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November 14, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7A

After hate mail, Gardner says message ignored

Managing Sports Editor
As the Michigan football team's
season has slowly deteriorated,
technology has allowed fans to
interact with Devin Gardner at a
moment's notice.
And as the losses pile up, the
redshirt junior quarterback pre-
sumably scrolls through his Twit-
ter mentions after a game and
sees hateful messages rolling in.
"When you play well, every-
body loves you," Gardner said.
"When you don't - I don't want
to say they hate you - but I get a
lot of hate mail. It comes with the
Wednesday night on his radio
show, Michigan coach Brady
Hoke called the comments direct-
ed at Gardner "classless."
Hoke said Wednesday that the
coaching staff tells players dur-
ing the recruiting process that
playing for the Wolverines means
dealing with the backlash when
things aren't going their way. If
players are unsure if they can fil-
ter out the outside noise, Hoke
tells them there are plenty of
other schools out there that might
be a better fit.
"No question," Hoke said.
"We're very honest with them.
We're demanding of them aca-

demically, socially and from the
football aspect. How they repre-
sent their name is really impor-
tant and how they represent the
block 'M.' "
Especially to the freshmen,
reading negative comments on
social media and hearing the boos
that rained down on the team
during last Saturday's 17-13 loss
to Nebraska can be particularly
"This is all new, playing in
front of110,000," Hoke said. "This
is a whole different life in college,
not having mom's meals or grand-
ma's meals or whoever it may be.
There's abig adjustment."
The younger players will tell
Gardner thatthey'd like to reply to
the Twitter users bashing them,
who Gardner called "passionate,"
but he knows that wouldn't help
the situation.
So he tries to set the example,
asking them to come to him when
they feel like responding. Gardner
echoed a common sentiment this
week, saying the only people that
matter are the ones in the locker
"I try mybest to explain that to
the young guys so they don't get
frustrated," Gardner said. "And I
think they understand now that
'wow, it is just about us.' No mat-
ter what anybody else says, good

or bad, it's about us. They'll love
you and they'll hate you."
Gardner's e-mail is unlisted in
the University's directory, which
he said helps to keep the messages
from coming to his inbox, too.
Gardner added that he doesn't
want to get into a conversation
via Twitter about his play but that
his reaction when he reads some
of the messages is, "Man, it sucks
you feel that way."
At halftime of the Nebraska
loss, fifth-year senior offensive
tackle Taylor Lewan addressed
the team, saying that even though
some fans have turned on the
team by booing, they need to con-
tinue playing for the 11 players on
the field. Those are the voice that
matter, Hoke said.
Filtering out the criticism will
be importantto finishingstrong -
the 10-win plateau is still within
reach, and though that was never
the original goal, Gardner said it's
still a mark of a strongseason.
"You've got to have broad
shoulders," Hoke said. "Any time
you're in competition, you're
going to have critics out there.
And 99 percent of those critics,
they don't know. They don't know
how these guys work, starting in
January after every season. The
early workouts, the grind we put
them through."

PsaLdSH f0Mu/ai y
Redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner said he has received angry Tweets after three losses in the past foot tames.

Hate Tweets have replaced hate mail as Cody
the preferred form of idiocy. Here's a small @CodyJackson1201
sampling of the (appropriate-for-print) @qu9rter8ack Seriously ??? Your not Denard . Stop try-
messages Devin Gardner has had to deal ing to run the dam ball. Never seen someone get sacked
with on Twitter: as much as you.. Pathetic !
SAT, NOV 09 2013 7:23:12 PM
Matt Thompson C-Rider
@JT11245 @_ThatBoyCrider
@qu9rter8ack way to blow the game for us! #yousuck @qu9rter8ack why you so garbage bro?! -.-
SAT, NOV 09 2013 6:39:03 PM SAT. NOV 09 2013 63734 PM
Michigan gets creative with numbers

