Posted on: November 16, 2010 5:01 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Linemen, defenders, running backs, and quarterbacks have all had their day in the "award announces smaller list of potential winners from larger list" sun, so now it's time for the guys that catch the ball. First, the 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award , given to the nation's outstanding wide receiver:
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
A.J. Green, Georgia
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Julio Jones, Alabama
Aldrick Robinson, SMU
Greg Salas, Hawaii
Jordan White, Western Michigan
And the eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award , due the nation's top tight end:
George Bryan (Jr., North Carolina State)
Michael Egnew (Jr., Missouri)
Ladarius Green (Jr., Louisiana)
Daniel Hardy (Sr., Idaho)
Lance Kendricks (Sr., Wisconsin)
Allen Reisner (Sr., Iowa)
Luke Stocker (Sr., Tennessee)
D.J. Williams (Sr., Arkansas)
What's interesting about contrasting the two lists in how many names pop off the firts list and don't pop off the second one. Of course, of course, the first is wide receivers and the second is tight ends. But whereas Green, Jefferey, and Jones are all universally considered first-round talents and players like Blackmon, Broyles, Salas, and White are all putting together flatly ridiculous statistical seasons (oh, and Cobb is only leading the nation in all-purpose yardage, and incredible talents like Michael Floyd and Jeff Maehl didn't make it), the tight ends are ... well, they're around. The No. 1 TE in receiving yardage is Egnew, followed by Green, and neither is exactly a household name. The early draft projections don't feature any of the tight ends listed above ... or any at all.
It's probably a one-year fluke. But as with the lack of workhorse running backs among the nation's top offensive skill players , it also speaks to how dominant the spread offense has become in college football. There just aren't as many traditional tight ends playing college football ... and it appears to be having an impact on the quality of the position overall.
Tags: A.J. Green, Alabama, Aldrick Robinson, Allen Reisner, Alshon Jeffery, Arkansas, Biletnikoff Award, D.J. Williams, Daniel Hardy, George Bryan, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Jeff Fuller, Jordan White, Julio Jones, Justin Blackmon, Kentucky, Ladarius Green, Lance Kendricks, Louisiana, Luke Stocker, Mackey Award, Michael Egnew, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Randall Cobb, Ryan Broyles, SMU. Greg Salas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
1. The Iowa defense is the biggest fraud in the Big Ten. Credit must go to Dan Persa and Northwestern for their gutsy fourth-quarter comeback against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but it's time to stop lauding the Iowa defense as one of the nation's best, because it isn't -- not when the game is on the line. Iowa has given up game-winning drives -- and long, sustained ones, at that -- to three different opponents this season, and if it hadn't been for an unconscionable end zone drop by Indiana wideout Damario Belcher on 4th down last week, that total would be four, in just 10 games. It's one thing to hold lightweights like Iowa State and Eastern Illinois to just one score. It's another to get a stop when the team needs one the most, and Iowa's defense just doesn't seem capable of doing that.
2. Bret Bielema's empathy generator is broken. Quick, name the one Big Ten coach who would run up 83 points on a conference opponent. It's probably the same one that goes for two while up by 25 with under seven minutes to play, isn't it? Why yes it is. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema continued his quest to get every mediocre coach in the Big Ten fired with an 83-20 firebombing of Indiana in Madison. And though Bielema will again claim not to be running up the score, it's worth pointing out that Scott Tolzien was throwing passes to fellow starters Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath with a 39-point lead and under five minutes left in the third quarter. Yes, it's up to Indiana to make the stop, and Indiana never did, but in a 63-point win, it's never good to see the winning team converting a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter -- regardless of whether a backup threw it. Wisconsin, we're looking at you here.
3. There's plenty of Hawkeye fans in East Lansing. The Big Ten title race is down to three one-loss teams, and as of right now, Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena (or if all hell really breaks loose, Glendale, but let's assume Pasadena). Of the three teams, only one -- Ohio State -- faces a ranked team down the stretch, and that's OSU's trip to Iowa next weekend. If Iowa wins, all of a sudden, Michigan State has the upper hand for the league title. Ohio State wins, and we're back to the three-team non-round-robin tiebreaker, which is BCS standing. MSU is not such a big fan of that idea: the Spartans are firmly mired at third among Big Ten teams in that department. So yes, there's still plenty of endgame drama left in the Big Ten, even if it involves two teams that are at best longshots for the title.
4. Matt McGloin has "moxie," but Ohio State has a secondary. Advantage, OSU. It's hard to believe, looking at the 38-14 final score from Columbus, but Penn State actually led the Buckeyes 14-3 at the break, and it could have been worse. PSU QB Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and unlike the two he threw in the second half, the first half scores were to his own team. Yes, things sort of fell off a cliff for Penn State, and the turning point was likely late in the first half, when Joe Paterno got greedy on 4th and 1 at the OSU 20 and went for it. The Evan Royster rush failed, the Buckeye defense's heart grew three sizes, and PSU never even threatened to score for the rest of the game.
It was a sobering return to reality for Penn State fans who witnessed McGloin's dissection of the Northwestern defense last week and were entertaining dreams of McGloin as a wildly successful three (or two-and-a-half, anyway) -year starter over true freshman Rob Bolden, Joe Paterno's choice at the beginning of the season. The fact of the matter is, there's usually plenty more to turning a struggling offense around than just making a switch at quarterback, and when Bolden's got a full year of film study and practice under his belt, he's probably going to be a better quarterback than McGloin. That fact doesn't have much relevance today, which is why McGloin started at Columbus and probably will next week, but it would be extremely presumptive to look at McGloin's first two quarters at OSU and attach a tag like "the future" to him -- unless the words "clipboard holder for Rob Bolden" immediately follow.
Tags: Ball State, BCS Tiebreakers, Big Ten, Big Ten Tiebreakers, Bret Bielema, Damario Belcher, Dan Persa, David Gilreath, Evan Royster, Indiana, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Lance Kendricks, Matt McGloin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rob Bolden, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl Tiebreakers, Scott Tolzien, What I Learned, Wisconsin
Posted on: September 22, 2010 2:45 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
It took dependable play on both sides of the ball for Wisconsin to escape with a 20-19 victory over Arizona State on Saturday in Madison. The Badgers found themselves pinned against the ropes thanks to some big special teams plays from the Sun Devils. Thankfully for the Badgers, quarterback Scott Tolzien could depend on senior tight end Lance Kendricks.
Kendricks finished the game with seven catches for 131 yards, accounting for more than half of Wisconsin's passing. His touchdown catch with ten seconds left in the second quarter helped finish a 12 play, 71 yard drive to put the Badgers back in the lead just before halftime. His performance won the praise of coaches and teammates alike, and now has been named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week.
The honor is different from the John Mackey Award, given annually at season-end to the most outstanding tight end in Division I-A football. The weekly award was started in 2004 to honor the play of tight ends during the active season. Kendricks beat out Charlie Gantt of Michigan State and Michael Egnew of Missouri in Week 3. Previous Tight End of the Week honorees have been Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame and Virgil Green of Nevada.
Having a reliable receiving option like Kendricks is crucial to identify heading into conference play. The Badgers are currently one of six ranked teams from the Big Ten, and the gauntlet will begin October 2 against Michigan State in East Lansing. The 6-4, 241 pound Kendricks is leading the team in receptions and yards on the season, and has caught both of Tolzien's touchdown passes. So much of Wisconsin's offense focuses on star running back John Clay, Kendricks has been able to slip past defenses and provide Tolzien a great option out of the play action.
Wisconsin will take on Austin Peay at home on Saturday, it will be their last non-conference game of the regular season.
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