caesari

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Everything posted by caesari

  1. Halfway to last season's win total
  2. From now until the middle of July I'm going to be working at a summer camp. I'll still be on and able to gameplan/recruit, but I figured I'd post this so I'm not flagged for inactivity. I'll be back! Go Redhawks!

    1. SageBow

      SageBow

      Just keep in touch with your commissioner and visit the site when you can! Best of luck in these trying times away from the site!

  3. Editor's Note: Ball State will be next. Any MAC coach who has a specific player they'd like me to do, please post here or message me. I'll probably keep this pace of about 1 every 5-6 weeks until the season ends. If no one makes a request, Miami will be next. Ohio's Owen Walton scored the go ahead TD with 1:30 left in the MAC Championship Game. He had 148 yards and 2 TDs. "If you would have told me halfway through the season that we'd win the MAC, I would've believed you." I thought he had misspoke, so I tried to clarify. But he doubled down. "Yes. I would've believed you. I believed with every fiber of my being that we were good enough to go the distance. I kept believing, my team kept believing, and Coach Beeznik kept believing, and we did it. We won the MAC. That was our goal at the beginning of the season, and it never stopped being our goal." It is a lot easier now to look back at Ohio's season and consider it a success. A MAC championship, a decisive bowl victory, and a 9 win season surpassed any previous season for the Bobcats, and toppled most prognosticator's predictions from before the season. There was a point, however, where the season looked completely lost. The Bobcats beat Wyoming in their opening game by a score of 24-14. Walton did not even start, instead ceding the role to Preston Griggs. However, he got the chance to show his worth from then on. After three non-conference games against the likes of Arizona State, Houston, and Georgia State, along with a in conference thrashing at the hands of Akron, the Bobcats were at 1-4 and at the cellar of the MAC standings. "It was frustrating for sure. I'm a competitor. I hate losing. And I love Preston [Griggs], but not playing that first game sucked. I hated watching from the sidelines. So when I got the start the next few games, I was even more frustrated that we were struggling, because I felt like it was on me. My first four games as a starter were all ugly losses." I reminded him of his game against Houston, only his second start, when he put up 129 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries. "That was an ugly loss, too. All losses are ugly." I didn't disagree. Walton emerges from a pack of Redhawk defenders on his way to a 2 yard score. Back up a week, before the Georgia State game. "We were all called a meeting. I think it was before the Georgia State game. Around that time, we were reeling, and I remember we didn't even have a head coach. Our coordinators were just splitting control of the the coaching duties, and so in the meeting they were tag teaming the gameplan for our game that Saturday. Then our AD comes in during the middle of it with some random guy we hadn't met. He wasn't a coach of ours, but he was wearing a Bobcats polo and some khaki shorts, and our AD said 'This is your new coach.' And I just kind of looked at him, like, is he gonna help us win? Because if so, I'm all in." The first week wasn't pretty. Coach Beeznik struggled with playcalling and acclimating to his new team, and the Bobcats couldn't seem to score. Despite holding Georgia State to only 17 points, Ohio lost by 5, due to their inability to find the endzone. "At that point some of the guys had quit. It was too frustrating to keep going. Coach called me and Stephen [Peters] in for a meeting the next week. Stephen hadn't even started a game yet. It was weird, I wasn't a captain or anything, he wasn't even a starter, but there we were, talking about how best to turn the season around." Walton didn't get any more specific than that. When pressed, he grinned. It was a cheeky, lopsided grin, the kind you give when you have a secret that you won't tell your friend simply because you like keeping it from them. "Hey, you know what happened next. I don't have to tell you," he said. The Ohio Bobcats lit the MAC on fire following the meeting. Peters was named starter just hours after they left Beeznik's office. Walton used the meeting as motivation; he was grateful that a new coach trusted him enough to have such a meeting with him. Their next game was a 34-7 drubbing of Central Michigan, in which Walton torched the Chippewas to the tune of 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. After that, he didn't slow down, as over the last six games of the season he had 10 touchdowns and 755 yards. They only lost one more time, to Western Michigan. A 1-4 season became a 7 win season, and a chance at the MAC championship. "I never lost hope," Walton reiterated. The Bobcats, though, were massive underdogs. Even