Posted by coach_billyg on 5/4/2013 2:40:00 PM (view original):
the one data point i struggled for a long time to reconcile, but finally reconciled, was rail's west chester pa squad, which won 8 titles in 9 years, running uptempo - i think the whole way, but i started at the tail end, and so i only know first hand that he ran it at the end, but i think hes said he ran it the whole way on the forums. hard to remember back that far now but i think that is a fair characterization.
well, the reconciliation to me is two fold. first, fatigue was less of an impact back then. and second, the talent gap he enjoyed was obscene. you could pull down 2 star d1 players, and he was. very few coaches used pulldowns and people would joke that rails's teams could not only win d2 championships, but d1 championships, too. i am pretty confident the talent gap he had was *at least* triple and very possibly higher, over the say #5 team in the country, compared to the talent gap i had at SIUE. ive never claimed to be the best recruiter or even close, i was always about being able to make the most of what you had, and strong teams through synergy between players and the system you ran (the system means much more than offense/defense, to me).
so, what i struggled to reconcile is how a program as dominant as mine, was clearly hurt, over so many trials, by running uptempo - yet his won 8 of 9 running uptempo. well, i think the talent advantages werent even close, they werent comparable at all. and even though those 2 programs have the most dominant runs of all time, outside d1, and thus are in that sense the most comparable programs you have at that level, and even though SIUE's triangle press was *exactly* modeled after rail's triangle press west chester program (well, it started that way, that was always my initial goal, if you are going to imitate - why not imitate the best - but then things evolved over time) - i think our situations were actually pretty different.. he won largely through focusing on building incredible advantages in talent, where uptempo is way more appropriate. often my extremely dominant teams were just not that much better than the others, just by raw talent, i won primarily through team planning and coaching, with much smaller talent gaps, where uptempo is way less appropriate.
anyway, i guess ill stop rambling now, i just always thought the W Chester PA vs SIUE case study was one of the most interesting of everything i looked at, because of how similar they were in so many ways, yet, so different in others. it always killed me - i KNEW uptempo was hurting my team, i was 100% positive, running uptempo seemed the worst mistake you could make. and it seemed useless on all my other teams, too - yet i could not assume rails misplayed his teams, you dont badly misplay your team and win 8 titles in 9 seasons. so it was definitely nice to finally come up with a resolution to that conundrum, for me.
I know you study this stuff a lot closer than I do CBG, in fact I rarely go past the "eyeball" stage most of the time and there's no doubt that you're usually right on the money. However, I think you might be just a bit off on this one. As you well know, there have been a few truly dominant D2 teams in Tark throughout the years and some that could be considered close to that level, but maybe, maybe just a notch below. One of those teams is Northeastern State, a team that you know pretty well. I can say with about 95% certainty that you're given Rails' old players too much credit for being so far ahead of the competition talent-wise. Reason I say that is that Rails and I bumped heads many, many, MANY times over recruits back during the time frame you're tallking about and most of the time those recruits were simply pretty highly ranked D1 players, no stars. I did see him pull down a 70 mile two star near the end of that incredible run, and maybe the occasional one star (which I believe to also have been within 70 miles), but again, most of his players were guys that I too had access to, even without all the titles (of course, I was also sporting a pretty high A+ prestige at the time, so that certainly has to be factored in too). And, it's entirely possible that I just wasn't paying close enough attention to his players near the end of that nine season run, but I can tell you for a fact that at the beginning and through the middle of that run, we were both after the same guys. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Don't know if it changes your opinion on anything, but it might I guess.