College Football

Your Best 11 Mailbag: Deer Antler Spray, Fantasy Draft, and Pattern Matching

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates an extra point by Jeremy Shelley #5 against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJanuary 31, 2013

It's Thursday, Thursday, gotta get down on Thursday!

Of course, by get down, we mean do the mailbag and answering questions from you, the reader. Dear readers, these are your questions and I hope that I give you some dope answers because that is the goal.

 

@inthebleachers Do you foresee any consequences from Bama's crippling deer antler epidemic? #YB11

— Broderick Morgan (@bdmorgan87) January 31, 2013

 

No. Basically if they don't test positive for a banned substance, then the NCAA really does not have much in the way of grounds to take action. Sort of like if someone said, "Hey, I saw Quinton Dial smoking weed," plus a quote from Dial about how awesome smoking weed is. Looks bad, but if he keeps passing drug tests, then what are you really going to do about it?

Nothing. The answer there is nothing.

 

@inthebleachers #YB11 Think there will be any issues with Oregon flying cross country to play UVa this year instead of Reno to play Nevada?

— Todd Steak Jones (@infectioussteak) January 31, 2013

 

Considering how not really good Virginia is? No, not really. Plus, all signs will point to this game being a later kickoff than the noon or 1 p.m. affair that a cupcake game would be for the Wahoos. Oregon will enter as a top ten team, given the lack of huge matchups on the slate, at worst, this game will be a 3:30 appetizer for the ESPN nightcap. That is plenty of time for Mark Helfrich's team to wake up and get ready for a little football.

 

@inthebleachers 4th pick in 10 man league, who's your January early LOCK OF THE FANTASY DRAFT

jmnpb (@jmnpb) January 31, 2013

 

Because I don't know anything about fantasy sports, I don't play them, and I honestly don't like them from a general standpoint, I'm going to just make my best guess. I am assuming this is a college baseball fantasy draft and I'm going to say that, with that pick, Carlos Rodon, Colin Moran, Kent Emanuel or Trae Turner will probably be on the board. Pick one of them. Power pitchers who are so dope, a power-hitting RBI machine at third base or guy who will fill up your stat sheet with stolen bases and extra-base hits.

First pitch is in 15 days for my Tar Heels. UNC Baseball: Catch The Fever.

 

@inthebleachers Do you see James Franklin as another CPJ or Leach blog bros crush early successes not much substance over time

— Big Grey(@rsl52) January 31, 2013

 

Man, I hope not, because I think James Franklin is a hell of a coach, and I think those other two dudes are not very good. Franklin, unlike Leach and Johnson, has shown the ability to adapt, which goes a long way in college football. He's a very creative offensive mind. Oh, and unlike Johnson and Leach, he can recruit his behind off.

So, goodness no. Please don't put a guy who was tutored by one of the greatest play-callers we've seen in the last few decades on the same level as two guys who have a tired, played-out act.

 

@inthebleachers do you think the Vols will be able to keep the momentum from the North commit for the next week, and how do they finish?

— Jon Anderson (@JonAnderson01) January 31, 2013

 

Actually, yes I do. I know they are still in the running for Vonn Bell, and that would be a huge get for Butch Jones. The man has built a staff that is working for him, I think the addition of Tommy Thigpen to his staff was a brilliant play. Thig can flat-out recruit; believe me, because I've seen him at work and he is a master.

Butch Jones is finding out, like Brian Kelly to Notre Dame, that the Power-T can get you into homes that you'd have been laughed out of from Cincinnati, and he is capitalizing on it. The biggest thing will be laying the foundation for next year. If they can make good inroads in NC, GA and FL they will be in good shape.

 

@inthebleachers Are you a true backpedal or T-step man to go with pattern-match coverage? #YB11

— Rich Fann II (@Fanntastic81) January 31, 2013

 

A couple different things. One, I love talking defensive back techniques, and so this is one of my favorite questions ever. Two, T-step, at least in my mind, normally is the alternative to the quickstep; not to the back pedal. Backpedal and shuffle steps normally go together.

So, a T-step is a way to get out of a backpedal or a shuffle and get downhill in a hurry. The other method is the quickstep. In a T-step you turn your break foot perpendicular to the direction your breaking and then push from there. Easier to get out of a break that way, because you get better drive.

With a quickstep you don't turn feet, rather, you tap the balls of your feet to get your body moving from forward to backward. If you are a really good footwork guy, this is a method that is tough to beat because you never actually stop. Unfortunately for most people they are not really good at this aspect and so they take an extra two or three steps, and that wastes time.

I'd say go with T-step transitions whenever possible.

As for backpedal versus shuffling, I'm a shuffle guy, especially when you are a corner or a safety who is closer to the line. The shuffles buy you the time to let the route develop and the quarterback take his drop, and then you can match to the route the receiver is running.

Obviously, it also helps to understand that in any given alignment a receiver can only run a handful of routes, and that helps you know, pre-snap, what you will likely be doing. In other words, a guy outside of the numbers is not running an out-route and a guy with a cut-split is not going to have much success on a quick slant. Maybe a drag, or a dig, but not a quick slant.

I am also a tuff technique guy: The flat foot read, collision receiver and then cover them from there. I prefer that to shuffling when you are in a position where a receiver has a two-way go.

Honestly, backpedaling is really only good when you have time and use it in your weave. Weaving is the biggest benefit a backpedal can give you, especially in the deep-half or deep-thirds coverages. However, that's really less for pattern reading, to be fair.

For the record, I was slow as molasses, but I was a dope quickstepper and somehow could cover people out of a tuff. Probably because I never got going fast enough for the quickstep to waste steps, and flat-footed reads meant I didn't get to fake myself out by trying to match the receiver before he got to me.

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