the Bobcat faithful, who had received a jolt of life when the Bobcat season turned around so suddenly, overwhelmingly expected the magical story to come to an end. Toledo, their opponent in the championship, was the darling of the MAC and a 10 win team. Their offense was the most balanced and effective in the entire conference, while their vaunted defense featured more talent than any other team. "There was just something about that game. Going into it we had all the confidence in the world. Coach had a good gameplan for sure, but it wasn't anything special. We just refused to lose." Owen Walton during spring practice as the Bobcats prepare to defend their MAC title. At halftime, though, the Bobcats had been shutout. The defense had played well enough to keep the game at 10-0, but the first half results were not encouraging. "Stephen had thrown an interception," Walton explained, "on the only drive that anything was happening. I think I only had like 35 or 40 yards on 10 carries. For whatever reason, we weren't clicking." After receiving the ball to start the 3rd quarter, Preston Griggs ripped off a 65 yard return. The offense stalled after only one first down, a 17 yard rush by Walton, but it was enough. They came away with a 37 yard field goal and drew within one possession of the Rockets. Toledo answered back with a sustained drive of their own, capped with a field goal, and with just under 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Walton and the offense took the field. The score was 13-3 in favor of Toledo. Walton had only had 12 carries up to that point, but he would be used heavily over the remaining quarter and a half. In just 3 minutes, Walton carried the ball 4 times for 46 yards, and Peters connected with wide receiver Dwayne Simpson on a crucial 3rd and 9 to push the Bobcats into the redzone for the first time all game. Walton capitalized with his first touchdown of the game, and the deficit closed to 13-10. "We were amped. I was amped. Our fans were amped. On the sideline, I told Coach, 'no way we lose this.' He was amped too, and slapped my helmet and all, but I think he knew I meant it. I think we were on the same page. We wanted it too bad to let it get away." The fourth quarter was dominated by the Bobcats, but they still couldn't score. Despite an interception on the ensuing Toledo drive, the Bobcats offense continued to stall, and with 5 minutes left in the game, they were forced to punt. "The pressure was on the defense to get a stop. I told them before they went out there, if we got a stop, our offense would score. But they had to get a stop." 2 minutes later, Robert Mahoney intercepted Toledo's Benjamin Hanson. The Bobcats' sideline went nuts. "I jumped on Preston's back. We were all yelling and screaming and swinging our towels over our heads. I saw Coach Beeznik sprint down the sideline with his fists in the air, but even in all that excitement, we were focused. We had the opportunity we wanted. It was up to us to capitalize." The Bobcats had 3:50 to drive 62 yards and score. On the first play, Owen Walton took a handoff to the left, planted his foot in the backfield, and cut back across the grain. He made a mad dash up the sideline, shedding two would-be tacklers, before finally being pushed out of bounds after a 28 yard scamper. The very next play he carried again, spinning away from a Toledo linebacker and powering through a safety as he ran 11 yards for another first down. A pass and a timeout later, and the Bobcats were in the redzone. "Coach told us we needed a touchdown. We couldn't be satisfied with a field goal, we wanted to win in regulation. He said that we had one more timeout, and if we had to, we would go for it on fourth down. He wanted to win right there." Thankfully for the Bobcats, it didn't come to that. Walton's number was called three straight times. The fist was a 6 yard counter. The second was a 9 yard trap play that saw him juke a linebacker out of his cleats. What happened next was captured on camera for the entire country to see. With only 2 yards to go, Walton looked at Stephen Peters and tapped his chest. His lips were easily readable: Give me the f****** ball. While mothers gasped in horror and fathers chuckled softly in homes all across the nation, Walton lined up behind Peters and got his wish. The play was a simple power, and Walton took two steps and leapt over the line. A bone crunching collision occurred in the air, sending Walton helicoptering over the goal line. "It would've hurt if I wasn't so damn excited," Walton explained with a laugh. The clock wound down, and Toledo was unable to score. Ohio had completed the unthinkable- from 1-4 to MAC champions, and they would go on to win their bowl game as well. "This season was incredible, for sure. I'll never forget it, but now we got to defend our title. There's a target on our back now." I asked him if he was ready for that kind of pressure. His response came immediately. "If I tell you we're gonna win the MAC again this year, would you believe me?"
