Assuming we'll still have a functioning government in six months, you may still want to file your taxes. It's not too late to send a charitable contribution to Barking Carnival. Sailor Ripley owns paypal after all.
Living with Gene
The NCAA isn't done sniffing around the High Plains. In fact they have four ongoing investigations into potential infractions.
It all started back in November with a tip from a former Mississippi State player. Apparently an elite prospect Auburn was recruiting, or his family, or his family's church, may have been getting paid. Allegedly. That fizzled into nothing and the footballing deity known to us mortals as Cam Newton fulfilled his student athlete dreams by delivering a hunk of Baccarat to rural Alabama. So the NCAA moved onto a more important matter than paying recruits. The real reason they have been spending so much time in Auburn since November is to finally take down the salacious joy ride known as The Tiger Prowl.
Tiger Prowl started in 2009 as a way for Auburn coaches to introduce themselves to fans and recruits across the state. Coaches rode in stretch limo Hummers to various high schools in Alabama during the spring evaluation period.
So if Trooper Taylor and the pleather-cladded, one-size-too-small-Levi's-wearing head coach can't cruise around the state in stretch limo Hummers to entice recruits, how are they going to gain their commitments without paying them? I really feel for Auburn here. Just let them be.
Manny Diaz is a Moneyballa
Some good stuff on Manny Diaz posted by Bruce Feldman a few days ago at ESPN Insider.
Subscription required, but I'm fairly certain there are only a few hundred registered accounts shared between 68 million users. Cut and paste, imo. Longhorns fans will soon be able to enjoy this content for free with a valid TexasExes ID, or something like that. You'd have to ask srr50.
If you haven't read Michael Lewis' fantastic book, Moneyball, about how the Oakland A's leveraged advanced statistical analysis to give them an upper hand in scouting, drafting, and making educated front office decisions; here's your primer. Lewis focused on baseball but managers in every sport have adopted these so called Sabermetrics to find a competitive advantage in the Greg Oden era. Huckleberry can't say the word without baring his teeth and falling into a fit of convulsive laughter. 10! 01! 10! 01! 10! 01! 10! 01!
Some choice excerpts:
"I don't know that we do anything that other people don't do," he said. "I don't know that we run many blitzes that other people don't run. I don't think we run many fronts or coverages that people don't run. I think we just found a way to be multiple and try to be unpredictable. Maybe we do what everybody else does, but maybe we do it at different times and out of different looks to dress it up. There's definitely no guru stuff going on. One thing we want to do is stay in a relentless level of attack. Offenses are hard-headed. They want to try and dictate to us, and we're hard-headed. We want to try and dictate to them. That's the back and forth of the course of the game."
A lot of what Diaz says is Muschampian in tone ("stopping the other team is all that matters...") but a further look reveals they have different approaches towards achieving a schematic advantage on defense. Diaz does care about stats and dissects film voraciously to figure out why certain play calls in worked in some situations and failed in others. Like any other DC does this?! Similar to Harsin's O, Diaz might have five base packages from which he can run 50 different variations. Which begs the question, are you multiple? You may want to look into it. Diaz also uses Google, which Will Muschamp had never even heard of.
"You start out by Googling stuff to find something out," he said. "Then you find one, and that has links to four of five other things. I think it comes back to being a football junkie."
He's just like us.
Diaz goes on to credit facing former Florida OC Dan Mullen's offense every day in practice at Mississippi State for being prepared come gameday and he can expect a similar challenge from the HarsinWhite Experience, except now Diaz has better talent at his disposal to counter it. I'd like to say we have a more talented offense as well but 5-7 changed everything.
"Our defense is based on creating negative plays, since, generally speaking, tackles for loss should be drive killers," he said. "When you get a tackle for loss, then that creates a third down-and-long, so that the next stat you'd go to is third-down defense."
Diaz also has TFLs, FTW tattooed across his thorax, gang style.
"For whatever reason, Mississippi State finished No. 1 in the nation in the amount of fumbles that occurred, and we had the highest percentage of those fumbles recovered," he said. "We recovered at a higher percentage than anybody else in the country. Texas was in the bottom 10 of the same category. And if the two had been reversed, there's no telling whether our records could've been reversed.
Is there a reason for that? I know Texas played hard. It wasn't an effort issue. Is it luck? A lot of people who study this stuff think fumbles fall into the luck category and interceptions fall more into the skill. You're always trying to look to see if there's anything more you should be doing."
As Trips Right tells himself in the mirror every day, "I'd rather be lucky than good!" Then he chest bumps himself against the child-proof glass.
This defense will take some lumps early but expect rapid improvement over the course of the year and an elite squad in 2012. As in, zero points allowed, zero yards gained by the opponent all season. Has it ever been done? Why not be the first? What happened to standards around here?
Jesus Wins the Internet
Herr Shuttlesworth can expect a medal from Al Gore any day now. If you haven't read the majestic post at Recruitocosm and the ensuing levels of hilarity that follow, do so at once.
But wait, it gets better!
The latest from the maroon behind Beyond Thunderdome:
I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to Jonathan, James, Tonya, and the whole Gray family for the allegations levied against them that were posted on this blog last Friday. Through the course of the last week, and through communicating with Jonathan’s mother, it is clear that they are a classy family who is above the type of behavior insinuated on this blog. This blog was never intended to be taken seriously. Rather, the intent of The Tunderdome was to serve as a farce to demonstrate just how absurd and outlandish the claims and statements made by many blogs and websites covering high school football, specifically in Texas, can be. Going a bit further, every claim made by The Thunderdome was something that had already been posted on other websites…we merely were trying to serve as a conduit to bring those rumors and allegations into the light and demonstrates their absurdity. Somewhere between intent and execution, things got out of hand. For these transgressions, I am truly sorry.
In a time when you hear stories about the allegations levied against guys like Reggie Bush and Cam Newton, it is refreshing to see a family, such as the Grays, undertake the recruiting process in such a thoughtful and deliberate manner. The Grays are going about this process in a straightforward and professional manner that is not often seen these days, and that is to be commended. Jonathan is a fine young man and I wish nothing but the best for him and his family.
Too late, asshole. It's safe to say Big Brother's competitive advantage in all realms remains intact.
The Marriage of HenryJames
Today is HenryJames' last day as a free man. We cannot disclose the location nor verify the bride's mental condition/blood alcohol level when she said "Yes". It's a private ceremony, otherwise the "Speak now or forever hold your peace" portion of the event would set new participation records. Instead of a honeymoon, they're going straight to marriage counseling. Too soon? With HenryJames, never.
And you can bet your barking ass we'll be liveblogging the event tomorrow afternoon.