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New Skins Asst. Loves the Onside Kick, Jesus


New Skins offensive assistant Chris Meidt.

A few things you should know about new Skins offensive assistant Chris Meidt, who fast-tracked his way from the Oles to a job with the Redskins as an offensive assistant. He appears to be a stats nerd; according to this article he "spent two years as an information technology analyst before entering coaching and has a bachelor's degree in math and an MBA in information sciences. By applying his math and business knowledge to football, Meidt has found that there's a lot to be gained from aggressive, against-the-grain play calling. Two-point conversions and surprise on-side kicks are common practice for his teams."

Clearly Joe Gibbs didn't sign off on this, although no play in football excites me more than the surprise on-side kick, especially the dribbler straight up the middle that the kicker recovers, at which point, if this were the Redskins, Mike Wise would start singing "O Canada," since he sings it every time Shaun Suisham does anything.

You did get the sense, though, that Joe Gibbs was tied to "the chart," whereas Meidt brags about studying and then flaunting it, which is something you definitely want on your staff in 2008. There's a sidebar about Meidt and his use of game theory to guide decision-making, which includes this passage:

Meidt uses statistics from NFL games put into spreadsheets. Obviously there are differences between the pro game and NCAA Division III, where St. Olaf plays, but Meidt is confident that the frequency of situations and their outcomes is transferable, particularly when adjusted for less consistent college kickers and different clock-stoppage rules. If college stats were readily available, Meidt says he'd use them, but they aren't.

Meidt admits that probability modeling and game theory aren't for everyone. "You have to enjoy crunching the numbers," he says. "It won't work for people who are scared of numbers, because you've got to be pretty analytical."

A profile in the Minneapolis paper three years ago, which refers to him as a "genius," also says this:

As a high school quarterback at Minneota, Meidt set national passing records and won two state titles while maintaining honor-student grades and participating in band and choir. He sought to stock his new program with similar young men.

Band, huh? Wonder if he ever played the viola. Luckily, Meidt's notes from his St. Olaf Intro to Coaching Class are available online, and they include at once Biblical verses, a call to order one's priorities (Meidt's list goes 1. Faith, 2. Family, 3. Football, 4. Fishing), Six questions to consider when disciplining players (including No. 6, "WWJD?") and an explanation of how St. Olaf went from competitive to dominant under Meidt. Plus lots more. Never having taken a coaching class, this was legitimately interesting, especially the assignment about budgeting a trip for a team of 12-year-old rugby players.

Also, please take note of the St. Olaf fight song:

We come from St. Olaf, we sure are the real stuff.
Our team is the cream of the colleges great.
We fight fast and furious, our team is injurious.
Tonight Carleton College will sure meet its fate.

Um! Yah! Yah!, Um! Yah! Yah!
Um! Yah! Yah!, Um! Yah! Yah!
Um! Yah! Yah!, Um! Yah! Yah!
Um! Yah! Yah! Yah!

And also, let's consider the startling surge in St. Olaf connections coursing through the D.C. sports scene.

1) D.C. United New Media and Public Relations Manager Kyle Sheldon, who must have done something athletic at St. Olaf. (Update: He played for the soccer team.)

2) Official Washington Wizards beat writer Ivan Carter, a one-time Ole wide receiver who, in a probing 2005 Q&A with "St. Olaf Magazine" revealed that he adopted his football coach's life motto: "The grass is green. The sky is blue. It's a great day to be alive." I guess that's why he's always smiling. Man, I could not be less like Ivan Carter.

3) And now Meidt. Amazing.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 13, 2008; 1:37 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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