  4. Thrashed The Saints Get Embarrassed In Atlanta Steve Alexander was the lone offensive bright spot in a 34-6 blowout.
  5. 1st Team QB Benjamin Hanson 6-2 230 Sr Lincoln Trail College (Robinson, IL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] RB Owen Walton 5-6 219 Sr Morton College (Cicero, IL) 4.5 of 4.5 [Power] FB Jacob Holt 5-9 207 (So) Rich South (Richton Park, IL) 3.0 of 5.0 [Pass Blocking] WR Kenneth Harrison 6-1 153 (Jr) Holland Christian (Holland, MI) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed] WR Chan Pease 6-1 230 Sr Independence Community College (Independence, KS) 4.5 of 4.5 [Target] TE Emory Johnson 6-7 255 (Sr) Springfield (SpringfieldIL) 5.0 of 5.0 [Receiving]OT Marc Allen 6-6 281 (Jr) Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie NY) 4.0 of 4.5 [Pass Blocking] OT Marcus Waterman 6-3 277 Sr Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY) 5.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] OG Derrick Briggs 6-4 285 (So) Dominican (Whitefish Bay, WI) 4.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] OG Jayden Grove 6-7 299 (Jr) Normal Community (Normal, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pass Blocking] C D.J. Wilkinson 6-1 304 So Unionville (Square, PA) 4.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] Defense: DT Dwayne Montgomery 6-2 309 Sr Springfield (Holland, OH) 4.5 of 4.5 [2-Gap] DT Marlon Bailey 6-7 322 (Jr) Goshen (Goshen, OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [2-Gap] DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough 6-1 243 So Edgewood (Ashtabula, OH) 4.0 of 4.0 [Contain] DE Malachi McKnight 6-0 261 (Jr) Manistee (Manistee, MI) 4.0 of 4.0 [Contain] ILB Kareem Boykin 6-3 225 Jr Mercer County Community College (Trenton, NJ) 4.5 of 4.5 [Will] OLB Brandon Thomas 6-3 229 Jr St. Edward (Lakewood, OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blitz] OLB Donovan Pendleton 6-2 238 Jr Wonewoc-Center (Wonewoc, WI) 4.0 of 4.0 [Blitz] CB Sean Taylor 5-9 193 (Jr) Edgewood (Ashtabula ,OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [Man Coverage] CB A'Shawn Ellison 5-9 197 Sr Minnesota West CTC (Worthington, MN) 4.5 of 4.5 [Man Coverage] SS Thomas Gordon 5-10 193 Jr Housatonic Valley Regional (, CT) 4.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage]FS Donovan Jackson 5-11 200 Jr Warren Central (Indianapolis ,IN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage] Special Teams K Noah Cohen 6-3 173 Sr Chadron (Chadron, NE) 4.0 of 4.0 [Accuracy] P Mohamed Saylor 5-10 199 (So) Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, CT) 3.0 of 4.5 [Power] 2nd Team Offense: QB Zack Cera 5-10 221 (So) Flushing (Flushing, MI) 3.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] RB Gabe Ciamo 6-0 174 (So) Paoli (Paoli, IN) 5.0 of 5.0 [Speed] FB Riley Burdette 5-10 234 (Jr) F.J. Reitz (Evansville, IN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking] WR Josh Whitt 6-2 189 (So) East (Cleveland ,OH) 3.5 of 4.0 [Speed] WR Justin Evans 5-11 168 (So) Gavilan College (Gilroy CA) 3.5 of 4.5 [Speed] TE Nate Linsley 6-1 218 (So) Limestone Community (Bartonville, IL) 3.0 of 5.0 [Blocking] OT Aiden Hammer 6-5 300 (Jr) Gibsonburg (Gibsonburg, OH) 4.0 of 4.5 [Pass Blocking] OT Marc Owens 6-1 320 Sr V.J. Andrew (Tinley Park, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking] OG Maximillian Pope 6-2 277 (Jr) Pine Island (Pine Island, MN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pass Blocking] OG Edward Galloway 6-6 321 Sr Leominster (Leominster, MA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Pass Blocking] C Jacob Alves 6-3 302 Sr Rochester CTC (Rochester, MN) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pass Blocking] Defense: DT Shane Horton 6-2 315 Sr Burlington County College (Pemberton, NJ) 4.0 of 4.0 [2-Gap] DE Donte Pennel 6-2 253 (Jr) Valley Forge (Parma Heights, OH) 4.0 of 4.0 [Contain] DE Michael McKinney 6-1 246 Sr Northfield (Northfield ,MN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Contain] ILB Calvin Blue 6-2 230 (Jr) Benilde-St. Margaret's (, MN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Mike] ILB Abdoul Hurt 6-1 216 (Jr) Sylvania Northview (Sylvania, OH) 4.0 of 4.0 [Mike] OLB Alexander Moffett 6-2 224 Fr Southside (Elmira NY) 3.0 of 4.5 [Coverage] OLB Myles Lindsay 6-1 235 Jr Notre Dame (Quincy, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Coverage] CB Jaylin McQueen 5-10 189 Jr Wheaton North (Wheaton ,IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage] CB Adam Haywood 6-0 196 Jr Brookhaven (Columbus, OH) 3.5 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage] SS Jadon Boykin 5-11 210 Sr Northridge (Johnstown, OH) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage] FS Zachary Dumas 6-1 199 Sr Madison Plains (London, OH) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage] Others Considered: Notes: Let me know how bad I did and who I missed!
