Categories
Basketball

Kansas State is the first victim of the Mean Green March

… or so we hope.

Number 2 versus number 15. Remember when I said that all you had to do was believe? Feels awesome don’t it? Keep believing buddy!

The Matchup:

So our opponent is revealed: Kansas State. I won’t bore you with an extensive breakdown. There is a huge disparity in talent, of course. But there is also a huge disparity in expectations, money, support, history, coverage …

What does all that matter? Not a damn thing.

We can beat these guys. It may take heroic efforts from the squad. It may take a perfect, ‘Nova-type game to get a dubya but dammit, it’s possible.

I am excited for this run. I cannot wait for Thursday. It is our time. We’ll get the hard matchup out of the way first and then move on to the lesser seeds.

GMG.

Categories
Basketball Recaps

Josh White on Game Winning Shot

His shot reminded me of this guy that used to live in my neighborhood. He was shorter than me but could freakin jump. All his shots would be like JW’s here. He would go up, float for a sec and then shoot. It was frustrating the first time I played him one-on-one. I knew I was gonna throw that shit out the sky but he just kept floating. …

Categories
Basketball

We win, get some pub and get dissed?

We win: Meangreensports

Get some pub: ESPNDallas

and get kinda dissed. JJT

Be sure to check out MGNation.ning.com. It may be the future home of this crappy site!

Categories
Basketball

March Madness is Coming

Have you checked your calendar, friend? Kind of hard to believe it is already February 23rd huh? I know it . You know what it means, right?

Yep.

Basketball.

That’s right. If you’re like most of the country, you don’t give a crap about December games, or big match-ups going on in early January. No, no. It wasn’t time yet.

Now?

Not quite…

… but its close.

Don’t feel bad. The players know it. They know they have to wait their turn. They know to put on a great show once their number comes up, too. They don’t disappoint. Haven’t for as long as I can remember.

And you, friend? You have a special role, yes you do.

You have to believe, yes you do. What? What to believe in? Oh, dear! Don’t you know? Yes. You have the most special of circumstances. You are in a most fortunate position, friend. Fortunate, indeed, yes you are!

What? You need me to explain it to you? Ha! You know me too well, friend. I would love to:

You know them big-name schools? You know their fans? Well, you are in a better place then them. Yes you are. Look at Texas. Overflowing with money, talent, fans, support and …. expectations. Yep.

What? Oh, I’m sure you had some hopes and whatnot, but we’ll forget about that now. Keep it between us two, k? Yep. See, the thing is that no one expects a whole lot from our MG. Nope. That’s what makes it fun! Everything they get is Gravy. On. Top.

All you have to do is believe. The more you believe, the more you hope, the more you scream and stomp and yell, well, the sweeter it will be if they win.

It is risky, sure. You may get hurt. Ah, but its okay. That is all part of the fun. Trust me. I’m your friend.

Links:

BBall has a better chance of winning a NC

Sunbelt BBall Tourney in Hot Springs

Uh This. MG Hoops

Categories
Football

Run N’ Shoot.

Thing of beauty

SmartFootball

Awesome. Times have not changed so much. Lots of teams run these same plays but more out of shotgun. Hell, some of this stuff is what the Saints and Colts used this year.

Categories
Football

Innovative Defense

I’ll admit right now that I don’t know how to coach a defense. My only experience was as a high school defensive back — for a very short period of time. So with that said, I probably learned more about schemes and the such from our mutual friend the Internet than anywhere else (but that isn’t that odd is it?)

Now then, let’s get to the topic of the day:

Let’s. Get. Innovative.  /Darkwing Duck Theme Voice

I talked at length yesterday about offensive schemes etc. Again, I don’t really think that a scheme makes a team. Or an offense. Or a defense. There is a balance between talent and philosophy that must be achieved. The best coaches know how to use the talent they have and put them in the best positions to maximize said talent, limited as it may be.

So what is the big deal about running our 4-3 defense?

Nothing. It is fine. Plenty of teams have used it and had lots of success. USC runs a 4-3 Under. So does Florida. Pretty much says it all huh?

So why is it not good enough for wil’ ol’ UNT?

Well, its not that it isn’t good enough but that it isn’t interesting enough. It is not different enough.

