Friday notes: Combine, achievers, competition and more


For those of you reading this at work, you probably have a pretty relaxed IT filter on your computer. Join me and a few thousand other people and stream the USA hockey game online at Honestly, nobody even forced me to tell you this, I’m just giving people a friendly reminder to tune in or stream live at 3p ET.

* As the NFL Scouting Combine heats up this weekend, that means those that keep track will certainly be updating their mock drafts. One of the better ones out there is’s Don Banks, who has Jimmy Clausen going 14th to the Seattle Seahawks and new coach Pete Carroll. (Something I hypothesized weeks ago…)

Banks writes:

We admittedly don’t know what Pete Carroll thinks of
Clausen just yet, but we can’t help but wonder if the Seahawks’ new
head coach will pick up the phone and give his good friend Charlie Weis
a call to discuss the former Golden Domer. That could be a bit awkward,
eh? With an offensive tackle secured at No. 6, and this draft deep in
running backs, it makes sense for Seattle to spend its second
first-rounder on Matt Hasselbeck‘s eventual replacement.

Chris Zorich, Todd Lyght, Ricky Watter, and Tony Brooks were just a few standouts from that class, but I can’t get over that both Tom Lemming and Allen Wallace were doing this 23 years ago! I can safely say the only thing I was worried about in 1987 was Kirby Puckett and the Minnesota Twins, and not missing the bus to grade school.

* Bill Connelly of Football Outsiders put together a fascinating article on the importance of recruiting rankings. While it’s difficult to sum up in a single sentence, Connelly took a look at the over and underachievers in recruiting over the past three seasons:

From Connelly:

Here is the three-year overachiever list, with numbers.
1. TCU (+44.0/season)
2. Cincinnati (+43.5)
3. Boise State (+39.1)
4. Florida (+35.1)
5. Navy (+32.7)
6. Air Force (+32.6)
7. BYU (+28.1)
8. Connecticut (+25.7)
9. Utah (+24.2)
10. Penn State (+21.7)

The expansion to a three-year sample bumped Texas (+18.6) to 16th
and Alabama (+18.2) to 17th, thanks to their underachieving 2007

You can make this list in two ways. You can either win with average
(or worse) recruits, or win big with good (or great) recruits.
Florida’s recruiting-based projected F/+ was second behind USC in all
three seasons (2007-09), but their actual F/+ output suggests that
recruiting can only get you so far. Coaching, execution, and a little
bit of overachieving are what you need to win (or contend for) titles.

Here is the three-year underachiever list.
1. Washington State (-39.3/season)
2. San Diego State (-28.2)
3. Texas A&M (-27.0)
4. Iowa State (-23.8)
5. Kansas State (-23.6)
6. Washington (-22.1)
7. Syracuse (-21.8)
8. Notre Dame (-21.7)
9. Colorado (-20.9)
10. Michigan (-20.3)

The fact that Notre Dame has upgraded from Charlie Weis, who led the
Irish to the eigth-place spot on the underachievers list, to Brian
Kelly, who led Cincinnati to second place on the overachievers list,
tells you all you need to know about why Notre Dame fans should be
absolutely ecstatic about their coaching upgrade. Experience and system
fit still matter, and we’ll see what Kelly has to work with in the 2010
season. But Kelly has proven himself more than almost any other coach
in recent seasons, and if anybody can take the Irish back to the Top
10, Kelly seems to be the man to (eventually) do it.

 While I may have been one of the last to think that Charlie Weis needed to go (well, not compared to one of our famous commenters), it should be very interesting to see what happens when an underachieving group of players meets an overachieving coaching staff. Like Connelly said, Irish fans should be very excited for the future. 

* Finally, I thought I’d share a video that’s making the rounds from Brian Kelly’s former team and the “Bearcat Olympics.” I never knew that the Tug of War could be so exciting. It sounds like this is an annual event, so it’s very possible Paul Longo and the strength staff could be bringing this to Notre Dame.