  6. I put my notes section in there special for you, @deathcpo Thanks for catching the FS, adding in a moment
  7. Oh, The Saints! Will They Ever March To A Win? Rookie Corey Davis fails to wrap up Bernard Taylor as the Saints fall to 0-4
  8. Editor's Note: Ohio is next. If you are a MAC team and have a specific player you'd like one of these articles written about, let me know here or in my inbox. Otherwise I'll choose. The article after Ohio will be from Miami OH unless I have another request. Haywood after breaking up a crucial 3rd down pass in the 2019 MAC Championship. A 1993 Toyota Camry is rarely called beautiful. In fact, it's rarely worth calling one a car anymore. But as Adam Haywood sits on its hood, he pats it with such pride you would think it just won a Best In Show ribbon. "I call her Gloria," he says. And then he does it. He calls her "beautiful." When you start her up, Gloria sputters and coughs like she has the nastiest cold you've ever seen. "Give her a minute," Haywood tells me, although he seems to be assuring himself. When he's satisfied that she's still alive, he points to the dash and gives a knowing chuckle. "two hundred thousand, three hundred and twelve miles. I've only had her for about 25,000 of those, but it feels like longer." Why the hell have I asked to examine a college football player's clunker? The answer to that question is tricky. You see, I don't care about the car; as reliable as ol' Gloria probably is- and Haywood has told me at least three times that she's "as steady as they come"- I am not here to learn about her. I'm here to learn about Haywood. A big part of who Haywood is lies in the metal frame of Gloria. In fact, at one point, every part of Haywood lay within. Gloria was more than a college car to Haywood. At one point, she had been his lifeline and his shelter. That 1993 Toyota Camry, with the big dent in the wheel well and the side mirror that was duct taped on, had once been home to a homeless Adam Haywood. When he had nowhere else to turn, he had Gloria. She's been the only constant in his life ever since. Haywood is known for his trash talk before each play. "I want to own real estate in every receiver's head," he explains. Haywood isn't one to make excuses. He owns up to everything that's happened to him with a ferocity usually reserved for a 1990s rapper. He revels in his past, even when many tell him to forget it. "It's part of who I am," he explains. "I'm a dog now because I was a pup who grew up. And I wouldn't be where I am today without life giving me its best shot." Despite his obvious athletic ability, Haywood didn't play football until he reached the 10th grade. He was too engrossed in other pursuits- at one time, he wanted to be a soccer star. Then he got into basketball. Then he got kicked off the basketball team for smoking cigarettes in the locker room. "It was my high school basketball coach who got me to play football. Not because I wanted to at the time, though. Just because he wouldn't let me play basketball no more. I hated him for it at first, but looking back... couldn't have been better for me." Haywood stepped on the field as a raw but talented player. In his sophomore year he was a major contributor to Brookhaven's semifinal run. They ran a Tampa 2 defense in which Haywood thrived. In the quarterfinal game he lead Brookhaven to a 59-35 win behind an Ohio single game record 5 interceptions. He continued to explode onto the scene, being listed among all major recruiting sites in the Top 100 and garnering interest from schools all throughout the Midwest. It was the spring of his junior year when Gloria entered his life. "I bought her with the money I earned bagging groceries," Haywood explains. "I hadn't had a car before that. Usually I rode my bike to school, or my grandma would drop me off. But she died that spring, so I knew I had to get myself a ride." His maternal grandmother, Loretta Kingston, was the woman who raised him. His mother died when he was just six years old, and his father was never around. "She was my saving grace. She was the only one who looked out for me. When she died, the only thing that kept me going was knowing I needed to make her proud." So he bought Gloria. The original intent was for it to get him to and from both school and work, and nothing more. But being a full time student, he couldn't devote enough time to his job to keep his grandmother's apartment, and he was evicted two months later. "I didn't tell nobody about it." Haywood's ferocity returns as he explains those months. "I'd shower in the locker room at school in the mornings before anyone got there, and at night, I'd drive to a park and camp out there. Usually, I ate only the school lunch and whatever I could afford during my lunch break at work. It wasn't the best times, but I got through it." Haywood stresses the idea of 'getting through it' throughout the course of our meeting. It seems to be his mantra. Just get through it, and everything will be alright on the other side. Haywood slept in his car from April of his junior year of high school until December of his senior year, when it got so cold he finally broke down and asked for help. "I didn't think I needed anyone at that point. My grandma had been my caretaker, and when she was gone, I thought I could get by on my own. And I did, for awhile. When my friends got suspicious, I played it cool and told them not to worry. I wasn't worried. Or at least I didn't think I was. I didn't realize how lonely and helpless I was until it got cold." His high school offensive coordinator and math teacher, Dee Fisher, was the man he went to for help. Fisher remembers the night well. "I woke up to a knock on my door at about midnight. School was just letting out for the Thanksgiving holiday, and football season was over, so I hadn't seen Adam in about a week. But there he was, a hoodie