Archive for August 22nd, 2010

If truth were self-evident, eloquence would not be necessary.
    —    Cicero

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Friday night I finished reading “Blood, Sweat and Chalk” by Tim Layden (2010).  I saw an advance article about it in Sports Illustrated and the book was also highly recommended by Peter King (a columnist with SI).
I was hoping for some insight into the game I grew-up loving – American Football.  Not your usual personality piece so common today.  Sorry, that’s EXACTLY what this book is and it offers almost nothing else.  It’s basically a history of a number of main schemes without explaining the scheme, why it works, what it doesn’t work against and why it may be different from any other scheme.  If you want to know about when a general idea (wishbone, split-t, I formation, etc) was thought up, and by whom, the book is barely adequate.  If you want to know which coaches had direct influence on others (because they worked together on the same team), this is the book for you.
I found the writing dull (a surprise for Tim Layden, who is normally pretty good in SI);  the scheme selection adequate;  the scheme descriptions poor (at best);  and, for me at least, fairly useless in terms of better understanding the game at any level Pop Warner, high school, college or professional.  All in all, a major disappointment which I (stupidly) paid full price for.

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