Last season, despite similar hype, Tennessee’s Eric Berry outshone USC’s Taylor Mays. One oft-cited flaw in Mays’s game was his over-reliance on the kill-shot — his desire to lay huge hits on receivers sometimes results in his getting out of position and either not breaking up the ball or just missing the angle. But oh, those hits were fierce.
The result, however, has been that his draft stock has fallen. As Dr Saturday notes, he went from a likely top 5 or 10 pick last year to a late first-rounder (and possibly even a second rounder) this year. But was this because Mays was freelancing, or was he coached to do it? In his words:
“I think there is some truth to [his reputation for going for too many big hits] but at the same time that is what I was coached to do. At USC, I was coached to deliver knockout shots. I have the potential athletically and mentally to catch the ball and go after the ball. In one week [at the Senior Bowl] I was able to go from only hitting receivers to going after the ball. I just want a chance to work with a coach who can help me do that.”
Doc Sat speculates that maybe this kind of coaching from Carroll is one of the reasons that his teams went from stunningly great turnover margins in his first six seasons to more down to earth levels. I do, however, have never been convinced that you can really coach turnovers. Teams that play a lot of zone defenses (well) tend to get more interceptions because they have more eyes on the ball, but that’s about it, really. Better talent too can help, but fumbling and even interceptions to a lesser extent tends to even out over time. I’m not saying coaches shouldn’t coach turnovers, but it’s not something there is a lot of control over. Six seasons is a lot, but not enough to prove that luck wasn’t a big factor.
2. Blutarsky observes that Auburn has made Gus Malzahn the SEC’s highest paid offensive coordinator at $500k a year. But the Senator also notices that Malzahn’s salary is still significantly less than several other defensive coordinators around the league, and wonders why that is. I think he hits on the most likely answer: Many of the head coaches have offensive backgrounds, and thus hire defensive coaches to complement that. Auburn, with head coach Gene Chizik, a former defensive coordinator, is just the opposite.
3. L.A. Times Reports on Pete Carroll’s and USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s meeting with the NCAA on the Reggie Bush/O.J. Mayo fiascoes: “USC representatives spent more than eight hours in a hotel ballroom fielding questions from the 10-member infractions committee.”
4. Offseason football writing often tends to turn into a catalogues of player arrests and petty offenses or injuries, which is more depressing than interesting to me (except when done exceptionally well). But, as Doc Sat (and others) point out, what’s going on at Oregon is worth a closer look, if for no other reason than that it might have very real effects on their football team in the fall.
5. Bill Walsh’s quarterback manual. Seriously. Do I need to say anything else? Just download it, and work your way through it. The best part? It’s not even that advanced or complicated. He used to send a lot of this stuff out to high school coaches he was recruiting or had relationships with. (Thanks to reader Topher for the link.)
6. New rules intended to clean up the game are moving through the system. From the Wiz:
You might recall Terrelle Pryor’s tribute to Michael Vick in Ohio State’s opener last season against Navy. The words “Mike” and “Vick” were written on his eye black.
Vick wasn’t alone. Tim Tebow got his faith-based message across each game, and countless other players had a message for viewers, from an area code or simple shout-out to mom. Those days are coming to an end.
The Football Rules Committee, meeting in Fort Lauderdale, voted to require players who wear eye black to use solid black with no words, logos, numbers or other symbols. The rule will be in effect for the 2010 season, pending approval by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. The oversight panel regularly rubber stamps recommendations by the rules committee.
Other rules changes include a crackdown on taunting. Players who draw flags for taunting gestures on their way to a touchdown would have the penalty assessed from the spot of the foul, taking away the score. Penalties that occur in the end zone would continue to be assessed on the extra-point attempt, two-point conversion try or ensuing kickoff. That proposal, which received near-unanimous support, would take effect in 2011.
The committee also agreed to stringent standards on players who have suffered a concussion. Such players will now have to be cleared by a doctor before returning to competition.
TV monitors will be allowed in coaches’ booths in press boxes beginning in 2011. Feeds and equipment for home and visiting teams must be identical.
There will also be a requirement for a 10-yard buffer zone for pregame warmups. A no-player zone will be mandated between the 45-yard lines 60 minutes before kickoff.