Saturday, June 5, 2010

Natties Part 3 of ?

I forgot to mention in the last post that our subbing and strategy was very altered by Morgan's absence on Saturday. She was feeling better, but we had planned to sit her anyway and watch for symptoms.

We played our junk against Pitt, but we usually rotate Tina and Guns as the 1 once we start rolling a team. Against Pitt and Carleton we had to press Shannon into service and she did great. Still, it introduced a weird kink into our subbing system, but Ryann rolled with it and figured out how to make it work.

Playing Syzygy is always a little weird for me. I coached there for four years (1997-2000) and it's hard to put into words what that time meant to me. (I might try another day in another post.) This is my third shot in three years at coaching against them (lost in Boulder 6-15 and won Prez Day this year 15-3), so I've gotten over it, but it's still weird.

Syzygy was one of the few teams that challenged us in the first few points of the game. We tried playing our junk, but it just didn't work very well against them. All year our junk worked great against bad teams, allowing us to be lazy and conserve energy. It worked great against everyone, if we were willing to work. It didn't work against good teams if we were being lazy and we were, so Syzygy scored on it. Interestingly, we ended up running away from them playing force middle, which was more work. A lot of it had to do with the type of work, though. We were fired up and determined, but our brains were cooked from the heat. We were hesitating and reacting on defense, which is the death of junk. When we switched to middle, we didn't have to think, we just had to run and so we did. Syzygy also made an adjustment and began to back all of our receivers. Smart plan and a pain to deal with. You'd think the free twenty yards would be nice, but we were slow to adjust. Syzygy never gave up and so we had to work a lot harder than the 15-4 final would suggest.

Syzygy entered our game 0-2, having lost to Pitt and UNCW.
Texas had done them the favor of beating Pitt in the afternoon on Friday, so they still had hope if they could pull out the point diff on the three-way tie with Texas and Pitt, but they needed to win by 9. As a coach I was mystified (and alum frustrated) by Syzygy's decision to play tough in our game. My rough estimate is that Anna Snyder played about fourteen of the nineteen points in our game. Their sideline was up and vocal and pouring energy onto the field and they played tough, man-to-man defense the whole way. They did beat Texas, but by six.

After our Syzygy game, we made everyone leave the fields and go back to the hotel. There was a lot of anxiety about how the boys were doing and people wanted to stay, but it was crazy hot and so we left. I had planned to stay, go for a run and scout games but I felt so ill that I went back with the team. Good thing. In my concern for the team's health, I had forgotten to eat, drink or stay out of the sun, so I collapsed. Gordy fed me and Chris brought me Gatorade and the only lasting consequence was that everyone nagged me all weekend to make sure I was eating and drinking and not over-heating.

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