Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Peter King FMIA 1-13-20 The Award Section

Coaches of the Week

Dean Pees, defensive coordinator, Tennessee. In two straight weeks, the forgotten Tennessee defensive boss has shut down two former employees. Against the third-seeded Pats last week, the Pees D held New England to 13 points, had a memorable goal-line stand, and consistently thwarted the Brady passing game. Against the top-seeded Ravens on Saturday night, Tennessee held the most explosive offense in football to 12 points and stymied Lamar Jackson on all four fourth-down attempts. For the first time in forever, Lamar Jackson was totally frustrated. Said future coach Logan Ryan: “We wanted to give him loaded boxes all night to get him out of the run game. . . . Once we had the lead, they had to go to the pass game, and that’s our strength.” Smart plan.

Arthur Smith, offensive coordinator, Tennessee. Anyone who play-designs a Derrick Henry touchdown pass from the 3-yard line will win this august award. And again next week, if Smith calls something so outrageously imaginative in the AFC Championship Game.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Ohio State Football: Former Buckeye Vrabel becoming a top-notch coach

by David Wysong 1 hour ago

The Ohio State football team has had a plethora of players excel at the next level, but now they have a former player excelling as a head coach.

Mike Vrabel is one of the best defensive players to ever play for the Ohio State football team as he was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He then went on to have an excellent career in the NFL, winning three Super Bowls, earning a First Team All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowl selection in 2007, and being named to Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team from 2000 to 2009.
Now, he is excelling as a head football coach.
Vrabel found success as Ohio State’s linebackers coach and defensive line coach from 2011 through 2013, and then as the Houston Texans linebackers coach from 2014 through 2016, and their defensive coordinator in 2017. That success at both stops led to him becoming the Tennessee Titans head coach in 2018.
Yes, the Titans went 9-7 the two seasons before Vrabel and have gone 9-7 the two seasons since Vrabel has been the lead-man, but this team actually plays like a contender under him.
In 2017 the Titans’ defense was a middle-of-the-pack unit, allowing 22.3 points per game. Last year under Vrabel they were third in the entire league in points allowed, giving up 18.9 points per game, and this year they allowed 20.7.
He then made a huge decision this season that improved his team drastically.
The Titans’ organization put a lot of stock in quarterback Marcus Mariota as they selected the former Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015.
During Vrabel’s first season, Mariota started 13 games, played in 14, and only threw for 2,528 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Titans’ offense ranked 27th out of 32 teams that season, scoring 19.4 points per game.
This year, after Mariota started six games and the Titans started 2-4, Vrabel decided to make the change to Ryan Tannehill at QB. This has helped the Titans to become one of the most explosive offenses in the league as he threw for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns, and six interceptions in 10 starts. The Titans also rank 10th in the league this season in scoring, averaging 25.1 points per game.
That switch led to the Titans making the playoffs as a wild card and then ultimately beating the reigning champions and the best dynasty in all of sports, the New England Patriots in the Wild Card Round last week.
This team is playing incredible.

Vrabel has this team playing hard and believing they can beat anybody. They play the same way he did – with a tough attitude. They will have a difficult challenge this week, playing the Baltimore Ravens, but win or lose Vrabel is coaching like he played – he’s dominating.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Wisconsin's All-Decade Team

By EVAN FLOOD Dec 31, 2:42 PM

On the eve of the 106th Rose Bowl Game between No. 6 Oregon (11-2) and No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3), it's time to look back on a memorable decade for the Badgers.
Since 2010, UW has played in six New Year's Six bowl games, including four trips to the Rose Bowl. Only Alabama (8), Clemson (8), Ohio State (8) and Oklahoma (8) played in more during the decade. During that span, Wisconsin has amassed 102 total wins, seven double-digit win seasons, and three Big Ten Conference titles.
Wisconsin's 102 victories are the fifth-most among power-five teams this decade, trailing only Alabama (123), Ohio State (117), Clemson (116), and Oklahoma (109).
Over the last 10 years, UW has also sent nearly 40 players to the NFL Draft, with more coming following the 2019 season. The Badgers have also produced 11 consensus first-team All-Americans, nine individual major award winners, and six top-10 finishes for the Heisman Trophy.
It's time to take a trip down memory lane as Badger247 names our All-Decade Team for 2010-2019.
Dan Voltz - Career was cut short due to injury. Was a two-time All-Big Ten selection.
Bradie Ewing - Fifth round pick of the Falcons in 2012
Montee Ball - Doak Walker Award winner in 2012. Heisman Trophy finalist and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. Second round pick by the Broncos.
Jacob Pedersen - Finished seventh at UW with 17 touchdown receptions, most by a tight end in program history. Had just shy of 1,400 career receiving yards.
Kyle Costigan - Consensus first-team All-Big Ten as a senior.
Jack Cichy - Career cut short by injuries. Sixth round pick by the Buccaneers.
David Edwards - Fifth round pick by the Rams. Two-time second team All-Big Ten.
Ryan Connelly - Butkus Award semifinalist. Had 251 tackles and 29 for loss.
Darius Hillary - Started 40 consecutive games at cornerback, played in a school record 54 contests. Owns 19 career pass breakups.
Tanner McEvoy - Former quarterback and wide receiver that moved to safety. In just two seasons at the position, McEvoy posted seven interceptions.
Andrew Van Ginkel - Had 12.0 sacks in his two seasons at UW. Fifth round pick of the Dolphins.



