Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Works, coffee is for closers and offensive geniuses who hate the huddle-style

Align CenterVia. Also, YES.

Gus Malzahn will sleep and bleed the clock when he's dead. Seriously, isn't this sort of thing a little too perfect?
"He drinks it like we drink water," said Tulsa running back Tarrion Adams.

"I've never seen a guy only drink coffee like that," said Tulsa quarterback David Johnson. "In a quarterback meeting, in 45 minutes, he will drink three cups of coffee. You never see him drinking water or Dr Pepper. Only coffee."
I mean, come on. The guy who designs his Tasmanian Devil-style offense to operate at the fastest tempo possible also just happens to be a Grade A caffeine addict? So his heart ends up racing the same way his teams do up-and-down the field? Please. Whatever hack screenwriter came up this one needs to go back to doing Two and a Half Men or whatever. Though on a personal level, as a former and I guess potentially future journalist*, it does warm my heart to learn that Auburn's going to have a coffee IV-type of staff.

As interesting as an anecdote might be, the real meat of that Melick piece comes from his interview with Todd Graham about his take on the Malzahn offense. Those of you frightened by what might become of Auburn's defense with Malzahn in tow, you may want to look away now, before we get to this Graham quote:
"Fundamentally, you can say the no-huddle sounds good. But if you don't believe in it - when we got here, we had the No.1 defense in Conference USA. We went from 21st in the nation to 103rd with the same players. Most guys would see that and say, `the no-huddle has got to go.' Your defensive stats are going to go down.

"But we've moved from 103rd to 84th (in defense) and we'll continue to move up because now we're in condition to be able to run the no-huddle as a football team."
This is why, quite honestly, my expectations aren't really that high for Auburn in 2009. I'd like our guys to get back over .500 and I think that's possible. But anyone expecting a Lazarus-like revival into serious contention for the SEC title ... that's hard to see happening when both offense and defense are going to struggle with the transition the way they will. Auburn's probably going to give up a lot more points than we're used to seeing this year, and I'm certainly a little worried that the madding crowds at J-Hare are going to turn on New Spread Guy as quickly as they did Old Spread Guy. But come 2010 and beyond, particularly if the staff holds together ... yeah, I think we'll be all right. But Kevin Yoxall is definitely going to have his work cut out for him.

Other quality tidbits from the article: Graham says that the offensive line coach is particularly critical in building the staff, so I'm not troubled by the fact that's the last offensive position Chizik's filled; at Tulsa, Graham apparently made several demands of the Golden Hurricane offense, like a "requirement" to go deep five times a quarter; and their offense always has a tight end on the field somewhere, which I feel like someone should tell Phillip Lutzenkirchen immediately if he doesn't already know.

Really, Nostradamus? Any and all kinds of "predictions for the new year" sports columns should be taken with a whole Lot's Wife's worth of salt, including this list of 25 by Mark Schlabach. But I still find myself bristling at this little jab in Auburn's direction:
17. Auburn will name Gus Malzahn its coach-in-waiting
After the Tigers lose their first three games against Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and West Virginia, Auburn will name offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn its coach-in-waiting to succeed recently hired Gene Chizik. USC quarterback Mitch Mustain, who played for Malzahn in high school and briefly at Arkansas, will transfer to Auburn.
In all fairness to Schlabach, whenever I found myself writing a list column on deadline, I'd go through all of my good ideas lickety-split and then be left racking my brain to come up with enough to fill out the piece, and eventually I'd just through a few stupid things onto the page to get the thing done. I'm assuming that's what's happened here.

Because in all fairness to Auburn: what the hell is he talking about? Is he really suggesting that after suffering an entire country's slings and arrows (more than a few tossed by Schlabach himself, you may recall) in order to hire him, Auburn will publicly bail on Chizik after only three games? And in his place, nominate a guy whose new offense we can assume would probably take the lion's share of the blame for the three losses Schlabach envisions? And that after that, Mustain will transfer out of Los Angeles and lose a year of eligibility in order to play a single year at Auburn, where he'd hardly be guaranteed the starter's position? This is bats, man. I'd read it as some lame attempt at a satire of Auburn's allegedly itchy trigger finger if every single other prediction in the column wasn't presented as dead serious. I'm forced to conclude that Mark Schlabach is either an idiot, or a sloppy-ass writer, or--most likely--some combination of both.

