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Bruce Feldman - "Top Trios"

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by Chispa, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Ranking the nation's top triosposted: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry

    This week's list idea came from a reader, Andy in Austin, who wondered if the Texas trio of Colt McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Limas Sweed were the best "triplets" in the country. (Since we're talking Texas, I'll use the old Dallas Cowboys reference to Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.) Upon further review, however, the Longhorns' trio wasn't part of the real debate for the top spot. Here's the list:

    1. West Virginia I was tempted to rank Michigan No. 1 because Mario Manningham has a decent size edge over Darius Reynaud, but Patrick White is such a dazzling talent running Rich Rodriguez's offense, that I opted for the Mountaineers. I'd also take Steve Slaton over Mike Hart. Slaton, by the way, sounds pretty fired up now that he's had wrist surgery.


    "I'll be 10 times better without [the broken bone]," Slaton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You can only do so much with one hand."


    Even with only one hand, Slaton was still awesome last season. Also, don't undersell Reynaud who is as lethal in space as any WR in the country.


    2. Michigan Chad Henne had a very good junior year after a disappointing 2005. I think both he and Mike Hart are in the running for the Heisman. Hart is a winner and makes everything go for the Wolverines. He fits their system very well. Manningham had nine TDs despite missing four games. He was phenomenal against Notre Dame catching three touchdown passes. (Although it was Notre Dame, which gave up career days to a lot of receivers over the last two years.)


    3. Texas Colt McCoy was a revelation last season, putting up staggering numbers in his debut. McCoy threw for 29 TDs against just seven INTs. Jamaal Charles is a dangerous back, but didn't have the breakthrough year I was expecting in 2006. His rushing average dropped from 7.4 to 5.3 yards per carry. Limas Sweed, though, did improve. The big target caught 12 TDs and averaged over 17 yards per catch. He's also an outstanding blocker.


    4. Louisville If healthy, Brian Brohm is as good as there is throwing the football. He also has the luxury of two great receivers (Mario Urrutia and Harry Douglas.) I'll focus on Douglas just because he caught 12 more passes for almost 300 more receiving yards. He isn't as rangy as the 6-foot-6 Urrutia, but he is outstanding running routes and coming out of his cuts. Douglas caught 70 passes for 1,265 yards last season. Of the Cards' two-headed tailback attack, I'll go with the power guy Anthony Allen, who could be a 20-TD guy before he leaves U of L.


    5. Missouri Chase Daniel is a whiz at running the Tigers offense and tailback Tony Temple really emerged after a ballyhooed prep career. The Tigers have a twist on the triplets act because their big receiver is a really big receiver. Tight end Chase Coffman (58 catches, nine TDs) is great at exploiting mismatches in the Mizzou scheme.


    6. Kentucky It may sound crazy to rank Kentucky ahead of every other SEC program on any list, but the Wildcats have the goods in this grouping. Andre' Woodson put up gaudy stats, throwing for over 3,500 yards and 31 TDs against just seven INTs. Tailback Rafael Little is also one of the SEC's best. Just ask Tennessee which gave up 120 yards to him. He also has great hands. Little caught 31 balls last season despite missing four games. Dangerous Keenan Burton might be the most underrated WR in the league. He caught 77 passes for 1,036 yards and 12 TDs and had nine games where he caught at least one pass that went 30 yards or longer.


    7. Cal DeSean Jackson is the headliner. He's the most explosive player in the Pac-10. I also like the improvement that QB Nate Longshore made last season. The Bears do lose TB Marshawn Lynch, but Justin Forsett is a pretty good replacement. Forsett ran for 999 yards in 2005 and did run for 124 yards in Cal's bowl romp over Texas A&M in December.


    8. Arkansas The Razorbacks almost make this list on the presence of TB Darren McFadden, who by the way has a great back-up in Felix Jones. Towering WR Marcus Monk is lost in their hype and to some degree in the soap opera that has been playing out in Arkansas over the past nine months or so. Still, he's terrific (962 receiving yards, 11 TDs). The problem is the QB play is really shaky. Casey Dick, who only played half the season, didn't even complete 50 percent of his passes and his TD-INT rate was a modest 9-6.


