Actual reporting was done by Western College Hockey, who watched the Select 17 Festival (a conclave of the best 17-year-old hockey players in the US) and reports back with his impressions, including comments on Michigan recruits Billy Sauer, Chris Summers, and Steve Kampfer, plus prospective Michigan recruit (please please please) Pat Kane. First hand can't be beat. Er.
New supplemental draftee Agim Shabaj is apparently being laughed at by NFL scouts instead of practicing his trash talking because... he left his student ID off a test? Jigga-wha?
I think it was EDSBS who pointed me to American Football Monthly, a trade magazine for football coaches with articles like "The Wing T Shotgun Offense," "Sharks In The Water: Coaching Linebackers to Attack in the 3-3 Defense," and "Sterling College's Principles of the 3-4 Defense." Also there are puff pieces on coaches. Other than the principles of the 3-4 defense (which should be of special interest to one bushy-mustached, excessive-consonanted defensive coordinator we all know and love), I found two things of particular interest to this blog. One is an interview with Colerain High's Kerry Coombs. Colerain has supplied Michigan with BJ Askew, Mister Simpson, and (hopefully) Cobrani Mixon in recent years and visits Michigan's camp every year. They also spend their days wasting opponents. The other is this rather boring article on film that has this interesting snippet:
Schemes and blitzes are pretty basic stuff. Durden said that he hasn’t seen much from a basic defense that has surprised him in years. College coaches have long ago learned the difference between a 4-3 and a 3-4.Wow. That's a brief series of BOLD!!! paragraphs. Now, "Durden" and "Ciarrocca" are offensive coordinators for I-AA powers James Madison and Delaware, respectively. I wonder if defensive coordinators would say the same thing--and I know Herrmann wouldn't because he's shown the ability to be totally stunned by a play that he saw last week. Is there a huge gap between the schemes you can impart at the I-AA level and the big time BCS level? I doubt it; the NCAA limits on practice time have to be equal and I'm quite sure that the I-A guys aren't light years smarter.
That said, players are what makes a team shine, not the system. When Durden worked for Lubick at Colorado State, Lubick often would focus on a player’s ability – or inability – to change direction. Find the guy that can’t shift on the fly, Lubick thought, and you’ve found your guy to attack.
Anders said he’s not surprised much anymore by an opponent’s offense. “You’re always going to have a tweak on the offense,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own twist on their play. They may make one block a little bit different or have a different alignment.
“But scheme-wise, I haven’t seen a new inventive offense in a while. A lot of times, it’s personnel. What lineman do we wanna blitz? Do we want to blitz away from the running back? Things like that.” It’s not rocket science, but it’s important to remember – players are the one’s making plays, not the X’s and O’s.
“If you have good players, that’s the key,” Ciarrocca said. “Any good system can react to whatever the other team is doing. We can react to a lot of things.” Those talents can be best used when recruiting players off of film. Good film analysts during game week are probably the best talent scouts.
Two blog posts you should read: EDSBS on the storylines you'll hear pounded into the ground this year, and Straight Bangin' ponders Sargeant Slaughter's effect on the D-line and other things.