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Ascribing Credit and Blame

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Ascribing Credit and Blame

 

Two things prompted me to write this morning.  First were the many comments following Charles’ well-written article about the “coaching error” of running Nix between the tackles contributing to his injury, and, then there was yesterday’s Cryptoquote puzzle.  The puzzle quotation answer, from William Butler Years, is: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”

 

I’ll deal with Yeats’ quote first, and how it applies to football and my own experience playing the game some 65 to 71 years ago.  When I first wore pads in a tackle football game, 1950, I was age eleven, a sixth grader at a junior-high school in Coos Bay.  My last game was seven years later as a Senior at Marshfield High when we defeated Medford at Multnomah stadium.  That win capped our third Oregon state high school championship, class A, (big school) in a row.  I was a back-up QB and substitute defensive back.  As in Yeats’ quote above, my glory was that my teammates were my friends, and the real glory of winning began and ended with them. 

 

Marshfield’s success in those years was largely attributable to a combination of the experience and tenacity of the coaching staff and an unusual group of teenagers who were bigger, faster and more mature for their ages than were our opponents.  Our coaches, led by Pete Susick, a former star running back for UW, all played college football and all fought in WW II.  Unlike the name we give to our rivalry game coming up Saturday, these coaches well knew what war was about.

 

I can never forget the comment of one coach, Walt Paczesniak: “When you boys get in the Army you’ll find out what your nose is for.  That nose is not for smelling, it’s for digging!”

 

Only one player in my high school class ever came off the field at the end of the game having experienced a loss.  As a freshman, Roger Johnson, later a starting end for OSU and playing one year in the CFL, played in the only loss, 0-7 to North Bend in 1954.  We won or tied every Junior Varsity game and every Varsity game except that one game Roger played in as a freshman.  In short, we were the best high school football team in Oregon for three years running.  We had the glory of wearing a gold football on a chain around our necks inscribed with “State Champions.”

 

Our coaches taught us things no other teams were doing.  Most significant were the calls made by the offensive linemen for blocking assignments during the instant before the ball was snapped and after the QB called the numbers indicating whether the play sent in from the sideline was to be optioned to a different play.  We were one of few teams that changed the play at the line of scrimmage, and as best I recall, the only team with complicated line calls and defensive calls.

 

Good coaching is crucial to winning, but not as important as the abilities and contribution of the players.  I know that from on-field experience, mostly in four practices a week against the best high school players of my day, all the games we played and the following years of watching football in person and thousands of games on television.  So, when I read a long thread with extensive comments like those following Charles’ article, attributing blame for an injury on the field to a coach, I have to wonder: “Have these guys writing this stuff ever played the game?”  “Have they ever run a football, running for your life while looking for daylight?”

 

College football is way too complicated for anyone to say that something that happened on the field of play was caused by any one person or any play call.  It takes 22 players on the field at that time, a whole team of players on both sides to prepare for the play, two staffs of coaches, support staffs with a myriad of educational and experience backgrounds, officials and so much more for a football play to succeed or fail.

 

Sure, we can “Monday morning QB” and say: “but for . . .” such and such would not have happened.  That “but for . . .” is only one tiny aspect of the result.  We need to consider everything, and when we do so, fairly, no one thing, person, decision or action was the cause.

 

Nix ran the same play that he ran where he was injured at least twice earlier in the game with huge success.  He has done it all season.  I don’t know, and no one else writing on this board knows whether those successful up the middle plays were signaled in from sideline or whether Nix checked down to them because of something he saw at the line of scrimmage or felt in the huddle.  The same is true of the fateful play where he was injured.  

 

Regardless, if you strap on pads and a helmet, and play a violent game, there is a risk you will be injured.  It’s part of the game.  No amount of parsing out the blame will change the simple fact that the next game or season a QB will be injured.

 

Did the decision to run Nix up the middle contribute to his injury.  No doubt about that.  Was it THE CAUSE of his injury, maybe in part, but I sure enjoyed the times he ran the play without getting hurt.  He could get a season ending injury by being sacked on a pass play.  Anyone can say: “But for calling that pass . . . “  So, should the team not pass?

