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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
1/05/2008 03:27:00 PM

Media Day Mystery: 'Where's the Hat?'

Les Miles
Les Miles' hat -- or a lack thereof -- was a hot topic Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS -- In nine years of attending BCS title-game Media Days, I've found that 90 percent of the questions fall into one of two categories: The most obvious, beaten-to-death storylines (Saturday morning, I watched Ohio State tackle Kirk Barton answer three different questions about SEC speed -- including a question about whether he was tired of answering such questions –- in a two-minute span) and the type of inane, off-the-wall questions someone would only ask at a Media Day.

For instance, the very first question posed to LSU coach Les Miles on Saturday was: "Where's your hat?"

"It doesn't stay on my head all the time," replied Miles.

Miles, who was in a pretty light-hearted mood throughout his hourlong question, actually spent an inordinate amount of time Saturday discussing his ubiquitous baseball cap, from its origins ("For as long as I've been coaching, I've been wearing a hat," he said. "This is the first time anyone's noticed.") to his penchant for wearing them higher on his head than most ("Hats really have changed. They come down a little flatter in the front," said Miles. "It's kind of important to me that there's a little high-rise on the front end of the hat. I like a traditional cap if you don't mind."

As you can see, we in the media constantly have to find new subjects to amuse us when every possible angle one could ever think of about an upcoming football game has already been covered.

· I've heard a lot about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina during my time here the past week, but nothing as poignant and personal as the tales told Saturday by Ohio State defensive lineman Nader Abdallah, the Buckeyes' lone New Orleans native.

"I knew a couple people from middle school that passed away," said Abdallah, who grew up in the Magnolia Projects in Central City. "They found their bodies floating down the river."
Abdallah described how his brother, Salameh, passed out from fumes at his home and eventually swam a mile through the streets to reach safety. His family ran a popular grocery in the neighborhood, LaSalle Street Market, that was completely destroyed by the hurricane. "The store got flooded out, caught on fire and burnt down," said Abdallah. "It was a complete loss."

Abdallah's parents temporarily moved up to Columbus after the hurricane before returning to nearby Palestine, La. Salameh, another brother and sister relocated to Houston. The entire family has returned to New Orleans this week, however, to watch Nader play for the national championship. They also visited the site of the former store this week and "reminisced about old times," said Nader.

· Three years ago, Ryan Perrilloux was a cocky high school senior who proclaimed he was going to beat out future No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell when he signed with LSU. Between sitting behind both Russell and Matt Flynn for three years and a series of off-the-field issues (he was questioned in a federal investigation into a counterfeiting operation and later caught using a fake ID to enter a casino) have left him significant humbled and fortunate to even be on the team (Miles did not officially reinstate him this year until the start of fall practice).

"I messed up, but in order to make things better, I needed to excel in other things around football," said the third-year sophomore. "I went to every class, got excellent grades. Coach Miles took me back on the team because I'm a good person. I wasn't trying to do things that would hurt the team.

I'm extremely thankful to him. "I think all the time how maybe I couldn't have been part of this year."

Perrilloux wound up playing a significant role in LSU reaching this game, serving as a highly effective change-of-pace quarterback to Flynn and filling in for him in the Tigers' SEC championship victory over Tennessee. With Flynn recovered from injury, the athletic Perrilloux will return to his former role for Monday's game.

"I try to amp the team up [when he comes in]," said Perrilloux. "Run the option, try to pick up those 10 to 15 yards. Keep everyone on the offense amped up."

· How's this for a mental image: Jim Tressel on Bourbon Street.

Despite the obvious admission that he's "not a Bourbon Street type of guy," Tressel has in fact strolled the vice-filled street, though not on this trip.

"When the [coaches] convention was here in January 2003, I said, 'I need a hamburger,'" said the Ohio State coach. "We asked a guy, he said, ‘Go north on Bourbon Street, there's the greatest hamburger you'll ever get. And he was right."

First of all, is that not a perfect Tressel story or what? Secondly, my fellow writers and I are 99 percent certain he was referring to the noted burger joint Port of Call, which is in fact a block from Bouron Street.

Meanwhile, Tressel's LSU counterpart, Miles, actually took a half-hour stroll down Bourbon Street last night. "It was a lot of fun," said Miles. "It was cool."

