1. Seth is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
2. We all know what Brian looks like . . . so we can hate on him when we see him!
Love this place . . .
This is how Brady Hoke sees an 'M'. [Upchurch]
Recruits: if you are reading this, do not believe the man in the red/crimson track suit telling you that criticism of Brady Hoke or his staff means Michigan is going to lose him anytime soon. Those are very bad men who are likely to have you downsized to Southern Alabama or regularly featured in photographs and articles that highlight how bad you are at tackling. You also should pay no attention to bloggers who suggest you should ride pine until 2016 and that your future coach needs to win X amount of games until then to even be his coach. Also I shouldn't be talking to you.
Fifth-year seniors >>>>>>> freshmen on special teams. That's why I strongly disagree with the conclusions of AC1997's assessment of this year's redshirting, while appreciating the hell out of the diary (quick read, too). The only one he's mad about is Da'Mario Jones, while Bosch and York are "questionable." I know we did this recently in a roundtable but my take is different:
|Me in 2017 is (probably) very upset about this. [Fuller]|
At the risk of sounding like every NFL columnist who thinks every franchise needs to adopt the strategy of whichever team just won the Superbowl, the reason Michigan State and Wisconsin have been to Indianapolis twice apiece, despite recruiting classes that top out like our (mediocre-for-Michigan) 2011 haul, is because they redshirt almost everybody and keep them around.
It's a luxury of stable programs, and Michigan is still paying for not being one of those for the latter half of the 2000s. Denard would have been nice to have this year, obviously. How badly did you wish for Vincent Smith when the RBs were getting Gardner killed? How's Michigan's pass rush if you add fifth years from Roh and Campbell to it? Brandin Hawthorne could have let you put a shirt on Gedeon. Developed talent is good. Fifth year seniors are good. Leastways they're better than a marginal improvement in kickoff coverage for a team that rarely scores touchdowns.
*[Nobody is Woodson reincarnate. The thing about the greatest players in the history of the game is they don't grow on trees.]
** [I mean who wants 1998 Todd Howard starting? He's a true freshman. He's short. He doesn't know how to press yet. He's…he's right behind me isn't he?
Nope, he's over there by Brian.]
That's not what I expected. Okay, reader. Zoom out, cock your head sideways, and tell me with just a glance what you think this diary was about:
Turnover analysis? A deep look inside offensive stats? An estimated timetable for improvement? Nope: try a "when do we fire this guy" post.
Deep, statistical analysis to answer rhetorical fan questions that have simple answers not requiring statistics (Michigan isn't firing Brady Hoke anytime soon): these are my readers tag activated. Really it's a case of bad title—what he's doing is comparing Hoke's coaching stops to those of the most successful coaches in recent history, concluding that Michigan needs to win 20 games in the next two seasons (and probably a national championship) to have his name placed among that pantheon. Expectations are probably around 17, with the fanbase getting mighty grumpy if that number dips below 16.
Your regular etc. LSA tackles (ha!) the defense, which straddled the B+/A- line all year until it faced Miller-Hyde without its middle linebackers.
[After the jump: a very meta board]
THE POSBANGS ARE BACK! THE NEGBOMBS ARE BACK!
Yes we managed to re-launch an older version of the pluses and minuses, right after JeepinBen got everyone to share their most unpopular opinions.
Things to pos-bang: posbanging, it's Friday the 13th, it's Friday in general, the guys who make our apps, the possibility that the Big Chill could retain the attendance record, Michigan is in a crappy place (Michigan) for recruiting but recruits because fergodsakes, this guy for offensive coordinator (if he doesn't land the NoDak job):
…and this guy:
If you've been banished or just negged to Bolivia, profitgoblue will represent you, because what we lack on this site is lawyers /s.
JibJab went pay-for so screw those guys, but there's a sponsored one that lets you do what JJ used to, which is upload peoples' faces to pre-made videos. Link is the Hoke-Borges-Mattison one. If you're looking to make an MGoStaff version, you should know two things: 1.) Brian HATES these things, and 2.) We're all here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgoblog/9698841593/sizes/o/in/set-72157635430125799/.
Your Moment of Zen
On second thought let's not go to Pasadena. It is a silly place.
1. Seth is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
2. We all know what Brian looks like . . . so we can hate on him when we see him!
Love this place . . .
