Random Thoughts On A Wednesday

—I know I’m supposed to be the Heisman Pundit and all, but the whole Reggie Bush thing just bores me.  The guy took money and now his Heisman is being taken away.  Fine.  That’s newsworthy.  But let’s not act like he’s an ax murderer.  He ran afoul of the NCAA, not the law.  Should we put a scarlet letter on the guy, too?  The media drumbeat that he has to somehow appear contrite or apologize for their standards is wearisome.  The holier-than-thou op-eds are predictable.  So he’s just another spoiled, self-centered athlete…is anyone surprised at that?  And who cares anyway?  He’s in the NFL.

Dan Mullen is doing such a good job at Mississippi State.  I think Florida misses him more than it misses Tim Tebow.  The question now is whether Starkville is a stepping stone or if he’s going to be there for the long haul.  He will certainly have a choice on the matter soon.

—After seeing the way Trent Richardson ran against Penn State, is anyone feeling bad for the Tide that Mark Ingram has been out?  I’ve written since late last fall that Richardson is the more talented back, though that certainly is no slight on Ingram’s abilities.  But it really seems to make no difference which of the two backs is out there–they are both going to be productive.

Tressel Ball was made for last Saturday’s matchup against Miami.  Ohio State sat back, played tough defense and let Miami make mistake after mistake, which the Buckeyes turned mostly into field goals.  That’s Tressel Ball to a tee.  The problem is that when that other team doesn’t make as many mistakes, the Buckeyes will have to generate more offense and they still don’t seem to be able to do that at a whim.

—Nebraska freshman quarterback Tyler Martinez was largely ignored by the local schools here in Southern California after a stellar career at Corona’s Centennial High.  Most thought he’d be a safety in college, but to his credit he stood by the notion that he was a quarterback.  And the Huskers are reaping the dividends so far.

—My thought as I was watching Oklahoma destroy Florida State was that the Seminoles still aren’t ready for prime time.  One of the things holding them back is their offense.  It’s just so hard to run a successful pro style offense in college football, which is one of the reasons I have long been skeptical of Jimbo Fisher as a head coach.  It’s a great device by which to waste a lot of talent.  Meanwhile, the Sooner offensive machine just rolled and no one is going to mistake that for a pro scheme any time soon.

—Kansas beating Georgia Tech a week after losing to North Dakota State and James Madison taking down Virgina Tech proves one thing:  No one really knows bupkus about what’s going to happen in college football. 

—As much as I think Lane Kiffin is a lousy coach, if you had told me before the season that USC would beat Hawaii and Virginia by a combined 16 points, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Could be a long season for the Trojans, especially once Pac-10 play starts.

—Let’s be clear:  I love Marcus Lattimore as a player.  He’s an amazing power back who is set for stardom.  But on my Twitter feed last Saturday I noted that he doesn’t have much speed in the open field and that caused some consternation.  I never get why a minor criticism in one area always has to be taken as a wholesale critique, but it was.  It’s simply  just the one part of the game that he lacks.  Heck, all you have to do is look at his yards per carry: At just 4.6, it’s well below average for this day and age.  After 51 carries in two games, he has yet to have a run longer than 24 yards.  I’m sure that will change, but the fact remains that he’s not exactly springing to daylight in the open field.

—It’s like a time warp in the Pac-10.  Go back 10 years and you saw Oregon and Stanford as the two best teams, USC and UCLA staggering around like drunken fools, a bunch of quality NFL prospects at quarterback and Ed Orgeron and Rick Neuheisel roaming the sidelines.

—Speaking of UCLA, whoever scheduled its non-conference games ought to be fired.  When you are a struggling program, it does you no good to play the slate the Bruins are playing this year. 

—At this rate, Case Keenum might have to wait until game 10 or 11 to break that NCAA all-time passing yardage mark.

—Some teams that might be a year away from something really special: Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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8 Responses to Random Thoughts On A Wednesday

  1. Ed Newman September 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    I expect that it’s not the case but I can see how some would take your “boredom” of the Bush situation as something else given your ties to the school. There is no doubt it is newsworthy and as the self titled Heisman guru you really shouldn’t be bored by it.

    Tressel Ball is exactly as you describe but it’s often not that they can’t generate offense–instead they choose to play too conservatively. This year I think they finally have a good O-Line (maybe better than good) so with about 5 quality runners on the roster (including TP) their late game offensive turtleing might actually be their best strategy. Keeps the ball away from their opponent and keeps that dominant defense fresh. And with TP able to make the once or twice a game drive sustaining play, I don’t think they will be as reliant on turnovers for their points as it might initially seem.

