Smart Football and LSU’s Big Hire

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


If you were tired of watching every bowl game being a blow out (and who could blame ya) then you might have missed the LSU news last night when they hired Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda.

Aranda replaces Kevin Steele who jumped to SEC West rival Auburn who replaced John Chavis who also went to an SEC West Rival (Texas A&M).

Aranda is the hot name right now. While most writers are briefly pointing out what a great hire it is for Les Miles and LSU only Smart Football’s Chris Brown goes deeper. He explains why Aranda is a hot name. From how Aranda defends the ‘Zeer’ to his philosophy on the inside linebackers.

Chris always has interesting, well timed stuff. Highly recommend following him on twitter and checking out smartfootball.com.

The Grass Isn’t Greener

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Sometimes people, companies and institutions think they are bigger than they are and think they deserve better. Well in college football the ‘we deserve better’ mentality runs rampant. The latest institution inflicted with this virus is LSU. LSU is on the verge of dismissing the most successful football coach they’ve ever had and for no good reason.

Les MilesLes Miles, aka The HAT, is apparently going to be forced out at LSU. He is the winningest coach in school history, has seven 10 win seasons, one national title and played for another. But that’s not enough for some of the big money folks at LSU. It should be and if history is any indicator, LSU is in for a bit of a slide if The Hat takes his bag of tricks elsewhere.

Other schools have done similar things: Nebraska (twice), Tennessee, Miami, and Texas. All came to the conclusion that letting go of a coach with a winning percentage of over 700% wasn’t good enough. They all saw a drop off after they ran the coach out of town and some have yet to recover the glory they so desperately seek.

To play the other side for a minute, none of the coaches who were run out have ever coached again at a school in a Power 5 conference. Part of that might be by choice but we don’t know that for sure.

The fact remains that Miles is the best coach that LSU has ever had. He has earned the right to get this train back on track (if it’s even off the track) and if the LSU money men are tired of losing to Alabama and Nick Saban, well take a number and wait in line like the rest of the SEC. If they go through with this and dump Miles, LSU will take several steps back and Miles will probably be employed at another Power 5 school faster than you can say ‘The Hat’.

Don’t do it LSU, it’s a very bad idea.

What to Watch Fri. 11/13 – Sun. 11/15

All times are Pacific

Friday November 13th

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings  – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: These two had some legendary playoff series back in the day.

USA vs St. Vincent & The Grenadines – 4pm ESPN2: Let the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begin.

USC at Colorado – 6pm ESPN2: Colorado is better than their record shows. USC has some NFL level talent. At night in Boulder is a tall order for the Trojans.

 

Saturday November 14th

Georgia at Auburn  – 9am CBS: Fact is, if Mark Richt and Georgia win then he may have saved his job.

Texas at West Virginia – 9am ESPNU: This is a swing game for both when it comes to Bowl eligibility.

Miami at UNC – 12:30pm ESPNU: Last time Miami was in the state of North Carolina they won by lateraling the ball like eight times. UNC is on a roll though.

Alabama at Mississippi State – CBS: Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs have one last chance to beat the Tide and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West.

Memphis at Houston – 4pm ESPN2: The over on this game should be like 150 points.

Oklahoma at Baylor – 5pm ABC: Game of the day and OU has always had problems defending Baylor. Question is, can OU keep place offensively?

FourtnetteArkansas at LSU – 5:15pm ESPN: Like old school, run oriented offenses and hard hitting defenses? Well this is your game. One is coming off a tremendous win in OT while the other got beaten down pretty good.

 

UFC 193 – 7pm PPV: Ronda Rousey takes her winning ways to another continent (Australia) to square off against Holly Holm. Hidden gem on this card is Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot Silva in a rematch of their legendary 2013 fight.

Washington State at UCLA – 7:30pm ESPN: Washington State lost their first game of the year to Portland State who plays in the FCS. People were calling for head coach Mike Leach’s job. Boy how things have changed.

