Neck Sharpies: The Sight Adjustment Comment Count

Seth December 1st, 2017 at 9:46 AM

I realize there was a drive and a half afterwards, but for all purposes this was the end of The Game:

In the aftermath there’s been some Michigan fans saying that this wasn’t something the coaches should have put on O’Korn to do—that it was too complicated for a guy who’s already not good at reacting to what’s in front of him.

I don’t think that’s accurate. Option routes in general are complicated because they put more on receivers, but for the quarterback it’s less complicated than a West Coast tree. He’s still seeing the coverage and making a read, it’s just that he gets to stare at the same receiver the whole time instead of finding each guy where he’s supposed to be. Now, the Run and Shoot, or its cousin the Air Raid: those are complicated for quarterbacks because he’s got to read multiple option routes. That’s not what Michigan was asking O’Korn to do on this play.

I’ll explain. Two bad things happened for Michigan to create this disaster:


First, let’s go over what the announcing team said about it, since Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt did a good job of explaining what happened afterwards:

Ohio State switching coverage post-snap is half the story. They’re talking about the fact that Ohio State showed Cover 2 pre-snap and then ran a Cover 3 zone blitz, with the line slanting, the SAM blitzing, the weakside end dropping into the flat, and the WLB tasked with dropping into a deep 1/3rd zone.


[After THE JUMP what O’Korn saw]

But O’Korn never saw the shift. He read Cover 2 pre-snap, figured Gentry was going to run himself into the weakside safety’s zone, and that he’d get the strong safety, Webb, caught between the two receivers’ routes (off-screen). Here’s O’Korn’s pre-snap read:


Now they snap it, O’Korn turns around to fake the hand-off, and when he comes out of the fake this is what he sees:


O’Korn is just watching Crawford on this route (more on that in the other half of what happened) and probably feels that his protection isn’t going to last—Kugler has already been discarded by the NT (Robert Landers), and Bosa is splitting Cole and Bredeson. He’s got about a second to make his read and get the ball out.

Let’s pretend for a moment that this is Tom Brady instead of John O’Korn. Brady definitely would notice when he came out of his step-back that the safety’s behavior (letting Crawford go by him while making a zone call to his cornerback mate) is definitely not Cover 2. Brady’s eyes slide automatically to the other safety, who has his back to Gentry and is running to the middle of the field.

Where’s the guy covering the zone that Gentry’s running toward? He’s boned is where he is:


The play-action delayed the WLB, #17 Jerome Baker, who sucked up on the run…


…and let Gentry get behind him.


But only if Michigan was running a West Coast passing tree. Normally that’s a good enough bet. Wilton Speight is very West Coast quarterback, and Michigan brought in modern WCO guru Pep Hamilton this year—I believe—to run an offense predicated on West Coast passing from all sorts of formations with their base I-form personnel on the field. This is what Michigan wanted to be coming into the season.

Watch Speight’s head progress through reads with each bounce. This is clinical.

Speight wasn’t the same guy this year once the right side was breaking down all the time, but once Speight went out O’Korn definitely wasn’t the kind of guy you build a West Coast offense around. Penn State was hard to pull much from but we suspected at that point that O’Korn was throwing option routes—IE they were having him do the things he did at Houston. It was his best game.

What was Peters? They wanted him to be a power run-based West Coast guy.

LB #17 is stretched between McKeon and DPJ—Peters threw it two beats late.

Neither of these were the passing gameplan for Ohio State. The OSU gameplan was about (frippery and) giving O’Korn one thing to read.



O’Korn isn’t Tom Brady, or even Wilton Speight or Brandon Peters. O’Korn tends to lock onto one guy. And his coaches knew it. O’Korn spent his first three seasons at Houston under Tony Levine, an Air Raid guy who’s now the offensive coordinator for Jeff Brohm at Purdue. Here’s an O’Korn game at Houston that HAIL put on the Tubes. Note what happens whenever O’Korn gets to a second read:

This is the book on O’Korn: he reads his first guy, and if it’s not there he gets discombobulated then runs around some. Occasionally he breaks the pocket and makes something crazy happen. More often he’s Christian Hackenberg.

Part of the reason for this is O’Korn’s makeup, I guess. But most of it was the Air Raid offense doesn’t play by West Coast rules. They don’t expect you to make it to your fourth read (at least not usually). Usually you’re making a pre-snap read to decide which guy you’re throwing to, then reading how they cover him, with the receiver reading the same coverage.

