Kobe Bryant dunking all over Josh Smith.
Kobe Bryant dunking all over Josh Smith.
Who’s ready for baseball?
Scenes from Dr. Jerry Buss’ Memorial Service: ”We are here to celebrate a diamond of a life that was of great value” —Phil Jackson on Jerry Buss
Great speech by Phil
I was listening to Kobe’s interview on ESPN Radio about the Lakers new winning ways and the sudden change in the offense. I ended up taking notes. In summary, Kobe decided to slow down the pace, implement more post play, and facilitate more.
Obviously, Lakers don’t have the personnel to run and gun, so slowing down works to their strengths. Kobe attacking the basket forces the defense to collapse on him and he get can more players involved by passing at that point. More post play means more high percentage shots and getting Pau more involved. And in terms of the Lakers defense, it means less run outs for the opposing team off of rebounding long jumpers.
- Figuring out how to best utilize all the pieces and put them into proper alignment
- Needed to minimize possessions
- Too many possessions puts a strain on defense
- Defense would look good and then have lulls
- Played that role in triangle
- In triangle, he was a conductor
- In this system, he spoon feeds people more
- Slowing pace down plays to their advantage
- Can control pace with post play
- After the Heat game, Kobe realized what they needed to change
- They were trapping Nash
- Needed to create conflict and confrontation to get Dwight/Pau/D’Antoni to adjust
- Wanted to add to his legacy
- Kobe’s emergence was a threat
- Their conflict created an energy and got them on the same page
- Experience helped Kobe sympathize with Dwight
Sharing the Ball Narrative
- Kobe shooting a lot is an easy crutch for people to use
- It has more to do with getting other players to bring the energy
- Has a great attitude
- The teams needs his team attitude
Found the Needed Changes
- Pieces have fallen and sorted themselves out
- It’s about execution now
A major point of contention with USC fans this past season was Lane Kiffin’s play calling. While there certainly are some issues that can be raised, it wasn’t the sort of problem that some make it out to be.
The real problem? The offensive line.
We saw a line that was inconsistent as a unit and from player to player. The short yardage running game just wasn’t there when USC needed it. An inability to handle the pass rush led to ugly results at times. The struggles forced Kiffin to use the tight ends as blockers more and Barkley to get the ball out quicker. These are smart adjustments to cover up deficiencies, but they take away a lot of creativity with play calling.
Looking at the stats, it seems like the offensive line had a good year.
Anyone watching the games knows USC wasn’t the third best running team in the Pac-12 and wasn’t the best in conference at fending off pass rushers. If they had been, we would have seen a much more effective run game on the goal line and less whiffs on blocking pass rushers. As mentioned, the tight ends and a quicker passing game were used to work around these issues.
When guys like Marcus Martin, Aundrey Walker, and Max Tuerk start on the offensive line early in their careers, the natural reaction is to comment on how good they must be. But anytime you’re starting a true freshmen and two true sophomores on the offensive line, it’s a bad sign. Ideally, you want offensive lineman not to get serious playing time until their third year. That gives them time to get stronger, swap bad weight for good weight, and work on technique. Three young guys starting is a reflection on recruiting from 2008 and 2009. You would hope there would be 3rd and 4th year lineman from those recruiting cycles to step in and give you starters who are physically and mentally mature. Marcus Martin, Aundrey Walker, and Max Tuerk will all be very good as they get older, but their place in the starting lineup reflects that the offensive line was rebuilding in 2012.
As for the future, Kiffin’s recruiting shows a shift toward an offensive line with some serious size. We’re talking a line full of guys well over 300 pounds. Max Tuerk is currently under 300 but has the frame to go well over it. Marcus Martin and Aundrey Walker are over 300. Redshirt freshmen Zach Banner and Jordan Simmons are well over 300. Verbal commits Khaliel Rodgers and Jordan Poland are well over 300. Verbal commits Casey Tucker and Toa Lobendahn are in the 270s now with frames to put on a lot more weight by the time they get to USC. All this size is a shift for an offensive line that may have averaged around 290 in the past years.
The goal would be a unit can that drive the defense off the line. This facilitates a power run game that gives the running backs time to work and find a hole. *A contributing factor to Adrian Peterson’s amazing 2012 season was that Christian Ponder handed him the ball deep in the backfield. This gave Peterson more time to find a hole. Once he gets to the second level, all bets are off.* If USC can get back to dominating with the run, they can really attack defenses with play action. Think Alabama’s offense except with a much more dynamic passing game that uses more talented quarterbacks and receivers.
The pieces are coming into place but rebuilding an offensive line takes time.
This may not have been the sexy name many USC fans were hoping for like Pat Narduzzi. But, I like the DC hire because it addresses the defense’s needs.
Looking at the needs from last year:
Clancy Pendergast checks off all these bullet points. He employs an aggressive scheme that utilizes a lot of blitzes. He puts his secondary into a lot of man to man coverage and asks them to make plays. He’s known for giving opposing QBs a lot of different looks to try to confuse them. I like the idea of sticking with the 4-3 while inserting some different looks and personnel packages that allows more players to contribute. When you’ve got the superior athletes in the college game, let them loose.
This new scheme fits very well with the more aggressive philosophies of DL coach Ed O and DB coach Sanders. It’s fair to say their input will be applied more in 2013. At the very least, I’m sure Ed O had a lot of say with this hire.
Pendergast’s past defenses have been able to get after the QB and pick up sacks – a key factor in defending the spread heavy Pac-12. Against the spread, particularly Oregon, you’ve got to blow up the interior offensive line and punish the QB wearing him out as the game progresses. If not, an offense like Oregon is going to wear your defense out as the game goes along. Spread offenses were able to eat up yards with long drives keeping the USC defense on the field. Getting the defense off the field is the goal. When you’re aggressive, you try to do that with sacks and turnovers. If the consequence of that is allowing a few more big plays here and there, I’ll take it if it means the defense isn’t worn down in the 4th quarter of key games.
On the recruiting front, the hire serves as a nice positive. A number of West Coast recruits were already familiar with Pendergast from his time at Cal making it an easier sell for them. Any front seven recruit loves to hear that they’ll be able to get after the QB. And what defensive back doesn’t want to hear that their path to playing time will be easier by having to master mostly simpler man to man concepts?
It took a while for players to grasp some of Monte’s more complicated zone concepts. With a young secondary in 2013, Pendergast’s man to man coverage will prove crucial in helping players quickly learn a new scheme. One of the recruits this helps the most is five star defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is a big physical corner – the type you want blanketing receivers with man to man coverage. Already in line for a starting spot at corner, Ramsey’s transition to the college game should be a little easier now that he can play more man to man and less zone.
Pendergast’s experience and success against the spread comes as a much needed turning point. Last season, the defense was asked to be rather reactive against spread teams. It didn’t work out well. Letting USC’s superior athletes loose will pay dividends on Saturdays.
I only show affection when people are eating food.
Playgrounds in the Sky:
An Orioles fan and a Nationals fan walk into a bar…
Greatest submission ever! Don’t EVER say anything bad about Cal! Let’s go O’s!
Thanks Justin! (the-monster-is-zero.tumblr.com)
That’s a clown argument, bro.