Monday, April 12, 2010

Now on the Huddle

I will be among the many authors on The Huddle this year.

My first piece is titled "Chain: The New DoG".

Comments about this or the other articles welcome here.


cdw said...

Nice piece.

Jim, what would you add or correct from this list, if you were to summarize what codified DoG,?
   - patient O, if there's no open look downfield, dump/break the mark.
   - the clam
   - "team": knowing your teammates, buying into the system
   - ?
   - ?

How would you say other teams adjusted?

parinella said...

Well, I guess it's safe now to reveal all of our secrets....

Patient O: this is often stated as "conservative O", and maybe that is what it morphed into, but the offense took shots deep. Breaking the mark was usually a secondary option, and (except for the hammer) not an aggressive throw, say, 50% possession, 40% position, and 10% yardage.
Variety of defensive sets, including the clam and other junk defenses.
Team and system: Seigs quoted years of seniority for Chain's O line (6.3) and Ironside's O line (2.0 or 3.7). At times, we were probably close to 10 years average. We had 14 guys who were on at least 5 of the 6 championship teams. The O system kind of evolved around the specific players. I think the D codified their system earlier on.
Leadership: The team always looked to Mooney for emotional leadership, but a lot of people were involved in the decisions on how to play the game (and as mentioned above, sometimes they weren't conscious decisions, just evolutionary responses).
Confidence: winning begets winning. Players were confident in tough situations since they'd been there before and had won, so it became easier.

Adjustments: I think teams were slow to adjust, to be honest. Teams try to copy what the winning teams do, so trying to beat us at our own game played into our hands. We helped to phase out the force middle, but eventually it came back and caused us trouble. No one in their right minds played zone against us. The Condors eventually changed things up enough and had enough cohesion to take us down, thogh you'd probably have to ask them what they did.

Information travelled more slowly back then. The Internet was just blossoming. There were a lot fewer college teams, and not nearly as many had coaches. No books, no blogs, really there was almost nothing written on how to play the game.

What went wrong: To be fair, by most standards, the following six years were hardly a failure: 4 semis appearances (losing to the champ each time), Worlds title in 2000 and runnerup in 2002. I think we failed to adjust as we got new people, and we lost a lot of very good players. It would be an interesting time-machine exercise to go back to 2002 and remove Alex, Billy, and me from the DoG roster and see what would have happened for those next five years.

Matt said...

Hey Jim,

That's great. I read both The Huddle and your blog. It'll be nice to get more of your input on things. I hope it works out great for ya.

DISCO said...

Hello Jim,
This is not related to the topic, but I did not know how to contact you directly.
There are people who say that there is no future for the commercial ultimate. I mean like in disc golf, a team pays entry fee and then the total purse is divided accordingly.
People say that when the money will be involved the Spirit will be gone.
Personally I don't think so. Look at the finals at the Worlds, both teams violate rules intentionally from time to time and nobody saying that the Spirit is not there. But then what is the difference between the final at the Worlds and an ordinary commercial game? What do you think, or has this been discussed somewhere? Thanks! Always a fan, Yuri

parinella said...

I think there would have to be a lot of money involved to make a difference. Consider how much people already have invested in the game with all the time and money they spend. Someone going to Worlds, Nationals, and one or two other non-local tournaments will spend close to $5000 this year on ultimate, plus hundreds of hours. They already have plenty of incentive to act up. And sometimes they do.