Brewster's O-line coach Phil Meyer "resigned to pursue other opportunities" yesterday. Meaning? It's not the head coach's fault they ran for 7 yards and were "physically outplayed." This is the moral equivalent of Mason dumping two of her senior staff before her Regents woodshed meeting. If Brewster had a blog, it would start today, "I'm briliiant and manly, and Meyer isn't." What a guy.
(You know you've had an okay day when somebody you just played ... gets fired.)
Chris Brown suggests that the spread has already reached its apogee and if so, it will be interesting to see if RichRod can yet pull it off. Man, I wish we could have played Michigan and OSU this year. Is Meyer's firing a smart move or just a leading indicator that the spread is on its downward arc?
I think it may be. If there's any lesson here its that football is still won at the line of scrimmage. The spread clearly is an equalizer against undisciplined defenses that over-pursue, or just lack athleticism (code for: we're just not good enough), and the spread is right on if the QB can run like a back *and* throw. (Is Pryor the next Tebow or the next Juice? Not clear.) But it's still a game where if you can control the LOS with four down linemen you have the numerical advantage even with a running QB. There's something incompatible with that truism and the idea that you need smaller, shiftier O-lineman that can move sideline-to-sideline -- and 4-5 superior skill position guys.
So: what are the requirements for a team to win with the spread?
1. An O-line that is physical enough to force defenses to come with 5 or 6, overcommitting the D to the center of the field, and shifting the numerical advantage dramatically to the offense. Oh, but they also have to run like linebackers.
2. A QB who throws as well as Stanzi but runs as well as DJK.
3. 4-5 shifty very fast guys who can get separation on the edge.
It's easier to come up with Iowa's offensive player mix, I think, because our schemes are so simple. Really, we're just saying on every play: we will beat you senseless -- unless you blitz and cheat up with your safeties. When you do that, though, we will go over the top and get 30. But then if you back up, we will say Thanks! and beat you senseless some more. Obviously, our QB has to be able to go over the top with accuracy under pressure, and now he can. Obviously, our game doesn't work if our O-line isn't nasty. But we don't need all-world receivers or even RBs to make this work. We just need a guy at QB who can recognize which part of the field is being left under-defended, and get the ball there. It's worth noting that both Banks and Tate lasted about one workout in their NFL trials. Iowa's system requires a QB with touch and recognition more than the more rare physical skills. Iowa's offense is about efficiency and reducing volatility (not fucking up). We were only upper-middle in all offensive statistics categories, but second in the league in scoring O.
(I also think one of the most under-reported features of this club vs. the last four is our receivers stopped dropping the ball 4-6 times a game. That was like getting 4-6 illegal procedure calls a game. Campbell seems to have made a huge difference. When Stanzi gets the ball in the air you don't cringe anymore, waiting for it to bounce off somebody in a bad place, like the hands or numbers.)
Anyway, they've got the freight train running again, the ballclub is having fun on the field again for the first time in years, and I can't imagine there's a team (because we lost 4x, because we're unranked) that any 10-2 club in the bowls would like less to play. And the Gopher linemen are prepping for Detroit knowing that they're being blamed for the baggie collapsing on them Saturday.
FOOTNOTE STAT TO PONDER: we had the league's most disruptive D-lineman, by acclamation. And finished last in the league in sacks. On both sides of the ball, the ethic is to control the LOS, and let the guys in back do their work.