Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who do you think should be in the Clemson Athletic HOF?

Mickey Plyler's blog on TNet highlights a few players who I thought were already in the Clemson Hall of Fame, after this weeks inductions. Take a look over the official list here and give us your thoughts.

How is Raymond Priester, one of my favorite Clemson players, not in there?

Terry Allen?

Rod Gardner?

TZach got busted for smoking (and selling) weed, so did T. Smith I think, and Flowers roughed up a co-ed once while in school, which you may not recall. I can't think of reasons why some of our other best aren't in there though.

For Christ's sake, Nelson Welch is in there. He who was automatic-under-30-but-problematic-over.

George Dostal, our Weight Program director in the early 80s who predicted we'd play in the Orange Bowl in 1981, isn't in there. This man is directly responsible for a lot of our success in the '80s, as he made sure (with Dollar Bill McLellan's support) we had the best weight facility at Jervey in the country at that time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baseball breakdown

Even though Clemson went 4-1 last week with victories over ranked GT, SC and Coastal, we still lost ground in the division to FSU, who swept Wake and lead at 15-7 in the Atlantic. We stand at 14-10 and lost the series @ FSU, so the hard fact is that we're 2.5 out with 6 games to play. Unless VT and GT manage to put a whipping on the Noles, who have won 9 straight, we'll be hard pressed to make that up. GT does get them in Atlanta however.

As for hosting, like the NCAA basketball tournament, the RPI is a big factor in who gets it, along with the site's ability to host more fans and generate a turnout to make a profit. As of today, the RPI has Clemson at #7 in the nation. As you can see, UNC and GT are essentially locks to host, but Miami (13-11 in ACC) is teetering at 4th in the Coastal Division. Virginia (3rd Coastal) has a much better shot at it, but getting more than two hosts in one division seems unlikely.

In this chart, you can see the possible end RPI rankings and what has to happen for teams to reach a certain level of RPI ranking. From the link, you can see we need a 10-1 finish to end up in the Top 8, and 6-5 to end up in the Top 16. Our remaining opponents have a break even record as of this weekend. I would say that right now, given that we are a near-lock to finish in that 10-12 range in RPI and that the ACC is #1 in RPI, that we'll get the Regional hosting site for the first round.

Jeff Schaus was named ACC Co-Player of the Week after last weeks games:
Clemson’s Schaus had a stellar series against No. 4 Georgia Tech to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 series win. Against the Yellow Jackets, the Naples, Fla., sophomore went 8-for-13 (.615) with one double, one homer, four RBIs, three runs, one walk, no strikeouts, a .923 slugging percentage, and .643 on-base percentage. Schaus’ three-run homer in Saturday’s win proved to be the difference, and he was 4-for-5 with four RBIs in all on Saturday.

Schaus also went 3-for-4 in Friday’s game. But perhaps his biggest moment of the week came against No. 19 Coastal Carolina on Tuesday. With two outs in the ninth inning and Clemson trailing 3-1, Schaus blasted a dramatic grand slam to give the Tigers a 5-3 walk-off win. On the week, he was 10-for-22 (.455) with seven runs, one double, two homers, nine RBIs, and two stolen bases in five games, four of which were against top-25 ranked teams. On the season, he is hitting .331 with 10 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 30 RBIs, seven steals, and a .436 on-base percentage thanks to 28 walks against only 15 strikeouts in 169 at-bats.

Next season's uniform start date could be moved up one week, extending the season's length but not the number of games. This would put less of a burden on pitching staffs around the country, by cutting the number of midweek games down.

Rankings for this week: USA Today-17th, Collegiate Baseball-19th, Baseball America-21st, National Collegiate Writers-19th.

The Buffalo Bills did sign Cullen Harper to a mini-camp contract for a tryout. The turd hung up on Strelow yesterday, and I think Paul was completely fair to him in his article. We all have to admit that while he should've kept his fucking mouth shut about Bowden, that he would've had a far better season with an OL that could protect him and take pressure off him with better run-blocking.

And skipping your Senior year when you play at Sakerlina isn't always the smartest thing to do, as is training with Neon Peion Sanders.
Cook, the Gamecocks’ leading tackler the past two seasons, likely was hurt by character concerns.

The 21-year-old was arrested on a gun charge on campus in 2007, although the charge was later dropped. Cook was ineligible for the Outback Bowl after he failed to pass the mandatory 12 hours required by the NCAA.

Munnerlyn was mystified that 18 safeties were drafted, and Cook was not among them.

“I feel like he’s way better than them,” he said. “His situation, I don’t know what happened.”

I can tell you what happened. If the NFL sees a guy who won't work, they won't take his ass. He's lazy and stupid to throw away his last semester and fuck things up for his team in a bowl game. If you watched Iowa run all over them, you'd see that another good tackler would've been very helpful in that game....although they would've lost anyway.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Congrats to the CU HOF class of 2009

Per T-Net (, this year's HOF class includes two guys that I grew up watching play football for the Tigers every Saturday in the fall. Most everyone out there is familiar with Brian Dawkins, particularly of his tremendous play with the Eagles organization. Rob Bodine, however, is one name that many of you may not be familiar with. Rob was a walkon who eventually recieved a scholarship from Coach Ford and became a first team selection to the '91 All-America team (Footaball Writers) and second team for the AP.

As you can see from the above clip, this story is absolutely fantastic and is a tribute to Bodine's work ethic and desire to play for Coach Ford and Clemson University.

Baseball takes series against #4 Georgia Tech

Clemson's baseball team overcame a 5-4 loss on Friday at home to GT, pulling out wins on Saturday 8-5 behind Casey Harman and Sunday afternoon 6-3 to take the series from #4 Georgia Tech this weekend. The Tigers improved to 30-15 overall and 14-10 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets fell to 28-11-1 overall and 14-7-1 in ACC play.

The win was Jack Leggett's 300th against an ACC team as Clemson's head coach. It was also Clemson's 100th all-time victory over Georgia Tech, as the Tigers improved their all-time record against the Yellow Jackets to 100-97-3 with Sunday's win.

Clemson will have no midweek games because of Exams, and will get Maryland at Tiger Field next weekend. Senior third baseman Matt Sanders sat out with a back injury sustained early in Saturday’s game. ... Senior starter Trey Delk pitched for the first time since March 20 and allowed one earned run and three hits in three innings before approaching his predetermined 50-pitch limit. Delk missed the past month because of a stress fracture and bulging disc in his back.

We now have a great shot at getting a Regional at the very least (I'd say almost a lock), and our RPI is good enough to warrant consideration for a Super Regional.

Cris Ard took email questions from TI readers and subscribers last weekend and gives his thoughts on the LB corps, the offensive line situation, and recruiting.

