Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tressel Shoulda Put In Johnny Utah (or Shane Falco)

That was always the problem any time that Hollywood attempted to paint a portrait of an Ohio State QB.
Something always got lost in the character-development.
Whether it was ex-Ohio State QB JOHNNY UTAH (portrayed by Keanu Reeves) workin' as a special agent for the FBI or whether it was QB SHANE FALCO (portrayed by the same Keanu Reeves, who portrayed ex-Ohio State QB Johnny Utah) scraping barnacles off the hulls of boats in Baltimore harbor, the audience usually walked out of the theater feeling as though maybe the writers could've done a better job of revealing Keanu Reeves' "inner QB."

Despite the lack of depth in character development -- and notwithstanding the fact that you threw like a chick -- we love you, Johnny Utah.
You're a rebel, Johnny Utah -- and you dish out your own brand of frontier justice.
Still ... we'll never forget you, Shane Falco.

True dat: Memories of Johnny Utah and Shane Falco are all there is to cling to after Troy Smith left that humongous 4-of-14, 35-yd. pile of feces on the University of Phoenix turf last night (which, by the way, was NOT the same surface which Boise State and Oklahoma had played on one week earlier. Apparently, the old turf was auctioned off on eBay ... or somethin').

There's not too much to put into the recap of such a decisive ass-whoopin' ... 'cept maybe that intangibles such as "leadership" are more noticeable when the opponent is Indiana, rather than Florida.
In other words, Troy Smith -- when his NFL stock wasn't dropping by the minute -- was unable to "will the Blackeyes" to victory.

What we saw from Team Tressel was nothing like what we saw from the scrappy Louis Tully when he came to the aid of the Ghostbusters.
When he put on the jumpsuit and was preparing for action, Louis ran down the sidewalk with a game plan of: "Happy New Year ... stay fit, keep sharp, make good decisions ..."

We didn't see that from the Blackeyes last night (except maybe for the "Happy New Year" part).
To wit, the only thing worse than watching Troy Smith play QB was watching Alex Boone "attempt" to play left tackle.
America expected more from someone who wears the same number (#75) as OSU O-line legend Orlando Pace.
The kid defamed Pace's #75.
However, we should never forget that Alex Boone is 6-foot-8, 325 lbs.
Those dimensions receive special mention for Creatine America because: "You can't teach size."

In terms of "shocker" value, well ... that's a fairly subjective term. For those of us who actually watched college football in '06 (which excludes you, Leak Orso ... and probably you, too, Herb Kirkstreit), the Big Ten was ranked No. 6 (by this Planet) among the nation's 11 Div. I-A conferences (behind the SEC, the Pac-10, the Big XII, the ACC and the Big East -- but ahead of the WAC at No. 7 and C-USA at No. 8).

True, Wisconsin and Penn State came up with New Year's Day wins over the vaunted SEC (by beating Arkansas and Tennessee, respectively), but didn't we all have oodles of fun pondering weak-ass efforts from Minnesota (North Dakota State manhandled the Goofs, piling up a 23-12 edge in first downs before losing, 10-9, on a blocked FG on the game's final play ... and let's not forget the 38-7, third-quarter lead which Minny blew vs. Texas Tech in the bowl game which nobody watched on the NFL Network) and Northwestern (losing at home to New Hampshire).

Maybe Northwestern should receive a "pass" in '06 due to the death of head coach Randy Walker during the first week of July. And, maybe the NDSU Bison have one of the best programs in Div. I-AA.
Still ... the Big Ten served as the answer to the riddle which goes, "what's brown and sounds like a bell?"

Not that the Alligators were so "soop-Urb."
If the Alligators' key strengths of team speed, team speed and team speed were so overwhelming, then why so many craptastic wins this year? (see: Vandy, others)
And, if the "nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves!" card is to be played, maybe those whompin', stompin' Swamp chompers can explain why they booed the bejabbers outta QB Chris Leak this season.

It's like this, Gainesville: America didn't find you all that likeable 'cuz there wasn't all that much to like.

Despite that, the flesh-puncturing amphibians put it all together last night in a coll. FB eco-system which requires one team to sit around for 50 days.
Which is acceptable because that's the way they've been doin' things for years. It was, though, alarming to see TresselVest -- "America's No. 1 big-game coach" -- have his I.Q. crumpled and stuffed into the pocket of his sweater vest.

When Florida did whatever it did on D ("D" equals "on the defensive side of the ball"), TresselVest was looking to the bench to see if Maurice Clarett was ready to get back into the game.
Here's an idea for The Genius: When the blue-jersey opponent is bringin' the house, maybe try some dump-offs or some screen passes or -- better yet -- try mixing in a tight end as a safety valve instead of having Heisman Troy-phy taking a 9-step drop and surveying the landscape as his blindside protector (that's you, Alex Boone) attempts to remove his cleats from the quicksand he's stuck in.

