Tag:Will Venables
Posted on: September 18, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 12:20 am
 

What I learned from the Big 12 (Sep 17)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Oklahoma's defense is championship caliber. Having to go to Tallahassee to face a top five team in Florida State in only your second game of the season is not an easy test for any team. That being said, it was still a test that Oklahoma passed on Saturday night. Now, it was not a pretty game, particularly for Oklahoma's offense, as Landry Jones and the Sooners looked as discombobulated as I can ever remember them being in the last few seasons. Thankfully the Sooners defense was more than up to the task. Florida State scored 96 points in its first two games of the season, but the Sooners held the Seminoles to 310 yards of total offense and only 13 points.

The Sooners also brought the wood on defense, handing out some big hits -- including a scary one on Florida State receiver Kenny Shaw that ended up with Shaw immobilized on a stretcher -- and knocking quarterback E.J. Manuel out of the game. It was nice that the world finally got a chance to see just how good this unit is since the Sooners offense struggled so much. If Will Venables' unit keeps playing like this for the rest of the year, it's going to be hard to beat Oklahoma.

2. Texas needs to run the ball more. Texas's offense looked the best it has all season on Saturday afternoon in the Rose Bowl -- something about that venue for the Longhorns -- and it wasn't just because Garrett Gilbert had been replaced by Case McCoy. No, while McCoy and David Ash played well enough, it was the ground game that really carried the Longhorns. Texas rushed for 284 yards against the Bruins on Saturday, led by Malcolm Brown's 110 yards. Fozzy Whittaker also rushed for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns. Still, the more I see of Malcolm Brown running the football, the more I begin to feel that Texas may have finally found the back it has been looking for since the days of Ricky Williams and Cedric Benson.

3. If you offer the Big 12 cupcakes it will eat all of them up, possibly even the wax paper that comes with them. On Saturday Texas Tech, Missouri, Baylor, Texas A&M and Kansas State played New Mexico, Western Illinois, Stephen F. Austin, Idaho and Kent State respectively. In those five games the Big 12 schools outscored their opponents 250-20. Of those 20 points, 13 were scored by New Mexico and the other 7 were scored by Idaho on the Vandals' final possession of the game. Though I suppose it's possible Stephen F. Austin might have managed a touchdown against Baylor if the two teams had been allowed to play a fourth quarter.

4. Seth Doege is somewhat accurate with a football. Speaking of Texas Tech's scrimmage against New Mexico, quarterback Seth Doege made some history in the Raiders' 59-13 win. Doege completed 40 of 44 passes for 401 yards and 5 touchdowns. And he did this without playing in the final quarter. Still, the truly remarkable thing is that Doege's completion percentage of 91% is the highest completion percentage in NCAA history in a single game for a quarterback with at least 40 pass attempts. Who knew Texas Tech quarterbacks would still be re-writing history books even after Tommy Tuberville came to Lubbock?

5. Steele Jantz may not be the greatest thing ever. Last week I was very impressed with Steele Jantz's performance against Iowa, and apparently so was the Big 12 as he was named the conference's offensive player of the week. Well, let's hope the Big 12 wasn't watching Jantz on Friday night. Steele threw three interceptions in his first four passes of the game. Yet, somehow, someway, Jantz was able to recover from that terrible start and help lead the Cyclones to a comeback victory over UConn, giving Iowa State its first 3-0 start to a season since 2005. Iowa State would go on to finish the 2005 season 7-5 following a loss to TCU in the Houston Bowl.

6. The Kansas defense is terrible. I know that Georgia Tech's option offense can be tough to handle. I know this. Still, I don't care how tough it is to stop, that's no excuse for allowing it to rack up 768 yards of offense against you. No that is not a typo, and yes you read it right. SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY-EIGHT yards of total offense. That includes 604 yards rushing! Georgia Tech ran the ball 50 times and averaged 12.1 yards per carry! Georgia Tech also scored a 95-yard touchdown on its first play from scrimmage, and then tossed in a 63-yard touchdown run, a 67-yard touchdown pass and a 52-yard touchdown pass just for added flavor. It was one of the most embarrassing performances I've seen from a defense in a long time, and that includes pee-wee games.

7. Weather is terrible too, but not as terrible as Kansas' defense. Once again college football saw games have to be ended early, as Baylor's 48-0 win over Stephen F. Austin ended after only three quarters. Which means that Robert Griffin's brilliant night (20/22 for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns, 78 yards rushing) likely won't count in the NCAA record books. To make matters worse, storms in Tulsa postponed the Oklahoma State/Tulsa game long enough that it is yet to kickoff as of the time this post was published.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 7:01 pm
 

James Rodgers gets hardship waiver for fifth year

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Oregon State got a boost of good news today when senior James Rodgers -- brother of Jacquizz Rodgers , of course -- was given an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. Rodgers was injured after making a (negated) touchdown catch past Arizona safety Adam Hall in the first half of the OSU-Arizona game; Rodgers' knee buckled as Hall tackled him in the end zone, tearing Rodgers' ACL.

Technically, Rodgers' season-ending injury came during the fifth game of the year, but he had missed the prior game after suffering a concussion on a hit by Boise State safety Will Venables (the helmet-to-helmet hit by Venables would result in a two-quarter suspension), so Rodgers really only played in four of the season's 12 games. That's small enough to meet the NCAA's requirement of 30% games played (yes, there's rounding involved) to grant a medical hardship waiver.

But while Venables' hit was obviously dirty and punished as such, the play that resulted in Rodgers' blown knee would probably be less defensible if it weren't so common. On the fateful play, Rodgers had clearly scored the touchdown and taken several steps in the end zone with Hall on him when Hall finished the tackle, twisting Rodgers' knee past the ACL's tolerance. If that play happens out of bounds, Hall gets flagged and perhaps ejected for unnecessary roughness. And yet, the ball is dead in the end zone after the officials signal a touchdown too, and Hall wasn't trying for a last-gasp strip. It's just common practice to go ahead and get the ball-carrier down in the unlikely event that the ball comes out. Not only is the practice cheap, it's demonstrably dangerous, and with replay being such a part of college football, it wouldn't even work anyway. You're really going to strip a guy 5 steps into the end zone and then expect the ref and replay booth to all think it's a legitimate play? Come on.

Again, it's still technically legal, mainly because it's so widespread, but the fact that someone who has just scored a touchdown can get whacked without any repercussions from the officials seems inconsistent with the rest of the protections afforded to players everywhere else on the field.

At any rate, this is a welcome change of circumstance for Rodgers, who came into the 2010 season as a preseason All-American only to fall off his school-record pace from 2009 even before the injuries. If he can put together a solid senior season with his brother in the backfield, cannon-armed junior Ryan Katz returning as the starting quarterback, and a bevy of experienced receivers coming back, the lousy 2010 campaign will become little more than a distant memory.

 
 
 
 
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