Monday, September 28, 2009

Bucs, Browns Wearing Same Shoes

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waited until the final game of the preseason to choose their quarterback for 2009. The Cleveland Browns waited even longer and now both teams are at the bottom of their respective conference barrels and both are making changes where? QB, of course.
The Bucs picked the slow-footed Byron Leftwich over the fleet-footed Luke McCown (and even traded McCown away to the Jaguars) and now turn their team over to the fleet-footed Josh Johnson (2008 5th round pick from the University of San Diego). There are more than a few pundits that had that mistake out before it was made (see my columns at This move being made as a opening act for the eventual appearance of their "savior" Josh Freeman.
On the Browns beat, they unfortunately have gotten a look at what was thought to be their own "redeemer" in Brady Quinn, but it may have been a false hope. Derek Anderson has the big arm and quick release, but hasn't been able to pull the poor Cleveland franchise out of the muck and mire either.
Neither team seems to have much motivation to rise up and compete, but we will see. Each has a new coach, but the one with experience (Eric Mangini) has players filing grievances against it and the other (Raheem Morris) speaks faster than any coach in history, but doesn't say much of anything at all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

B.J. Daniels Era Starts Right at FSU

Matt Grothe's record setting career ended last Saturday for the University of South Florida and the mantle was passed to redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels today. His first start came at Florida State this afternoon and looks like he will someday be the record setting QB from USF.
Daniels looks to be faster, quicker and a better overall passer than Grothe. He ended the day only 8 of 22, but he is a do everything player and will surely take USF to even greater heights than they have before.
Florida State was its own worst enemy, turning the ball over a number of times, but USF made plays and beat the Seminoles today. It was no accident. The Bulls and Head Coach Jim Leavitt continue to dominate competition outside of the Big East and are now 4-0 this season. The challenge, as it has been every year, is to make it happen in conference play. With B.J. Daniels at the helm, that should be fun to watch.

Superman Scares Football World

As a fan of the Florida Gators and of Tim Tebow, I got scared (and I assume the rest of you did as well) when Tim "Superman" Tebow laid on the ground motionless after a big hit in the chest sent him back into his own lineman's leg that snapped his head forward and knocked him unconscious.
Just last night, Lakeland High School (six current Gators are from Lakeland) was playing De La Salle out in California and one its players went down, but didn't get up. It was great to see Tebow get to his feet a few moments later, although obviously not all there in his head. He was taken to the hospital for follow-up.
It definitely looked like he was knocked unconscious. How quickly can he or should he return to the Gators' lineup? In similar situations, if a player does not have post-concussion migraines, etc., they usually return the following week.
The Gators have an open week before meeting up with LSU. Let's hope that he is back to his old self quickly. God speed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jacori Harris Has Hurricanes Back in Mix

Last season Jacori Harris got plenty of playing time after Robert Marve got his first, but after Marve's transfer to Purdue this offseason, Harris has the wayward Hurricanes playing top notch football once again.
The Miami area native got prime time air a week ago Monday night, beating Florida State in a barn-burner and fighting through a shoulder injury.
Some are putting Miami all the way to the top of the polls based on their on-field performance instead of preseason predictions and they just might be in that mix as the season winds through, especially if their slender QB keeps it up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

USF Senior Matt Grothe Career Over After Knee Injury

Matt Grothe set the Big East Total Offense record last week and this week his record-setting college football career is over after tearing his ACL Saturday night. It was the second quarter of an insignificant rout of Charleston Southern and he wasn't going to play in the second half, but it happened. Grothe is a quiet leader that has been the starting quarterback at the University of South Florida since his freshman year and taken the Bulls all the way to #2 in the nation at one point.
Redshirt Freshman B.J. Daniels will take over Grothe's dream of taking USF where it has never gone before, a Big East title.
Good luck to Matt as he embarks on the road to rehab and hopefully a shot at pro football.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grip Detemines Release

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Sorry, can't use animal analogies anymore. There is more than one way to make a football spiral: overhead, sidearm, underarm or any other kind of arm.
But, I would not recommend putting your index finger on the tip of the ball because you will throw more side-armed than you should to make the ball spiral and get the front tip of the ball to fly properly.
Jeff George became the #1 overall pick in the NFL with his finger on the tip, but that side-armed release gave way to bad overall mechanics that get exposed a little bit more in the NFL than in college. Chris Rix started all four years at FSU and couldn't get consistency with it. I'm not sure where Colt Brennan's finger is on the ball, but his low release probably means he extends his index finger too far as well and we've seen his mechanics break down under pressure as well.
Jimmy Clausen is trying to get Notre Dame back into the national conversation with his low elbow and "sit-down" follow-through. We will have to wait and see how that finishes out, but using a traditional grip of opening up your hand wide and putting the ball into it and making your thumb be perpendicular to the seam on the ball will give you enough "air" so that the ball is held more in your fingertips than your palm.
This will give you the ability to direct the ball better as your hand goes flat out towards your target at release, not across your body as a side-armed delivery is guaranteed to produce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brady's Back!

