Smart Links – A Beautiful Preakness, ESPN Radio, Dogs, Bo Jackson – 5/21/2012

What a beautiful race in the Preakness. I actually had I’ll Have Another in the Derby (it was luck) but did not attend the Preakness so did not make any bets. But I would’ve bet on Bodemeister, which all but had the Derby locked up until he just couldn’t close. Surely, in the shorter Preakness, Bodemeister’s late race struggle would not be repeated? I’ll Have Another had other ideas.

Q&A with Allen Kenney of Crystal Ball Run about The Essential Smart Football. I discuss difficult questions like, “Who is the Christopher Hitchens of football?” (A tough question.) A more serious excerpt, regarding how one determines what are football’s most important strategies and ideas:

Brown: To some extent it’s going to be in the eye of the beholder. But the nice part about football is, at the end of the day, it’s about two things: winning games and developing men. . . . The hard part in judging importance is that importance is not always so obvious. While there are few geniuses in football, there are “ingenious” ideas, and those ingenious ideas tend to multiply and reproduce throughout football very rapidly. And, yet, those who came up with the ideas may not have the talent or the circumstance or even the fan support to see the benefit. In football, innovators are not always rewarded.

In a lead in to a chapter I quote Goethe: “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

Me on ESPN Radio, 1080TheFan.

Burnt Orange Nation on TESF.

Barack/Nixon.

Bo Jackson’s Greatness.

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Smart Links – Big East Coast Bias, FIVE (yes FIVE!) Verticals, Relegation, Facebook – 5/18/2012

My Q&A with Mark Ennis of Big East Coast Bias about The Essential Smart Football and more. Me:

The basic arithmetic of the game at every level of football right now is this: Almost every good team is one-back based [(even true option teams)], which means they can throw the four verticals and other passing routes, against which defenses would like to play two-deep safeties. But increasingly the quarterback is a running threat of some kind, so defenses would really prefer to play with one deep safety or else they are outnumbered in the running game. Eventually — just like the reactions to the original T-formation, the wishbone, the pro-set, the power-I, and so on — defenses will figure out how to get numbers where they need to go while defending the passing game against teams (like those Airraid guys) that will find the open grass anywhere and make you pay. And when they do, they will hit offenses like a ton of bricks. But we’re not there right now. And after that, something else will come along. Then it will be time to write another book.

Runningback blaster and sideline drill.

Bill Connelly on college football relegation.

Dana Holgorsen versus Nick Saban, tale of the tape. Quote: “MENTOR: Saban: Bill Belichick, who once sent Saban to Haiti for a shipment of bat fetuses for reasons known only to him. (/bat fetus goes to three pro bowls, signs 6 year deal with raiders).”

Facebook’s IPO as savior of California’s budget.

Two-Gap/One-Gap vs One-Back Zone Option.

The ultimate dot com.

Article about the internet reposted on the internet.

– After the jump, Missouri’s infamous five verticals pass play:

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Smart Links – Schiano’s waterworld, Clemson’s tackle over formation, Ronald Coase, Notre Dame clinic notes – 5/11/2012

Greg Schiano’s two-drink rule. I think this is fantastic: Every Tampa Bay Bucs player is required, during team meetings prior to workouts or practice, to drink two “drinks,” i.e. water or Gatorade. In modern football, meetings make up an ever larger portion of a player’s day, and increasingly the kind of technical “no-you-step-this-way” sort of teaching takes place in the meeting room, while watching film. As a result practices are more fast paced and frenetic than ever — every moment on the practice field is extremely valuable. And, of course, players’ health and hydration, particularly in places like Tampa Bay, are crucial. There’s not a pro, college, or high school team in the country that couldn’t have a manager put two cups of water at every single seat for meetings, with the requirement that players drink the water before heading off to practice. As Schiano says, “Doctors I’ve talked to say if you are too thirsty, it’s too late.”

Notre Dame’s 2012 football clinic notes. I was pleased to see new Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin has added in the best new offensive idea of the last couple of seasons, the idea of “packaged concepts” that include run and pass plays in the same play.

Clemson’s tackle over formation.

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The second lives of football players

On the heels of the news that Warren Sapp — who made over $60m during his pro football career — has filed for bankruptcy, this is of interest:

Through the injury-plagued seasons — the first signs that his career may be coming to a close — and two years after his retirement, Searcy still lived as if he were untouchable. His denial that the end was near became clear in several real estate transactions.

In 1998, Searcy bought a condo in Miami for $865,000. In 2000, he bought a house in Clermont, Fla., for $399,900. In 2001, he bought another house in Baltimore for $870,000. “I was punch drunk,” Searcy says. “It was a facade, what I was living. I still wanted to give people the impression that I was big-time. I’d see the guys who were still in the league in the night clubs, and I had to look the look. I was in character.”

In 2002, the bank foreclosed on Searcy’s Baltimore property for $550,632. In 2003, another bank foreclosed on his Miami condo for $568,263.

Read the whole thing.

Draft Day 2012: I could watch these guys all day

In honor of the yearly spectacle of reading name off of a list as prime time television event, do yourself a favor and just watch clips of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, two total maestros of the art of quarterbacking. In terms of the draft, I don’t think you can go wrong with either one, but feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Happy drafting.

