B1G, if true
It is official official roundtable time; the first one is up at House Rock Built for your edification.
1. What's the biggest ripoff in this preseason poll? Either pick a team that's offensively over or underrated, or you can rag on a particular voter's bad pick (hey, we're all adults here, we can handle it).
Well, I've already made my positions on OSU and ND clear, but I can at least see what the attractions of those teams are. I was hoping the poll be would virtually flat for the first eight or so spots and that OSU and ND would be somewhere in there.
One team stands out as particularly mindboggling: Miami. #9? This is a team with all of two scholarship quarterbacks that has question marks at running back and wide receiver and must replace four-fifths of its offensive line. Longtime OL coach Art Kehoe is gone along with most of the staff on that side of the ball. One hesitates to mock a Miami defense that will probably reload as per usual, but the cornerback situation looks pretty dodgy -- three sophomores and a junior who's missed the last two years with knee injures -- and Orien Harris is gone. This is partially my fault for dumping them in the low teens for no other reason than "it's Miami." No it isn't, not anymore.
2. What shold a preseason poll measure? Specifically, should it be a predictor of end-of-season standing (meaning that a team's schedule should be taken into account when determining a ranking), or should it merely be a barometer of talent/hype/expectations?
Ideally the answer to this question is "yes." In a platonically perfect poll these are the same thing -- minus "hype" -- but the information in college football is so incomplete that schedule strength inevitably distorts the poll.
Given harsh reality, I choose door number B: barometer of talent. This is a sort of schedule projection, too, but one that takes into account that even an undefeated West Virginia team is closer to Utah than USC. And if you're going to do that, where's Boise State in your top five? The Whitlocks of the world who place the Mountaineers #1 but don't have the projected WAC, Mountain West, and MAC champs in the top ten have created ballots with no internal consistency. Their ballots are all "ooh, shiny record" for certain teams that are hyped up but ignore it for other mid-majors because they didn't have a nice game last year. They're easy: show a man one nice game against Georgia and he'll give it up for you.
3. What is your biggest stretch in your preseason ballot? That is to say, which team has the best chance of making you look like an idiot for overrating them?
Nebraska. I mean, obviously. Even if Iowa flops I can still point to Tate and Ferentz and say "can you blame me?" If Nebraska does not justify its preseason placement at #10 on my ballot I have to tell the world that I put faith in Bill Callahan a year after his team set football back 80 years with that 6-3 game against Pittsburgh in which a victor is still undetermined because anyone who attempts to watch the game dies. It's The Ring of college football games.
4. What do you see as the biggest flaw in the polling system (both wire service and blogpolling)? Is polling an integral part of the great game of college football, or is it an outdated system that needs to be replaced? If you say the latter, enlighten us with your new plan.
They are myriad.
- As SMQB has noted, the artificial ranking of teams from 1-25 forces the voter to opine things he probably doesn't believe. I've proposed relaxing the restrictions by giving voters a set number of points with which to distribute amongst 25 teams however they please, allowing voters to express their opinions more accurately. Technical limitations ("I can't figure out a good interface") prevented its implementation this year but it's still on the table for future seasons.
- Polls have multiple personality disorder as they progress through a season. Clearly, preseason polls are all projection. Without any games to evaluate, they're (often hilariously inaccurate) guesses at the way the season will turn out. They remain excercises in projection as the season progresses -- otherwise a top ten team who had the misfortune of losing early would drop out of the poll entirely -- but take on an element of a season grade. By the end of the year, they still maintain a mix of both, which renders them somewhat incoherent.
The best example of this from last year was the Penn State and Ohio State. I, and probably most others, thought that Ohio State was the better team but ranked Penn State higher because of the niggling issue of that 17-10 PSU win early in the season. A number of voters went ahead and ranked OSU #3 anyway, September be damned, and I couldn't argue against it because... what exactly were we supposed to be voting for anyway, the best team or the best season? I'm the dictator of this here poll and even I couldn't tell you.
- Polls have their own momentum. Ideally, previous weeks and years would be totally irrelevant to voters entering a fresh one. Anyone who's seen West Virginia knows this is not the case.
