FOXBORO, MA - MAY 28: Charley Toomey (L) head coach of the Loyola Greyhounds is congratulated by John Tillman head coach of the Maryland Terripans after Loyola's 9-3 win in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship game at Gillette Stadium on May 28, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Focusing the bean that sits atop your neck on some important offseason storylines. Take out your notebook or something.
It's been beaten to death all season, but the issue is still going to dominate the offseason: Division I college lacrosse has a pace problem. Now, there's some evidence kicking around that while tempo has slowed to a halt over recent years that offensive efficiency is actually up. That's fine and all but it suffers from one problem: A Toyota Prius is crazy efficient but it's boring as hell to drive and I'd rather pull my eyeballs out of my head with toothpicks rather than watch that vehicle race.
Here's a quick table that shows two things: (1) The national average each of the last four years in terms of total possessions per 60 minutes of play; and (2) The worst five offenders each year in terms of eschewing "Go!":
|57.||Fairfield||59.70||57.||Mount St. Mary's||59.93|
Clearly things have been getting worse in the pace department. An average game has been losing about two possessions per contest each season since 2009 and it's pretty clear that increased stalling postures from the officials hasn't impacted how teams are going about their business. Something needs to be done about this and the rules committee is sure to have the pace issue high on its agenda this summer when it convenes.
There have been all kinds of ideas thrown around on how to fix this -- a shot clock, revised substitution rules, modifications to stick specifications, shrinking of the restraining area, ad infinitum -- and I'm not quite sure that there's a silver bullet sitting out there. In order for the game's tempo to move back towards plaid, there needs to be a philosophical shift in Division I lacrosse away from this being a coach's game to becoming a player's game. I don't know if that's possible with rule changes only; the paradigm itself needs to move, and that's a difficult process to achieve.
We like American muscle cars because they look cool, sound awesome, and haul ass. They're built to give the driver and gawkers a visceral experience when in motion or just idling with Shelby power under the hood. When these vehicles are just sitting in the garage you can still enjoy the work that went into the machine, but it's just that: Static staring at a machine.
Throughout Division I lacrosse, we're just staring at machines. That's an issue. Let all that horsepower out of the barn, babycakes.