Here it is kids! We spent almost 3 straight days on this, looking at film, studying the players and up until 3am last night - so if the price of coffee has gone up a few pennies, blame us!
MAN this is going to be a good one, and we will be doing an interview with the Player of the game afterwards, along with the head coach/coaches if they so choose following the game.
So without any more delay, let's get to it!
IFL Championship Game
Indiana Cutters (10-1) @ Indiana Generals (11-0)
Kick off- 7pm (est)
Arlington High School
Rather than just do the regular breakdown - myself and the entire staff did a break down of each area to analyze this game, so here goes…
Cutters- Big, agile and play together as one squad. Without question, this is the strength of this team. Brown, Grooms, Graves and Shaun can plow through for holes and keep you off the QB for almost as long as it takes, and what helps them is with the tail-backs they have, they don’t need to keep holes open very long. With this bunch healthy, this is the toughest group in the IFL to stop for anyone.
Generals- O-line is very good, but at times, breaks down. Vets Matt Childress, Appleby and Peckel, Jefferson are the heart of this group and this is the one area that many players have played along side one another before. When they are playing as one, they easily rival the Cutters in and power technique.
The only disadvantage is that they simply do not have the long time chemistry as the Cutters do, and a couple of hard sacks allowed this year showed that. They cannot afford any breakdowns this Saturday.
*Cutters – It is no secret that Biggs and Burton are two of the best, if not THE best tandem in the league. They are superior pass catchers, but hit holes in the blink of and eye was well as pass protect. This group is highly responsible for defenses primarily calling “no mas” in the 4th quarter as they did last week against the Mustangs.
They can keep the motor running all game, and they are aware, they are merely 4 quarters from a repeat ring. Straight ahead runners, they can run over you as well as past you, but Burton seems to not care as long as he goes down forward, if at all.
Don’t let the size fool you, both backs are quick enough to step out of tackles also.
They are a huge key to victory for the entire Cutter team, and luckily for Cutter fans, this group is a great one.
*Generals – Not much is ever said about this group, but T-backs Darren Doughtit and Marcus are terribly effective. Quick, agile and never easy to bring down - especially by the first one to get to them- this could be a wildcard in Saturday’s game. Not known for pass catching as much, but faster than the Cutter backs; Darren is battle tested some 5 plus years, but Burton surpasses that. But Doughtit has a man in front of him, #40 Bobby Asbury- who can plow holes in Gibraltar if need be when he’s not on defense.
But even with that help, there is a clear front runner here.
Cutters – A young, virtually unknown group that played it’s best game last week, is coming along better than almost anyone expected. They are very, very fast and have even outran their QB’s arm several times, but also seem a bit route lost at times. Make no mistake, they will be ready this game. Their key is blocking, and without doubt, they do it as well as anyone, save the G-Men’s group. They were unable to make a big play last game the two played down the stretch, as it is rarely called for them to do so.
This week, they best be ready to do so when called upon.
Generals – Without a doubt, the best group in the league. There are at least 6 on this team that are all league material, along with Zeunik ( the league’s very best ) and speedster, Delgado; you have TE Kyle Ragan who may be the toughest football player ( at ANY position) in years at this level playing TE. Throw in circus grabs by #15 ( a one handed grab in the 1st games opening drive) ( name unknown ) and Germaine Wilson - who are vets of last years team - has yet to get going, with Brad Couch and #3 ( name unknown ) this makes for a horror movie in any opponents defensive backfield. They also have a great knowledge of the system they are in.
No question here.
Advantage - Generals
Little is known of WHO exactly are the starting players are on each team, but the play is very evident.
*Cutters – Quick and agile as their O line is, but what best of this group is their speed and stunt ability. The tackles have no issue shedding block against anyone they face, and do a great job of stuffing the run. We’ve yet to see any team except the Wolfpack any success running the ball on them, and that was just 3 times in the game they played. This brings us to the turnover column. This team is at least +6 in this area ( in games we’ve taped). The only time they weren’t, the played these same Generals.
The ends (like Heath Johnson) are fantastic at containing the outside tosses, and this is where the G-Man run usually best. They will need to be at full throttle all game.
They can pass rush well, and are also very aware that batting down a pass is as good as a sack at times.
*Generals - have a different style of D line as they haven’t the size, but have the smarts and speed. Running on them is certainly no picnic, but what were the two teams to have success at it you ask? - The Wolfpack and these same Cutters – who actually ran the middle on them last meeting. The strength is the Ends, as play of #31 (name unknown) and #80 are terribly good pass rushers, but at times, allow backs or QB break contain.
Each team plays well together, and each has a philosophy from their D.C. that is hit fist, ask questions later.
Once again, the Chemistry value comes into play, and may be a huge factor, although the winner in this category is by the slimmest.
Advantage – Cutters
Ahh MY favorite!
*Cutters – Obviously, Kurt would be the easy call as the on-field leader of this group, but we got no confirmation he would be playing. J.C is still one of these and when the younger players listen to him and the coach, they are absolutely great. They fill holes when there IS one, and are great at stretching plays out. From what we see, it is nearly impossible to run outside on them, they are just too fast.
They stay home and when trick plays are done, to quote Roger Daltrey of the Who = they don’t get fooled again.
I would say their forte’ is pass coverage AND blitzing. Coach Mack seems to have a variety of blitzes he can call, and knows where to hit you when you least expect it, calling one from a LB last game that resulted in a 9 yard loss and killing an early drive on the G-men. They showed the same hospitality to the visiting Mustangs last week.
They can show blitz one second, but quickly drop into coverage as Dre has done to get a pick in last game they played.
*Generals – A good group here. Sweat, Zeunik ( yes, that’s Joe’s Brother ) Douglass and Asbury are very quick and sure tacklers/hitters. They have depth at LB - as a few on the bench also are very capable when the above need a blow and Coach Carter will need to keep everyone fresh this game. They had some missed tackle issues early on, but this seems to have dissipated in recent weeks. They again face the best group of backs they have seen, and will need to step up as they did last week - after the Wolfpack ran on them for a score in the 4th, the next two drives resulted in Dorian Sweat getting an INT, and the next drive with another INT by Douglass that he took in for a 38 yard score.
Emotions run very high in each group, and another one that’s close, but the home team get it in what we think will be the game of their lives in this area.
Cutters- When it comes to defensive leadership and play – the name Dre Key says it all. Like visa, if you’re a fan of defense, this man is everywhere you want him to be, and does a great job of getting younger players like DB’s Land and Daniels, who have had great seasons each.
Although Key is usually closer to the line, don’t think he isn’t instructing the men behind him and making sure they are in position.
The group as a whole is at its best when under an air assault, being very, very good at baiting QB’s into throwing it their way for picks. The best thing this group does is the little things, like stay in position. In 6 games watched, not once did we see a blown coverage, as even last game v.s. the G-Man, it was simply great catches and tenacity by the generals that made great plays on them.
They also are ready for this one.
Generals – This group is also a good one, but not nearly as heard about because they are so rarely tested. Face it, the Generals themselves are the one premier pass threat in the IFL, so this means they are mainly tested at practice. This DOESNT mean that they are unable! Robbie Linville (former Cutter) is the leader in the group by example, but Mcnary was “the man’ last time these two teams played, getting two huge picks and playing shut down all night.
The safeties are also very good, mainly to mention - Monsanto Love, who may be the best range FS around. Heed this, once he does pick it off, its got a good change of going the other way for six points.
One group was tested once, the other not nearly as much..hard to call this one
Advantage – Push
Cutters – T.J. Brown may be the most underrated QB in the entire IFL and for various reasons. Few times has he really HAD to throw the ball, but when he has, in all but one game, he made the throws he needed to make to win. Mobile and with pretty good smarts, his best attributes is his reads. The only draw back is that at times his ball doesn’t quite make it the distance. Twice in the last game they played one another, he did indeed have a man open down field, but both passes were underthrown, and subsequently picked off.
He can see a blitz coming a mile away, and is a good leader to his team also, as he has no issue letting any lineman know if they miss as assignment, but also is there to congratulate them when they do it right.