- People, and by extension polls, tend to assume that the winner of a game deserved to win because of ineffable heart. As Statistically Speaking noted:
I still don't think voters understand just how much influence random chance has ove individual games. Because Team A beats Team B on a last second field goal, doesn't necessarily mean Team A is the superior squad. There is a lot of 'noise' that goes in to deterining who wins and loses a football game. I think its important to look at other factors besides the final score, such as yardage, penalties, location, previous schedule, turnover differential, etc. to determine if the game was accurate portrayal of both teams. I realize each of these aspects is highly subjective, but I think sometimes we put too much stock in the end result (final score) without considering the means with which that end was acheived.
This goes back to that season grade/best team dichotomy. If we're grading the season harsh drops for unfortunate losses are all right; if we're trying to figure who's the best team they aren't. Polls seem to be caught in the middle.
5. You're Scott Bakula, and you have the opportunity to "Quantum Leap" back in time and change any single moment in your team's history. It can be a play on the field, a hiring decision, or your school's founders deciding to build the campus in Northern Indiana, of all godforsaken places. What do you do?
There were multiple missed national championship opportunities in the 80s, but I was not yet maniacally invested in the Wolverines so an alteration there would only serve as ammunition in inane message board conversations I no longer participate in. (Much.)
So there are two candidates, one of which would only require Scott to move a body part two or three inches.
Scott, as either Prescott Burgess or Ernest Shazor, blocks Dusty Mangum's field goal in the Rose Bowl. A win in that game would have made the '04 season a satisfying one, the first for Michigan since the Orange Bowl win in Tom Brady's final season. Some of Michigan's lost luster would still be around if they had won that amazing game.
Scott, as John Navarre, throws a touchdown on the last play of the '02 Ohio State game. As detailed earlier, I ventured into the heart of darkness for tha
t game and experienced the carnage firsthand. Had Navarre thrown the ball to the other side of the field instead of a triple-covered Braylon Edwards he would have found a relatively open person who was either Jason Avant or Ron Bellamy, who would have reached up one hand to stop the ball's momentum before snatching it to his chest mere feet from my seat. The team would have rushed over to the tiny Michigan student section at the cusp of the endzone, told me that I was their inspiration, and everything outside of that stadium would have been well worth it.
A 13 play, 81-yard drive from the '89 Ohio State game in which the wide receivers are meaningless decoration:
Hah! I speet on your forward pass. In home country, passing done by little frilly girls in their lace vorodny.
(via The MZone.)
Terry Hoeppner cares for you personally. Deeply. A commenter points out this beauty from the Indy Star:
Hoeppner said McClurg has been a surprise. So much so, that in spring practice, Hoeppner looked out one day and saw No. 51 playing particularly well, and he wasn't sure who it was.
"I had to go to the media guide just to see who he was,'' Hoeppner said. "I thought to myself, 'Who's 51? That guy's playing pretty good.' I told him that later. I said, 'Good job, whatever your name is.'"
To be fair, I can't name any Indiana defenders either.
Bloggers interested in joining the Blogpoll are advised to not say this should I politely decline your application...
Why does the MGO blog suck?
First, It's about Michigan therefore it must automatically be placed in the "Suck" category. The Wolverines will be lucky to break .500 in the Big Ten and I'll be laughing my ass of when they shit the bed against Central Michigan. Second, is there fascination with something they call "Man Fun", which they described as "an innocent expression of childhood glee". Sounds pretty gay and I can assure you that we did not have this "Man Fun" where I went to school.
Thirdly, and this is the main reason, is their stupid Blogpoll. It is the most retarded concept I have every seen and I am embarrassed that I even applied to be a part of it.
...because it probably won't help. Although the picture of Osama in Michigan gear is cute.
Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore but we might as well be. While USC's celebrity publicity stunts are low-rent, at least they're pulling the Snoop Doggs and Lavar Burtons of the world. At Nebraska beggars can't be choosers:
Indeed, the Huskers hope to Git R Done this year. Personally I hope the entire state floats off into the ocean after the Alamo Bowl, though the chances of that are admittedly remote.
(Finch article via The Diag)
Etc.: Szzzzzabo article.
You may remember MGoBlog throwing in the towel on Maurice Clarett and hilarity after the whole four-loaded-guns-and-a-hatchet incident. Yea, Clarett had crossed the line from amusing failure that continually tainted OSU's reputation to depressing failure that continually tainted OSU's reputation.
Well, happy days are here again:
Clarett was bankrolled by an alleged member of an Israeli crime organization after leaving Ohio State, ESPN reported. His attorney reportedly told ESPN on Thursday that Clarett, who was arrested by police last week when he refused to pull over after a traffic violation, may have been in possession of firearms to protect himself from mob activity.
