Sunday, February 22, 2009

NCAA Football Update - 2/22/2009

  • The combine is well under way in Indianapolis and some of last season's premiere college football players are raising eyebrows, in both good and bad ways. Alabama OT Andre Smith - a potential Top 5 pick - brought attention to himself in all the wrong ways. Smith abruptly left Indianapolis without alerting officials. Besides this egregious mistake, Smith did not interview well nor did he participate in any drills. His reasoning? He wasn't in shape. Wow. This was basically the biggest job interview of his life and he struck out on three pitches. Smith's stock is going to drop but he still has the potential to be an Orlando Pace- or Jonathan Ogden-type player. He won't fall out of the first round for sure. Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree has had a whirlwind few days at the national invitational camp. Crabtree has been diagnosed with a strees fracture in his foot, something he claims to have had for close to a year. He isn't running at the combine but has also chosen to forgo surgery. Crabtree will run in March at his pro day workout. [Pro Football Talk]
  • How about some good eyebrow-raising things. Try Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Maryland WR has been seen as a fringe first round prospect, someone certain to be picked between the 20th and 40th selections. That may have changed. Heyward-Bey was the fastest WR, clocking a 40-yard dash time of 4.3 seconds. He also posted the 9th best bench press, lifting 225 lbs. 16 times (Brooks Foster put up an amazing 27 reps). Heyward-Bey was 5th in the vertical jump (38.5 inches), 5th in the broad jump (10' 6"), tied for 8th in the 3 cone drill (6.8 seconds), and tied for 6th in the 20-yard shuttle (4.18 seconds). The only event he wasn't a "top performer" was the 60-yard shuttle. With this kind of workout - not to mention his measurables (6' 2", 210) - Heyward-Bey should be a surefire 1st round pick, and could crack the Top 20.
  • Putting on the Penn State goggles for a moment, in addition to some of the o-lineman turning some heads, a few Nittany Lion WRs had respectable outings as well. Deon Butler ran a blistering 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but it was unofficial and was soon changed to a 4.38, good for 4th amongst WRs. Derrick Williams - who had a rough showing in the 40 - showed surprising strength, finishing 10th among WRs in the bench press. Williams lifted 225 lbs. 15 times. Jordan Norwood - the unheralded possession WR - was a "top performer" in the vertical jump (finishing in a tie for 6th with a leap of 38.0 inches), 3-cone drill (tied for 8th, 6.80 seconds), and 20-yard shuttle (9th, 4.20 seconds). While Williams most likely hurt his stock with bad running times, Butler and Norwood especially have probably jumped into late round consideration (if they weren't there before). [NFL Combine Top Performers]
  • For all of the flak the Penn State football program - and Joe Paterno - took last offseason you'd think they're the only team that has ever experienced discipline problems. How many other programs have had an episode of ESPNs Outside the Lines dedicated to them? Well someone thinks that another program needs the spotlight thrust on them. That team just happens to own two of the last three national championships. Success with honor? Maybe not. [Amphibious Sports Duo]
  • Nebraska has lost their top two QBs from the 2008 season: Joe Ganz (graduation) and Patrick Witt (transferring). Junior Zac Lee is now the starter heading into spring practice.
  • Illinois has indefinitely suspended defensive lineman Josh Brent after being pulled over for speeding and failing sobriety tests. To make matters worse, Brent's license had already been suspended. Yuck.
  • The NCAA is adding some new rules in 2009. And there's potential for one really ridiculous one to be added in 2010. [Every Day Should Be Saturday & There Is No Name On My Jersey]
  • Texas Tech and coach Mike Leach FINALLY agreed on a new contract. This seriously ha been going on for over two months. Or at least it feels that way. [ESPN]
  • The Mountain West Conference really has a problem with the BCS (doesn't everybody?). They are trying to do something about it. Every little bit helps, I guess? [ESPN]
  • After a dismal 3-9 campaign, Michigan is lowering their ticket prices... by $3.57. Yeah. Again, every little bit helps, I guess? [Adam Rittenberg]
  • Sticking with ESPN and Adam Rittenberg, a Big Ten blog post says that the conference is changing its BCS tiebreaker policy. Head-to-head is still the #1 tiebreaker but teams are no longer penalized for playing FCS opponents. Also, the conference has trashed the rule that disallowed the team that most recently went to a BCS bowl from going to the same one in back-to-back years. It was deemed unnecessary. However, the conference added the "team with highest BCS standing" tiebreaker, which was quite controversial in the Big XII this season. Luckily that rule is one of the last and may never be used to break a conference tie. Thank God. [Adam Rittenberg]
  • Lastly (and with Penn State goggles again) Adam Rittenberg is running with ESPNs recent Mount Rushmore theme and going through all 11 Big ten teams and selecting who he'd carve in stone for them. For Penn State he selected Joe Paterno (surprise, surprise), Jack Ham, John Cappelletti, and LaVar Arrington. Arrington's selection has drawn some ire from fans. [Penn State's Mount Rushmore]

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