Russell Wilson only played one season at Wisconsin, but the North Carolina State transfer shredded numerous single-season passing marks in 2011. A finalist for the Manning and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards, Wilson led the Badgers to the 2011 Big Ten Championship by throwing for 3,175 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing 73 percent of his pass attempts. A third round pick of Seattle, Wilson won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013 and has been named to the Pro Bowl seven times.
Backup: Scott Tolzien



Tough call here, but as a hypothetical coach, I've gotta go with the guy who doesn't put the ball on the ground and is more of an all-around back. The 2014 Doak Walker Award winner, Melvin Gordon had a junior season that was worthy of winning the Heisman Trophy, rushing for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns. In just three seasons, which were spent sharing carries with James WhiteMontee Ball, and Corey Clement, Gordon racked up nearly 5,000 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Gordon was a first round draft pick of the Chargers in 2015. 
Backup: Jonathan Taylor
3rd Down BackJames White


Another difficult call here, but I like my fullbacks mean and nasty. That's where I think Derek Watt has the edge. He's not the versatile, utility fullback, but when I need a yard on 4th and 1, I can count on Watt to make a hole. Watt played in 47 games over his UW career and was a sixth round draft of the Chargers.
Backup: Alec Ingold


Jared Abbrederis was a fifth round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2014. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Abbrederis owns 3,140 career receiving yards and 23 touchdowns. Abbrederis also won the Burlsworth Trophy as the best player in college football who began their career as a walk-on.
Currently in his third year with UW, Quintez Cephus has 1,437 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. As a junior, Cephus has posted 842 yards and six scores. From a talent standpoint, he could be the best wide receiver for the Badgers since Lee Evans.


Troy Fumagalli was a fifth round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2018. He was a two-time All-Big Ten pick, including a first-team selection as a senior. Also named the Big Ten's top tight end in 2017, Fumagalli was a finalist for the Mackey Award and a second-team AP All-American. Over his career, Fumagalli caught 135 passes for 1,627 yards and seven touchdowns and was one of the better blocking tight ends for UW in recent memory as well.
Backup: Lance Kendricks


LT: Gabe Carimi - Outland Trophy winner and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2010. Unanimous first-team All-American. First round pick of the Bears in 2011.
LG: Travis Frederick - First true freshman to ever start a season opener on the offensive line. First-team All-American in 2012, first round pick by the Cowboys, five-time Pro Bowl selection.
C: Tyler Biadasz - Won the Rimington Award in 2019. Twice was named first-team All-Big Ten.
RG: Kevin Zeitler - First round pick by the Bengals. Named first-team All-American as a senior.
RT: Ryan Ramczyk - First-team All-American and consensus first-team All-Big Ten as a junior. First round pick by the Saints.
Backups: Peter KonzRick Wagner, Rob Havenstein, John Moffitt, Michael Deiter



Wisconsin's had its most successful defenses in the 3-4, so we're going to stick with that scheme.
J.J. Watt is an easy pick. In two seasons, Watt recorded 11.5 sacks and was named first-team All-Big Ten as well as a second-team All-American as a junior. A first round pick by the Texans, Watt has led the NFL in sacks twice and been named to the Pro Bowl five times.
Olive Sagapolu was one of the biggest unsung heroes for the Badgers. For four years, Sagapolu did the dirty work in the middle of the 3-4 defense, registering 61 tackles, 10 for loss, and 6.0 sacks. He was also freakishly athletic for a 6-foot-2, 330-pound lineman.
Since UW turned to the 3-4 defense, no defensive end had more sacks in a single season than Alec James. A second-team All-Big Ten pick as a senior, James had 11.0 career sacks, including 6.5 as a senior.
Backups: Louis Nzegwu (DE), Beau Allen (NG), Chikwe Obasih (DE)


OLB: Joe Schobert - First-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten, and Big Ten linebacker of the year as a senior. Was a fourth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
ILB: Chris Borland - Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 as well as a first-team All-American. Was named first-team All-Big Ten for three-straight years (2011-13). Third round pick by the 49ers.
ILB: T.J. Edwards - Two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. First-team All-American as a senior. Had a very impressive 10 career interceptions to go along with 367 total tackles and 36 f0r loss.
OLB: T.J. Watt - First round pick of the Steelers in 2017. First-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American in his final season as a junior.
Backups: Chris Orr (ILB), Mike Taylor (ILB), Vince Biegel (OLB), Zack Baun (OLB)


Sojourn Shelton was a four-year starter for the Badgers. He was an All-Big Ten pick three different seasons, including first-team as a senior. He started a school record 51 games. His nine career interceptions rank eighth on UW's all-time list, while his 41 pass breakups stand fourth.
Antonio Fenelus finished his career with nine interceptions as well. He also logged 155 total tackles from the cornerback spot. As a senior, he was named first-team All-Big Ten.


Michael Caputo was one of the toughest players to ever put on a Badger uniform. He finished his career with 244 tackles, including 10 for loss at the safety spot. Caputo was also a three-time All-Big Ten pick and a second-team All-American (FWAA) as a junior.
Aaron Henry owns 181 tackles and seven interceptions. He was also a consensus first-team All Big Ten selection as a senior and took home All-Big Ten honors in three different seasons.
Backups: D'Cota DixonJay Valai


Kicker - Rafael Gaglianone was arguably the most clutch kicker in program history. Gaglianone made four game-winning kicks, the most ever by a Wisconsin kicker. His 70 field goals are also a program record. Gaglianone made 76.1 percent of his field goal attempts, a mark that stands fifth in UW history.
Punter - Brad Nortman has a punting average of 42.1, which ranks third in program history. Nortman also ranks fourth with 8,338 career punting yards.
Backups: Phillip Welch, Drew Meyer
Kick Returner - David Gilreath returned a school record 135 kickoffs and his 3,025 kickoff yards sit atop UW's all-time list.
Punter Returner - Jared Abbrederis ranks sixth in UW history with 582 punt return yards. His 10.7 average yards on returns stands fifth.

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