He speaks of Pearman's interview with them last week, the highlights of which are really that Lambert and Walker need to step it up or J.K. Jay will take at least the 2nd team spot from one of them; guys like Jamarcus Grant need to step it up; there will essentially be a 3-man rotation at OT (Hairston, Lambert and Walker at the moment, recall most Tackles play the whole game so you only need 3 or 4); they will take at least 2 OTs (likely one on each side) this next cycle; and we're alright at TE for the moment but they'll look to take 2 TEs as well.

Clemson graduate assistant Ryan Sulkowski is taking a job as HC of Rifle High School in Colorado. It looks like he'll be replaced in a few weeks, maybe with Hutchinson again, as Hutch is technically an "intern."

NFL Draft
I'm not going to say much about how the ACC has done in Drafts of late, while we have put quite a few good players in over the last few years, frankly it doesn't mean squat to me. I want them to do well but unless they play on the Panthers I really dont follow them.

JD went to the Cleveland Browns in the 6th rd., and thankfully for him they were a favorite team of his growing up. Don't ask me how that works, because I barely remember when Cleveland was any good.

D. Scott went first in the 4th to the Rams, C. Clemons went to Miami, and Hamlin to the Cowboys in the 5th round.

Free Agents: A. Kelly signed with the Atlanta Falcons, Grisham signed with the Steelers, R. Jackson to the Chargers, and shockingly Cullen Harper is still a free agent....No comment from me on whether I'd rather have him instead of Jake Delhomme's sorry ass for 5 more years.

An article on the James Barker presidency at Clemson and this whole Top 20 initiative.

The Fridge has been upgraded to Fair Condition.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clemson bitchslaps the Cluckers

(vid courtesy of 43Tigers)

Clemson defeated Sakerlina 12-2 in Cola last night, splitting the season series 2-2.
“We’ve been playing pretty well lately, we had a little skid this past weekend, but for the last two and a half weeks we’ve been playing much better offensively,” Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said. “We were able to put up a five-spot there in the sixth inning and a three (in the eighth) and a four (in the ninth), and we were able to swing the bats pretty well. The second half of the game we played much better. They got a little bit tired and we took advantage of it.”

After this win and the win at home against a ranked Coastal Carolina team, we're 28-14 for the year. Paulson and Parker homered again, their 9th and 10th respectively.
Parker received the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson's MVP of the four-game season series against the Gamecocks. In four games, he was 6-for-15 (.400) with two doubles, one homer, seven RBIs, and four runs.

Just think, if he could pull off the same in football, he could be one of the greatest Coot Killa's ever....too bad we've won two in a row already, we cant win more than 4...gotta let em win every once in a while to keep them interested.

The brightest spot from my perspective about the game was that Vaughn (former closer) finally pitched well, he pitched 3 scoreless innings in middle relief to get the win....but why Jack continues to take out his starter before pitching the mandatory 5 innings (to get credited with a W on his record) is beyond me still, especially if he's pitching well.

I'm sure he's on a pitch count, but dont tell a guy to start and then when he pitches well take him out early enough that he cant get a W on his record.

Gene Sapakoff at the P&C thinks we should start holding the baseball games in a bigger The Cockroach or Death Valley.

Clemson will face Illinois at home next year for basketball, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Dabo Swinney has signed his contract, details I've written about before.

JD's highlight reel from NFL Films.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Defensive Line and depth chart

Recently Rumph and Brooks have given interviews that indicate the status of our DL, post-spring, and a hint at the depth chart up front.

Without going into all the quotes and details, heres a summary of the situation. One criticism of all linemen is that they play high (they stand up), don't use their hands enough, and aren't flexible in the hips like they should be and most of these guys have that as their main critique.

D. Bowers-as always, you hear nothing but praise for the guy's talent and skill. Rumph calls him the best player he's ever coached, and points out that when Bowers wants to play, he can hardly be stopped. Like Gaines Adams though, his motor doesn't run on every play. It took Gaines til his last season to show that had changed.

R. Sapp-They wish he had a year under someone like Gaines Adams or Merling to learn from them, but Dhe's supposed to be a leader and just isn't. He is progressing very well on his injury, and they expect him ready by August completely. Motor is on high. They would like him to bulk up just a bit for fall.

K. Alexander-made the biggest gains this spring along with A. Branch. Took Sapp's spot in the DE rotation this spring at 1st team. Smart player who does his assignments but hasn't always made big plays. Big and strong, but still inflexible.

A. Branch-RS'd last year, but really impressed the staff this spring. Big talker who finally backed it up for once. Plays high mostly, but you'd expect that from a RS Freshman.

M. Goodman-impressed the coaches more than anyone really. You can go through the last month of the blog and see the staff rave about him, and that he doesnt look like a Freshman. They have enough depth to RS him, but the decision is up in the air still. If he cant break into the normal rotation, its better to go ahead and do so and have him just learn this year, but it'll be hard to keep him off the field. Very hard worker with a high motor.

K. Brown/Byron Clear-Not progressing as fast, need more coaching to be good players. Not on the level as the other guys.

Tackle has only 5 at the moment in the rotation:
J. Jenkins-definitely the best up front DT we have. Brooks wants more flexibility and hand usage out of him, but believes he could be great. I get the impression that he doesnt think he's of the Haynesworth/NFL-caliber yet though.
Brandon Thompson-good spring, good spring game (9T, 4 touch-sacks). Both have worked this spring to cut fat and still gain some muscle.

But Cumbie, Chavis, and Rennie Moore are all vying for 2nd team spots. All had good springs, but their critiques are the same: play high, inflexible, hand usage. Rennie Moore garnered the most praise for his work ethic and production among this group, but is young (RS Fr.) so I would guess that Chavis or (likely) Moore is the 5th man up front at the moment. He mentioned Cumbie as a possible starter, so theres your 5-deep at DT: Jenkins-Thompson, Cumbie-Moore/Chavis.

Given this info, we can project a post-spring depth chart for the Defense:
DE-Bowers/likely K. Brown only because of experience, but being pushed by Branch hard
Bandit End-Alexander/Sapp (at the moment)
SAM-K. Connor/D. Andrews
WILL-Cooper/Willard or Hunter
SS-McDaniel/C. Lewis
FS-Chambers/R. Hall

Note the LB corps is in contradiction to what is available on, because I have gone by Steele's published comments directly, and I've put Sapp on the board.

Best wishes to The Fridge

Fridge hospitalized due to Guillen-Barre syndrome.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder that causes your immune system to attack your peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS nerves connect your brain and spinal cord with the rest of your body. Damage to these nerves makes it hard for them to transmit signals. As a result, your muscles have trouble responding to your brain. No one knows what causes the syndrome. Sometimes it is triggered by an infection, surgery or a vaccination.

