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Posts Tagged ‘De’Anthony Thomas’

P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 4

It’s not unprecedented for the eventual Heisman winner to lose at least one game during the regular season – in fact, recent history shows that it’s just as common for the winner to lose at least once than it is for him to run the table. Of the last 10 Heisman winners, not counting Reggie Bush, five have lost at least one game during the regular season: Eric Crouch lost once, Carson Palmer lost twice, Tim Tebow lost three times, Sam Bradford lost once and Robert Griffin III lost three times. So the door to the Heisman is far from closed to Matt Barkley, who was unable to lead U.S.C. past Stanford on Saturday night. But one difference between Barkley and the five quarterbacks listed above is that Barkley entered the season as the undisputed favorite; that might help, in a way, but it might also open up a path for one of his prime challengers – De’Anthony Thomas or Geno Smith, for example – to put a stranglehold on the top spot. One thing is clear: Barkley can’t lose again. Before tackling the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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    P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 3

    The SEC rules the roost – Monday’s post touting the Big 12 notwithstanding. Beyond the national titles, the SEC has also staked a claim to the Heisman since 2007, when Tim Tebow was the league’s first of three Heisman winners in four years. So… what can’t the SEC do? While it’s going to be hard for a team to take out Alabama or L.S.U. in January, it seems – through two weeks, to be fair – that the SEC will not put forth a leading Heisman contender in 2012. For now, fringe and true-blooded candidates like Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones, Eddie Lacy, Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson stand removed from the Heisman’s upper crust. The good news? These players will have ample opportunities to state their case in October and November, when SEC opponents butt heads for conference supremacy. For a player like Murray and Jones, solid showings against Missouri are one thing; doing the same against Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina will make voters really stand up and take notice. Before getting to the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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      P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 2

      This week’s moving and shaking has not impacted the top group: the four or five leading contenders remain in place, with little movement. But along the back end, opening-week showings from several under-the-radar skill players – not too far under the radar, to be honest – has led to a retooling of the second tier. Who knew that Taylor Martinez had that sort of arm? Who knew that Denard Robinson was going to lay such an egg? The latter question raises another interesting idea: What does Robinson need to do to leap back into the mix for the Heisman? It won’t be merely about numbers for Michigan’s senior, though that’s certainly part and parcel of any player’s candidacy – Robinson needs to cut down on interceptions, do more with his legs, score touchdowns, what have you. But Robinson also needs highlight-reel moments, the sort that could remind the voting public why he remains one of the most dangerous players in college football; beyond that, he needs wins. A run to Pasadena would put the bloom back on Robinson’s rose. Before getting to the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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        P.S.R. 2012 Heisman Watch: Preseason

        Remember when Andrew Luck was a lock for the Heisman? His Heisman campaign took off roughly midway through his sophomore season, when Luck led Stanford to its first major breakthrough, and then reached a fever pitch once he opted to return for one more season with the Cardinal. At this point a year ago, Luck was the odds-on favorite to not only win the Heisman but to win it with ease – going wire-to-wire unlike any Heisman winner in recent memory. That Luck didn’t was not a reflection on his own level of play, which was superb, but rather an illustration of just how hard it is to maintain your grasp on the top spot while dozens of other qualified candidates state their case over the three months of the regular season. Last fall, Luck’s early lead evaporated once Robert Griffin III led Baylor to its finest season in decades, if not the finest season in school history. A year later, Matt Barkley finds himself in a similar situation. Before getting to the leading contenders, the first installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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          No. 2: Oregon

          Whizz. Bang. Boom. I’d tell you to keep your eyes on Oregon, but the Ducks are already gone – long, long gone, past you at breakneck speed into the end zone, good for six, and back to the sidelines. The Ducks do everything fast: Chip Kelly talks fast, rat-a-tat-tat-tat through silly question after foolish query; the team’s station-to-station practice work is a blur; the school changes uniforms like Superman, stepping out in green-yellow-grey one Saturday before opting for green-white-winged-gold a week later; the offense goes up, comes back, hikes and hustles unlike any other unit in the history of college football. The entire program has long been different, especially to those outside the state, and under Kelly’s direction, Oregon has completely and utterly embraced its unique qualities – and what makes Oregon different is what makes it great. They’re moving fast, but let’s stop and catch our breath for just one quick statement: the Ducks are awesome. Whizz. Bang. Boom. And they’re off.

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            Without Carson, Ducks’ Depth Issues a Worry

            Ironically, Tra Carson would have been a better traditional running back than the sublime De’Anthony Thomas, though not a better all-around offensive weapon. For all his unparalleled athletic gifts, Thomas lacks the size to be a LaMichael James-like every down back — though James, it should be added, also had to answer the inevitable questions about his own size, or lack thereof. Note the past tense in the first sentence: As first reported a month ago by the Eugene Register-Guard, Carson is in fact transferring, though Oregon, in a university-issued statement, pointed out that Carson “had not completely dismissed the notion of a return to Oregon until shortly before the end of the winter term.”

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              Can Anyone Knock Oregon Off Its Perch?

              Oregon knew – or had a very strong suspicion – that LaMichael James was going to forego his final season of eligibility; Darron Thomas’ decision to follow James out the door came as a bit of a surprise. It was certainly surprising on a national level, as Thomas, while certainly one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12, could probably have used another season of college seasoning before taking his game onto the next level. Oregon’s offense shouldn’t have much trouble replacing James, as strange as that might sound, since the Ducks can turn to the three-headed monster of Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson to help pick up the slack.

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                Ten Themes for Saturday: Week 7

                Ten teams, themes, games and players to watch on Saturday. Pretty straightforward. Here we go:

                No James, no problem There’s a great scene in the movie “Moneyball,” which I think most of us have seen, where Brad Pitt, playing A’s general manager Billy Beane, explains how no, his team can’t replace Jason Giambi. But the A’s can replace his numbers, Pitt-as-Beane explains — not with one player, but with an amalgam of three of four different players. Oregon’s taking the same approach with LaMichael James, the nation’s leading rusher, who will likely not play in tonight’s possible preview of the Pac-12 title game against Arizona State. It won’t be Kenjon Barner taking the reins with 30 carries; it won’t be De’Anthony Thomas; it won’t be Tra Carson. It’ll be all three, with Barner perhaps getting more touches than his true freshmen teammates but Thomas and Hopkins certainly in line for significant carries. Thomas has been everything he was hyped up to be, both as a runner and a receiver. Look for Oregon to again try to get him in space against the Sun Devils.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.