a shot. I said the same thing during the Rich Rodriguez era with Vincent Smith.
                c) I’m well aware that Smith started. He averaged 4.5, 4.8, 4.2, and 4.7 YPC. Meanwhile, Isaac averaged 5.9, 6.8, 5.6, and 6.2 YPC. I don’t think it’s too radical to call for less Smith and more Isaac.

                D AND MOST IMPORTANT) Michigan’s running game improved in 2017 with a less effective starting QB, a less effective passing game, missing Butt, Chesson, and Darboh, and having lost 3 senior linemen. Michigan went through 3 quarterbacks and sent a bunch of sophomores and freshmen out there to catch the ball, and EVERY SINGLE RUNNING BACK was better than De’Veon Smith. If I were you, I wouldn’t be trying to peddle some narrative about De’Veon Smith being a superior running back.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3727
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 19, 2018 at 2:29 PM

                The rushing success rate went from 43% in 2016 to 41% in 2017.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3727
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 19, 2018 at 2:32 PM

                Smith is the best RB Michigan had since Fitz Toussaint, at least. He started ahead of Isaac, Higdon, and everyone else. And he deserved to. You can’t admit this because —

                You’re more interested in being right 4 years ago than letting go and being right now. Keep tooting your own horn though.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 13, 2018 at 1:20 PM

        How, where, and when you get yards matters. A yard gained in OT in Columbus is worth a lot more than yard against Rutgers.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2584
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 13, 2018 at 1:44 PM

          It’s tough to gain yards in Columbus when the coach won’t put you in the game. But hey, De’Veon Smith had 36 carries for 97 yards in the final two games of 2016, so it’s hard to improve upon about 2.6 yards/carry. Isaac averaged over 5 yards/carry against PSU, MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin in 2016.

  2. Comments: 3
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    MGoScene
    Feb 13, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    I bet Wheatley didn’t like Isaac because he abbreviated a beautiful first name.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 3727
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM

    When different coaches (multiple OCs and RB coaches) reach the same conclusion maybe just maybe it’s time to let go of your preconceptions.

    Isaac is inverse Joe Bolden.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 13, 2018 at 1:23 PM

      Isaac never finished a season higher than 4th string on the depth chart. The excuse at USC was so much talent ahead of him. The excuse at Michigan is a 5-year-old sibling’s mantra: “no fair”.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2584
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 13, 2018 at 2:40 PM

        Isaac was #3 in carries both in 2017 and 2016. If you’re not taking injuries into account, then I could say Wilton Speight was Michigan’s 4th string QB in 2017, since O’Korn, Peters, and Malzone were higher than him on the depth chart at the end of the year. We both know that statement would be inaccurate.

        Regardless, I’m not saying Isaac should have been the far-and-away starter for the past three years. I’m saying the snap/carry count is oddly lopsided in favor of, for example, De’Veon Smith.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2584
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 13, 2018 at 9:55 PM

        Isaac lost 2 fumbles in his career (Maryland 2015, Michigan State 2017). Higdon lost 2 fumbles this season (Purdue, South Carolina).

        Isaac’s lost fumble against MSU might have cost Michigan the game, since the momentum changed afterward. Higdon’s lost fumble against SC might have cost Michigan the game, since the momentum changed afterward.

        Michigan would possibly be 9-4 without Isaac’s fumble, with a win against MSU but a season-ending slide. Michigan would possibly be 9-4 without Higdon’s fumble, with a positive finish to the season and some momentum to end the year.

        The perception of those two players varies wildly. I think people didn’t expect much from Higdon, so they’re “pleasantly surprised.” I think people expected greatness from Isaac, so they’re “bitterly disappointed.” Take away the star ratings and recruiting hype, and I don’t think there’s such a significant variance.

        • GKblue
          Comments: 285
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Feb 14, 2018 at 9:06 AM

          “I think people expected greatness from Isaac, so they’re “bitterly disappointed.” ”

          I too was a fan of his coming out of HS. I was disappointed (bitterly is too strong a word) in his resulting career at UM.
          His personal toughness, lack of pass blocking and ball control issues were on him.

          Now, the disfunctional offensive system(s) he played within also had an affect on his production as well. Why wasn’t he included in more passes out of the backfield?