I’ll have to revisit yesterday’s topic real fast-like. Although schemes don’t make all the difference, they are important. It’s is why teams disguise coverages or play fake, pump fake, run double moves, or run counter-treys. It is easier to do than trying to run over the guy in front of you for sixty plays. The battle of brains is one of the reasons I love football. The battle to outwit the other guy is a fascinating one to watch.

This is why smaller schools are typically the testing ground for new ideas. Urban Meyer developed his version of the spread option while an assistant (after learning it from, among others, Rich Rodgriguez) and tested it at Bowling Green, where he took his Falcons to unprecedented success. That led him to Utah and an undefeated season and well, eventually to failure.

Pictured: Failure

At Nowhere U (enrollment 5000) you can’t just try to out-muscle the other guy. That is why balance is imperative. If you focus too much on talent you get outschemed (see: Northwestern versus Michigan) if you lean too much toward scheme you get out-talented (see: Notre Dame-Charlie Weis era)*

*Tenuous. Just wanted to make a Weis joke, mostly.

It’s much harder to innovate on defense where speed size and strength are more important than on offense. The offense has the advantage and the defense has to be able to cover ground quickly to make up for the time delay. Great coaching shortens the time gap. Nicky Saban emphasizes pattern reading (nothing new– lots of coaches do it) and playing the ball. The finished product is a defense that smothers and is seemingly in the other teams huddle. But none of that matters if the offensive line is blowing their counterparts off the ball and the back doesn’t get touched for the first ten yards. Again: balance.

This is why I want to see a little 4-2-5 by us. Maybe some 3-5-3. Of course that would require that we went out and got someone who knows the ins-and-outs of that kind of D. That is beside the point however. If we are going to go down, I want to go down swinging. I really don’t care. I’d love to be Blitz U. That’d be the greatest part of all this. In this business you have to have an angle. What is ours right now defensively? ‘Come be apart of the team that doesn’t put pressure on the QB!’

I figure that we’d give up a huge number of big plays if we gambled and brought five or six guys every down. I don’t have anything against sound, solid defense. I expect that from the Cowboys who can seek out the most talented and pay them the requisite fee for doing so. I don’t think we have the resources or the clout or the time to develop 2-star guys into defensive stalwarts consistently enough to have sustained success, however.

Again: it is not impossible to have a Sunbelt school with a stout defense. I just don’t think it happens often enough here. We just can’t get the talent to have it for a long period of time.

So let’s be innovative on defense. I matters not if we implement a certain defensive scheme just that we try to be different. Let’s do on defense what the spread did for offense ya know?

Next: I figure I’ll have to think of something to talk about. Probably more rehashing. Woo!

Categories
Football

UNT on the lookout for a new OC

I learned of this via the DRC. You can read the Austin-American Statesman's account here. This pretty much means that nothing is changing very much. Well, that is if you believe that Todd Dodge is the true offensive coordinator. Whether or not PapaDodge is doing the play calling on gameday or not is really kind of irrelevant. This is Todd Dodge's offense. Todd Ford ran Todd Dodge's offense. If Ford has a similar one –which is very likely after being part of it for the last six years or so– it is because PapaDodge taught him.

So, although Dodge wants to 'look outside', we are not going to see a radical difference in offensive philosophy unless the guy that comes in here has a crapload of credibility like Paul Johnson. Notice he is looking for 'spread guys' from 'program[s] like us?'

I really don't like to get hung up on schemes although I've always liked the AirRaid because it was different, interesting and I think when its run well it is probably the most exciting offense in football. I've argued somewhat ineloquently–as I am wont to do– that being different would be an advantage for UNT. In the last five years the spread offense is not very different at all. In fact, it has become very mainstream. Texas Tech had the first mover advantage and I would argue that that is what made them competitive, if only once every few years. We probably cannot duplicate that kind of success just by putting four and five wideouts on the field every down and think we are going to get favorable matchups all game. If you want to read what is probably one of the best pieces on Tech and Leach's role there, read this. My favorite part:

More after the jump >>

Categories
Sunbelt Stuff

SMU kicks Nevada’s ass

The thing about SMU becoming relevant again is that it means that there is more competition for us Mean Green faithful. Competition of course being a nice way of putting it. We suck.

