Heisman trophy or blocking fullback?

Discussion in 'College Football Stars' started by Jimmy Chitwood, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Jimmy Chitwood

    Jimmy Chitwood Hall of Famer

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    Heisman candidate or blocking fullback?
    The difference is apparently only skin deep.

    As an avid student and fan of the game of football, I am constantly informed (or mayhap indoctrinated) that talent wins football games. I am told that coaches recruit the best talent. And play the best talent. And that the best talent will always be put in a position to make plays regardless of virtually any other criteria. Talent is all that is important, and talent will always get the opportunity it deserves. Nothing else matters.

    Coaches, scouts, etc. get paid to win, after all, and not signing the most talented players and not giving said players the most opportunity would be foolish. They would lose their jobs if they didn't sign and play the best possible talent for their team! This I am told time and time again as if by mantra. These are stated as simple, and obvious, FACTS that everyone just knows are true, told to me in tones of shock and bewilderment if I question it, akin to my wearing a bikini in church.

    Yet I do have questions ... because the performances I see on the field don't make sense if the "talent" thing is true.

    When trying to work out puzzles of this sort, I find that it makes things easier to understand if I compare things (players in this instance) that are similar, the more similar the better. In this scenario, if players are evaluated in the same manner, then similar players will yield similar evaluations/accolades/playing time/and so on. Many people might be surprised that this isn't how things work, neither in college nor professional football.

    In fact, there are often VAST differences in the treatment of players who are virtually identical ... except for one small difference.

    A case in point:

    Player A, as a high school senior, was 6-1, 220-pounds, and ran a reported 4.5 40.
    Player B, as a high school senior, was 6-2, 220-pounds, and ran a reported 4.5 40.

    Player A rushed for 2,134 yards and 27 touchdowns on 223 carries as a senior (9.6 avg.).
    Player B rushed for 2,631 yards and 29 touchdowns on 261 carries as a senior (10.1 avg.).

    Player A was a Parade All-American and one of the top prospects in the nation.
    Player B was a Parade All-American and one of the top prospects in the nation.

    Here is where things get interesting... and confusing... and troubling...because it is readily apparent that both of these athletes are incredibly talented. And physically, one could hardly hope to find two more similar athletes ... except for one evidently all-important difference.

    Player A is black and Player B is white.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    And thus, their careers take DRAMATIC turns when they enter the realm of college football and beyond...

    Despite the incredible similarities, Player A was considered to be an elite talent running the football as a tailback and is now considered a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
    Player B, on the other hand, was considered to be an elite talent ... as a blocker and was never given the chance to be a tailback. He was a fullback, you see.

    Player A is Chris Wells, and he plays for Ohio State.
    Player B is Peyton Hillis, and he played for the University of Arkansas.

    Let's continue the comparison. Shall we?

    Wells, known for his powerful running style, played as a true freshman. At tailback.
    Hillis, known for his powerful running style, played as a true freshman. At fullback.

    Wells averaged 5.9 yards per carry last year as the featured back, behind a blocking fullback in an offense designed around him.
    Hillis averaged 5.6 yards per carry last year from his fullback spot without a lead blocker, while running from much nearer the line of scrimmage, and getting the majority of his carries in short-yardage situations. (As an aside, teammate and 2-time Heisman trophy runner-up Darren McFadden also averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season for the Hogs.)

    Wells is said to be an explosive playmaker and is most often compared to Eddie George, Maurice Clarett, and Jim Brown (an old school fullback). All of whom were featured backs despite not having elite speed. None were asked to be a regular blocker.
    Hillis is said to be too waaaaay too slow to be a featured back. So, since his freshman year, he has been forced to add weight and block almost full time.

    But let's take a close look at the speed thing for a moment ... Both players have a career-long run of 65-yard touchdowns. Both runs came against last year's NCAA Champions, the LSU Tigers. You can't ask for more identical comparisons, apples to apples, Buckeyes to Razorbacks.

    Take a look at each of the runs.
    Wells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnuk4X6tajs
    Hillis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5alq9LRUNk
    Can you tell any difference aside from skin color? If anything, it appears that Wells is the slower of the two ... Interesting, huh?

    But there are significant differences in the two players despite their obvious similarities, differences that appear to show Hillis to be the more complete player ...

