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Friday Free-for-All

Clemson gets a new basketball coach:

Clemson has hired Brad Brownell to lead the basketball program henceforth.  What does this really mean?  I don't really know.  We all knew that Clemson would limit itself in its expenditures and hence figured that another up-and-comer would be tapped to move this program forward.  All accounts that I have been informed of show Brownwell as a pretty good X's and O's coach who should bring some discipline with him.  The latter will be keenly observed, as we have repeatedly complained about last year's squad taking plays off and being lackadaisical at times.

We also know that BB has been relatively successful in his last two roles at UNC-W and Wright State.  His teams made the tourney a combined 3 of 10 seasons while with these squads, but did fail to reach the round of 32 in all of these instances.  All in all, he has seen moderate success at these mid-majors while amassing three conference championships.

I will go out on a limb here and predict that he will be more successful here than Larry-love (although you would have to put effort into sucking as bad as Shyatt's latter squads).  That being said, you can never be quite sure what you will ultimately get out of a coach who has not been proven in major college basketball.  Some turn out to be gems while others are exposed as being way in over their heads after winning at smaller schools.

My take on the matter is simple:  We all knew this one (lesser named coach with some success at lower levels who has yet to be tested in big college basketball) was coming.  We can analyze this as much as possible, but barring the hire of Brad Stevens we really cannot predict how the new man will adapt to this challenge.  I kind of look at it like as basically a coin flip on a coach unless you throw down some serious loot to get a Big Conference veteran.  In all likelihood, TDP could have held a lottery and made a decision on this one.  In fact, I could see it now...TDP with a bucket of ping pong balls and an air handler pulling names at random (which he may have done in private for all we know). 

The point here is that most midlevel coaches (with the potential to move to a bigger program) have similar resumes.  Going through a small(er) school is (IMO) the quickest way to get to the top, so you really should expect such.  I initially like the pick and wish Brownwell all the best as we try to break through in basketball.

Baseball:  Clemson travels to Ga Tech this weekend.  The Tigers play a pretty dang good Yellow Jacket squad.  I expect Dr. B to put out a series review sometime Friday, and would be extremely happy if we could manage to win this series.  Clemson needs to pick up some momentum as we get deeper into the season and closer to the tournament(s) in the next few months.

Football:  What was answered over the past month or so through Spring football?  Not much really.  I still have the same questions as pre-Spring but am becoming more and more excited about seeing this defense on the field this fall, as they will probably have to carry this team barring vast improvement by our offensive line over the summer.  The linebackers will continue to be on my radar but am pleased with the reports that came out of Clemson.  It sounds as though this group could be a really special one with a stout DL and what we expect to be a really good secondary.  We will be all over this football team shortly and have covered a good bit of offseason action so I won't bore you further with items you are (or should be) familiar with at this point in the game.

Best of the rest after the jump.

Other:  I really enjoy using this forum to highlight interesting (and usually rediculous) items, hence the content and continual opinionated upchucks you see from yours truly.  Today I would like to further highlight a few items of interest, some of which could effect our Tigers on the football field.

As KnightTiger brought up earlier, the NCAA is back at it "improving" our great game.  The three items of interest:  wedge blocking, eye-black, and celebration.  On a side note, I am glad these yahoos are not re-investigating shortening the games and/or further implementing stupid timekeeping practices that make no sense, but that is another topic for another day. 

The first item, wedge blocking, seems to make some sense.  Special teams (and particularly kickoffs) result in a large percentage of the game's injuries, there is no arguing that fact.  Kisk offs are straight forward.  The kicking team lines up and each player runs his lanes as quickly as possible down the field.  The receiving team sets up a return that is often designed to initiate blindside blocks and/or create a "wedge" for the return man to follow to (hopefully) get a large return.  To counter this, kickkoff teams often employ "wedge busters" who's sole responsibility is to bust up this wedge.  When the 'wedgies" and the wedgebusters meet, a violent collision often occurs and results in injuries (particularly concussions).  As noted here, various wedge formations are common for both police and military use, especially when attempting to penetrate tough areas.  Point in case, this is a powerful geometric formation used to create penetrations in various strategic operations.

While this rule adjustment does take one strategic aspect of the game out of play, I can understand the governing body trying to cut down on injuries and, thus, banning such actions.  See below for an illustration and click here for the image source and an explanation of how to set up such a tactic.  I am really not sure how the officials are going to throw flags for two players "standing within two yards of one another, shoulder to shoulder" and there is no contact, but I guess that is their judgement to make.

Eye-black?!?  I guess the ruling body does not want someone flashing gang signs or mass commercialization of under-eye gear?  I really don't see the need for such, but this doesn't really have much impact on the game so who cares?  I would like for the NCAA to completely ban the black strips and make the players paint their faces.  Nothing says old-school BAMF like smeared eye-black all over the place after a long game.  I wonder if/how this will effect anyone choosing to go Road Warrior Hawk with his war paint.  Maybe that is another rule for another day.

The final rule adjustment results in taunting penalties (during a live ball) being enforced from the spot of the foul.  This rule could negate a touchdown because of an unsportsmanlike move (such as high-stepping down the field).  I believe the game should be played in a sportsman-like manner, and pretty much respect the players who go out and act like they have some sense while playing the game, especially the guys who make a big play, then hand the ball to an official and go about their business.  Thus, this rule (should) keep players from acting like complete jackasses while the play is still going on.  As the Bear would say, "Act like you have been there before".  Old school coaches don't put up with this crap anyway.

Big Ben, WTF?  I have a few issues with Ben Rothlisberger acting a fool a few weeks ago.  You are a freaking legend in Pittsburgh with two Lombardi Trophies.  What in the ____ are you doing in Milledgville, GA in the first place?  You are a football god, why are you allegedly attempting to or actually banging chicks in a bar bathroom?  You are Ben freaking Rothlisberger.  You got the cheddar to lay out for a rent by the hour motel, come off the bills.  There is no need for such, especially when you know pro athletes are targets for this kind of stuff.  Especially after another near miss not too long ago.  And now you have to go deal with Roger again.  At least you weren't in the scrip club, but I seriously doubt that Rog is gonna be to pleased with you at this juncture.  Next time utilize a good rule of thumb:  the only time your unit should be out of the cage is when taking a whiz.