One can pick out any number of so-called turning points, but, 'round here, we like to point out the obvious -- such as when the Blackeyes, as the home team, opted to wear their white road-game jerseys (probably because white was what OSU wore when it beat the 'Canes for the nat'l championship in Arizona four years ago).
White also became a problem for Teddy Ginn once he committed the major faux pas of applying black athletic tape to his new white cleats.

Nobody tapes his white cleats with black tape ... not in America, anyway.
Anti-American behavior cost Teddy Ginn dearly.
He was dogpiled after that opening KOR TD -- and, oddly enough, Ginn was the only thing the Blackeyes hit hard all night.
After Ginn got hit, Blackeye fans hit the gin pretty hard.

From an X's and O's standpoint, the one play which really stood out (aside from the 4th-and-1 from their own 29 when the OSU OL generated ZERO surge) was the dandy bit of coverage that cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (#2) applied to Dallas Baker on the Alligators' first TD.
Jenkins gave Baker a WEAK shove (sometimes, they call it "a chuck") and then let Baker go ... assuming that Brandon Mitchell (#32) would provide safety help (we assume).
Mitchell was late getting over to Baker and Leak put his throw on the money ... Baker hauling in the pass near the goal line before waltzing into the end zone.

The best part of the play (aside from Jenkins' paddycake love-tap) was Leak's pass floating inches over Jenkins' outstretched arm as the CB was covering nobody in No Man's Land.
Sang John Lennon: "He's a real nowhere man / Sitting in his nowhere land / Making all his nowhere plans / For nohhhh-buddd-deee ..."

What exactly was OSU's defensive mindset right there?
Was Jenkins assigned to cover nobody in No Man's Land because "nobody knows if there'll be a swing pass into the left flat so that Malcolm can tumble to the ground and whiff on the ankle-tackle"?

Dallas Baker is a Touchdown Maker.
Probably a good idea to blanket him.
It was a mighty sad display of technique "on the defensive side of the ball" from a player wearing Mike Doss' #2 and another player wearing Jack Tatum's #32.

In a game as rout-tastic as what these combatants delivered, a fella's mind can sure wander. One minute, you're watching Jenkins and Mitchell mishandle the coverage -- and the next minute, you're flashing back to a 1996 matchup between the Blackeyes and the Alligators and a showcase confrontation between OSU CB Shawn Springs squaring off against UF WR Ike Hilliard.

Or maybe you've completely zoned out and it's 1984 and you're remembering when Florida wore the orange jerseys (but they still had the script "Gators" on the side of the helmets) and Charley Pell had a freshman QB named Kerwin Bell who was wearin' #12 -- and the thing that struck you as odd was the fact that this Kerwin Bell was a white-boy Kerwin Bell, not the black Kerwin Bell who rushed for 1,000 yards as a freshman at Kansas the same year that you were a freshman in college (in fact, both of you were seniors in large SoCal high schools at the same time).

Without warning, your white Kerwin Bell vs. black Kerwin Bell parade of memories yields to the first college football game you ever watched in your college dorm's TV lounge... a 10 a.m. kickoff between the Cal Bears and Florida ... and the Gators, coming off an 0-10-1 season, beginning the new decade with a guy named Bill Hewko (if memory serves) tossin' passes to Cris Collinsworth -- only Hewko would eventually lose his job (injury, perhaps?) to freshman Wayne Peace, who dazzled his way onto a Sports Illustrated cover that year ... wearing #15, the number which Tim Tebow currently wears.

You chuckle because Florida (0-10-1 the year before) really pounded the crap outta Cal, 41-13 -- but the Gators would get their come-uppance (whatever "come-uppance" is) later in the season when Buck Belue would throw that dump-off pass to Lindsay Scott which the Georgia flanker would turn into the 92-yard TD in the game's final minute during the Dawgs' run to the national championship.

Such a sandlot play reminded you of all the times that you went to the big field at the elementary school for 2-on-2 and, while in the huddle, you n' Kirk pulled a page out of the Gator playbook: Why not take it to Chuck n' Jim with the rollouts which we'd just seen Terry LeCount tossin' to Wes Chandler over n' over again?

Wes Chandler ... jeez, that guy was fantastic.
Moreso in the NFL than at Florida perhaps, but, stil ...

As stated ... sometimes, the mind wanders.

Ya gotta gotta cover the rollouts.
We never played zone in 2-on-2.

