August 30th, 2013
Football season is officially here. We have had preseason NFL the past few weeks, but high school and college kick off this weekend. The start of the 2013 football season got us at the RoughRiders talking about what positions the current ‘Riders would play on our fantasy football teams. This idea was inspired by a post from last year where the media team asked former RoughRiders Ross Wolf, Jerad Prince and Strength & Conditioning coach Eric McMahon to form their RoughRiders football team.
This year, Alex and Nathan decided they would like to take a crack at it, so they both drew up their teams based on body build, strength, speed, athleticism, and everything else they know about the current ‘Riders squad. Eric McMahon did so well last year that he too created a team for us. It may not surprise you to know that all three teams are quite different, based on the type of squad the three participants chose to go with.
The chatter around the clubhouse has also revolved around this topic as the players discuss who they might pick. Nick McBride, who left Frisco earlier this month, was the unanimous pick among the pitchers as the quarterback, however with Nick gone, there is more of a discussion as to who that QB would be. In his August 27 pregame interview, Nathan discussed this topic with pitcher Phil Klein, who labeled the positions he thinks he could fill: Defensive end if he were able to put on more muscle, or tight end if he developed better hand skills.
Nathan Barnett’s Team
“Luke Jackson at quarterback? He didn’t even play high school football!” remarked an anonymous RoughRiders player. Okay, sure: Luke Jackson was not a high school football star–but he did play a bit.
But I like his moxy. The composure he has shown in his short time in Double-A which has helped him to limit batters to a 1-for-18 mark with runners in scoring position combined with mid-90s heat—those have to make for great raw materials at QB.
Convinced by Alex’s wise observations about Odor, I swapped him out to the safety spot (I originally had him listed as my RB).
I am a big believer in Randy Henry at the strong safety position. A former high school and JUCO shortstop, Henry has the athletic build and leadership skills I want in a guy in that spot.
Kyle McClellan seemed an obvious choice at center. The unnamed captain of the bullpen is the perfect man to anchor the middle of what should be the most cohesive group on your team—plus his veteran leadership will be great in the huddle.
A point of contention in our debate here in the office was the place of Kalian Sams, who I went with at the tight end position. A physical force, 6’4”, nearly 250 pounds with good speed and great body control, Sams is the perfect target and safety net for a team with a smaller receiving core (Strausborger, Teo Martinez, Reyes). I see Sams are Vernon Davis like, big powerful upper body that can block a bit and shrug off tacklers. He might not quite have the speed of Davis, but his wheels are deceptively impressive (10-for-10 stealing bases this year in the TL). I see him as a 80+ catch TE; you can’t replace that production if you put him elsewhere.with the young QB in Jackson.
My philosophy here was to fill out the offensive and defensive line with the bigger and more powerful guys on the team, since most of the players on the ‘Riders roster could probably handle the skill positions. I think I have done that. I am particularly fond of my placement of Nicholas at left tackle. A leader on this team, selfless and one of the first off the bench to protect his teammate Rougned Odor in the near benches-clearing scuffle against the Tulsa Drillers earlier this month, there is no one I would trust more to protect the blindside of the Rangers top right-handed pitching prospect in the pocket.
TE: Kalian Sams and Jon Edwards
Alex Vispoli’s Team
This is probably my favorite blog post of the season because of the debates it inspires both in the office and in the clubhouse. With the collection of talent with this group, I’m confident that my fake football team would take any other Texas League outfit straight to the woodshed. My team runs a standard, pro-style offense that may not stretch the field too often, but should be able to score some points. There are some weak parts of the defense, but overall it is a solid unit that should make enough plays.
Quarterback: Ryan Rua
I like the idea of Rua as a pocket passer. Though he may not accrue many yards with his legs, we’ve seen his strong arm at third base this season and I’m confident he can make all the throws. His quiet confidence will also help keep the team focused on those crucial drives.
Running back: Joe Benson
A no brainer. Benson was a star tailback in high school and would carry the load for my offense.
Fullback: Tomas Telis
As a catcher, he knows how to block and he will be a bowling ball that the defense will try to get past to get to Benson. In short yardage situations, I like his size; he’s like a miniature Jerome Bettis.
Flanker wide receiver: Lisalverto Bonilla
His height and strength should make him a good red zone target, à la Plaxico Burress.
Split end wide receiver: Teodoro Martinez
Teo has good speed, which should make him good on the outside. A little undersized, but this is as good a spot as any for the Venezuelan.
Slot wide receiver: Ryan Strausborger
A natural spot for the blue-collared Straus, who won’t be afraid to make a tough catch over the middle. A Wes Welker-type for this team, he should keep the chains moving.
Wide receiver: Luis Sardiñas
In case we need to go with four wideouts, Sardiñas should provide great speed to stretch the defense, though he is a little raw.