drawn tightly around his face, standing on my porch. I didn't know what was happening at first. We knew he'd been struggling, but we had no clue he was homeless. He was good about sneaking around and hiding it, I guess. But there was no doubt in my mind that we had to take him in for good when I saw him there. So from that night until he left for college, he stayed with us." Fisher became a surrogate father to Haywood over that next spring. When Haywood struggled in school, Fisher tutored him. When Haywood debated where to play ball, Fisher was there with counsel. "Coach Fisher helped me out a lot," Haywood admits with a shrug. "He's my guy. Only person I would die for, and that's a fact." Eventually, Signing Day rolled around and Haywood made his decision. Despite interest from much larger schools and being in Ohio State's backyard, Haywood decided to make the trek two hours north to Toledo to play for Coach Deathcpo. When asked about his decision by the local news station after his signing, Haywood shrugged. "I want to go somewhere and be the best ever. So I'm going to Toledo. I'm gonna start from day 1, and I'm gonna ball out from day 1. Watch me." Haywood celebrating an INT he returned for a TD. He has 3 pick 6s in just 2 years starting. While it seemed crazy, Haywood backed his words up by dominating as a freshman during summer camp. Although he was originally slated to only be the fourth corner on the team, he blew away his coaches with his natural ability even as he still was learning the intricacies of a college defense. "We recruited a guy who was one of the best zone corners in high school, and then asked him to play man coverage right out of the gate," Deathcpo explained. "The kid is a phenom." As he lays on the hood of his car now, hands behind his head and eyes closed, he smiles. "I can do it all," he says confidently. "I may look like a zone guy, but I ain't never played a down of zone coverage since I got here [to Toledo]. And that's a fact." Haywood took no time becoming the darling of Toledo's defense. As a true freshman, lining up against the best receivers on each team the Rockets faced, Haywood recorded 6 INTs. Whenever he went anywhere on campus, he wore a hoodie with the drawstrings pulled tight so that he wouldn't be pestered by giddy fans. He spent hours upon hours in the film room, dissecting tape with his position coach, and the rest of the time he spent in his dorm, playing NBA 2k19 and avoiding the spotlight. The same thing happened in 2019. 6 more interceptions, and still more recognition. Receivers recount tales of his legendary trash-talk. Kenneth Harrison, the Miami Redhawks star receiver, shudders as he thinks back to his only meeting with Haywood. "I was a redshirt freshman, and the man broke me. He was a true freshman who held me to zero catches. I think his hands got on more throws that day than mine did. And before every play, he would give me a grin and ask me when I was gonna make it hard for him. I never did." As such a vocal player on the field, a casual fan may expect Haywood to eat up the relative fame that came with being one of the stars of a D1 football program, but it was the opposite. Haywood continued to avoid being noticed around the campus, and stuck to the football facilities for most of every day, whether in season or out of season. When I pressed him about it, he waved me off nonchalantly. "I'm not an ass. I believe I'm the best, but I let my results speak for themselves. I don't need everybody constantly telling me how great I am to keep me going. I never had that growing up, and look where I am. Why would I change that?" He pauses, then expands, to make sure that I know that he's serious. "And I do believe I'm the best. Any cornerback who doesn't believe that about themselves isn't gonna last long." Throughout his first two years in college, Gloria has remained a fixture in his life. While he has a bed in the football dorms now, he still on occasion naps in her backseat after practices. She keeps him grounded, even as the hype surrounding him continues to build. As he prepares to enter his junior season, he's one of the leaders of the most talented team in the MAC, and Deathcpo has left no doubt about that. Haywood's success will directly affect the Rockets' season. "I like the pressure. I like being uncomfortable. Nothing big ever comes from being comfortable. I hate working out, lifting weights and all that, but I do it because that's how I get ahead. That's how I become the best. Complacency don't have no place in my life." Haywood slides off the hood of his car and walks around back. He pops the trunk and grabs a sweater, pulls it over his head, and then points at the pile of clothes he pulled it from. "That was my closet at one point. My bedroom was the seats. I didn't get to where I am because life treated me right." I asked him if he harbored resentment towards life, due to everything it had thrown at him. He considered the question for awhile. "Nah, I got football. I play angry. But off the field, I got good people around me and I want to make them proud. I don't have the time or the energy to be constantly angry. I was raised better than that." He pats Gloria's roof, then smiles at her like you might imagine a kid smiles at his crush at prom. It was a big, childlike smile. "My grandma gets a lot of the credit for raising me. She was my rock. But when she was gone, all I had was Gloria. And she became my rock." I put my things away, shook Haywood's hand, and thanked him for his time. I was thinking about the interview, trying to frame this story about a football player that didn't have much to do with football. It was a curious predicament, but as I turned away, he called my name and I turned back to see him climbing in the door, the grin still plastered on his face. Then he said it. "Isn't she beautiful?" I couldn't help but agree.
