New Grantland: Evaluating QBs: Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel…and You

It’s now up over at Grantland:

That, however, is precisely what makes this draft so fascinating: Bortles, Bridgewater, and Manziel are all first-round talents with fifth-round flaws, and which of them a given personnel man or fan likes best says as much about that person as it does about that quarterback. They’re different players, but they’re united by the uncertainty that surrounds them. Each QB is a Rorschach test for the evaluator, which makes examining these three prospects in turn a way to study the larger, gut-wrenching process of evaluating and drafting players who can make or break careers.

Read the whole thing.

Smart Links – Spurrier’s Mills, Oklahoma State’s Diamond, Tony Dungy, Seamus Heaney – 9/4/2013

Coach Hoover on Steve Spurrier’s 1995-1997 era Florida passing game. Coach Hoover shows one of my favorites from Spurrier, “Mills,” which his South Carolina team scored with for the first touchdown of the 2013 college football season. Compare this:

With this:

– I did a really fun podcast (which you can listen to here) with Sigmund Bloom and Matt Waldman from Football Guys.

Interesting look at how Mississippi State prepped for Oklahoma State and then tried to switch gears when the Cowboys went to a new look they hadn’t anticipated.

Will Veatch has some very interesting stuff on the Chicago Bears’ spread offense — from 1950. Well worth a read.

– Brophy with defensive back fundamentals from Tony Dungy and 3-4 reduction defense concepts from Marvin Lewis.

Make sure to get get your orders into the Smart Football store before the season gets too far in.

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Stanford HC David Shaw: Can Football Change the World?

Very interesting TEDx talk by Stanford head coach David Shaw:

Chip Kelly on Designing an Offense

When I was hiring staff, I wanted to hire a lot of smart people. Then let’s sit together as a group and say, ‘Alright, what did you do in the quick game? How do we want to do it in the quick game? This is what we did here. How did you call it in Cleveland, (offensive coordinator) Pat (Shurmur and defensive coordinator) Bill (Davis)?’ (Wide receivers coach) Bobby (Bicknell), came from the Buffalo Bills: ‘How did you do it?’ How did (offensive line coach) Jeff Stoutland do it in Alabama? And then we came up with what is the best way for the 2013 Eagles to run it. And we did it in every phase: the screen game, the quick game, the drop back game, the run game, all those things. What’s our two minute offense going to look like? It’s a collaboration from everybody we put together on our staff. And everybody has a say, and we’ll all talk it through, and then we’ll, as a group, decide on what is the best thing moving forward.

That’s from Chip Kelly’s most recent interview post practice. Most so-called innovations are the result of a bunch of guys sitting in a room trying to figure out if what they are doing makes sense. Do it enough — and thoughtfully enough — and focus on what your players can do and how it all fits together, and the wrinkles and interesting stuff will take care of themselves.

New! Shop in the Smart Football Store

Smart Football now has its own online store, just in time for the holidays, featuring shirts, accessories, and more. It’s just getting started, but be sure to check it out and get some goodies for your friends, families, and — in the case of my coaching readers — staff. Check out the store here.

Be sure to keep checking the store as I hope to add new merchandise over the coming days and weeks. And don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you have any good ideas for products or items you’d like to see.

Smart Links – Georgia’s Pass Protection, Super Quarterbacks, Macho Camacho, Under Defense – 12/5/2012

Why did Georgia lose to Alabama? What if I (or, more precisely, Coach Hoover) told you it was poor runningback pass protection fundamentals.

Johnny Football and the era of Super Quarterbacks, with some quotes from your humble editor.

Under defense from Pete Jenkins.

– Brady Hoke has sought to bring “Manball” (not his phrase) to Michigan. This is not Manball.

Taxpayer spending on stadiums.

Mustache transplants. Don’t tell Purdue.

Macho Camacho’s wake sounded… interesting: “‘I am the actual girlfriend of Macho, and those who don’t like it better not bring it,’ Cynthia Castillo, who claimed to be Camacho’s girlfriend at the time of his death, told ESPN Deportes.”

Trampoline to work.

Good photos of 2012.

Stanford Coach David Shaw on Oregon’s Offense

My affinities are well known, but I think all offenses should strive for this description:

“The thing is, it’s not complicated,” [Stanford head coach David] Shaw said of the Ducks’ offensive scheme. “It’s just complicated during the game. The adjustments they make are so subtle that you don’t realize it until they’ve scored three touchdowns on you. You change to try to cover what they’re doing, and they make another change.

“They spend a lot of time looking at you. They run simple plays and however you’re stopping their simple plays, Chip takes advantage of what you’re doing, which is the brilliance of the simplicity.”

Smart Links – Busted Midlines, Game Planning, 4-2-5 tips, High Freeze, Keats – 9/27/2012

Amazing, from LSUFreek:

freek

mgoblog on Michigan’s busted midline read and play-action against Notre Dame. In the first play I like outside zone and in the second the runningback needs to get away from his fake and step into that linebacker.

Game plan nuggets.

22 keys to your 4-2-5 defense.

Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze hopes his scheme will hold up versus Alabama.

Ben Muth on the Chiefs outside zone.

Biography of John Keats.

Fewer long-winded speakers at this year’s UN Assembly.

Make sure to Like Smart Football on Facebook.

For the Win: Hook-and-Lateral… and Lateral

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater had won 46 straight games and three straight Division III championships. Last weekend, however, Buffalo State pulled out a hook-and-double lateral on 4th and 19 to help them topple UW-Whitewater for a 7-6 upset. Via CoachingSearch:

“That’s a play we practice every week, because it’s our last play type of play,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “The kids executed it to perfection. It was a huge time, but something like that just doesn’t happen. You’ve got to practice those things. Through that, you give yourself a chance.”

Boyes called it the biggest win in the history of the program. Asked about his expectations coming into the game, Boyes wanted a measuring stick for his team. Surely, they passed the test.

“If you want to be the best, then you’ve got to play the best,” he said. “The opportunity came and we jumped at it. Win or lose, you’ve got to find out where you’re at. What better yardstick than going to play the No. 1 team in the land? Never afraid of a challenge.”

Keep the seat warm for me

Although something very important is happening soon — the start of football season — something even more important is happening for me: I’m getting married. Aside from my general good fortune, this also means that I’ll be out of the country on my honeymoon for the next few weeks, until the second half of September. So if you’re wondering why I’m not updating or writing for Grantland despite the start of football season, this is why. Both of those things will resume once I get back.

So keep the seat warm for me. In the meantime, the best way to get your Smart Football fix is through the book, The Essential Smart Football, available in paperback from Amazon and B&N and on Kindle, each at this link. If you have an iPad, iPhone or Android device, the Kindle application is free. It won’t be available for Nook until sometime after I return.

Lastly, I ask a favor of you, my readers: If during the first few weeks of the season you see anything that might be of interest — some strategy trend, scheme, tactic, communication method or anything at all — please mention it in the comments to this post. It’ll be the first thing I check when I return, as I try to figure out how things have evolved from last season and where they might go.

Thanks to you all, and see you soon.