    Wells is one-dimensional. In two years as the featured playmaker at OSU, he only has 7 catches for 37 yards. He has never been a factor in the return game. Nor has he ever blocked for another back.
    Hillis is multi-dimensional. Despite being miscast, he set school records for running backs in career receptions (118), receiving yards (1,195) and receiving touchdowns (11). And he was the Razorbacks top punt returner for much of his career, averaging over 10 yards-per return. And his talents are also unselfish and team-first. He also blocked for two individual 1,000-yard rushers (McFadden and Felix Jones) for the second consecutive season.

    So, draw your own conclusions. It's possible there is some "other" explanation. It's possible that skin color "wasn't" the determining factor. I guess anything is possible... but if so, if I am wrong, I'd like to have those facts presented to me.

    And for anyone who says, "Why does it matter?" Just consider a couple of reasons, amongst the many. Hillis has suffered both physically and financially for the position change. As a fullback, he has been forced to carry more weight than his body is designed for. He has endured more physical punishment due to the rigors of the fullback position. AND, compare the meager salary a 7th-round draft pick at fullback makes to what a 1st-round tailback gets in the NFL.

    Come to think of it, I'd say there are millions of reasons it matters.
    Edited by: Jimmy Chitwood
     
  2. Riddlewire

    Riddlewire Master

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    Preachin to the choir, man.
    Just don't post this on any Arkansas boards. You'll be inundated with a thousand Yeah-but's. In fact, most of them took their marching orders from Houston Nutt and have called Peyton lazy and stubborn. The same way that Matt Jones was a state legend one day, and then somehow an overrated bum two years later. They seem to swallow whatever BS lie is used by coaches to defend decisions to not play/underplay former white Razorbacks. I hate that whole community. You can bet they'd raise a stink if McFadden was converted into a blocker.
     
  3. ToughJ.Riggins

    ToughJ.Riggins Hall of Famer

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    Hillis would be perfect to run the ball in Denver this year. Who else do the Broncos really have? Yet they still won't resort to even thinking of using their best option at RB this year. I think the overrated Travis Henry is injured. Hillis is a great cutback power guy. And he is fast enough. He ran a 4.58 at the NFL combine and the average time this year at the combine for RBs was a 4.57.

    I also think Hillis lost a little speed after his bad back injury he got from being used as a battering ram for the Razorbacks. Frekin ******* Houston Nutt! Nutt slanders a player that went all out for him and hurt his back badly in the process blocking for a future two time Heisman runner up. Nutt probably was just poed b/c Hillis challenged him on one of his BS decisions regarding him.

    Edited by: ToughJ.Riggins
     
  4. ToughJ.Riggins

    ToughJ.Riggins Hall of Famer

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    I sometimes buy into the hype of players too and Chris Wells is probably overrated for sure, but I do know that Hillis is hands down way underrated. Hillis would put up virtually similar numbers at Ohio State being used the way Wells has been, just like they were virtually identical in H.S. I don't know anything about their level of competition in H.S though and haven't broken down game film of the two to see why Hillis did slightly better in H.S.

    But we never get to see these things to prove them to the drunken idiot fans. I am as certain as a person can be, that their would be white Darren McFadden's and Knowshawn Moreno's etc. and even white RBs that could put up Reggie Bush type college stats and win the Heisman. However, the drunken fans and PC media are too dumb to think outside the box. The good news is we have seen some white college RBs start to be used more lately (not always correctly) for big programs and get noticed (Leonard, Hester, Sharp). Edited by: ToughJ.Riggins
     
  5. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    Great work Jimmy! [​IMG]This should be posted as a bulletin and blog on the CF myspace page, not to mention as an article on the main CF webpage.
     
  6. Guest

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    Excellent post Chipwood.
     
  7. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    rob, Chipwood?
     
  8. jared

    jared Mentor

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    Great post JC. The other guy I liked to compare with Wells was Toby Gerhart since they were part of the same recruiting class. Identical measurables, both very productive (though Gerhart broke the career rushing yards record for the entire state of California). Yet Wells was a 5-star tailback recruit and Toby was a 3-star fullback recruit who could only get a tailback offer from Stanford. Gimme a break.
     
  9. White Power

    White Power Mentor

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    I think white runners must become smarter about what college they choose to attend. I am sure Peyton could of gone to another college that is more white freindly. I beleive part of the problem is that white runners feel as if all colleges will let them play running back unfortunately we all know this not the case. Peyton could of gone to Stanford, Sandiego State, San Jose State, Vanderbilt. You guys get my point He chose Arkansas who recruited two faster little gansta running backs, and you guys know the rest of the story. Sad to say if Peyton wanted to play running back he should of chose another more white freindly school.We must educate our young about the caste system because if we don't then who will. Edited by: White Power
     
  10. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    It'll be on the homepage later today, also on the ANU homepage.
     
