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Monday morning catch-up

Jan 18, 2010, 7:30 AM EDT

After our introduction to the coaching staff Friday, it was a pretty quiet weekend on the football front. I’ll do my best to keep up with the recruiting news, but just about anything you hear from now until Signing Day will have a dash of hearsay sprinkled in.

Let’s clean up some weekend left-overs.

* Last week, Brian Kelly offered 6-foot-3 athlete Danny Spond a scholarship. The Littleton, Colorado native was a quarterback commitment at one point to Dan Hawkins and the in-state Buffaloes, but he’s since opened up his recruitment and started looking around. Spond visited Stanford this weekend, and lists the Cardinal and TCU as finalists along with the Irish. Spond was on the radar of Charlie Weis’ staff, and his combination of size and speed are the precise kind of athletes Brian Kelly says he wants to collect, then he’ll develop them into the best positional fit. Spond will follow up the Stanford trip with a weekend at TCU, then finish with the Irish before deciding.

* During Brian Kelly’s press conference Friday, he rolled through the new coaching hires and specifically spelled out the recruiting regions each coach was set to cover. I was particularly interested when Kelly mentioned outside linebackers coach Kerry Cooks’ success in the state of Texas while coaching at Wisconsin. Having watched a ton of Badger football the past few years, I never noticed a Texas influence, yet sure enough there are seven players on the Badger roster from the Lone Star state, including heat-seeking missile Jay Valai. A few of the guys Cooks got to Madison were highly regarded players, and any victories in the state of Texas have to be looked at as steals.

* On Friday, Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay got into their weekly screaming match when talking about the draft, and specifically quarterbacks. As he has done for the past few months, McShay did his best to downplay Jimmy Clausen’s professional prospects. Here’s the transcription of what McShay had to say about JC:

“When I watch him – listen, he’s improved – he’s well-coached, he comes from
a pro-style offense, and I get that, and he has good tools, but he does
not have elite physical tools. He is 6’2″, barely 6’2″, about 215
pounds, he’s had a little bit of trouble in terms of getting beat up
and I wonder if he’s going to hold up physically on the next level. His
arm strength is good, but it’s not great, and if you really study him, he
has to overcompensate on a lot of throws, he makes his wide receivers
work for the ball constantly. He has good accuracy, but not great
accuracy. And you talk about intangibles and leadership, go back and watch
some of these games, throwing a touchdown pass and pointing at opposing
head coaches, getting into an argument and shoving a guy from BC at the
end of a game, talking to NFL scouts, guys who were in the locker room
and around it, see how he carries himself, I’m not saying he’s a bad
person, but I do think there are a lot of questions in NFL scouting
circles about his overall intangibles and how he’s going to be as a
leader in the NFL.”

You can watch the whole segment here, but I’ve got a lot of problems with McShay’s analysis of Clausen. I’ll never pretend that I have a scouting background, and I’m guessing McShay’s watched more tape this year than I have, but I’d bet that I watched a lot more Jimmy Clausen than he did this season. I was constantly impressed by just how strong Clausen’s arm was this season, and it’s almost as if McShay is just doing his best to attack the always ambigious intangibiles when he goes after Clausen. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t honestly remember Clausen pointing at an opposing coach. (His brother did when he played against Notre Dame.) As for the shove after the game against Boston College, McShay must not have watched that exchange very closely either, as his characterization of the incident is a little one-sided. What next, is he going to hypothesize on the incident outside the bar, too?

Jimmy Clausen was an incredibly accurate quarterback this season, whether you just look at the raw numbers or simply watch the tape. Here’s a guy who completed deep hitches and comebacks all over the field, really tough throws that rely on great timing and accuracy. As the Rakes of Mallow point out, McShay has been plenty wrong about a quarterback before, and I really think he’s missing with Clausen here. I expect JC to go in the first half of the first round, and perform up to his grade.

* As Florida continues to reel in high-profile recruits, even with its head coach maybe/possibly stepping away from his job, you start to wonder how Urban Meyer does it. And then you read articles like this, and stop wondering. It’s no wonder Sharrif Floyd picked the Gators.

“Sharrif was really confused and put a call into Coach Meyer. When
they spoke Coach Meyer told him that he had a ‘dream’ the night before,
and that Coach Meyer saw himself on the sideline coaching Sharrif. Told
him that is was a “message from God that I should come back and coach,
as I guess if it’s my time to die, I’d rather die on the sidelines
coaching you than anywhere else in the world.

“Sharrif talked to us the next day and said Ohio State is great and all, but Coach Meyer said he would DIE for me. That’s pretty intense.”

I really wonder how Urban Meyer has kept his reputation intact after he pulled that 180 a few weeks ago, but it’s clear his charms are still working. 



  1. TLNDMA - Jan 18, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I really like the fact that Kelly has expanded Weis’s 2010 recruiting list. Tate Nichols could be a sleeper, in this class. He will be an athletic tackle, after playing TE in high school.
    Keith I agree with you on McShay’s assessment of Clausen. “Not an accurate thrower”, is he kidding? How many times this year did we see him throw a ball that only his reciever could get to.
    As far as Urban Meyer, do you think he ever told a player “I got a message from god” and the kid replied “er coach, you’re nuts”. Besides God’s a Florida fan? Who knew?

  2. Jake - Jan 18, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    McShay is a poor excuse for an analyst if he thinks Claussen is inaccurate. It seems ESPN believes no competent college ball is played unless they think so and the same goes for players.
    McShay’s opinions as to gets drafted where and how high is meaningless. Another “pretty boy” talking head who’s experience in college ball was warming a bench for the University of Richmond. He and Craig “I’m just a dad” James should share a show entitled “Fools on Football.”

  3. grandpashyena - Jan 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    May Urban’s dream come true

  4. irishfanintx - Jan 18, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    A quick check of a few NFL rosters and it looks like Aaron Rodgers, Mark Sanchez, Brett Favre, and Curt Warner are all 6’2″ and in the 215-225lb range. Drew Brees listed at 6’0″. If the scouts think he has the skill I don’t think his size will be a factor.

  5. Jake - Jan 18, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Urban Meyer is going to “die” for him? He had a dream that God gave him a message? Are you kidding me?
    If some coach would have used those lines reruiting my kid I would have called the men in the white coats.
    This guy really needs a break and perhaps a trip to Bedlham.

  6. SEO - Jan 19, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    Great Read. I’ll be back for your next piece

  7. Banks - Jan 29, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Oh my god you’ll not belief that. Our stupid dog simply farted on my ankle!? I mean what’s the problem with this!? I care for that thing and I end up with that in exchange. I yet can not belief that. After all, you hold some important info there in your posting. I knew Google will take me to a few unique stuff today :). Ok need to hunt that pet now! Have a nice time you all!

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