 

 

Sunday November 15th

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN3: It’s playoff time in the CFL and this is a great way to start it off. Both have had to overcome injuries at key positions and it’s the equivalent of a ‘backyard brawl.’

Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders – 1pm FOX: A year ago we wouldn’t dream of making this a ‘must watch’ game but man, what a difference a year makes.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: The defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders begin the final run of head coach John Hufnagel’s career. They are heavy favorites but don’t count out the Lions.

Toronto Maple Leafs at NY Rangers – 4pm NHLN: Always a fun game to watch.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks  – 5:30pm NBC: Two top teams in the NFC West square off the end your weekend.

What To Watch Fri. 11/6 – Sun. 11/8

All times are Pacific.

 

Friday November 6th

Tyler ErvinBYU at San Jose State – 8:30pm CBSSN: SJSU running back Tyler Ervin is a stud. He has almost 1200 yards rushing already this season and 12 TD’s. BYU are some tough dudes though. Last thing they want is for this guy to run wild on ’em.

 

Saturday November 7th

Penn State at Northwestern – 9am ESPNU: Big Ten match up with poll position for a decent bowl game on the line.

Duke at North Carolina – 9am ESPN2: UNC is getting no love this year and Duke is coming off of that bad referring loss to Miami. Is there a hangover for Duke?

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – 9am ABC: All Pitt is doing is winning. Yes they are coming off of a tough loss to UNC but they are hard nosed football team. Notre Dame is going to get all it wants from the Panthers.

Florida State at Clemson – 12:30pm ABC: Clemson is the number 1 team in the land. Florida State doesn’t care.

TCU at Oklahoma State – 12:30pm FOX: TCU is getting no love…even with the number 2 offense in the country. The over/under is 78. We vote to take the over.

Cincinnati at Houston – 1:30m ESPN2: These two teams rank 5th and 7th in total offense at the FBS level. That alone is a reason to watch.

Navy at Memphis – 4pm ESPN2: Navy is 6-1 with the NCAA All Time touchdown king in quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Memphis is shooting for a big time bowl bid. Should be whoever has the ball last wins.

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens – 4pm NHLN: Original 6 matchup.

LSU at Alabama – 5pm CBS: Two teams that are currently in the College Football Playoff.

 

 

Sunday November 8th

Arsenal vs Tottenham – 7:55am NBCSN: A North London Derby for your Sunday morning.

Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers – 10am CBS: Man, can’t believe the Raiders are a must watch team. This could be the best game of the day.

Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers – 10am FOX: Packers got exposed last week in Denver. Now they have to rebound on the road against another undefeated team.

DC United vs NY Red Bulls – Noon ESPN: Red Bulls got the always valuable road goal so they look to be in good shape in this one.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas – 4:30pm FS1: First game was a 1-1 draw which gives Dallas the advantage heading into the second leg.

Timber vs Whitecaps

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 7pm FS1: Like the Seattle vs FC Dallas game, the first game was a draw and that should give the Whitecaps the advantage here.

 

 

The Sunday: Bad Tackling and Big Mouths

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Bad Tackling

The story of Saturday was LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He literally ran through the Auburn defense. While he clearly has next level talent, his talent was greatly helped by some very good blocking by the LSU offensive line and supremely bad tackling by Auburn. As we said, Fournette literally ran through the Auburn defense but trying to jump up on his shoulder pads? What was that? Auburn has some work to do.

Another example of bad tackling was when Tennessee defensive back Evan Berry was wrapped up by a Western Carolina defender….sort of. He spun out of it on his way to an  88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

 

Bad Idea = Great Result

While the talk down South is how Ole Miss beat Alabama in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, the real talk should be about the horrifically bad idea Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly made that turned out great. Kelly took a bad snap and with a defender bearing down on him, heaved the ball up for grabs. Luckily Ole Miss wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo was there to come down with the ball and score a touchdown.

