TheBootleg.com Posts of the Week

This week's posts were authored by: redhot, Genuine Realist, BD and Hulk. Good work and keep 'em coming!

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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: redhot
Subject: The three matches at UofV
Date: 9/3/01

The Stanford board provides a lot of stats so I will not go into that aspect.

Originally I believe we were to play the weakest of the three teams (Radford) first followed by the other two. Then that changed because of the UofV football game on Saturday late afternoon so we played the supposed most difficult, Minnesota #15, first. I commented on that to one of the parents and he put it in proper perspective with "lets see what we are made of." A very appropriate comment. In attendance was a small group of Stanford parents and a couple of other rooters for us.

MINNESOTA (Friday morning): the first two games of this match ended up 30-27 but there was a distinct difference in the feel of the scoring. In the first game, we were ahead most of the way by 4/5 points and then Minnesota would make it 2/3. Never had the feeling we were going to lose this one. The second game with the same score was different. It was up and down and until the very end, a bit uncertain but again we came through. At one time we did have a significant lead but then the Minnesota setter, serving with a very difficult jump serve, scored five points in a row to bring their team back into the match. Her jump serve was never a factor after that as we figured it out and adjusted. The third game, 30-17, was never in doubt. Our lead and our talent was too great to be overtaken with such a substantial lead. So the supposed more difficult of the three matches was in the "w" column. Following was the starting lineup throughout the match and one that should usually start (I refer to this lineup as the basic throughout the comments).

Setter: Robyn Lewis
OH: Logan Tom, Ogonna Nnamani, Ashley Ivy
MB: Tara Conrad
DS: Emily Lawrence
Rotating subs: Michelle Chambers for Emily and Jennifer Harvey for Tara.

The only other substitute, late in the third game (25-14) was Jennifer Hucke. This indicates the stature she must have to be the first off the bench except for the rotating subs.

VIRGINIA (Friday evening): first two games were never in doubt at 30-22 and 30-20. The only substitute in the first game from the basic starting lineup was Anna Robinson at setter. The second game lineup was the same as the first except Sara McGee made her first trip at MB. Hucke comes in for Oganna at 25-16 and our freshman DS, Leahi Hall, comes into her first Stanford game at 28-10. The third game was very different and early we were down by a number of points. Sara Sandrick started but the rest of the starting lineup remained the same. We became very sloppy early on. Not to take anything away from Virginia but we were not playing up to our usual game. We were down at 5-10. Oganna was back in by this time and then the scores were 11-14, 18-15 and 22-19. Hucke replaced Oganna at the back line at 24-21 (I think but my penmanship is bad). We then went to 28-24 when Hucke provides a big spike to reach 29. Virginia picks up a couple of points to narrow the score but we finish at 30-26. I think this third game, and the third game with Radford, are the usual letdown when you have won the first two games by a significant margin and "know" you have the match in hand. You cannot do this with a top 10 club but in these two cases you knew you had the match. Stanford was that much better.

RADFORD: is a smaller school not too far from Charlottesville with the loudest fan support. They had a very good 2000 season only losing one match in their conference but losing to Colorado State in the first round of the NCAAs. They also had only one player 6' or over. They made up for this with real hustle and defensive digs and beat Minnesota in one of their four games. The starting lineup (apart from what I called the basic six/eight in the beginning) were Anna at setter and Sara Dukes at OH. With a final score of 30-19, the subs included Sandrick and Hall. I think all three MBs played but am not certain. The winning point, and spike, was by Sara Dukes. The second game, ending at 30-21, started Hauke for Oganna. With the score tied at 11-11 we then pulled away. Logan had her first, and only rest throughout the two days, coming out at 27-17. An Ivy spike won it for us. Game three had the basic lineup except for Anna at setter (Robyn did not play in the matches vs Virginia and Radford) and Dukes at OH. The two rotating subs at the start were McGee and Sandrick. We were tied at 22 but then created a lead we did not give up. I think the closeness of the third game was a "get out of Dodge" atmosphere. One of our points must be explained. At 15-12 Leahi is at D/S when a smash spike is hit near her. She dives and makes a remarkable bump to the setter. Radford, on the same point, sends another smash spike near her. In an instant, her decision is to let it go and it is an "out" hit for our point. When she is subbed for rotation, she comes out the the acclamation or her teammates and Stanford fans. You could see the glow in her face and she must have felt a lot taller than her listed 5'9".

