Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week In College Football: Iowa, Recruiting, Paul Johnson, Muschamp and Herschel

Iowa Hawkeyes Hospitalized

Thirteen Iowa football players were hospitalized this week with rhabdomyolysis as a result of winter workouts. Rhabdomyolysis is defined as a rare, but serious, medical condition in which skeletal muscle fibers rapidly breakdown and release proteins into the bloodstream. It's characterized by profound muscle weakness and tenderness, and brown-colored urine.The condition could lead to kidney failure, arrthymias, and death if not treated quickly. So needless to say, this was a pretty big deal. Thirteen kids in the hospital on one team, with no real commonalities in class or position. The Head Coach is out on the road recruiting and you have a lot of pissed off parents demanding answers. Not a pretty site and a mess for the Hawkeyes program which has been dealing with a lot of adversity lately. There were a lot of questions and there still remains many. Tox screens have reportedly came back negative. As of Friday, five of the players were out of the hospital. Most teams go through very strenuous work outs in the off-season and that will continue but hopefully teams will learn about the dangers of having too strenuous of work-outs after extended lay-offs. This is a story we will continue to watch and hopefully everything will work out for those afflicted in the Iowa program. 

Recruiting Update

NSD (National Signing Day) is February 2nd. For those of you that are calendar challenged that's this coming Wednesday! You can simply flip on the 4-letter network on that day at any time and I'm sure you will get your fill of recruiting. One team that is really coming on strong, much to my delight, is the Georgia Bulldogs. They were the big winner last week when they landed TE Jay Rome (ESPNU #18) and WR/DB Malcolm Mitchell (ESPNU #45). It was more good news this week when DE Ray Drew (ESPNU #13) made his verbal commitment to Georgia on Friday. Drew is a 6'5, 253 lb 5-star prospect that looks like he can make an immediate impact (not that he's going to be a starter Day 1 but he should get some burn). He will be wearing #47, which was worn by Georgia legend David Pollock. Drew looks to play OLB like Justin Houston did and could also play some DE in the 3-4. Earlier in the week Georgia had also gotten a commitment from the top OL in the state, Xzavier Ward. He's ranked as a 4-star guy from ESPN (and 3-stars from Rivals and Scout) and is listed as #9 on the AJC Fab 50 (basically a list of the top 50 recruits in the state of Georgia). Georgia currently has 7 of the top 12 players in the Fab 50 and could get an 8th on NSD. Georgia has also come out of nowhere to be in the running for DE Jeffrey Pagan, ESPNU #53, who recently de-committed from Clemson (he also previously de-committed from Florida so you might not want to get too excited about him until he signs his name on the line) and ESPNU #150 OL Antonio Richardson. Between those guys and NT John Jenkins and RB Isaiah Crowell it will be a very interested Wed for Georgia fans. The MVP of this recruiting run for Georgia has been Mike Bobo. He is winning South Georgia against some very good recruiters.

ESPNU#28 RB Savon Huggins made his decision on Friday and he picked Rutgers over North Carolina. Huggins becomes the first top-rated New Jersey recruit landed by Rutgers in the Greg Schiano era. After a very disappointing 2010 for Rutgers this could be a spark that they need. Rutgers is currently listed as #30 on the rivals list of top teams but they are second behind only Charlie Strong and Louisville in the Big East.

Paul Johnson's Double Standard

While we are on recruiting let's talk a little Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson. Before I get into this let me say that I think Paul Johnson is a great offensive coach but I just don't understand him on this point. On Thursday Paul Johnson rescinded his scholarship offer from DT Tre Jackson. He did this because Jackson, who committed to Tech in October, has started to heat up and has gotten some calls from schools such as FSU and was going to take a visit to see what they offered (no not in the Cecil Newton sense). Well, Paul did not like this as he has a rule that once you verbally commit to Tech that you are not allowed to visit other schools or your scholarship offer will be rescinded. I have a couple of issues with this. The biggest issue I have is that Paul has no problem talking to kids that are verbally committed to other schools and having them take visits to Tech because if they are willing to come on a visit then he doesn't consider them committed to that school. So he has no problem taking a kid who breaks his commitment from one school to accept his but he doesn't want to be rejected by someone who might be thinking of changing his commitment. I was able to listen to 790theZone a bit on Friday and all of the Tech fans that called in did not like way Johnson was handling this. In my eyes, Johnson needs to realize that he coaches at Georgia Tech- not Alabama or USC or Florida or Texas (a school that basically recruits itself). Johnson needs all the players he can get, especially on defense where Tech has not been good at all in the last two years, and in this era of college football and recruiting coaches have to re-recruit guys that have already committed. Paul Johnson needs to wake up and spend some time re-recruiting instead of giving up due to fear of rejection. You coach at Georgia Tech, the last time I checked it's not exactly recruiting itself and while some players go to the NFL it's not a pipeline to the NFL. Re-recruiting is part of the game now and if you aren't willing to do it then you aren't a good recruiter and will suffer on the field.

Will Muschamp's First Tough Call

Florida CB Janoris Jenkins was recently charged with possession of marijuana. This was his second brush with the law in the last two years as he also was arrested in May of 2009 when he resisted arrest. During Urban Meyer's reign at Florida there were a lot of off-the-field issues. When Will Muschamp took over here's what he had to say about "The Florida Way":

“There's a certain thing that I'm going to refer to as the Florida Way, and that's the way they need to act and that's the way they need to represent our university...I'm going to demand that and I think that you'll understand in time that that's something that's very important to me...When you walk into a home and you talk about being a student-athlete at the University of Florida, I talk in terms of I want all of our student-athletes to come into our program to be a better person for having been at Florida. And I'm not just talking from a football standpoint. I'm talking about the off-the-field things.”

Sounds good, there is a new sheriff in town and Muschamp is not gonna take any ish. But wait...your best defensive player just got busted for pot and it's not the first time he's been in trouble with the law! So what do you do in your first "player issue" decision? What do you do that will make a statement to your players about the new direction of your team and "The Florida Way"? Muschamp says he will handle the situation "internally at this time." Of course, you will because that's the real Florida way. It's easy to talk the talk, but Muschamp is yet to walk the walk. You can't change a culture by ignoring it and hoping it goes away. I'm sure Florida would have really missed him for the Florida Atlantic and UAB games but I guess Muschamp really thinks they need him to win those games. Just wait until that second string LB screws up though, he's gonna pay.

Herschel Walker

So it's not technically College Football....on Saturday night Herschel Walker made his second entrance into the Octagon and just overwhelmed his opponent, Scott Carson. Herschel jumped on Carson early and took him down with a right hand and then stayed on top of him and controlled him with punches. Carson tried to get back to his feet and Walker continued his barrage until the referee stopped the fight. Let's not kid ourselves, Carson is not a "name" in MMA and is still a hand-picked opponent for Herschel but it was impressive seeing Herschel's progression since his last fight as he looked a lot more comfortable and was a lot more aggressive. It will be interesting to see what happens as Herschel continues to fight tougher guys.


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