Quotes overblown during offseason
College football’s silly season is in full swing and I’m not talking about Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison being arrested for barking at a police dog.
Jadeveon Clowney made waves at SEC Media Days by calling out Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Georgia’s Aaron Murray, claiming that the two signal-callers are scared to face him. Then, at ACC Media Day, North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin stirred the pot by referring to the season-opening UNC-South Carolina game as “a break” for the Tar Heels. Both stories received plenty of media coverage, which simply means that we desperately need real football to talk about. They are as relevant as Steve Spurrier’s sandwich of choice at Arby’s.
While Clowney’s comments have attracted ample attention from the media and criticism from fans on various social media sites, his remarks were not as outrageous as many have suggested. For starters, we can be almost certain that there are quarterbacks who are scared to line up across from Clowney. The defensive end has caused more chaos than Johnny Manziel at the Manning Passing Academy.
Also, those who have chided Clowney for being arrogant need to ask themselves; if I was 6 feet 6 inches and weighed 274 pounds, was the most talked about football prospect in the country from the moment I stepped on a college campus and projected by every NFL analyst with a brain stem to be the top pick in the draft, just exactly how humble would I be? Clowney has handled his situation better than 99 percent of us would.
As for Martin, his comments were focused more on UNC’s practice tactics than USC’s talent. The Tar Heels run a fast-paced, no-huddle offense, meaning that the UNC defense must practice at a frantic pace to keep up with its counterparts.
The Gamecocks’ offensive tempo allows for more time to rest on defense, which led Martin to assert that the August 29 contest would be a welcome relief after weeks of trying to keep up with UNC’s speed. No insult was intended or implied, but you can bet that Martin’s remarks will find their way onto a multitude of websites and be touted as some sort of challenge, a gauntlet thrown at South Carolina’s feet.
This time of year is the college football equivalent to the first week of December. The presents are right around the corner, but they aren’t close enough to unwrap yet. Recruiting classes are set, but the recruits aren’t practicing. Position battles are known, but fall camp is still weeks away. It is a maddening time for pigskin fanatics, who are clamoring for any news regarding their squads. This is the atmosphere in which Clowney and Martin made their remarks. Additionally, both quotes came at conference media days, which produce faux stories faster than a Clowney 40-yard dash.
College football season is five weeks away. When the Gamecocks and Tar Heels kick off at Williams-Brice Stadium, all the yapping, talking and barking will fade into the background.
Except for Antonio Morrison. That story is never going to get old.