Tag Archives: Michael Vick

SEC Links: Ramblin’ Down That Coaches Highway (and a Bit of Lagniappe)

This week in SEC Links we will focus on coaches, their opinions, their salaries, and their preparation techniques. Also, we will take a look at the buzz around a former NFL legend who could, possibly, be jumping into the coaching ranks.

Bret Bielema (known as “Bert” here at Campus Pressbox) has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and he is keeping true to form this off-season. Bielema is gathering information toward, potentially, allowing undrafted college underclassmen to return to their alma maters if they are not chosen in the NFL draft, which is held each spring. The initial idea strikes me as a good one but there are potholes in that road back to State U as this piece from NFL.com outlines. It will be very interesting to see if this notion takes legs and winds up in the lap of the inept NCAA.

Just down the road in Oxford, MS, the Laremy Tunsil debacle and the oncoming NCAA issues continue to take center stage. As gifted an athlete as Tunsil is, you wonder if Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze rues the day he signed Laremy to a scholarship. Freeze now finds himself right square in the middle of this swirling chaos and is taking steps to try and protect himself, and the Rebel program, from potential problems in the event that he is deposed in the lawsuit between Tunsil and his stepfather.

Jump on I-55 and head further down the SEC coaching highway to Baton Rouge, LA where new LSU defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, is installing his system. Aranda is switching schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Summertime is upon us and this is a critical season in terms of a football team bonding, developing chemistry, and working hard toward the dogs days of August, when fall camp begins. LSU is, most-assuredly, loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball, and how well Aranda is able to get those defenders on the same page and playing together, will be critical to the success of the Tigers this fall.

We then take I-10 east, to I-65 north, to I-85 north, and find ourselves on the Plains of East Alabama, where the success of the 2016 edition of the Auburn Tigers will depend, to an enormous degree, on the play of these Tigers’ quarterback. John Franklin III is very much in the center of that conversation, and guess who has been tutoring Franklin as of late? Unless you were already privy to this information, I’ll bet you didn’t guess Michael Vick. Well, boys and girls, that’s exactly who, along with his personal quarterbacks coach, Lionel Bozeman, has been tutoring JF III. Does Gus know about this? The thick plottens.

Yes, SEC coaches, be they assistants, or the top dog, have a mind-numbing array of moving parts to piece together in building a football team, and the approaching summer months are no exception. Now, with the whole satellite camp scramble in full swing, it gets even crazier.

So, just how well do the of SEC head men get compensated? Stan Chrapowicki, of Bleacher Report, has taken the SEC head football coaches salaries, and combined them with the compensation of their fellow head basketball coaches, to reveal what SEC schools are shucking out on their revenue-producing sports’ CEOs. The results might surprise you.

I recently alluded to the insane wages that FBS football coaches demand, and when you couple that with the basketball salaries, it becomes truly eye-popping. One could feed a small country with that kind of money. When you throw in how poorly paid the professors of these “student-athletes” are, something is badly amiss.

Lastly, there is a, now retired, NFL quarterback with time on his hands. Will he be joining the staff of an SEC team soon? Hmmmm… Andrew Olson, of Saturday Down South, pries into the matter. I, personally, love the idea. Let’s wait impatiently and see what happens.

110 days remain until Vanderbilt and South Carolina kick it off on Thursday, September 1.

Photo taken by Bird himself

J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller, the Oregon Ducks, and College Football Free Agency

Note: This article was written with the assumption that J.T. Barrett does not have a career ending injury or an injury that would prevent him from competing for the starting job next spring.

With very few exceptions, the backup quarterback at all levels is always the most popular person on a team, especially in the college ranks where a player can improve drastically on a week to week basis. One bad game by the starter and the call for the backup grows. When Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller tore his labrum prior to the 2014 season and was declared out for the year, the 2014 season teetered on the brink of turning into a “next year we’ll be good.”

For the most part, an “embarrassment of riches” at a particular position is a good thing. Players can be shuffled around to get the most talent on the field. Except at quarterback. Assuming that Braxton Miller doesn’t bolt for the NFL to avoid a training camp battle with J.T. Barrett that will probably continue throughout the season, Ohio State and Urban Meyer will be put into a terrible position: they have too many good quarterbacks.