The first symptom is usually weakness or a tingling feeling in your legs. The feeling can spread to your upper body. In severe cases, you become almost paralyzed. This is life-threatening. You might need a respirator to breathe. Symptoms usually worsen over a period of weeks, then stabilize. Most people recover. Recovery can take a few weeks to a few years. Treatment options during the symptom period include medicines or a procedure called plasma exchange.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Brad Scott discusses the interior line, baseball completely chokes

After taking the series against Miami last weekend, and demolishing Western Carolina in the midweek series, the team went to Blacksburg and got spanked twice over the weekend, losing what was great momentum and possibly their shot at winning the Atlantic if FSU continues to pick up. We lost friday 5-2, snapping our 11 game win streak against VT. Lost again on saturday 7-3, but Casey Harman pitched well enough sunday to help us pull one game of the three 8-1. We're now 26-14 and 12-9 in ACC play.

Now the Hokies are not that good, but have been hot, winning 8 straight til sunday. I'm not one that blames Leggett for every loss, nor am I calling for his head, but this weekend is on him. A coach's job is to keep his team on an even keel and have them ready to play, and we were neither this weekend. This team needs to get their shit together. Every time we look like we're ready to reel off win after win, they fall on their face.

Jacoby Ford won the 100m dash in the ACC Outdoor Championships, Clemson finished 6th overall as a team. Woohoo, great for him, now catch me 80 balls. Wanna know why track guys never end up as great WRs? CUZ COACHES DONT MAKE EM PRACTICE FOOTBALL IN SPRING.

Larry Williams' blog shows that Jon Richt has ended up at Mars Hill, which is where Max Lennon went after Clemson tossed him out, by the way.

GNews has an article up on how Parker is juggling football and baseball, article number 400 by my count, and there'll be 1000 more between now and September.

Dorell Scott really went through some struggles, and hopes for a real shot in the pros.

Scott, speaking about the improvements of the interior linemen this spring.
"There's no doubt we got better this spring. Those guys, it's important to them. And our offense is a little better because the offensive line is a little more experienced than they were a year ago. They're playing with a little bit more confidence.

"You never want to say too much, but I sure do feel a lot better about this spring coming out of there than I did last spring."

He has revealed, for now, the starting lineup out of spring.

1st Team

However, Cloy is the one who is in the most danger of losing his spot, to Dalton Freeman, who got a lot more snaps this spring because Cloy had conflict with classes. Scott mentions that the battle at Center will be neck-neck this August.

2nd Team
LG-Wilson Norris (lost 25lbs, much better at run protection than pass)
RG-David Smith, the 3rd G overall

Barry Humphries is the biggest wild card, and has only had light contact so far. He will be eligible by August and will push at Center and RG. Recall he's still the strongest guy on the team.
"We'll give him a chance to compete for a starting job, because he's been a starter in our program. He'll get his reps initially as a second-team guy, but then when we scrimmage we'll let him roll some with the ones. And if he outplays McClain or outplays Austin – or if I play him at center and he outplays Cloy or Freeman – we're all about putting the best 11 on the field.

"And I can also see him, with his experience, being a guy that would allow us to rotate him in and be a guy that can rest any of those three positions if we needed to. So we'll see how that works out."

I just want a center who can snap the fucking ball properly please. There was no excuse for that shit last season.

3rd Team isnt split from side to side, but Ben Ramsey can play both G and C, Matt Sanders has become more focused, and Kenny Page probably has the furthest to go of all the interior linemen. Page is overweight, likely aided by a shoulder injury that kept him from lifting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baseball sweeps WC

Swinney made a few comments to the media in an ACC teleconference that he had essentially made before in his other interviews this spring, so I don't believe they're worth mentioning again. He did say that he wasn't concerned about the possibility of losing Parker to next year's MLB draft (you must be a JR. or 21yo to be eligible). With his bat heating up now, its worth thinking about.

I think its pretty clear to most of us that if Kyle gets the starting nod at QB (and of course he'll play even if he doesnt start this fall) that there really is no way he'd leave unless he was a bona fide 1st rd. pick. I have never seen any comment that says he really loves one sport more than the other, just comments to the effect of "I'd like to get better at both, and then decide from there."

During the midweek games, we stomped a mudhole into Western Carolina 11-1, highlighted by Stoneburner's performance on the mound (7 IP, 5H, 1R, 2BB, 11Ks) and Schaus' 6th HR, and then walked it dry wednesday night 13-2. We're now 25-12 overall and face VT this weekend. Paulsen and Parker both hit their 8th HRs of the year, Parker's was a Grand Slam.

Looks like Clemson is really going to push CJ for Heisman this fall, they're going to make a lifesize poster of him...Now if they'll just prove to me that he'll get 25 touches per game, and not split any carries with Harper and Ellington unless he just can't do squat that day.

Dwayne Allen made some legitimate comments about the TE's role in this offense, but mostly complained about his own lack of catches. Its a good and a bad thing to do that. With nearly everyone raving about his physical talents, and the nearly-universal opinion that Ben Hall was completely wasted at TE, its likely that his complaints are founded. He mentioned that how he is being used is not how he envisioned when he signed his LOI, and that he'd "evaluate his options" in this offseason. I think he's just frustrated, as Palmer and Barry got 8 balls in the spring game, and he got none. Its good that he wants the ball, and in his comments he was deliberately short so as to not stir the pot too much, but he is a RS Freshman. Allen played mostly on 2nd team this spring, but did get reps at 1st string.

I know Spence and O'Cain aren't here anymore, but Fat Brad, Napier, and Dabo were all here for Hall's last season in 2003.

Kevin Steele spoke with reporters and revealed some interesting tidbits in another interview. The main points:

-Sapp was able to have light contact at the end of spring, and his technique on pass rush is improving.
-Conner, Maye, and Cooper are the starting LBs. Conner and Cooper are also getting reps at Money (the 2nd LB in Nickel situations) and at Dime LB.
-2nd string are likely Daniel Andrews/Buster Hunter at SAM, Campbell at MIKE, and Willard at WILL.
-S. Chambers has had a good spring, and will start at least a few games, but Gilchrist has so much ability in coverage that he is pushing for more PT. He will definitely be on as a Nickelback. Steele also believes we have the best 2-deep CB situation in the conference. All 4 could start anywhere and they push each other.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quick news

There is not much to post, but I saw this article by Strelow come out and if you believe its definitely Korn or Parker, then you should give it a read. He makes several key points.
What we saw from Parker were the Matt Stafford-esque arm and effortless, quick release for which he already had a reputation. We saw him excel in area that were question marks about him as well; he escaped trouble numerous times and turned negatives into positives, including a pair of flipped shovel passes (one rather ill-advised), plus he deftly used his eyes twice to keep a safety from jumping long passes down the right sideline. Plus, after a rough initial series, he was consistently accurate the rest of the way.

