Monday, October 05, 2009

Offensive changes

This is part of 3 different posts, but it's the first one so all the prep work is done here.

Unfortunately my team (Rival-Atl mixed) will not be attending the big show this year. We lost 14-15 in the backdoor game to go. I'll come back to that later. What I want to talk about now is some of the situations we were faced with as captains, especially on the Sunday of Regionals.

We had a huge amount of turnover from last year. Over 60% of the team wasn't on the rosters last year, and we went from having the oldest average age to probably the youngest in the country (we had a number of freshmen/sophomores in college as well as 4 high school players). The big question all season was whether or not we were going to be able to come together and play up to our potential. This was a particularly big question for our offense since none of our offensive players played those positions last year.

We struggled with offense all year, some times giving up 7 (!!) breaks in bracket play. I run the offense, so it was a tough puzzle for me to figure out. We tried line-up changes, but nothing seemed to work consistently. Towards sectionals we started to get things working, and we limited our breaks. Same with the Saturday at Regionals, up until we (pool 2 seed) played Jukebox Hero (pool 1 seed) and folded like a house of cards. Our offense looked inept, and we got rolled 11-4. This was still pool play, but we were out of the front door game to nationals and had to try to find a way to take the backdoor, which always seems to involve playing every team that has a chance.

Regionals was at home, so I got a chance to watch some tape from Above and Beyond, and read Jim's Mixing it up on offense. I decided that part of our problem offensively was that I was frequently using our "best cutter" as the first person out of the H-stack, and in general the sequences were too similar. My goal was to change that on Sunday, so we went in with a new offensive mentality. Almost every point we changed up the type of stack (vert, H, split, sideline) and we frequently put one of our handlers out in the string, with our "best cutter" back to handle.

On Sunday I believe we gave up a total of 6 breaks in 4 games. Never did we have sequential breaks and we went from being a team for whom pressure was put on the defense to stay on the field to a team that could bide our time until D could get us one. It was a satisfying experience, and it bodes well for the future since much of that line-up is young.

I can't directly explain what part of mixing things up strategy-wise tipped us over the edge. I think part of the problem previously was that as our main cutters got tired they would settle for bad away cuts, attempting to finish the point too early. I don't have a lineup of Zip and Fortch out there that can run full-tilt for a whole weekend and will be open no matter what. By shifting who our cutters were we gave up some options (no one fears me deep at 5'8" and 31 years old), but it also allowed our go to people to rest, or initiate from a different space. I should try to remember to do more of that in the future.


AJ said...

When I asked, when do you go top 7, I honestly was just asking. My assumption is that you would go top 7 at some point, but I was just wondering when you were thinking would be best with your personnel.

When you said 11's, I thought that made good sense to me. The only argument I could think of for going with top 7 earlier is that you were playing so many more players then Jukebox was playing, that I thought your top 7 had better legs than the 7 they were running out there.

Was it 10-11 when Tree got the block and then scored the goal from Sean, but it got called back due to travel? Or was that 13-14?

I really thought you guys did a great job using your players. On the face of it, Jukebox definitely seemed to have more experience, but I thought you really out-coached them.


mark said...

Martin -

You guys played well; sorry to see you didn't make it to the show. we had a lot of trouble stopping you guys from scoring, and on the face of it I thought you guys had been running the same O for so long it was just habit - so I'd definitely agree that your strategy made a difference. That said, it didn't hurt that you made a few huge plays down the stretch, yourself especially - that over the shoulder layout D you made early in the chewy game after the dropped pull was a filthy, filthy block.

The backdoor may have been contentious, but it was a fun game to watch. see you next season.


if you still want a chewy hat, email me at markkras at gmail dot com. I don't know if you were seriously interested, but if you were, I can help you out with that.

Martin said...

Tree got that D at 13-14.

Mark, thanks for the positive words. I was serious about the hat, so I'll email you in a day or two.

As for Chewy, you guys are awesome. I've loved it every time we've played because the intensity is there, as well as the good sportsmanship. I tell my high school kids about finding that great opponent that pushes you to be your best both on and off the field. For Paideia it is Columbia H.S., but for Rival it is definitely Chewbacca Defense. I look forward to great games in the future.

Martin said...

Correction: Tree got that D at 13s. The throw to Tree was to go up 14-13 until it got called back by a travel. The observer on the sideline (Bryon?) was asked their opinion and said they didn't see the play.

I don't know if going top seven would have mattered in the legs department. Their offense was consistently: Cobb, Butch, Curtis, #10 (UF grad?), and three fast women (Molly, and 2 others I cant name). We had legs enough to beat those men without putting our best in there, and never had legs to catch all of their women. The only match up that we really could have changed would have been Fox on Curtis, but Fox is one of our best defenders and Curtis basically had the whole field to cut. Maybe a better lateral defender would have helped? But I wonder if going with a stronger male line (which we did at 13s) would convince them to use their fast ladies more.

Their D line was always Kebo on Kress, Goose on Tree, someone on Sears and #2 (ponytail, used to play for Helmar, I should know his name) on me. They were fast enough that we needed our best on O to get open, and since they didn't play offense they were ready to go each D point.