The thought of an open quarterback battle between two Heisman level players is incredibly intriguing, especially since both players have the same general skillset. They can both run well, pass well, and operate the Urban Meyer system effectively. The main difference is that Barrett will be a redshirt sophomore and Miller will be a senior. Because they are so similar, having a two quarterback system makes little sense. One is not a markedly better passer or runner than the other and rotating the two in and out would probably do more harm than good. Ideally, one would transition to a new position. However, it is more likely that one will transfer, probably Miller.

Recently, there have been rumors about Braxton Miller going to Oregon , despite reports that there has been no official contact between the school and the quarterback. However, in the world of sports, where there is smoke there is fire, or, perhaps, where there is smoke, it’s just another case of fans making up fantasy scenarios. Regardless, the scenario of Braxton Miller going to Oregon is incredibly intriguing. Oregon is facing a transition year as Marcus Mariota will be graduating and moving on to the NFL. As a graduate student, Miller would not be subject to the rule that requires players to sit out a year after transferring. He would be able to play immediately, not unlike when Russell Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and started immediately.

From Ohio State’s point of view, having Braxton transfer to another school, Oregon or otherwise, solves their quarterback controversy completely. J.T. Barrett is handed the quarterback duties with no caveats and is allowed to build on his incredibly successful freshman season where he was in the Heisman discussion. Meanwhile, Braxton Miller would head to Oregon, take over the Ducks’ high powered offense and, assuming his shoulder has healed, be in the Heisman discussion once again. The most intriguing part of this scenario would be a possible Rose Bowl showdown between Braxton Miller and his old team led by J.T. Barrett, the player who was supposed to wait another year before taking over. This scenario is just a fun hypothetical now, but if Braxton goes to Oregon and both teams are good next year, the media will have a field day discussing the Braxton Miller versus his old team story.

Adding a healthy Braxton Miller would be a massive upgrade for almost any team. Outside of Oregon, three teams, in no particular order, in need of a quarterback are Baylor, Oklahoma, and Stanford. Since Miller can choose to become a college free agent, he can pick the school which best fits his current skillset and provides the biggest boost for his NFL draft stock, one that will be carefully scrutinized as a result of his shoulder injury. When Baylor, Oklahoma, and Stanford are thrown into the ring with Oregon, the one major difference is Oregon’s glaring lack of NFL quarterback success.

Outside of maybe Kellen Clemens, who has had a career wandering the NFL as a backup, Oregon has not had a quarterback who went to the NFL and produced in over a decade. Their last high NFL draft pick was Joey Harrington who played atrociously. Chip Kelly’s success in Philadelphia with the combination of Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and a sprinkling of Matt Barkley has shown that his system, one that is still being run to a large extent in Oregon, is designed to win despite the quarterback, not because of the quarterback. The Oregon philosophy of kill the other team’s defense by running plays at an insane pace is incredibly effective, but not necessarily a system designed to produce quarterbacks that are NFL ready. Any quarterback with some modicum of accuracy and awareness will be able to find receivers running free in a tired defensive secondary and be productive.

In contrast to Oregon, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Stanford have all produced top ten draft picks recently. Oklahoma and Stanford have produced number 1 overall picks (Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck, respectively) while Baylor produced Robert Griffin III who had many of the same traits that Braxton Miller possesses, good arm strength, accuracy, shiftiness, and speed. All three schools would be great landing spots for Miller, with Stanford and Oklahoma probably having a slight edge over Baylor.

My personal breakdown of the situation: 70% he stays at Ohio State and wins the job, 20% he transfers, and 10% he changes positions. Although it probably won’t happen, discussing the 20% chance that Braxton transfers is too much fun to not bring up.

