Thursday, October 25, 2007

5. Ockham's razor

Fifth in a series. Click for posts One, Two, Three, and Four.

The simplest explanation is the most likely one.

So which of the following explanations for this:

is the simplest?

Explanation A:
That, as Tyronne Green explained to Phillip Marshall, the play was an unfortunate result of an error in the execution of Auburn's cut-block pass protection scheme. Tubby is being honest when he apologizes for the play and says there was no intent to injure.

Explanation B: With Tubby's agreement and supervision, Hugh Nall teaches Auburn's offensive linemen how to chop block and readies them to do so in game action. After Dorsey's early-game success against Auburn, they maliciously make the choice to take him out of the game and instruct Ramsey to make the chop block. Everyone involved--Tubby, Nall, Ramsey, Ziemba--go into it understanding they may be ending Dorsey's career and do not care. Afterward, Tubby lies through his teeth at the press conference, concocts an explanation and later instructs Green to lie as well, and even alters the team's offensive line grading sheets just in case a snoop like Marshall lets something slip in the comments thread of his blog.

So: Explanation A or Explanation B? I think it's rather obvious which is simpler. I think it's rather obvious which is more likely. I see no evidence other than the video itself to support Explanation B.

But, hey if you're the sort of 'Bama fan who gets your jollies headlining your posts with an inflammatory description of Tubby that just happens to be the exact opposite of what he actually said, I suppose "simpler" doesn't much matter. If you're Orson and trying to stir up as many fans from as many sides as possible in the fastest possible time, why wait for "most likely" or "evidence" when you can just label Auburn's coaches "sh*tbags" and throw around unfounded accusations?

To be perfectly honest, watching live, yes, I thought Ramsey was due for two games on the bench. But given that Tubby--a guy not exactly foreign to sitting his guys down when he feels it's warranted--says adamantly that a suspension isn't appropriate, that Auburn has no track record for this kind of thing, that the league office hasn't taken action, that as Marshall points out no one but the players on the field has any hard cause to believe anything one way or the other, and that we have Explanation A in hand ... what reason is there to believe otherwise?

(p.s. Have you looked up "irony" in your Merriam-Webster's this week? It reads: "irony: n. LSU fans crying about a suspension for Ramsey after their team won a game started by a guy who went Bruce Lee on the opposing quarterback the Saturday previous.")


d761 said...

Honestly, there is one thing that has kept me from embracing the great rivalry between LSU and AU: LSU fans MUST find something that disrespects/angers/humiliates/cheats/outrages from each game. It can't just be a good game; there has to be something to blame (even after a win).

Please, stereotypical LSU fans, grow up and enjoy the wonderful series that this has become. It won't last forever and it's certainly better than your natural rivalry with Ole Miss.

Like the new "chapters" format. And, as always, thanks for the breakdown.

Anonymous said...

I find it somewhat interesting that you accuse Alabama fans (and Orson, so I guess by extension Florida fans as well) of being so biased about a dirty, cheap, and most of all illegal cut block when this piece analyzing the block is posted on a pro-Auburn site and ostensibly written by a pro-Auburn author.

I propose another explanation that, while admittedly not as "simple" as Suggestion A above, surely makes just as much sense but is much more likely: the cut wasn't the product of a conspiracy from the top down but the player knew exactly what he was doing. Line play during a game like that is always dirty, disgusting and at times downright inhumane. Dorsey probably got him good at some point earlier in the game with a punch to the throat (a la Jim Tartt against Florida) or some other equally illegal shot. The lineman in all likelihood was aware of what he was doing and was at the very least reckless with regard to the damage he could have done to Dorsey's knee and his future career.

I don't think for a minute that Tuberville, or any respectable coach for that matter, would order a hit like that as it would be career suicide in today's sports world. But to call the play a product of complete accident is about as twisted and biased as those LSU fans calling for the Auburn player responsible to die.

d761 said...

Headline from the bama blog:

"Tuberville is Okay with Chop Blocks"

Text from EDSBS:

"Fault Auburn coach Hugh Nall, who gave the code red order here on this hi-low on Glenn Dorsey"

Now, compare those two entries with the one on this site and Phillip Marshall's piece. You know, the one with actual quotes (in context) from players and coaches.

