September 10, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Desmond Howard is honored before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Lets Talk Football -- The Ultimate Team Game


Posted at 6:00am — 1/21/2013

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Lets Talk Football — The Ultimate Team Game

An Application of Aristotle’s The Whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Or, an extension of Cartesian principle into the world of football

Aristotle was a pretty smart guy, Plato’s prize student and teacher of Alexander the Great. His view of world philosophy was that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. About 2400 years later, a guy named Bo Schembechler stated the same with the words “The team, the team, the team.”

I throw that phrase around quite a bit, but I am aware of any instance where I have ever taken the time or effort to go into the details of the above. Perhaps this down time can provide a good opportunity for such a venture and give us something fun to discuss.

November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) before a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

#1, a football team is indeed a sum of all its parts. IF you have an Andrew Luck at quarterback making all the correct reads and checks, he can make an average offensive line better, and can also make the running game a notch better because defenses have trouble overcommitting to the box. A team can obviously be very successful with an AJ McCarron type at quarterback, less talented but a great manager. However this may also require having a premium offensive line and defense, while also having NFL caliber tailbacks.

A McCarron type is just not gong to be able to carry a team like a Luck can. A great front seven can take some of the pressure off of a secondary. Great cover corners can stay with side receivers a second longer, giving the front a chance to pressure the quarterback. Having a Braylon Edwards or Anthony Carter on the field makes the running game and other wide receivers more effective because teams have to account for them on every play.

Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts during the first half of the AFC divisional round playoff game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

This concept also works on defense. The Ravens defensive ends in 2000 were much more effective because every team had to double the “Big Hosses” at defensive tackle. If I as a coach have a great defense, it can improve an average offense by providing a short field. If I have a great offense it can take some of the pressure off an average defense.

This is not to say that the help of an elite player can turn a scrub into a star, but the help of the whole can make others more effective. Tom Brady behind the Detroit Lions offensive Line is not going to be as good as he is behind the Patriot line. But with Brady at quarterback, the Detroit line becomes more effective, and so does the running game.

The Cartesian principle can also include special teams. If my punt and kick off teams is top notch this helps the defense. This turns around field position and making an offense drive the long field is a defense’s best friend. If I have a Devin Hester, Mel Gray, or Desmond Howard returning punts, this shortens the field and makes the offense’s job easier.

The bottom line in football terms is the whole involved with football equals “the ultimate team game.”

Come to the message board and give us your thoughts, agree or disagree.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — CoachBT

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