          Backs have a tendency to run a certain way, we all know that. Somebody (JH?) says we want a guy to hit the hole, make one if you have to, and we will sing your praises (De’Veon and to a lesser degree Higdon). Yet when we were running a stretch or zone play why didn’t Isaac get called when Smith certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice?

          So based on what I saw UDFA is the best he can hope for. Maybe he can be utilized as a screen receiver or stretch type runner. But what the hell do I know.

          Good Luck to you Mr. Isaac.

  4. Comments: 13
    Joined: 8/31/2015
    coyote57
    Feb 14, 2018 at 8:38 AM

    Greetings,

    The discussion w/ Isaac seems to revolve around game results, perhaps if we saw what the coaches saw in practice, we’d have a different perspective on the why’s and wherefore’s of his PT?

    I have no info here, just a hunch. Altho it was only HS ball, there were times when we’d get a kid that was dynamic in the game, but a dog in practice. To reward him w/ PT would send a message we didn’t want sent, and could have consequences long after the player was gone.

    Someone here may have some insight into his practice habits that would shine a different light on the matter, but, it could be that sitting a kid w/ talent who didn’t put out in practice, or maybe fumbled 15x per practice, or didn’t consistently know his assignments in practice, did more for the team than his play?

    Just a thought.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 14, 2018 at 9:34 AM

      I agree that things could have gone on in practice, but I never heard of any. And while it’s certainly fair to leave that open as an option, we also don’t know how Higdon, Smith, Evans, etc. performed in practice, either.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 15, 2018 at 6:38 PM

      I suspect Isaac was just as good, if not better in practice. That’s why they kept giving him chances year after year. He just couldn’t capitalize on those chances because his game performance wasn’t very good most of the time. [aggregate YPC notwithstanding]

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 3727
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 15, 2018 at 6:34 PM

    YPC is a situational stat. Down and distance, quality of defense, playcall, OL execution, etc.

    Comparing teammates via YPC is appropriate when you have comparative samples (i.e., big enough sample size to assume those differences wash out.) This is tough to get to in college when the range of opponents and situations can be so huge (compared to NFL parity).

    Miles Sanders had a better YPC than Saquan Barkley in 2016 and 2017. Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw had better YPCs than Denard Robinson and Fitz Toussaint in 2011. In 2016 and 2017 Khalid Hill was a very effective runner, but his YPC was <2.0. The 2016 team's leading RB in YPC were Kingston Davis and Bobby Henderson. On and on — This should be transparent and obvious to any invested football fan.

    YPC as the be-all-end-all RB stat is transparently flawed.

    Holding on to the idea that Ty Isaac deserved to play more based on YPC, when numerous coaches at different schools reached the opposite conclusion is…. something.

    Isaac ended up near the bottom of the depth chart every year of his career. Sometimes it might have been due to injury, but even when he wasn't injured this was true (2013 and 2016). Even if it was, part of being an effective back is not being hurt. So however you want to slice it, Isaac couldn't get the job done.

    Isaac Truthers – It's been more than 5 years. Stop making ridiculous excuses and just admit you were wrong. Isaac got multiple chances. Nobody screwed him over. He's just not that good. Period.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 15, 2018 at 6:35 PM

      Speight got hurt too. The difference is that was due to OL, as evidence by the injuries he sustained and that other QBs also couldn’t stay healthy behind this OL.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 15, 2018 at 7:24 PM

      It’s not the be-all-end-all stat, but it’s significant. I’ve gone through the stats with you before. You ignore them. CFBstats.com is full of situational stats, and they look good for him compared to some other guys. I’m not going to bother posting them again, because you’re not going to be convinced.

      But your argument ignores one key fact:

      Why is it Ty Isaac who averaged 6.2 yards per carry? Why not someone else? Think of all the running backs to wear a Michigan uniform over the last 60+ years (back to when they started keeping stats), and think about why those players weren’t more productive. We’re talking about a bunch of teams that were powerhouses, that gave running backs garbage time carries, that had excellent offensive lines, etc. There are literally 70 players (out of 200 available, the maximum query) with 100+ carries, and Ty Isaac is tied for #4 with Tyrone Wheatley.

      You keep railing against the OL Michigan has put on the field, but Isaac managed to do it with this ragtag crew they put together. Why not Vincent Smith? Why not Jerome Jackson? Why not Drake Johnson? Terry Barr? Burnie Legette? Clarence Williams? Bob Thornbladh? Leroy Hoard? Rob Lytle?