I think the coaches would like to have those guys redshirted in a normal situation, but I do think there is a gap in the depth chart that forced some of those guys to play. I think in the future you'll pretty much see most of the incoming guys redshirt (you're starting to see a trend in that direction, I believe, it just requires program stability).
I'd only summarize by saying the inability to redshirt is a byproduct (along with losing) of historical substandard recruiting/retention in tandem with the goal/expectation of winning now.
From what I gather, it seems like every coach would love to slap the red shirt on every recruit that signs his letter.
Now, my experience as a coach in the EA NCAA football real-life drama is that sometimes you have to dangle that "No Red Shirt" or "Early Playing Time" card in order to stock up on the elite talent. That is until you gain that ****** prestige, then it's all gravy and highschool studs practically throwing themselves at you.
Who will NOT be Redshirting from our incoming class:
Offense: Total 1-2 burned RS
OL: All RS
RB: If we even have one, probably RS
WR: 1-2 will probably burn it
TE: Likely RS
Defense: Total 2-3 burned RS
DL: Maybe 1-2 get PT
LB: Probably all RS
Now there might be a few here and there, but that's still only 3-5 kids who are Redshirting. Smaller class, yes, but even if the class was much larger, I'd expect pretty close to the same thing
Fifth-year seniors >>>>>>> freshmen on special teams. That's why I strongly disagree with the conclusions of AC1997's assessment of this year's redshirting,
But then who do you put on special teams?
Rotation players? People weren't too happy when Countess tore his ACL playing on kick coverage last year.
Walk-ons? Can you field a quality kick/punt team with them?
It's easy to take ST for granted when things are going okay there, but we've had teams in years past (2003 comes to mind) where we paid the price for not fielding good ST units.
What do you do when you have no fifith-year seniors?
It's hard to question the wisdom of putting true freshmen on special teams this season when our coverage units were the best they've been in years. While I agree with Seth in theory, in reality, we just didn't have the bodies to do it that way.
In answer to : "But then who do you put on special teams?"
With normal depth you have plenty of sophmores and older who are not starters but are on the 2 (or 3) deep. Volia: experienced and talented special teams... hopefully coming our way by 2015.
The rule should be that if he is not a superstud and is not absolutley needed for immediate depth then redshirt. Seth's take was eloquent Fifth year senior >>>>>>>>> freshman on special teams... it's elementary.
I really like Meyer's special teams philosophy. Make it exteremly competitive, put your best athletes there even if they are starters like Countess. Great special teams plays are easier to come by than great plays on defense or offense and can swing a game just as much. If you watched OSU earlier in the year, they often met the ball carier on kick offs at about the 10 yard line because their players on special teams were so fast while Michigan met them at about the 20 on kick offs to the corner. I don't know their punt block numbers but as we saw in the B1G championship game they have two of their best defensive players on the punt return unit and they can really get after the punter against a team that has pretty solid special teams.
If you have the depth that Hoke and co want, you can sustain the injuries and put someone in for the injured play who can be nearly as good.
...for playing "lower-ranked" recruits in their freshmen year, knowing that more talented ones are coming in, so you might as well throw them in the fire and see which ones will stick around? That may sound harsh, and recruiting is far from an exact science, but is there anything to the idea that: (1) with someone like Peppers, who has a high ceiling (duh) coming in, he is going to demand playing time in 1-2 years; (2) we have lots of less-heralded DBs in the system now; (3) if we wait to play the DBs in 1-2 years, we will barely get to see what they can do and who is better; (4) so, play them now, figure out which ones are good so we know, and then it's okay when we only get four years out of a less talented player?
No disrespect to the players, of course - Mike Hart was a 3*, so obviously recruiting is a good guess at best. But, just a thought.
I think you're onto something with this. If you redshirted everyone, you'd only ever be able to have recruiting classes of 85/5 = 17. If you're recruiting at a high level, I think you'd want to be able to have consistently bigger classes than that, so you have to throw some people in. In general, I'd play the top 25% of your class because they're just that good, redshirt 25-75% and play the bottom 25% or so and see if you got lucky.
Very much no. First of all you shouldn't be recruiting any guys you don't think will be able to play. Carr did some of that, but so far Hoke hasn't--every guy except some of the Rich Rod holdovers in 2011 has a skill level that you can immediately see how it will be an advantage to this team and scheme if he develops properly. Second, if he gets on campus and you can see he clearly can't keep up, well, give him an extra year to develop and if he doesn't you have a choice whether to offer that 5th year.
