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Messages - jknezek

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I see this both ways. Speaking from experience, I abhorred W&L's OOC last season. Averett, Sewanee and Newport News Apprentice is an awful slate. All at home. Now Sewanee is traditional, nothing to do about that, Averett was a back half home and home, and NNA was a one off apparently, but it still was terrible competition.

However, W&L was coming off two fall off seasons, including a 2014 where they went 2-8. Not much was expected of the Generals and starting off with 3 winnable games completely reset the team from a dismal 2014 to an undefeated regular season in 2015. The first W&L perfect regular season in well more than my lifetime. So while those games were truly poor, they set up the team to be a success going forward.

This year W&L opens on the road at Johns Hopkins, at Sewanee, and home for a rising Claremont Mudd Scripps team. While W&L brings back a lot, the difference in OOC competition could easily send what I think will be an even better W&L team to a much more difficult season. I'm looking forward to these games, which I can honestly say I wasn't last year, but I am concerned at the toll playing JHU and CMS could take on a relatively small but experienced squad.

Obviously W&L is not in the same position as the DIII heavy weights above, but as I think about these two OOC slates, I wonder which tactic sets a team up for success better. Perhaps it is situational? W&L needed to get momentum last year after a pair of tough seasons, and this year maybe the experience of playing better teams will help them continue to step up their game?

If you take that tactic, teams like UWW and NCC rarely need the momentum boost W&L benefited from, so perhaps weighting the experience earned by playing challenging games is more important.

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: April 13, 2016, 08:40:11 am »
You probably have some insight along these lines. I know it is way too early to predict but just wondering, based on returning players, how the league looks. Stands to reason your Generals will be the top dog going into the season, right ?

If they stay healthy W&L brings back a lot of offense (almost every yard gained from scrimmage) and a decent portion of the defense. Need to replace a few lineman on both sides of the ball and a bit more on D, but they have the linemen in the wings. Since W&L is usually one of, if not the, smallest squad in the ODAC, they will need a few first years to step up to fill gaps on D and special teams. But yes, I think the Generals are well positioned and should have a lot of experienced leadership on both sides of the ball. I don't think anyone else will jump them for preseason favorite as I think most other teams will have more question marks in key positions.

In addition, W&L has a slightly more favorable conference schedule this year. E&H, H-SC, Shenandoah and R-MC all at home leaving Bridgewater or Guilford as the toughest away games, just can't see Catholic taking a big step. Bridgewater is always a tough road game for W&L, but I think Guilford has a lot of pieces to replace this year.

The non-conf schedule could be an issue. Opening at JHU is a tough way to build confidence. Ask R-MC. So unlike last year where the patsy all home non-conf really built W&L up, this year the leadership will have to get them going right from the start, or at least help them overcome any confidence issues from opening with JHU and a second road game at Sewanee before facing a strong C-M-S team at home. W&L hasn't won a road opener since the 50s, I believe. JHU is unlikely to make it easy on them.

If W&L clears the non-conf 2-1 with few injuries they will be hard to handle in the ODAC. If they take a beating the depth will be a question.

East Region football / Re: FB: Empire 8
« on: April 11, 2016, 05:20:56 pm »
Wanted to tell you guys that I may not be at many Bomber games this fall. Mrs. Bombers798891 is expecting our first in October, so we may have to stay close to home. It's pretty cool actually. We went to an appointment last week to hear the baby's heartbeat, and the ultrasound tech put the thing on her stomach, and it was this really cool sound. We were all so happy, and then, once we'd gone crazy with happiness, the tech put up her hand to make us be quiet. In the still of the room, we actually heard a tiny muffled voice as it said, very clearly:

"Cortland sucks."

Congratulations!  Life will never be the same. Mostly better, but 5 here will be moments...  but seriously, congratulations! 

South Region football / Re: FB: USA South Athletic Conference
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:55:42 am »
Huntingdon's schedule is pretty much the same as last year but with the home and away swapped. The only difference is Belhaven moved from week 4 to week 3 with the open date going from week 3 to week 4. I believe I was told that we are locked in to LC and BSC for the first two games for the near future and Belhaven drops off next year to make room for Brevard.

I'm just glad the BSC-HC games are back. The year or two those went missing was inexplicable to me. There are 2 D3 teams in AL. That should be a natural OOC rivalry!

