University of Michigan

The Man Behind the Giants Running Game

Why are the New York Giants so good at pounding the rock?

The New York Giants have had tremendous success running the ball over the past few years.  Historic seasons by Tiki Barber; Brandon Jacobs crushing defenders; Madison Hedgecock clearing holes; Derrick Ward eluding and erasing tacklers; and, a bruising Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots that included the diminuitive Ahmad Bradshaw dragging defensive tackles like sacks of laundry.  That power running game continued in 2008.  How about 207 yards rushing vs. the Baltimore Ravens defense?

nfl_image_23758_bjvsravens117giants600

The team will not be playing in the Super Bowl in two weeks, but they did accomplish many things they set out to do this year.  There is a face behind this success and I hadn’t seen it until I did some hunting around online.

There are plenty of friendly jabs and genuine conversations at the dinner table on almost every Friday night during the season. That’s when Ingram and the running backs go out to dinner to discuss more than just football.

“You know how the folks talk about the running-back controversy — like a quarterback controversy? That’s what it keeps out,” Jacobs said of the weekly get-together. “It keeps all that confusion down. We’re closer on the field than we are off and (the dinner) takes out all of that stuff.”

But it was at a recent dinner with a non-teammate during which Jacobs understood the impact Ingram can have. Sitting across the table was Barber, who has been openly critical of Coughlin since retiring after the 2006 season.

“He was saying how great of a coach Jerald was,” Jacobs recalled.

“He said, ‘Listen to Jerald. He won’t steer you wrong.'”

ingramFrom the Giants website:

Jerald Ingram is in his fifth season as the Giants’ running backs coach and he has mentored a 1,000-yard rusher in every one of them. Ingram, who joined the Giants on Jan. 13, 2004, has 24 years of coaching experience, including 15 as an assistant to Tom Coughlin.

The running backs overcame the loss of three-time Pro Bowler Tiki Barber and several injuries to average 134.3 rushing yards a game, the fourth-highest total in the NFL. In addition, fullback Madison Hedgecock didn’t join the team until Sept. 12, but became a vital member of the backfield as a blocker and receiver.

Third-year pro Brandon Jacobs, elevated to the starting position, led the team with 1,009 rushing yards, despite missing five games and most of a sixth with knee and hamstring injuries. It was the sixth year in a row the Giants had a 1,000-yard rusher (Barber had the first five). The San Diego Chargers are the only other NFL team with a 1,000-yard rusher each season since 2002. LaDainian Tomlinson had all six 1,000-yard efforts.

In addition to Jacobs, Derrick Ward rushed for 602 yards and averaged 4.8 yards a carry before fracturing his fibula at Chicago on Dec. 2. Rookie Ahmad Bradshaw helped clinch a playoff berth with an 88-yard touchdown in Buffalo, the third-longest run in Giants history. Bradshaw also led the Giants in the postseason with 208 yards.

In Ingram’s first three seasons with the Giants, Barber emerged as one of the very best running backs in the NFL and one of the finest players in franchise history. Barber, who retired following the 2006 season, had never played in the Pro Bowl prior to Ingram’s arrival. But he was voted to the NFC team each of his final three seasons. In those three seasons, he rushed, in order, for 1,518 yards in 2004, a team-record 1,860 yards in 2005 and 1,662 yards last season. Barber, who rushed for 5,409 yards in his first seven Giants seasons, ran for 5,040 in just three years under Ingram to finish with a franchise-record 10,449 yards. Barber set the franchise record with 234 rushing yards at Washington in his final regular season game, breaking the mark of 220 yards he had set the previous season.

Ingram also helped make Jacobs one of the NFL’s best short-yardage and goal-line backs in limited playing time his first two seasons. In 2004, Jacobs was the first Giants rookie to score seven touchdowns since Bobby Johnson in 1984 and the first to rush for seven touchdowns since Bill Paschal ran for 10 scores in 1943. The following season, Jacobs rushed for 423 yards and nine scores to establish himself as Barber’s successor.

Prior to joining the Giants, Ingram was the running backs coach under Coughlin at Boston College and Jacksonville. The Jaguars were the only NFL team to rush for more than 2,000 yards in each season from 1998-2000, including an NFL-high 2,091 yards in 1999. Under Ingram’s direction, Fred Taylor rushed for more than 1,200 yards three times, including a team-record 1,399 yards in 2000, when he missed 3½ games. Taylor had nine consecutive 100-yard games, tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history. In 1998, the Jaguars rushed for a team-record 2,102 yards. Ingram is also known for turning his running backs into fine blockers and receivers; when he left Jacksonville, running backs had two of the three longest touchdown receptions in team history.

Ingram joined the Jaguars on March 3, 1994, 18 months before the franchise played its first regular season game, and stayed in Jacksonville until Coughlin left following the 2002 season. He was one of four assistant coaches who were with Coughlin during his entire tenure with the Jaguars.

