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Monday, September 10, 2007

Put Me In, Coach! I'm Ready To Play!

Examples 1a. and 1b. were present this weekend in the form of Dawgs/Falcons vs. Cocks/Vikes.
Richt and Petrino both stubbornly decided to continue force feeding their veteran RBs coming off of injuries instead of trying something different--until it was too late. Thomas Brown (12/49) and Warrick Dunn (22/55) were bottled up, pushed back, strung out, and tripped all through the first half. So what do the coaches do? Keep plugging away. Only after both teams were behind by a TD or more do the coaches put in the young studs. And what do the studs do? Ramble for over 6 ypc each. (Moreno 14/104, Norwood 5/33). We heard all off-season about both young RBs and how much they had improved and that they'd see a bigger role on offense. Yet when game time comes, the vets are in there banging fruitlessly away while bigger talent pines on the pine.

I understand the desire for veteran leadership and a "been there, done that" trust. But at what point do teams that are admittedly developing (at best) turn to the future to enchance the skills of their players. I'll concede that it's different on a positional basis (as playing QB requires more maturity and study than, say, playing RB and hitting the hole) and that with some positions (like QB) there are inherent risks (confidence, injury) that could deter a coach, but if you're going to "put the team in the best position to win" shouldn't that necessitate putting the more skilled players on the field. Even if you risk mistakes, doesn't the reward outweigh that?

Similarly, if the argument is that you want players who are experienced, then why play the young players late in the game instead of early? Wouldn't it make more sense to play the vets in crunch time (once the defense has been loosened by the younger player)? What "experience" are the young players gaining by being out there in mop-up duty or trying to come from behind? I understand you have to earn the coaches trust, but at some point the talent outweighs the risk. Isn't that how Stafford ended up being starter? Let's hope the coaches see the same things that I saw this weekend and make some moves.

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