Saturday, August 27, 2005

BlogPoll Roundtable VI

Heismanpundit hosts the final Roundtable before the season begins. Here are my answers.

What criteria do you use to determine if a team and its players are good?

Specifically, I like to look at size and speed. Factors that make up a team's talent level. Are they undersized in a lot of places? How are they faring in the trenches? Is there breakaway speed at the skill positions? Are they capable of taking the other team completely out of its game?

Predictability is important in evaluating a coaching staff, and I don't necessarily connect how predictable a team is with its scheme. I pay extra attention to clock management during the late stages of each half, which I find to be poor in all too many instances. Are they calling timeouts too early? Saving a timeout for the offense when they shouldn't be? Great clock management is a sign of both good mid-week coaching and good in-game management.

I also like to look at when coaches decide to go for two. Is it too early?

If you could choose one coach to build an offensive system for your school, who would it be? Conversly, who would you choose to devise the defense? Why?

For the offensive side, I would take Ralph Friedgen. When he has the right talent under center--like when he was in Atlanta--his offenses are brilliant. He has done an excellent job at getting the most out of the hand he's been dealt at Maryland, and there aren't many guys in the profession who can make adjustments like he can. The extent of Friedgen's analytical approach to the game is very impressive to me.

For the defense, I'll cop out and go with Pete Carroll. Not a lot of DCs typically stick out to me, and it's hard to argue with what Carroll has done at Southern Cal.

Describe your typical college fotoball Saturday.

If there is an NC State home game, I'm usually up early--no later than 10 am (much earlier if it's--groan--a noon game). We make sure to get the stadium grounds so that we have a good 2-3 hours to tailgate and then head into the stadium about 45 minutes before kickoff. I like to get to my seat early and catch the tail end of warmups because it helps calm my pre-game nerves. After the game, I race home in hopes of getting caught up on the day's action and catching whatever's left of the day's televised games.

If there isn't a home game, I'm parked on the couch all day. I sleep through College Gameday (If I'm up at, say, 10:45, i'm checking my watch every five minutes. Is it noon yet? Is it noon yet? Better to just sleep through it.) and give myself just enough time to roll from the bed to the couch. Since Lee Corso likes to blab on Gameday until 12:03, I usually check to see what's being shown on ESPN2 first, and that is often followed by a disdainful remark along the lines of, "Aw, man, not Penn State-[insert team here]!"

Once the games start, I make a point of doing as little as possible. I'll grab a drink and some snacks, settle in, erase from memory the lame noon Big Ten game on ESPN2, and enjoy the day. The best part is sitting there as the first wave of games start, thinking about all the games that are still to come over the course of the day. Knowing that more than 12 consecutive hours of televised college football lie ahead.

Damn, I am ready for September.