· Media Day protocol is that the head coach and five or six star players sit on risers on the Superdome turf while the rest of the team hangs around in the bleachers. Besides the few notable players (like Perrilloux) who draw a crowd of reporters, most of the players usually sit there in boredom for an hour.

A group of LSU's players, however, led by backup cornerback/resident comedian Jai Eugene, kept both themselves and observers entertained Saturday. First, Eugene "cut a rug" while the players surrounding him provided a beat by banging on chairs. Then, in one of those standard Media Day bits where a TV station hands over the camera to the players, Eugene, with the help of co-host Demetrius Byrd, performed a hilarious "sermon" about making a sandwich.

I didn't quite understand it, but there were a lot of references to Miracle Whip.

· As I write this blog entry from my hotel room, I've got the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on in the background, and I just saw what the Terrelle Pryor hype is all about. The coveted quarterback prospect (and potential future Buckeye) just rolled right, stopped and threw a touchdown pass across his body to the opposite corner of the end zone.

UPDATE: LSU just picked up a commitment from the nation's No. 1 defensive prospect, defensive back Patrick Johnson. Good week to be Les Miles.

· By no means am I a recruiting junkie, by the way, yet this game still seemed a more appealing viewing option than the Rutgers-Ball State International Bowl taking place at the same time. I'll be curious to see which draws a larger viewing audience.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 5:45 PM   by Blogger Matthew
Can anyone tell whether that small sticker decal was a Buckeye leaf on the back of Pryor's helmet? Another Buckeye commit was sporting the same decal. Personally, I think he is going to Michigan.
Posted: 6:02 PM   by Blogger MichiganMan
Yeah man that was a buckeye sticker! From what I hear he is claiming both. He supposedly wore a Michigan hoodie to the game. I don't like dudes like that. We know you are highly touted and all but the arrogance, we can do without. I think Mallett would be just fine in the spread honestly. Tom Brady isn't the most athletic but I think he is doing pretty good.
Posted: 6:31 PM   by Blogger JONESGOBLUE
No - they said during the game that Posey (who's already committed to Tosu) put it on his helmet without his knowledge.
Posted: 6:35 PM   by Blogger Bo
Tom Brady is in a completely different type of spread offense than what Rich Rodriquez runs. Coach Rod basically runs a wishbone out of the shotgun. They run the ball a lot more than they throw it. The Spread that Tom Brady is in is far more similar to that of Texas Tech or Hawaii.
Posted: 6:39 PM   by Blogger Andy
Yes, "burned to the water line" is never good to hear.

As an LSU alum, I'm hoping for both teams to play to their potential, and I wish both coaches and the entire teams good luck.
Posted: 7:01 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Every time I read an article about Pryor he doesn't come off so great in the mental department, including a write up in today's New York Times. He reminds me a little bit of a Perilloux lite; showing some mild disrespect to qbs already at the schools he's considering, openly dissing some school's ways of doing things and where they're located, going on and on about how this coach and that coach are going to change their schemes for him, etc. etc. Of course, all these grown men fawning over some kid and promising him the world aren't going to help matters, and who knows how or why the media decides to spin a story in a certain direction. They could be focusing on the worst just to sell papers.

I recently read an article about the spread offense in the Detroit Free Press. Woody Dantzler, who passed for over 2000 and ran for over a 1000 at Clemson in Rodriguez's spread, said that it's only a matter of time before defenses catch up to this latest fad. I'd have to agree with that. It always happens. I think that coaches will also eventually find a run oriented spread to be too risky. Look what happened to Dennis Dixon and Pat White. They got hurt and their teams were almost immediately booted from contention. The run oriented spread exposes the qb way too much. You'll never see that offense in the pros. The qbs won't last. So why would some kid that hopes to succeed in the pros someday, want to run that offense in college? It baffles me. In two years, Vince Young has a 68 passer rating with something like 12 tds and 17 picks this year. Laugh at Jimmy Clausen now, but in a couple years...
Posted: 7:30 PM   by Blogger larrywp
STEWART, I hate to digress, but I just read your special column about a playoff in college football and I had to say something about it before I explode. WHY DOES THE BIG 11 AND PAC 10 MATTER? If they don't want to play, give them their jacks and let them go home!! About the second time that Ohio State and USC are left out of the playoff scenario, both of those conferences will come begging to be let back in. SO LET'S JUST MOVE ON WITHOUT THEM!! THEY ARE NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR THIS SCENARIO! Thank you for allowing me to release.
Posted: 7:45 PM   by Blogger Debuckeyes
This kids like the spreed becuase of the me me factor
Posted: 8:09 PM   by Blogger Geaux Tigers
Stu - Larrywp has a point there.

