Friday, July 18, 2014

LSU, Wisconsin, and post-snap offensive reads

Consider this the companion post to my preview of LSU and Wisconsin's week 1 showdown.

Two things of note that aren't addressed in depth in the column:

First, not very many sportswriters are keen to dive into how it is that a state school in Wisconsin has constant access to massive and powerful offensive linemen. Why? Because doing so will inevitably take you down a road of demographics, genetics, and the differing traits in different human races.

It's implicitly understood by all and demonstrated in common recruiting practice that certain ethnicities, communities, and regions produce different traits in their athletes. Wisconsin's rural population with northern european ancestry produces big boned men who end up making for good linemen, tight ends, fullbacks, and linebackers.

In the future I hope to dive more into which communities tend to have which genetic traits and how that's reflected in the different football strategies of programs in different regions. The trick here is that if you acknowledge that a race or ethnicity has certain strengths, you also have to note that they have weaknesses, which is partly why this topic isn't frequently explored. The other reason is that no one wants to discourage the exception. There are always the exceptions to the rule who possess in abundance strengths that most other members of their community lack.

Secondly, I find the post-snap reads in LSU's run game to be fascinating. I suspect that the most effective plays in football, which will eventually grab hold of the college game in addition to the pro game, are those that involve multiple post-snap decisions by players with lots of focus and practice time devoted to getting these decisions right and in concert.

Spread-option offenses like Baylor and West Virginia are already becoming astonishingly simple and execution-based. We'll get more into that soon so don't be a stranger to "Concerning sports..."

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