Everyone knows that the SEC is the best conference in the world because
they are the fastest -- I know I've caught myself watching a college
football game or two in my day and thinking that I had somehow thrown
my Tivo into 32X fast forward only to realize I was just watching
Florida play LSU. But the question remains, "Why is the SEC so fast?"
Is it genetic?
Nah, couldn't be -- athletes in D1 programs are generally of pretty diverse backgrounds.
I suppose climate could contribute to overall endurance and conditioning, but top-end speed? That just doesn't make sense.
Divine right of passage?
Well, I don't doubt this, but I think the more plausible answer just may lie in this Tennessee blog:
Ohio State Gets Juiced, by SEC Speed in the Big Ten
Posted by Thomas the Terrible on November 11, 2007
SEC speed wins again.
Jim Tressel must come back to reality now. After being nut-punched by
Florida in the 2006 championship game, Ron Zook brought his Illinois
team, or as I like to call them, the mini Gators, to the Horseshoe to
show Jim Tressel that the speed of the SEC even rules in Big Eleven Ten
Juice Williams made some big plays on the ground and through the air,
guiding Illinois to a stunning 28-21 using SEC speed and mucking up the
national title race yet again this season.
I didn't understand at first, since Illinois is another Big Ten team,
and then it hit me -- the mere concept of speed is actually owned and
licensed by the SEC! In order to beat OSU, Illinois merely had to find
a way to harness SEC speed! Zook, being the Prometheus-like SEC
expatriate he is, brought speed from the Gods to his people.
Now if only the rest of the conference could just figure out how to do this -- I'm think there's a lease of some sort involved.
So it seems the QB & OL will be the biggest weakness of the team this year. In addition, it seems that Usain Bolt is fast (topical!) and Charlie Weis is a super genius. Ok, I’ll stop there. Anyway, lack of depth, talent, experience and fit to the system are all contributing to the low expectations of these position groups this year. Now, I’d love to talk about the OL. It’s the biggest part of the offense and thus probably more crucial to the success of the team than even the QB. However, I’m going to ignore the OL basically for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t enjoy feeling like this little guy, and 2) I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to mitigate the situation. But what about the QB issue? When you have minimal talent and experience at the QB position, can one reduce the impact of the QB on an offense?
I want to find out and hopefully there will be some insightful comments* that can add to the discussion. I don’t have a ton of time to research the topic, so my research outline consisted of:
IF (Google == helpful) THEN
“The Bucs like to minimize the position to the point that their quarterback has no more impact than a receiver does for most teams. On most plays, he's a bystander.”
This may be overstating the situation a bit, but I can not image RR saying to the staff at a meeting, “Goll-ly fellers, I know we have some perrrty speedy RBs and some dang good WRs, but we autta have Nick Sheridan be the playmaker fur dis here team.” It’s logical to assume that the staff would want to mitigate what seems to be the weakest part of the team, isn’t it? So what did the ’99 Bucs do?
Short passes to the RBs:
“A dozen of his passes were thrown at running backs.”
Run a heck of a lot more than they pass:
“On first down, the Bucs have rum 61 percent of the lime [sic].”
Not a lot of down field passing:
“A whopping 66 percent of their pass attempts this season have been for 10 yards or fewer, and only 12 percent have been for more than 20 yards.”
This seems to reinforce the idea that the offense will not be what we have become accustomed to under LC. Decisions will be easy ones for the QB. Passes will be short and designed to allow the RBs and WRs to make plays. First and second downs will be run heavy to make sure the QB isn’t pit into 3rd & ten situations.
Now, some of this may sound similar to what Michigan did with young QBs and that’s because it is. But recall, the offense and young QBs LC had are not the same RR has. I don’t expect short crossing patters that take 8 seconds to develop, nor do I expect 5 yard out patters that require a howitzer to complete. More bubble screens that are easy for the QB to read. Of course, the spread-option is an easy read. The bottom line? Expect a ton of carries for the RBs and the fewest passing attempts by a Michigan QB since Elvis Grbac gave us The Catch.