Perhaps they can be dragged kicking and screaming to think about the greater public interest, rather than Bose Bowl self interest.
Posted: 8:41 PM   by Blogger jerry
Michigan fans are too worried about the small stuff. Who cares if you get Pryor?? One player is not going to save your program. On that note...nice win against Florida.
Posted: 8:46 PM   by Blogger David
Mandel is too much of a coward to write in his blog about the Orange Bowl; he can't admit that a team that he thought didn't belong actually won the game.
Posted: 9:10 PM   by Blogger rhymeister
People who go on and on about how NCAA Dvi I won't ever have a playoff system are not helping matters. We don't need more propaganda from the various bowl committees. If they, the writers and bowl powers that be, had any vision at all they could see that they could make much more money than they do presently. And really is all about money.

Simple, take the top 8 teams and put in a playoff using the bowls. Don't wanna play ball Rose Bowl, okay, you're out: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and Cotton. Rotate those four for the nat'l title game every year. Every conference will have a conference title game so you cut the schedule back one game or even two, if you want to argue players are going to miss two much classtime because of the playoffs.

The rest of the teams will have to go to the other existing bowl games and that will mean a few 6-6 and 7-5 teams won't be able to go &/or more bowl games will come into existence.

Voila, it's all quite simple and those four major bowls will make a heck of a lot more money because of increased ad revenue, due to more interest from fans and other viewers, and at the gate.
Posted: 9:25 PM   by Blogger MichiganMan
Bo: I get what you are saying but the spread is the spread. You got a passing and a running spread. Overall its still the spread. You think Rich would change it to utilize his talent?
Posted: 9:33 PM   by Blogger MichiganMan
eric y-town: Man I feel you. I have been saying that from the get go. The run-spread hurts the QBs and the Recievers in the NFL. Percy Harvey will be the next Reggie Bush. Eventually defenses will catch up and there will be a new fad. I prefer the pass-spread. Four wide and one back. You can't beat that. As for Pryor, I hope he goes somewhere else. He has a cockiness about him that makes him look really immature.
Posted: 10:09 PM   by Blogger WoodyFan68
I hate to agree with MichiganMan, but I'm not sure Ohio State needs another Perriloux or Clarrett type on the team either, let Pryor go to Michigan or somewhere else.

By the way, I was rooting for Michigan all the way against no-class Florida. Nice win...but will revert back to U of M hater in November 2008.
Posted: 11:15 PM   by Blogger Charles
for David - The ACC was 2-6 in the bowls. A kansas win over Va Tech hardly proved it was more deserving than Mizzou of a BCS invite. Kansas is probably #4 in the Big 12, and the OKLA loss combined with its regular season suggests that the Big 12 is probably not much better than the ACC. The Kansas victory does nothing to show that Stew's evaluation was mistaken.
Posted: 11:59 PM   by Blogger Sean
Let's all jump on the playoff band wagon now. TigerGeaux and Larrywp. Let's see how quickly the SEC will jump off the bandwagon when the Sugar Bowl gets two teams - SDakota and UConn and the Detroit Motor City Bowl gets Georgia and Youngstown State. Woowee, wouldn't that be a laugher. All of a sudden the SEC does not get any good bowl because the playoff pits them in stupid scenarios. It we want to make the playoffs properly, then lets get southern teams playing in freezing weather up in the north. Got to make it fair and there will be a scenario ultimately that the SEC will whinge and cry about having to play on some teams "homefield" because the stadium got the bid. Come on guys...let's do some homework. The rest of the "winter" sports get played inside and not everyone has a dome...Oh wait, we can have all the playoff games down in the desert of Arizona now they have the perfect stadium. Yes, what a brilliant idea.

