…in the new place to be. http://insidebreaks.skydmagazine.com/
Don’t go pouring out any liquor just yet, I’m gonna keep 87tilinfinity around in some capacity or another.
The time between Club Nationals and the start of the college season is mostly dead space. There isn’t a lot going on. Over in the real world, Andray Blatche is a bum, Amare Stoudemire is really fun to watch in person, and Greg Popovich is still the man.
A couple of Frisbee things did come to mind today:
- This video of the 1989 College Finals popped up on RSD yesterday. Pretty cool. Does anyone else see similarities between UCSB’s offense and the one that Carleton ran when they won the title in 2009? The big thing that stands out to me is how much space there is not only in front of but also around the guy with the disc; rather than have a designated dump set up and chill for a bit, the dump either materializes from a handler that drifted upfield into the breakside space for a while or a cutter that just continues his cut until he’s in the backfield. I gather that there’s a fundamental sense of the fact that at some point, a handler needs an easy reset. But until that time, you might as well put everyone in motion and let things happen.
- This article on the downfall of the Head Coach in Waiting in college football is interesting to me when put into the context of ultimate. In college ultimate, a lot of coaches are alumni of the schools they’re coaching since they still have ties to the school or area (and since nobody is going to pay them to do it elsewhere). I’ve always liked the idea of coaches and management in college and pro sports getting their start as players in their respective organizations, since I think it leads to a better understanding of a specific brand and system. Two thoughts that come to here are that a.) bringing in someone else from the outside can be hit or miss and b.) actually designating a HCIW seems counterproductive to me, since I think that a big benefit of looking internally is that teams can see potential coaches that weren’t originally thought of as such.
A couple of friends and I are working on doing some previews for the upcoming college season. If you have a perspective on any particular team or region or anything related and you’re interested in contributing, hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just got off the phone with a friend from Virginia. He said the following:
- Today was really windy, with the second round of the day being a solid 20-25mph throughout. In general it seemed like that just brought scores closer together. Since Virginia Tech is a.) tall, b.) comfortable playing zone, and c.) happy to play the 50/50 huck game, them upsetting Pitt isn’t all that shocking. Burn has always had big wins in them, they just tend to come when it’s not the Series. I think a lot of people in the former Atlantic Coast area will be looking to see if they can get over that hump this year.
- Pitt played good D in the wind. En Sabah Nur ran a straight up mark in the middle of the field with poaches in the lane, and then set a strong trap once the disc was swung to the sidelines. Pretty good strategy in the wind, lots of college teams have trouble on the sidelines even in calm conditions.
- Pitt’s defensive offense moved the disc well. Apparently they have one handler in particular that drives their offense after the turn. My boy said he was wearing #42, but there isn’t a #42 on their Score Reporter page. Anyone?
Cool. We’ll see what’s up tomorrow.
Here’s what was on my mind while I flew home to Seattle today. If you want to tell me about some good pick up or Goaltimate in the 206/425 this week (outside of Marymoore Park tomorrow), that’d be sweet.
- Looking at who they’re returning and their CCC performance, I think it’s a safe to say that Florida is the frontrunner for the 2010 title until someone proves otherwise. Yes, Brodie shouldered an unbelievable load last year, and his and Chris Gibson’s departure are huge. But so many of their players have been training and playing at a high level for so long. If there weren’t such a stigma against Florida and so much hating on their strategy, don’t you think more people would be pointing out just how full of Championship-level experience the Gators have?
- I think that a key to Florida’s success is their ability to minimize chaos on offense. Good defenses rely on the secondary effects of pressure to force turnovers, and Florida’s does a great job of neutralizing that by limiting the temptation for throwers to take short field risks. Yes, they are a team of fast, jumpy guys, but so is pretty much every other Nationals-caliber team; what Florida does better than anyone else is make space for their guys to work in isolation so that defenders have to deal with one-on-one match-ups, which leads to either high-reward deep shots or low-risk passes underneath. Playing defense on an island is tough in any sport, and if you can make your opponent do it more often than not, your offense is probably going to be pretty good.
- On that note, I think that Florida is pretty similar to Chain 2009. They always had just one guy back for the dump, and as long as throwers are well-trained to hit the right window or put the disc to space, doing so makes re-setting the disc easy. Upfield movement is great, but as long as the disc reliably switches hands every ten seconds, it’s gravy.
