Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

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Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by FANatic on Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:28 am

First, I wanted to report, for those of you who haven't listened to Garrett's podcast from halftime of the Oregon game: Korie Nicholson is nursing injuries that kept her out of Saturday's season opener.

Most of us who speculated on the opening night starting line-up, had Korie at center back because of her experience. I admit I was a little surprised when I saw that Michelle O. and Kassi were the starting center backs, but I knew that Garrett's philosophy was to play in matches the best players in practice. So I assumed the freshmen had beaten out Korie and Kristen Kelly.

I don't know how Garrett plans to use these four center backs this season, but he did say in his podcast interview that he would be comfortable playing Michelle and Kassi there all season together, and even all four years of their college careers there together.

This really confuses me. (Soccer experts, HELP!!!). If I were coach of this team, I would be pulling my hair out because we have so many players worthy of starting. What about Sophie Schmidt? If Keelin wasn't here, that would be easy. But I can't imagine anyone at holding mid this year except Keelin. When the playoffs come, then Sophie or another capable defensive mid will have to step in.

Garrett is just so matter of fact and calm and cool about all of this. Anyone care to gaze into the future of this season and speculate on the center back positions? Will it be by committee? Usually the Pilots establish two strong center backs, and that's it. They're in their places for the long haul and usually play 90 minutes a game, even in a route. (Sometimes one may come out late in the match, but usually at least one center back plays 90 minutes regardless of the score.)

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:54 am

It's all about match ups, the formations the opponents use (the CF/setup F formation, 3 forwards, 2 parallel forwards, 2 attacking mids... etc), where their stronger players attack from (smaller, quicker players by groud vs. taller more powerful players who excel in the air) and everything else... I'm sure Garrett will try a few different formations and stick with one eventually, but since he has the luxury of being able to throw out different players out for different positions. I think a lot of it is him seeing how different players to react to different positions, I remember one season playing I was a defensive mid, marking back, outside mid, center mid and forward throughout the course of the season. Its fun for him putting the pieces of championship team together... Alas the rest of us are left in suspense...

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:00 pm

Also, FANatic... you don't necessarily have to take him so literally. I didn't hear what he said, but it's possible all he meant was that they are both very good players and that he would feel comfortable with them playing right away and for a long time. But just because he says he feels comfortable with it doesn't necessarily mean that's what's going to happen.

I think given the U-20 World Cup situation and people coming back from injuries and the Olympics and all that, we'll be seeing a few different line-ups throught the early going of the season. But I'm sure he'll figure out what is working best fairly quickly and have it all good to go come playoff time.

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by Auto Pilot on Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:33 pm

With so many bright stars playing with her I think Emily Michelson played her time at UP under the radar and we are feeling it now. She was tall powerful and deceptively quick for her size.

As for Garrett's comment regarding Michelle and Kassi playing for four years together in the back, I would just take that as a vote of confidence in their ability rather than an etched in stone plan. Remember Garrett has carried forth Clive's tradition that "tommorrow is guaranteed to no one" and that at UP you "earn your right to play. " I don't expect that philosophy to change for any one or two players.

That is not to say Milchelle and Kassi might not be four year starters, they very well could be and the coach has gone on record that might be the case. Notwithstanding, I am confident that if they are four year starters it will be based on merit not just promise.

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by aleppiek on Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:37 pm

I would 100% expect to see Sophie on the back line with Either Olivier or McCluskie for the game on Sat. To me it is just the most logical place for her to play... That being said, I am not sold on either upperclassman at the position. I think we so some definate limitations when called in to duty last year. The Yale game springs to mind. I like the athleticism of both Frosh, and would expect them to see significant time throughout the year.

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by harryb on Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:50 pm

I wouldn't necessarily expect both freshmen to be playing all four years. Next year Cloee Colohan comes in, and she'll have something to say about who plays.

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by Harry Redknapp on Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:29 pm

I listened to the podcast and saw the game on Saturday. Both freshman CBs played well, although I'd give the edge to Olivier if I had to choose between them.

Garrett's comments sounded like a vote of confidence in the two of them, not any kind of prediction.

I'm on record earlier as saying that I'd hope that Sophie Schmidt is on the field at the weekend; and that in my opinion, which counts for zip obviously, I'd play her at the back with Olivier. Garrett was vague about when she'd be playing though and it's possible that she won't play against USC and UCLA. I'd guess that she will.

He also confirmed that Korie N is still hurt and not ready to play.

I'd also consider starting Elli Reed at left defense and playing Kendra at left midfield.

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Re: Korie Nicholson and the Center Backs

Post by purple haze on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:55 pm

What comes through to me in Smith's comments is his faith in his players and willingness to state it on the record. Sure, he doesn't guarantee any four years as a starter, but his calm statement of confidence in his young center backs sets such a positive tone for the whole team. Coaches who scream and curse and micromanage during games are from a different planet -- one I don't care to visit. He has the luxury of creating all sorts of dream lineups and we all love to speculate about what he might do or what we would do if we we were qualified to be in his place. First priority, though, is to remember these are students and amateurs, and to put their growth and health and development foremost. All other good things will follow.

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