Nation's top recruit
to decide Thursday

For the Daily
Baseball has undergone a
revolution in statistics. Begin-
ning with Bill James's Baseball
Abstract in 1977, the new way of
using statistics has become wide-
ly accepted. The revolution has
even spread to other sports, such
as basketball, football and oth-
ers. It has become so mainstream
that it even hit Hollywood with
the movie Moneyball in 2011.
So why hasn't college baseball
kept up with the revolution in the
One reason is resources.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had
an Opening Day payroll of
$216,753,286 and can afford to
pay many people to work solely
on stats. In college, meanwhile,
the coaching staff - which
might consist of five people - is
in charge of everything from
coaching and scouting to recruit-
A second reason is the funda-
mental differences between pro-
fessional and college baseball.
Since conferences are relatively
isolated and have different levels
of competition, it is impossible
to normalize statistics from one
conference to another.
With these restraints, the
Michigan baseball team was
forced to get creative.
Michigan coach Erik Bakich
has focused on process-related
statistics. The idea is to quantify
how often players are doing what
the coaches want them to do, and
if they are, the results will even-
tually come.
For hitting, Bakich keeps track
of "quality at-bats." Each player
is expected to have a quality at-
bat 50 percent of the time.
"If 50 percent of their at-bats
are quality, then their batting
average is probably going to be
pretty good because they're
making a lot of hard contact and
doing a lot of things to help the
team win," Bakich said.
Added Bakich: "It's a statistic
that you won't find on any stat
sheet, and you won't find online."
It's a stat that's hard to quan-
tify, but it's an effective indica-
tor at the college level. The stat
is certainly subjective, but since

Bakich is the only person who
tracks the statistic, it works.
There are many different ways
that a batter can record a qual-
ity at-bat. Walks, hit-by-pitches,
sacrifice flies and sacrifice bunts
are always quality at-bats. But
it's slightly more complicated
for balls put in play. Hard-hit
balls that fall for hits obviously
"If it's hit hard and caught,
it's a quality at-bat," Bakich said.
"If it's hit weakly and drops for
a hit, I ask myself, 'If that ball
was caught, would it be a quality
at bat?' and usually the answer
becomes apparent."
Bakich uses similar a meth-
odology for pitching. He expects
two out of every three pitches to
be quality pitches. Pitchers aim
to throw each batter only three
pitches, whether they retire
the batter or allow him to reach
base. This ensures that pitchers
are attacking hitters while on
the mound and limits their pitch
count. The coaching staff tracks
pitchers' strike percentage and
walks per nine inning, with goals
of two strikes for every three
pitches thrown and three walks
per nine innings, respectively.
For pitching, the same logic
persists. If pitchers execute their
pitches, throw, and limit walks,
they will likely be successful. In
the pros, statisticians can cal-
culate things such as fielding-
independent pitching, while
colleges only have the ability to
track whether or not pitchers
execute their pitches, with the
expectation that if they execute,
success will come.
While the hitting and pitching
statistics that the baseball team
uses are nothing like those used
by professional teams, there are
considerably fewer differences
between the levels for base run-
ning, making a lineup and scout-
ing opponents.
Forbase stealing, coaches time
opposing pitchers' times to the
plate, catchers' pop-up times and
throwing times and the time it
takes to apply the tag. That infor-
mation - coupled with knowing
their players' times from first to
second base with different leads
- allows the coaches to make
informed decisions on whether