  9. @Sean Jenkins
  10. Editor's Note: I am trying to do a feature piece on different players from across the MAC. If you are a MAC coach, please let me know if you have a particular player you'd like featured in a similar piece. I'd like to do one player for every team throughout the season. Toledo will have the next feature. Taylor after the final home win of the 2019 season, against Central Michigan. "I want to be the greatest." Coach Ray Baxter remembers the recruiting trip well. At the time, he was only an assistant for WMU, but he was sent out to try and seal some commitments with head coach Dacder. They were on their last leg of a recruiting blitz in the state of Ohio, and had stopped by the house of Sean Taylor on this particular Thursday afternoon in hopes of swaying him towards the Broncos. Taylor was a minute 5 foot 9 inches, and weighed in only a hair above 190 pounds, but Baxter sensed there was something more to the young Ashtabula native. "There was a ferocity in his eyes when he said those words," Baxter recalls. "I believed him when he told me." The visit wasn't out of the ordinary; Baxter said they ate a meal with the family and gave them the pitch about Western Michigan, talking about everything from academics to playing time. "To be frank, I didn't know how we were going to land him. I mean, he was one of the most highly recruited players in the Midwest, and had fielded interest from just about every Big 10 school. Why were still on his list, I couldn't tell you." Taylor was one of the most sought after prospects of the 2016 cycle. He was the 4th ranked cornerback, and the highest ranked DB in the Central region. His high school coach, Ken Parise, thought the hoopla surrounding Taylor was over the top. "This was just an 18 year old kid playing football, and he was the talk of the town. Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville- they all wanted him. The stadium was packed every Friday night, and it was all because he was playing. People around town knew he'd be special." That's why it was so surprising when Taylor stopped Coach Baxter as he was preparing to leave that evening of the home visit. "He grabbed me by the arm while I was walking out the door. I didn't know what was happening for a minute, but then he said, 'Coach, I think I'm ready to commit to your program,' and my jaw nearly hit the floor. Dacder and I just looked at each other. He said it with the same determined look he'd had when he met me that afternoon. When he said he wanted to be the greatest, I believed him. When he said he wanted to come to Western Michigan, I thought he was pulling a prank on us." Just like that, Taylor's recruitment wrapped up. "It was only a couple weeks into his senior season," his mother, Teresa, said. "He didn't want the spotlight. He came home the night before Coach Baxter and Coach Dacder were coming to visit and told me that all the attention was getting in the way of his training. So that next night, he committed, and then completely shut down his recruiting." Head Coach Dacder left after the 2016 season, but Sean Taylor's commitment didn't waver, especially after Baxter was promoted to Head Coach. He was a Bronco, and less than a week after graduating high school, he was on the road to Kalamazoo. In his first practice for WMU, Taylor had a couple nice plays, but Coach Baxter said he wasn't ready to play. When Taylor finally arrived on campus, he was not an immediate star. In fact, despite Coach Baxter's initial desire to play him at nickel his true freshman season, it became apparent that Taylor wasn't ready to see action. "It sucked." Taylor responds to my questions only in between lifts. The only way he'd let me do the interview was if I didn't interfere with his schedule- a grueling schedule, I might add. Even though it is the offseason, he has stayed at Western Michigan all summer, working out three times a day with a personal trainer and coach. "When I committed, I expected to be an immediate contributor, but Coach Baxter had other plans. I didn't know the defense well enough, I guess. I was getting burned in practice and blowing coverages left and right. It was pretty discouraging." So Taylor redshirted. He stood on the sidelines every game in the same brown sweatpants and sneakers every game his freshman year, the only variation in his wardrobe coming when it was too cold outside to wear only his jersey on top. He had a brown hoodie for just such an occasion. Taylor focused intently on the game as it played out. He shadowed the defensive coordinator every drive, trying to glean what he could from the play calling. His DB coach was constantly being pestered when the offense was on the field, too. "I've never seen a redshirt that focused," said Baxter. "He went above and beyond to learn every second of every game. In the 4th quarter, no matter the score, he was still bugging the coaches to explain a call or an audible or something. It was insane. It would have been annoying if it weren't so great. By the end of the season, I was convinced he could've been an All-American as a freshman." Taylor in his coming out party against Kent St. Taylor had 2 pick 6's in the 59-49 win. Taylor didn't have too much fanfare going into the 2018 season. Other than the coaching staff, he was not a well known player around campus. "I liked it that way," Taylor admits. His workout has finished. Now, he's eating his third of five meals for the day. Salmon on a bed of rice, some steamed broccoli on the side. He eats it straight out of the tupperware he packaged it in, and shovels the food down his throat so fast you'd think he hadn't eaten in a week. "I can barely go to class without someone stopping me to talk or take a picture. And I love the Broncos fans and all, but I'm not here to be famous. I'm here to be great." I tell him that being famous comes with the territory. He smirks. "I got a long way to go, but I guess I'm on the right track then." Taylor played well his first season as a starter. He recorded interceptions in wins against Utah State and UTSA, as well as 2 in a shutout against Toledo (one of which he returned for a touchdown). However, he burst onto the national scene in a wild Week 12 game against conference opponent Kent St. "That's a game I'll never forget," he tells me, this time not trying to hide a radiant smile. "It was the first time my mom