Let's see: EDSBS accuses the OL coach of ordering the block (with no proof whatsoever); Fanhouse uses Tuberville's quotes out of context to try to "prove" that CTT approves of the play (even though CTT went out of his way to say he didn't); and, JCCW cites coaches' and players' comments to give a logical (although, non-inflammatory) explanation.

And you believe that all three entries are equivalent? Moreso, you believe that the one on this site is inherently biased because of the author's allegiance?

How about this: instead of doing a drive-by post after grabbing a link from EDSBS, take the time to actually read this site and make up your own mind.

Anonymous said...


Don't let the LSU whiners get you down. I've seen no end to the WDE griping over bad spots and men on the line of scrimmage and missed field goals in '05. Truth is, close losses hurt and with winning margins being so slim lately, just about anything can change a game's outcome. Every team, including ours has both gracious and ungracious fans. Enjoy the series for what is is, the path to the SEC west. Next year, the boys are a year older & we get them in JHS.

As for the block, of course Tubbs didn't call it. But as for poor technique at the wrong time, bullshit. The kid stepped back, turned and instead of initiating blocking contact above the waist, as required by rule (even on cut blocks, he dove at a knee and instead of crabbing forward, he rolled backward & up the leg. Either the worst cut block ever executed or a textbook example of a highly illegal, potentially career-ending outlawed chop block. Either it was intentional on the player's or Tubby's properly coached techniques aren't quite well-seated enough within our young lineman well past midseason. In either case, he shouldn't be on the field as it demeans all concerned. It saddens me that Tubby didn't man up on this one and shows he still has that trace of Miami thuggery in him that pops up every so often.

Beat Bama & WDE

Live and Let Blog said...

you got the ockhams razor comment from last nights scrubs episode didnt you? ha


Anonymous said...

"And you believe that all three entries are equivalent?"

More or less. They're just three different people with three different points of view on one play, none with any more credibility than the next. Truthfully, we'll never know whether someone on the Auburn sideline called the "code red" or whether it was a simple, honest mistake. You can choose to differentiate the quality (or perhaps the veracity)of the various posts, but one thing you cannot argue with is this: the Florida fan (who, by the way, I feel is one of the more objective college football bloggers around) and the LSU fan thought the play was dirty, while the Auburn fan thought it wasn't. If you don't believe that fan allegiance has at the very least a subconscious effect upon how a fan observes and processes information from a game, then I don't think you've met very many fans.

"Moreso, you believe that the one on this site is inherently biased because of the author's allegiance?"

At least somewhat- just like any true fan. The blog (which is excellent by the way, I'm glad I discovered it I will be back) is unabashedly focused on Auburn sports.

"How about this: instead of doing a drive-by post after grabbing a link from EDSBS, take the time to actually read this site and make up your own mind."

You have no way of knowing what I did or didn't do before posting (for what it's worth I did read through some other posts before chiming in). And as for your "advice," I had obviously made up my own mind- which is why I said what I said. So back to the facts: nobody really knows what happened, some theories are more likely than others, but at the end of the day we'll never know. All I do know is that the only fans I've heard defending the shot as truly innocent happen to be Auburn fans (although the post above mine shows me that at least some Auburn fans don't think it was so innocent), while everybody else thinks it was at the very least a reckless hit by the lineman.

Thanks for the response, d761, I'll check out your blog when I get a chance later on~

Anonymous said...


Come on, dude.

You expect Bama blogs to say that.

You expect Marshall to whitwash it.

If you expect EDSBS to come up with anything but college football entertainment news and comments, you're on the wrong site.

Don't take it personally,own the fact that the block was a shitty thing that sometimes happens in a violent game, correct the mistakes, pay the price and get on with life. The detractors aren't going away anytime soon.

miller draft genuine said...

Hey man-

Great breakdown of the play and the controversy. Moments after the LSU-UK game, an LSU friend of mine from my time in New Orleans texted me bitching about the refs. LSU fans ALWAYS have to find an excuse.