Old School College
- I re-watched the 2005 College Final between Brown and Colorado last night. Interesting to remember that the Colin Mahoney-Beau Kittredge match-up goes back a ways. Colin got a great layout catch-block on him in the Finals at Club Nationals this year, and is probably one of the only guys that can cover him honestly (and by that I mean don’t simply back him, let him go in uncontested, and then set a good mark).
- For some reason the hyperlink function isn’t working. You can watch that video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C341hGSF1XY
- There’s a decent amount of old College Nationals footage on YouTube. For instance, check the 2004 Semifinals between Brown and Cal here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfmq3GqaWSQ&feature=related
- I’ve not seen Josh “Richter” Ackley play much with Johnny Bravo (outside of the 2007 Finals video on The Huddle, Bravo’s a team I’ve not seen much, period), but his impact on that game was pretty noticeable. He just looked very composed with the disc, which is what college teams need: guys that can do whatever is necessary to keep it moving and not turn the disc over. With all of the deep options that they had, I’m guessing that he and Chicken had a pretty good time playing at Colorado.
- Can anyone that saw both Nord and Brodie play in college comment on their comparative impact? Obviously, the game has changed a lot over the past decade, but I bring this up because I’ve heard a lot of people say that each was the most dominant player they’ve seen play college. I think that I fall into that category with Brodie, but the memory of seeing Kurt Gibson play at 2008 Regionals makes me hesitate to say that I’m sure.
- College ultimate is really hard to follow because there’s no easy way to keep up with roster turnover. In club, guys stay put for longer, and since the nature of the game places far less emphasis on a few studs, turnover doesn’t have quite the same impact as it does in college. I’m hoping that team Score Reporter pages are up to date once the Spring season starts.
- USA Ultimate Tom Crawford has openly said that he believes that college eligibility should be taken down to four years, Obviously, that would change the College Ultimate landscape quite a bit, as the list of impact fifth-year undergrad and grad school players on high-level teams over the past fifteen (and maybe farther back?) is extensive. What do people think about this? Does limiting eligibility to four years instead of five do something for the sport? Personally, I don’t really care that it’s different from other sports; I think that’s irrelevant to the cost/benefit discussion in this case. But I understand that a lot of people probably disagree.
Refs and Stuff
With UOA Nationals going on this weekend, it’s not a bad time to continue some of what has been said around here and elsewhere about pushing the envelope on observer responsibilities as well as the possibility of referees in Ultimate. In so many ways, this conversation is so tired. But it’s also so important to ultimate, and the fact that our sport lends itself to talking about the nature of officiating is something that I really appreciate.
- As a player, I like that ultimate puts the responsibility of rule enforcement on my opponent and me. In the Summer 2010 USA Ultimate magazine, Sockeye’s Moses Rifkin commented that Spirit of the Game “enables a pure form of competition… because a third party… adds a whole other level in which a less talented team can win by being better at gaming the rules.” I really agree.
- I also think that clamoring for refs just allows teams to place blame on someone other than themselves or their opponents. When two teams square off, I’d prefer that they e the only ones credited for the outcome. Hearing complaints like “we lost because the refs blew it” gets really old, and attitudes like “if I push you while you go up for a disc and it doesn’t get called, that’s the ref’s fault, not mine” are really detrimental to what competition has to offer.
- I guess that this is where I stand on the observers/refs debate: ultimate is in a pretty unique place because of how it is officiated, and the discussions that arise out of that set up could really push the boundaries of how we approach competition. Personally, I love that, and it’s why I’m not all that determined to see ultimate strive to emulate sports that have refs.
The Ultimate Observes Association is hosting their first-annual College Nationals this weekend in Greenville, North Carolina. Founded by Mike Gerics and Jason Weddle, the UOA is a progressive group of tournament organizers and game officials whose hallmark is active observers that keep the game moving quickly while calling travels and in/out of bounds.
UOA Nationals will be played under Gerics’ 8s format: a round-robin pool with a championship game that pits the two best teams against each other. Outside of the Finals, the third place finisher in the pool plays the fourth, the fifth plays the sixth, and the seventh plays the eighth. This format is a lot of fun for players; it’s a deviation from typical tournament set-ups, and it provides for a small setting wherein teams can really scout each other well throughout the weekend.