 

I thank coaches Lanning and Dillinghham for bringing a system with a running QB back to Oregon.  Our team had it decades ago with the likes of Reggie Ogburn, Joey Harrington and several more.  It makes being a fan of the game much more interesting.  I knew in the early games of Chip Kelly’s tenure as OC at Oregon there was a greater risk of QB injury with this guy calling the plays.  Probably one of the reasons Chip Kelly had success with running QB’s at Oregon and not so much success in the NFL is that league’s coaches are unwilling to risk their jobs by putting their franchise QB in harm’s way.

 

The Duck coaches deserve some glory for their transformation of Oregon football.

 

Have a joyous Thanksgiving day.

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On 11/24/2022 at 11:24 AM, Feathers said:

I can never forget the comment of one coach, Walt Paczesniak: “When you boys get in the Army you’ll find out what your nose is for.  That nose is not for smelling, it’s for digging!”

Hi Feathers. Your post brings me so much joy on this Thanksgiving day.  Walt Paczesniak was my father-in-law! I only had the privilege of meeting him twice before his passing as his son and I were only dating at the time. The last time I saw him was at an Oregon State football game as they are an OSU family. I've heard many stories of those glory years of Marshfield football.

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I had the pleasure of playing 8-man high school football in Montana for a small town called Arlee nearly 50 years ago. That football isn’t nearly as sophisticated and as physical as today’s football (I was the starting center at 150#, 😂) but it was a great experience. One of the aspects of Lanning’s coaching that I admire is that he makes playing Oregon fun for the players, recreating the joys for his players I experienced when I played. 

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Feathers managed to refresh us with one of my favorite quotes form one of my favorite poets, W.B. Yeats; he of the 'Second Coming' poem.  It's Thanksgiving so we'll not dwell on that one but instead remind ourselves of all we have to be thankful for, all those whose lives have touched ours and just sit back an enjoy the remainder of this already historic football season for the Ducks.  It's been a treat - a much as it's been a surprise.

 

Go Ducks!  Beat those Beavers.  Beat them soundly but beat them fairly.

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On 11/24/2022 at 8:24 AM, Feathers said:

“Have these guys writing this stuff ever played the game?” 

Yes, I played for a team ranked in the top three in state for most of the season as an offensive tackle, blocking for a Prep-All American QB, an All-State Tailback and a backup tailback/All-State Safety who played in the Pac-8.

 

One of the greatest sounds in my life that I still relish is the "Roosh" of the tailback sprinting past my head on a superbly blocked trap play. At right offensive tackle I would stare at the defensive tackle in front of me and get him all worked up about our upcoming clash of pads.  Then I would kick-step inside before he could touch me, and I would absolutely blow-up the inside linebacker.  (That DT would be kicked out by the trapping guard)

 

As the linebacker and I would hit the ground, and I could feel the vibration, that stomping of cleats on the turf as the tailback approached our pile. Before I can turn my head and look up...I hear the Roosh past me, and know that the trapping block went well and now the tailback is in the secondary.

 

One of the great sights of my life was looking up to see the tailback putting a jump-cut on the safety and bursting into open field...and then hearing the roar of the crowd when it became obvious he was going to score.

 

The sights and sounds of those plays--knowing they came from my individual effort, and that of the team cohesively working together was a life-molding event for me.  Yeah, I played the game.

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On 11/24/2022 at 8:24 AM, Feathers said:

“Have these guys writing this stuff ever played the game?”

You are "Throwing Group-Shade" at those disagree with you, it is a way of denigrating those you disagree with, and will discourage others from posting because they do not want to be shamed, put-down or publicly maligned for an opinion that is different from yours.  I normally do not do this in public, but by email, but it is hard to edit your post without dramatically changing the gist of your message.

 

Your tactic is what many coaches would write when they came here, with the intent of, "you don't know as much football as I, so shut-the-hell-up."  And that is wrong, as I want all opinions here, and examples such as yours will inhibit others from posting--when I want to see their opinions.

 

This is the rule violated the most because it is an insidious way of diminishing public discussion on a topic.  In the early days of the comments at FishDuck, it was a method that some used to funnel who could write what about certain topics, or even which topics could be discussed.  While your sentence is not to that degree, it is a violation that can be read about right here that if ignored by the moderators and I--gives a green light to others to begin doing it.