I could care less about any mythical title that any team earns in any playoff. Will there be any less grumbling in a playoff system when an LSU gets bracketted as a number two or three and plays a tougher playoff than a number one seed USC? Yea, let's do that. I love conversations like this.
Posted: 12:09 AM   by Blogger Charles
for sean - You can blame the SEC for the fact that most of the bowls are played in the south. You can cry about it as much as you want, but I don't see how crying will change things.
There is no legitimate playoff in NCAA Division I football. There are simply bowl games and the BCS efforts to use voters to decide which two teams present the best body of work at season's end. It is not the fault of the SEC that the Pac 10, Rose Committee, and Big 10 want to cling to tradition and are now standing in the way of at least a plus one effort, but cry and blame the SEC if you want.
Posted: 2:48 AM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
My gut tells me that Michigan made a mistake by letting Carr go and not hiring a different kind of guy. Over a hundred years of great football and they're going with the godfather of the latest fad? I just hope that Ryan Mallett gets a fair shake from Rodriguez. He seems like a good kid with great leadership skills, tons of charisma, intelligence, and an NFL future. As an OSU fan, he scares me because he's one of those few guys that I actually wish we had.
Posted: 3:46 AM   by Blogger m.
Sure, defenses will catch up to it sooner or later. The question I have is whether or not it's really a fad, whether or not it winds up like the run-and-shoot or if it ends up being pretty well-established. A fad isn't necessarily bad. I do remember at least a couple of teams having a lot of success with that "wishbone" fad in the seventies and eighties, but that had a lot to do with the talent they had.

The problems teams using the spread have had after losing their quarterback are troubling, too (for me as a Michigan fan, anyway). Then again, that's not unsurprising, either. You lose your QB for some or all of a game, you're more likely to lose it unless the backup has some experience. Oregon was admittedly a pretty extreme example of that (although it looks like they found somebody who can run that offense now). Michigan had trouble moving the ball when Henne was hurt, it's not a surprise.
Posted: 4:11 AM   by Blogger Smittersmats!
You've got to start using that spell check, Stew. You're a professional. You spelled Bourbon wrong when talking about Port of Call.
Posted: 8:36 AM   by Blogger Al
The comment about Tressel and the hamburger is great, ss a Louisianan and former NO resident, I can tell you that no one from NO knows which way is "north" on Bourbon Street. Direction is meaningless in NO, and especially on Bourbon St. But, I agree, he must be referring to the famous Port O Call burger, for you out of towners, try it...
Posted: 8:49 AM   by Blogger Mike
hmmm. A Woody fan that doesn't like Florida. That's a surprise. Hates them so much he pulled for Michigan! What a joke.
Posted: 9:24 AM   by Blogger Kevin
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 9:26 AM   by Blogger Kevin
I agree Al, I mean, you drive east to get to the West Bank.
Posted: 10:23 AM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
You have to admit that it's pretty interesting that in his final game, Carr and Michigan went out and slapped around the most successful example of the offense that's replacing him. And what exactly did the spread offense win THIS year? The Big East? Some might argue that the Michigan-Florida game will turn out to be the defining moment for the spread. Nebraska should have been patient and stuck with Nebraska football. We'll learn soon enough if Michigan, a team that almost played for the national title last year, has made the same mistake. We'll also learn if teams like Mizzou and Appalachian St. can continue to fool anyone.
Posted: 12:32 PM   by Blogger larrywp
This thread has really become confused. Sean took off on some rant that made my eyes glaze over in the middle of the third sentence. The salient point is this: SOME FORM OF PLAYOFF...NOW!! If the Big 11 and Pac 10 want to play in the Rose Bowl after the season, I have no problem. Let them do that. The rest of us will have a National Championship to squabble over. NOW LET'S GET IT ON!!
Posted: 12:37 PM   by Blogger osuneer
The spread offense won the Fiesta Bowl by 20 points this year.
Posted: 12:56 PM   by Blogger bgault
Guys -

With all due respect...most of the country doesn't care if there's a playoff or if there's the traditional bowl games. I know that ESPN has their polls saying all that stuff...but the proof is in the pudding - college football is at the height of it's popularity, and the revenues are just unfathomable.

How would the revenue be spread in your playoff scenarios? How would each conference be represented in your scenarios? How would each conferece be forced to have a championship game when there are conferences that don't have the requisite 12 teams?

Stop spouting off at the hip, and really think about things and how they would work for once.

Do you think for one minute that CFB wants to lose the possibility of a Pitt/WVU matchup late in the season, with serious implications for many teams? The answer is an obvious "hell no!" Do you really think anyone would have watched that game had WVU been fighting for seeding only? Absolutely not.