But … he got away with locking in on receivers a couple of times, including a time when he apparently didn’t see linebacker Kavell Conner and bounced a shoulda-been INT off Conner’s hands.

What we saw from Korn were both the intangibles and tangibles Clemson’s new coaching staff has been hoping to unleash with an offensive approach (in other words, sans the Rob Spence philosophy) in which the quarterback can be a playmaker instead of a manager or someone whose goal is to not lose the game.

But all you need to know about Wade’s place in the QB quarrel is that the Tigers have been using Wade as the “flashlight” on their punt protection unit.

He’s the middle guy in the back threesome who reads the block coverage, calls out the protection and the snap cadence, then tries to block a charging defender who has a head of steam — basically as the last line of defense for the punter.

Then he gives 5 issues to solve before next season, which are pretty obvious.


Mickey Plyler explains that Baseball gets the shit end of the stick when it comes to scholarships in Division 1. With SC always making education cuts and Clemson jacking up tuition, its a wonder either school is doing well at baseball.

I have one thing to add, Clemson was last #1 at baseball when I was there, during the Khalil Greene years. My class was also hit hard by the first big tuition increases at Clemson. Is it a coincidence that our baseball team hasn't been quite as good since those years, because we lost the stud hitters off those teams?, or is it that we've lost Kevin O'Sullivan (Florida), Tim Corvin (vandy), and John Pawlowski (Auburn) from the staff in the last decade?

Clemson is ranked as high as #18 (USA Today/ESPN), but still unranked by the AP.

A snippet from BaseballAmerica's weekly chat discusses Clemson's chances of hosting a Regional in the NCAAs.
Q: Jim Bob from SE Des Moines asks:
FSU has done pretty well for themselves, considering their youth; most of their regulars are in the sophomore and freshman class. A team to fear in 2010, I would speculate. Do they have any shot at hosting a regional this year? They have good series wins against UNC, Clemson, and Auburn, and have the weak part of their schedule forthcoming.

A: Aaron Fitt: You nailed it. FSU weathered the tough part of their schedule well. If they can go 7-2 or 8-1 over the next three weeks against teams near the bottom of the ACC, they really could find themselves in position to host again. The Seminoles are very quietly putting together a solid season, though not without its ups and downs.

Q: Bob from Greenville, SC asks:
How close is Clemson to getting back in the top 25? What about their chances for hosting a regional? Thanks for the chat!!

A: Aaron Fitt: Very close, but it's tough to separate those three ACC Atlantic Division teams (Clemson, BC and FSU), because they've all beaten each other and lost to each other. We just decided to wait another week before ranking any of them. Clemson is 15th in the RPI right now, so they're very much still in the mix to host. The thing that hurts them is UNC, Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia are all a bit ahead of them in the pecking order right now, and there's no way the ACC gets more than four host sites. That's the same thing that hurts Florida State's chances. Like FSU, Virginia is through the worst part of its schedule and could go on a late-season run to lock up a regional hosting slot. And it's hard to see UNC, Miami or Tech not hosting right now, unless one of them goes into a tailspin. I don't see it.

Clemson has thankfully made it through the toughest portion of our schedule, but we and FSU both have to play GT in coming weekends. Our schedule otherwise is fairly weak, so if we could win 2 of 3 against MD, VT, and NC St., we'd have about 40 wins and would have a great shot. We can also host more fans than places like UNC.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post spring interviews and comments, Baseball gets a huge win

Strelow writes about the things we learned from Spring ball this season, which isnt much if you ask me.

Heather Dinich writes about Napier being handed this offense at 29 years of age.

Kevin Steele spoke with reporters following the spring game and had a few things to say about his defense.

Your overall impressions?

Kevin Steele: "We tackled well for the most part. As far as the whole spring, we really wanted to get better in pad leverages and using our hands. We made improvement there. We got a lot better at it. This thing wasn't broken. They were pretty good on defense before. Another thing we wanted to get done was communication – when you see this, this is what we do out of this. I thought our guys really worked hard trying to understand concepts of what to defend out of certain things. Our tackling and effort to the football was huge. We kept chopping wood and got better at it.

On the depth:
"The front four now, there's enough bodies there. There's five inside and five outside with Malliciah, six. The backer corps, you can't really say that. We'll have to mix and match and cross train some guys. At corner, there's enough bodies there even to go nickel. Safety, when you start moving two – McDaniel and then Sadat and has had a good spring and has impressed me – we've got to have Hall and some of those guys come through there. So I'd say safety and linebacker, we need to get out of having to cross train the guys that's got it. We need some of those young guys to come through."

On surprises from young players:
"Not so much that I thought, because you expect the best out of everyone. I thought Malliciah Goodman – for a freshman – wow, to make that stride, was good. Tig (Willard), at linebacker, is still a freshman. He did. Hall at safety did. Sadat has kind of bounced around, was a running back in high school, and he came out there and is one of our best tacklers. He's a physical guy. Those kind of guys jumped out. Up front, you have those guys inside there like Cumbie and Rennie Moore who are playing hard behind Brandon and Jarvis. The thing you don't want to have happen is that when you substitute, you don't worry about having to call something to protect some guy. With those guys up front, you don't have to do that. You just call what you call."

In addition, Gilchrist will be given a real shot at FS this fall instead of backup CB/Nickel. With Meeks coming in, Sadat improving, and Hall and Adams as well, we might not have problems with depth at Safety. Still though, experience is a big factor.

Most of the questions directed at Dabo after the game had to do with the QB situation, but he didnt show his hand at all.
Are you now at that next level where you can evaluate where you are in the decision as to who's No. 1 at quarterback?

Dabo Swinney: "I think we've created a very competitive environment at practice. You better not take a day off. Every rep counts. We try to carry that over into the game today. I thought they all made some good throws and some good plays. I think Kyle Parker had an exceptional day again. I think his team scored every time. All three of them did some good things. Mike Wade just doesn't go away. We've got a good healthy situation – all great kids, all great competitive guys who are made of the right stuff. We don't have to make a decision today. We don't have to play today."

How quickly or how late in fall camp will you go before you make the call on the starting quarterback?

Dabo Swinney: "Well that'll be determined by those guys. It could go all the way down to a week before the game. It could go to the game. If it's a situation where they both are playing well or all three are playing well, we may let it settle itself on the field. I'm not opposed to that."

How much of Kyle's not making any turnovers will help him in this quarterback battle? I don't know that he has committed a turnover in a scrimmage yet.

Dabo Swinney: "Ball security. We coach it all the time. You have to take care of the football. If we don't beat ourselves and we can be really good on defense, we will have a chance to win some ball games. You cannot turn the ball over. Just can't turn it over. We have to keep it to a minimum. That's something that will be critical."

