Tuesday, April 29, 2008

still a little crazy

Things around the office haven't slowed down any since the race ended -- as I detailed in my column for tomorrow (Wednesday), we've got softball area tournaments, baseball playoffs, the state track meet and the start of spring football all happening this week. I'm taking Wednesday off, for my mental health (and the health of my yard), but it's only a brief respite -- the real rest doesn't come for a few weeks.

Anyway, I feel the need to post a few links, even if some of them are already out-moded.
-- Peter King mentioned Bobby Petrino yesterday in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, that according to Arthur Blank he never called or offered any sort of apology/explanation for fleeing Atlanta. Obviously, the Alabama fan in me wants to use that as some sort of example to make Nick Saban look a little better -- after all, Saban did talk to a number of his players in Miami (the ones who were still hanging around the complex), Saban's been back to Miami since he left for Tuscaloosa, and Saban left very few hard feelings within the actual Dolphin organization. In fact, the only people in Miami who seemed truly upset by Saban's departure were a) Don Shula (had ulterior motives and may possibly be senile) and b) Dan LeBatard (a sports columnist in need of someone to rip on anyway).
On the other hand, the objective side of me sees that Petrino's and Saban's situations weren't entirely comparable. For one thing, Atlanta's organization has proven itself as one of the premier drama-queen outfits in the NFL, and Arthur Blank seems to truly enjoy standing in front of the media and bemoaning how everyone is. And don't forget that this is the same organization that continues to employ the services of DeAngelo Hall, one of the worst locker-room cancers in the entire league. From the front office to the field, Miami -- at least on the surface -- is a more professional organization than Atlanta. So maybe Petrino had very good reasons for wanting to get away from there.

-- In Tuesday Morning Quarterback today, Gregg Easterbrook considers the absurdity of the decimal points in evaluating the ability of individuals to play football.
This is actually one of my annual gripes in football, whether it's collegiate recruiting or professional evaluation. First of all, a 40 time is completely arbitrary in evaluating someone's ability to play football -- how often does a football player required to run 40 yards from a crouched position during a game? I'm not discounting the importance of speed in football, obviously, but football is a game that relies on quickness, and on the ability to deliver a blow once you arrive at your destination. I don't care how fast a guy runs a 40 -- I'm more interested in a player's ability to change directions, to explode out of a stance and deliver a lick.
Moreover, how does a hundredth-of-a-second suddenly invalidate a guy's status as a player? Do we really need to know how fast Darren McFadden ran the 40 to know whether he can play ball? I don't. I only need to watch things like this.

Yeah ... I think I'll take that guy on my team. Don't show me any more stats and don't run any more tests. Can he play? Then yeah ... he's ours.

-- I know I'm like two weeks late on this story about Saban circumventing a rule that was designed especially for people like him (and, by extension, to protect lazy coaches who aren't quite as dedicated to year-round recruiting ... and yes, Tommy, we're looking at you). But I felt the need to comment anyway -- I don't like Saban that much, and in fact, there are days when I kind of hope he chokes on a Certs. However, I give credit where it's due -- this kind of thing is the exact opposite of what's been happening in Tuscaloosa. These are the things that give Alabama hope that the program's turning around sooner than later.

More coming tomorrow, I suppose.


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