And...before you trumpet the rise of the Big East as the "Best Conference Ever" Pittfan...maybe your conference should have a team actually play for a national championship...and then we'll talk. Oh, that's right...you had the inside track on the game, and then choked against 4-7 Pitt in spectacular fashion. As did Rutgers last year when they were the media darlings.
Posted: 1:29 PM   by Blogger SOS
Pryor is going to end up in Happy Valley playing for JoePa as he has announced that he would allow him to play both football and basketball.
Posted: 1:31 PM   by Blogger Michael
Y-town. With the spread App beat Michigan, and won a third straight national title with it (Through Playoffs). That's definately a fluke (They won't fool us this time). WVU won by 20 in the Fiesta. Florida runs a different spread than App State and Oregon. App and Oregon won with elusive runners, Florida lost with a big runner and no other running game. That's not a great example. I think the patriots even run a type of spread, just not a running spread. The Spread is revolutionizing college football. It helps teams with less talent and depth beat teams with more talent and depth. Someday, someone will find an efficient way to stop it, and a new type of offense will catch on. But for now, the spread is probably the greatest type of offense in college football.
Posted: 1:38 PM   by Blogger UTexUHouFan
A traditional playoff would ruin the regular season, but a "pre-bowl seeding" system would be awesome... as follows.

Take 12 teams based on 3 criteria.
1. Win your conf and finish in top 25. Seed according to ranking.
2. If not enough teams meet first criteria, then seed remaining (lower) spots with highest ranked conference runners up. An 8th ranked runner up would get seeded lower than an 18th ranked conference champion.
3. No more than 2 teams from any conference. Either win your conference to control your destiny, or be subject to hoping for an at large spot.

This pre-bowl seeding system would likely include the BCS champs, plus a couple of lower conf champs like a Hawaii or BYU, as long as they finish in top 25.

It would also get 3 to 5 other top 10 or 15 finishers even though they lost their conference... see Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Missouri/Kansas, etc. But no more than 1 runner up from a conference.

One other requirement would be, any conference that wants to play a conf championship game, must find a way to schedule it instead of one of their 12 regular season games. This way the first set of games games could take place the week after regular season.

Week 1: The week after regular season, seeds 5, 6, 7 and 8 get a home game versus 12, 11, 10 and 9. Pretenders will be knocked out this week, leaving 8 solid contenders.

Week 2: A week later, seeds 1, 2, 3 and 4 get home game versus winners of week 1. Notice that these first two weeks give the top 8 teams the chance to earn bucks from an extra home game... and their conferences can split up big TV money. This also prevents bowl issues.

Week 3 (Bowl Week): Week 2 left us with 4 contenders who then go to 2 top bowl games. Several top bowls can either rotate each year, or there can be a tie-in based on the region or conferences of the 2 top contenders. The 8 eliminated teams would all go to various bowls as usual. (If they wish, Rose Bowl could take Pac10/Big10 teams that didn't make it through playoff.)

Week 4: Two winners of week 3 would play an additional, bowl-style, national championship game. Again, there could be a rotation amongst existing bowls, or even a superbowl-like game played in highest bidding cities at NFL stadiums. There could possibly even be a "consolation game" played a day or two earlier, by the losers of Week 3.

This system would maintain the significance of regular season, would preserve and enhance the bowl games, would give non-bcs schools a "shot", and of course, make tons of money for all parties. Not to mention, we'd get some awesome games and a decisive national champion.

Also, compared to a current season max of 14 games, this would change very little. Ten of the 12 teams would still only play 14 games. If top 8 finisher goes to championship game, they'd play 15. If a team seeded 9 through 12 makes it to national championship game, that team would end up playing 16 games.

Posted: 2:13 PM   by Blogger Matthew
Stew, if the other press I've read about Abdallah is correct, his family relocated to their native Palestine, as in, next to Israel, not some town called Palestine, Louisiana. I believe Abdallah does still have some family on the Westbank (as in the Westbank of the Mississippi River here in New Orleans, not the West Bank of the Jordan River in Israel -- man this can get confusing).
Posted: 2:28 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Yeah, I understand the different forms of the spread offense and I know what it won this year. It won peanuts when placed in the context of the big picture. I guess I'm more of a glass is half empty kind of guy who sees more of what it lost. For example, it lost a shot at the national title against Pitt, it lost the same against Arizona, it lost the health of its qbs in crucial situations, it lost the Big 12 championship game, etc. I question the spread because I wonder whether or not Michigan made a mistake by heavily investing in what could turn out to be college football's version of the Betamax. I have no desire to debate its merits or lack thereof until next year and the years beyond. But if I was a college qb with a big, accurate arm and NFL aspirations, I would not want to play in an offense that has me running the ball as frequently as Dixon and White did in their schemes. They get too beat up and they'll never do that sort of thing in the pros. I'd want to develop my skills as a pocket passer and scrambler who uses his feet to evade the rush and buy more time to throw, not gain positive yardage. Leave that to the running backs. If I was recruiting Terrelle Pryor I'd tell him that I would not make him the next VY but instead something much better, the next John Elway.

