"They ground him down," a college scouting director told Shutdown Corner. "Nick [Saban] worked him, rode him to a title. If you look at our league, the number of [400-carry backs who] had big years the next year is small." There have been 41 players in NFL history with 400-plus touches, with 17 of those seasons coming since 2000. Of those 17, the average reduction in touches the following season was 27.7 percent; the average total yardage reduction was 36.5 percent. Only one of those backs, Ricky Williams in 2003, followed up a 400-touch season with more touches the following season. And only one, LaDainian Tomlinson in 2003, had more yards the next year.
Henry wants the ball. He is one of those guys that doesn't get worn down as the game goes on, rather gets stronger. The perception here, and NFL conventional wisdom, may affect his draft status drastically. But, will his freakish combine numbers offset that? Who knows. I still think in a pass-first, risk-averse NFL, he slides to late 2nd/early3rd...and will prove people very wrong for a long time, provided he improves his hands and IQ in the passing game.
Stanford inside linebacker Blake Martinez told co-host Phil Savage and me Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Dallas coach Jason Garrett and his staff handed players blank notebooks at the beginning of a full week of Senior Bowl practices and meetings. "Their whole evaluation for us was, ‘How well can this guy take notes?’" Martinez said. "They didn’t give us a playbook. They basically explained it on the board. They expected us to write down good enough notes to go back to our rooms, study, and have the diligence to step on the field the next day and perform at the high level they wanted."
Surprise at the Senior Bowl: Show us that you actually have field intelligence and can adjust with little or no memorization. That's a helluva' concept, and if more teams did that then Reggie Ragland is your No. 1 linebacker with a bullet.
Regarded as a 5-star prospect by 247sports, 2016 athlete Demetris Robertson has yet to make his official college decision. The Savannah, Ga. native has essentially narrowed his final list down to Cal, Stanford, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Georgia. There was a thought Robertson would officially visit Georgia this upcoming weekend.
A Georgia kid, with Georgia in his top five, has declined his visit with the Dawgs. That seems...odd.
Departed: --Ty Flournoy-Smith who had three catches for 48 yards in 2015. --Michael Nysewander, a fan favorite who recorded his first touchdown last season.
I more wanted to take this moment to remark on Ty Flournoy-Smith, the UGA transfer who was criminally underused. With Coker intermittently struggling early in the season, Ty was a perfect safety valve, and for whatever reason Lane Kiffin and Co. never designed packages for him. We lost a ton of manageable third downs by funneling the offense outside.Then again, Kiffin is and will be and will die, a Bill Walsh devotee. Let's see how he integrates Howard this season.
"We went through two years where we had a lot of success and won a lot of games, but there was a lot of judging going on," Saban said. "There were a lot of players going, ‘Why do we practice like this? Why are we conditioning? Why are we having an offseason program?’ I call it judging. "This team never did that. There was never a question about it. Everybody bought in. Everybody had each other’s back and held each other accountable for what they needed to do. We obviously had pretty good leadership, or that never would have happened. There was never any complaining about anything we did. It’s so much easier to manage a group like that."
This is a great article contrasting Saban with Coach K, and the demands placed on internal leadership -- and the pressure of being expected to win it all every year.
The federal lawsuit filed Feb. 9 in Nashville by six unidentified women alleges that the school has violated Title IX regulations and created a "hostile sexual environment" through a policy of indifference toward assaults by student-athletes. The complaint states that Tennessee's policies made students more vulnerable to sexual assault and says that the school had a "clearly unreasonable response" after incidents that caused the women making complaints to endure additional harassment. The suit also states the university interfered with the disciplinary process to favor male athletes.
The Vols are one big, rapey hot mess right now. I've seen articles call the Title IX suit and the myriad sexual offenses a "distraction" (dishonor to Barrett Sallee at B/R for that one) -- that is incorrect. Knoxville has a sexual assault problem; college football has a sexual assault problem. It's time to admit this. I have no idea what Butch is going to say this morning, nor what he will do. Systemic culture change is a monster, and as long as he brings in Top-5 recruiting classes and vies for the East, I don't expect anything to change either.
"Obasohan is special," Howland said following the Bulldogs' win over Alabama on Saturday. "He is special. And I love his story. I was looking at his freshman to senior year how he's grown as a player, and he is so good. ... He's on my ballot already sent in as a first-teamer. That's how good I think he is. He's one of the five best players in the SEC. So they have a great player who's a point guard that they build around, and that's always an advantage. So they're going to be a tough out for anybody."
Ben Howland, a guy who has seen some great talent at Pitt and UCLA, has nothing but praise for OBALLSOHARD. The transformation has been remarkable.
Alabama, winners in six of its last eight games, returns to action on Tuesday night when it travels to Lexington, Ky., to square off with No. 16/14 Kentucky at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET) on ESPN. Following that contest, the Tide will begin its final two-game homestand of the season when it hosts instate rival Auburn Tigers on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT on SEC Network. Alabama comes into its game with an RPI of No. 41 and a strength of schedule of No. 23 in the nation, according to ESPN.com (through games of Feb. 21). The Tide's RPI ranks fifth-best in the SEC, while its SOS is third-best in the league.
There's kind of a big game tonight in Lexington against a team that can be beaten. Perhaps you've heard of the Kentucky Wildcats? We'll have more on this later today, because an upset by Alabama can mean all the difference in a tourney bid. Speaking of...
"Why not? It’s the elephant in the room," Johnson said. "… it’s on national networks, it’s on local networks, it’s in the local newspaper, it’s in national newspapers, it’s everywhere on the Internet. So I think I’m irresponsible if I come in every game and ignore the facts of where we are. We’ve done a good job of playing ourself somewhere I didn’t think we would be. "Now that we’re here, I can’t keep treating them like they’re toddlers. I’ve gotta say ‘Here’s where we are. Here’s what the options are. We control our own destiny.’ I think it would be irresponsible to go through the whole season and not say something about it at least one time."
Big Dance or not, the job Avery Johnson has done this year has been among the best we've seen in the nation. I for one am damned proud of this team, this coach, these players.