The Week that Was

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 01/28/2011 5:19 PM
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Football
The Week that Was
By Tony Gerdeman

I understand that The Week That Was has been missing for a while. I would like to apologize for that. It turns out I've been faxing it in upside down for over a month now!

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On Thursday, Ohio State announced the long-rumored hiring of Florida running backs coach Stan Drayton, who will now become the wide receivers coach for the Buckeyes.

Here's some background on Drayton from the Ohio State University release:

“Drayton comes to Ohio State from Florida, where he served as the Gators’ running backs coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2010 season; he also served as Florida’s running backs coach from 2005-07, and held the same position at SEC schools Tennessee (2008) and Mississippi State (2004).”

“With coaching experience and success at every level, Drayton’s resume includes stints as an assistant coach at Syracuse (2009), Bowling Green (2000), Villanova (1996-2000), Penn (1995), Eastern Michigan (1994) and Allegheny (1993). From 2001-03, he served as the offensive quality control and assistant special teams coach for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to three NFC playoff appearances. He is a past nominee for the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year award, and was recognized by Rivals as one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters.”

Of course, once news officially broke that the Buckeyes were hiring a running backs coach to coach receivers, the internet wanted to know what a running backs coach could possibly know about coaching receivers. The simple answer: Plenty.

First and foremost, coaches are teachers. And their craft is constantly evolving. This means that while they're always teaching, they're also always learning. Stan Drayton isn't an old dog that can't learn new tricks, he's a young coach that likely knows a ton of old tricks.

As the Columbus Dispatch points out, change can sometimes be pretty good.

“Now he'll be working full time with receivers. Drayton said Tressel sold him on the switch by recalling his days as an Ohio State assistant in 1984, when coach Earle Bruce added running backs to Tressel's duties as quarterbacks and receivers coach.

"'As coach Tressel said, it took him out of his comfort zone and made him a better coach,' Drayton said. "So I've got both feet in. I'm ready to go.'"

"'He's the ultimate teacher,' Tressel said. 'His backs (at Florida) were inside receivers, a la Percy Harvin. The bottom line: He's an offensive teacher.'"

Exactly.

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Two weeks ago Steve Spurrier told a room full of media members that he was going to be signing 28 kids in this year's recruiting class. Per Oversigning.com, the Gamecocks have room for 26 in the 2011 recruiting class. I don't really think oversigning by two players is all that terrible because not everybody is going to get in, and not everybody on the team in January is on the team in April, and not everybody on the team in April is on the team in September. Basically, I think it's a reasonable number to be over given the typical levels of attrition in college football.

However, nine days after Spurrier made that comment the actual number of committed players stood at 31. “Fortunately” for them, defensive back Jared Henry decommitted around January 24, and now their number “only” stands at 30.

The current SEC “rule” is that you can only bring in 28 recruits per year (regardless of whether or not you actually have room for them), which is likely why the Gamecocks reportedly have four early enrollees who will count against next year's class.

However, South Carolina still leads for at least four other prospects, including everybody's top recruit, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. If they end up with a class of 34, which is quite possible, they'll still need to fiddle with two more commits, which either means enrolling them early, gray-shirting them (i.e. make them sit out 2011 and count against the 2012 class), or ignoring their commitment altogether and changing your phone number.

Then there's the next process of cutting the existing players to make room for the six or so recruits that have taken their football scholarships. But that's always the easiest part for any coach. The hard part is never figuring out who to cut, it's figuring out how to get everybody in. After all, the only reason you're going over is because you know exactly who you want to get rid of.

I'm assuming when the SEC coaches meet every year, there's a Master Class on roster management. Spurrier will be the keynote speaker at the next meeting. His speech is entitled, “There's Always Room for a Dominating Pass Rusher”.

*** ***

I love how certain Michigan fans have cried and crowed for three years about how unfair Rich Rodriguez's treatment was from those inside the program, and why couldn't they just support him for being the head coach at Michigan. Now that Brady Hoke is at Michigan—someone that many felt would/should never get the job, they are completely against Hoke and the program, neverminding the fact that everybody within the program is lauding the hire.