had come to a game. We played there, so it was only about an hour and a half drive for her. She was working two jobs at the time, but both let her off for the whole weekend so she and my dad could bring my little sister down and they could spend the weekend with me." And what a weekend it was. The game was a Thursday night game, and his family arrived just 30 minutes before kickoff. They found their seats and settled in for what would become one of the best games in MACtion history. By the middle of the third quarter, MAC legend Emmanuel Fields had already rushed for 2 touchdowns, but Western Michigan was still trailing 35-28. Then Kent St. scored again, putting the score at 42-28. "At that point, I was losing hope," Taylor recalls. "I hadn't been playing super great, and given up a touchdown earlier in the night. But then Manny [Fields] scored again, and we were only down by seven, so Coach Baxter called us over and gave us a little pump up speech. He challenged us to get a stop so that the offense could score, but... I cut out the middle man and did the scoring myself." It was 3rd and 7 with about 3 and half minutes left in the third quarter. Kent St was in a traditional I Formation, but then motioned a receiver across the field into the slot on Taylor's side. "I knew what to do. Kent St. had been running the same little rub play all year. I wasn't going to fall for it." When the ball was snapped, Taylor backpedaled two steps to try and sell the fact that he was bailing. However, he planted his foot, and quarterback John Garland never saw him coming. As his receiver ran an out, Taylor undercut the pass and took it 46 yards for the score. He wasn't touched on the play. "I was amped. We tied the game up on the PAT and had all the momentum. We were rolling." Taylor's smile remains as he recounts the events of that night. "I remember looking up into the stands and seeing my mom just going nuts as I crossed the plane of the goal line. She was jumping up and down and hugging my sister. I wasn't done though. I still had to show out for the family some more." Kent St. answered right back. They marched down the field methodically, and the only thing that broke their rhythm was the end of the quarter. A minute into the fourth, they took the lead again. WMU would not go away, however, and had a sustained drive of their own, capped by another Emmanuel Fields TD, his fourth of the night, to tie the game at 49 with 8 minutes to go. Once again, it was time for the defense to step up. "We all knew that we couldn't let them get rolling. They had a big kick return that put them on their 45, and then ran the ball for 6 yards on first down. They tried to test me on second down. That was their undoing." Coach Baxter remembered calling out to Taylor frantically. "I was running down the sidelines waving my hands at him. He was on our side of the field, and they were in a set where they had a tendency to throw a go-route. I was going wild trying to make sure he recognized it, but he was as calm as could be. He just gave a thumbs up. I swear he even grinned. And before I knew it, he was making another play." Taylor turned and ran with his man, Shannon Roman, down the sideline. He had safety help, so he tried to bait Garland into throwing the ball by pulling up just a hair and letting Roman get a step. Garland bit. The ball seemed to be perfectly placed, but at the last second, Taylor leaned into his man and reached his hand up, batting the ball into the air. Roman fell down, and that was all the help Taylor needed. He fielded the ball out of the air like it was a punt, and then cut back across the field behind his safety, Mohamed Walls, who threw a crushing block on Kent St's Harrison Mullin. Taylor broke two tackles and spun out of a third, and then it was off to the races. He wouldn't be caught. 79 yards later, he strolled into the endzone once again, putting the Broncos ahead for good, 56-49. "I was crying tears of joy in the stands," Teresa Taylor said. "We hadn't seen Sean play in person since he was in high school, and now here he was, scoring touchdowns at the D1 level. We were-" she paused to dab at her eyes, "-so proud of him that day. We still are." By the time he arrived back in Kalamazoo that weekend, he was a star. Taylor breaks up a pass against Northern Illinois in week 13 of 2019. 2019 came and saw Taylor develop into one of the most dominant corners in the MAC. Even though his interception total dropped from 6 to 4, he saw fewer targets and saw his passes defended go way up. He was the face of the WMU defense under new coach Jieret, and helped lead them to a 10 win season and a bowl victory, the first in school history. But he isn't done. Taylor makes sure that much is clear. His eating habits aside, he has what can only be described as an insatiable hunger to get better. I ask him why that is. "Who has ever gone down in history for being average? Alexander the Great wasn't just an average general. If he was, we wouldn't be talking about him now. I may just be a football player, but I'll be damned if I'm not the best football player I possibly can be." I laugh and remind him he's already pretty good. He has fire in his eyes as he responds. "I didn't come here because I wanted to be pretty good. I'll tell you the same thing I told Coach Baxter and Coach Dacder when they recruited me: "I want to be the greatest."
  11. Best Overall Draft: Green Bay Packers I think this is a pretty general consensus. Inspiral had two incredible players fall in his lap early, snatched them up, and had Soluna declare it to be possibly the best 1st round ever. It's hard to ruin that. So while their following picks weren't incredible, they certainly didn't hurt the Pack. Lucas Hopkins has some major flags, but if he gets over his demons, he turns into a very good value for Green Bay. Justin McCain, a 3rd rounder with high potential, highlights their midround selections. Also Considered: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns Worst Overall Draft: Minnesota Vikings Minnesota took projects in the middle rounds after not really addressing a crucial need in the 1st. While Donald Reed is certainly a good prospect, the Vikes had too many other needs to grade that pick too highly. They took some projects in the midrounds who won't be immediate contributors, such as Jacory Kessler and Cody Albright. Not