The Israeli crime organization? "The Jerusalem Group." Have we stumbled into an episode of South Park? And then there's this gem of a sentence:
Wakine [sic] would later provide Clarett with cash, a BMW, bodyguards, drivers and beachfront lodging in Malibu, ESPN reported, with the understanding that Clarett would reimburse Waknine and also be paid 60 percent of Clarett's rookie contract.
What a fine, enlightening, and wonderful sentence indeed. So Clarett's genius negotiation skills, which you may remember got him a contract that paid him almost no money unless he was league MVP or Secretary-General of the UN, had him promise almost two-thirds of his rookie contract to an Israeli gangster. He then proceeded to sign the aforementioned contract and get cut the moment he showed up at camp, thus turning 60% of something into 60% of zero. Way to not piss off Hasids with guns.
I have a solution for all of this: we need a Clarett reality show. Pay him enough to not get whacked by Israeli gangsters, get him out there on the street and follow him around. Waknine is happy. Clarett is happy. Viewers are happy. Bill Simmons sees the first step towards ESPN 8 taken and is happy.
Call it Mo' Problems.
Well, that was humbling. Purdue did not storm the Big Ten like a horde of ill-tempered ferrets en route to a Rose Bowl sponsored by Quaker Oats. They stormed about as far as the Notre Dame game and fell over stone dead. Brandon Kirsch, like every Purdue quarterback since Drew Brees, was unceremoniously yanked midseason to make way for Curtis Painter. The supposedly intimidating defense featuring all eleven starters from a pretty good 2004 unit underwent a collapse so
Spack and Herrmann... like twins!
epic that Boiler fans started noticing the very suspicious resemblance between Brock Spack and Jim Herrmann. Purdue was eliminated from bowl contention after just eight games before showing some life against MSU and the Big Ten bottom feeders.
Now Joe Tiller finds his seat somewhat warm for the first time in his career at Purdue, though grumbling Boilermaker fans would do well to remember the state of the program when he arrived in West Lafayette. Still, a bowl would be advisable during year two of Not Playing Michigan Or Ohio State, especially because only four games on the schedule seem particularly difficult.
If Purdue is to return to the hallowed ground of the Music City or Sun or whatever their equally anonymous replacements are after the offseason bowl shuffle it'll be on the backs of their offensive line, which returns four starters from a good '05 unit, and the wide receivers, deeper than at any point in Tiller's tenure. Add in Kory Sheets and new quarterback Curtis Painter has a lot of ammunition at his disposal. He'll need it, as the defense is in chaos.
Last Year: Quietly effective, though we must again hasten to point out that Purdue drew a miraculous array of snuggly soft defenses. The only teams to finish the year with non-embarrassing stats were Penn State and Akron. Still, they were 25th overall with a nice balance between run and pass despite having major quarterback issues the whole year.
Brandon Kirsch -- hailed in this space last year as the Dalai Lama of football -- got yanked midway through Purdue's dismal 2005 in favor of redshirt freshman Curtis Painter. Painter proceeded to limp through the season, completing just over 50% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns to five interceptions. Dude. Total balls. Painter did manage to have some positive impact with his feet, rushing for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns.
What does '06 hold for the now-sophomore Painter? Probably additional pain. Painter's iffy stats were gained against a who's-who of D-I's worst pass defenses (MSU, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois) and Penn State, who killed Painter to the tune of 6-17 for 60 yards. His last statistical reference point, high school, doesn't imply he'll make a great leap forward: as a senior he only completed 51% of his passes. The implication is that Painter's probably unsuited to Purdue's dink-and-dunk passing game, as he either failed at in in high school or was asked to bomb it deep instead. Either way it bodes unwell. Purdue should be happy if he makes gradual progress this year with an eye towards proficiency in '07. His legs should help him but Painter's in for a rough year.
Since the only things Joe Tiller likes more than yanking his starter are Quaker Oats and life insurance, you should get familiar with Boiler backup Joey Elliot so you can impress friends and relatives by detailing strengths (isn't the starting quarterback), and weaknesses (when inserted into the game he becomes the starting quarterback) during his inevitable relief appearance and two midseason starts before he finds his butt stapled to the bench again.