The Air Raid’s passing tree is based on the old Run ’n Shoot system.

Follow the link if you’re not familiar. For those who want to keep going, the key to the Run and Shoot are “Sight Reads” or “Option Routes” or “Route Conversions”—the concept evolved several places so the terminology is all over the map. By spacing out the receivers thusly, Mouse Davis and the other Run and Shoot guys could call the same play every time and let the defense pick its poison—until the defense learned to zone blitz it into submission (this was the birth of the 3-3-5 stack, but that’s another story).

The Air Raid, a less systematic successor to the Run and Shoot, took the best passing structures from the West Coast offense and added options that were usually sit routes:

Note the difference between this Air Raid staple from Leach’s offense, and the Run and Shoot: this is a West Coast Offense favorite—four verts—with sit routes.

The idea is to watch one receiver and how the DB is playing him, for example if the the cover guy is off, the quarterback and receiver know that the receiver is going to break off his route and sit down in a hole in the zone underneath. The Run and Shoot is an entire system of these—you progress from one tree to the next, never minding what the actual coverage call is because every battle is an individual one. The Air Raid backs off that: you do have to read post-snap coverages because you’re not running every play from a four-wide spread and isolating the same one or two guys every play.

Non-Air Raid offenses can also borrow the Air Raid route conversions: many, many offenses just build a few option routes into what they were doing. For example Doug Nussmeier’s passing game has their #1 receiver often look back at 7 yards, and the quarterback knows if he gets a blitz from that side he can throw that as a hot read.

Harbaugh’s contribution to sight reads evolved at Stanford and then blossomed at San Francisco. The Alex Smith Harbaugh inherited was no Tom Brady, and was overwhelmed trying to run a West Coast offense against the superheroes in the NFL. So Harbaugh simplified the reads for him by using play-action from a power running game, which freed up underneath for his slot receivers and tight ends to run option routes. Smith then used the NFL lockout that year to practice these option routes with his receivers, and the result was a renaissance season.

Harbaugh did the same with Rudock and Butt in 2015, with the other routes planned to clear room for Butt to work against a linebacker or safety, and Butt given an option. Rudock and Butt would read the defender, and Rudock would only come off it if both reads were covered. Later in the year I suspect they were building option routes in for Chesson, though it was never confirmed.

Thanks to O’Korn biffing it and Crawford making the right route conversion, we know O’Korn was reading not Read 1, Read 2, Read 3, but watching how they covered Crawford:

What I think happened last week is Harbaugh and Drevno and Pep knew they couldn’t get a West Coast game out of their third-string quarterback, and decided to let O’Korn do his Houston thing. If you’re going to lock onto one receiver anyway, fine, just find the safety covering him, and throw it where he ain’t. Note DPJ’s and Gentry’s routes here attack vertically then break away from Crawford. Play-action holds the linebacker level, the other two routes occupy defenders so that only one is isolated against Crawford, and then O’Korn just has to read Crawford and the guy isolated on him.


So Michigan is not running anything like a full-on Run n Shoot here—I don’t think O’Korn even looked at DPJ’s route, which would be the #1 read in a Run and Shoot—or even an Air Raid. Instead they’re using play-action to keep the linebackers tied down. In the context of the playcall, it was the MLB (#32 Tuf Borland) that Michigan is holding near the line of scrimmage, since that guy could drop underneath the cut-off point of Crawford’s route. Because of Ohio State’s scissors roll however, that did Michigan an even bigger favor by also sucking up the WLB when that guy had a deep outside third to cover.

The tradeoff for holding the linebackers in the box was O’Korn wasn’t looking when the free safety took off for the deep middle:


The FS is hightailing it to his zone, O’Korn is still facing Higdon

O’Korn comes up, checks his protection, then finds Crawford, the ONE GUY he’s got to read. What O’Korn didn’t see was the safety in coverage on Crawford. John thinks it’s Webb, #7, the on the far left.

Crawford however knows it’s the free safety. Watch his route:

When the strong safety (Webb) got out of the way Crawford knew to look for the guy actually covering him and adjusted. Because the receiver read the safety correctly, and because the MLB was late getting depth due tot he play-action, Crawford is open: regardless of the coverage, the scheme worked. But O’Korn never came off his pre-snap read, and threw it as if Ohio State had just busted massively. Also Robert Landers is about to plow into him.

So that’s why there’s nobody to even contest the ball and Jordan Fuller gets to field a punt.