      I guess it’s just a huge coincidence that Isaac’s 192 carries happened to come on perfect play calls, all against crappy teams, all in situations that were more advantageous than the situations of Barr or Legette or Thornbladh or V. Smith or Allen Jefferson or Tony Boles…because Isaac’s “just not that good. Period.”

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 16, 2018 at 5:26 PM

        Bobby Henderson was better. 7.4 ypc for his career.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3727
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 16, 2018 at 5:27 PM

          Significant.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 16, 2018 at 5:29 PM

        “I’ve never made an argument for Isaac that included garbage time/cupcake opponent stats”

        “Why is it Ty Isaac who averaged 6.2 yards per carry?”

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2584
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 16, 2018 at 5:32 PM

          You’re dancing around the issue with 3 replies so far. I’m wondering if you have a serious response.

          Again, lots of players have had access to “garbage time.” Isaac doesn’t have a stranglehold on that situation. I can’t narrow down situational stats for players from the 1970s or 1990s, so you get what you get. I posted situational stats in response to je93 above, comparing Isaac to the other available running backs.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3727
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 16, 2018 at 5:37 PM

            They’re all serious responses. 2016 Player ABCD vs Ranked teams averaged WXYZ. – I don’t get much out of that or know what it means.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 2584
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Feb 16, 2018 at 5:40 PM

              Nah, you’re saying Bobby Henderson was better based on a couple carries, when he played ONLY in garbage time. That’s not a serious response.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3727
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 16, 2018 at 8:06 PM

                I’m not saying Henderson was better at all.

                I’m giving a factually correct stat without considering context.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3727
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 16, 2018 at 8:19 PM

                Bobby Henderson was better at putting up a stat that is context dependent.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:27 PM

                  The Bobby Henderson stuff is lame. It’s a waste of time for both of us. You’re not this dumb.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3727
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:28 PM

                  The bobby henderson stuff = the ty isaac stuff.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:39 PM

                  This is such an asinine argument. I’m not responding about Bobby Henderson, the 3rd string FB, anymore. You’re going off the deep end.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3727
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 8:42 PM

                  We can talk about Mike Cox’s 8.7 ypc on 13 carries though I guess?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3727
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 19, 2018 at 2:39 PM

            You can’t explain why Henderson didn’t deserve more carries.

            He’s the 3rd string FB! you say.

            Well Isaac was the 5th string RB and you said he did.

            It’s the same logic. The absurdity is just highlighted.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 16, 2018 at 5:34 PM

        I think you might unintentionally be implying that Isaac got more opportunity than he deserved by getting 100 carries in mostly meaningless situations over 5 years. He kept getting chances, even though by the end of every season he was a non-factor.

        Maybe he was just a practice performer. Maybe the staff kept hunting for a RB option they liked behind a weak OL. Maybe he is just a warrior who doesn’t let set-backs get him down. I don’t know. Isaac got chance after chance year in and year out and could never produce when it counted most. The list of RBs who passed him over is as long as it is unimpressive.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2584
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 16, 2018 at 5:38 PM

          “Isaac got chance after chance year in and year out and could never produce when it counted most.”

          I have shown you over and over again that he did produce. Refer to the stats I posted in response to je93 above. He averaged 4.9 yards/carry against ranked teams. He averaged 6.0 YPC against Wisconsin in 2016. He had 1 carry for a 7-yard TD against Iowa in 2016 when nobody else could do anything, and they didn’t let him touch the ball aside from that carry. Granted, he had some poor games where he was averaging 2.0 YPC or so, but so did the other running backs – against Iowa and Wisconsin.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3727
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 16, 2018 at 8:19 PM

            You counting Florida as a ranked team?

            • Thunder
              Comments: 2584
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Feb 16, 2018 at 8:26 PM

              Nope.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3727
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Feb 16, 2018 at 8:29 PM

              Honestly I can’t read through the data you showed above without a lot of effort. Try adding names, opponents, something to make your point better.

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 3727
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 16, 2018 at 8:28 PM

    The debate about YPC is one Thunder and I have had forever. Its why I started commenting on this blog back when Thunder wanted Vincent Smith to stop getting carries because Mike Shaw had a better YPC. I thought he would have seen the light when the new staff picked Smith and benched Shaw to oblivion but no. YPC is still the thing that matters above all else.

