"I think Rice has a very good football team and a great offense. We better get ready to play defensively and I think our guys are going to do that. They have a very good quarterback and skill players. I know them very well and they will come in here ready to play."
The University of Tulsa's head man Todd Graham is spot on in his assessment. And he should be considering he escaped the Rice field(s) to conduct the TU express two years ago.
This past Saturday TU rolled up impressive offensive numbers once again. The Rice Owls dropped 77 points in the first three quarters against North Texas. Major networks should be lining up to televise this potent shoot out.
Quarterback Chase Clement and receiver Jarrett Dillard are officially the deadliest connection of all time. The Owls' duo fails to register on the radar in these parts. Oklahomans tend to lean toward the Zac Johnson/Dez Bryant or the Sam Bradford/Manuel Johnson act.
Don't overlook the Clement/Dillard combo. They just surpassed the NCAA all-time mark for touchdowns set by a tandem. Forty-one career TDs between the two. Can TU slow down the NCAA record setters?
The Golden Hurricane struggled against UCA in pass defense. UCA is no Rice. Receivers ran free and the quarterback stayed clean. That's a dreadful combination.
The 77 points scored by Rice are the most ever by a Conference USA team. Let's put an asterisk* next to the record because it did come against a non-conference, non-competitive foe.
On the Receiver
Football coaches are much smarter than we simple-minded fans. We rah, rah, rah while they spend countless hours breaking down film and game planning.
Over thinking perhaps.
However, why don't coaches convert wide receivers into defensive backs? This goes for high school and especially collegiate level coaching staffs.
The old adage states the difference between a receiver and a defensive back is the receiver can catch.
Football schemes evolve from year to year. Why can't coaches do a better job of developing the DB position?
Perhaps players are not receptive to the non-glam position on defense. In today's society it's the flashy, mouthy receivers who score the touchdowns and grab the headlines.
Can a coach make playing defensive back sexy for these recruits? Let's say you field a team with such depth at receiver you could run an eight receiver set if rules permitted.
Why not shift a solid pass catcher to the defensive side of the ball? The NFL likes freakish receivers with athletic ability. Smart NFL teams covet freakishly athletic d-backs who can shut down or at least stymie receivers.
So if you are a middling receiver with above average skills, wouldn't it behoove you to flip to the darkside? The transition consists of learning to backpedal.
The downside is compounded by the media. We don't hear and read a lot about the shutdown cornerback. We like to highlight the long touchdown pass. Of course there is always a cornerback or safeties on the hip pocket getting burnt for those long touchdowns.
Maybe coaches attempt to convert these athletes but are rebuffed due to the top-10 highlight society we've nurtured them in.
On the flip side, imagine the NFL combine. You have roughly 30 top-flight receivers each year with break-neck speed competing for several first round draft positions. Meanwhile, teams are looking to counter the measure with top-flight, ball-hawking cornerbacks. Check out the schools cornerbacks are drafted from in the first round. Not exactly a who's who of college powerhouses.
It would stand to reason these bright, forward-thinking coaches could convince a few of these receivers to make the leap. It is a move that could help the team and boost the individual's professional stock. Win - Win.
Oh You No Won
Rice visits H.A. Chapman Stadium this Saturday night at 7pm. Its homecoming and the durability of the LED scoreboard will be tested. Visit tulsahurricane.cstv.com for more information or a possible time change.
You know, in case the major networks decide to televise the college football game with the potential to rewrite the record books (and last five hours). Navy beat North Texas last year by a tally of 74--62 if you're scoring at home. Can we go higher?
Suffice it to say the talk around town this week will center on the college football rankings. USC, Georgia and Florida tumbled from the top five this weekend.
Pay attention and we'll try to explain the greatness of the BCS right here. Again.
Last week USC was the clear cut number one team in the nation. Experts would have you believe they were unbeatable. Not only did they fall, they failed spectacularly.
The Sooners catapulted to the drivers seat in both the AP and USA Today polls. Is this a good thing? Does it matter? The astute BCS officials do not claim a September champion like the other polls. The first official BCS rankings will be revealed in October. After a sample of performances have been registered.
Another built-in water cooler topic is the Big 12 versus SEC theme. Instead of the water cooler (who has those these days?), let's call it the coffee maker topic sans the wiper. You know...the co-worker who wipes the counter area repeatedly to get out of actual work.
Anyway, the Big 12 boasts a robust three teams in the top five. OU is joined by Texas and Missouri. The other two top-five teams are Alabama and LSU. This is why the BCS gets it right more times than not.
LSU and Bama play each other. The loser cannot complain at the end of the year if they are left out of the BCS title tilt.
OU takes on Texas in two weeks. Mizzou gets Texas the week after. Add in the Big 12 Championship game and at least two of these current unbeaten teams are going down. Lose a game and no whining.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy your 2008 college football playoff system. It's happening now!
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