Matt Hinton takes an in-depth look at the “spread generation” for CBSSports.com and, well, it’s spread throughout college football. (And the NFL now that Kelly’s off to Philly?)
Specifically, this has resulted in a massive shift at the quarterback position:
If 2012 was the year the pros got wise to the 21st century, it was also the year that college football yielded wholly to an even younger, arguably more dynamic influx of spread-bred quarterbacks who have never imagined a separation of powers between runner and passer. Together, they represent the spread era at full throttle.
Consider that before 2001, no player in Division I history had ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season while also passing for 2,000 yards. Up to that point, the few quarterbacks who did manage to crack 1,000 on the ground were almost exclusively glorified tailbacks in triple-option schemes that rarely asked them to put the ball in the air. (Even the 1,000/1,000 milestone was unprecedented until 1981, the height of the option era.) Over the subsequent 11 years, from 2001 to 2011, a dozen different players broke the 2,000/1,000 barrier, all of them in spread offenses, some of them more than once. By the end of last year, the barrier had ceased to exist: The 2,000/1,000 Club added five new members in 2012 alone, all five of whom will be back this fall as part of the most versatile quarterback class the sport has ever produced. At least, so far.
This is why I love college football more than the pros. With the quick rate of roster turnover — and now coaches as well — trends catch on easily and spread quickly in the college game. That affects the game of football as a whole. How many high school programs run the spread now? How many NFL teams are thinking seriously about it now given a) that’s what the college game is going to start producing more frequently in terms of quarterbacks and b) Colin Kaepernick’s two-week infomerical in the form of Super Bowl fluff started yesterday.
For the record, Taylor Martinez is one of those five returning QBs Hinton mentions above.
U MAD, BO? >>> Ohhh, recruiting. Mike Schaeffer of 247Sports.com has the latest on the saga surrounding Orlando, Fla. receiver Dominic Walker. He’s a Nebraska verbal commitment, but he took an Auburn visit last weekend and was reportedly considering the Tigers’ offer.
That prompted a chat Monday with Tim Beck and Rich Fisher, which Walker recapped thusly:
“I heard from the Husker staff after the visit and they wanted to know if I’m considering Auburn and all of that,” Walker said. “I talked with coach (Rich) Fisher and coach (Tim) Beck. They didn’t understand. They were actually mad.”
But by the time Fisher and Bo Pelini arrived in Florida for an in-home visit later that night, heads had apparently cooled?
“They were OK tonight but they don’t want me to take anymore visits,” (Walker) said. “I told them I wasn’t going to, before they even asked. I’m done with visits. They weren’t mad. We were just talking.”
Walker said he’s still a Nebraska commit but he also confirmed to 247Sports.com that he’ll host Auburn coaches today.
This exasperates me, a person who only begrudgingly details this sort of stuff. I can’t imagine what it’s like being a coach.
KICKING OFF 2013 >>> Nebraska just doesn’t feel like Nebraska anymore without a walk-on kicker. The Huskers picked one up yesterday when Pat Smith chose to transfer from Western Illinois to play his final year in Lincoln.
Smith is set to graduate this May and he’ll enroll in a graduate program at Nebraska, allowing him to play right away in 2013 under the Russell Wilson Exemption. (Not an official title, but it should be.) He was named WIU’s co-MVP last season and was one of 10 finalists for the FCS Kicker of the Year.
HOPE ON THE HARDWOOD >>> It’s taken some squinting, but there are signs of progress for Nebraska basketball. True freshman Shavon Shields’ development is one such sign. He was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week after averaging 23.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals while shooting better than 70-percent in two games last week.
Nebraska takes on Illinois tonight in Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.