    9. Texas A&M The key here is how good TB Mike Goodson becomes. As a frosh, he had 847 rushing yards (averaging 6.7 ypc) despite sharing the load with big back Jorvorskie Lane. Stephen McGee isn't just an outstanding runner. He also proved to be a pretty good passer too, completing 62 percent while throwing 12 TDs and just two INTs. Athletic TE Martellus Bennett looks like an NFL talent, but needs more consistency. He caught three passes for 13 yards combined in the games against OU, Texas and Cal.


    10. LSU The Tigers probably should be higher, but there is such a position-by-committee aspect of this team. I think QB Matt Flynn will be very good. I also really like TB Keiland Williams, although I'm not sure he'll get enough carries to be a 1,200-yard back. WR Early Doucet is a really good physical receiver, and I think his numbers will jump now that Buster Davis and Dwayne Bowe are moving on to the NFL.


    Random stuff
    • After reading the transcript from Randy Shannon's press conference on the eve of spring ball, I was very impressed by the way he is taking over the Miami program. The more I hear about what he is doing, the more convinced I am that he is the ideal man to take over this program right now. The most important thing for any new coach is attitude and it sounds like he might be just what the Canes needed.


    That was evident as he explained his off-the-field, zero-tolerance rules. It may sound obvious, but most coaches don't often deal in absolutes because they like to leave themselves wiggle room just in case a situation may involve a key player. Judging from Shannon's opening salvo that won't, or at least, isn't supposed to happen.


    According to Shannon, UM players must live on campus the first two years and are only allowed to move off campus if their GPA is 2.5 or above. If their average drops below 2.5, the player must return to campus housing the following semester. He also instituted a no guns policy.

    Asked about his players' constitutional right to own firearms, Shannon said: "I'm thinking about the University of Miami and the kids. When you have a firearm, there's a 50-50 chance that you're going to get hurt. So I said, 'Let's not put ourselves in those situations.' Make it a 100 percent chance that you're not going to hurt nobody and that nobody is going to get hurt."


    • The State's Ron Morris examines the struggles of blue-chip QB recruit Stephen Garcia getting acclimated to college life and suggests that colleges should "reconsider" the practice of bringing in recruits early:

    "Garcia might have been fully prepared to begin taking snaps on the football field. Clearly, he was not prepared socially for being away from home for the first time. Garcia still should be a student at Jefferson High, where he could participate in all the normal social activities of a high school senior. He still should be growing up with his high school buddies, and he could make mistakes and learn from them without seeing his picture splattered on the front page of the local newspaper."


    My three cents: I disagree with this. I don't recall hearing about many other early-arriving recruits getting into trouble, or at least at a significantly higher rate than freshman who arrive in the summer. It really depends on the kid. The guy Garcia reminds me a lot of is J.P. Losman in terms of his presence and swagger. Having been around both and observing both around their peers, there was a certain edge that both QBs had. Losman also was an early guy, and he too, struggled with the transition, more so in fitting in and ended up leaving UCLA for Tulane.


    • UCLA hired Eric Scott, a former Bruins player, as its wide receivers coach. Scott, who had been coaching at Crenshaw High, should only help strengthen the Bruins recruiting locally, something that former UCLA assistant Eric Bieniemy had started. In case you're wondering, Crenshaw is the same high school where incoming freshman Brian Price, a highly touted DT, is from. The Bruins have several Crenshaw players on their roster.


    Apparently, there was some drama surrounding the Price recruitment that included a "confrontation" between Scott and USC linebackers coach Ken Norton during a home visit with Price this winter, according to Scott Wolf's L.A. Daily News blog.


    • Bob Stoops doesn't plan on announcing who Oklahoma's new QB will be very soon.


    "This is not do-or-die for anybody," Stoops said. "Everybody wants to have the answer [immediately], but we hope [the three candidates] will work together to make each other better, and make it a stronger position."


    The candidates include just-arrived freshman Keith Nichol, one-time JC transfer Joey Halzle and redshirt freshman Sam Bradford. Halzle, by the way, once started in front of Jimmy Clausen when the touted ND quarterback was a freshman.


    • The JC linemen that Georgia brought in are fitting in quite well, Marc Weiszer reports.


    I can't say that I'm surprised. When I was reporting out the recruiting book, we saw a lot of film on Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn, a pair of defensive linemen from Georgia Military, and they were terrific. The Bulldogs got themselves two very impressive athletes.
     

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