Prior to his time in Jacksonville, Ingram spent three seasons as the running backs coach at Boston College. He began his coaching career in 1984, as a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan, his alma mater. The following year, he joined the staff at Ball State, first as tight ends coach, then as the running backs coach for five seasons. In 1991, he joined Coughlin at Boston College.

A fullback at Michigan, Ingram earned three letters and played on two Wolverines teams that won the Big Ten championship and advanced to the Rose Bowl. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in general studies.

Ingram was born in Dayton, Ohio. He grew up in Beaver, Pa. He and his wife, Kathleen, have a son, Julian.

Super Bowl Giants Football

Spending and Saving: Holiday Time

Are Americans cutting back on spending and why? This article from Reuters and CNBC provides some interesting insights. I clipped a few comments below that I found to be of interest because the comments indicate the media may not merely be an observer with respect to the economy.  A White House spokesperson suggests that there is a negative connection between what people see in their checkbooks and what they hear on the news.  He is suggesting that the NEWS is worse than the paycheck.  Now, that’s news!

clipped from www.cnbc.com

There has not been a particularly strong link between consumer confidence and spending in recent years, but a swift decline in confidence often prompts people to retrench, and
that is closely associated with recessions.

The break that Greenspan spoke of in February 2001 first appeared in late November 2000, said Richard Curtin, director of the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. The
recession officially began four months later.

For now, a relatively strong job market and wage growth have many people feeling OK about their financial position. A recent Reuters/Zogby survey found that more than half of
Americans polled rated their personal financial situation “good” or “excellent” — yet only about a quarter gave U.S. economic policy such high marks.
White House economic adviser Edward Lazear blames that on a “disconnect” between what people see in their own checkbooks and the bad news they read in the newspapers.

  blog it

Illinois Issues Statewide Reports on Schools

Check the Chicago Tribune today…school reports are OUT!!!  The news is many quarters is not good.  There is some good news, but the worse news of all may be that only 19% of Black children passed the 11th grade math examination.  There is no way to dress that up.  The next time we are inundated with stories about the great educational successes coming out of Chicago, I will be sure to pose the question about this 81% failure rate.  When a system fails four-fifths of its participants, one cannot say that system works.  The system, in this case, is not merely the school system – after all school’s don’t exist in a vacuum.  Schools are part of the political fabric of communities, cities and states.   Schools drive public expenditure budgets and property taxation rates.  Schools are determinants in the attractiveness of neighborhoods for young families and new businesses.  So, when a school fails, it is not merely that children failed to post a particular score on an exam.  It is an indication of a community in crisis.

2007 Illinois school report card

The Chicago Tribune’s Illinois school report card site will let you easily search for any public school in the state and get detailed information like the school’s demographic profile, passing rates on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, the Prairie State Achievement Exam, the Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English exam and the Illinois Alternate Assessment exam, as well as average ACT scores. ISAT and PSAE passing rates are also broken down by race and income status. Plus, see how your school’s passing rates rank against other schools in the district, county and state.

Excerpt from the Tribune’s story:

“Girls in Illinois grade schools outperformed boys on every state achievement exam last school year, according to a Tribune analysis, a twist in performance that has perplexed state officials and educators across the state.

Historically, girls have scored higher than boys in reading and writing, while boys did better on the science and some of the math exams.

But while Illinois’ boys showed modest increases in most subjects and grades in recent years, girls have progressed much more rapidly, according to the 2007 Illinois State Report Card data made public Wednesday.”

Now, even with all of the classroom and testing success enjoyed by girls, this has not continued through the high school grades.  In fact, boys continue to outperform girls in math and science at the high school level.  I have maintained that people who are proficient at math and science will control their material world and create jobs and set pay scales for people are lack that proficiency.  A solid majority of those 81% of students who received failing scores can rest assured that their capacity to feed themselves and their families will rest on luck and the good will of their classmates.  They should be told, as soon as possible, that goodwill is finite – but free resources to build their knowledge in critical areas are nearly infinite.

Students who graduate high school without the capacity to compute and understand this world in mathematical and scientific terms are at a significant disadvantage.  Today, I was told about Equity Assistance Centers (EAC’s).  EAC’s are federally-funded abundantly resourced educational centers framed to support the work of districts and schools around issues of equity.  There are 10 centers around the nation.  The Center which supports Illinois and the city of Chicago is located four hours to the east in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan.  The posting of the academic achievement data in the Chicago Tribune should have initiated a four-alarm fire sequence at the EAC in Ann Arbor.

The EAC currently runs workshops on Math and Science for families and children (lower grades) in Michigan and Wisconsin.  There is no doubt that cities like Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Milwaukee have tremendous needs.  Add Chicago to that mix.  Add Gary, Indiana to that mix.  Moreover, it may time for the folks at the EAC to consider some innovative ways to get high school students focused on math and science.  The scope of their activities cannot be restricted to the elementary and middle school grades.    Of course, if you’re a parent in far away Chicago, you may have to wait awhile.  It seems that many of the online publications of the Michigan-based EAC were written well over ten years ago – and none deal with approaches to improve academic achievement in mathematics.