If you played today, who would you run out there at quarterback?
Swinney: "Don't have to make that decision today. Good question, though."

Would you like to name the starter a week out of the game?
Swinney: "My choice would be to have a clear cut guy right now. I'm really glad we have the situation that we have right now. Competition makes everything better. I said that earlier. Pepsi needs Coke. Chevrolet needs Ford. Competition makes everybody better. That's what you like on your football team. We want to continue to have that. I think we'll have it at every position, not just at quarterback."

It would be nice to know though, even if its just within the team, because you have to build some chemistry with the WRs and the QB. Its even more important since we're going to start 3 new WRs this fall.

Baseball takes series against #5 Miami

Before the series, LW wrote this nice article about the team's struggles this year, but Clemson took a huge step forward this weekend, taking 2 of 3 from Miami at home, and hopefully getting on track to host a super regional if we can put things together. Miami leads the Coastal Division, and we now have a hold of the 1st place spot in the Atlantic at 11-7. BC and FSU are both 9-7.

Kyle Parker came out following the Orange/White game and homered that afternoon to make the only loss a respectable one, then homered again in the 2nd game and captured Player of the Week honors.
Parker, a sophomore outfielder, had an outstanding week on two fronts. On the diamond, he went 8-for-18 (.444) with two doubles, two homers, 11 RBIs, four runs, and three walks in five games this past week against arch-rival South Carolina and Miami.

In the home-and-home series against the Gamecocks, Parker totaled four hits, two doubles, and four RBIs, then he went 6-for-14 with two homers and seven RBI to lead Clemson to two wins in three games against the Hurricanes. The Jacksonville, Fla., native had at least one hit and one RBI in all five games (and at least two RBIs in four of the five games) during the week.

Dwyer shut down Miami in Game 2, giving up 2 hits in a complete game 9-1 victory, also getting Pitcher of the Week honors (9 IP, 2H, 1 R, 4BB, 10Ks).

On the Closer front, Clemson's Achilles' heel,Leggett says it will be Weismann this weekend against VT.
Still in search of a closer, Leggett said he hopes freshman Scott Weismann — whom he dubbed “the missing link” — will be available for next weekend’s series at Virginia Tech. Weismann, who sat out his Boston College homecoming two weeks ago because of shoulder soreness, pitched one inning against Duke last weekend but was held out against Miami because of soreness.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Game Impressions, White 30 Orange 13

And thats all they are, because overanalyzing the spring game and breaking down each drive is a complete time waster. It is televised, and it is not like other teams don't watch it.
We think its important to just look at the overall performance during the scrimmage game and not focus on specifics. The impressions you have of the spring game generally tell you what is going to happen early in the season.


Kyle Parker looked very good, Willy Korn did not look so awesome, Wade showed why he is still 3rd team. Parker throws bullets, and if he can get touch on some passes he's definitely locked the starting job up. Korn's INT late in the 4th was just a poor throw behind the WR, and had it been on the money it wouldve been a TD because the DB was 2 steps behind him. Otherwise it was a great drive by Korn, and he did make some great throws throughout the day.

Both QBs scrambled well enough. The Parker-led white team had the longer sustained drives.

I honestly don't see how, if we played tomorrow, that Parker isnt the starter.

But what will TNet do should WILLY KORN not be named starter? It could collapse when the hot air is released.....possibly worse than when Sakerlina tried that whole "blackout" shit and got demolished, and FGF went batshit.

RB & OL:
The white team ran the ball fairly well, but blocking was par on passing attempts for both teams. The starting 5 was split between the two teams, so don't be terribly quick to judge. I think Korn ended up with 3 of them though. Ellington ran hard, but I think Harper could've done better than he did. Rendrick Taylor actually looked good running, healthy for once. Hopefully he wont break a pinky finger and be out 6 weeks this fall.

Redzone offense needs some work, and thats where your OL and running game counts the most.

I wish CJ and Jacoby had been in there. They should be in there Dabo, even if its limited action. The rest of the WRs looked ok but thats harder to judge on a TV screen.

They looked confused about their assignment at LB a couple times, but otherwise the schemes they played were the ones I have written about here. There were alot of key blitz calls, Cover 1, Cover 3 and zone blitzes. Cover 1 (or man/man) is what is played behind the key blitz usually.

The pressure with the front 4 looked good to me, Kevin Alexander and Andre Branch had good days.

I think the rest of the pass defense will improve as they continue to learn to play more man coverage, but I wasn't impressed with them today. It was simply bad coverage sometimes. The CSS camera angle was wide enough that you could see exactly what they were playing schemewise.

I honestly think it will take 2 years to install the complete scheme, and teach pattern-recognition, so while we did bring back 8 starters on defense, I don't expect us to improve statistically as a defense this year. Sacks and TFLs yes, but not so sure about the rest. Perhaps we'll stay in the Top 25, but I'm leaning towards a bit lower. TCU will be the first real test, their QB has thrown for 2000+ yards each of the last two years.

Kicking was good, both Jackson and Benton looked ok. Jackson hit a couple midrange/longer kicks.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Practice Notes

Swinney has challenged Clemson fans to show up for the spring game this weekend. In keeping with this stupid theme, theres going to be an "All-In" bucket at each gate for the furlough fund.

Wednesday was the last full contact practice before the spring game, and the offense tore the defense up again, which is not supposed to happen in spring ball.

Dabo has named the top 4 WRs: Ashe, Dye, M.Jones and Jacoby Ford. Brandon Ford had the best scrimmage saturday, and is mostly fixed to 2nd (Pride) team, but he's in his first spring. Jones was an early enrollee last spring.

While acknowledging there is separation between the QBs, both Napier and Swinney have carefully neglected to say, in interviews this week, in which direction that might be. The coaches readily admit Korn has mechanical flaws and must fix that slow release, and have said that all 3 have had great practices (Wade actually had the best stats last weekend, Parker had the best day monday). Its going to come down to August. Korn and Parker will be on different teams this weekend for the game.

Coach Rumph and Coach Pearman will be the two coaches for the Orange/White game.

JK Jay has gotten all his snaps at RT and for now he'll stay there. It may still be Lambert at 2nd string, who has gotten alot of reps at 1st team instead of Walker. Hairston has locked down LT, and Jamarcus Grant has been getting the reps backing him up. Speaking of Walker, Pearman said this:
"We're still trying to find a right tackle, nobody wants to step up and take the job."

Then he was asked about TE Dwayne Allen, who was the most highly recruited TE on this roster.
"Dwayne has had an ok spring. He needs to finish strong this week. He has a lot to work on. He's got some ability, but has a lot of things to work on, especially at the point of attack and blocking."