Take the lowest-rated OL among the big hauls of the last two years: Dan Samuelson. Here's a guy with an awesome initial punch but who doesn't project to a game far beyond that. He committed to Nebraska before committing to Michigan, and if you head over to Lincoln for comparables you'll find they've built a lot of their line out of guys with that same skillset. You don't want Jeremiah Sirles sitting in pass pro for ages because he has shorter arms and limited lateral mobility and that's not ever going to be his game. But he's great at knocking a DE or DT off the snap, and they use him to gain edge after edge in their speed option game. In a pro-style offense this guy's upside is Riley Reiff, or Matt Lentz if you're making him a guard and using him to key the ISO offense. He's the exact opposite of Patrick Omameh.
That's an OL example so it's a bad one for redshirting discussion, but it demonstrates what you're bringing the bottom third of the class in for. Allen Gant doesn't have the speed to play safety but he's a smart guy whom you can trust will work his ass off to maximize his talent and be fine academically, so you grab him and hope as he grows he can carve out the same spot Cam Gordon had on this year's team; if you blow him on special teams last year you don't have that.
As for who to put on special teams: the two-deep and redshirt freshmen. Michigan's kick return squad was J.Jackson, Funchess, D.Hill, D.Thomas, C.Gordon, Ross, Rawls, Gedeon, Houma, Dileo, and Norfleet, with rotations in from Chesson, Bolden, D.Smith, RJS, and Furman (Drake Johnson was a ST starter until he was hurt). You'll note there's two starters in there, and three true freshmen, two of whom were on my list of "redshirt them dammit!" You'll note neither of those guys made particularly outstanding blocks; I think Hill's unnecessary light trip away from the play is what killed Norfleet's return vs. OSU. The rotational guys did better anyway. Thomas at least was the "gunner" -- the speedy guy you have jet downfield from the furthest spot from the kickoff, so he's the hardes to replace, except by the end of the season Michigan had Norfleet doing that job anyway.
I don't think any program redshirts just for the sake of redshirting.
You play 'em when they're ready. Very, very few HS graduates are ready. Burning a redshirt almost always means playing someone who isn't ready -- it shows lack of depth. The exception here is burning redshirts on special teams, and here's where I agree it's not a good idea.
Playing freshmen isn't the luxury; redshirting them is.
I was OK with the burning of all the red shirts this year. Green and Smith were OK because they have 3 more years to go and w/ the #1- #3 RB in 2015 a very solid commit experience trumps depth IMHO. The corners played well and gained experience, at least I hope they learned knocking the ball down is better than going for the pick unless you actually catch the ones that hit you in the numbers. Butt was good and Morris, well didn't really have a choice because we needed a #2. Who knew DG was built out of granite? Dymonte is the only one that frustrated me a little. The first time he was on the field he blocked a punt so all season I was waiting to see more impact that never really occurred. Our recruiting is such that I think red shirts became expendable.
Beautiful holiday pic of the staff...I am expecting a xmas card with that pic on the front of it wishing me good luck in the off-season and may NSD be fruitful for Michigan this year!
Cleary Heiko didn't really leave because he was doing doctor things. It's pretty clear that they "disposed" of him because of his lack of facial hair, which apparently is an MGoRequirement.
The requirement is a general blase attitude towards personal grooming. The beard is just the easiest way to demonstrate it.
But it also looks like Heiko grooms of some sort, and I could see that cropping up as an issue as well. I also think but can't confirm that he's wearing a hair piece for that picture, but that's beside the point I guess.
I can tell from the pixels, and from having seen a few 'shops in my time.
He was a victim of oversigning.
I've raised the point before and wish people would remember it more when lamenting the "huge gap" between Michigan and Sparty that supposedly has us headed for a dark age that will be emerged from sometime around 2032...DEPTH. No, MSU doesn't start fifth-year seniors at every last position, but I'll bet there's one on the depth chart for more positions than not in most years, and that's a huge luxury for Mark Dantonio to have. Michigan will get there, but unfortunately it kind of invariably takes four years for guys to get to their fifth year.
One of my threads made it into dear diary for the first time! Kind of upset the World Cup breakdown didn't crack it. Put a lot of effort into that one. But oh well. Can't win em all.
