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Portland Invite

Recaps, Tournaments

This weekend, the Eugene Summer Solstice tournament took place in Eugene, Oregon. Furious George was not there.

In lieu of our traditional tune-up, Furious, Sockeye and Rhino convened in Portland for two days of friendlies, testing out our offenses and putting our respective rookies and tryouts on trial. We called this meeting the “Portland Invite,” because ultimate players feel a deep-seated need to attach names and titles to their weekend activities. Otherwise, friends and co-workers might believe we do this sort of thing for mere recreation, and that is preposterous.

Furious sent down a skeleton crew of sixteen, and we spent Saturday playing four scrimmages (point-capped at 11) against split squads of Rhino and Sockeye.

Sockeye X – approximately the Sockeye D-line

Rhino X – as far as I can tell, the tall half of Rhino

Rhino Y – the shorter half of Rhino?

Sockeye Y – approximately the Sockeye O-line (same as Flowerbowl)

On Sunday, we played two full-squad games against Sockeye Combined and Rhino Combined.

We stayed in the some of the most colourful accommodations the Portland hospitality industry had to offer, with what appeared to be a thriving escort service operating out of the parking lot and the comfortable peace of mind afforded by surveillance cameras and directional microphones lining the rooftops. A gentleman who appeared to be affiliated with the business of paid company reassured us that the microphones are used only to alert police of gunplay, so our privacy was in no way compromised. Meal options were scarce, but a sidewalk entrepreneur offered to sell me a raw steak in exchange for beer. I declined.

Strategic Summaries:

We finished Saturday with a 3-1 record, losing a close game to Sockeye Y. On Sunday, we ended on a 1-1 record, losing once more to the full Sockeye squad.

Rhino appears to be experimenting heavily with vertical-based offenses, and an offset stack in particular. The offset stack serves as a platform from which they can run various isolation plays. If the defense successfully inhibits their progress, the handlers may call for a change of pace by commanding the stack to flood to the opposite side of the field. Predictably, an isolated cutter peels off from the cascade into the space opening in its wake. Naysayers beware; Rhino carries some outstanding stars on their roster, and these isolations draw as much mileage out of them as possible. For teams with the requisite awareness and coordination, the use of junks and dynamic forces is an obvious countermeasure, but a conventional man-to-man defense plays directly into their offensive strengths.

Historically, Sockeye has had the Monkey figured out for years with a few spectacular exceptions, and their O-line appears to have maintained that tradition thus far this spring. Their agile, handler-centric offense is quite unlike ours, and it is quite obvious that our defenders struggle to distinguish fakes from threats. I think we are making progress on that front, but it has taken considerable coaching and mental adaptation. The one benefit of dropping out with injuries is the opportunity to take players aside to give them immediate feedback. When we generated turns, a second unconventionality apparently surprised our defenders – the Sockeye O-line actually plays uncommonly competent defense. The trick to beating Sockeye lies in reading their offense correctly, and tiring out their offense until they have to roll their lines and thus sacrifice their O-line’s chemistry. I believe Revolver accomplished this very effectively in the Flowerbowl final. We need to learn to do the same this fall.

Portland Invite Roster:

Marc Seraglia
Oscar Pottinger
Nick Wright
Thomas Kuhn
Seb Toth
Kevin Underhill
Kirk Savage
Andrew Brown
Max Hunter
Jon Hayduk
Morgan Hibbert
CJ Harmer
Aaron Koenig
Dre Gailits
Nate Dandurand
Alex Davis

Many thanks to the gentlemen of Rhino for their hospitality. Check out their documentary (the first feature of its kind) now screening at select theatres.

PS — When finishing a layout bid, take care not to land your ribs on the point of your own elbow.

Alex Davis

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