Thursday, December 12, 2013

State of the Blog - December 2013

TL;DR - Not enough pictures. I am sorry for that. This is a meta post. I tried to diagram that and failed. This will be an odd circumstance where a post doesn't have a diagram. Sorry.

So I wanted to do a State of the Blog post for a while now, and now that the regular season has wrapped, this seems like a good time do have such a thing. There are lots of people I would like to thank, but I'll save that for the end just in case that's not something everyone wants to read. What I want to address here is what I see from this blog, other projects I'll be working on, and where we go from here.

Breakdown Sports
Readership has gradually increased since the start of this blog, which is great. Much of this is still Michigan based readership, which I expected, but I've been lucky enough to expand a little bit, mostly to the Michigan State and Ohio State fanbase. I'd like to expand more, as I really want the focus of this blog to be B1G-based more than just Michigan-based with a sprinkle of the other stuff. I also want to keep up the quality of the work.

So with that in mind, posts may become a little more sporadic (though hopefully still a 2-3 a week) while I try to watch as much film on other teams as I can. My main source of film has been the great Noon Kick site, which has full game video from across the college football landscape. Unfortunately, the B1G decided it was in their best interest to take down all the video previously on youtube. This is less than fortunate. So I'll be working with what I can find, but this makes my job a little harder. In the mean time, I'm going to try to pump out a few posts on each of the teams and the teams that will be joining the league next year as well.

Hit the jump for a lot more

Holding Try Outs?
Who wants to try out for a position at a small little blog? Probably not a whole lot of people. But what would be nice is two things: people willing to cover some other teams (even if it's just their own); and some basketball coverage.

Really, what I'm asking for as far as football coverage is for someone to watch games closely and pick out things that are interesting to them. If you have questions, I'm open for being asked, but even that saves me time of parsing through games. And if you're interested or trying to figure out how something works, there are likely others that would like to know the same.

The basketball thing is simply something that I don't have enough experience in. I played varsity ball and could breakdown to just about that level and not any more. That's not really helpful to people. So if someone was interested in doing some in-depth breakdowns of basketball, basketball philosophy, technique, how different schemes work, etc, that would be awesome.

These are wonderful opportunities for people that are interested in these sports! That give you the chance to learn on your own while giving you the medium to teach others, allowing you to absorb even more knowledge! You can do this all for absolutely no pay while I shovel in the boat loads of cash that I'm making directly from your work!

No, but seriously, if you're interested in coaching or just interested in learning more, this is one way to do it. It'd be nice to get a couple more guys on board.

Getting Learned
So speaking of learning more, I've been asked more than a few times sense the start of this blog about resources to learn more about football. I've been asked enough times to even have a canned answer prepared.

First, I do always try to reply to e-mails and in somewhat prompt fashion and I don't mind having good conversation via e-mail. I'd prefer doing it in the comments section on my blog for some obvious reasons, but sometimes that doesn't fit into any blog post. Seeing as I don't think a message board is a real possibility, maybe just have an open post for each week or something for people to post general questions or have general discussion? Let me know if you like that idea. Either way, if I forgot to respond to an e-mail, please send it again or something if you are interested in my answer. I really don't mean to ignore anyone and I love any opportunity I get to be able to teach the game.

So back to the point of this section. I've been asked enough times about resources. Well, there are resources, but as far as I've read they either suck (hey Football for Dummies is actually for dummies, but I love the chapter that talks only about fantasy football by Howie Long), too advanced, or too specific. The American Football Coaches Association puts out a lot of good books if you're interested in LB play for the Eagle defense. They do put out a lot of good books. But they are also fairly specific and pretty advanced in their reading. A novice will have to work reading the book, which isn't always fun. The internet has a ton of good sites and resources once you find them. Really, more than I feel comfortable namely for fear I'd leave some out. But they tend to be very specific and generally only focus on newer concepts in the lexicon of the sport.

And so I'm writing a book. The book is about a young girl who finds her way into peculiar circumstance when she finds herself transported from modern day New Jersey to 1920 Harlem. Hilarity ensues and everyone learns a valuable lesson that no matter what you favorite era of history is, the Vikings were pretty badass.

I'm also writing a different book that may actually be of interest to people. This book will be about football. I'm not actually writing the other book, really only this book about football. Without getting into too many specifics, it's designed to be a resource to take people from "Football for Dummies" to any other book or resource. It will be designed to give people a solid foundation so that they can build on that if they wish, or it should be enough for them to then be able to watch football and pick up things instantaneously.

What it won't be is a focus on specific schemes. It will not try to emphasize or prioritize a certain type of offense/defense over another. What it should do is give you the foundation to learn about those things at a later time and understand them completely. While all that likely will be touched on so that you have that within your foundation, it hopefully will be more than that.

I know when I first wanted to go into coaching, the hardest part was actually learning about the intricacies of the sport. You can talk to coaches (I did), that resource doesn't really exist that I'm aware of. You can become familiar with schemes and think you know a lot (like I did), and you still don't really know. This is a similar experience many fans are starting to have as they learn more about cart before they learn about the horse (that's somehow using "the cart before the horse" metaphor without really mixing it with another metaphor, but hopefully that makes sense). So hopefully this can be a book for the coach that wants to learn about other positions, the person that wants to get into coaching at any level, or just the casual fan or husband or wife or any other gift idea you can think of that can help me sell a lot of these things.

