Friday, August 31, 2018

5 Things on a Friday: @ Duke

We’ve got a game tonight.  You may say that it’s not a big game, but Duke Head Football Coach David Cutcliffe and his players would probably not agree with you.

You think these guys don’t want it?  They circled this one on the calendar before last season even ended.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

#SBRLLR: Firstie (Part 3)

I hit the pool for captain’s practices and was dismayed when my buddy Dave smoked me for more than an hour doing the kinds of rote 100-yard interval sets that had been the mainstay of our time together for the past three years.  Try as I might, I simply could not keep up.  Soon I realized that it wasn’t just Dave.  Over the course of that first week, I found myself swimming back a lane and then two, following kids I’d led through the last year and more.  I’d swim as hard as I could, going completely balls-out, but my body simply would not perform the way that it was supposed to.  To that point, I’d set my Cruise Interval at 1:05 or better for three years running.  As a firstie, I realized that I’d be lucky to set it at 1:15.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Army Football Preview: at Duke

Here we are at last.  It’s finally time to open the 2018 Army Football season, which means it’s finally time to talk in detail about the Black Knights’ first game—at Duke!
Previewing this first game is tough.  There’s not a lot of data, and what data we have comes entirely from second-hand sources.  I’ve not attended any of Army’s scrimmages, and even if I had, I’m not sure what we’d have learned.  From all reports, Army has a remarkably good class of plebes.  Also, QB Kelvin Hopkins has supposedly thrown the ball really well.  So what?  The plebes aren’t going to contribute this week unless something truly astonishing occurs, and Hopkins’s passing is similarly unlikely to make-or-break the contest.  
How does the new O-Line look?  Can this team replace Alex Aukerman’s production at rush linebacker?  Can the secondary stay in position without Rhyan England?  Unfortunately, the only way to figure any of this out is under live-fire conditions.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Crunch: Entry-Level Weight-Lifting Concepts (Part 1)

Talking to my buddy the other day, I mentioned that I’d started taking my daughters to the gym again recently, and he got surprisingly interested.  He and his son met us on Tuesday, and when I showed him what we were doing, he said, “Oh wow.  You have, like, a plan and everything.  I always just come here and do maybe half an hour on the treadmill and then hit some of the machines.  I’ve never, like, tried to hit multiple muscle groups on purpose or anything.”
His son followed up with, “I always just do five sets on the leg-press machine and a bunch of arms.  This is cool.”

Friday, August 24, 2018

5 Things on a Friday: Showing Your Work

Good morning, folks!  It’s Week 3 of the preseason, which means we might see some actual starters in uniform tonight, and college football kicks off tomorrow!
Hallelujah!  Our long national nightmare is almost over.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

NFL Preview: NFC West

Welcome to the fourth and (presumably) final week of the joint Casa Cabeza / Hoosier on the Potomac NFL Divisional Preview series.  Joe has talked some about doing a bonus fifth week in which we make playoff and Super Bowl predictions, and we’ll probably do that, but this week marks the end of the actual work.  
If there’s a post next week, we’ll be straight talking out of our asses.  I mean, that is usually the plan regardless, but it’ll be even more egregious than usual.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

#SBRLLR: Firstie (Part 2)

A lot of guys stayed in Europe following the staff ride, but I caught a flight back to Rhode Island and spent my time laying on Newport Beach with my girlfriend Marla.  Alas, we didn’t have much longer as a couple.  She’d decided to head to California for college.  We made the most of what we had, however, and we parted without regrets.  In another life, our relationship might’ve had legs.  At the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, respectively, neither of us wanted anything permanent.  We held tight to what we had, though, and if we parted mostly without tears, this was only possible because each of us realized that we had the rest of our lives ahead of us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Army Football Preview: Preseason Power Rankings

ESPN updated its Football Power Index (FPI) at the end of July, and the revised rankings hit Army right in the mouth.  The Black Knights are now the lowest-ranked of the service academies with an FPI of -9.7.  That puts them 103rd out of 130 total FBS teams.  ESPN projects that they would lose to an “average” team on a neutral field by something like 10 points.  The Four Letter Network projects that would-be “average” team as Fresno State out of the Mountain West, with an FPI of +0.3 points above the mean.
So Army’s doomed, right?  I mean, why even play the games when we have preseason computer projections?

