Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quote of the Week... Talkin bout Practice

A few thoughts from all the Spring ball stuff thats been floating around with the start of practice this week.

I like what I've seen so far from the new coaches. Randy Hart has a very young group of defensive linemen to coach, and he hasn't been wasting any time. His drills involve a lot of energetic talking, a lot of rapid fire movement by the linemen, but most importantly, he is taking the time to correct technique. A spring a summer with Hart should have the trench men playing aggressive and off instinct.
Frank Verducci, while coming from the NFL (if you can call the Browns part of the NFL...), seems to have a good plan to mesh his coaching style with the college game. "The NFL is a more details game," Verducci explained to the media earlier this week, "whereas the college level is more about development." Adding that he hopes to teach linemen the details in a way that will "accelerate their development." What I like most about his coaching philosophy though is his expectations. Frank understands that the new techniques he is implementing may be new and mistakes may happen, but he is a guy that gets on people for repeat mistakes; that attitude will hopefully improve the consistency that Weis is hoping for this year.

My favorite coaching addition so far though has to be Tony Alford. As seen in the practice video, while the RBs carry the ball through routine agility drills, Alford is aggressively slapping at it, trying to dislodge it. The dirt on Alford coming in was that he is very intense about ball security, and while you can only tell so much from a 5 minute video clip, it looks like he doesn't plan on having his backs dropping the ball this year.

Furthermore, Alford seems to have already established a great relationship with his players, and he has instilled a mindset that will make them better. When talking to the media, Armando Allen was quick to point out how well his teammates have connected with Alford, but he also gave us this QotW gem:

"The difference between good and great is going out on the field and finishing plays. Not even in games, I'm talking about practice, walkthrough, its the little things for us." "We go out there everyday with the midset to grind, to do whatever we have to do to get better."
That's it for now. Go Irish!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IBG - Still Searching

After an extended absence from the Irish Blogger Gathering, the Nasties crew is jumping back into it today by responding to Subway Domer's questions.

1. Take your temperature. A) What sort of things are you looking for the team to work upon to help the 2009 season? Group improvements, players improvements, new fertilizer... whatever. As general a question as you will find. B) Same question, but instead of just the 2009 season- the future of the program as a whole.

I'm registering a comfortable 98.6 right now, and the first part of this question is too easy to answer because it has just about until last month for my temp to come down to normal after being forced to watch our run game in 2008. It was comforting to watch our pass protection improve from 2o07, but with a senior heavy line this fall I am expecting big things from our backs.
James Aldridge just before he points at enemy linebackers, causing them to explode into blue goo.

As for the direction of the program as a whole, I would like to see a few scheduling adjustments - less of this weird 7-4-1 format and the addition of a few good non-traditional teams on the lineup (no, Washington
State does not count). Fortunately it looks like Swarbrick is making some improvements on the latter.

2. It remains to be seen if I will be traveling to the spring game. My wife may have objections to yet another birthday of hers being used for a game that essentially doesn't count. (I know, I know- she just doesn't get it.) Don't you think it's about time that the spring game was televised? You know ESPN is dying to get inside that stadium for a live broadcast. I don't think it would interfere with the NBC contract, and if it does- why aren't they televising this?

Not sure why its not on TV, but if it was I would have a much easier time watching the game at PigTostle.

3. What position battle will be decided this spring? Which one will have to wait for summer/fall?

I really hope that the Left Tackle position is decided by spring. Turk had a helluva year keeping pass rushers off Clausen's back, and while he is the only starter we lose, I fear that it could be a big loss. It should be Paul Duncan's job to lose, but a definite replacement will hopefully be settled on by spring.
I think the void at safety from Bruton's departure may take longer to fill, especially with so many unique options. Depending on the schemes used by Brown/Tenuta we could either see Harrison Smith, Sergio Brown, or Ray Herring in center field, but after the first few games, I expect one of the three to make enough plays to win a majority of playing time. Here's my bet:

4. If you could change anything about the way spring practice/ Blue-Gold Game is done- what would it be?

Of course this depends on the available depth at each position, but I've always favored a true scrimmage format to the weird offense defense option where teams get points for first downs and punts.

5. Name your 5 favorite players and change their jersey number. Tell us why...

5. Michael Floyd - #3 to... #3. To paraphrase Demetrius Jones, no one who is a bust ever wears #3.
4. Brady Quinn - #10 to #19. I like the idea of following in Koszar's steps.
3. Julius Jones - #22 to... #22. My favorite number for the best back.
2. Justin Tuck - #44 to #0. For a DE that was a black hole, swallowing QBs... probably not legal, but that would be pretty sick.
1. Ronald Talley - #99 to... #99. Anything else just wouldn't work.
6. Last year two sophomore's won the MVP awards for the Blue-Gold Game (Harrison Smith and Robert Hughes). Predict who this years MVP's will be using the same criteria. (Same class- 1 OFF. & 1 DEF.).

Brian Smith and Golden Tate for sure.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Get Excited

Quick quote of the week from Randy Hart about improving the defensive line:
"Football is twenty two people going out on the field in organized chaos. To be the eleven most excited people is the most fun."
Words of wisdom. Speaking of getting excited, the Nasties crew (my roommates and I) are taking a paid vacation (thanks Adsense) to Negril Jamaica, and we're getting ready to drive to Chi-Town in a few hours to catch our flight. Hopefully we can come back with a few good (and safe, legal, etc...) stories to share with everyone. But for now, happy spring break Domers, and good luck to the men's team in the Big East tourney!