obviously, and understandably, everybody is excited about denard. i get that. if he were my team's qb, i'd be giddy. his talent is undeniable and his performance against u conn was impressive. i won't be the slightest bit surprised if he scorches nd's defense this weekend. but, the expectations for denard are rapidly approaching the stratosphere of absurdity. while talking michigan football with a michigan fan (reasonable, skeptical. and has seen lots of practice) the upshot was that denard was like pat white...only faster...and a better passer. which is not that far removed from denard as the leading heisman candidate or denard as a combination of desmond howard's legs and tom brady's upper body...
what follows is going to sound like sour grapes/rain on the parade/trolling/denard bashing, etc. instead, its cautionary advice from an nd fan who has learned how even the most obvious appearances can be devestatingly deceiving in college football. i've been convinced either that our team or that a certain player was destined for greatness repeatedly and...its been a very long time since any of those convictions became reality.
a reminder of things that denard has yet to do as a starter:
1. Play a team with more than one 4 star recruit on defense
2. Play a team that has produces more than one nfl player/year over the last 5 years
3. Play a team in a major conference
4. Play a team that was in the top 50 in total defense last year
5. Play a team that had a decent run defense last year
1. Play a team that has seen meaningful game film of him
2. Succeed when a team actually takes away anything that is working
3. Succeed against a team that overloads the box to minimize the running game
1. Play when he's dinged up
2. Play from behind
3. Respond to a mistake
4. Play on the road
5. Play in a big game
and on and on...which is all to say that its only one game. it was a historically great game, but, of all the small sample size fallacies, nothing is more wrong than believing something to be true on the basis of one game.
of the many cautionary tales i could mention i'll go to the wayback machine...ron powlus. incredibly hyped both in recruiting and in practice. his first game against northwestern he went 18/24 for 291 yards and 4 tds for an offense that thought the entire purpose of the forward pass was to keep the safeties out of the box. it was probably the best game of his 4 year college career. at about this point, beano said he was destined for 3 heismans. powlus serves as a cautionary tale not only about how much we can be misled, but about how expectations may cause harm. did powlus just flop or was he drug down by the weight of impossible expectations. i've always thought it was a little of both.
proposed definition: "to beano" - to set expectations at such an impossibly high level that not only are fans disappointed regardless of performance but those expectations causally limit your ability to meet them.
so, don't beano denard. (alternatively, if you do beano denard make sure that the effect kicks in within the next 72 hours...) denard is almost certainly going to be good. he may turn out to be great. he may even win 3 heismans. but, you're not going to help his chances by setting expectations at impossibly high levels.
and with that i'll let the negging commence...