TheBootleg.com Posts of the Week

This week, Genuine Realist, terry, Original East Coast Fan and Mike McLaughlin all made the final cut.

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Posts of the Week

 

Each week, we will highlight a few entertaining and/or informative posts from the previous week. Please keep in mind that it is hard to keep track/prioritize all posts so we would welcome input from all Booties. You can make a "Bootie Selection" post as a response to any post that you deem worthy or you can email a link (to the nominated post) to me at lars@thebootleg.com.

Below are the posts that made this week's list:

 

Poster: Genuine Realist
Subject: A Domestic Scene
Date: 8/24/01

 

Scene: the living room of the Younger Hulk domicile. Gathered are Younger Hulk, his Sturdy Dad, and Gorgeous Mom.

YH: "Now, we're all agreed. We flip the coin and that decides it. Right ?"

GM: "Right."

SD: "Yes."

A pause.

YH: "Heads its Paradise, tails it's the Tar Pits. Right ?"

SD and GM: "Right."

A long , silent, dramatic, karmatic (sic) pause.

YH: "So now I'm going to flip this sucker and decide my future."

Another longer, silent pause. This is a momentous - er - moment.

SD: "Flip that sucker, son, and find out."

YH: "Ok. Here goes." Up goes the coin (a silver dollar, natch), flipping, turning, spirlaing, and finally. . . . . descending. Kerplunk on the carpet. YH runs over and looks at the coin.

YH: "It's tails! It's tails! Yippeee, it's tails! It's the Tarpits ! Beautiful babes and hedonistic, irresponsible lifestyle, here I come! Say, what was the name of that linebacker who used to eat glass?"

Suddenly YH notices that SD and GM are not celebrating with him - in fact, looking somewhat grim and determined. The longest, most dramatic silence yet ensues.

SD (finally breaking the silence): "Flip the goddam coin again."

Fade to black.


 

Poster: terry
Subject: The real facts and figures about redshirting
Date: 8/25/01

 
Several points regarding redshirting:

First, there clearly is an advantage in having 5th year players. Players in their 5th year have had an extra year of practice, an extra year in the program, an extra year of learning the system, an extra year of weight-lifting and conditioning, an extra year of physical maturity. Players get bigger, faster, stronger, and better during their college careers. For most players who stay for a 5th year, their 5th year is their best year. All other things being equal, you have to admit that you would rather have a more experienced, more physically mature player. Willingham has had three recruiting classes that worked their way through the system. Here are the scholarship players who have returned for 5th years:

1999:

WR Troy Walters -- Starter, consensus All American
C Mike McLaughlin -- Starter, All Pac 10
LT Jeff Cronshagen -- Starter, All Pac 10
NT Andrew Currie -- Starter, Hon. mention All Pac 10
SS Tim Smith -- Starter, Hon. mention All Pac 10
LB Marc Stockbauer -- Starter, Hon. mention All Pac 10
LB Sharcus Steen -- Starter
CB Frank Primus -- Starter
CB Chris Johnson -- Starter/nickel back
G Joe Fairchild -- key reserve

2000:

WR DeRonnie Pitts -- Starter, All Pac 10
DT Willie Howard -- Starter, All Pac 10
LB Riall Johnson -- Starter, All Pac 10
TE Russell Stewart -- Starter
DE Sam Benner -- Starter
SS Aaron Focht -- Starter
FB Byron Glaspie -- reserve

2001:

QB Randy Fasani -- Starter
G Zack Quaccia -- Starter
CB Ruben Carter -- Starter
SS Simba Hodari -- Starter
LB Coy Wire -- Starter
LB Anthony Gabriel -- Starter
LB Matt Friedrichs -- Starter
DE Marcus Hoover -- Starter
DE Austin Lee -- Starter
K Mike Biselli -- Starter        
WR Jamien McCullum -- key reserve
TE Matt Wright -- key reserve
DT Travis Pfeifer -- key reserve

Under Willingham, the 5th year players have been real contributors. Most 5th year players have been starters. A few have been key reserves. Players who are not contributing haven't returned for a 5th year. Stanford has not had 5th year players who were just taking up space and occupying a scholarship that could have been given to a new recruit. You say that the best 5 or 6 freshmen who redshirt clearly are better than the worst 5 or 6 5th year seniors. Oh, really? Then name some names. Tell me which freshmen in each of those three years should have played instead of these 5th year seniors. Then, explain why the coaches were so stupid that they couldn't figure this out.

Second, if a freshman is good enough to play, then he plays. The guys who redshirt are the ones who wouldn't have received significant playing time in any event. There's little cost to redshirting somebody who wouldn't play anyway. Who do you think should have played as a true freshman, but was redshirted instead? I can't think of anyone. And it's ridiculous to say that you don't know unless you play them. Coaches always make judgments about who should play based on practices, for freshmen or anyone else. If a player earns the chance to play, he will play. You say Elway and Nelson were good enough to play as freshmen. Sure they were. But if we had an Elway or Nelson today, he would play -- just like Tank Williams, Eric Heitmann, Kerry Carter, Kwame Harris, etc.