Look At The Numbers : Top 25 QB's of the BCS Era

The BCS era is over, whether we like it or not. It’s now time for the College Football Playoff to take over the college football world of ours. But, before we move on from the era, lets take a look back at the most important position over that time, the quarterback. In the 16 year span of the BCS, we saw 11 different quarterbacks take home the Heisman Trophy. We also saw countless others fall just short of winning one, just because the position was that deep. With all of the talent, it’s only right to start an argument and try to decide the top 25 QB’s of the BCS Era.
But, before you go off shouting about your favorite teams’ star quarterback from 2002, you should probably take a look at the numbers. After all, numbers never lie (aside from Air Raid offenses).
*Every quarterback who played at least two seasons in the BCS era are eligible, which means Jameis Winston and Michael Bishop weren’t eligible.
Now here comes the complicated system that I came up with based entirely on statistics. Ready? Okay. I took 35 noticeable quarterbacks from the BCS Era, ones that stand out above the rest. People like Geno Smith, Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, Andy Dalton, etc. Then I took a lo-o-o-ong list of statistics from passing touchdowns to winning percentage to rushing yards. You could say it took me a while as well. After I acquired all of this information, I gave the quarterbacks points for where they ranked on each statistic.
EX: If a QB was the 10th ranked in total yards and first in total touchdowns, then he would get 25 points and the 9th spot would get 26 and so on. Except I went threw and did that for six key stats I look at when deciding.

  • Passing touchdowns per start
  • Passing yards per start
  • Winning percentage as a starter
  • Average # of wins per season
  • Rushing touchdowns per start
  • Interception per start (The lowest ratio was awarded the most points)

The purpose of this was to make it as balanced as possible, so a system pocket-passer type quarterback would benefit from passing yards and passing touchdowns, a winning quarterback would be rewarded twice for their efforts, and a running quarterback would benefit from the interception ratio and rushing touchdowns. So in other words, Graham Harrell is balanced with A.J. McCarron, while McCarron is balanced with Eric Crouch, and Crouch has the same benefits that Harrell has. This way, we could determine which quarterback is the best at what they do. After assigning points to all 34 players, I then rewarded additional points for the following :

  • Heisman Winner
  • Heisman Finalist
  • 1st Team All-American
  • 2nd Team All-American
  • 1st Conference All-American
  • Maxwell and the Davey O’Brien awards
  • BCS National Championship wins/losses
  • BCS Game wins and losses
  • Being from an AQ Conference awarded you five extra points, as an award for SOS

After processing all of that (only six hours or so), I found the top 25 quarterbacks of the BCS. Let me tell you I now appreciate those BCS computer-geeks a little more now. Because even after all the time I spent, the system is still flawed. But it’s more than enough to get us through the offseason isn’t it? We start off with honorable mentions (30-26), featuring a Georgia QB just shy of making a BCS Championship and a Heisman Trophy winner.
30. Aaron Murray, Georgia (2010-13)-  116 points I figured Murray would be a lot higher, but his interceptions and winning statistics hurt him here.
29. Landry Jones, Oklahoma (2009-13)- 117 points
28. Geno Smith, West Virginia (2009-12)- 122 points
27. Eric Crouch, Nebraska (1999-02)- 126 points First Heisman winner on the list for the quarterback who ranked near last in every passing statistic.
26. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (2011-15)- 130 points Another year in the BCS and Miller certainly could of soared higher. Now for the top 25 quarterbacks of the BCS Era :
25. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (2006-08)- 131 points The air-raid quarterback most famous for his miraculous 2008 season edged Miller by one point.
23. Josh Heupel, Oklahoma (1999-01)- 133 points The 2000 National Championship helped Heupel reach the top 25.
23. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (2009-13)- 133 points RG3 tied Heupel, as his first three years at Baylor didn’t do to well in the winning category.
22. Case Keenum Houston (2006-11)- 134 points The only quarterback in NCAA history to pass over 5,000 yards in three seasons, Keenum was up top in the passing touchdowns and yards categories. His interception ratio is what hurt him the most.
21. Greg McElroy, Alabama (2007-10)- 136 points
20. Colt Brennan, Hawaii (2005-08)- 137 points
19. Collin Klein, Kansas State (2009-12)- 139 points Apparently he can Eric Crouch it better than Eric Crouch can.
18. Andy Dalton, TCU (2007-10)- 141 points
17. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (2009-12)- 144 points
16. Troy Smith, Ohio State (2005-08)- 163 points Really big jump here, you start to see bigger names and award winners from here on out.
15. Andrew Luck, Stanford (2009-12)- 167 points
14. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (2011-15)- 173 points A winner who can pass and run. Mariota might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the era.
13. Chris Weinke, Florida State (1998-00)- 174 points
12. A.J. McCarron, Alabama (2011-14)- 183 points A game manager is 12th on a statistics based points system? Something isn’t right.
11. Michael Vick, Virginia Tech (1999-01)- 190 points
10. Vince Young, Texas (2003-06)- 191 points I should of spotted Young 20 points for his epic-ness in the 2006 BCS performance at the Rose Bowl.
9. Colt McCoy, Texas (2007-11)- 192 points The Longhorns come in at #9 and #10 in this list.
8. Ken Dorsey, Miami FL (00-03)- 196 points W-I-N-N-E-R
7. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (2011-12)- 199 points Hey I’m a huge Manziel fan but even I was surprised he was this high up on the list.
6. Kellen Moore, Boise State (2007-11)- 206 points I didn’t think Moore would be this high either. Oh well, he won a lot of games and threw a lot of touchdowns so he earned it.
5. Cam Newton, Auburn (2010-11)- 215 points One year was all Cam needed to sky rocket on the list for 215 points.
4. Tim Tebow, Florida (2006-10)- 216 points A winner who’s freshmen statistics as a back up hurt him from taking the top spot. Hey don’t blame me it’s not my system! Okay you got me.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (2007-09)- 219 points Could have taken the top spot if he had won any of the BCS games he played in.
Sam Bradford
2. Jason White, Oklahoma (2000-05)- 221 points See #3
1. Matt Leinart, USC (2003-06)- 244 points In a rather shockingly landslide victory, Leinart takes the top spot by 23 points over Jason White, which almost brings me back to the 2005 Orange Bowl. A winner and a passer who also earned style points with his awards and championships, Leinart earned the top spot and it will be his to keep forever as the best quarterback in the BCS Era. Hope you enjoyed the list and the article all together.
For the complete statistics and points system, click the links below.
Extra Points Statistics Rankings Players Information