If Pryor is going to PSU, he's doing a good job of hiding it, which he might be doing. In yesterday's New York Times, he said that he doesn't like PSU's geographical location, he doesn't like their offense, and he doubts their ability to install the spread just for him. All he did was complain about the place. And when asked about a potential competition with Ryan Mallett to start at Michigan, he said: "I'm not worried about no backups anywhere." Hmmm, what's that old saying again? "Pride comes before the fall?"
Posted: 3:23 PM   by Blogger Charles
There is only one way for a playoff. On New Year's let the eight teams in the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta Bowls play each other. A week later the four winners play off against each other, and a week later the two surviving teams play for the NC. In this way the Rose Bowl will get to keep the Big 10 champ and the Pac 10 champ as opponents. Since the Rose Committee, the Big 10 and the Pac 10 do not want to allow a playoff leave them out.
Posted: 3:30 PM   by Blogger Sam, Dawg Fan
I guess QBs in more traditional offenses never get hurt? Henne was injured this year and I bet there were lots of other non-spread QBs qho missed games (Booty for instance).

I love all the playoff scenarios. Do you people think that no one has ever come up with whatever scenario you came up with? The answer is NO.
Actually Stewart, that guy told Tressel wrong. Port O'Call DOES have great burgers. But in truth, Yo Mamma's burgers (right next to Johnny White's off of Bourbon Street (across from Pat O's) makes Port O'Call look like cardboard.

Trust me on this. No I don't work there, but I live 5 blocks away right smack in the middle of both of them!

Oh yeah...GEAUX TIGERS!!!!
Posted: 5:23 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Obviously, qbs in other systems do get hurt, but it's pretty clear that the risk factor increases when the qb is also a running back. The difference might not be that great in college, but when you get to the pros, the running qb is likely to have a short career. Football is a tough game. The average American male lives to the age of 79, while the average NFL player only lives to 55. That's almost a quarter century difference. These guys might as well be growing up in Baghdad. You think that some qb running around like he's OJ is going to last for a long time? All I'm saying is that if I'm a coach or a qb, I'd prefer to have a system that attempts to protect the qb a lot more than the run-spread thing does, for the sake of my team and my career.
Posted: 6:34 PM   by Blogger Larry

It'll be interesting to see if whoever Tebow ends up with uses him the same way he's been playing so far. He's an outstanding player, no doubt about that, but if I was the owner of the team that picked him up, I'd want him to be charging the defensive line a LOT less. He'd still scramble of course, but it seems to me that the guys in the pros are going to hit WAY harder than in college. The good news is that with his toughness (of which I have no doubt) he'll probably be better equipped than many to withstand the punishment. In any case, it'll be interesting to see if/how his style changes once he makes the pros.
Posted: 7:47 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Hey Larry-
Not only do the pros hit way harder, they do it in a lot more games. In a league where they're paid millions to play, I find it hard to believe that too many qb running plays will find their way into NFL playbooks. A good pro quarterback that can pass the ball effectively week in and week out is too rare to risk with a lot of designed running plays. NFL owners are financially savvy people, they don't risk their investments when they don't have to.
Posted: 8:47 PM   by Blogger Michael
Most spread offense running quarterbacks couldn't make it in the NFL. Or maybe they care more about winning more than "Their Career". The only reason some running quarterbacks make it at the college level is because of their potential as runners. Most of them have no shot at an NFL career, so why not run and try to win all the college games they can. Do you think App State's 5-11, 165 pound quarterback could make it as a passing only quarterback? His running threat opens up his passing game and the running backs game, it unlocks the offense. When he was injured for several games (An injury from training camp but he played at Michigan anyway) the backup QB took over, he was not as much of a running threat so they adjusted the type of spread plays they called and he went 3-0.
Posted: 9:14 PM   by Blogger matt
Larry and Y-Town: Hate to burst your bubble, but in my coversations with a few ex-pro football players and former buckeyes, they've all confirmed that the hits are far less severe in the pros than at the college level. One once told me that he tackled a guy pretty hard and the player got up and yelled at him. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, of course, not too hit him so hard.