Rating: 3. Kory Sheets inherits the job full with Jerod Void off to... well, not the NFL. Sheets did pretty well with his 104 carries last year, averaging 5.5 yards a carry. (Insert your standard disclaimer about the terrible Big Ten defenses here.) Since Void did little better and Sheets figures to improve -- he was but a freshman last year -- Purdue should get better production out of this position group. Hey, Sheets has a Wikipedia entry (which says he was "basically tied with Minnesota running back Lawerence [sic] Maroney" in YPC last year), which is more than Void can say.
Sheets has adequate speed to hit the corner and makes decent yardage after contact. In the spring game he had 116 yards on just 12 carries before leaving with a high ankle sprain.
Tiller keeps rumbling about needing Sheets to be an "every game back" instead of an every-down one, so expect to see healthy doses of backups Jaycen Taylor, a JUCO transfer who came in during the spring and impressed, and converted fullback Anthony Heygood. Heygood should get the short yardage duties while Taylor spells Sheets at various points during the game.
Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
Purdue returns a pair of the most mismatched receivers in the country. 5'10" Dorien Bryant is a Breaston-esque waterbug while 6'9" Kyle "Stork" Ingraham's nickname says it all. Bryant's perfectly suited for the Purdue offense, capable of getting open on short routes and racking up YAC once he receivers the ball. He'll be the primary option again this year, and not just on pass plays. Purdue got him a couple touches per game in the run game (though those may have been WR screens that ended up being laterals) and has him return kicks.
Ingraham height comes with a similarly large body that robs the explosion out of his breaks. As a result he's only effective on certain routes against certain coverages and is unlikely to top his 41 catches from '05, especially since his fitness is in question after a pair of offseason ankle surgeries. You might expect that Ingraham would be a dangerous red-zone weapon, but after seven touchdowns as a sophomore he was shut out last year. That's probably more on the quarterbacks than him, though: he didn't get any shorter.
A couple of contributing seniors graduate, leaving the door open for freshman Selwyn Lymon, a top-100 recruit in '04 who missed last year with NCAA Clearinghouse issues, and sophomore Greg Orton. Both are imposing physically, 6'4" ~200 pound receivers who should knock socks off at the NFL combine in a few years.
There is a tight end: Dustin Keller had 13 catches a year ago.
Rating: 5. The offensive line was not the source of Purdue's problems, allowing the second-fewest sacks in the country and paving the way for a darned decent rushing attack (182 yards per game, 31st in the nation) despite not having a star in the backfield. Disclaimer: the general permiability of Big Ten defenses and the dinky nature of the Purdue passing game should dampen the superlatives thrown their way (not that there are many for a 5-6 team anyway).
Still, that's a good performance that should only get better with four starters returning. Only center Matt Turner is gone, and his shoes will be filled indirectly by Uche Nwaneri, an '04 starter who missed last year after breaking a teammate's jaw in a practice fight. He'll play guard as Robbie P
owell slides over to fill Turner's shoes. With Purdue moving even further towards the Texas-style zone read game they used for portions of last year, the onus will be on the line to keep
Last Year: Even more disappointing than the offense, Bernard Pollard, Ray Edwards, and company were at the forefront of the Terrible Big Ten Defense vanguard, finishing 100th in total defense and 91st in pass efficiency. They weren't awful against the run -- 50th -- but that was too little, too late. Given last year's disaster, the return of only four starters could be viewed as a positive, but Purdue is scrambling for answers up and down the roster.
Rating: 2. Edwards and Rob Ninkovich are gone and unlike Void were good enough to draw NFL attention (both were mid-round picks). Gone with them is underrated defensive tackle Brandon Villareal -- third on the team in tackles -- and running mate Brent Grover, leaving almost nothing in the way of proven talent. Senior defensive end Anthony Spencer is it. He was the a nominal starter going into last year, but Ninkovich wrested the job away from him. He managed 3 sacks and 7.5 TFL in limited time. In '04 he was the full time starter and a good one. He'll be fine.
The issue comes on the rest of the line, which is full of who-dats: juniors Eugene Bright and Ryan Baker and sophomore Alex Magee, none of whom have anything other than spot plays probably found in garbage time. The coaching staff is making standard preseason noises about encouraging growth and yadda yadda yadda, but no one really knows how they'll react until they step on the field.
