Monday, October 19, 2009

Lots of flashbacks this weekend

Florida's struggle with Arkansas didn't cost them in the BCS, where they're number one and Boise is absurdly in the fourth spot. The question is whether they use the struggling moment at the halfway mark to inspire growth and progress as they did last year or whether this team will continue to flail along on offense. The passing game is becoming a concern for more reasons than just limited WR personnel. The continued use of five wide sets when you don't have the bodies to do it makes little sense to me. Who's taking Emmanuel Moody seriously split wide? What's the point of putting him out there to do that? I'm just not seeing the route combinations that a good passing offense should have, and routinely going to a set that ensures Tebow will be hit over and over which hasn't been terribly productive (the concussion causing hit was out of it, and nine of the twelve sacks on him have been in five wide) baffles me.

When Tampa Bay drafted Gaines Adams with the fourth pick in the 2007 draft, I was not happy. It seemed exactly like the kind of picks they made with guys like Keith McCants and Eric Curry - physically gifted guys who gave you lots of reason to wonder if they would be productive once they got their pro money. Two and half years later, Adams is a Chicago Bear in return for a second rounder. Given the Bears record to this point, that pick is likely to be between 50 and 60 in the 2010 draft - wonderful value for the highest draft pick the franchise had made since McCants in 1990. Sometimes I hate being right.

Being a Bucs fan isn't easy right now with them being 0-6, but at least there's a chance things will eventually improve. In Washington, there is no chance they will ever win anything as long as Daniel Snyder is the team's owner. Two years ago he hired Jim Zorn as offensive coordinator. Typically the head coach would like a say in that, but Washington didn't have one of those yet. Since that search was a fiascod they went ahead and just made Zorn, who hadn't even been anything more than a QB coach in Seattle, the head man. It's been a disaster - losses to the Lions and Chiefs?! - so now they're taking playcalling away from Zorn. The owner's racquetball buddy who poses as a GM hired Sherm Lewis as a consultant two weeks ago - word is he'll be the next offensive coordinator. Does he know the personnel? Is his system and terminology compatible with Zorn's? Who cares - after the season they'll fire everyone and give Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden or someone else who's a big name ten millon a year to be the next stooge for this ridiculous organization. Whoever it is will win six-eight games and get fired within two years as well. What a fiasco the Redskins are.

A name from Florida's past resurfaced in Gainesville this weekend. Bobby Sabelhaus came back to town, and wrote a first person account of his recruiting and college experiences that was published in the day leading up to his visit. It's a three part story worth reading. I've always hated the fact that people like Sabelhaus hear themselves referred to "busts" every year around signing day. Some kids are simply overpublicized, others get hurt, and many wind up playing in the wrong system for their skills. They didn't create the hype echo chamber that's grown up around recruiting, and it seems unfair for them to be pilloried forever because they didn't live up to the expectations placed on them by some website or commentator.

I was a student reporter working at WRUF at the time Sabelhaus was recruited, and he couldn't have been a nicer guy. He actually wound up playing a role in two important stories for me. The first was landing an interview with Randy Moss, who UF was recruiting at the time. Nobody had Moss's number - his coach wouldn't give it out, and even the recruiting gurus couldn't get it. One night as I was working it dawned on me that Sabelhaus, who was a UF commitment at that point, had mentioned he was in touch with Moss. I checked to see if he'd be willing to give me the digits. He did, and I wound up with the first comments from Moss anyone in Gainesville had been able to get as a result. The other big story was tougher - the news Sabelhaus was planning to leave after one year at UF. I got the tip from a friend, and when I asked her how she had found out the answer was "in bed last night". How do you phrase that for air? Sources "extremely close to" Sabelhaus? Sources on top of Sabelhaus? I knew Sabelhaus had become active in the film business with the Keanu Reeves film "Constantine". From what he's written it seems things have worked out well for him, and that's good to see.


Anonymous said...

Re: Sabelhaus. Way to build someone up only to sell them out.

Heath Cline said...

How did I sell Sabelhaus out? Was it some kind of shock to you that a UF QB picked up a girl? He mentioned women being one of his priorities in the linked pieces!

Companion Global Healthcare said...

Good post. Thanks for the links to the Sabelhaus story.

Anonymous said...

Great piece on Sabelhaus. I grew up in the Baltimore area and he was the best high school qb I'd ever seen coming out of Maryland. Hard to believe Spurrier would let a young man with all that talent fail under his watch. Glad he bounced back and is doing well.