My Fantasy Football Problems

For many years I have played Fantasy Football and for many years I have lost miserably.

I have yet to win my first Fantasy Football league and have been kicked out of more leagues than I’d like to mention, thanks to my horrible records year in and year out.

To me, it makes no sense. I’m a football nerd; a numbers guy; someone who loves to analyze the game. I consistently think: “why am I so awful at Fantasy Football?”.

Well, I explored those possibilities and would like to share them with you, as maybe you have the same experiences I do.

First of all, I’m too much of a fan.

In Fantasy Football, you must view players as nothing more than names and statistical numbers. Forget about their faces or reputation, they’re simply statistical machines built to win you Fantasy Football championships.

All too often, we — I should say, I — will stray away from a certain player just thanks to who they are.

For instance, I don’t think I’d ever draft Joe Flacco or Andy Dalton in a Fantasy Football League simply because I happen to believe that their numbers accurately represent them as QBs. In both instances one word comes to mind. It starts with over and ends with rated.

On the other hand, I’d draft a player like Cam Newton or Michael Vick simply because I love their style of play. Both have big arms, incredible speed, and second-to-none athleticism. Their numbers, however, aren’t always the best, especially compared to the Flacco’s and Dalton’s of the world.

When I first got into Fantasy Football in the eighth grade, I remember “stacking my team” with incredible players.

“Who’d you have?”

Oh you know, just some of the finest NFL players in the last decade: Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, Evan Moore, Brian Robiskie.

Clearly, mind you I was young, my love for the Browns and Buckeyes interfered with my ability to compete in Fantasy Football.

While I feel my objectivity has blossomed over the years — Josh Flagner still calls me MTAF’s resident “homer” — my love for certain players and their various attributes still deters me from the players I should be drafting based on nothing more than numbers.

(PS: I’ll probably never draft a Cleveland Brown again.)

If you’re going to be a good Fantasy Football player, you must put all of your preconceived notions about a player to the side, and instead focus on their statistical output.

I’m not saying you can’t be a fan, you like who you like, but to be a Fantasy Football genius, fandom can’t enter into the arena.

It can, but you’ll end up like me: trophy-less.