It’s not the least complicated. If you really want to make things easy on your quarterback there are ways, and Harbaugh’s offense was using all of them:

  • Run-pass options. Michigan did run these against OSU.
  • MESH and pick routes. This was the Purdue gameplan—they’re also a gimmick you can’t hang your hat on unless you’ve got Wisconsin-/MSU-level OPI avoidance.
  • Rollout/cut the field in half. Another gimmick: Minnesota tried a lot of this to shield Demry Croft, and had under 100 yards in the 4th quarter.
  • Establish play-action off an unbeatable running game: This worked against Rutgers/Minn/Maryland but Ohio State’s run defense was too strong to do the same. Also this WORKED on the play in question.
  • Screens: Work best against blitz-happy defenses, and most defenses only get blitzy when a quarterback is picking them apart—OSU doesn’t have to rush >4 to get immediate pressure. Also work better against defenses that don’t have athletic LBs, and OSU’s LBs are some of the best pure athletes at the position in the country.
  • Scheme guys open. That 4th down play O’Korn missed where Evans took a sharp cut on his circle route was a brilliant play call set up by the offense. So was this play.

In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t actually that complicated—it’s not a Kindergarten read, but we’re still in the realm of things high school quarterbacks do all the time. Michigan gave O’Korn this:


And told him to find #1 and the guy in coverage on #1, then throw it where the guy in coverage doesn’t have leverage. O’Korn’s pre-snap read determined it was this:


And between the snap and when O’Korn came out of his break, Ohio State turned it into this.


That added one layer of complication, sure. It also left a 6’8” guy who runs a 4.6 wide open for a 60-yard pass that most QBs make. Except Michigan had dumbed down the offense so O’Korn didn’t have to worry about the WLB—he just had to see ONE safety was running toward the middle of the field and convert that to knowledge that his receiver would be open underneath that. O’Korn just didn’t see it. Ballgame.



December 1st, 2017 at 2:25 PM ^

while I think JOK needs to make this read I couldn't help watching his head out of his break - his eye level dips to see his pass pro is zip and he chucks the ball just before he is planted by a 330lb missile. He didn't make the read because he never saw the safety through a massive pass pro breakdown between Kugler and Ruiz. Kugler needs to take some of this blame if he can't hold his block in play action any better than 2 f-ing seconds. Our pass pro is sometimes just atrocious. Give JOK 3 seconds and that ball is complete to either Crawford or Gentry.

Watching From Afar

December 1st, 2017 at 10:08 AM ^

I just skimmed this because I can't make myself read it and watch all of the videos again. I stood up from the couch when I saw the play action fake because I thought he was going to Gentry for 40-50 yards and 1st and Goal. Had my hands above my head when he stepped into the throw.. and then surrender cobra-ed when I realized it was head in Crawford's general direction.

It... it just burns my eyes so much.


December 1st, 2017 at 10:11 AM ^

IIRC, There was an earlier write-up about how Ohio State likes to run Cover 1 show 2 in order to extract this very outcome. I bet this is the kind of thing O'Korn already knows... reminds me of multiple choice questions in Econ 401 exams. You know you fucked up, but you also knew the answer.


December 1st, 2017 at 5:59 PM ^

No more moving misfits like Cole to LT. Put the big ass recruits on the field and coach'em up. Would like to see this starting 5 in spring ball and coming out of fall camp:

LT - Stueber
LG - Bredesen
C - Ruiz
RG - Onwenu
RT - Filiaga

Pound the shit out of these guys in the strength program and trim that baby fat. Challenge them to perform. No more f-ing coddling bigtime recruits. Man-up boys. Go Blue !


December 1st, 2017 at 10:19 AM ^

is an excellent writeup. I feel like reading these every week is adding a new dimension to my fandom because whenever I occasionally see something live that's been pointed out here I get irrationally excited. 


December 1st, 2017 at 10:20 AM ^

Also wanted to chime in to say that this was an excellent post. It hurts to watch, but does make me feel better about the future knowing the coaches and rest of the offense were good enough to win this game. 


December 1st, 2017 at 10:25 AM ^

I don't know man. Stating the option route is less complicated than another offensive system  we don't run doesn't make it an uncomplicated play for a QB who is struggling with all reads immensely. I think it's a foregone conclusion that O'Korn decides what he will do pre-snap and if he doesn't throw that, he gets happy feet and scrambles. He knew what he saw pre-snap, saw pressure coming, and chucked it. This with questionable pass blocking and the odds O'Korn completes any of these type passes is very low. Reading a safety is typically basic and occurs on most pass plays but again we know what O'Korn is and isn't capable of.

