Daily Archives: January 10, 2011

No monkey suit on the title game sideline

If you look at this picture, it’s obvious that Chip Kelly got into coaching for the clothes.

AP Photo

That is one seriously pained expression, brother.

To honor his discomfort, here’s an appropriate musical number from the Pernice Brothers:

Consider this your BCS title game thread.

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UPDATE: Chris Brown breaks down the offensive strategies for both teams and ponders whether the game will prove to be a watershed.

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Filed under College Football

It’s so easy, Sally Jenkins edition.

You know, I look at the NCAA’s struggles these past few months with enforcing its amateurism regulations and I see a system that is under stress as it tries to cope with the problems resulting from there not being a professional outlet for kids coming out of high school who want to pursue a sports career without having to suffer through the process of getting a college education.

But I’m not Sally Jenkins.  Jenkins casts her keen eye across the landscape of college football and finds a different villain (although I suppose she should be given some credit for consistency).

… Abolish the Bowl Championship Series. It’s an unprincipled and unfair system that brings out the worst in those who compete in it. It sends the message to athletes that what counts is not the game, “but how you game the system,” says Alan Fishel, an attorney from Arent Fox who represents Boise State.

College football is the only sport that does not have a valid championship, because conference commissioners seized control of the postseason in order to hoard the bowl money to offset their deficits. The NCAA needs to reclaims its authority. “It’s beginning to taint everything, in all of athletics,” Cowen says. “That particular system has co-opted all of intercollegiate athletics, and really led the train in the wrong direction.”

You read that right.  Tulane’s president is blaming everything that’s wrong with college athletics – everything –  on the absence of a D-1 football playoff.  I once joked that playoff advocates saw playoffs as the college football equivalent of the Iraq Surge; for them, there’s nothing a college football tourney can’t fix.  Cowen, unfortunately, isn’t kidding.  And he’s blind to the reality that college basketball, even with March Madness, is subject to many of the same problems with amateurism that college football has.

Besides, historically speaking, what Jenkins writes there is a load of crap.  Conference commissioners didn’t seize control of the football postseason from the NCAA.  The bowl game came into existence at roughly the same time that the NCAA did.  There’s nothing for the NCAA to reclaim, because the NCAA never sponsored a D-1 football postseason in the first place.

I wish I could say that was the dumbest part of Jenkins’ piece, but given that two of the steps she advocates taking to clean up college football are clear cut antitrust violations, another involves subjecting football players to the justice system for doing something – getting paid by a third party for their ability – that any of their non-athletic peers can do without consequences and most of the rest comes off as a mid-majors wish list for getting more out of the system, I’m not sure I can.  Then again, what should I expect from someone who, after seeing what’s gone on lately, honestly thinks the NCAA has the stomach and the capability to clean things up in the first place?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The NCAA

The first rule of offense

Keep it simple, stupid.

… Malzahn had no coaching tree pedigree so he learned by watching high school coaches, particularly Arkansas legend Barry Lunney Sr.

As a third-year coach at Hughes High School, Malzahn had between 200 and 300 plays. Lunney advised him to pick three or four, get them to where the players could run them perfectly, and then add another play in year four.

“That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever got,” Malzahn said. “After that I went back to basic football. Even though today everybody thinks we have a lot of plays, we really don’t have that many. But we try to use window dressing, unusual formations and pace.”

How basic is Auburn’s offense today? Malzahn said it has only about four base run concepts and six base pass concepts, with wrinkles off each one.

And yet it’s adaptable. What Malzahn runs with Newton isn’t what he ran with Chris Todd at quarterback last year, or at Tulsa or at Arkansas before that. That’s the high school background coming out in Malzahn.

“You’ve got to adapt to survive and win in high school,” Malzahn said. “The fact that I’ve had five different quarterbacks in college each year is a little bit different. Somewhere down the line, I’d like to have a guy back. My job might be a little easier if I have a guy back his second year.”

You’d think this would be fairly obvious.  I never understood why former NFL coaches like Bill Callahan thought the complex West Coast offense would translate well on the college level, where players’ careers are short and the amount of time spent on coaching players is limited.  What you want is familiarity.  From that you get better execution and from that you get players able to make plays faster, which puts pressure on a defense.

“You cannot relent on the tempo,” Hand said. “When you first install some of this stuff, you’ve got to understand it’s going to be very ugly early. We used to say you have to coach in short verbal blasts.

“It’s not like you’re going to have 35 seconds to make your point. The execution is eventually going to catch up to the speed. Now, when you combine the tempo with the execution, then it’s a beautiful thing. That’s where Chip and Gus are at.”

The one common thread through that article is Rich Rodriguez.  He didn’t make a great head coach at Michigan, but he may be the most influential offensive mind impacting present day college football.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics