The continued evolution of sports

Pitching with Pritch

This week I had some discussions about current players and past players. 

The discussion started by an article in the Lincoln Journal-Star about how the fullback position is almost a non-position anymore in the spread offense that many teams now use. 

The article mentioned that is probably one of the reasons Ben Miles announced he was transferring from the Husker program. 

Miles is the son of former LSU coach Les Miles. Ben Miles stated it appeared he was not going to fit into the scheme of the coaches’ offense. That led the author of the article, Steve Sipple, to write about what an important part of the offense the fullback played during the Devaney, Osborne and Solich years. 

When Wild Bill Callahan came, the fullback became less important. The position made somewhat of a minor come-back during Pelini’s tenure but is becoming extinct the last few years. 

A lot of the fullbacks were Nebraska boys and some of them were walk-ons but they played an important role in some national championship years. 

You start looking at the players that were fullbacks at Nebraska and they are impressive. The Makovicka boys, Cory Schlesinger, Roger Craig, Tony Davis, Frank Solich, Maury Damkroger and many others too numerous to list but still a really important part of the Cornhusker’s success. 

Time will tell how Coach Frost’s offense will play out in the Big 10, but it certainly has been pretty impressive at all his stops as an assistant coach and really impressive at his only stop as a head coach.

Then Sunday I got into a discussion with a couple of my old coaching friends on Facebook about current NBA players. 

I have been watching more of the NBA playoffs and even though I am not a fan of LeBron James, I have to admit he is probably the best player in the NBA at the current time. If he isn’t at the top, he is on a very short list of maybe two or three. His shot at the buzzer that won on Friday or Saturday was exceptional. 

The really good players have that ability to get a shot off and get squared up while in the air and in James’ case, bank in the winning basket. 

There are a number of good shooters in the NBA. Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, come to mind right away and I read an article this weekend that said Anthony Davis might be the best player in the NBA. He might be the best, but he isn’t. He is young and probably will get better, and he might be one of the best guys to build a team around but he still isn’t the best player in the NBA.

The NBA is full of floppers and LeBron, in my opinion, is one of the best in that category. There are, what would have been “love taps” in old days and players now slide for twenty feet or more. 

Our discussion on Sunday turned to the “what if” stuff quickly. 

I think it is really hard to compare players now and ones 20 years ago. The rules are different, the game has changed somewhat. There is less experience in the NBA because of the one-and-done guys, but we still played “what if.” 

What if LeBron was playing during the time of Bird, Magic, the bullies from Detroit, that guy named Michael and many other really tuff dudes? I think some of the players of today would adapt and be OK and LeBron probably could do that, but I also think some of them would be wishing they had stayed in college longer and matured. 

Some of the smack downs from the old days would have taken 20 minutes looking at replays to see how many flagrant fouls would be assessed. It was a rougher game back then. Times change and so does the game. 

Before you know it, it will be July and we will finally get to the finals of the NBA. That is sarcasm. The NBA finals should be finished by Sunday June 17th.

I have to mention a proud grandparent moment. Last weekend our grandson, Kyler Troy Pritchett, ran in the Lincoln Track Clubs Mayor’s Mile competition. Kyler is a kindergarten student at St. Michaels in Lincoln and is 6 years old. This was his first competitive running event and the age group was K-2 kids. 

Kyler ran the mile in 7 minutes, 18 seconds which put him in the top 10 of his age group. 

The desire to run a mile had to come from his mother’s side of the family. Wherever it came from, it was a pretty good effort for a 6-year-old. 

We will just have to wait and see where it takes him from here.

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