Overall I was very impressed with the offensive gameplan. But, an option route in crunch time by O'Korn I'd expect to be intercepted more often than completed. We saw open receivers all day and many were not even thrown to. Just because you can argure this is not the hardest read (some would disagree), doesn't mean its a read you should have faith O'Korn will make.

Space Coyote

December 1st, 2017 at 10:41 AM ^

With basic route adjustments. Every system at the college level essentially has this level of adjustment. This isn't multiple options based on multiple reads. It's a basic read/adjustment. Middle of Field Open (MOFO; safeties split) vs Middle of Field Closed (MOFC; defender in deep middle). MOFO = post. MOFC = Hitch/dig. O'Korn is reading one spot on the field and throwing away from the defender, that is it.

So yeah, it was a terrible read on a relatively easy play. The other routes set this up to be a simple read and throw for JOK, and he didn't make it. Pressure probably had a piece in that. PA taking his eyes away from the coverage probably didn't help, but it was also the reason the dig was so blindly wide open. My guess to what happened, JOK saw two-high safeties pre-snap; ball was snapped, he ran PA, turned around, and saw two defenders deep and assumed MOFO and threw the post. There were two defenders deep only because the far side of the field was late getting over the top (thus why Gentry is open). But JOK's job isn't to read the number of defenders, it's to read the center of the field (the number of defenders deep is often a tip for the coverage, but that's not the read). Even if he read two-high, he should have put the ball on a line in the seam, where the field is open.

He pre-determined his decision and it was the wrong one, and he basically played 500 with a deep safety. The refs just didn't get the memo that JOK yelled "Cherry Bomb!" right before the safety caught it. Really should have been 1st down Michigan on the OSU side of the field, but you all know the situation with the refs.


December 1st, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^

In theory it's a relatively easy play, but how does one think this is a relatively easy play for JOK?  In my job I see all sorts of decisions made which on paper are good in theory, but the reality is trying to implement in the field is a lot more complicated.

The knock on JOK was he never went through his progressions.  He locked on his first read and if it's open, he threw it and if not, he either ate the ball for a sack or tried to get out of the pocket for a scramble. So his post snap thinking was usually is my first read open or not.

Now you're asking a guy who seemed to rarely if ever make any reads post snap other then whether a guy is open or not is open to turn his back to the defense, get set up, read the defense in an instant and determine which route he thinks Crawdord is going to run.  

I look at this play call as great in theory, but poor in reality based upon who they were asking to execute it.


December 1st, 2017 at 1:00 PM ^

If the QB cannot correctly read this play — one which gives him only two options and requires him to look at only one receiver, then there is no conceivable play that you, funkywolve, would consider a good call.

When you have an overmatched QB, all plays are poor in reality. The best you can do is call ones that are great in theory, especially when the theory is built on making it as easy as possible in a way perfectly tailored for the QB called to run it.


December 1st, 2017 at 4:46 PM ^

What do you call?  The coaches did a great job with their game plan and after re-watching the game, it seemed pretty obvious that they were avoiding having JOK throw many deep balls and definitely avoiding him throwing over the middle.  

Before the interception he had thrown 23 passes.  Most of them were within 10 yds of the line of scrimmage and 18 of them were to receivers outside the hash marks.  The 5 passes which weren't outside the hash marks were:

1) TD to the TE wide open in the back of the end zone

2) TE running a cross route pass thrown as he as at the hash mark running towards the sideline

3) another crossing route wtth the receiver at the hash marks running towards the sideline

4) slant to Perry before

5) throw to Evans on 4th down, which was overthrown and bounced off the hands of the safety coming up to cover Evans.

The int was easily one of the longest throws they asked JOK to make and it was the only throw to a receiver who was in the middle of the field and not running towards the sideline.Re-watching the game the play call seems completely off the script from what they had asked JOK to do previously in the game.  Below is the link to the condensed version of the game if you'd like to rewatch it.


December 1st, 2017 at 5:15 PM ^

But they’re not asking him to throw deep, that’s the entire issue. They’re asking him to throw that ten yard curl on the hash (because that’s what’s open) and only throw the deep ball if Ohio is in cover two (Crawford against a safety).

More to the point, we don’t know if the passes you liked also had sight adjustments (which worked on those plays, the WR and O’Korn synced up as they were supposed to).

