Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trev Alberts fails to impress me

I'll lead off today's post with a link to a Q&A with Trev Alberts (the real Trev, not the awesome one). He's asked whether it's Michigan vs. Wisconsin for the Big Ten title, and mirabile dictu, he doesn't think so:

I say it's Michigan with an outside shot of Ohio State winning ... I still think they're going to have a terrific defense. They'll be just as good of a team, and have a worse record, with Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State on the schedule.

The above is a reasonable prediction, but where that ellipsis appears Trev offers the tired boilerplate we've been hearing over and again since last December: they only beat Michigan, Stocco was a caretaker, Bielema had beginner's luck. But then he goes on -- and maybe I'm reading this incorrectly, I don't know -- to say that the Badgers are clearly the fourth-best team in the conference (emphasis mine):

The two other teams after Michigan are Ohio State and Penn State. The Nittany Lions could be a little more surprising than some people think with Anthony Morelli. I know the Buckeyes lost some guys, but they have a lot of talent. They seem to be able to find some players. Remember how last year we were talking about Ohio State losing nine starters on defense?

I do, in fact, remember that. But they still had Troy Smith. Remember, the guy who got that funny little statue in New York before the bowl games? I know, and everyone knows by now, that it's patently unintelligent to count out Michigan or Ohio State under any circumstances (cue the "rebuilding vs. reloading" guy), and being a fan of a program that has seen the likes of Brooks Bollinger and John Stocco not only suffice but excel, I guess the fact that Morelli hasn't impressed me yet doesn't mean he never will. So who knows.

The bottom line here? Predicting things is stupid. Also, finding this article allowed me to get inside the Brain of Trev, which helped confirm everything I'd intuited by watching him for way too many Saturdays ... remember the days before ESPN wised up and canned his smarmy ass?

I've read that the Cover 2 is the ideal defense to use against college quarterbacks. Do you agree with that and if not, what is the best defense to use in the college game? - Jaime Lears, California

I think I know what article you're referencing, but I would caution against placing too much credence on a writer rather than having a former coach or current coach write that article.

Full disclosure: I'm not a former or current coach. Sorry for wasting teh internets with my know-nothing drivel. But let's continue:

Let me tell you, as someone who's been out there, that Cover 2 is not always the best coverage, period. If that was the case, that's the only coverage you would ever see.

The fact is there's no one coverage that's going to be the end-all. Football is too sophisticated. Cover 2 is an important, but small part of coverage.

So much of what you do depends on your personnel.

If you don't have safeties who can show you range of motion or stand in the box when needed, you have no coverage. And if you have great lock-down corners, Cover 2 nullifies their talents. If you're going to play Cover 2 for four quarters, you're going to get beat in the college game.

I'll give the poor owl a rest here.

Cover 2 has weaknesses. That's why good defensive coordinators run a whole lot of different coverages.

It's a good thing Trev's been there and done that. I certainly couldn't have gone all that in-depth.

Honestly now ... this guy's just looking for a default defense when he's playing NCAA 2008. Do you think he hasn't noticed that there are several available schemes? He's just asking, "What's best?" Which is a better question on any day of the week than "Who's Now?"