Apparently they're all concerned more with playing every week and being healthy and cashing checks to support their families, etc.
Posted: 9:59 PM   by Blogger MichiganMan
I don't think Pro Scouts will be looking at Tebow as a QB. He is more of a Dallas Clark, Chris Cooley type. He is not a very good passer. He would have to step it up a bit in the passing game to be a complete QB in the NFL. Not hatin, just my thoughts.
Posted: 10:40 PM   by Blogger Charles
Of course everyone has been reading about the revenge factor for OSU tomorrow. But I understand that LSU players are frequently reminded of Delaney's letter stating that they may be faster, but are not smarter. If so I would think that Delaney may have more than balanced that aspect. Opinions?
Posted: 11:58 PM   by Blogger Larry
To Matt: I don't have any "bubble" to burst, just suggesting that a club getting Tebow will probably find a safer way to use him than having him crash the line. As for college players hitting harder? Interesting, but that sure flies in the face of other things I've heard, and when you see the hits, they sure don't LOOK like they're less hard than college. In any case, I really don't care, but was just responding to an interesting question.

To Charles: My opinion is that no letter will even come CLOSE to balancing out all the crap that OSU players have heard over the last year, all the stuff they've heard, all the stuff they've read, etc. You think OSU FANS are sensitive about this stuff? You should see the players. All they've heard for the past year is that they had no business in the NC game last year, that they were too slow, pretenders, the Big 10 is "three yards and a cloud of dust", and other stupid stuff. Never mind that other teams have lost (including Florida) in the same or even more spectacular fashion in the NC game without the same reaction.

I've got no doubt that LSU is going to be fired up, and want to show what they're made of. And yeah, they're all healthy and they've got a hell of a team. That said, OSU has got a pretty damn good team as well, and believe me, they are NOT intimidated. I think it's going to be a pretty good game--LSU is clearly the favorite, but I think you'll see that OSU is plenty good as well. We've been here before. We heard Miami fans talking about "Messrs. So and So will make their presence known" and we met them head on. We may win, or we may lose, but I think you'll see a game full of heart on BOTH sides tomorrow night.
Posted: 1:38 AM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
No bubble to burst here either. Just trying to view the flip-side of the infallible, all conquering, unquestioned greatness of the spread offense. I'm really not prepared to argue against someone who comes on here and claims the inside poop from NFL players. I'm aware of the belief that NFL players are essentially glorified stuntmen, but whatever's going on, the pro game certainly appears to take a greater toll on players than the college game does. All I really know is that NFL players still get injured, a lot. That they have serious physical problems post-football. That players experience catastrophic injury playing the game. That players slide and duck out of bounds in order to avoid injury. That a certain national publication once wrote an article where they claimed that scientific evidence supports the notion that getting hit by Ronnie Lott was similar to getting smacked by a baseball bat in full swing. That players openly discuss the intense dangers of kickoff formations. That pro football is littered with stories like that of the great Mike Webster. That players retire because they suffer too many concussions, etc. etc. I'm just going on what I read here. But hey, maybe it's all just a big lie, an overpriced Broadway production on the gridiron. Maybe that's why I find pro football to be so boring. Hey, here's a thought, the next time Lawrence Taylor is putting on his tough guy act, I hope you're there to shut him up with your inside pearl of wisdom. I'm sure you'll be brave enough to do it and he'll be honorable enough to admit that yes, the pro game is indeed less rugged than the college game, haha.

Anyways, another disappointing game from VY today; the great running, throwing hope. At least he's doing better than Alex Smith.
Posted: 3:32 AM   by Blogger bgault
At the end of the day, there's a couple of things to consider about the spread, and any other offense for that matter.

1. Is the offense transferrable to another situation? I.e. - if the player were to become proficient in running the offense, would they be able to take that proficiency to another program, or more importantly for most, to the NFL? Schools like OSU, UM, OU, and USC regularly turn out NFL talent. And while I don't have a team by team breakdown in front of me, I'm willing to bet that most collegiate teams that ran a "gimmick" offense such as the spread or triple option or run-n-shoot don't turn out many NFL players.