What disappoints me most is that we had a twenty year window in which to make some headway into the metropolis of bandwagon-dwellers that is the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

As TCU has become increasingly awesome this last decade, I have watched people still not really give a damn. I find it harder to believe that there is a chance for a tight-money school like North Texas to achieve acceptance and an even small part of the love that is reserved for the Blue Star in this area. Hell, we cannot even get Denton to really give a shit about us. *

*I have a theory on this. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. I has to do with resentment of the populace.

To be honest however. I have always silently rooted for SMU. I only manufacture my hate because I only joined this rivalry when I enrolled at North Texas back in 2005. I always root for an underdog and wanted SMU to rise again. So, the traitor part of me is happy that SMU hired my second favorite coach and is making its way back into the college football party.

Nice to see you again Formerly Storied Program. (Please don’t tell my soon to be alma mater)

Categories
Football

The Future of Todd Dodge at North Texas

5-31. It is the rallying cry of many fans looking to replace the head coach. Really, despite all his better qualities, the most important thing he can do is win. Winning helps everything. You need more funds for the athletic department? How about after a ten-win season capped with a bowl victory? Now we have twenty people lined up for box seats next year. Oh wait. You only won two games? Eh. Maybe they’ll buy a hot dog and a t-shirt when they come for homecoming. Maybe.

I’d really like the head coach of North Texas to be an awesome guy that makes everyone around him like him. . . . if he wins. Unfortunately, being a nice guy isn’t a top qualification for being a head coach.

A look back: 


Probably the most lasting poor decision made by PapaDodge was to come in with his high school staff. I really don’t blame him for wanting to be loyal. It smacked of arrogance at the time and proved to be folly. Having staff fresh out of high school is not dumb. People have had success doing so. Generally they come in one-at-a-time though. The experience of the college staff helps with the transition. Unfortunately for our staff it was a harsh transition. Ron Mendoza was out-schemed and out-classed at this level. Aside from the obvious on-field ramifications, it affected the moral of the squad (had to right?) the moral of the fan-base and probably recruiting (“Hey, kid on our staff we have guys that know what they are doing.”)

During a period and at a place where any mistake, regardless of size, has tremendous consequences Dodge made rookie head coach errors. This, perhaps was the thing everyone should have thought of at the time. Although we like to talk up how this is a pivotal point in UNT’s history. I would argue that that 2006 season was equally, if not more important. Coming off a recent winning period, we weren’t a complete laughing stock yet. We have lost any momentum from that time.

I respect a calculated gamble. You have to risk some things if you want to get a big payoff. Hiring the hottest high school name in Texas was a very risky play with potential for a big payoff. It didn’t work. We did salvage some things from it. Apparently Dodge was a big help in getting the stadium built. Whether or not some other guy that could have came in here would have piled up wins and accomplished the same thing is left to the imagination.

What to do

We as a school, a fanbase, a support group do not have the means (or wherewithal , some say) to hire and fire coaches at a whim. We need to take calculated gambles. I side more with the thinking that firing Dodge, although justifiable, is not feasible. Instead, we should focus on hiring quality assistant coaches. They are reasonably priced, and do all the things we need. Sure, an army is nothing without a leader, and Dodge’s ability to lead a staff may be in question. That means the search for quality assistant coaches should lean toward those who may be qualified to take the big job too, for a nice even transition when and if it comes time to sack Mr. Southlake.

A decidedly unsexy option to be sure, but to my outsider eyes perhaps the most effective given our situation.

In any case,

GMG

Categories
Football

Eerily Accurate Predictions

I went back and took a look at the Dynasty I started on NCAA 10 with the Mean Green. I finished 4-7 (3-5).

I wish I would have put up the season stats now that I look back on it. I know I threw something like 29 picks with Rodge. I had no offensive line protection. (Its a ncaa 10 problem). I had to abandon the running game early in games to be competitive. I suppose the biggest similarity was the offensive prowess. Instead of KiDodge being the record breaker, its Dunbar ( who in my Dynasty, had a breakout season his senior year–he was on the bench the first year).

Sheck it out. Its actually kind of entertaining. (If I say so myself)