I thought i saw a reference to it in brian's links post, sorry.
No worrries man. I'm just being selfish at this point.
In case you missed it, Florida fired their OC and Oline coaches about a week ago and now 6 players are transferring. The gators were 11-2 last season and preseason favorites this year to contend for the SEC East. They started this season 4-1 then lost 7 straight....deja vu? It seems that firing coaches signals ship sinking desparation. Looks like we are going to live or die with the coaching package over the next 2-3 years.
Love/hate the grinning Dantonio-sparty rockettes dancer video!
At first glance one might jump to the conclusion that Muschamp being in a bit of trouble has led to an exodus, a closer inspection might suggest something else.
The reasons expressed among the 6 leaving FLA, all offensieve players, is that the offense will be changing and will not fit the player. None of these players would be considered impact players however it will affect the gators depth on the Oline. Muschamp needs to make a move however if some Oline players go down next season and the new offensive system doesnt produce immediately the gators will be in trouble. Whatever the reasons for the transfers whether initiated by players or coaches its the type of thing you see in programs that are runnin scared. Muschamp is on the hot seat and everyone knows it and this type of PR won't instill confidence in recruits. Jettisoning Borges would have the same effect for Michigan.
Yes, it would be great to have Denard, Smith, Roh, etc. but it means no scholarships for taking Dawson, Samulson, and Hill, etc.
The value of fringe 2013 recruits is hard to gauge, but take the exercise back a little further and you start seeing the costs. Lower regraded kids taken later in the process (Plan B types) might not have been in the class if it was smaller. Possible examples:
2012: Norfleet, Henry, Johnson, Houma
2011: Clark, Barnett, Poole, Taylor
2010: Black, Ryan, Vinopal
Put another way - sometimes the last guys in the class (e.g., Norfleet and Henry) end up being some of the best. Having 5th year guys can have great benefits, but there is a cost to getting fewer players cycling through your program as well.
Obviously the math is not one to one here (5 scholarship-years for one recruit = 5 5th-year senior years) but you get the point. Norfleet was clearly the last guy in for '12 and would be at Cincinnati if Michigan had just one more 5th year senior.
That's why I'm not sweating the 'burning' of York's red-shirt and the like. It means we get another guy sooner once the machine is back up and running (hopefully) smoothly in a couple years.
You make a very good point.
[so much for the stop]
...just for argument's sake since I've established a counter position, you don't go into 2013 thinking "well I'm going to have a top-5 class in 2017 so I'd better burn what shirts I can."
The situation that produced recruiting classes where Michigan already has 22 blue chip guys signed before they're even considering giving a scholarship to one of the best in-state players (Norfleet) or having one available for a gem in OSU's back yard (Henry) isn't repeatable. That was Year 2 after a coaching change, during a season that ended with a BCS win, with a roster depleted of talent because 80% of the Class of 2010 isn't here anymore. Horray for top-o'-the-country recruiting classes; let's still not do that again.
If Michigan is on the level of, say, Alabama (or, sigh, Ohio State) where they can count on having their pick of the 2017 4-stars, okay, maybe, but still, you're going to have attrition, and some guys aren't going to work out, and if you redshirt them you still have that option of not renewing a 5th year. If you're playing them to clear out roster space, why are you playing them?
So..I guess I was able to argue that one away after all.
First off, I always appreciate your consideration of nuanced arguments. That said...
If a guy helps you as a freshman, even for only a handful of plays or special teams the equation swings in their favor when you consider the costs of the 5th year alongside the benefits.
If I understand your argument here it's that we won't repeat the recruiting success, therefore the fringe guys are less likely to be successful. I don't buy that argument because a) I think Michigan CAN repeat that level of recruiting classes it's had and b) the fringe guys being 4-stars vs 3-stars doesn't dramatically alter the point (see: Frank Clark, Jake Ryan in Michigan's worst recruiting classes)
The better argument is we can let a marginal 5th year walk, which is true. However, it often doesn't playout that way in reality. Guys typically stay with the program if they want to. (Ash, Furman, Avery types that fill out a useful position on the depth chart aren't typically let go when the alternative is holding a 3-star lotto ticket). In other words, Jeremy Jackson probably returns next year if the option is on the table, but it's probably better for the program that it's not.
