Sunday, July 29, 2012

Less than 24 Hours to Start of NC HS FB

Football version 2012 is just about here!  Yet another off-season has sped by and in less than 24 hours student-athletes from across the state of North Carolina will begin their first official practices of the 2012 season.  The last few years have been good for the local area when it comes to participation deep into the state playoffs.  Garner made it to the 4AA finals before falling short to a talented Summers'-led Greensboro Page squad, while the year before Hillside took home the 4A title and Wake Forest-Rolesville represented the East in the 4AA final against Butler.  As we look toward this season there is a lot of talk about possible deep playoff runs this year as well with a good bit of buzz surrounding the Hornets once again as well as a bit of chatter out of the CAP-8 where a very talented offensive juggernaut in the Wakefield Wolverines led by South Carolina commit Connor Mitch are garnering early attention [Choice plan helps Wakefield football]. It's real early still and even talented teams on paper have to benefit from a lot of things working out to reach the opportunity in the end to play for a state crown.  Regardless of how December turns out I have a feeling we'll see some exciting football here in the area so be sure to get out there and support our local student-athletes when you have the opportunity!

Our area is fortunate to have a number of news-outlets that work hard to support and report on prep student-athletes from around our area and as I understand it two of the larger outlets, WRAL-HighSchoolOT [HighSchooOT Coverage] and The News & Observer [N&O Prep Coverage] will both be accelerating into high gear to provide extensive coverage of the fall season and specifically the beginning of prep football.  HighSchoolOT is advertising 24 hours of coverage beginning at 12:01 AM on Monday, July 30 to follow the start of practice at Leesville Road High School [24 Hours of HSFB kicks off...].  Leesville Road's plan to have an early morning start were reported in the News & Observer by Tim Stevens earlier this week [Leesville Road to start football practice early].  Look for both outlets to provide extensive coverage with the start of practice through the end of the playoffs.  On the Durham scene, look to the Durham Herald-Sun to provide insight into local PAC-6 play.  As always, you can jump over to our FB News Now [FB News Now] page listed at the top of the page and find links to all of these outlets.  Finally, if you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to venture over to operated by Chris Hughes.  This site has developed over the years and Chris continues to work to introduce ways to interact with the North and South Carolina communities and is looking toward having a weekly radio broadcast focusing on football coverage news from throughout the state [].

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fond Memories

I ran across the following article about University of North Carolina rising sophomore T.J. Thorpe and some of his progress this spring.  The title of the article was enough to grab my attention and it certainly brought back a number of good memories [UNC Screen Game To "Thorpedo" Teams Next Fall" by Haley @ Keeping it Heel].

For those that followed the Jordan  football or simply had the opportunity to see Thorpe in action during his time as a Falcon there is no doubt that on at least one occasion you probably saw him do some remarkable things after catching the 'jail break', 'alley' or 'tunnel' screen.  He had absolutely no fear of working back into the middle of the field, accepting the pass and then finding the seams and exploiting them.  If the majority of the Falcons executed the play, it was over, pure and simple.  But it was when only Thorpe and perhaps a few others executed the play to perfection that one had the opportunity to see how incredible he was on the prep level.  Even when things were breaking down around him - the play typically still went for solid yardage.

Yes, those are some fond memories and I'd imagine that from what I've read in this article that Tarheel fans might just get their own dose in the future.

Photographs courtesy of (The News & Observer)

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Defense, Defense, Defense

Recently I came across an opinion piece on WRALSportsFan by a local radio contributor concerning the BCS National Championship game.  James Alverson (@JamesAlverson), a producer for 99.9 the Fan and AM 620 the Buzz in addition to serving as the color analyst for their Friday Night Football Game of the Week, host of High School OT Gamenight and HighSchoolOT Wrap-up (probably best to simply call him the local High School Radio-based Guru/Analyst) detailed his take on whether or not the often-debated BCS system worked in setting up a rematch between the two SEC powerhouses, LSU and Alabama.  Alverson has always had solid insight when it comes to the local landscape of prep football and his take on 1 vs. 2 is worth the read.