    USC is similar to UF at this point. Both look pretty bad in wins. We all seem to believe UF will turn it up but we aren’t as sure with USC. I think the individual talent on the two rosters is not that far apart, so it comes down to faith in Urban and lack of faith in Laney. I think Kiffin is getting some younger players some work because he knows he is going to need them over the next 3-4 years as his scholarships are reduced. And I think that Kiffin’s staff is pretty darn good, at least as good as what Urban is working with at the moment*. I think both programs will be in the hunt in their conferences but neither will win them.

    I don’t think it matters much if Lattimore breaks 50 yarders as long as he gets that 8-15 yrds consistently over 20-25 carries. Let’s face it, a back that can do that and control the game is more valuable than one that averages 3.0 ypc until he breaks a 50 yarder. Lattimore is a beast. The last SEC freshman to impress me like him was Darren McFadden.

    Will South Carolina be special at any time? Only if they’ve addressed their chronic depth problem and their inconsistent QB issues. SC (like Mich St) often has 22 players good enough to beat anyone but wears down in the 2nd half of the season as their lack of depth is exposed (UGA should refuse to play them so early). I think SC is what Boise State would be if they played in the SEC.

    *Aside: don’t most of us believe Bowden’s big issue wasn’t that the game passed him by but instead that he lost good assistants that he wasn’t able to replace adequately. Case in Point-Jeff Bowden. Meanwhile JoPa is just fine because his staff never changes. Meanwhile, Urban lost both Strong and Mullens.*

    • Heismanpundit September 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

      Thanks for letting me know what should and shouldn’t bore me! The Bush story has been going on for five years now and, yes, there is finally some conclusion to it perhaps. Is it newsworthy? Absolutely. But maybe I should’ve clarified that was is boring me more than the facts of the case is the media coverage and the rote moralism that goes along with it. The USC connection has nothing to do with it and, really, doesn’t it get old assuming that I’m some automoton governed by my USC roots? I’m equally bored by coverage of the Tiger Woods story and I have no connection to Woods.

  2. Glen September 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Well, I’m with you on Bush. Probably a good thing to give up the Heisman to stop the PR bleeding, but now the Reggie Bush Heisman story should just go away. It’s not interesting any more.

    Ingram, though? Ehhh, he hasn’t played in two games, so at this point of course it’s perfectly legit for him not to be on Heisman lists. But he might make his way back. Or Trent Richardson might stay up there.

    I thought you, and numerous other pundits, were premature in declaring Richardson better, or even “more talented.” Yes, it’s very clear he has a step on Ingram, and it’s very clear he drives a pile harder, but Ingram had a big lead on him last year in vision and change-of-direction.

    The first two weeks, Richardson has come out greatly improved in both vision and change-of-direction. That’s not shocking because Alabama has a fabulous running back coach, Burton Burns, who coached C.J. Spiller and James Davis at Clemson, and who has done miracle work the last three seasons with Glen Coffee in ’08, Ingram in ’09, and apparently Richardson this year.

    Still: don’t give TR the crown yet. Saban said that Ingram was playing at his highest level ever when he got hurt. I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing him play – next week against Arkansas. I won’t draw so many conclusions from what he does this week against Duke.

  3. @Ledcow September 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    I agree with your comments about Dan Mullens. MSU looks like a legitimate team, and they will no longer be a walk over team. But I did question their play calling against Auburn. Auburn could not stop them on the ground. Why stop running the ball? Run every play if need be. Both QBs were wildly inaccurate.

  4. Anonymous September 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Dan “Mullens” sure is making a name for himself.

  5. Bucknut September 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I don’t know why Tressel didn’t let TP call the timeout before the end of the first half. Even when the reporter asked Tressel he couldn’t give him a straight answer. I love Tressel but I wish he would take the blame sometimes. Like when we got waxed against Florida or at USC when we got crushed. Man up and say it’s my fault Buckeye fans. Also Tressel ball will not work every time. Maybe in 02 but not in this era.

  6. Roby September 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    We missed Mullen terribly last year, but with Tebow, the Gators were able to hide some of their deficiencies. Addazio is a terribly inept offensive coordinator and it is going to really hurt UF in recruiting in the future.

    He is doing the least with more talent than anyone else in the country. When you underachieve to that level, 80% of it is on the coaching staff. That spells trouble for the Gators.

    The funny thing about Mississippi State is that their defense that is the more impressive unit. They looked hungry and quick against Auburn. When Mullen gets that offense in place, look out.

  7. Anonymous September 16, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    I agree about Addazio – he’s a good coach, but he’s not an offensive coordinator. Meyer is loyal to his staff so it will be interesting to see how he addresses this problem.