After qualifying from their respective conference tournaments, the teams attending UOA Nationals are:
- Pitt is the only 2010 USA Ultimate College Championships qualifyer of the bunch. They reached the national Semifinals before losing to Carleton last year. I know
that they graduated Chris Brenenborg, who in my opinion was one of the best throwers in the college game last season, along with Eddie Peters,nothing. But over the past five seasons or so, Pitt has done a fantastic job of recruiting from Pennsylvania high schools so I’m guessing that they’ll be re-loading just from whatever guys they did graduate.
- I’ve heard that they’ve taken skeleton and rookie squads to fall tournaments so far, but similar to Florida last weekend, I see them giving UOA Nationals their best shot in an effort to get a solid feel for where they stand going into the winter.
- On the Juniors note, you can see a list of 2010′s Junior Worlds members and where they attend college (if they do) here. Does anyone feel like digging up the lists for 2008, 2006, or earlier? I know that Pitt players Isaac Saul and Alex Thorne played in 2008, but am I missing someone?
- Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and James Madison are all quite familiar with each other, having competed in the Blue Ridge Section before this year’s restructuring. Both Tennessee and Virginia Tech are streaky teams that have beat Virginia within the past year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if either gives the top two some trouble.
- Three tournaments in a row is going to be brutal for the JMU. The Hellfish rely a lot on the top of their rotation, and this weekend should tell us something about how far that could potentially take them.
- Dartmouth is a mystery to me. I heard from a friend of a friend that they look a lot better than they did last year, but I don’t have any details to offer up on that one. Can anyone who was at the Ivy League tournament comment? I think most people, myself included, figured that Harvard or Tufts would come out on top of that one.
- I don’t know anything about Brandeis or Connecticut either. Drop the knowledge.
To wrap up, I wanted to include a little blurb about the nature of our self-officiated game that I came across on Dusty Rhodes’ blog the other day.
Just something to think about.
I wasn’t there, so I can’t offer much analysis or commentary. What I’ve got is based on watching Score Reporter and talking to my friends and former teammates on Virginia’s Night Train.
Here’s how the Championship Bracket played out:
- Looks like Florida ramped up their effort this weekend in comparison to CCCs of the past. Given that they lost Brodie Smith and Chris Gibson, this was a smart strategy: they need to put their new-look lineup to the test against actual competition. But looking at Alex Hill’s comments to Sky’d, I’m guessing they also did a good job of using CCC as a teaching tournament. Really, that’s what impresses me most about Florida: their offense can be broken down into prety specific positions, and they do a good job of teaching players how to play the positions that they’re best at. People spend a lot of time knocking their short rotation, but given that they reload with new players that are ready to contribute year in and year out, I think they’re doing something right.
- On the Florida note, people tend to harp on them being unsportsmanlike. Two friends of mine told me that playing Florida was a really good time, and that they weren’t unwilling to listen to discussion on foul calls. In fact, I was told that Alton Gaines and Nathan Sage both took back foul calls after hearing Virginia’s case, which I think is noteworthy.
- Glad to see that after a rough start to Saturday, UVA righted the ship and made Finals for the second year in a row. Next weekend’s UOA Nationals will tell us something about how well they handle back-to-back tournament weekends.
- I would not have predicted Alabama over Michigan State. Anyone got anything on either of these teams?
- Anyone care to comment on Texas? They had a strong weekend, and I’m guessing that last year’s experience will help their returners take them back to Nationals. I’m guessing they’re still a vert stack team, but I really don’t know anything about them and didn’t hear anything either.
- Rough weekend for Jojah. From what I’m told, they’re very athletic, but also young. I’d imagine that they’ll continue to find an identity as the year moves along, so we’ll see about them come Spring.
Discussion’s always a good thing, so if you were in Athens, holla.
Another Fall, another Classic City Classic. Most teams have made their cuts by now, and getting so much talent together gives everyone a chance to check in on where they are as they head into Winter and prepare for the Spring. Wisconsin won’t be back to attempt a four-peat, and there’s no Pitt, Notre Dame, or Michigan either. But even if the field is a tad bit down, there are a lot of teams that have been looking forward to being in Athens for quite some time, and while Texas and Illinois of 2008 along with Michigan of 2009 remind us that a bad CCC has never really spelled doom for anybody, a good one is usually predictive of more strong results to come.
So if you have any feelings about CCC, let’s talk about them. It’s healthy. And while we’re at it, let’s pour out a little for my fallen homie: the Atlantic Coast Region.
Here’s what I got:
- The chances of Florida doing well are pretty good. They’re the defending National Champions, and despite their reliance on a very top-heavy rotation, they do a good job of teaching fundamentals to everyone. Everyone on their roster knows how important it is to play defense and avoid cheap turnovers, and that makes for a solid college squad.
