Brian also instituted the Blogger’s Roundtable, with different sites hosting discussions in varying weeks. This week, Heismanpundit is the host. Here are my questions. Bloggers, please respond with a link in the comments section.
What criteria do you use to determine if a team and its players are good?
I focus on four things: Game-day coaching, talent level, scheme and how they win. The first thing that jumps out is the talent. I look at whether players have quick feet, whether they move well in space. Do the running backs have breakaway speed? Can the receivers separate after the catch? Can the corners jump the outs? On the flip side, I look at the opponent the team in question is playing to determine what talent disparity (if any) exists between the two teams. This is where the scheme of the team in question usually comes in to play. If Team A has a huge talent advantage, yet still plays the game close, then Team A probably has a poor scheme. I then look for tendencies in the scheme to see how easy it would be to break down, look for use of personnel and formations. If they appear predictable after a few series, I downgrade their system in my mind. Finally, I note how the coach makes decisions during the game. Does he know when to make a gutsy call? Does he manage his time outs correctly? Does he appear to be in control on the sideline? What’s his demeanor? Ideally, a team would have a ton of talent, a great scheme on both sides of the ball and a coach who knew how to orchestrate it on Saturday. I view teams as good or bad based on how they fill that criteria. A team that currently has all three is USC. A team with a ton of talent, good gameday coaching and a poor scheme is Oklahoma. A team with a ton of talent, bad gameday coaching and a poor scheme is Tennessee. And so on…until you get to the Indiana’s and the Baylors. Clearly, significant levels of success can still be achieved with a poor scheme or bad coaching, since it is all relative to your opponent. Finally, how does a team win a game? Do they do it mostly in dominating fashion? Do they exhibit balance? How often do they look sluggish? Do they rise to the occasion when necessary? I look for all those things, since all wins are not the really equal when it comes down to it (at least in my book).
If you could choose one coach to build an offensive system for your school, who would it be? Conversly, who would you choose to devise the defense? Why?
Right now, I’d go with Urban Meyer on offense and Pete Carroll on defense. Meyer’s system has it all: running, passing, option, motion, you name it. He forces opposing teams to defend the ENTIRE field. It’s also a fun system to watch: It puts points on the scoreboard and fans in the stands. Carroll’s defenses have been the best in the nation the last few years. Yeah, I know, the stats say otherwise. But in a given game, where it MATTERED, his defenses have been the best. USC has led the nation in sacks and rushing defense each of the last two years and his units get force more turnovers than practically anyone.
Describe your typical college fotoball Saturday.
I wake up at 7:30 a.m. PT to watch ESPN Gameday. If my team is on the road, I then head over to the local sports bar, one that has ALL the games on. I harangue the waitress until every game I want to watch is on a screen and then proceed to sit there into the night, usually only leaving in time to sprint back for the start of the Hawaii game. If I am going to a game, I am outside the stadium tailgating starting at 6 a.m. My buddy has a satellite dish out there with four TVs. We watch as many games as possible until our game starts and then we watch that. After the game, we head back home to catch the games and highlights we tivoed. On occasion, we head to Vegas and get to the Sports Book at 6 a.m. (to get a good seat) and stay until 9 p.m. By the end of the day, we’re tired, but it’s a good tired.