On Cut Blocks

Thursday, September 5, 2019

I wanted to do a yearbook post today, but I felt I had to respond to this.

This piece absolutely misses the mark and is about as dishonest an analysis of Brent Davis' offense a I can fathom.

Firstly - I absolutely hate the sports as war analogy - I don't do it, I don't like to read it and it's just a lazy way to write about football. Every year some unseasoned opposing beat writer will drop a 'Football is war' paragraph into their hastily scripted Army football preview. It bothers me as a common metaphor, but it doesn't even come close bothering me as much as this drivel.

"Dangerman: Literally, it's center Peyton Reeder, because if he's engaged with you, someone else is about to take out your knees."

And then there's a video clip of Reeder and Guard Jack Sides executing a 100% legal double team block.

It continues:
Yes, this is highly illegal. Yes, they're coached to do it all the time. Yes, a lot of injuries result from it, both the leave-the-field kind, and the stay-in-but-by-the-4th-quarter-you-won't-dare-to-anchor kind. No, they never have to face justice for it. Are *you* going to flag the troops?

For MGoBlog to insinuate that Army football sees fewer flags just because they are a service academy shows zero respect for the sport, its rules, and its officials to say nothing about slighting the cadet athletes who participate in every single intercollegiate sport. I'll give the statement credit that at least it's more creative subject matter than the "gridiron battlefield" cliche', but it just plays like an Andrew Golota series of low blows when U of M should already have plenty of high road from a competitive or comparative standpoint. What is the point of bullshit like that? I would really love to know.

I'm sure it's a big conspiracy among refs and the NCAA to keep Army, Navy and Air Force hanging around in games they should lose. That benefits everybody because AMERICA!! FUCK YEAH!

Get the hell outta here.

As if the NCAA didn't just last year cut the effectiveness of 1/3 of Army's playbook by eliminating the cut block more than 5 yards off the line of scrimmage. I can only imagine how much a fan like this would have hated the cut block if Army could still run it's playbook from 2016.

But no, it's Army who is looking to bend the rules to their advantage.

Today Army is the one looking to change how the game is played to make up a huge talent differential. Their wishbone triple-option offense gets you three yards every play if you don't screw it up. They leave the kids on the bench until they won't screw it up, and stay on schedule by cheating their asses off….a lot…I have more links.

I don't know what this guy is seeing, but I saw one hold and zero other penalties in there.

What makes MGoBlog qualified to adjudicate the validity of modern option football? Certainly not Michigan's experience matching up against the modern flex bone.
In 2012 Michigan played Air Force, winning 31-25. They played Air Force again in 2017 winning 40-21 and these happen to be the only service academy option teams that the Wolverines have played in over 40 years. Which means aside from 2012 & 2017- the last time Michigan faced a service academy option team would have been back in the T formation era.

I don't get this characterization of cut blocking as some kind of dangerous rogue football technique. There is cut blocking in most every college offense - and while Army's offense relies on a lot of cut blocks every team has the opportunity to practice and utilize the skill. From a defender's standpoint - there are effective ways to neutralize cut block schemes, but just as Army and Navy have to drill their cut blocking technique - opponents have to practice getting off the same blocks. If your guys can't separate and end up getting upended in their gap - it's not Army's fault, it's not the fault of the refs, it's not the fault of the NCAA. If cut blocks are what you're really worried about as an informed college football fan - the burden of overcoming that facet of the game falls solely on the coaching staff and their ability to properly coach football.

If cut blocks are so dangerous how come injuries off of cut blocking rarely happen? If cut blocks are so dangerous why does the NCAA allow tackling below the waist? With this feeble logic almost single every tackle should be a flagrant foul with intent to injure.

Nobody, not even the most squeamish sports fan wants to ban defenses from tackling below the waist. Why? Because it's simply not perceived as a dangerous play. Does that mean that nobody ever gets hurt in a low tackle? no. Does that mean that cut blocks are always injury free? no. We're talking about American football. If you prefer to watch soccer then go watch soccer, but don't characterize well coached teams as cheats or dirty bounty hunters when it's your own personal insecurities about your football team giving up multiple 85+ yard drives and losing the time of possession statistic by something like 2/1. Give me a fuckin break with that and get back to writing about actual football.

To the video analysis that was graciously provided. You can manufacture as much rage as you please, but the plays posted for public display aren't even penalties. All you have to do is check the rule book.

Ask yourself

Does the block happen beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage?
Is the block below the waist?
Is the block thrown by a lineman?
Is the block inside the tackle box?
Is the block thrown toward the offense's defending goal line?

Being unfamiliar with a rule or a technique doesn't mean that you can make up mystery guidelines on what is clean football and what is a flagrant foul. That's what I mean when I'm talking about dishonesty in this context. This Michigan partisan really believes that Army football, its coaches and its players are hell bent on gaming the laws of the sport with illegal tactics and an offense that seeks to intentionally injure every opponent.

I don't have any more time to give to this subject.




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