He will need the game if his life Saturday if they are to win.
Generals - Hibbeln has had a fantastic year. He has thrown for at least 20 TD's this season, and 6 in one game alone. He has size, great arm strength and makes great reads.
He can thread the needle or toss a long one with nearly deadly accuracy and timing, and is great and looking off the DB or safety to get the ball where he wants to in a hurry.
His only knock is the relationship’s he has with some of his teammates- even coaches is rocky at best and it’s not uncommon to see mental meltdown on the sidelines after a bad play, but as long as they are winning, nothing will be said of this area. In any event, the thing that counts this game is who can deliver, and he has shown on the field, he can and will.
When it's all said and done, this is a wildcard area for both teams.
Cutters – In the film we saw, their kicker (name/number we didn't see) was usually good to put the ball consistently inside the 10 on kickoffs and made 93% of the field goal attempts, one from 40 plus yard out. Like any though, there was an occasional miss P.A.T., and that simply cannot happen this game.
The return game was solid and the scheme is good as they seemed to average getting the ball out to the 33 yard line, but we saw no TD returns.
The coverage of kicks is MORE than solid, as they usually have their opponents pinned down inside the 25.
The punter is very good, although at times, seldom used good and got great hang time, but a shank every 6-7 kicks or so. Again, these areas MUST be perfect this game.
Generals they excel here, as Clawson is the reigning champ. He has been named the “Undertaker” by his team mates and other teams as he is known best for completely burying the opponent inside the 10 yard line with booming, accurate ‘coffin corner’ punts.
His kickoffs average reaching the opponents 5 yard line – but coverage is the area they need help in, as opponents usually reach the 40 on them.
The return squad has fallen off from last season where Love enjoyed a huge season that included 2 TD’s on returns, none as of this season.
Even so with this fact, they are head and shoulders above everyone here.
Advantage - Generals
Cutters – Brent Slinkard is a great leader and his team loves him. He lets them play as men and although at times, the house shakes, he is aware of the difference between an earthquake and a tremor. One thing about Brent is that on offense, you may think his mindset is “run, run, run” whether daddy takes the T bird away, but not so fast.
If you DO manage to stop the run, he can easily find where your weakness is and then peck at it until it’s exposed. Quite frankly, Brent uses the age old philosophy, “Do it to them until they take it away from you.”
J-Mack – A veteran of nearly 14 years and played with the old Champion Broncos, this man knows football left right -up and down in and out. He knows how to get players into position to make plays, and has the ability to get them to understand the game itself. As a former player, Mack know what you can use to beat a guy that may be bigger, stronger and faster – in that he can always make you BETTER.
Barzilaiskas, Shean, Shepherd –
All understand the game from experience and fire. They also can get the scene they want and have got the players in the position now to do it.
Josh Terhune (J.T) is of course, the entire reason for the nearly impossible turn around from last years 4-4 mediocre record to the Perfect 9-0 season this year. His offbeat brand of in your face coaching has made even me think that if need be, I’d personally follow him into a foxhole and out again with bombs blasting. An offensive genius, his play calling last week was phenomenal at times and truly gets the maximum yield from his team.
Note, we don’t think it was the coaching last year that was an issue, as JT kept a member from last season, but cleaned house of the players who poisoned the team. Thus, the 9-0 record.
Carter – The Fiery D coordinator and former linebacker has done a great job with all new players in an all new scheme. If you talk to this man, he’ll tell you he’d rather give up a kidney than surrender a single point to anyone, even if they are up by 40. There were times we saw him all over his D tackle over a 2 yard gain, letting him know that was too much…and it was on a 2nd and 15!
Hendricks – Been around a while, former wide-out and gets his WR’s to know one thing, catch the ball- period. He was with the debacle of the season last year, so for him, the addition of JT and Carter this year makes for a welcome change and attitude.
He is easy to spot as he is very vocal - always letting the fans know when to make noise and is as loud as one also.
Each squad has a fiery leader, former players and one thing, hunger for a ring.
We voted here and it took almost an hour of fiery debater, but when the smoke cleared ) literally) it was impossible to call who was ‘better” but it was called who we thought had an advantage as an entire staff. This one goes due to the fans making up the slack
Advantage - Generals
So I suppose now you want a score?
