Friday, February 21, 2014

While You (We) Were Gone

To be sure, there are still a few more Signing Day photos out there. Here's one of Haymarket, Va., tight end Cam Skaff of Battlefield High School that showed up while BGA was AWOL.
From an ESPN story about analytics in sports and the conservatism of football coaches:
This is a culture that fosters extreme risk aversion. Going for it on fourth down is risky twice over: in the micro sense of staking more on the result of one play, and in the macro sense of defying custom and tradition.
A mention in that story sent me scurrying off to find the original posting from the New York Times Fourth Down Bot (which bills itself as being "based on a statistical model created from more than 10 years of data from real NFL plays)."

From the Fourth Down Bot:
Perhaps the most common mistake coaches make is punting or kicking a field goal on fourth and only a few yards. Recent football history suggests teams should often go for it on fourth and short even deep inside their own half of the field. By punting, they guarantee the other team will have the ball with good field position. By going for it, they are risking giving their opponents fabulous field position – but with the potential reward of keeping the ball. 
Obviously, the best strategy varies, depending on a team's strengths and weaknesses. But the overall pattern seems clear: coaches are far too conservative.
There are a couple of charts comparing what the 4th Down Bot recommends and what NFL coaches do most often. What's your call?
Believe it or not, former Dartmouth offensive coordinator/Princeton head coach Roger Hughes is one-third of the way through spring practice at Stetson University. The Hatters began spring ball last Friday and are scheduled to have their fifth practice today.

But it's not just in Florida that they are getting a jump on spring. Air Force Academy also has started practice. Tulane is more than midway through its spring schedule.

Dartmouth's spring schedule hasn't been released yet but expect practice to begin in early April. It will culminate with the Green-White scrimmage on May 3. As always, there will be full coverage of every session on Green Alert Premium.
Holy Cross usually has the most comprehensive spring information of any Dartmouth opponent. The Crusaders haven't posted their spring prospectus yet, but they have posted the Crusaders' spring roster.