"He's athletic. We really have to use him as a weapon for us. And he's got to play, but you can't be handicapped by playing him. He's got to be able to handle all the plays, the run and pass game, and that's going to take some time and coaching," said Pearman. "You'd hope he could make an impact (this fall), but you can't say until you get there. It'll be up to him, a lot of it."

Allen has shown flashes in passing situations, but his blocking is inadequate. When asked this afternoon after practice, Coach Swinney said this:
Up front offensive line wise, we're much, much improved. And I'm very proud of what coach Pearman and what coach Scott are doing with those guys. Those guys are buying in to what we want to do as well.

With CJ and Jacoby missing most of practice due to track, Ellington has taken the opportunity to impress the coaches more than anyone else.

The defense continued its up & down performance this spring by playing very poorly in Wednesday's practice, after having a few good days lately. Swinney said this today to reporters:
"Defensively, probably the first day that I've come off the practice field and been a little disappointed. I didn't think they came ready to play until it was 21-0. And you can't show up at 21-0. You have to show up when it's zero-zero. But they did respond. That's the good thing. We had a couple of really, really dumb penalties that cost us the ball game, but overall pleased with where we are in spring ball. Defensively I think we've had a great, great spring. But today was a little disappointing for me.

Perhaps the cross-training for the LBs is contributing to their confusion. You have to teach WILL and SAM the same things because the offense flips formation strengths so easily by putting men in motion, and you cant just flip your LBs because that gives away the coverage. In the player comments I've seen in places, they do seem a little confused about what to do, because they're all being taught things for either MIKE and WILL or SAM and MIKE.

Thankfully we look ok in the defensive backfield.

Baseball chokes
Clemson blew yet another lead in the 9th, this time Casey Harman lost it for us against Sakerlina 7-6. We did beat the Cluckers tonight though, no meltdown.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Scrimmage results

Clemson's defense recorded 13 sacks in the full scrimmage this morning, led by Bowers with 3. They used a one-hand touch rule however, so don't go crazy. Swinney calls it the best of this spring in his interview with reporters afterwards this morning, but pointed out there were some critical mistakes on both sides, due to lack of focus. It still looks like the defense leads like friday afternoon, as it should.

Ford and Spiller were held out for track, again I dont agree with it. I think we'll know how this is working out by Middle Tennessee. You have two weeks of real practice now, a month in August, and thats it.

The defense had some issues with WRs running free in man/man blitzes, commented on my several writers. Gilchrist is crosstraining at FS as well as CB, since Spencer Adams isnt ready. Cumbie and Goodman are playing both inside and outside. For the most part they were good but the goal-line is bad....awful, which Steele said is because they havent practiced it as much as worked on it from a paper standpoint.

The QB situation wasnt cleared up, as all 3 had similar stats (Wade had the best). Korn is noted to have come out with the 1st team Offense, with Lambert in at RT, who they say is better this year than before. Landon Walker does not appear to be having a good spring at all, from all the reports he and Lambert are in a real battle right now. Everyone is still bragging on McClain. Brandon Ford lit up the defense, but it still looks like its going to be Dye and Jacoby, with somebody else.

Kicking was good, 7-7 on FGs, two 49yard kicks, but punt protection itself was bad. People are coming right up the middle on them.

I'm not going to get too excited about it all, because if you listen to all this praise for everyone, then you'll start thinking we're unbeatable and won't give up a point all season. We hear every spring who is great and improving. Just try to take away the sense that the WRs are coming along, kicking was good for today, the OL is improving (can't really get worse can they?), the defense is picking up the scheme, and the QB situation isnt settled.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Inside the Steele Curtain: Cover 3 Zone Blitzes

First thing to get straight in your head is that a zone blitz is not what is called anytime you see a Defensive linemen drop into coverage. In reality, a DE may have a seam/flat responsibility on pass plays even when a blitz is not called. Also, just because you see the down 4 linemen rush on a play doesnt mean that a zone blitz wasn't called.

A zone blitz just means that you called a blitz, and you're playing zone coverage behind it, as opposed to man/man. Thats all it is.

The primary zone coverage behind a blitz is Cover 3 and most DCs will play what is called a "3-3", which just means Cover 3-3 under. Only 3 guys are playing the underneath zones, as opposed to the usual 4. You rarely call a zone blitz with Cover 2 behind it, because the lack of another underneath defender creates an extra seam in the defense somewhere that is easier to exploit should your LB not get to the QB fast enough. In fact, in Saban's playbook, there are only a couple of these, and those are from Nickel coverage (usually the Nickel CB blitz).

SmartFootball has two articles up on one type of zone blitz: the Fire Zone 3. Here the term "fire" essentially means that the MLB is stunting on his blitz, but in some coaches' terminologies it can mean that the blitz comes from the weakside seam area. His analysis and the links therein are for the strongside (SMACK=Sam and Mike) fire zone 3. The play from the Saban playbook is the same, and the DE is the guy with seam/flat responsibilties.

In these terms, "Field" means the wide side of the field, as opposed to boundary (see hash marks on figure). The field side is 'usually' the strong side, and most teams, when they throw, will do it to that side. In that case, the blitz is coming right at the QB's face. The defenders have different responsibilities (than what is in the figure) if this is called and a run play happens. First, seeing their relationship to the sidelines, the "UNDER" front is called by MIKE.

The terms on the figure indicate what the linemen are doing from alignment and technique. In the pro-set (2 RB-TE-2WR, called 2-1-2) example, here is what is happening:

The weakside DE is looking for run-first, and is playing a 6 technique, slanted at the outside hip of the LT. Once he reads pass, he drops to the flat. If run, he crashes inside. The idea is that he is to pick up any RB safety valve that runs out that side, or help on the X (split-end) if he stays short. Understandably, he could be in a major mismatch, but recall that the QB doesnt expect him to be there. If the TE is to his side, his key changes and he jams him at the line before releasing.

The weak/boundary DT is supposed to run a specific stunt to the B-gap on the LTs inside hip, and the other DT runs across the Center's face to hit the A gap on the boundary side.

The other DE, upon reading pass, jams up the B-gap, trying to hold the blockers up and keep the LBs free.

SAM, lined up in a 9 technique, blitzes off the edge. If they decide to roll out a slot WR, he wont blitz and is assigned to that slotman at the line. His coverage responsibility in that case is split with the SS playing zone on that side.

MIKE blitzes as well. If the ball goes away, the closest A-gap is his to cover because the DE is supposed to jam up the B-gap in either run or pass.

WILL is playing Stack in the pro-set case, playing hook zone on pass plays. In the event that a slot WR is sent out, and Sam is unable to blitz, WILL takes over his duty and blitzes off the edge. The CBs and FS are backed up into normal Cover 3.

