A Quarterback Haiku
Film of the spring game
was good - a bit of swagger
on the way to class.
Hitting the Links Tips a Hat to ESPN
On the heels of two very public rookie injuries, SI's Peter King said the game would be fine with lighter off-season rookie practice, and makes an interesting case for it.
Jacksonville will be interesting to watch, especially for college fans, who will recognize many of the team's players: Florida State's Rashad Greene, who was Jameis Winston's go-to guy the past couple years, Penn State's Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles, Denard Robinson, #3 pick Dante Fowler, T.J. Yeldon, and Ohio State's Michael Bennett.
A couple of players have supported what Simon Cvijanovic has said, one on Twitter and another to the Chicago Tribune.
There are a few possible solutions to help in situations like this: for one, and this has been discussed elsewhere, there has to be a level of separation between the medical staff and the football coaches. Football coaches have sway throughout the upper levels of a university, but medical staff are obligated to give their patients (the players) an accurate and honest assessment of risks and outcomes. Players who choose to play, and risk their body, are not necessarily forfeiting future medical obligations to them, either.
Division-I football is intense, it challenges a student in every way and makes it more difficult to focus on classes or normal student life. An accusation that Simon brings up - that he's being taken advantage of to have a scholarship - is not entirely accurate. He has options, and all student-athletes deserve options to make their college experience fit their desired outcome.
For one, he can transfer to another program where the roster or emphasis on winning games fits his own mentality. For another, and this is the second potential change, medical redshirts should be more accessible for players who can still play but choose not to due to a growing health risk. Coaches will butt their heads against the 85-man roster limit, but hand in hand with honest discussion between players and medical experts, there should be an accessible option to leave the game if they choose without interference from the coach. This, and all other options, should be discussed clearly when football players arrive on campus. Communication, communication, communication.
And, thirdly, it's important to remember that this comes at a time when players are still growing as people, learning how to handle pain, learning how to handle stress and time obligations and money and everything else. Responsibility ultimately rests on the medical system and the university at large to protect student-athletes from long-term injury that they don't understand. And the people involved need to understand these are not pro athletes.
In the week leading up to the Michigan State game, Michigan has been ranked five times in the last six years. They are 1-5 against Little Brother in that span.
Here's a question for you: who do you think is the most exciting wide receiver in the game? My vote would go for Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant, who has gotten lost in the mix a bit in the Big 12. A 5'6", 169-pound jitterbug, the guy can make eye-popping plays on the regular.
Hack is terrific. He has the body, the measurables, and he's competitive as hell. But (breaking news) there's one single #1 pick every year, and Hackenberg probably won't be it unless he stays at Penn State four years and leads the Nittany Lions to a great season.
Leidner also needs to pull back a bit on his rugby mentality during the game. He's a tough competitor, but sometimes that hurts his team, as he needs to throw the ball away sometimes or avoid contact at others. There was one play I remember he willingly took a full-on tackle from a defensive end (that didn't even matter in terms of being inches from a first down) that caused a fumble and a recovery for the other team. He has to be smarter.
Ferentz was criticized during the bowl game with Tennessee for pulling one quarterback for another too often, with the logic being it doesn't help either get in a rhythm. That's certainly true, and some of C.J. Beathard's incompletions (he went 13/23 with two touchdowns and a pick) were because of slightly missed balls to receivers he wasn't quite in sync with.
This is the first time I've heard someone else talk about using different QBs for different roles, something I think Urban Meyer has already been at work on.
Talk around the NFL Draft was about how different the college game is, and how the draft is made more difficult by projecting abilities without experience. It's become more commonplace to see star college signal-callers find a new home, from Denard, to Nick Marshall, Devin Gardner, or Julian Edelman. Others have been reluctant to switch, despite chatter that they might - guys like Logan Thomas, Jordan Lynch, or Terrelle Pryor.
The first question for Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller, and Tim Beck is whether Miller believes he can succeed in the NFL at quarterback. Certainly, he's capable as a downfield thrower, and occasionally has thrown a very pretty ball. The next question is how to prepare for the season based on those goals. Regardless of what's said in those conversations, I completely expect to see jet sweeps with either Barrett or Jones handing off to Miller with pass options off of it. It's too deadly of a play to not be used.
It's weird to think that Stave arrived in Madison before Russell Wilson.
On a list of the most interesting position battles, Michigan's running backs has to be #1.
This is a good intro to Jakeem, with highlights and compliments from teammates
The speed is noticeable, but YouTube was a bit short on highlights that showed what really makes him amazing, his ankle-breaking abilities in space. Still, the speed is amazing.