- The chances that they really won’t care either way are even better. If the past five seasons are an indicator, Florida doesn’t show up to Fall tournaments all that intent on winning. At UOA Fall 8s last year, Brodie didn’t even cleat up on Sunday, and at CCC 2008, a number of their top guys were walking around barefoot once they hit the consolation round. Look for the Gators to take a “teach first” approach, putting more value on giving their inexperienced guys some burn. In the past, this has been a smart strategy: it helps when your bottom of the roster guys really know how to play together against top competition, and playing them a lot at tournaments like this is one way to get there. The transition from Brodie to Cole is going to be call for more strategy adjustments than Kurt to Brodie did, so maybe they’ll run the starters out more than usual. But I kind of doubt it.
- On the re-building note, I think that any team that made Nationals last year is going to have some leftovers whose experience and know-how will at least cover up some of what was lost when key guys graduated. UNC-W losing Rusty and Georgia losing Peter Dempsey certainly stick out, and I’m among those that are curious to see what their teams bring to the table at the start. Both have very strong programs, with coaches Greg Vassar and Tully Beatty doing quite a bit to guide the Seamen while Georgia typically retains a few graduates that stay and help out. Unlike Florida, my guess is that they’ll both be playing to win this weekend, and even though it’s the Fall, their results could tell us a lot.
- Georgia Tech will be as good as Nick Lance plays. Last year’s team featured Nick doing pretty much whatever he wanted while the rest of his team got open for re-sets, caught his hucks, and played hard defense. If he’s on, they’ll have a good weekend. If someone does a good job of covering him (easier said than done), Georgia Tech will turn it over on forced hucks and break throws. I know nothing about this year’s Texas team, but if this were two years ago, a Lance v. Presley match-up would be a whole lotta fun to watch.
- Despite their poor showing at the ACC 8s, I’ve heard good things about UNC. It has to help that Noah Saul and Thomas Sayre-McCord played with Ring of Fire, and these guys typically do a good job of coming together as a team and squeezing a lot out of their role players. Is Lucas Darden playing with them last year? It was a bummer that he took last season off, as he was one of the region’s toughest covers as a sophomore. Also, I’ve heard they have a beast freshman. Anyone got any word on this?
- On paper, it looks like Michigan State will be good. I count four seniors on their Spring 2010 roster, and they made it to both the Finals and the game to go in the Central last year. Of course, I don’t know just how big a role those seniors played since I don’t know Michigan State names/faces all that well, but the team impressed me at the Tally Classic last year. Chriso Ferguson’s a hard cutter to guard, and they isolate him pretty well. I bet they take Pool B.
- I suppose I’ll keep an eye on Virginia , maybe just a little bit…
- That Phil Brock and Chris Mullinix are back for Tennessee is a good thing. They’ve had a fast and fairly talented roster for the past couple of seasons, it’s just a matter of learning to make strategy adjustments and bring it in the games that actually matter. It’s CCC, so nothing actually matters, but I think they could do well.
- Other teams and players of note: Florida State picked up a new coach this year, none other than Peter van de Burgt himself. Also, Nick Fletcher has some serious talent…
Tree is gone from Kennesaw StateThe Atlanta Braves might make some noise… Clemson graduated Ben Slade, who was one of the best college players I’ve seen play. I have a feeling he’ll be on their sidelines though… Alabama’s Tim Brady picked up some great experience with Tanasi, and was one of their grittiest players when I watched him in Sarasota. Wasn’t there another Alabama guy on Tanasi…? James Madison is probably underseeded at 18.
- What’s up with the seeds? The first four make sense: 1-3 are the only 2010 Nationals teams in the field, and Georgia Tech finished 4th at Regionals last year. But Texas at the 5? They had an awful CCC last year, and didn’t make Nationals. UNC at the 6 after no Regionals in 2010? Oh well. It really doesn’t matter since it’s a Fall tournament, but those two are just kind of baffling.
- Aguilar’s been doing a great job with his CCC coverage, so check him out if you haven’t already. His latest is on Georgia Tech, but I imagine there’s a few more to come before the weekend.
- Going back into the archives, here’s the 2006 CCC page, which features a sick picture of Beau on the Colorado profile. Can anyone find the link to the 2005 CCC page?
That’ll do for now. Hopefully I’ll have some more stuff up in the coming week.