Tom Brady dissed Suzy Kolber of ESPN after another great game and comeback win last night! I don't know why Brady didn't want to speak with Kolber, but he spoke loud and clear during the last couple of minutes of the game!
Brady is back from his severe knee injury and ready to get the Patriots back in the playoffs. They may not be nearly as dominant as 2007 when they went undefeated in the regular season, but they should be the class of the AFC East once again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quinn Wins The Browns' Derby

From all indications Brady Quinn has won the starting job for the Cleveland Browns. Is isn't a big surprise for the former first round pick and Ohio native to be given an opportunity after a good preseason and since the Browns haven't been great for a while.
Last season they went 24 straight quarters, that's six games without the offense scoring a touchdown and even though I like Derek Anderson a lot as a QB, it is time to give the "matinee idol" former "Golden Domer" his shot.
For you X's and O's guys, check out Quinn on drawing up and explaining a great play. Brady Quinn is right on two counts in the video. It is a great play and it is an old play. When I was in college under Mike Price's system we called it "84".
The problem for the Browns is if they run it they way they show it in the video, they will have no succes with it no matter who the QB is. The receivers are too tight on both sides of the ball. When they run their respective "post" and "dig" (6), they are in the same place on the field, which is the number one rule of designing a football play--don't have receivers in the same spot.
Hopefully someone in the Browns coaching organization will fix up their spacing and they can challenge a little bit this year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jumbo Errors For Jimbo Fisher

The Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles haven't had a great game in a while, but that changed last night after a back and forth see-saw battle finally tilted in favor of the Canes on the Noles field.
I loved the game, but was bothered by the clock management of the next head coach of the FSU. While current head coach Bobby Bowden looked more like a figurehead than ever before, Jimbo Fisher seemed out of his element in play-calling down the stretch as time was winding down.
The Noles wasted at least one if not two of their time-outs as they made wholesale substitutions with the clock winding to under :20 seconds and ran option with the QB, which was stymied earlier in the game as it was again for a loss of yards and kept the clock running down.
And on third down and :05 seconds to go, he called a roll-out! This limited him to only one play! He could have had two if he would have called a quick hitting play on third down. He should have rolled out on the final play of the game if third down wasn't successful.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it wasn't pretty watching FSU "fumble" around on the final plays of the great game that it was.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Matthew Stafford Gets Starting Nod

You know what they call a 4th round pick with 1 TD and 4 interceptions (30-55 completions/attempts) in preseason? Unemployed.
You know what they call you if you are the first pick in the NFL draft with the same stats? Starter!
Matthew Stafford was just named the Detroit Lions' starting QB for the 2009 season. This really comes as no surprise as Daunte Culpepper didn't make much difference in last year's march to the record books (0-16). And with the economy, etc. of Michigan, the Lions need some new blood in the lineup to get some new blood in the seats come the regular season.
I expect Stafford to be a pretty solid player and maybe one day a star, but it is funny how players earn their playing time sometimes based solely on their draft status, even though the coaches will always sell the concept of "whatever gives us the best chance of winning".

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Heisman Hopes Slammed To Turf

Sam Bradford's hopes for a repeat Heisman win got slammed to the turf Saturday night. Oklahoma's loss to BYU dented the Sooners hopes of a return to the national title game and based on their back up QB's performance, their only chance is a quick return to the game by Bradford.
It's not known right now how long he will be sidelined with a sprained shoulder, but he will probably being playing through quite a bit of pain for the rest of the season. The injury probably won't hurt his NFL draft status, but this is why guys take the money when it is available, because you never know what can happen in the tough world of football.
Best wishes to Sam's speedy recovery.

Option Still Has Place In College Football

If you are an undersized or undertalented football team, the triple option attack can still be an effective way to win football games. In the opening weeks of college football, there are many "David versus Goliath" mismatches out there, but the "Davids" can challenge with a well executed option game.
Take Navy yesterday for example. Overmatched physically by Ohio State, the Midshipmen came within an eyelash of tying that one up with a couple minutes to go. I did the color-commentary for the University of South Florida versus Wofford College, another team running a variation of the "wingbone". If Wofford didn't snap the ball over the head of the punter--twice, they would have been right in the game.
Teams have been trying to make the 21st century version of the triple option work now in multiple wideout sets, letting the QB read the defensive end, not to option off of, but to decide his other options. The new, wide-open triple option is here to stay, with almost every high school team giving it a shot as well, but the "old school" option is still viable if done with precision and discipline.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's Not Rocket Science

It has been said since football was invented that "it's not rocket science." Now the NFL and college football is certainly proving that with Brett Favre's recent signing to the Minnesota Vikings and instant move to the starting lineup. Also, Greg Paulus' switch from basketball to football and ascent to the top of the depth chart for Syracuse.
Now, two NFL teams have canned their offensive coordinators in the final week of the preseason. Chan Gailey and Jeff Jagodzinski (Chiefs and Buccaneers OC's respectively) have been shown the door. In the case of the Chiefs, first time head coach Todd Hailey will call the plays and in Tampa, Greg Olsen (former QB coach) will now take over play-calling duties.
It's amazing how interchangeable these parts are for these teams. I'm not sure of the contract status of Gailey, but it is being reported that the Bucs will owe Jagodzinski about a million bucks. Where do I get in line for that gig?
So the old adage must be true, it's not rocket science. Now we will see what the on-field results for those offenses are in a little more than a week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Brett Favre Plays Well--Hurts Self and Another

I don't know what anyone on the Minnesota Vikings was thinking by putting a 40 year old man (not named Jerry Rice) out as a wide receiver. Brett Favre seemingly hasn't learned anything heading into his 19th season in the NFL as he cuts an unsuspecting player at the knees and by turning sideways as he does it, ends up injuring his own ribs in the process.
Note to Brad Childress: This is not why you begged this guy out of retirement and also not what you are paying him $12 Million to do.
Favre had a pretty darn good outing in a more extensive showing, leading the Vikings to a preseason win, just keep your head up and off defenders shins and things should go quite well for Minnesota this year.