You can find Alverson's opinion piece at the following link: Alverson discusses BCS [BCS got it right, this time]

There are numerous points that Alverson makes that are spot-on in my opinion.  One of the most compelling is the fact there appears to be absolutely NO debate that LSU should be in the National Championship game.  The debate in large measure is about Alabama's inclusion in the game based on a three-point loss to LSU earlier this year.  As Alverson points out, that game was an even match-up and to most folks that put on their anti-bias hats, the consensus would be that the game could have gone either way.  And that is where the thought that Alabama should not be included becomes a bit illogical.  If you can say the game was evenly played and Alabama may have been the better team and quite possibly walked out with the win, then with the roles reversed would you be sitting here at this moment saying Alabama definitely should be playing for the National Championship and LSU should not?  

The BCS system and the desire by many for a playoff format has led almost all of us down the road that includes a not-so-absolute fact that in general if you lose during the year, then you are probably out of the discussion unless others have lost as well, regardless of who you've lost to.  Why is that?  Because that is fair?, just?...the thought that you had your chance and 'didn't do what you needed to do?'  With regards to Alabama specifically, it would appear that many subscribe to the logic that the Cowboys , Cardinal or Ducks simply 'deserve' the opportunity to play LSU because Alabama had their shot and lost, regardless of what actually happened in the earlier match-up.  Moreover, the discussion of whether a loss to Iowa State (Okie State), Oregon (Stanford) or LSU/USC (Oregon) was more damaging than the single loss to LSU by Alabama seems to be somewhat unimportant in comparison to simply saying that someone else deserves a shot against LSU.

As always the BCS is fun to discuss and Alverson has some great points - be sure to check out his piece and enjoy the National Championship game!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

X's and O's - Talking West Virginia and SmartFootball

It seems like at every level of play, high school and up to the pro level, scores in games are getting out of control.  To think that the national championship game next week will be about defense seems a bit strange in the current offensive environment where scores in the 40's and 30's are routine and getting to 70 or 67 points against what most would call reputable competition, see West Virginia over Clemson in the Orange Bowl and Baylor over Washington in the Alamo Bowl is a reality.  

On the local high school scene the Leesville Road Pride averaged 51.5 points a game this past season and had just two games where they scored less than 40, against Garner (21 points) in the Eastern 4AA semifinals and early in the year against Jordan where they managed a paltry 39 in a victory.  At the pro level, three teams, Green Bay, New Orleans and New England all averaged over 30 points per game during the 2011 regular season.  A quick look over the past nine seasons revealed that in 2004 two teams passed the 30 point threshold (Indianapolis and Kansas City), while in 2008, 2005 and 2002 no teams averaged more than 30 a game.  In every other season during that nine year period, only a single team eclipsed the 30 point per game threshold [New England (2010, 2007), New Orleans (2009), San Diego (2006), Kansas City (2003)].  A quick glance would indicate that points scored are up and the performance that West Virginia put forth against Clemson earlier this week is just one example.

My background is more on the offensive side of the ball and I love talking X's and O's - I love the chess match of it all.  If that sounds interesting then I would highly recommend checking out Chris Brown's site  It is hands-down one of, if not the best, X's and O's sites out there and I've rarely left the site after reading one of his posts wondering why I took the time.  It's here that the discussion about a seeming point bonanza and  coalesce.  I would encourage you if you are interested in reading a ton of great material about what Coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff are doing offensively at West Virginia or understanding in more detail the roots of their system - to venture over there and check out the following story: SmartFootball article by Chris Brown on WVU offense.  I feel confident for all those X's and O's junkies out there, you won't be disappointed.  I'd go a step further, bookmark the site!

Photographs courtesy of (The News & Observer)

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