There are various further coverage and run play adjustments (sky call to the boundary, for example) based on the formation and field/boundary shifts of them, but basically you wouldnt check out of this blitz unless they went to a 4-wide situation when you'd have a big matchup problem.

Here is a video of GT running the exact blitz above against us. Watch the backside DE backup into wall/flat, which you probably wouldnt see if you watched this play live, unless you were paying attention.

A quick alteration is to flip the zones covered by the WILL and that DE, its the same coverage otherwise.

I've had trouble finding illustrative videos, but here is one with a SMACK blitz. When you watch it you'll see MIKE and SAM blitz, but watch it twice and on the 2nd attempt you notice them rotating their coverage deep into a Cover 3, with the SS playing the curl/flat and the CB on the strong side backing up deep. On the weakside, you'll see the DE backing up to play zone. The play in the video corresponds to the one above.

You could just as easily flip this to the weakside, where it would be called a WHAM blitz, where WHAM=Will and Mike.

In the play above, the DE on the weakside (Ricky Sapp) executes a long cut, which just means he's supposed to slide to the A-gap. Thats not easy for him to do because the OT and OG will try to pick him up, but all this movement is supposed to do is to get them watching him, and open lanes up for the LBs. The NG cuts across the Center and into the other A-gap. The other DT executes a "slam", meaning he runs right at the hip of the strongside TE. If the QB manages to get away from the blitzing LBs, his job is just contain him and make the tackle.

The strongside DE (Bowers) would watch his key (RB to the ball) and wait for run first before dropping back into his zone. The QB does not expect him to be in that zone, once he reads that the Mike is blitzing.

Field Frisco is another alteration on the same idea, where the SS blitzes instead of SAM.

How is this effective? The defense aligns such that the QB will read a Cover 1 or Cover 2 initially before the snap. If he picks out that one LB is blitzing, he'll just think "Man coverage on somebody in that spot" which might make him think the whole coverage is Cover 1 (man-free). After the snap, the defense slides back into Cover 3.

Well the OT's job is the most intuitive one: block the DE across from him. Its a wasted assignment on the DE because he's trying to run across the LOS, not at the OT, and by bringing the LB or SS, the running back is forced to stay in and not release into a pass route.

From a Nickel personnel grouping, here is a pretty good explanation of a MIKE+SS zone blitz.

So this is essentially the type of zone blitz you will see Clemson run this year, its the most common form, used from the NFL to high school because its the safest. You can also have called key blitzes that will play the normal man/man or Cover 1 behind them that you usually think of when you hear the term blitz, I'll try to get to those soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

UGA beats us in baseball, and coming for Purnell

All signs point towards UGA offering Purnell or Miami's Haith a job, upping the ante to $2 million per annum. Recall that contract discussions have been underway all year for a possible raise. Purnell spurned Bama and LSU before, so I don't see much reason to take a job an hour away and force him to sell that lakehouse. Haith, however, would be wise to get out of Miami for a better job, and "they say" he wants out.

EDIT: this article came out this afternoon, saying OP isnt interested.

Justin Sarratt again pitched 8 solid innings (3H, 1R, 12Ks), but Matt Vaughn blew the lead in the 9th and we lost 4-2 last night to #1 (in some polls) Jawja, sweeping the midweek home&home set after beating us 6-5 in Athens tuesday, and breaking our 9 game home win streak. Sarratt threw 117 pitches and it was the right choice to take him out at that point, but as usual Jack can't get a solid closer (its pretty hard for most college teams to get one, but us especially) and we blew it in the end. Clemson stranded 17 runners in the two games, so we are still just playing too tight. Notice we outhit them in both games.
“It’s just bad because Justin Sarratt pitched one heck of a game,” Vaughn said. “He deserved better than that.”

Vaughn is trying to come back from a pair of minor off-season shoulder surgeries and said his velocity is down slightly. But he pointed to his location as Wednesday’s main culprit.

“There are no excuses for the way I threw tonight,” he said. “I feel good enough to win every time out…I wasn’t locating my pitches. I’m a guy, I go in there and locate my pitches, and tonight I didn’t do it. There’s no excuse for that.”

Wednesday was the latest in a series of late-inning or one-run losses for Clemson. The Tigers also lost ACC series at Florida State and North Carolina with ninth-inning meltdowns, and Leggett said that can’t continue.

“We’ve lost too many one-run games,” he said. “The kids have been playing hard, battling. We’ve had trouble finishing things off and we need to find the right combination there.”

I think I'd have to try Deese as a closer, maybe Cruz. We've got to find something. It's starting to feel like watching the Braves play guess-who-closes the game and loses it today.

Steele and Harbison are excited about the defense's potential this year, and Dabo's interview with reporters yesterday pointed out the offense's problems on 3rd down as a result. As I've pointed out before, the Saban philosophy calls for zone on 1st and 2nd down, and blitzing mainly on 3rd downs.
"Chris Chancellor made some big plays in critical situations today. Byron Maxwell made a huge play in a critical situation and came back and made another one," he said. "DeAndre (McDaniel) made two or three critical plays, so you've got the guys that should be making them starting to make them," he said.

Rising junior strong-side backer Scotty Cooper was given kudos by the coordinator for his continued good works, as well as Jeremy Campbell, who Steele said has continued to make improvement.

Sadat Chambers, a senior safety, who's attempting to fight off younger, more talented players, was branded by Steele as somewhat of a surprise in workouts to date.

Yet another article on Rendrick Taylor's injuries and struggles, and how he's expected to do something this year, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Encouraging words from Dalton Freeman about the OL's play:
The only thing Freeman had to adjust to last year was being in the two-point stance instead of the three.

“When I first got here it was a little different and it was starting to grow on me, but at the same time we got blown off the ball a lot and that was because we could not have our weight forward,” Freeman said. “That was kind of a Coach (Rob) Spence thing because we were very zone oriented.

“Now we are lining up and we are hitting the defense in the mouth. It felt like it gave us a lot more advantage because our weight was forward and we could just go straight off the ball.”

The Tigers started incorporating the three-point stance back in its blocking schemes when Swinney became the interim coach and started calling the plays last October. As a result, the team showed some improvement in the running game, but it was hard to change everything up halfway into the season.

Now Clemson is almost exclusively in the three-point stance and Freeman says he can already tell what a difference it is making in the running game and in everyone’s attitude.

Good riddance to all that zone blocking shit.

Danny Ford was at spring practice yesterday, maybe the presence of God improved things a little.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Inside the Steele Curtain: Robber

This will be the most common coverage Clemson plays this year, its versatile because you can blitz easily and not change assignments of everyone, particularly depending on what a LB's key is (which RB he watches, for example) he can blitz any formation from any front call. In other terminologies you'll hear it called "Man-free" or Cover 1 Man. Its something that VK never ran much of, but Saban/Steele have always used wherever they've been.