What you’re doing is entirely based on hindsight, which is just not for me, and also ignoring the fact that the play as called and ran by everyone but O’Korn was fine.


December 1st, 2017 at 7:46 PM ^

Touché. It looks like he’s at 15 yards, btw. Point remains, 15 yards to a stationary receiver isn’t a deep throw, and I dont see how anyone could fault the call when it got the guy open and was a pretty simple read for the QB. The issue isn’t that it’s a deep throw he can’t make, it’s that he misreads the coverage and throws where there is no receiver.

Unless you’re arguing for an actual hard cap on throws over ten yards. That might limit the chance of mistake, but also really limit the chance of winning.


December 1st, 2017 at 10:54 AM ^

This is literally the argument I was trying to refute with my whole article. This part in particular:


In the grand scheme of things, this was't actually that complicated—it's not a Kindergarten read, but we're still in the realm of things high school quarterbacks do all the time.


and this graphic:

Are there to show why "That was too complicated for O'Korn" is--in my, let's call it "undergrad-level" opinion--an incorrect take. It's only a little less complicated than "find the defender and the 2-3 receivers stretching his zone".

I mean, what SHOULD Michigan be running then? Ohio State is a top 5 defense. You're down by four with 2 and a half minutes left in the game, and unlikely to get another drive against an offense that specializes in running the ball for 6 YPC when your defense has been shouldering the lion's share of the game for 57.5 minutes. Harbaugh and his staff emptied the drawer in this game. O'Korn is your quarterback. His entire career this is the thing he's done best.

What gets my frustrated about the "O'Korn shouldn't have been asked to do that" take is it's easy to arm-chair this after the fact. But say O'Korn makes the right pass. Now it's 1st down Michigan at the 50. Or say O'Korn comes out and notices the free safety running away from Gentry and throws the bomb, and now it's 1st down at the OSU 20 or something. If you want to beat Ohio State these are the plays you have to make. Nobody gets to frippery their way to a win in the greatest rivalry in sports. You have to play some goddamn football.


December 1st, 2017 at 11:09 AM ^

by O'Korn. His problem is he's just looking at Crawford, when on this play his read is the safeties and what they are doing. He never looks at them which leads to his poor pass. If he looks at the safeties he can see what the coverage has changed to and then he knows what his receivers are doing and both Crawford and Gentry are wide open for big gains. 

Looking forward to Peters/McCaffery battling for the QB position and who ever wins will give us a huge upgrade at QB next year.


December 1st, 2017 at 2:07 PM ^

One little caveat I would add is the role the O-line played in this. The PA had to be included to hold the linebackers. It worked really well on Gentry's route, but it also helped create the big hole Crawford was about to settle in. Running PA means O'Korn's eyes are taken off of the defense. By the time he gets his eyes back on the defense, there are two guys breaking through the line. As it is, he takes a pretty good hit on this throw. The O-line has to hold off the defense an extra second on this play. It's easily seen in the clips above. O'Korn fakes the hand off, turns around, sees two guys coming, chucks it, and gets tackled all within 2 to 2.5 seconds. If O'Korn has that extra second, maybe he sees the safety position and throws the right route or even finds Gentry. Maybe not. We'll never know.

Plenty of college QB's can make this work, but O'Korn had his limitations and the line didn't help out as much as they could have. As the coaches say, week after week, it's all 11 needing to execute.


December 2nd, 2017 at 3:47 PM ^

You guys do fantastic at recording specific plays. In any game for Michigan (or Houston if you researched that far) do you know if O'Korn completed this play before? I'd be shocked if thats a yes.

My point is regardless of the simplicity of the read, there is a damn good chance O'Korn knows he is throwing that post before the snap and we all expect that of O'Korn too based on every other time we've seen him. Throw to pre-snap read or go into happy feet panic mode. O'Korns level of play needs Crawford's route to either be a deep curl or a post, not an option based on a read that will likely never occur by your QB. Easy read for *most* QBs. 

I appreciate your detailed response.


December 1st, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

Watching the interception again isn't as painful as seeing that Gentry was WIDE OPEN. He probably gets caught and tackled by the safety in the middle of the field, but is probably at the 20 or 30 yrd line at that point. With 2:30 left, we might not have had to throw the ball again...


December 1st, 2017 at 10:34 AM ^

Gentry was wide open, having visions of a 50+ yard gain... Also, kugler was beaten badly by #67. Had Kug not grabbed his jersey in a attemptingo to slow him down, that play would have resulted in a plowing of O'Korn and another down for Michigan.

