Frantic Friday: Support for Taylor Mays
I’m finally catching up after the madness of the holidays. Hopefully you all enjoyed Easter and Passover with family and friends. Since my last post, there have been plenty of Trojan happenings, and I’ll just touch on a few.
Taylor-Made for the NFL
In the midst of the harsh criticism over Taylor Mays, there is one reporter believing he has the talent to succeed in the NFL and isn’t as high risk as others have come to believe. Rick Gosselin isn’t buying into the talk about the safety being a liability in coverage, expecting an improvement in performance at the next level.
“I think Taylor Mays will be a better safety than he was at Southern Cal because the NFL will ask him to do more. He has the measurables to do whatever you ask of him with that size (6-3, 230) and speed (4.34). But comparisons to Roy Williams seem to have some NFL teams running scared. So Mays has a sliding value right now. But I think some team is going to get a really good player at a great value when he finally comes off the board.”
Gosselin writes for the Dallas Morning News and Mays may still be on the board when his Cowboys pick at No. 27. He may be a great option to be that pick, but only if they look beyond the Roy Williams comparisons and see Mays for what he is.
The Penal Code
With spring practice underway, the changes in routine are as obvious as the change in coaches. Lane Kiffin’s reign comes with more discipline, and practice errors have led to a penalty of laps for those players committing them. Personally, I like the change. As much as we loved Pete Carroll as the “player’s coach”, I often felt the team was sometimes allowed to play “too loose”. You want them to be comfortable and at ease, but you also need discipline in practice to deter mental errors on game day that result in costly penalties that extend drives for the opponent or stall drives of your own. Looking back on some of the Trojans’ losses, one culprit that leaps out is the ill-advised penalty in crucial situations.
USC met with NCAA investigators in the middle of February. We are now approaching that window of revelation, when the verdict is to be announced and handed down. Since the close of the three day defense and interrogation in Tempe, all has been hush, with no word, leaks, or hints to the force of the hammer that will swing. Lane Kiffin and Mike Garrett are confident that the program has no worries, as is former coach Pete Carroll. But outside of the institution, that optimism goes unshared. The greater expectation is that USC will be hit with heavy sanctions, though none crippling enough to prevent the cash cow from producing its rich milk.
One of the new policies now enforced is limited public access to Trojan football practices. I like the idea, because it denies entry to Agents, handlers, and anyone else observing players on the field as cash products of the future. Those are the types of guests that should have been banned long ago. Unfortunately, with a more cautious policy implemented to protect both players and the program, it may be too late. All it means today is that we won’t have photo opportunities of Sean Henderson and Snoop Dogg sitting together beneath April skies at Howard Jones Field.
Kickin’ It with the Stars
Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing were both in the hunt for NFL defensive rookie of the year, with Cushing eventually taking home the hardware. But there would have been a third Trojan, if voters didn’t underestimate his value to the Cowboys’ defense. David Buehler isn’t just a kicker. With a league leading 29 kickoffs that resulted in touchbacks, he’s a defensive weapon. Of course, the Southern California faithful have long been aware. Buehler will be vying for more field time in 2010, competing for the Field Goal kicking spot in Dallas.
Man in the Middle
I must admit, I’m a bit disappointed in the potential move that would bring Devon Kennard from the outside and place him in the middle. The move identifies one of two things, or maybe both. Either the new coaching staff lacks confidence in Chris Galippo, or the position is very thin. I think to best utilize Kennard’s talent, you have to leave him on the outside, where he has the talent to someday become one of the greatest edge rushers in USC football history. But hey, I’m just a blogger, so what the hell do I know? The great Monte Kiffin has spoken.
Murder by Numbers
Wide Receiver Ronald Johnson has changed his jersey number from 8 to 83. With an NFL future on his mind, he wanted to wear an NFL number.I truly appreciate his ambition and aspirations, but as you can see, the change kills the Empire’s banner, where he still appears in jersey No. 8.—Thanks, RoJo!
No Fun League
These players have no relation to USC, but the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins on Easter Sunday. Marc Bulger was then released by the Rams on his birthday. The rest of the world may pause for celebrations, but the heartless NFL machine keeps churning.