Pretty sure head coach Hugh Freeze said later, ‘great job, don’t ever do it again.’

 

Big Mouths 

Brett Bielema has done a great job of firing up the fanbase at Arkansas and pissing off other coaches along the way. Arkansas looked like world beaters in the last three games of 2014 and the first game of 2015. Now, they have lost two in a row and Bielema’s big mouth is coming back to haunt him. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury made sure everyone knew how he felt about Bielema’s rants this offseason after Texas Tech beat Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.

Having a big mouth ended up in fisticuffs after the Monday Night game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. A Vikings fan was pummeled in the parking lot after trash talking with 49ers fans. Our question is, when did 49er fans become Oakland Raiders fans? This is sad and unacceptable.

 

Sad

Notre Dame defensive back Drue Tranquill blew out his knee after doing a celebration jump with a teammate.

This reminds us of a few years ago when Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell blew out his knee celebrating a touchdown with then Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Coaches may want to outlaw jumping celebrations.

But on a happier not, is there anything better than shots of sad Alabama fans? SBNationn put together a best of for us. We highly recommend checking it out here.

What To Watch – Thurs. 9/10 – Sun. 9/13

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 10th

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees – 4pm MLB.TV: It’s the first of a four game set for the lead in the AL East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots – 5:30pm NBC: Well Tom Brady is playing and we can only hope that NBC Sports doesn’t pull some nonsense with Ryan Seacrest again.

 

Friday September 11th

Utah State at Utah – 6pm ESPN2: The battle for the Beehive Boot. A tough, hard nosed football game.

Houston Astros at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Angels look to keep their playoff hopes alive as the division leading Astros come to SoCal.

 

Saturday September 12th

Everton vs Chelsea – 4:40am NBCSN: The Premier League season has yet to settle down which means there is a chance of an upset in this match.

Liverpool vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: Yes it’s a College Football Saturday but this is a classic match-up.

Oklahoma at Tennessee – 3pm ESPN: A power 5 matchup, two Top 25 schools with a lot of history and an orange and white checkerboard stadium. Oh yeah.

Oregon at Michigan State – 5pm ABC: Sparty shut down the Ducks for three quarters last year in Eugene. Then Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota took over and led the Ducks to victory. Mariota is now in the NFL and Sparty wants revenge.

LSU at Mississippi State – 6:15pm ESPN: LSU’s game was cancelled last week and Miss State got in a preseason game against Southern Miss. How big of a factor will that play?

Boise State at BYU – 7:15pm ESPN2: BYU pulled one out of the fire last week with a backup QB fresh off his two year mission and Boise almost blew it against Washington. Should make things interesting.

LA Galaxy vs Montreal Impact – 7:30pm MLS LIVE: Didier Drogba hits LA to take on Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane. Drogba had a hat trick in his first start for the Impact. What will he do for an encore?

 

 

Sunday September 13th

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – 10am FOX: One of the games best QB’s in Aaron Rodgers against one of the games most overrated in Jay Cutler. Can Rodgers still air out the ball without Jordy Nelson and a one shouldered Reggie Cobb?

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals – 1pm FOX: Can Drew Brees find someone in the redzone now that Jimmy Graham is in Seattle?

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – 1:25pm CBS: Could be Peyton Manning’s last go round. And with a new offense no less.

NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys – 5:30pm NBC: It should be a fantastic game but man, Cris Collinsworth twice in one week?

What to Watch 10/10-10/13

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday Oct. 10th

4:30pm-ESPN: Rutgers @ Louisville (An important battle in the AAC. Both teams have a  short week but Rutgers went into 3 overtimes against SMU last weekend. That could be difference. It’s also a chance to check out Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater for yourself.)

5:00pm-TBS: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A’s (Game 5 in the ALDS. Winner gets a date with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Let’s do this!)

5:25pm-NFL Network: NY Giants @ Chicago Bears (Can the Giants get a win this season or will they go 0-6? It will be funny for everyone outside of New York if they do.)