Space Coyote

December 1st, 2017 at 2:47 PM ^

Kugler is supposed to get A gap help whichever the direction the NT goes. Bredeson's first step is to squeeze but as soon as the NT goes away his eyes go back left, as they are supposed to. Ruiz gets too far right (he even gets stepped into by the RT because the RT isn't expecting help) and doesn't bring his eyes back inside early enough, and never is able to even lay a finger on this. Kugler may do better taking more of the man, but he's expecting help here and gets nothing. This is a RG bust more than anything from a protection standpoint.


December 1st, 2017 at 3:11 PM ^

I think here is as good a place as any to say I disagree with the blog staff on Kugler’s play this season.

He hasn’t played well, but he’s caught heat on a lot of specific plays that were not his fault. The chop block against Wisconsin being the most egregious. In that one, the RG boned him by not seeing the stunt and turning his head inside in order to accept the pass off from Kugler. Kugler sees it and tries to pass his man off to the RG and peel back to get the stunter. He’s late on both, but you can clearly see he knows how to pick up the stunt but his line mate has left him out to dry.

I also disagree on the theory that he’s been blowing calls all year. No way he keeps his job if that’s the case — no way in hell. That’s the fastest, easiest fix you can make, and a crucial one. It’s much more likely that his freshman or sophomore guard is making him look bad, and also his first time starting right tackles. There’s also the likelihood of Harbaugh designing weird little wrinkles to get more blockers playside that makes backside blocking look weird/wrong. I’m sure he’s blown calls, but the current narrative seems unlikely on its face and something that makes large leaps in the hope that our problems are just a quick fix from being gone.

Whole Milk

December 1st, 2017 at 10:38 AM ^

I know it was a stupid penalty, and the rest of the video was mostly depressing watching him panic like he so often did here, but I enjoyed him throwing the football at the defenders head after the play way too much. 


December 1st, 2017 at 11:01 AM ^

Damn, Seth,   that was a FANTASTIC writeup....   Not joking when I say that you could be the next Jedd Fisch. 

But I do think you should have pointed out how bad KUGLER whiffed on the block.. he appeared to have Bredeson to assist, to his left, and Kugler lets his right side weak, letting Flanders blow by him to his right.  That was horrible... at the very least Kugler should cover to the right and if anything leave his left more exposed.. 


December 1st, 2017 at 11:15 AM ^

I appreciate but strongly disagree with this. I've been around a lot of coaches, and I lean on a few of them to get these writeups right. It's one thing to translate the things they do into layman's terms so a wide audience can understand it, and that's a niche it's taken me a long time to get semi-competent at. It's another thing entirely to coach this stuff on even a high school level.

Even at what I do, I'm still nowhere near Gold Standard Chris B. Brown from Smart Football, nor even close to guys like SB Nation's Ian Boyd, Ross Fulton from Buckeygrove, or Kyle Jones from Eleven Warriors, or many others who fill this niche at other sites.

Maybe this is a mistake I make in writing: by simplifying this stuff I make it appear way more simple than it is. It is very wrong to think any one of us could step in an perform half as well as John O'Korn. Look at his footwork, the timing of the handoff, how his head came around, how he's got his weight balanced so he can throw it even with a DT about to hit him. Even the way he takes the hit to avoid injury is coached into him. I don't know the first thing about teaching a guy to do any of that stuff. And that's one dropback motion--he has to learn 7-step drops, and 3-step drops, and shotgun snaps, and and and and and and and...and I don't even know most of the nuances I should be including in this series.

Football, like writing, is a craft. I don't know a tenth of the nuances of football. My craft is writing. I think about things like weighting prepositions, cadence, theming, word economy, annoyance and surprise, shading. I know how to introduce an idea without distracting you from what I'm talking about then, but that sneaky kernel will fire off later when I come back to it. I know marketing language and cliches so I can avoid them, because those will make a reader fill in the blanks and ignore the idea. There's a reason I had seven 'and's in a row in the previous paragraph. That's what I do. I'm not a football coach; I'm a football writer.


December 1st, 2017 at 3:09 PM ^

FYI, it was eight "ands" in a row (assuming an ellipsis doesn't count).  Great article by the way. And great comment.  It makes it seem easier than it really is.  Nevertheless, what you're saying is that it is a comparatively easy read for someone with his training, and I agree.