Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tryouts Saturday; Packers Following Our Blog; Runners - Big

I think the Green Bay Packers are following this blog.  And learning from it.  We've been talking about using big line players as running backs.  This Sunday in their game against Tampa Bay, the Pack used BJ Raji, a 337 pound defensive lineman, for a one-yard rushing touchdown.  Well, "rushing" may be an overstatement. 

Do you think it is just a coincidence they used this tactic within a week of when we discussed it here?

I don't think so.  I don't believe in coincidence.  I think someone from the Pack has found our blog and is stealing our ideas.

Saturday was tryout day for ladies who want to play for the Outlaws. 

There was a great turnout.  So many candidates and returning veterans that the exercise lasted nearly two hours longer than scheduled.  I was there with my camera and I'll be posting photos in this blog and also on my photosharing website:

Today I'll just post some highlight photos and comments.  Mostly for fun.  Okay, all for fun.  That's why I'm doing this blog - it is fun!

Tiffany James taking off in her special socks.  Smiling to show
this is just plain fun.
First, I'm delighted to have an old friend coming back after a couple years away.  She is Tiffany James and was the inspiration for a blog posting called Socks.

I love Tiffany because of her smile, even when she's doing drills for the tryouts.  I love her aggressive style of play - she earned the nickname, "Crash" as in crash test dummy because she kept crashing into big running backs.  And I love her because of her socks - which have given me lots of material for my blog. 

Welcome back Tiffany, I've missed you.

Nice socks.

The tryout process is more than just an aptitude test to see if you have what it takes to play football.  It is also an opportunity for coaches to get an idea of who you are and what you can do that might affect how you get placed on the team.  There are lots of drills and exercises.  Jumping was obviously fun - look at that big smile on Tiffany.  Well, not everyone had as much fun as Tiffany.  Still, judging by the spirit of the candidates, all the drills and tests were just plain fun. 

Come on, just one more.  And one more after that...
Well, maybe not all. 

Some of the candidates found the situps to be a bit of a chore.  Not the first situp.  Or even the sixth or seventh.  But when you get to forty or so situps in an couple of minutes, you begin to "feel" it. 

And I'll bet some abs were sore on Sunday.

Oh, it wasn't that bad.  Was it?  Well, situps after running
and chasing footballs and stuff... wear's a person out.

Now the running drill, that was fun.  Wasn't it?  Only 40 meters?  Or 40 yards.  As fast as you can go.  With a coach at the end of the run with a stopwatch.  Pretty much every sport rewards speed so speed is important.  And running just plain fun.  (I was a lineman - I hated running.  I hated it!)  It doesn't seem fair that we linemen (and women) should have to run at all. 

A special aspect of this running drill was Lily positioning herself prone on the tarmac in the middle lane, using her trusty digital camera to record you having fun going full speed against the clock.  That's Lily's cap and ponytail in the foreground of the photo.

Two Outlaw wannabes having fun.  Lily in the forground recording their fun for posterity.

Okay, so maybe running and situps weren't really highlights of the tryouts.  But a couple other drills were at least entertaining.  There was a pass catching drill.  Now a lot of us linemen never get a chance to catch a pass in a game.  We aren't even allowed to touch the football.  But everyone got a chance to try catching passes in a brief drill. 

Got it!  Coach, I want to be a receiver.
My favorite drill was the chance for everyone to try carrying the ball.  Candidates were all given the ball and sent on a route where they collided with imaginary tacklers, bounced off, and continued the romp toward the end zone. 

The "imaginary" tacklers were team coaches holding blocking pads.  One was team general manager Lily Messina.  Lily is retired (or trying to retire) from playing and looks to be lighter than her playing weight of 170 pounds.  She wasn't wearing cleats or athletic shoes of any kind - actually she was wearing flipflops.  I'm going into some detail on Lily to give you some perspective on the photos that follow. 

In this blog we've been talking about handing the football to a linewoman and seeing if her size and strength will give her an edge against would-be tacklers.  Or even imaginary would-be tacklers,  Like Lily.
In the tryouts one runner was certainly a bigger player.  Maile Capers Cristobal is over 6 feet and a bit north of 200 pounds.  And she is a remarkably fast runner considering her size. 

So you have the setting - Lily,  wearing flipflops, 5' 7" and under 170 pounds, holding a canvas blocking target; Maile wearing athletic shoes, 6'1" and well over 200 pounds, running full tilt. 

I've said football is a collision sport.  A collision is coming.

You can see the size and attire advantage goes to Maile.  Also
the inertia - she was running and Lily standing still.  Now if
Lily were in football gear, the result would be different.  Maybe.

Same photo but zooming in so you can see the intensity in the facial expressions.

You can't tell from the photo but I'm sure Maile is having fun.  Lily, too.  Well, maybe not so much...

Lots of fun photos from the tryouts.  I'll post more in the weeks ahead. 

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