Friday Oct. 11th

6:00pm-ESPN3: BC Lions @ Calgary (West Coast rivals meet again. Calgary RB John Cornish looks to set another league record for rushing yards in a season.)

Saturday Oct. 12th

9:00am-ESPN: Missouri @ Georgia (Georgia’s D is not very good and they are missing just about everyone on offense due to injury. Missouri is a surprising 5-0. Upset alert!)

12:30pm-CBS: Florida @ LSU (How Florida lucked out and got at daytime kick off we’ll never know. Either way it’s a must win for both teams if they want to keep their SEC & National Title hopes alive.)

1:00pm-FS1: Oregon @ Washington (The Quack Attack gets its first true test against an old rival. Can UW bounce back and contain the Ducks high-powered O? Needless to say, it’s going to be very, very loud in Husky Stadium.)

5:30pm-ESPN: Texas A&M @ Ole Miss (It will be points galore in Oxford. Big point swings are liable to occur.)

7:00pm-Regional: Montreal Canadiens @ Vancouver Canucks (East meets West for the first time this season.)

Sunday Oct. 13th

1:25pm-FOX: New Orleans Saints @ NE Patriots (5-0 Saints head to Foxboro. Can Tom Brady find some WR’s in time?)

6:00pm-ESPN: Seattle Sounders @ Portland Timbers (Cascadia Cup match between two playoff teams. Only time Seattle visits the Rose City during the regular season. This is always something awesome to see.)

Next Generation Defense

There was an article on the Wall Street Journal not too long ago talking about how the no huddle offense is ruining Television. If the WSJ thinks that a pro no huddle offense is ruining TV they must hate College Football.

Oregon is known for their no-huddle, quick-snap offense. They try to snap the ball as quickly as possible. On one scoring play against Washington they scored 9 seconds after the previous play. 9 seconds! You didn’t see the scoring play because ESPN was showing a replay of the previous play. The announcers did ask the question, “Who can stop Oregon?”

TV can’t but the Next Generation Defense can.

Every Saturday you see Defenses getting caught with penalties for too many men on the field or just not lining up correctly before the ball was snapped. They’ll never stop Oregon or another fast paced, high-snap team like Arizona with these tactics. Defenses have to change in two fundamental ways.

First, they have to stop approaching defense with a ‘well it worked in the past’ philosophy. While there are lessons that can be learned and schemes poached, there has to be a fresh approach to the basic practicies. The best place to start is with the substituions. Stop them. While several years ago substituting in players for certain defensive packages worked it won’t when you play teams like Oregon or Arizona who never huddle and snap the ball quickly. If you want rotate players to keep them fresh throughout the game you’re going to need 22 players and not 11.

Defenses can stay fresh by rotating the starting 11 between series. While this may leave some playmakers on the sidelines for a couple of series it will, in the long term, keep those players fresher to make plays throughout the game.

Second, defensive players have to now be the most conditioned athletes on the field. Rotating super giant lineman to clog the line of scrimmage isn’t going to work. Having well conditioned athletes with great technique is. Anticipate having to leave 11 defenders on the field for an entire series.

These changes will help keep pace with a team like Oregon or another fast paced team like Arizona. Arizona keeps getting brought up because in the first 6 games of the season Arizona is averaging more plays per game than Oregon (93 to 85). To put this in perspective, the defending National Champions Alabama are averaging 63 plays per game and the high octane attack of West Virginia averages 76. Oregon runs 20 more plays a game than Alabama and Arizona runs 30.

Neither Oregon or Arizona have won a National Title since they’ve begun their fast-paced offensive attack. They are garnered a lot of headlines but haven’t one the big one. Meanwhile traditional offenses like Alabama and LSU have walked away with the National Title in the last couple of years. While the past still works it may soon be swallowed up by the future with teams like Oregon, Arizona and West Virginia leading the way.