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: April 04, 2016, 02:53:40 pm »
Aside from Randy Mac and H-SC, are there other strong traditional rivalries in the ODAC for football?

I have not been able to discern them. Thanks

Not really. But the requirement they play the last week means you can only back load so much, especially since H-SC has been the most consistent top dog in the conference for probably 15 years. The rest of the week 11 games seem to be attempts to manufacture rivalries because they seem to stay consistent as far as I can tell. Why W&L/Shenandoah or E&H/Guilford or Bridgewater/Catholic I don't know. I do know that after Catholic leaves next year it will get more complicated.

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: April 04, 2016, 11:28:07 am »
I do feel like lately the league has tried to adjust the schedule every two years or so to try and put key match ups toward the end of the season, while at the same time avoiding more than 2 straight road games in conference. Could be a coincidence, but it has felt that way at least since the late naughts.


1. D3 football is basically the equivalent of a city All Star Game.
2. They recruit players who may actually never play in a game for sake of depth.
3. It's basically glorified high school football.
4. Sometimes they pick up kids who love the game more than it loves them. (basically they aren't good players)

I'll take these one at a time, but I want to start with a caveat. There are 240+ DIII teams and the level of play varies wildly. Far greater than D1. Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater share almost nothing in common with the average DIII teams, let alone the poor ones, so when answering these questions you have to consider those major considerations.

To the first point. Kids that play on average or better DIII teams were almost always an All-Something player in h.s. At the top DIII schools, they are kids that might have been offered preferred walk-on status at a DI or better, or a partial at a DII and chose DIII instead. In the middle of DIII they are kids that were all-state or all-county type players, but maybe not first team or not at the largest divisions in the state. At the bottom of DIII they are kids who love football and want to keep playing. They might have been team captains as seniors and depending on the school they could be all-scholastic type team players, without being all-county. So is it glorified h.s.? I'm not sure what that means. At the top of DIII the teams are very, very good. Competitive with middle and lower tier FCS type schools. At the bottom of DIII are kids that keep playing because they love the game that much.

If there is one difference between DIII and h.s. it could be fan support. Friday Night Lights is huge for a community. Packed stadiums, everyone in town showing up for the game. At the vast majority of DIII it doesn't work that way. The games have maybe 500-1200 people in the stands, counting generously, and the atmosphere isn't so much electric as it is "mildly interested." Of course this varies, as UMHB has an incredible stadium, while other schools just have a few bleachers.

2) Over recruitment. Yes and no. Lots of DIII schools treat the football team as a way to get kids on campus. As many as possible. So you have close to 100 freshman, or in a few cases significantly more, coming in, and less than 15 seniors going out. How much of this is blind over recruitment and how much of this is simply attrition as kids try and balance school and practice? There are plenty of schools that bring in 30-50 freshman, whether that is because it is all they can get through admissions at the top schools, or just honest assessment of the players is up for debate, but there are always outliers the other way that need the cash as many freshman as possible can provide.

3) I think I handled this one already. As Ralph said, an average 22 year old will hammer most really good 18 year olds. 4 more years in the weight room, 4 more years of practice, 4 more years of maturity. The DIII schools in VA used to occassionally scrimmage Fork Union which is one of those h.s. teams for kids who don't make grades and try one more year of h.s. to pull themselves up. The kids on the Fork Union team are almost always DI scholarship kids if they can get the grades. The DIII teams when playing first string kids usually handle Fork Union's top kids, and that's just a function of age, size and experience. So is the level of play glorified h.s.? All but the worst DIII teams will compete with even the best h.s. teams.

4)Sure. This goes back to point 2. Most schools don't do cut downs, you just get buried on the depth chart. It depends on the kid how much energy and effort he wants to expend pushing up the depth chart over 4 years. Most schools lose about 75% of the freshman they bring in by the time they are seniors. The schools that bring in the most freshman lose more, the schools that bring in the least tend to retain the most. That is just how the world works. Do all coaches give honest assessments of the kids? Probably not. But it's always up to the kid if he wants to keep at it. There is no $$$ to hold over the kids head.

Good luck. DIII football can be very good, very competitive, very entertaining and very rewarding. It should be all of these things if your child lands in the right spot for him. Only you, he and the coach can determine if the school you are looking at will provide the football experience, and more importantly the education, your son wants and needs.

