Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mail Bag - Where to put your Stud

Today's reader mail comes from Seigs in Hanover, who writes:

My question really only applies to the men's college game. Here it goes: Is it better for your best all around player to cut or handle? Say you have one guy with the full toolbox--breaks, hucks, solid field sense--but he is also one of the best guys on the team when it comes to shaking his man downfield. Is it more effective to have a guy like this run the offense from the handler position or consistently get the disc for 20 yard gains?

I think this is an interesting question and I'm not sure that I have the best answer. I expect that this is a fairly common dilemma for college teams though, so hopefully some of our readers will post about how they've addressed it.

I think the answer is going to depend on a few things. First - what is your best player best at? All things being equal it makes sense to let people do what they're best at. Second - what is the supporting cast best at? If the supporting cast is heavily skewed either towards cutters or throwers it probably makes sense to have your stud help out in the area that you're weakest in.

Without knowing the answer to these questions, if you have one guy who is clearly your best thrower and your best cutter, you want to be getting him the disc a lot. But don't let him be lazy and just catch dump passes. Push him downfield, but encourage him to come back to the disc and bail out the offense if it's in trouble. If you feel like your non stud players are handlers who can throw decent medium range bombs, but don't really have great breaks, I think it might be time to break out some sort of spread/h-stack. Put your stud downfield where he can easily go to the house or come back underneath.

Anyway, I know this isn't the most thorough answer, sorry - good question though. I'm interested to hear how other people have dealt with this situation.


parinella said...

I think AJ's got it just about right, as it depends on how much better he is than the others at the skills.

You could also just create a new position called Stud where he is primarily a downfield guy but is allowed to come back all the way to the disc, and when you're in endzone offense, he handles.

At the club level, I would definitely put this guy downfield.

Martin said...

Sorry to reiterate basically the same opinion, but I think there is more advantage to putting the Stud downfield even if you have a weak handling team and could use him on the disc.

By putting this person down field you let him get open in such a place that the passes are easier onthe other players. If he is handling the disc more and the rest of your team can't cut well then more likely than not the Stud is forced to make difficult throws. Granted he might be able to throw them, but isn't it better for a great reciever to have to catch easy passes than poor recievers catching rockets to the break-side?

Noah said...

I agree with this logic at the elite club level. However, for teams that don't have as high of an overall talent level, they may want John or Jane Stud to be on the field for as many points as possible, both offense and defense. In order to do so, the workload of J. Stud becomes a serious issue - you can put them downfield, which will require more running, or you can keep them around the disc, where they can get the disc without having to work quite as hard.

Seigs said...

Our problem last year was that we had a couple of guys who could be considered Studs, and we put them all downfield. Our handling core was solid, but young and relatively new to the team compared to the Studs. They did fine up to high-pressure games with tight defense, where they often got hesitant and looked off open throws, especially to the breakside. This made me reconsider whether we ought to have had a Stud handling, running the offense in the big games, taking risks when they needed to be taken. It seems to me that many of the top college teams have a senior handler or two who runs the show...

Keith said...

At the Club level, your handlers, or even mid's, are more competent with the disc than is the situation in collge, except at the high levels (Brown, Wisco, Colorado, etc).

I think Noah brought up a good point. When you're a middle-of-the-road college team, your stud is often one of your best defenders, best throwers, and best recievers. Hopefully part of being a stud is having stamina and heart to keep playing, but I know during tourneys, it was killing him on Sunday. So changing from game to game, or even every few points, might help your stud help your team.


luke said...

whatever you do, you better find a way to get him the ball. otherwise you are going to hear about it after every practice, and every game.

I don't know if he can throw, but beau or bo (Mamabird) was open by like 10 yards on every in cut. And he still ran by his defender to go deep.

Harriford used to do that. I think that he caught like 14 goals in a game at college nationals.

I raise this question, how much of the stud's energy should go towards raising the level of his teammates?

Tarr said...

I'd pretty uch echo the comments of AJ/Jim/Martin. If your best player(s) are alll handling, you're going to struggle.

That was one of Purdue men's big problems this year - of the top 3 or 4 players, only one of them really wanted to cut downfield. We tried to get one of the others to cut more, but in the end he was handling almost full-time. The previous year's team, despite having much less depth, was arguably a better team because it had two 5th year players who were solid handlers and who allowed the studs to get downfield more.

By contrast, I think one of the biggest improvements to the Purdue Women this year was that I put arguably our top player downfield almost full-time. She had handled full-time in 2004. Again, this was helped by adding a 5th year handler (who had missed the 2004 season).

Bottom line - sometimes your best player has to handle. But if that's the case, you're usually in trouble.

mark said...

i think in the case where your best player has really really good throws, he should probably be handling and catching short range passes.

an example:
kubiak/desjardins played very very well in the semifinal at college nationals this year. i'm going to guess he cuts quite well and can do most anything he wants. however, his throws were pretty money - so let him make lots of throws, and don't bother with lots of long in-cuts/deep cuts. if you watch the cstv game, he isn't getting the disc nearly as much by cutting downfield (although beau/jolian might have had something to do with that). so later, he basically starts getting the disc on short stuff and then making plays from there.

in college i think the stronger throwers tend to carry much more weight than in club simply because the average throwing level is so much lower. (extend this to college women's...if you can throw well and far, never, ever, get away from the disc)

i think it'd make sense to put at least one of your "studs" in the backfield to keep things moving. presumably, put the stud that doesn't turn it too much but still makes a big impact with his throws.

Stuart Downs said...

Adam Seigelman, I hope you are having a blast in Hanover. I just wanted to assist this discussion by saying noone is a stud.
Stu D