Rating: 2. Purdue would have two returning starters here if middle linebacker George Hall hadn't been busted down to third string during spring for disciplinary reasons. He still hasn't regained his starting spot. As it is, strongside linebacker Stanford Keglar is the only returning starter who's still a starter. Josh Ferguson is the new man in the middle; Dan Bick is on the weakside. All are juniors.
Adding uncertainty to the... well... uncertainty, Bick has offseason shoulder surgery he hasn't recovered from well. A redshirt was a possibility, but Bick is "responding well" to an injection -- dodgy ground. Bick's undersized to begin with; the chances of him making it through the season are slim. Whether yet more unproven backups draw into the lineup or hall reclaims his spot, this is another position at which Purdue has no idea what it's getting this year.
Rating: 1. In the most dramatic of the many highlights featuring the Purdue secondary, Bernard Pollard dished out one of the year's great hits when he jackhammered Minnesota's Gary Russell to the Metrodome turf. Sadly for the Boilermakers, the rest of the highlights were touchdown catches. The secondary was a disaster par exellence, finishing 91st in pass defense efficiency despite having the aforementioned competent defensive ends. Starting corners Zach Logan and Paul Long were disasters. Pollard was labeled a team cancer by Tiller even before the season clattered to a halt. Teams passed willy-nilly on Purdue.
So perhaps it's for the best that only Logan returns this year to start. (Long is going to a backup at safety or corner or both.) Tiller threw the competition in the secondary wide open amongst 17 contenders in the hopes of finding a combination that works. They're still fighting it out, so facts are few and far between. We do know that junior Aaron Lane is penciled in as the starter opposite King. Relevant facts on Lane:
- He's 5'8".
- He transferred from the University of Saint Francis to walk-on at Purdue.
- USF is an NAIA school.
- Lane was a little-used running back at USF.
O RLY? If Lane isn't completely overwhelmed they should make a movie about him starring a hobbit. And someone has to be the nickel and dime backs.
Safety is equally dodgy. Torii Williams returns from a broken leg to claim the strong safety spot. As a freshman in 2004 he saw time in nine games, making 14 tackles and a sack against Iowa. Tiller's still somewhat hesitant about relying on him exclusively...
"We hope to get him in shape," said Purdue Head Coach Joe Tiller. "Kinda the same with him as (Kory) Sheets. We'd like him to play every game all season long. Not necessarily 60 minutes, but we'd just like to have him every Saturday."
... but he'll get the opportunity to establish himself as a starter. Given his decent play as a freshman, Williams seems more likely than the rest of the secondary to emerge into an All Big Ten type, but right now he's just a rumor. JUCO transfer Justin Scott will start at free safety.
Kickers & Coverage
Rating: 3. Well, take it from Tiller:
"If anyone in the room is interested, let me know before I leave," Tiller told reporters at the Big Ten kickoff meetings this week in Chicago.
If no intrepid sportswriter steps forth into the breach, duties will fall to either senior Casey Welch or freshman Tim Dougherty. Welch was stuck behind the maddeningly inconsistent Ben Jones even when Jones was busy murdering Purdue's '04 season. If he plays he'll probably be as inconsistent as Jones was but with a weaker leg. More likely it'll be Dougherty, who was 9/11 on field goals in high school. He could be good, but it's not likely.
The situation at punter is similar but the projected starter has more of a track record. Transfer Jared Armstrong was a JUCO All-American last year, averaging almost 44 yards per punt. Punting is punting. He'll be fine.
Non-Conference: Decent. Two wretched opponents in Ball State and Indiana State, a good MAC team in Miami(OH), and the annual rivalry game versus Notre Dame, away this year. A bonus game @ Hawaii brings the schedule to an uneven 13 games.
Conference: Purdue misses Michigan and Ohio State again, though this year that seems more like a ticket to the Motor City Bowl instead of the Rose. The Boilers have only two tough road games versus Iowa and Michigan State and the advantage of three swing games (Minnesota, Penn State, and Wisconsin) against beatable foes at home.
We're Sure About
Bryant and Ingraham. They've been around long enough for everyone to get a handle on them. Bryant's a dart over the middle who can kill you with RAC and Ingraham is plodding but a matchup issue.
We Have An Idea About
The secondary. Unless there's a miracle it's going to be ugly.
The Exact Date Painter Is Temporarily Benched. Probably the week after Notre Dame.
We Have No Clue About
Painter himself. He's the looming ??? over the Boiler season. Nothing in his history indicates he'll break out, but he ws just a freshman last year.
