With the Superbowl now weeks behind me, the only connection to football comes through our intra-apartment Madden 2006 tournament. My team is (predictably) the Seahawks and so far Shaun Alexander leads the league in rushing. Matt Hasselbeck would be doing a better if he hadn’t been hurt for the first five games of the season and then another one in the middle. Grant Wistrom leads the league in sacks with an eye popping 39–through 12 weeks. In a game against the Cardinals, Alexander set the league record in rush yards with 330. In another game Wistrom set the single game record for sacks with 9, and the Seahawks defense set the record with 15 sacks in a game.
Last season my Seahawks lost to Kent from Louisiana’s Colts in the Superbowl. I had beat him in the regular season but fell apart defensively in the game that mattered. This year I will get my revenge–assuming Kent’s Colts make it that far. Matt’s Chargers look good. I’m not worried about Marc’s Falcons.
On the 19th the Deseret News ran this article about a visit BYU football coaches made to the Seahawk training facility in Kirkland. Does this happen every year? If it doesn’t, it should. The Seahawks were generous enough to allow the Y’s coaches full access to their video and some consultation with the Seahawks coaches. It seems they all came away with something.
Reynolds wanted to learn more about the Seahawks’ quick tempo from huddle to hike, see how fast Seattle’s plays develop and the consistency with which personnel perform. Anae was interested in blocking rules, use of the tight end, schemes and plays. Doman wanted to find out how Matt Hasselbeck refined his quarterback skills and enhanced his accuracy and productivity, setting club records and an NFL mark for completion percentage in December.
Higgins researched Seahawk special teams play. Grimes delved into secrets of Seattle’s offensive line.
It’s unfortunate the defensive coaches didn’t go along, they might have learned a thing or two on training young players in a new system. Rookie LB Lofa Tatupu lead the team in tackles and should have won rookie of the year. Rookie LB Leroy Hill had seven sacks. Second year safety Michael Boulware made big play after big play.
The quick tempo from huddle to snap should help the offense, perhaps this year John Beck wont have a delay-of-game penalty called on him. Yeah, right, that’ll be the day.
Either way, I’m glad to see this sort of help and collaboration from former assistants like Mike Holmgren. He is a class act and this is just one more example.
In other news…
Was it the shouting matches he had with fans after they would complain about poor coverage? I know some tried to cast him as the scapegoat for BYU’s defensive problems this year. I don’t think that was a fair accusation. There was very little experience or talent in the defensive secondary. That’s what happens when something like 5 DBs get kicked out of school in less than a year. Shannon Benton, James Allen, et al. were supposed to provide help to the secondary the last couple of years. You can’t blame the coach when projected starters get the ol’ Honor Code heave-ho. That’s not true, you can always blame Gary Crowton. Thank the football gods for that guy.
Anyway, back to Mitchell. Sometime back I wrote a piece entitled White Cornerbacks and Black Conservatives. I wouldn’t call them oxymorons but they are definitely outside the societal norm. Here’s the thing. Mitchell was the only African-American coach on the football team. He replaced another African-American coach. Will he be replaced by another African-American coach? Should Bronco feel any pressure to hire another one? Does not having one decrease our chances of attracting African-American football players? Do they care?
People seem less willing to talk or comment about this type of thing. Nobody felt as though they were walking on egg shells when they mentioned that hiring Steve Kaufusi would help us tap into so called “Polynesian Pipeline.” Can you imagine the uproar if someone came up with a similar name for African-American student-athletes? Perhaps we should be a little more Poly- sensitive.
BYU acknowledges no racial preference in hiring or student admittance. Sure, I’ve heard rumors, but nothing official. It will be interesting to see how the new hire shakes out.
What do Mike Holmgren and Brian Mitchell have in common? They are both former BYU assistant coaches.