Cover 1 as a term by itself means only one thing: one deep safety playing zone, who is responsible as deep help across the whole field on any deep route. The most common variation, used by essentially everyone from high school to NFL, is called "Robber." Smartfootball has already given a good primer on this type of defense, but I'm going to rehash most of it here.

What does "robber" mean? Well essentially there is one man who isn't matched up man/man on someone over the middle, and he backs up and plays a zone coverage (around 10 yards deep) meant to 'rob' any crossing routes that spread teams like to use (think Jacoby Ford's or Kelly's usual quick slant inside, or a TE over the middle) or against a mobile QB where the Robber is also a Spy. In other terminologies, its called a "floater", or, as in Saban's playbook, a "Rat."

The advantage of this defense is that its pretty simple as a base, everybody plays man coverage, and the LB or S who isnt matched up on a RB or slot man generally plays the Robber, with the FS playing deep. Whomever gets assigned as a possible robber on any defensive play call though, must be able to read screen plays, pass, and be good against the run.

The basic Cover 1 Matchup is depicted here:

There are a lot of adjustments and calls made after recognizing the formation by MIKE and the FS, which are depicted in the figure, but that need not be described here. The front itself can easily be changed (under/over, etc) and is done after recognizing the formation, as always. The key of the linebackers (who they watch after the snap) doesn't have to change either, except that they play man in pass reads.

The responsibility of SAM and WILL, in this Cover 1 call against the Pro set, is man/man on the RB who breaks to his side. Occasionally they'll be asked to adjust to slot receivers if another DB isnt on the field, but primarily that will be handled by the two safeties. The SS is matched up on a TE, and tries to funnel him inside to the LBs, one of whom will be the Robber. The corners can jam their WRs and try to funnel them outside to the boundary. In the most basic alignment shown in the figure, MIKE or SAM ends up being the Robber.

Now for some specifics for Cover 1 Matchup:
SAM is watching the RB to his side, and if he blocks or breaks to the other side, and the TE releases, SAM must back up and becomes the Robber. MIKE would take that RB if he breaks to the strong side. If they send out a 3rd WR, he has to pick up the TE man/man. Notice in the figure that W and S are flipped because of the front call, but it could be the other way and usually it is.

WILL is playing just like SAM, whichever RB breaks to his side, he covers. If a RB comes out in the slot, WILL stays on him. He would play the Robber if the RBs break to flood the other side of the field with recievers (like if the HB runs up the opposite A-gap towards MIKE, and the FB ran to SAM).

MIKE is the one who needs to be the smartest usually. He's got to wait to see what the RBs do before he picks anyone up. If they run towards him, he tries to funnel them towards either OLB who is free playing Robber, but a majority of the time he is the Robber. For this you would need someone like Maye, who is fast, pretty good in coverage, and can tackle.

The SS is matched up on the TE, and funnels him inside, towards Robber. If a 3rd WR is sent out, he would pick that guy up himself, or, depending on the call, the FS would pick up the slotman and the SS would play the deep zone. Generally if the slot is close to the Strong Tackle, SS would matchup, and FS would play deep. If the TE or slot motions to the weak side, FS has to pick him up man/man and SS plays deep. If the TE blocks, then he is designated the Robber, because that nearly always means that RBs are coming out on a pass pattern to tie up the LBs.

FS has the easiest job from an assignment standpoint, he's there to stop any post route first, and then help deep on deeper plays to prevent the home run. A slot WR sent outside would mean he switches Cover 1 with the SS. Corners are matched up man/man on their WRs.

A small adjustment is Cover 1 Buck, where the SS is playing close to the LOS for run-support, and SAM always has the TE:

Here, either the SS or WILL picks up a RB to their side, and MIKE only if the RB comes over the middle. Whomever is free ends up being the Robber. If a slot WR comes out wide late, SS and FS flip assignments, like above.

Watch this video and you'll clearly see the LB, #30, playing robber after the snap. Everyone else is matched up man/man, and the FS is playing deep.

The object of the defense is to show a different front and make the QB make a read that is different from the actual defense being played. Cover 1 Robber generally shows a Cover 2 look, with the FS being lined up about 12-15 yards deep from the Weakside OT, and the SS about 8-10 yards off the outside shoulder of the TE or slot man. The man assigned to be the robber on each call is changed based on what the offense shows, giving you multiple options from the same basic look.

Note in these films, meant to showcase particular offensive plays, that the defense hides their look til just before the snap, but you can clearly see them playing Robber afterwards. Green Bay just beats it.

Again, here, but they had the FS playing deeper, and it appears the SS is the one playing Robber.

So thats a basic explanation of Robber, but like any coverage scheme where you can play man or zone, there are tons of adjustments you can make based on gameplan for that opponent or simply formations.

Talking about money

TDP gave his first interview in some months to the P&C, talking about his health and the financial status of the athletic department.

The basics:
-Oliver Purnell hasn't been contacted by other schools, and they have been discussing a payraise to his contract for several months now.

-The department is sound financially, and IPTAY renewals are coming in at a good rate. They have budgeted for a 10% decrease in revenue though. They won't know for sure til all the ticket applications have come in.

-The university basically took extra money from the AD to run the general budget, increasing the giving from $1.3 to 2.8 million.

-Dabo's contract is still unsigned. He and his agent have it, but haven't signed it. No word on the holdup.

Then he talks about Bowden's conrract and how it cashed in on potential rather than production, and this one is heavily incentive-laden. In reality, the number of years on a contract means squat, because its really a one-year deal every year that you renegotiate if the team does well, and either side can leave when they want. Dabo will be able to in particular, because there is no buyout. The only people who do care deal with recruiting, because the media likes to make a big deal of a coach only having 3 years left.

When asked on whether we'll have an indoor practice facility soon, the answer was no, unless somebody wants to donate the money. He points out, rightly, that most teams who have one don't use them that often, and only when its pouring or extremely cold. So when WEZ is done, we're done from a football standpoint.

I park beside LSU's indoor facility everyday, and I can tell you they are always outside practicing, and the band probably uses the indoor facility more often than the football team.

Napier is trying to bring the offense together, and was encouraged by the performance in the scrimmage last weekend. Another article belabors the same points for the OL you've always heard. Billy, just give the ball to CJ 25 times a game, and watch the yards pile up. Ya'll wouldnt give it to JD, so I'll believe you'll do that when I see it.

Salaries of the new staff have been released. Nothing stands out to me here except that Napier is making so little in comparison to other more experienced guys, even on offense, and that the coaches are now on multi-year deals. Steele through Dec. 2011, Harbison through Dec. 2010, for example.