*insightful comments are defined as the opposite of this: "The O-line is no reason to freak out. They will gel."
Was watching the Bowling for Brock video on mgoblue.com and found this little gem when Warren was being interviewed:
"It's a good opportunity for us to bond together as a team, and also to give back, ya know. We're just real fortunate to be alive today, ya know, some people are less fortunate."
Pretty sure he intended to mean that it was great that the football team could help out the less fortunate, but you gotta love when you get a teenager in front of a camera and ask em questions.
I know some people have talked about gettin a quote page up and running and I for one want to throw my hat into that, because there's just too many gems out there and I can't remember them all.
I have to say though, it was great to see the football team helping out the Mealer family and it was also great to see how they have been able to handle themselves through this tragedy and through all the adversity. For me, this is just one more reason to love Michigan Football.
And I do love it, some might say a little too much, but they're all just dirty, dirty liars. That is all.
Have you ever heard of Donnie Warner? I hadn't until reading Bo's last book "Bo's Lasting Lessons" (http://www.amazon.com/Bos-Lasting-Lessons-Fundamentals-Leadership/dp/044...). Which, by the by, is a great book and I highly recommend it to any Michigan fan. Basically it's all about Bo's philosophy on leadership, with many great stories to boot.
The story that has most intrigued me is that of little Donnie Warner. He came to Bo in the summer before his freshmen year at Michigan, weighing slightly more than our own Roy Roundtree, at a tiny 170 lbs. Now, sure you can play at that weight at one of the skill positions, you certainly could back in the '70's, but this kid wanted to be an Offensive Guard! Bo was blown away, seeing as how both of his Guards at the time went 250 and 255. So then the kid says, fine, I'll try out as a "Middle Guard" which I've never heard of but I guess means Defensive Tackle.
Bo gave him a shot. Much to Bo's surprise, Donnie survived his first year. And the next year, and the next. Coming to the beginning of his Senior Year Donnie was #1 on the depth chart! Bo couldn't believe it. He begged his assistants to find someone, anyone who was bigger and faster than Donnie. But Donnie proved his worth and kept that starting job!
This was 1973, one of Bo's best teams. Their defense was dominant, and with little Donnie on the line! Michigan went through its first 10 games undefeated, largely because of that outstanding defense only giving up 58 points, just under 6 a game. They headed for a crash course with Woody's #1 ranked Bucknuts. Michigan sat at #4. Think 2006, except way more option plays, and instead of planet sized Alan Branch anchoring the middle of the Defensive Line you have little Donnie Warner.
Before that OSU game in 1973, Donnie told Bo that OSU's center (All-American Steve Myers) was not going to be able to block him, and he was right! Woody was forced to double team Donnie, allowing Michigan's linebackers to tee off on Archie Griffin. OSU was shut out in the second half, but unfortunately Michigan couldn't break a 10-10 tie. You know the rest, the athletic directors in the Big Ten voted those hated Bucknuts to the Rose Bowl. Bo was pissed, as he was wont to be.
So how did Donnie become so great? Here's Bo:
"He'd watch the offensive huddle, notice who the quarterback was talking to, and try to listen in on the plays. Then he would get down in his crouch, and start looking around to see which way their backs were leaning, even if it was just a little bit left or right, the same way a pitcher tries to figure out if the runner on first is going to try to steal second by watching his feet. Finally, you'd see him read their splits-the gaps between the offensive guards-and watch how their center lined up over the ball. And solely on that basis, he'd know what they were going to do before they did it!"
That's quite a feat. A walk on rises to the starting spot, despite his lack of physical skills and goes on to be part of a dominant defense. Just the kind of thing Bo would have loved.
I'm a little bummed that I haven't heard of Donnie until this book. With so much media hype surrounding Rudy, why can't little Donnie get some love? I mean, it's pretty obvious to me that his story is much more inspiring than stupid Rudy and his one play. Whoopdee freakin doo. Let's give it up for Donnie!