2. Running QB's are not popular in the NFL because they are the highest paid players, and because they are the unquestioned leaders of a team. Think of all the NFL QB's you can right now, and then think of the "best" QB's. Names such as Brady, Manning (and no, not Eli), and Favre come to mind. For as much as McNabb and Vick were going to revolutionize the NFL game, it's remained largely unchanged in it's approach over the last 20 or so years.

So, to bring the point home...the college kid that couldn't go to an NFL factory (ahem...Pat White) will run a gimmick offense, while the future NFL stars are running NFL style offenses in college (i.e. - freaking Brady Quinn).

What this means is that the gimmick works because it's not seen a lot...think knuckle ball from a pitcher. But it doesn't mean that every pitcher is going to quit throwing fastballs to try to find the mythical "gyro ball" - no...it means that Tim Wakefield has a place - a unique niche he can call his own. And so will the Tim Tebows and Pat White's of the world. And, as much as most don't want to hear this...it will NOT be playing QB in the NFL.
Posted: 6:27 AM   by Blogger rhymeister
The comment about Tressel and the hamburger is great, ss a Louisianan and former NO resident, I can tell you that no one from NO knows which way is "north" on Bourbon Street. Direction is meaningless in NO, and especially on Bourbon St. But, I agree, he must be referring to the famous Port O Call burger, for you out of towners, try it... --- Al

I'll be sure to try it if I ever get there, hope it doesn't have weird things on it like Aussies prefer, i.e. beets, LOL.

Enjoy the game everyone. I think it will be more competitive than most analysts think.
Posted: 10:46 AM   by Blogger Quentin
WV ran the veer...it's a modified wishbone offense. It is what Nebraska ran, only WV runs it from the gun. It is NOT a spread offense. Florida runs the spread offense. The spread is a traditional shotgun single back set that uses receivers frequently as running backs. Yes, the veer occasionally will run reverses, all offenses do...but none with the frequency of a true spread offense. The veer and spread are triple option offenses, but the veer uses a QB-HB-FB personnel set while a spread uses a QB-RB-WR option
Posted: 10:50 AM   by Blogger Quentin
Tom Brady DOES NOT run the spread offense. There is no option involved in his offense. The patriots run the run and shoot or fun n' gun...just like Hawai'i. It is NOT a spread offense. The whole design of the spread is misdirection from the running game...there is none of that in the Pats playbook. A play action pass does not make it a spread offense.
Posted: 6:26 PM   by Blogger Michael

Isn't Five wide a spread? I thought that the spread could be different types. Look at what Henne did at Michigan vs. Florida. He ran the spread but never ran the ball.

Just checking.
Posted: 7:04 PM   by Blogger Charles
It is clear that the Pac 10 and the Big 10, along with the Rose Bowl Committee, are the obstacles to getting even a plus one game. Perhaps it is time for the other confs to proceed and leave the Big 10 and Pac 10 out if they do not want to be included. There may be a debate afterwards as to the #1 team but most fans would enjoy the plus one game anyway.
Posted: 7:25 PM   by Blogger rhymeister
If you ask me the SPREAD is just a hybrid or offshoot of the old run and shoot, not Texas A&M's back in the old day where they'd "run" three times, oh "shoot", it's time to punt, popularized by Mouse Davis, Houston Uni back in the day w/ Andre Ware and David Klingler, and what has been run at Hawai'i.

You can call Mike Leach's O at T-Tech a run & shoot cause essentially that's what it is IMO. In a spread there typically is more running options for the QB and it'll be interesting to see if Leach ever gets a good running QB whether he will employ it. If they do I can see them run up 800 yards on a sorry team.

That's my 2 yen on it.
Posted: 9:31 AM   by Blogger IBLEEDBLUE
I agree with Michigan man, Pryor isn't a Wolverine. No true Wolverine strattles the fence between OSU and Michigan. Go to OSU we don't need an arrogant self centered QB to bring down the rest of the team who can't pass at the college level anyhow. Wolverines bleed only blue not scarlet. Let osu deal with his arrogant selfish interests. Probally be inelgible at Michigan grade wise where he can pass at OSU. I know a OSU recruit put the buckeye leaf on his helmet but he still showed it off in front of the cameras raising his finger after pointing to the leaf saying #1 baby. He isn't Wolverine material
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