That said, I have to agree with the thought that the player had to have some kind of clue to know what he's doing. I don't believe the order came from the coaches. I think it was just a rash move by an immature, young player who wanted to win badly, like so many stupid personal fouls that occur.


Anonymous said...


Great series. Excellent analysis and writing..."fresh as a corndog-scented daisy." I'll keep visiting. Someone above said it all...this series is just too damm close. Blowouts are easier on both the winners and losers.

WDE & Geaux Tigers,


d761 said...

Anonymous 1:

Not all opinions are equal. Some are more well-thought and rely on actual evidence. As I pointed out, only one of the three blogs discussing this subject offered quotes and facts to support his opinion. The other two thought inflammatory comments were sufficient. The blog author's collegiate preference is only relevant if the substance is equal. In this case, clearly there is a difference. If someone is willing to offer other proof of intentional malice or "a code red order", I'll be more than willing to look. Otherwise, it is conjecture.

"So back to the facts: nobody really knows what happened, some theories are more likely than others, but at the end of the day we'll never know."

That is not a fact. It is your opinion based on your decision to discount the "theory" given by AU players and coaches.

My apologies in advance if you decide to look at my blog. I haven't posted since the MSU game. I am on strike.

Anonymous 2:

All fanbases have whiners. Point taken.

As to Ramsey and Ziemba, both are true freshmen. I believe that Ramsey only has three games of experience. That's not a lot of time to cement much "properly-coached techniques". So, what do you think would be a sufficient punishment for Ramsey?

As to Tuberville's "Miami Thuggery", see his treatment of Rowell and Blackmon. Compare to other coaching staffs and see where Tuberville is on the discipline spectrum.

Anonymous 3 (geez, guys, register please):

"Don't take it personally [I don't],own the fact that the block was a shitty thing that sometimes happens in a violent game [I do, although I don't agree that it was intentional], correct the mistakes [I believe it has], pay the price [what 'price' would that be] and get on with life [I did Sunday morning]."

Anonymous said...

If you believe Phillip Marshall is a disinterested, impartial observer, I have a bridge you might be interested in.

Marshall bleeds orange and blue and has for years. In a state filled with homer journalists, he's Number 1.

Anonymous said...

a week or two on the bench would seem appropriate. Immaturity or lack of experience should not excuse either dirty or hot-headed play. Let's see what happens. I'll reserve further judgement on Tubbs until we see if the young man plays in the next game.

Anon 2

d761 said...

Anon 2:

Fair enough. I believe Ramsey is scheduled to start. Tuberville has stated that he is satisfied that the block was done without malice. Again, I will put Tubbs' track record for disciplining players up against just about any coach. That doesn't mean he is perfect (no coach is), but as the coach of a major program, he runs a pretty tight ship.

Anon 4 (I'll call you Bob): Bob, I never said Marshall was unbiased. I said that he supplied facts and quotes to explain what happened.

Jerry Hinnen said...

I considered addressing the "Ramsey was just a pissed lone gunman/chop-blocker" angle in my post and maybe should have ... it's sort of obviously missing from the discussion. Only so much blogging time in the day, sadly.

In any case, I think assigning a malicious motivation for Ramsey's actions based on nothing more than the video is speculation. Assuming there was no malice has some form of evidence--i.e. Green's and Tubby's testimony and the grade assignments--behind it. I think that still makes the no-malice explanation more likely.

But we're all biased here, no doubt about it. Of course my opinion is colored by being an Auburn fan just as LSU fans are going to have their opinions about the play colored by rooting for their team. No denying that. I just don't think that changes the fact that what tiny evidence we have points in the Auburn's fans direction, and that's what I'm trying to point out. LSU fans, Orson, Jason Whitlock (who called Tubby out in a Foxsports post), whoever, remain entitled to their opinion, of course; I just happen to disagree and believe it should be handled without the "OMG TUBBY'S THE DEVIL" tone.

Lastly, no, I'm not making any statements about Florida fans based on Orson's comments. I wouldn't say he "speaks for" them--particularly on a non-UF issue-- any more than I would claim to speak for Auburn fans.