Friday, September 14, 2012

Why It Matters

It doesn't have to be this way

The two-deep tells us a lot, but it doesn't tell us everything.

Sure, we know who the starters are. But we don't know how they'll be utilized. We don't know what kind of offense we'll use, how often we'll blitz on defense, and of course whether any of this will really work.

But again, we do know about "The Grand Experiment," which is my term for the strategy of using a super light offensive linemen, including a 227-pound right guard, in a Division I NCAA football game.

Obviously, I want this to work and not just because I am rooting for the Lions to win every week.

I want it to work because it is a radical new idea coming to a league and a program that needs a big shakeup. This is like the way Billy Bean shook up baseball with "Moneyball." I like Head Coach Pete Mangurian's refusal to keep the status quo. 

But there's an even bigger reason why I desperately want this to work: health.

I know a lot of current and ex-college football players who are very unhappy with how dangerous it is to be pushing 300 pounds and still be doing grueling cardiovascular work day in and day out. It's a strain on the heart that often leads to terrible health problems down the road.

In fact, legendary Columbia QB-turned legendary heart surgeon Archie Roberts has dedicated his professional life now to keeping track of and helping the heart health of bigger football athletes in college and he pros. 

What a wonderful development it would be for our high school kids if they suddenly learned that they don't have to risk their health just to get big enough to play certain positions in football. 

As great as a winning season would be this year and a championship as soon as possible, succeeding with this strategy would have a far-reaching positive effect for thousands of kids and for the game. 


oldlion said...

Jake, I used to have a young lawyer working for me who was a starting OL for Cornell for three years. He was about 6'6" and about 200 pounds. He ran marathons, was a vegan, etc. He told me that his playing weight at Cornell was 290, and that he was encouraged to eat five or six meals a day and really pack on the weight. As soon as his playing days were over he realized that he needed to take action for the sake of his long term health and did so. I have heard a lot of similar stories. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I always wondered how Norries could have told our players about the benefits of lean body mass.

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