Friday, August 17, 2018

5 Things on a Friday: Pics from Our Camping Trip

We're back from vacation today, having spent a few days camping up by Lake George.  It was much cooler up there, but we got rained on a few times.  The trip was a lot of fun, but I'm sort of enjoying being back, too.
How was your week?  Good?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

NFL Preview: NFC South

Yay football.  Granted, it’s only preseason, but still…  Some football is better than no football.  I mean, the Giants haven’t looked great, but what can you do?
For those keeping score, this post marks the halfway point in the joint Casa Cabeza Hoosier on the Potomac NFL divisional preview series.  This week, we turn our attention to the NFC/AFC South.  The AFC South is Joe’s favorite division in that it’s home to the Colts (boo!) and the Titans (yay!), but that’s for later.  For now, we’re talking NFC.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#SBRLLR: Firstie (Part 1)

" I, ___, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of Second Lieutenant, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter;. So help me God.”
― U.S. Army Officers’ Commissioning Oath
I met my counsellor at the end of cow year to again discuss my options.  He’d been happy to see me the last time, but this time he looked a little more serious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Army Football Preview: Sculpting the Offense

It’s Week 3 of the Army Football Preview series, and as promised, we’re getting into actual football this week.  Specifically, we’re gonna talk about Army’s offense and what, if any, changes we ought to expect for 2018.
Let me start by saying that I got a little too into the schematics of the triple-option over the summer.  I don’t normally watch tape because I don’t feel like it’s one of my strengths; rather, I think I have more to add simply by looking at trends using basic statistics.  That’s not complicated, but it has proven to be fairly predictive in terms of identifying key match-ups ahead of specific contests, and this in turn frames how I’ve watched the games themselves.  The games themselves are easier to understand when we know what’s happening and why.  But I got legitimately interested in the specifics of triple-option offensive design through the process of writing the preseason Army-Navy preview, and once I got started, I just sort of kept reading.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

TV Review: Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

My daughter Emma and I finished Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger on Freeform last week, and we both really enjoyed it.  Truthfully, I think I enjoyed it more than she did.  Before watching the show, I’d have guessed that it was aimed squarely at the teen-girl fan-set based on its choice of cable networks.  The reality, though, is that the former ABC Family Channel has more in common with Spike TV than it does with, say, The Disney Channel or even Lifetime.  Where we were expecting something along the lines of the CW’s Arrowverse but starring younger Marvel protagonists, what we got was a decidedly gritty psychological drama that was much more in line with the tone of the original 1980s-era comics than I’d have believed possible.

Friday, August 10, 2018

5 Things on Friday: Football Begins!

Truth is, I didn't love the Giants' first preseason game even though it started with a bang.
After that, things slowed considerably.  The Giants' revamped O-Line looked maybe a little better than they were last year, but their second stringers were terrible, and backup QB Davis Webb, would-be star of the preseason, was not good at all.  Starting QB Eli Manning wound up 4/7 for 26 yards.  He took a sack, made a terrible pass via miscommunication to TE Rhett Ellison that should have been intercepted, and was victimized by two really egregious drops.  One went to a backup wide receiver on a quick out; the other came on a well-timed screen play to RB Jonathan Stewart.  Both should have been first downs.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

NFL Preview: NFC North

Welcome back!
This is the third installment of the 2018 NFL Season Preview, a joint project between me and my friend and classmate Smokin’ Joe Sowers over at A Hoosier on the Potomac.  Previous installments can be found at the links below:
 -- NFC North
 -- AFC North

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

#SBRLLR: Duty - Honor - Country (Part 5)

Whether it was my newfound work ethic or just simple physical maturity, cow year was my best in the pool by a wide margin.  I won my event at Navy for the third time, leading a trio of Army butterfliers to finish something like first, third, and fourth.  We lost the meet, decisively this time, but I found some peace with it for once, content in the knowledge that I’d at least done all that I could do.  I also scored a dual-meet win in the 100 Fly against Harvard later that same season, the only individual win for the Army team in the entire meet.  This was important because I felt like it proved that I hadn’t given up too terribly much in the pool to pursue my other dreams.  About midway through the season, Ray Bosse posted a list of top national collegiate times, and I saw myself ranked something like 90th overall in the 200 Butterfly.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Army Football Preview: What's the "So What?"

I posted the following to a few of my social networks this week and was a bit surprised by some of the responses.

Monday, August 6, 2018


It appears the reports that QB Tyhier Tyler had moved to running back were a little premature.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

NFL Preview: NFC East

We’re back, folks.
Yup.  That’s right.  My friend Joe and I are back with another season of preternaturally accurate NFL seasonal predictions.  As we did last season, Joe will be covering the AFC over on his blog A Hoosier on the Potomac.  I’ll be doing the NFC right here, starting with this week’s post on the Black and Blue Division, the NFC East.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#SBRLLR: Duty - Honor - Country (Part 4)

While I’d been a yearling, my father had served as the Operations Officer (G-3) of the Third Marine Division, located in Okinawa, Japan.  Call sign “Warlord.”  He went a little crazy.  Drank the way they used to drink back in the 1960s and 70s and kept a full-time in-house mama-san35 among many other personal indulgences.  He remained one of the best operational planners in the Corps, but his time at Special Operations Command had put a serious dent into whatever commitment he’d once had for “clean living”.  By himself overseas, my father degenerated into a legitimate party animal.