Hey, speaking of Schlabach ... I'd suggest you read a fun little rant left in the comments of today's first post by a JayAU'92, which notes that the national vultures that picked Auburn apart for passing on Gill a few weeks ago aren't exactly flocking back to report that Auburn already has as many African-Americans on staff as any team in the SEC besides Ole Miss. But, to give them credit, K-Scar took note of that fact today in a typically solid column and Tony Barnhart did as well. Kudos to them.

Don't watch this. Seriously, don't. I don't even know why I'm posting this.

Well, I guess I have one reason: Brian Cook's interpretation of it as an Auburn-centric editorial cartoon is pretty sharp. But you still shouldn't watch it.

Bloggery. Braves and Birds hits the nail on the head, as per usual, with this take on the Big 10's bowl struggles:
My meta-thought from the bowl games is that the Big Ten is the most traditional and conservative of all of the major conferences in terms of playing style. Because the Big Ten has demographics going against it, its teams need to be prepared to play with less talent than USC, SEC teams, Texas, etc. However, they continue to play as if they have a major talent advantage. Basic I-formation, two-deep zone football works if you're Miami in 2001; it doesn't work when the other team has more talent and it definitely doesn't work when the other team has more talent and is doing sophisticated stuff on one or both sides of the ball. Despite a Gotterdamerung of a season, I like the direction that Michigan is taking because they're converting to a style that can work in a game against USC or Florida.
To be fair, Northwestern and Purdue run spreads (or at least Purdue tries to) and Penn State didn't spend much time this year in traditional I sets, either. But the recruiting-light Wildcats and Boilermakers are exceptions that only prove the rule: the reason they've adopted unusual offenses is because otherwise, they had no shot in the Big 10. If Tressel's Buckeyes want to really succeed outside the conference, they'll probably have to do the same.

Also: Grotus has a Sugar Bowl response; Year 2 compiles an entertaining list of (futile) anti-Gator trash talk from over the past couple of seasons; and Black Heart Gold Pants has a highly entertaining tale of drunks playing football in the street after Iowa's bowl victory.

Aaaaaaaand finally ... because underneath my worldly and cosmopolitan exterior I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old, I feel obliged to give you this:

*Pointless personal anecdote: whenever a conversation turns to the subject of coffee, one of my go-to one-liners is that as a reporter, I drank my daily three cups as required by the federal government's National Caffeine in Journalism Act of 1984. To paraphrase Sex Panther's tagline yet again, half the time it gets a laugh every time. Though even some of those may just be pity.


Anonymous said...

Well, Perfect Service Heating and Air (people who posted that video) will never be getting any of my business. That's for damn sure.

Anonymous said...

So what is your dayjob?

Acid Reign said...

.....As one who used to win bar bets on eating weird things, the answer is to chew. Spiders, lizards, weird lumps from the lint filter. Whatever. If it got me a free drink, I'd chew it up and swallow it. If you can't swallow two aspirin at once, there NO WAY that lizard's going down whole!

.....Best cheat: Tabasco. You'll eat whatever it is that's soaked in it, because it's burning the hell out of your mouth!

.....Reptile meat is hardly the worst choice. Good cajun BBQ alligator is fine, but I can't let a trip to New Orleans go without a bowl of turtle soup! Arnaud's does it best...

Sullivan013 said...

Re: Coffee drinker on overdrive

I'd say it's a mark in Malzahn's favor. At least there's a chance he won't be caught looking like he just rolled out of bed after a bender needing several cups of the stuff (insert every picture of Tony Franklin while at Auburn).

At least it isn't bourbon.

As for the hire, after watching what was evidently a highly disciplined Tulsa team roll over an undefeated Ball State team without even blinking about the weather, I'm sold. No penalties, everyone in sync and hard hitting even when they were 10-15 lbs lighter than their opponents.

Great stuff. Can't wait until the Spring game.

War Eagle!