 

How do you post correctly?  You give your opinion in a polite and respectful way…and that is itNo reference to anyone else, no telling anyone what to think, feel or write.  When everyone just posts their opinions in a polite and respectful way, then we learn from each other and have civilized discourse.  Bottom line is that we do not throw shade on others for giving their opinion, or starting a post.  What we have in the rules works with over 100,000 posts written and the tiny deletion rate of less than half of 1%.

 

If you have further comments about this rule or anything related to this rule discussion--email me.  We've done enough in public.

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On 11/24/2022 at 8:24 AM, Feathers said:

I knew in the early games of Chip Kelly’s tenure as OC at Oregon there was a greater risk of QB injury with this guy calling the plays. 

One of the frustrations with writing an article that creates great discussion is how many will not heed what was already written, and bring up the same items covered already.

 

I wrote that there were many ways to run the QB in a higher percentage way, as I detailed in my analysis videos of the Chip Kelly offense viewed over 2 million times.  Running a Zone Read down the backside of a defense in open field has sliding and going out of bounds as safe elections. Plays designed to go outside such as what was run this year at Arizona and Cal are also good examples.  Scrambling for a first down or more from a pass play, such as at Stanford this year is another.

 

I did not say "NO" running of the quarterback, but when you run him between the tackles often--you are asking for trouble.  There is enough risk to the QB just standing back to pass, and touching the ball on nearly every play...no need to add that much more risk.

 

Proof of my percentages contention is what happened to Bo, and Herbert in 2017...when you run that often between the tackles it is when, not if it happens.

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On 11/24/2022 at 12:55 PM, Charles Fischer said:

One of the frustrations with writing an article that creates great discussion is how many will not heed what was already written, and bring up the same items covered already.

There are a lot of posts on this forum.  As one who's reposted material already covered (as you remember) It's very difficult for anyone to read them all, especially when they come in and out at different times and some "hot" posts start to dominate the board.  

 

Your forum can be lot to wade thru at times, sir.  But that's a tribute to how many people you've successively lured or enticed to the site.  Success can have its frustrations, I'm sure!  Smile, it's Thanksgiving and OBD are about to collide with the flat-tailed rodents in a game that has real meaning for both teams.  A win-win for everyone.  GO DUCKS!

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On 11/24/2022 at 4:06 PM, Mic said:

It's very difficult for anyone to read them all

My reaction to that?  "Oh boo-hoo."  I put a TON of time into creating the article, writing the reply posts and providing the whole platform (for free) to everyone.  If they say they cannot wade through the posts--I don't have much sympathy. So they can't read the prior posts, but I am supposed to provide the answers for the third time between once in the article, and twice in the forum?  Is that fair?

 

Use the reading marks that I've referred to tons of times and you won't have to do much scrolling.  If everyone takes two minutes to read the directions--it will save you hours over time...

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On 11/24/2022 at 8:24 AM, Feathers said:

Ascribing Credit and Blame

 

Two things prompted me to write this morning.  First were the many comments following Charles’ well-written article about the “coaching error” of running Nix between the tackles contributing to his injury, and, then there was yesterday’s Cryptoquote puzzle.  The puzzle quotation answer, from William Butler Years, is: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”

 

I’ll deal with Yeats’ quote first, and how it applies to football and my own experience playing the game some 65 to 71 years ago.  When I first wore pads in a tackle football game, 1950, I was age eleven, a sixth grader at a junior-high school in Coos Bay.  My last game was seven years later as a Senior at Marshfield High when we defeated Medford at Multnomah stadium.  That win capped our third Oregon state high school championship, class A, (big school) in a row.  I was a back-up QB and substitute defensive back.  As in Yeats’ quote above, my glory was that my teammates were my friends, and the real glory of winning began and ended with them. 

 

Marshfield’s success in those years was largely attributable to a combination of the experience and tenacity of the coaching staff and an unusual group of teenagers who were bigger, faster and more mature for their ages than were our opponents.  Our coaches, led by Pete Susick, a former star running back for UW, all played college football and all fought in WW II.  Unlike the name we give to our rivalry game coming up Saturday, these coaches well knew what war was about.

 

I can never forget the comment of one coach, Walt Paczesniak: “When you boys get in the Army you’ll find out what your nose is for.  That nose is not for smelling, it’s for digging!”

