He has rushed for 1,227 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 31 passes for 331 more yards and another score. Asking a linebacker to cover a guy like Mitchell is like asking a sheepdog to catch mice. Offensive coordinators love such mismatches. Says TCU's Dan Dodd, "In today's open offenses your tailback has to catch the ball. Not many Ron Daynes and Shaun Alexanders are out there, so you look for guys with soft hands who make defenders miss."
In other words, coaches still would rather have big guys than small ones. When spring practice began, Erickson cast a skeptical eye at Simonton. "He's playing a lot better than I thought he would," Erickson says. "He's really strong and explosive."
Erickson understands that as long as he's coaching in Corvallis, he'll be buying his tailback uniforms in the boys' department "If there's a 6'1", 220-pound guy and USC and UCLA want him, hell end up going to one of those places," Erickson says. "We're looking for the little guys."
Toss in 5'10" quarterback Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech, a Heisman hopeful, and 5'8" wideout Troy Walters of Stanford, the pac-10's second-leading yardage gainer, and the case for the little man gets even more compelling.. "It's not what's on the outside. It's what's on the inside," Mitchell says. He laughs. "Of course, what's on the outside is working all right"
Rutgers Wins One for Coach
A week after Rutgers coach Terry Shea made an emotional defense of his four-year 7-35 record—"I'm going to see this thing through. That's the mettle of Terry Shea"—the Scarlet Knights broke their 11-game losing streak by upsetting Syracuse 24-21 in overtime....
Upset losses by North Carolina State and Wake Forest put the ACC in danger of not having enough bowl-qualified teams to fill its five berths. That's good news for the Big East, which likely will have a surfeit of such teams, and for Marshall. The Thundering Herd looks as if it will earn a third straight trip to the Motor City Bowl in Pontiac, Mich., but the Herd is discreetly trying to finagle an invitation to a more attractive bowl.