To Put It Blountly

May 1, 2008

bustin\' a move in the spring gameBeing a fan of the Oregon Ducks, I was absolutely thrilled to read Ted Miller’s article on ESPN about our new running back, LaGarrette Blount.  I had been having concerns about how we were going to fill the shoes of the early-departed Jonathan Stewart, our stud junior tailback whose athleticism and strength are superhuman, and concerned that Jeremiah Johnson’s knee may still be feeling the ill-effects of an ACL tear that he suffered in the game against Washington State last season.  Fortunately, Ted’s article eased both of those worries, and now I am looking forward to see if we can yet again possess the best backfield in the Pac-10.

 

Blount hails from Perry, Fla., and had initially committed to Auburn out of high-school but was unable to meet academic eligibility standards, and played at East Mississippi Community College.  The buzz last season was that he was headed for Florida State, but after watching Oregon beat USC last season on national television and a recruiting trip from running back’s coach Gary Campbell, he decided to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Nike, the holy land of track and field, and the school that has consistently had the best running game in the Pac-10 for about a decade.  Good choice, LaGarrette.

 

The scoop on this kid is that while the coaching staff thought he was solid, he showed up huge in the spring game and gained 68 yards on five carries, and is now drawing comparisons to eight-year NFL veteran Reuben Droughns, who was also an Oregon product, and was a big-time back during his college career. 

 

Ted’s article also makes many references to Oregon’s vibrant array of uniform combinations.  This is something that I’ve had an ever-evolving relationship with.  When they first started pulling out some of the yellows, those nasty gold helmets that they tried once or twice, and the all-white storm trooper get-ups, I was a little unsure.  I was so in love with the all-black and dark green “smooth criminal” look that they tend to strut for home games, and even with the “roboduck” look of the Joey Harrington/Onterrio Smith era, but eventually it all grew on me.  Now, I think of it as such: whether you love it or you hate it or you just don’t know how to feel about it, you are talking about it, and therefore, talking about Ducks Football.

 

In the words of LaGarrette Blount, “those uniforms are tight,” but hopefully not tight enough to restrict him from blowing open Pac-10 defenses and establishing himself as the future (and likely the immediate present) of the Oregon backfield.

 

MOST LIKELY TO –

 

Go pro after his junior season – LaGarrette Blount

Be the lightning to Blount’s thunder – Jeremiah Johnson

Get a pay increase – Gary Campbell

Continue to draw outstanding recruits – University of Oregon

Knock off USC again – Ducks?

Get hurt again – Rudy Carpenter

Start a conversation about the Ducks – ::pointing thumbs at self:: THIIIIS GUUUY!

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J-Stew is a Beast

May 1, 2008

Oh, how we shall miss thy skills, StewIf anybody still doesn’t know about Jonathan Stewart, allow me this opportunity to open your eyes.  I’m not speaking of the host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, but rather the second running back selected in the NFL Draft this weekend.  Still don’t know who I’m talking about?  He was a stud for the University of Oregon for the last few years, and the Carolina Panthers were wise enough to snatch up his pure athleticism and power before someone else did.  He went 13th overall and was only the third offensive player taken at that point behind Darren McFadden and Matt I-Hope-I’m-As-Good-As-People-Think-I-Am Ryan.  You may think, from the tone of my text right there, that I’m just hating on Matt Ryan, and who is to say that Jonathan Stewart will be as good as anyone (specifically me) thinks he is?  That is a valid point, but let me offer something up for your consideration.  Jonathan Stewart is an absolute beast.  He scored higher than anyone had ever scored when he took Nike’s athleticism test, and he benches as much or more than the offensive line that blocked for him (400+).  His legs are phenomenally strong, and he can break through tackles with proficiency.  But not only is this kid a ridiculous physical specimen, he has also developed into a smart running back, knowing when to let things develop, and when to turn on the jets.  He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he’s smart, and in the NFL, there is scarcely a better combination.  I can’t count the number of times I thought this guy was going to get tackled, only to jump out of my seat in awe as I saw him spin off one defender, stiff-arm another, and then jump over another guy en route to a first down or a touchdown.

I’ve never been that big of an NFL fan, because I hail from a college town (Eugene, OR) and find the passion and pageantry of college sports to be far more intoxicating than the pros, but I might just start being a Panthers fan if they are smart and give J-Stew some touches.  Hopefully they recognize that he has the athletic potential to be a big time back in the league, if not right away, in the near future.  They must, otherwise why would they have drafted him so high?  Exactly.  Go Stew, Go Panthers, Go Ducks, I’m out.

 

MOST LIKELY TO –

 

enjoy the many looks of the Full House formation at Carolina – J-Stew

be stoked that they got J-Stew – Carolina Panthers

be the next junior running back to get drafted from Oregon – LaGarrette Blount

be yet another QB flop in Atlanta – Matt Ryan

go 6-10 this year – Oakland Raiders

win next season’s intramural football championship – my team

have a majorly disappointing year – Giants fans