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submitted Today, 11:40 AM in Texas Longhorns Football By Coleman Feeley There is an incredible amount of pressure that scholarship-athletes endure â€“ training in the weight room, and performing on the field, all while earning their degrees. From day one, scholarship-athletes must fulfill their duties by contributing to the team in the way their coach intended, whether that is by red-shirting and developing physically; by playing right away on special teams; or even playing in the starting line-up. When a university awards a high-school student a scholarship, that university is declaring that the studentâ€™s talents are worth an education at their institution. However, that scholarship does not guarantee playing time. Even players that have â€œfull-ridesâ€ must push themselves to stand out from the pack and strive to impress the coaches who recruited them. Imagine having to impress someone who doesnâ€™t necessarily want you thereâ€¦ In Division 1 football, there are many misconceptions about walk-on athletes: that theyâ€™re tackling dummies or just extra bodies. The truth of the matter is that not many players work harder than a walk-on. To earn a spot on the team, then a spot on the field, then a scholarship â€“ the process of maturation of a walk-on is a seemingly never-ending cycle of hard work. Weights, breakfast, class, lunch, taping and treatment, film study, practice, dinner, study hall, and homework â€“ thatâ€™s a rough schedule for anyone playing college-level ball, and frankly, many walk-ons donâ€™t end up staying on the team throughout their eligibility. However, there are a select few who go on to prove that theyâ€™re not only valuable on the field, but theyâ€™re worth an education at their university. In the Mack Brown era there were actually quite a few walk-ons who earned their way at the University of Texas including, Ryan Bailey (K), Marcus Griffin (S), Stevie Stigall (LB), and Dusty Mangum (K). Mangum, of course, clinched the 2005 Rose Bowl victory over Michigan with a 37-yard field goal and is currently 3rd on the All-Time leading scorer list for Texas football (358 points). Marcus Griffin, brother of Michael Griffin, was awarded a scholarship, received the Outstanding Defensive Newcomer in 2006, and recorded a career 227 tackles, with 6 interceptions. Currently, walk-ons Dylan Haines (S) and Ty Templin (WR) have both been awarded scholarships and are earning significant playing time for Coach Strong. Haines nabbed a starting safety spot last season, and played exceptionally well in the Orange and White Scrimmage. Templin earned time as a role player and is noted for his efforts on the practice field. He saw his initial career action against my alma-mater, North Texas, at the beginning of the 2014 season. To Coach Strong the value in Haines and Templin may be the example they set as players who truly love the game â€“ Strong was a walk-on himself back at the University of Central Arkansas. Whatever the reason, Coach Strong has made it clear he doesnâ€™t care whether his guys are scholarship or not, the best player will play and if they play without a scholarship, you can bet they wonâ€™t be playing without one for long.
CROSSFIRE Crossfire - 04/17/2014 Edition
HornSports Staff posted a topic in The Burnt Orange BoardCrossfire - April 17, 2014 Edition
CROSSFIRE Crossfire with McPhaul - 04/9/2014
HornSports Staff posted a topic in The Burnt Orange BoardRead the April 9, 2014 edition of Crossfire HERE
The Dallas Nike Football Training Camp will take place tomorrow, April 5th from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm at DeSoto High School. Horn Sports' Coleman Feeley will be at the camp bright and early taking in the action and talking to players, etc. We've got the complete attendee list, which is lengthy, but a handful of 2015 Texas commits will be in attendance tomorrow in Dallas. Here they are: Jordan Stevenson (RB, South Oak Cliff HS) Bryce English (DT, DeSoto HS) Patrick Vahe (OG, Trinity HS) Jalen Campbell (CB, Flour Bluff HS) Charles Omenihu (Rowlett HS) We will provide social media/ board updates and pics as we can so stay tuned. Coleman will be doing work.
