Daily Archives: March 22, 2015

The death knell of amateurism?

Honestly, in my lifetime, I can’t recall an US President as interested in the framework of college athletics as the current occupant of the White House.  Yeah, I remember Nixon being heavily into football, but not about, say, whether college football should have a playoff.  Or what the future may hold for a sport having a serious problem with concussions.  Or chest bumping with Trooper Taylor

But I digress.

The latest foray into college athletics by the Kenyan Marxist Usurper is in the area of – gasp!amateurism.

Weighing in on the growing debate over amateurism in college sports, President Barack Obama said on Friday that universities bear “more responsibilities than right now they’re showing” toward their athletes and that the NCAA should require schools to guarantee athletic scholarships with no strings attached.

“[T]he students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here,” Obama told The Huffington Post in a sit-down interview. “An immediate step that the NCAA could take — that some conferences have already taken — is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.”

“It doesn’t matter whether they get cut, it doesn’t matter whether they get hurt,” the president went on. “You are now entering into a bargain and responsible for them.”

Ordinarily, I would expect this to provoke immediate catcalls on the right (it wouldn’t be the first time), except Obama had to go and complicate things by saying this:

He stopped short of saying that it was time to pay collegiate athletes or that they should have the right to unionize — a possibility now under consideration by his appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.

“In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars?” Obama asked. “How much does a Anthony Davis get paid as opposed to somebody else? And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.”

Mark Emmert just pumped his fist.

Needless to say, I disagree.  Further, I have no idea where the President is going with this thought.

“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said. “That’s not fair.”

Emmert just put his hand back in his pocket.  I’m using mine to scratch my head.

Why does everyone have such a hard time with this?  Is a free market for all that hard a concept to grasp?

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Happy on defense

I mentioned defensive acclimation to Pruitt in his second year, and it sounds like that’s the song being sung in spring practice.

If there is one dominant theme through the early stages of Georgia’s spring football practices, it’s that the defense seems a lot more comfortable in the second year under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Happier, too.

“It’s a lot different,” senior defensive tackle James DeLoach said. “You basically know what’s going on this year, so you can fly around and have more fun. I think we’re off to a good start, and we’re working with the young guys, trying to teach them what they need to do.”

That’s good, no?  Of course, there’s one little thing to keep in mind…

Georgia’s defense is facing an offense looking to develop a new center, a new quarterback and several reliable receivers under new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

“The offensive players are just now getting a feel for it.” DeLoach said. “I think they felt like we did last year.”

It’s always something.  At least the offense gets to work its way up to speed with an easier start to the schedule than the 2014 defense had.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The best defense is a guessing offense.

Ian Boyd checks out the 8-3 defense, sort of a bastard child of the 3-4, and likes what he sees.

The branding of modern varieties of the 3-4 as the 8-3 reverses that trend by defining the defense around the eight players standing up in the defensive backfield.

Teams relying on these types of schemes, such as Boise State, BYU, West Virginia, or now Missouri can play eight-man coverages, any number of four-man rush/seven-man coverage zone or man defenses, zone blitz, or bring the heat and back it up with man coverage and zero deep help.

The goal in finding and developing personnel is to find players that can perform as many roles in the defensive backfield as possible and having positional rules that will allow players to compartmentalize and play in multiple defenses.

The obvious advantage of having eight defenders standing up before the snap is that it’s hard for the offense to know exactly what you’re going to be doing. So long as an 8-3 defense has simplified rules and a compartmentalized approach, in which players learn a few different roles in the defense and fill them in different calls, it’s possible to throw a lot of different defenses at the offense.

The approach is to turn traditional defensive scheming on its head.

The natural response of many defensive coaches against the spread is to recruit speed and find ways to play sound defense while hoping for the offense to shoot itself in the foot or turn the ball over at some point along the way to the end zone.

The more skilled spread attacks are totally unafraid of this approach since it allows them to zero in on weaknesses, put defenders in conflict with the option, and do exactly what they practice every day to do. It’s becoming less and less of a good bet that college players will be unable to sustain drives if you hole up and dare them to come after you unless you are recruiting NFL athletes at most positions.

The 8-3 is going to find more and more usage from defensive coaches that prefer to attack the offense, dictate what they’re able to do, and try to see if college players can handle facing a defense that forces them to think through both their own options as well as those of the defensive coordinator.

Making a HUNH offense think about what the defense is doing… that’ll slow things down more than a 10-second substitution rule.

There is a catch, though.  (There’s always a catch.)

While the spread looks to use space and options to attack their opponent rather than size up front, the 8-3 defense eschews trying to “line up sound and make ’em beat us” and instead looks to win on a mental level through disguise, dictation, and disruption.

It’s ultimately a 3-4 defense in terms of positions on the field and pre-snap alignment, but instead of matching power up front with two-gapping DL, the 8-3 is defined by the eight stand-up players will shift around to assume different roles.  [Emphasis added.]

The 8-3 sounds like a great way to put a spread offense on its heels, mentally speaking, but a power offense would be licking its chops.  This puts me in mind somewhat with what John Thompson did with his defensive linemen before the snap when he was Spurrier’s defensive coordinator.  That lasted one season.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think there’s definitely something to this.  But as a base defensive scheme in the SEC, even with all the offensive evolution we’ve witnessed over the past three of four seasons, I’m not sure how the 8-3 would hold up through a complete season.  I guess I’ll need to watch Missouri’s defense more carefully this year.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics