Malcolm Mitchell got hurt celebrating a long Todd Gurley TD run last night.
He tore his ACL. He is out for the season.
Prayers to Malcolm. And Gurley, please stop being so darn exciting.
With SEC Media Days now complete here are three things that I want to rant about.
Johnny Manziel and the dichotomy of being a 20-year-old celebrity.
There was no neutral ground for Johnny Manziel at SEC Media Days. You loved him or you hated him. He was praised for displaying the same confidence and composure that that won him the Heisman Trophy while being peppered with questions under the spotlight. He was critiqued for showing too much arrogance. There was no middle ground.
As much as I hate making the comparison, he matched Tim Tebow’s ability to polarize a room – and more universally, the internet. At the very crux of all the Manziel chatter is the predicament that he finds himself in. The issue is not the Manning Passing Academy. The issue is not underaged drinking (alleged). The issue is not what his family can and cannot afford. The issue is this: Johnny Manziel is twenty years old and he is famous. Really, really, famous. Really, really twenty years old.
He’s the most popular college football player on the planet and one of the most famous figures in his sport’s history. But he’s twenty years old. He was the youngest player ever to win one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, but he’s still young. His fame and his age are not two mutually exclusive characteristics. They are very much coinciding.
People struggle to comprehend how Johnny Football can claim to be a “normal” twenty year-old college kid while describing the highlights of his offseason as, “Meeting Drake backstage at his concert in Toronto before flying to Cabo for Spring Break and later getting to chill with LeBron James.” At first glance, maybe those two concepts – the “normal young kid” notion and the “rock star” persona – disagree with each other. But maybe, just maybe, slightly deeper thinking can explain the paradox.
Could it be that when Manziel refers to himself as a “normal” college kid he really means, “I’m doing what any other college kid would do if he/she was given my opportunities.” Because that’s a statement that I can rally behind. As Daniel Palmer said on the podcast on Wednesday, “Give me his arm, his talent, his fame and his family’s money and things get way worse for me. And I’m 28!”
We live in a controversy-driven culture. The internet had exacerbated that problem. But if you can’t see that Johnny Manziel is equal parts normal kid and celebrity, then you have less common sense than society seems to think he has.
“But,” you may say, “Look at A.J. McCarron? He is humble, quiet, well-mannered and always out of the spotlight.”
All of that is true. A.J. McCarron, however, does not have a Heisman Trophy. A.J. McCarron is not bankrolled by a wealthy family. This is not intended as an insult, but A.J. McCarron doesn’t have Johnny Manziel’s charisma or personality either. McCarron is humble and polite. Manziel dominates a room. These are two different quarterbacks from two different backgrounds who behave in two different ways. I’m not going to condemn one for being wrong and award one for being right.
Manziel’s social life is capitalizing on his opportunities. For McCarron he capitalizes with National Championships. Each is true to himself. You could make a darn compelling case that each is living the better life.
Is anybody else over Jadeveon Clowney?
I stand by everything that I have ever said about Jadeveon Clowney. He’s a beast. He plays his position better than any player in the country plays theirs. He’s scary. He’s not human. But good gracious his legend is growing awfully out of control.
I wrote a few weeks ago that I didn’t think Clowney would live up to the offseason hype. My reasoning: the hype is darn-near unparalleled to begin with for a defensive player, his defense lost a lot of talent and teams may be able to scheme better for him and he doesn’t put up statistically monstrous games on a consistent level. Those are admittedly nit-picky criticisms but when we’re dealing with hoopla that is unprecedented (and I think we are for a defensive player), sometimes it takes some controversial disputing over minuscule points to disqualify someone.
I learned one thing when I wrote that article: NOBODY TALKS BAD ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA’S BELOVED BABY JADEVEON!!!. NOT NOBODY, NOT NO HOW!!!!
First of all, the guys more than capable of defending himself. Secondly, I don’t think anybody is really talking trash about Jadeveon (he’s the only one doing that). Thirdly, just because Jadeveon is a once in a generation talent at the collegiate level does not mean he’s above reproach:
- He has a tendency to take plays off.
- He struggles at times in run defense.
- He is not the most attractive fellow in the world.
All-SEC teams were voted on during Media Days. Twenty people did not vote for Clowney on the First Team. Outrage ensued. Do I think Clowney is First Team material? Absolutely. Was I surprised that he wasn’t a unanimous choice? Somewhat, but things are rarely unanimous these days (remember, we love controversy).
People went absolutely nuts about it. Even former Georgia Bulldog turned hater David Pollack weighed in on Twitter saying, “All 20 of the 240 media members who didn’t vote Clowney First-Team All SEC, should never be able to vote again.”
Really, D.P? Never vote again? Isn’t that a little strong? Keep in mind, this is a Pre-Season vote. The goal of the vote is to predict what will happen this year. I can think of a number of reasons why someone could conceivably think Clowney wouldn’t finish as one of the two best DEs in the league:
- Maybe somebody saw a rising star at the DE position while covering the beat trail for his/her college team this Spring. Maybe somebody is saying, “That kid can be better than Jadeveon Clowney.” I bet the folks at Ole Miss are hoping Robtert Nkedkdmfdmdsfeche (spelling?) can be.
- Maybe a voter has heard something about Jadeveon’s offseason workouts. Yes he’s reportedly run incredible 40 times and benchpressed entire planets, but maybe he’s been letting off the gas a bit.
- Maybe somebody sees the way he plays and says, “For some reason I think all of his flailing and jumping over blockers is going to get him hurt.”
I’m not saying that I agree with any of the things I listed above or that I’ve heard any such inklings, but I haven’t seen what every voting Media member has seen either.
Jadeveon Clowney is great. But South Carolina fans – and now fans in general – are putting a hell of a lot of pressure on him.
Les Miles is a Gift
Les Miles is an absolute treasure to college football. He dropped knowledge on the unevenness of SEC scheduling in a very non-Spurrier way (meaning he had facts that weren’t simply demonstrative of his team’s fortune or misfortune). He spoke eloquently about his coaching staff, players and other personnel. He spoke with an Australian accent for a spell (seriously). He talked about Twitter, the United State of America and the Harlem Shake.
Les Miles was great.
That’s all I got/
College football fans were stunned this week to hear that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney recently ran a 4.46 40-yard dash. He is 6-6 and 274 lbs. and I repeat: he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash.
At SEC Media Days his head coach, Steve Spurrier, praised his ability to lay low and stay out of the limelight. Moments later Clowney took a page out of the Ol’ Ball Coach’s playbook and fired some verbal shots.
Clowney mentioned in an interview that he knew several quarterbacks were scared of him. When asked which ones he responded, “Aaron Murray is one of them,” before listing Clemson signal-caller Tajh Boyd and Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson.
Jadeveon went on to add, “You can look at a guy and tell if he’s scared. If he’s staring at me before the ball is snapped, if he’s staring at me before every snap, I’m just like, ‘Oh we got him.’”
Aside from the fact that any QB in the country should be looking at Jadeveon Clowney pre-snap (it’s the right thing to do), I think Clowney missed a very key point.
Aaron Murray needs to be afraid of Jadeveon Clowney. As a Georgia fan I’m OK with that. Clowney is a skilled player who is certainly capable of hurting Aaron Murray who is nearly 70 pounds smaller. I don’t want Aaron Murray hurt. If Murray got hurt who would play QB for the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game? If Murray had been reckless with his body against South Carolina in 2011 and 2012, Georgia might not have even earned a trip back to Atlanta.
I guess Clowney wouldn’t know anything about that, though. He’s never played for an SEC Championship. He’s never needed to be healthy on the first Saturday of December.
Clowney seems to have a somewhat selective memory. Last year he – and the South Carolina defense as a whole – wreaked havoc on a Georgia offense that was crippled by Special Teams errors, field position and mental mistakes. Murray’s statline for that game epitomizes the success of the South Carolina defense that day: 11 for 31 passing for 109 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT.
Clowney seems to have forgotten Murray’s 19 of 29 performance in 2011 that yielded 4 TD passes.
He also seems to have forgotten that Georgia is the two-time defending SEC East Champion. Clowney labeled Florida as South Carolina’s biggest opposition this season.
The real threat to South Carolina this year might be arrogance. I said earlier this summer on a podcast that this is the peak of South Carolina football. Clowney and the other Gamecocks seem all too aware of that reality. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Spurrier has always had a quick tongue; his jabs are expected. But Clowney’s mouth runs a 4.46.
That’s all I got/
NCAA Football 14 came out today.
I haven’t picked up the game yet because I’m a grownup and therefore too mature for such things (Psyche! I’m getting that after work). In any event: here is a first quarter simulation of Georgia/Auburn.
More importantly here is the live-blog.
- Auburn is 88 overall despite losing 67 games last year. That makes sense.
- New jersey numbers for Georgia. They’re whatever. I will say they seem extremely black…in a literal sense. The outline of them seems nonexistent.
- At the 0:50 mark Aaron Murray does some ridiculous dance that I wish was real.
Tim RigginsChase Vasser is a captain for the Dawgs (1:25). Much respect.
- Speaking of captains, Marshall “Captain” Morgan is not kicking under the influence (1:45). I don’t think.
- Special Teams still appears to be an issue for the Dawgs (1:55).
- Chase Vasser is going to dominate this year (2:20). Vasser 4 Highsmannn.
- Kirk Herbstreit says that Auburn’s “offense really struggled on this drive.” I think that was a soundbite recorded specifically for Auburn (3:05).
- Shocker! Auburn with a dirty play on a fair catch (3:30).
- Gurley gets tackled for a loss (4:05). I told you Gurshall might take a step back!
- Auburn recovers a BS backward pass/fumble (4:40). Glory Glory to Ole Georgia/Auburn plays.
- Auburn QB (I guess it’s sophomore Jonathan Wallace) breaks 1200 tackles before pitching to a running back who waltzes in for a TD (5:45). Auburn: 7, Georgia: 0.
- Gurley returns kicks! But he just kneels (Dude’s note: I just had a really hard time spelling “kneel.”) in the endzone (6:45).
- Gurley runs for 28 yards. I was kidding about him taking a step back (7:30).
- Aaron Murray just had four hours to complete a pass (7:45).
- Rantavious Wooten with the TD catch! Extra point is good. (8:20). Four play, 74 yard drive by UGA. Typical. Auburn: 7, Georgia: 7.
- Amarlo Herrera just did his best Ben Wallace impression (10:05). He blocked the hell out of a pass. DEFEEEENNSEEEE.
- Jonathan Wallace just pitched the ball to the middle of the field into a crowd (11:00). I hope this is a staple of their offense.
- Crap. He just threw a 59-yard TD strike (11:25). Auburn: 14, Georgia: 7.
- Aubie the Tiger is doing pushups. His form is terrible (12:00).
- Malcolm Mitchell returns this kick (12:18).
- Where is Keith Marshall? (13:00)
- Nevermind. Todd Gurley just broke an 85-yard run. This game is completely inaccurate though as he was caught from behind on the one yard-line. (13:05). Only Todd Gurley catches Todd Gurley from behind after an 85-yard rumble.
- There is Marshall. TD Georgia (13:45). Auburn: 14, Georgia: 14.
- Auburn connects on another deep pass down the sideline (14:45).
- Damian Swann just woke up in time to deflect one. He’d been getting worked all day (15:05). I thought that guy should have been MVP of the Capital One Bowl. There’s no way he regresses from being my favorite returning defensive player with my favorite nickname (Black) to being torched by Auburn.
- Long TD pass by Auburn (15:25). Dang.
- The guy playing is controlling Auburn. This is obviously being played on “Rookie” level.
- In the most Auburn-like play yet (other than the fair catch interference) Auburn kicks the ball out of bounds (16:30).
- At the end of the quarter and the end of the broadcast (thankfully) Auburn leads 21-14.
That’s all I got/
“Behind the scenes we like our schedule. People talk about Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina, but I’m not worried about them, I’m concentrated on what we do. If we come out and beat Georgia, not just beat ‘em but beat the mss out of ‘em like we should, I don’t see no problems in getting started in the right direction.”
I’m not going to beat up on Sammy for being confident in his team. In fact I appreciate a few of the sentiments he expressed, namely:
- Behind the scenes we like our schedule. I’m a huge proponent of teams laying low, studying their competition and gaining confidence.
- I’m concentrated on what we do. Again, I like this kind of talk.
I’m not even going to dwell on the Georgia talk individually because there is no precedent for how these Clemson players – Watkins included – perform against Georgia.
But consider Florida State and South Carolina. Both Sammy and his Clemson squad are 1-3 against these two oponents. Clemson is 1-3 against the Cocks and the Seminoles with a lone win coming against FSU in 2011.
Similarly, Sammy has had just one good game – that same FSU game in which he had 7 catches for 141 yards and two TDs while adding 13 rushing yards. His other three games of this series? 14 catches, 100 yards receiving, 0 TDs, 7 rushes for 46 yards, one passing TD.
Clemson was still just 1-2 against ranked opponents in 2012 with the lone win being in meaningless bowl game that meant the world to Dabo Swinney.
That’s all I got/
If you’ve missed out on any portion of the Clemson Countdown of Insults, the archive is as follows”
- The Founding of Clemson
- The PeeAndre Hopkins Incident
- Clemson’s Unknown Offense
- Clemson vs. the SEC
- Clemson is the new Georgia Tech
- Dabo Swinney is crazy
- Remembering the last game
- Clemson’s Really Good Defense
- Clemson’s Rock
- Georgia Fans > Clemson Fans
- Clemsoning is a thing courtesy of Urban Dictionary