You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Talk Me Out of the Insanity

From time to time, I'll start thinking crazy, folks, and I'll need someone to talk me out of it.

Topic 1: I don't think Dominique Douglas should start.

Now. He's the best route-runner on the team, and he's got the most starting experience of any of the receivers we've got (read that again and think about it). He rewrote the freshman record books last year, leading the team with 49 catches and coming in second with 654 yards. Both numbers were also the best for any freshman last year.

All that said, he was passed over by Michigan and Michigan State for a reason, and that's because he lacks top-end speed. While there's clearly more to being a receiver than 40 times, the fact is that he only averaged about 13 yards per catch. His longest reception was 37 yards, on a pass that a burner could have run under and taken to the house. Don't believe me? Observe:

Was it a great play by Douglas? Absolutely. No doubt about it. But if he had one more step on the play (a step that sprint champs Trey Stross and Andy Brodell would have), that's a 91-yard touchdown.

Further, let's talk about why it'd be a 91-yard score: There was no deep safety help. Safeties don't have to fear him, and as a result they can cheat toward the line of scrimmage most of the time. You think Young and Sims are happy whenever there's 8 guys in the box?

I'd like to see Douglas used primarily as a slot receiver in 3-WR sets. As long as there's two guys pushing the safeties deep (or at the very least more than 10 yards off the line), he'd be great to wreak havoc underneath. Like I said, he's easily the best route-runner on the team.

It seems, on its face, to be utterly insane to suggest demoting a 3rd string Freshman All-American who is arguably your most experienced and productive returning receiver. But he seems to be at his limit physically, and I don't see room for a ton of improvement. Thus: could anyone please talk me out of thinking this way?


Anonymous said...

Alright OPS, here is why DD should start: Jake Christensen.

When you have a new QB, why would you not want your best route runner out there every play? A new QB needs to know that his WR is going to be where he is supposed to be every play. It's his security blanket. Sure, Moeaki is supposed to do that, but two blankets never hurt, do they. Besides, you think that play action isn't going to burn someone a few times if they keep cheating up - even if you've got a slow DD out at WR?

Finally, I'll leave you with two more words as to why DD starts: Ed Hinkel.

I rest my case.


Hawkeye State said...

Not sure why Ed Hinkel comes into play here, if only because Hinkel caught everything in sight.

OPS is right. Sure, having a security blanket receiver is nice. But, as a quarterback, which would you rather have: A receiver who runs proper routes but drops passes (on a team full of pass droppers), or a receiver who catches everything in sight and isn't afraid of the middle of the field.

Hello, Trey Stross.

Anonymous said...

Hey, no fair ganging up on the visitor. Yes, the team is full of pass droppers, but I don't think Douglas was one of them. Maybe my memory is off, but I don't remember him standing out as a pass dropper.

I think that Brodell is clearly your WR #1. I don't think we disagree here. The question is whether you go with Stross or Douglas as your #2 starter. I would go with Douglas (for the reasons given above) and you say that it should be Stross, based on his great pass-catching ability. I don't see him as materially different than DD in terms of catches versus drops. But I do think that DD is a better route runner and that is his leg up.


JebusHChrist said...

:Brent: I'm with you (mostly). OPS and I went round and round about this earlier but we didn't do it in the comment thread, we did it at THC headquarters.
The conclusion was, he was wrong, and I was right.
DD is our best player and if he isn't on the field we're a weaker team. Period.

Oops Pow Surprise said...

I'll just point out that it's not out of the realm of possibility that the 3rd receiver is the most productive in a Ken O'Keefe offense. Remember Mo Brown going ass-bananas in '02 without ever really, y'know, starting? Now granted, that's when the play-action post was something that opposing defenses had apparently never heard of (ever), but CJ Jones and Ed Hinkel were the starters.

Jebus and Brent make very good points and even if I'm right (which I am), it's a conclusion that I only could have come up with by mixing cough syrup and Hawkeye Vodka at work, and I should definitely resolve to cut down on that someday.

Fred Z said...

As a Michigan fan, I cringed when I saw you arguing that you shouldn't start this kid because Michigan and MSU passed him over. There are so many things wrong with that ...

In the first place, Iowa is your school. You don't dis the kids who play for you because Michigan and MSU didn't want them. You celebrate Michigan's poor judgment.

In the second place, Michigan and MSU don't compete for the same receivers. Because of ourhistory of great receivers and NFL-ready, quarterbacks, Michigan competes with Florida, Florida State, and USC for receivers. Just call us "Passing Game U..."

In the third place, recruiting is history. It should have no bearing on whether a player starts or not. (Michigan made this mistake when we gave Drew Henson snaps in Tom Brady's senior year).

In the fourth place, what are you, nuts? The kid had a great year, he can catch the ball, and you want to sit him so you can have speedy receivers go out and drop open balls?



Oops Pow Surprise said...

Thanks Fred -- for what it's worth, I'm not arguing that because he was passed over by his in-state schools, he should be the slot receiver. I'm saying that I'd rather see him at the 3 because he can't stretch a Big 10 defense, which is something that (ostensibly) the in-state schools noticed during his recruitment.

Then again it's the Spartans, and it's entirely possible that they think they just got the Bengals' DC to coach them.

JebusHChrist said...

I don't care if he did start his comment with admitting he was a Michigan fan. I agree with Fred.

Anonymous said...

What a sad day that I have to rely on Fred, a Michigan fan, to defend me against my Hawkeye brethren. But so it is. Thanks Fred!