The extreme case on one side is 20% fewer scholarships (everyone getting 5 years vs 4 years) but in reality attrition and unrenewed 5th years make the percentage difference closer to 5%.
My point is that 5% is still significant. Significant enough that I don't get as upset by folks who view a burned red-shirt as a lost 5th year senior. It does bother me at position where experience is at a premium (QB, Safety) AND the guy does nothing significant, but sometimes you just have to get a guy ready for next year (Wilson) or if he's going to be relied upon if an injury strikes (Bosch, Stribling, Morris). Hindsight is 20-20, but I don't think the coaches regret the risk-mitigation types too badly.
Greyshirts. If you're offering scholarships that could go to a 5th year to a kid who is willing to grayshirt, then there's no benefit to the program not to redshirt someone.
Drop my 5% down to 4% if that's going to be a regular thing.
I think there is a benefit to having a younger play see the field, if only on special teams. First, the kid probably loves it. Second, it is way to reward hard work in practice. Third, anyone want to see Countess covering punts?
I think that younger guys on special teams may be those kids who are closer to what the staff believes to be there ceiling. They are probably ahead of the rest of the group, and are not likley to have a surge in production that gets cut off due to being done in four years.
By the way, I don't think that having Denard this year would have been a long term good thing.
/Ducks Hey! Who threw that?
I love Denard plenty, but I don't think that the record would be all that much better, even with Denard. In my view, this year was pretty much screwed from the get go due to our o-line. However, we now have Devin coming back with a full year as the starting QB under his belt. I do expect him to take a leap forward in terms of better reads, etc. I think we will get rewarded in 2014 for not that much of a difference in 2013. (As I type this, I do wonder if Denard could have gotten just three more yards.)
However, we now have Devin coming back with a full year as the starting QB under his belt. I do expect him to take a leap forward...*
* As long as all the king's horses and all the king's men can reassemble his bones.
My instinct is to say that redshirting is ideal for all players whenever possible, but it is not always possible for reasons other than depth.
A player may want to play. The coach should have a talk with him regarding his opportunity to play and a final decision should be made. This may result in a player getting ST time when it looks like a wasted shirt to the fans. The thing to remember is that the players are human and not system robots.
The best players should play. If a player is deserving of playing time, he should play no matter the position. Game experience can go a long way with regards to improving week to week and year to year. It would have been nice to play Kalis last year and have him with a year under his belt this year given the state of the interior OL. I think it was good for Bosch to play this year for next year's sake.
Is that regular Ace with a beard, or is that an evil Ace? A certain Star Trek episode makes me fear it's the latter.
Brian's entire wardrobe must consist of Michigan Hockey Sweaters and that one Iowa AIRBHG t-shirt. I've never seen him photographed in anything but those items.
Imagine what this year’s team would look like if Denard Robinson, LB Brandon Hawthorne, RB Vincent Smith, DE Craig Roh, and DT William Campbell were all on the team as 5th Year Seniors!! Robinson would/could resumed playing offensive weapon like he did after his nerve injury while adding to the QB depth and allowing Shane Morris to redshirt. Hawthorne would have allowed UM the opportunity to redshirt Ben Gedeon, and Vincent Smith would have allowed for the redshirting of DeVeon Smith……not to mention being able to pick up the blitz. Craig Roh would have allowed Taco Charlton to redshirt, and Will Campbell would have been a force as a 5th year guy.
The value of those 5 guys as 5th year seniors on this current football team would have been huge. I don’t think UM would have for sure beaten MSU…..but add those 5 guys in and it would have been at least closer. UM would not of had the scares against Akron or UConn….and they would have beaten Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa, and Ohio State. That’s why you redshirt guys…..the leadership of those 5 guys would have been a huge asset to this year’s team.
AND, we don’t even know the value they would have potentially caused for UM years down the road when Ben Gedon, DeVeon Smith, Shane Morris, and Taco Charlton are 5th year seniors.
You can't redshirt someone in hindsight.
Neither Denard nor Campbell were going to redshirt. Denard was too good and there was no depth at QB and how many 5 star DTs do you see redshirting? Roh was good as a freshman, so there is no qualm there. Hawthorne was a good special teams player and had some meaningful minutes in a few games.
I would love to have some of our better players back for another year because of what they would bring to the team, but sometimes when someone is that good they are only here for four years.