The second problem that I’ve oft encountered in my experiences with Fantasy Football is the “too many leagues” dilemma.

As many of my friends are football fanatics, I’m often invited — before I get kicked out — into a good amount of leagues. Filled with thoughts of my Fantasy Football crown, I join without a thought and before you know it, I have 6 to 8 teams that I can’t keep tabs on.

When you have so many teams, it’s so incredibly hard to make sure that each is successful. One or two is reasonable, but any more than that becomes difficult and can ruin your chances in other leagues that you care more about.

That’s how it has become in my experiences. Too many leagues, too many players, and too many teams in addition to my awful, yet overbearing fandom makes for disastrous Fantasy Football scenarios.

Finally, and you can jump all over me for this one, I don’t like people who choose their Fantasy interests over their actual-rooting interest.

You know the people I’m talking about?

The Cardinals fan that roots for the Steelers just because he has Ben Roethlisberger on his Fantasy team.

Or the Cowboys fan that suddenly loves the Falcons because of Roddy White.

It’s part of the problem that’s spreading like wildfire through fandom these days. People root for players because they don’t want to be put through the emotional roller coaster that comes along with rooting for a single team. It’s a classic case of bandwagoning, just disguised as loyalty to a player.

It’s something I’ve never seen until recently,  it’s something that upsets me, and it’s something that I will definitely write about when the 2013 NBA season rolls around.

Anyways, it’s awful and Fantasy Football plays into it big-time.

I just want to root for the Browns on Sunday, is that so wrong?

The Browns put me through enough of a ride as it is, why should I have to go follow another team and another player just because their on my Fantasy Team?

While I absolutely see the view from the other side, I simply don’t like actively rooting for teams who aren’t the Browns.

That’s part of the reason I love football. I can watch as a fan of the game when the Browns aren’t on, rather than having a rooting interest for each and every team in the league. I can root for a solid blitz-pick up by the Bears offensive line or the perfect downfield coverage by the Packers.

Football is very much a team-oriented game, and Fantasy Football puts too much emphasis on the individual while the whole team should be getting credit.

When they start using offensive linemen or the offensive line as a whole in Fantasy Football, I’ll definitely start to enjoy it more.

So there you have it: my outlandish, yet real reasons why I’ve struggled so mightily to pick up and succeed in Fantasy Football.

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What are your opinions of Fantasy Football? Are you good at it or are you awful like me? What makes you so successful or so terrible?

How many leagues are you in? Do you like to root for individuals rather than teams?

Let me know in the comments section of this page or on Twitter @H_Grove!

I’m VERY interested in what you have to say!


Three Things I Know About the NFL After Week 3: Vick, the Bills and High Scores

After my first week of picking games against the spread, I remember why I stopped gambling.  Or would have stopped, if gambling were legal.  I was a strong 11-4 straight up, running my total to 31-15.  My first week ATS wasn’t as successful.  I went 6-7 in the games that had lines Friday night.  That’ll teach me to rely on the Chargers for anything more difficult than representing powder blue lightning bolts. 

Three things I know today:

Michael Vick doesn’t have broken hand, he has a broken heart.   I’m not a Vick apologist, nor am I a Vick hater, but I really wish he’d just shut up.  Vick went after NFL officials after Sunday’s for not calling more personal fouls on hits against him after the Eagles 13 point loss at the hands of the Giants.

Continue reading Three Things I Know About the NFL After Week 3: Vick, the Bills and High Scores

MTAF Daily: Browns and Bills Win, Vick's Hand and Baseball's Wild Ride to the Finish

For a few weeks now, it seems that everyone is questioning whether the Buffalo Bills are here to stay. After yesterday, it sure seems so after kicker Rian Lindell hit a 28 yard field goal after time had expired to defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 34-31.  The Bills were down 21-0 in the second quarter. The second consecutive come from behind win makes the Buffalo Bills 3-0 while the Pats drop to 2-1, breaking their 10 game regular season winning streak. Brady also had a career worst four interceptions on the day.

So what say you, football fans?  Surprised by Buffalo?

Continue reading MTAF Daily: Browns and Bills Win, Vick's Hand and Baseball's Wild Ride to the Finish