Zone coverages are so wussy, so dainty, very much "let's-not-wrinkle-our-prom-dresses."
Florida didn't win because of team speed, team speed, team speed and team speed -- so don't let Herb Kirkstreit's hair-product, hazel eyes and raspy voice talk ya into bed.
Florida won because the Alligators blocked people, the Alligators tackled people, the Alligators covered people, the Alligators had assignments and then carried out those assignments (94.8 percent of the time).

In other words, the Alligators played the way that fireronzook.com knew they could play when fireronzook.com recruited those players.
Which wasn't enough to save Ron Zook from fireronzook.com backlash -- although Ron Zook's orange-helmeted Fighting Illini held their own against TresselVest this season (a 17-10 final verdict ... which probably wasn't enough to satisfy the Champaign Chapter of fireronzook.com).

TresselVest ... he's one controversial end-zone P.I. against Miami DB Glenn Sharpe four years ago from being nuthin' more than a title-game Tom Osborne.
(Note: TresselVest and Tom Osborne won national championships with two of the worst criminal minds at tailback ... take a bow, Maurice Clarett and Lawrence Phillips).

Back in the ol' days, TresselVest had a molecular genetics major (Craig Krenzel) at QB.
Last night, he had what the NFL is about to discover is the second coming of Spergon Wynn.

Actually, in terms of "physique" and "tools," Troy Smith stands a chance of being remembered as "the untalented version of David Garrard" -- which is why Al Davis just ripped up his Troy Smith trading card and began reading the pamphlets which contained pro-JaMarcus Russell propaganda.
Jeez ... just wait'll Grandpa Al gets JaMarcus' 6-foot-10, 338 lbs. frame into a black jersey and a silver helmet before JaMarcus' scattershot arm fires bazooka passes all over the Oakland Coliseum.

The sad thing is, there hasn't been a quality NFL QB'er outta LSU since Bert Jones in the 1970s (Y.A. Tittle before that).
Speaking of the '70s, sure ... we who saw JaMarcus unleash that 70-yard (on the fly) pass at the end of regulation vs. Tenn. in '05 had our breaths taken away.
But, LSU QBs of the past 30-some-odd years are simply not NFL material.

Whether it be Pat Lyons, David Woodley, Alan Risher, Jeff Wickersham, Tommy Hodson, Josh Booty, Matt Mauck (from Santa Claus, Ind.) ... and, that's not counting the crop of recent not-too-shabby-on-the-collegiate-level, black Tiger QBs (i.e. Herb Tyler, Rohan Davey and Marcus Randall).
A lot of us loved Rohan Davey. To us, Rohan Davey was like a male, non-pussy version of Johnny Utah or Shane Falco.

A lot of us picture JaMarcus Russell as a 6-foot-10, 338-lb. version of Rohan Davey.
Davey, as you might recall, simply trashed the (bleep) outta Illinois in the Sugar Bowl five years ago, then ... well, we don't remember what happened to him.
New England Patriots taxi squad or NFL Europe or something.

A lot of us see JaMarcus Russell -- fresh off a Sugar Bowl pounding of Notre Dumb -- following in Davey's footsteps, although, physique-wise and tools-wise, he reminds us of a more-inconsistent version of the inconsistent Daunte Culpepper.

How the Troy Smith Eulogy turned into the JaMarcus Russell Comedy Roast ... we're not sure. What we are sure of, though, is how pointless it is to prognosticate for a month about OSU-FLA and then to pontificate for another week about "how we need a playoff."
The bowl-game system may have its flaws, but a playoff system (which, by the way, would NOT include everybody's Boise Cinderella, but rather a three-loss LSU and a two-loss USC) that is riddled with bullet holes doesn't seem to stack up as a viable option.

It's more fun to assemble our own Haystack-It Bracket, wherein (as we've specified), No. 1 Florida plays the winner of Boise State/Houston ... No. 3 Oklahoma plays the winner of Ohio State/Mid-Tenn. St. ... No. 4 Wake Forest plays the winner of Louisville/Notre Dumb ... and No. 2 USC plays the winner of BYU/Ohio.
We can either stick to the traditional bracket -- or we can re-seed as we see fit.

Or we can simply do what we do every year and kill time with: Florida lost to Auburn ... Auburn lost to Georgia ... Georgia lost to Vanderbilt ... Vanderbilt lost to Ole Miss ... Ole Miss lost to Missouri ... Misery lost to Iowa State ... Iowa State lost to Montana State ... Montana State lost to UC Davis ... UC Davis lost to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo ... Cal Poly-SLO lost to ("Did you order the Code Red?" YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!!!) -- SAN JOSE STATE!

We worked this backwards before the '00 Rose Bowl and discovered that Elon College should have been playing Elon College in Pasadena on New Year's Day.
Predicted winner: Elon College.
Either way, the New Mexico Bowl champion Men of Sparta are BCS-bound in '10 or '11 ...

No comments: