Category Archives: pigskin

UConn Power Line

Okay, the Huskies didn’t have a good weekend. but I want to bring some attention to this article from the Journal Inquirer. In particular, I want to highlight this portion:

UConn doesn’t find offensive linemen, it creates them.

“I am looking for guys who are big, athletic and have a good frame,” (O Line coach Mike) Foley said. “They might not be 300-pound guys coming out of high school, but they are athletic and have the frame to build up.”

“The biggest thing is feet. You have to be able to run — not a 40-yard dash, but within a box and have quick feet. We want people light on their feet. To me, it’s easier for us to get them bigger and stronger as opposed to someone who is big and strong, but doesn’t have good feet. It’s tough to make guys quicker.”

The Huskies have done well recruiting players who played the defensive line, and even tight end, in high school. It takes several years to bulk them up to offensive line weight, but once they do, they are much more nimble and athletic than the often-sloth-like 300-pound high school recruits.

“It s good when we bring in guys who we think can possibly play defensive line,” Foley said. “That means they can run. If they can play some defense, that’s a very good thing for an offensive line coach.”

I found that part interesting. While I like football, I’m no expert. Is that the MO of other schools? Do they convert players from other positions or do they normally pick guys who played the oline in high school? BTW, I dig sportswriting like this that goes beyond the basics.


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This Would Have Been An Interesting Post-Baseball Career

Heard this guy on the radio today talking about Hurricane Earl. Thought he might’ve been John Cangeolosi and not John Cangialosi.

In other, unrelated, news Carson Cistulli showed up in my dream the other nite. I don’t recall talking baseball with him, but we discussed the Travers Stakes and fantasy football. The odd thing is that I have no idea what happened in the Travers Stakes this year. I’ve been up to Saratoga a couple of times to see it and it’s a blast, but I haven’t seen my horse racing friends much lately. As for fantasy football, a feeble attempt was made to bring the league together this year, but it looks like it ain’t happening.


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Twenty-Four Precepts From Football Outsiders

Just in time for the football season. Talk to me, people. Wiser folks than me have suggested that “The Curse of 370” is less light than heat, but the rest of the list looks solid.

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Freakonomics: A Football Outsider Answers Your Questions

Including a question of mine!


How did you wind up where you are? We know that Bill James did a lot of his early work while he was a night watchman at a bean factory, but what’s the Bill Barnwell story? — Jon

About all I can really say is that I had no intention of ever becoming a football writer, that’s for sure. I went to Northeastern University in Boston as a Computer Science major before I realized I hated programming, and ended up majoring in Media Studies. Although I liked to write, I actually consciously avoided journalism — I went to visit The Boston Globe for an interview and they explained to me that one of the last sports interns had to sit outside a hospital overnight and wait for Terry Francona to leave.

While I was in Boston, I wanted to join a fantasy baseball league so I found one on Baseball Primer, the sabermetric community site, and joined shortly thereafter. The commissioner of that league happened to be Aaron Schatz, who created Football Outsiders a year later. He’s now my boss. I started at the bottom of the FO organizational chart, doing data entry as an unpaid intern (although admittedly while I was sitting around doing nothing at my “real” paid internship), and I’ve seen my role in the company steadily expand from there. I graduated from NU in 2006 and took on a variety of post-grad liberal arts jobs — I was a concierge to the really rich and entitled holders of a particularly exclusive credit card, a tech copywriter, and I even wrote about video games for a while. I moved into a full-time role with FO in 2008.

I think what’s far more interesting, though, is that my job — and Football Outsiders — couldn’t have existed as recently as ten years ago. No magazine or newspaper would have underwritten the work that we do, even though there’s clearly a national market of people who are interested in our work and the concepts behind it. Whenever I read those articles about the death of the American newspaper, I always wonder about the jobs that have been created by the changes in the news media.

I’m always curious as to what makes writers and bloggers tick. I may have chastised Barnwell at some point for being an overly pessimistic Giants fan, but I appreciate his answer here. Thanks, Bill!

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Football Strategy

This is multi-layered, as Sen. Blutarsky links to Chris Brown at Smart Football’s post from yesterday. Chris’s one is chock full of info. BTW, there’s a new book out by SI guy Tim Layden. It’s called Blood, Sweat, and Chalk and sounds like a print version of what Smart Football is to the web.

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College Football Stats

Sports Reference has a new site, this one devoted to college football. Will it help settle arguments between devotees of Ohio State, Texas, and/or Tennessee? I doubt it. College football analysis is more akin to religion than science. This is why I can picture UConn winning at the Big House in Ann Arbor and losing no more than once this year.

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Smart Football: Can the West Coast Offense be taught anywhere besides the NFL?

Chris Brown, ladies and gentlemen.

Personally, I find the Bill Walsh offense boring here in 2010. It is effective, though, and I may change my opinion on how interesting it is if it becomes less common. As always, a great read from Smart Football. Is there a better sports related blog out there? If so, I haven’t seen it.

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