Basically, Hoke is getting the treatment that they wish Rodriguez had gotten and now they're super-mad that their new coach is finally getting the one thing that they wish their old coach had gotten. Does that make any sense to you?

Certain fans (we can probably call them the “MGoCommunity”) supported Rodriguez when there was already data in play. He was terrible, but they still loved him. They were able to convince themselves that things were going in the right direction because they fine-toothed little grains of hope in an otherwise hopeless desert.

Now Hoke is there, and there is no info available to plug into their precious Texas Instrument graphing calculator. They don't know what to think, so they are told what to think. Think angry!

They watched Hoke's press conference when he was introduced and wouldn't drop their cynic's mask. He said every single thing correctly. They said he was given a break by the media and tossed softballs. Well, what else is there to ask right now? It's not like he has to answer for some of the worst football in the school's history, and Hoke's name isn't tied to Michigan's probation.

If Rodriguez didn't get enough softballs during his tenure, it's because he gave people too many other things to talk about. I'm guessing they would have preferred to hear him asked how he managed to hold a powerful 2008 Toledo team to just 13 points, rather than being asked how that 13 points was instead enough to actually defeat the Wolverines.

Bottom line, if Rodriguez had spoken Hoke's words at his introduction, the entire MGoCommunity would have had to call in sick to work the next day because they hadn't finished their joy-weeping yet.

The other thing I've noticed with the new hire is that Michigan fans have become better talent evaluators since Rich Rodriguez left. They used to love his middling recruiting commitments. Now that Hoke has come to power, a three-star kid just doesn't get them as fluttery as it used to.

I'm assuming things will change as the season gets under way, however. After all, if they were okay with a three-win season in Rodriguez's first season, they should be thrilled with six wins from Hoke this year. But they won't be. They'll instead want those eleven wins that Rodriguez surely would have gotten them this year.

*** ***

On Thursday, Kirk Herbstreit appeared on 97.1 The Fan to talk about Ohio State basketball and loser Ohio State football fans.

The topic (right around the 41-minute mark) finally turned to the only thing people really cared to hear about—Herbstreit's final AP ballot that saw him drop the Buckeyes from sixth to ninth.

Here are a few quips from the former Buckeye captain:

“I'm not making any excuses for my poll.”

Then he proceeds to spend the next five minutes making excuses for his poll. He says that he was asked to fill out his ballot after having spent all day on television, and by that point he “didn't even know what his name was”.

I don't doubt that working all day can make you tired. I've heard stories of such things. But maybe if you're too busy or too tired to vote, you probably shouldn't vote. If it's such a chore and such a pain, maybe you should think about giving it up.

But then things got a little confusing in the interview. First of all, he said he wasn't making excuses for his ballot, but then he said he was tired. So was he not happy with his ballot? If he wasn't happy, why even mention being tired? Why not just say, “Yeah, that's my ballot.” And even though that's pretty much what he goes on to say in the interview, why give the “I was tired” caveat earlier?

I don't bake cookies, then try one, LOVE IT, and then when others have some, say, “Be careful, I was tired when I made these.” I tell them that these are the best freaking cookies they've ever eaten! I don't apologize for chocolate chip perfection—I revel in it!

Along with my confusion came same logical failing. Expanding upon his reasoning for putting Ohio State at number nine: “One thing I knew for sure—Wisconsin beat Ohio State, so you had to put Wisconsin ahead of Ohio State.”

Of course, Wisconsin finished five spots ahead of the same Michigan State team that they lost to by ten points, so what's logic got to do...got to do with it?

Another hilarious gaffe with this line of thinking was the fact that he voted Boise State four spots ahead of Nevada. Remember what happened when Boise and Nevada played this year? The Wolfpack beat the Broncos 34-31. You might remember it, but obviously Herbstreit didn't. Or maybe he remembered it, but forgot his #1 Rule of Thumb.

I'm not looking to go over his ballot and bash his line of thinking again, because I've already done a fantastic job of it before, but since he came out and “didn't make excuses for it”, I felt this inner need to reply to his explanation.

Finally, I will leave you with this line from Kirk Herbstreit. And remember that it came from an ESPN employee: “At the end of the day, what did Ohio State really do to warrant being up in the top five other than not lose their bowl game.”

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