LAST COMMENTS

1) The Radford match started at noon. I arrived around 10am to secure a parking space and read the local newspaper. Heavens, the team was already practicing on the floor. For those interested and have the time, you should come to a practice and watch. By the way, the local newspaper had almost no coverage of women's vb; they had a full page on soccer . No wonder so few fans came to the match although football and soccer reign supreme in this area.
2) UofV is a drinking/partying school. Picked up a ticket after the football game started. Large numbers of dressed up fans in the parking lot. Left in the middle of the third quarter; still a large number of fans in the lots. Expect some never came in and some left at half time and never returned. Field announcer sounded as if he came from NASCAR in trying to obtain reactions from the fans.
3) Agree with Botech about the next three matches. Penn State is (was) ranked #3 so this will be a big test. Given the demise of their football team, their wvb team may have added support. I gunning for a coming home with at least 2 of 3 (5 of 6 for the extended trip).
4) You all come out to our home and PAC-10 opener against the Wildkittenettes (Friday 9/14); they are ranked above us in preseason polls.


Poster: Genuine Realist
Subject: Hard Thinking
Date: 9/14/01

I'm not going to renew the obnoxious line below in which my frustration over the passivity with which the victims met their death was mistaken for moral condemnation. However, it's going to be a long weekend and I have been doing some hard thinking about all this - my own easy reader version of the failure analysis the feds must be doing big time. Some Booties might be interested in my thoughts and have their own notion of alternatives/elaborations.

1. The seizure of the plane can actually be broken down into two separate elements - (a) the seizure of the cabin, followed by the (b) the seizure of the cockpit.

2. The point in time when the seizure of the cabin occurs is fairly easy to deduce. It has to happen after the ascent, but before the food carts are out, which not only make movement difficult, but also contain a number of utensils (bottle openers, can openers, and the trays themselves) that can be used as crude weapons.

3. The criminals almost certainly chose seat assignments on the aisle, and committed some act of violence immediately, likely against the flight attendants. It is interesting that all the cell calls I've heard use the verb `stabbed' as opposed to `killed' or `murdered'. The likely thought is some assaultive act occurred that would produce a lot of blood and commotion, but not homicide, which would give the game (the hijacker had no interest in a safe escape) away.

4. Probably two in first class, two in tourist.

But the control of the cabin only gets them so far. It is control of the cockpit that transforms a commercial vehicle into a fearsome superweapon of unlimited mobility. Without that, the other is nullity - and how that happened is frustrating and mysterious. All four planes surrendered immediately. All four observed radio silence (the conversation the controllers overheard from 11 was transmitted surreptitiously); and none of them jettisoned fuel, which I had thought was SOP in these situations, not so much to eliminate explosive potential as to minimize the range of the craft. So what gives ?

One thought is that the creeps either had, or bluffed having, a bomb. I don't know whether the presence of explosives on the planes has been verified or not. For reasons I'll get into below, I'd bet that the threat was real. But that only partially explains the ease with which they gained control.

The most likely basic cause is that the crews were not undertrained, but overtrained. With the bewildered, ambulatory psychotics of the 70's, the usual profile then, the idea was to avoid any gesture that might trigger impulsive violence, apparently acquiesce, and maneuver the craft to a point where trained hostage teams could take over. These incidents almost always ended successfully with minimal loss of life. It's been so long since a hijacking occurred that I'd bet those general directions are still in place, and acquiescence the response the crew was trained to give and did give.

But what made sense wirth that profile is absolute madness with a trained cadre of fanatics whose motives are anything but mixed. I doubt the FAA is going to broadcast the fact, but my bet is that from now on passenger cabins will be no-hostage zones, like prisons or jails, i.e., no matter what happens in the passenger cabin, the cockpit will not be surrendered.

If all the assailants had was knives and box cutters (razor blades), then the outcome is frustrating to the point of madness. The Flight 11 dialog with the controller establishes that one of them stayed in the cockpit. One means two, because if only one, the pilot might react, and the assailants can't take that chance. That means that the bulk of passengers were being controlled by no more than 3, maybe even 2 hijackers. That will work while no violence is done to the passengers, but systematic homicide is impossible - the passengers will react if that begins overwhelm the attackers by sheer numbers. Since there is no terroristic point to a single murder, intransigence might save everyone. The entire terroristic exercise is pure bluff. This is an absolutely sickening thought. (Lest I have to endure another pointless personal attack, I am not blaming anyone. The crews reacted exactly the way they had been trained to react. The point is that the scenario had become outdated, and no one noticed.)

