About Heismanpundit

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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Bring Back The Stiff Arm!

Lately we’ve talked about the evolution of offenses, now here’s a little bit about the evolution of running styles.

Today’s players could learn a thing or two by going back to the stiff arm, as told in this piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Lowering the shoulder has become the move of choice for the power running back. The stiff arm has gone the way of the dodo.

“I don’t think the stiff-arm is as sure a move as a little sidestep. A lot of secondary players don’t have good tackling bases. They might get zippered up, so they don’t have a good base. If you have a good running back like the backs we have on this team, all it takes is one sidestep and they are headed back north-south.”

Or, as James said, a lowered shoulder. Which, by the way, is how Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma got many of his 1,925 yards last season. Then again, lowering that shoulder is also what got him offseason surgery.

Ironic that the Heisman Trophy itself employs the stiff arm. It’s probable that not a single one of the candidates this season have ever used it in a game.

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Mike Woods Out With His List

Mike Woods of MSNBC put out one of the best Heisman watches last season. He kicks off this year with Matt Leinart at the top of his group of contenders.

Only injury, or a lights-out year by teammate Reggie Bush, will prevent him from his appointed date with history. Or destiny, if you prefer.

As usual, Woods frames the debate properly. We don’t think that Leinart is going to win because of Heismandment No. 9, but we do acknowledge that this particular rule could fall by the wayside if History (with a capital ‘H’) is the order of the day.

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Never The Coaches Fault

It’s very important to understand ‘coachspeak’ when following college football. Coaches like to pump up their opponent, to go along with hyping of certain players, to talk about game plans publicly–only to think and do just the opposite most of the time.

One thing that coaches like to do to absolve themselves from blame is talk about ‘execution.’ When a coach puts together a game plan, he tells his team that if the game plan is executed, the team will win.

If the team loses, he can then blame the loss on lack of ‘execution.’

What is never admitted by the coach is that the game plan could very well be the problem. Sometimes, it could even go so far as be the fault of the scheme. But to admit that, a coach would have to admit that he has been selling a load of bull to his team. And that won’t happen.

The latest case of this is with Bob Stoops of Oklahoma. The last we saw the Sooners, his secondary was getting ripped to shreds in the Orange Bowl. This after a season of clear signs of vulnerability.

Now, is Oklahoma going to try to fix things by changing the way they scheme in the secondary? Oh no. They will shuffle some new players in. And work on technique. Click on this story to see what I mean.

To wit:

Matt Leinart disassembled Oklahoma’s secondary with a record-breaking performance in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners plan to rebuild it with an infusion of talent and a renewed focus on proper technique…..

What isn’t changing is Oklahoma’s defensive philosophy.

“The bottom line is I felt what we were in proved in a lot of games to be very successful,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said “In some games, we gave up some big plays, not so much because of the scheme.”

Instead, Stoops blames a lack of technique

Sure, it wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t because of his scheme. Oh no. The players didn’t execute because they didn’t use proper technique!

Again, if Stoops thinks he can just reshuffle some players and babble some nonsense about technique, the Sooners may be headed for more than the three losses that I predicted last week.

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Thornton Named Gators’ Starting Tailback

Junior Skyler Thornton has been named Florida’s starting tailback, with just over two weeks left until the first game against Wyoming.

Any thoughts by Gators fans out there on this? Is this just a motivational ploy for DeShaun Wynn or is Thornton really a good back?

I do know that anyone with the name ‘Skyler’ is almost always a good player. So he has that going for him.

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Making Fun Of The Noles

EDSBS gets a good, clean rip on FSU’s penchant for exaggerating the feats of their players. They link to a story that talks about the Noles’ latest quarterback find:

Finding out that Xavier Lee, in addition to once throwing the ball 70 yards off one knee, ripped the gloves of Antonio Cromartie last year with a hard-thrown pass. (?!?!) No word on whether both qbs run 4.2s.

I’m sure they do. Downhill. On a bike.

Not stopping there, EDSBS does a good job at looking at the lazy punditry of Trev Alberts here.

Money quote:

We?d gone for a while without a good nugget from Trev ?Lead Poisoning? Alberts, but thirst no more! He?s back, and still hammering away at his Fisher-Price My First Pundit?s Construction Set. Regardez this piece of gibberish:


Georgia should be able to line the ball up, run it 45 times and win the game 55-17. But you just don?t know. This is going to be an interesting year for Georgia with all the great players and all the great leaders that they lost. If they get behind, you don?t know what?s going to happen. Boise State will be ready to play when they come to Athens.

We tried to map out exactly what Trev said here, and rephrased, it comes out something like this:

That cat is totally going to eat that injured parakeet lying on the ground. but you never know, like, maybe the cat?s distracted or something, or thinking about licking its ass, or tuna or something. That parakeet is totally going to be ready for that cat, man-talons out!

Anyway, check it out, another good showing by EDSBS.

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Cool Website For News

Here’s a cool new site that was brought to my attention, thanks to my buddy, Sleepy James.

It’s called Sideline To Sideline.com and it has links to news on just about every college team out there.

Check it out.

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More On The Offensive Revolution

The only thing hotter than the new offensive trends in college football is talking about the new trends, as the focus on the subject was started here at Heismanpundit over the summer, then spread to Sports Illustrated and now the ball has been picked up by ESPN thanks to Pat Forde.

Money quotes:

Popular football theory says the running game is paramount, but look at the NCAA numbers from 2004. The top seven teams in passing efficiency had an average record of 11-1 and six were ranked in the final Top 25 — five in the top 10.

and:

In the Woody-and-Bo days, coaches solemnly said that three things could happen when you threw the ball, and two of them were bad. (In fact, this is one of the game’s earliest coaching clich?s.) Funny thing: Petrino, architect of one of the elite passing offenses in the country, used to hear that very bromide from his dad.

His dad must be coaching in a certain conference we all know and love. But seriously, Forde’s story about the evolution of passing offenses contains a lot of what we have been saying for a while here.

The question is, when will the MSM see the bigger picture, which is how these new trends are going to affect the balance of power in college football?

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