Smart Notes 8/24/2009

How does fatigue affect memory? Based on tests of people who have just completed marathons:

The end result? The group that had just finished the marathon showed a significant decline in explicit memory. They were less able to consciously recall a series of words that they had been shown only a few minutes earlier. However, after running 26.2 miles the marathoners actually showed a large improvement in implicit memory. In other words, the extreme stress and utter physical exhaustion sharpened their ability to act on information stored in their unconscious.

Bonus: The Netflix prize and the brain.

- Ron Zook is not happy with Urban Meyer, even if Urban Meyer is (was?) not happy with the program Zook left him. For those who haven’t followed the surprisingly uncounseled repartee, Meyer complained about the state of the locker room (literally and figuratively) when he got to Gainesville:

“When we first got here five years ago, they had freshmen in a separate locker room and it was a bunch of tin lockers over there and they weren’t allowed to walk [into the regular locker room]. Think about this for a minute: this is a big-time college football program and we had some fights because they treat their freshman like they were non-people,” Meyer said.

” ‘Don’t walk through here, we’ll kick your tail, we’ll shave your eyebrows.’ It took us awhile to break that great culture we had here. That was tremendous. You don’t win many games, but you beat up freshmen and shave eyebrows. Absolutely unbelievable.”

Unsurprisingly, Zook, who preceded Meyer at Florida, took offense:

Illinois’ Ron Zook initially brushed off comments made by Florida’s Urban Meyer that suggested Gator freshmen under Zook were treated as “non-people.” That changed Saturday.

Zook, after having a night to sleep on Meyer’s comments, issued a terse statement:

“I was surprised to see that, once again, five years later, we’re blamed for something else at Florida,” Zook said. “But by now I guess I shouldn’t be. This one was most disappointing because it implies we didn’t look out for our players. From someone who wasn’t there at the time.

“I can assure you I’ve never, ever been accused of that. I thought I was too much of a players’ coach. The implication is incorrect — there is no place for hazing in college football and we’ve put a stop to that if we’ve ever seen it.

“I applaud Florida for fostering what they say is a wonderful family atmosphere. I would invite anyone to talk to any of our players here at Illinois and, although we don’t look for media opportunities to brag about it, it is a wonderful family atmosphere.”

Meyer has since apologized.

- Blogpollblogpollblogpollblogpoll. Dawgsports and mgoblog finalize their ballots. Both validate my (criticized) choice to leave Florida State off. Dawgsports leaves Miami (FLA) off, but mgoblog ranks them 15th. I like that team, and I think in a year they will seriously compete. Their schedule, however, is brutal, and they could begin 0-4 very easily.

- Rethinking Michawl Lewis’s Moneyball?

- Three quarterbacks, no quarterbacks, etcetera. As Doc Saturday points out, the bit about Michigan starting three quarterbacks is misleading and based off an offhand comment at the end of a story about quarterback Denard Robinson’s refusal to tie his shoes. (I feel obligated to point out that the great John Wooden, of UCLA basketball fame, used to spend much of the first practice going over the proper way to tie your shoes — he felt it was quite fundamental and important, and often overlooked. It also stressed the attention to detail necessary to win. Michigan’s coaches do not share that view. That is not a cheap shot, just a difference in preference.) Anyway, I don’t think anyone will know until we know. Sounds like Robinson is making plays in practice and thus pressuring Forcier, who has nonetheless acquitted himself well. And if downtrodden Nick Sheridan has improved, then, well all the better in a game where injuries are inevitable. I do not, however, anticipate a debacle like Notre Dame in 2007, when Charlie Weis named a quarterback as starter who played all of one series before transferring schools. Even if your selection is not appealing, you have to find a guy to develop, at least.

  • Manny

    The ND guy played most of the game not one series. In fact he made appearances in 3 games then split. However all three QBs also made appearances in those 3 games.

  • OldSouth

    There’s an enormous literature on the acute effects of exercise on intelligence and reasoning ability. Synopsis: reasoning ability drops significantly during cardiovascular exercise, and is dependent on the difficulty of the exercise. I think that is germane to all of the posts on here about decisionmaking.

    Even if we accept the proposal you made some time back about football requiring a qualitatively different intelligence (cited below), I think there’s a case to be made for football players to take their wonderlics on a treadmill or something.

    http://smartfootball.blogspot.com/2009/07/football-decisionmaking-and-brain.html

  • Flann

    Demetrius Jones did only play the opener and only a few series in that game. He fumbled several times and generally played like a deer in the headlights. He was supposed to play significantly in the third game against Michigan but failed to show up for the bus to the game. He is now a starting linebacker for Cincinnati.