But my bet is that these sociopaths did have some sort of explosive. It is hard to believe they'd plan twenty months, go to all this work, and take the chance of coming up completely empty. I'd bet the threat was genuine, that Plan B was to blow the planes out of the air if they could not control the deck. That would have produced a national tragedy - the deaths would have almost exactly equaled the Murragh Building - but we would all have been at the game tomorrow night observing a moment of silence. It would not have produced the massive rent in the social fabric that the actual event did.

Finally, what happened to the pilots ? With the first plane, I'd bet that the pilot remained at the controls until the WTC was in visual range. Even if the criminals had learned to fly, they'd have to have a pretty high confidence level to maneuver from the Boston to NewYork air space. Once in sight, he could be murdered and the plane directed to its target by one of the murderers. My pilot friends tell me that wouldn't be too tough.

But what happened on the second plane? It hit fifteen minutes later, which is an eternity. News of the collision must have come up on the airwaves. Pilot dead ? The delay because an amateur was doing the navigation ? Or unaware for some reason ? No one will ever know.

There is only one bit of bleak good news here. This horrific act depended almost entirely on the hijackers gaining control of the cockpit - and that's easy security to implement. All of the curbside and terminal stuff is comparatively cosmetic. Pilots by law fly unarmed these days - I doubt they will any more, even if the sidearm is in a safe with a combination lock. (What a wonderful fantasy can be conjured up involving a crew member with a fully loaded Glock Nine.)

Breaking all this down like a football play is my own way of coping, reducing everything to rational scale. Those of similar bent might want to share their own thoughts.


Poster: BD
Subject: Blitz/press coverage
Date: 9/18/01

IMO, the defense in order to be effective has to vary its looks. Sometimes the corners must press. Sometimes the corners can play off. And other times they can press and then immediately bail. The idea is to not let the quarterback have any continuity for a presnap read. Obviously Stanford does not do this. We continually play off regardless if we are blitzing or just playing base defenses.

The lack of press coverage by the corners can be reasonably attributed to a couple reasons. One, simply, our corners are not fast enough to press. Pressing requires playing man to man, which we don't do a lot of regardless if we are blitzing. And more importantly, it requires catch up speed, which depending on who you ask is questionable on our team. I believe we are faster at the corner positions than last year. But good enough to press, miss, and recover.....I don't know.

Second, Stanford's corners may not press because they do not feel comfortable doing it, again since we don't press any other time. Likewise they probably don't want to press only when we blitz, as that would give an easy presnap read to the QB.

Which leads me to my point as to why we never press. In order to effectively press, or press and bail, the corners must consistently use the technique. It can not be a once in awhile deal. You must be in a press position at least 33% of the time. That does not automatically require the corners to press or even play man to man. It just means they have to start up on the line.

I believe that our staff is not comfortable with committing to that philosophy quite yet. I am sure Baer would do it more if he could, as he prefers attacking defenses. And maybe the players are not comfortable. Who knows. But what is known is the end result of conservatism that plaques the secondary........and ultimately the entire defense once opposing offensive coordinators effectively attack our lack coverage.

Myself, I am gambling man by nature, so I am not content to sit back at 10 yards and let the offense throw in front of the defense with high percentage completion passes, with my only hope of a successful defense coming in the form of a tip pass at the line of scrimmage, an errant throw, or unforced dropped pass. But that is just me. In some respects, it depends alot on the coaching staffs belief in our offenses potential and the personality of our defense.


Poster: Hulk
Subject: Another Hulkish view, of Hulkish length, on recruiting
Date: 9/19/01

When you watch recruiting and try to predict what Stanford prospects will decide, a concern that arises is with "leads." What do they mean? And most important, do September leads help you predict the school a Stanford prospect will choose?

Pondering that, and seeking a distraction, I looked at our past two recruiting classes to find out where we stood with our key prospects on this date in their respective senior years.

On this day, the following current Stanford players reported to Allen Wallace that the following teams had "solid leads" for them:
Stanley Wilson: USC
Alex Smith: USC (60%), Colorado (40%) "huge" over Stanford and others
Brandon Royster: Virginia and Virginia Tech; Stanford not even mentioned
JR Lemon: Georgia Tech (Auburn later took a brief lead)
Amon Gordon: USC and some megaprograms, including Florida State
Kevin Schimmelman: Georgia
Calvin Amstrong: Georgia Tech ("Big")
Grant Mason: Michigan and Michigan State "big" over Stanford and others
OJ Oshinowo: Illlinois (said Stanford had "only an outside chance")
Will Svitek: USC, over ASU, UW and Ohio State; Stanford not in top five
According to the player's comments to Wallace, Stanford also trailed "huge" for:
James Johnson (Ark): Arkansas solid over Stanford and others
Alex Holmes: Listed Stanford fourth, posted a 3.0 / 1170
Paul Mociler: UCLA slightly over Cal, both "BIG" over Stanford

