Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Catching Up & A New Season

Hi All – there really hasn’t been that much to write about lately, so I didn’t want to just talk to hear myself talk, you know? But here are some thoughts on what has happened, what will happen, and what is happening now:

What has happened: The women’s seasons are coming to an end. In the WFA, it will be a repeat of Week 2, in which the Dallas Elite faced the DC Divas. The road to the championship had some surprising moments, at least for me. In their latest game, the Central Cal War Angels went to Dallas and came very close to knocking off the Elite, losing only 34-28. That was a heck of an effort by the War Angels. I didn’t expect it to be that close. I thought that Dallas’ speed would overwhelm Central Cal. So hats off to the War Angels players and staff!

The other, bigger surprise for me was Boston knocking off Chicago in a relatively low-scoring affair. After Boston lost their QB to injury in the last meeting with Chicago, it turned ugly for the Renegades in a hurry. They then squeaked past Cleveland and headed for a rematch with the Force. I figured the game would be in the 35-14 range for Chicago. Instead, the Renegades came out on top 17-13. That was truly a gutsy effort by Boston!

So now – what happens this week in the National Championship? I have no idea. DC turned around on put up 47 points on that same Boston defense the next week. They’re eager to prove their Championship last year was no fluke. Dallas defeated the Divas rather forcefully in DC in Week 2, but the close win against Central Cal concerns me (it is entirely possible that Central Cal was much better than I thought they’d be, but all of their other games tracked as I thought they would, so no surprises). I do believe it will be a great game.

Over in the IWFL, in the pre-season I thought it would come down to the Utah Falconz and the New York Sharks. I was right about the Falconz, and the Sharks almost made it – the Minnesota Vixen came out of seemingly nowhere to have an undefeated season, and defeated the Sharks in the semi-finals.

Utah rolled through their schedule, surprising me only once, when they beat the Carson Bobcats only 38-0. I thought it would be 49-0. To be fair, I was only one TD off – I didn’t realize Utah doesn’t have a kicker. I said in preseason that you could crown Utah the champion right now, because no one would come within 28 points of them, and I stand by that. Utah has unfinished business, after losing in last years’ league championship to Pittsburgh, who is now in the WFA. Minnesota surprised me by beating the Sharks, but the Sharks aren’t the Falconz, and this game isn’t in Minnesota.

Finally, what is happening: My team, the San Diego Nighthawks got off to a pretty good start this Saturday, hosting the California Cowboys.  The Cowboys are a first-year team, but they have some veteran players. We may as well be a first year team, as all but one of the coaches are new, and about half the team hasn’t played together before. Going into the game, I knew nothing about the Cowboys, except that they beat a Vegas team the previous week 41-0. So that’s always fun, having no idea what your opponent will do. Our first two plays lost a total of 15 yards (including a false start in between). You gotta like that, coming out of the gate and practicing those plays specifically, only to have it blow up in your face. But no one panicked and our 4th snap gained us a 1st down.

Looking back on the film and my call sheet, we stayed really basic, especially by my standards. Used motion only twice, and went unbalanced only once or twice. We killed them with a TE screen that got them out of their stacked box look, and the downfield passing game remained open all night. My starting QB was 11/17, and we got all three in the game. We were able to play everyone in a 38-0 win.

Certainly, there is work to do. I wasn’t happy with our run game, but early on a lot of the credit had to go to their defense, who seemed determined not to give up yards on the ground. Football is all about adjusting, and for the most part I was happy about how we did that.

I did have my customary “week 1” brain fart though…..just before the half I thought we were on 2nd down when we gave up a sack, with about a minute left (scoreboard wasn’t working, so had to rely on the chain crew). So I called timeout. Turns out, that was third down, with 4th now coming up and I’d just stopped the clock for them (they had no timeouts). We punted, and held them, but I was still mad at myself.

Our next game is on the 30th, versus the Riverside County Disciples, a team that has been playing since the spring. They should be pretty good and I coached against their DC last year, so have a little bit better idea of what they’ll likely do. Fortunately for us, they have a pretty tough game this week so won’t have a lot of time to get ready for us.

I’m sure I’ll write something next week, at least about the womens’ championships and some possible off-season activity. See you then!

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