DE Hand will pick
between Michigan,
Alabama and
Daily Sports Writer
At noon Thursday, Da'Shawn
Hand, the nation's top football
prospect, will announce his col-
lege decision between Michi-
gan, Alabama
and Florida on Da'Shawn
national televi- Hand's
sion. ndS
NBC Sports decision
Network will Nation's No.1
broadcast the football recruit
6-foot-4 defen-
sive end's deci- When: Thurs-
sion live from day 12 P.M.
Woodbridge TV/Radio:
High School's NBC Sports
gymnasium on
"Sports Dash
with Yahoo."
The 260-pound Virginia
native has been the most coveted
recruit for some time.
Hand jumped onto the scene
when he registered 21 sacks his
sophomore year and was one of
three rising juniors to partici-
pate in Nike's "The Opening," a
prestigious combine held Bea-
verton, Ore. The defensive end
brought that success into his
junior season with 110 tackles,
16 sacks, four forced fumbles and
40 tackles for a loss.
This dominance earned him

more than 30 scholarship offers,
but only one school has stayed
in his top three throughout the
whole process - Michigan.
If he commits, Hand would
become Michigan's 16th commit-
ment of the 2014 class and would
create history. If the current
rankings hold, Michigan would
have verbal commitments from
the nation's No. 1 and the No. 2
prospects in Hand and corner-
back Jabrill Peppers. No team
in history has ever earned the
commitments from the top two
Hand would join five-star
Bryan Mone, four-star Lawrence
Marshall, and grey-shirt com-
mit Brady Pallante, creating one
of the best defensive line classes
Michigan has seen.
Defensive line aside, Hand's
commitment could give Michi-
gan its greatest class ever.
The Wolverines have had their
fair share of struggles creating
quarterback pressure, buta com-
mitment from Hand could poten-
tially change that.
Hand projects as a strong-side
defensive end, a position cur-
rently occupied by junior Bren-
nen Beyer, redshirt freshman
Chris Wormley and redshirt
sophomore Keith Heitzman.
Hand would certainly put him-
self in the mix for early playing
Michigan football can make
recruiting history at noon
Thursday, and it rides on Hand's
decision on whether to become a

Michigan baseball coach Eri k Bakich has created stats to evaluate players.

or not they should steal.
Most casual fans know that in
general, hitters who get on base
often hit at the top of the order
and powers hitters hit near the
middle-there's no need to over-
think this. Bakich agrees with
Oakland Athletics General Man-
ager and founder of "Moneyball"
Billy Beane that on-base percent-
age is more important than aver-
age, and the lineup that Bakich
creates is likely no different than
one any MLB manager would
come up with.
Perhaps the most underval-
ued contribution of statistics in
baseball is in scouting upcoming
"We spend an incredible
amount of time compiling our
scouting reports," Bakich said.
"It takes us a few days to put all
the information together for a
15-20 minute meeting with our
Bakich knows opposing pitch-
ers' and hitters' lefty-righty
splits; opposing hitters' batted
ball tendencies; opposing pitch-
ers' tendencies to predict what
pitches they throw in certain
counts; and how both teams' hit-
ters have fared over their last
ten games. And while the pros
undoubtedly take these concepts
to a higher degree, the similari-
ties between the two levels are
much greaterthan those for eval-
uating hitting and pitching.
In hiring Bakich, who is the

youngest head baseball coach at
a BCS school, Michigan made a
commitment to new-age think-
"There are some teams that
don't really utilize scouting
reports and aren't really con-
cerned with what the statistics
show," Bakich said. "I think
there's some teams out there that
just kind of show up and play and
win doing that."
Bakich has shown that he will
use statistics to the best of his
ability, even if that ability in col-
lege pales in comparison to that
of the pros.
"Comparing professional and
college baseball, there is no com-
parison with the information
available and the commitment
to compiling those statistics,"
Bakich said. "In college, a lot of
it is just the coaches doing what
they can with the information
they have."
Where professionals can
turn to stats such as weighted
on-base average, which weighs
walks, singles, doubles, triples
and home runs by their value to a
team, college baseball makes do
with stats such as quality-at-bat
Bakich says it works because
Michigan's players buy into it.
"In all areas of our program,
there's a focus on process over
outcome, thinking that the out-
come will come by focusing on
the process," Bakich said.

Circle K
N b 16 te Su 0 C0
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November 16-17, 8am-8am - Ginsberg Center
Volunteers can sign up for projects individually or in groups. Groups
contact ckivicepresidents@umich.edu

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