  11. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    True enough, White Power, but they aren't all coming to CF to be educated. Its not like Peyton knew how the Caste System would affect him at the U of A. Yes, in a perfect Caste aware world, every skill position white player would go to white friendly schools. In that same world, they would constantly speak up about anti-white discrimination as well. We have to realize that most of these white athletes, even if they are mildly aware of discrimination against them, are largely unaware of exactly what they will face in college. We can't expect them to know all that and all pick white friendly schools. Hopefully our message will continue to get out to ever larger audiences and can make a significant difference in the future.
     
  12. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    Cool deal Don!
     
  13. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I just posted it. It should get wide exposure on the web as I figure a few other sites may run it, and posters on other boards will reference it. It really lays out the routine discrimination against whites superbly (one might say in a stark black and white fashion), and can onlybe combatted by saying that the difference is that blacks alone have magical hips and other such nonsense.


    Hillis' situation in Denverreminds meof that of Rob Konrad in Miami several years ago when the Dolphins featured back was imprisoned and others went down with injuries. Here they had this 6'3" 245 pound horse who was a record setting tailback in high school and who had stats similar to Hillis' at Syracuse, could run a 4.40 40 and ran with swivel and elusiveness, yet he was never considered to run the ball as a parade of black journeymen were auditioned for the position. I wrote of Konrad that I believed he could lead the NFL in rushing multiple times if used properly, he was that good.


    Worse yet, Hillis right now is only the backup fullback, there's no guarantee he'll even make the Broncos.Edited by: Don Wassall
     
  14. Jimmy Chitwood

    Jimmy Chitwood Hall of Famer

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    Hillis is slower, not because of the back injury which he has healed completely from, but because the Arkansas coaching staff forced him to put on 30 pounds.

    Denver is doing even more of the same... last i heard, they had him up to 266 (hello more body breakdowns!) and not considered as a ball-carrying option for them. [​IMG]
     
  15. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I wrote a little bit about a similar situation a few years ago comparing Luke Staley and Ronnie Brown:


    Mel Kiper has moved RB Ronnie Brown of Auburn to his number one NFL prospect. Here's what he writes about Brown: 'Had an outstanding workout at the combine, running the 40 in 4.48 while weighing around 230, which only adds to the already impressive profile Brown has. He showed against several opponents in 2004 that he is one of the most complete backs in the nation, running and catching the ball with equal skill. He averaged over six yards per carry this season and had 34 catches. Brown has the size, instincts, power and quickness to put up unbelievable numbers and would have been a Heisman candidate had he been the clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart. An explosive powerhouse with speed and strength.'

    What struck me right away when reading Kiper's assessment of Brown is that [white running backs] Luke Staley and Travis Jervey both weighed close to 230 pounds and both ran even faster than 4.48 coming out of college, and Staley was coming off one of the very best years a college running back ever had. Staley was drafted in the final round and never given a chance, and Jervey was always treated like a joke. They weren't deserving of a chance while a black with similar physical attributes 'has the size, instincts, power and quickness to put up unbelievable numbers. . .' and may be the first pick in the draft. If you want to see the essence of the caste system in black and white (pun intended), there it is.



    It's true that Staley had injury problems, but he was all but run out of the NFL on a pole. These kinds of comparisons can be made every year at just about every position, and it's always the white players who get the short end of the opportunity stick.
     
  16. lumsdenpower

    lumsdenpower Mentor

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    great text
    bravo
     
  17. DixieDestroyer

    DixieDestroyer Hall of Famer

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    Great article/analysis Jimmy. [​IMG]That same shameful paradigm is seen at UGA where all the drunken white fans wet themselves over YOshawn Moreno (a solid TB no doubt), yet rarely make a noise of the under utilization of powerhouse Brannan Southerland lastseason...yet led the Dawgs in TDs & scoring the season prior, runs a 4.6 40, squats 700+ & is the 3rd strongest guy on the team. He should get a good 5-7 touches a game, but might see 1-3...thanks to the stable of greeeeeeat black TBs. Typical caste scenario! [​IMG]Edited by: DixieDestroyer
     
  18. Jimmy Chitwood

    Jimmy Chitwood Hall of Famer

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    the latest first-round mock draft (this one by CBS sports Pete Prisco) has Beanie Wells as the #11 pick, and has this to say about him...

    so Wells has good speed for a first-round featured back, yet Hillis doesn't have enough to even be in the conversation. "weird," isn't it? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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