Third, you say that redshirting gives Stanford has fewer slots available for recruiting. Your assumption seems to be that every player who redshirts reduces Stanford's number of available scholarships by one. That's wrong. Stanford's number of available scholarships is reduced only if a player returns for a 5th year. If a player redshirts but still only stays for four years, there is no reduction in the number of scholarships. Here's the math of redshirting: Stanford has had an average of 10 5th year players each year in the Willingham era (see above). Stanford therefore can recruit an average of 18.75 players each year. If nobody ever returned for a 5th year, Stanford could recruit an average of 21.25 players each year. (In both cases, these numbers assume there is no attrition due to injury, etc. Actual numbers will be a little higher, because there is always some attrition.) So the effect of Willingham's redshirting is this: Stanford gets 10 5th year seniors each year, but signs about 2.5 fewer recruits each year than it could sign if nobody ever redshirted. It's impossible to know how good those 2.5 extra players would have been. But when I look at the last few recruiting classes, I'm not seeing 2 or 3 players each year who we are turning away, but who we wish we had. Until we are turning away high-quality players each year, I'll take the known advantage of having 10 5th year seniors rather than the possible advantage of another 2.5 "Plan B" recruits per year. You say this thread about current recruiting efforts is "evidence enough" that we don't have enough scholarships due to redshirting. That's ridiculous. Stanford isn't close to running out of scholarships -- in case you haven't noticed, we haven't signed anyone at all. How can you possibly claim that we don't have enough scholarships this year?

 

Poster: Original East Coast Fan
Subject: No Free Lunch
Date: 8/25/01

 
Terry's posts are usually quite thoughtful. This one (see below) is, but he really doesn't acknowledge the many costs of redshirting. Let's list a few:

Fewer scholarships. Terry does the math. He is right the number of reductions depends on the number of 5th yr seniors. The more you have, the fewer scholarships. To me this is probably the biggest factor against red shirting. We will never know who we have lost. Remember that TW's largest class by far was his first one because Walsh did little redsiriting and held back scholarships to boot. Who was the last player offered that year? Troy Walters. We never offered Billy Silva (sp?) alto he had the grades and interest in LSJU. He is now all Big 10. Would he have been that player? Jeff Roehl? A second-string OL?

Inability to get injury redshirt year. Once you take a volunatry redshirt year, you can't get another. This is why Tim Smith played only three years. The reason Darin Nelson played four years is that he wasn't redshirted as a true freshman so he could take a year off to recover from an inquiry.

Best players on the field. Terry says TW always plays the best player, even if he is a true freshman. I wonder. Do you really think Mark Sanders was better than Ruben Carter (Carter's true freshman year)? If so, we are going to have some real problems this year.

Recruiting. LW takes care of. Some players want to play as true freshmen. An extreme redshirting policy hurts us with these guys.

Not around for five years. TW redshirted Joe Borchard and of course he was never around for five years. Not around for four years either. I think the pressure for good players to leave after four years will be intense. See Jason Collins. The possiblity of an injury the fifth year is too great.

Less development. There is nothing like game experience. I think you would agree that a player who plays develops more than one who doesn't. If a guy is only going to be around for four years, say Eddie Gayles, perhaps he would have been a little better if he had played his first year.

The flow. To me, this is the biggest argument against redshirting. Most recruits come in after a stellar HS career. They have played most fall weekends for four years. They are pumped and ready to go. And what happens? They never get into a game because they are redshirted. They don't practice with the first or second team. Scott Frost talked publicly about his frustration with the level of practice at Stanford, albeit under Walsh. So under TW, the players are largeley a non-factor their first year, the quasi-mandatory redshirt. Then few start their second year (see depth chart). They get out of flow, other things become important. I know this happens to an extent at any school, but Stanford is extreme.

These, there are some major costs to redshirting. I believe that these, esp the limit of 85 scholarships, explains why the incidence of redshirting has gone down significantly. I recognize the benefits to redshirting, which Terry does a nice job of documenting. If I were the coach, I certainly would redshirt a fair number of players. OL and QB being at the top of the list.

But the point remains, even though TW has loosen-up somewhat on redshirting, Stanford, I maintain, has the most extreme redshirting policy in the country.

Three possibilities: TW knows something 109 other Div I coaches don't know; 109 Div I coaches know something that TW doesn't know, or Stanford is different. I know that Terry and others will opt for the three option, but I wonder.

In short, there are costs and benefits to redshirting. I'm glad that TW has over time played more true freshmen. I hope that the trend continues.

 

 

Poster: Mike McLaughlin
Subject: Re: Hey, Mike
Date: 8/26/01

 
Basically, a zone play is where the linemen don't really block a specific guy on a play, the block a path, or "zone". Usually this involves 2 things. One, the lineman will sort of take a drop step and then turn at a 45 degree angle to the side the ball is going to, and then start to push and turn the defensive linemen. Any lineman that is free will try to go up to the line backers and throw at their legs, hopefully knocking them down, but at least slow them up. The RB has several options on these plays. As soon as the ball is snapped, he starts running to a pre-determined point, usually right off the outside of the tackle. The QB usually has to spin and run to get him the ball, but you can also pitch it to the RB. Once the RB has the ball, he can go several ways, depending on what certain DL of LB's do. Because the linemen are all (hopefully) blocking kind of like they are on train tracks at a 45 degree angle to the LOS (line of scrimage) the RB will be able to get around the tackle and get outside. He can turn it up any hole he sees though.
Zone blocking and running was a huge thing for NFL teams that had small linemen. I believe, but I could be wrong, that the Redskins started this back in the early 80's. That's why you see teams such as OSU using it, they using don't have huge linemen. We use it because it is a great play. Our linemen (Quaccia, Heitman), are nimble enough to make the play work. Plus, we've always had a speedster in the backfield (Remeber all the plays with Bookman? Most of his long TD's were because of Zone plays). Hope that explains everything...

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