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

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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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Urban Meyer’s 2012 Ohio High Schools Coaches Clinic Lecture

Excellent stuff from Urban Meyer at this year’s OHSFCA clinic for Ohio high school coaches:

It will be very interesting to see how Meyer, who has had some success in the past of his own (to say the least), continues to evolve and change now that he’s at Ohio State.

Smart Links – Eli Manning, Success Rate, Back-Up Quarterbacks, Receiver Routes – 2/13/2012

Kendall Wright and not drifting away from the ball out of a cut. Matt does a good job of discussing the difference between drifting away from the ball after a receiver makes a cut while still having different “types” cuts, like “flat” breaks and “speed cuts.” A lot of scouts have an instinctive reaction to speed cuts, claiming the receiver “rounds off his route,” but that’s actually what you teach on certain timing patterns; you don’t want the receiver to lose speed out of his break which he will on any true “flat” break.

Peter King on the growth of Eli Manning. Also, it’s worth revisiting Michael Lewis’s piece on the “Eli Experiment” from a few years back.

Indy Football Clinic Spread Offense Notes.

“Bench Wren,” a great boundary defensive pressure concept.

The best negative book reviews of the year.

NFL quarterbacks and their backups.

The return of Van Halen.

Why Success Rate is not as important in football as it is in baseball. Note that one of the few useful applications of Success Rate is with respect to individual runningbacks, which was discussed here.

The physics behind music. Interesting piece.

The universe from nothing.

Obituary of Lucian Freud.

Inside Instagram. I’m not convinced that the goal of all of these start-ups should be to “get big fast” via venture funding, but different contexts require different approaches.

Best of Billick 101: Chalk talks with NFL coaches

Good stuff:

<a href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ca002bd1-848c-4f15-9626-c8d9a3108a3e&#038;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Coach Speak: Best of Billick 101' >Video: Coach Speak: Best of Billick 101</a>

After the jump are some full segments (note that it will load a bit slowly):

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Smart Links – Sabanization, Ball Security, iPads – 1/30/2012

This edition of Smart Links brought to you by Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand and his awesome vertical leap:

Blutarsky and Michael Elkon on the “Sabanization” of the SEC.

Gary Crowton to become the offensive coordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

I’m still now sure how I feel about this.

The real secret to Nick Saban’s success.

Drug testing for legislators. Hard to see why this shouldn’t be law.

The world of Roger Scruton.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis’s secret to not fumbling. Try here for a little more substance on the topic of ball security.

– A good way to waste time: Look up how much your favorite college professors and administrative officials make.

Good analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices by police.

LeBron’s “improved” post game.

Football’s (the other “football”) best managers.

Weaning off of “alternative” investments. Like so many things, what was once hot quickly cools.

Human costs built into the iPad.

Former Texas A&M Coach Mike Sherman’s letter to Texas High School coaches

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope they do; that’s certainly the case for any coach that gets fired. But sometimes there can be victory in defeat. In that vein, I enjoyed coach Sherman’s letter, which is reprinted below.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for allowing my staff and me to come into your high schools, recruit your players and share ideas with you. I am forever grateful for the access and opportunity you’ve offered me over the last four years.

Other than going to practice every day and being on the field with my players, the one thing I am going to miss the most is visiting with high school coaches, listening to you talk about your kids and your programs, and watching practices and off-season workouts. Since this will be my last letter to high school coaches, besides thanking you for the opportunities to visit with you, I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned over the years that might be of help to you down the road. Sometimes I think as football coaches we are so competitive we are reluctant to share ideas. This profession has been good to me. I believe giving back when you can is important. These are my ideas – not suggesting they are for you. They are some of the things I came away with.

I. Core Values

If a player learns anything from me, he’ll learn that you have specific core values to live his life. These ‘core values’ are his guiding light in the decisions he makes not just as a football player, but as a man.

Our ‘core values’ for our team were simple.

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The most popular Smart Football articles of 2011

The coming of each new year gives us a chance to look back, and 2011 was a productive year here at Smart Football. In addition to my pieces over at Grantland, I had a number of fresh pieces here on the site. Below are links to some of the most popular pieces of 2011, in no particular order.

Dick LeBeau, Dom Capers, and the evolution of defense.

Why every team should install its offense in three days (and other political theories on coaching offense).

What is the inverted veer/Dash read?

Buddy Ryan’s “Polish Goalline” Tactic.

Bobby Petrino’s shallow cross concept.

Snag, stick and the importance of triangles (yes, triangles) in the passing game

The “Diamond” formation and other mult-back pistol sets.

Teaching a quarterback where to throw the ball – Grass, leverage, and specific defenders

Combining quick passes, run plays and screens in the same play.

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Smart Football’s NFL Playoffs Wildcard Review

Wildcard weekend features several important matchups, though some wide disparity in teams: In the same weekend that the 13-3 and record setting Saints must play, so too much the 9-7 Bengals, 9-7 Giants and even the 8-8 Denver Broncos. At different times I’ve written about most of these teams; the weekend provides a good chance to review some of the concepts that these teams hope to ride to victory.

Keys to success

Cincinnati Bengals at the Houston Texans. My pick is Houston by seven or so. Make sure to read my recent exploration of their outside “wide” zone, which they learned from the master himself: Alex Gibbs.

Detroit Lions at the New Orleans Saints. This is far and away the best game of the weekend, and, though I have to go with the Saints, I think it’s a tough one to call. The Saints are particularly devastating at home, so I’ll pick them by three, but I would not at all be shocked to see Detroit pull off the victory.

In a year of dynamic offenses, New Orleans may well have the best one in all of football. A key part of that success is all-purpose “space player” Darren Sproles, who frequently serves as the fulcrum player in the Saints’ multifarious attack by lining up all-around the field and being both a rushing and receiving threat. I wrote all about those varied skills earlier this season here, for Grantland. Of course, Drew Brees is pretty good too; I’ve previously written about his favorite play, four verticals (isn’t it everyone’s favorite play?), for the NY Times.

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