An Embarrassing Prediction, No Doubt
If Painter comes around quickly the Purdue offense has a lot of clay for him to work with. Bryant is a dangerous slot receiver, Ingraham is nearly unstoppable on fades, and Lymon and Orton have oodles of potential. The offensive line is the most experienced in the league and Sheets should be at least average. A competent-to-good Painter would make Purdue a threat in all its games. However, the defense appears to be adrift even if o
ne or two players have an unexpected renaissance. At their best, Purdue will wax the chumps they're supposed to and then play a series of terribly entertaining shootouts that they'll do just better than split, going 10-3.
If Painter's reduced to running the zone read because he can't throw Purdue is dead meat. They managed to get away with it somewhat because their foes were Indiana, Illinois, etc, but any half-decent team on the schedule is going to move the ball on Purdue and without a functional offense to respond, college football might lose a treasured mustache at season's end. 5-8.
Predicting Purdue's season is, in essence, predicting Painter's. The defense might improve a bit over last year but the secondary looks amazingly bleak and this year there's no Edwards/Ninkovich duo on the edges. The offense, which was quietly all right a year ago despite the whole business with the quarterbacks, will have to score to keep up. With a veteran offensive line and a surplus of talent at the skill positions, it'll come down to Painter's ability to run the offense. Survey says "meh." Purdue figures to return to a bowl, but not a good one.
Wins: Indiana State, Ball State
Probable Wins: @ Illinois, Indiana, Miami(OH), @ Hawaii, @ NW
Tossups: @ MSU, Minnesota
Probable Losses: @ ND, @ Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State
No Chance: None
Predicting 8-5 can't be too far off, can it?
Alabama receiver Marquis Maze has made a commitment to Michigan. Maze is a 5'8" scatback/slot receiver/return specialist who will no doubt make one huge play during his Michigan career and set off a cascade of Maze-related puns on sports pages across the Midwest. You can see them now: "A-Maze-ing" for the local papers, "Maze and Blue" for whichever team he's just posterized.
This is the H3 version of the Carlos Brown commitment: basically the same but way smaller. Like Brown, Maze is a southerner who plays quarterback, running back, and wide receiver for his high school team because not giving him the ball is dumb. Like Brown, Maze's commitment came as a big "huh?" to Michigan fans who had heard nothing about him. The H3 bit? Maze's rep (instead of a top-100 uber-recruit, Maze is a lightly-regarded three star) and size (Maze is listed at 5'8" and looks it in the video I saw) are both much smaller than Brown's.
Argh what about Clemons and Hemingway?
The Maze commitment shouldn't affect them. Both are pure receivers and whatever impact Maze has will probably be spread through three or four positions. Even his high school team seems to deploy him in the service of shock and awe: as a junior Maze had nine receptions which averaged over 50 yards per. As a runner he found similarly unbelievable success -- 12 yards per carry -- on similarly thin attempts -- 91. (Rivals doesn't have KR/PR numbers in any detail.) Maze isn't going to carry the mail like either of those guys could.
Aargh three star hate three star argh.
I personally like the commit for both ancillary and proper reasons.
- First: fantastic name.
- Second: 5'8" guys who can't be tackled without the assistance of the Red Army are tremendous fun to have on the team.
- Third: he had standing offers from both Auburn and Tennessee -- possibly a better indication of his value than a three-star ranking.
- Fourth: he's almost a guaranteed contributor as a return specialist, and anyone who remembers the days of Diallo Johnson can make a quick comparison to Breaston and arrive at the conclusion that even if he hardly sees a snap on offense he's worth one scholarship of 85.
- Fifth: I watched the available video from Rivals and he reminded me of Mike Hart and Steve Breaston. Before that sentence gets pasted everywhere as clear evidence of homer delusion: obviously there's a huge leap from high school to the pros. He's got a not-insignificant chance of being Carl Tabb. Still... he's got moves. You can hear Berman going "woop woop woop" in your head watching him, which is annoying (shut up, Berman! Or I'll have brain cancer at you!) but exciting.
"I don't think we've faced anybody as talented as No. 5 (Maze)," said Deshler coach John Mothershed , who has guided the Tigers to the 4A state final four times since 1998, with championships in 1998 and 1999. "Some say he's a lot like (Tyrone) Prothro, but I say he's more like (David) Palmer. He does things with a football that few can do."
I'll take two.