July 6, 2013
Ramblin' around ...
Some folks have disagreed – in a friendly way – about my statement the other day that it doesn’t take a future NFL star or even a future NFL player at all at quarterback to win a national championship.
Well, history backs me up on this one. Consider the Southeastern Conference's national championships going back to 1992:
Alabama, 1992: Jay Barker. Was cut by three NFL teams in two seasons. Spent three seasons in the CFL.
Tennessee, 1998: Tee Martin. Played four seasons in the NFL but never became a starter.
Florida, 1996: Danny Wuerffel. Played five seasons in the NFL but never became a regular starter.
LSU, 2003: Matt Mauck. Played two seasons in the NFL and played in just two games.
Florida, 2006: Chris Leak. Was not drafted and did not make an NFL roster.
LSU, 2007: Matt Flynn. Has had mixed success in the NFL and is expected to compete next season for the starting job with the Oakland Raiders.
Florida, 2008: Tim Tebow. Took over as the Denver Broncos’ starter in 2011 and led team to a playoff win over the Steelers. Traded to the New York Jets and played only a minor role last season. Cut after the NFL draft. Signed with the New England Patriots and could move to another position.
Alabama, 2009: Greg McElroy. Reserve quarterback for the Jets. Was sacked 11 times in his only NFL start.
Auburn, 2010: Cam Newton. Had a record-breaking rookie season in 2011 and another big season in 2012. One of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Alabama, 2011 and 2012: A.J. McCarron. Has one season remaining at Alabama. Projected as a first-round draft choice in 2014.
Of the 10 SEC quarterbacks who have won national championships in the past 21 seasons, only Newton has made a major impact on the field in the NFL. McCarron’s NFL story, of course, remains to be told. …
Auburn players started their “captain’s practices” last week, player-run practices away from the watchful eyes of coaches.
Junior running back Tre Mason says, in years past, team leaders have had to plead with some players to show up. That’s not been the case as the Tigers work toward Gus Malzahn’s first season as head coach.
“It’s been great,” Mason said. “Everybody is there. Everybody is trying. Everybody has the will to win and get better.”
Junior college transfer running back Cameron Artis-Payne says he has been impressed.
“Guys are working out whether they are sick or whatever,” Artis-Payne said. …
Artis-Payne says his parents plan to drive from Harrisburg, Pa., to every Auburn game this season.
“My parents travel,” he said. “They drove down here for A-Day. They are going to be down here for every game. It’s a long drive, but they are used to it. My dad is a bus driver. He knows about driving.” …
A lot of silly things happen in recruiting football and basketball players, but the silliest of all might be offering scholarships to middle school players. Surely the young men and their families know that those offers mean nothing, that if they don’t perform as expected those offers will go away.
Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t want my eighth-grade son being put under that kind of pressure. …
The next silliest thing might be sending hundreds of letters in one day to an individual prospect. …
The new rule calling for players to be ejected for hits targeting a ballcarrier or receiver above the shoulders is going to create a lot of angst very quickly. Officials, who already have shown their judgment on so-called judgment calls is often questionable and always inconsistent, will have to decide the intent of tacklers. Their decisions could impact the outcome of games.
Personally, I believe there needs to be a closer look at officials themselves.
If it was up to me:
* I would insist that officials in all sports be available to the media after games to answer for their performances like players and coaches have to answer for their performances.
* Recognizing that officials can't see every infraction, there is no excuse for calling infractions that didn't happen. An official who does that is either guessing or cheating, and both are unacceptable. There should be one warning, and the next time the official should be fired.
* Someway, somehow, holding needs to be defined in a way that all officials understand. Once that happens, officials need to call it every time they see it. That might mean there would be lots of holding penalties at the outset, but players would adjust.
* In basketball, I would tell officials to come up with specifics of what constitutes a technical foul. There would be no more rabbit-eared officials calling technical fouls because they were in a bad mood. …
There are rumblings that Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, a former Auburn great, could be on the trading block. Regardless, Hudson, at 37, is probably in the latter stages of a remarkable career that has seen him win 201 games for the Braves and Oakland A’s.
Hudson led Auburn to the College World Series in 1997 as the best pitcher and best centerfielder in the SEC, if not the country. Former coach Hal Baird said he hasn’t seen a season like it before or since.
“In my mind, that’s the greatest single year any college baseball player ever had when you look at it in total,” Baird says. “It truly was a remarkable season. I’ve never seen anything like it. He was so good at all of it. He was our best pitcher, our best hitter and our best outfielder. He was the most versatile player we ever had.”
More importantly, Hudson was then and is now a first-class individual. …
The more Urban Meyer defends his lax discipline as head coach at Florida, the worse he looks. He would be well-advised to just be quiet and concentrate on his job as head coach at Ohio State. …
Until next time …
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: