this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
So much for staying at Oregon
Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
Chris Brown (@smartfootball) has an excellent read up on Grantland about Chip Kelley's philosopy regarding offense. 2 things that really stuck out to me (besides the great scheme and play breakdowns) is that Kelly was actually an O-Line coach to get his start, and he really only had 4 blocking schemes for his OL in 2008. Thing 2 was that his absolute goal is to run the ball up the middle on you. Give it a read.
While the coach-player interaction may be limited during Kelly's practices, it's significant before and after them, mostly in the teaching of scheme. At its most fundamental, Kelly's system is a carefully organized, carefully practiced method for forcing defenses to defend the whole field, and then exploiting those areas left exposed. And the first tool Kelly uses is a surprising one: math.
"If there are two high safeties [i.e., players responsible for deep pass defense], mathematically there can only be five defenders in the box. With one high safety, there can be six in the box. If there is no high safety, there can be seven in the box," Kelly explained at the 2011 spring Nike Coach of the Year Clinic. The easiest case is if the defense plays with two deep defenders: "With two high safeties, we should run the ball most of the time. We have five blockers and they have five defenders."
Courtesy of Chris Brown
As Vanderbilt's excellent offensive line coach, Herb Hand, recently told me, "I tell my offensive line that if the defense plays two safeties deep, it's like spitting in your face — it's a lack of respect for your run game." Oregon's run game doesn't suffer from any lack of respect; as a result, they rarely face two-deep defenses except on obvious passing downs.
When a team brings that extra defender into the box, the calculus for the offense changes. "If the defense has one high safety and six defenders in the box, the quarterback has to be involved in the play," Kelly explained. "He has to read one of the defenders, in effect blocking him. We can block five defenders and read the sixth one." Marcus Mariota, Oregon's dynamic freshman quarterback, has been an excellent blocker without hitting anyone at all.
(Note: I struggled with whether or not to title this OT in the subject line. However, it is about Michigan, and Ohio, so I didn't go "OT," even though it is yet another RR rehash.)
Over at Eleven Warriors, their current headline article is (link:) The Spread in the Big Ten: Why Did Rich Rod Fail at Michigan? This is a followup to an earlier 11W column on Meyer's Spread Failures. I am posting this NOT so there can be another discussion / flamewar about RR & "what went wrong" with lots of hand wringing and readers lining up for or against RR & the Spread. As mentioned here many times, "No Moar RR!!" Rather, I find it interesting that Ohio is looking at this, and wondering what Meyer will bring with the spread. They clearly are curious, and trying to ascertain what to expect in Ohio's future.
FTR, the writer (Fulton) suggests that RR's failure was due to not adapting the spread beyond it's origins. I disagree, and so do many of the 11W readers. RR's offense was doing well by 2010, and would likely have improved in 2011. The major problems, as every mgoblog reader already knows, were:
- The defense (Schafer, Gerg, RR meddling, lack of bringing Casteel with him from WVa.)
- The special teams.
- Lack of institutional support. (Carr et al, not paying enough to bring in Casteel.)
- RR's failure to fully understand and embrace Michigan culture (including Ohio rivalry.)
- RR's failure at diplomacy (Josh Groban, anyone?)
They also give Hoke and Borges credit for a number of things, including "getting" Michigan, and adapting to current personnel.
During the 2008 season, when things were horrible like WHOA on offense, some people asserted that Rodriguez should be running a Carr-style under-center set until he recruited the players he needed to run his Spread & Shred. This was shot down because, as it was put over and over, "He'd have no idea how to run it", and it would make it difficult to recruit for the offense he wanted, "We'll be running the offense you like... in two years." People accepted this and were unhappy whenever the O faltered, which was often, but accepted it as necessary to bring the team into the future. It's not really the offensive stumbles which got everyone upset anyway. It was the worsening defense and uncompetitive losses. When we won, it was good, but when we lost, we REALLY lost.
When Borges was hired, people had hope because he had run spread style offenses before. He might be able to make what he's got work better than Rodriguez did. And you know what, he is. Talent deficit or no, Borges isn't trying to make Stephen Threet run. But it doesn't always work. Sometimes, in spending a while trying to integrate what he wants to do, Borges gets away from doing what the offense is best at. People get upset. "Run out of the shotgun full time! More Zone Read! MOAR BUBBLE SCREENS!"
My question is, is it merely the fact that Borges has done these things before that's earned him less understanding for WHY he is not doing these things? Has his more varied experience shortened his rope? I think it has, and I don't think that's fair.
Borges has a plan for the Michigan offense. A place he wants to get it to. Just because he has experience with the Spread doesn't mean he should be expected to run it while Denard is here. It would make recruiting worse, and it would be unfair to the fans and the players when we suddenly had to go through an offensive transition in year three rather than year one. Give Borges the same rope as you gave Rodriguez on offense in the first couple of years. When he runs plays that don't really seem to fit the offense, don't say "Why not the other play?" Not the other play because that's not where he's taking Michigan, and it would hurt us later if he did.
He has an obligation to install the BEST package for him andthe players he will recruit right away, rather tahn preserve a momentary flash in the pan. At least our losses have been competetive.
Article on the speed/pace/tempo of the Oregon offense. It's what I was hoping for when RR got here... hope we can get there if he stays.