Update! Ahhhh Google......you are the best. Just a little Googlestalking turned up an article in the Detroit News that had a picture of Donnie in his playing days. I guess he wore #54. Wow, the Detroit News sure got to this faster than I did! It's from November of last year, and wonder of wonder's, they pulled it from Bo's book: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071115/SPORTS0201/71...
I posted this over on my blog Ann Arbor Machinations but I don't think anyone actually reads it so I figured I'd put it up here too.
Coach Rodriguez certainly has brought an openness that certainly did not exist in the Wolverine football program under Coach Carr. There has been media access to practices. We held a televised practice on BTN. The problem with all of this access is that it only has brought us more questions and concerns. The Wolverine fan community (at least the blaggers and readers of blags) have never been so uneasy and divided over a season. We have no real clue as to who are starting quarterback will be against Utah, let alone what our offense is going to look like. I’m scared as hell, yet… DAMN I’M PUMPED. We’re down to 8 days left. Mysteries will be solved.
Or so we think.
The glasnost of Comrade Rodriguez’s regime may not be all it seems. I don’t think we will truly see what we are in for this year until conference ball starts. I wish I knew what we were going to be running this fall. I wish I knew who the quarterback was. It is kind of like a kid at Christmas, wishing he could open his gifts early.
Woah! Just what I always wanted!
Threet is starting quarterback and should have been given a fifth star as a recruit!
Then comes the time when the toy breaks and it’s not really what you expected anyway.
That is ok though, that’s what birthdays are for.
I would rather not know what I’m getting for Christmas. The excitement is worth the wait.
Bumped from the diaries; I'm a sucker for footnotes.
In my opinion, from reading the few articles I could find on stadium noise, the lack of noise in Michigan Stadium is because of the fans.
First of all, from scanning the internet, many articles claim noise levels, but do not describe how they were measured. The best I could find on other stadiums was quotes of "the ESPN Crew measured noise levels of XdB. But at least for the Big House, the Michigan Engineering department stepped in for something scientific.
First the bottom line is that the noise measured 100 dB. Which changes to the stadium they estimate an improvement to 110 dB. Unfortunately this is still far behind the Oregon claim of 127.2 dB. Now to the best of my memory, 3dB is a doubling of noise level. so with Autzen (Ducks) Stadium at 27dB higher, that's 9 Doublings of noise level!! Or 2 to the 9th power for the computer engineers. Looking at the pictures of Autzen stadium I can't see how the shape can possibly be responsible for all that, although admittedly I'm not a sound engineer, and don't have any experience making these measurements in different shaped enclosures.
But check out the images at that page yourself. Here's the quote from the section on crowd noise. Notice that when anyone wants a measuring stick to prove how "awesome" they are, it is frequently Michigan that serves as that stick.
"Autzen is known for its crowd noise. On October 27, 2007, during a 24-17 defeat of the USC Trojans, a record crowd of 59,277 fans was recorded at 127.2 decibels. A similarly-loud 31-27 upset of third-ranked Michigan in 2003 prompted a Michigan Daily columnist to write
|“||Autzen's 59,000 strong make the Big House sound like a pathetic whimper. It's louder than ... The Swamp at Florida, The Shoe in Columbus, and Death Valley at Louisiana State. Autzen Stadium is where great teams go to die.||”|
Autzen Stadium seats just under 60,000 fans.
And here's the quote from the Daily article when the Professor measured the Big House.
"Crowd participation was almost entirely located in the student section. If all 109,840 individuals had yelled at the same intensity, Navvab said the measurement would have increased to 102 or 103 decibels - a significant sound increase."
In conclusion, I think the Big House will definitely look more impressive when the construction is completed, but I don't think it's going to come close to sounding imtimidating.
So finally here is a link to Top 15 Stadiums that provides good pictures of the "conventional wisdom" on most intimidating stadium.