Ok, after all is said and done, the game will be a similar one to last game. Hard fought and I cannot se a blow-out of more than 10 points either way.
If the Cutter ground game gets going, look out, but same the other way of Hibbeln get time to throw.
Again tough call, but I say it with crystal ball blazing…Generals take this one and JT gets a Gatorade bath, and a new ring.
Well - there you have it. And for you MFL fans, the scores are a comin.
I want to thank Frank, Michelle, Shonda, Mike and Al for hangin around last night helping me out with all this. Without their tireless work, I would have not been able to do any of it.
And I thank my wife, for putting up with all my cow manure and allowing me to still enter the bedroom after being up all night. Luv ya honey!
So kids, special regard to the two teams playing Saturday, make sure that everything you do is an example of all you are and ALL you have got, because no matter what happens, no mater the final score - every play, every snap - remember - you will get to do each one once.
How do you want to remember it?
Ya gotta love this game!
Best of luck and prayers out to BOTH teams!
Great job Vince. I want to thank you and your crew for all your hard work.
I have one bone to pick. Jermey and I are really good friends. We sepertate friendship from football. Sometimes a coach and a QB have words, this is football. Jermey is the best QB that I have ever coached. His will to win is what makes him the player that he is. I will say this, it is not easy dealing with me at work then practice two to three days a week then here me bitch at him on game days lol. He does a better job dealing with me then any other QB I have ever had.
Other than that great job.
No disrepsect was meant in any way,that I can assure you. This was not to say we thought there is a "problem" at all. Like any relationship, it has ups/downs. As I often to refer to my wife....she is the best wife in the world, however, do we bicker - of course. and yes, I already know whatever it is, and will be, it's my fault. ( If youre a husband, youve learned this already) Yet n still, we have a great relationship, but just reporting that doesn't make headlines ( kidding )
We did not mean to imply any real trouble within the team. If there was, I am sure it would be noticed on the field.
We are also betting if there WAS trouble, you know personally know how to fix it!
Luck to both teams Saturday!
ALRIGHT, I WENT OVERBOARD WITH MY POST THAT GOT LOST IN THE MILKY WAY, BUT VINCE YOU NEED TO HIT UP THE SUPA SCHOOL OF PREDICTION. I'LL GET YOU SOME ENROLLMENT INFO.
I don't know that we've ever met but I have to correct two points you made about our defense.
First, Dre Key has played SAM backer for us for 3 years - not safety. Saturday night he made some great plays including a game-clinching interception in the 4th quarter.
Secondly, Coach Jason Mack has been our O Line coach for three years. His knowedge and expereice are incredible. However, he wasn't involved in the defense this year and has never called any blitzes for us. Coach Charlie Shepherd handled the D Line while I took care of all the defensive calls.
Thanks to the Generals for hosting a quality championship and for playing a clean game. I think all the teams in the IFL should be proud of the league and the great football that we are playing.
No fair, you didnt let us know you WERE going to play..thats at least a 3 point difference right there!
( seriously, very good game, Kurt! )
We apologize for the error(s). We DID know Dre was a LB, which was the reason for the "near the line" statement, but we've seen him instructing the DB's before on film as Kurt was doing Saturday. We will try to get better info. for the future.
The JMack thing was entirely from film.
This wekend we had allot of mishaps, but I personally take all responsibility for any miswrites since I am the one who makes the final call on what goes in on 'my two cents'.
PS We always offer any team to send more info to the email so we can get more names correct.
Hope this does not tarnish anything on your fantastic victory, and we all here extend Congradulations to your entire team for the win 'n ring!
I know how things can look in game film - I've seen plenty of it the past week preparing for the Generals.
You are welocme to call our coaching staff before you make your predictions. I can't promise that we will answer every question but you can call me at 812-332-3643 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other than some details about our defense and the prediction of the winner, your ananlysis of the IFL championship was right on track. One thing you probably did not know was how motivated we were to win this game. The Generals players, coaches and "other staff" really motivated us.
Keep up the good work!