    RB is about more than YPC. The coaching decisions illustrate that point over and over. YPC is a context-dependent stat. This is so obvious that it isn’t worth arguing about. I guess that makes me the dummy.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 16, 2018 at 8:55 PM

      Yards per carry is still a better measurement than your conclusion, which is explained elsewhere in this thread as, “I don’t know.”

      Yes, running back is “about more than yards per carry.” But if you can’t identify significant differences in other areas, then your argument wilts. And if coaches ignore ways to get guys the ball who can do something with it, then the coaching staff might deserve some criticism.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 19, 2018 at 2:37 PM

      The other points of data are playing time and production. # of snaps or yards against legit competition.

      Your assertion that better players should get less playing time because of stats from garbage time carries is absurd. See Mike Cox. See Michael Shaw. See Myles Sanders. On and on… These guys see these kids practice and they break down film. They understand that all carries aren’t the same. They know it’s a team game. They get context.

      Limited sample YPC isn’t significant enough to prove the coaches wrong. It’s you that deserves criticism for not getting that.

  7. Comments: 879
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 16, 2018 at 10:42 PM

    Thanks to Thunder & Lank for bringingthe board back to football 🏈

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 19, 2018 at 2:39 PM

      You can’t explain why Henderson didn’t deserve more carries.

      He’s the 3rd string FB! you say.

      Well Isaac was the 5th string RB and you said he did.

      It’s the same logic. The absurdity is just highlighted.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3727
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 19, 2018 at 2:43 PM

      This is the post in which I insult the person whose writing and website I have commented on thousands of times. [Edited by Thunder]

      • GKblue
        Comments: 285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Feb 19, 2018 at 3:29 PM

        Hey! I’m too slow I guess? I honestly didn’t read that as a slam against you at all Thunder.

        I just upvoted Lanky for his endorsement of education in statistical analysis. I think it would of great value to those entering engineering in an industrial environment.

        In football, stats are abused and manipulated to support stories the author wants to sell. Grain of salt required.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 3727
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 19, 2018 at 3:27 PM

    LOL Thunder editing my comments because he can’t handle it.

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 3727
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 19, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Which is more likely:

    Thunder knows better than the Michigan coaches because stats say so.

    Thunder is misinterpreting stats to try to make his predictions look more accurate.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 19, 2018 at 3:46 PM

      You’re not welcome here if your only purpose is to insult me. If you want to argue, argue. If you want to personally insult people, take your “business” elsewhere.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 19, 2018 at 3:51 PM

        I don’t think I’ve insulted anyone. But that’s fine.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 19, 2018 at 3:52 PM

        Maybe I can learn something here. Where is the insult?

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2584
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 19, 2018 at 7:08 PM

          Here’s the thing:

          This is my Job #3. I have a full-time job, a second job coaching, and a third “job” of writing for this blog. Basically, this is a hobby.

          My uncle has a hobby of woodworking. If someone says, “Hey, that’s a nice chair you made,” that’s great. If someone says, “Hey, I know a way you could make that chair better,” okay.

          If someone sees his woodworking and says to his face, “Haha, look at this fucking idiot pretending to do woodworking! What a douche!” then the guy saying that is a dick.

          I wake up in the morning and write for this site before work, I respond to comments on my lunch break, and go out of my way to put information out there for you to read, discuss, and even debate. If you want to insult me, go on Twitter. Comment about me on Reddit or The Wolverine. It’s a free country. But are you going to insult me here on my site? Nope. It ain’t happening. And you can ask a couple of the other regular commenters whose discussions I’ve had to mediate: that bullshit isn’t welcome here.

          Like I said, if you want to debate stats, debate stats. Critique my predictions? Fine. If insults are your thing, leave.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3727
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 19, 2018 at 8:36 PM

          “You’re not this dumb” is the closest thing I see to an insult. Where is the insult?

          • Thunder
            Comments: 2584
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Feb 19, 2018 at 8:41 PM

            I’ve wasted enough time on this conversation.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3727
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 20, 2018 at 11:57 AM

        Insulting your take isn’t insulting you. Neither is telling you you are wrong.

        You want to censor people who disagree with you – that’s your right. But don’t hide behind false accusations. There’s no personal insults or name-calling from me.

        Just so you know – I’ve made my argument about stats (and other subjects like philosophy) belonging in high school curriculum many times before and nobody else has seemed to take offense or feel like I was insulting them.

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