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Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Martinez’

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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    Wisconsin, Nebraska Leave the Picture

    Well, when your marquee win comes against Vanderbilt, as highly as we all think of the Commodores, you haven’t had a good day. It was a terrible day for the Big Ten, actually – one of the conference’s worst non-conference weekends in recent memory, trumping last weekend, which was defined by only one bad loss, not multiple losses. It was one weak game after another, beginning at noon, gaining steam around midday and then culminating, at nearly midnight, by an unforgivably bad performance from a program once defined by the pride it took in getting stops on the defensive side of the ball. From this entire group, a clutch of sour showings tinged with feel-good victories, two losses stand out above the rest.

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      Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

      Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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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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          For Martinez, Night and Day Strides

          How to describe Taylor Martinez’s throwing mechanics over his freshman and sophomore seasons? Start with a word: ugly. No, start with his feet. Everything that went wrong would begin with his feet, then travel up his legs to his hips, then to his shoulders, then to his eyes, and finally, at long last, to his right arm. It all started with his feet.

          To be more precise, on a step-by-step basis, Martinez’s woes would begin with his back foot. As he raised his first arm, his throwing arm, Martinez’s back foot, his right foot, would take a wobbly step away from the line of scrimmage. If he was dead-center in the middle of the pocket in the middle of the field, Martinez’s back foot would stray towards the right pylon – off target, in other words.

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            No. 16: Nebraska

            You can sense the desperation from miles away: In Lincoln, the smell of fear – fear that there will be no renaissance, no climb back into the national picture – permeates every fiber of Nebraska football, from Taylor Martinez’s delivery to Barney Cotton’s offensive line to Cotton himself, with the Cornhuskers’ line coach drawing as much ire as any figure in the program’s proud history. There’s the fear that nine-win, four-loss seasons are the new norm; the former is a program birthright, but the latter is new. The fear that this current staff doesn’t have the answer. The fear that Nebraska bit off more than it could chew by hopping to the Big Ten. In Lincoln, the sense of impending doom stems from the idea that the offense will sputter, that the quarterback will throw off his back foot, that the defense isn’t up to par, that the pass rush lacks punch. Fear’s an ugly thing: Nebraska’s fan base is petrified. Good thing they play the games.

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              Ranking the Big Ten’s Class of Quarterbacks

              Another Wisconsin-themed hypothetical question: Where would you have ranked the Badgers’ quarterbacks against the rest of the Big Ten if Danny O’Brien had instead opted for, say, Penn State? If Wisconsin had gone into 2012 with options like Joe Brennan and Jon Budmayr, it would have joined Michigan State as the only two teams in the conference to not return a quarterback with at least one career start under his belt. So consider the toppling dominoes: O’Brien should start, which should push Brennan into a more fitting role as his backup, which will allow Budmayr to heal and former walk-on Joel Stave to develop.

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                The Year in Review: Nebraska (9-4, 5-3)

                For all that’s changed, the bedrock hasn’t moved an inch. Nebraska still preaches the sort of old-school values that formed the backbone of its generation-long dominance of college football. Toughness is back in vogue. There’s tremendous continuity on the coaching staff – this remains one of Nebraska’s most underrated assets, as it was under Tom Osborne. The defense has regained most of its lost swagger, albeit in fits and starts. The offense has adopted an old-school mentality with a new-school feel, with a spread-based, run-first system filling the role of the option offense. Nine-win seasons have become the norm.

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                  The Countdown

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