having a 2nd round pick hurt, too. With division rivals all having markedly good drafts, Minnesota falls further behind in the race for the NFC North. Also considered: Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Best Prospect Name: Richard "Dick" Pitts Funny as hell. Especially after 5+ hours staring at a computer drafting. Also Considered: Dwayne Carter, Kenji Sagatomo, Ousmane Green Best Value Pick: Zion Hopkins, 77 OVR, LA Chargers I'm slightly biased because Zion was pretty much my favorite prospect in this class and we tried to move mountains to get him. It didn't work out for us, but it certainly worked out for the Chargers, who were able to grab the high upside DT in the early 3rd round. He'll slot in nicely and could conceivably make an impact from the start of this season. I'm really excited to see how quickly he grows into the NFL game. Also considered: Russell Benson-Gifford (DEN), JB Blacknall (DEN), Dylan Hastings (SF) Highest Bust Potential: Jared Self, LAR Self has had a lot of critics, and it was probably a reach to take him at 21. While it could pan out, there is high risk associated with him. Self was a major underperformer on the same college line that my best value pick was featured on, and his failure to show up in certain games has been hashed through many times. Ultimately, he lends himself to extreme skepticism, even if the pick wasn't one of the worst in the 1st round from a needs standpoint. Also Considered: Isaiah Hall (KC), Curtis Henry (CAR) Biggest Riser: Graham Burnett, 7th overall Burnett was obviously the best QB on the board this draft. However, several mocks featured him picked in the late 20s or falling out of the 1st round altogether. Of course, with QB being the premium position it is, we never saw such a fall materialize. Instead, the Cowboys swooped in and took him in the top 10, ahead of college standouts such as Akeel Morris, Marquise Reed, and Christian Okonkwo. Also Considered: CJ Thomas (5th Overall), Shah Vereen (14th Overall) Biggest Faller: RB JB Blacknall, 52nd Overall This spot very easily could have gone to Akeel, who some mocks had going in the top 5 only to see him fall all the way to the Bears at 13. Franklin went from mocking in the mid first to falling all the way to 39th, behind the likes of Eli Austin and Tom Oldham. But Blacknall entered the draft tied for the highest overall rating of any RB and early mocks pegging him as an mid-to-late first rounder. Instead, Blacknall tumbled, and was the 6th RB off the board in the back half of the second round. Also Considered: Akeel Morris (13th Overall), Michael McBride (32nd Overall), WR Benjamin Franklin (39th Overall) Worst Pick: Aaron Blakely, TB, 4th Overall This one doesn't need explaining, as it's been bashed enough. Also considered: None. Most Sinister/Evil Genius Pick: Sean Hamilton to the Carolina Panthers If there was one QB that all other QBs would develop well behind, it would be Brian Brown. If there were two, they would be Brian Brown and Christian Skaggs. And while Hamilton may never see postseason success during his stretch in Carolina, he'll certainly learn how to be a very good quarterback, and in a few years, he'll be quite the commodity. Also Considered: Russell Benson-Gifford (DEN), Aden Hastings (NYJ) Best Meme of the Draft: TRADES ARENT WORKING IN THE INTERFACE Also considered: Nevadajack, The Cow, Corey In The House
  12. Congrats Cade! Do us Tide fans proud!
  13. Roll Tide
  14. 1. Please list your email address and/or your reddit username at which you can be contacted. jdanders2@gmail.com 2. Before continuing, please thoroughly read the coaching course and feel free to ask questions. Confirm that you have read the coaching course by writing "Confirmed" below. Confirmed 3. What team do you want to coach? Arizona 4. Please select two backup teams (in descending order of preference) in case your first choice is unavailable. Stay at Miami OH 5. In three or more sentences, tell us a little about yourself. How old are you, what do you do, where are you from, why would you be a good fit here, etc. I am a 19 year old from Texas, but currently enrolled at the University of Alabama. I'm an avid football fan and have played football simulations since I was 12. I stumbled on this site back in early October 2016 and quickly got involved, although that hasn't translated into success quite yet. Arizona is too intriguing an opportunity for me to pass up, even though I've already gotten really attached to Zach Cera and Kenneth Harrison. 6. This site can be as time consuming as you want it to be. Weekly duties can be completed in 30 minutes or less, however interacting with your fellow players throughout the week makes it more enjoyable for most people. Approximately, how much free time do you have during a typical week? I'm on for a couple hours a week at least. 7. Losing games is an inevitable reality on this site, especially when accepting newer teams. Do you believe you can handle losing? Disappointment is expected, however we have had issues with people freaking out, and even leaving the site because of losing. I am the proud coach of 2-10 Miami OH. I'll be alright. Also, I didn't commit a felony in Tampa on January 9th, so that counts for something. 8. How did you find out about this site? If recommended by a friend, please post his/her username. Google Like this
  15. You deserve it more than I do, and if there were a true hiring process you'd get the job. I'm withdrawing just to make it easier. I'm happy to stay at Miami and lay the pipe on Cincy next year
  16. Withdrawn for wrigleyfan
  17. Wasn't gonna be that guy.... but I'm that guy..
  18. I've certainly seen worse
  19. I coach Miami OH and seem to have gotten the Ohio Bobcats logo in a mixup
  20. Just saw this, awesome write up Jieret. We got Jackson, which was huge, but other than that I kinda hate the class. Luckily, with only 3 SRs, we won't be getting worse next season and I'll hopefully be able to pull in a better class. Congrats MAC on a great season!
  21. Congrats! Really, really thought I had a chance at the upset
  22. Hahahahahahahahahaha fuck me
  23. Need a home game in CBB for 2018, will play away 2019

  24. Need some games in CBB

    1. ImposterCauster

      ImposterCauster

      I can get you for 2019 and 2020

    2. bmlig95

      bmlig95

      Can we schedule for 2018 and 2019?