So that's something that will also be taking up some time. As soon as I get more information on it, I'll provide more information. But it's in the works right now.

The Not So Big Reveal
What that likely means is that I'm going to reveal myself, like my real name and stuff (because I may or may not be Johnny Cash or a Space Coyote). This means next to nothing for, let's see, just about everyone out there. But it does mean something to me and potentially others that hold me in some sort of regard.

One of the things that I really, really need to do is get back into coaching, which I now haven't done for two straight seasons. It sucks not coaching. I hate it. School and job have made it so the last two seasons weren't feasible, hopefully they will be next season. But with my name revealed and coaching, that leaves me a bit uncomfortable talking about things like:

So this is something that I initially thought was a good idea and now I'm kind of on the fence about. I don't think it's appropriate for me to coach against a kid one week and talk about him the week before as a recruit. I don't think it's really appropriate to talk about a kid from a school, and possibly indirectly insult their coaches, who I will be working with to teach high school players. There are a lot of things that I'm just not sure it's really appropriate as far as having this medium and coaching and no longer being anonymous. So, recruiting coverage is something I'm on the fence about continuing.

I do like the setup I have for recruiting and think the logic behind it is solid. I'm trying to figure out how to do this. Whether it's bringing on someone else to do this, if that's enough, or just doing it anyway, I just dunno. The concept is still there, but for at least a little bit that will be suspended for a while until I figure out how I want to go with it. It's a shame in some ways, because it was a popular feature and is still a popular feature, but I also have to deal with reality to some degree.

How Can You Help Me
I've been given some suggestions in the past, and a lot of them I'd like to implement.
  • More screen shots. I honestly mean to do this when I post and then it slips my mind, I'm trying (though I still like the cleanliness of the non-screen shots for diagrams, screen shots help)
  • More Video. The suggestions have been both to add more video to the posts, but also to maybe break things down via video similar to how they do on TV. I love this idea and it's something I want to implement. First things first, the money I'm making here are first going to a DVR and hopefully a method of transferring that video to my computer. After that, money is going to whatever the proper software is to do that on an iPad, because I think it's a great idea. So hopefully we'll get there.
  • Donate button. We'll see. It definitely won't happen before I say who I really am. It seems inappropriate to me to accept donations when you don't even get the courtesy of knowing my real name. So that's something to look for down the line.
Any other suggestions, I would like them. Suggestions for improving posts or the blog or how to expand or do anything I've discussed above or anything that's been on your mind, please, leave me some suggestions. I want to know how to make this better for you so it becomes better for me.

Seriously, Thanks Guys and Gals
I want to first say thanks to all the readers and posters and people that have e-mailed me and followed me on twitter (@SpaceCoyoteBDS) and generally just conversed with me. That has greatly been appreciated and has given me the opportunity to coach while not coaching, and simply talk football in an educated sense. Really, I can't explain how much I appreciate that.

There are a lot of people and blogs that have been fundamental to this blogs expansion. Everyone at Maize n Brew, in particular Zach, who has allowed me to write over there and over here and has really helped me promote my own blog a bunch. Steve Lorenz over at Michigan 247, who gave me my start as an actual blog writer over at Tremendous last season, and is willingness to bring me on to guest write for 247. All the others at 247, from the other writers to the posters, I really appreciate it. I'd also like to thank everyone at MGoBlog, literally everyone, from Brian, Seth, and Ace, to all the bloggers and posters. Linking my site and retweeting my tweets and all that has been without a doubt a great source for my blog. Linking my blog on the forum that I can use to converse Michigan sports with other Michigan fans has allowed me to not only get my name out there, but also discuss Michigan sports, so they cannot be thanked enough. I also need to thank Maize and Go Blue, who this year gave me the opportunity to write in this years Lindy's Michigan Preview magazine.  All the other Michigan blogs, and there are numerous that do great work, seriously thank you.

For other fan bases, let's start with the guys at The Only Colors, seriously all of them. I've had many great opportunities to talk football with a lot of great Spartans and they've given me the opportunity to guest write on their site. They have been instrumental into me reaching the MSU fan base, and that's meant a lot. Mike Wilson over at the Michigan State Scout has provided done a lot for me as well. Over at Spartan Tailgate, the Michigan State 247 site, Andrew Bell (SpartanRocky) was a big help in allowing me to get my posts across to many MSU fans, and so that is really appreciated.

The guys at Land-Grant Holy Land have provided a similar forum for me as The Only Colors. So have many of the SB Nation sites, including: Corn Nation, Bucky's 5th Quarter, The Crimson  Quarry, and Sippin' On Purple. The Wisconsin blog Buck Around must also be put in that same group, as well as all the blogs at SB Nation and the many other fan blogs that have allowed me to link back to here while posting on their forums.

There are honestly countless others. I'd love to name specific followers on twitter or specific posters on certain forums, but I'd honestly be too afraid to leave too many people out, because there are so many.

This has at times felt like a second job, it has at times been exhausting. But in the end I cannot express my thanks enough. This opportunity to discuss football with people that are similarly interested in it, even if it's just for their team, has been a very real pleasure. There is a lot to take from having people read your stuff, and it really, really means a lot. And I can't thank everyone enough for providing me this chance. This has been a great first regular season, hopefully we can continue it into the bowl year and on forward.




  1. I love your whole approach, SC. T'hanks for all your efforts and for sharing your knowledge and experience. Your articles and comments are a real blessing.

    1. Thanks! Really appreciate the feedback!