 

Only one player in my high school class ever came off the field at the end of the game having experienced a loss.  As a freshman, Roger Johnson, later a starting end for OSU and playing one year in the CFL, played in the only loss, 0-7 to North Bend in 1954.  We won or tied every Junior Varsity game and every Varsity game except that one game Roger played in as a freshman.  In short, we were the best high school football team in Oregon for three years running.  We had the glory of wearing a gold football on a chain around our necks inscribed with “State Champions.”

 

Our coaches taught us things no other teams were doing.  Most significant were the calls made by the offensive linemen for blocking assignments during the instant before the ball was snapped and after the QB called the numbers indicating whether the play sent in from the sideline was to be optioned to a different play.  We were one of few teams that changed the play at the line of scrimmage, and as best I recall, the only team with complicated line calls and defensive calls.

 

Good coaching is crucial to winning, but not as important as the abilities and contribution of the players.  I know that from on-field experience, mostly in four practices a week against the best high school players of my day, all the games we played and the following years of watching football in person and thousands of games on television.  So, when I read a long thread with extensive comments like those following Charles’ article, attributing blame for an injury on the field to a coach, I have to wonder: “Have these guys writing this stuff ever played the game?”  “Have they ever run a football, running for your life while looking for daylight?”

 

College football is way too complicated for anyone to say that something that happened on the field of play was caused by any one person or any play call.  It takes 22 players on the field at that time, a whole team of players on both sides to prepare for the play, two staffs of coaches, support staffs with a myriad of educational and experience backgrounds, officials and so much more for a football play to succeed or fail.

 

Sure, we can “Monday morning QB” and say: “but for . . .” such and such would not have happened.  That “but for . . .” is only one tiny aspect of the result.  We need to consider everything, and when we do so, fairly, no one thing, person, decision or action was the cause.

 

Nix ran the same play that he ran where he was injured at least twice earlier in the game with huge success.  He has done it all season.  I don’t know, and no one else writing on this board knows whether those successful up the middle plays were signaled in from sideline or whether Nix checked down to them because of something he saw at the line of scrimmage or felt in the huddle.  The same is true of the fateful play where he was injured.  

 

Regardless, if you strap on pads and a helmet, and play a violent game, there is a risk you will be injured.  It’s part of the game.  No amount of parsing out the blame will change the simple fact that the next game or season a QB will be injured.

 

Did the decision to run Nix up the middle contribute to his injury.  No doubt about that.  Was it THE CAUSE of his injury, maybe in part, but I sure enjoyed the times he ran the play without getting hurt.  He could get a season ending injury by being sacked on a pass play.  Anyone can say: “But for calling that pass . . . “  So, should the team not pass?

 

I thank coaches Lanning and Dillinghham for bringing a system with a running QB back to Oregon.  Our team had it decades ago with the likes of Reggie Ogburn, Joey Harrington and several more.  It makes being a fan of the game much more interesting.  I knew in the early games of Chip Kelly’s tenure as OC at Oregon there was a greater risk of QB injury with this guy calling the plays.  Probably one of the reasons Chip Kelly had success with running QB’s at Oregon and not so much success in the NFL is that league’s coaches are unwilling to risk their jobs by putting their franchise QB in harm’s way.

 

The Duck coaches deserve some glory for their transformation of Oregon football.

 

Have a joyous Thanksgiving day.

I think execution of the play was the issue.  In my eyes, Nix didn't sell the pass to make it a QB Draw instead of a run up the middle.  

 

The formation was familiar for a run on that play, but the safety stayed in the extended box, anticipating the run.  A simple delay, look to his right at the three receivers on that side would have frozen the safety enough to maybe get the first down.  

 

We don't know when players will get injured.  That was as much a fluke as Justin Herbert's against Cal( it didn't even look all ike Herbert got hurt  on the play).  

 

The call was the flip side of success.  If Nix converts or scores a TD, we wouldn't be having this conversation.  All plays are fifty- fifty chances of success ( a tribute to that is when the defense KNOWS the play,but can't stop it).  

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Agree no need to throw group shade while keeping that a wonderful story, and tribute to a bygone era. Love to read more stories about those glory years. So much can be learned from competition and football specifically.

 

This is a place where we should all be modest and unassuming. We all have something to contribute, share and build greater understanding off of, even if we don't happen to agree, actually most often because we don't agree.

 

Great thread where we continue to learn about football and how it is done here.

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