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Tale of the Tape: Callahan's Farewell

Saying good-bye after 15 fantastic months at The UConn Blog.

I love football.

That much you know.

Here’s what you may not.

This will be my last post at the UConn Blog, an unfortunate Internet reality brought on by a recent real-life change.

Translation: I got a new job far away and spending hours pouring over tape is not conducive to such a transition (long overdue sidebar: watching UConn tape isn’t conducive to your general health, anyways, even forgetting the gross number of empty Monster cans and sunrises I’ve kept as company since two summers ago).

Nonetheless, I am going to miss writing these breakdowns immensely.

Now back to what you know.

Over the last year-plus, you’ve come to this Husky-crazed corner of the Internet at one time or another for my football expertise. Honestly, expertise is a term I hate typing out, as I’ve told folks time and time again the grasp I have on football is an infant’s squeeze compared to other writers, coaches and players out there.

But I will leave that sentence intact for this reason: it’s true.

Whether you agreed with my assessments or thought I was no better than a Scott McCummings-led Wildcat package (*shudders*), you came here. After all, you’re back again now. And, most importantly, I am confident in all of the analyses I put forth solely because they were been born from years of football study.

For truly breaking down film does not mean watching a game replay and taking notes. It means recognizing concepts, techniques, tendencies, alignments and situations on schematic and personnel levels, while exercising an accrued knowledge of them both.

Like most things, deciphering a football game is a skill that can be honed through practice. And the understanding required to do so can be grown in any number of ways.

So by that token, if there is only one message you take from me amid all of the jargon, pictures, GIFs and mile-long articles, remember this:

Continue to learn about football because you can be the "expert," too. All the pieces I wrote and analyses I compiled were in some shape or form replicable. I simply put in the work.

Hell, "Tale of the Tape" is by no means an original name. It’s alliterative, catchy and apt. But it's not mine.

However, the lack of an inventive name for this space ought not to be confused with what I intended to accomplish within it.

For having followed UConn football for over a decade, I felt there was a certain void in the team’s coverage. Specifically, a game analysis that was either tape-based or Xs-and-Os-focused, and ultimately answered exactly why Saturday had played out as it did, not simply how.

Therefore, ever since I told you about an incoming offensive coordinator named T.J. Weist, I set out to answer that question, even while simultaneously attending to a two different full-time jobs.

Fifteen months later, I hope I’ve been able to fill that void with adequate enough insight.

Moving forward, you can be the person who provides that information. You don’t have to watch every game again, steadily rewinding every play (again, not advised for your general health). But you can pick up a book or make a few clicks to expand your understanding of football. I’ve got tens of recommendations of authors, videos and sites that can help do that in minutes.

In addition, Aman, the czar here at the UConn Blog, will be taking over the weekly Tales of the Tape . Keep reading his stuff. Keep seeking content that doesn’t tell you what happened. Find the pieces that tell you why, and then you’ll start to figure it out for yourself.

But whatever method you choose, get to know football at a deeper level. It is a marvelous, punishing, beautiful sport. And once you know the game, you can better understand its tales as you watch them unfold and perhaps later look back at tape or stats or any other measure.

For football is not averaging 98 rushing yards per game in conference play. It is not "momentum swings." It is not Xs and Os.

Football is when pads collide, ball meets belly on a hand-off and your quarterback spies a late safety rotation indicating some form of an incoming single-high coverage. It’s as simple as blocking and tackling, and as wonderfully complex as you could ever want a play design to be. Football is all that and more.

Lastly, I want to express that writing here has been been nothing short of a pleasure. But of course, I wouldn’t have been able to earn a blog byline had it not been for Andrew Porter and Kevin Meachem setting up shop in the first place. So, consider this is a big thanks to them for founding the UConn Blog and the ever-continuing laughter nowadays on Twitter.

I’d also like to extend a thank you to Aman, Mac Cerullo, who got me on staff here, and all those who’ve taken the time to comment, critique or send a note my way. Meeting and conversing with many UConn football media members was tremendous, and I want to wish them all the best.

And now for some UConn football analysis, which is what you came here for all along:

UConn’s gameplan for the rest of 2014

  1. Start Tim Boyle at quarterback.
  2. Add some tempo to the offense.
  3. Recruit the hell out of the offensive line positions.
  4. Continue to expand the defensive play-calls.
  5. Settle on a starting offensive and defensive lineup.

Go Huskies.