Tight end: Jon Edwards
An absolute matchup nightmare. Edwards is bigger than any defensive back and faster than any linebacker. My version of Rob Gronkowski.
Left tackle: Jerad Eickhoff
Big, strong and heady, I trust Eickhoff to protect the blind side and keep Rua upright.
Left guard: Brett Nicholas (offensive captain)
A team-first guy, Nicholas will give up his body to make sure we get that first down.
Center: Zach Zaneski
Big and mean when he needs to be, Zach fits the blue-collar bill as an offensive lineman. As a catcher he calls a great game and I trust him to lead the o-line.
Right guard: Richard Bleier
Not the biggest guard around, but Bleier is willing to get mean when he needs to.
Right tackle: Phil Klein
I love the height and length that Klein brings to the line. He’s a lot to get by and should give Rua enough time to deliver the football.
Defensive end: Kalian Sams
The defensive version of Jon Edwards. Sams is big, fast and a nightmare to face as an offense. I feel bad for the quarterback who gets squashed by the Dutchman.
Defensive tackle: Arlett Mavare
A big body and a spacefiller, Mavare should help clog the middle and has the strength to push the offense back.
Defensive tackle: Brett Teschner
Another big body, the catcher is already used to working out of a crouching position and will hold his ground at the very least against the o-line.
Defensive end: Randy Henry
More of a speed rusher than a power guy, Henry can bring some small-town nasty to this group.
Outside linebacker: Chih-Hsien Chiang
Chiang has added weight to his frame over the years but still maintains some agility. If he can hit an opposing player even half as hard as he hits the baseball, this should be a natural fit.
Middle linebacker: Kyle McClellan (defensive captain)
Really happy to have Kyle calling the signals in the middle of my defense. An experienced veteran, there’s nothing he can’t recognize. He’s also very, very strong, extremely competitive and has a little crazy in his eye that will intimidate the opposition.
Outside linebacker: Luke Jackson
I’m counting more on savvy than speed or strength here. Jackson is a smart guy who should be able to read an offense and put himself in a good spot.
Cornerback: Guilder Rodriguez
Good size for a DB, Rodriguez brings veteran craftiness to the table and still has enough speed to stick with young wideouts. He can play the right angles and should be a tough matchup for any receiver.
Strong safety: Jimmy Reyes
With the intimidating presence Jimmy has on the mound, I have no doubt that he’ll make receivers think twice about going over the middle. Just enough speed and size to handle the position.
Free safety: Rougned Odor
Love the nastiness Odor brings to the diamond and he should be athletic enough to grab some interceptions and lay a player out. Might be a risk for penalty flags/fines for gray area hits, but you need a little of that on your team.
Cornerback: Francisco Mendoza
Mendoza has overcome injuries in the past and surpassed expectations. He plays with a chip and should be able to keep up with receivers and bring them down.
Kicker: Tyler Tufts
A little quirky (just look at the beard) and a bit undersized, so this is as good a spot as any for Tuffy.
Punter: Alex Claudio
Probably the safest spot on the gridiron for the slight Claudio. Given his nasty changeup, I would imagine he could manipulate his kicks to angle for the coffin corner pretty effectively as well.
Long snapper: Nick Martinez (special teams captain)
There’s not a natural spot for Martinez, but I think he should be in a leadership role and as leader of the special teams unit his voice will be heard.
Eric McMahon’s Team
The strength to deliver a strong down block and communication skills to tandem with Center or Tackle in a combo block
Possesses leadership and the intelligence to read the defensive front
He’s a great blocker with speed enough to pull around the edge
Great build! Looks the part.
Tall and runs well. Sneaky athleticism. A down-field threat over any secondary
Versatile speed from the edge or the slot
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed!
A power runner and above average agility. Good strength to drive through a hole!
Knowledge and strength to contribute in a blocking scheme. Speed enough for some 3rd down carries.
Big, Strong, and moves well
Great strength and temperament to dominate in the trenches
Excellent size and speed off the edge
Athletic, with the right mentality to read run or pass. Can help in the secondary
Moves well with enough size to be the force player on the edge and cover a TE/WR down field
Good strength, size and athleticism to cover both sides of the field
The heart and soul of the defense!
The coverage leader and playcaller. He possesses good overall athleticism for the secondary
Speed enough to make a play on the ball in the air
Speed for coverage and the strength to secure the edge
Intelligence and quickness to stay on a WR’s hip downfield
Improved speed from years past. A great double coverage guy to bat down a ball in the air.
Just funky enough to get the job done right
He’s a gamer…Ready to be called on when needed
Quick on his feet and a fearless mentality
-Ryan (With much assistance from Alex, Nathan and Eric)
Baseball term of the day: rocket - A hard-hit, fast-moving line drive.
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)