No you cannot redshirt somone in hindsight.......but there is something to be said for the success of programs like Wisconsin and Michigan State who redshirt damn near everyone that comes in.....even Dantonio this year stubbornly refused to pull the redshirt off Damien Terry. I am only putting on the Captain Hindsight uniform to try and drive home the value of redshirting as many guys as possible.
Redshirting pays off.........not for everyone in every situation....but most of the time it is good.
Campbell didn't do anything as a freshmen, and it was a wasted year...then there was the whole switching him to guard crap that caused him to lose more time. Denard should have redshirted, he was a superb athlete, but way to raw as a QB.
The value of potential 5th year Denard Robinson and 5th year Will Campbell is far greater than anything they did as true freshmen. Same thing with Roh and Hawthorne.......their value as 5th year seniors blows anything they did as freshmen out of the water.
Now the Jabrill Peppers of the world......you can go ahead and play them as true freshmen.
to play QB in 2009, Nick Sheridan, David Cone, or Jack Kennedy? As it is Forcier and Robinson split time as true freshmen so if you RS both of them, you're playing for another 3-9 season in 2009. I'm not sure that would have sat well with anybody. It was one thing to concede the 2008 season, it would have been almost criminal to intentionally do it in 2009,
Had 2009 been a repeat of 2008 with two QBs on the roster recruited to run his system but not dressing, RR wouldn't have to worry about being raised up, he would have been run out of town on a rail.
Forcier enrolled early and he should have been the logical burned redshirt, and was. Robinson wasn't needed that year, in hindsight. I'm not advocating redshirting 100% of the players that go to Michigan, Or even the MSU 90%-95% under Dantonio, but 75%-80% is not too much to ask. The value calculation needs to be done as to the value of a player as a true freshmen vs their value as a 5th year senior.
The late Lloyd Carr era didn't do Rich Rod, or even Brady Hoke any favors, but that is another topic entirely. You can't redshirt guys you need, like Jake Butt this year. I am pretty Hokexcited for Ian Bunting, and TE depth is pretty low next year now that Funchess is College Megatron, but Bunting has to be redshirted. Freddy Canteen and his mad jungle beat feet may need to play as a true freshmen....but do both Drake Harris and Moe Ways need to burn that shirt? You may need one, but burning both Harris and Ways is uncessary; but maybe if Dukes, Chesson, Darboh, Jones, and York all make major strides.....while Hayes and Norfleet can pick up the slot..........maybe then UM has the luxury to redshirt both.
Bryan Mone may have to play as will one of the incoming LBs......but you can't discount the value of in an ideal situation being able to redshirt Mone and every freshmen LB.
MSU's 3 deep has FIVE players who DID NOT redshirt. Five! 62% of that roster has been in East Lansing for at least 3 years. Redshirting.
These were mostly empty cupboard burns who normally would have redshirted.
-Campbell needed a redshirt badly but we played him cause he was a five-star and the DT depth chart was a Mike Martin and air. But the moment you saw him (which was rarely) he looked terrible. He couldn't contribute.
-Denard played because there were no other QBs after Forcier except Nick Sheridan and (Ungh) or Cone. Denard is absolutely the kind of guy who normally redshirts to learn the system and adjust to college life. He could do amazing things but as you saw vs Iowa he wasn't really ready.
-Roh was way too small as a freshman; he played because the depth chart was empty of WDEs. Teams constantly doubled Craig and ran over him. He is another guy you absolutely redshirt. MSU's Marcus Rush is a perfect comparison.
-Hawthorne was a flyer who got invited I think because he was a sort of leader among the Pahokee guys, however he was wasted on special teams in '09
My own 2 cents.
I didn't see this mentioned. But, the incoming class is too freaking big, so I'm fine with being a little more generous with the burning just to spread things out.
I'm completely on board with Bosch and Morris playing. My only lament is that Michigan didn't pound more guys so that Morris could get more snaps. My lament with Bosch is that he was needed. But, burning one OL shirt isn't so bad when you consider that we have 6 in the class.
I think there are two things that people should keep in mind if they're really angry. One, we don't see all of the nuances, especially the need for motivation, which was needed. I think you want to establish the principle that the best guy plays, so .... Obviously, that point allows for a discussion of whether someone whose shirt was burned was the best. Two, others with more experience can chime in, but my guess is that practice doesn't show anything. So why play Stribbling AND Lewis? Because you don't know.