On this day of their senior years in high school, the following current Stanford players said the following teams had "slight" leads over Stanford.
Mike Craven: UCLA
Dave Bergeron: Washington
Teyo Johnson: USC, ("but maybe because I visited there most recently")
Kwame Harris: Michigan ("Mom's favorite, and she could drive to the games.")
Leigh Torrence: Duke
In addition, Stanford in September also trailed slightly for these players who we eventually would lose:
Brandon Russell: Favored GT slightly over nearby NC; Stanford 3d; chose NC
Jeremy Battier: Favored and later chose Duke, his famous older brother's school
Jake Wood: Favored and chose nearby Wisconsin
Scott Robinson: Favored nearby Penn State, chose Virginia, rumored girlfriend's school
Omar Jenkins: Favored Northwestern, chose Notre Dame

On this day of their senior years in high school, these are the only Wallace-covered players for whom Stanford had a lead, which each prospect except Crochet said was "slight":
Casey Carroll
Justin McCullum
Kris Bonifas
Chris Rudiger
Mark Anderson
Mike Lovelady
Gerren Crochet
(Note: Kyle Matter (June), Nick Sebes (8-27), Capp Culver (8-8) Justin McCullum (8-8) , Jon Alston (8-11) all verballed before this date in their respective senior years.)

Stanford, of course, landed all seven of those players. But we also led for three other players whom we eventually lost:
Ian Scott, who opted for homestate Florida, where he now starts at DT;
Ty Ericks, who chose his parent's, sister's, and girlfriend's school and favorite, the hometown Huskies;
Brandon Holley, who chose Army.
(We also led slightly for Lorenzo Alexander, who chose Cal after not clearing Stanford admissions.)

The above seems to suggest, though certainly not prove:
1. Leads obviously are not very predictive of our prospect's ultimate choices if a team other than Stanford leads. When a team other than Stanford led, our prospect eventually committed to that school in only three (Johnson's, Battier's, and Wood's) of 23 cases.

2. A Stanford lead is more predictive of the prospect's ultimate decision. Of the 10 prospects who reported in September that we led, seven eventually chose us.

3. Our chances for prospects for whom we trail in September are good, provided we still appear in the prospect's top four. With prospects for whom we trailed in September, huge or slightly, our win-loss was 15-6. For prospects for whom we led, it was 7-3. (I do not include Holmes and Mociler as losses because Holmes clearly would have chosen us, and Mociler was no worse than 50-50.)

4. Overall, our win-loss for our key prospects who list us in September is 20-9. (I exclude Royster and Svitek, because neither listed us in September.) So we've converted about two-thirds of these "elite" players. If you factor in losses to OU, the record is 20-12.

This performance helps explain why some posters here, knowing we have 23 scholarships to offer, ask if we have at least 35 candidates still listing us; those posters have learned that our conversion rate is about two-in-three, and that we have to count on a couple losses in OU. (As I noted earlier, this class in general is the most remarkably qualified I've seen, but there are a few specific cases of concern, so this allowance still should be factored in.)

Naturally, past performance may be no predictor of future performance, or we may have ventured into new territory this year. It does appear that we face better and more competition this year for these players. Last year, we repeatedly faced off against Northwestern and Georgia Tech, and swept them. This year, we are in several battles with Notre Dame and Texas, as well as UCLA, USC, Miami, Oklahoma, and others. In a post soon, however, I will offer my view that the same conversion rate probably will play out, in part because from all indications and comments, our remaining prospects in the pool are unusually well suited to Stanford, and very inclined to choosing us, regardless of what other school or schools they are considering.

5. Our toughest competitor is geography. With the exception of Ty Ericks, every prospect we lost in the last two classes lived at least two time zones away and chose a school closer to home than Stanford--and only three of those prospects chose a school in a state other than their home state or one of its bordering states.
Our record with prospects in the Pacific and Mountain zones was 13-1, losing only Ericks (who chose not just his home state, but his home city.) With prospects who lived in the Central and Eastern zones, our win-loss was 9-8.

Again, the data is pretty limited, but I think most of us would expect that even limited data would look a little different--"solid" leads would hold up more often than slight ones, for example, even in a limited sample.

Ever the recruitnik,
Hulk


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