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Get Smart about Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Spread

One of the best recent developments in the blogosphere has been the addition of my friend Ross Fulton to what was already one of the best blogs around, the Ohio State site Eleven Warriors. Ross has been a perfect fit, not least of all because he’s got great material to analyze in the form of Urban Meyer’s offense (along with offensive coordinator Tom Herman) are installing at Ohio State. Check out the links below for a learned preview of what we can expect from the Buckeye offense this fall.

Smart Links – Kellen Moore, Louis CK, George Whitfield, Kevin Sumlin, WR NFL Draft Rankings – 4/13/2012

Gruden camp with one of my favorite college quarterbacks ever, Kellen Moore:

I don’t know what, if any, kind of pro Moore will make. I think arm strength in is general overrated, but Moore’s lack of arm strength does concern me. To me arm strength is not a matter of more is always better — JaMarcus Russell is proof of that — but you do need a threshold level of arm strength necessary for each level. And it’s not about chucking deep bombs; it’s about the ability to throw the ball on a line 25, 30 or even 35 yards from the far hash to the sideline. But Gruden spends a lot of time in this piece on Moore’s uncanny anticipation and that focus is exactly right: If Moore can succeed — indeed the reason he has been so successful so far — it will be because he uses his smarts, accuracy, and anticipation to overcome some of his limitations. As Gruden points out in the video too, Boise State’s multifarious offense is just awesome to watch, but it’s also not easy, making Moore well prepared for an NFL offense — if he can physically perform.

(Also gotta love Moore drawing up two classic pass plays, Sluggo Seam and Spacing.)

Final column by Rick Cleveland.

The rise of George Whitfield as the premiere QB guru, including mentor to Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.

Pre-Snap Read fires up for 2012, with a look at the fighting Bob Davies.

Behind the scenes with Kevin Sumlin.

Ultimate Fighting and Math.

Matt Waldman on this year’s wide receiver NFL draft class. I don’t know if there is a single, super dominant wide receiver in this year’s draft class like a Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss type, but I think there is a solid group of guys who will be consistent NFL contributors for a long time: I expect Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Mohammed Sanu, Reuben Randle, Juron Criner, Marvin McNutt, Joe Adams and Ryan Broyles to all make NFL rosters and hang around with fairly consistent production for the next five to eight years, with at least a couple turning into pro bowl receivers.

After the jump, Mike Leach operates a crane because . . . why not? (H/t cougcenter.)

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The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You

Click to embiggen:

This is from Wired; click here for an interactive graphic.

Smart Links – Strategery Round-Up – 2/27/2012

Strong Scrape Fire Zone and Fire Zone Adjustments:

scrape

I have borrowed a lot from Manny Diaz when it comes to Fire Zone adjustments. There are many adjustments that can be run, which include having the DT being a dropper at times, but there are two adjustments that I think are the most important. Diaz talks about how the coverage needs to be the easiest thing as far as Fire Zones go, so it is important that we not over-complicate things. If a defender blitzes the wrong gap, you may have a bad play but it won’t be a disaster. Now, if there is a mistake in coverage, that’s a disaster.

Bill Belichick’s blitz package versus empty:

The Ravens have five potential pass blockers. It doesn’t take great mathematical abilities to realize that if the defense brings 6 rushers there will be a defensive player unblocked. New England gets a free rusher while only rushing 5 by having the Mike and SS execute a read out blitz based on the slide of the protection.

blitz

The SS is reading the block of the Left Guard. If the LG blocks the DT the SS blitzes and is unblocked. That is both what is diagrammed here and what happened in the video clip. The Mike is reading the guard to his side as well. If the guard is stepping toward him he will drop out, looking to cover the hot route from the opposite side. The Mike knows where the hot route is coming from because the protection and hot routes are linked. The offense can pick up 3 rushers to the defensive right of the center with 3 blockers. . . .

The offense is more likely to slide to the Mike linebacker than toward a SS. Bill Belichick is manipulating the pass protection by exploiting the offense’s expectation of the SS’s role on defense. A SS should be covering a receiver or a zone not walked up into the B gap to blitz. Where else can you find this pressure concept? In the Alabama playbook of former Bill Belichick assistant Nick Saban.

In defense of success rates:

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Is it worth it to actually go to games anymore? Yes, but not too many

Another broad problem: the younger the sports fan, the less they enjoy being in an arena where their smartphones can’t get a signal. “People don’t like to be out of touch,” said Doug Perlman, founder and CEO of consulting firm Sports Media Advisors and a Duke graduate. “They want to be sharing the experience with their friends.”

That is from this piece in the WSJ, about declining attendance at ACC basketball games. (H/T Senator and Elkon.) That’s a rather ridiculous reason not to go to a game. But I do generally agree with this statement:

Chris Bevilacqua, the founder of a media-consulting group and architect of the Pac-12’s nearly $3 billion TV-rights deal, pointed to another general culprit: the affordability of clearer, larger televisions. The at-home TV experience, he said, is better than ever.

The sports-at-home experience has gotten better and better while the stadium and arena experience — despite the incredible infusion of taxpayer money — has only improved at the margins, if at all. I can honestly say that I do not enjoy going to a lot of games every year in any sport, including football, and for me there is a high degree of diminishing returns: I make it to a few games a year, but after those few the idea of going to more — and to think of the transportation, parking, weather, etc — gives me a particular kind of nausea.

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