NEW: Chalk Talk: A Feel for the Game
HornSports Staff posted a topic in The Burnt Orange BoardCHALK TALK: A FEEL FOR THE GAME by Coleman Feeley When football players reach the highest levels of competition, itâ€™s common for them to be referred to as a â€œnaturalâ€. Another thing commonly heard is, â€œheâ€™s so good, it looks like heâ€™s not even trying.â€ Rest assured, there is very little â€˜naturalâ€™ movement in football â€“ everything must be learned and perfected. Corners, safeties, and wide receivers impress fans with unbelievably athletic movements and remarkable 40 yard dash times, but, realistically, thatâ€™s only half of it. If a corner or safety runs 40 yards in a straight line during a football game, theyâ€™re generally chasing a wide receiver on his way to the end zone. Before a player makes any type of extraordinary or powerful move, the play must be correctly recognized and assessed. This is especially true on defense. Defensive players must run through a wide range of situations and possibilities in only fractions of a second. At the snap of the ball, defenders think: is it a pass? a run? a play action pass? What is the second wide receiver doing â€“ blocking or running a route? Football has evolved into the most complicated form possible to get a leather, egg-shaped ball across a painted white line. The game has been played for well over 100 years and, as with anything thatâ€™s been around that long, it has changed drastically. From the beginnings of football, where ten men lined up, snapped the ball to the QB and he started to run, to the more modern five step drop, Power Play-Action, Z-post, Y-drag, X-go; the most common piece of coaching advice given to any player, in any position, is to â€œrelax â€“ youâ€™ll get a feel for it.â€ But, what does that really mean? The Zone Read is the ideal illustration of all eleven players having â€œa feel for the game.â€ The play is also useful because everyone is familiar with it due to its popularity in college football. Whether you think the Zone Read is the breakthrough play of the Spread formation and was perfected by Vince Young, or that it is the natural evolution of the game returning to the basics (reading a defensive lineman, instead of a blocking him); either way, thereâ€™s no question that it has a significant impact on todayâ€™s game. The â€œreadâ€ aspect of the Zone Read is the product of being a man short on the offensive side of the ball (fig. 1). When there are five blockers versus six defenders in the box, the offense has a disadvantage. However, when the QB becomes a running threat, the offense essentially evens the playing field â€“ five offensive linemen block three defensive lineman and two linebackers. This leaves the back side, or sixth, defender unblocked. The QB will â€˜readâ€™ that remaining, unblocked lineman and either hand the ball off to his running back or keep the ball and run (fig.2). If the unblocked DL chases the running back, then the QB keeps the ball; if the lineman chases the QB, then the ball goes to the running back â€“ VOILA, the Zone Read. The read itself is a difficult skill to master. The fact that the QB must let the running back know whether or not heâ€™s getting the ball (simply by the way he handles the exchange in the backfield), adds another layer of complexity. Finally, the running back must trust that the QB made the right read while still running the play the same way whether he gets the ball or notâ€¦and, this all happens simultaneously. Most coaches start teaching this complex exchange by telling QBs and running backs that they â€œreally have to get a feel for it, and for each other.â€ Then coaches make sure they develop that â€œfeelâ€ by making them practice the exchange until they can run it without a hitch. While the complexities in the backfield dazzle and entertain fans, a great deal of the Zone Readâ€™s success comes from offensive line play. The â€œzoneâ€ aspect of the Zone Read comes from the blocking scheme, also known as a â€œZone Blocking Schemeâ€ or â€œZone Combo.â€ Blocking three defensive linemen during any given play will open up natural holes or â€œrunning lanesâ€ in a defense. To make these running lanes wider and easier to run through, offensive lines use techniques which allow them to block one defender with two linemen and still account for a linebacker running free (zone combos). When a DT lines up on the backside shoulder of a guard (also known as a 3 technique), he becomes the offensive tackleâ€™s responsibility. When the ball is snapped and the block begins, the guard will throw his backside shoulder and arm into the DT while never taking his eyes off of the LB inside. The offensive tackle will then block the DT as if he had no help from the guard, while at the same time knowing and trusting that his teammate â€œfeelsâ€ the block the same way. The guard must â€œfeelâ€ the block all the way up field, before he breaks off and engages the linebacker (fig.3). This is the most basic block of a zone scheme and is the key to the success of any zone play. On the defensive side of the ball, players are reading and reacting according to their responsibilities. When a zone block is initiated and the guard slams his backside shoulder into the D-lineman, that D-lineman must â€œfeelâ€ it and react. Essentially, the first rule on defense is to not get blockedâ€¦if youâ€™re blocked, you canâ€™t make a tackle. The D-lineman being blocked must get off this block (also known as â€œsheddingâ€) before the offensive tackle can slide and take over the Zone Combo. When a D-tackle takes on a Zone Combo, his responsibility changes â€“ he must now attempt to split the block and disrupt the guardâ€™s path to the linebacker (fig.4). By disrupting the Zone Combo, he destroys the integrity of the running lanes, and tilts the advantage back to the defense. As the Zone Read has grown in popularity, defenses have been forced to change. Defensive linemen and linebackers had to alter the way they react to the game in a relatively simple solution called the â€œChase and Pop.â€ As explained earlier, the success of the Zone Read stems from balancing the field and letting the QB react to the defense. However, thereâ€™s a way to mitigate the offenseâ€™s advantage by having the unblocked D-lineman assigned to pursue the running back â€“ this guarantees the QB keeps the ball. The result is that the backside linebacker (the one that would normally be blocked in the Zone Combo) â€œpopsâ€ and secures the QB (fig.5). Againâ€¦football has evolved into the most complicated way to get a leather ball across a painted white line. All of these different reads and subtle nuances happen within every position group, on every play, at lightning speed. A â€œfeel for the gameâ€ is not an intrinsic quality â€“ itâ€™s developed through repetition. As mentioned above, getting off of a block or zone combo is a difficult skill to learn and master. However, if a defensive lineman is experienced, heâ€™ll be able to notice subtle differences like the spacing between offensive lineman, or the weight distribution in their stance. These small differences may go unnoticed to inexperienced players, but differences in spacing or stance are signals to a veteran player of what is going to happen before the play starts. Players who can integrate skills and technique into execution are the players that make football look â€œnatural.â€ Only through hard work, years of experience, excellent coaching, and trust in your teammates, can a player truly have â€œa feel for the game.â€ In football, a feel for the game and trust in your teammates go hand-in-hand. Talent is be natural; â€œfeelingâ€â€¦thatâ€™s earned.