Men's soccer / Re: 2016 Schedules
« on: March 30, 2016, 03:02:35 pm »
What irritates me is it is something the women's team does so darn well and yet in the men's game we are so determined to play like everyone else. Our women's team is a group of outstanding athletes. Compared to Japan, Germany, Brazil with Marta, we were outclassed in "soccer" talent, but we beat the snot out of them in athletes and fitness across the field. Early in the last year's Women's World Cup we were being forced to play a style that didn't fit by the coach and the team struggled. When they went back to what worked after the group games they buried all that came against them.

I don't think the men's team can win a World Cup the way the women can, but more running and guts and less focus on pretty soccer is the way to get the most out of the current player pool that we have. Sadly our soccer cognoscenti aren't willing to accept that style as what we can do right now. So we have JK trying to make square pegs fit in round holes and reverting back to what works when he becomes desperate.

Men's soccer / Re: 2016 Schedules
« on: March 30, 2016, 10:45:21 am »
Well, hard to complain about last night. We shouldn't have been in that position, but when he put the guys in the right positions and relied on athleticism to pressure Guatemala into making mistakes... look what happened! We are a workmanlike, athletic team. Not a skill and finesse team. We need to use high pressure against these teams that sit back and force them to make mistakes with our athletes and use counter attacks to utilize our athletics and fitness against the top 20-30 teams in the world. This is how the U.S. can win games. We don't yet have the skill players or tactics to be a complete ball control, unlock the opponent team.

Shame about the U23s, but Columbia was simply a better team. Much like the qualifying for 2012, we choked winnable games against CONCACAF opponents and that can't happen. I still believe we are simply outclassed, though those younger players seem to have more finesse relative to many opponents than the senior team, but they aren't world class players. Until we have those pieces, we need to revert to the kind of game we played under Arena and Bradley, and Klinsmenn when push comes to shove at the WC, to maximize our success. Teachable moments are great for friendlies, not for qualifiers.

Men's soccer / Re: 2016 Schedules
« on: March 29, 2016, 03:28:27 pm »

Sitting 6 rows behind the US bench for the Guatemala game tonight - I'll be the one wearing a scowl, glaring at Cluelessmann . . .

Is there any chance he actually plays guys in position tonight? And plays tactics suited to our relatively limited skillset?

North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: March 29, 2016, 12:47:52 pm »
Wow.... The new guy hasn't even been in coaching the last five years. And when he was coaching, had a sub 500 record.  I guess wabash mailed it in on a coaching search.  Oh well.  All good things must come to an end I guess.

Umm... the new guy has been the offensive coordinator I believe for the last 3 years at Wabash and a qb coach before that. Not exactly out of coaching.

Re, the big FL pickup - I'm waiting for Duff's commentary on the "commitment" tweet.   :)

No comment.  :P

Give him a Minnesota weekend and see how he likes it. I moved my wife from FL to AL and she almost headed back after a rainy spring. Can't imagine what a midwest winter feels like to these kids.

North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: March 28, 2016, 03:28:00 pm »
I'll stay away from the hand wringing and simply congratulate Coach R. That is a big step, even if he is going to a terrible program, and it reflects very well on the fine job he did at Wabash and the way he conducted himself during the interview process. Given the bios of the other two coaches, I am surprised they chose a DIII guy and think it really is a strong testament to Coach R and the program he ran at Wabash.

Good luck Coach, and I have faith that Wabash will do well under Coach Morel.

North Region football / Re: FB: Ohio Athletic Conference
« on: March 24, 2016, 09:45:54 am »
I thought it was pretty good fun. I mean, we could all just bow and scrape and say how great UMU is, but we do enough of that during the season when they are earning those accolades. We can't have a little fun with the unbelievable difficulties of being indomitable in the offseason without people getting all twisted up? Lighten up...

North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: March 22, 2016, 11:19:31 am »
Here we go again.  Coach Raeburn has applied for the head coaching position at Savannah State.  Decision to be made by Friday.

It is a grand thing to rise in the world. The ambition to do so is the very salt of the earth. It is the parent of all enterprise, and the cause of all improvement. Anthony Trollope

I'd be somewhat surprised if he gets offered that leap, but kudos to him for being in the conversation. The other two coaches up for the job have D1 experience and head coaching experience, so Coach Raeburn must have really done a good job to stand out in a field that was probably filled with "easier" choices to get to the final 3.

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