Uprising ahead Coach Mineral took time out of his busy preseason schedule to speak on the Tactical Crouch Podcast. For those without 87 minutes to listen to the podcast I have the highlights for you. From what the offseason was like to his 2020 goals, Mineral covers a lot of ground.
Trials, Trials, Trials
Many have heard how extensive the trials operations have been for the Uprising, but Mineral spelled it all out. Since being hired, Mineral and Huk have extensively trialed not only players in every region, but also coaches. He suggested other teams did not invest as much into the trials process as Boston.
For coaches, he said there were many qualities that they looked for. Namely, what are the coach’s moral compass, how do they gel with him, and are they ‘yes’ mans or will they challenge him. Critically, are they willing to detach themselves from their own ideas and accept a collectively chosen strategy?
Mineral also gave a quick look into his thoughts on the current staff. Ilyas he described as passionate and motivated with an attention to detail. He thinks he’s smart and hardworking. Ascoft he sees as more raw, with no coaching experience but is a Contenders champion. Mineral said he’s a good person, great guy, and understands the game at a high level of experience. That seasoned veteran presence is crucial.
With players, Mineral and his coaches trialed individual players and in each region around the globe. On the topic of his level of autonomy, Mineral made it clear he and his coaches did the majority of the work. They would submit their choices to Huk, who would consult with Mineral. In general, he and Huk were on the same page.
Players – New and Old
There are new and returning players with the Uprising this year. Mineral made it clear that there are no guaranteed starters as of today. All players are competing for starting spots, from Mouffin (on a 2-way contract) to last year’s All-Star Fusions. He had thoughts on several individual players:
- Jerry – a great hitscan player who has moved from offtank to DPS. Could be a long-term/future player for the team but someone the team is invested in as a prospect.
- Colourhex, Fusions, and Axxiom were chosen to come back primarily because all three have long term contracts.
- Myunbong was trialed and offered a contract early (contrary to reports he wasn’t trialled at all). Mineral believes he could be a top 5 flex support in OWL on day 1.
- Despite saying every player is fighting for a starting spot, this quote about Fusions is nothing short of delicious:
“Cameron [Fusions] is the epitome of the culture we wanna have here. He’s someone who comes in with energy every single day. He’s always upbeat. He’s kind of the heart and soul of the team in a sense. That’s obviously a very competitive position for us. You look around the league I think alot of team are struggling at the MT position – scrambling to find a good player…. It feels like the thinnest position. We’re very happy in terms of what we have on our team.”Boston Uprising HC Mineral on MT Cameron ‘Fusions’ Bosworth
- Mineral says Axxiom is tremendously talented and hopes he has a chance to show it.
- Colourhex is a surprisingly vocal leader for a DPS and has terrific mechanics. Didn’t get much opportunity last year because of GOATs but he’s someone who gives 100% in practice.
- Mouffin is extremely talented who has been the ultimate grinder on ladder. He has a lack of competitive experience but with his practice on the Academy team he will be competing for a main team roster spot. He’s extremely talented and is a sponge that absorbs everything so far in his competitive career.
Odds and Ends
There was a lot of ground covered over the hour and a half, with Mineral giving a lot of insight into how the team is operating. First, the team is committed to a Western roster. He mentioned this while being asked about recruiting Chinese players. Though they trialed in the region, he believes that Korean players have a better understanding, at a basic level, of both English language and culture.
Second, he is well aware of the travel fatigue that will be the secondary meta of the league. Mineral wouldn’t get into specifics, but he and his coaches are well aware of the challenge in front of them. Though Boston has one of the rougher road schedules in 2020 (given two European teams are in their division) the team has detailed plans to prepare for fatigue. Ultimately it will be a learning experience for every team.
Lastly, Mineral spoke on the topic of roster depth. While the team considered a 12 man roster seriously, that doesn’t seem likely. Ultimately, the team felt they couldn’t develop a whole 12 man roster of equally talented players. While pragmatically helpful for scrim purposes, the inability to focus team development around a core group of players was more important. He did suggest he expects them to sign another support player by seasons end, though.
Speaking of his goals for 2020, Mineral isn’t fixated on a specific league standing. Although, after push back, he admitted he wanted to see the team make playoffs. More importantly, he wants to see his players and coaches improve over the course of the year. If the individuals on the team are improving, the team is headed in the right direction. That long term view mirrors the philosophy of the team in general. Namely, that they look for value in players, potential in otherwise ignored talent, and aren’t willing to engage in bidding wars with other teams. Some call that playing moneyball, others being cheap. I think it means giving opportunity to those who have worked hard but are going unrecognized for their work. We could use a bit more of that.
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